The Four-Eyed report, 11/25/16: Walking the Scar part 25 and a Nocturna League #5 chapter : :!

Why, yes! It is here!

Thank you all so much for waiting. Walking the Scar part 25 is now available for reading on storyshift, either by using the app or by reading through your browser here. Again I apologize for the wait each of these chapters seem to take along with them, but there’s simply nothing I can do when the chapter’s done and resting in the publisher’s hands other than to wait like everyone else. :'[ Hopefully the new installments will come along more smoothly? N-no promises, though.

On more metered news, Nocturna League Ep 5 is now swimming along at 35,000 words, roughly marking the halfway point for the book. Admittedly this has been a difficult project considering the more bite-sized nature of previous episodes in the series. A wider, more detailed adventure like this isn’t something I’ve done in a while, and regaining a feel for balancing imagery and dialogue and narration and all that has been a challenge. Regardless, I will finish the project, it will be lovely, and I expect you will enjoy it if you liked the previous Nocturna Leagues. Anyway, here’s the next chapter – enjoy.


Chapter Four: Grancis Receives a Wonderful Gift
Dinner time. After strangling half a dozen Vftrangals with her bare arms for Boris, Grancis is ordered to serve the giant stew in all of its writing, greenish glory.
“BE OF THE QUICK, APPRENTICE MEAT. VFTRANGAL MEAT IS OF THE BURSTING INTO THE FLAME IF OF THE LEAVING TOO LONG IN A BATCH OF THIS SIZING.”
Grancis is already frantically angling stew into rows of bowls using a ladle as big as her arm. “Yes, sir!” She finishes ten bowls and serves them out on the serving window connected to the mess hall. She takes a deep breath. “FIRST COME FIRST SERVED. NO SECONDS. NO STEALING.” she screams out the customary “it’s time to eat” warning over the long lines of hungry sailors. In pairs of four the sailors approach, filling the window with hands grasping for their fill.
“AND BE OF THE REMEMBERING HOW THE ANGRY TENTACLE FLESH IS OF THE LIKING OF HIS STEW!” Boris adds just as Queeg… or whatever his name is, crawls up and folds his myriad tentacles through the window.
“I’m waiting,” “Queeg” says, tapping the tip of his foremost tentacle into the metal plating of the window.
The action now committed to muscle memory, Grancis snaps up a vial of cyanide and adds a generous portion to Queeg’s bowl. “Next time please be near the railing after you’re done if you feel the need to… eject. It caked the floors and was really slippery,” Grancis says in a tone of caution to the burly octopus man.
“I throw up where I want, bitch. I’m a real man,” he snaps back, winning a few impressed guffaws from among the line for how tough and disrespectful he is.
Grancis smiles and stares him in the face. “Boris.”
“WHAT IS OF THE MATTER, APPRENTICE FLESH?” Boris booms back. Queeg curls instantly.
“The sailors are thinking about an octopus dish tomorrow night. Any ideas?” She says in the same sort of cheery tone expected for her best friends.
Boris directs a stalk-like eye and spots Queeg. “I AM HAVING OF A FEW OF THE IDEAS. OCTOPUS IS OF THE LIMITED OUT IN THESE WATERINGS, WE’LL HAVE TO BE OF THE MAKING DUE WITH WHAT WE ARE OF THE HAVING.”
Queeg sighs. “Alright, fine.” He storms, or more aptly, furiously slithers out of the mess hall to eat his stew, leaving a nodding Grancis turning back to deliver more bowls. She finishes with trained speed, and in only a minute more’s time, the food is served to everyone present, and the one bowl is quietly placed next to the door labeled “ENFORCEMENT” as she has every night on duty. As Grancis returns she finds The Captain pouring the remainder of his stew into a small gap between his bandages- it doesn’t matter much where he pours it in. Grancis knows by this point that The Captain’s not so picky when it comes to obeying common human laws, like eating through one’s mouth.
“Miss Vereyrty. I’d like to fill you in on the upcoming operation,” he says, placing the bowl aside while keeping the focus pointed directly on her.
Grancis fails to comprehend his sentence for a moment. “Wh…what?”
“Please take your own stew early to the officer’s table and I’ll explain all you need to know.” He turns out the door and moves to the mess hall, leaving Grancis and Boris.
“Am I… being deployed with the next away party?” She asks, half to Boris and half to herself.
Boris shrugs. “I AM OF THE SURE THE CAPTAIN IS OF THE PLANNING FOR SOMETHING. I’LL BE OF THE TAKEN ALONG AS WELL. HE MUST BE OF THE LONELY AND BE WANTING OF THE COMPANY OF THE GOOD!”
“Y-yeah. Maybe so, Boris,” She bows to request leave, but Boris is already trotting out the door to go to the mess hall. Grancis takes up the last bowl of stew and follows close behind Boris and then down the rows of tables to the officer’s table, usually only where The Captain and those nerds Estradia and Luisoix sit at to eat, though all three of them are not considered regular appearances at the mess hall by the others.
Already sitting at the table is of course The Captain, then Luisoix, Jim Masthaven, and Colette.
Grancis instantly tightens up. “Colette.” She takes her seat at the opposite side of the table from Colette.
Colette sighs. “Gran.”
Jim raises a hand in greeting. “H-hey, Gran,” he says with an awkward smile.
Boris smashes down into the table as Grancis returns the greeting and sits into the now-tilted bench thanks to Boris’ horrifying weight.
The Captain nods. “Good, now that everyone is here. Allow me to read out this letter I received earlier today.”
“WHO IS IT OF THE FROMMING?” Boris screams through the mess hall.
“The Mayor of Wreckwind Port, of course. Did I not tell you?”
“OH! I THOUGHT YOU MEANT SOME LETTER OF THE OTHER.”
“Well no, it’s the same letter. May I-
“THIS IS OF THE OKAY. PLEASE BE OF THE READING.”
The Captain smiles. “I’d love to.” He clears his nonexistent throat and begins with a mockingly snooty voice:
“Dear Honorable Captain The Captain,
It’s so nice to finally write you after all these months. I wanted just so badly to speak with you before you left without even so much as a word. I must say I did not appreciate the regards you gave Chief Vangair upon running off with that little box of mine and all that cargo. Did I do something to offend you?”

The Captain pulls away and shares a quick scoff with Luisoix, the only two with the full understanding of what she had done that night that put them on the run.

“If I did, I’m sorry, very sorry. I feel this has all just been one big misunderstanding and I want so very terribly badly to show you just how sorry I am. Please allow me to apologize to you with a full pardon for absolutely everything and an invitation to the Eversea’s fanciest and most desirable gala of the year: The Irefall Manor Ball. It is there you’ll receive your pardon and enjoy the finest night of your eccentric life.
Of course, you’ll have to bring along that sensational chef Boris of yours- I simply must have him cook something up for us as I’d like him to exchange some recipes with my own master chef, and bring your lovely boy too; Jim, yes? And I know your cute little engineer would just love to show me all his new, wonderful contraptions, that precious thing- but please just bring the blueprints, not him. He’s rather silly and we can both agree his presence is less than enjoyable. I also hear tell that you’ve recently opened up your workplace to those of the fairer sex and brought some young ladies on board! You know I just have to meet them, and you know just how often poor overworked Vangair goes without a dancing partner. It will be on the third of Grggam, but I want you to be there by the second so we can talk and spend lots of time together. Please come!
With all the passion of the waves,
Pertalaine Irefall, Mayor of Wreckwind Port”

At the end of the letter is an offensively-bold kiss mark and a small writ of invitation. The Captain stuffs away the letter and writ with a nod. “And there you have it.”
Jim and Boris exchange quick looks- the two are surprisingly fond of each other considering their infamous reputations upon an already infamous vessel. “So, we’re going to a party?” Jim asks, head tilted forward in suspicion.
“You all are the persons she described in the letter, so you will be attending the party with me. Worry not about attire; I’ll provide for you and ensure you’re properly briefed.”
“Briefed?” Grancis asks.
The Captain nods. “Yes. While we’re going for a good time and a pardon, we’re also going to show Pertalaine just how much better The Nocturna operates than her silly criminal underworld. You and Chef Boris will be outcooking her finest. Luisoix will make a mockery of her chief engineer’s designs, and Jim… Jim will be the Jimmest Jim that ever Jimmed. Jim stuff, of course- we all know.”
“Thanks a lot, Captain.” Jim scowls.
“I’m sure you’ll be of great use, Jim, so long as you keep down your… other self.”
Knowing, dreading glances are exchanged among the others.
“Yeah, don’t you have a brig to cry in somewhere?” Colette says with a smirk.
Jim groans. “Don’t you have a… Dunks to get… beat up by?”
“Nice one, Jim,” Luisoix says with acidic sarcasm.
“A perfect rebuttal,” The Captain says in echo.
“THAT WAS OF THE HORRIBLE, JIM,” Boris says. We all know that Boris is not much of one for sarcasm, but he still tries hard, the poor fellow.
Grancis just turns her gaze as Jim smashes his fist into the table. “Shut up! You all know I can’t control it!”
“You can control yourself back to the brig,” Colette says, winning a chuckle from Luisoix.
Jim’s tattoo flashes and Colette tenses for movement. “You… B-bastards always-”
The Captain cracks a single knuckle, pacifying Jim instantly. “Mister Masthaven, Miss Ketiere, please be more exemplary. Verbal jousting is certainly within the domain of a fine captain, however you two are pushing into the realm of vicious, and good captains are rarely vicious.”
“What?” Jim snaps. “I didn’t do anyth-”
“I’m not interested in excuses, Mister Masthaven. You will display coolness or it’s back to the brig with you.”
Jim sighs and pushes his hand into his face. “Y…yes sir.”
“Very good. Now then: an aspiring person of command must be ready for any feasible event that might be thrown his way. It is for this that I will assure that you three are updated on the proper courtly manners and dances.”
“Dance lessons, for the three of us?” Grancis asks.
“Among other things, yes. I would be ill caught if one of my crew mates caught the eye of another captain or noble and desired a dance, only to be unable to perform properly. The lesson will have to be intensive as we don’t have long until we reach Wreckwind. I estimate about a day to a week.”
Colette squints an eye. “To a week?”
The Captain waves his head about and shrugs. “The Eversea tries hard to get sailors lost, so it quite depends. If both Jim and I are in good mental condition we can certainly chart the proper course. If not… we’ll get there when we get there.”
“But won’t we miss the ball?” Colette asks.
He nods. “Yes, but taking it slow and steady would be preferable to running off course and into a deep god, or traveling off the end of some far off world, or even worse,” The Captain’s tone darkens. “finding one of the elder islands.”
Even Luisoix looks confused, but for the first time, Grancis notices Boris pulse his body- like a small, almost imperceptible flinch of horror.
“Hell’s an elder island?” Jim asks.
The Captain scoffs. “One day, my boy, one day,” he says with professorly finger wriggle. The Captain straightens up and rises from his seat. “Now then, meeting adjourned. Mister Masthaven, Miss Ketiere, Miss Vereyrty, I expect to see you all in the gym tomorrow after breakfast; understand?”
“Yeah,” Colette says.
“Alright,” goes the Jim.
And of course there’s a demure “Mhmm,” from Grancis.
The Captain nods. “Very good. You’re dismissed.” He looks over to Luisoix. “And Head Engineer Luisoix. I would like to have a word with you in private.”
Luisoix raises a horrific angler-fish brow. “Sure thing, Cap.”
The group splits up and Grancis feels the need to turn in early. Her duties for the day are finished, after all, and she’s been weighing her feelings with Colette for hours. She doesn’t even look at Colette when she gets up, bows and takes her leave.
Really, Grancis knew this would be brought up eventually. For all the numerous times Grancis stuck out for Colette, when in their younger years it was Colette who stuck out for Grancis. She remembers well the taste and sensation of mud, the abrupt fling of gravity when one is pushed over, and even the rare, second-long sting of a thrown rock that leaves a lasting injury that must have only been because of a fall, she’d claim. Alone at ten years old, Grancis had no enjoyment of going outside. Being the daughter of the cultured doctor forced her out like a sore thumb. As many of the villagers did not appreciate the newly-moved doctor, their children did not appreciate his child either. Colette, however, was different.
Grancis escapes the thoughts and returns to her anger as she enters the sleeping quarters, steps to the end of the room and ascends to her bunk. She climbs over Colette’s with a heave, and stops. Her lobster plushy, lonesome just a day ago, is now companion to a small octopus, smirking blankly as it wraps around an equally-soft anchor. She’s set aback only a moment, and then she lays herself to sleep.
An hour later, Colette comes to her bunk, enters solemnly, and turns her back to Grancis. Grancis peeks over Colette a moment. Something’s missing with her. It takes her a few seconds.
“So… where’s your coat?” Grancis asks, almost whispering.
Colette doesn’t move an inch. “Lost it.”
Grancis takes a breath too. “I see… And you found this thing?” Grancis gently presses the octopus into Colette’s back.
“Yeah… you know, just lyin’ around.”
They listen to the muffled sound of the waves as they rock the two gently. “Thank you,” Grancis says.
Colette pauses before responding. “I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be. It’s true.”
Colette sighs. “But it was still mean. You would’ve been fine without me, but not me without you… I needed you. I still need you.”
Grancis hums with the gentleness of a butterfly landing on a leaf. “I need you too. I just don’t want you to change. I’m scared.”
“Scared?”
“Don’t change. I don’t want you to lose who you are.”
Colette bites her lip. “I won’t lose myself. Whatever I’ll be, I’ll still be fighting for you. Is that enough?”
Grancis is quiet a moment. “I… I don’t know. Just please be careful, okay?” Colette nudges her elbow to poke Grancis, but Grancis catches her hand with her own. “Promise me?” Grancis adds.
Colette sighs, stares through the darkness of the bunk room to the mild light from the porthole window, and nods. “I promise.”
Grancis hugs Colette’s arm to her chest. “Thank you… Good night.”
“Good night,” Colette says.
The two terminate contact and wrap into their bunks. Colette wonders just what she could do to defeat the overlord without becoming a monstrosity, and Grancis wonders just how deep Colette will go once she inevitably breaks her promise.

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The Four-Eyed Report – 11.12.16 – Nocturna League and Xtreme Force Chapters included!

Good day, friend,

Here’s the present happenstancery-

Walking the Scar – Next chapter is done. Expect it to drop within a week’s time. Again I apologize for the delay, I’ve simply been busy fighting spiders… or deadlines, one or the other. I feel like I’m finally digging myself out of a tough place in the project and getting to a spot where the end of the story is becoming clear. You’ll see Rayull again in a few chapters, don’t worry… well, worry about Rayull’s life, but not about not seeing him.

Nocturna League – Check out the next chapter below this post. Progress is moving steadily along, but I have been consistently running into irritating little walls with the story, like an unusually high amount for my usual project. When it comes to novels I expect to hit a little halt at least once or twice, but this one has been a bit of a challenge to keep the storyline moving in a meaningful way, while also maintaining the pacing. Certainly, I am confident in my abilities to write a good story, but not one that is always thrilling and gripping. I’ve been readily able to craft reading that was not only appealing to the mind, but also the emotions in times past, but I don’t know if I am skilled enough to evoke that form of the muse on will. Let’s wait and see, shall we?

The Relic – No progress since my last update, no update from the publisher. Patience will prove to be helpful here, I suppose.

Xtreme Force – I really just need to sit down and get this all done in a full shot if I can. Frankly what I’m worried about here is that… perhaps the subject matter is just too intense for my garnered readership. Allow me to expound:

When I first started out writing Xtreme Force years ago, I had in mind an extreme satire, the sort of book that addresses numerous tropes in what western society tends to view masculinity as in all of its different forms. However as I wrote on and on and I exposed more and more readers to the book, very few of them actually caught the meaning. Actually a large chunk of my readers (some knew it was by me, others were blind-readers) told me that it lacked depth, impulsive, the tone of the book gets old quickly, and for my blind-readers, that it was probably written by a total “meathead” of sorts.

This distressed me a bit, as I began to seriously ask myself if my readership, prepared to expect things like Nocturna League and Solution from me, would be receptive to the starkly offensive nature of Xtreme Force. Now, perhaps I am simply being overly sensitive about it, but I can’t help but be afraid if publishing this will damage my established image as an author. I mean, what if young adults were to pick up the Xtreme Force series along with my other, more age-appropriate books? Would I then be contributing to their moral degradation if they were to miss the meaning of the books, and simply read it for the thrill they provide in their crude aesthetic? You tell me. Email me at kellr.inkston@gmail.com with your thoughts on the project and if it would fit my image as an author as you see it. I’ll include a chapter below so you can get a taste of it, but if you’d ever like more, just ask and I shall provide.

All the finest of days wished in advance for your well-being,

Kell Inkston


Nocturna League: The Black Eye

Chapter 3: Kolette’s allowed into The Kaptain’s Klub 4 Kool Kidz
Colette’s let into the cool, dark study of The Captain, rich with the scent of wreathed pipe smoke and some other imperceptible scent Colette seems to only recognize in this one room – like something from far off childhood.
“A drink?” He pops open a bottle of some caramel-colored fluid.
She squints an eye. “Didn’t you just have one?”
“That was scotch, this is rum- wildly different drinks. You support a properly rounded-out diet, don’t you?”
“Sure.” She takes a glass. “Now what d’ya need?” She leans into her chair with a satisfying, leathery *puff*.
The Captain pulls down his spectacles a slight as if to assume an incriminating glare. “You really have grown quite friendly with me. Allow me to remind you that you are still but a jobber upon this crew.”
She takes a sip. “And?”
“And as such you should address me with the respect owed to one’s superior. Do you understand?”
“We’ve been over this. I’m not being disrespectful, just friendly! You know, keepin’ it light.” She says this with a decidedly comfortable smile, as if this were her study, rather than his.
The Captain takes his own seat. “Light on proper formality, for certain.”
She smirks as she takes the glass to her lip. “So, sir, what did you need me for?”
The Captain raises his glass and puts down a decisive gulp. “While you are but a jobber, you are also my apprentice. I feel it’s right to let you in on our plan.”
“Plan. We’re going to Wreckwind Port for a specific reason other than receiving the pardon?”
The Captain scoffs with the lightness of a feather. “The pardon is intended to bait us, my dear. There is simply no way in or out of The Eversea that Miss Irefall would actually pardon me.”
She leans forward. “You have a history?”
He takes a long sip. “ ‘Epic saga’ would be more accurate.”
“So… a long history?”
“Precisely; the amount of stories I have of her and she has of me could fill volumes I’d imagine, but that’s beside the point. She’s has something up her sleeve and will definitely pull it out the moment it suits her best. She’ll likely see my sailors behind bars, and my head on a stake.”
“Whoa.” Is all she says.
The Captain nods. “Indeed. Once you get to know her she’s… an ambitious lady and is not quite so interested as you or I might be about making lasting friends.” he chuckles for some reason. “So don’t be deceived- she’s as captainly as they come… in comparison to other captains, that is, not in comparison to me- I’m far more captainly.
“Obviously.”
“Obviously. So I fully intend on taking this pardon, if she does in fact intend to give me a temporary one just to have me lower my guard, but I won’t be led along like some fool. I’ll take the opportunity at her abode and steal her most prized possession. Something far more valuable than all the port and all its exports.”
Colette leans in a bit more after taking another sip. “Go on.”
“Pertalaine thinks she’s a clever one, as if no one would notice, could notice; but this upcoming week will be her downfall. In the end— ” He leans back into his chair, flipping one leg over the other. “She’s a degenerate like all the rest- only grasping for what she feels will fulfill her ambition… I suppose I shouldn’t step on her too much. We have many similarities, She and I… ” He scratches his chin. “But then again… Tell me, Colette, would you rather be wise, or be powerful?” He looks forward, to and through her.
She flinches.
He hums softly. “Something the matter, Miss Ketiere?”
She decides not to say it, but this is the first time he’s used her first name in a long time, if ever- she can’t remember. It sounds strange coming from him, anyway. “Uh, no, nothing… I think I’d… I’d like to be wise.”
The Captain pushes his glasses to the bridge of his nose, the spectacles glinting grimly in the porthole light. “Would you?”
Colette looks aside in thought. “No. No I wouldn’t. I’d rather be powerful. If you’re powerful you can gain wisdom, but not the other way around.”
The Captain smiles. “So you think it would be easier to be strong and become wise, rather than to be wise and then become strong?”
She squints as she looks deep into her glass. “I… yeah. Yeah, that’s how it would work, I’m sure, because you would be strong enough to get any kind of knowledge, right? I mean, you could just smash into a library and read if you started strong, but if you started wise, you couldn’t guarantee getting as strong as the person who started strong… I guess.”
The Captain coos softly and thoughtfully, manifesting one of those rare moments that makes Colette feel like she’s just answered to seal her fate forever, and she may have chosen the wrong answer. “I expected that would be your answer.”
She draws back. “…Is that a… good answer?”
He nods. “It is an answer, certainly. We’ll see in time if it’s the correct one or not.” The two listen to a pair of Eldgulls screeching outside on top of the deck. Colette never thought she’d find the sound of them comforting. “Thank you, Miss Ketiere. I think you really are ready,” The Captain adds. “While I’ll be taking you and Miss Vereyrty along for the party, you will be one of the few that will know my plan at length.”
Colette tenses. Finally she’s really on his side. “Thank you, sir.”
He puts aside his glass upon the chair-side table, carved with a curling, angry depiction of a kraken-beast. “We’re going to steal an object in her possession called the Black Eye of Vathhl the Beholder, said to be able to empower the bearer with the abilities of most any seasort.”
“Seasorts… like Boris and Dunks?”
“For instance, yes. It imbues, or perhaps more accurately, corrupts the bearer with the soul shard of… I suppose the patron of the seasort desired. Everything from the lowly starfish to the heraldic eldritch gods are offered up to the bearer, giving him a devious tool for any situation. What’s more, the shards offered by the eye are only temporary, and thus do not fully corrupt the wielder, unlike folks like Boris, who are overtaken and transformed completely by the thing affecting them.”
Colette hums. “Boris was human once?”
“Probably. Could have been born that way as well, or perhaps some other race that was corrupted. I’m sure you’ve noticed by now, but for every day you spend on The Eversea, your perception of what is, or is not becomes… foggy. That said, this relic is what Pertalaine’s used for decades to stay at the top of both the official bureaucracy and the criminal underbelly of Wreckwind, The Eversea’s most profitable port by far.”
“So she can basically use the power of any seasort.”
“With some limitations, yes. We have little to worry about though, because once someone other than herself bonds with it, she will lose the gifts of the eye until she can retake it, which we will not allow. On the night of the ball, I plan to make a distraction that will draw the attention of both friend and foe with such ease that they will be helpless to ignore it. You will then make your way through any defenses she might have up to her bed chambers. It is there you will bond with the eye, take it, and we’ll make our escape.” He reaches into his pocket and pulls out a small jar filled with clumpy white crystals. “Here you are.”
She takes the thin, unlabeled jar. “What is it?”
“Occult salt. Think back to when you were in the sewer with Engineer Luisoix. Remember that he was spreading something out to ward off the beast?”
Colette hums. “That morning was… I dunno, blurry. I don’t remember much of it…” She places a hand on her forehead. “Now that I think on it… yeah, Luisoix was real pissed when he found out it was sugar. So this is the salt stuff meant to ward off things?”
The Captain, his composure professionally measured, nods. “It works well on creatures of overwhelming evil or incorporeality. Demons, most undead things, spooks, spirits, phantoms and whatnot. She’ll likely have more than a few spirits serving her in her manor, so if you find yourself haunted, consider spreading a line between yourself and your hunter. Ideally you’ll trap them in a circle of the salt and that should take care of them. Just keep in mind that if your opponent is fully phantasmal it can just travel around a line and through the walls and floors of a place; something to recall if you ever find yourself chased by a ghost.”
She rolls the small jar about in her hand a moment and then tucks it away into one of her pants pockets. “Got it. I’ll keep it in mind.”
“Glad to hear it. Any questions so far before we go across the rest of it?”
“No. Fill me in,” She says.
“Glad you’re engaged; allow me to give you the details then… Aren’t you cold?”
Colette folds her arms; she doesn’t have her coat on. “No, please go ahead.”
The Captain shrugs. “Suit yourself. Here’s how it’ll work—”


Xtreme Force: The Fountain of Testosterone

CHAPTER ONE: FIFTY-FIFTY (AKA: PUNCH HIM IN THE FACE, TO DEATH)

Somewhere far from lands where reason and good-sense rule, walk a man, and a sort-of man. These two Subspace-dwellers are heading towards a large, oppressively-sharp ziggurat, shaped like a giant-ass fist punching the sky in its stupid fucking face- because fuck the sky, the little bitch. The duo halt a minute’s walk from it and feel the strange, dusty breeze blow against their chiseled, stoic faces.

“Ya’ think that’s the place?” the large figure on the left asks with a deep, masculine voice to the figure on the right. The person on the right pulls out a map and looks at it for just a moment.

“That must be it,” the thin figure on the right confirms with a voice of notably-less manliness levels. “There aren’t any other fist-shaped temples for miles,” he adds with a mild smirk as he rubs his chin stubble.

“Good. Ya’ ready, then?” the large figure on the left asks. Some call him ‘Ultra Death Graveman Death Death Death—’ but for the sake of briefness, he will be referred to as ‘UDGD.’ He is a man of coal-dark skin, wide features, and intense eyes. His hair is very short, and he is dressed in full, black plate with the exception of a helmet. He wears face paint in the style of an ash-white skull, staring forth with manly indignation.

“Yes, and you?” asks the figure on the right, known by the locals as ‘Super Manly Heart Tearer Outer’ (or ‘HTO’ for short). He is a boy with a witty, decent look about him. His kept blond hair is held in a short ponytail and he has a charismatic, handsome face. He is outfitted in a light, thin plate suit, silver with aged blue accents, also without a helmet. He holds a solid rapier and a left-hand buckler, colored in the same tarnished silver and blue.

UDGD takes a quick look at his weapon: a gigantic, strange axe. He scratches off a thin layer of rust, and after a moment more he sheathes it.

“Yeah, let’s fuck these goons up,” UDGD says with an unnecessarily angry scowl. The two ascend the stairs of the giant temple, ready to complete their quest with gritted, manly skill. At the top of the ziggurat, however, the path of the two figures is blocked by a huge beast man— its voided stare gazing into their souls.

“Halt, human, scum. This is a sacred temple of face punching. Only initiates with our order, The Great Society of Face Punching, may pass,” the large beast that totally looks like it’s been working out with a super high protein, high human flesh diet for the past three decades says with a deep snarl and abdomen flex. UDGD scowls as he draws his axe.

“I think you’re gonna’ let us pass,” UDGD says, clenching his teeth with intense, disgruntled strength. The intention of the visitors made clear, the beast enters a frontal stance, readying to tear off their heads and drink their blood while punching every inch of their bodies to oblivion. HTO does the same and draws his long rapier— warning of the oncoming, skeleton-crushingly-brutal fight.

 

ENGAGE!

 

The beast lunges forward with a snap of his teeth at UDGD, who thrusts his hand at the creature’s neck. UDGD swings his axe with a single move, lopping off the beast’s super muscular left leg and opening a gaping wound. Xtreme amounts of blood spray from the crimson hole, painting the armor of the two mercenaries. Fuck yeah. The beast howls in manly pain as it punches UDGD in the face with its muscular beast fist. As the two engage in a radical exchange of fists to the face, HTO delivers a precise thrust to the beast’s chest. Blood spurts forth all around the entrance of the temple as the beast flails its fists at UDGD. A few more impalements by HTO and the beast falls to the ground, spewing insane amounts of bloody awesomeness and painting the stairs of the temple. UDGD, with an enraged yell, draws back his axe, to which he has given the name ‘The Tomb Lord,’ and throws it down on his foe with all the strength he can muster. The axe comes into brutal contact with the beast’s neck, and blood covers both of the human warriors as the sinews are parted and the head goes flying off down the stairs.

 

VICTORY!

 

With a sweet guitar riff provided by the Subspace Orchestra in the background, UDGD spits on the beast’s decapitated corpse and wipes the blood off his face.

“Thanks, bitch,” UDGD says as the two enter into the large temple. HTO sighs, secretly not being very fond of blood— and thus not really all that manly, though he does his best to look the part. The two pass through a torch-lit hallway, smelling deeply of raw body parts, blood, and more cool/gross stuff— when HTO, being the more perceptive of the two, hears voices up ahead.

“Wait a sec… that’s chanting,” HTO says in a tone that is not quite as manly as UDGD would prefer him to have.

“Yeah? So what?” UDGD responds with an arched brow.

“Oh, well I just thought that you’d like to know, because it sounds like there’s buncha’ beasts singin’ it,” HTO explains with a reasonable tone, the sort most normal people would find perfectly normal.

“Yeah, thanks,” UDGD says icily as he shakes his head in disgust that HTO would dare do something as unmanly as attempt to suggest tact. HTO shrugs as the two press forward into the drearily-lit halls of the sanctuary. Only a few seconds pass and UDGD can hear the many voices emanating from their destination up ahead. The two companions come upon an illuminated corner that leads into a bright place located at the end of the hall.

“That must be where they’re keeping ‘em,” HTO says.

The two quiet their footsteps as they reach the end of the hallway, and UDGD peeks around the corner with the profile of a shadow.

In the slight curve of his vision, the manly axe man UDGD can see a large pedestal surrounded by flames, which is surrounded by several dancing and chanting beast-folk, who in turn are surrounded by several mutilated corpses on fire. Atop of the pedestal and securely tied with ropes sits a dozen children and a young lady, all bound and gagged. This looks pretty manly, but not manly enough to beat UDGD and HTO.

“Looks like they’re preparin’ for th’sacrifice,” UDGD whispers as he looks over the beast-men and their weaponry.

“What?! What’s that?” HTO asks with a tone so un-masculine, UDGD would swear it sounds like the voice of a sissyass little bitch. UDGD sighs, showing his displeasure at HTO’s lack of manliness while still maintaining his cool composure.

“It means they’re about to punch those people in their faces to death, eat their guts, and then set them on fire,” UDGD, the axe warrior of death, explains to the rapier user.

“Oh, yeah of course. So how will we attack?” HTO asks, shooting an “O.K.” signal to UDGD with his hand.

“How else? We tell ‘em we’re here, and then kill ‘em. Ya’ ready?”

“Uh, I’m not sure if that would wo—”

“WHAT THE FUCK’S UP, FAGGOTS?” UDGD yells at the large group of beast-men as he dashes into the main chamber of the temple. HTO cringes, seeing the small army of beasts turn their heads at the two of them. UDGD pulls a great breath into his lungs- it’s showtime.

“An interloper!” the high priest of the face-punching cult hisses at the sight of the two mercenaries.

“I’M GOING TO TEAR OUT YOUR SPINES, PISS ON YOU, BURN YOU, AND THEN KILL YOU!” UDGD yells in his most erection-crushing of voices. The dozens of foes form around UDGD and HTO as they draw their jagged, rusty weapons, each stained with the blood of many weakling foes. The high priest of the face-punching cult remains unmoved from the center of the pedestal where he is just about to punch the schoolteacher and the children in their faces, to death.

“Kiiiiiiill theeeeem!” The sniveling priest says with a deep, crimson-colored scowl.

 

ENGAGE!

 

The beast-men dash to dispatch UDGD and HTO in a frenzy UDGD, with his large axe poised to strike, throws a strong swing across the audience of beasts. His strike promptly cleaves through three of them, sending their organs splattering into their comrades. The rest waste no time in thrusting forward with their weapons, pushing UDGD back only an inch as he prepares his next swing. HTO meets swords with the beast-folk, parrying any foolish strike they make towards him. The two slash and gouge in the large group of beasts for several seconds— HTO skillfully evades and blocks every strike with poise and grace and UDGD takes the blows as they come; he feels that is the purpose of armor, to take hits and still be carelessly manly. The demoralized beast-men begin stancing defensively, allowing UDGD to break straight through their guards and chop them into a gory, crimson salad of weakness, failure, and parental disappointment. The high priest, dressed in robes of crimson and black, sees that the two are winning the bout against his minions, roughly halfway through the entire cult. He decides the sacrifice must happen immediately, turns to the struggling group of children plus one lady, and raises his fists to begin the painful, manly sacrifice.

“I DON’T THINK SO!” UDGD yells from behind. The priest turns his head just in time to see UDGD, flying in the air towards him, axe poised to strike. UDGD swings down with such inhuman strength, such dick-crushing force, a bunch of sweet guitars begin to wail as he splits through the high priest with a single strike. The high priest cries out in agony the second before his body explodes— blood drenching UDGD, the captives, and the alter in putrid, copper-tasting glory. The surviving beast-men are so distraught and intimidated by UDGD’s display of manliness that they all drop their weaponry and surrender.

 

VICTORY!

 

UDGD basks in the immense pride of leaping ten feet in the air and then splitting someone in half in front of dozens of enemies, and proceeds to take a victory piss on the piece of shit high priest in front of all his beloved subjects. Feeling relieved, UDGD turns to complete the second-most important post-fight task: to untie the children and woman. HTO nods with approval that the fight is over and proceeds to wipe the large splotches of blood off of his face, armor, sword, and shield.

“Oh, thank you so much, sir! Children! Thank the nice man for saving us!” the lady instructs with a nod as she’s released from the ropes.

“Thank you, mister scary guy!” the overjoyed children all exclaim on the command of their schoolteacher. UDGD puts away his axe and crosses his arms in a cool, uncaring way.

“Yeah… what the fuck ever,” he says, looking off to the subdued beast-men. HTO smirks from below as the children flood UDGD with compliments on his greatness, and how so many of them want to be as cool and badass as him when they grow up. “Shut up. It’s all in a day’s work,” UDGD adds as he shoos them off down the hall and out into freedom. The children and teacher rush away past the surrendered beast-men.

The kids seem to have taken the brutal slaughter of dozens of creatures fairly well, as they are all laughing and making jokes as they leave. HTO sighs as he spares a thought about children raised in subspace; violence is so normal to them that something this traumatic is barely scarring for them by their age.

The children and teacher step off to return home and UDGD turns his head to HTO and the remaining beast-folk. The beast-men freeze up once they notice UDGD’s angry, super manly glare, which promises an awesome, disemboweling death to any who defy his will- he’s got a good energy like that.

“ALRIGHT, BITCH SISSIES, SHAKEDOWN TIME. LINE UP YOUR STUFF RIGHT HERE!” UDGD commands, pointing at a certain place near the shrine. The beast-men stumble to work, not wanting to displease their incredibly strong and angry looking visitor. UDGD leaps down and joins HTO, who has just finished cleaning his suit of armor near the growing pile of loot.

“Hey, pretty okay job, I guess,” HTO says moodily in an attempt to seem stoic and unaffected by the fight.

UDGD just sighs- this HTO kid is such a fucking pussy.

The beast people scramble around for anything of value they can find, and then all halt near the pile, hoping that the murderer of their leader is happy with what their offerings.

UDGD crosses his arms with an initially-disapproving stare. Most of the treasure they have looks non-manly and just plain weird. There are piles and piles of useless baubles, bronze and other various cheap metal items, and a single copy of the first book in the Oscar La’Coss book series— a novel in which he has no interest in reading, because reading’s for weaklings. A matter of fact, so little of it looks good to loot and sell that UDGD feels he may tear out the hearts of the beast-men, make a chair out of their furry corpses, and then just sell that instead. He was fully prepared to yell in their faces and kill them all, except he’s suddenly spotted something in the pile that catches his eye— a scroll.

“Fuck’s this?” UDGD asks with a curious glare. The beast-men shuffle about nervously, until one that knows what it is looks at the object UDGD is pointing at.

“Tis a map… sir,” the beast-man responds, head hanging low out of respect.

“A map for what?” he asks the beast man while tapping his foot in thought as he extends his hand to take it. The beast man humbly creeps forward and places the rolled up scroll in his hand.

“To a great treasure spoken of by our ancestors. Tis said to be a fountain that produces unlimited amounts of the purest of manly fluids.”

UDGD scowls. “Gross.

“Nay sir, you misunderstand. I speak of testosterone, the essence of manliness,” the beast corrects, reversing UDGD’s stance on the subject. The two warriors are taken aback slightly. HTO is taken aback much more, of course, because he is not nearly as manly as UDGD, who only displays his surprise with an even more-morbid scowl. While he does his best not to show it, UDGD is actually quite excited about the idea of gaining unlimited manly power. If the scroll’s legit, that’s exactly what he’ll have.

“I’ll be keepin’ this,” he says as he looks over the map. It’s tough to decipher— the geography looks absolutely nothing like what he is familiar with.

 

By the way, map-reading isn’t for weaklings. Cool badasses love reading maps- got it? Because it leads to cool badass stuff, like cigarette, beer, or explosions.

 

“Tis contained in another subspace realm, sir. Only the most experienced of orienteers could find it. Legends speak that the road is perilous for all but the manliest of warriors.”

“Yeah, cool,” UDGD says, putting the map in one of his in-armor compartments which slides out to reveal an open hatch. He turns to leave, HTO following promptly behind, and only looks back at the beast-folk to say one last thing:

“Yeah, and stop punching people in the face; that’s my job,” UDGD warns, causing a sweet, industrial-genre “Da dun, da duuuuun~” accompaniment from the unseen Subspace Orchestra. The beasts all fall to their knees in reverence— they know well that only a serious badass can make the invisible orchestra that persists through all of subspace play music with that level of awesomeness- the most the Face-Punching High Priest got from The Orchestra was a five-second horn quip when he slipped on a stray corpse- idiot.

UDGD and HTO make their way back through the hall and out of the temple. Going down the steps, HTO turns to his comrade.

“So, now that we’re done with the quest, we just split the money fifty-fifty and you keep the map?” HTO smirks at who he sees as a friend after only a single mission. UDGD snorts out air with a crevice-like frown and stops at the bottom of the steps to look HTO in the eyes.

“Ninety-ten” UDGD responds, crossing his arms with stoic certainty. HTO’s eyes widen and he stutters like a big baby for a moment before composing proper words.

“ ‘Ninety-ten’? That’s insane! I killed more than you!” HTO throws his hand to his rapier hilt with an alert stare.

“Yeah, but the kids and babe would’ve died if it weren’t for me killin’ th’boss.”

“Fifty-fifty is what we agreed on! You should be grateful you got a professional fencer for that price!”

“And you should respect th’ fact I’m a better warrior than you, n’deserve more,” UDGD says, leaning forward without expression. HTO stretches to look bigger.

“Oh yeah?!” he says as he flexes for the sword draw.

“Yeah,” UDGD says, cracking his knuckles.

“Y-yeah!!?”

“Yeah.”

“WELL, I T-THINK YOU’RE ABOUT TO THINK TWICE ABOUT THIS!”

“ ‘N why’s that?”

“B-BECAUSE I’LL TELL THE AUTHORITIES!” The moment this halting statement exit’s Heart Tearer Outer’s mouth, UDGD sighs.

“You’ll tell the authorities? Pretty lame, man. I fucking knew you were a sissy bitch.”

“I’m not a sissy!” HTO shouts.

“Yeah?”

“YEAH!”

“Prove it, bitch-ass, turn right around n’tell ‘em. See what it gets ya’,” UDGD says as he moves his right hand to retrieve his axe. His cold, obsidian stare makes HTO freeze, ponder the situation and then avert his gaze. “That’s what I thought. Ninety-ten it is,” UDGD confirms with only the slightest of smirks. HTO sighs and nods as the two of them make their way back to the town.