The Mechanics of In Flight
One of my reviewers mentioned the idea of starting a forum for those who want to debate various points of my story without clogging up the review section too much. I decided to go ahead and give it a try.
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*Beams happily*

I know interesting words, and can use them! Because I am smart.

But only if you exclude all the silly things I do/say.

4/16/2012 #91
Sage of Eyes
Who thinks I should Punish Syroc for calling third fang an Erudite by joining the shipping category >:D
4/16/2012 #92

I should be punished for calling him learned and knowledgeable?

4/16/2012 #93
Bloody Hero

Hey guys a new chapter of Shirou Emiya in Monster Girl just came out in the Shirou Emiya Eroge Protagonist thread:)

4/16/2012 #94
Sage of Eyes

Fine: Who thinks I should be a healthy competitor to Syroc since he was so nice to Third Fang?

4/16/2012 #95
Bloody Hero

Oh Oh Oh Oh ME ME ME ME ME ME! Nothing increases quality work like having a Rival to push you to your limits:)

4/16/2012 #96

So, you want to leave the judge roster then?

4/16/2012 #97
Sage of Eyes
Lets see what people think first Syroc-tan, silly guy thinking I'll hold back with my fancy captain hat at stake.
4/16/2012 #98

I felt very OOC writing this.

I don't think I like writing horror.

* * *


Something in the air caused me to pause, a subtle shift in the nigh-omnipresent sweetness tainted by subtle notes of other scents that I had come to associate with the Sekirei.

This was different. It wasn't sweet, it was... difficult to describe.

Well, no. It was easy to describe. But there was just so many things that could be said about it, and that was where the difficulty set it. There were just too many recognizable qualities about it.

It was the stink of old sweat on hot flesh.

It was like days of filth left unwashed, baking under a searing sun.

It was the heavy musk of sex, so thick that it made me uncomfortable.

It was blood, ancient and putrefied so badly that it actually caused me to gag.

It was like everything that I might associate with a human that had decided to do away with all the niceties and pretence of personal hygiene, but a thousand times worse.

And it was everywhere. How such a thing could be possible without any sort of overtly magical effects was

People surged past me on either side, the hustle and bustle of the Shin-Tokyo shopping district busy even during the MBI lockdown of the city. Commerce continued and in some cases even flourished despite the menace of the Sekirei Plan and what it entailed beginning to sink in. Maybe it was the sense of helplessness that made everyone yearn for a sense of normalcy that came from simply going out to their favourite stores to pick out something nice. Maybe people simply felt like getting rid of a bit of their disposable income.

I myself was one such person: as fond as I was of my wardrobe, all the fighting that had been going on was wreaking havoc on the limited amount of clothing that was available to me. The inevitable had finally happened this morning when I had realized that simply had no clean shirts that didn't have a tear in them. And while I was fond of them, I didn't exactly want my flock crowding me as I searched for some shirts to replace those that had been destroyed.

Matsu in particular. While I was certain that she was aware of the danger that being in public present, I was equally aware of the hijinks that a dressing room and good timing could create. It was a risk I wasn't prepared to take today. Better all-around to just get what I needed quickly and have done with it.

But I hadn't been expecting to find this once I had arrived.

Confused, I sniff at the air once more, trying to find the source of this strange magic. I realized that the task set before me would be a difficult one, but that had hardly stopped me before.

And it wouldn't stop me here, either. I had to find the source of this anomaly as soon as possible, as I had little doubt that whoever had created this bounded field had not done so simply to confuse itinerant magi. There was a purpose to this magic, a reason. And I knew enough about the practices of my fellow magi to be wary of any magic that smelled this bad.

I pushed through the crowd, breathing deeply as I did. A few people looked at me askance, but soon lost interest in me and went on their business. After all, there wasn't anything too strange about what I was doing. And I did make sure to apologize when such was warranted.

In fact, I was in the process of doing just that when I at last spotted it.


No, it. There was no way it could be human.

It crouched in the darkness of an empty alleyway with a pair of mismatched eyes, one a bright yellow and the other a deep, vibrant red that watched the world rush past it with a vacant stare. That alone gave me reason to pause, as I had rarely seen eyes of either colour before. To see the two there on one face was more than a little disconcerting, but that was just about the only thing that looked even remotely worrying.

It was completely naked, its skin an unnatural motley of pale yellows, pinkish-reds and dark browns that appeared across its body with no pattern at all. It looked for all the world like some kind of diseased ragdoll-parody of a human, made up from scraps and pieces left behind from others and then inflicted with all manner of illnesses.

It was also kind of scrawny. Emaciated, even. In fact, If not for the reek of magic or the other worrying things about it, I might even have felt sorry for the thing. It was obvious that it was starving.

But the strangest aspect of all of this was the way nobody seemed to notice it there in.

Nobody turned and screamed at the naked monster with its skeletal frame, mismatched eyes and its stark inhumanity.

As if sensing my scrutiny it suddenly snapped its head in my direction, instantly finding and locking eyes with me. I froze, suddenly realizing that looking intensely at a creature that smelled so strongly of magic was a very bad idea as it paralyzed me where I stood in the moment we cross eyes.

It remained still for only a moment, watching me and then it stirred. It unfolded from its low crouch to stand fully erect, never once removing its gaze from me. And then in a blur of movement that did not seem possible from something human-shaped, it stood before me, uncomfortably close. Its face was mere inches away from my own, and though I looked down on it that didn't seem to intimidate it in the slightest.

"Hello," the blotchy-skinned creature greeted me. It opened his mouth in a parody of a smile, revealing a yellowed set of worn and broken teeth.

The iron grip on my will loosened, allowing me to regain my composure.

"What do you want?" I demand coolly, not allowing myself to show any of the apprehension I felt.

"What do I want?" the smile widened, turning hungry. "I do not know yet. What do you want? It was you who sought me, after all."

"I didn't come looking for-" I started, but never had the chance to finish.

One of those skeletal hands snapped upwards to my cheek in a gesture that might have been a loving caress from someone else. But the moment it did, its od flowed into me like a torrent of filth and bile, causing me to once more freeze, this time in an effort to resist the intrusion.

"Don't waste our time together, dear child," it whispered softly. "Tell me what you want, and I might give it to you."

I opened my mouth, initially to protest or shout or... something. I just wanted to be free of the thing's vile touch and the corruption of its od. But the words somehow changed in my throat into something I had never intended.

"I wanted to make certain you were no threat to anyone," I answer, my voice sounding strangely hollow even to my ears.

"You want to protect others from me?" it repeated slowly, and its smile turned feral and hungry. "How very... admirable," it almost seemed to purr.

It withdrew its od, and I once again relaxed somewhat as my body was allowed a reprieve from this creature's influence.

"What do you want?" I demand warily, by now realizing just how precarious a situation I was in. Twice now it had seized control of me without so showing so much of an ounce of effort. I wasn't about to give a reason to try a third time. "Why are you here? What do you want?"

"Oh, don't worry about me. I don't want to hurt anybody. Especially not you," it said reassuringly, and stroked my cheek again. "I'm here to help you."

"Help me?" I ask, surprised at what I was hearing.

It nodded excitedly, a mad grin appearing on its lips.

"Oh yes," it agreed eagerly. "I can sense something wonderful in you, and I want to nurture it."

Its hand traced its way from my cheek downwards, first along my neck and then resting on my chest.

"I want to complete you," and then that smile full of hunger and ruined teeth changed subtly into a leer of almost perverse desire.

I am confused by that statement, and I make as if to question it but am soon prevented from doing so as it closes its eyes and opens its mouth.

"The potter has the right over clay," it chanted softly, and the pressure on my chest from its hand increases almost painfully. "To make of it as he will: Transfiguration!"

Almost at once its hand sank into me, my flesh providing no more a barrier to its entry than wet clay might have. I felt it pass through my skin, muscles and then deeper inside of me in places I should not be aware of like a cold presence, icy fingers against my heart, lungs and oesophagus. It was buried inside of me up to the wrist, every movement of the hand inside of me causing its arm to move in turn, and the inability to see what was going on seemed to exaggerate these small movements.

I wanted to scream with pain as those frigid fingers seemed to touch me in ways that should not be possible, but something prevented me from doing so. There was an iron grip upon my mind and body, one that tore through even my formidable magical resistance. One that prevented me from crying out for help to any of the multitudes that passed by us, all of them blind to what was happening to me.

And then it sharply yanked its hand out, tearing through ligaments and muscle and skin as it left me.

As it did, I couldn't help but notice that its hand was cupped and filled with a dark red substance. A familiar red.

And then I knew what this thing was.

It was a Dead Apostle, and quite likely an Ancestor.

"Heart-blood," it confirms, and winks at me knowingly. "Much better than the jugular."

It leaned forward, bringing its lips down to its wrist and then carefully tilted its hand upward, eagerly drinking down the red liquid. It slurped down my blood eagerly, even going so far as to lick at its hand with a blotchy tongue.

The world around me suddenly bloomed intensely with impossible light and vibrancy: colours flared violently, threatening to blind me with their brightness. My eyes burned with the effort of trying to pick out details, the pain of it lancing deep into my skull.

I felt drunk and tired and feverish and starved and all of the various maladies that it was possible for a human mind to feel. I wanted nothing more than to lie down and sleep this terrible illness away, maybe even forget that I had ever been here. It was a struggle to just keep myself standing there: anything else just seemed like an impossible endeavour doomed to failure.

I obviously couldn't keep the effort from showing, as the thing in front of me paused in the act of feeding to study me. Red and yellow eyes narrowed on me as the ancient mind behind them seemed to dissect me like some kind of new insect it had discovered.

Then it snickered gleefully and scampered back into the shadows it had been lurking in before I had found it, beckoning for me to follow.

"Walk with me, Emiya Shirou of Fuyuki!" it called out to me as it vanished into the gloom.

I suddenly felt like a puppet, strings attached to each of my limbs pulling me forward into a shambling, staggering lurch as I followed this creature deeper into its alleyway. My head was heavy and ungainly as I moved, my body suddenly impossibly clumsy.

As I entered the darkness between the buildings I felt a growing pressure that I hadn't even been aware of leave me, and some of the sickly dizziness left me. My strength grew, and with it my gait became less like a dead man's shuffle and more like my normal stride. There was still a great deal of awkwardness there, but I used my newfound strength and resolve to fight against the pull on my body that drew me further into the gloom.

Ahead of me, the creature bent down and lifted a manhole-cover loose from the street. It tossed the metal disk away, heedless of the thunderous 'clang' of metal.

"Come along then, we haven't got all day," It warned me, and without warning it hopped into the hole and vanished.

Limping along with uncertain feet I followed, albeit a bit slower due to the strange weakness that had befallen me. I paused for only a moment at the edge of the manhole before I felt compelled to climb in. Taking care not to let my dizziness hamper me, I slowly climbed downwards into the sewers of Shin-Tokyo.

The stink of the tunnels hit me like a physical force, the horrific stench of filth and fetid water pervading past the scent that the monster with the mismatched eyes was exuding. It filled me with a powerful nausea, but I in spite of my reservations I plunged myself into the darkness of that narrow enclosure.

And as I did, I felt that horrible haze on my mind lifting somewhat. I was almost glad when I reached the bottom of the ladder and was plunged into almost complete darkness, as by then I felt almost normal. In fact, aside from the pull on my body that beckoned to me.

Cautiously, I walked into that endless well of darkness with only my hand on the wall and my wary footsteps as my guides. I could see nothing here: just the inky blackness all around me, and the lonely shaft of light that now seemed so very far away.

Without warning, hands latched onto me and pulled me forward, a chorus of giggles sounding as I was forced along. I struggle against them in my panic, but I soon realized that there were more than just two. It felt like everywhere it was possible to grab a hold onto had a hand there, dragging me further into the darkness.

Even with the gloom, though, I could make out certain features. Eyes, countless pairs of them, stared at me even as toothy smiles reflected the dim light that was rapidly disappearing as they forced me along. They were deaf to my protests, merely dragging me along with nothing more than their strange smiles and unblinking eyes. They ignored my desperate struggle to free myself.

They never even noticed when I called to mind a blade and sent it flying into the eyes of one of their number. The sound of something hitting the ground and then splashing quietly into the dank waters of these darkened sewers were the only things that hinted at what I had done.

They didn't seem to care that one of their number was now dead: no, that was wrong. They were amused! I could see the widening of their smiles, hear the quiet giggles.

They pulled me to the side suddenly, and into a darkened room lit by a single oil lamp. Grey cement, worn and stained and ugly from long neglect was hidden from view by a vast multitude of men and women that watched me with hungry eyes. They all wore the same expression, a mixture of lust and depravation that reminded me uncomfortably of the creature that had brought me here in the first place.

And in the centre of it all, sitting across what looked like a throne made from living men and women, was the disgusting creature that had enthralled me. A beautiful young woman was kissing its neck passionately, obviously unbothered by its filthy state. It leers over at me as I enter the room

"Hello again," the creature greeted me, and pushed the young woman away from him without regard to her quiet protest. She sat forlornly by his feet, eyes downcast. "Welcome to my home: make yourself comfortable."

I heard the rustle of chains and then felt manacles on my wrists. A moment later the hands that restrained me let go, and I stood alone in the face of this room full hungry monsters. I struggle against my bonds for only a moment before giving up, the hope of escape not being a very strong one at the moment.

Instead, I focus on the creature before me.

And it calmly regards me as well while fondling its own chest. It smiles as my expression twists into one of disgust, obviously pleased with itself.

Neither of us spoke for a long time, and the only sounds to be heard were those of the assortment of Apostles as they shifted and whispered amongst themselves.

"What do you want?"

The whisper of a question echoes through my mind, and I cannot help but wonder what this Apostle wants with me.

"Who are you?" I ask at last, unwilling to wait any longer for whatever it was it had in store for me. "Why did you take me here? What do you want from me?"

The creature leered at me, and rose from its fleshy throne. As he did so I realized that the writhing bodies that he had been resting on hadn't just arranged themselves in such a manner for his pleasure. No, they were actually fused together, their bodies shifting seamlessly from one to the other into a grisly parody of life. As one writhed in pain of shifted under the weight of the others their fused flesh would tear and bleed. They groaned with relief as the Apostle stood, and quivered with ecstasy as their skin reknit itself with alarming speed.

It calmly strides up to me, once more putting itself uncomfortably close. Its mismatched eyes twinkle merrily as it casually invades my personal space.

"Those sheep in black have a name for me," its hand came to rest on my cheek. "Do you want to know what it is? Of course you do, you asked me after all."

It danced away from me, spinning itself around as it did.

"They call me the Seed of Sodom," it told me, and ran a hand through my hair. Those mismatched eyes seemed to shine with happy glee. "And they tell all sorts of stories about me these days."

It smiled beatifically, but its gruesome features turned the expression into something sinister. It left me with the impression that nothing good or pure could ever stay that way for long in his presence.

"And those old fossils, they call me the Patriarch," it rose from its fleshy throne and approached me

"But since we're so close, you can call me Bera," he confided happily, and stroked my cheek. "That's one thing the sheep will got right about me."

His fingers dug painfully into my flesh suddenly, clawing shallow furrows through my skin.

"They saw my precious children and how I loved them, and thought me perverse," the dull lamplight flickered for a moment, but it was enough to mask the change from smile to a furious snarl. "But I care little for such base pleasures!"

It withdrew slowly, casting a lingering gaze on me for as long as it could.

"What I desire most is not sexual in nature," Bera confided earnestly, and at last turned away to face the crowd of vampires all around us.

"It is in a father who loved his first-born daughter taking up his sword and making her scream like the whore she is."

One of the crowd chuckled darkly.

"It is one brother flaying the skin from brother while the other pleads for mercy," Bera continued happily.

Someone else giggles manically, and I notice with some discomfort that he appears to be wearing a leather jacket.

"A wife devouring her husband alive. It is the priest that happily leads his faithful past the point of any redemption. It is child burns her beloved pet in the fireplace," he no longer pauses with each recollection, instead running through each of them with more speed as he grows more excited.

He whirls back to face me, and that terrible smile returned as the creature took perverse pleasure in its recollection.

"And for every second of it, wanting it!" Bera laughed again, and all around me the faceless crowd of vampires echoed it.

"What I love is the change, the metamorphosis!" Bera shouted, and his voice was deafeningly loud in the enclosed space.

"What I want," an echo within me whispered, its voice like a deep and gravelly and dark as an endless well of shadows. I was an alien voice, but one infinitely familiar to me in ways I could not understand. "Is to look upon something good and pure, and then twist it to my desire. To see silver rust, clean water turn to black oil, a lover change into a killer. The beauty of an existence, transfigured into something unrecognizable."

My eyes widen as I realize that I was no longer alone in my own body: this creature was already trying to warp me into something I was not. It was trying to me transfigure me.

"I want to see you stain yourself," Bera explained smugly, still leering at me. "And in doing so become more than you ever could have hoped to be."

"What do you want?"

Again the whisper echoes out, but this time I ignore it.

Bera giggles to himself at some unknowable joke, and then without warning he throws himself back on his fleshy throne, laughing uproariously as the many hapless individuals that made it screamed as their flesh tore under his weight.

"Why are you doing this?" I ask,

"Because I want to help you," Bera answers happily without a moment's hesitation.

I would have tried to find out just how he planned on 'helping' me, but in that moment I hear a female shriek of alarm.

"Is that a dead body?" it asks shrilly, and I realized that she must be coming the same way I had moments before. Her voice echoes and rebounds across the walls, allowing us all to hear her perfectly. "Onii-chan, where are you taking me?"

"Don't worry, it's a fun place!" a male voice, presumably the first speaker's brother, answered. "And that thing is a total fake. Couldn't you tell? Where would anyone get a sword like that, anyways?"

"Well," the woman says uncertainly, and then she and her brother enter the room. "If you say so."

Everyone levels the newcomers a curious stare, though mine was more uncertain than anything else. This new development isn't exactly inspiring, after all.

"And who is this?" Bera asks, eager and curious. For a moment it sounds like a child with a new toy, and that makes it all the more terrible. "What have you brought me, child-of-mine?"

"Our younger sister," the vampire answers with an eager grin of its own.

"Onii-san, what's going on?" the young woman asked. "Who is the weirdo? Why did you take me here?"

"Ahh, family! I love meeting family!" Bera claps his hands happily merrily. And then his smile turns feral and sadistic, those mismatched eyes twinkling with malice. "And what do you want to do to her?"

"Do to... me?" she asked, eyes turning wide with sudden apprehension. "Onii-san, what is this freak talking about?"

"I want to cut out her tongue," the young man said, ignoring his sister's question. "And then drink the blood from her mouth."

"W, what?" she gasped, and struggled to free herself from the young man's grasp. She tried to yank her hand away, but her brother's grip was like iron.

Bera giggled, smiling maniacally.

"Then do it!" He ordered in between laughs.

"No!" I cried out, unable to keep silent any longer.

"No?" Bera asked, looking over at me with playful curiosity. "And what do you want to do to her?"

"Nothing! I want her to be safe!" the answer leaps from my mouth without hesitation and with utter conviction.

"Nothing? Safe?" Bera seemed confused at the notion, and then made an expression of extreme distaste. "How boring. You should be glad that I want to help you, or I would punish you for such paltry, hollow desires."

He nods to the young man, done with me.

"Continue," he orders calmly, and then settles back to watch the grisly act with a grin on his face.

"No!" I snarl hatefully, railing against my chains. "I won't allow this! I am the bone of my Sword!"

Bera twisted around to face me once more, his eyes wide with surprise and alarm as a vast multitude of blades appeared at my side, each one of them hovering in the air for only a brief moment before rocketing forwards with deadly purpose. His mouth turns upward into a bizarre leer of delight as the first blade pierces his narrow chest, and stayed there even as he was impaled time and time again.

The only sound to be heard over the terrified screams of the young woman and flesh being ripped apart was the gurgling laughter of Bera as he staggered backwards from my onslaught. Eventually it stops as Bera was reduced to a pile of wet meat, pierced by an impossible array of weaponry. Still the screaming continues, however, as the young woman tries desperately to escape this nightmare realm below the city she had known so well.

For a moment I take satisfaction in what I had done.

And then Bera laughed.

Not the corpse that I had created seconds ago, but someone else.

"Eheh," the young man gives out a small chuckle, and from behind me I hear the laugh echoed by those who bind me. He then bends over and yanks one of my swords from the Apostle's ruined corpse. He leers over at me, and I note with some alarm that his eyes are mismatched yellow and red. "You did not really think that I resided only in that rotting piece of meat, did you? The Seed of Sodom is not planted in the earth, but in the flesh of man."

In that moment I realize just why Bera and this vampire had seemed so similar: they were both Bera. They were all seeds, their existences warped by his until they were merely another facet of him. They killed themselves and everything around them with each debasement, and with each one his presence became stronger. Many bodies, many faces, many minds: a single soul, growing in all of them. A single seed growing in many directions.

I try to force my od outwards once more, to put an end to this horrific nightmare-world that lurked below Shin-Tokyo. But something stopped me. Somehow I found myself unable to form even the most basic of blades: the memories just would not come, my circuits refused to produce even a percentage of a unit of prana.

Bera smirks knowingly at me, and holds my sword for inspection.

"You make such wonderful toys, Emiya Shirou," he compliments me.

Without warning he grabs his sister by the throat, and plunges the blade into her mouth as she makes to scream fear. There is a brief keening of pain before it is quickly replaced by a wet gargle that can only have meant that her mouth was filling up with blood. Her eyes spin frantically in their sockets as the beast that had once been her brother savoured in pain.

"They all lived such hollow lives before I gave them my special Seed," Bera explained mournfully, staring deeply into the young woman's eyes. He slowly pulls the blade free, and lets it fall to the ground with a loud 'clang'. "Now they live with me, forever! We're never alone anymore!"

He pulls the young woman close and forces her mouth open with his own. A sound like muffled screaming issues forth into the dark stillness of the sewers. Blood splashes and drips out of their mouths as Bera drinks greedily from her mouth.

And then Bera pushes the young woman away, and a horrific tearing noise follows with it. Something pink and bloody hangs limply from his mouth as they part, and I don't need to think very long to realize just what it was. He watched me carefully as he sucked the piece of meat into his mouth and swallowed heavily, obviously savouring the look of utter disgust on my face as he did.

Wiping his mouth on his sleeve, he leers over at me once again.

"The Seed of Sodom grows from the heart, and the fruit it bears is corruption," Bera explained casually even as he let the maimed woman drop to the ground, sobbing. "All it needs to grow is a little tender love and care," he snickers, and kicks at the prone woman at his feet. "And blood. Lots and lots of blood."

I can only stare at Bera, my eyes wide.

"Why are you doing this?" I ask hollowly, uncomprehending all of this senseless cruelty.

I had seen evil before. Kotomine Kirei and Gilgamesh had been bad people, true. But there had been a rhyme and reason to it. Even subtlety. They weren't needless or pointlessly evil. They were fulfilling a knowable desire. Even the Dead Apostles I had joined in on the hunt for could in some way be understood. They weren't quite fully detached from humanity.

Bera was different. I wasn't certain how I could tell, but without confirmation I simply knew that he wasn't bound by any kind of social or natural law. If there was something he wanted, he took it. If he wanted to do something, he did it. No matter how horrific or deplorable it was. He attached no more importance to his fellow man than he did to a dog.

And that was something I just couldn't understand.

Bera was different. He was a monster.

"I already told you, my child," Bera said soothingly. "I want to help you. I want to make you stronger. What do you want?"

"What do you want?"

I hear the question, and I at last realize that the question does not originate within me, but from the monster in front of me.

"Let me go," I asked, and Bera grins widely.

"But of course, dear child," he agrees happily. "Anything for you."

"Anything for you," the many Seeds around me echoes, followed by hushed laughter.

Something rustles behind me, and it is soon followed by the rustling of chains. And then I stagger forward, the manacles around my wrist surprised at the ease with which I had been released.

"What do you want?"

Again the innocent question,

"I want to kill these abominations," I hiss out as an answer.

Bera's eyes widen in surprise as he recoils from me, but he soon recovers his composure.

"That wasn't quite what I'd hoped for," he admitted, and then shrugged. "But that could interesting too, I suppose. Would you like us to resist?"

Something was terribly wrong about this. Monsters weren't supposed to calmly face their deaths like this. They weren't even supposed to acknowledge the possibility. Why would they just offer themselves up like this?

"What do you want?"

"No," I answer without hesitation. "Just die."

Bera smiled beatifically and nodded.

"Very well then. I hope you don't mind if we help, do you?" He asked, and without warning he moved.

He made a wild swipe with his hand to the side, latching onto one of the other Seeds by the neck.

"After all, we only want to help you," Bera continued, completely unbothered by the pathetic whimpering of the thing in its grasp. He pulled his free hand back, and his mouth twisted into a ferocious snarl. "In any way you want!"

The hapless creature squealed loudly with pain Bera jammed his index and middle finger into its eyes. Bera laughed merrily as he drove them well inside his apostle's skull, then threw the thing away to die as if it were no more than a toy that no longer amused him.

"Heh, I've always wanted to try that," he remarked with a snicker. Looking around the room, he saw the other Seeds merely watching him with shock and alarm. A frown slowly formed on those lips as nothing happened.

"Well, what are you waiting for?" he demanded harshly. "You heard him: he wants you to die! Kill yourselves!"

The assortment of men and women looked confused, which only seemed to annoy Bera. He glowered at them scornfully.

"Honestly, I try my hardest for you people, but you don't even try to have fun!" he complained, then snapped his fingers. One of the vampires gave out a shrill scream of pain as her back suddenly bent back further than it was ever meant to and gave a loud 'snap' of bone, and then kept on going. She continued to do so even as Bera casually approached her and then proceeded to stomp down on her skull, which instantly and permanently silenced her.

He threw a despairing glance at the crowd as they simply watched him, aghast at his casual murder of their own number.

"It's not all about you, you know!" he admonished. "We have all had selfish desires! Which of us has not taken satisfaction from another's loss, hmm?" it was strange listening to Bera scold a crowd of vampires for not killing each other as if they were children that had merely made a mistake. "Which of has not asked and received?"

Bera whipped a finger to me meaningfully.

"He has asked, and now he will receive!" he growled out.

The assorted men and women looked at each other hesitantly, eying their contemporaries warily. And then one of them moved, and that was all it took to set them all off.

They fell upon each other like animals, tearing and clawing and gnashing and screaming and wailing at one another. There were no words to describe the chaotic destruction of what I was

The worst part of it was their smiles. Things had started out grimly enough, all of them wearing grim expressions as if forced to do something they did not care for. But as they killed each other by the droves, ignoring cries of pain, those expressions changed to eager, hungry smiles. Laughter was soon intermingled with the terrible sounds of cracking bone and tearing flesh and agonized screams.

"Hah, there we go!" Bera cheered, folding his arms with contentment. "Now that's more like it!"

It was like something out of a nightmare to watch them, a writhing sea of flesh and faces that seethed angrily with fear, unnatural lust and murder. They tore at each other with a bloodlust that I might have associated with Berserker if not for their primitive and all-too human limitations. Hands and fingers soon proved insufficient for their purposes. It wasn't long before the more cunning of their number turned to improvised weaponry. A stick, a rock, a shard of glass, belts... it didn't seem to matter just what it was: if could in any way, shape or form be considered a weapon, it was soon brought into play.

The ruined corpse of Bera soon had many of its blades removed from it as the Apostles eagerly brought honed steel to a fist-fight. The air was filled with the sound of hacking and cutting.

I stared in mute horror at it all, unable to truly process what I was seeing.

This couldn't be reality: this had to be hell.

There really wasn't any other explanation for how this kind of senseless violence could possibly exist.

It seemed a strange thing to admit: just moments before I had been prepared to do just this. Why did I now balk at the notion? Why did the notion of these monsters turning upon one another at the drop of a hat fill me with such horror?

The last of them eventually emerged from that grisly abattoir, his clothes ripped and stained through with blood and gore. His breath sounded wet and laboured, no doubt because of the long wooden shaft that was broken off in his chest. But he nevertheless wore a proud, satisfied grin even as he collapsed sideways and slowly stopped breathing.

Bera snickered, then nodded at me encouragingly.

"And now it's my turn," He said, grinning wildly. "Go wild, Emiya Shirou! Destroy me in any way you desire!"

"What do you want?"

I called to mind a blade, and I did exactly as Bera told me to. He offered no resistance as I cut him down, just like he had before. He didn't even raise a hand in self-defence.

Something was wrong. This was too easy.

I ignore the niggling doubt, and instead focus on destroying this monster that so casually made a game of death. I tried my level best to make it feel the pain of those it corrupted, of the many lives it ruined for its own amusement.

I spend hours trying to wipe that smile off its mouth, but in the end the only thing I can do to do that is simply cutting them off. And even that doesn't manage it, because I can still see those eyes watching me, full of mirth. I would have done something about those as well, but by then I had grown tired of it all. There was no point to it.

So instead, I simply kill him. I impaled him time and again like I had his former husk, leaving his body a limp husk riddled with cold steel. The room is eerily silent, completely devoid of life. I look around me, and see the corpses, and wonder just what my desire for new clothing had gotten me mixed up into.

"What do you want?"

The question sounds like an accusation in my head, causing my blood to run cold with shock.

How was this possible? Bera was dead! I'd killed him myself!


Unless he was already inside of me.

With a sinking horror I realize what I had done. Without even realizing, I had done exactly what Bera wanted me to.

I'd let him into me by letting him grant me my wishes. I'd opened the door into my very mind with my senseless requests, manipulated by the weakness that Bera had placed in me by drinking my blood.

"Who do you want to do it to?"

"Nothing! Nobody!" I mutter quietly, clutching my head in an attempt to shut out the invasive question.

I realize suddenly that I'd somehow made it back to the surface of Shin-Tokyo. The moon was high in the sky, and my blood rushed in my veins like tidal waves upon the shore. My temples throbbed, and my body seemed to move of its own accord through the darkened

I was so hungry. I needed to find someone, anyone-


"Why wouldn't you?"

Because it's wrong!

I stumble, and fall to the ground. My breath comes out fast and desperate, as if I had been running for hours and only now been allowed rest. I felt a cool liquid drip out of my mouth, and with a sudden fear I wipe it away only to realize that it was saliva, not blood.

So hungry!

Coursing red blood and sweet soft meat-


I close my eyes and try to ignore the pounding in my vein and the roar in my heard.

"Wouldn't it feel good?"

No. Stop!

I open my eyes as I suddenly realize that I'm on my feet again. I blinked in alarm as I noticed that the night sky had changed subtly, and the street I was stumbling through was not the one I had been on just moments ago. I had moved, time had passed, and I had not been aware of it. Just how strongly was Bera influencing me?

Mu blood runs cold as I suddenly as I realize where I am. I recognize the sleepy little street in front of Izumo Inn, and know that it is just behind me.

A house full of people who trusted and loved me-


I couldn't allow this to happen.

I couldn't let Bera win!

"Wouldn't you be satisfied?"


I pushed open the front door and staggered inside, my limbs seeming to move of their on accord despite my attempts to make them do the opposite.

"Wouldn't it make you happy?"

"N, no!" I refuted, but the effort of it seemed to drain me on a physical level.

The world became a blur of motion before my eyes, as if moving in fast-forward. The sensation filled me with nausea, and I had to close my eyes lest I was sick. And if I made too much noise, there was a danger of someone coming to find out what was wrong with me.

And I couldn't trust myself around other people any more. I had to go-

"What do you want?"

The question echoed through my thoughts like a worm burrowing itself into my brain. It demanded an answer. I had to answer. Answer...

I need to answer, damn it!

"Ne, onii-chan, what's wrong?" Kusano asked, sounding worried.

My eyes snap open, and I see little Kusano crouched before me with a fearful look on her childish features.

Oh gods no.

"Nothing!" I said forcefully, gasping with the effort of resisting.

"Nothing?" something inside of me repeated, confused. "Impossible. Everyone wants something."

The question resurfaced again in a different shape, a different voice, a different attack. Cold reason this time

"W, what's wrong with your eyes?" Kusano asked, scrunching up her face in confusion. "They're different! They're changing colours!"

What do you want?

"N, nothing," I repeat, struggling against the compulsion.

"You're so strong, nobody's resisted us like this," a new voice, magnanimous. Comforting. Generous. "You should be rewarded. What would you like from us? We can do much for you."

"Leave me alone!" I cried out desperately.

"Onii-chan, what's wrong?" Kusano asked again, sounding afraid.

"Alone? But then we would not hear or see or feel or know you." sympathetic, fearful. Why would I want to hurt them? "And that would be sad. You would be so lonely. You don't want to be lonely, do you?" it sounded mournful, but I can hear to laughter echoing inside my skull. "You don't want to leave. What do you want?""

"Just be quiet," I whisper in despair, clenching my eyes shut tightly.

"Silence? We can make silence," eager willingness. "We can make lots of silence. Let us help you."

Images flicker before my eyes: a man sitting alone in front of a bound and gagged woman, smiling as he casually slices her apart. A vibrant green tree, its natural beauty marred only by the corpses swinging gently from its boughs. Empty streets filled with still and staring dead that had been denied the mercy of a true death.

There were many kinds of silences, and I knew exactly which Bera offered me.


"You do not want silence? Then you want noise. We can make that as well. Who do you want?"

Again the images danced into my mind, scenes more terrible and gruesome than I had ever thought possible.

"No! I don't want that either!"

"You don't want silence, and you don't want noise? You cannot want nothing," this voice is cold logic, statement of fact. It brooks no quarrel from me. "All things want: it is a function of life. You're still alive. What do you want?"

Something inside of me snaps at the question, and with it my resistance. I blink, and before I can stop myself I answer. I answer with my greatest ideal, that which drove me, that which made me. I answered with the truth of my existence.

"I want to save people," I say blankly.

My body suddenly writhed, my magical circuits flaring into life as some kind of universal truth shifts inside of my existence. The truth of my existence rings out, and something answers. And its truth is stronger.

"Yes. You want to save others. You want them to be happy. You wish to live for others," The sound of giggles echo inside my mind, and I can feel my lips turn upwards into a grin. "We can help you! We want to help you! You're like us! We only want to help you. We only want to save you."

Something burns away inside of me, cut away from me by my own prana. And with it comes new thoughts, unbidden.

I could imagine it now: as a part of this grander whole, I could save many more than I possibly could have on my own. And if I had to give of myself? If I had to allow myself to be twisted into something different?

Then it was of no consequence.

One life to save ten.

"We are one."

After all, what was one life in the grand scheme of things?


Laughter echoes inside of me, filling me with warm approval. I smile, feeling much better than I had mere moments before.

"Oh," I said, and recomposed myself. I looked over at Kusano, who was looking at me with such fearful eyes that it broke my heart.

Broken teeth and a parody of a smile inside my mind. Giggles.

"I'm sorry, Kuu-chan," I say warmly. "I wasn't feeling very well a moment ago."

"What do you want to do to her, Bera?"

"I want to save her," the thought was mine, but it carries more than I ever would have wanted it to before I had been changed. There is hunger in it, there is desire, and there is also something darker. "But first, I want to play with her."

The thought was mine, but The Seed lived inside of it.


* * *



Anyways, just to avoid any confusion: I know perfectly well that the vast majority of people who have their blood drunk by DAs start out as The Dead. There's a perfectly reasonable explanation for that, however, that I don't want to pollute this thread with.

EDIT: Minor grammar and syntax corrections. Because when I get free Beta-work, I take it ^^

4/25/2012 . Edited 4/25/2012 #99
Sage of Eyes
4/25/2012 #100
@Syroc Intriguing! Now, then, are there anyone else that would try to up this? Oh the terror, the terror!
4/25/2012 #101

Hmmm... one more question.

The stories don't necessarily have to involve Shirou, yes? So long as it is held within the In Flight universe?

4/25/2012 #102
Satire Swift

Well, that was incredibly unsettling... perfect!

Question: Should we be giving the scores relative to the other omakes in the category or just how we feel about them on their own?

4/25/2012 #103
Sage of Eyes

@AnmeSage Pretty sure that's the deal! Plenty of Omakes don't have Shirou!

I think.

4/25/2012 #104
@SatireSwift I would suggest judging each fic on its own. If you can develop a system to get your 1-10 score so it isn't rather arbitrary, even better. It's what I am planning on doing when we get a category that I am judging.
4/25/2012 #105
Sage of Eyes

But you can't judge your own fic, you can't be a contestant and a judge of the same category...

4/25/2012 #106

Satire is a judge for Horror. Read the lists better.

4/25/2012 #107
Sage of Eyes

Wups read that wrong! Sorry Gwon!

4/25/2012 #108

Horror judgment: Primary round.

Participant: Syroc, Errant Giggle-Peddler of the Northern Wastes.

Story Quality Verdict:

Plot= 7

Spelling/Grammar= 6

Pacing= 9

Story by Genre Verdict:

Fulfillment of Purpose (How much it scared me)= 4

Originality of Concept in regards to genre= 6

Overall: 6.4


Post story editing= -2

Cliffhanger (By effectiveness)= +1

Total: 5.4

Judge's Comments: Clearly this is not your genre. Maybe it's just because I'm generally difficult to scare but this story... well, it just didn't get my heart racing like a good horror story should. As a free story, it would have done well, but when you factor in tat it's supposed to be horror, the whole thing falls apart. Honestly, I would've given it a better score in the drama section. What's more, your cliffhanger, while not entirely a failure, did very little for the quality of horror. I suggest you stick to your usual strengths.

4/25/2012 . Edited 4/25/2012 #109


Yeah, Shirou being the main character is not a given. He doesn't even have to feature into it, if you don't want him there.


I'd say individually, but I defer to your judgement on the matter. If you want to judge them in comparison to the others, then by all means do so. The only thing I'd discourage is altering your score because someone else liked it more/less. (Unless they give a compelling reason why that actually alters your own interpretation. In that case, go for it!)

So long as methods are consistent, it's not like the resulting numbers will upset the overall score. Well, unless you prematurely throw out a 10 and find something better. That would be unfortunate.


Ack! So thorough!

And thanks, methinks I will stick to my strengths. Was an interesting diversion, though ^^

4/25/2012 . Edited 4/25/2012 #110

I suggest we have a third party member make a QTF entry for each judge's verdict. Ensuring that no tampering is done to the score without proper reason.

Also, the scores of all judges should be averaged. It would be out right silly for one story to have a total score of 65 and have it go against a story that won a total score of 25 (in the next round, anyway).

4/25/2012 #111
Sage of Eyes
Yup We should go standardized Olympic setting, 10 max for each judge, then divide by number of judges at the end so the end number will be at the 1-10 range still.
4/25/2012 #112


QTF entry? I've never heard about this. Is it something like what you've done, that shows your process of evaluation? If so, then I agree. That would be helpful. Especially in seeing where one could improve. (Although if I'd known that post-editing would have cost me so heavily I would simply left it as it was ^^)

And I was planning on averaging the scores for each event. I always thought that was how it was supposed to be done. Each entry will have its score in that event averaged, and then each score will be compared. Highest wins. (Although I have to wonder how a story would get a score of 65 with a panel of 3-5 judges. Even a unanimous perfect score would get a most 50.)

4/25/2012 #113


No, a QTF entry is... well, for example, if SoE quoted my verdict above, it would be impossible for me to change it without anyone noticing. QTF(quoted for truth) is basically used to ensure that later occurrences and feelings don't influence previous posts to change. Whether positive or negative is irrelevant.

Taking the previous example: If, after all the entries have been given, I want you to win, but your score is a bit low, i can easily edit my verdicts to make your score higher, because, despite what other people may accuse, there will be no proof of tampering with the scores. While i'm certain this is unlikely to happen, it would cause all sorts of problems if it did. As such, we need someone to quote the scores to ensure that they aren't altered later.

If, however, a good argument is presented, a request can be made to the person who made the QTF entry in order to make a 'legalized' change in the score. how that'll be worked out though... well, that's going a bit too far into detail.

Although, your idea isn't too bad either. Knowing where and how to improve would help a lot of entrants.

4/25/2012 #114

Ahh, that makes more sense! And it sounds like a good idea.

So, anybody want to take up that job? *Looks over at Sage* Somebody who's only a judge for one event that has any participants?

4/25/2012 #115
Sage of Eyes
*Looks at Syroc* Your allusions are week, but I will comply and put the scores down on a document (Someone must remind me of this job...)
4/26/2012 #116


I can do that.

@JJE & Animesage

Uhm, you two DO realize that today is he deadline, yes?

I might not like losing, but winning by default is just silly.

4/26/2012 #117
Sage of Eyes
'Facepalms' ummm it's only 26th in our timezone Silly Syroc
4/26/2012 #118


Yes, fully aware of that fact. I'm just not done yet. Darn.

Well, it's to be expected since I've forgotten all about the Olympiads until 3 days ago, and I sort of panicked for one whole day, did the writing that night (reached up to 1k, too), got an impact tooth removed the next day (it's my third one removed), didn't write then but instead reacquainted myself with the aspects of horror through Stephen King's Danse Macabre and rereading my favorite scene from The Shining, and today I'll be doing a freakin' writing marathon to finish the whole thing up. I've got a ton of subplots I wanted to include (could reach up to 15k, minimum, if I'm not careful with my word diarrhea), but because I'm limited in time, I'd have to sacrifice those tidbits and focus on Kusano's storyline. This horror story is all about her, after all. And I so wanted to include that scene with Uzume... my heart yearns for her suffering.

Such innocence lost...

4/26/2012 #119


Yes, I am fully aware of the fact that the deadline is today, Syroc. To be quite honest, I don't have anything written yet, mostly due to the fact that this is unfamiliar territory along with the term paper, a group project, another project, along with other work that is usually stuffed in by professor who always seem to time this shit at the end of the semester when finals are looming around the corner-


*smile* While I apologize for prioritizing those beforehand, yes, I do know that the deadline is today, and I shall be doing my best to meet it.

Ufufufu~ I've never written horror before, but I most certainly shall try my best at it.

4/27/2012 #120
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