• For issues you find with the Switch and Console releases, please follow this link and give as much detail as possible. This is the speediest way to get info to Pipeworks and get a hotfix in the works.
  • 1.4 will bring many changes to the PC version. We strongly advise making plans to back up your worlds and players prior to updating your game. More details here.
  • Begin your search for Journey's End information here and here. Please report bugs and issues for Journey's End here.
  • For issues you find with the Mobile 1.3 update, please follow this link and give as much detail as possible. This is the speediest way to get info to DR Studios to look at your issue. Also, some troubleshooting hints here.

Story The Twins: Test of Redemption

PaperLaur

Spazmatism
Wait, you`re gonna keep posting it in this thread too right? I`d rather keep reading it here.
Yes! In fact, I'll be posting it here before it goes on Fanfiction. I've only posted up to Chapter 3 on FF because I'm editing all the chapters first, as opposed to posting them here where I do pretty minimal editing. It's just another way to get it out there, but this is definitely the best place to read it!
 

Clancy117

Spazmatism
Yes! In fact, I'll be posting it here before it goes on Fanfiction. I've only posted up to Chapter 3 on FF because I'm editing all the chapters first, as opposed to posting them here where I do pretty minimal editing. It's just another way to get it out there, but this is definitely the best place to read it!
All the way to the end? I have to do nearly all of my web brousing on my Xbox so some sites and videos I try to view don`t always work for me and if you start posting this on another site I may start having trouble trying to read this and may have to stop all together.
 

PaperLaur

Spazmatism
All the way to the end? I have to do nearly all of my web brousing on my Xbox so some sites and videos I try to view don`t always work for me and if you start posting this on another site I may start having trouble trying to read this and may have to stop all together.
Yeah, all the way to the end--it's all going to go up on here just like normal. Hopefully I'll get there because whoo boy I have a lot planned I WANT TO BE ABLE TO FINISH THIS AND SEE WHAT YOU GUYS THINK OF EVERYTHING. The last thing I wanna do is make it harder on anyone to read. ^_^ Basically chapters will go up here first, THEN ff.
 
Apologies for the delay on updates, it's been a busy couple days. I can tell you how these doofuses probably celebrated April Fools--Bailey put buckets of confetti on everyone's doors to dump confetti on them, Spaz probably used the day as an excuse to sneak up behind people and screech at them, and Ret insisted that the day was stupid, then tried to convince Keeper he had a Keeper Voodoo Doll. Keeper was unimpressed.
Also Alalia and Keeper have "what's an april fool" in common since Alalia doesn't keep up with stuff as she's so old and Keeper just doesn't know how proper society functions.
Mercer didn't do anything because he hates it when people are mad.

Anyways, update, ToR is now being posted on Fanfiction, so be sure to support it over there and tell folks! The more people read, the more likelihood I'll get comments and know how it's doing and if things are coming across okay.
Thanks for over 300 thread views! =D

Followers: @neoselket , @PersonaTea

Chapter Nine: Citizens of Rifdale

...

"Now where did we put those lenses...I swear he keeps moving everything around..."

The dark-eyed man grumbled to himself as he searched their basement storage for the items. "Ah, here we are...This is the accessories chest, why did he put them in the accessories chest. They belong in the 'important' chest." He rubbed his face with a hand, sighing. "All right, how many...Thirteen. So enough for one more. We already have some crimtane at least, and all the tissue samples we could ever need. We'll head to an altar with these and maybe the Eye will drop enough to make up the deficit..."

"Hey! Hey, Randy!"

He glanced up. "What? What is it?

"Come up here!"

"Why?"

"Because I think you need to see this, that's why!"

'Need to see' from his younger brother could mean anything from a horrendous monster to a particularly interesting-looking butterfly, but his voice sounded urgent. The elder took the lenses from the chest, throwing them into his inventory before slamming the chest shut.

Torchlight lit his path back to the stairs leading to the house proper, and as he pushed the trap door up to enter the back of the main living area, he couldn't help but notice that almost everyone in their little settlement seemed to be standing around looking at something. Frowning, he pulled himeslf out, kicking the trap door closed behind him.

Everyone seemed to hear the door slam, as several turned to look at him as one. There was a range of expressions on their faces. The demolitionist looked confused, the dryad grim. The nurse seemed to have no idea what to think of whatever development was occurring. The arms dealer's expression was vaguely uncomfortable, the stylist was concerned, and the angler looked excited.

And then there was Kyle, who was wearing his usual smile, if a little worn. He gestured towards them, and reluctantly the man drew nearer, the small crowd parting for him to see what was going on.

His younger brother stood at the front of the crowd--and in front of him, standing at the door and shivering from the outside rain, a girl who was probably in her early teens at most. She had hair dyed bright pink that came to her chin, though darker spots had been made visible by the rain. Her eyes were a confused blue, and she was wearing a pink shirt and striped socks up to her knees.

"O-oh, hi!" The girl noticed the young man and waved, "Uh, you're his brother, right? Do you guys need any fireworks--don't worry, they didn't get wet, I brought a backpack, uhhh, confetti?" She gave a strained grin, bouncing on her heels. "Really, I don't mind, you could use something to brighten this up. Throw a party!"

The man frowned and walked to her, kneeling in front to get closer to her height. "Where did you come from?"

"Waaaaay east. Super duper far, long walk, my feet don't really like me right now but it's okay, because I found here." She was speaking very fast. "And I brought some party things with me, was wondering if I might be able to sell them."

"Where are your parents?"

The girl looked stricken for a moment, before shaking her head. "Oh, it's okay, they're fine. Perfectly fine. Uh, so, confetti?" She stuffed her hand into the pink backpack she'd dropped to the floor, pulling out a handful of streamers. "I have grenades, too!"

"Throw her out!" the demolitionist yelled, indignant. The girl flinched.

"Hey, cut that out," the younger brother said, kneeling down as well. "She looks like a lot of fun! And lost. Hey, you got anywhere to go?"

"Uh..." The smile dropped for a second, and she shifted uncomfortably, "...Nope."

"You want a place to stay? Night's coming..."

The bright expression went a bit dark and a bit frightened as she glanced back over her shoulder at the door, "...It'd be nice just for, uh, a night..."

"Then it's settled." The younger brother gave a huge grin, "You can stay here if you want, we've got plenty of room! You can stay with Nurse Claire if you want, she's been taking care of Izzy--the kid with the hat. Oh, or Layli, but Layli's kind of scary. ...Annabel? Pink hair sticks together..."

"Wait, wait," the older said, waving a hand, "Are you sure this is..."

The pink-haired girl gave him a look. A look so full of hope and excitement that he just couldn't shut her out of his heart, the heart that had begun to distrust everyone in this house who wasn't related to him. She was still so young, and who knows what she'd been through. His brother clearly got the feeling, judging by the look on his face, that the girl needed to be here. And the younger one had always been the better judge of character. He might be angry and stupid on occasion, but no one could deny that.

"...All right."

The demolitionist groaned, but the general consensus seemed to be positive--taking in a kid would likely do no more harm than Izzy's arrival had, and the boy needed a friend anyway. The girl's face lit up.

"Hey, we get to be your big brothers for a bit," the green-eyed young man said, his grin back in full force, "I mean, we're going out to do something kind of important tonight--weren't we gonna fight that eyeball again? Yeah, we've been fighting a ton of stuff, and we dunno you or if you're staying. But I wanted a little sister, y'know. What do you think?" The girl nodded, and he laughed. "Awesome! Well, nicetameetcha. Name's Sherwin, he's Randall."

The girl held out her hand to shake his, looking immensely relieved.

"Bailey. I'm Bailey."


-:-:-
"Hey, hey! Geez, aren't you supposed to be a light sleeper?"

Ret shifted, groaning as he began to come back to consciousness. Someone stopped poking him in the neck.

"Thank the gods. Was gonna dump a water bucket on you next."

He squinted his eye open to see his brother standing at the side of the bed. His tunic was still filthy, but his hair was a wet mop around his head and his face was clean. "Bathroom we missed coming up here," Spaz explained.

"...You took a shower?" Ret shook his head, sitting up and starting to look worried.

"Well, washed my head is more accurate. Is it bad that I didn't remember what was under this patch because I had to take it off and holy mother of Hell--"

"Please don't continue that." Ret ran a hand through his own hair, rendered dirty and greasy by the past few days. He glanced back to look through the window, only to see the sun was far past up. "Spaz, what time is it?"

"Oh, uh..." Spaz sheepishly rubbed the back of his neck, "It miiiiight be close to noon."

"What?!"

Ret rolled out of bed and stumbled to his feet, staring around in alarm. Spaz stood to his full height, waving his hands in a gesture of peace. "Hey, figured you needed it. Ever since you decided to spy on Keeper you've been a bit weird."

"You should have woken me up." Ret was furious, but more at himself. "Where is he?"

"Oh, um...I already went down to talk to Bailey and apparently he came by super early to tell her to tell us that he was gonna go explore the cave system under town to get some stuff most of today. Apparently said we should 'do what we will with our time' or something."

Ret slapped a hand into his forehead, clenching his teeth, "Great. Now we cannot ask him about our next step to the Underworld..."

"I know. Boring day. Hate it too. Maybe you should come down though, she was...worried?"

"That Alalia isn't back, is she?"

"Long gone."

Ret let out a slow groan. "Fine, then. Can I--"

"She's kinda been saving breakfast for you."

"...Ugh. Just let me take off this damned armor."

Ret really wished he had the time to make himself look decent. As he pulled off his breastplate, he could see his own shirt was sweatstained and dirty, and his hair must've looked like more of a wreck than Spaz's did. At this rate, the town would assume he was homeless. ...Which on second thought, he supposed he technically was, but he did not want to appear that way, if only on principle.

But he supposed it'd be worse to look like more of a layabout than he already did. He kicked off his greaves and tossed his helmet onto the bed before nodding, allowing Spaz to lead the way downstairs.

The main inn floor had a small amount of people present, certainly more than the previous night. There were a few with no discernible role sitting at tables talking and eating, while in one corner two very heavily-accented men--one wearing overalls and the other a turban--were having a rather intense argument that, from what Ret managed to catch, involved the merits of lime green. A dark-skinned man in a trenchcoat with his feet on the table seemed to be trying to win over a redheaded young lady, but she soon tired of him, smacked his shoulder with a wrench, stood, and left.

"Oh, you're here!" Ret turned to see Bailey standing at the door to the kitchen he'd seen earlier, waving and still wearing that smile that could rival Spaz in energy, though far surpassed him in friendliness. "Good to see you're okay, hope you slept well?" Ret muttered to himself, staring at his feet, not wanting to admit how long he'd been out. "Good!" The woman clapped her hands together, "Come here in the kitchen, made some oatmeal--better than it sounds, trust me, there's raisins in it, and we've got bacon. I put the bacon in the oatmeal usually but, ha, didn't wanna mess around without asking."

She hurried into the kitchen, and Ret reluctantly followed, Spaz now behind him. "Don't mind the burning smell," Bailey called at the face Ret made upon walking in, "Your cross-eyed friend wanted toast, but kept putting the bread back in the toaster over and over and over. I swear the thing was practically ashes before he was happy with it. Oh, yeah, he told me to tell you--"

"He's left for today. I've heard."

"Okay good, it gives you a nice chance to check out the town. Mercer's working with Milton the merchant today, and Tommy left for school, so I can show you around if you want--I'm not the one who runs this place, after all."

As she spoke, Bailey moved to pass Ret a bowl containing some sort of yellowish oat mush, and a spoon, and after glancing at Spaz--who'd more than likely already eaten the stuff, and nodded heartily in approval--took a bite. It wasn't bad, to be honest. Spaz attempted to be stealthy as he shuffled over to the counter for what Ret assumed was his not-first piece of bacon.

"So, you two lost your memories?" Bailey abruptly asked, causing Ret to nearly choke on a spoonful.

"Wh-what now?"

"Your brother told me."

Ret turned to glare at Spaz, who had a strip of bacon hanging out of his mouth. The older brother put his hands to his head as if it were already aching. "Why did you feel the need to tell her this."

"Well..." Spaz pulled the half-eaten bacon out of his mouth, gesturing with it to accent his words, "We were talking, y'know. She got to talkin' about 'at least Cthulhu's Eye didn't show up to mess with us again' and I had no idea what that is and apparently everyone knows what that is so one thing led to another and yep."

Ret sighed. He supposed it wasn't too much harm--he'd yelled it to the dryad in front of Mercer, anyway. "...Well, that is correct."

"Sheesh, that's gotta be rough." Bailey sat at a small table in the kitchen, beginning to pick at her own half-eaten oatmeal. "What caused it, any ideas? Bump your heads?" Ret shook his head. "No clue? Guess that would've gone with the memory, now that I think about it. Hope you're able to get it back..."

"Keeper said we'd remember stuff once we beat the guardian of the Underworld," Spaz added, cheerfully. Ret glared at him--he was giving away too much information, and he didn't trust this woman.

"The guardian of th...oh..." Bailey dropped her spoon into her oatmeal, staring down at her feet with a troubled expression, the first one they'd seen on her.

Ret rose a brow, "Do you know anything about what he spoke of?"

"Uh...it's sort of common knowledge. Our old Guide knew, some people hear rumors. No one knows if it's all true or not." Bailey glanced up between them, confusion etched into her features. "Are you sure you have to do that? By all accounts it's a death wish. Doesn't it have to do with that prophecy?"

"According to Keeper, yes." Ret was intrigued, now, and if she already knew that much, a bit more shouldn't cause too much damage. "He said that the prophecy went wrong somewhere, and that we must fix it to bring back balance." He left out the 'test' part, and sounded rather skeptical throughout.

"...Well." Bailey gave a sad little chuckle, something strange in her eyes. Neither of the brothers were under the impression that she was even capable of being sad, so they took considerable notice. "...He's not lying about the prophecy messing up, I can tell you that..." She cleared her throat, shaking her head. When she spoke again, her expression was neutral, if not a little worried, and her voice was hushed as if she didn't want anyone else to hear. "The underworld guardian he's talking about, if it's the same thing from the prophecy? That's something 'living' in the Underworld people call...uh...the Wall of Flesh."

"The what of what?" Spaz asked, around a mouthful of bacon, "That sounds both disgusting and kind of cool."

Bailey pulled a face. "It's gross. Really gross. Well, at least we think. Some people say it's made of damned souls and demon corpses--or, uh, other dead things. Others say its got a hundred mouths on strings that reach all the way to the surface and munch up naughty kids. Keeps them from going out at night, I guess, but I'm never telling that story--I'm not that mean. That just sounds horrible and traumatizing. Anyway, some people say it patrols the Underworld as, like, an overlord? But others say it's just sleeping, waiting for the prophesied hero to show up and challenge it by making some kind of sacrifice. That's the version our Guide told us, and he was a smart guy. I'm gonna believe him."

Spaz looked fascinated, while Ret made a face. "And, why is it waiting, exactly?"

"To test the hero's skill, according to some people. No one really knows why. We think it might be hiding something, some claim it's guarding treasure because of course everything is money. Either way it's apparently really strong. If you're not a part of the prophecy, I don't know why your friend would be making you fight it."

"How do you know we aren't?" Spaz asked, indignantly.

Bailey went very quiet for a couple of seconds, before quickly standing and tossing her three-quarters-empty bowl in the sink.

"I think it's about time for me to show you around town! You definitely need to meet the clothier first--yes you can have more bacon, Spaz, you don't have to just stare at it like a hungry puppy, that face just looks so sad--and Ret I hope you realize you're going to eat more than that, grab an apple or something before I have to shove it in your face--okay, come on, let's go, time's a-wastin'!"

Her smile was ever-so-slightly forced.

-:-:-​

The day was bright and clear, with barely a wind or a cloud. The air was warm, and despite his current mangy appearance, Ret was glad he didn't have his armor on anymore. The sun was already high in the sky, and it seemed that Rifdale's citizens were taking full advantage of the wonderful weather. People were talking outside houses and on whatever sides the narrow streets allowed. There were plenty of citizens sitting around the fountain as the three passed by, with Bailey pointing out houses all the while.

"That's Kyle's place, he's a Guide--the Guide, he calls himself, he's funny like that. Sad you missed him, he's a good guy. He said he was going to be heading out exploring a bit on his own--pity he didn't say goodbye before going. It's been about a week already, though, he should probably be heading back soon. And that's Stella's barbershop--she's a new stylist in town, love working with her and getting work from her. She did these highlights and always gives Tommy the cutest haircuts. Oh! There's the place we're looking for!"

She stopped, pointing at a dark building made of bricks and wood, with a stucco roof and torches attached to an overhang in front of the door. "That's Cyril's," Bailey said, "Swear the man hasn't gotten a day older since I met him. He makes and sells clothes and, hope you don't mind me saying, but, sorry, you kind of need them." She crossed her arms in response to Ret's glare. "Well I'm just being honest here, sheesh. You both look like you wound up tied to a really hyper wyvern's tail and dragged all over the place, you can't exactly deny that. He's really good, makes a lot of nice things. And don't worry, I'll pay, my thanks for making life interesting."

Ret grunted in acknowledgement and followed the overly-perky woman to the door. He'd gotten sick of the rambling a long time ago, but had mostly tuned it out, only listening for key words and people who might be important. Bailey opened the door, which caused a loud bell to ring from the frame. She held it for them, and Ret muttered an obligatory "thank you" before taking in the place.

It was all dark wood, with a brick floor. A silver chandelier was hanging from the roof, and there was what looked to be a living wood table in the center of the room. All about the large space were mannequins, womannequins, and clothesracks. There was noise coming from behind a door behind the counter to the side of the building.

"Cyril?" Bailey walked around the counter and knocked on the door. "Cyril, we have some new faces!"

"Eh?"

There was rustling from the back room, before the door opened and someone walked out. The room was dim, but his red hat and cloak could be easily defined. He was an elderly man with blue eyes shining out from a weathered face with mixed laugh and worry lines. His hair was a long, silvery color, matching the beard that came to partway down his neck, and he wore a dark tunic and blue pants.

"Well hello there!" the old man chirped, striding around the counter with surprising energy for his age and moving to stand in front of the twins, holding out his hand. "Nice to see new people. Name's Cyril; boys, you've got a friend...in..."

He trailed off, stopping short in front of the twins. Those piercing blue eyes moved from jolly to analyzing, and Ret didn't like how that gaze seemed to stare straight into his soul. Those eyes had clearly seen more than the man's appearance suggested. There was something haunted and deeply troubled there. The man gave off the impression that he knew things--more than any man should.

"...oh," he whispered, before glancing over to Bailey with concern.

Bailey seemed not to notice, "They blew in with another young--well a bit older, but not old old--man from a place off west that was getting overtaken by Crimson."

Cyril nodded slowly. "I see..." His gaze never left the twins.

Ret was becoming uncomfortable. "What? Why are you looking at us like that?"

"You wanna start something, old man?" Spaz asked with a scowl. Ret quickly put a hand on his shoulder.

Cyril waved a hand, "I apologize. I, ah...thought I saw something in your eyes." Though from the look he was giving them, the subject wasn't done ruminating in his mind. He still acted as if the topic was over, clapping his hands. "So, I would assume you're here to get something to wear? I mean, that's what I do, and you look--"

"Yes," Ret snapped before he could insult their clothes.

Cyril nodded, "Makes sense, makes sense. Hold a moment." The old man ducked into the racks of clothes in his store, muttering to himself as he thumbed through shirts. "What do you think of this, ah...what should I call you?"

"He's Ret and that's Spaz," Bailey pointed out.

"I know how to say my name," Spaz grumbled, causing Bailey to snort.

Cyril nodded sagely, as if he'd been expecting this answer. "Ret, then. What do you think of this?"

The man walked back over to the group, holding some items in his arms. Ret frowned, taking the clothing and examine it. The outfit consisted of a dark gray, nearly black shirt edged with crimson at the V-shaped hem. It was fastened with metal buttons painted black far up the neck, and with it was a jacket with red at the edges of the opening, that came almost to his knees in the back. The pants were also black, with a multitude of pockets, accented with silver. Ret raised an eyebrow as the man ran off to find some other items. The fabric was of high quality, and the style was like the man knew him...which was rather suspicious and unnerving.

"And I have nice boots and some belts you can hold ammunition with," Cyril called, "Now for the other!"

Spaz had been staring at the clothes that had been given to Ret with a hint of jealousy, but now looked up. This time, Cyril brought back a slightly longer tunic, in a dark green, with gold at the collar and a green belt to keep the looser part of the tunic in check. The pants were brown and cut for movement, and there was no jacket or cape present. "No capes," Cyril stated, "They make it harder to move. I can get you straps or scabbards to keep weaponry."

Spaz looked like a child who'd just gotten the best birthday present of his life as he examined the clothes against his body. Cyril gave a knowing smirk, and Ret glared at him. How did he know them down to, apparently, their fighting styles? Ret certainly had questions.

Bailey, however, gave an excited squeal, and insisted she buy everything for them. Upon trying on the clothes, they somehow fit very well, and Cyril allowed them to walk out with the outfits, thick boots for both of them, and whatever accessories he'd mentioned they might need. All the while, the man watched them closely, in that disquieting way that suggested he knew a great deal of things he wasn't supposed to. There was a certain eerie aura about him, that haunting feeling taken up to eleven.

But he was kind enough to them, and made energetic chit-chat with Bailey the entire time. When the three left, he tipped his hat to them politely.

"Be seeing you, partners."

Ret glanced back with a frown. "Not if we see you first..." he murmured to himself.

It was late afternoon by now. The crowd of people ebbed and flowed in intensity, and Bailey seemed to love every second of it. Ret, meanwhile, was made uncomfortable by all of these people, though tried to carry himself with pride.

"Bailey! Bailey, dear!"

"Mommy, mommy, mommy!"

The voices of Bailey's family cut through the general murmur of Rifdale, and Mercer, carrying Tommy to keep the child from getting lost, burst from the crowd with a huge grin. Bailey smiled back and ran to hug them both, leaving the twins awkwardly to watch.

The little family wound up talking for an excruciatingly long time. Ret had to stop a bored and antsy Spaz from sneaking off every few minutes, until Mercer finally seemed to notice they were there. "Oh, and you two!" Mercer beamed, "I hope you're enjoying our little town."

"The clothes guy is creepy," Spaz stated.

Mercer's smile dropped a bit, "Oh, ah, I hear he has a bit of a troubled origin. Something about being cursed, he can unnerve some people. But it's all better now! Oh, and speaking of meeting the town..." Mercer seemed rather excited about the next part, "I spoke to Elric, the mayor. He wished to meet you and your friend for dinner tonight--I can see you have nice enough clothing for it, he won't mind."

Ret ground his teeth, but Spaz just tilted his head. "What kinda food?"

"He's a bit eccentric, but I know he'd be happy to meet you, and he cooks...well, he's a wizard by trade. He knows how to cook even if it can be a bit off the beaten path." Mercer gave a nervous chuckle, "Anyway, do you know how we could get in contact with Keeper?"

"Keeper does whatever Keeper wants to do," Ret grumbled.

Mercer's face fell, "Oh...Well we can hope he returns before nightfall. Things get nasty in the caverns about then, I don't even know if he took armor with him..."

"He'll handle himself."

"Yes, yes, of course! Anyhow, we've told people to inform him to meet at Elric's house--the big one to the far east--in roughly two hours. For now, Bailey, you could always introduce them to some others? I'll take care of this little fuzzball." He ruffled Tommy's hair, which Tommy didn't seem to appreciate.

Bailey nodded. "Of course! Would you two like that?" She glanced back at them.

Ret looked to Spaz, desperately hoping he'd claim to be tired. But to his dismay, Spaz's response was "sure thing!"

Sometimes, his brother seriously frustrated and confused him.

-:-:-
Elric's house was very...interesting, to say the least. The two were able to tell what house belonged to the wizard before Bailey even had to point it out. The thing was a haphazard mess that looked as if someone had just thrown blocks together, all clashing in style and painted in bright colors.

Mercer, Tommy, and Keeper had already beaten the trio there. Mercer was wearing clothing that differed little if at all from his traveling merchant garb, while Tommy's hair was combed, and he was clad in a little blue polo and khakis. However, everyone's gaze was drawn to Keeper, and Ret had to keep himself from laughing at the absolutely agonized expression on his face--a look that made the whole day of being shown off to Rifdale worth it.

Keeper had traded his oversized gray shirt and jeans for a suit. A dark purple vest came to the middle of his thighs, and was buttoned at the bottom. He was also wearing gray dress pants, a white button-down, and a deep purple bow-tie. His hair was actually combed, and his face was even redder than usual. He looked like he wanted to run away and jump straight back into the mineshafts--and in general, a bit like a sack of sweet potatoes stuffed in a dress.

Bailey gasped and clasped her hands together, beaming. "Oh my gosh! Did Cyril and Stella set that up for you?"

Keeper gave an incredibly stiff nod, his expression indicating that he could be sick at any moment.

Ret couldn't stop a snort from escaping. "Evening."

"Not a word. Not a word from you." Keeper gave a snarl that was actually rather frightening despite his current appearance.

"But you look dashing," Bailey said.

"I am not supposed to look dashing, or charming, or pretty, or whatever other pathetic words you lot use to describe physicalities that agree with your set of arbitrary standards! I swear the gods just keep having more of a laugh at me and this humiliating situation they've put me in..."

"You must be a lot of fun at parties." Bailey rolled her eyes, striding past the grouchy caretaker to knock at the door--a dark wood that stood out alarmingly against the bright blue walls surrounding it.

Several moments passed, with no response. Bailey frowned, tilting her head and knocking again, a bit louder this time. Ret tore his gaze from Keeper's pained expression to look around, visually gauging the time--the sky was beginning to darken as the sun hid once more. He really hoped there wouldn't be another Blood Moon, but it would be a short time before they knew for sure.

"Elric?" Bailey jiggled the doorknob, only to find it turned. "I wonder if he went somewhere...He knew we were coming, didn't he?" She turned to Mercer, who nodded and shrugged. Bailey hummed to herself, looking to the door and hesitantly pushing it open, peeking around. "Eir--oh, there you are...what...?"

She turned back to them with a confused look, before pushing the door open. Ret looked behind her to see a room that was even more chaotic than the outside of the house, full of clashing furniture that were crafted out of everything from cactuses to alien metals, the only constants being the books on a variety of bookshelves lining the walls. Lighting fixtures of various styles could be seen, but all were turned off, drawing the eye to one light coming from a living wood table in the center of the room. There, a man wearing purple wizard's robes and an impressive beard sat, staring into a crystal ball that gave off a light glow. His expression was slashed with a vaguely irritated frown.

"No, no," he muttered to himself, shaking his head, "You can't be serious. Not after the Blood Moons...What do you mean? Augh, if you're going to talk to me, do it clearly. None of this riddling nonsense!"

Spaz wasn't one to be ignored. He took a step forward. "Hey! Uh, you Elric?"

The wizard jumped, letting out a yelp before turning to look at them, the glow in the crystal ball dimming. "Goodness!" He set a hand over his heart, hazel eyes wide, "You spooked me! Is it that l...Oh dear. Oh dear, dear, dear--how close is it to sunset? Bailey?"

Bailey frowned, confused. "A few minutes...? I apologize for walking in on you. Is something wrong?"

"Is something wrong? HA! Everything's wrong, everything's been wrong for over twenty years, you should know that."

Bailey winced, "Well yeah, but I meant tonight..."

"Ooooooh, toads' whiskers," Elric muttered, standing and beginning to pace around the table, before aggressively pointing at the twins. "You two! The newcomers, right? The twins and the--well, whatever we're calling you? I certainly hope you have good equipment with you."

"Why?" Ret asked, frustrated with the man's lack of directness, "What were you looking at?"

Elric threw his fists to his sides, giving a comically angry expression, though his words were very, very serious.

"...We may need to cancel our dinner plans, I'm afraid. Nobody expects breaking news from the cosmos. Well." His eyes narrowed. "...I've been told...an evil presence is watching us again tonight...but it's...stronger than before...The celestials are...interfering."

"What's that supposed to mean?" Spaz asked, glancing around, "...What's with the faces?"

Bailey had gone rigid, drawing Tommy instinctively towards her as if to shield him. Mercer's face suddenly drained of color. Keeper's misdirected purplish eyes had gone wide.

"...Now of all times. Of course it would..." Keeper muttered to himself, then shook his head, turning back to gauge time left before sunset.

"What is it?" asked Ret, partially not wanting to know.

The last of the sun's rays left the streets. A great rumbling could be heard in the distance--like thunder, before Ret realized it was a being making that noise.

Keeper yelled something in an unknown language, before bolting off down the street, calling over his shoulder.

"It's the Seer of the Overworld!"

"The what?" Spaz looked to Bailey, whose expression had fallen to a grim determination.

"...It's what we were talking about earlier. The Eye of Cthulhu is coming."

Elric nodded gravely.

"Yes, but not just any variant. The celestial allies...have made it stronger than ever."

Okay for some reason this chapter was really awkward to write, but at least it's done now.
Question of the chapter for you guys: what's your opinion on the characters in general so far? Do you have a favorite, and if so, why them?
And is there anything you're curious about, any unanswered questions?

Former eyeballs versus current eyeball. Place yo bets.
I will always love Mercer and Bailey. They're just so peppy! And Spaz is slowly growing on me, I like that he tries to trust people he doesn't know. Keeper is amazing as well, the antisocial jerk he is. Ret... he is VERY tough to like, and that is great. He is a hero of the story, but it still seems like he has some evil tendencies.
 

PersonaTea

Terrarian
As always, your writing is superb! I really like how you put the small in-game details. As for the fave character, I like the Keeper for some reason lol.
 

PaperLaur

Spazmatism
Thanks for the comments, guys! It really is a big help. Seriously. They're encouragement for me to keep going on a project I keep worrying is bigger than it should've been, and will take a while anyway...

The twins are kinda meant to be anti-heroes, so I'm glad that's coming out well.

500 THREAD VIEWS HOLY CRAP GUYS THANK YOU FOR THE SUPPORT.

Also some character art's being worked on and it's gonna be awesome, I'll let you know!
In addition I might make a thingy where the characters can answer questions, just for funsies

BOSS FIGHT TIEM!
I had to scrap and rewrite this whole thing once, explains why this one took so long. It was weird to write, another difficult one.

Er, not sure if I should put a warning on this chapter because "gory Terraria and a little bit extra beyond normal" but it's not descriptive. In fact it's kinda written weird anyway because I apparently forgot how to fights.

Followers:
@neoselket , @PersonaTea

Chapter Ten: Eye to Eye

Everyone in the little group fell dead silent. Around them, it felt as if the entire town were holding its breath, as the moon--brighter and larger than it should have been--rose menacingly on the horizon to watch their reactions.

Another monstrous roar quickly jolted everyone back into action, however. Spaz eagerly drew his silver sword, scanning ahead between the buildings to try and catch the first glimpse of their foe, as Ret appraised his bow with a disapproving eye.

Bailey's face was a grim mask of determination as she turned to Mercer. "Take Tommy and get to the inn."

He spluttered, "What?! What about you?"

"I know you don't like fighting, someone needs to make sure he's safe, and I want to help--I've got some grenades with me. Don't worry, I'll bail if things get dicey, and Emily's gonna be around. Just stay in the basement, okay?"

Mercer looked as if he were going to protest, but the blue fire in Bailey's eyes silenced him. He sighed and bent to pick up Tommy, the boy's arms quickly fastening around his neck as he stared around in confusion.

"Is the big eyeball coming?"

"Yes, the big eyeball's coming. Er, best of luck, I will be cheering for you!"

"What are we dealing with?" snapped Ret, as Mercer ran off towards the inn.

Elric ran a hand through his beard, muttering to himself. "Ohhhh lard buckets and toad eyeballs, ah...The Eye of Cthulhu is a somewhat regular visitor to our small town, you could say. Spooked us all the first time something awful, you should have heard how loud Stella screamed, I tell you it could shatter--"

"Get to the point, old man!" Apparently, Spaz was eager enough to be a hypocrite.

"Ahem, yes! Well, it's a large eye monster that summons smaller eye monsters to fight for it, and, erm, it may phase through buildings...or the ground...if it likes. Not terribly strong, but always causes a ruckus, always been a bother, too. But with the celestials aiding it..." Elric winced, "We have no idea what it could do."

"Let's catch it before it makes it to town," Bailey stated.

"We're ill-equipped." Ret held up his bow, "This may not be the best--"

"BAH!" Elric shoved his way between the twins, looking between them with owlish eyes. "You two need to be a part of this battle more than you realize! You're after the Wall of Flesh, aren't you?"

"How do you--"

"This is the first step! It drops some valuable treasure to get you better equipment so you can be prepared for whatever comes next. It comes by so often we hardly need it anymore!"

The twins glanced at each other, silently considering. Spaz was plenty fine with taking on the challenge--a perfect chance to prove his skill, and a stronger monster sounded like fun. But he wouldn't go anywhere if Ret didn't approve, and didn't want to risk Ret's life if he wasn't ready. Yet the loot sounded worthwhile...

Ret nodded, and Spaz grinned. Elric nodded rapidly in approval, like a scarecrow whose head was only pathetically connected to the rest of the body and liable to fall at any moment. "Excellent! Spaz, was it? The one with the rat's nest on his head. I have a magic weapon you could use!~"

Ret looked mildly offended, but Spaz barely noticed, eye widening as Elric ducked back into the house. There were the sounds of crashing and things hitting the floor from within, before Elric ran back out, waving a red and blue book above his head. He unceremoniously hurled the book at Spaz, who caught it on instinct, looking it over.

The spine read 'Water Bolt: ranged magic spell tome' in gold script.

Spaz frowned, tilting his head as he looked from the book to his free hand. He squinted his eye in concentration as he tried to channel the magical energy he'd gained from the fallen stars they'd collected.

A blue bolt shot out from his hand, startling him so badly he jumped. He watched as it bounced off the ground and ricocheted between Elric's house and a nearby building several times before finally dissipating. Then he grinned.

"This is the best thing. Let's go, time's wastin'!"

Spaz ran forward with the book clutched in his hand, Ret sighing and muttering to himself before following behind, Bailey lagging after the two. He ducked through the alleyways of Rifdale on a reverse path to the one he'd taken before, barely noticing the people cowering in houses through windows, or Alalia running along a parallel path with a grimace. It wasn't long before they reached the bridge over Rifdale's protective trench, where Keeper was standing, staring straight ahead at the horizon.

"Look what I got," Spaz yelled, firing another bolt above Keeper's head.

Keeper turned to them, looking unimpressed, but nodding. "And you," he said, pointing to Ret, before suddenly pulling the Space Gun out of his inventory and tossing it at Ret.

Ret furrowed his brow in suspicion. "Are you not going to fight?"

"I have better alternatives."

Keeper reached into his inventory and pulled out a glowing orange staff. With a wave, a small, orangeish-brown creature with little wings appeared from nowhere, staring around as if it had no idea what had just happened. Keeper gave a genuine smile, though this quickly dropped as he traded the staff for what looked to be a gun.

Ret stared. "That staff--that's made of Hellstone, is it not? Are you saying that you went all the way to Hell and returned?!"

"I'm more resillient than I currently look," said Keeper, flashing an eerie grin, "Perhaps you'll be lucky enough to find that out for yourselves one day."

Another roar from the horizon. The four looked up into the distance, and at last, it came upon them--an eye the diameter of four men, etched with veins and with a comet-like trail of four faint colors following it. The iris also showed these four colors in a swirling mess--gold, purple, light blue, and dark blue.

"That isn't right," Bailey murmured, "It's supposed to be blue, it's always been..."

"It's allied with the celestial beings," Keeper grunted, "Of course it would be stupid enough to--"

He was cut off as the Eye gave another rumbling growl and charged at them, forcing them to scatter. Spaz rolled several times before leaping to his feet and instinctively firing several magical bolts from his new book. The eye seemed unfazed, and turned to him, iris a solid dark blue. Several needle-like cone and rod projectiles shot from the iris, causing Spaz to cry out and attempt to leap out of the way. One of them grazed the fabric on his shoulder, and he became woefully aware of his lack of armor.

He snarled. I just have to not get hit, then.

The iris turned solid light blue, and a horde of smaller eyes came into existence. Spaz switched to his broadsword as Ret began to back up and fire--the two together took out the majority before they could converge, and Keeper's imp took care of the last few with fireballs.

Spaz's gaze was drawn to Bailey as she shouted a battle cry, hurling what was apparently a grenade straight at the eye. It exploded on contact, seemingly surprising the monster for a brief moment. He also caught sight of Alalia beginning a nature spell from just within the line of buildings, leaves flying through the air around her and granting the party strength.

The iris turned golden, and it charged with a roar, straight at Bailey. Ret quickly pulled her away, causing Keeper to get hit instead, and thrown backwards to the ground. He grunted, then leapt to his feet, firing his laser rifle in a wide vertical spread, eyes crossed terribly in focus on the shots and his target as he slowly advanced back to the front line.

The violet attack turned out to be a stream of purple and blue celestial flames that attempted to spread over them all. Thankfully, it didn't catch the bridge on fire, but it forced everyone back towards the town proper to avoid getting cremated.

"Don't let it get close to the town!" Bailey shouted, tossing another grenade.

"...Maybe we should," said Spaz between blows--the eye was summoning more minions to aid it.

"What?!"

"May not slow it down, but with those buildings--"

Ret's eye widened, "...I can take it from above, that's brilliant!"

Ret immediately stopped firing and ducked back towards the nearest building. Bailey tried to protest, but was soon distracted by another burst of projectiles

"Power, range, summoning, magic," Keeper yelled over the chaos, "The celestials are granting it those powers!...You!" He spoke in an irritated shout, as if the thing could hear him, "Don't tell me you're that stupid--"

It turned and seemed to glare at him, before turning violet and firing a stream of magical flames which promptly caught Keeper's suit on fire. He yelled what the others could only assume were curses as he ducked back, trying to put himself out while his imp angrily retaliated in his stead.

"You don't have to be so touchy, we all know you're a complete moron and that INCLUDES you!"

Sound came from above and behind them, and Spaz could see fire from Ret's Space Gun raining down on the eye. It turned to presumably look at the one shooting it, and Spaz took the distraction as an opportunity to dart in, getting off several strikes with his sword before it noticed him and sent a good twenty smaller eyes after him. Bailey yelled a warning and Spaz ducked out of the way as a grenade sailed into the midst of the eyeball swarm, taking the whole offending party out in one explosion.

The eye seemed to become enraged, turning golden and making several quick dashes. Spaz rolled out of the way while Bailey jumped back. Keeper--no longer on fire--was struck directly, getting thrown back into the building Ret was standing on. He pushed himself up, wiping some blood off his lip and restarting his relentless string of laser fire as if he weren't injured at all, still slowly moving forward with a frightening intensity in his eyes, as if he were enjoying this.

Spaz couldn't blame him. As he threw bolt after bolt, he couldn't help being exhilarated by the feeling of a proper battle against a challenging foe. It was worth risking his life to not have to think about anything else for a while--just function on instinct and prove his own power.

"I'm out!" Bailey called, throwing one final grenade at the eye.

It hit directly, and the eye growled, freezing in midair and beginning to spin rapidly on an axis. Everyone paused and watched aside from Keeper.

"Move, MOVE!"

When the eye stopped spinning, it could no longer be properly called an eye.

It had a hugely impressive set of needle-sharp teeth where its iris and pupil had been, its veins now glowing with the four celestial colors as it opened its gaping maw and roared. The veins turned solid gold.

Spaz would've charged at it if Bailey hadn't grabbed him and started dragging him back. With a nonstop growling, it charged after them, over and over, forcing all the combatants to run as fast as possible away from it to avoid being hit. It phased through houses and ground in chase, and screams could be heard from unlucky town inhabitants who had just had their privacy invaded. Spaz didn't care. He only cared about running, Bailey half-dragging him, feet pounding against the ground and sweat slicking his hair to his forehead, catching blurred glances at Ret jumping between buildings and trying to keep up his fire. His mind was trying to form a new plan of attack in case it kept this up.

They were in the city center when it finally stopped, floating above them to stare directly down. It shot a stream of cones at all of them. One embedded itself in Spaz's shoulder--Spaz simply switched his sword to the other hand and decided he'd ignore that for now. Bailey managed to get away, and Alalia had taken up hiding in a building.

He heard Keeper scream as he was hit a couple of times. The man literally growled like a feral animal, and ran forward with the laser rifle, screaming nonsense at the eye.

He was quickly surrounded by smaller eyes, and these drove him back until his back was pressed against the stylist's shop. Before the eye could do more, however, a rapid-fire flurry of leaves shot into the eye's mouth, and it backed up slightly.

"Go to the nurse! If you are as important as you say you are, you will make our lives even more difficult if you are destroyed now, and I am not watching him die!"

Keeper and Alalia locked themselves in a staring contest for a brief moment, before Keeper turned and ran off down the street, leaving a trail of blood behind him.

Spaz spent a bit too much time watching this, and the eyes converged on him. He yelled and swung his sword rapidly, though made a fatal mistake in getting distracted by the desire to end all of the eye's minions.

He didn't notice the eye itself charging at him until its teeth clamped down on the arm below his already-injured shoulder.

Pain shot through him, and he screamed, instinctively tossing his sword directly into the space above the eye's teeth. The eye let go and drew back in pain. As soon as it let go, Spaz collapsed, dazed and twitching in shock.

He was aware of it hovering over him, maw open wide, ready to go for another bite while he couldn't retaliate. It felt like he couldn't even get his working arm to move, let alone the one the eye had just mutilated. Spaz stared up at it and gave it a weakened smile to match its own.

"C...come at me...!"

There was a yell from above. Spaz tried to find the source, but was too confused to recognize who was yelling until they came into view.

A figure jumped from the building above straight on top of the eye itself. A blur of red and black and gold and blue, it pressed its gun against the top of the eye and kept firing and firing and firing. When it presumably ran out of energy to keep shooting, it tossed the gun aside and pulled out a copper axe, swinging it into the eye with an absolutely furious cry of challenge.

"FOR THAT, YOU'RE GOING STRAIGHT TO HELL!"

Ret continued to beat on the surprised eyeball before it could dash and throw him off. He hit the ground on his back, rolled over, and picked up Spaz's dropped sword in both hands.

Screaming in rage, he ran at it and took a swing.

It was unclear if it was the sheer fury of the strike, or if the eye had already been extremely weakened.

No one particularly cared why.

The eye exploded into pieces with a final, fading roar, its remains scattering all over the town square, along with a pile of purple and red stones.

Spaz was unable to process what had just happened for a few seconds, but when he did, he leaned his head back and laughed.

"Ha!...Sh-showed him..."

Ret dropped the sword, breathing heavily for several seconds. Alalia peeked out of the building she'd ducked into, and Bailey poked her head from around a corner, before cautiously stepping out and gesturing for someone to follow her. A blonde woman in white stepped out as well, looking around disapprovingly at the carnage. Keeper followed just behind, looking tired, but no longer bleeding.

Ret ran and knelt next to Spaz, the look on his face absolutely terrified, and a strange look in his eye--something almost distant. He wasn't staring at Spaz's arm, but at his eye patch, not that the younger brother noticed much at the moment.

"The nurse is going to make sure you're all right."

"...That was awesome."

"Don't scare me like that!" Ret shook his head, "I know she can sew limbs back on, but I'd rather not see any of your body parts rendered dysfunctional."

"I'm fine," Spaz said, with a slightly wider smile, "...Killed it, didn't we?"

Ret glanced over his shoulder at what was left of the eye, "...Suppose so."

"Didn't think you could get that angry. Shows how much I remember. ...Thanks bro."

And then Spaz passed out.

He'll be fine, somebody can probably pay the nurse. Said Nurse, however, is going to be so done with everyone involved in this considering the amount of work she's going to have to do.
 

PaperLaur

Spazmatism
Followers: @neoselket , @PersonaTea

Chapter Eleven: Mannerisms

...

"Up, down, up, d--can you even say there's an up and a down right now, sheesh, this is confusing--hey Randy, how long've we got?"

"Two and a half minutes, I packed extra in case."

"Awesome! We're almost there, anyway. You're gonna love it, sis."

Randall shook his head slightly in amusement, before using the potion's energy racing through his system to flip gravity once again and switch the direction of his fall. His younger brother and Bailey were doing the same up a few yards ahead of him, holding hands to avoid any kind of accident. The morning sunlight this high in the air was warm and intense, and there wasn't a cloud around to block their passage far above the treetops.

Randall found it amusing just how quickly his brother had taken to their new arrival, and how quickly Bailey had taken to them both. To be honest, Randall was surprised at himself--he'd never thought he'd be the kind of guy who'd be good with kids, he'd leave that to Sherwin, who was more than proving himself. Yet oddly enough, they'd easily fallen into the roles of a strict mother figure and a fun dad, respectively. Bailey seemed to like them both, and everyone else in the base. She had few enemies to her constant energy and optimism, even if Randy would sometimes find her sitting on the roof staring off towards the Crimson with a strange look in her eyes.

The brothers had been busy with "hero things", however--the thing living in the Crimson that had been dubbed the "Brain of Cthulhu" needed taking care of, a few times in fact. They'd progressed in armor and were considering heading towards the dungeon. Alalia had kept cautioning them about growing levels of Crimson--always referring to them specifically--but the two had mostly been ignoring her.

Randall was broken from his thoughts and the calm rhythm of flipping gravity when Bailey called out, "Look! Is that a cloud?"

Sherwin began rapidly flipping gravity in the air to remain hovering, then grinned, letting his momentum take him forward upside-down once again. "That's it! We're almost there! Oh, you're gonna love it."

Indeed, directly ahead of them loomed a large shape made up of what seemed to be cloud. As they drew closer, however, it became apparent that it was actually a small structure, with a cloudy base that led up into dirt. On the dirt rested a few trees, as well as a small, gold and blue-plated hut.

"Nyooooooooom!" Sherwin shouted, rather unnecessarily in Randall's opinion, as he performed one final gravity flip and set himself and Bailey down on the edge of the dirt, Randall following seconds later. Sherwin beamed, putting his hands on his hips and looking around. "Welcome to one of Terra's many famed--probably famed--floating islands! We've discovered a few of these beauties, but this one's closest to base--the first one we ever saw. Come on, check out the view!"

Bailey matched the young man's energetic grin and quickly rushed to the edge of the island, Randall hovering behind her and ready to grab her if she lost her balance. Her sparkling blue eyes widened as she peered over the edge into the abyss.

"Oh...my...gosh."

Indeed, Randall chanced a look over, even if he'd seen it before, and it'd take one's breath away. Terra was far, far below, spread out like a hyper-realistic map. Trees stuck up everywhere, visible as little puffs of leaves hanging above the grass. The desert and its cacti were also visible from here, and a great crack split the land--a giant chasm the brothers had explored. Off in one direction, the eerie bloodied grass of the Crimson could be seen, a strange contrast as it blended into the forest on one side and the frozen tundra on the other. Distantly, one could make out the sunlight glinting off the jungle's pools.

The sound of something exploding into bits startled the both of them, and Randall and Bailey turned to see Sherwin, Blood Butcherer sword drawn, now absolutely surrounded by a cloud of feathers. Randall raised a brow.

"Harpies," grumbled Sherwin, "Freaking harpies. Let's go inside before more of the little jerks show up. THAT'S RIGHT, I'M TALKING TO Y--"

A feather zooming towards him at high speed cut off his unfinished insult, and he yelped, quickly gesturing for Randall and a giggling Bailey to come into the little hut.

Randall shut the door behind him, and the three observed the room under the light filtering in from the house's two glass windows. The place was rather modest in furniture, but beautiful in appearance. Gold discs made up the pattern of the walls, and there was a table and chairs of a deep blue to one side. Several banners hung in the room, emblems of the sun and Terra itself on them. The room's centerpiece was a gold and blue-plated chest, which Sherwin now stood near.

"This looks so awesome!" Bailey chirped, running from one side of the room to the other, her mind obviously racing, "Look, those banners would look great in our house--can we make that table, because I really like the blue. The only thing this room's missing is a disco ball or something, just imagine it on those tiles! What's in the chest?"

"We took the contents of the chest some time ago," Randall explained, a knowing smirk crossing his face, "But...I can show you something we made with the help of what was inside."

Randall reached into his inventory, and triumphantly pulled out a balloon floating on a string, which bounced idly against the ceiling as he held it. It was a deep blue color, with a swirling white mass in the center, like a barely-contained windstorm. Bailey stared at it with wide eyes, before Randall handed it to her. "We found a Shiny Red Balloon in that chest. Combined it with a Cloud in a Bottle we found, and, well, we got this. It's proved quite useful, lets you jump higher and gives you an extra lift--please don't do it in here, gravity's reduced and the ceiling's low, you'll hit your head..."

Bailey turned to Sherwin with a pleading look, and he shook his head, "Gotta admit he's right. Once we're back on the ground, okay? I can tell you how you can jump from here with that--"

"Sherwin, we are NOT letting her do that!"

"It's safe! You land fine if you use the--oof, don't give me that look. Okay, we'll show you on the ground, how about that sis?"

Bailey huffed and nodded, her smile coming back as she surveyed the room. Sherwin went to the door, tried to open it, then immediately shut it again at a loud squawk from outside. He groaned, smacking the door a few times.

"Hey! Harpy! Get out of there, I'm not lookin' for your ugly mug. Don't you give me that face!"

He hissed, opening the door just enough to slash at the harpy until it fell into feathers. "Ooookay there are a lot of them out there. We should get going before the potions wear off."

"Aw..." Bailey stared at the ground, "I don't wanna leave so fast..."

"We can come back," Sherwin promised, "Besides, Kyle's gonna get all huffy at us if we aren't back soon. He wants us to head to the Dungeon ASAP..."

"I don't particularly care what Kyle wants," Randall muttered to himself, a dark scowl crossing his face, "At this point he's going to lead us to our deaths. He didn't even want us to go to the Crimson...he's holding us back."

"I know. Later, okay?"

Randall sighed, "Fine, fine. Bailey...?"

Bailey had stopped her constant movement to stare out one of the windows. Sherwin moved to stand next to her, a hand on her shoulder. "Your parents ever tell you about these?"

She nodded, "I wish they could see it."

"Hey, maybe they--uh..." Sherwin trailed off as Randall gave him a significant look--Bailey hadn't told them about where her parents were, other than that they were 'fine somewhere', but he didn't want it getting brought up before Bailey was ready to tell it herself. And Randall got the feeling the prognosis wasn't good.

Bailey didn't seem to mind, though. She remained silent for a moment, before abruptly hugging Sherwin, leaning her forehead against his breastplate. He seemed surprised for a moment, before laughing a bit. "What?"

"I just...uh...thanks for taking me up here. You're the best brothers I never had."

Sherwin was smiling. "Hey, no problem."

"You're not going anywhere, right?"

Randall moved to join the hug, giving a very firm nod.

"Nothing on Terra is going to stop us from being your big brothers. I promise."


-:-:-
Ret was surprised he'd managed to sleep at all the night after the attack. Emily the nurse had managed to heal Spaz's arm, and Ret had insisted on being the one to carry his brother back up to their room at the inn. He wasn't certain if it was the strain of the day or his general lack of sleep recently, but he passed out as soon as he hit the bed.

Spaz had poked him awake in the middle of the night to inform Ret that he'd woken up and was fine. Ret probably gave a bit too much indication of his relief, as Spaz had complained that the ensuing hug had nearly choked him. The two talked for a bit before going back to sleep, and when the morning light found them, it seemed things had gone back to normal--Ret was the first one up, and was finally able to take a shower properly before Spaz managed to roll out of bed onto his face.

The two had walked down to a lively inn lobby--apparently Bailey, Mercer, and other culinarily-skilled citizens had come together to celebrate the grand defeat of the celestialized Eye with a big, fancy breakfast, served on all the lobby's tables pushed together into a mishmash of styles that would rival Elric's house.

It was that morning that the twins realized what had happened with the fish was no coincidence--Keeper probably had the worst table manners of anyone they'd ever seen. Even without their memories, the two could agree that they doubted anyone else could come close.

Keeper seemed to have something against eating with utensils, as he'd stared at the fork and knife by his place for a solid minute like he had no idea what they were before grabbing an omelete and stuffing it in his mouth whole. He also appeared to have a bottomless pit instead of a stomach, as he constantly complained he was "still hungry" and continued his half-embarrassing, half-hilarious display. Bailey was trying not to laugh, Mercer looked disgusted, and Alalia kept giving him dirty looks--though it wasn't clear whether these were directed at his eating habits or the man himself, as the two had been hostile all morning. Tommy tried to emulate him, choking while trying to suck up a large string of sausages the way Keeper did at one point. Keeper then proceeded to leave the room to be sick, which everyone agreed he deserved.

Ret was simply glad that nothing was trying to kill them--Keeper making an idiot of himself was a pleasant bonus. Spaz ate like a ravenous dog and struck up conversation with everyone nearby, while Ret tried to avoid coming anywhere near any of the people about. It seemed the only citizen who wasn't crammed in the inn's lobby was the missing guide Kyle, and perhaps it was for the best--he couldn't imagine how badly a scrawny Guide would get trampled in the mess.

Ret cleaned his place and took his dishes to the kitchen, where Bailey, Mercer, and a Dye Trader were passing off dish duty.

"There you are," Bailey said with a warm smile as he entered. Ret still wasn't sure if he trusted or liked the woman, but something about her intrigued him, and she seemed to have valuable information. He nodded in greeting, slipping his plate in the sink. "I've been meaning to talk to you about last night."

"Really? What of it?"

"The fight, of course."

She dropped her towel to the counter and gestured for the men to continue, before leading Ret to the smaller kitchen table. The noise of the morning's feast was still audible, but muffled through the walls, and Ret didn't feel quite so suffocated, though he still worried about Spaz doing something stupid like challenging the Arms Dealer to a duel. 'Never bring a knife to a gun fight,' and all that.

"I was watching the whole thing after I ran out of ammo," explained Bailey, gesturing vaguely off in the air to her left, "I saw what you did for your brother back there."

"Oh...that. I, ah, hardly thought about it."

"Hey, call me impressed. I'd know I'd do that if either of the dorks in my family got in trouble. I don't know why Alalia went so crazy. You're not a bad person, I can tell."

Ret shrugged, glancing away, "Perhaps, perhaps not. We cannot know."

Bailey seemed to be searching for something in his eye, with a gaze that made him vaguely uncomfortable. "You and your brother really do make me think of my older brothers, you know...Maybe I just miss 'em too much still. They were close like you."

"Really, now. What happened?"

"...Just...disappeared one day. Twenty years ago, now."

Ret was thoroughly confused. "I...am sorry? Why do you tell me this?"

Bailey shrugged, "I guess if I come on too strong? Maybe? People say I do that. Whoopsie. Just, uh, take care of each other, okay?"

"That was the plan."

A long, awkward silence. Bailey settled her face in her hands, watching him unnervingly closely.

"Uh...so!" Her smile was clearly forced, "Yeah, basically...good job last night. The Eye's never done any of those things before...other than ramming people."

"What is it like normally?"

"It's usually kind of a pushover. Just startles us sometimes. Rammed everything it could and grew a huge set of chompers if we wailed on it enough. We probably could've killed the normal model three times in the time it took you to kill the one...it's got me worried. Those celestial...things. I've gotta ask Elric...At least it was only the one."

Ret was intrigued. "Only the one?"

Bailey nodded, grimacing. "Yeah, we've had some problems with eyeballs. It's getting to be an eyesore." She paused as if waiting for him to react, awkwardly continuing when he didn't. "About a month or so ago, we got attacked by two of it. Well, maybe not the same eye--lric said no. Only difference was instead of blue these things were red and green. Attached by a big...flesh...string...thing. Scared us all out of our pants. Not out of our pants, but you know. Raining down lasers on us and a fire that couldn't be put out...We were actually afraid for our lives."

Ret got the feeling that someone was watching him. He glanced towards the door to see a shock of dirty, brownish hair abruptly disappear around the corner. His eye narrowed, but he slowly turned back to Bailey.

"Did you defeat it?"

"Not all the way, nah. Found out they weren't eyes at all, was the weirdest thing. They were actually big giant metal things."

Ret found himself very interested in the idea of these red and green eyes, though he couldn't place why. He tilted his head to the side, tapping the table idly with a finger. "Metal...? Mechanical?"

"Preeeetty much. The red guy had a laser cannon on the front, and the green one--drumroll please--giant set of chompers. What is it with eyeballs and stupid amounts of teeth? Anyway, the green one nearly burned down the city with cursed fire, and the red one blasted holes in a few of us. Nowhere the Nurse couldn't fix, but...it was a terrible night. Thankfully morning came and scared them off, or else we might not've been here when you got here. I can only hope someone else took care of them."

"What were these made of, do you know?" Ret was leaning forward now, showing more interest than intended.

"Whoah, how am I supposed to? Elric said they were constructed by something else. Said it might've even been done by an Elder God or worse."

"Elder God?"

"Oh, whoops, you would've forgotten. It's--"

"MOMMY!"

Everyone in the kitchen jumped at once, and Bailey shot to her feet. In a blink, she was at the door, where Tommy ran in at top speed, clinging to her leg and sobbing. Ret stood himself, turning to see what had happened. The boy's face--or what he could see of it--was pale and blotchy, and tears were streaming down his cheeks. He was trembling all over, light brown hair slicked to his forehead with sweat. It looked as if he'd woken from a nightmare.

Mercer dropped a plate he'd been rinsing in the sink and ran over as well, eyes wide. "Tommy, Tommy sh-sh-shhh--what's wrong, what happened?"

Tommy seemed to be trying to say something, but all that could come out were incoherent splutters. Footsteps could be heard entering the kitchen, and Tommy immadiately turned around and screamed at the top of his little lungs.

Ret looked at whatever had so terrified the boy to see Keeper standing in the doorway, a slight frown on his face. Bailey quickly picked up Tommy, who buried his head in her chest, his sobs becoming even more violent.

"What...what happened, what--" Mercer stammered, shaking his head, before pointing at Keeper, "Did you hurt him?"

"What? Not at all."

"M-Mommy he said--he said--he's really bad he's--"

Keeper scoffed, "Do I have to go over it again, it isn't bad necessarily. You just see it as awful."

Tommy seemed to ignore him, holding on so tight that his tiny fingers went white. "M-Mommy he told me really bad things he's from a bad place full of bad things he's I'm scared--"

"Again, not a bad place, why is everyone thinking that? What have they been telling all of you?"

"Shut up!" Bailey snapped at Keeper, fire in her eyes, before turning back to her boy. "Are you okay...?"

"H-he..." Tommy's sniffles subsided for a moment, and he screeched the next sentence, "MOMMY, HE'S GONNA EAT ME!"

Every eye in the room was on Keeper, now--even those of the rather out-of-place Dye Trader somehow still drying dishes off to the side. The only sound was Tommy's renewed cries of fright.

"...When did I once say I was going to eat you," Keeper finally said, a hint of irritation in his voice.

The spell was broken. Bailey gave her son to Mercer before anyone else could respond.

And then, the woman walked straight up to Keeper and slapped him across the face.

Keeper shouted in pain and raised a hand to his cheek, bending over slightly and screwing his eyes shut. "That--that was not--"

"What did you tell him?!"

"Just a bit about myself."

"Ha, yeah, right--you traumatized my son is what you did!"

"Not traumatized. Just a little horrified."

"I--you--!"

Bailey seemed to be struggling to stop herself from using words that wouldn't be appropriate around Tommy. Then, before anyone could move, she darted to the drying rack and picked up a frying pan she'd used to cook eggs and bacon earlier. She swung it at Keeper's head with the force only an enraged mother could muster.

Keeper didn't have time to get out of the way, and the pan connected with a loud bong that made everyone who wasn't Bailey wince in sympathetic pain. He staggered backwards and crumpled to his knees, clutching at his head, then his chest.

"By the Elders, woman, do you want to kill me?!" he shouted, looking up to her with a snarl, "If you had any idea who--"

"You. You shut your mouth and don't you dare open it again in this inn. I'm giving you ten seconds to leave and don't even think about coming anywhere near my son again, do you hear me?"

"I--"

Bailey raised the pan, "One...Two...Nine...!"

Keeper backed up a couple of steps, before turning away as if to leave. But he looked to Ret once before going.

"If you get on that topic of conversation again," he murmured so only the other could hear, "I will be forced to make another distraction..."

"TEN!"

Bailey ran at Keeper with the frying pan, and Keeper quickly made his exit, stumbling over his own legs in an attempt to get away from the woman and her cooking implement. Bailey stopped just outside the kitchen until she heard the door slam, then sighed, walked back, dropped her pan in the sink, and moved to console her scared child.

Ret correctly assumed this would be a good time to leave, and ducked out of the kitchen. Most of the earlier crowd had left, but those who hadn't were all silent and glancing between the door Keeper had left through and the kitchen.

Ret easily found Spaz talking to a Demolitionist, and rushed over, grabbing Spaz by the back of the shirt and pulling him to his feet.

"We'll have to blow something up later!" Spaz yelled, before Ret managed to drag him out the door. As soon as Spaz could catch his breath, he turned and stared at Ret. "What? What's with your face?"

"Keeper has a lot of explaining to do, that's what."

"What?"

"Keeper just traumatized a small child."

"Oh, well that's no surprise--wait, what? He's freaky, but not that freaky...?"

Ret explained what had happened as he and Spaz walked down the sidewalk, all the while keeping their eyes out for their bizarre guide. Spaz seemed just as intrigued by the story of the two eyeballs as Ret was, and shook his head at the mention of Keeper's final warning.

"Why doesn't he want us to know, huh?" Spaz asked, "What if we've gotta fight those guys before we take down the underworld thing?"

"Because your next challenge," came Keeper's voice from around the nearest building, "lies in the Corruption. The Great Devourer awaits you..."

Okay, a bit less actiony of a chapter but I hope it was enjoyable regardless. Have to get some worldbuilding things out of the way, after all, as well as some details that'll become important later.

So what do you think Keeper actually said or did to spook the kid so bad? And what do you think happened to Bailey's older brothers? After all, Randall did promise...You shouldn't make promises you can't keep, you know...
 

PaperLaur

Spazmatism
600 thread views, and 200 views on FF!

I hope to be able to get some references up soon, and more character bios up later today!

Followers: @neoselket , @PersonaTea

Chapter Twelve: Exploration

Spaz had wanted today to be a good day, really he had. And it had been going pretty well in comparison to the previous day, though not much coul be worse than nearly getting your arm bitten off by a giant eyeball. He'd talked to people, unnerved and frightened quite a few of them, and gotten asked about his teeth a good five times. The only one he'd really hit it off with had been the demolitionist, but he didn't mind. It had still been fun going around, having conversations, messing with people. If it hadn't been for that energy release, he probably would've run Keeper through right there.

Not that he didn't still really want to.

Said 'guide' came around the corner of the nearest shop, his Fire Imp happily sitting atop his head, giving them a disapproving look. Spaz glanced over to see his brother clenching his teeth so hard the veins in his neck were showing. He really couldn't blame the other--Spaz hadn't seen what happened, but he was getting frustrated with how much was being kept from him.

"Why can we not discuss whatever we'd like?" Ret asked, a forced calm in his tone.

"Because it could lead to unexpected results, and really, it isn't necessary." Keeper folded his arms in front of himself, looking over them both very carefully. "The thing she was speaking of is a construct of the Lord of the Moon that no longer exists--and, if we are lucky, never will again. I'd advise you to focus on the Great Devourer."

Spaz threw his hands into the air. "What unexpected results? What construct--what--what anything? I'm getting kinda sick of you and all the mystery, you know that? If you won't actually tell us anything, why shouldn't we just run you through?"

"Because you can't actually kill me. And you would fail the test if you were to try."

"Oh really?" Spaz pulled his sword from his inventory, grinning, "Can't kill ya? How's that? Should we find out?"

Keeper took a step away from them, looking unfazed. "Not if you would like to continue living. And not if you'd care to have what the Seer of the Overworld dropped for you."

Spaz immediately forgot that he was trying to be threatening, lowering his sword and raising a brow. "What?"

"Put the sword away."

"But..." Spaz glanced over to Ret, who hesitated for a moment, winced, and nodded. Spaz returned the sword to his inventory with an angry grumble to himself. "Fine."

Keeper nodded in approval, and began fishing around in his inventory for something. What he pulled out was a shield depicting a set of gaping jaws on the front, with the color scheme of the eye they'd fought the previous night. He tossed it at Spaz, who caught it and looked it over confusedly.

"It will let you ram into enemies without taking physical harm," Keeper explained, dryly. A rush of excitement went through Spaz as he immediately set the shield on his arm--useful and looked awesome, all was forgiven.

Next, Keeper retrieved a good amount of purple and red stones he threw at Ret's feet. "That is demonite and crimtane ore. Found rarely underground, and in pockets in the Corruption and Crimson, respectively. Keep it handy. You are going to need it for better equipment..."

Ret picked up the ore and looked it over, examining it from all angles. "So we may make new armor and weapons from this?"

"Not as it is. For the demonite, you will need shadow scales, which only come from the Great Devourer. To create anything with crimtane, you will need tissue samples, obtained from the Watchful Mind who inhabits the Crimson. However, you should focus on the Great Devourer. The Mind was already destroyed long ago, before the heroes of that time were defeated, or so I've heard."

"So what you're telling us is that we've gotta beat up the devourer guy before we can get anything better?" Spaz asked, irritated. Keeper nodded. "So let's go, then! Let's punch it in the face!"

Keeper rolled his eyes. "Not in iron armor. It is fine time for an expedition into the caves for you two. You will need better armor and weaponry if you wish to not become a splatter of organs on the wall, as amusing as that might be to watch. There are some valuable ore pockets in branch mines below town."

"But come on!" whined Spaz, wringing his hands.

Ret quickly put a hand on Spaz's shoulder in that warning sort of way. "I do not think we should go to the Corruption just yet," he said, a clear note of worry in his voice as he glanced at Spaz, then away. "If that is where this beast is...I would like to have some supplies to traverse those chasms. Fine. We will go on our expedition." His eye narrowed, "But you are coming with us."

Keeper turned away. "I will do no such thing. I have already helped more than I should."

Ret gave Spaz a look, and Spaz took the silent cue. He leapt forward, grabbing Keeper around the neck with one hand and holding his sword up to the man's chest with the other.

"Yes, you are. If only to explain."

"You can't kill me even if you tried," Keeper muttered, a dangerous look in his eyes, though he did nothing. "Fine. Return in twenty minutes with whatever you may need. I suggest grappling hooks, torches, and rope. Ask Milton or Mercer. I will be waiting." His eyes flashed a dangerous violet as he glared at Spaz. "Now, put me down. I'd rather not have to kill you right here..."

Spaz met and maintained his gaze for a few long seconds, refusing to be cowed by the frightful aura emanating from their guide. He then released the man and lowered his sword, continuing to squint at him.

"You try and kill us anywhere, you're automatic crispy kebab. Got it?"

Keeper gave a strange little smirk.

"Yes, yes. If you say so..."

-:-:-
There was a rope leading down the side of the town's protective trench, starting only a couple of feet below the bridge. It led down, down, down into what looked to be an abyss, though as one slowly descended, one would begin to see purple grass on the dirt below them--a sure sign that aprotective area of glowing mushrooms had been created both to keep the town safe from evil spread, and to farm the great towering mushroom trees for the valuable food and potion ingredient glowing mushrooms provided (among other, more recreational uses).

Two people saw this view in a way they could truly appreciate--Ret and Keeper, who were using the rope.

Spaz, however, had decided to launch himself off the bridge into the unknown, whooping as he descended before throwing out his newly-bought grappling hook to catch his fall by slamming him into a wall near the bottom, which somehow didn't break every bone in his body due to an anomaly of Terrarian physics. He was now standing on the neon blue grass, staring up at the two carefully sliding down the rope with an impatient look on his face, and occasionally casting his gaze about.

"Come on, nerds," Spaz called up with a smirk, "What's taking you so long?"

"I am being a sane person right now," Ret replied with an irritated grunt as he tried to avoid getting a facefull of Keeper's grimy, ash-caked boots from the man sliding above him. "What if you had missed?!"

"I wasn't gonna miss. You worry too much."

Spaz meant the sentiment with all his heart--he knew full well why Ret didn't want him to go to the Corruption, after what had happened there on the journey. He hoped that this expedition would prove the paranoid older brother wrong, because he sure as hell wasn't going to miss a battle, even if he had to go and start it all by himself.

Ret didn't respond, and the two men reached the ground in silence without incident. Keeper pulled out his staff and re-summoned his Fire Imp, before passing by them and leading the way forward. The trio seemed to be in an artificially-dug tunnel that had a surprisingly high ceiling, likely to allow clearance for the many towering blue mushroom 'trees' that were planted all over the place. There were also blue mushrooms growing out of the ground, as well as some blinkroot and moonglow plants in planter boxes.

The two were walking to a shaft in the ground flanked by a chest and a crafting bench, and marked with a torch. In the chest turned out to be a few explosives, a flare gun, and a stack of flares obviously intended for explorers and miners, which the twins split between them, Keeper taking the flare gun.

Again, Spaz jumped gleefully into the hole, using his grappling hook to propel himself down. The others followed after on the rope.

"Hey, where's your route to Hell, huh?" Spaz asked as soon as Keeper's feet were on the ground.

Keeper glared, "I blocked it off behind me. Solely so you wouldn't try to go down there."

"If you can make it there without armor..."

"I am a special case. Besides..." Keeper glanced away with that same odd smirk, "Accidents could very easily happen down there, and you two are hardly ready to face consequences..."

"He's right," Ret declared, clearly attempting to regain the leadership position, "Let us search for at least silver, though gold would be more useful. Precious gems and materials from cabins would also be valuable."

"The top areas are mostly cleared out," Keeper pointed out, "You may wish to go a bit deeper or mine some of your own shafts. Other than that, I am not helping."

"Fine then," grumbled Spaz, hopping down from the ledge they were standing on and into a small puddle of water in a cavern below. He moved off to the rightmost edge of the cave, ignoring the torches some explorer or other had put down, and began to dig with his copper pickaxe to the side and down in a diagonal. Ret quickly joined in to help, while Keeper stood back, Fire Imp now perched on his shoulder and poking at his greasy hair like a confused child.

"Tell us about the devourer you speak of," Ret demanded, without looking back.

Keeper crossed his arms and leaned against the wall. "It is a guardian of the Corruption created a very long time ago to keep its treasures safe. It takes the form of a very large worm with multiple segments that can become cognizant if split apart. There was a time when its soul was copied by the lord of the moon and put into a metal casing that...did...other things, I'm not aware, but as far as I know that has been destroyed."

"How do you summon it?" Spaz asked, trying to sound casual.

"There are Shadow Orbs within the Corruption chasms that contain some valuable treasures. Break three, and it will come after you. It is a protector, a Lesser God as the eye you fought last night was."

"Lesser God?"

The two came to a new cave opening, and Keeper shot some flares over their heads in order to allow them to see. Ret began feeding some rope down the edge so they could descend safely.

"What's a Lesser God?" Spaz asked.

"Bailey said something about the Elder Gods right before her traumatized child came running in," added Ret with an eye-roll in Keeper's direction.

Keeper seemed to think for a moment, the imp flapping up to once again perch on his head. He let out a sigh. "I suppose it can't hurt, better you get it from me. Head down and then I will explain."

Ret completed the rope and jumped down first, Spaz and Keeper following after. Spaz led the group into the cave with Ret carrying a torch behind him. There seemed to be nothing in the area other than a small puddle of water and a bat which Keeper's imp fried to a crisp before anyone could notice it.

"There are many gods of your world," Keeper began as the two started mining again, "It began with...what you would call the 'True Elders'--five of them, who held domain over different things. Even I know little about them...other than the fact that the so-called 'Moon Lord' is one of them, the only one left, and the Crimson and Corruption were created by their hands. Or in the case of Cthulhu...his entire dead body."

Ret lost his rhythm in surprise, nearly whacking an indignant Spaz in the head with his pick. "What?"

Keeper nodded, "The Crimson spread from the remains of Cthulhu after the great war between the True Elders, before one of their own split the remaining three out of five apart into infinite pieces, some of which are now the Elder Gods." Keeper made a face, "The Moon Lord's pieces came back together and he was reborn, much to everyone's regret. The pinhead decided that he wanted to gain dominion over the world. That is why the seals are breaking, why the dark is spreading much too fast, and, I believe, why you are being quite so offensive towards me."

Spaz shrugged. "Nah, we're just being offensive because you're a huge, creepy jerk."

"I prefer to be feared than hated. Anyways, these Elder Gods created the Lesser Gods--including the Overseer, the Great Devourer, the Watchful Mind, the Spirit of the Dungeon, and, well...even the underworld guardian itself." He shook his head, "I believe I am at liberty to tell you that the Elder Gods brought you here..."

Ret had stopped mining entirely, now, and Spaz had slowed down to listen. "Why?" Ret asked, clearly wanting to push this as far as it would go.

"To bring back balance and test you, I already said. They brought me here as well..."

"Why you?"

A bark of a laugh, "I hardly know. I had more important things to do, but they pulled me aside and told me that I was familiar with the prophecy and had to be their eye on you two."

"Are you an Elder God?" Spaz asked.

"No. But that is what I mean when I say I do not help out of the goodness of a nonexistent heart." Keeper anarrowed his eyes. "If not left in check the Moon Lord will conquer everything on or under the surface of this planet. The Elder Gods have a lot riding on you being the possible ones to fix everything. As do I." He gave them a harsh glare. "So do not blow it."

He lapsed into silence, then. Ret tried to ask questions as they continued moving, but Keeper said nothing more, instead staring at his feet with a partly angry, partly concerned look on his face. Spaz was just content with mining.

The two soon broke into another cave.

"Cabin dead ahead!"

Ret lit the way as Spaz carefully moved ahead, kicking open the door to the little abandoned house, dashing forward, and looking through the chest. "One for me, finally!" he shouted, holding up a new Magic Mirror, "Just iron and some dumb potions other than that. Oh, and take some arrows."

Ret grabbed the stack of arrows thrown to him, and the two moved on, soon finding another already-excavated mineshaft.

Much of the journey passed in uncomfortable silence. Keeper kept shooting flares into random places and staring around as if fascinated by the dirt, while the brothers forged on without particularly caring about him. After some begging, Spaz was allowed to use explosives. A good amount of silver was found, as well as a meager quantity of gold and emerald. More cabins were also discovered; Ret was soon geared up with a Cloud in a Bottle and Shoe Spikes, while Spaz took a Band of Regeneration as well as his earlier Magic Mirror find.

The two soon found themselves digging a long shaft that eventually led to some purple stone. Spaz tilted his head in confusion, hammering at the stone with his pick. It didn't seem to bother the strange purple stone at all. He grunted and continued to whack at it with no results, letting out a confused little noise.

Keeper watched this with amusement for a while before speaking up. "That would be ebonstone. You cannot mine that with your current pickaxe."

Spaz dropped his pick, turning around to stare at Keeper with an absolutely disgusted expression. "You couldn't have told me that in the first place?!"

"You didn't ask."

"Is there any way to get through?" Ret quickly interjected.

"Explosives work, but this should lead straight into the Corruption, and going in there as we are is a rather bad idea."

Spaz turned to stare at the wall of purple stone, examining it closely. And there it was again--just knowing the Corruption was nearby caused a pull. His hand slipped into his inventory without him realizing. They had to be at the bottom of those great chasms, right? Which meant the creatures of cursed flames were there. Which meant if he just blew through the wall, he might be able to jump in and attack before anyone could notice...before anyone could do anything. And prove that he could...He wanted to destroy the Corruption, somehow, some way. Control the spread, end it, rule it so he'd have control over it. For some reason, it made him extremely angry just thinking about it.

"Spaz!"

Ret's voice jolted him back to reality, and Spaz suddenly realized that he was holding one of the bombs from the chest. He blinked, staring at the bomb with no idea how it had gotten there.

"Uh..."

"You are not going in there." Ret's tone made it clear that this was final. "Not without me."

"But--"

"We're leaving." Ret turned and stormed off down the tunnel, "This is a dead end and we are leaving. Come on!"

Spaz stared after, before putting the bomb away and, very reluctantly, following, feeling his chest and his head ache as he moved further away. Something in his head just wanted to take it on, desperate, angry, a cry of challenge...

Why was Ret being so stubborn?

He made sure his footsteps were as loud as possible, angry stomps like a petulant child so Ret would know he was not happy.


The two gathered some more gold, delving deeper towards the cavern layer. When the look of the walls changed, Keeper raised a hand.

"You are getting far too deep. I suggest we go back up."

"I suggest we see what's down there," Spaz said, clearly irritated after the ebonstone incident. Anger had been building within him ever since then, as the inexplicable pull back to that corrupted area grew ever stronger and his head hurt worse and worse.

Keeper glared at him. "If you wish to get fried alive, then go on."

Spaz stopped and whirled to face Keeper, a dark fire in his eyes to rival the cursed fire he desired so much. "Look, you told us to pass by like four marble biomes. I'm done listening to you!"

"I have to agree." Ret pressed his lips together. "You are holding us back."

"Holding you--I am trying to protect you against the wishes of the gods, might I add. I am at risk of losing my job, and therefore my usefulness, and therefore my existence."

Spaz glowered. "I wanna go to a marble biome. Hell, I wanna go back to that Corruption and you won't stop me! The whole time you've been staring at dirt and not helping at all. So much for being 'useful'."

"What about wrath of the Elder Gods do you not understand?" Keeper gritted his teeth, "I say we are leaving, and that is final. If you do not want to come with me, so be it."

Keeper reached into his inventory and pulled out a Recall Potion, quickly uncorking it.

Spaz acted without thinking.

He pulled out his sword and lunged suddenly, causing Keeper to cry out and instinctively jump back, dropping the potion and spilling it onto the stone. Keeper looked between the stone and the twins, growling audibly.

"Do you people not hear me. I cannot be killed."

"Spaz..." Ret's voice was now warning, clearly concerned for his brother's safety and state of mind.

But Spaz was overcome with wrath, some stemming from the ebonstone, some just burning rom within his soul. And some seeming to flow into him from an unseen source, sparking his battle energy and causing any rationality to fly out the window. He just wanted to make this guy pay so he could go back.

"Can't kill ya? Sure."

Spaz pulled out a coil of rope from his inventory and gave a downright terrifying grin, torchlight glinting off sharp teeth.

"But we can see how great an escape artist you are."

Uh, this chapter came out a bit weird in my opinion, could've written better, but I wasn't entirely sure what to do on this chapter for a good week.

Any questions you guys want answers to? Anything you'd like me to elaborate on? Any character you'd like to see developed more? Any theories, thoughts, impressions, feedback? It's all welcome and hugely appreciated!

I also made a little tumblr to work on drawing the boys, collect information and aesthetics relating to the story, and just generally work on their characters. Feel free to ask them questions as well!
 

PaperLaur

Spazmatism
Spaz needs to c h i l l. Like holy crap, I would be worried of his mental state as well.
As well you should be. Here you thought Ret would be the one to snap in the head and now Spaz is throwing people down holes xD Whoops.

tbh none of them have ANY chill at all. ret's just better at hiding it and keeper meanwhile is internally screaming all the time
 
As well you should be. Here you thought Ret would be the one to snap in the head and now Spaz is throwing people down holes xD Whoops.

tbh none of them have ANY chill at all. ret's just better at hiding it and keeper meanwhile is internally screaming all the time
I still feel that when they get close to the Crimson, Ret is going to lose it. Like, I feel he might explode into a million streams of ichor.
 

PaperLaur

Spazmatism
I still feel that when they get close to the Crimson, Ret is going to lose it. Like, I feel he might explode into a million streams of ichor.
PFFFFT. I kinda want to draw that now xD I can tell you that specifically is not going to happen but I cannot tell you if it won't "might as well have happened" considering the state Ret's going to wind up in. You'll get no spoilers from me~
 

Clancy117

Spazmatism
Glad you've finally decided to illustrate your characters. Helps me visualize your story better although, I'd prefer it more if you would illustrate them here too instead of just on separate sites.
 

Clancy117

Spazmatism
I've always enjoyed stories more with some pictures rather than just all text. I've read Tom Clancy books before which have almost no illustration but I make exceptions.
 

PaperLaur

Spazmatism
Glad you've finally decided to illustrate your characters. Helps me visualize your story better although, I'd prefer it more if you would illustrate them here too instead of just on separate sites.
The blog's really just a place for me to practice with their designs. I'm already working on character references to put here, but those take a bit more time since I'm trying so hard to get things right. I would've put them up earlier, but the whole thing is I can't really draw. I'm very new at it and still figuring things out, so trust me, you wouldn't have wanted me to try and draw things for the story any earlier than I'm trying now. Hoping that eventually I can do some proper comics or illustrations, but I'm a long way off. I'm also getting my friends to help me. I'm definitely more for the written word than visual art xD

I realized I forgot to link the latest chapter, whoopsie. It's up now along with brief character descriptions for Alalia and Bailey. New chapter hopefully soon because I can't leave it on that kind of cliffhanger xD
 

Clancy117

Spazmatism
The blog's really just a place for me to practice with their designs. I'm already working on character references to put here, but those take a bit more time since I'm trying so hard to get things right. I would've put them up earlier, but the whole thing is I can't really draw. I'm very new at it and still figuring things out, so trust me, you wouldn't have wanted me to try and draw things for the story any earlier than I'm trying now. Hoping that eventually I can do some proper comics or illustrations, but I'm a long way off. I'm also getting my friends to help me. I'm definitely more for the written word than visual art xD

I realized I forgot to link the latest chapter, whoopsie. It's up now along with brief character descriptions for Alalia and Bailey. New chapter hopefully soon because I can't leave it on that kind of cliffhanger xD
I understand. I haven't really drawn anything in years since I left school and never really was any good. Since I joined the forums and seen all the stuff people have drawn on here I haven't done much but TCF has inspired me to draw a little bit. I only have two drawings I've made and one of them I haven't even posted. I've shown more of my little sisters drawings than I have mine. I'm sure you'll do better than me judging by your current artwork on Tumblr.
 

PaperLaur

Spazmatism
Is this going to be continued?


I most certainly plan on it. There hasn't been a day since I stopped this that I haven't thought of it. A lot of things happened in my life around the time this stopped and I've been super nervous to start writing this again after such a long time, but I still have plenty of thoughts in my head I'd like to get out.

(Also apologies to anyone who saw me posting here thinking there was a new chapter, I do plan on doing it Soon(tm) but I don't have it yet, just wanted to respond now so folks know that I'm most certainly still thinking of it)
 
Top Bottom