Thursday, November 20, 2014

A Journal By Some Guy 47

Top o' the mornin' Journ! =tips hat= And how are ye this fine day? Pleasant I hope.

Me? Oh I've been about. Doing this and that. Writing sporadically. Getting me arse back in school and the like. I'm tryin' to be a learned man ya know?! Gettin' my letters and my figures I will! Make something honest of meself.

I've not seen ya around as much mate but I reckon we'll be changing that. You''ll be gettin' tired o' me mug soon enough I bet. It's for the best though. We got a wee bit of catchin' up ta do.

______


Am I the bad brother? I daresay I might be.

In the last two days, I've been compared to the Clone. Comparison is the thief of joy or in this case, the thief of ignorance. The first time was over a friend's house. See I just got this tattoo ( and don't you ask for a picture Journ it's not healed yet ) and my friend asks if the Clone went with me to get it.

I snort like a horse. That shoulda been my first clue. My instant and honest reaction to the question. Typically, I screen my emotions with people. I can be out right bored and smile in your face. I couldn't then. The idea that the Clone would be in the vicinity of a tattoo parlor is laughable. Remember? The joyless salaryman? Think of me asking him. I can imagine him looking over his glasses, his face drained of every emotion accept disapproval, not uttering a word in an impossible before returning to his newspaper.

His wife goes on to echo my sentiment. They're completely different. She says. Like night and day. Then he goes, Like yin and yang. And I'm just sitting like, When the fuck did all this happen? Where was I? Am I the Night or the Day? Seriously, I was kinda fucked up there for a second. I mean, I know we're different but are we that different? It was something I would've like to chew on that for awhile Journ but I went to McDonald's in my store.

The girl that's getting my iced coffee, because sorry iced coffee is totally fantasticons, asks me about the Clone. We go through the usual are you twins ( No ), who's older ( Me ) but then before we get to the you two look just alike part, I get, You two are totally different. And again, I'm kinda assed out here Journ because I want to know but part of me doesn't give a fuck.

And let's clarify Journ because I don't mean that I literally don't give a fuck because it's obvious that I do. This niggles me. I know why. It's because I'm being observed and I don't like not knowing who's doing it. It's not like I'm out and about enough for people to really see me so I can only gather that this is from the perspective of work associates and those closest to me. That's precisely why I can't care. If you start giving a shit about what people think Journ, you're going down a slippery slope. The honest truth is people are going to judge no matter what you do. You are never going to be good enough for somebody. That's just the way it is. People think that it's there right not to approve of you and that's complete bullshit.

I'm a pothead atheist that aspires to make comics, anime, and hentai. That's right. Motherfuckin' hentai. Why? Because it's great. Is that something you can judge me for Journ? Sure. Go ahead. But what does that say about you? Are you in any position to pass judgment on someone? Is all of your shit together? Are you on the fuckin' path to Easy Street? Is your game 98% complete? No?

Then fuck you. I'm gonna keep doing me because that's actually working.

_______

And now for some anime because let's face it, I'm more of anime addict than a pot addict any day. 


I honestly didn't expect to Rage of Bahamut: Genesis to be that good but it is. A decent story and some great characters. It's ongoing. Find it on Hulu.


See this image? Half of them are dead. Akame Ga Kill is just like that Journ. Characters die or otherwise get fucked up in terrible and inhumane ways. First episode, I swear to Math, fucked up bro....But Seryu needed to die you hear me? Needed to. That's later on though before she does a lot of terrible stuff in the name of justice. The fight scenes are a little DBZ at times but they die and there are no Dragon Balls.


That's Sword Art Online II ....I honestly don't need to say anymore.

 
Uh Captain, we're on Season 2 of Log Horizon. Shiroe is still the Man. Uh...Akatsuki is still kawaii. And, uh, the story is still great. Keepin' her steady.


Garo!

Ga-ROH!

Gah-Roooooooh!!!




Lord Marksman and Vanadis is a good anime. It reminds me a great deal of Record of Lodoss Wor in the fact that there is magic ( Ellenora the Vanadis in question wields wind through her sword ) but it doesn't take away from actual warfare. There are columns of knights to set up still. War machines that are used. Positions that have to be taken for clear advantages. The Marksman Tigre doesn't meet Ellenora outside a tavern like in an RPG. He meets her on the battlefield on the opposing side. It's gets more complicated from there if you can believe it. The light novels they say, reveal more about the intricacies of the plot that the anime glosses over. Even so, there's enough of it in there to overlook the harem Tigre obviously is going to get.


Terror in Resonance is a tragedy and by the time you realize why and how, it will seem all the more fleeting.


This is Tokyo Ghoul. If you've not seen it, I'm a little ashamed of you. It's so good, you're going to want to read the manga because he only gets psycho at the very end. I mean full on loses his shit. Lovecraft lovers will be in heaven or hell if that's what you prefer...


Friday, October 31, 2014

Quickies: Velma, Shaggy, Daphne 2

His posts were getting sort of high.

He hadn't done anything in a long time. They were the same sketches and half sketches from before. Someone must have liked it. They were steady, his view count, more like a stream than a mighty river. He was grateful all the same. Those Nigerians though were getting antsy. They had other ideas they needed him to draw or otherwise conceptualize.

If he were to make excuses, he would simply blame it on artist block ( if that was even a thing ). Maybe he would even highlight the fact he hadn't been out in forever. Jeremiah texted often and had even come around once. He had not seen Graham since his incident with the Succubus. Aziz had a son so that was understandable.

The truth was, Silver hadn't had sex in awhile.

Ever since Susie brought Rosalina back into the picture he had been avoiding her. He hadn't noticed it at first or perhaps he didn't want to; Susie had school. UCF wasn't around the corner plus she was adding a minor in business to her plate. She had her nose in the books. Silver had given her much needed space.

Then he realized on days like these in his attic apartment that he too had gotten busy. Paper littered the floor. His drawing table was covered in colored markers, pencils and splotches of ink. His trash can was overflowing. His hamper doubly so.

He moved on stiff limbs to clear away the fast food bags of dinners long passed, wondering just how he got to the point of living in his own trash.

Of course he knew why; he needed to fuck Susie. Sex was like a metronome for him. As long as he was having it on the regular, everything was on beat. It was exercise that ended in orgasm and Silver had gotten out of practice.

As he crumpled up a McDonald's bag in his frustration, he paused as the sudden urge to eat Susie gripped him.

Quiet and cloistered as it was in the room, he could hear his heartbeat race. It was a classic Pavlovian response right down to him salivating.

Silver blinked several times before coming back to himself, glad no one was around to witness him in that weak moment. If amateur psychologist Susie had seen him then...

Why she'd have him on his knees begging to suck her clit, the worst part being that he probably would welcome it.

____________

Silver thinks that I don't realize why he's been avoiding me.

Fucking Trinidadian bastard. So goddamn arrogant. Like I haven't known this motherfucker when Midway Elementary wasn't on Brisson? Like my mom wasn't the one that hooked him on pickled eggs?

Like I don't know how much he likes to fuck?

Sometimes you gotta teach somebody that's so damn smart that he can't see dumb for what it is. That's why I'm at the Goodwill with Rosa right now. We just got through fucking at her place. She came so hard, she had to take a nap. The Three-Finger Bandit struck again!

So yeah, I've been fucking Silver's ex-girlfriend on the regular. Is that scandalous? Probably. Is he gonna like it when he finds out? Probably but he'll convince himself that he shouldn't, repressed fuck that he is.

When it started on that lonely night, me talking to her about how she felt about Silver, I didn't think it would get this far. Before I knew it I was finger deep in her snatch, licking her neck as she mewled like a kitten.

I've always wanted a sub. Somebody I could mold and dominate. A cute, heavy bottomed girl to spank for the fuck of it. Rosa fit the bill in every sense of the word. I've done shit to her in the last few weeks that's fucking surprised me. I never thought I'd enjoy training her as much as I have.

And how I've trained her. "This might do." She's got on a jeans and an Avengers T. No make-up. No perfume. Shower clean. Just like I like my bitches. The purple dress she has looks to long for me. "I can cut it to your size no problem." Rosa says without looking up at me. "I've got your measurements."

She's so fucking cute. And a red head at that. "You can just do that shit?" I make a scissor with the same hand I finger banged her with. "Like, we can always just buy a costume if it's too much trouble."

I catch her staring at my hand too long. She catches me catching her and blushes. "I worked as a costumer over at Universal. I half-way went to school for it before I took to drawing." She giggles awkwardly as I step closer to her. "I can do this kinda stuff in my sleep....and what-"

Before I can stop myself, I grab her around her neck and kiss her. I didn't plan this shit. Half of goddamn Bokey is in here looking for hand-me-down that don't look like they passed between too many hands. Church folk. The elderly. Ratchet fucks of all backgrounds. Gossipers all most like.

Those lips though. Pale pink naturally against paler skin. Those fucking tits straining against that shirt.

I can't have her like I want so her mouth is what I take. That heat. The fucking ballet of tongues. Her submitting to me.

When I let her go, I feel dizzy a little. Like I took a shot too many. "Damn ya'll bad."

I look around over the racks to find people staring at me. One old Hispanic lady smiles at me really creepy. Others kind of whisper amongst themselves. Basic shit. Not too far behind me though is a tall, skinny black guy with dreads. Dark skin, decent build but having shorts so low they look like badly made Capri pants with sandals and socks is too fuckin' much for me.

And honestly, I've got my designated dick anyway. "The fuck does that even mean?" I smile and say in a flirty valley girl voice. Sometimes I summon Cali to throw people off.

He smiles and fucking kills it. Gold in his mouth. Like really, who the fuck even does that crap anymore? If I had a hard dick, it would've gone limp. "Means ya'll look good kissing."

"I know! I totally couldn't help it!" I giggle, smile, squeeze Rosa's hand just because. I don't have to look behind me to know that she's lost to what I'm about to do. "She's soooo cute and I soooo can't wait until tonight!"

He's hearing me but he's not listening. His eyes jump between us as the question forms on his lips. "Whatchall doin' tonight?"

I look around like it's a conspiracy, eyes darting back in forth, trying to ignore the leering Spanish lady. Rosa is laughing a little now that she knows I'm fuckin' with this dude. I lean in and whisper, "You gotta promise to keep it a secret."

He laughs. Cigarette breath shrivels my metaphorical dick even more. "Fa sho shawty, it's whatever."

"We're gonna play dress up." Now we're both giggling like high school girls. I shush Rosa before saying, "It's for a guy but I don't know if he'll be into it."

I poke out my lip. This fucker is posting up on the end of the jeans rack, secure that his game is being laid.

Well fuck you on that. "Why wouldn't he be into it?" He laughs. "I'm already into it and I don't know what it's 'bout."

Oh my god. The grammar. It almost takes me outta pocket. I have to laugh like the idiot he is to keep my cool."Well, ya see, we're dressing up like cartoon characters and I don't think he's into that." I cock my head and sigh. "And we've been wanting to do it with somebody..."

Wouldn't you know it, this jackass already has his piece-of-shit phone out? You always leave things open ended when you want someone to fill in the blanks. This douche wants to just skip that fuckin' part.

No wonder I only fuck with one of their kind, men that is "So what's up shawty?" He says spreading his arms. "I'm available if homeboy don't want in. Let me get ya number."

Looking back at Rosa, I smile. That shit is not returned. She probably thinks I went too far.

I rattle off my mother's number to him before we make our exit. Five minutes of "Oh no, my daughter no want you!" ought to learn him some. I slap her hard on the ass just to add insult to injury though because I'm a tease like that.

______


I wanted Silver at first.

Now I want Susie. Maybe both of them even.

And I don't know what that  means. I've prayed about it. Talked to a friend or two. I even sort of asked my mom about it..in a fashion.

I wish, I wish an answer had come from it all. Some type of clarity would be nice as opposed to this confusion, this lust.

Not to mention that I still love Silver.

I can't say that I don't. I was moving on. He was hurt. I did cheat with Nino. Granted, I didn't get the chance to confess that myself. Nino took that away from me. She didn't give anyone else a choice in how this might have been handled. Suddenly, I'm getting emailed a clip of me drunkenly, making out with her. After that, it all fell apart.

Nino and I aren't on good terms anymore, if we ever really were. She doesn't talk about me in the store but the sneer I get from her is genuine as if somehow Silver not wanting to be around her is more my fault than hers. Silver of course has done me worse.

It isn't just be ignored. It's being cut off, like this is when I stop existing to him. When he walks past me, are eyes don't meet. When a new manga comes out, he doesn't talk to me about it. Then I realize that he really did love me. He was trying. He had hoped. He risked that secret part of him no one sees. Antoinette made it that much worse.

But is Susie doing more harm than her? I think this as we drive in her Jeep. Metal is not my thing; it's just screaming with background music. I'm glad for it though. It's giving me time to think somewhat.

As we make our way to First Street, she turns down the music abruptly. Her small hand is rubbing up and down my thigh languidly. Nights come flooding back to me. Being strap down. Teased. Degraded. Tantalized.

Being trained. "You're having second thoughts Pet."

"He loves me." It comes out as she waits to turn. Susie doesn't flinch. She's not even surprised.

She is worse than Antoinette. Susie smiles pleasantly as she rubs the inside of my thigh. "Unzip your pants."

"Did you not hear me?"

"I did." She takes her time waiting for an elderly gentleman in a Cadillac drive past her before turning on First. Gently she takes my chin so that I may face her. "And you heard me. Unzip your pants and look at me while you do it."

My hands are unbuckling belt. Susie turns away only to drive still holding my chin. We stop at the light adjacent to Wachovia bank. Her hand is in my a pants. I'm wet, so wet I'm a little shocked. Driving on ahead, two of her three wonderful fingers are already dancing up and down my slit. I've practically forgot what I was saying.

"He does love you Pet." A finger has wiggled into me. My hips are lifting. She's still driving. "And you love him. You'd think I'd be mad at that shit. Fuck. Maybe I am. Or at least I would be if I couldn't play with you.

"You see, I've loved Silver before he was called Silver." Another finger.We're going up the mock hill, passing Seminole Pointe. I'm climbing myself, moaning and squirming, not caring that I'm losing control. "And because of that, I know him best. He'll never love another woman quite like me or anyone else. He's a classic introvert. It takes a lot to make a connection. Oohhh. You're getting creamy."

Coming down the hill, we stop at another light. Sure enough, her hand is wet. A line or two of my stickiness connects between her fingers. Susie looks at me looking  at them. Her smile devious. "Clean them Pet. That's a good girl. Taste what Silver will get to taste with me."

I should feel ashamed. I'm supposed to be telling her how all of this is a bad idea. Her fingers are in my mouth though and my tongue moves with a will that's not my own. Her hand slips back into my pants so easy. Three fingers now. No more gentleness.

"That's right Pet. You want to fuck him and I want you to fuck him but if Mama doesn't eat, nobody eats." She's driving but her hand is still working with it's own rhythm, like the metal she was just playing, random and rough. I hold on to her arm because I can't think of anything else to do. I think someone is honking at us. "When we get to your place, you're going to eat my pussy and I'm gonna tell you all of the nasty slut shit you're going to do for me when we dress up. You're not gonna serve him until you serve me."

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Mundane Magic: Bushes and Cat Ladies 5

She never saw Rusty do any chores about the farm. Matilda Mae had worried with the passing of her Nana that he would seek employment elsewhere.

There wasn't much to the family farm if there ever was. She kept a vegetable garden for herself with cabbage, peas, tomatoes, carrots and the like for her vegetarian diet but nothing of industrial yield. There was the main house, a four bedroom affair made of brick with the classic screened in porch in the front. There was the barn in the back which wasn't too far from the stalls where her one cow, Clarabell and her nanny goat, Ulga used. There were acres of land not be utilized anymore since they stopped keeping horses. Since it was just her now, they had even scaled back on the animals they kept.

Rusty hadn't slacked off in his chores though. While Nana was being put in her grave at New Symrna, the farm and the house was kept even though many said he was at the funeral...

 She tried leaving notes and food to coax him out so she could talk to him. A post it here. Some cookies with a cold glass of milk.

Though the cookies were ate and the milk drunk, she had gotten no reply from Rusty. Things went as usual. The harder chores were done, leaving Matilda Mae to maintain the bills. Oddly enough, none of that included actually paying Rusty anything; it never occurred to her to do so, though she found that she was baking more extravagant sweets for him these days.

It was a good thing Rusty was there that night. With the weather being as awful as it was, she'd hate to think Ulga, Clarabell, and even Mr. Leroy her ornery rooster would be left out in it. Clarabell didn't like getting wet and Mr. Leroy was terrified of loud noises.

Her minivan rattled up the gravel driveway as rain and hail pelted her windows. There was talk on the radio about flood warnings in Volusia, Brevard, and Orange county. A tropical storm had appeared in land out of nowhere. No one could explain how. It made her sick inside knowing the cause of it.

Milly. That was what she thought about as she got inside. The house was at the perfect temperature. No doubt Rusty's doing. This might have made her physically feel better, her mind was still uneasy.

Three lives had been brutally sacrificed to make that sad creature. Equivalent exchange, she remembered Cricket's reedy voice, is the bones of magic. But that was equivalent. That monster that had Milly made wasn't punished for it. The humiliations she made her utter...

Matilda Mae realized she had summoned Witchfinger again, gripping it like she wanted to swing it at someones head and Jojo was yipping at her legs.

She blinked at the little beige chihuahua like she was seeing him for the first time. He yipped, putting his paws on her wet jeans, wagging his tail as if to get her attention. But why would he want that? She bent down, leaning on the wooden bat. His barks sounds like they were coming through water, slow and distorted and then-

"-whatswrongwhatswrongwhatswrong?!" Matilda reeled back as her ears popped. Jojo's barks. His stance. His very movements were communication she realized. Cats must not speak not like dogs do she gathered. "Wait." Said Jojo quietly cocking his head.

"Huh?" She replied dumbly. Jojo got on all fours and walked slowly in front of her, his paws clicking on the linoleum floor. The manner was strangely sentient. He sat down on his rump and turned his doe black eyes towards her.

"You can understand me." His voice sounded...Mexican. Matilda sincerely wanted to know why at that moment but her dog was talking. "Yes?" The yes came out like jess.

"Yes."

"Thank you." His lips didn't move but he had a voice. Was he barking still, she wondered, and it was just translating into English? Matilda considered if all of the noise and jumping around was the equivalent of a dog yelling at a deaf person. Was that why Jojo was so hyper? Did he just want to talk and she wasn't listening?

"For-for what?"

"For not making my balls disappear." His tongue lolled out his mouth. It looked like a smile. "You know how many dogs I know that ain't got none? That's some treacherous shit you humans do man. Taking a dog's balls..." He whimpered. "It's twisted Mattie Mae. What a dog do to deserve that shit? Bad enough we got collars."

"You can talk." Tears welled in her eyes. "I'd never do to you what she did Jojo." She sniffed to try to hold the flood back and failed. Milly's face just wouldn't go away. "I'm just happy you're here, you hear me?" Matilda was full on sobbing now.

"Hey, hey, hey chica." Jojo wagged his tail, whimpering in just that special way when he wanted to be picked up. She scooped him without thinking. Witchfinger was wound about her wrist again. " I knew something was wrong when your eyes went strange."

"Strange? 'Cause I was crying?" Matilda instantly felt better with Jojo's little furry body nuzzled against hers. He, like pretty much every animal in her life, had been kind to her beyond words.That's why she couldn't eat them.

That's why she hated Irma Jean Hurley. "Yeah. Like that." He whimpered again. His ears back and flat against his skull. "You scare me when you're angry like that. Looks like you tear up everything man."

Matilda flopped down on Nana's sofa, she couldn't think of it as anything but after all these years, a checkered affair that was probably older than her. It always felt calm to her. Maybe because of the way it smelled, like her childhood and hard farm work. Of soil and of sweat. No matter how much she cleaned the cushions or shampooed it, that scent never went away. She thought to click on the television but how could she with the world as fractured as it was?

That was no longer her domain. The irrational was rational for her now. The idiot box would do her no good anymore, if it ever did. "Do you know anything about magic?"

As soon as she asked she regretted it. What would Jojo-"Lil bit." She was scratching behind his ear. "Rusty teaches me what he can but the cow and the goat know tons more. Leroy don't bother with it if he can help it. Too much shit he says."

"Clarabell and Ulga know about magic? Since when? Where was I?" Matilda wasn't aware that a chihuahua could look at her like she was stupid.

Which bothered her more since it looked familiar. "And waitaminute, what does Rusty know about magic?" The hail had taken over where the rain left off, peppering the house. Jojo whimpered, trying his best to hide from the noise. "I've never even seen Rusty."

"Really?!" Jojo yelled.

"Why are yelling?"

"I can hardly hear you over all this noise!!" He was physically barking yet only words came out. "But yeah man, Rusty knows a bit about it!"

"How can I find him?"

"Just summon him!!" He angled his head towards the coffee table. "Put out a piece of cake or something and some baloney!!"

"Rusty doesn't eat baloney."

"I know!! The baloney is for me!"

_____________

Matilda didn't know if it was a good thing to give Jojo baloney so instead of the the three he usually got, she laid one piece on the floor.

To which he whimpered of course and thus he got an extra one.

She had always put food out for Rusty in one of two places; the dining room table with the plates that were never moved or the coffee table which was for everything.

Since it was a special occasion, Matilda went with the dining room. The hail had stopped for the time being so Jojo was up to trotting about without fear. The night seemed darker than most, the sky moonless, and the wind howling in unknown agony.

And yet she sat the piece of lemon cake that she knew to be Rusty's favorite down as if it might be Christmas. Like she was going to see Santa come down the chimney. There was-dare she say it-a joy in her that she could not explain it. Matilda felt giddy like she had aged seventeen years in that moment.

"You feel it don't you?" Jojo's tail wagged so fast she though he might lift off. He was barking physically, running around in circles. "He's gonna come out again! Hurry and light the candles!"

And why was she getting candles she wondered? It was storming outside. She had lights she could turn on. There was Milly. She had been angry and scared and....

And who cared? Rusty was going to appear! She got three candles from out the cupboard, all white wax and sat them around the cake so that they made a triangle. Matilda struck a match ( and why hadn't she used the Zippo in her pocket? ) lighting one after the other before snuffing it out.

Everything got quiet. Even Jojo was hushed.

The shadows cast by the candles began to waver yet the flames did not flicker. They looked like animals one minute then men the next. The animals and men had tools. They worked and tired, singed and danced, feasted and made merry.

It was slow at first but it steadily grew in tempo. The music grew louder. The shadows moved about her, laughing and making animal noises that seemed separate and one at the once. Jojo had long since joined in, his barks and yelps blending with the inhuman voices.

"What am I seeing?" Matilda whispered in awe and fear.

"Me." Said and old scratchy voice between mouthfuls of cake. "Just me. Rusty. The Groundskeeper."

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Mith Short Stories: Moonwalk 3

Howmani had been awake at least three minutes by his count but he didn't open his eyes. He kept his breathing shallow and his lips partially open to mimic being knocked out. The way Grandpa explained it, a Magi didn't whisper information that the user themselves hadn't somehow picked up. If what he said was true, then neither Nick nor Tumani would know he had awakened.

Especially since Nick hadn't made them into a Party. He almost smiled if not for the ruse. Howmani couldn't say basking in the sun in the grass was unpleasant but not being able to move around made him anxious. Grandpa's voice though, smooth and mellifluous, echoed in his brain. Train with your family whenever you can. With them, you are safe if you fail. He didn't know when playing dead would come in handy and as much as Howmani found things that challenged him amusing, he didn't want to be in a situation where he needed to. And his big sister ( he would never call her that to her face ) was worried. That could be fun up to a point but he didn't like dragging that out too much and he was getting itchy...

"Stop being a smart ass." He rolled away just before Nick's foot came down where his chest once was. "Learning how to use Willpower after have the magic knocked out of you is the first thing a Taim learns. And seeing as the both of you are clearly over-trained, you shoulda figured I'd be on to you. Stop me if I'm going to fast for ya."

Howmani tried to spring up after rolling away but his arms turned to rubber and he came up short. He felt like he couldn't get enough air into his lungs. Nick was right, he did have Willpower but it was level one at best. Tumani caught him by the arm before he fell into a heap. "Ugh! Will you stop acting like a child for a second?!"

"You're ten too!" He wheezed. Boxer was on his opposite side. For once, he didn't shoo her away. Her warmth was somewhat comforting though he was sure she pooped on the way there, dumb long ears that she was.

He heard Nick grumble something in response to them as he picked over the frozen pieces of monster. If he had to guess, Howmani would say he'd be looking at the nucleus of the thing. The gel part of a Slime's body was mostly just squishy stuff but that part was it's brain and everything else more or less. If he weren't so tired, he'd go see. Tumani was going to coddle him though and there wasn't much to be done about that.

"Not good, not good, not good..." Nick was turning the cantaloupe sized thing over and over in his hands. He was shaking his head in a way that made Howmani think he was genuinely concerned, his afro swishing like a bush. "Come here and take a look at this the both of you."

"See these markings?" There were dark gashes marring the crystal core's surface or at least they seemed that way at first until Howmani got dizzy again. Blinking away his disorientation he heard Tumani say, "Tenma?"

Nick groaned. "Spot on. Crude but definitely runes and on flesh no less." He pointed to a small indentation. It was hard to see through the ice but it looked like spikes had been lodged in it. "Runestone I'm betting. To speed up the process. If we looked at the dead things inside it, I'll bet the corpses are a day or two old at best."

"Somebody made this?" Howmani asked though it wasn't really a question. Nick nodded. "Wow."

"Not wow. Definitely not that."

"This is forbidden magic." He didn't fail to notice how his twin was mimicking Nick. Her shoulders were square, feet apart, one hand stroking her chin even as she held him up. Such a copycat hare. "And you say you saw others?"

"During my moonwalk yeah, which leads me to believe that I didn't wake up here on accident."

Howmani tried to keep his curiosity in check but he was ten. advanced or not. "You have to wake up from a moonwalk?" Nick nodded absently again. "So you trance?"

The three dots on Nick's Magi flashed briefly, bathing the sphere in a golden glow. Dropping it to the ground, he opened it revealing a sketch of nucleus. Howmani saw notes on different parts that he could not have possibly jotted down, including cross sections, and diagrams of its insides. "It's sorta like that but not exactly. I suppose I might as well explain while I'm taking samples."

"Samples?" Howmani asked.

"Of the monster?" Tumani volunteered much to Howmani's dismay. She could be such a know-it-all sometimes though Howmani himself was a know-it-all pretty much all of the time. "Maybe we can get it to a Chemist at a Mark's Guild."

"Hmmm. I'm still going to do what I said, seeing your skills and what have you, not to mention getting you back to your Scout Master but she's right, it's going to take a Fiend Chemist to figure out exactly what and how this was done. Only then can we maybe find out who." He had taken out a chisel and hammer (for the ice no doubt) along with a set of surgeon's tools which he laid reverently on the ground. "In the mean time, I can tell you a little about moonwalking and how it works."

______

There are gods though I wouldn't call them divine.

You have the many aspects of the Madonna Glane in the Glanic faith. You have just Cuchulain, the Bright Father, in the Sunseeker religion. Many on the Jade Plateau follow the Burning Buddha and his teachings and he was a man that supposedly fought the gods for enlightenment. Some have incorporated the Jade gods and goddesses into the Burning Path which muddles the teachings a bit.

I say this so that you understand that even gods have things made up about them and so, their stories change depending on who tells it and what they believe.

The stories of Fahrim the Huntress and Prast the Sage are somewhat different in this aspect. The names might change perhaps but the essence of the tale remains the same no matter where it is told.

They are always twin sisters, Prast and Fahrim are. Fahrim's eyes are always the red of fresh blood marking her thirst to hunt. Prast's are silver and milky because she is blind to all but the future.

Twins though they are, they are much like you two; they couldn't be anymore different you see. They are literally on two different paths circling Mith, only crossing at two times. The lunar eclipse is called the Mage's Eye while the solar eclipse is called the Tiamat's Eye. Outside of that, you'll usually not see both of them together.

As they wax and they wane, some say that they affect magic like they do the tides. Scholars have tried to disapprove or approve such a theory just to end the debate. Both sides haven't been successful, especially with the phenomenon of the sage and the blood vision. Both are connected to the moons as being born under them appears to grant the ocular magic. However, this isn't always true and some have thought that such a thing may just be mutation and nothing more.

In any case, I was born under Prast at night. Mom says she thought my eyes were silver at first. Don't know if that means anything but I've got Prast's vision all the same. Do I trance? Yes. I can induce it using Meditate but it takes a long time for it to start working and typically, I just don't have that option.

But a moonwalk? It's different from that obviously. It's in the name actually. I've never seen Prast full and in the sky because if it is, I'm moonwalking already. It's like waking up but still dreaming. I'm only half aware of what I'm doing; I know that I have to do whatever it is I'm doing but I don't know why I'm doing it. I just know, deep down inside, that I've seen the future and that what I'm doing is part of it.

If I'm lucky, which I'm not, it'll last for the night. Of course you all know though, that a full moon doesn't just last a single night. That would be fair. That would be manageable.

Nope. Never that for a Hero Class. This is the second fugue. I'm fairly certain that I'll be moonwalking again tonight and that when I do, I'll have to fight some more mutated Slimes that are gonna be a bitch to kill.



Monday, September 15, 2014

A Journal By Some Guy 46




Hello Journ,

Apologies. We keep meeting this way. Erratically.

I drop in like your drunk little brother after a bender. I only find you when I'm a step away from the gutter. Like a good sibling you're always there though. More's the pity for you.

So as I lay on your couch, stinking of beer and god knows what, I'll tell you all that's been crowding my mind as of late, hopefully before I fall asleep.

And don't worry about me peeing on your couch. I did that in the bushes.

____________

My girlfriend stays on my mind like a migraine. It's insistent. I can see the glittering in my eye before it comes. I feel the constricting of my blood vessels in my temples. The anticipation of the pressure keeps me on edge.

However, this is not an unpleasant feeling.

What is sort of distracting is all the emotions that come with this good feeling. I am not emotional Journ. I observe them in other people but I try not to get involved passed that. Emotions make you do things that logically you wouldn't and, well, as the young kids say, I'm not down with that.

But I can't not be down with that. You see, it takes a special woman to make me feel something. It's not an everyday thing. It's not even a monthly thing. Seasonal? No, no, definitely not. Yearly?

Not yearly. Not even.

That scares me a little. Missing someone like that definitely does because you think, one day they might be gone.

__________

Don't allow me to be maudlin Journ, about her or anything else because you see, she makes me happy this one does.

For instance, cuddling with her is pretty great. Every time great. She's a bigger girl, for such are my tastes, but she's shapely. This makes being close with her a treat.

Sex? Of course you know the answer to that.

But being next to someone and falling asleep is even better than that sometimes.

__________

I would not call what I have writer's block. Perhaps writer's pebbles-that-get-stuck-in-your-left-shoe.

I mean let's be honest Journ, I have no formal training in this nonsense. I'm just telling stories through my hands is as best as I can understand it.

This lead to the thought process of Gee, maybe I should get some formal perspective on this thing I'm trying to do professionally one day. That lead to a lot of searching which lead to me thinking How in the shit do writers get better by learning about writer's lives and quotes and shit? I mean, the fuck man? I don't write like these guys and half of their shit I wouldn't read because it would bore me.

Work as a cart pusher and sweaty days segue rather quickly. No montage or explanation needed there.

Moving on to now and me getting back to just writing because I think it was halfway working for me there. Between doing stuff on here, I suppose Silver and his friends whom he happens to sleep with will probably get that digital novella so they can stop yammering in my head about their problems.

And Lilian. They will not shut up about that one.

__________

I meditated Journ in order to overcome a migraine.

Maybe I was dehydrated or it was hot or the stars were aligned wrong and some deity shat on my good fortune.

Just spitballing here Journ. Any of those reasons are equally plausible to me really.

I hate the waiting. Anticipating the pain that you know will come. The inevitability kills me. That and the nausea.

What does the unstoppable force do when it meets the immovable object? It meditates because there is nothing else to be done.

Always I advise people to meditate. Not for spiritual purposes as I don't believe in that rubbish. For stress relief, anxiety, and general health.

Meditating, I had to distract myself even behind my eyelids still seeing that light. Deep breaths by themselves weren't helping so I visualized myself in the Looking Glass, the first room of my mind palace.

With the stars shooting around, it wasn't to hard to blend the lights with them. Even the dull ache could be managed. I was even talking myself through it.

I was going deeper and deeper still. My visualization was getting better. I was standing up and walking around by this time, which made me talking to myself kinda awkward. It was like staring at yourself on video but being aware of yourself staring at yourself in the video.

So Journ, keeping in the fact this was somewhat a dream, I did what any lucid dreamer would do; I made a guide.

Stop: A guide in your dream is your subconscious talking to you. This is why in dreams people see dead relatives, pets talking, ghosts, monster, etc. A lucid dreamer however, can make a guide into anything or anyone they choose. They usually do this so that when they lucid dream, the guide acts as, well, a guide and anchors them in their dream.

Stop: Prock joke.

__________

Visualization helps me make characters. It also works on my sanity, as there are literally talking bits and pieces of people having nonsensical bits and pieces of conversation with other people bits.

When I saw Nick I thought Well this won't be so bad. He's been my guide while I've lucidly dreamed before. I didn't really talk with him then since I was to busy flying around like Neo from  The Matrix but from a thousand miles in the air over a valley, he seemed cool enough. Besides Journ, he's my character right?

Right.

So tell me my own character didn't question his own existence in my half lucid dream. Go ahead. Tell me. The Muses. Dragons. Ancient Memory. Everything. Even the apparent skips in time as we spoke.

It was so odd because he really didn't know he wasn't real and I knew he was just a facet of my subconscious but we were talking to each other. I wanted to tell him not to smoke in my glass Tardis goddammit! Rotten little punk! Who does he think he is asking me why he's here? I'm just his creator!

Needless to say, I'll be using this technique with every character I can.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Mith Short Stories :Moonwalk 2

Nick was definitely slow. For every three squares they moved, he moved one. He had this odd stop and go walk Something between an old man's shuffle and a fat man's waddle.. At first, she thought it was just because he was smoking his Goblin weed ( as if she didn't know what it was! ) and didn't want them to catch a contact ( that she learned from her father ).

But as his little brother cartwheeled and capered around him, there were moments where he would stop just in time to throw Howmani off. His arm shot out. Howmani had to duck mid-run, his knee skimming across the grass. Scylla coiled up and struck at him from within Nick's hood scaring him. One time, he threw a kunai with an explosive tag into the dirt. It exploded, showering him with powder and stopping Howmani in his tracks just as he backflipped.

"That'll teach ya to settle down." Nick grumbled before exhaling a cloud of smoke. She wouldn't have been dumb enough to fall for that. Though he did slide the dagger from within his sleeve, flicking it the ground in one smooth motion ( Grandpa taught him that ), he still should've expected it, duh.

"What did you even hit me with?!"

"Tracker Dust. Relax."

Howmani was covered in what looked liked flour only bright green from head to toe. The way he shook his dreadlocks made him look like a wet dog oddly enough. He coughed and spat. Typical Howmani behavior, right down to even being caught with such a thing. This was why he was the little brother.

Soon though, the powder started to sparkle. Howmani, of course, tried to run around in effort to get off. She could only hope that he had enough sense to stay away from her and Boxer with his stupid. "Stop running around like an idiot." Nick said. "It's not even on you anymore. The dust is dissipating and doing it's job."

"What the-whoooaaa!!! Sparkly! Trail! JUT-tsu!!!" Howmani literally was looking back on his trail, the dust hovering with luminescence in the places he had previously been. It looked odd to her in the noon sunlight, almost too bright but never quite so. Tumani wanted to look away but it was really cool.

"Sparkly what? No. Nevermind. Anywho, Hunter Classes use that on fiends sometimes to track them." He unclipped his Magi-a small red book with the three circles embossed on it's front-from his Utility Belt. Touching the corner, it tripled in size, before he opened it up so that Tumani could see it's pages. "There." He pointed to a map of Alondell, rendered in three dimensions instead of two. It showed the the whole sprawl of the training field, it's rolling hills, the scrubs of trees, even the clouds that drifted lazily above it all. Nick touched it, making it nearer to their scale. The squares where Howmani had been were marked green. "It only works within the range of Muse Altars you've visited but a Hunter get's around like that if he's-Howmani don't come over here."

"Aww! I wanna see too!"

"You will when the effect wears off. Now go out and burn up some more energy. The space you cover, the more the dust is stretched until it can't be anymore. Then you can come over and see what jackassery you've been up to."

She was trying not to be amazed by the way he used his Magi. Tumani couldn't dream of having the map coverage for a display like that. Nor Scylla. Or being the Turtle Sage.

The more she thought about it, the more it should've been obvious. To think, not even Dad knew but Hare did and he chose her to keep the secret. "I thought you were supposed to be telling us about moonwalking?" Be smart, Hare told her. Be observant.

"And so why are we fooling around with tracking dust?" Nick finished off. His eyes were on her, not gold hazel like a normal Shath but penny brown. Looking into them, she felt very, very young. "First off, quit being a smart ass. It's not becoming of a student. Second, Howmani needs to settle down so I can tell the story. This is a great excuse to turn a distraction into something useful. Third, if you two are trying to be good Rangers, then you need the type of map coverage you're looking at. Homura has better than me."

"Did...someone...say..." Howmani was doubled over, a sheen of sweat on his brow. "Flame?"

Nick grunted as he looked out over the hills. He must have heard the telltale squish of a Slime as she had. He cast his glance about, signaling with his hand for them to stay put.

He unclasped a dagger at first from his Utility Belt or that is what it seemed to be at first before the metal warped, twisting and writhing until it made itself into his Elven Short Sword. The blade was shaped like a slender leaf with Elven filigree as it's veins. If not for the almost danger of the situation, Tumani would have loved to ask him about it.

But sure enough, there was a rhythmic thud coming up to the little knoll. Startled birds fled the tree. A rabbit bounded out the grass below. Nick was trying to get a bead on exactly where it was coming from, no doubt looking to ambush it and kill it quick. Tumani and him were of one mind looking towards the nearest forest. A Slime couldn't get that big out in the open. It wouldn't have a chance to grow before some Scout killed it with a Wooden Sword.

He was already making his way down the hill as the slime in question bounded into view. To Tumani, it looked like a cube of clear jello, only instead of fruit, it had the bones and offal of thing that it hunted or got in it's way floating in it. There were tree limbs, rocks and animals in different stages of digestion, melting away in it's interior. A stench worse than rotting flesh and waste roiled from it in waves almost causing her to retch.

She didn't see Howmani but she did see the tracker dust. He had gone the opposite way of Nick but not towards the slime thank the gods.

Which meant it was after her. Tumani would never admit how her knees got a little weak or how Boxer nuzzled her leg sensing her fear.

She would however talk later about how she and Boxer went opposite directions, confusing the monster. Tumani would talk about how it's cube nucleus bounced around inside of it like a pinball. It couldn't figure out which of us was the better target, she'd say. It was beaten from the start.

That would only be half the tale though. Tumani would eventually have to admit how Nick shoved his Elven Short Sword into that nucleus at just the right moment when it was pointed at her. She'd have to say how surprised she was that he could do that with something other than spear.

The silver blade stuck into the cube within the cube. It's mass shivered and Nick's grunt was turning into a howl. He was forearm deep into the creature. It's enzymes were burning him alive even as the nucleus began to glow.

Slime Uses Self Destruct

She didn't need her Magi to tell her that. Tumani was trying not to panic. Trying to slow her heart down. Tried to get into her calm place like Grandma said.

"Don't come any closer Tumani!" Nick yelled. "Stay put!" She was halfway down the hill before she came to her senses. What was she going to do? Nick was sinking more into the creature. The carriage size bulk of the slime's body seem to undulate and quake in anticipation. The more he struggled, the deeper he'd be pulled in. The more her brother the Turtle Sage would disappear...

And where, she suddenly thought, was her other brother? "Howmani NOW!"

Right behind the slime, at the end of a sparkling trail, was her stupid little brother clapping his hands as if in prayer.

Nick Summons Sea Turtle

A great wave crashed into the slime. There was hissing followed by a cloud of steam. Tumani couldn't see anything.

Howmani Is KO

"How!!!" She screamed. "How!!!" It was almost like fog now. Boxer was chittering at her legs, aware more than she of the dangers of going into it. The slime hadn't detonated. The water, she thought, must have delayed it somehow.

Nick Uses Ice Breath

And through the steam, Tumani heard the familiar tinkling of water freezing over faster than nature intended. There was a whoosh like a snow flurry as the steam itself began to cool, spinning in a dance of wind and ice.

Slime Is Frozen 

In the heart of the maelstrom was Nick with one arm and half of his upper torso free of the creature. Snow and icicles hung from his afro making him seem like a palm tree in a freak storm. "A little help?" He grumbled.

"What about Howmani?!" Nick stared at as if she were stupid. Then he looked from her to behind the slime.

The sea turtle he summoned was as large as a small cabin with aquamarine skin. It's leathery shell was a deep, dark green with barnacles, lichens, and even coral adorning it's back with seaweed and jellyfish for garlands. It's head had coral upon it as well like a crown with large liquid eyes that spoke of intellect. "An aqua bullet will do," Nick sighed with a wave of his free hand. "Never mind about the collateral damage."

It blinked twice. Nodded once. Opening it mouth, it spat a literal missile of water into the slime, smashing it to bits. Nick was thrown to the ground, rolling shell over stomach until he skidded on his back to a stop. His Magi hummed something about EXP points.

The same wave that brought the beast came to retrieve it. It washed over it twice before the turtle disappeared with it. Tumani was down the hill with Boxer in tow. She went around the ice chunks that were once the slime not bothering to check on Nick figuring that he was alright.

But she was worried for nothing it seemed. Howmani was doubled over again, wheezing and smiling as he wrung water out of his cloak. "Did you see...that?!" He smiled. "I summoned a Turtle!" He tried to stand up and look brave but fatigue had him swaying on his feet. Tumani caught him just as he was about to fall.

"What did you do?" She readjusted his arm around her shoulders. How could she worry him so?! "You idiot! You shouldn't have wondered off! He told you to stay put!"

"Lay off him. He did good." Nick was on his feet again though there were acid burns on his legs and arm. It seemed mostly cosmetic though. "I planned to summon that Turtle but I got impatient. Thought I could one hit kill that sonuvabitch but it struggled. Shoulda stuck to my original plan." He lit the joint hidden in his hood again. Pulled. Blew the smoke away from them. "When he passed out, that was from using a trap he had no affinity for. Sucked all the mana right out of him."

"So you were showing off." Tumani said.

"Nope. I don't do that." Nick pulled. Blew out another cloud then put it out. "The cube variety of slime in rare. They don't use magic. They're tanks. Add to the fact that this one wasn't as stupid as they usually are and well, you got yourselves a mystery."

"And how's one slime a mystery?"

"One isn't. Two or three on a moonwalk however, might be."

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Mith Short Stories: Moonwalk

It was not often that Nick approached anything close to a home.

He had a Hero Class and everyone knew that was not a stationary occupation. By virtue of having the designation, one would think there would be some travel. Heroes had to go off to fight something. They didn't get off their couches, walk around the corner, kill the Big Boss because he/she happened to be there, then come back to sit on his/her couch and finish watching their soap opera.

That's not how it worked. It should. Their should be breaks. Time off. A sick day. Perhaps you could use a Warp Scroll and tag in another Hero that might need the exposure.

But no. Nobody wanted Nick's quests. Fight a Zombie infestation? Nobody wanted that. Kill some Mermen with a level 5 Sharkman as a Boss? No one even had the equipment for that..

And. Who. Did? No one that's who. Only the Hero Shell ( and how he hated that title ) had the variety of Skills needed to sterilize that village. He had the Crystal Rose he could use for his Holy Breath which had +10 Magic Attack against Undead creatures. The Volt Carrot he could use against the Mermen and the level 5 Sharkman for + 5 Magic Attack being that they were Water elements. It would cost him HP, seeing as he was a as well but the trade off might be worth it-

".....Nick..."

-and really where was the Boy's Army? Besides Junky Steve of course? He was probably in some gutter in Dorchester with a needle in his arm-

"...rabbit!....wake him...butterflies..."

-up his ass and being whiney. He saw a lot or Rangers like Connor over a lot of lives. Rather he was in a kilt or cowboy boots, cloak or duster, with a crossbow or six shooter at the ready. a swaggering Ranger was just as annoying as ever. He'd of course give credit where it was due. Connor had talent. Avcoor was right to make him his Ranger B. It's just he didn't like him using that to justify his judgments. He acted like his INT wasn't higher than his nor would he admit Seiglum Peacewalker's strengths in woodcraft. Seiglum's nose was just sharper. It was the mark of a good Ranger and Connor knew it-

"...can't believe he's been sleeping...."

"He's waking up!"

He yawned. As usual it sounded like the groan of someone older than his sixteen years. Blinking several times, blurs became clearer. The green above him were the leaves of a stately oak. The gold that lanced between them was sunlight.

The two smaller person-like blobs came to form two children. A Shath boy in a blue cloak assessed him curiously. The Shath girl with twin ponytails and round glasses tried to hide her interest but the jack rabbit that was almost her size gave that away. It sniffed and hopped about him, too shy to directly investigate but not patient enough to be still. Typical Turtle/Hare dynamic, he thought. What he said was, "The hell are you two doing out here by yourselves?"

"In Alondell Field? Surely us level 2 and above Class users need chaperones in a level 1 training zone." said Tumani with as much snark as a ten year old going on twenty could muster. Howmani was sniggering despite his attempt to look aloof like his grandfather. When he caught Nick watching him, he looked away into the distance,still failing to hide it. "Quick. Let's go get the scout master with his Wooden Sword to help us farm Slimes."

Tumani's jack rabbit, Boxer, thumped the ground with a hind leg. Nick knew how rabbit's laughed. As the Turtle Sage, he had seen it in enough life times to know. The rabbit had a vest on with Nipponese character for fist on the back, gold on reddish brown like the colors she wore. Her hoody ( when did this start? ) was outlined in fur like their father Justin Taim but that's where the resemblance stopped. The rest was like him, right down to the cargo pants and red brown Chucks. She didn't have a Shell but the Chemist Backpack was laden with pockets, zippers, belts, and tools all the same.

And-and was she trying to stand like him? Did he really stick his hands in his pockets like that? "I wear my Breastplate under my hoody, you know, so people don't know I'm wearing it." She said cocking her head back. Now that was all Justin Taim.

"Quit being a smart ass." Nick ran his fingers through his fro. Three butterflies fluttered away. A squirrel chittered out of the comfort of his hood unto the tree. How long had he been out?

"That squirrel probably pooped in there."

"Who cares? Animals poop. You poop. We all poop." Howmani was sniggering and mouthing poop. Both he and Tumani rolled their eyes at that. "Answer my damn question. Why are you out here by yourselves?"

"We're too advanced for the Scouts." Howmani said catching his breath. His cloaked opened a little and sure enough, he was dressed like Avcoor in darker colors with a small Flak Jacket instead of the standard Ranger Plate. "We're level 2 going on 3 and the rest of the scouts aren't even a full two miles away." He shrugged and smiled sheepishly, his shoulder length dreads making it more regal than childish.

Level 2 going on 3 at such a young age, Nick thought. And not even in wartime. He looked off in the distance of Alondell's rolling green fields, speckled with snatches of trees, thinking of a time long ago when everything had been scorched by Tyran fire. Had he seen then what Alondell was today he would not have believed it. He would have thought the wrath of Kaonane would be known to the soil until it's breaking.

"That's still no reason for you two to be out here like this." Nick said blinking out the last bit of sleep from his eyes. "At the very least, form a basic three man Party. Sometimes Bladehorns and Power Bison find their way out here. They're level 3 on average and they run in herds. You might take one down, might, but three or four and you're definitely biting it." Tumani groaned. Howmani was alert, soaking in his little bit of knowledge like a sponge.

That worried him. He didn't know why but-"You were Moonwalking weren't you?" Howmani said suddenly. His smile turned from mocking to a full on grin. Nick groaned. "I knew it! Your eyes were silver when you first opened them! Where were you?!"

By now, How was bouncing around with uncontained glee. His mind was always curious about things like that. If he ever made a pact with Ravens like his grandpa, Nick was sure that secrets would be his "shiny" things. "Well?" Tu asked as she shuffled her feet. She was like himself in that way; he hated to show interest in things willingly. He had to keep in mind that he was six years older than her ( more than that if he counted his Ancient Memory ) and she had a blossoming bro-con.

And how in the seven hells was he gonna deal with that? The thought alone made him feel tired."Look," he said in a raspy voice. "I'll tell you but you two have to show me what you've learned before I take you back to the Scout Master-"

"Mistress," Tumani corrected with a smirk. "She's a girl."

"Ugh." Too much like their father. He rubbed the bridge of his nose. He could feel this getting annoying. "Whatever. I'll tell you where I've been on the way back to the group."

"Awww." Howmani whined. "You're gonna leave again?"

"Of course but not for a little while. Remember, I'm a Turtle; things go slow for us and this Moonwalk is no different." As if to illustrate the point, Nick took extra time getting to his feet. He grunted, rocking the weight of his Shell so that he was almost doubled over before standing up with a sigh. Just when the twins thought to speak, he raised a finger, and ,with great effort, yawned again as he stretched his arms. Scylla, his living whip of alchemy, slithered from around his arm, disturbed by the sudden movement. She flicked out her tongue, craned her head between Howmani and Tumani and then slithered into the sleeve of his opposite arm.

"When am I gonna get a Whip?" Tumani said with a stomp. "Dad's got Gorgon and when it leveled up and split, you got Scylla-"

"Point being?" Nick scratched his afro again. This time, a cricket leapt away only for Scylla to shoot out her head and eat it.

"Cooool!" Howmani beamed. "Now I want one too!"

"You won't get one before me." Tumani retorted, her hands back in her Hoody's pockets. "I'm the eldest."

"By three minutes!"

"Still older."

"That doesn't count! Does it Nick!?"

"Shut up the both of ya." Usually Nick's rudeness would cause people to do just that. In this case, Tumani just cocked her head and Howmani was still pouting. "Gorgon gave birth at level 22. I'm a ways away from that so settle down." Nick took out a jay hidden with his hoody. Sure enough, the squirrel did poop in there.

"You shouldn't be smoking." Tumani said trying to sound more mature. "Smoking is bad for you."

"So is telling people what they should and shouldn't be doing." Nick was looking for his lighter only to have Howmani offer the Zippo almost ceremoniously. Scylla made and appearance again, clamping her jaws around it before dropping it in Nick's hand. Howmani's hazel-gold eyes were wide as saucers.

"Now I really want one." whispered Howmani.

"You use your Steal Command on me again and I'm gonna smack you." He made to move his arm and as expected, Howmani wheeled away, backflipping and then dashing two Squares back in blur of blue. The Ravenlord is definitely training him, Nick thought. And Tumani? He could tell by her stance that the Adamant Fist, his grandmother, was teaching her the finer points of her Fighter Class. Things hadn't changed it seemed. "Now come on," Nick said. "You wanna hear about Moonwalking or what?"