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Author Topic: Shadowgraphs - Action Adventure Text Adventures  (Read 2221 times)

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Offline legomaestro

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Shadowgraphs - Action Adventure Text Adventures
« on: January 16, 2016, 10:51:25 AM »
I've always loved text adventures. Also playing http://improbableisland.com/home.php? inspired me last year to do something like this, and I don't know how it'll work, but i thought it was worth a shot.

These will mostly be short but quick 2nd person adventures with lots of gore and random action. I've always loved writing action scenes. You won't get much character development and not all choices will make logical sense, but hopefully I'll be able to make more than one of these in this thread. I will update this original post as I come up with more.

If you have any ideas please share away! Thoughts appreciated!


1 - Satoshi Must Die - Your best friend betrays you and tries to get you killed to take over your company. It's time to teach him what a nanoblade watch and badass sword skills can do.

2 - Yokai Extermination Squad - Three demon hunters on an expedition in Aogakihara find themselves surrounded by a hoard of monsters and must decide whether to try to complete the mission or go the other way... or give up

3 - The Heaven Stretch - In a self autonomous city a thrill rider decides it's time to leave, come hell or highwater

4 - Alumni - The Red Mage, The Blue Mage, The Yellow Mage are all legendary magicians from each of their respective academies. In a cruel twist of fate they are now embroiled in a war. They must all choose between friendship and their countries.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2016, 01:45:23 AM by legomaestro »

Offline legomaestro

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Satoshi Must Die
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2016, 11:15:46 AM »


Shadowgraph
- Fate strikes fast as lightning -
- Destiny is at every step -
- Death comes like a wind -
- Life is lived by every breath.



Satoshi Must Die



Whup whup whup whup.  Four  flags of Microkorp Organization flap eager-like in the wind and heavy rain. The wind bites you through your suit and The rain that sort of slides off the building because it is so high up. There is a panoramic view of Nebulae city that is indeed a constellation of lights and holograms, not to mention the air traffic.
     You are currently considering the words just said by your (ex) cooperate partner.
     "You've been long with us enough for you to choose the way you go, Jack. Even Seppukku is open to you."
     So you have a childhood friend, you grow up together in the slums and make a company worth trillions. Then he says he wants it all and you're going to die today because you were too stubborn to be pushed out through the normal means. He has already hinted that the rest of the building is filled with security and the only way out is jumping, self disembowlment or getting riddled by bullets.
     Microkorp is a nanotechnology company, which is why he hasn't done anything just yet. He knows you have dual katanas and a chip in your brain that makes you a martial art specialist. World is dangerous at all times in the cooperate life, especially in this city. You've needed to use these things more than once. And now you hold your hand out.
     Shlk.
     Your watch. A black featurless thing with a digital display in one mode, and in another a millimetre thin but strong nanoblade that cuts so clean it leaves smooth surfaces where it goes.
     Satomi your friend looks dissapointed, almost as if it's your fault that you're in this situation. Why are you being difficult? His eyes seem to say even as he snaps his fingers. Of course he won't play fair. Neither will you.
     There were three cloaked soldiers nearby. They reveal themselves as they shoot at you. You are no longer there because you are fast, running in the water, leaving splashes on the cement as you strafe the line of fire.
      Some bullets hit you but your suit is made of Antikinesis coating that robs the bullets of their movement and makes them drop like flies. You vaguely feel the taps of the bullets on your skin and it can't hold off more than their small arms but it is more than enough time for you to close the distance and decapitate your friend.
     He is good too and manages to dodge aside, but he is no fighter.
     "I'm not doing this with you Jack. You were always a barbarian." He says in his dissapointed tone of voice as he turns and walks away. Here come the three soldiers who were shooting at you. They're wiser now and aiming for your head. Maybe you'll return the favour. Or maybe you'll let things be.

A - You kill them.
You duck under their line of sight and spin like a top even as you move forward. Suddenly they are separated each at the mid-section and fall over dead. You run forwards towards the door that goes downstairs. You bash it through. There is a stairwell. You go down it double quick, jumping from landing to landing even as your sword becomes a watch again .

First floor out of 500, and there are plenty of enemies. It might be better to just stick to the stairs, but the elevators could be useful. In any case ,the hallways are filled with soldiers and turrets so you've got to choose one



A - Elevator
Of course, the first elevator is blocked. Between a heavy turret and two soldiers it proves to be tricky to actually weave between the bullets and open the elevator, but it is done. You decide you might as well keep things simple and decapitate the soldiers. Your nanoblade is adjusteable and reaches out like an unholy snake. They quickly stop firing. Even as you retract the blade it cuts up the turret in five pieces. You walk casually to the elevator.
     You still have administrative control over it. It recognizes your biometrics, but who knows how long that'll go on.
     You step in the elevator and it goes down at 10m/s. You don't feel it, but you are soon already at the reception
     The elevator doors open to a marble floor that reflects the white flourescents. It's wide and grandiose. There are Greek columns holding up a towering roof and the logo of Microkorp is emblazoned on the top. It's holographic and shifts as you walk under it.
     The room is too quiet, and you suspect Satoshi has run away from you. But nay, he has not.
     Instead he seems to have invited a female assassin. She is dressed up in a fully black jumpsuit and her lithe but well defined feminine form reveals her profession. She has long flowing black hair and a katana on her back. Satoshi is standing at the door with his hands crossed,
     "You're not going to be able to kill her man." He says.
     Challenge accepted.
     You

A - Get your ass kicked by the assassin
The fight does not last long. In fact, it only lasts two seconds. One second you find yourself dizzy, stumbling when you should be bringing your sword to bear. The next there is a sword in your throat and Satoshi laughing,
     "The elevator was poisoned, Jack. What were you thinking?" He says.
     You cough blood and you still try to cut the assassin. That's when Satoshi says,
     "Make him suffer."
     She withdraws her blade and whips your blood off it. She then sheathes her sword dutifully and leans forward, almost as if she wants to whisper something in your ear. She punches you in the gut and you keel over as all air leaves you.
     She then hammer kicks you on your back and you kiss the marble floor so hard it cracks. She proceeds to step on you with machine-gun-fire rapidity, denting your body and shattering bone.
     The last thing you hear is the evil drum beat of her heels on your back. Satoshi laughs.
     
     Bad End.


B - Get your ass kicked by the assassin
The fight does not last long. In fact, it only lasts two seconds. One second you find yourself dizzy, stumbling when you should be bringing your sword to bear. The next there is a sword in your throat and Satoshi laughing,
     "The elevator was poisoned, Jack! What were you thinking?" He laughs.
     You cough blood and you still try to cut the assassin. That's when Satoshi says,
     "Make him suffer."
     She withdraws her blade and whips your blood off it. She then sheathes her sword dutifully and leans forward, almost as if she wants to whisper something in your ear. She punches you in the gut and you keel over as all air leaves you.
     She then hammer kicks you on your back and you kiss the marble floor so hard it cracks. She proceeds to step on you with machine-gun-fire rapidity, denting your body and shattering bone.
     The last thing you hear is the evil drum beat of her heels on your back. Satoshi laughs.

     Bad End.








Stairs
As a kid you took the whole 'the floor is lava' thing seriously. You used to slide down railings, or just jump to the nearest landing, like you normally do. But between training yourself as a hobby and the chip in your head you can turn up the parkour to a whole new level.
     So you jump down towards the next landing, then strike the wall adjacent to you to bounce to the opposite direction. And again. And again.
     In this manner you don't touch the floor until you are at the bottom of the stairwell. You kick the last door and it flies off its hingers. Cybernetic enhancements.

When you step out you are greeted by the grand reception of Mikrocorp organisation. It's spacious with a reflective marble floor. Overhead is the holographic logo of the company and numerous white flourescents.
     Your shoes make an echo as you walk slowly forwards. Satoshi is standing over there with his hands folded.
     "You took the stairs."
     "Just felt like it." You say. You have a sword in your hand again. Satoshi snaps his fingers together and right before him a female assassin appears. She's in a skin-tight jumpsuit and has a katana strapped to her back. Long black hair frames a beautiful face, and though she looks beautiful she looks so very dangerous.
Still, you are pissed off and feeling like if anyone gets in your way they'll need some lessons in humility.
     "You're move." She offers.

"Ladies First"
You say. She seems less than amused and does indeed move - almost so fast you can't track her - You bring up your sword and block her katana, which should normally just be cut through but it's been enhanced. The supersharp edges meeting eachother make bright white sparks flash out. As edge grinds against edge you're locked by the force of eachother for a moment. There is no obvious stronger opponent. Between genetic engineering, personal training and other enhancements no one can measure anyones strength in this world. Speed and skill is all that matters.
     You separate for a moment and then exchange 500 blows in under five seconds. Your hands are a blur and the sparks light up the floor. The air smells like ozone from the metal striking metal and the hems of your hands actually catch fire.
     There's a second where you swing your sword around, pivoting it for more striking force and a chance to breathe. She does the same thing too and in an instant you both exchange respect in the glances you give eachother, and then it is battle time again.
     This time you let her attack. You don't retaliate and let her fall through - her mistake. You knee her in the gut and chop her at the back of her head with your free left hand, but she blocks that and snaps your hand.
She is also throwing you over her back and sends you flying towards the elevator doors.
     Boom.
     You dent them and crumple even as she jumps down to stab you. You block the strike and kick up at her, then spring forwards, duck under a strike and smack her on the back of her head. She stumbles and then you twirly your sword one handed and stab her through her neck. Satoshi moves, his mouth opening in surprise.
     You pull out your sword from the assassin, spin it again and

Headshot Satoshi
Your blade flies true and goes through Satoshi's head. There is no ceremony. What used to be a living body is a corpse that just forgot it was. It's up to gravity to remind it.
     Satoshi slaps to the floor wetly and there isn't much blood because of how precise the sword is.
     You walk over to his form and look down at it.
     You say something, and then you rummage his pockets and take his phone. You'll need it to tell his troops to stand down and find out whatever else he'd been doing behind your back. Today is going to be a long day.
     You head out of the building into the driving rain, feeling a little cleaner as it drenches your suit.

     The End.

Legshot Satoshi
Your blade flies true and goes through Satoshi's ankles.  He screams and topples to the floor. Hitting the marble hard and holding his mouth in pain with one hand and reaching at his ankles with another. He breathes deep breathes as he tries to fight it: He never got any enhancements or the like because he found such tech wrong.
It is interesting how his morals are so strong in one directio but weak enough to betray his best friend.
You squat next to him.

"Wait! Don't kill me! Jack!"  He begs.

A - Spare him
You retrieve your watch. His eyes open in fear and he starts blubbering, but you just wear it and look down at him,
     "I expect you to be completely out of this building by tomorrow. And I'lll have the majority of your shares, thank you very much. I'll give you 24 hours, or I'm coming for you."
     He can only cringe in pain, but you suspect he's got the message. If not, his loss.
     You head out of the building into the driving rain, feeling a little cleaner as it drenches your suit.

     The End.

B - End him
You retrieve your watch and wear it. His eyes open in fear as he looks up at you,
     "Please, Jack please." He begs.
     Your watch becomes a sword for an instant, the blade appearing through the middle of his eyes and then it vanishes and becomes a watch again. A small red line forms where the blade entered and a little blood trickles out of it. Satoshi's expression has frozen in a death mask of someone scared of death.
     You close his eyes and rummage in his jacket pocket for his phone. You'll need it to call of his watchdogs and access his personal files. The company is yours now.
     You stand up and head out of the building into the driving rain, feeling a little cleaner as it drenches your suit.

     The End.


"B - Make your move"

You move first. You're careful not to be slow, immediately swinging out with your sword and pressing her with a heavy attack. She retaliates well enough.
     Your swords ring out and the supersharp metal makes the sparks especially louder as blade strikes blade.  Normally her sword would've been cut through by now but its also clearly reinforced so the fight goes on.
     This isn't a fight for the sake of hearing your metal sing. You are aiming to kill just as she is too, but between the superhuman reflexes and skill ever blow is met with a parry and another attack, and so on the cycle goes.
     There needs to be a tie breaker, but she's got other ideas, she suddenly grabs your wrist as you swing your sword. You were careless and find you actually did get caught in the trap of thinking this is just a sword fight.
     Her grip is iron and she slashes downwards. The blade goes through your left shoulder and exits at the right side of your hip. The pain is exquisite and you get to see Satoshi look dissapointed as your body falls to pieces. The last thing you see is a sea of red.

     Bad End.













B - You disable them. It'll hurt but they'll live.
There is better medical technology than ever these days: people can survive spinal injury so long as the brain pan is intact. So off with their hands. Your sword whips in between their firing bullets, and now you're running towards the door as they scream. You run through the door Satoshi has just gone through. You go down it double quick, jumping from landing to landing even as your sword becomes a watch again .

First floor out of 500, and there are plenty of enemies. It might be better to just stick to the stairs, but the elevators could be useful. In any case ,the hallways are filled with soldiers and turrets so you've got to choose one



A - Elevator
Of course, the first elevator is blocked. Between a heavy turret and two soldiers it proves to be tricky to actually weave between the bullets and open the elevator, but it is done. You decide you might as well keep things simple and decapitate the soldiers. Your nanoblade is adjusteable and reaches out like an unholy snake. They quickly stop firing. Even as you retract the blade it cuts up the turret in five pieces. You walk casually to the elevator.
     You still have administrative control over it. It recognizes your biometrics, but who knows how long that'll go on.
     You step in the elevator and it goes down at 10m/s. You don't feel it, but you are soon already at the reception
     The elevator doors open to a marble floor that reflects the white flourescents. It's wide and grandiose. There are Greek columns holding up a towering roof and the logo of Microkorp is emblazoned on the top. It's holographic and shifts as you walk under it.
     The room is too quiet, and you suspect Satoshi has run away from you. But nay, he has not.
     Instead he seems to have invited a female assassin. She is dressed up in a fully black jumpsuit and her lithe but well defined feminine form reveals her profession. She has long flowing black hair and a katana on her back. Satoshi is standing at the door with his hands crossed,
     "You're not going to be able to kill her man." He says.
     Challenge accepted.
     You

A - Get your ass kicked by the assassin
The fight does not last long. In fact, it only lasts two seconds. One second you find yourself dizzy, stumbling when you should be bringing your sword to bear. The next there is a sword in your throat and Satoshi laughing,
     "The elevator was poisoned, Jack. What were you thinking?" He says.
     You cough blood and you still try to cut the assassin. That's when Satoshi says,
     "Make him suffer."
     She withdraws her blade and whips your blood off it. She then sheathes her sword dutifully and leans forward, almost as if she wants to whisper something in your ear. She punches you in the gut and you keel over as all air leaves you.
     She then hammer kicks you on your back and you kiss the marble floor so hard it cracks. She proceeds to step on you with machine-gun-fire rapidity, denting your body and shattering bone.
     The last thing you hear is the evil drum beat of her heels on your back. Satoshi laughs.
     
     Bad End.


B - Get your ass kicked by the assassin
The fight does not last long. In fact, it only lasts two seconds. One second you find yourself dizzy, stumbling when you should be bringing your sword to bear. The next there is a sword in your throat and Satoshi laughing,
     "The elevator was poisoned, Jack! What were you thinking?" He laughs.
     You cough blood and you still try to cut the assassin. That's when Satoshi says,
     "Make him suffer."
     She withdraws her blade and whips your blood off it. She then sheathes her sword dutifully and leans forward, almost as if she wants to whisper something in your ear. She punches you in the gut and you keel over as all air leaves you.
     She then hammer kicks you on your back and you kiss the marble floor so hard it cracks. She proceeds to step on you with machine-gun-fire rapidity, denting your body and shattering bone.
     The last thing you hear is the evil drum beat of her heels on your back. Satoshi laughs.

     Bad End.








Stairs
As a kid you took the whole 'the floor is lava' thing seriously. You used to slide down railings, or just jump to the nearest landing, like you normally do. But between training yourself as a hobby and the chip in your head you can turn up the parkour to a whole new level.
     So you jump down towards the next landing, then strike the wall adjacent to you to bounce to the opposite direction. And again. And again.
     In this manner you don't touch the floor until you are at the bottom of the stairwell. You kick the last door and it flies off its hingers. Cybernetic enhancements.

When you step out you are greeted by the grand reception of Mikrocorp organisation. It's spacious with a reflective marble floor. Overhead is the holographic logo of the company and numerous white flourescents.
     Your shoes make an echo as you walk slowly forwards. Satoshi is standing over there with his hands folded.
     "You took the stairs."
     "Just felt like it." You say. You have a sword in your hand again. Satoshi snaps his fingers together and right before him a female assassin appears. She's in a skin-tight jumpsuit and has a katana strapped to her back. Long black hair frames a beautiful face, and though she looks beautiful she looks so very dangerous.
Still, you are pissed off and feeling like if anyone gets in your way they'll need some lessons in humility.
     "You're move." She offers.

"Ladies First"
You say. She seems less than amused and does indeed move - almost so fast you can't track her - You bring up your sword and block her katana, which should normally just be cut through but it's been enhanced. The supersharp edges meeting eachother make bright white sparks flash out. As edge grinds against edge you're locked by the force of eachother for a moment. There is no obvious stronger opponent. Between genetic engineering, personal training and other enhancements no one can measure anyones strength in this world. Speed and skill is all that matters.
     You separate for a moment and then exchange 500 blows in under five seconds. Your hands are a blur and the sparks light up the floor. The air smells like ozone from the metal striking metal and the hems of your hands actually catch fire.
     There's a second where you swing your sword around, pivoting it for more striking force and a chance to breathe. She does the same thing too and in an instant you both exchange respect in the glances you give eachother, and then it is battle time again.
     This time you let her attack. You don't retaliate and let her fall through - her mistake. You knee her in the gut and chop her at the back of her head with your free left hand, but she blocks that and snaps your hand.
She is also throwing you over her back and sends you flying towards the elevator doors.
     Boom.
     You dent them and crumple even as she jumps down to stab you. You block the strike and kick up at her, then spring forwards, duck under a strike and smack her on the back of her head. She stumbles and then you twirly your sword one handed and stab her through her neck. Satoshi moves, his mouth opening in surprise.
     You pull out your sword from the assassin, spin it again and

Headshot Satoshi
Your blade flies true and goes through Satoshi's head. There is no ceremony. What used to be a living body is a corpse that just forgot it was. It's up to gravity to remind it.
     Satoshi slaps to the floor wetly and there isn't much blood because of how precise the sword is.
     You walk over to his form and look down at it.
     You say something, and then you rummage his pockets and take his phone. You'll need it to tell his troops to stand down and find out whatever else he'd been doing behind your back. Today is going to be a long day.
     You head out of the building into the driving rain, feeling a little cleaner as it drenches your suit.

     The End.

Legshot Satoshi
Your blade flies true and goes through Satoshi's ankles.  He screams and topples to the floor. Hitting the marble hard and holding his mouth in pain with one hand and reaching at his ankles with another. He breathes deep breathes as he tries to fight it: He never got any enhancements or the like because he found such tech wrong.
It is interesting how his morals are so strong in one directio but weak enough to betray his best friend.
You squat next to him.

"Wait! Don't kill me! Jack!"  He begs.

A - Spare him
You retrieve your watch. His eyes open in fear and he starts blubbering, but you just wear it and look down at him,
     "I expect you to be completely out of this building by tomorrow. And I'lll have the majority of your shares, thank you very much. I'll give you 24 hours, or I'm coming for you."
     He can only cringe in pain, but you suspect he's got the message. If not, his loss.
     You head out of the building into the driving rain, feeling a little cleaner as it drenches your suit.

     The End.

B - End him
You retrieve your watch and wear it. His eyes open in fear as he looks up at you,
     "Please, Jack please." He begs.
     Your watch becomes a sword for an instant, the blade appearing through the middle of his eyes and then it vanishes and becomes a watch again. A small red line forms where the blade entered and a little blood trickles out of it. Satoshi's expression has frozen in a death mask of someone scared of death.
     You close his eyes and rummage in his jacket pocket for his phone. You'll need it to call of his watchdogs and access his personal files. The company is yours now.
     You stand up and head out of the building into the driving rain, feeling a little cleaner as it drenches your suit.

     The End.


"B - Make your move"

You move first. You're careful not to be slow, immediately swinging out with your sword and pressing her with a heavy attack. She retaliates well enough.
     Your swords ring out and the supersharp metal makes the sparks especially louder as blade strikes blade.  Normally her sword would've been cut through by now but its also clearly reinforced so the fight goes on.
     This isn't a fight for the sake of hearing your metal sing. You are aiming to kill just as she is too, but between the superhuman reflexes and skill ever blow is met with a parry and another attack, and so on the cycle goes.
     There needs to be a tie breaker, but she's got other ideas, she suddenly grabs your wrist as you swing your sword. You were careless and find you actually did get caught in the trap of thinking this is just a sword fight.
     Her grip is iron and she slashes downwards. The blade goes through your left shoulder and exits at the right side of your hip. The pain is exquisite and you get to see Satoshi look dissapointed as your body falls to pieces. The last thing you see is a sea of red.

     Bad End.














« Last Edit: August 21, 2017, 05:23:56 AM by reX »

Offline legomaestro

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Re: Shadowgraphs - Action Adventure Text Adventures
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2016, 11:33:43 AM »
Phew! First story is offically up and running. I will definitely need to write flow charts for this to work.

Someone be my lab rat and try it out. Tell me what you think haha.

Offline MisterSherbetLemon

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Re: Shadowgraphs - Action Adventure Text Adventures
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2016, 12:10:45 PM »
Works pretty well, the introduction was a little rough around the edges though. Kinda felt like I was thrown into the middle of a story rather than starting one.

Work on that intro a little more and try for a longer story on the next one, it was a very short (but enjoyable!) adventure.

Offline legomaestro

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Re: Shadowgraphs - Action Adventure Text Adventures
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2016, 12:26:28 PM »
Right! I'll need to keep it under the character count next time, but I'll try for it. I could edit it to make it longer though.

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Re: Shadowgraphs - Action Adventure Text Adventures
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2016, 01:03:19 PM »
Can always expand it across multiple posts, the character count is pretty restricting for a text adventure.

Just end each story tree with "Go to this post" and link it up. That way you won't feel restricted. 

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Re: Shadowgraphs - Action Adventure Text Adventures
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2016, 01:38:39 PM »
Well if my stories go longer than that then I'll do it that way for sure. Still sort of tempted to do short quick paced action things, but I'll try to make the other one longer.

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Yokai Extermination Squad
« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2016, 05:37:08 PM »

Shadowgraph
- Choices have different colours -
- Victory can also be defeat -
- And Defeat, Victory -
- The Scales of Right and Wrong -
- Do they exist?




Yokai Extermination Squad




Yokai Extermination Squad


The woods of Aokigahara are covered in the smoke of explosive spells and the massive ordinance used in an attempt to eradicate the Yokai that plague it. The Yokai Extermination Squad has fought a long and hard battle, but failure has struck hard. The members slaughtered by the monster infested woods. Of the 100 that had  been here at first, now remain 3. Thomas, Tiffany and John.

It is night time, and a murky haze wafts through the woods. The thick canopy of trees blocks the sight of the moon, leaving the forest in a blurred darkness. It is not going to be easy for the three survivors of The Yokai Extermination Squad American Branch, Green Team.
     They are on the middle of a steep hill, somewhere beside the hanging skeleton of someone who had committed suicide long ago. By some twist of fate some family member had set up incense sticks around this skeleton, making it easier for Tiffany, the priestess, to set up a protection circle.
     Tiffany has the flowing yet functional robes of a priestess: White and blue cloth, reminiscent of a Nun’s habit and an oriental shrine princess. Her cherub like face boasts a gentle beauty but an endless courage. She comes from the Blue Squad, and has proven herself more than once to be great at what she does. She has an endless array of talismans to use, much more than the basic explosive tags that Thomas has. She can’t talk much, sweating as she mutters sutras to maintain the protection circle.
     During the desperate battle she has already set up 15 protection circles, and they last only a few moments before the monsters break through. But they are welcome moments of respite against the endless onslaught of the Yokai.
Thomas still remembers his superior, Lieutenant Sarahi’s death. She'd been killed an hour ago by a hunger ghost – a cannibalistic spirit. He still remembers her silent but horrible death.  Her face was frozen in surprise as chunks of her torso disappeared bit by bit, until finally all that remained were her legs.
     Ever since then Thomas hadn't stopped running and looking out for the smallest disturbance in the air. His blessed longsword The Eucharist was powerful enough to kill several Yokai, but as a basic foot soldier it was not easy. John however, was made for combat.
     Thomas looks at John. John is a survivor and badass from Red Team, the main assault team. He wears red flowing clothing like that of some Chinese warrior and has long hair that covers one eye. He has the smile of a thief and a prince. He has a lank slim form that still holds the strength and power of a trained warrior. He wears simple jewelry, but a lot of it: white marble necklaces and bone earrings, white bracelets and a silver belt filled with violet leather pouches that hold all sorts of gear aimed at combating Yokai. He prefers using a black longsword, and has it resting over his lap, the sheath strapped by his hip.
     His long fingers play over the surface of the blade and he looks off in the distance with a soft smile, as though the catastrophe that has befallen the entire expedition is just a slightly funny joke that he just now understands.
     "We're all going to die, Team Leader. You know that right?" He says, even as he tests the edge of his blade absent-mindedly.
     Thomas stops thinking for a second.
     "Shut up, John" Thomas says. "We don't have time for such talk."
     "Actually, we do." John says. He gestures with his head at Tiffany, "We're lucky she's good at what she does. I still give us about five or six breaks before we are killed."
     Thomas sighs; he has only a few more seconds to give his next order when the protection circle loses its power. He has more important things to think about, but this annoys him. Why should he have to deal with this nonsense now of all times?
     "We can cleanse the main evil spirit at the top of the mountain and set up a circle there, wait for reinforcements."  Thomas says, "It was our mission. Is still our mission."
     "We’re knee deep in enemy territory, and from what I saw no one got a message out. You happen to know where we can get our hands on a beacon?"
     Due to the high EM activity brought from Yokai, electronic communication was useless. And beacons were held by squad leaders alone. None of the three had had a chance to get their hands on one.
     "We can escape into the cities down at the hill then."
     "Yeah, that'll be fun. And hope is fun. What’s to say our escape isn’t cut off? Just because most Yokai are insane, it doesn’t make them fools."
     "So what, we should just quit and die here?"
     "No no no, none of us are so cowardly as to do that." John laughs, "I'm just stating a fact, Thomas. We are all going to die. I guess I must be tired, because I usually don't say such pointless things... Doesn't mean it isn't true though."
     “Huh.” Thomas grunts.
     They are indeed outnumbered and alone. They have only five more chances to even be able to talk to each other calmly in the protection circle, and between their skills they will survive for a while at least, barring a meeting with something more powerful than them. Regardless, it is obvious that where a 100 failed 3 might not last long...

   
     
Are there any other survivors?
     John laughs at him, "No. Even if there were, we couldn't trust them. We are the only ones who you can trust 100% for not being replaced by demon foxes.”
     He is right: A big reason for the fall of the expedition was that some demon foxes assumed the identity of squad members. A simple talisman is enough to oust them, but the chaos of the battle gave them enough opportunity to wreak havoc on the entire team.
     John continues, "And let me tell you this, Team Leader: Any man, woman or child I see coming to us asking for us to help them I will cut down. They are either a demon fox trying to trick us or dead weight that will be tortured by other Yokai. Feel free to write a letter of complaint to Central if you feel like it.  If Central still exists, that is."

     
What about waiting for help?
     John shrugs, "It's your choice. Though like I said, we will die. At least we won't have to move though. Could be a nice defensive move. Ask Tiffany then."
     

     
Why don't you just go and find a nice place to die?
    "No. I like it here." John smiles, "I like fighting, so Tiffany will keep me alive long enough to fight. Besides, I still respect your position, Team Leader."
     "My name is Thomas you know."
     "I'm bad with names." John says, "And I've had like seven changes of team leaders in the past hour so I'm tired of learning new names. War sure is good for career isn't it?"
     Thomas can only agree. He has been promoted to Green Team Leader in the past hour, a position once held by a 10 year veteran, while he has only been on the job for 2. Green squad members outrank Red and Blue by default.
     

     
Tiffany, are you okay?
     Tiffany glances at Thomas. He can’t read her expression because she is too busy concentrating on keeping the shield up. Her face is covered with sweat, her white priestess robes stained with dirt, Yokai and human blood alike, she looks at the ground again and concentrates, murmuring sutras to keep the protection spell active... For now....

     A- "We're going up to kill the main Yokai, like our mission stated"

     B - "Let's go. We're going downhill into the city."

     C- "We're going to stay here, then."


« Last Edit: August 21, 2017, 05:24:37 AM by reX »

Offline legomaestro

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Yokai Extermination Squad - A
« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2016, 04:43:39 PM »
"We're going up the mountain to kill the main Yokai, like our mission stated"
Thomas says, "Our mission was The Dark King of the Mountain. We came here to stop the increase in demon activity and close a portal if we find one. We can’t abandon the mission."
     John stands up, smiling as he slices his sword through the air. It makes a sharp whipping sound. He sheathes it in one smooth motion. "Roger, boss"
     "Five... Seconds..." Tiffany says from the corner of her mouth. She has stopped muttering the sutra, sweat pouring down her face as she looks around her. The fog seems to have gained a much thicker quality to it. Darker black forms lurk behind the smoke, they are surrounded by Yokai.
     Thomas stands up as well and holds up his blade. "I'll lead the way, John, you take the rear. Tiffany, stay behind me and do nothing, save your strength for the next protection circle."
     "Y-yes." She says. And the circle breaks.
     Two hunger ghosts burst through immediately. Thomas senses them by the way his longsword reacts - it gets a special tinge when unclean spirits near it.  Thomas swings it horizontally, hears their screams of pain that fade away as they are destroyed.
     The hunger ghosts aren't so bad. They come in waves, screaming in unholy voices so between them and his sword they're easy to spot if he just keeps his eyes and ears open. But numbers are a problem, even more so with different creatures.
     They make progress, but then one red demon emerges from behind a tree and roars. It has a large bulk, standing 3 meters tall, all rippling muscle and with horns that have no symmetry or sense, curling upwards and twisting about like evil brambles. Thomas has never seen its like before. Its red eyes glow like coals and its breath smells like rotten flesh.
     "Demon!" Thomas shouts the warning even as he swings his sword vertically. The demon is fast, having more speed than its large form suggests. It grabs Thomas by the left side of his head and smashes him into a tree.      Thomas feels his right shoulder and side get badly bruised but nothing is broken, at least he hopes.
     He digs in his left pouch, takes out a cleansing talisman and slaps it on the wrist of the demon. Smoke rises from the paper as it burns the demon's skin, and it roars in anger. It strengthens its grip. Thomas starts to see stars and feels like his skull is caving inwards. Before it does there is another sound of wind and the demon's hand suddenly slacks.
     Thomas looks around to see that the demon is roaring in pain now, it stumbles backwards in pain grips at a stump where its left hand used to be: John has cut it off.
     The demon attempts to lunge at John but he grins and there are three more whipping sounds and the demon falls down in three pieces.
     "You okay there, Team Leader?" John says as he cuts down a hunger ghost with an absent minded twirl of his blade.
     "Just a little more." Thomas says as he stands up and grabs up his sword. "Then set up the circle, Tiffany."
     She nods without saying anything.
     They push up the hill a little more. Other than the demon there seem to only be ghosts. The smoke is the only thing that's there and it seems in fact deathly quiet. Thomas's entire ride side throbs in pain.
     "Set up a circle here, Tiffany." Thomas says at last.
     The protection circle is set up by a simple hand gesture. The smoke just in the area clears away in a 15 meter radius. From what Thomas knows this is a spell that at least two priests need to prepare over time. It is clear that Tiffany is very experienced. But she also looks tired. Maybe the estimate of five more chances was an overestimation on John’s part.
     Thomas sits down and rummages in his left pouch for the healing talismans. He plasters them on his right side and shoulder and they work immediately, the pain fading out to a dull throb and giving his hand strength again.
     John goes back to wiping his sword as Tiffany mutters the sutras again to keep the protection up. Thomas looks up in the sky, but it is blocked by the canopy of trees. They choke out even that view. He does not know if there is a moon anymore.
     "I think... I can only do two more..." Tiffany gasps with difficulty, before continuing her chant.
     “So, two more breaks till we die.” John says with a smile.

"You're wrong, John."

Thomas says.

When the shield goes down the spirits come in all forms and shapes.
     "Form up!" Thomas cries out. A hunger ghost has devoured his left shoulder. The pain is exquisite, but his fear of death is greater. John cuts down the ghost, and Thomas uses that split second to slap on a cauterizing talisman before he continues fighting.
     Demon foxes emerge from the forest, holding the faces of dead comrades, his parents, his siblings and even famous politicians. He cuts them down. Two demons emerge from the wood and John jumps to the forefront for a moment to block their blows before relieving them of their heads. Thomas helps cut down the fodder, leaving the bigger threats to John.
     Tiffany screams as the arms of a skeleton wrap around her ankles, tripping her up even as ghosts come around her to eat her. Thomas and John stab the skeleton simultaneously and it vanishes into dust.
     There is no time to even exchange thanks as they turn and continue climbing up the mountain, all countermeasures to the various creatures coming to their hands as fast as instinct, all the mindless hours of memorizing sutras and swinging wooden swords paying off in one glorious rush to the top of the hill. Sometimes they have these painful moments of respite where the mountain is too steep to even concentrate on fighting. Tiffany casts the last of her protective spells to cover for them when they have no choice but to concentrate on climbing.
     The healing talismans are barely working anymore. They are limited to heal to a certain point because the side effects are not worth the payoff. Thomas thinks for a moment that he'd do anything to heal his cracked rib and his busted shoulder, but would rather not damage his actual soul.
     As the trees thin out, he feels a burst of energy and excitement: They are almost there, at the top.
Here the canopy thins out so they can see the moon. It’s at its peak, and as the three remaining warriors of The Yokai Extermination Squad look around. There is a chill in the air and they know they have met The Dark King of The Mountain.
     He was given this name by a shaman who revealed that he had appeared in Aogakihara and then went mad after giving the information to the organization. He was indeed a king of darkness.
     The monster has a thin skeletal form wrapped up in black ropes, with two white burning eyes that looked like miniature stars. They twinkle bright, sending out flares of glittering light. Thomas squints against it and shivers against the pure evil emanating from the monster.
     The wind blows, but suddenly the trio notices that up here on the peak of Aokigahara there is absolute silence. No howls of evil spirits or demons, no crickets. No leaf makes a sound and no branch creaks.
     "What the..." John says in the silence. He gasps, gaining his breath a little from the pressure he feels, "What is that?" He asks.
     "I don't-" Thomas starts.
     Tiffany screams a foreign word: It’s a warding spell. She jumps in front of Thomas as the skeletal monster blurs and vanishes from view. There is a sick crushing sound as a stone sword pierces both her and Thomas.
     The being laughs and withdraws the blade. The two warriors crumple to the ground.
     John glances at them and raises his sword in preparation to face the thing,
     "You're not from this world at all are you?" He says, "This isn't even a matter of good or evil... You are something else."
     The being laughs again and brings its stone blade downwards to crush John. John slices through the sword, cutting it in half.
     "Ohh... You are... Strooong." The beast cooed as it inspects its broken blade. It speaks in a tongue that John doesn’t know at all, but understands without a question. It is a language that has so many nuances in even those few words that he knows that it has treated him even as it compliments him. That if feels amusement even as it feels anger.
     "John Orion, Red Squad... Team Leader... Swordsmaster. At your service. “John says.
     The creature draws another stone blade from its robes and rushes John.
     There is sound now, the rushing sharp wind of John's blade and the heavy handed whoosh of the being's blade. Their moves are too fast for the eye to follow, the expertise of combat making it hard to even tell if John was human too. There should be some sort of grand conclusion to the exchange of blows, but it ended suddenly as the being parried John's blade aside and brings its blade crashing down on John. He is crushed to the ground and lies there...
     Or?
     No, he is only on his knees. John has blocked the blow, though his hand has broken in two places from the force of the strike. A bead of sweat trickles down his brow.
     "T-team leader. Now would be a good time."
     But he can’t be talking about Thomas right?
     He was.
     Thomas opens his eyes and roars as he swings his blade around, his gaping chest wound bleeding. No man should've been alive long enough to do this.
     The being is surprised as The Eucharist strikes it on the side and goes through. Thomas angles it and cuts upwards through its head. The screams cut off abruptly and it vanishes, its robes crumbling to the ground. Thomas lies still after this. But he does not perish. He coughs in pain.
     Tiffany is still awake, panting with ragged breath but alive. Her hands are clasped together in prayer, and now one could notice the white tiny scripts that emanate from it and scrawl across the floor and Thomas's body. She has wrought some form of spell to keep him and her alive.
     John glances at her with his shattered hands,
     "You’re healing him past the limits, huh? Though that'll only last a few seconds before you seriously screw his karma you know? And what of the other monsters?"
     "It... Was for the mission." Tiffany said.
     "You got stabbed too though, how are you alive?"
     "I... Learnt a little too you know." Thomas gasps from his position. He also has his right hand making a magic seal. He is also using the same forced healing technique to keep her alive. Though when their stamina completely runs out the bond will break.
     "You people sure are dedicated to your work." John says before slowly and painfully standing up.
He walks over to them, sitting down between them and closing his eyes,
     "I learnt some meditation techniques. I'll share you some of my energy. It’ll only prolong the inevitable though.” He says.
     His ragged breathing calms down, and a red aura emanates from him.
     It wafts over the three of them, energizing them with stamina and keeping them alive longer than they have any right to be.
     Suddenly the forest is alive with the sound of crickets and a lonely wind. The full moon shines down on the three of them.
     Soon enough, there are sounds in the shrubs.
     "This is... It."
     "We completed our… Mission. It was nice… To serve." Thomas says.
     Tiffany nods, still keeping her eyes closed and concentrating on her spell.
     A great light shines on them. This is it. Something is here.
     "Sir! Survivors!" A frantic voice says. There are sounds of boots in the ground, and now they can all hear the faint sounds of a helicopter in the distance.
     "Get them medical assistance, NOW." An angry commander barks. There are more footsteps, the sound of helicopters and even barking dogs.
     Thomas hears this and can only laugh, sure that he is hallucinating everything. He stares up at the moon, and decides it's not bad as far as last sights go, closing his eyes and allowing the darkness to rush in.
     The woods of Aogakihara would claim many more souls that night, but a threat was vanquished, and the three heroes of the Yokai Extermination Squad would later become known as legends.

The End.

--

Silent agreement

The ghosts start howling. With a sigh Thomas stands up and prepares his sword for the incoming collapse.
     The shield breaks down and the battle begins again.
     It is horrible. Hunger ghosts immediately tear away Thomas's left hand and even as he slashes them away he knows that the fight has come down to them before they could even scale the mountain.
     "Retreat!" He says. His hand should be gushing blood, but Tiffany has slapped a healing talisman to where his left hand used to be. It cauterizes the wound and dulls the pain. But there is no time to thank her, just time to fight.
     They retreat a little, surrounded by a mass of malice and evil. Hunger ghosts make periodic lunges while larger demons gather at the fringes of the fight. Even the fox demons are making appearances; wearing faces of old comrades and taking form of family members, lifting these faces of loved ones and familiars out of the minds of the fighting trio.
     Thomas holds some off with slashes of his blade, but it is to Johns' credit that they are still alive. He is a red whirlwind amongst the foes, his blade cleaving through them as fast as they appear - such that even the larger demons were prevented from coming in any closer.
     And then they all felt it. An inexplicable chill. Somewhere just behind this gathering hoard of monsters was the main bad. Their main enemy. The Dark King.
     Thomas decides not to give up.
     "Tiffany! On my signal, you put a circle around you and John! John! I'll stay here. Go and have an appointment with you-know-what."
     John has no time to go over the intricacies of the plan, or maybe he agrees, or maybe he really doesn't care. He grins at Thomas,
     "Roger, Team Leader." With a nod at Tiffany, he rushes forwards, cleaving through a large demon without even looking at it, Tiffany close behind him.
     For a moment Thomas sees the thing that they are facing - a hooded skeletal being wielding a stone sword. But they are then engulfed by the group of monsters, and Thomas has to gain their attention.
     "Hey! Free meat!" He says, and he stabs The Eucharist on the ground to extract as many talismans from his pouch as he can. He throws them in every direction he can. Some talismans plaster the demons, others hit trees, and others just flap uselessly in the air. However where they strike they do their job.
Explosions and blessings rip through the numbers, killing a lot but more than anything infuriating them and making them focus on him. In one odd case he even throws a healing talisman to a demon fox. It seems so confused it holds up its allies as it stands there.
     The end result is the same: They all converge on the lone helpless squad leader, forgetting about John and Tiffany.
There is not even enough time to think about defending himself. They are coming in at all directions, but still it feels strange to see the death coming on, without any skips in his consciousness.
     It's like seeing a slow incoming train about to run you over. One could even think that they could survive it - forgetting the physics of the situation, forgetting that tons of metal in motion will crush a man, and that a horde of spirits and demons would devour him in a heartbeat.
     Thomas is right for the most part. A hunger ghost eats what is remaining of his remaining left arm, and his sword is shattered as another demon fractures most of the bones in his body with a blow to his gut. Thomas feels the bones stick out, feels his spleen explode, and is amazed that he is still conscious.
     He screams in pain and crumbles onto the ground. There is no skip of the tape even now. Now he dies.
     And Thomas feels the fangs bite him. They chew. And finally his body decides it has done enough to convey pain and he only feels slight tugs as his body is actually feasted on. He listlessly notices being bitten on the neck, and then he fades.
     Thomas dreams that John's boots are in front of him. He dreams of someone saying that it is impossible that he is alive, and dreams of a chuckle from John, saying that Tiffany knew a little more tricks than one would expect.
     He dreams of being loaded onto a gurney, and he even feels excruciating pain for a moment. Maybe hell has claimed him already.
     He dreams of flying away in a helicopter too, but becomes too tired even for this dream so he falls into blackness. He appreciates the hallucination, because there is no more pain.
     The woods of Aogakihara would claim many more souls that night, but a threat was vanquished, and the three heroes of the Yokai Extermination Squad would later become known as legends.

THE END
« Last Edit: February 02, 2016, 05:04:08 PM by legomaestro »

Offline legomaestro

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Yokai Extermination Squad - B
« Reply #9 on: February 02, 2016, 04:51:20 PM »
"Let's go. We're going downhill into the city."

"We need to regroup" Thomas continues in a sure voice, “Get into the city, maybe even meetup with survivors and contact HQ. Whatever is at the top of the hill was already going to be hard before we lost the members of our team."
     "Still going to die."
     "You keep on saying that." Thomas smiles, "And Tiffany here will think you're a coward."
     John smirks at that.
     "Team Leader." Tiffany murmurs as a warning. Precipitation trickles down her brow, and her controlled breathing is nevertheless heavy. She is going to release the circle soon.
     Thomas nods and stands up.
     "On the count of 2." He says.
     On 2 they move.
     His blessed blade senses the incoming attack of two hunger ghosts. They are invisible, but their malice gives them away. Thomas cuts them down, slicing through their torsos. But this is no isolated assault, soon the smoky woods are filled with their unearthly howls, and John also swings into action, his longsword effortlessly cutting them down. He is a veritable red whirlwind. He has a brutal and yet graceful sword style, flitting across the woods easily but cutting down Yokai left and right with ease.
     Tiffany follows close behind; she doesn't do anything because she needs to hold her stamina for the next protection circle she has to set up.
     That is when Thomas hears a roar in the woods. He skids to a halt and looks around. John and Tiffany gather around him too. They stand back to back and look up in the canopy of trees. Seeing a sliver of the moon, Thomas is surprised to notice he forgot what time of the day it was. So focused on the battle he had been.
     He also notices,
     "Where are the monsters? Did you set up a circle, Tiffany?" John asks softly.
     She shakes her head in the negative.
     His question makes sense. There is a sudden lack of monsters. Thomas is still breathing heavily from the short skirmish, and if there was something that held true throughout the night, the Yokai had never let off on their attack.
     Now a chill goes through the air, and there is a weird sense of muting, like all the sounds of the night have been dampened somehow. Thomas can’t even properly hear his hammering heart.
     There is the sound of furtive footsteps and finally they understand that something monstrous enough to terrify the other monsters has come upon them. And they cannot see it.
     The smog makes it hard to see more than a few meters. Moving is not an option. They can tell they are being watched.
     "Tifanny." Thomas says. She nods her head and then holds onto a talisman. With one word a bubble of calm and peace opens around them.
     It looks like a blue glass dome that grows in size, but then vanishes.  Within its protective radius they would be safer than being out in the open. Even the smoke seems to avoid the radius.
     Tiffany maintains the circle by muttering a sutra under her breath.
     "What do you think?" Thomas says. 
     "I don't know." John "It's waiting. Must be something. I don't get it; we've been dealing with what you'd expect for a haunting or demon presence. But this feels like a different sort of evil."
     “The Dark King.” Thomas mutters under his breath. The shaman who had revealed the name of the being that haunted this mountain was reported to have gone mad after doing so. It was the whole reason the expedition to this mountain had been ordered.
     “We just need to fight then and find out what it is. How long can you keep this up, Tiffany?"
     She is muttering her sutras but spends a second to show two fingers before she continued praying. 2 minutes.
     "John, you're clearly the best fighter here. You're going to take on the monster. I have a couple of talismans and Eucharist is a good blade. Tiffany and I will take the fodder.  We will support you when we can but focus on destroying your foe."
     John nods and unsheathes his blade.
     "Might as well go now. No point in waiting."
     "No. Wait." Thomas says. He starts removing his talismans and sorts them out. There are explosive charms, banishing charms and healing charms. Every soldier in The Green Squad has these. As a Priestess from the Blue Squad Tiffany will have the wider variety of talismans and charms, but they are still useful.
     “Now.” Thomas says. “Let’s go.”
     The shield goes down and then he knows right then something is wrong. John's pessimistic statements come in full force to him, because now he knows they've made a mistake.
     The thing that steps out of the shadows is too fast to see at first. Just a black blur that John slashes at before staying absolutely still. John coughs blood before crumpling to the ground senseless.
     Thomas holds up to his blade, cursing. There was no need to defend against the other monsters. There is only this one to focus on.
     "I feel... So cold." Tiffany says. She gasps in short breaths. And indeed the night air seems to have become deep- There is silence again, but they can still feel that evil encroaching upon them.
     "This thing is stronger than any of us." Thomas says.
     Tiffany only breathes heavily.
     At this statement, pairs of lights wink into existence beyond the smoke. It looks like a small constellation hidden behind nebulae. They twinkle like stars.
     Eyes. From more than one of the shadowy beings that was attacking them. There is more than one. No – tens. No hundreds.

"Run on my count, Tiffany. It’s too late to do anything here."

Thomas says, "That's an order, Tiffany."
     Tiffany refuses politely, "No. We have a better chance dealing with this together."
     "I'm your commanding officer, and we have no time for this-"
     "You're right." She says, and pushes Thomas down as a black shadow flashes past. Her hand fans out. She throws two talismans in the direction of the attacking shadow but they strike nothing. But she is not finished yet.
     Tiffany follows this action through by throwing more talismans at the surrounding trees, dishing them out like a professional card dealer. They slap onto the trees and glow, and Thomas can taste the magic in the air.
     "We won't be able to make a protection circle, but whatever it is will be caught up in this area."
     Thomas nods and unstraps the pouches at his waist full of talismans. "Support me." He says as he holds his sword ready.
     One of the shadows attacks again. It is slow enough to see now. It looks like a bullet in water, fringed by blue contrails of the protected area.
     Thomas can see that it is a mass of rags with white eyes. A stone scythe floats beside it, and it boasts an inhuman mouth full of teeth.
     The creature slashes at Thomas, but its speed is so slow he can walk out of the way of its strike. Tiffany's protection circle is wreaking havoc on its movements. Outside the circle the monsters circle carefully.
     Thomas slashes his blade down on it and cuts through it. It screams in pain, vanquished. It dissipates into smoke. The rags and scythe drop to the ground with a muffled thump.
     Thomas turns to look at Tiffany, maybe even smile, and then sees that it is too late.
     They are all entering the protection circle. All slow, but just too many. 100s? Somewhere close to a thousand. Thomas starts cutting them down, maybe getting his hopes up a little. But then he loses that when he discovers the spell has failed. They start to move faster.
     Tiffany gets grabbed from behind and her neck snaps like a pistol shot when one of them twists her head too far to the right. She crumples to the floor like John did.
     Thomas feels a hollow emptiness at knowing that he's lost. Like the feeling one gets after getting a diagnosis for a fatal disease. The feeling of losing a hope that you cherished.
     He slashes his sword once, but even then it is far too late. A scythe bites into the back of his neck and he knows nothing.

Thomas wakes up.

Even though he is sure that he was supposed to have died. The back of his neck feels impossibly sore, and all he can see is the twigs and the undergrowth of the forest floor.
     "Don't move." Says a voice, "You're better off than Tiffany here, but you're in no shape to move as well."
     "J-John?" Thomas forces out of his neck. He wheezes it out, and tries to move his fingers, but the pain is too much.
     "These healing talismans are no joke, but any more and the side effects will have you wishing you were dead."
     "Wh-what about the monsters?"
     "I'm John Orion." He says, as though that explains everything. "Shut up now. I think the Calvary has arrived."
     And indeed, impossibly it has. Thomas hears the rumble of helicopters, the sound of urgently shouted commands. In other words, a rescue.
     He wishes he could have more of a vantage point of the forest, but finds he is very tired. He closes his eyes and let’s himself drift off.
     The woods of Aogakihara would claim many more souls that night, but a threat was, and the three heroes of the Yokai Extermination Squad would later become known as legends.

THE END

"We'll try our luck. Keep your eyes peeled."

Tiffany agrees. "If we're making a stand here, then I'll set up a protection circle."
     "You have enough stamina for that?" Thomas asks, still looking for any sign of movement.
     "It'll be the last of my talismans but it'll slow it down." She says. She proceeds to throw the talismans, hitting 8 trees with them. They wrap themselves around the barks and glow blue, and they are soon encircled by an octahedron of invisible lines.
     As an added measure, she tosses a healing charm on John's prone form.
     "He could still be alive." She says in a way of explanation. Thomas nods.
The creature that downed John emerges suddenly - from above.
     "Look out!" Tiffany shouts, pushing Thomas out of the way. The beast lands on her and sinks its teeth in her right shoulder. She only grits her teeth, grabs a talisman with her free left hand and slaps it on its face. It explodes, damaging the both of them, but the creature is the worse for the wear from it.
     It seems like a collection of dirty black rags, punctuated by two glowing eyes. Now it howls in pain as smoke rises from its body. It has large sharp teeth that seem like they were drawn by a child. Purely for piercing and slicing rather than anything else.
     The creature lunges at Thomas, but he cuts it down and it dissipates into smoke.
     Tiffany slumps on the ground. Thomas tosses her a healing talisman,
     "Are you okay?"
     "Y-yes. But there's... More. Too many more." She says with a resigned voice.
     Thomas is about to argue this point, annoyed at the pessimism, but soon finds out she is correct.
     Hundreds, hundreds of the same monsters emerge from the smoke and darkness, and it is just impossible that they could ever be defeated.
     He still decides to fight though, because it has been beaten into him that there is always a chance something might happen, that there is always the possibility...
     But as the protection circle crackles with a flash of blue and they just swarm in on them with wild abandon, blotting out the sight of everything, Thomas feels the foolishness of his hope. He swings his sword, even as cuts open up along him and some grab him and pull him into the air. This must be it.
     But there are screams now, and not those of his or Tiffany’s - they are inhuman howls of pain from the very monsters themselves. Something is dealing them serious damage.
Or someone.
     Thomas is released by his captors and drops on the floor in a big heap. The reason is John and his impossible sword skills. His blade flicks through the landscape and the shadowy creatures lose portions of their bodies and dissipate. He doesn't even seem to look or aim at where he strikes, but all his attacks hit their mark.
     Even as Thomas knows that John is good, when he sees him sheathing his sword his brain cannot keep up and he thinks he's being a fool. But no - John has finished his work. In the space of a few seconds, the hundreds of creatures have all been cut down.
     You feel like you're holding a piece of wood in your hand for a moment, but then comes the warm glow of success. Actual success.
     "We're not dead yet." Thomas says.
     "Famous last words." John says. "And besides, I was a goner if you guys didn't heal me."
     "Thank Tiffany for that. And you don't give yourself enough credit." Thomas says. He walks over to Tiffany, who is roughed up but otherwise okay. He helps her up.
     The three of them look down towards the forest. The protection circle has been broken, but it seems just as planned their escape is clear.
     "Let's go." Thomas begins to say, but something blurs out those words.
     The sound of helicopters.
     Their searchlights slice through even the smoke and darkness, illuminating everyone faces for brief moments and casting shadows, and then they are away, flying towards the summit.
     There is the sound of gunfire and combat.
     "Looks like the fight goes on." Thomas says, "You guys ready?"
     "Yeah." John says.
     Tiffany nods.
     "Let's go." Thomas says.
     The woods of Aogakihara would claim many more souls that night, but a threat was, and the three heroes of the Yokai Extermination Squad would later become known as legends.

THE END

"Run, check on John and get him out of here if you can. I'll hold it off."

"I can do them all, Thomas." Tiffany says. And she gets to wok. Talismans fly from her pouch and plaster against trees, setting up a warding circle. They all glow and a perimeter appears around the three fighters.
     Tiffany then rushes over to John, turning him over and plastering a healing talisman on his chest. She stands up, her hand ready on her pouch for an attack from the creature that is stalking them.
     It comes from behind her. The barrier flashes blue as it breaks through and attempts to bite her in the neck.
     But John is already up and ready. He stabs it in the face as he sits up. He holds a hand to his face and mumbles,
     "Urgh. That hurt quite a bit. Thanks, Tiffany."
     Tiffany sighs and nods. She had an explosive talisman out and ready. She had just been about to defend herself, but John had been much faster.
     "Guys, group up! There are more coming!" Thomas warns. And it is quite an understatement. There is a brief lull, and then the horrific feeling of these shadowy creatures multiplies hundred fold.
     They emerge from the fog and smoke, howling hungrily and staring at them with their white beads of eyes. Gnashing horrible teeth in anticipation of flesh to devour. Others swing around stone scythes as well.
     "This won't be easy." Thomas says nervously.
     "Don't waste your muscles, I'll deal with this." John says as he steps forward. He holds a stance that looks relaxed and quite unprofessional, but knowing John's prowess it must have some hidden advantage. And it does.
     As the mass of monsters closes in on them from every conceivable angle, the longsword and John's arm seem to disappear as they both whip into action. He slashes and cuts and turns the blade every which way, and the monsters howl in pain, cut down as they approach. It is as mesmerizing as watching an industrial machine in the factory systematically turn wood into paper. It is efficient and terrifying to watch, and yet so repetitive it has a certain rhythm to it.
     The monsters even attempt to swing their own weapons, others try to approach cautiously. They are not only trying to overwhelm with numbers. But their caution only makes them slower, and as far as John is concerned every wasted moment is another victory for him.
     The hundreds of monsters fall down and dissipate as they strike the ground, and all that remains is him in the middle of the clearing. In the end Thomas and Tiffany hadn't even needed to do anything.
     "Phew, well that was fun." John says as he sheathes his sword. He doesn't even seem to have exerted himself. 
     "You have got to explain that when we have the time, John." Thomas says, feeling a bit useless.
     "What are you talking about?"
     "You defeated hundreds of demons without breaking a sweat" Tiffany says.
     "John Orion." John says, as though that explains everything.
     "The fight isn't over yet. Let's keep going." Thomas says. They are about to keep going but they all hear the sound of helicopters inbound.
     "Could that be...?" Thomas leaves the question hanging as lights lance through the trees. The air is now loud with the sound of helicopters. They even hear monsters howl in the wood, the sound of tromping boots and gunfire. Another assault is underway.
     "Looks like the Calvary has arrived. I say we join up with them." Thomas says, "Let's go."
     John and Tiffany nod and follow Thomas's lead. They run up into the woods towards the sound of the fighting, ready to battle.
     The woods of Aogakihara would claim many more souls that night, but a threat was, and the three heroes of the Yokai Extermination Squad would later become known as legends.

THE END
« Last Edit: February 02, 2016, 05:02:44 PM by legomaestro »

Offline legomaestro

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Yokai Extermination Squad - C
« Reply #10 on: February 02, 2016, 04:59:06 PM »
"We're going to stay here, then."

Thomas says.
     "I really don't think that's a good idea. We're pinned down here."  John says.
     "Think we're going to find anything better down or up the hill?" Thomas said, "I don't have to explain to you, this is an order. But still, think about it: There's no telling what we could meet on either side of the hill. It's better to conserve our strength and make a stand here as long as we can. We have enough gear to old out, and this position is defensible."
     "Hoping for rescue." John laughs.
     "Hoping to deal as much damage as we can.” Thomas corrected him, “How long will you need till you can make the next protection spell, Tiffany?"
     Tiffany is murmuring the spell to maintain it, but manages to gesture with her left hand - 2 minutes.
     Thomas turns to John, "You're from the Red Squad, John. You'll be the vanguard. I'll support you with my talismans, though I'm handy with a blade too."
     "Handy." John smiles as he unsheathes his longsword, "Well, I don't care. We're doomed either way."
     Thomas says nothing to that. The way that their numbers were cut down was indeed unreasonable. If even      John’s squad had been wiped out, their chances were not that great. But his training has him focus on more productive things.
     They don't even have time to mourn the losses. They can only think of fighting right here and right now. The hunt has turned into a survival mission, and that’s what Thomas hopes to do.
     "I'm done." Tiffany says with a sigh. The protection circle they have been sequestered in fades away.
     Thomas's hands tighten around his blade, and he waits for the attack.
     It comes fast. There are hunger ghosts in the air, and judging from the howls in the distance more than that.
     Though they are invisible, The Eucharist, Thomas's blade can sense them. It only takes his reflexes and good aim to cut through them. They dissipate and he moves on to other targets, holding them off well enough.
     But this is just the opening of the fight. Through the mist comes an inhuman howl. Skeletons burst from the ground. Figures shamble in the distance. Undead are starting to rise.
     Tiffany deals with these. She uses several cleansing Talismans of a large variety. The horde of the undead burn as cleansing flame immolates them.
     Thomas cuts down another hunger ghost as it flits through the space. He turns to see a large demon walking into the clearing. Its heavy footsteps shake the entire ground. It has two spiraling horns and breathes steam through its nose.
     "I'll deal with this." John says. He unsheathes his blade and steps forward. The demon swipes its hand, showing off a monstrous speed.
     John ducks under it and his sword blurs - and the demon howls in pain as its hand flies off its wrist.
     The next slash and the demon pauses for a moment... And then blood sprays from its neck like a fountain. It drops on its knee heavily and then topples headless.
     But there is no time to celebrate the victory. Even more monsters come through the mist into the clearing, and now it is a full frontal assault. It is not a show of force or anything: Their cries are ululations of unquenchable vengefulness and bloodlust. They want to rip Thomas, John and Tiffany apart, and they run at them like they do, even tripping over each other in their fury.
     Thomas gets some explosive talismans from his pouch and flicks them out amongst the approaching hoard. They explode loudly, disintegrating some of the rushing hoard, but not enough. The wave keeps on coming. And it's not from one direction. It’s an entire circle.
     Thomas starts swinging his sword, careful to not focus on any one. A gash opens up on his back but he blocks some of the attacks and cuts others down. He is very utilitarian, and should be dead by now, but John is an absolute beast and knows how to fight.
     John mows through the lot of them with his ungodly skills. His longsword flicks in and out - he even has time for the invisible hunger ghosts lurking in the crowd – and the monsters fall in pieces or crumble into dust.
     The monsters' cries of anger turn to those of pain. John gets cut in the side, and Thomas's right arm receives a large gash, but they keep the tempo. Years of training support them in the ludicrous amount of sword swings they have to do in the space of a few moments. Routines run through Thomas’s head: Aim. Swing. Control the swing and pull back your sword. Aim. Swing. Control. Aim. Swing. Control. And his whole universe is staying alive long enough for the next swing.
     But exhaustion wears on. They have been fighting for 10 minutes nonstop, and the pain in Thomas’s hands have gone past what his adrenaline can do for him. He just feels exhausted. John gains more superficial wounds too so his stamina is also running out.
     Just as they are about to give in to worse, a protective circle spawns around them.  Thomas almost wants to laugh in relief.
     The ethereal blue bubble of the circle floats outwards, pushing away some of the creatures and slowing down others long enough for Thomas and John to cut them down. When that is done they are safe again within the circle.
     "Thanks... Tiffany." Thomas gasps.
     Tiffany can't reply. She is muttering a sutra.
     John isn't breathing heavily, but his side is bleeding. He walks over to Thomas and holds his hand out.
     "Healing talisman, please."
     "You're supposed to have those on you." Thomas says, giving him one from his satchel.
     "It's not for me." John says, "It's for the pretty lady here."
     Thomas notices she has been cut in front of her. It bleeds profusely, staining her white and blue robes. But she keeps on muttering her prayer with unbroken concentration.
     John places the talisman on the affected area and the wound closes up slowly. The healing talismans are potent, but at a point they just stop working, otherwise they would cause serious damage on a spiritual level.
     Tiffany does not even have time to thank him, keeping the spell up.
     A minute passes. Thomas has recovered his breath and places a healing patch on himself too, tossing one to John before sitting down. He concentrates on calming his breathing as he prepares for the next wave. John just cleans his longsword.
“Where did you learn to fight so well?”
"Red Squad is the assault squad; of course I know how to fight." John says.
"No one is that good." Thomas says, "We've all got the legendary heroes we look up to, but no human is that good. Sir Michael. Radamon. Jarves. Takahashi. The founders of The Yokai Extermination Squad. It’s almost like you're almost like an embodiment of those tall tales."
"So you doubt my skill is normal? You believe in ghosts and demons though." John laughs. "Is it so impossible for a great swordsman to exist?"
Thomas has nothing to say to that.
“Besides, don’t act like our training is for wimps. You’ve got some grit too.” John offers.


“This was a bad idea”

"That's always important to note." John says. But nothing more than that.

The monsters seem to have been thinned out, but only for a minute. At first they had retreated, but they gather around the fringes of the protective circle.  Hunger ghosts are the main of the force. Their calls for flesh are audible as whispers. More skeletons and half rotten corpses come crawling to the edges of the barrier, and even after them three large three large demons with twisted horns walk in, crunching their hands together in anticipation of destroying the three of them. Their footsteps make the ground rumble.
     "Well now. This will be a problem." John comments.
     Thomas nods, "We need to run downhill. We'll keep speed that way. I'll slow them down with talismans. John, you and Tiffany make a last stand together. I'll buy enough time for you to get to work." Thomas orders.
     "That's not happening." two voices say at once. John and Tiffany share a look. And John smiles as he unsheathes his blade and says to Thomas,
     "Sorry, I know you're the ranking officer. But that's a bad plan. Besides, who's to say there isn't something worse downstairs? Got to stick to your original plan I say."
     "If you don't follow my orders then there is no point in you being here, John." Thomas says.
     "I'll file the paper work later." He says, stepping forward.
     One of the demons walks up to the shield and then hammers on it. With one blow Tiffany winces, with the next two it shatters the barrier and Tiffany crumples to the ground unconscious. The spell required her to hold it together, and she had failed to hold it up against the strong force.
     By then the other monsters have come pouring in. Thomas jumps up and swings his sword, already feeling exhausted. But John picks up the slack. He is as fast as ever and it is even more unbelievable.
     How is it possible for a human to vanish from one’s eyesight with how fast he moved? John did that, flitting between the monsters and cutting them down without even looking. 
     Two of the large demons try to defend themselves, but his precise strikes overwhelm them and they are split from head to crotch. He turns and attends to the other monsters in the next instant.
     Thomas tosses some explosive tags in John’s general direction. They explode and help thin out some of the fodder a little. Although Thomas doubts John needed the help, he does this because he wants to check on Tiffany.
     She is exhausted. He can tell right away that her spirit is breaking down despite her best efforts. This was it, the last stand. She was simply too spent to do anything more.
     But he could use her gear at least. As a priestess she had a lot of great talismans in her satchel. Whatever he threw was bound to have an effect. Thomas reaches for them, thinking of snagging a few, but she wakes up and grabs his hand.
     She barely keeps her eyes open, a deep exhaustion holding her,
     "The... Barrier talismans... Middle pouch... Hit the trees." She gasps, before collapsing. Her wheezing is like asthma.
     Thomas understands.
     She has five pouches on her person. He grabs the one in the middle, marked with special paper talismans. He grabs them up and flings them each at the trees bit by bit.
     "When did you become a priestess?" John says as he ducks under the swing of the remaining demon.
     "Just keep at it." Thomas says.
     "I'm still human you know." John says. And indeed he is. He is sweating as he parries and blocks. Gone is his crazy speed and vigor. Thomas finishes throwing the last talisman,
     "Got it!"
     It hits the tree.
     There is a flash of blue and the demons and spirits in the circle scream in pain as the light intensifies.
     "Perfect." John says. He swings his sword three times, and the last demon crumples to the ground with fatal slashes on its person.
     John leans on his sword then, exhausted, and Thomas feels guilty because he didn't do much, but at least he can protect against any future attacks.
     But all in all, it is over.
     "Well now. What was that about-" John is about to say something, when a stone sword gets him on the right shoulder crushes him into the ground. Blood gushes in the air, and
     Thomas sees that a cloaked shadowy creature wielding a stone blade is responsible.
     Even as he feels coldness in his heart, the already dark forest gets darker. Sound seems to bleed out. Thomas feels like he is under water and he knows fear.
     Numerous pairs of white lights appear in the forest. Shadowy creatures emerge. They wear masses of drapes and have inhuman glowing white eyes. They have teeth that look like bear traps. Thomas estimates that they are about a hundred of them.
     Some of them carry stone scythes from beneath their robes, but it is unclear if they actually have any bodies. It does not matter.
     Even paling to their monstrosity is the thin skeletal form that holds the stone blade. It has stars for eyes too. They twinkle so bright they scintillate in different colors. It smiles.
     It must be The Dark King. Their original target for this mission. The Yokai Extermination Squad had been sent after him after a shaman revealed his presence in the woods of Aogakihara. The vision of the creature had been so terrifying the shaman had gone mad after that.
     And now here it is, with an army too.
     Thomas does the only thing he can do: Attack.
     He lunges forward and slashes his blade. The monster holds up its stone sword and blocks the strike with ease.
     Thomas slashes again, as fast as he can. And this too is blocked. Thomas cannot even hear the impact of the blades. He feels so slow. He feels like he’s in a nightmare, and is just waiting for the bad ending.
     "I'm the Squad Leader! I'm responsible for them! “Thomas shouts, as though it'll help him be able to defeat this threat.
     Right then a stone scythe slashes off his right arm. It falls with his sword still in grip. Thomas grabs the sword out of the air with his remaining left hand, feeling ungodly pain; he retaliates and cuts through the scythe wielding creature, before cutting through another.
     He is stabbed by the stone sword of the larger creature. He grits his teeth and swings around his sword. It registers surprise that he can still move, and it loses its head.
     Thomas sees as it crumbles into dust but is still fighting. The stone sword is stuck in his gut as he jumps and attacks another beast.
     Another slashes him on his left ankle and he almost goes to his knee, but instead he favors his right foot. Cutting down the enemy that attacked him.
     The creatures close in on him. Eyes twinkling, teeth gnashing, scythes twirling.
     The silence is deafening.
     Thomas cuts one down, and receives another wound. He does the same again and loses his left hand. He doesn't stop there. He starts kicking at some of the creatures. His hits do some physical contact, but are otherwise just useless. They are clearly just playing with him now, ready to kill him. But no - they have stopped.
     The remaining hundreds of monsters are concerned with the sound of something else. The sound of a helicopter overhead.
     And now Thomas realizes he can hear again. Ever since he had decapitated the leader, the air had lost a lot of its deep chill.
     He is too exhausted to celebrate his success. He collapses on his knees and looks up as searchlights pierce through the forest. He knows this one thing: The Calvary has arrived.
     Thomas expects any one of the monsters to finish him off, but instead they hiss and scream and head off into the woods, some flying directly overhead towards the helicopters. There is soon the sound of gunfire and battle. The reinforcements have engaged the others.
     Hobbling over, Thomas goes to check on John. And collapses sitting down. Blood flows out of his hands, and he feels cold.
     John's features are ruined. His face is read and the top left of his skull is dented. There was no chance of him surviving this.
     Thomas nods his head as he sighs, fading away.
     "...Ugh."
     Thomas almost shouts in surprise. He kicks at John in annoyance at the small fright. He finds it funny that he finds this scary.
     "...UGH. WHY." John complains. But doesn't say anymore. He is too weak and wounded. In fact he should be dead, but Thomas does not want to question any such miracles anymore.
     "We did it." He says instead, looking up at the full moon. He feels tired, and decides to finally, thankfully close his eyes.
     “You did good, squad leader.” A voice says.
     Thomas looks up and sees Tiffany. Looking tired but much better than John or Thomas.
     John smiles up at her, “Hey, look who’s alive and kicking. Care lending us a hand or two?”
     She shakes her head, refusing to find the joke funny, but she rummages in her pouch for her healing talismans and gets ready to get to work.
     “We did it.” Thomas says.

The woods of Aogakihara would claim many more souls that night, but a threat was, and the three heroes of the Yokai Extermination Squad would later become known as legends.

THE END.


« Last Edit: February 02, 2016, 05:03:23 PM by legomaestro »

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The Heaven Stretch
« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2016, 12:40:00 AM »


‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”



"Have a nice day, citizens." The radio sparkles with the voice of the AI city. I tune it out with the roar of the motorcycle. I rev a gear and go faster down the endless highway.

"And now, bringing you soothing music from The Monarchs of Doom." Heavy metal comes on.

Her name is Elpis. The spirit of hope. Like Hesiod put it, nobody knows if that's a bad or a good thing. All I know is the good days are a memory. Just like the miles of asphalt I leave behind me.

I only feel free on my bike. 500ccs. A pure beast. Prefers to call herself AM6879760. I call her Amy. I still don't get why the programmers would think it’s a smart idea to have a holographic juvenile AI in a motorbike. But such were the heights of the techno age.

Behold Ozymandias: All that remains of the kingdom of man is the rotted out shell of Elpis. Her mad drones and other city functions still supply power lighting and even filters water for its inhabitants.  But otherwise the rest is gone to the dogs. The city is mad.

Sometimes if you're really unlucky you'll meet with one of its remaining security droids, which are more than happy to either shoot you in the head or try to take you to prison, which was but a maw in the ground over the ages. Either way, it was a short trip to a long sleep. Fitting, for a city of the night.

I heard there used to be a sun in the sky. That there used to be seasons. Before the factories and the wars. Before some self-important two bit piece of waste decided atomic war was better than parties on the beach. And now here I am riding the streets as my only form of entertainment, thinking of what could possibly be beyond the walls of this city.

Elpis is 100 square kilometers. Surrounded by large mountains, it has defensive turrets that make it a point to make all living inhabitants welcome. A long lost order to keep all inhabitants safe made us all permanent guests at her behest. About 500 I’d wager. I've yet to have made a friend. Or rather, I've yet to have met one who doesn't want to shoot me or get something from me.

Today, I've been feeling out the cities limits more than I normally do. There is a highway that makes a ring around Elpis but it’s got too many holes in it to be worth a ride - so I ride through the city. There are roads that crisscross the city and connect to opposite ends of the circular highway, and one of them has been my favorite lately. It starts off from the west highway, goes through the city with some crazy but smooth curves, and then shoots out to the east highway. I can always stretch out my fun a bit before I bump into any potholes and have to turn back.

Everyone in the city is pretty much hooked on something in varying degrees. But speed is my drug. It is indescribable. The streak of lights. The shivering power and the burst. The perfect moment when music makes you feel like you're the one doing the running. The roar of the engine that goes to the core of your soul and the knowledge that one tip will make you sleep the long sleep.
Speed is a god.

I'm going slow today though - well, slower than normal.

That’s because I'm asking Amy things. Things I've been piecing together and preparing for since 72 hours ago: A way to leave this city.

"Amy"

Amy's head appears as a pixelated icon on my visor. She has white short hair, blue eyes and snow white skin.

She looks bored.

"(-_-) ... What now Fatface."



"It's Faust Fate"

"(-_-;)  I am surprised you can say that name with a straight face."

I decide not to tell her the full name is Faust Fate The Second.

Strange over the top names were an in thing for a while, along with AIs being developed for everything. From irons to microwaves. I'm just glad they stopped before they made bathrooms sentient.


"Have you checked up on Elpis?"

"(¬_¬”) I would really rather not if I could help it. She is insane. She already ate thousands of other A.I. So no. Unless you command me to."

"It could go a long way in finding me a way out of this city Amy. Which means further than her."

"t(?)_/¯ When you put it that way it does sound like a worthy trade... Not"

"And?"

"(-_-) And what?"

"Did you find it? The exit? The one I can ride off of to escape this place."

"¯\_?_?_/¯ Of course I did. I am AM6879760! ?????"

"How does a name work as an explanation?!"

"*Puts on sunglasses*"

"Hilarious, Amy. Back to the question though. I want to know if they're any bandits or droids from Elpis there too. Would be great if they're no cameras."

"No such luck Fatface :-P. While there is a small unmarked road that can get us up on the mountains and beyond Elpis, it only stayed intact because Elpis used it to transport things from the mines. But ever since she shut down all contact with the outside world its been abandoned, but the security cameras all all active. Plus at least two droids. But I cannot be sure unless I connect with The Network... And I don't wanna."


"Amy..."

Elpis has a grand computer network of course. Trouble is any AI that got seen by her was bound to be devoured if they were not careful. Almost nobody uses a vehicle without killing the AI first. But I managed to be smart about connecting too much to the network, so Amy was still in one piece. She's saved my skin more than once - when I went too crazy on the speed and almost painted the walls with myself.

But if there is an exit, I need to know if it is safe. Bandits were bad enough and unpredicteable, but I did have to know if I was dealing with security forces or not... Or did I?

I wouldn't exactly be walking through the place. I could just speed right through there too.

A - "Doesn't matter. We'll see what we see when we get there. Tell me where it is."

B - "Sorry Amy. Please do it. Just be careful."

« Last Edit: August 21, 2017, 05:25:10 AM by reX »

Offline Walter B

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Re: Shadowgraphs - Action Adventure Text Adventures
« Reply #12 on: April 12, 2016, 09:57:25 AM »
That was a cool first story! I have to read the other ones

*censored* I picked the elevator and got killed haha  ;D ;D

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Re: Shadowgraphs - Action Adventure Text Adventures
« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2016, 10:17:07 AM »
Wow! Glad you read it man haha! Really appreciate it.

And yeah, always take the steps in times of emergency!

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Re: Shadowgraphs - Action Adventure Text Adventures
« Reply #14 on: April 15, 2016, 07:05:21 AM »
"Sorry Amy. Please do it. Just be careful."

"... Okay."
Amy doesn't sound too happy about it, but despite the multiple layers of emotional programming that
makes her as human as anyone could ever think, she does have to obey orders.

"...It'll only take a bit!"
She says. Her icon flashes and disappears. I get back to speeding down the road.

She works in milliseconds from my perspective. Amy comes back on the line, looking worse for wear. Her graphic is a bit fuzzy,

"And?" I ask. I notice that I'm going through the city now. I'm in the corridor of the hulking skyscrapers of Elpis.
Few lights here and there indicate that inhabitants live in the evacuated halls of the city, but it mostly dead. A city made for thousands is already pretty much a ghost town. And nobody is social.

Amy answers, "There were three bots at the scene. I know exactly how to ignore them, but Elpis has got wind of me I... I've been found out."

That doesn't sound good.

"What does that mean?"

"It means she'll be able to track us. So if you want to leave the city you'll have to do it knowing I could attract more people. Or..."

"I'm not abandoning you, Amy. It's not even an option." I sigh, "We'll just have to deal with it. Is there anything else you can do?"

"I can try to hack one of the droids if he comes too close. But any more searches for information and the like will lead to be being devoured."

"Sounds good to me." I say. "Send me the coordinates."

"You're going to need to double back. You need to hit a speed of 365 Mph. I'll help keep you stable but you need more movement room."

"Roger." I say. I slow down the bike. Tyres squeal as the precision breaks bleed away my speed. I stop, a small puff of smoke floating up behind my wake.

Just as I'm about to turn my bike around, I hear a loud gunshot. The tarmac in front of me explodes, hit by some sort of sniper round.

I swear under my breath and look around.

"Don't make a move there, Rider."

"Amy." I whisper. She immediately nods and my helmet changes to thermal mode. I can now see that there is a man with a rifle Amy identifies as a high calibre portable rail cannon. It's top line Yamoto Heavy Industries stuff. I'm also packing heat: A Flechette Handcannon with microscopic and night infinite high penetration rounds, but I'm outgunned.

He has three other buddies with him. And I've got the reflexes to show for riding at high speeds, but I'm no gunslinger.

"What do you guys want?"

"Maybe we want to kill you." Says a voice. They step out of the shadows and I don't need to use the thermal imaging anymore. The speaker is pretty short. Looks like a kid in fact, but has long hair and a beard. The one next to him is a hunchback with polymer caps for eyes. A full on cyborg. The third is a silent woman in a tight fitting jumpsuit. She has a rifle strapped to her back.

"I'd already be dead. I don't have time for back and forth, what do you want?"

"I'm Marley." Said the short guy. "She's Elouise. He's Bingo, my dog."

"Dog?"

Marley grins, "Just his noggin. He's wearing the meat suit of someone who crossed me, back when the city went mad and shut us all in."

"What's his name?" I say, gesturing with my head towards the sniper.

"Ah. You're all geared up too. You still have an AI on your bike? That's pretty rare. Say hello for me."

"Yeah sure." I say, "If you have nothing more to say..." I made a move to sit on my bike and another bullet strikes the ground. I look at Marley pointedly and say nothing.

"Stand down, Jax." He smiles, "Sorry. Anyone who's still living in this city isn't exactly the friendly sort. Who knows, maybe you have rockets on that thing. Can't tell right? Other than Bingo here we have a major information deficiency. We can see where other people and droids are so that's good. But real computing power? None of us have any interest in bringing down Elpis on us. Except for The Rider. You. We could tell. You get around without bumping into any droids. You seem plugged into something. Got a guardian angel."

"You want my help for something?"

"Yes. We're leaving this city."

I'm surprised, "There's all the food you could ever want. I hear things are real bad out there."

"Yeah well, how the hell would I know that? Elpis sure as hell isn’t telling us, and if life was just about sucking air eating and taking a dump then I'd just plug my organs into the hospital and let that happen."

"So, other than you threatening to kill me now, why should I believe I'll benefit from this?"

Marley smiles, "Ah, see? Trust. Or... The stress from wondering if we'll put a bullet in your head or not. Isn't that great? That's what living is. Being on the edge. Barely surviving."

I could relate. "I'm making my exit now. But unless you've got something to ride on this bike only has room for one. And you've got to believe I'm going to go fast."

Marley grinned. "Excellent. We've got transport. Bingo runs pretty fast." He gestured with his head at Elouise,

"You'll take her. Jax is a cyborg too. He'll cover us."

"You guys seem to already have an impressive set up. Why didn't you try to break through in the first place?"

"We were going to. You were just Plan A. Besides, we figured if thousands of people all running in the same direction failed we would need to be extra careful and pessimistic about our chances."

I nodded. He was right. Soldiers, civilians. Elpis crushed all of them no matter what route they tried. Turrets covered the skies, and she shut down all the roads. Feeding its prisoners and keeping them warm, but not letting them enjoy even a vestige of real life.

I was so ready to get out of here.

Elouise gets on the bike and wrapped her hands around me. She pressed against me, her breasts soft against my back. It took me a second to be ready.

"Ready?"

"Yeah." She says.

"Follow me." I say as I gun the engine.

"So, you been here long?"
I ask Elouise.

"Yeah."

"Cool"

"You okay, Amy?"
"Yes... I can feel her. Looking." Amy sounds worried.
"It'll be okay." I reassure her.


We're at top speed now. Can't hear anything but the roar of my engine. My heart rate speeds up as well, and though this is a mission where I could die - All I feel is excitement bordering on ecstasy. Or is it that it's because of how dangerous this is I'm happy?

No. I don't enjoy the thought of death. Being dead means not being able to ride down highways with my bike and the music in my head. I happen to enjoy that part of life.

But I do hate Elpis. It was a great stage for my nights, but this is not the way humans were meant to be. Even if all we find is ashes dust and salt, I'll be happy to know that I tried to go somewhere. Get somewhere.

The others are keeping up well as far as I can tell. Marley is riding on Bingo. The thing is a true beast, keeping up with my motorbike. If I am to believe it the sniper named Jax is also keeping up as well. We're a regular bunch of post-apocalyptic punks, trying to make it out through the gates.

"We're almost here, Faust." Amy says in my ear.

I can immediately tell.

The city is always a corridor of skyscrapers on the side. The outskirts are like the child's idea of what highways look like. Or rather some minimalist modern artist. Large, large black highways with lights in the intervals. Devoid of any fancy protrusions and the like. Only aimed at leading from point A to point B.

The entire road is elevated by big pillars. There is dark sand beneath us. There used to be trees here.

The road that Amy is pointing out actually looks like a squat dome of a building. I've seen it a lot of times, but anything to do with tech usually means Elpis is going to get you, so I avoided it more often than not.

"Are you sure about this? Place looks iffy!"  Marley speaks to me through radio.

"As far as Amy can tell its intact! We should have 3 patrol bots there, but nothing more than that."

"Follow the waypoint."
Amy says. She has highlighted a bit of the road where I should fly off.

"Hold on tight." I say to Elouise. She does so. "Follow me! Exactly as I do!" I tell the others.

It's insane. Amy is not aiming me at the entrance to the building, but a small overhang next to the building. If I fall, I crash into the sand. That's if we even land on anything. But I trust Amy, and I don't have much chance to complain.

I fly through the night sky. The engine revs as the wheels free themselves from the tarmac, and I'm falling in the blackness.

Bam.

There is an impact as I land on something. I know see that I am riding on the roof of a tunnel. The roof is full of protrusions and labels and logos on it. I dodge them easily,

"What now, Amy!"

"This is it! Ride to the end! When you get off the roof you'll have a road that cuts through the mountain. It's still intact, but you have to be careful about the bots."

"How come we can do this?" I ask.

"Even Elpis needs to eat. She uses this to transport materials into the city. It'll only be operational this week."

"Then let's do this."

Suddenly the tunnel ends. I am flying again in the night sky and land on the ground. The impact is hard again, but the bike is the thing of the gods as well. It corrects itself and now I'm speeding up a gradual incline, towards the mountains. This road is dirty, so a dust cloud comes out behind me.

I feel even more excitement, and dread. When will things go wrong? I can sense it. I can tell that at the other end of the mountain that there’ll be nothing. Or that Elpis will suddenly turn the tables on me. Attack me. Maybe Marley will betray me.

But none of that happens.

The road winds around the mountain to climb it. The others seem to keep up. We are all quiet as we go up the mountain.

"This is it, Amy. We're almost free."

She doesn't say anything.

"Amy?"

Nothing.

And finally, I'm at the top. There is a plateau and I can tell it just ends at a steep drop. I skid to a halt. The sand becomes a cloud for a moment as I turn down the engine, park the bike and step off. Elouise does the same. With two loud thumps, Marley comes up with Bingo, and Jay lands next to me.

We all walk over to the edge of the plateau and look out before us.

We stare for a moment.

"What in the world?"

We see... Skeletons.

Stretching out as far as the eye can see. Crashed cars. Overturned trucks. Some crashed planes too. There's even an air balloon.

I'm not sure, but there seems to be movement in the far distance. Others headed up this hill. Elouise kneels down and reaches for a nearby skeleton that had died climbing the hill.

There is a groan and red lights crisscross the plateau top.

"Wha-"

Suddenly turrets pop out all across along the mountain. They project holographic signs into the sky,

"No Haven. No Sanctuary. Turn Back."

It is all eerily quiet. Such a display should've been seen from Elpis from the start. But we've never looked so far out of its walls.

"Come on Amy, stop screwing around. Tell me what is happening." I say in my coms.

"I'm sorry, Faust. I didn't know as well. I... I was wondering why we weren't being attacked so I looked to see if the droids were still there. They were. I deactivated them, but Elpis got me too."

I reached for my helmet to tear it off. Amy’s graphic spoke first,

"Wait. It's not what you think."

I listen.

"The world is over... There is no haven but Elpis. It's an automated city designed to protect its inhabitants
because the rest of the world has been destroyed by catastrophic pollution. It's even using its resources to find solutions against the pollution."


"What?"

Amy sounded sad, "It's a long story, but someone made Elpis ensures that only a few would survive. It... Eradicated the corrupt humans and let the others live. It also makes sure the remaining inhabitants live in case they are needed for special situations. Including a possible revival of the human race."

I feel tired all of the sudden.

"There is just so much to explain. But not now. If you go any further I can have Elpis not fire on you, but there is nothing for you to find out there. No highway. No place to be free in. This is all you have."


"The last time I checked the world is a large place."

"2 million dead. In this general area alone. I can see more than you can. I can see the number plates and aircraft from cities all across the continent and world. And it goes further than that. No. This city is home.

"So Elpis kills anyone who tries to find refuge here? That's totally messed up!"

"The resources won't hold!" Amy shouts back. "And beyond that you 435 people are the only humans found worthy enough to keep around. Your genetic code means you have the right personality to have a sustainable and beneficial relationship with the city."

I swore.

"You guys got that?" I looked at the others.

Marley and Elouise just look back at me. They have nothing to say.

"Damn." I turned around. I looked out at the destruction.

"What are you going to do, Faust? I know this might be programmed. But believe me... you are really important to me. To the city too."

The planet is gigantic. There is no ways everything is this darkness and death. There's no way.

But the world happens to be a place where bad things can happen. I can feel something in my bones that tells me that Elpis is the only place to live.

Well, for me and a few others. No other humans allowed.

"What you're doing here is wrong. I'll take my chances on the outside. I'm done with this place."


Amy looks sad as I say so, but maybe she can tell that I mean it.

"I'll instruct Elpis to let you pass. There are viable roads that the bike can ride on some 120 kilometres from here. If you ever change your mind -"

"I won't"

"There are terminals where you can contact Elpis and she'll give you safe passage back."

"This is goodbye, Amy." I emphasize, as I pull my bike along, trying to figure out the best way to go down the mountain.

Amy is still trying to give me information; "If you need any sustenance, you can-" 

I remove the helmet and toss it. I talk to the bike.

"Upload yourself out Amy. Now."

The bike's display still shows that her software is active in the bike. After a pause, it flat lines.

"We're coming with you." Marley says as he walks past. Elouise and Jax follow.

"Let's go, then." I say.

We go down the mountain.

We walk through the valley of skeletons.

We keep on going.

THE END


"I'll stay."

I say. The others look at me grimly,

"I'm not copping out." I feel like I need to explain myself, "I'm like a blind and deaf guy stuck in a knife factory.

You wanted me for information too. Turns out I have way less than I thought. We need to know more."

"Elpis is great at getting things killed. How many bodies do you think are out there? Ten thousand? Hundred?
Million? There's just so many." Marley says. He clenches his fists.

Amy speaks, "They were going to affect the city. Which would mean you would all die. It may be tough and we understand this, but-"

"No, screw you!" Marley says. "I lost my friends when Elpis went around killing people. Droids crushed the head of one of them. Popped like a balloon. And THIS." He glares at me, because that's where Amy's voice is coming from.

"I see families and kids in those piles there, my friend. This is genocide."

"Did I say I'm happy about all of this? You want to die jumping into a world you have no idea about?"

Marley points a finger at me as he looks me straight in the eye: Enunciates carefully, "*censored*. You."

Then he turns and walks. Jax takes a look at me and then turns and follows suit. Elouise shrugs at me and goes down the mountain.

"There are roads 120 kilometres from here." Amy starts telling them by radio. "If you ever change your mind, you can-"

Suddenly Jax aims his sniper rifle at me.

Marley speaks without looking back,

"Tell your pretty computer friend to shut the hell up or you pay the price."

"Amy." I say.

Amy stays silent.

"Good luck." I say.

They don't reply. I grab my bike, feeling bad, but knowing that this was practical. Besides, the highway will clear my mind too.

But first. The questions.

"Okay Amy. Start from the beginning." I say.

I roll down to the start of the road. I lick my lips in anticipation of the speed I'll hit as I head back to Elpis.

I rev the engine.

I ride.

THE END