The Battle Royale S2 [Round 4: Burnination Studios]

The Battle Royale S2 [Round 4: Burnination Studios]
Re: The Battle Royale S2 [Round 1: Grande Adventures]
Originally posted on MSPA by slipsicle.

Re: The Battle Royale S2 [Round 1: Grande Adventures]
Originally posted on MSPA by slipsicle.

"What would it take to scare people like that away?"

"Oh, well, when you put it like that..." Jeremy glanced upwards at the megalithic city-space.

"Y'know, I really am not liking all this. Crazy omnipotent insect-god, schizophrenic floors, frigid death-bitch, horrific meat factories and now a really awesome but kinda creepy empty... metal... building... thing. Of bigness."

"How eloquent."

"Why thank you, kind sir!" Jeremy bowed comically at the statement before looking back up at the metal jungle.

"Soo.... maybe we should check out another of those buildings out there?"

Geoff, who had been peering intently at a particular section of the gigantic steel web, shook his head, saying "No, actually, I think it's better we thoroughly investigate this area before moving on. In particular, that cluster of units," he gestured, "Can you get us up there?"

"Heeeeyy, dude, not a problem. When it comes to getting places, I'm yer man, man." Jeremy cracked his knuckles, a big grin on his face, and headed to the door they came through.

"Shit there's a lot of doors in here... ok, just a sec," he opened the door and stuck his head through, "Nope, wrong one," he closed the door and re-opened it. Above them, in the area Geoff had pointed to, a door opened and the small dot of Jeremy's face could be seen peering out. "Here it is! I can see us down there. Er, down here. Whatever. Come on through!"

He marched through, followed closely by Geoff. They stood on a catwalk, an unidentifiable distance away from their starting point, given the uniformity and simultaneous chaos of the metal labyrinth. Behind them was a unit of some kind, with no remarkable features other than its proximity to several other similarly-sized units; an oddity in the forest of steel bars and endlessly rising buildings.

"Perfect, thank you." Geoff turned to the door they had just come through, and opened it.
Re: The Battle Royale S2 [Round 1: Grande Adventures]
Originally posted on MSPA by MalkyTop.

Holy crap holy crap holy crap.

The Photographer wasn't a big fan of a lot of things. Most of them had something to do with confrontations. One of them had to do with suddenly waking up a hundred feet in the air.

As he screamed and flailed, a disgruntled Sirius reminded himself not to immediately drop the annoying cameraman and struggled to stay in the air. "Oh this is just--alright stop it. Stop struggling you little--argh!" It was around this time that Sirius was dearly tempted to say something along the lines of 'Goddammit'. Being an angel, however, he refrained from doing so.

'Hey, stop wriggling around! He's gonna drop us!' the knife cried, not particularly fond of great heights either.

'He's just taking you over to that...floating island,' the camera added. The spineless humanoid slowly calmed down.

"Thank you," Sirius sighed and righted their path.


"For...not continuing to tempt me to drop you in the nearest bottomless pit?" The angel replied, a little confused as to why he was asking.

'He wants you to talk to that door over there and figure out how to open it.'

The Photographer glanced at the arcology nervously. "B-but I don't doesn't look like it wants to be opened," he replied.

"Okay, who are you talking to?"

'It can't hurt to try, could it?'

"I guess..."

"Alright, if you keep ignoring me, I'm going to drop you." The threat appeared to work and the photographer finally acknowledged Sirius's presence by squeaking.

"Uh, um, I was...talking to the camera...and the knife..." Sirius found he didn't particularly care.

"Okay, sure," he said as they landed. " to the door and open it." As the angel shoved the photographer over to the large, metal door, he couldn't help but think that he had just said something completely ridiculous again.

The photographer staggered over to the metal door and cowered under its stern rivets. It loomed over him, unmoving and unimpressed. It was the kind of door that he was sure he wasn't supposed to enter and probably didn't deserve to. "Uh. Hi there."

The door asked his business.

"Um. I, er, we'd like to come in...if that's alright...?"

The door asked if either of them had the correct code to enter.

"Code...?" The Photographer scanned the door more carefully this time and noticed a small panel. When he slid it open, it revealed a fancy keypad. "Uh. So we need a code?"

The door asked him to kindly go perform a reproductive action with himself.


That means leave, dumbass.

Re: The Battle Royale S2 [Round 1: Grande Adventures]
Originally posted on MSPA by Dragon Fogel.

"All I got out of that conversation was that we need some sort of code," Sirius said impatiently.

"The... the door isn't very nice," the Photographer replied. "Um... but I think we put the code in here?"

Sirius took a look at the keypad. He sighed, as he knew he was about to say something else that wouldn't make any sense.

"Talk to the buttons," he said. "Maybe you can find out which ones have been pressed more or something."

He stepped back to let the Photographer interrogate.

"Um, hello!" the Photographer said to the buttons. "Can you tell me which of you are part of the code?"

The buttons spoke all at once. I'm first! Waah, nobody ever presses me. Leave me alone! None of your damn business!

"Hey, calm down! Um, one, how about if you start?"

I take my job very seriously, said the One. Why should I tell you anything about the code?

Hey, don't be that way! the Two piped in. When's the last time anybody stopped by to push us?

Maybe you like being pushed, the Eight chimed in, but some of us would rather be left alone.

Sirius' patience was wearing thin. "Well? Any results?"

"Um, they're arguing... I think the two and the eight are somewhere in the code, the two likes being pushed and the eight doesn't. The five says he's in the code, but the four says the five is lying because he doesn't want to let us in..."

Sirius held his head in his hands. "This is ridiculous."


Wardell had his face buried in a book. It was called "The Escapee", and it was about a man who found out he was in a book and wanted to get out.

It was kind of a boring book. He'd read it before. All that happened was that the Escapee was captured at the end. Sometimes Wardell wondered what would have happened if he had actually escaped.

Still, right now Wardell was just reading for comfort. He didn't want to deal with this crazy battle, and reading a book, any book, kept him from thinking about it.

His reading was interrupted by a tap on the shoulder.

"What?" he said, indignantly but also a little nervously. "Can't you see I'm trying to read?"

Sereno paused for a moment, before replying.

"Uh, I was wondering if I could have a book, too."

Wardell considered the request. On the one hand, it would mean giving up a book. On the other hand, it might keep this guy from panicking, passing out, and making a creepy monster appear.

After a few moments, self-preservation won out over greed. He handed a book over to the boy without even looking at the cover.

"Here. Give it back to me when you're done."

Sereno thanked him, and began reading Only You Can Save Mankind.

Re: The Battle Royale S2 [Round 1: Grande Adventures]
Originally posted on MSPA by Pinary.

It was immediately obviously to Jeremy what the facility was. The assortment of monitors displaying live feeds from scattered cameras around the area was exactly the kind of thing he'd expect to find in a surveillance office.

Geoff stopped just inside the door, completely flabbergasted. Jeremy chuckled as he slipped by. "Man, you are all kinds of behind the times. Close the door behind you, come on. I'll fill you in."

Tentatively, Geoff closed the door and moved to one of the displays.

"Right, okay. This is called a computer. It's basically a really complicated machine. You use these to control it-" He gestured to the mouse and keyboard. "-and what you do shows up on the screen here." He moved the mouse around a bit, moving the cursor on the screen. "The different things you can do are called programs, and-"

Geoff cut him off with a wave of his hand. "Listen, there's no way I'm getting this in a few minutes. Bottom line: what's all this stuff here for?"

Jeremy paused a moment before speaking. "It's surveillance equipment. Each of these screens is showing an image from around this general area."

Geoff considered this. "So, they can watch a bunch of this place from right here?"


"Then that raises the question- what were they watching for?"

"Well, if they saw it from here, we should be able to go back and check. This sort of place usually keeps records of this sort of thing."

"Alright. Where would they be kept?" Geoff looked around for another door, perhaps leading to a room with shelves full of paper.

Jeremy chuckled. "It's all in here, man." He pressed a few keys and the image on the screen began to rewind. Save for them, there hadn't been much activity lately.

Geoff stared at the screen for a few seconds before blinking and shaking his head. To do this sort of thing would probably make you a Major back home. Maybe they had different standards where Jeremy came from.

After a few minutes, something flashed briefly across the screen. Jeremy leaned in, clicking a few more keys and going back. It took a few tries, but he eventually got it on screen. Unfortunately, all they could see was a dark, silvery blur.

Geoff pointed at the screen. "Hey, what are those numbers there?"

"That's the time this image is from," Jeremy replied, "and that's the current time in the lower right."

Geoff frowned. "They're almost the same," he said, "except for the date."

Jeremy frowned as well. "Yeah? What about it?"

"Can we go back further?"

"Yeah, sure. How far?"

"Show me the day before that, at the same time."

Jeremy clicked a few keys, and the screen flickered, then showed a very similar image. Frowning, he brought up the day before, and the day before that. All had the same silvery blur.

"Kid, we need to go," Geoff said, moving towards the door. "If that's what caused happened here, we probably don't want to be around for it."

"No kidding."
Re: The Battle Royale S2 [Round 1: Grande Adventures]
Originally posted on MSPA by MalkyTop.

The Photographer watched uneasily as Sirius, the mean angel guy, rubbed his forehead in frustration. He wasn't sure what to do now. He really didn't like dealing with him much. He tended to look angry. Like, hit-underling-employees-in-the-face angry. He was quite relieved that he had refrained from doing so but wasn't sure how long it would be until somebody got violent.

"Alright. Okay. So." The angel sighed, trying to let out every frustration in that one breath. "Tell them if they don't stop squabbling and start being helpful, I will tear them out one by one until they say the code."

Despite thinking this might incite said violent-punching-reaction, the Photographer mumured nervously, " will we put in the...uh...code...?" A glare from Sirius told him that now wasn't the time to be smart.

Sirius watched the dark being attempt to puff out his chest and talk sternly with a deep threatening voice. He decided not to think that it was an impression of him and waited. The Photographer's pathetic threat was cut short by what he assumed were the voices of the buttons. He looked rather bewildered despite having very few features on his face so the angel assumed they were all talking at once. Finally, the Photographer looked over sheepishly towards Sirius.


"Um...they said...'Then how will you punch the code in?'"

Sirius was very tempted to just punch the whole keypad in and be done with it but a thought suddenly occurred to him. "What else counts as something you can talk to?" He demanded. "Not just the buttons, right?"

"Ummmm, maybe the...uh....display...?"

He had grabbed the right straw. "Perfect!" Hopefully now things would go the right way. "Ask him, then."

More one-sided whispers. "Uh, the display's a girl."

"Ask her then."

Murmur murmur, silence, whisper whisper, silence, 'No, not you,' silence...

Sirius got very worried when he suddenly heard the Photographer say, "Oh, I'm sorry, that's horrible..."

"Are you...gossiping?" he said, way more threateningly than he had intended.

"Uh, well I...she..." The Photographer stuttered, glancing to the ground for a bit. "Ummmmmm...the display is depressed...and, uh. Er. Possibly suicidal."

Re: The Battle Royale S2 [Round 1: Grande Adventures]
Originally posted on MSPA by slipsicle.

"Y'know I'm gonna go out on a limb and say we don't want to be anywhere near here right about now," Jeremy began to move past Geoff, "so iff'n ya don't mind, I think I'll open this door." He placed his hand on the doorknob, whispering "damnit there'd better be some booze behind this one", and pulled.

Geoff and Jeremy walked through into an atrium of sorts. A large central area illuminated by a skylight several hundred feet above them was dominated by an enormous tree, growing in a relatively small section of grass in the middle of the atrium. Relatively small being the operative phrase; it was still the size of a city block, but compared to the tree before them, it was quite tiny. A myriad of stairs lead to seemingly randomly-placed platforms and floors, scattered around the atrium. Sometimes the stairs wound up around the treetrunk, and if one squinted, one could just barely make out a complex cobweb of catwalks and platforms suspended in the tree's upper branches.

Geoff looked behind them, eyes narrowed. "Jeremy... where are we?"

Jeremy took a while to respond, gaping as he was at the view before him. "uhh... what? Oh, well, I just kinda... looked for the door that was farthest away, right? So that's where we are. It's kind of... leftish of where we were before."

"... 'leftish'?"

"Yeah, like, if you were facing the screens, y'know? It's uh, like, leftish and a bit... up... from that room."

"Ok... but how far, exactly?"

Jeremy turned around, slightly exasperated. "Hell I dunno, man! It's not like each door says 'HEY JEREMY BUDDY I'M EXACTLY FIFTEEN METERS, TEN CENTIMETERS, FIFTY MILLIMETERS AND TWO DUCKS AWAY FROM YOU, CHEERIO WOT WOT'" Geoff remained impassive as the faux-accent was lost on him. Jeremy made a face, "Anyways yeah, all I know is this door is farther away from that room than any other door I could find in this... uh... building... space... place. Yup."

Geoff sighed. "Right, well, could you take us back? Not too close, but... to a door where we might get a line-of-sight on the entrance to that room. I'd like to see if maybe we can watch the... event. From a safe distance, of course."

"You're the bossman, Bossman. Away we go!" Jeremy walked back to the atrium's entrance, once more placing his hand on the doorknob, and closed his eyes. "Ok, let's try this one," he pushed it open and stuck his head out. "Nope, can't see it from here." Jeremy opened the door again, revealing the inside of a room. He muttered "oops, wrong side..." before closing and opening it again. "Still can't see it." Geoff made a questioning noise, and Jeremy glanced back, smiling. "Yeah it's kind of a fifty-fifty chance whether I open to the inside or outside of a door, so you never really know what you're gonna-holy fucktheWHAT! PIE!" Jeremy had proceeded with closing the door and opening it again, and again hit the inside of a room. A room arranged somewhat like a storage room, and filled with various confections.

"DUDE! GEOFF! LOOK! FUCKIN' PIE, MAN!" Jeremy whooped ecstatically and bounded into the room. Geoff clenched his teeth in frustration.

"Jeremy..." his tone held hints of anger, and Jeremy turned, a slice of pecan pie halfway to his open, drooling mouth. He froze at Geoff's expression. "We're wasting time. We need to hurry if we want to catch that thing, and figure out what's going on here."

Jeremy put down the pastry, giving it a longing look before turning towards Geoff. "What's going on here is pie, man. I never turn down pie; both types, actually," said with a wistful grin, "but anyways, I don't really see a need to identify the... thingy in the cameras. I mean, if it's what's responsible for these buildings being empty, then I really, really don't think it's any of our business! I say were camp down here, where there's delicious food and safety, and just... I dunno, wait for the round to change again. Yeah?" Jeremy sat down against the wall, and reached back towards his treat, slowly bringing it back to his mouth, savoring the moment.

"Damnit boy! There's more at stake here than your leisure! If we want to escape this mad competition, we'll need to study the worlds around us, and that means figuring out the true fate of the people here! I've welcomed working with you so far, but... you have no sense of rigor!"

Jeremy paused, again, and smiled. He gave Geoff a look... that somehow made the Hattallan very uncomfortable. "First of all dude, I'm not just a 'boy', but it's cute you think of me that way. Secondly, I can indeed be quite... rigorous, and you'd just stay here with me for a while, maybe I could demonstrate my rigor." The grin he flashed Geoff was toothy and somehow... hungry. Geoff looked nonplussed. Then Jeremy chuckled. "Oh man this is gonna be fun." He finally took a bite out of the slice of pecan pie, and spent a minute chewing slowly. He swallowed, put down the rest of the piece, and stood back up, looking at Geoff. "Right, well, if it means spending more time with you than I guess exploring a little doesn't sound half bad." He stretched and headed back to the door.

"Why don' you scooch yerself up here next to me and tell me when you think I've hit a good vantage point, eh?"

Geoff sidled up to Jeremy and looked out as Jeremy opened and closed the door in quick succession, shaking his head each time. He didn't even notice that Jeremy had surreptitiously pressed himself up against Geoff, and when the Hattallan finally said
"This one!" and headed out, he didn't notice Jeremy's eyes focused firmly on his backside.

The Hattallan and the human looked out over the railing of the platform they had found themselves on. They were a good distance above the surveillance office, far enough away that they'd have warning should... whateveritwas they were waiting for notice them, yet close that they could at least follow any approaching being's movements. The stood, and waited.

Re: The Battle Royale S2 [Round 1: Grande Adventures]
Originally posted on MSPA by Dragon Fogel.

"What is... she... even depressed about?" Sirius grumbled. "What kind of personal problems can a display even have?" He groaned mentally at the fact that he had asked the question.

"H-hey, these are very personal details. And you make her nervous. I c-can't just..."

Sirius held a hand to his forehead. He didn't want to know. "Never mind. Just tell me in very general terms."

"She misses a friend," the Photographer replied, a little nervous.

"Unless this friend is another inanimate object, I don't think we're going to find him. Or her," Sirius commented. "This place looks abandoned."

The Photographer ignored the comment and went back to his conversation with the display.

"I'm sorry about the interruption. What were you saying?"

Hardly anybody ever looked at me, the display said. They just pressed the buttons and went in. But he looked, every time. It made me feel like I mattered!

But he hasn't been around in so long...

The Photographer looked nervously at Sirius.

"Um... could you go somewhere else for a bit? I think I might be able to get somewhere with her, but, um... I'd rather not do it with someone else watching."

Sirius sighed. This was getting more and more ridiculous, but at least he could get away from it for a while.

"Fine," he said, walking around the arcology. "I probably don't want to hear your side of the conversation anyhow."

Once the angel was gone, the Photographer held up Camera.

"She's broken," he said to the display. "She's been a very good friend, and she also makes me a photographer. If I can't fix her, I don't know what I am..."

Please, don't say that! the camera assured him. You're a good person, even if you can't take pictures.

"But doesn't it hurt? You always liked to take pictures before. And now you can't... I mean, it's not the same as what you're going through," he said to the display, "but if Camera went missing, I'd probably feel the same way..."

She's a good friend? the display asked. Photographer nodded, quietly. The camera would have blushed if she were capable of it.

It's... it's good to know someone understands... the display continued, sadly. I hope... I hope you can fix her.

"I just want you to know, I think I understand. And I'm here for you."

Th-thanks, she sighed. I think - I think I feel a little better. Just a little.

The display paused, then asked, Do you think you could do me a favor?


Sirius was not pleased to see the Photographer. For the last few minutes, absolutely nothing ridiculous had happened around him, and that glorious time was now about to come to an end.

He dared himself to hope that at least they might actually be able to get in now.

"Well?" he asked, annoyed. "Any progress?"

"She's feeling better," the Photographer said, "but she's got a request."

Sirius felt his hopes evaporate.

"And what is it?"

The Photographer paused, nervously.

"Well, you see, there's this song she really likes..."

"...oh no. Oh, no. I can see where this is going."


Sirius and the Photographer walked back to the display.

"Ready?" the Photographer asked.

Sirius took a deep breath. "Yes," he sighed.

They began singing.

"You are my sunshine,
My only sunshine
You make me happy
When skies are grey...

Re: The Battle Royale S2 [Round 1: Grande Adventures]
Originally posted on MSPA by MalkyTop.

The last notes of the incredibly short song died away in the air and the duo waited a bit.

Sirius was more impatient. "Well? What's it...she doing now?"

"Er," the Photographer said, "She's sighing wistfully and...uh...erm..." His voice lowered to a whisper as he turned a non-existent mouth to the angel's ear. "She's looking a little teary."

Sirius's expression did not change, amazingly enough. "She's looking a little teary," he repeated blankly.

"Don't embarrass her!" The Photographer looked a little flustered and rather embarrassed himself. "She, I mean, you, it's, um, a little...impolite..."

"Right. Do you think she would mind finally giving us the code so that I can finally get inside...?"


"Just ask."

It only took a little bit of murmuring for the Photographer to turn back and say, "Yes."

"Well, what is it?"

It took a lot more murmuring for this one.

"Uh, er, can you repeat that...?"

Long pause.

"Oh. Um."

Sirius didn't particularly like the look in the Photographer's eyes when the dark being approached him again. "Uh. Um. She says...'Two boxes, an open box on a stick, a long stick, two open boxes facing different directions--'"

"Alright, stop. Stop." Sirius was now rubbing his temples in the way that the Photographer was afraid he would. "What are you going on about."

"Well...uh...the display, she doesn't exactly know what numbers are."

"An electronic display made for the purpose of displaying numbers. Doesn't know what numbers are."

"Uh, no."

"Can you tell me how that begins to make sense?"

", the only thing she can see is straight ahead, you know...and it's not like many people stop to teach displays how to--"

"That was a rhetorical question."


The angel finished rubbing his forehead and sighed through his hand. "Okay. So all she did was describe the numbers right? I suppose that isn't too hard." His tone of voice betrayed that yes, this was in fact too much trouble to go through for a stupid code. "What did she say again?"

"'Two boxes, open box on a stick, long stick, two boxes facing different directions, two boxes facing the same direction, stick on a stick.'"

"Six numbers," Sirius mumbled under his breath.

"The third one is one," the Photographer offered helpfully. "Um...and I think the last one is seven."

"First one is eight, second to last is three...eight four one two three seven." He typed it in. It was wrong. The Photographer winced and decided not to repeat the jeers of the buttons. Sirius looked frustrated for a second before saying, "I guess five applies too," and typed in eight four one five three seven. It was also wrong.

As Sirius started banging his head on the door, the Photographer had a hasty conversation with the display.

"She says we put it in wrong," he announced.

"I couldn't have guessed," the angel replied between thuds. "Pray tell, what did we get wrong?"

"Well, er, um..." the Photographer trailed off. Something the display just said gave him pause. After a moment, he stared out to where the display stared at and tried to imagine the numbers typed up across the horizon from her point of view, flipping all the numbers in the way she would see it.

"It's backwards," he said, and whipped around to type in seven three five one four eight.

"What?" Sirius said, pausing in his head-banging just as the door groaned open. "Oh. Look at that. It's open."

"Yes, because we look at it from one side of the screen and she peers out from the other so--" the Photographer's excitement at figuring out something was cut short by a dismissive wave from Sirius. The angel just strode into the arcology, relieved that the ordeal was finally over. "Um..."

The Photographer looked from the open door back to the other side of the void, where the meat factory was. " do I...?"

"I don't care," Sirius called back before turning a corner.

The Photographer looked back and forth and finally ducked into the arcology right before the imposing metal door swung shut.

Re: The Battle Royale S2 [Round 1: Grande Adventures]
Originally posted on MSPA by Pinary.

Geoff and Jeremy didn't have long to wait. After just a few minutes of standing at the rail (during which Jeremy had surreptitiously sidled closer to the Hattallan), a buzzing noise began to build in the distance. It rose rapidly, getting louder and louder until finally, in a blur, the thing from the video flew past the office below. As fast as it had risen, the noise died down, until, just a few moments later, the eerie silence of the city returned.

"Right," Geoff said, "we need to get out of here. If that's what scared off the population of this city, it's probably not something we want to be hanging around. Maybe it's just best we just move on."

Jeremy smirked at him. "Oh, come on, whatever happened to investigating? You were just going on about the importance of 'studying the worlds around us'- are you trying to tell me you just want to give up?"

Geoff scowled. "Did you see how fast that thing was moving? If you've got an idea on how to stop it, I'm..." He trailed off as the buzzing noise returned, building rapidly.

The drone came barrelling straight towards them, its swarm of grasping arms reaching out for the two life signs. Geoff dove to one side, pulling the human with him as he did; the drone's arms reached for them, but it could only grab air as it rushed past.

The buzzing died away again, and after a few moments, Geoff spoke up. "You can get off me any time."

Re: The Battle Royale S2 [Round 1: Grande Adventures]
Originally posted on MSPA by Dragon Fogel.

Sirius walked down the empty streets of the arcology in annoyance, barely paying attention to the Photographer's attempts to catch up. The angel wasn't sure what he was looking for, but he was fairly certain he wasn't seeing it.

Suddenly, he stopped. The Photographer ran next to him, out of breath.

"What... is... it?" the Photographer asked, panting.

"I thought I heard something," Sirius replied, deep in thought. "Some kind of... buzzing?" He looked up, but saw nothing. "It was up there... wait, I hear it again... behind us..."

The pair turned around, but they were too late. By the time they spotted the fast-moving drone, it had already grabbed them. It flew off towards a high window as they struggled to free themselves of its grip.

Re: The Battle Royale S2 [Round 1: Grande Adventures]
Originally posted on MSPA by MalkyTop.

It was the second time today that he had found himself high up in the air. It was possibly even more unwelcome than the first time. At least Sirius didn't sport cold, metallic claws that sank into his skin. Considering that the angel beside him wasn't made of the same, odd rubbery material as he was, Sirius was probably in some pain as the speedy drone pinned his wings and bent them in ways they weren't quite meant to be bent.

"Do something!" Sirius managed to gasp out as the window opened to let the robot and its cargo through.

"Wh-what? Buh-but--" Oh and here was the void again. How he hated the void.

"Look, I can't do anything with my arms pinned," Sirius interrupted. "You have to get us out of this!"


Sirius hesitated. That was actually a very good question.

Even without an answer, the Photographer was not exactly willing to be taken wherever this robot wanted them to go. With little effort, his arms sank into his body and reformed so that they were no longer restrained by the claw. He grabbed hold of the metallic arm behind him and carefully wiggled himself loose of the claw, like putty, until he was dangling by the robot's arm. Unfortunately, the camera was not made of putty. The strap got caught on the claw.

"Um," the photographer stuttered, his hands slipping on the sleek metal. He attempted to reach over with a leg as Sirius hissed, "What are you doing?"

"I, uh, I can't--" The robot came to a sudden halt, knocking the breath out of Sirius and almost making the Photographer lose his grip. It clicked and whirred crossly, realizing that somehow one of its cargo had escaped, and released the camera to attempt to recapture the Photographer. The inky-black humanoid managed to catch the camera's strap on his foot and immediately curled it up into a closed circle so that he wouldn't accidentally kick it off before turning his attention to the claw that was curling back above him.

And then it halted, unable to curve so much. The Photographer continued dangling nervously.

After a bit of straining, it realized that this wasn't working out and curled the other way, attempting to snap at his legs, but he swung them out of the way and started shuffling up the arm, trying to be fast and not slip off at the same time. The robot's other many appendages started coming after him as well. He often tried dodging whenever the robot's claws circled back, but sometimes it was just impossible with so many and one would grasp him. Even though he would always slip away, it was still frightening to feel the metal close around him again.

It didn't take him too long to reach the main body and he jumped onto it as a claw tried to grab him once more. The body was even sleeker than the arm and he scrabbled constantly, reaching for a purchase but still slowly slipping off. What made it worse was that, in persistent attempts to reach him, the robot started spinning around, as if that would make its claws longer. The Photographer was quickly slipping off.

Wedge me between the plates, the knife said hastily.

Not particularly wanting to let go with either arm, the Photographer instead grew another short appendage that deftly handed the knife to himself. Having not handled a knife for so long, if ever, he fumbled with it before sticking it between the metal plating that made up the robot.

The robot finally stopped spinning and instead moved around jerkily, speeding back towards the general direction it was going before.

"Um, um, hello!" The Photographer called out, feeling that he really couldn't do much else. "Hi! C-can you hear me?!"

"What is it?" Sirius called back crossly. The robot's recent erratic movement hadn't made him very happy.

"No, I'm, um, trying to talk to the, uh, robot. Hello?" There was still no answer. It was making the Photographer rather uneasy.

"Hello! Anybody! Metal plates, wiring, uhh...whatever else makes up a robot!" Now he was past uneasy and entering panicky.

"What's going on back there?"

"N-nobody's answering! I-I've never...nobody even said anything about damaging it slightly! I, um, it's like it's...dead!"


After the two untangled themselves on the floor, it didn't take them long to get them outside of the arcology. Where, surprisingly enough, they found the thing they had been trying to get away from in the first place. Admittedly, neither had a good look at it, but when it sped to a blur every once in a while, it looked remarkably like the thing they had just seen.

"It's carrying someone," Geoff noted before Jeremy could suggest they both go back inside. "Actually, two someones. I think one of them is...Sirius."

Jeremy paused. "The angel?" he snorted. "Good riddance. Let's go."

"Do you know where it's taking them?" Geoff continued, as if he didn't hear Jeremy in the first place.

Jeremy paused again and shrugged. "Out of this dome place. I dunno."

"But it didn't just simply drop them off out here," the Hattallan explained. "It's taking the trouble to bring them all the way back over there."


"So what's the only building over there that we've seen so far?"

Jeremy paused once more and this time blanched. "Oh. Oooooh."

Re: The Battle Royale S2 [Round 1: Grande Adventures]
Originally posted on MSPA by Dragon Fogel.

The rest of the ride was disappointingly uneventful for Sirius and the Photographer. The angel was still pinned, despite his best efforts, and his fellow traveller seemed overtaken by the oddity of not being able to speak to the machine.

Soon, the drone flew in through a strange door at the top of the factory.

Its flight did not go unnoticed.


Steinwaffe had perched himself atop the arcology in silence, having investigated the door well before Sirius did. At first he was considering the problem of how to get inside, but after some time he had simply fallen asleep, only to suddenly awaken at the yelling from the drone's passengers. Regaining his bearings, Steinwaffe watched it enter the factory.

"Even a demon deserves a better death than that," the gargoyle muttered, as he took off in pursuit.


Sereno also heard the yelling. Wardell was too busy reading in a desperate effort to ignore everything to take notice. Sereno quietly dropped his book and headed into the factory to investigate.


Timothy held his nose. He had slowly made his way through the factory, alone, and several of his gods had been yelling at him to go upward. He wished he hadn't listened. The meat grew somehow more disturbing - and the smell more rancid - as he drew closer to the top. Finally, however, he found a heavy door.

The gods seemed to want him to enter. In desperation, Tim offered a chunk of the most rotten meat he could find to Katay, the God of Decay, and offered a prayer for him to wear down the door.

It was answered. After a few moments, the door had rusted so heavily that it didn't even need Tim's help to break apart.

He entered, and found a drone staring at him.

Re: The Battle Royale S2 [Round 1: Grande Adventures]
Originally posted on MSPA by Pinary.

"Alright," Geoff said, turning back and heading for the nearest door. "Open it up and let's go."

"Right behind you, man." Jeremy grabbed the handle, pushed it open, and the two hurried through.

Geoff was less than impressed. "What are we doing in here?!"

"What's it look like? We're holing up here where it's safe! The pies are just a bonus, really."

The Hattallan clenched his teeth. "This isn't what I meant, and you know it."

"What, you want to go over there to that fucking horror show, just to try and save the neck of some jerk-ass with wings?"

Geoff moved forward, narrowing his eyes and lowering his voice dangerously. "That is exactly what I intend to do. I've spent my life doing my best to help those who need it, and I'm not about to stop now. Jerk-ass or not, no one deserves to end up in that factory, and if I can do something to stop it, I'm damn well going to. You can stay here and stuff your face if you want, but I'm going over there."

Jeremy sighed. "Fine, fine, if you're going to get all heroic here, let's go. We should at least bring a few of these with, though- we might need provisions or something wherever we end up next."

"Alright, fine, grab a few and let's go." Geoff unslung his crossbow from his back and moved to the door.

Jeremy grabbed up a few of the pies in boxes, stacked them up, and held them in one arm. "Right." He pushed the door open, and the reek of rotting meat wafted through. "Here we go."
Re: The Battle Royale S2 [Round 1: Grande Adventures]
Originally posted on MSPA by slipsicle.


Somethin' is totally happening here in the next...

... dayish.
Re: The Battle Royale S2 [Round 2: Prospect Creek]
Originally posted on MSPA by slipsicle.

The smell was just as overwhelming as before. Jeremy had to fight back the familiar nausea and steel himself for the task at hand, muttering, "Stupid fucking jackass fairy-boy just had to get himself captured..."

They were on a walkway, raised above the main floor of the factory. As Jeremy turned to the Hatallan to say something, his eyes were caught by the torrents of meat rushing through clear tubes throughout the factory, and something clicked.

He froze, the color drained from his face. He felt sick, a sickness that went deeper than his stomach. A sickness that tore at his very humanity.

"... these... this... these were people..."

Jeremy looked at Geoff, who was avoiding making eye contact.

"The empty arcology, the... drone... and this! I should have seen it sooner... this," he gestured weakly, "is... an entire civilization. Murdered. Processed. I can't..." he fell silent for a moment, and looked back at the uncomfortable-looking detective. "Did you know?"


"How long?"

"A while, now."

"Why didn't you tell me, man?"

"Well..." and here the Hatallan got almost... bashful, "... you're young, kid. I thought... maybe you wouldn't have to find out. I didn't want you to find out."

A small tinge of color returned to Jeremy's cheeks. Barely. While the young man was touched by Geoff's concern, such feelings felt out of place, given the horror facing them.

A buzzing sound broke the silence. Determination took over the rare, almost-soft expression on Geoff's face, and he clutched his crossbow. Jeremy considered for a moment, then:

"Geoff, when I brought us here I felt a bunch of doors around at different levels. I'm pretty sure there are other raised platforms all over this factory. I don't have any weapons and I'm complete shit at fighting, but... I want to help. And I think I know how."

Jeremy quickly outlined his plan as the buzzing grew louder.

It had been a while since Steinwaffe had to move as quickly as he was now. He could feel his stony joints protesting being awoken from their slumber.

The drone and its passengers had already entered the factory when Steinwaffe arrived; he glimpsed some of the others lallygagging around the field as he flew through an upper window.

Inside, the drone had seemed to falter a bit; whether this was due to the damage it had already sustained, or the crossbow bolts hitting it from seemingly every direction, as Jeremy and Geoff slipped from door to door on all of the raised walkways. Sirius was making no further progress in his struggles against his machanical captor, and the Photographer seemed to have... given up, for the most part.

Steinwaffe saw his chance. The drone was distracted, such as it could be, by Jeremy and Geoff's antics.

He swooped in and grappled the drone, which was immediately thrown off balance from the impact and addition of unexpected weight. As it flailed through the room, Steinwaffe's powerful stone arms beating and tearing its metal skin, the Photographer suddenly became unwedged from its claws, and fell to the ground, hitting his head quite hard.

The Photographer fell unconscious, and the Dream began to seep into the world around his prone form, though it seemed... different, than before. Where previously it had whispered softly, here it shuddered violently, with a sense of barely-contained chaos. The Dream itself appeared above the Photographer's limp body and looked around, recognizing the signs of a nightmare in progress. He snorted, sighing, "Wonderful," as he picked up the Photographer and looked for a safe place to stash him.

Sereno hadn't been having a good time through this competition. Like pretty much everyone, he'd freaked out something fierce during the initial kaleidescope-of-crazy round, though his "freak outs" were generally more destructive than others'.

So he'd tried to calm down this round. Resting in a grassy field, reading the book he'd picked up from that book guy... he was feeling better.

And then buzzing, damaged drone-thing carrying that angry angel and the weird black man-thing flew overhead, carrying them into the factory, followed by the gargoyle.

He really shouldn't interfere. Those idiots had their own things going on. But... well, he was going to be with them for a while. Perhaps he should help.

And so Sereno wandered into the factory, following the shouts.

Twitching haphazardly through the room was the drone, still holding Sirius quite securely. The beleaguered angel had given up casting spells and had settled for trying to avoid getting hit by Geoff's bolts; he became visibly more angry with every near-miss. After another bolt nearly punctured his wing, the ornery angel glared back at the door-hopping duo and shouted, "You IDIOTS! Watch where you're firing! Or at least get me free, first! Of all the incompetent..."

Jeremy and Geoff glanced at one another, and another evil grin passed over Jeremy's face as he hefted the boxes in his arm. Geoff narrowed his eyes in disapproval, and was about to speak before Jeremy turned to the door behind them, and opened it.

The drone had almost entirely lost all navigational abilities at this point, bombarded by Steinwaffe on all sides as it was. So it was no surprise that, at some point, it got close enough to one of the raised walkways as to put Sirius in arm's length of anyone whom happened to be standing on it. Like, say, Jeremy. The drone turned quickly, whipping Sirius around. The angel's eyes widened as he saw Jeremy standing on the catwalk, grin on face and pie in hand. Gripped as he was by the drone, Sirius couldn't avoid the inevitable. The drone continued to turn, and Sirius's face continued to move inexorably closer to the waiting, creamy, dastardly confection. Jeremy turned his hand, and the pie rose to a vertical position, its round, white filling turning from oval to circle to greet the angel.

Pastry hit scowl, and it was glorious.

Sirius continued through the confectionery confetti, Jeremy's hand liberally spreading what he could in the brief moment, as the angel's head was carried through the piesplosion.

Fury, unsurprisingly, overtook the angel as Jeremy pranced back through the nearest door to rejoin Geoff on an adjacent catwalk.

"And what exactly was the point of that?"

Jeremy looked annoyed. "Lay off, man. The guy's a dick and he deserved it. It's not like it hurt or anything, right?" he glanced at the peeved-looking Hatallan beside him.

Geoff grunted. "Whatever. We'll talk about it later. There are more important things at hand."

As if to highlight the detective's statement, a terrified Timothy Swales came screaming out of a stairwell on the ground floor, pursued by yet another angrily buzzing drone; this one, though, seemed undamaged.

Timothy was unhappy. He decided to let everyone know. "HOLY MOTHER OF CHRIST, WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON SOMEONE HELP ME", he shouted, as the drone nearly tore off his coat, "DAMNIT DAMNIT DAMNIT", he cried, as his gods remained unresponsive. "GET OUT OF MY FUCKIN' WAY", he yelled, as he barreled through a shocked Sereno. He ran out of the factory, too frantic in his escape to notice the drone had focused on easier pray.

Timothy slowed down in the field and turned to look behind him. Noticing no pursuit, he stopped, gasping for breath, hands on knees. He glanced around, and saw Ward sitting nearby, head buried in a book, pretending (quite terribly) to ignore Mr. Swales.

Timothy walked over. "I think you've got a good idea. Non-involvement. Mind if I borrow a bo-"

One of Ward's hands whipped out from nowhere, producing a rather boring-looking tome, featuring a procession of monkeys ending in a man. "Oreye... Origin... of... Spekies? Species? Well, better than nothing." Timothy settled down on the grass next to Ward, and tried his hardest to tune out the terrible sounds coming from within the factory.

Timothy's raucous exit had knocked Sereno on his behind, and brought him face-to-face with the drone. It paused, calculating briefly, as this new meatsac was in a position more conducive to harvesting. So, it harvested.

Not seconds after Timothy's hoarse screams had finished echoing through the room, Sereno's rose up to replace them. The drone hadn't made it more than a few feet before a terrible, grating wail coursed through the room. A small blur rocketed from the ground towards the airborne drone, and slammed straight through it. The blur continued towards the ceiling and stopped abruptly on contact, revealing a child-like figure, positioned unnaturally on the ceiling, staring down at the falling drone.

In the same moment, Steinwaffe finally dealt a severe blow to the other harvester. Sirius flew to freedom, immediately gunning towards Jeremy and his stupid pies. As the angel sped across the room, the attention of two entities immediately focused on him. Umbra, identifying the angel as a known threat, leapt off the ceiling towards the winged man. Steinwaffe, correctly deducing the infuriated angel's target, rushed forwards to interpose himself between attacker and innocent.

Like a horrifying, screaming bullet, Umbra launched itself at Sirius. The angel, ever battle-ready, had been keeping track of this new threat, and with a simple well-placed wing-beat batted the child-thing aside.

Umbra landed unceremoniously in a corner of the room. Right next to the Photographer's developing nightmare.

Steinwaffe was not quick enough to stop Sirius from reaching Jeremy. The angel paused a few feet from the catwalk Jeremy and Geoff had occupied, and yelled, "I'm ending this! Angel Sphere!" A now-familiar white light erupted into existence and raced towards Jeremy, who shouted "Oh hellfire! Geoff! Through here!" Acting quickly, Jeremy pulled open the door behind them and raced through, holding it open on the other side and crouching behind the wall.

The sphere flew through the link, exiting through a door behind Sirius. Directly behind Sirius, in fact. It grew in size and illuminated the entire room as it continued along its path. Confused at first, the angel quickly realized the trap he'd fell for as his shadow played on the wall, betraying the moving light behind him. He whirled, crying "Armor of Uriel!" and his armor took on a white glow, which the sphere seemed to dissipate in the face of.

The angel flew towards Jeremy's new location, fists balled, obviously intending to do away with magic and beat the smarmy doormage into a pulp with his bare hands.

He was interrupted, however, by Steinwaffe.

"Out of my way," the angel spat, "I am going to kill that pathetic, annoying little man."

"Nein, I think not."

"I don't care what you think. I'm going to tear that ridiculous person to shreds, the round is going to change, and we'll all be one step closer to getting away from this impossibly silly mess."

"Herr Angel, I do not vish to speak above my station, but... you do not seem very... angelic. Is not your duty to protect the innocent?"

"That boy is not innocent, he-"

"Tossed a pie in your face? Please, Herr Angel. I vill not allow you to hurt vun whom has hurt no vun."

Sirius glared. "Fine. I suppose it doesn't matter who I kill, just so long as someone dies. Good to see you've volunteered. Holy Lance!" A rod of lightning leapt into the angel's hand from nowhere, and was thrust towards the gargoyle. Steinwaffe brought up a wing to block it, but was knocked out of the air by the blow. Sirius descended to meet him. Steinwaffe stood, flexing his broken wing, remarking, "There seems to be a lot of ang-" his words broke off as Sirius attacked again, a shaft of light shooting from an outstretched palm, followed up by a charge straight for the overwhelmed gargoyle. Steinwaffe had no chance, in the end. Sirius spared no time for respites or speeches, and did not seem to believe in giving ground. His attacks were relentless, one brutal spell followed up immediately by another, never giving his opponent time to breath.

Cracks appeared all over Steinwaffe's body, sizeable chunks flying off almost every second, until Sirius had him backed up against a wall. Both of the gargoyle's wings were shattered stumps, his arms cracked and falling apart, his torso full of holes.

Other combatants, in this situation, may have stopped to have a few last words. But these two knew better. Steinwaffe had long ago realized how this would end, but he did not care. The angel approached him, eyes full of righteous fury, and spoke one final spell, savoring its shape in his mouth as he did.


A flash of light.

A pile of dust.

Steinwaffe was no more.

But as Sirius looked back towards his original prey, Steinwaffe's last act revealed itself: Jeremy and Geoff had escaped.


"Holy christfuck, what is that thing?" an out-of-breath Jeremy gasped as another unearthly wail signaled the continued pursuit of Umbra.

"Maybe we should split up! It seems to have concentrated on you, for some reason, and I'm only slowing you do-"

"Yeah yeah good idea see ya!" Jeremy disappeared through another door, and Geoff, slightly nonplussed at Jeremy's willingness to abandon him, sped off down another corridor.

Umbra, predictably, followed Jeremy through his never-ending romp of constant door-hopping.

Until they ran through the Photographer's nightmare.

Jeremy knew something was wrong when he formed the link. He'd managed to shake Umbra, barely; he could hear the rushing-wind-scream of Umbra chasing down a corridor nearby. It was as if the creature could sense his location; even though he'd foiled its pursuit through the doors, it still knew how to get to him in a more conventional manner. So now, as he came across another door, he was certain he'd be able to put enough space between himself and the crazy screaming child-thing to at least earn a breather.

That is, until the door started screaming at him.

Jeremy's hand had just begun to twist the knob when a horribly disfigured mouth tore open the door's middle, topped by two bloodshot, melting eyes. The door moaned and out of shock, Jeremy tugged it open. That was when it screamed.

Blood poured from the door's edge, with sticky, bloody guts clinging to the frame while it opened. The door's scream took on a bloodcurdling tinge of terror and pain, as if it and the wall were a single being, and Jeremy had just ripped a portion of its body apart.

Jeremy stumbled backwards as the door swung open, robbed of speech and will to move. Where previously the meat factory had been horrifying, creepy, disgusting and nauseating, in the throes of the Photographer's full-blown nightmare it had become something much, much worse.

The tubes of meat had blossomed pus-spewing growths from their metal shells, and the meat flowing through them was replaced by freshly-skinned bodies, writhing in pain as they were forced along. They left bloodied handprints along the glass portions of the pipes, sometimes leaving bits of muscle and fat behind as their meat melted.

Looking up, a roiling ocean of blood greeted Jeremy. The churning ceiling occasionally dripped huge globules of glutinous, blood-covered fleshy things, which splattered on the floor.

Amidst all this, Jeremy could make out a figure on the other side of the room. A lanky man, curled up in a corner.


The sight, oddly enough, gave Jeremy enough willpower to find speech again. "If I can get to him..." he mused, "maybe I can get him to call off that... thing."

He took a deep breath, steeling himself for the trek across the room, as there was no other way to the huddled man. He began walking, talking himself through it all to distract himself from the literal nightmare around him. "All right, Jer, sure this whole thing just gets worse and worse. I mean, crazy god-bug-thing, insano-platform, scary godbitch, lots of angry people and now an I-don't-even-want-to-know. So what the he-ELLL," dodging a bloody hand grasping at his ankles, "are you supposed to do, Jer. Gods and fuckin'... shit. At least Geoff is kind of cute, in an alien kind of wa-aAAY CRAP," barely missing being hit by a gut-globule from the ceiling, "... hellfire. I hate this. I just wanna be drunk in some big hot tub with a lot of chicks as some pissed-off corporate goons chase me down 'cause I banged the boss's son. That'd be nice. Not this crazy shit."

His personal diatribe on all things battle-y continued much in this manner as he navigated the squirming, moaning meat factory floor to where Sereno rocked back and forth.

"Heeeyyy... buddy. You uh... all right there?"

Jeremy's voice brought Sereno partways back to reality. He looked up, grimacing at his headache.

"What do you want, boy?"

"Man what is up with everyone callin' me 'kid' or 'boy' or whatever? I swear I'm probably older than some of you dudes. Anyway yeah uh, you're the guy that crazy child-thing belongs to, right?"

Sereno nodded grudgingly.

"Well you think you could call it off or... something? It's chasing me and it's... uh... scary," Jeremy looked around at the nightmare-fuel around him, adding "... ish".


"Uh... what? Come on man it's gonna-"

"Kill you? Yes. I know. It'll kill all of you. And you all deserve it! You're all MONSTERS!"

Sereno's voice took on a frantic timbre as he continued to talk, and he stood up, lunging towards Jeremy with the final word, tackling him and bringing him to the ground.

The two scuffled rather haphazardly in the bloody, flesh-soft floor, until Jeremy finally managed to slip away.

Sereno stood, clutching his head. "Get BACK here, boy! I will kill you wall and the headaches will stop and Umbra will go away... but first you all must DIE!"

"Oh what the shit..." Jeremy ran. Sereno chased.

They went back through the wailing door; though Jeremy had just enough time to close and reopen it, establishing a new link in the process. The two found themselves in the huge tree-room Jeremy and Geoff had come across all those minutes ago.

Jeremy risked a glance back at his pursuant, and to his horror, discovered that the Nightmare had seeped through the link, growing and corrupting the surrounding treescape. With a high-pitched "fffuuuuuuuck!" Jeremy ran towards the nearest door, reaching out to create another link...

... and quickly snatching his hand back when the handle tried to bite him. Muttering <font size="1">"What the shit..."
he turned to see Sereno pounding towards him. More "shit shit shit!" as he rammed open the door, finding himself in another nightmare-saturated room of the meat factory, up on another raised platform, above a gigantic grinding machine. The links! he realized. This crazy reality-warping stuff has leaked into the links!.

Sereno's death cry brought Jeremy back, and he rushed to close the snapping portal before the raging Italian could make it through.

He was not quick enough.

Sereno's hand snaked through the opening, followed by his body. Jeremy found himself gasping for breath as both hands tightened on his neck, squeezing the life out of him. Sereno pushed forward, leaning Jeremy backwards over the railing. The poor doormage was all to aware of the possible ways he could die right now; choked to death by a madman, or, if Sereno was feeling particularly nasty, tossed into the grinder to add his meat to the factory.

Jeremy scrabbled futilely against Sereno's arms. The Italian was too busy gloating to notice the railing take on a more fleshy texture, and begin to bend. Jeremy, however, felt it change on his back, and he tried to mask its giving way by struggling harder. If he timed this right, perhaps...</font>

"You'll be the first! If I get rid of you... yes, maybe Umbra will stop for a bit! Then I can have some..."

The railing snapped, gushing blood everywhere. Jeremy reached out with one hand and grabbed the sturdiest remaining portion, swinging his body around as Sereno fell forwards. The madman's grasp loosened, and his eyes widened as he realized what had happened. Jeremy clung to the railing as Sereno swung around, and fell.


Jeremy stared into Sereno's eyes right up until his head was crushed in the grinder, spewing brains and blood everywhere.

Jeremy was alive. Sereno was not.

Re: The Battle Royale S2 [Round 2: Prospect Creek]
Originally posted on MSPA by Schazer.


The Composer's mouth quirked at the edges a little, her satisfaction only interrupted by Sereno's screams.

"Hm. I should be keeping better track of this..." she murmured, sweeping aside the assorted wards and raising her hands to begin the transition-

-for a split second, something caught the Composer's wrist. She turned sharply; a black, metalloid tendril coiled frantically away at the edges of her vision. Shaking with a gentle blend of affront and alarm, the Grandmaster dragged her contestants across sanity and space - and paused. The flow had whispered of echoing complexity; a new loop freshly completed while the Composer had huddled away in a safe, stagnant hollow. Things had been changing while she hid from madgods, and neither thought pleased her.

It would bear investigation, but only when the coast was clear. The dissolving factory was scattered on a gust of arid, desert air, the crystal grains tossed up and cast across an unearthly orange sky.

The contestants' gazes lowered from the dazzling suns, greeted by a dessicated sign welcoming them to the main street of some dilapidated ghost-town. A few larger buildings, some collapsed and filling with sparkling sand, comprised the main street, which was lorded over by a lone two-storey building - the saloon. Other than a few piecemeal huts and a shed or two, it was a pretty standard gold-rush sort of town.

"This is your second location, a recently abandoned settlement called Prospect Creek. The town was founded atop a vast mineral reserve... however, poor practices caused a gas leakage from the mines to swamp the town."

The Composer smirked barely audibly again, as at least one contestant stopped breathing rather sharply. "Not to worry, the effects are not... directly fatal... but may prove to be a distraction. To one extent or another, the locals dealt with it. I trust you'll do the same."

Another scratching load of sand was picked up and flung in the contestants' faces, the desolate howl cutting off the Composer.

Transition complete, the Grandmaster took one final paranoid glance around, then teased out one of the fibres until she could identify it. Meticulously, and with at least one pause to detect the Eccentric, she followed this fragmented eighth to its source.

The room wasn't quite the vaguely ominous dimensionlessness the Composer and her ilk were accustomed to, yet it had its own sense of self-assured grandeur. An armchair eclipsed the crackling fireplace, the deep shadows on its worn, in-places-threadbare back peppered with flickers of activity reflected on a million shards of mirror. This nebula drifted in a scintillating cloud round the chair and its occupant; the Composer thought she caught an eye in one, before it vanished.


"Prestidigitator. Yourself?"


"Indeed." The Prestidigitator's mood was hard to gauge."Please, take a seat."

Nothing in the room had moved, yet somehow in the blink of an eye there were two identical chairs, each angled toward the other as well as in the direction of the fireplace. The Grandmaster shrouded in glass motioned toward the empty armchair; the Composer wordlessly sat, but refused to make herself comfortable.

Safe behind his shadows and trickery, the Prestidigitator chanced himself a little smile as he studied his guest's demeanour - stiff, formal, and serious. Probably compensating for inexperience; he'd caught wind of some of the anarchy which had ensued when she'd let her agents loose in her own battle.

"Something to drink? No?"he gestured vaguely, spiriting a glass of wine for himself from nowhere when the Composer unsurprisingly declined. Swirling the contents of his own drink in a thoughtful fashion, he finally sighed and asked his silent companion.

"What do you want, Composer?"

"I... require a favour." If there was any distaste behind the words, the Composer made a formidable effort of concealing it. The Prestidigitator motioned for her to continue.

"The Observer... he has, through his own design or not, though I would suspect the latter, assumed the Director's role in a second arc of Battles." None of this was news to the Prestidigitator, who simply took a sip of his wine. "It was my intention to launch a second battle of my own, or find some other pretext to keep a watchful eye on him."

The other Grandmaster was only half-listening to the Composer, but considering his capacity that was more than enough. His shaded eyes flickered over the myriad sights reflected in the mirrors while formless voices muttered further context, too low for the Composer to hear. She failed to miss his hurriedly choked chuckle, though, and the temperature in the room dropped noticeably.

"My apologies, Composer. But you need help dealing with the Eccentric?"

"I- yes." The Composer's fists uncurled slowly, and her cold rage melted to something more akin to dejection, with a glare that did a decent job at hiding her embarrassment.

"Oh, don't get me wrong - I will concede it is quite the formidable beast. I'm merely curious how you attracted its unwelcome attention."

Now she definitely sounded embarrassed. Angry, too. The Prestidigitator hid his amusement as the Composer relayed what had happened.

When her story was complete, the Grandmaster said nothing for a moment, before finishing his glass and tossing it over his shoulder. The reflective nebula parted to a cavalcade of serpents as the Prestidigitator rose from his chair.

"I will gladly assist you, Composer. Consider that madgod the least of your problems, and yourself in my debt."

The Composer stood as well at this, tailing the conjurer to a door that hadn't been there. "You have my thanks." The host stood aside as the ornate, black detail on the door rippled, swirled, and shifted to something bluer. His guest had her hand on the delicate, now-silver handle, when he interrupted.

"Forgive me, though I am curious, Composer... why did you not seek the help of your more familiar colleagues? Surely the Observer would be concerned about an intruder to his campaign?"

The blank eyes turned to gaze levelly at the old Grandmaster, and for the first time, the Prestidigitator was met with that familiar, icy smirk. He had to concede, it suited her.

"If you recall, Prestidigitator, I mentioned that idiot saw fit to let the Eccentric run a battle for him until I stepped in. It would not be a source of much regret if a fool like that received his just rewards.

To that end, and considering I would rather be indebted to a sympathetic stranger over any scheming colleague I've had the misfortune of dealing with... well."

"I confess... I have a fondness for tradition. That may be, perhaps, the only place your sympathies lie for me. But perhaps, Prestidigitator, I'm mistaken.

Regardless, I will be certain to clear my debt, when a time comes that you seek me out."

The Composer slipped through the door, and closed it behind her.

Re: The Battle Royale S2 [Round 2: Prospect Creek]
Originally posted on MSPA by Dragon Fogel.

Before the Composer's speech had even finished, Sirius flew up to the roof of the saloon. He needed time to think, and even if he hadn't just killed someone the others were likely to respect, they were an unwelcome distraction.

What had been the delay?

Several minutes had passed between Steinwaffe's shattering and the transportation. Had their host decided to leave them to suffer in that horrible factory for just a little longer, for her own amusement?

Whatever the reason, Sirius was already tiring of the battle. His designated opponents were some of the most infuriating beings he had ever met. He wouldn't miss any of them if they died. At this point, there was only one thing keeping him from making that his primary objective.

It was what the Composer wanted him to do. And he hated her even more than the others. Maddening as they were, at least they had no ability to send him to a Dimension of Piefights or something equally absurd.

Sirius was almost certain he would fall if he ever returned home - he had killed in cold blood, and the fact that his victim was made of stone was unlikely to exonerate him. He suspected the only reason he hadn't already fallen was that this world was under the power of other gods, and his own had no means of exacting punishment here. It hardly mattered any more - he had no attachment to his original world. He'd grown to despise it, and frankly, would probably have welcomed this contest if not for the fact that it only suggested every other world was at least as frustratingly silly as his own.

He wondered if it was even worth acting this round. He could safely stay on the roof for quite some time. With Steinwaffe dead, he was reasonably sure nobody else could fly. The only ranged weapon in play was Geoff's crossbow, which would be difficult to aim accurately. He saw no stairs leading down, nor a door for Jeremy to use. The gas might not even be in effect all the way up here.

The only way he could see for any of them to harm him would be by destroying the saloon.

Which, upon further reflection, seemed unpleasantly likely. He'd have to keep an eye on them, at the least.

Sirius let out a sigh, and turned his attention to the streets below, watching the other five as they seemed to settle on where they planned to search.

Re: The Battle Royale S2 [Round 2: Prospect Creek]
Originally posted on MSPA by MalkyTop.

The change in scenery was jolting enough to force the Photographer awake. He flumped to the ground as his dream avatar dispersed while carrying him.

His surroundings were very different. He was used to waking up in a completely different place than his bedroom, but at least usually it was still inside the city. This place looked nothing like the place before. But at least he wasn't hanging on a weird speedy robot thing for dear life and wait what happened to the knife?

It turned out he had been clutching the knife tightly the whole time he was unconscious. So tight, in fact, that the handle had completely sunk into his hand. Rubbing his face, the Photographer stuck it back in his side as usual and wait what happened to the camera?

He looked down at his foot and felt a thick helping of dread plummet into where a stomach would usually be. The camera had not held up well after falling several feet and then being dragged around to avoid nightmarish creatures. The photographer could no longer see any lens and it appeared that the flash had broke as well. The back had popped open, releasing the film to God-knows-where and he was quite sure that many parts were missing, having been jolted out of place during the fall.

He carefully disentangled the strap from his foot and softly closed the back. "Camera?" he whispered softly, turning it this way and that, taking in the whole damage done. A little hesitantly, he said even softer, "C-cammy?"

There wasn't any response.

Normally, the Photographer would know that because of all the damage done, the camera was in a coma, or at least as much of a coma as a camera could be, and would be alright as soon as it was fixed again. Inanimate objects don't die. But his recent encounter with the insentient robotic drone gave him pause. He had never thought it possible for objects to just be unable to speak to him.

He just had to hope that there were some spare camera parts around and the camera would be alright again after he fixed it.

Camera around his neck once more, he finally stood up only to sit back down, dizzy and disoriented. And he had just noticed he had a headache. Did something strange happen while he was asleep?

He got up more slowly this time and, walking at a pace that didn't make him fall flat on his face, the Photographer managed to walk inside the nearest building. It was hard to make out the letters on the sign, but he was certain that it said something like 'General Store.'

Re: The Battle Royale S2 [Round 2: Prospect Creek]
Originally posted on MSPA by Pinary.

While the temperature was a welcome relief, being a bit closer to Hattal norm, the wind and dust weren't kind to Geoff's large eyes. Squeezing them shut, he stumbled blindly forward, holding one arm in front of his face and feeling around before him with the other. One step at a time, he made his way ahead, and he was eventually rewarded with the smack of his hand against wood. Groping around, he found that he was up against a wall, and, following it to one side, he eventually located the door.

Well, the doorway, at least. There was nothing in the frame, and upon entering, he found that one wall was missing as well. A brief glimpse around, though, showed that there was another door on the far wall, and this one was actually intact.

He slipped a bit on the piled-up sand as he made his way through the room, but he made it across eventually. The small, dark room on the other side was a welcome relief, and, opening his eyes, he was glad to not be blinded by the dust.

The room, as it turned out, was a smith's supply room. After a moment's thought, Geoff supposed it made sense- the missing wall of the front room hadn't been broken down or worn away, it had simply never been. That would have been where the smith worked for most of the day, the lack of a wall serving as ventilation.

Suddenly, a thought struck him, and he turned to look around the room. A few minutes of searching later, he emerged from the room, his eyes covered by a pair of goggles and his nose and mouth by a rag. The goggles didn't exactly do much for his peripheral vision, but at least he could see.

He started down the street, but stopped after just a few steps. He untied the rag, sniffed it, then sniffed the air. It wasn't just the rag- there was a smell in the air, a smell he recognized but couldn't place, a smell he knew he knew but couldn't remember. It teased him, hovering just a tiny bit out of reach, taunting him in a way that never failed to frustrate him.

Bah. Dwelling on it wouldn't help, he knew. He'd always realize what it was the exact moment it became irrelevant. It was the way of those things, and he wasn't going to argue with it.

Retying the rag, he started off down the street again. If there was one place where people would be gathering, it would be the largest building around, and that's where he needed to be.

Re: The Battle Royale S2 [Round 2: Prospect Creek]
Originally posted on MSPA by slipsicle.

Jeremy collapsed in the dust. He didn't listen to most of the Composer's introduction, too preoccupied was he with the fact that he had killed a man.

He pushed a hand through his hair, teeth clenched and eyes slightly wild. He had no way to cope...

Suddenly, he froze, struck by an idea. Still on he knees, he began scrabbling around in the dust, looking for something, before pausing once more and letting out a soft laugh. He sniffed, and wiped his nose on his sleeve. "Fucking... pies..." he muttered, and barked out another laugh, before looking around.

He was in a cellar of some sort, seperated from the rest of the group. He imagined they'd all been flung across the town. He stood up, and stumbled weakly over to the cellar door.

"All right, Jer, let's see what this town has to offer..." placing a hand on the door, he closed his eyes for a few moments, before opening it to...


"Oh man I knew this place felt like a saloon! Fuckin' alcohol! If ever there were a way to deal with being a murderer, drowning myself in liquor has got to be the one!"

The young man walked behind the bar, set out a few glasses, and got to pouring.

By the time Geoff walked into the building he'd seen Sirius perched upon, Jeremy was thoroughly drunk.

Re: The Battle Royale S2 [Round 2: Prospect Creek]
Originally posted on MSPA by Pinary.

When Geoff entered the saloon, the sound of the swinging doors attracted Jeremy's attention. He got up from his stool, knocking it over in the process, and took a few unsteady steps toward the Hattallan.

"Heeyy, Geoff! How's it been- What... Wazzzaaap?"

"Alright, Jeremy, nice to see you too. Maybe you should sit down a minute."

"That's a good plan. Let's, I'll just, right here. Yeah."

Geoff led him over to a nearby table, and they sat down.

"So," the Hattallan asked, "what happened back there? Once we split up, where did you go? I mean, there were several minutes between that statue getting killed and us being brought here. Did you manage to shake that... thing?"

Jeremy's face darkened. "No, man. It just kept following me, it wouldn't- And the doors, man, the doors! And then he, and I, and..." He took a few shuddering breaths before continuing. "It makes you think, you know?"

"I don't quite follow."

He snorted into the mug he'd been repeatedly filling with alcohol and giggled a bit. "All this, I mean, it's just... Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?"

"Well, I suppose-"

"Caught in a landside, no escape from reality."


"Open your eyes, look up to the skies and see..."

"Jeremy, man, you're not making any sense."

"I'm just a poor boy, I need so sympathy, because I'm easy come, easy go, little high, little low! Any way the wind blows doesn't really matter to me, to me!"

Geoff, with no exposure to Queen, had no idea what Jeremy was going on about. He gave up trying to understand and just sat back, letting the kid finish.

Jeremy showed no signs of slowing down, however. He raised his voice as he carried on, getting louder as the song progressed. It didn't take long for him to get loud enough for his voice to reach the roof.

A few moments after the kid started imitating the guitar solo, something wrenched a hole in the roof, tearing their way in.

Jeremy's song faltered and died as Sirius descended into the saloon, eyes blazing.

Re: The Battle Royale S2 [Round 2: Prospect Creek]
Originally posted on MSPA by Dragon Fogel.

I'll be posting sometime later today. I don't think this calls for an official reserve yet, though.
Re: The Battle Royale S2 [Round 2: Prospect Creek]
Originally posted on MSPA by Dragon Fogel.

Jeremy stared at Sirius, too frightened to react. After a moment, though, he settled on the best course of action.

He downed the rest of his drink.

Sirius covered his ears, expecting another onslaught of terrible singing, but was taken aback by the sight of Jeremy suddenly sobbing into his mug.

"I killed 'im!" he wailed, slamming the empty mug down on the nearest table. He started trying to stagger his way over to the nearest keg, but soon fell to the floor. Sirius made a brief sigh of frustration, walked over, and picked the drunken door mage up by his shirt collar.

"You were bad enough sober," the angel scolded. "Now here we are in the middle of a battle to the death, and you decide this is a good time to get drunk, just because you killed..." Sirius paused as he reflected on Jeremy's confession. "Wait. Killed who? I killed that gargoyle. Was there another death?"

"Sero... Sera... Serri... that Italian kid," Jeremy slurred. "He... I..." He started sobbing into his hands despite the uncomfortable position.

"Wonderful. You know, the plan is for five more of us to die. I could arrange for you to be next very easily."

Sirius' threat was interrupted as Geoff struck him in the back of the head with a stool. The angel turned around, dropping Jeremy on the floor.

"What's that? Are you volunteering to go in his place?" Sirius howled, clasping his hands around Geoff's throat.

Or he would have, if his hands hadn't passed right through the Hattallan.

Re: The Battle Royale S2 [Round 2: Prospect Creek]
Originally posted on MSPA by MalkyTop.

Timothy couldn't help but notice very quickly that they had teleported out of the previous round at some point. He peered over his borrowed book suspiciously at everything, growing worried at the mention of some sort of gas leak.

Beside him, Wardell still sat reading, and as he watched, he slowly turned a page.

"Aren't you...going to...are you really just going to sit there...?"

He sighed and pointedly raised the book closer to his face. "I intend to, yes."

"But..." Timothy waved a hand in the direction of everything. "...You know...?"

And it was only then that Wardell actually looked up from the text, one eyebrow raised. "No. I don't."

"It's...death. And gas leaks and crazy angels and stuff. You can't just ignore everything throughout the whole...thing..."

"You did just that a while ago," he pointed out. Timothy didn't have any anwer for that. He settled for ignoring it.

"Aren't you at least going to find a place to hide?"

Wardell looked around at the open, dusty space they were in. "It would be nice to go inside somewhere," he conceeded and the two looked for some nice, quiet, empty hidey hole to hang out for a while.


The Photographer had wandered around the General Store in a daze, as though he had expected somebody to tell him what to do once he had got there. The knife had grown a little worried and was about to say something when suddenly, he seemed to remember something.

"Um! Er...hi everybody!" the gooey humanoid said. Some of the objects on the shelves roused themselves. It was the equivalent to a crowd stirring after hearing a particularly boring speech. "Well...I sorta need help. Do any of you know if there's a camera around here...?"

A low murmur started around in the store as ancient tins of food recalled old customers who talked excitedly about some sort of hired photographer coming in from out-of-town with one of those new-fangled cameras but for some reason, the Photographer couldn't focus on what they were babbling about. He suddenly wondered if it was a little silly to be talking to rusty tins of cans. I mean, uh, tins of something? What are in tins? Sardines?

The knife in his side sounded like it was talking to him too, but he ignored it. Woah, wait, in his side? Isn't that dangerous? He took the the the knife out of his side and stared at it before looking at his side. It wasn't bleeding. Or maybe he had invisible blood. He should plug up the hole with something then. Oh hey, there's a knife in his hand, that can plug holes, right? Cool, it works.

And oh look, there's a camera around his neck, that's what he was looking for, right? Okay, cool. Maybe he should go outside. The store was feeling um er small, right.

But the door swung open to let in two people. Thephotographer blinked at them and they stared back and wait, what sort of name was Thephotographer? How do you even pronounce that? That can't be a name. He needed a new name. Something that's actually a name. It was hard to think of a name with knives shouting. The knife was shouting something like 'are you listening' or something. Was Listening a name? Maybe his name should be Listening.

He focused on the two people again but they weren't people, of course they weren't people. What would people be doing here? It was a nice-looking bookend made out of clay. Good quality. He wasn't quite sure why it was so big, but he supposed bookends needed to grow too. The other thing was a giant cross.

"Hello," he said cheerfully and and and did that thing with his arm where it did that thing oh right, waving.

"Um," the cross said, exchanging glances with the bookend. "Hello."

"That's the camera-guy, right?" the bookend said, pointing over to him and how did bookends point, anyways? "He's not too bad, right? I'll just go behind the counter and read."

"Oh, are you the owner?" Listening asked, but the bookend disappeared into a side room. The door closed its mouth once it let him in. "Oh, I guess it's still closed. Hi! How're you? What's your name? I'm Listening. That's my name I just made up."

"Um, Timothy," the cross replied. Listening didn't think that was much of a name for a cross, but some parents just didn't have taste. "Are...are you okay? Weren't you the Photographer...?"

He looked down at his camera. "Why yes, I'm a photographer. What sort of job do you have? Something in church?"

Timothy shifted nervously. Listening briefly wondered how he could balance so well on one leg. "S-something like that. Are you sure you're okay...?"

"I'm not Okay, I'm Listening," he insisted. "You can have the name Okay if you want."

Timothy couldn't help but feel a little worried as he stared at the the obviously seriously delirious Photographer.