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Rising Phoenix Gaming

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About This Club

A game set in Creation's northern Direction, across the vast icy wastes, endless Taiga and Tundra, telling tales of Exalts who seek to find their own path from among those trod by the generations before them
  1. What's new in this club
  2. "Excellent." The blue haired woman smiled. "You and a party of up to five will journey to the Ruins of Jalnoth, Far to the North from here. Once there, you will descend into the ruins, you will know your entry point by a door of Crimson stone. Enter there, and find your way to a grand ampitheater. You will know it, because there will be row upon row of statues, made of the same Crimson stone. Standing at the center, you, and if by chance you can find another like you, will both say aloud the following. "Arise, and be of service, The hour has come to fulfill your oaths." She smiled. "As I said, there will be a response, and something will be handed to you, which you will return to me. Once it is in my hand, your mission will be complete. As for payment, I will give you fifty talents of Jade, and a single talent of your choice of any enhanced material, each." It was an impressive sum, to say the least. Enhanced materials ranged from the various types of Jade, to Soulsteel, Moonsilver, and Starmetal and Orihalchum. It was impressive to be able to offer one of them, let alone any of them, and a full talent of it no less. "Now I realize that you've likely never heard of Jalnoth, or know how to reach it. I can reveal the location, but I will only do so if you agree to take this contract. IT isn't close, and you'll have to secure means of travel yourself, but I don't imagine that will be too difficult." As if to emphasize her point, and perhaps her preparedness, she unfurled a scroll, and laid it on the table. Everything was there, except the message to be delivered. "Now, do we have a deal?"
  3. The blonde runner leaned forward, allowing her curiousity to be abundantly obvious, "Let's say I am, Miss Oracle. Will this contract, directly or indirectly, harm the Runner's Guild?" Her mysterious, blue-eyed patroness replied easily, "Of course it will not directly harm the guild. Now, indirectly is a much trickier matter. Indirect effects can occur centuries after the fact. Suffice it to say, that successful completion will be obvious to me, and that who accomplished this mission will ONLY be known to you and your party, and myself, and your guild." In.Ter.Esting. Tikki leaned back and gave a soft little scoff at that baited riddle of an answer before deciding to just roll with it, "Very well. Present me with your contract, and if it's everything you say it is, I will agree in the name of myself, the Whitewall Runners Guild, and our patron Mercury the Traveler."
  4. The Young looking woman nodded. "Good. You're smart enough to not argue, and wise enough to know to pick your battles." She smiled at her, and it was very much the smile of a predator. "Since you listened, i'll tell you a little then. I know what you are because among my many talents exists one that allows me to see the true nature of things. It is Very difficult to fool, and as such i have relocated here, where it is still quite a boon, as opposed to the Blessed Isle, where it became far too widely known that I could do this there. Some less than savory individuals didn't like that there was someone who could unequivocably ruin their day, so they tried to do something about it." She sighed softly. "Now, to business. I have a message I would liked delivered. It will be oral, and there can be no physical evidence of the message. There will be a reply, and something will be presented to you, which you will return to me here. It should take four to six months, depending on how you travel, though I've allowed for as much as eight months. The faster it is done, the greater the bonus to be paid of course, but it is more important to be done properly than quickly. Still there is a time limit. Any longer than eight months, and the conditions will change." She took a sip of her tea. "Are you interested? Before I can say more, You will have to agree to a contract, beyond the quest, due to the very nature of this request."
  5. Tikki knew if she wanted to, she could knock the door from its hinges and effect a helter skelter rush from the scene. But if this young woman was intent on harming her, there were Imperials enough in the city to put paid to her without immediately getting her on edge. Burn the whole bar down around her ears with her in it. That is, assuming, she was alone. Two (maybe) hidden aces might tip the scales in this encounter. Until then, treat it like any other Guild business. That thought quirking her lips, the blonde runner entered the room, closing the door, and sat down opposite the blue-eyed young woman, folding her hands on her lap, "Alright. Assuming you're correct about that deadly assumption, you can start with why you think it's true and what you want with me."
  6. Shirayuki nodded, and watched Tikki leave, clearly she had some other business here tonight. "As she said, it isn't so much what you can do now, but what your potential is. Those like the two of you ruled the world, long ago. It was ordained by the Gods themselves. They made wonders beyond imagination, explored new frontiers, and remade the world to suit themselves. You have that same endless potential. The one they call Bull of the North is like you. He came from seemingly nowhere, united some of the great clans, and lead an army that nearly destroyed an Imperial House, laying claim to their territory to the East, and devastating their armies. That's the stuff of legends already in this era, but it pales to the deeds of the First Age." Shirayuki's eyes seemed to sparkle as she spoke. It was clear history was a subject she loved. "The Empire cares for only those who are useful, who know their place. Any who will upset the status quo are unwelcome at best, and actively hunted and removed at worst. Still, there is a need to act with care on their part, as their efforts can easily lead to making more enemies where none were before. More than that, the number of Dragonblooded has been in decline for several generations now. There are nowhere near as many as there once were, and they are a far cry from the power they once held. Though of course that's a sore subject with them." ---------------------------- The barkeep nodded, and summoned one of the older barmaids. "Take this runner to Room 3-2. She is expected. You will knock twice." The barmaid nodded and did so, saying nothing as she led Tikki to the private room, clearly one of the better ones. She knocked as she was bid, and the door opened a crack. A young woman's face appeared, and the door opened "You may leave." The barmaid left wordlessly, and the girl, or at least she looked to be a young woman in her mid teens, looked at Tikki. "I've been expecting you." Her eyes were an intense Ice-blue, several shades lighter than her hair, and seemed to almost sparkle. She moved from the door and took her seat once again, waiting for Tikki to come in. "Come in, I'm sure you have many questions, my young Solar friend."
  7. "Those who have the most worry the most about losing what they have and oft let that fear rule their hearts," Tikki answered before glancing sidelong at their Lunar companion, "And if she is right about us having even half the potential of a Bull of the North, it does make a cruel sense from that perspective to drown us in a barrel like so many stray puppies before we can become hounds." She takes a moment to claim and chug a drink from one of the mugs, "It's not right. It's not fair. But it is what it is. I'll put an ear to the ground to get you that information, Shira." She stood up then, smiling glibly and tracing a way through the throng of chattering, celebrating bar patrons like one in her element, sure feet and a warm smile getting through and to the bar without incident. The blonde runner leaned up against the bar and waited until the bartender was between orders to catch their eye, "Barkeep! Name's Tikki Tzam. Unless I've been lied to, I'm told that I'm expected."
  8. Ami hears the anger in her companions voices and the words they speak. She sets food and drink aside and lays her hands upon the surface of the finely crafted table palms down fingers splayed. She shakes her head slowly. "We have done nothing wrong. Broken no laws. How can our simple existence be cause for such injustice.. The Imperials rule these lands. They are supposed to protect and care for those under their charge." Ami frowns. "Are you saying they do not?"
  9. "That is so much more polite than how I would have put it." Shirayuki nods. "Not all Imperials are bad mind you, same as people in general. That said, this group, a full company of soldiers lead by four Dragonbloods can pose a serious problem for us, You two in particular. My kind aren't all that favored, but we've been around and never truly made enemies of the Empire. You, on the other hand can do things they cannot even dream of doing, because your patron is much more powerful than theirs." Shirayuki pauses to enjoy the taste of the chicken in sauce, and there's a knock, as drinks are brought in for them, and more chicken. She waits until the server leaves, and then continues. "The problem is also that I don't recognize their unit emblem. That means they're new, and likely out to prove something. Without more information, it could be quite dangerous to stay here. If they get wind of what the two of you are, It will touch everyone you know." She sighed softly. "Consider me annoyed, because I really was looking forward to some time in the city, it was going to be nice to actually relax and not sleep in trees for awhile."
  10. Tikki finished chewing her own bit of gloriously modified chicken before answering that question, answering the archer's statement with a quick pat of her hip that set coins jingling in her belt purse. And then she became serious, voice whisper soft and intense, inviting the younger girl to lean in the way Tikki's own matrons had during her training. "Because they believe that the power of their Empress and their Dragonbloods will have them ruling everything in Creation as they did once before. Because if you hurt an Imperial and let his friends find out, they'll come back with ten times the strength eventually and repay the slight. Because they don't respect our customs and *will* stop a messenger from the swift completion of her rounds and pay them with a beating instead of coin," Tikki paused, composing herself as she forced the anger of just that happening to friends down, "Because a *single* company of soldiers led by *four* Dragonbloods came to my city not one month after I awoke with new gifts. There are... stories about what Imperials do to those with gifts." "They harass the Little Birds of my Guild for information and scare all but the most skilled from taking jobs that will see them below roof level. If Little Birds don't take jobs, they go hungry. And that I will not abide if Mercury grants me any say in the matter," the blonde runner finished, holding Ami's gaze with her own.
  11. Ami picked up the strip of chicken and looked at it closely. Back home when they actually ate a chicken it was roasted. She had never seen it like this or ever heard of 'dipping' sauce. Cautiously she dipped it and then bit into it. "Mmm... tender." She chewed and swallowed then finished the one she had and as she reached for another she glanced at her friends. "Why are we afraid of the imperials?"
  12. Shirayuki took the lead and ordered some appetizers for them, short cut chicken strips that were deep-fried, and a dipping sauce she knew using tomatoes, which were not easy to come by even in this city. She also got a plate of fresh vegetables, as she liked to have options, and nodded as they waited for their appetizers and drinks. She knew they'd done alot today, and Ami was likely somewhat overwhelmed. Still, she thought it had been a good first day, even with the near run-in with the Imperials. "So, the Imperials.." she led. "You've got your ear closer to the ground than I do. I trust your business at the Guild went well also." The last part was more a statement, not a question.
  13. Shirayuki nodded and grinned. "Well then, lead on." What followed was a fun afternoon of sight-seeing, and more street food, all of which was surprisingly good, and true to Tikki's word, they were not accosted at all. Certainly, some heads did turn as the three women passed by, but no one dared to step up and try anything against them. Finally, it was time for dinner, to which Tikki led them to a nice pub a few blocks from where the tavern she'd need to meet her client at. Surprisingly, this was pub didn't serve harder liquor, it was much more casual. It did boast a much larger and more diverse menu, as it was called "The Eagle's Nest" One of the serving maids actually came over to bring them water, and menus, and then disappeared back into the kitchen, giving them time to eat. Shirayuki chuckled. "This place is one of my favorites, when I just want some good food, and lighter drinking." Perhaps the most surprising part of the experience was the existence of private rooms, some of them larger than others, but all of them with locking doors and the like. It was said that these private dining rooms took the place of the normal bedrooms one might expect, but from the way it appeared, the place wasn't hurting for business, even with its unique layout and model.
  14. "I *do* have my skills," Tikki answered with a small, proud smirk and a laugh, "And you would be right. Have a contact for a job at a place called the Crashing Falls. While I take care of that, you two can get started on the pleasure part of business and pleasure. The owners won't mark up your food and drinks just for not having a local accent, and long as you look like you can handle yourself, you won't have to handle yourself. Not a problem you two will have." She grinned, betraying warm memories of her younger and lesser self learning that lesson at the end of her first big payday. And then she was serious, briefly. "As for the Imperials... That's best discussed somewhere others won't overhear. The cobblestones have ears. I should know; I was one of them."
  15. The young soldier smiled widely, and nodded. "I'll leave you to it then ma'am. Thanks for the reccomendation, I'll mention it to the rest of my squad when we go off duty." He turned and noted the two women, but he was still thinking about a possible rendevous with Tikki later. He left to head back to his comrades, and Shirayuki moved to guide Ami to Tikki. "That was pretty masterful you know." She smiled teasingly. "I trust you have some plans that don't include that place to take us?" She looked at Ami, then to Tikki, and smiled. "I don't recognize their unit emblem. We should ask around discreetly, to see what we can learn."
  16. "Nothing demanding of your time. Mostly taking in the airs of my city when I spotted one of Creation's Finest having spotted me, Legionary," she replied with a laugh and a respectful nod of her head, "Although I do have friends waiting for me if you don't mind me leaving you to your work. I can recommend the Crow's Foot if you and your friends are looking for a good time and a drink at a fair price." She half-turned with a wry smile, leaving implications that she'd be there and in less haste once the sun set below the horizon.
  17. Shirayuki stopped and held Ami still for a moment catching the meaning of Tikki's wave, and when she heard the word "Legionary" her eyes narrowed, and she gave Ami's arm a light squeeze. They weren't going to rush off now, unless things got bad. As Tikki advanced, the guard did as well, and didn't even notice Ami and Shirayuki as he passed them, going to meet Tikki before she reached her friends. "Good morning ma'am. We're just making our rounds, you know, keeping the peace as we handle our other duties." As she got closer, Tikki could see an emblem on the left collar of his armored tunic, It was a triangle with a jagged crescent within it. It wasn't something she recognized. "Did you need something? You seemed to be looking for someone when I saw you." Meanwhile, the rest of his patrol group had continued around the other side of the plaza, still out of sight now, but it wouldn't be long before they rounded the central part of the plaza.
  18. In contrast to most people of Whitewall, Runners were famously identifiable by the lack of a weapon on their person, one of the big reason the Guild kept aspiring members confined to scattered rooftop 'Rookeries' until they took the Jump. The Jump was fly or die, a jump over an alley deep deep in the city marked a pitch-black hole filled with the stink of rot and death. It wasn't the longest jump a Runner was reasonably expected to master and every Rookery had a mock version of the Jump near-by to practice on, albeit with a net or cushion to make it merely embarrassing. Those who didn't try by a certain age were returned to the streets from whence they'd been plucked, their sponsors rebuked. Tikki had tried sooner than most, almost without the blessing of her sponsor, and had made it. Obviously. The Guild hadn't needed to send someone down into the hole to collect her corpse for the priests. Since then, the blonde Runner made longer, more lethal jumps every working day of her life, but that first great Jump and the difference she could see in her peers Before and After had emboldened her, a prelude to the greater change she was still grappling with. But nothing gave more confidence than continued success, and one Imperial guard approaching wouldn't rattle her. She waved Shirayuki and Ami to hold back a second as she made sure to meet the halfway, smile broad and stride confident, "Good Morning, Legionary. How may I help you this morning?"
  19. Shirayuki shook her head. "No, not everyone. But it is quite common." She smiled. We will get you something smaller than your blade, as a backup is nice." She looked up and saw Tikki approaching, She offered a small wave, and her eyes narrowed. "Well now that she's free, I'm sure she'll take us both on an adventure, let's go meet her." She got up, and made ready to go. Meanwhile one of the soldiers had wandered away from the group, enough that when he looked towards Tikki, he could actually see her. He smiled, which was odd for a guard, and looked to say something to the others before turning to head toward Tikki.
  20. Ami enjoyed the food which was much spicier than she was used to but not so much as to upset her stomach. She listened to Shirayuki and observed the other people around them, taking more time to really look at the clothes they wore, much better quality than the homespun she wore, and the jewelry, and the fact that everyone carried a weapon of some sort, from daggers on belts and small curved short swords many men carried to larger swords and axes and even some polearms like the caravan guards had used. "Does everyone carry a weapon all the time here?" She asked of Shirayuki, still looking around. Before the other woman answered Ami spied something that made her smile, "Look, here comes Tikki!"
  21. Okay, so things were as bad as the Guild Secretary said. Tikki had passed exactly zero other Runners in the Flit in her search, and she'd made a point to take the slightly longer rout junior Runners would have stuck to. More than a few Imperial patrols disrupting the flow of expected foot traffic below, too. And now this, her friends, obvious strangers to the city, parked in a mostly empty park near yet another patrol. Well, at least it wasn't a large patrol and had the universal guard air of those carrying out a task that had them bored out of their minds. Dangerous if you caught their attention the wrong way, but easy to avoid if you were skilled and careful. Lucky for her she was both. The blonde Runner circled back around for a discrete little alleyway pocked with a perfect mixture of handholds and shadows to hit street level with a minimum chance of being spotted. Well, unless she was unlucky enough to drop down next to a guard taking a piss again. An Imperial would be considerably harder to sweet talk into laughing off the incident. She almost chuckled half-way down in memory of the guard's flustered expression, and flexed her essence a little to make an easy descent into an effortless one. That done, she dusted off her hands and crossed the street into the park from the opposite side of the patrol, heading for her friends in the hope of catching them before the patrol did.
  22. For her part, Shirayuki was quite happy. This city was home to her, as much as she could call anywhere home. She knew it would be alot for Ami, who'd never left her small village, but she was taking it so well. When she finally stopped and told her she was overwhelmed, she nodded. "Alright, let's go get something to eat, and we can find a quieter spot to settle down." She saw one of the stalls she frequented, Their meat skewers were always good, and well cooked. As she approached with Ami, the man behind the stall smiled. "Well if it isn't Shirayuki. It's been awhile." "Yes, i've been out of town, but I'm back for a little while. I need to get 4 skewers for the two of us." He quickly produced them, and they smelled of several pleasant spices. "Here you go." She paid him and took the skewers keeping 2 for herself and giving Ami the others. "We may be back later if she likes them." He chuckled. "Right right, have a good time. Be on the lookout, they've got some soldiers here now that weren't last time." Shirayuki nodded, and with Ami still holding one arm, lead her to one of the outdoor garden areas of the Market. It was odd, to see green in the midst of the city, but it was normal to the residents. She found them a bench, somewhat away from anyone else, and nodded. Here we go." She waited for Ami to release her, before taking a seat, producing a small flask, which she offered to Ami, and her own waterskin. "These are best with good ale, but it's abit early for that, when there's more to see. Still, it pays to plan ahead." --------------------- Tikki's search didn't take too long, all things considered. Once the main drag of the Market plaza was eliminated it wasn't hard to imagine that all of this was alot for someone like Ami, who'd never left her small village. The park areas were next, and it didn't take long to see her new friends sitting on a bench, sharing meat skewers. Then Shirayuki looked up, directly at her. While she was still a ways away, Shirayuki just waved. Still from her high vantage point, she could see some imperial soldiers, at the northern end of the park. With the large bushes and other plants, it was clear Shirayuki or Ami hadn't noticed them.
  23. Tikki looked around the room, quietly confirming the secretary's words. Only four runners visible preparing for jobs, all of them more experienced than herself, not the young and hungry new Initiates taking the street level jobs or urchins eagerly following a Mentor on Come-And-See mock runs that usually set the tone of this place that served both as starting line and quiet victory lap. Some of her best memories had been made in this place, blonde hair ruffled by approving seniors when crossing some milestone or the other and doing the same when she started getting old and skilled enough to begin returning the favor. These people were family to the blonde runner in a way that her actual family hadn't been to her since she was very very young. And she wouldn't see them suffer because of some overstepping Imperials. Too many fledgling runners lived hand to mouth, making it through periods of recovery on the backs of the Network's charity fund before returning the favor. Not that she wasn't scared. Four DBs to a single company asking questions? That was A Lot for Whitewall, and she could guess who or what they might be looking for. What was the term? Wyld Hunt? Tikki T'Zam knew she was fast and good, but only an idiot assumed they were going to be good and lucky all the time. Plus there were the other two women who might need warning. Still there was good to be doing for her Guild. "I'll make that meeting tonight, and then, job allowing, see what I can do about chipping away at the backlog of the low tier stuff," she confirmed with a soft laugh and a promise of accepting much lower commissions than she had in years, "Got to keep faith with all our clients, no matter the inaction of the City Fathers." She gave the job board a good serious study for a few minutes, mapping and timing routes in her head, until her small bag of jade came back and departed in a fast jog, cutting across the city along it's rooftops, hitting her timeless runners high with long strides and jumps over alleys. She had her people, old and new, to find, and it'd be an easy center to her spiral search to start with the Market Plaza.
  24. The two, the experienced Shirayuki and the fish out of water Amisera, walked leisurely toward the trade district and the bustling Market. Ami was dressed as she always was in her homespun and she wore her long cloak even though the city was warm inside the walls. She wore the sword as well but carried under the cloak as not to draw attention. Ami, who had lived all her life in her small valley with its quaint village had never seen… so much. The streets of the city were wide and straight and clean. The people as numerous as they were and as different from one another dressed in either white robes and tunics with thin jackets or in colorful robes and voluminous shirts with wide skirts that evoked all the colors of the rainbow, were quiet, courteous, and seemed to find amusement in Ami’s wide eyed stares, but they were not condescending nor rude in fact they greeted the two women in passing either with a nod or a word and always with a smile of welcome. And then there were the guards. Ami noticed them at once. Men and women in light armor armed with short swords and spears, some with shields as well. They were usually in pairs but often a trio was also seen. They stood guard at intersections, and some seemed to wander the streets. Ami noted that at any given time she was within shouting distance from theses policing figures. When the two approached a pair the guards always gave them a complete inspection and would nod a greeting but did not speak nor alter their stern visage. The wide streets were paved, something Ami had never seen before, the stones smaller replicas of the larger paving stones of the road they had traveled to get here. In her village there had been no streets and even the center where meetings and such were held was simply packed earth. Here in Whitewall, outside of some small decorative plantings like miniature gardens with flowering plants and sculpted bushes, there was no dirt whatsoever, everything was clean, even the people. And the buildings were huge and so beautiful the sight of them took Ami’s breath away. They walked about half an hour with little talking but much staring on Amisera’s part and then they came to the Market Plaza. Here the calmness of the city that they had traversed fell away, there was still order but here amidst the bustle it took upon itself a chaotic essence. The sounds as hundreds, maybe thousands, of voices vied to be heard. The scents of that many people and even stronger the aromas of food and drinks from a hundred different cultures assaulted Amisera. She stopped and clutched Shirayuki’s arm, she didn’t know what to do where to go. Her stomach grumbled as the enticing smell of exotic foods reminded her that she had not eaten since morning. “I am overwhelmed!”
  25. Shirayuki smiled, and placed a small bag with several old runes on it, with a long tie around it, clearly meant to go around her neck. "Keep this on you, either around your neck, or in your pocket inside your tunic. It will allow me to locate you anywhere within the city. You need only to hold it in your hand and call my name and we'll be able to speak." She smiled. "I may not know the great magics of the past, but i have managed to learn a fair bit of the smaller scale ones, that make a life of wandering a little bit easier." The way Shirayuki spoke wasn't condescending, she knew Ami was new to the city, and getting separated was very possible. This talisman would let her find her new new friend, and hopefully help avoid any unpleasantness. "Now, let's go to one of the markets. I know the area here is more for transient travelers and tourists, but it is a pretty good place to start, to get a feel for things. I can take you up on the Wall later, so you can see the city and lands beyond from up there, and then maybe one of the libraries." She chuckled. "they're my favorite places in the city." Elsewhere, The Secretary shook her head. "No, no one has mustered their courage yet." She shrugged, and pointed to the board. "Two dozen new jobs, and right now only five of our runners have taken a new job in the last week. Even are lowest tier stuff is piling up." She leaned in closer. "Everyone is nervous, because an Imperial detachment just came in three days ago. The better part of a company of infantry, and at least four dragon-blooded. They have the Imperial crest, but no house or unit markings. They've been asking questions of everyone. It's got the common people on edge, because the City Fathers aren't doing anything, they're just allowing this."
  26. Riding back through the gates of Whitewall had felt like dipping into a warm bath, the chatter and clatter of traffic, the smells of dozen street venders and city odors, the familiar sight of crowds flowing and signs inviting travelers to spend their coin, at the pinnacle, as far as she was concerned, of civilization. Tikki T'Zam had been born inside these walls and looking up towards the rooftops she could see where she wanted her ashes scattered from. The blonde messenger had laughed inside to see Ami doing her (very poor) best to keep from gaping around her, promising to do her best to play host. The memory of that oath kept her warm even now at the Guild's reception hall, changed out to the customary breeches, tunic, and boots of a Whitewall Runner. The armor and halberd had been left behind at her friend's room, just in case the Gods saw fit to send the three of them out on the Road again. Here in this city though? Like she had told the Lunar, a Runner went unarmed and unarmored, their knowledge of the ways of the city their shield when words failed. The smooth and successful exchange of a sealed tube to Lord Plagg from across the North for a purse full of Jade, itself a relative highpoint in Tikki's career, reaffirmed her faith in this customary shield, lit the fires of determination to fight for her place in it, whatever that was now. Which made her answer to the question posed by the secretary even easier. "It will be my honor and my pleasure," she responded with a slight bow, green eyes dancing with amused consideration. Tikki refused to let paranoia blind her to the opportunity such a meeting could hold for her, and fast as wagging tongues could drive rumors of what happened at Ami's village, she'd be impressed if it was *this fast*. The location might even make it an interesting stop on her guided tour of the city, combining business and pleasure. "So. Have any promising urchins made the Leap while I was away?" she asked with a laugh, killing time for the serious quiet men in the offices behind them to finish counting Lord Plagg's money and come back with a (much smaller) bag containing her share. She had new friends to treat.

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