Comic 119 - Poison the bounty hunter

6th Jun 2018, 11:01 PM in High Roads, Low Roads, Threeroads
Average Rating: 5 (2 votes) Rate this comic
Poison the bounty hunter
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Author Notes:

Morgenstern 6th Jun 2018, 11:01 PM edit delete
Justice starts to approach Valley--probably to heal her--but the hunter seems aware of what she may be playing at. He moves to put himself between Justice and Valley.

You snap the head off his spear, then leap out from behind the door and hurl your shield at him.

The hunter turns in an instant, swinging an arm around and knocking the shield out of the air with one of his armored wristbands. Your shield is... very aerodynamic, and rather than simply clattering to the ground, it goes whizzing through the air in a different direction.

In the split second he's deflecting your shield, Justice makes her move, trying to slip past the shark man. He's just as quick to stop her, but it's clear his attention is split between the two of you.

You have to step wide to catch your shield, but you manage to grab it out of the air as you rush past Valley and toward the fight proper.

You swing with your shield, trying to bash him in the head. Justice swings her newly acquired hammer. His motions unarmed aren't as fluid as they were with the spear, but neither you nor Justice are fighters--what he's managing is sufficient. You quickly stow away your wand, and begin to focus on trying to use a free hand.

He sways out of the way of a shield swing. He deflects a hammer blow. You use Steal, and grab a troll faced tuna. It's... a very ugly fish, and not what you were hoping for--you thought if you could grab the source of his regeneration, you could put an end to this fight.

The battle wages on--blow after blow, hammer swings and shield bashes failing to meet their mark. You can't land a hit on him, not a solid strike on anything but dense coral armor, but you're at least keeping him from attacking either of YOU. You and Justice alternate your swings, so he doesn't get a moment to breathe between shifting to the side of a hammer swing, and shifting the other way so your shield slams into his chestpiece.

He finally seems to get fed up with it. Justice brings her hammer overhead, and the bounty hunter grabs her wrist mid-swing. He tightens his grip enough that she promptly drops the hammer... and then he puts a boot to her gut, launching her a very solid distance away from the fight. She hits the ground and rolls a bit, limp.

It took just long enough for you to touch him. It was everything you had left, you think, but you hit him with Poison.

The hunter turns. With nothing to help distract him, you know you can't win a one-on-one melee against him. All you can do is steadily back away, nervously drawing your wand again--even though you know there's nothing you can do with it, not while you're completely depleted of mana.

As he stalks you past Valley, however... she forces herself to stand. On shaking legs, she takes the handle of her stone zwei in both hands, hardly able to lift it... but she lifts it nonetheless, hoisting it onto her shoulder.

"Like... who are you?," she forces out, sounding very tired. "WHAT are you? Wh... who helped you, shark man?"

The hunter stops. He keeps his eyes focused squarely on you, but he humors her.

"You wish to know who defeated you. ...I can respect that from a warrior. I am Nereus, a sahagin, and I am aided by none. Some day, I will hunt leviathans... but today, I catch a thief. When I hunt, I hunt alone."

"Cool," Valley replies, short of breath. "I totally just... like... I dunno. Kinda like... wanted to stall? Y'know?"

For a brief moment, his calm demeanor starts to slip.

In the distance, you see Justice sit up... looking none the worse for wear. She actually smiles when she sees you.

Status Martyr.

It should, in theory, only work on negative status effects... at least, that's how you reasoned it. It's supposed to be a sacrificial kind of thing, right? Stealing a beneficial effect like regen from an enemy in combat doesn't sound much like martyrdom.

Then again, maybe the One Holy Goddess just rolls like that.

Valley groans as she starts to hoist her sword up and over. Nereus throws a roundhouse kick at the back end of his spear, launching it out of the door before lurching forward and catching it, mid-flight, in one hand. He spins around to face Valley, giving the haft an elegant twirl.

She's still swinging. Everything feels like it's in slow motion. If you hadn't broken the head off his spear, he could stab Valley in the gut right now and stop her attack. ...And probably finish her off.

If you hadn't poisoned him, and Justice hadn't taken his regen, he might have had enough left to just... tank it. Valley's not exactly swinging with peak strength.

He isn't regenerating, though. And he is poisoned. And his spear has no point on it.

Desperately, he hoists the haft skyward with both hands, hoping to block the incoming zwei with his spear. You're not sure it could have stopped such a mighty blow BEFORE you deinforced it, but


you did deinforce it.

Valley's weapon powers straight through Nereus's, the stone edge slamming into one of his shoulder plates with enough force to chip the coral. The armor's good, but it can only do so much against such ridiculous weight. Nereus is dropped to his knees, the two broken halves of his spear tumbling from his hands.

Valley grits her teeth and with a bestial grunt, she hauls her zweihander back onto her shoulder, preparing to swing again.

"Th..." Nereus pauses, breathing out harshly. His shoulders sink, just for a second, but he forces himself to straighten his posture. He will fall looking at a fellow combatant, not staring at the ground like a coward. "There's... blood in these waters," he states quietly. "...And it is mine."

He focuses on Valley's face... and he squeezes his fist. It draws your attention to a ring on his hand, not like one you've seen before.

"...Home," he utters, and in a flash of light... Nereus is gone.

"I'm like..." The handle of the zwei slips through Valley's large fingers, hitting the ground behind her with a thud. She almost topples over. "I'm glad he didn't like... call my bluff? 'Cuz totes, I could... not have... prob'ly swung again. For real."

As Valley fights to stay awake, Justice rushes across the grass to her, squealing excitedly as she throws her arms around the minitaur. She hugs her, tightly... and heals her in the process, the color steadily returning to Valley's face.

"You did it!," Justice proclaims.

"WE did it," Valley replies. "Or like... you guys did it? I toootally just... like... scared him some. You okay, Nast?"

You nod. You have zero juice left in your magic reserves, but you're in one piece.


barswanian 7th Jun 2018, 12:24 AM edit delete reply
"We did it, absolutely. That terranado. The status steal.

Victory Sex anyone?"

Uh. Make a note to help repair that door tomorrow. Get home.
Pseudophibian 7th Jun 2018, 12:41 AM edit delete reply
Agreed. We should snatch up that spearhead before we head out, though, as I could see Inzo putting it to good use.
Barswanian 7th Jun 2018, 12:43 AM edit delete reply
Oh! Might be a good chance to see if Justice's healing is any different benficial wise then Valley's.
Tech 7th Jun 2018, 3:15 PM edit delete reply
Victory sex!
Emiko 7th Jun 2018, 12:27 AM edit delete reply
We need to get back to our place and rest. We are about to collapse, and need to refresh. Honestly? Probably too tired to fuck Justice tonight, (unless she ya'know, healed us) but nothing against showing her some morning wood ;)

We know it's a sahagin, and justice spoke his language, so. Questions? He's def gonna be back later, but we can be ready for that.
MakePeaceAndLove 7th Jun 2018, 9:30 AM edit delete reply
+1 to all of this. I was gonna suggest a real rest tonight and morning sex myself, but I see I'm not alone with that idea.

We earned our rest now. Oh, and please tell both Justice and Valley that they did awesome, we couldn't have won that fight without them. Although at the same time, I believe we've used our skills as best we could - Deinforcing the Spear, Reinforcing the Door, the Terranado and Poisoning him... every bit of mana well spent.
Fireopal 7th Jun 2018, 9:36 AM edit delete reply
+1 As much as we want to fuck Justice, we are too exhausted and we need sleep to recoup
barswanian 7th Jun 2018, 2:33 PM edit delete reply
see how much energy we have after healing before making that decision I think.
Eyebrows 7th Jun 2018, 12:53 AM edit delete reply
Ha ha ha ha ha. It worked. That was awesome. Heals and then victory sleeps.
GS 7th Jun 2018, 12:55 AM edit delete reply
+ Compliment the ladies.
+ Get healed up.
+ Go home and collapse into bed. Whatever happens, happens.
+ Leave early. I know we wanted to spend quality time with Mom and Hurley, but **** got real. We can't afford to put them in danger, we've got to keep moving.
+ Head for Lightsend, find the puppeteer. And the golem is going to have multiple applications; sex for the gobs, bodyguard for us!
ZincFingers 7th Jun 2018, 3:37 AM edit delete reply
Yup, compliments all around, and we should try heal before going home, no need to worry the parents. We’ll still go fishing, but after that explain that things seem to have escalated and we might have to leave earlier than we thought.

We should still swing by the bookshop before we leave.
CruntKnockler 7th Jun 2018, 9:13 AM edit delete reply
+1 this. Is still like to go fishing with Hurley, plus he might know a thing or two about sea creatures to give us some pointers on future.
MakePeaceAndLove 7th Jun 2018, 9:34 AM edit delete reply
+1 to this but don't rush to leave. He said he worked alone and I, for one, believe him. We fought so hard to keep Peace Calling safe (and our lives, too), we can afford to take it easy here.

We really don't know if we won't run into more bounty hunters on the roads out there instead of in Peace Calling so, you know. You can't run from enemies you don't know are there.
Caydenite 7th Jun 2018, 11:15 AM edit delete reply
+1. sleep, cuddles and laying of hands, fishing in the morning and bookstore stuff.
The Mighty Dragon Lizard 7th Jun 2018, 4:26 PM edit delete reply
+1, but by god we better get some good sexy times for this because IT WAS HELL!
hEm 7th Jun 2018, 1:02 AM edit delete reply
i think is time for celebratory milk drinking threesome!!!
hEm 7th Jun 2018, 1:03 AM edit delete reply
you know... the healing milk kind made by minitaur ladies

if only to have aminitaur in out party....oh wait!!
1977 7th Jun 2018, 1:04 AM edit delete reply
Identify the spearhead.
It may be broken but if that was a magical spear then the spearhead could still have some effect on it.
If nothing else it is still good as parts.
Guest 7th Jun 2018, 1:11 AM edit delete reply
Nast. Is. Out. Of. Mana.

No magic, not even a little.
1977 7th Jun 2018, 1:38 AM edit delete reply
Then it gets identified in the morning.
The most important part is not to throw it away since it could be magical or at least be used as materials.
MakePeaceAndLove 7th Jun 2018, 9:35 AM edit delete reply
Yeah, once we recover some mana we can check it out. That may well prove more valuable than the troll-faced tuna we stole from him, heh.
Alex Nipal 7th Jun 2018, 1:16 AM edit delete reply
Notes for later:
- If Valley is hurt, try to make her suck her own milk while someone else gets the attention of the opponent(s).
- Ask Lagrand about the teleportation ring

+1 compliment everyone
+1 keeping the spear head, but as a memento for Nereus
+1 leaving early
+1 Identifying the spearhead, but after resting

Ask Justice what she told Nereus at the start.

Go home and go to rest while Justice tends to Valley's wounds. They might take it further, Justice mentionned having sex with other nuns.
1977 7th Jun 2018, 1:40 AM edit delete reply
I think Valley sucking her own tits in the middle of the battle would get everyone's attention. ;)
ZincFingers 7th Jun 2018, 3:33 AM edit delete reply
Yeah, everyone did well, and if Justice ever doubts her ability to help, we can just remind her of this.
Fireopal 7th Jun 2018, 9:38 AM edit delete reply
Yeah, she is turning out to be the real badass in the party. I totally underestimated Status Martyr.
GS 7th Jun 2018, 2:19 PM edit delete reply
If the O.H.G. is real, she's more pragmatic than people seem to think. Or just more clever. ;)
GS 7th Jun 2018, 2:19 PM edit delete reply
If the O.H.G. is real, she's more pragmatic than people seem to think. Or just more clever. ;)
GS 7th Jun 2018, 2:19 PM edit delete reply
If the O.H.G. is real, she's more pragmatic than people seem to think. Or just more clever. ;)
GS 7th Jun 2018, 3:07 PM edit delete reply
Sorry for the Multi-post. >_< The menu froze up on me.
Jax 7th Jun 2018, 2:07 AM edit delete reply
Get the spearhead, identify tomorrow. Heal up the party... if nothing else Valley's breasts are big enough she can probably suck down some of her own milk. Then I think the three should celebrate. Yes your bed might not hold all three of you but you have a floor and you have had 'the sex' on the ground before.
Jax 7th Jun 2018, 2:08 AM edit delete reply
Also tomorrow get a lenght of wood, add to the spear. Make a knife out of it.
Sonico 7th Jun 2018, 6:27 AM edit delete reply
With just A LITTLE mana Nast might also reinforce the bed to help.
1977 7th Jun 2018, 2:40 AM edit delete reply
"You use Steal, and grab a troll faced tuna. It's... a very ugly fish, and not what you were hoping for--you thought if you could grab the source of his regeneration, you could put an end to this fight."

After reading the description of the tuna I would say we did successfully steal the source of his regeneration. :)
Fireopal 7th Jun 2018, 9:38 AM edit delete reply
I lol'd at this.
MakePeaceAndLove 7th Jun 2018, 9:39 AM edit delete reply
Now you got me curious... and oh, that's a cool effect.

That reminds me. Since Nast is an Enchanter, we might not get a proper healing spell from Justice, but maybe she can inspire us with Regen? Since that's a buff, and it heals. Seems like a logical result to me... but, there's so many effects out there, I was surprised when Lagrand inspired us with Poison back then.
Fireopal 7th Jun 2018, 12:53 PM edit delete reply
@MakePeaceAndLove I always assumed that we learned Poison from him because he has Detox.
G. Sansa 7th Jun 2018, 10:24 AM edit delete reply
Obviously show the tuna to our parents. They may recognize it and know its properties.

The "troll face" suggests one of two things. Either Nereus expected the steal move and brought something useless specifically to get stolen, or it's an ingredient for a regen potion. If Dad recognizes it as a common fish without special properties then chances of 2 are lower. Low enough to cook it for dinner?
1977 7th Jun 2018, 10:54 AM edit delete reply
@G. Sansa
With reading the dscription I meant the lore-entry about the tuna under fishing.
The tuna is literally the source of Nereus's regen effect.
G. Sansa 7th Jun 2018, 12:17 PM edit delete reply
Ah, I hadn't seen that. I expect Ranse can make one or more potions out of it so we don't have to carry around a (nother) rotting fish. When she does, have her check the stomach so we know what to use as bait to catch more of these.
GS 7th Jun 2018, 11:16 AM edit delete reply
@ G. Sansa - or maybe the troll-faced tuna was meant to be his lunch. ;)
Gandalf 7th Jun 2018, 2:49 AM edit delete reply
1) Collect the spear head, get ourselves fixed and rested, ask Justice about what she said, ask the whole party especially Lagrand about all of what just happened.
2) Fix the door or pay for the damage, identify our new loot.
3) Reconsider our priorities. I think clearing Nast's name has to come top of the list now.
MakePeaceAndLove 7th Jun 2018, 9:42 AM edit delete reply
+1 on fixing up/paying for the door, and apologizing to the people that live there. We can always say that we chased away some, pardon the pun, fishy-looking stranger and the door took collateral damage.

Number 1) is obvious, I agree as well.

However, we're already working on 3), but to do that we still have to find the panty thief. That's such a long term (or, main quest) goal that I don't believe prioritizing it would do us good... as in, ignoring side quests by tunneling in on it. My RPG instincts tell me to keep our eyes open for the thief but do all the sidequests we can - some might hold valuable hints for us, like we learned from the faeries at the Old Temple, but we won't know until we do them, so, best to continue the way we have thus far.
Professor Cupcake 7th Jun 2018, 4:12 AM edit delete reply
Professor Cupcake
Um... before getting carried away with loot and stuff, perhaps we should apologise to the person whose door we just busted? I don't see Nast as much of a handyman, but we should be able to fix it for them too.
ZincFingers 7th Jun 2018, 4:38 AM edit delete reply
Fair point, maybe heal first, we already wrecked their door, no need to bleed on their floor.
MakePeaceAndLove 7th Jun 2018, 9:43 AM edit delete reply
+1 to this, at the very least an apology, their door literally saved our life there so we owe them something in return.
Caydenite 7th Jun 2018, 12:40 PM edit delete reply
Inzo could make them a better door! When he done in the woods, obviously. Speaking of, we could consider changing up the party tomorrow; this seemed to take a lot out of Valley.
Guest 7th Jun 2018, 1:14 PM edit delete reply
A good night's sleep core all ills, as decreed by the gods.
G. Sansa 7th Jun 2018, 4:46 AM edit delete reply
We didn't level up? That guy was tough, and I think that counts as a victory.

Collect the spear parts and hammer. Apologize to the homeowner and pay for the damage to their door (though it's also reinforced now). Give Justice the wand to wield for now. Sip of milk so we don't look so exhausted. Head back home and crash or whatever. Get the rest of the party to arrive ASAP and Ranse identifies stuff. Ask everyone if they have insights, and in particular, if there's a way to lose this guy off our tail.

But above all, rest.
G. Sansa 7th Jun 2018, 5:14 AM edit delete reply
Oh, and if Valley is ever at 1hp again? Drink the ****ing healing potion. Yes we should use abilities if possible but we can replace a healing potion a lot more than we can replace Valley. Or any other party member.
Caydenite 7th Jun 2018, 12:35 PM edit delete reply
+1 We should definitely tell our whole party that they have a standing order to drink a healing potion if they're about to drop. As you say, healing potions are replaceable.
MakePeaceAndLove 7th Jun 2018, 9:44 AM edit delete reply
I was wondering about experience too. Maybe it's just short of leveling up, or maybe Morgenstern left that for the next post? I hope we do, that was our toughest enemy so far, I think the team earned a level, or at the very least Justice did.
Green Visitor 7th Jun 2018, 5:27 AM edit delete reply
The Sahuagin is gone home, and it worked alone. Peace Calling is safe for tonight, at least safer than the road.

Go home, sleep, whatever will be will be. Fishing tomorrow is still up, we need whatever info Hurley have, now including what he knows about sea creatures motivations and weaknesses.
MakePeaceAndLove 7th Jun 2018, 9:45 AM edit delete reply
+1 to this. We fought for our hard-earned rest.
Nieki 7th Jun 2018, 5:56 AM edit delete reply
We're ALIVE. We're alive, and that's what counts. Right now, we need a safe place to sleep and recover.

I hope whoever lives there is understanding, but we should probably maybe consider skedaddling after we're in proper condition.
Harski 7th Jun 2018, 9:42 AM edit delete reply
In short your plan need to be. Stay (no leave early) heal party. Fix door and reputation and fish with father
lil Joshu 7th Jun 2018, 10:48 AM edit delete reply
lil Joshu
Score one for the good guys!

Wait... our quest isn't so much good yet, as our quest is still just in the 'removing evil targeting ourselves' stage, but we're on our way to being good guys, dagnabit. But I guess that means we're not good guys yet...

Score one for the neutral guys!

Though then again, fish man was just trying to catch someone he thought was a badguy, so that makes him a goodguy(?), and we ARE travelling with a group that contains a person who plans to conquor the world... so badguys maybe? At least not the best...

Score one for the morally questionable guys!

But then we're trying to bring justice on the true perp... but panty thievery doesn't seem as harsh a crime as world conquest so maybe we just have skewed priorities? Then again, the world conqueror, we ARE trying to get him to do so in a more benign manner, so there is that....

F#%@ it...

Score one for the guys.

Wait, that sounds gendered and our group is mixed...


Score one for us!

There we go
GS 7th Jun 2018, 11:20 AM edit delete reply
Hey, most of us are trying to be Good! Just not very Lawful. And intentions do count...

Score one for the Chaotic/Neutral Good/Neutral guys? ^_^
MakePeaceAndLove 7th Jun 2018, 11:37 AM edit delete reply
+1 I got a laugh out of that one.
Antarean 7th Jun 2018, 10:54 AM edit delete reply
+1 to apologizing to the family whose door we broke. I'm assuming that if they're home they've heard the commotion and are wisely choosing to keep back a safe distance.

+1 to still going fishing with dad in the morning. Nereus said he was working alone and he doesn't seem the type to be deceitful about something like that. He might be able to recover after a night of rest, but I doubt he'd be able to get back to Peace Calling that quickly (assuming that his teleportation ring only allows for travel in one direction or to select destinations; we should ask about that though). Granted, we're probably going to be keeping a wary eye out while fishing anyway after that encounter.

Also, in the future, we should try to be a little cautious about fishing if Nereus is still after us; he could probably do a very devastating sneak attack from the water.
Mochi 7th Jun 2018, 12:37 PM edit delete reply
farewell, handsome fish man :(
Caydenite 7th Jun 2018, 12:42 PM edit delete reply
He'll pop up again, and I think he has more respect for us now. We'll get more chances to seduce him, I'm sure.
MakePeaceAndLove 7th Jun 2018, 2:04 PM edit delete reply
I agree, he was a really cool opponent and I look forward to fighting him again. I bet we can learn a ton from him.
GS 7th Jun 2018, 3:08 PM edit delete reply
You're so sweet, Mochi. ^_^
SolomontheLionheart 7th Jun 2018, 4:37 PM edit delete reply
I pretty much agree with what everyone else is saying, he only thing to add is did some coral actually break off?