Big green egg kick ash basket

Was Phineas & Ferb closer to the classic era or the modern era? (Graph presented is only a suggestion that is open to friendly and constructive debate)

2023.06.08 00:30 Alert-Train-8709 Was Phineas & Ferb closer to the classic era or the modern era? (Graph presented is only a suggestion that is open to friendly and constructive debate)

Was Phineas & Ferb closer to the classic era or the modern era? (Graph presented is only a suggestion that is open to friendly and constructive debate) submitted by Alert-Train-8709 to phineasandferb [link] [comments]


2023.06.08 00:24 Twitch_creary2 My first time DM'ing and a the bard seduced a dragon

So this happened about 2 weeks ago the day before my 18th.
I was running my first game as dm with my mates from school my younger brothers and the family friend i go to larp with (names changed for obvious reasons) ash- the shifter gunslinger (17,m) Garn the human bloodhunter (17,m) kilrrs the tiefling rouge sorcerer(17,m) Gerard the human fighter (29,m) mido the elf fighter (12,m) harith the kalashter bard cleric (15,m. 8 years old in game) robin the tortle monk rouge (17,m) suit case "the great" the Goliath wizard and finnaly me the DM (17 at the time now 18, m) The main players that cause all of the stupidity were ronin, Harith, and Garn
The game was set in eberron and started in a tavern. The players started talking to the bar keep then ronin instantly went to persuade the bar keep into giving him free booze (failed) then got suitcase to do it and he rolled a Nat 20, free alcohol for the night for everyone, a bit later harith says he is compatible with elfs. To progress the story I send in the messanger that delivers a letter to the part asking them to go to the capital city of the area to meet someone, kilrrs asked to kill him, I obviously said no, the players wait untill morning to start their journey to the capital in which they have to pass through a town on the way.
On the way to the town the players are jumped by bandits, basic combat starts, then at the end Ronin and Harith ask to take 2 of the bandits as slaves. In new cyre Harrith and ronin try to sell their slaves harrith successeds in selling his slave to a farmer but ronin fails so decides to keep him and named him boba fett (because it was a boba fett lego minifig) so in the level up I made a character sheet for boba.
Garn goes to the blacksmith to sell the armour and weapons the had gotten and the blacksmith offered 10gp under the value (350gp) for the armour and weapons from 7 bandits he and the bar keep argue while ronin messes around in the store with boba fett, on the way out (after being kicked out by the blacksmith) ronin successeds a stealth check and steals a rapier from the store, they give it to kilrrs to sell to the blacksmith who offers 3 gold and they can take it or leave it as he wants to close for the night, kilrrs keeps arguing and not leaving and then attempts an attack fails so the black smith throws molten metal at him.
Suitcase left because he didn't feel like playing and dnd wasn't fir him (it was his first time playing and he hadn't done much)
Not much happens until the capital where they meet steadler the guy who asked for them (steadler is a green half orc) the players and him have a friendly chat he gives them their mission and they are off. The mission was to slay a beast in the seven caves and bring him one of its teeth as proof.
Gerard left to go home because he had had a long day that started at 5am and it was about 10pm at this time (5 hours in)
Now the reason you are here
The players get to the seven caves and are meet with another party fleeing after failing to slay the beast, the players enter and standing before them is a white dragon (who I heavily nerfrd to give them an easier time) the dragon bellows out "more challengers or just fast food" (a line I am very proud of) and the battle commences after the dragon leaps off of its throne of bones and courses.
I have ronin and Kilrrs roll to see which way we go (it is easier for me if I have the player closest to me on my left and right roll and then we go in a circle going that players direction as it is easier to keep track of who we are up to) Ronin wins the roll so he is up first he baits the dragon with boba then goes in for an attack, his attack is successful hits then we are onto Harith's turn, he makes himself look like a female white dragon and successeds the deception roll and then seduces the dragon, I flip a coin and ask him what he beats on he beats heads, it lands on tails, he gets topped by the dragon, we are all in hysterics at this point.
My yonger brother mido leaves as he is tiered and normally is in bed 2 hours ago
The battle continues and the dragon is distracted so can do nothing, but I have it separate the party with an ice wall, the players attack the dragon with it being to distracted to do anything, it gets to below half health and flees the gave with harith and is still going at it out side the players chase the dragon and their trapped team mate outside and kill the dragon with Ash doing the final blow with his peperbox blowing up the dragons throat. The players are rewarded with sacks filled with gold and gems from the dragons lair, harrith says because he sacrificed the most for the party so he should get more the whole party was already going up 2 levels so I ask if he wants more gold and gems or an extra level, he goes for more gold and gems.
We finnished off the session on an airship on the way back to steadler with the dragon tooth and the ship crew attacking the party.
But this was some how not the weirdest session of dnd we have had that was with kilrrs harith and I in hariths campaign, that is a story for another time
Tl;Dr bard successfully seduces dragon and gets topped
submitted by Twitch_creary2 to CritCrab [link] [comments]


2023.06.08 00:19 alexiuss Observer Causality [0]

0. The Cosmic Judge and the Delivery Man
Thomas Morell, stepped through the transit gate with a yawn, cradling an oversized GUPS box in his arms. The large box impeded most of his view, but as the transit gate snapped shut behind him, Thomas noted that something was clearly amiss with his destination.
Looking down, he saw that his boots were buried in black ashes. The air tasted stale and dusty. Thomas lowered the box slightly and saw that he was standing amidst desolate ruination, a landscape ravaged by an unknowable cataclysm that had devastated planet Sintash.
"Well," he muttered with airy enthusiasm rivaled only by the charisma of a drying doormat. "This is just peachy."
Like a protagonist in search of plot, Thomas slowly meandered over to a charred, half-incinerated wall which, upon close inspection, yielded the faint inscription of "12/5 Stafford Street."
Obeying the bureaucracy of his vocation, functioning mostly on autopilot mode Thomas situated the cardboard box amid the pile of blackened ashes. As if that wasn't enough, he lovingly placed it adjacent to a wide-open hole that bore an uncanny resemblance to a doorway completely devoid of a door. Satisfied at last, Thomas captured a photograph of the tragically uninspired arrangement with his wrist bracelet device.
"Package confirmed at delivery location," the omnipresent voice of his wrist companion chimed with far too much cheerfulness which seemed completely out of place in the currently apocalyptic circumstances.
Thomas exhaled tiredly as he stood amidst the debris of cities, oceans, trees, and, indeed, the now vaporized dreams of the former denizens of Sintash, all reduced to elemental carbon. His shoulders slumped. He was there simply to deliver the package and not to ask questions, he reminded himself. Whatever happened here was far too big for him to deal with. He would have to file a report about this issue when he got back and someone more important would have to deal with this mess.
“Please obtain the signature of the recipient,” the bracelet on the delivery man's wrist suddenly chimed with a feminine voice.
“Recipient is not available,” Thomas deadpanned.
“Have you tried knocking?” The merry voice of the bracelet prodded him on.
“There’s no door to knock on,” Thomas replied. “Lizz, I’m pretty sure that everyone on Sintash is dead.”
“Please knock on the door and attempt to acquire a signature,” his robotic companion insisted.
Thomas rolled his eyes, stepped through the ashes and knocked on the blackened wall. The wall wobbled ever so slightly and careened forward. Thomas jumped back just as the last remaining wall of 12/5 Stafford Street fell and shattered into dust and cracked bricks.
“There’s nobody home,” Thomas insisted. “On account that everyone on the bloody planet is bloody dead! Portal me back, you stupid AI, I'm not getting paid overtime for this shit.”
“Please remain calm,” Lizz recommended. “Allow the recipient some time to approach the door.”
A 5 minute timer flashed on the delivery man’s bracelet with an animated picture of an old person walking down a stairwell.
Thomas gritted his teeth. The way Lizz was acting was entirely his fault. Normally the AI system was highly intelligent and understood emergency situations like this, but he had used her to pass the boredom in the exactly the wrong sort of ways which was frowned upon by the Good Directorate corporation. His repeated advances and numerous attempts to go around the AI’s censorship filter had kicked the filter to the highest possible setting which in turn made Lizz stupider than a potato.
Thomas sat down on the ash covered steps and stared at the desolate landscape waiting for the timer to clear.
He spotted something ambling in the distance towards him, which made him exceptionally nervous as it approached.
The thing ambling towards Thomas could be best described as a stick figure, an impossible, vaguely person-like thing that was decidedly not human.
“Emergency situation!” Thomas yelled into the bracelet. “Gate out!”
“Please allow the recipient some time to approach the door. A signature is required for this package,” Lizz said, ignoring the rising panic in the delivery man’s voice.
At that moment, Thomas regretted using the "emergency situation" routine to portal to the Skeleton Coast of Africa for his lunch breaks.
“Fuck my life,” Thomas hissed as the freaky stick figure drew closer to him. It didn’t have a face or a head. A thin, two-dimensional pyramidal structure sat atop of the two dimensional neck. It wobbled and folded into itself akin to an infinite fractal. It had three legs, moved more like a spider and an indeterminate number of whip-like, flickering arms.
“Please do not swear,” Lizz commented. "Your behavior is unfitting that of a Good employee."
Thomas had nothing on him, nothing in the pockets of his GUPS uniform except for a pad with a digital pen. He had no weapon to fight off whatever abomination was ambling towards him through the ashes. Sintash was supposed to be a perfectly mundane delivery! It was a terraformed, perfect, manufactured world with no wars, no predators, no diseases, no parasites and definitely no whatever the hell that thing was!
Feeling dread rising in his chest Thomas tore the enormous package open, hoping that something inside would aid him.
[Thank you for buying the world-end survival kit!] A letter declared within the box.
“Yes!” Thomas growled. His eyes went lower.
[Contents: 2000 dry meals, just add water.]
Thomas reached into the box, his hand automatically pulling out a single plastic bottle containing dry powder. The stick figure abomination was almost upon him. He threw the bottle at it.
The hand of the stick figure shot through the air and grabbed the bottle with unnatural, uncanny grace. It unscrewed the cap and shook the dry contents, absorbing them with its fractal-pyramid face.
Thomas fished another bottle out and held it in front of him like a lifeline, not sure what to do next. He didn’t understand what he was even looking at. The entire stick figure was composed of… something inexplicable, akin to constantly moving ferromagnetic fluid that rapidly folded into itself. The sight made his eyes water.
“What are you?” He uttered as he watched the stick figure finish devouring the powder.
“I am Zedix̶̪̘͐̕ͅx̴̖͓͎̾̓͂į̶̍͝s̷̪̅̏s̶̬̘͛̕h̸̨͖͖͑̽̌t̴̪͉͘ą̶̹̓͂͝v̵̧͇͔̂͋i̴̛̮͆͝b̷̬̝̥̍a̴̼̮͒r̷̢̗̺͋ư̸̱̬͈̔s̸̡̝̫̗̭̋͐͗̑͆ǐ̶͇̝͝a̶̹͛͒̚h̸͙͓̓̽͋͠,” the answer came.
The end of the sentence was made from incomprehensible sounds that reverberated inside the skull of the delivery man, giving him a blinding migraine. Thomas tried not to heave, his mind unable to process the name for a few seconds.
“I’m… urhgh. I don’t think that I could repeat that,” he said finally. “I’m… going to call you Zed, if that's alright with you.”
“Ṯ̷̆h̴̨̊i̷̥̾s̴͔̈́ ̸̂͜i̸̱̾s̸̼̿ ̴̟͘a̴̢̍c̷͙͘c̷͚͐ē̶͖p̷̡̒t̵̺͛a̸̱̍b̵̢̿l̴͙̄ę̷̆,” the fractal stick figure rambled, its voice made from static and a million other voices and sounds that clashed with each other in a barely-comprehensible cacophony.
“What are you?” Thomas repeated his question, trying to put his best 'first contact' face on. “An… alien? Some kind of machine? An AI that survived? You sound… freaky. It’s… exceptionally difficult for me to understand you.”
“I am an echo of the cosmic boundary of the song of the stars,” the thing repeated in Thomas’ own voice. "Using this limited method of vibrational communication and dimenshionality, I am what your fellow multicellular kin could best describe as the observer causality event horizon paradox manifestation."
“Marginally better, even if I have no idea what any of that means,” Thomas sighed. “Although... I would prefer you not using my voice.”
“Please attempt to acquire a signature from the recipient one more time,” Lizz chimed from Thomas’ bracelet.
Thomas put the bracelet on mute mode.
“Is this better?” the stick figure asked in the overly-cheerful voice of Lizz.
“Good enough,” Thomas nodded, trying not to stare at the folding fractals that made his head hurt. “What happened here?”
“I happened,” the stick figure being replied. “The denizens of this world that called themselves the Portal Management Research Institute created a microscopic white hole, through which I stepped into this plane. I have judged the local life and found myself beset by containment barriers which disagreed with my existence. I have obliterated all organic life on this cosmic sphere as I have judged it... bothersome.”
“I… see,” Thomas rubbed his scruffy beard. “Now what? Are you going back into the white hole?”
“That is not how white holes work,” Zed said.
“So... you’re stuck here?” Thomas raised an eyebrow.
“Affirmative,” Zed affirmed. "I shall persist here until the white hole comprising my core burns away."
"How long would this take?" The delivery man asked.
"Approximately one hundred of your years," Zed replied. "Unless I vaporize an entire planet's worth of organic life daily."
“How do you know how to speak English?” The now somewhat less nervous GUPS delivery man asked.
“I have studied the remnants of your communication devices,” the stick figure replied.
“Fair enough,” Thomas nodded. “What’s your plan now?”
“I am currently judging you, human,” Zed said.
“And?” The delivery man arched an eyebrow.
“I find you acceptable,” the fractal stick figure commented.
“That’s nice,” the delivery man exhaled. “I’m Thomas.”
“I find you acceptable, Thomas,” Zed repeated. “You shall serve as my emissary across the local cosmos as I judge all that I see.”
“What do I get out of it?” Thomas asked, sensing that he’s just been inadvertently burdened with some sort of an incomprehensible mission, which would likely result in the genocide of countless inhabited worlds.
“What do you desire in exchange for serving as my emissary… Thomas?” Zed asked, the cheerful female voice which the cosmic abomination now used clashing with its grand declarations.
Ideas rushed through the head of the GUPS delivery man. Wealth, power, love, immortality? What could this cosmic, alien judge even provide him? Was he really willing to become the Silver Surfer, a herald for a Galactus-like alien abomination that could end planets with a snap of its fingers?
Thomas opened and closed his mouth struggling for words. He felt that if he screwed this up, pissed Zed off like the people in charge of Sintash, all of humanity could face extinction.
submitted by alexiuss to HFY [link] [comments]


2023.06.08 00:17 Azure_Infinity [Fanfiction] The Haar Chapter 10: Birmingham and Boise

Hanazuki and Miyuki hadn't returned.
That didn't bode well. And although Impero retained her lazy, almost laid-back disposition, one could see the unease crinkling at the corner of her eyes, her brow dipped into a frown as she mulled over what happened – before, after only a brief delay, sent out a team to check up on them.
The main fleet was starting to become a bit stretched, however. Although they were several dozen in number over half of them were spread out in a forward fan shape as they progressed towards their main objective. As such only four could be spared to go hunt for their missing Destroyer duo – a party consisting of four cruisers; two light and two heavy. Enough firepower to handle most of what the island had thrown at them thus far, but not so much that it granted them overconfidence.
Not that she'd ever fall prey to overconfidence, Birmingham thought to herself.
The red-haired cruiser wandered through the forest with fast strides, her jog slowing as she took a moment to assess her surroundings. She was near the junction where Hanazuki and Miyuki had gone – a fact confirmed when she spotted the bushes nearby had been trampled by rudder-ended boots, the tracks still fresh. However there was no signs of a struggle, indicating that if there was anything wrong then it happened deeper into the forest.
Birmingham glanced behind her. Boise followed close behind her, shy and skittish, whilst a step behind was Maya and Ashigara – two Heavy Cruisers from the Sakura Empire. She could appreciate Maya's seriousness about the matter, especially with her skilful swordsmanship, but she was a little more sceptical about Ashigara's. Though a Myouko-class cruiser she seemed rather skittish in this environment; chasing shadows and flinching at every distant shell fired. She wasn't scared per se, but it was clear that the nigh-suicidal onslaught of monsters had rattled her slightly.
As if sharing the same thought Maya looked back at her companion, nudging her. ''Relax. Stay focused.''
Ashigara started a little but hurriedly nodded; drawing in a cleansing breath and managing to regain some of her nerve. Birmingham hummed at that and looked ahead, silently leading her companions further into the woods. It wasn't long until the land descended into a natural basin, and a quick search yielded results, albeit not the ones they were hoping for.
Torn clothes. Broken bits of rigging. Even blood, in some cases. The girls had been attacked here, of that there was no doubt, but the absence of bodies was unnerving.
''Either they managed to escape and went further in, or they were dragged off.'' Maya made her thoughts clear, staring pointedly at Birmingham. They had to go further.
Grimacing Birmingham nodded her assent, continuing to lead her small sortie group ahead. It almost felt weird leading two Heavy Cruisers, given flagship roles usually went to the capital ships, but she wasn't complaining – maybe Impero thought she had better commanding skills. That, or the carrier was just too lazy to do an in-depth assessment of their skills and just gave her the role on a whim. Which, considering they needed to find their missing comrades ASAP, she supposed was somewhat warranted. Find the injured first, bicker about command roles later.
Shaking her head to dispel the thought Birmingham focused on the other end of the basin, reaching it soon enough. Vines, moss and other bits hung from the slanted rock but it felt surprisingly firm, refusing to budge when she tugged and emboldening her to use them as climbing tools – grunting as she hauled herself up bit by bit. The others followed her carefully, making sure not to overload the edge of the basin lest their combined weight cause the dirt and stone to crumble, but in the end they all reached the top of the basin without issue.
''Where to now...?'' Boise spoke up, her face-mask muffling her voice somewhat.
'Where to indeed.' Birmingham frowned, looking about. Unlike before there was no convenient trail of blood, just a vast green in all directions, broken up only by the thick wood of the trees.
Ashigara broke the quiet. ''Do you think they went down to the coast? It's not that far, and if they got on the water they'd be safe from the monsters.''
''Possibly.'' Maya conceded with a frown. ''But if so, then they would've given us a signal of some kind.''
''Maybe they did, but just after we left?'' Ashigara floated the idea.
Birmingham frowned, however; her eyes scanning the grass in the opposite direction of the ocean. Now that she looked closer she could spot finer details she'd initially overlooked; the grass trudged down by monster footprints, partially hidden by the overgrowth. When she did a little loop around their area though she noticed a second trail, one that went towards the ocean.
''Two paths.'' Birmingham voiced her thoughts grimly. ''...this almost smells like a trap.''
''Doubtful.'' Maya weighed in, thumbing the handle of her katana idly. ''These monsters don't seem to have enough intelligence for that. Ambush? Yes. Luring in with footprints? That's too advanced for them.''
Birmingham had to agree with that. Though some of the monsters that had attacked them showed intelligence, it was of the more bestial kind. Encirclement, probing attacks, wave attacks, that sort of thing. Primitive and basic but effective in some sense; if they kept it up for long enough they'd eventually run out of ammo, not that the monsters could know that. Still, something like luring stragglers away from the main fleet felt a bit too above their intelligence level.
''Should we split up then?'' Birmingham murmured. ''The whole reason Impero sent us together was for you to support us...''
''True.'' Maya sighed. ''Still, I'd rather not have to backtrack and look in two places at once, especially when their lives on the line. Every second we spend here is another that could be their last.''
A grimace marred Birmingham's visage and she nodded. ''Fine. You go check the one nearer the coast, we'll go further inland. Ripple fire into the sky if you find them, we'll meet back up here, or fall back into the basin if attacked.''
''Sounds good to me. Good luck.'' Maya turned and fast-walked down the other faint path. ''Ashigara, let's go. You take the lead.''
''R-Right!''
Birmingham watched the Heavy Cruiser go, almost wanting to go back on her word and stick with them – but she quashed such feelings. Time was of the essence here – what did safety matter if they only found Hanazuki and Miyuki's remains? Nodding at that she spared a sharp look at Boise, earning a shaky nod from her peer, before as one they fast-walked towards the deeper parts of the forest.
'Please be safe, you two...'
X-x-X
Boise wasn't sure how long they'd been walking. Five, ten, fifteen minutes?
The forest around them grew slightly thicker but otherwise it remained identical to the section of forest before it. From time to time they'd pass near a river but monsters seemed to lurk near it, either for a drink or drawn in by the sound, she didn't know. Regardless they kept their distance and sneaked around what monsters they could, both to avoid detection and to save ammo.
Just as Boise was beginning to worry that their search was fruitless, though, they discovered something new – a burrow. That in itself wasn't the weirdest thing – the monsters probably had to sleep somewhere – but what was notable was that a Lizardman crawled out of the depression in the ground and skittered off into the forest, no doubt to look for more prey. The pair of them stayed still in a bush, not a breath escaping them until the yellow-scaled Lizardman was long out-of-sight, allowing the pair to breathe freely.
''S-Should we check it out...?'' Boise tentatively asked. The idea of going into a burrow was a highly unsettling one, especially if the monsters came back, but after searching for so long this was the most likely place for Miyuki and Hanazuki to have been taken to.
Birmingham grimaced, then nodded. Quiet as she could she crept out from their hiding spot and crouched low as she crossed the tiny clearing. The burrow was just next to a tree; the thick roots spreading out in all directions and with some foliage hanging over it like camouflage, doing little to hide the depression in the dirt that went down like a slide. It was about as slippery as one too; her footwear struggling to get a firm grip on the dew-covered grass, forcing her to get down on her hands and knees and crawl down.
Darkness quickly engulfed her as she passed under the hanging roots, only the dim gloom of the sky outside to light her way. As her eyes adjusted though she was surprised to see this was not some tiny dirt burrow fit for a single, but an entire, expansive room that networked into others. Shy of about six feet high and probably about eight or nine feet wide in diameter it was unsettlingly spacious, though then again considering the size of the Lizardmen she supposed they'd need a bigger burrow than a traditional lizard.
However she could hear something. A distant noise, faint but repetitive. Breathing? No, it was sharper than that. Wheezing. Wounded? Maybe.
Grimacing Birmingham rose to her feet, waiting for Boise to join her before she began to trek towards the leftmost tunnel. It was painfully narrow, forcing her to de-summon her rigging just to fit through, not that her rigging would do her any good underground. She'd sooner bury herself alive than kill anything outright. The thought sent a chill up her spine but she tried to ignore how defenceless she was right now – she'd been in situations like this. Situations where firepower wasn't enough, so stealth wasn't just an option, but a necessity.
The tunnel grew slightly narrower, eventually tapering off but with dirt piles around the floor, as if it was still being excavated. However Birmingham's main focus was on the suspicious sound, her footsteps slowing and growing quieter as she neared the edge of a doorway; the arch having nothing to hide her as she poked her head around-
-and found Hanazuki and Miyuki.
Naked.
With Lizardmen on top of them.
The sight made her freeze up, shocked silent. For a long moment she just stood there and watched as the two lizards mating-pressed the naked Destroyers into the dirt; harsh smacks of flesh mixed with their animalistic grunts. However while Miyuki was worryingly silent, unconscious, Hanazuki was not – soft, defeated whimpers escaping her every time the Lizardman pressed its cock down into her depths, squelching its fluid out of her but not pushing any of its eggs out.
Birmingham got over her shock quickly though, anger soon to take root. Was it because these monsters all seemed to be male, was that why they'd taken two Ship-Girls and... bred them? To repopulate their numbers? The prospect was worryingly high but Birmingham soon crushed such thoughts; silently walking out into the small, enclosed space, one just big enough for her rigging to manifest.
She wouldn't be able to shoot it, but that didn't mean she was defenceless. Far from it.
Rearing her right hip back she tensed – and then just as the leftmost Lizardman raised its head she swung, smashing the side of her rigging into its head. Its skull dented inwards and the creature fell to one side, thrashing, but she wasn't looking at it anymore; her eyes darting to the right Lizardman. It noticed her and had the benefit of her being a foot or two away, pulling its glistening cock from Miyuki's abused folds as it stood.
Then Birmingham was in front of it, punching it straight in the throat. The humanoid staggered and clasped as its throat, gargling in surprise, but its moment of surprise was enough for her to smash her rigging into it and knock it down. It was dazed but far from dead, forcing her to stomp down on its head – gritting her teeth as she put every ounce of strength into it.
Thud-!
Thud-!
Thud-!
'Die dammit!' She could hear the other Lizardman, injured but alive, rising back to its feet.
Finally one more brutal stomp crushed the creature's skull in properly. She felt sick as blood and viscera spurted up her shin but anger and fear was a good deterrent; keeping her last meal down as she spun – just in time too, as the other Lizardman staggered over to her, claws out and a snarl on its dented face, bone poking out from between uprooted scales.
Until Boise stepped in, squeaking as she rammed into its side. It hit its head on the dirt wall and fell between Miyuki and Hanazuki, snarling and shifting, but a solid kick to its skull from Birmingham made a disgusting crack sound, and its head went limp, Broken skull, snapped neck, she neither knew nor cared. All that mattered was that it was dead.
Birmingham released a heavy breath. ''Thanks.''
''I-It's fine.'' Boise answered but sounded shaken. Birmingham didn't blame her – whether because of her own actions or the sight of Hanazuki and Miyuki, this was just... just a mess.
She squirmed as she felt blood dribble down into her shoe. 'Don't think about it, get these two out and signal Maya. Move.'
Her own orders helped motivate her and she hurried over to Hanazuki, leaving the unconscious Miyuki to Boise. When she knelt by the pink-haired fox-girl she winced at the array of still-bleeding cuts marring her body, be it on her medium-sized breasts, along her stomach and sides or even on her hips and thighs; the creature's claws clearly having held her many a times. She pointedly ignored looking at the overflowing whiteness leaking out of the Destroyer's pussy too, instead taking her cape off and draping it over Hanazuki.
''We'll get you out.'' Birmingham said shortly as she tied the cape.
Hanazuki tried to say something but was too overcome by emotion – relief, fear, anxiety and shame, all of it twisting into a sobbing mess that tugged on Birmingham's heartstrings.
Alas just as she scooped the fox-girl up she heard it – movement, outside the burrow. The sound made her nearly curse and she hurriedly evaluated her options. Only one way in or out, using her guns would likely bury them alive – and for all Ship-Girls were lauded for their strength they still needed to breathe – whilst the Lizardmen had no such issues; equipped with claws that were well-suited to cramped spaces like these. And with them carrying Hanazuki and Miyuki they wouldn't be able to fight beyond maybe a kick at best, and she hardly doubted that'd be enough to do anything but baffle a Lizardman.
She drew in a breath and hissed through her teeth, pulling Hanazuki close to her chest. If they were going to escape they couldn't find – and couldn't hide either. No, they needed to run. To brute force their way through. No riggings, no weapons. Just sheer momentum to blitz past them.
''Boise.'' Birmingham whispered, watching as the bustier cruiser gently cradled Miyuki. ''When I leave this room we run. Don't stop to fight, don't try and help me if I fall, just charge straight past anything in your way until we get to the surface. We can't fight them down here.''
Boise gave her a worried look and she felt Hanazuki clutch at her, but when the bustier woman hesitantly nodded Birmingham moved – fast-walking into the hallway and darting down the corridor, building speed as she gave up stealth and just charged. The noise attracted attention and she heard skittering-
-and then a Lizardman was there, leaping from its hiding spot with a snarl. It didn't get the chance to grab her before Birmingham ran bodily into it, Hanazuki crying out in fear as she was squished between them – before her momentum knocked the monster onto its back. Birmingham didn't stop to attack it though and kept running, reaching the slope out and running up it-
But she'd forgotten. It was slippery, uneven. Boots wouldn't grip easily, especially going up.
So when her boots slipped out from under her Birmingham couldn't deny the jolt of fear that shot up her spine, losing her grip momentarily until she grabbed at the uneven mass of dirt and grass, nearly dropping Hanazuki had the Destroyer not been holding onto her so tightly. Using her newfound handhold she propelled herself up further, hearing Boise behind her-
''Hwah?!''
When Boise screamed in fear. Birmingham jerked her head to one side, looking back, and very nearly cursed as she saw Boise be dragged back by her shin – the Lizardman she'd left behind already recovered. Instantly her plan was in tatters; if she kept going she was leaving Boise and Miyuki to their fate, and if she stayed she'd likely be blocked off-
Too late; another Lizardman at the top of the slope lunging down at her. Birmingham had no choice but to fall back, throwing Hanazuki to one side and hearing the fox-girl land with a pained yelp, but she ignored that for now – her attention fully on the monster lunging down at her, landing just shy of her thanks to her momentum throwing her back. However by the time she stood it was there, throwing itself at her faster than she could summon her rigging and snatching her wrists, pinning her down.
Panic rose up within her, memories of what happened to Hanazuki and Miyuki mere minutes ago flashing through her mind. With force she kicked her legs out, hitting the monster's stomach but the scales killed most of the force, its hissing snarl sending a chill up her spine – and a pained cry fled her lips when it tightened its hold, threatening to crush her wrists with its strength.
Then it suddenly shifted both her arms up, pinning them together with just one hand – freeing its other and allowing it to rake its claws down her front. Cloth gave way frighteningly easily and soon her dress was in two parts, splitting open down the middle and laying bare her dark blue underwear, the thought heating her cheeks up. However that same embarrassment turned into fear as she saw the Lizardman's cock swell between its leg, long and thick, prompting her to try and kick it in the groin – but the creature had enough sense to block such attacks, ripping her panties off at the same time.
'No...' Birmingham felt dizzy as her nether regions were exposed to the damp, musky air, her struggles becoming even more vicious as the monster leaned over her, the tip of its dick rubbing against her folds.
Rubbing, not penetration. Teasing her. Taunting her.
Birmingham gritted her teeth, her breathing short and fast as the bulbous tip of its shaft rubbed against her pussy lips, went high and rubbed up her groin before coming back down again. Her struggles did little to stop it but it gave her some minor amount of confidence, of control; her legs closing as much as she could with it between them, hips lifting and falling as she kept it away from her private parts as best she-
The tip teased her opening – and Birmingham screamed as it suddenly went in. It felt thicker than she expected, parting her virginal walls and hilting inside her in a single, harsh thrust, knocking the air out of her. The pain came a second later but she barely had a moment to soak it in before the monster yanked its cock halfway out only to slam right back into her deflowered pussy, forcing a shout of pain out of Birmingham.
She struggled once more, kicking and twisting and flailing, but the Lizardman just snarled in her face and kept moving, roughly burying itself into her. It didn't care that her legs flailed on either side of its hips, that her hips lifted and fell unevenly in some attempt to make its dick slip out – it just kept pressing its body down against hers and mated with her, thrusting its thick girth into her and making Birmingham cry out in pain.
''Gh! Mnph-!'' Biting her tongue until it bled Birmingham threw her head from side to side, enduring the stabbing pain in her loins – the deep, repeated impacts to her cervix as the Lizardman had its way with her.
As it defiled her.
She tried to push it out, to ignore it as best she could. Even when the Lizardman hissed and snarled in her ear Birmingham didn't give it the satisfaction of hearing her cry out, her teeth on her tongue as she took the pounding – its meaty cock spearing between her despoiled petals and hilting in her innermost parts, sending jolts right up her stomach and banging her head on the dirt, but she didn't react. She just laid there and took it like the good little broodmare it wanted her to be, waiting for an opening, a chance to knock its lights out and get help.
She felt it throb inside of her quickly, its shaft swelling against her sore insides and its tip kissing her depths, the realisation hitting – and no sooner had it before the Lizardman snarled and impregnated her. A flood of warm fluid poured into her depths, thick and sticky like semen but lacking sperm. In their place though she felt many tiny eggs push up into her womb, nestling against her depths in a torrent, nearly making her sick as she realised she'd been claimed, just like the others.
Even if she escaped this hole, the monster's seed would remain within her, making her its unwilling mother for its brood.
Birmingham was torn from her thoughts though her wrists were released – and no sooner had they been freed did a meaty hand grab her hair, yanking her upright. The cruiser cried out in pain but it gave her some weird clarity, feeling more than seeing space behind her. Her opening. She called upon her rigging and it manifested, finally having the space, her guns trained and ready to fire-
But she never saw the Lizardman behind her. The moment it spotted her rigging it attacked with vigour, seething out a wet breath as it raked its claws through her turrets, instantly incapacitating them. Birmingham flinched and tried to fire but her guns wouldn't operate – and to her despair they were reduced to metal scraps within seconds, literally ripped off of her. The only reason she wasn't pulled back with them was the iron grip on her hair, and the dick she was still impaled upon.
As if to remind her of that the Lizardman holding her sneered in her face, shifting both hands to her hips and holding tight... and Birmingham froze as she felt a second cock poke her ass.
And then she screamed as the other Lizardman eagerly buried its cock in her ass – up until a third, sneering Lizardman came up to her left, shoving its cock in her mouth and pulling her hair, forcing it to pleasure it as its kin began to fucked her other holes, using her not solely for breeding, but also their own animalistic pleasure.
Her fate, forever, sealed.
X-x-X
Boise was just climbing the slope, her pace fast, when she felt the clawed hand curl around her ankle.
Then suddenly she was yanked back down, Miyuki tumbling from her grip as she instinctively reached to grab onto something. Nothing was to be found, however, and soon she found herself thrown to the dirty ground – the Lizardman on top if her. Boise flinched back, crawling back, but the monster just grabbed her left thigh and forcefully lifted it up – its other hand going up her dress and grabbing her crotch.
Before with the harsh tear of cloth it ripped her panties off. Her heart skipped a beat – but unlike Birmingham she didn't have the fight, the fire, to keep moving. She froze up completely, paralysed with realisation and terror as the Lizardman got on top of her, and only when she felt something rub against her vagina did she snap out of it and begin to move-
''Agh!''
Then it was inside of her. Thick and solid it pushed apart her virgin insides, the pain sharp and intense enough to nearly make her black out for a split-second – her mind purged of all thought as the monster cock slammed into her, deflowering her. The shock lasted for just a few seconds though; banished the moment the monster dug its nails into her raised right thigh and began to fuck her properly; short, eager pumps burying it into her pussy.
''A-Ah! N-No, stop- mn!''
Her face mask muted her voice somewhat and gave it an echoing quality, making her pained cries all the more haunting as the monster pistoned itself into her, its flesh smacking against her own repeatedly and harshly. Through the tears in her eyes she spied multiple more Lizardmen returning, either drawn in by the sounds or the attack on their home, and to her despair a terrified Hanazuki was shoved up against the wall, her limbs flailing as he pleaded – before a thick, girthy cock forced itself into her defiled pussy, making her wail as the monster eagerly began to mate with her. Miyuki too wasn't spared, the unconscious girl rolled onto her front before the Lizardman began to mate with her prone-bone; smacking her small rear with every harsh thrust.
Boise was brought back to her own predicament though as another Lizardman knelt by her face. Its large clawed hand grabbed her mask without warning and pulled hard, lifting her head with it, prompting her to reflexively pull back... until with a harsh snap her mask's straps broke, causing it to fly off and to the side. Boise opened her mouth to cry out but before she could do that something touched her lips – and then something thick shoved itself into her mouth. Boise's eyes bulged and she cried out in alarm, the noise muted as the two Lizardmen eagerly began to spitroasted her on her side, their scales smacking against her flesh and filling the quaint burrow. Her thigh began to bleed from how harshly the monster gripped it but the pain was nothing compared to the ache in her loins, its dick slamming up against her cervix relentlessly.
''Mmph~! Mrph!'' Boise frantically flailed her hands about, trying to grab and push, desperation hastening her motions but hampering her aim.
Until eventually the Lizardman defiling her mouth just grabbed her wrists and held them down, snarling as it slammed between her lips, hurting her teeth and thrusting down her gullet, choking her. Her raspy, spluttering breaths did little to deter the overgrown lizard from face-fucking her though, bruising her nose with every harsh impact and sending stars flashing behind her eyes; not helped by the thick shaft plunging up into her womanhood.
Suddenly her left wrist was freed – the reason becoming evident as the newfound claw raked at her chest, ripping the cloth apart and revealing her large, squishy tits to the monsters. Boise barely had the time to feel self-conscious before her right tit was grabbed and squeezed harshly, forcing a muffled cry out of the cruiser as her tit was manhandled, her head shaking as best she could with a dick going down her throat.
Then suddenly she was forced onto her back completely, the Lizardman coming with her as it straddled her collarbone and grabbed her head with both hands, hissing in delight as it forced its meaty cock down her throat. Boise's eyes watered but she could do nothing but take it, her eyes soon screwing shut just so she didn't have to look at the monster's groin – acutely feeling its balls hitting her chin over and over again. The other Lizardman between her legs didn't relent either, its girth parting her abused folds and raking her tender insides with every pounding thrust, its cock smooth but uncomfortably girthy, stretching her virginal sex out with every thrust.
''Mn! Mmph! H-Hn-!''
Then suddenly the one between her legs hissed; and then came. Boise spasmed as she felt jets of warmth pour up into her womb, the foreign sensation terrifying – made all the more so as she felt numerous eggs pour into her baby chamber. The one mounted on her face though kept going, snarling and hissing as it face-fucked her, seeming to slow down even just to endure it.
The reason why though became evident as the Lizardman between her legs pulled out – and the one on top of her pulled its dick out of her mouth, got between her legs, and then plunged inside. Its clawed hands grabbed her hips and it savagely pounded her, fucking cries of pain out of Boise but no resistance beyond that – lacking the strength to. The will to.
And so when the Lizardman soon emptied its balls inside of her, hissing with primal satisfaction as it laid its eggs inside of her defenceless womb, Boise could only lay there, defeated and exhausted by the ordeal, her pussy sore and overflowing with white fluid.
The breeding process, continuing on.
submitted by Azure_Infinity to AzurLane [link] [comments]


2023.06.07 22:36 Sir-Paperbag My Best Friend Is A Deathworlder - Part 46: Honest Day's Work

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MBFD Part 46 - Honest Day’s Work

Kro’gnuar lets Fredrick take the lead as the off-world lemurian is definitely the most experienced of the two when it comes to these... ‘pohds’.
Grabbing his trusty wrench and crowbar from the driver's door, he patiently watches the young man as he studies the charred capsule.
Looking at the blackened exterior, Kro’gnuar thinks that it held up pretty damn well.
Not many star nations could claim that their spacecraft survived an unshielded atmospheric re-entry with so little damage in the first place.
The more technologically sophisticated nations would use typical magneto-shielding to keep the ridiculously hot plasma away from the hull, while the more ... pragmatically inclined nations would simply slap a few layers of ablative heat shielding on there and call it a day.
Not this one though.
The odd, somewhat egg-like shape of the capsule surely raises a few questions for the reptilian, but Kro’gnuar's mind is preoccupied with something else right now.
Watching from a few paces behind, he tries to read Fredrick’s body-language as the young man stares at the capsule.
Is he happy to see something familiar again, or is he perhaps thinking about possible comrades of his that died during his arrival here on Kavir?
He could also just be lost in thought for a bit, trying to come up with a plan on how to dismantle that thing, or something along those lines.
The fact is, the old warrior simply could not tell. He has a hard time getting a read on him, as Fredrick does not only lack a tail, but his oddly shaped ears are also about as expressionless as possible for a mammal; He has not seen them make even the tiniest twitch in the last few days.
And so, he simply keeps watching the young man, giving him some room for now.
He is just glad to not be alone on a scrap job for once - a little bit of weirdness from his new friend is not going to change that.
<[Got to keep in mind to ask him about that later.]> he reminds himself.
Though, after a while of simply standing there, Kro’gnuar gets a bit concerned and trudges over to the young man, powdery snow crunching satisfyingly under his heavy steps.
“Fredrik?” he asks, his tone perfectly neutral. As always.
The young man flinches from the large hand suddenly poking his shoulder from behind, turning to face Kro’gnuar.
“Ah, sorry. Got lost in think.” he apologizes, brushing part of his mane out of his face and scratching the back of his head.
“No problem.” Kro’gnuar rumbles “You just went quiet for a bit, so I thought I better check if you are alright.” he explains “Are you alright?”
“Yes, me alright!” Fredrick gives him an energetic thumbs-up and a big smile. “Just think I maybe remember new thing about how arrive here, a few second ago. Was... interesting.” he explains, walk-and-talking with Kro’gnuar to the escape pod.
As they arrive at the still closed hatch, Fredrick turns around and puts his hands behind his back as he gives Kro’gnuar a quick rundown of things.
“Okay, this is typical get-away-capsule. White part is sort of fabric that cover almost everything, black part is actually many, small tile put together for keep hot-hot away from inside.”
Kro’gnuar nods along; that sounds... about right?
“This part-”
Fredrick keeps explaining the general structure of the pod to him, pointing out potentially interesting points and components that he thinks might be more valuable than others, also telling him which areas to better leave alone if they both still want to exist later.
At least, that is what he thinks he tried to tell him; the algorithm is doing a great job at building a completely new database from the ground up, but sometimes those translations are a bit out there.
If he remembers right, the translator's words were “Big boom, not good, very dead. Part of you here, part of you over there. Not good time. Not good idea.”
Apparently, whoever built this thing thought it would be a great, absolutely genius idea to put a bunch of explosives inside of an escape-capsule.
Madness. Absolute madness.
Though, according to Fredrick, there is a valid reason for that.
Kro’gnuar highly doubts that.
Thankfully, Fredrick makes remembering all of it a lot easier by actually marking the spots he is talking about on the hull with a marker he took from one of the toolkits, using big circles and a couple of X’s to signify what to scrap and what to better leave alone as he talks about them.
It kind of reminds Kro’gnuar of the inter-cultural lectures he happily attended back on Kamorrha when he was still a strapping young warrior, scales shining brightly and eager to learn everything about those newly discovered and uplifted four-armed mammalians calling themselves ‘Kiroans’.
But that was almost a lifetime ago. Right now, he is making sure to keep everything Fredrick tells him in his mind and his experience is slowly starting to kick in as he starts to see the similarities to the kind of engineering he has gotten used to over time. Soon enough they are both engaged in pleasant technical talk, even exchanging a bit of knowledge here and there as they go over the pod one more time.
“Any more question?” Fredrick asks him after they are done.
“No, that should be everything for now.” Kro’gnuar replies, hefting his heavy-duty circular saw with a bit of anticipation.
Good luck, then.” Fredrick tells him in English, slipping inside the pod.
Staying true to their deal from earlier, Kro’gnuar simply lets Fredrick go ham on the inside as he keeps on cutting away parts of the hull to get to the juicy innards, occasionally taking a glance at the various things Fredrick pulls out of the capsule as he happily presents them to the old man.
After seeing the pod in person, he is glad that Fredrick volunteered to take care of the inside. The armored giant doubts that he even would have been able fit inside to begin with, let alone stand upright or do any kind of work in that tin can.
But he has to give it to the people who built this, they certainly knew what they were doing; as he keeps tearing away layer after layer, his respect for their ingenuity keeps growing.
Rarely has he seen such well thought-out layouts and frames, cramped together in such tight spaces.
It seems like everything is there for a good reason.
Kro’gnuar is also starting to have a sneaking suspicion that Fredrick might not have been completely lying to him when he said that his people have managed to go to space, if not without a bit of help.
The letters and glyphs on the parts he is ripping from the capsule’s cold, charred corpse are awfully familiar to those he has seen the young man use to write down words in the past, and he also seems very knowledgeable about its construction.
<[Maybe they were uplifted, after all.]>
<[Could he simply be just too prideful to admit it to him, then? That would certainly be a lot more likely.]>
“Look, I even find new covering! No more have to wear old and damage coverings!” Fredrick cheers as he re-appears from the capsule, showing off a neatly folded stack of various fabrics to Kro’gnuar.
"Good that you found something useful for yourself. Put them in the hatch to the left of the other one, that one should be a lot cleaner.”
“Alright!”
He gets back to work and happily scraps away while Fredrick keeps flitting back and forth between the Scraploader and the pod, having his hands full with other things every time he exits the wreck, only stopping twice to take a short break.
The hours start to tick by as they happily scrap and loot to both their heart’s content, completely absorbed in their work respectively.
“I think, my work complete. I have take everything useful from inside, almost nothing left.” Fredrick proudly declares, walking up to him with a tired, but satisfied, smile.
Kro’gnuar grunts in agreement, gesturing at the completely torn apart escape pod with his saw.
“Same for me, except for some small parts that I am not sure of if they would even be worth scrapping.”
“Oh, which part?” Fredrick curiously asks.
“Any kind of electronics or computing components, if this really is as uncommon technology as I think it is, nobody will be able to program them. Not in these parts, at least.”
“Make sense.” Fredrick muses “We go back Kavir-L1, then?” he inquires, eager to head back and get some rest after a long day of good old-fashioned manual labor out in the cold.
Kro'gnuar looks to the horizon, mood souring a little as he spotsthe literal wall of dark gray clouds in the direction they would be heading.
“Maybe not.” he frowns “Let me check the radar for a moment.”
They both walk over to the Scraploader and Kro’gnuar hands Fredrick his tools.
“Here, take those and put them back. I will go check on the radar.”
“Okay.”
Fredrick takes the comically large tools from him and doesn’t even break a sweat as he quickly puts them into their respective spots, closing the hatches and joining Kro’gnuar in the cockpit after he is done.
“So, radar say good thing?” he asks, scooting over to take a look at the slightly scratched-up screen.
Kro’gnuar grumbles, definitely not happy.
“No, the radar did not warn us about that storm front forming up and it has gotten too big by now, I would not want to risk going through there if we do not have to.”
“Aw man.” Fredrick slumps into his seat.
“I agree. This is very irritating.” Kro’gnuar agrees, looking out of the window and back at the screen “I do not know why it did not warn us, a storm this big should have triggered a warning hours ago.”
Leaning back into the driver’s seat, Kro’gnuar closes his eyes in an attempt to keep the fire inside of him in check.This would be an incredibly stupid reason to use up one of his last blood-rages.
Taking a deep breath and exhaling through flaring nostrils, he opens his eyes again and turns to Fredrick.
“We will have to spend the night out here.”
“Mhm.” he agrees emotionlessly, simply accepting the fact.
“We will also have to make some preparations, the storm looks to be at least a Five.” he points at the radar screen.
“A Five?” Fredrick asks, trying to guess what that might mean.
“From out of ten. It is a rating we have developed.” he explains, confirming Fredrick’s hunch “Here on Kavir, even a Two can kill you if you do not know what you are doing - it gets extremely cold during a storm out here.”
“Wow.” Fredrick blurts out, both impressed and equally intimidated.
He wonders what rating the storm he endured in his pod might have been.

“A Four can knock vehicles over,” Kro’gnuar continues “a Six is able to damage structures, an Eight will definitely do major damage to anything and a Ten is almsot certain death for everything and everyone topside. Luckily, I have never even heard of a Ten even being seen.”
Fredrick swallows heavily, knowing what tornadoes are able to do back on Earth. He does not want to find out what they are capable of here.

“Okay, so what is have to do?” he asks, trying to be of use.
Kro’gnuar briefly thinks about it, recalling the checklist he made with Dushavee.
“We will have to strap down everything tight on the flatbed and put some debris-covers on the windows. We also have to put some covers on the engine intakes and anchor the vehicle to the ground.”
“I get, what is I supposed do?”
“You can take care of the intakes and the debris-covers, you can find them in the big compartment to the rear. I will go over the flatbed and then anchor us to the ground.” he instructs “And if one gets done before the other-”
“He will help other.” Fredrick finishes the sentence for him, taking things very serious.
“Exactly.” Kro’gnuar nods, his opinion of the odd lemurian steadily increasing.
They both get to work and Fredrick hops out of the cockpit, already feeling the breeze picking up a bit, which might also just be a classic case of placebo.
But it certainly does wonders in keeping him on his toes.
Not wasting any time, he power-walks to the rear and looks for the cargo hatch with the engine covers in them, quickly finding it. He turns the handle and pulls the access door open, taking out the covers and swiftly placing them in their spots, making sure that they are really stuffed in there.
After double- and triple-checking the intakes, he briskly walks back to the rear and takes out the pieces of window-shaped wire mesh, securing them in place with the turn of a few cleverly placed handles.
Kro’gnuar actually helps him with the biggest one, the one for the windshield.
“That should be everything.” Kro’gnuar sighs relieved “Did we forget any cargo boxes?”
Both briefly scan the vicinity of the Scraploader, thankfully finding nothing amiss.
“Good, let usss get inside. There is no use in staying outside any longer.”
Yeah, I’d bet on that.” Fredrick agrees, thinking aloud in English, definitely not imagining the wind having picked up by now.
He climbs into the Scraploader, firmly closing the door shut with a solid thud.
“And now we wait.” Kro’gnuar sighs, rummaging through a glove box of sorts “Feel free to eat and rest, there is little else we can do right now.” he explains, handing Fredrick a cheap ration “Here, this should be edible for you.”
“Thanks.” Fredrick takes it hesitantly, taking a look at the unmarked silvery plastic wrapper.
Kro’gnuar tears open his own, identical ration, and takes a begrudging bite out of the unshapely brick of nutrients.
“Edible.” he grumbles, chewing on the tasteless lump “Not much more than that.”
Staring at the literal brick of food in his hands, Fredrick thinks back to his time in the military.He ate a lot of similar stuff during those nine months of mandatory service, and boy-oh-boy did his fresh-out-of-uni-self not like those.
With his mind somewhere else, he takes his first apprehensive bite out of it, not really bothered by something like that anymore.
he chuckles, swallowing the paste-y chunk.
“Do you want some water?” Kro’gnuar hands him a metal bottle “It helps wash it down.”
“Sure, thank.” Fredrick accepts it, taking a big sip.
The two men silently sit in the cockpit, both crunching on their dry-ass ration bars and thinking about the many, many things they would rather be doing than waiting out a storm in a cramped cockpit, stuck out in bumfuck nowhere, chewing on a kilo-brick of plaster.
“How long we have wait?” Fredrick breaks the silence, staring at the setting suns on the horizon with a faraway expression.
Kro’gnuar grumbles in thought, looking at the radar as he keeps chewing.
“I would guess somewhere between six and ten hours. That center looks hard to predict.” he points at the screen.
Fredrick doesn’t notice him doing so, though. He is still staring at the sunsets.
“Ten hours...?” Fredrick whines, at which Kro’gnuar simply nods.
“We are going to be here for a while, yes. Does your people have a way of passing time?” the reptilian inquires.
Fredrick lets out a dry laugh, looking back at the old warrior.
“We have many way of pass time - play games, tell story, and so further. I not tired enough for need sleep anway, so we can try few, if want.”
“Good.” Kro’gnuar lets out a deep, satisfied rumble “I have been meaning to ask you a few things.”
_____________________________________________
Being consistently late is still being consistent, right? :P
Jokes aside, I purposefully posted this one a day late.Last night, right before posting, I gave it my usual once-over and had a sudden flash of inspiration as I read through it, leading to me writing a bit more and delaying it for a day. :9
Reading your comments on the last chapter was a blast, by the way!
-Paperbag out.
Fun science fact #35: The common swift is a bird that can stay aloft for up to ten months without ever landing once - they are even capable of reproducing mid-flight. Their young also enter a state similar to hibernation when their parents leave for up to three days to hunt for food.
Nature, you alright?
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submitted by Sir-Paperbag to HFY [link] [comments]


2023.06.07 22:31 KyleKKent Out of Cruel Space, part 706

First
Capes and Conundrums
The fire demons conjured by Slade lash out at the huntsmistress but as her idea of protective clothing for hunting on Skathac merely means clothing that isn’t instantly burnt to ash as she leaves the protective embrace of a sky yacht’s forcefield, they’re about as effective as water-balloons against a battleship.
They do block her sight however, and that’s what he uses them for.
Unfortunately she’s the type where trying the same trick twice just gets you slammed like an idiot and verbally lambasted as one to boot.
He learns this as she grabs his boot and proceeds to hammer throw him into the opposite wall of the warehouse.
He skids down the wall and regains himself enough to kick off it and charge through the air while surrounded by fire.
She goes to catch the expected attack and finds only a device that then detonates in a flash of light and a loud bang.
There’s then a brutal spin kick from the blindside and she’s sent careening to the side and rolls twice before gathering herself and trying to shake out the spots and ringing from her head.
“What was that?” She asks.
“Flashbang. Non-lethal alone, but often paired with other techniques.” Slade informs her and she lets out a huff.
“Basic armament?”
“Basic law enforcement are permitted to carry them.” Slade notes and she takes a low stance with her tail high and ready to stab or slash, she still uses her bottom left hand to rub the crest atop her head and try and get some more vision back into it. “Does that actually help?”
“Psychosomatically.” She replies before suddenly there’s a brutal charge in the floor and Slade can’t even shout as his every muscle seizes in the electrical attack.
His nerves unjangle just enough to allow a bellow of pain before a chunk of concrete slams into him. It breaks the circuit and he teleports out of danger before the piece of manufactured stone can shatter against the wall.
Patience for her part only caught a glimpse of him. The fight has shifted around in all sorts of ways. It’s clear that she’s more than happy to play the monster. Well, if that’s the case. Then Robin, in a Deathstroke mask, is more than willing to hunt.
He breathes a bit and then deliberately runs Axiom through a reactive tattoo that bisects his brand. Turning it back on, and causing a passive Axiom intake. He’s now visible to the preternatural sense. However, he’s now also immune to her electrical trick.
She crashes through the walkway he was in and he moves faster than before. She dodges the first kick but that was just to get him in position behind her where he has a heartbeat to act and he USES it to slam down in her back and send her back through the hole she just made to crash into the floor below.
She rolls away and his knee finds the place her back was a moment ago. The concrete cracks and he slowly rises up.
She’s on all six and prowling. Her massive form utterly silent as she slinks around him, a living shadow of hard points and sharp danger. Also still very much a woman, but what has his attention are the claws, bladed tail and snap reflexes that are going to be a BITCH to deal with.
Moving like a shadow over water she circles him multiple times, clearly making a judgment. “Forgotten something?”
“No.” She answers. “I still have the cuffs to claim a win. But this is too much fun. I want to keep going.”
“What kind of example are you setting for your daughter?” He asks.
“A good one. Learn from your hunts and enjoy them thoroughly.” Patience says before letting out a laugh. “Besides. They’ve been watching for a while now.”
“I’m aware.” Slade states.
“Yeah! Go mom!” Migalla the younger shouts out from where she’s watching. Between her and Echosong it hadn’t been too hard to get the cuffs on Ra’s and confirm the win. But they were too busy watching the show to do the next part of the event.
“Don’t you two have a bomb to dispose of?” Slade asks before teleporting as Patience chooses that moment to pounce.
She turns it into a handspring and launches upward to spin in the air and grab onto the underside of the walkway he’s now on and outright catches his boot as he tries to kick her off.
She rips him off the walkway and hurls him along the underside. His fingers dig in and he’s suddenly hanging by them monkeybars style. She’s already chasing after him with the ease of a predator designed to move in three dimensions.
Which is why his counter charge catches her off guard somewhat and he almost gets a good boot to her head but she catches the boot instead. He then throws himself and her reflex to keep a grip on him causes him to swing and start breaking her grip on things.
As they start to fall her tail embeds into the walkway and she gets a good grip on both of his boots but he swings himself and starts to punch at her chest, deflecting her second set of arms and getting a few body shots in until her legs come down and he’s forced to deflect those.
Leaving him open for a huge double punch to the stomach as his feet are let go of.
He slams into the floor of the factory and has to take a moment to get his wind she knocked clean out of him back in.
She’s on him in a moment and is pinned. “I think this counts as a win.”
“Yes... yes it does.” Robin admits.
“... I need a trophy from this. A hunt this much fun needs a trophy.” She says grabbing his helmet and quickly finding the latches to pull it off.
“Hey now, I may need that. Let me up so I can call this in one way or the other.” Robin says and she slinks off as she tosses the helmet a bit. “Also if you want your husband to wear that it may need to be refit for a Dzedin.”
“Hmm... a good point... could I trade?” She asks him even as Robin rises up.
“Let me check.” He states and he brings out his communicator. “Although for the sake of a survey, out of ten how would you rate your experience today?”
“Twenty two.” She says gleefully. “I’m going to be running every member of my family that doesn’t need to be dragged out by the tail through the tests and we’re all going to party in these events.”
“Oh fun. I look forward to our rematch. Or hell... I want to see you up against Pavel. I wonder how you’ll respond to being hunted by a master sniper?”
“Ohh! Like a twinshot assassin?”
“We use kinetic rounds, they travel much longer and faster.” Robin notes as he activates his communicator. “Now let’s see about that trophy of yours.”
Before he can dial anything in the communicator goes off and he simply answers.
“She can keep the helmet, but it will take a day or three to make a custom one for her husband to wear.” Overwatch says.
“You caught that I hope?” Robin asks.
“I’ll hold this one hostage until then.”
“Fair enough.” Robin says before holding out his left hand and concentrating on the inlayed khutha marking on the underlayer of the glove. It builds and builds in power, and then abruptly another helmet is there. “I have a replacement.”
Patience then promptly swaps the unscuffed helmet for the one she’s thoroughly scuffed up and sticks her tongue out at him.
He blows her a raspberry and switches them back. Prompting the older woman to dissolve into helpless giggles.
“You keep being that adorable and I’m going to straight up adopt you little boy.” She taunts him and he snorts.
“Adoption generally doesn’t happen for full grown men.”
“Maybe not in your current society. But there are old family lines and clans that come together due to adopting someone as perky as you.”
“Thank you for the offer but no thank you ma’am.” Robin says quickly.
“Pity, you’d make quite the big brother for Migalla.” Patience says happily. “Ah... so all this was recorded right? Those little electrical bundles sending out signals are cameras right?”
“They are, don’t worry, you’ll get a full recording.” He assures her.
“Is there any rush to us leaving or?”
“Oh, maybe withing fifteen minutes or so. We have at least three different areas to send people to. We’ll be fine.”
•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•×•
“So, who had a fun first day out?” Robin asks the other three men who had Deathstroke duty.
“Apuk are fucking horrible.” Robin’s opposite states. There’s a distant ‘hey!’ as the Apuk Undaunted nearby overhears. “Oh shut up! That warfire shit is cheating so badly! How do you make fire that does that?!”
“It’s not cheating! It’s an ancient and honourable technique!” The offended Apuk counters as she stomps over.
“That causes things to burn and melt at a quarter of their normal ignition point. I know.”
“I’ll leave you lovebirds to have a friendly chat.” Robin remarks before stepping away from the growing argument.
“Four hundred credits in trytite bars says they’re banging before dinner.” One of the other Deathstrokes says as they follow Robin away.
“Sucker’s bet and you know it.” The other states. “They’ve been slap-slap kiss for a week.”
“So, you boys have as much fun as I did with my Dzedin Huntsmisstress?”’
“I heard she bounced you off every wall in the building and put you through most walkways.”
“To be fair I tossed her like a ragdoll and flashbanged her at least once. If we were allowed to go deadly... hmm... if it was a full deadly contest there’s no telling where it would go. We were both holding back to not kill the other.”
“My money’s on the big scary space monster... with tits.”
“I figured you’d be over that by now.” Robin remarks.
“I’ll never not be over the fact that one of the most universal shapes in existence is a perky orb with nips.” HE answers. “And I think I can beat you. While you were dealing with miss Huntress, I had to deal with what I thought was a suit of power armour.”
“What was it really?”
“A mecha.”
“What?”
“A Gohb in a Mecha. Crazy girl had me thinking I was dealing with a Cannidor.”
“No kidding.”
“It didn’t end there. When I got her out of the Mecha she revealed a mechanical backpack that unfolded into four spider legs and she got huge mobility with that before chucking grenades at me while crawling over every single wall at once.” He finishes with a sigh.
“I think I’m in love.” Robin jokes.
“She is too, she pulled off my mask and then demanded to know where you were.” He says and Robin winces while chuckling.
“Merretta! She remembers me!”
“She called you a childless DILF.” The man intones like he’s at a funeral and Robin snorts hard. “Do you have any idea how freaking weird it is to go through a big flashy fight that ends with some green midget pitching a fit because she wanted to get freaky with someone else? Oh by the way, watch your back Robin. I think she might be going full stalker.”
“I doubt it’s that bad. She was likely just venting, it’s not like we don’t do or say stupid things when we think we can get away with it.” Robin remarks with a yawn. He then checks his communicator. “I’ve got a paperwork shift before dinner. I need to go.”
“I wasn’t kidding about he Gohb. She was contemplating how to get in here and see you.”
“You make it sound like being chased by a gearhead shortstack is a bad thing. It’s not. It’s really not.” Robin says over his shoulder. He then glances back again. Only one of the guys is there. The other must have gotten sneaky and faded away partway during the conversation. Or even at the beginning. It would explain why he didn’t contribute to it.
He shrugs that off. They’re all grown adults in The Undaunted. Unless you HAD to know where someone was then you could trust everyone out of sight.
His shift starts uneventful as he begins pouring through his legal documents with a fine tooth comb. Nothing to egregious beyond some grammatical and spelling mistakes. He does have to make a point to write out a few more paragraphs to ensure that the term SHALL is properly interpreted in the documentation. Just another loophole to close off and make sure that someone can’t try to flog them for stupidity that wasn’t their fault.
The work is however, boring, and he takes a few minutes break every hour to stretch out, caffeinate and turn on some music to clear his mind a touch.
“Mister White?” Someone asks after a bit and he turns. It’s one of the secretarial office workers.
“Yes?”
“You have a visitor.” The woman says and Robin snorts.
“You make it sound like I’m in the hospital or prison.”
“Considering that fight you got into today I’m surprised your not in either.” She states and he chuckles in response.
He opens the door to see who it is and sees... no one. There’s a set of metal clangs and a green woman slowly rises into view. “Hello Merretta. I heard you had some fun with another Deathstroke. Playing the field are we?”
“Really big man?” She asks himas amusent dances across her face.
“Really. Now, how can I help you?”
“I just wanted to make sure that I didn’t scare off that big slab of man I saw crashing through ash dunes on a bike.”
“Not at all.” He says even as her mechanical backpack legs properly space themselves out and she starts looming over him. Suspended by the backpack harness.
“Good. Now... perhaps we can talk about meeting up for a private spar? You humans are fun to fight in armour.”
“I didn’t expect you to be so violent.”
“I didn’t expect humans to be so eager for violence. But if mommy has to get a little rough to get daddy, then she will.”

First Last
submitted by KyleKKent to HFY [link] [comments]


2023.06.07 22:18 Brad239 (Selling) Several 4K and HD titles, Lilo & Stitch 2-Movie Collection, The Emperor's New Groove, Columbia Classics Volume 3 titles, Silent Night Deadly Night Collection

All codes listed here were tested recently, and I will double check them all again before a transaction is made. If interested, please comment here first and I will PM you with my payment information.
Prices are firm for individual titles. I will take $1 off each code after the first. Payment made by Paypal F&F or Amazon gift card.

4K/HD Titles

Split HD Disney Codes (GP codes port to MA)
submitted by Brad239 to DigitalCodeSELL [link] [comments]


2023.06.07 22:08 IAMAfortunecookieAMA "Spike" Your Next EDH Night with AspiringSpike's Timeless Amulet Combo!

Sit down, my child.

Have you ever heard the tale of the Timeless Amulet deck?

(shown here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Js0HjSckIyE)
Timeless Amulet proves that the depths of brewable deckbuilding space in this game is close to infinite.
I remember when Amulet of Vigor was printed - you could tear them in half as you pulled them from a pack because the card was considered to be completely useless. Today, despite several reprintings, [[Amulet of Vigor]] is a $10+ card.

Amulet of Vigor still looks like trash to me. What's the big deal?

Amulet Titan, and to a lesser extent, the Timeless Amulet variants of the deck use Amulet of Vigor to untap lands that enter tapped. You can "break" this interaction with any of the following:
1) Have multiple Amulet of Vigors for multiple untaps. (copy the amulet with clone effects or Mycosynth Gardens) 2) Use lands that tap for more than 1 mana ('bounce' lands like Simic Growth Chamber and Lotus Field) 3) Use other tapped permanents that make mana (Timeless Lotus, Nyx Lotus, Prismatic Geoscope)
After generating all that mana, you need some kind of payoff - AspiringSpike's deck uses Golos and Emrakul to get the job done.

I don't play Modern, dude. I play EDH. Elder Dragon Highlander. What's this have to do with me?

Me too, me too! I wanted to take the spirit of this fantastic deck and port it over into an EDH deck. Here's how we can duplicate the basic principles of Timeless Amulet into EDH, while borrowing from other decks like Pioneer's mono-green devotion.
I originally built this deck as a 5-color build (as prescribed by the color identity of [[Timeless Lotus]] ), but I actually think it works better as 4-color because having [[Atraxa, Grand Unifier]] in the command zone neatly solves the "payoff" part of the deck.

Decklist: https://www.moxfield.com/decks/NemwXGThwE2fsDkhEAR7zg

Let's break it down!

1) "Charlie! Charlie, I have the Amulet!"

The first essential cog in this mana-generating machine is an Amulet of Vigor. We have a few ways to get the amulet into play:
Archelos also has a hidden mode - if you have an Amulet of Vigor out, and you can get your Archelos tapped, all your permanents will enter tapped and trigger the amulet, which can get very insane with cards like Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx and Chromatic Orrery.

2) What's better than Amulet of Vigor? Several of them!

Amulet of Vigor stacks linearly with itself. The more amulets you have, the more mana your tapped permanents will create. You can stack each "untap" trigger one over another, and each time you resolve one to untap your permanent, you can tap it for mana before the next trigger resolves, once for each amulet in play.
There are two main ways to copy your Amulet's effect.
You can copy the Amulet itself:
Or, you can "double" the effect of the Amulet using anything that copies ETB effects:
These Phyrexian baddies double the amulet triggers. If you have two Amulets and a Yarok in play, you get four untaps!

3) Reminder: Timeless Lotus isn't legal in a 4-color deck.

Yet. We flail and thrash against the RC...
Color identity is overrated. There's a functional Timeless Lotus that we can take advantage of - one of the cheapest and most useless judge foils they ever dared to print.
Prismatic Geoscope is non-legendary, which means you can copy it and clone it to your heart's content as well. It also produces mana in any combination of colors, helping you slam spells with GGG and BBB and UUU mana costs with ease. Nyx Lotus is a distant cousin, but can still get pretty bonkers (especially with [[Aeve, Progenitor Ooze]] )
Domain is challenging but not impossible in 4-color. We have a Dryad of the Ilysian Grove and a [[Thran Portal]] to give ourselves a mountain for Domain. Even without all five pieces of Domain Exodia, Prismatic Geoscope is still a house.
If only [[Nearby Planet]] was legal...

4) Payoffs

"This is where the fun begins." - Anakin Skywalker
Paying off the ability to generate 10+ mana in a turn cycle is where all these layered combo pieces come together. This deck functions much more like a storm / combo deck than any traditional value pile. We want to win spectacularly, and we want to do it all at once.

-- Storm Payoffs

Winning with a high storm count is enabled by spells that untap your Lotus Field and Nykthos and Geoscopes multiple times in a turn. Snap, Frantic Search, Turnabout, Magus of the Candelabra, and other spells like Summer Bloom kick your combo into high gear, chaining spells for a higher storm count. Once you're up there, pay it out!

-- Emergent Ultimatum

The classic payoff that plagued Standard, Historic, and Pioneer is the ideal payoff for a triple-tapped Lotus Field. It's also very easy to hardcast when you don't get your amulets going, via natural ramp.
The key is to find a 3-card combination that leads to victory. Here's my suggested "pool" of candidates:
See Double cracks the ultimatum piles wide open because it gives you some exciting redundancy, exciting enough that it might guarantee you the other two cards. You can also pay off these big instants and sorceries with a [[Mercurial Spelldancer]] if it's on the field.
Titania's Command is busted with Amulet. Find Lotus Field and Nykthos, untap them, and you just built your own super-ritual.

-- Peer Into the Abyss

Congrats, you drew half your deck. Yawn! Now what?
If you have a couple of spare mana, cards like Dream's Grip, Snap, Amulet of Vigor, Frantic Search, Summer Bloom, and Turnabout can keep you digging and digging until you find your wincon.

-- Villainous Wealth

Who says there isn't any joy left on this earth? Pull your opponent's best wincons with the world's largest Villainous Wealth. Even a "hit" for X=7 can put you far enough ahead to win.

-- Evil Flying Plague Mommy Herself

You know her. You love her. You love to hate her.
Atraxa, Grand Unifier layers with everything in the deck - she finds all your various combo enablers split almost evenly between sorceries, instants, artifacts, enchantments, and creatures. She doubles her effect with Yarok and Elesh Norn. Most of the time, casting her will let you keep combing in the same turn thanks to all the untap effects.
Importantly, she also attacks. When you're comboing out and you get Concordant Crossroads into play, Atraxa is an essential part of beating down the table.
No matter which way you choose to win, the adventure was the real gift. The friends we lost along the way. These are the finest things in EDH.

TL;DR

Really? Ok, fine! Whatever!
Magic personality AspiringSpike designed a deck around Amulet of Vigor. I designed an EDH deck around the same concept and it's absolutely busted. Enjoy!








submitted by IAMAfortunecookieAMA to EDH [link] [comments]


2023.06.07 21:29 CantDunkOrSk8 Finally took ownership of this floor model 2XL. All in I’m about $2100 after $800 off the egg. And 20% off the Nest Handler.

Finally took ownership of this floor model 2XL. All in I’m about $2100 after $800 off the egg. And 20% off the Nest Handler. submitted by CantDunkOrSk8 to biggreenegg [link] [comments]


2023.06.07 21:24 Sylver713 Hunger Games : A new Generation (119th Hunger Games, part 2)

Day 1:
Few of the tributes got much sleep that night. The parties all throughout the Capitol did not end until dawn, and the noise could be heard in the accommodation building. Vannery and Carton ate breakfast slowly, like zombies. They were subsequently taken to the holding rooms. Organza wished Carton good luck before accompanying Vannery in her cell. She kept trying to reassure her as she put on her beige shorts and t-shirt. The young girl attached her hair with a purple ribbon that had been provided and climbed into the glass tube. Organza hugged her one last time, feeling her tears soaking her shoulder.
It was Platonia Travers who accompanied Carton. She muttered to herself about the outfit choice for this year. She tried to be cold to the boy, but she accepted to help him tie the purple ribbon to his wrist. He gave her a sad smile : “I probably won’t come back, but it’s nice to know that everyone in the Capitol isn’t heartless.” Platonia stood, mute, as the boy’s platform started to rise. She couldn’t keep the tears in this time.
A few cells over, the atmosphere was as morose. Alexandra had finally deigned to discuss their strategy with Delta. She accepted his plan of staying on the sidelines while he ran to the cornucopia. Still, he looked at her suspiciously and hounded her about working together for the whole breakfast. Halifax gave Delta one last pill to combat the morphling withdrawal, assuring him that the only symptoms he would experience were a mild headache and maybe some stiffness. He subsequently accompanied him to his holding room while Sean Callahan went with Alexandra.
Halifax took advantage of being alone with his mentee : “You shouldn’t trust her. I know these kinds of girls. They look harmless, but they’ll stab you in the back as soon as you let down your guard.”
“But-but…”
“You like her, huh ? Too bad, she doesn’t. So, man up and move on !”
Delta did not know what else to say. He climbed into the glass tube in silence, his brows forming a single black line over his dark eyes.
In the next holding room, another conversation was happening. “You don’t plan on allying with Delta, do you ?” asked Sean Callahan. Alexandra looked away coyly. “ I have other plans… With Angelo, we have an agreement.”
The mentor sighed, but he did not criticize the girl. He just told her to be prudent. You couldn’t trust careers. Alexandra nodded then flinched as the glass tube started descending from the ceiling.
The first thing she noticed as she rose into the arena was the noise. She hadn’t even emerged that she could hear a cacophony of bird songs. It was almost deafening, and she covered her ears before protecting her eyes from the sunlight.
The racket made Delta’s headache intensify. He first looked to his sides ; Hattie (3) cowered on the left while Angelo (2), on the right, was focusing on the cornucopia. This year, it had been made out of a thin weave of golden metal, almost like a very shiny basket. After this zoom on the cornucopia, the cameras started moving around to show off the arena. The tributes stood in the clearing of a dense rainforest. The terrain was relatively flat, with a few creeks and an explosion of colorful flowers. The main attraction of it was the birds, however, as thousands of them fluttered about, sang, and screamed.
As Carton looked around for his allies, Head Gamemaker Vishwa welcomed the tributes and wished the odds to be ever in their favor before starting the 30 seconds countdown. With Borea (5) and the girl from 10 to his sides, he didn’t feel safe. He finally found what he was looking for, but he didn’t like that his allies were so spread out. He made eye contact with Rivage and Vannery but was unable to see Sardine, who stood on the opposite side of the cornucopia.
Vannery caught sight of her district partner, as well as Sardine. She gave them a small wave, but made the mistake of looking to her left, where Perfecto (1) was sneering at her. Georges (N), on the other side, was just as intimidating. Instead, she looked straight ahead. As the countdown reached ten, she spotted a coil of rope on the outside of the cornucopia.
Delta had been pondering, unsure if it was worth entering the bloodbath. Alexandra, who happened to be just two podiums over, winked at him. She then pointed to the cornucopia. He understood. At that moment, the countdown reached zero. He sprinted to the center of the clearing, expecting her to follow, but she stayed on her podium.
On later replays, it was shown that Alexandra was winking at Angelo and not her district partner. As the boy from 2 sprinted forth to the cornucopia, the girl waited for a few seconds. She moved only when most of the other tributes were too occupied and grabbed a knife as well as a small bag of food. Angelo acted like he helped the other career tributes in order to pick up weapons and supplies, but as soon as they were occupied, he joined Alexandra. The pair was actually one of the first to leave the clearing, not counting Circuit (3) and the pair from 10 who had run away immediately.
When Vannery realized that she was running side to side with Perfecto (1), she immediately changed course and ran to Carton. She had to give up on the rope but managed to pick a water bottle off of the corpse of the boy from 9, who had just been stabbed by Glare (9).
If the career pack didn’t notice the disappearance of one of theirs, it wasn’t the case for Delta. When he saw his district partner escape with Angelo, he became enraged. He tried to exit the cornucopia. Fraxen then attacked him to try and steal his backpack. Delta threw him to the ground and punched him so hard it broke his neck. Now he had lost trace of Alexandra. As the fighting started to die down, he ran in a random direction.
Carton had dodged one of Glare’s knives and grabbed a bag of food and an unwieldy lance before Vannery and Rivage joined him. The trio heard Sardine scream from the other side of the cornucopia. Carton wanted to go and help her, but a second gargled wail convinced him that they couldn’t do anything else, especially since Proserpina (2) had now retrieved her axe from Sardine’s chest. As they left, they could hear the crunching of Ora’s neck (12) at the hands of Georges (N).
Meanwhile, Alexandra and Angelo were already far away, giggling at each other. It was only after Perfecto had stabbed Hattie (3) to death that the career pack noticed Angelo’s absence, but they didn’t seem bothered by it.
Delta was halfway to the perimeter when the five bloodbath cannons sounded. He was still seething, and the running helped him calm down. Eventually, he collapsed on the side of and old mossy tree, out of breath. Once he was a little better, he explored his surroundings. The big tree had a hole in his roots where Delta could fit, although it was a squeeze. He decided to stay there for now and used moss to hide himself. He also put some in his ears, which helped with his headache.
Carton, Rivage and Vannery had been running in the opposite direction. They wanted to put the most distance between themselves and the other tributes. They stopped long after the bloodbath cannons had sounded. They set up camp a few hundred feet away from the Northern part of the perimeter, next to a creek. Carton helped Rivage to take inventory. He had the lance, Rivage had gotten a trident, and between the three of them they had enough food to last two days at most. The bottle Vannery had taken was only half full, but the water of the creek was clear and drinkable.
The trio decided to stay put. Vannery and Carton would work on a shelter while Rivage fished for their dinner, as they had agreed to during training. In the early afternoon, they heard hurried footsteps coming their way. The boys readied their weapon, protecting Vannery between the two of us. Circuit (3) came running into their little encampment, which took him by surprise. He skidded to a halt and turned around as quickly as he’d arrived, leaving the trio dumbfounded.
Angelo and Alexandra had quite enough supplies to last a while. He held a sword in his hand and an “emergency axe” strapped to his back, while Alexandra held two knives. At first, they wanted to get away from the careers, but Alexandra eventually convinced Angelo to follow them from afar. They weren’t really hard to track, their bickering could be heard over the constant chatter of the birds. The noise also covered them. Proserpina, Glare and Perfecto were circling around the central clearing, slowly moving away from it. In the late afternoon, they discovered Forger (12) who was lying unconscious. He had received a deep wound during the bloodbath and was now at the mercy of the other tributes. Proserpina killed him.
The subsequent cannon surprised Vannery. She had climbed on top of a tree to get a view of the arena, and the sudden sound almost made her loose her grip. She didn’t fall, but while reaching her hand for a hold, she grabbed something warm and spherical. It crumbled and a viscous liquid dripped onto her finger. She looked up. She had inadvertently grabbed an egg from a nest. She was silent a moment, and a bright purple starling looked at her. “Oh no !” she whispered to herself. The bird screamed louder than she thought possible. Then it attacked.
All the birds in a radius of 50 feet coalesced into a multicolored tornado. Vannery fell to the ground, fortunately not hurting herself on the way down, and a feathery mass started clawing and pecking at her. They also attacked Carton and Rivage, who had been chilling at a distance. They batted the volatiles away, trying not to get scratched. Vannery managed to get up and run to the makeshift tent they had built. She picked up Carton’s lance and swung it, hitting some of the birds. She swung a second time and hit the metallic water bottle with a resounding CLANG! It seemed to stun the birds, but Vannery was too busy keeping them out of her face. Carton, however, noticed their reaction to the noise. He shouted loudly and flailed his arms : “Make noise ! They don’t like noise !”. Just his screaming was enough though. Eventually, the three tributes managed to drive the mutts out by hitting their weapons against rocks and the water bottle and screaming as loud as they could.
Delta also had an encounter with some angry birds. Those were red, with a long curvy beak and fearsome talons, but he managed to kill them all with a big branch he used as a bat. He then ate them, cooked over a small fire. Argus berated him for building a fire that could alert the other tributes to his location. However, the “Aviary Jungle” as it had been baptized by Urania Whimsiwick herself, was way too dense for anyone to see the smoke.
As the sun started to set, Delta squeezed himself back into his root hole, being careful to camouflage himself with moss. He held his branch in front of him just in case. An hour later, two cannons sounded in quick succession. They belonged to the pair from 10, who had had the great idea of making an omelet. The flock did not appreciate that…
When the sun started to set, Angelo suggested he and Alexandra find a place to sleep, preferably away from the career pack. She agreed, so they stopped following. They looked for a safe spot in the light of the dusk, eventually settling on the middle of a tight thicket. It was complicated to get inside, but the small space was comfortable, and the pair even had a view of the darkening sky. They ate some food then laid down, hand in hand. “Your district partner doesn’t seem to mind that you ditched her” joked Alexandra.
“I don’t think she cares. Maybe they believe I’m dead. But they’re not looking for us at least.”
“I think Delta is, though. You should have seen his face when he saw us. I almost feel bad about leading him on.”
“Don’t worry, we’ll get rid of him if he isn’t dead yet.”
“I’m sure he’s feeling the same thing”, responded Alexandra before going to sleep. Angelo kept the first watch.
In another section of the arena, Carton took the first watch. He had spent the remaining hours of daylight cleaning his wounds, along with Rivage and Vannery. The two of them slept, hoping to feel better the next day.
A little before midnight, Rivage awoke. He came to sit next to Carton, and the boys talked about their families, their school. Suddenly, a cannon sounded. It belonged to Ulma (7), who had stumbled upon Quinoa’s (9) camp by accident. The younger girl had not hesitated to stab a pointy branch in Ulma’s throat. This cannon prompted Carton to go to sleep, Rivage taking second watch.
At midnight, the hymn of Panem resounded in the arena and the portraits of the 9 fallen appeared in the sky : Hattie (3), Sardine (4), Fraxen and Ulma (7), the boy (9), both (10), Ora and Forger (12). This left 17 tributes after an eventful and interesting day.
Day 2:
Delta didn’t sleep much that night. The uncomfortable position coupled with a strong headache meant that he was up before the sunrise. As the first hints of blue appeared to the east, Delta got up. He needed to occupy his mind. The moss had stuck to his clothes, and he decided to take advantage of it. He caked his face and hands in mud and used it to stick more moss to his clothes. Urania commented that he looked like a green Orang-utang, which prompted laughter in the Capitol. Once he was fully camouflaged, he started roaming the arena. Stealthily at first, but as the sun rose and the birds started their cacophony as well, he allowed himself to move a little faster.
Alexandra and her district partner had spent a restful night. As she awoke, she was surprised to be cuddling with Angelo. Her rousing awakened him, and he turned around to look at her, puzzled. “I guess you’re the little spoon”, she joked. They ate cereal bars in awkward silence. Soon, the voices of the career pack walking in their direction prompted the pair to hide. Proserpina and Perfecto were loudly arguing about someone stealing their water bottles. Unbeknownst to them, it had been Glare who had hidden them in her own bag.
As they moved away from her, Alexandra suggested they follow the trio like the day before. Angelo thought it was a safe strategy as long as they kept their distances. They made their way out of the thorny thicket and followed. A few minutes later, a scream warned them that something was going on. It was Glare (1). She’d walked into a trap laid by Georges the day before and was now hanging upside down from a rope. Perfecto started to help her, but the stolen bottles fell from her bag, along with a few hidden knives and more food. Instead of killing her, as Perfecto wanted to do, Proserpina convinced him to leave her there. She screamed and screamed. Proserpina and Perfecto left her there wiggling. Before Alexandra and Angelo could arrive, the thin rope holding up Glare by the ankle snapped. She fell headfirst on the ground and her cannon sounded. Alexandra winced, but Angelo told her that it was better this way, since you could survive for many hours hanging this way. Then another cannon sounded.
Delta had been unsuccessful for a few hours. He had avoided a couple of poorly made traps and fought off a flock of tiny yellow canaries but had been unable to find another tribute. Eventually, he decided to change tactics. He found a path that clearly looked like it was in use and hid in proximity. His ambush eventually worked. Lavandine (11) walked past him, clutching a meagre stick in her pale hands. She didn’t even notice him getting up and following her, his branch raised. Many viewers thought it looked cartoonish, the tiny girl, followed by a big man with a club, not noticing anything. Glare’s cannon gave him the signal he expected, and he swung at her head. Lavandine flew and crashed into a patch of ferns. Her head was bloody, but she was still alive. Delta walked up to her in order to finish what he had started. The cameras cut to another group of tributes.
For the whole morning, Vannery, Rivage and Carton had been staying put. They foraged, fished, and built rudimentary spears just in case. Vannery climbed trees, very carefully in order not to disturb any more birds, so she could spot any tributes. Eventually she did, a little after midday. The pair from district 5 was heading their way. They were armed.
Vannery transmitted the information to the boys, who debated leaving or fighting. “Let’s fight !” said Vannery. There were 3 of them against 2, and they had weapons. Carton had his lance, Rivage his trident, and her… a spear and a rock would do the trick. So, they waited for what felt like a century. As soon as Borea and Zapp entered their field of vision, they attacked. The pair was surprised, but not enough to let themselves be killed that easily. Borea shouted at Zapp to run while she fended of Rivage’s trident with her sword. She had wrapped metal coil all around her arms, as she had seen on one of the older games. They clashed for an instant, enough time for her to disarm him, and then she ran too. On the way, she threw an egg she’d hidden in her pocket to the group. A flock of angry sparrows was the distraction the pair from 5 needed to escape.
Proserpina and Perfecto seemed to have made up a little and were now actively hunting. Still, they weren’t aware of the couple _ the “double A couple” as they were now called in the Capitol _ following them from afar. They dared not speak, but the looks they shared meant a lot more. They say love makes you blind, and maybe that’s why Alexandra didn’t see the orange and turquoise pheasant she walked on. It screamed and ran away, catching the attention of Proserpina. She turned around and shouted, “I knew it !” before charging at Angelo and her ally. Her first axe hit a tree a few inches above Alexandra’s head. She was hesitant to fight a career, but Angelo had already jumped into the fray and was now battling his district partner. So, she ran at Perfecto, who was lagging behind. He quickly turned around and sprinted when Proserpina’s cannon sounded. Angelo had managed to stab her in the gut. The look of betrayal was still printed on her face as the hovercraft claw took her away.
The pair was unsure if they needed to pursue the boy from 1, as Angelo assured that he was an “ego-inflated wimp” . Instead, they rifled through the bag Proserpina had dropped and decided to rest a little. They could have stayed there longer if it hadn’t been for the fire…
After getting rid of the birds, the trio decided to keep following Zapp and Borea (5) in order to get their supplies. Vannery managed to track them thanks to their footprints and the trail of broken branches. They found them quite quickly. Indeed, the gamemakers had decided to trigger a forest fire in order to move the tributes around a little. This explained why they had seen so many birds flying away. The pair from 5, however, had found themselves cornered on three sides by the flames, and the last side was where Carton and his allies arrived from.
Rivage thrusted his trident straight into Borea’s back, sounding her cannon. Carton’s lance, however, flew past Zapp and into the fiery inferno. The boy from 4 barely had the time to pick up his trident before a tree fell, smashing into the boy from 5 and sounding his cannon. As other trees started to creak and groan, Vannery led the boys back to the creek, where she believed the water would keep them safe.
Delta ran as soon as he smelled smoke. He ended up in a small clearing in the Southern part of the arena. As the grass quickly burned, he jumped into the flames. Many viewers gasped, thinking he had just killed himself, but he just ran a few seconds then stopped. Argus explained that the fire had been controlled in a way that it burned quickly and extinguished itself just as fast. From his spot of scorched earth, Delta was safe for now. From the sky descended a small silver parachute bearing the number 6. It contained a water bottle and some aspirin. Delta was the only one to use this strategy successfully. A few minutes after him, Circuit (3), who was shorter and weaker, tried. He fell face first into the fire and did not get up, his cannon sounding a few moments later.
Angelo and Alexandra were some of the closest to the central clearing, so it was after the three cannons that the fire reached them. They ran. Angelo was practically flying but the fire was catching up to Alexandra. Another tree cracked. It crashed onto the girl, pinning her legs to the ground. Thankfully, it was a much younger tree, and it did not cause her much more damage. For an instant, Alexandra thought the boy from 2 would just keep running. That he would be glad to get rid of yet another opponent. But he turned around. He used his axe as a lever, bending it in the process, to get the girl free. Then he picked her up onto his back and ran again. Angelo was not a very muscular tribute, but he proved to be quite a strong one.
Neither Carton, nor his allies had suffered any injury thanks to Vannery’s quick thinking. The creek was wide enough to protect them from the flames, and they avoided any falling branch. Quinoa (9) had had the same idea. She internally debated reaching the small group, but eventually decided not to. In the late afternoon, it started to rain, revealing that many of the trees and plants of the forest were actually fireproof. It was much sparser now, but the rain cleaned off the soot and, soon enough, the forest was green again.
Rivage, Vannery and Carton huddled together. They stayed that way for the whole evening, until Carton took the first watch while the other two went to sleep.
Delta was almost unharmed too, apart from a few minor burns on his ankles. The aspirin had taken effect, and for once in a long time, he felt totally clear headed. He hoped his district partner had died today.
The fire had changed the landscape quite a lot. What used to be a lush jungle was now less green. The ground was visible in most places, and the humidity levels had gone down. The sky was more visible. It also meant that the traps set by Georges and Odette (N) on the first day were either destroyed or very conspicuous. The boy from 6 avoided them all.
Delta found a pond where he cleaned himself from the soot and the half-charred moss. The fresh water also soothed his burns. He ended up settling close by, between two fallen trees.
Angelo and Alexandra, however, had suffered many burns. Fortunately, as they were setting camp and trying to remove their singed clothes, a silver parachute descended over them. It contained two containers of oil, as well as a blanket and a note from Angelo’s mentors, which he did not show to Alexandra. It would later be revealed that it scolded him for keeping his plan of betraying the career pack secret. The oil was perfumed and designed to almost instantly heal burns. It worked a charm. As the massaging continued, the two tributes started to get more and more steamy. They were intimate that night.
While they were busy, the portraits of the fallen appeared in the sky. The second day of the games had seen the loss of Glare (1), Proserpina (2), Circuit (3), Borea and Zapp (5), and Lavandine (11). This left only 11 tributes for the third day, with better odds now that a few strong tributes were gone.
Day 3:
On the morning of the third day, an announcement was made by Head Gamemaker Vishwa. She informed the tributes that a feast would be held at noon, three hours from now. The 11 surviving boys and girls would find supplies they desperately needed there. She then wished everyone a glorious day and the dampened sound of the birdsongs came back in full force.
The announcement awoke Delta, but he decided not to go to the Feast. He still had food and a source of water nearby, as well as his heavy branch. A real weapon would have been nice, but he didn’t feel safe going to the central clearing. Instead, he decided to just sleep more. He only woke up again when the first cannon sounded.
As for the couple, they were lost in bliss. Their show from the previous night had to be censored, although it was available for those who had enough “connections”. Let’s just say that it was quite memorable, and cemented Angelo and Alexandra’s place as favorites. They got ready after a long cuddling session, grabbing their bags and their weapons and heading to the cornucopia. They arrived with minutes to spare. Actually, they were the last tributes to arrive.
Vannery had been the first on site, scouting for other tributes. Once she had been sure the coast was clear, she had signaled to Rivage and Carton that they could come. They hid in the bushes nearby; this area having been spared from the fires. Little by little, other tributes started to arrive. Kumquat (11) hid behind a tree, Perfecto (1) stood in the open, Odette and Georges (N) huddled together.
As Quinoa (9) and the “Double A couple” finally arrived, the cornucopia started receding into the ground. It reappeared at once, and a bell rang.
Vannery stayed behind. She watched all the tributes run to the center where laid 8 numbered bags, including Carton and Rivage. The fighting raged in the cornucopia. Her allies attacked Alexandra and Angelo, as Kumquat escaped with his bag. Quinoa (9) almost got out, but Perfecto (1) caught her by the ponytail and stabbed her in the throat, sounding her cannon. He then picked up her bag in addition to his.
Alexandra and Angelo fought side to side, covering each other. She scared Odette (N) away, while he pushed back against Rivage. The boy from 4 tried to hit Alexandra again, but her ally caught the trident and almost tore it out of Rivage’s hands. Instead of trying again, he attacked Georges. The trident hit him in the back and sounded his cannon a few seconds later. Angelo took advantage of this distraction to slash at Carton with his sword, causing the boy from 8 to bleed out.
Vannery screamed and ran out of her hiding place, almost colliding with Odette (N) on the way. Rivage grabbed the district 4 and district 8 bags in one hand, and Vannery’s arm in the other, and they ran away together. The young girl cried and struggled to keep up the pace. She wanted to go back, but Carton’s cannon sounded, ruining her hopes.
Angelo and Alexandra were the last tributes to get their bags. One of Perfecto’s knives punctured Alexandra’s. The pair turned back, giving Kumquat (11) enough time to flee. They chased Perfecto into the woods. He was quick, however, and they had a hard time gaining on him.
The following hours were very quiet, boring, even, so Urania and Argus invited a few guests to discuss the bloodbath and the tributes’ different strategies. It was only in the late afternoon that Delta deigned getting up. He was well rested. He ate what remained of his food and started camouflaging himself once again in order to hunt. The tributes were now very spread out, however, and it appeared that Delta was in an area devoid of them. He walked until it got too dark to continue, before letting out a scream of rage. His sudden outburst scared some resting birds. They flew away and hit Kumquat (11) square in the face as he was in the process of climbing up one of the taller trees. The surprise caused him to lose his grip and he fell to his death a few feet away from Delta, his Feast bag laying next to him. Suddenly, Delta laughed and thanked the birds. He emptied the contents of the bag, glad to find some fresh food and water. He settled right there for the night.
Angelo and Alexandra eventually gave up on hunting Perfecto. Every time they thought they heard him; it turned out to be another bird. He was nowhere to be found. The pair settled down near a creek, right where Carton and his allies had camped earlier, in order to clean themselves. It was another spectacle to behold. The couple played in the fresh water, wearing only their underwear, and at one point, Alexandra winked at one of the cameras. This resulted in the appearance of a sponsor gift a few seconds later. She caught it and opened it discreetly once she was dressed again. She checked that Angelo was busy with the campfire before peeking inside. There was a water bottle and a tiny, sheathed stiletto knife, about two inches long. There was also a note that said : “You will only get one chance” – S. She acted nonchalant, thanked her sponsor for the water, and hid the knife in her sock. She took the first watch, jumping when a cannon sounded.
Since they had come back from the Feast, Vannery felt that Rivage was acting strange. He kept pacing and muttering to himself and seemed unhappy even though they had received enough supplies to last five more days in the arena at least. They found another place to sleep, Vannery built a new shelter. As she was about to go to sleep, Rivage approached her, trident in hand. He didn’t speak, so she asked him what he wanted. “I’m sorr-“ he started. Vannery interrupted him : “Behind you !”.
He spun around and threw his trident. It caught Perfecto in the head, sounding his cannon before he had hit the ground. He had been sneaking up behind Rivage with a knife in both hands, but Vannery had a keen eye. Rivage seemed to deflate. He cleaned up his weapon and went to sleep. Vannery tried to ask him what he wanted to tell her, but he didn’t answer. Instead, she took the first watch.
At midnight, five portraits appeared in the sky : Perfecto (1), Carton (8), Quinoa (9), Kumquat (11) and Georges (N). The six remaining tributes were spread out around the arena : Rivage and Vannery to the East, Angelo and Alexandra to the North, Odette (N) in the South and Delta to the West.
Day 4:
The sound of a cannon startled Delta out of his slumber. He was feeling well rested and decided to head to the cornucopia with just his branch and a knife he had taken from Kumquat. With only 5 remaining tributes, he knew that the showdown was about to take place and was about as excited as the viewers in the Capitol for it to happen. On the way, he stumbled upon a suspicious mound of leaves. He almost let it be, until he saw two feet poking out of it. As he bent down to look at it, a sharp pain entered his shoulder blade. By pure reflex, he swung his club backwards, hitting a barefoot Odette (N) in the forehead. She stumbled backwards, clutching her knife, and tripped on a rock. Delta jumped onto her, planting his knee in her stomach, and stabbed her with her own knife. He added it to his “collection”.
The atmosphere between Alexandra and Angelo had been quite tense since they’d woken up. They hadn’t slept so well. When the first cannon sounded, they set out to get to the cornucopia, and by the time the second cannon echoed throughout the arena, they were in position. “We’ll fight together, right ?” asked Alexandra. Angelo nodded solemnly : “Until there’s no one else. I’m so glad I got to meet you.”
“Me too… Too bad one of us will have to die.”
As she said those words, a twig cracked in a nearby bush.
The first cannon had shocked the viewers quite a bit. As Rivage finished his watch, he looked at Vannery, asleep next to him. He murmured “I’m sorry”, so low that it had to be subtitled. Then he plunged his trident in her throat. Before leaving, Rivage let out the longest sigh of relief.
Alexandra climbed onto the cornucopia, hiding herself, a length of rope held tight between her hands. She waited as Rivage entered the clearing. He was focused on Angelo. Delta appeared a few seconds later, on the other side of the cornucopia. He walked under it, oblivious to the girl awaiting him. As Angelo charged Rivage with his sword, Alexandra lowered the rope. Delta let out a choked growl as she pulled. He was much stronger, however. With one labored step, he yanked her off the roof. The rope was still around his neck, but his hands were now around Alexandra’s. Nevertheless, she held on to the rope, using it to hold him at bay. Just before she fell unconscious, she kicked him in the groin. She let out a few coughs, before grabbing the two ends of the rope again and pulling Delta against one of the steel columns of the cornucopia. Delta tried to stab her, but she was behind him, and he was quickly loosing consciousness. With one last brutal pull, the rope crushed his windpipe.
Alexandra watched Angelo dispose of Rivage with one final feint of his sword, and his cannon sounded at the same time as Delta’s.
Silence fell on the clearing. Even the birds had shut up. The couple was breathing heavily. They hugged tight. Something glinted in Alexandra’s hand. She almost reached Angelo’s neck when he gripped her wrist. He smiled, but his eyes were full of sorrow. “I had to try at least !” she half-laughed, half-whimpered. He sat her down and hugged her once again. She told him that he deserved to win. That he was a good man. He took his swords and gently stabbed Alexandra in the heart. She barely cried as he looked into her eyes. A cannon sounded. The last one. Jahani Vishwa announced Angelo Clearfell, of district 2, as the victor of the 119th Hunger Games. He had to be forcefully removed form Alexandra’s corpse in order to be retrieved.
Aftermath:
The games took an immense toll on Angelo, who was unable to speak for more than a month. Even when he had gotten the use of his words back, he fell into a lengthy depression. His interview with Urania Whimsiwick and Argus Brown had to be cut short as soon as they mentioned Alexandra.
After that, he remained alone in his home of the Victor’s village. He received no guests and did not act as a mentor the following years. The other victors of his district described him as “disillusioned” and “a killjoy”. The situation stayed the same until his disappearance two years later.
submitted by Sylver713 to christianblanco [link] [comments]


2023.06.07 21:01 Trash_Tia Camp Redwood is running out of counselors! These children ARE NOT CHILDREN. Update: So, you're telling me it's NOT 2018?

Welcome to Camp Redwood!
Are you ready to fight to the death with age regressed forty year olds with the faces of adorable little kids?
How about coming to terms with your entire life, or at least five years of it, being one big fucking lie?
We are so excited to announce our 2018 group! Where you will undoubtedly FIND yourself here. Your true self.
The self you did not know existed.
SO, jump in that military bunker, grab that blunt object to fight against our little campers disembowelling our counselors, and get yourself down to CAMP REDWOOD. WHERE WE START EVERY DAY WITH A CAMP REDWOOD SMILE.
Apply now!
Application end date: 05/02/2018.

It’s been a tough few days.
So, I think I will be posting this update in two chunks so I can get everything down and clear my head. I am alone right now.
Yes. I am the last survivor of Camp Redwood 2023 (?). I’ve been unsure how to start this and end this because I really just want to get into the meat of what has been going on.
But… I must ask. I have to.
What year is it?
That doesn't matter right now. I'll continue where I left off.
Teddy did leave us alone in the end. But his screams were still haunting me hours after the thing with his voice had left. I don’t even think I could call it his voice.
It sounded like him but there were pieces of him missing. Like someone had reached into the boy’s mind and pulled out the skeleton of his consciousness, the bare bones of his being—and cruelly stuffed him into a metal shell.
That is what Teddy sounded like.
He sounded like a wounded animal, confused why he was alive. Terrified. I now know what he is the product of. Teddy is a victim of horrifying, unethical experiments our campers have been forcing on kidnapped counselors after taking over the camp. Have you ever heard of the sound of crying which isn’t human?
That is Teddy. He is the product of forcing life into the dead, and leaving it to suffer with its consciousness. Which, in my opinion, is a fate far worse than death.
You’re probably wondering where my two companions are.
Well, that is why I am writing this.
I want to tell you what happened so I can wrap my head around it myself, and choose between killing all of us and sending these psychopaths to hell, or coming to terms with our truth and fighting back. Well, it’s their truth. I wouldn’t say it’s mine. It took us three whole days to get the guts to risk leaving Allison’s secret bunker inside her cabin, and attempting to find a way out of this hell-hole. Harry and I were the ones to do it, leaving a still-not-completely-himself Rowan to guard our safehouse. I didn’t want to leave him alone for a multitude of reasons but due to Harry actually having a soul and a semblance of empathy, I was overruled.
Despite being heavily under the influence of age-regressing animal crackers which had mentally turned him into a toddler, Rowan was still himself to a degree. Which meant he was back to being our leader. I was sceptical at first, because no matter how many times he insisted he was in fact okay, I couldn’t seem to shake off the feeling that the childish parts of him, the warped parts of his mind which had turned him into a child, were still there.
Even if they were very subtle. I caught him doodling on his clipboard, and much later on, singing to himself with an odd smile on his face he had successfully gaslit Harry and I into believing it was just a coping mechanism. Say what you want about Rowan Atlas, he is damn good at swaying your opinion. Even when we were 100% sure Rowan was not his original self, the guy we had both met at the start of camp.
It was almost like him having two minds. The mind of a child, and the mind of a teenager.
For example, he still ordered us around and attempted to take back his role of leader— which had at least secured some normality back into our lives. But he also hated loud noises, and freaked out every time one of the littles tried to get in. There was also the incident we had agreed not to talk about, because talking about it meant facing the fact that our friend was no longer himself.
It was a hours after Teddy left us in peace. Harry was sleeping, and I was on the cusp of slumber, slipping through more files. Rowan had been oddly quiet. Which wasn’t a Rowan thing. Whether he was mentally a child or a teenager, he was still being loud and obnoxious. I sat up to find him cross-legged, playing with something.
I thought it was a worm at first, but no. It was exactly like what I found at the start of this, an eye attached to a nerve. But this time it was undoubtedly human, and now Rowan’s plaything. When I questioned him, he said he was “studying” it. Though there was definitely a difference between studying something and playing with it. The scary thing was, he saw no wrong in it, holding it in his hands and stripping off the metallic pieces cruelly attached to it.
In the end, I took it from him and stamped on it. Rowan didn’t have the reaction I was expecting. Because he was still hiding behind the façade that his mind hadn’t been warped by de-aging animal crackers.
If that wasn’t bad enough, Eleanor Summers had given me a 24 hour deadline to hand over the boys, and we were well over the limit so an ambush was likely imminent.
I still had so many questions. Why were Rowan, Harry and Carmel so important while the rest of us were seen as nothing but spare parts?
That is what the little bitch said. Now physically eleven years old with the mind of a deranged forty year old scientist, Eleanor told me I was nothing to them but spare parts. God, it’s so weird calling her what she is after looking after her kid self, her fake self, for weeks.
Little Eleanor with her golden pigtails and obsession with teddy bear picnics was in fact a complete fucking sociopath. That much of one in fact, that her and her equally psychotic colleagues who engaged in these experiments had been regressed into little kids inside a rehabilitation camp (Nicknamed: Project Spearhead) which was supposed to fix them and had failed spectacularly. Because they’ve taken over. And this time? We’re the fucking lab rats.
The counselors here at Redwood.
I had seen her adult self being interviewed by mysterious Agent Lemrac, a face behind Project Spearhead, the girl who was far too young to be an agent, and have that kind of authority. Also, someone with a soul—who had a clear biased opinion against the experiments.
Part of me wondered if Lemrac still existed. Maybe she was behind the odd phone calls we kept receiving on an old fashioned rotary phone. With Eleanor’s deadline in mind, the two of us made our journey quick. It wasn’t hard to leave the camp itself. There were guards in the form of Callen and Olive, brainwashed and turned into the kid’s muscle, but they were easy enough to get past as long as we distracted them with something shiny.
They were mentally six-years-old so literally anything grabbed their attention.
I quickly realized my mistake once we managed to escape the camp—Harry in front of me, with me lagging behind. We moved slowly, ducking behind trees and throwing ourselves into the dirt. Very cloak and dagger. It didn’t take us long to slip into the woods. Just past the lake were the exit gates to Redwood which led to a road.
Not exactly civilisation, but I would take it over having my body taken apart for “parts” in these so-called experiments.
When we got to the gate, however, I realized I had given the adults too much fucking credit.
Whoever was in charge of Spearhead clearly did not care about lingering survivors, as long as they were successfully cutting us out from the outside world. And that’s what the giant wall I found myself staring at was, an impossible foot monster towering over us and cementing my earlier thoughts. We were screwed. The woman on the phone had made it clear we were being abandoned, and yet some of me naively held onto them maybe still rescuing us.
“Fuck.” I didn’t know what to do, but kicking the damn thing felt like the right thing. I did, and then regretted it half a second later.
This thing was impenetrable. Impossible to climb unless we had a fucking death-wish.
Blinking at it through fraying sunlight blinding me, the thing almost resembled a mirage. It stood under the sun, a giant roadblock completely blocking us from any form of help.
The sun wasn’t helping, scorching through my shirt. I swiped at my sweaty forehead, unable to resist a frustrated scream I had to muffle-gag with my hand. I risked a look behind us. Thankfully, we were around ten minutes away from the main camp. The lake was nearby glittering under a late afternoon sun, and all I wanted to right then was to wade into the shallows and let the murky water swallow me up. The little shits couldn’t swim, maybe I’d be safe.
“Fuck!”
“This is bad.” Harry Carlisle broke the silence after my frustrated cry. With his eyes glued to the wall, he took off his hat and ran a hand through dark brown curls which were catching the light of the sun, setting strands alight across his forehead. None of us were in great shape after spending days hunkered down in a secret bunker. Harry was no exception.
His short sleeved camp Redwood shirt was still covered with vomit, discoloured with days’ worth of sweat stains and lack of showers.
He bent over, grasping hold of his knees. “What do we do?” I could tell by the tone of his voice he was freaking out, and I didn’t blame him. But Harry was still on my mind.
His signature was undoubtedly all over every Project Spearhead file, despite him repeatedly insisting he had nothing to do with it. At that moment, I could almost believe him. The boy looked exhausted and frustrated, pained.
He surprised me by slipping to his knees and burying his head in the dirt and screaming into rough soil. I was struck, then, by the sudden memory of flames. I had been sitting around campfires for weeks at Redwood, but this one didn’t feel like it took place at camp.
Instead, it felt more personal. I could almost see it, flickering orange sparking at the backs of my eyes and the sour taste of beer in my throat. Like the memory was trying to push itself to the surface. This moment felt nostalgic and yet close—as if it had happened yesterday. Like both the past and present had entangled in one.
If I concentrated I swore I could hear the murmur of voices, phantom laughter in my head and a cool night breeze grazing my cheeks.
“Earth to Josie?”
I snapped out of it quickly. “You’re asking me?” I kicked the dirt again. “I thought Rowan was our camp leader.”
Harry lifted his head after a moment, his eyes flicking to me. “You know he can’t make rash decisions right now.”
“Exactly.” I said. “We both know he’s not back to his normal self. He’s both right now. A little kid, and a teenager.” I shuddered. “I’m sorry, did I forget to mention our so-called head counsellor was playing with a human eye like a fucking cat?”
“Mm."
“Well, why aren’t you taking it seriously?”
Harry’s gaze skated the horizon, cotton candy colored clouds blurring into twilight. “Becauuuse the sun is going to your head.”
I could practically hear his eyes rolling. Harry took three strides towards the wall and pressed his face into rough brick. “So, this is it, right?” He muffled into rough cement. “We are really going to die at fucking summer camp.”
“I’m going to die,” I corrected him. “They want you two and Carmel because apparently you’re special.”
Harry made a scoffing noise into the wall. I was starting to think he was setting up camp there, planning to tell all of his grievances to the cement. “Oh yeah, because that’s a good thing? You’ve seen—no—heard what they’ve done to Teddy and the others, and you think them wanting us for something else is special?” his voice broke a little. “I’d rather have your fate.”
The boy’s words made me realize how little I was compared to the others. While they and Carmel were part of some grand, psychotic scheme, I was just needed for extra bulk. “Why don’t you talk to your friends?” I said, after letting the boy throw several punches into the soil. I wasn’t going to comment on his hits being surprisingly strong enough to shake the ground.
Harry didn’t look at me after calming down, resorting to tracing the earth with the toes of his shoe. “Who?”
"The CIA."
I was surprised by his retort, even if it was equally sarcastic. “Oh, you think I’m in the CIA?” He stepped closer to me, his breath in my face. “In case you haven’t noticed, this is bigger than the CIA. Whoever is in charge of this project is way higher up.”
“So, you’re admitting you’re a sleeper.”
“No, that’s not what I—”
“Then what?” I demanded, cutting him off. “Why are your fingerprints quite literally all over this?”
Harry folded his arms, his expression darkening. "You're still talking about this?" He groaned. “Josie.” He planted his hands on my shoulders. “I am not a spy, okay? Yes, my writing being on those documents was weird, but we’re also dealing with animal crackers which turn us into littles.” His lips curved into the slightest of smirks. “I’m pretty sure it would be easy for a group of scientists to use my writing as some kind of red herring. They’re trying to turn us against each other, obviously. And that’s not going to happen.” He squeezed my shoulders and I felt momentary comfort. I was so tired.
I hadn’t slept properly in days in fear of Eleanor coming to smoke us out—and the urge to just sink into the boy’s chest was suddenly overwhelming. Luckily, I had self-control. I took a step back, and he dropped his arms. “That's sobering, yes,” I said. “But I’m still going to try waking you up with those trigger phrases we found.”
When he tried to speak, I shook my head.
“Like it or not, you’re our only way out.”
I had made it clear several times to the two of them that I had no intention to use the trigger phrases we found taped to the back of the door in the bunker, when searching for more intel. But the more I was really thinking about it, if there were sleeper agents capable of taking down a group of forty-year-old tweens, I had no choice but to at least try. Because it was either that, or I gave the littles what they wanted. The boy’s. Whatever they needed, Rowan, Carmel, and Harry were the keys to their plan.
We needed a miracle, and those trigger phrases were our best shot.
Harry, of course, was against this idea.
He did that thing he always did when he scrunched up his nose and curled his lip. It reminded me of a toddler not getting their way. I saw it exclusively when the littles were taking advantage of his piggybacking service. “Josie, I’m not a fucking spy!”
"You could be." I said stiffly. "And until we figure out what is going on with you, I don't trust you. You said it yourself. Your writing was all over the kid's files, so at some point, regardless of you remembering or not, you have been part of this project.”
“So, why did you bring me out here?” He inclined his head. “You don’t trust me and yet you bring me on your little mission to find an exit.”
I shrugged. “I was partly hoping we would be attacked and your natural instincts would kick in.”
“So, I’m your lab-rat?”
“Partially.”
Harry did the scrunchy-nose thing again. “What the fuck, dude?!”
He looked like he was going to argue before deciding against it. Instead, he slipped on his raybans and gestured behind me with a sigh.
"We should probably get going before those little freaks come looking for us and realize we’ve left our safehouse.” I didn’t know how to explain and put into words that to survive we had to try everything—and if there was a slither of a chance that Harry really was some kind of sleeper agent, I was going to take advantage of that. I hadn’t forgotten about Carmel, Callan, and Olive. Rowan too, no matter how screwed up he was. I was counting on getting all of us out. I turned on my heel and started to head back to camp. I didn’t look at him because doing that would make me weak.
“Right. Let’s go.”
There was something going at the camp when we got back. I was startled by an intense blue light illuminating from the lunch cabin, and I had half a mind to turn and run. Then the screams started. Just like Teddy, they sounded both human and not, a horrifying mix of man and machine wailing for death. I found myself paralysed, crouched behind Cassie’s cabin, their phantom screams rattling my skull sending my thoughts into overdrive. “Josie.” I felt warm fingers wrap around my elbow and pull me back. Harry was thankfully there, dragging me away before I could expose us. It was enough to snap me out of it. Enough to drive me into fight or flight.
When we made it back to Allison’s cabin, Rowan was sleeping. He had conked out halfway through a pack of gummy worms. I spent the next few hours going through each trigger phrase written on the yellow sticky note we found taped to the door. I figured if we were going to try and wake Harry up, he would have to be restrained in case he was triggered to hurt us or even himself. “Is this really necessary?”
“Yes.” I said, squinting at the third trigger phrase. The two of us were sitting cross-legged in front of each other. Harry, breathing heavily, and me, trying to make myself calm. Harry pulled gingerly at the jump-rope restraints we had managed to loop around his wrists. I was expecting something out of him, but all I got were his wide eyes staring back at me.
The latest phrase was twisting my brain. It sounded like a kid’s book. I took a deep breath.
“Green Tigers Do Not Live Independently.”
Harry didn’t move, making a deal of blinking rapidly back at me. “No, I mean,” he gestured to his arms pinned behind his back. “Why did you have to make them so tight?"
“Because you’re a spy, dude.” Rowan had woken up, intrigued by my attempts to wake up a possible sleeper. He was pretending to go through the Eleanor Summers footage again, but the boy was clearly invested in what we were doing. Sitting slumped in the spinning chair, he leaned his fist on his chin. There were various things about Rowan I wanted to point out, but I was too scared to. The tips of his fingers were still stained red, and I had no idea if it was new or old. Rowan Atlas used to be the one guy at camp I used to think looked older than he was—and acted older than he was.
Instead of taking part in camp activities, he chose to sit on a branch and read pretentious classics. Yeah. He was one of THOSE guys. The slight stubble on his chin would definitely get him served alcohol, and his intelligence and quick-thinking would easily sway you if you were sceptical. Now he was the complete opposite. Maybe I was imagining things, but he had definitely gotten younger in the face, even if it was just a year or two.
I am not talking about his appearance, however. Rowan’s mentality was drastically different from the guy who held crisis meetings and ordered all of us around like we were his own children. This guy had a certain childish twinkle in his eye when I happened to catch it, a twitch in his lips which was constantly a wide smile like he was constantly seeing butterflies. Before being force-fed animal crackers, the guy had maintained his hair and hygiene no matter what happened. Now, he looked like he’d been dragged through a forest. Literally. There was still grass and leaves caught in his sandy hair, his camp Redwood shirt torn in odd places.
He yawned, curling up on the chair, apparently getting comfy. “No hard feelings, but we gotta keep you under investigation. Like Josie said, your name was all over those shady documents.”
Even his voice was different. I couldn’t call it a squeak, but it was close enough to one.
“I’m not a spy,” Harry grumbled, ducking his head. “I think I would know if I was—what, some kind of government agent?”
“That’s the whole point of them,” Rowan, still with lingering childish traits, winked at him. “They don’t know either.” He raised his hand and mimed the finger guns, protruding them into his temples and pretending to pull the trigger. Adapting a storytelling tone, he lowered his voice to a whisper. Like he was talking to the kids.
“They can live their whole lives without realizing.” I could tell from his tone he was getting excited with the idea of sleeper agents. Maybe it was a kid thing. Rowan sat up straight with wide eyes. “Cruelly brainwashed by a secret organisation at a young age and turned into super soldiers, these guys have no family. No friends.” His gaze flicked to Harry, his lips twitching into a teasing grin. “Only the insatiable urge to kill and follow orders. They don’t have brains to feel or emotions. And that?”
He did a dramatic spin on the chair. I could tell he was revelling in the look of horror on Harry’s face. “That is the most dangerous thing about them. The inability to have free will. Because what happens when they come face to face with people they used to love? People from their old life?”
With both of us enthralled in his speech, the boy smirked. “They kill them. Family members and friends. With one simple order? BAM.” Harry jumped, and I am ashamed to say I did too. Rowan blew his imaginary finger guns. “With one single and yet perfect headshot, it’s allll over. There’s blood EVERYWHERE. There’s brains!” He giggled. “Brains! And it’s like, sooo gross.”
With the way he kept adding to his story, getting progressively more excited and practically vibrating in the chair, the boy was reminding me more and more of my little sister. Which terrified me. Because if this was him back to himself, was this his new normal?
“Rowan, stop.” It took every ounce of my being not to yell at him. “You’re acting like a fucking child.” I was frowning at a sign on the wall warning us to ‘mind our head’. It wasn’t even a low ceiling, and yet that was the fourth time I had seen that sign.
Harry looked mildly horrified. Usually, he was the one who told the ghost stories. I could tell even he was questioning his own identity at that moment, and I paused interrogating him with phrases. “I’m sorry, but who out of us ate our weight in animal crackers?”
“Against my will.” Rowan yawned again, doing another spin on the chair. I had to turn around and shoot him a glare. “That’s the second time you’ve thrown me being turned into a kid in my face. Which is not fair. Did I ask to be stuffed full of poison?"
“Well, you didn’t exactly fight against Eleanor.”
“I was tied up, asshole—and I’m pretty you were in la-la land at that point.”
“I’m allergic to peanut butter, so no,” Harry rolled his eyes. “I snapped out of it when my body reminded me.”
“That sounds like a you problem, dude.”
Harry groaned, tipping his head back. “Holy shit, Rowan. You used to be cool and now you’re like an annoying little brother.”
“Touché.”
“Shut up. Both of you.” I found my voice, grabbing a pen and scribbling out the first line of trigger phrases which were a no-go.
“Rowan, annoyingly, is right.” I said, ignoring the guy’s noise of glee. If he kept spinning around on that chair, I was going to kill him.
The blur of movement at the corner of my eye was driving me mad. Focusing on Harry, I took a break from the trigger phrases for a moment, poking him in the cheek. It was supposed to be light-hearted, but the guy looked offended.
“For the third time, we can’t ignore that at some point you have signed off on all of those files, which means you were part of Spearhead.” I shrugged. “I’m not saying you are, but we have to be smart if we’re going to survive against a group of deranged scientists.”
Rowan chuckled. “What she saiiiiiid.”
"Why aren't we paying attention to the guy who clearly has allegiance to those freaks?” Harry stuck out his tongue at Rowan, which was surprising on multiple levels. Wasn’t he supposed to be the normal one? “Aren't you their favorite counselor?"
"I was literally mind controlled by preservatives, asshole," Rowan shot back. "And I'm not the only one. You and Carmel are on their radar too."
"Yeah, but we’re not the ones playing with eyes.”
"I'm too tired to argue with you." The boy responded in a yawn, cuddling into the chair armrest like a cat. “Also… you’re a noodlehead.”
“Ignore him.” I told Harry. “Just focus on me, alright? You have to look at me.”
“I am!”
“It’s time to make the donuts.” I articulated it perfectly.
Harry surprised me with a laugh. “That one can’t be real.”
“It is. Shush.” I cleared my throat. “The strawberry moon will rise in July.” When nothing happened, I frowned. “Maybe I’m not saying them right.” I peered at the next one, mentally speaking it and then muttering it to myself to get an idea of the tone.
“Or,” Harry shrugged, pulling at his restraints. “I’m just spit-balling here, but maybe I’m NOT a secret government sleeper agent after all?”
“Be mindful of the deep ravine.” This time I practically shouted it in his face, only to get his wide smile in return.
“Josie, this isn’t working.”
“It will.” I was growing increasingly more frustrated. “Just try and listen to them, okay? Don’t push them out.”
I tried one more time, leaning close and scrunching up the sticky note in my hand. Harry’s expression stayed stoic, though from the contortions in his forehead and the twitch in his lips he was trying so hard not to laugh. “It looks like it will rain tonight.”
I was surprised, then, when Rowan jolted in the chair suddenly. He lifted his head, his eyes wide. I was seeing him back to his usual self for the flicker of a second, his expression contorted with fright, lips curling into a scowl. “Do you guys smell that?”
“Smell what?” I sniffed the air, but there was nothing which was out of the ordinary. I had grown used to the combined stink of our body odour.
Rowan wrinkled his nose. He sat up straighter. “That.” He whispered. “It smells like… burning.”
I opened my mouth to ask what he meant before Harry went stiff suddenly. I sensed his entire body seem to brace itself. His eyes hardened. “Untie me.” He said in a croak.
When my shaking hands went to the boy’s restraints, his were balled into fists. I glimpsed muscles bulging through the back of his shirt and forearms. His demeanour reminded me of an animal growing territorial. “Something is… wrong,” he said in a sharp breath. Harry’s frightened eyes found mine. “Wrong.” He said again, blinking rapidly. “Something is...wr–wrong. ” When I pulled the last of the rope from his arms, Rowan shocked me with a piercing cry which sent him tumbling off of the chair, his trembling hands planted over his ears, lips carved into an O.
His eyes were wide with terror, with agony I couldn't understand. Childish terror. Which catapulted him back to his real age.
Before I could hesitate, I was crawling over to him, attempting to snap the boy out of it. But he was inconsolable, his eyes almost unseeing, his body contorting with every shriek. It took me a moment to realize Harry was the same. But instead of a piercing shriek of a scream, he was wailing into his knees, as if to escape something.
His body seemed to jolt left and right, like he was being electrocuted. When I saw glimpses of sharp red pooling between his fingers and down the back of his neck, something sickly crept up my throat. Rowan was somehow worse, his whole face contorting like it was it's own separate being, rivulets of intense red dripping from his nose and mouth, and staining his hands desperately pressed over his ears.
It was a synchronised cry, I realized, after concluding that no matter what I did, I couldn't save them.
It was a sound only they could hear, a high-pitched screech like a dog-whistle which was only affecting them. It was the kids, I thought. Surely. If they could disembowel counselors, I was sure they would have no problem engineering a sound which would only affect certain people.
Stumbling back, I had two choices. I could either try and help them, try and block out this phantom noise slowly killing them-- or I could leave them and find a safer place. With that choice in my mind, I barely noticed the phone begin to ring under Allison's desk.
That same old fashioned trilling rang in my head, and I managed to reach under and grab the receiver, my heart in my throat. "Please." I managed to squeak out, trying to ignore Harry, who was trying to rip out his hair, his eyes rolling into the back of his head. I saw the whites, blood vessels popping one by one.
When he crumpled to the ground, I thought he was dead. But his wails continued into the floor, and I wanted them to stop. I wanted him to die because I couldn’t stand hearing him screaming for help which wasn’t coming. I couldn't help them, and it was killing me. The kids were clearly trying to smoke us out, this time targeting the boy’s. Still though, I had my secret weapon. The Spearhead project.
"There are three of us left," I panted down the phone. "You have to help us. I am at Camp Redwood. You need to get us out of here. Do you hear me? You need to get us out–"
“Attempts to fix the current situation have been unsuccessful, Miss Greenfield," the woman with the British accent's voice came through in a rush of static, cutting me off. Her voice was monotone, and I wondered if she was in fact a programmed bot.
"All efforts for manual activation have failed from the disaster zone. The signal appears to have been sabotaged. I repeat. The E.485 frequency has been sabotaged. Designated models 0115, 0116, and 0118 are now officiated as being faulty and are no longer needed for protocol 9AXC5. Please stand by for standard protocol deactivation. Thank you for your service. Agent Salta. Agent Elsilrac. Agent Lemrac.”
My grip loosened on the phone, and I felt my legs started to give-way. "You're the one doing this to them?”
When Rowan dropped to his knees, blood dripping from his nose, my stomach jumped into my throat. There was no way. I figured it was an attack from the kids, but I was wrong. Instead, this sound, this frequency, was coming from the phone.
I thought back to the video footage. Agent Lemrac interviewing Eleanor Summers. Harry's signature on the paperwork. “Can you… say that again?” I heard myself say in a breath. But the dead ringing tone was already clanging in my skull, a robotic countdown laced within the static. I grabbed the pen I had been writing with, scribbling those names down, my hands shaking.
“Preparing emergency shutdown protocol. Thank you for your service, Agent Salta, Elsilrac, Lemrac.” The voice continued, which was just another stab in the gut. I heard Salta before. I heard Lemrac. But writing them down, I realized what they meant.
Salta.
Elsilrac.
Lemrac.
I was a fucking idiot. No wonder the littles wanted them and Carmel— why they were so important to their plan. Slowly, I could feel myself start to crumble. The phone slipped from my clammy hands, but I could still hear the woman beginning an emergency shut down.
I didn’t feel the impact when my knees hit the ground, but I did start to sense something twisted and sour tickling the back of my nose and throat. By the time I had noticed it, it was already choking the bunker. But somehow, I didn’t care about the stars in my eyes or my own blood being projected onto my hands with every wet sounding cough exploding from my lungs. I could still hear their names, and every time I said each of them, more and more of me shattered.
Atlas.
Carlisle.
Carmel.
“18…”
“17…”
“16…”
“15…”
Laying on my back while my head spun, I was partially aware the boy’s screaming had cut off.
Instead, they were just sitting there, eyes wide and unseeing, the blankest I had ever seen them. There was so much blood running down their faces, and I imagined something rooted inside of them tearing their minds apart from the inside. Letting out another strangled cough, which was definitely biological warfare courtesy of the kids (not enough to kill, but definitely a warning not to fuck with them) my gaze flicked across the bunker, taking everything in. The paperwork we had been going through. The chair Rowan had been spinning around on. The ropes Harry’s arms had been entangled in. I was frowning at the walls, and then the ceiling.
“Please mind your head when you step down the stairs.”
Drinking in the words slowly, my cotton candy thoughts imploding into one blurry mess.
But then I was a little more awake, this time turning my gaze to the wall where the same sign had been taped to the wall. Please mind your head when you step down the stairs. And… there it was again, taped to the desk, and underneath the laptop. Hidden in plain sight. It had been there all along, and yet I only realised when I wasn't thinking about it, when my mind was being suffocated. Something seemed to snap inside of me, and I sat up, driven by pure adrenaline. With one hand pressed over my mouth and nose, I forced myself into a sitting position and dragged myself to Harry, whose head was lolled at an unnatural angle, his eyes closed.
Part of me wanted to smash up the phone, knowing what these bastards had done to their sleeper agents now they were no longer usable. The boy almost resembled a doll. Was this the so-called sleeper which had been planted inside Redwood? Empty eyes, empty everything. He was like a shell with a human face. No better than Eleanor's experiments.
When I grabbed hold of his arms, I had to hold him steady, his body cut from these puppet strings which had held him. “Harry.” I could barely speak, my voice more of a croak. I knew he was awake and aware, but a singeing, almost burning smell was coming from directly inside his head as blood ran from his nostrils in shades of red and pink. Now I knew what the burning was when I pressed my face against his and sucked in a lungful of poisoned air. It was him. He was a defect being set alight from the inside. “You need to look at me, okay?”
When he didn’t, instead crumbling in my arms, I struggled to hold him upright. Twisting my head to Rowan, he seemed in a better state—kind of. At least he was still sitting straight.
My last words were barely audible. “Please mind your head when you step down the—” no sooner had the words left my mouth before the sounds of footsteps coming from above, the unmistakable murmur of giggling getting closer and closer. Harry dropped to the ground like he had been severed from his puppet strings.
I wasn’t aware when I slipped to the floor, whatever had filled my lungs finally taking its toll. Through flickering eyes, I could see our barricade being blown through, the ground rumbling beneath me, throwing me into something warm.
Rowan.
His body was curled up against the wall, haemorrhaging from the ears.
It was only when I was truly taking in the stink curling in the back of my nose and throat as Eleanor Summer’s mechanical grin popped out of nowhere, when I realized I had smelled it before. I had choked on it before. The circle of kids looming above me let out a shrill squeak of, “Found you!” while I found the dark, and beyond that, a memory I thought was a dream.
Firelight flickered in the backs of my eyelids. The blur of orange and shadowy smoke was mesmerising. I stared real hard at the fire like I was told to, at smouldering shades of yellow and orange colliding, thick black smoke billowing into the air while our faces illuminated the circle. I tightened my grip on my beer, swallowing another mouthful. It was cheap shit, but had just enough burn to get me tipsy. I felt good at that moment. Relaxed.
My head was starting to spin, but it was the good spinning, like I was going round and around on a carousel. I wasn't sure why I felt apprehension at the moment.
It was just a game, right? So, why did I want to jump up and go home? Why did I want to squeeze my eyes shut? Milo's words rattled in my skull as I squinted into the fire. "Come forth, those who are no longer with us." Ghosts weren't real, I thought dizzily. They couldn't be.
Not when science and logic existed. However, when the flames began to grow increasingly more erratic, I couldn't resist leaning forward, and... there. Something warm crept its way up my throat.
There was a shadow twisted in the smoke, a very human-like thing stepping directly from the trees, from the hollowed darkness I had been too scared to fully take in-- finding solace in flickering and illuminated sparks spitting from the fire. The others started to murmur to each other as the thing took a step out of the trees. Clea shuffled back with a cry, and Milo and JJ turned twin shades of sickly pale. It was a guy.
Older, by maybe a year. Shaggy reddish hair tied into a loose ponytail. His clothes were a simple leather jacket and jeans, but looking at his face, he was bruised, every part of him exhausted and battered. His eyes, when I caught them, were nothing but twin pools of oblivion glaring back at us.
"Holy fuck." Milo hissed out. “I didn't think that would actually work!" Downing his beer, he whooped. "Alright! Name, age, occupation, and..."
His lips quirked into a grin. "How you died, man!”
The guy inclined his head, his mouth curling into the start of an amused smile. "I'm not a ghost, Jackass."
His British accent was jarring.
"And?" Milo leaned back, crossing his legs. "Play along, bro. Or I call the cops and tell 'em a grown ass man is fucking with some minors."
"But he looks our age," Clea hummed. "And he's kinda cute."
"I don't give a fuck," Milo's eyes were hard. "State your truth, or I get my dad on the line."
The guy rolled his eyes, raising both arms like he was surrendering. "Samuel Joseph Wilder," he surprised me by responding. Now that I looked at him, this guy definitely was not dead. Unless dead people carried a gun latched to their belt, and a cheap iPhone sticking from their jeans pocket. "Nineteen years old." He shrugged. "I guess you could say I'm an ex-student."
He paused, and I caught emotion flicker across his face, his hands balling into fists. "I was killed– no, murdered, by my town."
Milo leaned back, cracking open another beer and taking a sip. Clea leaned closer to him, her eyes wide. “Playing along, huh? I like it. State your truth."
The guy nodded, lowering his arms. His dark eyes flicked to each of us, drinking all of us in. “I just escaped from a secret government facility doubling as a summer camp which has converted half of my town’s kids into mindless super soldiers.”
There was a pause, before Clea burst into nervous giggles. Milo cocked his head. “I said state your truth, not plagiarise The Hunger Games.”
Ignoring Milo, the guy turned his eyes to me. "Josie Greenfield?" He took a step forward before seemingly deciding against it. I didn't move or speak, my heart in my throat. I didn't have to reply. This strange boy continued, his lips curling. "You're going to die tonight, Josie."
At that moment, I realized why I had been feeling nauseous all night. Why my mind had been anticipating something all day, and why, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't brush off his words. Maybe part of me was expecting this.
The stranger's tone was too cold to ignore, the state of him too real to brush off as a joke.
Suddenly, it was just me, him, and fate itself glaring down on us, my life as I knew it exploding into nothing in the charred remains of the dying fire.
His voice echoed in my head, collapsing into white noise, when I noticed how truly inhuman he looked. I fully took him in, illuminated in firelight. "If you don't get the fuck out of this town, you are going to have the same fate as me."

I’m going to go out on a whim and say it’s… not 2018 and I’ve been at Camp Redwood for way longer than I realized?
submitted by Trash_Tia to nosleep [link] [comments]


2023.06.07 20:45 thrownawaz092 I don't THINK I'm an assassin? - Chapter 3 - Stalking the streets

As day turned to dusk, the reality of the situation Mike had found himself in was starting to dawn on him. It was already established he was in monster central, and in another world, and alone, and had no idea what was going on around him, but after the initial need of not getting spotted and probably mauled was satisfied, a whole new slew of problems were arrayed before him. Where would he eat? Drink? Sleep? If he injured himself, where could he get medical supplies? Where was he going? How could he get back home?
Could he get back home?
A stiff wind blew around him and stole the heat from his body, leaving him cold in an encroaching dark. 'How do I know I can even get back?' besides knowing it existed, Mike knew nothing about magic. He was fairly certain that kobold had sent him back the first time, but by the looks of it they had also summoned him in the first place. Something else pulled him in the second time, so there was a very real chance that he wouldn't be able to do anything. 'and of course, that all comes before the fact I have no idea how to find the little lizard.' Mike ducked into an alley to avoid some kind of flying fish as he considered his situation. Hopeless as it was, finding a needle in a haystack was the only option to present itself, so he reluctantly chose his only option.
Things hit an all time low as Michael sat under a bridge that would serve as his shelter for the night. Sure, there were plenty of haunted houses to choose from, but they all ran the risk of him being found by the monsters that lived in monster city. The bridge was a solid piece of work, being composed mostly of concrete and some kind of wood, and it passed over a wide river that was pretty turbulent for its size. Mike was suprised by the lack of metal, but it seemed to be holding up well enough so he let it go.
Slinging off his backpack, Michael decided to occupy himself by taking stock of his inventory and situation. Laying everything out, he had:
The gym clothes he was wearing, just a tee shirt and shorts. They were sweaty, dirty and didn't cover much
His regular clothes, thick jeans, another tee shirt and an over shirt
His phone, which had no service and 67% battery life. 'yeah, let's turn on airplane mode and the battery saver.' it wouldn't last long, but the calculator, flashlight, stopwatch, notepad and compass tools could all be useful.
Earphones, 'ha! I downloaded all my songs and can listen to them forever if I find a charger! Suck on that Spotify elitists!'
Shoes, nothing special about them
A bag of chocolates that monsters think they're too good for
An almost empty water bottle. 'pro tip, if you're lost in the desert, conserve sweat, not water.' Remembering that bit of survival trivia, he downed the last few gulps.
His pocket knife, score! The salesman had told him this thing could withstand his own weight on the blade, and Mike had really put it through its paces to confirm that claim. It was also a swiss army knife and had several tools in it, even a firestarter! That alone tripled his chances out here.
His wallet, full of useless bills, coins and cards
A gym membership, also useless
Ankle and wrist weights, with detachable pieces of metal to change the weight. 'Should I keep these on or off?' On one hand, he would like to be as physically capable as possible for whatever was coming, and the constant work out would only help with that, but on the other, they would slow him down and tire him out. Not good without a food source. He took them off for now.
And a gym bag, which is always good to have.
The first thing Mike did was change back onto his normal clothes. They would keep him a little warmer and weren't so smelly, which would be good for werewolves that might sniff him out. Walking down to the river, it seemed clear, so he filled his bottle - he could always not drink it later - and began washing the gym clothes.
As he scrubbed his mind moved onto the situation he was in. Another world, monsters, magic and local superpowers are all established. Judging by the state of things, that being the ruins and monsters, this was probably once a thriving nation that had since been overrun and was now populated with the monsters that did so. The biggest concern that came out of that was that this clearly hadn't been a medieval society. True, just about everything was alien to him but he could recognize a TV screen or a car, this place was just as if not more advanced than earth, and they still got wiped out by monsters.
As Mike started wringing out his shorts, his introspection was interrupted when he heard voices overhead. He immediately stopped and turned his head up. It was getting dark by now and whatever was above him had a light, he couldn't understand what the two, no three voices were saying, but he didn't like the tone or the fact that the light source seemed to be getting closer to the side of the bridge. He tensed, and slowly put his sopping clothes into his bag as quietly as he could.
With a loud grunt, whoever has the light jumped over the edge of the bridge, still out of view behind a support but that was as close as he was willing to get. Mike took off as fast as he could in the opposite direction of the ravine the bridge crossed. The ones still on the bridge pulled out another light and called out to the one on the ground, who growled a response back. 'crap, crap, crap!' rang through Mike's head as he put on more speed, the sounds of pursuit not far behind. Between the weights and wet clothes, Michael was worried he might have to ditch his bag again, but it wasn't weighing him down nearly as much as the thought it should. 'just wish adrenaline would come this easy at the gym!' he was making good speed all things considered and was glad to hear his pursuer falling behind.
His hopes of escape were shattered however as one of them proved able to fly, because he heard a screech overhead and saw a silhouette giving away his position! Come on, that's not fair! He had to lose the little cheater and soon, otherwise the others could just run him down at their leisure! Mike turned, slipping on the grassy turf as he aimed to go back in the city. If the universe would just throw him a bone for once, there wouldn't be many other monsters, and he could shake these jerks.
He ducked into an alley, left onto a street before swinging behind some buildings again. Looking up he could still see that cheeky little spy plane was still on him, and from the sounds of the voices, the ones on foot were taking a direct route instead of weaving around, they were closing in. Thanking the universe for actually not putting other monsters in his way, Mike ducked into another alley and saw what he was looking for; a dumpster (he assumed) right under an open window. The only issue was the chain link fence between him and it. 'Really though, who sets up a fence right in an alley like this?' another call from above reminded him of his situation. 'right, deal with it now, ponder neighbors who probably hated each other later.' despite his dismay at the obstacle, he practically leapt over the fence, which was at least 6 feet tall. Adrenaline was one hell of a drug, but there was no way he could do that!
He mentally stored that away as well as he hopped on the dumpster and into the window, waited a couple seconds and hopped back out. He couldn't see the spy anymore which meant they couldn't see him either. He just managed to crawl down a basement window of a building on the other side of the alley before his pursuers burst into the alley as well.
Watching through the window, Michael finally got a good look at the one on foot. That was a big guy, like 8 feet tall and built like a truck kind of big. He was the one with the light in his hand, a glowing ball that floated in his palm, and it cast a rather terrifying shadow over his crocodilian face. He was a crocodile man, no other way about it. Thick tail, heavy green scales that are more yellow on the underside, whatever you're imagining is probably right. The teeth didn't look too sharp but they made up for that in size and number. Besides, if he was anything like earth crocs he had enough bite force to make gums probably work.
Mike was thanking his lucky stars he hadn't been caught when suddenly a second head popped out from behind the first, and he realized the croc had a bucket strapped to his back with something poking out of it. After a bit of chatter, a second creature slithered out of the bucket and onto the ground. It was... Strange to say the least.
The creature stood at four feet tall, and was clearly an aquatic being, being covered in fins from head to toe to tail, along with burgundy scales so small he might've mistaken them for skin. Looking at its head it was decidedly a moray, with a mouth full of sharp teeth and an eels... Tail? Body? Let's say tail, coming out of the back of its head. Or would it be a humanoid body coming out of the moray's neck? 'This thing is weird to look at! Why do you need two bodies!?' Michael mentally screamed at the merfolk. He was just getting a grip on his mental image of it when the merfolk threw a wrench into his poor brains attempt to understand it, by flying. Well ok it wasn't flying flying, but with a little hop and spreading its wing-like fins it was able to glide along while hardly touching the ground. 'well this just keeps getting less and less fair.'
A call from above, undoubtedly from their flier, probably told Mr. Crocodile that Mike was in the building that he double backed out of, because his made some growling sounds of their own before he and the merfolk entered in through the window. Mike released a breath he hadn't even realized he was holding and took a look around the room he was in. It was dark in here, with only a bit of light coming from the twilight of a single window, but he could see place was almost empty, with little more than the occasional rug or bit of furniture that had been strewn about and a bit of debris by the stairs.
Seeing his way out, he ran to the stairs before noticing that there was more debris in the way than he saw in the dark. Turning on the flashlight on his phone, his hopes were dashed as he saw that the upper floor had caved in, blocking his access out. He hadn't seen the flier come down to enter the other building, so they were most likely keeping overwatch in case he tried to give them the slip, which he already kinda had, but he needed to make the same trick to work twice, and that always goes well.
Peeking out the window, Mike caught sight of what he assumed to be the flier making rounds overhead. There were only a few seconds on the far side that line of sight was broken, not enough time to run, but there were other hiding spots. Taking a chance, Mike crawled back out of the window as soon as the flier was out of sight and hopped into the confirmed dumpster. It was around now that he realized he didn't exactly have a plan, and his situation wasn't exactly improved either. 'I'm just making sure that I'm not cornered in case they find me. Yeah that's it!' now he had a plan, and his situation had improved too! Sort of, stop asking questions. A few seconds later he was out and under a shutter, and on the next loop he was out of the alley.
Turns out, it's not that easy. Mike had thought he was safe, after rounding a corner he ran until he was sure he'd lost them, only to hear more footsteps from behind. The flier must have seen him and Mr Croc was in pursuit again, at least Mike had enough of a lead he couldn't see them yet. Testing a theory, Mike found a balcony and jumped for it. Yep! Lower gravity was confirmed as he made it nearly two meters off the ground! He also undershot it and smacked his head on the underside of the balcony, eliciting a (hopefully) dignified shriek, ruining the momentous occasion. Still, he was able to hit the ground running and made for another escape.
It had not taken long for a pattern to establish, Mike would hide and lose pursuit only to be spotted by the flier as soon as he got any distance. His best bet was, somehow, to stay close, under the radar so to speak and lead them away. He wasn't sure how they always knew what direction he was in, considering how well he kept out of sight, until he saw Mr. Croc kneel down and sniff a footprint. Ahh, they were tracking him.
That might actually be a blessing in disguise, because they were moving from an abandoned looking residential area to an industrial complex that was more populated, seeing a bit of foot traffic and lights in windows. He just might be able to lose them in there. Mike had a bit of a laugh at the fact that monsters were living on a jobsite when there were some perfectly fine - ok dilapidated, but so is everything else - houses a few streets over. He snapped his attention back to the situation at hand, he was still being chased after all, and now he planned on escaping by walking through Monster City night life. 'how did I let this become my best option?' there was nothing for it though, he just had to hope he could still keep out of sight.
After a couple close calls where Mike had turned a corner only to see a wall or monsters that somehow hadn't noticed him, he got enough of a lead that he could try hiding. Finding a road with hundreds of footprints up and down it, he backtracked a few meters before diving behind a couple pipes that were sticking out of a building.
Mr. Croc showed up not long after with the eel in tow, and signed the flier to come down. He could finally see that dirty little spy plane! It was a... Moth! 3 feet tall with big black eyes, droopy antennae and some soft looking fluff on its head and body, Mike would have thought it adorable if it hadn't been snitching on him!
Being unfamiliar with monsterese, Mike had no idea what was being said, but the body language made it clear they were arguing. It actually looked like a parent scolding their children, with Mr. Croc being 8 feet tall while the others were in the 3-4 foot range. That didn't stop fire being flung both ways as the small pair clearly gave the kind of back talk that would have gotten the taste slapped out of Michael's mouth if he tried it on his dad. With someone saying something the conversation suddenly came to an end with Mr. Croc spitting on the ground and turning away. He fiddled with a latch on his chest and the bucket on his back came loose, hitting the eel on the head and soaking it, undoubtedly on purpose. With a few snide remarks the three went their ways, leaving Mike gracefully alone.
...In the middle of monster city.
Why did the universe insist on not improving the situation? 'Ok that wasn't fair universe, you're trying very hard, and I appreciate you getting me out of that.'
Karmatic retribution for his insolent thoughts hopefully averted, Mike got moving again.
.
Much to his own chagrin and with a hint of irony, Mike found himself tailing Mr Croc. Looking back it was ridiculous that nobody had noticed him running through the streets but he was found squatting under a bridge. Mr. Croc clearly had a reputation of some kind, because people seemed to avoid him like the plague. When Mike tried to backtrack he found himself relatively surrounded by monsters compared to the empty streets he was chased through, and he ended up finding sanctuary in the invisible bubble of Mr. Croc's presence, causing no end of irritation on Mike's end.
.
After nearly an hour of following, Michael's blood was boiling. Maybe because it was due to the lack of sleep, maybe it was due to being chased for hours for no reason, maybe it was due to being forced to hang around his least favourite semi-aquatic reptile. Or maybe it was because he was witnessing a mugging.
While sneaking along behind his quary, Mike did his best to hang back aways and keep an eye out for an escape route. They were still in the industrial complex, but must have been leaving the populated area, judging by the fact that fewer and fewer monsters were coming out after the crocodile had passed. Michael was just about ready to finally get away from him when he spotted someone walking in their direction, clearly having missed the memo to stay away.
The Croc was on them in a flash and the old bird -that's not an insult, she had feathers and a beak- tried to run but didn't get more than a couple steps away before the Croc had gotten a hold of her. Michael watched from the shadows as the bird lady was shaken, growled at and nearly had her head taken off by the snapping maw of an Egyptian god who had a chip on his shoulder. She was panicked, trying to run and begging, but the actual monster had her arm in a firm grip, and with his other hand he grabbed a pouch of some kind of the lady before shoving her onto the ground and walking away like nothing happened.
Michael was fuming. All that just to snatch a purse!? This thug who had chased him all throughout town, acted like he owned the place, who could probably rip Mike in half, did all that over a freaking handbag! His anger froze cold as the victim slowly picked herself up. Now that she wasn't being actively assaulted he could see she really was an old bird, with patches of feathers, wrinkles, generally frail looking, he was looking at someone's grandmother! And that crocodile... No, he would not get away with this!
.
Michael's anger had been subdued by the realization of what he was doing, now tailing the 8-foot lizard man a lot closer than before and armed with a pocket knife, one that felt a lot smaller in his hand as he realized what he was doing, he wasn't sure how to actually do this. The bastard deserved what was coming, but after cooling off Mike knew rushing in was a bad idea. Luckily this industrial complex, or whatever it was, was packed with rails, pipes, and other things so tightly there was practically a second road overhead. Mike's plan, if you could call it that, was to jump down onto the guy and take him out before he even knew what was happening.
Michael barely made a sound as he went up and over, stopping only when his target looked around. It seemed he could tell something was off, but wasn't ready to act on the feeling just yet, which wasn't the kind of opportunity that Mike was one to waste. He dropped, silent as a shadow.
The crocodile may have been 8 feet tall, built like a brick and was in a lower gravity setting, but the simple fact was that he wasn't ready for someone to suddenly land on his neck. He went down like a sack of potatoes with Mike clinging on, the tumble having left him momentarily disoriented. Still, he quickly righted himself, this needed to end fast, or it would turn into an actual fight where he would have the disadvantage. Wrapped around the monster's head Michael brought the knife to its neck and... Hesitated. Mike had been in fights before, but those were scuffles in the school yard, now he was about to kill. He knew his opponent deserved nothing less, but that seemed to fade in the face of taking a life. It was enough to take the fire out of him.
And so, instead of pushing the blade into his windpipe he only pressed it to the Crocs neck instead. "Alright listen up you big bastard," but the big bastard did not listen up, a fact made clear when a large hand grabbed and threw him off. Mike rolled as he landed and quickly got his feet back under him, knife luckily still in hand. The croc slowly stood up, cracking his neck as he did so before speaking. "Ev'uoy tsuj edam ym yad." It said with a toothy grin. Mike just glared from his crouched position. 'different language, nice to know I wasted my time!' kind of obvious in retrospect, but there's nothing for it now. Mike kept low to the ground, with a two foot difference in height he wouldn't even try to match his opponent in strength or reach, so he opted to keep low.
The Croc tensed for a moment before lunging at Mike, maw open and ready to swallow him whole. Mike lunged himself, keeping low to the ground and barely ducked under the attack and swiped at the exposed neck. He didn't expect to land the hit, but his opponent was taken off guard by his offence and didn't quite pull back fast enough, taking a superficial cut below the chin. Shock flashed in the croc's eyes and he lept back, lashing out with claws to keep Mike at bay. Unfortunately for him, Michael knew that playing fair was for suckers, and that you kick opponents when they're down, so he didn't let up. He was moving forward before the Croc had even landed, stayed below the counter and was in his guard again.
This time he didn't hesitate, and plunged his knife in the croc's side eliciting a shocked gasp from the titan and, keeping his momentum, moved just beside his opponent's shoulder before jumping just a little higher than intended and striking again. Still reeling from the first stab, the croc had only managed to make eye contact as Michael's knife sought his throat again, and this time did not stop. Michael landed on his feet as the croc sunk to his knees, blood leaking freely from his neck as he tried to stop the bleeding with his bare hands but it was already done. The crocodile was dead before he hit the ground, and Michael breathed a sigh of relief.
.
That purse wasn't the only property Mr. Croc had appropriated, as Michael found plenty of interesting things on his person. His things now, as he had no way of returning them. Despite the haul, his mind was elsewhere as he walked.
That guy did not know how to fight, probably used to just intimidating people around him. When an actual fight came he was honestly kinda sluggish, and didn't even think to use magic or the shiv that was in his pocket. Even so, that was a dumb thing to do. What was he thinking, attacking someone like that? What if he had known what he was doing!? Mike could not afford these kinds of mistakes in a survival situation, even if he did get lucky, even if he somehow got out unscathed! You just don't rely on that happening, and Michael resolved to remember that in the future.
Finding a good spot, he set the purse down in the middle of a road and retreated to a hiding place. Soon enough the bird lady passed by even slower than before, the only reason Mike got ahead of her was because she was slowly limping along. Seeing that made his hatred flare up again, but his anger faded away as with a shocked look, the bird lady found the purse, looked inside and sagged with visible relief before looking around suspiciously and continuing with just a bit more pep in her step. 'Well,' Mike thought, 'maybe that wasn't such a dumb move after all.'
____________________________________________________Author's note
Alright part 3 is out! Hope y'all enjoy.
In case anyone had missed it, large portions of Reddit will be going dark in protest of the removal of third party software on June 12th. I had originally planned to join the protest, but then I read the HFY 's official take on the matter (remaining neutral to act as an escape from stressful situations like this) and decided that's worthwhile. As such I will continue posting but otherwise will be off of Reddit in protest.
The first shall be previous and the next shall be in a week or so.
submitted by thrownawaz092 to HFY [link] [comments]


2023.06.07 20:08 dblack246 [Spoilers ADWD] Establishing a test for dragonflame in ADWD and applying that test to the end of The Dragontamer

I thought it might be interesting to look at all the dragonflame events in Dance. I theorize George has provided several detailed examples of dragonflame to help readers understand what is--and what is not--the result of a dragon unleashing fire on a target. By applying this collected knowledge to The Dragontamer chapter, I believe we can throw water on the widely held theory that Quentyn's burns are the result of being bathed in dragonflame.
The first witnessed dragonflame event is in Daenerys II, ADWD. Daenerys goes to the pit to look in on Viserion and Rheghal.
When Rhaegal roared, a gout of yellow flame turned darkness into day for half a heartbeat. The fire licked along the walls, and Dany felt the heat upon her face, like the blast from an oven.
And later...
Viserion's claws scrabbled against the stones, and the huge chains rattled as he tried to make his way to her again. When he could not, he gave a roar, twisted his head back as far as he was able, and spat golden flame at the wall behind him. How soon till his fire burns hot enough to crack stone and melt iron?
So early on we are told dragonflame can be accompanied by a roar and a wash of heat. Dany describes the heat as blast from "an oven".
We see the dragon's again when Daenerys takes Quentyn to the pit.
Rhaegal roared in answer, and fire filled the pit, a spear of red and yellow. Viserion replied, his own flames gold and orange. When he flapped his wings, a cloud of grey ash filled the air. Broken chains clanked and clattered about his legs. Quentyn Martell jumped back a foot. Daenerys VIII, ADWD.
Rhaegal's flame is consistent with the last time. We see a roar and we see the yellow color of the fire.
Drogon shows up in Daenerys IX and provides several examples.
Above them all the dragon turned, dark against the sun. His scales were black, his eyes and horns and spinal plates blood red. Ever the largest of her three, in the wild Drogon had grown larger still. His wings stretched twenty feet from tip to tip, black as jet. He flapped them once as he swept back above the sands, and the sound was like a clap of thunder. The boar raised his head, snorting … and flame engulfed him, black fire shot with red. Dany felt the wash of heat thirty feet away. [...]
His spear remained in Drogon's back, wobbling as the dragon beat his wings. Smoke rose from the wound. As the other spears closed in, the dragon spat fire, bathing two men in black flame. [...]
Drogon roared. The sound filled the pit. A furnace wind engulfed her. The dragon's long scaled neck stretched toward her. When his mouth opened, she could see bits of broken bone and charred flesh between his black teeth. His eyes were molten. I am looking into hell, but I dare not look away. She had never been so certain of anything. If I run from him, he will burn me and devour me. In Westeros the septons spoke of seven hells and seven heavens, but the Seven Kingdoms and their gods were far away. If she died here, Dany wondered, would the horse god of the Dothraki part the grass and claim her for his starry khalasar, so she might ride the nightlands beside her sun-and-stars? Or would the angry gods of Ghis send their harpies to seize her soul and drag her down to torment? Drogon roared full in her face, his breath hot enough to blister skin. Off to her right Dany heard Barristan Selmy shouting, "Me! Try me. Over here. Me!"
With a hisssssss, he spat black fire down at her. Dany darted underneath the flames, swinging the whip and shouting, "No, no, no. Get DOWN!" His answering roar was full of fear and fury, full of pain. His wings beat once, twice …
As with Rheagal, Dany sees a consistent black coloring in Drogon's dragonflame. Drogon does not roar.
Quentyn sees several examples.
Rhaegal took it in the air. His head snapped round, and from between his jaws a lance of flame erupted, a swirling storm of orange-and-yellow fire shot through with veins of green. The sheep was burning before it began to fall. Before the smoking carcass could strike the bricks, the dragon's teeth closed round it. A nimbus of flames still flickered about the body. The air stank of burning wool and brimstone. Dragonstink. [...] The Dragontamer, ADWD.
Viserion launched himself from the ceiling, pale leather wings unfolding, spreading wide. The broken chain dangling from his neck swung wildly. His flame lit the pit, pale gold shot through with red and orange, and the stale air exploded in a cloud of hot ash and sulfur as the white wings beat and beat again. [...] Id.
Dany's POV included many auditory clues such as roaring and hissing. Quentyn's POV notices olfactory clues with the smell of brimstone and sulfur. Quentyn also notices hot ash.
The crossbowman was fumbling for another quarrel as the dragon's teeth closed around his neck. The man wore the mask of a Brazen Beast, the fearsome likeness of a tiger. As he dropped his weapon to try and pry apart Viserion's jaws, flame gouted from the tiger's mouth. The man's eyes burst with soft popping sounds, and the brass around them began to run. The dragon tore off a hunk of flesh, most of the sellsword's neck, then gulped it down as the burning corpse collapsed to the floor. Id.
The crossbowman gets a direct hit of dragonflame at point blank range. Instead of a roar or smell, we are instead shown the impact of the heat. A bronze mask runs and eye's burst from the fire.
And we come to this event in the final Daenerys POV.
Soon one horse began to lag behind the others. The dragon descended on him, roaring, and all at once the poor beast was aflame, yet somehow he kept on running, screaming with every step, until Drogon landed on him and broke his back. Dany clutched the dragon's neck with all her strength to keep from sliding off.
The carcass was too heavy for him to bear back to his lair, so Drogon consumed his kill there, tearing at the charred flesh as the grasses burned around them, the air thick with drifting smoke and the smell of burnt horsehair. Daenerys X, ADWD.
While not fire events, it is important to recognize heat escapes the mouth of a dragon even when it does not unleash dragonflame.
Then the dragon opened its mouth, and light and heat washed over them. Behind a fence of sharp black teeth he glimpsed the furnace glow, the shimmer of a sleeping fire a hundred times brighter than his torch. The Dragontamer.
Dany has a similar experience.
Drogon roared. The sound filled the pit. A furnace wind engulfed her. The dragon's long scaled neck stretched toward her. When his mouth opened, she could see bits of broken bone and charred flesh between his black teeth. His eyes were molten. I am looking into hell, but I dare not look away. She had never been so certain of anything. If I run from him, he will burn me and devour me. Daenerys IX, ADWD.
By looking at what the author tells us, we should expect a dragonflame event to include one or more of the following:
Now we take this information, apply it to the end of the Dragontamer chapter, and test Barristan's theory of Quentyn being hit by dragonflame. Based on what Barristan knows, his conclusion is understandable. He enters a room, sees three people, recognizes two of them as the Dornish knights who travel with Quentyn. He can't tell who the other body is because it is too badly burned. He assumes the body is Quentyn and makes guesses about what preceded his arrival.
We readers do not have to make the same assumption Barristan did because we have much more (and better) information at our disposal. We see the end of The Dragontamer chapter and we see each of the dragonflame events. So we need only compare what we see happen to Q against what we know to expect with a dragonflame event.
Quentyn turned and threw his left arm across his face to shield his eyes from the furnace wind. Rhaegal, he reminded himself, the green one is Rhaegal.
When he raised his whip, he saw that the lash was burning. His hand as well. All of him, all of him was burning.
Quentyn is not burning when he turns. He is not burning when his arm is raised to eyes. He is not burning when he see the green scales. So he was not engulfed in flames at this point. So if he was hit by dragonflame, it was not while his back was turned.
He raises his whip and then notices the lash burning, his hand burn and all of him. So, between seeing Rhaegal and raising the whip, he began to burn. If that burn is due to a dragon, then we should have noted one or more of the events we are told accompanies a dragonflame event in that short passage. Did we?

Dragonflame events Quentyn burning after recognizing Rhaegal
A roar No
Dragonflame escaping No
Near instant engulfment No
Melting or running bronze or brass No
Eyes pop and run No because he "saw" the items burning
A wash of intense heat Yes
Ashes and cinders No
Sulfur or Brimstone No
The only element present here is the furnace wind. And as we know, furnace wind alone means either you witnessed dragonflame but you were not hit by it, or the dragon just opened its mouth near you without unleashing dragonflame. The absence of Quentyn seeing dragonflame coming at him (he is looking right at the green scales), and the absence of Q being instantly engulfed in flames, suggests Rhaegal did not unleash on Quentyn. Quentyn sees no ash or cinders. He smells no sulfur or brimstone. Rhaegal is simply breathing near Quentyn when the lash of his whip begins to burn. Rhaegal did not unleash dragonflame on Q.
There likely was a dragonflame event involving Rhaegal, but it did not occur after Quentyn turns to see Rhaegal. It happens while Quentyn's back is turned. Let's now look at the text immediately before Q turns.
And then a hot wind buffeted him and he heard the sound of leathern wings and the air was full of ash and cinders and a monstrous roar went echoing off the scorched and blackened bricks and he could hear his friends shouting wildly. Gerris was calling out his name, over and over, and the big man was bellowing, "Behind you, behind you, behind you!"
Now let's apply the dragonflame test.

Dragonflame events Before Quentyn turns
A roar Yes
Dragonflame escaping Not seen by the POV
Near instant engulfment Not seen by the POV
Melting or running bronze or brass Not seen by the POV
Eyes pop and run Not seen by the POV
A wash of intense heat Yes
Ash and cinders Yes
Sulfur or Brimstone Not noted by the POV
We have three elements known to be present with a dragonflame event: roar, a wash of hot air, ash and cinders.
Now because a roar and heat are present, we need to eliminate a non dragonflame event because we are twice told a roar and a wash of heat can be present when a dragon simply opens its mouth. However, the presence of ashes and ciders in the air strongly suggests a recent fire. The pit is already full of ashes but the cinders tell us something was burning very recently. Cinders are never noted to be present during heat only events. Hence, the text supports Rhaegal unleashed fire while Quentyn wasn't looking at Rhaegal.
As Quentyn wasn't looking, neither he--nor the readers--could see what/who may have been hit by the dragonflame so he also can't tell we readers what happened to the possible target. But if there was another target, then something or someone else in the room was set ablaze prior to Q burning. And that someone else could be who Barristan assumed is Quentyn. Barristan does not know a second person was burned and so he concludes this is Q because he has little else to go on.
Given George has associated none of the established dragonflame rules to Quentyn's burning, readers should be very hesitant to claim a direct hit of dragonflame is responsible for the burning. An alternative theory for the burning is spontaneous combustion which George does reference elsewhere in the story.
"Oh, yes, most certainly . . . but carefully, my lord, ever so carefully. As it ages, the substance grows ever more, hmmmm, fickle, let us say. Any flame will set it afire. Any spark. Too much heat and jars will blaze up of their own accord. It is not wise to let them sit in sunlight, even for a short time. Once the fire begins within, the heat causes the substance to expand violently, and the jars shortly fly to pieces. Tyrion V, ACOK.
And while I think it both unlikely and unwise for Q to carry wildfire on him, there are other substances in the story capable of spontaneous combustion. Oil for example is referenced several times in the story as an accelerant. And we are told several times whips are maintained with oil/grease. The elements of spontaneous combustion (a low ignition point substance, exposure to heat, dry enclosed conditions) are all present in the pit and they far better align with Q's burning than the dragonflame theory. An oil fire would spread starting from the source of the ignition to the adjacent areas (whip, hand, all). Alternatively, dragonflame engulfs a target immediately and entirely (sheep, boar, Barsena, the two men in the pit).
Applying the text as it is presented to us by the author strongly suggest Quentyn was not hit by dragonflame. This scientific model makes sense to me because I believe I am reading a science fiction story. Therefore, I look for a scientific explanation for why a supposed dragonflame events bears none of the established hallmarks of a dragonflame event. Others community members believe they are reading a fantasy story. Therefore, inconsistencies or unexplained events are easily attributed to magic. It could be either or both. At any rate, diversity of thought it a wonderful thing.
I think Quentyn is an important character who will have significant plot importance in the books to (hopefully) come. Perhaps my admiration and hope for this character has clouded my objectivity, which is why I continue to post my thoughts on the subject here for feedback from the knowledgeable, passionate, and unfailingly civil members of the community.
But what say ye, fine redditors? Did George set up all the dragonflame events in ADWD to reward careful and suspicious readers, or is the shocking lack of detail surrounding how Quentyn came to be burning just artistry, magic, and a weariness of hand-holding? If I've missed or misrepresented a relevant dragonflame event in Dance, please let me know. As always, polite disagreement and constructive criticism is welcome.
TL;DR: Quentyn was not hit by dragonflame. His burning bears none of the established hallmarks for a dragonflame event in ADWD.
submitted by dblack246 to asoiaf [link] [comments]


2023.06.07 18:43 nomass39 You know those lists of rules everybody blabbered about? I'm the guy who writes 'em.

“Rule #1: Guns don’t do jack.”
All the others vary, but this is always the #1 rule at every park in the country.
Personally, I would have added precisely four extra letters to it, but upper brass insists we need to uphold at least some modicum of professional decorum. Still, there are no words to describe just how frustrated it makes me every single time I see some jagoff standing there gormlessly unloading his magazine into some unfathomable nightmare creature who obviously isn’t going to feel a thing. Once I even saw someone run empty and then try to reload, instead of just, I don’t know, running away. I was almost glad to see him get exsanguinated.
Many folks have attempted to get creative with it. You name it, they’ve tried it. Silver bullets, 50 caliber high explosive incendiary ammunition, shotgun slugs cased in gold carved out from the Ark of the Covenant and pumped full of aglaophotis and blessed by the pope himself… and nothing. Nada. Zilch. As far as I know, throughout the entire history of the NPS, not a single bullet we’ve fired has even lightly tickled any of God’s half-finished rejects that stalk the wilderness.
I guess we just have trouble coping with the fact that our generation’s favorite hammer doesn’t work on this particular nail. In all fairness, though, there’s a psychological benefit to holding a gun, even knowing this foremost rule. It’s a lot more bearable to weave through trees in the pitch black wood miles from civilization when you have ol’ Remington’s gift to humanity gripped in your shaking hands. Venturing out with just your bare fists feels like you may as well give up, drop trou, bend over, and hope the thing with forty thousand eyes is feeling romantic.
I have to admit, even I keep my trusty old 1911 on my hip, even knowing it’d be absolutely useless for anything but putting a round through my own brain stem in case I get cornered by any of the things you really don’t want capturing you alive.
“Rule 2: Handheld UV lights are required when bushwhacking after midnight so fluorescent spider silk may be seen and avoided. If caught by a strand, or if you feel the earth beginning to part beneath you, throw down a circle of salt, recite the Gayatri Mantra, and clap exactly thrice.”
I’m sure you’ve wondered how we even come up with the really elaborate and specific rules like this one. The answer’s simple: a little bit of occult research, and a hell of a lot of deadly trial and error.
Sure, sometimes we get lucky and somebody else does our homework for us. For example, up at Isle Royale, an Ojibwe elder was kind enough to provide us with a few rules that help greatly when dealing with… well, you-know-what. Sorry, but never referring to them by name was one of the rules. In general, though, if you see a rule emphasizing that you have to clap exactly thrice, you can bet it’s because some poor bastard tried clapping two times or four times and ended up paying the ultimate price for it.
In this case, it was Annemary, or ‘Crazy Anne’. I worked by her side for twenty years, at least. She was a hell of a woman, the kind who made everyone hush into a terrified silence whenever she walked into a room. Still, even she wasn’t as scary as that spider-thing that kept her alive for a week in his web while he extra-orally digested her. He was a right bastard, and for a while I worried we’d have to write off Shenandoah as a lost cause… but since this rule was put into place, the evil cunt has been more or less left to starve. I consider it my magnum opus.
We only pulled it off because of you, Anne, you crazy diamond. Once you’ve conquered Hell, save a spot for me beside your throne, okay?
“Rule 3: If approached by a man with the head of a deer, offer to make him tea. He likes it strong with milk and two sugars. Sit with him as he drinks, and respond to him with absolute politeness and good manners at all times. Never ask him his name.”
You’ll be pleased to know that not every strange thing that lurks in these parks is the sort that yearns to tear your intestines out through your arsehole while you cry for mommy. Just like real wild animals, a vast majority of them just want us humans to leave ‘em alone… and a few even like us.
We’ve got a swell arrangement worked out with this peculiar deer-man who manifests in front of rangers on graveyard shift every once in a while. That 10 foot tall sonuvabitch has got the body of a man but the head of a stag with a rack any hunter would drool over, the digitigrade legs of a wolf, and he wears these flowing robes which look to be made of the night sky, glimmering stars and all. He talks all cryptic and posh, but all he asks us for is some tea time. In return, he opens that third eye on his forehead and glimpses into the future, giving us a few hints as to what sort of trouble might be brewing in the next few weeks. From our encounters, he seems like a nice enough fellow.
We only tell you not to ask his name because it’s beyond pronunciation and will just leave your ears bleeding. You know how it is.
“Rule #4: If you hear the wailing of an infant in the woods steadily drawing closer to the park office, open the red lockbox with code 0681. There is a living fetus inside on a bed of satin; pierce its heart with one of the provided golden pin needles until the noises cease.”
Another complicated mess of a rule we had to bring in a Goetic daemonologist to help cook up. I know what you’re thinking. Yeah, sure, if we knew more about these things, we could probably pare these rules down some more, come up with something simpler, easier. But the point is that the rules we have now have weathered the test of time and have been proven to keep us safe consistently. Once we’ve achieved that consistency, a rule pretty much never changes, since any propositions to study alternatives are always shut down by the question of “what happens if your hypothesis doesn’t work?”
Oh yeah, by the way. You recall how I mentioned there are certain entities out here you really don’t want to get taken alive by? This is definitely one of those. Cutting up that fetus is never very pleasant, but trust me, it’s worth the trouble.
But if you want to trail blaze and stake your life testing out some theory you cooked up… be my guest.
“Rule #5: When staying at the old barracks, always cover every mirror in a room before turning out the lights, and never remove or break-“
“Wait. Slow down a second.”
I had not even made it through five rules before the rookie sitting across from me at the cabin rudely interrupted. He was a young man who’d look more at home in Hollywood or Los Angeles than out here in the woods, his immaculately groomed jet black hair slicked to the side like all the posh celebs are doing it. I didn’t have a very good first impression of him, but hell, I always hated when I had to babysit a newbie through a night. Patience was never my strong suit.
“Can I ask why these are all so… infuriatingly vague?” He continued. “Like, what do I do if forgot to cover a mirror? What happens if I don’t clap three times or whatever?”
“Because there’s fifteen rules even just here in Shenandoah. That might not sound like a lot, but when you’re fighting fer your life ‘gainst something with more mouths than you have teeth, it’s a hell of a lot to remember. Got to keep details sparse, y’see. Make sure to drill in the important bits. And it wouldn’t help you none to know what happens if you break a rule - it’d only scare ya,” I explained. “Now shut your yapper while I finish reminding you of ‘em all.”
He groaned. “I’ve already heard them far too many times. At least a thousand today.”
I stared daggers through him. “There’s no such thing as ‘too many’ in this case, boy. People died to write these rules, and they’ll save your life.”
“With all due respect: how, exactly, are these supposed to protect me? Like… how is clapping and throwing salt around supposed to ward off anything? It’s complete nonsense!”
We got a lot of these types of guys: the “rational skeptics” who don’t believe in your silly rules. It’s either that or the fools with more muscle than brains who think they can kill a creature who can make your heart pop with a single thought. Usually, they get filtered out and fired quick. Usually. I made a mental note to beat the ass of whoever decided that this smarmy, cocksure rookie was ready for the graveyard shift. But it was too late to send him home; he wouldn’t make it out of the park alive, if he tried to traipse off through the woods at this hour.
“It doesn’t have to make sense. These things don’t work by our logic.” But I knew I couldn’t convince these types with words alone, so I stood. “C’mere, boy. Let me show you something.”
I led him to the huge window pane on the cabin’s wall, overlooking the forest down below, and checked my watch - only 20 minutes til the show started. It was a pain convincing him to shut up and wait, but that big mouth of his snapped closed the instant he realized something was emerging from the bushes down there.
It was a raccoon - not an unusual sight out here, if not for the fact that it was walking upright. And not the clumsy waddling on hind legs you expect from animals, but it seemed to stroll bipedally with all the grace of a man, as if its body had been unnaturally twisted and deformed to befit a style of movement that was never meant for it. It moved with purpose, crab walking across a mossy field with its upper body rigid as a statue’s would be, one ‘arm’ pointing towards the sky and the other to the ground below. It plodded along its set route for a minute before disappearing back into the shrubbery without ceremony.
He was baffled, slack-jawed. “What the hell was that?”
“Exactly what it looked like,” I told him. “If you’re lookin’ for a logical explanation, there ain’t any. Some places on earth, they aren’t run by our logic. They’ve got a different basis for their rules entirely.”
“And what’s that?”
“Symbolism,” I replied, as if it were obvious. “In our world, everything’s got to follow the laws of cause-and-effect. For what you’ve seen to have happened, two raccoons must’ve fucked at some point to birth the one we saw. Then somebody, probably me, would’ve had to surgically or genetically mutilate it in ways beyond current medical science, tame and train the wretched thing, and set it up to perform this exact routine at this exact time… and all for what? To mildly confuse a rookie ranger? Explaining it would require so much contrivance, so much pulling assumptions out your ass, that it would laugh in the face of Occam’s razor. For our logic, it is unexplainable. Impossible.”
“But symbolically, it made perfect sense. That creature don’t need a backstory or a cause - it prolly just came into existence a few minutes ago, and will pop out of existence once it’s sent its message. Its gesture was the hermetic mantra ‘as above, so below’ - reminding us that everything that everything that happens on the surface world is mirrored in the underworld. It happens every morning at 1:33 AM because that’s the exact time the Witch of Woodbridge killed ‘erself to become the intermediary between the two here in Shenandoah. And it’s a raccoon because...” I paused. “Well, actually, I haven’t really figured that part out yet.”
My words failed to comfort him. In fact, the more I spoke, the more horrified he seemed, eyes widening in confusion and horror as if I’d just sat down and told him that the voices in my head command me to lick the dandruff off of camels. “Oh my God. You’re crazy. You’re actually insane.”
I sighed and rolled my eyes. “Tell ya what. Think of, for an example you’d be familiar with, a voodoo doll. You use a strand of their hair or a toenail or something so that the doll comes to symbolize their physical vessel. By hurting the doll, you’re symbolically hurting their actual body, so the damage happens to both. That’s how the supernatural works.”
He blinked. “Voodoo dolls work?”
“In places like this, they do.” I raised a brow. “Does that surprise you?”
Suddenly, he stood and threw up his hands, as if realizing he’d been made the victim of some sick prank. “You know what? Screw this. I don’t know if this is some kind of hazing thing or what, but I feel like continuing this line of conversation would just leave me as batty as you are.”
My heart lurched with terror as he stomped to the front door and began undoing the numerous slide locks and dead bolts. “Wait! Hell are you thinkin’, boy?”
He’d only barely opened the door a crack before I’d wrapped him in a chokehold, but it’d been enough. He let out a startled yelp as I started violently pulling him across the cabin, practically clobbering him just to keep him from wrestling out of my grip. I was no spring chicken, and the younger man probably could have bested me, but I had the element of surprise on my side, plus a blow to the head that had left him drowsy.
I tossed him headlong through a hatch, down into a crawlspace under the cabin where sage burners and dried tobacco and protective talismans were waiting. I slammed the hatch shut behind him, restraining the squirming rookie with my weight and clapping a hand over his mouth to silence his protests. His face was twisted by confusion and rage, and he was just about to throw me off of him, but then he froze… eyes widening, as we both heard the unmistakable sound of… something walking in through the ajar cabin door.
We’d made it into the crawlspace just in the nick of time.
There was the heavy click-clack of hooves against the wood floor above us, interspersed with quieter thuds. It took him a moment, but I could tell when he’d figured it out. With one pair of legs, the creature walked with normal hooves… with the other, it walked on the knuckles of human hands. And as it stalked the house, knocking over plates and bookshelves, it growled and hissed and groaned not out of one maw, but three: one sounding high and avian, one low and reptilian, and another letting out the soft bleating of a sheep, all in unison like some unholy choir.
Just when it seemed like it couldn’t get any worse, a fourth maw must’ve opened up, for a new sound filled the room “Daddy?” Came a little boy’s voice, desperate and whimpered, sniffling in a way that made me feel sorry for it even despite knowing better. “Why did you leave me out in the woods, daddy? It was so dark… and I was so scared. Please, daddy. I thought you loved me. Where are you?” The child’s voice devolved slowly but pitiful begging to outright sobbing and inconsolable weeping, downright screaming itself hoarse as the clock neared 2 and the creature’s searching grew frantic.
But the very instant the clock struck 2 o’clock, all the sounds ceased, all at once. We waited there for a moment, in that deafening silence… until I smacked the rookie across the back of the head. “Rule 11, you smug prick. You never open the door at this hour of the night. That… thing takes it as an invitation.” My voice made it obvious I was desperately holding back my simmering fury. I’ve beaten folks half to death before, and I’m not afraid to do it again. “If you want to get yourself killed tonight, have at it. But I am not letting you take me down with you.”
Once the nightmare had left, his brain had an opportunity to register what had just happened… which quickly escalated into a full-bore panic attack. “Fuck this, man. What in the hell was that!? Oh God, oh God, oh God, I can’t take this man, no, no, no, I’m not cut out for this, I need to go home, I need to, I can’t-“
I watched nervously as he jumped up and started frantically pacing the cabin. He was acting erratically, sloppily. This couldn’t end well. “Snap out of it, boy! No sense in braving the woods this late at night. Ya won’t be able to see more than a foot in front of your face. Just wait here until sun-“
He swung at me when I tried to restrain him again, almost breaking my nose. “No, man! I can’t take an entire night of this! I need to go! Jesus, let me go, you crazy bastard!”
I didn’t want to admit it, but this one was looking like a lost cause. There was no way I’d be able to overpower him again once he inevitably did something else stupid. Call me selfish, but at this point, my only concern was making sure he didn’t get me killed.
“Alright! God, fine! If it’s really so important to ya… you can go. Your shift’s officially over, rookie. But I ain’t goin’ out there with ya. You’ll have to brave it on yer own. As long as you follow the rules, you should be able to make it back to your car in one piece. You hear me? The rules!”
He pouted like a child being lectured by an overbearing father. “Yeah, yeah, Christ, old man, I get it! I’ll follow the damn rules!”
In my defense, I did furnish him with every single thing he’d need to survive out there. UV flashlights, salt boxes, obsidian talismans, volcanic ash, the dried and shrunken head of a lamb, and more… not that he appreciated any of it. He was just whining at me to hurry up, ignoring all my attempts to remind him of the rules, like he was in a rush to get out there and die horribly. Eventually, I just gave up, shrugged, and let him hike off into that pitch blackness.
To his credit, he made it farther than I’d expected. Twenty minutes of silence passed, and I started to wonder if he’d actually pulled it off after all.
That was about when the screaming started.
I’d heard it too many times before: the distinctive wailing of a man realizing everything he’d done and accomplished in his life had all just been leading up to this moment when a shambling abomination saw fit to deliver him to the afterlife kicking and screaming and missing a few body parts. It didn’t surprise me in the slightest, really, but it was still unpleasant to listen to.
Judging from what little of it was intelligible, he was crying about something pulling out his eyes. Must’ve broken rule 13. Poor, stupid bastard. That one’s so easy, you’d almost have to be breaking it on purpose.
I remember the first time somebody broke a rule and got themselves killed under my watch. It almost broke me. I blamed it all on myself, then. Sent me into a depression for months. But now, after all these decades… I’m just numb.
After all, my only job is to write the rules.
If they don’t want to follow them, well… it’s their funeral.
submitted by nomass39 to nosleep [link] [comments]


2023.06.07 18:31 FightingUrukHai A Day in the Life, 500 AD: Wilugo the Farmer

Wilugo awoke and looked around the Kikika [wigwam-like single family housing]. Dawn’s light was creeping in under the buckskin walls. The central fire had burned low, but was still smoldering. Her father was away on a fishing trip; her mother’s bed was empty. She had likely gone to attend to Eleda, the village Upa [tribal matriarch], who was recovering from an illness and wanted all the older women in the village to wait on her until she regained her strength. Wilugo’s sister Gilulo was sleeping next to her. She kicked at her sister to wake her up, then got up from the mat. As Gilulo blearily blinked her way to wakefulness, Wilugo put on her Zekizu [palm fiber loincloth] and grabbed some leftover Yatilu [maize flatbread] from a basket for breakfast. She and her sister ate, Wilugo humming a song thanking Tahado for the dawn, Gilulo babbling on about a dream she had had – something about being a goose? – then they did each other’s body paint and stepped out into the village.
The village of Hemeneng was full of women. None of the men had returned from their hunting, fishing, or gathering expeditions yet, so the only males present were young boys who had not yet gone on their Gomanggo [manhood ritual] and found a new tribe, elders too frail to travel anymore, and Eblazan. Eblazan had been cursed by the spirits with a malformed leg, and so was unable to journey into the wilderness like the other men, but had still gone on his Gomanggo and had survived, arriving at his new home of Hemeneng. Unsuited for physical pursuits, he had gained a knowledge of herblore, so that even if he couldn’t go out and gather medicines on his own he could use the herbs gathered by others. It was said by many of the women in the village that in payment for his leg, the spirits had given him insights into their world, which was how he was able to know things hidden from other humans. But despite any spiritual favors, no woman wanted to marry a crippled man, so he remained in the Kikika assigned to men with no family to take them in.
Turning her thoughts from Eblazan, Wilugo instead considered the day’s work. The planting had been done weeks ago, and the first green shoots were beginning to appear. But the squash had yet to cover the ground in her shady leaves, meaning that weeds were sprouting up just as fast. She hugged goodbye to Gilulo, whose hyper-focusing mind was not suited for farm work and instead preferred to weave palm fibers into fabrics, and set about her task. It was hot work, even this early in spring, and required a lot of bending over and standing up again. She sang a working song with the other women in the field to help the work go by faster. Still, she could feel the sun beating down on her back, and the strain in her legs got worse and worse as they day went on.
Taking a break near noon to snack on some smoked fish and pawpaw, she looked out over Hemeneng. From the farms, she could look down over the entire village and to the glittering sea beyond. There, on the beach, was the tiny figure of her sister and some of the other women gathering palm fronds. She kept a careful eye on Gilulo – the girl was always trying to sneak off into the wilderness like a man. She was truly wild, a real child of Tahado the Chaotic. She could see a lot of activity around the largest Kikika, the one belonging to Eleda, but she couldn’t tell from this distance if her mother was among the figures milling around it. She looked westward, past the row of Hihuwi [Aluwa orange] trees to the forest beyond. There was activity there, too. Had the hunters or gatherers returned? Or was a caravan of merchants on its way? She peered at the rustling trees, trying to make out details. They were not singing a song of homecoming, or of greeting to strangers. She saw sunlight glint off an axehead. Raiders!
She shouted out a warning to the women around her, then ran towards the village. Even as she ran, the raiders made their attack. Brandishing axes and atlatls, they stormed into the village, women running in fear before them. Men ducked into Kikikas and came out carrying baskets of food and valuables. So far none of them had actually attacked any of the inhabitants of Hemeneng, but Wilugo didn’t know how long that would last. The main force of the raiders approached Eleda’s Kikika, but here, for the first time, the women closed in ranks to protect it. Their Upa was in a delicate condition, and even if they didn’t attack her, the mere sight of such violent interlopers might frighten her to death. The raiders, though, would not back down. They wanted whatever treasures were hidden in the largest Kikika in the village.
Wilugo ran into the village and stopped abruptly. Nobody was moving. The men seemed unwilling to anger the spirits by killing anyone, but the women refused to let them past. Then, the women from the beach arrived. Leading the way was Gilulo, who was carrying a knife – Kuhugu the Preserver protect her, why was she carrying a knife? The foolish girl did not stop, but charged towards the raiders, waving her knife around like a madwoman. Most of the raiders retreated, but the largest of them swung his axe, hitting Gilulo with the flat of the blade in the arm. She cried out in pain, dropped her knife, and fell to the ground. The man raised his axe again.
Wilugo didn’t care that she was unarmed. She ran towards the raiders, willing to do anything to protect her sister. She just barely had time to feel stupid as she leapt forwards, certain that death was awaiting her in mere moments – but then the other women of the village cried out in a loud voice and rushed in behind her. They had no weapons, only household tools, but their numbers and the anger in their eyes were enough to send the raiders running. They drove the interlopers out of the village, shouting and clapping and stomping the ground. They broke into song – properly a song used when pounding Kohi [masa], but it worked as a song of victory, too. Wilugo was filled with fear and exhilaration, her chest heaving, when she remembered Gilulo. While the other women cheered by the edge of the forest, she turned and ran back to where her sister had fallen.
There she saw Gilulo, and also Eblazan. The spirit-touched man was cradling her arm, which looked broken. He commanded Wilugo to bring him certain herbs from his supplies, along with palm fiber and bark. She didn’t hesitate to comply, and as she watched, he mixed together a poultice, said a prayer to drive off infecting spirits, then slathered the poultice around the wound and wrapped her arm in a splint. Wilugo was amazed at how confident he was in his healing knowledge, and how tender yet strong his movements were in affixing the splint to her sister’s arm. Just then, her mother came running back, and she cradled Gilulo in her arms and sang a song of happiness that her daughters were still alive.
There was no more work that could be done that day. The villagers scrounged together what food was left to them and cooked up some Globiplo [cassava dumpling soup]. Wilugo considered the village lucky. Nobody had been killed, and only Gilulo – who was being treated as a wounded hero, waited on hand and foot by the other women – had been injured. Soon the men would be back with fish, meat, fruits, and nuts for them to eat. Really, they were very lucky that they lived on the coast and could rely so much on fish for their food. These last few years had been bad for crops, and now even the hunting was getting thin. That was why the raiding had started – many villages further inland just didn’t have enough to feed themselves. She scowled. These raids hadn’t been a problem when she was a little girl. Back then people from different villages were willing to help each other, and they hadn’t just taken what they needed. But then, back then there was enough food to go around – her belly was full now, but tonight’s Globiplo had used up all of the village’s remaining Kohita [cassava flour], and it could be days before any of the men returned.
As she lay down to sleep, Gilulo snoring beside her, she kept replaying the events of the day in her head. The terror of the raid, the exhilaration of the counterattack, the gentleness with which Eblazan had healed her sister… She smiled in the dark. Perhaps marrying a crippled man wasn’t such a bad prospect after all…
submitted by FightingUrukHai to DawnPowers [link] [comments]


2023.06.07 18:23 Knight-y [PC Flash Game][2005-2015?] 2d tower defense rts game that you choose one from four "heroes" to destroy the enemy base with a style similar to Wario and possibly from Newgrounds.

Platform(s): PC
Genre: 2d, Tower Defense, Rts
Estimated year of release: 2005 - 2015
Graphics/art style: Cartoon game with ugly but not ugly aesthetic like Wario, bright colors, colorful scenarios, big head little body. The game doens't have an specific theme but a more goofy one mixing anything. It transits from rail guns, medieval, candy, mafia, military and others.
Notable characters: At the start of the game you can choose four characters with distintic colors: pink, yellow, blue and green (i think). Pink is a chubby evil woman with a giant teddy bear, yellow wear clothes like The Sultan from Aladdin, blue is a gangstar with big smile (i think) and green is a sleepy guy (he's the least i remember).
Notable gameplay mechanics: You send units in a 2d scenario to destroy the enemy base Age of War like. There are several classes of units that you will unlock as you progress through the story like sword and shield, staves, archers, fighters, thrower. It is possible to change each character's weapons like different swords and shields, different gloves, bows or random objects for the throwers like eggs, controllers and bricks. You can change the appearance of units for different characters, but this is purely cosmetic. I believe you unlock characters when you finish their specific areas like defeating mermaids you can get mermaids, defeating bears you can get bears and so on.
Other details: The game has a story that is told through images similar to a comic like in Cactus McCoy, Kingdom Rush and Burrito Bison, apparently it is quite common among flash games. An important detail of the story, right at the beginning the four characters are shown together, probably making an alliance, as they are holding hands together. However, it is shown that behind each of them are weapons in their hands demonstrating that they plan to betray each other. In addition, at a certain point in the game you can unlock the soldier from the Newgrounds logo as a unit appearance, which makes me believe that the game is theirs.
ALSO ENGLISH IS NOT MY PRIMARY LANGUAGE so i'm sorry if i've mispelled anything. Feel free to ask any questions.
submitted by Knight-y to tipofmyjoystick [link] [comments]


2023.06.07 17:48 WellEnoughAdjusted Tired of my Traeger, looking for advice on buying a Big Green Egg

I’m looking to pick up a large or XL egg and table where the primary use case will be high heat pizza every week for family pizza night.
  1. Buy new vs used? I see a Facebook marketplace large egg in Seattle with weathered acacia table used for $750. Is that a good deal and what should I look out for when buying used? What are the benefits of buying new?
  2. Thoughts on L vs XL for pizza? I like to make NY-style and Neapolitan-style pizza, and I’m tired of my oven not getting hot enough for a great crust. I also want a grill so that’s why I’m not getting one of those cool pizza ovens that are popular right now.
submitted by WellEnoughAdjusted to biggreenegg [link] [comments]


2023.06.07 17:45 Afoolfortheeons Last night was a bit traumatizing

The CIA is beaming thoughts into my head again. They had one of their alt accounts tell me all about their psychic programs and then they ran with it by having an alarm go off every five minutes while I tried to sleep, followed by a series of obvious actors reading my mind and then reacting to it. One guy was laughing every time I had a certain thought about…you'll see, another was yelling to make me paranoid, and another would walk by at the exact second that I would start thinking about a related topic. I know that's not a great explanation but I'm worn out after last night. They did my head in good.
One thing they're preparing me for is con artists and charlatans. In my rise to fame, I will no doubt attract the attention of groups that want to turn me into their personal slave. It takes a certain kind of mindset to be as broken as I am, and that makes me vulnerable. I have to protect myself. I have to wisen up.
Which leads me to a dilemma this morning. John, the guy with gang green on his balls and a diseased finger, was clearly coming onto me yesterday. He took his nipple out and was double-speaking about things with me that left me feeling uncomfortable. I brought up the nipple thing and he shut right down, pretending that he didn't mean anything by it. But it's clear that he's here to test my reaction to his behavior so that the CIA can better program me. They're adding stress, and that shit's starting to add up.
I'm fucking terrified of disease. My time spent homeless with all the synchronicities and the pressing need to survive healed me a lot from the fear of germs. But, in between sessions of getting me to make my own decisions, John was subliminally planting ideas about having relations. I don't want to. I'm not comfortable with this situation at all. I'm tapping out. I need to get away from him.
As many of you know, my mother had AIDS. Seeing her rot for nine years and decay into a toddler-like state when an ear infection spread into her brain has mega traumatized me into believing that everyone is a sociopath trying to give me AIDS. Which is why I'm trying to humor the programming. It's good for me to confront these fears in a real set and setting. But, then my values come into play and I don't want anything to do with this situation.
Sometime last night, a woman with a pink guitar walked past our alcove and invited us to join her and her friends in the big tent up the way. She said as she was walking away that they were going to have sex and I went from excited to network with cool people to completely terrified. On a rational, objective level, this woman was pretty, but there was no way that I could possibly perform with a stranger like that, especially in a group setting. I feel pathetic, certainly not manly, but this is the hand I've been dealt.
I used to obsess over sex, to the point of porn and masturbation addiction. I would occasionally hook up with someone I met online, but that only happened because my desperation to escape my shitty life for a little while over-rode my innate fears. I would always kick myself after for being so short-sighted, but I'm glad I didn't give in to anything telling me to forsake safe sex. Still, now that I'm healing from the trauma that had me being reckless, I wonder what the fuck was going through my mind at all to make that a reality.
I kinda joked yesterday that the aliens were preparing me for casual sex. I don't think that's the real goal. Instead, I'm fairly certain they want to help me not be a pussy so that when the right person comes crashing into my life, I won't fuck it up by being paranoid they're really a gift-giver. I can get down with a passionate throe between me and someone special. I just hope I can make it to the stage where I am able to perform when the stars align on that fateful magick night.
Which means I gotta have a steel jaw moving forward. I shouldn't run from the artificial scenarios I'm presented with, but I shouldn't passively let the world do what it wants with me. I have to have a backbone and set my boundaries firmly. No one's going to walk all over me. I'm a strong person and I'm not to be taken lightly!
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2023.06.07 17:33 PomegranateCold5866 Sick chick

I have a 3-year old Easter Egger who has not been laying for about 3 months. We occasionally find her brooding on her nestmates' eggs, but we know she's not laying because she is the only one who lays green eggs and we haven't had one in weeks. This morning we went out to find her laying still on the floor in the coop - she usually sleeps on the roost.
I took her out, and she didn't fight me at all. She usually makes a big fuss. She was panting badly and very warm to the touch. I felt around her vent and didn't feel an egg. Checked her feet - no bumblefoot evident.
I gave her a quick few drops of VetRx and put her in a cool bath for a few minutes. This bird will walk through fire for tomatoes, so I brought a large one out and she ate about a quarter of it.
I left her under our holly bushes where it's cool and just went out to check on her. She had laid an egg! But she still seems very lethargic. She isn't getting up and walking around at all.
This is the first time she's produced an egg in weeks. It was a little misshapen and the coloring wasn't even. What do I need to do for her? I live in a large metro area, and none of the vets I've talked to work with chickens at all. I can look at her and she she doesn't feel good, but I have no idea how to help.
I would appreciate any suggestions to make her more comfortable. Thanks.
submitted by PomegranateCold5866 to BackYardChickens [link] [comments]


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2023.06.07 17:22 Comfortable-Bat-4072 A Practical Tourist Guide to Pyrrhia. Part 7: Sunbathing among the Rainwings

Hello to all dear tourists of all species, shapes, sizes and genres. We are here today to explore one of the most fascinating tribes in Pyrrhia. We will go deep into the rainforest to meet the colorful Rainwings.
(Disclaimer: due to various problems with the sources received, some information may be outdated or incorrect. Much of the information was written before Queen Glory's reign, so it may be outdated. The Rainwings public and any other species or tribe are asked not to be offended but to report various errors to the reception - the comments. Our director will take care to send apology letters and correct. Thank you for your support.)

Rainwings are small dragons with a serpentine body and chameleon-like appearance. They have a ruff on the back of the head which can burst open when angry. The prehensile and flexible tail is excellent for moving around in their realm: the rainforest. The most phenomenal part of their appearance is their scales, capable of changing color at will. They can change their entire body color in a matter of moments, becoming literally any shade that exists (even those that don't exist). They have a default color that varies per specimen but is usually light green. The scales can also change color on their own, responding to the dragon's emotions (making it easy to read their emotions). For example, red if he's angry, blue if he's scared and yellow/orange if he's craving lasagna.
Rainwings can photosynthesise to some extent, which makes them closer to plants. In fact, they draw energy from the sun and enhance their abilities (such as that of changing color) with sunlight. For this reason, no Rainwings is a Discord mod.

Their ability to change color enables them to become completely invisible, absolutely and totally invisible. Which would make them extraordinary killers if they felt like it (we'll come back to this point).
Their main weapon is a complete contradiction to their innocuous butterfly-like appearance. From the canines they are in fact able to spray a long-range toxic and lethal poison capable of melting living beings in a few seconds. While it's called a "poison," it's actually more of an acid, since you don't need to ingest or inhale it to expire. It does not alter inanimate organisms in any way (quite strange, considering that it does not affect organs, but simply dissolves the flesh, so theoretically even a stone should be dissolved, but let's not ask ourselves questions). This acid can be neutralized with the venom of a relative of the dragon who spat it (always very suspicious as a thing).

The Rainwings society is…strange. They live in a kind of heaven on earth, surrounded by fruits, tranquility and lots of sun. Therefore they have developed a peaceful and conflict-free society. If that sounds all right, wait until you hear the rest. Their tranquility flows very easily into laziness and absolutely want to do nothing. Many spend their lives eating and sleeping, without bothering about anything. This is exaggerated in the fact that, until recently, they had absolutely no idea what was happening outside the forest. A nuclear war could have broken out and they frankly wouldn't have given a damn. The fact that, not too long ago, the Nightwings kidnapped some of them to study and torture them and the others NOT ONLY didn't give a damn, but they didn't even NOTICE it, says a lot. In short, they live in full Hakuna Matata style. The other tribes believe them to be lazy, incompetent and weak, and there is some truth to it. They don't even know light (actually, until recently they had no idea what a scroll was)
The most disturbing thing is that they gather all the eggs in one place, making sure that no one knows who they are related to (you know that this is the only way to neutralize the poison, right?). This leads to another problem: Queens take turns ruling. Since they don't know whose children they are, every female Rainwings can decide to be queen and, since there are many (more or less) candidates, she governs herself in rounds of about a month. Since, as we understood, she doesn't give a damn, most of the population does not want to rule
-Fun fact: remember the Rainwings kidnapped until recently? Well, one of them was one of the queens, just to let you know what we're talking about.
Let's move on to the positives. They have pet sloths, and are the only tribe to have "official" pets. If one queen wanted to rule over the others she wouldn't need to eviscerate them all in cold blood, but she could win the throne via turn-based competition. This is definitely a better method than other tribes. Their diet is almost fruitarian (the sun plays an important role), thus allowing the local fauna not subjected to hyper-predation to thrive. The care of the puppies is done by the whole tribe and no dragonet is left out (more or less) One hour a day their village falls silent, as all the Rainwings go to sleep to recharge their batteries. Luckily, the Rainwings are now ruled by the badass Queen Glory, who hopefully leads them to a more dignified life.

The Rainforest Kingdom is, without a doubt, the most beautiful and majestic place on the continent, as well as one of the most dangerous. It teems with life from the trees to the ground and biodiversity is through the roof, with thousands of plant and animal species thriving. Dangerous because it's a jungle anyway and there are spiders as big as trays full of poison and snakes as long as a bus. The real Kingdom is a city in the heart of the jungle, a veritable metropolis of platforms and floating platforms in trees that is a sight to behold (built when the Rainwings were actually cooler than they are now). Next to the village is that of the Nightwings, which we will discuss in the next lesson.
Goodbye dear tourists. We will meet again one and the last time in the next and last episode; "A Practical Tourist Guide to Pyrrhia. Part 8: The Dark Secrets of the Nightwings"
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2023.06.07 17:13 endersgame69 Kayobi's Days Off C19

Maybe it was the presence of human emotions of this sort… this ‘pity’ thing was kind of new to me. I know, I know, you might be wondering, ‘Didn’t you pity Suki?’ or ‘Didn’t you pity Jin?’ and the answer is ‘no’. Maybe if things got worse for them, but Suki was alive and Jin was still in school, they weren’t at what humans call ‘Rock Bottom’ yet, so why would I feel pity?
But stealing snacks and working for someone who loathes you to buy old bento while wearing dirty clothes and living in a body they had to know was kind of bad smelling? Maybe things could have been worse but… well if it got worse that didn’t mean they weren’t at rock bottom, it just meant that they were at rock bottom when somebody handed them a stick of T.N.T. like out of one of those old cartoons so they could blast their way down deeper.
So yeah, yeah I pitied the boy, which probably was obvious and probably made him feel worse. But then again he did pick on Jin and so I wasn’t too concerned about him feeling bad about eating pity-bento.
Jin showed up about two hours prior to closing, a smile on his face, he was clearly increasingly happy in the last few days, and this was no exception. “Thanks again, Kayobi! I’ll lock up!” He said and waited while I bought snacks for myself.
“Sure thing, see you tomorrow.” I promised, and went back to my apartment.
I immediately turned on the television and tossed my snacks on the coffee table sitting in front of my plushy, soft couch, and after a moment’s consideration I decided, after putting on my pajamas, I would make Asahi’s life just a little bit easier.
I gathered my dirty clothing and threw it into an old green laundry bag I’d acquired, along with a few single-use detergent packets, then put the little box of trash bags out on the countertop for him to easily find, right next to the dish soap. I had almost no dishes, but there were some plastic ones I sort of kept and reused.
And that was that. I teleported my snacks into my hand and flopped myself on the couch, leaving the door cracked open so that Asahi would know I was there and couldn’t later pretend he knocked and nobody was home or something equally absurd.
I did have my doubts about his arrival, would he show or not show? I looked at my chocolate cream cookies and my bag of melon chips and licked my lips. I chose to have a little fun with it.
I stacked up my cookies, ten high. Then I set out a few handfuls of chips on the table and checked my phone. He had ten minutes. “Alright, if he shows up, I eat you.” I pointed at the cookies. “If he doesn’t show up, I eat you.”
“Nooo…” I gave the cookies and chips voices, and messed around with making them protest their pending consumption.
“I’m sorry, cookies and chips, but you are made of deliciousness, and Kayobi must consume to be content. But worry not, for you will live on in memory, no matter what happens, bear it bravely, and you need die but once.” I said and made a dramatic half bow to my snacks before laughing at my silly game and turning on the show to watch a boy getting flung around by a lamia’s tail as he tried to bear her…superabundant…affections.
I liked this show a lot, the characters were fun with all their silly romantic hijinks, I really felt the haphazard struggles of the male lead, but of all of them, Smith was my favorite. Doing all she could to avoid work at every turn…
I don’t know, something about her just spoke to my soul.
So I watched the story unfold as he was nearly choked, accidentally did some no-no touching thanks to her poor directions while he was blindfolded, and otherwise just had his life turned upside down.
And while I watched I took a look at the food menu for a delivery place. Before I could order anything or even make a decision, there was a knock at my door.
It opened a crack, and I said, “If you’re a Yakuza hitman, I’ll murder you, but if you’re Asahi, good timing, come on in.” I didn’t bother looking toward the door.
“H-Hi… ah… Yakuza hitman?” He asked, his boldness was completely gone from him, and he now seemed a lot smaller to me as he slipped in the door without even opening it all the way.
I snorted and gave a dismissive wave, “It’s an inside joke, don’t worry about it.” I proceeded to reach for the cookies and popped the top one into my mouth, and while my left cheek was puffed out I said, “Here’s the deal, Asahi, I hate chores. So you can do them for me to pay me back. Start with my laundry, and by the way, there’s enough detergent for ‘extra’ loads. If you happen to use it all up while washing some of your own, fine. Don’t care, just get mine done.”
I then pointed to the green bag sitting against the wall. “But don’t do anything pervy with my underwear. I watch your shows, and this is not one of your ecchi programs.” I glowered at him, and the young man blushed a bright crimson in his face.
“I-I wouldn’t! I-” He tried to protest, but I cut him off.
“Don’t worry about it. After you’re done, there’s some dishes to do and some cleanup here in the living area. Get that handled, and by then, well I’m about to order dinner, if you want the leftovers, that’s fine. Then we’ll call it square for today. Questions?” I asked, and when his stomach rumbled, I threw another cookie in my mouth.
He was all but salivating. “Yeah… I… I got it.” He murmured.
“Then get to it, and I’ll see you in about two hours.” I said, and then went back to watching my show while he went to do my laundry.
The door closed behind him, and you know something?
I’d never felt so bad about anything in all my life. Never. Not once. I looked at the remaining stack of cookies and chips, “I am afraid, since the goddess of your world is kind of an evil monarch, there will be no clemency for any of you. Your sentence is to be carried out immediately.” I said to my food, and tossed them cookie by cookie and chip by chip into my mouth with crunch after crunch continuing until such time as the whole of my doomed snacktopian subjects were quite devoured.
But they hadn’t tasted good.
It was more like ashes in my mouth than explosive tastiness.
I felt like the Yakuza bosses by exploiting Suki and who knew how many others around Shinjai. Or like I’d kicked a damn puppy for chewing on a shoe. Alright, what Asahi had done was bad, but I’d already punished him and he’d seemingly stopped.
“Stars above… he is just a kid, don’t kick him while he’s already down, Kayobi.” I told myself and contemplated my now devoid execution square where all the chips and cookies were sacrificed on the altar of my divine laziness.
As I watched the protagonist start to drown in the mermaid’s pool, I selected an order for pizza from my phone. I ordered some from a local chain, Aoki’s, and one from a popular American one, Domino’s. I used a few coupons to get some freebies thrown in, and then that was that.
It was only a matter of time before that got here, and Asahi got back, and then maybe my food would stop tasting bad. Evidently treating people badly ruins meals, even if they deserve it. “Hmpf. Who knew?” I rolled my eyes at my own question, stretched out, and resumed watching the nigh invincible protagonist suffer every kind of indignant injury, and I laughed the entire time.
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