"That's no fun!"
"This should be a hunting trip, but you turned it into a slaughterhouse production line," Eddie protested.
Flora nodded, satisfied.
The Octopussy shot the crabs and ran back into the reach of the Accordion-Golem's hatchets. The golem pulled them towards the Mover, who killed them, then the Golly dissected them. Flora helped out when one of the stations in her killing line was overworked but mainly scrolled through "1000 Homemaker Spells" searching for a crab processing spell.
The glowing piles of loot accumulated in front of the Mover. Flora was too lazy to bend down, so she changed positions with the Octopussy, which had access to her inventory.
"Alright. I'll stop complaining, but I will decide on how we tackle the next quest."
"Deal!" Flora agreed and went back to her reading now that First Mate, Eddie's AI and Octopussy, helped attract more crabs. Eddie fought with a saber and an old-timey pistole. Additionally, he used a grappling hook to pull the Octopussies' crabs to the killing area.
The spell had no effect… "Okay, carapaces don't count as valid targets, how about <Butcher>!"
The spell puffed out on a crab with an intact carapace but worked fine separating the innards and the flesh from one with an already opened shell.
The bones, the shell, the pincers, meat, roe, and gore formed yellow glowing piles and some of the flesh an orange glowing pile. Flora cast Identify on the orange mass.
Quest-Item: Piece of Crab Meat
Quest: Take ten pieces of crab meat to Granny Boba
"Your spell doesn't separate the brown from the white meat," Eddie said. "Both are delicious, but I prefer white meat for salads and brown meat for soup."
"I didn't even know that there was brown crab meat. Let me try again. I can exert a bit of control over the channeled spell."
Now, the three types of meat piles appeared.
"Nice! I'm already drooling. I'll make us some delicious crab cake! What a bummer that it's only D-rated."
Flora pointed at the shore behind Eddie. "You summoned it!" She said with a weak smile.
The nice aspect of the giant crab walking out of the ocean was its bathtub-sized body. All the delicious meat it would contain! Flora concentrated very hard on that aspect because the horrible part, its spider legs, elevated its beady eyes (and delicious body) higher than Flora. She felt pretty neutral about the three-meter long pincers, maybe even a bit appreciating because it brought the limb count up from the execrable eight to ten.
"Come to Papa!" Eddie exclaimed, running to the monster with saliva flying from his mouth, "Come into Papa's frying pan!"
"You are the tank, Mover. Go and save the chef!"
<Transfer STA: Mover>
(Left Hand, channeling) <Lightning Beam>
The Octopussies joined the fight without being asked, the Accordion-Golem had the standing instruction to heal any group members, but the Golly needed her encouragement before it pelted out Ice Bolts.
"One leg for salad!" Eddie said as he severed the leg from the body, narrowingly avoiding the pincer.
(Right hand:) <Water Shield: Shiny Frenemy>
"Use the chain of the hatchet to wrap up a pincer and some legs, dear," Flora ordered the Accordion-Golem.
Flora's eyes flitted between the combat and the health displays of Eddie, the Mover and the Accordion-Golem on her HUD. "That's too stressful for poor me. Aito, mark a party member with a green arrow if they have less than half of their HP left."
"I can display their pool values above their heads, Milady, as we did while training."
"Do it only while in combat. Add the bars of the monsters, too."
"One leg for sushi!" Eddie hacked off another leg.
The screeching propellors of the blenders produced sparks against the shell. Flora pitied the Mover that its first enemies were so unsuited for its melee weapons, although Aidan tried to use them well by targeting the eyes and joints. Nonetheless, the laser cannons left smoking gashes in the shell. When Aidan deflected a pincer, it got stuck in the propellors. The claw only pulled free after the shell splintered with a cracking noise.
(Right hand:) <Overcharge Regular Mode: Mover>
Flora had problems casting the Command. Usually, she channeled it over her nocks into the robot, but this time it had to flow to the Accordion-Golem and from there over its Establish Connection. When it reached the Mover, the skill had lost much of its impact.
"What is taking so long?" Flora asked when she saw that the crab still had 50% of its HP left.
"The Spider Knight Crab has a very high defense, and don't forget the increased HP of B rated enemies, Milady. I estimate it has around 7000 HP."
"You just want to be nice and not call Eddie out for not pulling his weight," Flora said, jokingly.
The Crab jumped into the air and squashed the melee fighters under it.
"Unfortunately, the crab knows how to pull its weight!" Flora added, wide-eyed.
(Right hand, channeled) <Metal Healing Rain>!
The Accordion and the Mover fell under 50% HP, but Eddie's health bar barely dented, although Flora couldn't spot his body under the crab.
However, Eddie might have been lucky because when the crab legs pierced the area around its body in a deadly tap-dance, the uncovered tail of the Mover received a wide gash.
The crab stood up, and its beady eyes fixated on Flora.
(Right hand:) <Fade>
To Flora's relief, it concentrated on the Mover again.
"The aggro reset after it stood up, Milady. However, with your continued channeling of Lightning Arc, you generated enough for the Mover to attain its attention. Shiny Frenemy has nearly 30 percent of the contribution. That's very good compared to the other people you have grouped with."
"I was jesting. Or maybe more exactly, I threw shade because I'm miffed. I didn't appreciate him dragging me around like a doll. Although making mean jokes isn't the right way to vent my displeasure, I have to admit."
The elders and their companions killed the crab after Flora healed up everybody enough not to panic about their wellbeing.
"Eddie, please don't pull me around anymore. We can talk it out if you want to go in a different direction than me, okay?"
Eddie had just plucked another leg from the dead crab and now looked at it, the monster and Flora. " You don't have to be afraid that when I'm pulling your leg, it will come off. You are much more sturdy than that crab, love."
"You may still pull my leg metaphorically, but not my arm physically…"
Comprehension dawned on Eddie's face. "Oh! Yes, sure. I'm sorry, love. All the excitement from my Hero's Entrance carried me away… and inspired me to carry you away. Our deal that I can decide our next attacking strategy still stands? I'm willing to give you one Flora-killing-factory free?"
"Sure. I'm taking the last one as a voucher, and when I see an especially nice quest for the Flora approach, I'll cash it in."
After they harvested the giant crab, they handed in the quest.
"I see you aren't as useless as you look! If you do my cats one more favor, I might teach you to move like a supreme being." The cat lady gave them another quest after they agreed. "Pearly's favorite scratching tree was stolen by those lousy pirate-wannabees. Retrieve it for my sweet darling."
Quest: Retrieve the Scratching Tree for Granny Boba.
Description: Return the Scratching Tree that Squack's Crew had stolen to Granny Boba. Hint: You can find Squack's Crew in the Cave of Squack at the coasts of Swell.
Rewards: Follow Quest
Flora left the woman without any banter.
"I have picked up two other quests for Squack's Cave. I'll share them with you."
Quest: Bounty: Pirate-Parrot Menance
Description: Kill at least 10 pirate-parrots of Squack's crew. Hint: You can find Squack's Crew in the Cave of Squack at the coasts of Swell.
Rewards: 10 credits bounty per D rated pirate-parrot. 50 credits bounty per C rated pirate-parrot.
Quest: Bounty: Pirate Parrot Captain Squack. Hint: You can find Squack in the Cave of Squack at the coasts of Swell.
Description: Kill Squack.
Rewards: 1000 credits bounty.
"What a coincidence! I love toasting three rolls with one toaster!"
Eddie chuckled. "Piling a few quests into one location is pretty common for games. If you ever get a nonsensical quest with a too high rating−like B for fetching a scratching post−you can be sure that someone else has a request connecting to it. At least that's the case with most MMOs."
"So, how do we find the cave?"
"We have to search the coast for it." Eddie shrugged.
"I have the coordinates from the forum, Milady. It is located 4 kilometers to the west."
"Noooo, Aidan! You spoiled it! Sometimes you'll find amazing things if you stray! Searching for a quest objective is an adventure in itself!" Eddie complained.
"You are the commander for this mission, dear. If you say we search in the east, I'll do it!" Flora said with a face that screamed heroic sacrifice.
"Now that I know about the location, it's too late. I can't ignore it. Let's head west."
Flora convinced Eddie to enter the Mover again when she promised him only to hover. In no time, they reached a rocky cliff face.
"Great, the entrance has to be hidden! Don't spoil it, Aidan! We'll find it without your help." Eddie rubbed his hands.
Flora was torn whether she should tell him that she spotted a magical aura from one of the boulders leaning onto the cliff.
"Oh! I know a handy spell for looking for magic! Maybe the entrance is hidden by mystic powers?" Flora intoned.
Eddie narrowed his eyes at Flora's bad acting. "You already found it, right?"
"I found something suspicious, at least." Flora pointed at the rock. "Maybe it's connected to our quest, or maybe not. I swear Aidan didn't say anything."
"Okay, that's fair. Let's check it out."
The Mover glided over the sallow water to the boulder.
Under the spell, the boulder grew transparent, and an opening to the cliff appeared behind the illusion.
Aidan navigated the Mover through it into a narrow tunnel.
Name: Cave of Squack
Level Cap: 2
- Defeat: Death
- Cornered: 30 min
- Drop: 0%
- Defeat: Defeat
- Cornered: 15 min
- Drop: 0%
- Defeat: Defeat
- Cornered: 5 min
- Drop: 0%
Automatic Reputation Losses
- Killing Pollies
- Looting pirates
- Parroting parrots
"Stop!" Eddie said.
Flowing Flowers to Aidan: "Eddie is the boss for this quest. Please listen to him if it doesn't contradict my wishes… let's say my orders … no let's say his orders … whatever, I'm sorry, dear. We will survive! Or check out the loser's corner!"
"We will sneakingly disembark and carefully advance," Eddie said while jumping out of the Mover. He dove into the water without making a splash.
Flora knew she couldn't imitate him without making a racket and used levitate to lower herself. Unfortunately, she couldn't breach the water surface with it, so she still made some noise hitting it.
Eddie glared at her.
"What has your knickers in a twist?" Flora whispered. Normally, Eddie was an imperturbable gentleman, but today he acted frantically. "You are behaving like a clam in a pressure cooker."
"I'm in an existential crisis!" He whispered back. The aggression in his stance morphed to torment. "The evil game spoiled my pirate aspirations!"
"No! How dare it?"
"Shush! I was on a trader ship, and pirates raided it. They slaughtered the crew and offered the passengers to join them or die. I accepted, then initiated a mutiny and captured the ship."
"Nice, Captain!" Flora whispered.
"Yeah, being a pirate captain has been my life long dream, if you disregarded my rebellious teenager phase when I admired the Royal Navy."
Flora giggled but toned it down when Eddie laid a finger across his lips and continued speaking quietly, "Congrats on fulfilling your life's ambition. So, where is your ship? Can you give me a tour?"
"Hey friends, you are blocking the tunnel." A voice boomed from behind.
"Shush!" Flora and Eddie said.