Baron von Blackberry and Iris left the guild hall, finished with their business there for now. They made their way to the inn, where Ithelis and Phyrra were both seated at a table working on drinks and/or meals.
"AHAHAHAHA!" laughed the Baron, "SOON! We will have countless riches before our very eyes! Our peers will look upon us, and begin hating."
"We'll have haters? That doesn't sound any fun." Iris pouted a bit at the thought.
Phyrra grinned over her food. "You can't get anywhere in life without pissing off at least a few individuals, especially if money is what you're after~!"
"Haters, my dear Iris, will always hate," explained the Baron. "That's like the Fruitsylvanian motto."
As the two seated themselves, one of the serving wenches approached. "Buying any food or drink?"
"I already have 6 house specials coming, BUT..." Phyrra pointed at Ithelis. "He could use beer. Lots and lots of beer."
Ithelis grunted from his position of head on the table. "Ale me. So much beer."
"Bring me one of what he's having!" Iris exclaimed, nodding her head toward Ithelis.
"I shall require your finest meats," the Baron said.
The serving wench hurried over to the kitchen, placing the Baron's order before stopping at the bar. Within minutes she returned with four full flagons frothing with freshly poured drink.
Iris held up her flagon. "To a successful mission!" She shouted before taking a drink.
"To what she said!" the Baron said, before taking a drink of his own.
"Beer," is all Ithelis says as he began to chug down the flagon. Phyrra was stuffing herself senseless to the point of being unable to communicate beyond quick nods.
Iris set down her mug and wiped her mouth. "Hey Baron, do you have the money from the guild house? I think these guys deserve their fair share of the kill don't you think?"
"I do indeed," the Baron said, before he pulled out 20 gold each for both Phyrra and Ithelis. "Although, I could have *sworn* there was someone else to give a share to."
Ikun-scek had retreated to other parts for rest, claiming frustration for his performance in battle today.
"It was likely no one of importance. It's like there's a fog in my memory, though. I just seem to remember some rather large knuckles and a lack of chuckling."
"I have a little bit from selling the meat, too!" Phyrra handed everyone except Ithelis two coins. She set the remaining 5 coins aside, in debate.
Iris looked at the pile and shrugged. "Generally in my experiences the rougher groups would decide who gets the odd money by feats of strength. I... really don't think you guys are the type to work like that though."
"I like that idea though! But...we may need it for something unrelated to lining pockets."
"Man, if only there were a fifth guy to split this up evenly," the Baron mused openly.
"Give it to Fruit man for safe keeping, keep it as a nest egg," suggested Ithelis. "Group ness and all that shit. Can be TEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAM funds or something."
"Plus, I know it's an odd number, but five is such a good number for a party. Why don't we have five guys?" the Baron asked, now off in his own little world, obsessed with the number of people around him.
"We'll probably need it, AND he did buy us meats earlier!" Phyrra handed the remaining amount to the strange fruit man.
Iris looked about, wondering how to broach an important subject. "So I asked about the crystals that Ithelis... consumed... during that battle. Apparently it might be worth something."
"Oh?" Phyrra perked up immediately on mention of value.
Ithelis, on the other hand, looked blankly at the Bast. "What."
"Apparently," explained Iris, "it was a red crystal from the Shift, people pay good money for samples."
"Good for them."
The Baron nodded in agreement with Iris. "Oh, yeah. Apparently they have something to do with the Shift thingie. They're pretty rare. Not as rare as the dreaded blue Fruitsylvanian lava crocodile, but still rare."
"Soooo...you're saying that crystal this DORK ate is basically where the real money is from our little outing?" asked Phyrra, eyeing the halfling.
"If you wanna put it that way. It's a shame he ate it, but hey, at least we got some good kills out of it, yeah?"
Sensing things beginning to turn against his better health, Ithelis tried to dismiss the topic. "A real shame, yup."
The Baron looked around the table, particularly focused on Phyrra's greedy face. He coughed, loud enough for everyone at the table to hear it. "Dibs on not following him around with a pooper scoop."
Ithelis, who was just finishing off his meal, spat loudly "WHAT."
"I'll let Phyrra do it if she wants the money that badly, I KNOW she'd love the cash," grinned Iris.
The Urganess shook her head. "I think there's....BETTER methods."
"MORE RELIABLE methods." Phyrra warmed her hands under her chin, huhuhuuhuu. "Keep drinking, halfling."
Ithelis glared at her over his flagon.
"Either way, who knows what that crystal might do to you while it's in your stomach. It could be spawning countless baby crystals that could explode out of your eyes, and then ride your eye juices into the bodies of everyone around you," the Baron suggested, his arms flailing wildly as he calmly explained his nightmare scenario.
The half-Urgan shifted his ire to the Baron. "Hooray, I'm a mother."
The sarcasm flew right over the Baron's head. "Oh my god, you're a WOMAN!?"
"Sure, why not."
"KEEP DRINKING, DAMMIT!" Phyrra lifted her arm up, demanding more booze. Seeing the raised arm, the serving girl hurried back with another full round of booze.
"You're paying for this. WHY ARE YOU EVEN DOING THIS. You're not cutting it out while I'm supposedly knocked out or something if that's what you're planning, wench!"
Iris patted Ithelis on his back. "Drink up buddy! The dragon lady commands it!"
"That's for you to decide~" Phyrra declared in a sing-song voice. "BETTER WORK ON GETTING IT OUT Y'SELF."
"WHY DO YOU EVEN WANT IT?" Ithelis demanded between gulps of ale.
The Baron shook his head. "Yeah, I really have to disapprove of that, too. Ithelis may be the most crabby of all women I've ever known, but cutting it out of her just isn't the way to go."
"I'm not a woman you doofus. DO I SOUND LIKE A WOMAN?"
"You sound like my bratty little sister, yes," shot Phyrra. "WHINE WHINE WHINE, c'mon, have another beer."
"I don't know. My late wife, Lady von Blackberry, had a voice deeper than the darkest ocean," the Baron said. He looked up at the ceiling, remembering something fondly.
"Deep..." Ithelis trailed off, confused. Phyrra eyed the strange fruit man with wariness. "I'm not going to knock out." Ithelis raised the glass to his mouth anyway and drained the next mug. "If you're paying for it, good. Free booze."
"Our team fund could work for this nicely~" said Phyrra about the money. "But you better cough it up." Ithelis seemed to feel the alcohol not at all yet.
The Baron turned to Ithelis. "Either way, sir and/or madam, you haven't... uh... had any more weird things happen to you since you ate that crystal, right? Like, you know, stomachaches... indigestion... red lightning making your entire body convulse in a concert of pain... that kind of thing?"
"I dunno, I've been busy," the halfling growled.
Iris looked over at the Baron, confused. "That was an... oddly specific description."
"I am doing fine as one could do who's carring around a jagged piece of rock candy."
Phyrra waved the serving girl over again. "THAT ROCK CANDY IS WORTH LOTS OF MONEY and we're all entitled to it you ruffian! MORE BEER."
For the third time, the serving girl came over with flagons of ale. Eyeing the practically untouched ones before everyone who WASN'T Ithelis, she arched an eyebrow and turned her mouth into a pout. "What are you ordering more for when you haven't finished the last round? I hope you're not thinking of skipping out on the bill!"
"Hey I ain't skippin' out on the bill, I just take my time, unlike SOME halflings we know," explained Iris.
Ithelis ignored the server to respond to the Baron. "But yes Fruit Man, it hurts." The half-Urgan grimaced and practically inhaled the next mug.
"He's gonna drink 'em." Phyrra pointed at Ithelis.
"'S a baby shower."
Not being privy to the conversation, the barmaid instead smiled and clapped her hands. "Oh, congratulations! When are you two expecting?" she asked, looking at Ithelis and Phyrra.
"I WOULDN'T SULLY MYSELF LIKE THAAAAT~!" Phyrra's face twisted into a pained grimace.
"Twins." Ithelis pulled the smaller Urgan into a cheesy embrace. "Two months!"
Phyrra placed a hand on her claymore's handle. "YOU HAVE TWO MINUTES TO DRINK THREE BEERS."
The Baron laughed. And laughed. And laughed. His maniacal laughter erred on the side of compulsively diabolical mad scientist. Iris also laughed, laughing like there was no tomorrow. "Man you two do make a good couple!"
Ithelis winked at Phyrra and started chugging. "Caaaan do, babe."
Smile faltering only slightly, the serving girl coughed into her hands and gathered up the dirty dishware to clear up some of the table space.
"DON'T ENCOURAGE HIM. OR ANYONE!" A puff of smoke escaped Phyrra's lips as she leered over at Iris.
Ithelis was now CLEARLY feeling the effects of the alcohol. It was apparent to him that he drank them far too quickly to remain sober. He felt like the table might make a nice bed. "FRUIT MAN," he bellowed. "Tell me..." He leaned in close, "Tell me about the Late Von Blackberry." Ithelis was determined to hold it, in order to spite them. How long that resolve might last however, was unknown.
Phyrra leered, eyeing the halfling like prey. Delicious crystal moneybucks prey.
Ithelis Shan: Ithelis winked back. "Babe y' gotta eat more FRUIT. Ye're eatin' for TWO AFTER ALL. ORR THREE? THREE BABIES? I am not ready for thiiiiiiiiiiis. FRUIT MAN, comfort me!"
"Ah, Lady von Blackberry was a true shining star in the dim dark fruity depths of Fruitsylvania," the Baron stated. "She was the jewel of my kingdom. Alas, though, she died in a tragic and strangely indescribable accident involving a duck, a toothpick, and a cheese wheel."
A tear rolled down the halfling's cheek. "TRAGIC...MOOOOREEEE!" Hearing the cry for more, the server brought another drink, this one solely for Ithelis.
"Fruitsylvania hardly had a greater loss than her."
Iris just sat there giggling at everything around her. Ithelis's drunk antics, Phyrra's anger, both being accused of being married, and, morbidly enough, the odd story of Lady von Blackberry's demise.
"Cheers baaaaabe" Ithelis winked at Phyrra once more, and raised the mug. "To the crystal she ain't gettin'." He then proceeded to knock back the next flagon. His family would be proud. The last flagon seemed to have lived up to its name. Ithelis felt the increasingly faint cries of his self-preservation saying to stop, and stop now.
"I'll get it, I'LL FOLLOW YOU TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH IF I HAVE TO..." Phyrra could practically feel her blood boil.
Still laughing, Iris managed to get a sentence out. "You know, it's gotta come out sometime, might as well give it to your lovely wife here!"
"Engagement...BUT I DONT WANNA SHE SMELLLLSSSSSSSSSS!"
"...Would it get me the crystal all to myself?" Phyrra silently mused.
"They would sing songs of your liver's endurance where I come from, friend," the Baron said. "But you should probably stop. People are likely staring at us. Not that I mind the attention."
"Who says I don't wanna give it to the cat babe............OR MY MAIN MAN." He pointed at Blackberry. "This dude. I WILL STOP THEN for the fruit man." Though he could be seen whispering 'another'.
Phyrra glared at the drunk halfling. "WE'RE SHARING IT DAMMIT!"
Iris handed him one of hers that she never drank. "There ya go buddy!"
The serving girl came over with another mug and set it down before Ithelis. He nodded at the serving girl then turned to peer at Phyrra once more, eyes not entirely focused. "Soooooooooooooooooooooooo..." he drawled as he took another gulp. "How do yaaaa suppose yer gonna get it out, drunk or noooot."
"I'll start jumping on your stomach if I have to."
"Kinky." Ithelis then realized the newest mug held iced water. "What is this BULLSHIT."
"Kinkier." Phyrra pointed at her claymore.
"Mmmmmmmmmmmmm can't beeee choppin me up, das against friend rullessssssssssss...we're a teaaaammm, ain't that right boisenberry?"
"Oh, no," said the Baron, holding up a hand to clarify. "Sir Reginald Boisenberry has been a prisoner in the Fruitsylvanian gulags for many a day, now."
"SEE strawberry says nooo."
"OH -NOOOOW- we're your friends. When your neck is on the line! Pffft!" Phyrra sighed. "I think -I- need a beer now."
"Bessssssssssssssst friends. Plussss my dear, y'know..." He leaned in. "Killing me might kill the crystal. We do not knoooow what it does what if its already like, I dunno, BONDED. Baby bonded."
"HOW DOES THAT MAKE ANY SENSE. THEN WE'LL HAVE TO KILL YOU ANYWAY maybe you'll turn into a big bird."
The Baron nodded knowingly at Ithelis. "Oh, it makes perfect sense to me. Childbirth is quite a tricky situation in this day and age."
Ithelis widened his eyes. "Killing me might disrupt the flow, since it has already found source inside me. What if removing it causes a reaction, BOOM. EVERYONE DIES."
"YOU DON'T KNOW THAT," Phyrra said, glaring again.
Blackberry shook his head. "Eye juices, man."
"I'M NOT BEING FRIENDS WITH A BOMB."
Ithelis waggled his fingers. "It could be MYSTIC POWER. NOT CUTTIN' IT OUTTA ME if you threaten it again I'll like.....................crush it with my stomach walls MISSY. NO ONE GETS ANYTHING."
The serving girl approached again, hesitant to speak. "U-umm...you're all being rather loud. We'd appreciate it if you went to your rooms or elsewhere. It's disturbing the other patrons. Even if you ARE with child."
"CANnnnn do babeeeeeeeee! COME FRIENDS WE'RE GOIN'."
"Perhaps it's for the best. I am absolutely full of meat now," the Baron said.
"Will thine fruit doeth thou a wicked solid and help thy stand," mumbled Ithelis, the alcohol clearly affecting him.
Phyrra pouted. "Fiiiiiiine...Can we have the oldest meat or fruit in the house for the trip upstairs?"
Before walking toward their rooms, Iris looked toward the serving girl. "I apologize on behalf of my friend, he's kind of an idiot, especially when he's drunk."
Ithelis whispered into Iris's ear. "Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaabe I think Phyrra is into foodplay..I'd watch if I were you...She seems to have the hots for thine bod. She's thirsty for your cat like reflexes. WATCH."
Startled by his comment, Iris looked over to him. "Eh?! What the hell are you going on about?"
Nodding at Iris' earlier explanation, the serving girl motioned to the table. "The total bill is 7 gold for the drinks and food."
"I'VE seen her flirt with you man like ON THE FIELD DUDE she was all over that ass. And now she's like askin'...FOR FOOD??? to bring with an she ate like 5 whole plates so ain't hongry. Foodplay. I tell you."
Phyrra bristled at him for his claims. "YOU DON'T KNOW THAT."
Seeing to the bill, the Baron shrugged and put 7 gold on the table, "The Baron formally apologizes for the disturbance. However, be wary of any eye juices that come your way."
"LABOR IS HAAARDD," whined the halfling.
The group stood, with some assistance given to Ithelis, and made their way to the guild house. Inside they found another person behind the counter, the lass from earlier gone.
Iris nodded to the counter worker."Ah, you must be the night shift. Could you direct us to the rooms? Our buddy here is particularly drunk."
"Maybe," said Ithelis, unable to focus his gaze.
The somewhat portly young man nodded and pointed up the stairs. "Second room on the right, 6 bed bunk style. Seems like just the thing for your group."
"And is there a bath...?" asked Phyrra, hopeful.
The Baron smiled, "Thank you, sir. You are fountain of useful information."
"Thanks!" Iris looked over at Ithelis. "'Maybe'? You need to go to bed."
"Nuuuuuuuuuu," moaned the halfing.
The counter worker frowned at Phyrra. "Bath? Not really. I mean, there's wash basins in the back for each gender, but the water isn't really warm and it's only good at getting that crap," he said, gesturing at the blood coating several of them, "off with some REALLY intense scrubbing."
"Bluuuuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhh..." Phyrra sighed.
Iris tried to console the Urganess. "Well it's better than nothin'. If it helps, I'll scrub your back"
"Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay," grinned Ithelis.
Phyrra shot him a look. "I'll be fine, just got a lot on my mind."
"Only as gay as you and 'your man' the Baron!" shot Iris.
Ithelis made gargling motions. "Nah bros before hoes.....................Iris. I would not fall in love with my MAN THOUGH thats some intense bro code breaking right there. Plus I have a wife."
Phyrra felt a fleeting but intense desire to punch Ithelis in the gut.
He knelt down and placed an arm around her. "The happy couple."
"DOOOOOOOOON'T TOUCH MEEEEEEEEEEE~!" Phyrra whipped around and smacked him at gut level, given his height VS. hers.
"Alas, I have not been happy since Lady von Blackberry passed away," the Baron said, watching the two.
"Nnngh. The missus plays a lil' prickly in public but she's really a nice gal," Ithelis groaned. "Sex is great, too."
Phyrra bared long pointy teefs. She landed her fist square in the middle of Ithelis' stomach, the illusion of a tiny flaming dragon around it. Inside he could feel the crystal shatter. The feeling was too much for his poor stomach and he crumpled to the floor, spilling out the massive quantities of beer onto the wooden planks. Floating in it were small red fragments.
"D-did it work..?" Phyrra spied the fragments. "THESE ARE STILL VALUABLE RIGHT?? RIGHT? Right? RIGHT???"
The Baron shrugged, "I dunno, but I think you're going to be sleeping on the couch, honey."
Iris picked up one of the fragments "Well, it IS technically a sample." She placed it in Phyrra's hands. "I guess you could try to sell it."
The counter worker looked at the mess and just sighed, going into the back. He returned a minute later with a bucket and mop. Ithelis resumed his position of 'crumpled on the floor in fetal position'.
"SLEEPING ON THE COUCH VERSUS WHAT, being near that THING??" Phyrra said, huffing at Ithelis.
"I'm just saying that the goal of a happy, loving marriage is to not beat your husband or wife up so hard that you make him cough up his red, crystalline child," the Baron said with a face so straight that you could cut cheese with it.
"B-but, it was the treasure...." Phyrra cried.
"But what's a greater treasure than the joy of marriage?" the Baron asked.
"WAS the treasure, now it's a bunch of shards that are still in his stomach." Iris helped Ithelis up and started toward the beds. "C'mon buddy, time for bed."
"Marriage sucks" the halfling whined.
The counter minder looked up as he was cleaning the mess. "Uh...did you want these shards?"
Phyrra sadly started carefully collecting little tiny shards, inwardly weeping. She was able to gather many of the shards, the whole crystal as far as she could tell.
Those of the group wanting to clean had a difficult time of it with the cold-ish water and lack of soap, but eventually manage to get their persons and equipment into a reasonably clean state. No others came during their cleaning - it seemed any other Jaegers were either intent on not using the cleaning tubs or stayed at the inn with its hot baths. Either way, the group fell asleep in their beds almost the moment they hit the pillows.
Morning came all too soon for some, particuarly the sore and hungover Ithelis, bringing with it the promise of new fortunes, adventures, and dangers.
Ithelis gingerly rolled over onto his messed up stomach and clamped his pillow over his head "No."
Phyrra threw her pillow over his head. "It was your fault, DUMMY."
"Dont touch me," he croaked.
"Planning on it!" Phyrra sighed, looking over at her companions.
Ithelis sank his face into the pillow, letting out half assed croaks and whines. A mighty Urgan indeed.
The Baron stretched his arms, "Ah, to have such beauty rest. A fine morning indeed."
"Top of the fuckin' mornin' to ya." Ithelis seemed intent on trying to spread his mood.
Phyrra shook off her annoyance for the moment and refocused on the task at hand. "I GUESS I should try to sell these off, but to who...and honestly, mister Baron may have more luck, despite how...bold he is."
"Normally, the only thing I sell is merchandise, but I can try and sell these too, if you'd like," the Baron said.
Ithelis stuck one of his hands out from the covers, making 'you talk FARRR too much' motions with his hand.
"Pleeeeeeease~!" Phyrra begged, clearly ignoring the whiney brute who eats everything good in the world.
"Very well! To the marketplace!" the Baron said proudly.
"Whyyyyy," the halfling groaned, peeking out from his realtively soft hide.
Phyrra hopped along, and would have considered using her fire breath if not for the sleeping Iris. But now was not the time.
The Baron and Phyrra both prepared for the day and left the Guild house, headed for the market lane. Some of the same vendors were there now, hawking foods meant for morning consumption. Others were still setting up, their feasts intended for later in the day. The Baron walked up to the nearest merchant, "Excuse me. You seem entirely impressionable. We are looking to sell some red crystal fragments. Who might be willing to buy them?"
Phyrra hung back a bit, to avoid the Baron being judged any further.
The goatee-sporting gentleman looked at the Baron and shrugged. "Not many of us locals. The crystal's neat, but we don't have a use for it. Now, some of these out of town merchants? The ones from the bigger cities, like Crossfeld to the north, they tend to buy them. I prefer plain old gold, myself. If you've got one to offload, I think that there's a guy at the mayor's manor who'd be interested most. Some big shot trading mogul. You might see him."
The Baron scratched his chin. "Very well. I'll see if I can't find him."