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Author Topic: Vacant's NaNoWriMo 2019 Progress/Info Dump/Notes/Diary Thingy  (Read 280 times)

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Offline Vacant

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Vacant's NaNoWriMo 2019 Progress/Info Dump/Notes/Diary Thingy
« on: November 01, 2019, 03:08:57 AM »
Hey all, 
             So I want to join in on NaNoWriMo this year in an attempt to truly kick myself up the arse and get into a good habit of writing.
             To that end, I figured I'd go ahead and make this thread. Think of it as a diary of sorts. I'll be updating it with what I've done each day in November towards writing my story. Hopefully this will help keep me on track.

             Also, I thought it'd be interesting to include everything I do when writing, this includes the little scribbles and notes I make for myself. I'm always interested in other peoples writing processes, so figured I'd show mine on this occasion.
             Anywayyy......I'm writing a story tentatively called "Absolver". Dont be fooled, this is the story formerly known as Heavy Rayne and I've been working on it for 9 years now. However, I have neglected the actual writing of it for a long time and have rebooted the story around 5-6 times in the past 2 years. It is my hope that consitency is key and I wont feel the need to keep restarting if I plow some time into the first draft. So lets get onto the goals!

GOALS:
-At least 10,000 words by November 30th. This will equate to roughly 22-25 pages based on the formatting I use.
-To have most if not ALL of the 1st Chapter finished.
-To build a habit of writing for at least an hour a day.


   

Offline Vacant

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Re: Vacant's NaNoWriMo 2019 Progress/Info Dump/Notes/Diary Thingy
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2019, 03:13:51 AM »
November 1st 2019

Spent today's time jotting down what I wanted to get out of the chapter and the rough plot skeleton for it. Tomorrow is where the real action starts! Time spent writing today: 1 Hour 35 Minutes.

Absolver - Chapter One Drafting:

Goals Of The Chapter:
-Establish MC. Their personality, skills and relationship with Zamizuchi.
-Establish how combat will function
-Set up the world and profession of the MC
-Set the tone for the story.
-Set up potential conflicts and what our threats will/could be.

Key Events In The Chapter
-We are introduced to Shio. We will learn about what Agent’s are, get a glimpse of what they do and what powers they have.
-Get introduced to Zamizuchi, the mysterious Spirit that only Shio can see and hear.
-Establish the strange behaviour of Shio’s teacher, Captain Gabroy, who is shown to have a disdain for Shio. Also show their strained relationship.
-Touch on Shio’s key relationships, although these can be held off for a later chapter if it becomes too cumbersome.
-Have a situation unfold where Shio is cornered by Captain Gabroy who reveals he is possessed by a Demon. He will demand to know the location of the “Crypt of Aqua” which Shio will have no knowledge of. Gabroy will point to Zamizuchi as evidence, shocking Shio as he is unaware of anyone who can see her aside from him.
-Shio will be greatly outmatched, until a hooded figure in white will intervene and wound the rogue Captain. However, due to trickery, the hooded man will be temporarily stunned by a sneak attack. Shio will then be caught in a perilous position facing death.
-However, he will refuse to give up Zamizuchi and implores her for aid. She lends her strange powers to him and together they greatly injure Gabroy. He is finally killed with an attack from the hooded man. He then also reveals he can see Zamizuchi. He tells Shio this is merely a dream and uses magic to incapacitate him.


First Scene Notes
Introduction to Shio. Need to establish how he acts, his current situation and the immediate world around him. Initial scene can be either…
a.) Training exercise
Pros:
-More exciting start to the Novel, can begin in the thick of things. Chance to showcase battle and magic early.
-Due to the more frantic pace, can potentially introduce more characters without making it a slog to get through.
Cons:
-As this is the final day before graduation, Shio and Co. have already passed their exams. Would they really have a high intensity drill 24 hours before a graduation ceremony?
-The fighting could prove confusing and throwing too many characters in at this time could make a readers eyes glaze over.

b.) Classroom Environment
Pros:
-Can fit more exposition in this way.
-Easier to keep a consistent flow of dialogue.
Cons:
-Slower start, could drag on.
-Exposition could feel like an Info dump.


Rough Plot Skeleton For Chapter 1
-Starts in the midst of a training exercise. While panicked cries and the din of battle echoes around the rocky battlefield, Shio is seen tucked away in a crevice in the wall, napping.
-The spirit of a young woman disturbs him. He isn’t too pleased as this, but she alerts him to a boy heading their way. Morris Darwin, a classmate of his is running beneath them, being chased by a Mammoth-like monster generated for this exercise.
-Shio reluctantly steps in to help, swooping down and slicing through the neck of the creature with his sword. The beast explodes into a shower of sparks as it was made from pure energy.
-Morris thanks him profusely and expresses how he overwhelmed he is that Shio would save him. However, Shio reveals that he had slipped his tracker for the exercise onto Morris, so those monitoring would believe them to working in tandem. He says he didn't want Morris going out so early into the dril so he could rest a little more.
-They are interrupted by one of their Professors, who is posing as a boss in the exercise. Shio questions why he came to them, as he understood it as the teachers were guarding the exits only. Gabroy says that they should expect the unexpected on a real mission.
-He alludes to finally finding an answer to something. He acts quite unnerving around them. When he and Shio have a frosty exchange, Gabroy launches an overpowered spell at them. Shio grabs Morris and uses the walls to skip up to the top of the cliffs surrounding them. In a desperate effort to avoid the fires Gabroy has cast, he uses a Water spell to push them both over the clifftop. This saves them, but forces them out of bounds.
-We next see Morris and Shio being berated by Gabroy for causing the drill to end. Shio defends his actions by stating the spell he cast would’ve caused severe injury. Gabroy dismisses this, claiming he used merely 10% of the potential power to that magic.
-Gabroy becomes quite personal, bringing up Shio’s poor ranking in the class and his deceased parents. This angers Shio, but the argument is stopped with the arrival of two more Professors, Giyan Mercury and Natsuko Tomoko. Gabroy goes to storm out, but not before issuing a detention for Shio and Morris.
-Shio is then seen with two female friends, Amber and Ruby. Amber teases him about his situation and explains the absence of their other cohort, Leaz.They question the bizarre behaviour of Gabroy and the validity of a late night detention. They explore the topic of them becoming Agents tomorrow and what will change.
-Shio is home to find that Zamizuchi has flooded the bathroom of his student dorm. He acts annoyed with her again, before cleaning up her mess. He reflects on if things will be different tomorrow when he’s an Agent.
-We skip to Shio heading out to the training complex. He notices the lights are all out inside. He walks around, finding the place empty. He goes to leave when he hears Morris cry out, with the sound coming from the Labyrinth.
-Shio rushes in and discovers an unconscious Morris on the floor. Standing over him is a man in a white, hooded robe. Gabroy enters and tells Shio that he must flee from this man and that he is dangerous. He tells him that detention is cancelled and not to worry about Morris as he will save him.
-Shio says he’ll get help and rushes off. He tries his Insig. Phone to contact someone but notices it isn’t working. He also realises that he’s somehow gotten lost and the walls seem darker. Zamizuchi floats skyward, but she says she can't see anything. She says its pitch black.
-Gabroy appears and Shio aks what's going on. Gabroy explains that this is his magic, an advanced Shadow Lore spell. He says once someone enters it, it becomes nearly impossible to escape. Shio says while it helped lose the man in white, it also got him mixed up in it.
-Gabroy says he misunderstands, he caught exactly who he wanted in it. Both of them. Shio acts confused, but Gabroy quickly attacks with a Kunai on a Chain. Shio manages to avoid a couple of these attacks, but is soon slashed across the leg. When Zami acts concerned, Gabroy grabs her by the throat, shocking the pair of them.
-He says he wasn’t sure who she belonged to, he thought it was Shio, but until today he wasn’t certain. He says he’s overjoyed to be correct. He asks where the “Crypt of Aqua” is. They both tell him they have no clue what he’s talking about.
-Gabroy insists that they must know. He says she wouldn’t be with Shio if he hadn’t set foot in the Temple itself. Shio again says he has no clue. He’s also never met anyone who can see her and warns him to let go.
-Gabroy says he should try and make him. Shio obliges and launches a couple of spells. Gabroy overpowers him with ease and tosses him around. Zami goes to Shio’s side, but is again grabbed by Gabroy. When she asks how its possible, a voice tells them its because Gabroy is a demon.
-The man in white attacks Gabroy and sends him flying. He says he was sent to investigate a potential demonic possession of an Agent, but he would’ve never of guessed it’d be such a high ranking one like a Captain.
-He tells Shio to cast a fire lore spell, to light his way out. Shio sheepishly tells him he cant do anything aside from magic from the lore of Water.
-The  hooded man sighs and uses his own magic to send a stream of light for Shio to follow. However, during this Gabroy’s kunai rises up and slashes the man. He tells him how stupid he was for turning his back to his foe.
-He then chases Shio who flees. The light he was following vanishes and darkness envelopes him. He dodges a couple of attacks from Gabroy, who becomes increasingly irate. He uses a magic that forces chains formed from energy to snare Shio’s limbs. These chains burn and cause him to bleed from where they make contact causing a great deal of pain. Gabroy offers Shio a deal.
-He says that Shio and Zamizuchi’s souls are  bonded together. If Shio undoes this, then he will take Zami as his own and free Shio. He says he can be free from her. He says she drains his power constantly by being bonded.
-He also says she’s responsible for his fall from grace. Shio asks what he will do with her. Gabroy says he just wants the location of the Crypt. Shio says that while his relationship with Zamizuchi is far from ideal, he’d much rather she stays with him over Gabroy.
-Gabroy says he’s chose the hard way. He says that he can forcibly unbind them by killing Shio here and now. He tells Shio that this body is nearing its limit. He says that before body gives out, he will make sure to murder his little friends and the old farseer too.
-Shio summons a whirlpool of water from nowhere to break the chains. He realises he has to defeat Gabroy otherwise he will follow through with his plan, but he doesn’t have the power. Zamizuchi asks what he’s going to do. Shio says he must win no matter what.
-She then apologises to him and says she promised not to do this again. Shio questions this but before he has time to ask, Zami forcibly enters his body and “possesses” Shio. She uses his body to battle Gabroy and seriously wound him.
-When the demon emerges out of the wound in the form of smoke, it curses her and Shio. However, Shio’s body falters as Zami is ejected from him. The demon gloats saying they lost their only chance of victory. However, a blade slices through the smoke demon and disintegrates it.   
-The assailant is revealed to be the Man In White. He tells them they put up a good fight. Shio is dazed and unsure of what is happening Shio asks what the hell is going on.
-The man apologies and says he cannot answer. He tells him not to worry as it was just a dream. He then places two fingers on Shio’s head and causes him to pass out.




Offline legomaestro

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Re: Vacant's NaNoWriMo 2019 Progress/Info Dump/Notes/Diary Thingy
« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2019, 08:08:15 AM »
Stoked for you using Nano to get some words in for Heavy Rayne Vacant! Good stuff. Wishing you best of luck (out of my own selfish interests) and Godspeed.

Really like how you plan everything haha

Offline suuper-san

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Re: Vacant's NaNoWriMo 2019 Progress/Info Dump/Notes/Diary Thingy
« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2019, 10:19:01 AM »
I also really like how you've planned it out and keep expanding on the previous notes. that's the kinda thing I need to get working for me when I start doing my manga scripts and possible stories.
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Offline Coryn

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Re: Vacant's NaNoWriMo 2019 Progress/Info Dump/Notes/Diary Thingy
« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2019, 10:26:42 AM »
Good luck Vacant! Hopefully this will be the thing to push yourself back inti the thick of it. Will say though, if it's the day before graduation and they really are all done with school, then I would 100% be in a bar. If you still want to start with some action, then they can still be exercising, but it seems weird to still have any sort of mandatory stuff going on with the school itself.

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Offline midsummer_feast

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Re: Vacant's NaNoWriMo 2019 Progress/Info Dump/Notes/Diary Thingy
« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2019, 11:02:22 AM »
I wish you best luck friend =^,^=

If you wish for some company so can you find me as Midsummer_feast on NaNoWriMo's page =^,^=
or just write here :P

still best luck ~





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my work:
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Offline Vacant

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Re: Vacant's NaNoWriMo 2019 Progress/Info Dump/Notes/Diary Thingy
« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2019, 01:23:24 PM »
Day 2:

Firstly, thank you guys for the encouragement  :thumbsup:

@Coryn I was thinking that too. To attempt to reconcile this, I've amended this and made this a Class B exercise only. So the top students who are Class A have an easy ride for the last week, while those in Class B will be drilled hard to try and maximise the amount of training they receive. Might look at this more in a future draft though.

So Total time writing today: 1 hour (got distracted a couple of times so just about managed a page :( )

Day 2 Writing
    “Shio, wake up”.

    The voice sounded distant, barely distinguishable from the muffled gunshots and panicked voices echoing throughout the arena. The air was tinged with smoke and dust, kicked up by the frantic skirmishes unfolding nearby.

    “Shio! Get up!”.

    It was louder this time and with more urgency. It had an all too familiar tone to it that made him inclined to ignore it. He tried to ignore it and will it to blend into the sea of chaotic sound happening around him.

    “Shio, Shio, Shio, Shio!”.

    He shot upright. The book that had been laying open on his face slid into his lap. His brow furrowed as he shot a glare in the direction of the voice.

    “What!?” he asked, his voice teeming with irritation. His eyes began to focus on the floating figure before him. She took the form of a petite young woman and bobbed up and down slowly, as if drifting underwater. Despite standing in front of the narrow entranceway, some light slipped through her translucent form.

    “Someones coming” she replied. Despite her face being obscured due to having her back to the light, Shio could tell she was scowling at him.
    He was about to respond when a scream pierced the air and interrupted him. It was shrill and conveyed the true terror the owner of it felt.

    “Why didn’t you say that?” Shio said. He placed the book aside and shuffled forward. The small fissure in the rock he was currently residing in was a great spot to lay down, but didn’t have the room for him to stand in.
    He’d discovered it on a previous visit. Whether it was an old wound from a battle long since past, or a natural feature of the cliff face he didn’t know. However, he knew it was a blindspot for the surveillance cameras.

    He continued to shuffle to the mouth of the cavern, the girl before him moving back indignantly in response. He halted at the entrance and hung his legs over the lip of the rockface. The girl hovered next to him.
    Now in the light, Shio could see her clearly. Waist length platinum hair danced in a non-existent breeze, the tips of it ended in an aqua blue tint. Shimmering blue eyes darted about as she inspected the ground below. Her plain white gown also followed the slow drifting motion her hair did. She had delicate features that reminded him of a porcelain doll.
 
    Another shrill cry snapped Shio’s attention to the ground below. After a moment, he spotted the source of the panic. In the distance to his right, he saw a boy sprinting. His clumsy strides hauled his portly frame in Shio’s direction. There wasn’t really any other road for him to take.

    The Labyrinth the Professors had dubbed it. The name was rather on the nose, but Shio could think of no better way to describe their environment. Towering stone walls rose some 120 feet into the air, lining either side of the path below. It was designed to disorientate and sew unease into those that traversed it.
    Something it was achieving admirably, judging from the panicked cries of the other occupants Shio had heard.


Offline Vacant

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Re: Vacant's NaNoWriMo 2019 Progress/Info Dump/Notes/Diary Thingy
« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2019, 12:15:25 PM »
Day 3:

Total Time writing: 30 Minutes

I woke up late before the night shift, so had to fit some writing in when I could. This is pitifully little to show for my efforts, but I distracted myself when I got curious to find out what the largest Elephant ever was.  :noidea: :noidea: :noidea:

Day 3 Writing
    Smoke plumes rose steadily over certain points of the cliff walls, denoting unseen conflicts. This combined with the dust clouds had formed a haze that dampened Shio’s field of view of the path below.
    The boy had burst through this fog and was getting easier to see as he approached. Shio saw him crane his head back to look behind him, before redoubling his efforts to flee. He let out another wail as he did so.
    He didn’t need to come closer to know who it was. Shio had known since the first scream. After all, he only knew one person capable of producing such a high pitched screech. Morris Darwin, his fellow student and classmate.     

    A moment later and Morris’s pursuer burst into view as well. It had been modelled after the Great Mammoths that roamed the Southern Wastes. It stood easily at around 18 feet, its massive head lowered as it aimed its barbed tusks at the boy.
    Its entire body shimmered a dazzling blue colour, with it sharing a similar translucent quality to the girl. Occasional ripples passed through its form, like static on a Television monitor. It’s eyes glowed a menacing crimson.
    One thing Shio never got used to was the way these creatures moved. While they imitated the stride of the beast they were designed from admirably, they also made no sound when their feet hit the floor. Despite its great mass, it seemed weightless as it charged down Morris.     

Offline legomaestro

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Re: Vacant's NaNoWriMo 2019 Progress/Info Dump/Notes/Diary Thingy
« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2019, 12:46:57 PM »
Love the description of that thing. Also would definitely nope out of fighting it for sure haha.

Hey putting in words especially after a shift is even more impressive. Keep at it dude!

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Re: Vacant's NaNoWriMo 2019 Progress/Info Dump/Notes/Diary Thingy
« Reply #9 on: November 04, 2019, 10:40:43 PM »
Any time writing is better than no time writing! Keep going!

And don't leave us hanging! How big was the largest elephant?!

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Offline Vacant

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Re: Vacant's NaNoWriMo 2019 Progress/Info Dump/Notes/Diary Thingy
« Reply #10 on: November 23, 2019, 01:52:17 AM »
Well this got pretty shafted....so I've been having issues logging on to here on my laptop. I've established that my wifi doesnt much care for this site and isnt allowing me to log on for some reason.

So I've been struggling to upload. It's a bit late and I wanted to show progress daily, but I'll just upload it in one chunk of what I've done so far. Sorry if it comes out weird as I'm doing this on my phone

Spoiler
    “Shio, wake up”.

    The voice sounded distant, barely distinguishable from the muffled gunshots and panicked voices echoing throughout the arena. The air was tinged with smoke and dust, kicked up by the frantic skirmishes unfolding nearby.

    “Shio! Get up!”.

    It was louder this time and with more urgency. It had an all too familiar tone to it that made him inclined to ignore it. He tried to ignore it and will it to blend into the sea of chaotic sound happening around him.

    “Shio, Shio, Shio, Shio!”.

    He shot upright. The book that had been laying open on his face slid into his lap. His brow furrowed as he shot a glare in the direction of the voice.

    “What!?” he asked, his voice teeming with irritation. His eyes began to focus on the floating figure before him. She took the form of a petite young woman and bobbed up and down slowly, as if drifting underwater. Despite standing in front of the narrow entranceway, some light slipped through her translucent form.

    “Someones coming” she replied. Despite her face being obscured due to having her back to the light, Shio could tell she was scowling at him.
    He was about to respond when a scream pierced the air and interrupted him. It was shrill and conveyed the true terror the owner of it felt.

    “Why didn’t you just say that?” Shio said. He placed the book aside and shuffled forward. The small fissure in the rock he was currently residing in was a great spot to lay down, but didn’t have the room for him to stand in.
    He’d discovered it on a previous visit. Whether it was an old wound from a battle long since past, or a natural feature of the cliff face he didn’t know. However, due to the height it was situated at, it meant he was unlikely to be disturbed.


    He continued to shuffle to the mouth of the cavern, the girl before him moving back indignantly in response. He halted at the entrance and hung his legs over the lip of the rockface. The girl hovered next to him.
    Now in the light, Shio could see her clearly. Waist length platinum hair danced in a non-existent breeze, the tips of it ended in an aqua blue tint. Shimmering blue eyes darted about as she inspected the ground below. Her plain white gown also followed the slow drifting motion her hair did. She had delicate features that reminded him of a porcelain doll.
 
    Another shrill cry snapped Shio’s attention to the ground below. After a moment, he spotted the source of the panic. In the distance to his right, he saw a boy sprinting. His clumsy strides hauled his portly frame in Shio’s direction. There wasn’t really any other road for him to take.

    The Labyrinth the Professors had dubbed it. The name was rather on the nose, but Shio could think of no better way to describe their environment. Towering stone walls rose some 120 feet into the air, lining either side of the path below. It was designed to disorientate and sew unease into those that traversed it.
    Something it was achieving admirably, judging from the panicked cries of the other occupants Shio had heard.

    Smoke plumes rose steadily over certain points of the cliff walls, denoting unseen conflicts. This combined with the dust clouds had formed a haze that dampened Shio’s field of view of the path below.
    The boy had burst through this fog and was getting easier to see as he approached. Shio saw him crane his head back to look behind him, before redoubling his efforts to flee. He let out another wail as he did so.
    He didn’t need to come closer to know who it was. Shio had known since the first scream. After all, he only knew one person capable of producing such a high pitched screech. Morris Darwin, his fellow student and classmate.     

    A moment later,  Morris’s pursuer burst into view as well. It had been modelled after the Great Mammoths that roamed the Southern Wastes. It stood easily at around 18 feet, its massive head lowered as it aimed its barbed tusks at the boy.
    Its entire body shimmered a dazzling blue colour, with it sharing a similar translucent quality to the girl floating before Shio. Occasional ripples passed through its form, like static on a Television monitor. It’s eyes glowed a menacing crimson.
    One thing Shio never got used to was the way these creatures moved. While they imitated the stride of the beast they were designed from admirably, they also made no sound when their feet hit the floor. Despite its great mass, it seemed weightless as it charged down Morris.     
                 
    It was closing the distance between them swiftly. As he moved closer to Shio, he could hear the heavy wheezing of his classmate as he strained to suck in enough oxygen to keep himself in motion. He passed under Shio and went to look back again.
    Another yelp escaped him as his foot clipped a small divot in the ground, sending him off balance. He landed heavily with a thud. What Shio guessed to be his glasses skittered away across the dirt. The boy attempted to scramble onwards on his hands and knees.
    It was too late. The beast had repositioned its massive head to bear its tusks lower. Shio estimated it would collide with the prone Morris in around 7 seconds. He grabbed something from behind him and let out a sigh.

    He leaned forward, so much so that he tipped off the ledge and began to fall. It took him a second to regain his bearings. The world had inverted. He looked up and could see the ground fast approaching. Before that, a hulking blue mass was rifling into what would soon be his landing zone. His left hand wandered to the object he’d snatched up before his nosedive. His fingers wrapped around the handle of his sword instinctively. He was more used to carrying his sheath on his belt than in his right hand where it currently resided, however he’d wanted to ensure he was comfortable during his nap.
     
    He held his posture as he descended, like a statue falling from the heavens. He had to wait one more second. He focused on the ground below, until he saw a pair of blue spears enter his field of vision He arched himself back, pulling out of his dive. The beasts huge head passed under him. It was time.

    The Katana flashed out from its sheath. The blade whistled through the air, before biting into the nape of its neck. Dazzling blue sparks burst from the wound the sword made as it sheared through its form.
    With the cut complete, Shio managed to kick off from its back as the Mammoth’s charge abruptly faltered. It toppled over in appalling fashion as its front legs gave out from under it. The beasts own forward momentum sent it crashing head first into the ground. Its rear legs thrashed into the air as its back arched unnaturally, its mouth open in a roar of pain.

    A roar that went unheard, as did its fall. Not a single sound emanated from the creature, Shio  completed his descent, landing gingerly onto the dirt below.
    He took a look at the beast, seeing the ember glow of its small red eyes fading. Sparks continued to fountain out from its wound as violent shudders rippled through its body.
    The light in its eyes faded to black. The Mammoth's body gave one last shudder before it imploded into a shower of blue light. Shio shielded his face instinctively, despite knowing no shockwave was coming.
    When he lowered his arms, he saw the last few sparks flutter away like embers from a bonfire. They were the only evidence a creature was ever there to begin with.

    “That was a little dramatic”.

    Shio resheathed his blade and turned around. The spirit girl was hovering over him, arms folded with a look of contempt on her face. He ignored her and paced over to Morris, who was still wheezing on the floor. Shio offered him his hand and helped haul the larger man up.
    He’d seen better days, judging from his appearance. His puffy cheeks were scuffed with dirt, as was his shirt and pants. It was the same uniform Shio donned, although conversely, his white shirt was spotless.

    “Th-Thanks Shio!” The boy said, still gasping for air. Shio could see tears had made tracks through the grime on his face. Morris seemed to realise this and quickly rubbed at his face.
    “Ah! This dust really gets in there, right?” Morris said.

    “Yeah, it sure does” Shio responded, hoping he sounded at least part way convincing. He left Morris leaning against the rockface and wandered across to the opposite wall. He plucked Morris’s glasses from the ground. They were slightly damaged, but looked wearable still.       
     
    “Where did you come from anyway Shio?”.
 
    “From above” Shio replied, pacing back. He handed the glasses back to Morris, who inspected the bent frames with dismay, before placing the arms of the spectacles behind his ears the best he could. He tilted his head up to observe the imposing wall of stone he was resting on.

     “So y-you can fly now?” Morris asked bemused. The spirit girl burst into laughter.. She listed through the air, howling while clutching her stomach. However, neither Shio or Morris paid her any attention.
 
     “Sadly not” Shio replied.

     “Awww, don’t feel bad Shio, maybe if we get you a cape you could come swooping in to save the day”. Shio again ignored the girls sarcastic jibe.

    “Either way, I’m glad. You saved my ass!” Morris said, clumsily patting Shio on the arm.

    “Don’t mention it” Shio replied. “By the way, could you hand me my Insig. back?”.Morris gazed back at him blankly.

    “What do you mean?” he asked.

    “Check your back pocket”. Shio held out his hand expectantly. Morris took a moment, but fumbled for the zip on his rear pants pocket. His brows peaked as he reached inside.

    “How...Why do I have it?” he exclaimed, holding up the object. It was a thin glass plate, roughly that fit snugly in his palm. Its only distinguishing feature was a small microchip that sat in the center of it.
     He handed it off to Shio who quickly inspected it.

    “Look don’t blame me if its broken, I didn’t know I had it!” Morris said defensively.

    “It’s alright, you were doing me a favour” Shio said. He placed his thumb on the center of the glass and the device sprang to life. The mugshot of a young man with blonde hair and striking blue eyes greeted him. He knew that face well, it was his own after all.
    The display changed to show a myriad of news bulletins and notifications regarding missed calls. He quickly shut the display off once more and pocketed it. He listened out for a moment. The din of the unseen battles taking place had lessened considerably. He imagined there wasn’t many of them left now. Either the majority of his classmates had escaped, or they had ran into the enemy. It would make his life easier if it was the former.

    “Let’s go” Shio said. Morris frowned, still slumped against the wall.

    “Go where?”.

    “Anywhere that isn’t here” Shio replied. He figured they would go the opposite way to where Morris and his assailant had come from, although given the environment, it wasn’t exactly a guarantee of safe passage.
   
    “What’s the rush all of a sudden?” Morris inquired, attempting to brush down his pants.

    “Well, I’ve managed to avoid most of this, so I can’t complain. Plus its best if I’m seen with you”. Shio replied lazily. He began to walk off. Morris quickly scurried off the wall to follow suit.
 
    “What do you mean?” his classmate asked from behind him.
 
    “The tracker for my Insig. Will show that i’ve been with you the whole time. So it’s best if we let some of the professors see us now”.

    “Oh...” Morris said, sounding dejected. Shio turned back and saw Morris staring at the ground.
    “So you only helped me because I had your Insig.?” he asked.

    “Not just because of that” Shio replied. Morris didn’t look convinced. Despite turning 18 this year and being one of the oldest in their class, Morris acted much the same as he had done when Shio first met him 6 years ago.
     He didn’t mind it however, Shio found that Morris was quite open and honest because of it and was incapable of hiding how he felt. He admired that quality in him.
     
     “You sure you want to drag him around with us?”.The spirit girl circled Morris, jutting her face out, examining him closely. The boy, seemingly oblivious to the floating girl inspection of him, continued to keep pace behind Shio. She darted back to Shio’s side, seemingly satisfied with her inspection.
     “Hellooooo?” she said, waving her arms in his face. Shio remained silent. The girl moved across to his right ear and called again.
    “You’re super annoying when you ignore me, you know that?”. Again, Shio continued on, ignoring the pouting spirit. She remained quiet for a moment, before suddenly appearing right before him.
     “Shio! Shio! Shio!” she yelled with the same enthusiasm as a tantruming toddler.

      He halted abruptly, causing Morris to almost collide into him from behind.

     “Morris, do me a favour? Go check around the corner ahead for me”.

     “Uh...Okay, sure” Morris said. He reluctantly crept past Shio and inched forward. There was a 90 degree left turn in the path ahead, with the stone walls offering no clues to what lay around the bend. He could see Morris’s hands shaking as he tiptoed closer to the turn.

    “Now, don’t do that crap again” Shio whispered. The girls lips curled into a triumphant grin.

    “What a relief, I thought you’d gone deaf” She said mockingly. 
     
    “Oh I’m not that lucky” He remarked. Her smile turned to a scowl.

    “I’m the unlucky one, being stuck with you” she spat back. Shio rubbed at his temples, attempting to exercise restraint.

   “Zamizuchi, we’re in a battle at the moment. Just try not to distract me please”.

   “Tch! What's with the full name all of a sudden?” the spirit asked. 

   “You said last night you prefer that?” he hissed. It was Shio’s turn to express irritation.     
 
   “Well, I’ve changed my mind. Zami sounds much better” she said matter of factly.

    “Just...Whatever” Shio said with a shrug. He had been watching Morris cautiously poke his head around the corner of the wall. He wheeled away a few moments later and jogged back to Shio.

    “It’s pretty foggy up ahead, but it doesn’t look like anyone’s there” He said, evidently relieved..

     "Alright that’s good. Lets go slowly, listen out for anything coming our way". Shio stepped forward and took the lead. He made the turn and was faced with a near identical path as the one before.
      Towering beige stone walls flanked a dusty, rock strewn floor. The harsh lighting from above illuminated a decent ways down the path and just as Morris had declared, not a soul was to be seen.
      Morris had filed in behind him, trying to mimic his silent steps as they advanced.
     
      Zamizuchi was also by his side. She was laying on her back,  hand raised as she studied it while drifting through the air. On occasion, she clicked her tongue or loudly puffed air through her lips.
    Shio shot her daggers each time she did. They continued cautiously down the path. The scenery didn’t change. There were no signs of conflict ahead of them, no damage or debris present on the walls or the ground.
     
    “I’m bored” the spirit said. Only silence answered her.

    “This is boring” Zamizuchi repeated, hovering in front of Shio’s face this time.
 
    “Say Morris, wouldn’t it be great if we could just go back to the dorm if we didn’t want to be here?” Shio said softly, emphasizing the latter half of his sentence while glaring at the girl. Morris raised an eyebrow at this question.
   
    “Y-Yeah, I guess” he responded. The spirit returned Shio’s gaze with equal animosity. She crossed her arms dramatically over her chest and jerked her head away from him. She continued to float in front of him, keeping pace with the pair as she spoke.

    “I’m always stuck there!” she pouted.

    “Maybe there’s a reason for that” Shio hissed back, attempting to swat her away.
   
    “Are you feeling okay Shio?” Morris asked uneasily.
       
     Shio didn’t reply.
 
     Instead he pivoted on the spot and leapt at Morris in one swift motion. He clattered into the stocky frame of his classmate and hauled him down with him. He tried to shield Morris’s head on the descent as they hit the ground. 
    Morris gasped as the hard floor stole the air from his lungs. He’d landed face up, just in time to see two objects shoot over his and Shio’s prone bodies. They looked like birds. Small dark blots streaking past against the artificial light cast from above.
 
    Though they had taken flight, Shio knew full well they were not a bird or any other living creature. They were projectiles launched by a skilled user. The throwing knives made a soft metallic rattle as they landed and skipped across the floor behind them.
    He was already scrambling to his feet as he heard their assailant.
 
   “That was quite unnecessary Shio”. The voice was hard and sharp, like flint striking against steel.   

    A man had appeared before them. Shio hadn’t seen him, but rather the knives coming at them. He had no clue where he had suddenly come from. He was tall and powerfully built.. His skull seemed denser than the average persons, with a large sloped forehead and heavy brow that jutted forward, hooding his cold slate grey eyes. Ancient scars and wounds from battles long since past tattooed his shaven head and face.
    He wore a knee length, button-up tunic coat. The standing collar and large folded cuffs were trimmed with a deep purple colour. Golden piping and small details decorated the edges of the jacket. It was a matt black, the same as the dress pants he was sporting. These too possessed the golden trim and detail akin to the jacket. He had two collar pins visible, which weren’t legible to Shio from this distance.
    He didn’t need to be close to know what they said. He knew they denoted the mans dual rank as both a Professor and a Captain.
           
    “You showed good reflexes, but there was no need to be so overly dramatic with your dodge” he said, matter of factly. 

    “Considering I’d prefer not to be used like a dartboard, I’d argue the opposite was true Sir” Shio replied. This drew a curt laugh from the man.
   
    “I aimed carefully. Those would of only caused shallow wounds”. The man sneered stepping forward. Shio instinctively matched this and stepped back, bumping into Morris behind him. He felt his cohort shaking, rooted to the spot.
         
    “I don’t like this” Zamizuchi complained. Her usual childish tone had vanished. Shio had rarely seen her so tense before.   
       
    “It’s okay, we’ll be fine” Shio replied, turning back with what he hoped was a reassuring smile. He’d aimed his comment at the girl, but Morris nodded along with him, trying to convince himself as much as Shio.
     He quickly turned back to the Professor. He realised what was so unnerving about him. The man was smiling. It was the first time Shio had ever seen the bastard express any kind of joy in the time he’d known him. He found he wore it quite unnaturally on his face 
         
    “Oh crap, we’re really in for it” Morris whimpered.

    “Not necessarily” Shio replied, his eyes never wavering from his teacher.
     
    “Are you crazy!? Gabroy’s the worst one to run into here!”..
 
    “Come now Morris” The man said, throwing his arms open as he advanced. “I’d never treat my two favourite students unjustly”. Shio continued to retreat slowly as the Professor pressed forward. Morris stayed firmly behind Shio, shuffling back reluctantly.
       
    “I’ve gotta say, I’m not entirely convinced Sir” Shio remarked. Gabroy sniggered.
   
     “Well forgive me. I’m just overjoyed” The Professor said. Shio raised an eyebrow at this. 
    “I had a feeling you’d be with Shio” Gabroy said. Shio felt Morris tense up behind him. “I just knew if I followed you, you’d lead me right to him”. It was Shio’s turn to be confused. He and Morris had met mere minutes before with no sign of the Professor in tow. It would’ve also meant that he would’ve appeared behind them, given that was the direction they had traveled.

    Pain flared through Shio’s left hand. He realised he’d been gripping the handle of his sword incredibly tightly since the Professors entrance. That damn smile, it didn’t look right at all. Morris poked his shoulder with a shaky hand.

    “C’mon Shio, you always have a plan. What do we do?” He asked, almost pleading with him. Shio had been thinking. They were penned in by virtue of the design of their location. Fleeing recklessly would likely cause them to become separated, or they could run into other obstacles. Shio wasn’t so confident he could shake Gabroy himself, let alone with Morris alongside him..

    “Yes Shio, that's what you’re good at isn’t it? Coming up with strategies and schemes?” said Gabroy, still grinning wickedly. He seemed to be relishing the situation. He pointed towards Shio.
    “Do you honestly intend to fight me?”. Shio realised he was pointing at Shio’s sword, his hand still clasped around the hilt.
             
    “We have the numbers on our side” Shio replied calmly. The feel of the swords handle gave him some reassurance. Maria had taught him well with the blade and knowing he had a sword in reach helped him keep his composure. Gabroy on the other hand had lost his. He cackled loudly throwing his head back as a harsh, barking laughter escaped his lips.

    “Oh really? It’ll be a sad day for Academy indeed when two second rate cadets can take down a Captain!”.
 
    “S-Shio..Thi-this is insane! There’s no way we can fight him!” Morris complained. Shio was aware of that. If they took on the Captain, he would decimate them, and didn’t the bastard Gabroy just know it Shio thought to himself.
    But in that overconfidence, Shio was sure they could find the key to victory, or more specifically, escape. Gabroy would approach them in the same manner a person would approach squashing a bug. If he could Anticipate the Professors opening move, then perhaps he would be able to counteract it and catch him off guard long enough for them to escape.
    He noticed Zamizuchi had remained unusually silent. She seemed to be scared and that was also putting Shio off.

    “I assume you’re waiting for me to make the first move?” Gabroy asked. Shio said nothing. Gabroy nodded anyway. “Well, how rude of me to keep you waiting then”. The man planted his feet a shoulder length apart to brace himself. He slapped his palms together, hands clasped at his sternum.
    “Oh no... “ Morris uttered. The hairs on Shio’s neck had stood up, as his skin prickled. He knew what was coming. The air around them suddenly felt heavy and charged, like a thunderstorm was imminent..

    “Here’s a practical exam. Try to overcome this Shio!” Gabroy barked. The stink of ozone hit Shio, as he felt the slightest breeze. It was the gentle pull of  the air that was being drawn in towards Gabroy’s hands. 

    “Fire Lore….Blazing Tide!” Gabroy roared. A flash of light burst forth from the Professor-Captain’s hands, followed by a dull popping sound. A moment later, the air he had been drawing in ignited.
 
    A roaring wall of flames erupted before him, several times Shio’s size and rising. It spanned the width of the corridor, scorching the stone as the fire lapped at the walls. Gabroy forced his hands outwards and the huge screen of flames surged forward. True to its name, the spell resembled some hellish tidal wave of intensely burning fire. It was truly powerful magic, far beyond what a typical Cadet would be capable of casting.
    The heat from it smacked into them, stealing the moisture his eyes and throat in an instant. Shio grabbed hold of Morris’s wrist and jumped to his left, as high as he could force himself to go, hauling his cohort with him.

    Morris was heavier than he had anticipated, causing him to not reach the height he desired. He managed to make contact with the wall though and quickly readjusted his feet to skip off the surface and propel himself to the opposite side.
    He was vaguely aware of the groans coming from Morris, likely feeling the resulting whiplash and pain of Shio clamping down on his wrist. Shio tuned him out, just as he did the oncoming flames. He ricocheted from wall to wall, climbing higher with each leap. He could feel Morris’s wrist slipping and grabbed him with his other hand. As the lip of the cliff face drew neared, he dared to glance towards the oncoming spell.
     It had grew even higher, to the point that it would collide with them in mere moments. The heat emanating from the flames was unbearable. He had time enough for one final jump before impact.

     He put everything behind his kick off from the wall. They jolted through the air, but Shio soon realised he’d miscalculated. By grabbing Morris with both hands, he couldn't use his arms to rebalance himself, he was also making an effort not to slam the boy into the wall with each jump.
    He skidded awkwardly onto the vertical surface of the opposite wall. He managed to reach it, but had lost a lot of the momentum he’d built up.
    The intensity of the heat was painful at this proximity. He’d lost too much height on his last jump, he couldn’t make it by simply bouncing across the walls now as the inferno was all but upon them.


    Shio flung himself off the wall with one boot and yanked at Morris’s wrist. With a grunt he hauled the boy up and over him, sending him sailing up. Shio thrust his open hand out below him.
   
    “Water Lore….Cannonball!”. Shio yelled. Again, he felt the charge in the atmosphere, the tingling of his skin. It was an all too familiar sensation and happened in an instant. As he finished his incantation, a large sphere of water formed and immediately shot from his palm. It was roughly the size of his torso and packed some incredible velocity. The liquid projectile smashed down into a lower portion of the wall. Shio didn’t care where the spell was headed however, for he had cast it for another reason entirely.
     The recoil from using the magic had performed its job admirably. He careened up, grabbing the collar of Morris as he did so. He swiveled in mid air and saw the approaching wall. He reached out his hand and grabbed the cliff edge. His body thudded against the wall, the sharp pain of the impact almost loosening his grip. He gritted his teeth and hauled Morris up so he could grip onto the edge as well. The pair hauled themselves up and over, just as the wave of fire washed below them, close enough that it singed the hem of Shio’s pants.
    Shio rolled onto the top of the wall. He lay for a second exhausted, appreciating the coolness of the stone beneath him, staring up at the blinding floodlights.

    Then his world turned red. Crimson light flashed from hazard lamps as sirens began to wail. A static laced crackle chimed through unseen speakers as a voice boomed out across the labyrinth.

    “All combatants stand down. Due to student misconduct this exercise is cancelled".