After the echoes of grating sounds had died away, the party finished exploring the assassin’s base. They found a set of crates, which Hunny smashed open… revealing jars of liquid, silks, spices, and all of Blacksad’s gear. When the base started flooding with sewage water, they hastily escaped and met up with the guards above.
They headed to the palace to see if they could find a doctor who would be able to determine if the bottles they found contained medicine. Hunny ran ahead and burst in demanding a soft bed. She was arrested by the guards… but Prince Edwin Elderin had them stand down.
The prince promised to do anything in his power to save his friend, Blacksad. He had his servants wake up every doctor in Noname and set up the party in a VIP suite for traveling dignitaries. Hunny curled up in a canopy bed after cuddling with a pile of puppies in the Fluffy Dog Room.
As they waited for doctors, the party talked to Edwin about his plan to convince Gwen to rule alongside him. The prince decided to express his feelings through art by having the party deliver a heartfelt painting to his sister.
Doctors tried various methods on Blacksad: charcoal, leeches, an all-chicken diet, and the medicine stolen from the assassins. By morning, he felt clear-eyed and healthy, aside from the lingering effects of addiction. The party awoke to find that their gear had been rifled through, though nothing was taken.
Edwin was busy in meetings, so he asked the party to meet with him in the evening. They head into town to do some shopping.
At the Crystal Cadaver, a scroll and curios shop, they bought five grab bags containing a Wand of Thunderbolt, Elixir of Health, Necklace of Adaptation, Scroll of Sun Flare, and an Adamantine chain shirt. Hunny bought a Saddle of the Cavalier. Croak bought a Headband of Intellect that was cursed to make him blurt out too much information. The shopkeep threw in a folding boat for free. Mithian tried to get the shopkeeper to track down an item, but the woman would only agree if the party was willing to beat up a rival shopkeeper. So everyone just left.
“Elixir of Health,” said Croak. “Did we just randomly pull an item that would have cured Blacksad of poisoning instantly?”
Down the street, people started shouting and breaking windows. Buildings caught fire. As Croak went to investigate, Mythian and Hunny bought healing potions from PaPaPa-Potions across the street. Hunny spent all her gold on ten Potions of Animal Friendship.
Hunny grinned. “I can totally mount something to claim it as my own and say ‘Now you’re mine for an hour.”
Mithian bought a couple love potions… and then told the shopkeeper that the lady across the street wants to beat him up for some reason.
They caught up with Croak… and saw that the whole district was rioting. They stopped a rioter and asked him why they were doing this. The working class of Noname was starving, since no boats had made it to the island in three months and they believed the nobles were hoarding produce from the farmlands. The nobles had forbidden boat travel out of the city for the sake of public safety, trapping the people in slums where they could only starve.
The rioters attacked the exotic animal zoo called McWallbucks with the intention of making meals out of the animals. They converged on the port, burning warehouses and boats. Led by a man in silver and white armour called General League, the royal guards pushed through the crowd and clubbed the rioters. The party talked it over and decided that this was a problem the guards should handle, since it was a matter of civic order. It was Edwin’s problem.
“Croak,” said Blacksad. “I think we need to tell you that Grandfather is not a nice turtle. He is totally the one destroying all the boats.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about. He only attacks pirates.”
“I believe he’s innocent… but I think we need to talk to him. Maybe he can do something about this.”
A little girl in a sunflower-pattern dress approached Croak and asked if he was talking about the dragon turtle. Her eyes were glazed and unfocused. The party followed her, knowing that she was in a trance.
The girl led them to a man dressed in a trench coat. The stench of rotting meat filled the air. The man asked Croak to introduce him to Grandfather. Croak asked if he was Zeke, but he did not reply. Instead, he told the party to come to the Crescent Cove… and then collapsed into a pile of desiccated remains. Blacksad took his locket… and found it contained a picture of the dead man himself when he had been alive. Hunny shook the little girl until she snapped out of her trance, then the party turned her over to the guards to take home.
The party head back to talk to Edwin… and found the prince was stuck in a series of tense meetings about how to handle the food shortage. The prince decided to open up the city’s winter stores to the people to get through the crisis, even if his father disagreed.
Edwin offered to sneak the party into his father’s war room to check the maps for the cove. But Croak and Blacksad were worried he would get in trouble, so they decided to track down Clove and Rosalee instead to see if they knew the geography of the area well. On the way, Croak wrote a letter to Glink and had it sent by bird.
When they arrived at the warehouse, they found that its windows had been smashed and the building looted. Croak asked a local, who told him that the mob had targeted the mousefolk because their ship was the only one that had passed safely into the port. They had also broken into McWallbucks and eaten all the giraffes.
Blacksad found a blood trail and followed it to an alley where a blind kobold beggar asked for change. Blacksad left him a… present.
The blood trail led to Clove, who was huddled by a dumpster, hiding from the people of the slums. Clove shot an arrow at them and missed. She told them to come no closer. Blacksad saw that she was bleeding from a wound on her chest where one of her ribs was protruding, so he healed her. Croak used his Elixir of Health to cure her alcoholism and allow her to think clearly.
Clove begged the party to help her rescue her sister. Someone had taken Rosalee and the other mousefolk during the middle of the riot, but Clove had only just barely managed to escape. The party asked her to describe the people who had taken Rosalee, but she could only remember that there had been a girl wearing a sunflower-patterned dress.
Croak asked Clove if she knew the location of Crescent Cove. It turned out to be a smuggler’s bay frequently-used by mousefolk and other non-humans to get around the royal family’s prejudiced trading restrictions. She agreed to lead them there.
Under the cover of darkness, the party went to the farmlands beyond the noble district and used Croak’s folding boat to cross the waters. Mithian said ‘you got this’ while Croak and Hunny powered the boat across and Blacksad scanned the waters for rocks.
As the party approached the bay in their boat, Croak announced that they were landing. Pirates emerged onto the decks of the ships beached in the cove, but they decided to ignore them. (Everyone carefully avoided mentioning the word ‘pirate’ around Croak.) Clove led the party to a bar where shady dealings were typically done. She warned everyone to act with an air of confidence and keep a ’don’t fuck with me’ expression at all times.
They walked into the bar, where a group of elderly men were playing Snakes and Ladders. The bartender asked if they would like a drink. Mithian tried to charm him into providing information, but he turned out to be gay.
Hunny punched the bartender in the face and asked him if he had seen any mousefolk. He told her that he had seen some people (he assumed slavers) with mousefolk tied up one of the boats, but he didn’t remember which one. Hunny smashed some bottles and then knocked the game of Snakes and Ladders onto the floor.
Outside, Croak said, “There are 12 boats… We will split up and search each one.”
He used the control word for the folding boat to set up a cabin they could use to rest. At dawn they would strike.