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Maxwell
[Episode] Playing Poltergeist Vk6odI4
Tracker

Name : Richard Maxwell
Epithet : Plague Rat
Age : 49
Height : 6'0" / 183 cm
Weight : 160 lbs. / 73 kg
Species : Human
Faction : Pirate
World Position : Supernova
Haki Level : 3
Hitpoints (HP) : 251
Attack (ATK) : 300
Defense (DEF) : 500
Reflex (RX) : 600
Willpower (WP) : 215
Level : 68
Experience Points : 6845
Bounty : 235,000,000
Quality Score : S+
Income Bonus : +0.20 (to all allies)
Shop Discount : -10%
Berries Berries : 279,332,375
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Posts : 238
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[Episode] Playing Poltergeist Empty [Episode] Playing Poltergeist

Fri Jul 01, 2022 11:23 am
Name: Playing Poltergeist
Category: Episode
Player Participants: Richard Maxwell (+0), Aya Ruiz (+0)
Planned Location(s): Notice, North Blue
Planned Time Range: January 1829, a couple of days after Brood X Bach's successful conquest has ended.

Summary: In the wake of a daring conquest, a certain sharp-dressed rat comes sniffing for scraps on his business associate’s turf. Naturally, said associate quickly catches wind of the arrival. As a gesture of goodwill, or weird sense of humor, the new ruler of the island sends his sneakiest welcoming committee to greet the coward, a phantom with a glint of mischief in her eye.

After getting over the initial shock, the two scoundrels realise they aren’t all that different. In fact, they have something very personal in common... They are both broke and have questionable takes on other people’s money. Following their dreams takes Berries. Thus it doesn’t take long for them to concoct a get-rich-quick scheme that relies on their unique talents.

An excessively wealthy holiday resort magnate is throwing a lavish dinner party to celebrate record profits. There’s everything a fancy moneybag could want. They have glitz, glamour, fine foods, live music, marines guarding the perimeter and even their very own ghost terrorising the guests... Wait what?

Luck sides with the wealthy, however, for a sharp-dressed priest just so happens to come knocking, ready to banish this foul poltergeist! ...For a nominal fee of cough-illion Berries, of course. The racket goes swimmingly, until a keen marine officer recalls a bounty poster and smells something fishy. Or ratty. Cue chaos, as the dynamic duo has to escape using wits and violence.

---

Settled in the blue bosom of the ocean, the colorful coastal city of Notice soaked in sunshine and bathed in pleasant heat. The rising air rippled like a flag, dancing in the lazy ocean breeze. Even the waves didn’t feel like putting in effort, gently caressing the shore. With such serene weather, it was easy to think that today was just another day in paradise.

However, savvy folks knew that things were roiling beneath the sunny surface. Just recently, the famous tourist trap had experienced a rather drastic change in management. Some might even call it a hostile takeover. Well, terminology hardly mattered in the face of the end result. Whether the elected council liked it or not, the island had gotten a new chairman.

Such big news had spread quickly across the lands on the wings of journalism. One of the frankly overpriced publications had ended up in the grubby mitts of a colleague down on his luck. The story certainly left an impact, astonishment and envy mostly, but more importantly it sparked an idea... A vacation was long overdue, wasn’t it?

Now, a couple of days after the fact, tourists were returning with all the tact and grace of a locust swarm. They descended upon the cafes and stalls, picking them clean of food and souvenirs. Every morning, a new ship brought more. In the chaos, it was easy for a rat to sneak along.

Among the bustling crowd strutted a sharp-dressed gentleman. The chocolate brown suit was a mildly unusual sight next to all the colorful holiday shirts and shorts. His lanky frame let him squeeze past any obstruction without pulling his stomach in or breaking his stride. In his thin, bony grasp he lugged a hefty leather suitcase. A wide-brimmed hat cast a concealing shadow over his eyes, A cheap cigarette burned between his sharp teeth, painting a thin trail of smoke in his wake.

Beneath the carefree smile, the crook was carefully calculating his choices. On one hand, this was supposed to be a vacation... The idea plopped onto an imaginary set of scales. It weighed more and more, as he considered his past few... okay, several schemes. He was lucky to have escaped the last one alive. The smartest move would be to lay low, maybe cozy up to the new boss of the island. Hard to believe it had been two years already...

A sudden bump yanked Richard out of his thoughts. He found himself staring at a kindly old man flat on his ass, who seemed rather dazed. “Ah, my apologies, good sir. I was lost in thought and didn’t pay attention.” He offered a helping hand, pulling the senior back onto his feet. Deftly he dusted the stranger’s clothing as well, patting him all over while layering on polite apologies. All was good though. With a wave, the two strangers parted ways.

Walking away, the rat reached into his pocket and pulled out a worn out wallet. He flipped it open, thumbing through the compartments. Loose change, bingo membership card, photos of grandchildren... Ah, there we go. He pocketed a handsome wad of Berries and slyly dropped the empty wallet behind him.

On the other hand, the place was crawling with easy marks and easier money. That idea slammed onto the opposing end of the scales, launching everything else away. Surely Brood ol’ pal wouldn’t mind a colleague scooping up some measly from beneath the table, right? Right.

But first...

Lunch.

While the elusive visitor headed off to find some nice cafe away from prying eyes, one pair of such eyes had already spotted him. A shady figure leafed through a collection of posters, before stopping on a certain one. After some squinting at the dubious photo, the shadow muttered something to a small snail. Within moments, the simple message reached some very important ears.

‘The Plague Rat’ had come to Notice.

Words: 651
Total: 651


Last edited by Maxwell on Tue Jul 12, 2022 7:10 am; edited 1 time in total

________________________________________________________
Wanted Dead or Alive: Richard 'Plague Rat' Maxwell
Pikasso
Tracker

Name : Aya Ruiz
Epithet : "Pikasso"
Age : 25
Height : 4'5"
Weight : 120 lb
Species : Mink
Faction : Civilian/Other
Alliance : Nox Prime
Crew : P.T.S.D.
Ship : Dead Air
Crew Role : Procurement Specialist
Devil Fruit : Suke Suke no Mi
Haki Level : 0
Hitpoints (HP) : 133
Attack (ATK) : 60
Defense (DEF) : 55
Reflex (RX) : 55
Willpower (WP) : 65
Level : 1
Experience Points : 100
Berries Berries : 50,000
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[Episode] Playing Poltergeist Empty Re: [Episode] Playing Poltergeist

Sat Jul 02, 2022 1:53 pm
It had been days since Aya had been 'given glorious purpose'.... or whatever it was that Academia had been irately chastising her about. Her quiet life of solitary travel had been turned upside-down, leaving her with new comrades unlike anything or anyone she had ever experienced before. Even now her throat still stung with soreness from a sudden spike in the use of her soft voice.

It came as another sudden surprise that little Pikasso was now getting an errand to run on her own! Mushiba seemed to trust the woman enough to task her to greet someone by herself without worrying she'd take off the first chance she got. It gave her an opportunity to prove her usefulness again and Aya was eager to please.

So into the streets of Notice wandered a miniature welcoming committee in the form of a single, runty, invisible red panda Mink!

Fairly soon after her search began she realized all too quickly that she should have asked more questions about the man she was supposed to find. The Boss had said that he was some sort of 'anemic, skeletal looking man in a snazzy cocoa suit with a gaunt, rat-like face.' But Aya knew a lot of rats, and none of these sunburnt tourists looked anything like one.

An ever-fading trail of spiced smoke led silently in the direction the Mink thought may be busiest... but also conveniently in the direction of the alluring scent of fancy overpriced restaurants. Aya moved through and around crowds with a silent practiced ease, scanning over the waves of vivid floral and other tropical patterns for something a bit more earth-toned. The quiet grumble of her stomach only made her mind wander from the assignment all too soon.

Would anyone really notice if she stopped for a treat?

A small café with a dark-painted exterior sat back in a quiet part of the street and the Mink's sensitive nose could already smell the pastries and coffee brewing within from a few blocks away. She could practically taste it already, and the disembodied clack of her heels picked up a bit more speed as she dodged through the street. Just a little dark roast to sharpen her mind, maybe a coffee cake or a couple of kolaches.... then she would get right back to it!

In her rush to fill her stomach she nearly missed exactly what she had been looking for. Just a glimpse of evasive cocoa in the corner over her vision brought her to a sudden halt mid-stride. A thoughtful hum escaped Aya's lips as she turned her attention toward the man in question just across the road and a block up from her.

An empty alleyway to her other side provided enough privacy for her to duck in and pluck a folded paper from the pocket of the flowy floral sundress, both the dress and the poster itself seeming to fade into reality from nowhere as she unfolded and scanned over the mysterious depiction. 'Richard Maxwell' didn't seem to be all that interested in being found, however...

That certainly seemed to be the man himself, in the flesh!

A new chipper excitement filled the girl as she set herself and her things back to fully-invisible rights. She had thought a task like this would be a pain, but she was in luck! Still... after her last sour encounter in a café in Notice she was hesitant to rush in without feeling things out a tad more.

Instead she would begin trailing after the rat attentively and following just a few feet behind him, practically giddy that she was lucky enough to stumble across him in one of her favorite districts. Maybe there would still be time for brunch!

{618/618}


Last edited by Pikasso on Sat Jul 02, 2022 1:54 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Forgot Word Count)
Maxwell
[Episode] Playing Poltergeist Vk6odI4
Tracker

Name : Richard Maxwell
Epithet : Plague Rat
Age : 49
Height : 6'0" / 183 cm
Weight : 160 lbs. / 73 kg
Species : Human
Faction : Pirate
World Position : Supernova
Haki Level : 3
Hitpoints (HP) : 251
Attack (ATK) : 300
Defense (DEF) : 500
Reflex (RX) : 600
Willpower (WP) : 215
Level : 68
Experience Points : 6845
Bounty : 235,000,000
Quality Score : S+
Income Bonus : +0.20 (to all allies)
Shop Discount : -10%
Berries Berries : 279,332,375
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[Episode] Playing Poltergeist Empty Re: [Episode] Playing Poltergeist

Sun Jul 03, 2022 10:26 am
Richard’s lax stride brought him, eventually, to a quaint, little café at the back. The dark exterior was unassuming enough and the place didn’t seem too busy. Perfect. He flicked the smoldering stump onto the ground and snuffed it out with a precise step.

Some would call the interior cramped, while others would praise it as cozy. There was barely enough room for a couple of booths and few round tables scattered around. Dim lighting and wood paneling gave it an air of old-fashioned grace, traditional, but not outdated. Mesmerizing scents filled the air.

Beckoned by the bell above the door, a chipper waitress stepped up to greet the new customer. The dark uniform along with a pristine apron fit the theme. Her eyes never seemed to open, while a sly smile played on her lips. “Welcome, good sir~! A table for one?” She chimed eagerly

Richard returned the smile and glanced around. Not a table, no, too easy to get stabbed in the back, so... “A booth, please. Corner, if available.” Luckily for him, the request proved easy enough to fulfill, as the waitress took the lead.

“Of course~! Right this way, sir.”

As the gentleman god seated, he was handed a lovingly carved slab of wood. “Here you go, sir. And here is our menu.” He glanced over the selection, before doing a double take. An icy chill crept down his spine. “Is... is there an accidental extra zero on these prices, or...?” He asked ever so carefully.

The waitress cocked her head coyly. “Good sir, I assure you all our menus are up to date with the pricing.” Her answer, however, wasn’t received well. In fact, it managed to push a particular button.

For a brief moment, the gentleman’s facade slipped... “What? This is outrageous. You would fleece a poor... pensioner like this?” He barely caught himself, almost dropping his preferred title instead of the fake one.

Still, the young lady was nothing if not a professional. Her sweet tone didn’t even waver. “I’m sorry to hear that you think so, sir. Hugo, would you come here for a moment~?” She clicked her fingers and suddenly a massive shadow appeared behind her. A closer look revealed a man about the size of a wardrobe, with the muscles of a gorilla and the droopy cheeks of a bulldog.

“This is our bouncer, Hugo. He also helps folks who have trouble walking.”

Slowly, the waitress leaned closer. Her eyes opened just enough to reveal gleaming gold, while her sly smile grew sharper. “Now, if you have lost your appetite, please vacate the table so that I may get insulted by a wealthier patron.” Much like a snake in a suit, the whisper was formal, yet undeniably venomous.

Shifting a wary stare between the two menaces, the rat shrank back in his seat. No matter how he nervously tugged his tie, it felt like a noose around his neck. “Ah haha hah... I was just... kidding. Just a little Water 7 humor, see?” He scrambled for an excuse, trying to remember how a smile went again. Something like this, hopefully?

The waitress closed her eyes again and clasped her hands together. “Positively hilarious, sir. Now, what would you like?” She dug out a small pen and a notebook, already jotting down... something...

Richard swallowed nervously. Tracing a finger over the menu, he tried to find the most affordable items. And fast. “A lunch plate and a small coffee, please...” Those didn’t sound too bad... And he had been planning to get some lunch.

“Would you like some artisanal donuts with the coffee, sir~? Only 500 Berries each.”

At first, the rat hesitated. Who on earth would pay that much for...? His thoughts were cut short, when he heard the distinct sound of knuckles being cracked. Fear felt like a clump of tar, as he tried to swallow. “I... would love some...” He managed to squeak weakly.

“An excellent choice, sir. Just a moment~!”

While the terrifying woman and her bouncer walked away, the crook could only imagine his fairly stolen cash growing wings and flying away. Back to square one... Again... At these prices, the lunch had better be amazing.

Words: 700
Total: 1351



Last edited by Maxwell on Tue Jul 12, 2022 7:10 am; edited 1 time in total

________________________________________________________
Wanted Dead or Alive: Richard 'Plague Rat' Maxwell
Pikasso
Tracker

Name : Aya Ruiz
Epithet : "Pikasso"
Age : 25
Height : 4'5"
Weight : 120 lb
Species : Mink
Faction : Civilian/Other
Alliance : Nox Prime
Crew : P.T.S.D.
Ship : Dead Air
Crew Role : Procurement Specialist
Devil Fruit : Suke Suke no Mi
Haki Level : 0
Hitpoints (HP) : 133
Attack (ATK) : 60
Defense (DEF) : 55
Reflex (RX) : 55
Willpower (WP) : 65
Level : 1
Experience Points : 100
Berries Berries : 50,000
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[Episode] Playing Poltergeist Empty Re: [Episode] Playing Poltergeist

Sun Jul 03, 2022 10:07 pm
In all her excitement Aya had managed to give her target a tad too much of a lead. As the suited man disappeared behind the door to the little café she gave a huff of disappointment. No matter. People had an innate habit of trying to explain away things they saw that they didn't understand, and she had come to rely on that trend in times like these.

The butt end of a clove cigarette flicked itself into view and onto the cobblestone walkway.

This place was exactly the sort the tiny artist loved to spend time in. She could pass hours in patisseries, cafes, and low-lit clubs just enamored with the world around her. For a time it made it feel like she was actually a part of it all. But now she supposed she had to let the world perceive her sometimes, whether she liked it or not.

Though, in some ways the solitary Mink was excited about that change.

In the front of the café, the typical sing-song jingle of doorbells rang out for a moment as the door opened. Moments later it slipped back shut. Perhaps it was just the wind? It seemed like a stretch of logic, but the staff only seemed to pay a few moments' worth of attention to the strange occurrence. It seemed they were already preoccupied dealing with a rat in the back.

Though she considered poking into things it seemed he had it handled. Or at least, he didn't seem to be actively being kicked out! That was good enough for her, she supposed. After all, a successful task and a meal was much better than a successful task alone!

Aya simply watched on in amusement until they seemed to have reached some sort of intimidation-based agreement. That feeling was all too familiar. As the duo of staff left the corner booth she steeled herself and moved in. This couldn't go nearly as bad as the last time she approached someone in a café!

...Right?

The young Mink woman's footsteps fell light across the floor of the café and with quick strides she closed the distance between her and her prey. A bit of shuffling came from the side of the booth opposite Maxwell, and Aya's fluffy tail brushed against his leg beneath the table in its attempt to keep out of the way.

"Ah, pardon." A soft, seemingly disembodied voice apologized for the transgression and just a few moments later the painter fully appeared before him. She was a small creature of deep red, black, and cream fur, and from the looks of it, she seemed absolutely pleased as punch to be there. Her hands politely smoothed the pale green fabric of her sundress across her lap, gaze hidden behind two panes of dark, round glass.

Aya's ears twitched attentively as she took a glance around the back of the booth, trying to spot the workers without being seen herself. She adjusted herself to tuck further out of sight in the booth, then returned her attention to the human across from her.

"Youteia wouldn't mind ordering me a latte, would you? I'm afraid they'll probably kick us both out if they see me-" She paused, realizing her excitement about the meal had overwritten her introduction completely.

"Oh, where are my manners? My name is Aya!" The little uptick in excitement made her quiet voice rasp slightly, a reassuring smile playing on her lips as she tilted her glasses down her nose. Those icy blue eyes seemed locked onto him intently but without a trace of malice.

"It's nice to meet youteia, Mister Maxwell."

{604/1222}
Maxwell
[Episode] Playing Poltergeist Vk6odI4
Tracker

Name : Richard Maxwell
Epithet : Plague Rat
Age : 49
Height : 6'0" / 183 cm
Weight : 160 lbs. / 73 kg
Species : Human
Faction : Pirate
World Position : Supernova
Haki Level : 3
Hitpoints (HP) : 251
Attack (ATK) : 300
Defense (DEF) : 500
Reflex (RX) : 600
Willpower (WP) : 215
Level : 68
Experience Points : 6845
Bounty : 235,000,000
Quality Score : S+
Income Bonus : +0.20 (to all allies)
Shop Discount : -10%
Berries Berries : 279,332,375
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[Episode] Playing Poltergeist Empty Re: [Episode] Playing Poltergeist

Mon Jul 04, 2022 1:45 pm
A strange sensation yanked Richard out of his miserable thoughts. Something furry brushed against his leg. Puzzled, he leaned down warily to peer beneath the table. Quietly he hoped it had just been a stray cat and not a dog... He was not fond of dogs, no, especially not the breed known as guard.

When a voice without a speaker suddenly trailed across the table, it was followed by a startled thunk. A thick skull met a thicker table. The jumpy coward straightened his frame, rubbing his head. Questions twirled like tiny stars around his head.

The rat stared in disbelief at the furry lady who had appeared out of nowhere. Beneath the baffled look, the imaginary bottles bubbled, trying to distill some facts into the flasks of his mind. A full body of fur, two big ears, a peculiar speech tick... Her outfit was casual as well, not a uniform by any stretch. A pinch of experience brought out the proper answer, just in the form of a question. What was a Mink doing here?

Once the words actually sank in, Richard blinked at his reflection in the dark glasses. His lips parted and a finger rose, ready to protest the outlandish request. “Now, hold on just a minute-” What kind of person even started a conversation like this?!

But then the girl dropped two names...

Hers...

And his.

Mister Maxwell’s puzzled stare evolved into full, wide-eyed shock. A deep chill washed over him, freezing him in position. His feigned smile grew into a forced grin. Pearls of nervous sweat cascaded down his brow. A stubborn drop of snot hung from his sharp nose. “Ibegyourpardon?” He managed to eventually squeak in a single, breathless sentence. Or a word. Could’ve been mistaken for a foreign word.

The rat reached for his pocket and fished out a worn down handkerchief. Wiping his brow and nose gave him a couple of precious seconds to compose himself. To don a metaphorical mask. So she seemed to know him. Or thought she knew him, rather... But she had no proof, nothing concrete to point at... He could still weasel his way out of this.

Pocketing the handkerchief, the crook donned the friendliest smile those sharp features could muster. He looked like a salesman about to try and sell her something. A load of bullshit, perhaps.

To match the mask, the rat’s voice turned proud, bombastic even. “My friend, I’m afraid you’ve mistaken me for someone else.” He lied with the practiced cadence of a career politician. “I get that a lot though. People tell me I look like a famous actor, ah hah hah~” Even his friendly laugh rang hollow.

The liar brought a hand to his puffed chest and held his head high. “But it is nice to meet you indeed, Aya. I am Bartholomew Kuma, a retired priest.” Had any gods been listening right now, they would’ve surely struck him down for such a blasphemous claim. The only thing he had ever worshiped was wealth.

‘Kuma’ clasped his hands together, as if in prelude to prayer. “Now what brings you here? I’m afraid this isn’t quite a confession booth, you know, ah hah hah~” Though he wore a warm smile, it didn’t quite reach those beady, green eyes...

Words: 546
Total: 1897


Last edited by Maxwell on Tue Jul 12, 2022 7:09 am; edited 1 time in total

________________________________________________________
Wanted Dead or Alive: Richard 'Plague Rat' Maxwell
Pikasso
Tracker

Name : Aya Ruiz
Epithet : "Pikasso"
Age : 25
Height : 4'5"
Weight : 120 lb
Species : Mink
Faction : Civilian/Other
Alliance : Nox Prime
Crew : P.T.S.D.
Ship : Dead Air
Crew Role : Procurement Specialist
Devil Fruit : Suke Suke no Mi
Haki Level : 0
Hitpoints (HP) : 133
Attack (ATK) : 60
Defense (DEF) : 55
Reflex (RX) : 55
Willpower (WP) : 65
Level : 1
Experience Points : 100
Berries Berries : 50,000
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[Episode] Playing Poltergeist Empty Re: [Episode] Playing Poltergeist

Mon Jul 04, 2022 4:33 pm
"...Hmmmn? A famous actor, huh?"

Aya's excited smile faded into a more thoughtful pout. Her eyes narrowed as she studied the suddenly shocked man before her. Beside her in the booth, the striped fluff of her tail twitched indecisively.

The loner wasn't used to interacting with people, let alone someone who had something to hide. For a lingering few seconds, she was genuinely worried that she had surprised the wrong person with an impromptu lunch guest. Still, it seemed like quite the coincidence. The Mink tended towards naivety in some regards, but she was still sharp.

Despite that, the little panda did in fact seem to be considering his lies, at least temporarily! Her head tilted from one side to the other as she pursed her dark lips studiously and really contemplated what he was telling her. After all, she didn't think returning back without being thorough about this would go over particularly well. Besides, if nothing else, she still wanted her brunch!

"..I'm afraid I don't watch a lot of Lesser Mink productions, you see... Not much of that sort of thing reaches Zou. " She tried to explain with a passive shrug, another laid-back glance to the side assuring that the staff was still working to put together his meal. She was ready to disappear as soon as needed, so there was no need to worry about it too much. A set of clawed digits tucked into the side of the bust of her sundress as she idly fished for something in the light fabric.

This was too much of a coincidence for her.

"...Pardon me for my intrusion, then, Father." A muted laugh escaped her as she gave a polite bow of her head. "I suppose I'm not much for religion, either... I only really trust what I can see in front of me. I'm sure youteia understand. You are retired, after all, right?"

With a pensive hum, she began to unfold the lightly weathered piece of paper she had tucked away for safe keeping. Dainty claws held it out in front of her as she scanned over the details.

"... Maybe you can still help me, though." As her throat grew sore again she cleared it quietly, one hand pushing her glasses to rest at the top of her head just below the dark velvet of her beret. She took another few quick looks at his face, then back to the sheet.

The pupils at the centers of those bright blue eyes narrowed into slim almond shapes as she focused, then relaxed into rounds once more. Yes, she was certain of this now. Her ears piqued expressively as she laughed to herself.

With a swift motion, she laid out the paper in front of him on the table's surface and presented the man with his own wanted poster with a renewed sense of excitement. In fact, she was grinning now. Two little lower canines jagged into the corners of her smile as she extended a single clawed index finger towards his picture on the poster.

"...This is youteia, right?"

{513/1735}
Maxwell
[Episode] Playing Poltergeist Vk6odI4
Tracker

Name : Richard Maxwell
Epithet : Plague Rat
Age : 49
Height : 6'0" / 183 cm
Weight : 160 lbs. / 73 kg
Species : Human
Faction : Pirate
World Position : Supernova
Haki Level : 3
Hitpoints (HP) : 251
Attack (ATK) : 300
Defense (DEF) : 500
Reflex (RX) : 600
Willpower (WP) : 215
Level : 68
Experience Points : 6845
Bounty : 235,000,000
Quality Score : S+
Income Bonus : +0.20 (to all allies)
Shop Discount : -10%
Berries Berries : 279,332,375
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Posts : 238
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[Episode] Playing Poltergeist Empty Re: [Episode] Playing Poltergeist

Tue Jul 05, 2022 1:53 pm
Beneath the mask, the liar let out a mental version of a relieved sigh. Safe... Barely, but still safe. He thanked Lady Luck that this furry fiend was so naive. Unfortunately, in his haste, he completely forgot that the Lady had a wicked sense of humor...

‘Father Kuma’ steepled his fingers, beaming brightly at Aya’s comment on trust. “Quite right, my child. I understand that not everyone shares my faith. Ah hah hah~ Hah... Ha...” His laugh dried up like a dying desert oasis, when the girl pulled out a weapon worse than any blade or gun.

A wanted poster.

The question struck harder than a sledgehammer, shattering the crook’s composure. He twitched. The fake smile withered on his lips. Internal screaming echoed through his skull, as he stared blankly at the incriminating evidence.

Once the initial shock passed, fear came creeping. It brought questions. Why did the girl have that? Was she one of those eccentric bounty hunters, here to collect his head? Oh no, nonono, they said that Minks were natural warriors...

Cringing in terror, the rat fumbled for words. His hands flailed wildly, as if he was talking sign language with a strong accent. “Erm, no, well, you see...” He needed a lie, any lie, but none sprung to mind. The mouse trap had already snapped shut around his neck.

“Geh...”

Suddenly, the criminal lunged over the table, leaning close and trying to shove the poster back into the Mink’s lap. “Okay, fine, fine...!” He hissed through gritted teeth. Those sickly green orbs gleamed with desperation. “If I get you that latte, will you please put that thing away before someone sees...?” Bargaining was the way of a businessman.

And speaking of someone seeing...

Tap, tap, tap, soft footsteps approached. An ominous silhouette crept up to the spooked rat. It loomed behind him, smiling like a fox. “Here is your coffee, sir~!” The chiming voice pierced his very soul, causing him to recoil back to his seat. He rummaged through several awkward expressions, before finally finding something resembling a smile. Good enough. Just... act... natural.

The cheery waitress gently placed a small tray with a smaller cup onto the table. If she had noticed anything unusual, she certainly didn’t show it... Rather, she brandished her notepad again. “Your lunch plate and donuts will be ready in a moment. Would you like anything else, while you wait? A drink perhaps?” Her expectant smile didn’t leave much room to negotiate.

Richard glanced at the coffee. He winced at the mere thought of spending even more money in this tourist trap, but at the same time he needed something to bribe that nosy mink. “Uh... A latte, please?” He requested ever so carefully.

Jotting down the order, the foxy waitress nodded. “An excellent choice sir.” While her words said ‘excellent’, her smug tone said ‘expensive’. “One latte grande, coming right up~!” She skipped away, before the patron could protest. Just who was the thief here?

Richard slouched against his seat with a hollow look in his eyes. “My money...” He whined weakly. A pale wisp left his lips, as his soul slowly leaked out of his body. ...Well, maybe that last part was just imagination playing tricks, but he certainly felt that way.

Words: 543
Total: 2440




Last edited by Maxwell on Tue Jul 12, 2022 7:08 am; edited 1 time in total

________________________________________________________
Wanted Dead or Alive: Richard 'Plague Rat' Maxwell
Pikasso
Tracker

Name : Aya Ruiz
Epithet : "Pikasso"
Age : 25
Height : 4'5"
Weight : 120 lb
Species : Mink
Faction : Civilian/Other
Alliance : Nox Prime
Crew : P.T.S.D.
Ship : Dead Air
Crew Role : Procurement Specialist
Devil Fruit : Suke Suke no Mi
Haki Level : 0
Hitpoints (HP) : 133
Attack (ATK) : 60
Defense (DEF) : 55
Reflex (RX) : 55
Willpower (WP) : 65
Level : 1
Experience Points : 100
Berries Berries : 50,000
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[Episode] Playing Poltergeist Empty Re: [Episode] Playing Poltergeist

Tue Jul 05, 2022 4:34 pm
Watching Maxwell's façade unravel before her very eyes only seemed to further amuse the Mink across from him. One paw hovered just over her lips to momentarily mask what could only be described as a delighted snicker. She didn't need anyone else hearing her and asking questions, after all.

"Kiiiii-pi-pi-pi~... See, I knew you were just joking! Alright, Mister Maxwell. Don't you worry..." As the poster landed in her lap it quickly faded out of visibility. She got just a few moments to look him in the eyes, her own irises glistening with curiosity. One dark-tipped ear twitched as she picked up the sound of footsteps, averting her attention. Aya disappeared as the waitress approached, leaving a lingering Cheshire grin for just a few moments longer.

With the silence that washed over her, it was hard to believe the same tittering young woman was still even there at all.

The clear panda watched him fall back into his seat and took to following the conversation with her eyes as she let her elbow rest at the edge of the table and prop up her chin. When the order had been taken and the two were once more left to themselves the girl appeared again, earnestly eyeing the way the rat seemed to be mourning his funds.

"...Oh? A little low on Berries, hm?"

As the puzzle pieces fit together she gave a knowing nod and tapped a claw to her bottom lip. She had been seeking to fill her pockets when she arrived in Notice as well. It was some sort of luck that she had tried to steal from exactly the wrong person, and now here she was! Having lunch with a rat. Fate was a funny thing.

"Don't worry about it! So am I... But you're in luck! I'll let youteia use my discount if you share your donuts, okay?" Another little hum of excitement rose and felled her shoulders as she settled back into the booth. As his order was brought to the table she was nowhere to be found again...

Though it seemed she was not taking 'no' for an answer when it came to the donuts.

Just as soon as they were on the table and the waitress's eyes were elsewhere, two of the more expensively decorated donuts disappeared. A small dusting of powdered sugar snowed through the air a short distance, settling on the unseen surface of her dress. When Maxwell was alone she joined him once more, happily chewing away at the first few bites of the pastries she had nabbed from the tray and dusting sugar from her skirt idly.

"Mushiba will be happy to hear I found youteia, I bet." She gave a confection-muffled hum of pride and appreciation for the food in hand and a warm sip of the latte.

"Too bad you're broke, though. Everything on Notice is so expensive..." His evasive lunch guest waved a small dark paw passively and pouted to herself. Not that it was easy to actually do anything looking how she did, anyways. "I guess it makes good money, though. All the Lesser Minks around here seem pretty loaded, huh? "

Her train of thought trailed off the tracks as she considered what it would be like to not have to worry about money in that way. The little Mink's focus snapped back across the table, tail draping neatly across her lap as she cradled the warmth of the mug in her petite hands.

"Speaking of Mushiba...What are youteia doing around here anyway, Mister Maxwell? You sure picked quite a time to visit. I'm sure he'd like to know what you're up to."

{609/2344}
Maxwell
[Episode] Playing Poltergeist Vk6odI4
Tracker

Name : Richard Maxwell
Epithet : Plague Rat
Age : 49
Height : 6'0" / 183 cm
Weight : 160 lbs. / 73 kg
Species : Human
Faction : Pirate
World Position : Supernova
Haki Level : 3
Hitpoints (HP) : 251
Attack (ATK) : 300
Defense (DEF) : 500
Reflex (RX) : 600
Willpower (WP) : 215
Level : 68
Experience Points : 6845
Bounty : 235,000,000
Quality Score : S+
Income Bonus : +0.20 (to all allies)
Shop Discount : -10%
Berries Berries : 279,332,375
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[Episode] Playing Poltergeist Empty Re: [Episode] Playing Poltergeist

Wed Jul 06, 2022 2:20 pm
The disheartened rat returned to reality, when he caught the young lady snarking at him. Sitting up straight, he directed the most polite kind of glare at her. “Oh, what could possibly give you that idea?” His tone dripped with sarcasm. “...Don’t answer that.” He muttered hastily afterwards.

However, in a world of magic words, there was one in particular that always caught the greedy crook’s attention. ‘Discount’. Immediately he perked up, whiskers twitching at the scent of opportunity. “Deal.” He declared. ...To empty air, apparently. He blinked. Once. Twice. He had several questions right about now.

Questions had to wait for a little longer though, as the waitress soon returned with a pair of plates. One was brimming with sausage, scrambled eggs and a healthy salad drenched in less than healthy dressing. The other contained three lovingly crafted donuts, like tiny winter islands covered in powder snow. ...Scratch that, two donuts. And then there was one.

Richard watched keenly, as the trail of falling sugar painted vague shapes against thin air. So the girl didn’t simply vanish into thin air, no, not completely... He had seen enough folks to recognize a fruit-eater, but every encounter was equally mystifying. No two fruits were ever the same, after all.

Lingering on the thought, the former doctor reached for his coffee. He swirled the murky, black surface a little before taking a tentative sip. Hm, decent enough, he thought, going for a whole mouthful next. Too bad for him, the lunch guest was still in the mood for dropping troubling names.

As the epithet sank in, Richard’s eyes bulged. The steaming mouthful sprayed all across the table as fine, inky mist. “Pffffffft!” Some droplets went down the wrong pipe, while others got into his nose, somehow. He coughed and sneezed, hacked and wheezed.

Struggling for air, the entrepreneur stared in teary-eyed disbelief, as the carefree girl spoke so casually about the most fearsome privateer in all of North Blue. And she worked for him? Directly? T-that meant she was... w-was... an assassin?! Creeping fear snatched his misunderstanding and ran with it, painting a whole imagination bubble’s worth of death and terror surrounding a cackling caricature of a small red panda.

Finally, the rat managed to stammer out a question. “M-m-m-mushiba...?! You work for that mani-?!” His loose lips nearly got him killed right there and then, he thought. “M-man... For that fine gentleman. Ahem.” He hastily corrected himself. Too close, much too close.

Hands trembling, Richard set down his clattering coffee cup. He swallowed nervously, when the menacing Mink started prying into his business. “Oh, uh... Heh, it’s uh... a pretty funny story, see...” He was trying to come up with an excuse that didn’t involve any of that inconvenient truth business. No luck though. He could feel his wits slowly leaking out of his ears.

The rat brought his paws together, tapping the fingers in a restless rhythm. “So I met an old friend some time back. We talked, had a couple of drinks and put together a crew for a heist to steal from someone important... As one does.” He sure was taking a long time getting to his point. “The heist didn’t go quite... as planned... There was some minor... coughmurderandarsonahem... And now I might have some rather upset folk after me.” He explained meekly.

Still hadn’t gotten to the point though...

In the crook’s defense, he was getting to it. “So, then I heard the good news -congratulations to the big man, by the way- and figured I could use a little vacation, see? Meet some folks, see some sights, you know” He gestured broadly around him. “So... Here I am. And this time my business is perfectly legit, I swear.“ He lied. Poorly.

Richard slid the remaining donut towards the girl, a not so subtle bribe, before clasping his hands together. “Ah, but enough about me, let’s talk about you...” He swept his wary gaze up and down her figure, trying to figure out what nasty surprises she had hidden behind that carefree facade.

“What kind of work is it that you do, anyway?”

Words: 687
Total: 3127


Last edited by Maxwell on Tue Jul 12, 2022 7:07 am; edited 1 time in total

________________________________________________________
Wanted Dead or Alive: Richard 'Plague Rat' Maxwell
Pikasso
Tracker

Name : Aya Ruiz
Epithet : "Pikasso"
Age : 25
Height : 4'5"
Weight : 120 lb
Species : Mink
Faction : Civilian/Other
Alliance : Nox Prime
Crew : P.T.S.D.
Ship : Dead Air
Crew Role : Procurement Specialist
Devil Fruit : Suke Suke no Mi
Haki Level : 0
Hitpoints (HP) : 133
Attack (ATK) : 60
Defense (DEF) : 55
Reflex (RX) : 55
Willpower (WP) : 65
Level : 1
Experience Points : 100
Berries Berries : 50,000
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[Episode] Playing Poltergeist Empty Re: [Episode] Playing Poltergeist

Thu Jul 07, 2022 4:19 am
" 'Work for'?... Hmmn. Yeah. Recently employed, I suppose."

A small fountain of coffee expelled from the man's lips and Aya leaned back into her booth a little to assure she wasn't caught in the spray. Another demure laugh shook her small frame as she watched him stumble through the sudden realization. An almost pityingly sweet smile pulled at her maw as she quirked a concerned brow at his coughing fit.  

The 'funny story' he had in store took second fiddle to stuffing her face with the remainder of the donuts she had snagged, though her gaze followed his motions as he painted a clear picture of a down-on-his-luck criminal on the run seeking solace and relaxation in Notice.

But the Devil was in the details.

"...I suppose 'perfectly legit' is a rather forgiving description, isn't it Mister Maxwell?" She scoffed playfully and then winced as he turned the conversation to her. It only seemed fair to keep rapport, she supposed. After all, it didn't sound like everything that spilled from his lips was a complete lie. Perhaps that was giving him too much credit.

"I'm an artist. A painter, actually," Her little head bowed slightly as she shrugged her way into the full answer, "...The starving artist thing isn't all that fulfilling, you know. Mushiba had some very... insightful ideas about more lucrative career paths... After I tried to steal from right in front of his face..." A pursed pout made the Mink's realization of how easy it was to forget how to stop talking once she started up again terribly obvious. She suddenly craved another smoke.

Still, it seemed Maxwell's heist had taken a similar turn of bad luck, so what was the shame in commiserating?

The offered-up bribery was accepted without a second thought as she palmed the last donut with a happy hum. It was a good excuse to stop talking for a moment, a large bite of the sweetened bread occupying her attention again. At least she had the courtesy to wait until she was done chewing to speak.

"... So, I suppose I'm some sort of.... specialist, now?" Aya's nose scrunched up but not distastefully, not unlike a rabbit's passive twitching. "I'm... good at finding things new homes. ...Preferably without the old home finding out." She laughed as she all too clearly saw her dear Mother's inevitable disappointment in her mind's eye. "He seems to think I'm a useful talent to have around. And you know how persuasive someone of his standing can be... I think it's in both of our best interests that I'm sticking around."

"Besides, between you and me, Mister Maxwell..."

The little panda leaned in and shielded the secret from outside view with a glossy and filigree-covered menu as if anyone was paying enough attention to see her in the first place.

"...I don't think he's as bad as people seem to think. I've certainly known Lesser Minks who've treated me rotten for doing absolutely nothing, let alone what I tried to pull with him. It's all a matter of... perspective. And from mine.... life's a little sweeter this way, hm?"

The glee returned to Aya's face as she sat back again suddenly, waving a powdered paw before dusting her hands off politely to the side.  

"Anyway, please pardon my rambling... So, 'this time' you're keeping your business legitimate. Youteia wouldn't make me a liar when I tell Mushiba that, would you? Not after we've had such a nice lunch together... right?"

Naivety and the sweet tone of her voice aside, she could only imagine the true answer would be that he absolutely would, despite whatever sort of answer he might feed her. Poking fun at him only seemed appropriate if he was going to try to pull the wool over her eyes.

"....A man like you seems wise to take discretion in his vacation past-times, after all. Wouldn't want you to end up in the tabloids, especially if there are angry people on your tail. Kiiii-pi-pi-pi~... "

In truth, Pikasso suspected her new Boss knew that if the rat was around he was probably up to something. If Maxwell's choice of words was anything to believe, it seemed the two had history enough to give him insight into his habits. In the Mink's mind, her presence was a gentle reminder that eyes would be on him, and in that way, her job was basically already done!

"There's no need for youteia to be so nervous, though! I'm the least of your worries at this point. And good company is a real commodity these days, you know."

"....In fact, I'll take care of lunch, okay? That way you'll be out of her no poorer than you entered and with a full stomach to show for it."

The young woman's spirited smile disappeared behind her latte cup as she took another sip.

{811/3155}
Maxwell
[Episode] Playing Poltergeist Vk6odI4
Tracker

Name : Richard Maxwell
Epithet : Plague Rat
Age : 49
Height : 6'0" / 183 cm
Weight : 160 lbs. / 73 kg
Species : Human
Faction : Pirate
World Position : Supernova
Haki Level : 3
Hitpoints (HP) : 251
Attack (ATK) : 300
Defense (DEF) : 500
Reflex (RX) : 600
Willpower (WP) : 215
Level : 68
Experience Points : 6845
Bounty : 235,000,000
Quality Score : S+
Income Bonus : +0.20 (to all allies)
Shop Discount : -10%
Berries Berries : 279,332,375
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Posts : 238
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[Episode] Playing Poltergeist Empty Re: [Episode] Playing Poltergeist

Fri Jul 08, 2022 4:22 am
Much to the coward’s quiet relief, the Mink proved far more reasonable than most pirates. His smiling mask cracked with slight panic, when the girl called him out on his claim, however. She was definitely savvy, he had to admit. But what else was he supposed to say? ‘Stealing from pensioners’ had such an ugly ring to it, after all.

Richard blinked, when the girl introduced herself as an artist. A certain assumption quickly took root, as his expression shifted to a realization. “Right, right, ‘a painter’, of course. I’m an entrepreneur myself, see.” He winked conspiratorially. Oh yes, he was already lumping her together with the likes of him. Why wouldn’t he? Most painters didn’t try to steal from notorious pirates.

Fortunately, the bribe bought the crook more interesting information. He listened carefully, distilling the key details for scrutiny. Beneath the surface, imaginary bottles and pipes bubbled, processing the information one colorful drop at a time.

As the drops gathered in the flask of the doctor’s mind, he observed the resulting compounds carefully. A base of self-proclaimed starving artist... Distinct traces of thievery... Notable contamination of courage, enough to make the patient think she could just steal from a monster... Now, wasn’t that fascinating?

Mirroring the motion, the rat leaned in as well, offering an ear for the sly whisper. The contents caught him completely off-guard though. Not as bad??? He gave the girl a baffled stare. “Are... are we still talking about the same Mushiba...? Huge man, wheezing cough, short temper and very liberal approach to violence? That Mushiba?” He questioned quietly.

Leaning back, Richard lifted a fork to poke the green tuft of salad. The questions pierced his chest like a pair of arrows. “Eep... W-well, eheh, you don’t need to tell Mister Mushiba that... Wouldn’t want to bother the busy man with minor details.” He waved his hand, as if trying to dispel imaginary smoke.

Indeed, the two notorious pirates had some history. Their previous encounter had been brief, violent, but ultimately productive. After fighting their way out of a fishman riot of sorts, they had struck a pair of deals. The rat had gotten coffee for the current favors and protection for future ones, while the sweet man had gotten immediate backup and free advertising for his privateering. Win-win, as they said.

Wearing a meek smile, the liar tried to think of a tale. “If you could just pass along a message that I’m... still holding up my end of the deal, that’d be great. He’ll know what that means.” Technically it was true. He had been advertising as agreed, dropping the name here and there. Whether or not it had borne any fruit, however, well... That tiny detail had never been part of the agreement.

Nervousness formed a clump in the coward’s throat, which he tried to swallow. “Erm, yes, of course... You do make a fair point, young lady... Wouldn’t want that...” His gaze dropped back onto his lunch. Funny, his stomach was groaning, but his appetite was shot.

Still, the old doctor knew that skipping meals was not healthy. His trembling hand calmed down a little, as the fork pierced a bit of salad and brought it to his mouth. Surprisingly good... Not worth the asking price, mind you, but definitely better than any ship rations. Bite after bite, he munched away, seeming a little lost in thought.

A proper sip of the coffee helped the gunked up thoughts move along though. The criminal paused briefly, gesturing at the girl with the piece of sausage stuck on his fork. “Speaking of which, how exactly are you proposing to do that, hm?” He slipped it past his sharp teeth and gnawed it briefly, before continuing.

“I presume your plan involves that... supernatural stealth of yours, see?”

Despite the lingering air of unease, the rat was honestly interested. If the girl was genuine about her claims, then... Well, good company was hard to come by, these days, but good company with useful talents was even rarer.

Words: 672
Total: 3799


Last edited by Maxwell on Tue Jul 12, 2022 7:06 am; edited 1 time in total

________________________________________________________
Wanted Dead or Alive: Richard 'Plague Rat' Maxwell
Pikasso
Tracker

Name : Aya Ruiz
Epithet : "Pikasso"
Age : 25
Height : 4'5"
Weight : 120 lb
Species : Mink
Faction : Civilian/Other
Alliance : Nox Prime
Crew : P.T.S.D.
Ship : Dead Air
Crew Role : Procurement Specialist
Devil Fruit : Suke Suke no Mi
Haki Level : 0
Hitpoints (HP) : 133
Attack (ATK) : 60
Defense (DEF) : 55
Reflex (RX) : 55
Willpower (WP) : 65
Level : 1
Experience Points : 100
Berries Berries : 50,000
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[Episode] Playing Poltergeist Empty Re: [Episode] Playing Poltergeist

Fri Jul 08, 2022 3:39 pm
Something about Richard's entrepreneurial claim sat funny with the girl, those big blue eyes disappearing behind dark lashes a few times as she cocked her head to one side. Why did she get the feeling he didn't actually believe her claim? On the other hand, did it matter if he did?

Aya made a silent note to herself to bring a sample of her work to these sorts of things in the future. Perhaps it was silly to worry about proving her point to an 'entrepreneur', but there was quite a bit of newfound excitement in actually having reasons to talk to anyone. The little mink shifted her attention to his surprised reaction to her tableside confession before she could let herself dwell too much on whether she was simply lonesome.

"...The one and only, of course. You said it yourself, 'a fine gentleman'. He's certainly got a... straightforward approach to things, hm? None of us are without our quirks, I'm sure you realize. ...Isn't that the beauty of life?"

His reaction was certainly not lost on her judging by the tittering laugh that followed. She had a good idea of the sort of man she was working under now and despite the stark differences between the two, she was rather pleased with the arrangement. At the very simple core of the matter, it was much better than ending up dead. There was almost always more depth to things than it seemed, however.

Aya was still trying to stumble her way through her feelings about the sudden life change herself. Ever one to roll with the punches, the artful panda felt she had come away from a bad situation with much less trouble than expected. If she had stolen from someone else of Brood's caliber she might have been a fireside rug by now.

"...I can let him know that, yes." An affirming nod shook her fluffy noggin again as she gave a grin. " ...I'm sure youteia know how scary it is to upset Mushiba, after all. I'd hate to see something unfortunate happen so quickly after we've just met!" Her dark-furred fingers splayed out before her as she shrugged. The words on their own sounded like a vague threat, but the tone of her voice was almost as transparent as the girl herself; her concern sounded strangely...

...Genuine?

As Maxwell convinced himself to eat the little mink's eyes didn't seem to leave him aside from occasionally ensuring she wasn't dipping her nose into her latte with each blissful sip of the creamy caffeinated concoction. Staring wasn't considered rude if no one could see you doing it, but it seemed as if she still wasn't all that used to willingly being perceived like this.

The question about her plan brought her to peer around the edge of the booth, fading out of sight for a few seconds as she did. She could see that while not actively staring the rat down as she had just been, the security for the café was certainly not letting his attention stray too far from the frugal patron sitting in the back.

"I don't suppose you're the sort of man who'd be opposed to a... brisk post-lunch walk, are you Mister Maxwell?"

As she slipped back into sight and rested an elbow on the table's surface she extended her other hand towards him, the soft pink pads of her palm offered up to him politely. It was a cute display, despite the curved claws that tipped each digit.

"When you're ready... I'm afraid we'll have to hold hands. Youteia don't mind, do you? As long as you follow my lead we should be free of trouble in no time... Unless of course, you'd like to chance the dash on your own?"

Another concern struck her as she was getting excited about the quick departure.

"Hmmn... Just... don't let go once we're on our way, alright? I can't help youteia much otherwise."

{658/3813}
Maxwell
[Episode] Playing Poltergeist Vk6odI4
Tracker

Name : Richard Maxwell
Epithet : Plague Rat
Age : 49
Height : 6'0" / 183 cm
Weight : 160 lbs. / 73 kg
Species : Human
Faction : Pirate
World Position : Supernova
Haki Level : 3
Hitpoints (HP) : 251
Attack (ATK) : 300
Defense (DEF) : 500
Reflex (RX) : 600
Willpower (WP) : 215
Level : 68
Experience Points : 6845
Bounty : 235,000,000
Quality Score : S+
Income Bonus : +0.20 (to all allies)
Shop Discount : -10%
Berries Berries : 279,332,375
[[bookworm]][[firstaidkit]][[berryprinter]]
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[Episode] Playing Poltergeist Empty Re: [Episode] Playing Poltergeist

Sat Jul 09, 2022 4:06 pm
For someone so transparent, the rascally Mink certainly was proving to be a master of misdirection. While the girl sounded genuine enough in her concern, the rat knew how to read between the lines. For instance, this particular point was a fair warning. Clearly she was telling him not to doublecross her, lest she might bring Mushiba news that would surely upset the man. Devilish, but fair.

Richard distracted himself from the creeping anxiety with another bite of the sausages. Between the bites, he glanced up from his plate. “Oh, not at all. Light exercise is good for digestion, see.” He flashed a knowing smile. It took a thief to know a thief, and he knew exactly what she was suggesting.

The crook washed down a mouthful, while mulling over the instructions. “So it works on direct contact then...” He muttered, somewhat lost in thought. It did match up with what he had seen happen to the donuts. She could spread it to others. Explained how her clothing vanished as well.

It was a realization that soon poured icy water down the rat’s back. An unpleasant memory reared its ugly head, a flash of him feeling and looking like a sharp-dressed meatball. He was intimately aware of how fruit-eaters could influence folks through mere touch.

Snapping out of the thoughts, the coward panicked when the girl joked about just booking it. Without any fruit devilry to help him ...At least he dearly hoped she was joking. “Heh, funny. Holding hands will do fine, thank you.” He squeaked hastily. Likewise, his fork picked up the pace. He could not afford to get left behind.

Emptying the rest of the plate, Richard set the utensils neatly to the side and tapped his mouth clean with a napkin. One hand snatched the suitcase, while the other reached for the offered paw. A white glove met pink pads. His smile sharpened. Those beady, venom green eyes gleamed. “It’s a deal.” He whispered, shaking her hand.

Shaking a poor, sinner’s hand...

Someone just struck a deal with the Devil...

But which one was which, hm?

True to the word, the rat was prepared to fully follow the girl’s lead. Despite the hefty suitcase he was lugging around, she would find that he was swift on his feet. Scurrying around was a skillset he had honed for years after all. He had no intention to let go either, not until the coast was clear.

However, the coast wasn’t quite clear. First, there was the foxy waitress. Tap, tap, tap... Her sandals patted against the floorboards, as she approached the booth with the deadliest weapon of them all... The bill. It was long enough to count as a standalone novel, with a final sum that could stop hearts.

Worse yet, the bulldog-faced enforcer was blocking the door. His back was turned to the rest of the cafe, as he stood at attention, ready to greet the next visitor with a smile. Anyone seeking to get past him would need a distraction of some sort...

Words: 507
Total: 4306


Last edited by Maxwell on Tue Jul 12, 2022 7:05 am; edited 1 time in total

________________________________________________________
Wanted Dead or Alive: Richard 'Plague Rat' Maxwell
Pikasso
Tracker

Name : Aya Ruiz
Epithet : "Pikasso"
Age : 25
Height : 4'5"
Weight : 120 lb
Species : Mink
Faction : Civilian/Other
Alliance : Nox Prime
Crew : P.T.S.D.
Ship : Dead Air
Crew Role : Procurement Specialist
Devil Fruit : Suke Suke no Mi
Haki Level : 0
Hitpoints (HP) : 133
Attack (ATK) : 60
Defense (DEF) : 55
Reflex (RX) : 55
Willpower (WP) : 65
Level : 1
Experience Points : 100
Berries Berries : 50,000
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Posts : 50
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[Episode] Playing Poltergeist Empty Re: [Episode] Playing Poltergeist

Mon Jul 11, 2022 5:27 am
"...You're quite a keen man, hm? Wonderful. "

Aya hid her tittering giggles in her free hand as she watched Richard's plate empty. She would have assured him to take his time, but the excitement about the run was clearly building at the forefront of her mind. Each sound within the café caused a little twitch of her ears and a sidelong glance, but she managed to keep seated until it seemed the rat had finished his meal.

The short mink interlaced her fingers with his own gloved digits, the minute rounds of her pads pressed snugly into his palm. The last thing she wanted was to have to double back for him if their connection was severed and he was left out in the open. Within moments she vanished from sight, the pressure in his hand the only remaining hint of the young woman as she shuffled out of the booth.

The approaching sounds of the waitress marked Mister Maxwell's introduction to invisibility. Aya's clear lips pulled into a delighted but imperceptible grin as the lanky Lesser Mink disappeared before her very eyes.

" ...Off we go. Please try not to step on my tail if youteia can manage it.."

No sooner than Aya had pulled Richard away from the direction of the booth... and the entrance, a familiar latte mug sailed through the air and smashed itself into one of the large and expensive-looking front windows. Cracks grew through the pane, leaving a partially shattered hole towards one corner.

The grip on his gloved hand tightened for a moment as the little panda winced. That wasn't quite where she had been aiming, but...

It did seem to have caught the staff's attention , at the very least! A confused muddling of voices intermingled as the waitress and hired muscle tried to figure out the cause of the small hailing of ceramic and glass and quickly after, where their frugal problem patron had wandered to just as they were trying to collect.

Aya didn't seem to have any interest at all in the door the two had entered from. Instead, the pull of fate led the two back towards the counters and the doors to the kitchen. Another donut disappeared from the counter as the sweet-toothed Mink swiped one for the road on her way by.

With a dull thud, she shouldered their way through the kitchen doors and into the hot and cluttered café cookery. Her stride stalled for a moment as she tried to find the best way through. When she caught a glimpse of what she had been searching for she beamed to herself.

A hint of cigarette smoke was wafting in from the propped-open door at the back of the kitchen. The chef seemed to be enjoying a break in the back alley, judging from the stillness around them.

Heaving a sigh of relief, the shorter shrouded presence darted for the door and into the stale air of the shaded alleyway. Behind them, the staff was starting to raise more of a fuss, and Aya only barely avoided colliding with the chef as he headed in to investigate.

Instead, she nearly fell into her clear companion but caught herself at the last second.

"..Oops. Pardon. Not used to being tailed."

She excused away the transgression politely before stepping towards the end of the alleyway. They didn't need to bump into one of the staff as they poked around, after all!

The click of her heels on stone echoed through the man-made chasm, echoes effectively masking their direction of movement from nosy onlookers.

Soon enough she felt the warmth of the sun on her fur again. Into the light, into the crowds, and out of trouble... For the moment, at least. Dodging through small groups of tourists seemed easy enough even with an invisible near-stranger attached to your wrist. Speaking of which, Aya squeezed at Richard's hand as if assuring herself he was still holding on.

"...Still with me, Mister Maxwell? I think there's a quiet park up the street.. Unless youteia would prefer to window shop for a store to duck into instead..."

{688/4501}
Maxwell
[Episode] Playing Poltergeist Vk6odI4
Tracker

Name : Richard Maxwell
Epithet : Plague Rat
Age : 49
Height : 6'0" / 183 cm
Weight : 160 lbs. / 73 kg
Species : Human
Faction : Pirate
World Position : Supernova
Haki Level : 3
Hitpoints (HP) : 251
Attack (ATK) : 300
Defense (DEF) : 500
Reflex (RX) : 600
Willpower (WP) : 215
Level : 68
Experience Points : 6845
Bounty : 235,000,000
Quality Score : S+
Income Bonus : +0.20 (to all allies)
Shop Discount : -10%
Berries Berries : 279,332,375
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[Episode] Playing Poltergeist Empty Re: [Episode] Playing Poltergeist

Mon Jul 11, 2022 12:07 pm
Even a keen mind could be thrown off when forced into a new situation. For the old doctor, that situation was invisibility. He watched in a quiet mixture of awe and envy, as his hand turned translucent like glass, before vanishing completely. A peculiar sort of panic shot through his skull, as he tried to convince himself that his limbs were still there and intact.

There was no time to dally, however. Guided along by the unseen force, the rat shuffled out of his seat. The request was met with hesitation. “I will try...” No sooner than he whispered that, his shoe found something softer and fluffier than the floor. “...Sorry.”

Sneaking along, the crook tried to think of a way out. The entrance was blocked. Perhaps they could wait until someone stepped in and... A shrill sound shattered his focus. Oooor they could do that. Right. A broken window should keep them plenty busy for a while. He had never been the type to argue with results.

Sneaking through a haze of delicious scents, the invisible escapees fled for the backdoor. The lanky crook could keep up the pace easily enough. His footsteps drowned beneath the commotion. The entire time he was holding his breath though, afraid to make a squeak. It was weird, having people look right at him without noticing.

While Aya dodged collisions with the ease of a seasoned dancer, her partner in this dance wasn’t quite in the same rhythm. Displaying all the grace of an awkward teenager during his first ball, Richard managed to stumble right into her and then park his shoe right on her tail. Again. “Ah, sorry, sorry.” He hissed beneath his breath, recoiling back.

Before long, the devious duo made a clean getaway. Er, well, clean enough anyway. The question was met with a wavering exhale, before the stifled words crept across the air. “Still here. Just not used to sneaking around in the open.” He had always been more... old-school in his approach, preferring shadows and corners. Nervous jitters trailed across his hand all the way to his fingertips.

Unseen eyes shifted back and forth between the many stores lining the district. “Right, a park sounds lovely right about now.” The voice drifted like smoke. “I’m not exactly welcome at many of these stores, see.” The local shoplifting policy was brutal. Personally he could and would blame that on Mushiba as well.

All things considered though, even the coward had to admit this escape had gone smoothly. And he had only stepped on her tail twice... While distracted, he accidentally smacked someone with his suitcase. Squeaking, he took one corrective step too many, right onto a fluffy target sweeping the street. ...Thrice now.

Well, in Richard’s defense, it was incredibly difficult to spot something that was invisible. He would even insist it was outright impossible. No human had senses sharp enough to do that. Bloodhounds could pick up a scent, maybe, but he wasn’t one.

While passing many defenseless tourists, the rat lamented only having two hands. With a power like this, he could’ve picked them clean. Even if they noticed, to them an unseen assailant might as well have been... a ghost. That particular thought lingered for longer than most others. Somewhere deep within the lab of his mind, an imaginary lightbulb flickered to life...

Just like the savvy sneak promised, there was indeed a quaint, little park just a brief walk away. Lush bushes and verdant trees formed a natural barrier against the stressful air of the busy city. Dirt paths snaked through the grassy scenery. A small pond decorated with flowering water lilies glimmered in the sunlight. It was an oasis in the middle of an urban desert.

Words: 622
Total: 4928



Last edited by Maxwell on Tue Jul 12, 2022 7:05 am; edited 1 time in total

________________________________________________________
Wanted Dead or Alive: Richard 'Plague Rat' Maxwell
Pikasso
Tracker

Name : Aya Ruiz
Epithet : "Pikasso"
Age : 25
Height : 4'5"
Weight : 120 lb
Species : Mink
Faction : Civilian/Other
Alliance : Nox Prime
Crew : P.T.S.D.
Ship : Dead Air
Crew Role : Procurement Specialist
Devil Fruit : Suke Suke no Mi
Haki Level : 0
Hitpoints (HP) : 133
Attack (ATK) : 60
Defense (DEF) : 55
Reflex (RX) : 55
Willpower (WP) : 65
Level : 1
Experience Points : 100
Berries Berries : 50,000
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[Episode] Playing Poltergeist Empty Re: [Episode] Playing Poltergeist

Mon Jul 11, 2022 5:55 pm
" ...A-ah! Ow...!"

" ...Watch it!!"

Once, twice... and thrice.

Each trampling of the tender tufted tail resulted in a sudden chittering yelp of surprise and a subsequent chuff of displeasure as Aya's teeth clenched tight against each other in her jaw. As shoe met fluff the little mink's grip on his hand tightened... and a light jolt of Electro permeated the area where their hands met, leaving the point of contact feeling pins-and-needles for a few seconds like a little joy buzzer.

It was faint enough that the girl herself simply wrote the sensation on her end off as her new criminal companion's anxious jitters.

The third time seemed to be the straw that broke the camel's back and just a few short moments after the last transgression she had the striped fluff protectively hugged to her chest with her free hand. She distinctly remembered how hard it had been at first to deal with phantom limbs while in a rush. Even now it still caught her wandering mind off guard every once in a while.

Even if she was trying to forgive it, it was hard to ignore the feral little grumbles of the disgruntled mink's aching.

Aya certainly didn't mind heading for a spot with some greenery like the little park she was now adamantly pulling Richard towards. Each step down the path left red panda-sized boot prints in the dirt before him until the girl was sure enough that they were alone to let the duo fade back into sight in the shade of a tree by the glistening pond.

In the boughs above, birds were startled by the sudden appearance and took wing to get away.

Normally the tiny artist's attention would have been all caught up in the loveliness of the vibrant retreat. It was quiet but for the distant chatter of tourists and a few birdsongs, glistening green leaves rustling in the breeze. But it seemed Aya was still too sore to get too distracted.

"...Next time youteia are either leading or carrying me like Brood does..."

She grumbled sharply under her breath. Her dark velvety fingers quickly slid free from his own. The runt protectively pawed over the long mink of the fluffy appendage as she cradled the bulk of it in her arms. Her hackles were raised but with a bit of smoothing from her paws, she got the silky fur to slick back down properly.

The pout pulling at her dark lips was simply the cherry on top of her grousing and with a half-hearted narrowing of her eyes, she glanced back towards her accomplice.

" ...You're lucky those donuts were good..." She insisted with a small sigh, rolling her eyes as she let her tail fall back out of her arms. " But... you didn't get left behind! Congratulations." A snicker brought the smile back to her face as she tried to settle herself and leaned her back against the thick trunk of the tree.

Aya's nimble fingers procured a dark cigarette from a pocket along the seams of her sundress and popped it between her lips as she gave a content hum. A stomach full of pastry and coffee, the warm sunshine, a breeze through the branches above, and a spark-fed puff breath of cloves and tobacco...

The nocturnal little mink was suddenly hit with the intense desire for a nap.

{563/5064}
Maxwell
[Episode] Playing Poltergeist Vk6odI4
Tracker

Name : Richard Maxwell
Epithet : Plague Rat
Age : 49
Height : 6'0" / 183 cm
Weight : 160 lbs. / 73 kg
Species : Human
Faction : Pirate
World Position : Supernova
Haki Level : 3
Hitpoints (HP) : 251
Attack (ATK) : 300
Defense (DEF) : 500
Reflex (RX) : 600
Willpower (WP) : 215
Level : 68
Experience Points : 6845
Bounty : 235,000,000
Quality Score : S+
Income Bonus : +0.20 (to all allies)
Shop Discount : -10%
Berries Berries : 279,332,375
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[Episode] Playing Poltergeist Empty Re: [Episode] Playing Poltergeist

Tue Jul 12, 2022 6:58 am
When the dastardly dine-and-dashers reached the quiet greenery, the coward finally dared to let out the breath he’d been holding. “Phew...” Fading back into view, he set his suitcase down and  wiped his sweaty brow.

The narrow escape had proved a bit more stressful than the rat had expected. His hair still stood on end... Well, maybe that had something to do with the prickling sensation of static lingering on his hand and crawling up his arm...

A peculiar feeling, it reminded the old crook of all the times he had tried to climb an electric fence. It felt much too vivid to be just imagination. And if his memory served, minks had some method of causing shocks... What was the term again? Buzzer or Shocker or something like that...?

The grumble was met with a nervous chuckle. “Eh... heheh... Terribly sorry about all that. Didn’t see you there, you know.” The old doctor had never been on the receiving end of a mink attack. He very much preferred to keep it that way. On that thought, he wrote a mental note to be careful of the girl’s paws. ...And tail.

While the red panda nursed her tail, the rat smelled an opportunity. “You know, as a gesture of goodwill...” He reached into his pocket and produced a tiny glass vial, pinching it between his fingers. It sloshed softly with cloudy, blue liquid. “I could sell you some of my universal anesthetic.” ...What? Nobody would honestly expect him to just give his remedies away. “It’s a painkiller.” He clarified cheerfully.

In typical fashion, the entrepreneur had caused a problem and was now trying to peddle a solution. “I’ll even cut you a deal and put it on a tab, since we’re friends. We are friends, right? Right.” Leaning closer, he dangled the dubious medicine in front of the girl's nose. “What do you say? Only 10,000 Berries per dose. It’s a steal, see.” More like daylight robbery, if one was savvy about medicine prices. ...Though it was still half the price he asked from other suc-erm, valued customers.

Well, it hardly mattered whether a deal was struck or not...

In fact, the businessman was seeking a bigger score. After experiencing the specialist’s ability first hand, he understood perfectly why she had been hired. Ideas bubbled and boiled in the colorful flasks lining his mind, each more lucrative than the last. They had been simmering ever since their chat at the cafe. He traced an imaginary finger over the rainbow selection of schemes.

How...

About...

This one?

Wearing the polite smile like a mask, the shady salesman circled the tree with calm, deliberate steps. “Say, aren’t you tired of being a starving artist?” He asked idly, conversationally. Slowly, his smile sharpened. “Wouldn’t you just like to make some Berries, hm?” He stopped in front of the girl, leaving the question to linger in the air briefly.

As the crook continued, his green gaze gained a peculiar gleam. “Ah, did I say some? I meant enough Berries to get all the donuts you could want and then some.” The swirls in his eyes seemed to twist, turning into the familiar symbols of cold, hard cash. Or was it merely a trick of the light...?

Words: 543
Total: 5471

________________________________________________________
Wanted Dead or Alive: Richard 'Plague Rat' Maxwell
Pikasso
Tracker

Name : Aya Ruiz
Epithet : "Pikasso"
Age : 25
Height : 4'5"
Weight : 120 lb
Species : Mink
Faction : Civilian/Other
Alliance : Nox Prime
Crew : P.T.S.D.
Ship : Dead Air
Crew Role : Procurement Specialist
Devil Fruit : Suke Suke no Mi
Haki Level : 0
Hitpoints (HP) : 133
Attack (ATK) : 60
Defense (DEF) : 55
Reflex (RX) : 55
Willpower (WP) : 65
Level : 1
Experience Points : 100
Berries Berries : 50,000
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[Episode] Playing Poltergeist Empty Re: [Episode] Playing Poltergeist

Thu Jul 14, 2022 2:05 pm
Aya griped quietly as she took a slow inhale, smoke spiraling from that dark button nose. Her thoughts were caught by the vial of medicine he was now showboating before her. One round brow quirked up above the dark lenses masking her gaze.

"A painkiller, huh..?"

Her nose crinkled distastefully as she watched the cloudy swirls within the glass. It was a pretty color, but... Medicine never tasted or smelled very good, in her experience. The raspberry pink of the mink's tongue stuck out at the looming scavenger as she grimaced abhorrently.

Her tail ached, but not enough to deal with such an assault on the senses.

" ...I've had my tail stepped on plenty without needing anything, thank youteia very much. I'm just lucky your feet don't fall as heavy as my Brothers'. But I appreciate the offer, Mister Maxwell."

The very mention of 'friends' was obviously not at all lost on the girl, her ears betraying her passive expression as they perked towards the word. It was almost enough to distract her from the price tag he had just tried to slap on the offer.

She sputtered on her smoke, eyes widening briefly as she struggled to consider spending anything at this point. She hadn't originally left Zou with much, and over the years her 'easy come, easy go' mentality hadn't been particularly bolstering for her funds. Nor had Notice.

"...Well..."

Words fled Aya for a moment as she rested her shoulders back against the coarse bark of the tree. Making some more spending money did sound nice. The look in Richard's eyes should have raised immediate red flags, but the thought of leaving this task with both a tummy full of donuts and richer in snack funds to boot was a little distracting from the mental sirens.

Still, Aya was rubbing elbows with a much different crowd now. The runty mink knew better than to sign herself up for things haphazardly if she could avoid it.

" ...' Make some Berries' is rather... vague."

The painter's chin tilted upwards as she peered up at the light filtering through the trees to weigh her options. She could try to leave at any moment without so much as a 'goodbye' if she saw fit, but...

" What exactly is it youteia have in mind, hm?"

The list of crimes on his wanted poster was still freshly developed in her memory, but she knew all too well not to believe everything the Government claimed about people.

Many claims were founded on some seed of truth, though.

As blue eyes met greedy green once more she crossed her arms over her chest, head cocked to one side as she fully focused on the criminal's sudden proposal. Somehow she doubted her was trying to help her out of the goodness of his heart rather than his hungering pockets but did that really matter?

If the two could walk away from something easy unscathed and with money-lined pockets... Wasn't that better for both of them?

The shady Entrepreneur certainly had caught Aya's interest, but trusting humans had always been an uncertain endeavor.

{519/5583}
Maxwell
[Episode] Playing Poltergeist Vk6odI4
Tracker

Name : Richard Maxwell
Epithet : Plague Rat
Age : 49
Height : 6'0" / 183 cm
Weight : 160 lbs. / 73 kg
Species : Human
Faction : Pirate
World Position : Supernova
Haki Level : 3
Hitpoints (HP) : 251
Attack (ATK) : 300
Defense (DEF) : 500
Reflex (RX) : 600
Willpower (WP) : 215
Level : 68
Experience Points : 6845
Bounty : 235,000,000
Quality Score : S+
Income Bonus : +0.20 (to all allies)
Shop Discount : -10%
Berries Berries : 279,332,375
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[Episode] Playing Poltergeist Empty Re: [Episode] Playing Poltergeist

Sat Jul 16, 2022 4:59 am
Richard’s sharp smile hardly wavered, when his generous offer was rejected. “Oh well, your loss.” He muttered without much bitterness, while slipping the vial back into the depths of his pockets. Either he had gone too hard on the sell, or this young lady was even sharper than he gave her credit for... Better not repeat either mistake again.  

Well, no matter. The other bait was still in the water...

See, business and fishing had more in common than people realized. Both required patience, for one. You had to let the target nibble the bait a little, give it a taste and pique its curiosity. Only when it bit the hook, really latched on, you could reel in the catch.

The rat cocked his head, when the panda nibbled the bait. “Glad you asked, friend~ He hummed beneath his breath. Stepping back, he straightened his back and steepled his bony fingers together. His sharp smile mellowed, turning to something a salesman would wear before trying to sell a holiday home.

Richard started off innocently enough. “See, this island is a haven for rich resort magnates.” He spread his arms, aiming a sweeping gesture at nothing, and everything. “The word on the street is that one of them is throwing a lavish dinner party for his business partners. Only the wealthiest, most influential guests are invited” Well, she might have already known both those things, depending on how deeply she was tapped into the island’s information business.

Much like an artist before an imaginary canvas, the charlatan painted the pensive partner a picture of excess and greed. “There will be exotic food, live music, a whole lot of razzle and dazzle few people ever experience in their lives, all funded by these lovely, little lambs who frequent the island.” It was all for one purpose, to make her believe they were going after an acceptable target.

Suddenly, the rat’s tone turned into a conspiratorial whisper. “So imagine the shock and horror when a ghost crashes the party. Sampling foods, making spooky noises, messing with the guests... Typical ghost things, you know.” Like pulling the fishing line ever so slightly, making the bait wiggle enticingly.

Richard puffed his chest, returning to his oh so innocent tone. “Fortunately, a wandering -and might I add dashing- priest just so happens to be in the neighborhood, when he senses the presence of evil. He comes knocking and offers to banish the wicked spirit... For a nominal fee, of course. Chihihi~ For the first time today, a genuine snicker slipped past his lips, as he imagined the easy money.

For the finishing touch, the salesman summed up the simple plan. “The moneybags pay up, the spirit vanishes and nothing illegal ever happened, see.” ...Right? Right. Nobody could prove otherwise. In fact, the plan was completely foolproof. Nothing could possibly go wrong.

Extending a hand to the partner in crime, the crook offered a handshake to seal the deal, as was his habit. “So how about it, hm?” He knew he was dealing with a shrewd gal, the kind who had a nose for opportunity. ...And a spark of mischief. In fact, it was probably better to appeal to the latter.

“How do you feel about playing poltergeist?”

Words: 541
Total: 6012

________________________________________________________
Wanted Dead or Alive: Richard 'Plague Rat' Maxwell
Pikasso
Tracker

Name : Aya Ruiz
Epithet : "Pikasso"
Age : 25
Height : 4'5"
Weight : 120 lb
Species : Mink
Faction : Civilian/Other
Alliance : Nox Prime
Crew : P.T.S.D.
Ship : Dead Air
Crew Role : Procurement Specialist
Devil Fruit : Suke Suke no Mi
Haki Level : 0
Hitpoints (HP) : 133
Attack (ATK) : 60
Defense (DEF) : 55
Reflex (RX) : 55
Willpower (WP) : 65
Level : 1
Experience Points : 100
Berries Berries : 50,000
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[Episode] Playing Poltergeist Empty Re: [Episode] Playing Poltergeist

Mon Jul 18, 2022 3:00 am
Aya's claws idly toyed with the dark cigarette between them as the snowy peaks of her ears perked forward again. It was an easy tell, but it wasn't like the mink spent enough time around others to really realize it herself.

This time, however, her attention was caught by something much more interesting than a word alone.

With a few quiet blinks, the artist studied the rat. Yes, there was much more to this lesser mink than she thought! Each new shade of the man's perceived personality dug another line into the sgraffito design of 'Richard Maxwell' and it was a much more intricate display than she first imagined. An inquisitive shimmer caught in her bright eyes.

This was something new. Something intriguing. Curiosity may have killed the cat, but the little red panda before him coveted it.

"...So... Youteia are trying to tell me that I'd just need to eat some fancy little foods, rattle a couple of chains, step on a few toes, and leave...?"

Aya gave a thoughtful squint, first at Richard, then towards the spiced cloud of smoke cascading from her lips. She had seen his attempt to pass himself as a priest to her across the table and while she wasn't exactly sure how good of a frame of reference she had for such things, she might have believed him if it hadn't been for the telling panic that set into the heart of the man at the sight of his wanted poster!

Free food, seemingly easy money, the chance to poke around a fancy lesser mink party... Aya's silky fur teemed into a fuzzy fluff around her cheeks and ears as she thought about the hijinks. She hadn't played around like that since Zou, and while that was simply meanspirited fun egged on by her brothers, this was lucrative and fun!

Maxwell's baiting hooked the corners of her mouth into a demure smirk.

Was she really so transparent?

" ...Well.."

Her responsible side was really fighting the pitter-patter of the girl's racing imagination. But it was all too late.

" As long as you're willing to part with a fair share, Mister Maxwell... I guess I could help youteia out with that."

Something in his snicker had made her rather sure that 'fair' might not be as linear a concept as she had once thought, but as long as she wasn't walking away empty-handed she supposed it would be fine. And with a host of expensive snacks to be had... how could she complain too much?

"... A little party crashing and a couple of white lies never hurt anyone too bad, hm?" After giving him a final suspicious once over with her eyes, she reached for the spindly hand offered and gave a small shake of her paw.

"You get me the when and where, and... I'll get youteia the scare. Kiiii-pi-pi!!"

Her tittering sneer made it all too clear how absolutely pleased the panda was with herself.

{495/6078}
Maxwell
[Episode] Playing Poltergeist Vk6odI4
Tracker

Name : Richard Maxwell
Epithet : Plague Rat
Age : 49
Height : 6'0" / 183 cm
Weight : 160 lbs. / 73 kg
Species : Human
Faction : Pirate
World Position : Supernova
Haki Level : 3
Hitpoints (HP) : 251
Attack (ATK) : 300
Defense (DEF) : 500
Reflex (RX) : 600
Willpower (WP) : 215
Level : 68
Experience Points : 6845
Bounty : 235,000,000
Quality Score : S+
Income Bonus : +0.20 (to all allies)
Shop Discount : -10%
Berries Berries : 279,332,375
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[Episode] Playing Poltergeist Empty Re: [Episode] Playing Poltergeist

Tue Jul 19, 2022 6:02 am
Hook, line and sinker. The fisherman could hardly contain his excitement. Now he only had to reel it in, slowly and carefully. Occasionally, it was smart to stop reeling for a moment and let the fish think it was making headway.

The rat nodded eagerly at the panda’s assessment. “Mhm, mhm.” Fancying himself something of a wordsmith, he was good at giving folks exactly what they wanted to hear. Especially when it came to... Fair shares. “But of course! We’ll split the earnings fair and square.” He lied through his teeth.

In stark contrast to the demure smiles passed back and forth, Richard’s mask finally cracked into a Cheshire cat grin. “Then it’s a deal. Chihihi...” He shook the soft paw firmly, like locking hands with a grinning skeleton. Too late to back down now.

Releasing the grip, the totally trustworthy rat stepped back. “You’ll have to cut your siesta short, I’m afraid. I’ll need your help for the preparations.” His eyes drifted down the path, towards the city. Even as he regained his usual, nonchalant mask, his tone retained a sinister spark.

“Let’s go do a little... shopping.”

---

Later that night...

Countless stars glimmered high above like diamonds in a pool of ink. The waning crescent moon peeked carefully from below the horizon, to see if the big, bright bully had already left. A cool breeze whispered playfully, rustling the leafy trees and bushes.

On the quieter side of the island, upon the mighty cliffs overlooking the seas stood a lavish manor. Music, chatter, laughter... Merriment leaked like the light through the many windows of the two-story monument of excess. It was surrounded by a tall hedge, a taller iron fence and -for a good measure- a row of grumpy fellows with white uniforms. ...And guns.

The last guests had marched in an hour ago, leaving the guards with nothing to do except share stories and long yawns. Some were sitting down, playing dice. If the grumblings in the wind were anything to go by, none of them wanted to be here. But important folks were important, or whatever...

Meanwhile, the nearby bushes rustled with something more than just the wind. A silhouette peered out briefly, before withdrawing back into the shadows. The uninvited guests were ready to crash the party.

Along the way, the dynamic duo had stopped at Joyful Johnny’s Bizarre Bazaar for some costumes and props. There was nothing joyful about the price tags in that place though. Like with everything else in this tourist trap, the extra zero clung on insistently. Luckily, affording the finest costumes available was easy with a five-finger discount.

Richard, for his part, had gotten a proper priestly getup. The chocolate-colored suit had been replaced with modest, dark robes. A broad ribbon cloth hung over his shoulders, adding a splash of white, purity to the otherwise grim pallette. Finally, a convincingly thick book of the holy nature completed the look.

The rat turned to his partner in crime to pass her a conspiratorial whisper. “Okay, the guards are getting sloppy. Now, just as we planned...” He pulled the leaves apart and squinted at the manor.  “Find a way inside and give our lovely patrons a show to remember. I’ll wait for ten minutes before I come knocking. The guards won’t let me through without a distraction though, so...” His sharp smile gleamed in the moonlight.

“Try to get some screams out of the audience, see?”

Words: 574
Total: 6586

________________________________________________________
Wanted Dead or Alive: Richard 'Plague Rat' Maxwell
Pikasso
Tracker

Name : Aya Ruiz
Epithet : "Pikasso"
Age : 25
Height : 4'5"
Weight : 120 lb
Species : Mink
Faction : Civilian/Other
Alliance : Nox Prime
Crew : P.T.S.D.
Ship : Dead Air
Crew Role : Procurement Specialist
Devil Fruit : Suke Suke no Mi
Haki Level : 0
Hitpoints (HP) : 133
Attack (ATK) : 60
Defense (DEF) : 55
Reflex (RX) : 55
Willpower (WP) : 65
Level : 1
Experience Points : 100
Berries Berries : 50,000
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Posts : 50
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[Episode] Playing Poltergeist Empty Re: [Episode] Playing Poltergeist

Tue Jul 19, 2022 4:57 pm
"I... don't get to go to parties very often!~"

The mink had given a similar statement as an explanation to why she had also come out of the sticky-fingered shopping trip with a ghostly white bed sheet with pre-cut eye and mouth holes... and a flouncy little party dress. At least it, too, was white.

Now, it was an excited but hushed proclamation as Pikasso readied herself in the bushes. The dress' shifting fabric was the only indicator of her presence as it clung to the clear woman's form. The simple ghost costume was folded neatly in her arms. Presumably, at least, judging on the way it was suspended relative to the dress.

"Right, right... Just try not to get caught before then, hm?"

As the shape of the dress moved to stand fully it faded from view along with the folded phantom. Without another word, the tiny specter was squeezing through the wrought iron bars and off into the night.

An open balcony to one side of the lavish building provided the perfect entry for the natural climber, taking quick hand and foot holds from a trellis of delightfully fragrant flowers. Petals scattered in her wake, but in moments she was up to the veranda and through the door to the cacophony of showboating and gossip.

It was hard for Aya to keep on track for a time, too swept up in the intriguing displays of pride and greed flaunted by every piece of intricate molding and raised doorway. Ego sure seemed to need a lot of breathing room.

But there was a job to be done, and a scheming conman waiting for her to do it!

As the invisible girl donned the sheet she caught a glance across the crowded room of glimmering chandeliers and glitzy accessories and set her sights on the real prize; A excessively long table laid out with all manner of pretty little finger foods. Her stomach growled but the sound was swallowed up by the words of the lesser minks around her.

The first thing was first. A large portrait obviously painted by someone trying to appease the head of the house's self-admiration toppled from the wall and down the sweeping stairs at the focal point of the grand front entrance. It caused a small uproar, but when guests realized they were out of immediate danger the thought of the incident faded like bubbles in champagne.

When plates began suddenly flying from the convolutedly complicated table settings laid out in wait for dinnertime, however, the transgression was much harder to write off. Fine cutlery lifted and flung into walls, narrowly missing partygoers who in turn quickly moved to flee the dining hall.

Broken glasses and plates lay littered across the floor in front of a now all too visible ripped sheet draped tellingly over a short invisible form while two plates hung menacingly still at its sides.

".... Lllllllleeeeeaaaaavvvvveeeeee thissssssssss plaaaaaaaaceeeeeee....!"

The soft nature of Aya's voice translated well into a series of haunting wails, punctuated by the piercing scream of the lady of the house and a dull thud as her shocked husband fainted beside her. Then there was the frantic clambering of self-centered patrons as they all attempted at the same moment to be the first to get as far from the dining room as possible.

Years of being scared silly by her brothers with terrifying ghost stories seemed to be paying off!

"...Kiiiiiiiii-piiiiiii-piiiiiii-piiiiiii!~.."

The linen-draped ghost's snickering echoed through the room as it faded out of sight again, turning tail to head for the unoccupied spread of tasty snacks and being sure to drag her claws into the papered walls for a few moments as she went along her merry way to see if her chaos had sufficiently set plans into motion.

{632/6710}
Maxwell
[Episode] Playing Poltergeist Vk6odI4
Tracker

Name : Richard Maxwell
Epithet : Plague Rat
Age : 49
Height : 6'0" / 183 cm
Weight : 160 lbs. / 73 kg
Species : Human
Faction : Pirate
World Position : Supernova
Haki Level : 3
Hitpoints (HP) : 251
Attack (ATK) : 300
Defense (DEF) : 500
Reflex (RX) : 600
Willpower (WP) : 215
Level : 68
Experience Points : 6845
Bounty : 235,000,000
Quality Score : S+
Income Bonus : +0.20 (to all allies)
Shop Discount : -10%
Berries Berries : 279,332,375
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Posts : 238
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[Episode] Playing Poltergeist Empty Re: [Episode] Playing Poltergeist

Thu Jul 21, 2022 12:55 pm
Once the invisible assistant left, it was time to play the waiting game. Fortunately, the conman was an expert at sitting on his arse, twiddling his thumbs and generally doing nothing. He could do nothing all night long! Long journeys as... a discount passenger... were a great teacher, see.

Soon enough, shrieks of panic pierced the night. Richard listened with a smile on his face. Ah, music to his ears~! Leaving the suitcase hidden in the bush, he grabbed the holy book and dusted his outfit one more time.

Now then... Showtime~!

Panic spread like ripples in a pond, with the ghost acting as the disruptive stone. Within minutes, the word reached the perimeter guards as well. At first, they all laughed at the joke. Slowly, the laughter dried up though, as the joke started dragging on... And feeling a little too real... A snail as white as a sheet screamed and stuttered that there was a g-gho-g-g-gh-!

“A ghost!”

The guards jumped with a shriek ill-fitting of their manly frames. They spun towards the voice, guns drawn. A chill breeze blew across the area, carrying shivers.

Right at the gate stood a man of god in dark attire, his face grim like a storm and voice like thunder. “I sense a spirit most foul dwelling in that manor!” Brandishing the book like a weapon, he gestured towards the building. “Let it be I, Father Kuma, who drives away the evil dwelling here! For this spirit shall doom you to a bitter end, lest it be banished!” Dramatic flailing underlined his fervor.

The skittish guards exchanged skeptical looks. On one hand, this guy was clearly crazy... But on the other hand, the snail kept screaming bloody murder. Carefully one of them picked up the horn. Swallowing nervously, he checked if the guest list included a priest... Because one showed up spouting something about a spirit and-

Suddenly, the snail’s face warped into someone’s several pounds heavier and terrifying experience surlier. “A priest?! A priest!” The stuffy voice found a spark of hope. “Yes! Send him in at once!” He demanded desperately.

Inside, the host of the party, a man shaped like a sideways barrel, slammed the receiver down. Beads of cold sweat clung to his oval-shaped head. The tiny, blonde curl of hair on top of his scalp was quivering still. He nudged the servants around him, or shoved rather, ordering them to calm down the guests, to tell them that help was coming.

Tonight would not be the night that Alfred Beriworth, the head butler, let his family down!

Meanwhile, a calm figure stalked between the panicking guests. Dressed in the white uniform of a Marine officer, the muscular, scarred man was like a slab of unmelting ice in the middle of a house fire. Tough, pristine and cold...

By the bulky officer’s side stomped a beastly hunting hound bigger than four average dogs put together. Looking a whole lot like its owner, it too was covered in battle scars. It sniffed the air and let out a growl that made the glasses on the tables jitter.

The owner found the sound especially intriguing. He knelt down petting his partner. [npc=navy]“What is it, Marshmallow? Do you smell a rat in here?”[/npc] His suspicious gaze drifted towards where the dog was staring so intensely...

Words: 554
Total: 7140

________________________________________________________
Wanted Dead or Alive: Richard 'Plague Rat' Maxwell
Pikasso
Tracker

Name : Aya Ruiz
Epithet : "Pikasso"
Age : 25
Height : 4'5"
Weight : 120 lb
Species : Mink
Faction : Civilian/Other
Alliance : Nox Prime
Crew : P.T.S.D.
Ship : Dead Air
Crew Role : Procurement Specialist
Devil Fruit : Suke Suke no Mi
Haki Level : 0
Hitpoints (HP) : 133
Attack (ATK) : 60
Defense (DEF) : 55
Reflex (RX) : 55
Willpower (WP) : 65
Level : 1
Experience Points : 100
Berries Berries : 50,000
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Posts : 50
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[Episode] Playing Poltergeist Empty Re: [Episode] Playing Poltergeist

Mon Jul 25, 2022 2:53 pm
Aya's ears twitched with the shrill sound of the fruits of her labor. Doors lining the halls she passed through were thrown open one by one. The occupants' screams only served to further strike fear into the hearts of guests seeking solace in rooms ahead along the tiny ghost's path. Side tables toppled and spilled their decor across the floors with terrible clatters.

And then, there was silence. Anticipation fell like a heavy pall over the lavish abode.

She had a plan, after all, and that plan had clearly stated there were snacks to be had.

With the glimmering eyes of a kid in a candy store, Pikasso eyed the charcuterie and tessellating shapes of artisanal crackers that looked like they took much too much effort for the amount of food produced. Bit by bit the table's offerings were nibbled away at, anything seeming not to suit the phantom's peculiar palate thrown haphazardly over a transparent shoulder.

Horrified onlookers were spattered with prosciutto and trays of meatballs with ornately decorated toothpicks. Food disappeared bite by bite before their eyes, and after a few moments of eerie silence, the poltergeist acknowledged the presence of a small gaggle of lesser minks congregating in the corner. They sized up the invisible danger between them and the other side of the large room.

The guests would have to chance getting past the snack-sneaking spirit to flee.

"...Boo! "

As a tray of small cupcakes smashed into the face of a man in a blue-toned suit who was tall enough that Aya had to hop up to actually reach him, another small uproar ensued. Fight or flight kicked in for the guests. They shoved past each other, the table, and nearly missed the door trying to keep looking over their shoulders for the assailant.

The form of the haunted sheet hanging in the air imperceptibly licked stray frosting from her claws, then went back to her finger food feast. 'Priest' echoed through the huge open doorway towards the entrance of the mansion behind her, and with the point of one ear tenting the sheet draped over her head she trained towards the sound.

It sounded like Mister Maxwell had no issue landing himself a frantic invite into the spooky soiree in the heart of the cliffside mansion.

Aya tucked a transparent tray under her arm, full of some inky-black gunk spread over crackers that had coated her mouth with a distressing mix of bitter and salt with just a tasty when she had tried them. Instead, they became new wall decorations as she strolled back towards the entrance. Dark goop bled down sconces and small statues and spattered violently against the pristine mansion's interior.

A cracker painted a scrawling 'LEAVE' across a wall that had looked much too bare before without the inky tapenade text.

In the main entrance hall, with the nasty snacks fittingly disposed of and the empty tray casually tossed aside she set her sights on a more lofty scare. Far above hung a glitzy chandelier nearly three times the size of the mink herself. The shimmering crystals hung like taunting lures in the sparkle of Pikasso's icy blue eyes.

With newly-fueled vigor the red panda began her ascent, knocking down portraits and marring surfaces with her claw as she clambered up the second-floor railing towards the great suspended light-laden fixture. With her tail wrapped around the railing she could lean out far enough to climb aboard.

The chandelier began swinging ominously as she braced herself near the chain at the middle.

As the hulking doors to the entrance pulled open, a waterfall of light, crystal, and finely wrought metal cascaded to the ground before them. The sound of a thousand light-catching pieces of glass shattering across the luckily unoccupied floor space filled the previously eerily quiet air. Scattered shards glittered across the floor, leaving the now bent metal of the light's frame dangerously haloed where it laid to rest.

Upon further inspection it may have swung and collapsed a bit closer to the front doors than she had intended, but at least she had timed it out enough to not hit anyone!

For a moment the short visage of the empty-eyed sheet hung triumphantly. It levitated over the broken chandelier for split seconds before vanishing into the ether. A series of distant-sounding snickers trailed up the stairs towards a dark hallway as Aya took a moment to round the corner and peer back to catch a glimpse of the pseudo priest's performance and lay in wait.

{755/7465}
Maxwell
[Episode] Playing Poltergeist Vk6odI4
Tracker

Name : Richard Maxwell
Epithet : Plague Rat
Age : 49
Height : 6'0" / 183 cm
Weight : 160 lbs. / 73 kg
Species : Human
Faction : Pirate
World Position : Supernova
Haki Level : 3
Hitpoints (HP) : 251
Attack (ATK) : 300
Defense (DEF) : 500
Reflex (RX) : 600
Willpower (WP) : 215
Level : 68
Experience Points : 6845
Bounty : 235,000,000
Quality Score : S+
Income Bonus : +0.20 (to all allies)
Shop Discount : -10%
Berries Berries : 279,332,375
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[Episode] Playing Poltergeist Empty Re: [Episode] Playing Poltergeist

Tue Jul 26, 2022 9:47 am
Chaos had such a lovely tune, when it worked in your favor. At least Richard thought so. He loved the sound of people screaming, as the ghost tormented them. It was the perfect opportunity for a hero to appear! ...Before that, however, one more obstacle appeared in his way.

Stepping out, the bulky Marine officer and his hound blocked the path. He eyed the priest up and down suspiciously, before clicking his heels together. [npc=navy]“Lieutenant Hu Gibsashid of the North Blue Marine branch and the head of security for this event. State your business.”[/npc]  He puffed his sizable chest, seeming more and more like a living brick wall.

In turn, the priest raised his hand in something halfway between a greeting and a blessing. “Father Kuma of the Latter Afternoon Tea Saints and the head priest of the sect, here to banish the foul spirit haunting the building.” He lied with practiced cadence.

A couple of tense seconds ticked by, before Hu stepped aside. [npc=navy]“Hrm, then please proceed.”[/npc]  Though even as he offered to open the door, the suspicious squint never left his features.

The rat took that as his hint to hurry past. “Peace be with you, child.” He slipped inside, stopping only to take in the rich decor. Judging by the signs of chaos, the ghost was doing fantastic work. And to think he had worried she might go overboard.

...Approximately five seconds later, the chandelier came crashing down. A glimmering wave scattered across the floor. The metal frame twisted with a cacophonic cry. A chorus of panicked screams echoed across the hall.

Likewise, the rat recoiled with a shrill scream. Legs wobbling more than jelly, he clutched his chest. His poor heart hammered as if trying to burst through his ribcage. He stared at the fading specter with genuine despair. Betrayal even. Gah, was that crazy girl trying to kill him?! ...Well, no, he was nowhere near the actual danger zone, but that was hardly relevant right now.

However, even the cowardly crook had to admit the ghost was really selling the show. She had the entire audience dancing to her tune. None of them seemed to notice that the priest was trembling like a leaf. Rather, they flocked to their savior like lost lambs.

Revived by a bottle of smelling salts stuffed in a nostril, the head of the house practically ran to the priest. For such a portly man, he sure was quick. “Ah, you’re here! My butler told me you would get rid of the g-g-g-ghost! Please! I’ll give you anything!” He managed to squeak in a voice that would put the most high-pitched girls to shame.

The priest donned a fatherly mask and nodded. “Ah, the honest deed is its own reward.” He nearly gagged on his own line, deciding to pick a better lie next time. It seemed to work though. “Oh, truly a pious man!” ...Setting up the real trap nicely. “Buuut our church would appreciate a small donation, just a nominal fee of cough-illion Berries.” He held out his hand, rubbing the fingers together.

Immediately the rich host went for his wallet. “Y-yes, of course.” He pulled out the kind of money most folks didn’t see in a month. Most crooks would’ve been happy with that.

...Most.

‘Kuma’ watched as the rich host offered a wad of cash with sweaty hands. “...A little more than that.” He commented gently. More Berries were added shakily. “Almost, just a little more.” Bill by bill, the wad grew thicker. Yet, he continued to slyly press for more and more. “Our Lord appreciates generosity, see.” His feigned accent was beginning to slip.

Some believed that people had three different faces they wore for different occasions. The first was worn around strangers, the second among family and the third remained hidden. It was this third one that people considered the truest reflection of one’s self.

Right now, Richard’s third face had twisted into an unsightly grin. His inner self loomed in the depths of his imagination like a hideous demon, eyes rolling back and tongue lolling out, cackling maniacally. He couldn’t believe his luck! Just how gullible were these country bumpkins~?

Back in reality, the scammer only barely maintained his poker face. Once the wad of cash was as thick as a brick, he swiftly yanked it from the portly man. “Our church appreciates your generous donation~” Smiling like a saint, he slipped the cash into his robes with the swiftness of a devil.

“Now, if you’d kindly give me some space...”

A deep breath calmed the rat’s jittering nerves. Stepping to the center of the grand hall, he started rambling. “By the ministry of the church... In the name of all that is good and holy...” He still had to sell these idiots the exorcism... For this to work, he needed to drive the ghost away so that everyone actually saw. Seeing was believing, you know.

Holding the thick book aloft, the priest called out. “Come out, foul demon, devil, filth born of the blackest womb! Come out, I say! Striking a dramatic pose, he flailed with growing fervor. “The power of the Lord compels thee! Show thyself! The girl was sharp, he knew. Surely he could trust her to figure out the next steps. ...Right?

Words: 882
Total: 8022

________________________________________________________
Wanted Dead or Alive: Richard 'Plague Rat' Maxwell
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