Continuing their brutal pace for hours, Mangre, Kuri, Gino, Layleth and Quinn were relieved when the walls of Pitax appeared at the head of their trail.
Slowing for a moment, Mangre walked up to the gate and called out, announcing their presence.
“Oy! The Last Option Adventuring Company, on behalf of the Pillars of the Red seek entrance!”
A guard looked down at the rag-tag group, exhausted from running for so long.
“Ten percent, or you can all stay out there,” the guard said.
“Now ye look here, ye soft excuse for a human,” Mangre shouted, “We’ve been to Kiris Dahn, fought wave after wave of goblins, oozes, kobolds, and hobgoblins! We’ve beaten a Brass Dragon and several orcs, and ye want to TAX US FOR ENTERING A CITY WE’RE CURRENTLY LIVING IN?!”
An arm on the dwarf’s shoulder spun him about and Gino marched him out of earshot.
“We wouldn’t have to pay if you hadn’t forgotten the guild pass back the The Pillars of the Red, Mangre, so we should probably just pay the man and get on with it. We have plenty of stuff to sell, so ten percent is not that big of a deal.” Trying to sound reasonable, Gino continued, “We’re all exhausted from the run back, Quinn needs some rest, Layleth will probably end up killing somebody if she doesn’t get a bath, and I need to make it back to the arena as soon as possible before I’m fired and people forget about me.”
Mangre nodded. “We’ll do it yer way this time, barbarian, but next time ye can be sure we won’t be forgettin’ the damn pass!”
Grumbling, Mangre rejoined the party and they began dividing out roughly ten percent of their goods.
The party made their way back to the guild hall, returning the now defunct Slaying Stone to Treona on the way. Once back at the hall, the 5 members of The Last Option settled down for a long deserved rest.
Quinn slept soundly for the first time in months, Layleth treated herself to a nice long, hot, soapy bath, certain that she would never get the slobber, slime, trash, blood and road dust off her fair elven skin so matter how hard she scrubbed, Gino took a quick cat-nap and made his way back to the Arena as soon as he felt rested enough to do so, and Mangre fell into bed without even removing his weapons and was soon snoring contentedly.
The next morning, as the group gathered in the guild hall meeting room, the entire party received a message from Kuri.
Sending the group an image of an angel, the party knew something was amiss. As Layleth led the rush to Kuri’s room and opened the door, the last anybody saw of Kuri was a swirl of stones flying out the open window. Somehow, everybody in attendance knew that it would be a long time before they saw Kuri again…