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Of Nite and Dei: [Chapter 8]
2020.07.09 03:12 ZitheroOf Nite and Dei: [Chapter 8]
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Dr. Terasuki continued her examination of Yuki, checking blood pressure, oxygen levels, and even her body fat content. “We need to work on getting a good number of these metrics into what I’d consider a healthy range. Between space-flight and your traipsing through the wilderness, being terrified and envenomed,” her expression softened, “it’s not too surprising.” Yuki frowned, “Doctor, I feel fine.” Dr. Terasuki ignored her, tapping a few items on her tablet, “Your wings are the most important area to focus on.” “Why?” Yuki began to feel nervous again. Dr. Terasuki moved behind Yuki and gently tugged her wings up, forcing them to extend. Yuki let out a gasp of discomfort, “Stop!” Dr. Terasuki frowned, “I’m only trying to extend them fully. Were you injured?” “No, I just, I don’t… I don’t fly okay?” Yuki confessed. “Why not?” Dr. Terasuki frowned, “Fear of heights?” Yuki shook her head, “No, it’s just, I don’t like wearing a respirator and I’m not an athlete. I haven’t really flown since moving to the big city with my son and husband.” “Respirator?” Dr. Terasuki took a stethoscope and placed it over Yuki’s chest, “Deep breath.” Yuki inhaled deeply, still frowning. “Release,” Dr. Terasuki listened in as Yuki did so. “Another?” After a moment of listening to Yuki’s breathing, she removed the device from her ears, “I’m not hearing any breathing issues. Why would you need a respirator?” “Because the higher you go, the worse the air,” Yuki sighed, “well, to a point. If you went high enough, I guess you’d go above the clouds.” Dr. Terasuki tapped notes into her tablet, her brow raised, “Interesting.” “What’s interesting?” Yuki asked. “It’s nothing,” Dr. Terasuki heaved a sigh, “Well, my dear, I’m in a predicament; I cannot legally confine you to this room, but neither can I spend my valuable time being your personal translator.” Yuki narrowed her eyes, feeling slightly hurt, “Am I not worth the time?” “My job,” Dr. Terasuki explained, “is to save lives. You, my dear, are perfectly healthy,” she tapped Yuki’s feathery wing, “albeit out of shape.” “Excuse-” Yuki was cut off by Dr. Terasuki. “As such, I must return to my shift to care for the ill and injured,” Dr. Terasuki informed. “For your rehabilitation, I’ll have a physical therapist assigned to you in the next few days. In the meantime, I’ll assign a nurse chaperone to ensure your safety and make sure you don’t go wandering off to Guardians know where.” Yuki frowned, “Do any of the nurses here speak my language?” “They do not,” Dr. Terasuki said, “so I’ll show you some basic hand gestures. Like ‘yes’, ‘no’, ‘hungry’, ‘ouch’, etc.” Yuki crossed her arms, “I’m not a child!” “Clearly,” Dr. Terasuki grumbled, speaking in Niten, “yeld yheyh tevb yevter.” “What was that?” Yuki could sense some indignation in her voice. “Nothing,” Dr. Terasuki shifted subjects, “I’ll go find a nurse to assist you.” “Can I make a request?” Yuki asked, her tone shifting, growing softer. “You may.” “Can it be the nurse who saved me?” Yuki asked. “For your information, I administered the anti-venom to you shortly after you were brought in by Lazzerlth’s hunting party,” Dr. Terasuki gave Yuki a perplexed look, “The nurse saved you from… what? You weren’t in any danger. Not since you’ve been treated here.” Yuki took a deep breath, “Well, I thought I was in danger, and I’d like it if the only Nite who even tried to be helpful towards me continued to do so.” “Tried to be helpful?” Dr. Terasuki frowned, “What is it you think the hunters and myself have been doing?” “The ‘hunters’ chased me through the woods,” Yuki crossed her arms, “and I’m sorry, but you’ve mostly insulted me. I didn’t know you treated me. Thank you,” Yuki looked away, “Though your bedside manner could use some work.” Dr. Terasuki took a measured breath, letting the criticism roll off her, “I understand your frustration but…” a thought crossed Dr. Terasuki’s mind, “no-no, I’m sorry but I must find someone else. Of all the nurses here, Serren’s likely the worst choice. He’s only just returned to work, and did so against Workforce Welfare’s advisory.” “Listen,” Yuki said, staring up at the blue-skinned Dragon, but stomping her foot all the same, “since I arrived here: I have been ship-wrecked, hunted, starved, chased, soaked, terrorized, and poisoned!” “Envenomed,” Dr. Terasuki corrected. “Does that really matter?” Yuki shouted. Dr. Terasuki looked down at the now furious Angel, taking a step back. “All I ask is one single request, and that is if I must have some kind of ‘minder’, I want the only person who’s given a single solitary damn about my well-being!” Dr. Terasuki took offense, “Excuse me, Mrs. Karkade, your well-being has been at the forefront of my concern, and remains so!” “Yeah, well…” Yuki stammered, running out of steam, “I only met you an hour ago!” A hand rose to Dr. Terasuki’s snout as she closed her eyes and tried to calm herself. “Mrs. Karkade, I understand you have been through a great ordeal-” “I don’t think that you do,” Yuki snapped. With a renewed sense of purpose, Dr. Terasuki turned her gaze down to the small, yet stubborn woman and addressed her curtly, “I will do as you request. But please note: I am opposed.” With that, Dr. Terasuki walked out of the room. … After slamming the door, Dr. Terasuki grumbled to herself, “I am far too highly trained to be dealing with this incident!” she growled, storming away from Yuki’s room, “Now where on Nite is Nurse Serren?” Serren jumped slightly, standing outside the door to the examination room. “I am right here, Doctor.” Dr. Terasuki turned to him, narrowing her eyes, “Did I not tell you to seek out another task?” “Y-you did,” Serren stammered, “but, you see, I uh…” he chuckled, “well, I was not sure if Mrs. Karkade would need me and… uh, no one else needed my assistance as of yet.” Concern crossed Dr. Terasuki’s face, “Serren,” she sighed, “I know your return was against Workforce Welfare’s behest, perhaps you should go home?” Serren shook his head, “No, I’m better here. Where I can keep my mind off of…” his face fell, “an empty house.” Serren soon found Dr. Terasuki’s arms around his shoulders, the pair hugging. “You’re strong for doing so, Allia would be proud of you.” Serren nodded, breaking the embrace, “You were looking for me?” Dr. Terasuki nodded, “Yes, Serren. Yuki’s exposure to our world has been… let’s say, negative, except for you. As I have far more important things to do than escort the young Angel all over the place, I planned to assign a nurse to her situation.” “I see,” Serren frowned, “Why a nurse?” “In case the little thing gets harmed again, she will have medical attention,” Dr. Terasuki explained, “Since I haven’t heard from the Department of the Interior yet, I have to decide what to do with her for the time being. She can’t be held here against her will, you know.” Serren nodded, “I understand.” “Good,” Dr. Terasuki explained, walking into the exam room’s viewing area while Serren followed. “I’ll give you some non-verbal commands, and some basic words she’ll grasp. Just maybe give her a little tour of the hospital, get her some food, have her move around a bit. You know, the basics.” Serren nodded thoughtfully, “She’s in the same clothing?” “Yes, it’s all she has and we have nothing that we can offer her that fits other than hospital gowns,” she explained. “The gowns are fine.” Serren gave a nod as the pair approached the door. … Yuki felt so isolated when the doctor left. She turned and hopped up onto the rather high examination table, looking around the room. How could Dei have been so wrong about Nite? Yuki thought to herself, Do the people at Fondsworth Inc. have some major fact-checking issues? Everything was so large, so strange, she felt like a child again. Dr. Terasuki talking down to her did not help the situation. Maybe this is a peaceful village? Or a city? Are there differing clans of Nite? Maybe Fondsworth Inc. saw a primitive village of isolated tribal Nite and thought the whole planet was that way. Oddly, after a moment or two, she felt like she wasn’t alone anymore. As if someone she had known for years had joined her. Seconds later, entering from the room behind the mirror, came Dr. Terasuki and Serren. “Formal introductions,” Dr. Terasuki said happily, “Yuki Karkade,” Dr. Terasuki motioned to Yuki, “Meet Serren Misho.” Serren cleared his throat, managing to barely say the word, “Yuki.” Yuki smiled, “Hi, Serren.” The pair smiled at one another, each of their cheeks darkening. Dr. Terasuki looked between the two, shaking her head, “No, no, no! This is a very bad idea, I’m sorry, I have to find someone else.” Serren frowned. “No,” Yuki shot back, “No one else can help me, please, Doctor!” Dr. Terasuki frowned at Yuki and considered that at this rate, it would likely take more time and energy to convince the young Angel of any other alternatives. Against her better judgment, she turned to Serren, “ayen shevm 'eseq metsheyq, ath mebyen avety?” Serren nodded, “aney mebyen legmery, devqetver.” Yuki frowned, unsure of what the two were discussing. … Serren stood by as the Doctor spoke in the odd angelic language. “Non, non, non!” Dr. Terasuki began to protest, “Hoc est a valde malus, ego sum paenitet, ego have ut reperio alius!” Yuki then argued back to Dr. Terasuki, “Non, non aliud, quaeso, Medicus?” Dr. Terasuki turned to Serren, narrowing her eyes as she spoke to him, “Absolutely no funny business, do you understand?” “I understand completely, Doctor,” Serren advised. … After a brief aside with Serren, Dr. Terasuki turned back to Yuki, “So, I’ll teach you some hand gestures that Serren will know.” Yuki nodded, “Thank you, Doctor.” Dr. Terasuki kept herself focused, crossing both her forearms over one another, “This means no.” She then held one arm up, bending her elbow at a ninety-degree angle, “This means yes.” Dr. Terasuki demonstrated a few more basics, indicating ‘stop’, ‘continue’, ‘hello’, ‘goodbye’, ‘sorry’, and finally a ‘thank you’. “Do you understand?” Yuki smiled, giving the signal for ‘yes’. A warm smile spread over Dr. Terasuki’s face, “Well, there may be hope for you yet, Mrs. Karkade.” “Wow, I did not know that you could smile,” Yuki chided. Dr. Terasuki’s smile faded quickly, “I leave you in Serren’s capable hands,” Dr. Terasuki turned, walking past Serren while hissing, “shevm 'eseq metsheyq!” As the doctor left, Yuki frowned at Serren, “What was that about?” Shortly after she asked the question, she remembered Serren couldn’t understand her. Serren, for his part, just smiled warmly and offered her his hand. Yuki returned the smile and took his hand, allowing the larger red-skinned Dragon to guide her out of the exam room. As the pair exited, Serren made a motion towards Yuki’s stomach. Using her crash course in hand gestures, she took a guess that Serren was asking if she was hungry, so she made the ‘x’ with her forearms, indicating ‘no.’ Serren nodded, thinking for a moment. Yuki was unsure what was going on inside Serren’s head until his eyes lit up and he began to excitedly rush towards the exit of the hospital. Serren’s gait was far faster than Yuki’s, and she had to run to keep up with him, “Uh, where are we going?” Serren reached the exit and let go of Yuki’s hand, pointing upwards and taking flight. “Wait!” Yuki shouted. She glanced up to see there were other Nite flying through the sky, and Serren had joined a row of Nite flying to her left, over the street. “I can’t fly!” Yuki shouted, running underneath him. Serren turned to look behind him, confused, and spotted Yuki running below him. “I can’t fly!” Yuki shouted, pointing to her wings and using the ‘no’ hand gesture. Serren grinned and turned around, flying lower and towards Yuki. Yuki smiled and stopped, happy he noticed she wasn’t with him. But her smile vanished as she saw that Serren was not slowing down in the least as he flew lower and lower, swooping directly towards her. “W-wait!” Serren had a mischievous grin on his face. While Yuki was not afraid, she had no idea what the Dragon was planning. She turned and ran as fast as she could. The running helped Serren, as he snatched her up in his arms, pulled her close to him, and flew higher into the air. Yuki screamed in shock as they soared upwards, and then her scream turned to excitement as Serren carried her higher. Her heart pounded in her chest as she looked down over the city below, the wind ruffling her hair and feathers. “I need to learn to fly,” she smiled, inhaling the clear air. At home, there was so much smog that a respirator was required in order to fly. But here, the air was clean, and a sweet scent wafted through her nose. Yuki turned to see Serren smiling from ear to ear. Assuming he had ears. Yuki searched his head, trying to find where his ears were. Serren noticed, chuckling, unsure what she was searching for on his head. Yuki blushed as she was caught, and merely tightened her grip on Serren as they flew onward. “Where are we going?” she asked. Serren just gave Yuki a smile, and Yuki again reminded herself that she didn’t understand him, nor could he understand her. After a few minutes of glorious flight, which Yuki once again resolved to relearn the art of, the pair landed at a storefront. Yuki gingerly stepped down from Serren’s arms and gave him the signal for ‘thank you.’ Serren smiled, signaling ‘you’re welcome’, and walked to the doors of the store, opening it for her. Yuki gave another ‘thank you’ signal and walked in. Inside the store were racks of clothing of all materials. Some soft leathers, many synthetics, and others of natural cloth. Yuki frowned, “A clothing store?” Serren stepped in behind her, tugging on his shirt. Yuki looked down to see she was still in her flight-suit. Though it was recently cleaned, getting a few changes of clothing wasn’t a bad idea. She looked up to him, and smiled, giving another ‘thank you’. As she looked at the clothing, however, she discovered something very quickly. The vast majority of the clothing, even the women’s clothing, was far too large for her frame. At first, Serren didn’t notice, until he pulled a shirt that, to him, was small, and he offered it to Yuki. Yuki admired the cloth, it was soft and featured a hole in the back for her wings. But to emphasize the size difference, Yuki slipped the shirt on. The shirt’s neck hole slid over Yuki’s head, and her shoulder and the sleeves were very loose as well, coming to Yuki’s elbows. Serren chuckled for a moment before helping Yuki out from under the oversized shirt. Yuki heaved a sigh and gave Serren a shrug. Serren took Yuki’s hand once more and led her down several aisles. They arrived at a section that contained bright and pastel colors, sequin patterns on shirts and pants, and even some small figurines. It took Yuki only a moment to recognize what was likely the children's section of the clothing store. She gave him an indignant look as she stifled a laugh. Serren smiled and returned the shrug from before. Yuki walked around the clothing racks, happy enough to find shirts that were, at least, far closer to her size. After grabbing a few shirts and pants, Yuki looked to Serren, motioning trying the shirt on. Serren nodded, bringing Yuki to a changing room. An older green Nite was folding clothing, and upon seeing the pair she was immediately curious. Serren stood between Yuki and the green Dragon and began to explain the situation to her. Yuki hung back, clothing in hand, waiting for Serren to finish his chat. After a short time, Serren pointed to a door and gave her the ‘yes’ hand gesture. Yuki walked in and peeled her flight suit off. While it was good in the climate-controlled cockpit of her ship, she was less thrilled with its use out and about. New clothing was something she was more than happy Serren had considered. She looked in the mirror, noticing how large the changing room was built. Yuki glanced at the door, still feeling Serren’s presence. “Should I invite him in?” The thought made her face flush with warmth. She shook her head, and cleared her throat, “You’re married… Yuki…” she blushed deeper, “...and you’re different species. Oh Guardian, why wasn’t that the first thought?” She slid a few different shirts on, finding no issues with the fit aside from one which was a bit wide across her shoulders. The first pair of pants, however, posed a problem, and one Yuki could not help but chuckle over. Ensuring that her underwear was still tastefully in place, she cracked the changing room door open and peeked out. Serren smiled, giving Yuki the ‘yes’ hand gesture. Yuki smiled mischievously, giving the ‘yes’ gesture to the front of her new outfit. She then turned around to reveal that there was an opening in the seat of the pants for a Niten tail. This left a hole revealing Yuki’s panties. She emphasized this hole by wiggling her hips back and forth, turning and giving Serren the ‘no’ gesture. Serren’s cheeks darkened and he chuckled. He gave a ‘yes’ gesture again. Yuki was unsure what it meant, but blushed regardless and stepped back inside the changing room. The mirror greeted her, and she stared at her reflection, scolding herself, Stop flirting! She cleared her throat, checking the other pants to find that, while they fit, they all sported a hole in the rear. After a few more minutes, Yuki walked out wearing a shirt that came down well past her hips, covering the hole in the pants. Serren chuckled, and he held out a plastic bag for her. Yuki deposited only the shirts inside, turning to leave the pants on the counter. Serren shook his head, pointing to the pants, and then to the bag. Yuki frowned, picking up one pair and motioning to the hole in the back. Serren smiled, and held one hole together, making odd movements with his claws, and then a ‘yes’ gesture again. Yuki was unsure what he was inferring, but decided to trust him. She dropped the pants inside, looking around the store. She wondered about shoes. While she wasn’t barefoot, all she had were the boots that matched her flight suit. Before Yuki could ask about footwear, she noticed that Serren, for his part, wore no shoes. Rather, his large clawed feet met directly with the ground. Yuki turned and spotted the same situation for the woman folding clothing. “Okay, right, even if you had shoes,” She looked to her much smaller and vastly different feet, “I doubt that would work.” Serren wiggled some of his toes, giving Yuki a warm smile. Yuki looked up to catch his smile and returned it. He offered her his hand, and Yuki once more took it. The pair left the store, and Serren held his arms out for Yuki to climb into. Yuki decided on a different method, putting her arm through the shopping bag, and reaching up to wrap her arms around Serren’s neck. She couldn’t see Serren’s cheek darken but she could feel his heart pound in his large chest. Yuki smiled as Serren cradled her in his arms and took off. This position gave Yuki a better view of what they passed. She also noted how, as Serren soared through the air, his tail worked to counterbalance his weight to and fro. His wings flapped occasionally, but he was primarily gliding as he flew through the air. While it had been a while, Yuki remembered having to bend her wings, fan out her feathers, flex her back muscles, and a number of other maneuvers to control her flight. Even with Serren’s adjusting, she noted that he wasn’t likely to handle tight turns as well as she could. She considered the fun she’d have out-maneuvering Serren when she did relearn to fly. For the first time, she was excited about the prospect as the pair landed. Yuki climbed down, giving Serren a ‘thank you’ gesture. Serren smiled warmly and opened another small shop door. Yuki recognized this store immediately. While there was regular clothing here, there were far more gowns, glittery and shimmering. In addition to dresses, there were jackets, men’s dress pants, and jewelry here and there. Serren had brought the pair to a tailor. An older man with a pair of spectacles resting on his snout walked out to greet them, and he was surprised to see Yuki giving him a ‘hello’ gesture. The tailor’s scales were gray, his eyes a soft blue. He returned Yuki’s greeting while looking at Serren in awe. Serren reached into the shopping bag and showed the pants to him, gesturing to the hole in the back and then pointing to Yuki. The tailor looked Yuki over while rubbing his chin, in thought. A moment or two later he knelt before Yuki, pulling out a measuring tape. Yuki tensed up as the tailor reached around her waist and looked to Serren for reassurance. Serren gave her that same warm, familiar smile that had set her at ease since she met him. Tension vanished from Yuki’s body as she allowed the tailor to take her measurements. Serren then motioned to an item on a rack and spoke to the tailor, Yuki still not understanding a word of what was being said. The tailor gave a polite nod and took the pants in the back with him. Serren sighed and had a seat, tapping the chair next to him. Yuki sat by him, and heaved a sigh, “Waiting?” she looked up to Serren. Serren gave a ‘yes’ motion. Something was off, however. Yuki could sense a sort of hesitation or apprehension from him. “Everything okay?” Yuki asked again, unsure why she was even speaking when Serren could not understand her words. Serren’s smile didn’t falter, and he gave Yuki a ‘yes’ signal. Yuki frowned, wondering how he was grasping her intent so well. As she pondered, she continued to pick up on Serren’s concern, his worry. What did he have to be worried about? This was his world, wasn’t it? As Yuki fretted, Serren placed his hand on her shoulder in a comforting manner. Their eyes met, and as they gazed at one another, Yuki found a good opportunity to search the Dragon’s face and eyes for alien details. His slit, reptilian irises were the most alien, though they didn’t convey any negative or animalistic qualities. Yuki realized that behind those eyes, there was just a man. A sweet man who was doing his best to care for her. She also spotted his darkening cheeks and felt her own doing the same. Serren and Yuki, at the same time, broke eye contact and looked away awkwardly. Yuki then reached for a magazine, hoping to distract herself from the awkward situation. I need to learn to speak Niten, she thought as she inspected the magazine. On the cover was a Niten female, clad in a vast array of sparkling jewelry. She wore standard earrings and necklaces that Yuki was used to. But there were also bits of jewelry adorning the woman’s horns, a few piercings in her nose, and even two in her eyebrows. As she browsed the magazine, she learned that if a woman was wearing any sort of evening dress, not only was the dress usually glittery and sequined, but the woman’s face, body, even her tail was covered in gold, silver, and precious gems. She couldn’t read the lettering, but as she flipped through she noticed that when males were in the shots with the females, they only wore drab clothing. Simple suits, jackets, shirts, and some would wear a matching vest with their female counterpart. Yuki marveled at how every Niten female was dressed up like a piece of artwork while the males were just, well, there. After several minutes the tailor emerged, smiling and showing that he had either stitched the hole in the back of each set of pants closed completely or added a patch. Yuki was not picky, and just happy to have something other than her flight suit. She had an idea of what to do for footwear, which involved cutting her flight suit's feet off and making do in the meantime. Yuki gave the tailor a ‘thank you’ gesture, which he returned. Serren and the tailor exchanged some words, and Yuki wondered if these were payment arrangements? She must have cost him quite a bit of money, from the new clothing to the tailored pants. Yuki was curious how she could work off her debt, there would have to be some kind of arrangement made later. She did not want to take advantage of Serren’s generosity. Serren and the tailor’s tails moved to one another, wrapped around each other, and then both smiled. Serren turned to Yuki, once more offering his hand. The tailor bid the pair farewell as the pair walked out of the shop. Yuki climbed into Serren’s arms, and he took off. She noticed the sun was setting off in the distance. She sighed in disappointment, realizing that in all likelihood they were heading back to the hospital. She wondered where she would stay after she relearned to fly, as she’d no longer be considered disabled after that. Would it take so long for a rescue that temporary living quarters would be a problem? How could she get in contact with Dei? All questions to consider later, as Yuki noticed Serren was descending. The pair landed in front of the hospital, and Dr. Terasuki approached them. “Yuki, are you all right?” she asked. “Fine,” Yuki said, showing the bag of clothing, “Serren helped me get some clothes.” “Oh,” Dr. Terasuki glared at him, “I see. I had not expected you to leave the hospital, so I began to grow concerned.” “What will my temporary living arrangement be, Doctor?” Yuki asked, feeling that Serren was now on the spot. It was strange, she could feel his tension again. “For now,” Dr. Terasuki frowned, “you’ll be staying in the hospital while you rehabilitate. I’m still waiting to hear back regarding more permanent living arrangements.” “And how do I pay Serren back for this clothing?” Yuki asked. “Pay… him back? Were these Serren’s clothes?” Dr. Terasuki asked. “No, we got them at a store, but Serren bought them,” Yuki affirmed. Dr. Terasuki frowned, confused by the entire statement, “There is nothing you need to concern yourself with there.” Yuki decided it was best not to press her luck. “Aahevֹt Serren? Tevdh, hemshemret shelk hesteyyemh, ath yekvel lelket,” Dr. Terasuki addressed Serren. Serren gave a nod, hearing Dr. Terasuki say: “Nurse Serren? Thank you, your shift is over, you can go,” in Niten. Serren turned to face Yuki and once more flashed the warm smile she had grown comfortable with. Yuki smiled back, and the pair both gave a ‘goodbye’ gesture. Serren made a motion towards Yuki, but stepped back, his cheeks darkening before he turned and left. Yuki’s brow furrowed, not happy that the only person she connected with here was leaving her side. “Mrs. Karkade?” Dr. Terasuki broke Yuki’s revere. Yuki frowned, and nodded, following Dr. Terasuki’s lead, “Can I ask, why was Serren out of work? Something seems to be weighing on him. For some reason, when I was with him, I could feel a strong loss.” “Normally I would not provide such information,” Dr. Terasuki said as they walked down the halls, “I think this will benefit the two of you, as I see Serren is growing overly attached.” Yuki narrowed her eyes on Dr. Terasuki’s back, unsure if the nerve-grating entitlement this woman had was earned. “His mate died last year. She was a Huntress. It was a scavenger attack...” Dr. Terasuki turned to Yuki, “scavengers are massive lizards, almost six meters tall. Despite their size, they can sneak up on hunters after they've made a kill. They are formidable, even for the most skilled hunters. They’re basically 14,000 kilograms of viciousness.” Yuki frowned, “Things like that exist here?” Dr. Terasuki nodded, “Yes, I heard you ran into some ‘rippers’, which are formidable enough, but far smaller. Dangerous, of course, but… well, you can better outrun a ripper than you can a scavenger.” She made a motion with her hand, “They can snatch you before you even have a chance to take off.” “I see, and one of these caught Serren’s wife?” Yuki asked. Dr. Terasuki reached a doorway, “...a scavenger came across Allia’s hunting party. Allia did her best to fight the beast off, but it got the better of her.” “Fight? You said they were-” “Pride is a quality that is looked down upon. To be confident is often how to forge forward in life, but pride can cause a great person to suffer,” she opened the door. “Was she protecting someone? Serren maybe?” Yuki tried to reason. “Her legacy,” Dr. Terasuki said, staring ahead. “Doctor?” Yuki asked as she walked into a room that had a single bed, mirror, and her satchel. “I operated on her,” she turned to Yuki, “I’m one of the better emergency room surgeons. There was no saving that girl, but while the scavenger pierced her flesh,” Dr. Terasuki sighed, “Allia brought her demise upon herself.” Yuki frowned as Dr. Terasuki closed the door. Yuki pulled her clothes off and sat on the bed. She nestled herself under the covers. “I wonder if Serren blames Allia then…” She turned on her back, looking up at the ceiling. “If he took time off,” Yuki reasoned out loud, “he must have been heartbroken.” Yuki wondered if she’d feel the same way if Aphod died suddenly. She heaved a sigh, I’d feel bad that he was dead. But our marriage has been dead for years. If not for Geoffrey, Yuki frowned. I hope I’ll see my baby boy soon. With that thought, Yuki drifted off to sleep. … Yuki found herself walking through a grassy field at dusk. Fog hung low over the field as she made her way through, confused as to where she was exactly. She felt calm and somber. A hint of sadness came over her. Another emotion bubbled up as she wandered, an emotion of reverence. To Yuki’s shock, a figure suddenly loomed out of the darkness. A massive gray female Nite, nearly six meters tall. Her right leg leaned against some sort of huge reptile and a grin stretched across her face. As Yuki stared at the figure before her, she noticed the woman did not move, did not blink, and did not even shift stance. As she approached the figure, she realized it was a statue. As she looked around, more statues could be seen placed throughout the field. Yuki glanced at the large stone pedestal at the base of the statue, and the Niten lettering on it began to shift, mold, and change. Soon she was able to decipher it! The words read:
“For Her Many Years of Service for our Beautiful Nite, Here Lies Huntress Makka Sulik. Rest Well, Honored One, Enjoy Your Deserved Eternal Peace.”
The statue stared ahead and over Yuki as she craned her neck up to examine it more closely. Its clothing was similar to what Lazzerlth wore, differing in small inconsequential details. “This is a graveyard,” Yuki said out loud. She began to explore deeper into the forest of statues. She did not get a sense of dread, rather a continued sense of respect, honor, or duty. She came upon one statue, larger than the others. This one featured a woman of unparalleled strength. She was at least two meters taller than the others, her fist raised high into the air triumphantly, mouth wide in a gleeful teeth-baring grin. Her feet showed her claws digging into the flesh of her prey. Along the base were flowers, candles, gifts, and to Yuki’s surprise, Serren! Serren knelt before the monument, a hand on the stone pedestal, his face looking up to the mighty woman’s. “Allia,” he whispered, “how could you leave me all alone?” Yuki was unsure of how she was hearing Serren, but her heart ached as she quietly walked behind him. She looked to the pedestal.
“Taken Too Soon. Here Lies Huntress Allia Misho. Loving Mate, Courageous Friend, and Outstanding Huntress. Rest Well, Most Honored One. Your Legacy Will Endure.”
“Serren?” Yuki frowned, placing her hand on his shoulder. Serren turned, a confused look on his face, “Mrs. Yuki?” “Yuki is fine,” Yuki smiled. Standing next to him while he knelt actually kept her at eye level. “She looks beautiful.” Serren nodded, “She is.” Yuki was silent, not sure what to say. “Odd to find you in my dream,” Serren said, chuckling, “I suppose Dr. Terasuki was right.” “Hey,” Yuki scoffed, “this is my dream. And if it is my dream, I refuse to let that woman be right!” Serren laughed harder, “You dislike the doctor?” Yuki nodded. “She is,” Serren heaved a sigh, “sometimes lacking in bedside manner.” Yuki smiled, “Is that where you come in?” Serren gave his warming smile and winked. “You’re the only one who’s made me feel… well, welcomed,” Yuki sighed, “so, even if this is a dream,” Yuki grinned, “thanks.” “You’re most welcome,” Serren chuckled. “Can I ask, why do you revere hunters so much?” Yuki questioned. “They hunt dangerous prey,” Serren said as he stood, “and put their lives on the line so that the rest of us can eat. Thanks to the hunters, no one goes hungry.” Yuki nodded, “She has a bigger statue than the others.” “She was one of the best huntresses we ever had. Allia came from a long line of them, you see. They say her hands were thicker, teeth stronger,” Serren heaved a sigh, “she honored me with her love.” Yuki couldn’t help but remark, “Wish my husband spoke of me that way.” “You have a mate?” Serren smiled. “Oh, no, I have a husband,” Yuki chuckled, “We haven’t, um, mated in…” Yuki thought, “Guardian, I can’t remember the last time.” Serren nodded seriously, “So you grew apart?” “Yes,” Yuki sighed, “good way of putting it. But, you know, he’s still my husband. The love is gone, but the marriage lingers on.” “Why do you not find one who loves you?” Serren asked. “We have a son, we don’t want to confuse or stress Geoffrey out, you know?” Yuki leaned against the large pedestal. “Are Angels not allowed to separate from their mates if they have a child?” Serren asked. Yuki’s face fell, “It’s… frowned upon. People do it, I guess.” “I can’t imagine why not,” Serren stood, looking down at Yuki now, “seems foolish to remain unhappy.” “Some people are happy alone,” Yuki explained. “I know I am not,” Serren sighed. “Oh, come on, you don’t have ladies beating your door down?” Yuki smiled, “We might not be the same species but, you’re a good looking guy, you know,” Yuki looked away, “for a Dragon.” Serren chuckled, “You’re a beautiful woman,” he countered, “for an Angel.” Yuki laughed, “Sorry, that was rude.” “No, no,” Serren beamed, approaching her, “it’s fine.” Yuki looked up to him, feeling her cheeks flush, and she watched Serren’s mimic hers. Their eyes locked, and Yuki took a step closer to him. Serren did the same, he looked down on her, their eyes connecting. “Screw it, it’s a dream, right?” Yuki whispered. “No one would be angry at me in a dream,” Serren said as he leaned down towards Yuki. Yuki wrapped her arms around his neck, her blue eyes meeting his yellow. Serren smiled at her, “Why are you in my dreams?” Yuki found herself being pulled closer, “Why are you in mine?” Serren’s hand moved behind Yuki’s head, and the pair kissed. A simple, soft, and sweet kiss. … Yuki sat up in bed, sweating and panting. She flicked on the lamp and tried to catch her breath. Her heart hammered in her chest and her body shivered pleasurably. “Whoa… okay… that was… weird,” she said out loud. Yuki got out of bed and quickly dressed, “I need to find him.” She stopped, frowning, “I don’t know where he lives.” Yuki began to pace, “Just a dream, you gotta get a hold of yourself. It was just a dream. An extremely vivid…” Yuki shivered, “sexy dream.” A knock came to the door, and Yuki jumped at the sound. She crossed the distance between herself and the door without even noticing. It wasn’t Dr. Terasuki behind the door this time. Yuki knew who was there the moment the knock came. “Serren, is that you?” Yuki asked. Serren’s voice came through the door, and she understood him perfectly, “Yuki? I have to see you! Please, let me in!” ... Jax sat in his quarters, throwing a ball against the wall and catching it as it gently floated to his hand. “I hope you’re safe, Yuki,” he grumbled, “hope you know someone gives a damn about you.” Jax’s phone vibrated, and he pulled it off of the table it was velcroed to. A message with an attachment, from an unknown sender. Jax checked the attachment and gasped. It was a readout of Yuki’s vitals, and they had all flatlined. Even more devastating, they had flatlined days beforehand. Jax read the message that came with the file.
“Dear Elijah,I hope this message finds you well. I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but they have been lying to you. They have lied to all of you. Attached is the real node for Yuki’s biometrics. I’ve included a timestamp as well. If you wish to seek the truth, respond to this message.Sincerely,Persophone”
2020.07.05 20:18 LearningIsListeningA not-so-brief rundown of letters D-F in Jeffrey Epstein's 'Little Black Book'
Below is a rundown of letters D-F of Epstein's contacts. Last year, I wrote about letters A-C. You can check that out here (https://www.reddit.com/conspiracy/comments/cpis3n/a_brief_rundown_of_the_first_ten_pages_of_jeffrey/). There are some misspelled names. Epstein entered their names like this. I have bolded some of the more interesting connections and information, but there could be much more that I overlooked. I hope something here strikes an interest in someone and maybe we can get more investigations out of this. Please, if you know anything more about any of these people than what is presented here, post below. I am working off of the unredacted black book found here: https://www.coreysdigs.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Jeffrey-Epsteins-Little-Black-Book-unredacted.pdf D-F d’abo, Henri & Tatiana: John Henry Erland d’Abo is the grandson of the 9th Duke of Rutland (more info on what these titles all mean can be found here: https://www.debretts.com/expertise/essential-guide-to-the-peerage/what-is-the-peerage/). Tatjana is his wife. Henry is the chairman of Wilton Payments Ltd, a private company that helps with financial intermediation. He and Christopher O’Neill are the primary shareholders of the company. O’Neill is Tatjana’s half-brother, a British-American financier, and husband to Princess Madeleine, Duchess of Hälsingland and Gästrikland, a daughter of King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden. d’abo, Mrs. Jennifer: British entrepreneur who passed away in 2003. d’Abo was once married to Peter Cadbury from the family of the famous chocolate company. Peter did not work for the company, but he and Jennifer d’Abo had a son together. Their son, Joel Cadbury, became owner of the Groucho Club, a watering hole often frequented by famous people. Three years after Cadbury sold the club, their website became the center of a child pornography scandal (link to story:https://www.sott.net/article/242698-Groucho-Clubs-website-forum-hit-by-child-pornography-scandal) D’Alessie, Carman: This name turned up no results, however, we can safely assume that this is actually Carmen D’Alessio, the international nightlife guru who helped spawn Studio 54 and other famous clubs. She is a party legend with countless celebrity ties. d’Arenberg, Prince Pierre: Family lineage can be traced back 1000 years. European royalty. Extremely wealthy not because of his ties to nobility, but because his mother, Margaret Bedford, was an heiress to Standard Oil (Exxon). d’Uzes, Jacques De crussol: The 17th Duke of Uzes. Not much else found on him. Margaret Bedford married into his family shortly after her divorce with Prince Charles Auguste Armand d’Arenberg, father of Prince Pierre d’Arenberg. Dabbagh, Amr A.: A wealthy businessman/investor from Saudi Arabia. Dabbagh recently faced corruption charges but settled with the Saudi Arabian government. Has ties all around the world, as he is a member of and/or serves/served on the boards of the World Economic Forum, London Business School, Cleveland Clinic, Jeddah Economic Forum, Harvard Institute for Social and Economic Policy in the Middle East, etc. Dahl, Sophie: ‘90s-’00s model-turned-author and maternal granddaughter of famous author Roald Dahl (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, James and the Giant Peach, etc.) Dahl has been seen in photos with Ghislaine Maxwell. Darrin, Drake: Not much information found. Darrin runs an investment group out of Greenwich, Connecticut. Lived about a mile away from Epstein in NYC. Dartmouth, William: The 10th Earl of Dartmouth. Member of the European Parliament from 2009-2019. Became a stepbrother of Princess Diana when his mother embarked on a 2nd marriage with Diana’s father, John Spencer. Davies, Jeff: Most likely refers to the current CFO for Legal & General Group. Davies was once a senior partner at Ernst & Young. Davies, David & Linda: Sir David Davies is a wealthy banker and businessman with deep connections. A family friend introduced him to David Rockefeller back in the ‘60s, which helped him get his start. Linda, daughter of a Chinese-Malaysian tycoon, is his second wife. They were married for over 20 years but are now divorced. Davis, Michael: A current partner at N3 Media, Davis has had many jobs. He started out working at CAA, one of the top agencies in the world. Check out this list of celebrities and athletes that they represent (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Creative_Artists_Agency_clients). Davis then went on to produce movies and TV shows before transitioning to digital media. Day, Nick and Heather: Not much to be found on these two. There are several articles that speak of their ranch in Kenya. Apparently, it is a fairly popular spot where people stay to get some rest and solitude. de Andrade, Marcelo: An international banker (not the serial killer) who lives within one mile of Epstein’s mansion in NYC. de Andrade was married to Lisa Bjornson, a successful banker and higher-up at J.P. Morgan Securities back in the ‘90s. de Baecque, Patrick: de Baecque has his hands in online news media (lefigaro.fr) in France. de Baecque was named Director of Sales and Operations at Dolead in 2017. Dolead is a company that is involved with online marketing. de Cabrol, Milly: A high-end interior designer based out of NYC. De Cadenet, Alen: Alain de Cadenet is one of Epstein’s many Formula One contacts. Someone here probably knows more about de Cadenet, but he used to be a racecar driver and now works for ESPN and the Speed Channel as a host. de Clermont-Tonnerre, Hermine: A French princess who used to have a penchant for partying. The only daughter of Charles Henri, 11th Duke of Clermont-Tonnerre, Hermine was one of 500 guests invited to Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother’s 100th birthday back in 2000. Hermine got in a motorcycle crash a month ago that put her in a coma. De Georgiou, Anouska: A former British Playboy model who claims that Epstein groomed and raped her as a teenager when she met him in the 1990s. Her experience with Epstein is detailed in this article (https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/9974171/anouska-de-georgiou-jeffrey-epstein-rape-claims-nbc-playboy/). She speaks about how Epstein was able to lure her into the life as a young girl. De Soto, Fernando: Very difficult to pinpoint. Best guess is that this is the Head of Real Estate at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in Madrid, Spain. I could be wrong, but this is the one that made the most sense. Dedieu, Jean & Paulette: Nothing found. Del Bono, Luca: Co-founder of Quintessentially Group, a hospitality group that specializes in leisure, travel, and tourism. Dell, Adam: Brother of Michael Dell (Founder of Dell Technologies and 27th ranked richest person in the world in Forbes’s BS rankings that discount the elite families). Adam is a venture capitalist who has a baby with Padma Lakshmi. Deluca Dina & Fouard Chartuuni: Fouad Chartouni is the president of Kensico Properties, a real-estate holding company in New York. Chartouni and his brother own the Lowell Hotel in New York. The Lowell is a high-end 5 star hotel that caters largely to film executives, fashion design CEOs, publishing CEOs, and financial CEOs. Madonna lived there for nearly a year after breaking up with Sean Penn. Dina Deluca is Chartouni’s wife. She used to work as an assistant in film and television, but now focuses on her DDC28 brand of bath and beauty products. Derby Earl / Cntess Cass & Ted: Edward Stanley (known informally as Teddy) is the 19th Earl of Derby. Caroline Stanley is Ted’s wife. She was a socialite during the ‘90s and is the daughter of Robin Neville, the 10th Baron Braybrooke. Derby, Ros & Jonathan: No info found. Di Vita, Charlotte: Best known for her handcrafted teapots, di Vita started off as a volunteer who helped raise funds to help poor people, most notably in Kenya, Thailand, and Brazil. She helped locals grow food and even helped build 3 schools (37 teachers, 1100 students) through a charity, Trade plus Aid, in Bawku, Ghana, in 1995. Dickenson, Debbie: Supermodel and actress. Sister of the more famous Janice Dickinson. Dickinson, Janice: One of the most successful models of the ‘70s and ‘80s, Dickinson has been occasionally labeled as the first ever supermodel. Opened her own modeling agency in 2005. Ironically, she accused Bill Cosby of raping her back in 1982 and wrote about it in her memoir. When called to the stand during Cosby’s trial, Cosby’s lawyer pointed out the differences between Dickinson’s testimony and her account of the incident in her memoir. Dickinson said that her accusations of Cosby raping her while under oath were the absolute truth, while she took “poetic license” with some of the details in her memoir. Dietrich Marc Antoine and Cath: Baron Marc-Antoine de Dietrich is a businessman. He resigned as director of Vossloh Cogifer in 2011. Dietrich, Paul & Laura: Paul is Chief Investment Officer of Fairfax Global Markets LLC. They manage investments for private investors, retirement funds, and private institutions. Dimbelby, Johnathan: Jonathan Dimbleby is a famous British reporter, political radio and television show host, and author. Diniz, Pedro: Former Formula One driver and businessman. Now runs a large scale organic farm in Brazil. Dixon, Alexandra: No info found. Djerassi, Dale: Film producer and private investor who was married to Ghislaine Maxwell’s sister, Isabel, from 1984-1989. Dolbey, Alex & Suzie: Suzie Dolbey (nee Murray-Philipson) is the daughter of the recently deceased Robin Murray-Philipson, who was the descendant of the Viscounts Elibank. Alex Dolbey has been the director of several management and investment companies. Donne, Alegra: Couldn’t find much except a bunch of pictures of her hobnobbing at fancy parties. Actual name is Maria Allegra Donn. Dori: Dori Cooperman is a socialite blogger who is friends with Alex von Furstenberg, Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, among others. Daughter of Edwin Cooperman, former Chairman of Travelers Bank Group. Used to work for the famous publicist, Lizzie Grubman, who has represented Jay-Z, Britney Spears, and the Backstreet Boys. Cooperman is known for getting into trouble due to issues with drugs and alcohol. Dorrit: Dorrit Moussaieff is an Israeli jewellery designer, editor, and businesswoman who married into royalty. Dorrit was the First Lady of Iceland from 2003-2016 after marrying President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson in 2000. Although Moussaieff claims that Epstein only had her phone number because they “lived on the same street in London sometime between 1978 and 1983,” the Daily Mail published a picture of her and her husband, President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, with Ghislaine Maxwell. Doss, David & Christy Prunier: David Doss has worked as producer and/or executive producer on NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw, NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, Oprah in Africa, Primetime (with Diane Sawyer), Anderson Cooper 360, and Live PD. Doss now serves as senior VP of news programming for Al Jazeera America. Christy Prunier is a former Hollywood exec and founder of the Willa brand of beauty products. Douglas, Diandra: Actor Michael Douglas’s first wife. Dr. Eli Wiesel: Most likely Elie Wiesel, the famous Holocaust survivor and Jewish author ofNight**. Wiesel was accused of sexual assault in 2017 (source:** https://www.newsweek.com/elie-wiesel-me-too-account-690891) Drax, Jeremy: Founder of Parham Holdings, a London property operation. Dreesmann, Bernard: Executive Chairman of Morleys department stores in London. Driver, Minnie: Famous movie and television actress. Dubb, Anthony V.: Dub is an investment banker and founder of Indigo Capital, LLC. Dubbens, Peter: Peter Dubens is a British Internet entrepreneur and investor. Founder of Oakley Capital. Dubin, Glen: Glenn Dubin is a billionaire hedge fund manager. There is a great article detailing Dubin and his wife’s relationship with Epstein here:https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2019/09/glenn-dubin-epstein-questions). Summary of the article: Dubin was the first one accused by Epstein victim Virginia Guiffre. Rinaldo Rizzo, Dubin’s chef, testified that sexual activities occurred between Dubin and a 15-year-old girl, which led to him and his wife quitting as Epstein’s chefs. Dubin’s wife, Dr. Eva Andersson-Dubin, dated Epstein for a long time before she married Dubin. The couple was so close with Epstein that even after Epstein was convicted in 2008 and officially a registered sex offender, they invited him to Thanksgiving dinner and wrote a letter to his probation officer that they trusted him around their children, who were all minors at the time. Multiple sources say Epstein was actually their children’s Godfather, but a spokesman for the couple denies it. Glen Dubin and Epstein helped each other with their business ties, as well. Dubin also had other ties with Epstein (personal friends with Les Wexner and others). Dubin and his wife are definitely major players in the Epstein saga. Dubin, Louis & Tiffany: Louis Dubin is a real estate developer specializing in upper-middle class condominiums. Has sold luxury condominiums to the likes of Charles Bronfman, who has ties to the Clintons, Wexner, and whose family were in the NXIUM cult. Tiffany Dubin is the stepdaughter of the now deceased billionaire, A. Alfred Taubman, the owner of Sotheby’s, a famous auction house in NYC that often hosts parties for the rich and famous. Dubin, Peter: Epstein is/was a moron. This is the same Peter Dubens listed just above. Duchess of York: Former wife of Prince Andrew. Mother of Princess Beatrice and Eugenie. God knows the stories she could tell. Rumor has it her toes still look like prunes to this day. Ducrey-Giordano, Francisco: Likely the owner of General Vegetables out of Italy. No further info found. Duesing, Paul: An interior architectural designer who has worked on luxury and personal resorts all around the world. Duesing claims Epstein tried to hire him to work on Epstein’s home on Epstein’s private island back in 2002, but Duesing declined because he didn’t like Epstein. Says he doesn’t even know how Epstein got his number in the first place. Perhaps it was Duesing’s ties with the royal family. He tells stories of getting the Queen Mother drunk, being close with Lord and Lady Lloyd, working on the home of Mohamed Al-Fayed, father of Dodi, Princess Diana’s boyfriend who died in the car crash with her. Duke of York: Prince Andrew, the toe-sucking pedophile (allegedly), himself. Photographed with victims, Epstein, and Maxwell many times over. His reputation has been completely crushed. Dunbar Johnson Miranda & Steph: Stephen Dunbar-Johnson is the president, International of the New York Times Company. He oversees the strategic development of the Times Company’s international businesses. He also spent 12 years working at The Financial Times. Miranda Dunbar-Johnson is Stephen’s wife. She serves on The Paris Committee, which “plays a crucial role in increasing Human Rights Watch’s visibility in France.” David de Rothschild is on the honorary committee. Dunne, Griffin: An actor, producer, and director best known for his role as Jack in An American Werewolf in London (1981). Dunne, Philip & Dominice: Philip Dunne is a Conservative Party politician who has been a Member of Parliament since 2005. Domenica is his wife. Duong, Anh: An artist, actress, and model best known for her self-portraits and her portraits of art collectors and influencers. As a model, Duong has worked for Dolce & Gabbana, Christian Dior, Donna Karan, Karl Lagerfield, Moschino, Yohji Yamamoto, and others. Durso Luigi: Luigi d’Urso was a noble and Italian railroad executive who died in 2006. His grandfather was the 9th Duke di Cassano. His mother was the great-granddaughter of George Clymer, one of the founding fathers of the U.S. and signee of both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. d’Urso was also married to French designer and model Ines de la Fressange. Duthie, John & Charlotte: John is primarily a television director based out of London. Duthie also won some poker tournaments against some of the world’s best players in the early 2000s. His wife, Charlotte played a big role in Sir James Goldsmith’s political career as a member of the Referendum Party back in 1997. Goldsmith received 3.5% of the vote in Putney, a constituency located in London. Dzhabrailou, Umar: Umar Dzhabrailov is a Russian politician and advisor to Sergei Prikhodko, the current First Deputy Head of the Russian Government Office and Deputy Prime Minister of Russia in Dmitry Medvedev’s Cabinet. Dzhabrailov was rumored to be romantically linked to Naomi Campbell, supermodel and one of the main suspects in Epstein’s underage sex scandal, in the early 2000s. Dzhabrailov, a supremely wealthy businessman, ran for president in 2000, garnering 0.1% of the vote as an Independent. Dzhabrailov was a partner in Russia’s Radisson Hotel along with American entrepreneur Paul Tatum. After their falling out in 1996, Tatum was shot and killed. Some think Dzhabrailov was responsible while others think he was set up. Ecclestone, Bernie: A billionaire British business magnate and former chief executive of Formula One Group. Ecclestone has faced some minimal controversies for tax evasion, bribery, and saying that Hitler was a man who was “able to get things done.” Disgustingly enough, Ecclestone, at the age of 89, became a father to his first son, Ace, on July 1, 2020. Eckon, Paul: Paul Ekon is an international investor and venture capitalist who allegedly fled South Africa in the mid-90s because he was being investigated for links to a gold-smuggling syndicate. Has strong ties to South Africa, including being a personal friend of former president, Thabo Mbeki. Edsel, Lucinda: No info found. Edwards, Andrew & Tracy: Unsure. There was an Andrew Edwards and Tracy Edwards on linkedin who have a background in finance, but it is not conclusive whether or not they are the ones listed here or if they are even married. There is also a Tracy Edwards who is a former British sailor who used to work as a Project Manager for Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) and now teaches children of Internet safety and online reputation. This would be a far more interesting connection, but I cannot find anyone by the name of Andrew with a relevant relationship to her. Ellan, Johnathan: No info found. Given his email, likely an employee of Starwood Capital Group, a private investment firm that is widely known for their luxury hotels. Starwood also specializes in real estate and energy. Elias, Brian: A Miami Beach attorney. Eliasch, Johan & Amanda: Johan is a Swedish billionaire businessman whose company, Gethal, was fined for alleged deforestation of the Amazon in 2008. The charges were dropped. Amanda is his ex-wife. Elingworth, Charlie & Amanda: Charles Ellingworth is an author, businessman, and director of several real estate companies, most notably Cadogan Group, which owns most of the property in Chelsea, an affluent area in Central London. Elizabeth: Not enough info. Ellenbogen, Eric: An entertainment exec of Classic Media (a subsidiary of Dreamworks) and former CEO of Marvel Enterprises. Ellingworth, Mr. & Mrs.: Charlie and Amanda listed just above. Elliot, Ben: Current Co-Chairman of the Conservative Party in the UK and nephew of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall (Prince Charles’s current wife). Elliot is also co-founder of Quintessentially Group, a hospitality group that specializes in leisure, travel, and tourism. Epstein has several ties to this group. Elliot’s spokesman has said that Elliot never met Epstein. However, Elliot has been a dinner guest of Ghislaine Maxwell in New York. Elliott, Gail & Joe Coffey: Gail Elliott is an English fashion designer and former model. Joe Coffey is her husband and co-owner of their fashion brand, Little Joe Woman. Ellison, Mandy & Ralph: Ralph Ellison is a pharmaceutical executive and investor. He was CEO of DOR BioPharma Inc., now known as Soligenix Inc. a company focused on treating rare diseases. Soligenix came under scrutiny two years ago when they were accused of ripping off stockholders. Elwes, Anabel: Not much information to be found on Annabel Elwes, although it is clear that she runs in elite circles. Back in 1997, Elwes organized the Hong Kong handover party in order to aid the Hong Kong Cancer Fund. Guests included Anthony de Rothschild (eldest son of Evelyn de Rothschild); James Hewitt (former cavalry officer who revealed that he had an affair with Princess Diana while she was with Prince Charles. Possibly the biological father of Prince Harry, if rumors are to be believed); actress Isla Fisher of Wedding Crashers fame; socialite Tamara Beckwith; and Bassam Debs (listed in the Panama Papers). Epstein, Ed: An investigative journalist and friend of Epstein. Denies any knowledge of Epstein’s penchant for underage girls. Erba Noona: Noona Smith-Petersen is a public relations executive who has worked for Giorgio Armani, Valentino, Calvin Klein, and Tod’s. She now owns her own PR firm. Noona is married to Enrico Erba, who is a client manager for Giorgio Armani. Espirito, Santo, Manuel and Ros: Manuel Espirito Santo is likely an heiemployee of the Portuguese banking cartel, Espirito Santo, which received a major bailout in 2014. Estlin, Jean-Marc: Jean-Marc Etlin is a banker and current partner in CVC Capital Partners, one of the world’s largest private equity and investment advisory firms. Estrada, Juffali, Christina: Christina Estrada is a former Pirelli Calendar model and ex-wife (2001-2014) of Saudi billionaire heir and businessman, Walid Juffali. She received a £75 million settlement after their divorce. Evans, Chris: Not the Captain America Chris Evans, but the UK television host and radio DJ. Evans has been rumored to often “flash” people at work (source:https://www.insider.com/police-build-case-on-chris-evans-sexual-assault-claim-2016-7). The BBC has also refused to investigate claims from an ex-Top Gear presenter that Evans “grabbed her breasts and touched himself.” When Evans was 35, he married 18-year-old pop star Billie Piper. They eventually separated and divorced years later. Eveheart, Angie: Angie Everheart was one of the most well-known models of the 1990s. She has accused Harvey Weinstein of masturbating in front of her. Faber, David: Due to the London area phone number listed, this is likely the former Conservative member of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. His maternal grandfather, Harold Macmillan, was Prime Minister of the UK from 1957-1963. As of 2010, Faber was to become head of Summer Fields, his former prep school. Summer Fields, an exclusive all-boys prep school, has come under scrutiny in the past. Tom Parker Bowles, son of Camilla Duchess of Cornwall (Prince Charles’s wife), has claimed that Summer Fields was “a hotbed of the sorts of things that are coming out now,” according to this article (https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2812235/Tom-Parker-Bowles-former-headmaster-dismisses-food-writer-s-claims-old-primary-school-hotbed-impropriety-complete-rubbish.html) from the Daily Mail published in 2014. Parker Bowles went on to claim that one master would join naked boys in the shower. Faber, Sally & Brook Johnson: Charles “Brook” Johnson is a millionaire UK businessman and polo player. His wife, Sally Faber was a weather girl in the 1980s and former wife of former David Faber (listed above). They live next door to Prince Charles in Highgrove. Faibairn, Charlotte: Charlotte Fairbairn is an author who has worked in the arts, politics, and journalism. Most importantly, she is the eldest daughter of Sir Nicholas Fairbairn (1933-1995), a Scottish politician and former legal adviser to Margaret Thatcher, who was posthumously accused of child molestation and sexual assault against an adult female. Sir Nicholas’s name was allegedly on a list of VIPs who attended parties at an underage boys brothel in the 1980s with Cyril Smith, another British government official and alleged serial sex offender. More info can be found on both here:https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/sir-nicholas-fairbairn-child-abuse-scandal-link-1531718and here:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyril_Smith Fairfax, The Hon Rupert: Hon. Rupert Alexander James Fairfax is the son of Thomas Brian McElvie Fairfax, 13th Lord of Fairfax of Cameron. Rupert is currently Managing Director of Fairfax Saddles, which was awarded the Queen’s Award for Innovation in 2018. This is the highest business award in the UK. Fairweather, Natasha: A well-known literary agent who was the literary editor of The Moscow Times and writereviewer for the London Times and The Economist. Fairweather, Ms. Catherine: Former travel editor at Harper’s Bazaar and Porter. Married to photojournalist Don McCullin. McCullin co-wrote The Palestinians with Jonathan Dimbleby, another Epstein associate listed above. Fairweather, Ambassador & Lady: Sir Patrick Fairweather is a retired British diplomat. He worked as Ambassador to Angola (1985-1987), Italy (1992-1996), and Albania (1992-1996). Lady Maria Fairweather was a linguist and professional interpreter who once helped out Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin when the official interpreter disappeared at a crucial moment just before the commencement of the G7 Summit. Fakhre, Armado & Jasmine: Amado Fakhre is the British-Argentinian Founder and former CEO of Coral Capital, a Havana-based investment group best known for its joint venture partner in Havana’s upscale Saratoga Hotel. Fakhre was arrested for corruption and Coral Capital was forced to shut its doors in Havana. Fakhre was interrogated for 20 months in a Cuban safe house and eventually got sentenced to 5-7 years for bribery, but did not have to serve any time. No explanation has been given. Jasmine is his wife. Fakhre, Danny & Christine: Danny Fakhre is the Chairman of Kochii Oil out of Australia. Christiane is his wife. Fall, Meredith: No info found. Fallah, Mrs: Likely Gina Fallah, mother of Christina Fallah. Gina’s father was Reza Fallah, an Iranian businessman and political advisor. Fallah, Ms. Christina & Jon Robe: Christina Fallah is an interior designer and owner of Christina Fallah designs. Falletans, Olivier de: Managing partner at Bryan, Olivier, & Co., a mid-market investment bank in Technology. Olivier comes from a family of nobility dating back to at least the 13th century. Fanjul, Pepe: Jose “Pepe” Fanjul is a billionaire businessman involved in sugar and real estate. Vice Chairman and President of Flo-Sun. “Pepe” is a Republican. He was one of the largest contributors to George W. Bush’s campaign, is an ardent supporter of Marco Rubio, and co-hosted a large fundraiser for Donald Trump. His older brother, Alfonso Fanjul Jr., is a Democrat and was a co-chair of Bill Clinton’s Florida campaign, further proving that POLITICAL PARTISANSHIP IS A CROCK OF SHIT. Faulkner, Terence & Cornelia: Terence Faulkner is Chairman of Leathams PLC, a London-based food distributor. Cornelia is Terence’s wife. She is Director of Leathams and a specialist decorator. Feeley, Fiona: An interior designer at Atelier Designs. Fekkai, Frederic: A French celebrity hairstylist. Feldman, Andrew: Orthopaedic surgeon in New York City. Felix, Helena: Not much to be found on Helena. She was possibly the director of an investment firm called Edenhaven Limited. Her husband, Peter, was an oral surgeon. He passed away in 2011. Fell, David & Anne: Nothing much found here. After a lot of digging, it turns out that David Fell lives in an apartment at 1177 Avenue of the Americas, a real estate holding of Larry Silverstein, owner of the World Trade Center who (allegedly) took out insurance on the WTC just before 9/11. Ferragamo, Leonardo & Beatrice: Leonardo is the son of Salvatore Ferragamo, the creator of Salvatore Ferragamo, S.p.A., an Italian luxury goods company specializing in shoes, leather goods, and watches. Ferranti, Hugo: Hugo de Ferranti is an art dealer. He is also a Director for Action on Addiction, a UK-based charity for people with drug and alcohol addiction issues. Kate Middleton has served as patron of Action on Addiction since 2012. Ferry, Brian: Bryan Ferry is a singesongwriter and the owner of Studio One recording studio in London. In the 1970s, he was the frontman for the British rock band, Roxy Music. Fiennes, Martin: The heir apparent to the Baron Saye and Sele, a title of peerage in England. Lives in Broughton Castle. Cousin of actor Ralph Fiennes. Fiennes, Martin: Same person. Fiennes, Ralph: Famous actor. Cousin of Martin Fiennes. The fact that Epstein knows so many people in this family is troubling. Fiennes, Suzzana: A British artist who works exclusively with Prince Charles. Susannah is the twin sister of Martin Fiennes and cousin of actor Ralph. Fifer, Chuck: Not positive, but could be actor Chuck Pfeiffer, who is a close friend of Oliver Stone and was in Wall Street with Michael Douglas. However, it could be someone else. Pfeiffer didn’t have much of an acting career. Figg, Christopher & Charlotte: Christopher Figg is a movie producer and CEO of Piccadilly Pictures. Figg is best known for producing the first 3 Hellraiser movies, Trainspotting, Dog Soldiers, Heidi, Coriolanus (directed by and starring Ralph Fiennes), We Need to Talk About Kevin, and many others. Charlotte is his wife. Finch Charles:A failed director who became a talent agent for William Morris. Oversees a private equity finance unit called Finch Asia and is Chairman of Dean & Deluca (66 stores nationwide). Most notably, Charles Finch is known to host extravagant, A-list laden parties at Cannes, home of the world-famous film festival, pre-Oscar parties, and pre-BAFTA parties. There is an in-depth article from the Hollywood Reporter about Finch and his Cannes parties here (https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/meet-charles-finch-ultimate-cannes-party-host-you-need-know-1001847). Regulaoccasional guests of his Cannes parties included: Harvey Weinstein, Rush Hour director Brett Ratner (accused of sexual abuse by 6 women, including actress Olivia Munn and actress/model Natasha Henstridge), Mick Jagger, and Netflix bigwig Ted Sarandos. Finch’s pre-Oscar and pre-BAFTA parties have attracted the likes of Jeff Bezos, Robert De Niro, Sofia Coppola, Pedro Almodovar, Margot Robbie, Rashida Jones (daughter of Quincy Jones, music mogul who has been accused of nefarious sexual endeavors), Tracee Ellis Ross, and others Finch is the son of famous actor Peter Finch (A-list actor from the 1960s-1970s, best known for his role in the movie Network, for which he won an Oscar for Best Actor) and Yolande Turner (actress). A deeper look into Finch’s parties and connections would definitely prove interesting. Finklestein, Howard: Finkelstein is a public defender in Broward County, Florida. In Florida (and some other states), public defenders are elected, not appointed. Firyal Princess: Jerusalem-born Jordanian princess who was once married to Prince Muhammad bin Talal. Firyal was named an UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador in 1992. Princess Firyal launched the International Hope Foundation in 1994 for the benefit of homeless and street children. Firyal holds positions with several museums (The Louvre, The Tate, MOMA, and Guggenheim), as well as positions with Columbia University, New York Public Library, United Nation Association, and International Rescue Committee. Fisher, Dan: Given the address listed (Trump Tower), it is possible that this is a former lobbyist (https://www.citizen.org/news/36-former-lobbyists-working-trump-clear-conflicts-interest/) and current Special Assistant to the President and Director of the White House Visitors Office, however I am unable to confirm this information with 100% certainty. Flick Mook: Likely Friedrich Christian Flick, known as Mick Flick. The Flick family was a billionaire coal and steel conglomerate that was accused of war crimes during the Holocaust. Flick’s grandfather financially supported the Nazi Party and used 48,000 forced laborers from the concentration camps, many of whom died due to the conditions. Grandfather Flick was found guilty of war crimes at Nuremberg and served 3 years of his 7-year sentence. Mick (Mook) sold most of his holdings in the ‘80s and retired a billionaire. Foman, Bobby & Jeanette: Robert Q. Fomon currently works as a Managing Director for Morgan Stanley. He specializes in wealth management. He used to be an Assistant Director at Bear Stearns (owned by Chase), one of the investment banks that went under as a result of the 2008 financial crisis. His father is. Robert M. Fomon, Jeanette is his wife. D-F continued below....
2020.07.03 19:50 SPEKTRUM_Lana1 year of hormones, a retrospective.
1 year ago today, at 9:00 AM, escorted by my good friend Johnna, I walked into SPEKTRUM Health and from that moment, my life was forever changed. It was there that I met my personal hero and best friend ever and so many other countless people whom I am proud to have in my life. That was also the first also the first day that I started hormones. I don’t view this as a day to celebrate my own authenticity. I don’t view this as a day to celebrate my own achievements. I view this as a day to celebrate fate bringing me together with the people who give my life meaning and purpose. I view this as a day to celebrate the friendships I’ve made with the people that inspire me to be my best self. Today is a day that I celebrate true and genuine happiness. When I first came to Florida, I had nothing. I had my clothes and about $300 to my name. I had been living in Idaho for about the last six years, miserable and alone. Nobody truly knew me, not even myself. I was in a 13 year relationship that left me feeling hollow and empty. I loved her dearly but in my heart, I knew she didn’t truly love me. Instead of helping me after my suicide attempt the day after my 30th birthday, she shut me out of her heart forever. When I finally mustered the courage to share my truth with her, she kicked me out and said she couldn’t love me as a woman. I was broken. I felt as though I had made the biggest mistake of my life. I tried so hard to tell her that if it meant losing her, I wouldn’t transition. I was willing to endure the lies and manipulation because I didn’t feel like I was worthy of love. This was the same girl who, in a drunken Xanax induced stupor, told me that she had lied about having a dire medical condition to avoid being intimate with me. I was so blind but such is love. In the end, my willful ignorance cost me. She sent me away, blocked me from her life, and stole every possession I had. Alone, broken, destitute, I moved across the country with my mother to continue my journey. It was a long and difficult struggle to find work. I was turned away from countless positions until at last, Spektrum Health, Inc took a chance on hiring me as a part time receptionist. I was thrilled beyond words. Today I’m proud of who I am. I’m proud to be a transgender woman. I’m proud to be managing the single best LGBTQA+ clinic in the world. I’m proud to be a part of providing a truly better health experience to people across the country. I’m proud to be part of a movement that provides access to care for transgender people who struggle to find it. Finally, for those of you who are part of the SPEKTRUM family, I’m proud to be part of your life, to be part of your journey. As you make your way through whatever struggles present themselves in your transition, know that I am here with you on that same journey. I will always fight for you. I will always be ready to do anything to ease your burden because I too have endured such pain. We are family, you and I. Though we may never have met in person, I hold nothing but love and pride in my heart for you. No, today is not about me. Today is about you. Today is about your support for a mission which means everything to countless lives. Today is a day to celebrate you, my family, my friends, my fellow dream-builders. Today is a day to celebrate our combined efforts to change the world in the name of hope, justice, and equality. I want to thank you all for being so near to my heart.
2020.07.02 19:58 Lostlobster8This is how the time before the encounter plays out in my head. I could be way off ... what do yall think?
This post is made with the entire assumption that the guy spotted on road 625 could have been bg. There is no proof he was, and many think this guy was unrelated. But if he is the second sketch, let's play pretend. I see so many of the same theories and so many of the same questions. I may be way off, but at least it's something different. LOL -https://www.reddit.com/DelphiMurders/comments/cq64p7/delphi_timeline/ Recap of a few things in timeline Around lunchtime, Libby and Abby asked Becky if they could go on a hike at the Monon High Bridge. Around 12:30 A witness who lives on that road saw a stranger walking towards “sanders property” at the end of 625 which turns into a private drive (this property is where the south end of bridge end) when the witness went outside, the man leaves. She sees him again as she goes to her vehicle, she starts to follow him and he takes off and is not seen again( this witness is also believed to one of the sources of the 2nd sketch). bitterbeatpoet RIP Link here- Also RIP BitterbeatpoetI will call the guy BG2 to keep things simple. 1:30 PM: The 16-Year-Old female is near the benches near the Freedom Bridge, notices BG and says hello to him. BG gave her a look that frightened her.She gave LE a description that matched Libby's pics/vid. At least a day before LE released them. blue jeans, blue coat and a hoodie pulled up over a short-billed hat. also some sort of covering over the lower half of his face. 1:38- 1:45PM: Kelsey dropped the girls off around this time. ------------------------------------------ If it isnt in the timeline, its My own opinion (MOO/ IMO)------------- IMO It was not a coincidence that the girls asked “around lunch” and BG2 was seen around 12:30. IMO BG2 knew the girls were going to be on the south end of the bridge. This doesnt mean he talked to them, but imo I believe this guy knew. The witness said this guy tried twice to get on the “sanders property”. IMO he was attempting to get to the south end and intercept the girls.
The girls asking Becky was “spontaneous” and not planned.
The neighbor that sees BG2 at around 1230
IMO BG2 found out the girls plans/ talked to them… and was able to get to 625 in about ~30min.(give or take a few minutes)
The witness did not recognize BG2, so IMO he doesn't live in that neighborhood. (Small town, you know your neighbors and their family)
In a small town, neighbors would know whose cars belong to whom. (in my experience) They would know if a car was out of place, so IMO BG2 would not park on the street in the neighborhood
There is “Pine Grove Missionary Baptist” .7 miles from the private drive
There is “PTI Machining Inc.” 1.5 miles from the private drive map here
BG2 tries twice to get onto the private drive leading to the southend of the bridge. The witness gets in vehicle and runs him off and he isnt seen again.
Imo this makes me think BG2’s plans were ruined, so he has to figure something else out
IMO BG2 goes wherever he parked and got in his vehicle to change his plans.
Noon-5PM: A vehicle is parked at the "Old CPS Building"
IMO BG2/ BG would know that after he killed the girls, any spotted vehicle in the area would be found and questioned by the police. He was smart enough to know to not park at mears lot / freedom bridge ect/
(police found and questioned all vehicles that were parked near the trail)
Looking at the terrain and map.
550 would have more houses and possibly more witnesses
BG/ BG2 Wouldnt want to park off 300
RL said the terrain was difficult
Trying to get through the woods would take/ waste more time
BG/BG2 parks at the old CPS/ DPS building, and now has to walk to the trail to get to the girls.
From 625 it is only a 5- 10 minutes to drive to the cps/dps office. (depending on the route driven)
Using the trail, this could also lead to other potential witnesses, IMO he needs additional things to hide his identity/ cover his kill kit (whatever was in BG jacket on bridge)
Possibly found things in his trunk/car
Found a homeless camp. The temperature was “unseasonably warm”. If a homeless guy normally stayed pretty bundled up, he would possibly shed those extra layers. BG2/ BG could have seen the clothes and thought that if he wears those, any potential witnesses would describe the man and it could possibly cause police to look at the homeless guy/ cause the two sketches. (I had a dream involving this -lol- there is no evidence this happened)
A 16 yr old may think a 30yr old looks old. While a 50-70 yr old (witness on 625- just guessing the age. ) would think a 30 yr old looked young
For me, When I was 16, My mother was around 37. She seemed/ looked much older at the time. I am in my early 30s now and when I look back at pics of my mother, she looked very young for 37. ( This is why I believe the above statement is accurate)
IMO he gave the “frightening look” because nothing was going the way he planned, he was “late” for where he wanted to be, and being seen and talked to would piss him off more. \
IMO (besides the face covering) if it was hard for witnesses to describe BG and BG2, I would imagine he looked normal. He was neither super good looking, nor was he ugly. (people notice both of those) He was someone that was just plain.
2020.07.02 05:29 HelloMagikarphowRyouMy complete thoughts on Rune Factory 4 Special, an analysis/review from the heart. (VERY VERY LONG, SPOILER-Y, ALSO CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR RUNE FACTORY 3 IN SOME AREAS)
This is gun be a long one, and honestly I'm doing this because I want to. I, like many, was overjoyed with the announcement of Rune Factory 4 Special and Rune Factory 5. Rune Factory has always been my favorite video game franchise of all time, but that 7 year gap really got to me. I never could get into mainline Harvest Moon or Stardew Valley, and I distinctly remember when I first got a Steam account, trying to find an indie to satiate my thirst for Rune Factory style gameplay. But I couldn't find anything like it. Rune Factory truly is one of a kind. Its ironic. When RF4 first came out, I passed on it. Mainly because at the time I was invested in other games, and was excited for the upcoming release of Pokemon Y later in 2013. But RF has had consistent releases, so I figured I'd either play it at some point or wait till the next game. Time passed, too much time. So much so if I played RF4 then it would come with a bittersweet feeling, I truly thought it was the last one. I couldn't bear to play RF4 because of the sadness that comes with the end. At the time I wasn't as versed in the internet (outside of Miiverse, oddly enough) as I am now, so I never knew about Neverland Inc bankruptcy or even RF4's stellar sales, all I knew was RF was gone for 5+ years. Hope was lost. That turned to sadness, and later into acceptance. When RF4S and RF5 was announced I had to confirm with my brother next morning that I didn't dream it. Even now, it feels surreal. So Special was my first time playing RF4, likewise, I had played RF3 for the first time and finished it a week before RF4S came out. I had waited to play it because by the time RF4 came out in 2013 I had just played a bunch of Tides of Destiny, and the thought of a top down RF game felt intimidating at first. (never played RF1 or RF2). I, like many people, only played the two console games for quite a while (I assume many people, as I've met alot of people irl who have only played the two on Wii, so I assume its a decent percentage). With RF3 fresh in my mind, and Rf4 being a completely new experience for me in Special, I delved back into the world of Rune Factory once again. Now with the emotions out of the way, I want to give my thoughts in a review like manner. First off, the protagonist. I played as Lest, rather than Frey (I am male myself). While on the topic, I hope that both genders is a staple of the series. The bachlorette's usually got more development than the standard villagers, so having a girl protag (outside of a limited scope like in ToD) means some lovely guys get to be developed just as much. Cannot speak for Frey, I do not know if she has any major dialogue differences or whatnot. As for Lest, He was interesting, but I felt he could have been so much better. He was determined, he was faithful, failure was hardly an option. Be it to stop the Sechs or to simply be a good husband, he always gave his all in the best of ways. However, he did feel a bit more generic compared to Micah. I genuinely loved Micah, like a lot. The half human half monster dynamic was more than just a gameplay or character gimmick. By having the conflict between Sharence and the Univer, Micah being the half-ling he is gave him a goal that only he could accomplish. Not because he is the protagonist, but because of that trait. The idea of living in two places, but only showing one side of yourself, indirectly lying about your other half. It was bittersweet and amazing. Micah's half human half monster mechanic was a vital narrative device that made him crucial to the plot as a whole. Lest didn't have as much like that. Sure he is an Earthmate, but that is nothing new. If someone else fell on Venti instead of him, would Lest still be as important? I'll give Lest a 7/10 Honestly its only a minor complaint, but I think after Micah in RF3 I set my expectations a bit too high. Secondly, the town of Selphia. Honestly, its amazing. I would consider it the best in the series if my nostalgia for Fenith Island didn't get in the way. The setting is great, its just big enough to where being a prince makes more sense (a prince of a village doesn't sound too great imo) yet still small enough to give the small town feel RF has always nailed. The Plaza itself its right in the center rather than slightly out of the way, and its full of small details throughout, like the telescopes that reference past RF games. From a gameplay perspective, Selphia is great, with one minor complaint. First, gameplay positives of Selphia. Having both the general store and flower shop next to each other is perfect, makes getting farming goods super easy. Blacksmith and Clinic being close by helps too. Having the request box, the plaza, and the shop so close to where you wake up is great. The castle itself is great gameplay wise, with Venti and the orders close by, and the farm being even closer, as well as leading into the upper part of the town. That upper part is my only complaint. Its really long so getting from one side to the other is slower than elsewhere, and both shops on it are completely separated. Whereas the forge is right next to the clinic to arm yourself after death, the eatery and the bathhouse aren't as much. The farm is the fastest way to the top, yet you still have to walk a decent bit for a bath or bite of bread. And with how useful the airship is, it being up there makes it so much more out of the way. I almost bought a telecommunicator just so I didn't have to walk as much, almost. But aside from that, from both a gameplay standpoint and otherwise, Selphia gets a 9.5 out of 10 for me. Although I prefer how Sharence has every major area close by, it makes things convenient. Thirdly, the cast. Honestly, I think this might be the best in the series. With the exception of a certain someone (I'll get to that) every marriage candidate is amazing in thier own way, few feel underwhelming and almost all feel great to talk to, hang out with, or marry. The villagers I think are some of the best as well. With some exceptions (like Gaius in RF3) the villagers never attached to my mind like the canditates did, RF4 was the first to do so. Volkanan the tearful yet loyal butler, Bado the lazy yet determined smithy, Porco the Porco, Lin Fa the adorable, Jones and Nancy the lovely couple, etc etc. Blossom is the only one that didn't grow on me much at all, and Lumie is either sometimes amazing to me (such as in An Ephemeral Wish) or sometimes kind of...off (most things involving the young one) Although I did find it odd there were no children villagers at all. No Monica or Kelsey kind of villagers. But the cast all has such great synergy with eachother that I never felt there was a gap that needed filling. Fourtly The story. Pretty good, although I prefer RF3's a good bit more. RF3 had one central theme for the most part, wheras RF4's focused more on a character. Ventuswill. She is okay, although given how much Lest is willing to do for her I wish I had more reason to feel the same way. In Rf3 the one character in danger was the only one the player had personal investment in, the wife. In RF4 Venti spends almost, if not more than half the game collasped. Most of arc 2 and the last third of act one she has alot more repeat diologue during that state, so its harder to love her when more than half the game is focused on saving her. But one thing I did enjoy was Ethelberd. He was intimidating, he was strong, and the fact he got this way because of events in the first Rune Factory feels so wicked. Its like a story made by fans of the series itself. The bosses in said story were fine as well, if a bit of the easy side. Although fighting the other dragons was cool as all hell. From here on I'm shifting structure to a more pro con style, as my arm is getting tired from typing and I don't want to talk about every tiny detail. Major pros: 1.Cast of characters is the best the series has seen yet.
Gameplay it still extremely flexible, and you have tons of options for every playstyle.
Game is a solid length. Not too long, its no Persona 5, yet not oddly short like RF3 was. By the time I beat Arc 2 I had clocked in roughly 65 hours.
4.Newlywed Mode and Another episode are amazing additions, and I hope at least Newlywed mode becomes a series staple.
Opening is amazing and fills me with emotion, its almost like its built to give me nostalgia for Selphia even when I'm so new to it.
Prince mechanic gives more ways of player freedom without absolutely breaking the game.
Lots of small details (such as unique bed dialogue per bed, like "Life's not that Sweet" and "I perscribe myself Sleep!") and is honestly the funniest RF game to date.
Talk box changing between yellow and white to let the player know if they talked to them or not is a small bit of clarity that goes a long way.
Town events make the, well, town, feel so much more alive. And the marriage town events especially made me feel more emotion than anything else in the series.
The music is great, although personally I prefer Rf3's ost, as I find it more memorable.
Town event RNG. This one will be a rant, bear with me. I hate the rng that comes with town events. While marriage events and Memories are no longer that, many town events are straight up required to marry certain characters. Alot only need 1, so odds are in your favor, yet otherwise get lucky. I know town event manipulation exists, but frankly, its not fun, its tedious, and its the reason why I didn't marry every bachlorette like I originally wanted to. I would hate it if say, I wanted to Marry Forte, yet even after beating arc 2 and putting in 65 hours I never ended up getting A Knights Steed, so I can't marry her then. With newlywed mode requiring marriage as well, the rng wall becomes even more infuriating. Not to mention this new system tends to stockpile most of the character development in one or two events. While most of the time it NAILS it, when it doesn't (like Amber) it leaves a whole that cannot be filled. The request box system in RF3 functioned alot more similarly to social links in Persona, but because of that structure we saw lots of mini events for development rather than one big one. Frankly, I don't think Raven would be nearly as legendary if her development was in the style of RF4 town events rather than RF3 request board. The request board also gave alot more player freedom. If Rf3 had a newlywed mode that system would make unlocking em for everyone way less of a chore. I genuinely dislike this part of the game. While some may not mind, it is the sole thing keeping RF4 from being my favorite Rune Factory game.
Certain stuff is barred behind Prince Points when I don't think they need to be (such as a monster barn)
Personally I think too many songs are reused from past games. Even the final boss theme, and one of like 6 new themes added in Special are reused (vs Ethelberd=vs Iris Noire. And Another Episode END=RF3 wedding theme)
Less of an overall con and more of player preference, I don't like seeds locked behind request board missions rather than unlocked overtime or all at once. Particularly, not knowing which seeds I unlock is a more frustrating part. Although I do think it makes the game more balanced, lord knows what would happen if we could buy Pineapples straight up.
No shop to buy Rune Abilities (such as in the bath in RF3) unless you use Prince Points to send a merchant in. So your preferred weapon may be one you haven't found as a many abilities for, or you may end up not finding Cure until late into Act 1 (me).
Second opening animations aren't as perfectly synced as the first, particularly in the last few seconds. Could have benefited from a separate vocal to work with the new animations like Happiness V2 in RF3
Overall, I can see why many see RF4 as the best RF game, but there are just a few things keeping it from perfection, or at the very least, my personal favorite. If not for town event RNG and having it be required for marriage, I would give this game 11/10. Even with RF3's flaws of being *too* convenient, really short, and really easy, I still prefer it just a bit more than RF4. Rf4 is a game many call the definitive Rune Factory experience, and that is a statement I slightly disagree with. But this game outshines the others in almost every possible way, and its filled with so much love, and fills me with that same love. From its cast, to the town of Selphia itself, to the laughs, to the references older fans would get, Rf4 is a game I will give a 9.5/10. Sadly not more, but anything less would be a disservice to how absolutely phenomenal this game is. I love it, and I will surely remember this game until the day I die. If I were to describe the way this game makes me feel as a whole in one word. Joy. Also Clorica best girl.
2020.07.01 17:11 joshuawaggoner90I Ride for Cerber: Pt 11
"It's not going to fit in my car. I'm telling you it's too big." Harley scolded as I tried to wiggle and jimmy my bike into the back seat. "Well I'm taking it and you said Count's still mad at me for barfing on him and you want to drive, SO..." I said back, giving it another shove. "Does it really have to come?" She asked. "Yes! Yes it does. Besides, what about Rissa? You think she would rather stay here alone instead of coming with us?" To which Rissa answered, "I don't want to go." "..... I'm taking my bike. If it won't fit like this I'll just take the wheels off." I argued, pulling a ratchet out of my bag and loosening the nuts. But as I slid the front wheel off the fork suddenly Rissa's entire head just disappeared and she started to wail in agony. "OH GOD OH GOD!! WHAT HAPPENED?! WHAT DID I DO?!" I cried over her. "I DON'T KNOW BUT IT HURTS!! MAKE IT STOP!" She pleaded desperately with a voice from an unknown source. As I fumbled in a panic to try and reattach the wheel, tears welling up in my eyes from thinking I just broke Rissa, I started to hear a... chuckle. The god damn shit ass was laughing. "Rissa... If you weren't dead I'd kill you." I yelled as my heart beat struggled to calm back down. "Why even?..." "I couldn't help it." She said through her now cackling laughter as she rolled back and forth on the gravel, her massless body leaving it totally undisturbed. "I think I'm mostly attached to the frame. So you could probably replace everything else and I'd be fine." She explained after she settled down. "New frame it is..." I threatened, narrowing my eyes at her. "Uh-oh." She squeaked before poofing away into thin air. "You have to admit that was pretty good." Harley joked as I undid the master link and slid the rear wheel off. "Can we just go? I feel like I've been awake for 4 days straight." I asked, it almost being true since the vivid, reoccurring nightmare I had been having every time I dozed off hadn't let me get much sleep since the hospital. "Oh hey, where uh... What you up to there big guy?" I asked, seeing Han-lao walking across the parking lot, the massive case from Hep's house strapped to his back. "Hunting." He answered, never breaking his stride. "Oh, ok. Have fun. Er- I... I didn't mean it like-" "Oh, rest assured, I intend to enjoy this." He added, still not taking the time to so much as turn my direction. "Han-lao, monster hunter..." I thought out loud. "I wonder what that guy's deal is." "Xi Han-lao, naturalized American citizen, raised in Hong Kong until age 17. Several amateur championships and a pro san shao title. Moved to the US where he obtained several degrees in engineering from M.I.T., enlisted in the United States Army immediately after graduation, was selected from the 75th Ranger Regiment into Delta. Selected from Delta into SAD. The list goes on.... I pulled his record after he kicked me..." She added after seeing the suspicious look on my face. "Well I guess that explains the surplus alpha energy." I said, watching him leave the parking lot and vanish into the night. "You ok?" Harley ask once we parked in front of the Count's place and she saw that I wasn't making any attempts at moving. "You look like Tom sitting on the tracks." She added. After sitting in silence for a while I answered, "Trying to figure out what I'm doing here. Hook brought me in to get information from you because he knew you were trying to get information out of me. Now they got it straight from the source. They don't need me anymore. I just ride a bike. I haven't even done anything this whole time. I've just been a spectator and a punching bag most of the time." I thought out loud. "I spied on the lady who gave me a job when nobody else would, I got Borg all shook up... I got Ju-lee killed..." I trailed of, letting my finger slide over the raised skin of the sliver lines of her coin. "I shouldn't be here with everyone else." FLICK "OWW WHAT THE SHIT?!" I wined after Harley thumped me on the nose. "Don't talk like that! First of all you're the whole reason I'm even here to help in the first place. And if it weren't for you Hook would have crushed my skull like a walnut. And that too, you stood up for me after... After everything I did to you. You take everything in stride and even though you don't have any obligation to be here, you still came without question. You might not be a lot of things Jose. You're not a vampire or a 200 year old pirate or a... whatever Relic is. You might not have superpowers and you might not be all that brave. But you're a good guy Jose. So much so it makes me sick sometimes. But I can say beyond a shadow of doubt that you're good." And then she leaned over and gave me a small kiss on the cheek before reaching across me and opening the door and getting out to get her stuff. "Let me know if you see the Count. I'm not ready for that converssSHIT!!" I screamed, rounding the corner and almost running straight into him. "Do you know... how strong... my sense of smell is? I CAN STILL SMELL THE ODOR OF YOUR BILE!!" "Count you be nice to the poor boy!" The Captain said, coming to my rescue and causing the Count to creep back into the recesses of his manor, giving me the stink eye the whole way. "Welcome back boy. Glad to have you with us. And you... hm." He added dismissively at Harley's presence. "Dr. Jekyll will show you to your room." "Alright then Hook, it's pronounced Jeekyll. I've told you that several times already. Do I need to write a poem about it too? Ah yes, Jose. Fall in if you don't mind." Jekyll said, waving me to follow him up the stairs. "I'm not calling you Jeekyll when you can't even decide if your name is Jekyll or Hyde!" The Captain shouted up the stairs after him. "He paused for a second and turned to face him, "Oh... You'll know when to call me Hyde old chap. Let there be no doubt, you'll know." He said with a smile that could curdle milk. "So do we get separate rooms or..." I asked, standing the doorway of the one room bedroom he lead us too. "Sorry mate, bit short on space so you and the Mrs. gonna be bunking together for your time here." He told us. "But it looks to me like you too shared a bed once or twice am I right? Wink wink nudge nudge say no more. And oh right!" He added as he made his way back down the hall. "My room's right under yours. So if you do plan on keeping me up bumping uglies, at least have the decency to make the dirty talk intelligible and descriptive. It's been a while for me and it'd be awfully appreciated." As I placed my face in my palm I could almost feel the heat radiate off of Harley's blushing face. "Well... He has a point. No reason one of us has to sleep on the floor I guess." I thought out loud as I found a place to set my bag down. "Sooo, what n-" I started but was interrupted by the Captain sticking his head through the door. "You, woman, with me." He demanded before walking back down stairs. "You go ahead. I'll be in here, being irrelevant, if you need me." I told her. I just sat there for a while after she left the room until Rissa popped up. "Oh hey." I mumbled. "The hell's wrong with you?" She pried. "Eh, at first I was kinda wondering why I'm even still hanging around all this. But now I'm more mad that there really isn't anything I can do... Ya know?" I explained. "Hey what are you?" "I'm a ghost stupid..." "No I mean like... I can't really tell what color your skin is, you know... on account of you being see through and all, but you got kinda foreign features." I said. "Oh, yeah. My mom was Indian." She replied. "I took more after her than my dad." "Ah, that explains it." "Is... Is that it?" She asked. "Yeah. I was just curious. I don't really know where I was going with it." "Jeez man, you really are out of it right now." She said, sitting on the bed next to me. "I guess so. I just feel useless. Don't like it too much." I mumbled. "Oh come on. You're not useless. Ok look, this whole thing probably wouldn't be happening if it wasn't for you. You're always saying you just ride a bike but you don't JUST ride a bike." She tried to explain. "What are you talking about? That's literally almost all I do..." I said skeptically. "It's about how you ride and what about you let's you do that. You could give someone anxiety just watching a video of you riding. The same thing that let's you weave in and out of giant metal missiles operated by people trying to text and drive and maybe even run you over on purpose every single day like it's nothing, that's what let you adapt to all this paranormal insanity so fast. On the road you have to deal with whatever comes your way and keep moving forward. Just like you have been this whole time. You're here right now because you can't stop, and you don't want to either. It's not in your nature." "So... what you're saying is.... I don't know what you're saying. You lost me." "Oh Jesus Jose... I'm saying you're here because you want to see this through to the end. You're committed. You gave this thing its momentum and now you feel like you have to ride it out. And probably also for Ju-lee." She said. "Oh... Yeah I guess that makes sense." "Any regular person would have lost their mind long before this point. That whole thing with Tom Cruse... They'd be in a straight jacket. But you're doing ok." She assured me. "Oh god... you saw him too? I was really hoping I hallucinated that..." Later that night Harley came back up to the room and told me that the Captain was mining her for information. Apparently the idea was to get the details on security, manpower, location, all the stuff you'd need to storm the castle, so to speak. The Captain and Harley both have a more tactical mindset than me, so a lot of what she said kinda went over my head, but it sounded like a plan. After that the planning and surveillance starting, with me doing little to contribute as you might imagine. It was hard to even convince them to let me go out for the occasional ride, pointing out that I was part of several people and monsters' shit lists. But I made the counter point that the croc thing had Han after it. And for what it's worth, it's hard to convey in words what an absolute unit that guy is. I'm pretty sure the things that go bump in the night would do a lot less bumping if they knew he was out there in the dark with them. Also I think I was starting to get on everyone's nerves, so they rather I be anywhere not where they were. I mean, if you got Dracula, Dr. Jekyll, and Captain Hook all under that same roof... you're gonna start asking them questions. "Dracula has surprisingly good wifi." Harley said over the phone as I rested on a park bench one night during a ride. "I've been looking for some movies to watch when you get back. You ever seen Tucker and Dale vs Evil." "Only like a billion times..... You haven't seen it yet have you?" "No..." She answered, disappointment in her voice. "I can watch it again if you want to see it." I offered. "OK!" She chirped through the speaker and then hung up. ".... We're not a thing." I said to Rissa who was now glaring at me with her arms crossed. "Yeah if you say so." She said back before vanishing. "The ghost in my bike is judging me." I said to a random passer by as I picked the bike up and swung my leg over. "You know how it is." I added before riding off, grinning at the awkward look I left on their face. But that didn't last long. After a while I ran up on what looked from a distance like a man wandering around aimlessly in the middle of the road. I rolled up thinking maybe someone had strayed away from an assisted living place or something, but as I got closer I realized it was worse. "Mr... Mr. Xi? Is that you? What are you doing out here?" "Ju-lee... Please come home Ju-lee." He mumbled in the dark as he paced back and forth, occasionally switching back and forth from English to Chinese. "Oh no..." Rissa said from my side. "That's so sad. Does he still not know what happened?" "Mr. Xi, you gotta get out of the road. Somebody's gonna run you over like that." I said, walking over to him and slowly guiding him to the side of the street. I pulled out my phone and tried to call Han-lao, but I couldn't get an answer. "You." Mr. Xi said once he finally realized who I was. "Where is Ju-lee? Is she with you? She always talking about you. If she with you please take care of her. And tell her uncle loves her." "I uh... m... I will Mr. Xi." I said trying to get an Uber to take him home through my watering eyes. "I'm going to get you a ride Mr. Xi." After the car came and picked him up I decided to cut the ride short and head back to... Dracula's... place. God what even is my life right now? "Are you ok?" Harley asked once I got back. I had called and told her what was going on while me and Mr. Xi were waiting on the car. I'm not sure why though. It just felt like I should. "I think so." I answered. "I'm gonna go take a shower and we can watch that movie when I get out." So that night we both got in bed and watch Tucker and Dale vs Evil on her laptop. And as the days rolled into weeks we spent more and more time together watching movies and exploring the seemingly endless halls of the Count's manor and... yeah I know I'm a scumbag ok. You gonna honestly sit there and say you never dated someone because you were depressed and vulnerable and needed the comfort? Besides, I was cooped up in Dracula's summer home with her. What do you expect? "So I never asked about the whole vassal thing. Why'd you make that deal?" I asked her one day while we explored one of the manor's underground tunnels. "Well... I was in a relationship with this guy. A really strong guy, and everything was fine for a while, until the first time he hit me. We were arguing about something and then I woke up in the hospital. After that it just kept happening more and more. I snapped. I didn't just want a way out. I wanted to get back at him. To really hit him where it hurt. He was always making sure I knew just how much stronger than me he was. So I started looking for a way to take that from him. And that's when Athena found me. She offered me the deal and I took it on the spot. I went back home and kicked the shit out of that man. I think he still walks with a cane to this day." "So you don't worship whatsherface because you're buying what she's selling? You're just in it for the superstrength?" "That and I can eat whatever I want and not gain any weight and I get to stay healthy and young for a lot longer than what's naturally possible." She added. "Ah, I guess that makes sense. Who really wants to work if they can avoid it, right? Haha... ha. I mean that kinda make sense I guess. Maybe you're so aggro all the time because you're still working out all those emotions from being powerless all that time. And here I thought you were just a jerk for no reason." I said as we laughed together. "HEY YOU! YEAH YOU!" The Chris guy from Dirty Work Inc barked at me as he walked through the door one day. "You better tell your Taiwanese Terminator buddy to stop shaking down every entity he comes across! He's chasing away our business!" "Whoa, dude. I have absolutely no control over that guy. He's gonna do whatever it is he's gonna do." I told him. "Also I think he's Chinese." "He did you tell him to make Kung Pow fuck off?" Mark asked Chris as he and the other guy walked through behind him. "Viva la resistance..." I said, flipping them the bird as they passed, not entirely sure what was possessing me to antagonize them of all people. "What was that all about?" Harley asked, watching the bunch file past as they gave me hateful looks. "Looks like Han is running amok around town and it's hurting them in the wallet." "Oi! You two!" Dr Jekyll shouted from down the hall at us. "I have to say, wonderful performance last night. Good stuff, good stuff. But remember, volume. Be descriptive. Give me something to work with! What's the point after all if you finish before I do?" He said as he passed and walked after the Dirty Work Inc gang. ".... I really hate that guy." Harley mumbled, her face blushing red again. "We're gonna have to find somewhere else to-" "Yeah definitely." I stopped her. "I'll troll the tunnels while you're in the war room with the rest of the Legion of Doom." "Please, pleeeease don't let me find Dracula's sex dungeon..." I begged as I strolled though corridors under the manor. "Fifty Shades of Blah..." I said in my best Dracula voice, making myself chuckle a little. And then... someone else laughed. "What the hell?!" I whispered to myself. "He's cute." "I like this one." "He looks delicious!" I heard three separate voices say from the shadows ahead of me. "Ok... That's new." The next thing I heard sent an ice water shiver down my back as the voice behind me spoke. "I think I'll eat his kidneys first." Without hesitation I shot down the hallway desperately searching for any place to hide. "Where'd all the rooms go?! WHY AREN'T THERE ANY ROOMS NOW?!" I screamed as I realized that every opening to the countless rooms had vanished. I found a small recess in the corner of two halls and wedged myself in as I heard the manic laughter growing closer and closer. "You can't hide forever. I can sssmell your sweat. I can feel your breath." The ethereal voice spoke as a woman who almost radiated her own light passed in front of my hiding spot. "We'll find you... and then we'll peel your skin off with our teeth, inch... by... INCH!" Another one shrieked in my face as she lunged in front of my small crack in the wall. The flesh on her face began to split and fall away to reveal the snapping, wailing skull underneath. I managed to get one leg in just the right position to shove her away from me far enough back to slip past and take off again. "Jesus Christ which way is out?!" I yelled, looking for anything I could recognize. I ran and ran until I could barely stand, the voices of the nightmarish women wailing and laughing behind me the whole way. After what felt like an hour I couldn't keep it up any more and fell to the ground gasping for air. As I heard them closing in on me from around the corner I happened to look up and see the light shining out from under the door to the staircase that led back up to the manor. In a last desperate attempt I pulled myself up against the stone wall and staggered over to the door, thowing it open as I let my weight fall against it. I could still hear them. They were right on top of me. I drug my way up each step, my legs virtually useless. Until I turned to see one of the women round the corner, her mouth hanging wide open as a long black snake slithered and undulated further and further out of the back of her throat. "Oh I think absolutely the fuck not!!" I squealed as my voice cracked and my legs roared back to life, propelling me the rest of the way up the stairs, almost breaking the top door down in the process. "What is all the fuss about?" The Count asked as he walked by, noticing my near death expression. "I... forgot... about... the brides..." I wheezed. "Brides? I do not... Oh, no. Those are my daughters." He corrected, realizing what I was talking about. "AND THAT IS WHY I MAKE THEM STAY DOWN THERE WHEN I HAVE COMPANY!!" He shouted down the stairway into the darkness, before grabbing a pillow off a nearby chair and slinging it down at them. "AWFUL NAUGHTY GIRLS!" Which was answered by a series of hisses from just out of sight. "This door really needs a sign or something." He said as he latched it shut. "Do not worry my child, they are quite mischievous but they are harmless I assure you." "Yeah... Harmless... If you don't count the ten years they just shaved off my life expectancy..." I mumbled to myself. "About how much more planning is going into this black op thing you guys are working on?" I asked him. "It won't be long now boy." The Captain answered from behind me, causing me to jump, my nerves still on edge. "What's gotten into him Count?" "I fear we neglected to warn him of the castle located under the manor." He answered. Come to find out that he had his ENTIRE castle buried underground right below his house. I had been strolling around Dracula's castle for weeks and didn't even know it. Later that night I made a midnight snack run down to the kitchen like I did most nights, but unlike most nights, this time there was someone else already there. A woman, but she didn't have scars like the rest of the crew... or me now I guess. "Oh hey, I was just getting a cheese stick or something." She said when she noticed me, yawning and ruffling her pearl white hair as she scratched her head. "Yeah same..." I replied sheepishly. You ever find someone so attractive they intimidate you? Like you feel like you're not actually allowed to look directly at them? "You uh... Do I know you?" I asked. "Yeah we met earlier. Remember, eat your kidneys, peel your skin off with my teeth? 'Eyyyy." She said, comically sticking her thumbs up and pointing at herself. "Oh, OH! Ok... I guess you look kinda different without the veil of a fear induced delirium." I said, taking a small step behind the refrigerator. "Oh calm down you big baby." She said, walking over and pulling me out from behind the stainless steel safety of the fridge. "God you scare easy." "I do not!" I responded defensively, thinking back to Relic's delivery review from my first job for Cerber. "Dude I can still smell the piss down there." She laughed. "I'm Destiny by the way." She added, reaching out to shake my hand. "Jose. It's-" "A long story, yeah I know." She interrupted. "I've heard you say that like fifty times since you've been here. I'm not obsessed with you. I'm just observant." "Spider-Man Homecoming, nice." I said, my appreciation for the reference getting the better of me. "You like movies?" I asked her. "Bitch I saw the FIRST movie! I remember when the stereopticon was a big deal! Yes I like movies!" She exclaimed. "I even saw your episode of Jerry Springer... The day it aired." She said with a slightly devious grin. "Wow that's neat.... Cool... Depressing... romant-creep- It's something." I said, stumbling over my words. "She's using you, ya know? A girl can always tell." She said leaning over the counter, touching my chest with her finger. "I'm not sure what for, but I could tell the whole time you two were walking around the castle. And she texts someone while you're asleep." She added, running her finger round in circles. "I uh um I... Huh? What were we talking about?" I managed to barf up through my exasperation. "Oh uh, nah it's just a weird situation. First she threatened me into spying on my boss, then she kinda became a whole hook up thing and then my girlfriend got eaten by a crocodile that was in the Olympics or something and now we have to sleep in the same room together and it's... just-" "I would never use you." She stopped me, leaning in even closer. "Well... Not for anything you'd complain about." She added with a fangy smirk, a velvet crimson flashing in her eyes. "..... Hi I'm story, it's a long Jose." I croaked, my brain apparently starting to microwave itself in response to her presence. "Aw, you poor baby. Here, text me when the blood gets back to your head." She told me, taking a pen out of the drawer and writing her number on a paper towel. As she sat it on the counter in front of me and walked away I realized what she was talking about, my thin boxers doing little to hide it. "Oh... and I've seen Tucker and Dale a billion times too." "Did... Dracula's daughter just make a move on me?.... Well fuck."
2020.06.29 11:10 Dr_SargunzDue Diligence: Toromont Industries Ltd. - Building Together For An Exciting Future
Hi, This is my first attempt at writing a DD report. I hope it makes sense. Just a few cautionary words:
Grammar (and English in general) is not a skill of mine. There will be a few parts that you might have to decipher, good luck.
I tried not to provide too much commentary and stick to the facts. I know you are spending your valuable time reading this and you probably don't want to listen to some random guy on the internet pontificate.
For those of you who are easily offended/triggered, can't take a joke, or sarcasm isn't your taste, DO NOT click the spoilers.
Lastly, the following is just my findings, by no means is it a representation of all the information out there. It is just the baseline for me to have confidence in becoming an owner of the Company. Do your own due diligence or talk to a financial advisor to find what is best for you and your financial situation. Happy reading!
Over the last 5 years the stock price has more than doubled.
Toromont dominates market share over everything east of Manitoba in Canada.
Customer base is heavily diversified, giving the Company many opportunities to expand into multiple industries.
Dividend has increased for 31 consecutive years. It has been paid for 52 consecutive years
The management team is extremely knowledgeable and have a good track record
Toromont Industries Ltd. (TSE:TIH) provides specialized equipment in Canada and the United States. The Company operates two business segments: The Equipment Group and CIMCO. The Equipment Group supplies specialized mobile equipment and industrial engines for Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE:CAT). Customers for this business segment vary from infrastructure contractors, residential and commercial contractors, mining companies, forestry companies, pulp and paper producers, general contractors, utilities, municipalities, marine companies, waste handling companies, and agricultural enterprises. CIMCO offers design, engineering, fabrication, and installation of industrial and recreational refrigeration systems. The Company was founded in 1961 and operates out of Concord, Ontario. As at December 31, 2019, Toromont employed over 6,500 people in more than 150 locations across central/eastern Canada and the upper eastern United States. The primary objective of the Company is to build shareholder value through sustainable and profitable growth, supported by a strong financial foundation.
Description of the 2 Main Business Segments
The Equipment Group includes the following 6 business units:
Toromont CAT:one of the world’s largest Caterpillar dealerships which supplies, rents, and provides product support services for specialized mobile equipment and industrial engines
Battlefield Equipment Rentals:supplies and rents specialized mobile equipment as well as specialty supplies and tools.
Toromont Material Handling:supplies, rents, and provides product support services for material handling lift trucks
AgWest:an agricultural equipment and solutions dealer representing AGCO, CLAAS and other manufacturers’ products
SITECH:provides Trimble Inc (NASDAQ:TRMB technology products and services. Trimble is a SaaS company that provides positioning, modeling, connectivity, and data analytics software which enable customers to improve productivity, quality, safety, and sustainability. Target industries: land survey, construction, agriculture, transportation, telecommunications, asset tracking, mapping, railways, utilities, mobile resource management, and government.)
Toromont Energy:supplies, constructs, and operates high efficiency power plants up to 50 MW, using Caterpillar's leading power generation technologies. Toromont Energy operates plants that supply energy to hospitals, district energy systems, and industrial processes.
Performance in this segment mainly depends on the activity in several industries: road building and other infrastructure-related activities, mining, residential and commercial construction, power generation, aggregates, waste management, steel, forestry, and agriculture.
Revenues are driven by the sale, rental, and servicing of mobile equipment for Caterpillar and other manufacturers to the industries listed above.
In addition, Toromont is the MaK engine dealer for the Eastern seaboard of the United States, from Maine to Virginia.
MaK engine is a marine diesel engine manufactured by Caterpillar
CIMCO is a market leader in the design, engineering, fabrication, installation and after-sale support of refrigeration systems
Performance in this segment is dependent on the activity in several industries: beverage and food processing, cold storage, food distribution, mining, and recreational ice rinks.
CIMCO has manufacturing facilities in Canada and the United States and sells its solutions globally.
CIMCO services the ice rinks of 23 out of 31 NHL teams. So if you are watching a game and the ice is shitty, you know who to blame… the Ice Girls, obviously.
For those of you who live in the GTA and have skated on The Barbara Ann Scott Ice Trail at College Park, the trail was created using CIMCO proprietary CO2 refrigeration technology.
CEO, Scott J. Medhurst has been with the company since 1988. He was appointed President of Toromont CAT in 2004 and he came into his current position as President and CEO in 2012. He is a graduate of Toromont’s Management Trainee Program. CFO, Mike McMillan joined the executive team in March of 2020. His predecessor, Paul Jewer is retiring this year and has been working with McMillan during the transition period. VP and COO, Michael Chuddy has been with Toromont since 1995. On average, leaders have 29 years of business experience and have served at Toromont for 19 years. Seeing long tenures, good stock performance, excellent business planning and execution is usually a sign of strong leadership. In addition, insiders hold more than 3% (~$175 million) of the company’s outstanding shares. Medhurst owns more than 170 thousand shares, Chuddy owns just under 100 thousand shares and the former CEO and current Independent Chairman of Board of Directors, Robert Ogilvie owns more than 2 million shares, making him the 4th largest stockholder. High insider ownership typically signals confidence in a company's prospects. Compare this to Toromont’s main Canadian competitor, Finning, where insiders own less than 0.4% ($12 million) of the company (this number varies depending on where you look, I just took the highest one I found). Recently insiders have been selling stock (Figure 1). I cannot speak to the reasons why insiders are selling but the remaining position owned by the insider is sizable and demonstrates that the executive still has confidence in the company. Some of the reasons insiders sell are: they don't believe in the company’s future, they need money for personal use, they are rebalancing their portfolio, among others. Figure 1: Buy and selling activity of insiders (the data is from MarketBeat, so take that for what it's worth). On a somewhat unrelated but still related note, 50% of Toromont employees are also shareholders.
Toromont has five growth strategies (expand markets, strengthen product support, broaden product offerings, invest in resources, and maintain a strong financial position). I chose to focus on the following two strategies, as they seemed most prevalent.
Toromont serves a wide variety of end markets: mining, road building, power generation, infrastructure, agriculture, and refrigeration. This allows for many opportunities for growth while staying true to their core competency. Further expansion into new markets doesn't require Toromont to build a whole new business model or learn the intricacies of the new industry because their products stays the same. Thus, the main concern is the application/selection of the products for the customer.
Expansion is generally incremental. Each business unit focuses on market share growth and when the right opportunity presents itself, geographic expansion is archived through acquisitions.
Strengthening Product Support
In an industry where price competition is high, product support activities represent opportunities to develop closer relationships with customers and differentiate Toromont’s product and service offering from competitors. After-market support is an integral part of the customer's decision-making process when purchasing equipment.
Product support revenues are more consistent and profitable.
Growth Through Acquisition
Rapid growth in this industry is generally driven through acquisitions. Toromont has gone through multiple acquisitions since the 90’s:
Acquisition of the Battlefield Equipment Rentals in 1996
Toromont grew Battlefield from one location to 82 locations
Acquisition of two privately held agricultural dealerships in Manitoba to form AgWest Equipment Ltd
Acquisition of Hewitt Group of companies in Q3 2017 for a total consideration of $1.0177 billion
$917.7 million cash ($750 million of which was finances through unsecured debt) plus the issuance of 2.25 million Toromont shares (equating to $100 million based on the 10 day average share price)
Acquisition of Hewitt Group of companies This acquisition allowed Toromont to make headway into the Quebec, Western Labrador, and Maritime markets, as Hewitt was the authorized Caterpillar dealer of these regions. Hewitt was also the Caterpillar lift truck dealer of Quebec and most of Ontario and the MaK marine engine dealer for Québec, the Maritimes, and the Eastern seaboard of the United States (from Maine to Virginia). Toromont had total assets of $1.51 billion before the acquisition, the acquisition added $1.024 billion in assets, nearly doubling the balance sheet (look at Figure 2 for more details about the acquisition). Figure 2: (all numbers are in thousands) The final allocation of the purchase price was as of Dec 31, 2018, Note 25 of 2018 Annual Report. $1.024 billion was added to the Toromont’s B/S Large acquisitions like this one can be the downfall of a company. Here are some of the risks highlighted by management at the time of the acquisition:
Potential for liabilities assumed in the acquisition to exceed our estimates or for material undiscovered liabilities in the Hewitt Business
Changes in consumer and business confidence as a result of the change in ownership
Potential for third parties to terminate or alter their agreements or relationships with Toromont as a result of the acquisition
Whether the operations, systems, management, and cultures of Hewitt and Toromont can be integrated in an efficient and effective manner
In 2018, the Company started and successfully completed the integration of the Maritime dealerships acquired through Hewitt under Toromont’s decentralized branch model (bottom up approach). Under a decentralized model, regional leadership make business decisions based on local conditions, rather than taking top down mandates. A bottom up approach is an advantage in businesses like Toromont where the customer mix can vary vastly from region to region. It allows for decision-making that is better aligned with customemarket needs and more attuned to the key performance indicators used to manage the business. In 2019, the integration of the decentralized branch model was implemented in Quebec after its success in Atlantic Canada in 2018. Successful integration of Hewitt into the Toromont family shows the depth of industry and business knowledge possessed by the management team. Being able to maintain inherited customer relationships and ensure low turnover is no easy feat. Many companies have completely botched these kinds of acquisitions. One that comes to mind is Sobeys (the second largest food retailer in Canada) acquiring Safeway for $5.8 billion. Three years later, they wrote off $2.9 billion as a loss because they did not anticipate the differences in consumer habits in Western Canada vs Eastern Canada, among other oversights. The result of the acquisition and Hewitt’s integration with Toromont’s existing business produced a 39% increase in EPS in 2018 and 14% increase in 2019.
Toromont pays a quarterly dividend and has historically targeted a dividend rate that approximates 30 - 40% of trailing earnings from continuing operations. In February 2020 the Board of Directors increased the quarterly dividend by 14.8% to $0.31 per share. This marked the 31st consecutive year of increasing dividends and 52nd consecutive year of making a dividend payment. The five-year dividend-growth rate is 12.09%. Table 1: Information about the last eight dividends
Risks/Threats and Mitigation
Dependency on Caterpillar Inc. It goes without saying that Toromont’s future is heavily dependent on Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE:CAT). For those who don't know, Caterpillar is the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines, and diesel-electric locomotives. It has a market cap in excess of $68 billion. All purchases made by Toromont must be made from Caterpillar. This agreement has been standing since 1993 and can be terminated by either side with 90 days notice. Given that the vast majority of Toromont’s inventory is Caterpillar products, Caterpillar’s brand strength and market acceptance are essential factors for Toromont’s continued success. I would say that the probability of either of these being damaged to an unrecoverable point are low, but at the beginning of this year, I would have said the probability of the world coming to a complete stop was very low too and look at what happened. Anything is possible. The reason this is a major consideration is because it's a going concern issue. Going conference is an accounting term for a company that has the resources needed to continue operating indefinitely until it provides evidence to the contrary. This term also refers to a company's ability to make enough money to stay afloat or to avoid bankruptcy. If there was irrevocable damage to Caterpillar’s brand, Toromont is no longer a going concern, meaning the company would most likely be going bankrupt or liquidating assets. The whole Company might not go under because the CIMCO, SITECH, and AgWest business units would survive but, essentially ~80% of the business would be liquidated. In addition to the morbid scenario I laid out above, Toromont is also dependent on Caterpillar for timely supply of equipment and parts. There is no assurance that Caterpillar will continue to supply its products in the quantities and time frames required by Toromont’s customers. So if there is supply chain shock, like the one we just saw, there is the chance that Toromont will not have access to sufficient inventory to meet demand. Which in turn would lead to the loss of revenue or even to the permanent loss of customers. Again, both of these threats have low a probability of occurring but either could single handedly cripple Toromont’s business. As of now, Caterpillar continues to dominate a large market share (~38% as per Gurufocus) in the industry against large competitors like John Deere, CNH Industrial, Cummins, and others. Caterpillar's stock has been on a slow decline for a couple years but that is due to reasons beyond the ones that directly concern Toromont’s day-to-day operations. I would say if you don't believe in Caterpillar’s continued market share dominance, investing in Toromont is probably not for you. Shortage of Skilled Workers Shortage of skilled tradesmen represents a pinch point for industry growth. Demographic trends are reducing the number of individuals entering the trades, thus making access to skilled individuals more difficult. Additionally, the company has several remote locations which makes attracting and retaining skilled individuals more difficult. The lack of such workers in Canada has caused Toromont to become more assertive and thoughtful in their recruitment efforts. To combat this threat, Toromont has/is:
Recruited 303 technicians to achieve growth targets
Created 208 student apprenticeship programs
Working with 19 vocational institutions in Toronto to teach about best practices and introduce the Company as a future employer to students
As a result of these initiatives and others, Toromont saw their workforce grow by ~8% 2019. Growing the workforce is one of the primary building blocks for future growth. Cyclical Business Cycle Toromont’s business is cyclical due to its customers' businesses being cyclical. This affects factors such as exchange rates, commodity/precious metal pricing, interest rates, and most importantly, inventory management. To mitigate this issue, management has put more focus on increasing revenues from product support activities as they are more profitable than the equipment supply business and less volatile. Environmental Regulations Affecting Customers Toromont’s customers are subject to significant and ever-increasing environmental legislation and regulation. This leads to 2 impacts:
Technical difficulty in meeting environmental requirements in product design -> increased costs
Reduction in business activity of Toromont’s customers in environmentally sensitive areas -> reduced revenues
Threats such as these come with a business of this type. As an investor in Toromont, you can't do much to mitigate these kinds of threats because it's out of your hands. Oil and gas, mining, forestry, and infrastructure projects are major drivers of the Canadian economy, so I think there will always be opportunity for Toromont to make money, regardless of government action. Impact of COVID19 While the company had been declared as an essential service in all jurisdictions that it operates in, Q1 2019 results were lower as a function of COVID19 reducing activity in many sectors that Toromont services. Decline in mining and construction projects lead to a decrease in demand for Toromont products in the latter part of the quarter. Revenues were trending for 5-7% growth for the quarter before the effects of COVID19 were felt. Management cannot provide any guidance on how to evaluate the impact of COVID19 on future financial results. They are focusing on ensuring the continued safety of employees and working with customers and the jurisdiction they operate in to evaluate appropriate activity levels on a daily/weekly basis. Lastly, management is keeping a close eye on how this crisis has led to an increase in A/R delinquencies and financial hardship for customers. The Executive Team and the Board of Directors have taken a voluntary compensation reduction. Wage increase freezes and temporary layoffs have been implanted on a selective basis. Management believes that expanding product offerings and services, strong financial position, and disciplined operating culture positions the Company well for continued growth in the long term. Competition Toromont competes with a large number of international, national, regional, and local suppliers. Although price competition can be strong, there are a number of factors that have enhanced Toromont’s ability to compete:
Range and quality of products and services
Ability to meet sophisticated customer requirements
Distribution capabilities including number and proximity of locations
Financing through CAT Finance
Main Competitor in Canada: Finning International Inc.
Finning International Inc. (TSE:FTT) is the world's largest Caterpillar dealer that sells, rents and provides parts and service for equipment and engines to customers across diverse industries, including mining, construction, petroleum, forestry and a wide range of power systems applications. Finning was founded in 1933 and is headquartered in Vancouver, Canada.
Toromont Industries Ltd
Finning International Inc.
Number of Employees
Trailing P/E Ratio
Places of Operations
Manitoba, Ontario, Québec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland & Labrador, most of Nunavut, and the Northeastern United States
British Columbia, Yukon, Alberta, Saskatchewan, the Northwest Territories, a portion of Nunavut, UK, Ireland, Argentina, Bolivia, and Chile
Table 2: A quick comparison between Toromont and Finning. I am sure there are some people looking at this table and thinking Finning looks rather promising based on the metrics shown, especially in comparison to Toromont. Finning’s dividend yield, P/E, and price/book look more attractive. Their top line is 2x. Not to mention it operates worldwide and is the only distributor in the UK, while Toromont only operates in half of Canada.>! Before you go off thinking “I need to use my HELOC to buy some Finning,” as some people on this subreddit are prone to do, ask yourself: do you see any cause for concern in the metrics listed above? !< One glaring question I have is: why is Finning trading at half of Toromont’s market cap given that it operates internationally and has twice the number of employees and revenues of Toromont?
Q1 2020 Financial Results
Figure 3: Q1 2020 Income Statement Overall operating income, net earnings, and EPS all decreased even though Toromont saw an increase in revenue for the quarter compared to Q1 of 2019.
All of these decreases were contributed to COVID19, as the pandemic lead to increases in costs
Historically, Q1 has always been Toromont’s weakest quarter. Q1 accounts for ~20% of yearly earnings and is consistently the least profitable quarter. Toromont’s profit margin generally ranges from 5%-9% progressively increasing into the later half of the year. This is good news for investors with the thesis that the economy will return to "somewhat normal" in the latter half of this year. The majority of the earnings for 2020 are still on the table for Toromont to earn. If current conditions persist, or there is a second wave and lockdown later in the year, we will most likely see a regression in Toromont’s growth to last year’s levels or even lower. Assuming the world does return to “normal,” many of Toromont’s customers (especially in mining and construction) may try to catch up for lost time with increases to their operational activity, leading to an increase in Toromont’s sales for the remainder of the year. Of course this is a major assumption but it’s a possibility. Below is a comparison of the last eight quarters. You can see the clear cyclical nature of their business. Figure 4: Last eight quarters of earnings
Sources of Liquidity
Toromont has access to a $500 million revolving credit facility, maturing in October 2022
On April 17 2020 they secured an additional $250 million as a one year syndicate facility
Cash increased by 22.6 million for the quarter
Cash from operations increased 13% Q1 2020 compared to Q1 2019
The company also drew $100 million from their revolving credit facility
$4 million dollars of stocks were repurchased during Q1 2020
Given their access to $750.0 million dollars of credit and cash on hand equaling $388.2 million, the Company should have sufficient liquidity to operate if COVID19 and its aftermath persist for an extended period of time.
Analysis of Debt Historically, Toromont has had very low debt levels. The spike in late 2017 was due to the acquisition of Hewitt. Management paid off the debt aggressively in 2018. At the end of December 2019 Toromont had $650 million of debt maturing between 2025 and 2027. As a result of COVID19 the company has taken on more debt. This additional access to debt accounts of the slight uptick in historical debt in 2020 (Figure 5). Figure 5: Toromont’s historical debt, equity, and cash The long-term debt to capitalization ratio is a variation of the traditional debt-to-equity ratio. The long-total debt to capitalization ratio is a solvency measure that shows the proportion of debt a company uses to finance its assets, relative to the amount of equity used for the same purpose. A higher ratio means that a company is highly leveraged, which generally carries a higher risk of insolvency with it. The debt-to-equity ratio is at 47% and debt-to-capitalization ratio is 32%, Toromont has $388 million in cash that could be used to pay down debt by nearly 50% and bring the net debt-to-equity to 23% and net debt-to-capitalization to 18%. As mentioned before, management is holding on to cash to insure sufficient liquidity during these times. The implication of these ratios is that Toromont does not take on large amounts of debt to finance growth. Instead the Company leverages shareholders equity to drive growth. For comparison, Finning has a debt-to-equity ratio of ~100% (it differs between WSJ, 99%, and Yahoo Finance, 101%). The nominal amount of their total debt is ~$2.2 billion, which gives them a long-term debt to capitalization ratio 62%. Finning carries $260 million in cash. Figure 6: Toromont’s debt-to-capitalization and debt-to-equity ratios Profitability Ratios Return on equity (also known as return on net assets) measures how effectively management is using a company’s assets to create profits. Toromont’s return on equity is generally around 20%. Go to Figure 6 to look at the ROE for the last 4 years. In comparison, Finning has had a ROE of ~11% for the last three years, about 3% in 2016 and a negative ROE in 2015 (as per Morningstar). Return on capital employed (ROCE) tries to find the return relative to the total capital employed in the business (both debt & equity less short-term liabilities). Toromont’s ROCE (ttm) for March 31 2020 was 22%. This means for every dollar employed in the business 22 cents were earned in EBIT (earnings before interest and tax). Finning had a ROCE of 11% as of December 2019. Liquidity Ratios Working capital is the amount of cash and other current assets a business has available after all its current liabilities are accounted for. In the last ten years, Toromont’s working capital has fluctuated between 1.6 at its lowest (2018) to 2.8 at its highest (2016). At the end of 2019 it was at 1.8. Meaning current liabilities equate to 60% of current assets. Interest coverage ratio is used to determine how easily a company can pay their interest expenses on outstanding debt. Toromont has an interest coverage ratio 15x (as per WSJ). Finning on the other hand is at 4x. At this point I feel like I'm just beating up on Finning. For those of you who made it this far, I have to admit something to you. This whole post is just a facade to ask you a question that has never been asked on this subreddit before: Should I buy BPY.UN? It keeps going down and I'm worried if I buy it, it will keep going down and I'll lose money. I don't want to lose money. Although if you go through my post history, you'll see I've been looking at/buying penny stocks.
Key Performance Measures
Below is a chart with key financial measures for the last four years. A few things I want to highlight:
Toromont had large capital expenditure last year (most of it went to increasing inventory) so they have the choice to keep capital expenditure down this year and preserve cash
From the start of 2018 (aka end of 2017) to the end of 2018 Toromont stock was down about 3% while the TSX Composite was down more 12% and S&P was down 7%. This stock has a history of out performance not only on the upside but also on the downside. I'll go into a bit more detail in the next section.
I don't do technical analysis. To those who do, good luck to you because let's be real, you'll need it. This section is just to get an idea of past performance and evaluate the opportunity cost of investing in Toromont compared to a competitor or a board based index fund. I thought it would be easier to look at pictures as opposed to reading a bunch of numbers off a table. For the sake of not creating a picture album of screenshots, I just looked at charts for the last 5 years. If you're interested in looking at different time intervals you can do so on google finance.
Toromont Industries Ltd v. Finning International Inc.
Figure 8: Five year price chart of TIH v. FTT These are the only two Caterpillar distributors on the TSX, making them direct comparisons. If I was looking for exposure to this industry, I would be choosing between these two companies (on the TSX anyways). There isn't really much to evaluate here. It's like they saying: “A picture is a thousand words,” or in this case, it's 128%. If you have time, go look at the graph from August 1996 to now. I can safely say it hasn't been much of a competition. Toromont has outperformed by ~2500% in stock price appreciation alone. If you're a glass half full kind of person, I guess you could look at this disparity as Finning having enormous upside. LOL
Toromont Industries Ltd v. S&P 500 Index
Figure 9: Five year price chart of TIH v. VFV If I'm not buying individual stocks, I’m buying the S&P 500 and to a lesser extent a Nasdaq index fund. This gives me a second look at the opportunity cost of my money. The story is not as bad as the Finning comparison. If you had bought $100 dollars of Toromont stock 5 years ago, it would have turned into $207 today, whereas the same $100 dollars in VFV would have became $157. Just a quick aside, you can see the volatility in Toromont’s stock is much higher compared to the VFV. VFV has a relatively smooth trend upwards while Toromont trends upwards in a jagged path. This is the risk of single stocks, they move up and down more erratically, leading inventors who don't have a grasp of the business or conviction in their pick to panic sell or post countless times on Reddit asking why their stocks keep going down. “I bought the stock last week and it's done 3% already, do you guys think it’s going bankrupt? I thought stonks only go up???”
Toromont Industries Ltd v. S&P/TSX Capped Industrials Index
Figure 10: Five year price chart of TIH v. ^TTIN The S&P/TSX Capped Industrials Index isn't my favourite comparison for Toromont because its constituents cover many industries ranging from waste management (WCN), to railways (CNCP), to Airlines (AC, lol, had to mention it. I miss the days when there were double digits posts about AC. I wonder where those people have gone, because I can tell you where AC stock has gone... absolutely nowhere). Regardless, I used TTIN because I deemed it a better comparison to Toromont than the entire TSX. The story is on par with the other two comparisons. Toromont’s out performance is significant. I just threw this bonus chart in here because when I saw it, I was like BRUHHH (insert John Wall meme)… It's completely unsustainable but that's impressive given the vast differences between the two.
Toromont Industries Ltd v. NASDAQ-100
Figure 11: Five year price chart of TIH v. ZQQ Now, of course, past performance does not dictate future results and all that good stuff, but it really gets you thinking about how the rewards disproportionately favours winners compared to the overall market. People are generally happy getting market returns (i.e. the just buy VGRO people) but being able to pick even a few winners really pays. This reminds me of the Warren Buffet quote: “diversification is protection against ignorance.” The context of the quote is that if you are able to study a few industries in great depth and acquire a wealth of knowledge, you can see returns astronomically higher than those who diversify across the board market. The problem then becomes you put yourself at risk of having all your eggs in one basket. Look at what's happening with Wirecard in Europe right now. This is why the real skill in investing is managing risk.
Analyst Price Targets and Estimates
The prince targets set for by analysts range from $63-$81. The average price target is ~$72, with the majority of targets within the 70-$71 range. Given the current price of $65.66, there is a ~10% upside. These price targets haven't changed much due to COVID19 even though revenues and EPS forecasts have been downgraded for 2020. The consensus estimate on 2020 revenues is $3.36 billion, down from the actual revenues of $3.69 billion in 2019 and the consensus EPS for 2020 is $3.01 down from actual EPS of $3.52 for 2019 and $3.10 for 2018. The fact that revenues and EPS forecasts have been downgraded, yet price targets remain untouched, for the most part, indicates that the effects of COVID19 are expected to be short-lived. Figure 12: Earnings and estimate ranges for Toromont. Note: EPS numbers in this graphic are diluted EPS numbers.
Multiples Assuming P/E ratio stays the same as it has been for the last 12 months (~19x) and EPS goes down to ~$3.00 (as per analyst consensus), the implied price would be $57. Using the last 12 months of revenues, the EV-to-Revenues ratio is at 1.56x. Assuming that ratio stays the same and with revenues estimated to be ~$3.36 billion, enterprise value (EV) comes out to $5.2416 billion. Using Q1 2020 figures for shares outstanding (82.015 million), cash ($388.182 million), and debt ($745.703 million), the implied price for a share is $58.94*. \Note: Enterprise Value is equal to market cap plus total debt minus cash.) Dividend Discount Model The dividend discount model (DDM) is a method of valuing a company's stock price based on the theory that its stock is worth the sum of all of its future dividend payments, discounted back to their present value. The average dividend growth rate is 12% for the last 5 years is 12%. There is no way Toromont can increase the dividend at this pace in the long term, thus, I chose a long term dividend growth rate of 5%. This is the assumed rate in perpetuity. The required rate of return will equal WACC, 6.85% (averaged from 2019 Annual Report). The dividend over the last year is $1.16 (two payments of $0.27 in 2019 and two payments of $0.31 for 2020). The fair value equals $65.84. Figure 13: DDM calculation.
There is no doubt that Toromont trades at a large premium. The current P/E is 19x and the CAPE ratio (Shiller P/E) is 26x. The fair value of the Company as per Morningstar research is in the mid $60 range. Based on all valuations I did and analyst price targets, I would start buying in the high $50 range or maybe the very low $60 range, but my belief in the company has to do with long term thematic trends and how the Company operates, rather than today's price. Although I have to admit, the price does look more attractive now than it did in the beginning of June when the stock hit new all time highs. It seems like the only companies hitting new all time highs these days are tech companies, so it's refreshing to find a non-tech company achieving the same feat. Toromont is not going to double next year or the year after that. It is a relatively low margin business, with slow growth and a cyclical business cycle. I like that the Company has strong financials, low debt, and good management. They don't take shortcuts or unwarranted risk. Future growth will mostly be driven through acquisition, but management is cautious with acquisitions and don't overextend themselves. One of the biggest problems Finning has been facing for the last couple years is political and social turmoil in South American countries which is affecting their mining clients and thus affecting revenues/margins. The Q2 earnings are reported on July 22 202. We should have a clearer picture on the prospects of the Company from management. Hopefully we have a better idea of the COVID19 situation by then too. Regardless, I think the company is in a position where its services will always be in demand so short term fluctuations are not something that shake my confidence in this pick.
Limitations and Further Areas of Research
By no means is this an exhaustive due diligence report. This is enough for me to feel confident in the business and its trajectory. Limitations/further areas of the research include:
Looking into the growth of each sector Toromont services and extrapolating that growth to calculate Toromont’s future growth opportunity.
As per IBIS Research the heavy equipment rental market in Canada is ~$8.3 billion. It grew 1.1% yearly for the last 5 years.
The US market is estimated to be $47 billion, with an average growth of 2% for the last 5 years
Sorry but I couldn't get my hands on future projections as each report is $750
More research into competitors
I chose to include Finning only for simplicity’s sake. But there are many other competitors like:
United Rentals (NYSE:URI) provides similar services to Toromont/Finning in 49 U.S. states, 10 Canadian provinces, Puerto Rico and four European countries. The only thing being they aren't distributors for Caterpillar.
Rocky Mountain Dealerships Inc (TSE:RME) sells, leases, and provides product and warranty support for agriculture and industrial equipment in Western Canada
Holt Cat, N C Machinery, Ziegler CAT (none of these companies are publicly traded)
Further analysis can be done on the B/S and accounting treatments.
The effects of automation in the industry
Distributors in the US have started working with industrial automation companies to provide autonomous construction equipment on rent to contractors
Sunstate Equipment Co.'s partnership with Built Robotics
I was not able to do a discounted cash flow, which would be critical to finding the intrinsic value for Toromont and having true confidence in the company and its trajectory.
Further analysis of CIMCO and prospects of future growth
Based of the financials, CIMCO seemed like a small part of the business, which is why I mainly focused on the Caterpillar dealership side
These are not all the limitations or areas of further research, they are just the glaring one that came to mind. >! I know I took a few shots at people in this post. It's all in good jest. If you're offended well.... maybe you should be. I don't know, you have to figure that out on your own or you could make a post on Reddit asking random people on the internet whether you should be offended or not. !< Remember I'm not an expert, I'm just a random guy on the internet.
I am long Toromont. This information is not financial advice. Please do your own research and/or talk to a financial advisor. All data provided is current prior to the market opening on June 29, 2020. Inconsistencies in data can be due to many reasons, the foremost being that data was spruced from multiple different websites.
2020.06.21 03:19 CrimsonCrusader5Okay, I know nobody will believe it, but I just need to talk about this.
I think I'm cursed. Not like constant toe-stubbing cursed. Like psychopath cursed. I have a VHS player with a large collection of VHS tapes. Now I know this is cliche, but bear with me here. I have a few cartoon tapes from around 1980 to 1999. I had a 3 stooges tape with two episodes. Disorder in the Court, and Sing a Song of Six Pants. it was in a cheesy-looking box (which I have pictures of,) with comic-looking bold font on the back. And the box has no publishing information besides "These cartoons or live action movies are brought to you by Kids Klassics inc. and are specially selected public domain works and are not licensed nor authorized by the original copyright owners." no year published, but it has a weird code of some sort near the company name. it says "MCMLXXXV Kids Klassics, inc., New York, NY 10016". the MCMLXXXV is what gets me. What is that? Why? anyways, the tape itself has been lost for 4 years, but I remember it exactly. It starts of normal, with the Kids Klassics logo going onscreen. the episode Disorder in the Court starts, and it's really muffled. the video itself was pretty fuzzy too. everything was somewhat okay, with a few glitches here and there. then it gets to the next episode. the screen fades out here and there, and the audio slowly goes out completely. I was about to tape the tape out when the screen changed to a blurry video of a man with a bat/roller or some sort of blunt object, beating a spazzing silloutte of a woman, no age identified, but she seemed to scream like a younger girl, probably around 16 to 25. that's when I reached up to grab the tape and take it out, when she screamed intensely loud and died on the floor. the man was yelling at her about something, then started humming and walking away. the video just went to static with the humming still going. I ejected it, and (tried to) decide to go to bed. My Father bought the tape for me as a baby, at a yard sale, and he must have watched it with me as a baby. as time went on, dad became violent, and started being abusive. he relied more on anchohol and drugs. he went with probably hundreds of girls. He was very agressive, and had beat up mom hundreds of times. mom would hide me in my closet, and all I would hear is yelling, slamming, and occasional screaming. anyway, one night he went to my grandparents house, just look up the Elliot Sherdahl case. going back on track, I watched the tape 4 years ago. since then, I have had anger issues, undying urge to lie, the burning sensation to steal things, and intense agression towards anything that upsets me. this is accompanied with intense depression, and worst of all, urge to harm anyone and everyone. now, listen. I went to a therapist to get myself fixed, and It went well and I don't act on my thoughts as I used to do. I used to enter a viloent rage whenever upsetted slightly. (slamming my fists on lockers, kicking people, screaming at nothing, and telling everyone terrible things.) they are now just thoughts in the back of my mind, and I haven't done anything like that in a long time. however, I still have issues. I have no work drive at all, and I get randomly angry at nobody in particular. I don't just blame it on the tape, dad was a drinker before I was born, but never as a heavy drinker. I dont know if it's my fault or the tapes, but dad had 3 pictures on his old phone that bothered me. (his old phone is in pieces, no I don't have the pictures,) one was of the inside of a car that wasn't his at midnight. another is of metal rods laying on a table, and the other is a plastic bag on the ground dripping black ooze-looking stuff. I just don't want to be anything like that. and again, I know nobody will believe me, and I guess i'm just talking to a brick wall. but I just wanted to talk about it. I can't find the tape, but someday I hope to find it again, and see if it was all bullcrap. anyways, just wanted to share this, because i might become a murderer myself.
2020.06.16 22:44 kommityeetWhat does Taro even have to offer? My suggestions for a Chad boi
Because it's stupid for ten girls to coincidentally fall in love with that sad kid who reads by the fountain like wth is this crap (options can be mixed to make his ultimate form, chad senpai boy 3000) Option 1: he's just way too kind and knows how to take care of others Well, imagine a very nice guy. The type of guy that takes rejection well, friendship sacred and respects you no matter what. The type of guy that your mom really likes, teachers enjoy talking to and is the pride and joy of his parents. A guy who gets along well with delinquents and loners alike and for that reason, people begin falling for him. Basically a guy who isn't "popular" per se, just loved by everyone. Option 2: exchange student There you go, a trope involving the damn exchange student. Make Ayano a loner who face psychological abuse from her mother and Senpai being the first person to talk to her. Bam, trigger obsession. In the ten weeks he stays at school, you make sure no girl confesses. Option 3: the son of a vice-chairman or chairman or simply affiliated to Saikou Inc. Yep, that would make him a rich guy. If mixed with option 2, let's say he received education in America and returned to Japan to graduate since he will inherit his father's position. In reality, he hates the fact people go behind him for his status. "I want to be noticed for me", would be a very well defining trait. Ayano, who's a loner, meets senpai in strategic location because cliche stuff sometimes works. A psychologically abused Ayano finds herself relaxed for the first time near Senpai. Unaware it's love at first, she realises that any girl taking the position of lover will mean she won't get to be with him. She begins eliminating out of desesperation. Option 4: He's a bland guy, you wouldn't really expect much until he opens his mouth. Some people just know how to talk. And that's insanely attractive. Imagine a Senpai that, knowingly or unknowingly (you decide), seduces women on wonderfully he speaks and treats them. Option 5: Senpai is a manipulator Might be a viable option, but it would be a bad choice story-wise. Option 6: Senpai IS Ayano's childhood friend (but they lost contact) Ayano and Senpai (and Osana) were childhood friends, but as they grew up, they grew apart. Sad that the person she cares about is drifting apart more and more, she beings killing. Option 7 (much comical): Senpai was cursed by succubus and everyone is falling madly in love with him!!! My choice? A mix of 1, 2, 3 and a bit of 4 Taro Yamada isn't an attractive name. Of course, you can give him a common name, which I'm planning on talking about on a future post, but I'll just call him Taro for now. The name just brings potato to my mind. Taro is the son of the current Vice-Chairman of Saikou Inc. and a very close friend of the Chairman. Taro knew Megami from a young age, but never really interacted with her, the only thing he thought of her was "she was a sad child" and pitied her. He left to America to study and gain experience and returned later on to Akademi High. (Why Akademi high? I'll make a post about it too!) He makes a perfect first impression on everyone and soon becomes well-loved and respected within the school. He speaks to loners, delinquents, teachers, everyone. Well-versed in talking. Since he was sent to America and learned how to take care of himself, he's good at taking care of others too, awakening feelings in many of the girls at Akademi high. In reality, he hates the fact that everyone accepts him immediately for being the son of the Chairman. He wants people to look at "him". He has a different dream and doesn't want to follow his father's footsteps. (give senpai a passion, probably photography? I'm going with photography this time) His father keeps a close watch on him and doesn't allow him to do so, and it proves to be a torture for him. Without his knowledge, Osana manages to buy him a camera (or any instrument if this isn't the hobby) and he's happy. To catch a breath, he usually disappears during breaks and takes pictures of things that catch his eye. Here's where the meeting takes place. The gardening club. Ayano meets him there for the first time and he sees her tending to flowers. By instinct, he takes a picture of her and that's how the first meet. Ayano gets scared and falls back and then we can reenact the opening scene. He offers his hand, but she refuses. Ayano becomes the first person to say no to Senpai and bam, interest. He insists and she accepts. Senpai and Ayano become slightly closer and Ayano manages to ask him: "what do you think happiness is?" (one of my previous posts explain this, but Ayano's mom would basically INSIST to Ayano that happiness is found with a lover, and only a lover, which is a viable idea for psychological abuse. Imagine telling a kid "no, you're not happy" with a serious expression. That messes you up when you're little.) Senpai doesn't know what to answer, because he realises he hasn't been actually happy and doesn't remember the time when he actually was. Ayano's reasoning for killing would be more justified. (killing isn't justified anyway) Either following her mother's words of "this is my happiness" or her scared of loosing the only good thing happening to her. This would kick the game into a more psychological route and allow for it abandon ridicule, since Yandev wants to make it serious. Make characters multi-dimensional. The closest thing in-game (well, not anymore) that had more than one layer was Kokona. She was scrapped, but a girl who faces actual problems, along with not having anyone to talk to, relies on compensated-dating and sees Senpai as her ray of happiness is a good idea. She lacked more flavour, but it was a good starting point. Making a character multi-dimensional would mean "it's hard to describe in one sentence unless you have previous knowledge of it". Give each one their personal goals, feelings, affiliations...end up twisting and coiling all of them together. And finally my last saying on this. Yandere Simulator's difficulty shouldn't arise from "oh no, my rival has a bodyguard", but instead: "I'm an average high-schooler with no experience in murder" more posts: Ayano's childhood as a trigger: https://www.reddit.com/Osana/comments/hai1eb/ayanos_childhood_abuse_as_a_trigge
2020.06.06 15:03 OharaLibrarianArtur[OG+REMAKE SPOILERS] A comprehensive list of every single easter egg in the Remake
As you've likely already noticed, the FFVII Remake is filled to the brim with small details, references and easter eggs, so as someone who usually hunts down details as a job, I wanted to see how many references I could spot across my multiple playthroughs, so I've been keeping track of all of this in a notepad as I've been playing. This is definitely not all the details, but it should hopefully cover most of them. I hope this can give you more appreciation for all the effort the developers poured into this game. That said, the definition of a detail/easter egg can vary a lot, so I want to establish some rules:
Spoilers for all of Part 1 in the Remake. Anything that is in spoilers below refers to spoilers for the original game beyond it. No spoilers will be unmarked
I'm not going to count story foreshadowing, whether it's stuff about the original (Rude purposefully missing Tifa, Barret reacting to Elmyra when she says she's not related by blood to her daughter, etc.) or foreshadowing for some of the new stuff with the ending and new plotlines. That's its own separate deal (only exception is when it's a visual detail)
I'll mention some stuff that references the original or some details that were preserved, but I'm not going to go into every single thing that was carried from the original. This is a remake, duh, bunch of stuff will be the same as the original
With that said, let's get started! Here are all the details I could find, classified by chapters: GENERAL:
At random, but one of Barret's post-battle quotes can be him humming the FFVII victory theme, which he also does at a couple other points in the game
Posters for LOVELESS, the famous play advertised in the original can be seen all across the game
Advertisements for Stamp, the propaganda-oriented children's show, can be seen across several areas (even before he is relevant or even mentioned)
Advertisements for "Banora White Apple Juice" can be found at some points, a reference to the dumbapples from Crisis Core
A hair tonic advertisement can also be spotted at some points, claiming to offer the perfect radiant and spiky hair, a reference to Cloud often being jokingly referred to follow the trope of "spiky-haired anime swordsmen"
Vending machines for drinks can be found across the game. Some of them feature the Bomb enemy, while others feature "Clear Icicle", a likely reference to the area from the original, Icicle Inn
Benches feature the checkpoint logo for the original, as they sort of act as replacements for the checkpoints. The logo itself represents a large C, standing for Checkpoint and is in fact not a question mark as I had been lied to believe for many years
Walking in opposite directions of where you're told to go will often result in exclusive dialogue, where characters often question Cloud's sense of direction to amusing extents. Each location tends to have at least two or three lines for going in the wrong direction, the amount of unique lines for this is staggering
Cloud's punisher mode has him positioning his sword in the same stance Sephiroth used to wield his Masamune blade during his days as a SOLDIER (seen less predominantly in the future during the events of FFVII). This might be a callback to how Cloud used to idolize Sephiroth as a SOLDIER and wanting to be more like him, subconsciously adopting his battle stance. Similarly, the normal operator mode stance is more like how Zack held his sword
The circlet is likely a reference to the circlet worn by Final Fantasy VIII's Edea (granted, the circlet has been reocurring in many Final Fantasies, but this one's quite similar to Edea's)
The fury ring features the kanji 怒, which stands for, as you might imagine, "fury"
Just like in the original, defeating the first two Shinra soldiers at the start will cause Cloud to level up to level 7
Barret calls Cloud "Stamp", mocking him for being a loyal doggie to Shinra. This is referencing the character of Stamp. Most players will likely not have met Stamp yet, but those that took enough time to look around their surroundings will have already spotted him in the ads at the train station
Dodging all lasers without being hit will result in unique dialogue from Jessie. Getting hit some times will result in the dialogue most players will see and getting hit multiple times will have Jessie question if Cloud has a self-damaging fetish
Since Cloud meets Aerith in the same area where the opening of the game takes place, it is possible to go down the same alley Aerith first stared and even spot the broken mako pipe
Going to the opposite end of that alley, you can look through a grate to see the station, where you'll be able to spot the Huntsman, the boss of the chapter you later fight, commanding his troops to catch the terrorists with a unique line
A Shinra troop seems to recognize Cloud in chapter 2 before he leaps on the train. Playing with Japanese voices will however reveal he says "Wait, that sword-", indicating he actually recognized Zack's sword from the time he was a SOLDIER
Kyrie can be met as early as chapter 2, as a passenger on the train. If Cloud approaches her, she'll try to distance herself, perhaps to avoid suspicion given Cloud's appearance as a warrior
At the start of the chapter Kyrie can be seen again getting off the train. She is later seen spreading rumors among her fellow grounders near Seventh Heaven. The cool thing here is that while Kyrie is technically a character from an FFVII novel, she is actually taking the place of an NPC in Sector 7 in the original who loved to spread rumours, making that NPC a somewhat relevant character now!
Most NPCs from the original are still there, Kyrie as rumor girl, the two recruit guards, the special spot guy, the embracing couple at the station, the station manager, etc. Same applies for a lot of NPCs across the game, like the guy sleeping on the train among many others
You can also spot the Shinra Middle Manager reuniting with his family after you get off the train with some unique dialogue
While the jukebox is a newly added gameplay mechanic in the Remake, an uninteractable jukebox was actually present in the original game in Seventh Heaven, this time being repurposed into the jukebox mechanic
Also, standing next to most jukeboxes in the game will result in the characters dancing/nodding their heads/tapping their feet
The darts rankings will feature a lot of the other Avalanche members mentioned later by Barret in his date scene in Chapter 14, as well as characters like Johnny
Activating the pinball machine elevator will result in the screen showing a 777,777 score (it also features seven Bomb enemies), being a reference to both the number 7 being considered a lucky number in gambling/slot machines as well as the game's title
When entering Tifa's room, you can spot some boots and a purse next to her bed. The boots are actually the same she wore during the Nibelheim incident with her cowboy outfit. It seems this theme might've been extended to the rest of Nibelheim, which in the brief flashback we get at the start seems to show they are reimagining it more as a Wild West-style town, a beautiful new take on this iconic location
If all sidequests are completed, Tifa will ask Cloud what outfit she should wear, being given three options. The first is mature, being the dress from the original game. The third option is "exotic", which has her wearing a traditional Japanese-inspired dress. The second option however may confuse some, as while it's labeled as "sporty", it has her wearing a traditional Chinese dress. However, the original Japanese version actually refers to it as more of a fighting outfit. This means it may likely be a small nod to the iconic Street Fighter character Chun Li. Skipping these side quests and as such this event will default Tifa's outfit to mature, as a reference to it being the only choice in the original game
Jessie is mentioned having wanted to be an actress, trying to get her big break at the Gold Saucer. She might in fact be referring to the large theater found there and the play that happens during the date in the original, as in her letter she claims she was cast in the role of a princess, the same princess that your date plays as
Jessie's mom making pizza could be an allusion to the plate, the rotten pizza as they call it, dividing her and her daughter
Once getting off the train, in the original you could walk several screens towards the direction of the screen and reach a special area where you could grind out enemies. In the Remake, it is possible to also run in this opposite direction (away from Barret who needs help), which will result in Tifa questioning why Cloud is running in the wrong direction and what is he looking for (but not stopping him), a nod to players of the original trying to find that easter egg. However, reaching the end of that section will allow the player to actually find a hidden service room, inside of which they can find a set of crates for the chance of a drop, a small reward for curious players trying to find this easter egg
There's a section towards the end where you can find summon materia inside one of the vents. Redoing that chapter and redoing that section will obviously not result in summon materia being there, but instead will feature one of the manuscripts, the only one that can be found just laying around the overworld instead of being obtained via special means or just beating bosses on Hard
It is possible to completely ignore the ability to nerf the Airbuster by keeping all the keycards and not using them (only the first is obligatory for story reasons, but it does not nerf the Airbuster in any way), resulting in a far more challenging boss fight that makes for a great self-imposed challenge on Hard, where the Airbuster will spam his stun fingers and BBs one after the other. Managing to beat him will result in you being able to keep the keycards in your special inventory past that chapter
When first gaining control in the church, walking towards the door allows you to hear Reno from beyond it, in reference to the original
While fighting Reno, Aerith asks to not step on the flowers. If either Cloud or Reno steps on them during the fight, she'll get a little mad. For Reno in particular, she claims "You're gonna catch holy hell!", which is a reference to one of Reno's subordinates telling him that in the original after he steps over the flowers
The barrels thrown in the original can be found in the church attic
After leaving the church, Aerith asks "shall we mosey on?" and Cloud replies with "Let's". Not only is this a reference to the endgame of the original, where Cloud says "Let's mosey" before the final battle with Sephiroth, but this is likely hinting at this Remake establishing that Cloud picked this line up from Aerith and that is why he says it before the game's endgame sequence, to honor her legacy and get back at Sephiroth, which will make the whole ending sequence be even more impactful
More of a mistake than a reference, but the sector 5 area incorrectly uses the Sector 6 skybox (the texture on the sky), resulting in the Sector 6 plate being seen over Sector 5. This is likely because of Sectors 5 and 6 taking place in the same area, but I'm baffled they didn't include a transition for the skybox
One of the NPCs can be seen mentioning Costa del Sol as a recommended honeymoon location. He also brings up the tour of the Shinra building, referring to the very same tour Cloud and the others go through later in the game
A Don Tonberry, Fat Chocobo, a Moogle and a Cactuar can be seen drawn on the blackboard at the Leaf House
Inside the Leaf House, as well as some other locations in the game, a calendar can be seen, which features the year marked as 0007. This is in reference to FFVII taking place on the year 0007 of the calendar used within the game's world
When you go pick out flowers with Aerith, your choices will actually make a difference: picking a mix of all flowers or picking only yellow flowers will result in a Chocobo pattern. Picking only white flowers will result in a Moogle pattern and picking only foxtails will result in a Cactuar pattern
If you put Rude to sleep when fighting him, he mumbles "Reno..." as a voiceline in his sleep
When Rude receives a phone call, his phone plays the fanfare theme. This is likely a reference to one of the three dudes in Advent Children whose name I can't be bothered to recall also having said ringtone
CHAPTER 9: (whoo boy, strap in because there's a billion references here)
Not giving Aerith a high five will result in her insisting Cloud to give her one. After a while she'll complain about losing circulation in her arm
In Evergreen Park, before leaving, Cloud can head into the slide and enter inside, sliding down with his arms up like a little kid. He can also skip across the tires on the ground
While heading to Wall Market, advertisements for the singer Akila can be seen, with the singer himself being found at Drunkard's. The signs have "Midgar Blues" written in Japanese, which is the name of the disk he gives you
Akila is also found written as the donator of the flowers Cloud receives at the colosseum, stated to be the executive chairman of Cloud's fan club. Aerith's flowers instead come from florist Watanabe, the name of a shop (and supposedly a florist) found in the area. Interestingly, while Cloud is addressed as "Cloud-san", Aerith is referred to as "Aerith-sama" out of deep admiration
Easy to miss, but when talking with Johnny before the first match at the colosseum, it is possible to find a bottle on the table, which Johnny claims was offered as something that can provide extra strength. If you drink it, it raises the chances of getting the Sam quests
After defeating each opponent every round at the colosseum, you can find them defeated in the room next to the gate, each with their own unique dialogue (yes, even the robots)
When the gatekeeper asks if you're ready, you can say "no" if you need more time to prepare. The cool detail is that at first he gets angry at you for taking so long, but the more matches you win the nicer he becomes to you, telling you to take your time and not push yourself too hard
Pretty obvious so it may be redundant to mention, but after a victory in the Colosseum or Shinra simulator, each character will do their victory animation from the original game
Lots of unique dialogue at the colosseum: unique dialogue for not leaving the arena after a fight, unique dialogue for using particular summons during specific battles like the Hell House, unique dialogue for dying on the Hell House (announcers mocking you), as well as dialogue changing depending on certain attacks you pull off or fail to pull off
Entering the back alleyway hidden behind the Honey Bee Inn when first entering Wall Market will result in you encountering Miss Folia, the teacher at the Leaf House orphanage, who is revealed to have a night job as a honeygirl
One of the npcs can mention the drink "icicle vodka" from a town in the far north, which is referencing once again the Icicle Inn, a location from the original
An NPC working at one of the places at Wall Market can be seen talking with a woman, asking her not to visit him at work. It turns out this woman is his mom, who came to deliver his lunch box and the man is embarrassed his mom is still treating him like a kid
A certain NPC will tell Cloud that the place he's eating at is full, but will actually invite him if he has crossdressed, showing some questionable double standards
One of the signs at Wall Market indicates a pub/shop called "Therion" in Japanese, likely a reference to one of the main characters of Octopath Traveler. That game was also developed by Square (with some members of the staff like the composer also working on the Remake) and is often considered a bit of a sister game to Final Fantasy with many of its general mechanics and motifs
When first arriving at Don Corneo's residence, Aerith will point out "I think we might've found our man". This is lost to non-Japanese players, as the sign on top of his residence reads the kanji "古 留 根 尾", with each kanji being individually readable as "Co-r-ne-o"
At the restaurant in Wall Market, one of the customers will ask for "more of that Malboro stuff", suggesting the chef puts Malboro contents in his food. I suppose that solves the mystery as to why his food gives everyone such a massive stomach ache...
Jules, Jay and Ronnie at the gym are all based on character models from the original. However, their names are likely based from three famous bodybuilders, being Jules Bacon, Jay Cutler and Ronnie Coleman
Jules's name in Japanese is written similarly to Andrea's name. The Ultimania reveals that the two are actually siblings
When Madam M begins to dress up Aerith, she says "peek and I'll poke your eyes out", a reference to Aerith asking for no peeking in the original. It is possible to follow after and approach them, but Madam M will scold Cloud before he can even see them
Depending on how many quests you completed in Chapter 5, Aerith will get one of three different dresses, which will result in different reactions from onlookers, as well as different scenes and completely unique remixes of her theme, otherwise not heard anywhere else in the game. Attaining her red dress will result in fireworks exploding in the background, which is likely a reference to the iconic date scene at the Gold Saucer in the original where fireworks are seen in the background, even being referenced in the name of that track, so I wouldn't be surprised if this is called back if the player chooses Aerith as the date in future Remake parts
When first entering the Honey Bee Inn, you can interact with any of the four rooms before taking part in the dances: one will feature Johnny's father (also previously seen across Wall Market, and the other will feature a honeygirl getting prepared (a reference to a room in the original). The other two rooms allow you to look through their peepholes like in the original: one of them features Palmer doing some roleplaying as a bee catcher, while the other features a man getting acupuncture
During the honey bee inn dancing sequences, performing poorly will result in a series of different reactions: the honeygirls will respond awkwardly if Cloud performs badly during practice and Aerith audibly cringes if Cloud screws up the main dance
However, performing excellently will result in the honey girls praising Cloud (even saying deelicious, a pun on "bee") and Aerith praising Cloud during his dance. Similarly, performing badly will result in the crowd being pretty mild and silent, but performing well will result in the crowd going wild and cheering
Performing well will also result in gaining the disk for the "Let the Battles Begin Remake" during practice (requiring a perfect score of 10) and Andrea's earrings in the main dance (requiring a high score, beyond that a perfect score makes no difference). The earrings are purely cosmetic, as it doesn't seem possible not to be chosen by Corneo. Interestingly however, the earrings possess a bee pattern on them
During the dance scene with Andrea, some of the dance moves are references: during the final sequence Cloud has to perform two squats and the dance ends with him positioning one hand on the floor and the other to the side, mimicking his position when he gets off the train at the start. Furthermore, during the final dance Cloud spins in place, in reference to the spinning during the Gold Saucer date performance, where all actors move around by spinning
After the honey bee inn scene, it is possible to interact with a massive number of characters as crossdressing Cloud:
Returning to the honey bee inn, it is possible to spot Palmer, who begs his secretary to adjourn his meetings so he can have more fun in Wall Market. He also reveals he's a regular at Madam M's
Talking to the honey bee inn receptionist, he will praise Cloud for his fantastic dance moves
Entering inside will allow you to talk with Andrea, who tells Cloud he has already planned to deliver his gear with Leslie
Going to the room to the side will allow you to find Johnny's father asleep, but the honey girl next to him asks you not to wake him up
The room with the guy getting an acupuncture isn't changed much (though it is mildly different), but the room that previously had Palmer now features a random NPC doing nurse play with a honeygirl. She uses a massive stinger-colored syringe model that is completely unique to this easter egg. Shows you the level of detail that they went out of their way to make a model for such an obscure easter egg
If "the party never stops" is completed, you can also talk to the boutique man's father inside the inn
Heading back to the massage parlor, if you have done the Madam M side quests (otherwise this is not available), you'll be able to talk to her and Chocobo Sam, with Madam M revealing that she made Cloud's outfit in advance as she was making Aerith's dress too under request by Andrea (which might be where Aerith learned of the plan too), claiming it a favor towards Cloud, who she now sees as a friend. Sam will remark on not understanding the appeal of crossdressing, but Madam M knocks him for being so close-minded
On the other hand, if you did Sam's sidequests, heading to the Chocobo ranch you'll be able to talk to him, where he'll reveal he was the one who donated the outfit to Andrea
Talking to Jules will result in him saying he came running to see your dancing and offers you to swing by the gym again after you're back in more normal clothes. This conversation will not trigger if you did not do Burning Thighs, for the sake of consistency
Talking to Chadley will result in him not recognizing Cloud, but experiencing an "emotional response" at his beauty
If you did The Price of Thievery, heading to the entrance of Wall Market will allow you to talk with Mireille
The gatekeeper at the colosseum seems to recognize you, but requests that if you want to fight that you do so in your normal outfit, despite how amusing it would otherwise be
The weapons shop guy also has some amusing dialogue ("your beauty is deadlier than any weapon in this shop")
Easy to miss, but it is possible to talk to Johnny again
Many NPCs in general will comment about Cloud's beauty. One amusing conversation in particular revolves around a man in front of the boutique who is always gawking at other girls, with his girlfriend getting increasingly angrier over the several conversations you can trigger until she straight up gets fed of him for being a scumbag
After being thrown into the sex dungeon, before heading upstairs, it is possible to approach Aerith or Tifa, who will pose for Cloud and ask how their outfits look as they pose. Aerith will even claim that Cloud is definitely into crossdressing
The train graveyard features a chest out of sight that contains one gil inside. The ghosts will mock Cloud for falling for their prank
In Chapter 13, Andrea can be talked to in Wall Market, triggering this dialogue: "Did you find what you were looking for?"; "Thanks to you I did"; "Good. Now never let it go again". This could on one hand be interpreted as Cloud having found Tifa in the mansion, as Andrea's help allowed him to infiltrate it, with the "never let it go again" referring to , or could also be interpreted as Cloud finding himself/his own identity more thanks to him. The quote is somewhat reminiscent of "What you pursue will be yours, but you will lose something dear" by Cait Sith in the original, which is later shown to refer to Aerith. Andrea essentially says the opposite, saying "you found what you pursued, now don't ever lose it", so I wonder if there is a bit of a dual meaning with this scene
Common knowledge, but depending on your actions in the game, you can attain a special scene in Elmyra's garden with either Aerith, Tifa or even Barret, as a newly re-imagined version of the date mechanics from the original, which allow the player to make the story feel more personal by deciding who Cloud harbors romantic feelings for (with the developers having often stated that there is no "canon" romance option, as that is determined by each and every player's experience)
If the player has not previously interacted with Mireille in previous chapter sidequests, she'll introduce herself for the first time to Cloud, Barret and Tifa in Chapter 14 for the sake of consistency, same with some other npcs
Raiding all the vaults will grant access to the Ruby, Emerald and Diamond tiaras. As many have likely noticed, these are in the shape of the three iconic weapon creatures from the original
The boss of the chapter, the Valkyrie, was originally fought on the elevator sequence (similarly, the Swordipede in Chapter 17 is based on a common enemy, while the Hell House and Eligor from the Train Graveyard were also originally common enemies)
At the start of Chapter 16, when heading through the walkway with the massive lights, looking straight into the lights will result in the characters covering their eyes
After entering Shinra headquarters and switching to Tifa, instead of jumping to the platforms, head back and go down back to the garage with her. This will play a unique remix of the original track otherwise not heard anywhere else (aside fro a couple instances in the building where you also go back, such as heading back down the stairs). Insane to think they made a whole track only for going back, give it a listen!
The stairs sequence is completely scripted, as the characters will always rubberband off Cloud and not proceed more than a set number of floors ahead and the speed of Cloud is determined by the floors he's on. Tifa will always end up first and it's only possible to barely beat Barret. However, after the sequence is over, it is possible to go back all the way down (this time not slowing down the player at all) and take the elevator instead (though that will not play that sequence of cutscenes). Going down at random instances also triggers unique dialogue
The memorial museum hides a few details:
In a picture featuring some of the early employees at Shinra, when it was still a small arms manufacturer, a man can be spotted at the center wearing the mask of Shinra, a character from Final Fantasy X-2. This is a reference to the fact that FFX and FFX-2 are actually considered prequels of FFVII by both Kitase and Nojima, the latter having suggested that this President Shinra is actually the far descendant of Shinra from FFX-2 many years into the future, when the people of Spira became able to travel in space and left their planet to travel to another one, the planet of Gaia, slowly setting the stage for the events in FFVII
President Shinra's golden gun can be seen at the exhibition. The same gun model is used by him later in the scene where he threatens Barret
An image of mayor Domino shaking hands with President Shinra can be seen, likely the moment when power was handed over to the company. The trophy next to it reads "in special recognition to the Shinra Electric Power Company", with a signature by Domino below it
Domino and Hart (Hut in the Japanese version), just like in the original, are references to Domino's Pizza and Pizza Hut, referencing the rotten pizza slices that are the Midgar plates
In the stunning virtual sequence showcasing the story of the ancients, we get a glimpse at a recreation of a place they lived at. This architecture strongly resembles that of the capital of the Ancients visited later in the original
In the recreation room, Cloud encounters a former Shinra guard who recognizes him from the old days. He mentions he'll go grab Kunsel, who is a SOLDIER character from Crisis Core that was a friend of Zack
Taking the wrong path in the ventilation shaft will allow you to find a hidden materia, otherwise not seen as it is out of sight
Red XIII can be spotted in the boss fight arena before you leave the area, which will highlight him in a cutscene once you leave
Speaking of the drawing, it shows a beautiful rendition of (MASSIVE SPOILERS FOR THE ORIGINAL ENDING) the Promised Land, with the flow of life showing the cetra, the humans, several animals and even some summons. At the center of it all lies a yellow flower, which the game states at a couple points being a symbol of "reunion". With the flowers obviously symbolizing Aerith herself as well, this reunion symbolism alludes to the ending of FFVII and the true nature of the Promised Land. Similarly, the flower appears to be warding off the meteor with the power of the lifestream, once again a reference to the final scene. This whole drawing depicts the game's ending with beautiful subtlety
A structure that resembles Cosmo Canyon observatory can also be seen in the drawing, so I wonder if Ifalna had somehow been there at some point?
Just like in the original, the 70 floors of the Shinra building are a reference to the number 7, cheekily used across the game in several instances (like sector 7 being where the main characters reside)
The communication machines used in Chapter 17 have PHS written on them, a reference to the PHS communication devices in the original game, used to swap playable characters
During his battle, Rufus tosses some coins up in the air. A close up of them in a shot reveals the writing "Shinra Inc. - A new era - Reign Supreme - Ever forward", symbolizing the new era started by Rufus
When Barret, Aerith and Red are surrounded, Barret says he's willing to sacrifice his life to let her escape. This is a nod to an early scrapped concept of the original FFVII where Barret was considered to sacrifice himself and die a heroic death, which was ultimately scrapped for a far more meaningful one. This is also referenced in the stairs sequence, when Barret begs to be given a last stand rather than having to deal with stairs
Both the motorbike and the truck Cloud and Tifa steal can be seen in Chapter 16 as you explore the Shinra HQ lobby
And that's most of them! Again, chapter 18 has a bunch of symbolism and foreshadowing too, but that's its own beast which I won't tackle here. Any other details I might have missed? Share them below so we can have a truly complete easter egg thread!
2020.06.04 16:26 sort_of_a_bookwormA Brief History of Lesbian Pulp Fiction
A Quick Introduction
My dad always emphasized the importance of knowing one’s history. As a black woman, understanding what those before me endured to give me the life I have now is important to me and gives me hope. The elders in my familiarly often reminisce about their youth in the projects, or the hardships they faced, or the happiness they felt, and all the lessons that came along with those moments of their lives. And I cherish this knowledge, this community I have with my family and other Black people. But I realized I don’t have the same community as a lesbian. No stories passed down about stolen kisses and first loves. No history lessons in school explaining how we got this far. No understanding of what it means to be a woman who loves women, other than its definition. Then I read *The Price of Salt* by Patricia Highsmith and everything began to fall into place. As my name suggests I’ve always been something of a bookworm. Sometimes books were another means for my ancestors to reach me, send me a message, console me. That’s what I felt reading Highsmith’s famous novel. I felt reassurance and I even saw myself in the characters. I saw my first crush and my first kiss, my first night with a girl. Now I’ve found a way to learn about this part my myself that is as interwoven with my identity as my race. And I hope to share our history with you all! I did check to make sure my sources are credible but I’m a first year college student so if anyone here has any further tips about sources or writing in general *please* share with me. No in text citations because I’m being a little lazy (gasp) and I just used one source here (listed at the bottom). Now, let’s get started!
What is pulp fiction?
pulp fiction got its start in the 1890’s. The name pulp fiction comes from the paper on which the novels are printed. “Pulp” paper is produced by breaking wood down into what is called pulp, which is much cheaper than more involved paper processes. Because the paper could be produced at a low cost, publishers were able to produce novels and magazines at a cost affordable to the working class. This led to the development of genres such as science fiction, westerns, crime thrillers, and, in the 1950’s, lesbian fiction.
The rise of Lesbian Fiction
The success of *Women’s Barracks* by Tereska Torres, published in 1950, ushered a wave of explicitly lesbian books. Gold Medal Books, the publisher of Torres’s book, was surprised to have sold over 3 million copies of *Women’s Barracks* which had a few lesbian scenes sprinkled in it. Encouraged by *Women’s Barracks*’s success, Gold Medal Books published *Spring Fire* by Marijane Meaker, pen name of Vin Packer. *Spring Fire* sold over a million copies. Many Lesbian novels were pornographic in nature with only male readers in mind, but they still sparked a hope in Lesbian women that they were not alone in their struggles. Women risked everything to purchase lesbian pulp novels and read them in secret. Often times the novels would be destroyed after they were read to avoid being found out. Authors gained more freedom with lesbian novels after the One, Inc. v. Olsen case, in which the court ruled that homosexual content could not be censored purely because it is homosexual- there must be a degrading moral impact present. This took away the need for authors to add a cautionary ending to lesbian pulp novels in order to avoid being censored. The ruling in One, Inc. v. Olsen opened the door for more lesbian novels written by women, for women. Of course the market was still saturated in pornographic, male gaze focused novels up until the end of the pulp fiction era in the 1960’s, but the Lesbian community was still graced with a few gems in that time. I plan on doing another informational post about specific lesbian pulp fiction writers in the near future, as well as some reviews of books I finish in the meantime! Happy pride month everyone <3
2020.06.02 04:03 kommityeetMultiple endings? Discuss in comments ideas!!
I think that if you're up to romanticising Senpai as an ending is totally fine, but it always struck me as odd how Ryoba is. What if she's emotionally abusive to Ayano? Take it like this: Ryoba feeding the wrong idea of what being happy is, and the game centres on psychological aspects of Ayano finding out what it really means, and depending on it, different ending might come up. "Happiness? I wondered what it was from a young age. I felt empty. A gaping hole in my chest. Mother always smiled when she was with father. Is that what happiness is like? But then we met, and I understood. He shall be mine." Also a quick timeline that I thought of because I wanted to write a fanfic, but oh boy I don't even have time: -Ryoba kills rivals in 1980. -She forces herself on dad and she ends up pregnant with Ayano. -She's good at blackmail so it ends up being that the killer's identity is someone else. Ryoba used torture so they said "I did it" or something like that, the point is, she got away w it. -Only two people know the real culprit's identity: the principal and the "journalist". (and the dad, duh) -The journalist should either be a close friend or dad's true love for more angst??? maybe?? -Ayano is born and dad (upon seeing her for the first time) vows that she won't follow her moms footsteps and swears to protect her. he's a very nice guy, and his relationship w Ayano needs to be part of the game. -ryoba is borderline abusive with ayano. she convinces her from a young age that she won't be happy unless she belongs to someone. -ayano grows up wanting to "find true happiness" -it's high school time and ryoba tells her to go to akademi high, because "that's where she found happiness" -so senpai----- he's NOT A LONER. I REPEAT. he's a popular guy and then son of the vice chairman of saikou inc. he's really likeable, but hates the fact that he's judged on being WHAT he is and not WHO he is. yada yada something about people being materialistic. uuuh, he does like being alone near the garden club because FLOWERS ARE ROMANTIC DAMMIT and he thinks Mujakina is cute. -on club introduction day, ayano feels bad and wow coincidentally has a meltdown in senpai's reading spot. -he sorta consoles her and she goes "what do you think happiness is, senpai?" -and he being the nice guy he is goes yada yada and says its something from inside. and blah blah (he says something that makes her go doki doki doki) -narration should go like this "my heart, empty this entire time, was filled to the brim with this warm fuzzy feeling." -and then she goes to meet senpai again with gratitude and finds him with his childhood friend doing childhood friend stuff -and then i felt this gaping hole, a wound that wouldn't close -she's sad and calls her mom "mom, what can I do so the happiness doesn't slip away? what can i do?!" -mom goes "ara, ara" screen cuts to black, logo shows up. Also, difficulty in YanSim should arise from "I'm a common teenager so I can't kill like a hitman", not "this damn rival has a bodyguard??? she can smell gasoline??? wtf?" Endings should branch out depending on elimination methods, on a varying spectrum. Here's a couple of examples: -Mega genocide run, you killed everyone: After the deaths have been ruled as mostly murders, your father notices you have the same look in the eye as Ryoba. He knows the truth and can never face you or himself again. He failed to protect you. He kills himself. -Kinda genocidal run: He sees you look eerily similar to Ryoba, but doesn't comment further.-Ayano uses "non-harmful" ways to get to Senpai. Dad is happy for you, having chosen such a wonderful guy.-Ayano finds out the truth about her mother. She finds the Journalist, and together you bring her down. Your father is proud of you. Senpai looks up to you for your courage. What's that? He's blushing?-You confess to Senpai, depending on you meter, he'll say "yes"(win, ending depends on how many you've hurt), "no" (game over, bad end), or "I need more time" (game continues).-You find out happiness comes from within. Senpai is a good friend to you...for now. Haven't you noticed he caught feelings for you?-You succesfully managed to smear dirt on the Saikou family, and now they're in terrible debt. Senpai's father has killed himself, and he too wishes to join his dear father. You either stop him or get a bad end.-You killed everyone except Osana and Hanako. Depending one your relationship with Senpai, different endings continue.-You tell Senpai the truth, how you truly feel when he's seen with other girls. Depending on how many scripted events (with him, that raise the relationship bar) have gone by, he'll either understand and see if he can help you or just be disgusted. Pro-points if Yan is a manipulator - she's uses a facade of depression since "Senpai is the only good thing in her life". Tug on some empathy cords, girl.
2020.05.29 17:33 Schuckman[MISC] Results of the Clash of Clans survey
Here are the results of the survey I conducted a few days ago. Keep in mind that there may be some bias since I only posted the survey on Reddit (especially in the demographics section). There were 317 responses. Below the survey results, I listed all the responses to "My favorite memory..." Here are graphs and pie charts for each question (the percentages on the bar graphs are incorrect. Please see below for correct percentages on all the questions): https://photos.app.goo.gl/ts63k2mZ8QoSJ4K39 Survey from 2 years ago for comparison: https://www.reddit.com/ClashOfClans/comments/7pt3my/misc_results_of_the_survey
On a scale of 1-5 with "1" being Dead (almost no activity) and "5" being very active (almost non-stop activity). • 1: 3 responses (1%) • 2: 24 responses (7.7%) • 3: 68 responses (21.7%) • 4: 131 responses (41.9%) • 5: 87 responses (27.8%)
Is your clan part of a family of clans? Is so, what is it called?
• My clan is not part of a family of clans: 233 responses (75%) • FWA (Farm War Alliance): 11 responses (3.5%) • RCS (Reddit Clan System): 6 responses (1.9%) • My clan is part of a family of clans that is not listed here: 61 responses (19.6%)
One of the questions in the survey was to share a favorite memory you have of playing Clash of Clans. Some people wrote a lot, others a little, and some did not share at all. I found a lot of the responses really heartwarming and I decided I want to share all of the stories. I broke them into categories to make it easier to read. I suggest to read them all if you have the time
Best Overall Story
One day I was chillin in global chat just vibing. There was like 10 players that were actively chatting in global with me. We had all been chattin for nearly an hour when I said,” Yo bois we should make ourselves a clan” we all were like,”Honestly I’m down” I made the clan, and we joined forces. We were anywhere from th 6-10, me being a th 10 at the time. We had an amazing run and lead a great clan to many war victories. Slowly our clan began dying but in 1 last dying effort to revive the clan I sent out a mail begging for the clan to reactivate itself, I wasn’t ready to give up our incredible clan we built from a small group of homies from global. 1 of the OG global chat players said,” you know what? Your right. Ima be active. I ain’t ready for this to end” or something to that effect. Slowly everyone began to come back and we were at our peak level of activity. This was back in the day when you could change clan settings without it saying so in chat. One day I logged in to find that our clan description had been changed. It said and I quote,” F*ck you *my username”. I was the leader. The only people in the clan that were Co-Leader and could change the clan description was the OG people that had started it. There was basically a war amongst our clan leaders. People accusing others of being the one ruining the clan, and the saddest part was it was one of the OG people so none of us really wanted to accuse anyone because we all thought we were homies. The clan discription continued to change to more vulgar and racial sayings. After many many members left, including many of the OG creators, the person finally confessed. His name was PuffyApple. He had been such a homie and a great person for so long but he had been the one doing all. He apologized and said sorry i dont know why I did it. It was too late. Everyone that was once loyal left the clan but a few. I didn’t know what to do so I went to raid while I decided. I decided i would kick him. When I got back he had kicked the remaining players and left a message to me saying,”Sorry dude” and left. My amazing clan was gone. But it’s ok I still remember the glory days of that clan. It will live on forever.
Probably my th7 push to t2 2 years ago. It took a lot of time and I spent something like 6 months up in titans but I really enjoyed it. I would typically spend 4+ hours a day online searching for bases. Most of the bases I found that I would attack were th9s and 10s with either a lot of snipable buildings to get a 50% 1 star or an anti 3 star which I usually got 2 stars off of. The occasional th8 that I found was typically a three star. Something else interesting is the fact it took me three hours of boosting to get through all of the masters. When I first joined the game (4+ years ago) I joined a small clan. It grew and we all had fun together. Everyone was nice and it was amazing. Unfortunately an a-hole convinced the leader so he can have leader for a bit and kicked everyone.Left the game for 4 years... I started playing again and I get the thought to recover my old account. It works and the memories flood back. Coc was a major part of my childhood and to find the account back meant a lot. I still remember my first few good clans I've joined and the fun banter I'd get in. I found some screenshots recently of some weird conversations we've had and I still am friends with some of the guys on facebook and snapchat. My most favorite memory is when I mentioned liking some boy (im a girl) and some guys was like "oh... girl or gay?" I also liked having arguments about who was going to kick next It’s not that amazing but back in the day i used to play with my friends in primary school just before the clan war update, and we talked for hours and hours how clan war could be a thing. Ideas came up such as all clan members donate troops to the clan leader and he/she does one massive attack with a thousand or so troop space. This memory will stick with me for a long time I love recruiting, so every time I bring new members to my clan that’s a good memory. I also just really enjoy chatting with all the friends I’ve made over the years on this game, talking to my clan mates, winning wars. Memorably, my clan recently went on a 31 war win streak we put our heart and soul in. That was great. This game has brought me a lot of joy over the years. I remember when I was a rushed TH6, had to be in 2014 or something like that. The old days with crack head Goblin and pervert Giant. The stars to indicate troop levels. You had to train in each individual barracks. Global chat was filled with BD clans, and "Any Girl?". When the max Town Hall was TH10 with blue walls. The simpler times were the truly the best times. Back in the 5th grades years ago, me and my friends would bring our tablets to school and would play clash together. We would schedule the wars so that we could attack together at school so we can be as coordinated as possible. It also resulted in me ruining my iPad by dropping it while my friends were attacking for me while I was holding it. Good times lmao My friends from school would start playing clash of clans for about 2 weeks but then stop playing. This happened every year and every few months and since I enjoyed the game I would grind and have the best base out of all my friends. Now I feel a sense of pride and accomplishment when I show them my strong base. Either getting excited at school knowing that I had more trophies than everyone in the country or at 10pm sitting there reaching legend league on my th8 account. If not those, it was certainly a great moment when the squad gathered round to watch me upgrade to th13 at school when it just came out Staying up the night to loot dark elixir at TH7 to upgrade barb king and hogs. Also to generally making new friends, learning new tactics, and getting better at the game. Also to admire the valks from TH8 coz they are the most aesthetically pleasing troop to look at🤭 There was a super rushed th11 that was in the same clan as me. A year and a half later that player was #1 in Canada I now realize that it probably wasn’t the same person and it was probably someone with the same same Honestly, after a long time of leaving and coming back to the game and finally reaching th9. I feel like the game truely starts at th9 and i'm really into the game now. Town hall 9 was the best town hall because there were so many unique strategies and I'd consider it the first time I actually became a successful competitive attacker. In 2016, me and cousin thought someone was backing but it turns out that they weren't hacking and we took it so seriously lol. That one cold winter night in my bed while I had a training boost on and grinded while on my tv watched YouTube It gives me the option if I want to play, I can. I can also put it down for a few days and jump back into it. When you got attacked and your army camps was destroyed you lost your army too and had to retrain Discussing our wat strategies back when me and my high school class mates had a clan together Global chat and an active clan chat where i know all the people. Also 2014 req & leave clans Staying up until 1 am pushing to titan league with my best friend. Helping a legend league clasher in global find a top level clan. town hall sniping to get to masters as a th7 on my main account Just farming or pushing and talking to random people in global My favorite memory is absolutely annihilating my friend’s base That feeling when you went back to the game after years. I'm not sure, every moment playing it was fun:D The tutorial in my new account. My friend introducing it to me North 44 and Jorge Yao When i first got it Global chat ofc The funny bases Global chat Global Chat Being lit
When I maxed my TH9 in my main account. I took a 6 month break and downloaded clash again when I went to visit my cousins in Bakersfield. My base was rushed asf, level 6 walls, level 4 defenses and no king or queen. That’s summer when I visited them was the hottest it’s been in years so I stayed inside for the majority of the time so I had a lot of time to farm. Long story short I maxed out by the time I came back home and was really happy My first time unlocking the barb king and a couple of teslas on th8. This was back in around 2013-2014, I remembered I was hyped on getting my own hero. I was also glad upon unlocking the teslas because back then it dealt twice dps damage or so to pekkas (back then, 14 year old me thought pekkas were the ultimate badass troops), so I thought; oh here it is, the ultimate defense buildings at that level back then. When I finally maxed out TH9 (excluding heroes). I was very rushed (gold walls and level 5 heroes) when I upgraded to TH9. I returned to the game about a year later and began to play consistently. After about 4~5 months I fully maxed TH9 excluding heroes. One of my favorite times in the game was finally getting to th9 since i was eager to get all the new stuff (Xbow, Queen) so i smacked a hammer of building on my town hall and i was at th9, the town hall that was the max one when i heard about the game I’m not too involved with the game, I picked it up with the intention of just relaxing and playing it, so probably when I got my heroes to 50/50/20 When I came back a few months ago after not playing since 2016 and everything was so cheap, and so many collector raids were available When I got the barbarian king, I was incredibly excited. One of my best memories. Getting my queen to 30. Or generally maxing out any th is pretty satisfying to me Getting dark elixer for the first time maxing out my th9 when th9 was the max When I unlocked my dragon in th 7 Donating max troops with th10
I was in a mediocre clan that had a couple really active members (2-3 hours playtime a day on average), but most just logged in like twice a day. I added one of the active members on kik and we chatted for quite while every evening for like a month, their birthday was coming up and they reminded me like every day of it and made kind of a big deal about that I shouldn't forget about it. I told them I wouldn't (and didn't) and told them my birthday too (which was like 8 months later) then after a while they quit the game and we lost contact, but after I hadn't spoken to them in like 5 months they still congratulated me on my birthday, which was a big surprise and very much appreciated. I was in band class when this game first came out around December of 2012. I would’ve been 12 or 13 years old in 7th grade. My friend had just told me this new game had came out and he was trying to get me to play it. It was booming with popularity and I thought it looked fun enough, so I downloaded it during my class and played in between practicing my trumpet and listening to my teacher talk. I quickly became addicted to it and eventually I was the best player at my school. I kept playing all throughout high school, and even into college where I am now almost graduated. That game was clash of clans and I haven’t stopped playing for more than a week or so since. My most favorite memory of the game. Ya know there’s so many to choose from. But one that most likely stands out to me is when I built a clan from lvl 1 to lvl 10 with a friend. It brought us closer in real life. And with discord it brought the clan from just clan mates to friends who share memes and such. I have gotten to know so many people that used to be “just clan mates” but are now game friends that I talk to daily on discord. That just has to be my favorite memory from the game because it means so much to me. There’s just a lot of satisfaction from growing a clan like that. Dedication and trusting people. one of the main reasons I still play this game is because of the friends I have made with the players in my clan. I've been in the same clan for 4 years and not only do we all take the game seriously we truly treat one another like family. many of us have met up in person and we've gone hiking and played football together, just to name a few. the social aspect of this game is really big and I'm not too sure if I'd still be playing today if it weren't for my clan. My favorite memory of the game was the friends I made. I was young and stupid and rushed my base to th9. It was when I joined my “ex-clan” that I finally realized how much this game would impact me. There were many friendships made that I feel will last a long time. My favorite memory was not necessarily about the game, but rather the connections I made with it. Being in middle school about 6-7 years ago and joining clans with my friends, then having someone kick everyone out and making a new clan. It was annoying at the time but now I look back on it very fondly. Getting back home from school and having a good time with my friends ( this was like 5 years ago and they all quit a long time ago) We would play for hours, sometimes to 2am on school nights Leading my first clan at release with a bunch of high-school friends. We all played during school or athletic events and I remember rushing to townhall 7 to donate dragons for everyone. not really a good memory but definetely one of my favourites. Long story short, i talked someone out of suicide, i joined their clan and talked with them and got them help. Being in my second clan in general. Made some really good friends who were in their high teens when I was barely 12. Felt part of a family really. It sucked to leave them:( Made some friends in USA and when I visited USA met with them. They hosted a dinner for me. It was amazing experience. Moreover got a nice tour of Detroit with them. I had a clanmate who was terminally ill the clan had around 13 total members and we where all friend but hadn't met in real life. So most of us all went to visit him Just being able to play with my friends and family and having fun and chatting outside the game too. Fun way to keep together online Chilling with friends during my teens just to plan out a war attack and together watching it succeed or fail horrendously My co-leader came to visit from another country and we had an absolute blast visiting wineries and playing clash. I just enjoy having conversations with my clan mates Playing with my school friends as a kid Playing it with my friends every summer
Starting my own clan has been one of my best experiences in the game. It has actually helped me develop some life skills like leadership, marketing and persuasion (to try to get people to join). I remember when I was a new th8 trying to build my clan with a guy I met from Reddit. We messaged back and forth trying to come up with a name, rules, how often we should declare wars etc. Once we made the clan, we slowly managed to get like 10 people to join. A BD from global joined and asked for coleader. I assumed he wanted to kick everyone in the clan once he had Co. Acting like an idiot, I promoted EVERYONE to Co so that way he wouldnt be able to kick them. However, I was also a Co at the time and was unable to demote them back to where they had been. I regretfully had to ask the Leader to come on and take care of everything. Luckily, he didnt kick ME too lol. After a few months the leader grew inactive and he gave me Leader. I have built the clan to level 15 and it has been a great learning experience My favorite memory was creating my first successful clan. I was TH8 at the time and my brother and I were in Wisconsin Dells. I must’ve been no older than 11. (I’m 16 now) I would play on my moms iPad and when creating this clan we focus on getting as many people as possible. We got 50 people within an hour. Then we kicked some of the bad people and then bam TH10’s we’re joining (max th). Then by the end of the week we gave one guy co and he kicked the entire clan. Pretty sure this is where my trust issues started lol. Back when I was a th7, I joined a new clan, I was fairly rushed back then, so I had difficulty finding a clan competent clan in the first place, let alone long term. I joined this clan, expecting to be kicked at some point, but no. The leader was kind, and told me that I could stay, if I fixed my rush. This guy was like a teacher to me, and still is. I wouldn’t be as good at the game as I am now without any of this guys help. Back when we were all TH 5 or 6, this person joined our clan who was top town hall, maybe th10 at the time. He donated all these fantastic troops and made us feel pretty lucky. He stayed with us for a couple months then moved on, maybe to do the same for another clan. I think his or her name was joj*o. Many of us are TH12 or 13 now, but those were fun times. Right now, I'm in a great clan that's always active. We just created a new clan for our mini accounts so that we have more room for people in the main clan. This has made it way easier to play my mini accounts and I think every clan should do this. When I saw a th11 join our clan back when th11 was max. We were a clan with the highest member being th9, so it was a pretty big deal Making a clan with some buddies and just messing around together Being promoted to elder and then to co-leader a year later Building up a clan from only random people met on global Joining a clan from reddit, was fun while it lasted Getting promoted to Co-Leader in my beloved clan Creating my own clan for the very first time first few months of joining my clan Starting a clan with all your friends Getting promoted in my clan. Finding a good clan finally Being the leader of a clan When the clan turned lvl10
Back before friendly wars, or SC really supporting competitive play, the competitive scene was home grown and self organised. New players wouldn't know a time where you had no option to challenge a certain clan. To make that happen it would take two clans coming together, contacting each other out of game and communicating a plan. Every player would have to calculate their war weight, spreadsheets were creating mapping out each clans war weight. You would have to make sure your clan mates didn't upgrade or drop a new defense at the wrong time to create an unfair match up... and then all the cats are herded, and both clans are ready... the clan leaders would press 'search' at the same time and hope for the best. The first time we pulled off a match with the clan we wanted to compete with, 30 v 30, it was glorious. It was something we all wanted to do from the beginning - challenge the clan you wanted in a contest that was totally balanced. From here, community organised leagues were born - something that gave Supercell the push to start the CWL. I'll always remember when we matched that first time. The chat blew up and we were so psyched. It was beautiful. I joined a clan called GOBS LIMITED, where we only upgraded barracks to level 4, and only upgraded goblins in the lab. It was the most fun I’d had in years. Then SC introduced three anti engineering patches that completely killed us for about two years. I always looked back on that time as the funnest and most memorable thing to happen to me in a game. Then, level 8 goblins happened. All the dead players saw it, and dusted off their gob accounts. Some of us had kept going over the years, in our own clans or hopping around looking for a new home that wanted a goblin. But we all got back together and started finding war matches. Our years of effort had not been in vain, and we continue to win our wars. We’re currently undefeated with a 16-0 score since GOBS LIMITED has been raised from the dead. We are still growing, so if you’d like to join us search up our new feeder clan GOBS INC™️ (Use the emoji or the search algo can’t find us). We’d love to have another goblin in our horde. You won’t regret it. -Frozen Goblins Joining a clan called Darker Knight for the first time 5 yrs ago. I was in a really bad clan my with my friends who were all rushed or th3. I noticed the clan sucked ass so I left and went to global. I talked to this th10 (which was the highest th at the time) and ig he saw something in me because he recruited my th4 lookin ass to his clan. The clan was amazing. I got max troops for the first time and it was truly amazing. I'm still in the same clan (but its like a feeder clan) and the clan has gone passed its glory but its still solid. One of my favorite memories from the clan was when I first unlocked dragons and needed to get a star on a th9 to win the game. The clan helped me strategise for 50%. I went in and nervously placed down my dragons. In 2 minutes of tension filled placements I got 50% and won the war! Good memories About 4-5 years ago now my current clan used to be our school clan. we were in a war, probably one of our first, and i was the only person in the clan with a dark barracks. like 4 people had attacked their number 2 and no one could get a star. the leader at the time said, “can someone please take out number 2.” i responded “i got this” and then proceeded to 3-star him with a minion swarm in less than a minute I was TH6 (in 2015) and the two stock attacks at the time were Giant/HealeWiz or Loons. We ran into a difficult base where the loons circled around the AD and got picked off. The giants pathing was in a way where they missed a cannon and time failed. I made a small change (everyone was taking healer and wiz in CC, I took minions to take out the cannon). My first 3 star which I made a plan myself. I used to have a th 9 account before it got banned. My favorite story was when my entire army died against a th8 cause of a valkyrie in the cc that brutalized my giants. My queen walk took down half the base and the town hall, and got me a 2 star instead of a loss. It was also first time queen walking. Usually war wins or getting 2 x 3. I guess my favourite was doing the last attack with less than a minute left knowing I needed a 2 with >78%. I had to attack a town hall higher and clinched it with 79%. Loads of spectators and I know they would not have expected me to get it done. The first time I 3 starred in war back in 2016 as a town hall 9. It was much harder back then and I'll never forget how happy I was that I was able to 3 star another base. I remember the first time I three starred a Th9 with GoHo on my Th9. I felt like I was a legend then, but I can do it pretty consistently now. The first time was the best. going over a 3 star plan, skitching it, talking live on discord, then watching the new guy clutch a 3 star in the last minute of war to win it for us. when my th8 account gave me a th4 account matchup and i beat him with a barb king and 3 balloons Hitting late in a war, and getting back to back 3 stars to win it for my clan. Not specific but I like the nail biting finishes to wars or comebacks in wars When I 3 starred a TH12 as a TH11 which helped secure the win in a CWL war! Attacking in the war while in school during breaks with my friends I have had the most fun during very close and competitive wars. When I won an attack with only archers against a max th9 base Betting with friends on clan wars not money but snacks Winning a clan war by the skin of our collective teeth Getting the last second triple is always up there Close war wins. Clutch 3 stars When wars first game out Clan wars being added
On my then mid-th9, I would leave my clan and go into global asking for a clan. I'd wait until a really low clan invited me, and then I'd join that clan. Clans with younger players and no players at or above my level works best. I'd then do the whole "Thanks for the invite" and "Is this an active clan?" routine. Then I'd request wall breakers, and 9 times out of 10 would get lvl 2 wizards or giants. I'd then say something along the lines of "This clan is horrible! I asked for wall breakers and got (whatever I got)!" And then I'd leave. Probably not the nicest thing ever but whenever a clan actually donates wall breakers I stick around for a bit longer and make small talk. I'll miss global. definitely when I tricked my clan that my 2 accounts were 2 people for a few months. I even had a couple of conversations with my self, and had everyone convinced that I am me and my friend. I exposed myself and they were so close to kicking me, great times back when global was a thing i named myself defnotahopper and would hop bases like a mf 😂😂 and i remember how hype i was when the lava hound was released Not a fond memory but when I was younger some guy in global chat told me Santa wasn’t real. That ruined my life back then. When I was in war and some one donated me all wall breakers. I literally left Teaching my clanmate in how to change the sheets of his bed! Getting head while attacking in a war You ;) Penis
2020.05.28 19:18 WartornGladiusMy Experience with Electrosphere (A very long ramble about the game, no seriously it's long)
This is spoiler tagged not because the whole thing is spoilers. I want people to know that. You can read a chunk of this without having beaten the game, I just didn't want to have to spoiler text a whole bunch of my work is all. I don't remember what made me want to play Ace Combat 3. I had played 7 to completion twice, beaten X, my PC would combust if it tried to emulate the PS2 games and Joint Assault was just a mistake to download. Perhaps it was the allure of a longer branching path PS1 game or an exploration of a beloved series' roots. I don't quite know. What I do know is that I got the Project Nemo translation, ePSXe and readied myself for a wild ride. (Also this is long and highly subjective, as it is just my experience with the game. Might wanna get some popcorn or something lmao) Gameplay: Being an older AC game I expected the gameplay to be dated to an extent. Boy was I right. Missiles in this game confuse me, even after having done all of the endings. Sometimes they just... Don't work. The enemy does a tiny maneuver and wham you missed em. Doesn't quite happen to you when a missile gets shot at you though, get ready to run for your life. The AI also isn't the smartest. Your wingmen are about as useless as a house with no roof. Aside from 1 mission they usually just sit about on the edge of the map and occasionally fire their machine guns at enemy planes. Speaking of the enemies. They seem to be stuck at the slowest speed and turn very quickly. You can't get into a proper dog-fight with them as you just go in circles of each other. The only way I found to get good kills is luck and hit and run tactics. Sometimes the dog fighting worked and I felt like I was in Ace Combat again but most of the time it wouldn't. Flying feels a little bit sluggish but it's generally alright considering the game came out on the PS1. Visuals: Being a game from 1999, Electrosphere came out at the end of the PS1's lifespan. The graphics represent that, it's a very nice looking game from 1999, especially the PS1. I couldn't emulate at anything other than native res but I imagine the game looks better at 2x or higher the internal resolution. Artistically, I love the game's style. It seems inspired by WipeOut and generally has a 90s Japanese Sci-fi Dystopia Aesthetic. Fitting since the people who made Ghost In The Shell made the animated cutscenes for the game. OST: Ace Combat games tend to have good soundtracks as a rule. This game, for me anyways, is no exception. I personally like the ambient style of electronic music, I think it fits the game's aesthetic as a whole. I find a small amount of it relaxing, the track Transparent Blue for a good example. Overall I think the sountrack is good but I don't need to go too much into it. Here's my final warning for story spoilers, don't read ahead if you don't want to get spoiled. Enjoy the game and have fun. Story: The game has a grand total of five endings and 52 combined missions. It's on 2 discs which is pretty cool for a PS1 era game. To talk about the factions though, I need to mention some of the characters for context. Nemo - This is you. The word Nemo is latin for 'nobody' or 'no one'. You can actually make your character have what ever name you want but the canon name seems to be Nemo. It fits as well considering later revelations. Consider his tac icon a clownfish or something, we never see Nemo. He might be shy or he just likes to leave people on read as people constantly send him mail when he doesn't answer the phone. Rena Hirose - My candidate for best girl waifu for the game. She has Silverstone Disease, which means direct sunlight is lethal for her. Her time stuck inside as a child has led to her having lacking social skills and some strange habits. To Rena, flying is everything and her only opportunity to be free. She has a very mysterious backstory. She might strike you as a bit weird but I think she's cute imo. She's by far one of the most important characters in the story. Erich Jager - Jager from AC7's kid. He's not very confident at the start of the game but has the chops to be a great pilot like his dad. He holds integrity and the idea of loyalty towards his comrades very seriously. He's a good bro. Fiona Fitzgerald - Another one of your friends at the start of the game, she's more assertive and values her friends highly. Her sister is an Ace Pilot. Cynthia Fitzgerald - Fiona's sister, ace of Neucom Inc. She's an idealist and likes technology. Has a nice voice. Abyssal Dision - Has a very ominous name. General Resource LTD's top Ace. He's considered the game's main Antagonist. I will go into him more later when I talk about the overarching story. Keith Bryan - Solo Wing Keith starts off giving you the cold shoulder but warms up to you as the game goes on so long as you serve General Resource. He's Dision's wingman but starts calling you Buddy and that gives me flashbacks. He's a bro. Simon Cohen - A scientist at Neucom. He's surprisingly important to the story but just seems weird when you speak to him normally. Yoko Inoue - Also an important character, we will get into her more later. You never see her normally in the game. Factions: The factions are important to the game's story and in total there are 4 of them. UPEO - Universal Peace Enforcement Organization is like Interpol with Fighter Jets. They act as the intermediaries between conflicts and tend to use force to diffuse conflict happening when fighting cannot be avoided. UPEO is the starting faction and can be left at various points in the game. General Resource LTD - One of the two big corporations in the story. They mostly just use American Jets and are considered older and outdated compared to the other corporation. Dision and Keith work for them. Neucom Inc - Made from a group of Scientists who left General Resource, Neucom are the pioneers in scientific advancement, with nanotechnology and heavy research in the Electrosphere field. They have some of the best looking planes in the game, the R-101 is my favorite plane in the game after all. Cynthia works for them. Ouroboros - A terrorist organization of Transhumanists who want to upload everbody to the internet. Dision is their leader and they are later revealed to be the reason behind the war that occurs in the game. Stories: The story in this game is split 5 ways, with 5 endings based on your actions through the game. I'm going to go through them in the order I played the game. UPEO - Why can't everybody just get along? The UPEO story locks in after the Mission Scylla and Charybdis but to recap what happened before. General Resource and Neucom are having border skirmishes against each other and other such things. Generally UPEO are an overly militaristic peacekeeping force who tends to start more conflict than they solve. It's only the smooth diplomacy of a Delegate Clarkson that UPEO manages to actually keep the peace. The starting of the UPEO story tends to have you fighting in the middle of both sides, stopping Neucom in one moment only to stop General in the next. During the Mission 'Ghosts of the Past' Rena seems to have a sort of episode where she starts remembering things from her past. Mentions something about a Night Raven. This is important later on. If you then side with her on the mission 'No Clearance' then you learn a little more. She seems to be connected to Dision somehow. In the mission Scylla and Charybdis, Commander Park the world's most dodgy man, orders you to shoot down a transport plane which Fiona is flying and Del Clarkson is riding in. Apparently they're doing espionage. If you don't shoot anything yourself then Rena will do it. If you shoot down another UPEO escort then you will join Neucom. If you or Rena down the transport then you lock yourself into the UPEO storyline. Most of the UPEO storyline has you pretty much doing what Comm Park wants you to do as his personal grim reapers. You do a war crime at one point. During these moments you and Rena bond a bit and she starts getting her memories back. Seems she was experimented on during her past, partially by Dision. He seems to have been the one to inspire her love for flight. During the most nightmare inducing mission Bug Hunt, Rena's plane gets attacked by Nanobytes with viruses on. She herself nearly gets infected by the virus. This event makes her reconsider her previous mindset of only needing to be a brain since her body has been useless to her. She thinks more about her humanity. When Ouroboros shows up, Comm Park was revealed to be in on the conspiracy and orders SARF, the UPEO ace squadron you're in, to be members of the group. You and Erich, who have also been bonding along the game decide to go AWOL and fight Ouroboros. Rena goes about their airship and is almost tempted by Dision to fight for him. However, because of the bond and events she has undergone because of you, she decides against it and attacks the airship using the Night Raven but is shot down by Dision. Her fate is, for the moment, unknown. In a bout of rage, you and Erich destroy the airship and Dision along with it, before returning to UPEO and getting revenge on Comm Park for Fiona. Flying over Expo City, we find out that Rena survived Night Raven crashing and takes her suit off, seeming to be much happier than she was before. UPEO is my favorite ending since it's the only one where Rena gets good character development and has a better time. Neucom - Technology Stuff I like Neucom's planes. That's it really. To join Neucom, shoot down the UPEO escort during the mission Scylla and Charybdis, you will then join Neucom. Part of it makes me wonder if Del Clarkson was actually doing espionage since he joins Neucom really easy. Neucom is all about those R-Numeral Craft which look cool. During this storyline you meet Fiona's sister Cynthia. She seems to be about that Electrosphere shit and wants to be uploaded to the internet. She's nice. During the Neucom story, you get to go to space, kill Keith and blow shit up in general. However Cynthia approaches you and asks you to join Ouroboros. You can join her or stay with Fiona. Staying with Fiona has you going on a crusade to kick Ouroboros' ass. During a lot of the missions Fiona tries in vain to persuade Cynthia to return but she won't budge. Later, you even have to shoot her down. Rena, having been brainwashed by Dision, uses the Night Raven to destroy Neucom's floating city Megafloat. You destroy Ouroboros' airship to fight the faction but Dision and Rena escape into some tunnels. You do a tunnel run which is horrible due to the game's janky flight model and then fight Rena in an underground city place. She gets shot down but survives in a comatose state. Fiona quits flying, only to get an email from her sister who is living in the Electrosphere. She seems happy but Fiona certainly isn't. This isn't a happy ending. General Resource - Everybody Dies and I'm Dead Inside General Resource's story is accessible in the mission Paper Tiger, when Dision offers you to join him. You do it. The General Resource plot has you fighting UPEO and Neucom more directly, actually fighting the war and kicking serious ass. Keith calls you buddy and you get to kill pretty much everybody, Erich, Fiona, Cynthia and later Rena. The Ouroborus events are generally the same across the board, where Rena is brainwashed and blows up the Megafloat. After Dision offers you to join Ouroborus and you reject him, you and Kieth go kick ass but continue to fight Neucom whilst also destroying Ouroborus. You end up destroying the Night Raven, killing Rena. Keith sacrifices himself to kill Dision and the story ends with you fighting some Night Raven wannabes in the worst combat sequence in the game. The gameplay for most of this story is good, but the final mission and story makes me a bit negative towards it. Since everybody dies. The Ouroboros Campaigns - Desertion and The Most Complete There are two Ouroboros Campaigns, a General one and a Neucom one. The Neucom one has you and Cynthia join the group, only for Cynthia's dreams of being uploaded to the internet being crushed by Dision, strange considering it happens if you play Neucom. You and Cynthia desert and try to take down Dision, chasing Rena to destroy the Night Raven whilst taking out the airship Ouroboros uses. You succeed and kill Rena, then returning to Neucom at the behest of Simon Cohen, a Neucom scientist who helped you take out the Night Raven. The General one feels like an intended experience. You join Dision and tear things up alongside him, only for Nemo to accidentally bring Rena's memories back, not in a good way as she's been brainwashed by Dision. Keith comes back and helps you take down Rena, ramming his plane into the Raven's wing to slow it down. He develops Solo Wing Syndrome and calls you buddy as he goes down. You fight Dision and then he confronts you in the Electrosphere. He wonders who you are mentioning Simon the scientist before dying. Nemo flies off into the unknown, only for the screen to turn to static. At this point, I had done all of the campaigns, so I got the hidden true ending. True Ending - None of it matters The true ending of this game is told to you by Simon, who announces to you that you're an AI program running different scenarios through a simulation. Simon is happy because no matter what happens, his enemy Dision's electrosphere copy gets killed. You see, Dision was working of brain uploading technology alongside the Yoko I mentioned earlier. She and Dision seemed to have a thing going on but just after Dision's brain got uploaded, the two were killed by a General Resource assassin squad. Simon seems to have some sort of connection, considering how creepy he is it was prolly a one sided love, to Yoko and wants revenge on Dision. He then deletes all your memories and plans on uploading you to the real world, likely to do things for real this time. I hate this ending because it makes all of the character development and endings you get mean absolutely nothing. It makes me feel a little nihilistic since I related to a lot of the characters and felt for them, only for it to not matter. But it's the canon so... Things be that way. Maybe when the real world version of events happen, Nemo will choose the ending the player likes the most, maybe not. We have no idea. Thank you for reading this far, I feel like it was too long but I played the game and wanted to talk about it to somebody. So... I did. Hope you enjoyed reading, good hunting out there!
2020.05.27 20:12 ChazzyphantFragments: A powerful craft store mogul, a controversial scrap antiquity, a MacArthur Genius Grant, and the fight over the "real" New Testament. Is a new discovery a fraud, overzealous academics wishful thinking, or real? An antiquity mystery
As any of you who recognize my user name, I really like mysteries around antiquities and art rather than missing people or murders. Especially with world events being what they are, we can all use a bit of a "palate cleanser" sometimes! This one has a personal connection in a way. I was raised in a fundamentalist cult as a child and I had very little contact with the secular world. One of the few pleasures I had was receiving a new issue of "Biblical Archaeology Magazine" in the mail. I wanted to be an archaeologist when I grew up and thrilled to the idea of proving or deepening the details of my favorite Biblical stories and becoming a scholar and an explorer. The other shoe dropped early in the game when I realized science was a major part of being an archaeologist, something I have little natural aptitude for, but I still remain fascinated by all things ancient. This mystery is around the finding of a papyrus that purports to be the "real" or oldest copy of the Gospel of Mark. "On the evening of February 1, 2012, more than 1,000 people crowded into an auditorium at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The event was a showdown between two scholars over an explosive question in biblical studies: Is the original text of the New Testament lost, or do today’s Bibles contain the actual words—the “autographs”—of Jesus’s earliest chroniclers? "On one side was Bart Ehrman, a UNC professor and atheist whose best-selling books argue that the oldest copies of Christian scripture are so inconsistent and incomplete—and so few in number—that the original words are beyond recovery. On the other was Daniel Wallace, a conservative scholar at Dallas Theological Seminary who believes that careful textual analysis can surface the New Testament’s divinely inspired first draft. They had debated twice before, but this time Wallace had a secret weapon: At the end of his opening statement, he announced that verses of the Gospel of Mark had just been discovered on a piece of papyrus from the first century. As news went in the field of biblical studies, this was a bombshell. The papyrus would be the only known Christian manuscript from the century in which Jesus is said to have lived. Its verses, moreover, closely matched those in modern Bibles—evidence of the New Testament’s reliability and a rebuke to liberal scholars who saw the good book not as God-given but as the messy work of generations of human hands, prone to invention and revision, mischief and mistake. Wallace declined to name the expert who’d dated the papyrus to the first century—“I’ve been sworn to secrecy”—but assured the audience that his “reputation is unimpeachable. Many consider him to be the best papyrologist on the planet.” The fragment, Wallace added, would appear in an academic book the next year." Side note: Go down the Gospel of Mark Translation Rabbit Hole with this great article Grok this quote:
"The New Testament, after all, is not a store of ancient wonders like the Hebrew Bible. It’s a grab bag of reportage, rumor, folk memory, and on-the-hoof mysticism produced by regular people, everyday babblers and clunkers, under the pressure of a supremely irregular event—namely, the life and death and resurrection of Jesus Christ."
(Gives you some insight as to what the fight is over). Glitter and Glue Money But as so often happens with the revelation of a newly discovered antiquity that conveniently aligns with the beliefs of powerful entities or ruling political parties, there was big money moving levers behind the scenes: "Though he didn’t mention it onstage, Wallace had recently joined something called the Green Scholars Initiative. The program was funded by the Green family, the evangelical billionaires who own the Hobby Lobby craft-store chain. It gave handpicked scholars access to the thousands of artifacts the family had collected for their Museum of the Bible, a soaring $500 million showplace that would open a few years later near the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Wallace’s ties to the Greens made it easy for observers to connect the dots: The Mark papyrus had to be one of the manuscripts the Greens had bought for their museum. And the papyrologist who worked out its first-century date had to be the world-renowned classicist Dirk Obbink. The Greens were known to have hired him as a consultant during their antiquities buying spree."--- Atlantic magazine Hobby Lobby has had its share of dubious, and even downright illegal, dealings in their frenzied quest to build the Museum of the Bible. "Beginning in 2009, representatives of Hobby Lobby were warned that artifacts they were purchasing were likely looted from Iraq. The purchases had been made for the Museum of the Bible, which they were sponsoring. In 2018, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York directed Hobby Lobby to return the artifacts and pay a fine of US$3,000,000. Hobby Lobby returned over 5500 items in May 2018. Among these, were nearly 4000 tablets supposed to be from the lost city of Irisagrig which had been delivered to Hobby Lobby marked as "tile samples." In April 2020, the centerpiece of the Museum of the Bible's collection, the fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls, were declared to be fakes. After its authenticity was questioned, the museum removed the display of a miniature bible which a NASA astronaut had purportedly carried to the moon. In a further blow to the Museum of the Bible's credibility board chairman, Steve Green, who is also president of the Hobby Lobby stores announced the museum will be returning over eleven thousand artifacts to Egypt and Iraq. The collection includes thousands of papyrus scraps and ancient clay pieces. Manchester University papyrologist Roberta Mazza stated that the Green family "poured millions on the legal and illegal antiquities market without having a clue about the history, the material features, cultural value, fragilities, and problems of the objects." The "Gilgamesh Dream Tablet," containing part of the Epic of Gilgamesh, was discovered in Iraq in 1853, sold by the Jordanian Antiquities Association to an antiquities dealer in 2003, and sold again by Christie's auction house to Hobby Lobby in 2014 for $1.6 million. The auction house lied about how the artifact had entered the market, claiming it had been on the market in the United States for decades. In September 2019, federal authorities seized the tablet, and in May 2020, a civil complaint was filed to forfeit it." --Wikipedia Rummaging for Treasures "A tall Nebraskan with a mop of sandy hair, Obbink was in his mid-40s in 2001 when the MacArthur Foundation awarded him a half-million-dollar genius grant. His technique for reassembling papyrus scrolls carbonized by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in a.d. 79 was a feat of three-dimensional puzzle solving. Sought by universities and cultural institutions the world over, Obbink taught at Columbia before leaving, in 1995, for Oxford, home to the world’s largest collection of manuscripts from the ancient world: half a million papyri that a pair of young Oxford scholars had excavated in Egypt a century earlier. Obbink’s post as a general editor of the collection—the media sometimes called him its “director,” though officially no such title exists—made him one of his field’s most powerful figures. Wallace had not overstated his qualifications. But years passed with no news of this “first-century Mark,” as the phantom manuscript came to be called. There was no book in 2013, no exhibit when the museum opened in 2017. Wallace’s blog filled with hundreds of comments. “It has been 5 years,” readers complained. “Hurry up!” One man simply quoted from the Book of Proverbs: “Expectation postponed makes the heart sick.” Yet in 2018, when Obbink finally published the fragment, it made certain hearts even sicker. The Greens would see their dreams of a first-century gospel dashed. The University of Oxford would be thrust into the news in a labyrinthine case of alleged antiquities theft, cover-up, and fraud. And one of the most illustrious figures in classics, though protesting his innocence, would find himself at the center of a trans-Atlantic investigation. Dirk obbink had rummaged for diamonds in the rough since his boyhood in Lincoln, Nebraska. In 2002, the year after he was awarded the MacArthur prize, his mother, Dorithy, told Smithsonian magazine that as a child her son had haunted thrift shops and the town dump, coming home with “a bunch of junk.” His fascination with other people’s trash carried into his years in New York, where he took his daughter dumpster diving. That papyrology called to him was perhaps little wonder. Papyrus was the ancient world’s paper, a disposable medium made of reeds harvested along the Nile. Its 1,000-year heyday as a writing surface coincided with the Greco-Roman era, the fall of the pharaohs, the birth of Christianity, and the advent of Islam. Obbink taught students how to mine the brownish, jigsaw-puzzle-like fragments for lost works of Greek literature and philosophy. Deciphering the texts is so laborious—and oversight so strict—that just 1 percent of the fragments have been published since their discovery. As a decoder of crumbling, half-vanished manuscripts, Obbink was “an absolute master,” his friend David Sider, an NYU classicist, told me. (The Atlantic reporter and writer) One night in November 2011, two American evangelicals walked up a flight of stairs in a Gothic bell tower on Christ Church’s central quad. Scott Carroll and Jerry Pattengale had been friends since their days together in a different Oxford—the city in southwest Ohio, where they each earned a doctorate in ancient history, at Miami University. Both had taught at Christian colleges and advised well-to-do collectors before Steve Green, the president of Hobby Lobby, hired them to lay the intellectual foundations for a national Bible museum. Carroll was put in charge of acquisitions, a post that played to his self-image as an impresario called by God to summon texts from the farthest reaches of the globe. His cellphone’s ringtone was the theme from Indiana Jones. A promotional photo, captioned great scott!, depicts him in shorts and a fedora, swinging through the jungle on a rope. The more sober-tempered Pattengale was named executive director of education; his job was to establish the Green Scholars Initiative, recruiting world-class academics to mentor the students the Greens would invite to research their fast-growing collection. At the top of the stairs that evening, Dirk Obbink opened a black door and let the two men into his office, a suite of rooms with a kitchen, a bathroom, and a pair of mummy masks that gazed at visitors from across a pool table. By then he’d been on the Hobby Lobby payroll for about a year. For Carroll, he vetted manuscripts that dealers across the world were clamoring to sell to the Greens. For Pattengale, he would teach papyrology to Green Scholars at summer seminars. They spent an hour discussing Obbink’s latest work. Then, as Carroll and Pattengale stood to leave, Obbink called to them, as if stopped by a stray thought. “Well, wait a minute,” he said. “I have something here you might be interested in.” He padded behind the pool table and opened a manila folder. Inside, in plastic sleeves, were ancient pieces from each of the four New Testament Gospels. Obbink tweezed out a fragment of Mark—a small, hatchet-shaped papyrus with verses from the gospel’s first chapter—for his visitors to see. The shape and strokes of certain letters, he explained, were hallmarks of first-century handwriting. Obbink described the fragment as part of a “family collection” and, according to Carroll, “offered it for consideration” for Hobby Lobby to buy. Pattengale felt momentarily paralyzed, while Carroll paced the room, delirious. Everything they’d worked on up to that point seemed to suddenly pale. Go even further down the rabbit hole with this article written by Pattengale about this whole thing
"Like the Harry Potter “moving staircase” at Hogwarts, filmed across in the Bodley Tower viewable from Obbink’s window, what was to unfold over the next several years would seem illusory for outside scholars and became sensationalized in the press. The sudden appearance of these manuscripts was dizzying even for the experts and owners, temporary and otherwise."
When Pattengale flew home to Indiana the next day, “I told my wife, Cindy, ‘If this proves to be first-century, I may be involved in researching one of the most important pieces of the Bible ever discovered." Undue Influence? A Patron's generosity seems to hold sway over a formerly neutral historian "something happened in the presence of his [Obbink's] new patrons. He fawned over the Greens’ aspirations, writing to Scott Carroll in January 2010 that he looked forward “to the flourishing of your commendable undertaking.” He closed emails, as his new benefactors did, with the sign-off “Blessings.” And according to a devout former museum official, he bowed his head and prayed before meals in so “theatrical” a way that, even among evangelicals, he was “the most visibly pious person at the table. Though it wasn’t publicly known, Obbink served as more than just an academic consultant to the Greens: Josephine Dru, a former papyrus curator for the Museum of the Bible, told me he was one of their biggest suppliers of papyri. From January 2010 to February 2013, Obbink sold the family more than 150 papyrus fragments—for a total of between $4 million and $8 million, according to a source who has seen the figures and described them to me as a range. (Jeffrey Kloha, the Museum of the Bible’s chief curator, didn’t dispute those numbers, but estimated a total closer to the low end of that range.) Scott Carroll may have claimed that Obbink had “no agenda whatsoever,” but in fact Obbink had several. He was acting as a scholar, an adviser, and a seller: The first owed allegiance to the truth, the second to his clients, the third to his own bottom line. Show me the Money: Is this just another case of plunder for profit? "n early 2014, headlines appeared across the world: Obbink had discovered a pair of breathtaking new Sappho poems—on a piece of papyrus salvaged from a mummy mask. “For a couple of months, it was just me and a girl named Sappho—nothing between me and the text,” Obbink said on BBC Radio. “It was like being shipwrecked on a desert island with Marilyn Monroe.” But Obbink declined to name the papyrus’s owner or to release its provenance paperwork. In a New York Times op-ed, Douglas Boin, a historian at Saint Louis University, called Obbink’s secrecy “disturbingly tone deaf” at a time of “catastrophic” looting in the Middle East. The next year, Christie’s produced a 26-page brochure offering the two Sappho poems for sale “by private treaty,” a transaction in which an auction house quietly approaches prospective buyers rather than hosting a public sale. Obbink eventually told a convoluted tale about an anonymous London businessman who had bought cartonnage at a Christie’s auction in 2011, dissolved it, and brought extracted papyri to Obbink, who discovered the two Sappho poems. The businessman then put some 20 small scraps that had also been pulled from the cartonnage—“being not easily identified … and deemed insignificant”—on the market. By chance, an intermediary dealer sold them to the Green Collection, where Obbink picked them out as yet more Sappho. Brent Nongbri, a Christian-manuscripts scholar, has identified no fewer than six different accounts of provenance put forward by Obbink, Carroll, or Bettany Hughes—a British broadcaster who has featured Obbink on several of her TV and radio shows. None of those accounts included the one detail witnessed by a large group of people: Simon Burris’s identification of the smaller Sappho pieces in Baylor’s crowded classics-department lounge in 2012." "In november 2015, a video appeared on YouTube, filmed on a smartphone from the pews of a church in Charlotte, North Carolina. From the pulpit, where he was addressing a conference of conservative Christians, Scott Carroll spoke of seeing a Gospel of Mark from the first century “at Oxford University at Christ Church College … in the possession of an outstanding, well-known, eminent classicist … Dirk Obbink,” who thought the papyrus might date to as early as a.d. 70—the same year most scholars think the gospel was first composed. This was no longer Daniel Wallace telling a vague, secondhand story on a debate stage. This was an eyewitness with names, dates, and places. The video so unnerved the Egypt Exploration Society that it began a review of all its unpublished New Testament papyri. It learned that one of Obbink’s researchers had found a small fragment of Mark in its collection in 2011, a piece photographed by a curator as early as the 1980s but never before identified. Was this the discovery that Wallace had announced at the University of North Carolina—and that Carroll had confirmed in the church video nearly four years later? Confronted by the EES, Obbink admitted to having a fragment of Mark from Oxyrhynchus in his office and showing it to Carroll. But he insisted that he’d never said it was for sale. The EES instructed him “to prepare it for publication as soon as practicable in order to avoid further speculation about its date and content.” Obbink could no doubt foresee the consequences of publication: The moment images of the fragment became public, Pattengale, Carroll, and Wallace would recognize the papyrus as the one he’d allegedly offered to the Greens half a decade earlier. They would notice he’d published it in the official book series for EES papyri—exposing it as never his to sell. Perhaps most distressing, they’d see Obbink’s new dating: In a book of serious scholarship, he’d assign their supposed “first-century Mark” to the late second or early third century, making it far less remarkable." "In june 2019, Michael Holmes, who replaced Pattengale as the director of the scholars initiative, flew to London to meet with leaders of the Egypt Exploration Society, who remained skeptical that Obbink, whatever his other shortcomings, might have sold Oxyrhynchus papyri. Over lunch at a private club, Holmes pulled out a purchase agreement between Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. and Dirk Obbink. Co-signed by the Oxford professor on February 4, 2013, it showed that Obbink had sold the company not just the Mark papyrus, but also fragments of the Gospels of Matthew, Luke, and John. In the contract, Obbink describes the manuscripts as his personal property, vows to “ship/hand carry” them from “Oxford Ancient,” and dates all four to a historically unprecedented “circa 100 AD,” making each a one-of-a-kind worth millions." Stolen....and maybe fraudulent fragments "When EES officials saw the contract, Holmes told me, “any uncertainties they had evaporated very quickly.” They banned Obbink from the collection. The Museum of the Bible began sending to the EES images of every papyrus the Greens had purchased—from any seller. Comparing them against the society’s own photographic inventory, EES officials spotted 13 of its biblical fragments. From written descriptions provided by Hobby Lobby, it identified four more: the gospels that Obbink’s sales contract dated to the first century, though none, the EES said, were in fact that old. Fifteen of the EES’s fragments had been sold to the Greens by Obbink, for more than $1.5 million, a source who has seen the figures told me. Among them was the Romans scrap Carroll pretended to pull from a mummy mask at Baylor in 2012. The Greens bought the two other EES fragments from the family business of Alan Baidun, a Jerusalem dealer who appeared to have acted as a middleman for Obbink. (Baidun did not answer multiple emails and phone calls, but has previously denied wrongdoing through a spokesperson.) The EES soon discovered another half-dozen of its papyri in the collection of a wealthy California collector named Andrew Stimer, who had previously sold the Greens four Dead Sea Scrolls that the Museum of the Bible later deemed forgeries. (Stimer disputes the museum’s forgery findings.) The practice of dissolving mummy masks in search of manuscripts had been all but abandoned before Scott Carroll and Dirk Obbink announced astonishing finds. Stimer, who leads an evangelical ministry called Hope Partners International, said he purchased two of the fragments in 2015 from a “Mr. M. Elder of Dearborn, Michigan,” a seeming match for Obbink’s business partner. When scholars saw images of those fragments—from Romans and First Corinthians—they realized the Museum of the Bible owned adjoining pieces from the same leaves. Someone appeared to have cut up scriptures that, according to EES photos, had been intact at Oxford. “Mr. M. Elder” had sold one pair of cuts to Stimer, and Obbink had sold the other to the Greens. (Mahmoud Elder declined to comment, invoking what he called a “client non-disclosure agreement.”) For most of the stolen papyri, the EES’s corresponding inventory cards and photographs were also missing. The thief, it seemed, had sought to cover his tracks by erasing evidence of the papyri’s existence. In a collection of some half a million pieces, perhaps they’d never be missed. But the thief miscalculated: Copies of the inventory existed in various locations, including University College London. Drawing on such backups, the EES said it has so far identified 120 papyri that “appear to be missing, almost all from a limited number of folders.” In what might well be British understatement, it warned “that a few more cases may emerge.” On November 12, the EES reported its findings to the Thames Valley Police. On March 2, the police detained Obbink for questioning on suspicion of theft and fraud. As of press time, no charges had been filed. "In march 26, Steve Green announced that he was giving 5,000 of his papyri to Egypt. It was an admission that virtually every papyrus in his collection lacked sufficient evidence of not having been stolen, looted, or acquired by other improper means. For the same reasons, he said, he was repatriating 6,500 clay relics to Iraq—on top of the 3,500 Iraqi antiquities Hobby Lobby had surrendered to settle a 2017 federal smuggling case. Green and his museum have sought to portray themselves as chastened by their early stumbles and determined to make amends—both by coming clean about their failures and by making institutional changes. “I trusted the wrong people to guide me,” Green said, “and unwittingly dealt with unscrupulous dealers in those early years.” Scholars have praised the latest reforms. But Green’s efforts to deflect blame have rung hollow in some circles. In 2010, early in his collecting blitz, Green had attended a presentation that Hobby Lobby commissioned from Patty Gerstenblith, a DePaul University professor who is one of the world’s foremost experts on cultural property law. “I warned him,” Gerstenblith told me, “and he proceeded anyway.” With hundreds of millions of dollars of spending power, Green had all the leverage to ask hard questions about provenance—and to order investigations—before handing his money over to dealers. But he never did. In the Obbink case, Green and his representatives have cast themselves as the unsuspecting dupes of a mastermind. Green told me he’d failed to see the conflict in Obbink’s dual roles as adviser and seller because of his “stellar reputation and standing in the scholarly community.” He added, “I would never intentionally buy anything forged or stolen.” Green has returned the stolen Oxyrhynchus fragments to Oxford, and in 2018, he told me, Hobby Lobby asked Obbink to refund the money it had paid him for the four “first-century” gospel fragments." "Until Oxford, the EES, or the police reveal more, many questions will remain unanswered. But in the eyes of some devout critics, the last chapter of this saga will be written by a higher authority"---Atlantic article This is mostly taken from a longreads article that has a LOT more information about how Obbink got caught up in a shady process called "dismounting" that allows for fraud---essentially soaking the wrappings off mummies and pretending that they are fragments of historical important artifacts such as poems by Sappho, and the network of thieves and shady dealers through which artifact smuggling and forgery thrives. A great rabbit hole to go down especially if you are interested in archaeology and artifacts. Hope you enjoy!
Arc 3: Metamorphosis Author: u/PatrollinTheMojave Editors: u/AdamantAce A gentle wind whistled through the branches, carrying chirps of birds with it. The air was getting warmer. Jean-Paul took a deep breath and opened his eyes. The small window in his room was perfect for gathering his thoughts without being disturbed. He tried to keep his spartan and free of distractions, like his training taught him. Outside of his bed and closet, the only furniture to speak of was the small meditation mat in the center of the room. With the constant conflict, it was difficult to find even a few moments for introspection. The child constantly needed protection, despite his alien war machine. The others could be equally trying. Yet, Jean-Paul’s time in Palo Alto was a point of pride, even putting aside how well he performed his duties. Jean-Paul’s thoughts were cut short by the sound of footsteps. He let out an exasperated sigh and turned, only to be greeted by a young blonde girl, no older than 12. She was dressed in flowing white robes. The closet doors were swung wide open, revealing Jean-Paul’s crusader helmet along with the rest of his things. “You there!” The girl turned around with a start, bumping against the closet. Jean-Paul’s was knocked from the closet and clattered across the ground. Jean-Paul was not in the mood for intruders, regardless of age. He strode over to her with an unamused look. “What are you doing here?” The girl didn’t reply, instead, she raised a finger at the helmet. Jean-Paul turned. “My helmet, I-?” When he looked back, the girl was gone. Vanished. It was impossible, he should’ve heard her leave. A quick knock came at the door. “Hey, JP, buddy. Sorry to bother you during your Karate Kid schtick, but I heard something fall. Everything alright in there?” It was Todd, the shadow manipulator. No, everything wasn’t fine! Some girl just found her way into the most secure building in the city, then vanished. But he couldn’t very well say that, it was lunacy. No, if the problem persisted, Jean-Paul would have to find her himself. “Everything is perfectly fine.” “Nice. Oh, and while I’m here, you wanna play some Street Kombat 10? Normally I’d ask Jaime, but he’s busy or something.” “I am occupied with-” Jean-Paul stopped himself. He wasn’t likely to find any more peaceful meditation today. “Very well. Give me a few minutes.” “Seriously? I mean- Yeah, sounds good. See you in a minute.” Ted threw his hands up in the air. “I can’t believe I’m being sued!” Sitting across from him at the Infinity Inc. meeting table was Jaime. From his look of annoyance, Ted could tell that Jaime wasn’t nearly as bothered by the charges as he should’ve been. “I pay my dues. I cover the damages whenever the team breaks something! Now, Maxwell Lord of all people is throwing charges my way, Robin has been drawing attention away from the team for weeks, and I still can’t get Huntress on the phone. Is there any hero in Gotham that hasn’t blocked me?” Ted let out a sigh. Jaime kept his tone neutral. “What are they trying to sue you for?” “Something about wrecking property values and reckless endangerment. Who have I recklessly endangered?” There was a few seconds of silence as Jaime looked at Ted with a deadpan. “...That’s actually why I wanted to talk to you.” “You need to tell the team about Coast City. You said you were going to and I know it’s difficult, but…” Jaime trailed off. “I don’t blame you for what happened, but they need to know.” Ted lowered his head, then gripped the bridge of his nose. “You’re right. I should’ve told Todd and Jean-Paul. It’s just- well, I don’t like to dwell on my mistakes.” “Ted.” Jaime planted his palm firmly on the table. “Alright… I’ll tell them today. I have a meeting with Max’s lawyer. I'll let the team know after that.” Jaime stood up. “I hope you do, because I can’t keep this secret for you any longer. If you don’t tell them by the end of today, I will.” “Jaime,” Ted started, but the young Blue Beetle was already walking out the door. Todd’s room was a densely packed jungle of movie posters, figurines, laundry, and other clutter. Jean-Paul made special note of the limited edition Obsidian action figure on the shelf as he entered. Todd was sitting on the leather couch a few feet away from his flatscreen television. On the TV, two ninjas dressed in primary colors battled each other for supremacy. It interested Jean-Paul, aside from the slight annoyance of the ninjas’ fighting styles which were, of course, highly overexaggerated and completely impractical. “Todd.” Jean-Paul knocked on the doorframe. “Oh! Hey JP!” Todd grabbed a plastic controller from the floor and tossed it at Jean-Paul. He was able to catch it effortlessly, fixing his grip around the center of the black controller. Although he wasn’t too pleased with projectiles being lobbed at him and his harsh expression conveyed as much to Todd. “Have you ever played a fighting game before?” Todd said. Jean-Paul looked at Todd, but didn’t answer. He sat on the couch and began studying the game on the television. “I should’ve figured. So basically, each of us control one of the fighters and then you try to beat each other up. Now, don’t feel bad if you lose the first match. I’m pretty good at Street Kombat.” Jean-Paul smiled. “Perhaps. But I am an expert in far more forms of combat than that.” “Heh.” Todd started up another match on the TV. “Time to put your money where your mouth is.” As the fight began, the thought of that girl prodded at him. Her face was burned into his memory and he couldn’t shake the feeling that there was something more at play. Jean-Paul failed to stop himself from asking, “Todd… have you been seeing strange things lately?” Todd smirked. “Hearing strange things, hearing strange things. Hmm. How long ago did I join the team?” Jean-Paul prepared to press the question further, but the light hitting the television intensified. He was about to shield his eyes when the glare shifted to reveal a figure. A blonde-haired girl in white robes. The girl from his room! Jean-Paul felt a voice worming its way into his mind. “Brother?” Jean-Paul shook his head, trying to rid himself of the intrusion. When he reopened them, the girl was gone without a trace, again. Todd’s voice shook Jean-Paul from his confusion. “What happened, man? I was actually getting nervous you were gonna beat me for a second.” “Nothing. The glare. It distracted me.” A wide grin spread across Todd’s face. “Riiiight, right. The glare.” Jean-Paul narrowed his eyes. Did he already know about the girl? “Whatever keeps your undefeated warrior rep intact.” Todd jabbed Jean-Paul in the shoulder. “So, another match?” Jean-Paul was already shaking his head as the question began. The mystery of this girl couldn’t be left alone any longer. Clearly she wasn’t just some thief. Something beyond the mundane was happening and Jean-Paul was going to find exactly what, then put a stop to it. “One is more than enough for today. Congratulations on your victory. The spar was enjoyable.” “Oh, totally! We should do it again some time. You know they’re releasing an Infinity Inc. DLC for this? I can’t wait to kick my own ass!” Jean-Paul was already walking out the door and was careful to hide his smile. Despite how trying his teammates could be, they certainly grew on him in the time since when he first received his assignment. Todd in particular, impressed him in the courage he showed in the fight against Steppenwolf. Although, he’d never say it directly. Jean-Paul was certain he’d never hear the end of it. Ted Kord let out a small yawn. These legal meetings always bored him to death. Today, he had the honor of sitting across from one of the best corporate lawyers in the country, Jack Drake. It was difficult to see him behind the huge pile of statistics, subpoenas, property listings, and every other kind of document sitting on the meeting room table. Kord attempted a few minutes earlier to glean some meaning from the documents and got a papercut for his troubles. Kord gleaned a few things from Mr. Drake’s manner of speaking. His voice was tinged with professionalism, intelligence, and a light Gotham accent. The latter dredged up some uncomfortable memories of his last visit to Gotham. The lawyer seemed to pick up on Ted’s lack of attention, saying “Mr. Kord, in simplest terms, the wanton destruction brought on by the Infinity Inc. superhero team has caused property values in the area to enter freefall. Mr. Lord is seeking damages and their immediate disbanding. There’s more than enough evidence here to receive a ruling in Mr. Lord’s favor. I strongly suggest seeking a settlement and I suspect your own legal team will say the same.” “Hrm.” Ted pursed his lips. It was clear that this Lord guy was going to give him a lot of trouble. Ted pulled his checkbook out and clicked a dark blue ballpoint pen over it. “You seem like a good lawyer, Mr. Drake.” Ted ripped off the check and slid it across the table. Jack Drake barely glanced at it before furrowing his brow. “Mr. Kord, this is a serious matter. The damage to property value is significant, even for a company as large as yours.” Jack passed the check back across the table. “Right, of course. My apologies.” Ted pressed the pen back against the check and wrote in two more zeroes before sliding it back to Jack. This time, Jack’s eyes lingered on the check. His eyes went wide, but he couldn’t find any response to the new amount. “Is that okay?” Ted said. “I can add another zero if you’d like.” Jack lifted the check off the table as if it was fine china, liable to break if he moved it too quickly. “I- I’ll have to consider this.” Ted stood up and smiled. “Of course, Jack.” He reached over and shook the lawyer’s hand. “Take some time, think about it.” Ted worked his way over to the door, happy to be away from the mountain of files. “Get back to me by the end of the day.” Ted slipped through the exit before anyone could respond. Law was never his thing, but luckily money was. Unfortunately for him, the one problem he couldn’t outrun or outsource was standing in front of him. Jaime Reyes stood outside the exit door with his arms crossed. “Are you ready?” Ted nodded. As much as it scared him, it was time for the team to know the truth about Coast City. Jean-Paul knelt in his room before a sigil marked out in electrical tape. The corners of the arcane symbol on the floor were marked with candles. He made one last glance to the locked door before beginning his ritual. It was clear that this girl existed in a manner beyond the normal world. Somehow, she was arcane. Jean-Paul had the sense to solve an arcane problem with an arcane solution. He planted his hand in the center of the sigil. “By the Weal and the Woe. By the saints. By the will of myself, Azrael.” Jean-Paul felt an impossible breeze on his skin. It was beginning to pick up more strength as the incantation continued. “By fate and chaos. By the true father.By the one before all.” The wind picked up to a whipping strength and the candles before Jean-Paul blazed a strange green color. “Girl in the white robes and blonde hair, I summon you and demand you name yourself.” The wind reversed direction and coalesced in a vortex in the center of the room. The light from the candles pulsed for a moment and when Jean-Paul returned his gaze, the girl was standing on the sigil. She seemed more solid, more familiar. The synapses fired. Before he could voice his realization, the girl stepped forward. “It’s you!” The girl said, now with the tone of a twelve year old girl rather than an ethereal ghost. “You’re the knight who came that day, when Daddy was having his adult party. I knew it. You’re Az-rel!” The picture was starting to come together in Jean-Paul’s mind, but a few pieces were still missing. “What is this party you’re speaking of, girl?” “Well, my daddy had all my friends over, and they wore these red pajamas, and I wasn’t allowed to go into the basement while they were happening, even if I heard screaming, or anything.” “You’re the daughter of Isaac Haynes.” Jean-Paul was caught off guard by the sudden lump in his throat. “Your father was the leader of the Sunrise Cult.” “That’s my daddy, and my name’s Greta. And uh,” The girl took a few seconds to continue, trying to remember something. “Then, after you came, my big brother Billy, he told me we had to go. He said, Greta, Dad is gone. Well, then I said, let’s go find him! But...“ Jean-Paul remembered this girl all too well now. Her father was the leader of a metahuman cult that abducted and tortured people off the street. A weakling like Theodore Kord would’ve put the wicked in shackles. That was hardly justice. Jean-Paul had known he was the only one with the strength to put them to the blade. Now, it seemed, his actions were returning to haunt him. But he didn’t lay a finger on the girl. He could never. Jean-Paul moved his hand to the girl’s shoulder. “Greta, what happened next?” “Well, Billy got really sad, I think. And he got Dad’s big knight sword and then went to his room, and when he came back, he was a superhero!” Greta planted her hands on her hips. “A superhero?” “Yeah! He was really strong and tough. And then he said he wanted to make me a superhero too. But, but, it didn’t work and Billy got made and, and… ” Greta’s voice started to break up. Small tears formed in her eyes. Jean-Paul tightened his hand into a fist. Greta’s brother had accidentally activated his meta-gene through self-inflicted trauma, then tried to do the same to her, with disastrous results. This girl had died far too young, and now Jean-Paul knew the culprit. He wanted to tell the team, but a nagging thought kept him by Greta’s side. He had set these events in motion. He was responsible for Greta’s father’s death. The thoughts plagued him without respite. What would the others say when they learned he’d broken his compact to abstain from taking life? Jean-Paul felt a beep in his pocket and grabbed his phone. TEAM MEETING NOW. “Greta, who else did you tell?” She was lost, confused, and in pain. “Brother? Billy?” Greta asked, aimlessly. “Who else did you tell?!” With one swift breeze, the candles lining the sigil blew out and Greta disappeared, leaving Jean-Paul alone in his room and alone with his thoughts. Ted took a seat in Infinity meeting room. The table was now beginning to show signs of wear. It was scuffed on the edges from all the times the group had discussed which villain they would take on next. Ted just hoped that villain wouldn’t be him today. The rest of Infinity was arrayed around the table. Kat and Jaime were already well aware what this meeting would be, and each awaited Ted’s admission. “Thank you all for being here. The-- The news I am about to give you is long overdue.” Ted took a breath to cool his nerves. He was a people person. He loved being the center of attention, but owning up to mistakes was less in his wheelhouse. “Years ago now, I launched a robotics program with the aim of assisting the Justice League. The goal was to create the perfect hero that could stop crime, rescue the vulnerable, and protect the Earth, all without heroes like Superman putting themselves in unnecessary danger.” Ted forced himself from reading the team’s expressions until he was finished. “As the project neared completion, I realized just how dangerous it was. Any technology powerful enough to defend the Earth was powerful enough to destroy it. I ordered the whole project scrapped, but in transit, the most advanced prototype was stolen. I’m still not sure by who.” Todd spoke at a whisper. “You’re not serious.” “The name of the project was Amazo.” Todd could hardly find the words. “That’s not- This isn’t funny, Ted!” Ted shook his head. “It isn’t a joke, Obsidian.” Todd slammed his fist on the table. “You killed millions of people! Didn’t you have safeguards? I thought you were supposed to be a genius!” “Since then, I’ve done everything in my power to atone.” “Yeah? Well you failed.” Todd glanced around the table. “Why aren’t the rest of you reacting to this? Ted created Amazo.” “A mistake was made.” Jean-Paul said. “I wish to know why it was kept hidden.” Before Ted could answer, Todd continued his admonishment of the rest of the team. “What about you two? Kat? Jaime?” Kat spoke in a monotone. “We already knew.” “You already knew? How long have-?” Todd sunk into his chair and pressed his face into his hand. Ted remained silent. The news certainly could’ve gone better, but Todd has every right to be angry. It was just something they would work through as a team. Then, light caught on the table, causing a glint. Ted noticed something change in Jean-Paul’s face. He didn’t have to wait long to find out why. “I have been keeping a secret from you all as well.” This time, a reaction of surprise swept over the whole team. Todd snapped back to attention, looking squarely at Jean-Paul. “A few weeks ago, I punished a group of cultists. They were torturing innocents and I brought them justice using the Sword of Sin.” Kat leaned forward on the table. “You’re saying you went out there alone and killed them?” Her tone was equal parts surprise and authority. “I did. I only learned later that the heretic leader had two children. The eldest, William Hayes, activated his meta-gene in an attempted suicide. Then, in an attempt to do the same to his sister,” Jean-Paul gripped the table in a rare display of weakness, “He killed her. And I know this because she has been haunting me so that I may right my wrong.” Todd gave Jean-Paul a quizzical look. “Haunting you? Like a ghost?” Jean-Paul returned a solemn nod. “Alright.” Todd said, standing up. “I’m out. I’m done.” He started walking towards the door. “Where are you going?” Ted asked. “When I joined this team, I thought you were heroes. I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not perfect. Hell, compared to you all, I figured I was little leagues. I was on the team for days when I had the choice of keeping my brother, the only person who’d ever given a shit about me, out of jail, or doing what a hero would do. And seeing you all trying to inspire people, I sent my own brother to jail.” Blotches of shadow bled off Todd’s person and into his surroundings as he spoke. “He’s there right now, sitting in a cell, wondering why I betrayed him. I’ve been trying to catch up with all of you since day one, and now I find out you’ve all been lying to me for months?!” “I wanted to tell you.” Jaime said, pleading. “Yeah. Well, I wanted to trust you.” Jean-Paul stood up from his own seat and took a step towards Todd. “We still need to stop William Hayes.” “I’m sure you’re more than capable of dealing with the teenager who’s parents you killed.” Todd’s face seethed with resentment. He shoved his hands into his pockets and headed for the door, locking eyes with Ted one more time. “Don’t contact me.” The door slammed shut. “Should I go after him?” Jaime said. “No.” Kat shook her head. “He needs to work this out on his own. Trust me.” Jean-Paul nodded. “And I would like an opportunity to correct my mistake.” Ted looked over to Jaime, then stood. “I know you three can handle this without me. I’ll be in my office if you need me.” He headed for the door, knowing that the eyes of the room were on him. As it clicked shut behind, a view of the bustling and verdant Infinity campus was visible in front of him through a massive window. Technological innovations stretched out in every direction, creations that left the world in awe at the man with the Midas touch. Jean-Paul walked through the tall grass, cutting through any greenery he couldn’t force his way through. With every step he took, Jean-Paul felt Greta guiding him to Billy. Jaime and Kat followed shortly behind, the former too shaken by the day’s events to push for information on Greta’s existence, and the latter uncaring. The hour drive outside of Palo Alto had at least given Jaime enough time to contemplate the mission. “What are we looking for?” “This cult uses torture to activate the meta-gene. We’re listening.” Jean-Paul stopped and exhaled. He heard his heart beating in his ears, the wind in the grass and, just faintly, screams. “This way.” Jean-Paul broke into a sprint and the metal plates of his armor gently clinked together with each bound. “What is it? I didn’t hear anything!” Jaime said. Jean-Paul pulled the Sword of Salvation from his scabbard. It sparked with electrical energy, singeing the air around it. “Quiet! You’ll-” Jean-Paul was interrupted by another blade slicing clean through the grass. He just managed to raise his own sword in time to block the attack with a resounding clang. The attacker staggered back before raising his blade. He was dressed in heavy chainmail with red and white ceremonial paint marking his face. “You trespass, monster, into the domain of Harm, disciple of God.” A white cape hung loosely over his back. “William Hayes.” Jean-Paul raised his sword. “I come bearing judgement on behalf of your sister.” “Liar!” “Greta will have her justice.” Harm screamed out in fury and brought his blade down, once again clashing with Jean-Paul. Jean-Paul’s heels dug into the ground as the Sword of Salvation sparked. Harm attacked with inhuman strength. In his ear, Jean-Paul heard the voice of Greta, they’re in danger! But who was she referring to? Jaime’s arms were already reconfiguring into blunt instruments backed by enough force to stop a semi truck. Harm grit his teeth. “I’ll fight all of you if it means protecting my flock!” Of course. Jean-Paul kept his eyes fixed on Harm as he said, “Beetle, Lantern, go free the innocents. I am more than capable of prevailing here.” Kat nodded and took off in the direction Harm came from. Jaime lingered, looking Jean-Paul over for a few seconds before following. A twisted smile appeared on Harm’s face. “Your arrogance will be your undoing, monster.” He pulled the Sword of Sin from its scabbard and felt the heat pouring off of its flames. No more posturing. Jean-Paul charged Harm, bringing down his defensive blade with the Sword of Sin, then raking into his arm with the Sword of Salvation. “Yield.” Jean-Paul said, but a quick glance at the wound revealed a few minor scrapes, rather than the deep cut he should’ve inflicted. Harm swung, battering his blades against Jean-Paul again and again. With each strike, his guard fell little by little until he was left breathless and in pain. Harm stood tall. “I offer you the same mercy you offered my father.” Harm’s blade came down and Jean-Paul raised his blade all too slowly. Then, a dazzling white light flashed off the Sword of Salvation. Harm staggered backwards, stunned by the light. Again, the voice of Greta whispered, “Brother.” “Greta? I- I’m didn’t mean to hurt you, I-” Jean-Paul raised his blade at the defenseless, wicked creature in front of him. It would be simple to cleave through him and end this. To find true justice for Greta, to tell the fool Kord that there was no other way. But what peace did that bring when he ended the life of Isaac Hayes. Jean-Paul’s masters showed him that granting an opponent mercy was an invitation to betrayal and an unacceptable weakness, but experience had shown him otherwise. Jean-Paul slid his blades back into their scabbards and planted his foot on Harm’s back, slamming his body into the fertile ground. He pulled Hayes’ arm back, putting him in a hold. The thought entered Jean-Paul’s mind. He wondered if his time with Infinity made him weak. The charade was tiring him and the months of steadfast camaraderie were beginning to wear away at his discipline. What was his mission now and could it be completed with the steadfast heart and spirit expected of him? Jean-Paul kneeled in his room atop his meditation mat. Before him sat his encrypted communication device, displaying a grainy feed of a figure in dark red robes. His face was obscured by the darkness. “Report, Azrael, protector of the Church, Shade Paramount.” The robed figure spoke as to a child, with an undercurrent of arrogance and loathing. “Log number 194: Father, my infiltration and sabotage of Infinity Incorporated is well underway. Today, I exacted punishment on a heretic and allowed him to live that my deception might be further improved.” The figure weighed the word for a few seconds. “I see. And how goes your inquisition into the alien enemy? Does your recommendation that he be left alive for the time being stand? And what of the shadow manipulator?” “It does, father. He is most useful to use alive. And of Obsidian, I reminded him of his criminal wrongdoings and made him see the truth. No-one with such sin can hope to be a hero. He left of his own volition… out of guilt.” Satisfaction crept into the figure’s tone. “Yes, I see. Exemplary work as always, Azrael. Goodbye.” “Goodbye, father.”
2020.05.14 02:09 mysticaltaterI'm a professional rule follower
My mom always made sure I followed the rules, you know. Because if I didn't, then I'd get in trouble. And who wants to be a 23 year old who's grounded because she didn't do something as trivial as rinse the bowl out before putting it in the dishwasher, right? So this was obviously drilled into my poor tiny head since I was a poor tiny child. And now I'm a poor tall adult. And by poor I mean I lost my job because of this corona bullshit so I need dough. That being said, we know jobs are hard to come by unless you want to be surrounded by a bunch of Karens who hate you for looking at them while stocking shelves at Walmart or whatever. I was desperate, though. I wasn't qualified for anything on job search sites and I didn't exactly want to go back to retail hell if I could help it. And that's when the email came in. I brushed it off as a spam because Yahoo has been doing a shitty job in filtering those lately. But I was just so curious. Subject: "Job Offer for (my name)" From: [REDACTED], Inc. Email: Good afternoon, we noticed you've been searching job postings without applying. It seems as though you have high standards, and you shouldn't, ho. Anyway, we're looking for lazy, talentless individuals to join our team at our corporate office. Pay is $19/hr full time. Please call (number) to schedule an interview. We will hire you on the spot if you call. Thank you, Your friends at, well, you'll find out soon enough :) Well that's just the job for me! I'm talentless and lazy and I made nowhere near that at my other office job! I called them immediately, and they said I was hired. I started work the next day. I was greeted by a professional looking woman. "Hey, you must be (my name)! Here's a list of rules, if you follow them, things will go ok. If you don't follow them, things will not go ok!" I didn't notice at first that she had no pupils, but the rest of her was gorgeous so it was ok. I looked at the paper, it felt like papyrus and the words were written in dark purple ink, maybe wine. Rule 1: If you see Satan in the bathroom, let him take a dump Rule 2: Ignore the girl in black who screams in your ear every day at 2:02pm Rule 3: Let the man in the taco costume wear his costume, it doesn't hurt anyone Rule 4: Do your job Rule 5: Don't feed the cats - they will get fat and unhealthy Well, it's been a week since that strange orientation. And here's how it went. I had to pee, and I didn't see Satan because he uses the men's room. Every day the girl screamed at me at 2:02pm and I ignored her and went about my business. The taco man is very nice and friendly! I did my job, that's what they're paying me to do. It's redacted though, I signed an NDA. Very weird stuff. And then the VP has a bunch of really cute cats, and I don't feed them even though they beg! Unlike my mom's stupid cats, I'm allowed to respect these cat's need for a healthy diet! If you want to hear more about where I work, you can't. Because there's a dude behind me with a gun and he told me to redact a lot of things. REDACT REDACT REDACT EVERYTHING'S REDACTED. Please follow thanoschungus
You’d inherit every ability of a specific champion, which includes their auto-attack, passive, basic abilities, ultimate and any transformation abilities. For auto-attacks and abilities that require having an item or weapon, a spectral copy of that item or weapon would be summoned and would persist for as long as necessary and can be dispelled at any time. Kind of like how Sylas would turn into the champion who’s ultimate he is using but, in this case, only the weapon or item. You’d still be you.
No lore is considered. We’ll be basing the ability applications to the matches only.
You’d be the only person with special abilities in the world and it’s for everyone to see.
As far as targeting is concerned, the abilities would work in the real life how it would theoretically work. You’d be able to grab anything you want with Rocket Grab, for example, even though you can’t grab rocks or grass in the game. Use your imagination, pretty much.
We’ll only be considering the noteworthy effects of this abilities applied in real life. This means that we’ll be ignoring the damage numbers. For example, Nami’s Aqua Prison would simply encase a target in a water bubble for it’s in-game duration and won’t cause pain on the “enemy” upon impact.
With that said, expect a lot of abilities that only do damage to not be rated too highly. Yes, having a powerful laser burst forth or throwing a large spear sounds badass, but how often would you use that ability in a world where you’re the only one with powers? Not much.
All abilities would be in their max level and the ability’s cooldown would be it’s in-game cooldown. All your abilities cost no mana.
Human beings are considered “champions”, animals are considered “minions” and houses and buildings are considered “structures” for the sake of targeting.
This was written before new Voli.
That’s a lot of rules, but this should give us a more concise understanding on what our limitations are. I’d love for you guys follow along and brainstorm which champion’s kits you’d want to have in real life. Now, I won’t talk about EVERY single ability, of course. I’ll just be picking the asset (AA – auto-attack, P – passive, then QWER) I feel is the best in the kit, with a rating of either Useless, Limited, Situational, Handy and finally Must-have assets. Anyways, let’s do this. AATROX (R, Situational) - World Ender would have a higher rating if it still had the revive, but as it stands, it’s limited flight for a few seconds at least. AHRI (R, Situational) - Charm would probably have its uses but its too socially indecent for the most part, and lasts too short. Spirit Rush can be handy for hectic kitchen operations. AKALI (AA, Handy) - Having pretty much a knife at all times is really good if boy scout ever taught me anything. Twilight Shroud would be the coolest but, at the same time, most disruptive way to go into stealth and would get you arrested at subway stations. ALISTAR (W, Limited) - All of his abilities would be broken if you were a football player. AMUMU (Q, Situational) - Why would I even need his abilities if I can cry on command already? Also, spiderman with Q. ANIVIA (P, Must-have) - Ice wall would be fun on snow days, but the passive’s the real winner here, as it essentially gives you as long a life as you want. All you need to do to die is to shoot yourself while it’s on cooldown. That’s kinda dark, let’s move o- ANNIE (AA, Handy) - Tibbers seems like he’d be too unwieldy and violent, and the rest of her abilities seem a bit too destructive. Her auto-attacks, on the other hand, are pretty much long-ranged, targeted lighters. Really good. APHELIOS (AA, Limited) - Picking the gun itself, not to shoot stuff but to have a cute girl commentate my life. ASHE (E, Situational) - Being able to send a little bird to a faraway area to essentially have a vision of what’s up sounds like it would be fantastic but since everything is recorded now and the clairvoyance doesn’t last THAT long anyways, I’m going to have to dock this one a bit. Still, it has its uses. AURELION SOL (E, Handy) - His stars would be annoying and it’ll be something you have to deal with hitting your friends constantly. Comet of Legends is easily the best in his kit as it literally makes you fly. Unfortunately, it’s only in one direction – you can’t change it while in the air. AZIR (QWE, Situational) - I’m putting all his basic abilities here. You can’t really make the Sand Soldiers do your homework - they’re not Mr. Meseeks but you can do some cool moves with them. BARD (E, Must-have) - His passive’s pretty good ‘cuz you’ll have little booboos follow you around but you’d have to collect the thermos looking things. I’m gonna have to give it to Magical Journey for the easy elevator anywhere. BLITZCRANK (Q, Must-have) - Having pretty much an extendable arm has been my DREAM ever since I was a baby. BRAND (AA, Handy) - All of his abilities seem too destructive and fiery. Like I don’t want to hurt my mama. His auto-attacks are like Annie’s though, pretty good. BRAUM (W, Situational) - It’s between jumping on your homies or fridge door, though I think I’m gonna go with savin dem homies’ asses for the better of the two. CAITLYN (W, Situational) - The snap traps would be useful in getting rid of, like, rats. CAMILLE (E, Must-have) - Hookshot, hand’s down. C’MON! CASSIOPEIA (P, Limited) - Fuck it, snake body. CHO'GATH (R, Situational) - You get bigger and bigger with every person/animal you eat up to six times. Pretty cool. CORKI (W, Limited) - None of his abilities are really useful unless you were fighting in Vietnam in the 1960’s. I guess Valkyrie would be my choice though, just make sure nobody eats the bombs below. DARIUS (R, Limited) - All of his abilities kind of suck for doing anything other than chopping wood. In which case, his ultimate, I guess. DIANA (R, Limited) - Ultimate to pull in those homies for the group hug, you feel me? DR. MUNDO (PR, Must-have) - God-like regeneration abilities. You’re literally immune to cuts, wounds, cancer, pox, the relevant one right now… DRAVEN (Useless) - All of his abilities are useless real life-ized, honestly. The axes are way too big to be used in any meaningful way. I mean you could run a bit faster with Blood Rush, I guess. You know what else allows you to run faster? Leg day. EKKO (R, Must-have) - AN UNDO BUTTON FOR LIFE this is literally what everybody wants ELISE (R, Situational) - I’m gonna have to give this award to “transforming into an actual spider”. Shout-out to Rappel for going up stairs fast and Cocoon for tying your shoes fast. EVELYNN (P, Must-have) - Demon Shade is great if you don’t want to be detected in a public place, like if you’re a teacher at a grocery and don’t want your students seeing you. It IS camouflage though and not invisibility, so your cover will be blown if they get too close but until then, pretty good. EZREAL (E, Must-have) - Arcane Shift, easily. You can go through walls, like do I even have to explain how useful that would be? FIDDLESTICKS (Q, Limited) - I’m going with Terrify. It’s not that useful unless you’re being mugged, but having a jump scare in your pocket is some power. FIORA (W, Limited) - You can block surprise head slaps from your asshat friends, then stab ‘em with your sword. FIZZ (P, Handy) - As much as I’d love to summon a shark at my nephew’s birthday as a fun party trick, I’m going to have to go with being able to avoid foot traffic. GALIO (P, Limited) - Hero’s Entrance sounds good on paper but I don’t want to destroy my company building and the immediate surrounding every time I use it so I’ll probably just go for Hulk Smash, honestly. GANGPLANK (W, Must-Have) - I would give my left kidney to be able to pull oranges from thin air. GAREN (P, Must-have) - Pretty much the same as Dr. Mundo’s but it is slightly inferior ‘cuz you’ll stop regenerating in a fight. GNAR (P, Limited) - Kind of sucks that you can’t control WHEN you go all King Kong mode. GRAGAS (P, Must-have) - The best ability doesn’t really matter, just be thankful you have the almighty power of spawning barrels of grog hat can cure cancer. GRAVES (P, Limited) - Pretty considering you’d have a shotgun at all times. HECARIM (E, Handy) - The other abilities aren’t the best – don’t steal people’s souls, please – but Devastating Charge is pretty good so you get to your local wholefood market in a timely manner. HEIMERDINGER (Q, Limited) - Having security robots guard your front yard and backyard sounds cool, until you realize that they shut down whenever you go to work. ILLAOI (E, Limited) - I don’t think Nagakaborous would approve of what I’d use THOSE tentacles for. But yeah, I’d go with being able to pull my friend’s soul to fuck around with a bit. IRELIA (AA, Must-have) - I’d honestly go with her floating blade things for her best asset ‘cuz you’d have six floating knives all the time. It kind of reminds me of Hawks from Boku no Hero. IVERN (R, Handy) - As much as I’d want to fuck up my asshole neighbor’s lawn by spawning as much grass as my cooldown allows, I’m gonna have to go with having the most badass ride to work ever. JANNA (W, Handy) - Her autos would be a portable fan pretty much, which sounds cool but I feel that your arm would give out after a while. I’m not going with Howling Gale or Monsoon because tornadoes are dangerous so I’m going with the tiny bird following you around forever. Also, ghosting. JARVAN IV (R, Limited) - I could have picked having a cool shield on command but terraforming just seems cooler. JAX (AA, Limited) - I’m pretty sure having a lamp post at any time has its uses. JAYCE (E, Limited) - The hammer and blaster are a bit too big for them to be particularly useful. You can place an Acceleration gate at a narrow path or something, I don’t know. JHIN (AAP, Limited) - The gun is small and really cool looking, so that one easily. I can shoot cans in my backyard like in his recall. Exploding roses are a close second, though. JINX (Q, Limited) - You get- check this out – TWO guns. KAI'SA (WR, Limited) - The mark to dash combo for me is the winner, though it is still a bit too situational. It’s really good if you’re like a cop and you’re chasing down someone, I guess. KALISTA (E, Must-have) - Sentinel would be a home security system with a screamer. KARMA (ER, Situational) - Speed boost for you and the boys is always sweet. KARTHUS (P, Limited) - I’d say staying alive just long enough to say one last goodbye to your family is much better than killing literally every human being in the world. KASSADIN (R, Must-have) - You can just throw the rest of your kit in the trash. Riftwalk has a short enough cooldown to be used for both going through walls and travelling faster. God-like. KATARINA (E, Handy) - Shunpo is not quite as good as any other blink considering you can only teleport to your knife or a person or animal. It IS still a blink, so it gets a high rating. KAYLE (W, Must-have) - Intervention sounds great on paper, but I can’t really see myself giving the best ability to something that isn’t curing vile diseases. KAYN (Ruined by Kayn) - You really want a loudmouth demon live inside you? I don’t think so. KENNEN (E, Limited) - You can’t trigger Electrical Surge without hitting someone with your shuriken, by the way. Also, I wouldn’t want to short circuit literally everything in my house whenever I use anything in my kit. KHA'ZIX (E, Situational) - If the evolved wings would actually make you fly, then it would get a higher score. As it stands, the kit is situational sans jumping high and brief invisibility with his ultimate. KINDRED (R, Must-have) - I have to give the best ability award to “saving your friend from cancer”, of course, but I’m just happy having an ethereal dog spinning around me. KLED (P, Must-have) - On a similar vein, I imagine paleontologists going crazy over you literally riding a dinosaur. KOG'MAW (Useless) - You don’t need Kog’Maw’s kit to vomit, my dude. LEBLANC (P, Situational) - Okay, there’s a lot to unpack with this one. First of all, the clone only pops out when you’re severely injured. Secondly, the first cast of Distortion is a dash, meaning it doesn’t go through walls. You can still do creative stuff with it, but it’s not as good as an Arcane Shift or Riftwalk. Thirdly, Ethereal Chains is only for binding, not for pulling stuff to you like a Blitzcrank hook. Lastly, Mimic would be much better on a different kit. Overall, kind of limited. LEE SIN (AAQWER, Handy) - Imagine a Muai Thai fighter with Insec mechanics. LEONA (W, Limited) - You’re gonna need one of these to use any ability, honestly. LISSANDRA (AA, Must-have) - I wouldn’t want to cause a local Ice Age then die immediately with her ultimate. I’m going with the tiny ice shard auto-attacks. I’ll be literally the coolest person at the party. LUCIAN (E, Limited) - His dash in the animation looks cool as heck, I want that one. LULU (P, Handy) - I would love to have a tiny Tinkerbell follow me around, why not? LUX (W, Situational) - All of her abilities are about making light. Flashlights ARE useful ‘cuz they last for until the battery runs out. Your abilities don’t unfortunately, but I’m gonna give the best ability award to Prismatic Barrier ‘cuz at least it gives a shield as well as light. MALPHITE (R, Limited) – Slamming time. MALZAHAR (W, Limited) - I’m sure the large horrifying purple ants you can summon at any time would grow on you after a while. Every single ability is literally mind manipulation. It’s MORE mind destruction, actually, ‘cuz you’re moreso brainwashing them. MAOKAI (W, Limited) - Imagine being able to throw malevolent fetuses. MASTER YI (W, Handy) - The other abilities are okay if you’re into arnis, I guess. I’d love to have Meditate, though. To take a moment out of the hustle and bustle of the world. MISS FORTUNE (P, Limited) - Strut. Easily. MORDEKAISER (R, Handy) - Shadow realm joke, yeah yeah. In all seriousness, it’s honestly fairly good, as it’s pretty much stealth for you and someone for a few seconds PLUS you can bring stuff in there, too. It’s just a few seconds, but you can probably finish, like, a Snickers, in that time. MORGANA (E, Handy) - You can put a magic shield on yourself so boiling oil won’t get to you. (cooking with oil meme) NAMI (W, Must-have) - I could honestly give the best ability to any of ‘em. Waterbending while, at the same time, being able to generate your own water supply is ridiculously useful. Ebb and Flow is the definite winner, though. A portable, targeted bath of spirit water is sublime. (spirit water avatar) NASUS (Useless) – Remember that your ultimate causes a sandstorm. NAUTILUS (W, Situational) - A massive shield. The rest of your abilities have enough power to destroy downtown Detroit. I don’t live in America but downtown Detroit always sounded cool whenever I hear it on TV. NEEKO (P, Must-have) - Throw the rest of her abilities to the trash except Shapesplitter, which alone would still give her the Handy rating at least. Let’s talk about Inherent Glamour. Since humans are considered champions by our rules, you can transform into anybody you know. What’s more, you get their clothes and voice, too! Since you’ll probably never use any other ability, you’ll never break your disguise and can pretend to be somebody for as long as you want! You can pretend to be the president and have God mode. You can be Kanye for a day. You can pretend to be a famous YouTuber and stir up drama. There’s so much stuff you can do! NIDALEE (ER, Must-have) - If a cougar uses her ultimate, does she become Cougar level 2? NOCTURNE (W, Must-have) None of his abilities are particularly useful. Spell shields are useless ‘cuz you’re the only person with powers. Unspeakable Horror is a horror movie in your pocket, I guess? This one’s almost Useless tier honestly. NUNU & WILLUMP (W, Limited) - Biggest Snowball Ever! Would be cute, especially considering you don’t even need snow to start rolling. OLAF (AA, Handy) - If the axes were as big as Darius’, this would have a Useless rating honestly. As it stands, the hatchets have their uses. Like, uh, fixing a picket fence. ORIANNA (PQ, Limited) - The sum of its parts is definitely better than the individual here. Though, you can’t even sit on the ball, ‘cuz it’ll just pop up back on your head. If you can attach controllable hands to the ball, then it would be much handier. ORNN (Q, Limited) - The cute little Thor hammer is my pick. Thank god for our spectral weapon rule considering how heavy it would be to carry around otherwise. PANTHEON (AA, Limited) - Like Galio’s ultimate, Grand Starfall would wipe out a city block from the map. His other abilities don’t fair too well, either. I’ll give it to the spear but this is very borderline Useless tier. POPPY (AA, Limited) - I’ll take an oversized hammer over an oversized axe, at least. PYKE (AA, Limited) - Bone Skewer is pretty much a much worse Rocket Grab. Ghostwater Dive is camouflage, so that one I guess. Death from Below is a blink and has its uses, just make sure you don’t decapitate the folks in the next room. The knife is great, though. QIYANA (Useless) - Yeah, no. The circle blade is too big and you would probably sooner cut your own head of before getting good at using it. Dashes in general are pretty useless and, if used irresponsibly, you’d destroy every housing unit in a subdivision with Supreme Display of Talent. Also, invisibility is only useful when they don’t draw attention to yourself, which the grass augment does unfortunately. QUINN (R, Handy) - Your ultimate causes you to shoot down crossbow bolts from the sky, so it might not be as useful as you might think. RAKAN (R, Limited) - You’ll need to hit something with a quill to heal, which isn’t the best. Overall, kinda bad outside of the instant harem. RAMMUS (Q, Situational) – You’d be Sonic pretty much. REK'SAI (E, Situational) - Tunnel would be the only dash that would logically allow you to go through walls. It sounds good on paper but in reality, the mayor of your city probably won’t approve of you having a tunnel system from your house to KFC. RENEKTON (Useless) – Your ultimate causes a sandstorm. Everything else isn’t too useful. RENGAR (R, Limited) - If you live in like, tribal woods then sure, all your abilities would be an absolute treat. Otherwise, Thrill of the Hunt has a nice long length of camouflage. RIVEN (E, Situational) - The sword isn’t even together! Seriously, though. Your abilities aren’t too useful, but the shield is cool, I guess. RUMBLE (W, Situational) - Ooooh, I’d love to just have a big, rickety, unstable robot. Flamespitter and Equalizer are too destructive, but the shield is okay, I guess. RYZE (R, Must-have) - I would say that Realm Warp is THE best teleport ability besides Destiny. It doesn’t go nearly as far as Twisted Fate’s Destiny, but Realm Warp can teleport both you AND your friends, as well as any stuff between the both of you. And it can go through walls, too! SEJUANI (P, Limited) - I’d like to ride a large piggy, why not? I mean, he looks clean for the most part. SENNA (E, Situational) - Dawning Shadow would wipe out every living animal and human being around the equator if you use it from the Philippines, so no to that. Curse of the Black Mist could lead to fun shenanigans with your friends, though. (Spongebob ghosts) SETT (P, Must-have) - Closing wounds is great, of course. The rest of kit is badass, though. No Jojo reference, you fucks. SHACO (Q, Handy) - Deceive is a mix of a blink and invisibility. Literally a nothing personel, kid. Hallucinate could be a stand-in for like office meetings or something but it lasts too short and explodes. (explode green screen) SHEN (R, Must-have) - Your friend can fly to, like, Portugal or something. Then you can Stand United to ‘em, free ticket. Or, to the younger audience members, TP to one of your friends ALREADY at school. There’s probably a lot more applications that I’m too mentally deficient to think of. SHYVANA (R, Limited) - TRANSFORMING INTO A FUCKING DRAGON is actually not too beneficial to you but HEY YOU’VE PROBABLY BEEN DRAWING DRAGONS SINCE YOU WERE A KID AND NOW YOU’RE ONE. SINGED (R, Limited) - Insanity Potion would be good but I feel that it’d be unpleasant to take. Like, the DEA might break into your house. SION (Useless) - All of his abilities would be bad and slaughter everybody around you, especially Unstoppable Onslaught. SIVIR (R, Situational) - Speed boost for your friends is sweet. The boomerang blade looks very sharp and would probably sooner kill you then you getting good at using it. SKARNER (W, Situational) - Unlike the Bard chimes which pop out all over the map, Crystal Spires have fixed spots where they can spawn. Maybe they’ll spawn in specific areas of the world? In any case, none of the abilities are particularly useful. Skarner would probably get a Useless rating if not for Crystalline Exoskeleton, which is a shield and running shoes rolled into one. Don’t Impale your friends. SONA (W, Must-have) - Aria of Perseverance, easily. It’s also your best song. SORAKA (R, Must-have) - Soraka’s Wish would be like, a reverse Thanos snap…that doesn’t make sense. It rids everybody’s ailments pretty much. Plus, with our rules, you can choose WHO to heal, as well. Don’t want dangerous criminals to suddenly have their guts shwoop back inside their stomach. SWAIN (E, Limited) - Vision of Empire, maybe? Everything else is too violent. Also, a demon would live inside you, but at least he’s nice and quiet. SYLAS (E, Limited) - Hijack would be badass in a world where everybody has special abilities. Abscond Abduct is Amumu bandage, though, so pretty good. SYNDRA (Useless) - Unless those balls have grape jelly filling, I don’t want any of ‘em. TAHM KENCH (R, Must-have) – Eat stuff without getting even fatter. Abyssal Voyage is a transport service for you and a buddy. TALIYAH (P. Handy) - You’d be like Toph pretty much. Your basic abilities don’t last too long, but Rock Surfing is great. TALON (E, Handy) - Parkour is cool. TARIC (Q, Must-have) - Wow, awarding the best ability to the heal again? What a fucking surprise. TEEMO (P, Situational) - You disappear after a few seconds when you’re in front of the PC. Neckbeards disappear forever and are declared dead. THRESH (W, Handy) - Death Sentence would probably be my pick, but Dark Passage would be a cool rescue tool. TRISTANA (AA, Limited) - Rocket Jump would fuck up the floor every time you use it, which doesn’t really matter ‘cuz you’ll probably die from the blast anyways. You’d have a rocket launcher, I guess. TRUNDLE (W, Limited) - Club too big. The ice shlong is great to pull out on hot summers. TRYNDAMERE (Q, Limited) - You get a really crappy heal from Bloodlust, but it’s a heal nonetheless. TWISTED FATE (R, Must-have) - Be careful of jetlag and immigration police when you choose to teleport to Paris for fresh baguettes every Sunday. TWITCH (Q, Handy) - All your other abilities would smell like sewer water to be honest. Ambush is a classic choice for a good ability to have in real life, though its duration has been nerfed a long time ago. Still good. UDYR (QW, Limited) - All of ‘em have their uses, but I’m gonna go with Bear for moving fast and Turtle for protection. URGOT (No organs) - Yeah, you really want to look like that guy from Monster Inc.? I don’t think you would even be able to eat, ‘cuz your whole digestive system was thrown out. VARUS (AA, Limited) - By our rules, you’d only get the bow, ‘cuz none of your abilities are relevant to the two gay dudes inside Varus. Unlike Kayn whose passive revolves around a chatty Darkin. With hat said, their still not terribly good. Your best asset would be your bow, which looks sick as fuck at least. VAYNE (AA, Limited) - The invisibility is just too short to be significant. Not Useless, but very close. Also, both mini and regular crossbows look sweet. VEIGAR (Useless) - Dark Matter would cause a crater the size of like the one in Mexico. VEL'KOZ (Useless) - Getting intel on someone would be a lot better if you didn’t have to spit roast them. VI (Q, Limited) - Blast Shield would be the winner but it only triggers on caving someone’s face in. I’m going with Vault Breaker ‘cuz Assault and Battery needs a target and is illegal in most of the United States. VIKTOR (W, Limited) - If there was an ability that’s JUST the third hand without needing to fire a deadly laser, then that one. Unfortunately, everything else isn’t too practical. VLADIMIR (Reliant on the succ) - None of these abilities refresh your blood tank other than Transfusion, which needs a target. You’d probably die into a pool of blood immediately from anemia when you use literally any ability. VOLIBEAR (P, Handy) - Chosen of the Storm would suddenly trigger when you’re, like, 80 and almost dying. It’ll be a wholesome second wind. WARWICK (Sensory overload) - Because Blood Hunt is global, you’d smell EVERY SINGLE INJURED PERSON IN THE WORLD. Can you imagine how much that would fuck up your senses? WUKONG (W, Situational) - Warrior Trickster would be cool but I feel your buddies would get annoyed at you when you use it too much. XAYAH (AA, Limited) - You’d have very crappy knives, I guess. XERATH (Useless) – Pure destructive magic won’t be terribly useful. XIN ZHAO (AA, Limited) - The spear is like, sixty feet long. YASUO (W, Handy) - Wind Wall destroys projectiles, as far as I’m concerned. So it’s a portable trash compactor, pretty much. YORICK (AA, Limited) - If cemetery graves count as Graves for your passive, then that would be a wacky trip to the morgue. Otherwise, Yorick’s abilities would be kinda useless unfortunately. You have a free shovel, though. Sweet. You can use it like, eat cereal. YUUMI (W, Handy) - You can be somebody’s ethereal spirit, pretty much. Best part is the person has no choice on whether or not you can integrate into them and just have to deal with your annoying ass. ZAC (P, Must-have) - Oooh, this is a great one. It works pretty much the same as Anivia’s, except you turn into blobs. As long as a serial killer doesn’t step on them or something, it’s pretty much immortality. The rest of your abilities would probably just be a an absolute joy to use. Who doesn’t want to have the consistency of Jello? ZED (W, Handy) - Living Shadow is a blink, so that one. I do think that it works differently compared to other blinks in that it probably won’t go through walls ‘cuz you use a shadow instead of just popping out the spot you want. It would probably still work through stuff like gratings, though. ZIGGS (AA, Limited) - Way too bomb-y to be anything other than Limited. ZILEAN (R, Must-have) - Yes, you can use it on yourself. But the best part of this ability that puts it above every other immortality spell is that you can use it on OTHER PEOPLE and save their asses. Also, as someone on Reddit told me. You work as a doctor. You put Chronoshift on your patient, kill them, then voila! All good. It’s not unethical or macabre at all. Rewind unfortunately only reduces the cooldown of two specific abilities and doesn’t work like Ekko’s Chronobreak. ZOE (R, Situational) - Now you’re thinking with portals. (thank you, 2000s memes) ZYRA (W, Limited) - The flowers look nice, I guess. Thank you for reading all of that. Hope you have good health and Challenger smurfs in your future games.
2020.05.06 16:59 BufuuEgyptNew and Old: Into the Past - The Building Blocks
Chapter 1: The Building Blocks Lucy looked at herself skeptically as she finished putting on her school uniform in her room. She had tried it the day before on Sunday, but now that it was Monday - the actual day for the first day of school, she was wondering if it looked right—if it looked okay on her. Her parents assured her that she did, and while it did help, it didn’t make the feeling go away. And she felt she knew why it wouldn’t, even if she knew why it was simple and childish. “...What would he think of this,” Lucy muttered with a frown. She looked at the drawer near her where there was a flower hairpin. She took it and looked at it for several seconds, wondering if she should wear it, and she did. It goes well with her appearance...from what she had heard, “...I guess I better get to school,” she says after taking a look at the clock in her room. Heading out to the living in her apartment, she is greeted by her mother who was at the kitchen counter, “Oh, are you heading off already? Don’t you want to eat some more before you leave?” “I’m okay, Mom,” Lucy reassured her, “I feel this breakfast can last me until lunch break. Can’t wait to eat what you’ve prepared.” “I’m always glad to hear that,” said Lucy’s mother. As Lucy went to the front door of her apartment to put on her shoes, her own mother left the kitchen and joined her at the front, “By the way, Lou, are you planning to meet Darrell?” “...No, not today.” “Eh? But, you two always walk to school together.” “...Just not today, Mom. I’ll just head to school myself,” Lucy explains and finishes donning her footwear, “I think he’d like that anyway.” “What happened between you two? Since a month ago, it looks like you’ve been distant.” “It’s nothing.” “It can’t be nothing. Even his mother’s wondering why you haven’t been coming over.” “...I’ll probably tell you some other time, Mom,” Lucy finally sat up and tapped her feet against the ground just to get her shoes in a more comfortable position, “I’m heading off now.” “See you when you get back…” Leaving, Lucy closes the door to her apartment and looks both ways to see if her friend that her mother mentioned was around. He lived on the floor below her in ther apartment complex, so it was more easy to run into him than it was to avoid him. She was on the 5th floor, and her friend was on the 4th, so she hoped she didn’t run into him now because she wasn’t in the mood to see him, and she hadn’t been since almost a month ago. She not only had not come over to his place like her mother had mentioned, since that’s how it was, but she ignored his calls and refused to talk to him nearly every time, and when she ever did, it was brief. She didn’t know how long she was planning to play it this way, neither was she planning it to be like this, and neither does she want it to keep going like this, but it just is. “...Just this morning, let it go on,” Lucy pleaded to herself as she entered the 4th floor through the staircase and made way until she made it down to street-level, and she didn’t see him, “Okay, good, he’s not here.” With that relief in mind, Lucy left the vicinity of the complex and went to a station that was quite the walk, but fair, where she would take a train to head to her new school. Once Lucy arrived at school, she found out where she was at through the class listings. It was at Class 1-D. On the same listing, she found that her friend’s name was not in the same class as her, but at another, Class 4-D. “Yes…! He’s not...with me…” She was excited for like the first seven seconds, until it hit her that he wasn’t going to be in the same class as her, which was how it always had been since their first-year in junior high. But now it seemed high school wasn’t going to hit her with this unknown karma she somehow got by putting them in different classes. Perhaps this could be her chance to turn over a new leaf in high school, to meet new people and start new relationships. But of course, that was easier than done. “...So this is my seat,” Lucy said to herself as she arrived at Class 1-D. Her seat was conveniently located in the corner of the class, taking the last seat on the first row near the window. As she was getting comfortable where she was at, and started to stare out the window, somebody had come into view, taking the vacant seat that was in front of her. It was a girl with brown pigtails. She placed her own school bag on the hook located on the side of the desk just like what Lucy had done with her. The girl sat on the chair sideways so that her legs were sticking slightly out into the little walkway in between their row and the next one over, and then she faced Lucy. “Hello there,” she smiled with her greeting. “Oh, hi.” “It’s nice to meet you…” Aya trailed off as she looked at her as if there was something to solve, “Lucy, right? That’s the name I saw that was behind me on the seating arrangements.” “Yeah, that’s me,” Lucy nodded to her and tried to do the same for what Aya did to her. But she didn’t really pay attention to the listings since all she did was skimming over it as it was only her name she was looking for, “You’re… Uh...” “Aya. My name’s Aya,” After introducing herself, she brought her right hand out to her, “It’s nice to meet you, Lucy.” “Oh, yeah, likewise,” Lucy brought her hand to her’s and they did a short handshake. Aya certainly was an outgoing girl unlike how she was herself, being able to talk so casually and friendly to someone she had met. That was something she wishes she could do herself, but couldn’t bring herself to do. “By the way, I take it that you’re not from my junior high, right? The one from the south of here.” “Yeah, that’s right. I’m from the north.” “Right? I just got that feeling by glance. Guess I was right to judge a book by its cover, right?” Aya chuckled a bit and Lucy felt amused already. “I guess so.” “You know, I’ve seen quite the amount of familiar faces as I came here, and I tell you it’s not what I was thinking was going to happen at all,” Aya waves her right hand with her eyes closed, “They’re not my friends, but still a fact that I know some of these people. Even some of my old friends are also here.” “What’s wrong? Isn’t it good that you know them?” “Yeah, but it feels like nothing has really changed at all, though if it’s like that. A new year, a new school means a new me, right?” “That is an interesting way of seeing it. Why think that way?” “Because as you said, it’s interesting to try new things,” Aya explains as she looked around at the other students in the class chatting away, “Just like how I’m planning to also make new friends. So with that said, I hope we become good friends, Lucy, from this point on out.” “Eh? Really?” Lucy’s eyes widened. It’s not that she didn’t want it. It was nice and comforting. It was just that Aya was being so straight-forward with it, “...Yeah, I’d like that, Aya. I hope we become good friends.” “I know we will be. I just feel it. It’s the foundation. The building blocks of something, I tell you.” “...Do you happen to read manga?” “I do. Quite a bit, especially the high school ones. Why?” “Nothing, I was just wondering,” Lucy smiles. ‘Now I see why she thinks in such a way.’ Classes startedd, and as it went on Lucy realized something - that espite it only being the first day, which seems like it would usually be a breeze, the atmosphere was certainly different, or rather intimidating for the first day, even though it was mostly introductory as he was expecting. Note-taking and explaining from the teachers of what to expect not only from classes, but high school itself. Though with all this said, Lucy feels it may be intimidating due to it being just the first day, because she recalls a similar feeling during her first day in junior high.
"Okay, that'll be all for today's classes. You're dismissed." "Hey, Lucy, want to go check out some clubs?" Aya asks that immediately as the teacher says those words. Everyone began packing up their own things and began to leave. "Clubs? Um, what are you planning to join?" "Nothing in particular. I was just thinking it would be nice to. So it can change up our high school routine, you know?" "I know what you're saying…" Lucy shrugged and retrieved her bag, "It can't hurt to check for a bit, so let's go." "That's great! Let's get a move on." In a building separate from the main one they were in was where they went. It was a building used for mainly clubs and unused classrooms by the looks of it. "So, Lucy, what clubs were you in junior high?" "Clubs." Lucy said the after school activity as she heard the question. It wasn't even something she needed to think about, "I was in the Go-Home Club." "Really? Your school didn't require you to join a club?" "Yeah. Though if I had to maybe I would join…" Lucy trailed off, "Maybe I would join… Clubs must not be for me. What about you?" "I haven't been in clubs either, so I was wondering if that would change this year." "So you were in the same club as me, then," Lucy laughed lightly. There were many clubs they passed as they wandered around the building from ones she had seen before at her old school, like the Art Club, Drama Club, Astronomy Club, Drama Club and what was the most interesting out of them was the Concert Band one. But overall, they both couldn't come to a decision. "In the end, nothing came out of it, huh?" Aya remarks unsatisfied as they enter a train together. She apparently takes the same train to get off and arrive, except that her stop is earlier than Lucy's. "Yeah. But that's fine. I don't think we should make a decision like that so quickly just to feel like we're doing something new," assured Lucy as she sat on a seat with Aya next to her. "I mean I guess. Maybe something will come sooner or later " "If not, we can just go home every time." "You must be fun at parties, huh? Unless you don't go to parties either." "Not really, no." "It'll take time, I'm sure of it. And when that time comes, you'll join me, right, Lucy?" "I'm not sure about that." "You're really not interested in anything? What about that music one? You seemed interested in it." "Yeah, just interested because I always found it nice that if I was able to play one," Lucy said in awe, bubbles of thought appearing near her, "But just for fun of course, because I'm not sure what I'd do with such a skill." "Become a musician, perhaps?" Aya brought a hand up as she suggested that. "Would be nice, but not really my goal." "Well, what is your goal?" "..." Lucy turned away from her new friend's gaze to look out the window across from her. The outside view passing by quickly just as fast as the train was going, "...I don't really have one to be honest. I've just been going through the years like this. But maybe, designing stuff?" "Like shirt designs?" "More on the line of interior. You know, like how you see preview images of houses on the Internet?" "Oh, like that." "Through my searching I've found a real estate agency called Nook's Homes, interestingly enough. But it's not in this city but somewhere else and is run by some tanuki guy." "Nook's Homes? Tanuki guy?" Aya closed her eyes and folded her arms, "You must be talking about Tom Nook." "Do you know him?" Lucy was surprised. She had rarely seen animalfolk herself growing up, as she had lived in the city where it was humans. Animalfolks lived in a separate area, and from what she had heard and read, they even lived out in little towns in the countryside. "Not personally. But father has mentioned him. He's president of Nook Inc. and has quite the staff that deals with interior designing," Aya nudged Lucy playfully, "What if you end up working for him?" "That would be quite the opportunity, but I don't see that happening anytime soon." "Haha, it sure would, wouldn't it?" Aya laughed. She looked out the window behind her. Her stop was coming, "Well, it seems like I'm about off. See you tomorrow, Lucy. It was nice to meet you." "Yup, I could say the same. See you tomorrow, Aya." The train had come to a stop and Aya got off her seat. She waved bye to Lucy and went towards the train exit that was near where they were sitting. With her leaving someone else had come in with the sound of light steps. Lucy turned her head slightly to look and was met with the sight of her friend whom she hadn't seen for the whole day. Darrell. A childhood friend of Lucy since they were kids, and was the one she was avoiding for the whole day. He was a guy with short brown hair and brown eyes. And while she felt glad to see him despite not wanting to, she felt herself pout, and remember why she avoided him in the first place "Yo, so this is where you were," he greeted with a wave of his left hand since he had his phone in his right hand. "Uhuh..." she replies with that and looks forward, away from his gaze. "Eh? Hey, say something, it's me, Lou," Darrell remarks as if she didn't know that, and goes over to sit next to her but before he can Lucy places her bag between her so that there was no space and he'd had to be farther. "...Hey, what's this for?" "If you don't like it go sit somewhere else," Lucy says, keeping her face forward. "...What's your problem?" Darrell wondered. After he took his seat the train began to move. "I don't have a problem," Lucy lied. "Yes, you do. If there was no problem then you wouldn't do this. You wouldn't avoid me like you did today. You also haven't been coming over, either." Lucy finally faced him directly, "Well, you told me not to talk to you, so I'm not talking to you." "Huh? Since when did I say that?" "You don't remember?" Lucy pouted at him. "Um…" he folded his arms and leaned back, "If you be nice to me I'll remember?" "Don't talk to me, Darrell," Lucy spat out and began to scoot herself away from him. "Whoa, hey, hey, Lou, I was just joking!" "So, what then?" "I honestly don't know what you're going on about." "...After our junior high graduation ceremony, I asked if you wanted to come over to my place to eat, yes? And then you called me ugly, adding to not talk to you anymore." "...Oh, that?" It seemed the memory finally hit him now. "That's because you asked it in front of the others. And really? You're upset over something like that?" Darrell asks in disbelief as he scooted closer to her. "'Something like that'? You insulted me because I asked you a question. If you think it's embarrassing, then don't be near me," and with that, she points to a seat at the end of the far end of the train car. "Whoa are you really going to do this because of that? It was an honest mistake. It just came out." "Well, I asked you an honest question." "Alright, alright. Sorry, Lucy, please. Forgive me for saying such things," Darrell placed his hands together and bowed his head, "Sorry, sorry," Lucy looked at him and then at the others in the same car as them. It was okay that their conversation wasn't loud, but it was very obvious that what Darrell was doing could not be hidden. "Okay, okay, that's enough please. I don't like this sight." "So you're forgiving me?" he stopped what he was doing. "I didn't say that. I just don't want people looking at us because of what you're doing." And that of course, what she said, was a lie. Well, not exactly. It's like half-half, since at least he seems to get the message. "Sure it is. So thanks for forgiving me. Sorry, I said something like that." "Well, I'm sorry I acted this way. "...I'll gladly put how I acted as me deserving of it" Darrell nodded. "Good," Lucy removed her bag from the space in between them and Darrell began to move, but as he did, Lucy moved her left foot to kick him on his shoe. "Ow, what?" "You deserve it." Taking the space between them, Darrell shook his head, "You're a child, Lou." "Coming from you? That's rich."
After arriving back at their part in the city by train, the two went back to their apartment complex together. But instead of going to their own apartments, they went to the playground near it and sat in the swing sets. It was a place that Darrell and her played countless times as they grew up, but more recently they had stopped doing it, but it still was a place for them to meet up and talk with each other. "To think we're in high school now," Lucy couldn't quite believe it as it felt like nothing had really changed. Darrell had her were still like the usual, apart from their little argument, which healed quickly. And in ways she was glad that it didn't. "Yeah, I know. I'm surprised we're not in the same class, but I guess it's because you wished you didn't want to see me so badly that it came this way." "Like I'd be like that." "You avoided me for the whole day." "...Well, about that…" "It's okay, don't worry. We're over that already. But what'd you do today, though?" "I made a new friend. Her name is Aya, and sits in front of me. She's really friendly and interesting, having come from another school, and wanting to make new friends since we're just starting high school. Actually, she was with me on the train just before you came. Tomorrow I can introduce her to you." "I'd like that." "I'm sure she would, too. And afterward when school ended, we went to go check out the other clubs together. "And let me guess, you're still in nothing," Darrell stated confidently. "Like you're in a club," Lucy gave him an equally bold look with her answer, "So, how'd your day go?" "It was okay. I was with the others, but Marlo apparently isn't here since he's at another school due to the district changes." "He's not?" Lucy asks. Marlo was a friend that Darrell made back late elementary school when they had the same district changes that are affecting them now. She never really personally talked with him that much, but she can tell that he and Darrell are alike, with video games and such, "Must be why he isn't with you." “Hopefully, he'll transfer to our school. Wouldn't make sense since he lives in pretty much the same district as us." "Yeah, that'd be nice," Lucy nodded and got up from her swing set, "Well, let's get going." "Mhm. By the way," started Darrell as he followed her out of the playground, "I'm still going strong with this mayor thing. I count you're with me?" "Like always. But I wonder when you're going to tell your parents about it?" "Soon enough.” “Oh and by the way…” Lucy started, but paused to look around before facing her childhood friend, “Do you want to come over to my place for dinner later? It’s been a while since you’ve come over and I’m sure my parents would like it.” “Yeah, sure, I’d like that. And maybe at the same time, I’ll tell them why you’ve been the way you are.” “Oh yeah? Then I’ll tell them what you said.” “...Okay, scratch that. Let’s not say anything,” Darrell surrendered bringing his hands up, “But may I add that in my class I saw this really cute girl.” Hearing that, Lucy brought her leg back and kicked him in the back as hard as she could.
Theme:Solar Sect of Mystic Wisdom ~ Nuclear Fusion (Hisoutensoku version) Utsuho Reiuji (also known by the nickname Okuu) was once a normal hell raven within Former Hell. She is one of the pets of Satori Komeiji, and was tasked with keeping the boilers of Former Hell running. Her life changed however when the mountain god Kanako Yasaka caused her to absorb the power of a sun god Yatagaras. With this newfound power Utsuho gained the ability to manipulate the ultimate source of energy... nuclear fusion. While Kanako initially intended for her to be a source of clean energy for Gensokyo, the sudden surge in power caused Utsuho to go a bit crazy. Thus she decided she would leave former hell and douse the world in nuclear fire. ...Luckily as it turns out Utsuho isn't actually malicious, and is also very stupid. Thus after Reiumu or Marisa entered former hell and beat some sense into her, she quickly calmed down. As of now she is quite happy to use her abilities to maintain former Hell's Boilers, in turn maintaining the geysers and hot springs of Gensokyo, and only really comes into conflict with others if they happen to cause issues with the nuclear reactor where she lives. Index Games
CoLA - Curiosities of Lotus Asia (this one is marked by chapter)
Symposium of Post-Mysticism is an in-universe book written by Hieda no Akyuu. Akyuu tends to exaggerate or speculate, and was specifically asked by youkai to make them seem as strong as possible, so feats from this should be taken with a grain of salt.
Danmaku: Danmaku are the "bullets" fired in a bullet hell and are able to be fired by most Gensokyo citizens. They're an essential part of duels in Gensokyo, being used to control an opponent's movement and overwhelm them. They can either be fired in intricate patterns, or just fired rapidly from a single point.
2020.05.02 22:01 tenSpaz[For Sale] Mega-List of 200ish 7' 45rpm Records From 60s-90s Most Records Are $1-2 Tons of Genres!
This is a list of nearly 200 45s compiled from everything left over from all of my previous lists (plus some I forgot to list). This will most likely be the last time I'll be posting these copies before taking them back to the record shop where I work so most of the prices have been discounted! Back with a new list of 45s for you guys. As you may already know I work for a small ma & pa record store in the Midwest and we're just trying to keep the shop viable through these strange times. The minimum order before shipping costs is $10 via PayPal. Shipping is $4 for 1-10 discs and an additional .25¢ per every disc after that via USPS media mail (Shipping is for the U.S. only but music lovers in Alaska and Hawaii please realize it may take a little more time to reach you) If you order $20 or more we'll offer 10% off your total as well as our way of thanking you. All 45s should be playable, most are in great shape, but they should all be good players. Some labels may have stickers or writing (the vast, vast majority will not though. (I've tried to make a note for every 45 that has writings or markings but I may have missed one here or there) I've also got 45 turntable adapter available for $3 each Thanks for looking! **When sending me your list of items, for each record, please list the artist name and price of each (and if there is a sleeve). Thanks!*\* $1 Abdul, Paula - Rush, Rush Adams, Bryan - Everything I Do Aerosmith - Get It Up America - California Dreamin Amos, Tori - 1000 Oceans Armstrong, Louie - Hello, Dolly! Autograph - Turn Up the Radio Bangles, The - Manic Monday Bangles, The - Eternal Flame Basil, Toni - Mickey Bee-Gees - Night Fever Bell, Reuben - Baby Love Benetar, Pat - We Belong (to the night) Benetar, Pat - Prisoner of Love Benetar, Pat - Shadows of the Night Blue Haze - Smoke Gets In Your Eyes Branigan, Laura - How Am I Supposed To Live Without You? Bridges, Alciia - I Love the Nighlife Brownsville Station - Smokin In the Boys Room Carey, Mariah - Make It Happen/Emotions (w/ jukebox card) Carnes, Kim - Bette Davis Eyes (some coloration stains on label) Cheap Trick - I Want You To Want Me Creedence Clearwater Revival - I Heard It Through the Grapevine Clarkson, Kelly - A Moment Like This Commitments, The - Chain Of Fools Commodores - Three Times A Lady Crow, Sheryl - Can’t Cry Anymore (pic sleeve w/ condition issues) Culture Club - Karma Chameleon Denver, John - Thank God I'm A Country Boy Denver, John - Sunshine On My Shoulders (stickers on label) Denver, John - Annie's Song Denver, John - Take Me Home Country Roads Derringer, Rick - Rock And Roll Hoochie Koo Doctor And the Medics - Spirit In the Sky Dorff, Steve & Friends - As Long As We Got Each Other (Theme from TV show Growing Pains) Douglas, Carl - Kung-Fu Fighting Foreigner - Hot Blooded Foreigner - Feels Like the First Time Foreigner - Waiting For A Girl Like You Frey, Glenn - The Heat Is On (pic sleeve small writing on top right corner) Go-Gos - Our Lips Are Sealed Grand Funk Railroad - The Loco-motion (braille label) Houston, Whitney - Where Do Broken Hearts Go? Hammer, Jan - Miami Vice Theme (pic sleeve) Human League - Human Idol, Billy - Mony Mony "live" Idol, Billy - Hot In the City Kajagoogoo - Too Shy Kansas - Point Of Know Return KC & the Sunshine Band - That's the Way I Like It KC & the Sunshine Band - Is the Same Old Song Kinks, The - Come Dancing Huey Lewis & the News - The Heart Of Rock & Roll Huey Lewis & the News - I Want A New Drug Lips, Inc - Funkytown Loggins and Messina - Your Mama Don't Dance Loggins, Kenny - Footloose Loggins, Kenny - I'm Alright (Caddyshack theme) Marx, Richard - Right Here Waiting (w/ jukebox card) Manilow, Barry - I Write the Songs (handwritten dates on label) McFerrin, Bobby - Don't Worry Be Happy McClean, Don - American Pie McCartney, Paul - Ebony and Ivory Meatloaf - Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad Miami Sound Machine - Conga Miami Sound Machine - Bad Boy (pic sleeve) Midler, Bette - From A Distance Money, Eddie - Heaven In the Back Seat (w/jukebox card) Nelson - Can't Live Without Your Love And Affection Newman, Randy - Short People Newton-John, Olivia - Physical Newton, Juice - Angel Of the Morning Poindexter, Buster - Hot Hot Hot (pic sleeve) Poison - Your Mama Don't Dance Quiet Riot - Bang Your Head REO Speedwagon - Take It On the Run Roth, David Lee - That's Life Roxette - Crash! Boom! Bang! (Jukebox only copy on translucent yellow vinyl) Roxette - The Look Roxette - Almost Unreal Scorpions - Coming Home Seger, Bob - Shakedown (pic sleeve) Seger, Bob - Old Time Rock & Roll Saigon Kick - Love Is On the Way Steam - Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye Steppenwolf - Born To Be Wild Stewart, Rod - Da Ya Think I'm Sexy Sylvers - Boogie Fever “Tennessee” Ernie Ford - Sixteen Tons Travolta, John & Olivia Newton-John - You're the One That I Want Travolta, John and Olivia Newton-John - Summer Nights Townshend, Peter - Let My Love Open the Door Village People - YMCA Walsh, Joe - Life's Been Good Warrant - Heaven Warrant - I Saw Red (w/ jukebox card) ZZ Top - Legs ZZ Top - Rough Boy $2 B-52's, The - Roam Bangles, The - Walking Down Your Street (pic sleeve) Beach Boys - Fun, Fun, Fun Beach Boys - Little Deuce Coupe Big Brother And the Holding Company - Down On Me Brown, Bobby - Humpin’ Around Carlisle, Belinda - Heaven Is A Place On Earth Cheap Trick - Don't Be Cruel (pic sleeve) Chordettes, The - Lollipop (on silver and burgundy Cadence label) Clapton, Eric - Lay Down Sally Crests, The - 16 Candles (name written on label) Doors - Touch Me (two small drill holes in label) Dylan, Bob - Gotta Serve Somebody Dylan, Bob - Knockin On Heaven's Door Dylan, Bob - Lay Lady Lay Dylan, Bob - Just Like A Woman Eagles - The Long Run Eagles - Witchy Woman Eagles - Lyin' Eyes Eagles - Heartache Tonight Eagles - Already Gone Fleetwood Mac - Gold Dust Woman Foreigner - Waiting For A Girl Like You (pic sleeve) Frampton, Peter - I'm In You (pic sleeve) Franklin, Aretha - Think Franklin, Aretha - Respect Franklin, Aretha - Bridge Over Troubled Water Genesis - That's All ~~Haggar, Sammy - I Can't Drive 55 (two stickers on label)~` Houston, Whitney - One Moment In Time (pic sleeve) Jackson, Michael - Rockin Robin Jackson, Michael - I'll Be There (small drill hole) Jackson, Michael - Black Or White Jackson, Michael - The Girl Is Mine Joel, Billy - Just the Way You Are (w/jukebox card) Joel, Billy - All Shook Up Joel, Billy - She's Always A Woman John, Elton - The Bitch Is Back Jon Bon Jovi - Miracle Kansas - Dust In The Wind Kansas - Carry On My Wayward Son Huey Lewis & the News - Hip To Be Square (pic sleeve) Limahl - The NeverEnding Story (pic sleeve) Los Lobos - La Bamba (pic sleeve from La Bamba soundtrack w/ typewritten label in top left corner) Lynyrd Skynyrd - Down South Jukin (promo) Lynyrd Skynyrd - Sweet Home Alabama Lynyrd Skynyrd - Free Bird Madness - Our House (pic sleeve) McCartney, Paul and Michael Jackson - Say Say Say (pic sleeve) Michael, George - Father Figure (pic sleeve w/ condition issues) Miller, Steve - Abracadabra (pic sleeve w/corner torn off) Monkees - Last Train To Clarksville Motley Crue - Smokin’ In the Boys Room New Edition - Tears On My Pillow (pic sleeve) Petty, Tom - Don't Do Me Like That Prince - Delirious Rolling Stones - Ain't Too Proud To Beg Simon and Garfunkel - Cecilia Springsteen, Bruce - Tunnel of Love (pic sleeve w/condition issues) Tiffany - I Think We're Alone Now (pic sleeve) Thin Lizzy - The Boys Are Back In Town Turner, Tina - Private Dancer (pic sleeve) Who, The - Happy Jack $3 Aerosmith - Dude Looks Like A Lady (pic sleeve) Archies, The - Bang-Shang-A-Lang (pic sleeve) Beach Boys - Surfin' USA (on Capitol yellow and orange swirl label) Benetar, Pat - Hit Me With Your Best Shot (pic sleeve) Benetar, Pat - Shadows of the Night (pic sleeve) Bowie, David - Blue Jean Collins, Phil - One More Night (pic sleeve) Costello, Elvis - Welcome To the Work Week (pic sleeve demo) Extreme - More Than Words (with jukebox card) Jackson 5 - State Of Shock (pic sleeve) Jackson, Michael - I Just Can't Stop Loving You (pic sleeve w/ original price tag) John, Elton - Nobody Wins (pic sleeve) John, Elton - Nobody Wins (translucent green vinyl) John, Elton - Get Some Funk Of Your Own (red translucent vinyl) John, Elton - Nikita (pic sleeve) John, Elton - Mama Can't Buy You Love (pic sleeve) Petty, Tom - Don't Do Me Like That (pic sleeve w/light condition issues) Prince - Raspberry Beret Queen - Another One Bites the Dust Roth, David Lee - California Girls (pic sleeve) Simon and Garfunkel - My Little Town (pic sleeve w/ year handwritten on bottom right) Stray Cats - Sexy+17/Lookin Better Every Beer (pic sleeve) U2 - Where the Streets Have No Names U2 - All I Want Is You (pic sleeve) $4 Guns N' Roses - Welcome To the Jungle (pic sleeve) Jackson, Michael - Ease On Down the Road (pic sleeve from movie The Wiz) Jackson, Michael - Man In the Mirror (pic sleeve w/ original pricetag) Prince - 1999 (pic sleeve) Zappa, Frank - Valley Girl $5 Run DMC - Walk This Way (pic sleeve) $6 Beach Boys - When I Grow Up To Be A Man (pic sleeve) (some light writing) Rydell, Bobby - Wild One (pic sleeve)
2020.04.30 01:13 JRHEvilIncFloor 19: The Rot Market
Archie and I had checked into the Hotel Non Dormiunt, and there might as well have been a competition about which of us was less happy about it. For my part, I was fuming over his father once again cancelling their weekend together at the last possible moment. The journey took two hours each way, and I could set my watch by his ‘ever-so-sorry’ phone call just before the last exit. I never used to think of him as spiteful, but I could no longer believe it was a coincidence. Or perhaps he thought I enjoyed doing laps of the motorway. Normally I’d have taken it on the chin, but this weekend I’d organised a total overhaul of our home plumbing, presuming Archie would be out and I could stay at my sister’s. I wasn’t taking my child back to a house without running water, and Sarah was still mad at me for the last unexpected babysitting request, so I resorted to the first hotel we came across that didn’t look like a drug den. If I’d have known how full the Non Dormiunt was, I’d have kept driving. We were stuck with a room on the nineteenth floor, and as if the universe had been storing up a special middle finger just for me, the elevator was out of order. Stomping up flight after flight of stairs, all I could do was stew over the situation and wonder whether the self-pity I was hauling along with me was why my bags felt so heavy. By my side, Archie was doing his best to out-unhappy me. He wasn’t particularly concerned about his father’s cancellation, which was something he had become heartbreakingly desensitised to. He wasn’t worried about a weekend away from home, seeing the hotel stay as a kind of adventure. He wasn’t even put out by climbing the seemingly infinite stairs, which he quickly turned into a game. What was preoccupying his mind, however, was his wobbly tooth. “What if it falls out while we’re here?” he asked, hopping on one stair before jumping to the next with both feet, “Are you sure the tooth fairy will know where to find us?” “Yes,” I said, “It’s a very tightly-run operation.” “But she’ll think I’m at Dad’s,” said Archie, “And there won’t be any tooth under my pillow at Dad’s house.” “Well,” I said, “she borrows her list from Santa, so she can find children wherever they are. If you put a tooth under your pillow, she’ll know.” Archie paused and considered this. Then he nodded. “Good.” We climbed the last few fights in silence. When I saw the sign for floor nineteen, I could have almost wept. I used a final burst of energy to haul my weary body through the doors, trying not to collapse as I rested our bags on the floor and caught my breath. I had almost forgot what flat ground felt like. Archie was already roaming ahead, tracing his fingers along the red and gold striped wallpaper that seemed to belong in 1920s New York – and from the dust and fading colours, it was probably old enough. I waved Archie back to my side, handed him the lightest of the bags and then picked up the rest. We set off in search of our room, ready for what I was desperately hoping would be a comfortable bed. “What’s that, Mum?” Archie asked as we passed a splotch on the wall. I couldn’t help but grimace. “That’s mould, Archie. Don’t touch it.” It was a disgusting patch of rot, bubbling out from the discoloured wallpaper in streaks of green and yellow, with all the appeal of week-old vomit. I steered Archie well clear of it and hurried to our door, dreading that we’d find similar growths in our room. Thankfully, there was no such problem. Two neat beds, clean walls, a spotless carpet; exactly what I wanted from a hotel. Of course, I’d rather the corridor be mould-free as well, but I had to admit it was better out there than in our room. “Okay Archie,” I said, “You have five minutes to pack your snacks and games into the drawers next to your bed. Anything that’s not in there when the time’s up is going back in the bag until tomorrow.” With a determined expression that lacked the exhaustion I was feeling, Archie got to work. I took advantage of his distraction to unpack my own things, which always helped me to feel more at home than living out of travel cases. Once I was done with the bedroom, and seeing that Archie was still occupied in deciding which toy robot to put in his drawer, I moved to the en suite to set out our tooth brushes and other toiletries. While I was doing that, I caught sight of myself in the mirror and immediately regretted it. I was a mess. Stray hairs were plastered down my forehead, and the bags under my eyes were bigger than the ones I’d carted up the stairs. I blew out a heavy sigh. “Coming!” said Archie from the other room. “I didn’t say anyth-” Archie ran past the bathroom door and out into the hall. Instinctively, I bolted after him. He was halfway down the corridor by the time I caught up with him, just before he came level with the mould patch. “Archie!” I snapped, “Don’t ever run off like that!” “But-” “No excuses! This is a place you don’t know and it’s full of strangers. Stay with me at all times.” He hung his head, suitably abashed, and allowed me to march him back to our room. I couldn’t help but glance back at the mould as we left. It seemed bigger than when we’d arrived. I made a mental note to tell the staff about it the next morning. When we got back inside, I locked the door, and gave Archie a lecture on the dangers of running off on his own. It wasn’t something he had done in years, and perhaps I was a bit too stern, but I was shocked that he’d go out on his own in a place like this. I thought he’d know better. He sulked after his telling-off, and I took advantage of his pointed silence to call my sister and update her on the situation. She spent a minute stating what a shame it was that we wouldn’t have the chance to catch up, and then half an hour telling me about new silly costumes that she’d ordered for her dogs. By the time she was finished, Archie had perked up enough that he wanted to speak to her as well, and from his giggles and demand for pictures, I could tell she was updating him on the dog costume situation as well. Then it was time to eat. I hadn’t packed anything for myself, presuming that I’d eat at my sister’s, so we raided the snacks that I’d packed for Archie. Since I’d put some aside for his return journey, there was just enough, and the two of us feasted on jam sandwiches, picnic fruit slices and cartons of juice. It was hardly fine dining, but there was no chance that I was tackling all of those stairs again today, so it suited me well enough. While Archie was chewing on some apple, he bobbed his head and raised his hand to his mouth. I thought he was going to vomit, and that we might end up with a mould-like splatter on the bedroom wallpaper after all, but then he turned to me and flashed a gappy smile. “Mum, look!” Archie said, holding up his tooth like a trophy. “Wonderful, Archie,” I said, “Put it under your pillow now before you lose it.” I watched as he slid the tooth under, memorising where it rested. It would be easy enough to grab once he was asleep. “She’ll definitely visit, won’t she Mum?” Archie asked. “I’m sure of it,” I said, “Now finish your food and tidy it all away, and we might have time for a film before bed.” There wasn’t much to tidy away, of course, but Archie made sure I was watching as he took his plastic wrapper and empty juice carton to the bin, and he assured me earnestly that he was then going to wash his hands with soap. While he was doing that, I booted up my laptop. Normally I’d have asked Archie what he was in the mood for watching, but it had been a tiring day, and I couldn’t risk subjecting myself to an hour and a half of ‘Frumpty Maggon and the Cave of Friendship’. Instead, I selected the least annoying of his favourites, confident that he wouldn’t think to ask for anything else. As I hovered over the play button, Archie jumped onto the bed and snuggled into my side. “Oh yay!” he chirped, “’The Last Dog of the West’! This is my favourite!” “I know,” I said, relieved that I’d been spared of Frumpty Maggon for another day. We settled in and watched in silence. Before long, Archie was slumped down, his head resting on my lap. By the time the dog had become sheriff of Bonesdale, his eyelids were barely open, flickering a little at the louder scenes, but all the while drooping further and further down. As the animals cheered and the credits rolled, Archie was entirely still. I eased my hands under his arm and head and scooped him up. He squirmed in protest. “No, one more, Mum! Please!” “It’s bedtime now, Archie,” I said, “And you want the tooth fairy to visit, don’t you? If you’re awake she won’t come for your tooth.” He clamped his hands over his mouth. As quietly as he could, he disentangled himself from my grasp, crept to his bed and crawled under the covers. “Goodnight Archie,” I said. “Shh,” he said, finger to his lips. Then, almost as soon as his head hit the pillow, he was asleep. The stairs must have tired him out more than he’d realised. All the same, I didn’t want to risk going for the tooth before he was deep enough not to notice, so I grabbed my headphones and decided to catch up on a couple of shows. It wasn’t long before my own eyelids started to sink. By the second episode, when characters were discussing events I couldn’t remember, I realised I’d probably dozed off once or twice already. I decided that I’d finish the current episode, get Archie’s tooth and then go to sleep. It would only take ten more minutes. I opened my eyes to a soft click, and Netflix asking if I was still watching. I rubbed my bleary eyes and closed the laptop. The stairs had evidently done a number on me as well as Archie. Before getting under the covers for some real sleep, I reminded myself of my promise that the tooth fairy would visit tonight. Despite my every muscle protesting the jarring loss of comfort, I pushed aside my laptop and clambered upright. I’d set aside a coin earlier, tactically hidden beneath a box of tissues, and I retrieved it now and approached Archie, peering over to make sure he was still sleeping. Confident in my assessment, I reached under his pillow and closed my hand around… nothing. I frowned. This was exactly where I’d watched him put his tooth only a few hours before. I cast my fingers about and probed deeper under the pillow, even lifting it at the edges to get a look underneath. There was no sign of the tooth anywhere. It must have slid down the side of the bed, because a cursory glance showed that it hadn’t fallen on the floor. I decided that it didn’t matter; if I couldn’t find it, Archie wouldn’t either. I slipped a coin where the tooth had been and returned to my own bed. It was a comfortable mattress, but sleep didn’t come easily. Perhaps my nap earlier had thrown me out of rhythm. I tossed and turned for easily an hour, and when I finally drifted off, my dreams were intense and uncomfortable. I don’t recall them being frightening, but they were certainly unsettling. And filled with teeth. I woke in the morning to Archie jumping on my bed. “Mum! Mum! The tooth fairy came!” I rubbed sleep from my eyes and tried to look surprised. “Oh, did she?” I asked. Archie frowned at me. “The tooth fairy’s a man,” he said. “I thought fairies were all girls,” I said. “No!” insisted Archie, “I talked to him last night!” I paused, rubbed my eyes again and helped Archie down from the bed. “You… talked to him?” I asked. “He stood over my bed and we talked about my teeth,” Archie explained, “I didn’t see his face because of the big coat but I heard his voice and he’s definitely a man. He rattles when he walks. It’s funny.” “I see. And what did you talk about?” “How he wanted my teeth and how I could get grown-up teeth instead, but I had to promise that he could have all my baby teeth when they fell out,” said Archie. “How interesting.” Archie’s enthusiasm faltered, seeing past my morning performance and sensing the disbelief beneath. “Didn’t he give you your grown-up teeth?” he asked. “Hm? Oh, of course he did,” I said, “He’s the tooth fairy, it’s his job to get all grown-ups their grown-up teeth.” To end the conversation, I fished out the travel-pack of cereal that I’d put in Archie’s bag – his father never bought the brand he liked – and told him that, as a very special treat, he could eat it out of the box instead of a bowl today. His eyes lit up like I’d given him a puppy. I put some cartoons on my laptop as he tucked in, and went to brush my teeth. My own breakfast would wait until we left the hotel for the day. It would have to, because that cereal was the last of the food I’d packed. As I mindlessly brushed, I tried to calculate what I would need to buy in order to limit leaving the room; there was no chance I was taking those stairs a single time more than needed. I spat, rinsed and reached for the towel. “Coming!” shouted Archie. My heart jolted. I ran from the bathroom in time to see Archie charge out of our room and into the hallway. Fury clashed with panic as my words from the night before ran through my mind. “Archie!” I screeched, “Get back here right now!” For a moment, there was no reply. Then, when I reached the doorway, I heard him; “Mum!” My spine turned to ice. There was fear in his voice, and when I scanned each end of the corridor, there was no sign of Archie anywhere. Surely he couldn’t have reached the stairs already? The doors to the other rooms were all closed, and there seemed nowhere that he could be hiding. I wasn’t even certain what direction he was calling me from. I staggered out of our room, unsure where to turn. “Archie?” “Mum!” That time, I heard exactly where it came from. I ran towards the mould, which overnight had grown from the floor to the ceiling, and shouted into it; “Archie!” From the other side, there were voices. Indistinct, too muffled to make out words, but voices all the same. And beyond them all, desperate to be heard, was Archie. “I’m coming!” I cried. I didn’t know what else to do. I reached out and pressed into the rot. It crumbled beneath my fingers like mouldy bread. I expected to hit the wall, but instead my hand pushed deeper and deeper, until the meagre resistance of the mould fell away entirely. Through the hole that appeared, a gentle breeze wafted at my face, bringing with it a stench so foul that I fell back as if struck. The voices were louder now. Covering my nose, I peered through. I couldn’t believe what I saw. Through this wall, that should have led into another guest’s bedroom, I saw an entire street stretching off into the distance. Shops and market stalls rose up on either side, with dozens of patrons milling about, calling to one another in a language that was alien to me. Above them, instead of a ceiling or the twentieth floor that I knew existed mere feet above my own head, was a boundless night’s sky. I had no explanation for how this street could exist behind the wall of a hotel, but Archie was in there somewhere, and I had to get him back. I tore at the mould, throwing chunks down at my feet until the hole was large enough for me to climb through. The smell was awful, and my hands were coated in rotten matter. Still, I forced myself to continue. My feet landed on cobblestones, and I peered through a darkness lit by lanterns and sconces. Everywhere I turned, my mind struggled to make sense of the sights and sounds, as though I were walking through a delirium dream. I tried to focus. “Please,” I said to each stall owner and every passing group, “I’ve lost my son. Have you seen a young boy? His name is Archie. Please?” They turned their faces from me, not sparing a word. I pleaded, clutched at clothes, shook shoulders, but no one so much as made eye contact. As the thronging, impassive crowds grew denser around me, their babble swelling ever louder, I realised that I could no longer hear Archie’s cries. I collapsed, mouthing his name. He was gone. Somewhere in this strange, alien place, Archie was being taken from me, and I might never see him again. Tears drenched my cheeks, falling to the cobblestones as I sank deeper into despair. Around me, the market continued unfazed. I was utterly alone. “Are you trying to find your son?” My head shot up. Standing over me, wringing gloved hands and masked by a lace shawl, was a diminutive old lady. At least, I took her to be an old lady from her voice, which had the soft, kind lilt of a grandmother, though tinged with an accent I couldn’t place. It made my ears itch. “Yes,” I said, “Please help me. Do you know where he is?” She nodded, her whole body rocking with the motion, and pointed to an alleyway ahead. “The Tooth Merchant has a new boy that might be yours,” she said, “Around the corner and on the left.” “Thank you! Oh, thank you!” I gasped, scrambling to my feet and hurtling through the stalls. “Be ready to trade!” called the old lady from behind. By the time I had registered her words, I was already making my way through the winding alleyway, casting my eyes in all directions for any sign of Archie. Then I saw him. Behind a mottled wooden stall, over the shoulder of a looming, hooded figure, Archie lay suspended along a wall. He was wrapped in blankets, his head pressed deep into a pillow. He looked to be sleeping safely in bed, but from his impossible angle, he should have slid straight to the ground. I didn’t have time to work out what was keeping him pressed to the mattress. “Archie!” The stall owner turned its head towards me. “The boy can’t hear you,” came a booming voice. “What have you done to him?” I cried, “Give him back! Please!” I pressed myself against the stall, trying to get closer to Archie. Its surface was slick. Wet. I realised with looming horror that what I had first thought to be mottled wood was in fact thousands upon thousands of teeth. They stretched from the cobblestone ground to each corner of the stand, wedged so neatly together that I couldn’t spot a single gap. The merchant stepped towards me, heavy coat rattling. “The boy made a deal,” came the voice, though not from the hood this time, “His teeth are mine. When the last has come free from his mouth, you may take what’s left.” “You can’t do this,” I said, “I’ll… I’ll call the police!” “Yes, I’ve heard of these ‘police’ many times before,” said another part of the coat, “They never make it this far into the market. Tell me, do they have teeth?” The lazy confidence of the question caught me off-guard. “Of course,” I mumbled. “Then I should very much like to meet them,” said the coat. It was no use. This Tooth Merchant dwarfed me, was evidently unafraid of anything I could summon up as a threat, and no doubt had more support from the strangers of this alien market than I could rally to my side. I took a deep breath – ignoring the rancid odour of the place – and forced myself to think. If I couldn’t threaten and couldn’t plead, how could I save my son? The words of the old lady returned to me. “A trade!” I snapped. The hood dipped to one side, and though I couldn’t see the eyes beneath it, I could tell I was being regarded with curiosity. “You like to trade, right?” I continued, “Well name your price! Do you want me instead? Take me, and let Archie go.” The Tooth Merchant chuckled. Or rather, every pocket of the coat chuckled. “You would sacrifice yourself in exchange for this boy?” asked the hood. “Without a second thought,” I said. I glared into the darkness of the coat, unflinching. We both knew I meant every word. After a pause, the hood nodded. “Excellent. Then you will think nothing of running a small errand, instead. Complete it for me, and you may take the boy, teeth and all.” “Anything,” I said. A gloved fist emerged from the confines of the rattling coat, coming to rest in front of me. When I didn’t react, the fist shook with the sound of a rattle. Then the other hand stretched out beside it with a flat, upwards-facing palm. I took the hint, opening my own hand beneath the fist to receive whatever was rattling within. I already had an idea of what it would be. Sure enough, a dozen gnarled teeth dropped into my waiting palm. Before I could ask what I was supposed to do with them, the gloved hands wrapped themselves around my own, closing my fingers around the teeth and squeezing. I started to protest, expecting the long, twisted roots that I had seen to dig into my skin as the pressure increased, but nothing happened. It felt no worse than pressing down on smooth, wet pebbles. As suddenly as it had started, the merchant released my hand and stepped away, rattling as he did so. “What now?” I asked. A gloved hand opened itself in demonstration. I followed suit. Then screamed. The teeth were embedded into my skin, protruding in two neat rows like a taut, lifeless grin. I shook my hand to dislodge them, but they were sunk so deep that I couldn’t see their roots. The teeth were as much a part of my hand as my fingernails were. I reached over with my other hand to claw them out, but my scream died in my throat as the mouth within my palm parted and took a heavy, rasping breath. Between the teeth, I should have seen my muscle and bones exposed like a dissected frog. Instead, a deep, dripping throat extended as far as I could see. It pulsed and throbbed. Hungry. “That’s better,” came the Tooth Merchant’s voice, rumbling out of that throat and along my skin, “Now we can really work together.” I pushed my hand as far away from me as I could. In that moment, if I’d had a knife, I would have gladly severed myself at the wrist. “What is this?” I gasped, “What’s happening?” “A little talent of mine,” said the teeth in my hand, “You creatures often get yourselves into trouble, but this way you can keep me by your side and benefit from my sage advice. I might just keep you alive long enough to come back for the boy. So, are you ready for the errand?” My chest was like a vice; I had to remind myself to breathe. Unable to summon any words, I gave a single, numb nod. “Good,” said the teeth, “In the grounds of the hotel, there’s a lake. You may have seen it when you arrived. In a particular spot in that lake, a little below the surface, there’s an item that I would very much like to have in my possession. Find it and bring it back to me, and I will rescind my deal with the boy.” Even if I wasn’t speaking to someone who could possess my hand with demonic teeth, I’d have had to be an idiot to think the task would be as simple as that. “Is it… dangerous?” I asked, “Do I need any tools? Or weapons?” “There is no danger,” said the teeth, “There should be no complication.” I dragged my eyes from the teeth to the coat. “Then why can’t you get it?” I asked. The coat laughed. “The market can reach many places,” said one of the pockets, “but not that lake. While it’s harmless to a creature like you, it would not be possible for me to traverse those waters. After all, I am not a creature like you.” “And if I fetch this item for you, you’ll let Arche go?” I asked. “I will.” I had no faith in this arrangement, and no reason to trust the Tooth Merchant, but it was the best way that I could see of getting Archie back. For now. “I’ll do it,” I said. The teeth in my hand twisted into a grin, but the neither they nor the coat said another word as I walked away, sparing Archie a final glance before I disappeared around the corner. He was still sleeping soundly in his vertical bed. On the way back, less distressed than my first journey, I took in more of the market. Many of the stalls seemed to be based around food, though not a single one of them was selling anything edible. Some offered platters of decaying flesh or maggot-infested soil, while others were more artistically inclined, selling everything from golden apples that appeared almost real to faded paintings of medieval banquets, which several patrons had gathered around to gaze at longingly. As I made my way further through the market, however, more and more stalls gave the impression of having only heard of food second-hand. The mockeries they had on offer were more stomach-churning than the fly-covered flesh. As for the patrons themselves, there was a reason that they had all seemed to turn their faces from me. Most, I was disturbed to see, had none. Their faces were made of taut skin without features, or clusters of fungi and lumpen growths. I did come across a couple of normal-looking humans, who all seemed as unsettled by this place as I was, but any I approached soon scuttled away, perhaps fearing that I was some kind of ruse to ensnare them. Either that or they’d seen the grinning deformity of my hand. After some time of walking, I realised that I didn’t recognise my surroundings. I hadn’t been paying attention to where I was going when I first entered, and the market was a maze of streets and alleyways in all directions. My palm stretched uncomfortably. “Lost?” asked the teeth. I glared at my hand. This was hard enough without being mocked by some cocky demon – or whatever the Tooth Merchant was. “I asked you a question,” barked my hand. I held it out in front of me, fighting the futile urge to try outrunning an entity buried in my own flesh. “Can you… hear me?” I asked. The teeth twisted themselves into a mocking grin. “I wouldn’t call it ‘hearing’, but if you speak, I’ll know what you’ve said. So tell me, what do you see around you?” I glanced from side to side. It looked much like everywhere else in this place; lanterns and cobblestones and sprouting fungus. One stall was selling broken glass and strips of barbed wire, while another appeared stocked exclusively with blood-stained pinstripe suits. “I think I’m on one of the main streets,” I said to my hand, “It’s a bit wider than the alleyways. To my left there’s a sort of clothes shop. I don’t know what the sign says, I can’t read the language, but it’s all straight lines if that helps, like it’s been hacked at with an axe or something. Next to that one they’re selling-” “Useless!” barked the teeth, “Don’t tell me about the stalls. Who do you see nearby?” Who? I took another look around. There were the two normal humans I’d scared away, and more faceless patrons crowding around stalls up ahead. The only other person – if that term even applied – was a lizard-like creature standing off to the side. They hadn’t noticed me, focussing instead on the mildewed cigar they were trying to light. “There’s a kind of lizard person leaning against a lamppost,” I said to my hand, “Should I ask them for direc-” “Are they smoking?” asked the teeth. “Erm… sort of.” The teeth gnashed together, yanking my skin painfully taut. “They either are or they aren’t. Which is it?” I watched the lizard as they tried again and again to light the cigar. The patient, rhythmic sound washed over the market, until it was all I could hear. Click. Click. Click. The cigar remained stubbornly unlit. I shook my head. “They aren’t,” I told the teeth. “Okay then. Take your next left, then the second right. The portal will be in the centre of the street.” I followed the instructions. The left took me into a dingey alleyway, and the first right seemed to plunge even further into darkness. However, as promised, the second right opened up onto a wide street that seemed vaguely familiar. As I was about to turn down it, an orange bead glowed from the darkness ahead. A face materialised, lit by the sickly haze of a cigar. The lizard. As a green cloud billowed out to obscure them, they gave a lopsided smile. I hurried along the second exit before I could see it again. The portal back to the hotel was floating in the middle of the street, being treated with as much interest by the other market denizens as if it were a pigeon or a discarded tissue. Its edges were crusted with the yellow-green mould that had grown on the other side, and through it I could see the pale wallpaper of the hotel corridor. I rushed towards it. As I was about to pass through, I slowed my pace, glancing around with the paranoia of a first-time criminal. I had no reason to believe I was doing anything wrong – after all, the market patrons hadn’t been concerned by my arrival – yet I couldn’t shake the fear that they might turn on me at the last moment and prevent me from leaving. Fortunately, they were paying as little attention to me as they were to the portal, and I climbed back through without incident. On the other side, the first thing I did was check my palm. My heart sank as I saw that the twisted teeth remained firmly present. “You back at the hotel yet?” they asked. “Yes. Floor nineteen.” “Good. Head to the lake. I won’t speak unless you need me; don’t want to risk the staff overhearing.” That suited me just fine. I made my way down the stairs, finding it infinitely easier than the initial climb up. Once or twice I passed someone on the way, but I didn’t stop to acknowledge them. I didn’t even check if they were staff or guests. I simply stuffed my hands deep into my pockets and continued down. I emerged into the reception area at the bottom, which I was relieved to see was empty, and headed straight outside. The sun was setting beneath the trees, bathing the grounds in long shadows and creeping darkness. I must have lost track of time, because I’d thought it was still morning. How long had I been in the market? Concerned that it would soon be too dark to find whatever the Tooth Merchant had sent me for, I set off at a jog down the path that led to the lake. I passed a couple who were returning from a walk, ignoring their overfamiliar pleasantries, but otherwise I seemed to be alone. Soon I was standing at the shore, watching mist gather over the water. I raised my hand to my face, as if I were using a phone. “I’m at the lake,” I said, “What now?” “Do you see the boats?” asked the teeth. I cast my eyes through the darkness until they landed on a small wooden pier. “Yes.” “Take one. Row to the centre of the lake. Tell me what you see.” I ran over to the pier and scanned the boats. All wooden, some leakier than others. Though it was hard to tell through the darkness, I grabbed at what seemed to be the sturdiest one and started to loosen the rope binding it to the pier. “I wouldn’t go out at this time,” called a voice from the woods. I snapped to attention, spinning and thrusting my hand behind my back. Approaching me, amiable but alert, was an aging man in workman’s overalls. His white hair was scraped back into a ponytail, and as he stepped out of the shadows, I could see faded tattoos across every inch of his face. “I was… just getting some fresh air,” I said, forcing a smile. “Don’t need a boat for that.” I nodded. A light breeze blew a wisp of mist between us. He looked me up and down, but otherwise neither of us moved. The stranger – who if I had to guess was the hotel groundskeeper – scratched his chin. “You been to the Rot Market, right?” My eyes widened, and I felt the blood drain from my face. I said nothing, but I didn’t have to. I could tell that I’d already given the game away. The Groundskeeper nodded, scratching at the small of his back. “Thought so,” he said, “I usually get a rash when it shows up. So where is it, eighteenth floor?” I glanced across to the hotel. Too far to run, especially with the Groundskeeper standing at the end of the pier. I opted instead for silence. “They have something of yours, don’t they?” he asked. Behind my back, I clenched my fist until the teeth ground together. I met his eyes and nodded. “Don’t worry,” he said, “However they’re keeping track of you, they can’t hear me. Just answer as best you can without speaking, and we’ll see this problem through together. Was I right about the floor?” I shook my head and pointed upwards. “Nineteen?” I nodded. “Your room? Stairwell? Corridor?” Another nod. “And I take it the portal is fully open?” Nod. “Right. We don’t have much time, then. What I need you to do is pretend that we don’t know yet. If they sent you on some kind of mission, act as though you’re going ahead with it. That’ll let us get the jump on them. This’ll be over soon. Trust me.” I could have kissed him. I mouthed my thanks and watched as he marched determinedly away. Once I felt as though he had a good enough head start, I clambered into the boat. I had no intention of actually taking it out onto the lake, but I wasn’t sure if the teeth might somehow sense the rocking motion or hear the lapping water. “Okay,” I said, “I’ve got a boat.” “Row,” said the teeth. I picked up the splintered oar and splashed it beneath the surface. All the while I was willing on the Groundskeeper, praying he could rescue Archie before it was too late. Long minutes dragged by. “Do you see the island ahead?” the teeth asked. “Yes,” I said, peering across the lake, unable to discern anything through the roiling mists. The teeth sucked in a breath. “It should be here. Look over the left side of the boat. Tell me what you see.” I hesitated. “I… just see water,” I said, “What am I trying to find? What does it look like?” “You’ll know when you see it. Keep searching.” Sweat trickled down my brow, despite the growing cold. I felt my heart hammering against my chest. I couldn’t keep this up for long. “Well?” the teeth demanded. “I don’t see anything,” I said, cursing the wavering in my own voice, “Maybe I’m in the wrong place?” I felt the teeth clench in my palm. They were silent for a long time. “You told the Groundskeeper,” they said. My heart plunged into ice. “No, I didn’t, I swear!” “Don’t lie to me!” barked my hand. “Okay, yes,” I said, “He worked it out, but I didn’t say a thing, I swear.” “You fool! They’ll destroy the portal. You have to stop them, or you’ll lose your son forever!” “They… they wouldn’t,” I breathed, but even as I said it, my confidence faltered. Why else would the Groundskeeper have insisted I stay out her, when I could have led him straight to the portal? “Go!” the teeth screamed. I was out of the boat faster than I’d thought possible. I sprinted back to the hotel, bursting through the entrance and shocking the guests who were gathered there. With no time for their flustered questions, I pushed through, taking the stairs three at a time, urged on by the increasingly desperate gnashing of my hand. By the fifth floor, my breath was ragged. By the eight, my heart was pounding through my ears. By the twelfth, my knees felt like burning coals. Still I ran. As I stumbled onto the eighteenth floor, holding onto the stairs themselves to drag myself higher, I heard a voice from above. The Groundskeeper. “Step back, I’m about to light it,” he said. My palm stretched painfully wide. Perhaps the teeth were crying out. I couldn’t hear them beneath the sound of my own lung-splitting scream. “Stop! My son is in there!” I scrambled up the last of the steps, and the nineteenth-floor corridor came into view. I could no longer see the mould portal. The wallpaper either side of it had been stripped bare, and the hole itself was obscured by sweeping sheets of silver. Trailing out from under them was a device the size of a washing machine, and it was here that the Groundskeeper stood, flanked by expressionless maids. He looked across the corridor and met my eyes. His gaze seemed to hold an apology. He flicked a switch. I felt the whoosh of the flame before I heard it. Deep within my palm, like a tickle at the bottom of a throat, the heat began to grow. It was a sting. Then an ache. Then a raging burn that consumed my entire being. I crashed to the ground, clutching my hand as it twitched and writhed in unseen fire. “Stop!” I cried, “Stop, please!” But the agony didn’t stop. An eternity passed as I arched and twisted on the floor, desperate to tear off the limb that condemned me to such torment. The invisible flames devoured my arm, burrowed into my chest, chewed at the back of my eyes. I could no longer beg for release; the pain never ceased for me to take in the breath to speak. My screams fell silent. My world dimmed even as it burned. My soul prayed for death. Before death could come, my all-encompassing agony changed. The fire faltered. Retreated. Pain lanced across my body towards the teeth in my palm, as if the mouth there were sucking up the flames. It gurgled and sighed. Then, all at once, the teeth slid from my hand and clattered onto the floor. There they crumbled into dust, and were blown away by the forceful sobs that took over my body. I could have lain there for the rest of time, but one thought forced its way past my suffering and self-pity. I staggered upright, trembling and weeping yet utterly unstoppable, and dragged my way towards the portal. The two maids split off from the Groundskeeper and marched towards me. I steeled myself, ready for a struggle. As they neared, however, I saw that their vacant eyes weren’t even looking in my direction. They passed me as though I were furniture and disappeared down the stairs. “I’m sorry,” said the Groundskeeper, unhooking his machine, “Nothing else we could have done.” I clawed along the wall until I reached the silver sheets. Grasping them in each hand, I tore them away, strip by strip. The Groundskeeper did nothing to stop me. When I had ripped the last of the silver away, I saw why. There was no portal anymore. Only a bare, solid wall with an old scorch mark. “Fire is the only way,” said the Groundskeeper. “Archie was in there…” I whispered. “I’m sorry about the boy,” he said, “Really, I am. But I’m not sorry for doing this. One day, we’ll burn it for the last time, and then it won’t ever hurt another Archie again.” I stared at the flame-licked wall. Behind me, the Groundskeeper finished packing away his machine and wheeled it away, pausing to pick up the shreds of silver I’d left on the floor. Ignoring the ‘Out of Order’ sign, he pushed his device into the elevator, then turned to me and spoke across the corridor. “The market spreads. That’s what rot does. If we didn’t cut it off wherever it sprung up, it’d take over this whole place. And if it ever took over the hotel, it could spread to everything the hotel touches. There’d be no stopping it then. You might think you want a chance to look for your son, but you don’t want the Rot Market to have that kind of power. Trust me.” I said nothing as the elevator doors slid closed, leaving me alone in the hallway. Across my palm, where the teeth had been buried, a strip of raw, burned flesh now glistened. It almost looked like a smile. I raised my hand and pressed the wound against the scorch mark on the wall. The Rot Market wanted to spread. Even now, somewhere in this hotel, a new portal might be trying to form. And on the other side of that portal, there was a chance that Archie was waiting for me. No matter what the cost, I wasn’t going to leave until I had him back. Trust me. - GUESTBOOK
Girls Inc. Find a Girls Inc. Program Near You (USA & Canada)
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SHE CONFESSED HER FEELINGS FOR ME!!
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New People of Walmart August #10
Song Love Me With All Of Your Heart-25705; Artist Engelbert Humperdinck; Licensed to YouTube by AdRev for Rights Holder (on behalf of Metrophon Music Spain S.L.), and 6 Music Rights Societies The People of Walmart near me giving us their all for 2017! Free £5 or $5 Walmart Coupon - http://bit.ly/vidzgorilla-5-walmart Laugh out loud at the amazing ... Suh Different Patoranking Patoranking Ahh, this song dey say make the girls dem whine Me no won see no girl with the phone inna your hand Put it down and free up time Move up your waistline Every ... UMG (on behalf of Walt Disney Records); UNIAO BRASILEIRA DE EDITORAS DE MUSICA - UBEM, LatinAutor, UMPI, BMI - Broadcast Music Inc., LatinAutor - UMPG, ASCAP, Walt Disney Music Company (Publishing ... Kontakt und Informationen: Agentur Kunstprojekte.ch +41 62 206 20 10 [email protected] www.bastlerundgrautier.ch www.kunstprojekte.ch. Song Need Me; Artist J.I the Prince of N.Y; Album Hood Life Krisis Vol. 1; Licensed to YouTube by Foundation Media, LLC, UMG (on behalf of G*STARR ENT), and 2 Music Rights Societies BTS With Girls - Try Not To Laugh (방탄소년단 / 防弾少年团) Hi all, today I created a “try not to laugh” challenge for you. This challenge is not a normal challenge, i... SME (on behalf of Legacy Recordings); UNIAO BRASILEIRA DE EDITORAS DE MUSICA - UBEM, BMI - Broadcast Music Inc., LatinAutor, CMRRA, LatinAutor - UMPG, UMPG Publishing, UMPI, and 16 Music Rights ... Want to win an iPhone 11 Just https://www.youtube.com/c/FamiliaDiamond It's girls day and we decide to turn into VSCO girls for the day! Watch part 1 of how Txunamy ... The Girls, Inc. Step Team, also known as 'The Pretty Girls Rock,' perform during the MLK: The Dream Live event at the Liberty Theater.