Welcome to Gaia! ::

Which character/creature would you like to see art of next?

Mikey 0.15151515151515 15.2% [ 5 ]
John 0.15151515151515 15.2% [ 5 ]
Fluffs (post which one) 0.21212121212121 21.2% [ 7 ]
Father Garghoul 0.090909090909091 9.1% [ 3 ]
Malevobear 0.3030303030303 30.3% [ 10 ]
Other: Please post 0.090909090909091 9.1% [ 3 ]
Total Votes:[ 33 ]
<< < 1 2 ... 18 19 20 21 22 23 ... 24 25 26 >
anguls kushinoda's avatar

Shadowy Shapeshifter

21,350 Points
  • Battle: Rogue 100
  • Invisibility 100
  • Alchemy Level 3 100
Berryfarmer
anguls kushinoda
not bad at all, cant wait for last half of that chapater -mew

Currently putting writing the main story on hold to write a side chapter for a Halloween writing contest. Depending on if I can make it fit, the Halloween chapter might show up as a main story chapter in the future.
that sounds like it could be a good read then if can make it fit which i bet you could -mew
BF-dragontshd-40's avatar

Obsessive Genius

9,400 Points
  • Nerd 50
  • Perfect Attendance 400
SAO is over, yet the newest chapter is still not here!
.//teleport:inspiration_TO_Berryfarmer
Berryfarmer's avatar

Winged Abomination

24,550 Points
  • Winged 100
  • Battle Hardened 150
  • Alchemy Level 10 100
Sorry it's been a while. Family mess at holidays and got a new tablet, I admit I've been playing with that. And some job interviews. smile

So here's some of the story related art I made while playing around with the tablet.
Kerri as she appears in the real world.
User Image

Doppelord Master of the Underworld (modeled after one of [ JK ]'s concept sketches)
User Image
anguls kushinoda's avatar

Shadowy Shapeshifter

21,350 Points
  • Battle: Rogue 100
  • Invisibility 100
  • Alchemy Level 3 100
yay berry lives, an hope your job hunt goes well man -mew
Berryfarmer's avatar

Winged Abomination

24,550 Points
  • Winged 100
  • Battle Hardened 150
  • Alchemy Level 10 100
Also changed up the poll to see if there's things people want visualized.
Berryfarmer's avatar

Winged Abomination

24,550 Points
  • Winged 100
  • Battle Hardened 150
  • Alchemy Level 10 100
Sorry it took so long. Was having all sorts of problems with the chapter whenever it saved. Any ways, Doppelord is heavily inspired by one of my favorite game series. And when you get to the actual part about the Otami Underworld, my suggestion is "Don't read it at night." It contains some strong imagery and tones. Without further ado...

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

The gate raised up into the stone wall as Mikey, Omni, Mage and Marshall got pushed into the arena. The stone walls rose twenty feet into the air as some of the Otami Warriors sat perched on the seats. The thunderous applause and cheering reminded Mikey of his first zOMG experience with the interface. “Well they’re certainly more lively than normal. Maybe they’ve got something big planned for today.” Mage calmly said as they waited for the gate across from them.

“What do they normally throw in here?” Mikey gulped.

“Buzz Terrors, Jaguar Statues, Masks of Joy and Despair, sometimes a horde of Wood Fluffs. But they’ve never been this excited, definitely something big.” Omni calmly waited. The cheering became even louder as the gate on the other side of the pit opened. Mikey’s eyes went wide as he saw coming from behind the gate a giant sized OMG. Its clawed feet scraped against the gravel of the pit as it let out a low growl. It bared it’s sharpened teeth as yellow-green drool dripped down.

“So that’s a Zomg. Looks… manageable.” Mikey dusted off his knees and began moving to the right.

“Oh yes perfectly manageable.” Mage began moving to the left.

“Well I think I can tank this.” Omni said as he began walking up to the beast.

“Just give us the signal when you’re ready Omni.” Mikey heard the crowd erupt in cheers as the Zomg began attacking Omni. The sharp claws left orange streaks across Omni’s chest as he stumbled back.

“Okay, this guy is tougher than I thought. I don’t think tanking him is going to happen.” Omni clutched his chest.

Mage stepped up and tried smacking the Zomg in the snout. It let out a sigh of steamy rancid breath and mage staggered back, “Whew it smells worse than rotting meat left out in the sun.” The Zomg let out a hiss as it lunged for Mage. He managed to jump back as the massive jaws snapped shut, tearing a shred of fabric from Mage’s scarf. Mage tried slashing the massive monster but his blade glanced off without much effect. The Zomg stumbled backwards as the tips of its feet turned red hot. Mage saw Mikey pointing his rings at the beast, the hot foot band on his finger glowed a pale red.

“Move it!” Mikey hacked at the Zomg and the blade sunk into the beast’s side. “Omni, you alright?” Omni managed to stand back up and nodded to Mikey.

“I think if you and Mage go all out, I can heal enough to keep you standing.” Omni used diagnose and some of the scratches on Mikey and Mage vanished.

“Alright, I think we can do this.” Mage hacked at the Zomg as it let out another roar.

“Just pretend it’s a really mad Landshark.” Mikey approached the Zomg from another angle. His rings flashed different colors as he cycled between hack, fire rain, and an imitated mantis. The flashes of light drew the Zomg’s attention to him. “Ghi’s only at 67, can’t do a burst.” He called over as he slowly backed away from the snarling beast. Its tail snapped like a scorpion’s as it jabbed the ground in front of Mikey.

“Wait you can actually burst with Ghi?” Omni yelled back.

“Tell you guys about it later.” Mikey jumped back just in time to avoid another tail jab as the Zomg bared its teeth in a snarl.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

“I don’t care about the burn get these things off of me!” Diving in to help the Otami Warriors had left Henry with a few Wood Fluffs biting onto him as their form of attack. The fluffs weighed him down to the point he could barely move much less attack.

“If I try burning them off I could end up burning you!” Penelope squirmed at the idea of burning Henry.

“After the hot springs I thought you’d be all for burning me.” Penelope shot Henry a nasty look as she shot fireballs at him. “Ayiii! Watch your aim.” Henry protested as charred Wood Fluffs began falling off of him.

Jeremy’s hack collided with a Buzz Terror’s chainsaw arm as the two seem locked in one on one combat. Kerri and John each stood on opposite ends of the mask they fought, one face was twisted into a maniacal smile and looked at John while the other face was cracked with a frown. The frown attacked John and rooted him to the ground, while the smile attacked Kerri and made her feel sleepy. The mask whirled and spun as it tried to decide which face would attack whom. John’s amulet glowed as he punched the ground, the effect worked as he had planned and small mounds of earth shot up in a path to the mask. It was knocked off balance, giving Kerri a chance to recover and attack it. As her beam of energy connected with the mask it began to crack and break apart until there was nothing but a pile of dust where it had been. As she and the others regrouped they looked around and realized the remaining animated had begun fleeing into the jungle. They could hear a deafening roar from far off into the jungle, but didn’t have time to worry about it as they found themselves surrounded by the warriors they had been trying to aid.

“Speak quickly trespassers. We suffer no outlanders.” One of the warriors pointed an obsidian macuahuitl at Henry.

“Is that any way to thank someone who just tried to help you?” Henry glared, he almost regret the decision to get involved in the fight.

“Tiq tiq. Nabors ague, explernim, abit mal.” One of the warriors spoke to the one holding the blade. The one with the blade nodded his head a few times as they continued in a whisper.

“Very well, we shall not kill you here. We shall take you back with us to The Pit. You’d do best to follow closely or my mind may be changed.” Surrounded on all sides the group of five had no choice but to listen and follow.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Mikey rolled to the side as the Zomg tried jabbing him again, this time its tail lodged itself in the walls of the pit. It squirmed and roared as it tried to free itself. Mikey shoved Mage out of the way of the Zomg’s massive jaws only to find himself stuck between its teeth. “Kill it! Kill it! Kill it!” He shouted as the beast shook him like a dog does a chew toy. After what seemed an eternity of damp drool and razor sharp teeth Mikey found himself on the ground. The Zomg let out a massive roar as it collapsed onto the carved stone floor of the pit. It no longer moved as three Otami Warriors entered the arena to examine it.

“Cootau mah!” One shouted. The crowd erupted in applause and cheering.

“What just happened?” Mage asked.

“Judging that we just killed their most ferocious monster, I’d say they’re about to hang us or welcome us into the tribe.

“Here’s hoping.” Mikey looked around, “Dammit Marshall get up, the fight’s over.”

The four were led from the arena to a room that looked like it was meant for cleaning and preparation. Once their eyes adjusted to the light they could see they weren’t alone. As the figure approached them Marshall reacted. “Blaze? Blaze, sweetheart are you okay?”

“I’ve been fine dad. I wish I could have done something sooner, but the Otami wouldn’t believe what I said until you could prove yourself in the arena.” She clutched the blades that had been confiscated from Mikey when he’d been tied up. “This one is my mother’s,” She brandished the cutlass. “This one, I’ve not seen anything similar since I explored the Realm of the Ancients. Tell me, what happened to my mother.” Mage, Omni and Marshall looked to Mikey as he took a deep breath.

“Your mother fought bravely to defend a group of us in Isle de Gambino,” He paused a moment before screwing up the stoicism needed to deliver the next part, “She died to ensure my friends and I would survive. She bravely fought against the Mobster Lobster and Registered Offender, her sacrifice gave us the strength we needed to finish the fight.” He waited a moment gauging her reaction before adding, “I’m sorry.”

Blaze looked away a moment before her fiery gaze locked on Mikey. Her eyes burned like coals as they probed him for any reaction, “You speak the truth. Honorable considering how painful it is and the position you are currently in.”

“If I lied, my conscience would have killed me.” He replied.

“Honorable, for a player. You three are now honorary members of the Otami tribe. Through honesty and courage you have demonstrated your worthiness,” She handed Mikey back the blade from Guardus. “Now that you are part of the tribe you are free to roam the jungle, but be warned of the dangers out there.” An Otami Warrior approached Blaze and whispered something to her. “It seems you are not alone. Word is a scouting party has picked up more of you. Five to be precise.” Mikey’s eyes lit up.

“Blaze I must ask a favor. I am not ready to rejoin them. I still need to think about some things alone. I need them to receive these items so that we can finally eradicate the evil of Otami Underworld.” Mikey produced the box containing the Bloodstone Bracelets. He had already removed one and was wearing it.

“Strange you should ask this favor when it was I on behalf of the warriors that was going to ask you to destroy the evil there that mocks Doppelus, the Otami’s god of the afterlife.” Blaze took the box, “I shall make sure they reach the entrance to the Underworld and that they receive these.”

“Uhh did you forget about us?” Omni finally asked.

“With the permission of the Otami, I had a special request for you and Mage.” Mikey said.

“Of course, what is it?” Mage asked.

“If you and your other friends will challenge the evil, I see no qualms with sending others elsewhere.” Blaze interpreted for an aged Otami Chieftain that had joined them.

“I hate sending you back down there, but you two know the tunnels of Durem Mines the best. I need to ask you to find a secret entrance to The Phantom’s lair that is supposedly hidden in the mines.” Mikey said wryly.

Mage and Omni looked at each other and nodded before saying, “We’re on it. Though, we don’t know the way to the mines from here.”

Blaze was interpreting again, “A small patrol will escort you to the machine made tunnels we know of. Meanwhile, we shall send this one ahead of his friends to underworld.”

“Sounds fair.”

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

“That must be the pit.” Kerri noted as they passed a wooden building resembling the Roman Coliseum. There were drums nearby as they were brought to a stop in front of an ornate hut.

“So those that would selflessly give themselves to stop the parasites have arrived, welcome to our village.” The village elder stepped out of the shadows of the hut and greeted the group. “But we don’t have much time to share words.”

“What a way to greet friends. You bind them and lead them through the jungle.” Jeremy said indignantly.

“I must apologize for the warriors, they were merely following procedure. But now you must be off to the Underworld.” The chief’s smile glittered in the sunlight.

“Wait, you trust us right away? Why?” John asked. He added in a whisper to the others, “Normally, players have to prove themselves capable of entering the Underworld by battling the pit boss.”

“I have heard of your deeds in defending my warriors from the scouts who arrived back here. Aiding them without being asked, and giving yourselves so selflessly, you have already proven yourselves.” He went back into the hut.

“Something’s off, I can just feel it.” Henry whispered.

“So I wasn’t the only one feeling it?” Kerri asked.

“Something definitely happened before we got here. Letting us go straight to the Underworld.” John added.

“So what do we do?” Penelope asked.

“I think we should play along.” Jeremy was watching the entrance of the hut, he noticed the chief returning with a box, “Guys, shh.”

“We were entrusted these jewels. They were made to protect their bearers from the evil energies that swirl in the depths of the Underworld. I pray to Chaloc that they will see you well.” The chief handed the weathered box to the group. As they opened the lid the red of the bloodstones glittered in the jungle light. Penelope counted five bracelets but noticed an indentation where one had rested previously.

“Where is the sixth bracelet?” She looked at the chief intently.

“Sixth? No, there was no sixth. Now you five must be on your way.” The chief led them to a pathway behind the village that wound its way to the foot of a nearby mountain. “At the end of this path there is a door into the mountain. That is your road.” The chief looked away for a moment, “It takes our best pathfinders at least half a day’s march to reach it. May Chaloc watch over you.”

“Where is the sixth bracelet?” Penelope repeated as she stared into the Otami chieftain’s eyes.

“I told you there is no sixth. Now, you best be moving along.” The chieftain said. Penelope gave him a look that if it were acid would be corroding metal, but she had little choice with Henry and Jeremy pulling on her.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

“He suffered some severe trauma in his frontal lobe. Several chemical receptors were damaged. I doubt he’ll ever be able to experience many emotions ever again. But that’s only the beginning of the laundry list of things whatever happened did.” The doctor was explaining Mikey’s injuries to his parents. They thought he was still unconscious, when he had in fact heard everything. “Judging by the amount of degradation and activity, I don’t see him making it to 25. Not without some serious psychological problems any way.”

Mikey bolted upright. The downpour that had started roused him from his sleep. He stared down from his treetop at the gorge below; he wondered which of the three bridges that spanned it was the real one. He remembered the warning Mage had given him before they parted ways. “Remember while there are three bridges, only one is real. The others collapse into the blackness below as you step across them. Going alone is dangerous at best.” After the warning Mikey had decided to wait at one of the bridges for the others to catch up. He thought it would be rather ironic to mend broken bridges around collapsed ones. As he shifted his position to remain dry in the pouring rain Mikey felt himself drifting back to sleep again.

“The fair is today only? I find that hard to believe. Or did you just wait until the last day like always?” His mother was washing dishes in the light of the setting sun. She didn’t like turning on lights until they were absolutely necessary. Mikey rolled his eyes at the remark and instead grabbed his shoes.

“Alright, I suppose I’m going alone then.” He started lacing them up.

“You know your father took the only car to work this morning. He’s always working such eccentric hours.” His mother saw the look he gave her, “Alright, we’ll walk there. But grab your sister, we’ll go as a group.”

“Maria! Maria, gather up she said yes.” Mikey found his sister huddled over a sketchbook in her room, “What’s that?” He pointed to the blob she was drawing.

“I’ve been trying to draw that flower in the vase, but it isn’t working so well.” She put her pencil down. The sunlight caught her brown hair.

“You’ll have lots of time to practice later.”

“I suppose you’re right big brother.” She said as she reach under the bed and pulled out her shoes. They were the new ones she got the week before. She had barely worn them and the leathery exterior was still the bleached white of new shoes.

Mikey woke himself shivering, “No, not that memory. Not now.” The rain was still pouring as he shifted himself again. He didn’t enjoy the trees, but it did keep most of the ground dwelling animated from noticing him. It had taken him the better part of a day to sneak past most of the animated he felt he couldn’t fight alone. He eased back against the tree and drifted off again. His mind wandered this time to his late night conversation with Guardus.

“You have great potential Michael. There’s a great leader inside of you, a hero even, everyone around you sees it. You need to see it. You hold yourself back, why?” The red eyes of the armor glittered as they awaited a response.

“I’m no great leader. I’m not even a decent one.”

“You speak as if the past haunts you.”

“You have no idea of the pain or the guilt I live with every day.”

“Then why do you continue? If this pain and guilt were so bad wouldn’t you have given up already? Unless, you do feel like you can do more.”

“It was my fault that others have died, and I lived. To give up would be to throw away that curse of being allowed to live.”

“You view your life as a curse. And yet you would not throw it away as to not sour the memories of those that have passed on for you to have it. You are a very conflicted individual.” The armor shifted as it changed its seat, “You still can be great, you just need to see it in yourself. I’ll leave you to your thoughts now.” The armor rose and left the room.

Mikey added to himself once Guardus had left, “She said that to me once, about being great.”

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

“The walking I wouldn’t mind so much, the jungle I wouldn’t mind so much, but all this rain.” Jeremy wiped his glasses off for the twelfth time.

“Look at the bright side. We can’t see the animated in this, which means they can’t see us.” Henry pushed ahead.

“Achhhoo! Yeah but the animated probably have warm holes to crawl into.” John sniffled. Their heavy steps splashed through the muddy undergrowth of the jungle as they kept marching. As the sun began poking out of the clouds they found themselves at a fork in the road.

“I didn’t expect it to mean literal fork.” There were several Otami pitchforks stuck into the ground as they approached the split.

“According to the map, each of the three paths leads to a bridge across the Gorge of Nerus. However, only one bridge is real, the other two are collapsing decoys.” Kerri was reading the information given to her by the Otami warriors on the region.

“Three paths and three bridges. I say we split up and each take a path.” Henry said.

“There’s only five of us. If we split up, who’s the odd one out? And how will we ensure we don’t find the wrong bridges?” They stood bickering at the crossroads for a few moments. John argued about how splitting up would be unfair to one of them. Henry raised the idea of drawing straws to determine the loner. But the discussion quickly devolved into a match of who was more intelligent. Even Penelope took shots about how ridiculous the idea of sending up flares if they ran into trouble would be because of the time it would take for the other teams to respond with help even if they did see the flare.

“Silence!” Kerri screamed at the top of her lungs to be heard over their argument. “I’ll go the right path alone, Jeremy and John take the middle, and Henry and Penelope get the left path. Send a flare up if your team runs into trouble. Otherwise use a light or a burst of your amulet to signal you found the right bridge. Is that understood?” The others looked at Kerri in awe a few minutes before they nodded. The pairs went down their paths before Kerri was content to take her own. By then the rain had cleared up.

The trees along her path seemed to crowd around until the very air itself seemed stuffy and thick. The pathway was hardly visible between the tangled roots, but it zigzagged ahead of her in the shadowy greens. Some distance ahead Kerri spotted a white pinprick of light between the branches, but it was still a good ten minutes’ walk ahead. Her mind began to wander again.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

“Mom! Mom! Mom, I got accepted to the university! Mom?” Kerri ran into the kitchen waving the letter she had found in the mail around. Her mom was nowhere to be found in the kitchen, she looked around the house and found her mom in the master bedroom, her back was to the door and she was on the phone with someone.

“Please tell me Joseph is alright.” She looked on the verge of weeping as whoever was on the other end began talking.

“Is everything alright?” Kerri carefully entered the room.

Her mom turned around and her face was streaked with her mascara, “Kerri, gather up some clothing for you and your brother. We need to go to the hospital.”

“Mom, what happened?” Kerri looked confused as she stared at her mother.

“Just pack a bag for you and your brother. Be ready in ten minutes.” Her mom went back to listening on the phone. When she saw Kerri hadn’t moved she waved her hand saying, “Go Kerri.”

After a hurried ten minutes Kerri was in the passenger seat as her mom drove to her brother’s school. “Mom, what’s going on? Is it something about dad?” Kerri knew with her father being a police officer there was always a chance of something happening.

Her mother gripped the wheel a little more tightly as she kept looking forward, “His unit got called in on a drug bust. Someone pulled a gun and all hell broke loose. We’re grabbing your brother so you two can visit him in the hospital before…” her mom got choked up a bit like she was going to begin weeping again.

“He’s… he’s not going to make it, is he?” Kerri shuddered. She’d always worried, but never thought it would happen.

“I don’t know.” Her mother said flatly, “I just want you and your brother to see him one last time.” She inhaled a bit and steadied herself, “I’ll be staying with him at the hospital, your Aunt Dot is meeting us there. She’s going to take care of you and your brother for a while until I figure out what to do.”

“Mom, be strong, for dad.”

………………………………………………………………………………………………………
Mikey craned his head trying to listen, he had thought he heard someone approaching in the trees below. He crept down from his branch and slid along the trees quietly. Whoever or whatever it was didn’t notice him as he stalked behind it, darting from tree trunk to tree trunk. He stood at the tree line as the figure stepped into the light at the edge of a clearing carved out for one of the bridges. As his eyes adjusted he could see it was Kerri he was stalking. He was puzzled about why she was alone, especially in the jungle of all places. She hadn’t yet noticed him, and he pressed back against the trees. She either didn’t see him or wasn’t paying attention as she kept moving towards the bridge. Mikey watched for a few minutes as she tepidly stepped onto the worn stone pathway. And suddenly, she vanished. He took a few steps forward and could clearly hear the sound of falling stones.

“Ahhhh!” Mikey heard her screams over the falling stones and rushed forward. He slid to a stop and flopped himself down on the ground as he reached the lip of the cliff. Without thinking he reached over and grabbed Kerri’s arm with his right hand. As he looked over he saw a look of surprise on her face as a root pulled from the ground fell into the shadows below her.

“Just hold on! I got you!” Kerri’s eyes got wide as she heard his voice.

“It’s you. It’s really you. You came back.” Her voice shifted to agitation, “Where have you been? You know you had us worried about you.”

“Can’t really answer right now, a bit busy. Got any way of signaling the others for help?” Mikey shifted his position to better grip her arm.

“I can’t reach my flare. What can’t pull me up?” She shot back.

“Not from this angle, no. Figures I have to hold you and send up a flare.”

“You could just drop me.”

“Not going to happen. Hold on.” Mikey feebly raised his left arm from its grip on the edge to pointing at a nearby tree. A burst from his lancer hit the tree and ignited in a brilliant light show. “Hope that gets their attention. I don’t know how long I can hold you up.”

“Are you calling me fat?” Kerri shot back.

“No, and now isn’t the time to be pissed off.” Mikey tried to tighten his grip.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

“I don’t feel right leaving Kerri alone like that, even if she’s the one that came up with the division plan.” Penelope and Henry had reached the edge of the jungle along their path and were staring at a massive stone bridge.

“I’m starting to wonder if the extra time to travel as a group to each of these bridges would be worth the safety. I mean what if there are animated along either of the other paths?” Henry shrugged, “John and Jeremy, I can them being able to hold their own in a fight, but Kerri alone, I just don’t know.” They reached the end of the massive stone bridge.

“So how do you want to cross this. I mean in case it is one of the fake ones.” Penelope heard a snap behind her as she tapped part of the stonework with her foot. Henry came trudging forward with a branch broken off of a nearby tree. He began to cautiously move across the bridge while prodding and poking the stones ahead of him. “What if it comes apart while you’re out there?” Penelope stared questioningly at Henry as he continued forward.

“We should still have flight ability. Shouldn’t we?” Henry continued his pace across the bridge. Penelope stayed rooted at the end of the bridge as she watched Henry cross the middle of the bridge. She looked down the deep gorge and could see faintly the center bridge where John and Jeremy should be, but what caught her eyes was a plume of smoke and an array of flashing lights even further down the gorge.

“Henry!” Penelope called out. He twisted around before staring in disbelief.

“Not one of our flares, but it looks like it’s coming far enough away to be Kerri’s location. Should we-?” Henry didn’t finish his question before he saw Penelope tearing off back towards the jungle.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

“Yes, we were originally going to make about ten Ghi-Infused weapons. They were going to be super rare to the point that you could spend months in the areas to find them and still only have one. The idea was to later offer epic recipes to craft them in the cash shop. Being the easier and less time consuming route we hoped this would raise money for zOMG. There would be item avi poses, and in game equipment abilities. In fact that blade that was given to Mikey was one of the original ideas for Ghi weapons.” John rattled on. He and Jeremy had been taking their route at a leisurely pace while discussing several intended aspects of zOMG’s second chapter.

“So each of these Ghi weapons had a different effect. What weapons were there going to be and what effects would they have?” Jeremy and John hardly noticed the glowing circle of light ahead.

“A sword, which you have already seen was going to be the most basic with some energy channeling and slash attacks.”

“The blade Guardus gave to Mikey?”

“The same. The next was to be a shield hidden in the Realm of the Ancients. It’s effects depended on what kind of attack hit it. An energy based attack would be negated, and the energy would be channeled into recharging the shield bearer’s stamina and health. I physical attack would see its damage halved, with no recharge.”

“Sounds a bit broken there.”

“We realized this at some point and made it the rarest Ghi weapon until we could figure out how to rebalance it.”

“I see. What other items were there?”

“There was a chest armor that could fire a beam from the chest that would put a lancer ring to shame. The drawback is the beam would deplete half the user’s Ghi with each use.”

“How did you balance that? I mean each use would be like, 50, 25, 12, 6, 3, 2, 1, right?”

“We made the damage it does scale to the amount of Ghi it uses. There was a hammer that was a super powered version of the sword, but without the energy channeling ability. A pair of gauntlets with the ability to paralyze animated for a few seconds.”

“How long is a few seconds?”

“About 15. There was also a bow, I forget what it does. An eye patch that increases critical hit rate at the expense of decreasing accuracy. There was also a pair of purple pants that increased speed and reduced the amount of stamina needed to use attacks. Hmm I also remember a staff that could temporarily turn a group of animated into personal minions.”

“Sword, shield, hammer, armor, gauntlets, bow, eye patch, pants, staff… wait you said ten. What was the last one?” Jeremy asked.

“A pirate’s cutlass. It could shoot energy disks from the blade in addition to channeling energy.” John squinted as his eyes adjusted to the sunlight.

“So, how do we determine if we can cross this bridge without falling in?” Jeremy looked at the blackness below.

“The bridge if it’s a fake should crumble the minute someone steps far enough out onto it. Here, try this.” John pulled some vines from a nearby tree and tied a loop in it.

“Why do I have to be the one sent out on the bridge?” Jeremy tightened the vine around his waist.

“Because you’re lighter. If it breaks under you it’s easier for me to pull you back up than it would be for you to pull me.” John clutched the coils of vine as Jeremy began making his way across the bridge. Before he got five steps out the bridge began to crack and crumble. John’s knuckles whitened as he gripped the vine, as he saw Jeremy disappear over the horizon the green rope went taught. After a few labored minutes of panting and pulling John finally pulled Jeremy over the cliff side.

“Guess that means we got one of the decoy bridges.” Jeremy and John laid still on the ground exhausted from the workout of climbing and pulling.

“Yeah, I suppose it does. Hey, are you seeing those lights in the sky or is it just me?” John puffed as he pointed. Jeremy tilted his head to look before he took on a more hurried tone.

“That’s where Kerri is. She needs our help.” Jeremy quickly jumped to his feet and dragged John up by his arm. They nodded to each other before running back into the jungle.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………
Berryfarmer's avatar

Winged Abomination

24,550 Points
  • Winged 100
  • Battle Hardened 150
  • Alchemy Level 10 100
“So how exactly was this division plan going down?” Mikey groaned as Kerri began to slowly swing in the breeze blowing through the gorge.

“We came to a fork in the road. Penelope and Henry took the left path, John and Jeremy the middle.”

“And you took it upon yourself to go alone on the right path, genius. And just where are KJ and the Anari in all this? Please tell me you didn’t get them killed while I was gone.” Mikey dug his knees into the ground as he reached down to hold Kerri’s arm with both of his.

“There wasn’t much of a choice in going alone. KJ left us after we dealt with sky city, she went to go to a meeting in Aekea. After we recuperated in Gnoman’s Land, the Anari decided to go to Aekea to join her.” Kerri was beginning to feel cold from the breeze and as she looked up she could see dark clouds building in the sky. “How long do you think we have before those clouds open up?”

“At most 20 minutes. And don’t change the subject. I sent a scientist and a crew I met to Aekea for a meeting. You don’t think they were going to the same meeting?” Mikey strained to keep a grip, “Recuperated? You mean while I was out here bushwhacking and waiting for you all, you were in the lap of luxury in Gnoman’s Land? You do realize we’re on a clock that only has about a month left right?”

“Don’t you start lecturing me. I’m not the one who left because he got cold feet.”

“We’re on a time crunch. You guys obviously were able to put an end to whatever villain haunted Tlauixcalpantecuhtliopolis. Every minute counts and The Phantom knows this, his play is to wait out the clock, what better way than to put your enemies in a spa that could eat precious time?”

“We aren’t coldhearted, calculating machines!” Kerri yelled, Mikey was shocked into silence, “We’re just people. We have emotions and needs, but you, you’re something different it seems. Yes, it took up time to relax, but it reenergized us to keep going. Are you even listening?” Kerri’s only sign that Mikey was still there was his still firm grip on her.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

“Michael, you aren’t a machine are you?” Maria joked as they were walking down the sidewalk.

“What? What do you mean by that?” He asked as their mother giggled behind them.

“Well, everybody that knows you calls you The Robot. They say it’s because you don’t show emotion. They also say something about a calculating mind in there. So I need to know if my big brother is a machine.” The sun glittered off of her golden brown hair.

“I just have a more practical mind than most. Sometimes this means disregarding emotions and going for what yields the most benefit.” Maria looked questioningly as he said this.

“I think your brother means that he has a different view on the world. His mind works differently in the sense that he can separate himself and his feelings from a situation.” Their mom chimed in.

“But that doesn’t answer my question. Michael, are you a machine?”

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

“Still here, just something on my mind.” Mikey shook his head as the wind started blowing around dirt and fallen leaves. “This cliff won’t hold too long if it starts to rain. If it does start, we will have to try just lifting you out.”

“I hope the others get here soon.” Kerri’s tone was more worried than angry now.

“Me too.”

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

“At this point, all we can do is make him comfortable. Medically, there isn’t anything more we can do.” The white coated doctor was talking to Kerri’s mom outside of her father’s room. Kerri just barely heard the exchange as she looked at her father. He was connected to so many tubes and machines. On his head like a headband was a gauze wrap, it was red on a spot that crossed his brow. In his throat was a hose connected to a machine that seemed to inflate and deflate two bags. She could see under his gown that there was some kind of wrap around his chest.

“I… I understand… What kind of… chances do you give him?” Kerri had never heard her mother stammer or use a tone like that. She sounded defeated, it seemed odd to Kerri. Her mom had always been a strong and confident figure, but now all that strength and confidence was gone.

Kerri’s mom slowly walked back into the room. Kerri stood up and approached her, while her brother sat paralyzed. “Mom?”

“The doctor is unsure about your father. He thinks it would be best to say our good byes while he’s still somewhat conscious to hear them.” Her mother was on the verge of tears.

“Mom, we’re still here. Kerri and I are still here mom.” Jeff’s voice sounded dry like he was holding back.

“Thank you Jeffrey. We’re uh… going to take turns with your father. Jeffrey I want you to go first. Kerri, come with me down the hallway.” Kerri could see the redness in her mom’s eyes. Kerri followed her mom a ways down the hallway. While Jeff was left alone with his dad.

“Mom, dad is a stubborn old man. We’ll get through this.” Kerri felt herself swept into her mother’s embrace, she felt a little wet as her mother began to cry again.

“I know sweetie, I know.” They stayed like that for ten minutes until Jeff came to get them.

“I think it’s Kerri’s turn.” He said coolly, his nose looked red.

Kerri walked back to the room, her footsteps felt like lead as she made her way down. She took a few deep breaths before crossing the threshold. She saw her dad’s fingers wave slightly as she walked towards his bedside. She took his hands in hers as she tried to find her voice to speak. “I don’t know if you can hear me, but there’s some things I’d like to say.” She took another deep breath as she felt his hand squeeze hers, “I’ve always seen you as… as my moral center. You’ve always looked out for me and been there, even when I had no clue what I was doing. You were always an example of what a good man… a good person should be. You always put us first. Every time there was some kind of friction, you always put mom, Jeff and I first. I know you wanted me to make something of myself. And I will. I was accepted to California State. I’m not sure what I want to do yet, but I will do something. I’m sorry it took me so long to get my act together.” Kerri felt a lump in her throat as she tried to continue. Her father squeezed her hand as he turned to look at her. He tried to smile and speak.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Mikey could feel the ground beginning to soften as the rain continued to pour. It was starting to become increasingly difficult to cling to the ground and grip Kerri as he began to sink into the now muddy cliff side. He could hear the mud squish below him as he shifted his weight trying desperately to hold onto her.

“If you don’t let go, we’ll both go over.” Kerri felt the muscles in his arms begin to quiver from the strain.

“Not going to let go.” He felt again as he dug his elbows into the squishy ground beneath him.

“Just let me go.”

“That’s never going to happen.” He could feel her arm beginning to slip again. He could see the dirt mounds forming as her weight slowly began dragging him further into the mud towards the cliff.

“You’re losing your grip.”

“Reach! I’ve got to try lifting you out now.” He tried to steady himself as he felt her other arm latch onto his. “Don’t you let go.” He heaved and panted as he tried pushing against the ground, all that happened was he sunk further and further in.

“Looks like we got here just in time.” Mikey felt a pair of arms grab his waist as he tried pushing against the ground again. He could see Jeremy a few feet away reaching over the cliff to grab Kerri as she slowly rose. Looking behind him, he could see Henry, Penelope and John all pulling him. And suddenly, the weight head been hanging onto vanished as he collapsed into the mud exhausted, a sideways glance revealed Kerri lying on the ground next to him.

“Told you they’d get here.” He tried saying. His words were drowned by the shuffling sound of Henry and Jeremy dragging him back to the tree line for shelter. He could see Kerri being dragged by John and Penelope.

“You are one lucky s.o.b. Mikey. But then again Kerri was lucky you were there.” Henry leaned Mikey against a branch to get a better look at him. “I’d make a joke about lifting, but obviously you do something if you kept a grip on her that long in that rain. Now, tell me, how long have you been following us?”

Mikey managed a strained chuckle before he spoke, “Actually, you’ve been following me. I just stopped to let you catch up.” He was beginning to get feeling back in his arms as he felt himself drift off into another sleep.

He awoke startled to find a fire burning in front of him and the others gathered around. It must have been hours he was asleep because the sky was clear and star-filled black. “How long was I out?”

Henry and John laughed a moment, “So you’re back amongst the living. You’ve been out about six hours.”

“Kerri, is she… alright?” He sat up as he asked.

“For the moment resting peacefully.” Penelope threw another piece of wood on the fire, the damp wood kicked up a fresh plume of smoke.

“So tell us, what happened? Why did you come back? Why did you leave?” Jeremy asked excitedly. Mikey could see from his stare across the fire that Henry wasn’t nearly as excited to hear as Jeremy would be. Mikey looked into the dancing flames as he collected his thoughts on the few days. He had left the crew about ten days ago because his guilt and grief overwhelmed him. Now, a sense of duty and obligation had brought him back.

“I needed some time to get my head on straight. What happened in Durem, it shook me deeply. Too many people in my life have died because of me.” Mikey began the story about what had happened in Isle de Gambino during his time there. He told them about meeting Dr. Pennyworth and the bloodstone bands. Then he got to the part about fighting the Zomg in The Pit. At which point Jeremy made a comment about Mage and Omni being alive despite the overwhelming evidence they had found to the contrary.

“So there are enough other human crew survivors to organize a resistance. This is good. It means as soon as we figure out where The Phantom’s base is we’ll have a readymade army.” Penelope interjected.

“Assuming we can find his base in time, unless you’ve got another trick up your sleeve on that one.” Henry said coolly.

“Not exactly. The Otami tribe elder did tell me to seek out Jack of Halloween Town for information. However, his scouts noted a large force moving for Halloween Town.” Mikey added.

“So you want to run off to Halloween Town now?” Henry rudely asked.

“Not yet, the last amulet we need is somewhere in the Otami Underworld. We’ll need all six if we’re to get the information we need from Jack.”

“So we’re going to make our friends in Aekea wait just a little longer so that we can detour to Halloween Town and get directions we can probably get from KJ? Sounds like a wonderful plan if you ask me.”

“KJ has only traveled to and from The Phantom’s base by his teleportation grid. She has just as much information about where it is as we do. Of course you never took the time to put this information together.” Mikey replied to Henry’s sneer.

“I might not be a genius, but at least I don’t abandon my crew.” Henry growled back.

“No, just your family and your past.” Mikey replied.

“Settle down. We have a long day ahead of us, save that anger for the underworld. The key is we’re all together again. Now, judging from what we saw today Henry and Penelope’s bridge is the one we need to use for getting across the gorge.” John finally stepped in.

Kerri had been feigning being asleep to listen to the story without being bothered but now she finally rolled over and spoke, “What about the wing formulas we were given? Wouldn’t we be able to just fly across?”

Jeremy shook his head, “There’s a crosswind blowing through the gorge. Unless the wings are made of metal and have rocket propulsion, they’d get battered to hell in the air tunnel. Flight is not an option.”

“Get some sleep. We’ll move first thing in the morning. I’ve got first watch.” Mikey said as he stoked the fire.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

The sunlight glittered off of the black paint of the oncoming truck. Mikey had barely seen it speeding down the road before it was at the intersection. “Maria move!” He watched in horror as the world slowed down. He saw the ripples across her chest as the pickup truck rammed into her sending her to the pavement with a thud. His mom had been slightly ahead of her in the cross walk, but still was struck in the side. He could hear the tires peeling as the driver tried to stop. He ran forward towards his sister but the truck had spun out from its momentum. He felt the metal of the truck’s side pound into his back and he hit the black pavement with a thud. His vision muddled and faded in and out as he saw other vehicles stopping. Maria wasn’t moving and as he tried to look around he could see a quickly forming red pool around himself.

“Fao mfra me ba?” An EMT was trying to ask him something but his hearing was too distorted to make it out clearly. He tried to make a response but found himself coughing up fluids. He could see the EMT signaling something, but his vision went dark as he passed out.

There were snatches of a fluorescent light above him as felt himself moving. He felt a mask over his face as he tried breathing, and could hear a beeping sound. The more he tried to focus the more he just wanted to close his eyes again. “Stay calm.” He could see someone standing over him mouthing the words as his eyes slid closed again.

The world spun as he opened his eyes again. He was in a hallway and he could feel himself being wheeled around. The mask was still on his face. He tried lifting his head, but found some kind of brace or restraint kept him from moving it too much. What little he could see revealed several deep gashes where he’d hit the road. “This one has some hemorrhaging and spinal damage, get him patched up. The girl and woman are more severe get them into the OR.” Mikey struggled to breathe when he tried to move. He saw one of the doctors look at him before pulling out a syringe. Before he could react his eyes closed again.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Mikey bolted upright in a cold sweat as he awoke. It was still dark and he could see Kerri staring at him from across the fire, the others were still asleep. She gave him a questioning look before saying, “Who’s Maria? You called out her name in your sleep. Is she an old girlfriend?”

Mikey took a few breaths to calm down before he returned her look and replied, “No. Maria was my little sister.”

“Your sister? I didn’t know you have a family. They must be tough to put up with you.” She was going to laugh but the look Mikey gave her hinted that that would be a poor choice.

“Had a family. It’s my fault they’re gone.” He clutched his knees as he hunched over. “You would have liked Maria. She was kind and funny at times. She always put me in my place.”

“What do you mean your fault? What happened?” She looked at him.

“I don’t talk about it, to anyone.” His voice had a hint of agitation.

Kerri’s look became more stern, “Whatever it is, it’s giving you nightmares. I think you need to talk about it.”

“I don’t need to talk about it.” Mikey laid down again and rolled over to signal the conversation was over.

“If you say so.” Kerri went back to leaning against the tree trunks as she waited for it to be Jeremy’s turn to keep watch.

The night passed on slowly as silence filled the air. Kerri kept thinking to herself trying to put together clues as to why Mikey didn’t want to talk, or why he’d felt so guilty about Durem. “He had a family. Too many people in my life have died because of me,” She echoed his words as she thought, “A sister that haunts his dreams. What ghosts of the past have latched onto you?” She watched as he began twitching in his sleep again. She was beginning to feel heaviness in her eyes when she realized Jeremy was tapping her shoulder. The simple gesture indicated it was his turn to keep watch and she could go back to sleep. She closed her eyes to sleep and felt relaxed as she laid down. It felt like only a few minutes later but she felt herself being shaken awake. She was going to let out an angry comment when she realized Mikey, who had shaken her awake, had a finger over his lips in shhing manner. He quietly pointed and as she followed his gaze she could see a few Jaguar Statues moving through the trees. The statues barred their path back to the other bridges.

“The fire last night must have drawn them like a beacon.” He whispered as he silently moved and shook John awake. Kerri looked over and could see Jeremy shaking Henry awake.

“Not now. It’s not morning yet.” Henry mumbled as he tried rolling back over.

“Wake up. Jaguar Statues found us.” Jeremy hissed into Henry’s ear. Henry rolled over his eyes wide open.

“Why haven’t they attacked yet?” Penelope whispered as Mikey woke her up.

“Maybe they don’t see us, or they don’t want to rush into an ambush. Maybe they’re waiting for us to make the first move.” Mikey whispered, “One is hard enough to deal with but three. This will be interesting.” Mikey pointed out of the jaguars and signaled for the others to attack it when he gave the signal. As they waited, Kerri saw Mikey shimmy up a tree trunk, and lost him as he began to move silently through the branches. They heard a snap above as Mikey dropped down onto the back of another Jaguar Statue. Henry must have seen this as the sign, because he began shooting at the jaguar indicated before. Mikey’s action kept the other two distracted as the third fell under a hail of strikes. The third desperately tried to claw Mikey off of the second. Henry began attacking the distracted jaguar as Mikey clung on, it bucked him back and forth as it lurched and spun.

“How are you doing?” Henry saw the jaguar Mikey was on trying to bash him against the trees.

“I’m hanging in there.” Mikey hung on as the jaguar rammed into trees. Once he saw the second one succumb to a storm of lancer fire. He kicked off the Jaguar Statue and spun as he dismounted off the back. The statue got its head stuck in a tangle of trunks and vines and Mikey loosed a beam and watched as the stone crumbled in a blinding flash.

“Well that was a fun workout.”

Mikey listened to the sounds of the jungle a moment before speaking, “No doubt their roars have attracted all the other animated this side of the gorge. Let’s move.” Hurriedly, they ran through the jungle back down the path to the fork. It was when they turned to go down the other path that they heard the sounds of animated stalking behind them. “Henry, Penelope take point. Whatever you hear, don’t stop.” As Mikey dropped back Henry heard sounds that reminded him of alien ray guns from old Saturday morning cartoons. Mikey brought up the rear as they came to the bridge. He was shooting small blue lightning bolts from his fingertips as they ran. “Plasma Rifle, it fires globs of a superheated electrical plasma. It causes a defense debuff as it melts enemy armor and has a paralysis effect that stuns foes for about 3 seconds.” He explained as he began crossing the bridge. They could see streams Buzz Terrors and Jaguar Statues coming out of the trees.

“Mikey, the bridge! Bring it down!” Henry called back as Mikey crossed the halfway point.

“Got it. Cover me.” Mikey’s fist turned to stone and began growing massive in size. After a few seconds he brought it down on the bridge. The stonework buckled under the impact and a small break formed in the bridge. Mikey got up and sprinted the rest of the way across the bridge as he felt it crumbling beneath his feet. He was out of breath but he had made it safely across before the bridge collapsed completely. The trees in the jungle ahead had black and dark red leaves in contrast to the greens on the other side of the gorge. They also seemed more packed together like the jungle sought to choke the life out of any who dared to enter.

“Well, now we have no choice but to go forward. I’d say stay close but the trees packing in will take care of that.” Henry began to walk ahead before Mikey signaled not to. “What now?”

“The path ahead is a labyrinth intended to ensnare any without a map.” Mikey was examining something Marshall had given him in the Otami village.

Henry rolled his eyes as he began to tap his foot. “Can we go yet?”

“I’ll lead, stay close behind me. One wrong turn and we could be lost for a long time.” Henry growled as Mikey pushed past him to lead. Mikey began to slowly lead the procession as they began to turn down the various paths and twists in the labyrinth. Mikey held out his arm to stop Jeremy from going down a wrong path and added, “There are traps in this labyrinth designed to punish wrong turns.” It took the better part of the morning of this slow march before Mikey stopped in front of an archway. Though it was carved into the hillside it appeared to be made of bone.

“I’ve got to hire their decorator next time I need to renovate my house.” Jeremy tried joking as they felt a cold breeze blow out of the archway.

“Bracelets on. Stay close together.” Mikey heard a crunch as he stepped on the ground. Out of the corner of his eye he could see a snapped bone, “And don’t look down.” Mists swirled around their feet as they slowly walked through the catacombs. As they rounded a corner the light from the archway seemed distant and pale in the gathering darkness.

“How exactly are we supposed to see?” Henry put a hand on Mikey’s shoulder. The others became a bit uneasy as they heard stones sliding closed around the corner they had come. Within seconds any light that had been filtering in from outside was cut off.

Henry and Mikey both could feel the others around them growing uneasy in the blackness engulfing them. Even though she couldn’t see anything Kerri’s head darted back and forth. She swore she could hear whispers all around them. “Is anyone else hearing those or is it just me?” Her head kept moving and she could hear Penelope behind here starting to get nervous.

Penelope felt like there were several spiders crawling over her, she raised her arm and began violently trying to brush herself off. “Get them off of me. Get them off of me!” Jeremy huddled close to the ground as he cupped his hands around his ears.

As the darkness deepened Jeremy felt the air around him becoming thicker and thicker, “The walls are closing in! The walls are closing in!” He was cowering on the ground but he could faintly hear John murmuring.

John thought he could see patterns swirling in the encroaching blackness. They clarified as he looked harder, and he thought he saw things. Things he hadn’t seen since his childhood nightmares, “They’re coming from all around us. They’re going to take us!” Henry was beginning to panic from the sounds the others were making.

He gripped Mikey’s shoulder harder and his nails dug in as he tried to steady his voice, “Mikey, do something, anything. Let us know you’re alive. Mikey? Mikey?” His breathing was becoming erratic.

Mikey stood in a trance. He could hear and feel the others around him, but they felt so far away. The very air around him felt like it was thinning into nothingness, “This can’t be real. We must…” He was finding it hard to think straight, “We must be in some kind of trap or illusion.”

“You are food. Fresh souls wandered into our grave.” The voice echoed in his head, none of the others acted like they heard it. But its gravely hard tone deepened with each echo.
Berryfarmer's avatar

Winged Abomination

24,550 Points
  • Winged 100
  • Battle Hardened 150
  • Alchemy Level 10 100
Mikey shook himself trying to regain his senses as he reached for the amulet hanging around his neck, he whispered a prayer to himself as he clutched it, “I know I’ve never really believed but we could use some courage about now.” He closed his eyes and tightened his grip around the amulet. The sounds of his crewmates succumbing to their panic made focusing a difficult task but after a few moments he felt the amulet against his chest begin to pulse. It threw off a wave of light that pulsed outward and lit up the cave they were in like a sun before evaporating into the inky black again. Another pulse and this time the amulet continued to glow a shimmering gold. The beacon of light it created illuminated the area around Mikey and the crew, as it washed over them their fears washed away and they stood bewildered at how they had been so frightened. Mikey strained to sustain the light a few moments before it shrank back to a small orb around himself. “This is an unnatural darkness. My light cannot keep it back alone.” He collapsed to a sitting position as the others circled around him.

“Another pulse like that could light the place up.” Henry looked at Mikey’s shifting eyes.

“This is not your grave, but you are welcome in it.” The gravelly voice sounded a little agitated as it spoke. As Mikey looked at the others none of them seemed to have heard it again.

“We got to help him up. The strain of holding a light in these shadows is draining him.” Penelope noted how the color was draining from Mikey’s face.

“I don’t think he can do another pulse like that Henry. I think that was a one-time thing to snap us all out of our fears.” Kerri put her shoulder under one of Mikey’s arms to support him.

“We got you, don’t worry.” John got his other side.

“Map… lead.” He tried pushing a paper with scrawling lines on it to Henry, but Jeremy took the page from him.

“It’s a map of the caves. Henry, you and me up front as far as we can see in the light, Penelope behind, John and Kerri try to keep him moving, Mikey, whatever you’re doing keep it up.” Jeremy and Henry walked about three feet ahead of the others as they read the map of the caves.

“Do not be afraid. I am peace; I am salvation.” Mikey cringed as he heard the voice in his head again.

“This place is sacred to the Otami. This is where they believe the spirits of their dead come to rest. This place had a life of its own before it became infused with Ghi.” Mikey paused to catch his breath, “The souls of the dead were judged by Doppelus. Those deemed worthy dwell within the inner circles with him, those not worthy earn their place by haunting the outer walks to deter intruders. The Ghi created animated hybrids with the spiritual energy. They’re called Blood Spirits, while further in is the beast posturing as the lord of the underworld himself Doppelord. He controls the last amulet, the amulet of shadow.” Mikey slumped against the ground needing a rest. As he tried relaxing a croaking sound like crows rattled off the walls.

“Do I take life or give it? Who is victim, and who is foe?” The voice let out a rattling chuckle after it spoke. The others looked around like they’d heard it coming from the walls this time.

Mikey looked up as if to answer their looking, “I think it’s Doppelord deep beneath us broadcasting his thoughts through the shadows. This is his fourth speech so far.”

“Fourth? You mean you’ve been hearing it for some time?” Kerri bent down and looked into Mikey’s eyes.

“At first he was a whisper when we entered, but now. I think the closer we get the worse it will be.” Mikey slumped back as he tried to aim at something around Kerri. She caught a glance of a tall birdlike figure. It was a crimson color and stood nearly seven feet tall. As it loomed out of the shadows again, Henry took a shot at it. The feathers hanging from its four arms flickered like they were made of some fluid rather than a solid material. As it gazed from over its cruel hooked beak its stare fell on Mikey as it let out a cawing sound and flapped its top pair of arms. Each of its legs, if you could call them legs, ended in talon-like appendages which it dug into the ground as Penelope tried to smack it.

“You stay away from him!” Penelope shot a fireball at the creature as it jumped back. It snarled and spread out its arms; each one ended in a reptilian four fingered claw.

“This must be a Blood Spirit we’ve been hearing about.” Jeremy flung a small whirlwind at it. The whirlwind passed through the Blood Spirit unaffected as it began to croak again. Further down the opening ahead they could hear more croaking coming in answer.

“I think it’s going to get a lot more crowded here soon. Better find a way to actually hurt them.” Henry sprayed the Blood Spirit with water and it hissed as it shrank in size to four feet. John knelt to the ground and sent a tremor running through it with the power of his amulet. The soil around the bird figure’s feet loosened by John’s tremor and the water Henry rained down created a mudslide that carried the Blood Spirit away down the tunnel. They listened in the echoing darkness and could hear other Blood Spirits hiss as the mudslide caught them unaware.

“I believe our path ahead twists down into the abyss below-“ John paused as the very walls began to shake.

“Resignation is my virtue; like water I ebb, and flow. Defeat is simply the addition of time to a sentence I never deserved... but you imposed.” Loose stones and bones on the ground rattled as the voice sounded.

“It sounds almost regretful of being partially animated.” Kerri said as they readied for another attack. There was only silence in their chamber as they waited, but nothing stirred.

“They might be rallying below.” Penelope looked around in the dim light Mikey was now casting. “He’s not going to last much longer like this.”

“When fought alone Blood Spirits try to intimidate, but they are actually quite cowardly. In a group however, well there’s a reason the developer working on them called a group of them a murder.” John and Kerri hoisted Mikey up again as they began moving further down the tunnels and caves.

Their pace slowed as they began going downhill, as they continued down Henry swore he saw things moving just out of reach of the light. Jeremy nodded so he could see and added in a whisper that only they could hear, “You see them too. They look like my grandma did when my dad and I found her after a month alone in her house, taught slightly greened skin. They’re shambling whatever they are, either they haven’t noticed us or they aren’t aggressive.”

Henry nodded before whispering back, “How could they not notice us with the human night light? My bet is on not aggressive. Either way, leave them alone for now.” They continued in silence, but Henry and Jeremy kept looking to the sides keeping an eye out for any of the shamblers deciding to introduce themselves.

Penelope shivered as she up next to John, Kerri and Mikey, “I feel like we’re being watched.” She tried rubbing her shoulders to warm up.

“That’s because we are.” Mikey rolled his eyes towards their left and as she followed his stare Penelope just saw the outline of something humanoid just out of the light. “For the moment the light keeps them at bay. They can’t stand it, it reminds them of too much of their past lives. They are UnDrones, short for Undead Drones, as close as zOMG gets to zombies, without the Bloodstone Bracelets you would have become like them as soon as we were out of the light from outside. They are what is left of the Otami that have passed on from the world. They’ve been following us for about ten minutes now.” Mikey said mechanically.

“Are you alright? You don’t sound too good.” Kerri looked into Mikey’s eyes which appeared to be taking on a milky glass color.

“We cannot afford to stop. Any delay could mean we run out of light before reaching the end. The strain of resisting the gathering shadows increases the closer we get to the source.” Mikey’s breath rattled a bit as the light shifted from a dull gold to a medium white. As Kerri listened she could hear what sounded like moaning coming from the UnDrones. After a few minutes of walking they found themselves in a larger cavern, in this cavern they heard crows croaking again and a small increase in light revealed why. Surrounding them as they entered was a group of ten Blood Spirits and a behind them and barely out of the light they could make out the forms of about twenty UnDrones.

“Time... has taught me patience!” The Blood Spirits fanned out to encircle the crew.

“Mikey, stay in the middle. Defend yourself and don’t worry about us. Guys, if he drops we lose our barricade against the UnDrones, understood?” The others nodded to John’s plan as he and Kerri set Mikey down.

“I can… I can fight.” Mikey shook as he stood up. He watched the scene play in slow motion, he could see everyone else each trying to fend off two Blood Spirits, while the UnDrones crept ever closer perhaps expecting the fight to be over soon and to carry off new corpses soon. Each time he tried focusing to attack his vision would become hazy and swirled like the mists at their feet. Out of the corner of his eye he could see Henry had pushed his Blood Spirits back into the UnDrone line with a crashing wave. As he tilted his head he could hear the yelp Jeremy let out as one dug into him with a pointed claw. It all sounded so muted and far away. As he reached into his pocket his hand brushed against a totem he had been given by the chieftain back in the Otami village, it felt so long ago to him, and he pulled the totem from his pocket. As he looked it over in his hand he remembered it was of Chaloc the warrior god for the Otami people. He clutched the totem tightly as he let the light he was emitting collapse into an orb around his amulet. He could hear the screeches the UnDrones emitted as they realized there was no more light. And he could hear his crewmates gathering around him. He opened his eyes as the eyes of his Chaloc totem glowed crystal blue. The faint light of his amulet became the same crystal blue as it rippled out in a bright pulse. The Blood Spirits hit by the wave vanished into clouds of red dust, while the UnDrones it touched hissed as they burned and became piles of ash. The remaining UnDrones backed up and seemed to be considering whether to make another charge or to wait.

A dull roar echoed off the walls as if to answer, and the remaining UnDrones scurried into the smaller caverns surrounding the large one. As the last UnDrone exited six torches on the wall began glowing with purple flames. Henry waited a moment before finally looking at Mikey, he couldn’t decide whether he was angry, worried, or amazed when he spoke, “What on this good earth was that?” Mikey sat down and whispered something to the totem in his hand as his amulet ceased glowing.

“Light infused Spirit Bomb Ring.” He answered, he sounded like he was able to relax a bit now that the chamber was lit by a source other than him.

“Spirit Bomb Ring? As in Dragon Ball type Spirit Bomb?” Jeremy gazed.

“Didn’t look like it required the same 30 episode charge up time as one of those.” She looked Mikey over before adding, “You alright?”

“I remember Swarf talking about that one at lunch once. He said it was going to require an epic recipe and several other rings to craft. But the Spirit Bomb Ring would create a wave inflicting any animated it came into contact with massive damage, but it would cost per use 100 stamina and 50 Ghi.” John interjected.

“I’m guessing that’s why he’s taking a breather right now.” Kerri said as Mikey nodded. “How close are we to-“

“Arrogant creatures! Your deaths will be instantaneous, while we shall suffer the progress of infinitude!” The voice seemed to come from all around them.

“Very close, there’s another tunnel like the one we just came through at the far end there. The end of that tunnel is in Antechamber of Doppelus, and then the Altar of the Dead. I guess we should take a breather here to make sure everyone is okay before moving on.” Henry looked at the others as they collapsed exhausted on the ground.

“Jeremy come here with your wound.” Mikey beckoned Jeremy and held out his hand. As Jeremy knelt down Mikey touched his wound where the Blood Spirit had dug into him. The wound began to heal very rapidly.

“It burns, but it feels good. Thanks.” Jeremy moved away as Kerri took a seat next to Mikey.

“You going to hold up?” She looked at him.

“We’re too close to it now, too close for me to cast a healthy light. I can make a light, but the shadows here are too strong to make one like before.” His eyes were closed like he was meditating.

Keri noticed the totem in his hand, “Where did you get a Totem of Chaloc? The preview information said it was going to be an expensive power-up.”

“I know; each totem would have five uses, but each use would power up your next attack to 300% damage. The Otami Chieftain gave it to me, he said ‘may the spirit of Chaloc watch over you as you descend the halls of the dead.’” He tucked the totem back into his pocket.

“Guess you could say it did with that last stunt you did.” She smiled a little. Henry signaled it was time to move again and Kerri helped Mikey to his feet. The rest made him steadier and he was able to walk with just Kerri assisting him, but the glow from his light was now a sickly green as they marched down the dark tunnel.

“Has anyone noticed how we always seem to be underground when we have to fight something major?” Jeremy finally broke the silence.

“Not always. We fought Tridra and Frosti in open air environments. And Caracarapticus was fought in the sky after we busted a very dark chapel up.” Penelope commented.

“Ah so that was its name in Tlauixcalpantecuhtliopolis. Well while you were flying around fighting him, I was on the beach fighting Registered Offender, Mobster Lobster, and a bad day to forget the sunscreen.” Mikey tried joking.

“Something up ahead is glowing purple.” Henry cut in, “I don’t like it.”

“If I remember the concept art for the area correctly, that would be the Pool of Souls that lies in a moat around the Altar of the Dead. Don’t want to fall in.” John quickly said. As they all entered a rounded section of a larger hall the tunnel behind them closed. Ahead they saw a stone bridge over a moat of glowing purple liquid. The chamber the moat surrounded was round and climbed higher than the light from the moat allowed them to see. At the chamber’s center stood another pool of the liquid that was deeper purple. Ringing the moat were columns etched with symbols long worn down. But the stones of the chamber floor glowed with symbols emitting a pale blue light. As they crossed the bridge they heard the voice they’d been dreading to hear. It sounded like it came from below them.

“Child of my enemy, why have you come? I offer no forgiveness, a father's sins, passed to his son.” The ground began to rumble as the pool in the chamber’s center began to bubble, “Now the gate has been unlatched, headstones pushed aside; corpses shift and offer room, a fate you must abide!” A stone head emerged from the bubbling pool, as it exhaled the acrid odor caused Mikey to feel disoriented. Before anyone could react UnDrones began to emerge from the moat around them. They hissed and howled but appeared unafraid of what little light Mikey was able to cast.

“Henry, John, Kerri, focus on Doppelord’s head. I have a feeling there’s more to him than that. Jeremy, Penelope, you’re with me holding back the UnDrones. Keep them from reaching the others.” Mikey and Penelope fired pulses of light and fireballs into crowds of UnDrones and watched as they hissed and began burning where the attacks struck. Jeremy started catching any getting too close Henry, John, and Kerri in cyclones and dropping them in line with where Mikey and Penelope where shooting.

“They’re starting to clump up, I don’t think we have the fire power for a group that size.” Penelope noted a group of ten UnDrones and growing.

“Stay here and get any of them that get past me.” Mikey drew his sword as the blade began glowing gold. He charged into the group of UnDrones.

“How is it going there with the head guys?” Jeremy blew a pair of UnDrones into the whirling gold light that was Mikey’s blade, he was alternating between using the sword and using a hack.

“Oh you know just another day in the office.” John got struck by a purple tentacle belched from Doppelord’s mouth. He felt the decrepit thing wrap around him as it began to drag him closer to the pool and the maw. John tried pulling against the tentacle but it was no use, it kept pulling him in.

“John!” Henry broke off his attack on the head to cut John free. It took a few well-placed hacks but the tentacle snapped. Doppelord let out a howl as the stump retreated back into the pool leaving a purple-green trail where it bled on the ground. After a few more minutes the UnDrones retreated back into the moat and the head sank below the pool.

“Is it over? Did we win?” Kerri asked.

“No, it’s not over yet.” Mikey barely finished before the ground began to rumble. The bubbling of the pool was turbulent as something began to rise from it.

“Did you think me defeated?!” What emerged from the pool disturbed Mikey as he gazed on it. Attached to the head that they had seen sink was a mottled green blue body, but where there should have been muscles the flesh clung to hard bones like a macabre starved person. The acrid odor was overwhelming as the fourteen foot tall behemoth rose from the pool. Everything from where its waist would be and lower was still submerged as it hefted its hands onto the stone platform on either side of the crew. The hands were grotesquely oversized at four feet across each, and the head now chipped and cracked spun freely on the neck making an unsettling cracking sound every time it turned. But the most noticeable feature of the hulking form was the gaping hole in its chest. It was blacker than the cavern’s shadows despite looming over the glowing purple pool. “I have beaten armies of thousands! Consumed a world of flesh and mind and bone!”

“What’s the new plan?” Henry looked at Mikey, who was rooted in place paralyzed. “Mikey we need a new plan. Snap out of it!” He shook Mikey and that snapped him out of whatever trance he was in.

“It means to eat us. Avoid the hands, fire on the body. I’m reminded of EB here.” Doppelord used his hands to shuffle and turn himself as he tried to fire tentacles at Mikey. From above they could hear croaking and crimson Blood Spirits began descending from the darkness above.

“Focus on Doppelord. These Blood Spirits are like Grunny Subs at this point.” He was surprised as he saw his cyclone sweep a few Blood Spirits up and carry them away.

“Kerri look out!” Penelope was too late as Doppelord closed his decrepit rotting fingers around Kerri and lifted her off the ground.

She struggled trying to free herself from its grip as it eyed her through his crimson eyes, “This one is but flesh and faith, and is the more deluded.” It held up its other hand and they could see Mikey clutching it, “This one is machine and nerve, and has its mind concluded.” It flung Mikey down on the stone as it began to press down with its hand to crush him.

Kerri yelled as a burst of energy exploded from her and tore the hand gripping her apart, “Let him go you filth.” Doppelord howled in pain spraying purple-green blood from its burst fingers. It lifted its other hand off of Mikey to clutch its bleeding stump. Kerri landed on the ground next to Mikey with a thud.

“All consumption is death for the consumed. Yet all must eat, so we all bring damnation to one creature or another.” Doppelord sunk back into the pool as the Blood Spirits continued attacking. Mikey coughed as he dragged himself onto his hands and knees, he was covered all over with glowing bits of Doppelord’s purple-green blood.

“Are you alright?” Kerri stood and helped Mikey up.

“Yes, thank you. But I don’t think this fight is over just yet.” Mikey could see John, Penelope, Jeremy and Henry were busy fighting UnDrones and Blood Spirits as the pool behind them began to bubble and boil again. Doppelord rose from depths below lifting his entire body out this time. Doppelord’s spine curved into a waist sporting four stunted legs, jointed and narrow like a spiders. The flesh on Doppelord rippled as his glowing purple veins began to bulge. The pool began to drain Doppelord’s arms became bigger and sprouted jagged boney growths, the ones at each wrist curved like nails while all seemed to have a glistening purple metal coating on the edges. He stared at Mikey and Kerri through its glowing red eyes as he let out a bellow that shook the entire chamber.

“Is that some kind of hyper mode?” Kerri looked at the mindless hulk that now raced towards her and Mikey.

“Given the energies of this place, I’d say Doppelord is the first boss we’ve encountered to learn how to Ghi Burst.”

“Lovely. Plan?”

“The others have their hands full. It’s just you and me on this one. The animated here are sensitive to light. Perhaps he is too. But unless we can find a weak spot, attacks will bounce off of an enemy in burst mode.” One of Doppelord’s arms slammed into the stone between Kerri and Mikey.

“I have an idea. You just find that weak spot and take it out.” Kerri panted.

“Kerri wait-” He got cut off by her firing a beam into Doppelord’s eye. The menace turned to face her with a snarl as she took off running across the chamber. She weaved between the pillars as she ran, Mikey held his arm up to keep dust being kicked up out of his eyes as he watched Doppelord fire beam after beam at Kerri. As its back turned to him he saw a purple jewel connecting the monstrosity’s head to its body.

Kerri could feel her pulse racing as she led Doppelord around the chamber. She could hear his feet scratching on the stones behind her as he tried to keep up. She could feel the sizzle and heat in the air as a beam he fired just grazed her hair, it crashed into the ground ahead of her and the force of the impact blew her off her feet. Doppelord quickly closed the distance.

Mikey had taken off at a sprint when he saw the jewel and his pace quickened when he saw Kerri knocked off her feet. He reached out and grabbed one of the growths on Doppelord’s arms and creature only now took notice of him. Doppelord gurgled something as he swatted at Mikey and threw him against another pillar. His vision was a bit cloudy but he could see the beast looming over him getting ready to attack again when something else caught its attention. He could just barely make out it was Kerri hurling more bursts at Doppelord’s head. He dragged himself up and found a grip on one of the massive arms. He launched himself upwards before grabbing ahold of the next set of spines. He repeated this leaping and grabbing until he was at the shoulders and ran to where the neck joined the body. He looked but couldn’t find Kerri as Doppelord tried bucking him off. Sword drawn and held high, the blade shimmered gold as he plunged it into the jewel.

“Ryooooooo!” Doppelord shuddered as its head lurched forward, it hung on by a few tatters of flesh as Kerri saw the golden blade dancing in the shadows above. Doppelord lurched forward as he collapsed around Kerri. She felt the warm foul flesh around her like some twisted serial killer’s blanket but she knew his life was already draining.

“Kerri? Kerri?!” She could barely hear his voice muffled by the meat around her.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

“Kerri.” Her father’s voice was weak as he spoke, “Kerri, your mother and I have always wanted you to be happy. Do something you enjoy and do it well. I will always be proud of you so long as you follow what you want. You and your brother are your mother and I’s greatest accomplishments. I will love you always, my princess.” Her father sank back into his hospital bed as Kerri’s mother came to the doorway.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

“Kerri, please be okay.” She could hear Mikey’s voice more clearly as he was cutting and tossing chunks of the deceased Doppelord off of her. As Kerri squeezed her hand she felt something round and warm in it.

“I’m here.” She finally managed to get out. After a few minutes of cutting and tearing she saw Mikey reaching down to pull her from the rotting heap. He looked so relieved.

“You’re crazy. You could have got yourself killed. You could have-” She cut him off by holding up her hand. Clutched in it was a glowing purple amulet. She could see the remaining UnDrones and Blood Spirits fleeing in terror now, and Henry and the others let them run as they turned to join Mikey and Kerri. “Can you move?”

“Give me a hand up?” Mikey smiled as he offered his arm for Kerri to grab onto. It took her a moment to steady herself as she stood. He wrapped an arm around her shoulder as he helped guide her steps off the rotting bloated corpse. Before they could celebrate though, the ground began to rumble.

“Earthquake?”

“No. Without its master to sustain it the underworld is coming apart.” John and Henry exchanged panicked comments.

“This way!” Penelope motioned to an open tunnel she found. With no other options available to them, they decided to sprint down the tunnel.

“There’s a fork ahead.” Jeremy called over the crumbling chambers around them.

“The right path would dump us out into the chapter one Otami Ruins. The left will dump us out into the Phazian Wastes.” Mikey yelled back.

“Got it, left then.” The minutes felt like hours as the ground around them shook and collapsed.

“I see light ahead!”

“100 meters!”

“We aren’t going to make it!” The opening ahead of them was already closing.

“85 meters!”

“Whatever happens don’t stop.” Mikey raised his arms as he created a blue shell that was made of interlocking hexagons. “Please hold long enough.” He whispered to himself. They’d only covered half the distance before the shell he made was already cracking from the stresses of falling rock and collapsing tunnels. He could already hear the parts of the barrier behind them beginning to break and the stone closing off. He fired a few more pulses of this shield ahead of them. The quick formed barriers shuddered under the weight of the rocks above but held together long enough. The sunlight of the desert was blinding as they set foot on the soft turf at the base of the mountain whose innards they’d traversed.

After a few minutes of panting Kerri finally spoke, “We’re all here. What a thrilling run that was.”

“You sure we need to go to Halloween Town and not Aekea next?” Henry asked.

“Positive. But I think we can afford to take the rest of today to rest and make camp here.” Mikey didn’t get any argument about resting, and they quickly made camp and broke out some food.

After nightfall while everyone was sleeping except himself and Kerri, Mikey finally looked at her from across the campfire, “What?”

“You wanted to know before who Maria was. Well, I’m okay with telling you now. Maria was my little sister. She followed me everywhere.” Kerri listened to Mikey expectantly, “When I was a lot younger I had an accident that crippled a part of my brain. It’s left me with a condition that will likely kill me before I reach twenty five.”

“Isn’t that in four weeks?” Kerri asked.

“Yes.” Mikey answered flatly.

“You accepted this mission because you thought it would be your last chance to do something for the world, didn’t you? That’s why you’ve been willing to sacrifice yourself and nobody else, isn’t it?” Kerri’s tone was calm.

“Will you let me finish my story?” He waited a moment without any objections before he continued, “After that accident, I became withdrawn and wary of people. But Maria found ways to keep me attached to the world outside my head. Eight years ago, there was a festival in my home town that I wanted to go to. At the time, my father cared only about his job and so he couldn’t take me. My mom’s vehicle was being repaired so walking became the only option available. Maria and my mother both decided to come with me.” Mikey choked up a bit. But Kerri rose from her seat, moved around the flames and sat down next to him. It was only after she leaned against him that he found the words to keep going, “We were crossing the street, less than a mile from the festival, and this car comes out of nowhere.” He shuddered a moment when he felt her reassuring hand on his cheek. “The driver was drunk. He hit Maria and my mother, and I could only watch helpless as…as… they didn’t make it. It was my fault, it was because of me that they were even there.”

“You can’t blame yourself for that. The driver was the one who killed them, not you.”

“My father didn’t see it that way. He kicked me out of the house after the funeral. He couldn’t stand to look at me with that reminder. For the last eight years, I’ve lived alone. Always wanting to be alone, because I bring pain to those who get close to me.”

“You haven’t brought us any lasting pain. And we’ve become as close as a dysfunctional family. You aren’t some harbinger of doom, you’re one of the few good people I know.” She looked at his teary face,

“Maybe you’re right.” Mikey whispered.

“Damn straight I’m right. We’ll beat The Phantom. And maybe once we have we can spend some time in the real world together?”

“I’d like that.”

“And it gives us both something to keep fighting for.” The fire light twinkled in the darkness as they watched the stars cross the night sky.
I'm too tired to deliver a lengthy response (thus belying my appreciation of having such a lengthy chapter...that awesome feeling of coming to the end of a post and realizing there's another), but maybe later. Really liked it though. The jungle, the underworld, finally finding out what exactly happened with Mikey's mom and sister (as well as the fact that he's dying; didn't see that coming -- and it looks like the crew's deadline is the same as his own...what would happen if he died before then? Would he disappear from the game, or exist on borrowed time until he left the virtual reality?)

Kerri makes me think of what I might have been if my parents were indulgent instead of overbearing. And if I could drive. She isn't explicitly stated to have any kind of mental issues, but I wouldn't be surprised if she had an anxiety disorder -- with her lifestyle, she could just be a lazy slacker, but it might also indicate that she has trouble in "real-world" situations, which is something I can identify with. It kind of gives me hope that if I ended up in her situation, I would be able to handle it. I think of myself as a spineless coward with no useful skills, but if she can save the world despite her fears and limitations, maybe I could too. *shrugs* But since I show up later in the fic, apparently I can fend for myself well enough, which also gives me an odd sort of hope: I currently have no proof that I won't become a badass in the next two years!

Also, why couldn't she fly up out of the gorge? Did she just not think of it? It can't have been the air currents thing because that wasn't established yet (i.e., she didn't know about it).

Oh. Also also. Why couldn't the crew communicate telepathically while they were separated? Is it only a short-distance thing?

Hmm, okay, I guess maybe this was kind of lengthy, but I didn't say much about the main content except that I liked it (which I did), so it probably could have been longer. I always forget that once I start talking, I never stop.
Berryfarmer's avatar

Winged Abomination

24,550 Points
  • Winged 100
  • Battle Hardened 150
  • Alchemy Level 10 100
LabTech Kestin
.what would happen if he died before then? Would he disappear from the game, or exist on borrowed time until he left the virtual reality?)

Something I'm still working on timing wise. I've played with writing scenarios for different possibilities here. When I get to the finale, I'll probably use the scenario that fits the rest of the chapter and how I want to close out the story.

Quote:
Kerri makes me think of what I might have been if my parents were indulgent instead of overbearing. And if I could drive. She isn't explicitly stated to have any kind of mental issues, but I wouldn't be surprised if she had an anxiety disorder -- with her lifestyle, she could just be a lazy slacker, but it might also indicate that she has trouble in "real-world" situations, which is something I can identify with. It kind of gives me hope that if I ended up in her situation, I would be able to handle it. I think of myself as a spineless coward with no useful skills, but if she can save the world despite her fears and limitations, maybe I could too. *shrugs* But since I show up later in the fic, apparently I can fend for myself well enough, which also gives me an odd sort of hope: I currently have no proof that I won't become a badass in the next two years!

I wanted to make this chapter a chance for her to do some growing up from the youthful innocence and naivety to finally getting things together with a plan. And illustrate more of why she was the kind of character she was before.

Quote:
Also, why couldn't she fly up out of the gorge? Did she just not think of it? It can't have been the air currents thing because that wasn't established yet (i.e., she didn't know about it).

Oh. Also also. Why couldn't the crew communicate telepathically while they were separated? Is it only a short-distance thing?

Hanging precariously from an edge by an arm, I think the thought process would be more, "Oh sh- I need to hang on for dear life." Short distance only communication on the other question, not to mention inference from The Phantom limits the designed chat abilities, for example: when they first set foot into chapter two areas they lost contact with the real world.

Quote:
Hmm, okay, I guess maybe this was kind of lengthy, but I didn't say much about the main content except that I liked it (which I did), so it probably could have been longer. I always forget that once I start talking, I never stop.

No worries, always appreciate the interest and getting a chance to answer things I might have forgotten to include in the actual story.
Berryfarmer
LabTech Kestin
.what would happen if he died before then? Would he disappear from the game, or exist on borrowed time until he left the virtual reality?)

Something I'm still working on timing wise. I've played with writing scenarios for different possibilities here. When I get to the finale, I'll probably use the scenario that fits the rest of the chapter and how I want to close out the story.


So you're actually going to kill him off? You wouldn't do that. Would you? Yeah, you would. ...you wouldn't, right?

He should at least get Kerri pregnant first I'm sorry. Ignore the crazy one. It spends too much time on TV Tropes.
Berryfarmer's avatar

Winged Abomination

24,550 Points
  • Winged 100
  • Battle Hardened 150
  • Alchemy Level 10 100
LabTech Kestin
Berryfarmer
LabTech Kestin
.what would happen if he died before then? Would he disappear from the game, or exist on borrowed time until he left the virtual reality?)

Something I'm still working on timing wise. I've played with writing scenarios for different possibilities here. When I get to the finale, I'll probably use the scenario that fits the rest of the chapter and how I want to close out the story.


So you're actually going to kill him off? You wouldn't do that. Would you? Yeah, you would. ...you wouldn't, right?

He should at least get Kerri pregnant first I'm sorry. Ignore the crazy one. It spends too much time on TV Tropes.
Still unsure, but it is a possibility he could die. I don't know if a virtual impregnation really works, not to mention that might move the story to a different rating.
Berryfarmer
LabTech Kestin
Berryfarmer
LabTech Kestin
.what would happen if he died before then? Would he disappear from the game, or exist on borrowed time until he left the virtual reality?)

Something I'm still working on timing wise. I've played with writing scenarios for different possibilities here. When I get to the finale, I'll probably use the scenario that fits the rest of the chapter and how I want to close out the story.


So you're actually going to kill him off? You wouldn't do that. Would you? Yeah, you would. ...you wouldn't, right?

He should at least get Kerri pregnant first I'm sorry. Ignore the crazy one. It spends too much time on TV Tropes.

Still unsure, but it is a possibility he could die. I don't know if a virtual impregnation really works, not to mention that might move the story to a different rating.


Hmph. Well, it wouldn't surprise me. You're pathetically predictable; I bet you don't have the guts not to kill off your main character. *leans back, satisfied* Oh great and powerful gods of reverse psychology, grant me thy blessing.

It could work. Maybe not under regular circumstances, but the coding on this server is all screwy, and people can legitimately die. Computers like to have all their numbers balanced, right? So if the programming allows for people to die and therefore be removed without proper exit procedures, then certainly it would allow for new people to be conceived to replace what it sees as missing pixels! In fact, it would encourage it, resulting in super-fertility for all! (I am the supreme master of logic right now.)

I can see a whole spinoff about the life of a child created in a virtual world, plagued by weak biometric integration and struggling to fit in with his/her better-rendered peers...until one day s/he discovers a game called zOMG (which is now up to chapter 400 or something) and finds out s/he has superpowers based on the rings in the game (inherited brainwaves from daddy, obviously) and is destined to...uh...save the world from the unholy offspring of Kamila and the Phantom do something interesting. Naturally, being a sequel quite different in tone from the original, it would be critically panned and the movie adaptation would never be made, but that's life.

Alternatively, he could die shortly after the game ends, living just long enough for sexytimes. But that would be less interesting.
Berryfarmer's avatar

Winged Abomination

24,550 Points
  • Winged 100
  • Battle Hardened 150
  • Alchemy Level 10 100
LabTech Kestin
Berryfarmer
LabTech Kestin
Berryfarmer
LabTech Kestin
.what would happen if he died before then? Would he disappear from the game, or exist on borrowed time until he left the virtual reality?)

Something I'm still working on timing wise. I've played with writing scenarios for different possibilities here. When I get to the finale, I'll probably use the scenario that fits the rest of the chapter and how I want to close out the story.


So you're actually going to kill him off? You wouldn't do that. Would you? Yeah, you would. ...you wouldn't, right?

He should at least get Kerri pregnant first I'm sorry. Ignore the crazy one. It spends too much time on TV Tropes.

Still unsure, but it is a possibility he could die. I don't know if a virtual impregnation really works, not to mention that might move the story to a different rating.


Hmph. Well, it wouldn't surprise me. You're pathetically predictable; I bet you don't have the guts not to kill off your main character. *leans back, satisfied* Oh great and powerful gods of reverse psychology, grant me thy blessing.

It could work. Maybe not under regular circumstances, but the coding on this server is all screwy, and people can legitimately die. Computers like to have all their numbers balanced, right? So if the programming allows for people to die and therefore be removed without proper exit procedures, then certainly it would allow for new people to be conceived to replace what it sees as missing pixels! In fact, it would encourage it, resulting in super-fertility for all! (I am the supreme master of logic right now.)

I can see a whole spinoff about the life of a child created in a virtual world, plagued by weak biometric integration and struggling to fit in with his/her better-rendered peers...until one day s/he discovers a game called zOMG (which is now up to chapter 400 or something) and finds out s/he has superpowers based on the rings in the game (inherited brainwaves from daddy, obviously) and is destined to...uh...save the world from the unholy offspring of Kamila and the Phantom do something interesting. Naturally, being a sequel quite different in tone from the original, it would be critically panned and the movie adaptation would never be made, but that's life.

Alternatively, he could die shortly after the game ends, living just long enough for sexytimes. But that would be less interesting.


ಠ_ಠ Pixel children... I don't want to cross that frontier unless it's in a standalone science fiction novel, not in a game based fanfiction. Any sequel I would write to zOMC would more than likely happen in the real world with events from the fallout of what will happen in the finale, or be its own story with some new faces set in a chapter three of zOMG.

Might see another chapter by mid-week, currently adding more content to the mini-chapter I used for a contest entry to make it a full chapter.

Quick Reply

Submit
Manage Your Items
Other Stuff
Get GCash
Offers
Get Items
More Items
Where Everyone Hangs Out
Other Community Areas
Virtual Spaces
Fun Stuff
Gaia's Games