Time to resolve the downtime for Week 5 and see if I can get the ingredients to treat Bas Bata's shattered tooth.
I got all of the Slime Shell I needed, but I still need some Shield Cap. So it's off to Glimmerwood Grove to gather some.
1. As I'm exploring, I hear a faint voice just on the edge of my hearing. I try to make out any words, but the more I pay attention to it, the harder it is to focus on anything. Finally, I can't focus at all and simply lose consciousness. I come to in the middle of a fairy circle. Once I manage to get my bearings, I realize that I've much farther into the Grove than I normally go. Thankfully, a Shieldcap is growing nearby, so I grab it before I head on my way.
2: This is definitely a place in the Grove that I've never been to. The legendary Glimmerwood Giant sleeps here. Were he to stand up, he would be twice as tall as the trees. Very gently, I gather a Shieldcap that grows between his toes. I don't know what would happen if he were to wake up and I'm not sure I want to be there when he does.
3. As I reach for the last Shieldcap that I need, I hear a loud bang and feel a sharp pain in my side. I feel the wound, grateful that it's just a graze. A dirty hand reaches out for the Shieldcap just in front of me. I hear a small, angry grunt as the Shieldcap is thrown back onto the ground. Once they are gone, I reach into my healer's kit for a salve to control the bleeding. The pain causes me to curse, but when you're a hedge witch, that doesn't just mean saying a dirty word. I just hope that bad luck for that truffle hunter makes for good luck for everyone else in Glimmerwood Grove.
4: That was the last Shieldcap that I needed. Now I think I'll try to track down some Giant Spider Venom. It would be easier to get this in Hero's Hollow, but getting shot already cost me some time. Fortune is smiling on me, as I see a unicorn in the clearing up ahead. It seems to be doing battle with a Giant Spider until it finally spears it with its horn. Detecting my presence, it dashes off with supernatural speed. I take advantage of the opportunity and catch the venom as it drips from the dying spider's mandibles.
5. Given my last experience in the Weaver's Wood, I'm not heading directly there any time soon. I wind up following a path well worn by various animals. Along the path, I find a Wild Rose bush. Not what I'm looking for, but the seeds have their uses. I gather some and head home to wait for my next patient.
That wretched vampire has struck again! This time, a villager named Milton Cash has come to my door and he has clearly been Drunk. This time, however, I am ready. I still have the Ambergris that I was able to gather for my first attempt, and rather than Moon Moss, I can use Slime Shell to take care of the Blood Tag. I'll still have to get some more Slime Shell when I'm ready to treat Bas Bata's tooth, but the ability to treat an Ailment that I failed to treat previously is my priority.
I crush the Ambergris into a fine powder, which I then combine with the slime from the Slime Shell to form a paste. I then apply this paste directly to the vampire bite and color returns to Milton's face almost immediately.
After receiving my fee of 20 silver pieces, I head out to Hero's Hollow to gather more Giant Spider Venom for Bas Bata's tooth.
1: Following a path of spider webs, I enact my plan. I locate a giant spider and draw it towards me. As it snaps at me, I block with my left arm, which I have wrapped in thick, absorbent material to catch the venom. Once the spider has successfully bitten my padding, I smack it squarely between all 8 eyes to dissuade it from pursuing me further. As I turn around, I find myself now facing The Baron, one of the more notable denizens of these dungeons. A poltergeist animating a large suit of armor blocks my path. He lets out a booming villainous laugh and draws a wicked looking sword. I do my best to stay out of the path of that sword. He bellows "Coward!" but I don't care. I'm an apothecary, not a hero. He swings at me and misses, hitting the stone dungeon wall with enough power to force the sword from his gauntlet.
He laughs again, this time with some measure of ... mirth? "Well fought!" he booms. He extends a hand with a small vial in it. "A token of my esteem. There are few who have stood against me and lived." The liquid in the vial is a pale red. Vampire's Venom. Not what I was looking for, but it should work just as well.
2. The ground gave way beneath my feet! Pick myself up and take stock of my situation. I'm now in a small cell with a barred door of rusted iron. The lock is rusted as well and it takes just a little effort to work it open. As I'm celebrating my cleverness, a giant spider skitters down the hallway towards me. Thinking quickly, I throw the cell door wide and dodge as the spider lunges at me, luring it into the cell. Throwing the door closed and pressing my body against it to keep it closed, I present my specially prepared left arm. It's bites into the padding and I absorb another dose of Giant Spider Venom.
3. I discover a puzzle room in the dungeon. The floor is covered in lettered tiles. There is a mirror on the far wall showing the reflection of a word. Easy enough. But as I step on the first letter of the word, my foot falls through as if the floor isn't there. I mange to catch myself, but manage to hear a telltale chittering beneath the floor. It turns out that the tiles where the letters are reversed are solid, but not the other stretches of the floor. Passing my left arm through an illusionary tile, I smile when I feel the pressure of spider mandibles filling my padding with the final dose of Giant Spider Venom that I need.
4. Since I used that one Slime Shell for my cure this week, I'll need to make it up. Since I'm in Hero's Hollow, I'll try to collect some Liquid Fire, which has the same power against Infection** that Slime Shell does. I pass through a dusty crypt and step on an old, dry bone. The bone snaps and the sound fills the silence of the crypt. Ghostly voices grumble "Knock off the racket!" I freeze for several moments and proceed carefully, trying to avoid waking the dead.
5. Wandering through the tunnels and caverns, I find myself is a large, elaborate dining hall. At the head of the large table is a figure cloaked in shadow. It can only be the Dark Ruler of the Underlands. "Come!" they say. "Join me for dinner!"
The food and drink at the table were not things that I was accustomed to. Thankfully, my apothecary skill helped me identify which things are poisonous and which are not. And one of the libations is actually Liquid Fire.
We have a pleasant conversation over the unusual meal. While there's a wealth of foes and challenges in the Hollow, there's very little company. I discovered that Ira, my first patient, had moved into the Hollow with her vampire lover, just waiting for them to turn her into a full vampire. I mention that I treated another victim this week, preventing them from having another Renfield, which caused the Ruler to laugh.
As thanks for being such pleasant company, they opened a mysterious portal to a realm called The Strange. The prior apothecary left notes that some strange and wondrous Reagents might be found there.