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Thread: Potched Kumquat [Victory!]

  1. #251
    that one adventure author Lisawags's Avatar
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    Re: Pitched Combat [Round 4: Colossus Colosseum]

    Jordan stared at the colossal statue in trepidation until he saw the dragons pass by him into the open; now his attention shifted onto them. Knowing that *THEY* may cause his death, he plotted on their deaths. Burn the scarecrow, maybe? No, if it could be killed that easily, they would be dead by now... His power were useless against the two, and he didn't trust anyone but himself at this point in this sick "game," because he simply didn't know either of the remaining contestants well enough and the risk was too high.

    Slowly coming to realization that all is lost, his mind wandered, thinking about what he would do if he ever made out of this alive. Failing this, he contemplated about his life so far. It wasn't good... at all. All he remembered was working, working, working; never smiling, never enjoying himself, just perpetual toil, as if he was a machine with only a single purpose.

    He tried, tried hard, to think of a time when he was happy, but nothing came to mind. Jordan thought back, recalling everything he remembered. Pangs of regret surged through him, screaming, Why did I do this? I could have done that, yet... Why? Somehow, he felt more determined to live.

    The boy looked up to to see the colossus unsteadily dragging its feet after Eemp, Right, and Rong. He sighed, thinking back to his first thought: how to murder the trio. He knew that fighting them by himself would be futile, so he had to rely on others; he had to take a leap of faith for once. He decided that he would have to ask for help.

    He stood and felt his head throbbing from the sudden movement. He wobbled toward the door and stood by it until he was more stable. Knowing that this was the only chance, he rushed out of the room. Jordan saw that there were three other openings in the circular arena leading to the other rooms. The arena was littered with withering corpses with weapons, shields, and armor still intact on them. Maybe... I could stab- no, that would require me getting close enough, but what if... Maybe this'll actually work! It seemed that the trio went for the closest one to the left, so he dashed toward the one to the right. On his way there, he grabbed two swords.



  2. #252
    I Don't Deserve This Title MalkyTop's Avatar
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    Re: Pitched Combat [Round 4: Colossus Colosseum]

    Alex looked up as he heard someone run towards him, though he relaxed when he saw it was only Jordan...granted, a Jordan armed with swords, but still the Jordan that wasn't (and sure, the knight was nice and tactful, but nobody could deny it) much of a threat.

    It was a little strange of him to run out into dangerous waters (er, arena?) to get to him. Maybe he was growing...

    Alex kept quiet, waiting for Jordan to talk. As the boy caught his breath, he couldn't help but note with some indignation that Alex was completely relaxed around him. Not even a hand on his sword.

    Finally, he said, "I need your help."

    "What for?"

    "We need to kill the dragons."

    It didn't really have as much impact as Jordan would have liked. Alex was still standing calmly and the words flailed around in the air as they faded quickly from the atmosphere. "Well?" the pyrokinetic prompted.

    Alex smiled wryly. "Even if I did want to help, I won't be able to for about twenty minutes. I'm not sure how I can anyways. If we go out, then we'll just get chased around as well. Then again, I somehow get the feeling we'll be all forced out of our rooms anyways...us staying in here, it's not 'entertaining.'"

    Jordan lowered both swords (his arms were getting tired anyways), the feeling of general inevitability depressing him. They would all eventually have to team up against this giant statue and one of the was destined to die, either by the giant's hand or by one of the others...an exit was mentioned, but really, what chance was that of happening?

    Suddenly, he was aware of a horrible crashing sound. It was close. Like, right outside the door close. Both the knight and the boy looked out and saw a slightly glowing foot. Apparently, it had abandoned the prey that moved too quickly and was going for the prey that were simply standing around.

    Another crash, and the two could feel rubble fall from the ceiling. "Run!" Alex shouted sharply. Jordan, not really in the mood to be buried alive, complied and the two rushed out between the legs of the colossus. Scanning the arena quickly, Jordan could see Eemp again. Apparently, Rong immediately started towards the Manikin once more when the giant statue stopped chasing them and she was now firing blindly at the fleeing wooden doll.

  3. #253

    Re: Pitched Combat [Round 4: Colossus Colosseum]

    "looks like i have no choice, try to distract it, i need some time to focus." Alex yells to Jordan who looks at Alex wondering if that is such good idea before noticing how serious he looks. they split off jordan going slightly slower then alex to draw the Colossus' attention. after they were a good distance apart Alex took out his sword and held it in his left only and focuses as much energy as he can through his arm, it lights up with a sickening array of color and then then falls limp, a lifeless gray. before his sword falls from it's grasp he snatches it up with his other hand it's magic flaring up back to full power, he really hopes that was worth it. turning green he is off like a shot running up to the large foot just as i comes down and jumping on to it. he gets his footing, shifts to black and stabs straight down. his blade doesn't sink in much but the dark energy of the blade spreads out and cancels some some of the glowing of the foot in a small circle around the blade. the colossus howls in pain and swings it's foot throwing alex off of it. he shifts to brown in mid air and overdrives a moment before impact, sinking into a wall a good inch and having the wind knocked out of him but otherwise okay. Alex pulls himself out of the crevice and thinks 'looks like black works, barely, i will need a lot mo- ah crap it's after me' and goes green and starts running away from the angry giant.

  4. #254
    that one adventure author Lisawags's Avatar
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    Re: Pitched Combat [Round 4: Colossus Colosseum]

    Muttering an apology, Jordan abandoned Alex and ran after Eemp. The colossus swerved angrily toward the assailant and swinged its arm at Alex. He nimbly dodged the stagnant attack. Almost toppling over, the giant held onto the wall for support, but it crumbled from the immense weight.

    Meanwhile, Jordan was sprinting toward the manikin and the dragons with all his might, trying with difficulty to keep going. He breathed heavily and his lungs were stinging badly, but he pressed on. When he finally reached them, he wheezed with his hand held high and him bending forward, "St...op."

    Neither of the dragons bothered looking at him, knowing that he couldn't damage any of them. Instead, they focused on burning the manikin, the adroit puppet. The dragons twisted this way and that as Rong breathed flames mercilessly and Right snapped at the manikin, somewhat like Spike running after Tom in the old cartoons.

    Jordan stared at the other contestants with a tired look and panted, resisting the urge of collapsing from the strain. Rather than give up, he concentrated on Right with all of his might as his last attempt to defeat them.

  5. #255
    I Don't Deserve This Title MalkyTop's Avatar
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    Re: Pitched Combat [Round 4: Colossus Colosseum]

    Thinking back, it was so obvious that Rong would eventually go crazy and attack whatever rubbed her the wrong way (pretty much everything). She probably had filed away personal reasons for killing every contestant just to feel even better for killing.

    Right hated hindsight. It was useless and annoying and always made him feel stupid.

    In any case, although a berserk and bloodthirsty Rong would be sort of helpful in a battle to the death, he felt sure that she would continue attacking blindly at anything that moved until eventually she would destroy him and maybe even Eemp (and thus, herself). There was a very good reason they were usually magically restrained.

    Right was sure the spiders were the problem (although it was nice how they were always stitching Eemp right up again). He had to get rid of the spiders, and then maybe the shrimpy scarecrow would be able to keep Rong under control once more. Of course, he'd have to take care of Rong first...and it seemed as though the only way to at least temporarily incapacitate her was to temporarily decapitate her. Ha! That was a good one. Too bad he couldn't say it since...

    "I feel uncomfortably warm." Rong was too busy completely missing the Manikin to pay attention, so Right just stuck to thinking to himself. It wasn't the constant fireballs she was spewing out...Right tried looking around, sweltering now. It was a little hard when attached to a doll basically being dragged by its other arm. He caught sight of Jordan. Oh yes, he was a pyrokinetic, wasn't he?

    They had passed him a while ago and so were almost circling back on him. They were also almost circling back to the giant statue. The Manikin veered widely around the battling statue and Rong followed so they were now coming back to Jordon at a diagonal. Right quickly thought up an idea which would hopefully work before he caught on fire. As they closed in, Right changed back into a sword and got ready to attack. He quickly started getting red hot, but Jordan realized what the dragon was about to do and broke his concentration to raise a sword in defense. Still, Right's metal was weak enough for his own strike to nick him.

    As Right rebounded, Jordan almost let the instinct of cowardice take a hold of him, but the boy clenched his jaw and swung a sword back at Right, who was now back in dragon form. However, Right quickly changed size, growing so that the sudden weight toppled Eemp and so that Rong was suddenly in the path of the swinging sword.

    It felt so...wrong. Not morally wrong, well, okay, maybe a little. It felt physically wrong. Was that the right way to say it? Jordan's sword cut cleanly through Rong's neck. Not even stopping at the bone. Just like soft butter. It was making Jordan feel a little queasy.

    Rong's head flew off somewhere towards the fight between the giant and Alex. Her bloody stump stayed upright, a blood bubble ballooning out as though she had something to say before it popped and her neck slumped, bleeding all over Eemp and the stone floor. The acid seemed to be eating away the floor though it did nothing to Eemp.

    Jordan stood, frozen, staring at the deed he had done. How did this happen? The Jordan at the beginning of this battle would have never believed he would wind up cutting off a dragon's head...but...well...

    "Oh get over it," Right said as Eemp pushed itself up. A little of his own blood was trickling down his neck. "It's not as though she's dead. By the way, that sword is useless and you might want to wipe off the blood now." Now that the dragon mentioned it, Jordan did feel a stinging sensation where Rong's blood fell on his flesh and it seemed that his sword had not survived well after travelling through a neck filled with acidic blood. It seemed a good thing that he had brought an extra.

    "If you try to attack me with that other sword, I will tear off your head. My skin is a lot tougher than headless over there anyways. We need to make a deal. Quickly, because it won't take very long for her to regrow her head." Jordan hesitated before lowering the second sword. Right looked back at the battle between Alex and the statue. "Let's get out of the way first," he added before heading towards one of the rooms that had held them before.

    "Now I'm still not entirely sure about the whole thing and it may sound a little moronic, but stay with me here." Jordan nodded mutely, his eyes shifting between Right and the bloody, headless Rong. "I believe that there might be parasitic spiders inside of us that is sapping Eemp's strength."

    "Uh?" Jordan replied, staring at the acid blood dripping on the floor and picking at his blood-stained clothes.

    "And I'd like you to get rid of them. I think you can do it, probably, by heating Eemp up so that the spiders will die. Eemp won't catch fire, of course. I'm not sure if the spiders will, but I bet they'll at least die of heat. The eggs too, if there are any."

    "Oh." Jordan said, as though this was the most natural request in the world. He focused back on Eemp's smiling face. "Um."

    "I'll assume that means 'what is in it for me?' Well, with the spiders gone, hopefully Eemp will be able to control Rong again. That way, she will probably not kill you. Because as it is right now, as soon as she regenerates her head, she will kill you for beheading her and frolic in your remains. Well, she can't frolic, but you get the idea. So that's it. Well?"

    Jordan looked at the corroded sword in his hand and back to Rong's listless neck as though trying to make the connection that yes, he did indeed behead a dragon. "Uh?"

    -------------------------------------

    Alex dodged yet another attack. This statue was really wearing him down. After that one blow the knight gave it, it was trying to keep him on the defensive. And ultimately succeeding.

    He was hoping to stay near the pile of rubble at the collapsed wall, at least to see what was beyond the hole (a way out? Alex wasn't too optimistic, but it didn't hurt to check.) but he was having enough trouble staying alive as it was. His energy was starting to fail as well too. He couldn't do this alone...he needed someone, he needed help...

    The Manikin suddenly ran right into the colossus's leg.



  6. #256
    Hate birds MyifanW's Avatar
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    Re: Pitched Combat [Round 4: Colossus Colosseum]

    Although it was hard to tell, the Manikin's mind was in gestation. Eating a personified figment of imagination was just enough to kick start this process. More complex reasons were spinning in the Manikin's solid head- well, no, not exactly. At least though, it could now make slight logical connections.

    And, for some reason, those logical connections told it that climbing the giant was a great idea.

    This all was incredibly scary, the manikin finally managed to acknowledge. Truly, it was irrevokably panicked. However, this was the very first state of mind it knew, as it's mind grew only while panic was a constant stimulous response. As such, panic was "normal." it had no great hold over the Manikin, and did nothing to hinder it's other strong inclinations, namely eating and... eating.

    But! Eating for the manikin wasn't that simple. It was the junction of curiousity and growth! To it, eating was akin to "gaining." Devouring things just happened to always be the easiest way to gain. But at the moment, looking at the giant with it's life detection, it thought that maybe eating it wasn't the best thing to do. Yes, it was afraid of the giant, but that wasn't really why. For the Manikin right then, it felt that the giant was... Kin, or at least similar. It had concretely decided that eating the giant wasn't the best, that it would rather climb up and... help the giant? Ally with it?

    The Manikin wasn't quite sure.

  7. #257
    I Don't Deserve This Title MalkyTop's Avatar
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    Re: Pitched Combat [Round 4: Colossus Colosseum]

    It took a while before they made any progress, but finally, Jordan regained his senses before Right decided to punch him. (Or, uh, headbutt him.)

    Jordan didn't really like the idea of helping out the dragons, the most dangerous competitors by far, but he was having a little trouble telling that to Right's face. Bravery is a little easier when the danger is not staring you right in the face about to gnaw your face off and his cowardly tendencies still hadn't completely left. Still, he tried to stand tall and considered what he knew.

    Eemp was the one that kept the dragons alive, this he was sure of, though he never really got any solid proof. It just seemed obvious, really. They were two dragon heads, so alone, they would just be dead. According to Right, Eemp seemed to be dying, or 'dying' or something, maybe, possibly. After all, an animated scarecrow can't possibly live off something other than magic and that is apparently what it is running out of. Therefore, once Eemp 'dies,' Right and Rong would die and no more dire threat. By helping them, he would be saving them.

    But...he had no idea how long it would be until they died. And apparently Eemp held some restraint over them. If he did nothing, then, well, could he survive Rong's wrath and possibly Right's revenge? It would actually be safer if he saved Eemp because most likely the dragons wouldn't shoot fireballs at him every few seconds. It might be even easier to kill them without getting incinerated.

    Jordan really wasn't very confident in his survival and it seemed that by helping the scarecrow with this spider problem, he would have more of a chance to live.

    "...Alright," he finally said.

    Right gave a sharky grin that Jordan found hard to look at. "You won't regret it."

    -------------------

    It was a little startling for Alex to see that mannequin climbing up the giant statue he was still trying to fight. The thing was certainly a little crazy sometimes, but he was sure that it at least had some common sense. Mountain climbing a colossus that was trying to kill you was really not very smart. As the Manikin found when the giant paused in its lumbering about to attempt to swat the wooden figurine off.

    As the Manikin scrambled around on the giant's shoulder, Alex took this chance to rest up a little, landed on the sweet, stable ground, and almost slipped on Rong's head.

    It was a little disturbing. But, he noticed, it could be a little useful. Stooping to pick it up by a horn, the knight was careful to not let the blood fall on him. Then, carefully approaching the statue's leg, he tried swiping some of the blood against it, ruining some of the glowing symbols. They immediately faded. Although he had no idea what they did, Alex considered this a success. Except he had no idea how to get the blood to anyplace else other than the feet without splashing blood on him as well.

  8. #258
    I Don't Deserve This Title MalkyTop's Avatar
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    Re: Pitched Combat [Round 4: Colossus Colosseum]



    Jordan closed his eyes, as reluctant as he was in front of Right, and concentrated.

    Right wanted him to heat up the insides of Eemp...Jordan had never tried to set fire to something he couldn't exactly see but knew was there. Usually it was good enough if he stared at something and concentrated. Then fire would start eating from the outside in. But if he did that here, the supposed spiders probably wouldn't even get warm and he could inadvertently set Right on fire, who would then probably become very unhappy with him.

    A little hesitantly, Jordan tried imagining Eemp, armless, and then took off the outer cloth so there was an Eemp-shaped pile of hay. By now, he would imagine an Eemp-shaped pile of hay on fire, but he was still a little unsure. Right did say that Eemp was apparently fire-resistant, but it was hard to think of straw as anything besides flammable. Maybe he could imagine a thermometer instead...?

    Right let his impatience known with a "Well?" and Jordan just went with the thermometer idea. As the imaginary mercury rose, he smelled something burning, which meant it worked and the spiders were curling up and dying, or it worked and Eemp's straw was on fire. But Right said nothing, simply coughed, and so Jordan continued. The sounds of fighting went on outside and he ignored them, trying not to get distracted, but he couldn't help but break his concentration when he started to feel small bits of rock falling on his head. He looked up, but Right barked, "Keep going, you're not done!" before coughing up more smoke as he made himself an arc over Jordan's head to protect him from falling rubble. Jordan couldn't help but wonder how he could know, but if he wanted to suffer more smoke, that was fine by him.

    Jordan continued supposedly exterminating spiders, sometimes breaking concentration when it sounded as though the room was about to come down on them or when Right started a horrible coughing fit, but every time, Right just ordered him to keep going.

    Suddenly, Jordan felt something biting into his shoulder. He flailed instinctively, but Right just bit a little harder and threw him out of the room as Eemp ran out right when the room collapsed. Outside, the Manikin was still clinging onto the giant statue's shoulder. It had decided that the small wooden Manikin was no trouble and set its attention on the more troublesome knight. They had ran right in the middle of the fight, but were not noticed and so just escaped to the other side of the arena, dodging giant feet.

    They stopped nearby a pile of rubble, Jordan leaning over to catch his breath. When he looked back up at the dragons again, he watched with slight horror as Rong's bloody stump healed over, then slowly sprouted horns and fins. "Oh, looks like Rong will be joining us in a minute. Anyways, I think I have another proposal for you." Jordan watched as Rong's stump started growing a snout.

    "Do you ever pay attention? Look, do you want to get out of here?" The bespectacled boy forced himself to look at Right and stared skeptically.

    "Ye-es..."

    "Well we'll need to kill someone."

    "'We?'"

    "That Alex Corendal's occupied and more importantly, exhausted. He'll be easy to finish off right now. You could set fire to him, couldn't you? Then we'll be away from this pesky arena." Jordan looked over at the huge fight which was slowly progressing its way around. He had a horrible feeling that Right was just trying to pick off the one with more battle experience so the only ones left in his way for victory would be a mindless mannequin and a harmless kid. Self-esteem issues reared its ugly head once more. It was hopeless now. The only one he could actually win against in a battle was the Manikin and that was only because it happened to be completely stupid. Alex seemed nice enough, but eventually he would realize the only way to escape would be to kill him. The dragons would kill him without a second thought.

    Even under depression, though, Jordan couldn't go and let Right control him. "If you want him dead, you do it yourself."

    "Ah, remember, you destroying those spiders had a side-effect? We can't exactly attack anyone unless this idiot thinks we're in danger." Right nodded over at Eemp's vacant expression and chuckled. "And if we just go up to that thing, we'll get occupied by that giant as well, I'm sure. Long range is best, and as Rong's little head is still in development," Jordan quickly glanced at Rong and discovered in dismay that though she had grown eyeholes, she had not grown eyes. "I'm thinking you're best for the job."

    Jordan appeared to consider this and raised his remaining sword. Right smirked. "You really think that's a good idea?"

    The boy stared determinedly at him for a while, shifting nervously, before suddenly scrambling up the pile of rubble and disappearing in the hole in the wall.

    Right stared in slight disbelief before glaring at Eemp. "You could, oh, I don't know, follow him?" But by now the giant statue had arrived, still fending off Alex's attempts to attack while occupying Right's attention with lasers.

    Rong's head had finally grown completely back and to Right's annoyance, she was as garrulous as ever. "GODDAMN THAT HURT! The next time I see that guy, I'm gonna kill him! And what the hell is shiny sword guy doing with my head?!"

    Alex looked over, looking both exhausted and relieved. "Oh great. Listen, do you mind bleeding on these glowing runes? I think it messes this statue up."

  9. #259
    The Statman Victorious Pinary's Avatar
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    Re: Pitched Combat [Round 4: Colossus Colosseum]


    Things I currently dislike: Life. Why's it got to take so much time away from my precious internetting?

  10. #260
    I Don't Deserve This Title MalkyTop's Avatar
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    Re: Pitched Combat [Round 4: Colossus Colosseum]

    Rong let out a continuous stream of fire. It did nothing to slow down the giant stone foot that came at them with alarming speed. Eemp and Alex turned and ran to avoid getting kicked or stomped on.

    "See? I told you. Statues don't catch on fire. We need to go with my plan."

    "You are not using my own blood without my permission."

    "Well I'm sure if we ruined those glyph things on its legs, it won't be able to walk anymore. So rubbing your blood all over it would pretty much be very helpful."

    "Do you think it's fun to have your head cut off?"

    "Well, no, but your old head is sort of running out of blood."

    "Right, you aren't saying anything. Why are you not disagreeing with this stupid idea."

    "Hm? Oh, well, I was thinking what would happen if we burned away the glyphs on its head."

    Rong gaped at this traitorous remark while Alex looked thoughtful as the giant behind them continued to pound its feet on the floor and fire laser beams wildly. "Well, it's not really living. Getting rid of its head is not necessarily the best way to stop it. Although wait, let me try something..."

    With his sword's setting on 'wind', the knight suddenly zoomed ahead and turned back to aim Rong's old head high up at the head. It seemed to hit it somewhere on its shoulder. He slowed down to be able to talk with Right once more. "No, that worked out as well as I expected...also, I need a new head now."

    "No!" Rong spat for about the tenth time. Alex rolled his eyes.

    "It's a lot better than running around in circles until the round ends."

    "Gettin' tired?" Rong sneered. "Well good! Just die already! Then we wouldn't have to deal with this stupid statue!"

    "That is something I'd rather not happen," the knight replied nonchalantly.

    "Well if I'm gonna have t' let you cut off my head, then you have to give that shiny sword to me later!"

    "I'd rather keep my only weapon, thank you."

    Right sighed heavily. It was a sigh that said 'I am being chased by a giant statue that shoots laser beams and my only two companions care more about squabbling over tiny details that shouldn't matter when you're running for your life.' "You are both a pain."

    "Why don't you have your head cut off, see how you like it!"

    Right sighed again (this was the simpler 'You are very frustrating' sigh) before saying blankly, "Just go back to shooting fire. I'm sure this will solve all our problems eventually."

    "Finally! Now you're making sense!" Rong turned and opened her maw but got no further than that. Alex, his sword now a light blue, simply whacked her head, which froze over slightly, and smacked it so it snapped off and into his hand. Once more, a headless Rong flopped lifelessly behind as they continued running.

    "You do realize it will take a while to warm her head up again," Right said idly, glancing back to see how close the giant statue was now.

    "Fire. Benefits of elemental magic," Alex replied with a grin. "It was better than getting my sword corroded. You need help jumping onto a leg?"

    "I was about to ask you the same," Right said a little distractedly. "Slow down a little...

    "Jump!"

    Eemp jumped first, staying in the air longer than normal (thanks to Right's flying ability) before crashing into an ankle. As the statue stopped to attempt to shake the straw doll off, Alex turned and jumped on the other.

    Immediately, Right encountered trouble. Being the only functioning arm now, he had to hang onto the leg while also holding up Rong's stump of a neck to smear her blood on the glowing purple marks. Coiling around the leg made it harder to climb upwards and it was hard to bite onto Rong's neck lightly enough so that he would get her blood in his mouth but tightly enough so that she wouldn't get dislodged whenever the giant shook its leg around a little bit.

    After a few false starts, Right finally gave up with a huff of exasperation, uncoiled, and grew several clawed arms to grasp onto the leg and Rong's bleeding stump. He started smearing the acidic blood all over the leg beneath him, as though painting some sort of strange postmodern piece, scrabbling up and around, sometimes jumping off and gliding about to dodge any swipes from the giant's hand before landing again to continue.

    Already he was almost where the knee would be. He clung on desperately as another shudder ran down the leg in attempts to shake him off. Relaxing again, he noticed that the marks beneath him were glowing brightly, a sure sign that the statue was attempting to laser him to death.

    "Oh sh--"

    ----------------------------------------------------

    The Manikin was finally starting to keep his balance all the way up near the statue's head when something suddenly bounced off its head. Instinctively, it grabbed for the object and held it up in front of it. It had no life in it anymore. Unable to see it, the Manikin grew its tiny bug eyes once more and was slightly surprised to find that it was holding one of the dragon heads. Immediately, it wondered what would happen if it ate the head of one of the most powerful creatures it knew. Even as it thought of it, the hand holding Rong's head grew a mouth.

    --------------------------------------------------

    Jordan jumped down into a hallway behind the pile of rubble and looked around, wondering exactly where he was now. Why would there even be a hallway here in the first place? It didn't really seem to serve a purpose.

    Walking along the empty white corridor (why always white?), Jordan came across a door to his left. Poking his head through it for a bit, he found a room that looked very much like the one he started the round in. In fact, it probably was. It would have been very useful to know that there had been a secret door behind him all along. Not wanting to get involved with the giant statue battle, the boy quietly closed the door and moved on.

    Walking further, the pyrokinetic came across a door on the right this time. It probably wasn't an exit, but Jordan couldn't help but be a little excited and thus was disappointed when he opened the door to find nothing that looked like an escape route. But there seemed to be something interesting back here anyways. He crept in and stared at a wall of surveillance screens, most of them focusing on the arena but some of them filming...cells? Nobody seemed to be in them, however. Below the screens were many buttons and levers and what-have-yous that did something, though Jordan was damned if he knew.

  11. #261
    Hate birds MyifanW's Avatar
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    Re: Pitched Combat [Round 4: Colossus Colosseum]



    It was delicious. That shouldn't have been possible, considering the Manikin's lack of any tastebuds, but imagining that the head was just about the greatest thing to eat hard enough allowed the Manikin's to actually feel that it was as well. The feeling was more or less accurate, considering what it did for the Manikin.
    For starters, the Dragon head contained the first real, intellegent (relatively) brain the manikin had ever eaten. (since Jon was made of dreams) that alone allowed the manikin to correctly wire a response pattern for itself. No longer did it need to be entirely dependent on thought- it gained reflexes and programs, like taking steps when moving the thighs and rearing backwards and roaring when confronted with small men in shiny armor.Â*

    Then came equally important things, such as eyes and sharper teeth. The Manikin had just begun to understand it was totally sick of the stupid kalidieoscopic bug eye nonsense, and dragon eyes were perfectly suited to its wants- powerful and focused. Also, scary looking. The teeth were also a welcome change, as the beetle jaws it had been using before were designed to crush, not cut, which made eating hard things difficult.Â*

    Least importantly but equally greatly, the Manikin had enough of Rong to read her genetic code. As fantastic as that sounded, it didn't mean much when Rong was half or completely magical and deviant from god's plan. The Manikin could at best form a scrawny lean protodragon. However, even protodragons had the internal capabilities to store and generate flammable liquids, which basically meant the Manikin suddenly could breath fire on will.

    The golem had learned to tolerate the Manikin now, as it didn't seem like one of those lively people it was tasked with crushing, and its small attempts to brush the Manikin off were met with too much resistance to deal with. Because of this, the Manikin rode its new "friend" without any difficulty. Things were going well for it, and it really felt the need to... Do something. On it's high perch, The Manikin decided that it wanted to celebrate its newfound growth by filling the air with jets of flame.

  12. #262
    I Don't Deserve This Title MalkyTop's Avatar
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    Re: Pitched Combat [Round 4: Colossus Colosseum]

    Right quickly let go of the leg and fell a short distance to avoid the knee-laser before twisting around the back, blinking spots from his eyes. Which is why he didn't notice the giant fist flying towards him.

    Despite finding it hard to breathe at the moment, Right's claws scrabbled on the fist and he scurried up to the wrist, making sure to splatter some blood along the way. The giant continued to make it hard for him by constantly moving its arm up and down, making everything blur and spin wildly until he wasn't quite sure which way gravity was supposed to be pulling him. Still, during the times he could actually see straight, the Chinese dragon noticed that most of the legs were no longer covered in glowing glyphs. Hopefully, that meant that the thing couldn't run around so easily anymore, though he supposed that didn't matter much now that he was clinging onto its arm. He could also sort of see Alex struggling up the other leg. Apparently, rock climbing wasn't his strong suit. He hadn't gone far up yet.

    Right suddenly felt quite heavy as the arm swung upwards again. The upper arm was quickly filling up his whole vision and, realizing that the giant statue intended to squash him in between, he scrabbled around the wrist just in time, dragged Eemp up to the fist as the rock underneath him shuddered with the collision, and finally hopped off onto the shoulder as the fist swung down again.

    He...had skipped most of the arm. Plus, looking at the useless blue stub beside him, he could see that Rong had started healing over. He had a feeling that Rong wasn't going to like what he was about to do. He probably wouldn't either. But glowing shoulder glyphs didn't desecrate themselves. Grabbing Rong's limp neck once more, he forcibly rubbed the tender, newly-grown skin against the stone, tearing it apart. Blood and shredded skin covered the shoulder and the whole arm groaned. The colossus was struggling to raise it now. Right glanced down at the slow-moving arm with some satisfaction, then looked up towards the head. It seemed someone up there was throwing fireballs around like nobody's business. Curious, he got rid of his arms (he had always thought arms growing out of an 'arm' looked incredibly silly) and Eemp started to climb up the head.

    Until the whole colossus shuddered and started to tip over.

    ------------------------------------------------------------

    "Oops," Jordan said to nobody in particular as he looked for the button he had just pushed. Already, he had completely lost it. The structure of the maze continued to rise in the arena and underneath the colossus's feet, unbalancing the huge stone figure. In desperation, he chose another button at random. He noticed that this did nothing to stop the maze walls from rising. He also noticed that he had just activated a whole crapload of spike traps.

  13. #263
    Some Asshole SleepingOrange's Avatar
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    Re: Pitched Combat [Round 4: Colossus Colosseum]

    The Organizer drummed his fingers on nothing. It was all so boring; he'd only gotten into this grand battling schtick because it seemed like the thing to do for the up-and-coming omipotent entity, but... It seemed like it had taken months for anything to happen, and even that something had been barely more than nothing. He sighed to himself for the umpteenth time. Maybe he just didn't belong with this grandmasters; they were mostly either from corporeal universes or involved with their creation. The Organizer didn't really get reality the way these kids did. Maybe he was too old. His fingers pinged off emptiness again. All this matter these days.

    And then, without even the fanfare of a pop of displaced air in this unending void, there was the Composer, lips pursed and a scrap of paper held idly in one hand. As she appeared, the Organizer beamed and stood; as he stood, a world formed around him and coalesced into a room. It was done in steely greys and high technology, monitors lining walls and several ergonomic chairs dotting the floor. "Composer! So good to see you! I take it you got my letter?"
    "I did. I understand you wished to meet up for..." Here she made a feigned glance at the paper she clutched, despite knowing its brief and bizarre contents by heart. "'Collusion, scheming, and general conniving of all natures.' I don't think you have much experience with this sort of thing." The Organizer pulled a face, which was by now the Composer's face. "No, I don't really, but... It seems like everyone's doing it these days, I can't be left out! Nobody seemed to want to respond though. Between you and me, I don't think the others like me that much." He clapped childishly before gesturing widely around the lair he'd formed. "Do you like it, by the way? I thought it fit the theme well."

    The Composer didn't like it much. It was clearly a near-copy of the Monitor's den, with elements of the Controller's lair added in. That was how it always was with the Organizer, though, and she had to deal with it if she wanted him. And she did want him. She had plans for him. With a smile that was more like a grimace, she nodded. "Very appropriate." She would have gone on, since the Organizer seemed content to wait for her to volunteer something, but both she and he felt the arrival of another being.

    "Gentleman? Ah, and lady too, I see. Well met to you both." The Organizer smiled broadly, the left side of his face contorting to match Talis's visage while the right stayed content to mimic the Composer's. Even for beings like those present, it was... Unpleasant. "Two people! Thrilling! Oh the collusions we'll scheme. "Of course. As the Executive's schemer-in-chief, I felt like I couldn't miss an opportunity like this." "So much company. I shall have to get some tea." And a table had always been there, piled with the paraphernalia of a scrumptious teatime for three people who didn't eat and a whistling teapot. Not on a burner, or even particularly hot. The Organizer really didn't understand things.

    Composer and Talis both started to say something, and stopped as they heard the other; shooting sidelong glances at their counterpart, they each waited for the other to blink first. Before either could make a move, however, their standoff was interrupted; a small light blinked on one of the monitors, and the Organizer furrowed his brow. "Damn, I have to take care of this." His face brightened again in only a moment. "We can do this via correspondence, though! That's the way it's done these days anyway, I think. I'll have to come up with some portentous names to write on the envelopes!"

    With a wave of his hand he sent his guests, two beings completely unaccustomed to being flung without their permission across dimensions, back from whence they came before turning his attention to a monitor that was even now discorporating.


    ---

    As the maze below rose, the already-crippled colossus was falling. Its failing joints cracked under its own weight, and its haggard limbs stilled; the remaining glow across its body was fading, from acid and damage and wear. As the titanic statue collapsed and in some places crumbled, Alex was having trouble maintaining his footing; the leg he'd been clinging to was cracking and shifting, and as the thing's head hit the now-spiked ceiling and the maze kept rising, its limbs and torso showed even more promise of cracking or shattering. It was looking like, height or not, the safest option would be to drop into the maze below...

    Jordan was truly panicking now, mashing buttons with little regard to what they actually did in the vain hope it would somehow undo the damage he did. When the final switch clicked and the control panel clearly had no more options to exhaust, the shaking firestarter could do little but watch the monitor in horror at what his actions had wreaked.

    Even as his grip released, Alex thought better of dropping below; the sudden appearance of more spikes on the ground below made the knight reconsider, as did the apparent release of some kind of swarm of tiny black things. All the harried warrior could feasibly do was cling for dear life, every limb aching, and hope that someone else died first. The fact that the sourceless light that had kept things illuminated disappeared with no warning was it this point less an inconvenience than a sheer insult, spitefully piled onto everything else.

    Eemp was perched rather sturdily on the colossus's sloped back, Right occasionally swaying from side to side to dodge a gout of flame from above. The stump that was the recovering Rong was growing entirely too slowly for the Chinese dragon's tastes; for possibly the first time in his unlife, Right wished his hotheaded companion was there to quite literally return fire.

    The mannikin, all-consuming fear replaced by the dragon's primal rage, was roaring and belching flames at everything and everyone. It hadn't yet adjusted to dealing with this many, and this complex, thoughts and feelings, and it was trying to do everything at once. Still, it was balanced solidly and easily on the head of its dead sort-of-companion, claws raking the air and still-vestigial wings pumping.

    Only Jordan, though the monitor, heard the subtle crackle. Only in his eyes was the reflection of the glowing screen. Only the young coward was witness to Alex's plummet, and only he saw the way the jagged spike pierced the man's chest. Jordan knew where the heart was, and that wasn't it.

    Only Jordan could see the shiny black beetles descend on Alex's trapped form, but all of them heard the scream that the knight had until now kept in. And as Jordan turned away from the monitor, tears filling his eyes, no-one saw Alex's lungs fill with blood, or watched the slow, painful death. No-one saw Jordan sink into a corner, either, arms wrapped around his knees and face buried in his chest.


    Disappearance. Reappearance. The survivors found themselves In what appeared to be an orchard; no two were close enough to see the others (save those that were bound together). The scenery around them was... eerie.

    There were no features in the sky. No sun, no moon, no clouds or stars or passing planes. It was a flat, grey expanse that gave no hint to depth or distance. The trees around them, too, were odd; aside from the completely monochrome nature of the vegetation (and indeed, everything but the competitors), they were bizarre for the fruit they bore: the trees themselves were shaped like apple trees, and the fruit at first glance could be mistaken for a somewhat withered apple, but on closer inspection, each one revealed itself to be a gnarled face.

    "Contestants! Welcome again to your new playing field. This is one of my own design, and I'm very proud of it! As you can see, these are no ordinary fruit trees. As you probably can't see, or at least not yet, the fruit themselves are far from ordinary!"

    "Each contains a shade of someone you knew. Once a given shade is out, though, it can interact with any of you, whether it knew you or not! Shades, by their nature aren't real... But aren't totally unreal either! And in a place like this, where reality is what you make of it, they're more dangerous than not."

    "To liven things up a little, I've also borrowed some shades from some friends of mine. Everyone from all the Grand Battles is here, in some apple or other. You probably won't meet them all, but... It's ripe season, so you should meet a few!"

    "Oh, and some of you farther towards the edges might be able to make out the fence, right? It's just a little wooden fence, nothing special. Still, I wouldn't make an attempt to get over it, if I were you. The orchardkeepers might not like that too much at all!"

    "In any case, what's that I hear? The sound of the first apples dropping? Have fun!"



  14. #264
    I Don't Deserve This Title MalkyTop's Avatar
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    Re: Pitched Combat [Round 5: Garden of Shades]

    Immediately, Right looked at the sky. No clouds. Again. And Rong was still regenerating her head.

    Loathe as he was to admit it, he had never felt quite as useful as Rong when it came to battle, especially without any source of water. Without the firecracker besides him blowing up at pretty much everything, he could...sit and think and overthink. He usually wasn't inclined to battle. His partner's abrasive personality may aggravate him enough to want to commit small acts of violence and the various battles they were a part of essentially forced him to fight, but he was just a contemplater at heart. Which was currently possibly rotting along with the rest of his body somewhere in Asia.

    With nobody in sight and nobody to fight with, Eemp sat against one of the nearby trees and Right laid low on the ground, thinking about whatever came to mind rather than occupying himself with schemes of treachery or a psychoanalysis of the mind of some guy he didn't know. With only two other contestants left in the game, he didn't exactly feel inclined to make any battle plans.

    He thought about the lake he lived in and the surrounding area that had been his domain. It wasn't a particularly big lake, but it was clean and clear and had a forest and a mountain range nearby and people would come to paint lovely landscapes there. There was a little shrine right on an inlet that jutted all the way to the middle of the lake. People would go there to pray to him and leave behind offerings for a good crop season. Some snuck in, curious to see the big mighty dragon and sometimes he would humor them. A ripple somewhere nearby or a partly submerged head. If he was flying around, then a fleeting shadow before hiding from sight. Some would call it boring. He called it peaceful, relaxing, and quite good for the self-esteem.

    It seemed just a tad unfair that random people with great power kept pushing him to go around killing people. True, he worked with it, just went along and killed whatever he was supposed to kill. But now that he was taking a little break, he really wanted to just screw the whole thing and take a nap.

    It was quite inadvisable to just go to sleep during any sort of combat, pitched or otherwise, so Right just started daydreaming, his thoughts lightly touching upon his old life, upon the color red, upon the possibilities of an afterlife, upon the various temporary alliances that had started in the very beginning of this war, upon the morally good ethics of his contestants, upon the possible lives they had led up to this point, upon oh look she's regrown her head.

    Rong didn't waste any time and shouted as many profanities as she could, repeating some and making up others until just spiraling down into incomprehensible rage. "You," she huffed, glaring right at Right, who was still laying in the monochrome grass, "are a stupid bastard. Where the hell is the other bastard. I'm going to rip him to shreds."

    Right, feeling slightly drowsy, took a while to be able to figure out who the bastard was. "Alex Corendal?" he tried.

    "Shiny sword guy."

    "Yes, that is him."

    "Whatever. Where is he."

    Right paused again. The whole colossus-climbing thing had been a blur of action and fast dodging and lugging dead weight around but he vaguely recalled the knight very far down. He somehow managed to convey a shrug with no limbs. "He might be dead."

    This didn't seem to please Rong much. She let out a bunch of other profanities directed at whomever stole her kill. "Who killed him."

    Another pseudo-shrug. "The giant was toppling over. Most likely he got crushed underneath it, if indeed he was the one killed."

    "I am going to pretend that you said it was that crazy wooden thing and that wimpy kid working together and take my anger out on them. Where's the shiny sword? Did you get it?"

    "Obtaining a magical elemental sword that was probably hundreds of feet below me as we were standing atop a giant statue that was collapsing and crumbling while fireballs were thrown at me and spikes grew out of the ceiling was quite far from my mind."

    It took Rong a few seconds to go back over that stupidly long sentence and actually understand it. Once she did, she aimed a few profanities at his direction as well. And some towards what Right assumed to be a god just because. Suddenly, she calmed down, or at least appeared to. "Alright. Where are we now?"

    "An apple tree grove where there may be threats of being discovered by the keepers of the grove who may or may not be inhuman. The apples also turn into people who are either people we, that is the contestants as a whole, know or people who are also participating in these 'grand battles' elsewhere."

    Rong paused again to chew this new bit of information over and her expression grew sour. "That Frankenstein wizard guy?"

    "Possible."

    Quite suddenly, one of the creepily-shaped apples fell from a branch and bounced off Eemp's head. The straw doll scuffled away from it and the trio watched from a safe distance as the fruit grew small roots that wove around each other, lifting itself upwards, growing more intricate tangles until finally it was a colorless knight. The knight had a rather important-looking plume on his helmet and his shield bore a white lion. He seemed rather confused.

    "I'm thinking this one you know," Right remarked dryly as Rong then squinted at the figure.

    "God, I dunno, all knights look the same! Taste the same too. How'm I supposed to remember every different one?" The knight had finally turned around and noticed them. He seemed rather startled and possibly disgusted at the strange sown monstrosity before him. Rong took this chance to start guessing names. "They always announce their names before a fight, uh....Daryll? Roth? Richard? Arnold? Nick?"

    The nameless knight had found courage to stride towards them. The dragons tensed, ready for a battle, but he simply raised his visor, stared hard at them, and said, "In God's name, what manner of beast are you?"

  15. #265
    Hate birds MyifanW's Avatar
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    Re: Pitched Combat [Round 5: Garden of Shades]



    Although capable of base level cognition, the Manikin had no idea what the Organizer had said. Still, basic observation had told it that the fruits in the trees were probably important.

    Of course, at the moment the Manikin didn't care. It was more caught up with the other things that had come with a brain- namely, emotions. Real emotions, not the pseudo ones that the Manikin had invented for itself using Joe Peacock's imagination. Real emotions were quite a bit more stirring. For example, at the very moment the Manikin was feeling the heat of rage and euphoria wash out of it, leaving a cold mind that the Manikin was used to. In retrospect, it realized how wild its actions were, even weighed against it's lack of standards. However, the feeling at the time was glorious- an altered state where problems became secondhand and little mattered besides the current. The Manikin shook its head at itself, imitating a habit it had seen performed before. It was to hard to think everything through at the moment. It decided to move on to other things.

    Primarily, back to the subject of the fruits. They were important, which the Manikin took as an established fact. What exactly they did, though? The manikin was not quite sure. So, it resorted to its default action, and tried to eat the nearest one. As It drew near, though, the fruit changed.*

    Before the Manikin could understand what had happened, an old man stood in front of him. Immediately, the man began talking.

    "What, where...? Oh! The Manikin! I had wondered where you had gone. My, you've grown!"

    The old man drew near, and, without fear, picked up the Manikin's arm to inspect.

    "I see your texture hasn't changed much... I suppose you've decided that your first form would be you default form? Interesting decision... So, show me! what have you grown into?"

    The old man looked up at the Manikin's face expectantly, and was met with dragon jaws. The teeth dug into the old man's sides before he could draw away, and his screams were muffled by the insides of the dragon head's mouth. With a few rocks of the head, The manikin managed to swallow the man whole.
    Last edited by MyifanW; 07-22-2010 at 09:18 PM.

  16. #266
    I Don't Deserve This Title MalkyTop's Avatar
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    Re: Pitched Combat [Round 5: Garden of Shades]

    Jordan collapsed on the colorless grass, pushed his glasses up, and rubbed his eyes, trying not to cry. That was it. The only person who could possibly show mercy on him, the only one who was most likely to help him, the only human was dead. And it was all his fault.

    What kind of idiot was he? You don't go pushing buttons when you didn't know what they did! But that's what happened and now he was pretty much all alone. With two other contestants who wouldn't mind simply eating him or burning him to ash and the guilt of death on his mind.

    Jordan stood up, picking up the sword that he had carried with him to this round. If he was going to survive this, he would have to do something other than sit here or run away. He would have to actively attempt to kill the other two. No big deal, he told himself even as his legs still went wobbly at the thought of having to fight. Hell, the Manikin's made out of wood. Fire burns wood. Easy. The dragons were the ones he would have to worry about. Jordan decided that if he was going to deal with either one, he would have to try to deal with the dragons first.

    He still wasn't sure if Right had meant to give away so much information about them, but Jordan was grateful for it anyways. He now knew for certain that if he didn't attack them, they wouldn't be able to attack him. At least he hoped so. This meant he needed a decisive attack, something that would let him be able to kill them both outright. Rather than either dragon, it was probably best to attack the stubby scarecrow itself. He had no idea how he would go about killing both dragons at the same time and even if by a miracle he killed one, the other would surely kill him in return. But an obvious fire attack wouldn't work on Eemp, he needed something that would...maybe slice him in half. A quick slice that the dragons couldn't defend or see beforehand so that they could defend preemptively. And...

    Jordan sighed. He had absolutely no idea how to do an attack like that. He barely even knew how to fight with a sword. It looked like he would either have to somehow sneak behind them or make a trap, but he didn't really have much sneaking skills nor did he have the materials or engineering skills to set up a make-shift trap. The more he thought about it, the more he felt this was an impossible task.

    Around that time, an apple fell nearby Jordan. Remembering the grandmaster's description of this setting, Jordan scrambled away from it and raised his sword defensively, staring as the fruit twisted and grew into the shape of a rather amicable-looking man. He wore a hat and a greatcoat and looked about as bewildered as Jordan was. The gentleman quickly composed himself though, grinned nervously and said, "Hello there...um, do you mind telling me where I am right now and if I could..." he trailed off, actually looking around at his surroundings. "...Ah, I suppose this doesn't quite look like the kind of place to find some tea..."

    ----------------------------------------------------------------

    The two dragons stared at the knight some more before Rong asked, "Drew? Carl? Edward?"

    The knight attempted to scratch his head but fell into two problems. The first was that his helmet was in the way. The second was that his visor clamped down again and scraped his nose. As he pushed his visor back up, he replied, "I guess...you can't speak English...?"

    "Yeah, I don't think I know him. No knight that stupid would've gone up against me, and if he did, he'd surely remember me by now."

    "Not a very kind beast, are you?" The knight commented, sounding less insulted and more amused.

    "Please disregard my friend," Rong said smoothly. "She's rather socially inept. I am Right, she is Rong."

    "Yes, it does seem a bit wrong to speak about a fellow right in front of him, especially a lady," the knight said.

    "No." Right sounded a little annoyed. "My name is Right. Her's is Rong."

    The knight's face went blank before forming a rather cheered expression. "Oh! I get it! Ha! Good joke!" Right couldn't help but think it was a little rude to laugh at one's name, even if it wasn't his true one, but kept this thought to himself. "But, ah, aren't you on the left, not on the right?"

    "No," Right replied, rolling his eyes this time. "You're looking at your right."

    "What right? I haven't gotten a dragon for an arm!" And the knight nearly collapsed under his gales of laughter. Right was vaguely aware that he must have made some kind of joke but it wasn't exactly funny. It was more the opposite. In fact, it went beyond unfunny and went into 'annoying.' Glancing at Rong and her dangerously smoking mouth, he could see she was of the same opinion.

    "See what I have to go through with you?" she hissed.

    "I'd like to think my jokes are a little funnier than that."

    "No. They're not."

    "Uh, sir," Right tried to make himself heard above the throaty guffaws. "Might we know your name as well?"

    "Oh, of course!" The knight replied, trying to wipe away his tears but finding himself quite unable to fit his gloved fingers through the visor, which shut on his fingers. "Where are my manners...I am Sir Pellinore. I also seem to be quite lost...though that does happen often, you know."

    "No," Right said dryly, already thinking about possible ways to somehow ditch this, admittedly cordial, but extremely unwanted load. "I don't."

  17. #267
    I Don't Deserve This Title MalkyTop's Avatar
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    Re: Pitched Combat [Round 5: Garden of Shades]

    "...So now I'm all alone against a hungry mannequin and a crazy dragon-scarecrow thing," Jordan finished, feeling a little hoarse after explaining everything. Maxwell looked off at the grey horizon as they continued walking to nowhere whatsoever. The man seemed quite contemplative and somehow the pyrokinetic instinctively knew he was dealing with some sort of genius. He was already feeling at ease, having someone smarter than him think out everything instead.

    "Are you sure it is completely impossible to obtain a spot of tea here?" Maxwell asked.

    Oh yeah. The tendency for geniuses to be eccentric.

    "Um. There's nothing but fruit trees around, sir." Jordan adjusted his glasses a little. Amazingly enough, they had survived throughout this chaos. He actually felt a little grateful that they had held on for so long.

    "Ah yes, you mentioned that..." The monochrome man absent-mindedly picked at his coat.

    "Um, also," Jordan added. He had saved this last bit of information for last, partly because he wasn't sure his new friend already knew (though if he did, he was acting pretty casual about it), mostly because he wasn't sure how to phrase it. "Um." Maxwell glanced at him questionably, a sign to continue on. "Uh. You're a fruit."

    That sentence hovered in the air a bit. The longer it loomed, the more awkward Jordan thought it sounded and the more self-conscious he was about saying it. It was like ruining a party with one simple comment. Maybe it had been better not to say it in the first place.

    "I suppose that slightly explains why I'm meeting you despite the two of us being from completely different battles," Maxwell mused, the shock and confusion Jordan had expected nowhere in sight. "Also the gray skin. That's quite a tip-off."

    Jordan stared at him.

    "I'm not entirely sure if I should make a joke about vegetables here...it's a little stupid," he continued, perhaps just to fill the silence.

    "B-but...you don't think--but--you--isn't it...aren't you--"

    "Aren't I conflicted about my position in life, being a mere shadow of who I am modeled after, not even a real person but a simple apple granted personality and false memories?" Maxwell finished. "No, I can't say that I am." But seeing Jordan's expression, he quickly added, "If it makes you feel better, I do feel rather fruity." He paused. "That didn't sound right. I meant that I feel my fruit origins more so than an average human would. Though I suppose an average human wouldn't feel fruit origins at all. I could say 'average fruit-person,' though I suppose I don't have a right to say that seeing as the only fruit-person I know is, well, me. Maybe 'I feel a fruit origin that no ordinary human would feel.' Or is that awkward syntax...?"

    Jordan stared some more as Maxwell continued babbling. It was highly disconcerting seeing him act so natural about it. He had just made the sort of reveal that B-movies relished and hammed up. Like that whole 'we must catch that killer' 'no, you are the killer' and then everybody is shocked. But still, Maxwell's ramblings were actually pretty comforting in a way. He let the rush of words wash over him, only catching a bit of what he was actually saying. He only was brought back to earth when Maxwell suddenly said, "I wonder what those people-fruit taste like."

    "What?" Jordan would have squawked had his dry throat allowed it.

    "No, that was a disgusting thought. Scrap it."

    Jordan dutifully scrapped it.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------

    Sir Pellinore made himself ever the more unwanted the longer he stuck around. It was as if he had the ability to constantly make his loud, boisterous personality more repulsive. Just when you thought he couldn't possibly be any more annoying, he became more annoying.

    Mostly he was annoying because he just didn't leave, having apparently thought them the best of friends since they had met and not tried to kill each other. He ignored the hints, subtle or not, and laughed off threats as a joke. He repeated stories of his travels and even sung ballads of his exploits in a strong voice any choral teacher would be proud of if he was actually able to keep a tune. Or remember the lyrics. Most of the time he spoke of the Questing Beast. He spoke of it so often and so fondly that Right couldn't help but think he was married to it. Sometimes he told jokes. Each one was more horrible than the last. The worst of it was that he actually had a daft charm about him, which, Right suspected, was how he had survived as long as he did before meeting with Rong at one point. He was so irritating and yet too affable for him to even consider killing. It was annoying.

    "I swear I am willing to kill myself. Right here," Rong muttered as Pellinore fondly recalled some adventure in the past for the fifth time.

    "I know, I know," Right sighed. "He is as trying to you as he is to me. I'm not surprised you killed him on the spot."

    Rong scrunched up her snout. "I still don't remember him."

    "Don't strain yourself," Right replied.

    "Ho there!" Pellinore shouted, suddenly breaking out of his reverie. "I do see a figure out there, friends!"

    "Hm?" Right said, realizing that it could actually be one of the other contestants. "Where?"

    "Right by the tree," the knight replied helpfully.

    Despite the vague direction, Right managed to see the lurking figure. By the absence of the absence of color (if that made sense), he could tell that yes, it was indeed one of the remaining contestants. From the lack of glasses, hair, or even any sort of vague, human appearance, he could tell it was the Manikin. It seemed to have taken a form he had not seen before. Or actually...it was a little recognizable...

    -------------------------

    The moment it had ingested its old master, the Manikin felt confused. It wasn't the fact that, when it accidentally punctured skin, juice instead of blood flowed out. It didn't yet know enough of the world to really find that odd. What the Manikin was confused about was the taste. It was sweet. It was tangy. It flooded the senses it had recently obtained with a new sensation, one it had never felt when it had before ate trees and glass and so on. It boggled its childish mind and quite possibly put it on a sensual high, though it had no idea what that was. It was....delicious.

    In this addled state, it was rather hard for the Manikin to be rational. It reeled around. It wondered how whenever it had eaten, it had felt the material but never tasted it. It wondered if everything had tasted that good. It really wanted to taste something else.

    Wheeling around, it licked the juice that had trickled down its chin and noticed the dragons. It felt the urge for revenge and power. It was also eager to know how dragons tasted.

    -----------------------------------------

    The Manikin charged down towards them but they weren't too concerned. Right squinted at it a little more. "It actually...looks a lot like you, Rong."

    "What?! I'm not that scrawny! And my wings were much larger than that!"

    "Um," said Pellinore nervously as he pushed up his visor again. It clanked down.

    "Although I have no idea how it would be able to turn into a..." Right trailed off as a thought hit him.

    "I do believe it is about to attack us," the knight added.

    "What? What? What were you about to say?" Rong demanded as the Manikin came upon them, jaws impossibly wide. Eemp dodged to one side, Pellinore to the other as sharp teeth chomped shut on empty air. "Wait. Wait. Wait a minute!" Rong shouted, realization coming to her as well, though less quietly. "I told you! You guys should've left my head alone!"

    "I am rather curious whether he actually did it on purpose to spite us in the future or it was all just an accident," Right mused wryly as the Manikin continued to chase after them. Dodging another charge, Eemp actually kicked it away. It wasn't quite powerful, but it unbalanced the Manikin enough for Rong to shoot at it with a fireball that tossed it against a tree. The boughs weighed with fruit shuddered before the stems gave way. The fruit fell.

    -----------------------------------

    Elsewhere, another apple fell. Unlike the previous ones before it, it dissolved into many beings, though it would have been hard to consider the large insects it formed as 'beings.' The monstrous insects buzzed. It could have been in confusion, if insects were able to feel confused. It flew around in search of prey.

  18. #268
    I Don't Deserve This Title MalkyTop's Avatar
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    Re: Pitched Combat [Round 5: Garden of Shades]

    A large group of people appeared where there wasn't one before, crowded around the tree and separating the Manikin from the straw doll. It was a little startling to say the least, and Rong, who had previously had a good clear shot of the Manikin, gulped back a fireball in alarm when a bunch of monochrome fruit-people obscured her vision. The two dragons felt just about as confused as the crowd that had materialized up and Eemp tried to make its way out before something happened and it ended up getting trampled or something.

    The Manikin watched this recently-formed crowd in slight awe, and if it had even known about it, it might have thought it were in heaven. All these beings, crowded around it, confused, wondering where they were, all looking quite vulnerable and quite tasty...

    The crowd of pseudo-grand battlers and shades of the past stopped speculating once the Manikin started rampaging. As it shoved a few luckless beings into its mouth, many started fleeing. Most did, really. Eemp, despite its best efforts to shove its way out of the crowd, was still made of merely straw and was easily pushed around in the general direction where everybody was now fleeing towards. Some stayed rather valiantly to try to beat back the ravenous monstrosity, but the draconic mannequin was rather strong, not to mention that it grew every time it swallowed somebody. And it was getting to be quite huge.

    Eemp, Right and Rong managed to get out of the panicked rush when the dragons started snapping at the people that pressed against them. As nobody wanted to be near snippy dragon maws, everybody started giving them a wide berth. They broke free of the crowd just in time to see the Manikin gulp down something that sort of looked like a large bird wing.

    Done with this snack, the Manikin turned to face the dragons. It was rather large now. Previously only the size of an average person, it had eaten possibly six fruit-people now and was currently a bit of a giant. It's pseudo-dragon form hadn't been threatening before, but when it was over ten feet tall, it started to be a little intimidating.

    The huge Manikin stared them down. Rong eyed its blue scales that were modeled after her own. Its blue and undoubtedly fireproof scales. "I...don't have a plan for this," she admitted to Right who was honestly not too surprised.

    "It's not too smart," Right replied, glaring warily at the hungry beast. "It shouldn't be too difficult to outwit it....though I can't say I know exactly what to do right now either..." They were interrupted by someone tapping Eemp politely on the head.

    It was Sir Pellinore. Apparently, he hadn't been one of those who had been eaten. Shame.

    The knight shuffled around and anxiously pushed up his visor. Right was not exactly sure how one could push up a visor in an anxious way, but it happened nevertheless. "There are, um, some people," he said, looking over his shoulder. Right and Rong looked with him to see the crowd standing, frozen, in front of a line of tall, scraggly beings. These, Right reasoned, must be the garden keepers mentioned before.

    The garden keepers did not have a lot of detail to them. Right couldn't make out their faces, even when they didn't hang their head low and actually looked up. They wore sunhats, which added a bit of levity to the situation. They carried around long, sharp, dangerous-looking garden shears, which didn't. They seemed to have appeared with several large machines that whirred loudly and spat out smoke. It was hard to tell what it was for.

    Looking around, Right quickly saw that they were indeed surrounded by these garden keepers. This situation wasn't exactly ideal. The fruit-people stood, tense, some looking like they would rather run, some looking as though they were ready for a fight. Even the Manikin paused in its gluttony, somehow realizing the gravity of the atmosphere.

    As the machines nearby continued to whir, one monochrome, armored and heavily muscled man raised a large gun.

    -----------------------------------------

    They had been hiding behind almost every tree they could find and no matter how well they hid themselves, that hideously skinny human-ish thing seemed to follow them everywhere. They had seen that it was holding some sort of little PDA-like thing that it seemed to check every so often as it searched for something. Behind it, a large, cube-ish machine thing whirred worryingly. It followed the humanoid apparently of its own will, as neither Jordan nor Maxwell could see any way for the humanoid to pull it along.

    "I've been thinking a little," Maxwell said slowly as they huddled behind another tree while the strange being poked around nearby. Jordan bit back a sarcastic remark about tea. "About what keepers of an orchard would actually do, you know?" Jordan remained silent, having learned that it was best not to interrupt. "It's really simple, actually. I mean, there's not much you do with an orchard besides take care of it and...um, well, collect the fruit..."

    Jordan stayed silent, this time because he was carefully reaching some unwanted conclusions of his own.

    "So, well...they're supposed to...uh, harvest us," Maxwell continued, obviously not very fond of this train of thought either. Jordan clutched his sword tightly. The scrawny thing out there was starting to look a little more monstrous. "I'm thinking that, uh, what they do to ripe fruit...it has something to do with that noisy machine over there." He was looking a little nervous and excited but somehow managed to keep his voice down. "I think that fellow's looking for me. I guess somehow they know when the fruit drop or something...I still don't know what he's going to do, but considering things, I...don't really think I'm going to like it." Maxwell paused and glanced thoughtfully at Jordan.

    "...And if he finds you, an intruder...I don't think you'll like it either..."

    "So what are you saying?" Jordan whispered back. He chanced a peek around the tree. The garden's keeper seemed to be watching a tree that wasn't too near. It was probably a good chance to sneak away again.

    Maxwell hesitated before continuing. "Well...it's no coincidence that he's been following us rather closely, you know? He knows I'm around here somewhere, I think...maybe that thing in his hand is helping him look, I dunno...but he probably can't tell that you're arou--" He was cut off as Jordan signaled him to stop talking. Back where the thing was waiting, a fruit had fallen. It grew and shaped itself into...a high school boy.

    "...Do you know him?" Maxwell asked, noticing Jordan's sharp breath.

    The pyrokinetic stared wide-eyed at this boy as he asked, a little frightened, who the lanky figure in front of him was. The hunched keeper clutched his neck with a thin, but strong, clawed hand and started dragging him over to the whirring machine, which seemed to whir faster the closer they got, like a dog eager for a treat.

    Jordan was very sure that he was the bully that he had accidentally killed all those years ago.
    Last edited by MalkyTop; 08-18-2010 at 11:37 AM.

  19. #269
    I Don't Deserve This Title MalkyTop's Avatar
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    Re: Pitched Combat [Round 5: Garden of Shades]

    Everything went to hell fairly quickly.

    The blast from the gun had glanced off one of the gardeners without any apparent damage. The man who had fired cursed and somehow brought out an even bigger gun out of apparently nowhere. Unfortunately for him, a gardener had come up and snipped off the barrel of the rifle with its shears before grabbing the toughened soldier by the neck. As it attempted to drag him away, a woman with dark hair covering half her face tried to attack it with her sword while a wolf tackled it. Other beings joined in the fight while some attempted to run away in the confusion only to run into more gardeners. Soon it was a big, confusing brawl that seemed to have, as far as Right could see, flailing scarves, flying books, sentient gloves and, for some reason, a vacuum cleaner.

    The Manikin looked rather befuddled and nobody seemed to be paying attention to the dragons. It seemed to be a good time as any to make an escape.

    One woman leapt high into the air, intent on flying off, before being skewered by a thrown shear. There were several loud screams and alarmed yells as her body fell back into the rolling masses and Rong took this chance to start pushing her way through the crowd towards the edge, shoving aside anybody who was unfortunate enough to be too slow for her tastes. They left Sir Pellinore quickly behind, as well as his protesting yelps pleading them to slow down.

    A horrible grinding sound started up and, looking backwards, Right could see the gardeners throwing some of the fruit-people in the machines. Though people were jostling him from all sides, he could still see them getting shredded and hear their screams abruptly die as they were churned into juice.

    "Ah...Rong...?" Right turned back to her, feeling a bit queasy. "I...I think--"

    "Not now!" she shouted back, pushing down some guy in a cape that may have been recognizeable had she looked closely enough. Another guy with a fishbowl or something saw her barreling towards him and somehow managed to vault over Eemp before landing on someone else's head. The both of them tumbled over behind them.

    "But there's, well, something's, er..." He was suddenly interrupted by someone grabbing ahold of his neck. It was a strange-looking feathery woman.

    "What are you doing?" Her grip was oddly strong. "We have to team up or else--"

    Rong didn't like people holding them back. She twisted and grabbed hold of the wing that clutched Right and easily broke it in her jaws. The woman screamed and let go and they were off again. Rong licked the juice off her maw and said, "It doesn't taste too bad."

    "I hope you know that that's disgusting."

    Rong headbutted some other odd character out of her way and it hissed at her, swinging a tail that seemed to have some sort of roundish thing inside. "What? Are you feeling guilty?"

    "I tend to feel guilty, yes, when a whole swarm of people are getting massacred."

    "Look, it's just like--move it, buster!--just like the wars back home! Get over it!" This rather blunt answer was quite jarring, but Right had no chance to say so because the very ground underneath them shuddered as several large green tendrils shot upwards. One man was apparently controlling them all and seemed to not be on any particular side as he indiscriminately attacked anybody he could, machine, gardener and fruit.

    The Manikin had also started acting, apparently quite angered that its food was suddenly getting stolen from it and it charged right up to the line of gardeners, devouring more fruit when it could. It released a flamethrower at the gardeners that tried to attack it and burned down the vines. The plant-controlling man did not like this much and started trying to entangle the Manikin and force it down while the gardeners tried to hack at its toughened scales ineffectively. Right didn't think it could have gotten more chaotic, but somehow, it did.

    "See why we've gotta get outta here? We don't have any time for you to get all sappy on me!" The twisting vines were easy for Rong to take care of and they burned away quickly. This turned the strange plant-man's attention towards them as well and the gray grass beneath them started to entangle Eemp's legs. "Don't--" Right started hastily, but Rong had already utilized her solve-all solution of blasting everything with fire.

    The field caught fire surprisingly quickly and now the crowd was even more bewildered and was pushing around in all directions at once. Some tried to stamp it out and the fishbowl-man even took out a fire extinguisher from somewhere to help out, but the fire simply continued to spread. It eventually reached a tree and at that point, the gardeners appeared to panic and rushed to the tree's aid. The fruit-people that remained saw the opportunity to escape and rushed off in every direction. The large Manikin chased after a group of them, intent on gorging itself even more. Rong, realizing that the advantage of a crowd cover was now gone, tried to pull Eemp along even faster, but was slowed down by Right. "Argh! What is it now?!"

    The Chinese dragon had stopped, noticing someone rather familiar, and called out, "Hey!" The figure turned and, as he thought, it was the monochrome fruit version of that wizard who had, all those years ago, stumbled across his corpse and decided it would be a good idea to graft his head onto a large straw doll. The expression on the wizard's face was unreadable, but nevertheless, Right roughly grabbed his collar and said, muffled, "We need to talk to you."

    "Who's that?" Rong asked immediately and her face soured in recognition. "Him? Why'd you get him out of all the--" Her rant was broken off when she noticed that they were suddenly being threatened by a large group of gardeners armed with a number of large gardening shears. Several juicers churned behind them, humming contently with the juice they now contained. According to a little glass measurer, the machine was full.

    Unwanted baggage forgotten for the time being, Rong attacked with another large flame that washed over the gardeners, but as it died away, it seemed that they hadn't gone through anything besides a particularly warm bath.

    "Iiiii am all out of ideas," Rong confessed again. Right didn't reply as his mouth was full of wizard.

    Speaking of the wizard, he did not like dangling uselessly from a dragon's mouth. He attempted to ammend the 'useless' part by muttering some sort of spell under his breath and waving his arms, which caused several pillars of earth to rise up, impaling several gardeners in the chest. The gardeners did seem rather startled at this development, but got around the problem of being impaled by just prying themselves off with their lanky arms.

    Rong glanced at the wizard, who seemed momentarily baffled and therefore still quite useless. "Uh, Right?"

    Once again, he didn't answer, for, besides having a mouth full of wizard, the red dragon was concentrating hard on that tiny meter, that little window inside the vat of the churning juice machine. He stared hard at it. The juice bubbled once.

    The meter suddenly cracked, and from there, the juice rushed out and into the air, swinging in a wide arc around Eemp before catapulting itself back into the gardeners. As they all toppled over, the juice froze fast to the ground to at least attempt to slow them down. Eemp immediately rushed off to a particularly thick grouping of trees and ran until the wizard regained his composure, tried to act as though he knew what was going on, and demanded to be let down.

    "Now's a good time to stop as much as any," Right said, spitting out the collar.

    "I didn't know you could do that!" Rong suddenly spluttered.

    "Neither did I. But juice is like water. Sort of." But Right wasn't concentrating on the not-so-startling revealation that he could control juice and possibly other liquids that he had never tried before. "First thing's first," he continued, still staring at the wizard. "Your name. I don't particularly feel like constantly refering to you as 'wizard.'"

    The wizard straightened is robe and looked sternly back at his creation. "I see you've gotten impudent in your sudden absense. Have you forgotten that I am your master and that you shall call me as such?"

    There was a low rumble in Right's throat as he drew himself up and towered over the wizard, glaring down hatefully. "I know you don't fully understand what is going on, so let me englighten you," he hissed. "You are not who you think you are. You are merely a copy, and though you may have all of the original's powers, you certainly don't have power over us. You see, your little scarecrow won't recognize an oddly-shaped fruit as its creator and thus we are free to dismember you as we wish. And though I dearly would love to rip off an arm or two to drill it into your thick skull, I don't believe we have that much time and I am certain your screams would attract attention I don't currently want."

    There was a stunned silence. "I didn't know you could do that either," Rong suddenly said.

    "In any case, knowing your name doesn't matter right now. Actually..." Right paused, apparently thinking of something. The wizard looked uncertain for a moment before trying to appear stoic. "...Do you happen to have a teleportation spell? To take us off this..." There was a short pause that would have accomodated a small gesture at their general surroundings. "...world?"

    The wizard let out a short bark of laughter. "Teleport between worlds?! Do you know how much energy that would require? Impossible!"

    "And yet your beloved weapon has disappeared and ended up here, on an entirely different world." Right paused to let the very idea sink in. "If you can't teleport, then perhaps you can tell us our real names? The ones you have apparently wiped from our memories?"

    "He what?" Rong shouted, looking from the wizard to Right to the wizard again, confused.

    "You...how could you remember..."

    "It was only off-hand, but I suddenly remembered a little while back that, well, Right is not my name. It was only your idiotic name for me, as though I was some sort of undead pet. I can only assume that you somehow surpressed it in my mind. Really, I can only feel stupid now for not realizing sooner, I mean, what sort of name is 'Right' for a Chinese dragon, hm? And now I would appreciate it if you gave it back."

    "Look, wait, you...I don't know your true names, alright? I only just suppress it!"

    "Then it'll be a simple matter of just removing that stupid spell of yours."

    The wizard narrowed his eyes. "I'm no fool! Names are power! And you ask me to give yours back? Doing so would just give you more power, leaving me unable to...escape!" Right ducked under a thrown lightning bolt and Eemp had to jump about to dodge some earth pillars.

    Rong needed no urging to shoot a fireball at the retreating wizard, but he countered with a water spell that drenched her. Right took the opportunity to whisk the water into a large ball and whipped it at the wizard's head, causing him to fall over. In an instant, Eemp was beside him again and several large icicles floated menacingly near the wizard's head.

    "Ugh, I'm all wet..." Rong muttered. "Right? I think those scissor guys are gonna come soon..."

    Well, we better hurry up, then. Last chance to be even remotely useful. Is there a way to undo your morbid operation?"

    "Look, you can't--"

    "And I'll remind you that this project of yours was done without our permission. I find this to be a little unfair, don't you? Would you like to wake up to find your head grafted to the body of a rabbit? No? Would you feel confused and wonder what sort of god had abandonned you to allow this sort of inhumane experimentation to be performed without your knowledge? What if you had been dead, ready to embrace the afterlife when all of a sudden, you were jolted back into an existance you'd rather not have? A satisfying life, a job well done, and suddenly you were forced to go through the whole troubling thing again? Can you really tell me what I can't do?"

    Rong broke the tense silence by saying, "You know, they're probably coming really soon..."

    Despite the situation, the wizard managed to hautily say, "You couldn't have remember that much!"

    "Maybe not, but I intend to. And you're not helping a bit." The icicles fell and dug themselves into various parts of the wizard's body. "He's as arrogant as I remembered..."

    "Yeah, well, they're coming close, and, you know, fire apparently doesn't kill them..."

    "Yes, I know. Let's go."

    A few minutes of running later and they couldn't hear anybody nearby. Eemp slowed to a walk. Right contemplated something a little before turning towards Rong. "How much of your life do you actually remember?"

    "Well, there were knights...and I set fire to them..."

    "That can't be all you've done."

    Rong scrunched her brow and Right wondered if her brain was overexerting itself by thinking of something other than setting fire to things. "I...guess not? I dunno. I don't remember."

    "No family? No childhood?" Right pushed.

    "I...um...I don't know!" Rong shouted back desperately and he stared at her before looking around suspiciously at the other trees.

    "I don't know either..."

  20. #270
    that one adventure author Lisawags's Avatar
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    Re: Pitched Combat [Round 5: Garden of Shades]

    Ohkaay. I'll post. Reserved.

    While the gardener wasn't paying attention, they ran toward another tree. As they ran to another tree bearing fruits, Maxwell eyed the giant contraption.

    "Say..." he started when they crouched behind the tree. "You said you can warm things up, yeah?"

    Jordan replied slowly, "A... little more than warming thing up, but yes."

    The genius replied with a thoughtful, "Hmm," and didn't talk about it for a while.

    Jordan peeked from his hiding place at the gardener. He was farther away now. Maybe they were safe, for now, at least.

    Another fruit fell nearby. Jordan handed Maxwell his sword. He didn't plan on losing his only companion (friend?). A stalk grew from the fruit. As it twisted and soon morphed into something closer to human, Jordan watched anxiously. Maxwell didn't seem very distressed. Finally, the transformation was complete.

    This person was familiar. It should've been. The man had thinning hair and glasses with thick rims. His posture was bad and his clothes were messy. At first he had a look of confusion, but that was quickly changed into a scowl.

    He stared at Jordan for a few moments. Without a word, he walked away.

    Jordan's mouth was open in disbelief. His thoughts swirled around in his cranium. Was that him? What were the chances? Then his mind wandered back to the bully. He shivered. He definitely didn't plan on saving his old man.

    The pyrokinetic was brought back to reality with a few taps on his shoulder. "Are you okay?" Maxwell asked with the corners of his mouth curled downwards with concern.

    "Huh?" Jordan answered.

    Maxwell didn't repeat himself. "If only there was some tea around," he sighed.

    Jordan leaned on the tree and murmered, "Yeah, I guess." He never was a fan of tea.
    Last edited by Lisawags; 09-01-2010 at 03:28 AM.

  21. #271
    I Don't Deserve This Title MalkyTop's Avatar
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    Re: Pitched Combat [Round 5: Garden of Shades]

    The Manikin was growing quite large now. It was hard for anything to hold it, as the sheer girth of it was just impossible to keep down. Though the plant man had continuously tried to tie it down, the Manikin easily gulped him down before devoring any lingering vines that clung desperately onto it. It was growing to be quite the monstrosity.

    Many of the small gardeners were prodding at it with their sharp shears. Rong's scales were weak enough to be cut, but the wounds were annoying at best. Blood seemed rather tedious and unnecessary to the Manikin, but it seemed to come with the whole 'powerful dragon' schtick so it'd have to just deal with the whole thing it supposed. It dealt with the whole thing by whipping its tail around, knocking several gardeners over, allowing it to devour them as well. They didn't taste as good as the fruit. Inky. Bitter. Disappointing.

    As more gardeners swarmed around it, still making brave and useless attempts to damage it in any serious way, the Manikin pondered what to do next.

    It remembered its goal of enacting vengence upon the dragons. It realized that it had gotten too excited with the appearance of the tasty fruit around it. It should finish its work and then it could gorge itself even more. It shouldn't be too hard to kill the dragons now, to be honest. It had grown much and it was pretty sure they hadn't grown at all.

    The Manikin experimentally flapped its wings which, although rather developed now, were still not big enough to be able to support its weight. Still, it found (after knocking down numerous trees and gardeners) that when it jumped around, the wings did help it glide further. With a satisfied roar, it jumped, bounded off the top of a tree (which also fell over), and glided away from the destroyed patch of land.

    It would be nice if it could find those dragons quickly and get it over with. Still, it thought as it managed to grab a person off the ground and flip him into its mouth, it was in no hurry.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------

    "Dammit! I hate that guy even more now! Let's go already, I need to vent! Maybe there's another stupid wizard going around that I can kill..."

    "Mmhmm," Right replied vaguely, still glancing around. "I think I hear something."

    "I mean making some sort of weird monstrosity wasn't good enough, he had to go tampering with its minds too?" Rong paused. "I think I just insulted myself."

    "No, I'm being serious. Don't you hear it?"

    "I don't hear anything," Rong said impatiently, though as she said it, she could hear what he was talking about. It was one of those sounds she usually filed as 'background noises' and then ignored. It was a persistant buzzing, bug-like in quality. Rong scowled at this. She was never a fan of bugs. (Really, who was?) If any of the pesky things came near her, she wouldn't hesitate to burn them down. (That isn't saying much, now is it?) Though usually the damn things buzzed around too fast for her to even aim right and fireballs were not well known for accuracy in the first place and it always seemed that just when she thought she got all of them, a whole freaking militant pops up out of nowhere and...

    "Let's get going," Rong muttered, not in the mood to deal with annoying bugs.

    "Let's," Right agreed and immediately started towards the buzzing. Rong pulled back.

    "I meant away, not towards!"

    "I'm curious about this noise, though," Right insisted, tugging harder towards the sound.

    "What's so interesting about a bunch of bugs?" Rong shouted back. Eemp stumbled a little when Right stopped pulling to stare blankly at the blue dragon.

    "...Why...why did you assume they were bugs...?" Rong managed to shuffle around uncomfortably despite having no feet to shuffle.

    "I dunno, it sounds like bugs. Doesn't it sound like bugs?"

    Right listened some more. "Not...bugs specifically...it's not as though insects have some sort of copyright on buzzing noises. It could be a machine. Or...somebody making a particularly irritating buzzing sound..."

    "Somebody making a buzzing noise that sounds as though it's coming from a crowd...?"

    "It could be a collection of machines," Right shot back defensively. "The point I'm just trying to make is that you can't--" But he couldn't finish stating his point for at that moment, the buzzing noise found them.

    As Rong had thought, they were bugs. But they were the most horrifying bugs she had ever seen. If terror was in bug form, it would probably look like this.

    Bugs half a foot long, collected in the largest swarm she had ever seen. She didn't even know bug swarms could get that large. Their jaw-mandible-claw things had barbs and their tail had barbs and their whole freaking body had barbs and she would not be surprised if there were barbs on their wings and god she hated bugs so much.

    "...Maybe these pollinate the trees," Right commented. Rong responded by flaming the hell out of the disturbing suckers.

    Some sluggish ones did indeed get incinerated, but the swarm was still ridiculously huge and maybe she was imagining things, but it was getting bigger and god she hated bugs so much.

    Another large burst of flame did little to lower the numbers. "Pollinate?" Rong gasped out. "Those things look like they were built to eat your face off!"

    "I see your point," Right conceeded.

    Though fire wasn't killing a lot of them, it seemed to be discouraging them from doing anything, though when Eemp tried backing away, they still followed, apparently still intent on eating something even if it did spew fire, seemingly confident that they would somehow get around that pesky obstacle and goddammit she hated bugs so goddamn much.

    "Insects are adverse to smoke, aren't they?" Right said, finally looking a little bit nervous. It was only a fraction of the nervousness he should have felt, but at least it was a start. "Maybe if you just keep smoking, they'll leave..."

    "Smoke makes my throat itch," Rong whined

    "Would you rather let them eat your face off?"

    "Well, they won't eat my face off as long as I keep spitting fire at them!"

    "And fire won't burn your throat?"

    Rong paused to ward off the death bugs again. "NO!" she screeched with frustration. "It WON'T!"

    And the two would have continued squabbling had another figure suddenly appeared, nonchalantly caught many of the swarming bugs, and ate them.

    If the bugs were disconcerted about being prey rather than predator as they were used to, they didn't show it. As soon as the crunch of several unlucky insects sounded and the juice squirted down the newcomer's maw, the swarm angrily descended upon him. But it seemed that they weren't able to eat him. He just stood there calmly as they buzzed about them, every once in a while reaching out to eat some more.

    After a few minutes of confused buzzing, the swarm decided that nothing here was worth the trouble and flew away. At least most of them did. Some lingered, still attracted to the smell of their own juices and were quickly eaten as well.

    "It looks as though that fruit would be hard to juice," the stranger said calmly and now that he was not being obscured by clouds of super-bugs, Right could get a good look at him.

    He was tall, tall enough to be vaguely threatening. But even if you weren't scared of tall people, you might be at least somewhat disconcerted by the large horns that curled over his head. Or maybe by the ridiculously long tail that twisted around and tapered before suddenly forming a sharp point. Or maybe the claws. Then again, he was wearing semi-formal clothing, which sort of off-set any threatening characteristics about him.

    After a moment, Right managed out a "Really?" just as Rong settled for a more direct "Who the hell are you?"

    The demon stared at them, lashing his tail contemplatively. "I suppose you can say...I'm the supervisor of this whole property you are tresspassing on," he said simply.

    "You'd think the Organizer would watch over his own gardens," Right commented wryly.

    "Oh, think much, do you?" the horned supervisor said in the most scathingly innocent way imaginable. Right was too busy being surprised to make a retort.

    "I'll have you know," he continued, his tone getting hotter until it was almost scalding, "I am the organizer of this whole operation. I thought of it, I built it, I tended to it, I hired workers when it grew larger than I had originally thought and I don't appreciate tresspassers."

    "No, wait, we didn't mean 'an organizer', it's the Organizer," Rong cut in, either not realizing or not caring that the supervisor wasn't in the mood for interjection.

    "You know," Right added. "Capitalized."

    The demonic supervizor glared coldly at them and slowly shook his head. "I will never understand how religious zealots keep managing to get in here. Well, since you somehow got into this pocket dimension, I'd appreciate it if you leave."

    "Well, because of the aforementioned capitalized Organizer," Right replied almost as testily as the supervizer, "A few beings, including us, have been transported here unwillingly. Meaning that there are two other 'trespassers' and none of us can traverse dimensions. So we're stuck here."

    The demon at least looked a little surprised at this, but he quickly returned to his sour countenance. "Ah."

    "'Ah?' That's all you have to say?"

    The supervisor shrugged. "We've had worse problems."

    "Worse than a pyromaniac, a jumpy pyrokinetic and the wooden embodiment of gluttony?" Right demanded.

    "Yes," he replied without much thought. "Ah, actually...yes." Right grunted, getting quite aggravated by this constant barrage of sardonic. "About every year."

    "Oh really." Right tried his hardest to sound mordant. "And what sort of annual catastrophe does an isolated dimension of strange fruit trees undergo?"

    ---------------------------------------------

    Jordan and Maxwell hadn't walked very far when a large shadow cast itself over them. It was probably a bad idea, but they looked up anyways.

    After a few seconds, Maxwell said, "Are you seeing what I'm seeing?"

    "Uh," Jordan replied.

    Maxwell nodded sagely. "That's what I thought."

    --------------------------------------------------------------

    "Giant transdimensional teleporting geese," Right repeated in disbelief. "With laser eyes."

    "Sounds delicious," Rong commented a little cheerily.

    "Quite dangerous. Especially if we let them nest."

    "You have to be kidding."

    "I'm sure if you wait around, you'll see them soon enough. I'd rather leave you now, though. Is your almighty babysitter going to come pick you up anytime soon?" he asked impatiently.

    "Oh, he teleports us to the next round when one of us dies," Rong replied casually. She grew a little uncomfortable in the following silence.

    The supervisor stared at them. It was the stare of a businessman who had just found out how to deal with a pesky problem and didn't care how immoral the solution was. It was a very evil stare.

    "Attention everyone," he said, and somehow his voice boomed throughout the gardens. "I have changed the policy concerning intruders. Kill on sight. Don't wait for the first strike. That is all." All the while, he flexed his claws in a very threatening manner, casual suit aside.

    "Let's not make this last too long, hm?" he said, sounding the most cheerful they had heard him.

  22. #272

    Re: Pitched Combat [Round 5: Garden of Shades]

    bump?

  23. #273
    I Don't Deserve This Title MalkyTop's Avatar
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    Re: Pitched Combat [Round 5: Garden of Shades]

    Jordan stormed through the garden, kicking moodily at the grass in the very image of teenage petulance. He briefly glanced behind him in the general area where those other two guys were. One of them, if he had thought about it much, would have really looked like him. Only older. But he didn't think about it much. Perhaps he didn't really want to. He already had enough teenage stuff to worry about. An older doppleganger would possibly push him over the edge.

    He slouched and sighed, brushing his hair out of his face, wondering where the hell he was right now. This definitely didn't look like the way to school. It actually looked a lot more like a dreamscape. So maybe he was dreaming. If he knew he was dreaming, didn't that mean he could do all these cool stuff like fly or something?

    He tried jumping. He didn't jump higher than usual. Even in his dreams he couldn't win. Jordan sighed again and continued shuffling around in the gray grass.

    Something suddenly burst from the trees. It was flying, Jordan noticed glumly. And firing what seemed to be laser blasts out of its hands. And...er...it was actually an angel....and...should...he be running now...?

    His question was answered rather quickly as another something exploded out of the trees. This was a much larger something and it was a lot more threatening than the smaller angel something. Jordan was already turning to flee. He saw the angel get swatted down angrily by the threatening something. Then he saw the monster-free trees he was running towards. After a bit, he made the mistake of looking back. No angel. Lots of monster.

    With a yelp, Jordan tried frantically to set it on fire, but apparently it was a rather fire-proof monster. Any fire that erupted around it was simply shaken out. It hadn't really inconvenienced the monster, but it did anger it. And Jordan suddenly found himself running even faster from a stream of fire that came out of the monster's mouth.

    He screamed, but immediately regretted it when he ran right into a cloud of meandering insects.

    Jordan couldn't be sure which was worse, but at least the bugs were flammable. Multiple mini-fires erupted in the air and the few bugs that hadn't burst into flame were buzzing around very confused, letting their prey escape.

    Luckily, some other, larger prey came running right into them.

    The Manikin tried to shake off the ridiculously large insects that were now trying to latch on tightly to it with mandibles that could probably tear through metal if they put their minds to it. It even tried breathing fire all over its flank to burn any buggy hitchhikers to a crisp, but it also didn't want to lose sight of its frantic prey. So, against all common sense, it ignored the giant bugs chewing on it to continue pursuing Jordan, much to the young boy's dismay.

    It couldn't have gotten any worse, but somehow it did. Jordan jumped out of the way of a giant webbed foot and gaped for a moment. The giant goose didn't seem to notice him, which he supposed was a good thing. Nothing good could come of getting noticed by a giant goose.

    The Manikin paused, seeing the goose. It had grown huge, but even its size paled in comparison. The goose glanced down disdainfully at the pseudo-dragon and hissed. Not daunted (well, maybe a little), the Manikin decided that, you know what, goose would be delicious. After trying to shake off the bugs once more (and failing), it just went ahead and leapt at the goose's leg.

    That worked out as well as anybody would have thought.

    The goose shook off the Manikin easily before stepping back, limping slightly. The Manikin landed on its feet, having anticipated that it might get tossed off. What it didn't anticipate, however, was the laser beam.

    Jordan stared. Then he remembered himself and fled. Staying here any longer would just be insane.

    --------------------------------------------

    "Stand still," the supervisor snarled as he drew back his flaming clawed hand for another strike.

    "Goddammit, why is everything in this garden fireproof!" Rong shouted in frustration.

    The supervisor was ablaze and still going at them. Even his suit didn't seem to suffer any ill effects of the fire. He was looking worryingly demonic now.

    Eemp wobbled unsteadily on a shredded leg. Both Right and Rong had almost tangled themselves several times trying to dodge the rapid-fire attacks of the supervisor. The demon barely even gave them time to think. They could only react to what he dished out at them. Right even tried transforming into a blade again, but got attacked before he could even finish and was now sporting three rather hideous gashes down his side.

    "Do--do you think you could hold him off a bit?" the Chinese dragon shouted.

    "What?!" Rong shouted back. "He clawed through your scales like they were nothing! And mine are weaker!"

    "Well, at least your blood is acidic," Right retorted. "You dont have to--GAH. It won't be long! I just need to gather some juice so we can actually fight back!"

    Rong hesitated for a moment before launching herself towards the supervisor and headbutting him right in his blazing chest, impaling him with both her horns. He was stunned for a moment but quickly started clawing at her head. The blue dragon gritted her teeth and continued pushing him backwards as blood started flowing down her neck, both her's and the demonic supervisor's, mixing and plopping on the ground where it sizzled.

    All around them, the fruits on the trees popped and the juice inside flew out and up, coalescing into one big sphere. As it grew and loomed above, it started to form into a giant spear.

    "Right!" Rong yelped from where she was. Her eyes started to tear up as the supervisor stopped trying to struggle off her horns and started down the simpler route of just ripping her head off. "Hurry up! He's--"

    And that's when a giant icicle went through the supervisor, swept him off his feet, dragged him off of Rong's horns and continued to a nearby tree, where it sank in and only stopped three-quarters in.

    Many fruit fell from the tree. As Rong stared, they burst and drenched the supervisor so that he was no longer ablaze. The giant icicle twisted and warped until it was wrapped around the tree and, more importantly, the supervisor.

    Rong looked back at Right. She opened her mouth, thought a bit, and said, "You could've been a little faster."

    "We need to get out of here."

    "I mean, he was really going to rip my head off."

    "Would you shut up for once? Your head is fine. Let's get out of here."

    "But," Rong said, turning back to the supervisor. The horned being was struggling and though cracks appeared across the ice's surface, they healed up almost as soon as they were made. "We haven't killed him yet."

    "And we probably won't be able to. Shut up and let's go. We have someone else to kill."

    "The Manikin?" Rong asked after a moment.

    "No. It'll take too long. We have to kill Jordan."

    ---------------------------------------------------------------

    "So," Maxwell said casually as they ducked behind another tree. "What do you suppose is worse? Death by gardeners or death by giant goose?"

    "I really don't think we should be talking right now," Jordan hissed. "And none of those options sound great."

    "I know that," Maxwell insisted. "I'm just asking what you would prefer."

    "Neither. I'd rather stay alive, thank you."

    "But what I'm saying," Maxwill persisted, "What I'm saying is, well, if you had to die, how would you rather die?"

    "Painlessly," Jordan answered, peering out from behind the tree. He could see a goose looming over the trees. He was pretty sure that it was far away and occupied with something else, though.

    No gardeners around. No crazy fruit to accost them. "Let's go."
    Last edited by MalkyTop; 10-02-2010 at 07:36 PM.

  24. #274
    I Don't Deserve This Title MalkyTop's Avatar
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    Re: Pitched Combat [Round 5: Garden of Shades]

    For once, Rong didn't seem to want to say anything. And her head wasn't even chopped off. Eemp wandered around and neither dragon started a conversation. There was silence. The grass underfoot might have made a sound if Eemp's feet weren't made of cloth. Even though there were supposed to be armies of gardeners searching for them and giant geese rampaging around and a crazy garden supervisor possibly breaking out of his bonds and coming after them, all the action seemed rather far off right now. Right took this chance to get lost in thought.

    It was pointless to think back on the past. And doing so would depress him, he was sure. So he tried making plans for the future.

    Immediate plans were pretty easy to make. Mostly because they had to keep simple and flexible with so many random factors such as the fruits and the geese and the supervisor and that crazy Manikin. Making a complex plan would be just asking for it to go awry. So far his plan was finding Jordan. And then killing him.

    He didn't want to share this with Rong. He was sure she would taunt him.

    A possible problem with killing Jordan, however, was that Right had told him very clearly that they couldn't attack if Eemp didn't consider him a threat. And he was probably smart enough to not attack. Unless he was too dazed to remember that bit of information, but he couldn't really count on that.

    In that case, he would either have to trick Jordan into attacking or indirectly kill him somehow...

    And the Manikin could pretty much force him to throw any plans out the window if it decided to show up. Right glanced at the horizon as if expecting to see it rise up like in one of those cheap Japanese monster movies that he had never seen or heard of in his life. And to think at the very beginning he had only considered it a small nuisance.

    Actually, perhaps he could somehow get Jordan killed by the Manikin. That was pretty indirect. And it seemed a good plan, what with the Manikin's new-found hobby of destructive rampaging and its new fire-proof skin courtesy of Rong's head and so on. So they would have to find out where both Jordan and the Manikin were and lead the Manikin to the very squishable human. Or the reverse.

    "Let's get higher," Right said suddenly. Rong didn't even ask why. Eemp's feet left the ground and was led by his arms to the top of a tree. Looking around, Right easily caught sight of several giant geese milling around. There were a few in the distance, probably engaged in some mating ritual. Now that he noticed, he was slightly aware that the trees seemed to be rocking slightly.

    He ignored this rather admirably and scanned the area for the Manikin, finally catching sight of it. Or rather, the goose it was attacking. It seemed to be putting up a good fight too. The goose fell with a thud as he watched and let out a large squawk. This seemed to attract the attention of many other geese.

    Unfortunately, there was still no sign of Jordan. The branches underneath rustled a bit as he twisted his neck around, but there really was no point. Knowing the coward, he was probably lying low.

    It was almost certainly a bad idea. But to try to see further, Right flew up. Rong followed his lead. He managed to spot some movement before a giant garden shear flew past and almost took off Eemp's ever-smiling head. The trio immediately dropped, making the tree rustle loudly as they fell through branches and dropped to the ground rather ungracefully.

    Looking towards where the flying shears came from, Right saw a line of gardeners approaching. The one who had thrown the shears simply replaced them by materializing one from nothing. Eemp needed no prompting and ran.

    Rong had finally emerged from her own thoughts and started talking, as though they were not being chased by super-tough gardeners. "So. What will we do after this?"

    "Huh? What?" Right gasped, looking back at the approaching gardeners. They marched like a robotic regiment. Another shear just missed his snout.

    "When we win," Rong clarified. "Remember? Riches and rewards? A trip back home?"

    Right thought back. To be honest, he no longer remembered the words said at the very beginning of the battle. But what Rong had said sounded at least somewhat familiar.

    "I don't want to go back. Do you?"

    "Look, I can't help but think that now isn't the time--"

    "No, seriously. Think about it."

    Right thought about it. Going back meant back under the thumb of the wizard. And as they were now, they couldn't hope to overcome him. And it would be back to conquering lands for people who couldn't be bothered to do things themselves. It wasn't a fate worse than death, but still not a very great fate to return to.

    Another sheer buzzed by and caught itself on one of Rong's horns. She didn't seem to feel it.

    "Alright, 'rewards' isn't specified. We could probably ask the Organizer for help with this. He probably even has the power to get us our bodies. So it probably--"

    "Hey!" Rong suddenly shouted, whipping her head to the front and dislodging the shear from her horn. "It's that jerk coward glasses guy!" And without hesitation, she breathed smouldering fire at the figure ahead. It noticed very quickly and desperately leapt out of the way.

    "Wait," Right said before she could try again. "That's not Jordan!"

    The fire was released as steam. "But...he looks like him..."

    "Look closer. Monochrome."

    Rong squinted. The figure was picking himself off the ground now and getting ready to sprint away. But she could see that it definitely had no color. Right pulled ahead, almost dragging Eemp off its feet, and managed to catch up to pseudo-Jordan before he could get too far away and grabbed his shirt with his mouth, unable to grow an appendage quickly enough. Jordan screamed and struggled, but couldn't do much. Right growled as he tried to set him on fire. "Shtop zhat."

    Jordan, surprised that scary dragons could talk, immediately stopped that.

    "I, I, uh," Jordan stuttered, trying to scream, but somehow being too abashed to do so now.

    "Lok, weer hflpin yoo scap."

    "I, uh," Jordan said, trying to figure out what the dragon had just said, his legs dangling feebly. "Okay...?"

    "Yoo sheen a gui thbat luks laik yoo?"

    Jordan scrunched his face for a moment. "Er. Oh! Yeah?"

    "Tshnk yoo cun fnd im--" Right suddenly heaved and gagged; Jordan had apparently touched his gag reflex. For a moment, the fruit's legs were dragged on the ground and he whimpered as the skin was torn apart. Then Right held him up once more. "--ugan?" he continued, as though nothing happened.

    Jordan looked around, thought about saying 'you're kidding, right?', realized he didn't have the guts to do so, and just nodded.

    "Shet shom twees on fiyah." Jordan briefly wondered if the dragon was still talking to him until the other dragon turned and unleashed an inferno on some nearby trees. The ripe fruits crackled and popped. Some gardeners split off from the group to attempt to save the precious trees. The remaining pursuing group threw some more shears angrily. One of them neatly sliced off one of Right's antlers.

    Jordan heard a muffled scream and felt blood drip on his arm, but Right apparently closed the wound quickly. "Shit," the red dragon muttered, which seemed to surprise Rong.

    "You can still hear, right? Can't you grow it back?"

    Right didn't answer, so Jordan assumed that it wouldn't work. Then he remembered he was supposed to be leading them to that one guy so he looked around at the blurred surroundings. Just as he thought. Everything looked the same. He pointed in a random direction. The stumpy scarecrow stumbled as its arms veered sharply.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    The real Jordan peered out from behind a tree, as he found himself doing so often, and, with a little concentration, set fire to one a ways away from his own. Nearby gardeners flocked towards the blazing tree, either putting out the fire or searching for any nearby arsonists, and Jordan took the chance to sneak by with Maxwell in tow.

    "You know, I've actually been thinking of that thing," Maxwell said idly as they jogged swiftly away. "Your dragon problem."

    "Yeah?" Jordan replied, not expecting much of a response.

    "Yeah. Winning would be hard against them, I'd think. Of course, you could try not attacking at all, but then I would think they would find a loophole in their limitations somehow. You know? They could indirectly attack you. So you have to attack first, but to attack first would allow them to attack you and obviously that's not what you want. So you would have to indirectly attack them. This would mean traps of some sort. But they could probably dodge any one trap. Meaning you have to indirectly attack them constantly. Barrage them with indirect attacks, something like that."

    "Yeah, I get it," Jordan said unhappily, still not seeing a solution.

    "But what counts as an indirect attack? Does any attack that they cannot see count?"

    "I dunno," Jordan replied morosely.

    "In that case, if they cannot see that you are responsible for any sort of attack, then they would still be unable to attack you. And in that case, your pyrokinesis, since it cannot be seen, would not be cause for them to attack..."

    "No, it didn't work," Jordan interrupted. "I tried that before. Right attacked me as a sword."

    "Hm," Maxwell said, running a hand through his hair. "But what if he was employing a loophole? What if he was feinting, you know? Hoping to get an attack out of you or something? Like, if you hadn't done anything, he would just stop short."

    "And what if he wasn't?" Jordan shot back, albeit doubtfully.

    "And how do dragons breathe fire?"

    "I...what?" Jordan thought back a bit in case he had missed part of the conversation and found that he hadn't.

    "I've been thinking about that too, you see, and there must be something inside that holds some sort of combustable material. you know? Like, a sac that holds...gasoline, say. And to breathe fire, the sac releases it in a gas state and it passes some other organ that...actually, I haven't really figured it out this far yet. Somehow it gets ignited and comes out as fire. But the point is, somewhere inside is some sort of organ holding something highly flammable."

    "So?" Jordan said, frustrated. "I'm not sure..." he trailed off as the meaning hit him. The dragons may be fireproof on the outside, but their insides were as cookable as any other thing that was flammable.

    You could say that this realization hit him like a pair of dragons attached to a rag doll. Especially since immediately afterwards, he was hit by a pair of dragons attached to a rag doll and the group fell and tumbled around for a bit before any of them could get up. Jordan got to his feet and noticed himself again. Pseudo-Jordan stood up and was surprised to find that he had actually been giving the correct directions. Then he fell to the ground again because his legs were still injured.

    Both Jordans turned their attention back to the dragons. Right was rather agitated. He grabbed pseudo-Jordan by the scruff of his neck once more, but this time had the forethought to grow a second mouth. It was creepy. "Let's go," it said.

    Jordan was about to ask a suspicious 'why?' when a giant shear flew past and embedded itself into the ground nearby. No other prompt was needed.

    Grabbing Maxwell by the arm, he tried to stay on the heels of Eemp, but found that he was lagging behind a bit. The dragons didn't turn around. Gasping a bit, he forced himself to go faster as another shear was flung towards them. The gardeners appeared to be gaining.

    He eyed Rong for a bit, yet hesitated. Trying it now would be risky, he reasoned. There was a group of bloodthirsty, inhuman gardeners behind him and if he was distracted with setting something on fire, he might trip or something. And definitely die instead. Besides, he had no idea how big the explosion would be. If he tried it now...he could probably be killed in the blast too. If there even was a blast.

    Right got rid of his second mouth and glanced backwards briefly. He hoped that Jordan would simply get caught by the gardeners. That would save him a lot of trouble. But if not, then, well, he was fairly certain they would meet with the Manikin and its new goosey friend soon.

  25. #275
    I Don't Deserve This Title MalkyTop's Avatar
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    Re: Pitched Combat [Round 5: Garden of Shades]

    The great thing about rag dolls were that, since they weren't alive in the first place, they couldn't get exhausted. Even as giant shears continued to clip Eemp's cloth, it kept its pace and stayed ahead.

    Unfortunately for Jordan, he was tiring very quickly. Adrenaline could only take a person so far and his was already quickly draining away. He wasn't sure if fruit people had adrenaline too, but Maxwell was looking pretty tired too. He was tired of dragging him along. He might be able to escape if he left Maxwell behind.

    That was a horrible thought and Jordan immediately kicked it out of his mind. Besides, it wouldn't bring up his speed a bit. His legs were at the burning stage and quite useless, with or without a load.

    The dragons were already far ahead and he was just about ready to give up. Gulping down air, he stumbled into a tree and leaned on it, drenched in sweat. Maxwell almost collapsed next to him. The two looked back to the mob of gardeners that were quickly approaching. They were still throwing their shears like spears. As if their victims were going anywhere anytime soon.

    A shear flew right into his leg. He grimaced and held back a scream before pulling it out, which he immediately regretted when he saw all the blood that gushed free. He tried to hold his wound and ended up getting blood all over his hands. Though he supposed it wouldn't matter soon enough. It was really too bad he couldn't, well, live.

    Suddenly, the earth quaked hard enough that he was forced up in the air briefly. He could see a webbed foot a few feet away right in front of the gardeners. Then he was bombarded by fruit.

    Between the giant goose attack and the hundreds of confused, ripe fruit people, the gardeners had their hands rather full. As the goose hissed at them and continued to gulp down more fruit despite the gardeners' desperate attempts to stop it, Maxwell and Jordan slunk away. Jorrdan's leg was still bleeding and, as he was now leaning on Maxwell's shoulder, they were moving rather slowly. But at least they weren't getting killed.

    "I need to get out of here," he gasped, already feeling a little light-headed. "Where...where're the dragons?"

    -------------------------------------------------------------

    The dragons, in fact, were still running, havning not paused long to look back. Right was aware that Jordan had fallen behind, but as the surroundings were the same, he must have not been killed yet. Maybe he got away. Maybe they should try to find him again.

    Eemp backpeddled as another goose trodded on, unaware of the dragons below it. Rong looked back for a moment. "Hey," she shouted. "There's nobody chasing us!"

    Right looked back too. "Shoot. I'd say that Jordan led all those gardeners away, but then I'd expect him to be dead by now."

    "So...now what?" Rong asked above the ever-growing noise of the nearby scuffle.

    "We...we're still killing Jordan," Right replied hesitantly. "But. Uh."

    "You what?" Fruit-Jordan shouted out in shock, still dangling helplessly in Right's mouth. The Chinese dragon couldn't help but wonder how exactly he managed to forget about him.

    "The other one," he clarified. "Not you."

    "Geez, why are we keeping this guy around, by the way?"

    "Uh," Right said. "He...might be useful. Later. Sometime."

    "Well, okay. But how'll we find Jordan?"

    "Can you please stop talking about this?" Pseudo-Jordan asked nervously. "I don't think...it's sorta...creeping me out..."

    Right knew he didn't have much of a plan to begin with but he was still surprise at how quickly it managed to fall apart. There was no salvaging it. "Yes. Well. Maybe we should just...continue going where we were going. Maybe we can do something there."

    --------------------------------------------------------------

    The orchard was very nice, even in its boring monochrome, but the recent Manikin/geese attacks hadn't been kind to it. One part of the orchard was barely an orchard anymore. Most of the trees had been uprooted. The fruit had either been eaten or stepped on carelessly. Grass that had been so neatly cut had been trampled or simply overturned. Actually, it looked fittingly like a warzone.

    As Eemp left the cover of the trees that remained standing, it was immediately apparant that there didn't seem to be much to do. There were giant bugs trying to eat the Manikin who was in turn trying to eat several giant geese who were in turn trying to laser the Manikin so that they could go about eating fruit without some wooden party-crasher constantly interrupting them. Jumping into the scuffle would actually probably not be a smart idea. Right was about to suggest going back when Jordan and Maxwell suddenly appeared as well.

    He had no idea why Jordan went towards the noise of the fight rather than away, but it was rather convenient. And, he noticed as he moved closer, he was wounded too. Very convenient.

    It was then Right realized he had no idea what to do at all.

    "Uh," Rong said. "I'm feeling odd."

    Right looked over towards her. She was indeed looking a little nauseous. And she was smoking in a very worrying manner.

    "Like, really...ugh...boiling odd."

    Right looked back at Jordan and yes, he did indeed look like he was concentrating very hard on imagining a dragon's insides in flames. The dragon also couldn't help but notice several of the large bugs starting to veer towards the pyrokinetic.

    Eemp started running towards Jordan, who visibly paled as Maxwell tried to drag them away. Right swung his neck in an arc and let go of pseudo-Jordan so that he flew towards them and right into the cloud of demon-death-bugs. The bugs, momentarily distracted by this new prey that had so fortuitiously ran right into them, started feasting immediately, and as Jordan stared in horror at what was essentially him getting eaten alive, Eemp continued rushing at him until Right was able to reach out and snatch Jordan away from Maxwell.

    As Jordan started thrashing wildly, they turned sharply towards the geese-Manikin fight once more. But before Right could initiate Phase Two of his completely impromptu plan, another figure burst out of the orchard and tackled Eemp, forcing him to drop Jordan, who fell painfully on his leg.

    "Thought you got rid of me?" the supervisor of the orchard said, grinning wickedly and looking very disheveled.

    "It would have been nice," Right replied, wincing. Rong coughed up more smoke but at least didn't look like she would throw up.

    "You have another plan, right? One that won't involve me getting my head--"

    The supervisor tackled them again, holding down Right by the throat and clawed at Rong before grabbing her by a horn and tugging. Eemp tried to kick at him, which was rather ineffectual as anybody would expect. The supervisor grinned even more, grabbed a flailing leg, swung them around and threw them into a tree.

    A fruit fell.

    As Maxwell pulled Jordan up, the giant bugs noticed them again and started towards them. They were taken care of easily with some handy pyrokinesis. He started looking around wildly for the dragons. He suddenly stared up at the sky.

    There was a dragon there. It, in fact, looked a lot like Rong. Except she wasn't attached to a ragdoll and another dragon. And she was much bigger. And she was rather monochrome.

    Fruit-Rong looked around disdainfully, beating her wings in the air. "What the hell! Where am I? What the hell's going on? Who the hell are you jerks?" She seemed rather confused. So confused she was almost angry. So angry that she could almost breathe fire. Which she could.

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