My Elemental Hero Academia
I’m late I’m late! Yuma thought frantically as he hurriedly removed his casual clothes and began pulling on his costume. How long was he going to be able to keep up this charade if he couldn’t even stick to a schedule? He looked himself over in the mirror… perfect! The transformation was complete. He dashed out of his studio apartment to meet the others at the usual location.
By the time he was on the elevator to the top floor he was long out of breath. The skyscraper was close and Yuma was in pretty good shape but it didn’t mean the run there was easy. He couldn’t very well call an Uber dressed as a hero so there wasn’t much he could do about it. Exiting the elevator he worked the roof access door with practiced ease and peaked out of the door. As expected they were already here. But he could still salvage the situation he would watch listen and wait for the best time to make a dramatic entrance… NOW!!!
“I hope I didn’t miss all the fun.” Yuma said in his most practiced gravelly voice The group turned to greet him. “Orichalcum you made it!” Prisma exclaimed brightly! “Whazzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz up?” Called Sparkman. “What’s up?” Yuma returned.
“Those troublesome destiny hero’s are what’s up.” Burstinatrix replied haughtily.
“Their trying to do the clock tower thing again.” Statos explained waving off his moody companion.
“Stratos, you’re here?! “ Yuma exclaimed with genuine surprise. “I thought you were b-“
“BWAH ! HA! HA!” Clayman Interrupted laying a massive and heavy hand on Yuma’s Shoulder. “YEP WE GOT A FULL CREW TONIGHT!” He Boomed. Clayman was loud and boisterous as always but Yuma saw him subtly shaking his head communicating not to bring up the sore subject.
“Idon’tknowwhytheyevenbothertrythatclocktowerissooslow!Anythingthattakesthatlongtoactivateisdoomedtofailtheyneedtogetwiththetimes!” Said Velocity picking up for Stratos. “Will you take a breath please?” Ocean voiced calmly.
“He’s right though!” injected Bladedge with gusto. “Lets just slice up there tower and bring the whole thing crashing down! Oh yeah!” He shouted slashing at the air. “We will do no such thing.” Neos said sagely. “That’s exactly what they want us to do.” Neos shook his head musing. “They really thinking there corruption is what’s best for the city? It’s sad but not all that wear masks should call themselves heroes.” Yuma shifted uncomfortably as the others nodded in agreement. “This shouldn’t be a problem so long as we go in with a plan.” Everyone quieted to hear Neos speak. He had a way of commanding attention though he himself was softly spoken. Yuma listened intently along with the other heroes.
You might wonder what an average college student is doing hanging out on rooftops in a huddle of heroes going over strategies to save the city. Well Yuma sometimes wonders the same thing and he was there for it all. A little over a year ago there was a big superhero fight and not just a typical save the world hero fight, it was one of those series ending crisis on infinite earths, end game, type events. There were evil hero’s, corrupted dark versions of know hero’s, portals being ripped open in space, people returning from different dimensions, and all kinds of crazy stuff! Yuma was suppose to be attending a comicon convention at the time. He had been so excited about showing of his original homemade costume when he got caught in the chaos. He found a place to hide expecting to be vaporized at any moment. The fight lasted for hours and Yuma all but accepted he would not make it out alive. But at the peak of the confusion a new hero appeared Rainbow Neos no one knew where he came from but his presence turned the tide of the fight and before long order was restored. At the end of the conflic he vowed he would return if the world needed him just before he faded away. That just so happened to be right next to Yuma’s hiding spot. So when a group of Elemental heroes came to investigate the vanishing of their mysterious savior they found Yuma there still in costume.
At 1st Yuma protested adamantly that he wasn’t who they thought he was. But the excitable WildHeart insisted to the others that he saw Rainbow Neos turn into the hero standing before them. At some point Yuma gave in telling them his made up hero name Orichalcum and soon he was explaining the Miracle Syncro Fusion technique he used to transform into Rainbow Neos. Since then once a month or so when someone sent up the hero signal all the heroes in the area would gather to address the emergency call. Because it took so long to gather energy for the so called miracle syncro fusion Yuma or rather Orichalcum would hang back ready to bust out Rainbow Neos if things took a turn for the worst.
“Okay that’s the plan.” Neos concluded. “Are there any objections?”
“Good then let us proceed.” Ooww!” WildHeart Howled “Can’t wait to get start!”
“Fuuusioon Haaaa!” Partners yelled in unison. And in intense flashes of elemental energy the numbers on the roof top were greatly reduced.
Yuma felt the temperature dropped drastically as a new hero stepped closer to him. “Sorry I blinked.” Yuma said addressing the new hero. “Are you Heat or Ocean?” “I am neither Heat nor Ocean.” The new hero declared. “I am the cold that freezes the hearts of the wicked and reduce evil to the lowest point. I am Elemental Hero Absolute Zero!” This was a bit they did whenever anyone fused into Absolute zero. It was a predictable and routine but they all loved it. “YEAH! GAIA’S READY TO ROOOOOOOOOCK!” Sang a thundering voice. Clayman and WildHeart had fussed. All Clayman’s Girth and durability multiplied by WildHearts strength and passion. Yuma hoped they didn’t get too excited and cause unnecessary damage like last time.. Elemental Hero Gaia was far too big to fit comfortably on the roof so they’d jumped down as they fused.
“Alright were going in.” Brave Neos declared. “This shouldn’t be a problem but if thing get ugly in there we’ll be counting on you Orichalcum.” Right. No pressure thought Yuma. Sometimes it felt like Neos could see right through him regardless of which form he took. That sometimes made it difficult to keep up the façade. The last thing he wanted to do was let his new found friends down. Yuma crossed his arms and with all the false confidence he could muster responded, “Roger that! If things get ugly I’ll be ready with the big guns.” Brave Neo nodded putting a hand on his shoulder then calling to the others” lets move!”
There was a powerful gust of wind as Great Tornado took to the sky. “Hey watch it wind bag!” Flame Wingman called chasing him into the sky. The heroes were departing one by one. “Try not to be jealous hanging out all by your lonesome.” The Shining prodded in his typical jovial fashion. “Every role is important some just SHINE brighter than others.” He chuckled at his own pun. “Even Rainbow Neos can’t outshine you.” Yuma returned playing along. That was just the type of response The Shining was after. With a final chortle he rocketed into the air after the other and leaving a bright streak in his wake.
Leaving Yuma the hero’s quickly made their way to the sinister clock tower some darted from roof to roof, others flew, and Gaia was crashing along behind them. Watching his friends go to work Yuma couldn’t help but swell with pride at the thought that he was part of such an extraordinary group. Maybe it couldn’t last. Maybe it was all just temporary but, for tonight they were his teammates and he was one of them. He was Elemental Hero Orichalcum. Yes as long as things didn’t get out of hand no one need know that he was a fake hero.
IRL Prose Meet UP 2024?
A gathering of Proser is a concept that brings Reaper much gladness. Especially after the recent resurgence of a challenges depicting a gathering in the proseverse. (Reaper’s all time favorite proseverse story was the Prose University though Reaper can’t recall who wrote it. It was several years ago) As IRL meetings often go Reaper is sure that there will be the typical “Wow your actually really cute!” Or “I thought you were taller,” or “Ha ha! Figures you would wear that shirt, that’s just like you!” “Your voice is different than I imagined,” “ I always thought you were an old man!?” And so on.
As Reaper has spent a good number of years on Prose one thing that Reaper values more about Prose than any other online community it that it actually feels like just that, a community. If you have ever been anywhere on the internet then you are well aware that many online areas are places where people tear each other down without reason. Engage in vicious arguments with no purpose, and take free shots at vulnerable individuals then flee back into cyber space. Its ugly, it’s discouraging, it’s relentless and disgusting, it is cowardly, its insensitive, inconsiderate, judgmental, and the list goes on and on. This degenerate image is what typically comes to mind when people think of an online community and if you have been on Prose more than 5min you’d see that it is the opposite of that.
Here we share some of our most vulnerable thoughts and deepest desires. We share our aspirations dreams and goals. We discuss our brightest ideas, or must outlandish in some cases and trust each other with our babies. We collaborate with people with nothing to gain but perhaps a kind word and a smile we’ll never see. We lift each other up for no other reason than because we want to. We engage in fierce competition with one another then afterwards hold hands singing the praises of the victor with an earnestness that‘s near otherworldly.
In all Reaper’s time as a proser Reaper can only recall one semi heated argument (maybe a 4 out of 10) That Reaper and a fellow senior proser squashed before it got out of hand. But all and all Prose has been the epitome of what a positive community should be. So if we were to come together in person along with the typical IRL shock Reaper is sure there will be lots of long overdue hugging and smiling. Lots of squeals of excitement. A lot of congratulations and pats on the back. There would be heartfelt thank you’s for those who believed or reached out when no one else did. There will be tears Reaper is sure. Lots of overwhelming emotions from feelings that could not be conveyed from behind a screen. There would be laughing from inside jokes and outside jokes alike. There would likely be someone offering to by drinks for all their buddies anteing up from a long forgotten bet. There would be many eager to hear the latest story be it fact fiction or update from a previous situation. There would be the excitement of promising new collaborations budding and brewing from the sea of gathered creative’s. And there would be joy because for a lot of us we have such a strong connection that it feels more like reuniting with family after a long time than it does a 1st meeting.
If someone out their more intelligent, patient, and organized than Reaper ever wants to make this a real thing Reaper is all for it! Reaper can be anywhere at almost any time but one of his absolute favorite places to be is right here with all of you! Cheers to you all wherever you are and wherever and whenever we should meet!
Beat it geezer you know the score.” Richard let out a defeated sigh. Yes he did know the score. There was no bartering with a broker. No credits, no Xfactor. He’d know before he made his way to the “spot” early this morning he would be walking home empty handed. Getting Xfactor on the black market was getting more difficult. The spot was one of the few places to get Xfactor without leaving the city limits. Even then you would have to arrive as early as 4am and wait anywhere from 1 to 4 hours. Furthermore the broker would only be around between 5 or 10 minutes selling X to the frantic consumers before he’d disappear quick as a cat only to return the following day. There were other forgotten corners of the city where x brokers materialized to sell x to eager streamers but being well past his prime and out of the loop with whatever new locations were “frigged” with the young people these days, Richard would likely have no more luck finding them than the police. Although the thought frightened him more than he could say Richard knew if the spot ever got hot then his streaming days were over.
Richard allowed himself to be pushed back to the edge of the group by the flood of other streamers. All were younger. Mostly men and women ranging between 16-40 years old though, Richard was sure one kid that brushed past him couldn’t be more than 12. Richard watched enviously as the other streamers, those with enough credits, spent freely loading up on enough x to last the next few weeks, or days, or hours… Richard knew there were cold streamers amidst the group. (People who spent more time streaming than in the real world.) Some of these cold streamers would spend days in a comatose state binging on x, until their supply was used up resupply and repeat. This subgroup barely gave themselves enough physical attention to stay alive and often appeared shrunken, pale, sickly, and hollowed. The term cold streamers originated from the fact that these individuals often resembled walking corpses.
Six seven minutes then it was over. So quick, so smooth. As long as you had the credits you could get your fix. The small crowd dispersed in mere moments, and the spot would once again become a humdrum location in the large bustling city. Richard picked a direction and started walking. The spot was only 15min away from his apartment complex, one of the reasons for his relocation. He would end up their eventually no matter which direction he choose. It was 7:15am the city was just starting to stir. Just a prelude to the buzz and rush that would consume the city for most of the daylight hour and persist long into the night. In an environment such as this one it was easy to fade away into the background. This in fact was Richards’s reality.
Richard, age 68 going on 69, was no more noticeable than a misspelled word in a dictionary. He could disappear for months and no one would notice. Technically he had been experiencing this for the past several years which confirmed his suspicion. No one cared. Richard had lived in this city almost 24 years and he had not a single friend. His wife Gretchen passed away from illness 12 years ago. His family never visited or even called. Not his eldest son Robb or his younger son Andrew. He was never close to his own siblings even when they were younger. His older brother died 4 years ago and last he spoke to his younger sister was at the funeral. Family, extended family, friends, of these Richard had none. At least no one who cared enough to visit him once in a while, call him on a holiday or send a card, picture, or holotone to show they knew, or cared that he was still breathing. He was a ghost, a shadow, and for all practical purposes he was already dead.
There was just one exception, and that was Elisa.
Elisa was Richards’s oldest granddaughter who was 23 now but they’d been close since she was a child. “I want Grandpa! Grandpaaaaaa!” she would often wail when she thought her parents were being unfair. At least that was what he was told by Andrew. She remembered how she used to squeal with excitement when her parents brought her to stay with him when they went out. He remembered how he swelled with joy on the days they spent together. As she got older her interest in spending time with her Grandpa did not fade. Often she made weekly visits and they would spend the entire day together, just the two of them. Gretchen used to joke “don’t go stealing my husband” or “If I was a couple of years younger then it would be a fair competition for your Grandpa’s attention!” This was all in good spirits of course. Gretchen loved Elisa almost as much as Richard did. It was Elisa who got him through when Gretchen passed away. She visited him every day for nearly 6 months before her parents finally put a stop to it. Even so she would call and even write letters though they only lived 20 min apart. “But we’re pen pals!” She would argue fiercely to her parents when they pointed this out. The two remained close even through Elisa’s high school and college days but all too soon the inevitable happened. She got married.
His name was Noah. Richard remembered the elation when she first talked to him about Noah. “I can’t wait for you to meet him.” She gushed. Richard listened fighting desperately to conceal the feelings of dread. 20 is too young he thought, too young to get married. Despite his silent objections 11 months later, he was giving Elisa away at her wedding. That was the last time he saw her. Her new husband was fortunate enough to land a high paying job on the other side of the world. After the honeymoon they relocated and that was that. Richard despised Noah. He was smart, honest, hardworking, handsome, funny, and well-mannered, but he committed an unforgivable crime. He stole his granddaughter.
With nothing and no one left to comfort him Richard turned to Xfactor, the highly controversial substance seen all over the evening news at the time.
Xfactor did the trick like nothing else ever could. With Xfactor, Richard was no longer lonely, no longer unimportant. He experienced the sensation of being loved, wanted, appreciated, and yes even necessary to every bit the same level as when his wife was alive and his granddaughter much younger. The wonders of Xfactor allowed the user to experience a person’s memories. People could relive any experience imaginable and the experience was so potent it was like actually being there. Users of Xfactor described the sessions as being able to experience everything the original memory holder felt while also being vaguely aware of your own feelings. This state of double awareness was a gate way to levels of experiences that non streamers could only imagine. Twice the joy, twice the excitement, twice the ecstasy, twice the intrigue, success, twice the fear, heartbreak and pain, (for those who were into those types of experience.)
For Richard it was family memories he craved. Birthdays, weddings, family dinners, family game nights, family reunions, and the like. He couldn’t remember ever feeling like such an essential part of a family, but he could now. Through the memories he streamed he knew exactly how it felt and then some when incorporating the feelings of being a cared for husband and a well-loved grandfather which Xfactor rekindled. The wonders of Xfactor were still largely enigmatic as were longer term side effects for both users and providers but what did it matter? Richard was not one for complicating things. Streamers get experience, providers get credits. Supply and demand. That’s simply how it worked.
“Credits where can I get more credits” Richard mumbled to himself, hurrying towards his apartment for no apparent reason. There were no credits there. He knew this. Richard was forced to retire 3 years ago. When his granddaughter started seeing Noah and significantly less of him he became so depressed and detached from his work that he lost his job. With no motivation to pursue another occupation, Richard decided it best to just retire. He’d been working all his life and with nobody to support but himself he easily had enough credits to live comfortably for the rest of his life. That is of coarse, if you did not calculate his X usage.
Xfactor was expensive. It became obvious from the start that Richards monthly retirement credits would not be enough to satisfy his growing X addiction. So he began dipping into his savings. Just a little at first, then more. The more Xfactor he got the faster he used it and the more the cravings grew. He kept telling himself. “I’ll ration it this time. One a week is enough to get me by”. Then, “well that was much too difficult I was being stingy but every other day is plenty”. Then, “two a day should be more than enough. There’s no reason I should need more than that”. Now it was all he could do to make what started out as a sufficient month supply of Xfactor last more than a few days. When the savings ran out he began pawning his valuables. It had gone much the same way. He would set limits then break them. Set more boundaries then cross them. “No matter how bad things get I’ll never sell this.” He would say. Then he’d sell it. “If I ever seriously consider pawning this then I know I need to cut back” then he’d pawn it. 2 month prior he sold the last of Gretchen’s jewelry. And hours of sobbing and arguing with himself did not prevent him from pawning his wedding ring last month. That’s why Richard knew without a shadow of a doubt heir was nothing left in his apartment to sell. If there had been anything else he would have held on to his ring. He told himself as much before he sold it.
He arrived at his apartment complex ascended the steps to the 2nd floor and proceed down the lengthy hallway to 28D. Richard had been operating on auto pilot since departing from the spot this morning and was only fully aware that he arrived back at his apartment when the door locked behind him. He stood there numbly looking hazily around his barren apartment. “Richard you fool” he said to himself. He walked across the room and sank into his musty old recliner. Throw up yellow was how Gretchen always described it. It was every bit as worthless as she always complained. It was among the unsellable objects left in the apartment. Head in his hands Richard tried to process what happened over the past week that lead him here.
He’d been stupid, so stupid and shortsighted. It was his birthday in 2 days and 3 days after is what would have been he and Gretchen’s 41st anniversary. This was always the hardest time to deal with. His two wonderful girls would always make it the most memorable week of the year. Now that was all in the past. As a counter measure to this time that brought so much pain Richard planned on spending the better part of that week drowning in a stream of X. But he blew it. He knew that if he got the Xfactor too soon he would be unable to make it last, but he’d been almost 2 weeks without streaming before he finally made the plan to sell his wedding ring that had been almost too much to bear. When he got back with the precious Xfactor he had already decided he would use one or two just to take the edge off. He started off with a beautiful memory of a father holding his new born son for the first time, tears streaming down his face. Then he streamed a long and touching memory of a couple celebrating their 53rd anniversary surrounded by their large loving family. Then it was Christmas, then a father daughter hiking trip, then a day at the lake, then a proposal, then Christmas again. Richard was reaching for his 11th X capsule before he managed to stop himself. And now here he was, barely two weeks later looking at facing the burden of crushing depression without a single X capsule to help dull the pain.
Richard sat there alone going over the situation over and over in his head. Only vaguely aware of the passage of time, he suddenly got to his feet so quickly he almost startled himself. “I need to get my hands on more X, period.” He decided. “But how?” he asked himself out loud. “Any way possible” a voice in his mind said. And Richard knew then and there he would obey. Sometimes he scared himself when it came to Xfactor. When precious X was concerned he found himself behaving in ways he never would have imagined. It happened often. And before he fully grasped what he was doing his hand was resting on the apartment’s front door. I’ll borrow the credits he thought I’ll talk to that boy he’ll understand. He’s like me, no he’s much worse. I’ll promise him double the credits next month. That will give me plenty of time to think of some way to gather more credits. He stood there a few moments building himself up for what he was about to do.
(That boy) was Richards’s neighbor who lived across from him in apartment 27D. Richard didn’t know much about him, in fact he wasn’t certain he had even gotten his name. He lived there before Richard arrived about a year and a half ago. He was young mid to late 20s and was undoubtedly a cold streamer. He had the gaunt unkempt look about him. And he certainly didn’t have a job. He would spend days at a time in his apartment and would be seen hurrying down the hall back to his apartment after a short while. Richard was almost certain he’d seen him at the spot once or twice though admittedly it was difficult to be sure in all the confusion. But his confirmation came several months ago.
Richard was returning home when he saw the young man struggling to open his apartment door. He was burdened with several bags he refused to put down. When he fumbled his keys he made an attempt to grab for them but instead tipped one of his bags spilling no less than 10 xcapsules on the floor. Richard who had reached him by this point was just stooping down to help him when he shouted NOO! Hugging his bags with one hand his neighbor scrambled across the floor quickly reclaiming his spilled contents. Richard was too shocked to be annoyed about having bent down for nothing because from where he stood, he could see that at least one of the young man’s bags was filled nearly to overflowing with Xfactor. Richard didn’t know how he could have possibly paid for all that X nor did he know why he chose to transport it in such a precarious way. What he did know is that this was certainly more X than he had ever seen in one place and that was without even assuming there was more in his other bags. When the man returned to his feet he resumed his fight with the door even then refusing to let go of even a single bag. Now that Richard was standing next to him it was clear to see why he was having so much trouble with the door. He was shaking so violently Richard could almost feel the vibrations through the floor. His gaunt face was dripping with what seemed like an unnatural amount of sweat but his mouth was set with determination, his eyes seeing only the door. Richard gently slide his hand on top of the younger mans and carefully guided the key into the lock. Richard stepped back as the young man unlocked his apartment door and walked into the threshold. Once inside he turned back. “Thank you” he murmured keeping his eyes on the bags instead of addressing Richard directly, then he gently shut the door. Richard remembered feeling genuine concern for this young man. If I ever get that far gone there might be no coming back, he warned himself.
Without allowing any more time to debate himself Richard threw the door open walked up to 27D and knocked. When no one answered he began knocking louder. There was still no answer. “He’s not here” said the voice in his head “this was a bad idea Just go home and think of something else.” Instead Richard found himself calling out loud. “Hello! Is anyone there? It’s Richard, the man from 28D. We’ve spoken before remember? Could you open the door please?” Still no answer. Then he was pounding on the door. “Hey I know you’re there, I just need to talk to you for a minute that’s all!” Still there was no response. Richard kicked the door angrily, and regretted it a second later when pain shot up from his leg. Choking back a cry of pain Richard knelt down to attend his foot. “When did I get so irrational?” he asked himself through clenched teeth. This was indeed a terrible idea. He decided. “I need to collect myself and come up with a real plan.” Using the door handle for leverage Richard began pulling himself up… and the door knob turned. When he managed to get to his feet he saw he’d pushed the door open a few inches. It was done completely by mistake. Richard stared dumbly at the blackness of the apartment through the slightly open door. Then, before he could stop himself he pushed in open and went inside.
It was dark. The shadows of many objects cluttering the room were only visible thanks to the light coming from the hallway. “Hello?” Richard called into the dark apartment. “It’s Richard from 28D. I just came to…” his voice trailed off. There was no response. Richard flicked on the lights and gaped in amazement. The room wasn’t teaming with clutter as he originally thought. Instead it was filled with all sorts of fancy new luxuries. A large plasma sheen T.V. was embedded in the wall. Large fancy speakers were posted in the corners of the room. Heavy expensive looking curtains hung from the windows, blocking whatever natural light would have entered the room. A large pillow foam couch was resting neatly against the wall. There was a shelf filled with expensive looking gadgets and toys some of which Richard did not recognize. And sitting right in the middle of the room was a luxury recliner with an X helm resting on one arm. On the floor looked like a number of used X capsules. Resting on the floor next to the recliner was what looked like an old fashion paper grocery bag, the same type his neighbor had been carrying the day Richard helped him. This was the opposite of Richards’s apartment in every way. Richard closed the door behind him. All this time he had the idea that this young man was struggling but a quick look inside told him his neighbor was better off than most people in this apartment complex.
Well he’s not a broker. Richard thought to himself. Brokers don’t stream. That was basic. He didn’t appear to be employed, so how could he possibly afford all this stuff and still binge on X seven days a week? A criminal? Or rich parents perhaps. Probably the later. Except for X smuggling, crime in the city was pretty low. Besides this young man didn’t seem the type to Richard, not to mention he was a cold streamer so it wasn’t likely he would be able to set aside enough time for criminal activities. Crime? Richard thought to himself. “Isn’t breaking and entering a crime?” But instead of leaving Richard ventured deeper into the apartment moving towards the Xfactor but pausing to examine the contents of the apartment.
Things felt so surreal quite unlike streaming. It was more like a dream. Richard didn’t feel scared or anxious though he knew he ought to be. He could get in serious trouble if he was caught here and yet he felt strangely calm. He touched one of the shelves. A thin layer of dust clung to his finger when he removed it. He reached the fancy glass coffee table in front of the plasma sheen T.V. It was dusty as well. In fact everything in the apartment seemed to be unused except for the recliner and of course the Xfactor products. Richard carefully knelt down and picked up one of the capsules on the floor. No flash. Naturally it’d been used already otherwise the capsule would respond to his touch with blue light. He returned it to the floor and was about to stand when he caught a glimpse of something curious. He paused… then he saw it again. An orange flash. It came from one of the capsules lying on the floor. He couldn’t have seen it right, but then it flashed again, orange plain as day. That wasn’t right.
X capsules had two colors blue and red. Before being used the capsules would lay dormant until touched at which time it would respond by flashing blue light every 4 or 5 seconds signaling it was ready for use. In between flashes there would be a brief description of the memory, such as [Daddy Daughter Dance]. After being used the capsule light would glow red continuously for 1 or 2 hours and afterwards remain off for good. That was it. Blue flash ready to use, red glow shutting down permanently. But this capsule was not only displaying an incorrect color it was flashing without being touched. “Defective” Richard thought dismissively though he’d never heard of Xfactor malfunctioning before. “He probably used it and it is shutting down or it never worked at all”. Never the less Richard found himself reaching for the capsule. The moment his hand touched it, it flashed blue. Richard was so surprised he recoiled as if he’d been jolted by static. The capsule once more resumed flashing its incoherent orange light. More curious than ever then, he reached out once more and picked up the strange capsule. It began flashing blue. Richard brought it close to his face hoping to read a description, but the memory section remained blank between flashes. Richard stared at it for a few seconds then placed it on the table next to the luxury recliner. He moved on to the bag. The sight of its content set his heart hammering as it ought have been. It was filled with Xfactor.
Please be active he pleaded silently stooping once more to reach the contents of the bag. All the capsules brushed by his fingers began to glow blue. His heart was beating faster. “I’ll just take a few he said deliriously. Just a handful”. He won’t miss them. “Even a cold streamer would take weeks to go through all this”. “And I’ll pay him back anyway he added” as he picked up a capsule to read, right after… he stopped short. [Fun at the Strip Club] He picked up another. [Jannies Halloween Party] and another [Totally Wasted] and another. [Sex with Reena Tyreas] No nooo! he moaned in all of these X capsules there has to be at least a few decent ones. [1st high] [Ben at Beerfest] [Spring break with April and Brittney] [The Ultimate Beach Party] [The Girl at the Bar] then he lost count rummaging through the bag till he was literally tossing out the bad ones, which was apparently all of them. Richard became more and more frustrated and desperate by the capsule barely recognizing what he was reading but knowing he didn’t want it. [Sex] No. [Party] No. [Drugs] No. then Richards fingers were hitting the bottom of the bag.
“No!” he flung the empty bag across the room. It landed unimpressively in a heap. The strength left from Richards legs he sank down to the floor sitting amongst the Xfactor that was now littering the living room floor. “So that’s it then”. he though numbly… But no, it was not. He came here for credits not Xfactor. Anyone of these fancy pieces of technology would earn him some nice credits. He rose wearily to his feet. Then his heart stopped when he heard a loud slam seemingly coming from inside the house. Richard was paralyzed he couldn’t breathe. “I’m done” was all he could think “I’ve gone too far and now I’m done”. “Run you fool”! He screamed at himself. Then Richard was at the door and his senses returned to him. There was no one else here. The slam came from 25D like it did almost every single morning around 9:30. It sounded much closer now because it was coming from next door instead of across the hall. Even with the realization, the prospect of seriously being caught had forced Richard out of his craving delirium. I’ve got to get out of here. He decided. But first...
He hurried across the room to retrieve the empty bag getting down on his hands and knees once more he hurriedly began scooping xcapsules off the floor and returning them to the bag. He got almost all of them when he remembered there were some on the floor already. That’s good enough Richard decided. I was never here. He took one last look to confirm he did the best he could to return things to how they’d been when he entered. That’s when the curious flashing xcapsule returned to his attention. There it was just sitting on the table flashing orange where he left it. “That’s supposed to be on the floor.” Richard reminded himself. He picked it up. Instantly it began flashing blue. Richard brought it to his face staring. Still no description. He hesitated a moment, then pocketed the capsule. It was on the floor with the other discarded capsules, Richard reasoned. He won’t miss it. With that Richard left his neighbor’s apartment and closed the door quietly behind him. He walked across to his own apartment and slipped back inside. Once the door was securely locked, he slid wearily into his own old and musty yellow recliner.
Sitting here back in his armchair he could barely believe the last few minutes actually happened. Like it matters he thought bitterly. “Nothing’s changed”. “I can’t believe I took such a big gamble and the only thing I have to show for it is a bad X capsule”. But he didn’t really believe that did he? Why bother taking it if he didn’t secretly hope, that maybe just maybe there was a chance… he pulled the capsule from his pocket. It flashed blue signaling it was ready to use. Richard stared at it wondering. Then he got up and retrieved his Xhelm from his bedroom. “There’s no point in putting it off.” he decided. “I’ll know in a minute if it’s worthless or not” he returned to his chair inserted the mystery capsule into the receiver then slipped the helm over his head. Richards’s heart was hammering. There was something on this Xcapsule he could feel it now. Even if it wasn’t exactly what he wanted just the thought that he was mere moments away from streaming was enough to excite everything in his being. Taking in a deep breath Richard hit play.
Richard clawed the helm off of his head tumbled out of his chair and wretched. On his hands and knees he remained gasping to catch his breath, thick red saliva dripping from his chin. That wasn’t real, it wasn’t real. He repeated manically. It couldn’t be. What would that mean? He struggled to stand his legs, were shacking so badly it was almost all he could manage. How long had he been streaming? He looked at his clock 12:59. It had been roughly three hours, but Richard was so disoriented, someone could have told him it had been 3 minutes or 3 days and he would except it without question.
Deep breaths deep breaths, he chanted trying desperately to regain his self-control. Was that really a memory? If not then what the heck was it? Not a counterfeit surely. A streamer could tell and, nothing about what he’d just experienced seemed staged. With a trembling hand he reached for the helm still on his chair and plucked the xcapsule from the hold. As soon as it was removed from the slot it began to flash blue once more. Gaa! Richard cried dropping the thing like he’d been bit. It fell to the floor barely missing the red wet mess Richard left on the floor. It lay there flashing its ominous orange light. Richard felt like he was about to be sick again. He hunched over, hands on his knees, fighting the nausea. He managed to keep down the rest of his morning cranberry juice and in a few moments, it passed.
Richard stood up. The vile capsule was winking orange up at him. Richard backed away from the capsule as if evading a poisonous creature. “I need to get out of here”. “But where” Richard was at the door once more. “Do I want to go? If what I just saw was real…” Waves of fear and dread washed over him. “I know too” much he thought dumbly’. “People with this kind of information don’t live long and what am I? “Just a worthless old man”. He had no friends to confide in, no one he could go to for help. “there’s not a soul in the world who cares about me he thought bitterly.”
But perhaps… that could be a strength. Maybe I’m so far off the charts no one is watching. Maybe I can slip through the cracks like I always have. I won’t speak out; I won’t tell a soul... “But Elisa!” his thoughts flew to his beloved granddaughter. She has to know. But if I tell her she’ll be as dead as I am. Richard staggered to his bed room and sat down on his old and lumpy bed. “What should I do?” He stared wistfully at the holotone on his night stand one of the only useful remaining items in his house. He never could part with it. The holotone was his icon of hope. He would stare at it for hours hoping Elisa would call one day like she used to, then they’d talk and laugh and pretend to dance like they use to. When he looked at the holotone he could almost see Elisa’s translucent figure standing with arms outstretched for a virtual hug saying how much she missed her grandpa since they last spoke.
Richards’s eyes were brimming with tears. I can’t, he said, tears spilling over. Even if I leave a message when she doesn’t answer, if they come for me they’ll check my contacts”. The best way I can keep her safe is to keep the years of silence unbroken. He would never; Could never hear her voice again. “But the memory, he sobbed into his hands. How long would she really be safe”…? No! Richard stood up angrily. I won’t sit here like some tired old man. If I’m going to die, I’m going to do something that will protect my Elisa even if it costs me my life. My life is nothing. I’ve been living dead for years anyway.
Boom! Boom! Boom!
Richard froze his short lived determination replaced by paralyzing fear. Someone was pounding on his front door.
Boom! Boom! Boom!
The knocking came again. And there was no doubt in Richards mind then. In the past 3 years, he had never received a holotone message, a call or a letter that wasn’t related to bills, and it had been even longer since anyone had knocked on this door. That’s why he knew it was related to the Xfactor. They had come for him, to collect the information he never should have received. To silence a voice that never had a chance to cry out. Each knock on the door was a gunshot and Richard knew he was dead.
Boom! Boom! Boom!
Are You the Reaper?
Just as well. This topic came up just a little while ago and might provide an answer to the challenge. The conversation went like this…
Hey why do they call you The Reaper?
You’re mistaken it’s, not the Reaper its D-Reaper just one word
Oh so you’re a digimon fan then?
Umm well yes actually. What gave Reaper away?
Your name duh. You’re the Digimon Reaper! Or DReaper for short.
Ah yes, Reaper has heard this before. Reapers name is not unlike that of the reaper of digimon but that really doesn’t have anything to do with Reaper’s name. You see Reaper predates the digimon series by an err… substantial margin.
Ok then I don’t get it.
Don’t get what?
You’re name duh.
Hmm well to put it simply D-Reaper is in fact, well a reaper so that should be generally explained. As for D well, once every 100,000 years or so there is something of a selection that takes place so after this selection Reaper became D-Reaper.
Can you elaborate on what the selection entails?
You don’t look 100,000 years old.
Hopefully not. Though logically speaking Reaper wouldn’t need to live 100,000 years to fall in line of the event. It very well could have been on the 99,999 year… or so. But anyway that time span is perhaps lost in translation. Have you seen Death Note?
Hmm well if you had seen Death Note there’s segments in the show where peoples life span are translated by numbers symbols and shapes. Defining the 1-100,000 or so would be essentially deciphering such a codex if that helps you understand.
Hmm… perhaps Reaper should try and explain it in a different way?
Nah man I’m good.
Oh alright… Can Reaper have his coffee then?
Oh sure uhhh $2.35 please...
And that’s how it went as Reaper recalls it. Maybe it will be more helpful to you than it was with the barista. But if not maybe Reaper will try explaining it again sometime…
Hey all! Like AJAY9979, Reaper only just returned to Prose after a long break. Details can be found on one of Reaper’s recent posts titled, Come Hiatus or High Water. For those who don’t want to go that far for an answer Reaper can some it up here saying, Reaper is doing just fine! Thanks for asking AJAY9979! It’s good to be back with this awesome community of artists! Keep reading! Keep writing!
Riddle Reaper This
Never had a a clear answer for this one. Let's take another crack Prosers!
Forget me not for I am coming and woe to those that don’t prepare.
Your strength and wit will not suffice to save you from my mighty snare.
If you persist I may abide you and thus make you stronger yet.
But be forewarned cause if I find you, you will rue the day we met.
What am I?
Come Hiatus or High Water
My how times flies. Reaper can't believe its been a year since his last post!
But Reaper! You’re always on Hiatus! It shouldn’t be a surprise at all!
Come on hecklers give Reaper some breathing room...
Though the hecklers do have a point. Reaper hopes his habit of trying on many hats is not catching up with him at last… But anyway for any who are interested here is the general update on what Reapers been up to.
1st things 1st a shameless plug because in collaboration with the Counsel of Reapers, Reaper has started a YouTube channel based on Reaper’s miniseries on Prose A Reaper’s Review we do general thoughts on anime and gaming and are even adapting some of said Prose posts into a video format. We're still at the infancy stage but we're hoping for a lot of growth this year,so if that’s your cup of tea you should come and check us out. We would definitely appreciate some of that prose love! But Reaper knows someone will say something along the lines of [But Reaper, that doesn’t sound like you in the videos!] and to that Reaper will say that you are correct. Reaper has a voice for print, so it’s actually A-Reaper speaking. The channel name is essentially a play on words but that’s an inside detail Reaper reserves for the Prose family only. Your welcome! Here’s a link to our latest video, (as of the writing of this post.) which is an adaption of Reaper’s top 10 most recommended games of all time. check it out if you’re at all interested! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bppfUvMTojU
2nd things 2nd Reaper is still hard at work on many long term solo projects some of which he has shared on Prose such as writing The 1st Step [Working title] the story of the girl Aurora that can travel through portals. Reaper has not forgotten any promises made and will likely post some additional chapters on Prose later this year. There's another project Reaper is working on that might be posted on Prose in the near future as well. Don’t want to say too much about it now but if you’re a fan of Naruto it might be something you’ll enjoy.
3rd things 3rd since it’s been a while Reaper has to make sure everyone’s quills and noggins have stayed sharp in Reaper’s absence. So expect some back to back challenges from Reaper this month including Reaper’s classic Reap or Riddler challenge! The gauntlet has been thrown who will answer the challenge?
Last things last and in this case most importantly thank you all for the tags, comments, and updates even in Reaper’s absence. You are always very patient with Reaper. Apologies for missing any challenge invites but rest assured Reaper will get around to every comment. And with that said Reaper will see you all in the next post. Until then, keep reading, keep writing!
The 1st Step
Hello my name is Aurora and I’m an Ingression. Don’t know what that is? Basically, I’m a gateway, a portal to another realm. People can literally step through me and end up somewhere else. Sounds cool right? Well it’s not! Can you imagine going through puberty then suddenly random objects start flying out of your naval? Now that was scary. Fortunately, the local healer explained that this peculiar behavior was normal for an Ingression my age. It was still odd though. Neither of my parents had magic anything resembling mine. Mom was imbued with ice magic and Dad can make simple illusions. Mom was obviously the more favorably endowed of the two. Still while growing up, I thought I would get some kind of cool mashup of the two. Like making illusions that freeze people when you touch them. You know something like that. But instead, I got this stupid curse. Some of you that aren’t endowed are probably thinking well maybe it’s not the best magic but it’s still something. Well, I’d really rather have nothing than this ability. This curse has ruined my entire life.
When I realized my magic had finally awakened, after the trip to the healer I was very excited. Once I learned to open my portal on my own the expulsions of random objects stopped (which was a huge relief). When I focus my magic into my navel, I feel the tickle of the portal becoming active. I remember I used to giggle every time I did it. Then I feel a rippling sensation that spreads through my whole body. And... that’s it. People can walk through me to another realm. It’s super basic. And that little bit of hocus pocus is all I’ll ever be able to do. There’s no one that can teach me anything else. Even Zale doesn’t know much about Ingression magic. By the way Zale is my butler. He’s one of those perfect butler types. He can do anything from beat up thugs to pour a perfect cup of tea. Seriously! I mean he’s a strong magician, well learned, polite, a great cook, patient, dependable, and I started to notice a while ago extremely handsome.
Anyway, back to what I was saying, Ingressions are extremely rare. There’s only one other known Ingression in our realm, but not only is he on the other side of the continent he’s also part of the royal family. So, the chances of being taken on as an apprentice is basically zero. So knowing I would probably never be able to be more than convenient transportation for other people was a big letdown. Still, it’s not even close to the worst of it.
As disappointing as this ability is for me it is invaluable for others. A lot of people would pay good money for access to an instant portal. A fact that my Dad was quick to move in on. Discovering my abilities turned Dad into a completely different person. He use to look at me and see his little girl, but now when he looks at me he sees a golden idol. As soon as my portal was stable my Dad was ready with large groups of people ready to pay to go inside me. Wait… ok that sounds worse than it is, but honestly not even by that much! I really felt violated! Just imagine every other day strangers coming up to you with expectation. They already paid for your services so you’d better deliver. Of coarse being 11 at the time I had no say in the matter. That and I felt like I was letting my dad down.
Before I couldn’t do more than 5 people a day. My Dad was furious. “Is that it?!”He asked standing over me. I’d fallen to my knees drenched in sweat after the last customer had passed through. “I thought you said you were practicing!” “S sorry Dad” I panted from the floor unable to support myself any longer. “Hey, am I still gonna be able to go to Nocturne, because I paid extra gold to be able to go today?” “Heh heh, sorry everyone.” my Dad said addressing the four people who were still waiting. “We’re having a few minor complications... I’ll deal with you later.” He growled at me out of the corner of his mouth.
Things seemed to change so abruptly Mom and Dad started fighting. I’d never seen them fight before my magic awakened, but it became an almost nightly event. My Mom was against the idea of making money off me from the start and she only grew more adamant as my Dad continued to change. One night there fighting reached a fever pitch. My Mom was screaming that she would just take me and Zale and leave and he could keep all the stupid money if that’s what really makes him happy. When I woke up the next day Mom was dead. My dad said she tripped on her gown and fell down the stairs. I knew he killed her. So did Zale and the guards he hired to protect the house, so his precious golden goose never gets stolen. What could we say? I was a kid, Zale a young butler, and he was the now rich and prestigious figure that was helping to stimulate the economy in our lonely town. Honestly, I’m sure he knew that we knew he killed her. There was shame in his eyes whenever he held my gaze and at the funeral, he even managed to shed a few tears. I on the other hand bawled like a baby.
For the next several months. I spent the better part of the days crying. When I wasn’t crying I would just lie on my bed hating myself. Why did I have to be an Ingression? If I didn’t have these wretched powers Mom would still be alive. I was too depressed to eat. I pretty much reverted back to infancy. I only ate what Zale spoon fed me and when I’d sob uncontrollably Zale would hold me in his arms and rock me to sleep. My Dad was absent during these months. I stayed locked in my room and he did whatever he was doing. I wanted to hate him. I did hate him. But still as the months past I wondered why he never came up to check on me. I guess I can at least thank him for getting me out of my depressed stupor. One day he showed up at my room and poked his head through the door. “Hey are you ok?” He asked. “Yes.” I responded monotonously. “Good. Someone wants to travel get yourself ready.” And then he was gone.
So I dragged myself out of bed put on decent clothes and waited to receive the latest traveler wondering if I even still had the capability. Fortunately, it was just one guy and the process went as smoothly as if it’d been just yesterday since last opening my portal. After that it was back to business as usual. I’d manage to increase the duration of my portal opening significantly but it still wasn’t exactly easy. This was especially true when there were andragons in the group. Since the average andragon was over 7 feet tall I found it surprising I could even pass them through. There height along with their wide frame meant they would often protrude past my portal space even when taking a wide stance and extending my arms as far as they would go. This always gave me a weird feeling of being uncomfortably stretched and I could almost feel the scales scraping against my translucent body.
Sometimes after these sessions I felt so tired that all I wanted to do was go to sleep, but Zale insisted that I get out of the house for a while for my own good. I had no idea how much I needed it until I was outside. We didn’t go far; we just walked to the town market then came back. Still, it was enough. Just seeing the sky and feeling the wind on my face gave me such a liberating feeling. After that I made it a point to get out of the house every day. Sometimes it was for brief periods after sessions of transporting people. Other days when no one was traveling I would spend the entire day out of the house. I would go on walks with Zale, spend time by the river, visit my friends in town, and browse around the market. For a while this was acceptable. Then Dad started seeing this as a problem. He said it wasn’t safe for me to go be going outside all the time and insisted that I never leave the house without the company of at least five guards. I didn’t see the point of it since we never went too far from town, where we knew everyone. Even if something actually did happen, Zale was always with me and I’m pretty sure he was worth more than five guards. In any case we complied. Having the guards always on our heels definitely put people on edge whenever we came through. That caused us to start spending more time in remote areas. As time went on my Dad grew more and more agitated by our excursions. He would show clear disapproval of my casual coming and going to the point that leaving, even with the required guards, was met with a challenge.
One day when I was thirteen I decided it was a nice day for a picnic. So Zale made us lunch and we planned on going to get my friend Naomi and enjoy our meal amidst nature. As we were heading out the door my Dad asked boorishly, “where are you going?” “We’re going to have a picnic in the dead woods” I answered. Our escort of guards was already forming a line behind us. “Why do you have to go out?” He said “you can have lunch here in the house.” I couldn’t fathom what his issue could be with us going to a location so close to home especially when we were still being escorted by the guards. “Umm well it’s a nice day outside, I stated. And no one is traveling today so I just thought…” “Oh there no travelers today so you’ll just leave huh? Guess you have too much time on your hands fine then, go on go, go!” So we went. He was like that now. He just got angry for no reason.
Unbeknownst to me at the time, he spent the remainder of that afternoon and the next couple of days sending out messages far and wide by any means available. In a months’ time half the continent knew that there was an Ingression in Ozrin. Travelers came flooding in with renewed vigor. Every day there were more people to transport. Where were all these people even coming from? I felt like the entire realm should have been vacant by now! The groups got larger and larger and the breaks in between got shorter. I thought things were at their worst when an entire troop of andragons showed up wanting to go to Yandrasille. That led to an incident Zale had to diffuse, but in the end I was able to transport them all. Things really did hit their worst serval weeks later when I passed out trying to transport a group of twenty six. I made it to nineteen.
It’s hard to remember clear details of that time. I know I had an extremely high fever after that. I mean unnaturally high. The town healer had never seen anything like it. A request was sent for a healer in the capital but he hadn’t seen anything of the sort either. He thought I was dying which was just as well because that’s how I felt. I spent most of the time sleeping having weird fever driven dreams. I remember waking up several times to Zale swabbing my neck and forehead with a cool towel. According to him my delirium led to a few crazy conversations. “Zale”… I’d whisper. “Yes lady Aurora I’m here.” “Could you take my skin off please…” “No my lady I don’t think that would be wise.” “Please Zale? Just for a little while, we can put it back on later. It’s cooking my insides…” another time I thought I dreamed my Dad and Zale were arguing above my bed. I was sure it was another fever dream because I’d never seen Zale so much as raise his voice in anger let alone engage in a full blown argument with my Dad. A few weeks later when I started to recover I ask him if I’d dreamt it. That’s when he told me it really happened. When I asked him what they were arguing about, he said I should focus on finishing my herbal tea, so I didn’t press him on the subject.
It was a slow process but when it seemed whatever it was that afflicted my body ran its course my strength began to return. My full recovery took almost 6 months. I remember in the last month when I was well enough to walk around my room I thought of how nice it would be to go outside. If only there was a way to sneak out of the house so my Dad wouldn’t know I could leave the house without keeling over. I wasn’t sure if I could make it if he made me start transporting people again so soon. But as I gazed out through my window, I realized that sneaking out was not an option. The guards around the house seemed to have multiplied two-fold. I’m not sure what it was but as I watched the guards from my room window it suddenly dawned on me; the guards weren’t really meant to keep people out, they were meant to keep me in. That’s why my Dad had guards following us everywhere we went. And that’s why he always got agitated whenever I wanted to leave. He thought I was going to try and run away. Something else clicked. The picnic. That’s why my Dad went out of control when we were leaving for the picnic. For all he knew our bags were packed with enough food and supplies to make it to the city. No doubt Zale had already figured this out long ago. I scratched my head violently in frustration. I wished he’d let me in on what’s going on sometimes…
This whole thing was ridicules I was fourteen already and my Dad had me under permanent house arrest. He couldn’t keep me here. He had no right to. There were times that I wanted to just tell him off and let him know that, but I always got scared. Since my Dads transformation there’s no telling how far he would go to keep me here. The truth is I always wanted to travel to different realms and go on adventures and stuff. That’s what Mom did. She was part of a guild based in Tiada. Since her death I struggled finding motivation to move let alone go to far off places. But the idea of My Dad tethering me to the house, to himself,… It made me feel like a bird in a cage. I had to get out!
So the obvious question. Aurora, you’re an Ingression, why don’t you just use your own portal to go somewhere far far away. Well that would be because of the extremely unfavorable stipulation that occurs when Ingressions step through their own gateways… their locked out of the realm they traveled from forever. When Zale read me that line in an old book he found after I’d discovered my abilities my stomach tied itself in knots. I had so many questions like what happens if you accidentally fall into your own portal or what if you somehow lock yourself out of all thirteen realms? Unfortunately the book was lacking in details but I decided then that it wouldn’t be a problem because I would never go through my own portal. The thought was just too horrifying. Who would have guessed I’d be contemplating it just four years later.
A few months after I recovered I was back to opening portals. Thankfully my Dad didn’t try to overload me like he did before. Maybe going almost a year without traveler money made him realize if you kill the goose you’re out of eggs. Still even with the more manageable group size it was still largely laborious work and I knew I couldn’t stay here forever. Since I became aware of the guards true intentions it became painfully obvious that they were monitoring my every move and reporting it back to my Dad. I felt stupid for not seeing it sooner. I thought more and more about how I could leave without using my portal but I could never come up with anything that didn’t involve Zale fighting an army of guards. If I was going to leave it would have to be through my portal.
I weighed the options over and over again. In reality there really wasn’t much for me here. My life consisted largely of waiting in my room for the next job transporting people trying not to faint then rinse and repeat. My relationship with my dad was that of a tool and the user, I barely saw my friends, I was monitored round the clock by guards, and it didn’t seem like any of that would ever change. On the other hand if I did use my portal I could end up anywhere with no way of getting back. Even though that wasn’t the most ideal situation I still preferred that to being my Dads portal slave forever.
The biggest dilemma for me was leaving Zale behind. The times that I was actually happy here was because of him. He’d been here with me all this time, even stepping in when my father left gaps. I couldn’t imagine what life would be without him at my side. But I didn’t know how to take him with me. The best I could do is to send him somewhere then follow after him. With my lack of knowledge and experience I had no idea if I would end up in the same place let alone the same realm. One out of thirteen. Not the best odds. There’s that plus, I know Zale would never agree to it. He would never agree to a plan that would leave me in a potentially dangerous situation without his help. He was much more likely to support the plan with him single handedly fighting the small army guarding the house since that plan involved us staying together. That was something I couldn’t agree with. I had no doubt the guards wouldn’t hurt me if I tried to escape. Zale on the other hand was a different story. Dad doesn’t even like Zale. I doubt he would give the guards instructions not to hurt or kill him if things took a turn for the worst. There was no way I was letting that happen. Not after everything Zale has done for me. I refused to drag him down with me.
Zale was the kind of person that could excel at anything. Without me to worry about I’m sure Zale could slip past every guard without a problem. He could live a successful happy life without having to foster me all the time. He would never say it but it was the truth. My situation was a miserable one and this extended to Zale by the fault. Zale would be better off without me. So I continued being Daddy’s little money maker in silence though below the surface I was plotting this best time to escape.
Knowing that I was now guilty of the “plotting” my Dad was already convinced of, was a pretty scary transition. But at least on the surface he did not appear to notice any changes worth increasing his surveillance on me. When I got the opportunity to go to the library (under supervision of course) I would casually add an extra book focused on skill building or survival knowledge mixed in with my usual selection. I dared not touch anything on different realms. Instead, I would try and take advantage of the more garrulous travelers asking them probing questions disguised as friendly banter. Though this did increase some of my basic knowledge of the different realms it was also successful in increasing my anxiety. (Please not Acrid! Land anywhere but Acrid!)
I also got pretty good at reading people. I would pay attention for cues of sympathy or general good nature and use it to my advantage. Sometimes people would walk in surprised that their transporter was just a little girl. Under my dad's watchful gaze, I was an unflinching machine but when he stepped away, I would take advantage of the traveler's sympathy to take longer breaks, and play up my fatigue by wheezing heavily and neglecting to wipe the seat from my brow. A quickly learned that sometimes this could lead to more money as some of the travelers would discretely press a few coins into my hand before preparing to depart.
Once my Dad walked in at the worst possible time while this was taking place. I’d put on a pretty big show of having a mild dizzy spell. The Elderly woman was handing me a whole gold coin when my Dad appeared in the frame of the door. I pretended I hadn't noticed him and excepted the coin. After I finished transports for the day, I presented him the gold coin and explained to him that one of the travelers had given it to me earlier that day. He eyed both me and the coin with a very odd expression before grunting just keep it. Before walking off.
A month after I turned sixteen I was ready. It was hard to tell how much I would need starting my new life in another realm. I figured if 5 gold coins was about a day's wage for someone with a good job, with the amount my Dad gave me after transporting sessions, pitiful as it was compared to how much was actually made, I should have enough to live comfortably for roughly 3 years. Slowly but surely I got around to seeing all my friends again because I knew it would be the last time. I spoke to them in private and let them know just how much I appreciated them. I tried not to get too choked up about the final goodbyes I didn’t want Zale to know what I was planning. He was already suspicious of me though. (Know it all!) I couldn’t help but shed a few tears when I left Naomi for the last time.
The hardest goodbye was Zale. I couldn’t tell him in person or he would try to stop me so I decided on a letter. Every time I started writing I started crying to the point that I couldn’t write anymore. Saying goodbye to Zale felt too real. It was almost too much to bear. It took six or seven rounds before I could finish the letter. Finally, everything was done I was ready to leave. Though my whole body was trembling with fear but also excitement. It was time to go…
but I couldn’t. I didn’t want to but I couldn’t just leave without saying something to my Dad. I don’t know why I still cared but I did. So I wrote another letter much shorter than Zale’s but I still wasn’t able to get through it without crying.
Once that was done there was no longer anything holding me back. I had to leave, and now before I lost my resolve. I’d lived as a bird in a cage for five years. That was more than enough. It was time for this chapter of my life to end. I put on my pack with all my clothes and money, then took my stance. I felt the familiar tickle in my naval as my body responded to the focus of my magic. The rippling grew and spread thought my entire body. I took a last sweeping looked around the room that had been my home for so many years… then I closed my eyes and fell backwards and forwards simultaneously. Into my portal. Into myself, for a destination unknown.
Author Name: D-Reaper
Zombie Kills of the Century
When it comes to zombie killing Reaper has a lot of experience. Reaper use to be in the killing Nazi Zombie business and let Reaper assure you, business was a booming, even by the time it was just The Last of Us. Now there just Days Gone. More than once Reaper paid a visit to Dead Island even when it was in a State of Decay. Reaper saw the Dead Rising which forced Reaper to deal with some Residents who were most certainly Evil. (At least 5 of them) Reaper bore witness to the Dying Light, and even once refereed a match of Plants vs, Zombies. But none of those experiences seem comparable when Reaper considers that he was Left 4 Dead. (Twice actually)
Over the top intros aside Left 4 Dead 1 and 2 are simply the pinnacle of what a zombie game should be. It's amazing how great these games are with such simple controls, story, and concepts. These games managed to standout in a time oversaturated with zombie apocalypse motif and Reaper feels confident in saying they withstood the test of time. To this day if Reaper is playing a shooter with his buddies, it's not uncommon for random outbursts of. “Pills here!” “Med pack here!” “Got a shot here!” Or “Gonna grab this ninja sword. If anyone sees some nunchucks ya’ll give me a holler!” Years ago, there were rumors of a sequel in the works that ended up being false but, to be honest Reapers always on the lookout for a gnarled hand holding up three fingers signaling Left 4 Dead 3 is on the way!