Result 14 – Part 3

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On the VIP landing, you look for the bar whilst also keeping an eye out for Ameronis. You see her sitting at a table on the balcony overlooking the dance floor. She nods in time to the music as she watches the performers below. You’ll meet back up with her later. For now, you turn and head over to the bar. So far, none of this is even remotely familiar.

Smaller than its cousin downstairs, with a larger variety of expensive bottles and fancy glasses, this bar has far fewer patrons sitting at it; most prefer to have their drinks delivered to their tables and private rooms; you watch two stewards, a man and a woman, doing just that, sharply dressed, and offering immaculate service. Did any of these workers serve you last night? You got lucky downstairs, but did that luck follow you upstairs as well? If only you had a grain to work with… Actually, you do have one; Markus mentioned you had a drink from up here; he said it was a vivid blue one.

You peruse the menu, hoping one of the names might jog your memory, but nothing does. You start looking for bottles of blue liquid on the shelf behind the bar when the bartender slides over.

“What would you like?”

You study the bartender. A young woman with blue eyes, exceptional brown curls, and another well-fitted suit. You tell her she looks familiar; does she recognise you from last night? She shakes her head.

“I’m sorry; you must have mistaken me for someone else.”

Ah well, it was worth a shot. But, perhaps she could still help you. You mention that you had a blue drink last night, but you’ve quite forgotten the name; does she perhaps know what that drink is?

She does and points out three drinks on the menu, none of which are recognisable. She asks if you’d like to order one, but you tell her you want to try and recall exactly which one it was; once you remember, you can order.

You wander over to Ameronis, subtly glancing about at the other patrons as you pass them. It’d be far too obvious to try and make enquiries with them. Somewhat at a loss, you just about manage to not flop into a seat next to Ameronis. Instead, you seat yourself in a dignified manner. Having been engrossed in the performers downstairs, you catch Ameronis by surprise.

“Oh! There you are. How did it go? Did you figure out your great mystery?”

You sigh and recall the random pieces you’ve managed to gather so far, and the dead end you’re currently at. There’s still no solid explanation for why you don’t remember anything. Ameronis listens, nodding solemnly.

“That, my friend, is what is commonly referred to as “getting well drenched”. Seems like you took on the tavern and lost!”

What?! No! You already told her; it’s not like that! But it’s too late. Ameronis is in a fit of giggles, laughing heartily at you. You throw up your hands and ignore her. This sucks!

She guffaws for a few more moments before you insist she knock it off.

“Fine, fine!” She continues to grin widely.

Whatever. Has she seen Silas yet or not?!

“What? Oh, I wasn’t looking,” she says.

Can she please focus?!

“Oh it’s fiiiine,” she says, “There’s plenty of time and it’ll be impossible to miss him. You need to calm down. You sure you don’t want to grab a drink to help you relax?”

You threaten to swat her with a drink menu. She cowers excessively, still giggling.


You give up. You let the sound of the performers drown her out. By now, the higher quality acts are starting to perform, warming up the crowd for the prime acts later on. You settle in. Might as well get comfortable and enjoy yourself while you wait.

It’s only a couple of performances later when Silas finally arrives; evidently, he does have his own VIP card. He spots you and saunters over, joining you at your table, and giving a drink order to a steward who approaches shortly after; Ameronis orders a mocktail, as do you. Then, the three of you get down to business, going over the finer points of your plan, your plotting hidden by flashing lights and loud music.

Prime time at Startdust

(Ai-generated image produced using Stable Diffusion)

Soon, Silas is satisfied. It’s a simple task, easy enough, and not all that risky. You’re not trying to rob a bank, after all. You do still have several hours to wait before it’s time to strike; Ameronis suggests heading back and getting some rest beforehand; it’d be better to be fresh and alert for this. You agree, and so the three of you decide to meet back up at Soza’s later.

You make your way towards the staircase. The upstairs is a lot more populated now, with all sorts of high-rollers not wanting to miss the current performances.
As you near the staircase, you notice that Silas mutters something and suddenly turns away, looking nonchalantly over the balcony. In front of you, Ameronis doesn’t notice him and keeps walking, but you slow down. You’re about to ask him what the problem is when someone calls out to you. You turn just in time to see a wave of colour approaching as a woman in a fabulous yellow evening gown bears down on you. She clasps your hands, delighted.

Valine! Oh, it’s so good to see you again! I hoped I might. It looks like we got here just in time! You must sit with us, I insist! How are you doing? I was awfully worried…” She attempts to lead you to a nearby table.

Who is this? And why did she have to show up now when you’re leaving? You’ve been here for ages; she could’ve shown up at any point before this.

You tell her that it’s good to see her too and that you’re fine, but unfortunately, you can’t join her this evening. You were just leaving.

“Oh, what a shame!”, she says, “Must you? The show has only just started!”

You glance over at Silas. Silas is nowhere to be seen. Ameronis has also disappeared. Hmm. Well, now that you think about it, you do have free time, and you will meet up with the others later anyway. Might as well pursue another lead and see if this lady can tell you anything else.

You turn back to the woman; she’s right, the night is still young, and it wouldn’t do to miss out on the star performers, or her company.

You spend the evening with the woman and her two companions. You are introduced to them; Kyla and Winola respectively, but have to keep an ear out for the name of the woman in yellow; she turns out to be “Rizha”. They talk as they enjoy the performances, covering an array of topics ranging from the latest in fashionable gowns, an art installation in one of the galleries, a local Lord or something having trouble on the political front, an upcoming dinner that anyone who’s anyone will be attending, and a lot of idle chatter about the stresses and strains that they, high-class socialites, have had to deal with this past week. They periodically ask you for your opinion on this or that. A little out of your depth, you smile and nod a lot, and do your best to blend in. Fortunately, Rizha sold your presence as an exotic adventurer from out of town, so you don’t have to pretend to be particularly high class. You just try to avoid offending them with any of your crass mannerisms.

When the subject turns to you and your adventures, Rizha directly references some of your stories from your time on the road; apparently, you were telling her all sorts of tales yesterday, some of which were not… entirely accurately told, based on what she relays back to you. But, you run with it, sharing tales both real and slightly fabricated, wowing the ladies with your adventures.

During this time, you do your best to politely decline their offers of drinks; Rizha asks if you’d like to sample some more drinks today, and starts making recommendations, but you mention you’ve had a headache for much of the day, and don’t want to risk it rolling over into tomorrow as well. She is a little disappointed, but she understands. She insists that you have something though; you manage to get away with just having a cool glass of sparkling water.
You casually enquire if she knows the name of the blue drink you had yesterday. She responds quickly. That was a “Royal Gentiana”, a sweet thing made of fruit juice and flower nectar. Quite nice, but a little too sweet for her tastes.

Another mocktail? Perhaps there’s hope for you yet.

When you ask her if she’s sure that it wasn’t one of the other blue drinks, she denies this; she remembers clearly; she’s the one who ordered it for you, after all.

You wonder how many drinks you had with her yesterday, and how strong they were, but decide against directly asking. Perhaps an opportunity to find out might present itself soon.

It’s a little after 11 when a sharply dressed young man briefly pauses by the table, speaking softly to Rizha. Then he turns and returns to another table nearby, where a handful of 6 other men, each in similar bespoke suits, seem to be getting ready to leave. Rizha sighs wistfully, and the three ladies also begin to gather themselves.

“Alas, the night ends too quickly. But, all the more hope for another! I do look forward to seeing you again soon, Valine. Your company is quite delightful,” she says.

You bow courteously and assure her that you will be back here again soon, so you’re sure you’ll see her before long. She insists that you be careful going home on your own, and after you say your goodbyes, she, Kyla and Winola join up with the group of men, who seem to be their companions or escorts, and you watch as their group departs.

You lean back in your chair. Another couple of pieces were added to the puzzle, but there’s still no clear picture. You’re no closer to figuring out why you were bleeding, and can’t be sure of what you drank, or how much. Despite what Ameronis says, you’re still not convinced. But, in the end, it may not be possible to find all the answers. Oh well. You’ll keep your eyes peeled, but for now, that may be all. Instead, time to get back on track.


You still have a couple of hours left. Might as well go back to your original plan and get some rest before the real challenge begins.

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