"LOOK AT WHAT I HAVE FOUND!" Declared Stanley as he guided the other wizards to the stage that Maria had apparently found the time to put together before the cooking period was over.
"The fuck's this?" Asked Hiram.
"A MICROPHONE, WITH SPEAKERS AND CASETTES." Stanley said, pointing to... A period-accurate karaoke machine.
"What are these little books?" Hiram asked, leafing through them, and leaving stains from his oily fingers.
"THEY APPEAR TO BE TOMES OF SONGS FROM BEFORE THE METEORS FELL."
"Oh, I've heard of these..." Said Donnovan, "It's a recreational contraption of The Orient, for people who want to sing songs but don't know all the words."
"I LIKE TO SING SONGS!" Shouted Stanley.
"What a coincidence!" Said Donnovan, "I do too."
"I WANT TO SING A SONG FIRST!"
"Why take turns? We can all sing at the same time!"
Hiram shook his head, "I don't wanna sing."
"What a coincidence!" Said Donnovan, "90% of group karaoke is non-consensual."
"WHAT IS KARAOKE?"
"It's what we're about to do. Now," Said Donnovan, flipping through the book, "What should we sing first?"
A particular song caught Stanley's eye as he flipped through, "I WANT TO SING 'WHO ARE YOU'!"
"Who, me?" Asked Hiram.
Donnovan realized he should put a cap on this before it started, "You can sing like Roger Daltrey on your own time, Stanley. But I value my hearing. How about something a little more easygoing?"
He had to find something, fast, before Stanley had time to feel insulted. But he found that he was in luck, "How about 'Bad Moon Rising'? That's your favorite!"
Stanley seemed stunned by the question, "BAD MOON RISING IS IN THERE?"
"Yeah! Do you wanna sing that?"
"I DO NOT WANT TO SING BAD MOON RISING." Stanley gripped the handle of his War Cleaver.
"Woah, woah!" Donnovan stepped back, "Why not? What's wrong?"
"I DO NOT WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT. PICK A DIFFERENT SONG."
"Better pick a different song," Hiram said, "How about nothing?"
Donnovan found himself... Curious, "You hum it all the time. What's wrong? It's okay if you don't know the words, that's what Karao-"
"I KNOW EVERY WORD! EVERY WORD."
"That's good! You can help Hira-"
"I DO NOT WANT TO SING IT WITH YOU!"
"I USED TO SING IT WITH MEREDITH!" Shouted Stanley, furiously punting Hiram through a fruit stall.
"Oh. I... Didn't know."
"I'M GOING AWAY! SING BAD MOON RISING IF YOU WANT TO, I WILL BUILD MY OWN CARRY-YOLK MACHINE WITH SONGS THAT I WANT TO SING!" He said, picking up a pan from one of the smashed stalls.
Hiram, who had splattered across the surface of the stall shortly after his wet bulk smashed it in half, crawled his lungs and mouth back together, his voice was stilted and slurred, not so much from disorientation as much as all the organs he was using to make these sounds were physically walking towards other parts of his head.
"Y'really diddit thistime... How're wegonna knowhere hessat?"
"I wouldn't worry so much about that," Said Donnovan, "He'll surely turn up when the timer goes off, I know he was excited about those cicadas".
As Hiram's face and organs crawled back into his robe, Donnovan turned his attention toward some new commotion across from the chef stalls. Another cart on the main square with a red flag attached to it, and drawing no shortage of hungry customers. Something about the way a passing reviewer said "I, a random spectator," triggered a twinge of deja vu...
He approached the cart, and so did a newly reformed Hiram. The chef behind the counter was rapidly working, assembling sampler plates of grilled, astonishingly pale meat.
"Ah, Wizards!" The chef greeted, "I hope you're ready for an unforgettable luncheon!"
He smiled stiffly, and seemed to stare right through Donnovan as he shoved a plate of OCTOPUS? bites toward him.
Donnovan's mind was on other things, however, as he heard a frighteningly familiar sound somewhere at another stall.
"Ah. Well, your excitement is admirable, but in all honesty I would prefer to reserve my judgement until time is called. Though Hiram seems eager to try out your dish." Donnovan excused himself, and moved to inspect the crowds gathered before a book merchant's stall.
"Submitted for the approval of the masses," Said the long-eared scribe, holding up a human-skin-bound book, "A Choose-your-own-adventure-appearing tale, about the Triumph of the Marquis thus far!"
Most who approached the stall cheered, but one of them said, "I, a random spectator, sample Corvin's food."
Meanwhile, Stanley was somewhere off in the south of the Death Arena banging on a pan with his fist and singing his own Karaoke.
"I FOUGHT THE LAW AND THE, LAW WON!" Stanley shouted discordantly, "I FOUGHT THE LAW AND THE LAW WON!"
Stanley was brought to silence by the sound of a quack. A small white duck staggered in its waddly way across the concrete expanse. Stanley furtively looked both ways before dropping the pan and scooping the duck up for himself. Now this was his duck, and anyone who said otherwise was a dead man!
... Stanley heard another quack. It was around the corner of the gift shop that had become a guard outpost. He quickly slipped past all security (as they were busy looking for Slugs, not wizards.) and picked up another duck! This duck was also Stanley's duck now. Then he heard another quack, coming from... Underneath a manhole cover?
A the suspicious chef's counter, Donnovan's hand hovered over the OCTOPUS?, "So. What's in it? There's other stuff you were required to add."
"It's yam-filled OCTOPUS? with Raccoon and Cicada ground up and added in, and encased in OCTOPUS membrane to form a perfect cylinder." Said the man, in an all-too-rehearsed manner.
"...Y'call mixed sausages OCTOPUS? bites?"
The man stood frozen for a moment, "Yes. It's a regional dialect."
"Really? I'm from the Underground Quarter of What Once was Wasau... I never heard anybody call 'em OCTOPUS? bites."
"Oh, of course. It's a Butternut expression."
"Butternut's a place?"
Donnovan poured the plate of OCTOPUS? bites into his gaping distended maw. He seemed to care little for the fact that many of the other patrons were clutching their stomachs and screaming in agony, and onlookers were desperately standing over trash cans trying in vain to retch up these bites...
"And you say they're made of OCTOPUS? despite the fact that they are obviously-"
"SLUGS!" Donnovan shouted, as soon as someone in line at the Scribe's kiosk uttered a review of Corvin's food when biting into a book.
The crowds scattered, screaming again as the Warlock of Chakkr attempted to contain the creature and its spew of quivering, bulging tentacles. He fixed the gaze of his glaring staff on the creature, boiling each tendril away into black ooze as the squealing slime desperately tried to prick its way into the skin of another host...
The man hopelessly trying to vomit over the garbage can as his wife wept tears of intense physical anguish began to spit up blood... Little white tongues peaked their way out of his throat to lick up the "spillage". His wife also began bleeding, from her ears, her eyes, and other orifices. There wasn't much licking, as her slugs were still quite busy tunneling through the pit of her stomach... They had all been in different stages of consumption before the "attack" began.
Hiram made note of this strange behavior as he held his own staff, which bared its teeth menacingly at the stumbling, increasingly infested plague victims. Unattached to a hivemind, Slugs attack their hosts immediately... But what was controlling these things?
"If I hear an explosion, I'll go see what it's about." The woman said, in a man's voice, as things shifting under her skin began forcing her struggling limbs to stand still and 'appear calm'.
"I guess I should be flattered someone thinks so highly of my chances," said the man in that same voice, jerking around as the creature made multiple attempts to make him stand fully erect.
Hiram grinned perversely as he felt pinpricks all over his skin, and an unwelcome nuisance worming its way inside his all his drippy hanging growths... As the Slugs coming out of the Impostor Chef attempted to navigate through the maze of snoods and wattles all over his body, they had begun to swell unnaturally into bulbous shapes.
"Thought you could consume ME!?" Hiram said.
There were wet noises underneath his robes. Tendrils of skeletal muscle and rogue bowels crawled out from under his hood and the bottom of his robe to immobilize the 3 slugs around him. The tendrils that had made their way into Hiram's now swollen growths withdrew, screaming and... dissolving. Leaving something similar to stomach acid leaking from the holes they made.
"Thought I'd be just as easy as this weak, unblessed flesh?" Hiram finally turned around to the impostor Chef, dragging the other two struggling slugs under his robe, "Who'm I kiddin'... None of you can think."
As the others were chewed by Hiram's Undermouths, his tentacles began to reach for more Infested... Many of whom weren't fully turned, and screaming.
The clothes of the departed were haphazardly piled to cover Hiram's modesty as their mass was added to his, "Let's see if I can taste fingerprints, huh? See who sent you fuckers..."
Stanley screamed in anguish and rage as these ducks who had led him into the sewer turned traitorous. The Slugs inside them were unable to pierce his skin, and he bludgeoned them into the ground with glowing hot fists until they stopped crawling.
"WHY!?" Stanley roared, tears of blood streaming down his face. He wept into empty, half-scorched duck skins, "WHYYYY!?"
"I could ask your Marquis that same question..." Growled an evil voice from the darkness of the sewers, "Things were going so well until he went back on his word. You aren't the only Wizard he's made deals with, Caerbogiate."
Stanley leapt onto his feet, drawing his massive Warcleaver, "WHO ARE YOU!?"
"Just a man... A man who's lost so many wives, and children... Even Grandchildren, to that border prince and his escapades."
"DRAW STEEL AND FACE ME, YOU SACK OF RANCID LABIAS!"
"I'm not ashamed for admitting I know better than to do that, Stanley," The voice held back laughter.
"I CAN SMELL YOUR FEAR. THE CONTENTS OF YOUR BLADDER SHALL BE SMEARED ACROSS MORE THAN YOUR PANTS WHEN I HAVE FINISHED THE MUTILATION!"
"I think you have other problems at the moment," said the voice, "Ahahaha! AAAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"
The voice cackled as enormous white, pulsating blobs began to shudder their way out of the darkness, extending networks of vein-like tentacles the size of tree trunks as they slid forward like molasses with a heartbeat.
"YOU WILL KNOW SUFFERING FOR WHAT YOU DID TO THESE DUCKS! I WILL NOT KILL YOU QUICKLY!"
It was 30 or 40 minutes before the chaos subsided again. It seemed like 30 or 40 days...
"Second major interruption in a row." Growled a much taller, saggier Hiram as he casually oozed up onto the stage from where he was standing, "Seems like a concentrated attack on the celebrations today."
"Nobody's allowed to leave," Donnovan said, "Not until we're sure the event is contained and no more Slugs are in the area. The Marquis already sealed off all the gates to the Main City. There are patrols of Town Guard with flamethrowers and thermal lances. We've got Legionary Inquisitors on every corner checking out suspicious individuals..."
"I assume the show must go on?"
"As soon as we find Stanley..."
"The fuck did he go, anyway?"
The wizards sat at the judging table and waited, before Donnovan began to grow worried.
"He doesn't seem to be showing up. You think he's okay?"
"Where could he've run off to?"
"I don't know, maybe we should start l-"
"I AM HERE." Said a loud voice blankly.
"Ah, Stanley! You're back! Where were you?" Donnovan asked.
"I WAS PREOCCUPIED."
"Are you alright? There was another Slug Attack."
"I AM FINE."
Donnovan's grin faded. Something about Stanley was... Quiet. He couldn't detect that much subtext of any sort in his words. He wasn't threatening to kill Donnovan. This was worrying.
"Is Stanley... Quiet, to you?" Donnovan whispered to Hiram as Stanley sat up on the stage.
"Sitting next to him all this time finally made you deaf, huh?" Hiram rasped back.
"No, he's the same volume, he's just... Distant."
"Probably 'cus you made him bring up that dead lady. But that's your problem. Where's the food?"
After seconds of silence, Hiram reiterated his point, by stretching his arm to its new full length and hitting one of the attendants below them with his staff. The servants, many of them with thousand-yard stares by this point, slowly began their work of notifying the chefs, procuring dishes, and delivering them to the judges. The contest sprang to life like a battered machine whose gears were worn with interruption by now.
"Who do you think is behind the sabotage, Hiram? You've been the most... Hands on, with these creatures," Donnovan said as the next dish was brought to them.
"Definitely another wizard... I'm gettin' vibes that they're a Romnos Follower. I'm suspicious of Corvin. All the slugs seem to want him to win..."
"That could also be someone attempting to frame Corvin, though. The only one who's given me hints of sorcery would be that French-speaking woman. You could see the seams of our dimension fraying around her like an event horizon every now and then."
~~~ 1. Maria De Cabeza ~~~
The conversation was interrupted as the attendants brought forth another few dishes.
"What's this?" Donnovan asked, looking down at the plate, "Looks a bit heavy for an appetizer."
"It's..." The new attendant looked at his sheet of paper, "Raccoon sausage with mashed potatoes and... Pulpo? With crunchy honey chili cicadas."
"I agree," Said Hiram, "Looks more like breakfast than an appetizer, but I guess that's mostly the sausage and mashed potatoes."
"They're weird sausages, too? They're long and skinny."
"Occourse," Said Hiram, "Raccoon intestines aren't exactly gonna be wide as pork or somethin'."
"These are made with racoon intestines?"
"Oh don't be a fuckin baby. They put worse shit in the sausages than Roundworm this contest..."
Donnovan sighed, "What are your thoughts, Stanley?"
"TASTES LIKE PENNIES," Said Donnovan, taking a... Crunchy? bite of soup.
Donnovan: Sausage, mashed potatoes and soup was an interesting snack choice, but it's wholesome nonetheless. The potatoes seemed plain to me, and something better could've been done with them, but this was a very unwieldly vegetable to attempt to incorporate into an appetizer and I applaud your efforts.
Hiram: Why's there coins in it? Nice cicadas, though. I'd order a bag of 'em any day.
Stanley: THE TASTE OF THE SOUP WAS METALLIC, AND HAD SCRAP METAL IN IT. I DO NOT LOOK FORWARD TO ITS DIGESTION.
Chet Chipman: 200/500
Pip the Critic: 210/500
ROUND TOTAL: 2060
SCORE TOTAL: 5120
~~~ 2. Grandma Ethel ~~~
The wizards were promptly brought a second set of dishes, and Donnovan was the first to speak, "And what is this?"
"A canape sampler," Said the attendant, "One for each ingredient. There's Caprese Crostini with roasted Cicada Crumble, smoked Octopus? tartar on-"
Hiram was already eating them one by one as the attendant talked.
"Don't you want to know what they are first, Hiram?" Donnovan asked.
"I wouldn't get it if I paid attention. Half those words are gibberish. You must be using that Chakkr wizard shit to hear plain english because he's having a stroke on my end."
"You don't know what a canape is?"
"You too? That's what you get for wearing black robes on a hot day. I keep warning ya."
"Haven't you ever read a cookbook before!?"
"Nope." Said Hiram, pouring the remainder of his plate into his cavernous maw.
Donnovan sighed, and turned to Stanley, who was crunching away at the canapes in an oddly dainty fashion, "What are your thoughts, Stan?"
"DO NOT CALL ME THAT." Stanley said dismissively. Donnovan decided not to press further.
Donnovan: I rather enjoyed the three dishes. It was an admirable accomplishment given the time limit. And you somehow knew just what to use! Each style of canape like a little poem dedicated to each ingredient.
Hiram: Weren't these all supposed to be in the same thing working together? Guess it doesn't really matter if y'get 'em three at once... Some of the little sweet notes clash. Peaches and Cheese was a weak potential combo.
Stanley: I LIKED IT. POINT THE MICROPHONE AWAY FROM ME.
Real Mustache McCoy: 400/500
ROUND TOTAL: 2880
SCORE TOTAL: 7055
~~~3. Rockwell ~~~
Harrison McCraw looked around for the stage as he brought forth the food. It had been quite an eventful day for the little Octopus?. He had been sealed away in the darkness, forced to marinate in his own slime for what was either months or years. He had been cruelly imprisoned for so long, fully believing that he was going to die in this place, before... Something let him out?
It was a peculiar little creature, with big eyes and tiny hands. It was initially fearful as The Giants approached, for The Giants were the ones who had placed Harrison in his isolated hell and left him there to rot for so long. Harriso had sworn vengeance on this brutal race of killers and slavers, who had taken him to this strange land in a strange can... But something was different about these Giants. They were... Kind? They accepted simple offerings of food, then smiled, even offered to pat Harrison's strange benefactor on the head!
Harrison couldn't believe it. Had he gone mad? Or had he been taken to Utopia? Was this the place he was meant to be? It only made sense. The reason he had been freed was because his can was found in a civilised place. A beautiful land where all people could live in peace and harmony. And now-
What was this? Harrison's new friend was offering him plates of food and pointing toward the stage? A single tear of flavorful mucus dripped down Harrison's eyeless membrane. Yes. Yes! Harrison would be honored to be a part of this lovely union between Giant and Animal! The Octopus? held the platters carefully as it flipped, flopped, and squished up the stairs of the stage and onto the table. The Octopus? was captured before it had much time to comprehend what language was, but it squeaked as best it could in Octopus?ese.
"Friends!" Harrison McCraw cried out joyfully in words that only Donnovan understood, "Friends!"
The elated cries turned to a single sharp yelp as bone spurs forced themselves through the tips of Hiram's fingers and hooked themselves into the Octopus?'s skin. Donnovan did not intervene as the struggling cephalopod was forced into Hiram's maw and mutilated by rows and rows of human molars.
"How is it?" Asked Donnovan.
"Tastes like it's been crawling around all over the floor."
"Glad you got to it before me."
Donnovan: Sweet potato fries are among my favorite sides, and this dish did not disappoint. Every one thing on this platter perfectly complimented the other. However, as I understand it, this chef is no stranger to... Unconventional cooking methods. Leaving the octopus entirely raw was a step too far.
Hiram: Wash yer damn fish before you put it on the table.
Stanley: I COULD NOT SEE ANY BUGS ON THIS PLATTER. BUT I COULD TASTE THEM. IT WAS ENCHANTED WITH CICADA.
La Llorona: 100/500
Chet Chipman: 450/500
ROUND TOTAL: 2295
SCORE TOTAL: 6455
~~~ 4. Heloise ~~~
The judges smelled the next dish long before it arrived. The scent of red onions being chopped was distinctive enough on its own, before soon being covered by more mellow aromatics. Normally, the smell of onions would have excited Stanley, but much to Donnovan's concern, the wizard seemed unmoved.
The silence of Stanley was especially unnerving for the new main attendant, who had seen his predecessor lose his cheeks, lips, nose, scalp, and eyes. He set the food down as quietly and inoffensively as he could before quickly climbing down from the stage and making the announcement.
"Heloise has made Racoon Sweet-potato rolls with mock-ceviche Salsa and a side of... Mexico?" He said, assuming there had to be a typo, but that didn't make sense either.
"A side of what?" Asked Donnovan.
The attendant was shaking now, trying not to look at the bloodstained pavement. The last guy didn't even have to annoy the wizards directly...
"A-A side of... A side of Mezco."
"Ah, I see."
Hiram sat, entirely nonplussed by this unamerican moon language, "Don, what the fuck's a ceviche?"
Donnovan shrugged, "Something you'll probably like. Shall we dig in?"
Donnovan: A truly mesmerizing tour of flavors. I'm not convinced that this special salsa blends all too well with the dinner rolls, but it's not a discordant flavor so much as a fight for dominance in the mouth. I appreciate all these ingredients immensely as separate entities, and they work well together.
Hiram: Raw fish, but not chewy. I like what you did. Booze's good too. Don't think the others noticed it was missing.
Stanley: GLORIOUS WAS THE DESTRUCTION OF THE OCTOPUS?!
Chet Chipman: 350/500
ROUND TOTAL: 3180
SCORE TOTAL: 6505
~~~ 5. Geoffrey ~~~
Donnovan smiled as a plate of skewers was brought to the table, "Ah, another ergonomic dish! I like these. I worried they might disappear after the first round, but their time is not yet ended."
Hiram picked it up and began to stick a fistful of toothpicks in his massive loose-lipped maw as its title was being announced.
"Raccoon, Sweet Potatoes, and Cicada skewers in OCTOPUS? Sauce," Said the attendant.
"It certainly is a sauce bursting with Octopus? flavor." Donnovan remarked.
"A FINER SLIME HAS NEVER BEEN TASTED." Stanley said out of the blue, causing the attendant to jump.
Donnovan: By far one of the best textural experiences on offer today. The distinct consistency of each ingredient was not in the least compromised by the dreamlike ease and tenderness of its consumption! It's the sort of skewer where you can flatten the contents against the roof of your mouth and witness a bouquet of all its contents spreading across your tongue like an alchemical rainbow.
Hiram: Coulda used more cicada. The wings are the most tasteless part, and the boiling made it something like salad. Not a bad salad, though.
Stanley: THE JUICES OF POTATO AND OCTOPUS ALIKE DISSIPATE ON THE TONGUE THE SAME AS THE FRESHLY RIPPED EYEBALL OF AN OLD ENEMY. AS SWEET AND HALF-LIQUEFIED AS A ROASTED MARSHMALLOW.
ROUND TOTAL: 3145
SCORE TOTAL: 7995
~~~ 6. Corvin ~~~
It was an entirely normal gladiator games until a screeching flaming body fell into the arena.
Tormid the Unmaker was the first to turn his gaze away from a would-be axe victim and toward the sound.
"HOLY FUCK!" shouted Tormid, "Is that-"
Samthony Slayer took off his horse skull to get a better view, "It's a little kid! ON FIRE!"
The gladiators gathered in a circle, watching in panic and horror.
"SOMEBODY GET A WATER BUCKET!"
"WHERE ARE HIS HANDS!? WHERE ARE HIS HANDS FOR GODS SAKE!?"
"WHO WOULD DO THIS TO A CHILD!?"
Johnson Pulverizer grabbed a nearby gladiator and bludgeoned the man to death with his forehead, hoping to concuss the traumatic sights and sounds away.
Murdering Pete bent over and vomitted from the shock.
Ollie Woundraper didn't particularly give a shit, and was silently stabbing his competitors during the panic.
The child had stopped screaming and flailing by the time the medics arrived to douse it with water. Only then did the gladiators notice that it wasn't a child at all, but a charred and semi-liquefied... Octopus?
"Phew," Samthony said, wiping his worried brow and putting his skull helmet back on, "False alarm I guess. Glad it wasn't actually a- JESUS CHRIST OLLIE WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO PETE!?"
Erstwhile, a long-suffering Corvin, after much desperate scrambling, finally managed to get everything to the judges on time. Hiram was confused by the sheer volume of things in front of him. It was like a tiny buffet.
"Does this thing have a name?" Hiram asked the attendant.
"Uh..." The attendant looked at his paper, "... Stuffed crab, purple sweet potato spiral, raccoon chop with-"
"Does this thing have one name?"
The attendant wiped his brow with a shaking hand, "... A-an appetizer tray? Surf n Turf maybe?"
Donnovan looked down at the plate before them, "I like the plating here. It reminds me of the scattergories logo. If there was a burst human head, it would've been complete! Though, I'm sure the chef neglected to add one because it wouldn't have tasted good."
Hiram grabbed a raccoon chop and promptly took a bite out of it, "Pink in the middle."
"I've been meaning to ask you about that," Donnovan said, with an air of curiousity, "They're not like poultry, which sort of comes pre-packaged with diseases, right?"
"More of a general dirtiness. Like hogs. And people. Muscle's not dense enough to keep bacteria from growing on the inside after they're dead," Hiram said, chewing another chop off the bone, "For all mortal intents and purposes, it's inedible. Unless they killed this thing just an hour ago, but it was never specified..."
"I sure hope no commoner wound up eating these..."
"Tastes like it's only a puke-bug... Unless they start drinkin' water before it's all out. 'Sa downward spiral of dysentery from there."
"Should we warn the patrons about this?"
"Nah, it'll be funny."
Donnovan: While it was a thoroughly interesting and enjoyable meal, one of the mandatory ingredients was inedible to humans, and this is not something to take lightly. If thoroughly cooked portions of the animal were not worked into other parts of the meal, this would have been grounds for automatic execution. That being said, there is still edible raccoon in this appetizer, so the chops will merely be treated as if they were not part of the dish. Chopped, if you will.
The creativity here was otherwise astounding. No expense was spared in the ingredients. While the meats may be commonly used, here they are served (unsuccessfully) like lamb, paired with roe and crabmeat. The stuffed crab was a veritable bomb of savory sensations, and the fries were an exquisite treat in function and form. I enjoyed the use of subtle seasonings that did not overpower the potato itself.
Purple plants +1, no leafy greens, +50 Only dark plants, +100 only subterranean/night time/twilight animals +100 Technically cicada eyeballs and sensory bits were included +100 100% completion: +150
600/1000 (+501 bonus)
Hiram: I like how they paired the cicadas with the crab eggs. It was like a bug turducken. So much meat in general. You even added a whole nother one just to be fancy. I like that in a chef.
Gonna be keeping an eye on that gink with the camera followin' him. Hope he don't cleanse his palate with penicillin.
Offal/organs, +50 Digestive (liver), +100 reproductive (roe), +100 More than one animal. +5 shell/bone.
750/1000 (+255 bonus) (+0.5 Fans of Pip)
Stanley: IT WAS A PILE OF DELICIOUS DESSICATION.
Contains DESTROYED liver +50. Blackened meat. +50 Shell/bone. +100 Octopus? was not particularly murdered in the dish itself, but that was an end that Caerbog would approve of. +50
700/1000 (+250 bonus)
CHET CHIPMAN: 300/500
Food Cricket: 200/500
(SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL ATTENTION!?)
ROUND TOTAL: 3951
SCORE TOTAL: 7410
~~~ The Final Judgement ~~~
"I just can't believe it. Two of the contestants handed in raw food like it was nothing." Said Donnovan.
"You ask the general population of a podunk border town to cook meat for you, y'should expect what you get." Said Hiram, "This ain't Chicago."
"I suppose the Octopus? was technically edible without too many downsides, but.. Pink raccoon? Really? And it was burnt on the outside, too. I can't tell if they're insane or incompetent."
"Who cooked that? Wasn't it the one whose voice all the slugs use?"
"The Slugs have talked in a variety of voices thus far. I wouldn't be so quick to jump to that conclusion... Besides, even a Slug would know you can't poison a Dreggniate with meat."
"But it is suspicious."
"So, down to the wire, who do you think dies now?"
"I'm hoping this is just a fluke from the two chefs who failed to adequately prepare. They started ever-so-strong, I would not like them to go so soon..."
"As far as we know, they're only good in half their outings."
"But there's still so much potential!"
"Potential's nebulous. Who do you think should go right now?"
"I suppose Maria should be our sacrificial lamb. She's been solidly average, but the other two have been amazing before. If they fail to regain their former glory after what we've done for them, I won't lose sleep over their death."
Hiram peered over Donnovan's shoulder, "Stanley? You've been quiet."
Stanley breathed out in a threatening grunt. It sounded like he was going to keep being quiet.
"It's settled then." Donnovan said, standing up and calling the attendants to order.
When the chefs were gathered again between the crowd and the stage, he spoke for the judges.
"Chefs of Chopped, the competition today has been strange, but... Spiritted. There have been standouts, but there have also been disappointments." Donnovan stood silently, eyeing the line of chefs with a hidden glare, "Two of you in particular would have poisoned mortal men, with raw raccoon and unclean Floor-Octopus?. It's only because of the potential your dishes had in other respects that we hesitate to kill you."
The black-robed-one leaned forward on his staff, and extended a lanky finger, "Maria, step forward."
"Of the three chefs this round whose lives were in danger, only one of them consistently underperformed in scores." Donnovan frowned, "You have given a soundly average performance in both dishes, but averageness does not win championships. We are seeking culinary greatness here, and for that reason, Maria de Cabeza, you've been-"
The storm grate behind Maria began to smoke, with the most awful keratin smell, as of burning flesh.
"What in Chakkr's name..." Donnovan peered into the smoke, "What is the meaning of-"
"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!" Screamed a shadow from within the smoke, bursting out of the concrete and sending the sewer grate flying.
With singed robes and leathery hide, the Wizard grabbed the nearest person, in this case Maria, in order to warn them of the coming invasion, but he noticed a smidge of something on the corner of her mouth that turned out to be far more important...
"YOU! YOU HAVE PUKED! I SEE! I SMELL!" Stanley yelled, "WHERE ARE THE OTHER VOMITTERS!? WHERE IS THE MAN WHO RUINED MY FOOD!?"
Stanley's interrogation methods were not subtle. In fact, he didn't really attempt to wait for an answer. He just gripped her by the ribs and flailed her body against the parking lot like a chimp digging holes with a rock, until Maria was a vaguely woman-shaped pulp, "AAAAAAAAAAAAAA!"
Donnovan looked to his left in confusion... The man painting the ground with pulverised person was almost certainly Stanley, but if that was the case, who was standing silently next to them?
@Mizal @MadHattersDaughter @Camelon @poison_mara @simplesabley
As usual, Chefs, pls check your scores in case I did an accidental big math gay.
But poor Harrison! :~(
Stanley was brought to silence by the sound of a quack. A small white duck staggered in its waddly way across the concrete expanse. Stanley furtively looked both ways before dropping the pan and scooping the duck up for himself. Now this was his duck, and anyone who said otherwise was a dead man!
... Stanley heard another quack. It was around the corner of the gift shop that had become a guard outpost. He quickly slipped past all security (as they were busy looking for Slugs, not wizards.) and picked up another duck! This duck was also Stanley's duck now.
This is great, so many moments, and the distinct personality of each of the judges really comes out. I feel like this whole thing is made of situations and words I would have never expected to be put together, and it's amazing. Have you ever played Fallen London or Sunless Sea? This reminds me a little of that sort of eldritch wackiness and comedic horror, but this is way better.