Day 154 - Accident on the Way to Brunch

Sunday, July 9th, 2016
160 AQI

It was Food Poisoning

After self-medicating enough to hold back the torrent of hatred that accompanies food poisoning, we head out and take a looooong uber ride to our destination. Traffic is nuts. We did make one pitstop at the bank on the way, where Dexter and I witnessed a slow paced fender bender. 
Beijing Traffic

A habit in Beijing is to just stop in the middle of the road, despite there being people trying to get through. They simply stop. Of course, this pisses off all the drivers behind them. 

This occurred while we waited, and another car was backing out with dubious amounts of room between. A man in uniform had been directing them, but they moved too quickly and touched the car that was blocking all the others. A woman from the assaulting vehicle gets out to inspect the damage, which was a scratch, at worst.  The cars in the procession start honking. The woman shakes her fist at them and yells something, presumably for them to shut up. 

More people emerge from both vehicles, and decide that it’s best to move over onto the existing shoulder that the original car should have been stopped on. This whole thing could have been avoided if that first guy hadn’t decided to stop in the middle of traffic and had pulled forward and onto the spot that he was now proceeding to. The spot was there the entire time. Shimou returns, missing this debacle.


Shimou had made plans with her friends to grab brunch over in San Li Tun (san lee twarr if you want the Beijing pronunciation). It’s a Wester brunch restaurant, she tells me and Dexter. I fantasize about greasy eggs-bacon-toast-waffle goodness that you’d get at, say, Denny’s.

Bebe, her brother, Silvia, and their classmate were waiting for us at the table, appetizers served. We’re 40 minutes late. That sucks. At the brunch, we were served smoked salmon with mustard sauce, coffee, sangria, yogurt, and a few other options. I had a breakfast burrito with a side bowl of.. melon, sweet pickles, carrot slices, and jalapeños. Sure… of course. This is exactly what I had been planning on having for breakfast today!

The View from the New Apartment
Near the end of the brunch, the earlier ingested safeguards / pills wearing thin, and the dam was showing signs of stress. Silvia’s classmate gave us all a ride to the mall where I used to tutor Maggie. I’m not positive we can make it home in time, but by god, I’ll do my damnedest. While we’re forced to wait for an Uber, we grab a free coke by scanning a QR code. For some reason, this mall is having a “France Day” and anyone wearing blue, red, or white gets a discount. That’s… that’s pretty much everyone. Some of the most common colors of apparel here are black and white, often in combination. I'm talking casualwear.

After spending the afternoon together, Shimou headed out to give a demo of her skill in tutoring, potentially getting a client for the month of July.

[Game On]

Much more enjoyable than the last time. We go further into the area we had been sent to investigate. We stumble across an owl-bear, which is a magical creature that some wizard had invented and loosed upon the world. They live anywhere, set up shop, then leave their offspring to continue doing the same while they move on. Wash, rinse, repeat. We use magic to befriend one, who leaves us alone, and feed a chicken to another who was headed our way.

In the hallway, we come across the mush-pile former-guards, likely the ones that had been sent to get the box. Also flaked apart bodies, killed by something we can only guess at. We see a magical barrier from one of the doors flickering as the juice runs out. Behind the door, we can see a very pissed dragon.

One of the owl bears attacks our bard, nearly tearing him to shreds. The ranger and monk assist him while the two wizards stand, puzzling over the fading barrier and subsequent dragon problem. Dragons are color-coded for people’s convenience of being good or evil. Metallic ones are good, other colors are.. not. But, thanks to this wonky barrier, we can’t tell.

We decide to hide and let the dragon take care of the owl-bear, then let the dust settle. The monk makes a cloud of blackness for them to egress, and the bard applied his magical paint to fabricate a stone door that hides where we are, but allows us to exit.

While waiting in there, I seemingly start talking to thin air. Only I can see the ghost a former scientists who worked - and died - in this area. He informed me that they developed weapons and "things to fight monsters," one of which was a plague that successfully wiped them all out. I invite him to follow us through our escapade, hoping we could ply him for useful information along the way.

He immediately comes in handy, letting us know the color of the dragon (silver; good) and how to open the door. Catch: it will release everything on this floor when I deactivate the doorways. When I follow his instructions, we also hear some powering down from below us as well. Seems our ghost friend wasn’t entirely well-informed. The dragon (who turned out to be a cursed moon elf) and we pass the rest of the owl-bears, who generally cower and guard their clutch of eggs. Yeah.. egg laying bears.

A gaping hole is in front of us, which the ghost says is a teleport. I toss a stone, which falls. He says it’s only organic matter. I toss my pet mouse, who floats. I snatch him from the air, and he bites me. Sorry little guy, here’s some food.

After tying a rope to myself and jumping ahead, it seems safe enough. We all progress to a big laboratory that contains vats of various things. They each contain the body part of an animal and a harness. Seems like we can try them on! After making sure the place is clear, I grab the harness of a displacer beast (2 tentacles, each with with a spiked club end) which then drills into my body and becomes permanently affixed. I hemorrhage blood and collapse to the ground. The ghost mentioned that there were potions to make the process easier and wouldn’t hurt so bad. Oh.

The ranger violently dragged me back to the group and tossed me down. In defense, the new tentacles strike him. Hah, serves her right. She was just mad because I made a lot of noise. Y'know, just screaming in agony.

The Leader
The rest of the team learned from my mistake, drank the potions, and tried on various other parts. The ranger got gills; the bug was endowed with a face that allowed him to eat brains, and the bard received a second brain, which made him look like “The Leader” from The Hulk.

We take a rest, then open the doorway to the next chamber. The ghost informed us that the last thing they had been working on was a Shifter, which was a mix of several other monsters to make the ultimate, uh, monster. I guess to fight other monsters? Anyway, we open the door and out flows a green mist that flows past us. We hold our breath and take cover while it ignores us entirely. Bugman Monk runs after it to see where it’s going, and is treated to the sounds of the Owl-bears being ripped to shreds.

The ghost speculated that the mist escaped from the emergency hatch. We trek forward and find the sought after box, and not much else. A scroll, a sword, and a shield. I pocketed the scroll without others seeing, and we head for the exit.

After some deliberation about whether to hand over a potentially deadly weapon to a king, we vote to hand it over. They give us our rings, and we are all teleported out of the underdark to the open sky above. This includes our escort guy, Boris, and the silver dragon/moon elf.

It’s night. Boris conjures some horses, and we ride to his town to find his niece has been crucified, and that a local cult had attacked the village with more might than would be expected. They seem to have been afflicted with the same black plague stuff that was affect the cows way back in the underdark. He offers us further payment if we stick around to help, which most of us agree to.

How light and happy!

[Game End]

Words of the Day
English - Mandarin [pronunciation]
zǎo wǔ cān
[z-ow woo tsahn]
[jee-ow toh-ng]

Editing Music
Into Your Hideout

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