The Royal Order of Silly Hats

The Butterfly Effect

"I need to start a graveyard in my petting zoo."

There was a standoff between Hoxie, Mithian, and the assassins at the clinic called Queen Anne’s Mercy. Just as Mithian tried to convince Judith that she was good for the money to buy a poisoner’s kit, Blacksad broke a window and tumbled inside. He had Jeeves carry him into battle.

Hoxie used Detect Thoughts and sensed that Judith was going to attack. She tore a canoe patch off her cloak, retreated through the doorway, and threw the canoe behind her to block the assassins’ path. Mithian fled through the window with Misty Escape. She sent her pseudodragon to find help.

A wolf emerged from the hall and tore into Hoxie’s flesh. Judith snapped the canoe in half and cleared the way for her minion, a kenku dressed in a cloak. He advanced on Hoxie, ready to skewer her with his daggers. Sounds of rasping metal filled the room.

Blacksad asked the butler to take Hoxie to safety. Out of respect, the butler obeyed his wishes and used Dimension Door to bring Hoxie to the street in front of the clinic… leaving Blacksad to fight alone. He leaped out of the window and face-planted beside the hedges. Judith knocked him unconscious with the butt of her dagger.

Solxax and Croak showed up with ten royal guards. They met up with Hoxie and Mithian and then marched inside the clinic. Croak told the receptionist, Willow, to take a day off. The group searched through the clinic and found Blacksad’s blood-trail, which lead into the middle of a room but stopped. Hunny smashed the ground and realized that the floor echoed as if there were a hollow space below. It was Hoxie who discovered a hidden doorway behind a bookcase.

Croak charged into the assassin’s secret underground base, immediately triggering a pressure plate that pelted him with poisoned needles that could not penetrate his armour. Hunny smashed a crate full of ceramic unicorns. Mithian sent her pseudodragon ahead to scout the dining hall.

Hoxie stole a jester’s hat with golden bells from a pedestal at the top of a stairwell. Whenever its bells tinkle, she hears laughter in her mind. Mithian scooped up two of the golden platters on the table… only to realize they were normal platters coated with golden paint and glue. They stuck to her hands, leaving her unable to cast spells with somatic components. The guards tried to eat chicken from the platters and quickly succumbed to poison.

Croak charged ahead into the hallway, only to fall into a spike-pit that snapped shut above him. Solxax managed to avoid the pitfall, but tripped a wire that caused the tunnel to collapse above him. He narrowly escaped being crushed, but the pathway was blocked. Mithian used Move Earth from her ring of spell storing and used it to clear out the debris. The spell uncovered a hidden tunnel behind a thin layer of rock.

Hunny sent her animals ahead to trigger traps. Pumba the boar died under a barrage of of poisoned needles. The giant elk got stuck in a narrow hallway. Ghost the direwolf refused to follow Hunny’s orders and fled back to the surface. When Hunny moved ahead to free her elk from the hallway, she noticed that there was a room full of butterflies at the bottom of a stairwell.

As soon as Hunny entered the room, a swarm of butterflies descended upon her, trapping her beneath the combined weight of their tiny bodies. As they swarmed over her, they attacked her skin with their poisoned bite. The party had to work together to free her. Mithian tore off the dinner plates stuck to her hands so that she could use her magic. (RIP Mithian’s skin) During the chaos, Hunny managed to capture four butterflies in a net. Hunny swore vengeance on all butterflies and then crushed her captives beneath her hammer.

Hunny found a kitten in a cage filled with the butterflies’ last meal. She named her new pet ‘Die, Butterflies, Die!’

Meanwhile, Blacksad woke up tied to a bed in a room without a doorway. Judith told him that a client had paid them very well to make sure that his death would be slow and painful, so they would allow the poison to take its course. Judith’s wolf appeared beside her and she placed her hand on its back, disappearing into thin air.

Croak and Solxax led the way deep into the underground tunnels. The tunnel walls transitioned from jagged stone to softer, reddish sandstone layers. Croak tried to pummel some of the sandstone… only to send spores of russet mold into the air. Croak blew it back with his Wind Fan.

As Croak rounded the corner of the tunnel, he was faced with a fork. He and Solxax took the left path, turning their backs to the right branch behind them.

And then Judith appeared with the wolf at her side. She launched a sneak attack at Solxax’s back, stabbing him multiple times. Solxax lost consciousness, hovering on the edge of life and death, until Hoxie pulled him to safety and stabilized him.

Blacksad managed to struggle free from his restraints, but doubled over with exhaustion from the exertion. He could hear sounds of fighting beyond his room, so he strained against the wall with his bare hands, desperate to claw through to the passageway where his friends were fighting for their lives.

Enraged at the sight of Solxax’s wounds, the team surrounded Judith. Croak attacked her, but was pushed back by the wolf’s icy Frost Breath. Hoxie, Hunny, and Mithian pelted Judith with attacks. When she tried to retreat behind her wolf, she triggered Croak’s Booming Blade. The assassin fell unconscious on the cavern floor… but was rescued by her wolf’s Dimension Door spell.

Hunny smashed the wall that separated Blacksad from the party.

…But before the party could celebrate, rasping metallic sounds echoed through the tunnels around them.

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ChristineJackson

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