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Maxwell
[Episode] Kind of Cryptic Vk6odI4
[tracker=/t139-richard-maxwell#516]
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 : [ber=r] 235,000,000
Quality Score : S+
Income Bonus : +0.20 (to all allies)
Shop Discount : -10%
Berries : [ber] 379,332,375
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[Episode] Kind of Cryptic Empty [Episode] Kind of Cryptic

This post has in-line assessment comments.Mon Sep 12, 2022 1:29 pm
Name: Kind of Cryptic
Category: Episode
Player Participants: Richard Maxwell (+0), Asakura Doji (+0)
Planned Location(s): Notice and an uncharted island, North Blue
Planned Time Range: A couple of days mid January, 1829

Summary: While sniffing around for business opportunities, a shrewd entrepreneur steals happens to find an intriguing map. It holds the coordinates of a tiny island not too far from Notice. Supposedly, it is the final resting place of an eccentric baron, last of his line, buried in a long forgotten family crypt. Heirless and grumpy, he had all his wealth buried with him, rather than leave a single Berry to the living.

Or so the old story goes anyway.

More importantly though, the descriptions all mark the island as the perfect environment for a particular kind of beetle. The species is both rare and medicinally valuable. Even if the story turns out to be a myth, the island itself is still a worthy place to visit for an enterprising medical professional.

There is just one tiny problem. See, the entrepreneur considers himself far too well-dressed for manual labor. So, he needs someone big, strong and affordable to do the heavy lifting, crack open coffins, fend off vicious beasts and other such menial tasks. And that is where a certain oni wanders into the picture...

After striking a deal, the two new business partners set sail on a fishing vessel. Unfortunately, they don’t notice a shadow tailing them. The folks who consider themselves the original owners of the map don’t take too kindly to thieves, you see. It’ll be a mad scramble to see who can grab the treasures of the crypt. ...If there are any treasures to grab at all.

---

The evening sun had finished painting the ocean orange. Warm winds blew lazily over the harbor. Honest, hard working folks were stepping off the stage. Only the scoundrels and scallywags remained. Like buzzards around a carcass, they flocked to a certain bar down by the docks.

Singing Mermaid was the name of the tavern. Some would call it cramped and seedy, others cozy and atmospheric. It was all just a matter of opinion. Either way, the place was packed every night. Music and merriment flowed out from the open doors. The stench of cigarettes and ale clung to the air like haze.

Against the colorful backdrop of patrons, no figure or outfit seemed out of place. Big and small, thin and fat, rich and ragged, truly this was a melting pot of seedy figures. Indeed, the only thing they all had in common was that none of them looked like the honest, law-abiding sort...

Especially not the sly silhouette that sauntered in just now.

Dressed in a chocolate-brown suit, a lanky gentleman weaved his way past the patrons. A cheap cigarette burned between his smiling lips. A wide-brimmed hat cast a shadow over his features. In his hand, he dragged a huge suitcase with practiced ease.

With the tables full and not showing any signs of freeing up, the dapper fellow headed for the counter. People hardly glanced up from their drinks as he slithered in between them. He beckoned the bartender closer, ordering the cheapest drink on the menu. For his, ahem, frugal efforts, he got a pint of watered down ale. Or at least it was the same color as ale. Vaguely.

Taking a sip, the shady man swept his gaze across the bar. His beady, green eyes searched carefully for any promising candidates for a brand new... business venture. However, he was a discerning man with a long list of requirements. The potential hires needed to look brave, robust and... affordable. The last one was very important, see.

Between the sips, the rat mused idly. “Say, my good man...” He glanced at the rotund bartender who looked a lot like a warthog in an apron. It was the upturned nose, mostly. “You wouldn’t happen to know anyone looking for work, would you?” He inquired nonchalantly.

The bartender let out a ponderous snort. “Hrm, snrf, maybe... My memory isn’t what it used to be...” He grumbled, setting aside the mug he had been polishing. “...Buuut some Berries might jog my noggin'.” He held out an open palm.

The businessman lost his smile. He shifted a weary look between the hand and the man. Eventually, he begrudgingly dug into his pocket and dropped a handful of grumbled up bills into the greedy grasp. Some people, he silently swore, only thinking about money... What happened to altruism? Helping your fellow man?

Flashing a smile full of twisted tusks, erm, teeth, the bulky bartender nodded. “Snrf, oh yeah, I remember now... Plenty of folks looking for work...” He leaned closer for a conspiratorial whisper. “Though it all depends on what kinda work, eh? We talking about smuggling, stealing, murder...?” He questioned cautiously.

The gentleman leaned in as well, passing a whisper right back. “Oh, nothing of the sort. I’m an honest entrepreneur, see.” He insisted, trying to ignore the skeptical stare. “I just need some muscle to accompany me...” Digging between the lapels of his jacket, he pulled out a rolled up map. “...To a little island just off the coast.” He set the map down and pointed at a teeny tiny island, one that wasn’t even worth marking on regular maps.

Words: 601
Total: 601

________________________________________________________
Wanted Dead or Alive: Richard 'Plague Rat' Maxwell
Doji
[tracker=/t2417-asakura-doji#14975]
Name : Asakura Doji
Epithet : Cemetery Ghoul
Age : 18
Height : 17'7
Weight : 1,777 lb
Species : Human-Giant-Oni Crossbred
Faction : Pirates
Crew : Solo
Ship : Old Sutured Sail
Crew Role : Blind Navigator
Haki Level : 0
Hitpoints (HP) : 143
Attack (ATK) : 80
Defense (DEF) : 25
Reflex (RX) : 60
Willpower (WP) : 85
Level : 1
Experience Points : 100
Berries : [ber] 34,050,000
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Posts : 184
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[Episode] Kind of Cryptic Empty Re: [Episode] Kind of Cryptic

This post has in-line assessment comments.Sun Sep 18, 2022 3:30 am
The piggish man dug at his nose with his pinky finger as he incuriously eyed the map. “Hrnk! What island are you talking about?” He curled his sausage-like fingers around the map’s corners and squinted at it for a moment. As he slowly deduced the isle that the sly devil was referring to his eyes widened, and the redness of his cheeks paled to a ghostly white.

“Snrk! Jeez sir, you’re lookin’ for that sort of muscle? They sealed that damn place up for a reason.” The man grimaced before he continued his warning. “Lots ‘a boys go over to that place thinkin’ they got somethin’ to prove. Not all of ‘em come back, ‘n nobody knows where they gone off to.”

A number of the patrons at the bar quieted down, somebody had given Murphy reason to talk about his latest fixation, best to avert your eyes and let him tucker himself out.

“Hrnk! You seem like a smart guy, if I were you I’d steer clear a’ that place. But if you’re lookin’ to crack into that omelet yer gonna need somebody big; the entrance is blocked off with thick slabs a’ stone.” The seemingly dull man now seemed lost in deep thought.

“Normally I’d say you’re shit outta luck, but I think you might have gotten here at the perfect time. A couple nights ago some huge red-haired fella was clearin’ out every bar that’d take his money, he paid mostly in funky smellin’ jewelry but other than that he seemed like a reasonable enough fella. Ya might be able to track him down on the beach.”

Of the many things the monster had been called over the course of his journey from the West “reasonable enough fella” was not the prevailing title, Notice had simply given him the least trouble, and needing a vacation the oni had chosen to go with the flow.

With his shoes kicked off and his feet in the sand, the oversized vacationer sat sprawled along the beach’s embankment, his head beneath the shade of a palm tree. Though a wintry breeze undercut the warmth of the sunlight’s rays, the oni still slept peacefully.

[npc=misc]“Hey, you there! I’m talkin’ to you, big fella!”[/npc] Doji snored obliviously, and a cabbage moth fluttered by riding the icy wind to parts unknown.

The old man looked up to the coconuts dangling precariously above the half-giant’s head, you’d have to be blind to miss them. [npc=misc]“Falling coconuts kill over fifty tourists a year! I’m warnin’ ye boy! Wake up or you’ll lose yer noggin!”[/npc]

A warrior is meant to lose his head. The errant thought slipped through the teenager’s unconscious dreamscape. He had been napping since noon, did this guy seriously think he was gonna wake up for the sake of respecting his elders?

The brat blew a bubble from his nose as he slumbered on unawares. The geezer stood and waited expectantly for a moment before storming off and muttering [npc=misc]“Ah whatever. I tried to warn ye…”[/npc]

A warning?... In this moment, one of the coconuts shook free, and plummeted down just to the side of the oni’s head, ...what’s gonna go wrong in a place like this?

Nearby, arriving at the ransacked docks of Notice…


“Man, they did a number on this place eh?” The jesterly man spoke apprehensively of the tattered conditions of Notice’s port, it seems the island had faced naval conflict recently.

“Never mind the local politics Fortunato…” The prim and proper Montresor spoke as the pair walked down their ship’s gangway onto the rickety docks. He examined his rapier, flicking its tip before finishing his sentence, “...we have a rat to catch.”

The two looked onwards towards the expansive tourist town’s streets, their search had just begun.

Post Word Count: 627
Total Word Count: 627
Maxwell
[Episode] Kind of Cryptic Vk6odI4
[tracker=/t139-richard-maxwell#516]
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 : [ber=r] 235,000,000
Quality Score : S+
Income Bonus : +0.20 (to all allies)
Shop Discount : -10%
Berries : [ber] 379,332,375
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[Episode] Kind of Cryptic Empty Re: [Episode] Kind of Cryptic

This post has in-line assessment comments.Tue Sep 20, 2022 9:39 am
Watching the burly bartender go pale sparked some worries. Sure, the greedy rat had heard the rumors about the place, but... Well, they were just rumors, right? Careless people wrecking their ships because they didn’t have a navigator? R-right...?

Richard took a long sip, while listening. ...Eugh, gah, if nothing else, the lousy ale washed down the taste of terror very effective. Along with everything else. He had fallen into sewage water that tasted better than this.

Once the chatty man tuckered himself out, the rat rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “So, a fellow who has just finished spending all his valuables, eh...?” His lips curled into a devilish, little smirk. “I can work with that...” In the depths of his mind, imaginary flasks bubbled with ideas for how to best take advantage of this.

Pleased with the findings, the doctor downed the rest of the ale. ...And immediately regretted it. But what else was he supposed to do? He had already paid for it. “Thank you for the tip, friend. Now if you’ll excuse me... I have somebody big to find.”

---

Combing the streets of Notice brought a certain saying about a needle and haystack to mind. Countless colorful figures wandered around. In and out of bars, disappearing down the streets, popping out of alleyways...

Keeping track felt like an impossible task.

The prim and proper hunter decided as much, turning to his less-proper friend. “We aren’t getting anywhere searching blindly. Fortunato, hand over the wanted poster, would you?”

Unfortunately, the jester could only offer back a puzzled stare. “...I thought you had it?”


Montresor’s mustache twitched. He nearly dropped his monocle at the sheer gall. “Why, pray tell, would I have it?”

Fortunato wasn’t backing down. No, he planted his curly-toed boots in place and wiggled his gloved fingers for emphasis. “Because you deemed it, and I quote, too important for my ‘grubby little hands’.”

As the gentleman’s blood-pressure rose, so did the rapier rise towards the jester. “Balderdash, Fortunato. You just can’t admit that you lost it.”

In the background, a sharp-dressed rat strutted past. Lost in thought, he failed to notice the heated exchange. Likewise, the heated exchange failed to notice him. Fair enough.

---

Despite the frankly dubious instructions, finding the ‘red-haired fella’ proved surprisingly easy. A figure matching the description lounged underneath a palm tree. What luck! ...It also became apparent that ‘huge’ had somehow been an understatement.

Being a man of medicine, the old doctor could tell that humans came in all shapes and sizes. Some folks grew as tall as 21 feet and then some. However, humans did not grow horns...

Richard stopped dead in his tracks. Fear felt like a clump of tar in his throat, which he struggled to gulp down. Well, it was not polite to judge a book by its cover... Perfectly natural, perhaps. Reasonable, even. Oh and smart, he would personally argue. But not polite, which is why he definitely wasn’t doing it right now.

After a long, silent moment of not judging, the rat finally wrestled his worries into submission. He had been promised somebody big... And somebody big he certainly got. With that in mind, he cleared his throat. “Good evening, friend.” Even his voice wore a chipper smile.

Sauntering closer, the gentleman prattled idly. “It’s a wonderful evening, no? Full of opportunity.” As he spoke, it became easier and easier to meld into the mask. “Ah, but where are my manners? I am Saul, Jaguar Saul, archaeologist extraordinaire.” He doffed his hat, lying with practiced ease.

The ‘archeologist’ set his suitcase down with a hefty thud. “And I have a business proposition for a man of your...” He fished for a polite term. ...particular talents. Good enough, he decided. “Interested?” He left a hopeful pause hanging in the air between them.

Words: 635
Total: 1236

________________________________________________________
Wanted Dead or Alive: Richard 'Plague Rat' Maxwell
Doji
[tracker=/t2417-asakura-doji#14975]
Name : Asakura Doji
Epithet : Cemetery Ghoul
Age : 18
Height : 17'7
Weight : 1,777 lb
Species : Human-Giant-Oni Crossbred
Faction : Pirates
Crew : Solo
Ship : Old Sutured Sail
Crew Role : Blind Navigator
Haki Level : 0
Hitpoints (HP) : 143
Attack (ATK) : 80
Defense (DEF) : 25
Reflex (RX) : 60
Willpower (WP) : 85
Level : 1
Experience Points : 100
Berries : [ber] 34,050,000
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Posts : 184
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[Episode] Kind of Cryptic Empty Re: [Episode] Kind of Cryptic

This post has in-line assessment comments.Fri Sep 23, 2022 3:34 am
The thud of Saul’s suitcase against the ground sent a firm tremor through the trunk of the nearby palm tree. The sleeping oni opened one of his vacant eyes and twitched an ear as he tuned in to the man speaking to him, the boy yawned and stretched an arm upwards as he roused from his slumber.

For a brief moment, the monster raised his eyebrow quizically towards the slick figure that had come looking for “his talents.” With better intuition and a bit of curiosity, somebody might think to question Maxwell’s ruse, fortunately for the deceiver, these attributes are in short supply amongst teenagers and Doji proved no exception.

He seems like a friendly and trustworthy guy, I should try to make a good impression… Doji thought to himself, …he already caught me napping, that’s so embarrassing. I have to redeem myself and prove that I’ll be a valuable asset.

The awkward silence between the two was punctuated by the sound of a coconut colliding with a giant oni’s skull. It seems the sly fellow’s courteous introduction had been for naught, the monster’s blind eyes dizzily rolled around his concussed skull; a large red bump swelled from the top of his noggin.

Doji’s plans for an impressive introduction were out the window, a pair of stark white moths fluttered around his head; he’d be seeing stars… if he could see! ビジュアル ギャグ! (Translation: Visual Gag!)

“Archeologist? Yo I need a doctor…” The average person would have died from the impact of that fruit, this monster still clung to consciousness, “... you got business? I’m Doji, whatchu got in mind Jaguar? You seem like a swell little fella!” The giant’s speech was slurred and spoken through a drooling mouth, it seems the first faculties to go were his manners as the large boy couldn’t help but refer to a smaller humanoid diminutively.

Within the Depths of the Archbaron’s Crypt


The sarcophagus’ place in the room was that of a behemoth, its banded marble body, sealed with steel bars, and chained into place; as though somebody feared what might escape from the enormous coffin were it to break free. A viscous globule of crimson ichor dripped from the seam of the box, splattering to the ground and convulsing in place.

The engraved face of the casket grinned eerily within the darkness of the room, its teeth almost seeming to gnash in excitement, its unseeing eyes peering into its own depths like a bottomless abyss.

I can feel myself dying. I can feel myself growing. Somewhere within the depths of the sarcophogus the fragments of a tortured memory were subsumed by the id of a primitive and abominable sentience.

Glinting like a gemstone the deep-purple colored Notice blister scarab skittered along the floor of the tomb. The abundant crimson nectar that leaked from the sarcophogus was lifeblood for these insects; unless investigated too early. As the beetle nibbled at the thick slime it was engulfed by the substance, and despite its struggle, the insect was drowned and consumed by the gluttonous coagulate.

When will I be allowed to end? I must devour everything. The chains holding the box in place groaned, as though some unknown pressure threatened to shatter them.

The sound of canvas sliding against stone filled the chamber as a burlap sack tumbled from a passage in the ceiling, falling to the ground with a wet sickly crack from within. Shortly following the bag of “meat”, a slender hooded figure slid into the room through the chute.

[npc=misc]“You’ll have your fill my liege.”[/npc] The somber boy spoke quietly into the chamber. As he tugged the sack towards the coffin he wondered why his family had been cursed with such a grotesque lot in life. [npc=misc]Servants until the end. Just like great grandmother would have wanted. [/npc]

As Marik climbed to the top of the coffin the grim reality of his chore set in. He hated this thing’s “face.” With trembling hand he inserted a key into the sarcophagus’ forehead, the ancient mechanism grinding into its position, allowing the boy to slide open the “mouth” of the sarcophagus.

Calling the “Archbaron’s” grin toothy would be an understatement, thousands dotted its cavernous maw.

Post Word Count: 696
Total Word Count: 1,323

Beetles:


Last edited by Doji on Tue Oct 18, 2022 9:58 pm; edited 3 times in total
Maxwell
[Episode] Kind of Cryptic Vk6odI4
[tracker=/t139-richard-maxwell#516]
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 : [ber=r] 235,000,000
Quality Score : S+
Income Bonus : +0.20 (to all allies)
Shop Discount : -10%
Berries : [ber] 379,332,375
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[Episode] Kind of Cryptic Empty Re: [Episode] Kind of Cryptic

This post has in-line assessment comments.Sat Sep 24, 2022 11:09 am
As the huge figure stirred, the rat had to fight the urge to step back. Meeting strangers could be stressful, see. Especially when said stranger could be mistaken for a creature that allegedly clubbed people to death and ate their bones... Ah, b-but that was just a baseless rumor, right? Right.

All those lingering worries were promptly smashed by the sound of a coconut crack. The crook winced in sympathy. He could feel a headache coming just looking at that. Still, it proved he had found the right man for the job. A weaker fellow would’ve gotten knocked out. Or knocked dead.

While chatting, another curious detail caught the doctor’s attention. His scrutinizing gaze focused on the man’s features, namely his eyes. Pale and clouded...? They didn’t seem to focus on anything in particular either. Could this fellow be blind, hm...?

Hiding the thoughts behind the pleasant mask, the self-proclaimed archeologist instead seized the chance. “A pleasure, Doji.” He offered a friendly hand for a shake. The gesture was purely for testing his theory. If the giant didn’t react, he would silently withdraw his hand.

Suddenly, ‘Saul’ snapped his fingers, as if with a realization. “Ah and speaking of business, you’re in luck, my friend. I just so happen to have some liniment perfect for bumps and bruises. Never leave the manor without it.” The locks of the suitcase clicked. Glass bottles chimed softly.

The salesman voiced a honeyed offer, dangling a dubious, green flask between his spindly fingers. Sweet and tantalizing. “Might you be interested in buying a bottle for the most affordable price of, shall we say, ten thousand Berries? It’s a steal, you know.” Oh, it was a steal alright... Daylight robbery to be exact.

Blind or not, a friendly smile cost nothing. Even the entrepreneur’s voice carried almost-genuine friendliness. “See, I’m planning a quick expedition to a little burial island just off the coast. Found an intriguing map to the place.” He explained, while waiting to see if the man would take the medicine offer.

‘Saul’s’ shoulders sagged. A defeated sigh escaped his lips. “The thing is, old crypts tend to be blocked off by boulders and such... And honestly, I’m more of a thinker than a lifter...” He whined weakly, before regaining his spirits. “So! I need a big, hearty fellow, such as yourself, to hoist some heavy things for me. In return, we’ll split the findings fairly.” His lips curled into a wicked smile, as he extended the dubious offer.

“How about it, partner?

Words: 420
Total: 1656

________________________________________________________
Wanted Dead or Alive: Richard 'Plague Rat' Maxwell
Doji
[tracker=/t2417-asakura-doji#14975]
Name : Asakura Doji
Epithet : Cemetery Ghoul
Age : 18
Height : 17'7
Weight : 1,777 lb
Species : Human-Giant-Oni Crossbred
Faction : Pirates
Crew : Solo
Ship : Old Sutured Sail
Crew Role : Blind Navigator
Haki Level : 0
Hitpoints (HP) : 143
Attack (ATK) : 80
Defense (DEF) : 25
Reflex (RX) : 60
Willpower (WP) : 85
Level : 1
Experience Points : 100
Berries : [ber] 34,050,000
[[atkt5]][[atkt2]][[deft1]][[wpt1]]
Posts : 184
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[Episode] Kind of Cryptic Empty Re: [Episode] Kind of Cryptic

This post has in-line assessment comments.Sat Sep 24, 2022 9:08 pm
Those clouded pale blue eyes, like perfectly cut jewels for those crafty and exploitative types; the boy could never see the finer details of their schemes. However, astute schemers often noticed that some of the oni’s movements and perception were inexplicable for a blind person. For example, the hand that Doji shot towards Saul for their introduction; the giant’s handshake was all but bone-crushing, perhaps the rumors of man-eating mountain trolls weren’t too far off.

The boy had struggled to maintain his consciousness and sense his surroundings, but he seemed to treat making a good impression with this clearly trustworthy and upstanding gentleman as urgently as he would a duel between warriors. Got him. The boy thought to himself, after all the key to any good introduction is an extremely firm and authoritative handshake.

Where most men saw the world through the photographic lenses of their eyes, Doji understood it through his other senses, of which each was sharply honed through years of training and abuse. The trembling of the earth, the current of the wind, sound, taste, touch; these are the phenomena that formed the foundation of the monster’s worldview. It wasn’t Saul’s gesture itself, rather it was displacement of wind and the vibrations of his movement that keyed Doji into the man’s offering.

“10,000 eh?...” The boy thought to himself, clumsily counting on his slender stake-like fingers, “...Sure!” Doji wasn’t a particularly frugal man, in fact the oni had a nasty habit of spending every bit of wealth he happened upon; after all, what good was money if it wasn’t being put to use? From a foul smelling sack the boy produced a pearl necklace, likely worth at least 15,000 Berri. “Do you think this would cover it? How do you use the stuff? What is it?”

After the deal is struck and medicine applied…

“If you need help cracking a crypt I’m your guy Saul!’ The oni struck a dynamic pose and began stretching his shoulders, “I heard there might be an old burial site around here, but it kinda sounds like an old wives tale. Every time I hear about an island where boys go missing all I find are big cats and wolves...”

An awkward silence filled the air for a moment.

“...I wonder why that is?” This teenager’s naivety was supernatural in itself, “Anyways, you said you had a map, so that actually sounds promising. As long as you can set us off on the right course I can get us into the tomb, hopefully it’s got high ceilings! Do you have any preparations you need before we head out? I’ve got all my stuff over in that ship.” The large oni gestured  towards a nearby boat that seemed far too small for him.

Meanwhile, on the boardwalk…


As the pair of men strode across the planks of Notice’s beachfront Montresor grumpily ignored the tourist town’s extravagant attractions, his partner Fortunato however was entranced, giddily pointing back to one of the amusements, “Come on sir! You really don’t think we have time to take just a single spin on the Ferris wheel?”

“No Fortunato, I don’t, and in fact I think you should be fixing your eyes on the task at hand; we’ll never find the rat if you keep getting distracted!”

“Oh. Okay.” The man looked down dejectedly, like a sad clown.

With a cruel grit and mocking tone to his voice Montresor pointed towards a very drab looking establishment with a simple sign reading “Murphy’s Law.”

“Never hurts to check a tavern eh?” He swung the door open, beckoning his captive audience member to sadly shuffle his way into the shack. As the two made their entrance into the bar the more privileged and fancily dressed of the two strode confidently up to the bar, his broad shoulders swaying with his walk.

“Howdy sir, a glass of your finest rum for myself and one of grog for the sad fellow tailing me. I don’t suppose I could trouble you for a spot of conversation?” The posh dandy was ostensibly polite, but the drinks he ordered spoke to his elitism.

“Hrnk! I ‘spose if ye slip me a tip I could be inclined.” Murphy spoke coyly, despite being a blabbermouth he fancied himself an information broker and always tried to make extra money where he could.

“10,000 Berri. Just tell me…” The wealthy man pulled a neatly folded clump of notes from his pocket to pay the bartender, “...have you seen some rat-faced devil gallivanting around town with a stolen map?”

The bartender paused for a moment, picking a fleck of snot from his nose before speaking. “Well ‘e didn’t say it was stolen, but I ‘spose I have. Said he was lookin’ for some muscle so I pointed ‘im down towards the beach, there’s a big freaky fella down there, I wouldn’t follow after ‘em if I was…”

Murphy’s jabbering was interrupted by Montresor abruptly forcing himself free from his seat at the counter, “You heard the man Fortunato, down at the end of this beach! Moha-ha-ha!” The man threw back his rum, throwing the glass to the ground, and forced his compatriot to down the foul drink that had been foisted upon him.

The two began jogging at a brisk pace down towards the beach, Fortunato struggling to keep pace with his more naturally athletic tormentor. It wouldn’t be long before the dundering duo caught up with the sly fox that had conned them.

Post Word Count: 916
Total Word Count: 2,239


Last edited by Doji on Tue Oct 18, 2022 9:59 pm; edited 1 time in total
Maxwell
[Episode] Kind of Cryptic Vk6odI4
[tracker=/t139-richard-maxwell#516]
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 : [ber=r] 235,000,000
Quality Score : S+
Income Bonus : +0.20 (to all allies)
Shop Discount : -10%
Berries : [ber] 379,332,375
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[Episode] Kind of Cryptic Empty Re: [Episode] Kind of Cryptic

This post has in-line assessment comments.Thu Sep 29, 2022 7:51 am
Hook, line and- OW! Richard was yanked out of his thoughts by the steel grip squishing his hand. Yep, certainly found the muscle he’d been looking for... And the fellow moved a little too sharply to be blind... Rats, that meant he had to pay with real money.

Disappointment didn’t have time to linger though. The rat’s eyes widened at the offered payment. Pearls... The gems of the sea... A cash register went off inside his head. He could pawn that to some vain, old broad for a small fortune! ...After washing off the smell. Eugh.

Grinning like a shark, the shady salesman snatched the necklace. “Deal.” In turn, he handed the flask to the gullible id-erm, valued customer. “Just dab a little bit onto your hand and rub it onto the injury. Works on all manner of bumps, bruises and swelling.” Beneath the wooden cork sloshed viscous ointment. It felt cool to the touch. Slippery. Sort of tingly.

However, despite what some sources might claim, the devious doctor didn’t peddle mere snake oil. Far from it. Once applied, the salve seeped into the skin like water into desert sands. Within moments, the pain numbed. The bump receded almost as quickly as it had sprouted. Even the redness faded. He took pride in his medicine, see.

After dealing and healing...

Richard sneezed. Rubbing his nose idly, he let out a puzzled hum. He didn’t feel like he was coming down with anything... Or rather, his body was too toxic of an environment for the common cold. Must’ve been the beach-side breeze tickling his whiskers.

Oh well, back to business.

The coward’s friendly smile wavered briefly, when the fellow mentioned the lurking dangers. Boys going missing...? As a man of science, he didn’t believe in the supernatural. He did, however, believe in hungry beasts.

‘Saul’ swallowed nervously, trying to banish the clump of fear gathering in his throat. “Erm, well, you look like a capable fellow.” He offered meekly. “I’m sure you can fend off some forest critters, right? Right. Of course you can.” He prattled reassuringly, mostly to himself.

Shelving the worries for now, the self-proclaimed archeologist hoisted his suitcase. “Oh, I’ve already done my preparations. Got my... equipment right here, see.” He gave the trusty luggage a loving pat. The dull thuds resonated softly, like there was something tough beneath the leather.

As soon as the rat saw their boat, however, his smile drooped. He shifted his eyes between the vessel and its owner. Despite wishing otherwise, he somehow got the impression the boy wasn’t kidding. “It’s... erm... cozy.” The compliment was weak and disingenuous. ...Much like the man himself.

More worries were haphazardly tossed onto the imaginary self, as the crook got onto the boat. He dipped a hand between his jacket lapels and fished out a worn down map. “I’m no navigator, admittedly, but I’ve read my fair share of maps...” Muttering beneath his breath, he spread the map open.

It took some humming and mumbling, but soon enough the realization flared like a candle flame. “Got it! That line is unmistakably the northern shore of Notice. So, if we simply follow the shoreline east and then just keep going straight, we should end up right on the island.” Squinting at the scribbles, he voiced another idle mutter. “Wonder why there are all these plus signs around the island...?” ‘No navigator’ indeed.

Turning to the hired hand, ‘Saul’ rolled the map neatly. “Let’s set sail, shall we?” ...Wait, did this dinky little boat even have sails? He glanced around nervously, suddenly finding himself very much out of his element.

Words: 602
Total: 2258

________________________________________________________
Wanted Dead or Alive: Richard 'Plague Rat' Maxwell
Doji
[tracker=/t2417-asakura-doji#14975]
Name : Asakura Doji
Epithet : Cemetery Ghoul
Age : 18
Height : 17'7
Weight : 1,777 lb
Species : Human-Giant-Oni Crossbred
Faction : Pirates
Crew : Solo
Ship : Old Sutured Sail
Crew Role : Blind Navigator
Haki Level : 0
Hitpoints (HP) : 143
Attack (ATK) : 80
Defense (DEF) : 25
Reflex (RX) : 60
Willpower (WP) : 85
Level : 1
Experience Points : 100
Berries : [ber] 34,050,000
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[Episode] Kind of Cryptic Empty Re: [Episode] Kind of Cryptic

This post has in-line assessment comments.Wed Oct 05, 2022 2:18 am
Despite its rickety appearance the Niaochuan was possessed of a “proper” sail, tidily rolled up to the top its main mast. As ‘Saul’ unfurled the map, Doji hauled up the ship’s anchor and unfurled its sail; as the red-haired boy nimbly hopped up onto the boat its hull groaned beneath his weight, and the boat rocked along the waves like a tourist’s surfboard.

The old sutured sail looked more like a senile old woman’s quilting project than proper means of propulsion for a vessel, scraps of canvas hung haphazardly sewn together by knots of bright crimson yarn; the “heart” of this sip had obviously been patched up countless times. As ‘Saul’ was welcomed aboard by his oversized minion a strand of this yarn dangled down like a drop of sanguine rain, fluttering towards his face almost accusatorily; it was as though this sail knew something the boy didn’t and was trying to warn him of the bilgerat he had just welcomed into his home.

“East it is then!” Doji cheered excitedly to his self-evidently virtuous navigator before closing his eyes and falling into an almost meditative stillness. The filtering warmth of the sunlight, the winding current of the wind, the weight of the world holding him from the heavens; they served the boy better than sight alone ever could.

“Feels like it’s about 2 in the afternoon…” the oni turned his hand forwards and back in the air, gauging the position of the sun quite accurately, “...so we head that way and I’d imagine we should get there by nightfall or sooner right?!” And with this Doji pointed eastwards and shoved the ship into motion with what looked to be a large makeshift oar.

But as the two began making their way out to sea, they coudn’t help but hear the pair of men screaming to them from the shore, “Mr. Beans! Don’t think you’ve gotten away from us yet you slimy rat fuck!” Montresor shook his fist in the air and kicked at the sand as he spoke.

“Return the map and we shall consider sparing your life and letting you go on your way sir!” Fortunato screeched with a doubtful squeakiness to his voice.

“Who told you to say that Fortunato?” The ill-tempered man’s ire was distracted from its main source for a moment, turning back to his “compatriot” to bicker, bully, and berate him for his disobedience.  

Doji took his sake from his hip and took a swig before turning to speak to maxwell, still keeping his ear turned to the pursuers’ argument, “So uh, how’d ya come by that map Saul? I thought the thing that differentiated archeologists like yourself, from graverobbers like me was stayin’ on the right side of the law? Not that I’m complaining…”

The red-haired lad held his hand to his mouth to prevent himself from snickering, “...and Mr. Beans? Don’t tell me you packed a bunch ‘a soybeans* on ya to destroy me if things go wrong! Yo-ka-ka-ka-iii!” The blundering fool just cackled, assuming a man of science would resort to such superstitions, and not even thinking to question Richard’s expanding menagerie of aliases.

*Mr.Beans:

Post Word Count: 523
Total Word Count: 2,762


Last edited by Doji on Tue Oct 18, 2022 9:59 pm; edited 1 time in total
Maxwell
[Episode] Kind of Cryptic Vk6odI4
[tracker=/t139-richard-maxwell#516]
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 : [ber=r] 235,000,000
Quality Score : S+
Income Bonus : +0.20 (to all allies)
Shop Discount : -10%
Berries : [ber] 379,332,375
[[bookworm]][[firstaidkit]][[berryprinter]]
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[Episode] Kind of Cryptic Empty Re: [Episode] Kind of Cryptic

This post has in-line assessment comments.Sat Oct 08, 2022 4:02 am
Reluctantly, the rat clambered onto the rickety boat. His worried stare trailed across the small deck, feeding his mind with- “Gah!” The startled crook recoiled from the crimson viper. One hand dipped into his pocket. Something sharp shone in his grasp.

...Oh, just a loose end.

Should really tie those up, you know.

‘Saul’ kept the thought to himself and focused on finding a suitable seat instead. Not near the railing, for starters. His suitcase hit the deck with a creaky thud. He didn’t want to wager whether the sound was normal or worrying. Rather, he leaned against the wall of what seemed like a small storage room. Anything to steady himself, as the boat started swaying. And his insides with it.

As the brave, little boat defied all expectations and headed off, the rat was starting to turn a little... pale. Hastily he dug into his pocket. Various knick-knacks rattled. Soon he popped an odd, little pellet into his mouth. It crunched like a cracker. More importantly, his insides were starting to settle down.

A familiar voice dragged the entrepreneur out of his thoughts. At first, he said nothing. Didn’t even acknowledge it. If he ignored them, maybe they would go away. ...No such luck.

Richard’s polite tone faltered, when his helper started asking dangerous questions... He adjusted his tie out of a nervous habit. “Oh, this thing? Hah... Hahah... See, it’s a funny story, really...” Or it would be, the moment he could figure out a believable one.

Okay, try this on for size...

“Those two are dreadful pirates who loot the vessels trying to reach Notice. In fact, my boat was also caught by them. However, while they were busy rummaging through my food supplies, I sto- rescued this map from their clutches. Evidently they hold some manner of grudge.”

Had things gone differently, the old doctor would’ve made for a decent story-teller. Or a great politician. “So technically, I am still on the right side of the law here. It’s not really theft if the map was already stolen, right? Right.” He lied through his teeth with practiced ease.

A clump of panic got stuck in the liar’s throat, when the boy mentioned his other alias. “Oh, it’s just... Something I told them to throw them off my trail, hah... Hahah... Didn’t quite work out...” Well, that one was pretty much true. He just conveniently forgot to mention what kind of circumstances had led to it. Eh, details weren’t really important, see.

With a flailing hand, the rat waved the matter aside. “Erm, nooo, nothing of the sort, I assure you. No sirree.” Beneath the nervous smile, however, he was cursing his forgetfulness. Beans! Of course! Everyone knew the tale of how these creatures were deathly allergic to them. He should’ve brought beans to banish the beast, if things went wrong...

A far better plan, however, was to bring the beastly boy to the right side. Eager to do exactly that, the entrepreneur rose from his suitcase seat. “Say, friend... It’ll be a while until we reach the island...” The locks clicked. Glass clinked together.

Brandishing a brown bottle, ‘Saul’ also produced two cups. “Care for a drink?” Hiding behind the smile, he tried his hardest to consider this an investment. “Loguetown Brandy, decent vintage too. Keeps one warm in the cold evening wind, you know.” Deftly he poured a cup and offered it like a bribe. The strong scent of booze drifted in the sea wind.

Words: 580
Total: 2838

________________________________________________________
Wanted Dead or Alive: Richard 'Plague Rat' Maxwell
Doji
[tracker=/t2417-asakura-doji#14975]
Name : Asakura Doji
Epithet : Cemetery Ghoul
Age : 18
Height : 17'7
Weight : 1,777 lb
Species : Human-Giant-Oni Crossbred
Faction : Pirates
Crew : Solo
Ship : Old Sutured Sail
Crew Role : Blind Navigator
Haki Level : 0
Hitpoints (HP) : 143
Attack (ATK) : 80
Defense (DEF) : 25
Reflex (RX) : 60
Willpower (WP) : 85
Level : 1
Experience Points : 100
Berries : [ber] 34,050,000
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[Episode] Kind of Cryptic Empty Re: [Episode] Kind of Cryptic

This post has in-line assessment comments.Mon Oct 10, 2022 7:51 pm
“Brandy eh?...” Doji gently picked up the cup between his thumb and forefinger, raising it to his nose to give it a whiff, “...smells like the strength might offset the sweet. This stuff’s probably been around longer than I have.” with his astute observation the 18 year old downed the offered drink in a single exaggerated gulp.

Damn that actually burns, finally something sweet with some fight to it! The oni thought to himself as he savored the booze’s fine notes of infernal flame and asmodean debauchery; in the warped worldview that had been cultivated for the boy, that which wasn’t sufficiently challenging: such as the palatable taste of sweets, was not an acceptable part of a warrior’s training or regime.

“That’s excellent Mr. Saul! You said this is out of Loguetown? Seems like a drink fit for a pirate…” He smiled jovially as he spoke, trailing off and furrowing his brow as he thought more about the spirit’s origin, “...figure this could get a guy over that damn wall of a mountain?” The red-haired oni spoke quite contemptuously of the red line, as though he had some personal grievance with the mass of crimson rock.

“I’m surprised an honest guy like you is gettin’ your booze out of that freebooter’s haven…” Doji was earnest and unassuming in his comment, “... hey what’s it matter which side of the law we’re on, tonight we shared drinks! Oh!”

With his exclamation sitting in the air Doji reached his hand below deck, jimmying around the ship’s hull for some stashed food, “Here, they’re not much, but they’re the best crackers I could steal! Why don’t we break bread? Make it a done deal!” The oni proudly presented a crate filled with salted flatbreads to ‘Saul’ alongside his proclamation.

“All the differences between graverobber and archeologist, let’s throw ‘em away for the night and figure out what’s goin’ on in that crypt! What’s the difference between a righteous man and a wicked one anyways?! Put a vagrant in the shoes of a king and he’ll go mad with the power, put a tyrant in the place of that same tramp and he’ll learn to beg for his next meal!” He threw his hands out dramatically as he mused to the disguised Maxwell, what would the good doctor make of this oversized teenager’s odd philosophy?

Emerging serendipitously from the fog alongside Doji’s proclamation, the form of an island lurched into view, towering over the travelers like a crooked spire. This jagged spine was little more than a worthless mass of rock sent to shatter any ship unlucky enough to crash into it; nonetheless, a small bank of sand formed what looked to be a small beach around the mouth of a cave, it would take a trepidatious and proficient captain to navigate this wreck of a shore. That is unless the blundering blind twit inattentively crashed his precious little ship directly into the rocks.

The stone below raked across the seat of the vessel with a sharp cracking sound, roughly gyrating the ship’s passengers like the furious throws of a rousing leviathan. As the ship plowed its way through the turbulence it began taking on water, more and more pouring into its confines from the now countless breaches in its hull. As the shipwreck skidded to a “gentle” stop against the isle’s sand the grim reality of the situation became clear: the two were stranded, marooned even, on some no-name island with a reputation for devouring anyone foolish enough to venture out to it.

“Well then…” Doji rubbed his hand sheepishly on the back of his neck with an embarrassed expression, “... uh. Maybe we can find enough wood in the crypt to patch things back together for the trip back?” What a farcical grasp at hope; whatever “crypt” was lurking at the end of this crag’s wretched cave was certainly no more than a hoax perpetrated to lure unsuspecting travelers to their doom!

Post Word Count: 658
Total Word Count: 3,420


Last edited by Doji on Tue Oct 18, 2022 9:59 pm; edited 1 time in total
Maxwell
[Episode] Kind of Cryptic Vk6odI4
[tracker=/t139-richard-maxwell#516]
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 : [ber=r] 235,000,000
Quality Score : S+
Income Bonus : +0.20 (to all allies)
Shop Discount : -10%
Berries : [ber] 379,332,375
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[Episode] Kind of Cryptic Empty Re: [Episode] Kind of Cryptic

This post has in-line assessment comments.Sat Oct 15, 2022 10:37 am
Wearing a disarming smile, the entrepreneur handed over a cup while keeping one for himself. “Hah, quite likely.” He agreed, before downing his own drink. Good brandy was like drinking fine smoke. Excellent brandy carried some embers with it as well. This bottle certainly had that lovely heat to it.

Savoring the taste, the traveler let his mind wander. His gaze stared far beyond the horizon, to a distant island down south. In his hazy vision, eyes like gently glowing embers looked back at him. Laughter like a musical instrument, occasionally interrupted by a dorky, little snort, haunted his hearing. In the booze, he could taste the faintest phantom of lipstick and love.

For a brief moment, a genuine smile played on the rat’s features. It lingered even when the fake name dragged him back to reality. “I know, right? Makes you forget your worries.” He poured himself another cup. “Now why would you want to go over it, hm? There’s nothing interesting on the other side. Trust me on that one...” Well, technically he was lying only lightly. Just a little, white lie.

Everyone knew the sea where the truly interesting things were anyway...

Maybe it was the booze, maybe it was the good company, but either way the crook’s usual guard was slipping away. “What can I say? I get around.” He shrugged nonchalantly. “Besides, there’s more to Loguetown. Not everyone who goes there is a pirate, you know.” He reached for some salty snacks to go with the drinks. “Not everyone who leaves is a civilian...” His smile faded with the mutter.

Downing another pleasantly smoky mouthful, the entrepreneur listened to the boy philosophize. He mulled it over briefly, before answering. “You said it yourself, see. Power. That’s the only difference.” Again the cups were filled. He swirled the strong poison idly. “Whoever holds power decides what’s righteous and wicked... Chihihi...” He let out a hollow, little laugh.

Before things could get too philosophical, however, reality came knocking. Richard was thrown backwards like a marionette with snapped strings. He tumbled until he hit a wall, sliding down with a groan. Fortunately, he was not a prideful man. Otherwise this would’ve hurt twice as bad.

Once the rat successfully located his legs -and untangled them-, he picked himself back up. “Land ahoy...” He noted with a sarcastic mutter. Maybe there had been a point to all those weird crosses dotting the map.

Stashing the bottle, ‘Saul’ took a look around. The beach, while eerily quiet, didn’t seem too bad. It wasn’t until his gaze started slowly climbing the crooked spire that color drained from his features. Worse yet, if he were to bet on it... The crypt was somewhere in there...

Fear clung like tar to the rat’s throat. He barely managed to gulp it down. “W-welp, no point in skulking around here.” His shaky hand pointed at the grim cave, which resembled a gaping maw. “Onward, to adventure, glory and... all that...!” He proclaimed with false bravado, while hiding behind his living shield.

---

Meanwhile, in the distance a spyglass blinked curiously. Well, perhaps it was rather the eye peering through it. It watched the sorry little ship, torn and beached. A little twist and the two figures came to focus as well.

“Well? Do you see them?”

Montesor tapped his foot to an impatient rhythm, as he stared up at the mast. His dim-witted ally was taking too long, if you asked him. How hard could it be to keep track of one little ship anyway? He silently swore that if the oafish clown dared to reveal they had lost-

“Yeah, I see them.”

With an acrobat’s grace, Fortunato dropped down onto the deck. He pushed the spyglass flat between his hands and made it disappear. “They hit rocks and got trapped at a beach. Idiots~” His mischievous chime didn’t last long. “...But seriously, we better take the long way around, unless you want the same to happen to us.” He didn’t sound all that concerned. Not his ship, not his problem.

The mustachioed man recoiled at the very idea of his beloved ship getting damaged. “N-no need to rush! They aren’t going anywhere now...” His teeth curled into a cruel little smile. “Crafting an ambush, much like brewing tea, takes both time and finesse. Moha-ha-ha!” Grabbing the wheel, he spun it with calculated precision. The ship, vaguely resembling a huge, horse-drawn carriage, took a new course around the rocks.

Words: 743
Total: 3581

________________________________________________________
Wanted Dead or Alive: Richard 'Plague Rat' Maxwell
Doji
[tracker=/t2417-asakura-doji#14975]
Name : Asakura Doji
Epithet : Cemetery Ghoul
Age : 18
Height : 17'7
Weight : 1,777 lb
Species : Human-Giant-Oni Crossbred
Faction : Pirates
Crew : Solo
Ship : Old Sutured Sail
Crew Role : Blind Navigator
Haki Level : 0
Hitpoints (HP) : 143
Attack (ATK) : 80
Defense (DEF) : 25
Reflex (RX) : 60
Willpower (WP) : 85
Level : 1
Experience Points : 100
Berries : [ber] 34,050,000
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Posts : 184
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[Episode] Kind of Cryptic Empty Re: [Episode] Kind of Cryptic

This post has in-line assessment comments.Tue Oct 18, 2022 10:18 pm

Tomb of Horrors


Countless are the corpses that constitute history, and what is history but something to be forgotten? No matter the cultivations of man, life, civilization, and legacy; all are promised to the great devourer. There were few who still remembered this place, far fewer who graced its halls.

Indeed, for the past ten years, only the errant echoes of Marik’s lonely footsteps had broken the empty silence of the crypt. Is this what a father ought to leave his son? A gluttonous monstrosity and a mountain of his ancestor’s corpses? It seemed that his lot in life was little more than sorting through the rotting journals of his forefathers in search of a discovery that could never be attained.

[npc=misc]Each generation it draws nearer, and one day when we find it…[/npc] The young crypt keeper grit his teeth, [npc=misc]...then we may return to that place from which we were banished, our lord born anew by our lifeblood.[/npc]

For the generations-long length of their exile from Notice, there was only one facet to the life of the accursed clansmen of Mahal: sustaining and perfecting the lifeblood of immortality for their noble lord; experimenting within their lighthouse and venturing off the island only to claim an offspring and return. Such is the nature of progress, iteration, and reiteration cycling themselves ad infinitum; the father shapes the son, the son shapes his father’s legacy, these legacies and inherited wills shape the course of history.

[npc=misc]To claim immortality for the ordinary man, now wouldn’t that be something?[/npc] Marik mused to himself, this treacherous dream had been fermenting within his mind for some time, like a fine wine spoiling to vinegar it burned at him, [npc=misc]Would that really be so bad father? The Baron was denied his nobility, perhaps it is the same for us all.[/npc]

Ascending floor after floor of the bizarre sepulcher Marik made his way through death traps, secret passageways, and treacherous outcroppings of wildlife he made it to the precipice’s entrance; the moist and aging oak door opened almost too eagerly for the young man’s homecoming. Here it was, the “patio” of his family abode: crooked stairs carved into a wet cliff-face standing some 900 feet above sea level; at least the family had never known the nuisance of unwelcome solicitors.

Jutting from the peak, like a middle finger hoisted aloft towards some far-off god, stood the family lighthouse; for centuries this towering monument of aging white cobblestone had stood defunct, but only now amongst the kindling embers of The Great Pirate Era would this upright cigarette begin to burn away; it’s wearing stonework tumbling to the ocean below like windswept ashes. The time where the house Mahal would even have a place to pursue their impossible dream was dwindling to its end.

The faults in the Archbaron’s “Immortality” were like marring stains of dishonor upon the clan's dream, each generation the tapestry of their honor-bound service wore thinner and more frayed; soon there would be nothing left. Only Marik, traitor to his name, remained; well, he and the countless raving journals and dissertations left behind by his forefathers. If there was any scientific merit to this discovery, if it was not the grim ruse that Marik was all but certain it was, then such a thing would be his alone.

The perfected formula, free from the myopic influences of his predecessors; there, in the gleaming silver syringe, sat the traitor’s elixir. Soon, with the help of an ingredient that had been sitting right beneath his family’s nose, it would be complete. Thus would spread the wings of the clan Mahal: the lifebringers, and with this blessing Marik would descend like an angel to grant deliverance.

Back at the Mouth of Madness


“Right! Then let’s crack this bad boy open Saul!” Doji stretched his fingers forwards and rolled his shoulders, taking his companion’s timid rallying cry at face value, “No use crying over wrecked ship, or whatever that expression is; point is, she’s seen worse, if we can find some nails, wood, and something leathery we should be all set! Sorry for the rough landing!”

Always eager to hear of the sea’s many islands, the oni piped up and made a bit of small talk with Saul,“So, there’s more to Loguetown than just the pirates? I guess a lot of people would pass through eh? What was your time there like?”

With a goofy expression plastered across his face the red-haired oni began tromping his way down the mouth of the cave, ducking his head to avoid scraping his horns against the roof. There, at the end of the tunnel stood the first obstacle to the pirates’ plunder: a massive circular slab of stone, sealed to the wall by a rough amalgam of rock, concrete, and salt crystals.

“Oh damn! It smells nice in here!” With this proclamation, the strange boy ran up to the wall and ran his hands along its rough surface; after a moment of deliberation, the boy stuck his tongue out and took a lick of the salt.

“Delicious!” The oni smiled at the “natural” taste of the grimy and dilapidated salt deposit.

“Alright Saul, leave it to me!” After giving his compatriot adequate time to take a step back, Doji set to work chipping away at the stone sealing the crypt shut, striking loose the crystalline and rocky mass with the pointed hilts of his swords. All in all it took the oni just under half an hour to finish chipping away the debris.

“Time for the big reveal! You excited man?!” Doji shouted over toward the ‘archeologist’ as he threw the full weight of his body into twisting loose the sealing slab; with a grumbling discontent, like an old man rousing from a centuries-long slumber, the massive slate was pried from its resting place.

“THOOOMM” the stone fell with a thundering sound, shooting tremors through the earth below, the giant had just narrowly avoided crushing his feet beneath the enormous weight. Now, looming agape like the jaws of a serpent, the crypt was opened; and from within, shrieking and fluttering like the voice of an opera singer, came the flooding of hundreds, if not thousands of bats.

Post Word Count: 1,035
Total Word Count: 4,455
Maxwell
[Episode] Kind of Cryptic Vk6odI4
[tracker=/t139-richard-maxwell#516]
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 : [ber=r] 235,000,000
Quality Score : S+
Income Bonus : +0.20 (to all allies)
Shop Discount : -10%
Berries : [ber] 379,332,375
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[Episode] Kind of Cryptic Empty Re: [Episode] Kind of Cryptic

This post has in-line assessment comments.Sun Oct 23, 2022 4:11 am
Fortunately, the bodyguard was proving to be every bit as stupid brave, as was required to investigate the eerie island. The rat patted himself on the back for the excellent hire. Worth every Berry. ...Which thus far was zero. Exactly the number he intended to keep it at. Of course, he would pay the boy... with experience and exposure. For a beginner, those were even more valuable than money. So the entitled slimeball assured himself anyway.

“R-right b-behind you...”

Cautiously, the cowardly crook tailed behind the ogre boy. His beady, green eyes swept the surroundings carefully. No stranger to snooping in the darkness, he adjusted quickly. The walls were decorated by long lines of crystallized salt. ...Which meant the tide reached this high at regular intervals. Lovely. He could practically hear the imaginary clock start ticking, as the waves splashed in the background.

However, if there was something the talkative criminal appreciated, it was, well, small talk. A welcome distraction. “O-oh, Loguetown is a popular spot for merchants and adventurers too.” His stuttering, wavering voice slowly regained its usual scratchy timbre. “See, the Reverse Mountain is so close that it’s the perfect island to restock before heading over to the Grand Line.” Giving some context was important, see.

Briefly, Richard closed his eyes... And he was back home. Walking down the docks, Melanie’s bar was on the right, next to his old clinic. “It was lovely, really.” He admitted in an unusual bout of honesty. “With so much traffic coming through, you meet all sorts of people. Good, bad, something in between... Never a dull moment, you know. After a long day at work, you could just head to Melanie’s bar for a drink and a chat. Would love to head back there one day.” His musing had a somber edge to it, the side of the story he wasn’t telling.

Well... That was all in the past now.

‘Saul’ snapped back to reality, when he bumped into the boy. ...Only to find him licking the salty wall. Oh great. So this was the kind of help he had hired. He raised a curious brow when the helper pulled out his swords. “Very well then, I’ll leave it to you.” Stepping back, he gave the boy ample room to work.

“Now where was I... Oh yes, Loguetown...”

While the ogre hacked away, the former doctor shared his knowledge of the island. The layout, the people, customs... Some of it was information a law-abiding citizen wouldn’t know, such as the local crime rings. He knew an awful lot about that... And when he was scared, he just couldn’t keep his mouth shut. On the bright side, it helped pass the time.

Once the work was done, the ‘archeologist’ leaned closer to watch the grand reveal. Excitement was beginning to overpower the fear. What would they find? Another corridor was likely, but beyond that... A burial site, perhaps? Or, dare he dream, even a treasure chamber?

With a screech of a thousand demons, the greedy thief instead caught a whole wave of bats. His high-pitched scream was added to the chorus. Arms flailing, he staggered, spun in circles and bashed against the cave walls.

Fear flared again. And this time it was perfectly reasonable! These flying rats were dangerous disease carriers. The spooky little critters were infested with all sorts of parasites, bacteria and worst of all viruses... Even with the bolstered immunity, the doctor had no desire to try his luck against rabies.

In utter panic, the coward turned tail and ran for the exit. Or at least he thought he was doing that. However, navigating while blind was tough for a total amateur. So instead, he ended up charging bravely into the unknown. Gaining an echo from the cavern walls, his panicked shriek could’ve been mistaken for a warcry.

As the blinded coward ran, his leg snagged on something. A thin strand threatened to trip him, only to promptly snap. The loose end vanished up the wall into the ceiling. A strange rattling sound followed, like a chain being rapidly dragged down by something heavy. Something very heavy...

Words: 688
Total: 4269

________________________________________________________
Wanted Dead or Alive: Richard 'Plague Rat' Maxwell
Doji
[tracker=/t2417-asakura-doji#14975]
Name : Asakura Doji
Epithet : Cemetery Ghoul
Age : 18
Height : 17'7
Weight : 1,777 lb
Species : Human-Giant-Oni Crossbred
Faction : Pirates
Crew : Solo
Ship : Old Sutured Sail
Crew Role : Blind Navigator
Haki Level : 0
Hitpoints (HP) : 143
Attack (ATK) : 80
Defense (DEF) : 25
Reflex (RX) : 60
Willpower (WP) : 85
Level : 1
Experience Points : 100
Berries : [ber] 34,050,000
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[Episode] Kind of Cryptic Empty Re: [Episode] Kind of Cryptic

This post has in-line assessment comments.Mon Oct 24, 2022 9:20 pm
Somewhere in the stone ceiling above a mechanism fell into place with a resounding click, and with it came the sound of massive and decrepit old gears grinding to life. As Doji rushed in to follow after ‘Saul’’s intrepid entrance the nature of the first booby trap made itself apparent: rumbling beneath the weight of the mountain the ceiling began closing in.

The oni couldn’t tell what was going on at first, it felt as though the world around him was beginning to collapse into ruin, but nonetheless the solid ground of Doji and Saul’s upward incline remained. It was only when his horns began grinding against the lowering roof that the issue pressed itself against him; breaking out into a hunched scramble the boy tried to keep pace with his fearless leader.

It wasn’t long before another trap was sprung against the pair, as the gears surrounding the hallway rotated a number of openings emerged in the walls’ brickwork; and with a heavy clank, a thick and rusty iron spear made its way straight for the chest of one ‘Jaguar D. Saul.’ Perhaps it was only in the nature of ‘archeologists’ to meet these sorts of gruesome ends.

But it certainly isn’t in the interest of a warrior to see those around them die in such mundane and meaningless fashion; throwing himself towards the foul mechanism the oni hooked onto it with curved blades. What would win? The longstanding monolith and its gnashing teeth of traditional artifice? Or the rōnin, a warrior from a foreign land who has come to impress his willful ambitions upon such stagnation?

With the twisting of the giant’s dense and heavy musculature the stone wall surrounding the mechanism began to crumble at its seams. The thick metal barb would now be made to reckon with the unfettered sharpness of the monastery’s edges; these curved swords, melted from the weapons of passed martial artists, would not see their will broken by such a crude and honorless implement.

The sound of wrenching metal and caving rubble filled the air as the rusted apparatus was hauled from its seat and thrown downwards, clanking down the incline towards the crypt’s mouth, “♫Phwyo-whyoo! Careful Saul-san! These places are always packed up to the brim with booby traps!” The oni whistled cheerfully as he gloated about his lifesaving intrusion; the boy wouldn’t have long to brag before the ceiling took him down a peg, tamping the tall brute further and further towards the encroaching floor.

“Gyah! Get me outta this sushi press! I don’t wanna be oni-nigiri!”Scrambling upon hands and knees the oni quite fortuitously blundered his way past the remainder of the spike traps; the advantages of letting a blind and foolhardy giant of a teenager lead the way through the death trap made themselves as obvious as the locations of the traps on the walls.

“Come on Mr. Saul! I still wanna hear more about Loguetown and all those yakuza! I don’t think things are quite as chaotic up here, or at least I haven’t managed to spring anything yet!” Doji hollered down towards the archeologist from atop his seeming safehaven, a faint echo bounced along with the boy’s voice.

Unseen by the tittering troll was the true grandeur of the tomb that surrounded him: it was an expansive hall, and though its marble was beginning to fray into ruin, this ‘immortal’ resting place was surely constructed by masterful stonemasons. This massive place was home to those lowest in the spire’s caste: the dead of the family Mahal, judging by the number of coffins the family’s progeny obviously had some success.

Like the stepped face of a humble pyramid the stairway leading up from this burial hall loomed at its far end. Etched upon its surface, like the graven image of a heathen god, loomed the massive stone-carving depicting that beast which the accursed family had sworn fealty to. The man in the carving was the spitting image of royalty, adorned with crown, cape, and rod to prove it. With a prideful expression the graven man graciously extended a goblet down to his servants, a wretched lot who seemed to lap ravenously at this noble’s font of life.

Post Word Count: 701
Total Word Count: 5,156
Maxwell
[Episode] Kind of Cryptic Vk6odI4
[tracker=/t139-richard-maxwell#516]
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 : [ber=r] 235,000,000
Quality Score : S+
Income Bonus : +0.20 (to all allies)
Shop Discount : -10%
Berries : [ber] 379,332,375
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[Episode] Kind of Cryptic Empty Re: [Episode] Kind of Cryptic

This post has in-line assessment comments.Wed Oct 26, 2022 6:53 am
With a lot of panicked clawing, Richard managed to pry the flapping rats from his face. ...Only to find himself staring at the business end of a spear. Adrenaline filled his skull like liquid lightning. Yet his limbs felt like led, refusing to budge. Even his scream got stuck halfway into his throat.

In the nick of time, the bodyguard charged to the rescue. Iron clashed against steel with a shower of sparks. As in all combat, the weaker side had to yield. Metal whined and stone cried. Somewhere in the cacophony rang the voice of a boy far too cocky, considering the lethal circumstances

Finally, the rat realized to reel in his jaw, which had been stuck open since his failed scream. “And now you tell me!” Nobody had told him that the crypt would have death traps! Why did this place have death traps??? Hesitantly, he glanced at the exit behind them. Maybe he could still make it, if he ran... But what about the rising water...?

Ultimately, it was the awful, awful pun that dragged the crook’s attention back onto the boy. “Ah yes, jokes... That’s what this situation was missing...” His sarcastic squeaking was nearly swallowed by the rumbling. Shaking off the last bat that had mistaken him for a perch, he hurried after the living battering ram.

Playing it safe, the coward took much longer to get through the gauntlet of terror. Spears stabbed at the air, arrows whizzed past, one section of the floor collapsed... He was barely scampering away from each trap as they triggered. His bodyguard’s eager encouragement was not helping.

During the last stretch, even the rat had to hunch down, as the ceiling threatened his hat. He barely made it through, before the hallway turned into a crawlspace. The path shut behind them with a reverberating thunk.

‘Saul’ stopped to catch his wheezing breath. Hands on knees and eyes on the floor, he trembled weakly. Close. Too close. He really should’ve started doing cardio... Or at least stopped smoking... Funny how often he gave that exact advice to his patients, yet couldn’t follow it himself.

“S-so... what was that about... not as... chao.. tic...?”

The so-called archeologist slowly trailed off, as his gaze drifted along the hall. His widening eyes greedily drank in every detail. The carvings sent a tingle down his spine... Not of fear, mind you. No, his beady, green eyes were only seeing Berry signs. Whoever built this place had to be absolutely loaded. Like those rulers of ancient Alabastan myths.

...Hold that thought.

Suddenly, a faint movement caught the doctor’s attention. Something tiny skittered across the floor, between the numerous coffins. Without a word, he stalked after it. Slowly. Slyly. Reminiscent of a coiling snake, he inched closer... And suddenly struck. His hand lashed out like a viper, pinching fingers acting as the mouth. Then... Silence.

Crouched down, the rat studied his wriggling prey closely. Six legs, hard carapace, peculiar coloration... An eerie grin crept across his lips. “Well, hello there... Aren’t you a rare sight?” See, ever since he had met this terrifyingly powerful little girl who was very enthusiastic about beetles, he had been doing his own research. Insects could be ground into medicinal powder, you know. Not exactly a secret. But some insects were rarer than others.

And this little beauty, the Corpse Beetle, was one of the rarest.

The hefty suitcase opened its maw with a click. Glass chimed, something scratched against the sheer surface softly... And pop, a cork sealed it inside. The scientist stopped to admire his first specimen. With insects, finding one meant many more were hiding somewhere...

Richard’s fear and self-preservation instinct both suggested that he should try to find an escape route first. His greed promptly smothered them. Stuffing the rare find into the suitcase, he turned to his bodyguard. “You were right, my friend. This place isn’t quite as chaotic.” He mused, sounding very pleased all of a sudden.

The so-called archeologist’s gaze swept the coffins. This was probably a good chance to say something archeological, to keep up the ruse. “If I were a betting man, I would say this is some manner of mass grave... For people who weren’t quite important enough to have their own, private resting place... Peasants, essentially.” Granted, his knowledge came from how the dead were treated during plagues and pandemics. This wasn’t quite the same. Didn’t have the same sense of forlorn disorder.

‘Saul’ glanced up at the creepy carving ahead. Sadly, his fear was still on an extended break, because all he saw was the crown and the scepter. “And I've got a hunch that the ruler is buried somewhere up ahead...” His lips curled into a sinister, little smile that seeped even into his voice. “I wonder if the custom was to bury the ruler with his, hm, symbols of power... Only one way to find out, eh? His legs seemed to think so at least, leading him towards the staircase.

Words: 834
Total: 5103

________________________________________________________
Wanted Dead or Alive: Richard 'Plague Rat' Maxwell
Doji
[tracker=/t2417-asakura-doji#14975]
Name : Asakura Doji
Epithet : Cemetery Ghoul
Age : 18
Height : 17'7
Weight : 1,777 lb
Species : Human-Giant-Oni Crossbred
Faction : Pirates
Crew : Solo
Ship : Old Sutured Sail
Crew Role : Blind Navigator
Haki Level : 0
Hitpoints (HP) : 143
Attack (ATK) : 80
Defense (DEF) : 25
Reflex (RX) : 60
Willpower (WP) : 85
Level : 1
Experience Points : 100
Berries : [ber] 34,050,000
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[Episode] Kind of Cryptic Empty Re: [Episode] Kind of Cryptic

This post has in-line assessment comments.Sun Oct 30, 2022 3:10 am
“Good bet Saul! Little folks who think themselves important love to be entombed with their earthly belongings, it’s so egoistic; not to say I don’t find it useful, but I don’t understand the impulse. The only thing a dead man does when he rots away with his spoils is deprive the world of his glory; everything and everybody you touch this world is an inheritor of your spirit, a windswept leaf whose course is set by the influence of your gentle breeze!” The oni stumbled a bit further ahead of Maxwell, excited to share a crypt with a fellow delver. Doji always felt at home in these places, free to speak his mind to any who would listen; usually he didn’t have such lively company!

“Yo! Speaking of which…” Doji kicked off his shoes and tucked them into his bag, scolding himself internally for having not done so upon entering, “...there we go! Now we’re welcome in their home, that’s how it works!” With a bastard’s grin plastered across his effeminate face the miscreant youth began poking around at some of the lower class sarcophagi.

“You’d be surprised at what you can find in these places, even amongst the commoners; hell even if they don’t have much, it seems like they cling to what they do have wherever they can, even if it’s six-feet under when it should be gettin’ put to use by their kids…” the oni crouched over to trace the inscriptions engraved upon the boxes, “...Hmm. This isn’t a language I recognize, the characters seem similar to the ones folks use up here; if I had to guess these are all members of the Myhall family, what a creative namesake,” the boy closed his eyes and grinned smugly as he popped one of the coffins open.

Like a vengeful spirit unleashing its retribution the plume of foul, ancient, and rotten-smelling particulate matter engulfed the intruder’s face; seeping into his air supply like a miasma, the pathogen of Odion Mahal’s mummified remains infected Doji, “Yakhoo! Khoukh!” The oversized lad began hacking up a lung, fleeing from the cloud and promptly slavering out phlegmy globules alongside his coughing fit. The red-haired giant was brought to his knees by this, a commoner, and a dead one no less; it is true that there is only one place where all are equal.

But this curse would not be the death of Doji, at least not yet. With reddened and teary-eyes the boy stood back up, a sickened bubble hanging from his nose, “Don’t worry M–yeukh! Mister Saul…” the boy looked up sheepishly, his hardy constitution had always served him well against the perils of graverobbing, “...I’ll be good in no time! Whyookh!”

Unbeknownst to at least one of our adventurers, but perhaps obvious to one with a medical background, is the fact that the lad would not be “good in no time.” Inhaling the rotting residuals of a crumbled corpse tends to have that effect on people; and that wasn’t all there was to the curse of the Mahal…

Haphazardly bumbling down the hallway Doji spoke down to ‘Sual’ with the deference of a miserable wretch in need of direction, “Yheukh! I shoulda just stayed the course with you sir. Straight up to the royal vaults it i–yheakh!” With a hacking cough the boy stumbles and trips himself down directly onto a rather odd tile on the floor; one that gave way beneath his weight, clicking into the floor all too happily.

Within the ceiling timeworn mechanisms began clunking and grinding into place; the sound of something enormous rolling around above them was obvious, and unsettlingly familiar, to the duo of intrepid explorers. At least for the moment this roof wasn’t closing in. Nonetheless, what did come from on high was arguably worse; smashing into the floor below it came a heavy orb of steel 12 feet in diameter, for a moment it sat looming unmoving at the top of the staircase. Then, with a strange scuttling sound from within, the ball began rolling of its own volition; bouncing down each step with a sharp clank.

As the orb reached the bottom step Doji was able to stand back to his feet, resting a single hand against his knee he took a laborious breath as he raised one of his swords, “Whyook– Hey if it’s anything like those spikes then this’ll be a piece ‘a ca-yeakh!” With its target set, the orb began rolling towards the oni, the scuttling within intensifying as the strange sphere drew nearer.

The swordsman stood wearily, and attempted to hold his ground, throwing a slash towards the deadly artifice and expecting it to give way as it’s predecessors had. No such luck, It’s steel? Doji thought grudgingly to himself as he narrowly avoided the metallic boulder’s path of destruction by steering it away with his sword.

Understand this Doji, there is nothing that a true swordsman cannot cut; that is what it means to cut nothing. Breathe and become at one with nothing, with your blade limber and unexpectant, this is the sword that cuts steel child, the giant-oni recalled his mother’s training, the acclaimed swordswoman would impart this, and many other advanced principles of kenjutsu to her witless child of a student; whatever stuck in the red-mop headed boy’s brain was between him and the kami.

With a sharp series of inhales the oni started gathering his breath, at one with nothing he would slice this bizarre contraption in half; but it was all for naught, for at this moment Asakura Doji was one with something: the accursed legacy of the Mahal. With a loud cough the monstrous lad expelled the air he had fought so hard to claim for himself, it was no good; without proper breathing technique there was no way he could fight off the boulder heading back towards him.

Meanwhile, on the Beach of Spirecrag


“What good luck eh sir? This ship really is destroyed~” Fortunato, made his way merrily down towards the end of the beach, following after the oversized tabi-print that had been left in the sand.

“It would have been better were their cargo hold not soaked, but I suppose so Fortunato…” Montresor began surveying the beach, poking his head inquisitively into the cave’s mouth, “...we’ve certainly got some good fortune. It seems that this is the only way in or out of the place.”

“Ooh, which means we don’t even have to follow them in! We can just stake out here, and if they don’t return after a few days then the problem has taken care of itself~! Plus they’ll probably have triggered some of the traps in there for us,” the jesterly foil spoke eagerly to his cruel leader.

Montresor clobbered his compatriot’s back with his meaty palm, just hard enough to leave a lasting sting, “You took the words right out of my mouth old boy! I rather suppose we can craft up some sort of rock trap for that giant, and then take care of the rat the old fashioned way!” With his proclamation the well-dressed fellow drew his saber from its scabbard, fancily brandishing the weapon’s keen edge.

“Yes! Excellent plan sir! I’ll begin assembling camp, and then we can set about or work preparing for that horned freak~” the “happy” little fool traipsed his way back to the duo’s ship, eager to enjoy some reprieve from his boss’ ire in the excitement of the stakeout.

The red thread of Old Sutured Sail fluttered in the wind, pointing from the shipwreck’s remains towards the boy’s would-be assassins with an accusatory tension. The red omen rose in an updraft, pointing to its master above, as though desperately wishing it could warn him of the impending danger. But alas, without the wind at its sails the all-too lucky strand of string was stuck.

Post Word Count: 1,308
Total Word Count: 6,464
Maxwell
[Episode] Kind of Cryptic Vk6odI4
[tracker=/t139-richard-maxwell#516]
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 : [ber=r] 235,000,000
Quality Score : S+
Income Bonus : +0.20 (to all allies)
Shop Discount : -10%
Berries : [ber] 379,332,375
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[Episode] Kind of Cryptic Empty Re: [Episode] Kind of Cryptic

This post has in-line assessment comments.Sat Nov 05, 2022 7:59 am
In all honesty, the greedy entrepreneur hadn’t been expecting such deep musings from his huge helper. Stranger yet, he found himself agreeing. “Right you are, young man. No point in hoarding treasures to your tomb, you can’t take them with you...” Which made it perfectly okay for him, a living person, to ste-rescue them instead, right? Right.

The rat stopped before the staircase to peer curiously at his friend. “Myhall...?” He asked in quite the most un-archeologist of ways. History and myths had never been his strong suit, aside from one particular exception concerning an ancient writing method... But saying that out loud was a good way to end up with a Government death squad after you.

‘Saul’s eyes widened, when Doji went to open one of the graves. “Hold on, what are you-?” Too late. He pinched the bridge of his nose and slowly counted to ten. Seems he had given his excited friend a little too much credit earlier...

Something in the old doctor’s memories stirred, as he watched the symptoms develop. Coughing, breathing difficulties, globs of discolored phlegm... It was obvious that the boy would not be fine. This entire place was an infection waiting to happen. Lung or otherwise. Nasty business, best treated as soon as possible...

Buuut antibiotics were expensive...

Ehhh, it would be fine, right? Right.

The stingy crook was yanked back to reality by a set of sounds he did not like. Not one bit. Cold sweat painted beads on his brow. Reluctantly he glanced towards the racket, only to find exactly what he feared... Another trap. Fantastic.

While the young monster stood his ground, the coward dove for cover. He peered from behind the coffin, expecting, hoping to see results... Instead, he saw the impossible happen. ...No, not the deflection. That was within the scope of expectations. More harrowingly, he saw the damned ball turn around. The thing moved like it was possessed.

Okay, new plan!

Finally, the fear of death wrestled the wheel away from greed. The petty thief was gone and in his place was the doctor. They may have looked identical, but beneath the surface the difference was drastic. He dug into his pocket with practiced swiftness. His fingers slipped against smooth glass. Each searching touch was a ‘no’, until the correct vial presented itself.

A needle pierced the flesh. Red liquid drained. Richard’s breathing hitched. Power overwhelming filled his veins. His muscles bulged, straining against the fine fabric of his suit. An eerie grin tugged at his lips. Laughter threatened to erupt from his throat. He felt like a fishman underwater. It was intoxicating.

Suddenly, the rat rushed out of hiding. His newfound strength wouldn’t be enough to stop the orb... Let alone destroy it... But it was plenty enough to hoist a two-thousand-pound boy like a potato sack.

Upon reaching the boy, Richard tried to drag him out of the orb’s way, preferably behind some cover. Precious seconds were ticking away a little too quickly for his liking. “Hold still, would you? You may feel a little prick.” The rat told the ogre. Indeed, if the boy did hold still for a moment, he would feel a long needle sinking into his flesh briefly...

Followed by a surge of strength.

However, the strength it brought wasn’t rippling muscle or immense speed. Rather, it was an invigorating, purifying rush radiating from the injection spot. Natural recovery speed was pushed to its limits... And then well beyond that. The inhaled infection was violently forced out as a single clump of mucus. Afterwards, the warrior would breathe a whole lot easier for a while.

Words: 604
Total: 5707


________________________________________________________
Wanted Dead or Alive: Richard 'Plague Rat' Maxwell
Doji
[tracker=/t2417-asakura-doji#14975]
Name : Asakura Doji
Epithet : Cemetery Ghoul
Age : 18
Height : 17'7
Weight : 1,777 lb
Species : Human-Giant-Oni Crossbred
Faction : Pirates
Crew : Solo
Ship : Old Sutured Sail
Crew Role : Blind Navigator
Haki Level : 0
Hitpoints (HP) : 143
Attack (ATK) : 80
Defense (DEF) : 25
Reflex (RX) : 60
Willpower (WP) : 85
Level : 1
Experience Points : 100
Berries : [ber] 34,050,000
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Posts : 184
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[Episode] Kind of Cryptic Empty Re: [Episode] Kind of Cryptic

This post has in-line assessment comments.Mon Nov 14, 2022 1:02 am
The healing dose coursed through the oni’s veins like a rush of adrenaline, instantly liberating him from the rotten curse; the question of who would ultimately prevail between Maxwell’s medicine and the Mahal’s malady remained, but for the moment Doji was breathing easy. With a sharp inhale the boy sprung back to his feet, before furrowing his brow and turning his face towards the doctor, “damn! You’re stronger than you let on Mr. Saul! I don’t think anybody’s snatched me up like that since I was a kid!”

Once more, the wind was on the boy’s side; though the crypt air was damp and stagnant, so long as it was breathable it would serve as adequate fuel for the devil’s flame, “You ready to see what’s really in this place Saul?...” the swordsman spoke calmly and quietly as he readied his hooks.

As the boulder clattered towards ‘Saul’ and Doji the stone beneath them trembled, as though threatening to give way beneath the weight of the massive thing. Looming above them like a shining zenith the ominous orb rolled in for the kill.

“... 二刀流 「居合」 黄泉比良坂   Nitōryū Iai: Yomotsu Hirasaka (Two Sword Style Draw: Slope into the Underworld)!” A bastardized version of the two-sword school’s Rashōmon, reliant more upon the troll’s raw strength than any true skill; even cutting steel could come easily to those born with prodigious strength.

But power alone is never the sole deciding factor in battle, preparedness, ingenuity, strategy; with sufficient measure in any of these qualities an opponent who relies on sheer force alone can be overcome; and unfortunately for Doji, the orb was a marvel of all such qualities. As the Oni’s attack came careening towards the artifice, it protected itself; sturdy mechanical limbs protruded from paneling on the sphere’s sides, and with the sharp sound of grinding gears the machinery stopped the oni’s blades dead in their tracks.

“What the?!” The red-head was stunned, how could his strength be matched so easily? This wasn’t even a living opponent, was he truly a lesser to some inanimate marble?

The boy tried to wrest his weapons free from the automaton; no luck, quite the contrary in fact: between the gear’s cold metallic teeth one of the boy’s hooks was shattered at its end, and the other thrown to the far end of the room, “Damn it!” Doji growled as he threw his remaining weapon aside, and braced for the rolling calamity’s impact.

Catching the boulder between the width of his arms the giant-oni attempted to stand his ground, “Jaguar D. Saul! You’re strong! Stronger than I am! Yrghh…” Doji grunted as he held himself off from being flattened for a moment longer, “...help me! If ya don’t wanna be a pancake, then help me rip this thing apart!” The son of giants cried down to the rattish-whiskered man for help in this Sisyphean task, his voice raw with the desperation and fury of a warrior making his final stand.

Meanwhile, Marik machinates on the now evident intrusion…


Long and historic is the rivalry between cryptkeepers and graverobbers, for as long as men have sought to retain their possessions after death there have been thieves honorless enough to try to claim such loot. The Mahals were astute in the construction of their master’s tomb, having learned from the mistakes of their forebearers the clan was able to create a more sophisticated series of defenses.

As Marik worked in his laboratory he was interrupted by the clangorous echoes of the house’s alarm bells, [npc=misc]Orbweaver released? That’s odd. We haven’t had visitors in some time, usually they can’t get past the ramp anyways…”[/npc] the hermit quietly mulled the situation over in his head before again his concentration was put to a halt; from deep beneath the peak sound and tremor of an enormous impact resonated decisively, [npc=misc]“...something is going on down there. Fear not precious elixir, I will return to you shortly,”[/npc] with this Marik set aside his work, grabbed his weaponry, and headed down towards the Archbaron’s “throne room.”

Post Word Count: 661
Total Word Count: 7,125
Maxwell
[Episode] Kind of Cryptic Vk6odI4
[tracker=/t139-richard-maxwell#516]
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 : [ber=r] 235,000,000
Quality Score : S+
Income Bonus : +0.20 (to all allies)
Shop Discount : -10%
Berries : [ber] 379,332,375
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[Episode] Kind of Cryptic Empty Re: [Episode] Kind of Cryptic

This post has in-line assessment comments.Thu Nov 17, 2022 8:21 am
Much like a social smoker on a break, Richard allowed himself a relieved breath as soon as his friend had one too. One less problem. For now. His flighty gaze darted around the room, bouncing between the coffins. Next, they needed to find a safe route and... run... away...? His train of thought ran out of steam just before the station when his stubborn friend voiced his odd question. “N-not really, no...” His squeak came out quiet and reluctant. The rumbling squished the protest.

As if things couldn’t get any worse, the youth suddenly started reciting something that sounded like a foreign poem to the old crook. Neatosaywhatnow? By now, he had plenty of reason to believe that the young man had lost his mind.

And then things got even worse.

Scampering backwards, the coward bumped into a coffin. Panic painted his features pale white. “I-it has... claws...? Why does it have claws...?!” Disbelief rattled his raspy voice. Running was seeming more enticing by the moment. All limbs in favor trembled in fear.

However, the ogre boy’s desperate shout sparked hesitation in the thief’s little, blackened heart. It was tempting to flee, but... Then what? He would buy a couple of minutes at most. And his steroids wouldn’t last much longer than that. Why, he’d be stuck in this creepy crypt. Alone. Without enhanced strength. Or a meatshield.

Not much of a choice, was it?

Over the years, the crook had picked up one handy skill for a wanted man... Sabotage. Folks who were prideful enough to twist the act into a title would insist there was a certain kind of finesse to the art. They were, of course, wrong. All you needed was a personal grudge against the object that you’d rather not see working anymore. The rest could be improvised.

Thus the suitcase locks clicked open and the rat burrowed into its depths with desperate fervor. When he pulled out, he was cradling a collection of colorful flasks. “Duck!” He managed to blurt. With all the finesse of a waitress tripping over a carpet, he flung the entire armful at the offending orb.

Glass shattered. Liquids splashed. One puddle turned viscous, clinging to metal and stone with the intensity of a jealous tax collector. Stopped the wrecking ball dead on its tracks. Some stains started sinking into the shiny surface with a sinister sizzle. A couple of flasks were leaking on the floor, their insides vaporizing. Foul fumes gnawed at the machine’s limbs, leaving them brown with spreading rust.

“Now! Tear it down!”

With the fearful war cry, the chemist grabbed his heavily reinforced suitcase with both hands and took a swing at the troublesome trap. Another. A third. And so forth. The sound resembled a hammer meeting an anvil. Each impact left a deep dent.

However, the unnervingly intelligent orb refused to simply sit there and take it. One of the mechanical limbs suddenly snatched the suitcase from the flailing crook’s clutches. ...A terrible mistake, really. Again, the switch was flipped. Not from fight to flight or vice versa, no. This time the switch went sideways. Richard’s eyes widened, following his precious suitcase with odd intensity. His chemically charged muscles coiled...

Suddenly, the entire wrecking ball shuddered from the force of a violent yank. Metal screamed in agony, as the supernaturally buff thief stole his luggage back... Along with the entire limb holding it. The luggage was kept, while the limb was hastily tossed at the ogre. “Here, swing this!” It was the only warning the blind boy got, before the rigid claw threatened to smack him.

Still lost in the throes of the powerful potion, the chemist went back to wailing on the trap. He wasn’t very eager to stop before he could be sure this thing wouldn’t be moving anymore... Even if that meant bashing the thing into a metal raisin.

Words: 646
Total: 6353

________________________________________________________
Wanted Dead or Alive: Richard 'Plague Rat' Maxwell
Doji
[tracker=/t2417-asakura-doji#14975]
Name : Asakura Doji
Epithet : Cemetery Ghoul
Age : 18
Height : 17'7
Weight : 1,777 lb
Species : Human-Giant-Oni Crossbred
Faction : Pirates
Crew : Solo
Ship : Old Sutured Sail
Crew Role : Blind Navigator
Haki Level : 0
Hitpoints (HP) : 143
Attack (ATK) : 80
Defense (DEF) : 25
Reflex (RX) : 60
Willpower (WP) : 85
Level : 1
Experience Points : 100
Berries : [ber] 34,050,000
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Posts : 184
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[Episode] Kind of Cryptic Empty Re: [Episode] Kind of Cryptic

This post has in-line assessment comments.Sat Nov 19, 2022 5:34 pm
“Got it!” With Saul’s command issued the loyal henchmen swung the automaton’s severed limb into it like the paddle of some primitive ball-bearing game. With a hefty thud the wearing machine was thrown loose from beneath the feet of its dapper attacker, tumbling uncontrollably throughout the tomb’s confines like a pachinko ball bouncing off of countless pegs.

In short order, the machine was thoroughly dismantled and condemned to its miserable fate: never to roll over an unwitting adventurer again. Finally the intrepid explorers were free to make their way up to the crypt’s “throne room;” with the obstacle out of the way the wanderlusting giant was all too happy to lead the way.

“Yeesh! What the hell was that thing?...”  Doji inquired over to Maxwell with an exhausted sigh, “... I mean it’s scrap metal now; but still, who builds that kinda thing? I’ve seen plenty a’ rock traps, but I ain’t ever seen a rock that could move around on its own like that,” the oni idly kicked a bit of rubble from the stairway as he began the long ascent upwards.

“Anyways, what was it that we were after again? Gold? Jewels? Maybe some fancy old sword?” The mission’s target had skipped the overgrown boy’s mind almost entirely, in truth he was just enjoying his brief foray into archeology, happy that he’d managed not to upset his kind, studious, and dutiful new mentor.

As the pair of explorers chatted onwards they eventually made their way up to the end of the stairs. Standing before them: one final door, inscribed with the image of a tree’s roots wrapping around skeletons, “You ready?” Doji asked simply, rearing his leg up for a kick.

Meanwhile, in the Archbaron’s throne room…


It was a shame to return to the noble’s chambers so soon after his last feeding, Marik loathed this room and the master who had demanded such loyal service from his family for so long. It couldn’t be helped, even more valuable than his treasured possession was the “man” himself; what his ancestors saw as a figure worthy of worship, Marik saw only as a valuable test subject.

[npc=misc]“Seems we have visitors. It’s been some time, hasn’t it Emta?”[/npc] Marik asked contemptuously of his liege, tracing his right thumb over the length of the oversized syringe in his left hand. It was rare that the cryptkeeper scientist was given opportunities to test his elixir, finally: another prime opportunity had presented itself; a bit for the old man, and a bit for his unwanted guests, this way he could document his progress with a prior recipient, and with a control.

[npc=misc]“Rather promising new meat it sounds like too…”[/npc] Marik mused, sitting atop the Sarcophagus as the sound of heavy footsteps made their way up towards the nearby door, [npc=misc]“... I suppose a large enough fellow would be able to deal with Orbweaver wouldn’t he. But it should be a good refresher for your food stores shouldn’t it, my liege?” [/npc]

A cruel grin spread across the white-haired man’s face as he heard his prey draw near, [npc=misc]“you’re ready too then aren’t you old-timer?...”[/npc] Marik pondered as he procured the sarcophagus’ key from his pouch, [npc=misc]“...let’s see that pretty face again,”[/npc] alongside his smug remarks the scientist squirted a bit of residual liquid from the end of his syringe.

“THOOM!” The heavy stone doors flew loose, skidding and grinding across the throne room’s floor to the sarcophagus’ foot. In truth, it didn’t matter whether or not ‘Saul’ had proclaimed himself ready for the horror lying behind the door; his reckless and impetuous young assistant was already set on kicking in that goddamn door.

Another breath of fresh air? Let us feast. Let that which you call “immortality” course through the veins of another.

Post Word Count: 627
Total Word Count: 7,752
Maxwell
[Episode] Kind of Cryptic Vk6odI4
[tracker=/t139-richard-maxwell#516]
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 : [ber=r] 235,000,000
Quality Score : S+
Income Bonus : +0.20 (to all allies)
Shop Discount : -10%
Berries : [ber] 379,332,375
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[Episode] Kind of Cryptic Empty Re: [Episode] Kind of Cryptic

This post has in-line assessment comments.Tue Nov 22, 2022 10:22 am
Wheezing like a deflating tire, the chainsmoker finally dared to stop swinging his improvised club. He still clutched the handle with anxious intensity. If any part of that metal raisin so much as twitched, he would lose what little composure he had left. Fortunately, it seemed as dead as everything else in this godforsaken tomb.

‘Saul’ coughed something vague in response to the question. Didn’t really matter what he actually said, he had no idea either. Like most people, he had only seen things like that in News Coo comic strips. Even now, he was struggling to believe it had been real.

The thief’s ears twitched at the enticing words. He perked up immediately. “Zheee... Ah, right, yes. Gold and jewels, most likely.” His pupils were twisting again, imitating the shape of a certain world-famous symbol. “Most rulers are quite fond of their crowns and scepters, see... And tend to embed all sorts of fancy gems into their golden trinkets...” A greedy grin crept across his lips and seeped into his voice.

Slipping a little too deep into character, even the dishonest doctor was beginning to forget the real purpose of this little expedition. He had already confirmed that the specimens lived in this place. That should have been enough... And yet, the dream of gold gleaming in his mind was proving... blinding.

Scurrying closely behind the towering bodyguard, the so-called archeologist kept a close watch on potential traps. He had been fooled once and twice, but there wouldn’t be a third time. Stepping up to the door alongside the boy, he nodded. “Ready.” The concoction in his veins was running out, but... He reared his leg up anyway.

How often did you get to kick open the door to riches, hm?

With a resounding crash and screech of stone kissing stone, the doors positively flew open. Weak light bled through the dancing dust. The rat was quick to scurry into the throne room. His squinty gaze scanned the walls, the sarcophagus, the stranger sitting atop the- Oh.

Doubling back, the doctor shifted his attention between the white-haired man and the ominous syringe. The sight stole the wind out his sails. “Oh, um... Good evening, good sir. We, uh, are a pair of archeologists loot-erm, researching this fine... tomb...  I... hope we are not interrupting anything...” He offered with a practiced smile and cadence, despite his knees knocking from the creeping dread.

---

Meanwhile at the beach, the two crafty pirates were sitting with fresh cups of tea and admiring the results of their handiwork. “Huh, I can’t believe how quickly we set up all that.” The jester mused, head cocked thoughtfully. In turn, the gentleman twirled his mustache smugly. “Like brewing tea, my boy. No one across all these seas will walk out of that cave alive.” His words left a pause lingering in the air. A beat.

Fortunato gave his buddy a skeptical glance. “...Not even the dreaded Behemoth?” His question was to the pompous attitude like a needle to a balloon. “Erm, well...” Idly, the clown lifted his hands behind his head. “Ooor Ginsai. In fact, I’m pretty sure anybody with a fruit power could...” He mused with innocent honesty.

Montesor tried to smile, but ended up grinding his teeth. “Thank you for the input, Fortunato. Why must you always pick my carefully crafted plans apart?” Asking that proved to be a mistake. “Because I’m bored and it’s funny.” Didn’t exactly improve his mood, no.

“...Quiet, you.”

Words: 579
Total: 6932

________________________________________________________
Wanted Dead or Alive: Richard 'Plague Rat' Maxwell
Doji
[tracker=/t2417-asakura-doji#14975]
Name : Asakura Doji
Epithet : Cemetery Ghoul
Age : 18
Height : 17'7
Weight : 1,777 lb
Species : Human-Giant-Oni Crossbred
Faction : Pirates
Crew : Solo
Ship : Old Sutured Sail
Crew Role : Blind Navigator
Haki Level : 0
Hitpoints (HP) : 143
Attack (ATK) : 80
Defense (DEF) : 25
Reflex (RX) : 60
Willpower (WP) : 85
Level : 1
Experience Points : 100
Berries : [ber] 34,050,000
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Posts : 184
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[Episode] Kind of Cryptic Empty Re: [Episode] Kind of Cryptic

This post has in-line assessment comments.Thu Nov 24, 2022 6:12 pm
[npc=misc]“Right! Archeologists, of course…”[/npc] Marik shot a look of smug skepticism down towards ‘Saul’, [npc=misc]“... well I suppose now that you’ve found my family’s halls still abundantly inhabited you can be on your way then!”[/npc] The man gestured to himself dramatically as he spoke, dangling his feet from the top of the grand sarcophagus.

[npc=misc]“Although if you’d prefer, I’d be happy to give you a tour of the place; perhaps we can start by introducing you to the man himself…”[/npc] inserting his key into the coffin’s lock and turning it with a heavy clunk, [npc=misc]“...here you are! Archbaron Emta Tumo, in the flesh!”[/npc]

Quavering like rotten gelatin the toothy mass spoke in a low gurgle, like a dying beast choking out its final breath, “Greetings knave. It has been some time since I laid eyes upon a new servant…” from amongst its mass, a smattering of eyeballs shivered and fixated upon ‘Saul’ and Doji, “...a fine offering indeed. In exchange, I shall offer you three answers to whatever questions you two might have before you proceed, these old ears have heard many things.”

[npc=misc]“Oh how generous my liege! Granting them that boon of enlightenment that you have obliged me time and again; I had no part in their recruitment, so I suppose it’s only fair that they should be entitled to the fruits of their labor,”[/npc] Marik clapped his hands as he awaited ‘Saul’s questions, and curiously tuned in for the abomination’s answers.

“Saul do you understand a fucking word either of these two are saying? I don’t recall signin’ up to be anybody’s minion but yers for this expedition. I’ll go along with it for now I guess, but I don’t know what we’re supposed to ask this thing,” Doji would defer to ‘Saul’ for resolving what, to his surprise, seemed like a social matter.

Post Word Count: 305
Total Word Count: 8,057
Maxwell
[Episode] Kind of Cryptic Vk6odI4
[tracker=/t139-richard-maxwell#516]
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 : [ber=r] 235,000,000
Quality Score : S+
Income Bonus : +0.20 (to all allies)
Shop Discount : -10%
Berries : [ber] 379,332,375
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[Episode] Kind of Cryptic Empty Re: [Episode] Kind of Cryptic

This post has in-line assessment comments.Mon Nov 28, 2022 3:03 pm
Silence. Externally, the sharp-dressed con man seemed calm enough, if a little wide-eyed. Internally, he was screaming. The deafening screech was trapped between the shelves of his mental library, shaking loose every medical tome, journal and leaflet. Yet not a single one could answer the question that had sparked the imaginary cry of terror in the first place. What... in the name of Davy Jones and his cold, dark locker... is that thing?!

The former doctor still refused to believe his eyes. His pinprick pupils may have been glued onto the looming horror, but the mind was not accepting the description. It looked like a festering tumor that had come to life and sounded like the death rattle of an obese sea king. In every sense of the term, this was a medical impossibility.

Finally, the panic died down enough that the coward could hear his own thoughts. Oh, and the exchange going on around him as well. He didn’t quite like the latter, mind you. From his experience, the words offering, enlightenment and recruitment were most commonly used in a cult. Or a pyramid scheme. Same difference, really. Worse yet, he could feel the burn of the concoction dying in his veins. His enhanced strength was draining like the sand from a smashed hourglass. Things could hardly get any worse.

‘Saul’ shifted closer to his helper. Lifting a hand to hide his mouth, he passed a quiet whisper to the boy. “I’m afraid I understand some of it and it’s nothing good...” His raspy murmur wavered like a candle flame in an icy breeze. “Just... get ready to put those warrior skills of yours into use...” Oh, things would absolutely get violent, he had no doubt of that. It was not a question of ‘if’, only ‘when’.

Swallowing the bitter fear, the self-proclaimed archeologist stepped a little closer. “Ahem, gentlemen... Sir Archbaron...” Since he couldn’t keep quiet, he tried to at least remain coherent. “As a matter of fact, I do have a couple of questions... I-if you’d be so kind to... feed my curiosity...” He had to keep talking, keep them distracted, before someone did something incredibly... stupid.

Holding up a finger, the rat voiced his first question. “First, there is this tale surrounding this particular crypt... About treasures and such... Would there happen to be any truth to those rumors?” He paused afterwards, leaving an expectant silence to hopefully be filled by an answer. Then, another finger, another query. “Second, we seem to have, erm, locked the front door as we entered. How might we go about opening it again?” Again he paused, trying desperately not to faint from fright.

Finally, there was the final question... ‘Saul’ donned his most genuine, disarming smile. Like a well-worn suit. “And third... Have you ever heard the tale called ‘Strange Case of Dr Kureha and Mr Tony’?” His hand dipped between the lapels of his jacket, reaching for something underneath. “See, it’s a classic, really, a tale about a doctor and a monster... Some claim that it’s an allegory about the dangers of addiction, but personally I believe...” The metal of a gun barrel gleamed in the faint light, suddenly leveled at the mastermind and the monster, in the middle of a sentence never meant to be finished.

Eight rapid gunshots pinged through the crypt.

Words: 555
Total: 7487

________________________________________________________
Wanted Dead or Alive: Richard 'Plague Rat' Maxwell
Doji
[tracker=/t2417-asakura-doji#14975]
Name : Asakura Doji
Epithet : Cemetery Ghoul
Age : 18
Height : 17'7
Weight : 1,777 lb
Species : Human-Giant-Oni Crossbred
Faction : Pirates
Crew : Solo
Ship : Old Sutured Sail
Crew Role : Blind Navigator
Haki Level : 0
Hitpoints (HP) : 143
Attack (ATK) : 80
Defense (DEF) : 25
Reflex (RX) : 60
Willpower (WP) : 85
Level : 1
Experience Points : 100
Berries : [ber] 34,050,000
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Posts : 184
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[Episode] Kind of Cryptic Empty Re: [Episode] Kind of Cryptic

This post has in-line assessment comments.Sat Dec 03, 2022 3:57 am
With a simple nod and a grunt the oni subtly shifted his weight to the base of his hips and readied himself to draw his swords as soon as things started getting hairy;  in the meantime Doji would wait dutifully as the monster answered his partner’s questions.

“Gragkhu-khu-khu-hueeze! Of course you want my treasure…” the creature sputtered and wheezed out a laugh as it condescended down to the rat, “...you’ve done well to make it this far. The treasure is in this very room, but I have grown rather fond of my possessions; I keep them close to my heart.”

[npc=misc]“Yes, and the marvelously rare creatures that have made the true treasure of our spire possible…”[/npc] Marik flicked the syringe containing the elixir his family had sought after for centuries, referring to the beetles that were necessary to create such potent medicines, [npc=misc]“...I’m afraid you’ll find them just beyond your reach,”[/npc] the man spoke with a smug smile, pointing to the ceiling above him.

With ‘Saul’s’ second question the quavering mass began cackling, sputtering up globular viscous masses of dark sienna-colored ichor. Marik couldn’t help but chuckle to himself, [npc=misc]“Kek~ a question for the ages. You’re rather incurious for an archeologist, no…”[/npc] a wide grin sprawled across the cryptkeeper’s face, [npc=misc]“... you’re more like a rat in a trap, looking for any way you can get out of this aren’t you.”[/npc]

“Gkhu-khu-khu! Indeed! This is the crude knowledge you seek of my immortal mind? So be it! I’ve consumed many of my most loyal servants, and so their knowledge of the crypt is my own. You may dream of exiting from the lighthouse’ tunnels above, but our audience is not yet over. Now, mortal, ask me your last trifling question and join me in eternal servitude.”

As the conclusion to Maxwell’s ruse was punctuated by an octave of gunshots the creature seemed unharmed as it chuckled and choked out more sanguine beads. The man standing atop the sarcophagus was not so lucky; two of the eight shots ripped into Marik’s chest, sending him toppling from the top of the lengthy coffin, landing to the ground with a sickly crack.

Lying on the ground all but completely paralyzed, the cryptkeeper’s fingers clung to his elixir with shattered desperation.

The creature didn’t seem to pay any mind to its wounded servant, as its body began to convulse from within the confines of the now unlocked sarcophagus. With a squealing sound the golden exterior of the sarcophagus began to morph and contort from the pressure being placed on it from within. Finally, a hole ruptured from its surface, and from the hole a gelatinous pseudopod of a limb emerged.

“Those names you speak…” the monstrous noble tore another hole in its coffin, from within its confines the Archbaron produced a glistening gold scepter topped with a heavy ruby gem, “...I’ve devoured servants who knew of such people; that was a long time ago, I’d thought such names had been extinguished from history. But you, yes, I wonder what other secrets lurk in such a mind,” the creature’s face amalgamated into a mess of teeth and eyeballs, all hungrily fixated upon ‘Saul.’

“Watch out!” Doji cried to his ally as the monster swung its cane down towards him. The oni’s blades cut cleanly through the coagulate, the newly severed “arm” splattering into a formless mess against the floor, “Hah! How do you like that baron?!”

“Gkhu-khu-khu…” the monster laughed as the slime on the floor began reconstituting itself, loyally reattaching itself to the giant monster’s body, “...what man could call himself immortal if he could be harmed so easily,” the creature’s arm sprouted once more, reconstructing itself in a mass of gooey tendons; clenching its hand into a fist, the Archbaron coated its arms, and swung its now hardened fist down towards the duo.

[npc=misc]This isn’t the end…[/npc] bleeding badly Marik shakily raised his syringe, using the last of his strength to limply throw his arm upon his body and inject himself, [npc=misc]... tell me then, immortal daemons; is it I who have stolen your gift?[/npc] The cryptkeeper didn’t have another option, he would be his own test subject for the newest iteration of his family’s serum.

Post Word Count: 701
Total Word Count: 8,758
Maxwell
[Episode] Kind of Cryptic Vk6odI4
[tracker=/t139-richard-maxwell#516]
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 : [ber=r] 235,000,000
Quality Score : S+
Income Bonus : +0.20 (to all allies)
Shop Discount : -10%
Berries : [ber] 379,332,375
[[bookworm]][[firstaidkit]][[berryprinter]]
[[atkt3]][[atkt3]][[deft5]][[wpt3]]
[[screwyourngesus]][[screwyourngesus]][[screwyourngesus]][[skinofyourteeth]][[skinofyourteeth]]
[[identitytheft]][[identitytheft]][[tacticalretreat]][[tacticalretreat]]
Posts : 276
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[Episode] Kind of Cryptic Empty Re: [Episode] Kind of Cryptic

This post has in-line assessment comments.Sun Dec 04, 2022 11:12 am
ROUND 1
Richard uses:
[HT] Malpractice on Marik
[LT] Leg It on Self
[UT] on Marik

Marik uses:
[MT] on Richard
[LT] on Richard
[LT] on Richard
[UT] on Richard

---

COMBAT TRACKERS:


Last edited by Maxwell on Sun Dec 04, 2022 11:23 am; edited 1 time in total

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Wanted Dead or Alive: Richard 'Plague Rat' Maxwell
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