1. For prospective new members, a word of warning: don't use common names like Dennis, Simon, or Kenny if you decide to create an account. Spammers have used them all before you and gotten those names flagged in the anti-spam databases. Your account registration will be rejected because of it.
    Dismiss Notice
  2. Since it has happened MULTIPLE times now, I want to be very clear about this. You do not get to abandon an account and create a new one. You do not get to pass an account to someone else and create a new one. If you do so anyway, you will be banned for creating sockpuppets.
    Dismiss Notice
  3. If you wish to change your username, please ask via conversation to tehelgee instead of asking via my profile. I'd like to not clutter it up with such requests.
    Dismiss Notice
  4. Due to the actions of particularly persistent spammers and trolls, we will be banning disposable email addresses from today onward.
    Dismiss Notice
  5. We talked about it, many complained about it or hoped it would never come to pass, but the time for the forum software upgrade is now!

    See the details here.
    Dismiss Notice

Skittering Hollow (Bleach/Worm)

Discussion in 'Questing' started by Planeshunter, Dec 13, 2019.

Loading...
  1. Threadmarks: 000 - Death is only the beginning.
    Planeshunter

    Planeshunter [Verified Slimegirl Whisperer]

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2019
    Messages:
    161
    Likes Received:
    1,710
    So! Planeshunter here, nice to meet you!
    This will be my first attempt at writing here, my first attempt on posting a quest and my first attempt at managing votes. So this can be wrong in so many ways it’s even funny. I’ll still do my best to make it a good ride.
    Knowledge of Bleach is highly recommended to follow the plot, and knowledge of Pokemon, Worm… maybe Naruto? Isn’t necessary but should enrich the experience. There’ll probably be minor references to other franchises for inspiration/shits&giggles.
    Now, without further ado. On with the show!




    “Was it worth it?“

    I stared down at my hand. It was shaking, but it wasn’t from fear.

    “Would you do it all over again? Knowing what you know now? Knowing that you end up here, at gunpoint?“

    “I… know I’m supposed to say yes,” the words made their way past my lips. “But no. Some-somewhere along way, it became no.”

    “Just about everyone comes to this crossroad,” she said. “Some get seventy years, some only get fifteen. Enough time to grow, to take stock of who you are. Enough time to do things you’ll regret when you run out of time.”

    “Don’t- don’t regret it. Was- had to. Saved lives. But I would do different, given a chance.”

    There’s a moment of sudden, utter silence, and a vague sensation of vertigo accompanying the instinctual knowledge that something is suddenly wrong.

    Incoming conflict.

    Obeying sharp instincts I’ve learnt not to disregard, I turn around. The invincible woman who’s wiped the floor with my face more than once and had me at gunpoint not five seconds ago has jumped back with a panicked expression, right in time to avoid… something.

    Something massive that just shattered the tree trunk she was sitting on, leaving only a crater. Something she cannot see or feel in any way, beyond the displaced air around it. But even that feels wrong. Almost as if…

    There’s a snapping sound, a painful crunch, and then darkness.




    First is darkness.

    Since darkness is being noticed, something else has to exist. That or the darkness is self-aware. In any case, there’s an I.

    I perceive, thus I exist.

    But I don’t know what I am.

    Am I in the darkness? Am I the darkness?

    Am I… powerless?

    I attempt to move, but there’s nothing to be moved.

    I attempt to focus, but there's nothing to focus on.

    I attempt to cry, but there’s nothing to cry with.

    Is there really darkness around me? I don’t have eyes to see with anyway.

    No… I am not alone.

    There’s… me. Confused, inquiring, yet unbending. I am who I am, and god help whoever tries to change that without permission.

    There’s… others. Confused, scared and suffering. They could use a shoulder to lean on. Even if my hands are full, I can’t bring myself to thoughtlessly discard their problems.

    And there’s… it. Hungry, egoistical and dark. That which surrounds me and keeps me blind and deaf is trying to subsume me into itself. It won’t ever win the fight, unless I surrender first. But that might hold its own merit? I know nothing, and the darkness knows enough to at least try and absorb me.



    Choose your path:

    *Me. The path of Ego Unbending. You fight for control with tooth and nail, until everything else is erased by your overwhelming presence. Even if you win, you’ll remain lost, without a clue about wheres, whys or hows. But you’ll remain yourself, and everything else can be worked out later.


    *Us. The path of Collaboration. The others need you, and you need them. Together you’ll rise against the darkness and triumph. Victory is all but guaranteed, but you’ll stop being just you. Then again, you’ll be more than the sum of the parts.

    *It. The path of Submission. You don’t fight. The darkness is stronger and more knowledgeable than you. Even if you were to win, you would only harm the whole. You’ll focus on influencing that whole from inside instead. This path is hard, and involves retaining a sense of self through the merger. Victory in Surrender.

    *Write-in. Write-ins are optional and give you the chance to propose alternatives, but they’re subject to absolute veto privileges. If I don’t consider a write-in in character, realistic, possible, or plain don’t wanna deal with writing that, it will be discarded. That’s why they’re handled as separate tasks, and treated more like suggestions than votes. How they’re handled in relation with normal votes (overriding, merging, etc) will be at my discretion.





    [x] [Path] Me
    [x] [Path] Us.
    [x] [Path] It.

    [x] [Write-in] Knock Yourselves out.


    Note: The plan is to close votes in 24 hours, but let's see how it goes.
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2019
  2. Threadmarks: Larva 1.01 - Welcome to Hueco Mundo
    Planeshunter

    Planeshunter [Verified Slimegirl Whisperer]

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2019
    Messages:
    161
    Likes Received:
    1,710
    [x] [Path] Me

    No.

    I am. I don’t know who I am. Nor why, nor how, not even what. But I am. Therefore I refuse to stop being. Maybe, if I had something else to offer, I would try and help others. But the only thing I own is myself, and I will never give that up.

    I have to put myself together first, helping others is a luxury I cannot afford.

    So I push back. Against both the ever present darkness trying to smother me, and against the specks of will that are the others. I don’t have much, just a sense of self, but I give my all to this task. Because doing something else would spell instant doom.

    Even like this, I can feel the pressure around my self gradually increasing, as the darkness seems to pay attention to my defiance and react accordingly. In an attempt to raise my own effort, I focus with all my might in… well, me.

    Slowly, I realize something else. I might have no memories, I might have no knowledge, but I’m still something more than mere existence. Because I have a will, I have a personality and capability to choose. Didn’t I choose not to be consumed, after all?

    And I have memories now, don’t I? Short, dark memories filled with words of introspection, but memories all the same. From the moment I became aware, every second made me stronger, gave me a firmer grip on who I am. Even without name, even without body, my very defiance is my victory.

    But the pressure keeps increasing, and I can feel my resolve cracking. If things keep up like this… No, I can’t think like that. This is a battle of wills, just contemplating a possibility makes it more likely. Even so, what can I do? In frustrated impotence, I grit my metaphorical teeth and focus on existing harder.

    I won’t be defeated. Not here, not like this. Even if it costs me my body, my mind, my soul. I won’t surrender. I will keep going until the bitter end. Because there is no other path I’d rather walk. So, I fight. Victory is unavoidable.

    {Agreement}

    With that realization, the floodgates open within and for a moment my existence becomes more. Heavy, like the orb in the sky pulling the tides. Vast, like the cold dark abyssal depths. Ancient, like the shattered aeons. In that moment, I burst outwards, consuming the darkness and making it mine.

    As suddenly as it happened, it fades away, but it’s been long enough. I am the darkness now. It’s… honestly not all it was primed to be. Just a mass of instincts and appetites, wrapped up in flesh. But it’s my mass of instincts and appetites now. And a step forward, I know now how to take the next one.

    The specks of others I felt with me in the darkness are agitated, probably due to my own rebellion and rise to power. Nevertheless I am now the darkness, and I can smother them as I was almost smothered myself. Reaching for one of the specks of will, I… grasp. The speck immediately calms down, cowed into submission by my superior presence.

    The rest of the process is almost boring, consolidating my position and guaranteeing my continued existence. Only the last speck to disappear attracts my attention for a moment, as it has used the others as decoys to actively hide from me. It’s… an interesting strategy, that I’ll definitely keep in mind in case this situation somehow repeats in the future, but ultimately a worthless effort. The speck’s ego is weak, and this is a battle of wills, brutal and straightforward. Even the most refined technique in the world can only buy time against a stronger opponent.

    Finally I can relax. I am me, and I’m in control of my fate.



    That’s when the pain hits me.




    Congratulations! By taking control of your fate, you’ve started defining yourself, and have gained your first traits.

    Trait - Rise to the Challenge:
    You don’t turn tail, you don’t bow down. To the point where others might consider you suicidal. Case is, you somehow manage to pull it off, surviving and even taking down challenges above your weight class through guts and wit. Grants the Perk ?????.

    Trait - Rebel:
    You view figures of authority with distrust, and refuse to conform to the mold. Attempts at recruiting you will be met with wariness or even plain hostility, unless they come from someone you already trust. Even then, you’ll always chafe under other’s directions, and aim for the freedom to do ‘your own thing’. Grants the Perk ?????.

    The Trait Rebel is a product of your Path, and Rise to the Challenge the result of a high enough roll. The plan was for you to also gain a weakness here, but a wild Natural 100 appeared, so we’ll skip that.




    I open my eyes with a groan.

    … Hey, I have eyes! That’s good, that’s good. Because I still have no idea who or what I am, much less where I am or what I am supposed to be doing. Well… no. That’s not the absolute truth, actually. Looks like those instincts I claimed before are useful for something, because I know what I look like.

    [​IMG]

    … Fuck. My. Life.

    I’m apparently a caterpillar. A very pissed off-looking caterpillar. Just peachy. At least my hair is gorgeous.

    A rumbling noise interrupts the pity party, making me very aware of the other tidbit my instincts have kindly pointed at. The fact that I’m hungry. No, scratch that. I’m famished, ravenous and positively starving.

    … And surrounded by white sand dunes in all directions, with only the occasional withered tree to add some variety.

    Let’s look at the bright side. I know what I am: some sort of masked bug with a killer hair. I know what I am supposed to be doing: Finding something to eat, because, you know, kinda starving here. And I even know where I am! In the middle of a friggin’ desert. I wonder how difficult will be to find some fresh leaves to munch in here.

    Because I eat leaves, right? That what caterpillars eat. Oh, hell I’m screwed.

    Also my instincts are screaming that I’m exposed and vulnerable. That must mean that, as scary as I am, there are things out here that rank way higher in the food chain. So… I probably shouldn’t stand here and wait for a masked sparrow or something to swoop in and munch my juicy brown rear.

    Why am I brown anyway? Shouldn’t I be white? To at least hide better against the sand? Why did nobody explain my body how evolution works?




    Choose your actions:

    Cover. The neverending dunes aren’t so neverending, now that you pay more attention. There’s a lot of trees behind you, not that far away. It shouldn’t be too hard to get there, and seems like a safe bet, food-wise. I mean, that’s a real forest, with green leaves and everything!

    Civilization. There’s a building you can make out far in the distance, is that or the weirdest rock formation you’ve ever seen. Hard to say, since it’s the same white colour as the sand, and kinda far away. You can’t remember ever seeing a rock formation before anyway.

    To the End of the World! The opposite direction from the rock formation there’s a wall of black clouds apparently surging from the ground itself. It’s even further away than anything else you can see, and you have no idea what you might find there. I mean, dark clouds sound ominous as heck, but it’s your life, and you’re a rebel.

    Ambush. Yeah, everything looks a bit too far away, and you really should save energy. Better to burrow yourself and wait for something to happen. Like a caravan to ambush, or some game to hunt …where did that last idea come from?

    Defiance. Actually… why hide at all? You can just climb the nearest dune and dare the world to do their worst! That’s just looking for trouble, but it’s still technically an option.

    Screw this. You don’t like this place, you don’t want to be here. And, now that you think about it, you’ve gotten away with a lot lately, simply focusing enough on it. So maybe you can just wish to be somewhere else very hard?




    [X][Destination] Cover.
    [X][Destination] Civilization.
    [X][Destination] The End of the World.
    [X][Destination] Ambush.
    [X][Destination] Defiance.
    [X][Destination] Screw this.


    [X][Write-in] As before, feel free to suggest alternatives.




    PS: If you ever wish to change your vote, simply edit your post, don’t add a new one.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2019
  3. Threadmarks: Larva 1.02 - Towards the Eldritch Horizon! But safely.
    Planeshunter

    Planeshunter [Verified Slimegirl Whisperer]

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2019
    Messages:
    161
    Likes Received:
    1,710
    Tie! Compatible options will now be merged!
    [X][Destination] Cover.
    [X][Destination] The End of the World.




    Right. I’m way too exposed here. Not only my stupid juicy body doesn’t mimetice at all with this weird-ass white sand, but the passionately red tips of my gorgeous hair stand out like a kick in the shin. So yeah, the forest it is. More or less enclosed space, tridimensional terrain and last but not least, an all-you-can-munch leaf buffet. It’s a caterpillar paradise!

    Buuuut… I really want to check out those black clouds in the distance. I mean, it could be anything from a necromantic barrier of impending doom to the eldritch emanations from some lovecraftian fracture in reality. Or maybe just volcanic activity. The only thing I can discard out of hand are ponies, since there isn’t a single rainbow in sight. Which is good, because fuck ponies.

    So the plan is to get into the forest ASAP, and then safely make my way towards there. I mean, whatever it is, it covers half the horizon. I can totally get there through the forest. What’s the worst thing that could happen? That I get lost? Psah!

    Now with a solid plan, I start walking towards the trees.

    … Actually, can you call it a walk, when you’re a semi-upright caterpillar using four stubby legs for movement? Hell if I know.

    The first thing I notice is how inconvenient said stubby legs are for sand walking. Everytime I walk up a dune I need to dig deep on every step just to avoid slipping back down. And that’s with four of the things. I shudder to think how this would work walking on two legs.

    The second thing I notice is how convenient my smooth and streamlined body is for sand slipping. Once I crest a dune, I can just belly-flop and fall all the way down without any effort. Weee!

    Dune up, dune down. Weeee!

    Still, this is quite the workout. The forest is close-ish, but only compared to other landmarks. And I’m working even more of an appetite. I can’t wait to reach those tasty, freshy, yummy leaves and munch my hunger away.

    Hell, that doesn’t sound appetizing even in my own mind. I hope I grow accustomed to it, or being a weird-ass angry caterpillar is going to suck. Maybe that’s why I look so angry? Cuz eating leaves suck?

    Dune up, dune down. Weeee!

    It can’t be so bad, can it? I mean, millions of other caterpillars have done it before, and most of them survived just fine. Actually, most of them died horribly to feed predators, or starved because they ran out of leaves, or got poisoned trying to munch something covered in insecticide… And now I’m depressed.

    Anyway, mind on the game. Dune up, dune do… Oh shiny!

    There’s a… well, it’s hard to describe what I’ve just found. Looks like the bastard child of a christmas tree and a street lamp. If such christmas tree was one of the pathetic withered things growing around here. And the street lamp had a cold, because the lights are dripping something. Still looks pretty, and smells really good.

    I reach the… plant? What’s something like this even doing here? Why nothing has eaten this pretty attention-grabbing fella? I mean, I get this place looks empty and all, but there’s a reason why I’m looking for cover. There’s even a circle of stones around it. It’s almost like this tree is here explicitly to... attract… you.

    … This is a trap, isn’t it?

    Big shiny thing to attract unsuspecting innocent caterpillars with more curiosity than sense? Check.

    Location in a valley of dunes where all my attempts to get away will be hindered by pesky physics? Check.

    Conveniently placed circle of stones that are kinda sharp-looking now that I pay attention and are totally teeth? Check.

    Is this going to suck? Oh, you can bet my juicy brown ass.

    Uh… better jump away from the circle, then.

    As if to make me right, the sand explodes in front of me right as I clear the area, missing the tip of my gorgeous mane by a matter of millimeters. Then I don’t see anything else because I find myself in the middle of a dust cloud. But I keep recoiling. Because duh. I’m not standing there to see what happens.

    When the clouds finally settle, I find myself in front of a huge ass… Uh… Masked… Monkfish… Mutant… thingie. With a christmas tree for tongue. Because that’s now a thing, apparently.

    “Yup, a trap.” I can’t help but snark in dismay. “Totally called it.”

    And then it swells like a balloon and roars in my face. Dude, rude...



    Encountering a desert blowmonkfish has blown your mind (pun intended)! You’re now more open to the weird shit that comes down in this crazy place. On the other hand, you’re starting to wonder what that sanity thing is about, you’d really love to meet it at some point.





    Choose your reaction:

    Flight.
    The better part of valor. You might be on a strategically poor position, but you can still beat it. Actually, being on a strategically poor position is all the more reason to beat it. That thing is five times your size!
    Fight. Yeah, if that thing has to hide and ambush it can’t be all that strong. It’s probably all bluster. And even if it isn’t, it’s not like you’ll just turn tail and run like a… something that turns tail and runs.
    Banter. You can try and… talk it over? You don’t even know if that thing can talk. You, in fact, have reasons to suspect it only has the intellect of a particularly smart toad. And that’s a generous estimate. But you still can try. You could taunt it, or insult its face until it breaks down crying, or go all diplomatic and try to avoid a fight at all.

    [X][React] Flight.
    [X][React] Fight.
    [X][React] Banter.
    -[X][Banter] Trash-talk.
    --[X][Trash-talk] How? Write-in (short write-ins, no longer than a single sentence).
    -[X][Banter] Negotiate.
    --[X][Negotiate] How? Write-in (short write-ins, no longer than a single sentence).

    -[X][Banter] Roll over and beg for mercy Yeah, no. (Vote negated by Trait - Rise to the Challenge.)

    [X][Write-in]




    In case you fight, choose your weapons (This vote will pop up the first time you fight no matter what, you’re not missing anything by avoiding a fight here) Pick two.

    Disparo Demora (String Shot).
    You’re a caterpillar, right? Caterpillars produce silk! Granted, they normally only use it for custom-made sleeping bags, but normality jumped ship two posts ago. And look at all the cool shit spiderman can do with silk strings!!
    Punto Veneno (Toxic Point). If there’s one thing children learn about caterpillars, that’s not to touch the hairy ones. Because they’re poisonous. And you have killer hair. Maybe literally? The only problem is getting close enough to try, and how much it’ll suck if it doesn’t work.
    Placaje (Tackle). Keep it simple. Bodily hitting the problem until it goes away is a time-honored tradition of the animal realm. You might be 90% tender squishiness, but you forehead is a solid bone plate. You can make it work. Probably. Maybe.
    Malicioso (Leer). You look pretty badass, don’t you? That with the shining red eyes and the perpetually angry facial expression. You can totally weaponize that and intimidate your enemy into submission.
    Zumbido (Bug Buzz). You’re pretty sure you can somehow vibrate your body to produce a disorienting buzzing sound that would… do something? Okay, you have no idea where this idea came from. But crickets make it work, don’t they?
    Chupavidas (Leech Life). Man turns out walking dunes up and down while starving doesn’t make hunger go away. In fact it makes it worse. Why, you feel so empty you feel like you can project your very hunger outwards, and slowly consume the fucker from a distance. I… I mean… Ugh, hunger is obviously making you delirious.
    Ataque Arena (Sand Attack). Use the environment against your enemies. That’s Sun Tzu level tactics, no way it can go wrong! Even if you only have sand at hand, and your enemy lives in the sand. Maybe you can nail him in the eye or something?

    [X][Weapon] Disparo Demora
    [X][Weapon] Punto Veneno
    [X][Weapon] Placaje
    [X][Weapon] Malicioso
    [X][Weapon] Zumbido
    [X][Weapon] Chupavidas
    [X][Weapon] Ataque Arena





    PS: I think a stats sheet is becoming more and more relevant, will try to wip up something soon.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2019
  4. Threadmarks: Larva 1.03 - How I hogtied a christmas tree and sucked his balls dry.
    Planeshunter

    Planeshunter [Verified Slimegirl Whisperer]

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2019
    Messages:
    161
    Likes Received:
    1,710
    Yeah, I’ve apparently screwed up somewhere because the Tally counted every different combination of [Weapon] as a different vote. Still a lot of help, but it wasn’t the immediate answer I was hoping for. Anyone know how to manage that or whether it’s possible at all? Counting the votes for each [Weapon] instead of the votes for each combination of them, I mean.
    On another note, I saw the way the wind was blowing and it's been a quiet day at work, so have the chapter now.

    [X][React] Fight.
    -[X][Weapon] Disparo Demora
    -[X][Weapon] Chupavidas




    Well, here we are.

    In front of a disgusting scaleless land-capable fish monster mutant thing wearing the sort of mask one only buys in a town festival while very drunk and then buries in the back of a wardrobe because it costed way too much to just throw away but you refuse to acknowledge it exists. And would probably give you nightmares if you hanged it on a wall anyway.

    And to top it off, it has a christmas tree for a tongue. That even now still smells stupidly tasty. My stomach grumbles and I can’t believe I’m going to slug it out with a guy five times my size and probably twenty times my weight.

    But he just tried to eat me. And then he roared in my friggin’ face! I can’t let that stand. And running away isn’t strategically sound when it involves stubby legs climbing walls of sand. But specially the roaring in the face thing.

    Just a problem. How am I supposed to hurt him? I’m just a squishy caterpillar!

    Before I can form anything resembling a battle plan, the Monster Fish Oaf (Mofo for short, from now on) rushes at me, which let me tell you, it’s all sorts of scary.

    For a moment, I just stand there frozen. I mean, shit, the Mofo is fast! And heavy enough for the ground to tremble with each step. Then he opens his mouth wide and I finally recover enough wits to jump back again. Only I was too startled to keep track of what I had behind and land awkwardly on a slope.

    Keep in mind your surroundings!

    I slide down straight into his mouth, and barely manage to dodge by jumping again, right this time to avoid another awkward landing. This isn’t working, the Mofo is gaining on me and I’m not really any danger to him just dodging. I need to be more aggressive. But how?

    Pressure your enemy, don’t let him set the pace!

    As the Mofo moves to face me again. My eyes focus on his left fore limb. He’s loading his whole weight on it to complete the turn as quickly as possible. And that’s an opening right there.

    Capitalize on every weakness!

    Instincts take over. Before I know what I’m doing I’ve raised my juicy butt over my head and shot something white and sticky that quickly hardens upon hitting his leg. Holy shit I have spinnerets? I have spinnerets! And I can shoot webs like… someone who can shoot webs! I’m a spider-bug!!

    … Shut up.

    My excitement dies a swift death when the Mofo completely ignores my attack and pounces on me again, this time connecting with a solid tackle that sends me flying. Crapcrapcrap! I was so busy celebrating I didn’t even notice there’s only sand on the ground. I have nothing to stick him to. Stupid stupid stupid!!

    Never lose sight of the enemy!

    I’m… I’m fine. My side hurts like a bitch, but I can still move. Shit, that could’ve killed me. No, nevermind that now. I can berate myself later, when there’s no Mofo trying to have caterpillar carpaccio for dinner. As he charges again. I shoot my strings at his eyes while jumping away. Hmm… my butt has a lot more mobility and strength than expected. I think I can use it to jump even higher.

    Okay, now’s my chance! He’s blind and his fin-legs aren’t long enough to reach his eyes!

    I just need to be careful not to get hit by random trashing and… My stomach grumbles again, and for a moment my hunger becomes so intense I can feel it like a solid, physical thing inside of me. It’s not a pretty thing, and it’s getting stronger, but I can still shrug it off.

    Unfortunately, my momentary faint spell means I wasn’t harassing the Mofo, and he’s decided to be a cheating cheater who cheats by removing my webs from his eyes with his friggin’ tongue. How’s that fair?

    Give it everything you have. Lie, deceive, cheat. If you’re fighting fair you’re already losing.

    Whatever, I have a working tactic now. I just need to play keep-away while stringing at him like a bunch of kids with wet rolls of toilet paper and a grudge. That and keep my hunger in check before it distracts me again. And try not to flinch when I have to put my weight in my bruised flank. Easy.





    ...Actually, it is easy. As I finally notice something. The Mofo is… dumb. Sure, it has his moments, like that dick move with the tongue to un-blind himself. But overall he can only try the same moves over and over again, hoping I mess up because he can’t mix in some feints for his life’s worth.

    And sure, I’m getting more tired and hungry by the second, but he’s looking less and less like a Mofo and more like a ball of yarn. His mistake was to just break the threads that restrict his joints and ignore the rest. Just because they harden out of my body doesn’t mean they stop being sticky, and they do stack up.

    He can break a thread just fine, but two? Seven? Seventy-two? You fucked up, Mofo, should’ve kept eating them instead.

    Finish him. A fight isn’t over until it’s over.

    I lurch over in pain, and everything goes red.

    So. Fucking. Hungry!



    Choose your action.

    [X][Action]FEED
    [X][Action]FEED
    [X][Action]FEED
    [X][Action]FEED




    So! You’ve lost control and devoured the enemy to sate your own appetites! How do you feel about it?

    Horror.
    Oh, shit! You’re a monster! A hungry monster that will devour babies and old ladies if you’re ever released upon the human world! You must hold back the beast to the best of your abilities, you must be kept away from society in case you ever lose control again!!
    Determination. What just happened cannot happen again. Period. It’s your mind, it’s your body and you can be fucking sure it’s your instics. And they’ll do what you tell them to do. You just need to reinforce your willpower.
    Ambivalent … Meh. Shit happens, you know? You’re alive and he’s dead. Could be better, could be worse. You’ll deal.
    Grit. You… did what you had to do. You’re not happy that the choice to kill was taken away from you like that, but you were starving and your instincts were just trying to keep you alive. You’re not going to apologize for surviving.

    [X][Cope] Horror.
    [X][Cope] Determination.
    [X][Cope] Ambivalent.
    [X][Cope] Grit.



    You have unlocked a new Power! Disparo Demora Lv. 1/10
    You have unlocked a new Power! Chupavidas Lv. 1/10
    Congratulations! You’ve defeated the Mofo and consumed his Essence (pun very much intended).
    You have gained 56600 Existence Essence!
    Power Level Up! You’re now level 8!
    Oblivion Compensation! You’ve lost 1355 Existence Essence!
    You have become aware of a Weakness: Oblivion Compensation!

    Granted by Species - Hollow: You gradually lose Existence Essence simply by staying alive. If your Existence Essence becomes zero and Oblivion Compensation triggers again, your Power Level will decrease by 1. This can undo Hollow evolutionary stages, but a baseline Hollow cannot go below 5 while in Hueco Mundo, and will quickly recover up to that point upon returning from outside. ????? or ????? will nullify this Weakness.

    Character Sheet now available in Extras!
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2019
  5. Threadmarks: Larva 1.04 - The cycle of life, cheating forests and other disappointments
    Planeshunter

    Planeshunter [Verified Slimegirl Whisperer]

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2019
    Messages:
    161
    Likes Received:
    1,710
    And once again, I have the chapter ready ahead of schedule. One of this days, the votes will do an U-turn at the last second and it'll bite me in the ass...



    [X][Action] FEED
    [X][Cope] Grit



    Dune up, Dune down. Weeee…

    So, that happened.

    Dune up, Dune down. Weeee…

    I just killed and ate something that might belong to my same species. I mean, sure, it wasn’t a caterpillar like me, but the whole ‘bone face mask’ thing kind of was a dead giveaway. And I just killed it and ate it.

    Dune up, Dune down. Weeee…

    Granted, it tried to kill and eat me first, but that sounds like a flimsy excuse even in my own head. And I couldn’t even make the choice myself. Instinct just… took over. Honestly I don’t know how to feel about it.

    Dune up, Dune down. Weeee…

    I might be in shock.

    Dune up, Dune down. Weeee…

    I guess… it’s the cycle of life? Kill or be killed? I mean, for what I have seen of this place everything is very survival oriented, and I can either be the predator… or become the prey.





    Somehow that really pisses me off.

    Not enough to roll over and die though. So I’ll play along for now. You win this time, Nature. On the bright side, I’m not cripplingly hungry anymore. Even if I can feel my new reserves slowly emptying again even now.

    Dune up, Dune down. Weeee…

    You know what? I’m not in the mood for sand slipping anymore. At least the forest is right there. And it’s way more interesting than anticipated. I mean, when I saw this from afar, I kind of assumed the desert ended on the treeline, and it would be more or less fertile land from there on.

    I guess it’s… kind of true? The desert certainly ends. Very abruptly at that. The kind of abruptly that means, there’s no ground anymore. Just tree trunks sprouting from so far down I can’t see the end. It also makes my head hurt. Because it seems like the forest extends all the way under the desert, and I’m pretty sure physics don’t work like that.

    Oh well, who cares? I’m a hangry caterpillar who can feed by projecting hunger outwards and produces more than twice her own weight’s worth in silk. Apparently biology and physics are somewhat optional here.

    On the bright side, forest! That means the safety of cover and the delicious promise of munchable leaves! And three-dimensional (or maybe tree-dimensional, heh.) landscape means I can finally try to sling around like a spider-bug!!

    … I told you to shut up.

    Anyway, I can’t wait to be there. Dune down, weeee!!!!


    It’s a liiiiiiiiiieee!!!

    Why? Oh god whyyyyyyy?!?!?

    Stupid forests, not working as advertised!

    My dreams are duuuust!!!

    Leaves aren’t juicy, munchable treats of caterpillar delish!!

    They taste like defeat and irony! The bad sort irony that has you as the punchline! And sand, not that I know how sand tastes like... What? Do you think I tried to munch the desert? What sort of desperately hungering idiot did you take me for? Honestly, have some faith.

    Anyway, I can’t live off this crap. Which means biology has failed me again. And that I’ll eventually need to hunt... again. Or trigger someone else’s traps... again. Or… maybe lay some traps of my own, I guess.

    A worry for later, now I wanna check out how deep the rabbit hole goes. And maybe forget the traitorous leaves with a stunt or two as the Amazing Spider-bug!!

    … I told you to shut up, damnit!

    Whatever, here we go! Disparo Demora!!

    *Crash*

    Ouch!

    Disparo Demora
    !!

    *Crack*

    Aw!

    *Crash*

    Ouch!

    Disparo Demora
    !!

    *Crash*

    Yeouch!

    You know what? I don’t really feel like swinging around anymore. It’s not all that it's cracked up to be anyway. On a completely unrelated note, my everything hurts. And this cheating forest needs some new branches. Because reasons.

    … Did you know my mask is hard enough to leave imprints in tree trunks? That’s pretty rad!


    You’ve got some practice with Chupavidas, you discovered inanimate objects in Hueco Mundo cannot be drained of Reiryoku, at least this way.
    You’ve got some practice with Disparo Demora, but didn’t quite get the hang of swinging around just yet.
    Oblivion Compensation! You’ve lost 1355 Existence Essence!



    Choose your next steps. The votes are mostly compatible, but the less time-consuming goals you set, the more you’ll progress.

    Hunt.
    Yeah, it’s pretty much a given you’ll need to keep yourself well fed, but that doesn’t mean you have to trip over yourself to do it. You’re not feeling particularly hungry at the moment anyway.
    -Actively. You can actively hunt, tracking down prey and doing your best to pounce from the dark upon your unsuspecting victims.
    -Passively. You don’t bother tracking prey, but won’t try to hide either, provoking others into attacking you. You’ll probably start any fight at a disadvantage, but it’s less time-consuming.
    -Trap. You can try and lay a trap with Disparo Demora. Results may vary. This option automatically sets the Travel option as ‘Take a break’.
    -Hide. You’re not hungry just yet, so you can afford to avoid fights and progress further in other fields.

    Travel.
    There’s an End of the World out there, waiting for you to discover whatever secrets it holds. But you can totally change your mind and go somewhere else. Or take a break for a while.
    -End of the World. Keep the current goal, not much more to say here.
    -Explore the Forest. The forest is a bit more than you expected it to be. Maybe it’ll be worth it to familiarize with the terrain?
    -Take a Break. Yeah, no more traveling for now, let’s focus on something else. You’ll try and use Disparo Demora to build a Home. Results may vary.
    -Other. Imagination is the limit! Write-in.

    Train.
    Master yourself, master the enemy. That is Sun Tzu level tactics. You can’t do much for the enemy, Mother Nature is scary like that. But you can master yourself.
    -Disparo Demora. You’ll learn to swing around even if it kills you. Making a better Home would be cool too.
    -Chupavidas. Yeah, a bit more control on ‘how’ and ‘when’ and ‘towards what’ wouldn’t be amiss.
    -Take a Break. Focus on something else.
    -Develop new Power. Explore new options, it’s not like you didn’t pull the ones you have out of your ass anyway. (Warning: There’s a hard limit on Powers you can develop from zero. As of now, this option will disappear after developing another two.)


    [x][Hunt] Actively.
    [x][Hunt] Passively.
    [x][Hunt] Trap.
    [x][Hunt] Hide.



    [x][Travel] End of the World.
    [x][Travel] Explore the Forest.
    [x][Travel] Take a break.
    [x][Travel] Other.



    [x][Train] Disparo Demora
    [x][Train] Chupavidas
    [x][Train] Take a break
    [x][Train] Develop
    -[x][Develop] Placaje
    -[x][Develop] Punto Veneno
    -[x][Develop] Malicioso
    -[x][Develop] Zumbido
    -[x][Develop] Write-in
    (Short description of what our brave caterpillar will aim for.)


     
  6. Threadmarks: Larva 1.05 - It's way too soon to become a pupa!!
    Planeshunter

    Planeshunter [Verified Slimegirl Whisperer]

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2019
    Messages:
    161
    Likes Received:
    1,710

    [x][Hunt] Passively.
    [x][Travel] Explore the Forest.
    [x][Train] Disparo Demora



    Finally, success!! They laughed at me! They called me crazy! I’ll show them crazy!!! Muahahahahahaha!!!

    Erm… I mean…

    It was a mistake to try swinging around from the start. I mean, it takes a lot of aim and quick thinking to do that effectively. That and a good brain for math. It doesn’t help I only have one spinneret, so I kinda need to do a front-flip kinda stunt every time I need a new line. At this point I’m closer to a Tarzan with on-demand liana than my dear goal of becoming Spider-bug.

    … Shut up.

    What’s the solution then? Why, baby steps, of course! I can’t just go from sand-bound caterpillar to tree-dimensional badass fueled by just dreams and hopes! The world doesn’t work like that. For now, I’ve figured out I can sorta rappel down. It’s kinda slow, but it’s safe.

    … Yeah, safety first and all that. Any moment now, I’ll finally touch ground. Then I can start exploring in force. And forget about broken branches and tree-trunks with funnily shaped indentations.

    … Did you know my stubby legs that were useless in the desert can stick to rugged surfaces and let me tree-walk like a ninja? How cool is that?

    Anyway, going down. Any moment now…

    Any moment now…

    Oh, screw safety, I’m sure nothing too bad will happen if I cut the thread here. I learnt my lesson before, don’t try anything fancy and just catch yourself in some branch along the way to bleed off momentum. I can totally do that.

    *Yoink*

    Alright, keep calm and aim for a conveniently placed branch… There!

    Disparo Demora!!

    Okay, I didn’t hit the target this time. Big deal. Let’s try again.

    Disparo Demora!!

    Alight… Maybe the next one?

    Disparo Demora!!

    Pfff… there’s no hurry, it’s not like the ground is in sight or anything…

    Disparo Demora!!

    Oh, shit, is that the ground?

    Disparo Demora!!
    Disparo Demora!!
    Disparo Demora!!
    Disparo Demora!!
    Disparo Demora!!

    Yeah! Success! I totally wasn’t worried about that! Now to bleed off a bit of… wait, too much momentum, curse you physics! And what’s that tree doing there? Get out of the way, you stupid tree, I have priority!

    *Crash*

    Ouch!

    As I contemplate on how much I hate my life sometimes. All the strands I panickedly shot everywhere fall all around me. At least the floor is right there. I guess I’ll just rappel down the rest of the distance and…

    And, of course, it’s the right moment to discover I’m not silk proof and all those strands falling everywhere stick to me as easily as to everything else. I also remember that struggling blindly when trapped in a spiderweb is a terrible idea… The fact I’m swiftly becoming a cocoon might’ve jogged my memory on that tidbit of trivia.

    Too emotionally drained to fight… Everything is going dark… Wake me up when I become a butterfly…

    No, wait! It’s way too soon to become a pupa!!

    Screw this! Screw this rebel silk that refuses to acknowledge its rightful master! Screw this cheating forest with unmunchable leaves! Screw this nonsensical world that screws physics and biology! Screw Mother Nature and her Survival of the Fittest bullshit! I’ll munch you all to death!!!

    Chupavidas!!

    Huh. As the cocoon keeping me prisoner slowly turns into dust my only thought is: I can’t believe that worked.

    It might or might not have taken me far too long to realize I’m just standing there looking dumb, but a quick look around once I come back to my senses shows no one pointing at me and laughing, and that means there was no witnesses. You’ll never prove anything!



    On other news, this forest is stupid big. Sure, trees are tall enough to show the middle finger to the square-cube law (cuz this place breaks physics for breakfast, so why the heck no) but it also extends to everywhere and beyond. Completely mapping it might be a pipe dream.

    Not sure I want to, anyways. It was fun to look around at the start, when everything looked new and shiny and interesting. But you can only find interesting so many near-identical trees without any decent landmark to spice things up. Why, someone who didn’t plan ahead might have no idea which way anything is after wandering for a couple of hours.

    … I... might slightly have no idea which way the End of the World is anymore. Don’t look at me like that! You try and keep your sense of direction after becoming a caterpillar yo-yo and having to escape a cocoon of your own silk! You think you could’ve done better? Huh? No, I thought not.

    B-but, hey! I saw trails on the ground and broken branches I definitely didn’t break myself, which means there’s life here. Which means… someone might’ve seen my slightly less than stellar performance getting to the ground. Whatever, they’re obviously too in awe of my gorgeous hair to come out and laugh at my face.

    Which is smart of them, that way they won’t become munch fodder.


    -Hunting Passively hasn’t lured prey just yet, but you made a good racket. Encounter progress 60%

    -Exploring the forest you’ve got a basic understanding of the layout, but got hopelessly lost in the process. You’ll need to climb back up to reorient yourself before aiming for the End of the World (or anywhere else, really) again. Encounter progress: 40%

    -You’ve discovered Chupavidas works in your own silk, making it lose consistency and disintegrate into dust. Chupavidas level UP! (2/10)
    -You’ve discovered Disparo Demora sticks to you like to everything else, you’ll have to learn to work around that, or develop the power further. Disparo Demora Level UP! (2/10)

    -Training tirelessly on the usage of Disparo Demora has yielded results. Disparo Demora Level UP! (3/10) … You still cannot swing around, tho.

    -Oblivion Compensation! You lose 1355 Existence Essence.



    Votes remains the same from last time, except you’ll have to waste time reorienting yourself if you want to travel somewhere specific since, you know, you’re kinda lost.

    Encounter progress will
    reset if you abandon the area.


    [x][Hunt] Actively.
    [x][Hunt] Passively.
    [x][Hunt] Trap.
    [x][Hunt] Hide.



    [x][Travel] End of the World.
    [x][Travel] Explore the Forest.
    [x][Travel] Take a break.
    [x][Travel] Other.



    [x][Train] Disparo Demora
    [x][Train] Chupavidas
    [x][Train] Take a break
    [x][Train] Develop
    -[x][Develop] Placaje
    -[x][Develop] Punto Veneno
    -[x][Develop] Malicioso
    -[x][Develop] Zumbido
    -[x][Develop] Write-in (Short description of what our brave caterpillar will aim for.)
     
  7. Threadmarks: Larva 1.06 - Doesn't taste like chicken
    Planeshunter

    Planeshunter [Verified Slimegirl Whisperer]

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2019
    Messages:
    161
    Likes Received:
    1,710
    Well, dice decided to be boring today… Guess it can’t all be rollercoasters and natural 100s.


    [x][Hunt] Actively
    [x][Travel] Explore the Forest
    [x][Train] Disparo Demora



    Hey, it's a stupid-ass cheating tree!

    And this... Is a stupid-ass cheating tree.

    Is it really a stupid-ass cheating tree? Yes, it is.

    This, however, is a stupid-ass cheating tree.

    Stupid-ass cheating tree...

    Surprisingly, it's a stupid-ass cheating tree.

    Behold! A stupid-ass cheating tree.

    It’s been… quite a while. Hard to tell the time with only stupid-ass cheating trees around. Not that a huge white desert where there’s permanently night and the moon doesn’t move in the sky is any better. Case is, I got a good feeling for the place, enough to try and stalk some of the other things I’ve seen tracks of around.

    I’m starting to feel the hunger around, it would probably be a good idea to catch a munch before it makes me lose it again. It definitely has nothing to do with the monotony of the forest threatening to kill my sanity, of course. It’s just common sense to keep the stomach happy and full. Really, it’s just that.

    … Fine, be that way.

    Anyway, back to hunting. Tracking from the ground is no good when you’re a caterpillar. For one, you can’t move all that fast on stubby legs. For others, you’re not designed to look upwards, and in this forest 99% of the battlefield is actually above the field. So you take to the branches. Some of the footprints are huge and deep, so there’s no way the stupid-ass cheating trees can hold their weight.

    Sure, there can always be things lurking even higher, but that’s negative thinking. I can do crap-shit about it beyond keeping an ear out for it, so it’s better not to dwell on it. And maybe I’m still slow in my stubby caterpillar legs, but I’m out of the way. And someday I’ll finally get down the silk swinging and everyone who laughed at my dreams will only be able to stare in awe and despair, wishing they could be even a fraction as cool as Spider-bug!!

    … Shut up already.

    Oh? What’s that? Is that voices I hear? Angry voices at that. Rather, an angry voice, and a lot of sniveling ones. Let’s take a peek…

    Sneaky, sneaky… There we go, It’s a… Stag-thing, a stag-thing with a whack stick, gesticulating and making angry noises at bunch of little rat things that are cowering in front of him. There are no actual words, though, just deep noises that vaguely convey a feeling of anger and frustration.

    [​IMG]

    The rat-things are clearly cowed, huddled together and chittering terrifiedly. Then the Stag-thing shuts up and, without warning, brains one of them with his whack stick. Surprisingly for no one, that instantly kills the way smaller creature, making it dissolve into dust and leave a shiny brown orb behind that the Stag-thing cups in one hand and… drinks?

    Yeah, it sure seems like he’s drinking the shiny orb. Huh, so that’s how these things feed. Not as effective as my Chupavidas but they can’t all be winners, I guess.

    The rest small ones scamper away at a waving gesture of the stag-thing, who just sits against a tree, emitting a low grumbling sound and drawing circles on the ground with his whack stick. Wow, he’s in a roll… and distracted. And very very alone. By his own making. Easy prey.

    After making sure the branch I’m standing on won’t break easily (we really don’t need a repeat of swinging attempt #47, thank you.), I very carefully rappel down to him. My aim is still hit and miss, and I really don’t need to give the stag-thing a chance to fight back if I can help it.

    So I stealthily close the distance, ready to… heh, get the drop on him. Even if he notices, I can just yoink the silk and fall on him with all the weight of my juicy caterpillar body. Ten feet… seven feet… three feet… Wow, he’s really distracted,. Okay, this is close enough.

    Getting a hold of the thread to free my spinneret is a bit more complicated than anticipated, and I definitely should’ve practiced this beforehand. Man wouldn’t it be pathetic if he caught on while I was struggling? Or even worse, imagine I mess up and fall! That would be… Gack!!

    … I’m… I’m fine. I didn’t fall. Even if I’m hanging by one of my stubby legs and suddenly the horns of the Stag-thing are inches away from my face. It doesn’t really count as a mess up if there are no consequences. Just… give me a second to have my heart attack in peace.

    Deep breaths, deep breaths… Inhale, keep it in, exhale. Inhale, keep it in, exhale… okay, I got this. Everything under control. Aim my awesome butt at the enemy and get ready to feel awfully inadequate before my Spider-bug amazingness!!

    … Shut up. Disparo Demora!!

    What comes out is more a buckshot than a thread, sticking to the thing’s mask and horns, splattering all the way to the ground and, most importantly, to the bark of the tree. Obviously more startled than actually worried, the thing wastes precious time trying to stand up, which leaves him in a very awkward position when its head, stuck to the tree, refuses to raise.

    This, in time, makes him release his whack-staff. Dumb move there, Stag-thing, dumb move.
    Cutting the thin thread still connected to me, I quickly shoot a second Disparo Demora, nailing the whacksting right in the middle… after drawing a kinda “8” shape around it. If someone asks, totally on purpose. To… have more adhered surface. Nobody will be lifting that from the ground anytime soon.

    The now disarmed stag-thing treacherously uses my momentarily distraction to swipe at me with surprisingly sharp claws, and it manages to clip my side. Crap that hurts! This thing has longer reach than expected. Do those arms of his stretch or something?

    Whatever Disparo Demora!!

    My third shot gets his face, eyes and mouth included. Haha!! You cannot eat my threads like the Mofo did if I trap your mouth too! Hey! What are you doing with your hands? What do you mean humanoid forms can reach their own face? You’ll ruin everything!!!

    Just kidding Disparo Demora!!

    Ha! Now you have your hands stuck to your face! What’re you going to do? Kick me to death?… That wasn’t a suggestion. Now be a good prey and become a ball of yarn.

    Disparo Demora!!
    Disparo Demora!!
    Disparo Demora!!
    Disparo Demora!!
    Disparo Demora!!
    Disparo Demora!!
    Chupavidas!!

    Wew, that was tasty… I wonder if that was stag-flavored? I have no idea how stag tastes, so maybe? It definitely didn’t taste like chicken. On another news, turns out Stag-thing wasn’t stretching its arms after all, it just has a couple of extra friggin joints, that were hidden along the shoulder and upper back. Scary. You can’t even trust humanoid forms to be… well, humanoid. What’ll be next? Spider-bugs?

    … Shut up.

    Alright, hunger forestalled for another day! But I’m feeling a bit heavy, guess I’ll get back up the canopy and catch a wink somewhere out of the way. Then I’ll practice transitioning from rappel to shoot-ready stance. So I don’t have anymore heart attacks. Because heart attacks suck. And tripping over my own legs like that was just pathetic.


    Hunting Actively yielded results! You’ve defeated an enemy through the use of dirty tricks and unfair advantages! If this was an RPG you would’ve probably lost XP for that, but this is real life, and what matters is that you munched him!
    Congratulations! You’ve defeated the Stag-thing and consumed his Essence.
    You have gained 26500 Existence Essence!
    Power Level Up! You’re now Level 9!

    You’re not yet proficient enough for combat experience to increase your skills faster than peaceful training and experimenting, but you’ve done both! Disparo Demora level UP! 4/10
    Routine usage of Chupavidas has granted a marginal increase in proficiency. Chupavidas 15% towards level UP

    The forest is too big for you to delude yourself into thinking you know all it’s secrets, but you’re now comfortable moving around. Encounter Progress 90%

    Oblivion compensation! You’ve lost 1695 Existence Essence!!



    Through your encounters, a new option has been unlocked.

    The mysterious Skull-things.
    In a place where everything seems to wear a bone mask, you’ve encountered a group going a step further and wearing actual skulls. They’re apparently organized, and are the only living thing you’ve encountered in the forest so far. Tracking them down instead of exploring randomly is now an option. You can also avoid them on purpose, and increase the odds of finding something else.

    Encounter progress will reset if you abandon the area.


    Due to a recent Power Level Up, you’ll take a break for hunting.
    [x][Hunt] Hide.



    [x][Travel] End of the World.
    [x][Travel] Explore the Forest.
    -[x][Forest] Investigate Skull-Things
    -[x][Forest] Purposefully avoid Skull-Things
    [x][Travel] Take a break.
    [x][Travel] Other.



    [x][Train] Disparo Demora
    [x][Train] Chupavidas
    [x][Train] Take a break
    [x][Train] Develop
    -[x][Develop] Placaje
    -[x][Develop] Punto Veneno
    -[x][Develop] Malicioso
    -[x][Develop] Zumbido
    -[x][Develop] Write-in
    (Short description of what our brave caterpillar will aim for.)
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2019
  8. Threadmarks: Larva 1.07 - Unlimited Skull Works
    Planeshunter

    Planeshunter [Verified Slimegirl Whisperer]

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2019
    Messages:
    161
    Likes Received:
    1,710
    Hey there! My head's still killing me, but with the whole day to write I managed to somehow make it work. Enjoy!

    [x][Hunt] Hide.
    [x][Travel] Explore the Forest.
    -[x][Forest] Investigate Skull-Things
    [x][Train] Develop
    -[x][Develop] Punto Veneno



    Good night, cheating forest!

    And I say ‘good night’ because it’s always night here, apparently. I can’t see the moon from down here, but I’d bet it hasn’t moved an inch from where it was when I was still on the desert.

    Stretching my stubby legs, I worm my way (a caterpillar worming her way, heh) out of my improvised Home. Honestly, it won’t win any design price anytime soon, but the interior is cozy and doesn’t stick to me, so it beats sleeping in the open. it’s also mine and thus I’ll munch on anyone laughing at it, so there’s that.

    Chupavidas!

    As you can see, it’s also pretty handy to pick up afterwards. Well, let’s see if I can’t track down the Skull-things, shall we?


    On one hand… I haven’t found a hint of them in hours. Which let me tell you, is really frustrating.

    What do you mean I have no tracking skills? What skills would you need to stumble into something you know it’s there somewhere in this empty forest?

    … Yeah, yeah, I get it. Whatever. There are still footprints and broken branches on the ground level, so I’m still on the Skull-things territory. It’s just a matter of time.

    On the other hand… Even more stupid-ass cheating trees. Man, never thought a forest could be so boring.

    On the yet another hand… because I’m a caterpillar and have a whole six legs… I’ve been experimenting with my gorgeous mane. I’ve always known I had killer hair, but I’m trying to make that literal.

    I mean, I know I can munch others dry, unless they’re stupid-ass cheating trees. Or sand. Not that I know for a fact I can’t eat sand, I would need to actually try that to know for sure, and I didn’t, because that would’ve been dumb.

    A-as I was saying! I can Chupavidas the stuffing out of others, and I can tie them down with my Disparo Demora, so they don’t struggle. But I kinda stopped experimenting there. And now I’m bored, and not in the mood to try and become the next coming of Spider-bug.

    … Shut up.

    Case is, I've been experimenting with my hair. Because gorgeous or not, I’m a caterpillar, and everyone knows hairy caterpillars are poisonous. Doubly so when they’re brightly coloured. Like, you know, the bright-red tips of my hair.

    So far, I’ve managed to make my hair wiggle a bit. And I have no idea whether it’s poisonous or not because… well, lack of willing test subjects. Not that I would have much qualms about using unwilling test subjects, but the cowards refuse to be stumbled upon. So here I am, wiggling my hair while searching for Skull-things and finding a whole lot of nothing.

    That’s my life now. I swear, sometimes… Wait, what’s that there in the distance?


    Sneaky, sneaky…

    After getting closer, I can finally get a good look at it. It’s a Skull-thing… I hesitate to call it settlement. There’s certainly a multitude of Skull-things mulling around the area, and something that could pass for building and fortifications if one were to squint and tilt the head sideways… while drunk.

    It’s more like trash piled up in a convenient way, really.

    And there’s a lot of those cowardly Rat-things I first noticed, but there's also a good number of Stag-things bossing them around. Finally, hulking around the place and being given wide berth by the other Skull-things, there’s what I hereby name Boar-things. Huge, slow and dumb-looking… No, wait, they’re all dumb, let’s say dumber-looking. The still carry clubs the width of my body though, so no underestimating them. Those things look like a good ticket if I ever want to evolve into caterpillar-pancake.

    [​IMG]

    Intrigued by the newfound hub of Skull-thing-ness, I sneak closer. The first thing I notice is how the trees inside the circle of trash are actually just branchless stumps. Suspicious, I’ve seen nothing capable of cutting down trees here. Don’t forget the stupid-ass cheating trees are fightening foes capable of ignoring physics and immune to my attacks, even those Boar-things would need to be way stronger than they look to take down one, much less every single one.

    Next thing I notice is how they’re actually… organized. Individually, it’s hard to tell, because their organization sucks. They’re stupid and mess up often but, again, if you squint and tilt your head, you can tell the whole is actually moving with pourpose.

    The Boar-things mainly patrol around, though I’ve seen one leaving with a group of smaller Skull-things, so I guess they go out to do something from time to time. The Rat-things band together and, when they move about, their groups keep more or less consistent in spite of the terrain making them lose sight of each-other from long periods. And the Stag-things… well, they whack everyone else with their whack-sticks and somehow organization seems to be more organized around them.

    The whack sticks are actually part of them, by the way. When I munched that one last time it disappeared into dust too, in spite of not being physically on him at the time.

    Totally not bitter about that. I’m not a murder-hobo, killing things to steal their stuff, just a poor caterpillar trying to survive.

    … Honest, don’t look at me like that.

    Anyway, the really interesting ones aren’t the groups that leave, but the ones that return. They carry shiny spheres of energy, mostly brown-coloured like the one the late Stag-thing took from crushing a Rat-thing with its whack stick, but here and there you spy a dash of livelier tones. They arrive unimpeded, quickly making their way inwards.

    I can't get into the place proper, that with no branches for one to sneak around on, but sneaking all the way to the edge it should be possible to get a peek at the heart of the place. Yeah, it’s big, but not that big. So yeah, there I go, bravely sneaking from the safety of being hundreds of feet above any danger and...

    And, that’s when I see IT. Just standing there, in the center of it all, towering over everything but the tallest of the tree stumps, a figure of the deepest black, topped in a humongous deer skull. Just looking at it is enough to put my hairs on end and for a shiver to run up my spine. Whatever that thing I, it emits an almost physical pressure. Moving is hard, thinking is hard, simply looking away becomes harder than anything I've ever done before.

    Hell...

    Brimstone and bloody ashes.

    What the fuck is that Thing?

    [​IMG]

    How can the Skull-things just stand around it without being crushed?

    Should I take another peek? Merely thinking about it is enough to send another shiver down my spine, but yes, I should take another peek. Gathering my courage, I cover my eyes with my legs and then slowly move them away, just the bare minimum required to find out what’s going on.

    The Skull-things get suicidally close to that Thing and kneel, offering the colour spheres to IT. After a brief pause, the spheres leave their hands, slowly rising in the air all the way to the Thing’s mask, where they get… swallowed.

    Then, when I think the show’s over, or maybe the Skull-things will be swallowed next, or maybe the Thing will look my way and vaporize me with weaponized disdain, the Thing decides I’m not freaked out enough and, with a screech that feels like fish hooks on my brain, fucking gives fucking birth to a new fucking Skull-thing!!

    It’s a Stag-thing, that walks out of the Thing’s body as if it’s just exiting the subway, and immediately gets to work. The group that brought the spheres leave then too, leaving the Thing alone again.

    … What.

    What the fuck did I just see?

    Did that Thing just… make more Skull-things?

    And most important, what am I going to do about it?


    -Investigating the Skull-things yielded results! You’ve discovered their… let’s call it stronghold. You’ve also discovered the fightening entity that seems to rule over them.
    -Through experimentation you’ve discovered a new power! Or so you believe, since you’ve had no chance to actually test it. You’ve gained the Power Punto Veneno Lv.1/10.
    -Routine usage of Chupavidas has granted a marginal increase in proficiency. Chupavidas 30% towards level UP
    -Routine usage of Disparo Demora has granted a marginal increase in proficiency. Disparo Demora 10% towards level UP
    -Through special voter interaction (aka. Amusing the QM) a new development option is now available:
    You have super-silk, super-hunger and (maybe) super-poison. But there’s something so obvious it has escaped you so far. Why wouldn’t you have super-movement? As in… boost everything you do? Walk, climb, jump… you could do it stronger, smarter, better. Maybe not as obvious as other superpowers but Captain America makes it work!
    -Oblivion compensation! You’ve lost 1695 Existence Essence!!
    -WARNING
    : You currently stand at 0 Existence Essence. If you don’t feed soon, you’ll lose a Power Level.


    What are you going to do about this?

    Nope.
    Nope, nope, nope and a bit more of nope. You’re not getting closer to that Thing. You’re not remaining only this far away from that Thing. You wouldn’t even remain in that Thing’s plane of existence if you could help it. For now though you’re getting the hell out of dodge. Screw the Skull-things, this shit is above you pay grade… Okay, maybe you’ll catch a bite on the way, you’re feeling ravenous.
    Careful Exploit. Okay, the Thing is scary as hell, but doesn’t seem very proficient on that ‘noticing infiltrators’ thing. And the Skull-things go out of their way to keep it well-fed. Maybe you can take advantage of that? An ambush from time to time on the weaker squads should do the trick, as long as you keep it far enough from here to not alert reinforcements.
    Aggresive Hunting. Just because you potentially can mooch off the Skull-things doesn’t mean it’s the best idea. The mere existence of the Thing proves this place is even scarier than you first thought. You need to grow strong fast if you want to stand a chance. Hunt them down as quickly and ruthlessly as you can, and leave once the ranks are so thin the Thing itself is forced to make a move.
    Sucidally Aggresive Hunting. Like the Aggresive Hunting, but prepare for an epic confrontation with the Thing at the end, once you’ve grown stronger and the Thing itself has been weakened by hunger.
    Plain Suicidal. Hit fast, hit hard, and do so unexpectedly. Nobody would expect you to strike at the Thing directly, mainly because that’s a stupid thing to do, but whatever. The Thing scares you. And what scares you, you destroy.


    [x][Action] Nope.
    [x][Action] Careful Exploit.
    [x][Action] Aggressive Hunting.
    [x][Action] Suicidally Aggressive Hunting.
    [x][Action] Plain Suicidal.





     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2020
  9. Threadmarks: Larva 1.08 - Splinter Cell Caterpillar Feeding Frenzy Montage
    Planeshunter

    Planeshunter [Verified Slimegirl Whisperer]

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2019
    Messages:
    161
    Likes Received:
    1,710
    [x][Action] Aggressive Hunting.

    I wonder if the readers realize how they’re taking the place of a Passenger in our Brave Caterpillar’s life…


    Alright… Alright. Breathe deep… exhale.

    Done.

    Now think, and I don’t mean think ‘Oh, my god I’m going to die this world is the blazing hells and I’m the charcoal!!’ kind of thinking. I mean the critical thinking that takes facts into account and puts them in place to construct a viable long-term survival strategy.

    The first thing that comes to mind is that munching other bone-masked things, I don’t only sate my hunger, but also grow stronger. I’m around twice as fast and strong now, compared with my first fight against the Mofo, back in the desert. That should mean there’s room for improvement, simply by eating, fighting and training.

    The second thing that comes to mind is… Well, actually the first, but my brain kinda refuses to dwell on it, is the very existence of the Thing in the middle of the skull-things nest. That Thing feels so powerful it’s hard to wrap my mind around it and, in a world as stupidly wide as this one, there’s absolutely no guarantee that Thing is the only one, or even the strongest one.

    That means I need to get stronger. A lot stronger. And fast. Because every second I’m not strong enough, it’s a second something even worse than the Thing could sweep down from the sky and have a caterpillar-shaped snack.

    So I need to feed, fight and train. That means to hunt, since it includes fighting and feeding, and training kinda goes with fighting anyway.

    … No, I’m not a muscle-brained battle maniac, I would very much prefer to leisurely train at my own pace on a safer setting. But when time’s the essence, well, throw them into the deep end and see who floats. I’m not a hypocrite who would say one thing and apply a different one to myself.

    I could just get away from the Thing and try to find prey somewhere else, buuuuuut…

    It’s obvious stumbling into prey isn’t exactly easy. Ignoring the Mofo, who was actually laying a trap I accidentally sprung, I’ve only seen skull-things, and even they were hard to find. That means I might die of hunger before finding something else to munch on, if I just flee the Thing.

    Guess that means I’m eating his hunting parties then… I might even try and fight them fairly once I’m a bit stronger. You know, for the combat experience. All that without forgetting there’s a very scary Thing nearby, so I’ll need to be discreet and make sure nobody walks out alive from my ambushes. Last thing I need is for the hunter to become the prey.





    Somehow, that mentality really pisses me off. Curse you Nature, and your cruel ways!!

    Anyway! I’ve decided! Lurk around sneakily, ambush and take down the skull-things before they know what’s going on, eat my fill and then some, then actually set things up so I can fight them instead. Once I start running out of skull-things to ambush, run like hell before the Thing decides to sprout legs and chase after me with the tab or something.

    Hey! I can mock the Thing now! That means I’m over it, right?

    A glance towards the centre of the nest and a shiver up my spine confirms my suspicions: No, I’m not getting over it.


    Take 1: Splinter Cell Caterpillar vs Pack of Rat-things

    So, here we are. Far enough for the… Thing to not feel icy fingers grasping my neck everytime my mind wanders that way. Sticky threads covering everywhere non-obvious, and myself perfectly positioned positioned to cover the obvious places too as soon as the ambush is triggered. The skull-things always come back the same way they left, as far as I’ve been able to check. That means a pack of rat-things will come through here sometime soon-ish. Right into my trap…

    … You know? Saying ‘Right into my trap’ loses a lot when you can’t press your fingertips together kind of loses a lot of luster.

    Anyway, besides the obvious, this ambush serves to accomplish an important extra objective. Verifying the munchability of those colourful orbs they skull-things use to feed.

    And, judging from the chittering sounds I hear approaching, we’ll soon see results...


    -Your ambush was super successful! You didn’t just flawlessly neutralize every single rat-thing in the pack without sustaining injury, but you also feasted in a bunch of brown shiny spheres for extra Existence Essence!
    -You have gained 47619 Existence Essence!
    -Power Level Up! You’re now Level 10!
    -Setting a hidden and overly complicated trap took a lot of planning and resourcefulness! Disparo Demora is now Lv. 5! You no longer stick to your own threads (unless you want to).
    -Routine usage of Chupavidas has granted a marginal increase in proficiency. Chupavidas 30% towards level UP
    -You took a nap.
    -Oblivion compensation! You’ve lost 2065 Existence Essence!!



    Take 2: Splinter Cell Caterpillar vs Stag leading a pack of Rat-things

    So! When planning the ambush at the skull-things, I might’ve overestimated their intelligence. Apparently, ‘dumb like rocks’ is still a generous estimate. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining they got scared by my sudden attack and jumped right into the threads and practically wrapped themselves but…

    Yeah, all that hype for nothing.

    Anyway, that’s no reason to relax. I’m not getting cocky just because last time it went so well. Even if setting a trap is way easier now that I no longer stick to my own threads, I still find myself in trouble if I’m overconfident.

    Plus, the group I’m expecting this time includes a Stag-thing. Those makes everyone else more competent so maybe this time they’ll be a challenge… Oh, I hear them coming. Let’s see how this goes.

    Crap, they saw the trap! Quickly! I need to rush them before they have time to react! If they get away I’m in trouble!

    Aha! First blood! The rat-thing didn’t even see me coming. For such a bottom feeder, they sure don’t look upwards often enough…

    *Crash*

    Ouch!!

    Damn! Those whack sticks sure pack a punch…! At least they’ve decided to stand their ground. Now I’ll just climb up and keep my distance while harassing them. I can’t get too far away though, if it doesn’t seem like they have a chance to catch me, they’ll surely run.

    *Crash*

    Ouch!

    Stupid triple-jointed arms, I completelly forgot! The Stag things have a lot more reach that in seems! And the rat-things have bows! I kinda forgot that with them being so pathetically useless they never had a chance to shoot before.

    ...At least they aim like stormtroopers.

    No matter, now that I have a measure of their reach…

    *Crash*

    Ouch!

    What do you mean the whack stick can stretch! I call foul, foul!!

    Oh, screw this, let’s see how you handle me in CQC, all close and personal!!

    Damn, those claws hurt! Take some sticky thread for the trouble!

    Ouch! Okay it knows how to use the knees! But I have poisonous hair!!

    Stupid rats, turns out they can actually hit an unmovile target at three feet range… who could’ve known?

    Aha!! Take that stag-thing! I win! Now to take care of the…

    Hey! Where are you going! Come back here so I can much you to death!!

    Ouch ouch ouch… Note to self, don’t try to sling around in a hurry, I might’ve improved, but I’m no Spider-bug yet.

    … You know what? Whatever.

    The stupid rat-things ran straight into my threads, again. How did they manage to do that? Where they trolling me? I don’t know, I don’t care. All this panic for nothing… I just… I just wanna take a nap. This sucked.


    -Your ambush was at the verge of catastrophe. Your only saving grace is that you somehow managed to keep them from sounding the alarm. Half your earnings go into recovering for this fiasco.
    -You have gained 19450 Existence Essence!
    -Setting the same trap again didn’t give you that much extra practice, Disparo Demora 16% towards level UP.
    -Routine usage of Chupavidas has granted a marginal increase in proficiency. Chupavidas 45% towards level UP
    -Your first trial of fire with Punto Veneno has granted some increase in proficiency, even if you barely did anything with it. Punto Veneno 50% towards level UP
    -You took a nap to recover from your wounds.
    -Oblivion compensation! You’ve lost 2065 Existence Essence!!



    Take 3: Splinter Cell Caterpillar vs Solitary Stag-thing.

    Yeah… trying to tack down a hunting party didn’t work as good as I would’ve hoped. That’s why this time I’m going after a rare solo stag-thing. What’s it even doing alone? Maybe it has realized the rat-things get in the way more than actually help? Or maybe he just got lost, being the smartest doesn’t mean they’re overly smart either.

    Anyway, there’s no guarantee this one will return the same way, or that it’ll return period. So I’ll be forgoing laying traps and simply shadow it until we reach a convenient location. Like… this one, actually.

    Okay, last time sucked but it will be different now. Deep breath and… rappel down!

    Since the stag-thing is still moving I can’t just leisurely let myself down, so this has been the fastest descent so far. Still managed to perfectly calculate when and how to stop so I was positioned in an advantageous position behind him and a little upwards.

    What I didn’t calculate was the loud *Twang* sound my abrupt stop caused.

    *Crash*

    Ouch!

    I might’ve miscalculated the stag-thing’s reaction speed too. In my defence, this one is quite a bit faster than the ones I’ve fought so far. Also, are we on send-a-caterpillar-flying-against-a-tree season? Because this is getting old!

    Whatever. Come here and get some!!


    -Your ambush didn’t work as intended, but you managed to pull through.
    -You have gained 99100 Existence Essence!
    -Power Level Up! You’re now Level 12!
    -You’ve got some good practice with your powers and they all progressed towards level UP:
    -Disparo Demora: 32%
    -Chupavidas: 60%
    -Punto Veneno: 75%



    Take 4: Splinter Cell Caterpillar vs Boar-thing.

    In hindsight, maybe I shouldn’t have picked a fight with one of these brutes straight after my last brawl. I’m feeling a bit sore after facetanking the stag-thing’s whack stick. And being sent flying against trees. Four times.

    In my defence though, it wasn’t so much picking a fight as the fight picking me, turning around after munching the stag-thing only to find myself fate-to-hoof with this boar-thing. That was bad. Dodging its mace, if barely, that was good. That was very good, because when it flew past me and hit one of the stupid-ass cheating trees, it gouged a chunk three times my size.

    I can only thank whatever stars are watching over me that the boar-thing is at least slow and dumb. Like… real dumb, rat-things seem smart in comparison dumb. I tricked it into bashing his own head with his mace. That’s what finally did it.

    Now, I’m pretty sure the thousand trillion Chupavidas and Punto Veneno I managed to sneak in helped a lot, but it was the dumb-ass brute bashing his own head down with his own dumb-ass mace that took it down.

    I feel insulted, somehow. And really, really glad it’s over.


    -Your ambush didn’t work as intended, in fact, you were the ambushed one. But you managed to pull through.
    -You have gained 120700 Existence Essence!
    -Power Level Up! You’re now Level 14!
    -This nightmare of a fight did wonders for your Powers.
    -You’ve learnt a lot about what Disparo Demora isn’t useful for: 80%
    -Spamming Chupavidas has its uses, but after today you really want to improve the range: Chupavidas is now Lv3 - (33%).
    -This has been a real stress test for Punto Veneno. Emphasis on stress. You didn’t learn as much as you would’ve liked, that with the permanent state of do or die panic and your lack of familiarity with the power, but you still learnt something: Punto Veneno is now Lv2 - (50%)
    -You took a nap, because fuck this.
    -Oblivion compensation! You’ve lost 3940 Existence Essence!



    Take 5: Splinter Cell Caterpillar vs Stag leading a pack of Rat-things, the revenge.

    Today I’m hitting another hunting party. After the boar-thing, they don’t seem so tough anymore. And I’m pretty sure the stag-thing won’t notice my threads this time, there’s an actually hair trigger in the trap and everything. Once they trip it, my net will drop from the trees and trap them, then I’ll just have to go all matador on them and… Ole!

    Ok, maybe my ‘net’ is more like a pile of threads more or less evenly spread on the branches. I might not get stuck on the stuff anymore, but that doesn’t automatically make me a proficient weaver. It just… doesn’t work like that.

    Trust me, I tried.

    So! Stag-thing triggers the trap, and the shapeless crochet of doom descends on the unsuspecting skull things. I’d say all according to plan but, by this point, I’m pretty sure Murphy hates me.

    Any time now I’ll lear stag-things can set shit on fire, or the rat-things will suddenly learn to gnaw at my silk, or a boar-thing will drop from the sky to dunk me or… Oh, wait, it’s working? The entire party got caught and they’re struggling to even wave their arms around. How cool is that? I- I mean… All according to plan!

    The stag-thing notices me and panickedly tries to bat me away. But he can’t! Cuz his whack stick is trapped in my threads!! Muahahahahahaha!! And now he’s trying to throw my own threads at me. That might’ve actually worked a while ago, but I no longer get stuck on my own traps, so it’s pointless.

    No, wait, what’re you doing? Don’t pull there! Don’t do that! Stop, stop, stooooop!!



    I… Might’ve discovered a hole in my plan. Namely, not getting stuck in my sticky threads isn’t enough when you’re tangled up in the stuff. Just… Why Murphy? Why? I’m a good caterpillar, I eat all my food and don’t leave messes behind… Oh, yeah, I don’t leave messes behind.

    Chupavidas!!

    There, the threads dissolve, leaving me free like the wind and… everyone else too. I really need better control on that. Whatever. Rat-things with bows and a single stag-thing? I’ve dealt with that before. Come at me!!

    ...

    In the end, the rat-things broke formation and fled… straight into backup traps. Seriously what’s with the rat-things and running into my threads?


    -Your ambush didn’t work as intended, but it worked well enough.
    -You have gained 81300 Existence Essence!
    -Power Level Up! You’re now Level 15!
    -Your Powers improved during this fight.
    -You’ve learnt about Disparo Demora and your limitations using it: 92%
    -You’ve focused on improving the precision of Chupavidas: 66%
    -Casual usage of Punto Veneno is probably the best way to improve at this point. Punto Veneno is now Lv3!
    -Oblivion compensation! You’ve lost 4510 Existence Essence!



    The feeding frenzy has provided results but, somehow, you don’t feel any more confident in your chances against the Thing. You need a better plan than to just lurk in the shadows and take targets of opportunity. (The results of the plan will happen off-screen and be summarized at the start of the next chapter)

    Daredevil.
    Knock it up a notch. Stop wasting time and chances by letting the groups distance from the nest. You’ll lurk closer (but not too close, there’s still the Thing to consider) and tackle any group carrying shiny orbs. When/if reinforcements arrive, keep fighting for as long as it’s reasonable. Keep an exit strategy in mind to disengage before getting overwhelmed. This plan provides balanced and increased growth in all Powers, greater Essence earnings due to attacking returning parties and a lower Oblivion Compensation due to the swiftness involved, but it's very high-risk. There’s a considerable chance you end up biting more than you can chew. Chance all your earnings are lost due to ?????.
    Trapmaster.
    Focus on trapping… a lot. You don’t need to be there for your traps to spring, so just siege the freaking place with sticky threads and collect the results later. This plan greatly increases earning in Disparo Demora, but you don’t get any experience with Punto Veneno. It’s a safe option with an average Oblivion Compensation, but you won’t earn as much Essence, since you’ll be hitting the leaving parties before they can get spheres.
    Wide-spread. Where are the skull-things getting their spheres anyway? Follow some hunting parties to their destination, so you can see them in action. And you have an idea what to do once you’re done with this place. This plan is the safest, with almost no risk involved, and will increase your options once you’re done here. Powers will increase in a balanced fashion. Increased Oblivion Compensation due to this plan taking the longest.
    Write-in If there’s a time to propose alternate options, it’s now. This plan results depends on the content.


    [X][Plan] Daredevil.
    [X][Plan] Trapmaster.
    [X][Plan] Wide-spread.
    [X][Plan] Write-in.


     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2019
  10. Threadmarks: Larva 1.09 - Escalada
    Planeshunter

    Planeshunter [Verified Slimegirl Whisperer]

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2019
    Messages:
    161
    Likes Received:
    1,710
    Your traps have yielded results!
    -Disparo Demora has grown a lot, but you’re starting to seriously consider weaving lessons. If there’s instinctive skill locked in there somewhere, it’s mighty hard to find. Disparo Demora is now Lv. 8!
    -Munching on so many skull-things isn’t exactly a complex activity, you could say it gets plain boring after reaching a certain point. Still, practice makes perfect, and all that. Chupavidas is now Lv. 4-(50%)!
    -Putting the nest of skull-things under siege was a cheeky thing to do, but there’s no arguing it produced results! Your Power Level has massively increased! You’re now Level 25!!!
    -You also have enough Existence Essence leftover to cover for 3 Compensations



    I… have made several miscalculations.

    Most don’t matter all too much, and I’m sure people wouldn’t find how I once was thrown flying and bounced around three different trees or how I tripped and fell on my own trap once all that interesting. A couple of those miscalculations though… they do matter. Kind of a lot.

    First one, hunger keeps growing. The stronger I get, the faster I go hungry, and the more pressing the instinct to keep feeding. It makes sense, in hindsight, I am growing stronger, it’s only fair maintenance becomes more expensive because of it.

    I’m a bit conflicted about that. Is there a point in all this? Some endgame for this feeding game? Or will I gradually become just a junkie, incapable of thinking of anything beyond my next fix? Screw conflicted, I’m terrified. Fortunately now’s not the time to think about it.

    Because, that other miscalculation? Yea… The Thing’s chasing me down.

    It makes sense, really. If you isolate a place so nothing enters or leaves, and whatever tries to leave is never seen again either, then no matter how stupid the inhabitants of that place are, they’ll definitively notice. That and, as stupid as I’ve observed the skull-things to be, I have no idea how smart the Thing actually is. And I cut out IT’s food supply.

    I... might’ve grown excessively cocky with my successes.

    Then, a shining beam of light barely misses my head, forcing me to hurriedly correct my route and just like that I’m suddenly not in the mood for introspection anymore. Because I have better things to do like run and… Holy shit did that beam just obliterate a tree? Why does that Thing get tree-obliterating beams when I only have lame silk and gorgeous hair anyway?

    I am not completely stupid. I laid traps big enough to inconvenience the Thing just in case it came to that. To my surprise, IT didn’t just bulldoze through them. To my despair, while the thousand layered threads managed to withstand IT’s trashing, the stupid-ass cheating trees my threads were tied to… didn’t.

    Moreover, the Thing is fast. I had to resort to silk swinging just to avoid being trampled. Having a towering mass of darkness at your heels is a magnificent motivator to learn fast, who would’ve known. I can finally say to have mastered the way of the Spider-bug.

    … Seriously, so not the time. Shut up.

    Anyway, the beams are new. So far it’s only been crying or yelling or something like that and running after me. As you can imagine, I didn’t stop and see what IT wanted. But I can’t seem to lose IT either. Everytime I think IT lost sight of me and is going to rush forward and miss me, IT turns at the last second to give chase away.

    I’m getting tired and sick of this stupid game. I can’t outrun the Thing, I can’t outsmart IT, I can’t hide from IT… And now our game of cat and mouse is spiced up with energy beams. I’m seriously running out of ideas. I mean, IT straight no-sells my Chupavidas, and while Disparo Demora isn’t completely ineffective, I don’t have the time or means to cocoon IT mid-fight. Punto Veneno… Yeah, it’s still contact-based and if I have to get close enough to touch IT… I’ll be close enough for IT to touch me.

    … I case I wasn’t clear, I’m not doing that.

    Another beam zooms past me, causing an explosion against a nearby tree and forcing me to alter my course again. Swerving like this is bad for my average speed, even without the very distinct possibility of missing a shot and slowing down even more, but what else can I do?

    As if to confirm my thoughts, yet another beam causes another explosion, on the ground this time, and the shockwave sends me flying off-course. Damn but those things are powerful, thankfully I have a pretty small profile, because one direct hit and I’m toast. Still, just the explosions around me are slowing me enough.

    … No. That’s not it. It’s not that I’m being lucky, it’s that IT cannot hit me. But that doesn’t matter, because he doesn’t need to. That’s IT’s plan, isn’t it? The Thing is corralling me.

    At this rate, three more explosions and I’m within his reach.

    And I still have no plan.

    Two more explosions, and my brain scrambles to grasp something anything that could get me out of this mess.

    One more explosion, and I can practically feel the Thing breathing on my neck. If I have the resources to try something, I lack the time to set it up. If I can think of something I might be able to achieve in the moment, I lack the resources to do it.

    After being on the receiving end of so many, I can somehow tell the Thing is charging up the last blast. This is it, I have no more tricks, no more plans. Not even a reckless gambit depending on insane luck to save my skin.

    In that moment, I consider simply jumping into the blast, to be blown into smithereens so at least the Thing cannot feed upon me. The end result would be the same, and it would be a last fuck you towards my killer.

    It wouldn’t even be hard. Now that I know IT is intentionally aiming to corral me, I can predict where the blast will hit. Just a swing on an unexpected direction, a moment of searing hot and…

    No.

    No, I refuse.

    I won’t give up, I’ll never give up.

    If the choices are to fight or die, then I’ll fight.

    I’ll give the Thing something to remember, and even if I end up devoured by an impossible foe, I’ll go down kicking and screaming.

    Even if I’m devoured, I’ll keep fighting. I already took control of the ever-encroaching darkness once, I can do it again. So I’ll fight, and fight, and keep fighting. Because you cannot defeat that which doesn’t give up.

    And I don’t do giving up.

    {Agreement}

    It happens again, as it happened that first time, what feels like a lifetime ago. My being swells with power. Suddenly, I am heavier than the moon who pulls the tides. I am deeper than the abyssal scars marring the ocean floor. I am older than the very sun giving life to the world.

    With those new depths, I turn towards my pursuer. The thing still feels powerful, but not more powerful than me. The thing is still smarter than its minions, but in no way smarter than me. The thing still feels dangerous, but no more dangerous than me.

    “I got this.”


    By the time the conflict ends and the power swelling me dissipates, I stand on a clearing that definitely wasn’t here before. Deep trenches of burnt dirt and pieces of splintered wood in different sizes and shapes litter the ground. The thing has vanished, whatever resistance it held against my Chupavidas finally overwhelmed after I broke its body and crushed its mask.

    I had assumed this fight would’ve left me energized. You know, sore but the good kind of sore, tired but giddy with my victory. Instead I feel… just tired. Tired, drained and constrained. As if suddenly my skin is too thigh and pushes back against all my movements. Whatever I did to fight the thing, it obviously had a price.

    Moreover, it was barely enough. The thing was stupid, but it was fast and sturdy, and had resources out of my reach. As much as our raw power felt equally matched, I had nothing that could compete with its energy blasts, and its skin was way harder than anything I’ve encountered around here before.

    Don’t… don’t get me wrong. I’m absurdly grateful to still be alive, but this was something I cannot take for granted. Even assuming this power up came from my fighting spirit, which I don’t really know, it only put me at the things level on the most basic of the senses. Had the thing been smarter, or have more polished technique. Heck had I not seen how it fought beforehand, I would be a smoldering crater on the dirt right now, power up or not.

    And now I’m dead tired, feeling a dull, pulsating pain all the way down to my core, and something tells me my hunger will be coming back with a vengeance as soon as I stop feeling like death warmed over.

    That means I need to go back to the skull-things nest and repair my traps before I can try and sleep so they don’t have a chance to scatter. Maybe having lunch waiting for me when I wake up will help stimie the problem.


    -Not giving up during a hopeless fight has awakened a perk you were previously unaware of!! ????? becomes Escalada(Escalation).
    (Active/Passive)
    A conceptual skill based around the concept of ‘Growth’.
    Active: Temporarily increases this Hollow’s raw spiritual power to rise to the level of an opponent... For a cost. Afterwards, the user’s growth becomes stunted for a duration depending on the power increase. Escalada only affects raw power, and cannot compensate for superior skill or techniques. Escalada cannot stack with itself, nor be reactivated during the ‘stunted’ period. It won’t work against an opponent with ‘infinite’ spirit power.
    Passive: The growth potential becomes literally second to no one. This skill affects only raw potential, without considering factors such as ‘effort’ or ‘environment’. Thus a creature with a lesser potential might grow faster under the right conditions.
    -Due to usage of Escalada, you’ve incurred on a Karmic Debt!! You won’t be able to earn Existence Essence beyond the amount required to stave off Oblivion Compensation until you pay the debt.
    -After consuming the Thing, your remaining debs amounts to 754,000 EE.
    -During the course of the chase and later on the fight, your proficiency with all your Powers has grown:
    Disparo Demora becomes Lv.9!
    Chupavidas becomes Lv.5!
    Punto Veneno becomes Lv.4!
    -Oblivion Compensation! You lose 12195 EE!!



    Now that you’ve solved the life or death situation, maybe it's time to focus on the other serious problem in your life. Your hunger keeps growing. How will you face this?

    Abstinence.
    You should’ve known. Power comes with a price, as it always does. And it’s a prize you’re not willing to pay. You’ll give up on feeding, and let your power return to its original levels, even if you have to tie yourself down to pass the hunger! Through abstinence you’ll become master of your own fate. You became Spider-bug, now it’s time to become Mahatma Caterpillar!
    Restraint. Being able to eventually match to the Thing and whatever other monstrosities inhabit this world isn’t worth the risk of losing yourself in the process. You’ll hunt to stave off the Oblivion, but you won’t aim to keep increasing your power. Not while it means increasing your hunger too, at least.
    Trust. You instincts are your only companions in this life and, while they’ve surprised you from time to time, they’ve never steered you wrong yet. You’ll trust there’s a point in this apparently ever-increasing game of power and hunger, an… endgame.
    Frenzy. Same as trust, but throwing restraint through the window. If you focus on feeding to the exclusion of all else, you’ll undoubtedly become better faster and reach whatever goal there is sooner. How much of your original self will survive behaving like a ravenous animal in the meanwhile remains to be seen…


    [x][Choice] Abstinence.
    [x][Choice] Restraint.
    [x][Choice] Trust.
    [x][Choice] Frenzy.



    Besides this, your encounter with the skull-things is now over. You’ve taken down the mastermind and, one way or another, the skull-things won’t survive for long without it. For you, that means back to business as usual!



    [x][Hunt] Actively.
    [x][Hunt] Passively.
    [x][Hunt] Trap.
    [x][Hunt] Hide.



    [x][Travel] End of the World.
    [x][Travel] Explore the Forest.
    [x][Travel] Take a break.
    [x][Travel] Other.



    [x][Train] Disparo Demora
    [x][Train] Chupavidas
    [x][Train] Punto Veneno
    [x][Train] Take a break
    [x][Train] Develop
    -[x][Develop] Placaje
    -[x][Develop] Andar Gracioso
    -[x][Develop] Malicioso
    -[x][Develop] Zumbido
    -[x][Develop] Write-in (Short description of what our brave caterpillar will aim for.)
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2019
  11. Threadmarks: Larva 1.10 - Renunciations and Propositions
    Planeshunter

    Planeshunter [Verified Slimegirl Whisperer]

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2019
    Messages:
    161
    Likes Received:
    1,710
    Man the holidays are wreaking havoc on my schedule. Family visiting and *shudders* group activities! It all eats at my time. This means in spite of taking longer than usual this update was a bit of a rush job. Sorry if it shows.

    Once I woke up from my well-deserved rest and munched my Home, I had finally decided what to do about that nasty vicious cycle of hunger thing. That is, screw that. Screw Nature, screw instincts and screw that Prey or Predator bullshit. I won’t go as far as to say it was a mistake to even start that path, but really, back then I didn't know all the facts. Neither do I now, to be honest, but I know enough.

    If hunger grows when grow, and I grow when I eat, it’s time to be stubborn and stop eating. I mean, I’m some sort of supernatural caterpillar inhabiting a world without the basic decency of following physics, who says I have to eat just because I’m feeling hungry? Who decided that? Not me, that’s who.

    With my newfound resolve, the first thing I do is check the traps around the skull-things nest and munch on everything that got stuck there.



    754,000 EE obtained. Karmic Debt paid!!




    … What? Don’t look at me like that! I might’ve just resolved to stop hunting down another to feed myself, but I didn’t do it out of any sense of remorse. It was just me trying to get back control of my life for egotistical reasons.

    That means I’m not going to let a different problem fester because of it. That power out of nowhere, that… Escalada, it asked for a price, like everything else. I could feel it all the while, somewhere inside. Do you know what happens when you default on a Karmic Debt? Neither do I, and if I never find out it’ll still be too soon.

    … This is when I try meditating or something. If this was a cultivation novel I would discover how to feed the light of my soul through introspection and fasting. Or maybe I’d rise my power level namekian-style. Of course, that doesn’t happen. Because I’m interrupted. By a phosphorescent spider with a glowing skull tattooed on its butt. I’m starting to notice a theme in this place...

    If/when you incur Karmic Debt again, don’t expect it to go away so easily. This one was a freebie since it was both the first time and there was a convenient excuse nearby.
    Also, if someone is wondering how or brave caterpillar can reference genres that most definitely never surfaced on Earth Beth, please remember she subsumes a lot of other ‘lights’ back in the beginning. Some general knowledge bleedover is to be expected.

    It says something about my luck, or maybe about Murphy’s sense of humor, that the only time I’m not looking for a fight either actively or passively is when something else manages to find me. I mean, if we count the skull-things as a single encounter, I’ve had a grand total of three of those, this one included.

    Then again, the thing and I did cause quite a stir with our fight, it makes some sense for something to catch wind of our duel and…

    And…

    Honestly, what’s this spider planning on doing? It’s not acting aggressively and it doesn’t have a bone mask, so I’m kind of out of my depth here.

    … Which says things about my life experience. And not exactly nice things.

    … No, I’m not going to poke it, that’s what almost did me in with the Mofo.

    … And I just resolved not to eat anything else, so no munching it.

    … I could… cocoon it? But I don’t really see the point.

    Just then, the spider rises its back legs and abdomen and does some sort of weird dance in front of me, before retreating a couple of meters to start dancing again. Then, after making sure I’m paying attention, it retreats another couple of meters and dances once more. Does it want me to follow it?

    Does it really thing I’m that naïve?

    It retreats another couple of steps, and wiggles its butt a bit more.

    Retreat, wiggle.

    Retreat, wiggle.

    It’s actually kind of hypnotic.

    Retreat, wiggle.

    Retreat, wiggle.

    Not in the mind-control sense, just like… Feels like I could watch it forever.

    Retreat, wiggle.

    Retreat… dammit can’t see it anymore from here.

    Let’s see… there it is.

    … Damnit. I accidentally started following it in earnest. B- But! I’m not completely stupid, you know? I’m sticking to the tall branches, and I’m pretty sure I’ll see any ambush before the ambushers can see me! If this is a trap I’ll be ready!

    Somehow, more phosphorescent spiders join the first one, coordinating the wiggle dance while holding a formation loosely resembling an arrow. Suspicious… But since I’m already here, I should at least check. Curiosity killed the cat, but I’m caterpillar.

    After a while of carefully following the spiders we reach something that could be generously called a clearing. I mean, yeah, there’s a more or less wide area free of trees, but clearing somehow implies the place will be… clear. Instead, the branches and other things that look like spider webs enclose the place, giving it a shadowy and eerie atmosphere. And trust me, getting more shadowy in a forest of permanent night with trees taller than life has some merit.

    Grove! That’s the word! Sneaking closer, I finally make out a figure in the middle of the grove, apparently standing asleep.

    I... don’t know what to call it. The lower body of a spider, pitch-black and with thick hairy legs, the upper body of a four-armed man, skin as dark as the lower body. The white mask on its face sports tribal markings that reminds me of those African tribes documentaries and a wide, genial smile.

    The creepiest thing, though, it’s probably the huge pot fused with its frontal body and hugged by two arms and two legs.

    “Since you haven’t attacked yet, young one. I shall surmise you’re not looking for a fight.” It breaks the silence, giving me the scare of my life and then letting out a jovial chuckle. “Yes, I know you’re there, you might as well come out into the open.”

    Holy crap it can talk! Maybe I should call it a ‘him’ instead? No wait, focus on the important part! He knows I’m here! Should I run? Fight? But how would I fight it? I can’t go around spamming Chupavidas anymore I’m on a diet!

    “Come on now, no need to be shy” He insists. “My name is Anansi, and others have generously dubbed me The Wise Spider. It’s such a rarity to find a fellow non-confrontational Hollow, won’t you indulge me with a bit of conversation?”

    Suspicious…

    This is all far too suspicious.

    My gorgeous hair is standing on point, so suspicious this situation is.

    The smart thing to do would be to turn tail and leave, and never again get close to this particular grove.

    Bu- But!! This Ananasi fellow is capable of coherent conversation! And, as opposed to myself, he seems to know what’s what in this crazy nonsensical world.

    Maybe I should indulge him a bit?

    Maybe?

    Maybe…

    Yeah, I think I might.

    Heck I’m doing it.

    Carully, eyeing everywhere, with a strand of Disparo Demora discreetly tied to a bent branch and ready to slingshot me the hell out of this place if things get ugly, I slowly walk into the clearing.

    … It’s an ominous and badass kind of slow walk.

    No, it has nothing to do with the tense thread on my butt threatening to send me flying if I’m not careful with my steps. No, you shut up! Who’s telling this story, huh? … That’s what I thought.

    What comes next… Yeah, I’ll skip it, if you don’t mind. I mean, nobody wants to hear about my cringe-worthy attempts at bluffing a basic explanation out of someone far older and smarter than me. Pathetically trying to posture all the while, at that. It wasn’t just embarrassing, along the whole conversation I couldn’t shake the feeling of a bear trap slowly closing on me. It was really unsettling.

    At least Anansi was forthcoming with information. I am a Hollow, we are all Hollows, because this is Hueco Mundo, the world of the Hollows. Also I am dead. Because that’s what Hollows are, restless spirits that turn violent and hungry as they dissociate from their humanity. I also have a hole piercing my chest, that I never noticed because my gorgeous mane covers it. Creepy, but kind of cool.

    Not everything is bad news though. Turns out there is a point to the hunger. Hollows evolve and, when they reach the peak, the hunger abates. First I would become a gestalt of tortured souls like the Thing who ruled the Skull-things, that’s called a Gillian. Then, assuming my own willpower is enough to take control of the whole gestalt, I’ll emerge as an Adjuchas, which are badass Hollow way stronger than I am now. From there, just keep hunting and feeding till, with some luck, I’ll evolve again and become a Vasto Lorde in some thousand years or so. Optimistic estimation.

    “And that’s the gist of it, my friend” Anansi interrupts my musings “Of course, there’s more I could teach you. About the Garganta, the Human World, Seireitei and the Shinigami. But I make a business out of wisdom. The starter package was a freebie, but if you want the full content I’m going to ask for something in return.”

    “Of course.” Nothing is free in this world, after all.

    “It’s nothing too bad, I assure you.” And yet, at his words I can feel the teeth of the metaphorical bear trap sinking on my metaphorical flesh “Here, take a sip of my Pot of Wisdom. It’ll infuse you with all my knowledge and expertise. In return, I will learn anything you learn. Pure symbiosis.”

    As he reaches for his pot with a ladle to offer me the contents, I freeze.


    You’ve been offered a great wisdom… for a price.

    Distrust.
    Yeah… No. you’re not putting strange things in your mouth and there’s no guarantee the Pot will only perform as advertised. Or that it’ll perform as advertised at all. Pleasant and cultured as he tries to come out, the asspider guy still triggers your shady warnings.
    Trust. I mean… why not? Take a ship and open up your mind. Anansi has been forthcoming and helpful. If he had dishonest intentions he could’ve tried to ambush you already, with all those minions he has and everything. So maybe you should take his offer. Knowledge for knowledge is a fair trade, and you are sorely lacking in that department.


    [x][Offer] Distrust.
    [x][Offer] Trust.



    Regardless of your choice, you have new knowledge that might make you rethink some of your previous choices.

    Abstinence.
    The new information changes nothing. Even in the best case scenario, that you evolve into a Vasto Lorde in record time, who knows how a thousand years ruled by your hunger would change you? It’s still time to become Mahatma Caterpillar!
    Restraint. If you didn’t pick that before, you’re not going to pick it now. The new information makes this option plain stupid
    Trust. You should’ve trusted your instincts. For once, it seems like the path to freedom goes through self-indulgence. Let’s eat our fill and become badass ultra-spirits!!
    Frenzy. Same as trust, but you’re not going to wait a thousand years to reach the endgame. You’re not that patient. Devour everything in your path without pause or rest. Starting with this asspider fellow standing right there!


    [x][Choice] Abstinence.
    [x][Choice] Restraint.
    [x][Choice] Trust.
    [x][Choice] Frenzy.



    -Oblivion Compensation! You lose 12195 EE!!
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2019
  12. Threadmarks: Larva 1.11 - That which beckons
    Planeshunter

    Planeshunter [Verified Slimegirl Whisperer]

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2019
    Messages:
    161
    Likes Received:
    1,710
    So! Visiting my extended family for the next week! That means instead of my trusty PC I’ll just have an old laptop without anything worth being called mouse and with an almost twenty minutes startup time. It also means instead of my fantastic chair I gotta make-do with whatever I can find at the time, like sitting on the floor. Still can write, so it could be worse, but it’s annoying as heck.
    ...There, I’ve ranted. Sorry for taking your time.

    [x][Offer] Distrust.
    [x][Choice] Trust.




    I don’t trust this thing masquerading as a civilized being.

    I don’t trust this offer of knowledge.

    It reminds me of a teacher.

    … Somehow, that word fills me with disgust and suspicion.

    No… It’s not just the word, but a name. A name that perverted the original meaning of the word. Something that should be safe and trustworthy becoming poisonous and deceitful. That’s the feeling I get from this Anansi. Not a teacher, but Teacher. And I don’t like it one bit..

    I hold back a shudder. Is this a memory from before? From when I was human? If it is, that sucks. Why couldn’t I remember my mother or my best friend?

    … Whatever. Time to politely disengage. And with that, I mean releasing the ground so my failsafe takes me away from this place. I could try to talk my way out of this, maybe. Maybe not. Anansi strikes me as the kind of people who can talk circles around you, then take your own words and use them as a noose around your neck.

    In spite of not saying anything, and having a mask covering my face (or is it having a mask for a face? I don’t really know what’s underneath), he seems to notice I’m not willing to take his offer, because he raises his free hand my way and makes to say something.

    Yikes, scary as hell, those social types. I’m outta here.

    *Twang*

    Weeeeee!!!

    Wow, I can’t believe that worked without a—

    *Crash*

    Ouch!

    Okay, need to work on the landing. Now to put some distance, I don’t wanna check whether the dancing phosphorescent spiders are actually hypnotic after all. Also, now that I think about it, does what I just did count as dining and dashing, or is it more like stuffing your face with free samples and then leaving without buying anything?

    Best to move a bit faster, just in case.


    After getting a good distance away, then doubling it just in case, I’ve decided to take a peek back up the desert, if only to orient myself again. Honestly, I have no clue where I am or which way is anything.

    While climbing my way up, there’s been time to calmly think thinks over. I might have… overreacted back there. Sure, Anansi was one scary fella, once one gets past his friendly façace and realizes he’s basically getting enough nourishment to thrive just by sitting there and talking people into taking his deal. Sure, I’m not very confident in my own social skills.

    But maybe shooting myself away before giving him a chance to get a word in was a bit extreme. Maybe we could’ve reached some sort of alternative agreement… No, no. I would’ve just been screwed over.

    What he’s told me is supposed to be more or less common knowledge so I can trust an information broker would be truthful about it, if only because it was low-value intelligence I could get anywhere and being caught in a lie would ruin his cred. Valuable information, on the other hand, is rare by definition. Since I would’ve had no easy way to double check, he had no reason to be truthful with it. Specially after declining the deal he actually wanted to make.

    I would’ve spent my whole life looking over my shoulder.

    And speaking of what he told me… I have been a big idiot, haven’t I? Jumping to conclusions and swearing off eating like that. My instincts are part of myself and, if I can’t trust myself, then who can I trust? Maybe this reluctance is just a bleedover from my past life as a human, like those depressing memories from before? Things are a bit different now that I am a… Hollow.

    Sure, I’m not letting my mind go anytime soon, I like making rational decisions and all that tripe, but it was thanks to my instincts that I knew how to fight back against the Mofo, that I knew to consume its essence afterwards and that I knew to move towards a long term goal. No more rejecting them without a good, tangible reason.


    Due to your instincts never failing you before and being proven wrong in doubting them, you’ve learnt a bit more about yourself and gained a new trait: Resolute.
    There are many things in this world you cannot trust. Yourself isn’t one of them. You aren’t inclined to second guess yourself, and even situations specifically designed to cause hesitation will be solved with unwavering swiftness. Grants the perk Unflinching. Never stop! If you retreat, you will age. Be afraid, and you'll die.
    You can be surprised, like anyone else, but you don’t let those surprises startle you. Be it a dramatic revelation or just someone putting a hand on your shoulder with the worst timing, you can ignore penalties derived from surprise. Within reason.


    There’s something else I’ve been wondering about, back during my existential crisis. Man, I can’t be more than a couple of weeks old and I’ve already gone through an existential crisis, how depressing is that?

    Anyway, my point is, other Hollows appear to be the only munchable thing in Hueco Mundo. Sand is unmunchable and stupid-ass cheating trees are unmucnhable, and the only non-sentient thing I’ve been able to get something from so far is what comes out of my butt (blerg, let’s not look at it that way anymore, okay?) no matter how little sense it makes for an ecosystem to work like this, we’ve already stated this place ignores logic.

    That’s how it is and that’s what my instincts have guided me from the start.

    But!

    There’s something else I’ve been attracted towards all the while! Something that didn’t look out of place and I never paid attention to, but still something that draws attention when I’m consciously looking for it. Oh, it’s still subtle, specially down here in the forest, where the stupid-ass cheating trees block the sky so completelly.

    But I can still feel it, and it’s subtle pull. It never stopped.

    What am I talking about?

    Why, the moon, of course! That’s half the reason why I’m even climbing back up in the first place.

    There it is. A giant pearl in the sky, shining brightly over this shitty afterlife I’m stuck in. From the very start, I felt attracted to it. Never thought of it as strange though, because humans often lose themselves into looking at the night sky too, but now that I’m paying attention there’s… a pull, of sorts.

    I watch the moon, it hasn’t moved an inch from its position in the night sky, I’m sure of it. Not an inch, in who knows how long. There’s an immutable feeling to it, something the human world’s counterpart never had. If I ever thought both moons were the same, I’ll never make that mistake again.

    I listen to the moon, not sure why, but letting that stop me. At first, there’s nothing. As I keep listening though, I finally start hearing something in the silent night. There’s a... song. A song that’s barely there, and yet I keeps all my attention. It beckons tenderly, and makes me feel at peace, dulling the worst of the hunger.

    I close my eyes, and bathe myself on the moon. There’s a… I won’t call it warmth, nothing is warm here, but there’s definitely something caressing my skin. It feels the same tender and peaceful way the moon’s song did.

    I don’t drain it. It doesn’t even cross my mind to try and do so. Instead, I imply allow it to permeate me, filling an emptiness deep inside…

    When I open my eyes again, I know everything will be fine in the end.


    -By accepting the moon into yourself, you’ve unlocked the Power Luz Lunar (Moonlight).
    The power to derive strength from Hueco Mundo's moon. By bathing in moonlight, you can diminish the effects of the Oblivion and increase your own regeneration. The effects of this power can be increased by meditating under the moonlight, but are unavailable outside Hueco Mundo.
    -Your four basic Power slots are full, you won’t be able to develop new basic powers for now.
    -Oblivion Compensation! You lose 10130 EE!! (Luz Lunar Lv1 prevented the loss of 2065 EE)
    -Luz Lunar is now Lv1-(50%)!!



    You’re done with Anansi’s encounter and self-discoveries for now, what’s your next step? (Remember, just because a vote has sub-votes, doesn’t mean you have to pick one of them. You can always just pick the main one, meaning neither of the options included feel particularly interesting.)


    [x][Hunt] Actively.
    [x][Hunt] Passively.
    [x][Hunt] Trap.
    [x][Hunt] Hide.



    [x][Travel] End of the World.
    [x][Travel] Explore the Forest.
    -[x][Forest] Visit Anansi
    --[x][Anansi] Accept the Deal
    --[x][Anansi] Negotiate a new Deal
    --[x][Anansi] Hunt down
    [x][Travel] Take a break.
    -[x][Break] Nest in the Skull-things stronghold
    [x][Travel] Other.



    [x][Train] Disparo Demora
    [x][Train] Chupavidas
    [x][Train] Punto Veneno
    [x][Train] Luz Lunar
    [x][Train] Take a break

     
  13. Threadmarks: Larva 1.12 - Living the Dream
    Planeshunter

    Planeshunter [Verified Slimegirl Whisperer]

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2019
    Messages:
    161
    Likes Received:
    1,710
    [X][Hunt] Passively.
    [X][Explore] The Forest
    -[X][Forest] Move about (ab)using Disparo Demora.
    [X][Train] Punto Veneno
    -[X][Train More] Slip in some Luz Lunar training after munching something.
    Finally! Getting this update ready has been a headache and a half. Man, can't wait to be back home...


    Spider-bug, Spider-bug~! Does everything a spider does~!!

    ...Laugh all you want, don’t care. I can finally swing around without faceplanting on every other tree. I’m even graceful! Can take turns, and stop short, even. Been trying acrobatics and everything, nothing too flashy, but switching from thread to thread with a small twirl and flourish is elegant enough. There’s no need to show off either.

    And that’s not everything! I can feel the potential for so much more just… out of reach. It’s a bit frustrating, to be honest. The breakthrough is just a burst of inspiration away though, so there’s no point in getting impatient.

    Travelling like this through the treetops has some advantages over using my stubby legs or even worse, walking on the ground like a plebeian. Why, just yesterday…

    Yes, yes, I know, there’s no day here, nor any reliable way to tell the passage of time. But it was a while ago, thus I’ll say it was yesterday.

    Anyway, as I was saying. Just yesterday I encountered a monkey-like Hollow lurking amongst the branches. It had too many arms, and I’m preeeety sure monkey arms aren't supposed to end in pincers, but it was monkey-like enough. It was also quite big, I’m not sure the fight would’ve been as easy as it was if not for the fact that I fell on him from nowhere like an angry dropbear. He had his ugly head covered with gorgeously poisonous hair before he could say uncle. Then he had his ugly mouth full of gorgeously poisonous hair and wasn’t physically capable of saying uncle.

    My point is, besides how icky if feels to find your hair full of monkey spit, nobody here expects an assault from above. Even the mythic monkey lobster, who took to the branches like I do, was only watching out from below. So there, tactical advantage. What do you mean ‘just common sense’? Using common sense is already a pretty good advantage when you’re surrounded by idiots.

    Like I am.

    Cuz apparently Hollows are idiots as a species. Makes one wonder how they survive.

    … Oh, wait, they don’t.

    Guess it’s easy to remain relevant in an ecosystem when you pop out of nowhere without rhyme or reason, your only competition are creatures of your same species and you cannot actually die of hunger.

    I wonder if we Hollows all grow smarter as we evolve? Anansi and myself were clearly outliners and the only other Hollow with a modicum of smarts I’ve ever met was the skull-thing. I’m pretty sure it was one of those gestalt-like Gillian things.

    Will I grow smarter too? How will I be as an Adjuchas? Or a Vasto Lorde? Then again I’m already pretty intelligent, so maybe I’ll just get stronger… Meh,win-win. I can’t wait to be big.


    Turns out, this forest wasn’t as empty as I initially believed. Thinking back, the apparently scarce population was probably due to the fact I was wandering through the Skull-things territory, and obviously other Hollows would avoid a Gillian capable of organizing an army under itself.

    Now that I’m further away from the place, it’s not rare to find targets here and there. Not enough to call the place crowded, but good enough to keep the hunger at bay.

    I’ve taken to dragging my prey up to the branches once I got them neutralized. It’s not hard once they’re poisoned to the gills, and munching them while moonbathing feels… calming. It kind of helps me think. That with, you know, not being stuck in flight or fight mode for once.

    That has allowed me to give some thought to Hueco Mundo as a whole, and the moon in particular. This place… is obviously not Heaven, but you can hardly call it Hell either because, what kind of Hell actually gives you a fighting chance? I guess you could call it the afterlife or, more precisely, an afterlife.

    The place is stupid-ass ginormously huge, but the collective lives of all humankind are really stupid-ass ginormously numerous. And this place is a bit too empty to contain us all. So there must be more places. Or maybe Hueco Mundo is even more ginormous than I imagine. After all, what looked like a forest from the distance turned out to be just an entry to a whole different layer of Hueco Mundo, as stupidly huge as the desert above.

    A-NY-WAY the place seems designed to drive you nuts. You’re just dropped here, without any sort of tutorial or guidance, and only your instincts to help you survive. It doesn’t even seem designed for humans. Just animals. Or hungry spirits.

    Didn’t the buddhists have an afterlife along those lines?

    … Right, not the point. Don’t distract me. Case is, I’m starting to think the moon in this place is special. I mean, it’s the only thing out there in the sky, right? And it never moves? That has to mean something.

    Or it could be just a pale reflection of the human world, like this stupid-ass cheating trees or the impossibly white desert above.

    B-But! The moon is different! It doesn’t just call to me, it gives feels!! Cool and calm peaceful feels that let me catch a moment of peace amongst all this craziness. It also gives me strength.

    Not a lot, sure, but it’s there. And it’s always been there, even if I’ve only recently noticed. And maybe my skills at leveraging the moon’s energy are nothing to write home about, but there’s time to learn. I’m sure with practice and maybe some time to reflect on it it’ll improve.

    My point is, there’s more to the moon than just a stupid white circle in the sky, and sometimes, when I’ve just stuffed my face with something tasty, I could swear I hear its song again. That or isolation is finally making me go crazy and I’m just hearing things.

    ...I’ll keep you posted.


    Your wandering around the forest has been met with plenty of prey! You’ve earned 2892480 EE!
    -Power Level Up! You’re now Level 33!!
    The usage of your various powers have yielded results!!
    -Abuse of Disparo Demora for mobility and acrobatics has greatly increased your expertise. You’re on the verge of a breakthrough! Disparo Demora is now Lv 9-(85%)!!
    -Usage of Punto Veneno to nearly the exclusion of anything else during combat was risky, but it paid off. Punto Veneno is now Lv 7-(50%)!!
    -You didn’t use Chupavidas much, but it remains your only munching method, so it still saw some use. Chupavidas is now Lv 6!!
    -Meditating under the moonlight, trying to find the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything was quite the trip, but you think you’re getting somewhere. That or you’re going mad. Luz Lunar is now Lv 5!!
    Oblivion Compensation!! Waived due to a particularly inspired usage of Luz Lunar (Nat100)



    I’ve been hunting quite a bit lately. In that sense, finally losing my reservations has helped a lot. Being aware I can hit way above my weight class didn’t hurt either. Oh, I know there are things out here I cannot hope to match, like the skull-thing Gillian, but I’ve been careful.

    Keep to the high branches, study my prey, hit hard and unexpected. With all that, some targets still manage to put up a fight, but I’ve never again felt that foreboding aura of utter hopelessness the Gillian had. If that ever happens, I’m outta there faster than you can say ‘thread slingshot’.

    Of course, because Murphy loves to prove me wrong, that’s when I feel a foreboding aura of utter hopelessness. And I don’t even have a thread slingshot ready because I wasn’t stalking anything.

    The shock lasts enough that I freeze for a moment, but my brain is soon working overtime again. The feeling comes from behind and it’s closing in fast, far too fast. I cannot hope to lose them if it comes to an open chase, and while they’re some distance away, there’s not enough time to lay a reliable trap.

    If it comes to a straight-up fight I would likely end up relying on Escalada again, just for a chance to survive.

    Can’t run, can’t fight… Can hide?

    … Maybe? I don’t really know how perceptive my potential demise really is and, considering how outmatched I am, there’s a chance I’ll be overlooked if I just stay quiet against a branch.

    Not like that’s a strategy I can be proud of, but needs makes musts and all that. To think I was having such a good feeling nicely… Damn, why can’t I ever catch a break?


    So! You’re suddenly in an uncomfortable position. There’s a threatening presence closing in and it has caught you with your pants down. How do you plan to get out of this mess?

    Run.
    A timely retreat is a victory. You don’t like your odds, nor do you particularly enjoy incurring on Karmic Debt. So you’ll do your best to disappear from the scene. There’s a chance the presence isn’t here for you (heh, as if). So you obviously won’t run in the same direction the presence is moving towards, because that’s just retarded.
    Trap. You can’t lay a perfect, sure-fire trap, but you might be able to pull off something ‘good enough’. So let’s do just that. ‘Welcome to my home, said the caterpillar to the ominous presence.’, or something appropriately cool along those lines.
    Fight. The depressing truth is, there’s an infallible method that has seen you through all your problems so far: Good ol’ fashioned violence. Get to the heights and drop on the presence when it least expects it. When you have a hammer, all your problems look like nails.
    Hide. Might be your best chance at this point, really. Just stick to a tree trunk and pray very hard (but very quietly) the presence isn’t here for you and it just passes through.
    Faint. A time-trusted technique used by defenceless princesses everywhere: lose consciousness and hope you live to wake up. You have the distinct feeling that’s not going to work… Why is this even an option?
    Banter. You can always try and talk things out. What are the chances this presence is another Anansi? Pff! You could talk circles around your everiday dumbass Hollow, assuming they aren’t too dumb to understand speech, that is.


    [X][Plan] Run.
    [X][Plan] Trap.
    [X][Plan] Fight.
    [X][Plan] Hide.
    [X][Plan] Faint.
    [X][Plan] Banter.
    [X][Plan] Write-in.


     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2020
  14. Threadmarks: Larva 1.13 - It's not always about me
    Planeshunter

    Planeshunter [Verified Slimegirl Whisperer]

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2019
    Messages:
    161
    Likes Received:
    1,710
    Shorter than planned this time. Halfway into writing this I realized I was taking a somewhat important choice by myself, and decided to cut the update short and let you guys vote instead.


    [x][Plan] Hide



    Alright, calm down. I got this.

    Huge-ass ominous presences like this one don’t usually notice little things like…you know, me. Heck, I pretty much had to poke the Skull-thing in the eye before it deigned to acknowledge my presence. My best bet is to hide and dodge the problem. There’s no law stating I have to get myself into trouble at every chance.

    But it is enough to stick close to a tree to go unnoticed? Maybe I should do something else? For a moment, a vivid image of myself wearing a poncho, a mexican hat and a fake mustache while pretending to man a fabric stall comes to mind. I soon return to reality with a shudder. That was a disturbing thought.

    In the end, the solution was right before my eyes. And with that I mean the trees are right before my eyes. And white. Like my Disparo Demora. It’s just a matter of moments to craft myself a small but cozy Home, stuck to a nook in the branches, and built the right way for me to peek outside unnoticed.

    Like that, there’s nothing left but to wait with bated breath and… oh, wait, I don’t breathe. Just to wait and try very hard not to spontaneously grow a heart so the stress can’t give me a heart attack.

    Now that I can’t move and all my senses are on the presence, I’m able to close in on it a bit better. At the speed it’s moving, I’d say it’ll catch up in a couple of minutes.



    One minute…

    Thirtyse… HOLYSHIT!!

    I totally didn’t almost scream like a little girl. There’s no proof and I didn’t do it anyway, so how would you even go about figuring out whatever it was I nearly did or did not? As I said, there’s no proof! So I very maturely kept a total calm that at no point was broken or nearly broken or was even hinted at being close to breaking when a humanoid figure landed in a branch not three feet away from my hiding spot.

    No matter what others say.

    The figure barely stopped for enough to cast a swift glance around before jumping away again, but it was enough for me to catch a good eyeful. The first thing I notice is the bone mask, uncomfortably similar to the one worn by the skull-thing. The next is the assortment of various other masks adorning its pelt cloak. Then I catch finer details like the black clothes under the cloak and the japanese sword it wielded.

    … Well, no, I’m totally lying. The first thing I notice is the thing’s presence. Whatever that was, it felt totally different from other Hollows I’ve encountered so far. Not so much a matter of power, even if it did feel powerful, but of quality. It felt… different. I wonder…

    And that’s when the presence arrived and I died of a heart attack.

    Oh wait, I’m still alive (undead? whatever). I mean I felt like dying. Because it caught me by surprise. Because I was focused on the first thing. Like I shouldn’t have. Because I don’t seem to learn. Fortunately for my blood pressure, the presence didn’t take to the branches, preferring to travel on the ground like pretty much every idiot in Hueco Mundo.

    “Come on, pussies!” The presence, who now that I can see looks like a ninja turtle. If the ninja turtles wore painted face masks, or had purple skin, or a hole in their chests, or reached eight feet in height. And had an army of hungry spirits. “The shinigami can’t run forever, today we’ll finally get him!”

    … Wait what? Didn’t Anansi mention the shinigami back then? Does that mean the thing with the sword wasn’t a Hollow?

    That would explain why their presence felt different but man, a shinigami… a bona fide god of death! And those Hollows are hunting it like game! Is that an indicator of how strong I can get myself? Being able to chase down literal gods with utter confidence in my chances? Not too shabby.

    … Actually, it’s a bit scary.

    Whatever, the presence has retreated and it’s time to make my own exit. I’m tentatively classing it as a Vasto Lorde, because, you know, hunting down gods. Man I still can’t wrap my head around that...

    With a last look the way they disappeared towards, I prepare my next swing.

    Spider-bug, Spider-bug~!! Does everything that…

    Damnit.

    Can I just… leave like that? That shinigami fella is pretty much screwed.

    Then again, he has something after him so far above my weight class it’s not even worth measuring it. And I know nothing about their culture. Even if I miraculously managed to save their skin, they might just turn around and stab me in the back.

    On one hand, I owe them nothing, and I have pretty much zero chance of being of any help.

    On the other, can I just turn my back to a stranger who needs help?

    I’d like to say yes, that I can very much avoid sticking my nose into someone else’s business. Especially if their business is a hornet nest.

    But…


    This is stupid, you are stupid, your face is stupid and your plans are stupid. Why are you even considering it?

    Leave.
    Nothing to see here. Just… leave. Leave and live to fight another day. Preferably someone else. You’re in no hurry to cross paths again with a fucking god eater.

    Assist Retreat. You can’t just leave behind someone in need. You’ll do your best to catch up and cook up a distraction to help the shinigami escape. Even if you somehow manage, there’s a good chance you’ll have to split, and you might never see them again.

    Assist Fight. You can’t just leave behind someone in need. You’ll do your best to catch up and help the shinigami fight off the scary hollows. If all the stars align and you both somehow survive, there’s a good chance you’ll then end up face to face with him. That means socializing.


    [X][Choice] Leave.
    [X][Choice] Assist Retreat.
    [X][Choice] Assist Fight.



    -Oblivion Compensation! You lose 3605 EE!! (Luz Lunar Lv5 prevented the loss of 17440 EE)
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2020
  15. Threadmarks: Larva 1.14 - But I make it about me anyway.
    Planeshunter

    Planeshunter [Verified Slimegirl Whisperer]

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2019
    Messages:
    161
    Likes Received:
    1,710
    … I can’t.

    I can’t just turn around saying that’s not my problem.

    Curse my bleeding heart.

    Yes, I know they’re faster than me. I’m in fact aware I’ll only reach them once they’ve stopped. That means I can’t lay traps, and I’ll catch them either trading taunts or already engaged. My options are somewhat limited, since my best tool is still Disparo Demora, and it loses a lot of versatility when I can’t pre-arrange the field to my advantage.

    It all depends on the situation, of course, but I’ll probably have to bite my nails (that I don’t have) and wait for a good chance to reveal myself with an opening salvo of Punto Veneno, aiming to disrupt or incapacitate as many as possible and then… Well if the shinigami refuses to work with me I’m turning and leaving. My bleeding heart isn’t going to bleed out for ungrateful gods.

    But assuming he does, I guess I’ll kinda watch his back and take pot-shots at easy targets, I guess. He’s still the strongest of the two. Beyond that… incapacitate, run interference and be a veritable pest. It’ll work out, somehow.

    No, I’ll make it work.

    That’s when I realize their presences have stopped. Which is kinda fortunate, because busy as I was psyching myself up, the very real possibility of the whole fight outrunning me and getting out of range never crossed my mind. Man that would’ve been embarrassing...

    Not the case though, so no point in dwelling on it. Let’s sneak closer and get a good picture of the situation…

    “—at? Nothing to say, shinigami? Or maybe you know it’s futile to try and beg for your life?” Oh, dear. He’s monologuing. The Vasto Lorde is monologuing like a two-bit cartoon villain! “You’ve stained Hueco Mundo with your presence for long enough. Today is the day you die!!”

    Should I lose faith in the Hollow race after all? Apparently idiocy isn’t healed even at the peak of our evolution… On the other hand this is the perfect opening. I get a last thread in place and fly over the group from behind in a graceful arch. Punto Veneno!!

    Oh, yeah. Now to deliver my badass one-liner and join the fight. Did I mention I can now shoot needles of poisonous hair? It’s not only gorgeous, but also… wait.

    … did I just…

    … Hit them all with my needles?

    … maybe… nope.

    And that one… oh, nope.

    That one is already foaming through all the sockets on its mask, gross…

    Oh, right! My one liner!!

    “Looks like you’re in a bit of a pickle, shinigami.”

    A deadly silence falls on place. Even the goons dying messily due to hair poisoning in the background seem to quiet down. I resist the urge to facepalm, only a tumbleweed is missing. Seriously, ‘in a bit of a pickle’? Way to ruin your presentation, me!

    “If you’re quite done staring...” Ugh I’m doing it again! Why can’t I speak cooly? “I can always leave if my presence is unwelcome?”

    “You… you would side with a shinigami against the Guardian of the Forest and your fellow Hollow?” While the death god seems to be having trouble processing the situation, the ninja turtle catches up quickly. As expected of a Vasto Lorde. “If regain your sanity and join us right now I’ll consider not eating you whole, worm!”

    My brows lower on a frown, which is quite a feat, considering my face is a solid bone mask. Oh, you didn’t just call me that. One of the small fry rushes at me, with some nonsensical yell about something or another. I’m not paying attention. Before he knows what’s going on, it gets a bucketful of sticky threads on its ugly mug and a double dose of poisonous stings as he trips and falls.

    “I am a caterpillar” I’m ticked off, but I don’t want to scare away my still potential ally. So I do my best to control my voice and not explode in undignified yells. “Don’t call me worm again.”

    As I Chupavidas the shit out of the incapacitated hollow at my feet, the shinigami’s brain finally reaches a decision and he retakes his position against the ‘Guardian’ and its gang.

    “Right… A caterpillar hollow wants to help me out” He finally speaks for the first time, an ominous voice filled with strange echoes “It’s not even the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen. Let’s do this.”

    “I’ll cover your back against the small fry, shinigami, but I’ll have to leave the Guardian for you, he’s above my current abilities.” In other words, he scares the living shit out of me, please pull your weight and be a good meat shield so hopefully there’s still a brave caterpillar you can feel grateful towards when we’re done with this mess.

    “I’ll be counting on you then, Hollow!”

    With a battlecry that was mirrored by the entire opposite side, the shinigami charges into the fray. Man we’re so screwed…


    To my surprise, the battle is much more even than anticipated. The Guardian is strong but then again, so is the shinigami. I would say the balance of power slightly tilts on the shinigami’s favor, actually. Maybe it wasn’t so much the Vasto Lorde was confident on his individual chances against a god, but on its many minions giving it openings to exploit...

    Heh.

    He wasn’t counting on the brave caterpillar then. I… can honestly say I’m on fire. Whenever somebody tries to get a cheap shot at the shinigami, they find a web, a tripwire or a poisonous mane on their way and yet, the shinigami itself seems to always have free way.

    That’s much more complicated than it sounds, by the way. It’s a mix of me predicting the movements of the main fighters and leaving a path open, and a hasty cut-out job when they move in an unexpected way. At the speeds they move, I have the work cut for myself.

    Honestly, this is quite the workout and there’s not that much moonlight down here for me to refill my batteries. Only a judicious abuse of Chupavidas in a wide area allows me to keep up. I’ve also discovered shinigami essence is stupidly tasty.

    … N- not that I’m planning on turning on him or anything! It’s just something I’ve noticed, good to know for future consideration. It also earned me a dirty look from him at some point, but really. It’s hurting the enemy way more than it’s hurting him, and I have no other way to remain relevant, he’ll have to suck it up.

    I would like to say l lost myself on the frenzy of the fight, and fell into some sort of trance where I didn’t notice the passage of time, but that’s not what happened. I was painfully aware of every second of combat. Because it was painful.

    The Hollow swarm gave as good as it took, not letting up for a moment. I honestly couldn’t tell if they fell to my attacks or just retreated to let the next one take a shot at us, because I had no time to focus on anything that wasn’t an immediate threat.

    Minutes piled up, and then hours, as I kept the tide at bay. Always mindful of my partner, always fearing the next surprise strike would come from somewhere I could not stop, and our little formation would collapse.

    Every fiber of my being was screaming at me to stop, to take a break, to slow down. But I didn't, I couldn’t afford to. I could only steel my resolve and keep fighting, praying all the whole my Chupavias was enough to keep me in the fight until the end.

    Seriously why the hell did I get into this mess in the first place? Am I a masochist? Is that it? Do I get off pain?

    … actually, don’t answer that.


    Finally, finally, the fight ended. Surprisingly enough, it was me who ran out of opponents before the two big shots broke their stalemate. For a moment, not noticing there wasn’t any new attack coming, I almost tripped on myself when I jumped to cover the shinigami’s blind spot only for there to be nothing to stop.

    Then, feeling a bit silly, I made some distance and observed the match.

    They were… wow. There wasn't any other way to describe it, just wow.

    One thing was being aware of the shinigami’s movements to keep my threads for interfering with him, a very different thing to have the leisure to examine the way the two of them move all over the place at supersonic speeds, sharp tail clashing with sword again and again as both of them fail to find leverage for a decisive strike.

    Hmm… I’ve gotten a lot of practice with Chupavidas right now. Wonder if I’d be able to focus it on a single target…

    It’s not some miraculous epiphany where I suddenly figure out a mechanic I didn’t understand or something like that but, little by little, having resource-rich targets to practice with, I’m somehow able to gradually focus my hunger into the Guardian, until finally, all the effort that was being wasted all around me concentrates on it.

    And he notices, judging by the hateful look he sends my way.

    I can only wave at that, feeling really smug when the distraction gives the shinigami the opening he needs to chop first its annoying tail and, in quick succession, its right arm. Unfortunately, before the shinigami can finish it off, the Guardian counters with a spin kick, and takes advantage of the distance to leap away. Before retreating, he fixes a last glare on me.

    “I’ll find you again, worm, and you’ll live to regret this!”

    And with that, the fight is over. I would collapse in relief, truly would. But one thing is having a temporary truce with a literal death god and a different one to be alone with him afterwards, the both of you still up to the gills in adrenaline.

    “So… that happened” I break the silence a bit lamely, while turning to face him. Only to find the pointy end of his sword at your face. A hundred different scenarios cross my mind as while thinking about how to not get skewered, but in the end, talking still seems like the best option. “Now, ever heard of something called gratitude?”

    “You were draining me during the fight, Hollow.” He growls “Don’t think I didn’t notice.”

    “I was draining everything, it’s not like I can control it...” Only, I can now, I realize mid-sentence, so I have to correct myself “In the middle of a fight.”

    “Hmpf” He doesn’t seem overly impressed with your excuse, but he sheathed his blade, so I count it as a win. “I suppose I do owe you for this. Make no mistake though, Hollow and Shinigami are natural enemies. If we meet again, we’ll fight.”

    And with that, he blurs away. Shit, you still get the jitters when you see him moving at max speed.

    “And that was that, I guess.” I kick a pebble on the ground, suddenly feeling grumpy. “Save someone’s life, would you? Let’s see how grateful they are...”

    Then I brighten right back up. This fight was a real feast after all, and there’s still a last price to be had.

    I’m not stupid you know? Sure, sometimes my brain goes to strange places, and I might overlook the obvious from time to time, but I’m still kinda good at planning ahead when I have an inkling what’s going on for once. So I didn’t just Chupavidas the Guardian from a random direction.

    No, I had ulterior motives.

    It was a long shot, sure, but it was worth trying to corral it into a particular direction… and he ran straight towards my trap. So, now that the shinigami left, it’s only a matter of getting there and…

    And…

    And…

    Stare at a Guardian-shaped hole on my trap.

    Damn, my threads could hold back the Skull-thing, and they’ve only gotten sturdier ever since. I even secured the trees so they wouldn’t get dragged along like it happened back then. It didn’t matter, because apparently the Guardian tore through my best threads without even stopping.

    … As expected of a Vasto Lorde.

    Damn, I need more training.


    Since you did such a good job the shinigami could focus exclusively on the Guardian, you managed to munch the whole entourage in the meantime, earning a bullshit amount of EE (7889850)!!
    Power Level UP! You’re now level 46/59!!
    Your Powers have improved!
    -Due to heavy usage, Disparo Demora has leveled up! Disparo Demora is now Lv. 10/10!!
    --Disparo Demora Branches!
    --You’ve Learned Disparo Demora (Mix&Match)
    --You’ve Learned Disparo Demora (Multishot)
    --You’ve Learned Disparo Demora (Thread Control)
    -Due to heavy usage, Punto Veneno is now Lv. 9!!
    -Due to heavy usage, Chupavidas is now Lv. 8!!
    --You can now focus your Chupavidas on individual targets!
    Oblivion Compensation! You lose 23100 EE!! (Luz Lunar Lv5 prevented the loss of 17440 EE)
    -Luz Lunar is now Lv. 5-(10%) It passively grows by 5% per Oblivion Compensation instance.



    Yeah... another job well done. If youre quite done pulling impossible wins out of your ass, maybe you could plan your next move. And plan carefully, something tells you things aren't going to remain like this for much longer...


    [x][Hunt] Actively.
    [x][Hunt] Passively.
    [x][Hunt] Trap.
    [x][Hunt] Hide.




    [x][Travel] End of the World.
    [x][Travel] Explore the Forest.
    -[x][Forest] Visit Anansi.
    --[x][Anansi] Accept the Deal.
    --[x][Anansi] Negotiate a new Deal.
    --[x][Anansi] Hunt down.
    [x][Travel] Take a break.
    -[x][Break] Nest in the Skull-things stronghold.
    [x][Travel] Other.




    [x][Train] Disparo Demora.
    -[x][DD] Mix&Match You need another power at level MAX to train this.
    -[x][DD] Multishot.
    -[x][DD] Thread Control.
    [x][Train] Chupavidas.
    [x][Train] Punto Veneno.
    [x][Train] Luz Lunar.
    [x][Train] Take a break.



    Guys, I’ll be honest with you. There was a 50/50 chance you were incapable of even catching up to the hollows in the first place, they were faster than you after all. You didn’t just do that. Your rolls were such bullshit I can hardly believe it. Only one roll was bad, and by that point I was just resolving the Guardian’s retreat so… that happened. I’m a bit pissed off cuz was expecting things to go badly and had a lot of plans for what to do with the story if things derailed, but yeah. Considering our brave caterpillar seems to be the badass cousin of the screamapillar, I guess it’s just a matter of time ;)
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2020
  16. Threadmarks: Larva 1.14b - Musings of an avenger (Interlude)
    Planeshunter

    Planeshunter [Verified Slimegirl Whisperer]

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2019
    Messages:
    161
    Likes Received:
    1,710
    Warning, this interlude starts off pretty dark, it might not be for the faint of heart. It’s also completely optional and skipping it will have no impact on your questing experience.

    Curse him!

    He runs through the Menos Forest, wounded and humiliated.

    Curse HIM!!

    A boy, a mere brat! Who does he think he is to do this to him?

    CURSE HIM!!

    But he’ll heal back and come for revenge. Few things can truly put down a Hollow for long, beyond complete destruction. He’ll heal and go back to have his revenge! He’ll start with his sisters, and feast on their pain. No! He’ll rip his arms and legs first, and then make him watch powerless as they get their turn.

    CURSE HIM AND ALL HIS FAMILY!!

    Then it’ll be that girl fighting beside him. Then it’ll be whatever family he still has. And then anything else he holds dear! And he’ll take his sweet time with each and every single one of them… By the time he’s done, the boy will beg for his own death.

    But the brat is strong. Even half-mad by pain and rage, the running Hollow doesn’t delude himself into thinking he can just blindside the boy. There’s no guarantee his usual tricks will work on him again, either, and he hasn’t survived being hunted by the shinigami for so long by ignoring danger and rushing into fights he’s not sure he can win. In this case, he might need a little insurance.

    There’s been rumours for as long as he’s been alive, about the Hollow King in Las Noches. Of how he grants incredible power to those who bow to him. Up until now, he’s had no reason to bend his knee before another, satisfied with his lot in life. Now though, now he would do anything for the power to get his revenge.

    Bowing to another doesn’t sit well with him. It goes against Hollow nature as far as he’s concerned, and Fraccion are just weaklings or abominations. But as far as masters go, one can’t aim much higher than the King of Hollows, right?

    Yes, he’ll take the King’s offered power to have his revenge and then… who knows? Hueco Mundo is a huge place, how would even the King go about finding a little deserter like him if he were to disappear?

    Yes… yes, that sounds like a plan he could get behind.

    He’ll get to Las Noches and feign servitude for long enough to accomplish his goals and then…

    “Damn you Kurosaki Ichigo!! You’ll rue the day you crossed the path of Grand Fisher!!!!”

    That’s when he trips over something thin and sturdy, and falls head-first into a mass of something white and very sticky. In his haste to stand again, he only manages to tangle himself up even more and, soon, he can’t even move anymore, resembling more a mummy or a ball of yarn than the fearsome Hollow he is.

    Only thanks to a small opening he can peek outside his predicament, and it’s that way that he sees the most terrifying Hollow mask he’s ever encountered. Mouthless, and with big frowning eyes glowing red, it still closely resembles a human’s face, making the differences all the more unsettling.

    Both the mane of dark-red wavy hair framing the mask, and the moonlight falling right on it infuses the picture with an aura of power that makes it hard to look away.

    Then, he feels a series of stings along his body, and darkness soon takes him over. The last thing he hears is a deep and rich voice, powerful and commanding. No doubt belonging to one of the Vasto Lorde from legend.

    “Ran straight into my trap, he did. It wasn’t even hidden yet! Surrounded by idiots, I swear…”


    You have munched Grand Fisher! You earned 143600 EE!!
    You’ve also derailed canon a teensy little bit. You’ll have to try harder if you want a reward.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2020
  17. Threadmarks: Larva 1.15 - There's no place like Home
    Planeshunter

    Planeshunter [Verified Slimegirl Whisperer]

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2019
    Messages:
    161
    Likes Received:
    1,710
    Spider-bug~, spider-bug~! Does everything a spider does~!

    … You know? All this swinging around is a lot less fun when you’re worried about a Vasto Lorde with a grudge after your soft and juicy ass. Maybe helping a shinigami against my ‘fellow Hollow’ was a dumb move after all.

    Not that my ‘fellow Hollow’ have ever done anything for me. Except trying to eat me, and being eaten for their efforts.

    … What’s ‘Shinigami and Hollow are natural enemies’ supposed to mean anyway? Besides looking cool as heck when said with that badass echoing voice of his.

    But I digress, the problem is the very pissed off high-end Hollow licking his wounds and cursing my name while plotting my painful death all the while. I saw the bastard fighting with the shinigami, and that was a level I can only drool at and hope to someday reach myself.

    … damn, it was poisoned back then, wasn’t he? Either it can shrug off my Punto Veneno, or it was actually stronger than the shinigami. Either way, I’m screwed.

    What can I do about this? Not much. Inconspicuousness is my best weapon, to remain out of sight until I fall out of mind. I’m still a tiny Hollow with a faint presence myself, who likes to move through place seldom visited. That’s good, but it might not be good enough.

    Other option is to just flee. The End of the World is still there, with all its tantalizing and mind-twisting promises. Then again, rushing into the unknown with an enemy far out of your league chasing you from behind sounds like the start of a bad joke. A joke that ends in caterpillar pancake.

    No, I need a safe place, somewhere I can bunker down if worse comes to worst. It has the downside of keeping me tied down to a single place, but that can be worked around. Traps to keep a stable income of munchable treats and solid walls to repel an attack.

    The nest of the skull things comes to mind. I’ll have my work cut out for me just to make the place structurally sound, but it’s better than nothing. I can’t forget how the Guardian just tore through my last trap, so I’ll have to be very thorough with threads this time.

    Yeah, can do.

    I bet the loser won’t even dare coming after me again after his humiliating defeat! Its threats were just posturing and spouting bravado!

    Spider-bug~, spider-bug~! Does everything a spider does~!

    … Still doesn’t feel the same.


    I can’t help a groan when my future bastion comes in sight. The Skull-thing rampage didn’t do it any favours, and my successive siege and cleanup obviously didn’t help either. There are splinters, fallen trunks and burnt trenches everywhere. The junk walls are upturned in places, and many of the nooks and crannies in the roots the minions used as refuges are now ruined.

    Nothing for it but to roll up my (metaphorical) sleeves and get to work, I guess.

    I’ll need a shitload of thread for this. And equal amounts of patience and hard work. It’s times like this when I wish I actually knew how to weave...

    Huh, Thread Manipulation is a lot of help, even if I cannot do anything big with it yet. When it comes to small things like thickening the weave or melding the knots so they don’t come out, it really shines. The overall work can only improve because of it.

    Now, how to go about this part? Maybe I can just… Yeah, just like that…

    And here a pit trap, and there stakes falling from the ceiling, and this part can be pulled up so the prey ends up hanging in the middle of the room…

    hehehe...

    Oh, crap, that’s not structurally sound, abort! Abort!

    Man, that was close.

    And now, for the finishing touches...


    … Man.

    Maaaaaaan!!

    I nailed it! Look at that beauty! Stylish and functional, imposing and sturdy… the perfect Home for your average caterpillar of refined tastes. The best part, it’s modular! The highly visible fortress-like area is for combat only, there’s a smaller, cozyer area hidden in a nook up into the tree branches, camouflaged with pieces of wood to look like just a funny-looking knot.

    Ambushers will try to get into the trap-filled fortress and fall to my cleverly designed schemes, while I won’t even be there to begin with! Submit to my power and intelligence!!

    What’s more! I can use Thread Manipulation to detect intruders! It’s nothing as cool as feeling the vibrations they cause, because I’m not a spider, but I can sort of ping through the structure by causing a small wave of movement through the weave, getting me a response when something obstructs or resists said movement.

    Ideally I could keep a permanent vibration that would leave me constantly updated of any change, but the level of multitasking involved in that is far beyond me. Somehow, that’s really disappointing. Oh, well, maybe with more practice...

    The only downside I can see to my fortress is the fact that I, uh... maybe overdid it a bit when it comes to being imposing. Not even your average Hollow would be stupid enough to get near it, so I’ll have to set my traps a bit far away. More a chore than an actual downside, really, I shouldn’t complain.


    … I take back what I said. My fellow Hollow aren’t as stupid as I though. They are way, way worse.

    How does one manage to get stuck against a fucking wall of silk? Was it so hard to see a solid white screen in front of you? That wasn’t a trap, just a protective barrier! And the first one had an excuse, apparently being chased down by the others but…

    Please explain to me in short and easy to understand sentences how a goddamned pride of leonine Hollow get stuck in the same trap that caught their potential prey. Did the first one get stuck trying to retrieve it? Did the rest get stuck trying to help out? How does that even work? How many times do you have to make the same mistake before you accept it doesn’t work?

    At least fall for the actual traps, the ones away from my Home! I’m going to grow fat and lazy if I don’t have to leave even for food!

    … Oh, wait, the traps caught something too.

    Wasn’t this skull-thing territory, where I couldn’t find prey for my life’s worth just a week ago?

    Surrounded by idiots, I swear.

    Deep breaths, bask in the moonlight and don’t let the suicidal stupidity of your own kin get to you. Thank the heavens I have the moon to calm me down because I’m sure I would be well on my way to an aneurysm without it. Thank you Moonie, Elune, Mons, Leosarb, Selene, SERAPH, or whatever name you prefer. You always know how to comfort me.

    … I’m tired now, let’s try my new cozy hidden bed.


    Building an impressive Home has greatly increased your skills with Disparo Demora (Thread Manipulation)!!
    Constructing effective traps has increased your skills with Disparo Demora (Thread Manipulation)!!
    -Thread Manipulation is now Lv. 2-(10%)
    Basking on the calming light of the moon in times of great distress has increased your skills with Luz Lunar!!
    Mitigating the Oblivion Compensation passively increases your skill with Luz Lunar.
    -Luz Lunar is now Lv. 6-(15%)
    You kinda exercised a bit with Punto Veneno and Chupavidas on the trapped prey, didn’t you?
    -Chupavidas is now Lv. 8-(12%)
    -Punto Veneno is now Lv. 9-(10%)
    Abundance of prey to feed upon has granted a lot of EE! But a part was spent on the massive amount of silk threads you’ve used lately.
    -You’ve earned 637600 EE!
    By obtaining your 3rd natural crit without critical misses in-between, you’re well on the way of earning the Perk Memetic Badass!!
    -3/5 Crits achieved!
    Oblivion Compensation! You lose 17330 EE!! (Luz Lunar Lv6 prevented the loss of 24980 EE)



    You have one last iteration before Plot comes to drag you along. It might be a while before you can do your own thing again, so take the chance for some last minute training or applying finishing touches.


    [x][Hunt] Actively.
    [x][Hunt] Passively.
    [x][Hunt] Trap.
    [x][Hunt] Hide.
    (Dedicate more time to training and/or traveling)


    [x][Travel] End of the World.
    [x][Travel] Explore the Forest.
    -[x][Forest] Visit Anansi.
    --[x][Anansi] Accept the Deal.
    --[x][Anansi] Negotiate a new Deal.
    --[x][Anansi] Hunt down.
    [x][Travel] Take a break.
    (Dedicate more time to hunting and/or training)
    [x][Travel] Other.


    [x][Train] Disparo Demora.
    -[x][DD] Mix&Match You need another power at level MAX to train this.
    -[x][DD] Multishot.
    -[x][DD] Thread Control.
    [x][Train] Chupavidas.
    [x][Train] Punto Veneno.
    [x][Train] Luz Lunar.
    [x][Train] Take a break.
    (Dedicate more time to travel and/or hunting)


    Memetic Badas... I don't even care anymore. You guys aren't seeing the rolls. On another note, MH:Iceborne is finally playable on PC, so I'll most likely only write on my spare time at work for a while. That... well, that'll probably slow updates a bit. Just a heads up
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2020
  18. Threadmarks: Larva 1.16 - By the pricking of my thumbs...
    Planeshunter

    Planeshunter [Verified Slimegirl Whisperer]

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2019
    Messages:
    161
    Likes Received:
    1,710
    [x][Hunt] Hide.
    [x][Travel] Take a break.
    [x][Train] Chupavidas.
    [x][Train] Punto Veneno.



    When I woke up from my power nap in my secret hidden cozy bed, I was feeling energized, but also giddy, restless. I had no idea why, really. There was no ominous as shit presence anywhere to be felt, I wasn’t picking anything with my Home Sonar, and neither could my more mundane senses find anything out of place. But I still could tell.

    Something’s wrong, or is about to go wrong. I can feel it deep inside. Call it intuition, instinct or some sort of skill I had in life and then forgot about, but everything was about to go to hell in a handbasket and I couldn’t seem to sit still and wait for the ball to drop.

    Planning around an unknown problem is all sorts of impossible, so I decided to be ready for anything instead. Home was as fortified as possible already, so it only remained to fortify myself. That’s right, ladies and gentleman, that means training.

    After so long almost exclusively training by doing, it feels weird to try and practice without a specific goal in mind. That’s not strange, I think. My Powers come to me by instinct, and drilling practice is pretty much the opposite of instinctive. Still, I persevere, twisting and turning my gorgeous mane around in an attempt to make my control more fluid, as well as shooting hair-darts at stationary targets to improve my aim.

    It’s… definitely not the same as live practice, but I make do. The real problem is when I decide to turn my attention towards Chupavidas. Because… how the heck am I supposed to turn a physical manifestation of my soul-deep hunger towards a non-munchable target? Fuck me, that’s how.

    So I focus back on Punto Veneno and kinda lose track of everything until one of my peridic Thread Sonar discovers another idiot stuck in my traps. At least it’s all the way there on the real traps, it’s good to know some Hollow are smart enough that I need to put an effort to catch them.

    That or they didn’t manage to get close enough to stick into the walls in the first place, that’s a distinct possibility too.

    In any case the idiot finally gets me some practice with my remote-munching Power of badassitude. And fortunately more idiots keep springing traps as I get through them, because that way I get to try a little bit of everything. Draining faster, which doesn’t work very well and takes a lot of concentration; Controlling the affected area, a lot of concentration too, but at least I get that one more or less down. Even keeping myself from draining something specific within the area. That last one ends in disaster. I really need to get a better rein on my hunger, apparently.

    What I’m most disappointed about is the first failure, because I have nothing I can use to end a fight quickly. Restrain my foes, sure. Eventually finishing them, for sure. But a solid finisher I have not, and that could come back to bite me in my soft juicy ass.

    With nothing you can call an ace in the hole, no burst of destruction I can pour on my enemies to exploit an opening, I’m screwed the moment I’m not allowed to set the pace of the fight. It isn’t all that bad, because my fighting style doesn’t really need opening. But it’s still really bad, because a fuck-you beam into an enemy opening does a shit-ton of damage and finishes battles you cannot afford to prolong. And I have nothing of the sort.

    Oh, well, idle musings. One works with what one has, and all that shit.


    Through intensive training, your Powers have improved!
    -Chupavidas is now Lv. 9-(50%)
    -Punto Veneno is now Lv. 9-(50%)
    Casual usage of Thread Manipulation has slightly increased your familiarity with it! D.D. Thread Manipulation is now Lv. 2- (50%)
    Idiots keep falling in your traps, so you’ve got a decent supply of EE. without paying any real attention to hunting. Next Oblivion Compensation is paid for!



    It happened all of the sudden, as things always seem to happen when one is trying to be prepared, just to prove one wrong. One second I was treating myself to some rooster-pig strange hybrid as celebration for my hard work training, the next I was hit with the most intense feeling of hunger I’ve ever felt.

    It felt like I had munched nothing in years, and suddenly a feast of the tasties treats in the world was displayed in front of me. Not even the time when I lost control and ate the Mofo came close to this. It was tantalizing, a tempting promise of utter deliciousness if I only tore through the flimsy veil keeping me away from the ultimate meal.

    I almost did it without even thinking, but you know what? I can be a contrary little shit when something tries to take the choice from me. This wasn’t like the Mofo, it wasn’t simply my instincts trying to keep me alive. This was something trying to take advantage of my instincts to bait me away from my home. And that’s not cool.

    So I ignore it. Grit my teeth (I don’t really have teeth, but you get the meaning), finish munching the chicken-pig and very pointedly turn away from the unnatural hunger. I’m the one in control, thank you very much. And if to remain in control I have to pour myself into training so hard I lose sight of anything else, then so be it.

    … That’s when a glowy portal thingy opens at my feet, swallowing me whole. Because of-fucking-course. Since I’m not a total idiot like my brethren and knew something was coming, my first response is to quickly reel myself back in with a thread I had ready for exactly this kind of event. What sort of life did I live that shiny portals from nowhere was actually something I had contingencies in place for? Paranoia, I name thee justified.

    It almost works too, the portal closes right as I was about to cross it back, cutting my thread clean in the process and leaving me suspended mid-air in what seems like a good hundred feet above a… Human city? It sure looks like a modern human city to me.

    Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Hueco Mundo anymore… And judging by the multitude of glowy portal thingies filling the air around, I’m not the only one invited to the party. Before I can properly freak out about apparently being back in the world of the living (The fuck? Really, what the actual fuck?). Something calls my attention. Urgently.


    Welcome to the other side! Bet you never expected to hear that sentence applied this way! Now, something’s happening that really requires your attention, because you’ve noticed...

    Actual Twins.
    A distressed young girl cornered by a Hollow, along with a slightly less distressed young girl trying to put a strong from and doing a passable attempt at redirecting the Hollow’s attention towards herself. Yeah, whether that works or not, they’re going to need a hand soon.
    Badass Children. A couple of kids fighting off the Hollow with remarkable ease. You never knew you could use a bat like that and… is that a friggin’ rocket launcher? They seem to have things well in hand, maybe they can explain what the hell’s going on.
    Dark Giant. A dark skinned dark haired giant of a young man, swinging at the Hollow with his bare fists and… leaving craters when he misses. Are you sure he’s human? He’s not looking too hot in spite of his best efforts, so maybe you should balance the scales.
    Flower and Dragon. A couple of high-school girls cornered by a particularly strong Hollow (for a given value of strength). One of them is already down, and her face shows more frustration than fear. The other one stands protectively with scared but resolved eyes. There’s something… inherently wrong with that picture. You’ve decided you don’t like it.
    Write-in. Convince me your idea is interesting enough and it shall be done ;)


    [X][Path] Actual Twins.
    [X][Path] Badass Children.
    [X][Path] Dark Giant.
    [X][Path] Flower and Dragon.



    You’re out of Hueco Mundo! Oblivion Compensation is now doubled.
    You’re out of Hueco Mundo! Luz Lunar is now disabled.
    Oblivion Compensation! Already paid for.
     
  19. Threadmarks: Larva 1.17 - How to kick ass and befriend children
    Planeshunter

    Planeshunter [Verified Slimegirl Whisperer]

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2019
    Messages:
    161
    Likes Received:
    1,710
    Ugh, this chapter. Had to cut it short because I was writing myself into a corner. Scene changes are really convenient to avoid it, but I hate the feeling of losing that comes with using them this way. At least the vote at the end is interesting?
    [X][Path] Actual Twins.


    Let me tell you, getting your lifeline cut when you’re about to get back to safety isn’t only frustrating. It’s also humiliating. Because suddenly you’re midair without flight capabilities and have to scramble not to faceplant on the ground.

    Fortunately I don’t have much time to reflect on that, because that’s when a terrified scream cuts the air.

    Now, if I was smarter, I would’ve kept my wits and tried to apply some logic the situation, maybe make sure I take a look at the environment before doing something rash too. But we’ve already determined I have a bleeding heart that’ll get me killed one of these days, and that scream sounded really desperate.

    ... If someone asks, I’ll blame general Hollow Idiocy somehow creeping on me.

    Anyway, that’s how I end up rushing blindly into a worn down side alley and charging past a black haired girl to tackle a rather big and hairy Hollow I didn’t bother looking at closely.

    I’d like to say the surprise attack caught him out of balance and I quickly finished the fight before it could even start. That’s not what happened though. The fucker was barely faced by my surprise attack, and swiftly turned around for a brutal counterattack that left a caterpillar-shaped indentation on a wall.

    I’d also like to say I had the presence of mind to tell the black haired young girl (and the young blonde I hadn’t seen before) to keep their distance but don’t run away. There was a lot of other Hollows around, and I had the distinct feeling a human child would rate as ‘snack’ in even the weakest Hollow prey/predator scale.

    Instead, I barely managed to grunt something that vaguely sounded like ‘Run!’ before another caterpillar-shaped indentation appeared on the street, this time in the floor. I’m obviously not winning this easy, nor going to look cool while doing so. All this manhandling is making me rather dizzy too.

    Sick of this, I extend my Punto Veneno, forcing the brute to finally release me.

    Unfortunately, he does so by trying to launch me through the only wall still intact. And when I manage to soften the blow and just stick into it instead, I get a fistful of lightning and thunder on the face for my efforts. Because I’m fighting an Electric-Type Hollow, apparently.

    A crocodile-faced, monkey-bodied, electric-eel-hearted Hollow, now that I stop and look. That’s a thing. And will soon be a thing with sticky thread all over it’s ugly face, Disparo Demora!

    … Dodged.

    Why you! Disparo Demora!

    Dodged again. And this time he zapped in return. Gah, those things hurt! Out of all the times to find a hollow both fast enough to dodge my attacks and cautious enough to bother doing so, why did it had to be now?

    The ragged breathings behind me tell me the girls had enough presence of mind to reunite and huddle behind cover, but were either unwilling or incapable of getting away. That… seriously limits my defensive options. Anything I dodge will go straight at them, and I’m not sure how sturdy their cover will prove against Hollow general bullshittery.

    At least I don’t have to worry about it dodging my attacks. There’s only trash down the alley. Literally. Which is good, because I don’t seem capable of clipping him with my threads. Which means I’ll turn him into a pincushion instead. Eat hair-darts ugly face, Punto Veneno!!

    That… at least hits. Against the hairy black arms protecting its face. To no appreciable effect. A quick Disparo Demora on the meanwhile brings a solid piece of debris I use to block the next lightning bolt, but they get disintegrated in the process. Damnit!

    Why don’t you try this for a size!

    Punto Veneno! - Stop blocking!- Disparo Demora! -Heh, that dodge was clumsy, I got you now- Punto Veneno! -Yes, block again, will you? Take this!- Disparo Demora (Multishot!)

    Twin silk threads fly onwards, trajectory slightly impossible courtesy of Thread Manipulation and, as I see the irritatingly nimble hollow try to get away, I know the monkey-crock won't be able to dodge this time.

    One of the threads goes for its face, and he barely manages to dodge it twisting in an impossible angle, but the other one tags its leg and really, that’s all I need. A solid tug has him crashing onto the ground and before he can stand up again all the missed threads still lying around come to life and pounce on him from everywhere, finally pinning him down.

    Oh, Thread Manipulation, how I love you.

    Chupavidas finishes the job, but takes longer than expected to finish. This guy wasn’t your regular everyday idiot. An outlier, a powerhorse way ahead of the curve. Still and idiot, but more. Super Idiot sounds like an appropriate name.

    “Uh, Um…” Oh, right, the kids are still here. And one of them seems brave enough to approach me. That takes guts, I’m kinda scary. “Thank you very much Mister Caterpillar.”

    “I’m a girl!” Turning towards the impudent child, I find out it’s the blonde one. And that she’s bowing down in front of a dumpster with a bright smile on her face that’s kinda blinding. “And I’m here!”

    “Yuzu!” The other girl, the dark haired one, half-whines half-scolds. At least she has the decency to shoot an apologetic look my way. “I’m sorry about my sister, Miss Caterpillar. She can’t really see spirits, you see.”

    “That’s...” Kinda depressing, actually. So normal humans can’t even see me? “That’s fine. Are you two alright?”

    “Yeah, just scratches.” Then she frowns, finally noticing the obvious. “What was that thing? What are you? What’s going on?”

    Ho boy, you don’t ask the easy questions, do you? How do I even explain what am I without making her panic?

    “I’m not sure what’s going on, but we’re not here by choice.” I evade. “That probably won’t matter too much to the others though. Most of my kind are, well… mindless hungry animals. Or sadistic hungry animals if they’re actually smart.”

    Nailed it.

    “And what about you? Who are you?”

    “Me?”

    Now that I think about it, what do I name myself? It never seemed important before… But I can’t go around being called Miss Caterpillar forever. Names are supposed to be important, but this isn’t the time for deep introspection, so I grab the first thing that crosses my mind and run with it.


    Skitter. There’s some conflicting feelings about this name, but you can almost taste de familiarity. This is no doubt a name you have used before, even if it leaves a bitter aftertaste. In spite of everything else, Skitter is a name you can work with.
    Weaver. This is a good name, but using it makes you feel like a faker. Naming yourself after what you want to be, instead of what you really are. In spite of your best efforts, you still have no clue how to properly weave, after all.
    Khepri. No. Just… No. You can’t. Not this. Not now. Not gain. Not ever. STOP IT!!
    T***** *****T. Ugh… your head hurts just trying to think about it.
    Kiddo. Such a warm heartache…
    Let the kids name you. You might live to regret it...
    Write in. I'm honestly curious what might crop up here.



    [X][Name] Skitter.
    [X][Name] Weaver.

    [X][Name] Khepri.
    [X][Name] T***** *****T.

    [X][Name] Kiddo.
    [X][Name] Let the kids name you.
    [X][Name] Write in.



    You've drained the stuffing out of the monkey-croc! You earn 1728300 EE!!
    Power Level Up! You're now level 49!!
    Kinda forgot to give you EE for this fight. Tehee~
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2020
  20. Threadmarks: Larva 1.18 - Street Fighting, Oily shadows and deals with the... children?
    Planeshunter

    Planeshunter [Verified Slimegirl Whisperer]

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2019
    Messages:
    161
    Likes Received:
    1,710
    Sorry, can’t think of a good title so I’m doing like a posh chef and listing the ingredients instead.



    I chose the name Weaver. It was a good name, full of hope and promise. It wasn’t my name though, not really. I simply wasn’t Weaver, just like I wasn’t a weaver. It would serve as a reminder of what I wanted to accomplish, though, until I could find my true one.

    ...Stupid weaving is hard, okay? Maybe I can get a book somewhere around here?

    I’m also starting to suspect we Hollows aren’t actually supposed to hunt each other and that’s more of a last resort thing. Because humans feel absurdly tasty to my senses. Even more so spiritually strong ones like Karin and Yuzu. They’re twins, by the way. Fraternal and with a big brother whose hair is bright orange. Their family tree must be really colourful.

    But I digress. My hunger senses are going crazy, and I hesitate to blame it on whatever brought me to the mortal world. Every single human we pass near I can feel with painful clarity, a mass of light and warmth that makes me salivate in anticipation. That’s without mentioning Karin and Yuzu themselves, whose spiritually strong souls are particularly hard to ignore.

    My point is, it would make sense if we Hollows were supposed to prey on humans. Half an hour in the mortal world and I’m already learning new things about myself. Not that I have any intention of doing anything of the sort anytime soon, so to distract myself from the frankly maddening impulse to munch the stuffing out of my new friends bar charges, we chat.

    Talking to someone is nice after spending so long alone, even if my height makes it annoying to constantly have to look downwards.

    … I’m walking over street fences and jumping through lampposts and wirelines, of course. The option is having to look upwards, and being constantly reminded I’m barely tall enough to reach a kid’s waist. For some reason I never considered my size wouldn’t match a human. Which is stupid, cuz a caterpillar tall enough to look a human to the eye would need to be the size of a tank. Cool as that would be, I’m in no hurry to get that fat.

    … Moving on.

    The talking thing worked for a while, kept us all relaxed and distracted from our respective troubles as they told me about their hobbies and I talked about myself, Hueco Mundo and Hollows in general. Until I mentioned my theories about Hollows hungering for spiritually strong humans and they panicked. Apparently their big brother is spiritually stronger than even them, so he would be in grave danger.

    Amazing how useless I can be at that ‘keeping the children calm’ thing, yes? In hindsight probably mentioning there’s an entire species of invisible monsters wanting to munch their souls was a bad idea altogether. Should’ve kept the conversation about soccer and teddy bears.

    Sh-Shut up! I’m new at this socializing thing, okay? Live and learn and all that. Next time I’ll do better.

    In any case, that’s how we find ourselves hurriedly looking for the highest Hollow density we can find. It only makes sense they would swarm towards someone even tastier than the twins. It’s not easy though. Because Hollows are still showing up all around the place and they charge towards the first thing that catches their attention.

    Namely us.

    Judicious usage of my offensive Powers keep them at bay. And with judicious I mean spamming Punto Veneno and Chupavidas like there’s no tomorrow and shooting down with Disparo Demora anything that rethinks the plan and tries to leave.

    … What? If I’m going to stay around this mouth-watering twins without doing anything I’ll later regret, it’s in everyone’s best interests that I am well fed.

    “You mentioned you like soccer, right Karin?” See? I can have a casual conversation too, I can learn! “Don’t the boys give you trouble about playing one of their precious manly sports?”

    “Sometimes, but then I kick them in the shins and they shut up. Or cry.” She answers with a weird look. “The idiots think Ichi-nii’s a delinquent anyway, so most of the time they’re too scared of him to try anything.”

    “Karin-chan?” Yuzu has been mostly quiet all the time. Poor girl is missing half the conversation. This not being visible thing kinda sucks. “Shouldn’t we let Miss Weaver focus on the monsters?”

    “Oh, don’t worry too much about it” I answer while turning another idiot into a pincushion. So that’s why she was looking at me weirdly? “These are small fries and I really missed someone to talk with. Thank Yuzu on my behalf though, she’s a sweet girl, isn’t she?”

    “Yep,” Then she smiles evilly, a mischievous glint in her eyes. “My little sister is the cutest, brithest, sweetest girl in the world!”

    “K-Karin-chan!” The blonde twin, still unaware of half the conversation, blushes like a ripe tomato. “What are you doing, suddenly saying something like that? And we’re twins, you’re only older by five minutes, geez...”

    So this is sisterly teasing, huh? It must be nice…

    That’s when I catch a hint of something swift and shiny flying towards them and the next thing I know the twins give out a strangled cry as I push them out of the way, and five tendrils of iridescent black are piercing my body. It… hurts. It hurts a lot.

    Damnit! I just wanted to have a nice chat and maybe meet the kids’ big brother. Why can I never have nice things without something ruining it?

    Hahhhhahahahaha FOOOOOOOOL!!” A… masked thing whose entire body seems to be made of a dark oily liquid coalesces from the shadows of a sidestreet to gloat at me. “I can’t believe you took an attack for them! What’s the point in fattening your prey if you’re going to die staking your claim? Don’t worry though, Pyrexia will feast on them for you!!”

    And the possibility of me caring about Karin and Yuzu doesn’t even cross his mind. Urk, I know we Hollow aren’t exactly an example of empathy at the best of times, but it still catches me by surprise when one of them is smart enough to talk and… that trash is what comes out of their mouths.

    Before I can retort (Or spill my guts on the street, not sure which), the thing retracts its finger-tentacles and takes a swipe at me with its other hand. I might’ve been able to dodge it, five new piercings or not, but of course the fucker angles its strike in such a way it’ll hit the twins if I do that.

    So I take the hit as best as I can, cursing once again my small body and stubby legs, and try very hard not to bend over when pure agony courses through my battered body at the impact. I shouldn’t complain, really. No way a human would remain in fighting condition with the wounds I just took.

    I counter as best as I can, which isn’t as much as I would like. Because, my whole body feels on fire. This Pyrexia dude just laughs at my Punto Veneno, I think his liquid body makes my poison pointless. Same with Disparo Demora.

    “Useless useless USELESS!!” The thing crows “Pyrexia has seen you fight! Pirexia can take you on!!”

    Insufferable idiot… As for my Chupavidas, which would usually be my go-to attack in this situation… Well.

    I’m having trouble controlling it. Because, you know, metaphysical manifestation of my hunger in front of really really appetizing kinds. Funny how so far, throwing Chupavidas around like candy helped me focus on something else, but now that I’m hurt and in real need of an energy boost it has the opposite effect. I can’t put the two of them out of my mind, and I’m afraid I’ll munch them dry if I try using my Power.

    If I wasn’t about to bend over I would call it ironic, right now I just find it a pain. Like everything else, because the world is more or less just pain. Instinct, I love you, but sometimes you’re just trouble. I’m not going to kill children!

    Of course, the fucker can’t let me have my moment, trying to rush past me to get to the twins. Oh no, you don’t!

    Pulling all the threads dispersed around the ground with Thread Manipulation, I pack them together as thickly as I can to throw a barrier in front of the thing. I don’t really expect it to stop a liquid creature, she can just flow through no matter how fine the net. My plan is simply to slow it enough for Karin and Yuzu to get away.

    But then it dodges around my barrier, making me blink. When realization comes a second later, I feel really dumb.

    Stupid stupid stupid!! I should’ve at least considered it sooner. If I wasn’t in so much pain, and the hunger so hard to ignore, I would have. Pyrexia’s body is liquid, but the mask isn’t! Gritting my teeth (I don’t have teeth), I jump at it, interceptackling its mask on its way to pounce the twins. Then my gorgeous hair is everywhere, rushing around and through. prodding, testing, smothering and crushing.

    I find the mouth hole, then the nostrils, then the eyeshockets, and I push through. It’s dirty, messy, desperate and a tad suicidal. Pyrexia doesn’t go quietly either, trashing everywhere as I try my best to crush a bone mask with just hair. But I’m running out of time and complex plans are a luxury I cannot afford. It even works… eventually.

    With a last, keening cry, Pyrexia’s mask crumbles to dust under my assault. It’s fine if I munch its essence, right? I mean, surrounded by my hair like this, not a feet away from my face… there’s no way I can somehow mess this up, right? The twins are still painfully obvious to my senses, but they’re far enough.

    I can munch Pyrexia’s remains, right?

    Yeah, I can.

    Heck, I’m doing it.

    Chupavidas!

    … It’s… not enough.

    It’s not nearly enough.

    My whole body aches. I think it’s trying to patch itself, but I don’t need a mirror to tell I’m a mess. If only I was in Hueco Mundo, I could use Luz Lunar to take the edge out. But like this… I’m no better than Hollow bait. And that’s assuming I don’t just kneel over and die. Can a Hollow even bleed out?

    “Miss Weaver?” Oh, look, it’s the black-haired twin! How nice of her to get closer so I can… No! Bad Instincts!! No munching kids!! “Are you alright?”

    “Just a flesh wound.” I joke with my best Monty Python impersonation. If her deadpan is any indicator, I utterly failed. “You girls should probably get out of here. Other Hollow might’ve been attracted by the fight.”

    “We can’t just abandon you here!”

    “You have a better idea, kid?” I do my best to sound dismissive instead of just… groaning in pain. Results are dubious. “I didn’t save you from the monkey-croc just to see you die trying to play heroes. I’ll be fine.”

    “You have five holes in your stomach I can see through!” She protests, why can’t she just take my words at face value? “You aren’t fine!”

    “I’m—”

    “You can munch on us!” Silence follows, because that was Yuzu, and we had kind of forgotten she was there. A bit flustered by the reaction her words have caused, she elaborates. “U- Um… you mentioned you can… um... ‘munch’ on others to regain energy. And you just said Hollows like you eat spiritually strong humans like us! So ‘munch’ on us!!”

    “Have you gone crazy?” Oh, wait, she cannot hear me. “Karin, tell your sister she’s gone crazy.”

    “No, she’s right.” Her sister joins. Damnit Karin, I was counting on you. You’re supposed to be the sensible twin! “You saved our skin back there, and all the way here too! We can’t just let you die like that!”

    “Don’t even joke about that, kid.” I growl “We Hollows are monsters that eat humans, it’s something instinctive. What’s to say I’ll be able to stop once I start draining? I could kill you!!”

    “You won't.” Damn those eyes full of trust. I’m not a trustworthy caterpillar damnit! I cheat and trick and ambush and lay traps!! Stop forcing your hopes on me! “I don’t know much about spirits and such, always tried to not get involved.”

    Smart kid.

    “But you I know about you! You’re not like the other Hollows” She continues, and suddenly she doesn’t seem that smart anymore. “You saved our lives and you put yourself in danger for us and now you’re trying to convince us to let you die so we can live. You’re not a monster, you’re a hero!”

    And then the two of them are looking at me expectantly, with a shine in their eyes that makes me feel unworthy. While asking me to drain their essence. Damnit, am I suddenly in a bad Vampire romance novel or something?


    On the verge of death, you’re made an offer hard to refuse. Will you accept the twins trust and put their lives in danger to save your own?

    Nope. You’re not doing it. That’s non-negotiable. There’s thousands of better options, like baiting other Hollows to attack you and then somehow turn the tables on them, or run to the sewers, or somehow make a Home and weather the storm inside. Or just die already and give the twins a chance to run.
    Reluctantly. It pains you to admit it, but you’re out of options. Still, that doesn’t mean you’re taking the slightest risk with this. If you get enough energy, you’re stopping. If you feel like something’s going wrong, you're stopping. If the twins faint you can be damn sure you’re stopping, and then smack them for not saying something sooner. You won’t kill children.
    Resignedly. It pains you to admit it, but you’re out of options. The twins are as good as dead if you can’t be there to protect them. That means you have no choice but to take some risks. You’ll munch on them until you’re combat ready again, or it becomes obvious they’ll die if you continue. It’ll probably be the end of their adventure though, no doubt they’ll be to drained to walk afterwards.
    Hungrily. You tried to hold it back, but the fight, the pain, the wounds… and now their offer, tantalizing and mouth-watering. You know you’re going to regret it later, but can only take so much before you go insane. Maybe, with some luck, you’ll snap out of it before it’s too late but, for now, you can only surrender to the hunger.


    [X][Choice] Nope
    [X][Choice] Reluctantly
    [X][Choice] Resignedly
    [X][Choice] Hungrily


    Munching that Pyrexia fella granted you a lot of EE! Oh, and the small fries provided a bit too, I guess. You earn 2000700 EE!!
    Power Level Up! You’re now Level 51!!
     
  21. Threadmarks: Larva 1.19 - Eating children and other addictive activities.
    Planeshunter

    Planeshunter [Verified Slimegirl Whisperer]

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2019
    Messages:
    161
    Likes Received:
    1,710



    I… there’s no real choice here, right?

    I mean, I could refuse and it wouldn’t be absolutely, certainly suicidal beyond any shadow of doubt, just… pointlessly risky and obfuscatingly stupid. The only real reason I have to not munch a bit on the twins is to avoid risking their lives and with me in no state to protect them, they’ll actually be in a lot more trouble.

    Alright, I can do this. It’s my Power, it’s my instincts, and they’ll do what I want them to. No going overboard without permission here, no siree!

    “Okay… You win, kid. ” Karin’s face lights up, but can get a word in I add my own conditions. “But! If we’re doing this we’re doing it right! I’m stopping the second something goes even slightly sideways, and that includes you stopping me if you start feeling sick.”

    “Sure, that’s common sense.”

    “Also I’m starting with your sister.”

    “Wait, what? NO!”

    “There’s a chance, no matter how much faith you have in me, that I won’t be able to stop once I start. If that happens, you can at least try and shake me out of it. How’s Yuzu going to help if that happens? What can she do, besides impotently watch her sister shrivel up and die in front of her own eyes?”

    Karin’s face loses all colour, and I can’t help a feeling of guilt to twist my insides. Or maybe it’s just more pain, my insides have been twisted a lot lately. When she finally nods her agreement, her face is dead serious. Wonder if I have gone too far with the mental picture? Maybe, but it’s something that can happen, and it’s somewhat satisfying to know she’s finally taking this business seriously.

    … Wait, did I just win an argument? Is that a thing that actually happens?

    “Alright, then, go and explain the plan to your sister.” Somewhat, I don’t really feel like I’ve ‘won’ anything. Next time I’ll try not scaring children into accepting my side without question. “I… need a moment to focus.”

    Right, focus is the right word. Because I’m trying to do something I’ve never tried before. Controlling what and how I munch, I can. Holding back my instincts when they go too far, I’ve done before. I just have to do both at the same time, under the greatest temptation I’ve felt since the Mofo. And possibly under the effects of some will-altering effect. This is going to challenge all my self-control and skills.

    “Alright, Miss Weaver we’re ready.”

    “U- Um…” Yuzu hesitates a moment, doing her best to look in my direction. She’s aiming a bit to the side, but I won’t hold it against her. Then she takes a deep breath and... bows before me. “I’ll be in your care, Miss Weaver.”

    Ugh… stupid Japanese and their stupidly respectful culture. That heat running behind my mask is just my body trying to heal. I’m not blushing damnit!

    “Alright then, fine. Uhmm… Here I come.” And… I’m babbling. Okay, let’s stop that. “Karin, keep an eye on me. If you see something that looks even remotely wrong, whack me on the head or something.”

    When she nods without a word, I decide to stop procrastinating and get to it.

    Chupavidas!

    I go with a sliver of a tendril of my maximum output, or as close to that as I can actually achieve. And yet, the first thing that comes to mind is how quickly it’s working. Ideas flash through my mind about possible explanation, like how Hollows might be inherently resistant to a hunger-based Power due to our nature, or how even spiritually strong humans might still have small reserves.

    Then the taste hits me and it’s all I can do not to munch her dry in an instant. Is this what ambrosia tastes like? Right here and now, I realize how utterly bland my diet has been so far. Like eating ration bars compared with the caviar and cava of human essence. Still, I seize the impulse and crush it under resolve and self-control.

    It’s… honestly not so bad. As long as I go little by little and don’t let my mind wander, I can keep a steady pace and feel Yuzu’s energy slowly diminishing. When it reaches the half mark, I keep at it just a moment longer before stopping. I immediately miss the sensation, but it’s something manageable.

    “Al… alright.” Wow, I’m actually short of breath, that was intense. “Anymore than that might be dangerous.” Then after prodding a bit inwards to check my wounds. “If I can get the same from you kid, it should be more than enough.”

    Human essence is… Lighter? Thinner? I’m not sure how to put it into words, but while really tasty it doesn’t provide as much sustenance as a Hollow. It might be just the fact I’m catching a bite instead of consuming them whole. There’s obviously something meaningful about devouring a soul instead of, you know, nibbling at them.

    … Aaaaand my thoughts have gone somewhere I don’t want to follow. Let’s focus on the present.

    “Are you alright Yuzu?” Karin looks adorable, fussing over her sister like that.

    “Yes, just a bit woozy.” Yuzu answers with an unsteady smile, that quickly brightens as she recovers her footing. “I could feel Miss Weaver touching me! It was much more intense than the hazy figures I usually see!”

    Wow that can be misconstructed way too easily.

    “She seems well enough.” Thank goodness. “Are you ready for your turn kid?”

    Karin just nods with a cute frown that I’m sure she thinks looks resolute. Well, here we go again!

    Chupavidas!

    Wow… okay, wow… Yuzu was like caviar and cava, which is kinda hard to top, but Karin is more like… Hotpot. Very, very, very flavourful hotpot. Hearty and filling, and still delicious on its own homely way. I honestly think I would pick something like this over luxurious gourmet courses anytime.

    Then I feel something repeatedly hit me in the head. It doesn’t really hurt, but it catches my by surprise.

    “Miss Weaver, please stop!” Oh, that’s Yuzu, and she’s sounding rather worried. What’s… “You’re hurting Karin-chan!!”

    My eyes focus on what’s going on around me, and I see Yuzu desperately hitting me with a piece of wood god knows where she found. Karin lies on the floor, pale and with a pained expression on her face.

    Oh! Crap!

    I stop immediately. Cursing my lack of focus, and rushing to her side. I can’t believe I let my mind wander like that after saying I would be careful! I don’t know what I’ll do if she’s hurt for real!!

    Fortunately it was just a scare. In the end, they end up apologizing to me, about not taking my warnings seriously enough. I’m only glad nothing serious happened, but their attitude is seriously a breath of fresh air. And I might be feeling a bit guilty about it. It was still me who lost control, after all.

    “Let’s just say all’s well that ends well, alright?” I finally say. “Karin isn’t really hurt, and I’ve been able to heal just enough.”

    “Right” Yuzu hurries to agree. “I was really worried for a moment, but nobody’s really hurt.”

    … Wait a minute.

    “Yuzu?”

    “Yes?”

    “Since when can you see me?”

    “Eh?” She turns to look at me uncomprehendingly. Three, two, one... “Eeeeeeeehhhhh!!!”

    Realization hits her like a freight train.

    “I’m going to assume it has something to do with my munching at your soul.” Then I turn towards Karin, who seems to have been the first to notice and is just looking at our byplay with an amused grin. “Could it be that she’s a bit of an airhead?”

    “Oh, absolutely, but don’t call her that or she’ll pout at you to death.” Of course, that makes her pout.

    “...Frightening.”

    “It really is. Once, Ichi-nii had to run all the way to the Seven-Eleven in the middle of the night to buy her Strawberry Ice cream as an apology. Nobody can resist her pouts.” Then she pauses to contemplate her own words. “Or maybe it’s just Ichi-nii, he’s a sucker for us.”

    Doting big brother, eh? Man, now I’m even more envious of them.

    “Didn’t you say others take him for a hooligan?” I remember a previous comment “How does that even work if he’s such a sweetheart?”

    “Ichi-nii isn’t very good with words, and his hair is orange.” She shrugs “So people think he dies it and when someone gives him or us a bad time...”

    “He punches first and asks questions never?” Seems like a good policy if you ask me, it’s what I’d do for a little sister, myself.

    “Pretty much! He gets into trouble for it all the time, but he doesn’t care.”

    The mood doesn’t last long though, because inconsiderate Hollow small fries were indeed attracted by that last big fight and soon arrive to it. Right, focus. We have a big brother to rescue, we might need a better plan than move around looking for a fight.


    All’s well that ends well indeed. There was a big scare, but everything’s right in the end. Now, what approach would you like to take about finding 'Ichi-nii'?

    Wander.
    Keep doing what you’re doing. Since his spiritual pressence is supposedly stupid strong, finding him should be a matter of finding the highest concentration of Hollows.
    School. Normal teenagers are at school at this time of the day. Maybe you should ask the twins where his high school is and try to get there. He might have left, or be playing truant, but it looks like a good place to start. Beats wandering anyway.
    Arcade. Not necessarily an arcade, but there must be someplace this 'Ichi-nii' frequents. And like good cute little sisters, Karin and Yuzu are bound to know where that is even if they’re not supposed to. It might be a good place to look. Beats wandering anyway.
    Write-in. There must be like a thousand million reasonable ideas I can’t think of right now, knock yourselves out.


    Eating children didn’t actually earn you any EE, but you got enough Reiryoku to patch yourself up. You’re combat ready again, if not in tip-top condition just yet.


    I don’t know what to think of this chapter. On one hand, it was hell to get started. On the other, after the initial struggle most of the chapter wrote itself.
    Also, there was a fair chance someone spiritually aware caught you eating children. That would’ve been… fun. But you lucked out, so maybe another time?
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2020
  22. Threadmarks: Larva 1.20 - Wild boot-lady appeared!
    Planeshunter

    Planeshunter [Verified Slimegirl Whisperer]

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2019
    Messages:
    161
    Likes Received:
    1,710
    Sorry for the wait, shitty week was shitty.

    [X] Wander.



    If you’d told me a week ago that I’d get bored of fighting off an army of starving and crazed hungering spirits, I would’ve recommended you a shirk. Now though… You can only poison, entrap and munch dry so many weaklings throwing themselves at you before it gets dull.

    Honestly, at this point it’s become so routine I can do it on autopilot and keep my attention on possible traps. We don’t want another oily shadow doing unmentionable things to my body, after all. That and enjoying the place. I don’t think I’ve ever been on Japan in life. The apartment buildings look familiar enough, but the way temples and gardens mix freely with both modern and traditional housing all around the urban landscape fills me with a sense of wonder. Pretty sure we didn’t have anything like that wherever I’m from.

    I’m also vividly aware of all the human souls around. Considering the countless Hollow all around, it’s a small miracle how few are dying. Guess the greedy idiots are going after spiritually strong humans. Who can either fight back or run. Huh.

    I was also afraid munching on the twins would make my hunger harder to control and… it kinda did? I need to focus a bit on not taking a sip from every human soul in my range, but it’s honestly not that bad. It probably wouldn’t be even harmful enough for them to get dizzy if I slipped either, this subconscious pull or whatever it is isn't exactly strong.

    Anyway, back to slaughter idiots while looking for the denser concentrations and…

    Wait, what’s that? That presence is no Hollow, and its closing in fast.

    Actually, it should be right… above… WOW!!

    “Get away from the children, you monster!!”

    A young woman clad in black and white falls from the sky, gouging the ground where I stood a second away with an absurdly powerful axe kick. I’d like to clear the obvious misunderstanding, but the woman recovers her stance and kicks away at my new position before you can say ‘tasty children’.

    She’s good too, or maybe I’m too slow. Because after dancing around what couldn’t be more than a couple of minutes, she manages to plant a solid kick on the back of my neck. Yes, right there on the only discernible weak point of a caterpillar Hollow. Shame my gorgeous mane is poisonous, eh, boot lady?

    That was embarrassing for everyone.

    For me, cuz I’m still kinda recovering from having my body tunneled and couldn’t catch myself on time, there may or may not be a new caterpillar-shaped indentation in town. For her, cuz she kinda collapsed after taking a thousand Punto Veneno at various points though her upper leg. Those boots she wears are real hardy and cover a lot of leg, but not everything. And her pants are cool but make for poor armor.

    Now, a bit of Thread Manipulation and… would you like some fries with your boot-lady wrap? Heh, unconscious like this and with only her face sticking out of the threads she looks… still kinda intimidating, to be honest. That resting bitch expression in her tanned face makes it seem like she chews rocks for breakfast. Considering what she did with the poor ground, maybe she does.

    “So… You kids know the Boot-lady?” I ask, idly poking said lady in the forehead. She sure doesn’t look like a Hollow, nor like any shinigami I’ve ever met. Admittedly I’ve only ever met one, so what do I know?

    The twins shake their heads, maybe a bit shaken by the encounter. Now that I look around, we kinda trashed the street in our two-minute melee…

    Should I wake her up then? I mean, there’s not that much I can do about her anyway. Besides munching her. I usually munch everything that tries to kill me first, but this time it was a misunderstanding, so I could make an exception.

    So let’s poke her forehead a bit more insistently and… There!

    “Wha—” The woman sputters awake at my prodding, only to realize she’s in a bit of a (heh) bind. “Release me, you monster!”

    “That’s no way to apologize for attacking me unprovoked, you know?” I mean, rude much? “That was obviously a misunderstanding, so I’m willing to let bygones be bygones, but I think I deserve an apology.”

    “In your dreams monster! What did you do with the children?”

    “Uh… They’re right behind you?” I would give the twins a meaningful look, but my facial expression is kinda stuck, that with bone masks being rigid and all that. Fortunately they seem to catch my plight and step forward.

    “We are fine, miss.” Yuzu hurries to explain. “Miss Weaver saved us from the bad Hollow.”

    “No! It’s a trap! There are no ‘good Hollow’ you fools! Run before it’s too late!”

    Huh, she has a point though. One good Hollow out of millions is practically the same as zero, and I still have trouble keeping myself from munching on tasty humans. Maybe I should offer to release her and send the twins with her. She’s strong enough and I couldn’t really fault the twins if they choose a fellow human before a gorgeously haired undead caterpillar, I guess.

    It’s probably even for the best.

    “So, maybe you girls...” My proposal gets interrupted by Yuzu’s arms hugging my body while hiding from the yelling Boot-lady behind me. Karin… Karin is acting a bit more brave, but she’s definitely taking cover behind me too, glaring at the Boot-lady. “Uh, I guess you have your answer, Boot-lady. You kids are just too precious.”

    I’m not crying damnit! I have no lacrimal conducts.

    “You have brainwashed them, you damn Hollow!” And still the Boot-lady refuses to come to her senses “Take this filth off me and I’ll show you!”

    “Look here, Boot-lady, It wasn’t me who went around attacking innocent caterpillars out of nowhere. How about you calm down and take a minute to—”

    “How about I bash your head in?” She roars as if she can somehow get free and make good on that threat “Dirty Boots!!

    “Wow, do you want to attract all the Hollows in the area or something?” Suddenly there’s Reishi flying everywhere. “My threads can hold down a Gillian you know?”

    Probably even an Adjuchas, I’ve gotten stronger since the Skull-thing. There’s no way she’ll… Wah!! She’s breaking through!!

    Okay, Punto Veneno.

    Aaaaand, unconscious again. Sigh, that was a waste of time.



    You got a crazy boot lady in your web, but you’re all out of pokeballs. What do you intend to do now?

    Recruit.
    Try again the peaceful approach. Maybe gagging her first this time, so you can make your point uninterrupted. The twins made clear they prefer to remain with you before joining an unknown and maybe unhinged human lady. But picking both is still better than having to choose! Also you won’t always be around to help, having a fellow human capable of kicking Hollows in the teeth around will become handy sooner or later.
    Abandon. Yeah, nothing to do here. Let’s forget about the random interruption from nowhere and keep searching for the kids’ ‘Ichi-nii’. She’ll probably be fine. Assuming she wakes up from my poison soon. And that ‘Dirty Boots’ trick she used to almost get free wasn’t a one-time thing.
    Mind the Children. Okay, she tried to kill you. Then you tried to clear the misunderstanding and she threatened to kill you for your efforts. That means munchies in your book. Not that she would survive long anyway, poisoned and cocooned like this in a town overrun with Hollow. Tell the twins to go ahead while you wrap up this business and then feast in your first human soul…. Wow that didn’t sound creepy or anything. Also, Karin will probably realize what you’re going to do even if you send them away, she’s a smart cookie.
    Harsh Lesson. Okay, she tried to kill you. Then you tried to clear the misunderstanding and she threatened to kill you for your efforts. That means munchies in your book. Not that she would survive long anyway, poisoned and cocooned like this in a town overrun with Hollow. The twins can look away if they want to, but you’re not going to coddle them. There’s a harsh word out there and the sooner they learn that, the higher their chances to survive on it.


    [X][Boot Lady] Recruit.
    [X][Boot Lady] Abandon.
    [X][Boot Lady] Mind the Children.
    [X][Boot Lady] Harsh Lesson.



    You got another Natural Crit. (4/5)! Just one more without critical failures in-between and you’ll unlock the Perk Memetic Badass!! Please, oh mighty dice, stop making the QM cry...

    Yeah, another Natural Crit, this one screwed me a bit, since I was rolling for the type of encounter and (stupid of me, I know) the possibility of critting didnt’ even cross my mind. So I had to improvise, hope you enjoyed the results
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2020
  23. Threadmarks: Larva 1.21 - Talk no Jutsu.
    Planeshunter

    Planeshunter [Verified Slimegirl Whisperer]

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2019
    Messages:
    161
    Likes Received:
    1,710
    I really need to sleep more, hopefully my sleep deprivation won’t hurt the chapter too much.


    … Sometimes I wish I was enough of a douche to just kick Boot-lady to the curb. That would make the rest of the day easier. But we’ve already established my ownership of a bleeding heart that one day will have me killed, and at least Boot-lady’s intentions were good, even if she needs to work a bit on her listening skills. Ah, I can already feel the migraine setting in. Let’s hope this works, the kids could use someone else keeping an eye on them.

    I’d probably have to approach this from a different angle too. Being polite didn’t work all that well, so I guess it’s time to be scary. That’s right, Boot-lady! No more Miss Weaver the Nice Caterpillar for you!

    Right as I’m about to wake her up again, though, I hesitate, a sudden flash of… something crossing my mind. Of intimidation, of trying to build a cred, of taking things too far, of being feared by those you’re trying to protect, and the ultimate consequences of that.

    ... wow. Shit. Was that a flashback? I think it was a flashback.

    What the heck is wrong with my past life, that everything I can remember of it are confusing blurs of regret and trauma? No, seriously, what the fuck, past me? Why can’t I remember fairies and kitties?

    Anyway, I really should give a word of warning to the twins. So they don’t freak out or anything. Then I smack away an idiot who thought itself clever, trying to sneak on me while I’m distracted. Whatever.

    “Alright kids, I’m giving this Talk-no-jutsu thing another try. It leaves a bad aftertaste to just abandon Boot-lady like this.” Yuzu smiles in relief, but Karin actually frowns a bit, clearly of two minds about my choice. I knew there was a reason I like the kid. “But since being polite didn’t work, I’ll be a bit more… assertive.”

    “Are… are you going to hurt her?” That’s Yuzu, in case you can’t tell.

    “Hurt? Goodie, no.” I wave a stumpy forehead in front of my face. “But I’ll try to give her a good scare. And I’m pretty good at being scary, so I wanted to give you kids a heads up.”

    I wasn’t too sure about this plan before the sorta-flashback, but now I have a certain idea of how scary I can really be when I try. The answer is ‘a lot’ for some reason. So I stand in front of Boot-lady, nodding gratefully at Karin when she turns her sister around and distracts her with some light chat. And take a deep breath.

    What do I have going for me? A body the size of a big-ish dog, stubby legs and a juicy fat ass. Doesn’t sound like much. I also have my mastery manipulating threads (weaving doesn’t count, shut up), a jumpscare-worthy face-mask with glowing red eyes and a gorgeous and freely manipulable mane of poisonous, red-tipped hair.

    Yeah, I can work with that.

    A brief exercise of Disparo Demora has me relocated at a height where I can comfortably look down at Boot-lady, smart positioning means I can cast shadows all through my face with just a tilt and lastly, I spread my gorgeous mane all around myself, fiery red tips all aimed at Boot-lady’s face.

    Perfect. If this doesn’t intimidate her, nothing will.

    She doesn’t react to me gagging her, but starts awake fast enough when I prick her, expression quickly going from confused to surprised to wariness.

    “I consider myself a pretty laid back caterpillar.” I start my routine with my best fake cheerfulness. “Fun loving and willing to let bygones be bygones.”

    That’s when she tries to retort, and discovers the gag. And her expression turns indignant. Well, sucks to be you, Boot-lady. The gag stays there.

    “That said, I don’t appreciate being attacked out of nowhere, being baselessly insulted or having my good intentions thrown back at my face.” As I talk, my pitch lowers, but I pay care to never get louder. Portraying control is a delicate art, and there’s no place on it for hysterics. “I also really don’t appreciate someone making a reishi lighthouse impersonation around my charges when the town is being overrun by Hollow.”

    Around that point is where her indignant expression turns cowed. She’s finally realizing how badly she screwed up. Good.

    “So this is how this is going to work. I’m going to remove the gag and we’re going to have an actual proper conversation like adults are supposed to do, and if you try anything that can be even remotely misconstrued as threatening to me or the kids,” Then I tilt my head, letting the shadows cover my mask for extra effect. “I’m going to feed you your own fucking eyes. Savvy?”

    She has the balls to frown and try to stare me down, but I have a bone mask for a face that doesn’t come with eyelids, so that’s kind of a lost battle for her. Another idiot tries to jump on us, but it trips on one of my traps and dies an ignoble death in the sidelines. In the end, Boot-lady looks away first, nodding with a mulish expression.

    I allow myself to relax a bit, and let out a long drawn sigh in the privacy of my own mind. Okay, okay. If this doesn’t drive my point home, I don’t know what will. Good job, me.

    I remove the gag. No, I don’t do it with a vindictively harsh pull, because I’m not a vindictive caterpillar. Any involved harshness is purely accidental. And less than she deserves, anyway.

    “Alright then. I’m going to release you and you’ll be free to scram and never look back. But if you’re actually serious about helping the kids, I could use another pair of eyes, so you’re welcome to join us.”

    Jumping down from my improvised platform I munch on the threads to release her. There’s a bit of a tense moment when she’s freed and obviously considers going back on her word (or nod, whatever), but in the end she opts for stretching her limbs, very tellingly not taking a single step away, but also keeping me on sight the whole time. I shrug, I can work with stoic people. As long as they listen.

    “As you can see if you bother to actually look, I’m keeping these two out of trouble. Because, you know, there’s a whole herd… pride… murder? A shitload of feral Hollow rampaging around and they are prime targets, that with being spiritually strong and all. Even if they don’t have literal asskicking powers like you.” The twins notice we’re not fighting anymore, and get closer. We should probably introduce ourselves, right? “Name’s Weaver by the way, the kids are Karin and Yuzu.”

    They both nod as I say their name, but Boot-lady is busy looking at me oddly for some reason. It’s making me feel really self-conscious.

    “Well?” I ask, to break the awkward silence. “Do you have a name or should I keep calling you Boot-lady?”

    That finally seems to snap her out of whatever’s going through her mind. “Jackie, Jackie Tristan. A Fullbringer.”

    If I had eyelids, that statement would’ve made me blink. Instead, I just deadpan at her. I’m very good at deadpan. “I have no idea what that means. But I’m sure you can explain along the way. We’re looking for their even stronger spiritually big brother. And I’m riding your shoulder, running on stubby legs is a pain.”

    Before she can protest, I’ve already jumped into her shoulder. It’s a bit of a tight fit, but she’s strong enough to bear with me. In the end, she shrugs and we resume our search, while she tells me about spiritually strong humans, attachment to mundane items and the strange conceptual powers derived from that combination. It’s truly fascinating.


    You have successfully intimidated into submission negotiated an alliance with Jakie Tristan, the Boot-lady! Your main objective remains finding the twins’ ‘Ichi-nii’ before a Hollow gobbles him up, but what are your plans for your new ally?

    Temporary.
    The circumstances brought you together and you’ll walk your own separate paths once they change. You’ll work together to survive the current incident, but that’s it. No need to go out of your way to keep her around.
    Bodyguard. You are a Hollow and, despite your idiot brethren beliefs, your place is in Hueco Mundo. Where the Oblivion pull is at the weakest, and the Hollow Moon shines brightly. The twins could use someone keeping an eye on them once you leave. Maybe you can talk the Boot-lady into doing that for you?
    Teacher. You are a Hollow and, despite your idiot brethren beliefs, your place is in Hueco Mundo. Where the Oblivion pull is at the weakest, and the Hollow Moon shines brightly. The twins will have to learn how to fend for themselves once you leave. Maybe you can talk the Boot-lady into doing that for you?
    Friend. You are a Hollow and, despite your idiot brethren beliefs, your place is in Hueco Mundo. Where the Oblivion pull is at the weakest, and the Hollow Moon shines brightly. From your conversation with them, you can tell the twins don’t really have any friends outside their family and it sits a bit wrong with you to abandon them. Maybe you can guilt the Boot-lady into befriending them?


    [X][Boot-lady] Temporary.
    [X][Boot-lady] Bodyguard.
    [X][Boot-lady] Teacher.
    [X][Boot-lady] Friend.



    So I might draw inspiration from a certain Unawarely Competent spider, but Weaver isn’t Shiraori. Even if she can barely remember anything of her past life, certain regrets and traumas will muscle their way to the forefront with the right triggers. As fun as it would’ve been for her to scare the living shit out of everyone there while thinking herself hopelessly unintimidating, it just couldn’t be.
    The shoulder loli thing was… actually completely accidental, it just happened.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2020
  24. Threadmarks: Larva 1.22 - Unexpected meetings.
    Planeshunter

    Planeshunter [Verified Slimegirl Whisperer]

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2019
    Messages:
    161
    Likes Received:
    1,710
    “So… this Fullbringer thing, That’s what happens when a living human gains spiritual powers?”

    “… I don’t know that many humans with power, but all of them are Fullbringer, yes.”

    “And it takes Hollow influence to awaken as one?”

    “As far as I know…”

    “I’m asking this because Yuzu wasn’t strong enough to see spirits until she convinced me to drain some of her spirit power.”

    “Un?”

    “I mean, how does that work? She has less energy so she becomes more powerful? Counterintuitive much?”

    “Un.”

    “It has to be that Hollow influence thingy, don’t you think?”

    “Un.”

    “So, even if they’re not Fullbringer now. Chances are they’ll become Fullbringer in time.”

    “Hm.”

    “Look, I’m fond of the kids, but I don’t belong in the world of the living. As soon as I figure out a way to get back into Hueco Mundo, I’ll take it.”

    “Hmm…”

    “Karin and Yuzu will be targets for all their lives. Lives that might be very short if they don’t learn how to fend for themselves.”

    “Hmmm…”

    “I guess you have your own life and your own problems, but I don’t really know anyone else here.”

    “Hm.”

    “And you care. Enough to charge at an unknown threat for a couple of kids you didn’t know. Enough to keep fighting when you could’ve retreated. Enough to come with us when I offered you to just leave.”

    “Hm.”

    “What I’m trying to say is, would you mind terribly much keeping an eye on them so they don’t get into trouble? Giving them a few pointers? Maybe to their big brother too if he needs it?”

    “Un.”

    “Glad we had this conversation Boot-lady, I knew you cared.”

    “… You talk too much.”


    It still took us a while, but we’ve finally found what I think is the biggest grouping of Hollow and we’re closing in. It wasn’t easy, let me tell you. Turns out that when you put together three spiritually strong humans and a fat and juicy caterpillar, is kinda hard to move unnoticed.

    Worryingly enough, signs of battle become more and more obvious as we close in. It might mean that ‘Ichi-nii’ actually has the means to defend himself, which is a relief because honestly, chances of finding him alive otherwise were slim by this point.

    It might also mean the Hollow are fighting for the price tho. That’s not exactly good news. The presences I can feel up ahead don’t really make any sense either, but it’s not like my spiritual senses are anything to write home about. I’ll reserve judgement, if only to avoid scaring the kids pointlessly.

    Focused as I am in what lies ahead, I completely miss the presences coming from a side alley until one of them speaks up.

    Koten Zanshun (Solitary Sacred Cutting Shield), I reject!

    Just kidding, the idiots keep trying to take cheap shots at us, so I’ve kept an eye around all the time. Gracefully dodging the orange blade of light coming straight after me (what’s with everyone here attacking me on sight, really!), I turn towards them right in time to…

    Brazo Derecha de Gigante!” ...Eat a Fugly Bob’s sized knuckle sandwich.

    … Not. A. Single. Word.

    It honestly hurts harder on my pride than my body, but it’s still strong enough to leave another caterpillar-shaped indentation into a wall. I’m a convalescent caterpillar, please treat me gently, you brutes!

    I jump right back out of the wall, landing besides Bood-lady and about to let out a snarky complaint (It’ll come to me any second now, honest), when the twins seem to recognise someone from the other group.

    “Chad-san?”
    “Tatsuki-nee?”

    So… What are the chances so many spiritually aware people in a single town are actually close? Nah, not important right now. I take a moment to look over their group while Karin and Yuzu do their best to convince them that no, I’m not trying to eat them and that they wouldn’t be alive otherwise, duh.

    The huge fist who sent me flying is connected to an equally huge arm, which is in turn connected to an equally huge boy. It’s also black and red and covered in armor, but that’s not important. Seriously, the boy is huge. If not for the school uniform I would’ve thought he was a young teacher instead. Easily a head and a half taller than the rest of his group. What did his family feed him?

    Second is a ditzy-looking girl with long orange hair. Orange hair? I have this idea about what actually constitutes a normal hair colour, and orange certainly doesn’t make the cut. But apparently ‘Ichi-nii’ also has orange hair, and I can’t remember my time as a human, so hey! What do I know? She’s also the one throwing around orange beams of rejection.

    Behind them there’s another two girls, but they don’t do much. The one with short black hair looks like she just lost a fight with a meat grinder and is weakly leaning on the other to remain straight. Said other girl has reddish brown hair, eye catching red glasses and a smirk completely inappropriate for the current situation.

    Wait is she…

    Come on, really?

    Yeah, I think she is.

    … Apparently the redhead thinks a town-wide spiritual invasion where she could very well lose her life and soul is a great time to take advantage of the wounded girl who cannot fight back for some casual sexual harassment.

    I… honestly don’t know what to think of that. Is that a Japanese custom? The first girl seems more exasperated that actually uncomfortable so maybe? I seem to remember something about japanese trains and molestation…

    Japanese people are weird, and this isn’t the time for cultural shocks. The twins have explained the situation in the meanwhile, and you get introduced to them. The boy’s name is Yasutora Sado (who fortunately everyone calls Chad, I doubt I could use his name with a straight face), the trigger happy girl is Inoue Orihime, the girl who fought a meat grinder is Arisawa Tatsuki and the groper is Honshou Chizuru.

    They’re all ‘Ichi-nii’’s schoolmates, with Chad being also a close friend, and Tatsuki a childhood friend the twins have known since forever.

    “Right, anyone else is bothered by how the supposedly very rare skill to see spirits is present in so many people from the same circle? What do they feed you in that school?” Oh, wait, the kids don’t go there yet. “Or maybe it’s something contagious? Like an infection of midi-chlorians or something?”

    They suddenly look a bit sick. Is that something I said?

    … Whatever. We still have to find this ‘Ichi-nii’, this is starting to look like one of those ‘3000 Leagues in Search of Mother’ anime adaptations. So let’s figure out what to do about suddenly being twice as many people as we were before and keep moving onwards.



    You’ve met a group of spiritually aware humans and a groper. Things are a bit of a mess right now, and you still look scary, as long as you act like you know your shit and give instructions without giving them time to think, they’ll probably follow your lead. So… what’s the plan?

    Send Away.
    They might be spiritually aware, but neither of them is even at Boot-lady’s level, and you kinda steamrolled her anyway. They’re not yet at a level where they can be useful in a fight and it’s probably best if you try and keep them away from the worst of the situation before a stray bullet kills them or something.
    Protect. They might be spiritually aware, but neither of them is even at Boot-lady’s level, and you kinda steamrolled her anyway. They’re not yet at a level where they can be useful in a fight, but it’s probably best if you keep them close, lest a stray Hollow has them for lunch while you’re otherwise occupied. *sigh* More people to protect...
    Split. They’re competent enough. You haven’t met any decently strong Hollow in a while, so you suspect they’ve either been defeated or they left already. At least Chad and Trigger-Happy Girl should be able to handle anything else, and splitting our forces means we can protect more helpless civilians.
    Collab. They’re competent enough. You haven’t met any decently strong Hollow in a while, so you suspect they’ve either been defeated or they left already. At least Chad and Trigger-Happy Girl should be able to help protect the weak ones, and you could always use some extra hands with that.


    [X][Company] Send Away.
    [X][Company] Protect.
    [X][Company] Split.
    [X][Company] Collab.



    Not my best piece so far, but if I keep overthinking it I’m going to go crazy. Hope it’s good enough.
    On a different note, hey! Jakie speaks Uchiha!
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2020
  25. Threadmarks: Larva 1.23 - Of disappointingly overpowered siblings and Freudian blades
    Planeshunter

    Planeshunter [Verified Slimegirl Whisperer]

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2019
    Messages:
    161
    Likes Received:
    1,710
    [X][Company] Collab.
    [X][Company] Protect.



    “Alright, let’s stay together then, with some luck you’ll all survive the day.” I start with my best no-nonsense voice. “I’ll take point and Boot-lady can play rearguard. Chad, Trigger-happy, the flanks are yours. Keep your eyes peeled, the dangerous ones will try to ambush us.”

    Okay, taking over the group was insultingly easy. It only took me giving out instructions as if I had any right to it for everyone to just up and act as if I indeed had that right, effectively granting it to me.

    That’s how we formed around the kids and the wounded. Curiously enough, Tatsuki was the only one who looked like she wanted to complain. Not that she was in any position to, that with being unable to walk unassisted. For some reason, Trigger-happy seemed to get depressed every time I address her… Maybe she has some sad memories involving Hollow?

    It’s a shame we don’t have time to know each other better, they look like an alright bunch. Chad and Trigger-happy take their roles seriously and the kids seem at ease around them. Except maybe that Chizuru girl. I’m still wary about her, weird japanese culture or not, the way she eyes her two female schoolmates keeps giving me the creeps!

    In any case, we promptly proceed to carve a path of blood and pain through the masses of Hollow rush towards the place where I suspect we’ll find the mythical-rarity lost brother. I’m glad I took point though, Chad and Trigger-happy do well enough, but they’re still way too green to leave alone. Good call all around, me, good work.

    Of course, as I was busy congratulating myself, I got ambushed again. Shut up, it’s important to keep morale, you know? Self-confidence doesn’t grow on trees! A moderate level of vanity is actually required to live a wholeful life! Shut up I said!

    Anyway, the ambush.

    Bakudō # 1. Sai (Restraint)

    Suddenly out of nowhere, an invisible force bounds me, because of course I’m the one attacked out of nowhere, even while in a big group. There’s a girl with short black in front of me, with a definitely unfriendly expression in her face and doing something that apparently requires her to make exaggerated hand gestures. Guess she’s the one who got me.

    “I feel like I’m being singled out here...” I complain, testing the binding. Whatever this force is, it’s pretty sturdy. Whatever. “Chupavidas!

    The restraints loosen up and dissipate under my assault, which frees me to jump away right in time to dodge a massive sword. Carrot-orange hair, delinquent image, all dressed in black… this must be Ichi-nii, and he’s apparently a shinigami too. I can’t bring myself to be surprised tho, this town is clearly fucked up, so what’s a God of Death on top of everything else between friends?

    ...Wow, that’s some big-ass Freudian blade. Overcompensating for something?

    “Sh- Shut up, you freak!” Did I say that out loud? Oops… “And get away from my sisters!!”

    Before I can point out how stupid it looks when you jump into conclusions like he just did (Really, why would I bother protecting the kids so far if I had nefarious plans for them?), he jumps at me again. He’s at least smart enough to try and make me split from the group instead of, you know, force me to become their shield like the monkey-croc and the oily shadow did.

    That would’ve been all sorts of messed up.

    He still isn’t letting me talk and that’s getting really annoying, he’s damned good with that oversized butter knife of his. Heh, I guess he’s had a lot of practice ‘working on’ his sword techniques.

    “Shut up already”” Ooops, speaking out loud again. I should work on that myself. “You perverted Hollow!”

    … Wait.

    Am I perverted? I mean, I don’t think so?

    … Nah.

    I don’t really think about it all that much, it’s just this guy makes it way too easy.

    There, existential crisis averted, I can focus back on the fight. This guys isn’t too shabby, sure. I’d bet he can mow down the average everyday idiot like grass. But…

    How to put it?

    Compared with that shinigami I met back in Hueco Mundo he’s....

    … Well…

    ...Lacking in every department.

    Sorry Karin, sorry Yuzu. I thought your big brother was a badass Death God, but turns out he’s more like a poser. Baiting him for the third time through the same path, I finally have enough threads around to spring my trap.

    So, a gentle tug with Thread Manipulation and… presto! Who asked for a carrot-topped shinigami wrap? Still, lately my luck with Disparo Demora hasn’t been all that good. Oily shadow could flow through it, Boot-lady actually managed to break the threads… I’d better talk fast before this guy pulls some other bullshit out of his ass, I don’t really feel like poisoning the kids’ big brother.

    “Alright, will you listen to me now?”

    He honestly doesn’t look in the mood for talking, but before he can really get a word in otherwise...

    “Stupid Ichi-nii, stop bullying Miss Weaver!!”

    The words are accentuated by a mysteriously flying soccer boot, hitting him squarely in the back of the head. I’d love to say I kept my cool and let the poor guy save some dignity, but that would be a big fat lie. His expression was a piece of art, something I’ll treasure in my heart forever. I rolled on the floor for a good minute and a half.


    Turns out, ‘Ichi-nii’ has been acting as a substitute shinigami for some time behind his family’s back. There was an incident some time ago where his family was attacked by a hollow that nobody remembers because of some sort of soul magic mindfuckery or another. The twins are not amused by that little tidbit.

    Then a shinigami came to the rescue but everything went sideways. In the end, the shinigami impaled herself with Ichi-nii’s mighty sword and that somehow gave him shinigami powers in return. It doesn’t make any sense, but hey. It works.

    “Stop insinuating strange things, you pervert caterpillar!”

    “And I object to our Kikanshiki being called ‘soul magic mindfuckery’.”

    “I call it as I see it” I counter them both. Damn I really need to work on putting a filter on my mouth. “So! Anyone know what the hell is going on? All I knew is that I was chilling back home and suddenly a glowy portal thing popped below me. Next thing I know I’m here and the portal is closing.”

    “Ishida is being an idiot and used a Hollow bait to stage a competition with me.” The overcompensating brother explains while facepalming. Is that supposed to explain anything? What the hell is a Hollow bait? “Now we’re trying to keep the Hollow for overrunning the town. It’s… not really working.”

    “Nah, don’t be so hard on yourself.” It’s not like it’s even his fault to begin with, but I’ll have to remember to kick that Ishida guy’s ass for mass kidnapping or something. I doubt that’s legal anywhere. “With so many powerful souls around, most of the idiots are ignoring the regular humans, so things aren’t as bad as they seem, really.”

    “Yeah, it makes sense that they go after powerful souls.” The powerless shinigami nods at my words. “Like Ichigo’s friends and family.”

    “You know, phrased like that it really doesn’t sound like a good thing...” He grumbles, before eyeing my group and taking a deep breath. “I guess I owe you one for protecting them. Sorry for attacking you out of nowhere, pervert caterpillar.”

    W- Wow! The delinquent can really act earnestly when he wants to! He also smells kinda tasty, now that I pay attention. Is it just me or is it suddenly very hot out here?

    “I- It’s not a big deal, don’t worry about it. I mean, what kind of caterpillar would abandon two innocent children in need of help? Surely not this one!” Am I babbling? I think I’m babbling. Stop it, mouth! You’re making me lose all my cred! ....Wait. “What’s that behind you?”

    “Seriously? If you think I’m going to fall for—”

    “No, seriously! The sky is doing something weird and is that… Fuck!”

    Everyone finally turns to look where I’m pointing at, right in time to see a bone-white clawed hand appear out of thin air and… draw it open. Making way for a huge black figure topped by a white hollow mask of prominent nose.

    A Gillian.

    The friggin Hollow bait has summoned a fucking Gillian. When I find that Ishida fellow I’m going to shove something hard and painful up some part of his anatomy so hard he’ll be able to taste it from the other side! Possibly that very bait thing that caused this to begin with.

    … I don’t even care I’m swearing in front of kids, how’s this shit my life?

    There’s no choice but to fight, unless I want to see the whole town reduced to dust.



    Alright, this isn’t like the time with the Skull-thing. You’re stronger, smarter, faster… better, you also have a baby shinigami by your side. Those are the upsides. The downside is a powerless shinigami and a handful of civilians to protect. Chad and Trigger-happy girl sit right in the middle. They’re not completely useless, sure, but you can’t see them helping much in a direct fight.

    So… how do you want to play this? I won’t be providing options this time, this vote will be write-in only. Please follow this format

    [X][Plan] Plan name
    Explain the plan here, in a different line.

    Votes by plan only, please. This time I’ll give 48 hours for votes, so people have time to come up with plans, and/or change their vote if a new and better sounding plan pops up.

    Also, since there’s a big fight coming, I decided to get over my laziness and update the Character sheet. You’re welcome.



    While wandering around you’ve slaughtered and munched on an untold amount of minor idiots! That sort of thing keeps piling up, you know?
    You’ve earned an obscene amount of EE while you weren’t looking! Power Level UP! You’re now lvl 59!!
    Warning, you’ve reached your max level. Special requisites must be met to keep growing!

    Your skills have also improved during your fights in the human world!

    Chupavidas Level Up! Chupavidas is now lv. 10/10
    -Chupavidas Branches!
    -You’ve Learned Chupavidas (Drain Wisdom)
    -You’ve Learned Chupavidas (Energy Manipulation)
    --Energy manipulation levels up! Energy Manipulation is now Lv. 2/10
    -You’ve Learned Chupavidas (Vampiric Aura)

    Punto Veneno Level Up! Punto Veneno is now lv. 10/10
    -Punto Veneno Branches!
    -You’ve Learned Punto Veneno (Healing Salve)
    --Healing Salve is now lv. 1/10-(25%)
    -You’ve Learned Punto Veneno (Hair Manipulation)
    --Hair Manipulation synergizes with Thread Manipulation! Hair Manipulation is now lv. 3/10-(20%)
    -You’ve Learned Punto Veneno (Gorgeous Armor)
    --Gorgeous Armor is now lv. 1/10-(50%)


    Disparo Demora (Mix&Match) is now lv. 1/10-(25%)
    Disparo Demora (Multishot) is now lv. 1/10-(50%)
    Disparo Demora (Thread Manipulation) is now lv. 3/10-(20%)
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2020
  26. Threadmarks: Larva 1.24 - On the frustrations of fighting an overpowered tank
    Planeshunter

    Planeshunter [Verified Slimegirl Whisperer]

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2019
    Messages:
    161
    Likes Received:
    1,710
    [X] [Plan] Divide, Spam, & Conquer
    Man I know I suck at writing fighting scenes. Why do I keep doing this to myself?


    Watching the Gillian rip his way towards reality, I squish the urge to run for the hills and hide in the deepest hole I can find. That won’t do. I'm a brave caterpillar and I’ll be damned if I let this guy have his way with the defenceless and unaware. But still, does it really have to be so big? I don’t think even the Skull-thing was this huge!

    Okay, snap out of it. You can do it. You’ve done way worse, or closely as worse, or almost worse. And you (normally) didn’t do it by panicking and rushing blindly. You did it by making plans and using your brain.

    First thing, my threads are the only surefire tool in my arsenal. Without the benefits of Escalada (which is a beyond last resort tactic as far as I’m concerned), I don’t even know whether my offensive skills will work at all. I sure hope they will, but in the end they haven’t been tested against something like this yet.

    The most blatant problem is that I have nothing to tie him to. The Skull-thing could tear the stupid-ass cheating trees like they weren’t even there, I have no inclination to see what this one can do to buildings. Ha… such a serious situation and I can’t even think of a nickname for this guy to light it up a bit. Let’s pencil that as the second problem.

    I would call him Spiky, but that seems to be the norm with Gillian. Skull-thing was the odd one.

    Anyway, I’ll have to tie him to himself. Can do, that’s how I took down the Mofo, it’s only a bit harder and really. Considering the opponent, what difference does it make to have it a bit harder on top of everything else?

    So yeah, I’ll need distractions, some luck, pepper him with my threads, some more luck, entangle the threads that actually stick so it’s movements are limited, even more luck and more distractions, coat my webs with as much offensive power as I can manage, then pray to all Gods in Heaven because that’s where things get interesting.

    And for Hell’s sake, somebody has to take the twins to safety.

    Plan formed, I’m about to start the tested and true strategy of barking orders without giving anyone time to wonder whether I have any right to it or not when I notice the baby shinigami charging alone towards the Gillian. By foot. A japanese teenager of average japanese height, running down the street to meet a monster towering over the buildings. It looks every bit as ridiculous as it sounds.

    Right, not dealing with that, Disparo Demora!

    Sticking a thread to the neck of his black kimono, I pull him back right in time to save him from being kicked by a foot the size of a car. While he stands back up, sputtering something in indignation, I turn towards the group.

    “Does he usually charge off blindly like that?”

    “All the time.” The powerless shinigami immediately deadpans.
    “Ichi-nii has a lot of good points, but thinking things through isn’t one of them.” Karin smirks.
    “I think that’s one of Kurosaki-kun’s good points, though?” Trigger-happy adds
    “Un.” Boot-la— wait, that was Chad. Man they sound the same.
    “That’s what makes him so fun to bait.” The pervert concludes with a sagely nod.

    The poor baby shinigami looks like he’s been repeatedly stabbed. Let this be a lesson, boys and girls, honesty can hurt too.

    “Alright, I have a plan to deal with the Big Oaf” ...Oooooh, that’s a good nickname, I think I’ll keep it. “But first I need the non combatants away and safe. Chad, Trigger-happy, I hate to say this but this fight might be a bit over your heads, can you escort the kids so none of the idiots gets any bright ideas while I’m busy?”

    I’d like to tell them to keep moving too, to make themselves less of a target. But a peek at Tatsuki tells me that’ll be a bad idea. She’s in no shape to be running round.

    “Next, Boot-lady and baby shinigami, I need you to hound him and serve as a distraction. If you see an opening, by all means take it, but for the love of all that’s soft and fluffy, avoid direct confrontation! Play defensive and harass his flanks, we’re not going to finish him in one shot no matter what, so remain mobile. If you’re ground-bound I’ll try to leave non-sticky threads around you can use as springboards and footholds.”

    “I don’t like going sneaky like a thief in the dark.” The baby shinigami complains “And stop calling me that!” Oops, talking my mind out loud again.

    “Do you like bashing your head against a wall?” I answer, in my best condescending tone. I don’t think it works all that well, but riling up teenagers is way too easy. “Because that’s what you were doing before.”

    “Whatever. Put those springboard things around then, I can’t jump that high by myself.”

    “Boot-lady probably hits the hardest out of us three, since she’s able to break away from my threads. We’ll be counting on you to land decisive hits.” She puts a difficult face at my words, and hesitates a bit before answering.

    “I become stronger the dirtier my boots are, that’s my special power.”

    “...wow, talk about random.” But I can work with that, at least. Better than growing stronger by eating spinach, since there’s no groceries anywhere in sight. “Okay, stay still for a moment… Disparo Demora!

    In a flash, Boot-lady’s boots were totally covered in something that… there’s no way my pride will allow to call ‘silk’ it was a dirty grey colour and had the consistency of gunk. Ironically enough, the effort involved in producing something so crappy-looking was several times higher than normal silk.

    Boot-lady taps the floor a couple of times before nodding my way. I can barely hold a sigh. The things I do for my allies.

    In the meanwhile, the Big Oaf has finished his clumsy arrival, standing in front of us in a way that would look stupid if not for the huge spiritual pressure coming from it. Actually, it still looks stupid, it’s only a very scary stupid.

    A last look around confirms everyone’s position. Chad and Trigger-happy are taking the group of non combatants away, Boot-lady took to the right and is standing on top of a power line and the baby shinigami took to the left, still on the ground but I’ll solve that soon enough.

    Alright, alright… we have a plan. Now let’s see how it goes to hell and how we can salvage the situation afterwards.

    “Very well Big Oaf! Here we come!!”


    I have underestimated the Big Oaf. I have underestimated him a lot. He is slow, but he’s also sturdy. He’s stupid, but he’s also relentless. He’s also big and strong and can shoot fuck-you beams of indiscriminate destruction!

    To think it began so well… At first, the Big Oaf was happy ignoring my Disparo Demora, and opted for chasing around Boot-lady and the baby shinigami… who took my advice at heart and remained mobile. Which basically meant we had him turning around without actually doing anything.

    It was just like spinning a yarn. Around a spindle that crushed buildings everytime one of its attacks missed which, between you and me, was around twice per minute. Damn but this place will look like a war zone by the time the battle ends. Then again, if we don’t win, the whole city will look the same.

    The Big Oaf shrugged off both Punto Veneno and Chupavidas as if it wasn’t even there. I was prepared for the possibility, but it still hurts my pride. Boot-lady’s kicks appeared to have some effect, at least, but nothing to write home about. Same with the baby shinigami.

    The only consolation was the ever thicker layer of silk threads slowly forming around its huge form. It was only a matter of time for us to completely pin it down.

    When it happened, and in a display of coordination neither of them had shown before, baby shinigami tripped the Big Oaf right as Boot-lady kicked it’s head from the other side. It… wasn’t a gentle kick.

    Big Oaf fell to the ground, nose first, and it looked incapable of getting free. I was already rubbing my hands at the incoming feast when the world seemingly turned red and… exploded. The force sent me towards a conveniently placed caterpillar-shaped indentation in a wall and raised a cloud of dust and debris that obscured my vision.

    When the dust settles down and I can see again, the Big Oaf is standing again and my threads are nowhere to be found. My partners in crime don’t seem to have fared much better than me, still standing around the Gillian but looking like a truck just ran them over. Damnit but Cero is a cheat. A hax that has no place existing in the arsonal of something so dumb.

    … I’m not jealous damnit! I’ll be able to shoot my own Cero too, someday!!

    At least the Big Oaf is no longer unscathed. It’s cloth is in tatters and the mask is showing some cracks around the mouth. Guess taking a Cero in the face in no joke, even if you shoot it yourself.

    But the problem is… we’re back at square one, tactically speaking. Only we’re now battered and bruised, and the Big Oaf is just bruised. Our strategy relies on a lot of mobility and patience on our parts to keep it backfooted, it would be a miracle if nobody broke anything and we’re clearly in no condition to play keep-away anymore.

    I’m seriously considering a frontal assault (for lack of better options) when a hail of blue energy projectiles assault the Big Oaf.

    “Bit more than you can chew, shinigami?

    There’s a glasses-wearing guy wielding a bow and sporting an insufferable attitude on top of one of the nearest still intact buildings. Reinforcements was the last thing I was expecting today, not that I’m complaining. Moreover there’s something… spicy about his presence. He should be useful in a fight.

    “Ishida you bastard” The baby shinigami answers, turning towards the newcomer with a stormy expression. Looks like he survived the blast more or less intact, after all. “This is all your fault to begin with!”

    “The Hollow Bait isn’t capable of causing this.” He defends. “I accept no responsibility for it.” Oh, so this is that guy I’ll have to do painful things to… later, of course. For now the Big Oaf is more important.

    “Not the time!” I cry out instead of surrendering to my baser instincts, making sure to remember his face all the same. “We’re trying to keep it distracted so he doesn’t leave the area! Keep moving and attack only when he’s paying attention to someone else! If he tries to Cero our asses again...” Well, I have an idea, let’s hope it works. “If he tries Cero again, get away and leave it to me!”

    There, cool, confident and in control. Man I look like the perfect heroic leader. If only I could also feel like one that would be nice.

    “I don’t take orders from a Hollow!” Glasses bastard bitches.

    “Fight now, bitch later!” Baby shinigami retorts.

    “I am not bitching!” Defends the Glasses Bitch

    “It sure sounds like bitching to me!” … Seriously, don’t they have any sense of urgency?

    “Whatever, let’s focus on the Menos.” Wow, that’s the first time Boot-lady speaks since we arrived here! Looks like I’m not the only one tired with their antics.

    Once more into the breach I guess…


    We… we are done for. To be fair, we held our own for a long while, all things considered.

    Stupid Big Oaf seems impervious to everything we throw at it. Boot-lady can make it stagger, but it no longer looks like she can actually break anything, same with baby shinigami. Glasses bitch is almost as effective as a mild shower on the thing. Water at least can pool around and eventually drown it. And me…

    Chupavidas
    doesn’t even tickle him, I stopped trying a while ago, when I noticed I was wasting way more energy than I was taking from him. Punto Veneno was effective before it regenerated the cracks on its mask, but my hair cannot pierce its skin, so it’s a moot point.

    Disparo Demora
    still works but… the Big Oaf has smartened up, apparently. Everytime he gets tangled up, he charges and fires a Cero, forcing me to abort the plan and focus all my efforts on redirecting its ugly mug towards the sky so he doesn’t destroy anything else. Good news, my plan to deal with the Cero works. Bad news, that ruins my threads.

    We’re doing jack-shit to it. I’m pretty sure the exhaustion that comes from firing up his fuck-you laser is actually the only sort of damage the Big Oaf is taking.

    And in time we got tired and sloppy. Glasses bitch is sleeping it off in a glasses bitch-shaped indentation in a wall somewhere in the next block. Baby shinigami finally took that kick in the gut from a foot twice his own size he was apparently destined to and Boot-lady took for me a punch that I was too slow to dodge. At least I managed to tie down it’s hands at the same time.

    Still, I’m the last one standing, and I’m not exactly in tip-top condition either. Honestly, the intelligent choice would be to cut my losses and beat it. No way the Big Oaf can catch me if I don’t want to be caught but…

    Well, there won’t be any Karakura Town left standing if I do that, so not really a choice I can take. Curse my bleeding heart.

    I take a deep breath. This really is the last of the last ditch options, but there’s no other path to victory I can see here. So I prepare for the rush that’s Escalada and let myself sink beneath the unmeasurable pool of power waiting to come out.

    I am the dark lurking down the trenches carved into the depths of the Earth. I am the tyrant Moon pulling the seas on a whim. I am—

    {Unnecessary}

    “Raaaaaaaaaaahh!!!” A defiant roar surprises me, shaking me out of the mental state I was reaching for. “Don’t ignore me, you bastard!!”

    Baby sh— no, Ichigo rushes at the Gillian’s face from inside a pile of rubble as the thing charges at me, his enormous sword shining with eerie light. The Big Oaf tries to turn to face him, but it’s too slow and they’re far too close. With a triumphant shout, Ichigo’s sword sinks on the Menos’ face, causing the first grievous injury on it that’s not self-inflicted.

    Of course he’s immediately sent flying and the Big Oaf shakes himself, but I got my opening.

    “Now I got you!” Before it can regain its balance, I use some conveniently placed threads to launch myself at its ugly face too. “Hair Manipulation!

    My crimson-tipped, poison-dripping, gorgeous hair rushes at the cut wound, sinking on the flesh underneath and digging in. This isn’t just about poisoning anymore. This wound is the only weakness I can exploit and I’ll be damned if I allow it to close back!

    Incapable of simply clawing me away with its hands tied, the Big Oaf shrieks and trashes around, and as much as it hurts to be crushed against ground and buildings like this, there’s something undeniably satisfying in finally dealing damage to the stupid thing. My Gorgeous Armor is protecting me from the worst of it anyway. Heck, even Chupavidas has become somewhat effective now that I don’t have to deal with whatever protective bullshit covers the thing’s exterior.

    It’s working. I feel the Menos slowing down, it’s thrashing around getting weaker and it’s screams losing volume. When it falls against a wall, I know it won’t be thrashing around anymore.

    But then, because fate is a bitch and loves to turn victory into ash in my mouth, the crumbling wall reveals Trigger-happy and Tatsuki, who seems to be doing much better than last time. Looks like she received healing somewhere and talked Trigger-happy into doubling back to… help? I’m sure their intentions were good, but now they’re right in front of a dying animal and that’s something that’s not safe even in the best circumstances.

    Is this how it feels when someone else rushes to do stupid suicidal heroics? Because I don’t like it.

    It all happens as in slow motion. The Gillian’s mouth opens, and it’s neck begins stretching towards the two girls,. I turn to try and get them out of the way, but I’m too slow with my hair still digging on the monster’s flesh. Desperately, I stretch my hair as fast as possible, knowing it won't be enough to push them away in time but seeing no better option.

    Trigger-happy and Tatsuki barely have time to realize what’s going on, their expressions slowly morphing from surprise into horror as they register what’s in front of them. The maw is already closing when I realize my desperate rush will not only accomplish nothing, but put me too in the way of the bite. In the last possible second, as I’m cursing my own powerlessness, the perverted girl appears from nowhere, pushing Trigger-happy out of the way… at the cost of getting caught herself.

    Then darkness comes to claim me.

    As in a dream I see, through the darkness, how the world shifts around me, Karakura Town becoming the Menos Forest. The darkness and the moonlight greet me as if welcoming me back home, and I vaguely realize this is the place I was spirited away from this morning, so long ago. This is Home.

    But I am not me, aren’t I? I’m just a dream in the belly of a monster, and I’ll be damned if I let that monster walk away scot-free. With a last spite-fuelled effort, I use my Thread Manipulation to collapse my Home around it, tying it down like a cockroach in a spiderweb.

    Then darkness can claim me for real, I’m too tired to do anything else.


    You’ve become been devoured by joined the gestalt of a Gillian (Your Status Sheet has been updated with a new picture). This has taken away your ability to control the shared body in any significant way and, in time, might mean the loss of the self. Of course, taking control of the gestalt yourself and emerging as the dominant personality in a similar fashion to the way you took control of the Hollow when this all began is also an option.

    -Your EE has merged with the Gestalt! You gain 854175143EE!!
    -Most of your Powers have improved during the fight!
    -You’ve acquired the Gillian Package!
    --You’ve learnt Cero!
    --You’ve learnt Kūmon!
    --You’ve learnt Negacion!
    --You’ve learnt High-speed Regeneration!
    -Oblivion Compensation! You lose 66385 EE



    During the incoming struggle, your aims will become relevant so… what will you focus on?

    Self.
    Focuses on your own ego. Eases the fight to take control of the gestalt.
    Duty. Focuses on those who fell with you. You’ll try to rescue Chizuru and Tatsuki.
    Moon. Focuses on the calming light of the Moon. You’ll be gifted with answers.
    Oblivion. Focuses on the Abyss chipping away your very existence. Your will to fight weakens, but something good might come from it.


    [X][Focus] Self.
    [X][Focus] Duty.
    [X][Focus] Moon.
    [X][Focus] Oblivion.
     
  27. Threadmarks: Larva X - Musings of a smug bastard
    Planeshunter

    Planeshunter [Verified Slimegirl Whisperer]

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2019
    Messages:
    161
    Likes Received:
    1,710
    The screen shuts down and he can only smirk with satisfaction. That should attract Soul Society’s attention to Karakura nicely. More than enough to uncover Kuchiki Rukia’s ‘betrayal’ and give a plausible excuse for ‘Central 46’ to ask for her head.

    Seriously, what was his rival thinking, making such an obvious move? Maybe he didn’t expect him to detect the Hogyoku if it was hidden within a powerless soul? Seriously, such a low opinion of his abilities… Or maybe just wistful thinking on their part. It’s not like he’s let them much breathing room, after all. At that point it might very well be the only move they could make.

    The Kurosaki eldest son keeps showing his incredible growth, as expected of someone of his… pedigree. Nothing even vaguely outside the acceptable parameters, anyway, not at all a threat to his plans.

    That reminds him, it wouldn’t do for the little squad of Karakura heroes to try and venture into Hueco Mundo in a misguided attempt to rescue their little friends. That is the sort of stupid gambits a young boy would try if left alone to his own devices, and carries a certain risk of tipping his hand about Hueco Mundo. A minimal risk, sure, but he doesn’t stand where he does now by taking needless risks.

    No, he’ll make sure to keep them distracted until he’s ready for his final farewell to Soul Society.

    Glee pooling within at another move flawlessly executed, he gives up his attempt to keep a straight face and lets his lips curl up in an amused smirk. Puppets dancing to his tune, not even aware there’s a performance in play.

    Oh he knows very well his ambition would be better received if he just acted a bit more humble about it. It’s not as if it absolutely cannot be sold as a noble goal, after all. But since he would never be able to win over Yamamoto or the Gotei Zero anyway, and they would always be able to rouse an army to oppose him, there was no real point to it.

    No, those who matter (himself alone) understand his ambition, and the rest are irrelevant. If he’s going to upset the balance of the world and spit in the face of fate, he’ll be a smug bastard while doing it. What’s the point of becoming a living god if one doesn’t enjoy the ride, after all?

    At this point, the only thing left to plan is how exactly he wants his big reveal to play.

    Honestly the only real surprise in years was that Weaver Hollow getting flustered by the Kurosaki boy. Just an amusing anecdote in hindsight, he probably overreacted, that with sending the Gillian in early and all. Can anyone blame him for not wanting to suffer through highschool romance though? Completely justified, in his not-so-modest opinion.

    Yes, Weaver… That’s a promising one. For a Hollow never heard of a month before, it sure has made waves, taking down some big names (relatively, anyway. There’s no actually ‘big’ players down in the Forest of the Menos,) and pissing off others. That old fool Anansi and the Guardian of the Forest no less… If that’s not interesting enough to keep tabs on, what is? Maybe he could....

    But no. Notable or not, it’ll still take time to coax out the true potential of that one, and the plan is too further along. A real shame, if it had appeared only fifty years ago... No use crying over wasted opportunities though. At this point, that caterpillar Hollow would only be useful as fodder, and he has more than enough of that already.

    By the time it reaches its full potential, he would have become the One True God already and by then… Actually, maybe he could find some use for it even then. He’s always seen godhood as the win all end all final goal but, logically speaking, he’ll need something to do once he becomes God.

    Maybe there’ll be some use for a promising newborn Vasto Lorde then? It’s not like he expects many of his Arrancar to survive the conflict with Soul Society. Nor many Captains either, while he’s at it.

    Yeah, He’ll keep paying attention to it, just in case.

    To never have thought before what to do after his plans bore fruit… truly, even a genius mind like his own can have amusing blindspots. Of course, since he had noticed by himself, it can’t really be called a blindspot. One more proof of his superiority over mere mortals.

    “Aizen-taichou?” His Lieutenant hesitantly calls from outside his room, making him hastily hide the surveillance equipment that has no right to exist on the nice and kind Captain’s office.

    “Come in, Hinamori-kun.” He answers flawlessly, revealing nothing of the startled distress he momentarily felt. “Something I can help you with?”

    “It’s about the new recruits, you see...” And she proceeds to bore him with every inane little detail about the trash he’s forced to put up with to preserve his cover. Seriously, if there’s a reason to hesitate on executing his plan, is all the nonsense forced upon him just to be seen as a benevolent leader.

    If only he could somehow dodge those boorish—

    He’s very proud of the way his eyebrow doesn’t twitch in annoyance and his palm doesn’t hit his face when he realizes than yes, he can ‘somehow’ dodge those boorish meetings. With flawless ease too.

    Kyouka Suigetsu.

    Hinamori’s eyes haze over, and she continues talking to the chair as he stands up and opens a secret door leading to a second office. Come to think of it, he can do the same to make everyone believe he’s filled his paperwork, everyone involved in the process is under his absolute hypnosis anyway.

    Freedom at last! Damn, but he should’ve realized he could do this years ago. No matter. Another blind spot dodged and another proof of his superiority!

    “Fuhaha~ hahahahaha!!” … come to think of it, he didn’t really need to make a fool out of himself rushing to hide his surveillance equipment either, did he? Maybe he’s overworked? All those plans don’t keep on the right track themselves, after all. “Looks like even someone like me needs a vacation from time to time… I can’t wait to be Soul King.”


    And with this, we wrap up the 'Larva' arc. Next update will begin the 'Pupa' arc, which will be understandably introspective. I don't expect it to be very long, maybe 4-5 chapters unless I get some inspiration to write more.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2020
  28. Threadmarks: Pupa 2.01 - Praise the sun.
    Planeshunter

    Planeshunter [Verified Slimegirl Whisperer]

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2019
    Messages:
    161
    Likes Received:
    1,710
    [X][Focus] Duty. (Results won’t be immediately apparent.)


    It was a world not unlike many others. People went about their business in relative peace, thanks to the tried and tested strategy of not peering too deep into the darkness of the world. And thus, as many suffered, just as many lived content lives, blissfully unaware in their world full of shadows.

    Then he came. A man that was more than a man. A superman, symbol of hope shining as bright as the sun, that rose against the shadows of the world. Many acclaimed his advent and rejoiced at the new light coloring their bleak world. Inspired by the sun, many others rose to the role of heroes, paragons and protectors, bringing the world to a new golden era.

    But where light goes, it soon finds out darkness was faster, and it’s already waiting. From the shadowed crevices of humanity’s society and psyche, places so twisted the sun of hope could never reach, things that embodied the worst of the human race rose too.

    For every light, a shadow. For every saviour, a tyrant. For every hero a villain.

    Little by little, the struggle between those who wanted to protect the world and those who wanted to take it for themselves grew in scale and scope. By the time those who matter noticed, the conflicts were on the continental scale, and the power struggles affected whole countries.

    To make it worse, the darkness brought forth its own champions. Creatures of nightmare that had nothing of human and against whom humanity couldn’t hope to ever truly triumph.

    Above it all. He still stood undefeated. The superman, the sun. While he couldn’t or wouldn’t uproot the darkness of humanity single-handedly, he was still the symbol of hope people looked up to, when they felt the strength to go through the day falter.

    In a matter of years, it was hard to recognise the once lukewarm world of contentment and wilful ignorance in this conflict-torn world. There were those who tied the dots, who traced the drastic changes to a single event and knew who to blame. But they were powerless to stop it, too weak to even make a move against the one responsible. And thus the hid and plotted, unaware or uncaring of how deep in the darkness they were sinking themselves.

    It finally happened, what those plotting in the darkness feared the worst, what the world as a whole expected the least. It didn’t come from the inhuman abominations that scourged the world, but from a monster born from humanity.

    So much, so little… just a few words, just the right words. At the right place, the wrong place. With the best timing, the worst timing. In spite of the many involved, the blame for the events that transpired that morning, the death of a thousand worlds, can be squarely put on the shoulders of a single man. A man who delighted on his accomplishment.

    Truly, humans can give birth to monsters others can’t even begin to imagine.

    With this act, with those ill-fated worlds, the truth was revealed. The truth of the superman, of the hope shining like the sun.

    For you see, it was just a lie, a big farce. A way for the uncaring sun to idle time away, just putting into practice words he heard somewhere on a whim, cruelly ignoring the fact he himself was not only the cause of all the trouble he solved… but also of a good more that he didn’t.

    And when the words of the anonymous advisor were ignored in favour of those from a monster, the sun descended and humanity died. When the millions of voices cried out in terror, asking for a savior, many answered. Heroes and villains joined hands, even if just to make sure a world to fight for remained standing. But it was a hopeless battle, because how can you battle hope? How can you shoot down the sun?

    Only a new hope, a new sun can do that. It was time for a new sun to rise. And so it did. The fight was ugly, the cost was great, but in the end the old sun, the fake hope, flickered out and died.

    THE SUN IS DEAD. LONG LIVE THE SUN


    The sins of the past resurface! You’ve earned the Perk Ardiendo (Clothed in Flame)
    Ardiendo -
    A representation of a past feat, the ever-burning flames of life carried by the one who took down the cruel sun. Allows you to resist fire-based attacks to a high degree, and outright ignore them up a certain power threshold.
    Adjuchas and above with this Perk gain the Power ?????.

    Ardiendo interferes with Luz Lunar! You won’t be able to use either until you figure out what’s going on.

    Oblivion Compensation! You lose 66385 EE!! (Ardiendo interferes with Luz Lunar)
    Oblivion Compensation! You lose 66385 EE!! (Ardiendo interferes with Luz Lunar)
    Oblivion Compensation! You lose 66385 EE!! (Ardiendo interferes with Luz Lunar)
    Oblivion Compensation! You lose 66385 EE!! (Ardiendo interferes with Luz Lunar)
    Oblivion Compensation! You lose 66385 EE!! (Ardiendo interferes with Luz Lunar)
    Oblivion Compensation! You lose 66385 EE!! (Ardiendo interferes with Luz Lunar)
    Oblivion Compensation! You lose 66385 EE!! (Ardiendo interferes with Luz Lunar)
    Oblivion Compensation! You lose 66385 EE!! (Ardiendo interferes with Luz Lunar)
    Oblivion Compensation! You lose 66385 EE!! (Ardiendo interferes with Luz Lunar)
    Oblivion Compensation! You lose 66385 EE!! (Ardiendo interferes with Luz Lunar)



    Oh? What do we have here? My, such a pure, bright soul… Battered and bruised, Yes. Hurt and wounded again and again and again. And still so beautiful and strong. You’re different from the others, aren’t you?


    You killed the sun. Those memories fill you with…

    Bitterness
    . All those sacrifices, all the pain you endured for the world… and what was your reward? A broken mind and a gun aimed at your head.
    Satisfaction. That damocles sword hanging over humanity, it was thou who destroyed it.
    Determination. You did what had to be done, nothing more, nothing less.
    Wonder. If Gods can be killed… What's the limit?

    [X][Memories] Bitterness.
    [X][Memories] Satisfaction.
    [X][Memories] Determination.
    [X][Memories] Wonder.



    It’s a bit short, I know. That’ll probably be a trend during this arc. On the bright side, I’ll try to upload an interlude after every chapter. There’s enough going on out of Weaver’s sight to justify it.[/spoiiler]
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2020
  29. Threadmarks: Pupa 2.01b - Musings of a repentant pushover
    Planeshunter

    Planeshunter [Verified Slimegirl Whisperer]

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2019
    Messages:
    161
    Likes Received:
    1,710
    Returning to normal life after that day has been a challenge. She has always done her best to remain cheerful no matter what. Not even her brother’s passing kept her down for long. But that doesn’t mean smiling through the death of two of her best friends is easy, or pleasant.

    Officially, Tatsuki-chan and Chizuru-chan died in the ‘gas explosion’, while she was miraculously shielded by their bodies, earning the dubious honor of being the closest to the detonation to survive. Those ‘brainwash mindfuckery soul magics’ as Miss Weaver called the Shinigami tricks, sure are convenient.

    People acted a bit subdued around her and Kurosaki-kun on the first day but, beyond their few close friends, everyone else seems to have forgotten about the deceased right afterward. She can’t really be mad about people not being more sad but, at the same time, she can’t help feeling a bit gloomy about it. Two dear people have just died, and life seems to just go on without a care in the world.

    … She’s just going on tangents. It’s not other people's reactions that bother her, after all. But how the entire thing is actually her fault.

    Back then, the plan to retreat from the monster way out of their league was solid and Tatsuki-chan had been too wounded to complain. That’s why she turned to her and asked to be healed, as if that wouldn’t mean she would double back and rush into the fight head on. Something that was a bad idea. That’s probably why Chizuru-chan opposed it with uncharacteristic seriousness. That’s why she shouldn’t have done it.

    But she chose to trust her friend. A friend she knew perfectly well wasn’t thinking rationally and wouldn’t listen to anyone once she was capable of walking by herself.

    She’s always thought you can’t go wrong with trust. People in general and your friends in particular. Trust was a marvelous thing and, even if misplaced, she was the only one getting hurt, so it was fine. She now feels like kicking herself for her ‘free trust’ policy.

    Chad-kun doesn’t say anything, but she can’t help but feel something’s changed when he looks at her. She doesn’t know Kurosaki-kun’s sisters very well, but Karin-chan was very vocal on her reactions back then, when she chose not to choose. It’s hard to misinterpret the words she used to portrait her afterwards, after all.

    She messed up, badly. By being a coward.

    Yes, trusting blindly other people’s choices is no different from running away from responsibility. By leaving the decision to someone else, she avoided the possibility of making a mistake, true. But that’s not a good thing. Mistakes teach us what we should and shouldn’t do. If she’d made more mistakes, she would’ve known why acceding to Tatsuki-chan’s request was a bad idea. Instead, she let herself be swayed by the confidence of her dear friend, and now she’s dead.

    If it was just that, she would have accepted it. It would’ve hurt, she would’ve felt terrible about it, but she could’ve forced a smile on her face and braved the consequences of her actions. Someday, sooner or later, she would’ve managed to forgive herself.

    But even after she made a mistake, she could’ve tried doing something about it if she had only been strong enough. Instead, she’d been saved by her other friend, someone who was supposed to be even weaker than herself. She wasn’t just stupid, she was also weak. And now that she’s faced with those truths, there’s no way she can accept herself.

    This… cannot stand. If she tries to keep going with this weight on her heart, she’ll end up breaking sooner or later. She has to start making her own choices, and assuming her own responsibilities. She’ll have to learn not to be stupid anymore.

    And that means becoming strong enough to do something about the inevitable mistakes that will follow, too.

    She turns towards Ishida-kun’s desk, where the young man sits quietly, doing her best to look dignified in spite of, well… He has arrived to class with a blue eye for a week straight. At this point she’s pretty sure Kurosaki-kun is actually punching him again everytime it starts fading over.

    He’s refused to acknowledge any fault on his part, but he hasn’t done anything to fight back at Kurosaki-kun either. If anyone here understands how she’s feeling, that’s him. Steeling her resolve, she walks to his desk.

    “Ishida-kun?” He turns to regard her with guarded politeness, but he can’t hide the haunting on his eyes from her. It’s the same thing she sees in the mirror every morning, since that day. “Do you think you could help me with some training?”

    Seeeesh, Orihime was on a self-loath roll… I wasn’t planning this to go so far, but words kind of got out of hand once the mood was set. This is in no way intended as Orihime-bashing on my part. Just… her being far too harsh on herself. She’s an unreliable narrator after all. Oh my god I’m going to be lynched by Orihime fans! Why did I have to write this?
     
  30. Threadmarks: Pupa 2.02 - Ten Lights (1/2)
    Planeshunter

    Planeshunter [Verified Slimegirl Whisperer]

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2019
    Messages:
    161
    Likes Received:
    1,710
    [X][Memories] Wonder. (Edit: Again, results won't be immediately apparent)


    There was once a pure kid who understood the world. And, because he understood it, there was no way he could accept it. The world was ugly, the world was cruel. And the kid understood it all.

    Since the kid was honest, he couldn’t help but say things as they were. Since the world was ugly, anything the kid said was ugly too.

    There was once a pure kid who understood the world. And, because he understood it, there was no way he could accept it. The world was unfair, the world was partial. And the kid understood.

    Since not everyone was treated the same, there were those blessed with good fortune and talent, and those as dirty and ugly as the very world.

    There was once a pure kid who understood the world. And, because he was pure, he couldn’t help but be tainted by the dirt around him. Since the world was ugly, the kid’s soul became ugly too.

    He hated the world, ugly and cruel, he hated himself, ugly and cruel. But those fortunate and talented individuals blessed by the unfair world, he hated more than anything.

    There was once a pure kid who understood the world. And, because he was pure, he couldn’t ignore the unfairness of this dirty, ugly world.

    He fought the blessed and kind, knowing he would fail. He fought, even if the only reward for the impossible victory would be to drag everything to the same dirty mud he stood on, as he was honest, and that was fair.

    He failed many, many times, never wondering why he kept pushing on, never considering giving up. Where’s now the pure boy who understood the world?

    But that’s not me, that's not who I am.


    There was once a shy child who liked books, peace and quiet. She had poor eyesight and required glasses to even function in her daily life, so she never got to play rough with the other kids. Her mom didn’t have money to fix her glasses very often so she had to be responsible and be careful all the time.

    She was, of course, excused from PE and got to sit aside while everyone else ran around the schoolyard. It was a bit lonely, to just sit down and watch while everyone else played soccer or baseball, unable to even practice rope skipping for fear of breaking her glasses.

    The only physical activity she could practice recklessly was swimming, but the pool days at school were few and far between, and she couldn’t go to the public pool very often because, again, her mom didn’t have much money.

    So she learnt to enjoy books, and could often be found reading under a tree at the park. Since most kids lack the patience to sit still for five minutes, specially when they’re forced to endure enough of that at school, there was no one to stick around with her for long enough to strike out a proper conversation so, while she was in friendly enough terms with everyone else, she didn’t really have any friends either.

    She was… content with that. Her life might not be perfect, but there wasn’t anything particularly horrible going on either. Everything changed during Middle School.

    When she was twelve, mom got a promotion and they had to move. It would be a new life in a new place, things would be better. Since mom made a bit more money now, she wasn’t required to be mature and responsible all the time, it wasn’t the end of the world if her glasses broke anymore. Since it was a new school, this was her chance to start anew and make lasting friendships.

    Unfortunately, a life of sitting in the shade reading books while everyone else played together had left her without any social skills worth the name. She was awkward, talked using strange, complicated words and didn’t know how to react to commonplace interactions, so she soon became known as the weirdo. Not exactly shunned, but avoided by the rest when they could help it.

    It made her a little sad, and a bit disappointed, but it was otherwise business like usual.

    Some months later though, someone who extended a hand to her appeared. It was a transfer student, a cheerful and sporty girl that couldn’t be more opposite to herself if she tried and yet, she stuck to her side like a particularly stubborn limpet. It would be a lie to say they became fast friends, but things worked out in the end, and they became inseparable.

    Even more time passed, and she realized, little by little, her friends’ mere presence had become invaluable. Simply seeing her smile sent her heart aflutter, and brushing their skin together was enough to make her blush. This was japan, though, and that sort of same-sex attractions were heavily frowned upon. She resigned herself to never act on them.

    You can imagine her surprise when, mere weeks after realizing her feelings, her friend confessed her own feelings. They were thirteen by then, far too innocent for anything more than a peck on the lips and yet, that was easily the most precious memory in her whole life.

    Which makes it all the more tragic that they got caught. Flat-footed, flustered and afraid. And probably blowing things out of proportion in that way teenagers usually do, she reacted in the worst possible way, lashing at her dear friend and making it seem like her attentions had been unwanted. Hurt by her betrayal, her friend ran away crying.

    The rumours spread like wildfire and the following day everyone seemed to hate her friend and go out of their way to make it known, while she herself got ‘adopted’ by a clique of popular girls. Regret pooled in her heart as she saw her bright, cheerful friend lose her energy and wilt day by day before the ongoing bullying campaign.

    To her shame though, fear outweighed her guilt, and she kept her head down, doing her best to smile at her new ‘friends’ and trying to ignore how disgusted she felt with herself. Out of class, in private, she reasoned to herself, she would talk with her friend and ask for forgiveness.

    But she never had the chance, because her friend refused to meet her out of class or take her calls. Even as she saw her wilt day by day, as guilt gnawed at her entrails, one was too scared to address the other in public, and the other was too stubborn to meet the one in private. Until, one day, when she arrived at school in the morning...

    A police cordon blocked the way.

    It was all her fault. Her cowardice, her betrayal. Her fear of speaking out her feelings had cost her friend everything.

    She refused to leave home anymore after that. For a whole year afterwards, until half of her last year of Middle School she secluded herself, wasting away in guilt, mind going in circles. She knew she was worrying her mom, and that made her feel even more guilty, but she couldn’t bring herself to do anything about it.

    Finally though, she found an answer she could be satisfied with. If she couldn’t forgive herself for what she’d done, there was no point in worrying about herself, no reason for fear. Instead, she would do her best to earn forgiveness for her cowardice.

    She couldn’t take back those words she spoke a year ago, she couldn’t bring her beloved friend back, but she could live the rest of her life as she should’ve lived it from the start. She would do it for her.

    Where’s now the shy girl who found a steel resolve?

    But that’s not me, that’s not who I am.


    There was once a greedy girl who wanted the impossible.

    She was born that way, but nobody took notice. The greedy girl was indeed greedy, but since she was cheerful and worked hard, no one really blamed her.

    Her greediness didn’t seem like a big deal, either. When she set her sights on something, she didn’t give up until she obtained it. But since that didn’t create great disturbances, people let it slip.

    She set her sights into magic, and from her cauldron brewed the most mystical blends.

    The stars crossed the sky at her sign.

    The light flowed and bent at her will.

    With her broom she would cross the sky, and with her smile she would charm the heart.

    She set her sight into goods, and her treasury filled with the most exotic riches.

    The furnace of heavens heated her room.

    The sword of gathering clouds warded off lightning.

    In her pocket she could find whatever she required, and way, way more.

    She had everything she wanted. But since she had attained it with her own hands, she was still loved by many.

    But there was one thing she couldn’t attain, no matter how hard she tried.

    Something that elegantly danced right before her, only to slip between her fingers the moment she tried to grasp it.

    Something detached from the world, and incapable of love. Something who treated everything equally.

    Someone she spent a whole life trying to reach, only to painfully fall short with each attempt.

    Where’s now the greedy girl who wanted the impossible?


    But that’s not me, that’s not who I am.


    There was once a happy child living with a happy family. Her people weren't rich, neither were they the most scientifically advanced.

    One day, her whole family suffered food poisoning, and she was left the only one healthy enough to get out and try to figure out what had gone wrong.

    What she found was a visage of nightmares.

    An alien world that wasn’t her world, made out of writhing parts that weren’t exactly alive, but weren’t exactly dead.

    And, at the center of it all, she found a monster. A death devourer of worlds. A hungerer without purpose. A macabre accident of evolution in some far-off world long deceased.

    The child was brave, if nothing else, and did their best to slay the monster. But the monster was cunning, and powerful, with the weight of millenia behind it. And it didn’t go down easily.

    In the end though, the child shook help, and with assistance they somehow managed to defeat the creature. Not kill, never kill, for it was too vast and ancient to be truly slain.

    Then, the revelation. The thing was not alone. There was another like it, hidden somewhere in the world, wearing the mask of a person.

    They were all in danger, and only the child and their help knew about it. Only the two of them could do something about it.

    The more they knew though, the more hopeless everything seemed. The monster they’ve slain was already mortally wounded and even then they’ve struggled to put it down for good. There was nothing they could go against a healthy monster.

    Intead, they hid. They did their best to formulate a plan that could save the world, all the worlds, for this plague wearing a person’s face.

    They reached for friends and allies, and some answered, but the monster had too many eyes, too many ears, for them to be obvious about their goal.

    And they still could not find a way to slay the monster.

    Gradually, fueled by a despair only certain annihilation looming in the future can cause, they explored more and more radical options. Crueler and more inhumane solutions. Everything, they reasoned, was better than the end of the world, of all the worlds.

    Bit by bit, plan by plan, they managed to gain a foothold of semblance of a hint of control. Oh, their efforts made it so they could puppeteer the whole world, if they chose to do so. But against the monster, even that was just a minute distraction. Maybe not even that.

    And they still could not find a way to slay the monster.

    In the end, the child found the hint of a possibility. A plan that had a shadow of a chance. It was nothing, it was less than nothing. But if they let that chance go, things would go even worse.

    So the adult who had been a child kept quiet and discreetly nudged things to go that way, while feinting towards another. Nobody else knew what she was actually betting on, because anyone else would’ve tried to stop her gambit. But she could see, with the eyes she stole from the first monster, that this sliver of the shadow of a whisper of a chance was till their best bet.

    And thus, they condemned another child, not that different from how they had been themselves, once upon a time.

    They condemned this child to a living hell, to impossible choices and tests with no right answers. To disappointments and betrayals and hopelessness. They forged the child, with a cruel hammer, into the weapon who could, maybe, have a chance at slaying the monster.

    In a way, the adult who had been a child turned the new child into a younger version of themselves, but not really. It was just her mind trying to justify the atrocities committed in the name of survival.

    For the adult who had been a child was not a monster, no matter how monstruos their feats. She had doubts, and regrets she only held back due to her sense of duty.

    In the end, the new child became a new adult, and managed an impossible victory against the enraged monster. The old adult’s sense of duty finally crumbled, and she went to confront the new, they wouldn’t ask for apologies for what needed to be done, but they had a question to ask, and a reward to give out.

    Where’s now that heroic child, who slayed a monster and ruined themselves fighting another?

    But that’s not me, that’s not who I am.


    There was once an unwanted girl whose existence was forced upon her parents.

    She wasn’t natural, but the work of once wise men, now lost to insanity.

    She wasn’t fated with happiness, and only a short life of suffering and misery awaited. Still she had a purpose. Even if she was denied hope, she at least bore resolve.

    But even that was taken away when her reason for existence disappeared. Taken away from the world of men by the hands of men.

    She had no purpose, she had no hope. And so, she slept, under the gentle charm of a mother who loved her in spite of all.

    And she slept and slept, until her sister reached out to her, and she woke up in an unknown world.

    She still had no role, but she saw the happiness of her sister, and felt the green eyed monster. ‘If I can’t have happiness, she shouldn’t either’ she thought, and did her best to hate her sister.

    In the end, the once unwanted girl discovered love, the warmth of a family.

    The distant guidance of the Father, the overflowing affection of the Mother, the sweet gentleness of the Brother, the cheerful kindredness of the Sister.

    For the first time, the unwanted girl knew happiness, the unwanted girl knew hope.

    Where’s now the unwanted girl who knew hope?

    But that’s not me, that’s not who I am.


    You can hear me, can’t you? This is part of being what you are now. Lost in a sea of selves, striving not to drown. But the gestalt bows before pure willpower. For most, once forced to look inside themselves, find they are too tired, too broken or too hopeless to fight the vast tide. To hate everyone means to hate yourself too, after all. There's no place for lies or schemes in here. The stronger conviction wins, and the winner takes all.


    You’ve been shown a peek at someone else’s souls. They’re all bright and strong, in their own ways, yet there’s one two (Focus: Duty) of them that strike you as particularly noteworthy. Vote for Two.

    [X][Light] The Pure Boy
    [X][Light] The Shy Girl
    [X][Light] The Heroic Child
    [X][Light] The Greedy Girl
    [X][Light] The Unwanted Girl


    Oblivion Compensation! You lose 66385 EE!! (Ardiendo interferes with Luz Lunar)
    Oblivion Compensation! You lose 66385 EE!! (Ardiendo interferes with Luz Lunar)
    Oblivion Compensation! You lose 66385 EE!! (Ardiendo interferes with Luz Lunar)
    Oblivion Compensation! You lose 66385 EE!! (Ardiendo interferes with Luz Lunar)
    Oblivion Compensation! You lose 66385 EE!! (Ardiendo interferes with Luz Lunar)
    Oblivion Compensation! You lose 66385 EE!! (Ardiendo interferes with Luz Lunar)
    Oblivion Compensation! You lose 66385 EE!! (Ardiendo interferes with Luz Lunar)
    Oblivion Compensation! You lose 66385 EE!! (Ardiendo interferes with Luz Lunar)
    Oblivion Compensation! You lose 66385 EE!! (Ardiendo interferes with Luz Lunar)
    Oblivion Compensation! You lose 66385 EE!! (Ardiendo interferes with Luz Lunar)



    Wew, I can’t believe it got this long! Here we go, peeks into other souls from the gestalt. I honestly wonder how you’ll react to this chapter. I mean, Ieft a lot of clues around, but I’d like to think I’m not being absolutely obvious either.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2020
Loading...