Seahorses and Riding Whales
|"The fish you cannot catch is always a big one."|| The run takes place during the Month of the Spider in the third Year of the Spider since the crowning of Ti Lao.|
The run takes place on the Isle of Beauty.
Wei Han and his enthusiastic seahorse-catching recruits head to the section of coast where the seahorses are currently frolicking. Grasshopper picks up some chum from the docks, and Wei Han grabs some handfuls of seaweed, on the theory that that might be what seahorses eat. The party rents two large fishing boats (and Merit recruits a pilot buddy for one), and heads out to catch seahorses, though there's a slow start, and one boat promptly tips over in the wind, dumping people into the water. In addition to the party, various fishermen are also catching seahorses, and bringing them to where the Prince has set up an enclosed pen in the shallows. He gives everyone a silver li for each seahorse they bring in.
Renyu is also present - he seems to be a quick swimmer, and the creatures he rides in are clearly riding whales instead of seahorses. Also notable on the map are some panda whales, a whirlpool, a whale, and a talking fish.
When Kuan-Xi's boat gets within six hexes of the Whale icon on the map, she gets flipped halfway across the map and into the water. Unfortunately, she's not very much of a swimmer. Grasshopper is a better swimmer, and decides to try to catch riding whales like Renyu. He goes for one of the two hardest-to-tame riding whales, so it takes him a while.
When an exquisitely rare black sea koi (worth two tael!) swims onto the map, that distracts several fisherman into pursuing it instead.
When the party unloads its first seahorses (earning four li and the Prince's thanks), he gives them a grin as if to say "No matter how this turns out, isn't it kind of fun?"
- "There is some Butterfly in him after all!" -Kasumi
Merit, remembering that the point is horse points instead of money, starts offering two li to the fishermen for their seahorses, so he can resell them to the Prince. One of the fishermen haggles a bit, as he has a particularly impressive seahorse.
Grasshopper, on his new riding whale, discovers that it can cruise around the board at high speed. He dumps some chum into the area of the board where the whale is, and learns how to tell the panda whales what to do (at least for the moment).
The whirlpool becomes more mesmerizing, and Wei Han, Kuan-Xi, and Merit's boat pilot, feel inclined to head in that direction. So does the talking fish.
One of the fishing boats grabs a seahorse that the party considers rightfully theirs, so Anto tries to pull it away with his kusarigama. The seahorse starts to panic and thrash, but Shen-Ji, a master of horse-handling, just manages to calm it. The fisherman, incensed by this piracy, shoots at Anto with his shortbow.
This small combat is interrupted by a larger combat, as a kraken shows up.
- "This boat can't possibly be cursed. We're just surrounded by a kraken that's about to be in a fight with a bunch of panda whales." -Xian
The fisherman offers Anto a truce: they can release the seahorse and fight the kraken together! Anto notes that it's all very well for the fisherman to say "release the seahorse" as Anto's the one currently in possession of it. At Grasshopper’s direction, Panda whales attack the kraken's tentacles, and the kraken starts grabbing for fishermen and party members.
One of the fishermen loses his particularly spiffy seahorse, which kicks a hole in his boat and swims away. One of the other fishermen catches the black koi, and happily retires, avoiding all seahorse and kraken combat.
The seahorses on the party boat stage an escape, and manage to tip the boat over, and the four seahorses start to escape.
The Prince shouts that all boats should return to shore, to get away from the kraken, and the group waffles between catching their last wayward seahorses and coming back in. Grasshopper turns in his riding whale, and rescues a fisherman while he's at it, and Renyu snatches up a riding whale that Xian had spent several rounds nearly persuading.
The prince scolds the fisherman for starting a combat; indeed, seahorse poaching appears to now be a lesser offense. In the end, the party has turned in 13 seahorses (and some riding whales, which do not count), and the number of seahorses both outnumbers the riding whales and has slightly better total quality, so Horse wins over Whale in this particular engagement.