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    So, I wanted to build off of the depression entry. To a degree, at least. I want to talk about abuse. And I'll start with personal experience. You can skip to the second divider, if you don't wish to read this section. --- My dad was abusive. He never got to hit me, beyond a belt on my rear, thanks to my mom... but he was extremely emotionally abusive. He looked for any and all opportunities to belittle me or scold me, and then took them out on my mother instead if she objected, only to redouble on me. To make sure I wasn't an embarrassment to him. That I never even considered crossing him. He was the MAN of the house. What he said went. His wife was to be a stay-at-home mother who cooked and cleaned. His son was to be a clone of him who would exist only to make him look better. The Bible "said" he was to be the head of the household and in charge. So, of course, having a woman who didn't simply bow to him bothered him. Having a child be a child was unacceptable. Even my cousins were given similar treatment, especially before I was born. Like attempting to beat my older cousin with a brush for touching his bag when he had just returned from a trip. Where he cheated on my mother. But that's another story. Or how about instilling his young child with fear so great that a 6 year old was scared of burning in hell for not being perfect? Scared that the rapture would take place and leave them behind? My mother's parents as well. There's a laundry list that's come from my mother and her siblings about their childhoods, but the present is more pressing. Treating everyone around them like slaves. Gma pitting every single family member against each other, if given a chance. Resenting anyone that doesn't follow the plan she's set up. My gpa hit my mother recently for disagreeing with him. He threatened to call the cops on me if I ever disagreed with him. Told me we never made a deal for me to drive, and that I was a lying thief. Threatened to shoot us for not serving a meal he wanted, and gma only replied "you'd shoot me!?". Trying to kick us out, with nowhere to go, because mom was too sick to prepare a meal for their very able-bodied selves. All the while, these people play the victim. They're just suffering because of everyone else. My dad is a martyr, a God-fearing man who goes to church every week and beyond. He's a father figure to some people. An upstanding deacon. Any grievances that could be expressed could only be done so by a member of the church, as opposed to an outsider who KNOWS him. And he has sooo many illnesses, needs so many surgeries, and so on. Gparents are even worse for the latter. Trying to call social services because we weren't being proper caretakers, when they were more than able-bodied and we never agreed. Gma has been faking a cough almost my entire life, as she's admitted. Uses any appointment as a guilt to get people to spend money on her. And so many more fake things, always something to guilt someone into spending money and rendering service, all while playing up how cruel everyone is to them... when they both left their own parents to rot as they got into old age. Even before then. But they're owed it, because they were 'good' parents. Kids are for taking care of them, after all! --- ... and that's just people I, unfortunately, share blood with. But why do I bring up all this anecdotal evidence, when I'm doing what is normally philosophical or purely stream of consciousness? Well... that's because of the relationship that abusers tend to have to abuse's after effects, as I see it. As I experience it. I am so, so scared of calling myself an abuse victim. I never thought of myself as one for most of my life, just assuming that... everyone went through those things. And, even after that, I still just assumed I had to push on. It was just a hurdle. Just a scar that would one day shine. I wasn't a victim. Victims were people that the world hated, shunned, ignored. People that used it as a crutch. Sure, there were exceptions that I had met, but... by and large, people like my abusers portrayed themselves entirely as victims, never taking any accountability for their actions. Turning around anything they did to me back on to me as a source. Yet here I am. The moment I hear hushed voices, I go still and try to hear if they're going to be about me, if I fucked up, if they hate me. Loud noises cause me to shut down. I am oftentimes scared to even leave my room, to the point that I earned the nickname "Bernie-Bear" from Mel's friends for just how shy and bad I was with people. Which, coincidentally... was the moment that me being a victim of abuse began to set in. And I tried so hard to look away from it! I was strong! I had to be strong! I just had some hang ups, that's all! There was no way I was a victim! It is so, so, so hard to call myself a victim. I think it is for most people, really. I don't want to be like those in my life who I was abused by. I don't want to be perceived like them. I don't want to be pitied or looked at like I'm weak. If I'm weak, then I've failed. I'm letting them control me. I'm letting my abusers control my present, as they did my past. That's letting them win... BUT THAT'S WRONG! That isn't true at all! It is not wrong to hurt! It is not wrong to have been hurt by people who DON'T have power over you, much less those that do! You are not weak for being abused! You do NOT deserve that abuse! And those people that fake? Those people that use it to chase clout? Fuck them! They're more likely than not abusers themselves, and you shouldn't worry about them! You shouldn't have to be inhibited about your pain, you shouldn't have to shove it down so that you don't "let them win"! Shoving it down IS how they win, because you leave the trauma inside to fester and bubble, allowing it to consume you whole! You have a right to be angry! You have a right to be sad! You have a right to FEEL! ... It's okay to be a victim. You didn't make the choice to be one. There's nothing wrong with acknowledging what happened to you, be it sexual, physical, emotional, or any combination thereof. People can be monstrous. I do struggle with admitting to myself that I'm an abuse victim. I almost cried talking to my mother tonight, because we both are so close to being able to say and accept how we've been abused, but the people we know are so fake and wicked that we fear association with their behaviors. It's admitting that you aren't fully in control to admit to being abused, and it takes a LOT of courage to do so. So, to abuse victims... You are stronger than you think. That abuse isn't who you are. You did not deserve it. Cruel people inflicted it on you for a multitude of reasons, but none of them were your fault. It was not a result of your choices, but the result of others taking your choice away from you. This world has so much potential for love. So many people truly wishing to help heal a broken heart, soul, spirit. Sure, there are more abusers out there... But I sincerely hope that anyone this applies to finds someone they can truly depend on. Someone who will not treat them as you may have become accustomed to being treated. I see you. I hurt for you. I'm here for you. And, if given the chance, I will open my heart and love you. Stay determined, everyone.
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    So, that job I mentioned before? I got it. I now make 6 figs working remotely. My girlfriend and I are planning on moving to Columbia, SC soon.
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    The last of my Christmas gifts for my family: This is Jordy, my mom and dad's chocolate lab, wearing the jersey of his namesake!
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    you either die based or live long enough to become cringe
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    My latest piece in soft pastel, this time using splatters of white paint for the stars. Feedback is appreciated! ^^
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    "Alright gang, this has been Maya-chan! I've gotta get going. As you all know, Digimon World Online is coming out today and you know who is getting in at launch. I reaaaaaally wish I could I could stream it with you guys but you know how it goes. Game uses your real life appearance and that'd be trouble for me. But who knows, maybe we'll play with each other and not even realize it, that could be so fun! Let me know on my socials what you're planning to do with the game. I'll be talking about my experiences with it in upcoming streams just wont have much footage. Guess I'll have to come up with something. Maybe I can get Doki-kun to stream with me and we'll play the digimon card game while we talk about it! Oh there's so many things to do. You all know my stream times, if not it's down in the description along with my socials. Follow soon for exclusive signed merch, offer ends in two weeks! Keep it real and keep shining!" Click. Stream ended. "Uggggghhhhh" Came a moan as the face behind hit Vtuber Maya-Chan slumped back into her chair and planted her face down on her desk in front of her. Jeanne Sakamoto had just gotten done streaming for three hours and her day was only really just beginning. A thought crossed her mind why she was still doing this but the thought of disappointing so many fans seemed like more trouble than it was worth. She could see the social media threads over Maya-Chan leaving drama and the shit she'd have to go through the Vtuber company. Oh right them. A contract seemed like a pretty good reason to keep doing something too now that she thought about it. Before moping too much longer, Jeanne looked up from her den of depression to a clock to see she still had a scant few minutes before the DWO launch. "Well Jeane, you came this far. Might as well not be late." the woman muttered with a huff as she hauled the box of goods needed to play the game onto her desk. Opening it, deciphering instructions and assembling was easier than she had anticipated but still more complicated than any game had a right to be, at least in her opinion. She was tired enough that if she could have put off logging in for a day or two she would have. But she knew she wouldn't last a half hour of not showing up without Shion blowing her up in every conceivable method of communication. "I can't wait for this super awesome game." She said with as little life as she could muster. "Gonna be the greatest thing ever-" she was cut off the by digitizing process. 'Logging in.....User.......Maya.......DIGILIZING NOW' Never had Jeanne put much thought into what having her body deconstructed and turned into data would feel like. She figured it was just all overblown VR type stuff. But this was something else. But then all at once she was herself again just somewhere completely new. Somewhere that looked beautiful really. For a fake place in a game anyway. She was almost in awe until she was surrounded by other people all eagerly logging in for the first time. The starry-eyed masses quickly made her gut twist and turn. It wasn't like this was even the best graphics she'd ever seen in a game. Like sure she was actually in it but there were probably missing pixels or something. The girl's focus was on the CEO of the game company, Kazuki Iwakiri, who welcomed them all to Asuka City. Jeanne took the opportunity to move away from the congested spawn point to take in the bright eyed corporate speak. A game changing the course of history. Like that had ever happened. Still, at least the man wasn't going to take all day to get to what everyone actually wanted. A device, primarily white with dark purple accents, along with a soot black egg appeared before Jeanne as so many similar pairs of objects did for every other player at Iwakiri's word. Without warning the egg began hatching, revealing a bizarre looking black ball of something with yellow eyes. A Botamon it was, which Jeanne would know if she bothered to look it up in the game's information. She definitely didn't already know all about it. Having to lug this thing around was going to be troublesome but it was almost cute enough to justify it. But the CEO wasn't done handing out presents as the creatures all began their first evolution on the spot. Gone was the ball of black fur and in it's place a ball of gray fur with long ears. "Wait... is mine broken? How come mine didn't get arms or legs?" Jeanne voiced to no one in particular. This didn't seem to deter the creature though, who propped itself upright as much as a spherical creature could and puffed its non-existent chest. "I'm Pagumon! It's an honor to meet so soon Jeanne." Pagumon said, doing what looked like its best attempt at a bow. "So soon? Oh yeah didn't sign up all that lo- wait what?! Ah shit, I shoulda known they sold my data. Never use real names even when they ask for them, stupid!" She vented as Pagumon looked on concerned. "Please don't be upset. I've been waiting eagerly to meet you. This should be a happy time." the digimon offered, its ears drooping. "Aw c'mon Fido, dont start with that. I'm not mad at you, you didn't do anything." Jeanne responded, softening some. But Pagumon seemed peturbed. "Fido? I'm Pagumon." it asserted in confusion. "Yeah well you're like my dog now right, it's a nickname." the human offered in explanation. "You were given an opportunity when signing up to nickname me, you should have done so there. I am Pagumon and that's that." the furball stated. "You don't gotta be uptight about it." Jeanne said, clearly annoyed her new parter was such a stickler about these kinds of things. But there was no two ways about it. Jeanne kept calling Pagumon Fido and Pagumon continued to deny that was its name and demanded she address it properly if she wanted a reply. Still, Pagumon seemed overjoyed to be with Jeanne at all. As for Jeanne well, Pagumon was cute so it was lucky. The two left, Pagumon in Jeanne's arms as they talked some more. Jeanne explained she was looking for a friend and Pagumon suggested heading back to the spawn area as most players wouldn't have dispersed from there yet. A solid idea and one which the girl accepted. Now it was just a matter of looking for Shion. In a sea of faces. No problem there. Actually it ws a lot easier than anticipated as something caught the girl's eye. A raincloud, a tiny one at that, isolated entirely to the space just above a single player's head. That alone required a good laugh but no sooner did the woman look to see the poor soul with their own storm cloud than did Jeanne see her own best friend, Shion. That was too much, the girl burst out laughing as she approached. "Wow I really missed out on not pre-ordering huh?" she managed to get out when she stopped laughing enough to actually speak. Shion knew that laugh. It had a distinct vibe of "wow, this sucks, and you probably suck for getting so into it." She'd recognize it anywhere, and while she'd normally turn and greet its owner with a smile, she was already in a bit of a sour mood. And so, sour expression fully intact, Shion turned, and greeted Jeanne back with a "Oh, shut it. This was the most not-terrible pre-order bonus; how was I supposed to know the damn thing would be bugged?" "Wow, here I thought you were just trying to ruin the vibe for everyone on purpose. Was gonna be offended." Jeanne fired right back. At this point Pagumon interjected. "You shouldn't be rude to your friend!" it said very earnestly which only got another chuckle out of Jeanne. "We got every flavor of buzzkill here what'd I even sign in for?" "To be a better buzzkill than them, obviously," Shion answered. "And maybe to try and find game-breaking exploits so you can kill the devs' good moods too. The CEO didn't seem all that happy that his collector's edition bonuses were bugged when I met him. All I could get to make up for it was some bits, though." Jeanne could only give a typical whistle to fake being impressed. "CEO talking to nobodies huh? What an in touch and down to earth old guy. Be sure to threaten to refund if your... bonus here doesn't get fixed soon." Jeanne spoke, uncertain if she could call the endless raincloud a bonus with a straight face. "I'll make sure to do that. Give the devs a week, and if I'm still getting rained on, threaten a refund. 11,000 yen for a bugged poncho I need to wear." Shion finished that thought with one of the driest, most sarcastic "Woohoo"s one would likely hear. "Oh, loosely related, do you want to hit up the shops before we check out what this game's got to offer? I've got a nice chunk of bits, and I'd like to pick up some extra..." Shion pointed up at the raincloud hovering over her. "Equipment." Jeanne feigned shock this time as she reeled backward dramatically placing a hand across her chest. "Is it my birthday?" she teased. "Well far be it from me to deny charity in any mmo. And I'm not even being told to change my password to something specific must really be my lucky day. We'll get you fixed right up Miss Sunshine." Jeanne added to rub salt in the wound. "Miss Sunshine, haha," Shion sighed, leaving an obviously fake laugh behind as she got up, and opened her map. A map which, to her great relief, was rather well-made. Everything was clear, labeled, zoom functions worked properly, it was by all means a very nice map. It was surprising how easy it was to botch a map system in these kinds of games, really. After confirming the location of the nearest clothing store, Shion pointed in its general direction, said "That way," and started in that direction, gesturing for Pomumon and Jeanne to follow. She could feel the funny looks being sent her way. She didn't mind that, mostly. The ones she did mind were the ones from players with what she recognized as being other collector's pre-order bonuses. If she didn't know any better, she could have sworn one of them off-handedly commented how glad they were they didn't pick the poncho. "For all the odds and ends in this thing's settings - it came with its own settings window, by the way - you'd think they would have checked that it can be switched off," Shion sighed. Jeanne for her part had been taking in the sights but more especially the people giving Shion funny looks. It was all she could do to not start laughing about the whole affair again. "Well for all his happy vibes and bravado for us noobs you know that CEO guy has to be overworking his team to be doing well... this." Jeanne said while motioning with her arms to a vague nothing. "This turning people into data stuff's kinda wild. Dunno if I'd be impressed or worried for the employees health if there weren't some bugs here and there." She paused, an off-handed comment about a way better pre-order bonus getting a snicker from her. "But hey, there's some positives to it all. Like how I'll never lose you in a crowd, or how I'll always have a conversation starter with everyone we meet 'cuz I can always just be like 'yeah that's me and my localized weather anomaly if you look closely you can see the rain is actually just the tears of all the disappointed pre-orderers". All said, I see this as an absolute win... you know, long as you aren't hugging me or anything." Jeanne added with a playful look of disgust. She did not intend to get wet simply be proximity to her best friend simply because said best friend wouldn't remove a cosmetic she didn't have to keep on. But then again Shion asserted she did have to keep it on and who was Jeanne to argue that? A foolish question really, Jeanne was never going to let it go. "Well, at least one of us is having a good time with this. And that's exactly what I'm doing here." Ah yes. Here. The clothing shop. The way Shion heard it, back when MMOs were not run through VR, the shop was generally just an NPC that you talked to, the list of items appeared, you traded in currency, and that was it. What a bore that sounded like, as if the shopkeep just had magical pockets containing their entire stock! Fortunately, those days were gone, and the shops of a VR MMO were at least a little more immersive. You could interact with the shelves or boxes, or in this case the racks of clothing. You could pull an item out from the lists - organized lists based on what you were interacting with - and examine it before buying, or even try it on in the case of clothes and other equipment. Then, once you were ready to buy, you could just hit the purchase button, trade in your currency, and your better MMO shopping experience was concluded. Immersive, intuitive, ingenious. "Say, since we're here and all, do us both a favor. Check around the place and try to pick up something for yourself." Pointing up above her head again, Shion added "Buy as if you were dealing with this instead of me. My treat. I'm gonna check the footwear and see about replacing my soaked shoes with something waterproof." "My whatever do you mean? I can only see the smiling faces of my friends. I don't see glitches." Jeanne teased as she left to look into wet weather gear. As she perused lists of items, Pagumon couldn't help but speak up having been a largely silent listener in the conversation between the two girls. "Are you two really friends?" it asked with an honesty and earnestness that might have made the woman choke had she been drinking something. Or staring up into her own personal raincloud. Crazy what not having one of those would do. "That's a silly question." Jeanne asserted. Having a piece of data analyze her relationships seemed like a waste of time. What did robots and algorithms know about any of this? "But you seem to always be bothering each other." Pagumon added, its ears drooping again. "It's a girl thing, kinda hard to understand I know but it is what it is. If you wanna think we're friends that works fine. It is the easiest way to put things." Jeanne remarked coldly as she settled on a matching pair of umbrellas, each wildly plastered with the logo for DWO and several of the posterchild digimon. "My god, they're hideous. Perfect." She said with an evil smirk. The redundancy of needing an umbrella while in a raincoat was going to drive Shion up a wall and Jeanne only wished she had a camera for it. "Let's go find our friends." Jeanne said to Pagumon who agreed happily.
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    Moments Before the Duel "Team Wilding is making their first appearance today, led by their captain, Action Duelist Honey Froswald! Some of you in the audience may recognize her as the younger sister of Major League Champion Elliot Dritte! Cam she live up!?” “Her opponent is Daichi Raimu from Team Genesis! Not much is known about them, but perhaps we’ll learn some today! Can he measure up to the sister of a champion!?” Daichi looked at himself in the mirror of the locker room, as he just finished changing into his outfit, looking at the hat he'd be wearing. "Win or lose..." he smiled before nodding, putting the hat on. "It's showtime!" The Duel The lights in the arena cut off for a moment, until a series of spotlights started coming on one by one, moving in quite the rhythmic fashion...finally something cut through the hushed tones of the crowds. “Ladies and gentlemen!! If you would please turn your attention this way to the center field and you’ll see our illustrious challenger...miss Honey!” the voice boomed as the spotlights pointed at the Duelist on the field. But all but one suddenly left the Duelist in a swift fashion. “...and who comes to take the stage to meet this challenger? Why...none other than I...” The remaining spotlights converged on one fixed location and suddenly an explosion of purple smoke erupted in where the spotlights stood...and once it settled… “Ladies and gentlemen, the Moonlit Magician has arrived.” Daichi smirked, bowing slightly and facing towards the opponent, the lights immediately coming back on afterwards. “I’m Honey Froswald! I don’t have any special epithet, but I want to give everyone an entertaining experience, all the same!” “3… 2… 1… Duel!” LET THE SHOW BEGIN!!! Action Field - Grand Adventure...he was cool with this. It was something he'd spent some time on before, so he was in his element somewhat. "If you don’t mind, I believe I’ll take the first move.” Daichi drew his five cards and looked at them, nodding slowly. “I shall set the Pendulum Scale, using my Dragonpit and Dragonpulse Magicians!” Soon two magicians appeared at either side of Daichi before rising into the air above him, being surrounded by a pillar of light. “The scales of 1 and 8, meaning monsters Level 2 through 7 are fair game!” Taking another look at his hand, he nodded. “And now, I’ll use this moment to do just that! Using Dragonpit and Dragonpulse...time for the real show to begin!” Daichi watched as now a dowsing pendulum appeared between the two magicians and slowly began to sway back and forth. “Metronomic Pendulum, swing and sway to mesmerize the audience! Give way for the magicians to take the stage! PENDULUM SUMMON!!! Now, put your hands together!!!” Soon one light came from where the Pendulum swayed and in quite the light show and flair, one magician exploded in a bright colorful array of light and descended near Daichi. "Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the star of my performance: Oafdragon Magician!" Daichi proudly introduced as the magician took a slight bow. "Alas, it's the first turn and I cannot attack. So instead, I’ll set one card face down and relinquish my t-...” he said, simply placing one card face down just as he said, preparing to pass his turn...however, Honey didn’t seem to let him just yet. “Not so fast! I activate the effect of my Ursarctic Micbilis from my hand! By tributing another Level 7 or higher monster from my hand or field during either player’s Main Phases, I can Special Summon it! I tribute Ursarctic Mictanus! I then activate its effect! It allows me to summon another Ursarctic monster from my hand! Come down, Megapolar! When this one is summoned, I can destroy one spell or trap… and I choose your set card!” Ursarctic...that was something he wasn't expecting exactly. “Well well, now that is an impressive start from you!” he said with a smile, immediately flipping his face-down up: Pendulum Area. It did indeed shatter in front of him, but in quite the beautiful display. “I suppose my bait of Pendulum Area worked. Well, if that’s the case...then I shall now relinquish my turn...provided you have no other interruptions. Now go on, let’s see what we can do to entertain the masses!” “Then you’ll love what comes next! I use Megabilis as a tuner, with Polari as the non-Tuner…” She motioned to them as their forms became green rings for Megabilis, and a single black star for Polari, “to summon...Ursarctic Grand Chariot! When it’s summoned, it destroys two cards you control… So I’ll destroy Dragonpit and Dragonpulse!” The massive mech reared the scythe back as Honey hopped onto the mech’s shoulder before shooting forward, swinging the mech through the pendulums set as scales and shattering them, leaving Daichi with just one card in hand and Oafdragon. “Taking out Dragonpulse and Dragonpit...an impressive thing to do as of now...” Daichi nodded, before moving quickly towards an Action Card...however...he didn't get it whatsoever. Honey seemed to beat him to the punch as she was practically launched by Grand Chariot to grab it. “Now, Grand Chariot! Destroy Oafdragon!” As Daichi recovered from missing the grab, he shielded himself with his cape, only for his monster to be destroyed! His life fell to 3400 from the battle damage, as Honey walked back up beside her ace, panting. The crowd cheered for the display it saw, only a bit louder than Daichi earlier. “I’ll set one, then it’s your turn. Let’s see you beat that!” Surprisingly, Daichi was applauding Honey right now, the sounds of him clapping could be heard. “Impressive display...truly! But, we magicians don’t go down as easily...not when we still have so much to display and dazzle our audiences with! I draw!!” he said, drawing his next card. “From my hand, I activate Amazing Pendulum! Seeing as I no longer have any cards in my Pendulum Zone, I can add two Magician Pendulum Monsters with different names from my Extra Deck to my hand. I’m selecting Dragonpulse and Dragonpit!” Quickly removing the two cards from his Extra Deck, Daichi added them to his hand before swiftly placing them on his Duel Disk. “Time for a repeat performance, you two! Dragonpulse and Dragonpit now set my Pendulum Scale! Once more, metronomic pendulum! Swing and sway! Pendulum Summon! From the Extra Deck and from my hand!!” Two lights appeared from the swaying Pendulum as two monsters appeared in a kneeling position. “Oafdragon Magician returns and joining him is Rapid-Fire Magician in Defense Mode!” “In response, I activate the Micpolar in my hand!” She revealed the polar bear card, Mictanus in grave popping out to be moved to banish, “Summoning it in defense! And when I do, it searches for another Megapola!” As the polar bear mech surfed onto the field, Honey’s set card also rose up, shining as it activated. Her LP fell to 3300 as the name Ursarctic Quint Charge became clear. “Then I activate the first effect of Quint Charge! I add Megabilis back from Grave to hand, only to tribute it immediately for Megapolar!” The humanoid polar bear mech from earlier appeared once more, brandishing its hammer! It took aim at Dragonpit Magician, pulling the hammer back for a swing, and…! “Heh, truly trying to silence my performance with that. However, not this time!” Daichi ran off, giving a whistle to Oafdragon and Rapid-Fire to quickly follow him. He then found what he needed...an Action Card just hanging near one of the little ship fins. Running off the side, he held his hand out and immediately Oafdragon Magician caught it, flying him over towards it. In an instant, the ivory magician grabbed the card and added it to his hand. Once they were back on the ship, he immediately played it. “Action Card - Starry Night! This turn, all face-up Spells and Traps cannot be destroyed.” Once he played it, a shimmering set of stars seemed to shoot across where Dragonpulse Magician remained, protecting it from Megapola. “A valiant effort, but I believe that’s as much as you’ll be able to do there...and now, since I activated a Spell...to be accurate, a Normal Spell in the form of an Action Card, Rapid-Fire Magician’s skill activates.” The magician holding two scepters moved slightly for a moment, having various amounts of colored fiery orbs floating around him and the scepters. “Whenever I activate a Normal Spell, with him, I can inflict 400 points of damage to my opponent! Now, do your thing, Rapid-Fire!!” Rapid-Fire Magician nodded and began to wave the scepters in his hands, the fiery orbs dancing around him before being launched towards Honey, colliding and taking the damage out. Honey: 3300 -> 2900 LP “And with that, I shall end my turn!” Daichi declared with a nod. “Ahh, so that’s your strategy. I was wondering, but that’s pretty neat. Guess I have to take that out first!” Honey grinned as she drew for turn, looking over the board. “I Special Summon the Megatanus I drew from my hand, banishing Megabilis from grave for it!” As she placed the card on the disk, a black mech, not unlike Grand Chariot, appeared, though it stood not much taller than Micpolar and brandished a bow. It took aim at Rapid-Fire Magician, pulling the string back… and letting its arrow shoot true, flipping the monster to face-down defense! “When it enters, we’ll turn that burn off for now! On to battle! Megatanus, destroy the set Rapid-Fire Magician!” With a slight grit of his teeth, Daichi watched as Rapid-Fire Magician was attacked and destroyed by Megatanus. Luckily he didn't lose Life Points from that attack, but even still, that was an impressive move. He looked around for a moment, before finding another Action Card nearby. “Bingo!” he said, rushing towards the card. “Next up, Megapolar is going to destroy Oafdragon! Arctic Crusher!” “I don’t think so!” Daichi shouted, playing the Action Card he just picked up. “Action Card - Debris Shield! This prevents the destruction of one monster I control only once!” Soon a small shield of falling debris appeared before Oafdragon Magician and protected him from the incoming attack of Megapola. Or so he thought... “Useless! I activate Action Spell - Eclipse Event! During this battle phase, all action spells have their effects negated! Finish it off, Megapolar!” "W-What?! That's a trick I wasn't expecting!" he exclaimed, basically watching the shield of falling debris immediately vanish from in front of Oafdragon Magician. Daichi slightly gritted his teeth again, before attempting to outrun the incoming attack. Unfortunately, this put him at a huge disadvantage...now that he couldn't use any Action Cards during the Battle Phase. The attack struck true and it blew Daichi back quite a bit in the process. “Now, finish it off, Micpolar, Grand Chariot!” The two mechs mobilized at her command, Honey riding the synchro straight toward Daichi! The polar bear rammed him, then Grand Chariot’s scythe grazed him, knocking him down, and ending the duel. The area filled with the sound of clapping, and a bit of cheers. Nothing like a fully packed stadium, but enough to give Honey a little bit of warmth. As Daichi’s LP fell to 0, the area had lights appear around Honey as she rode Grand Chariot, showcasing her as the winner. The screens that showed their duel showcased such as well, while she stepped down to the ground, the duel fading away. Walking over to Daichi, she extended her hand and smiled softly. “Sorry if that was a bit… brutal. I actually thought you were really entertaining, good game!” The ivory magician simply was dusting himself off before extending his hand in response, a wide smile on his face. "Alas, my first Duel was one setting in loss...but, against someone like you, who was able to entertain and showcase to the audience in such a manner, I happily accept it. A truly entertaining game, miss Honey." Daichi smiled before holding her hand up high, practically doing a curtain call bow with her. "Ladies and gentlemen! Let's hear it for your victor in this Duel: Honey Froswald!" To this the audience began to cheer about this and once it was time for Daichi to take his leave, he exited the Duel field and made it to the locker room in order to change...taking the hat off, he simply looked at it. The smile on his face showed he had a fun time, to show that he enjoyed such an amazing Action Duel...but what laid underneath that smile? Was it...a bit of frustration? Sadness? No one but Daichi would know the answer to this.
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    Interview 4 - Cochlea the Namekian by Chaos Sonic (Ft. Guest Interviewer - Yui)
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    This sucked. Inu hated the fact he smelled the dolls all the way on the top of this building. To make things worse, he had to fight off robots to even get close to the dolls. They were easy enough, a few punches taking them down, but then something weird happened. Two robots dropped from the ceiling. Not only that, but they had really weird designs. One looked like a giant turtle covered in spikes, buzzsaws spinning out from the sides as flamethrowers sprouted from its back, the turtle staring blankly as jets of fire spewed from the weapons. The other had a long thin body, one Inu was pretty sure was supposed to be a baguette. Looking it, he saw a silly hat on its head, and a small curly mustache on its face, solidifying that idea. The poor robot had no hands, instead ending on what looked liked scythes, but looking closely, Inu realized the scythes were modeled after croissants. "What idiot made these designs...?" Inu muttered. Watching the screens, seeing students come across bizarre and impractical robots only brought a smile to the Pro Hero's face as he held up a notebook full of crazy robots designs. "They're even more beautiful than I thought," He said as he went back to creating robot designs with the skills of a preschooler scribbling in a coloring book. The support teacher Mr. Deerc looked over his shoulder, sighing. "One day I'll figure out how you keep slipping these designs into my tests," He muttered. "Don't worry about it, John," Terro commented. Inu sighed to himself as he rolled passed the two robots, picking up the two human sized dolls, one on each shoulder. "Alright, you pile of scraps, let's do this!" Inu barked as he bared his teeth. The baguette robot only flexed its metal arms angrily before it walked behind the robot turtle, rearing its leg back, obviously trying to kick the dangerous turtle into Inu. However, when it swung its leg, the foot got caught in the buzzsaws, shredding its foot instantly, which caused the robot to lose its balance, falling forward and having its entire body shredded to bits, neither robot reacting to the turn of events. Inu stared blankly as the turtle fired off the flamethrowers, the flames falling short a few inches from actually hitting him. He looked down at the turtle's feet. Waiting for it to move, but soon realized it had nothing. No legs, no wheels, not treads. The turtle couldn't move. With a sigh of relief, he went to leave the building, when the whole structure shook. "What the H-E-double fuck was that?!" Inu called out. Tai sighed to himself as he placed down over 30 dolls on the sidewalk, wiping his brow. He was really lucky that the test was in the afternoon, and not at night. He dusted his hands off and went to find more dolls to help when a loud booming noise caught his attention. "What was that?" He turned, looking at the giant building that was starting to fall over, its giant shadow covering the entire area. "Shinobu, what the heck did you do?" He muttered to himself, having a good guess at the actual answer. With a sigh, he cracked his knuckles and ran over. The building fell over, a deafening sound being heard as the building began to break everything around it with its sheer weight. Tai stood in its shadow defiantly, holding out his hands, and catching it before the building could touch the ground. Gritting his teeth, he lifted the sideways building over his head, struggling to make sure it didn't topple into the ground. "No need to fear, I got it," Tai stated as he began to walk down the street, carrying the building to the outskirts of town. "I... I need to think of a better catchphrase," He muttered. "Maybe 'there's no need to feel, I am here!'?" he decided to leave that for later, focusing on leaving the building balanced as he made his way out of town. "Shit, shit, shit, fuck, fuck, fuck!" The poetic words of Inu rang out as the building he was inside began to topple over. He couldn't keep his footing as the floor became the walls, and the glass windows became the floor... that couldn't withstand the weight of both him and the robot, who began to fall over hundred feet down towards the unforgiving ground. Thinking fast, Inu spun himself around, taking a deep breath in before letting out a torrent of flame, the force of which greatly slowed his descent. Keeping his grip tight on the dolls, he felt a foreign feeling in his chest, a sense of pride. He was going to make it out okay, thanks to some fast thinking! But pride always comes before a fall. Some debris from the building were falling as well, and a particularly large rock nailed the wolf boy in the head, causing the boy to stop breathing fire and fall back down to the ground, his vision getting dark. "No, no, no!" His mind called out as his body spun through the air, steam coming out of his eyes. "It's not fai---," He was knocked out the instant his body crashed into the ground, leaving the injured boy laying in a crater, his grips on the dolls lost.
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    I think there's a fundamental flaw with the argument here that isn't being properly explored. That is to say, the point being presented is unsure if it's The Three Act Structure Is Not All The Matters, Stories Don't Need An Overarching Plot, or Conflict Is Not Needed. If we speak of the former, then sure, there's room to be explored... Even for the second, there's a strong case. However, it seems more like it's mostly on the third, while conflating it with the first and second for effect. Even cr47t's follow-up reply seems to fall into these pitfalls: This has the same idea that overarching plots and the requirement, or lack there-of, of conflict are the same thing... Making it just as muddled an argument as the original post. So let's break this down a bit. The four-panel comic in question is full of conflict, both overarching and small. Each panel has a small conflict, such as needing to perform action to get drink... But those are small, something we will return to later. For now, let's point out the man in the third panel of the 4koma. He's looking about, he's kicking his feet... This body language suggests that he is waiting for someone or something. That means that in panel four, either the girl arriving OR the girl giving him the drink, the conflict is being solved. In this case, the conflict is being alone and/or his thirst. For the purposes of a four panel comic, this is a central conflict. The tumblr post seems to hold 4koma, and other four act structures, up as some sort of ideal conflict avoiding storytelling, but... that simply isn't the case. This poptepipic 4koma is a better example of the argument for lack of conflict, yet there is clearly still a conflict. It just doesn't happen to be something the characters we see as the protagonists care about, so their resolution is to ignore it and carry on. In fact, this can be used to defeat one particular point from said original post. The conflict doesn't have to center on the protagonist, at all. The protagonist is, by definition, nothing more than the main character. Or part of the main team, depending. Of course, in many cases, this role is expanded... but it doesn't have to. Even then, both the Can 4koma and the one above show characters making decisions that influence what happens around them, so it cannot be argued that the problem has to impede the protagonist. We can even showcase this in western storytelling! Many western stories, especially fantasy, involve heroes going out of their way to help others. By its very nature, that cannot be described as impeding the protagonist, up until the moment they willingly choose to do so. Same with Can girl... or subverted by Popuko and Pipimi. You can argue the duo is embracing death, but that means it isn't impeding them and they willingly chose to not be impeded. Another issue I noticed is that the original post seems to conflate conflict and violence. Violence is conflict, but conflict is not violence. Hell, hunger being solved by eating is a conflict and resolution. That is not inherently violent. There's also this weird sense of "conquering" or "winning" they mention with the conflict, but, again... Popuko and Pipimi show how that isn't the case. Meanwhile, the Can 4koma can easily go back to my eating example, because you're quenching thirst with a drink. Conflict, resolution. I can't speak too much for the movies mentioned by cr47t, but from what I recall, Totoro has a series of mini-conflicts that all make up the tale of childhood. The movie acts as a series of snapshots, rather than an overarching plot. And that is a fine, valid way of going about storytelling! That simply isn't the case being made. It could have been. It could have been a case for 4 act storytelling. But... here we are, instead talking about "conflict". The very nature of humanity is conflict. To write a story without conflict is to make something completely alien to us as a species. You CAN make a story without a grand conflict, and Totoro is arguably an example of this... but the 4koma in the post is absolutely not. Because, for its small scale, it presents an action resolving its relatively minor "grand conflict". By the by, I wanna make a point about conflict. A GRAND conflict is not the same as a CENTRAL conflict, which seems to be another general issue with this tumblr post. You see, a grand conflict is something like... The knight has to slay the dragon to save the town. It's grandiose, it defines every point of the story in many cases, and it leads up to the final confrontation. However, Seinfeld is a great example of a show that lacks a grand conflict, yet has a central conflict... Life. Yep. There's no grand directive that keeps Seinfeld going, but there's is the central strand going through it that informs and affects the story. In the case of Seinfeld, it's just these horrible people going through their lives and just how shitty they can be. There are a series of small conflicts with each episode, and they aren't interconnected directly, but they're all a result of their lives and the decisions they made up until that point. It's a mundane central conflict, but that's one that a lot of people can connect with. You know, until they end up in jail for being pieces of shit. Totoro, too, has a central conflict. The mother in the hospital. It is the source of just about everything that branches off in the movie, and though it is not at any point the main point of the movie... It informs and affects many aspects of it. Being alive is conflict. Surviving, working, living day by day. And, if I'm honest? Most people lead mundane lives. But it's still a series of conflicts. Working to eat, eating to live, living to find meaning. Sure, this differs from person to person, yet the general idea remains. For example, I know someone who hates eating. Sees it as a total waste of time and money. As such, even the step of obtaining food is a conflict for that person. It's not exciting. It's not grandiose. It is conflict. Anyway, I would also like to add that the post in question is very, very clearly making a case for Western storytelling being inferior to Eastern storytelling (by virtue of being "violent" and "confrontational"), and it just makes the point all the more confused. Both Western and Eastern storytelling have merits. Neither is objectively correct nor incorrect, and it is a great idea to expand your horizons beyond one or the other. In fact, I believe that the meeting of the two and finding a balance can create absolutely wondrous, beautiful results. To sum it up: OP on Tumblr is very confused about what hills they want to die on. OP on Tumblr is confused about what the hills they got on even mean. You can lack a grand conflict, but you cannot be without conflict. Even then, a central conflict may be more subtle than it appears to be, as it still exerts at least a certain level of influence on the events of the story. Seinfeld lacks a grand conflict, but it DOES have Life as a central conflict. Let's hope that Konosuba ends the same way. Because it's just Isekai Anime Seinfeld. Life is conflict. Mundane though it may be, it is still conflict. While unrelated to the main point, beautiful things come from combining techniques and storytelling refined in different areas. Both have strengths and weaknesses, and they can compliment each other. Thank you for coming to my TED Talk. EDIT: I also wanna point out that, while Life is the central conflict for everyone in Seinfeld... Newman is pretty fucking close, too.
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    Interview 3 - Ukemei Ayane by Yui
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    i made this quick video to answer this question
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    RIP to the legendary John Madden
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    I got hired by a company called Cognizant as an Oracle Developer. According to my onboarding documents, my official start day is January 3rd. I’ll be making $24 hourly. I’m still waiting on my placement at the moment. Hope to have that on Monday.
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    Logo by me Quite a while a ago, the first version of this site's card maker has gone online. While it does do its thing, there are quite a few points on which it could be improved. This entails both reworking the code (as it is quite a mess that hardly uses any of the available tooling), and adding new features that makes using it a great experience. Some parts of the development process will be detailed in this blog. Tooling improvements This first instalment will be about the original implementation and improvements to the toolchain for developing the newer version of the card maker. Bundling the code As indicated in the intro of this blog, the original implementation hardly used any tooling. Most of the code was written in plain HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. I beleive that, at the time, browsers hadn't standardized how to import dependencies from the code itself at the time (and even if they did, support among different browsers was subpar). This meant that you'd have to orchetrate the imports yourself, or place everything in one big file. Plain JavaScript <script src="level-editor.js"></script> <script src="name-editor.js"></script> <!-- And many more such lines… --> <script src="card-maker.js"></script> As some parts of the code depend on the content of another file, you'd need to make sure the order which the files are imported is correct; files without dependencies first, any others after all of their dependencies. As you can imagine, this is quite error prone. You could probably hack something together like the following to have a file specify it's own dependencies. But there are some edge cases involved that are easy to get wrong. function dependOn(url) { var dependency = document.createElement("script"); dependency.src = url; dependency.onLoad = callback; document.body.appendChild(dependency); } dependOn("level-editor.js"); // At this point, the dependency would not have been loaded yet, // so using any of the code in the relevant file would lead to // errors. new LevelEditor(); // Using a callback instead that is invoked when the file has loaded // is more likely to work out correctly. dependOn("level-editor.js", function() { // There is however no guarantee that the code in "level-editor.js" has // run at this point. Any definitions might thus not be in effect yet. }); Another issue with the naïve implementation above is that it does not check whether the file has already been imported, for example when multiple different files have the same dependency. This could lead to useless duplication of code. RequireJS Luckily there was a project available that took care of most of these issues, and had some other utilities that you might not have thought about. I'm referring to RequireJS. You'd wrap the content of your file in a function called "define", where you specify on which other files it depends, and what to do once all dependencies have loaded. // level-editor.js define([], function(){ return function LevelEditor() { // … } }); // card-maker.js define(["level-editor"], function(LevelEditor){ return function CardMaker() { // … } }); Optionally, you could even specify what to do when the dependency failed to load. Most code was thus wrapped in those "define" function calls. Now only the entry point needed to be included, and the dependencies would automatically resolve themselves. This was nice for development purposes, but for users and the server it isn't as great. First you download the HTML that specifies it needs a script file; fair enough lets fetch that as well. The browser then finds out that it needs another file(s) first, so download those as well; same story. This could go on for a little while, making the site slow to load. Luckily RequireJS also provided an optimizer that bundles all those files into a single file (or split something into different files that can be loaded later when actually needed). It also performed other optimizations, such as shortening function names, removing comments and whitespace. This would all lead to faster load times. This all sounds great, so why change it? Well… as it turns out not every dependency does support RequireJS. And in cases where they do, everything but the kitchensink is included. Not great for efficiency (as is typically noted in the relevant documentation). Manually managing software versions of used libraries is also not ideal. NPM/Yarn/etc As it turns out, there are a few options out there for managing dependencies of your project, irrespecitive of whether those are part of the output, or solely for helping with development (such as bundlers, linters that check whether your code follows a standard, or transpilers that take care of turning modern code into code understood by older browsers). Most of them are interchangeable; they pull in the code from a software library (and its dependencies), and keep track of which versions have been installed. I have picked "yarn". So if I were to add some dependencies I'd write something akin to: $ yarn add react react-dom $ yarn add --dev typescript Most libraries that you pull in this way also document how you should import them; effectively the same in all instances, but different compared to the code listed prior ("define"). Not too big of a deal, and looks somewhat neater when a lof of dependencies are involved. import React from "react"; import { render } from "react-dom"; import { Rating } from "@mui/material"; // Rating (by default) uses stars to let the users input a number; ideal for the level editor. render(React.createElement(Rating, { min: 0, max: 12 }), document.getElementById("root")); Now, if we were to directly use the above file, we'd probably run into the issue of the browser not understanding import statements; it is syntax that was introduced for a different code execution environment (Node). A transpiler/bundler could take care of resolving those dependencies. Webpack But wait, didn't we just go over RequireJS, and it not being suitable for the job? Yes, but there are quite a few other options out there. And unlike RequireJS they support the import syntax that is actually supported in some contexts. In my experience Webpack is most commonly used, including in scripts that help set-up boiler-plate code. So for example, if you have the following two files: // card-maker.js import { LevelEditor } from "./level-editor.js"; function CardMaker() { LevelEditor(); } CardMaker(); // level-editor.js export function LevelEditor() { console.log("Editing levels!"); } Webpack would generate output akin to the following (which has been somewhat simplified compared to actual output). (function(modules) { var installedModules = { }; function require(id) { if (installedModules[id]) { return installedModules[id].exports; } var module = installedModules[id] = { id: id, loaded: false, exports: {} }; modules[id](module, module.exports, require); module.loaded = true; return module.exports; } require("./card-maker.js"); })({ "./card-maker.js": (function(module, exports, require) { var LevelEditor = require("./level-editor.js")["default"]; (function CardMaker() { LevelEditor() })(); }), "./level-editor.js": (function(module, exports, require) { exports["LevelEditor"] = function() { console.log("Editing levels!"); } } }); This way the dependencies get correctly resolved in the required order, making it far easier to work with compared to plain JavaScript. Now at this point you might wonder whether all that hassle was worth the somewhat hard to read output, compared to where we started: manually ordering imports. I would say very much so. Though it might not be all that apparent from the code examples. Some benefits you also get (sometimes requiring plugins for Webpack) include: Optimizing output by stripping useless whitespace and comments, as well as renaming functions and variables to something less verbose, saving a lot of bytes in the long run Splitting code that is relevant for different pages into reusable packages, or only importing code when actually necessary Hot reloading, so you do not manually need to rebuild the code and refresh the page each time you make a change Allow for importing different file types, to make sure they are bundled. And I'm probably forgetting a few other advantages. That might have sounded like quite a few hoops to jump through, and might actually be the case. However, there have been some kind developers that have created some script that take care of most this stuff. Thanks to those scripts, it essentially boils down to running a single command, akin to the following (this is but one such command). $ yarn create next-app --typescript There might still be some configuration required depending on your use case, but I reckon it still greatly simplifies things fo you. And with that I'll end of this post; it has already gone on for longer than I initally intended, despite hardly involving any code of the card maker itself.
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    Pokémon Crossroads OOC Welcome to the World of Pokémon! This world is inhabited by many creatures called Pokémon, each more unique and fantastical than the last. The people of this world have learned to coexist alongside Pokémon. Living with them, proving themselves in battle alongside them, and researching their many mysteries. There is a wide variety of Pokémon, just as there are a variety of Pokémon Trainers! Some challenge the Pokémon League, some attempt to rise to the top of the Contest world. And some take a different path entirely, one that leads to a grand adventure... Aether Paradise The island was artificial; Man-made to house and service Pokémon. A large, stark white collection of rectangular structures all welded together upon a central floating base in the middle of Alola's ocean. The soft rolling of the waves and the screeching of the Wingull that flew through the air were the only sounds that surrounded the great Aether Paradise. A video feed was playing, projected on the wall of a dimly lit office. It was a wide shot from far away, depicting a rolling hill that rose up high above a small village, up against the bright morning sky. The plume of debris and the large moving object that had collided with the hilltop was exceptionally visible against the backlighting of the sunrise. The thin form in the desk chair leaned forward, surveying the feed as it was paused, looking intently at the spherical form that was frozen against the Alola sky. "Do you think it could be one of them?" asked his companion, her voice sounding quite loud in the quiet room. The thin form at the desk considered briefly before saying, with a steady, calm voice. "Perhaps not... The signs aren't identical to past incidents... But it wouldn't hurt to check." "Paranoid, are we?" asked his companion cheerily. But his tone did not lighten as he answered. "Aether's made enough mistakes. I'd like to get ahead of one, for a change. Get us past what got us here in the first place." "You say 'us' like they were your decisions, Mr. President. They were your mother's." "I'm just the acting President... And my point stands. Who here can go?" "I'll see what I can wrangle up. We have some adventurous new hires lately; Perhaps they'll do!" A Day In Paradise The rest of the island was not so somber. A whirlwind of activity abounded in the Conservation Area on the second floor. A great sprawling array of greenery and artificial rivers ran through the floor, all framed by sleek railed walkways that collected at rounded platforms. Often these walkways would be crowded with the visitors that now regularly toured the place, invited by the acting President. But today the greenery was where the real action was. An absolute mess of Pokémon were scattered throughout the garden, of all types and shapes. Corsola, Wingull, Crabrawler, Fomantis, Mudbray, Pichu, Staryu, a few Exeggutor that stretched high up above towards the domed glass ceiling and the bright sun beyond, and even a massive, sprawling Snorlax were crowding up the garden, with a handful of white-uniformed Aether employees struggling to move their way through them without trampling on the smaller ones. "Alright, everybody, hustle, hustle! And no, I do not mean the ability!" A tall, lean man in Aether white with slicked-back hair and a large pair of green spherical sunglasses over his eyes marched through the ranks of employees, clapping his hands together loudly to punctuate his words. The empluyees largely tried to stay out of the way; Assistant Branch Chief Faba was well known to be an unholy terror when he didn't have his orders followed to the letter. Faba held out a white bag, composed of a biodegradable white material and filled to the brim with lozenges of an orange and blue color. "Every Pokémon in our care needs their dose of medicine for inoculation!" he called out, almost being drowned out from the various calls and trills of the Pokémon underfoot. "Be sure to apply the proper dosage, ESPECIALLY to the Snorlax! But first... Somebody needs to take care of the Exeggutor!" He pointed up the great trunks of the four massive Coconut Pokémon, who were staring down at him and smiling dopily. "One dose for each head!" He scowled, pivoting on the spot as he squinted through a small flock of Pikipek. The ones that were more old hat at the Foundation quickly dove out of his sight, some behind trees, others into the nearby river, and one behind the Snorlax, narrowly avoiding being crushed as it rolled over. Finally, Faba's eyes settled on his chosen victims for the task. "You! You! You! Aaaaaaand... YOU!" he called out dramatically, pointing with a flourish on each one. "You four! Take three of these," he yelled out over the din, holding out the bag of medicine, "and get them to those Exeggutor! I don't care if you get them to lean down, lie down, or if you shimmy up their neck, just get it done!"
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    Risa looked up frantically at the board. ALL these students that she had to worry about, all these people she didn’t know… She zoned in on the ones she knew to be wary of. “First place,” she said quickly, sitting next to Ben as she started to pull off her stabilizers. No way those bulky things would be of any use in this. She would almost certainly have to be the rider. “I saw Hoshi-sama lift a building. We can’t compete with that. Shoshiki also stopped the Ferris wheel on his own, so we should avoid him.” Her voice was fast, her words flying out quickly. But she didn’t have the same manic energy as she had had a second ago. Her brow was furrowed, not looking at Ben, not at anything really, just staring ahead as she finished pulling off her stabilizers. Deep in thought “I know a few of the Hero Course quirks from class, but I don’t have everything. Which ones from Class A do we need to be worried about?” "Class A? Hmmm…" Benjamin looked at the board and nodded. "Sun is unpredictable, like his Quirk. Kio is the most versatile of things, considering how many cards he has. Then again, it depends on which one he ends up using...if he hasn't already used one." He paused, his hand on chin before sighing. "Rika has the range with her chameleon tongue...and Ayane has her sound Quirk. Meanwhile Takehiko has his Pawns with his Chess Quirk...though I [dunno] what else he's hiding up his sleeves." Once again, Benjamin paused before sighing. "The only one I can't put my finger on is Diana. I'm honestly unsure what her Quirk does. I know specifically Sun and Rika up close due to working with them during that ex...am…" Benjamin's face turned slowly to one that didn't look great, as if recalling a bad memory, which...if Risa was smart, she'd realize what it was. He shook his head quickly and cleared his throat. "A-Anyway...I think that we may need to find a way to play it safe and do what we can." Risa, however, was in her own little world, and hadn’t spotted Ben’s pause. She finished removing the stabilizer cages from her shoes, standing and holding them awkwardly in her hands. “Seigi-sama… Well, she’s in the first place team so we should probably avoid her anyway…” She was frowning, deep in thought. “.... Ooooooh, I don’t know who to GO for!” She started bobbing around Ben in a circle. “Everyone in the Hero Course just seems so strong!” "Just need to figure out how to hinder them is all." Benjamin said with a shrug. "How bout this for an idea: instead of figuring out who to go for first, how about we figure out a way to just survive? Ya know, attack and retaliate if necessary. We play it defensive in the long run." Then something popped into his mind and his face lit up. "Ohhhhh!!! Ya know what? Risa we can do something else! You can pull people off balance with your Quirk...and with my spiders doing the same thing, we shouldn't have too much of an issue." “Oh no, what am I doing?!” she suddenly yelled, thrusting the stabilizers into his hands. “Quick, quick, put these on, I can’t believe I just wasn’t going to use them at all!” Benjamin yelped a bit, looking at the stabilizers and shrugged. Doing his best to put them on, he looked awkwardly at them and then at Risa. "I put these on correctly, right??" - - - - - - - After that the buzzer had sounded and they had to rush to their places. Risa was sweating bullets atop Ben’s shoulders as he cautiously tested the weight of the stabilizing soles. I just have to... find a way. Find a way to get Ben through to the next round. That's all you have to do, Risa. The team didn’t have much time to adjust, however, before being set upon by an enemy. Just one enemy. From Class 1B, Mayu wasted no time approaching the team with intent to win. With no more warning than her showing up in the pair’s eyeline, she reached forward, opened a pair of eyes on her hands, and opened fire. “... Eh? What?!?” Risa waved her arms and Ben only barely managed to yank her out of the way of the two beams. “Ben! She doesn’t have a rider! Isn’t that against the rules?!” "Yeah, that's...uh...ref! Ref! Where's the call??" Benjamin blinked. “Oh, I have a rider,” Mayu interjected. Pointing upward, she continued “He’s up there, staying away from the action. As long as he doesn’t touch the ground, anything is permitted outside of lethal force, remember?” “No way…” Risa turned her head, looking up into the sky with wide eyes. Surely enough, there was a red-winged form soaring through the sky, one of two, but this one did not have Diana Seigi atop it. Risa felt her heartbeat starting to thud inside her ear. “Atsushi?!? You can do that?” “His Quirk is Crimson Wings,” Mayu shrugged. “It’s right there in the name.” “I meant not using him as a rider!” she called back defensively, embarrassed somehow amid the chaos. "...well...errors have been made on that." Benjamin sighed, to himself. "Okay then...improvisation is the name of the game." “What do we do?!” Risa asked frantically, almost toppling off of Ben as she ducked two more blasts from Mayu. “We can’t even touch Atsushi’s target!” "I think we have to focus on Mayu first...seeing as she is a bit more of a pressing threat." Benjamin quickly replied. "Also, calm down Risa! If you don't you'll fall...and you won't be able to truly shine with your support items." “Support items?!?” Risa grabbed onto the last word, processing only half of Ben’s assurances. Despite her convictions at the start of the event it had taken her less than a minute to begin panicking. “Uuuum, THIS one!” She reached to her belt and threw a small disc at Mayu, flinging it as hard as she could. Three iron balls sprang from it on long cable cords, and the whirling bola spun its way towards the student. Mayu - not expecting a support item so suddenly, let alone one meant to be thrown at her - was unfortunate enough to have one of her arms caught in the bola. Immediately, she started struggling her arm to try and get it free of the device, but stopped after only a moment. “It worked!” Risa yelled out, sounding just as surprised as she did relieved. "[Nice shooting, Tex!]" Benjamin cheered. Eyes on the Target A prolonged huff sounded from Mayu, as her attention turned back to her target team. “Okay, that’s on me,” she sighed, after a deep breath. “I shouldn’t be sleeping on the support class, especially when it’s someone who rescued a hero course student. I’ll be sure to take this seriously starting now!” Spanning the full breadth of her midriff, a large eye opened up on Mayu’s body, foregoing the previous bullet-type projectiles to fire a fully-fledged beam at the opposing team. "That's...not good." he clicked his tongue, before looking up at Risa. "Hang on real quick!" With that, Benjamin took initiative and began to move them out of the way of the eye-beam. "Hey, you probably need to ease up there. Otherwise I'm fairly certain your optometrist will hate you and the overexertion of those eyes." Yikes...probably not one of his better quips...he'd need to think of something better. Risa clung onto Ben’s head from her spot atop his shoulders, the breath catching in her lungs as the massive ray whizzed by her. She felt a strange whoom sound, felt it, even, almost like it cut through the air around it, and her blood ran cold. "Out of curiosity, Risa...but can you use your Quirk on that bola?" Benjamin asked, keeping himself steady after the evasive maneuver just performed. "Cause if you can, maybe we can catch her off guard. Worst case scenario, we get the bola back." Meanwhile, while he spoke, he flicked his hand slightly...preparing something. Risa turned on his back, looking back towards Mayu, who was still bearing down on them. “Y-Yes…” she managed. “I… I think so. Why?” Mayu sent shivers of dread down Risa's spine. She thought back to every time her sister had bested her in one of her bouts of training, and how every student here was of that caliber. Why does Ben think I deserve to be here? Why does he think I would want to be a hero? "Then call it back." Benjamin simply said, looking in Risa's direction. "We're gonna make it through...and it's going to be all thanks to you and your Quirk..."
  20. 3 likes
    That was it, then. The duels were over, with a 2-1 score overall for Team Genesis. They were pretty exciting duels, too. Evelyn could hardly ask for a better real intro to pro dueling on this side of the Pacific. “Would anyone like to weigh in first?” “Yeah, just a quick question. Sai, what the fuck?” Oh, that? Out of the three duels the team had partaken in, Daichi lost his, Falisha won hers, and then there was Sai. He also won, but unlike Falisha's modest victory, Sai finished the game with a display of brute force and sheer power. “...Did it never occur to you that the crowd wouldn’t like what you did?" They sure didn't like it. They even booed him for his performance. It was pretty rude, to be honest. "We’re not just trying to win, we do have to get some support. It doesn’t matter how good we get if the crowds refuse to show up for us.” Were... were those two not one and the same? “I understand you have your own views on this. I don’t even disagree. You need strength to back up your convictions. But what you did was beyond a show of strength. It made us look like bullies. It makes Vega look bad. It makes me look bad. It makes Rosalia look bad. Your duel will affect how we’re all perceived. First impressions matter. And the first impression we made now is that we’re willing to talk down to our opponents. Demean them. Treat them like that when there was no reason. When people talk about your victory, it’ll be in the context of how unnecessary your behavior was. Daichi, despite his loss, is the main reason we have any good will with the audience.” "Sashisematta. Is there a reason for what you did out there?" This felt like a matter everyone should weigh on. Including Eve. After waiting a bit to make sure nobody else had anything to say - and a brief moment of surprise at Sai's lack of an immediate answer - Eve presented her thoughts. "Does there have to be one?" Wait, no, that came out wrong. "Er, I mean, yes, he maybe said some things that were out of line. There's always going to be heels like that, and I'm not saying we should encourage it, but his actual turn? That was fine, right? Whether you make your opponent go to exactly zero like Falisha or make a display of power like Sai, winning at our debut is a great start. Plus there's that saying... all publicity is good publicity. Or something. I would've been rooting for him, at least, even if we weren't teammates," Evelyn concluded with a shrug. Then, as if it hadn't occurred to her until just now, Evelyn added one last thought, unrelated though it may have been to the matter at hand. "Oh, we should get something tasty to celebrate our first win. My treat."
  21. 3 likes
    Rosalia had been transfixed on both duels since Daichi had been eliminated, but when Sai found a reason to bare his chest suddenly she found reason to suddenly look elsewhere, anywhere else. She rose a hand to her temple, half covering her face as if she were on the street with Sai and people were staring, for once her generally placid face looking awkwardly embarrassed. Why is he doing that? she asked herself, looking out of the box they occupied to see that there was a raucous response from the audience at what she could only call a spectacle. But her embarrassment soon gave way to discomfort, and her discomfort then to a somber stare as Sai proceeded to somehow escalate the situation while picking apart his opponent's field piece by piece. It would have been an impressive feat of skill if she hadn't been thoroughly distracted by how he was conducting himself. Almost as if his words themselves contained the acid of his Starving Venom. And when the dust cleared and the duel was won... For some reason the boos caused Rosalia to wince. This was not a sound she had expected to hear. Especially not in reference to their victory. - - - - - - - She had spent the remainder of the last duel in deep thought, raising her head only to acknowledge a relived smile when Falisha managed to pull out a victory over Sorrel. But she was distracted by two phrases echoing inside her head. "Next time you have lofty ambitions, back them up with more than platitudes." "We have a bunch of skilled duelists but we still have a long way to go..." That gentle rebuke to Daichi seemed to echo louder and louder in her head until it somehow bounced back to her as Sai's biting remark, loudly within her mind. She had trouble shaking it from her mind, not even sure how the connection made sense but knowing in her heart that it very much did. She didn't even notice Vega look to her, but she was pulled out by Kendra beginning to lay into Sai. “Did it never occur to you that the crowd wouldn’t like what you did? We’re not just trying to win, we do have to get some support." She's right. “I understand you have your own views on this. I don’t even disagree." Somehow I don't either. "You need strength to back up your convictions. But what you did was beyond a show of strength. It made us look like bullies. It makes Vega look bad." Maybe I should say something. "It makes me look bad." I should probably say something. "It makes Rosalia look bad." I really should say something. "Your duel will affect how we’re all perceived. First impressions matter. And the first impression we made now is that we’re willing to talk down to our opponents. Demean them. Treat them like that when there was no reason." Why is it so hard to know where to even start? How is she doing it so easily? "When people talk about your victory, it’ll be in the context of how unnecessary your behavior was. Daichi, despite his loss, is the main reason we have any good will with the audience.” Another pang of guilt as she wondered yet again if that one slight disagreement back in the meeting had created some domino effect that led them here. It was salvageable, yes, but she really wished it hadn't happened in the first place. As captain shouldn't she be ahead of this? She let out an audible sigh, making the first proper sound she had produced in twenty minutes. She noticed Vega's eyes flick over to her and thought she saw a hopeful glint in them. She very much wished she had anything impressive to offer but all she managed, with a tired and flat voice: "Sashisematta." She tilted her head up to meet his eyes, despite the twinge of discomfort she felt doing so. "Is there a reason for what you did out there?" she asked simply, merely looking at him and waiting. No judgement in her voice, no discernible opinion easily read from her expression. Just... waiting for his answer.
  22. 3 likes
    Angelfood LIGHT FIend/Effect ATK 1000 | DEF 1800 If this card is sent from the hand or field to the GY: You can Ritual Summon 1 Non-Effect Ritual Monster from your Deck. This effect of "Angelfood" can only be used once per turn. The result of some drawing practice I felt like making into a full card. A pretty straightforward effect that's probably significantly more powerful than I imagine it to be. But hey, those dusty Performance of the Swords and Crab Turtles in your box of old cards deserve some love.
  23. 3 likes
    ╔. .═════════╗ “So this is where we’ll be watching from, huh?” Kendra stepped inside of the viewing box as she rubbed at her cheek gently, she was honestly glad she wasn’t dueling right at the start. She had a few… Quirks with her deck she wanted to solve still. Batterymen weren’t the most prestigious of archetypes on their own, she had a lot of editing to do to make them presentable on even the minor league circuit… And honestly, that was a daunting task for her. She could put it off a little bit longer. Daichi was the first duel she was interested in keeping an eye on. Falisha would probably be able to handle herself, she had a hard time keeping up with those motorcycle duels… And of course, Sai sure did exist. It was going to be a bit hard to keep up with everything at once. “Alright Daichi… It’s your opportunity to speak to the audience…" She hummed gently as she grabbed a little bag of chips from the snack table, opening up a bottle of sugary diabetes she had brought herself, and reclined back, ready to watch her team get to work… Realistically, she should have had more to say. Her focus was mostly on Diachi’s duel, and true to his word, he was flashy. Pendulum Summon was practically made for flash, it was hard to imagine who could use it and be boring. The thought actually made Kendra smirk a little bit. His Magicians kept rising from the dead like zombies, despite being Spellcasters… Honestly, it was just a bit unfortunate he was up against their captain, she was consistently batting off his attacks and preparing to retaliate during his own turns… She wasn’t sure if any of them would’ve have had a better showing against the captain of the team. ...But more than anything, the end of the duel left a sour taste in her mouth. Card games involved a certain amount of luck, but… Honey’s victory there was ultimately a draw of a card on a field… That just so happened to counter the card from the field that Daichi had grabbed? There was a reason she didn’t like Action Duels. Daichi would’ve lost without the Action Card anyway, but he loses with it as well, it just felt futile. She let out a tiny sigh, her head resting on her hand as she leaned against the arm of her seat, “...Well that was anti-climatic. I feel bad for him.” “So we lost our first duel, huh… That’s a shame. Mostly because it really hurts morale, both for the other two and for him moving forward. You guys, don’t be too hard on him, got it?” “Not a great start to our first match. But at least Sashisematta still seems confident." “Definitely not a good start… Daichi put up a good fight and he got the crowd’s approval... That counts for something.” --- That left Sai and Falisha. Falisha… She could not keep up with that turbo duel herself. She’d have to catch the replay of it later on if she really wanted to analyze what the hell was going on. That meant Sai was going to be what she focused on… And she wasn’t a fan of what she was seeing. Sai’s first turn was fine. Logical. His opponent was ready for the Fusion Summon, took his turn… But that goading. That prodding at the opponent, it wasn’t necessary. It made him look bad, and it had the added downside of making him look like a fool if he lost… “Is this really the stage presence you want?” She took a sip from her drink, a little sigh escaping the tired woman as she leaned back to watch the duel continue. It definitely didn’t get any better. Outright insults were starting to be flung by Sai now as well, disregard for what his opponent is doing, then… A bomb. Admittedly it did break theme, but it wasn’t like she didn’t have options that broke theme. Xyz Summoning was a toolbox, it was meant to cover a wide variety of options, that’s what made it so appealing to her. It would’ve been silly for that Avery to not have options in his deck that were different from the rest of it. But then, the two of them started to talk once more. Sai starting to prod at his opponent, Avery finally replying back in kind… Kendra just frowned. The final turn played out more, the return of the Fusion Summon method to pull out another monster from his Extra Deck... Even if Sai was right, and she was inclined to agree with him… Platitudes don’t create victory after all, but his brutal methods clearly didn’t bond him to the audience. The booing crowd made perfect sense in this situation… In fact, it made more than perfect sense. Daichi, for his loss, had won the crowd’s heart. He had pulled them into something ‘special’ and that counted for something, even if she had been hard on him in the earlier meeting. Meanwhile, despite the show of strength coming from Sai, there’s more to this than just winning, the crowd was angry that it ended on that note, not that she can really blame them… --- “Would anyone like to weigh in first?” Kendra raised her hand, “Yeah, just a quick question. Sai, what the fuck?” She gave him a pointed glare, a firm look in her eyes that normally that tired girl didn’t show. She put her hand down in front of her arm rest, before turning to look back at the fields, “...Did it never occur to you that the crowd wouldn’t like what you did? We’re not just trying to win, we do have to get some support. It doesn’t matter how good we get if the crowds refuse to show up for us.” She didn’t stop though, her fingers curling against the rest of her seat as she did, “I understand you have your own views on this. I don’t even disagree. You need strength to back up your convictions. But what you did was beyond a show of strength. It made us look like bullies. It makes Vega look bad. It makes me look bad. It makes Rosalia look bad. Your duel will affect how we’re all perceived. First impressions matter. And the first impression we made now is that we’re willing to talk down to our opponents. Demean them. Treat them like that when there was no reason. When people talk about your victory, it’ll be in the context of how unnecessary your behavior was. Daichi, despite his loss, is the main reason we have any good will with the audience.” ╚═════════. .╝
  24. 3 likes
    “So we lost our first duel, huh…” Vega muttered aloud as she watched Daichi walk off the field, shaking her head a bit, “That’s a shame. Mostly because it really hurts morale, both for the other two and for him moving forward. You guys, don’t be too hard on him, got it?” She turned to the next screen over to watch Sai’s duel, a sigh and a smirk on her face. Yeah, this is what she signed up for when she recruited him to the team. But maybe he was overdoing it a bit. His opponent clearly had a lot less experience than him, but there was Sai, showing his ass. Finally, she turned to watch Falisha and Sorrel, just in time to see Falisha keep having her effects just barely make it. She seemed to be holding on, but… “Y’know, for how aggressive Sorrel is being, she has a lot more removal than I expected,” the red-haired coach reclined a bit, propping her legs up on a table in front of her, “But, iif anyone can bounce back from that… It’s probably you and Falisha, don’t you think, Eve?” ----- “I draw for turn!” Avery declared, a single bead of sweat falling down his face, “And then I special summon Alpha, the Master of Beasts!” As Avery’s card slotted into the disk,a loud roar filled the arena. From above, a large beast came slamming down, impacting the ground with a rumble that could be felt by everyone in the arena. As the beast stood up and looked forward, it’s leonine face bared its fangs, wings spread wide, and lithe body digging its gnarly claws into the pavement as it roared once more. “Then I activate Alpha’s effect! I’ll target my Puppy to return it to hand, and if I do, I can return cards my opponent controls to the hand equal to the amount I returned!” "Tut tut tut." Sai let out an exaggerated, sigh, rolling his eyes at his opponent. "Did you forget about my Dragostapelia's effect? By placing a predator counter on your Master of Beasts, I can negate its effect." As he spoke, his dragon spit out another of the small plant-like counters, which promptly attached to Alpha's face, preventing it from finding its target. “I’m well aware. I overlay Kalantosa and Puppy! Appear, beasts of the forest, Joyous Melffys, to the Extra Monster Zone!” The vortex formed and the stump from before appeared, but now covered with all kinds of fruit. A llama, a mouse, and other Melffy creatures appeared around the stump, looking over at Sai with a confused and expectant look on their face. “Then I proceed to battle. Alpha, attack Dragostapelia! Regal Roar!” Leaping at the dragonoid, Alpha’s wings spread wide as it sunk its claws into the creature, roaring loudly until only a few stray vines lay about. With a growl it returned to its owner, standing slightly behind and left of the stump, causing Sai’s life to drop to 3700. “Then Joyous Melffys attack you directly!” As a banana slapped Sai straight between the eyes, his life fell to 1700, and Avery let his breath out, “And I will end my turn.” Sai spread his arms wide as he took the damage, grinning and laughing like a maniac, his clothing billowing in a gust of wind. "I had warned you, and here it is! My final turn!" For a moment, his expression was calm, serene even, as he pulled a card from the top of his deck. "And now, I have drawn the card that will spell your defeat." “During your Standby, I activate Joyous Melffys! By returning it to the Extra Deck, I can revive any number of level 2 or lower beasts, as long as the amount is equal to or lower than the materials it had. As it had two, I’ll revive both Kalantosa and Puppy!” The stump faded away as a bunny’s head popped up, looking around to see if it was safe… only for Puppy to hop on top of it and bark proudly, panting as it stood proud. It stood a space to the right of Kalantosa with Catty to its right, while Alpha stood far left. "Summoning your Kalantosa against an empty field? I must really have you on edge!" Instead of looking at the present field, Sai instead inspected his long and carefully manicured fingernails. "Did you have any other effects you intend to waste, or should I just go ahead?" “Take your turn. If you have time to blather, you have time to play.” "Oh, but don't we have time for both?" With a frown, Sai placed a card in his field spell zone. "Allow me to invite you to my favorite place, the field spell card that will spell your demise! Despia, the Branded Theater!" Behind Sai arose an enormous building, styled in the same manner as his Crimsongleam Dragon. "It allows me to conduct fusion summons without Polymerization, and with it I will spell my victory!" "Now, for the next part of my plan for victory, I will normal summon my Predaplant Ophrys Scorpio! Its effect allows me to discard a monster card, my Predaplant Drosophyllum Hydra, to-" “I activate Catty’s effect and then Puppy’s effect! By returning it to the hand, another Kalantosa will appear,” The dog yipped as it turned around to hop into Avery’s hand, another of the bunny, slightly different shade. After that, the kitten followed suit, with Avery adding a card from deck to hand. “I search Hop Eared Squadron… and Kalantosa will destroy Branded Theater!” "Oh no! Not my Theater!" The tower behind Sai began to crumble and collapse, Kalantosa's effect having made quick work of it. "Nonetheless, my Scorpio's effect will now resolve, summoning Predaplant Darlingtonia Cobra from my deck!" Emerging from the ground was what first appeared to be a flower, before it bloomed to reveal the face of a venomous snake. "Since it was summoned by the effect of a Predaplant, I can search my deck for the spell card: Fusion Recovery!" “One more thing, I activate Hop Ear Squadron!” Avery placed the card onto his disk, causing three rabbits, using their ears to fly, to appear around the new Kalantosa and salute! They suddenly dispersed into green rings, two of them, and surrounded the rabbit, causing it to turn into two green stars. “Appear, festival of hopes and dreams… Star Mine!” As the summon finished, a doll-like creature with fuses all over its body appeared between Alpha and the remaining Kalantosa, defending itself… and having its fuses extend and attach to the two around it. “It may break theme, but when Star Mine is destroyed, it deals 2000 damage to you! If you destroy anything adjacent to it, the same thing happens!” Avery roared, bracing himself, “So I suggest you back down. That 1700 won’t take the hit.” Sai raised his eyebrows. "But does it not damage you as well? That's an awfully risky move. You are putting quite a lot on the line just to win this duel." “I have the life to handle it right now. You don’t.” "Even so, to blank your defensive options early just to hide behind a bomb you can barely survive, don't you think it's foolish? Your plan only makes sense if it's truly an impenetrable defense." “... I’m doing what I can. I’m no pro. I’m here because it means something to someone I care about, and I can only hope to improve. I’m sure I’ve played this out wrong, and I’ll learn from that in the future… But is it more pathetic to lose due to mistakes, or more pathetic to win because someone else made mistakes?” Sai gritted his teeth, the joy washing away from his face in an instant. "If nobody is to make a mistake, then the game is nothing but luck. To trod upon my victory is tantamount to trod upon my FREEDOM!" In a burst of motion, Sai grabbed hold of the kimono he wore, pulling it off of his body and throwing it into the stands in a single movement. Underneath, he wore a pair of billowing pants with several pleats, and his upper body was exposed to the entire audience. Every inch of his skin that had previously been concealed was covered by tattoos. His entire left side matched his arm, an intricate pattern depicting what goes on beneath the depths of the sea, its edge adorned with carefully drawn breaking waves, in homage to classical paintings. The right was ablaze, with even more demons and devils now visible. The details almost seemed to have been carved into Sai's body, the ink working together with scar tissue to create the complete image. On Sai's back was a vivid image of both the Sun on his left side and a blackened Moon on his right being pulled together into a spiraling abyss in the center, invoking both his spell card Polymerization, as well as the Yin-Yang. "Now, I will go beyond what luck ever could and seize the victory I foresaw on the very first turn!" Sai's face was curled into a vicious snarl as he slammed a card down onto his fan, "I activate Fusion Recovery, which allows me to return Polymerization and Despian Comedy from my Graveyard to my hand!" With an outstretched hand, Sai caught the two cards as they were ejected from his Graveyard. "Now I shall activate my Polymerization once more! By fusing Ad Libitum in my hand with Ophrys Scorpio on the field, I can summon Predaplant Chimerafflesia!" Just as his Darlingtonia Cobra pulled itself from the ground, so did a new monster, albeit on a far greater scale. An enormous flower of red and white sat between the two duelists, with two vines that each ended in a flytrap-like mouth. "Plus, since I used Ad Libitum as fusion material, I can summon back my banished monster: Masquerade, The Crimsongleam Dragon!" For the third time in the duel, Sai's ace dragon hit the field, hovering beside his new plant monster. "Now, Chimerafflesia, use your effect to banish his last hope! Consume Star Mine!" Without delay, the two mouthed appendages dove in toward the synchro monster, each taking half of it in mouth and tearing it in half, avoiding the explosion Avery was banking on. “Damn it!” Avery shouted as the monster was banished, pieces of it laying about the board, “Still, you can’t overcome Alpha!” "Oh, this Alpha?" Suddenly, the predator counter on the beast's face erupted with growth, crushing the monster's head and destroying it. "Since it had one of my predator counters, I can tribute it to summon my Drosophyllum Hydra from the graveyard." As he spoke, the monster he had previously discarded returned to the field. "I suppose your Master of Beasts served a better role at the bottom of the food chain, didn't it?" "And finally, do you recall when I said that my Branded Theater would spell your demise? By banishing Despia Tragedy from my graveyard, I can set it upon the field once again, and now I will immediately activate it!" The sky darkened and the air turned cold as the theater appeared once again behind Sai. "Now I shall use its effect to send my Drosophyllum Hydra and my Darlingtonia Cobra to the graveyard!" The two monsters shattered into fragments of solid vision, as a dark shadow coalesced before Sai, "Nobody will match my desire for victory. No matter how far I go, my hunger will never be sated! Fusion summon! Starving Venom Fusion Dragon!" The shadow burst to reveal the monster, a purple and black dragon adorned with multicolored orbs. On its head, a pair of horns curved forward, pointing directly at Avery. "And, since you control a special summoned monster with 200 attack, my Fusion Dragon gains that much! Not that it needs it." With a purplish glow, Sai's monster's attack rose to a total of 3000. "Now, Crimsongleam Dragon, attack his remaining monster!" Sai's demonic dragon dove in toward the small plant-adorned rabbit, aiming to crush it within its cruel jaws. Avery's monster didn't stand a chance. "Now, Chimerafflesia, attack directly!" The toothy vines went out yet again, but this time directly at Sai's opponent, taking a huge bite out of his life points. Avery winced at the attack, scowling. 2800->300 "Now, just as promised. It may have ten times the attack needed, but I am not in the business of mercy. Starving Venom Fusion Dragon, destroy my opponent's hopes and dreams!" The dragon heeded its master's command, diving in to his opponent and reducing Avery's life points to 0. "Next time you have lofty ambitions, back them up with more than platitudes." While the field faded away, Avery simply sighed. He looked back up to the window where his team waited with a wistful look, then silently walked away from Sai. Anyone looking close could see tears in the large man’s eyes, but his back was to Sai the whole time. The audience remained silent as the duel ended… Until someone booed, shorrtly followed by a few more. It wasn’t comparable to the applause from earlier, but it was clear the performance did not sit well with them. ----- “Alright then, I draw! Time to win! Aaaaaaand… MOTHER F-” The audio cut rather suddenly from Sorrel to the audience, who could only see her pitching a fit… But Falisha got to hear every single choice word that escaped Sorrel’s lips. “Rrr, I proceed to battle! Thunderclap Skywolf attacks you directly!” The wolf howled as it disappeared again, only to reappear with lightning crashing against Falisha’s disk! “Then I end my turn,” Sorrel muttered as her turn ended, only to be met by a taunt. “Oh, and it would seem you whiffed…! Well then, let’s see what I draw!” “Oi, shaddup! I just got unlucky, that’s all! What can ya do right now, anyway?” “Haha, I got it! I activate the Speed Spell, Overboost!” Her Speed Counters immediately rushed up to 9, her engine revving loudly as she pulled ahead, “Followed by activating the Speed Spell, Deceased Synchron!” “Hold it!” Sorrel grinned wide as she revealed the last card in her hand: Hop Ear Squadron! “I activate this guy’s effect! By summoning him during your turn, I can immediately Synchro Summon using him and a target. Seeing as I only have Thunderclap… Synchro!” When the red-haired girl placed the card onto the disk, they took their positions around the wolf in a triangle, beginning to transform… Only for the wolf’s claws and fangs to tear through them, howling as its own body faded to leave 7 stars. The two rings from the rabbits circled around, then tilted forward, only for a pillar of light to fill the area, a high-pitched howl echoing from it! “From a galaxy far away, the apex predator appears! Blow away the competition, Stellar Wind Wolfrayet!” Out of the light came a beast so large it barely fit on the track, running over Sorrel with paws on either side… if you could call them that. It had a sharp, draconic look about it, with glowing red eyes on either side of a red-gemstone mounted on its face. It had two large red horns, with other red protrusions across its body, segmented in appearance. Its reptilian tail flicked as its scarred-looking wings twitched, letting out another high-pitched howl! But… it only had 2500 attack, same as the wolf before it. “We’ll see if that even works! I banish Xenoguitar and Adamancipator Analyzer from my graveyard! Synchro Summon, erupt from the waters yet again, Adamancipator Risen - Dragite!” The dragon appeared from a burst of crystal once again, roaring at the wolf, which howled louder back at it. “Xenoguitar’s second effect from being banished, I mill Crystal - Dragite! I proceed to activate Dragite! Damnit, failing to find any rock monsters.” “Think you got a bit ahead of yourself there?” Sorrel grinned, her monster growling… and a counter denoting 3100 attack appeared next to it. “Each time you attempt to activate a monster, Wolfrayet gains 300 attack points! And with you failing your removal, you can’t attack over it anymore!” “Then I'll spend 7 speed counters to draw a card! Yes! I proceed to activate the Adamancipator Signs that I drew, targeting the Leonite in grave!” “I activate my trap card, the Transmigration Prophecy! It allows me to return your Risen Leonite and level 4 Leonite to your deck and shuffle!” “Sorry kitten, but I activate Dragite’s effect, due to it’s crystal being in my graveyard, I negate your trap card! Leonite revives, stacking Seeker, then using Leonite’s effect to add it to my hand!” Her runner erupted in a combination of fire and crystal, scattering the runway with lingering flames and crystal particles “Dammit…! Even so, you can’t kill Wolfrayet! In fact, doing that gave him another 300!” “Special Summon the Researcher in my hand, finding Tackle Crusader! Synchro Summon, Merge the stones gathered by the Hurricane, Risen - Rapture!” A small windstorm blasted behind her bike, blowing out any of the flames behind her and scattering the dust off the track, and Wolfrayet growled with 3700 attack. “I then activate Tackle Crusader’s effect, targeting Wolfrayet!” A spirit of the Tackle Crusader appeared, wrestling Wolfrayet before forcing it face-down in a chokehold. “Useless!” Sorrel laughed as the beast’s attack became 4000… and a wicked wind whipped through the arena, even shaking the glass on the booths that the two teams were viewing from, “When Wolfrayet has at least 4000 attack, I can return him to the extra deck… and shuffle each monster you control back into the deck! Howling Windstorm!” Wolfrayet stood up and shattered the spirit of Tackle Crusader, letting out an even more shrill howl than before, causing the wind to intensify around Falisha’s monsters… and throwing them all in different directions, only for them to shatter and return, “I may have no monster, but I drew the only losing card in my deck! This game is as good as won now!” She grins, “And with that, you’ve lost this duel. I Normal Summon Seeker, using it’s effect to special summon Koa’ki Meiru Prototype from my deck.” “3000 exactly!? Dammit, you little-” “I attack with both monsters! And that’s game~!” As the rock-robot and the boy struck at Sorrel’s runner, the screen came up, showcasing Falisha’s victory as she slide to a halt. Sorrel let out a frustrated grumble, pulling the helmet off of her head, while Falisha pulled up beside her, pumping her fist for the crowd watching as the small cheering erupted! The rock player hopped off of her runner and walked over to Sorrel, extending her hand. “Hopefully the banter didn’t get to you too much. I had fun and hope you did too. Feel free to come find me any time and we can get a few practice matches in!” “Eh? Why are you apologizing? I shit talk my opponents constantly, Hoeny just asked me to tone back!” She laughed loudly before taking Falisha’s hand and shaking it, “Good game. I’m a bit frustrated, but mostly at myself. I could have stopped that earlier but didn’t, so fair’s fair.” After the shake, Sorrel turned away and threw her hand up behind her as if to say bye. However, Falisha would find a note in her hand with Sorrel’s number in it, saying that she was owed a rematch! ------ “There you have it folks! Despite Team Wilding’s Honey coming out on top in record time, both Falisha and Sai from Team Genesis pulled out the win, no matter what you think of their methods! A big round of applause for Team Genesis!” The applause from the audience did come, but… It was less than Falisha had received individually. It also ended without much fanfare, only for the MC to clear their voice and continue. “Thank you to everyone for coming out to see these premieres today! Maybe some of you have new teams you want to follow, so please continue to support your local minor league!” ----- Vega sighed up in the booth as the duels wrapped up. She had feared it would come to this, but it would be a teachable moment. At least, once she had a chance to let them all discuss it themselves. And think on it. Once the three duelists had made it up, she cleared her throat… and began to clap. “Congratulations, guys! It’s always seen as a great sign if you win your premier, though it’s usually against an established team… but, either way, you did it! I hope this serves as a source of morale moving forward! However, I would like you guys to… discuss what took place here today, before we go. Of course, you don’t have to, but it’ll just be moved to next week’s discussion, so it’s either now or then. Would anyone like to weigh in first?” Vega smiled and looked over the entire group as she said it, although her eyes did linger on Rosalia for just a bit longer than the others, if anyone noticed.
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    So today I bring 3 different drawings. First a Demon Girl I made for a card contest Second, well... in the same contest, another user drew something, and so I drew that character but in my style and without it being chibi like the original xP Finally, a work in progress that is a retry of an older drawing. Some years ago I made a request thread and among the entries there was a Pokemon Gijinka of Omanyte. I'll start with posting the old/original version I made: and so this is the retry: These are all stuff I made today when I finally caught good weather and a good day off for this xP Only the last one I can modify based on any feedback I might get, but feel free to point out stuff from the other ones regardless for educational purposes~ xP
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    Arden, now without a field and down some LP, drew her card. Then she stretched her arms and neck, looking more alert by the time she’d finished. “That’s on me. I played my Zombie World too early. Now that I’ve got a workable hand, we can really Duel.” This was far from the first time Arden and Yuliya had dueled, but to have it be on the greatest stage Persica had to offer shot a spark of excitement through Arden’s body. “First, I’ll activate the spell card Foolish Burial, sending a monster from my Deck to the Graveyard. Let’s go with this Mezuki.” No sooner than her monster reaching its destination, complete with a hologram of the card being dropped into an open grave, did Arden place another monster down, this time from her hand to the field. “Next, I summon Zombie Master from my hand.” Zombie Master: Level 4/DARK/Zombie/1800/0 “And then I’ll activate its effect, which lets me discard a monster, then target a Level 4 or lower zombie in my Graveyard to Special Summon. What’s interesting about this effect is that since you discard and then choose a target, the monster you discard and the one you summon can be the same. So, I’ll go ahead and discard this Gozuki from my hand, to summon the very same Gozuki.” Gozuki: Level 4/EARTH/Zombie/1700/800 “Oh, that’s cute,” Yuliya said. “I don’t think any of my ‘discard to do a thing’ effects do that.” “Not many do,” Arden shrugged. “In any case, with Gozuki now on the field, I’ll activate his effect, to send a zombie from my Deck to the Graveyard. I’ll be sending Uni-Zombie to the Graveyard, and activating that Mezuki from earlier afterward. By banishing itself, Mezuki can summon any zombie monster from my Graveyard, so I’ll bring back the Uni-Zombie I just set up for.” Uni-Zombie: Level 3/DARK/Zombie/1300/0 “And this is where things get really interesting. Next, I activate the second effect of Uni-Zombie. It lets me send another zombie from my Deck to the Graveyard, but it also increases the level of one monster on the field by one. In exchange, however, I can’t attack with anything that isn’t a zombie for the rest of this turn. I’ll increase the level of Gozuki.” Gozuki: Level 4 -> 5 “Now, with all the setup finished, we can get to the main event! If nothing else, I like to think I’m about to make it into this tournament’s highlight reel, because I Synchro Summon. By tuning my Level 3 Uni-Zombie with the Level 4 Zombie Master, I summon a Level 7 monster. Rise, Red-Eyes Zombie Necro Dragon!” BGM As Arden removed her two monsters from the field, accompanied by a graphics animation on the screens above the duelists and a hologram to match on the field, the two zombies were soon replaced by a much bigger one. A black dragon, eyes aglow and body wreathed in ghastly blue flames, appeared behind Arden. No sooner than its appearance, however, did Arden make her next move. “Now, I activate the effect of the Mezuki I sent to the Graveyard just a moment ago, banishing it to bring back Zombie Master, and then activate his effect as well. I’ll be repeating that trick we talked about, this time discarding the Plaguespreader Zombie from earlier to summon him!” Plaguespreader Zombie: Level 2/DARK/Zombie/400/200 “And then we… Synchro Summon! By tuning my Level 2 Plaguespreader Zombie with my Level 5 Gozuki, I’ll summon another Red-Eyes Zombie Necro Dragon!” Red-Eyes Zombie Necro Dragon: Level 7/DARK/Zombie/2400/2000 “Almost done! When Gozuki is sent to the Graveyard, I can activate its second effect, banishing any other zombie from my Graveyard to special summon any zombie monster from my hand. By banishing the Goblin Zombie you destroyed last turn, I’ll summon Vampire Grimson from my hand.” Vampire Grimson: Level 5/DARK/Zombie/2000/1400 “Don’t get used to him; he won’t be here very long. I still have one more card left in my hand, and I’ll be using it to activate Plaguespreader Zombie’s effect. Now I can tell you what that does. If it’s in the Graveyard, I can put a card from my hand on top of the Deck to summon it. Which I will. And by tuning my Level 2 Plaguespreader Zombie with… you get the idea. Red-Eyes Zombie Necro Dragon!” Having started from an empty field and six cards in her hand, three of the same undead dragon now loomed behind Arden, growling at the dragons assembled on Yuliya’s side of the field. Yuliya grimaced. “I don't think I've seen this one from you before, Arden. Well, you’ve got three of them now and you haven’t even told us what they do yet.” “They do two things, though one of them doesn’t matter very much right now, with Zombie World gone. However, the other thing they do is gain 100ATK for every zombie in both of our fields and Graveyards, including itself.” Yuliya brought out the fingers, counting through the turn. It had been a complicated one, though, so she did it again. “So that means…” “Indeed. With four zombies on the field, and four more in each Graveyard, each copy of Red-Eyes Zombie Necro Dragon has 3200 points to strike with! Just a little bit more than your own monster.” “Ah! Well math’d” “Thank you, thank you. Without further delay, let’s put those points to use! First, I’ll use one of my dragons to attack Thunder Dragonlord!” The center dragon of the three reared its head back, raising its long neck upward and taking in a deep breath. Before suddenly slinging its head forward, aimed directly at the larger of Yuliya’s monsters and spewing out a stream of blue flames not unlike the ones shrouding its own body. Yuliya: 8000 -> 7800 “If Zombie World were still active, this would be the part where I go on about its other effect, but I suppose I got a bit too eager playing that before having a major play ready.” “Yeah, well, against a worse opponent you might have still gotten some use out of it.” Yuliya stuck her tongue out, mostly playful, but with a hint of upset as she moved her monster to the graveyard, dead for real this time instead of just pretending to be because of a field spell. “Against a worse opponent, I wouldn’t have realized I need to actually do something like this,” Arden retorted. “But enough about us, because it’s time to deal with a worse opponent for my dragons. Using the second Red-Eyes Zombie Necro Dragon, I attack Thunder Dragondark!” The process repeated, this time washing away a considerably smaller - though still large - dragon in fire. Yuliya: 7800 -> 6200 “Yah, well, you’re smart enough to attack the reinforce effect second,” Yuliya said. “Dragondark has the same effect when destroyed as it does when banished, after all, and who knows what tricks I might have in here.” She patted the deck slot on her duel disk. “I guess I have to actually choose what that is now, though. How about something as innocuous as a spell card, hm?” A card popped out, Yuliya showed the tell-tale green border to everyone, and “Thunder Dragon Fusion” showed up on all the screens in the arena. “Look forward to that,” she said. “I don’t have much of a choice, do I? I can’t quite end the duel this turn, but I can attack directly with both my third dragon and Zombie Master!” At her cue, a third gout of flames - now accompanied by a significantly less threatening purple bolt of magic - fired off in Yuliya’s direction, knocking her Life Points down, quickly bringing them close to 0. Yuliya: 6200 -> 3000 -> 1200 “Ugh. Well, ‘close to zero’ isn’t the same as ‘at zero.’” Yuliya said. “And you’re handless now, right? Are you doing anything else over there besides beating a poor girl half to death?” “Goodness me, you make it sound so violent. Unfortunately, as you’ve observed, I have no cards left in my hand.” Arms crossed, Arden nodded in Yuliya’s direction. “And having already attacked with everything I can, my turn is now over. The floor is yours, dear friend. You’d best stage a comeback real quick if you want to win.”
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    Aduain, Morgan, and Fen had begun moving to the athletic section of the clothing store. The fish was still a touch confused at Fen's mention of his goal and Morgan's encouragement. But he didn't want to delay their moving further away from the photographer so he chose not to question it much more than that. Aduain was curious to see what Prana felt athletic equipment should look and feel like. A lot of it was stretchy but most all of it felt like it would slow him down in the water so he wasn't immediately keen on buying anything. Morgan seemed to be enjoying herself anyway as she held a shirt out toward him. She was right, it definitely would be big on him. But that could be fun in its own way and like she said, enough room his gills wouldn't be obstructed. "Mouth's for eating, sides' for breathing." The hunter succinctly summarized Morgan's open pondering about how he breathed. The flaps of his gills even lifted up for a moment as he took a big breath to show her before taking hold of the shirt. He held the article of clothing up to himself to try and see just how big it would be on him. It was going to be long more than anything that was for sure. As it happened this section of the store didn't have much of a wall as it bled back out into rest of the mall. And the group had caught the attention of a man just across from them. Adonis' laugh pierced the air as he stood in their path just as they were moving in the general direction of his store. Aduain had been looking over his shoulder half the time since they had moved and continued to do so now. The fish hadn't entirely registered everything the muscular human had said but an excuse to go into a different store altogether was perfect. "Yeah yeah, sounds great let's go-" Aduain cut himself off as he finally got a good look at Adonis. "Wow that sure is some shape." he said in awe of the physique before him. "Yes, it is indeed quite majestic isn't it?" Adonis said as he tossed his hair and admired himself in the nearest window. "I'm sure even one as small as you could look, well, something like me if you tried." Aduain had to try not to laugh at the idea of his body looking anything like what he saw before him. It was funny enough he almost wanted to take the deal purely to see what it would be like. "Hmm... seems like that might slow me down. I know! A demonstration! I wanna see what muscles like that can do!" Aduain said as he began looking around for the heaviest object he could find in the mall. If he was going to look ridiculous like Adonis he had to be sure there were benefits. The body builder instead offered an arm to the fish to grab onto which Aduain did gigling all the while. The man then looked to Fen and said "Excuse me, little lady" as he proceeded to lift her off the ground and into the air along with Aduain. "Not bad big guy!" the hunter cheered, enjoying the display. "But I ain't the biggest fish in the sea, let's see you go all out!" Adonis laughed and moved to pick up Morgan as well. But upon closer inspection of her he decided against it. "This was just child's play of course! The great Adonis can lift more than you can even imagine." Adonis declared as he motioned for a staff member to join him outside the store. Without warning they too were lifted. Aduain could only laugh. Without nen, at least he assumed this was without nen he couldn't tell if Adonis had any like most of the Pranans, this was fairly impressive. "Not just for show!" The hunter said as he let go and hopped to the ground. "If you can really lift more than I can imagine then... what'd people call it again? Oh yeah! We should arm wrestle!" he said, bouncing from foot to foot at the idea. Adonis busted into laughter for some several seconds before settling with a look of surprise. "O-oh, you're serious! Well, I suppose Adonis does not mind but I wouldn't want to hurt you little man." the buff man said. "No problem! I'm tough as they come! Even a couple giant squids can't hold me down" Aduain boasted in an attempt to assure he was up to the task. "Giant...squids...Well, alright if you say so just don't feel bad about losing!" Adonis returned with confidence. Adonis escorted Aduain, and either of the girls who wished to follow, into the athletic store across the way. At his word staff set a table and two chairs down in the middle of the room which caught the attention of any shoppers in the area. Surrounded by workout equipment and other buff, though perhaps not Adonis level, people, Aduain seemed even smaller than he already was but his excitement was bigger than any of them. A small crowd was forming around the table, knowing Adonis must have been issued a challenge. Several cheers were already sounding from some fans of the man. Though he seemed conflicted as though there should have been more people clamoring to see him all the time. Disbelief shot through the crowd as Aduain stepped up to his seat. Several concerns could be heard among the whispers of the still growing spectators. Surely he was out of his mind to challenge Adonis. He was so small. What was this fish person doing here? Would his arm survive even grasping Adonis'? Where were his pants? Endless angles to the same conclusion: Adonis was sure to win before it even got exciting. The two contestants shook hands first then transitioned smoothly into the standard positions, each elbow on the table with fists above. Though the size difference made the posture somewhat difficult. Aduain readied himself and visible only to Morgan his nen was very calm and stable at the moment. Adonis offered him one last chance to back down which Aduain assured wasn't necessary. At a staff member's call the two began pushing against the other. Despite the talk it was clear neither was pushing all that hard against the other yet. Smirks were exchanged and the hunter obliged and began pushing as Adonis' hand began moving. "Good, good that's the way! But the great Adonis will not be beaten!" the man shouted. Cheers erupted from his fans while others turned away, not wanting to see how badly the fish's arm would be crushed once Adonis finally exerted himself. With his ever present flair for the dramatic the man let his hand come nearly to the table before the veins in his arm began visibly popping out as he forced Aduain's hand over and nearly to the opposite side of the table. But to everyone's alarm, none more so than Adonis himself, the fish's hand did not go all the way. The nen in the hunter's arm was flowing faster now and was the cause of the deceptive strength. Adonis exerted more and more of himself trying to push the fin hand the final inch yet it wouldn't budge. Aduain's smirk grew all the bigger as new murmurs went through the crowd. Finally someone shouted for Adonis to stop messing around. The moments seemed like eternities for the body builder at this unflinching tiny hand. For Aduain this was a light warm up. "Pretty sure I can imagine this big guy." Aduain mocked as his nen began really surging. Slowly Adonis' hand was moving back. Up and through the middle, back down close to the other side of the table. Visible panic set in to Adonis' face at the prospect of losing to one less than half his size. The crowd now was souring as his defeat hung over them. How could he be losing to someone so much smaller than him? Were they wrong to have believed in him? Aduain, who had been ready to beat the man and show the error in judging strength purely by muscle size, took note of the crowd and saw the pain on the man's face. These people meant a lot to him. Their respect and admiration obviously kept him going. And as a guardian of this place... well Aduain didn't feel it right to take that from him. So he completely relaxed his nen, his arm taking on the strength one might expect of such an untoned limb. Adonis felt the unbearable strength leave his opponent and he looked deeply into the fish's eyes and found only understanding. With a genuine smile and a nod Aduain told him silently to do what he had to. A single manly tear fell down the body builder's face as he slammed Aduain's fist into the opposite side of the table in one motion. The Great Adonis had triumphed. Renewed cheers sounded, faith was restored in his fans. "That was a dirty trick letting me think I'd won!" Aduain cried out in feigned bitterness. "There, there. Prana wasn't built in a day! And neither were the muscles of the Great Adonis!" The man cheered with another of his hearty laughs. The store joined him and even Aduain couldn't help but try it out himself.
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    ──── ⋆⋅✦⋅⋆ ──── "Hey, mom, can you help me out?" Akari raised an eyebrow as she looked to Rika, stretching a bit as she stood up from her seat, "What is it, Rainbow?" "...I know this isn't really my area of expertise, but I wanted to ask some questions about costume design... Especially when it comes to working with Quirks." Rika's hand brushed across the paper she had been doodling on, trying to figure out things, "I know you said I could ask for your help with it, and since the sports festival is coming up, I want to work on a sorta... Beta outfit. To test and see how well the idea works." Akari smiled for a moment, "Let me guess, you want it to shift with your colors, right? Oh short notice, that might be tough, but..." Her finger tapped at her cheek gently for a moment, "...I can do it. It might not function perfectly right now, but the ability is there. Expect a delay on the outfit actually shifting to match. That'll take time to get just right, but once I figure it out, I'll let you know." Rika beamed as she jumped up from her seat, wrapping her arms around her mother to give her a tight hug. "Thanks mom. I've gotta practice for the festival, so... I really appreciate you taking the time for it." She jumped up from her seat, giving a wave to her mom before she charged towards the door, running down the steps as she did. She didn't see her mother pick up the sheet of paper she left behind with the notes for the outfit, but she knew Akari would. Starting Line The Festival's excitement was contagious. People were mingling among each other as they waited for the first round to begin, but Rika was focused on her plan. She knew the test wouldn't be straightforward enough for her to get through by sneaking entirely, but... She had to stop thinking that. It was her greatest advantage in this whole thing. She adjusted the glove on her hand, a deep breath escaping her as she closed her eyes. "I would've preferred something more... Covering, but I guess this works..." She recognized a few faces around the General Course students. The boy surrounded by the 'adoring crowd'... It was impossible to not know about him, he was probably the top contender for becoming a Hero without being in the Hero Course. She had to assume that the only reason she had done better than him in the entrance exam must've been because he didn't know enough people to get them to cheer him on. She didn't spend much time around him, but... He had a tendency to attract people to him, attention to him. She didn't want to have to deal with that, she wanted to stay away from him. There were a few other faces she knew from the General Course, but he was the one she wanted to avoid the most... Well, second most. The other one... She didn't see her anywhere, she had to assume she was lost in the crowd. Then the announcement started. The task for them was finally laid out... And that was a good sign for Rika. She could do that. Rescue work was, honestly, what she expected to specialize in when she had more experience. Fighting was necessary, but she was more fit for recon, for sneaking into places. And if this was a mock rescue scenario... There would be opportunities. She brought her fists up in front of her, nodding her head as she puffed out her cheeks. "It's my time to shine." ”Go! You only have half an hour!” Rika dashed. She didn't waste any time as she jumped on the nearest wall, digging those small, sharp claws into it as she started to climb, finding loose spots to grab onto it as she made her way up. She knew what to look for, she knew there was one kind of situation she could be perfect for. A mock city would have a shopping district, and near there... She narrowed her eyes, scanning the horizon from the wall she had scaled. Perfect. She climbed up the building, making her way across it as she jumped from it, her arms reaching out as she grabbed onto the next, sliding down it a bit. It wasn't the fastest way to travel, but her view was unrivaled by anything on the ground. She almost envied the people who could fly on their own... This way, I think. She found it, what she had been search for this entire time. It was a gamble, but when you make a mock city like this, you don't turn down a classic scenario... In front of a large, gleaming bank, built to tower over the road and prominently display itself, there was a stand off. Inside, there were what appeared to be robots dressed to hide their appearance, all holding various firearms... And outside, robots that were clearly modeled after police officers, none of which were making a move to approach the building. A classic. A bank heist gone wrong. Inside, there would be poor hostages held... In a real scenario, it would be nerve wrecking. Here, it only made her hands tremble as she started to adjust her colors. She focused hard to get herself to match the paint on the walls of the bank, and after a few moments, her new suit started to change as well, setting her up to scale that wall while the robbots were distracted by the police. She was forced to assume this would be a delicate situation, real robbers would use the hostages as collateral, setting them up to be killed if any strange moves were made. She had to hope that applied here, as terrible as it sounded. That meant people wouldn't be able to barge in immediately if they couldn't handle all the bots at once, any of those stuffed animals could be taken out of commission. A slow, methodical approach was better here. She labored up the building, it was a lot bigger than it should've been, but... She could tell from peeking in the windows, it was only two stories. There seemed to be an employee break room she could enter in from the outside balcony, that was her way into the building. She climbed onto the balcony and entered the room, careful to shut that door slowly and silently behind her. The lights were all on, but she adjusted her colors to match the interior now as she sidled up to the wall... P R O G R E S S There were a few robbots patrolling the upper floor, but not very many. She only saw two walking back and forth, and that was a good sign for her. The less ground they covered, the less she had to worry. The two were standing next to each other, looking down the balcony overlooking the main floor of the bank as she started to creep her way out of the room. Her hands were shaking a tiny bit, but thankfully... She didn't need those. She let her tongue lash out suddenly, the appendage curling around the two bots and tugging them back, away from the balcony, right into each other. She kept them together as she let those clawed hands dig into their arms, using the grip to slide them right into the break room. The two bots were stunned for a moment, but they brought their firearms up as they tried to pry themselves free from that tongue. She uncurled it from around them, one of them starting to dash for door... Before the tongue came down hard on its head, bonking it to the floor as the bot shut off. The other one fired a rubber bullet towards Rika as she dove to the ground, her tongue lashing out once again... This time, wrapping around a leg and tugging, pulling the robbot right down with her. It fell, hitting it's head on the ground and also powering down... Leaving the room silent once more. She just had to hope that didn't make enough noise to alert the robbots down the stairs. Her colors had shifted during the fight subconsciously, she only just noticed that her outfit was a deep, dark shade of green with blue stripes. Nausea was setting in for a moment, she just had to be thankful these weren't real people at the moment. She gulped down the feeling, taking a deep breath as she grabbed a firearm, noticing the silencer attached, from one of the downed robbots, and let herself calm down... P R O G R E S S Those colors returned to the matching color of the walls of the bank, and she slipped out the door, looking at the main floor from the balcony. There were three more robbots down there, two of them seemed to be 'arguing', motioning to the cops, all without saying a word. Mimicking an actual bank robbery, the bots even had separate ideals about how the scenario should've played out... At least, this one did. She looked towards the teller stations. One bear. It was dressed in a nice little suit and situated on a stool. Adorable. There was a group of other little stuffed animals off to the side, tied together in a bundle. Four more hostages, all dressed in various little fancy outfits, high living hostages indeed.. Five hostages. One robbot didn't seem eager to fight off the police. Two others were still looking to plan an escape. That was the scenario. She looked at the rubber bullets in the firearm, five total. They wouldn't cause harm, but she could assume the downstairs bots also had that many each. Rika's gaze returned to looking around the bank's lower floor. There were strange decorations on the wall. A mounted boar's head was above the door where one robbot occasionally approached, motioning to the cops to stand down. 'His' gun waved towards the teller each time he did that, it was like he was on loop. She had to assume the guns had enough force to hurt, but not kill... So they probably wouldn't deactivate the bots. She could work with this still, it was more than she came into the test with. She aimed the firearm for a moment... The bot on loop kept on moving towards the door... And once he was over it, she aimed for boar's head mounted on the wall and shot at it twice. It was precariously mounted... And with that bullet hitting it, it wobbled around and started to dislodge itself, right with the second bullet hit, letting it fall to the ground and hit the bot on the head. That... Probably would've injured a normal person badly, but the bot seemed to just shut down, slumping to the floor. P R O G R E S S The other two robbots definitely noticed that. They turned towards their attention to their fallen... Comrade? Criminal? And ran towards the door. They were on guard now, their firearms lifted into the air. Rika watched for a moment, they didn't seem to immediately aim for their hostages... But she knew that they knew. The silencer couldn't remove the sound entirely, they knew a shot had been fired, they just didn't know why... Or where. Rika shifted along the balcony as she watched them scope out the area. She reached a point where the balcony met the wall of the floor below her, and waited as her color shifted. She hid the firearm inside of her new outfit as she climbed her way onto the wall, latched onto it as she started to ease herself down to the first floor, behind the teller's counter. She couldn't go for the stairs, it was too close, too obvious for the robbots. She silently eased herself onto the floor as she peeked over the teller's counter, her colors shifted to ease her appearance into the background of the wall behind her. She gripped the firearm in her hand once again, the two bots seeming to panic. The one who was distraught over the cops earlier was 'shaking' a bit, no doubt to simulate that nervousness over the situation... While the more hardened of the two brought his arm up to aim towards their hostages. Rika brought her arm up suddenly, aiming towards that arm and shooting. The rubber bullet barely missed the robbots hand, but instead hit the gun, sending his arm jerking back as the gun flew out of it. She aimed directly at him, "Get down!" Her voice barked out with strength she didn't even now she had in her... But behind the counter, her legs were trembling. The second, nervous robbot immediately dropped his weapon, getting down, as the other one tried to scoop up the gun he dropped. Rika jumped over the counter, her tongue curled up... And slamming down into his back, forcing the bot the ground as he fired. The rubber bullet slammed into Rika's shoulder, the impact from her tongue sending it off course, but she bit down on her tongue as she ignored the pain. The cops rushed into the building once the two bots were down... And they 'collected' them, leaving Rika to scoop up the little hostages in her arms, escorting them outside to the rest of the officers. "...That was... Nerve destroying." She let out a deep sigh, rubbing at her shoulder. That was going to leave one hell of a bruise... But she couldn't stop yet. ──── ⋆⋅✦⋅⋆ ────
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    "To start things off, we have the first U.A. Rescue-A-Thon!” "Being a hero takes a wide variety of skills outside of combat, so we have set up the course with hundreds of stuffed animals in various dangerous situations. By ‘rescuing’ them, you earn points to help advance to the next stage. And you’re allowed to do whatever you feel is appropriate to interfere with each other. So have fun.” "Go! You only have half an hour!” Ashida Miku ”Hey, Almaz. Let’s see who gets more points, yeah?” "I believe that is a a foregone conclusion, Dear Meguru" "Oh dear, here they go again..." Miku sighed, already starting to put her hair in a ponytail. "As long as 1-B stands out on top, I suppose a bit of friendly competition couldn't hurt." She simply mused this to herself, already seeing Shannon and Meguru rushing off. "Alright, mustn't fall behind like this! Let's go, 1-B!!" The young girl started running, and slowly got faster and faster as the airfoil shield that was forming around the front of her body sliced through the air, causing there to be no drag whatsoever. The young girl was becoming more and more agile and light on her feet as she started weaving through the crowd of students just to try and catch up. It definitely worked so far as she managed to grab a few plushies that was falling from a building...like they jumped. "Jumping off buildings? Well, a suppose a Hero has to be ever vigilant...probably something Shannon would say. Anyway, that's two for me." Miku smiled, putting the stuffed plushies down before rushing off again. Benjamin O'Hara Benjamin eyed the booth for a moment, taking notice that Glory had Orikami there with him. For a moment, his fist clenched tightly...but he exhaled and eventually released the fist. This was not the time for this...this was the Rescue-A-Thon...which honestly surprised him. He was expecting something similar to the last Sports Festival, but always expect the unexpected is the term...so it made sense. Once the gate opened and the floodgates of students rushed in, Benjamin exhaled and rushed in as well...only to see a flock of blue starlings headed in his direction... BGM "W-WHOA!!" Benjamin jumped to the side and narrowly dodged the starling assault, before grumbling. "HAKARO! WATCH WHERE YOUR SHOOTING THOSE!!! SAME CLASS!!!" he shouted, knowing it was pointless as he and two others were already far ahead than he was. With a sigh, he psyched himself back up and rushed in. Saving as many stuffed animals as one possibly could...seemed easy enough, right? Then again, seeing the Quirks the other students were dealing with...could he actually stand up and match them? A moment's hesitation came and then went as Benjamin surveyed his surroundings and saw a few...a stuffed cat in a tree was one...next there was a building where a stuffed bear and rabbit were being held at gunpoint in an office...with the window open. Okay, he could work with this...he could work with this. With a whistle, the spiders immediately knew what to do: they covered his hands and feet with webbing and almost immediately Benjamin was scaling the tree as quick as he could, grabbing the stuffed cat, having some of his spiders gently put the plushie on the ground before returning to their host who was currently scaling the side of the building. This one, he wasn't sure how he was going to handle at first...just going in there blindly was an idiotic move...so naturally. "Okay...one of you slowly crawl in the windowsill and give me a layout of the situation." he muttered softly, before immediately seeing one spider scurry off to do this. It was a moment or two, but Benjamin finally heard the mental message given as he remained under the open window just to make sure the link remained intact. One robot...has a gun, loaded and pointed at the bear. "Excellent...now, how about areas for you guys to crawl in and do what we did to the last couple of bots from the one exam?" Yeah, there are open slots like the last ones...not like the crab-like one with the star-boy. Benjamin nodded, already having his plan in motion. "You guys get in, swarm the bot and the moment you do deactivate him. And then those two animals are ours for the taking!" he commanded, as his spiders were already working to make sure they got into the room as sneakily as possible. After a few moments, he could hear the sounds of the robot freaking out and glitching here and there. Benjamin took this opportunity to grab the two plushies immediately, just narrowly avoiding a rubber bullet being fired. "HEY! I thought you guys took out the gun first!!!" ...sorry! was all he heard, which made the young Hero grumble slightly as now the spiders returned to him and he started scaling down the building to place the two on the ground. "And that's three...okay, we're doing good. We can do this." Benjamin said happily, before running off again. I'm not going down without a fight...me and my spiders are going to end this first part and join the others...we have to!
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    Risa already felt out of place. Sure, she wasn't the only student here from outside the Hero Course, but the more and more she looked around her at the ones who clearly WERE she couldn't help but fidget nervously, the tap-tap-tapping of her fingers on the metallic gauntlet on her right hand being the only noise the usually quite vocal girl made as she nervously sweated amongst the other students of the Support Course. Inwardly was a different story. Okay Risa, you can do this, you just have to make your stuff look good. Yeah! That's all you gotta do. All the people expect from you is a little demonstration of what you put together, all the people... Oh no, all the people! SO many people are watching! What if I mess up? What if everyone sees me? What is Fumiko gonna think? Is Fumiko watching? At that thought her inner monologue spiked into a high-pitched shriek as her knees weakened, bringing her several inches shorter than she already was. "Cool it, Risa." Her classmate beside her rolled her eyes, adjusting the harness on her back that was intended for use in carrying heavy loads easier, having some difficulty with the metallic cylinders she had in place of normal human fingers. "You keep sweating that much your equipment is gonna rust." "I can't help it, Setsu!" The pent-up worry and fear exploded out instantly as Risa grabbed at Setsuna Marifune's arm, shaking her taller classmate back and forth. "Deerc-Sensei told me my grades are riding on this, what happens if I get eliminated first thing? Am I gonna have to repeat the year?" "Nah," was the gravelly reply of Senichi Hosodan next to her, as he tightened a screw on some long-barreled device that had an almost vacuum-like nozzle at the end of it. He yawned, exposing the metal blades that populated his throat like a blender. "UA ain't gonna do that, they'll probably just kick you out." "Thanks, Hosodan," Setsuna said flatly as Risa's panic renewed. "Kick me out? Kick me out?!" Risa shook Setsuna so hard that the stone-faced girl was visible three times at once. "Is that true, Setsu? Are they really gonna do that? I can't afford to have them kick me out if I do badly!" "Well then I suppose you better not do badly," was the patient reply. "I get it, Risa, you have more riding on this than we do. There's not much we can do about it, it's kinda up to you. Besides," she continued, finally extricating herself from Risa's grip and looking the girl up and down, taking in the large metal frames that surrounded her shoes like cages, the bulky gauntlet on her left hand, the bandolier around Risa's chest that contained a handful of triangular metal plates. "You've got a pretty decent array of tricks. It's a shame you couldn't have them all looking a bit more streamlined, but aesthetics are overrated anyway, people here wanna something functional." Risa looked down at the ground with sad eyes. "I don't know if they are functional... The Soles are still really slow to release sometimes. And the glove's kinda heavy-" "Nobody expects you to reinvent the wheel, we're all first-years! I don't think they'll expel you... I'll certainly go insane with just Hosodan for company." "Thanks for the vote of confidence, Setsu." "Bite me, Vitamix." Hosodan was prevented from firing back with another retort by the feedback of a tapped microphone, everyone around them wincing. A voice came over the speakers, and Risa was distracted from her panic as she realized who it was. "Glory..." she whispered under her breath. She had never met the man, but Fumiko had and loathed him. Risa had seen him on her first day at school, greeting various students as they entered the building. Only Hero Course, though. Risa had not been brave enough to approach, and had skirted around him to enter that school that day, unable to meet the eyes behind the glasses. He had looked considerably less intimidating than she had assumed he would, but still... And then Orikami began to explain something called a Rescue-a-thon. Risa had been too preoccupied before, but the thought occurred to her now that yes, the last Sports Festival HAD been just a tournament-style fight. Them being here in one of the mock-cities should have been a clue that something different was going to happen. At least it wasn't something like a Battle Royale. She took a deep breath, looking up into the sky at the various drones circulating around the crowd. Each eye felt like a million, and probably was. Her thoughts turned again to Fumiko. Was her sister indeed watching? She hadn't been able to tell her about how Deerc had impressed upon her the importance of this event, but the pros in general kept an eye on the Sports Festival. Maybe she was still out and about on active hero work. She couldn't help but privately hope that was the case. She already had one person she didn't want to embarrass, and they certainly wouldn't be watching. The sudden clamor around her shook her out of her thoughts as she was pushed to the side by a throng of students. The event had started almost as quickly as Orikami had explained it! Risa was standing stock still amongst a mod of rushing students, and she quickly let out a loud shriek of surprise as she rushed forward, instantly lagging behind Setsuna and Hosodan with her halting start and short legs. "Setsu! Hosodan!" But they were gone, out closer to the front, bombarded by a flock of flaming birds that Risa had mercifully managed to avoid with her slow start. Risa managed to slip to the side the second she passed the gate, gasping for breath two feet to the side of the entrance, eyes darting everywhere. Already she could see several rushing forward: A boy on a wolf of blazing flame, another with pistons in place of body parts, another who rushed directly into the fray with a loud whoop of enjoyment. The Hero Course, she could only assume. She couldn't help but gape at them as they rushed forward. That they could rush into this so fearlessly while she was still shaking in her bulky, iron-shrouded boots... Deerc-sensei really doesn't know what he's talking about... Why would I want to be a hero? Hero Initiate Regardless, her grades told her she needed to at least try and emulate them. Risa was well aware she had the crummiest grades in her Support class, and maybe among every Support student in the school. She had to do something. She took off down a street, trying to avoid the bulk of the Hero Course. If I'm near them there's no way I stand out... And if I'm where they aren't I can get more points! Maybe? The logic seemed sound to her. She knew there was no way to avoid ALL the Hero Course, but she at least wanted to be away from the tougher ones. She had gotten a glimpse of where the boy on the flaming wolf was headed, and while she hadn't seen him engage with Meguru she knew the piston boy had gone the same direction. That was enough to give her a direction, heading into the south-east corner of the mock city, down several narrow streets that seemed to emulate apartment buildings. Hopefully she could avoid THAT one... She didn't hear the beating of wings yet, but it was still far too hard to detect them over the sound of the rushing students and the burgeoning fights. Now I just gotta find stuffed animals? Okay, where are- THERE! She spotted a small stuffed pig just at the intersection near her, placed directly in the center of the street. There were no competing people she could see! This one was- The sudden arrival of a threatening robot when one is not expecting a threatening robot is a disarming and terrifying experience. Hence Risa shrieking at the top of her lungs when a large, multi-armed robot rounded the corner on tank-like treads, placing itself between her and the stuffed pig. "Oh, I-i-i guess that's the d-dangerous situation!" she yelped, impulsively stepping back several hurried steps, almost tripping over her footwear. The robot began whirring loudly as it advanced towards her. What do I do what do I do? It's bigger than anything I have can take down! Her eyes darted everywhere in a panic, until they finally settled on something behind the robot: The manhole cover that the pig was placed upon. Got it! I can use that! She reached out, running to put the robot directly between her and the manhole cover, mentally feeling the metal object as she activated her Quirk. There's no way it can stand this hitting it- The sudden feeling of being thrown bodily through the air when one is not expecting to be thrown bodily through the air is perhaps an even more disarming and terrifying experience than the sudden arrival of an unexpected robot. Risa hurtled through the air, slamming into the only thing perhaps more surprised than she was: The robot. Oh NO! she thought dizzily as both she and robot were sent clattering to the street, the manhole cover not having budged an inch in the corner of her vision. It was too heavy?!?
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    Between running my first ever DND session and therapy, I gotta say, I'm slowly starting to find reasons to keep my feet flat on the ground instead of heel up on my back.
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    GOOD NEWS EVERYONE!!! After some pain staking work, between myself, @Kazooie and @yui along with the Citra moderators...I CAN NOW PLAY POKÉMON Y!!! Come tomorrow, a new journey can begin: the Pokémon Chaos Y Saga!!!
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    What I did here was try and redraw a mishmash of two or three pictures of Princess Peach and Sailor Moon. I wanted to draw someone expressing heart eyes. So...Peach! Dunno what else to say.
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    nice i got to the funny sex number
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    - Welcome to the armory, or as I appropriately call "Tharmory", because any time I can apply my username into wordplay, I will. This will effectively serve as an archive for any characters I make that may or may not see action depending on the activeness/existence of the RP as well as my own activeness or lack thereof. Additionally, this may also serve as a workshop for characters that I felt inspired to make for existing RPs (either that I have no interest in participating in or rather do but cannot be accepted), for any potential RPs that may or may not be made in the future, or just purely for fun. Below are the characters in question. Each character is linked to the post in the OOC for their application. Dates most likely will not reflect on the original post due to edits made to the app (for some reason the client overrides the original date with the date edited, which is lame but whatever.) Feel free to look around, discuss, or provide feedback on anything you see here. This thread will be updated accordingly as new characters are made/edited. - Inventory: Date - RP Name - Character name - (Status) The Loadout (Active): Characters that are currently a part of an active RP or pending acceptance. The Chest (Inactive): Characters that were made but scrapped due to inactivity or rejection. The Forge (Concepts): Characters that are made purely for fun or for potential submittal for currently non-accepting RPs.
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    Welcome to another one of Thar’s trains of thought nerding out over overly-logical shit for non-logical bullshit. This might be one of those things where people might already know it, but figuring this shit out felt like a revelation to me and I just wanted to get it all in writing. In any case, today I would like to share a recent rabbit hole that I found myself digging through. To provide the full context of this, let’s start off with what prompted the initial question: I was listening to an episode of a podcast called The Last Podcast on the Left, a podcast discussing various figures and events with a macabre or mysterious theme such as serial killers, cults, urban legends, horror stories, etc. The episode in question was part of a three-episode series about Josef Mengele, the lead medical expert in Auschwitz, who was known to have gotten away with thousands of cruel experiments on the camp’s prisoners during the Holocaust. Anyway, during this episode, the guys would occasionally go on a tangent to relieve the listeners of the morbid details of the subject they’re discussing, during which they mentioned Spongebob. Naturally, this had me thinking of Spongebob and Bikini Bottom. “Hold up, Bikini Bottom… is that a real place?” I asked myself, opening up google without so much as a second thought. In my research, I managed to learn the following: Bikini Bottom is based off the isle of Bikini Atoll, a territory of the Marshall Islands on the western Pacific. The island name is based off the Germanic transliteration of the Marshallese term Pikkini Atoll, translating to “surface of coconut.” “Wait, so that’s what that means… so does that mean…” Again, I thought to myself as I made the connection to the swimwear, bikinis, realizing the name might actually attribute to the top piece of the suit covering the wearer’s “coconuts”, more literally simply being on the “surface of the coconuts.” Whoa. Anyway, another thing I learned is that the island of Bikini Atoll was used by the Germans as a nuclear bomb test site, which may or may not be considered canon in the Spongebob lore after the use of stock footage of a francium bomb test on the episode “Dying for Pie” after Squidward took a full pie bomb directly to the face. This also brings the assumption that all the characters in Spongebob are mutations as a result of these experiments, even though Tom Kenny himself “debunked” this theory by saying he doesn’t believe that’s the case. Interesting regardless. In any case, a new query opens up in my mind: Considering where Bikini Atoll is located, in the Spongebob movie, Spongebob and Patrick had 6 days to retrieve King Neptune’s stolen crown from the coastal sundries shop Shell City. Considering the two later ran into David Hasslehoff running in slow motion on the beach, this alludes to his role in Baywatch, meaning Shell City is located on the coast of LA, California. After making some measurements, Bikini Atoll is roughly 5000 miles (~8000 km) from the coast of LA. So if we can assume it took a couple days for the two to travel up until their encounter with the deep diver, aka the “Cyclops”, it must’ve taken up maybe a day or two for the latter to get back to the coast of LA to his shop. After they escaped from the shop, they were racing against the clock to return the crown just before Mr. Krabs was executed. Considering this, David Hasslehoff had to have swam nearly 5000 miles across the Pacific Ocean within the remainder of time that they had. So regardless of just how long their journey took going one way (because let’s face it, nothing is ever logical in the Spongebob universe), Hasslehoff was HAULING ASS, having to swim at LEAST 100 mph… nonstop... and that’s assuming it took them a couple days. If they left the coast at the same time that Neptune started making his way back to the Krusty Krab, we can assume speeds over mach 100 (roughly 75,000 mph) to get them there in a few minutes. Granted, there’s no way of telling exactly how long it took them, but the fact that Hasslehoff managed to swim that far that quickly is one hell of a feat. So yeah, that’s my TED talk on how ridiculous it sounds to apply logic to this kind of shit. Thank you and have a good night!
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    So we're basically fighting against someone's evil Skyrim playthrough. I like it. Noting interest if this takes off.
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    hey everyone leave a like so i know how many people see this
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    and guys don't forget if you enjoyed this status please do leave a like it really does help the account and your support means the world to me
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    Happy birthday! Thanks for everything you do
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    this one's for @Skaia @Nico and @Chiri
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    I've been debating on doing a blog or something where I talk/play old abandonware PC titles. Curious if people would be interested at all, I've been downloading a bunch lately and think it could potentially be fun?
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    Tomorrow at 8:30 AM - 5 PM (CST) I'll be doing a required Security Training class for my new job. Once that is done and the 75 question test that I have to pass with a 70% or higher is done...I should 100% be employed as a security guard.
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    ♪ What is the number one reason for a day off work in Australia? ♪ DEPRESSION ATTACK DEPRESSION ATTACK (have some actual music) I mean, ignore that I'm not Australian, but... yeah? Episodes can come on so strong out of nowhere, and you're just stuck in a deep, dark pit, desperately trying to find a way to cheer up, claw your way out, anything. But you just... can't. The recipe needed for freedom from that soul-crushing state of being changes each time. Sometimes distractions can help, other times they make it worse. Your loved ones can be the key, but they might also be the source. And in that case, it's even worse because you may want to say some things, but... you worry no matter what you say, it might come out wrong. Depression makes it hard to function in general, especially beyond what is "required", like school or jobs. Your usual joys and interests can feel grey and dull. Any things you need can feel like a burden. And, well... I guess I'm veering away from just depression into intrusive thoughts. Thoughts of being a failure. Thoughts that my efforts will never be enough. That I'm just a waste of space, time, money. Thoughts that I'm arrogant for so much as having hopes. Thoughts that no one really respects or cares about me. That I'm a third wheel. That I'm a freak. That people won't ever understand me, because I've taken steps on a path people consider strange. That I don't have enough time. And it goes on and on. So many dark, dark thoughts that haunt me and prod me, either at random or constantly. I've been depressed for... pretty much the past two whole days. Stuff coming up this week, lots of stuff going wrong Monday, and letting my insecurities get the best out of me and drag me down to the depths. And it's so hard to push forward or be happy. Even being with the girls, I just... feel guilty for being a wet blanket and just sitting here tonight. I know I need to climb out. That I need to overcome this. That I should trust the voices in my head being lies. That the kind words people give me are truly kind, not just an attempt to ease their conscience over someone as worthless as me, but... It's hard, y'know? It's really, really hard to believe the things people say to me. About me. Except the negative things. Hopefully this passes soon...
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    @Members @VIP - Just an FYI we've removed the necro bumping rule from the site (please let me know if there are still remnants anywhere!) We no longer feel the rule is necessary across the site, spam rules will still apply though.
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