Chapter #204

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                              +   +
                            +       +
                          +           +
                        +               +
                      +                   +
                    +                       +
                  +      THE ADVENTURERS      +
                    +                       +
                      +      Epic II      +
                        +               +
                          +           +
                            +       +
                              +   +

+    The various characters contained in these writings are   +
+  copyright 1994 by Thomas Miller.  Any resemblance to any   +
+  persons or characters either real or fictional is utterly  +
+  coincidental.  Copying and/or distribution of these tales  +
+  is permissible only under the sole condition that no part  +
+  of them will be used or sold for profit.  In that case, I  +
+  hope you enjoy them...                                     +
+                                                             +
+                            Thomas Miller                    +
+                    +
+   THE PARTY:                                                +
+                                                             +
+   Alindyar      15th level dark elven mage              (N) +
+   Arnold        11th level human warrior               (NG) +
+   Belphanior    12th/14th/14th level high elven w/m/t  (CN) +
+      small immaterial wispy thing                           +
+   Ged           14th/14th level grey elf priest/mage   (NG) +
+   Lyra          12th level female dark elven mage       (N) +
+   Mongo         16th level dwarven warrior             (CG) +
+   Peldor        18th level human thief                  (N) +
+      Bosco       8th level halfling thief              (CN) +
+   Rillen        16th level human warrior                (N) +
+   Date:    unknown                                          +
+   Time:    late morning                                     +
+   Place:   an alien city called "New Orleans"               +
+   Climate: moderately cold                                  +
+   "Mostly dead is slightly alive."                          +
+                 - Miracle Max, from _The Princess Bride_    +

              CCIV.  Taking Care of Business

  After helping Belphanior and Peldor escape from a city
hospital and rejoin its ranks, the party has retreated to
the hotel suite where they have been staying of late.

Ged:  ...and so we saw your face on that mystical "TV" and
  came to find you.
Belphanior:  Ah.  I see.
Bosco:  Who'd have thought you were alive?  I mean, those
  guys in blue really blasted the hell out of-
Peldor:  (drags Bosco away)  Yep, that sure was fascinating,
  wasn't it Bosco?  Here, check the TV for us again, would
Bosco:  (does a backflip onto the plush couch, and snatches
  up the remote control)  Yeah!
Belphanior:  (shaking his head)  Hmph.
wispy thing:  (shakes its own immaterial head)  Frrrp.
Ged:  Anyhow, here we are, happy as can be.
Belphanior:  (muttering)  I'll just bet...
Mongo:  (yawns)
Rillen:  What now?  We've recovered everyone, we've got a
  place to stay...
Arnold:  (looking around at the huge suite)  Yah.
Ged:  The next order of business is to find a way home-
Belphanior:  _My_ next order of business is to find my
  damned weapons!  If Blackrazor stays on this world, so
  do I.
Ged:  (furrows his brow in contemplation)  Well, actually-
Mongo:  (to Belphanior)  I wonder where they took your stuff.
Alindyar:  'Twould seem a vexing problem, indeed.
Bosco:  (nonchalantly, from in front of the TV)  Why don't
  we just look wherever the guys in blue hang out?  That's
  probably where the weapons and stuff ended up.
Arnold:  Huh?
Paula:  (returns from the bathroom)  Yep.  First we find out
  what police zone we were in when we got surrounded...then
  we go to that precinct and get into the evidence room, or
  vault, or whatever they have...hmm.  (she regards the
  adventurers)  Of course, that last part is totally up to
  you guys...
Lyra:  It'll be dangerous.
Ged:  Wait a minute!  We should be concentrating on finding
  a way back, not finding some lost weapons that could be
  anywhere in this city.
Alindyar:  Aye.
Belphanior:  Bah.
Ged:  Now look here-
Belphanior:  (his eye glows menacingly)
Peldor:  Hey, why not split into two teams?  One can go
  after Belphanior's possessions, using stealth and trickery-
Mongo:  -and maybe brute force-
Ged:  -and the other team can seek out a means of getting
Lyra:  A worthy plan.
Bosco:  (muttering)  Yeah, but worthy of what?
Arnold:  I like the brute force part.
Peldor:  Of course it's a great plan!  Look who thought it
Ged:  Hmph.
Paula:  Hmm.  That sounds fine and dandy, but where do you
  need to go to find clues about a way home?
Alindyar:  Any center of higher learning...
Ged:  Or technology...
Paula:  (getting ideas now)  Yeah, I know just where to take
Arnold:  We sdill need a plan.
Belphanior:  Aye...(he suddenly collapses)  Gahk.
Mongo:  Eh?
Peldor:  He's still weak from that death business.
Belphanior:  (weakly)  Nonsense, I didn't die.
Bosco:  You didn't?  Gee...
Ged:  Hmm, a plan.
Peldor:  Yes, a plan.  (he sits at a table, and the others
  take the cue and gather around)
Arnold:  (props Belphanior up in a chair, around the table)
wispy thing:  (floats over the table, studying the plan as
  it forms)  Fssssp.

  Within the hour, they had a viable plan.  The first team,
consisting of Peldor, Bosco, Mongo, and Arnold, would find
the appropriate police station, with Paula's help.  At that
point, Peldor would use his hat of disguise to get into the
place, and hopefully find Belphanior's items.  The other
three would remain close at hand, in case something went
awry with the subtle approach.

Arnold:  Awbry?
Mongo:  That means we get to clean house, then.
Arnold:  Oh.

  Meanwhile, the second team, consisting of Ged, Alindyar,
and Lyra, would go to the public library, to peruse the vast
tomes of knowledge there.  Paula was to lead the first group
to their destination, then break off with the second group
and head to the library.  Belphanior would stay behind, since
he was not only quite weakened but also being hunted by all
the police in the city.

Belphanior:  Bullshit!  I can disguise myself-  (he staggers
  with dizziness)  Arg.
Peldor:  Nah, we'll handle this one.  Trust me.
Belphanior:  (grins weakly)  To not steal my money?  Hah!
Peldor:  Who, me?
Lyra:  Wait a minute!  The police station group needs to have
  one of us with them.
Ged:  Us?
Alindyar:  They do?!?
Lyra:  Yes...for spell support, and maybe a teleport out of
Belphanior:  (nods at this)
Ged:  Nah, they'll be fine.  Come with us.
Alindyar:  Aye.
Lyra:  No.
Alindyar:  (obviously upset)  But-
Lyra:  Look, you two don't need me to find a way out of this
  world.  (she smiles at the subtle pun)
Peldor:  Sounds like Peyote, actually...
Ged:  Fine.  Go with them.
Alindyar:  (gives Ged a look, as if it was his choice who
  Lyra went with)  But, does that mean...
Ged:  Yep.  We get Arnold.
Arnold:  Aaa?
Peldor: one is me, Bosco, Mongo, and Lyra.
Ged:  Team two is me, Arnold, and Alindyar.
Paula:  And me!
Ged:  Yea, and you.

  With that, they departed the suite, leaving Belphanior to
rest and recuperate.

wispy thing:  (glances at Belphanior, seeming to read his
  mind, and flies after Peldor)  Ssss.
Belphanior:  Yeah, you go help them.  I think they're going
  to need it.
wispy thing:  Pssssbb!  (it does a flip in the air, then
  vanishes under the door that Peldor just shut)
Belphanior:  (collapses into a deep sleep)

  Within the hour, all was in readiness.  Paula had taken
the whole group to New Orleans Police, Zone 5's headquarters.
The large brick building resembled a small fortress, a quite
fitting comparison, really.  The adventurers scanned the
place from the shelter of a donut shop across the street.

Paula:  (brings several dozen doughnuts to the table where
  the group sits)  Here you go.
Bosco:  (examines a jelly doughnut)
Paula:  It's a doughtnut, Bosco.  Cops seem to like 'em,
  so I figured we should have some too.
Mongo:  (consumes one in a single bite)  Mmm.
Alindyar:  White powder...jelly within...
Ged:  Fascinating, isn't it?
Lyra:  (looking at the large numbers of uniformed police
  officers, as well as the dozens of metal war chariots
  parked around it)  Aie.  This may be more challenging
  than we first presumed.
Bosco:  Not to worry, we can do anything.
Peldor:  Right.  (he watches the nearby activities with
Paula:  For the record, those "metal war chariots" are
  called "cars".  You get in them and drive them around.
Ged:  Like horses?
Paula:  Yeah...but a lot faster.
Peldor:  (gets a twinkle in his eye)  Really?
Mongo:  (looking around, bored)  So we have to stay in this
  place while Peldor goes in?
Alindyar:  Aye.
Bosco:  (munching on a doughnut)
Peldor:  At least until I get into trouble, anyhow.
Paula:  (hands Lyra the extra key to the hotel suite)  You
  should take this...just in case he doesn't, you know...
Lyra:  Gotcha.
Peldor:  Eh?

  A few minutes later, Paula took Ged, Alindyar, and Arnold
away, to find the library.  Peldor prepared himself to enter
the police station.

Peldor:  (studying a group of police officers who are sitting
  nearby, eating doughnuts and drinking coffee)
Mongo:  (to the others)  What's he finding so interesting?
Bosco:  He's studying not only their appearances, but also
  their mannerisms, their order to achieve
  the perfect disguise.
Lyra:  I had no idea it was so complicated.

  Meanwhile, back at the Hyatt-Regency downtown, a lone
figure rode the elevator upward, toward the ninth floor.
Lean and wiry, though nobody could tell beneath the suit
he was wearing, the fellow had a dangerous air about him.
His purpose here was twofold:  one, to retrieve the five
million dollars in unmarked bills that the girl and her
strange friends had stolen; two, to make sure that none
of the thieves remained alive to tell about it.  It had
been a trivial matter to track and observe the odd group
to the suite at this hotel, and now they had all left.
  Since he hadn't seen any of the group carrying a sack
of any kind, much less the briefcase that the money had
been in, the assassin had to assume that the cash was in
the suite somewhere.  After he found it, a few kilos of
plastique would suffice to greet the thieves upon their
return.  After all, people had to be shown who not to
steal from.
  Personally, he thought, whoever let a little wisp of a
girl snatch five million dollars from his hand deserved
whatever they got.  Of course, those idiots were dead now,
apparently slain by the same people who were renting the
suite here.  So they were dangerous, maybe...but that was
hardly enough to deter the assassin.  The elevator chimed
as it reached the ninth floor, and he strode into the hall,
making no sound as he walked directly for the presidential
suite.  Flamboyant spenders were always the easiest targets,
he thought as he produced his lockpicks and went to work on
the door.

next time :  all colors of ka-ka hit the fan

ftp site  : in /pub/frp/stories/adventurers

notes     :  Heh heh.

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