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Smoked out tonight, so let's remember a forgotten Yankee: Tom "Smoke" Sturdivant
2023.06.08 00:23 sonofabutch Smoked out tonight, so let's remember a forgotten Yankee: Tom "Smoke" Sturdivant
The 1950s Yankee dynasty had some great hitters -- Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Moose Skowron, Hank Bauer, Gil McDougald, just to name a few -- but the key to going to eight World Series between 1950 and 1959 (and winning six of them) was a pitching staff that led the league in ERA in five of those 10 seasons -- and in the top three in all 10!
Whitey Ford was the ace of the staff, going an unbelievable 121-50 (.708 W%) with a 2.66 ERA (140 ERA+) between 1950 and 1959. And that was with Casey Stengel often skipping Ford against weaker teams to save him for tougher match-ups, meaning that most of those wins came against top competition. In 1956, for example, the Chairman of the Board had 10 starts against teams with losing records, and 20 starts against teams with records of .500 or better. He went 7-1 with a 2.27 ERA against the losers, and 12-5 with a 2.59 ERA against the winners!
But behind Ford were some pretty good if less famous pitchers, including Allie Reynolds, Eddie Lopat, Tommy Byrne, and Bob Grim. And another, even lesser known hurler won two rings as a key member of the Yankee rotation: Tom Sturdivant
A hard enough thrower in his youth that he got the nickname "Smoke," by the time Sturdivant reached the Yankees he was called "Snake" because of the way his pitches moved. He threw a curve that broke away from right-handed batters, a screwball that broke away from lefties, a sinking fastball, and a looping change-up. All were good pitches, but none of them was great. Ted Williams was asked how Sturdivant was so successful without overpowering stuff, and he replied:
"Maybe he hasn’t got a thing. But I notice one thing. He keeps winning."
Eventually he did find a thing, though. Particularly later in his career, Sturdivant became known for his knuckleball. He would call it his "money pitch." He also complained about the pitch like an unruly pet, saying "it just won't act right 'til late in the season."
Born in Gordon, Kansas, on April 28, 1930, Thomas Virgil Sturdivant
grew up in Oklahoma City and attended Capitol Hill High School. Sturdivant was signed by Yankee scout Tom Greenwade, who also signed another kid from Oklahoma, Mickey Mantle. Like Mantle, Sturdivant was signed as an infielder. But Sturdivant also was a pretty good pitcher as a teenager, as Greenwade told a reporter:
"Used to be a high-school pitcher in Oklahoma City, you know. And one of the greatest. He set some kind of record. More than 100 innings without being scored on."
Sturdivant struggled to hit his first few seasons as an infielder in the minors, hitting .246 in 281 at-bats in 1950. He then spent all of 1951 and much of 1952 in the U.S. Army, and -- as happened to most major leaguers drafted into the service -- spent most of his time playing baseball for a base team. (As Whitey Ford once said: "Army life was rough. Would you believe it, they actually wanted me to pitch three times a week!") Sturdivant's success pitching in the Army, as well as a leg injury that cost him some of his running speed, convinced him he should ask the Yankees to try him at pitching.
"I knew I wasn't getting anywhere, batting .246 in Class B, so I decided I'd better try something else if I wanted to stay in baseball, which I did, badly."
He returned from the Army in time to pitch 86 innings with the Yankees' Double-A affiliate, the Beaumont Roughnecks, and went 3-3 with a 3.56 ERA. His days as an infielder were over.
Sturdivant went 10-7 with a 2.98 ERA in Double-A the following season, and 8-9 with a 3.57 ERA in Triple-A the year after that. Yankee pitcher Allie Reynolds, a fellow graduate of Capitol Hill High School in Oklahoma City who had gone 20-8 for the Yankees in 1952, had retired after the 1954 season. That winter, he worked with Sturdivant and told him he might make the Yankees in spring. Sturdivant's hard work that off-season impressed manager Casey Stengel. "We learned that he can be a fighter, and that's what we want with this club," he said.
He made the team out of spring training and made his major league debut on April 14 against the Red Sox at Fenway Park -- Boston's home opener. Bob Grim started the game and was bombed for five runs on seven hits through six innings. Sturdivant entered the game in the 7th, with the score 5-2, and gave up another run. The Yankees battled back in the bottom of the 8th, scoring two runs on back-to-back singles from Elston Howard and Jerry Coleman to make it a two-run game, but Sturdivant gave up a two-run single in the 8th to pitcher Ellis Kinder to put the game out of reach again, and the Yankees lost, 8-4.
In 33 games that year, Sturdivant posted a 3.16 ERA and a 1.302 WHIP, not bad for a rookie. He didn't give up a lot of hits, but he did walk 41 men in 68.1 innings. Stengel didn't mind that, though. In a 2020 article, "Big Walkers"
, Bill James wrote about how Stengel employed a strategy of "pitching around" power hitters. When a slugger was at the plate, pitchers were coached to work the edges of the plate, not giving him anything good to hit. He might chase pitches and strike out... he might hit something off the end of the bat... or he might walk. Any of the three, in Stengel's opinion, was a better outcome than throwing a pitch down the middle to a guy who could hit it 450 feet.
As a result, the Yankees often were near the top in walks allowed -- but also in fewest home runs allowed. And also in double plays. And also, not coincidentally, in earned run average.
In his five seasons with the Yankees, Sturdivant walked 221 batters in 524.1 innings (3.8 BB/9), but only gave up 45 home runs (0.8 H9). He also induced 44 double plays. James, in looking at what made the Yankees successful in the 1950s, discovered that they had a huge differential in HR-GIDP. In 1955, Sturdivant's first year in the league, the Yankees hit 175 home runs, and grounded into 101 double plays (+74). Yankee opponents had 108 home runs, and grounded in 145 double plays (-37). In 1956, the Yankes were +86, their opponents -53.
This is not a typical championship team pattern. In many areas, the 1950s Yankees were just an ordinary team. They really had only one outstanding starting pitcher, while Cleveland usually had three or four. But the Yankees huge advantages in Home Runs vs. Double Plays enabled them to win almost every year.
Sturdivant rode this strategy to back-to-back 16-win seasons, going 16-8 with a 3.30 ERA (118 ERA+) in 1956, and 16-6 with a 2.54 ERA (142 ERA+) in 1957.
After those two great seasons, though, Sturdivant's career went up in... well... smoke.
In Spring Training 1958, he held out for a raise, eventually signing for $18,000, a $4,000 raise from what he'd made the year before. He gave up 10 runs in his first two starts of the year, and then missed a month with a sore arm. When he came back, he was hit hard in his next three starts, and was banished to the bullpen. After a pretty good month (8.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 7 K), he was put back into the rotation, and went 3-2 with a 3.31 ERA in 32.2 innings, but his arm still wasn't quite right, and he missed some time in August due to a heel injury. He was on the World Series roster in 1958, but didn't pitch.
All off season there were rumors that Sturdivant was on the trading block, and after another slow start -- 0-2 with a 4.97 ERA, and still bothered by his sore arm -- he was dealt to the Yankees' favorite trading partner in the late 1950s, the Kansas City Athletics. "Snake", along with Jerry Lumpe and Johnny Kucks, was dealt for Ralph Terry and previously forgotten Yankee Hector Lopez
-- a pretty good deal for the Yankees, as Terry and Lopez helped the Yankees to five straight pennants and two championships between 1960 and 1964. Lumpe, a little used utility player with the Yankees, proved to be a solid regular for the Athletics and then an All-Star with the Tigers in 1964. But Kucks, an All-Star with the Yankees in 1956, was done, going 12-21 with a 4.78 ERA (84 ERA+) in two seasons with the Athletics, and was out of baseball after the 1960 season.
Sturdivant would hang around another five seasons, and pitch for six different teams! He went from the Athletics to the Senators -- not the original Senators, who were now the Twins, but the expansion team founded in 1961 that would become the Rangers in 1972 -- then the Pirates, the Tigers, back to the Athletics, and then rejoined Casey Stengel on the Mets in 1964. Over that stretch he went 21-20 with a 4.16 ERA and 1.301 WHIP as a swingman.
The 34-year-old Sturdivant announced prior to the 1964 season he was running for the Oklahoma State Senate and that he'd quit baseball if elected in November. The Mets beat him to it, though, releasing him in May after he posted a 5.97 ERA in 28.2 innings. Maybe more as a campaign ploy, in July Sturdivant signed with the Oklahoma City 89ers. He went 6-3 with a 3.89 ERA and 1.365 WHIP in 74.0 innings. He lost the election, and retired from baseball.
After that, Sturdivant owned a trucking company and tried to drum up support for the Hall of Fame case for his old mentor Allie Reynolds.
In 2000, the 69-year-old Sturdivant was in a serious car accident. Someone -- he never learned who -- found him on the roadside, thrown from his truck after it had rolled five times. When the ambulance arrived, they thought he was dead. They strapped his body to a stretcher and loaded him into an ambulance.
Sturdivant told sportswriter Brian Jensen:
"When we were driving to the hospital, I was in the back and they had me strapped down and I guess when I came to, I raised my head and I said, 'hey could y'all call my wife for me,' and the driver almost jumped out of the van. It just wasn't time for me to go."
He had broken his back, both hips, his pelvic bone, his tailbone, multiple ribs, and had a punctured lung. He never recovered.
"I don't have a life," Sturdivant said. "You know, I have a hard time remembering a lot of stuff and I'm kind of slow. I kind of have little spells where I pass out and have a hard time walking straight."
Sturdivant died on February 28, 2009.
- According to a 2010 article in Sports Illustrated, Mickey Mantle hurt himself while playing golf with Sturdivant in 1957. Sturdivant must have been having a better game than Mantle was, because at some point the Mick threw his putter in frustration. The putter hit a tree and knocked off a large branch, and then either the putter or the branch landed on Mantle's leg, giving him a nasty cut. Mantle missed five games due to what the Yankees told reporters at the time was "shin splits."
- Another key starting pitcher for the Yankees in the early 1950s: Forgotten Yankee Vic Raschi, "The Springfield Rifle." Raschi had one of the all-time great lines about pitching: "My best pitch is anything the batter grounds, lines, or pops in the direction of Rizzuto."
- Sturdivant wore #47 all five years he was with the Yankees. He was, according to baseball-reference.com, the first Yankee to wear the number. The number is currently assigned to Frankie Montas; prior to that, it was worn by Jordan Montgomery. Other #47's include Ivan Nova, Shane Spencer, Dave Silvestri, and Roy Fontenot. Luis Arroyo, the Yankee closer from 1960 to 1963, wore #47.
- In addition to Tom Sturdivant and Allie Reynolds, the other graduates of Capitol Hill High School to play in the majors were 1960s outfielder Don Demeter, 1950s infielder Jerry Snyder, and 1980s outfielder George Wright, though none played for the Yankees. The Yankees signed another pitcher out of Capitol Hill High School, a righty named Bob Shipman, but he never made the majors despite going 32-14 between 1953 and 1955 in the Yankee system.
- Demeter later became a pastor in Oklahoma City, and Sturdivant was a member of his church!
- The Yankees almost released Sturdivant early in the 1956 season. Hoping to sneak him back down to the minors, the Yankees put him on waivers, but Detroit manager Bucky Harris put in a claim for him. Harris had been the Yankee manager prior to Casey Stengel, and after leaving the Yankees went to the Senators, where he had picked up a number of former Yankee pitchers -- Bob Porterfield, Fred Sanford, Tom Ferrick, and Spec Shea. (They also acquired previously forgotten Yankee Jackie Jensen.) For whatever reason, ex-Yankee pitchers on the Senators seemed to dramatically improve. Now Harris was on the Tigers, and wanted Sturdivant. Thinking Harris must know something, the Yankees pulled him back. Apparently Harris did know something, as Sturdivant went 32-14 with a 2.88 ERA over the next two seasons!
- In the 1956 World Series against the Brooklyn Dodgers, Sturdivant started Game 4, and did what he usually did: He gave up six walks, but no home runs, and got a double play. He went the distance and the Yankees won the game, 6-2, to even the World Series at two games each. After the game, the Associated Press called it "the best pitching job in the series." Sturdivant's glory was short-lived, however: the next day, Don Larsen threw a perfect game.
- The infielder turned pitcher because he couldn't hit was a pretty good hitter for a pitcher in 1956, when he hit .313 with a double and a triple in 64 at-bats. Overall, though, he hit just .183/.208/.195 in 364 career plate appearances. Moving to the mound was a good decision!
- No relation, and spelled differently anyway: Tyler Sturdevant, who pitched in the minors for the Indians from 2009 to 2015. He finally made his debut with the Rays in 2016, at age 30, with a not-bad 3.93 ERA and 1.309 WHIP in 18.1 innings. The following year he was in the A's system, but he never got another trip of the Show.
Sturdivant remained a Yankee for life. After his playing days were over and he was living in Oklahoma, he was an early adopter of a subscription service that allowed him to watch Yankee games!
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2023.06.08 00:22 NeedRomanticPass 48 [M4F] #NJ - Seeking a special woman!
You have been a good woman your whole life, but you also have carried a secret with you that fills you with silent shame and embarrassment, because your fantasy doesn't match your personality at all. There is something secretly submissive in you that yearns to be satisfied. You long for a dominant, sexy, man to take control of you and discipline you. You want to feel helpless...dominated...NOT in control. You want to have your panties forcibly taken down and be spanked like a naughty school girl. You want to be pushed down over the sofa, feel your skirt lifted, your moistened underwear pulled aside. You want a big, hard cock to invade your slippery wetness, stretching you wider than you thought possible and making you feel oh so delicious!. You are a normal person, constrained by society's conventions and frustrated by your inability to realize your innermost fantasies. You want to be spanked with your panties down and you want to be fucked hard! -- you are already getting wet right now just thinking about it.
I am a well educated, intelligent & professional man who is physically fit and accustomed to dealing with naughty women like you. I will lecture you and instruct you to pull your skirt up around your waist as I kneel before you and pull your panties down to your thighs. The delicious smell of your aroused pussy will rise to meet me. You will feel the cool air on your bush and revel in the delicious anticipation. Then I will instruct you to stand against the wall with your legs spread and your hands above your head while I slowly pace about behind you and your clit tingles with excitement. You will feel my eyes on your pussy and this thought will excite you even more. Then I will call you sternly and bend you over a chair so that your pussy is in full view - wet, exposed, vulnerable. Oh, the shame of it. I will stroke your clit gently and when you try to stop me I will slap your cheeks hard.
Then I will commence the spanking proper. Perhaps I will use my hand. If you resist too much I will use a slipper or my leather belt. It will sting, but not be intolerable, and every now and again you would feel my fingers probe your fragrant slippery slit, making you gasp with pleasure and ache for penetration. Maybe I will tell you to reach between your legs and spread your lips apart with your fingers as I kneel behind you and slide my tongue between your sopping aromatic folds. I will continue spanking your now very red ass and you will be torn between tears and screams of delight. When your punishment is over, I will instruct you to kneel in front of me and take my big cock deep into your mouth, making you almost gag as I hold your hair and fuck your face while you moan approvingly and look up at me, your eyes wild with desire. When I am convinced that you want my cock badly enough I will turn you around on your hands & knees and I will wait as you kneel in that position until you BEG me to fuck you, and then I will grab you firmly by your hips and RAM my hard cock into your wet & swollen pussy hard and fast; banging you the way you were meant to be banged, until we both collapse in a sweaty heap of sexual bliss.
I know you are wet after reading this so lets do something about it..
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2023.06.08 00:21 humanefly Can I use SCHUETZEN 2FG in my antique Smith and Wesson double action?
I've got an antique Smith and Wesson in .44 Russian. I've never reloaded but I managed to collect some .44 Magnum brass, some primers, case trimmers, primer loader and so on (I still need to buy an actual press) but Goex is not easy to find anymore. I've never done this before. Is there any reason I should not use the Schuetzen 2FG to load?
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2023.06.08 00:20 doodlebug_bun I [21F] am in love with my best friend/roommate [22NB], but they don't like me back
I know a version of this has been posted a million times.
I'm 21F (she/her) and my roommate is 22NB (they/them). We met in college is 2020 and moved in together with my then-girlfriend last year.
After I broke up with my ex in January, we moved into a one-bedroom apartment together. We bought a bunk bed, but both of us have slept on the bottom bunk pretty much since day one. We've been happy.
I've always expressed how I'm a hopeless romantic and that I have never gotten the affection I need from a partner. They were sympathetic and got me a Valentine's Day present. It was my first time getting something like that. It made me realize I'm head over heels for them, which was fine because I knew it wasn't reciprocated and I wasn't going to push it.
I felt that I was still hung up on my ex, so I started having rebound sex with people from Tinder. It helped me get over her.
In April, they told me they felt jealous of my rebounds and wanted to be involved with each other. No labels, no publicity, just doing romantic and cute things together. I was over the moon. I had never felt more relieved. We held hands, we cuddled, they kissed my cheek. It was like magic.
Over the past few weeks, they've been withdrawing. No more hand-holding. Uncomfortable with me saying "date" or complimenting them. They didn't say anything about it, but I felt it in my bones that they didn't like me like that.
I sat them down today and asked them about it, and they told me that they didn't feel romantically attracted to me. That they have never felt that way, they just thought they did. They apologized for leading me on.
I have been in our room alone since then. I feel weird. I feel bad. I knew it wasn't going to last, because they have always expressed they're not ready for a relationship. But it's not even that they're not ready, it's that they don't want one with me. And that sucks a lot.
My brain keeps being like "if you do XYZ, then they'll like you romantically." But that's not how it works. They never liked me that way in the first place. How do I get that out of my head?
I need help getting over them. I don't have anywhere to stay other than here (family doesn't know about what we were and I don't really have any friends that they aren't also friends with). I don't want things to be weird, but I don't know where to go from here.
Should I confess to them that I'm in love? I don't want them to feel uncomfortable.
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2023.06.08 00:20 UnjustAddendum Holiday end
Last evening of the holiday and she decides to dump on me why we have our DB.
I don't help with the cognitive load enough. Her examples were the current holiday and some specific other holidays that I didn't do much of the planning. And just general things around the house, mainly when she asks me to do stuff it doesn't always get done. Honestly fair points, in have changed a lot for her in the years we've been together and a good half of them are in the "Be a functional adult" area, these subs the same. I agree to try harder and come up with things to help. Then we both go to sleep.
On the trip back in watching some TV, first time in at least 6 months that I've had the time to, and my mind keeps thinking about the things she said.
Not helping with the holidays? Yep, that happened. Except this one a majority was planned by her sister and for our stuff, I was sick and working OT at work. Another trip? It was for my birthday, so there should be some leeway, yeah? Still did a heap of planning for it, even if most of it fell through because no-one (her included) wanted to stick to it. Another trip, or not trip, was also organised by her family and I was also sick in the preparation stage for it. With COVID. And finally no mention of the trip I mostly organised apart from accommodation.
Being aware and attentive to the small things around the house is something that's always been a blind spot of mine, so that is totally fair. Same with the stuff she asks me to do. Though seems a bit one sided when she's sitting with our kid watching TV and gets me to do 10 things around the house, especially when that happens after I've looked after them all morning.
So yeah, looks like that might be the key to fixing my DB, just do more stuff. Sick, stressed, tired or whatever else.
Going to push for some marriage counselling. Just need to find the right one. And convince her.
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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.''
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...'
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.
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.
'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-
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.
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-
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.
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2023.06.08 00:16 ralo_ramone An Otherworldly Scholar [LitRPG, Isekai] - Chapter 11
The Great Hall stood tall against the cloudy day, expelling white smoke from the multiple chimneys on its thatched roof. The outer walls made of a dark gray stone and the overall brutalistic style of the building, gave the Great Hall a certain ‘Big Bad Evil Guy’s lair’ vibe. Upon further inspection, I noticed traces of mana weaved in between the stone which made me wonder if the whole building had some sort of protecting enchantment in place. It made sense considering the whole town was a bastion between the Farlands and the Ebros Kingdom.
Despite my initial assessment of the city, Farcrest’s marketplace flourished all around me. Food, weapons, tools, all kinds of crafting ingredients. No matter what direction I looked I found new things to identify. Other than the abandoned northern district, the city looked like a bustling trade center.
I continued walking through the street market towards the Great Hall.
Red banners with the Marquis crest, a man killing a wolf with a lance, hung from the inner walls. The gate was guarded by a small contingent of soldiers dressed in shiny armor and armed with long albarests. I was tempted to use [Identify] on them but remembering Elincia’s reaction, I refrained from doing it. I didn’t want problems before even starting my life in this world.
As I reached the closed gate, a guard blocked my path.
“What is your business in the Marquis’s Great Hall?” The guardsman asked, glancing at me with unfriendly eyes. The man inspected my appearance from head to toe and he didn’t seem to like what he was seeing. My clothing was humble to say the least.
“My name is Robert Clarke, Scholar from the City of Light. I’m here for a passage permit into the Kingdom of Ebros.” I said with a haughty voice. A good teacher was, in essence, a good actor, and I took pride in my classroom management.
As expected, my words seemed to pique the guard’s interest.
“Farcrest isn’t a border town, Scholar. How did you even enter the kingdom?”
The guard was unsure if he was really talking to a commoner or someone of high birth. Or maybe he thought I was a high level individual? It made sense that people with higher levels looked down on the weaker.
Considering Elincia’s reaction to the story about the teletransportation, I decided to continue with the same lie. If I had to guess, portals weren’t all strange in this world.
“A magic accident teleported me into the Farlands. There I was picked up by an Alchemist harvesting ingredients who brought me here to Farcrest.” I explained with a serious tone.
“Should’ve said that from the very beginning… sir. Portal magic is no joke.” He stuttered.
The guard swallowed the story.
“It is not.” I nodded.
The guard must’ve assumed I was the one responsible for the portal incident because his demeanor changed instantly. If I had to guess, portal magic was a high level technique.
“This way, sir.” The guardsman said, guiding me through a lateral door at the base of the wall and into a narrow and dark corridor. As much as I wanted to enter through the main gates, I assumed it wasn’t worth opening it for a single person.
We emerged into a cobbled courtyard by the side of the Great Hall where a small army of workers unloaded carts with crated goods under the attentive glance of an overseer. Regrettably, I couldn’t tell what was inside the heavy boxes.
“Trade seems to be healthy considering Farcrest is a frontier town.” I pointed out in a vain attempt to make the guard talk.
“It’s been that way for a while now.” He sparsely replied as we walked to a wooden building attached to the Great Hall. Outside the building, an angry middle aged woman dressed in a gambeson with the Marquis emblem was training a group of fresh recruits who barely knew how to hold a sword. The kids couldn’t be much older than Zaon.
Instead of walking towards the building, we approached the training group.
The soldier saluted and the woman knight raised her hand, stopping the frenetic swinging of the recruits. Her eyes were of a stark gray color and her lips were a fine line under her aquiline nose. Her skin was tanned and covered in small scars of a hundred battles. [Awareness] told me she was the don’t-fuck-with-me type.
“Captain, this man says he arrived at Farcrest via failed teleportation.” The soldier explained my situation.
“Another one?! I can’t believe this is the second time this year.” The Captain chastised the soldier as if it was his personal fault. Then, she turned around to face me. She was taller than me and her rolled up sleeves not only revealed lean and bulking muscles but a skin covered in scars. Those weren’t fashionable superficial scars but ones which distorted the skin and muscle.
“Tell me you are not from the Ansan Kingdom. It will cost us a small fortune to send you back.” The Captain said.
I understood that was my cue to speak.
“My name is Robert Clarke, a Scholar, and you don’t need to send me back to my homeland, Captain. I am more interested in traveling to the Imperial Library than returning.” I said with a small bow.
“I’m Captain Izabeka Kiln, leader of the city guard. I like you already, Scholar. People who complicate things are too common in these places.” The captain left the bundle of parchment and walked around the table to inspect me closely.
I made a mental note to not complicate things in front of the woman.
“Come on.” The captain left the group of disoriented recruits behind and walked towards the Great Hall. “We have to ensure you don’t have any suspicious hidden titles before giving you your passage permit.”
“Hidden titles?” I asked with a tremble in my voice.
“You have not been in a System Shrine before?” The Captain looked over her shoulder and gave me a confused glance.
I shook my head. Hidden titles could mean two things; there was a method to hide one’s titles from being identified or there were titles that could only be unlocked at a System Shrine. The second option made sense considering the lack of progress my class had even after twelve levels.
“I warn you, Robert Clarke, I’m a level fifty seven Knight, if you do try anything stupid I’ll crush your spine before you could even blink.” The captain said before addressing the guard who had guided me there. “You, maggot, look after the Scholar’s belongings. He is my guest.”
“Yes, ma’am.” The soldier said, extending his hand to me.
I gave him my backpack and nobody questioned the suspicious wooden shotgun butt protruding out. I felt naked without my weapon, however, the shells were safe inside my pocket.
“You don’t have a suspicious title do you?” The captain asked as we entered a beautifully adorned corridor with painted murals and ornamental banners hanging from the ceiling. The decoration was surprisingly tasteful.
I swallowed hard.
“I don’t think so?” I replied, remembering what Elincia had told me about locked titles.
We walked in silence through a carpeted corridor. The brass-framed windows reached the high ceiling and gave us a wide view of the interior gardens. There was a bush maze, fountains and clumps of all kinds of flowers.
We reached a glass door to a crowded balcony and the captain signaled the guards to let us through. On the balcony there were men and women dressed in expensive suits and dresses of vibrant colors. Broad rings of gold and precious stones adorned the noble’s hands while the women flaunted beautiful necklaces and earrings. If the Marquis was there, he was hidden among the crowd.
Captain Kiln took me to the side of the balcony, far from the noble clump and pointed down to the garden. Two men dressed in fencing attire were standing at opposite sides of the garden while the squires helped them with their padded jackets. In the middle of the fighting area an old man with braided hair and stern look acted as the referee.
“Have you witnessed a judiciary duel before?” The captain asked.
I shook my head.
“Then it’s your lucky day, Scholar. Sir Janus insulted Baronette Tirno during the last feast.” Captain Kiln said with a lupine smile.
“What did Sir Janus say?” I inquired.
“Janus said Tirno’s lovers during their days in the Ebros Knights Academy looked just like his mother.” Captain Kiln let out a tired sigh.
I glanced down at the dueling area. Baronette Tirno was a tall and slender young man of blonde curls and piercing looks. He wore a blue and black jacket with a crest similar to the Marquis symbol, so I assumed he might be related to the Marquis. Tirno moved with ease under the padded jacket and made a flourish with his rapier before blowing a kiss to the balcony. The gesture was answered by a wave of giggles and sighs.
For someone with a soiled honor, he was enjoying the moment.
Sir Janus, on the other hand, was a brutish looking man with the physique of a beer barrel. An unkempt bristly black beard covered his face and his small black eyes resembled the ones from a pig. Janus looked more like a well-armed murder hobo than a knight.
“Tirno has the reach advantage.” I said as the squire handed the rapiers to Janus.
“Good, you can use your eyes.” Captain Kiln said and I wondered if every woman had a similar level of sass in this world.
The referee, an old man dressed in a white and yellow tunic, stood at the center of the arena and cast a spell creating a golden dome of twenty meters in diameter. A second later the dome became translucent, barely blocking the view of the duelists.
“He’s a Fortifier. Any skill used inside the area of the bubble should stay inside instead of killing you. Well, none of them have magic classes but with high level combatants any extra precaution is welcome.” Captain Kiln explained.
Down inside the bubble, Tirno and Janus walked five paces away from the center, turned around, and saluted with the rapiers. Then, they adopted a fighting position I wasn’t completely familiarized with. It seemed they were going to start sprinting instead of fencing.
A sudden gust of wind rose, kicking up a dust cloud, and Tirno disappeared just to reappear by Janus’ flank. I gasped. Had he used a skill or was it his natural speed? Janus raised his sword and parried just in time. Then I noticed my mouth was wide open.
“Want to bet?” Captain Kiln asked with an entertained expression on her face.
“I don’t have money or valuables other than a quarter cheese wheel.” I babbled back, too entranced with the fight to pay attention to the woman.
The captain slid a silver coin down the railing and left it in front of me. I recognized a gambling addict that shouldn’t be gambling when I saw one. I glanced at the coin and then I looked down at the arena. The duelists were still testing each other. Baronette Tirno had an elegant style with quick transitions and nimble footwork. Sir Janus, on the other hand, stood like a heavy boulder in the middle of the yard.
“Two silver coins and I will tell you exactly how Lord Tirno is going to lose.” I said with a taunting smile.
The captain’s interest was piqued and soon after there were two silver coins in front of me and another two in front of the woman.
“I love to fleece know-it-all Scholars.” The captain said despite the fact she was betting against her own money.
I ignored the banter and focused on the duel. After the initial explosion of speed things had slowed down. Still, they moved faster than any HEMA practitioner or olympic fencer I had seen in my life.
I remembered Zaon talking about class growth. It wasn’t a surprise that the kid was apprehensive of becoming a Soldier when there were classes that could move like those two men. Not even with my Lv.5 [Swordsmanship] was enough to reach those speeds.
[Awareness] filled my brain with information. Tirno fought with deliberately elegant movements trying to find an opening on the opponent’s defense while Janus adopted a style similar to what I knew; he tried to control Tirno’s sword and deliver a strike without jeopardizing his own safety.
“Sir Janus is going to end the fight by stabbing the Baronette in the hand.” I calmly said, channeling all my fencing knowledge. Judicial fencing wasn’t about killing your opponent, although it happened frequently, but about incapacitating it before it could harm you.
“Alright, I’m going for Tirno.” The Captain said.
The balcony was in complete silence. Rapiers clashed, but none managed to control the weak of the opponent's blade to create an opening. The amount of stamina both men displayed was astounding, even compared to top tier athletes from Earth. If I were to train for a hundred years I could hardly reach their levels of speed and coordination.
Suddenly Lord Tirno put aside all attempts of defending and lunged forward, aiming at the center of Sir Janus’ chest. Sir Janus stepped back with a nimbleness uncharacteristic of a man of his span. To get away from Tirno’s blade, Janus raised both arms and pulled back his body. In that awkward position, Sir Janus counterattacked with a downward stab aimed at Lord Tirno’s hand and withdrew from the engagement to avoid Tirno’s afterblow.
However, the afterblow didn’t come. Lord Tirno’s sword fell to the ground as the man bursted out cursing. As he retreated to his side of the arena, I caught a glimpse of bright blood flowing from his right hand. New word learned! Words learned: 3,001/215,000 Rank: Talkative Teenager
I made a mental note to not mention that word in front of children.
“I lost.” Captain Kiln sighed, bringing me back to the present.
“Not yet, he’s going to continue. Look.” I replied as Lord Tirno’s aid bandaged the wounded hand. The noble man snapped at the squire to hurry up but no matter how much bandages he applied, they quickly soaked in more blood. Suddenly, sick of waiting, Lord Tirno pushed his squire back and retrieved the sword.
“It’s over.” Captain Kiln sighed again.
Down in the garden, Sir Janus repeatedly hit Tirno’s blade until it slipped from his bloody hand. Then Janus prompted his rival to retrieve his sword just to repeat the process. Three times Tirno raised his sword and three times Janus slapped it from his hand.
“What a shitshow.” Captain Kiln grunted just as Sir Janus disarmed Lord Tirno for the last time and chased him across the garden hitting the Baronette’s legs with the rapier’s flat side until he found shelter inside the Great Hall.
Sir Janus took a bow towards the balcony and threw his sword in the squire’s direction. The Captain slid four silver coins to my side of the handrail.
“Better spanked than dead.” I pointed out, pocketing the coins with a winning smile on my face.
“Sir Janus is a lowborn who reached knighthood because he was accepted in the Ebros Knights Academy. His position in the court is frail and yet he acts like an idiot.”
The squires cleared the garden and the nobles who had been observing the duel started vacating the balcony. I learned a couple more insults from overhearing their conversation, some of the nobles were fuming and I pictured them plotting against Sir Janus in the near future. A hurt noble’s ego was dangerous in this world or the other.
“Abei!” The captain suddenly called.
An old robbed man emerged from the group, clearly annoyed by the interruption.
“What is it, captain?”
The man had a shining bald head and a majestically bushy beard. Unlike the young man from the tower, Abei didn’t look like a cheap street magician but a full fledged sage.
“We have one of those portal hoppers. A Scholar.” Captain Kiln announced. “I thought you would be interested.”
In a single sentence, Abei’s face was cleared of all irritation. The old man made his way through the balcony with an eager stride and, unlike the captain, didn’t bother to measure me up with his eyes. Instead he jumped directly to the questions.
“Where are you from and how did you get here, young man?” Abei struck me like the kind of person who would look into a loaded shotgun’s barrel to satiate his curiosity.
“I’m Robert Clarke, humble servant of the City of Light. I arrived here due to a teletransportation accident.” I introduced myself, already expecting what will come next. The questioning.
“The City of Light? Never heard of that place.” Abei stroked his beard and looked around searching for an encyclopedia just to remember he was outdoors.
“And I never heard of Farcrest until I popped out here.” I replied with a shrug.
Abei nodded, understanding my predicament.
“You don’t seem to be scared for someone so far from home.” The man looked me directly in the eye. I was slowly getting used to being questioned.
“Three days in the Farlands is a hell of a cure for fear.” I replied.
The Captain gave me an approving nod. People of this world trusted too much in the System and too little in the common sense.
“Why am I being treated with such deference? I'm nobody after all.” I asked, eliciting a jolly laugh from the old man and I braced myself for a long story.
“People who are exposed to teletransportation spells usually are wealthy, noble or high level, so it's only logical to protect such individuals when the integrity of the kingdoms depends on them.” Abei explained. “Anyway, we need noble witnesses to grant you the permit. Let’s go to the audience room.” The man added as he invited me through the glass door into the Great Hall.
Before I could cross the doorway, Captain Kiln grabbed my arm and stopped me.
“Just don’t do anything stupid and things will go well. Understood?” The woman asked with a stern voice.
“Understood.” I replied, knowing perfectly well that doing stupid things, like jumping heads on into a dangerous world full of magic creatures, was exactly my specialty.
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2023.06.08 00:13 Tbrown162 Fiancé of 7 years and 1 kid left me but is now giving me mixed signals what do I do?
Little back story last Tuesday she was acting strange so I asked her what was up and that’s when she told me she was leaving. Said she didn’t feel the emotional connection anymore. So Wednesday we didn’t talk until that evening when I asked about my son. Then we get home and she’s talking to me like it never happened. Thursday I helped her dads girlfriend with some stuff and didn’t get home till late. Friday we both went to her dads and she was acting completely normal even invited me to dinner with them and it was like nothing had happened. Saturday is when we started moving stuff and she was acting the same way talking to me holding a conversation asking me to do little tasks for her anytime she needed it even though there was other people there. She was still including me in everything. So Monday I show up to her dads because he said I could borrow his weed eater. So when I show up she wasn’t to happy about it because I had forgotten to text her and let her know I was coming. But I finished with the weedeater and was taking it back and they wasn’t there so I decided to write a letter to explain how I was feeling about the whole situation and left it there for her to read. I get a text shortly after saying that her mind was made up and there was nothing I could do to change it. That destroyed me. But then yesterday when I got my son we was talking and she was headed to a bigger city near us to get party supplies for our sons birthday and I told her to be careful and said bye I love you and she said it back. But then when I turned around and said huh she had a oh crap look on her face (like oh no he heard me) then hurried up and said oh that was for our son and looked nervous. Then today I was getting off earlier than usual and I asked if I needed to get our son and she said that she would get him and that I could come and pick him up. I went to pick him up and she then was acting normal and holding a conversation then asked if I could fix her bumper on her car with a few zip ties. I’m just confused on the situation we had talked Friday before I went to work and I told her I was gonna keep trying and wouldn’t give up and change the things she had complained about and she said you can keep trying but don’t overwhelm me because it’ll just push me further away. I just need some outside input on what I should do. Should I keep trying or should I just give up. She was my whole life and the person I seen a future with and now I don’t know what to do
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2023.06.08 00:13 Elocutus55 Need the Herd Mind for options…
I am 67 years old and am at odds with my current ride, my ‘03 BMW R1150R. It’s fabulous, but I’m having a real problem dealing with the weight. This is bike #34 for me, and it’s not the heaviest I’ve ever ridden. I usages to have a ‘14 Honda Gold Wing F6B (bagger) I rode for 2 years until…cancer. I was diagnosed in summer of 2016, had surgery and 6 months of chemo. During the chemo days I flopped the F6B over at a stop light because of general weakness and some atrophy that was sneaking up on me. I wanted to cry…that bike was my best bike ever, and I just let it flop over. Two really nice men behind me in a ratty pickup truck jumped out and picked it up for me and helped calm me down. I rode the rest of the way home (South Florida) being careful to time all the lights to get home. That was the last ride on it for a long time. Eventually I had to do something. The chemo was long over, and I felt bad about it sitting outside in the heat even though I had the specific high end cover on it. After one of those nuisance hurricanes blew the cover into a neighbor’s yard, and feeling ongoing weakness in my legs, I became afraid to ride it. A dealer 30 miles away came and picked it up to service it and check for damage. This was fine, but when I went to fetch the bike, with my new Ranger Lariat and a U-haul, the dealer wouldn’t even show me my bike. This mega powersport dealer wanted my 5 year old F6B, and wouldn’t even roll it out for me to see. After some serious grumbling from me (I had patronized them many times before), I asked them to help me get it in the U-Haul. They balked and started to try to sell me a new bike. I still hadn’t laid eyes on my bike, and I had been there that day for nearly two hours. Because I knew my legs weren’t much improved, even after weeks of physical therapy, I suddenly decided that I might be willing to deal for something else, nice, flashy, and lighter. Two hours later I owned a 2017 Triumph Street Twin. That went into the trailer, and I never saw my F6B again. I wanted to cry again. I started on Hondas back in ‘71, had all those intervening bikes, and bought the Triumph without ever riding it. It went home in my trailer that was then loaded with all my goods so that I could move to the fantastic Pacific Northwest! It was 2019. Then came COVID. I was there to complete my emigration to Canada (new wife). But, many problems arose and the bike was parked in a storage unit, then a house I had to rent b/c I couldn’t bring all my stuff into Canada b/c my immigration process bogged down, and COVID came to kick everybody’s ass. After putting three hundred miles or so, the Triumph sat in a garage up a badly graveled road, so my fear of falling off of the bike was amplified even more. There it sat from September of 2019 until I finally got to enter Canada in May of 2020. But not the bike. More paperwork, and grief. The bike sat in Northern WA state for another year until I sold it thinking my riding days were up, and that I needed counseling or something about my trepidation on falling over again. TL:DR, right? However, I CANNOT NOT HAVE A MOTORCYCLE IN MY LIFE. So, having lost so much money on the F6B and the Triumph, I had to start saving all over again. That’s when I found the BMW for a great price. I got it, rode it home about thirty miles (US speedometer), pulled into the 30 degree slope up to get to our underground parking garage driveway that requires a 90 degree left turn to immediately drop down to the garage gate. Did you guess? I didn’t hit the driveway exactly, was nervous, and we went down right there, scraping the …. out of my left knee. Again, two house painters saw it and came to help me up. I wanted to cry. Got the bike down into the subterranean garage, and it sat while COVID was raging in Canada like everywhere else. I went down to the garage to clean it, pamper it, charging it up and running it. Then, as I was trying to get used to being married again, and some real anxiety, the BMW sat for a while until we were forced to move because of the rental crisis screwing us out of a place to live. June, 2022, we moved and I successfully rode the bike to our new location, on a hill, again. It has been down there ever since. It’s beautiful, old school cool, bright red and breaking my heart. So, here’s the real question: I need to sell it on and get something 100 pounds lighter. Because I’m really a Honda guy at heart, I’ve been looking for a used Hornet 600 or CB500F. I would rather have a four than a twin, though, and need something turnkey reliable, but not boring. I’ve lost 70 pounds, walk 7-8 miles every day, but my legs can stride but not push up or squat. The cancer and atrophy have left me needing to downsize my bike. In southern BC, I need to find my forever bike. #35 will probably be the last one, and my budget is shriveled to around $8,000 CAD. I’ve been trolling Kijiji, looking for a nice Honda, a Kawasaki W650, or whatever I can fit. I’m 6’4” so cruisers are out and too heavy. Sporty bike, less than 425 pounds, and one I can be happy with. Should have never let the Triumph go. I could ride it easily without any fear.
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2023.06.08 00:12 AdamantAce The Flash #26 - Spinning in Circles
DC Next Proudly Presents:
In Top of the Heap Issue Twenty-Six: Spinning in Circles
Written by AdamantAce
Edited by Deadislandman1 << First Issue < Prev. Next Issue >
Coming Next Month
Wally West woke to the first light of dawn seeping into his room at Iris's house, his bleary eyes slowly adjusting to the morning light. His room was a testament to the duality of his life: one of an ordinary teenager and the other of Kid Flash, the city's young speedster. A collection of running shoes, sole worn and treads erased, lay scattered in one corner - the Speed Force may have protected him while running, but he had nonetheless developed a nasty habit of being heavy-footed in his civilian life. His desk was buried beneath a chaotic pile of textbooks and notebooks, holding unfinished homework assignments that he could complete in the blink of an eye but always managed to put off.
Wally was never one for routine, finding comfort in the spontaneous and unpredictable. He thrived in the clutter, a trait that had only been amplified since he'd taken up the mantle of Kid Flash. His mornings were never the same, each one different from the last. Today was no different.
His morning haze was ended by a sudden knock at the front door, one he swore he recognised. Wally quickly pulled on a baseball tee and some cargo pants and rushed down the stairs. His aunt Iris had likely already begun her day, leaving Wally to face the unannounced guests himself. As he swung the door open, a blend of strained smiles and apprehension greeted him—the faces of Mary and Rudy West, his parents. Wally felt a surge of mixed emotions. They had allowed him to leave their family home in Blue Valley, Nebraska and move to Central City at the Flash’s insistence that he be closer to the experts who would put right the seizures brought on by his unstable connection to the Speed Force, and not having seen them for quite some time he supposed he should have been happy to be greeted by them now. The truth was that - though he had never told anyone this - his destructive powers were the perfect excuse to leave an already fraught home environment.
Wally braced himself for the obligatory exchange of pleasantries. "Morning," he mumbled, his voice bereft of warmth.
"Wally, it’s so good to see you!" Mary's voice wavered between forced cheerfulness and anxiety. "We thought we'd come by to see how you're doing."
"Shouldn't you be getting ready for school, son?" Rudy asked, his gaze lingering on Wally's dishevelled appearance.
Wally bit back a sharp retort, grinding his teeth in frustration. Their attempt at casual conversation felt like a charade to him, a superficial overlay on a deep-seated problem. "Yeah, I should," he said tersely, the bitterness in his voice seeping through.
Feeling suffocated by their presence, Wally seized the opportunity to escape. "I'm late for school," he declared abruptly, sidestepping his parents and heading towards the door.
"But we just got here," Rudy protested, his brows furrowed in confusion. “We came all this way.”
"I really can't be late again," Wally called out, his voice fading as he harnessed his super-speed, his figure blurring into a streak of vibrant colours. The door slammed shut behind him, leaving his parents in the wake of his rapid departure.
🔻🔺 ⚡ 🔺🔻
Wally West found himself ensnared in his own turbulent thoughts rather than his English teacher’s recanting of the complexities of Fahrenheit 451. His heart was wreathed in grief over Max's death, a persistent ache that was compounded by the alienation he felt since moving from Nebraska to Central City. His social life was a drab canvas filled with faceless classmates, void of any meaningful friendships.
His sole source of belonging lay outside the school walls, within the bright streaks of yellow and red of his Kid Flash costume. As the trusted ally of the Scarlet Speedster, Wally felt an unshakeable sense of purpose and identity. But now even his life as Kid Flash was mired in uncertainty.
Wally had always idolised the Flash, back before he knew that multiple people had captured his imagination. Now Max was dead, and Barry was changed by it and other recent tragedies. There was a strained tension in his voice, a distracted focus in his eyes that Wally couldn't ignore. He'd seen him grief-stricken over Daniel’s death, and over losing Patty, but this was different.
Then there was Wally’s destabilising connection to the Speed Force. What initially seemed like an exhilarating unpredictability had turned into a haunting uncertainty. Any time he would use his powers, it was up to chance whether today he would be running a bit faster than before, or if his entire body would be paralysed and wrought by the lightning built up inside of him. It was a heavy burden for a teenager - even one in his senior year. Yet, he understood that he was of no use to Central City or his mentor if he couldn't rely on his speed.
The shrill ring of the bell signalling the end of the fifth period mercifully severed Wally's chain of thoughts. The day was too bright, the hallway noises too loud, everything a grating reminder of how much he'd rather be anywhere else but school. When his cell phone buzzed in his backpack, Wally made a beeline to the restroom to check his messages, discovering an alert from the Flash.
‘William and I are tied up with something; need you to deal with a new meta at the Civic Center.’
Wally's heart pounded with a heady mix of adrenaline and anticipation. His personal struggles faded into the background as he promptly excused himself from school, evading the notice of his teachers.
Within moments, Kid Flash skidded to a halt at the Central City Civic Center. A charity fair, attended by the city's elite, including Mayor Derek Fox and his family, had been engulfed in chaos. The cheerfulness of the fair was being choked by a dense, swirling maelstrom of noxious smoke, replacing laughter with terrified screams. A new villain had made their sinister debut.
"Well, a smoky surprise party was not what I had in mind," Kid Flash quipped, attempting to alleviate the tension rippling through the crowd. Drawing a deep breath, he felt the comforting surge of lightning as he manipulated time, slowing it down enough to peer through the swirling particles of soot. Scanning the area, he caught glimpses of numerous civilians and Mayor Fox's family but found no trace of the metahuman.
Releasing time back to its normal flow, Wally felt a peculiar satisfaction in successfully employing an ‘advanced speedster technique’. Moving closer to the billowing smoke, his voice cut through the clamour. "Everyone! Kid Flash is here! Follow the sound of my voice!"
Sure enough, figures began emerging from the fog, running past him, all except the mayor. When Ashley Fox, a woman around Barry's age, ran up to him with panic etched on her face, Wally knew this wouldn't be an easy task. "That thing has my dad!" cried Ashley. "You have to help him!"
“I will,” nodded Kid Flash dutifully. He took a deep breath of clean air and then ventured into the smog.
Strangely enough, as he pushed through the initial threshold of the smokescreen, Wally's vision remained less impaired than expected. Though he strained to see through the veil of grey, he managed to discern a dome of smoke enclosing the centre of the square, including his own path. From several points along the wall of the smoke dome, chains or ropes of condensed soot extended downward, converging at the centre where the elderly Mayor Fox was ensnared and gagged by the solidified smoke.
A deep, echoing laugh resonated from somewhere within the smoke, sending a chill down Wally’s spine.
"Looks like you've stumbled into the lion's den, kid," a voice echoed around him.
"So, you're the one behind this, huh?" Wally shouted back, attempting to pinpoint the origin of the voice.
"You think you can stop me, Kid Flash?" The voice bellowed from within its swirling smoky shroud, a menacing spectre harbouring a grudge.
Wally remained silent, his eyes locked on the mayor. The smoke was thick and toxic, choking the air around Mayor Fox, who coughed and spluttered. He knew he could get Fox out of there in a fraction of a second with his speed, but Smokescreen's smoke was thick, choking. If he made a wrong move at super speed, the sudden vacuum could cause the smoke to rush into Fox's lungs. A slow, suffocating death.
Suddenly, a familiar prickling sensation crawled up the base of Wally's skull. It gradually evolved into a dull ache, signaling the imminent threat of a Speed Force seizure. Gritting his teeth, he concentrated on the task at hand.
"Why are you doing this?" he called out. "You could have targeted everyone, but you specifically went after the mayor. And if it's about him, why do it in public, where a Flash won’t be far away?"
“This isn’t about the mayor,” rumbled the voice of the unknown villain. Smokescreen, Wally decided to call him. His smoke tendrils curled tighter around Fox. "This is about making them know what it feels like to be scared, powerless."
"You can't possibly mean that," Wally cried, searching for any thread to latch onto, any shred of reason that could persuade the villain to reconsider. "I thought this event was for charity!"
“Sure, except it's all really for the benefit of these rich guys’ public image.”
Smokescreen's bitter words drifted through the air, his motivations becoming clearer, personal. It did nothing to justify his actions though. Whatever his grievances were, terrorising the public wasn't the answer.
Wally knew what he had to do, but the threat of a seizure loomed, ready to thwart his plans. Taking a deep breath and crossing his fingers, knowing he only had one chance at this, Wally sprinted forward, running a tight circuit around the ensnared mayor. Swiftly, winds began to whip as an air vortex formed, perfectly suited to draw the metahuman's smoke away. Time seemed to stretch into infinity, and in the singular moment Wally found himself in, his dread intensified. This was it, a seizure about to begin. His breath hitched, he didn't have time for this, not now. The smoke was thickening around him, the cries getting louder. He couldn't fail now, not with so much at stake.
Every instinct urged him to halt, but he pressed on, aware that the vortex's force could draw in more smoke. Ignoring his doubts, he clenched his fists, bracing himself for the impending pain, determined to fight it off. As time resumed and the race resumed with it, Wally didn't retreat but dove headfirst into the storm. Battling against the seizure, each passing moment amplified the agony, blurring his vision.
And then, something remarkable happened. Instead of succumbing to the seizure, he pushed past it, triggering a surge of Speed Force energy that supercharged his abilities. The golden lightning in his wake transformed into a dazzling white, propelling him to speeds he had never reached before. The vortex intensified, drawing in the smoky tendrils and hurling them high into the sky, dispersing them in the process.
The shroud lifted, and Wally turned in motion, finally catching sight of the metahuman attacker - a short, middle-aged man now cowering, knocked to the ground alongside the mayor by the intense wind tunnel conjured by Kid Flash.
Desperate, the man clenched his fists and commanded a torrent of smoke that seemed to burst from behind him, swelling as it raised upwards. Whether it was to attack him, or to hurt the mayor, Wally didn’t care. Moving at unprecedented speed, Wally reached Mayor Fox before the metahuman could even choose a target. Wally swiftly covered the mayor's mouth and nose with his hand, shielding him from the noxious fumes in case his speed faltered. In an instant, he darted back to the edge of the Civic Center square.
Screeching to a halt, Kid Flash emerged from super speed. The white lightning still engulfed his frame, and though he couldn't see it, his eyes burned with intense white light. Carefully, he laid the mayor down at his daughter's feet.
“Thank you!” Ashley Fox cried as she tended to her father.
Applause erupted from the crowd, cheers filling the air as Wally dashed back to apprehend the now feeble-looking Smokescreen, still reeling from the sudden dissipation of his smoky shroud. Wally's punch sent him sprawling, neutralising the threat and ensuring the mayor's safety.
Amidst the persisting cheers, the pain from the seizure gradually ebbed away, taking with it his heightened power. Wally felt like a deflating balloon, the excess energy and power seeping out like escaping helium. His heightened senses recalibrated, and the world resumed its normal speed and rhythm.
A lingering echo of the seizure, akin to the aftertaste of a potent drink, left him shivering. The hyper-awareness of his body and surroundings felt almost invasive after the distant, godlike power he had just experienced. His body, no longer buzzing with extra energy, felt heavy, as if he had been filled with lead. Each beat of his heart resounded loudly in his ears, his lungs aching from the exertion, and sweat trickling down his back, sticking his yellow suit to his skin.
The world around him, which had felt so distant, so removed, was abruptly vivid and pressing. The muffled sounds of the crowd became a cacophony of relieved murmurs and melodic jubilations. The smell of popcorn and cotton candy, once distant and faint, was now potent, mingling with the tangy scent of smoke and adrenaline in the air. He could feel every grain of dust and debris under his feet, the grit pressing into his skin through the fabric of his boots.
He felt drained and yet somehow more alive than ever, every sense heightened in the wake of the energy rush. And beneath it all, he carried a sense of satisfaction, knowing that despite the challenges posed by his unstable Speed Force connection, it had proven to be a formidable asset. Mayor Fox was safe, and the smoke villain had been defeated. As Kid Flash, Wally had conquered his personal obstacles and emerged victorious.
Yet, as Wally West, he continued to run a race against grief, responsibility, and his own fears—a race with no discernible finish line. His only choice was to keep running, hoping to push through every wall in his path. And on this day, running felt nothing short of fantastic.
🔻🔺 ⚡ 🔺🔻
The smell of brewing coffee enveloped Wally as he pushed open the door to Jitters, a comforting counterpoint to the chaos that typically defined his world. Amidst the hum of murmured conversation and clattering cups, the speedster found a slow-paced sanctuary, an oddly soothing anchor in a life measured in Mach speeds.
The barista behind the counter was a fresh face amid the familiar, a girl around Wally’s age with wavy hair pulled back into a messy ponytail, her name tag identifying her as ‘Rosie’. He had caught her in the midst of latte artistry, hands steady as she crafted a foam rosetta, her tongue peeking out at the corner of her mouth in concentrated effort.
"New here?" Wally asked, not really expecting anything. Friends were not something he had come to anticipate in this city. He was more comfortable confronting supervillains than making small talk, which was likely why Wally West remained mostly a stranger to everyone at his school.
Rosie's gaze shifted, disrupting the intricate art on her latte canvas. "Started this week," she responded, affixing a lid to the slightly marred latte before sending it down the counter. There was a flicker of disappointment in her eyes, quickly replaced by humour. "What about you? A regular?"
"Trying to be," Wally confessed, a smirk playing on his lips at the absurdity of it. "People rush in for caffeine, I’m here to catch my breath."
Rosie chuckled, her eyes gleaming with an unexpected understanding. "Quite the paradox."
A familiar cover caught his eye - a copy of the graphic novel 'Astra Nebula' nestled by the register. "You're into 'Astra Nebula'? Kind of avant-garde, isn’t it?"
Her eyes lit up with passion as she set aside her work. "I love it! How they weave so much real world commentary into these strange planets and their stories is… well, I don’t know how they do it. Wait till you get to Volume Three."
Wally blinked. His perception of 'Astra Nebula' was far less complex, focused on the high-octane action, and not on the layers of social commentary. "Yeah, the subtext is… pretty loaded," he offered, hoping his words rang true.
A knowing grin spread across Rosie's face as she let out a soft laugh. "You're in it for the space battles, aren't you?"
Wally blushed, his laughter joining hers. "You got me."
A fleeting connection, punctuated by shared laughter, hung between them, bridging the gap of unfamiliarity.
Just as the moment was beginning to stretch, a voice called out, signalling the end of Rosie's shift. "I need to get going," she said. "Someone else will take care of your order."
“I didn’t even order yet,” Wally replied with a smirk, realising the absent-mindedness that had led their conversation.
“Oh, right,” Rosie laughed, her eyes wide. “Stacy’s better at the latte art anyway.”
“Guess everyone needs a mentor,” Wally suggested, keeping the atmosphere light.
“Yeah, I suppose so,” Rosie agreed, moving to untie her apron. “See you around…”
“Wally,” he filled in.
"Tomorrow, Wally?" There was a hopefulness in her voice, a hint of a budding friendship that seemed more attainable than he'd dared to hope.
He offered a nod, warmth blooming in his chest. "Yeah, see you, Rosie."
As he placed his usual order with Stacy, Wally found himself wearing an unexpected smile. Stepping out of Jitters, he couldn't help but feel the seeds of anticipation sown. Maybe Central City had something more to offer for Wally West as well as for Kid Flash. He dared to hope.
Next: Barry and William work it out in The Flash #27
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2023.06.08 00:03 4ourthdimension Too much movement
Just got my headrest and it looks amazing. Problem is, it moves waaaay too much.
When I rest my head on it while sitting straight, and even with the knob tightened full strength, it still likes to drop back a bit. If I start to recline back while my head is on it, it also pushes right down to my neck. I probably have a heavy noggin, but this doesn't seem to add up. I was hoping for a fairly immobile headrest that I move when I want it to move. This ain't it... it sure adds to the aesthetic though but that's about it. Buyer's remorse I guess.
EDIT: I'm an idiot. I didn't RTFM before posting. There's an additional allen screw behind the neck, up towards the top. Using the allen wrench on that did the trick for the vertical movement. And I just took the allen wrench and tightened the knob via the allen screw in the middle (my elbow grease wasn't cutting it). Now that pretty headrest isn't moving anywhere! Happy purchase feeling restored :D
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2023.06.07 23:58 Gel_007 The Founding Chapter 6
June 10th, 327
It’s been a bit since I’ve written here. I decided to give Augustine a looser leash and I allowed him to explore the outside world as long as he knew what he was doing.
June 11th, 327
Augustine said he had something to tell me later tonight, he’d been exploring almost every day now, the active sense of adventure that boy has honestly impresses me.
A: Hey Zach
Z: Hey what’s up?
A: I wanna tell you about something I found while I was exploring the other day.
Z: Spill then.
A: Alright, so as I was playing around with my long distance teleportation spell and I ended up on the base of a large mountain range. It was strange as I couldn’t teleport all the way to the top, it was like something within the very mountain’s mineral makeup was negating my attempts to teleport up to its peak. So I decided to scale the mountain the old fashion way: climbing it. Thanks to the enhancements given to me by that project I scaled the mountain in no time, and the other side? It was like nothing the world has ever seen, the mountain range was hiding a large gulf of water, a large island placed just within the gulf, lush forest and 2 large mountains towards the center, a place that seemed untouched by time itself. It could be the perfect place to permanently hide from the Templar, after all we can only hide in this cabin for so long before they eventually find us.
I was certainly surprised at the fact that he was able to scale an entire mountain with seemingly very little effort, but what interested me more was the island he discovered. He claimed it looked “untouched” but the higher ups at the Templar claimed they have colonized nearly all the available land in this world so to have an entire island be left untouched is almost like foreign concept, something of legend.
Z: An untouched island? Not only untouched but also unheard of. The Templar said they’ve colonized all known land in this world.
A: I know! But I couldn’t see any mana towers among the trees or any humans from the peak of the mountains.
Z: Well if still untouched after all this time, chances are that they won’t find it anytime soon.
A: exactly! A place where the Templar will never reach…solemn look
Z: What's wrong Augustine? The memories and thoughts haunting you again?
A: yea, I’m sorry to constantly bother you with them but I’ve kept them contained for too long
Z: Hey, hey it’s alright. You’ve never been a bother at all, helping you deal with your issues is what friends are for.
A: I appreciate it Zach, for the longest time Elock was really the only friend I’ve ever had so it’s enlightening hearing someone else say that, to this day I still wonder where she is today and if she’s even alive! I used to have nightmares where I would meet her again just to discover that she’s-
Z: it’s alright, I’m sure she thinks about you every day too and most likely wonders the same every night.
A: Yeah I know, but it’s hard remaining optimistic in this world with the whole war between humans and keidran going on.
Z: Well to me that island sounds like a great place to start.
Augustine and I agreed to visit the island he found beyond the mountains tomorrow, he thinks it’ll be the perfect place to hide from the Templar.
June 12th, 327
Augustine said that the mountain range was incredibly far, about days worth of running in Augustine’s estimation, so teleporting there is just another thing to add to the list of things he impresses me with. While the material the mountain range is composed of prevents any magic from directly interacting with them, they don’t extend beyond that, so Augustine offered to fly us up there using a telekinetic spell.
Turns out Augustine is only used to telekinetically lifting one item, how do I know? Because he accidentally dropped me. Luckily I landed in a tree. After traversing both sides of the mountain and making it across the water, we arrived on the island at last and man Augustine wasn’t lying. It truly was beautiful, lush fruit bearing trees, 2 large mountains and not even the smallest hint of Templar interference!
We headed further inland and decided to stay at the valley between the 2 mountains with Augustine immediately getting to work and hacking away at the tree with the guard’s sword. After a few hours of work, Augustine already had a large pile of planks with me barely keeping up and Augustine teasing me about it, oh I’m sorry not everyone is a magically enhanced super soldier.
It was beginning to grow dark and we made the decision to head back to the cabin for today and continue the build some later time. Augustine made a waypoint in the cabin so getting back was easy though it had some issues as it took a while to activate. I took a rock sample from the mountains to analyze back at the cabin.
June 13th, 327
This was fascinating! The rock sample I took had incredibly unique properties never before seen! Its primary ability was “absorbing” sources of mana. I had stabbed one of our mana crystals into the rock and I observed as it broke down the crystal over the course of an hour! This explains why Augustine couldn’t teleport up the mountain. So even if the Templar did find the mountain they would never get over it, even with the most powerful mages magic.
Augustine had gone out to town again, he said it was to pick up building tools to help shore up the house we were building. He claimed he could handle it on his own and despite me wanting to protest, I let him go through with it. Unfortunately the town we went to around a week ago didn’t have a hardware store as any construction must run through Lulio first, so Augustine had to head to the neighboring town to see if he could find anything there.
(Cut to Augustine’s pov)
Thoughts: “ugh cmon how hard could a hardware store be to find, it feels like I’ve been searching for hours already!” sees sign with a hammer on it
“Gah! Finally!” heads inside
Shopkeeper: Greetings sir! How may I assist you today?
“Uhh it’s alright I can handle it on my own, thanks for the offer though!”
Thoughts: this time the illusion should last longer as these mana crystals are fresh rather than being recharged. grabs a large amount of nails, 2 hammers, some axes to preserve his sword, saws, sand paper, and stone blocks
Shopkeeper: Oh my sir, this is an awful load that you’ll have to carry on your own, are you sure you can handle it?
“Yes I’m sure…”
Shopkeeper: Are you sure? We have a policy that allows you to rent slaves to help you with whatever you’re working on.
(Shopkeep rings a bell to send a slave to the front before Augustine could interject)
Thoughts: are you kidding me? Gahhh cmon Zack is waiting for me and I don’t wanna keep him on the line!
Female voice: coming!
Augustine: frustrated and staring at the floor
Shopkeeper: How about this one? Hard worker she is, very cooperative, very friendly.
Augustine: looks up
Elock: hello sir! How may I assist you today? shivering
Thoughts: E- Elock?! When?! How?! I thought you worked for a farmer?! I can’t say anything, it'll reveal my identity to the worker! Okay, okay, okay just keep it calm!
“I- uh stuttering
I changed my mind! She can help me, I’ll take her!”
Shopkeeper: I’m not surprised, she’s gone from owner to owner as she’s quite a hard worker, she’s worth a lot of money after being traded so many times before ending up at my place. 1000G for 7 days.
“I- yes I’ll take her”
Shopkeeper: perfect! exits with supplies and Elock
Elock looking at Augustine’s wanted poster: solemn
Elock: oh! N-nothing! It’s just these ropes binding my hands are just a bit tight! And W-where are we heading sir? We’re outside of town at this point and I- uh-
A: chuckles a bit
you’re still just as bad as ever at hiding your nervousness Elock
Elock: Ah- I- how do you know my name?!
A: unties the rope and disables illusion
It’s been a while, wouldn’t you agree?
Elock in shock and on the verge of tears: I…A…trembling, mouth slightly ajar in shock
A: what? Cat got your tongue? Well I guess that’s true consid-
Elock: pounces on him
AUGUSTINE! I’ve missed you so much!How have you been?!Where did you- starts talking so fast that even Augustine couldn’t keep up with what she was saying and weeping happy tears profusely on his shirt
A: slightly choking from how tight she’s hugging him
it’s okay, it’s okay! I’ve missed you too. I almost thought you were gonna be de- ow ow! Stop it I was kidding!
I know. Not a single day went by where I didn’t think about you! And say weren't your eyes brown before?
A: I’m flattered that you still remember and well…it’s kind of a long story…but first let’s retreat to safety. teleports with Elock
A: …and then I ended up here
Elock: That’s incredible! You sure had been on a wild cart ride while I was gone! I wish I could have been there.
A: It's not as glamorous as it sounds, that experiment was agony incarnate, it’s a wonder I survived! In fact I was the only one who came out alive, though the powers I got bestowed with are certainly nothing to complain about but still the effects after we’re brutal.
Elock: glad you did, the way you and Zach escaped the facility was incredible.
A: well he can tell you all about it points to cabin
we’ve arrived Zach opens door
A: Hey Zach, I’m back from my shopping spree.
Z: Augustine what took you so long? The plan was to just get the supplies and get out.
A: I know! But I got a bit off track. I found someone very special.
Elock: pokes head through the door
A: meet Elock, remem-
Z: her! The keidran you met when you were 10?
A: yup to Elock
it’s alright Elock it’s fine he won’t bite.
Elock: H- hello sir.
Z: please call me Zach. It’s a pleasure. shakes hand
Elock: it’s a nice place you 2 have here.
A: It was by sheer luck that we found this place actually.
Z: Yeah, the blast was much larger than we’d anticipated and even if my house remained intact, they’d still come searching for me.
Elock: Well lucky you found this place when you did.
A: Are you hungry Elock? We have some steak leftovers.
Elock: oh, I am actually, thank you!
Z: say Elock…
Z: Would you mind telling us your journey? I’d love to learn.
Z: Right, sorry.
Elock: No, no Augustine, it’s alright. I don’t mind in the slightest.
Life in the rainforest regions was paradise, plenty of food, clean sources of water, plenty of building materials, and a beautiful sight to wake up to everyday. My parents worked directly under the matriarch, Lektra(keidran for bolt/thunder) so me being born was almost as exciting as the coronation of the matriarch herself. Unfortunately that swiftly came to a close when Lulio decided to use our home as farmland and despite protests from Lektra, Lulio still went through with the plan. In a flash everything was pretty much destroyed. Our warriors tried to fight back but were eliminated instantly, I was about 3 when this happened and the memory still burns strong to this day.
Augustine: muttering under his breath
Elock: I know how you feel, Augustine, trust me I do.
A: I know, I’m sorry
Elock: holds his hand
After the destruction of my people and my home, I was sent into the town and stayed in a keidran only home until my 4th birthday. Instead of pleasant accommodations like human orphan homes, all we got was a pillow and some sheets to make ourselves comfortable with, most of us slept on the hardwood floor and it was unbearable. Lulio passed a law where keidran as young as 4 would be eligible for work. After my 4th birthday I was almost immediately whisked off to work on a farm, while the job was tough, they at least gave me my own room and bed, one of their guests even took a small liking to me but tragically he died of a lung infection.
Z: I lament your journey and loss Elock, I can’t imagine how tough this was to bear all at once.
Elock: please it’s okay, you don’t have to apologize for anything. None of this is any of your wrongdoing.
Z: You said your people were killed but what about your parents? Did they survive too?
Elock: Oh right! My parents were spared as they opted to surrender peacefully and they were sold to different owners. I used to occasionally see them from time to time but after I moved I had to say a tearful goodbye to both them and Augustine. playfully pinches his cheek
Z: You’re strong for getting through that, not many could take that much.
Elock: I appreciate that.
Z: Do you have any idea where your parents are right now?
Elock: I think they’re still in the same tow- Augustine? Are you okay?
A: on the other hand gripping the table so hard that it was gonna break, eyes with a look of both confusion and rage
A: I- I saw them…
Elock: What do you mean?
A: They were there…in the same room.
Elock: Are you talking about the operation?
A: Y- yes…I saw them, both of them. They were in the operation too, part of the 10 keidrans selected to be in the experiment. I briefly saw them looking at me, they were scared but I couldn’t do a damn thing to help them and now they're dead! slowly growing hysterical
A: snaps out of his hysterics
Elock: it’s not your fault! Neither of you have to feel guilty!
A: I know, but I just wish I could have done something to help them, but I was just a powerless child.
Z: Augustine. We all wish we could have done something to stop Lulio’s plan, we all feel the same way just please don’t put all the blame on yourself.
A: I know, I'm sorry…
Elock: it’s alright…we’re all here to support you, you got hit the hardest out of all so you should be the one to be the one who receives sympathy.
A: …thanks guys, It feels like it’s been so long since I’ve heard something so comforting.
Elock: don’t worry, we’ll never leave and when we do, we’ll leave together.
A: …oh! Elock, I hate to do this but would you mind helping us with something? We found a place that could be our key to salvation.
Elock: Of course! I don’t mind in the slightest.
A: teleports all 3 of them via waypoint
Elock: in awe of the island
I…this is incredible! It reminds me so much of my home! And you were right! There’s no hint of Templar activity at all!
A: We were just as shocked as you are right now when we first found it. I mean like Zach said, the Templar claimed that they have settled on all available land in this world.
Elock: Well then, let’s make good use of this place, so let’s get to work!
A: I couldn't have said it better myself. hours later, the trio had finished building a moderate sized wooden house
A: woo! Not bad for a day's work, am I right?
Elock: Mrrrr…man that was a nice workout!
Z: Tell me about it!
A: So Elock, should we tell Zach?
Elock: I think so!
Z: Tell me…what?
A: Well…on the way here, Elock and I started thinking and we were thinking of a way we could free other slaves from their captors.
well at this point, I know better than to criticize your plan before even hearing it so go ahead, spill it on me.
A: Operation: torchwick
- Elock would be our messenger, using her spare time to get any other slaves on board with the plan, amassing as many as possible.
- On the large hill next to the town, we plant a large amount of gray mana crystals. Where downhill wind will carry the effect down into the town
(Gray mana crystals were created for a special purpose, making large smokescreens on the battlefield)
- I would then use a spell that emits a light that can’t be perceived by humans but can be seen by keidrans and basitins alike, Which would act as the signal to go for it.
- The group would then head towards the light where we would then break for the mountains as fast as possible.
(Unfortunately the waypoint spell barely lasts for even a few days, and teleporting a large group of people via waypoint could be tough even for me)
I would then use as much of my power as possible to telekinetic lift as many refugees as possibl-
Z: Yeah…considering that you almost dropped me off the side of the mountain, I think even you would have trouble lifting a bunch of slaves.
A: anyways! After we figure out a way to get everyone up there, we’ll be untouchable!
Z: huh…well from one chaotic strategist to another, it’s worth a shot.
A: Perfect! See Elock?
A: I kept the promise I made, all those years ago! when we meet again, it’ll be your freedom.
To be continued
Also for anyone who wants to know a bit more about Elock:
Name: Elock of the rainforest leopards
Species: rainforest leopard
Languages: human, keidran
Physical characteristics: yellow fur, black nose marking, black rosettes running down back and onto tail, unusually big and poofy tail, butter yellow hair with black streaks, faint outline of heart pattern on her behind
Age: 9 years(was 4 when she met Augustine)
Eye color: emerald green
-Eager to help
-Bad at hiding panic
-Heart of gold
-Shy but slowly growing out of it
Likes: adventure, rain, storytelling, being adored, helping, hugs(especially from Augustine), pouncing on people she cares about.
Dislikes: slavery, Templar(although not as intensely as most others)
Unlike most, Elock had the ability to both read and write prior to slavery, being taught by both her parents and Lektra herself. Spending most of her time reading and drawing using whatever material she could find.
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2023.06.07 23:58 Sugarloaf101 M29 F34 8months long distance. I'm broken hearted, help me become a better person and understand this
This is gonna be a long and probably confusing post, trying to get my thoughts on paper or write them out just seems impossible at this point
My ex gf(34) and I M(29) broke up just under 5 weeks ago. We were in a LDR for 8 months and I fell hard in love with her
She was married and I was single, I never pursued her because of this. Until one night we were hanging out on a discord call with friends and she messaged me telling me how attractive she thinks I am, I at first thought she was messing around and thought nothing of it until a few more messages, then she came on very hard sexually. So I decided to say fuck it and go along with it cause i always found her attractive and we vibed. (I regret it everyday, at the time I didn't care about her marriage and I know how shitty I am for it, karma has well and truly done what it needed to do to me) this continued for a couple weeks, it was highly sexual, the messages, voice notes, videos, pictures and calls. This goes on for a couple weeks and then she started to talk about how she was feeling towards me, she would call me her twin flame, say things like she's never connected with anyone the way she does me etc. I always rejected the talk of feelings because I didn't want to go there. I didn't want to catch feelings as this was purely sexual to me. Fast forward a couple more weeks and at this point we have been talking a fuck ton, about very personal things, our childhoods, our life, bonded over music, games and whatnot. She continued to push her feelings for me and I continued to keep my guard up because I didn't want to end up in this position I am now in. She told me she was going to divorce her husband, I never commented or gave advice on it because lt was not my place to do so. I did tell her to heal from her divorce, take time for herself and find herself again. She agreed and wanted to do so, so she could be fully available to me. I know at this point we had already cheated and destroyed another man but I atleast respected her for wanting to heal. She filed for divorce and we continued to talk but then the subject of love came up. I told her I will not go there until me and her are in person and know how it really feels, she agreed but then one week goes by and she tells me she is in love with me. I was falling for her and knew how I felt but wanted us to do so in person. We then became a couple... I know how fucked up it is, I really do.
She would tell me weird things like men always hitting on her, always trying to get with her, send me screenshot of guys non stop bothering her. I never asked for these things, so It made me feel weird but I never communicated it, which I know is my fault and something I've learnt. At this point we were dating and she would complain of this one guy non stop bothering her and she can't get rid of him. I told her just tell the dude you're with your bf and he will probably back off, I was not happy with her over this because it felt like she was hiding me. She apologised and we moved forward with it, then she started lying about being in other guys streams. I called her out on her lies and she would always proceed to call me jealous and insecure. Was there jealousy there? Yes? I sat with it for a while to understand why I was being jealous and all I could think about was the amount of times she would tell me about different men trying to get with her. I'm normally not a jealous man. This would happen a few times and it hurt me but I bottled it up and it came out in the wrong way. That's on me...
She also told me about a time her best friends husband tried to kiss her. Again, I dont know why she told me this but hey ho. She also told me how they both cheated on one another many times. She brought me to that house, I remember the four of us chilling in their garage having a drink, laughs and a smoke. Her friend showed me photos of a lake they all go to in the summer. As we left to head back home my gf goes on to tell me how she isn't happy with her friend, she didn't like the way she leaned over me to show photos. Then went on to say how I am her friends type and all this bullshit. I told her to take that up with her friend and leave me the fuck out of this cause I did nothing nore even notice something like that. We had a massive argument over it. Wasn't the first time she got jealous over another woman. I dont mind jealousy, i think its a normal reaction to have but as long as it doesnt become unhealthy and controlling, the other ones were minor but questions were asked about certain women liking photos on my Instagram. One I went on a date with once and the other who I worked with. That's it. Time goes on and she flew over to me (London) for my birthday. We argued that night too and she threatened to leave me, I told her if she ever threatens to do so again, I will leave her as I found it cruel. Writing this out I realise how toxic this all was. Which hits me hard because I felt like I was in love and we connected so well. I wish I communicated how I felt better, I wish I didn't do what I did and I wish I was given a fair chance to be in love. I am also at fault for this I'm fully aware.
Fast forward to few weeks ago we have a massive row again because I called her out on her lies, she called me a psycho and too possessive. I tried to explain its not that you are in another man's stream, it's the fact that you lie about it and I don't know why, she then goes on to tell me im only ever comfortable when she goes to a her other best friends house, i said yes because she seemed level headed and honest, the reason i felt uncomfortable with her going to her other friends house was because of them doing cocaine in there, which she had told me about but it was all made out to be like i was jealous because the husband tried to kiss her. It had fuck all to do with that, its drugs and she knew how i felt about drugs. But I was starting to feel like I may genuinely be highly jealous and insecure. I dont know if that's because she has made me feel that way or I am like that. I've worked hard these last 2 months to make sure that's not the case. Anyway she forgave me and we moved forward, until 3 weeks later she said this isn't working. I begged, I pleaded and I didn't understand why I was given this chance and then had it snatched from me when I was doing everything I can to work on myself
She went on to say she wants to heal because she had just gotten out of an 11 year relationship, and be by herself. I found it hard to believe considering that's what she should've done 8 months ago, like we said. Then she proceeds to tell me its because of the hurt I caused her that night a few weeks ago when we argued. I accused her of lying, which she was.i didn't verbally assault or call her names I just asked her to tell me what is going on. We were intoxicated and I just had enough of the little lies. I know that is for me to work on and put right, I will accept anything and everything I've done wrong these last 8 months. I realise I'm a shitty person and whatever came from this relationship I deserved. But I feel like I was never given a chance considering how we started. I know I never should've got with a person that was married. The trust was not there because of it but still i pushed out i felt aside and rejected my gut feelings. I tried everything to make sure we didn't do that but words and time spent together. I fell in love
Not even two weeks went by and I found out she is already dating. I knew this would happen cause she done it to her husband, who the fuck am I right? I aint special. But I'm hurting so much, my confidence is shattered and I'm lost. She said she wanted space but keeps reaching out to me, told me she will always love me and how a piece of her heart will always belong to me. Its been 5 weeks and she still reaches out, not as frequent but will send me a message saying I really do want you yo be happy, I ignored her cause seeing her face just brings me to tears, she brought up how i am ignoring her messages and i told her if she wants to talk then let me know. She then messaged me saying she hopes I'm alright, I replied saying I'm alright thanks, yourself? My heart tells me to let her go, remove her from my socials and really start to heal but I can't let go and it's killing me
I know I deserve to feel how her husband felt when she moved on straight away. I get that but I don't think I deserved the emotional abuse here, I think its emotional abuse. I'm just so confused and trying to figure it out so I can learn from this
There will be things I have forgotten or not put in because the post is long enough but if there are any questions I will answer them. I dont want this to come across as me shitting on her and blaming her for everything. I know I had my part in this and I fucked up in so many ways but I cant escape the feeling of being emotionally abused here
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2023.06.07 23:57 DDoubleBlinDD Everyone's a Catgirl! Ch. 219: Sapphire of the Emperor
First Previous Next Volume 1 Volume 2 Patreon
The Port of Meow. Tristan thought he wouldn’t be surprised by the world’s naming conventions after he’d heard terms like ‘Myana,’ and ‘Onyans,’ but this one struck him as funny. Maybe it was the lack of sleep from their conditions on the boat. Every time one of the girls said it, he laughed.
“There are so many people,” Destiny murmured as they entered the port city. “And all the buildings are so close together!”
Lara inhaled a deep breath. “Wind brings so many flavors with her. I have never smelled so many spices.” She pointed at one building, then the next, then a third. “Earth is the ruler here. Each one of these structures begins and ends with him.”
It really was incredible. The strips of buildings carried a spirit of older Chinese architecture, using a bilateral symmetry that stemmed from one focal structure into secondary components on either side—like wings on a giant bird. He was fascinated in middle school by Asian and Middle-Eastern design, and to see it dominating an entire island in a completely different world was mind-boggling.
Such an intricate, elegant city. Called the Port of Meow.
Destiny gently touched his forehead with the back of her hand. “Tristan? Are you feeling alright?”
“Yes, sorry. I’m fine. Just tired.” Her skin felt cool against his. “I guess I did laugh at a weird time, huh?”
Destiny chewed her lip. “It isn’t just that. You’re very pale.”
Lara bent her knees and looked into his face. “My sister is correct, Young Master. I would advise we find a place to rest.”
A sure hand clapped him on his shoulder. Matt was suddenly beside him, his Party at his side. “Ready to get something to eat?”
Tristan’s chest tightened, and he licked his lips. He suddenly felt very dizzy. “C-could you show us where to stay? I’m not feeling well.”
Cannoli danced to his side, her hands deep inside her [Cat Pack]. “Poor Tristan! I may have a potion! Let me look!”
“That’s sweet of you, Cannoli, but we’ll take care of him,” Destiny said, favoring Tristan with a worried glance. “If we need anything, I’ll let you know.”
“The Spider Lily’s this way.” Ravyn grabbed Matt’s arm and tugged him away from Tristan. “Don’t crowd Tristan. He looks like he’s about to faint.” Thanks, Ravyn.
Destiny hooked her arm through Tristan’s, and Lara copied on his opposite side. They made their way through the crowds together, drawing the eyes of almost every catgirl they passed.
The port was bustling with activity. Sailors and merchants loaded boats on the multitude of docks while vendors in tents hawked last-minute travel supplies and whatever ‘San Specials’ were. In the sprawling wings on either side of the center building, there were small restaurants, shops, an armorer, and a tailor. Excited murmurs and laughter echoed from all angles, making it hard to hear one another as they fought through the throngs.
It was nothing like Venicia.
It turned out the Spider Lily was
the center building. An expansive inn lit by dozens of paper lanterns, with metal gates forged by geometric patterns. Opaque windows mirrored the gates’ rectangular motif, flecked with golden embellishments and pieces of colored glass.
Ravyn led them inside. Incense burned on a polished podium, and they were greeted by a pair of young women in high-collared dresses, their dark hair tied away from their faces.
“Welcome to the Spider Lily,” the woman in red said, bowing deeply. “You are Cailu’s companions, are you not?”
Ravyn made a sound between choking and gagging.
“You could say that,” Matt replied before Tristan could say anything. He nudged Ravyn with his elbow and offered a wry smile.
“Very good. I am Ayu, and this is Nalee. Your rooms will be free for the duration of your stay,” Ayu, the woman in blue, announced, copying her companion’s bow. “There are two suites on the second floor; one for each of you.”
Tristan exchanged a confused glance with Matt.
“Just two?” Keke asked first.
“Yes, miss. You will find four beds in each suite, as well as a full-service washroom. Is this not to your liking?” Nalee tilted her head to the side. “Perhaps we can find something more suitable?”
“No, that’s perfect. Thank you very much,” Tristan said with a wave of his hand. “It’s more
“Excellent, sir. We have stationed Kaori and Ratu on the floor as well. They will retrieve anything you require. Food, drinks, travel necessities, you need only say the word, and they will bring it to you,” Ayu continued. “Should they fail to meet your needs, Nalee and I will both see this rectified.”
“Pardon me, miss, but how will charges for these items be collected?” Ceres asked.
“Cailu has assured us that he will settle your tab,” Nalee said. “It is not yours to bear.”
Tristan heard Cannoli mutter to Keke, “We can order anything?
Cannoli took Buttons from her shoulder and looked at him excitedly. “We can get you so many peanuts!
Ravyn cackled. That was the laugh of a girl with dad’s metal credit card in her wallet.
“We will not cause Sir Cailu to regret this generosity,” Ceres replied with a deep bow and pointed glare at Ravyn. “It is a great kindness, and we thank you.”
“I just need some water,” Tristan said, leaning his head against Lara’s shoulder.
Destiny raised her hand. “Can we please get our key? We would like to go up now.”
“Of course, miss.” Nalee retrieved a key on a delicate chain from behind the podium and handed it to Destiny. “Please enjoy your stay.”
“Why don’t we head off to the Golden Dragon first?” Matt suggested to his Party. “We can come back and check on them after.”
Ravyn gawked. “Did you not hear what the lady just said?”
“I did. And I’m with Ceres on this one. Come on.” Matt waved his group outside.
Keke laughed as they filtered through the door.
“Let us go upstairs,” Lara said, squeezing Tristan’s arm.
“Yeah. Good idea.”
Destiny and Lara guided him up the two flights to the second floor, and Tristan’s vertigo grew worse. It was like a combination of seasickness and stepping off the teacup ride at an amusement park. The world would just not
“Hello, sir. My name is Kaori.” A green-haired girl bowed in the hallway of the second floor.
“And I’m Ratu. Just let us know if you need anything at all.” A head of short blonde hair ducked deep with her bow.
“Thank you both,” Tristan replied, unsure if he had the energy for proper introductions.
Destiny unlocked the door to their room and pushed it open. The dark hallway gave way to a room of colorful screens and vibrant tapestries. The single room was bigger than the apartment Tristan grew up in—each bed could fit three people without an issue.
As soon as they were inside, Destiny knelt to help Tristan take off his boots.
“Y-you don’t have to do that,” Tristan said, embarrassment burning into his face.
“I want to,” Destiny said, continuing to untie the laces.
Lara moved to one of the beds, turning down the blankets with expert precision. The sheets fell with perfect symmetry, the rectangles laying parallel to the headboard. She smoothed the bottom layer and stepped back, looking expectantly at Tristan.
“Girls—” he began.
“Please. Let us use all of this etiquette training.” Destiny laughed, sliding the second boot from Tristan’s foot. “We can’t let Kaori and Ratu show us up.”
“Alright,” he relented. “Just this once.”
Destiny took his hand and led him to the bed.
He stared at the freshly pressed white sheet for a long time. “Will you two join me?”
Destiny’s eyes widened, and she hissed in a tiny breath.
Lara took his hand in both of hers, her airy voice taking on a tone of concern. “Young master, your current physical state will not allow you to perform—”
“That’s not what I mean,” he cut her off, a little harsher than he meant to. “I’m sorry. What I meant was… I just want to be close to you right now.”
“Of course, Tristan,” Destiny replied softly. “Here, lie down.”
They situated him in the middle of the bed, making sure his feet were under the blankets and tucking him to the waist. Lara was the first to slide under the covers, wiggling her way to Tristan’s right side. He hooked an arm around her waist and pulled her close until her head rested on his shoulder.
“You are very warm,” she noted.
“And you’re very soft.” Tristan chuckled. “Destiny?”
Destiny turned multiple shades of red. She held her hands tightly clasped in front of her apron, her gaze never resting on one place. “I-I’m sorry. Is this really okay?”
“Yes,” he said, holding a hand out toward her. “Please?”
Destiny nodded and lifted the covers with care. One leg pressed beneath, then the other. She shifted forward, taking Tristan’s hand and letting him guide her to his side. With a slow exhale, she relaxed against him, trapping his left thigh between her legs.
“You’re soft, too,” Destiny whispered, wrapping her tail around his ankle.
“And you’re wonderful,” Tristan murmured. “Both of you are.” He yawned and closed his eyes, already feeling the warm descent into sleep.
On a foreign island, in a stranger’s bed, Tristan felt more at home than he ever had in Nyarlea.
Destiny Pro Tip: I can't wait to try the food! And we can eat it in our room like a picnic! Oh! Shhh, he's sleeping. First Previous Next Volume 1 Volume 2 Patreon
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2023.06.07 23:54 Crcnch Pet growth and learnable skills
Most pets in MC are currently being asset crept, on top of that they're generally pretty static compared to some of the newer mobs. I've come up with some ideas to make them a bit cooler the longer you play.
Pets should be able to grow the longer they're alive and the more they are fed. Being dynamic allows pets to feel more alive and give them a sense of individuality.
- Wolves should be able to have greater maximum health and damage the more they grow. Newly added mobs tend to get stronger each update, so this'll help wolves keep up with assisting the player fight.
- Cats gain more max health and become faster the more they grow. Cats serve more of a passive QoL buff to the player by repelling mobs that are typically a nuisance for players. The more they grow, more mobs will flee from them, such as spiders and silverfish (gives you a reason to bring cats along with you when exploring)
- Horses should be able to slightly increase their speed and jump height the longer you raise them. The more a horse grows, the more "growth potential" its offspring will have when breeding. The thing about taming horses currently is that you don't have any reason to keep a horse that's slower than another; this makes selecting and breeding a horse often tedious and restrictive. Allowing horses to develop would hopefully lift a bit of this restriction.
- This idea might be strange, but I don't think parrots should be 100% accurate in imitating a nearby mob when you first tame them. Rather, they should mix them up occasionally; their accuracy and pitch/imitation should improve the more mobs they are exposed around. As they grow, the radius in which they can detect a mob should increase.
Pets should have unique, learnable "skills" that'll help out the player in a variety of ways.
- Wolves should be able sniff out buried treasure, ores, fossils, and certain blocks. Currently, being able to find specific blocks and structures isn't something that can be easily done without commands. When giving a wolf a certain block, or exposing it to a structure, that wolf could be able to "gravitate" towards that block/structure when you're within around a 100 block radius from what you're looking for.
- Since cats are natural predators, cats should learn to chase out certain mobs that somehow end up too close the player. The cat learns this when the player kills enough mobs around the cat.
- Since horses serve primarily to assist the player in movement and combat, they should be able to learn two skills: one is being able to automatically jump over gaps, which the horse can learn after travelling a certain amount, and fully growing it's jump height. The second skill allows the horse to act as a charger, which they've been used in warfare historically. After killing enough mobs on horseback, the horse could learn to "charge" - allowing the player to deal thrice the damage with a normal hit for its duration, though at the cost of not being able to turn as quickly.
- Parrots should eventually be able to turn in the direction that the mob is, allowing the player to identify exactly where it is. For bedrock players, parrots should be able to utilize the loaded entity count to "warn" the player that they are heading into an area with many hostile mobs. The parrot should learn this after detecting several mobs over its lifespan.
For a final note, I think the training process would encourage the player to preserve their pets. As of now, for example, a dead dog doesn't really mean anything if the player's able to replace it by just taming another wolf. While pets shouldn't start off useless, letting em grow gives you incentive to interact with them and feel more fleshed-out, allowing a method of passive progression while still adhering to the player's own playstyle.
submitted by Crcnch
to minecraftsuggestions [link] [comments]
2023.06.07 23:52 yesyesyesyesyesyes2 ive been looking for a one piece meme for years now. shanks blowjob
it was the shanks your arm moment but it was three panels and with each shanks pushed luffys head down a bit more. it only showed shanks upper body, it was super funny and ive been looking all over the internet now
submitted by yesyesyesyesyesyes2
to MemePiece [link] [comments]
2023.06.07 23:50 Thiago_Hunsecker Tilt for drag/herald
The level of players currently in WR seems to have gone down by 200%. The game has always had this troll problem to an even more absurd degree. It seems that mobile players are much dumber and more impatient than PC players, it's impressive.
What happens most now is tilt player leaving The game because of dragon loss or failed fight for objective. I know this greatly affects how the game plays out at the beggining, but it definitely doesn't mean defeat. For those reading this, please don't give up on the game even if you lose all the heralds and the two starting dragons. If you keep a cool head, you can load the game yourself (Especially if there's a jungle player or ad carry).
submitted by Thiago_Hunsecker
to wildrift [link] [comments]
2023.06.07 23:49 RisingChaos Back from Miami vacay: Went to a strip club and had the time of my life.
I just got back from vacation, and to nobody's surprise as a late-30's FA I didn't manage to get laid at all (nor find a future wife) on a 10-day singles cruise and stay in Miami. Of course, one of my many (over)efforts was checking out Miami's famed nightlife.
I'm generally reserved and very introverted, as a typical male FA, things that obviously don't work very well for men who are expected to be the pursuers of sex/romance in society. Raucous, crowded environments aren't my thing at all, but the whole point of the trip was to push the boundaries of my traditional comfort zones which clearly haven't done me any favors in life up to this point. That said, one night I ended up in one of Miami's biggest and hottest nightclubs, determined to make the most of my time there.
I'm short, shy, socially awkward with average-at-best looks. I also live in a rural shithole, so I'm more or less fishing with no lure in a dry pond. I'm not used to women approaching me at all, period, and the online pickings are hardly better. Well, here I am in the club and I'm getting approached by women. Not one or two, dozens. (It's a big club, after all.) Not morbidly obese like the only ones swiping on me online, every single one looks like a pornstar that wouldn't so much as acknowledge my existence in any other context. They're putting their hands all over me, sometimes putting my hands all over them... I know it's just business and they're not interested in me as a person, but I actually feel somewhat sexy and desirable for once.
The best part? No, not all the tits I got to see, although I ain't complaining about that. It's that I got to say no to them! I got to reject them. The entire normal power dynamic between me and women has been flipped on its head in this environment, and I'm all for it. It was a whole-ass vibe. I've never felt more empowered in my life. E11even/10 would go again.
Bless the Amazonian black woman who came fairly late in the night. Her tits literally sat at my forehead level she was so much taller than me, must've been at least 6'5"-ish. (I'm 5'3".) Gorgeous leggy woman. I saw her walk in the door and the first thing she does is beeline toward me. She tilts my chin up, buries my face in her tits, and plants a kiss on my forehead. Kinda wholesome? Then she kept walking past me without even trying to sell me a private dance. If I had spent any money in there other than the two Rum & Cokes I nursed for three hours, it definitely would've been patronizing her but I didn't stay much longer after that (she entered ~3:30am) and didn't see her again.
It's the type of environment I would normally loathe having to endure. Imagine my surprise when I can confidently say it was one of the highlights of my trip.
submitted by RisingChaos
to FA30plus [link] [comments]
2023.06.07 23:48 Joelpat Shock mount bolt rounded off
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2014 Mazda 3 submitted by Joelpat to autorepair [link] [comments]
For some reason (and as a side I’m curious if anyone knows why they designed it this way) in 2014 Mazda changed the lower rear shock mount from a bolt to a removable stud with an 8mm head, and then a 19mm nut on the stud.
The nut comes off east enough, but the stud has a tendency to get stuck and round off, which is what I’ve got here.
I tried PB blaster.
I tried a torch.
I tried hammering a smaller socket onto the stud.
I tried a BFH to push the shock off the stud. Nothing gets it to budge.
Finally I got out the grinder and cut the shock off, but I still can’t get the inner bushing off the stud. I’ve cut through the bushing to where I can see the threads of the stud in the cut, but the radius of the wheel won’t let me get all the way to the edge. And the bushing still won’t open up, rotate on the stud, or slide off it.
Anyone have any ideas?
2023.06.07 23:47 volster Is there a sane way to do "white glove" intune deployments for android?
I've just started a contracting gig. Normally i try and just keep my head down and do what's asked of me, but they seem unusually open to suggestions when it comes to potential process improvements.
They've currently got me doing mobile builds, and due to [reasons] it is expected that devices be handed over to the users fully "good to go"
The amount of button pushing required to enroll / ensure defender etc is up and running is beyond the ken of the users, and embarking on an education program would only generate befuddlement and invite the wrath of upper-management.
At the moment the best scenario i can come up with is -
"Hello [user], you have two choices -
- You can come down to IT, enter your password then hang around ~30 mins to enter it again at the 2nd prompt once required apps have pushed out, then come back an hour later once everything else has finished updating.
- Or You can give me permission to reset your password so that i can set your phone up for you, then set the "must change" flag when I'm done."
This technically "works" but .... Both options leave a lot to be desired!
I've been banging my head against a wall trying to come up with something to pitch as a suggestion for a more sane way of going about it.... As there's just got
to be a better way of doing white-glove android deployments than this!!!
Initially i thought i might be able to do something with impersonation permissions, but AFAIK that's not applicable on mobile. Then i was wondering if you could just use a generic enrolment account before reassigning the device to the user but... That was also a non-starter.
My only current "bright" idea would be that perhaps
pitching enabling passwordless (optionally restricted via CA locations if they don't want to roll it out org-wide) and granting us the auth administrator role to spit out temporary access passes might
juke you through enrolment / MFA registration.
I'm not sure if it'd work (fat chance Microsoft would let you get away with something as convenient as that) and sadly I don't currently have the setup required to test it out at home.
Does anyone know if this would work and/or if there's some other more sensible way of going about it?
submitted by volster
to sysadmin [link] [comments]
2023.06.07 23:46 afflictedspeck I (29M) am considering ending the relationship with my (27F) girlfriend of 1.5 years after her roommate (25F) threatened me and we got into a huge fight
I would really appreciate some help here. I’m at a loss on what to do. Apologies for the really long post, TLDR below.
TLDR; I’m considering ending a relationship of 1.5 years with my girlfriend after her roommate and I got into several fights this past weekend over moving a couch into their apartment. Her roommate prohibited me from stepping foot inside ever again, threatened to call the cops on me, threatened to lawyer up, and accused me of aggravating her. She might have also punctured one of my car’s tires as it was flat the following day in their parking lot. My girlfriend has continuously said she understands the situation and will be coming to my place going forward, but I’m afraid of what might happen in the future since she shares her location with her roommate, have been friends for 17 years, have a matching tattoo together, and the roommate has shown to be a very explosive and volatile person. Her roommate has also been convicted in the past for assault and I’m afraid of what she might do. I feel like I don’t fully know my girlfriend and don’t know how to move forward. Should I leave the relationship or continue to fight?
A bit of a background
My girlfriend, let’s call her Ana, and I have been together for 1.5 years. We met through a cousin of mine at an outing back in December 2021 and started dating right away. Ana is caring, loyal, and has always listened to what I have to say. Our relationship has gone through some challenges, but nothing we have not talked through and somewhat agreed on - we see life differently to some extent when it comes to matters like politics and religion but have always sat down to talk through and resolve those issues. My parents did not get a good impression of Ana when I introduced them to each other, but she has worked hard to do so ever since. When we met I also asked her to go back to school to keep pursuing her degree, which she had stopped years ago, but listened to me and is currently on her second semester. It is important to note that Ana (and Betty, shortly introduced) was in a religion for 22 years that prohibited her from making friends outside of it. She left 5 years ago and had to cut all communication with her family.
While together, in June last year, I bought an apartment and moved about 1.5 hours north of her to be closer to my job. Ever since that happened we have had this sort of long distance relationship where we only see each other on the weekends - every other weekend Ana comes to visit me, staying overnight, while I do the same the weekends she does not.
Ana was living in an apartment by herself up until two months ago, when her lease was over and the landlord increased her rent by 30% or so. She had to go somewhere and asked if we could live together, to which I declined as I did not think we were ready - moving in together has been something I’ve refused to do because of a very sour experience with an ex-girlfriend. Since that was not an option, Ana decided to move into a new apartment with one of her best friends, Betty, who I barely knew. They decided to move about 30 minutes closer to me. Betty promised Ana she would take care of her, to some extent, by paying more than half of the rent and covering the security deposit. Ana does not make much money and has racked up some credit card debt which she is managing now, so the arrangement made her financially happy. It’s sort of important to note, however, that with the new arrangement Ana is paying about the same monthly rent. I helped her move out and into the new place with two other friends.
Betty and Ana have known each other for 17 or so years. They have traveled together and even during our relationship Ana, during the weekdays, has visited Betty overnight to watch movies and whatnot, without me there. At the start of our relationship Ana refused presenting me to Betty several times despite my insistence, because Betty had had serious fallouts with two of Ana’s friends and she was afraid I might not like her. Before meeting Betty I had a sense I would not like her when I noticed that Ana, when Betty texted, was afraid of not replying right away, which I thought was odd. I confronted her but she always ignored what I was saying. Other friends of Ana’s had also noticed the same. I ended up meeting Betty six months or so after Ana and I started dating, which was right after Betty’s ex broke up with her after almost five years of a verbal- and physically abusive relationship. Betty, I recently found out, has even been to jail before due to explosive episodes that have ended in physical aggression, and is currently trying to expunge her records. She was also adopted as a kid and her adoptive father has beat her for years in different occasions. Betty and I only hung out then, when we met for the first time, and one other time two months after, for her birthday. I never had any sort of altercation with her, but noticed she always had some fight with someone, always talking down on people and blaming others for her tragedies. Something that took me by surprise last year was when my girlfriend and Betty went one day to a tattoo parlor and got the same exact tattoo in the forearm as a sign of their friendship. Up until then my girlfriend only had two other tattoos that were very small - one by her ankle and another one by her ribcage. This one that she got with Betty is the only truly visible one. That day I remember being extremely surprised when she showed it to me, seeing how she had not even mentioned she was going to get a tattoo, but comes home with the biggest one she has had, and on the forearm.
Fast forward to Saturday: Betty and I lose it with each other
Moving forward to last weekend, I visited Ana at her apartment for only the second time in the last two months after she moved in. I drove over Saturday early in the morning and was greeted by my girlfriend making breakfast for me and her roommate. We all ate and Betty asked to spend the day with us, since she needed to go to the library to study for an exam, which my girlfriend and I had planned on doing, so that she could study for one of her classes. They also made me aware of a couch one of Betty’s friends was giving her for free, and Betty asked for my help to pick it up later. The day went well at the library (4 or so hours) but started to shift when we went out for late lunch after - Betty asked for spicy wings at a local bar and threw a fit when the wings came with not sauce, calling the manager of the place and insulting the cooks and staff. After that ordeal we went to UHAUL to rent a truck for the couch. Like idiots, we ended up breaking what we thought was the ignition key (it wasn’t, just an attached key for the back doors) inside the car’s key hole. This sent Betty screaming and insulting me, out of the blue, calling me an idiot and other words I cannot recall. I yelled back at her which only escalated the situation. UHAUL management stepped in and they got us a pickup truck at no additional cost. We live in a big city in South Florida. I drove with Ana in the middle seat and Betty on the passenger side for about 40 minutes to pick up the couch. It is 10PM on the dot when we get to the community where Betty’s friend lives. A security guard, as I parked the truck, approached us to say the HOA does not allow trucks at that time. Betty starts insulting him several times as I drive away and parked about half a block from the community, at a plaza right next to it. We proceeded, for the next two hours, to carry out the couch from a second floor to the first, moving it over a 5 feet wall (with me jumping over) to avoid going around the community, then walking with it for half a block and than putting it on the bed of the pickup truck. All in 90 degree humid weather.
As I am sweating and huffing while fastening the couch on the bed of the truck by myself, with Betty and Ana talking by the side of the truck, I notice Betty looks tired and miserable, to which I asked jokingly “why the long face?”. Betty proceeds to tell me I am not being funny with that question and starts to yell at Ana, saying how she is useless, how she herself (Betty) had to do everything regarding the couch and no one helped her, how “her man” (meaning me) was not able to afford a couch for her, and other stuff I cannot remember. She called me an idiot, and called me slick, and said I was not funny with my stupid jokes, and kept yelling I was not helpful. I started to yell back at her saying how it had been six hours since we had been helping her. I also, at that point, lost it all and said “where are your friends right now to help you? Holy shit, I am literally on the bed of this truck fastening your couch and you are so ungrateful”. I was yelling as she was yelling back, and in that moment the yelling match turned something like the following:
Betty - “you are so fucking useless, IT’S ALWAYS ME GETTING SHIT DONE, no help from anyone, ALWAYS ME”
Me - “what the fuck are you talking about? We are LITERALLY helping you right now, what the fuck”
Ana - “guys please stop, can’t we all just get along, please?”
Betty - “Bro you are not funny man, who the fuck said you are? I am so tired of your shit, your stupid comments and jokes throughout the day”
Me - “where the fuck are your friends to help you? You are so fucking ungrateful; you jump from dick to dick and will never find love, you have no fucking friends”
Betty - “WHAT THE FUCK. Your bitch is a whore man, she doesn’t even wear condoms. A fucking whore and a fucking submissive bitch, that’s why you are with her”
Ana - “guys please stop”
Me - “Don’t you fucking dare talk about Ana that way, be fucking respectful”
Betty - “A fucking whore is what she is, and submissive, and worthless”
At that point we are yelling at each other and Betty starts saying that I am assaulting her, and threatens to call the cops. She grabs her phone to make a call and I start filming with mine, making it very clear that at no point have I put my hands on her or planning to, at all. She starts yelling at me for recording her and bring up her lawyers and the cops, and how recording her without her consent is illegal. We are calling each other names and I continue to film. She is also in disbelief at how my girlfriend is “not defending HER”. In reality Ana was trying to stay out of it.
Needless to say, the way back to their apartment with the couch was extremely uncomfortable. It was very quiet for the first 20 minutes until Ana asked us why we can’t just get along, which made Betty go off again, yelling at how I am slick, worthless, and so many names I cannot remember. Betty said she does not want me to step foot in HER house, and continued to say she would break the lease and have my girlfriend’s stuff out of her place. When we got to the apartment I let them carry the couch inside and asked my girlfriend to bring my stuff (a backpack and a duffle bag) out of the apartment. I did not want to step foot inside for my own safety. Betty does not have a gun but I am sure she would have used it if she did, either to threaten or God knows what. As I was leaning on the frame of the door Betty asked if I would come in, to which I said no, and she also slammed the door on my face and prevented Ana from opening it, positioning herself in front of the door and yelling that “if she steps foot outside she would kick her out” to which I kept yelling that Ana is also in the lease. When Betty opened the door I told her I would call the cops if she tried one more time to hold Ana hostage inside. She went off again and threatened to lawyer up and kick Ana out. After much yelling and cries from Betty, I ended up stepping inside, closing the door behind me, and talking to them both to de-escalate the situation.
At this point it is 2AM and after much yelling I apologize to my girlfriend’s roommate for stepping over the line when I basically called her a whore. I was a total piece of shit in that regard and sincerely felt like apologizing. Betty did not apologize but she said I could stay over. She said she will forget about the whole situation and that all she needed was to cry and get over what I had said. She went to the balcony to smoke weed and I left the apartment to basically cry out of frustration. Ana followed me and after 30 minutes or so talking outside I told her I had to leave. I did not feel safe sleeping over and did not know if I could ever feel safe again in that space. I walked over to my car and drove home for an hour. I went to bed at 3:30AM and woke up at 6:50AM, took a shower, and headed back to my girlfriend’s apartment complex to return the truck which we had to do by 9AM.
Sunday: flat tire and location sharing
It’s now Sunday morning. I get to my girlfriend’s apartment at 8:15AM, where I leave my car parked, and with her on the passenger seat drive over to the UHAUL, which is about 20 minutes away, to return the truck. Everything is done on time and after getting my girlfriend’s car from the UHAUL parking lot we stop at a diner to have breakfast. We get back to her apartment at around 10:20AM and by 10:25AM we are driving over to my place, each of us in separate cars. About 10 minutes after leaving I get a flat tire notification on my car’s dashboard and pull over at a near gas station to see what was going on. The car had gone from 35PSI in one of the rear tires all the way to 15, and kept going down. I end up driving the car over to a TiresPlus close by, which later confirmed the flat tire was due to a hole on the outside which “had been caused by an object that went in and out, more than likely a screwdriver or a knife”. Needless to say I had to pay ~$200 for a new tire.
I told Ana there is no way this was coincidence and that I suspected Betty had done something to that tire. She said she did not think it could have been the case since there is no way Betty knew where I parked. I did not think that logic made sense since Betty knows exactly what car I drive and she was in the apartment, in her room, when Ana and I left earlier to return the truck. She basically had two hours to do anything. On top of that, I found out that Ana actively shares her location with Betty via iMessage, and vice versa. Ana and I also have that sort of arrangement. They have been doing it for years.
Ana and I spent the Sunday sleeping at my apartment pretty much. I could not get the situation out of my head and barely slept, but being together made me feel better. We talked about the future extensively and Ana promised me that she will cut all communication with Betty once the lease is over, but currently there is nothing she can do. She also brought up living together again, and the following day also told me how she was looking into jobs that are close to my place.
Monday: going on a break with Ana
Ana went to work on Monday morning (5AM) from my house and I worked from home. I did not get anything done thinking about the whole situation and later in the afternoon Ana and I continued to talk about it. Later at night, as Ana was sending me text messages on how she was cleaning the house, Betty was also posting on social media about it. I told the whole story to my best friend who seemed mortified about the situation and asked me to be careful. Monday night I sent Ana a long message explaining that I need some time to think about our relationship. I said that I could not trust her judgement and was afraid for what might happen if she still hangs with this crazy person not now, but in the future as we think of a life together. Will she be at our wedding? At her birthday parties? Will she be involved in our lives? Even though she has told me she will not, I know that Ana has been well aware of how Betty is but nothing has changed in their friendship these past 17 years. It has only become stronger.
Ana was very hurt from my message and called me right away. After a one hour conversation where she pushed me to decide on breaking up or continue the relationship she hung up when I told her to please give me until Friday. She does not understand how it is that I am re-thinking our relationship if it is that I love her. I do care so much about her, but have not been able to move past what happened and the fear that she might introduce me to similarly dangerous people or environments, be it with Betty or with someone else, is severely impacting my ability to think there is a future here. To keep the story short this is the third time Ana has tried to, or has introduced me to, people or situations that pose a danger to me and her. I also have not been able to get out of my head how it is that she is friends with this person, Betty, who is so visibly crazy and with whom she has a matching tattoo, years of friendship, experiences, etc.
Tuesday: Ana’s early morning call and social media login attempt
At 7:30AM of Tuesday, as I was getting ready for work, Ana called me to tell me she was sorry for blocking me on social media and on iMessage. By doing that I no longer have access to her location. I was not aware since she had done that at night, after I had asked for some time. She told me she “did not want me to think the posts from her story were directed toward me”. She also told me that “she wanted to have some sort of control seeing how I was having her wait for a decision and felt lost”. She also confessed she could not sleep and had gotten to work very early, thinking through everything in her car at her workplace parking lot. Ana begged me, crying and barely able to talk, to please consider our relationship. We haven't talked since after she hung up.
After Ana hung up I noticed an unread message on my phone of a login attempt into my Instagram that took place at 1:15AM that morning. That has never happened before and my mind instantly went to Betty. At this point I might be overthinking, however, influenced by the events that transpired.
I am in a situation where I have to decide whether to have Ana move in with me, live with the fact that she is with a psycho for the next ten months, or simply leave it all behind despite how much I care about her. I don’t know if I am ignoring some red flags and that’s really the reason why I needed the time and am seeking some help on here. I don’t know if I am in the wrong and would like some clarification because I truly feel so lost. Ana has done so much for me in the sense that she listens and I know she loves me, but I am just afraid of her judgement and what she might bring into the relationship in the future. I also feel like I don’t know her like I thought.
Should I leave the relationship or continue to fight? Would sincerely, wholeheartedly appreciate some advice.
submitted by afflictedspeck
to relationship_advice [link] [comments]
2023.06.07 23:43 Capable_Bullfrog7709 ocd related to settings
so hello everyone, lately i've been stuck in my head and i've just noticed that a thing that i was laughing about is actually messing me around so much that i do not know what to do, so i've found this subreddit to post and speak to you guys. atm im 24 yr old male and i think im suffering from severe ocd. this goes back 5 years ago when i started routinely checking every single setting on my windows pc and plus the game that i played. now it is unlogical, the settings will not change itself but this urge is not leaving me alone, over the years it got worse and worse, i started checking my cable connections, constantly pushing in my usbs and power plugs just to see that they were inside, although i knew it was and also nobody touches these devices other than me in the house. at the start i told my one or two friend and we just laughed it off but after some time it literally started to burn my head, i developed ocds about installing and uninstalling games, buying games that i would never play, reinstalling windows 3 or 4 times a day!!! i think thats kinda crazy. after some time i realised this was getting off charts and i stopped gaming which did help, my ocd stopped and i was not thinking about it. so about a year i was okay, in everyday life i had small ocd moments where i would check gas and water taps a few times even tho i knew it was locked but that was about it, nothing big, but you have to understand, gaming has been a big lovely hobby of mine which i enjoyed from my childhood, so i got back to it. at start it was okay, after a month same stuff started happening, but this time i reversed the ocd. to battle ocd i thought that i would not perfect the settings but now i have developed a ocd about having unperfected settings... well i think i should stop explaining now because the post is very long already but it goes way way deeper than that.
so basically or TL:DR, this ocd is ruining my most beloved hobby that i had which was gaming, i cant enjoy anymore, i spend whole day offs sitting and checking if settings are ok and plus i never feel comfortable at my pc. plus i have anxiety and a bit of depression aswell i think, im sometimes about to go crazy, i sit and watch my childhood photos when i was ok and was not suffering from any of this, i even sometimes cry about this. the most devastating thing is, i do not have a person to share this to, i come from a country where they do not really know what this is, they will laugh at you or dont take you seriously. i do not even trust doctors unless you find a strong therapist which costs absurd amount of money for my standarts. so im stuck at this brick wall. my learning abillities are getting worse, concentration memory etc.... im starting to be alone more and more, i stopped going out, i've developed aggressions towards my friends.. i've never been like that.. i miss myself so much.. thanks for reading, just a few words will mean a lot to me, so thank you for your time. hope you are doing good reader.
submitted by Capable_Bullfrog7709
to OCD [link] [comments]