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Author Topic: Quest!: A MangaRaiders Story  (Read 600 times)

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Offline Coryn

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Quest!: A MangaRaiders Story
« on: April 15, 2018, 06:34:26 PM »
Welcome all to the next great MR Canon epic by yours truly!

This whole thing just kind of bubbled up into my mind one day more or less fully formed in it's narrative. I'm intending it to be a fun romp through the MR world which will let me expand into some new territory opened up by others recently (looking at you Fro) and to stretch some of my Snicket muscles (points if you can point out the mannerisms)

I'm also trying to adopt something of a more engaging narrator style that I sort of experimented with during last years Great Raid story. (Although this time without the grandfatherly tale conceit)

So sit back, relax, and have a laugh. It's MR baby~!



CHAPTER 1


CHAPTER 1: In Which Our Heroes Have A Rude Awakening

It is a common misconception that the dwellers of the Net do not require sleep. This misconception is particularly foolish, as there is no one left alive who does not live on the Net, and they should know full well that they do. The myth persists thanks entirely to some people being too proud to admit they sleep, and all the rest being either too polite, or too sheepish to correct them. Alas, the Net’s denizens are just like the rest of us. They do require sleep, and therefore, require a place to live in which to carry out the act.
        That is where things get more complicated, and is also where this story begins.
        The residents of Manga Raiders are generally a savvy bunch, and follow most of the unspoken rules of the Net. Unspoken though they may be, they are nonetheless important. And not least among these strong suggestions, is that you don't tell people where you live. It is a commandment going back to ancient times, and none can claim to know where it originates. Despite this, the reason behind it is well remembered. The Net is dangerous, and if you give away personal information all willy nilly, you're liable to wake up with nothing left but the pajamas on your back. This is especially unfortunate for those who do not wear pajamas to bed.
        So, the unstated rules being what they are, and the Raiders being who they are, it should come as no surprise that almost nobody on Manga Raiders knows where anybody else on Manga Raiders actually lives. If you can easily discover where a Raider lives, then they are either incredibly foolish, or incredibly powerful. You should be cautious around both. But no matter how foolish or powerful they may be, it was well known (or at least heavily rumored), that Coryn Sken slept in a charging pod in the MR Science Division, Legomaestro slept with his eyes open while perched on rooftops, and MahluaandMilk retired to a forbidden temple in the clouds.
        These rumors are patently false, and suit their subjects just fine. They keep people from asking too many questions, and that is a recipe for a good night's sleep.

        Coryn stepped out of his shower into an expansive bathroom. The vaulted ceilings and stained glass windows were obscured with steam, and Coryn was forced to swipe his mirror several times in order to finish shaving. For the thousandth time he made a mental note to install heated mirrors, and for the thousandth time he forgot it as he pulled on a white bathrobe and stepped out into the cool dark of his penthouse hallway.
        It being Coryn though, it was never that simple. As a point of fact, his bathroom resided in the Artists District, while his hallway, and the open floor plan containing the other common spaces of his home resided in Central Administration. Additionally, you could find his bedroom nestled in the Writers District, his library in the outskirts of the Fashion District, and his laundry room in the Manga Sellers District. The idea had struck him after watching his apartment at the time be destroyed in a single spam ninja attack. His previous two domiciles had met similar fates, and ever since that day, he kept his home split up around the city. This made rearranging the layout a snap, and meant his commute home at night was just to whichever door was most convenient at the time. He only connected his home to a door long enough to pass inside, and then it reverted back to just another broom closet, bathroom, or his personal favorite: a few doors he had serendipitously set up which comically led to nowhere but brick walls.
        All in all, it was a great way to keep people from finding where he lived. So, as he dragged his feet down the hallway in the dim, pre-dawn light, it was no surprise that something began to strike him as a little out of place. At first he thought he was imagining it. He was still half asleep after all. There was a slight hint of food cooking in the air. A few light clinks of utensils hitting the bottom of pans. Salty smells from sizzling meats. He swore he heard a toaster going in to action. Coryn was about ready throw out his schedule for the day in order to run a full system diagnostic, when he stepped into the wide space which comprised the lion share of the penthouse. To his left, the first inklings of the day crested over the balcony railing and through his full height windows. He followed the light across his living room, through the dining area, and into his kitchen. There, at his island mounted stove top, surrounded by all the makings of a country breakfast, stood Ecchi-tan. She wore his frilly pink apron, and as Coryn’s now fully awake eyes were quick to bring to his brain's attention, nothing else.
        Coryn’s whole body went into overdrive as well rehearsed scenarios flooded his mind. With a single fluid motion, Coryn drove his hand into the drywall besides him, and whipped out the cutlass hidden within. He pointed the blade at his scantily clad house guest, who finally acknowledged his presence, and smiled up at him. “Good morning darling! Are you hungry?”

        Around fifteen minutes before this, while Coryn was washing his hair, and Ecchi-tan was dicing green peppers, Lego was still sleeping peacefully on the other side of town. His home was a mansion, tucked away in a quiet corner of the city. Here he knew he could slip in and out without much bother, and only required a cursory glance through the spyhole to know the coast was clear. However the true genius behind his hiding place is that he always described it as a mansion. This was of course, very much the case. If a Raider were by chance to find themselves inside Lego's home, without any knowledge of how they got inside, 'mansion’ is the word that would spring to mind. Although it was an auster place, filled with minimalist furniture, finishings, and possessions, the precise black and white tile work, the fine craftsmanship of everything within, and the grand scale of it all, would leave you with little doubt to what sort of domicile you stood in.
The inside however, did not tell the whole story.
        From the outside, the mansion was invisible. Not literally, of course. That would throw up more red flags than actually existing out in the open. No, it was mere figurative invisibility. So surrounded and encased by the adjacent architecture was it, that the actual form of the building could only be glimpsed at specific angles. This was how Lego had originally discovered the odd location. A particularly nasty throw down on the city streets had left him with a fleeting impression of the building as he sailed past. It was that fateful, hidden sightline that led him here, and one which he promptly disguised with foliage, along with all the others, in order to keep them that way. It left him with much to be desired in terms of sunlight, but he made do with what he had.
        Of course, not have any lights passing over his windows at night did make getting to sleep easier. This night had been no exception, and as he laid on his simple bed, he slid into a new dream. He found himself in a void, extending out above and below him in all directions. His skin felt like it was being gently caressed in silk, and he had the sensation of being in free fall. A cool breeze swept over him, and he detected a new feeling. Sudden warmth was spreading along his back, and he could feel hands moving over his shoulders and on to his chest. Lego looked down in his dream, but could not see the invisible digits which ran along his skin. For a moment, Lego felt ill at ease, but just as quickly allowed the dream logic to once again take hold. This was far from the most unpleasant dream he had ever had, and he let the surreal moment wash over him as he drank it in. The void, the warmth, the hands, the ticking of his alarm clock….
        That didn't track.
        “Wake up, my lit-tle-kit-ty-cat!” The figure behind him flipped up over Lego's body, slammed him onto his back, and proceeded to take his breath away. Not least because she had situated herself firmly on top of his diaphragm. “Good morning, Lego-kun.” Cooed Lewd-tan’s voice.
        Lego now knew his eyes to be fully open, but he still couldn't see a thing. There was only the slightest hint of silver light in the room. Not enough to see by at the best of times, but without his glasses on, it was absolutely impossible. He couldn't tell of he was actually seeing Lewd’s outline, or if it was just his eyes playing tricks on him. Finally, a few sharp breaths made it into his lungs, and Lego got out a few words. “Can I ask, what you're wearing?”
        Her response came from right next to his ear. “Less than you”. Lego jerked his head to the side, trying to catch sight of her at close range, but Lewd-tan's had already leaned back into the darkness. “I have a task for you, Le-go-maes-tro.”

        Later that morning, although not so much later that this narrative shall diverge from its swapping perspectives, the sun finally created the horizon, and the official dawn began. There was nothing unusual about this. The sun came up in the same location, at the same time, and at the same degree of brightness as it did every other day of the week. The days in which it didn't we're usually calls for alarm, but today no sirens rang out. As such, the thing which awoke Mahlua this morning was having the sun attack her windows at just the perfect angle that it was able to circumvent all the defenses of her curtains and blinds, and shine directly on her eyes.
This was possible, of course, for Mahlua’s residence. The building where she laid her head at night was no great hidden mansion, or spatially separated penthouse. It was just the loft above her studio, so no fantastical architecture protected her from the angry rays of morning light. Her abode was a simple one, packed with books, loose sketches, various esoterica, and a not so limited supply of magical items. Her bed separated the space into halves, and the grumbling witch in turn rested in the middle of the bed.
        So, one might wonder, as to how Mahlua's home has never been discovered by those who were not invited in. After all, it's right above the known location of her studio. Someone must have surely seen her go up one day, or saw her at her windows, you think to yourself. One might also wonder, how many things do or do not happen. Why does the sun rise every morning when Manga Raiders isn't on a planet? Why don't we float away since we live on a flat plane? Why doesn't Pub-tan know how to cook anything that's not deep fried? Why do I keep getting kidnapped for 'experiments’? The Net is full of questions. Most of them are boring, some of them or not. One of these questions is: Why do you keep asking about how Mahlua's home stays hidden?
        The answer is of course: Magic. It's always ‘magic’ with her. And it's because you're asking questions like that that lets her get away with a few warding sigils. Her apartment isn't a place you can find by looking for directly. You have to find it out of the corner of your eye, and then, only if you know the trick to it.
        Because of this, Mahlua did not regularly entertain guests. Neutral territory was the norm for meetings. It helped that MR was 99% neutral territory, but still, it would have been nice if she was closer to a bus stop. Despite that, Mahlua did on occasion have visitors. These were always people she trusted intimately, but she still made sure they could not so easily expose her living situation. That is to say, while it was not strictly impossible, she did not expect to find someone staring at her from the foot of her bed.
        Since you have been reading this tale, you will know that is exactly what happened.
        Mahlua made a futile effort to push the light away with a sleepy wave, by it only momentarily blocked the light so she could crack her eyes open. At first she could not be sure that someone was actually there. Tired eyes and the sandman can play tricks on your brain. But after a few moments, the image clarified, and Mahlua found herself meeting the intense stare of Artist-tan. The little Tan was sitting on a stool she had obviously drug up from the studio below, and had her signature backpack propped up next to it. The young girl was looking on at Mahlua with the kind of intensity only a child on a mission can possess. She was entirely earnest, and as Mahlua blinked at her in confusion, Artist rose her hand. “Artist! Get over here! Now, I want you to remember exactly what I'm saying and repeat it back to Mahlua in the morning. Ahem. Mahluaandmilk, you have been chosen for a great and noble purpose!”

        If you were told that a person kept swords hidden all over their home, and had plans to use them on any uninvited guests, then you would describe them as 'paranoid’. A word which here means: 'a person who believes that anyone besides themselves in their home presents a clear and present danger’. This is a good rule of thumb for most people. Then again, most people didn't fight ninjas and robots for a living, and most house guests aren't demigods. So it was that when Ecchi-tan perfectly flipped an omelette, Coryn kept the tip of his sword pointed at her. “Ecchi-tan, I don't recall inviting you in.”
        She practically chirped in response. “You left your front door unlocked!”
        Coryn knew perfectly well how his front door worked. So instead he took a few purposeful strides towards his kitchen. “Oh, we both know that's not true. And something tells me you're not making me breakfast just for the sake of getting me excited.”
        She smiled at him. “Oh? Am I making you excited Coryn? And here I thought you preferred my sister!”
        He rose his balde higher. “Just your being here is more than enough to get me excited.” Coryn tipped up onto his toes to get a better look at what Ecchi-tan was up to. Aside from the standard cooking utensils, she was unarmed, although that counted little with her.
        Ecchi had begun laying out the breakfast onto a pair of plates. “I hope this isn't how you treat all of your overnight guests. It's very poor manners.” She winked at him and started towards his dining table with the plates. Coryn turned his head away as she passed and let the sword fall to his side.
        “Just so you know, Tan or not, moderator powers will still take you to task. The only reason I'm not using them right now is because I don't want to bust up my apartment.”
        Ecchi said. “Of course dear.” And sat down to her plate.
        Coryn turned back towards her once he was satisfied she would stay put. “What is it you want? You wouldn't go through all this trouble if you didn't have something important.”
        Ecchi-tan tucked a napkin into the apron before responding. “I've got a proposal for you Coryn. If you do me this favor, I promise I'll make it worth your while.” She clapped her hands together, as if in prayer, and waited patiently while Coryn thought it through.
        At first he opened his mouth to utter a quick and definite 'no’, but halfway through the word, stopped to reconsider. He made another attempt, but this time caught himself before any letters could escape. Next he paced back and forth, nimbly twirling the saber around his fingers. Finally, he set it back at rest in its hiding place, and made haste back down the hallway. “You have until I'm done eating to convince me. But first, you're putting on the spare robe.”

        Lego's mind was racing. This was not how he intended to wake up on this, or potentially any morning. Why couldn't have it been Ecchi-tan instead? But then, a second thought struck him. “Whose sheets are these?”
Lewd-tan chuckled in the darkness. “Yours were too rough, so I brought my own. Why, do you not like silk? Have some consideration for the soft skinned among us.”
        “Bull*censored*!” Thought Lego. He had seen Lewd-tan tank whole buildings without a scratch. She was about as tough as they came. Cotton sheets were the least of her worries. There was a zero percent chance that this was merely a social call, although Lego had trouble believing that Lewd would go through the trouble of tracking him down and sneaking in just to annoy him. The mod's tired mind churned its gears, until he remembered what she had first said as he was waking up. “Wait a minute. You said you had a task?”
        Lewd-tan slowly ran her finger along Lego's chest. “I did. Do you remember when I invited you and Hasith around for a bath last year?” Lego did, and nodded in the affirmative. He had been led blindfolded up to EcchiWorld's many open air baths, and was seated next to Hasith. The elder twin had then asked him for a favor down the road, although at the time, he was not enlightened to what that favor would be. Hasith had in turn been asked by the younger twin for the fences surrounding their temple complex to be electrified. He had done so within the week, and Lego was left feeling he had got the short end of the stick.
        Lewd-tan pulled her hand away. “So it's simple. I've come to collect.”
        But in of course in Lego's mind, it was not that simple. The bath was only a way to make him more malleable to the agreement. He had only agreed to a favor, and Lego was feeling pretty confident that what Lewd was about to ask for went beyond the common good turn. “What are you asking for? And what do I get for it?”
        There was a pause in the darkness as she considered her answer. “I need you to bring me something.”
        Lego didn't know how good her night vision was, but he hoped she could see his scowl. “I'm not some errand boy.”
        “Of course not!” Replied Lewd-tan. Her answer sounded sincere and sarcastic all at once. “What I'm asking you to retrieve is a very well protected and potentially dangerous artifact.”
        “Dangerous?”
        “Oh, not dangerous to you directly.” Said Lewd. “But there are a lot of people looking for it right now. Strong people.” She clarified, lingering on the last two words.
        Lego grew still as he considered this proposal. On the one hand, he did not like being snuck up on and ordered around. On the other, he did like fighting strong people, and he could use a vacation. “Alright, I'm in. What am I looking for?”
        Lewd-tan smiled in the darkness. “I want you to bring me the Golden Chalice.”

        Still at the foot of Mahlua's bed, Artist-tan continued on from the notes she had taken on her hand. Mahlua quickly decided that the young girl had superbly small lettering. “And so of you do this thing for us, than you shall be granted, I don't know, absolution or something. Tell her that. No, I can't tell her because I'm her type and we don't need her getting distracted. Ecchi can't do it because... because she's busy that morning. Don't worry about it. Wait, are you still writing this down? Stop it, just tell her the important bits.” After a deep breath, Artist put her hand down, and spoke her own thoughts for the first time that morning. “And that's what Lewd-tan asked me to tell you. I made sure to leave everything in just in case.”
        It was a lot to take in, especially before breakfast. Mahlua stared at the girl for a few moments, before pulling herself up into a full sitting position. “So let me get this straight. The twins are asking me to go out by myself, retrieve a mystical item called the Golden Chalice, and in return they will grant me a reward?”
        “That's about what it boils down to.” Said Artist.
        “And it's potentially very dangerous to my person to do so?” Replied Mahlua.
        Artist nodded.
        “And you don't have any leads on where it is?”
        “Nope!”
        Mahlua took a minute to ponder her situation. On the one hand, it sounded dangerous, on the other, she really liked the idea of Lewd-tan owing her one. Before the minute hand had made a full revolution, she decided. “Alright, I'll do it. But just one question first: Why did you agree to be their messenger? This doesn't seem like something you'd be in to, if you don't mind my saying.”
        Artist-tan dove her hand into her backpack, and rustled around. “Lewd-tan bought me five whole boxes of granola bars. I eat them when I'm hiking around.” She pulled out a foil wrapped bar and pointed it at Mahlua. “Want one for the road.”
        Mahlua smiled and reached out for it. “Thanks, I'm sure it will come in handy.” She read the label, rubbed the sand out of her eyes, and read it again. Unsurprisingly, the flavor advertised on the foil wrapper had not changed, but you could never be too careful on MR. Mahlua set the popsicle flavored granola bar (It's the coldest!) down on her nightstand, and climbed out of bed. “Could you wait for me downstairs Artist-tan? I'm going to get ready.” The little girl acknowledged her with a nod, dismounted, and headed towards the exit to the loft, stool in hand. Once again alone, Mahlua let out a long sigh, and made a mental note to redouble her defensive charms when she got back.

        Coryn finished the last bite of his breakfast as Ecchi-tan finished her proposal. He set down his fork, wiped his mouth with a napkin, and slid the plate towards the table’s center. “So let me see if I missed anything. You want to send me out to find a mystical and dangerous cup which you cannot describe. And, you want me to do it all by my lonesome, without telling anyone where I'm going. Additionally, you have no actual leads on where it is located, how to find it, or what is guarding it. But, if I do this for you, you shall grant me one wish, which may be anything that is in your power to grant.” It wasn't a question.
        Ecchi nodded enthusiastically. “Mhm!”
        Coryn pondered her. “I could send you on an assassination job. I could make you my full time assistant. Maybe I'd turn you to my side during the next Great Raid. Perhaps I'll just put you in a cage, naked, and sell tickets for a look behind the curtain?!”
        “Oh Coryn, I didn't know you were into that kind of thing. But if you really want me too… I'd do it for free!” Ecchi shouted.
        Coryn knew better than to be caught by surprise and comically choke on his OJ, but it didn't help. He applied his napkin to his face, and went back to studying his house guest. On the one hand, he would ruin a few experiments by leaving in the middle of them. On the other, having Ecchi-tan on call was worth its figurative weight in gold. “Alright then. I’ll do it. Now get out of my house” After two beats he added. “Thanks for breakfast.”
   Ecchi smiled at him, “I’m glad to hear that!”, and began to remove her robe.
   Coryn leapt from his chair and skittered halfway back across the room. Ecchi-tan stopped and gave him a curious look as he came up with his response. “Just leave that on will you? Keep it, in fact. The apron too. If anybody finds out this happened I’m a dead man.” She seemed to think about it for a moment before giving him an enthusiastic nod, and leaving her seat.
   “Alright then Coryn. I’ll see you when you get back!” Ecchi-tan sauntered out of the space and towards the foyer. Coryn counted her steps after she passed out of sight, and didn’t let his guard down until he heard the front door close behind her. He turned towards the hall, and after staggering a few steps into it, hit the wall and collapsed down it. There really was no way the events of that morning could go beyond those walls. Above all, he knew if Lego ever found out a about it, things might spiral into full blown civil war.

   Lego still lay in bed as Lewd-tan finished her spiel. She had only confirmed his notion that she wasn’t going to be any help at all moving forward, and that Lego was to keep the whole affair on the down low. Not that Lego considered what was happening right now to be an ‘affair’, but it was an apt term to describe the situation. Lego definitely wasn’t thinking of things in that moment which may potentially sour his chances with Ecchi-tan. There was no indecent thoughts happening whatsoever. But even the truest of men may find their hearts beating quick in such a situation. Lego was sure Lewd sensed this in him, or perhaps she could just tell from his sweat. Either way, she adjusted her positioning and Lego felt her weight leave his torso. The next thing he knew, two soft hands were clasping themselves around his face. She was close now, too close. Lego could feel her breath on his lips. Lewd spoke, low and sultry. “Bring me its sweet, delicious power.” And then, nothing.
   Lewd’s presence vanished in an instant. Lego wasted no time. He simultaneously spun to his side, snatched his glasses to his face, and activated his bedside lamp. The photons it produced scarcely had time to grace the walls of Lego’s cavernous bedroom before his eyes were scanning for any trace of her. Alas, the room showed no signs of her passing. For a moment, Lego pondered if it might have all been a dream after all, but upon looking at the other side of his bed, where an imprint of her form still remained, his path was galvanized.
        Within five minutes Lego had departed bed, laid out his clothes, packed a few sundries into rucksack, and began to freshen himself up. If it was such a highly coveted item, then there was surely a reason Lewd-tan was making her move now. But if she thought it was worth sending Lego to find it with so little to go on, then there must be someone else she thought may find it first.

        Mahlua stepped into her art studio fully dressed, and with a backpack of hastily assembled essentials. Artist-tan was sprawled out on the ground working on a sketch, and didn’t even look up as Mahlua approached her. “So there’s really nothing else you can tell me about this situation.”
        The young girl shrugged. “I’m afraid not. You know what I know. It’s not much to go on, but…” She raised her head to look up at the witch. “If you do happen to find it, I wouldn’t complain if you let me see what it is before you give it to Lewd. After all this work I’m interested in seeing what it looks like.” Mahlua sighed and surveyed her work space. Nothing seemed out of place, and she wondered how Artist-tan got in without disturbing anything. Her mouth opened to question the Tan, but she changed her mind about probing too deeply before the words passed her lips.
        “Will you be fine if I just leave you here?”
        The little Tan nodded. “Mhm. I can lock up after you too, if you want.”
        “Thanks Artist.” Mahlua gave a curt bow to the girl before stepping onto the street. There she stopped, and there she pondered. Lewd had sent Artist in her place for a reason. The Tan was not the kind to make decisions without a good reason behind them. Mahlua suspected that something was being purposely obscured, but she couldn’t place her finger on it. She stopped and she pondered for a full minute, until at last she yelled out at the top of her lungs. Mahlua could not know it, but at that exact moment, two others in the city were also echoing her exact words on their respective street corners, at the top of their respective lungs. “Then where the hell am I supposed to start?!”

        The morning air still retained the night’s chill, but the sun hung in a clear sky, so the mood felt optimistic to most. Spring, it could be said, had that effect on people. Winter, while tolerable, is often cold and harsh. It’s not a forgiving time to be alive. Even if each of us have had years to experience it over and over again, we inevitably find that the warm summer has strippd away our defense against it. So, when spring does raise its head, we can’t help but feel that the good times are on their way. Despite this however, the good times were not on their way for our three intrepid heroes. Before them sat trials unimaginable, har*censored*udes unplumbed, and duties unfulfilled. None of them yet knew it, but before long, each would wish they could be transported back to simpler times, and the morning of their rude awakenings.
   

Will review stories upon request. My latest arc: http://goo.gl/KYgsfF

Offline Coach Fro

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Re: Quest!: A MangaRaiders Story
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2018, 08:17:29 PM »
So jealous of Lego right now...

Wasn't ready for this goodness, Coryn. Good stuff and an interesting start for sure. Although I'm a little unsure of what "new territory" I had a part in opening up.
Messatsu...



Offline Coryn

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Re: Quest!: A MangaRaiders Story
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2018, 08:18:30 PM »
Think literally my friend. But come next chapter, I think you'll get it.

Will review stories upon request. My latest arc: http://goo.gl/KYgsfF

Offline Coach Fro

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Re: Quest!: A MangaRaiders Story
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2018, 08:27:41 PM »
Literally...?

Was it The Strand of Truth?

Was it the Grave-digging?

Was it me being homeless?

The answer alludes me, so wait til next chapter I shall.


Messatsu...



Offline legomaestro

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Re: Quest!: A MangaRaiders Story
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2018, 11:55:13 AM »
I was wondering how the hell  Coryn read my mind, and now I just remembered that I started and totally abandoned a DOTS story, and I'm pretty sure Frono posted something there? I've got to check that out.

Damn you, Coryn! I wanted to breach the subject of the mysterious nature of Mangaraider housing for ages! Gaaaah! I need to be faster with canon. Such juicy territory.

Also... *Suspicions increase that Coryn had a better visit than he did*

Dammit... At least let me see something instead of lurking in the shadows, Lewd-tan

@tans love the fro, bro *Smirks*



Artist-tan was cute as hell hahaha. Good stuff Coryn, and damn was that a fat chapter. Where did you even find the time to write this

Offline Coryn

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Re: Quest!: A MangaRaiders Story
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2018, 04:50:22 PM »
The visit was exactly as described. Don't go calling my narrator's reliability into question. But I'm glad you liked it so far.

I've been writing this one a few sentences at a time over the last month or so on my phone. Using Google docs for mobile has really caused an up tick in production. I've been using docs for everything but CS, so every time I get a free minute I can jot something down. And as a result, when I do sit down to write with my computer, I don't feel bad for writing a different story while ignoring CS, because I've already written on those other stories and can just write CS stuff.

So really, it's a win all around.

Will review stories upon request. My latest arc: http://goo.gl/KYgsfF

Offline eukocar

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Re: Quest!: A MangaRaiders Story
« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2018, 08:29:57 AM »
what an way to start an adventure :clapping:.

i love that you added some comedy to the story.
looking forward on seeing how all of this works out.

Offline Coryn

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Re: Quest!: A MangaRaiders Story
« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2018, 10:12:30 AM »
Thanks Eukocar! I'm hoping it will be funny the whole way through. I'm digging deep into my training to keep this one consistent. Can't let myself get too serious.

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Offline MahluaandMilk

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Re: Quest!: A MangaRaiders Story
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2018, 11:26:24 PM »
Whewboy, those Tans really know what they're doing when they get up to shenanigans. Going after our weaknesses without directly making us too weak to work for them in that moment. I better not actually hear about that affair, or I might have to join in the stupid killfest that's usually reserved between Coryn and Lego. I sincerely hope that we wind up working together under the guise of us all getting a wish, or maybe we're all in for a bloody free-for-all.

Also, glad to see Artist-tan making her adorable debut. She did great. Cute and unsettling all at once.

I'll point out that in my introduction, you typed "calls" for alarm instead of "cause". I understand that they sound similar and can be used pretty similarly, and it almost works, but when it comes to common idioms, well...y'know.

Given the time it's been since the last post, I assume you're about...mmm...halfway done with the next chapter? Two-thirds?

Offline Coryn

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Re: Quest!: A MangaRaiders Story
« Reply #9 on: May 12, 2018, 12:14:07 AM »
Did I write calls? Damn, it's those sound alikes that always get missed in editing.

Easy about this "affair" business. You people and your dirty minds following trails ain't nobody blazed, least of all me.

The next chapter is actually done. I'm just holding back until the next chapters of Bleach and Life At Sea are done. I don't want to run away with any one story and leave the rest in the dust. And having content I haven't released pushes me to work on the rest, so it's a real win-win.

Glad it's got you hooked!

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Offline MahluaandMilk

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Re: Quest!: A MangaRaiders Story
« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2018, 12:21:21 AM »
Well, if she's wearing "less than [him]", all I'm sayin is it might be in his favor to wear a three-piece suit to bed, complete with a vest and underwear and two layers of socks. :sure:

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Re: Quest!: A MangaRaiders Story
« Reply #11 on: May 12, 2018, 09:15:14 AM »
I never did describe his sleepwear, and I plead the fifth for all future inquiry on the subject.

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Offline Coryn

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Re: Quest!: A MangaRaiders Story
« Reply #12 on: June 17, 2018, 05:42:55 PM »
Chapter 2 is ready babes! And let me just say first, that I'm so proud how much other MR canon has filled up the recent topics between the last chapter and this one. I had to scroll down nearly to the end of the page for all of 'em!

I'm actually like, really proud of some of the writing in this chapter, especially Lego's section. You'll have to let me know what you think about it, style-wise.

And now, the story develops! Let's go on a quest everyone!


CHAPTER 2

CHAPTER 2: In Which Our Heroes Begin Their Search

Anyone who knew anything about the Net could tell you that if there was one skill you needed above all others, it was the ability to search. Searching was how you found anyone, did anything, or got anywhere. Without this power, you were just as likely as not to live out the rest of your days wherever it was that you found yourself. Luckily then, that searching came about as natural as walking for most people. It's a valuable skill to be sure, but not really a hard one to pick up.
        No, the trouble came in that no one could agree on the best way to search.
        It is said that in the beginning of the Net, there was only one way to travel between sites. This may have very well been true, but time does cause things to diverge. It was like discovering a new favorite route to the store, except the store was a digital construct on a different plane of a mega-program containing the souls of all humanity. Over time, new paths were forged, and the old ways were forgotten. Some methods were decidedly more popular than others, but if you met someone who took an obscure path, it would not be declared unusual.
So of course, Coryn, Lego, and Mahlua all decided to go about their search in different ways.

        For Coryn, the answer was obvious. If you needed to find the unfindable, then you needed to go to the source that contained the most information. In all the Net, he only knew of one place where he could get unfettered access to the vast amounts of data that he would need to sort through.
        He needed the Googlelith.
        Coryn approached the Googlelith alone. You always approached the Googlelith alone. It was said that millions visited it each day, and it would create an instance of itself for every single one. It was an intimidating task, even for a seasoned veteran. But then again, almost everyone would find a ten story tall monolith in the middle of a vast empty plain to be intimidating.
        The stone was white, and perfectly flat on each of its four sides. It was almost prism like, and reflected red, blue, green, and yellow lights deep beneath its surface. Legends told that they were the souls of those who lost themselves searching its archives. Coryn very much doubted this, but was careful not to get too close all the same. He did suspect however, that it might have claimed a few lives. It floated around ten feet off the ground, and while Coryn could not detect the power source which kept it afloat, he did not doubt that trying to walk beneath it was likely a bad idea.
        He came to a stop a hundred yards away, and glanced around. Coryn knew he should be alone, but he couldn't shake the sensation he was being watched. Outside of MR, his moderator empowerment did not exist, and it had been some time since he had ventured out into the wilds of the Net. Not that he doubted his ability, but the question still scratched at the back of his mind. Coryn had even packed along one of his old katanas, just in case he ran out of battery and had to enter manual mode. It was supposed to increase his sense of security, but Coryn wasn't feeling the effect. Still, it was probably nothing. Coryn surmised the Googlelith itself could be what was watching him. One could never be too careful around ancient and powerful monoliths after all.
        Finally, Coryn turned towards the great stone, and began his research. “Search term: Golden Chalice.”
        For a moment, nothing happened, and then Coryn was assaulted with more avenues than he knew what to do with. Blue letters covered the Googlelith. Together, they formed thousands upon thousands of links to hundreds and hundreds of possible destinations. A helpful holographic representation of the Googlelith formed in front of the scientist, which allowed him to sort through the deluge at a safe distance.
        As expected, most of his options were about as useful as a sinner on Sunday.
        'Golden Chalices for Sale! (Not Cursed)’, ‘Golden Chalices for Sale! (Cursed)’, 'gold polish’, 'cash for gold’, 'golden statue’, 'gold tableware and cutlery’, 'gold swords’, 'gold armor’, 'how to get stains out of gold’, ‘how to get out gold stains’, 'molten gold look liek wat?’, 'gold jewelry’, ‘smuggling gold’, 'density of gold’, 'golden apples’, 'goose that lays golden eggs’, 'golden eggs for sale?’. Coryn was quickly losing both his patience, and any ability to recognize 'gold’ as a word. He was considering trying another approach, when a promising result finally crossed his vision. “Has anyone heard of the Golden Chalice?”
        He clicked the link, and it brought up a transcript from a conversation recorded in a chat room. Coryn quietly read the account to himself. The exchange had been started by someone going under the handle of 'Gold Seeker’.
        “Has anyone heard of the Golden Chalice? It's supposed to be a legend about a golden cup.”
        “I've got a gold cup for... your mom?”
        “Nice one. How long did it take to think that one up?”
        “Up yours! Who cares about gold cups anyway? Wouldn't it make everything taste like metal”
        “I don't think they want to drink from it.”
        “I saw an old movie about the Holy Grail once. Is that what you mean?”
        “No, I'm looking for something more recent than that. Something called the Golden Chalice. That's how I keep hearing it referred to as.”
        “Why are you interested in it?”
        “I'm not, really, I guess. But someone else was asking me about it, and I like researching legends, so I started looking into it, but I can't find anything about it. Mostly it's just other people like me asking around.”
        “Maybe it's a prank? Some asshole probably just made it up to troll people.”
        “Yeah, maybe you're right…”
        “I've heard of it.” The newcomer went by 'Stipulant’. “It’s supposed to be a powerful artifact that was created by a pair of wizards or magicians. They locked it away after they saw how great their creation was.”
        “How great? That's pretty generic sounding.”
        “It's just what I've heard. I read it on a blog somewhere.”
        “So if you have a powerful gold cup, then where do you hide it?”
        “Someplace that's hard to get to, I guess.”
        After that, the conversation drifted to a different topic. Coryn archived the log and canceled out of his search on the Googlelith. It wasn't a lot to go on, but it was something. If nothing else, it proved that there was more to the Golden Chalice story than something Ecchi-tan had made up on a lark (Although upon reflection, that wasn't her style.) But if that were the case, it brought up another good question. Coryn settled himself on the ground and rubbed at his chin. “Someplace that's hard to get to... someplace safe? Somewhere secure?” He sat and he puzzled for some time, before finally, an idea came to him. “If you want to keep something hidden, put it in plain sight.” The blonde leapt to his feet, punched in a new destination for himself, and disappeared, whisked away by the Net to his chosen location. The Googlelith, as ever, watched on dispassionately.

        For Mahlua, the answer was obvious. If you needed to find the unfindable, then you needed to go to the source that was the most knowledgeable about such things. There was no single place where she could access that source, but there was one spot which promised a higher degree of reliability.
        Now, it was a universal truth of all mankind, that for as long as mankind had things they could lose, they had been losing them. It was very likely that the first human to ever emerge during that great darkness of prehistory owned a sharp stick. And, it was equally likely that they were consumed by a sabertooth cat after misplacing said stick. Such is the way of things. Naturally then, it followed that humans would try and find a way to not lose things in the first place, and failing that, discern a way to rediscover them once lost.
        It was convenient then, that religion and gods followed soon after.
        Pick any religion you'd like, and within it you will find some being responsible for finding lost things. Pray to the right deity, offer the right sacrifice, and the one responsible will surely take time out of their busy schedule of smiting the non-believers, ferrying souls to the afterlife, inventing wine, or whatever their primary duties were, in order to help find your missing bushel of wheat, enchanted spear, cell phone, etcetera.
        With this notion in mind, Mahlua had chosen her initial destination. It was not a new site, and in fact suffered under many of the common pitfalls of those places which had hung on from the early Net. It was hard to navigate, the roads were twisting and nonsensical, sneaking between low, mud buildings. Many lead to dead ends or simply seemed to fall off into oblivion. The sky was always black, with only a few twinkling stars to light your way if you didn't bring a source of your own. Worst of all, all of the street signs were printed in a luminescent yellow color, which strained even the freshest of eyes to read. It was in short: only frequented by those who either didn't know any better, or did, but ignored their better instincts.
        Mahlua wondered which she was.
        Somebody, some wayward administrator, must have been keeping the lights on at least however. For as Mahlua made her way steadily upwards, and towards the city center, she could see lit torches in the distance. The adorned a worn down Egyptian style temple, which had clearly been left to the sands for some time. Scraps of peeled off paint mixed with sand drifts which coalesced around it's base, and the statues which remained were pockmarked from the driving winds. Still, this had once been an active dwelling place of the gods. That had a way of leaving a mark on a place, a residue of divinity. If Mahlua wanted to inquire about the Chalice in a place without prying eyes, then this was as good as it got.
        She reached the main boulevard leading into the temple, which was flanked by rows of sphinxes carved from sandstone. The facade pylons we're decorated with reliefs depicting all manner of gods. It was Mahlua's understanding that the temple had been dedicated to the pantheon as a whole, rather than to just a single deity. She did not require all of them, only one. But the more who were potentially listening, the better her chances.
It was now that she encountered her first barrier. A short gate bared entrance to the inside of the temple, and from the shadows beside it, emerged a robed figure. “Wayward administrator indeed.” Thought Mahlua. The shrouded person lurched in front of the gate, and the Raider came to a stop at a safe distance from them. They seemed to study her, their head bobbing up and down in the semi-darkness. Finally, the the figure addressed Mahlua in a raspy voice which she could not place the age or gender of.
        “Answer me...why have you come?”
        It was hard to tell, but Mahlua figured the person was either purposely hunched over, or was a legitimate hunchback. She scrutinized them for any tells, but they weren't betraying a thing. Finally, she decided to answer with as much of the truth as she was comfortable giving. “I'm seeking something that I have no clue about where to find. I come to inquire from the gods which reside here.”
        The figure lilted somewhat. “There are no gods here, only echoes. Your journey is for naught.”
        It was not an unexpected answer, but it was still unwelcome. “I wish to decide that for myself.”
        The figure was quiet for a few moments. Mahlua thought they might be preparing to assault her, but then they stepped to the side, and the gate parted without assistance. “You are welcome to try.”
        She stepped past them, and passed into the hypostyle courtyard beyond. The robed figure disappeared back into the cranny from which they had emerged, and Mahlua lost all sense of being observed. With a sigh of relief, she proceeded through the complex towards it's rear. Located along the exterior wall of the sanctuary would be prayer niches which could be used by the laymen. It was as close as the average person could come to actually going inside the temple’s center, so it would have to do.
        Upon finding them, Mahlua passed by the nooks until one jumped out at her. To the outside observer, there were no physical differences to the rest, but Mahlua had to follow her gut, and this was the one it had selected. Once, a curtain had provided some sense of privacy, but it had long ago disintegrated, leaving only bronze rings which had once supported it. Mahlua stepped inside, kicked away the worst of the sand, sat down, and began to meditate.
        She quickly concluded that the figure was correct. There were no gods left in that place. Even the residue she had hoped to find there was long since dried up. But as she did not want to waste the trip, Mahlua pushed further down. Finally, she felt a presence. It was distant at first, but as it grew nearer, she could feel a more definite being before her. She didn't recognize it, which struck her as odd, but it felt familiar nonetheless. Mahlua asked her question. “I am seeking the Golden Chalice. Can you tell me where it can be found?”
        A deep, male voice echoed around her. “There are many paths to what you seek. Each can lead you to your prize, but you can follow only one. Wait for the star to fall from the south sky, and follow it to ruin. Wait for the eastern wind, and…” The voice continued on, but Mahlua had already broken her trance. She had deduced why the presence had seemed so familiar, and instead of continuing on with the charade, she stood up, and banged against the sandstone wall in front of her.
        “I know it's you! Get out here!”
        There was a yelp of pain from the voice, and then it fell silent. Mahlua stepped back from the wall as she heard a series of mechanical clicks emanate from it. A moment later, it swung open around a central axis. Out stepped the robed figure from earlier, except now they stood straight, which had added several feet to their height. The hood was thrown back, and what was revealed was a tall man with swept back black hair, and a cultured British accent. Gone were any remnants of the creepy gatekeeper. “There's no need go about yelling like that. I can hear you perfectly fine.”
        Mahlua was not amused. “I should have known you would resort to old tricks after this place fell apart. Are you even a priest?”
        The man shrugged. “Who's to say anymore? I just hang around and give out cryptic riddles to passerby. I think you will find it is an ancient and noble profession.”
        “So you're just a charleton then?”
        “No more a charleton than any other professional 'oracle’ throughout history. You think Croesus got mislead by a legitimate prophecy? Anyone can make up something that plays to both sides of the coin.”
        Mahlua threw up her hands and turned to leave. “Be glad you didn't try to charge an entrance fee.” Just before she crossed the threshold of the niche however, a new sound met her ears.
        “HOLD.”
        It was the gatekeeper's voice without a doubt, but it had been taken over by an entirely different quality from before. Mahlua turned back towards him, and saw that his eyes had glazed over. His body was slack, and he looked in no particular direction. “YOU ARE NOT THE ONLY SEEKER. YOU CAN FIND THE CHALICE BY TAKING THE OLD ROAD, BUT IF YOU FIND IT, YOU WILL NO LONGER WANT IT.”
        Mahlua desperately wanted to ask whatever was speaking with the man's body about what exactly it meant. But before a single word could pass from her mouth, he went limp and collapsed against the niche’s wall. He regained his senses in short order, and upon taking in his change of position, turned up towards Mahlua. “I'm terribly sorry about that. I missed breakfast and I guess I just, passed out for a second there.”
        Whatever had possessed him was obviously no gone, and Mahlua took a deep breath to regain her composure. “It's fine. And, I'm sorry about what I just said. Keep doing you.” She strode out of the cubicle, leaving the priest in the dark about what had transpired. Mahlua didn't know what 'the old road’ was quite yet, but she had an idea about where she could start looking for it.

        For Rick, the answer was obvious. If you needed to get somewhere that you didn't know where it was, then you needed to go to the source that contained the most detailed information. In all the Net, he only knew of one place where he could get quick access to what he needed: his trusty city map.
        Let's back up.
        Rick was not a hero. Rick did not have powers. He could not fly, or punch through a brick wall, or even shoot lasers out of his eyes. Rick was a perfectly normal, well meaning, law abiding, stable member of society. He did not like adventure, dangerous situations, scary movies, or even spicy food. Rick was, in short: not an interesting literary character. He lived in Facebook, the largest mega-city on the Net. If you didn't have a residence here in some capacity, then you likely didn't exist. And by and large, it was a quiet place for normal people to take refuge from the excitement that happened elsewhere. This was just how Rick liked life, and he would like for it to stay that way, thank you very much. In fact, Rick had only ventured into this unfamiliar section of town because his usual grocery store had run out of fresh avacados, and his map had told him there was another branch nearby.
        Of course, being who he was, Rick immediately regretted his decision. The street felt foreign to him, despite having the same white and blue architecture as the rest of the city. The people scared him, despite them being indistinguishable from people anywhere else in the city. What unnerved him the most however, was the black van parked on the side of the street. Vans of that model were usually white, so this one being black set him off. He wanted to cross to the other side of the street, but there was no crosswalk, and he didn't want to be a jaywalker. Rick was convinced that one of the crowd would call him out on it. Perhaps they would even notify the police. This scared him worse than the van, so Rick pushed onwards
        Just before reaching the vehicle, Rick spotted his destination, and let out a sigh of relief. He was just being paranoid after all. There was no danger from a van after all, especially on a sidewalk with so many potential witnesses. Nothing could possibly go wrong.
        That was incorrect, of course. Everything could always go wrong.

        Rick felt consciousness slowly returning. His surroundings were dark, and a strong chemical smell hung in the air. He patiently waited for his eyes to adjust, but realized he was blindfolded, and that they would do no such thing. Rick's sense of panic was beginning to take hold, but was soon rocketed up to eleven as the blindfold was whipped away, and he was confronted with the steel roof of the van. A simple work lamp was suspended above him, and it nearly struck his head as Rick was hauled up into a sitting position by his bindings.
        In front of him squatted a dark figure with an afro, a trench coat, and a facemask. Because for Lego, the answer was obvious. If you needed a piece of information, then you couldn't go wrong with kidnapping people until you found one that knew what you needed. “No no! Don't try screaming! I gagged you, so you can't.” Rick was painfully aware. He tried anyway. Lego continued on. “Look, you're like, the twenty-third person I've done this to today, so it would be really great if you know what I need.” Lego's hostage did not believe he would. In that moment, Rick only believed that he was going to be murdered and left in a drain pipe. He was worried for him, and for his cat, who would have no one to feed him. Still, Rick put on the bravest face he could muster, and nodded at his captor.
        Lego responded with some enthusiastic claps on the shoulder. “Good! I knew I could count on you! Now, can you tell me anything about the Golden Chalice?”
        “I'm going to die.” Thought Rick. Until that moment, he had held out some modicum of hope, but that modicum had just been blasted away by a wave of despair. Rick didn't know what this Golden Chalice was all about. He had certainly heard of cups, chalices even, which were made of gold, but those we're all well beyond his price range. And in any case, he didn't think that this masked man was interested in drinkware. Rick dredged his mind for anything that could help him, but he was coming up empty. He had been quiet for some time now as well, and the kidnapper was starting to look impatient.
        After one last futile effort, Rick gave up. He let his body relax, and braced for the end. There was nothing he could do now.
        And that's when it came to him.
        Lego's hostage started yelling something at him, but it only came out as a series of high pitched muffles on account of the sock in his mouth. The sock was duly removed, and once the man had calmed down some, Lego encouraged him to start over from the beginning.
        “I remember reading about a golden chalice in the newspaper this morning. I don't know if it's the Golden Chalice that you're talking about, but it might be. It was an advertisement, something about an expedition? I didn't read it very closely…”
        Lego studied Rick dispassionately for a moment, before giving him a few appreciative slaps on the cheek. “Good job Mr. Kidnappee. Thank you for your time!”
        Rick opened his mouth to say something along the lines of 'You’re welcome. Does this mean I get to live’. But instead, the sock was reinserted, the side door was thrown open, and he was unceremoniously kicked to the curb, bindings and all. Rick pulled himself upright just in time to see the mysterious van peel off into the distance. He watched as it disappeared around the corner, ignoring the confused passersby crowding around him. Rick still didn't know what the Golden Chalice was, but he thought it must be awfully important for so many people to go through so much trouble.




In other news, did you know this chapter is already 30 pages long after just 2 chapters? I sure didn't until today. It's going to be a long one, is what I'm saying. Strap in for a ride guys.

Will review stories upon request. My latest arc: http://goo.gl/KYgsfF

Offline MahluaandMilk

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Re: Quest!: A MangaRaiders Story
« Reply #13 on: June 17, 2018, 11:28:27 PM »
MR longfics are the only longfics I think I can handle at this point in my life.

Poor Rick. I was wondering "who's this guy" for a solid bit there.

Don't forget to look over your sentence structure and make sure you've got the right "its/it's". There were a couple of confusing places in my segment, but that's the only area I had trouble following.

Offline legomaestro

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Re: Quest!: A MangaRaiders Story
« Reply #14 on: June 18, 2018, 06:25:56 AM »
Oh gawd I just went straight to kidnapping to find information. I laughed man. Wait aren't they  typically black?

Feels like you're channeling Sir Pratchett and some Gaiman here for this. Felt some Sandman vibes with Coryns' and Mahluas part, and Good Omens with the introduction to Rick. Really nicely written. Also I had no idea about the Croseus thing and what 'hypostyle' was. That is the good stuff.  Nicely written dude