1372: Fire Emblem: ReAwaken – Chapter NineteenPosted: March 31, 2016
Title: Fire Emblem: ReAwaken
Media: Video Game
Topic: Fire Emblem
URL: Chapter 19
Critiqued by Herr Wozzeck and Sura T’Lenya
So he won’t be joining us today?
Sura T’Lenya: Doesn’t look like it. He was too busy lamenting the fact he rooted for this guy. I kind of feel bad for him, to be honest.
Well, it is Crunchy. He’ll get over it.
Whatever the case, we still have this fic to snark. Let’s get to it, shall we?
Anyway, we start the chapter with…
“HELP ME!” Rebecca screamed as a pair of bandits took her by her arms and lifted them above her head. Despite her struggles, they easily managed to bring her against the tree that Hugo had chosen as a boundary marker. “Please, somebody…” Tears were beginning to stream down the sides of her face, stinging the left side where Harker had… damaged her.
ST’L: You sure we don’t need a disclaimer for this chapter?
Nah… You know how it is. They’re going to rescue her anyway.
Anyway, the bandits give typical Awesome McEvil talk to Rebecca, and then of course Hugo is the one to step forward. Rebecca, of course, asks for help, and Hugo…
He tilted his head, and you could see the muscles move beneath the skin even with that one gesture. “…Help you…?” he murmured, his gaze becoming unfocused as he looked down. His fingers drummed against the metal of the hammer he held, and for a moment his shoulders seemed to sag. “…You… try hurt… Harker…” he said after a few moments. Those words seemed to flick some sort of switch inside of his brain, as his eyebrows turned downwards and his mouth twisted into a scowl. “…Hurt Harker! You try… hurt Harker!” he bellowed, shaking his head like he couldn’t even believe what he was saying. “YOU DIE!” he finally screamed as he brought the nail back and slammed it into the palm of her hand. Before she could even scream, he smashed the nail straight through into the tree bark with the hammer, letting out a roar of satisfaction as he did. “HARKER! HARKER!” he chanted, and soon all of the men around him began to do the same.
Oof, that can’t be good.
ST’L: Perhaps it’s a good thing Crunchy’s not here. He’s probably got a weak stomach.
Oh, you’d be surprised. Trust me, he’s seen some freaky shit in the name of his Awesome McEvil research.
“HARKER! HARKER! HARKER! HARK- AAAGH!”
The festivities stopped as one bandit pushed through the mob, clutching at his back. He let out a feeble cry before falling forwards onto the ground, dead with a throwing axe sticking out of his back. Hugo stared at the weapon curiously, only to snap out of his stupor a moment later as his men all began to scramble into position for battle, someone screaming “We’re under attack,” as they did so. One of his men handed him his own weapon, a rather large axe, before a javelin managed to pierce through his chest. Hugo let out a grunt of annoyance at both the death of the man and the fact that the body was now leaning against him before shoving it off, roaring as he charged into battle.
Rebecca, who was struggling not to pass out from the pain coursing through her body at this point, smiled as she heard that. “Thank… you…” she whispered before passing out.
Well, I guess they do have to make do with throwing weapons. Though, I wonder why they didn’t have Myra lob fireballs at them.
ST’L: In a forest? I can’t see that ending particularly well. I mean, this lady did just get nailed to a cross, and on the off chance she missed…
It’s a crappy fanfic, what do you think the chances of that are?
ST’L: I guess that’s true. Still, though.
Anyway, we then get Garrett and Albert cheering a little, while Kale wonders where Albert got the javelins. That doesn’t last long, though, before he dodges an axe. We then get an action scene after that, where Kale and Daven tag-team a guy and…
Said howl is cut decently short as I slash open his throat, though now it’s a really gross gurgling noise… And it sprayed a bit of blood too… Oddly enough, I think that’s the worst part about it. Huh, I’m more upset about the fact that blood got on my clothes than the fact that I just sliced that guy’s throat open… Normally, I’d say I was turning into a sociopath, but…
Oh no, not this again. Dear God, no, please, no, not the—
I shrug. After all, I’ve been down this road before, so why bother revisiting it? They fight for their reasons, I fight for mine,
And thank fuck, we’re not revisiting that plot thread again.
He couldn’t shut up about how he was a monster for killing people for several chapters. It got annoying very quickly.
ST’L: Huh. Glad I missed that.
Yeah, you should be.
Anyway, we then go on about a cut on Daven’s arm, before we get more action scene, and—
Another trio of bandits run at us, though oddly enough one of them has a lance, making him… Actually, were there ever any lance-wielding bandits in the games?
Hm… Depends on what you’re talking about. If you’re talking about bandits as in the class, then no. If you’re talking bandits as in the occupation, then yes.
ST’L: I’m guessing the distinction is important.
Oh hell yes it is.
Quickly pushing that thought to the furthest corner of my mind, I move to avoid lance-bandit’s thrust and cut at him as he moves past me, nicking his arm from what I see but that’s about it. I hear Daven grunt and the sounds of metal clashing, meaning the two of them will be at it. Meanwhile, axe-bandits 1 and 2 start circling me. Now, if this were a movie, they’d charge at me at the same time; I’d dodge just as they’re both about to attack and they’d take each other out.
*frown* Funny, I’m pretty sure you did that before with Garrett’s old boss and his goons.
However, considering this is real, I’m more inclined to-
-Wait, I did that before with Garrett’s old boss and his goons.
ST’L: Hey, at least the fic is lampshading its own stupidity.
What was that guy’s name again? … Meh, doesn’t really matter. The point is that I did it before and it worked. The question is whether or not I trust myself to be able to pull it off again.
…Eh, why take the chance? I rush the one in front of me, who stops circling me and instead starts running towards me. We both swing and our weapons collide, leaving us deadlocked- Never mind that, he’s a LOT stronger than I am and slowly forcing me to my knees at the moment! Really, a guy who fights with large axes – who would’ve thought that he’d be strong?
Gee, I wonder. Maybe someone who freakin’ paid attention to how big axes are?
ST’L: I think he might’ve been sarcastic himself.
… Fair point. That is kind of hard to detect in the printed word.
Anyway, Kale gets knocked to the ground, and then the guy above him gets javelined. It’s Albert, and then Kale—
“Are you all right, Kale?” Albert asks from somewhere above me.
“I’m bloody excellent!” I call back, and I won’t even deny the fact that I cringed from the joke. Removing my legs from beneath the bandit’s body, I rise to my feet, dusting myself off. “Next time though, could you try to do that in a way that wouldn’t put me at risk for an unexpected impalement?” I ask him as Ally trots up beside me.
“What do you mean?”
“That javelin would’ve killed me if he’d fallen on top of me,” I say.
Yes, and I’m sure you can have this argument later, when there isn’t a second guy in the area to deal with.
A sudden thought occurs to me. “Wait, why are you here?”
He looks down at me with a smug smile. “Well, it looks to me like I was just saving your life, though I suppose my eyes might be going already…”
ST’L: No kidding, if they can’t see the other guy in plain view of where you are.
… He took refuge in the SDQF, didn’t he?”
ST’L: I guess? I don’t know…
Anyway, Kale reveals their plan to the audience (which even he admits isn’t much of a plan), which was to just pair off and do shit with no real direction. Albert is all ‘well, something funny happened just now, and then we cut to a few seconds earlier with Albert doing stuff. We get a long rambling about how they’re using axes, and Albert and Garrett just keep going at bandits and shit, blah blah blah, and immediately…
A pair of bandits charged at him, one leading the other. Shaking his head, Garrett quickly dropped his axe, reached down for a smaller axe, picked it up and threw it at the pair. It missed the leader; his friend was not so fortunate, as the pained scream made clear. “Come on! Give me a challenge!” he called, picking up his axe and letting loose a laugh. Surprisingly, the charging bandit froze in place at the noise, his own axe still in the air and poised to attack. He stood there, staring at Garrett, who stared back in confusion. “…There a problem?”
“G-G-Gods, it can’t be… G-G-G-Garrett…?” the man sputtered, his face suddenly very pale and beads of sweat running down his forehead.
Shouldering his axe, the big man stared at the bandit for a moment. “How do you- Wait!” Snapping his fingers, he pointed at the man. “Yeah, I remember you! Gerard, wasn’t it?” At hearing his name, the man’s face paled even further, to the point that where you could see the veins through the skin. “I think you came in right before I left…”
ST’L: Wait, is this guy going to recruit one of the enemy? But they’re the enemy!
Eh, it’s not that big a deal. Characters join your side after one conversation with one of your controllable units all the fucking time in this franchise, it wouldn’t surprise me if it went in that direction in this fic.
The sound of several things hitting the ground made him look past the bandit, his eyes widening in surprise. “Hey, what’s with that? Some of your buddies just dropped-”
“IT’S GARRETT! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES! GARRETT THE MANIAC HAS RETURNED!” Gerard screamed, dropping his own axe before turning and fleeing.
Oooooooooor, Garrett’s reputation will precede him and they’ll just turn and run in fear. Huh, I have to admit, I wasn’t expecting that.
ST’L: I don’t think very many would.
So then they run off, and Garrett makes a comment of surprise about that.
We then cut back to Kale, who is rightfully in disbelief over what he just heard. Albert and Kale then turn, Albert seeing a hulking giant first and then Kale noticing it afterwards. And of course…
“Not unless the reinforcements are a single, angry giant of a man,” he finally says, audibly ‘gulping’ when he hits the word ‘giant’. Following his gaze and finger, I see – WHAT THE HELL DO THEY FEED THESE PEOPLE?! I mean, first that one guy that Garrett worked for and now this… this… this thing?!
Albert wasn’t joking when he called him a giant, though I think the more proper phrasing would be ‘lumbering mountain of flesh and muscle’. Actually, no – the proper phrasing would be ‘lumbering mountain of pure muscle and nothing but muscle coming at you with an axe’. I’ve seen pictures of people that have hulked up before; they’ve got nothing on this guy. And from the look on his face, he’s not friendly.
Hey, be thankful it wasn’t Blob from the X-Men comics. You’d have good reason to question your life choices after bumping into him, let me tell you.
So then Kale tells Albert to run off, and then he realizes that Daven also hopped into the SDQF when we weren’t looking. So naturally…
“I’ve got to hold this guy off by myself?!” I whimper,
ST’L: What, did you think it would be that easy?
Well… considering this fic, I think you know what this means…
ST’L: … I don’t.
… Oh right, you weren’t here for the shitty tactics earlier in the fic. Right. It’s time for shitty action scenes!
He just looks down at me, but I can’t tell if he’s confused or angry. Actually, his eyes are just kind of… empty, now that I really look at them. Weird, but, why hasn’t he done anything yet? Seriously, he’s just standing here, looking at me like he’s trying to figure out what to do with me. …Wait, I have the perfect chance to get away!
And? You mentioned he has an axe. Axes are generally slower than swords, so you can use that to your advantage!
Slowly I take a step back-
-onto a twig, but I’m not sneaking around, so-
ST’L: Or you can run off. I guess that works, too.
Stop. With. The. Motherfucking. Onomatopoeia.
*frown* Wait, when did this become a crossover with the Avengers?
ST’L: *shrug* Who knows?
SHITSHITSHIT! I throw myself to the side as he brings his axe crashing down onto the spot I was standing on just moments before. I swear I feel the ground shake, but that could also just be me shaking in fear of this giant axE COMING MY WAY! I hit the ground just as the man’s weapon cuts the air above me. I hurry to pick myself up and run back to a safe distance. Why the hell did a fucking twig set him off?! Gripping my sword to the point where my fingers feel like they’re going to break, I take a few deep breaths as I face him and try to assess the situation.
All right… he’s big. Very big. Very, very big and pretty damn scary on top of that. That axe is also very, very big and very scary. In comparison, I’m a stick holding onto a toothpick.
Fuck my life.
ST’L: You’re also a lot smaller than he is! Also, you’re probably more nimble. And he’s also human. I’d understand your fear if you were facing a krogan, but this isn’t a krogan you’re facing here!
How the hell would a krogan even get in this place?
ST’L: Well, we are reading bad fanfiction right now…
Wrex, winding up in the events of Path of Radiance. Make it happen, fanfiction community!
Roaring, he runs towards me with his axe held over his head. As he brings it down, I run past and slash at any exposed flesh. I can’t help but grin as I see that I managed to get a decent sized hit in on his side, but it really doesn’t seem like it affected him that much. Before he can react I rush his back, aiming for a backstab. “Gotcha!” I cry triumphantly as the tip of my blade sinks into his flesh-
Or, you know, the flesh of his shoulder. I suppose that works…
Again, considering how many vital joints are in the shoulders, that’s not bad. Those are a few vital muscles already cut and shit. Not bad, Kale. Not bad.
Glaring at me from over said shoulder, he actually wrenches himself free from my sword and takes a few steps back. I look on in shock as he starts to roll the arm, checking for damage if I had to guess, and from the looks of it he’s found none.
How is this guy possible…? Is he even a man?
ST’L: … Okay, maybe he is a krogan.
“To be fair,” the until-now silent headmate of mine begins, “you’re in a world of wyverns, pegasi, world-ending dragons, and spirits inside of swords. Kale, at this point, should you really be doubting anything that is happening?”
“Like the voice in my head?
ST’L: “… Shit, I didn’t think about that… Well, crap…”
“…Alright, fair point… So, do you have any idea on how I can handle this guy?” Me and Flesh Mountain are just watching each other as I ‘ask’. Damn, those eyes are seriously creepy. They’re just blank, like there’s nothing behind them. “Um… Any idea what’s wrong with him?”
“Not a clue… As a common phrase in your world goes, I’d say the lights are on but nobody’s home. But that’s really not what’s important right now – you need to play it safe. Don’t attack him head-on. Try and go for a quick strike here and there. He’s slower than you are, so you should be fine.”
ST’L: Thank you, guardian, for saying what we’ve all wanted to say for several minutes!
“…So basically, hit-and-run?”
“…You mean the thing I was already planning on doing?”
“…You already knew to do this?”
No, because he just spent the last several minutes being all “HE’S SO FUCKING BIG” while forgetting that little fact that he’s also lumbering and slow.
That’s odd – my eye’s twitching. It only does that when I’m annoyed by something…
He should take classes from me: I just hit things when I’m annoyed by something!
So then, Kale does that for like one blow, and then he gets—
…Okay. Wasn’t expecting the giant and extremely painful backhand. Should’ve thought that through more.
Much like you should’ve thought that onomatopoeia through. Speaking of which…
Stop it. Stop it right now.
ST’L: You really have it out for onomatopoeia.
You know it.
Of course, after that, Marco and Daven show up, and then Garrett is all “wait, I know Hugo, and if he was sending Hugo out, it was personal”.
For a second, I swear I see something flash behind Hugo’s eyes, and suddenly his lips lift up in a snarl. “You…” he grumbles. It actually sounds like he’s having trouble just saying that one word. “…hurt… Harker?!” With a growl, he slams his axe down into the ground in front of him. “I… KILL… YOU!” Lifting his massive weapon out of the ground, he charges forward…
…right into a fireball. “I don’t think so!” Myra says, and I can practically hear the smirk on her face.
ST’L: Yes! Myra actually gets to be useful for once!
How long do you think that’ll last?
ST’L: Well, I can tell you at least she’s not pulling a Princess Peach. Again.
Fair enough, but still just saying…
Hugo stumbles back, beating at his skin to extinguish some of the fire that’s lingering there. Looking back towards our group, he gives us a stare of pure hate before taking another step forwards, to which Myra flings another ball of Fire at him. This time it hits the ground in front of him. He steps back and I see something of a grimace on his face as he looks down at the fire… I wonder…
“I don’t think he likes fire all that much,” I say. Almost on cue, he takes another few steps back. “Myra, throw another one at his feet!” I don’t hear a response, but another fireball flies towards him, exploding right at his feet. He actually screams at this point, nearly dropping his axe as he scrambles away from the fire. Yep, definitely afraid of fire. Another fireball hits the ground, and that’s what does it: letting out a deep scream, he turns and starts to run, dropping his axe in the process.
And you didn’t just kill him now… because…?
ST’L: Apparently, pragmatism is that thing other characters do.
Well, you certainly don’t see pragmatism much in Fire Emblem, I’ll say that. Still, though.
ST’L: You’re not saying he gets recruited, does he? Because I would laugh.
So then Marco is all “well, let’s go find who needed our help”. So they find Rebecca nailed to the tree, and they find that she’s still alive, but that the main thing they notice…
No… that would be the left side of her face. Or, really, what’s left of it. There’s a large amount of burns covering that part of her face, mainly around the eye. Ugh… I can actually still smell the scent of cooked flesh and burnt hair, and it’s not pleasant.
…that she became Female Two-Face when we weren’t looking. Huh. I knew Rule 63 was a thing, but this is taking it a bit far, don’t you think?
ST’L: No doubt.
Why am I reminded of grilled steak now of all times…?
Probably, it was to keep you from the Dark Knight reference I know we would’ve made.
ST’L: And that, my friend, is what we’re for.
Garrett frees the girl, we get some rambling about how he found her first, and Krysta is like “we need to get her to a village, ‘cause I don’t think I can do much”. Garrett is all “well, there might be a village”, before he remembers…
“I should’ve remembered! There’s two things Harker does in this situation: Number one is this, and number two is to send a raiding party to whatever village they came from. How could I have been so stupid, forgetting…”
Hey, we all have memory slips, you know! Don’t beat yourself up too badly about it!
Anyway, after this everyone springs to action. Albert immediately runs to scout the area. Genevieve, showing more sides of her that aren’t completely annoying, is all “we should go back to camp and retrieve supplies so we’re sure they’re not stolen, and hey, maybe there’s something we can use to treat her”. And then Marco volunteers both Daven and himself to run back to camp with Genevieve to get that, and then Marco leaves Kale in charge as they run off.
I nod, though at the same time I want to ask him if that’s really the best idea… I won’t go into specifics, but me being in charge has never gone well for any party involved.
Hey, you’re not the one making the tactical calls this time, I think you’ll be okay.
Garrett beats himself up some more, and then—
Turning on my heel, I shrug and shake my head. “Honestly, I wish I wasn’t. Responsibility is not exactly one of my strongest suits,” I tell Garrett. He just folds his arms and nods… Wait, is he saying he understands or that he agrees with me? “Uh, why are you nod-”
“The thing is, I wanted to ask you something. Or really, Marco, but since you’re in charge for right now… Well, you’ll do.” I stare at him for a moment before shutting my mouth. “You see… I was wondering what you want done with the bodies. Well, more specifically, what they’re carrying: the weapons, the armor, the small stuff, and any gold they might be holding on to.”
It takes a moment for what he means to sink in, and when it does I just blink. “…Are you asking if you can loot the bodies?”
ST’L: No, he’s asking you if he can watch Fleet and Flotilla with the dead bodies.
OF COURSE HE’S ASKING IF HE CAN LOOT BODIES, YOU THICK PILLOCK!
He nods slowly and… I’ve got no idea. See? I said I should never be in charge! Marco would already have an answer, but I’ll be lucky if nothing spontaneously combusts. “I don’t know… It just seems wrong to me,” I admit. “I mean, its practically grave robbing if you think about it.”
ST’L: Funny: you never seem to get that hung up about it when enemies drop items and weapons in the actual Fire Emblem games.
Yeah, that’s an odd little dichotomy, innit? But eh, I’ll cut him some slack on that. There’s a difference between doing it for real and—
He scoffs and shakes his head. “Well then don’t think about it. At least not like that. Think about it as another part of fighting- here, look at my axe.” He removes his weapon from his back and holds it in his hands. “She’s been good to me, but if you look at her blade, its starting to crack. If I swing her around too much more, it’ll shatter, and I’ll be left holding a stick. Granted, I know some pretty nasty stuff you can do with a stick,” he chuckles as he slings the axe back over his shoulder, “but my point still stands.”
Okay, I know that that’s a long-running gameplay mechanic of the Fire Emblem series (well, it was until Fates, anyway), but… Um… Really? That’s how you depict it? Um, no. I’m pretty sure if the axe was cracked people would stop using it before then. Like, I don’t know much about weapons, but I’m fairly certain it doesn’t work like this.
ST’L: Who does their maintenance, anyway?
Probably the same guy who forgot to check if all of Lackey McEvil’s army’s weapons were still okay after Garrett tampered with them.
ST’L: … Yeah, that would sound familiar.
“Just grab a new one when the others get back with our stuff! We bought some when we were at Ylisstol, didn’t we?” I pinch the bridge of my nose in frustration and I can feel that eye tick starting up. “How many did Albert pick up for you?”
“I’ve got two more after this one,” he admits.
See? So why loot for extra weapons and shit?
“But what if I break them two, huh? Then what’ve I got other than a throwing axe, if I’m lucky? Their axes, on the other hand, they’re already showing signs of wear and tear, but they’re still usable! I won’t have to waste our money if I use those! And what we don’t need, we can sell later!”
Yes, and all those issues would be solved if you got someone who was better at maintaining weapons than you!
“We’re getting paid at the end of this,” I argue, and now there’s a stress headache coming on… This is rapidly starting to remind me of the one and only time I ever planned someone’s birthday party.
ST’L: That’s what this reminds you of? That’s probably the strangest analogy I’ve ever seen.
“And all of that money’s going straight into fixing up our home.” I groan in annoyance at that, mainly because, well, it is kinda my fault that we’re spending all of our money on repairs. “Look, I’m not saying we start cutting up the bodies and putting them in traps to catch dinner with, but this is just as much a part of combat as the actual fighting itself, Kale. Trust me, I’ve seen enough to know, and I was in the same position you’re in right now back then.” His voice gets quieter. “Gods know I didn’t enjoy it then, and gods know I still don’t enjoy it, but sometimes… you’ve just got to do things you don’t like.”
And again, that would be mitigated slightly if you actually hired good maintenance guys.
ST’L: Look, can we just go on. I think the fic is going to stress they follow the game mechanics. Besides, it’s a small amount of pragmatism in there.
Yeah, but still… *shrug* At least Kale is still torn up about it, and it’s not related to the overdone “I don’t like killing people” bullshit.
So of course, Kale gets pissed off and snaps at Garrett. Garrett apologizes, before Kale is like “you promise you won’t fuck the bodies”. Garrett is all “word”, and then Kale goes off to nurse his headache. We then cut to Myra asking Krysta about Rebecca’s wounds, to which Krysta is all “you know anything that might help? Myra says…
Myra shook her head. “Not any that don’t involve plants that we wouldn’t be able to find around here. Besides, they’re more for minor burns; I learned a lot of them when I first started to practice with magic.”
“You managed to burn yourself a lot?”
“Me… Marco… our mother and father…” Myra shrugged. “Our family eventually just decided that it was safer to stay behind me whenever I cast a Fire spell.
That strikes me as really bad magic practicing… practice.
ST’L: You’d think they’d get her a special room or something, but nope. How dangerous is fire magic for the caster, anyway?
You know, they never say it in the games, but I imagine it’s not too bad. Most magic doesn’t do damage to yourself, but then again this is a little girl, and we don’t know how much control she had back then.
That segues into a conversation that allows Myra to go on about other types of magic, and then she goes on about that. Krysta is like “huh, interesting”, before healing Rebecca. Of course, midway through that…
“Though, I assume that you likely came from some noble family if you learned to be a mage.”
Myra flinched slightly. “Ah… How exactly do you-”
“Magic isn’t exactly the easiest thing in the world to simply pick up. You have to have someone capable of teaching it to you, and those teachers aren’t exactly cheap.
*raises hand, pauses*
You know, she actually brings up a good point there, especially as relates to the franchise’s history. The mages tend to be either students of powerful mages, mystics that live off on their own, or from specific teachers who then pass their knowledge on to students. It’s rare to see exceptions of that across the franchise, you know what I’m saying?
ST’L: Well, I can’t judge as it’s not my genre, but… I’ll take your word for it.
I was lucky I had my father to teach me how to use this thing properly,” she said, gesturing at her staff. “And despite you being a bit… aggressive towards some members of our group, and the whole shopping spree back at Ylisstol where, I swear, you were going to tear that man’s head off for what he said about that cloak you bought-”
“It was a nice cloak!” Myra cut in, a touch of red tinting her cheeks at the memory. “He had no right to say it looked like I’d pulled it off a dying cow!”
“-you still carry yourself with a bit of a noble air,” Krysta finished, sighing from the outburst she knew she was going to receive. “And before you ask, I can tell. Growing up in a small village, you learn to tell nobility apart from commoners.”
ST’L: That would assume nobility came around a lot.
Well, yeah, I guess that’s true, but at the same time it is Fire Emblem. It’s not like nobility aren’t folks who stick out like sore thumbs, you know what I’m saying?
ST’L: Still a little odd.
Eh, I won’t dock Krysta too hard for that.
She smirked and looked over to Myra,
Shit, Cerbersheep’s on the loose again! Dammit, fic, can’t you learn for once?
who looked outright shocked. “I know I’m not the most competent person at times, and I’ve even been called a bit of an airhead, but I’m not blind.”
Myra is all “fine, I’m nobility, but let’s not talk about that now. Of course, the conversation then turns to why Myra showed up in the first place, and then she’s like “well, I wanted to see what I could do to help.” Of course…
“I see… Well, in that case, would you help – wait a minute…” A confused look crossed her face as she leaned closer to her patient. “That’s odd. They eyelid on this eye is depressed slightly… That shouldn’t happen, unless.” A chill ran down her spine as cold realization struck her. “Myra… I’m going to warn you now: If you’re squeamish, then look away right now!”
Krysta moved her hand to the damaged eyelid as Myra watched on. Her finger touched it, and-
ST’L: Oh, let me guess, there’s no eye, Myra screams because of that, and—
And then we cut to Kale as he hears it. So then they rush over to Myra, to witness…
Ugh… who’s screaming…? I moan in frustration and roll over onto my side. I though that lying down for a minute might help this headache, but that’s a no-go. And for some reason, Arashi’s being extremely quiet right now; no matter how much I tried to get in contact with him, I couldn’t. I guess the headache might have something to do with it, but… Wait. Someone’s screaming…?
You know who Myra reminds me of, Sura?
That girl from Temple of Doom. You know, the performer who screamed at every little thing and was annoying whenever she did it? I forget who she was, but—
ST’L: Oh, that girl! You mean this one:
… How did you know to have a clip cued up?
ST’L: I just did. And it’s true: she’s constantly screaming at everything around her, to the point where it’s becoming a personality trait.
No kidding. Dear God in heaven…
“What’s going on?!” I shout, reaching for my sword as I stumble to my feet. I look over to where I think it came from and I see Krysta holding Myra, who’s got one hand over her mouth. I ignore the fresh pain in my skull and rush over to them. “What’s wrong? Why’d you scream?” I ask. Myra says nothing but points over towards… Oh, joy… “…Why is she missing an eye?”
Okay, so it’s not like Two-Face, then? Damn, I knew Harker was hardcore, but this…
ST’L: Suddenly I’m glad Crunchy isn’t here with us. That wouldn’t end well for him.
So then Krysta explains how she found the eye, and Myra is all “it just took me by surprise, everything’s fine, and—”
“Oh really? So, her missing an eye counts as ‘just fine’?” I ask her, crossing my arms and frowning. “Or what about you screaming in fear? Is that also ‘just fine’? Oh, wait, that last one probably is, considering how often it seems to happen. That, and you being in trouble so often.” That last bit kinda came out of nowhere and slipped out before I realized it, but as I think about it, there’s some sense to it.
ST’L: Wow, her damsel in distress tendencies are so bad even Kale is sick of it? What’s this world coming to?
I have no idea, but whatever it is I want some share of that!
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Just that every single time something bad happens, you scream. Not Krysta, not Genevieve, but you. Honestly, it’s become a bit of a warning signal for me now. Let’s see,” I hold up a hand and start ticking off the times I’ve heard her scream when there was trouble. “There’s the first time you and I met, you screaming to call for Marco-“
Okay, I don’t want a piece of it anymore. I mean, seriously, he goes in there and is all “now I’m going to make a checklist of all the times you did this thing and use it against you”? Seriously, who does that?
ST’L: Um… *points at the all the counters in previous riffs*
… Who does that!?
“Those were the same thing!”
“Not really. The first time I heard you scream, it was because I thought you were in trouble. Then you screamed to bring Marco to kill me. I think that’s different enough to count,” I explain. “Now, where was I…?” Before I can resume, a wave of pain hits my skull and I cringe, bringing a hand to my forehead and scrunching up my face. “Son of a bitch… What is with this thing?” I groan.
It’s called a karma headache, Kale. Get used to it, I get the feeling you’ll be seeing a lot of it.
“Hah. It’s nothing you don’t deserve,” the albino girl taunts, her hands on her hips and her lips curled up in a smirk. “And just so you know, I’ll be taking this into account when I finalize your punishment.” Oh, is she still going on about that?! Really?
ST’L: Hey, can you blame her? I’m certainly not.
Anyway, Kale goes on about his headache a bit before Albert comes back shouting for Marco because he found a large group of bandits heading to her village. He asks where Marco is, and Kale is like “he’s at camp, but we don’t have time to wait for him, do we?” He also notes that Garrett is also not there, and then decides…
“…When Marco and the others get back, send them my way. If Garrett shows up, do the same.”
Albert blinks and shakes his head. “What do you mean? You aren’t going after them on your own, are you?” I raise an eyebrow and just place a hand on Arashi’s Fang. His eyes widen as he slowly realizes that I’m being serious. “That’s suicide! Do you really think you can handle that many bandits on your own?”
Well, I mean, you witnessed him kick tons of ass against a much larger army than the 50-60 guys you just told us about, so I’m not sure why you’re so scared.
ST’L: Stakes: what are those?
“No, but I think I can at least help out whoever might be trying to defend that town. Surely somebody there’s going to have a militia or something formed, so I’ll just help them out.”
ST’L: That’s a lot of assuming you’re doing there, Kale. Seriously: what if they don’t, and it’s just you?
“And if they don’t and it’s just you?” he asks skeptically.
ST’L: See? Albert’s got the right idea.
I shrug. “Well, then they’ll learn something very important: Don’t piss me off when I’m feeling like shit.”
Huh, I swear that was Subject 23’s mantra once in a while. And Eezoman’s, too, now that I think about it…
I move past him and look towards where he rode in from. “Is the village straight ahead?”
“More or less, but Kale-”
“I’m coming with you.” I curse as I recognize Myra’s voice. Of all people, why her?
ST’L: Because hey, she has to show she isn’t useless somehow, right?
Couldn’t Garrett just show up at a perfectly opportune time, or maybe Marco? Turning around, I see that she has her tome out and that she’s giving me a hard glare. “I’m going to show you… I don’t need someone to come rescue me, got it?”
“Fine, just don’t expect me to come to the rescue, got it?”
ST’L: … Can I deck this guy in the face? I mean, I know we’re all about not promoting damsels in distress and all, but this girl is your fighting companion. She goes down, you go down, so therefore your hands are kind of tied if you don’t rescue her from imminent danger.
Seriously, what the hell is this? I just…
…All right, that was a bit on the side of being real jackass, but honestly? Does she not realize that when someone has a headache, you don’t bother them?
Well, I mean, it’s kinda hard for them to do that when you don’t pipe up about the fact that you have a headache! Jesus Christ, Kale…
Then again, isn’t this kinda pushing it even for having a headache? I mean, I’m starting to sound outright spiteful… What is happening to me?
I would say it’s the PCC’s insta-hate formula, myself. Like, seriously, do you not know how powerful that shit is? It’s pretty goddamn powerful!
Shaking my head, I start walking off. “Albert, just remember to tell Marco and the others where to find us,” I call back. He doesn’t reply, but I’m sure he got the message. At least, I hope he did. Because, honestly, I don’t like the odds of me and Myra versus fifty or so bandits. It’d take a big time miracle for us to survive that.
Like, you know, getting that power that let you kill several hundred soldiers and all that. But, you know, miracles.
Anyway, we then cut to the village, where the bandit attack is in progress. I’m going to skip most of it because it’s a pretty standard “villagers get cornered, look at how scared they are, let’s see these bandits be evil and shit”, until…
With a surprisingly swift movement, he wrenched the wood axe from the man’s loose grip and threw it onto the ground, then grabbed the man’s neck in both of his hands and began squeezing. “‘ow’s it feel, knowing your wife’s gonna watch you die? ‘ow’s it feel I’ll be going after ‘er and your little boy next? Tell me, ‘fore I break your neck!”
“How about you tell me how this feels!” a voice from behind said. Before the bandit could react, a sharp blade plunged into his shoulder and tore straight through it. Screaming in pain, he released his grip on the man as the blade was ripped out of his arm. “I tried asking your friends the same question, but they wouldn’t give me the same answer. Of course, maybe it was just the blade I was using then.”
See, Kale? You had nothing to worry about. You go in, you use Arashi’s power, and—
Crawling back, the bandit saw, to his horror, his four allies lying on the ground, dead, with small blades piercing their necks. How had that happened? Just moments ago, they’d been alive and well, and now they were dead! The blade of a sword entered his vision, and allowing his gaze to travel up it, he saw a man dressed entirely in black holding the blade, a mask shaped like some kind of bird covering his face.
Oh, never mind. Look who decided to save the day, folks: it’s masked swordsman again!
“Well, I asked you a question. Aren’t you going to answer it?” the masked swordsman asked, his voice as casual as if he’d asked him to grab a pint at an inn somewhere. “Well? I’m waiting. Or maybe you need to experience it again.”
The blade shot out, carving across the bandits arm and making him cry in pain. “I-It ‘urts!” he shouted.
Beneath the mask, the swordsman smiled. “Good. I was afraid I was losing my touch,” he remarked, just before plunging the blade into the man’s skull.
ST’L: And now he’s a sadist. Because why not.
Aw man, and I actually kind of liked him, too.
What? He wasn’t whining like a ninny!
Looking up at the family, he gestured for them to move with his head. “Get going if you want to live. And get that kid’s eyes covered.” Pulling the sword from the man’s head, he flicked the remains off of the blade before sheathing it and walking over to pull the knives from the remaining bandits’ necks. “Because I guarantee you, there’s about to be a lot of things no child should have to see coming up.”
“W-who are you?” the man asked, rubbing his sore throat as he shakily got to his feet. To his surprise, the swordsman laughed. Placing the last of his knives back into the bandolier that was on his torso, he turned to the family.
“Me?” he asked, to which the man nodded dumbly. “…Would you believe me if I said I was Death himself?”
ST’L: No, we wouldn’t. And that’s just as it should be.
Which is fair enough, since this is the end of the chapter right here. We get another long author’s note, and then that’s that.
Should we check up on Crunchy now?
ST’L: Sure. Hopefully he won’t come back to more Awesome McEvil shenanigans.
Awesome. So I’ve been Herr Wozzeck, and I’ll see you folks next time.