Tequila: Taste of Thorns

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Operator Record
Taste of Thorns
Tequila icon.png

Although the waves continue to beat against the shore, the young man has made his decision regarding his ambitions.

Unlock conditions

  • Raise Tequila to Elite 2 Level 1.
  • Have at least 50% Trust with Tequila.
Nobleman A icon.png
Casino Boss
Dossoles Tourist Male icon.png
Casino Guest
Dossoles Thug A icon.png
Casino Worker
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Excited Customer
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Mayor's Bodyguard
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Skeptical Customer
Down-and-out Gambler
Dossoles Street
Prison Cell A
Dossoles Seaside
Tequila returns to Dossoles, and upon meeting a few people close to him, his thoughts on his future become clearer.
<Background 1>
Dossoles – Casino
Skeptical Customer Hey, what’re y’all looking at over there?
Excited Customer You gotta come check this out! The boss is throwing his hat into the ring with one of the gamblers. Hurry, the winner's about to be decided!
Skeptical Customer What's the big deal? Who's the foolish fella sittin' across the table anyway? Never heard of the legendary boss at the gaming table?
Excited Customer Hahaha, come over here. You'll see.
[The skeptical customer sits beside the excited customer and points out on someone familiar nearby.]
Excited Customer That's the guy.
Skeptical Customer What?! That guy? He's got the balls to come back here?
Excited Customer Pssh, the fact that he's got the balls to sit at the table means the Mayor already decided to write off everything he's done.
Dealer River. Any bets?
[The one that the customers talked about is revealed to be Ernesto Salas aka. Tequila.]
Tequila Thanks, I'll check.
Casino Boss You sure?
Tequila Haha, what is there to be unsure about?
Casino Boss That's the guy you're going in with, boy?
What difference does it make if you can keep one of his hands attached to his wrist? Look at him now. Wandering the streets, eyes completely dead. But, the moment he walks into a casino, tch... His eyes light back up.
Tequila C'mon, this is Dossoles, and people like that are everywhere.
Casino Boss Then why don't I see you sitting down at any of the other tables?
Tequila Well... The poor guy's only got one hand left. Life's gonna be pretty hard if he loses that one too.
Casino Boss Who knows how he lost his other hand. For all you know, a guy with his character probably lost it at some gambling table.
Tequila Actually... he lost it in a war.
Casino Boss Oh?
Tequila He used to be a soldier under my father's command. I've known him since I was little.
Casino Boss Molly, bring me another glass.
[The dealer gives Tequila a glass as he draws a card.]
Casino Boss Give it up. You can't beat my hand.
Tequila Sorry about this, boss.
(Flips cards over)
Excited Customer Woah... That's a hell of a hand.
Skeptical Customer Royal... Flush? Haha, my god, that kid's got some absurd luck.
Casino Boss (Molly, think this kid's...?)
Dealer (I didn't see him making any suspicious moves. Do I need to call someone?)
Casino Boss (No, forget it.)
(I hear Señora Sanchez has some plans for him... So we'll consider this a favor.)
You're sure that guy's hand is worth so much to you? You'd have to give up all your chips. A pretty high price, if I do say so myself.
Tequila Hahaha! Boss, if someone offered you this much money for a hand, you'd be the last man at this table to hesitate.
Casino Boss Molly, untie him and let them leave.
Dealer Sure.
[The dealer unties a down-and-out gambler tied to a chair nearby, freeing him.]
Casino Boss Make sure you check every one of the guy's fingers. With that price tag, we can't afford to be careless.
Tequila Haha, how could I question your integrity? Your good name is known far and wide.
As for you, Señor...[note 1] You look like you haven't had a good night's rest in a long, long time. Go home, enjoy a nice shower, and sleep.
Down-and-out Gambler Ernesto, I...
Tequila Sorry, boss. I still have some urgent business to attend to, so I've gotta go.
[Tequila leaves the casino.]
<Background 2>
Down-and-out Gambler Ernesto! Ernesto! Wait!
Tequila Hmm?
Down-and-out Gambler I kept calling for you, but you didn't answer so I had to follow you.
Tequila Señor, did you need anything else from me?
Down-and-out Gambler I don't know if you still remember me or not, but we met before. You were still young, barely up to my knees. Your mother was there at the time, leaning against the doorframe just like that.
Tequila I do... Of course I remember, Señor José.
My mother and I barely had a centimo to our names. If you didn't cross an entire warzone to send supplies back home to us, we would've had a hard time making it through that winter.
Down-and-out Gambler I was only following Señor Pancho's orders. I never deserved to stay in your memory so long, Ernesto.
Tequila After I joined the army, I wanted to find you and thank you, but my father told me that you had been wounded and subsequently discharged.
Down-and-out Gambler That's right. There's no place on the battlefield for a man short a hand.
Did you come back to meet... Or rather, visit Señor Pancho?
Tequila Yes. I'll see him at noon.
Down-and-out Gambler I'll leave you to it then. Don't be late on my account.
Ah... There are so many things in the past I thought I'd never remember again. But when I saw you, those days turned crystal-clear once more.
Tequila I thought I had forgotten it all myself...
Señor José... You should give up gambling.
Down-and-out Gambler Haha, you have the wrong idea. I'm going home, back to where I belong. After all you went through to bail me out, how could I dare to go back?
Tequila If, and only if you really need it, you can come looking for me. I can't guarantee you a whole lot of work, but it should be enough to get you back on your feet.
Down-and-out Gambler Alright...
Thank you, Ernesto.
<Background 3>
Dossoles – Prison
Pancho You're late. I waited a whole hour for you.
Tequila Sorry, Dad. Something came up along the way and slowed me down.
Pancho Are you trying to make excuses for your tardiness, Ernesto?
Tequila The fault is mine. I'm very sorry, Father.
Pancho Hmph. Looks like a year at Rhodes Island has plucked some of those flowery words from your mouth.
Tequila There aren't so many people at Rhodes Island who need to be flattered, so I don't have to speak the way I did before.
Pancho Really now? You never mentioned any of that in your letters.
Tequila Because it's not important, I didn't feel a need to bring it up.
Pancho I suppose there's not much you could say on that silly little sheet of paper.
Tequila Right. Actually, there are a lot of things I want to tell you.
But, Rhodes Island's business is more complicated than I thought, and it's hard for me to find the time to sit down and write a comprehensive letter. The best I can do is to pick out some important things and go over them briefly.
Dad, did you know that Rhodes Island has several operators from Bolívar? One of them goes by Señora[note 2] Dobermann. She was a soldier like you.
And I opened up a weapons shop. There are lots of knowledgeable hands there, and I always enjoy doing business with them.
Also, there's the Doctor and Señora Kal'tsit––
Pancho Enough, Ernesto! What did I tell you before you left?
Tequila Don't worry, Dad. I've been taking good care of Rafaela. She's in excellent health and enjoying her life.
Pancho I've heard that same story from you half a million times on your little scraps of paper.
Tequila She... is a grown woman, Dad. There are some things I can't just go asking her.
Pancho I said, enough! That's not the only thing I told you!
Tequila Oh... You're talking about that.
I see... right, that.
Pancho I told you to figure out your future, sooner rather than later.
Don't become complacent. Don't squander your talents in pursuit of a cushy life. Have grand ambitions.
Tequila I'm definitely going to end up in Bolívar. But it's not time for that yet.
Pancho How long do you intend to wait then? Until your hair turns grey? Until Bolívar is smashed to pieces?!
Tequila Dad, I... I still have doubts to work through. There are still many things I have to make sense of, both about myself, and about Bolívar.
Pancho This is all because I underestimated the influence that Candela woman had on you. I never imagined that even if you left this place and lost contact with her, you'd still cling to her bag of tricks the entire time.
Tequila I know you didn't agree with Ms. Candela's way of doing things, Dad, but I have to recognize that she also had her reasons.
Pancho You really take after your mother with all that indecisiveness. Had I known earlier, I would've ignored her pleas and raised you myself. At least that way, you could've at least been a resolute, unflinching soldier.
Tequila Mom never did anything wrong. Raising me under those conditions wasn't easy. The hardships and sacrifices she had to go through are more than you could imagine, it's not your place to criticize her.
Pancho Sorry, Ernesto.
Tequila Dad, do you know who I met on the way here?
Pancho Who?
Tequila Señor José. He was one of your runners for three years.
Pancho That one, huh.
Tequila Do you remember how many times you had him bring back supplies for me and mom?
Pancho Yes.
Tequila He told me, he still remembers my mother. Not the cold, unmoving version of her in photos, but the version of her that's vivid in his memories.
I thought I was the only one who still remembered her like that...
Pancho Do you think I've never yearned for her in my heart, Ernesto?
Tequila Before Mom died, she told me that when she first met you, she had a flower pinned to her chest, and it was the flower that drew you to her from the crowd.
Dad, do you still remember what flower it was?
Pancho I...
Don't remember.
Tequila *sigh*...
That's too bad. I was hoping you would be able to tell me.
<Background 1>
[A bodyguard stops Tequila.]
Mayor's Bodyguard Please wait, Mr. Ernesto.
Tequila Hah, long time no see, Mr. Booker.
Mayor's Bodyguard Lady Candela heard that you returned to Dossoles, and hopes to meet with you.
Tequila If you don't mind me asking, what does Miss Candela need me for?
Mayor's Bodyguard Please get in the car. Lady Candela will let you know once you arrive.
Tequila Well... I was planning on paying her a visit anyway. I appreciate the lift, Mr. Booker.
[Tequila enters the car as it takes him to...]
<Background 4>
[...a seaside venue where many people gather.]
Tequila This is... a wedding venue? This is where Ms. Candela is?
Mayor's Bodyguard With me, please. She's waiting at the frontmost table.
Candela (Taps at the glass with a fork)
[The live music stops...]
Candela Conductor, would you mind pausing this wonderful melody? I'd like to offer a few words to the new couple.
[...and Candela stands up to give a speech.]
Candela During this short half a lifetime of mine, marriage has always been such a distant word. I have loved deeply, but love has never given me the courage to enter such a special contract.
What kind of courage must one find before signing over his hand to another with which he has no blood relation, along with his property, body and soul, and future?
Before the wedding, I asked our groom, Mr. Will, if he was aware of the risks that came with this undertaking, akin to walking into the wilderness naked.
But, he told me that he would weather any storm just to see that flower on the other side.
(Raises glass) Go forth then, Mr. Will, and bravely trek into that raging storm. Fill every day and night of her life with happiness.
May your love be true for all of eternity!
Everyone May your love be true!
Tequila (Squeezes his lips tightly)
Mayor's Bodyguard Lady Candela, he's here.
Candela It's been a while, Ernesto.
Tequila Ms. Candela, long time no see. Have you been well?
Guest A What is he doing here? The gall of that man, showing up at a wedding reception hosted by Lady Candela...
Shh... Keep your voice down. She invited him here. Remember how she said before the ceremony that she'd bring a special guest?
Candela Ladies and gentlemen, I'm sure you're all familiar with this young man. His name is Ernesto Salas, one of my most capable staff. He used to work in the International Trade Management Department.
Guest B Welcome back to Dossoles, Ernesto.
Tequila I appreciate the warm reception, sir.
Candela Have you been enjoying your extended vacation, Ernesto?
Tequila There's nothing worth concerning yourself over, Ms. Candela. Though I did run into some unexpected surprises, I've been well overall.
Candela Unexpected surprises? I'd like to hear more.
<Background fades out and in>
Candela Your eyes look a little red. Is everything alright?
Tequila I've been away too long, and I've forgotten how hard the wind blows along the beach here.
Candela Is that so? I think the wind is pretty tranquil tonight, just the way I like it.
Tequila Did you... refloat this boat?
Candela Yes. I planned to decorate it at the end of the year and put it back into use.
Tequila Even after all those explosions, even sinking to the bottom, it can still serve?
Candela It has served me faithfully in the past, so I didn't want to move on. Even now, I still look forward to how it will serve me in the future, and fully believe in its potential.
Tequila You never struck me as the nostalgic type.
Candela What matters to me isn't how long something has been around, but rather how long it'll last.
Besides, truly worthwhile things aren't afraid to stick around for a while, just like the bottle of rum sitting on the table – produced in my private winery, aged for seven years, the finest batch of that year.
Seven years in the darkness has only served to enhance its aroma.
Would you like to try a glass?
Tequila Haha. Thank you, Ms. Candela. Half a glass will do. After being away for so long, I can't hold my liquor as well as before.
Candela That is fine. Mr. Booker, please pour out half a glass for our guest.
Tequila Ah, I can do it myself.
Candela (Raises eyebrow) Are you no longer accustomed to our way of doing things?
Tequila I appreciate it, Mr. Booker.
[The bodyguard pours rum to Tequila's glass.]
Mayor's Bodyguard Here you go.
Tequila Thank you. Now then, Ms. Candela, if you don't mind.
(Takes a sip from the glass)
Candela How is it?
Tequila *cough* *cough* Rich and full-flavored indeed. I would expect nothing less from your discerning tastes.
Candela But do you like it?
Tequila Haha, this came from your personal collection. How have another opinion?
Candela You went to see your father. How's he doing?
Tequila Well, he's still in decent health. Thank you for looking after him. I will always remember this favor.
Candela Hmph. I'm sure that stubborn old fossil had some choice words for me, even locked away in prison.
Tequila No, no. If anything, the brunt of his criticism was directed at me, over how I'm nothing like him and don't share his ambitions.
Candela A pity he's so old and addled he can't even recognize his own son.
Tequila Hahaha... Always the joker, Ms. Candela. There's no father out there who couldn't understand his own son.
Candela You are anything but lacking in ambition. If anything, your sights are higher than just this one city.
Tequila I'm not sure what you mean by that.
Candela Dossoles will not always belong to me. I am getting older, while its glory continues to shine ever brighter. More and more people flock to it, and I am searching for someone.
Someone who can help me defend this light in a world surrounded by feral beasts, someone who can take it much further even after I am gone.
So, would you like another glass?
Tequila (Strokes the glass in his hand)
Candela Take this bottle of wine home with you and savor it slowly. Maybe eventually, you will come to appreciate its taste.
Bridesmaid A Throw it to me, throw it to me!
Groomsman B Yeah, yeah. Hand it over here.
[The bride throws a bouquet of flowers toward the attendees...]
Bridesmaid B Huh? Where'd it go?
Groomsman A My man, you lobbed that thing.
[...which lands right in front of Tequila.]
Tequila What's this?!
Candela Hahahaha! Looks like I'll be waiting for good news from you.
Tequila This... is embarrassing. I'll hand this back to the bride and have her throw it again.
Candela Keep it, and treat it as a good omen. Dossoles has no shortage of fine ladies.
Seems like it's getting dark. If it's not convenient for you to head back right now, you can spend the night at the nearby hotel. I've already asked them to keep a spare room for you.
Tequila Thank you for your consideration, Ms. Candela.
Candela I have other business. See you around.
[Candela leaves the table and walks away, but suddenly returns.]
Tequila Hmm? Didn't you have something else you wanted to discuss?
Candela Ernesto, your life could be a lot more comfortable if you completely cut ties with Bolívar. Have you ever considered that?
Tequila (Shakes head)
Candela Why not?
Tequila Because, its thorns are what brings me joy.
Candela Go forth then, Mr. Ernesto, and bravely trek into that raging storm. Fill every day and night of its life with happiness.
<Background 2>
Tequila Ugh, my head hurts... I haven't had anything this strong in a long time...
Jeez... Why'd I take the bouquet with me when I left? Well, whatever... I'll just toss it in a trash bin later.
Why are there so many people standing around up there? Señor, excuse me, but would you mind letting me through?
Isn't that the casino from yesterday?
Casino Guest Buddy, you'll want to give it a minute. Someone just died in the casino.
Tequila Someone died?
Casino Guest Some hapless fellow just scored a jackpot. Couldn't handle the stimulation apparently and died on the spot.
Tequila Hmm, that's... quite the cruel twist of fate.
A stretcher exits from beneath the magnificent gates of the casino. Ernesto can vaguely make out a human figure beneath the white sheet, his brow furrowing into a frown as he prepares to leave.
Suddenly, a gust of wind lifts up the corner of the cloth, revealing a mutilated arm beneath.
Tequila ......
(Clenches fist)
[Tequila rushes toward the deceased being taken away, who is implied to be José the down-and-out gambler from before.]
Tequila Excuse me, would you mind waiting just a moment?
Casino Worker Later, kid. Can't you see that we're busy moving the body?
Tequila Just a moment of your time, please.
Casino Worker What are you... Haha, a flower? You're pinning a flower to his chest? What, did you know this guy?
Tequila Yes.
Casino Worker Who was he then?
Tequila Nobody special. Just an ordinary Bolívarian.


  1. "Mr." in Spanish
  2. "Mrs." in Spanish