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Archive for November, 2015

A Little Bit Of Guidance 3-02

Well, Flick’s a lot more tied into things than she thought. And she doesn’t even know the half of it.

Heretical Edge and Summus Proelium

Previous Chapter

“Trust me, Dad, I’m probably eating better here than at the old school. Yes, I know the rules about staying away from anyone suspicious. I’m almost seventeen, not four. Yeah, I’m sure the school runs enough background checks. No, I don’t need help and you don’t need to run any names past ‘your guy in the department’. Trust me, everything’s fine. I’m okay, I just wanted to hear your voice. I miss you.”

Leaning against the side of the athletics building a little bit after dinner the next day, I smiled while listening to my father’s response. I really had missed the sound of his voice, just like I missed spending every evening listening to his stories. Sometimes they were about what he’d done that day, the people he’d talked to or leads he’d followed, while other times they were about his past. Dad had spent a lot…

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AMV Recommendations 2

These are AMV’s that I recommend watching. If you like any of them, give them a like or leave a comment on Youtube and recommend them to your friends. Seriously.


[FFXIV] Phoenix

I’ve been enamored by the plot of FFXIV Heavensward so I decided to go find an AMV and stumbled over this amazing one.


[Freezing] Shatter Me

Would you believe that Freezing has a plot beyond the gratuitous fanservice? Well neither would I, but I did find this action AMV.

[To Aru Index] Power of Insanity

Accelerator is pretty insane, as evident in this video of his badassness.

[To Aru Railgun S] Misaka vs Team ITEM

Misaka vs Team ITEM in this decently long AMV. The music is wonderfully in time with the footage.

[DanMachi] If I Lose My Life

DanMachi’s final battle in AMV form.

[Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry] Fly On the Wall

The battle that set the pace for this anime.

[Rokka No Yuusha] Animal

I wouldn’t call him the world’s strongest, but the dude has moves.

[Dragon Ball Z] What We Don’t Know

Apparently every Saiyan can go SSJ3 & 4.

[RWBY] Pyrrha Nikos – A Place For My Head

The War Goddess.

[RWBY] Team JNPR Tribute: “I’ll Make a Man Out of You”

Simple but effective AMV to show progress by Jaune

[Hunter x Hunter] First Time of the Year

I’m ashamed I forgot about this series

[The Devil is a Part-Timer] Save Yourself

For a silly premise, this looks decent

[The Devil is a Part-Timer] You Don’t Know Anything

Same as above


Fanfic Recommendation 39

My Fanfics :

Harry Potter: Path of Indifference 13

Back in the Game 4

Fanfics that I have found interesting and have recently been updated:

Cissnei’s Path 23 – 27

A Final Fantasy 7 Fanfic

Summary:  Cissnei wanted to save Zack that night, only to find that it was too late. Though she couldn’t bring him back to life, she could keep his legacy alive. That was why she refused to abandon Cloud on his journey, despite going against her former friends and colleagues.

Lavender Orange 19 – Epilogue

A Bleach Fanfic

Summary: A/U: Victory came at a price. Aizen’s defeat left the Soul Society in shambles, and the balance of souls collapsed. So, Ichigo Kurosaki was sent back in time to stop it from ever happening and arrived that same faithful night that Hisana made the biggest mistake of her life. From there things began anew…

Whirlpool Among the Eddies 2 – 6

A Naruto Fanfic

Summary: A/U: Leaves spiral in the soft eddy as Naruto meets Karin in the Forest of Death. From that moment on, the two bearing the Clan name carried with them the fate of the Uzumaki and would be forever entwined.

Ashes of the Past 147 – 151

A Pokemon Fanfic

Summary: Time travel, based on the Anime.  So, the world ended. That’s bad news. Who best to get to fix it? Well, there is this guy with a track record in world saving…  Not entirely serious. T rating may be overdoing it.

Poké Wars: The Lapidescence (Subsistence Redux) 1 -4

A Pokemon Fanfic

Summary: We were so blind. Now in our end of days, it’s like seeing for the first time. Now everybody’s true self comes out. We see how far we’re willing to go to live. Worse is what we didn’t wanna see: what was there all along. The creatures we thought we had conquered are gone, and what’s left in our pockets are monsters.

Devil’s Advocate 19

A Naruto Fanfic

Summary: Character study. An accidental meeting brings Zetsu into Naruto’s life as his tutor. With Zetsu trying to sway Naruto to his own philosophy of “the only one you can rely on is yourself”, Naruto discovers that the world isn’t as black and white as his tutor is, that there are at least two sides to every story, and that he has a lot to learn. Hinted NaruIno and NaruTen; grey!Naruto

I Am Not Going Through Puberty Again 37

A Naruto Fanfic

Summary: Our heroes did not come from a future where everything has gone horribly wrong. They did not travel back in time to save the world from a bleak or miserable fate. As a matter of fact, all they want to do is find a way back home as soon as possible. [cracky, epilogue-compliant time travel fic]

Power Games Chapter 8 (Alternate Reading Site)

A Nanoha Fanfic

Summary: There’s no such thing as happily ever after. Life goes on – even dearly bought. All Precia’s plans may come to nought as shadowy actors take to the stage. But nothing unmasks a man like his use of power. Second of the Gamesverse series.

From Fake Dreams 42

A FSN Fanfic

Summary: Emiya Kiritsugu was happy living the rest of his short days. He had put his past behind him… until he began to dream of futures that had yet to be. Let it be known that the Magus Killer was not dangerous simply because he was dying and had no plans to fight.

Chaos Theory 29

A FSN Fanfic

Summary: Sometimes, the tiniest of changes can have the greatest impact on the world.  One chance encounter goes in a new direction, and the course of the Holy Grail War is irrevocably changed…

The Trinity – Book 7, Chapter 68

A FSN / Harry Potter Fanfic

Summary: A retelling of Harry Potter books with the titular character, alongside two other ones readers didn’t really care about, being replaced by three characters (Shirou EMIYA Archer, now known as Shirou von Einzbern; Takara Aozaki Daughter of Shiki and Ciel Aozaki from Tsukihime, with her name unchanged; Jester, with his name becoming Galen Salvatore) from one of his earlier works. With Neville Longbottom being the one of whom the prophecy speaks after an infant Harry Potter’s death at the hands of Lord Voldemort, they are trying to fix what is left of the world they knew from books and movies, to have a place to live.

Fate Reach Out 28

A FSN / Persona Fanfic

Summary: A chance decision leads to an unlikely discovery. The mention of a rumor leads to an unbelievable mystery. And the connection to a long forgotten family leads to an unforgettable experience. Welcome to Inaba, Yu Narukami… or should I say Shirou Emiya? (Co-Authored by Nameless Flame Wielder)

A Soul of Fire 32

A FSN / Sekirei Fanfic

Summary: It has been five years since the horrors of the Fifth Holy Grail War, and Shirou Kotomine, Executor of the Church, is being sent to Shin Tokyo to oversee the area. When a series of happenstances cause him to find his birth family and a secret battle royale between alien babes, he decides to do what he does best. Let’s just hope there’s a city after he’s done. An In Flight spin off.

Outcry 8.5 – 8.7 (Alternative Reading Site)

A Worm/ Dark Souls Fanfiction

Summary: Nadalia, the Child of Dark, escaped the sovereign’s invasion of the Brume tower, finding refuge in the dark chasm. It was from there that her spirit wandered somewhere else. A place beyond the scope of light. Beyond the reach of Dark.Finding a very special mortal girl.Seek strength Taylor. The rest… will follow.

Hero Time 3  (Alternative Reading Site)

A Worm x Ben 10 Fanfiction

Summary: Ben Tennyson finds himself in another world. Another world, where he isn’t the only one out there saving lives and fighting villains. But whatever world he is in, it can always be Hero Time.

A Change of Pace: Interlude- Dennis – 3.2

A Worm/ Dishonored Fanfiction

Summary: When Taylor went into the locker, she drew the attention of two beings. One offered an absent thought, and a broken tool that wasn’t even meant for her.  The other took a more personal approach.

A Cloudy Path 17.4 – Coil Interlude

A Worm/Supreme Commander Fanfiction

Summary: A Worm Fic. Frustrated with her school life, Taylor Hebert dons an unfinished costume and goes off into the night to fight crime as a superhero. She stumbles across an infamous crime lord, Lung, talking about killing some kids. Taylor decides she has no choice but to act……and Lung kicks her ass. Not because she’s weak. Far from it. Taylor Hebert is hamstrung by being a moral person with an exceptionally lethal power set, one with horrifying and even potentially global implications.

…Fucking Tinkers: 5.I – Thinker Interlude (Alternative Reading Site)

A Worm x SAO Fanfiction

Summary: After the Golden Dawn, Taylor wakes up in a digital world without any clue as to how she got there after Contessa put two rounds into the back of her head. Initially believing it to be a prison made by a Tinker, she soon learned she was in the world of Aincrad and was now a part of the trapped player base in Sword Art Online. But the Death Game takes a drastic change from canon as the Queen Administrator Shard begins to influence Cardinal, and things quickly escalate beyond its creator’s control.

Intrepid: 8-06 -9-02 (Alternative Reading Site)

A Worm Fanfiction

Summary: In the wake of the Locker Incident, Taylor goes comatose. Wracked with guilt, Emma and Madison trigger. Things spiral from there as they quickly go different routes, both seeking redemption in a different way.

The Butcher’s Bill 2.3  (Alternative Reading Site)

A Worm Fanfiction

Summary: In the wake of the Locker Incident, Taylor goes comatose. Wracked with guilt, Emma and Madison trigger. Things spiral from there as they quickly go different routes, both seeking redemption in a different way.

A Propensity for Wrath Ch.11 – 13 (Alternative Reading Site)

A Worm Fanfiction

Summary: Taylor triggers with a different power. With the ability to see the auras of those around her, as well as to imbue items with her own emotions, Taylor’s life takes a different direction.

Fairy Dance of Death 38

A SAO Fanfiction

Summary: AU reboot of the entire SAO storyline, beginning from the premise that Kayaba Akihiko was obsessed with magic and Norse Mythology rather than swords and pure melee. As a result, he created the Death Game of Alfheim Online rather than the floating castle of Aincrad—a world in which PvP is not a crime, and the nine player races are in competition to escape. **SPOILERS IN REVIEWS**

Four Deadly Secrets (Tv Tropes Page)

A RWBY Fanfiction

Summary: An AU in a Remnant that expands and extrapolates off of the Remnant of the series, going beyond the glossy cover. A dangerous and experienced Team RWBY make their way in this more world. Character-driven, this story focuses on exploring the characters by extrapolating their traits and attributes from the show. Action, romance, drama and plenty of intrigue.

The Steep Path Ahead (Tv Tropes Page)

A Familiar of Zero Fanfiction

Summary: Louise is kidnapped by an elf as a child only for the ones who hired him to die before paying him, so he dropped her off in an orphanage. Several years later, Luise fails her exam to get into the Academy and summons Saito in order to prove that she isn’t a failure.


A Worm/ Bloodborne Fanfiction

Summary: Taylor becomes a Hunter and stalks the streets of Brockton Bay every full moon. Gangsters beware, and let all Fear the Old Blood.

A Little Bit Of Guidance 3-01

Nevada teaches about Zombies. I bet it comes up later. Foreshadowing!

Heretical Edge and Summus Proelium

Previous Chapter

I was halfway back down the hall before Avalon’s hand caught my arm. She yanked me around and gave me a firm shove up against the nearby wall before planting her other hand on my shoulder to keep me there. Her voice was hard, but quiet. “Where do you think you’re going now, Chambers?”

“To get answers,” I practically spat back at her. For once, I wasn’t in the mood to play. “They knew my mother. My mother went here and they never said a word. They never told me, and I want to know why. I want to know why she quit being a Heretic, why she moved to Wyoming, what they know about why she left, why they pretended they didn’t know anything about her, all of it. I need answers.”

“And you think they’re just going to give them to you now because you’re pissed…

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Interlude 2 – Tiras and Asenath

Personally, I hope she gets the little bastard.

Heretical Edge and Summus Proelium

Previous Chapter

July 2nd, 1803

“Higher, papa! I wanna go higher!”

The plea was followed by a loud squeal of happiness as Asenath’s father gave the rope she was clinging to a mighty shove, sending the eight-year-old girl swinging nearly to the top of the tree that the sturdy line hung from. It took barely a fraction of the man’s strength to propel her that far, while the tree’s slight groan of protest at the force was masked beneath the exhilarated cry of pure childish glee.

“Again, again, again!” Joyfully, the girl pled for another swing, and was rewarded with one more solid shove that sent her even higher. This time, however, the branch made its objections to the force known in the most dramatic way possible. It snapped off the tall tree entirely with a near-deafening crack.

Asenath’s happy cry turned into one of fear as she…

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November 2015 Grim Tales Update 2

Read the rest of the comics at Snafu-Comics – See more at:

First Steps 2-07

Huh, so it does run in the family….

Heretical Edge and Summus Proelium

Previous Chapter

A couple of hours after what had ended up being my first actual fight, I was sitting in a small room in front of a simple wooden table. I had been escorted here by a stone-faced Wyatt Rendell (the overzealous security guard) after taking a shower to clean off the bug-poodle gunk. He told me not to leave the room, but wait for the investigating Runners to come chat with me about what had happened.

I was alive. I had survived that swarm of… of monsters. In spite of everything that had happened, I didn’t feel tired at all. In fact, I kind of wanted to go out and run some laps. My legs wouldn’t stop bouncing up and down, and my hands kept shaking. I needed to get up. I needed to move around.

My thoughts were interrupted by the sound of a door opening, followed by…

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Back in the Game: Chapter 4

[-|Back in the Game |-]

Author’s Note: Keep in mind this is an A/U story from the very premise, so I’m tweaking some of the mechanics for the sake of the story and world-building. One of these is the summoning system and pet system.

[Chapter 4 -o0o- Start]

“Does it smell good to you, Yui?” Asuna asked her daughter as they sat over a small pot of gruel with bits of fruit cut up inside of it, among other things she picked up at the market. A day had passed since Yui had suggested she try her hand at cooking and it was safe to say she was making progress when Yui nodded her tiny head.

Before being sucked into the game, Asuna and Yui were located somewhere between Kitakyushu and Fukuoka in the real world, putting them on the southernmost landmass of the Yamato Server and Nakasu. They took refuge in a rundown building near the edge of the city, making it as close as home got in this game for them. It wasn’t like the home they had in SAO, nowhere near that luxurious, but it could reasonably speaking pass for a living space.

Sure, there was giant hole in the roof. But she made good use of that by using it as a means of keeping smoke from filling up their home as she worked out the cooking system. That was fortunate since her first efforts were… lackluster.

She tried to use the system to make something edible like in SAO and the result wasn’t to her liking. So she tried to follow one of the recipe cards that she had bought earlier in the game, before being sucked into it. That turned into something that was both inedible and outright sickening. It occurred to her then that she may have been trying to relate it to SAO too much, where she had maxed cooking out as a means of passing the time and to relieve the stress of her position in the Knights of the Blood.

She needed to start from the ground up, so she went for as basic as it came and boiled an egg. It was literally the first thing you learned how to make in the game during the sub-class quest. Back then it was as simple as selecting the egg as an ingredient and then the tool to cook it on, no utensil required. That tasted as bland as anything else she had tried, but she refused to give up in defeat at not being able to make an egg of all things.

Taking it slow and going through the steps that she did at home, Asuna manually heated the water, placed the egg inside with a spoon, and waited for as long as she would in the real world before she cracked it open. There were few words to describe how she felt the moment it came out as something she could actually stomach, but proud was one of them. She had taken the first step that she could in bettering things for herself and her daughter under her own power.

There was still so much to uncover—did the time boiling affect the flavor? Would all eggs taste the same? What about seasonings? Was it possible that certain foods could give her character a temporary buff?

It would keep her busy, but that was good. After all, there wasn’t a lot to do other than practice using the combat system while things were still in a lull around Nakasu. Kirito’s insight into that had been beneficial, though she did get a little peeved that he tried to hide the fact that he fought a Field Boss to learn it. But who was she to judge when she was keeping secrets of her own?

At least there were others to back him up, players fishing for information like those two she met. Other than them, she had seen scant few players in the Hub City who weren’t still holed up in the shadows and waiting for someone to announce a way out of the game. Even she had to agree with their assessment that when the people realized no help was coming things would be horrific.

Asuna grabbed a wooden spoon and dipped it into the gruel. It came out steaming hot. She blew on it a few times to cool it before tasting it. “It maybe a little too sweet…” She held the spoon out with for Yui to try some of it. “What do you think?”

It was amusing to watch as her daughter mimicked her in blowing on it before taking a miniscule bite of some of it. Her cheeks swelled and her eyebrows shifted up and down as she seriously judged the flavor. It met whatever standards she had judging by how she held a thumb up in satisfaction a few seconds later.

“I see someone has a sweet-tooth.” She used a finger to affectionately rub her head. “Still, better sweet than flavorless. And it looks like I still get experience for cooking this way too. Maybe by the time we make it to Akiba I can make a big dinner for us all.”

“We should tell Papa too,” Yui said after swallowing. “He’s working hard and shouldn’t have to eat bad food all the time either.”

“We should, shouldn’t we?” Asuna pulled the pot from the fire and doused the flames. It wouldn’t do to leave the fire going when she wasn’t using it and risk it going out of control. While the gruel cooled down before they made a meal out of it, Asuna opened her list and connected to Kirito. “Morning, Kirito.”

[SAO -o0o- LH]

With Kirito

The monster roared, foul spittle spraying out of its gaping mouth that split into four parts as Silica looked on in equal parts disgust and embarrassment at the thrashing tendrils of the Triffid. If the former Black Swordsman had to guess, it reminded her of the time she had been nearly eaten in SAO by a similar monster when working to revive Pina with him. She took several steps backwards, no doubt not wanting a repeat of that given she was wearing robes instead of a combat skirt, and began her summoning while Pina floated in the air above her head.

For his part, Kirito just watched from the rear to ensure that one of the other mobs didn’t try and stab her in the back. The group itself was in the Archive Tower Forest, furthering their test of the combat system. Kirito and Klein had used the Teacher System to synch their levels and stats to that of Silica and Suguha respectively when they came out to the area, the pair being already a significantly higher level and battle-hardened Clearers in contrast to the Mid-Liner and Casual ALO player.

They had already discussed how they were going to proceed today when they split into two groups, with Silica starting from her weakest summoning and build up to her strongest one to get a feel for the system. There were 10 Ranks when it came to monsters, and within each rank were monsters that those of the Summoner class could make a contract with using certain means—whether through defeating it in a certain manner, baiting it, or fulfilling another condition of some kind. Because she was over Level 20, Silica could access both Rank 1 and Rank 2 Monsters.

Call Servant: Carbuncle!” She thrust the [Ewallen Scepter] out and a corona of prismatic light erupted from the tip. The [Topaz Ring] she had equipped coruscated as well and tinted the light with its color before the small creature was born from it. Sleek in form with a feline-like frame, its long ears flowed backwards and its big eyes were the color of the gemstone on its head.

Every Summoner started with the Carbuncle summoning. The versatility of having a healing skill, a phantasmal beam-attack, a barrier-erecting skill, and a Hate-management skill that allowed it to tank, made it great for beginners. Later summonings could eclipse it in every field, that was true, but their basic abilities could be modified by equipping gemstones accessories that the Carbuncle embodies.

Light radiated from the Carbuncle as it used its Taunt to draw the Triffid’s ire. To compound the effect, it then used its Phantasmal Ray skill to unleash a yellowish beam of hard-light from its forehead at the Triffid. It did a pittance of damage, but the Triffid still lashed out at it with its sinuous tendrils as the Carbuncle used Phantasmal Barrier upon itself.

The Triffid used Bind, coiling the tendril around the small creature and lifting it into the air. It squeezed mercilessly in an attempt to crush it with damage over time, slowly chipping away at the durability of the barrier that wreathed the Carbuncle as cracks formed upon the crystal-like covering.

“Oh no! Pina, help it escape!” Silica ordered.

The Waterfowl Dragon Pup soared up and around the Triffid before opening its maw. It pulled moisture in from the air surrounding it until it was a rippling sphere of water the size of a baseball. Pina fired the Water Bomb and the sphere hit hard enough to dent the fibrous tendril of the flora monster before rupturing for minor splash damage around it.

The Triffid released the summoning and then turned its gaze upon the dragon pup. Its maw opened and it exhaled a greenish vapor that billowed out and around it in an Area-Of-Effect attack that connected. The young dragon dropped out of the sky as paralysis set in along with damage.

That was bad. Pina wasn’t a summoning, but a pet due to her having the Animal Tamer sub-class making it easier to bond with and tame the monsters. A pet could be killed off for real when Elder Tales was a game, whereas a summoning could not. There was no reason to think that had changed now, and the last thing Silica needed was to lose one of the things supporting her at the moment.

Kirito was getting ready to move in when the Carbuncle registered the pet, which counted as a member of her party, had been hurt and used Phantasmal Healing. It spun in a tight circle and prismatic sparkles showered down over the dragon, briefly wreathing it and flickering out as its health rose upwards. Then it used Taunt to draw the enmity of the monster again.

As the Triffid lashed out at the two of them, it became evident neither could stack up to it as things stood. Its health dropped but theirs dropped faster. Silica ordered Pina back before it could die by accident and then dismissed her Topaz Carbuncle using Call Oblivion before calling forth a new summoning as the Triffid turned its aggression to her. “Call Servant: Blue Slime!

The Summoner’s call seeming conjured slime from thin air as it gathered into a bouncy blue mass of chilled slime, with a big smile and black eyes. The Blue Slime itself was the first summoning of the Synthetic-Type class that a Summoner could obtain as part of a quest. An Alchemist NPC who claimed to specialize in their creation was working his way up to creating some kind of ultimate slime for some reason or another, but lacked confidence because even the basic one went out of control. In exchange for getting rid of it, he would make one into a summoning for them as well—something about conforming and attuning the spirit used to give essence to the mass to be submissive to the Summoner’s.

In the past version of the game they were like these living puddles that rolled over themselves and looked like they were constantly melting, but a patch used later allowed the Alchemist NPC to modify their skins. In her case, Silica got one that had round black eyes, a mouth, and every now and again it would say the word ‘Puni’. It was supposedly an expy of another game’s slime.

“Get it!” Silica ordered. The artificial monster rolled forward with a squishy sound and began charging power as it molded itself into a fist. The Triffid ignored it and turned its attention to Silica. It snaked a tendril to her, grasping her leg and hoisting her into the air above its mouth.

“Not again!” she cried, holding down her red robes so they didn’t fall over completely. “Kirito, help!”

“Don’t you have a skill to switch places with your summoning?” he asked as the fist of coalesced and compressed slime punched the Triffid with Guardian Fist. “Try that.”

Silica fumbled with her command options while upside down and managed to press Castling. She instantly vanished only to reappear where her slime had once been. Said Blue Slime was instead inside the Triffid’s grasp, only its texture made it slip out from the tendril’s grip and into the giant-flora monsters maw. Kirito could swear for a moment he could see a sweat-drop on the poor slime’s face before it fell.

The Triffid noisy chewed upon the summoning like it was gummy snack, only to abruptly stop and start reeling as its health took a sharp drop. It looked like it trying to spit what was left of the goo out, but a poisoned icon appeared over it and its already low health completely vanished. It popped into colorful bubbles and a small amount of loot.

“Huh… it literally choked to death on your summoning,” Kirito mused. “That’s a new one for me.”

Silica brought up her summoning slots as Pina landed on her head and noted that her slime couldn’t be re-summoned as it had no health remaining. She then read the entry on the summoning’s description. “Maybe it was too acidic to eat? It says that ancient alchemist used them to remove pests before an accident turned one feral and it got loose into the wild and started propagating.”

“Good to know.” Kirito pointed a sword to a group of three Brier Weasels that were lurking some distance away. They were around the mid-twenties in terms of levels. “Okay, now try and kite one of them into coming after your next summoning without getting the other two involved.”

“Right….” Silica nodded and held her scepter out. “Call Servant: Earth Sprite!

Once more the light came from her scepter, spearing forward as a luminous, chestnut-colored sphere. The earth upturned and flowed towards it like it had its own gravitation pull until soil, pebbles, and stones that were the size of a fist floated around it to form a loose shell of a body.

“Umm, what to use again…” She opened up her command options and took a look at the choices between Elemental Ray, Elemental Blast, and Elemental Bolt. She picked the first one, assuming it was similar to her Carbuncle’s ray attack.

It proved to be a mistake as it the Spirit-Type summoning shone brighter for a moment, while draining some of Silica’s MP, to the point it was swelling with light. Then it fired off a strong beam. The moment it hit the target, it expanded to encompass a wider area like a dome of earth-toned light to cause Area-Of-Effect damage.

Oops,” Silica whispered as all three of the Brier Weasels charged towards her summoning. The Earth Sprite continued to attack on its own accord with its Elemental Bolt variation, Earth Arrow. It took the soil around it, compressed it into an arrowhead, and fired it at the Brier Weasel it had targeted first. The impact staggered it slightly, making it fall behind the others as they moved in range for their own attack.

The one on the rear’s magical vine glowed and it thrust it into the ground. Seconds later it erupted from ground beneath the summoning like a pike and impaled the Earth Sprite before sinking back into the ground and shrinking. The attack stunned it long enough for the other two to fire reddish laser beams from their tails that slammed against the summoning’s earthen shell and scattered bits and pieces.

The Earth Sprite reformed the shell of its body and continued its attack, though with significantly less health. It barely tanked another salvo of shots before it lost all its health and dissipated. The Brier Weasels then turned their Hate to the nearest target—Silica, who was ready for it this time.

Call Servant: Salamander!” she cast. The Salamander, a clawed and fanged lizard on fire, was born from a sphere of fire and plopped down in front of her. She immediately directed it to use Elemental Ray in order to shift the Hate off of her through damage. Its flame swelled before it spat out a searing beam of fire that struck home and then expanded into a column of flames that engulfed the three of them.

With their Hate focused on the summoning now, sending reddish bolts from the magical ivy wrapped around their tails, Silica retreated to the rear. The Salamander was a Rank 2 Spirit-Type monster in contrast to the Elemental Sprite series of monsters, so it had better stats. But three laser attacks still took off a good chunk of its health since Salamanders didn’t have much endurance to begin with.

“Pina, heal it!” she ordered.

Pina flapped its wings behind the Salamander and contributed by healing with its Healing Mist skill. The description of the skill stated that it imbued the moisture around a set area with magic that recovered HP on contact for a limited duration—a location-based Heal-Over-Time skill. The moisture around the Salamander shone with a pale-blue glow and steadily healed its wounds while it continued using the Fire Arrow skill and Pina used Water Bomb to add to their collective damage.

It still wouldn’t be enough. Pina’s skill wouldn’t be able to heal Salamander fast enough if it kept taking too many hits. And neither was doing much damage on their own, at least not enough to put all three of them down. They’d maybe take out one before Salamander was defeated.

“Make it rain,” Kirito offered as a hint upon seeing her frustrated face. “Did you forget the reason people usually wanted a tamed Waterfowl Dragon Pup rather than a hatched one?”

It clicked and she gave the order. “Pina, use Storm Call!”

Of the four skills a Waterfowl Dragon Pup was capable of using—Healing Mist, Water Bomb, Bite, and Storm Call—the last was an exclusive skill found only with tamed version of the pets. The flavor-text stated that the technique was taught by the mother dragon to the younger ones and called forth rain. In gameplay-terms, it was an environmental buff skill that boosted Healing Mist and Water Bomb—increasing the recovery rate and area of effect for the former while the damage increased for the latter along with an increased rate of fire.

Pina raised its head to the sky and let loose a cry. The sky responded as storm clouds formed overhead and a drizzle began. The effect of Healing Mist strengthened as more of the water glimmered around them. The Water Bomb that followed grabbed hold of the rain itself and pulled it in until the sphere of water that formed was larger than Pina itself and fired. The sphere popped on release and blanketed them all.

“Good! Now use Elemental Ray again, Salamander!”

It seemed like Silica was getting the hang of it when Kirito felt the ping of a mental connection and heard Asuna’s voice. ‘Morning, Kirito.

Morning, Papa!‘ Yui chimed in. ‘Did we wake you?

“I was already up with the others,” he said. “What about you two?”

We’re making breakfast!‘ Yui chimed in. ‘Mama made this fruit gruel from a recipe she had and it’s good!

His interest was immediately peaked.

[LH -o0o- SAO]

With Shiroe

“Food with actual flavor, huh?” Shiroe mused as he listened telepathically, hands still on the reins of his griffin as he soared through the sky with Akatsuki on his back. The Swashbuckler he had briefly partied with apparently had a friend in Nakasu who managed to get flavor in their food and he felt it imperative to share the information. “Not that I doubt your friend’s word, but you should keep silent on this for the time being.”

Why?‘ he asked. ‘This could be big.

“For one, we need to test it more before spreading the word,” he said. “Plus, you said you’ve seen how easily people can be corrupted. Anything that can be used as leverage will be done so. For example, I’ve learned from one of my contacts how the smaller guilds are starting to be absorbed into larger ones for protection against the potential threat of being attacked by Killers.”

‘Already?’ He sounded genuinely surprised at that. ‘I was expecting that to happen, but only on the third day inside of the game?

“It’s a bit preemptive, but human behavior dictates that they group up before they start doing anything else. In the case of cooking, you have to consider the resources available—there are only so many people with the Sub-Class and so many ingredients considering we aren’t aware of the respawn times or if they even do. If this gets out, there will be fights over the resources available and people will get hurt. Rushing things can make them become explosive in a hurry. But, if we manage it properly, we can use this to everyone’s advantage.”

Go on,’ he said.

“We need structure if we’re going to survive in the long-run, laws and rules of engagement, things like that,” Shiroe said. “I’m working on a couple of ideas, and one of them is the use of food as an incentive while this technique is relatively unknown and people are still in a state of shock. We can use it gain enough capital and power to enforce that structure.”

What’s stopping you from becoming just as bad?‘ he asked. ‘You sound like you’re planning on taking advantage of the situation.

“I understand your concerns,” Shiroe said, hearing the suspicion being silently leveled. “No one person should have too much power, but what about a council of the major guilds in Akiba? We let the smaller guilds finish being subsumed until they’ve reached a point of stabilization and then approach them. Doing so, we would be able to do a better job of keeping checks and balances. However, we’d still need them to cooperate so that they have equal shares of power, and that’s easier said than done. When we start this, everyone is going to try to get as much out of the formation as they can unless a third-party can negotiate from a position of power.”

And you’ll do that by taking a monopoly on this while things are still unstable and then use it to amass enough power and fortune to get things off the ground… Let’s say I agree with this. How long would it take?

“…A month at the latest,” he said after some thought. “I can’t stop you from spreading this information before then if you really want to, but I’m asking you to at least give me that much time. In the event that you do deem that I have become corrupt and I’m taking advantage to oppress others, then release it.”

‘…Fine, I’ll keep quiet for now.‘ He still sounded somewhat reluctant. ‘I’ll ask Asuna to as well, but I doubt it’ll take long for someone else to figure out. At least once they’ve gotten something to do, anyway. There’s no telling how long things will remain quiet as they are.

“Actually, I’ve been giving it some thought as well,” Shiroe said. “The biggest issue here isn’t going to be just the Killers attacking other players. Often those in that category target Achievers because there’s more satisfaction in the kill, taking joy in cutting them off from achieving their goal and denying them their long-sought victory. For someone who is an Explorer, I doubt it’d be much of an inconvenience if it wasn’t for the pain, but if they target whoever it is trying to clear the game—”

It’ll limit the number of people who deal with the clear-conditions when or if they arise,’ the Swashbuckler reasoned. ‘It’ll be Laughing Coffin all over again.

“We need something to make less people take up PK’ing in order to try and fill the void rather than just lounging around. For starters, we can experiment more when it comes to cooking or the combat skills so that when we do set things into motion we can instruct them or give them a foundation. If you don’t mind, can you procure things that could be used as ingredients and gain a better understanding with that along with respawn rates?”

I don’t mind,‘ he said. ‘Truthfully, we’re already experimenting more with the combat system and some of the monsters are around a good level to practice with Klein and the others. But none of us are Chefs, so we can’t use the tools of that class.

“There are two friends of mine who are part of a guild,” Shiroe said, thinking of Soujiro and Nazuna. He had gotten in touch with them shortly after Maryelle had dragged them into her guild hall and asked for their help. “I’m willing to bet they have at least one person with a Chef Sub-Class and would be willing to keep a secret. There’s also the Crescent Moon Alliance. I’ll contact them as soon as I have a moment and see if we can work something out.”

Okay. Anything else?

“Just one last thing,” he said. “If this is going to work, we need information from the other hub cities as well. Whatever we’re going through, they’ll be in the same boat. Would your friend be willing to keep you informed and you pass that information along to me? At least until this plan I’m drawing up comes to fruition?”

You mean like an information broker?

“I’m willing to pay a fee if necessary,” he said, adjusting the griffin so that it drifted lower to the ground as they neared the time-limit of its use.

I’ll talk it over with her.

The connection between them was cut, leaving Shiroe to his own thoughts until the time was up for the Griffins and they had to land. As the others set up camp for a quick rest, he looked through his Friend’s List and searched for the one Chef that he personally knew. He wanted to test this cooking thing as soon as possible. Not to mention where he lived would place him in the Susukino area, so he could help find who they were looking for and give him an update on the situation there ahead of time.

Shiroe pressed the button and felt his mind connect with Nyanta. “Hey Chief. You there?”

Shiroe-chi?‘ He sounded amused. ‘Well scratch behind my ears and call me a happy tomcat, I was wondered what could make Lunch better than the company I was keeping, and hearing from an old friend did the trick, nya.

“Glad to hear from you too. Sorry for the late contact, but I’ve been busy in Akiba until now. Right now Naotsugu and I are heading to Susukino with another player to retrieve a Druid from the Crescent Moon Alliance that got stuck there. If it isn’t too much trouble, would you mind helping us out?”

Serara wouldn’t happen to be her name, would it?

“Er… Yes, actually,” Shiroe said. “You know her?”

She’s and a young Monk are the two stray kittens who just so happened to have fallen into my care after ending up in a bad spot, nya.

“What a coincidence,” Shiroe said. “That’s save time at least. We’re a few days out, but we’ll be there soon… Then another thing I have to ask. You have a pretty high level in the Chef Sub-Class, don’t you?”

That’s right, nya.

“Would you mind helping out with testing the cooking system?” Shiroe asked. “We’re working on a theory that if you cook food by hand it’ll have some flavor to it, but none of us have the skills for it.”

Nyanta chuckled. ‘Today’s really your lucky day, nya, I can confirm that much. I found the food here to be too bland for my delicate feline palate and keeping my guests calm, so I put my culinary skills to the test yesterday after I picked up the two of them. As we speak, the three of us are partaking in a particularly delicious fish fillet at this very moment.

That was good news then, but it still needed more testing to account for other factors.

“Glad to see someone else is on the ball despite these troubled times,” Shiroe said. Then again, people often resorted to hobbies to derive comfort from them during troubled times. He enjoyed cooking so he cooked, while Shiroe couldn’t stand sitting around so now he was traveling across the country. “Okay then. Can you make it three-for-three and tell me about the situation in Susukino and what you know?”

As he listened to the other veteran of the DTP, Shiroe found himself frowning. It seemed like things there were going in a direction that he feared for Akiba in a hurry. He’d have to confirm it for himself once they got there, but it sounded like things were getting to a worst-case scenario.

[Chapter 4 -o0o- End]

End Note: Technically, Nyanta discovered cooking first as per canon on their side of things. Unlike canon, Shiroe actually sends a message to the one guy he knows is living where they’re heading to help with his search beforehand and learns ahead of time, just not before Kirito since he remains in contact with Asuna constantly.

The reason a lot of the viewpoint characters are being more proactive—moving the plot along somewhat quicker and making other changes in a ripple effect sort of way—is because SAO set a bad precedence. For the players who don’t believe that help will come, they’re going ahead and planning things for the long run—this includes the less than 250 SAO players in the Elder Tales world at present, as well as friends and family members of those who had lost someone in the Death Game.

 First Steps 2-06

Fear the cock-roach poodles….

Heretical Edge and Summus Proelium

Previous Chapter

If I had been alone in that moment, I probably would have been killed immediately. Standing there flatfooted and with next to zero actual combat experience, all I could do was start to shriek in terror as those dark, evil shapes dropped from the ceiling and plummeted toward me.

But I wasn’t alone. In mid-scream, I felt a hand grab my arm. Avalon’s voice blurted, “Move, idiot!” Then she hauled me away from that spot with a yank that sent me stumbling backwards. An instant later, one of the cockroach-poodles hit the floor where I had been, making a screeing noise of anger.

That single peridle was joined almost immediately by several others, all crawling over each other to get at us. One crawled on top of another and launched itself off of its body, shell opening up to reveal pitiful little wings that it used to propel…

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RWBY Season 3 – Episode 3

Visit Rooster Teeth for the Video

Weiss runs with Ruby in tow to meet her sister, Winter, who seems like even more of an Ice Queen than her at first but is clearly concerned about her well-being. Their reunion is cut short when Qrow shows up and calls her out on showing up, picking a fight she quickly obliged in. We then get an awesome action scene of the two of them wrecking Beacon’s Courtyard in an awesome fight until Ironwood shows up to drag them both off after Ruby says hello to her uncle and Penny.

In Ozpin’s office, Qrow gets on Ironwood about bringing in the military, but he states he did it to show their enemies they aren’t afraid and they’ll protect them. Ozpin points out it also brings questions of what they are defending them against with such a large force. We then see that Cinder is unconcerned with his appearance as she arranges the next match.

Qrow is a constantly sloshed troll of a cool uncle… he’s a freaking DMC character and I love him for it. Winter was basically an older Weiss, but I’m wondering what the past is between her and Qrow cause they went at it hard real fast. It was cute seeing the RWBY girls cheer on their relatives too, no wonder they became so skilled when they have great role models to look up to.

We also gain more intelligence on a conspiracy for the benefit of mankind and see they all have everyone’s best interests in mind, so it’s a good episode that combines plot and action.

First Steps 2-05

In Heretical Edge, Bugs Squash You.

Heretical Edge and Summus Proelium

Previous Chapter

“It’s not exploding. Are you sure we’re doing this right?”

My response to Columbus’s question was to lift the leather-bound text book, gesturing to the page that I had been reading from. “According to this thing, yeah. It should be blowing up as soon as we throw it.”

Believe it or not, we were doing homework. Magic homework, specifically. It was late that night, about an hour before curfew, and the two of us were standing down on the beach, facing the ocean.

The ocean. The sight of it still made me want to stop and stare at it for hours. I’d never been far from Wyoming before, and now I was standing on the beach of a tropical island, my bare feet wiggling in the damp sand. Columbus had questioned if taking my shoes and socks off was strictly necessary, to which I had pointed to the…

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November 2015 Sugar Bits Update 1

Read the rest of the comics at Snafu-Comics – See more at:

First Steps 2-04

A mystery to solve and the subtle art of magic to explore. Onwards, Flick.

Heretical Edge and Summus Proelium

Previous Chapter

“Flick? Hey, you okay?”

A hand gently shook my arm, and I jumped a bit in the heavily cushioned easy chair that I had been sitting in for the past two hours, ever since the announcement had come that morning classes had been canceled. I’d been so lost in thought that I’d missed Sean’s arrival and subsequent attempts to get my attention until he had to physically touch me. Eyes wide, I blurted, “Huh?”

“Sorry,” the boy raised both hands and took a step back. “Just thought I’d check on you. Everyone else is outside and you missed breakfast. So uh, here.” He produced a plate with a couple of muffins on it. “It’s not a lot, but you know, I wasn’t sure what you liked, or if you were even hungry but… yeah.” Trailing off awkwardly, Sean hesitated for a moment before setting the plate on the…

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Harry Potter Fanfic: The Path of Indifference #13

Chapter 13: Parselmouth

November 18th – Dumbledore’s Office

Dumbledore sat patiently at his desk and stared at the young man before him while sucking on a Lemon Drop. Fantastic things they were. It calmed his nerves and, paradoxically, made staying up the night more bearable with his advancing age.

He pressed the bowl forward and offered one to him. “Lemon Drop, Harry?”

“…Thanks.” He was hesitant to take it. Understandable, given the circumstances he found himself in. Naturally, after the professors were informed of the situation, Harry was brought into his office for questioning. “Will Rebecca be okay?”

“Madam Pomfrey revived her shortly after we retrieved her,” Dumbledore told him. It was a good thing he had Mandrake Restoratives bought by Mundungus. He didn’t ask how he got them, only that he did without a paper trail due to Severus’ suspicions about purchases being monitored by the council’s budget department. “Miss Hawthorn will be fine after a day or two of observation.”

Tension seemed to leave the boy’s shoulders. “Did she see who did it?”

He gave a short, single shake of his head. “She seems to be unable to recall what happened after she entered the bathroom in search of you.”

And the tension returned. “Well, I’ve given you my version of things. I was looking for Myrtle when Peeves tricked me into that slug chamber. It took hours to find my scarf when the little bast—er, poltergeist tossed it there. Seriously, there’s like a lost city down there.”

“That chamber should have been locked,” Dumbledore said. He made a note to check and see if Argus still had his key. While the poltergeist could technically use telekinesis, it preferred to maximize the number of people who ended up caught in its mischief.

“So am I in any trouble at all?” the young Potter asked.

“No,” he said. “But because there have been two attacks near that location, we will naturally be sealing the entrance to the bathroom. Your supplies have been sent back to your tower. ”

It was three actually, but the young boy didn’t need to know of Myrtle’s condition. Not when they were seriously considering whether or not to bind her inside of the classroom until the case was solved, after she had been un-petrified and questioned. Severus argued she was too big of a security risk at present, and if the assailant didn’t think that at least one of their attacks was successful then they may escalate. He didn’t find it in him to disagree exactly, even if it didn’t sit well with him.

Harry frowned but nodded. “I understand, even if not to my liking. I can deal with that later.”

“Then you may go,” Dumbledore said. “There’s a Prefect waiting to escort you to your tower and will see you back safely.”

“Great.” He hopped out of his chair and made for the door, murmuring under his breath about finding Peeves and Myrtle. Dumbledore just sighed as he left out, thinking of the more important issue at hand here.

With Miss Hawthorn, her memories seemed have literally stopped the moment she ended up being petrified. The last thing she recalled was hearing someone speak in a foreign tongue and then nothing else until she was revived. Even with the Mandrake Restoratives, which they should have had more in stock to begin with, it would take at least a day for the stiffness in her muscles to fade away entirely. That was fortunate, but it could have been worse had she suffered the same fate as Argus’ cat.

While the young Potter was not likely the culprit, it stood to reason that either he was being framed as the one behind the attacks… or that he had possibly been the target all this time. The question then would be what to do.

He could inform Harry of his suspicions, but they were a steadily solidifying theory at this point and the boy’s reaction was unpredictable. There was no sense in worrying him if he could help it, especially with the emotional issues over Qurriell’s death last year. The fact he braved the Slug Pits for that scarf and the outburst with Lockhart had been evidence enough that he hadn’t recovered from staining his hand at a young age, something Dumbledore could sympathize with.

He could remove the boy from the school grounds, sending him home for any number of reasons to complete his education later or in an alternate location. But whoever was responsible could likely move onto another target. Not to mention he would likely think he was being ostracized because of his reputation, which could lead to more problems in the future.

He could have the professors keep an eye on him, more than they already do. But the boy was fond of scurrying out of their sight for his own reasons and would likely notice the extra-attention. The response to that could be negative as well. What about one of his friends then?

The aged Headmaster mulled it over while sucking on a Lemon Drop, wondering just why anyone would target solely him if the theory was correct….

Late November

Engorgio,” Harry said somewhat dully as his wand went through the motions. The block of wood that had been on his desk swelled in side, growing vaster as he allowed the spell to continue its work, until the point where the wood creaked and splits formed. He cut it before it could explode and sighed.

Harry had run out of places to check for Myrtle now. There was no sign of her. And Peeves, without his constant pursuit of her, was proving himself to be elusive as well. He supposed all he could do now was wait for one of them to show up of their own accord.

Time passed and Harry had just finished class when his favorite Hufflepuff approached him, in spite of the bags under his eyes from wandering the halls at night under the Bedazzling Hex. She regarded him for a moment with what looked to be concern. He brushed it aside preemptively. “I’m fine. What is it?”

We heard you lost the use of your bathroom,” Leanne told him. Because she used the plural ‘we’ instead of ‘I’ Harry presumed she was speaking for Gayle. “We would like to extend our hand to you and offer you a place to do your work, in exchange for your services—if you’re interested, of course.”

Harry raised his brows suspiciously in thought. “What exactly would she want me to make? The camp was one thing, but I’m not insane enough to try to make something like that here.”

“Nothing of the sort you’re thinking of. Just some minor brews and potions, aids for studying and the like that others are either too lazy or unskilled to make, with minor tweaks to the formula. You’ll be paid, though not as much as market value and the room will be yours to use how you see fit provided you keep it to yourself.”

He mulled it over. He needed someplace to work now that the bathroom had been off-limits. His housemates were insistent that he didn’t try and make anything there, and privacy was one of the reasons he loved Myrtle’s Bathroom. No one entered there with her around because of her reputation, even if it was unfortunate for the girls in the school to have their washroom options cut down by one, and she watched his things just in case someone would try and mess with them.

He cleared his throat. “Well, I still have questions about how you can cordon off parts of the castle so easily, but call me interested if you’d be willing to show me it.”

Leanne smiled. “Follow me then.”

She turned on her heels and walked out with her robes shifting behind her. He followed her as they went up to one of the higher corridors, whereupon he walked past an inconspicuous door while glancing at their surroundings. That was when she came to a stop.

“We’re here,” she said. The knowing smile told him something was off. He looked around carefully, reaching out to the wall and touching the stones and inconspicuous door, only to find nothing amiss.

“…okay, I’ll bite. Where is it?” he asked. She handed him a small stone with a rune emblazoned on it. The moment it touched his skin, he became away that the inconspicuous door was actually something he should have noticed. He just… he just thought it was part of the background. “Was that Notice-Me-Not charm?”

“Mmm, something like that,” Leanne said with a wry smile as she opened the door.

“How did she cast that on a part of the castle without any noticing?” Harry warily stepped inside of the room. “Trust me, I’ve tried to cast spells on the castle itself but the magic its steeped in can slough off a lot of them beyond physical and surface damage, and I’d suspect Dumbledore would notice.”

Leanne pointed to a stone that was fixed on a pedestal. “I don’t know the specifics, I’m afraid. Gayle said that she had custom ordered the rune designs, and that this was the one keyed to the keystone I gave you. We don’t even take runes just yet, but I have toed the waters when she lets me read her book on it and this design is the most complex thing I’ve seen.”

Harry took a closer look. It wasn’t just a stone, but a runestone. The designs etched on it weren’t familiar, nor was the stone itself. The pedestal also had runes, no doubt to prevent it from being moved and probably other factors like the range of effect.

Leanne continued after giving him time to take it all in. “Because of the runestone, this room is largely forgotten by everyone and everything that can be affected by magic. That means you’ll have to keep the keystone you have on you to get in because, even if you know the location, you won’t be able to notice it intentionally, even when pointed out.”

“What’s stopping someone from copying one?” He held up the stone between his fingers. “If you take a memory potion or have a sharp enough mind, what’s stopping someone from doing that?”

“She did explain that simply memorizing the pattern or trying to copy it won’t work, they have layers of small runes hidden within the surface rune, all needed for it to respond appropriately—which is why it’s considered a rather complex course and breaking them in tombs and the likes requires an expertise. Not to mention that the magic also requires a certain type of medium, not just the design. The same goes for the keystones.”

“Which means that if they can’t be comprehended enough for the magic formula to be copied or have the appropriate materials, then she controls how many keystones are in circulation,” Harry reasoned. “That means no one can make extras, and if there are a number of different ones then she knows who can access what room at all times. She probably has a master keystone too, and I bet that they have some sort of safeguard to prevent someone who isn’t allied with her from using it within the rune design, sort of like an off-switch.”

“Sounds like her,” Leanne reasoned as she dusted off a chair to sit in.

That was something else he picked up on. Unlike the rest of the rooms in Hogwarts, he noticed it seemed a mite… dirtier. It was clean, but not the sort of clean you got when a House Elf went to town on the place. For example, there were patches of dust forming rings around one of the cauldrons that hadn’t been moved in some time, overlooked by a human eye.

He was reasonably impressed. “It even prevents the elves from noticing the room inside of the spell it’s projecting, and I bet unless you destroy the stones or disrupt the connection that won’t change. There’s no telling how many of these rooms she has hidden all over the castle either, and given how big it is but there are so few students that parts of the castle aren’t even used frequently… okay, I’ll admit I’ve underestimated her when it comes to resources at her disposals.”

Indeed. The only thing he could think of that could match this was the Fidelius Charm he had heard in mentioning once when his mother broached the topic about hiding away Remus during the Full Moon some time ago. He didn’t have the full details, but he could take a guess at how it worked.

“So, still interested?” Leanne asked.

“You had me sold the moment you opened the door,” Harry said. He’d still need a public lab of sorts, for when he wanted to do some work but needed others over. And a place to meet with Myrtle until her bathroom was no longer off-limits…. now that he thought about it, his Gytrashes still couldn’t find her. What if she stumbled into one of these rooms? He brought it up to Leanne.

She shook her head. “No, I’m pretty sure she had these stones ordered with the ghosts of the different houses in mind. If that was the case, she couldn’t willingly float into one to hide. I can ask Gayle if I can check them all though.”

“Thanks,” Harry said. The gratitude in his voice was as clear as the day.

“I am a bit surprised you’re so worried about a ghost though,” Leanne added. “Is she that important to you?”

“… She’s to me what Gayle is you,” he said after some thought. “You mentioned how you and her met when you were at your lowest and she lifted you up. Myrtle was there for me when I was at my lowest after having to kill Quirrell.”

She looked surprised at that. “You really did kill him?”

“I’m not going to lie about it you,” Harry said. “He was possessed by a wraith the entire time he was working here and wanted to kill my brother. I couldn’t exorcise it, so I did what I had to in order to save Gene. He had been one of the few people I trusted outside of Myrtle and She—another person outside of Hogwarts so, when I found out it was a ploy to manipulate me, you can imagine how I felt after that.”

Despite how he had been, alone and neglected by his family in his heart, Sherry had been the one to get him to accept things didn’t have to be that way. She put him on the path to studying, a path different than one where he would have been stuck under his brother’s shadow and constantly clawing to get out of it. Others followed after her, but she was the one who opened the door for that to happen.

Myrtle provided an unbiased ear, unconcerned with their house points and happy to have the company. An eternal victim in need of a protector, always alone and in need of a friend, she was someone whose needs could easily be filled by Harry’s presence. The protectiveness he felt for her afterwards and the companionship she offered could be measured by the void he felt in her absence.

“Never once did Myrtle betray my trust. She was there with me through my lowest points, where everyone else abandoned or turned against me. I don’t care whether it was out of genuine kindness or just a need to have a friend after so long being ignored or just to have someone to ward away Peeves, but she was the one who consoled me. Isn’t it natural that I would do everything in my power to see that she be happy and well?”

Was it a healthy relationship? Finding himself closer to an older woman who came from across the sea and… well, Myrtle would technically be even older than Sherry, wouldn’t she? He felt safer and unguarded around the two of them more than anyone else, and even when they learned of the things he had done they had never betrayed his trust.

That was also why, somehow, he was going to deal with Peeves… permanently.

He flinched when he felt Leanne’s touch against his skin, having laid a hand on his cheek in an effort to console him. “What are you doing?”

She pulled it back. “Sorry, it’s what Gayle does to me when she’s trying to cheer me up. I suppose it’s awkward for someone else.”

“A bit, yeah. Seriously though, don’t tell anyone what I’ve said here and now,” he said, emphasizing the importance. “I’d rather not sour our partnership over personal details.”

She shrugged with a pursed but wry smile and gestured to their surroundings. “What’s one more secret between us?”

December – 17th

Around half-a-month and a ‘I-will-not-blab-or-bring-unapproved-people-into-the-lab’ contract with Gayle later, Harry was standing on the sidelines as a stage had been set for a Dueling Club in the Great Hall.

So far the month had been a bore for him beyond getting to break-in his new laboratory that Gayle provided. The things she asked him to make were standard concoctions that were normally available to anyone with the time to brew them, true enough. Except most of them had a little twist to what went into them, giving them side-effects that added to their values in the eyes of those who found them desirable: a hint of Euphoria in a Pepperup, combining a Brain Elixir and Beautification Potion for a ‘Beauty and Brains’ package—he didn’t know where she got the Unicorn Hair for it from and he didn’t ask—and things like that.

He had to tweak the initial formulas since most of them weren’t meant to be blended. That meant experimentation and a lot of it, but she supplied the materials while he simply did the research and labor. His skills were ultimately better for it.

Hagrid had liked his birthday gift too, which was something Harry was proud of. He didn’t mention the cost of it, since the man would likely be too modest about accepting it, but he did owe him for last year’s gift when he wasn’t likely to get one from anyone else in the school this year… not like how Quirrell had done for him.

Harry remained nestled around a grouping consisting of Rebecca, who had recovered from her ordeal, his usual acquaintances, and Ginny next to Luna. He wasn’t participating since he had gotten into another argument with Lockhart—to no one’s surprise. Harry had been in an ill-mood and less tolerant of the man, and that likely wouldn’t be improved until he had to return home for the holidays. Not because his parents insisted, but because he wanted to see Mister Weasley and Sherry again.

Currently, Snape was made to oversee the duels to avoid any mishaps, which he moved to do by conjuring shimmering walls between the different pairings so that they didn’t hit anyone by accident, sending the entire hall into chaos. He also made it clear that anyone who used any spells that weren’t within the limits of what they were supposed to would suffer greatly in untold ways… involving a trip to collect slime from Slug Pit, having derived some sort of use for it.

Harry shivered at the memory of when he was stuck there. Slime got into uncomfortable places too much for his liking. The horror.

Things went about as well as he expected after the initial volley. Most of the students, inexperienced in the art of dueling and lacking any decisive spells, resorted to schoolyard jinxes. Honestly, he and Stephen had done better during their spat last year.

In the end, Stephen, Gene, Draco, and Terry were the exceptions. Lockhart, naturally, followed up and decided to have them duel one another on the stage. The first up were Stephen and Terry, the two Ravenclaws from different circles.

What am I doing here?” Terry mumbled to himself as Harry stood off to the side of him, barely at the level of his knees.

“Losing,” Harry said bluntly. Terry gave him a look that spoke of offense. “You’re on a straight-shot stage with someone who has a duelist mentality and practice. One-on-one, with no cover, and very few spells you didn’t learn from the same classes as him. And everyone knows this—it’s a question of when you lose, not if.”

“So what? I give up now?”

“That or come at him from abstracts,” Harry said. “That’s how I did it the first year.”

“The duel you lost during broomstick practice?”

“Tied,” Harry insisted. “The point I’m making is, take away his advantages—his line of fire, his comprehension of spells, etc. Keep in mind the spells we practiced in private and don’t shout the spell you’re using—it’s a focus, not a decree.”

Terry’s face scrunched and then his eyes seemed to perk up. He had something. “I’m not sure if this will work, but—”

“Start the duel!” Lockhart announced.

Expelliarmus!” Stephen cast. He clearly didn’t see the point in dragging this out. Terry wasn’t someone he wanted to beat or even saw as a challenge. The fact that he fell backwards to dodge only reinforced that.

At least until Terry held his wand up and casted, “Fumos Tria!

The next second afterwards the stage was filled with dense smoke contained inside of the invisible walls that had been put up. Like it was trapped in a bottle, it built up and both wizards disappeared from view. There were brief flashes as Stephen tried to cast spells in his direction. The familiar sound at key points of spells hitting something hard like a gong made Harry smile, to the confusion of those around him. But it was clear that Stephen was starting to choke as they heard him coughing.

“If you don’t stop the duel he’s going to suffocate!” Morag called out to the professors overseeing it. “That spell wasn’t one you said he could use! He’s cheating!”

With two swish of Snape’s wand, the smoke and walls were gone to reveal that Cornfoot was doubled over and hacking up a lung while Terry was coddled behind an upright, enlarged Silver Shield with a Bubble-Head Charm so he could breathe. Snape levitated the downed boy to take him to the Hospital Wing, just so that they could make sure there were no long-term problems caused by the smoke inhalation. Morag glared in their direction before she spun on her heel and followed them out.

Terry hopped off the stage and came down next to Harry. “So, was that abstract enough?”

“Honestly, that was too abstract for me,” Harry admitted. “Walk me through it after the smoke, bubble, shield and enlarging spells. I heard him cast the Disarming Charm a few times and hit the shield. It should have gone flying.”

“A Sticking Charm to hold it to the ground while it was upright,” he said. “That way his Disarming Charm didn’t rip it from my grip. After that, I just kept thickening the smoke until someone called it.”

“I would have sent him flying, but your way was good too. You took advantage of the environment and the fact that he wasn’t likely to know the Bubble-Head Charm because you’ll rarely find a need for it in a duel where you typically rely on offensive spells. Though the fact that you were cowering behind a shield might not win you any points,” Harry pointed out. “And you’d better not take anything you want to keep to the Slug Pits, because judging from that look Morag was giving us she’s going to push for that to be called cheating.”

“Let’s continue the duels!” Lockhart declared, in spite of everything. “Mister Potter and Mister Malfoy, take the stage!”

“What if the same thing happens?” one of the other students asked as Gene and Draco headed towards the stage. Lockhart’s response was to not put up the invisible walls. He regretted it when, as the duel commenced, Draco ended up hanging upside down by his ankle using James’ spell.

“Snape would be pissed if he saw this,” Harry noted.

Rebecca overheard him and asked, “Why?”

He shook his head. “It’s private. Besides, Gene made the same mistake he did with me by letting him keep his wand.”

Serpensortia!” Draco cast, conjuring what looked to be a rattlesnake in front of Gene. The broken eye contract in the threat of the poisonous serpent caused Gene to drop Draco flat on his face and turn his wand to it.

“Impressive,” Harry noted. Conjuration of that nature was Sixth-Year material. Qurriell told him so, and considering the work he put into his Gytrashes he didn’t doubt it. It wasn’t an authentic animal, but a construct of magic that was as close to the real thing as it could be.

Of course, the price of not putting up the safety walls became apparent when Gene hit the snake with a spell to send it flying away. It landed hard at the edge of the stage. Like, right in front of Harry and Terry—the former of which briefly wondered if it was intentional until said snake decided to chime in.

Hurt,’ he heard the snake say as it looked towards them. ‘Bite.

Don’t you dare,” Harry said, feeling a slight strain in his throat as he pointed his wand at it. Then everything got abruptly quiet, and he felt the weight of many people’s eyes on him. He looked around to see they were staring at him confused—including the snake. “What?”

“How did you do that?” Terry asked.

“Do what?”

“With your mouth,” he clarified. “What did you say?”

“I said for it not to bite us,” Harry said. “You’re right next to me. How didn’t you hear that?”

“Rebecca, what’s wrong?” Harry heard Luna ask. He turned his head to see that she and Ginny were by the other first year, who had gone pale despite her complexion and was backing away from him.

That’s the same voice I heard before I was petrified,” she muttered. “Not the same words, but… something like it.

“…why do I get the feeling I’m not going to like where this is going?” Harry asked. The rattling of the snake’s tail drew Harry attention back to it and away from the girls. It was getting agitated again. He sealed it in a Bubble Cage Jinx as Professor Snape returned and pushed past the students until he was right in front of him.

“What did you say?” Snape demanded. “I want the exact words you said to it now.”

“What did I do?” Harry asked. “Was I supposed to let the poisonous snake Gene tossed over bite me?”

“The words,” Snape stated with heat in his voice. “Repeat them. Now.”

“All he did was say for it to stop,” Gene said, still on the stage. He looked just as confused. “That wasn’t on purpose either.”

He whirled around to Gene and stared at him intensely. “And you can verify this how?”

“I heard him,” Gene said. “Clear as English can be, he said ‘Don’t you dare’ when the snake was going to bite him. What’s the big deal?”

“…Of course, it must be from James,” Snape said with a scathing note in his voice. He pointed his wand at the sealed bubble containing the serpent and made both of them vanish. “Both of you come with me to speak with the Headmaster, this instant.”

Harry turned to Terry and grabbed him by the shoulders. “Talk, now. What did I say that was so bad?”

“Harry, mate,” Terry started. “You were speaking to the snake… in the same language as it. That’s Parseltongue. And the fact that your brother understood it means he’s likely a Parselmouth too.”

Harry slapped himself on the forehead when he recalled the trip. It explained the Ashwinder talking to him. He should have picked it up sooner after his talk with Hagrid. Harry looked around to see others were paling at that, taking slow steps away and being cautious. “Let me guess, Parseltongue is a bad sign?”

Hermione, who had been making her way over, was hesitating to find the words as she spoke. “Salazar Slytherin was one of the most notable according to A History of Hogwarts, detailing his contributions and accomplishments. And with that message during Halloween, well…”

“She means one of you is likely the Heir of Slytherin,” Isobel said. There was a time for tact and sugarcoating, and this clearly wasn’t the moment for her. “If you take your reputation and how often you’ve been hanging out with their house into account, that’d be you. That’s why they’re freaking out.”

Harry swore as Snape, having lost his patience, proceeded to levitate the Potter brothers and carry them out of the Great Hall. Harry couldn’t help but think it going to be Quirrell all over again.

First Steps 2-03

Not even two days and there’s a murder. Well, time to get to work.

Heretical Edge and Summus Proelium

Previous Chapter

“Not anymore.”

The silence that had stretched on for several long, empty seconds in the wake of Sands’ announcement had been interrupted by a new voice. It took me a second to orient myself, looking to the source of those two words. Scout stood there, looking up at me with her gaze only partially hidden by that long brown hair, face slightly flushed. This was the first time I’d actually heard her voice.

“Wha—oh. You mean she’s not a bad guy anymore, if she ever was one.” When the other girl nodded, I smiled faintly. “Yeah, you’re right. I mean, it’s not like she could sneak into this place without them knowing about her history, whatever it is. Hell, she’s got the tattoo pretty much in plain sight.”

“Plus there’s her name,” Sands pointed out. “It’s too much of a coincidence. There’s no way the headmistress doesn’t know…

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November 2015 Grim Tales Update 1

Read the rest of the comics at Snafu-Comics – See more at:

First Steps 2-02

When you have a mechanical dog that turns into a mini-gun and googles that shoots lasers at your school, I feel you’re doing something right.

Heretical Edge and Summus Proelium

Previous Chapter

“I feel like Mary Poppins,” I announced a few hours later while walking down the hall alongside the rest of my team. We were just leaving lunch and heading for the first afternoon class of the day.

There had been two more periods after that first class: Trigonometry and English. Nothing had happened in either one that stood out nearly as much as the act of literally choosing lethal weapons to bring around with us for the rest of our lives. Though, to be fair, that was a hard act to follow.

“Mary Poppins?” Sands, walking alongside me, asked with a tilt of her head. “You mean because of–”

“Yup.” I reached down, brushing the jacket of the school uniform aside to reach what looked like a small canister about the size of a cell phone case that had been clipped onto my belt. Flipping the cap open…

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RWBY Season 3 – Episode 2

Visit Rooster Teeth for the Video

The Match starts and once again we see that Pyrrha is in top form as she manages to fend off her attacker while the rest don’t fair as well with a sniper in the trees. Ren gets shocked by a cattle prod (which is easily the most surprising weapon in the series from being so bland, if practical) and when the guy tries to do the same to Nora he learns that her Semblance lets her absorb and use electricity so he was screwed.

Jaune then sent her to the mountain to do a Thor impression while Ren distracted the Sniper and Pyrrha blocked a shot meant for her before she pretty much destroyed the section of the forest the sniper was in and then came down to knock the rest back. Unfortunately, because they didn’t agree on a team attack name they get bogged down by the conversation until Jaune just has Nora hit them with her hammer and wreck all of them at once.

We then cut to Qrow getting sloshed and jaded before we get an all-girl team against Sun’s all-guy team. Neptune’s flirting gets Weiss angry and then he retreats to the enemy side because he’s afraid of the water. The fight starts and one of their teammates gets immediately thrown out of the ring by a tornado before Sun puts that bow staff to good use and take one of team Indigo down.

Then the pirate-looking dude not only swashbuckles on top of a mast but has a hookshot in his gun that he uses to rope the girl he knocked down and use her as a counterbalance. Then he gets hit in the nuts and goes down, so Sun tells Neptune to stop being useless. Neptune electrocutes the water they were standing in and Qrow leaves as someone important to Weiss arrives, probably her sister.

So, Team JNPR has improved but they’ve still got kinks they’re working  out, Pyrrha is still MVP, and Nora is the Mighty Thor. Team SSSN is basically all fun and huge dorks, though the fact that someone named Neptune is afraid of the water is just hilarious and sad at the same time.


RWBY Season 3 – Episode 1

Even with Monty Oum’s tragic passing, the folks at Rooster Teeth were still able to continue the RWBY series thanks to the notes he left behind. Once more, I’ll do simple a simple summary on the show and give you my opinion on it, but I recommend you go watch it on their website.

Visit the website for the video

To begin, the video opens with Ruby at her mother’s grave and telling her about all the adventures she’s gone through at Beacon to this point before returning in time for her team’s match. Needless to say, they win it and decide to get a meal to celebrate, only Weiss’ credit card was declined for some reason. Luckily Jaune’s team showed up and decided to eat with them, where we learn that Ren and Nora are apparently orphans and Jaune still has some self-esteem issues, but they wish them luck regardless.

Emerald’s team also passed their match, with Neo in disguise and curb-stomping some poor chump, and because of how the Tournament is structured Yang and Weiss will be heading to the next match instead of all four of them. With that information in mind, we come to a close as Team JNPR takes the stage for their next match.