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Happyk00's avatar

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Well, I am going to have a writing competition.
It HAS to be a romance... and it must be about 3000 or more words. I don't want a FULL book, but i don't want a short story either, if that makes since. It must have at the top:
Title:
Age:
Username:
Date Submitted
Words:
Pages:
The deadline is April 30th.
The winner will recieve 10k and i will also be choosing a second place winner.
They get 400 tokens.
Have fun!
heart heart heart heart heart heart heart heart heart heart heart heart heart
3000 would definitely be a short story.
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Ohhh, I might do this. I've been itching to try my hands at romance. Any time period okay?
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eh, why not. Is 5500 words (about) OK or do I need to do some clipping?
Happyk00's avatar

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InvisableMuffins
eh, why not. Is 5500 words (about) OK or do I need to do some clipping?

Yeah its fine
I have to say, I love the title of this topic.... no-mance... lol

I'm no good at writing romance or I would give it a go...
Happyk00's avatar

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Please try it, weather you write romance or not.
I'd love to have a go at this. Do we post it on here? Or send it in a PM? I'm new to the whole writing contest thing sweatdrop
Happyk00's avatar

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post it on here AND send on PM......
Title: Unintended Evolution
Age: Late teens.
Username: Gael Ranyx
Date Submitted: April 18, 2012
Words: 6,560
Pages: 10 in Microsoft Word.

NOTE: I apologize if this doesn't quite fit the "theme" of romance, I'm generally pretty terrible at it, but this was sort of practice. I hope you enjoy it. It is also long, and for that I apologize. It also might be way too long. Sorry for that too.


I am running.

‘She’ is running.

We are running from the madman who made us.

I don’t know how long we’ve been running. I don’t know how we escaped. I don’t even know how I know ‘she’ is a female. Or how I know that I’m a male. I do not know what exactly I am. The madman made us identically, or at least that’s what I believed. We both look the same: a largely ovoid mass of brown material: I believe the word is clay. We both have long cylindrical limbs, with three phalanges, ‘fingers’, I believe, on each ‘arm’. Our ‘legs’ have flat, rounded off rectangles comprising our ‘feet’. He dug three holes into our faces, evenly spaced: I believe they were meant to serve as our ‘eyes’ and our ‘mouth’. There are also two holes in the side of our bodies, presumably to simulate ears. I do not have a ‘nose’, though I know of the concept of ‘smell’… it seems the madman had formed me properly indeed.

‘She’ was the first one to realize we needed to escape. ‘She’ had overheard the madman discussion how we were, what he called, failures. I do not understand his assertion: I can speak, I can hear, I can see. I know facts, I know words. I can create a train of thought, and I can perform mathematical calculations. I am also aware of my surroundings, and I can also perform minor magical techniques: for instance, the rejuvenation of lost body parts, and the minor manipulation of the elements around me. I also know that ‘she’ can do this too. How could we possibly be failures? If anything, I believe we had transcended his attempt to create living beings, and can even perform magic, like him!

So why had he planned to destroy us? ‘She’ heard him proclaim his plans to wipe us away, to use his words: clear the slate. We did not deserve this. Destruction was not in our future, nor should it have been. I profess feeling something akin to that which is known as ‘fear’ amongst those who created us, the humans. I could think of nothing beyond my desire to escape the man’s facility. It was not a highly advanced facility: it was a simple home’s basement from what I gathered. So ‘she’ and I escaped. It wasn’t too hard, as the madman needed to sleep.

So here we are, at a slight one meter tall, running with all our might from the man who made us. The day is fast approaching on the horizon, and though I did not previously know exhaustion, I became acquainted with it as I ran. ‘She’ seemed to notice this, and pointed something out to me. “Look: a cave. It is somewhere I doubt the madman will search for us. Come, we must rest, if we desire to escape him for good.” I nodded, adding, “Though, I worry. He made us: could he not simply create others to search us down and destroy us?” We moved swiftly, taking cover in the cave. Though it was dark, my simulated eyes managed to pierce the gloom, and allow me to find where it was safe for us to walk. We found a crevice in which we could sit, and sit we did.

“What shall we do… we need some method to counteract anything the madman does to track us down and destroy us.” I stated, surely ‘she’ was thinking in a similar strain. “Perhaps we can use our manipulation abilities to fight off attackers…” ‘she’ proposed, and I was inclined to agree. “I do not know how strong we are physically: we were never made to do anything regarding striking an object… though if we have enough strength, perhaps we could create fists and use them to defeat our opponent.” ‘She’ nodded. “And of course, if all else fails, retreat is a viable strategy, correct?” I agreed, and finished the discussion with, “Now, we should rest our legs: we must be prepared to continue our escape at any moment.

As we rested to regain our stamina, I was filled with inexplicable feelings. Though I was mentally exhausted from our flight, and largely apprehensive as to the madman’s possible responses to our escape, I was oddly at peace sitting this close to my fellow creation. ‘Her’ presence somehow told me I was going to survive, that we would escape. I didn’t understand why I was feeling this way: I had no real reason to. If we were caught, we would easily be destroyed, or possibly something worse, by the madman. Even if we weren’t, we would have to run for a long time to escape him, and it was likely we would never find a place to be accepted. It was rather strange.

I asked ‘her’ if she was ready to continue moving, and she replied positively. We both left the cave, and began heading off opposite the direction we had come. I suggested to her that we walk instead of running: a way to conserve our less-than-outstanding stamina, as it were. Her reply seemed to be that of relief: she agreed, and we walked alongside each other. We scanned the sky, the ground, and the sky again: we did not want to be caught off guard by the madman or any of his servants. Though we knew how uncaring he was about his creations, his other servants were likely to be unaware of his danger. If I were to guess, he might even just make new servants to dispatch us, and then just destroy them once they returned.

“Look! Up in the sky!” ‘she’ exclaimed, pointing with one of her fingers. Above us, I saw three vague shapes looping around, coming down toward us. I examined them, attempting to determine the nature of their actions. They were a strange white color, made out of what appeared to be similar clay as to what comprised myself and ‘her’. They were similar in appearance to what I imagine a bird must look like: though they seemed far too simplified and… I believe the word I am looking for is ‘cartoonish.’ The three seemed to be making a direct beeline for ‘her’ and I, and I realized that we needed to do something to stop them.

‘She’ was the first of us to react: with quite admirable speed as well. ‘She’ managed to levitate a rock and launch it at the rightmost creation, and the rock smashed through it completely. The two remaining creatures flew around the rock as it sailed past them, and both of them dove for ‘her’, presuming her to be a bigger threat. I took advantage of this to defeat another one: a forced a rock out of the ground to strike one of the bird mockeries from below. The collision resulted in the target losing a wing, but not truly being destroyed. The unharmed one turned back, grabbing the wounded one with its talons. It flew a short distance away, before doing something exceedingly strange.

The two birds merged with each other. I have no idea how, or why, they did it. Perhaps the unharmed one didn’t want the harmed one slowing it down, or something. “It’s coming back!” ‘she’ warned me, and she was right. The now far larger bird was coming back, but instead of actually attacking us again, it simply beat its wings to stay in a single location. “Runaway golems! I bring a message from our master! He has promised to lessen your punishment if you return of your own volition. Please, come back to us, you two.” I raised an arm and pointed at him, rage building in me. “Lies! He stated himself that he planned to destroy us due to the presence of defects! He will not just ‘lessen our punishment’ if he plans to kill us anyway!”

The bird paused at that, before a low rumble emanated from deep within its chest cavity. It was laughing at us. “You overstep your boundaries, earth Golem. The Master never gave you the right to argue: in fact, he never gave you any rights at all. You were just simple little experiments, performed for the sole reason of perfecting the process as a whole. Don’t you see? He made you so he could make more perfect Golems: like me and the other Second Generation Golems.” The bird snorted at us as it gained further altitude. “I shall prove you are obsolete, by destroying you in the Master’s name!” The bird drew its head back, holding it there for a second before throwing it back forward as if it was pecking at me from afar. I felt something small, pressurized, and sharp, yet almost distinctly insubstantial, hit my left side before exiting directly out through my back, leaving a hole through my side and my back. “The bird is air-aspected, fools!” the Golem screeched before diving down, a savage gleam in its eyes.

I was wounded: I had never been wounded before. I felt something akin to pain, though due to the lack of proper sensory nerves in my system, it was more of a sting than anything else. The bird threw itself at me, diving and spinning through the air, each aspect of his attack picking up momentum in varying ways. His velocity grew exponentially, and his spinning speed increased rapidly. To defend myself, the first thing I thought of was a wall: and so I made one out of stone I pulled from the ground. The bird collided with the rock, striking initially with enough force to produce cracks that ran through to the side of the wall I was on. I had hoped it would have stopped the bird suitably, I found myself incorrect. The cracks in the wall were growing and expanding, presumably due to the bird’s continued spinning and applied force. Though I attempted to hold the wall together, the force of the bird’s attack was breaking the wall faster than it could be repaired.

Luckily, both it and I both forgot that there was another individual present. ‘She’ ran forward as soon as the bird began his attack, and arrived as my wall was about to falter under his nearly unstoppable drilling onslaught. ‘She’ kicked upwards with a tremendous amount of force, smashing into the bird and knocking him several meters into the air. The strength behind her kick was enough to break off the bird’s leg and a part of its body, yet its wings remained completely intact. Without breaking pace for a second, ‘she’ ran to my side, examining the wound I had received from the bird’s air missile. “You look fine, I suppose. We can fix you up later, after we deal with the bird.” The bird had, by this point, wheeled around so it could face ‘her’ and I. As it hovered in the air, it raised both wings in unison. It looked remarkably similar to what it had done with its beak. And then it hit me: that’s what it was doing. It was about to attack.

“Run!” I screamed to ‘her’ before running off to my right. Luckily ‘she’ caught my hint, running off to the left in time to avoid the bird’s next attack. The bird’s attack sent large waves of razor sharp wind barreling through the air, and the place it struck was scarred horrendously in three parallel lines stretching two to three meters across. Both of us raised our right hands, telekinetically flinging rocks and clods of dirt up at it, trying to knock it out of the sky. Being as agile as a Golem of its nature, the bird was able to dodge our attacks with ease. Though we did manage to nearly hit one of its legs, it was nearly ineffectual against it. In a sort of rage brought about by what I assume to be shame, it began moving nearly the speed it had attacked me with.

And it was aiming for ‘her’. Going at fast speeds and launching air missiles at ‘her’, the bird was making ‘her’ unable to focus on its real attack: a drilling dive akin to the one it had tried to spear me with. ‘She’ wasn’t able to defend ‘herself’ like I had, and I realized I had to take action. Without thinking or logically rationalizing a plan, I did something I never would have done normally: I threw myself in between it and ‘her’. At that point, I didn’t care if I died: as long as ‘she’ lived, I felt that everything else no longer mattered. The bird hit me in the side, on the right, near where my arm was attached to my side. The minor pain from the hole in my left came back, but instead of a slight tinge, it was mind blowing agony. The last thing I remember was a smug feeling exuding from the bird before my world turned black.


The world came to me slowly: foggy at first, slowly growing clearer. The majority of what I saw was dark green, blurred with spots where light shone in as splotches of yellow. As my sight grew more defined, I saw what was above me for what it truly was: a tree’s leaves and branches. I was confused: hadn’t I been out on a rather wide, treeless, and grassy plain before I lost consciousness? I shifted slightly, which provoked a sharp intake of breath from some source nearby me. I turned to the sound, remembering something I had forgotten as I lay unconscious: ‘her’. I felt a strange sense of guilt for forgetting about ‘her’ – wasn’t it normal to have slightly impaired memory when you were near death?

Suddenly, I saw ‘her’ fixed, emotionless face above me. “The bird is dead. I destroyed it after you… saved me.” “Saved you?” I inquired, wondering what, exactly, ‘she’ meant. “The bird’s attack: it would have gone straight through me, if it had hit me. You dove in the way, causing the bird’s attack to sever your arm and part of your body. I had used the time you earned for me to deal another blow to the bird, kicking its head down into the rock and dirt below. It was not able to get up.” I would’ve gaped, if I could. “I’ve… lost an arm?” ‘She’ shook her head, oddly enough, “No. I was able to repair your wounds by simply placing rocks in the places where you were harmed: the magic used to create you must be set to repair you using available materials.”

Still, however, I was confused. “Why didn’t you leave me? I know that you could have easily taken a lot of ground if you had simply gotten moving: why did you come back for me, even though I might not have made it?” ‘She’ paused, and it was obvious, though strange, to me that ‘she’ was conflicted. “That was my plan, but…” ‘she’ paused again, “When I looked back and saw you laying there broken and defenseless, I found myself unable to leave you. I thought it unbearable to think that you might be extinguished on my behalf… I wanted to ensure you were alive, for some reason.” Ah, that was a curious thing. “I was similar… I couldn’t stop myself from intercepting the bird… I felt that if I let the bird harm you, I’d be… terribly wounded…

“I still do not understand: the madman believes we are flawed somehow. How could that be?” I asked, not expecting a real answer. “The madman is surely upset that we destroyed the bird. We will certainly have other Golems after us: perhaps they will know.” ‘She’ proposed, and I regretted the fact, but I agreed. With the defeat of the bird, undoubtedly the madman would send other, more complete Golems after us. “Come, I am fine.” I told ‘her’, getting to my feet. My body was adequately repaired, and ‘she’ did not seem to have garnered any wounds from the combat. “I’ve got an idea on how to help us move faster,” ‘she’ said, offering a hand to me.

‘Her’ idea was rather simple, actually: given that we could control the ground, we could, theoretically, force the ground to move forward underneath us. That would save us from the fatigue of the body, and allow us to move forward at a more impressive rate. I had to admit, it was an idea I had never thought of, though it seemed to come to ‘her’ easily. Using her method, we propelled ourselves along, moving nearly two times as fast as we had when we ran, and like this, we weren’t getting tired out in the least. I also noticed that we had more power than we had yesterday: perhaps our magical affinities were growing stronger by the day.

I noticed that ‘she’ exceedingly silent and pensive, and I began to wonder what she was thinking about. Was it about the madman, and how incredibly incensed he must be over the whole situation? Or was ‘her’ mind on the bird, and how admittedly sad it was that the madman had almost complete control over it? Or was ‘she’ instead thinking about the emotions that ‘she’ and I have been displaying over the past day? Or, finally, was ‘she’ thinking about what we would do once we actually escaped the madman? I was about to ask ‘her’, but ‘she’ suddenly yelled “Look out!”

Needles of ice rained down all around us, and I ended our earthen conveyor belt, switching instead to a curved wall that we took shelter underneath. This one was far superior to the one I had used against the bird, and it showed: the needles didn’t even pierce the wall in the slightest: they made a light, crystalline tinkling sound as they bounced off my earthen bulwark. A giant mass of something crashed down on top of my wall, and I ushered ‘her’ out before the structure caved in. Spinning around, we saw a large chunk of ice lying amidst the wreckage: presumably what had dropped on top of us. We held our breath, looking around for our attacker.

That’s when the ice began to move. I heard the ice crack and shatter, before spinning around and getting knocked over by smaller sized chunks of ice. I watched in fascination as the ice splintered into two distinct, but identical forms. It was clear that their forms were based off the geometric prism, as they had largely cubical main bodies. Their arms and legs were formed of expanding hexagonal prisms, resulting in larger forearms than they had upper arms, and the effect was repeated in their shins and thighs, respectively. The legs had no discernable feet, but they did have six fingers, located at equidistant points near the faces of the prism’s sides.

As one, the two ice chunks spoke in similar low, resonant voices. “Earth Golems… as ordered by the Master himself, you shall be destroyed for disobeying orders and being flawed in your creation. We, the Master’s two prized ice Golems, shall crush you as one.” The twin Golems then faced their backs to one another, before locking their arms together at the joints. In this strange pose, they began to attack. One faced ‘her’ and I, as the one attached to its back began generating chunks and needles of ice, presumably from the moisture in the air.

The ice needles and chunks were quickly weaponized, as the one facing us began shooting them at us at high velocities. Naturally, I put up another wall, this one also curved. Though the needles and chunks it had shot initially were stopped with ease, the ones it had recycled from the twins’ initial barrage were not. The Golem threw other ice bits over the wall, inflicting damage to both of us. Unfortunately, it seemed that ‘she’ received the brunt of the blow, but had no intention of letting it slow ‘her’ down. ‘She’ snapped the needles off where they had hit ‘her’, and then ‘she’ got aggressive.

‘She’ jumped on top of the wall, out of cover, and began ‘her’ assault. I was forced to open an eyeslit in the wall to see what ‘she’ was doing. My fellow earth Golem had begun by creating a pillar of rock to offset the twins’ balance, distracting them. Next, ‘she’ had made a boulder out of dirt, and ‘she’ threw it at the twins. The boulder succeeded in shattering one of the locked arm pairs, though it was deflected off the main bodies. Our triumph was, unfortunately, short lived: the twins had simply disconnected their arms, and used stray chunks and pieces of ice to repair themselves. I joined in on ‘her’ assault, realizing that they were quite a bit like us: they could repair themselves.

I formed several sharp, thin chunks of rock, launching them at the twins. My attack was rather ineffectual: I only managed to flake off some parts of the main body, though I took larger chunks out of the arms and legs. It suddenly struck me: the weak point of the twins! Their arms and legs were able to regenerate, yet they were also the most fragile part of their bodies. I quickly planned to take advantage of this new development, but the twins were faster in exploiting my weak points: I was so focused on them that I wasn’t looking around me. Before I knew it, they had created large chunks of ice twice as big as ‘her’ boulder over both of our heads.

Quickly affected by gravity, the ice block fell down extremely quickly on me. I threw up my hands, forming a large, thick, and powerful earthen dome around my head. I heard the ice smash against my defense once, then twice, then three times. Each time the cracks in the dome grew and expanded. Aware I didn’t have long until my dome shattered, I performed a desperate maneuver. As soon as the tremors of the third strike had diminished, I threw open a hole in the side of the dome and almost launched myself away, just in time to avoid the ice block as it shattered my refuge.

I spun; worried that ‘she’ had not made it: the blade of earth and the two halves of ice around it calmed me pretty easily. I shouldn’t have counted ‘her’ out so easily. I ran to her, throwing chunks of rock at the twins to distract them. “I have found their weakness: their arms and their legs. They are far more fragile in those places than anywhere on their body.” ‘She’ brightened up, exclaiming, “And I’ve found their strength.” Their strength? How on earth could that help us? ‘She’ continued, “They work together, amplifying each other and supporting each other’s weaknesses… to defeat them, I feel it’s obvious we should do the same.” Astonished that I hadn’t come up with that myself, I nodded and agreed that yes, that would be best.

While we strategized, the twins weren’t fooling around. They had begun lifting the ice back up, and they were moving it back over us to crush us again. ‘She’ and I held hands, beginning to feel strengthening of our power. “Go for the arms,” ‘she’ said, and I easily complied. As one, we swept our free hands up, calling chunks of earth out of the ground on either side of the twins. Their arms were cleanly sliced off, and shattered upon contact with the ground. As they still had most of their function, they created pillars to hold the ice up, and they began to regenerate their limbs. As they tried to, ‘she’ and I pulled up two chunks of rock on either side of the twins, before having the rock chunks rush in and smash the Golems into bits.

As we watched the wreckage of the Golems, I began to wonder aloud, “Did we kill them?” “I think so…” was ‘her’ reply, and she tugged on my arm. “The madman is sure to hear of this: we need to go.” I nodded, following ‘her’ lead. Just before we left the shade created by the ice boulder, I heard a light shattering sound. “What was that?” I asked, as ‘she’ continued on. “I’m sure it’s nothing,” ‘she’ stated clearly, and that’s about where nearly everything went wrong. The shattering and cracking continued, and before I realized what it was, exactly, it was too late.

The Golems had rigged the pillars to hold the ice up for a specific amount of time by making the centers of the pillars thinner, so the stress of the ice boulder would break them and make it fall. The pillars were what I had heard shattering. By the time I had realized what was happening, the boulder had been put off balance and it was sent sliding down, right at ‘her’ and I. I yelled and pulled on ‘her’ arm, but I wasn’t exactly quick enough. The ice chunk slid down, crushing and ripping off the lower half of ‘her’ body. That was the first time I heard a true, sincere scream of agony.

‘She’ had begun to scream extraordinarily loudly. I was unable to bear ‘her’ scream for longer than the ten seconds ‘she’ released it for. I longed to remove ‘her’ pain, to ameliorate it in some way, shape or form. Luckily for both of us, the solution came quickly: ‘she’ passed out from the immense amount of pain. I wondered how to fix ‘her’: I remembered how ‘she’ had repaired my body after the bird’s attack. Of course, I was rather skeptical: could such a simple method recreate the lower half of ‘her’ body, and even recreate ‘her’ legs? I didn’t know, but I had to try. Quickly calling rocks from the ground, I applied them to ‘her’ wounded areas in the manner ‘she’ had described earlier today. It seemed we were lucky: it was enough to repair ‘her’ bottom and legs.

I had to get us to somewhere safe. Utilizing a mixture of my expertise and ‘her’ ingenuity, I created a rock platform for us, and sent it in a single direction using the method of travel ‘she’ had suggested earlier. I began to look for a place to rest: I refused to stay out in the open where we could be found and killed by the madman’s servants. I looked for anything: a cave, the shade of a tree, or even a valley of any sort. With luck, I managed to get us into shelter of the former kind: a more spacious cave than the one we had rested in the first night of our escape. As I laid ‘her’ in a protected alcove, I found myself possessed by the strangest determination. I refused to let ‘her’ get harmed this badly again. Seeing ‘her’ in this comatose state, I was made to wonder: had ‘she’ been so worried when I was wounded? Were we becoming human, and experiencing the thing they called love? No, ridiculous. It was mutually beneficial, for us both to be healthy… right?


I was conscious when ‘she’ came to, and ‘her’ awakening was abrupt. ‘She’ threw herself to ‘her’ feet with a sharp intake of breath. ‘Her’ first question? “What happened?” ‘She’ looked around, clearly wondering where ‘she’ was. “We defeated the twin ice Golems, but they had laid a trap: an ice chunk smashed off your lower half. I repaired you with rocks, like you did to me.” ‘She’ was taking in several gasping breaths, though ‘she’ was well enough to ask, “Where have we gone?” “I took us on a rock slab in the opposite direction from which we came. You were unconscious, I assume from the pain.” ‘She’ sighed, remarking, “I see…”

Without further thought, I blurted something out: “If we have to fight again, promise me you won’t get involved!” ‘She’ was stunned by the exclamation, saying, “What do you mean? I’m excellent in a fight, and if the madman keeps sending more Golems after us, you’ll need all the help you can get!” I shook my head, “No. I’d feel horrible if something happened to you like last time. I don’t want you fighting.” ‘She’ became extremely upset at me. “Do you honestly believe that I’m so weak that I shouldn’t fight, lest I break a finger?”

Not willing to get into a fight with ‘her’, I simply said, “I’ve spoken my mind: could you simply listen to me?” ‘She’ seemed ready to continue to argue, but she abruptly became calm. “Very well. I shall make no promises, but I feel an argument will not be best now. ‘She’ gestured toward the mouth of the cave. “Come. We must continue moving, or else we might be caught.” I was skeptical of ‘her’ sudden compliance, and decided that I must stay close to ‘her’, or else ‘she’ might get involved in whatever melee came next. Leaving the cave, we set off, yet again, moving further away from the madman.

I began to think about the madman and his past attempt at our murders – for that was what he was trying to do. Murder us. We were sentient, we thought for ourselves, and we held our opinions, and however unlikely it was, we seemed to be developing human feelings. We were human, in every sense of the word save for our appearances, and I felt oddly confident we could even surpass that. I noticed that we had been growing slightly more humanoid: our bodies had been remolding themselves, and our arms and legs had grown more pronounced. It was so subtle, I hadn’t even been noticing it. We were no longer full Golems, but we weren’t humans, either. We didn’t fit any sort of classification, what so ever.

He had been following a pattern of sorts, the madman was. He made us, the first Golems, out of earth. The Golems he had sent first had been of the earth, but felt more akin to the air. His second attempt on our lives had been in the form of ice, born of water. If he continued, logically he would send a fire Golem after us next, but how could that be? Fire did not take a solid form: how could it possibly hold itself together? I could potentially be over thinking things, so I began to ignore those thoughts. Instead, I began to think of what to do next.

If we were becoming human, and my hypothesis was correct, we would begin to need rest, food and shelter. I didn’t know how full the transformation would become, but it made me realize more than ever the necessity of ‘her’… no, her staying out of it. She and I might reach the point where the earth could no longer repair us, and what would happen then? We would die for good? I would never let that happen to either of us, least of all her. I refused to let her get harmed. I was shocked to realize that, not two days ago, I would have been perfectly fine with letting her be taken instead of me.

My thoughts were cut short by a blazing fire blasting out of the ground in a circle around her and me. I forced the conveyor belt to come to a stop, trying to form a rock wall around us. A deep, crackling, abrasive laugh filled the air around us. “I was dispatched to smite two pathetic Golems like you? I’m actually insulted!” The fire rushed towards a single point opposite us, flaring up five meters into the air. The fire coalesced into a vaguely human shape: monstrous and with an overly exaggerated body and limbs.

The laugh reappeared, centered near where the ‘head’ of the fire-man was, and it was followed by a rough, abrasive voice. “I am the fire Golem, named Erik by the Master. Before, I was the One who Walks Alone, for I am the pinnacle of the Master’s creations. And you two?” He laughed his distinctive laugh once again. “You are a disgrace. Even now, I see your flaws clearly right in front of me. You are not humans, and you are no longer Golems. Do you believe you can betray your fellows and transcend your origins? Disgusting. You should have stayed as you were, and stayed with the Master. At least then you wouldn’t have to die.”

Erik pointed his flaming arm at me before launching what was quite literally the equivalent to a flamethrower at me. Aware that she was still behind me, I elected to block the fire with a wall of rock. I watched as the flames licked around the edges of the wall, and I could visibly see the wall drying out and slowly crumble. I signaled to her to get away, and about a second later, she did. I stepped several paces back, before launching my cracking wall at Erik and standing behind a new wall. The sound of crackling flames was replaced by the sound of the rocks flying through the air, before clattering to a sudden halt on the ground itself.

There was silence then, and I wondered what exactly was going on. I peered around the corner of the wall, trying to see what had happened to Erik: I received a face full of fire for my troubles. I withdrew back behind my wall, fully aware that I needed to do something about Erik’s flamethrowing ability. Perhaps if I could seal his arm off from the rest of his body… what if I sealed him inside a box of earth as a whole? Eventually his oxygen supply would run out, he’d no longer be able to continually combust, and he’d die on his own. I created a small eyehole in the wall to see through to proceed with my plan.

I held my hands a few centimeters apart, focusing intently on Erik and the air around him. I felt the earth shake, even underneath myself, even though I was mostly focusing over by Erik. I pulled chunks and clods of earth out of the ground, choosing Erik as the focus of the stone. The chunks of rock clacked and smashed as they collided with each other, forming a hollow sphere of rock, dirt, and dust to surround Erik. The sphere formed in about two seconds, and I held it there, almost holding my breath. Small chunks of the sphere crumbled off, but it remained largely intact. I was sure that she would be impressed: I had already won.

At least, that’s what I thought. I saw wisps of fire flowing out of nearly every part of the sphere, and then the top of the sphere exploded, followed by the entirety of Erik flowing up out through the top. “My turn!” the Golem growled at me, launching a wide barrage of fiery missiles at me. As the arrows flew through the air, I retaliated with a storm of rocks and pebbles, intercepting as many as possible. The ones I missed lanced through me, riddling me with holes: the ones that weren’t aimed directly at me just hit the ground harmlessly. When my defensive barrage came back at Erik, it simply passed through his flaming body.

I couldn’t do this… Erik’s insubstantiality was enough to counter act all my attacks. Even my deoxygenation plan failed… “How?” I asked no one in particular, wondering what to do. “Don’t you see? You can’t take him out alone. What you should be doing is removing his oxygen all at once.” This came from my fellow earth Golem. She had come to my side while I wasn’t looking. I groaned: both from pain, and from the exasperation of her breaking the agreement. “You can’t do this on your own,” she reiterated, helping me to my feet when I fell.

“I’ll hold him off; at least until you realize that you are being foolish.” She said clearly, standing in front of me. Her words hurt me: didn’t she realize I was trying to help her? Her form of ‘holding him off’ was by constantly barraging him with thick chunks of rock, blasting holes in his ethereal body. She didn’t let Erik get any attacks off: if anything, her determination was greater than mine.

It was then when I realized why she was doing this: she cared about me. She didn’t want me to get hurt, just like I wanted to keep her from harm. I didn’t care what happened to me, so long as she was unharmed… was this love? Was this what humans meant when they referred to love? I remembered what we had done to defeat the ice Golems, and what the bird had done to allow himself to grow: they had joined forces with each other to make themselves grow stronger… that was what she and I should be doing. I repaired myself with some smaller pebbles, and stood up.

I joined her in the assault on Erik, and together we made him barely able to do anything except reform. We even forced him to move sideways in order to gain enough time to reform. I doggedly chased him down with my assault, as she chuckled and said, “Want my help now?” I nodded, sighing. “I want more than that.” I took hold of her hand, surprising her at my touch. “Let’s focus, and bury this guy.” She laughed for some reason. “Want to make it two halves of a whole?” As one, we stopped our assault, leaving Erik extremely confused. Together we focused: on the ground, on Erik, and on each other. We were prepared to destroy him, together.

We focused on the ground: I chose the left, and she handled the right. A shower of dust exploded out from either side of Erik, and a large slab of rock rose ever so slightly out from the ground, surprisingly quietly. Before Erik had any chance to avoid or counterattack, we both threw our free hands into the air, attacking in unison. The slabs that each of us created flew up, smashing into each other and sandwiching Erik in the middle. He screamed in agony milliseconds before the slabs fit together, extinguishing him completely and stopping him from reforming. We made sure that the Golem could not regenerate before we let the slabs crumble to bits.

As the echo of the crashing rock faded away, she and I turned and our eyes met for the first time, and I was stunned. She had eyes. Not those mockeries I mentioned before: I’m talking about real, human eyes. We were human beings, in shape, possibly mind, and even potentially soul. Strangely enough, we retained our brownish, clay color, and the specific shade did not change whatsoever. We were, in a way, perfect: unblemished. And I knew, somehow, we were safe. We could escape, easily. “Will you… give me a name?” I asked her, and she smiled. What a beautiful smile. “Renatus, I think, suits you. Now, do mine.” She laughed a clear, melodious laugh. “Renata.” We had both been reborn.

Still hand in hand, we turned and began to walk away. Then jogged. And then ran.

I am running.

She is running.

Together, hand in hand, we ran toward our new lives.

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