In this Choose Your Own Adventure, you will play as the young half-elf Sariel Liadon. As an avid freediver, you will need to swim into the sea's depths to recover lost treasure. However, choose carefully! Many decisions will end poorly for you, so think them through before you make them!

As Sariel, you have strengths and weaknesses. You are agile, stealthy, and can hold your breath for a long time. However, your small size means you're physically weak. Keep these strengths and weaknesses in mind as you play this adventure.

To play this adventure, begin with the introductory paragraph below. Read it in its entirety, then choose an option at the bottom. You can either click your preferred option, or manually navigate to the number of your choice. You may then click the button with your number to read the results of your choice. Don't read what you haven't selected, or you might spoil your adventure!

Content Advisory: This adventure contains violence, adult themes, and some sexual themes/references

Special Thanks: This adventure was made with the help of senshidenshi, who aided with editing and beta testing.

Page 1

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You sit at the edge of the ship, taking deep breaths as you look at the storm on the horizon. The sky is almost dark, but a few glimmers of light from the setting sun turn the sky a brilliant orange.

"Captain," you hear a man's voice say as a large hand is placed on your shoulder. "We only have a few minutes."

You nod, then stand up. A gust of wind blows through, and you shiver. Wearing nothing but underclothes does little to protect against the cold.

The man, a half-orc named Tusk Bonesmasher (and your first mate), continues speaking.

"The storm's about on us. You'll have five minutes to hook whatever you can into the crane. Given that you can hold your breath for four minutes, if you aren't back in five, we'll have to assume you're dead."

You nod. This was an incredibly risky idea, deciding to salvage the Zhent ship that went down yesterday, but it could be incredibly profitable.

"By the way..." Tusk continues, "any big treasure might be in the hold, but the captain's cabin could have some loose stuff. Just keep it in mind."

You nod again, then look out at the rapidly approaching storm once more. It's time.

"Don't risk the crew if I'm not back," you say grimly.

"Umberlee protect you..." Tusk mutters.

You turn and face the sea, taking a few final breaths. You take a few steps back...

Dive into the deep, dark sea. (Page 2)

Page 2

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You plunge into the sea with skilful form. Once your eyes adjust to the salt water, you can see a shipwreck some distance below you - your target. It'll take the better part of a minute to reach.

You have four minutes of air. Four minutes until you violently and painfully meet your end.

You've drowned before. It's not an experience you'd like to repeat, especially with nobody to save you this time.

Aside from your revealing underclothes and several strapped-on pouches, the only thing you've brought with you is a hook, connected to a strong rope, connected to the crane on your ship. If you find treasure, this is how you'll salvage it.

As you swim down into the deep, something catches your eye. The ship is resting on a precipice, and in the cliff face beneath it is a cave.

Of course, you only have so much air, and it's a decent ways below the ship. You might not have enough air to check both places, and the ship is your target.

Explore the cave. (Page 3)

Focus on your goal - the shipwreck. (Page 8)

Page 3

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You decide there might be treasure in that cave, so you go to investigate. You swim deep below the ship, leaving the hook outside. You brush through some seaweed to enter the cave.

Inside, you find an interesting sight. What appears to be a merfolk woman with ragged clothes is sitting in an open giant clamshell. The entire cave appears to be her home.

She notices you, and quickly gets up.

"Ahhh, you must be a treasure hunter!" she says, swimming around you.

Unable to verbally reply, you simply nod.

"You might be the least dressed treasure hunter I've seen... but also the most beautiful."

You blush, continuing to watch her.

She continues. "There is a cave at the back of my home that has a locked treasure chest I cannot open. I have no need for it, but a girl as beautiful as you can have it."

She motions to a small cave in the back of her home.

Maybe it's best you left. (Page 4)

Well you're looking for treasure, right? (Page 5)

Page 4

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You politely shake your head.

"Please, I insist!" she exclaims.

You shake your head once more, and go to swim out of the cave.

Suddenly, you feel seaweed wrap around your limbs. You're restrained, unable to move.

As you struggle against your binds, the animated seaweed turns your around. It is not a fair merfolk you see, but a hideous sea hag.

"Well, my pretty, I can't have you leaving."

She runs a mangled hand over your face.

"First, I shall watch the hope fade from your eyes. Then, the life from your body," she cruelly says.

The seaweed binds are too tight. You can only wait with despair as your end approaches.

The hag savours every agonising moment of your drowning.


Page 5

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You swim into the passageway, using your fey magic to see in the darkness.

The passageway narrows, and even your small frame has trouble fitting through.

However, your patience is rewarded, as you can see a chest at the end of the passageway.

Right as you get ready to move again, the rock shifts slightly. Not so much as to crush you, but just enough that you become stuck.

You start panicking. Nothing you do is moving you. You're running out of air.

You try moving backwards. You still can't move.

You kick and thrash and flail, all for naught.

You reach out towards the treasure as the last bubbles of air leave your lungs.


Page 6

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You remove your lockpicking kit from a pouch and get to work. Lockpicking underwater isn't too hard, but every second you spend picking it brings you closer to running out of air.

After a few moments, there's a click, and you open the lockbox.

Inside is a fair amount of gold pieces and valuable gems, which you stuff into your various pouches.

As you're moving your leg to get at a thigh pouch, you accidentally kick the stack of boxes, sending it tumbling at you.

You dodge out of the way of the boxes themselves, but a knife tumbles out.

You feel a sharp pain on your shoulder, and blood drifting in the water. It seems the knife has cut you. It stings, but you can probably ignore it.

Head into the hold. (Page 11)

Page 7

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The captain's cabin is locked, but the door at the back of the forecastle is wide open. You easily swim inside and look around.

The cabin is ornately decorated, but most of the fabrics here are probably ruined by seawater.

You can see the carpet has a black and white silhouette of a dragon in flight - the symbol of the Zhentarim.

There are also some boxes stacked precariously at the side of the room. Before them, sitting on a desk, is a small lockbox.

You recognise the model. It might take some time, but isn't hard to pick.

Pick the lock. (Page 6)

Head back outside. (Page 12)

Page 8

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The cave's too far away, and probably doesn't even contain treasure. You stay with your goal of the shipwreck.

Getting a closer look, the ship is a fairly large cargo ship. There's plenty of fish around it, but no sign of intelligent life.

There's a large hole ripped in the bottom of the hull, which could provide a quick way in.

However, Tusk did tell you that the captain's cabin might have some loose loot in it.

While you decide where to go, your air is slowly depleting.

Check the captain's cabin. (Page 7)

Swim into the hold without delay. (Page 9)

Page 9

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You easily slip into the large hole in the side of the ship with plenty of air to spare.

A cursory search of a few rooms reveals nothing of value, so you head deeper into the ship.

As you reach a large cargo room, you can hear noises coming from deeper within. You hide behind some crates and take a look.

There's three humanoid-looking men with fish tails instead of legs. At first you think they're merfolk, but quickly realise that they're merrow. Nasty creatures. They're armed with harpoons.

You think the one on the left looks kind of cute for a moment. But just a moment.

You can see a path under some crates you could use to sneak by, but it looks precarious.

Confront them. (Page 10)

Sneak by. (Page 16)

Wait for them to move on. (Page 17)

Page 10

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You don't have enough air to wait around. You get up from your hiding place, and swim towards the merrow.

They look at you quizzically, then at each other. Their harpoons remind you that you're unarmed.

You stop before them, puffing your chest up to look intimidating.

It doesn't work. You're half their size, and probably look very tasty.

The three swim around you, and you start to think this may have been a bad idea.

All of a sudden, you feel a powerful arm come around your neck, as a merrow starts choking the life from you.

You kick and thrash, but you're far too weak.

Even before you drown, the bloodflow to your head is cut off. The world fades into darkness as your killers laugh at you.


Page 11

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You swim out of the captain's cabin and into the hold, via the large gash in the ship. Luckily, it doesn't seem like any sharks have smelled you yet.

You squeeze through a collapsed beam and enter the hold. There's a lot of loose cargo floating around in here.

As you scrounge through, you spot something slithering amongst the debris. You focus your eyes, and realise you're but a few feet away from a very large eel.

Behind the eel, you can see a half-collapsed doorway you could squeeze through.

Wait for it to move on. (Page 22)

Dart past it when its back is turned. (Page 23)

Page 12

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You decide unlocking a chest will probably take too much time, so you head back outside to inspect the ship.

As you're swimming around, you look up and spot a distortion in the water, just above the ship.

It could be nothing, but it also could be something.

Investigate it. (Page 13)

Ignore it. (Page 25)

Page 13

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You decide to take a closer look at the distortion. You slowly approach it, inspecting it.

It seems to be some kind of spherical distortion, so it probably isn't a water weird or water elemental.

You reach out to touch it. You feel a tugging sensation, then everything becomes disorienting.

Once you've regained your composure, you look around.

You see nothing but open sea. Not even the seafloor. You look up, but can't see the water's surface. Far in the distance, you can see gigantic shadows swimming about.

The only explanation is that you've been transported to the elemental plane of water.

No matter how far you swim, the water is endless.


Page 14

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You've always wanted to be a dolphin, and now your dream has come true!

You effortlessly glide through the ship, spinning around and just really enjoying life.

Ah, of course! Dolphins need to breathe air! Lucky you remembered, or you'd have drowned!

You swim back to the surface, where you see some familiar looking people yelling at you. You simply respond by making the same dolphin noises you always have.

You try to complain when one of them drags you onto their ship, to no avail.
By the time you've come down from your high, your ship has long since sailed off. You can't feel anything but shame and regret, especially since you didn't get any treasure.


Page 15

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You realise that your legs are actually a fish tail. You're a merfolk! With ease, you escape the boxes and burst out into the wide, blue sea.

You spend some time having a conversation with some fish, and some crabs too. They're kind of boring, so you talk with some friendly dolphins.

Time really doesn't have any meaning for you anymore, so you spend a long time just lazing about, letting the stormy currents carry you into the deep.

Wait, that's not right. You can't breathe anymore. You writhe in agony as you just simply cannot breathe. You black out moments later.


Page 16

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You carefully lie down on the floor and crawl underneath the crates. You sneak through a hall in the wall, continuing on underneath more crates on the other side.

However, despite your best efforts, you accidentally knock some crates, and they collapse onto you.

You try moving, but you're stuck. It might take some effort to get yourself un-stuck.

Struggle as best you can. (Page 28)

Take it slow and conserve your air. (Page 29)

Page 17

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You calmly wait behind your cover for the merrow to move. They seem to be carefully tearing the inside of the ship apart, looking for treasure. Just like you, except they can breathe underwater and are probably twice or three times as strong as you.

A minute goes by, and they still haven't moved from the room. One of them accidentally knocks some crates over, revealing a door.

If you moved quickly, and that door was unlocked, you could probably sneak by them. If it's locked, you're probably dead.

Keep waiting. (Page 18)

Swim for the door. (Page 30)

Page 18

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You wait another minute, and the merrow are still there. You're holding your neck, watching the bubbles escaping from your mouth, and counting down how much time you have left.

The merrow are really going over this place with a fine-toothed comb. However, if you don't leave now, you'll be underwater for more than four minutes.

If you stay very still, you might be able to stay down a while longer.

Keep holding your breath. (Page 19)

Return to the surface. (Page 31)

Page 19

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You've been counting, and you've set a new personal best. You've been underwater for six straight minutes, a full two minutes over your previous record.

Your lungs are having none of this. They scream and shout at you to breathe, and you're finding thinking difficult. Despite this, you refuse to die.

At the same time, the merrow refuse to move.

Wait even longer. (Page 20)

Swim for the surface. (Page 32)

Page 20

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By all rights, you should not be alive right now. Ten minutes underwater, and you haven't drowned yet. You're in more pain than you've ever been in, but you're alive.

You realise you've forgotten to check on the merrow in a while. You look up, and they're gone.

You don't have the strength to keep looking for treasure.

Weakly, you slowly exit the ship and make for the surface.

Please don't drown... (Page 33)

Page 21

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You repeatedly slam the eel into the walls and nearby boxes, but it just keeps constricting you tighter.

As you run out of air, your arms get weaker, and you can't resist the poweful eel.

Your arms buckle, and it bites at you.

You can't see what's happening behind all the blood, but you're pretty sure it just tore out your throat.

You float limply in the water as the eel prepares to devour its next meal, bite by bite.


Page 22

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Holding your stinging, bleeding shoulder, you decide to hide behind a box, waiting for the eel to move.

It seems to swim about the room, looking for food.

It's only when it starts heading for you that you remember eels hunt based on smell.

Before you're able to flee, the eel wraps itself around you, crushing the air from your lungs.

It bites at your throat, but you hold it back with one arm.

Smash yourself and the eel against the walls. (Page 21)

Find something sharp to stab it with. (Page 36)

Page 23

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You wait a few moments, then quickly swim past when the eel isn't watching. It doesn't seem to notice you, and you manage to escape it.

Thanks to your small body, you're able to deftly navigate through a maze of small collapsed passages in the bowels of the ship.

As you squeeze out the end of the passages, you're jolted to a stop. The hook won't move, as it seems to be caught on something.

Swim back through the tunnels to dislodge it. (Page 38)

Yank it loose. (Page 39)

Page 24

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You decide a few stings aren't worth wasting your air on. You swim headfirst into the jellyfish tentacles, shielding your head with your arms.

You quickly realise that jellyfish stings are much more painful than you anticipated. It takes all of your effort not to scream out in pain.

You're finding it difficult to swim. The tentacles are getting stuck on you, and wrapping you up in them.

It's suddenly getting really hard to move. Your limbs stop responding. You realise that the jellyfish are paralysing you.

You drown shortly after, paralysed and tangled. But at least you don't feel the pain.


Page 25

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It's probably a water elemental or water weird or something else that will kill you in seconds, so you decide to just ignore it and keep on swimming.

You enter into the quiet bowels of the ship through the gash in the side. You can see fish everywhere.

At the far end of the mostly-destroyed room, you can see something glinting through a doorway. However, between you and that doorway is an entire room full of jellyfish.

You don't know much about jellyfish, but some varieties apparently hurt a lot when they sting. Of course, navigating your way through the jellyfish will take a while, if you can even find a way.

Accept a few stings and get through quickly. (Page 24)

Find a path through. (Page 41)

Page 26

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You swim over to the cage, and pull out your lockpick from a pouch. You set to work, and the lock's tricky.

You're better, and it comes open. You swim over to the armour, but the gem seems pretty set in it. Bracing your legs against the armour, you pull as hard as you can.

Moments later, the gem comes free.

And a split second after that, one of the armour's metal gauntlets shoots up, grabbing you by the neck.

"Thief detected. Restraining until authorities arrive," it says in a pre-recorded mechanical voice.

You pull and twist and contort, but the vice-like grip refuses to let go.

Even as you beg while you drown, the armour keeps waiting for the authorities to release you.


Page 27

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Given that you're hopefully not going to be breathing water any time soon, you don't feel the need to rush.

As you slowly worm your way through the boxes, you start feeling... happy?

Your eyes adjust, and the world seems much more colourful.

Breathing deeply in and out, the air has never smelt so... pink.

You look down at your body, surprised at what you see.

I'm a dolphin! (Page 14)

I'm a merfolk! (Page 15)

Page 28

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As you struggle to wriggle your way out from underneath the boxes, you send some tumbling down. This isn't a big deal, until you hear glass shatter.

You can see some broken potion bottles close by, and their liquid floating through the water.

Conserve your air. (Page 27)

Get out before the potion cocktail reaches you. (Page 43)

Page 29

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You slowly start extricating yourself from underneath the crates. You spend as long as you need to quietly move the boxes out of the way.

It's slow going. The boxes are heavy, and you're one of the least physically strong people you know.

All of a sudden, you can hear the merrow voices getting closer to you.

Hurry up and get out before the merrow arrive. (Page 44)

Keep going slow and quiet. (Page 45)

Page 30

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You quickly move by the merrow, silently swimming your way to the door.

It's locked.

You check the lock, and it appears to be rusted shut.

This isn't good.

You try it again for good measure, and it still won't budge.

It does look kind of damaged though.

The merrow are coming back.

Force the door. (Page 46)

Try to find another way in. (Page 47)

Page 31

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You can't take it anymore, and decide to leave before you drown.

You swim to the surface, and you make it with seconds to spare.

Dejected, you climb onto your ship.

Tusk looks at you, shaking his head with a mixture of disappointment and relief that you're alive.

Hopefully you'll be able to come back tomorrow.


Page 32

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Delerious from your lack of air, you push towards the surface. As you reach it, you can't take it any longer, and begin to breathe in...

But reach air just in time! Coughing and spluttering, you climb up onto the ship before you.

"Hey, where's the crane?" you wonder aloud.

You feel a sharp, cold cutlass come to your throat. Taking in your surroundings, you suddenly realise that this isn't your ship. It's pirates.

"I think ye've bigger things to worry about now, lass," a voice says.

You watch as the pirate captain waltzes onto the deck, looking you up and down.

"The boys've been looking for some company, and I think you'll fit in just fine."

The entire crew laughs.


Page 33

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After twelve minutes underwater, you finally breach the surface, and air has never tasted so good.

You've made a true accomplishment today. You've performed a remarkable feat of endurance, and tenaciously survived where most would have drowned.

It's just a shame your crew didn't stick around to see it. Looks like the storm will be rolling in any second...


Page 34

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The first few weeks are rough. You're made to bed any pirate that wants you, and a lot of pirates want you. It gets easier over time.

Soon, you figure out how to play the system. You seduce the captain, making yourself his personal concubine. He occasionally loans you to other ships as a temporary gift.

In port, you get to know as many pirate captains as possible. Within five years, you've slept with every notable captain on the seas.

On more than one occasion, you manage to stop a battle with another ship thanks to your intimate knowledge of its captain. The crew begins to respect you over time.

In a raid by the Waterdhavian navy, your captain is killed. The crew unanimously votes to make you the next captain.

Soon, the entire Trackless Sea learns to fear a new pirate queen. Your body and pride are acceptable currencies to ensure the loyalty of other captains, and you create an armada the likes of which has never been seen.

Ships surrender when they see your underdressed form at the helm. You gain more treasure than you could possibly dream of.


Page 35

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You'd rather not risk drowning, so you decide to swim back to the surface. Despite the fact that you're pretty sure you have a broken rib, you manage to make it just fine and board your ship.
Tusk takes a look at the paltry sum of gems laid out in front of him, as a crewmate bandages your chest.

"I guess it's better than nothing?" he says, scratching the back of his head.

"At the very least, it covers the cost of the voyage," you reply.

You end up making a very small profit. Much smaller than you hoped, but the important part is that you're still alive and can go salvage some treasure again.


Page 36

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Frantically looking around for something to stab the eel with, you grab a broken piece of wood, and blindly stab it into the eel's neck.

You can tell something happened, because you aren't being crushed to death anymore. You open your eyes to see the eel lifelessly floating down before you. Regaining your composure, you look around.

There's a door, which you open and enter. Inside is a room absolutely filled to the brim with treasure chests!

You grab some loose gems, stuffing them into your pouches. Your lungs remind you that you're very close to drowning, but hopefully it wouldn't take long to start hooking up chests.

Leave immediately. (Page 35)

Stay and hook up a chest. (Page 51)

Page 37

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You slowly trace the wand through the water, trying to get it to activate. You try a few motions, before falling back on a fairly basic one.

You notice a few sparks, then are filled with so much electricity that you instantly die.

Maybe using strange wands underwater wasn't the best idea?


Page 38

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You'd sigh if you weren't holding your breath. You turn around and swim back into the tight passage you just navigated.

Wasting precious air, you eventually arrive at the point where the hook was lodged, and easily dislodge it. You also notice that the eel is gone, so you decide to take another look around the room.

You quickly spot something valuable - magic wand! Well, you hope it's a magic wand.

Test the wand. (Page 37)

Hold onto it. (Page 53)

Page 39

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You imagine having to swim back through the passages, clearing whatever's blocking the rope, and then swimming all the way back again. You'd probably drown if you did that.

Instead, you just yank on the rope as hard as you can. The first one does nothing.

The second time, the rope comes free. Unfortunately, the ship starts shaking about.

You can feel the ship tilting. It feels like it could fall into the abyss at any moment, but is holding steady.

For now.

Abandon ship! (Page 40)

Be careful as you look for treasure. (Page 54)

Page 40

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You quickly hurry out through the maze as the ship shudders around you.

You free the rope on the way out, and tug a few times to let the crew know to reel it in. As it pulls you out of the ship, the wreck lurches.

Still holding the rope, the ship falls around you as you escape just in time.

You return to your ship as you left it, with nothing but your underclothes.

Predictably, the crew is disappointed. You'll have to find some other way of paying them now.


Page 41

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Slowly and steadily you weave your way through the jellyfish. It's hard, and it takes a lot of time.

But you manage to make it all the same.

The next room has a few things that catch your eye. The most obvious is a fancy suit of metal armour in a cage-vault-thing, with a locked door. However, inset into the chestplate is a valuable looking gem. Getting through that lock will take a lot of time, but you can easily carry the gem.

On the other hand, you spy a chest with gold. That should easily hook up, but you'll have to navigate it out of the ship.

Given how long it takes to swim back through the jellyfish, you don't have enough time to do both.

Go for the gem in the armour. (Page 26)

Hook up the treasure chest. (Page 56)

Page 42

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With the potion box secured, you begin the arduous process of sneaking back through the collapsed boxes.

You recall that most of the ideas you have are actually pretty bad.

Still, you can't really stop now. You continue on, lungs burning all the while.

By the time you make it out of the ship, you're rapidly fading. The world goes dark as your crew pulls you up.
A smack on your chest causes you to suddenly cough up water and gasp for air. You quickly take in your surroundings - you're back on your ship.

"Ah, good. I didn't have to give you mouth-to-mouth," Tusk says.

You're still sprawled on your back, heavy breaths interrupted by coughing.

As the crew leaves you to recover, you sit up and look at the haul you recovered. You randomly pick out a potion and read the label on it to yourself.

"Potion of Waterbreathing."


Page 43

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Who knows what's in those potions? Not you, and you'd rather not fight out. You fight with all of your might to escape as fast as you can.

Just barely, you manage to avoid the cloud of strange liquids. Looking back, you notice that there's actually an entire intact box full of potions.

This gives you an idea.

Hook up the potions box. (Page 42)

No, it doesn't give me an idea. (Page 58)

Page 44

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As good looking as those musclebound merrow are, they probably don't feel the same way about you. They might, but you'd rather not find out.

You decide to speed up your escape from the boxes, wriggling as fast as you can.

You manage to remove yourself from the boxes and continue on.

However, in the next room, you run into a problem: there's a large tiger shark swimming around. Thankfully, the problem resolves itself by swimming away when it sees you.

As you swim into the room, basking in your victory over the oversized fish, you feel a tug on the rope.

For some unknown reason, the shark has decided to start nibbling on it.

Scare it away. (Page 59)

Ignore it and look for treasure. (Page 71)

Page 45

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Even with the merrow approaching, you decide to just keep taking it slow.

You stay perfectly still when the merrow stop right in front of you. All you can see is their fins and the bottom of their harpoons.

You wait for a minute, but one of them is refusing to move. When he finally moves, you want to sigh in relief as you continue on.

Until, of course, he accidentally bumps into some crates. Which tumble down and land on top of the ones already on you.

It seems really funny to him, but it's not so funny to you, as you suddenly can't move.

As the merrow and his friends laugh it off, they don't hear your last gasp as you drown less than a foot from them.


Page 46

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There's no time. You slam your shoulder against the door, and it goes right through!

Which is the problem. The door now has a half-elf-girl's-shoulder-shaped hole in it, but it still isn't open.

You hear a noise behind you and spin around to see a merrow right in your face. You feel something in your abdomen and look down.

You know, usually you're fine with being pinned to a wall and or penetrated, but a harpoon is a bit far.

The merrow just holds you against the wall, and you can see blood floating around.

You aren't sure whether you pass out due to internal bleeding or drowning, but you black out all the same.


Page 47

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You recall the time you could barely lift a greatsword and decide that smashing a door down isn't exactly a tool in your box.

Instead, you find a loose plank of wood in the hull and kick it loose, letting you out of the ship. From here, you might be able to see an alternate way into the hold.

It doesn't take long to find another plank you could wrench free, but you also spot something interesting.

Not far from the ship, a single chest sits upright by itself. It looks pretty ominous in the gloom of the sunset sea.

Check out the chest. (Page 48)

You know a mimic when you see one. (Page 61)

Page 48

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Upon closer inspection, this chest seems to be much older than the ship. Judging from the way it's sitting, it probably wasn't on the ship when it went down - it predates it.

You can see intricate carvings all along the outside of the chest, as well as some writing in a language you don't understand.

Just hook it. (Page 49)

Make sure it's actually treasure. (Page 62)

Page 49

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This treasure might be a trap, but it also might just be treasure. If it's the former, opening it more than a hundred feet underwater is probably a bad idea.

You loop your rope around the chest, hooking it in, and begin your ascent. It's quick and you don't even feel like you're drowning by the time you surface.
As the chest hits the deck with an ominous thud, you lean against it. You notice the sailors onboard are stepping away carefully.

Tusk slowly speaks. "Sariel, that's... that's cursed treasure."

"Neat," you reply.

Your confidence or disregard for your own life seems to inspire the crew, who stop stepping back.

"Listen," you begin. "I know a girl who can remove curses. She's a pretty good wizard. Failing that, we can just take it to a temple. Even failing that, we just drop it back in the ocean and hope no idiot decides to haul it up."

People usually pay more attention to your chest than your inspirational speeches, but this one seems to have gotten through. The crew nods in agreement, and you smile wide.


Page 50

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Deciding to cut your losses, you begin swimming out of the ship. Once you've guided the chest free, you tug the rope a few times to signal it to be winched back in.

You hang on to the chest as it ascends to save air.

By the time you breach the surface, you don't think you could've stayed down there much longer.
Tusk looks over the treasure you've found.

"It's impressive, I'll give you that."

You're still soaking wet and breathing deeply, resting against the mast.

"Thanks," you manage to say.

He speaks with someone else, who starts counting up the treasure, then turns back to you.

"So, what are you spending your cut on?"

You realise you haven't thought about that. To you, it was more about the excitement and the adventure.

You give him a response, but it doesn't really matter. What you really want is to try something like this all over again.


Page 51

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Despite your lungs' protests, you stay around to hook up a chest.

Of course, by the time you're done, you feel like you might have enough air to get another chest.

Or you might not.

Play it safe. (Page 50)

Take a risk. (Page 64)

Page 52

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You quickly spot a dagger floating among the debris, and grab it. You stab rapidly into the tentacles holding you, but they just get tighter.

You furiously stab and cut with all of your might, but your life is being crushed from you.

Before long, you run out of energy to resist.

You're helpless as you're stuffed into the octopus' beak and swallowed alive.

Its meal consumed, the octopus leaves the ship and jets back into the depths.


Page 53

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You don't really have any pouches large enough to store the wand, so you just thread it through your underclothes. Hopefully it'll stay in place.

You swim, once again, through the maze, rapidly running out of air.

Luckily, you quickly spy a treasure chest at the far end of the room.

As you're hooking it up, there's a mighty crash! Huge tentacles burst through the wall, and you can see a giant octopus breaking in! It looks like it's trying to swallow you whole!

Grab the nearest sharp object. (Page 52)

Grab the wand. (Page 65)

Page 54

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Moving very carefully to avoid disturbing the ship, you take your time searching around.

Your patience is rewarded when you find another treasure chest. As you approach, the ship shudders again.

Carefully hook it up. (Page 55)

Rush as fast as you can. (Page 66)

Page 55

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You carefully lift up the chest, and slowly start wrapping the rope around it.

The ship shudders again, but you pay it no mind.

It's when the rope and chest are ripped out of your hands you begin to panic.

The ambient light from the holes in the ship quickly begins to darken.

You're trapped in a sinking ship as it descends into the abyss. You spend the next several minutes panicking and frantically trying to escape, to no avail. You slowly drown in the darkness.

At least you didn't experience being crushed to death by the pressure of the deep sea, so there's a plus.


Page 56

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You swim over to the chest, hook in hand. You wrap the rope around the chest tight, then secure it. All you have to do now is bring it back through the jellyfish.

You carefully retrace your route through the tentacled room, almost getting your long hair caught a few times. Many people have told you wearing your hair so long will get you killed, but you look so much better with it long. Maybe you'll try a ponytail again.

At the end of the maze, you're finally able to relax. You tug on the rope four times, the signal to haul it in. You're able to just hold on as you get reeled to the surface.
Tusk looks over the treasure you've found.

"It's impressive, I'll give you that."

You're still soaking wet and breathing deeply, resting against the mast.

"Thanks," you manage to say.

He speaks with someone else, who starts counting up the treasure, then turns back to you.

"So, what are you spending your cut on?"

You realise you haven't thought about that. To you, it was more about the excitement and the adventure.

You give him a response, but it doesn't really matter. What you really want is to try something like this all over again.


Page 57

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You cast the spell, and you feel your body shifting. You feel gills appear on your neck, and webbing appears in between your fingers and toes.

You breathe deeply, and you don't drown! You do a celebratory backflip, then smile and get to work shifting the heavy boxes out of the way. After all, the spell lasts for an hour.

One by one, you carefully move the boxes and unblock the door. In the next room, you find some nice gems, which you put in your pouches. After you're done perusing, you head to the surface.

You decide to try out your new swimming abilities by going back and forth. You can't believe how fast you are.

You arrive at the surface... only to find the empty sea. Aside from the storm. It seems your crew has abandoned you.

Still, you should be alright. After all, the spell lasts for an hour.


Page 58

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The last time you saw someone carry a box of potions, they exploded. It might've been due to the fireball cast at them, or it could've been the potions. You don't want to take that risk.

You manage to finally get out from under the boxes, but accidentally hit your head on some other ones. They fall down, blocking the door in front of you.

You try lifting the crates up, but they're extraordinarily heavy. Another problem is that this seems to be the only exit, and now you're trapped in here. Good work.

Frantically looking around for anything that might help, you spot a scroll in one of the crates. You read it, and recognise it as the spell alter self. This is perfect. You...

...give yourself aquatic adaptation. (Page 57)

...give yourself natural weapons. (Page 68)

...turn into a triton. (Page 69)

Page 59

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You swim over to the shark, which is quite contently gnawing on the rope. You throw a small box at it, which gets it to look at you.

What exactly you intended to accomplish by making a shark twice your size mad at you is impossible to say.

In the frenzy that follows, you probably lose one or two limbs, and the shark carries what's left of your corpse away to eat - this time without being disturbed.


Page 60

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You think you remember that, just like black bears, the best way to survive an octopus attack is to play dead.

You allow your body to fall limp, letting the octopus drag you off.

It's really taking a long time to release you, isn't it?

Maybe it's better left unsaid what happens to you next, as your tentacled form disappears into the deep.


Page 61

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You're here for the shipwreck, not one little chest sitting by itself.

Making your way back to the wreck, you find a sharp piece of wood blocking your way. As you yank it loose of the hull, you feel something slimy making its way up your leg.

You spin around just in time to see a swarm of tentacles wrapping themselves around you, and the giant octopus they're attached to.

It begins swimming down into the depths, and you try to remember how to defend yourself against an octopus attack.

Play dead. (Page 60)

Fight back. (Page 74)

Page 62

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Your curiosity gets the better of you, and you open the chest to make sure it isn't cursed.

It's cursed. You find yourself unable to do anything other than stare at the gold inside.

It's not long before you drown, water filling your lungs and the world going black.
You wake up on the deck of a ship. You cough and sputter as you look around.

You leap up with a jolt as you realise you're surrounded by ghosts. As they realise you're there, they stop moving.

"Stay back!" you shout.

One of them pushes through the crowd. From the looks of him, he's the captain.

"Ah, finally a woman for the crew," he says, peering down at your exposed chest. "And it looks like she's already in uniform!"

The crew howls with ghostly laughter.

Crew? You look down at yourself, then recoil in horror. You're a ghost. You're dead. But... maybe it isn't so bad.

Maybe one day you'll become captain of this ship, and strike fear into living sailors' hearts as a terror on the high seas. As for right now, you've got a deck to swab, and an eternity to do it for.


Page 63

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Guiding the chest back out, you struggle to maintain your focus as your vision starts fading.

You tug on the rope a few times to signal the winching to begin, but then momentarily pass out.

You quickly wake up in a start, and realise you missed holding on to the chest. You quickly swim after it, then hold on as it ascends.

But as you run out of air, you can't maintain your grip.

Your lungs fill with water as you watch the surface, mere feet from you, slowly fade away. Your body sinks into the dark abyss, and you close your eyes for the last time.


Page 64

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You probably have enough air, so you hook up a second chest.

Of course, a third chest is looking very tempting, but your lungs really want you to leave.

You've already been down here too long. (Page 63)

In for a copper, in for a gold. (Page 75)

Page 65

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You can barely move your arms, but you manage to wriggle the wand free. If any time was good for testing it, it's now.

You frantically try tracing the wand in the water, to no avail. As your legs enter the creature's maw, you simply flick your wrist.

A brilliantly blue bolt of lighting shoots from the wand, striking the octopus. It goes from eating you to dead in the blink of an eye.

You blink a few times, then compose yourself. Looking around, most of the ship has been destroyed by the octopus' rampage, but it's also freed the rope and hook from the maze. You suddenly get an idea.
The crew of your ship is surprised when they winch you up, sitting on the treasure chest. They're more surprised to find a half-cooked giant octopus on the hook itself.

You nimbly leap onto the deck of the ship as the chest and octopus are dumped unceremoniously.

Tusk whistles in astonishment. "Looks like we'll be eating well tonight!"

"And don't forget the treasure!" you add.

Indeed, the treasure is more than enough to make a sizable profit. By the time you're back on shore, you're already thinking about your next adventure.


Page 66

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"To the Hells with it," you think to yourself.

You frantically tie up the chest, and swim as fast as you can through the maze.

The ship rumbles, and starts to sink. You let the chest go as it's torn from you, as you follow the ship into the abyss.

You keep pushing yourself as hard as you can, and just barely make it out before it's too late.

You swim back up to the chest, and follow it up as your crew reels it in. You just barely make it before drowning.
Tusk looks over the treasure you've found.

"It's impressive, I'll give you that."

You're still soaking wet and breathing deeply, resting against the mast.

"Thanks," you manage to say.

He speaks with someone else, who starts counting up the treasure, then turns back to you.

"So, what are you spending your cut on?"

You realise you haven't thought about that. To you, it was more about the excitement and the adventure.

You give him a response, but it doesn't really matter. What you really want is to try something like this all over again.


Page 67

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As the octopus drags your limp form down into the abyss, everything it might do to you races through your mind. You decide to speak the truth.

"Oh, I can't resist your powerful tentacles tearing my clothes from my body and ravaging me for hours on end..."

The octopus stops and looks at you.

"Lady, I was just gonna eat you," he says. "I wasn't gonna assault you or anything. I'm just hungry."

Your face turns red and you feel embarrassed.

"Ugh, look, how about we just forget this whole thing ever happened, yeah?"

You think that's for the best and agree.

Alright, try this again. From the top. (Page 1)

Page 68

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You cast the spell, and you feel your body shifting. Your hands turn into sharp, powerful claws, infused with magic.

With ease, you tear your way through the door and the crates blocking it.

You're still on a time limit though, and you search for treasure. Luckily, you manage to find a chest full of gold.

Your clawed hands make it difficult to hook up the chest, but you manage. From there, it's a simple matter of swimming out of the ship and to the surface.
Tusk looks over the treasure you've found.

"It's impressive, I'll give you that."

You're still soaking wet and breathing deeply, resting against the mast.

"Thanks," you manage to say.

He speaks with someone else, who starts counting up the treasure, then turns back to you.

"So, what are you spending your cut on?"

You realise you haven't thought about that. To you, it was more about the excitement and the adventure.

You give him a response, but it doesn't really matter. What you really want is to try something like this all over again.


Page 69

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You cast the spell, and you feel your body shifting. Your skin turns blue, your hands and feet become webbed, you grow gills on your neck, and are now indistinguishable from a triton.

With that done, you're free to take a breath, which you do.

As the water enters your lungs, you realise too late how the spell actually works.

Alter Self transforms the caster's appearance, but doesn't change them fundamentally. For all intents and purposes you look identical to a (very attractive) triton, but you can't actually breathe water.

Well, you can. It just kills you.


Page 70

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You throw the chest to the ground and raise your fists. You're pretty sure this will work.

By the time the merrow hear the commotion and come to investigate, the first thing they spot is a whole lot of blood.

The second thing they spot is the shark chomping away at your corpse.

They just shrug and get back to looting the place, leaving the shark in peace.


Page 71

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And it can keep nibbling for all you care. You have treasure to find.

You swim around for a minute, but your patience is rewarded as you find a small chest. Checking inside, it's full of gems.

You smile, then hook up the chest.

Of course, it's at this point you see the shark swimming right for you.

Punch it. (Page 70)

Throw the chest at it. (Page 72)

Hide in the debris. (Page 76)

Page 72

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Without thinking, you toss the chest in front of you. Right as the shark is about to take your head off, it bites into the chest.

Somehow, the shark can't move. It's stuck on the chest. This gives you a brilliantly stupid idea.

You simply tug on the rope a few times - the signal for it to be reeled in.

You don't have much air left, but it's just enough to reach the surface. Looks like you've got tonight's dinner all sorted out.
Tusk looks over the treasure you've found.

"It's impressive, I'll give you that."

You're still soaking wet and breathing deeply, resting against the mast.

"Thanks," you manage to say.

He speaks with someone else, who starts counting up the treasure, then turns back to you.

"So, what are you spending your cut on?"

You realise you haven't thought about that. To you, it was more about the excitement and the adventure.

You give him a response, but it doesn't really matter. What you really want is to try something like this all over again.


Page 73

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You decide you aren't going to get carried another hundred feet underwater, and push back against the current.

There's a problem. You're a small half-elf girl, and the current represents the power of the ocean.

Try as you might, it's not a fight you can win. You swim and swim, but keep getting pushed into the deep.

By the time you come to a stop, you've used up all the air in your lungs.

Drowning is really just a formality at this point.


Page 74

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Just like with a grizzly bear, the best way to survive an octopus attack is to fight back. You take the sharp piece of wood in your hand, stabbing at the tentacles repeatedly.

This seems to do the trick, as the octopus releases you. You rub the red marks on your body in pain, but push through it.

It's only then that you realise you're still descending. You must be caught in some kind of current.

Swim back to the ship. (Page 73)

Let it carry you away. (Page 79)

Page 75

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You begin the process of re-attaching the rope to the chests to make room for the third one.

You lose focus, momentarily passing out, but quickly get ahold of yourself.

You find it increasingly difficult to tie the ropes as you realise there's no air left in your lungs.

You futilely grasp at your neck in a vain effort to find air, but there's none to be found. You twist and contort around in reaction to the pain that you're experiencing.

But nothing can save you from drowning. You go limp, your body coming to rest on the ship's floor.


Page 76

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You quickly dart over to some debris, shielding yourself from the shark's gaze. The shark rummages around the room you're in, and you stay as quiet and still as you can.

After another minute, the shark's gone. However, you have a new problem.

You're basically out of air at this point. You look at the chest, then at the open sea.

Break for the surface. (Page 77)

Tie yourself to the rope. (Page 80)

Page 77

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Ignoring the treasure, you swim out of the ship as fast as you can. You push your body as hard as it will go.

But it's not enough. Halfway to the surface, your legs give in.

You reach out with one arm towards the dimming light above you, your other hand trying to hold in your air.

No amount of twisting and writing can save you as you drown, your body landing on the ship's deck a few minutes later.


Page 78

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You can't party with your gold if you're sleeping with the fishes. Not in bed with a triton, get that out of your head. Drowned.

You decide to surface, having considered this. It's a long swim, but you make it with some air to spare.
Dejected, you climb onto your ship.

Tusk looks at you, shaking his head with a mixture of disappointment and relief that you're alive.

Hopefully you'll be able to come back tomorrow.


Page 79

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Realising that this isn't something you can fight, you relax your body and see where the current takes you.

It's fast moving, and you're deposited about a hundred feet deeper. There's no chance of getting back to the shipwreck.

But you spot something interesting. About another fifty feet below you, you spot yet another shipwreck.

Of course, as an air-breather, you do kind of need to breathe air once in a while. Not water.

Return to the surface. (Page 78)

Check out the shipwreck. (Page 81)

Page 80

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Your stomach sinks as you realise you don't have enough air to make it to the surface.

Thinking quickly, you have an idea. You tie yourself into the rope just above the chest, then tug on it. The crew starts winching it up.

You aren't even out of the ship by the time you black out.
A smack on your chest causes you to suddenly cough up water and gasp for air. You quickly take in your surroundings - you're back on your ship.

"Ah, good. I didn't have to give you mouth-to-mouth," Tusk says.

You're still sprawled on your back, heavy breaths interrupted by coughing. You're fairly sure you haven't suffered any permanent damage, despite being drowned for a few minutes.

More importantly, you have a load of treasure sitting right next to you.

Page 81

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You decide to risk it all, and swim all the way down to the ship. The rope just reaches, and you find a very large chest conveniently placed on the deck of the ship.

Tying it up and watching bubbles escape you, you give the signal to haul it up.

It's a long swim, and you're basically out of air for half of it, but you make it. You reckon you've been underwater for well over four minutes, which makes this a new personal best.
Tusk looks over the treasure you've found, whisting in awe.

"That's more treasure than I've ever seen. Gold, jewels, I think there's some magic items in here."

You're still recovering from your dive, but you manage a nod in reply.

He speaks with someone else, who starts counting up the treasure, then turns back to you.

"So, what are you spending your cut on?"

You realise you haven't thought about that. To you, it was more about the excitement and the adventure.

You give him a response, but it doesn't really matter. What you really want is to try something like this all over again.



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Sage George Sanders
George Sanders
5 May, 2022 04:10

Wow! Great story branches. I went through it 5 times!

Read about the ancient history of the Anhult Wildlands in my Challenge article, Echoes of the Past.

Submit articles for Lavani to read by leaving a comment on her Reading List!
5 May, 2022 08:24

Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed it!

Why not come visit the fantasy realms of Faerûn? Or a familiar future in Earth 2068?