Topic: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - The Morning After (Deadline December 31st)  (Read 33757 times)

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Von Stein

  • Just some insane airhead.
  • What's this newfangled stuff?
  • Gender: Metal! \m/
Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - This Month, Consecutive Battles!
« Reply #30 on: July 01, 2012, 06:52:18 am »
Fairies in Gensokyo are happy and mischievous.

Once a year they come together, and have a great time telling stories of their greatest pranks, stories of good food, and stories of legends.

This story that they hand around each other is not one of the first two, but a legend.

The story tells of happenings on a day not long after the rainy season ended. The sun was blazing down from the sky like an infernal being bringing despair to the living.

And due to the literally cold nature of spirits, the dead had their share of despair too, trying to escape being confiscated as refreshments.

But this girl, making her way through the Forest of Magic, one foot in front of the other, was not in need of refreshment, as a heavy rain was surrounding her.

She had woken up minutes ago, her grey dress soaked as always. She stood up, and began walking, where, she did not know.

She followed her feet, one step at a time, the water falling around her ceaselessly. The canopy of the forest in this area was thin, and the sun's rays gleamed through the branches, reflecting sparklingly of the water.

As she traveled the sound of the water on the leaves battered her ears. She knew that the sound caused the animals to hide from the wandering drum machine, and her shoulders drooped a bit.

After a while, the beat on the canopy disappeared, and the girl looked up. A low drumbeat of rain on the floor accompanied the vision the fairy saw before her. Grey. Grey as her dress, grey as her hair, grey as her eyes. She saw nothing but grey.

The mist this day was heavy around the very creatively named Misty Lake. Normally the lake was not covered in such a severe mist during the summer season, but the rain may have messed with the local weather a little.

The girl kept walking forward, her mouth open, as the drumming of the rain slowed down a bit. She could just barely see her feet, the mist was so thick. She stepped forward, and proceeded further into the unknown.

The drum of water on grass was soon accompanied by the drumming of water on water. She flinched as she stepped forward and heard a splash. She had reached the lake proper. She stepped back and shook her foot, when a sound caused her to flinch again.

The rain kicked it up a notch when the girl heard a surprised yelp out of the mist. She heard a voice complaining about the sudden rain, and telling the rain to go away or it would be cryofreezed with extreme prejudice.

The girl cowered, worried that the voice would freeze her, and the rain got whipped up into a veritable torrent as it came down in strings almost.

Another surprised yelp, and an angry growl later and the mist was illuminated with a blueish white light. Two girls gasped in pain, as the rain had been frozen, just not in place.

Ice fail from the sky, and the girl ran away from the hail, away from the evil freezer. Shortly thereafter water fell around her again, and the familiar sensation slowly returned to a normal rain, albeit still coming down heavily. She slowed down from her run and began her aimless wandering again.

Time had passed, and the mist and tree canopy both were gone, now replaced by the sun's merciless rays, which reflected confusedly off of the airborne water, as if wondering what the heck rain was doing getting in the sun's way.

The girl, still moving forward, saw none of this, her eyes fixed on the leaves of grass on the floor, as earthworms squirmed around in the dirt, lapping up the live giving water.

A new voice called out to her. But it wasn't entirely new. She had heard it before. She turned around, as the rain intensified again. That red-white was hanging in the air. Couldn't she even just take a walk? The red-white spoke to her, told her to take that rain elsewhere.

Thunder cracked. The red-white looked at the girl, standing her ground, as the rain grew stronger, thicker, and the sun's light began getting drowned out by the sheer wall of water.

Thunder cracked again, and the shrine maiden nodded. The girl blinked as the maiden flew away, and for a moment complete silence surrounded her.

She shook her head and resumed her endless march to the drumbeat of her rain.

She took notice again as the grass on the floor had gradually been replaced by purple flowers. She gazed around, and found herself on a hill full of those flowers. Her mouth open again, she began walking further in, as the rain reflected orange light from the dusk and turned the scene all the more magical.

The rain surrounding her had become a light drizzle, as the melancholy of the hill washed over everything.

Stepping through the flowers, a small voice could be heared, but the girl took no note of it. She stared straight forward, as the purple of the flowers raised into the air and mixed with the rain.

After a few moments, the girl fell to her knees. She breathed heavily, still staring at the spectacle of light and colors around her, as the rain gradually grew weaker, the sky burned a deep orange, and the purple mist swirled around her.

She fell forwards, into the flowers, and the eery color play was replaced by black, as the sound of a few drops of water reached her ears, and then silence.

She woke up to another voice calling her. She looked around, and saw nothing but clouds. Everything felt nebulous, only the voice being distinct. She followed it, as it called her to follow it.

She tried to make out something, anything in the surroundings but there was nothing to hold on to besides the sound of that voice. Until the owner of the voice appeared.

Red hair, white and blue dress, tall stature, and a scythe marked the owner of the voice.

The woman shook her head and smiled. She asked if it was that time of the year again. She said that the girl should be more careful. She said that as they walk a few steps alongside the bank of some river that materialzed out of the fog. She laughed, and said that they were at their destination.

Her voice rang in the girl's head as one she had heard before, many times. it gave her a bit of comfort. The woman looked down at the girl, and said goodbye. The scythe came down, and the girl keeled over forward as it hit her in the back of the head.

She looked up to see no purple flowers, but sun flowers. The drumming of the rain surrounded her, as she shook her head and got up. She had been here before, hadn't she?

The drizzle around her grew stronger as she saw another woman walking towards her, a red plaid dress, green hair, and an umbrella. In front of the now completely crimson sky she looked ready to eat her, red eyes glowing in unison with the sky and her dress.

The girl took a step back as the rain came down harder than ever before, the water falling down so fast it almost hurt.

The new woman tilted her head. She sat down on a log, and closed her umbrella, and looked up into the rain, smiling. The girl froze, her eyes growing wider than before, and the rain mellowed down. The woman looked at her and tapped her hand beside her on the log. She talked, her voice piercing through the drum beat of the rain.

"Won't you sit with me again, my dear?"

For a brief moment the rain stopped and the sunflower field was illuminated by a smile from the girl. She remembered this place again. She knew who this woman was.

She skipped to the woman, the rain now coming down in a calm, controlled drizzle, and sat down next to the youkai.

As they sat, the girl looked up. A fairy in the sky was waving some others to come over, pointing at the girl, as the air was filled with laughter.

One blue haired fairy appeared, and flew alongside the others, when suddenly a rogue lightning strike knocks her out of the air and sends her crashing to the ground. The woman ruffled the hair of the girl, both of them giggling madly.
It was good to be home again.

This legend, and all the others the fairies shared, all the stories of great pranks and better food would be shared again, right here, in the yearly gathering. It was going to be a long night.

And even our little rain fairy could once again be happy and mischievous in Gensokyo.





*Lays on the floor, battered, armor broken and pierced in many places*

It was a long battle, Iron Librarians. I've fought you long and hard, but underestimated you. And you thought you had won! You thought I was done! You watched me struggle through this last story and fail, and saw me crushed beneath the behemoth of writer's block! But I say thee: "NAY!"

I am still alive, ad as long as I will draw breath still I shall face you in this, my final stand!

*brings Heavy Bolter to bear* Not until the Emperor decides to snuff out the light of my soul to strengthen him forevermore will I let go of the trigger of His Judgement! I will die here, but I will not die alone! FOR THE EMPIRE! FOR THE EMPEROR!

*begins firing, as he collapses more into himself slowly, barely having the strength to keep his eyes open*

((Translation: And here's the fourth entry for the WWC. It came out very short, much shorter than anticipated, but nevertheless, after reading through it again... I am satisfied with it. I hope it brings enjoyment, and maybe a tear or two to some people here. I intended this to be a Slice of Life story, but I just don't think it fits as such anymore. So I shifted to a more recent topic, which I presume fits the situation too. Endings. If that doesn't ring a bell in you after reading the story, I suggest you read again with that thought in mind. ;) Anyways, thanks to the collected Scribes for making this contest and thus this story possible. See y'all when the judgements come in.))
Can't think of a good signature.
More lilies maybe?

Joveus Molai

  • Bear the Word, and the Word will bear you.
  • *
  • LOOK AT ME
  • Nickname: Blood Spider
Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - This Month, Consecutive Battles!
« Reply #31 on: July 01, 2012, 12:53:43 pm »

*Lays on the floor, battered, armor broken and pierced in many places*

It was a long battle, Iron Librarians. I've fought you long and hard, but underestimated you. And you thought you had won! You thought I was done! You watched me struggle through this last story and fail, and saw me crushed beneath the behemoth of writer's block! But I say thee: "NAY!"

I am still alive, ad as long as I will draw breath still I shall face you in this, my final stand!

*brings Heavy Bolter to bear* Not until the Emperor decides to snuff out the light of my soul to strengthen him forevermore will I let go of the trigger of His Judgement! I will die here, but I will not die alone! FOR THE EMPIRE! FOR THE EMPEROR!

*begins firing, as he collapses more into himself slowly, barely having the strength to keep his eyes open*


Brother, even a man who has nothing can still have faith.

All hail the martyrs! On their blood is our Imperium founded, in their remembrance do we honour ourselves.

(It's not quite judgment time yet, but my heartfelt congratulations and a hearty "Great Job!" to everyone who participated. Best of luck to you all. :dragonforce:

capt. h

  • Only sane townie
Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - This Month, Consecutive Battles!
« Reply #32 on: July 02, 2012, 02:47:40 am »
Theme: SPAAAAAAAAACE

***

Space.

The final frontier.

Large beyond the comprehension of any mere mortal.

And a really nice place to put a sun.

I like the sun. It’s big a yellow, and there should be more of them. Not like that boring old moon. That’s not nearly bright enough. So I came up with this plan to make more of them. Suns that is.

Satori doesn’t like me making them in the house. Or in the underground for that matter. Something about stars should be in space.

So getting to work. The inner core’s connected to the – radiative zone~. The radiative zone’s connected to the – convection zone~. Course, knowing that’s not really necessary for the process. It’s good enough to simply bash lots of energy together really hard, until you get a huge sphere. Bigger the sphere, the longer the sun magic lasts, you could even get something permanent if you made it big enough.

In case you were wondering, my hobbies include creating subatomic reactions on the macro scale and on weekends I like to take a nuclear bomb to your laws of nature. Every Monday Morning is scolding time, when a couple of gods go over with the kappa how I ruined physics over the weekend and have to put it back.

I don’t see why I’m not allowed to create objects with less mass than a ping pong ball and the surface pull of Jupiter. You know what? Forget them. Sunday is me time, and I’m spending me time putting more stars in the sky orbiting a mere 50,000 miles away from earth.

FinnKaenbyou

  • Formerly Roukanken
  • *
  • blub blub nya
  • LOOK AT ME
  • Nickname: Roukanken
  • Gender: i don't even know anymore
Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - This Month, Consecutive Battles!
« Reply #33 on: July 02, 2012, 09:17:46 am »
DEADLINE REACHED!

Girls are judging, please wait warmly.

LogosOfJ

  • Nickname: Faithless Priest of VOID!
Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - This Month, Consecutive Battles!
« Reply #34 on: July 02, 2012, 09:55:37 am »
Theme: Post-apocalyptic soft sci-fi Touhou IN SPACE (with a side of mecha)

As this was written right before intersecting deadlines, I did not take the time to properly credit the premise, borrowed from another work of fanfiction that involved EoSD IN SPACE. Please wait warmly for the title. Inspired by Void of Fantasy - Amor Fati and  Eclipse Phase.

Oh, no >< LATE

As usual, I begin this month telling a story to my rival, love interest, arms dealer, surrogate father, and teacher.

There are only two people with me. Obviously, some of these categories overlap.

I usually narrate in third person. However, I decided to hunker down and monologue in the style of “hard-boiled investigators” of myth, legend, and poorly-stored movies.

Like many new things and stories, it all sounds better in my head.
==
Here I am, rooting through the obviously misunderstood and neglected sectors (read as everything except manual control and residential areas) of an Ares-tech battlecruiser/raider playing “tag” with an obviously misunderstood and neglected little girl.

A little girl who loves playing with heavy weapons. Scratch that, an unhinged little girl who is very, very good with weapons that theoretically require three (ideally four) people to operate.

In fact, we never really worked out who was “it”. She did sic the security drones on me, so I guess it might be me.

My heart breaks as I squeeze through a tangle of wires far removed from its former orderly and utilitarian glory. The engineering foundry beyond the tangle is breathtaking.

Oh, [redacted]. Things are about to get messy.

There is exactly five centimeters of cover. For the standard boarding armor, nothing at all.

“Hi! Gotcha!”

My self-declared “playmate” at least has the courtesy of breaking radio silence before whaling on me with increasingly elaborate barrages of projectiles. Out of desperation, I expend a bomb capacitor, and feel immensely lucky when the array of spheres, ovals, and beams dissipate into rapidly-cooling plasma clouds.

However, the girl is obviously in control of the environment and hence the fight. She summons three drones that appear identical to her and sets them to imitation. The time-sync is off, treating me to an earful of creepy laughter arpeggios. Halfway before a particularly elaborate pattern, I begin to realize that this entire fight is still a game for her, right before a burst from the ceiling prompts me to dodge into her open arms.

===
At this point of my recounting, the woman in absurd ceremonial garb speaks up. How absurd? Two words: Shrine Maiden. Two more: In Space. This lovely package of public law enforcement, Bio-Techno-conservatism, human potential and old-timey charm is Reimu Hakurei. As always, she cannot tolerate “my bullshit”.

“Yeah, yeah, Marisa. We all know how it goes. You hug her, understand her sorrow, and use the power of empathy to save the day, and more importantly, your bacon and bottom line.”

I chuckle heartily before replying, “Oh, we’ll make a techno-optimist out of you yet, Miss Zero. Actually, I died.”

Reimu gives me a light tap on the head with her ceremonial staff in response. The other listener, a grey-haired man of indeterminate age donning Nipponese casual wear, gives me a sideways glance and shakes his head with exaggerated sadness.

(Miss Zero is more than just a play on Reimu’s name. Somehow, from the start of her career through the resolution of the most recent diplomatic incident, she has somehow managed to avoid dying. In comparison, Rinnosuke, the grey shopkeeper, dies about once every twenty years due to traffic accidents; my current average is once every two months, counting the images that get mangled, corrupted, or otherwise disfigured in attempts to avoid the Out-of-the-Box tithes.)

“No really, I died and went back in another body ad nauseum. On body three, she stopped destroying the (admittedly increasingly fragile) boarding armor. By body six, we decided to move to a residential area. There was some semblance of a normal girlhood, for example the tea party with my less-mangled corpses. On body nine, she declined danmaku “play”, decided to cuddle, and left only a few broken ribs on an unarmored one. Oh, and she is in the process of repairing her relationship with her sister.”

After some exaggerated wincing, I hand a high-density volume to Rinnosuke.

“So, is this payment enough for outstanding tech identification and oracle box fees?” I inquire.

An affirmative grunt followed by prolonged lack of complaint is his reply. Reimu leaves, muttering something about an appointment with the Scarlets. I instead head to the airlock.
===
The residence ring shared by Rinnosuke and a few hundred other survivors looms for a few moments before shrinking rapidly. After 15 minutes, the light pollution is barely noticeable. I relax, slightly, and continue to stare blankly at the visual-range display. In scavenging and combat, most if not all of my craft’s sensing capability must be used; stargazing is purely meditative.

My mind wanders to my craft. More accurately, my mind wanders further into my craft. Images of me are dedicated to sensors, navigation, and secondary weapons. I relax and allow the backup process to commence, savoring the terrifying yet thrilling sense of disorientation. Though I might have consciously accepted that I am my ship(s), I still find myself entertaining the fancy that the moment of terror is the moment that I slip out and another me slips into my flesh and blood body.

It would be easy to create a steel replacement, provided enough time with a proper AI. Unfortunately, given the Out-of-the-Box tithe, such a plan would require renting indeterminate amounts of time on a box oracle backed with good hardware. Moreover, most enhancement would similarly invoke the Out-of-the-Box tithe. Really, the only replacement worth such a hassle would be a Spartoi body.

Xenobiological modifications are fine, as long as you do not build yourself too smart. Too smart being smarter than baseline human. Of course, 8th Cloud reserves the right to decide too smart. The tithe? All of your lives and any other traces of your existence, from notes in your desk drawer to Elohim shipyards.

This policy appears reasonable on the surface, considering Ares. Due to its incredible power, the runaway military AI of Terra managed to render said system uninhabitable. Moreover, the exploitation of XB properties led to the creation of the first-generation Spartoi (a.k.a. Yokai), generally dangerous beings. Even today, robotic armies indifferent to known sentient life raid mineral deposits across Gensokyo (and, presumably, the other systems within ~100 ly of Terra) while autonomous Ares von Neumann fleets slowly mine asteroid expanses. Newer Spartoi are manufactured in increasingly inhuman forms and show none of the first generation’s inclination towards coexistence with baseline humanity.

What the policy ignores is the Elohim. Active for a month before Ares disastrous ascent, these (or a subset of these) artificial intelligences propelled what would soon be the remnants of humanity to the stars, away from Terra’s burning cradle. Cheap space construction, mind digitization, and relativistic travel were all Elohim inventions, and the evacuation plans were of their invention. Not content with just saving mankind, the Elohim then proceeded to innovate at a breathtaking pace before disappearing from the (currently) observable universe, leaving behind technologies that exploited previously-unknown phenomena. Most if not all devices are obviously didactic “analyze me” items for kick-restarting physics research, but a little work and Oracle time easily teases out potential applications.

 I remember my teacher, Professor Mima, who noted that the distinction between these “unboxed” was “Friendly/Ethical AI” and the default, “paperclip maximizer.”

I recall my teacher attempting to circumvent the tithe by leaving the current system (Gensokyo. How did I forget?) while carrying out her research. She was met by 8th cloud fire nearing the orbit of the outermost planets. The destruction of her ship, a well-tuned and durable marriage of unreliable but powerful Ares tech and indecipherable Elohim tech, has yet to be confirmed.

Thoughts on ships bring me to the craft currently carrying my active physical body. Nicknamed the Witch’s Broom, the interceptor is no more than 280 meters long and is about 1/3 engine, 1/3 computer, 1/3 sensor, and 1/2 weapon. Obviously, the categories are not mutually exclusive. Thanks to reverse-engineered Elohim technology (courtesy of a day of oracle time from Rinnosuke), heat dissipation and fuel are almost never a concern. I am heading towards my home, a 6 km by 1km by 700m heavily modified Elohim factory designed for human use.

Communications informs me of a message. The contents detail the trajectory of a small object in orbit relative to Reimu’s shrine and the central star. The sender is listed as “Esteemed Companion (read: Hakurei) on behalf of village”. The mission: investigation. Salvaged tech goes to finder.

Payment: Lithos low-orbit privileges and 8 hours Shrine oracle access.
===
The Witch’s Broomlands in a spacious hanger. Immediately, I am conveyed from the approximate center of the cylindrical interceptor to a short track. At the end, another backup of my mind is taken as an insurance against possible corruption of the data transferred from the interceptor to the Ravenous Blacksmith

Ah. The Ravenous Blacksmith. Home.

Though far smaller than the colony-ship berths that the Elohim sent along with us (decades late, almost as an afterthought), my home base produces at a rate that makes it a respectable resource hog. A couple of half-disintegrated asteroids float in a disassembly area, the sole sources of dust in an otherwise spotless berth. Skeletons of back-up Brooms stand on end in a side chamber like their namesakes. The hundred tons of organic matter is extracted from the smaller ship through large tubes to eliminate evaporation of volatiles.

All this while, I am whisked to the residential block airlock while awash with chatter. The other parts of me analyze the weeks since my departure with clinical precision. They are considerably more enthusiastic about the stacks of archival storage.

At this point, I close my eyes surrender to sensation. I feel the clacking of the antique keyboard and hear the scratching of pens on paper that characterize the virtual UI of Research, and ogle at the exotic visualizations of the Savants (versions of me produced “defective” and hence exempt from the Tithes). Comm and Intel are tangled webs of light pulsing with beautiful cacophonies. Engineering is cluttered with wire-frames and those little plastic blocks (LOGOs? LEGEs? LAGOs?) as well as the odd membrane. Bio is messy, both in its representations and its connections with other fields. I even allow myself the uncanny, icy half-sensation of corrupt and bone images, mainly burned-out Savants and XB (Xenobiology) that are currently under investigation.

I open my eyes to find myself stripped of armor and in the comfortable 1.2 g of my home’s residential area. Still in a semiautonomous state, I place myself in a recovery cask, ready to wake up in a fresh body.

During the readying time, I do the disembodied equivalent of a sigh: reviewing sensory, shield and hull data. The coddled gravitational sensors scattered in the surrounding areas are earning their keep, confirming the presence of objects at the provided coordinates. The Elohim forcefields are operating quite well, and the less-refined but effective plasma cloud and laser active defenses are in order. The only blemish in an otherwise spotless ship is a messy living area.

The distraction is insufficient. I find my thoughts drawn to the recent reunion. My pride and secret. No team of sentient beings is more efficient, and no team can rival the near seamless sentient to non-sentient interface.

I step back, and behold my insignificance. There is a dizzying array of possible improvements, with the most obvious barred by the Tithe. As a whole, I might be more than just a human, but I am still far, far removed from Ares and visible universes away from the Elohim. So what if I can perform 40 work-days per image per chronological day? I am simply a corporation in fast-forward. So what if my will flows without turbulence between my images and our tools? I cannot make the tools part of my will on the pain of annihilation. Sure, I might be able to outrun a Box Oracle, but I still cannot out-imagine it. I might be able to stamp out biases and revise mistaken heuristics, but I am forbidden from attempting to create something from the bottom up without these flaws.

I manage to wander back into my armor and interceptor while pondering.
===
I am light-minutes from the target coordinates, running as close to silent as possible. Only minimal Elohim forcefields are up; active radar and hence active defenses are out of the question. Optical and IR ranges on phased array banks provide the only useful information. I spot a Felis defense fighter and a Vulpecula drone command frigate chassis. I feel slightly apprehensive about getting double-teamed, as these two will likely, as a whole, retain the right balance of mobility and firepower to completely ruin my day.

My mood sours further when I eye a monolithic Ares foundry looming nearby. The two fighting ships are certainly well-supported by drones and external sensors. As an Ares model, the foundry itself is armed for combat.

The frigate fires a warning shot with a laser that hits me at 30 light-seconds. Considerate.

At this point, my defensive measures are active, and a burst of engine power carries me out of the path of a danmaku projectile.

What is danmaku? Danmaku is a mix of relativistic plasma projectiles and lasers that form the main armament of modern combat spaceships.

Fighting with danmaku is basically submarine warfare, except with millions of torpedoes.

It is impossible for me to fight this unaided. I slip into the ship, accelerating my mind, plotting courses through light-cones and looking for escape routes.

(Reimu claims that most danmaku patterns are predictable, and that the first wave is usually enough to predict the rest. She fights without the aid of additional images. On the other hand, she relies on FTL communications with the Shrine Oracle, so she is not quite a “baseline human triumphs over all this useless transhumanist trickery” success story.)

The fighter begins with launching two missiles that form plasma spheres around themselves. The spheres spit smaller projectiles in scatters: one per scatter is at my (last observed) position, while the others are distributed about the center shot.

After a few solid hits, the smaller ship attempts to close distance while wildly spraying fire. I spend most of my attention on avoiding a hit, but manage to observe the frigate deploying its first drones.

The fighter, having exhausted its internal energy supply, heads in the frigate’s general direction. Its retreat is covered by waves of drones. I make a mental note to scavenge this area later; some of the designs have vastly greater energy supplies than even the best black-market specs.

The drone frigate continues throwing out drones, and the foundry itself begins to expel similar craft at an alarming rate. The communications aspect is handling ECM admirably, but cannot effectively use even a few drones. I decide to place greater priority on speed and shielding.

Most of the incoming projectiles are now starbursts, as opposed to the standard sphere. Experience tells me that the assailants have decided to split projectiles mid-flight in order to increase the uncertainty I face.

The starbursts explode into smaller starbursts, and I realize, for the umpteenth time, that I love my job.

I manage to partially deplete the frigate’s considerably more durable particle and Elohim shields during the fight through a mix of lucky danmaku shots and continuous use of phased-array lasers. In response, a new pattern begins to emerge: a tangle of straight shots and projectiles following curved trajectories. The sheer volume is almost overwhelming. Thankfully, the frigate sacrifices some of its ECM computing power to maintain the projectile patterns, leaving its information vulnerable. I manage to acquire what appears to be a cipher system from an FTL communication network shared by the foundry and the two ships.

The next round of attacks are high-intensity lasers that partially blind areas of my ship; as shielding blocks all light above a certain threshold to avoid damage, the many grazed cells of sensors and phased arrays are rendered temporarily useless.

The fighter returns to combat, leaving the battlespace a complete mess of danmaku. At this point, any semblance of planning simply disappeared from both parties: I struggled to stay alive through barrages, and the frigate abandoned the pretense of dodging.

I manage to emerge victorious only to encounter more drones and similar barrages from the foundry itself. After some ECM work and maneuvering, I am “parked” near its surface, near a viable entry point.

Before I jump in, I test the engines and then the spinal plasma beam on the relatively quiet foundry. My ships engines make short work of the forcefield while the beam cuts through the foundry with difficulty, suggesting internal barriers as well. Having a way to make a relatively quick exit route, I exit my craft in my customized spaceflight and boarding armor.
===
The inside is nothing like what I have seen before.

The wall is simply papered with the same face, over and over.

Their stares are like projectiles.

Scratch that, they are firing.

[record redacted]

===
I’ve lost track of one of my bodies. It’s time to go in again, and get it out.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2012, 08:35:30 am by LogosOfJ »

FinnKaenbyou

  • Formerly Roukanken
  • *
  • blub blub nya
  • LOOK AT ME
  • Nickname: Roukanken
  • Gender: i don't even know anymore
Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Iron Librarian Results!
« Reply #35 on: July 09, 2012, 06:05:53 pm »
Alright, I've rounded up the last few results. Each week was judged separately by one of our four Mystery Judges, and the criteria are simple. If the Librarian wins, the best non-Librarian gets the Wordsmith title. If the Librarian loses, everyone who was considered better than the Librarian gets the title.

And given that there was no conferring between the judges, they seem to have picked out a few names surprisingly often. o.o

Week 1: Our first judge, after some deliberation, gave this round to Iced. Stein's story was interesting, but the judge felt it didn't touch enough on the potential plot and instead opted out for making Reimu a simple gag. Iced presented more of a grey area in Marisa's parental conflicts, and that made it a bit easier to swallow.

Week 2: This was more difficult for judging based on the fact that haikus and stories are difficult to compare (Bard's in particular made him draw a blank). Capt. h's story made Koishi almost too sociopathic but was solid otherwise. Logos made something very interesting out of the haiku format, although the judge noted that '"Ex-am-ple of Ki-ri-sa-me" is eight syllables.' :V
Ultimately though, he gave the point to Rou for a generally well-constructed story.

Week 3: Important note - I am required by Purvis to yell at all the people who didn't include a reference to seasons within their haikus.
With that done, onto judging!
LaserTurtle's piece seemed a bit rushed, according to judge #3. With more time and effort it could be something pretty interesting. capt. h was solid although the judge found the 'ze' impediment to be a little annoying.
Sakana's piece, although well-done, suffered from a clunky ending. The Marin/platypus scene doesn't gel with the rest of the story. And despite the judge's self-admitted hatred of poetry, he found Stein's haiku set to be very impressive. It followed the season rule mentioned above, and also included one of the best portrayals of a danmaku fight he'd ever seen. For that reason, he awarded this round to Stein.

Week 4: why didn't we get this level of participation on the other weeks
Ruro's piece was really well written, but was perhaps a little too short for its own good.
Achariyth did well, but too much of the story required knowledge of cooking terms and his previous story Mise en Place. Judge #4 gave him an honourable mention although he fell just short of victory.
Capt.h's story was another funny short, but again it could do with being a little longer than it was.
The judge's praises went to two competitors this week - Stein (lovely characterisation and concept, slightly marred by questionable relevance to the topic and some typos) and Logos (thorough and curious exploration of the topic - to quote the judge, 'I can't quite put into words how much I enjoyed this without rambling and ranting and going on a tangent without end'.)

As you may or may not have noticed, the same two names have been showing up every week in the winners. :V

Congratulations to Edward von Stein and LogosOfJ! Enjoy your Wordsmith titles.

On to the new challenge!



Challenge Topic: Hey, I Just Met You...

And this is crazy
But here's my spellcard
So duel me, maybe


Seriously, though, this is going to be a challenge about relationships - in particular, relationships between characters who aren't usually seen together.

Maybe Yuugi pops in for a drink at Mystia's lamprey stand, or Kanako tries to win the faith of the Scarlet Devil Mansion. Bonus points will be given for innovative ideas and going beyond obvious crack-shipping.

Deadline is 12:00 BST, 23rd July. Hop to it!
« Last Edit: July 09, 2012, 09:55:01 pm by ShiRou Takayama »

Dead Princess Sakana

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Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Hey, I just met you...
« Reply #36 on: July 09, 2012, 06:13:56 pm »
Well done everyone, and Congrats to the winners.

And yeah, I had to rush the ending to my entry, and it was a last-minute idea, so I'm not surprised it turned out clunky. Was fun to write again though~

Alfred F. Jones

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Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Hey, I just met you...
« Reply #37 on: July 09, 2012, 11:35:28 pm »
I never thought that I would once be told that my story was too short. Back to long, sprawling epics, I guess! BV

Joveus Molai

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Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Hey, I just met you...
« Reply #38 on: July 10, 2012, 12:20:02 am »
Congratulations to the winners! Yours was a hard-earned victory.

I never thought that I would once be told that my story was too short. Back to long, sprawling epics, I guess! BV

What madness have the judges wrought... :ohdear:

Achariyth

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Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Hey, I just met you...
« Reply #39 on: July 10, 2012, 12:33:29 am »
Guess I got caught returning to the well one time too many...

Congrats to the winners and well done.

Esifex

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Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Hey, I just met you...
« Reply #40 on: July 11, 2012, 12:43:54 am »
I never thought that I would once be told that my story was too short. Back to long, sprawling epics, I guess! BV

That's short? :wat:

capt. h

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Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Hey, I just met you...
« Reply #41 on: July 11, 2012, 08:57:58 pm »
Me and Utsuho each take a bar stool. The stools are made of granite, the glasses are made of stone, and the counter is made of marble. There is no shortage of rock in Chireiden. I suppose that’s to be expected of an underground city. “Two glasses of sake,” the raven says “So what do you think of hell?”

I glance around the bar. The first thing I notice is that they all pretty much look human, except for the horns and the heights. Some of them were normal or even short, but about half of them had at least 6 feet. The other thing is that they’re all staring at me. “Confusing. You know, the days feel… longer?”

“The days may very well be longer.” Utsuho says.

“Huh?”

“When we invented our clocks, we couldn’t time them to the movement of the sun and stars.” the raven begins, “At first we only had two or three across all of hell, and they fell into disrepair during the panic right after hell was sealed, including the clock tower.”

“As the dust settled, it became problematic enough that Satori commissioned the tower’s repair. A spider youkai managed to fix the machine, but didn’t have any way to tune it to the length of a second. Eventually, we simply guessed the length, and made that the Hell Second. Don’t expect the days down here to match the days up there, that’s for certain.”

The bartender hands us our pints. Utsuho’s empties her glass almost immediately, while I swirl my drink instead.

“Welcome stranger,” The bartender states. She’s a large woman even by this bar’s standards, towering at nearly seven feet. She also had a big red distinctive horn jutting out of her forehead. She’d be easy to find in a crowd, that’s for sure. “I take it you’re the weirdo human that went to hell,” the bartender states matter-of-factly. I do find one thing about the oni’s lack of subtlety refreshing, although rude.

“What about it?” I say.

“M’name’s Yuugi Hoshiguma, oni.” The lady states, giving me a bone shattering handshake. When a strong youkai gives a strong handshake, broken bones are not uncommon. “I haven’t smelled a human ages.”

Great. So that’s why I’m getting so many funny looks. “Fujiwara no Mokou.” I bury myself in my drink with my left hand and let my right droop. Should be fine in a couple minutes, but still a pain.

“So, tell me human, will you challenge me to a contest of strength?”

“I’d rather not,” I say.

“Ah,” she smirks. “Then you forfeit?” The oni flexes her muscles, her biceps the size of mellons. “You know, I gotta take you home with me if you forfeit. Honesty of the oni, after all.”

“That really isn’t necessary,” Utsuho interjects nervously.

“Sure it is. Honesty of the oni, and all that. Us oni gotta challenge humans to tests of strength, and gotta take ‘em home if they lose. And besides,” she laughs, taking my still swollen right hand, “I haven’t had my fun with a human in centuries. Well, cept for that shrinemaiden and witch, but they were in a hurry.”

Great, a match of strength against an oni. “Does it really have to be arm wrestling?” I ask.

“Yep,” she says, with a mighty jerk of her arm that crushes my hand against the table. “Looks like you lose,” she says with a sly grin. “Now I get to keep ya!”

I take another sip. “And?”

“Satori’s gonna be really mad if I don’t take her home,” Utsuho adds sheepishly.

“Let her be mad!” Yuugi says, still pinning my hand. “You know, human, considering what I did to your arm I’m surprised you aren’t screaming. Humans up top tougher than they used to be?”

“No, it’s just me,” I say, letting a little fire flare up. Yuugi lets out a deep yelp, lifting her palm off mine and dumping it in a barrel of ale. “Physical strength? I can’t compare to an oni. But pain? I’m good with pain. Fire too.”

“I see, human.” Yuugi says with a toothy grin. “Then this might be fun.”

A rising chant began filling the bar. “Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight!” the chant went. Yuugi picked up a glass of sake with her burned hand. Clearly not taking the match very seriously, otherwise she’d at least use both her hands and bothered with a guard. Then again, I suppose I wasn’t taking her too seriously either, otherwise I’d at least have my good hand up, rather than resting both of them in my pockets.

Yuugi takes a step forward, launching a slow punch. I dodge backwards and land a kick right into her gut. The oni laughs “Is that all you’ve got?” she asks, lunging forward on the second step with an axe-kick. I hurl myself to her left. Then she flashed forward at blinding speed, cracking my jaw in two with an uppercut that send my skull shattering into the ceiling. “Go Yuugi!” you hear a bystander chant. “Knock her out in three steps!”

I straighten out the kinks in my neck, and relocate my jaw. Then, I flare up. No sense making it easy for the ogre, if she wants to fight, she’s in for some hurt. “Still have some fight left?” the oni says, with a straight punch aimed at the jaw. I duck underneath it with an explosive kick to her gut, blasting the oni straight into a wall with a bone shattering crack. Yuugi quickly smothers her burning shirt before finishing her drink. She then gets up, tossing her glass aside with a huge grin. “Well now,” she says with a crack of her neck, towering over me. “You are fun one.”

I’m forced to grin back. It’s not every century I meet someone who can take my kicks better than Kaguya. Though the feeling was cut short by a chair to the back of yuugi’s head by one of the drunker oni. This was followed by a third oni smashing a glass over the head of the second oni , and then abother three oni just start punching eachother for the hell of it. Utsuho’s hiding safely behind the bar, I can’t really blame her, but I’d think she want to be part of the fun. Meh, to each their own.

The rest of the night is a bit of a blur, but it becomes clear why oni work in stone – nothing else would have survived the fight. I don’t remember details too well (I blame the ale, if nothing else I now know to watch out for any drink an oni hands me), but there was a horribly messy barfight which the barkeeper actively participated in, followed by lots of drinking, followed by more fighting, and more drinking but with song, and huge blanks in my memory. Bits and pieces come back alongside a terrible headache. I would love to empty my stomach if it wasn’t already growling, which with my constitution says a lot about the ale. Scorch marks everywhere, it looks like clothing became optional at some point, and I see at least a dozen oni were unable to find the door.

I also note that something actually managed to melt the stonework. Lets see now, what happened again? It’s all a bit of a blur, but I remember Utsuho flipping out at some point, and everything became really, nastily hot. From me that’s saying something.

“I know you were trying to help,” Yuugi lectures, “But you can’t use your powers in the bar anymore, alright?” Utsuho gives a slow nod, head down in at least slight shame. Funny how in spite of being my height, Utsuho looks like a child being scolded by her mother next to Yuugi. Her extremely masculine, body builder mother. “On the other hand, using them outside the bar would be really good for business.” That perks the raven up a bit.

Supporting my head with the bar’s counter, I recall a significant lack of paying and manage to ask, “How the hell do you stay in business?”

Yuugi replies with a wide smile, “Honesty of the oni. Their pride keeps these guys from skipping their tab, even if they don’t remember how they got one.” The oni pauses, bringing her face in close, “It looks like someone had a good night!”

“I don’t remember last night,” I slur.

“Ah, then you must have a great night!” Yuugi says patting my back with the force of an elephant. I don’t dwell too much on the details of that, instead forcing all my power into getting upright. Utsuho moves to support me and ends up tripping over herself. The two of us manage to pay the bill, and we find the door after a minute or so, before Yuugi waves back “You come on back anytime.”

“Sounds like fun,” I say feebly. Then as we stagger through the doorway, I see more bodies lying around the street. I ask Utsuho, “Is this kind of thing normal?”

“Yep.” She says.

  • Guest

Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Hey, I just met you...
« Reply #42 on: July 12, 2012, 06:31:39 pm »
I exist, have regained some semblance of sanity, and I have a question!

Are we allowed to submit more than one entry without penalty?

Iced Fairy

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Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Hey, I just met you...
« Reply #43 on: July 12, 2012, 07:51:13 pm »
I exist, have regained some semblance of sanity, and I have a question!

Are we allowed to submit more than one entry without penalty?
For the sanity of our judges I ask that you place only one within this thread.  Though I'm sure you will receive acclimation should you create a short story thread for the other one.

Though if Rou's crazy.... :P

FinnKaenbyou

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Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Hey, I just met you...
« Reply #44 on: July 12, 2012, 10:06:15 pm »
I exist, have regained some semblance of sanity, and I have a question!

Are we allowed to submit more than one entry without penalty?
You can submit several entries but only one will be judged. You should make it clear which of your entries you want to be considered for judging, and you can change your mind on that regard any time before the deadline as long as you do so very clearly.

  • Guest

Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Hey, I just met you...
« Reply #45 on: July 12, 2012, 10:34:32 pm »
Thank you for the clarification; I'll make sure to send in only one piece.

Phlegeth

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Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Hey, I just met you...
« Reply #46 on: July 16, 2012, 02:09:20 am »
“Ugh…too bright,” I thought to myself.  I hate going outside.

* * *

“Lady Knowledge, I must insist you venture outside,” Sakuya was nagging.  “The Mistress is tanner than you are.”

“Vampires don’t tan,” I responded back.

“That’s my point.  Now get outside,” she said and grabbed my shoulders and hoisted me up.

“H-hey!  Put me down!”

“No,” she said and slung me over her shoulders and made for the door.  Out of the corner of my eye, I could have sworn I saw my assistant give me a sly grin.

* * *

“This is her fault,” I said to myself.

“Whose fault?” someone said from behind me.  I turned around and groaned at the face in front of me.

“Tenshi!”  I looked around.  “Tenshi?”

“Yes, that is my name,” she responded.

“But that means,” I said still looking around, “I’m in Heaven.”

“Sure does.”

“I died?”

“Probably.”

“I took two steps outside and I died.  Crap, guess I owe Marisa five Zunny,” I sighed.

“Peach?”  I looked a Tenshi, who was holding out a peach for me.

“No, thank you,” I declined.  She looked a little dejected.  Whatever, she probably put something in it.  I got a better look at her.  She wasn’t in her normal attire.  It was a sky blue sundress.

“Like my dress?” she asked suddenly.

“Umm…sure?” I shrugged, not knowing how to answer.  Truth be told I was completely indifferent to the dress.

“Know why I’m wearing this?” she asked suddenly again.

“How would I?” I responded.

“Oh, I guess you wouldn’t,” she looked dejected again.  “I wearing it because...” she paused and thought for a second, “because I could!  There’s no one at home to stop me!”

“Ugh,” I groaned.  I don’t know what she was playing at with those dejected looks, but she’s the same spoiled brat as always.  I started to walk off.

“Where are you going?” Tenshi asked, following me.

“It’s really none of your business,” I answered and hastened my pace.

“Oh…I guess not,” I heard her footsteps stop.  “Umm…see ya.”

I didn’t turn around, I kept walking.  I could feel the sweat start forming on my forehead.  My chest started feeling tight.  In through the nose and out the mouth, I thought to myself.  I told myself that, but I couldn’t stop breathing through my mouth.  I took another step and staggered.  I managed to catch myself and stand upright.  I took another step.  I immediately regretted that decision.  I felt like something smacked the back of my chest.  I was on the ground and everything around me was spinning.

“…HEY!...RE YO…KA.?  …OL…IN…TH…”  someone was shouting, but blacked out.

* * *

There was loud thump behind me.  I turned around and saw Meiling on the ground with the arm extended holding a cake in the air.  She had very sheepish grin.

“What are you doing?” I sighed.

“Surprise…?” she said with that same sheepish grin.

I started rubbing the bridge of my nose, “what are you doing?”

“It’s your birthday,” she responded.

“And?”

“This is a birthday cake!” she handed the cake to me and stood up.

“Why?” I said, staring at the cake in front of me.

“It’s really good, I’ve got to go before Sakuya find out!” she said and ran off, without answering my question.

“Get back here,” a cold voice said behind us and she stopped.  We both turned around and saw Sakuya and Remilia standing there.

“Happy Birthday!” Remilia said and thrust a book towards me.

“Same,” Sakuya said and handed me a bookmark.

“Wh…what is all this?” I asked.

“Meiling here, thought we should start celibrated birthdays around here,” Remilia said.

I turned to Meiling, “Uhh…thanks,” I said.

* * *

I felt a breeze.  I opened my eyes and tried to set up.  Appraintly there was a wet cloth on my head.  It fell onto my lap the second I set up.  But there was no time to worry about that because the room started spinning, “that’s right, I passed out.”  After the room stopped spinning I looked around, it was a fairly big room.  There was a large banner that read “HAPPY BIRTHDAY TENSHI!”

“You’re up!” I turned and saw Tenshi walking through the door.  She was wearing a different outfit.  It was a tanktop and baggy shorts.  She noticed me looking, “Oh, I had to change.  I kind spelt water all over my other dress,” she laughed to herself.  “I’m not very good at taking care of people.”

“When was your birthday?” I asked, trying to change the subject.  I don’t want to think about her taking care of me.

“It’s today,” she said quietly.  “Did you see my sign!  I made it myself!”  She said brightly.   

“You made your own sign?” I asked, she looked away.

“Oh!  And there’s a lot of cake left too.  I made too much!” she responded with instead.  “I’ll go get it.”  She ran off into another room.

“How big of a cake did she make?” I thought to myself.  But what she brought back surprised me.  I was a moderately sized cake.  The ones Meiling makes are way bigger.  And they look better too.  This one looked a little burnt and the icing looks like it was just thrown on.  I can see why only piece was missing.

“I know it doesn’t look like much, but I think it turned out alright,” she held out the cake with a very earnest smile.  “Oh!” she said and set the cake down on the stand next to the couch I was on.  She ran back in the room and came back with a plate and a fork.  She produced the Sword of Hisao and cut off a piece of cake and handed it to me.  She stared at me expectantly.

I gulped and took the fork, “I can’t die twice,” I thought to myself and tore off a piece of the cake and bit down into it.  Tenshi leaned in closer and her eyes widened.  “It’s good,” I responded.  What can I say, it was better than it looked.  It was peach flavored of course and Meiling’s are better.  But this cake wasn’t bad.

“YES!” Tenshi stood up and thrust her arms into the air.  I couldn’t help but chuckle at the sight.  She turned bright red and looked down.  “Oh!” she pointed at my lap.  I looked down and saw the wet cloth.  I stood up suddenly and it fell into the floor, but the damage was done.  “You look like you peed yourself,” Tenshi pointed and laughed.

“It’s not that funny,” I grumbled to myself.

“I know!”  She grabbed my arm and I quickly but the rest of the cake on the couch as we ran off into the house.  We ran up some steps and into a big room.  She let go of my arm and ran into another room.  I looked around at the room; it was sky blue and there were pictures of people of Gensokyo on the walls, along with some newspaper articles.  There was one framed: “AYA THWARTS CELESTIAL!  SAVES DAY AGAIN!”

There was a loud noise, breaking my concentration.  I turned and saw Tenshi standing in the doorway.  “Look at all my clothes!” she loudly proclaimed.

“Huh?” I responded.

“We can change you out of those wet things.  Don’t you share clothes with your friends in Gensokyo?” she asked.

“Hmm,” I thought for a second, “Remilia is short and Sakuya and Meiling are tall.  So I’ve never worn their clothes.”

“Oh,” Tenshi looked hurt again.  “But friends do do this right?  Am I being weird?”

“No, you’re not being weird,” I said. “At the moment,” I thought to myself.

“Look at this one,” she pointed to one behind her, “It’s purple like the one you have on now.”

“Sure,” I said, I’m not real picky when it comes to clothes.  My clothes I’m wearing now are just my pajamas.

“Yay, I’ll leave so you can change!”  She ran outside and closed the door behind.

I sighed to myself, “She not too bad when she’s not trying to destroy Gensokyo with an Earthquake.”  I put on the purple dress.  I didn’t notice it when it was hanging up, but it’s very poofy.  It looks like the kind of dress Sakuya is always trying to put me into.  “Sakuya!” I repeated to myself.

“Huh?” I heard Tenshi say from outside.  “Do you have it on?”

“Yea,” I responded.

“It really suits you!” Tenshi proclaimed.  “So now what?” she asked.

“I want to go haunt someone,” I said.

“Celestials don’t ‘haunt,’” Tenshi corrected.

“Then I want to ‘whatever it is we do’ to someone,” I said.

* * *

We’re outside the SDM.  Tenshi carried me piggyback the whole way, even though I insisted otherwise.

“Okay, here we go,” Tenshi said and set me down.  “Can we make ‘whoo’ noises?  I’ve always wanted to go ‘whoo!’”

“Sure why not?” I said.  “You’re the one who said it’s not a haunting,” I thought to myself.

We jumped out of the bush and floated over to Meiling.  “WHOOOOO!  WE’RE HAUNTING BUT NOT REALLY HAUNTING CAUSE WE’RE CELESTIALS.  WHOOOOO!” Tenshi’s overly narrow taunt caught Meiling’s attention.

“You’re back!”  Meiling yelled.

“Bring me Sakuya!” I said and cupped out my hand in front of me.  Trying to be scary. 

“Sakuya!  Remilia!  Patchy’s back!” Meiling took off running into the mansion, screaming.

Not even a second later, Sakuya appeared before me.  She looked worn out, “Where are you been?  We’ve been looking all over for you.”

“I was in Heaven.  You killed me by making be exercise,” I said.  “Now I will return the favor!”  I put my arms in front of me and started towards Sakuya.

“Put your arms down.  You didn’t die,” Sakuya said without flinching.

“What?” I stopped.

“What?” Tenshi popped up behind me.

“You didn’t die.  That little devil type person in the library but a spell on the front door.  When you stepped through it, you poofed somewhere.  We didn’t know where you’ve gone.”

“Oh,” I said and put my arms down.

There was a flash of pink and I felt something hit my chest.  I looked down and saw Remilia hugging me.

“Jeez, how could you just vanish for a whole day like that?” she said.

I heard some footsteps behind me and I turned around and saw Tenshi heading back.

“Where are you going?” I asked.

“You’re back where you belong.  You don’t need me anymore,” she said and kept on walking.

“Sakuya,” Remilia said, “set another place at the table.”  This made Tenshi stop, “Yes you there.  You took care of Patchy today.  A dinner is the least we can do.”

“Yea, Happy Birthday Tenshi,” I said.

“Her birthday!  I’ve got to make a cake!” Meiling said and ran off into the SDM.

“We shall have a feast!” Remilia yelled.

I grabbed Tenshi’s hand and led her into the Mansion.  “This is the best birthday ever!”  she yelled.

Amraphenson

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Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Hey, I just met you...
« Reply #47 on: July 23, 2012, 09:22:03 am »
The first time she laid eyes on her, she was seriously considering burying herself.
----
Business was iffy for Kurodani Textiles and Tailor. Not that customers were thin, no, that definitely wasn't the case. Amongst their clientele were a great number of high profile names, including but not limited to YUGI Utilities and Komeiji Corp.; Kurodani Textiles and Tailor was not known for shoddy, mass manufactured work.

In fact, Kurodani wasn't known much for 'manufacture'  at all. That would imply some sort of 'assembly line' or 'chain of command'. Ugh.

No, Kurodani T&T was run by one person and one person alone, which had its...obvious disadvantages.
---
"I'm really sorry about this Rin. I swear I'll have the order done by the end of the month, tailor's promise," she whimpered desperately, sounding as though the world was about to end because of one of her follies.

In contrast, the woman on the other side of the conversation was less panicked and more amused. "It's fine, it's fine. How many times do I have to say it Yamame? The order isn't even urgent."

"I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry, I swear it won't happen again-" And so on, until Rin had no other choice.

"Really! Just calm down. Finish the order whenever you can." The tone that followed signalled the end of the phone call.

Yamame Kurodani, sole employee of Kurodani T&T, let out another despairing cry, burying herself into her kotatsu. "Aaah, of all the times to hit a slump...winter's here and I haven't made a new coat for Satori yet! How am I supposed to show my face around everyone if I haven't given  her the latest in Kurodani innovation!"

Such was the plight of the tailor. Without inspiration, she could not innovate. Without innovation, she absolutely would not allow herself to weave. And without weaving, she couldn't make a single thing, let alone create the greatest new thing for the graceful young leader of Komeiji Corp. to wear in the winter cold.

She threw a glance at the marionnettes arrayed around her, covered in slapdash bits of cloth she could barely even call 'clothing'. "What's up with me?" she asked, to no one in particular, finger drawing circles on the kotatsu top. It wasn't coming. Her hands didn't flow as they used to, spinning raw thread into something amazing. Her pencil didn't sketch out glorious ideas, her needle didn't even move. And not a reason to be seen.

Her response to the doorbell was about as energetic and cheerful as the rest of her actions that day. "Ugh, what do you want? I already said I don't want any interns here, and if you're a door to door I'll swear I-"

Yamame froze, staring blankly in front of her.

"Ah, I'm sorry. I seem to have gotten lost? If you could give me directions, that would be most appreciated...," she trailed off, clearly expecting something, but Yamame was busy.

Eyes match up with the hair beautifully. Speaking of eyes, wow those are round and soft. And the curve of her neck, the slightness of her shoulders, the barest hint of curvature under that monstrosity of a blouse...oh dear what is she wearing?!

"Um, miss? Are you...?" Her worry was understandable, of course. There was Yamame, disheveled and unkempt, staring intently and examining every inch of her body. She felt as if the girl was intruding on her personal space despite being a meter away.

No, no, that won't do...that color doesn't...and that belt! No necklace to accentuate the nape, absolutely nothing to bring out those lovely fingers of hers! Just looking at that 'outfit', if it can even be called one, is causing me pain! Someone dig a hole, seal it away forever! Hell, seal me away forever so that I never have to look at it again! Something must be done, I...I...

"Miss? Hello?"

"You."

"Eh?"

"Come inside. Now."

"E-eh?"

"We don't have time! This is vitally important! In, in! In with you before I rip those rags right off your shoulders! I won't stand for this crime!"

"Eeeh?!"

The first time she laid eyes on her, she seriously considered burying herself. Or her. Both would get those horrible clothes away.

----
"...was that really how we first met?" asked a certain youkai, brushing the last tangles out her friend's hair all the while.

"Yes." A sip of tea, serene and completely unaffected.

She frowned then, embarassment beginning to settle into her even as she worked . "I can't have been that aggressive..."

"You were. Perhaps more so. I may have understated some parts." Clear, and without hesistation. Yamame was no match for this literal goddess of misfortune, and her exclamation of indignity was testimony to that. Still, business was business, and Yamame was nothing if not a businesswoman when it came to her work.

Then that grimace turned into a gentle smile, and Yamame hummed pleasantly at her work. "Well, story time aside, we're done. Ready, Hina?"

The goddess nodded and rose from her seat gracefully. "Of course," she responded, twirling elegantly in the makeup room so as to display her, and Yamame's, new clothing.

Kurodani T&T had never gotten such a wonderful reception at a fashion show before. And Komeiji Corp's darling CEO's new coat was certainly a hit.

AN: Borrowed a bit from Gensoumokuten's work. Always did like this pairing.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2012, 09:42:18 am by Amra »
Sugoiiii~
[23:02] <~Iced> You have sown the seeds of your own destruction Amra.
[23:20] <Stuffman> enjoy your personally crafted hell Amra

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Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Hey, I just met you...
« Reply #48 on: July 23, 2012, 11:15:34 am »
DEADLINE!

Girls are judging, please wait warmly.

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Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Hey, I just met you...
« Reply #49 on: July 23, 2012, 05:27:54 pm »

Curses! I missed the deadline!

Oh well. There's always next time...

Congrats in advance to the winners.

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Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Story Soundtracks
« Reply #50 on: July 24, 2012, 09:38:38 am »
Right, so the judging panel has made its decision. This week was a bit easier than most, with only three entrants to judge.

Capth and Santora both sent in pieces that were a little rough around the edges. Capth's lacked a killer edge, and treaded on too familiar ground to really stand out. Santora's drifted from place to place without really telling much of a story.

Even though it was a last minute entry, the judges unanimously agreed that this week's winner is Amra! Tailor Yamame is a cool idea, and you made a point of giving her a colourful and likable personality. If there was more of this story floating around I would definitely be giving it a read.

Congrats, Amra. Enjoy your wordsmithing.

Now, onto this week's challenge.



Challenge Topic: Story Soundtracks

(Thanks to Esi for the idea)

This is a bit of a different challenge from the norm.

Several writers link music to be listened to along with their story. Like any art, it's a technique that can be done well and poorly. The challenge is this - write a strong story with an equally strong set of BGM to go with it. (A good example for this would be Sakana's entry for the Iron Librarians challenge.)

Stories will be judged both on their own merit and on how much the use of music enhances the story.

Deadline is 7th August, 12:00 BST. Get your soul roaring!
« Last Edit: July 24, 2012, 09:40:10 am by ShiRou Takayama »

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Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Hey, I just met you...
« Reply #51 on: July 24, 2012, 02:02:51 pm »
Well thats a pleasant bit of news to wake up to. Definitely cool considering Kanjou may be about to steal my IP; god luck to everyone this round!
Sugoiiii~
[23:02] <~Iced> You have sown the seeds of your own destruction Amra.
[23:20] <Stuffman> enjoy your personally crafted hell Amra

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Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Story Soundtracks
« Reply #52 on: July 26, 2012, 02:09:36 am »
So... I might actually get comments on the music I link to? Awesome.

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Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Story Soundtracks
« Reply #53 on: July 26, 2012, 09:03:45 am »
For the sheer sake of accessibility, lets try to keep our music linking to YouTube. I'm pretty sure no one wants to sign up for an account on some filesharing server to wait 20 minutes to get a free download of a minute and a half song.

If you want to cut some of a repetitive song down to size, or just start later on into a song, the &t=0m0s tag can be added to the end of the url. Swap those zeroes out for the minute (m) and second (s) of the video you want it to jump to; this isn't an exact science, though, and the player will oftentimes get it to within a certain block. It's usually a window of about four seconds or so, in either direction. If you want it to be a little more accurate, crunch the numbers and find out how many seconds into the video you're trying to jump to and just punch that in as a raw second count without including the minute timer - in this case, &t=120s would be two minutes in.

I'm not sure if there's a tag for stopping at a predetermined point in a video - if there is, it's news to me.

I daresay it'd be cheating to just snag someone's theme and stuffing that into a scene  :V I know you lot can do better than that!

Good luck! I plan on entering this one as soon as I find a suitable song. I look forward to my competition.

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Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Story Soundtracks
« Reply #54 on: July 26, 2012, 08:59:08 pm »
Quick question, would using "Take It Easy" by The Eagles get points taken away?

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Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Story Soundtracks
« Reply #55 on: August 01, 2012, 03:36:19 am »
WARNING: This one gets very dark and bloody.
 
--------------------------------------------
 
A girl, sitting on the floor, crying. What would you do if you saw her?

Oh, and keep in mind that you just killed almost everyone she ever knew.

She is not a threat, but then, nor were the others that had just been killed. The humans came, attacking unprovoked. They do that, although to be fair, there are youkai who attack humans, and most youkai hunting targets them. But many hunters consider any youkai to be a threat, so while they generally target youkai that have taken action against humans, they often will attack any other youkai they happen to come across. Especially communities. So when one of them stumbled upon the location of the girl's clan, the expedition was organized quickly.

The girl was young, defenseless. The rest of the clan fought back out of self-defense, but not her. She, the clan's only survivor, didn't know how to fight. She never struck once. But her helplessness meant nothing to the humans.

It had been thought that the entire clan was killed, the girl included. But then I came upon the truth: the girl had been taken prisoner. She being held in the human village, where she was tortured constantly. They were trying to break her mind, and when they succeeded, they intended to rebuild her, but with a few modifications. They meant to turn her into a weapon, use her to catch youkai off-guard and kill us. They were destroying her, and then meant to force her to cause tragedies such as that which had befallen her own clan.

The humans have acted baselessly against us for some time, and now, they've pushed it too far. I will not allow them to get away with such an atrocity.

I am going to do something I should have done a long time ago. But even though the humans deserve it and far worse, I have no illusions as to what will happen. I will be seen as insane, a monster, and not just by humans. As much as they may hate what the humans do, as much as they may think the humans deserve retribution, youkai, too, will condemn me as a monster. And they may even be right, because one thing is certain:

I'm going to enjoy this.

------------------------------------------------------------
 
The sun was just beginning to set as I approached the village. The humans had built a wall around it to keep unwanted visitors out. Somewhat pointless, given that most youkai can fly, but I suppose they did it to send a message to keep out.
 
The wall would not have stopped me even if I couldn't fly, but I didn't want to simply blast a hole in it. No, I approached the main entrance. Two guards stood by the closed gate, and two more were atop the wall on both sides of the gate. The four atop the wall were armed with bows, and the other two with swords. Nothing that could be a concern for one such as I.
 
The guards readied their weapons immediately upon catching sight of me, but did not yet strike. One of the pair on the ground stepped forward. "Identify yourself," he said. "Who are you?"
 
"A pointless question," I said. "You don't care who I am."
 
"A hostile response," the guard said. "Identify yourself, youkai, or we will kill you right now."
 
Tendrils of dark energy lashed out from around me. They tore the bows out of the hands of the four men on the wall, then pulled those men forward, over the wall and onto the ground. She short fall left them unharmed, though they were without their primary weapons. Not unarmed, however, They drew daggers, and as they did, the two in front of me came at me with well-coordinated sword strikes.
 
I materialized my own sword, a weapon forged from darkness, and cut through theirs, leaving only broken blades. Then I kicked one of them to the ground, grabben the other and threw him down onto the first, and ran my sword through both their hearts.
 
Two of the remaining four men made to flee, while the other two came at me. None of them made it far before tendrils of darkness ensnared them. Then more tendrils wrapped around their necks and squeezed.
 
As the life faded from the guards, I approached the gate. I placed my hand on it and sent a surge of dark energy into it, destroying it and much of the wall around it. And then darkness took the village.
 
----------------------------------------------
 
When light vanishes, people tend to notice. Some of the villagers ran and hid, but others emerged from their homes, or their places of work. Many were armed, generally with tools useful as improvised weapons. And they carried lanterns, or torches. Such weak lights are nothing to me, but I allowed them to penetrate my darkness slightly. If their lights did nothing, they would not venture on into the darkness, and I wanted them to do just that. To think that there may be something they could do. Their insignificant lights would give them hope that they could overcome the threat they faced. I wanted them to have that hope, so that I could crush it.
 
At first, the humans were scattered, but many of them soon condensed into various-sized groups throughout the village. Not that it mattered. Not even the entire village together could threaten me, and neither could they hide, as within my darkness, I am everywhere.
 
I shifted through the darkness to the nearest group, appearing just outside the light of their lantern. As I stepped into their feeble light, they immediately readied their weapons. And then my darkness swallowed their pathetic light. A few moments later, I allowed it to shine again, and they saw me, crouching over the ripped-open body of one of their own, casually consuming one of the man's organs. "Hello," I said. "Anyone care to join me?"
 
Two of them tried to run, only to encounter a wall of solidified darkness. Spikes thrust out from the wall, impaling them both.
 
The rest of the group spread out, encircling me. I formed spinning blades of darkness around myself, and within seconds, they were all in pieces. All but one, for one had held back. And as my attention turned to him, he finished his spell. The burst of magic was strong, strong enough for any to sense. That was the purpose of the spell. It was a becon, a signal that even a human would be able to sense from anywhere in the village. The purpose was obvious; it was a powerful shout of 'Over here!'.
 
I killed the man, but he had finished its spell, so it would continue throughout its duration with or without him. Not that I minded. The more who came, the more who would die. And as I proceeded through the village to my destination, they did indeed come.
 
I killed everyone who crossed my path. Men, women, children, all of them. Some were speared through the heart. Others I decapitated. There were those I chocked to death, as I had the guards outside. One of those with a lantern I shifted myself into the shadow of, taking my sword and, starting between the legs and moving upwards, cut him in two.
 
Blasts of darkness fell from the black sky, demolishing structures as I walked past. Vortexes of shadow consumed the humans' homes in front of me. A pair of humans approached me, and I let their light penetrate my darkness just long enough to see their child consumed by a vortex. Then I killed them.
 
The schoolhouse was in my path, and many humans were hiding inside. Tentacles of dark energy rose from the ground around it and began tearing it apart. As I passed into the building, several adult humans readied their weapons, prepared to die to protect the many children behind them.
 
The darkness took hold of the armed humans, holding them in place. It held them facing me, forcing them to watch as I slaughtered every child in the crumbling structure. Then I turned my attention to them, killing them on by one while they were unable to even move.
 
Shortly past the schoolhouse was my destination, a house with a shed next to it. In that shed was the youkai girl the humans had captured. The two men standing in front of it were tense, their weapons readied. I allowed their lantern to illuminate me as I approached. "Stop where you are!" one of them ordered. I didn't stop, so he swund his sword at my neck. I grabbed the blade, tore the weapon out of his hands, and broke it in two. The second human tried the same move, but when I grabbed his blade, he immediately released it, drawing a dagger and stabbing at my chest. I dropped the sword, grabbed his hand, and tore it off. Then I tore off his head.
 
The first man made to flee, but the darkness took hold of him and held him to face me. "You. You led the attack that gained you your captive."
 
"What the hell are you talking about?" the man said.
 
"Oh, you know exactly what I'm talking about. You thought that since nobody was left alive, nobody would find out what really happened. That youkai would assume it was just another attack. Just another unprovoked attack against a peaceful youkai clan. And do you know what? I, and others, did assume that. We thought there had been no survivors. But you humans are careless with your words. You look only for other humans when you wish to speak in private, not considering what else might overhear.. So when two of you discussed the situation with that attack and your captive, they thought nobody was close enough to hear. It never occured to them that the darkness might be listening. But it was, and I hear everything it hears. Normally I tune it out, but this time, I heard her name. The name of the youkai girl you have in that shed. So I listened. And I heard that she had been captured for the purpose of torturing and brainwashing her. You should remember this conversation, Kochiyo. After all, it took place only two days ago, and you were one of those two men."
 
Kochiyo did not deny what I said. "So, what, are you going to kill me for it?"
 
"Why would I do that? You, Kochiyo, were behind possibly the worst mass youkai killing in my lifetime. And you didn't stop with the slaughter of an innocent youkai clan. You took a girl so that you could torture and brainwash her, turn her into a weapon against youkai. It was your doing, and in a way, I have to thank you for it. You see, had you not crossed that line, I would have allowed your kind's atrocities to continue. I should have taken action long ago, and you, Kochiyo, are the reason I'm taking action now. And it won't end here.
 
"My name is Rumia. Remember it, for you have only just begun to witness my fury. This is just the first attack. I will strike again and again, and every time, more of your kind will die. And I will continue until humans are no longer able to harm youkai. And you, Kochiyo, will witness all of it. And you will know that you are responsible for it. That was was you who brought it upon humanity. You will know, Kochiyo, that the atrocity you committed led to the ruin of your kind."
 
I left Kochiyo bound by the darkness, and entered the shed.
 
------------------------------------------
 
As I entered the shed, I sealed the door behind me with dark energy, ensuring that nobody could inturrupt. Lanterns hung in the shed, and though I kept the village in darkness, these lanterns I did not hinder the light of. The darkness did not hinder my sight, of course, but the girl I was here to rescue could not see within it as I could, and I wanted her to know it was me who was here. We had known each other for a while, and I hoped that she would recognize me as a friend, as someone who she didn't have to worry would harm her.
 
I knew immediately that something was wrong, as the girl was not bound in any way. She was seated, and she stood as I entered. "Rumia? Is that you?"
 
"It's me, Elsia. I came as soon as I knew you were here."
 
"I heard screams outside," she said, her voice... dead-sounding, I suppose is how I would describe it. There was no emotion in it at all. "Was that your doing?"
 
"I want to get you out of here," I said. "They objected."
 
"They died."
 
"One did. The other is alive, but, well, he is currently indisposed."
 
"WIll you kill him?"
 
"No. He deserves far worse, and that is what he will receive."
 
"Too much," Elsia said. "All this killing. All this senseless violence. Why can't we just end it?"
 
"I intend to do just that. When I am finished, they will not be able to harm us again."
 
"No," Elsia said. "You want them to die, too? The only people I have left?"
 
"They tortured you."
 
"I know exactly what they did to me, Rumia. But even an enemy is someone. Now I've lost even them. And besides, they did only what they had to. We're a threat to them."
 
At that moment, I knew for certain what I had suspected immediately upon seeing her unbound. "Then I am too late," I said. "They've already turned you."
 
"'Turned me'? You mean, brainwashed me? No. They've only educated me. I hate them for what they did, but I know thed had to. Too many people are hurt because of the threat we pose. We need to leave the humans to themselves. This just has to end."
 
"You're not their weapon yet," I said. She's not beyond saving. Not yet. "Please, Elsia. Come with me."
 
"No," she said. "I have to stay here."
 
"Why?"
 
"I... I..." She paused. "...I don't know. I just know that I have to."
 
So even that much wasn't complete. The impulses were there, but not the reasoning that should be behind them. There was most certainly still hope for her. "I'm not leaving you here."
 
Elsia grabbed a sword that had been leaning against the wall. They'd left her a sword. Obviously, they were confident that she was brainwashed enough not to harm them. Did they teach her how to use that sword yet?
 
"I have to stay," Elsia said. "I have to stay."
 
I readied my own weapon. "I don't want to hurt you, Elsia, but I'm taking you with me."
 
"No!"
 
She attacked. She swung high, and I brought my sword up to block. She swung low, and I brought my sword down to block. She tried a thrusting attack, and I dodged to the side. She turned the thrust into a slash, coming at me from the side, but I parried the blow. She continued to press the attack, but every strike I blocked, paried, or avoided outright.
 
Whoever taught Elsia knew what they were doing. Her form was quite good, and she fought well. But there was no drive behind it. She had the knowledge and the skills, but not the mind. She was acting on command, on mental impulse. The thought, the instinct, was absent. The absense of appropriate instincts was most likely because of a lack of experience, but the rigid adherence to form, the failure to properly improvise, the seeming inability to adapt to her opponent, that stemmed from her incomplete brainwashing. Her old mind was broken, but it had not yet been rebuilt enough to truly act independently.
 
I parried another strike. "Stop this, Elsia!"
 
"I cannot. You wish to take me from here."
 
"I'm going to take you from here. I just don't want to have to hurt you to do it."
 
"I have to stay. I must remain here."
 
She struck again. I sidestepped the attack, took hold of her blade, pulled it from her hands, and broke it in half, tossing the pieces aside. "You should know you can't resist," I said. "You should know of my power. You can't stop me from taking you. All you can do is choose to make it easy."
 
Elsia ran at me and threw a punch, which i deflected with a block. She kept coming, swinging wildly. Clearly, she hadn't yet been trained in unarmed combat, and her strikes were easily dealt with. After a few seconds of it, I pushed her away. She charged in again, but I hit her aside the head with the flat of my blade. It was a blow that would have killed a human, but even a weaker youkai such as Elsia was only knocked unconscious. "I'm sorry," I said, picking her up. "I didn't want to have to hurt you."
 
With Elsia in my arm, I unsealed the door and exited the shed.
 
-------------------------------------
 
Two humans attacked me as I exited the shed. I pulled the darkness binding Kochiyo, moving him in front of the pair. They hesitated, and I cut them open, splattering Kochiyo with their blood. Then I threw Kochiyo into the shed.
 
I was done in the village, and was about to take to the air when another human approached. But this one was different. She was alight, surrounded by an aura of fire. And her light was strong enough, her flames bright enough, that I couldn't suppress it completely, not while keeping the entire village in darkness. Even my power has limits. But being able to resist my darkness, even when I was keeping the entire village in darkness, indicated a fairly impressive level of power. A level far greater than any I had before encountered, that was certain. "You are strong," I said.
 
"You've got that right," she said. "Um, question: who the hell are you?"
 
I laughed. "You want my name, human? Very well, then. You will know the name of the one who will destroy you. I am Rumia."
 
"Cocky," the woman said.
 
"No. Just aware of my level of power. You have my name, human. Give me yours."
 
"I am Fujiwara no Mokou."
 
That was interesting. "A noble? And what would you be doing in this village? Or in Gensokyo at all? Human nobles have no business here."
 
"I see no reason to give you my life's story. All that matters is that you've attacked the village, and I'm not exactly inclined to let you get away with it."
 
A spear of darkness pierced her heart. "Dissapointing. I suppose having power made you careless."
 
Mokou's reaction was... not what I had expected. She grabbed the spear of darkness and pulled it out of her chest, leaving a wound that rapidly closed. "Ow," she said.
 
"You... how did you survive that?"
 
"I'm immortal."
 
I charged in with my sword and cut her head off. And then I watched it regrow. "Huh. Interesting."
 
Mokou formed a sword, made from fire as mine is from darkness. "Yes. Keep trying."
 
I encased Elsia in darkness and pulled her within it, which put her out of harm's way. Then I readied my own sword. "I already know that my power surpasses yours. Even being immortal, what can you do against me? You will lose, even if you cannot die."
 
Mokou came at me, aiming her first strike at my chest. I parried the blow, but she simply struck again. And again, Over and over, with speed and strength beyond that of any human. If she was indeed one of them, then whatever made her immortal must have also affected her physical abilities. Not enough to bring them up to the level of mine, though.
 
I blocked a strike, then took her sword by the blade and tore it from her hands. I quickly flipped it around and ran it through her chest. She stumbled back a few steps, but that was all. "Good," she said. She pulled the blade out and threw it at me. I sidestepped it, only to find a torrent of flaming blades coming at me. I countered with my own barrage, which overpowered and eliminated hers before impaling her repeatedly. The blades dissipated a second after impact, and the wounds they left closed quickly.
 
Mokou reformed her sword and ran at me again. I parried her strike and kicked her, sending her flying backwards. She hit the ground standing, skid back a few feet, then flew at me, a duplicate sword forming in her other hand. I formed a second sword of my own and blocked her double attack with one while launching an attack of my own with the other. She drew one of her swords back for defense while striking with the other.
 
I evaded Mokou's strike and launched into a fluury of strikes, but Mokou's skill was extremely impressive, and she matched me blow-for-blow. "Yes," she said, "yes, yes! Give me more!"
 
A sudden fireblast knocked me back. Mokou charged through, encased in a body of flame as she once more closed the distance, leaving a blaze in her wake. She performed another double slash, which I blocked. I countered with a double strike of my own. She locked blades with me. She pushed against my blades of darkness with the full strength and light of her flames, and actually began to make progress. Of course, much of my power was focused on flooding the village with darkness and tearing it apart. But even given that, I was not focusing all of my remaining power into my blades, as Mokou found out when tentacles of darkness wrapped around her and tore her limbs off.
 
Mokou's limbs immediately began to regrow, but she didn't wait for this at all. She flew back, out of her shell of flame, but the shell itself kept hold of her weapons, and it continued to attack. But when it struck, I was gone. I shifted over behind Mokou and impaled her through the chest. Mokou just laughed. "Excellent!"
 
Her limbs already regrown, Mokou grabbed my sword by the blade and pushed it back through her chest and out. She reformed her own swords and attacked in a frenzy. We matched each other blow for blow, and she was laughing with glee the entire time. "Yes! This is what I want! Give me more! More!"
 
"Is your lust for battle truly so great?"
 
"The fight is everything! Bring it to me! Show me your skill, your power, your resolve! Only in battle can one live!"
 
"You're insane."
 
"Of course I am! The mind can't stay whole when the body doesn't die! Nothing in the mind matters! Only this matters! But the moonbitch went into hiding and deprived me even of that. Who could match me, an immortal? I've waited so long for a real battle, and now you've come to give me one!"
 
I sent the tentacles at her again, but this time, she managed to twist her way through them untouched. Until the spike of darkness shot up below her, running through her entire body.
 
"I did not come here for you," I said. "I came here with two goals, and I've accomplished them both." My tentacles of darkness ripped her regenerating body apart, leaving only her head, which I ran through with my blades. "I told you that immortality would not save you from defeat. You fought well, but you lost. Farewell." I cut her head into pieces. Before she could regenerate, I retrieved Elsia from the darkness and took to the air, leaving her behind.
 
As I left, I lifted my darkness. The village was in ruins, and all who come will see what had become of it. From Kochiyo, the villagers will know who destroyed their home, and why. And as I spread my wrath across the humans' lands, word of me will spread ever faster, until all humans know of their kind's coming ruin. And Kochiyo, the one whose actions finally prompted me to act? I will not kill him, but before the end, his own kind likely will. Perhaps they'd even think they can appease me by doing so. But they will be wrong. Their end should have come long ago, and now, it finally will.
 
---------------------------------------
END
---------------------------------------
 
Well, that was interesting to write. It was a little tricky coming up with a story idea, since the prompt is just about using music. Fittingly enough, the idea came to me while listening to a song (specifically, Unstoppable, the first one I linked to in the story). I thought it was a good one to use with EX-Rumia, so I decided to do just that.
 
Also, anyone who didn't expect me to use 'Gods Bound By Rules' hasn't been paying attention.

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Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Story Soundtracks
« Reply #56 on: August 01, 2012, 04:31:14 am »
Is EX-Rumia generally believed to be smarter than normal Rumia?

*is unfamiliar with that bit of canon/fanon*

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Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Story Soundtracks
« Reply #57 on: August 01, 2012, 06:28:04 am »
From what I've seen, portrayals of EX-Rumia tend to lean towards just mindlessly rampaging, but on the occasions where she does display thought, yes, she normally does come across as more intelligent than normal Rumia. Really depends on the author more than anything else.

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Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Story Soundtracks
« Reply #58 on: August 06, 2012, 06:33:25 am »
Finally, an excuse to continue my previous WWC entry! (the space one.)

Arguably a crossover.

I, Kirisame Marisa, Investigator, am in a bit of a dilemma.

I am parked outside a shipyard that is absurdly close to being invisible. EM deep scanning is out of the question. The only  available method of determining its internal structure is sending in a body. As a proper shipyard (a cuboid with dimensions on the order of tens of kilometers), the stealth hulk is rather valuable whole and worthless in pieces. In addition, priceless information may rest within internal storages.

On the other hand, one of my bodies is lost, likely dead inside. Additional shielding renders most FTL communications impossible throughout the hull, with the exception of a small number of comm stations (The more I ponder this point, the more I suspect serious error in my current models of physics. The obvious implication is that the same phenomena used for FTL comms is also usable for sensors. Another score for Elohim science, the last evolution of the phrase "Magic".)

I have enough organic material for ~100 more attempts, but I suspect that my boarding drone layout of twenty is insufficient. As armor is easily recyclable and salvagable, I have only brought five, including the one lost inside.

I decide to recover my (armor) corpse first and hold off the decision until later.


The initial entry point is already surrounded by a number of repair and point-defense drones. In order to avoid waste, I choose a salvage-focused armor configuragion and prepare a "minecart" drone before descending to the ship surface. I clear the area with a few salvos and manage to recover enough material for a spare armor or a four-drone team. I opt to contine exploring, and order a typical salvage layout from my ship.

The interior of the shipyard is as permeable to scanning as outside, so I am forced to depend on near-visual imaging (IR, visible, and UV bands) and auto-mapping. Mercifully, radio silence has been established, so the lower-end radio-control probes of my scout drone are finally used for their intened purpose: scouting.

After a great deal of searching, I am left with a large number of dead ends and a corridor that is actively producing EM interference.

After hardening my armor and drones, I move into the area with calculated slowness, wincing at the quiet thuds and booms transmitted through my metal limbs.

About 30 meters in, the ground and walls begin to deviate from the previously-observed standard of sharp right angles. At 35 meters into the high-interference area, the walls begin to display characteristics best described as fleshy (in armor. For an unaugmented human, the closest approximation of such a sensation will probably be an artifact "superball" made of solid "rubber" found in some experience archives.). At closer magnification, small veins and the odd eyeball appear. Attempts at XB ships come to mind as I continue my descent into the shipyard.

At the end (bottom) of the corridor, I find my corpse armor attached to what appear to be fleshy vines. The central section  ("torso" is mainly an artifact, considering how badly humanoid armors performed in most situations) was cracked, exposing some pulped flesh and, of greater concern, broken storages.

The walls around the armor have a relatively high concentration of eyes, but I think nothing of it for now. I trek back instead of carving a new exit for myself.
==
I observe my currently active organic body as it navigates the inside of the now-quiet shipyard. Intermittent broadcasts in the EM range update maps of the tortous pathways. Noise and a snapshot of the first armor kindle a vague sense of menace.

The active body returns without major incident. A good fraction of the data stored in the broken armor is corrupted, while the remainder is incomplete.

Autopsy (a smattering of Bio images augmented by engineering and signal processing) fill our mind with rapidfire chatter. A number of analysis engines prefilter most of this information, leaving a terse block of text in the default administrative window.

I continue to consider the incoming information while preparing for my transfer to a combat body (armor minus the life support necessary to maintain an ordinary biological body).


...cracking consistent with low-velocity kinetic penetrator followed by attempts to pry the armor apart...
...no other evidence of physical impact or shear damage...
...incomplete backlog of messages queued for sending...
...incomplete reworking of bomb capacitors to power comms arrays...
...brainstate has been preserved...


At the fuzzy edges of my mind, I vaguely sense what is best described as frantic scurrying and scribbling by other images. My injection into the prepared combat body is halted and reversed. A tension in the thoughtscape foreshadows a declaration of quarrantine. I allow myself some measure of trepidation as I access the filtered sense data.


Welcome, human.


I fold onto myself, weaving together both the state of the prepared replacement and the dying corpse.

I find myself floating in a dark area. The curtains in front of me are illuminated, but, no matter how I attempt to orient myself, I am unable to find any external lighting. As the curtains open, I instinctively orient myself so that they are moving to my right and left. Below the first layer of curtains is a second one that begins opening in the direction perpendicular to the first. The ambient light brightens near-imperceptably, revealing some sort of hemispheric theatre with a circular stage.

Two women "stand" on the stage as it spins, facing away from me. The leftmost woman is dressed in blue and white robes of old Nipponese design. Nine "tails" (likely prehensile and armed) emerge from just below her waist. To her left is a small girl in predominantly red garb with two tails. The rightmost woman somehow manages to remain obscured in shadow.

The girl in the red dress begins to speak.

"Welcome to my home. I am Orange, a member of 8th cloud. We have not finished our spring cleaning, so I recommend rescheduling your meeting with my Master."

Her two tails lengthen and form themselves into what appears to be a working hand-portable railgun. The seats in the theatre grow eyes and begin to blink, stretching into faces and then weapons. The girl remains unfazed as she contines her explanation of basic security protocol, but releases a small yip of surprise when she finally notices the modifications.

The woman in shadow makes some indeterminate motion, and the two others leave the stage. As the shadow fades, the woman is revaled: physically, she is notable in that she has blond hair, eyes that shift between gold and purple, and no other external signs of being a Youkai. She wears purple and white robes similar to those of the other woman. As she approaches, she pulls a small dart from her sleves and, with what seems to be a light push, places it in my chest through about three meters of assorted armor and vital systems. The memory is blurry afterwards, but the eyes from the theatre were accompanied by more eyes on thin growths produced by the woman. Her words are, however, unmuddled.

"Well done. Welcome, seeker."


The sense data suggests that the resident(s) of the shipyard either have control over novel physical phenomena or the computational power needed to predictably produce convincing experiences.

The dart left in the first dead body is under study by XB; it is suspected that encoded data may include an XB-baseline interface (as opposed to the Youkai production method of moulding XB into vaguely baseline forms). Out-of-the-Box tithes are still considered a possibility.

To me, the fuzzball that straddles carefully tuned instinct and political science, the entire setup stinks of a trap. The bait is vague but unquestionably valuable. The best case is that our opponents are toying with me, giving me a chance to prove my relative inferiority. The more likely case is that I am being tested.

Engineering prods at the possibility of an Out-of-the-Box exemption. That seems unlikely.

The entire setup seems a bit too convenient. One of the FTL comms array is an excellent entry point, and preliminary probing suggests that the arrays are connected to a yard-spanning high-bandwith network with laughable security measures.

Still, it is hard to think that exploration is anything other than worth it. It is simply the case that more precautions are needed.


The insertion shaft ends in a cavernous area, a small partition of the foundry's full production facilities. The six walls of the partition are gridded with trusswork and rails, perfect for climbing.

The XB-hybrid combat body works flawlessly in this environment: eight strong but (relatively) inflexible legs of metal allows me to clamber along in the wild fashion of a caffeinated spider, while the ability to rapidly cycle XB flesh configurations (most importantly eyes, tentacles, and eyestalks) prevents clutter.

The foundry is far from quiet; larger security drones roam the area and have no problem identifying me as an intruder.

Most of the "drones" are actually small, non-sentient Spartoi growths, shambling tumors occasionially accompanied by spider- and woodlouse- like segmented walkers. The encounters are far from difficult; more damaging shots are automatically range-restricted for the safety of the foundry.

The drones are also as hackable as many Elohim crackmes. I find myself leading a small army when I  stumble across another proper combat body.

The walker is of vaguely biped form, but opts to fly throughout engagements. The pilot is obviously supported by the ship itself, with vaves tactically-placed retractable blocks and disposable weapons greatly hindering my ability to decisively damage armor subsystems.

The Danmaku is reminiscent of the output of the earlier frigate. I guess Reimu was right: if the pilot is attached to a certain pattern, (s)he tends to use it everywhere.

The mech also uses its detachable laser arrays to great effect, but is eventually whittled down by the combined firepower of my combat body and the shipyard's own defenses.

Of course, losing gracefully is not exactly necessary against an enemy with reserves.

The next round of interesting husk and bone data follow a scuffle with a major enemy and the deactivation of one of the FTL comms.

Such ambition, human.


Oddly, very little sensory input is associated with this message, excepting the song. A partial wipe and subsequent doctoring are strongly suspected.

There are no surprises concerning the gradual XB growth through the recently-disabled combat form. Another one is built.

As if we were not adversaries of any sort, the nominal leader of 8th cloud, Violet, decides to offer some tea.

When did I leave my armor and enter this tiny residence area (by the looks of it, a large material ferry)?
Why a polite talk now, of all times, when I pose the least threat>
I have walked into the quintessential Ontological Mystery. Considering the possibility of experience simulation, I may be imprisoned or otherwise restrained.
 
« Last Edit: August 06, 2012, 06:36:11 am by LogosOfJ »

FinnKaenbyou

  • Formerly Roukanken
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  • blub blub nya
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  • Nickname: Roukanken
  • Gender: i don't even know anymore
Re: Weekly Writing Challenge Thread 2 - Story Soundtracks
« Reply #59 on: August 07, 2012, 10:01:28 pm »
LINE A LA DEAD!

Girls are judging, wait warmly, etc.
 

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