LOCATION: Sandswept Sky - Tostarena Town
WORD COUNT: 824 (+2)
For a tourist, this town was probably a paradise. Al Mamoon wasn't terrible, but this place just had a welcoming vibe and a partying atmosphere. You'd find joy, good food, and even better souvenirs. The average person would probably love this place, and become a visitor more than once after having the time of their life enjoying the cold drinks and living the good life.
Unfortunately for Mao, he was not a tourist. Rather, he was a scrawny and angry-looking man that only increased in frustration every time one of the skeletons attempted to talk him into taking part in something. They seemed to have a pretty set system here, they didn't need more help. Or they did, but not the kind that they gave out money over. Rather, currency would be flowing in their direction, and the little bastards were very thankful about it. Half tempted to take one of their skulls and punt it as far into the sands as he could, he ended up eventually forfeiting his attempts at earning any money and instead retreating from any bonehead in sight to try and regroup with the others.
"Kicking an Overlord while he's down." He spat, boot meeting sand. They were lucky that he had bigger fish to fry with Galeem, or else he'd end up reducing these little salesmen to dust. Crush their spirits and make them actually worth something, rather than let them be a pain in the ass so enthusiastically! He noted that he'd have to focus on building up something trade-worthy, or at least make money at the next opportunity. If it wouldn't turn the entire city into chaos, he'd just pillage. But regrettably he'd have to just wait until he came across some poor test subjects in the making that nobody'd miss before anything could go his way around here.
Aurox's gravelly voice was laughing at Mao, inescapable as the voice came from within. "A TOWN OF WASTES," He remarked, knowing how irritated his host was. "I HAVE NO NEED FOR TOURISM. THOUGH A HINT OF TERRORISM COULD IMPROVE THIS HELLHOLE."
"I don't benefit from that, you braindead stone!" He responded aggressively to the air, noticing a Tostarenan stopping momentarily to look his way. His skull shifted to the side as if unsure if he had been spoken to, but after a scowl from Mao he darted off to mind his own business. "Got to stop talking out loud." He noted to himself, of course, carelessly aloud as usual. The duo argued about violence and not getting tossed in a jail somewhere, at least until Mao managed to regroup with some of the others and start finding refuge in the Happy Hongo.
Which, to the utter lack of success he found in town, at least the food would be free. Mao for one had no issue in taking what he wanted for himself, snacking down and noting mentally that this was definitely making up for the skipped breakfast this morning. The conductor was, however, ruining his meal mood a little bit by trying to poke problems in the current plan. And as discussion began at the table, Poppi and Tora taking different stances on the subject, Mao was more than happy to simply speak in obvious and aggressive facts.
"I don't care if there's twenty, four, or twenty-four going up!" He could take care of this so-called 'Boss', but he didn't need any of these people serving as a handicap because the climb would be too dangerous. "Poppi's right: If anyone can't handle themselves, they'll be hindering us all the way!" It was not at all how Poppi worded it, but sugarcoating it wasn't exactly in Mao's usual playbook. Or showing as much concern, for that matter. Though, one could argue insisting the less capable stay behind was at least an attempt to preserve their lives. "It's better to have a team that can keep steady than a horde that'd end up constantly in need of help. The less complications, the better!" Undoubtedly overconfident in himself, Mao presented a point: Be capable of managing yourself effectively.
As disgruntled as he was, Mao wasn't entirely against turning to keep someone alive, but if someone was in constant peril he'd almost be tempted to kick them off the mountain himself for being stupid enough to go up there. Gear, abilities, or tactics to ward off weaknesses were needed. The fact that Primrose was probably the only reason he might be able to fight at full capacity was not lost on him, either. It made him realize that some might be able to help each-other, though Mao himself had nothing more than his mechanical limbs and an angry Djinn that he didn't entirely trust to preserve the life of someone else, rather than throw them off and wait for the splat.
The end result truly didn't matter to him, either way. But less potential annoyances sounded good, as he'd rather be monster killing than babysitting.