Nugget gritted his teeth and shook his fists in rage. All the pain and all the suffering he had endured had come down to one moment. In a blink of an eye it was ruined by a stupid, noisy parrot. His thoughts turned to his irate Queen. She had cast a magic invisibility spell on Nugget and given him the task of slaying the leader of the party. Once he fulfilled the task, he would be magically transported home, fully visible.
The Queen’s servant had finally made it to the Pirate Bay after being teleported into the middle of the Coral Desert. He had spent days aimlessly roaming around the sandy plains until he had spotted a floating ship soaring overhead. Then a horrific filled wave of sea water scooped him up and carried him towards the ocean. The undead creatures in the tide were unaware he was there, thanks to the spell. That didn’t stop them from knocking him about while trying to swim past him.
When Nugget made it to the coast, it took him a long time to wash all the putrid stench off in the ocean. Then he followed where the ship sailed and found the pirate hideaway. There he had finally spotted his target.
Clemiticus had been sleeping outside in a garden. He was completely vulnerable and alone. With dagger in hand, all Nugget had to do was strike. Just when he thought he could go home a blasted bird flew past and made an awful racket. Then a woman had come out of the house, then a man. The invisible assassin had lost his opportunity.
Nugget knew he wasn’t a fighter. He had spent his entire life as a servant cleaning linen and washing floors. If you needed some clean towels or new bed sheets, he was your man. If you needed a silent assassin to jab a knife through the ribs of a seasoned adventurer, you needed to look somewhere else.
Nugget did have one advantage though. The spell his queen cast not only hid him from sight but also from sound. Only the queen could sense his presence or hear his complaining. Even with his newfound invisibility, Nugget knew that even the bird Skittles would outmatch him in a fight.
After the others arrived, he had no other choice but to wait.
So, he did.
He watched the group of misfits eat their breakfast and discuss their next plan of action. After stealing a few of their scraps, he followed them as they packed up their things and went onto their magical ship.
Melly leaned on the stern’s balustrade, enjoying the smell of the gentle warm salty air. The Pirate Bay resort was slowly receding into the distance. The explosive transformation of the town had taken the party by surprise.
Apparently Kouskous and the rest of the locals didn’t have the same appreciation of pirate culture as their former king. Ships that had once carried the customary pirate flag now flew a brilliant white flag with a picture of a tropical cocktail instead. The town’s aesthetic and the clothes the locals wore were now more suited to an island paradise theme.
“The wind’s perfect,” Rupert said while turning the ship due east.
The deck underfoot creaked as the prow cut through the oncoming waves. Melly found that she relished the steady rising and falling of the ship. It was like a soft meditation, which she found soothing in the warm weather.
“Squawk!” Skittles warbled.
Melly turned to the bird thoughtfully. Melly had been thrilled when the bird vanished. Its recent reappearance so quickly after Midori’s change of fealty was suspicious at best.
Clemiticus climbed the stairs and joined Melly and Rupert behind the helm. Their decision to continue their journey to confront the evil Queen had been decided over breakfast. In classically Clemiticus style they had made the decision rapidly with the understanding that they had no other choice.
They had made a quick pro vs con list which included: ‘The prevention of the end of the world and loot.’
Their next port of call was to sail East and to navigate around a large volcanic island named the Lap of the Gods. Any plan to sail between the mainland and the island was cast aside. A look out had spotted objects that floated in the water between the two lands. Before them was a myriad of deadly sea mines. Nuecus had informed them that the mines were placed there many years ago during a war that destroyed an entire city.
“Why can’t we just fly there?’ Thea had asked.
Derrick and Nuecus had shared a look. The dwarf cleared his throat and explained, “unfortunately there are two reasons why we cannot fly. The first is we have sustained punctures in the balloon and we will need to gather enough gas and...”
“Helium,” Nuecus interrupted. “The gas is Helium.”
“Yes thanks, Helium,” Derrick continued, “the second is that we will have to be very careful. There’s a rumour floating around that there’s a dragon on the island. If we fly anywhere near the place, we would have a high chance of becoming its next meal.”
They all shared looks and quickly agreed that flying definitely wouldn’t be in their best interests.
“Ah what a great breeze!” Clemiticus said cheerfully leaning over the rail next to Melly.
She looked at the swashbuckler suspiciously. The man always had ulterior motives, which usually included the acquisition of loot or experience points.
“Yes, it’s nice,” she replied.
“So,” Clemiticus fidgeted with a shiny button on his pirate vest. He looked different without his flashy feathered hat, “what subclass you going to choose?”
Melly had to think for a while. She hadn’t thought about it at all. Now that she had time, she realised she didn’t really know what a sub class was.
“I…” she started tentatively, “I don’t actually know what a subclass is.”
“A subclass is a secondary class that gives you new abilities. I’ll give you a quick example,” Clemiticus quickly explained. The sparkle in his eyes blazed with passion. “Imagine you are a run of the mill warrior. As you level up, you get stronger and better at fighting, eventually you gain enough exp to obtain a subclass. Then you can develop your class with new skills.”
Melly slowly nodded and tried to follow Clem’s reasoning.
“If a warrior would choose to learn magic, they would become a spell sword. They could cast magic spells at the same time as swinging a sword.”
Melly thought of her bow and how being able to shoot magic would be impressive.
“Or you can learn to heal, tame animals, use new weapons. Maybe you can learn music or even teleport stuff.”
The idea was intriguing. Melly had lived all her life as a powerless villager and here was a man who was loading them with power. Clemiticus might be pushy in many respects but he had never once asked for anything in return or at least anything that wasn’t worthless. Melly wondered if she would ever understand the man’s obsession with basic loot.
She silently resolved in that moment to treat the swashbuckler better in future. The more she interacted with the Swashbuckler the more she saw him for what he was. A happy, lucky fool with no desire for evil, only loot.
“Squawk! Melly’s sub class is bitch!” Skittles screeched.
Melly’s hand instinctively went to her pocket as she drew out her potato and hurled it.
“Skittles has died.”
Clemiticus watched the drama dispassionately and shrugged, “Well anyway what sub class were you are thinking of trying out?”
Melly couldn’t think of an answer. Always helpful, Clemiticus went through their options in detail. They would need to travel to the new land first, then find a trainer. Fairy had given them no real indication of what the subclasses involved. That didn’t stop Clemiticus from theorizing about the potential power boosts available.
Clemiticus strode to stand beside Rupert at the Helm and abruptly tripped over.
“What the hell was that?” Clemiticus shouted. He lay on his side, nursing his shin.
“Careful lad!” Rupert laughed.
A smile widened on Clemiticus' face as he realised he had tripped on nothing. “Wait, look what I have found!”
The swashbuckler plucked up a dark object and took it to Melly for inspection. She looked over at the rusted object and saw it was a well-worn dagger.
“You finally found some loot.” Melly said with a smile.
Clemiticus harrumphed, “Fairy, inspect item.”
A blue flash appeared over the dagger as Fairy announced, “Clemiticus has picked up Nuggets rusted dagger: Rarity poor, quality ever poorer.”
Clemiticus scowled, “What a piece of junk!” He tossed it overboard.
“Clemiticus has discarded: Nuggets rusted dagger!”