I'm much better after the pain that was Operation: Wintergreen. Woke up half dead, having clawed my way from the entrance to the vortex to the exit. It's good to actually feel alive, I've healed up nicely. One life saved. Time to help all the others.
First: I did not answer some questions that were asked in the post before last. I'd like to get that out of the way. Ryuu has already heard this rant. I'm putting this out publicly, to make life easier on everyone.
"Analyze the Corruption" ... "Different Purifiers."...
Le Sigh, as the French might say. Not to be an ass everybody, but this isn't Science. This is MAGIC. It's not precise, and it definitely doesn't follow the rules of the Scientific Method. I mean, if it has a signature, I'd call it Essence of Slenderfucker. It's dark, it's mean, it doesn't like people. There's a hint of wood.
I mean, the Chinese believed that there are five elements, Earth, Wood, Metal, Fire, and Water. The west believed in Earth, Air, Fire, Water. I've always believed in Earth, Wind, Water, Fire, Darkness, and Light. I mix systems when I have to in order to describe something, hence "A hint of wood."
Mostly, this Jade is bad news, and now that you've seen it: I'm going to purify it so hard that the guy who carved it will sit up in bed and say, "My word! My hands feel as though they've been washed by the unending river of time with the soap of eternity and perfumed by the sweet scents first made for the Pharaohs of Egypt." That shit will be PRISTINE by the time I'm done with it. End of story.
As per your questions, Keiken...I need you to be more specific. What dreams are we talking about here? Link me? List me? What've you got?
As per your statement, Arsoness, you can go burn and die in a fire. Alex (of all people) has grown up, and he's coming to save the day.
Meanwhile, what am I doing? I'm putting an extremely important plan into action. I'm trying to get around the damn filter. I do not know what's going on here at all. As near as I can tell, it adapted to me. And maybe you're right Ryuu. Maybe I should just listen to Time Lord this time. But you know something? If he is performing some ridiculously convoluted mega-plan, he should have brought me into the loop. Since he hasn't, my assumption is that he needs me to run around willy-nilly, causing all manner of insane shit to happen. Admittedly, it's a much, much more complicated plan than that...but for the moment, it's very straightforward. Therefore: Operation Willy-Nilly is going into effect.
Current Guidelines for Operation Willy-Nilly:
1: Brute force the fucking entries through my blog with extreme prejudice
2: Smite Evil
3: Be Heroic.
Stupid? Maybe. Effective? Certainly. No matter what I do, I know for certain that if I follow Operation: Willy-Nilly, it'll get SOMEONE'S attention. And then I'll know where to go from here.
Why am I going so hard against common sense? Because I had a talk with Weaver today. Her, Spinner, and Cutter have been working at the local movie theater near the apartment. She had been coming in from work while I was writing this entry, and then:
Weaver said, "What the fuck are you doing?"
I looked up from my laptop, blinked, and asked, "Writing another entry?"
Weaver said, "Will that help you find (Timelord) and allow us to go back to Buffalo?"
"It's been Months! Now I know all kinds of crazy shit is happening, but what exactly have you been doing for Months?!"
"What is it that you're not telling me? I may not have known you for all that long, but I know you don't SIT. It's not what you do, so why are you?"
I decided to let her in on the secret as to why I've been sitting still for all this time:
"(Weaver). I know who's behind this. I know everything I need to know. And I know that if I move right now, we'll all die. It will be horrible. It will be gruesome. It will involve torture. (Time Lord) is what this has always been about, and it all connects back to a woman you'll never know. She's been dead for a few months now, and I saw what she's been hiding from me for eight years. And when it all comes to pass, there will be no defense. I have two choices: Choose where to die, or find a way to keep us alive. (Time Lord) put something into action for just that, but I think I've got a better plan. I need you to trust me for now, alright? You just need to live your life and not worry for a little while longer."
Weaver stared at me. After about thirty seconds, she said:
"Can we run?"
I said, "There's nowhere to run, and nowhere to hide. The man who interrogated you in that room, the one I've been calling Mastermind... he's known where we are for a while. And he knows that we know he knows. This isn't something you can run from. It's too damn big. He's leaving us out in the open as bait to lure out (Time Lord). And so long as we stay out in the open, he'll leave us alone. He doesn't even care if we know we're bait, because he knows I know what he'll do when we outlive our usefulness. We're trapped. But not for long."
Weaver was silent.
I said, "I had a War Council after all this started. We came up with Operation: Willy-Nilly. Just keep living Weaver. Whatever happens next, this game is going into overtime."
And then I figured out how to break the filter on the next few segments.
|At least, not until I GO OVERBOARD AND FUCK SHIT UP!|
Needless to say, I've been feeling very pissy as of late regarding perception filters on my blog. It is, as they say, Go time.
Let me know if you can actually read this entry. I've left Editor's notes where necessary.
Hours 19 - 15
Nothing quite says fun like riding to a Hotel after coffee. Weaver was driving, I was riding shotgun. We'd found a pretty cheap one. Before anybody guesses, yes, it was the same hotel from "Hotel Room." And the same damn room. Mindwash gave us our keys, and we headed up to room 215. The first thing I noticed about room 215 was the fact that it felt lived in. My third eye, sixth sense, call it whatever you will, is open all the time. I literally can't turn it off, and that means that I pick up on all kinds of things right off the bat. And in this case, this room had been home to someone for a while before I got there. It just felt...Homey. I felt more comfortable there.
It was a room with two beds, a TV, an alarm clock, all the things you'd expect from a half-way decent hotel room. I won't say what the inn was, but Wifi came with the package. Got to love having good internet.
Weaver and I laid down on our respective beds. The sun had been down for a while now, we'd eaten something at Weaver's before we ran out this way. Between getting Weaver packed and out the door and getting the hard cash to pay for a night at a motel. (Editor's Note: I wasn't letting her use her credit card when something was after her. I was just that paranoid. I was also a cheapskate, we used money she'd had laying around her apartment. Like hell I was using MY money for this mess, Timelord was reimbursing this shit when it was all over, I intend to see to that.) We were both pooped. and by some unspoken agreement it was time to talk about things.
At about this point, Weaver said, "You grabbed me, jumped out a window with me, rolled over a car, and then got me to safety in the face of a vicious mantis entity attack."
I said, "Yup."
Then she said, "Then we went to get coffee so you could feel more alive, and you completely destroyed an army of the things surrounding the coffee shop."
She said, "Why the hell are these things trying to kill me?"
"Us, Weaver. And I don't know. You were here when this started."
Weaver was silent for a minute.
Then she said, "We had no idea. We went to (Time Lord)'s to hang out, like always...and then they were there. Why are you here, anyway?"
"Because he took something from me. I'm not leaving until I get it back."
She asked, "What did he take from you?"
"Peace of mind."
We were quiet for a while.
Weaver said, "That's important enough to come running all the way to Buffalo from Philadelphia?"
I thought about it. Then I said, "Peace of mind is precious. It's like solid gold in this profession. I don't expect you to understand at this point."
He's not wrong. I have achieved understanding on this matter, now that I have read that.
That's when I noticed a bit of motion out of the corner of my eye. I reached over the side of the bed slowly for my duffel bag. I slowly unzipped it. (Editor's Note: I think back on this moment, and it seriously confuses me. I'm a perceptive guy, but would I know at a glance that we were being spied on by something? I'm about ninety percent sure now that something had managed to get through my head and make a "suggestion", and that means that I'm about one hundred percent sure that Timelord was nearby, performing cosmic head-fucking shenanigans.)
Weaver said, "You're not going to have to hurt him to get it back though, are you?"
Then I pulled that lovely Cold Iron Longsword out of the bag.
(Editor's Note: Yeah. THAT Longsword. The one that I had Forgemaster make for the express purpose of giving me a close combat weapon for when SlenderSuit McFuckDoucher came to town. It hadn't gone missing yet at this point in our timeline of lost memories.)
His dependence on weapons will get him killed.
That's when Weaver screamed as I rolled over with the sword drawn and leaped at the window, and the window crashed inward, revealing a man in a blood red mask with a blood red cloak.
(Editor's Note: REDFUCKER THE MASK GUY! Who got us both teargassed! It's THAT Fucker! Argh.)
He should treat his honored enemies with more respect.
He was going for the traditional, "I land in a crouch, and then stand up while unfurling my cloak dramatically" approach. I responded by slamming my boot into his gut, and holding the tip of the sword at his throat. He looked very surprised at all of this.
I said, "Who are you?"
He said, "Behold? I am the Masque of Red Death? I herald the fall of this fortress?"
Weaver said, "What the fuck?"
I said, "You're an Edgar Allen Poe fan. Cute. Slenderfucker, right?"
Masque said, "Uh. Yeah. Put that sword somewhere else, or you shall know his limitless fury?"
I said, "You sound about as confident as the Boom-Goes-The-Dynamite kid."
That's when the whole thing went straight to hell. A booming voice cut resounded through the room:
"LAUGHING HYENA DISPATCHES YOUR FACE AND PUTS YOU IN YOUR PLACE!"
Ladies and Gentlemen, Crouching Tiger had arrived. As in Morningstar's lackey, Crouching Tiger. As in Mr. Calls-His-Attacks-Ever-Time Crouching Tiger. When Lucy Ricardo first wrote about his acquisition of Crouching Tiger to his team, I honestly skimmed the post. After the first two, I figured it was all some kind of stupid joke. But no, I encountered the same gods-be-damned Crouching Tiger X months ago. And the very first thing that happened was a trio of quick punches that drilled into my head and knocked me on my ass. I did not see that shit coming. Now, Crouching Tiger has a serious weakness: he can only move as fast as his mouth. But his mouth moves pretty fast.
That was about the time that Weaver stepped up to the plate. As it turns out, she knows a thing or two about Hand-to-hand combat. I asked later, and found out that she had spent a few years studying Wing Chun. Now, anybody who doesn't know Wing Chun just needs to know this: Lots of punches. Just about everything moves in a straight line. All the blocks turn into punches. It always moves forward, even when it moves backwards. You know, how about I shorten this whole damn description down to, "Watch a Bruce Lee movie", because that's what the basis of his Jeet Kune Do ended up being.
So Masque of Red Death went down with one punch from her. While all this is going on in the background, I'm desperately trying to pick myself up off the ground. And I realize, that even if I DO pick myself up off the ground, there wasn't anything I was going to do. Crouching Tiger had hit me three times before I had even realized the bastard was in the room. How was I going to match that?
In the background, I heard:
"Eagle swoops low!"
"Snake strikes the squirrel!"
"Hoo! foo. Foo."
"Toad hops over companion!"
I heard Red Mask groan as someone stepped on him. I bet you can tell who was saying what above pretty easily. After all, only ONE of them was using correct noises, and attempting to use Kiai style shouting to get her blood pumping. The other was saying random silly phrases. But in spite of those random silly phrases, his movements were perfect. His technique was fantastic. I had managed to crawl to one of the beds, asking myself the entire time: "What the hell am I supposed to do?"
Amalgamation Sage knew exactly enough about martial arts to get his ass kicked in new and interesting ways. We needed someone who actually knew his business, and knew it well enough to keep up with this crazy Kung-fu shenanigan-o-rama. And that's when I saw it. There was a belt. Right there, under the bed, a traditional Karate belt. People don't really THINK about the Belt System that most martial arts use. The origin behind all those red belts and blue belts and black belts and such, was that you would give a student a white belt at the outset...and then, as the student trained and trained hard, it would get dirtier and dirtier. If you fought a martial artist who had practiced long enough and hard enough that his belt had turned black, it meant that you were fighting one hardcore skilled son of a bitch. That's where it all came from. And this belt? Whoever it had belonged to, it was NOT the pristine belt of a student.
I lunged for it. People didn't just leave that sort of thing laying around in a Hotel room. A real martial artist treated his belt as sacred. I grabbed the thing and felt exactly what it was. Someone had prepared this thing as a goddamn Totem. We were back in business.
I hastily grabbed it, and started tying it as fast as I could. I didn't quite know what totem this would end up being, but I had the tool. As I tied it, I looked up, and saw the big problem I had to deal with.
Right now, Crouching Tiger was using something that looked like Hung Gar. Hung Gar is a fighting style with five animals (Crane, Snake, Tiger, Leopard, and Dragon when you put it all together.) To give you an idea of how this style operates, here's what you need to know: Just about every series of attacks is designed so that you can hopefully end it with a move called "Tiger Rips Out The Throat." It's self-explanatory. But this guy was also throwing out stuff like Eagle and I swear to god I thought I saw Monkey for a minute there. Right as I finished tying the belt, Weaver got him with a series of punches to the chest...which he took, stumbled backward, and turned that stumble into a kick to her face:
He said as he did, "Drunken Monkey disciplines wild dog!"
She stumbled back. That one took a lot out of her.
And then whoever I was stood up. We all heard a gong go off somewhere. I wish I was kidding. Weaver and Tiger stopped what they were doing to trade glances between me and the TV and the Window and...
I disapprove. He should fight using his own strength.
Crouching Tiger said, "Confused Tiger listens for gong?"
Then I said, in a voice that was not my own, "The Student has arrived."
The Student. This one confuses me. The belt was a faded, dark gray. I guess the idea was that he was a person who knew he would never be the master, but tried and forced himself to learn and push forward anyway. He took his lumps, and gave back a few more, learning as much as he could as he went along. The learning never stopped. He wouldn't start the fight, but by the gods he would end it.
From outside my body, I watched as he took his stance. All he did was bend his knees a little. This was some kind of Tai Chi stance.
Crouching Tiger lunged forward, but The Student caught his arm, pressing forward without force, but with perfect precision. Crouching Tiger found himself spun around, his arm was caught in a very awkward position. I saw my body kick him hard in the ass, sending him backward, tripping over the fallen figure of Red Mask. Crouching Tiger came up in a roll, and I saw my body and Weaver move forward at the same time.
WHAM. Two fists impacted hard into Crouching Tiger's face. He caught himself on the wall next to the window. The Student knew that Weaver would kick low, so he chose to kick high. My leg CAN'T connect with someone's jaw at that height, it's physically impossible for me to do so. But The Student brought my leg up that high anyway. Crouching Tiger ducked that, and found himself ducking into Weaver's kick. He stumbled a little to the side, placing himself right in the frame of the broken window.
That's about when the Student calmly received a punch from Crouching Tiger, which he redirected off to the side, allowing Weaver to come in with a perfect jab to Crouching Tiger's gut, which The Student followed up by calmly pushing Tiger out the window.
Crouching Tiger landed on the sidewalk, rolled, and stared up at us. I heard the door open and shut behind us. That was Red Mask slipping out while we were busy. Crouching Tiger bowed, and calmly started walking away down the sidewalk.
He shouted, "Panther retreats to the Jungle!"
Then the Student took off the belt, and said, "Leave it here for next time."
I shivered when I was in my own body again. I put the belt back under the bed, wondering when and how Next Time would come about.
Weaver meanwhile, just stared at me.
I ignored her, saying, "Kung fu is important to the Reinforcement Fairy's training regimen."
Then I went to sleep. Weaver said something about calling hotel security and paying for damages. I told her to fuck off and that we'd deal with it tomorrow.
(Editor's Note: Yeah. I have no doubt. Something was influencing my actions. None of this feels right at all.)
Reckless and Foolish. Is that all he is?