Duty Session 94: Still Water Bandits
With the increased trade between the various cities and kingdoms, the Lander traders have also been reporting an increase in Bandit activity. A group that calls themselves the 'Still Water Bandits' has begun raiding caravans and ships. This has caused a slowing of supply lines, as well as damage to the lives and livelihoods of the traders. They are seeking help from capable Adventurers to help clear out a number of bandit camps.
Rec. Party: 3+
World Rewards: Increase in trade route efficiency
Shin Heno doesn't really get *bored*.
He's too active to be *bored*. It's like he's spent a great deal of his life in free-fall, in a state of perpetual boredom, and now that he's in a new world, a new life, he's spending every waking moment doing *something*.
In this case that *something* happens to be hunting bandits.
"It's probably best if we find another way around," Shin says cheerfully from his place in the grass, watching the pirates mill about in front of their ship. "Too bad we can't just steal the boat and run it aground or something. That'd be a lot more fun."
So he tries to figure out the puzzel, frowning. "It seems I don't know these runes very well."
For a brief instant, Shin's eyes flicker into their bug state. The ominous red glow scans across the field. Then they're gone, and Shin's crawling along, gesturing for U.L.P. to follow him. When they get closer to the spot Shin's crawling to, the hidden lever becomes apparent - a lever half-buried in the sand.
Shin pulls it.
The lever creaks open, the door slides open, and Shin gestures for U.L.P. to follow him.
A group of small children await them on the other side. Entrance-guards. Shin pauses and glances at U.L.P.
"We could be persuaded," the tallest says, "To let you in, if you got some food for us."
Shin, meanwhile, pats down his pockets. He has nothing. He offers a slow shrug at the orphans.
U.L.P.'s gift is more than satisfactory, though. The orphan eyes light up as they piece through the gold. "Wow," one of them says, "Never seen this much gold outside the Cap'n's room before..."
"Thanks." The tallest one says, looking U.L.P. in the eye. Then they run out the secret entrance.
Shin whistles. "Lotta gold. You sure about that? They are just Landers, after all. Right?"
The camp is full of guards, but Shin and U.L.P. are good at dodging them - right up to the bar. A big, fat kobold sits down and flicks his fingers across the bar.
"Want some rye?"
"Course you do."
The Kobold holds the drink up. "Here's to us."
Drink up, says the Kobald. He grabs it, smiles at the rat, and downs it.
This is followed by turning green, and tossing his stomach contents into the ground. "Oh god, this stuff is vile..."
Shin sits down at the table, reaches over, and taps the kobold's mug as he sips from his own. "Who's like us?"
"DAMN FEW," the Kobold shouts as he knocks the drink back.
"And they're all dead." Shin's smile gets a little bit ominous. The Kobold blinks at him.
Shin grabs the thing by the head and rams it into the cup. The cup of frozen liquid. When did he freeze it?
Oh. When he touched it.
The kobold dies too fast to scream, shards of ice embedded in its face. Shin stands up and stretches.
"Seemed faster," he says to U.L.P., "I'm not in the mood to risk both of us getting drunk."
"It's not that bad," he adds, "I mean, it's alcohol. Didn't you go to after-work parties? God, you don't even taste it after a while, y'know?"
They carry on. Winding, obnoxious caves lead to a huge, monstrous creature with a huge, monstrous hammer. It doesn't spot them so much as take up the entire cave. With a grunt, it levels its club. "You."
"You not pass."
At the end of the cames is the monsterous creature. "Huh. Well, I think that..." he says, and dashes forward, using his speed thanks to the spell he just cast to dodge right of the club that is swung down.
And he fires a shot right into the thing's head as he passes by, without even turning back. "Ugh, I can still taste it.."
The giant blinks as Shin's bare hand knocks aside the club. Again, and again, it tries to swing; each time Shin just sort of pushes it aside like it weighs nothing. He's gotten...good at this. Actually, he's gotten *weirdly* good at this. How much time does Shin spend just going out and doing stuff like this on his own, not even to grind levels, just...to learn how to fight? That obsession might be a little bit scary...
His foot slams up into the monster's eye as U.L.P. goes shooting past.
What awaits on the other side is the Captain on his throne.
The lizardman is dressed in a big hat, a big flowing coat with epaulets - everything you'd expect from a pirate captain. He has a hand-crossbow hanging from his belt like a flintlock, he has a cutlass dangling from the other side, and he has a long grin plastered across his face. "Hooo," he says, a low, growling voice, "What have we here-"
"It's alcohol," Shin says flatly at U.L.P., "I don't even taste it anymore. We drank a *lot* of beer. A lot of a lot of things. There was this awful little place near work, one of the manager's wife's sisters owned the place, so we had to go there all the time, and lemme tell you that, stuff is-"
"PAY ATTENTION TO ME!" Slisze roars, standing up. Shin holds up a finger.
"-awful. I think they brewed their own stuff *locally* and it-"
Slisze just growls and draws the blade. It bursts to life.
Shin looks over.
"We'll continue this later," he says to U.L.P., "I think he's mad."
"YER DAMN RIGHT I'M MAD!"
He lied, the moment the creature starts, he immediately shoots the thing right in the heart.
"So as I was saying. Now, if you get some vodka? It's a great mixer."
The belt buckle appears. Shin slams it onto his waist. The belt itself extends around his body as he equips it; his hands go up into his pose. "Transform."
0 01 0
1 /----\ 0
0 / \ 0
ARMOR BEETLE ====| /\ |==== CODE: ALGOL
DEFENSE OF DESTINY ====| \/ |==== COMPILE
0 \ / 1
1 \----/ 1
0 10 0
The constellation of light. The red star on the belt.
"Masked Ranger, Algol."
'Algol' walks out of the light, black chitin glowing in the light of the sword as he raises a finger, "The Demon Star will light your path back to Hell."
He runs in to meet the sword. His hand grabs the blazing weapon. The captain's eyes rise. "H-hey, that's-"
'Algol's free hand snaps across the belt. The belt sings out, CODE: BEDROCK. Glowing light extends down his foot.
The glowing foot slams into the ground.
A spike of rock sends the Captain flying up.
U.L.P. shoots the captain straight through the heart.
'Algol' snaps his hands against the belt. The transformation disappears as the Captain's corpse hits the ground.
"I'm not really a vodka person," Shin says idly, "I'm not really a drinker at all."
"But, y'know. Obligations are what they are."
Shin sits down on the throne and crosses his leg, a hand against his cheek. His grin widens. "Not a bad look for me, is it?"
"Also I understand. If you have obligations, might as well turn them to something you can either stand or like." he says, "After all, settling on the expectations of others is just being unwilling to take control."
"I think," Shin says, leaning forward on the throne, "You need a ruler who understands fairness to make the world fair, don't you?"
"But let's be honest. The rest of us in Plant...we're all going to rule." Shin's smile is actually kind of genuine.
"I don't think I could rule alone. I don't think I'd be any good at it. I don't really have the qualifications. But I think Plant does."