Barney bear bird brain bird dog

H: Weapons/ Rare Plans/ Rare Apparel/ Aid W: Flux/ Offers

2023.03.27 02:36 Hot_Ad2871 H: Weapons/ Rare Plans/ Rare Apparel/ Aid W: Flux/ Offers

Aid: (400) canned dog food, (200) nuka quantums, (200) orange mentats, (200) super stimpaks, (125) canned meat stew
Serums: (400 cap each) bird bones, carnivore, electrically charged, herd mentality, marsupial, plague walker, speed demon
Plans:Backpacks: Camo backpack (2), Gorilla Backpack
Outfit Plans: Treasure hunter outfit, treasure hunter hat, Insurgent outfits Marine armour helmet
Weapon mods: Meat cleaver,Radstag hunting knife, Salty tenderizer mod, Spicy tenderizer mod, The fixer, ski sword skate blade, sheepsquash staff, strongman super sledge paint, Tesla rifle, radium rifle, x01 scorched paint, enclave, plasma gun refined beta wave tuner x2
Camp Items: Meat week flag Mirelurk king tube, cave cricket tube, super mutant tube, Fire station bell, symptomatic, Titan plushie, Townsfolk cutout, Vintage water cooler, Wendigo colossus plushie, Scorchbeast queen plushie, Scorched tube, Grafton Monster Lamp Plan, wanted poster, wendigo tube, all of the jack o lantern rack plans, tattered curtains
Recipes: liquid courage, lead champagne Bellini, savage divide healing salve, savage divide disease cure,
Rare apparel: Loon Mask, skull lord blood eagle suit, chally the moo moo outfit, blood eagle leather jacket, emmet mountain max at suit, prototype hazmat suit, camo hazmat suit, black hazmat suit, clean police uniform, clean space suit, strongman outfit, garahan mining outfit, clean mining outfit
v/50/15v laser
v/ff15r mini gun
v/50h/90 ultracite Gatling laser
Aa/50limb/15r combat shotgun
Aa/ine/90 Broadsider
Aa/50/15v railway
aa/e/90 short handmade
aa/50l/90 Gatling laser
aa/40p/25 shishkebab
aa/ss/90 shishkebab
aa/5025 pickaxe
Aa/ffms Gatling gun
Aa/e/25 railway
Aa/50v/90 supersledge
Aa/50v/90 the dragon
Aa/lastround/ms ultracite Gatling laser
Ass/ff15r railway
B/25/15r Fixer
B/40p/90 pickaxe
B/50+S Deathclaw gauntlet
B/50v/25 pipe bolt action pistol
B/ine/ms Gatling plasma
B/50/dur railway
B/bash/15v EPR(standard capacitor, automatic barrel, stabilized stock, standard sights)
goue/15r 50 cal machine gun
i/ste/90 sheepsquash club
Jug/ff25 railway
Junk/50v/25 yellow baseball bat
Mut/ff90 railway
Q/bash/90 cryolator
Q/limb/50dr railway
Q/bash/dur railway
Q/25aim/15r railway
Q/50/90 assultronhead
Q/hit/15v Gatling gun
Q/ff+A Radium Rifle
Ts/50v/90 fixer
ts/50h/15r fixer
Mut/hit/25 fixer
Q/bash/90 fixer
Q/50vhc/dur fixer
Ts/ff25 mini gun
Ts/50v/stealth Gatling laser
Ts/ine/90 light machine gun
Ts/50v/90 light machine gun
Ts/limb/90 railway
Ts/ffr railway
ts/last/15r railway
Ts/ffdur 10mm submachine gun
Ts/limb/dur prime Gatling plasma
ts/50h/15v prime Gatling plasma
Ts/50v/90 pipe revolver
Ts/ff25 light machine gun
Ts/bash/stealth ultracite Gatling laser
Ts/lastround/15r railway
ts/50/15r Broadsider
ts/50/15v short laser pistol
Ts/e/15r blunderbuss x2
Ts/50v/90 EPR (standard capacitor, automatic barrel, stabilized stock, standard sights)
Ts/bash/stealth EPR (standard capacitor, automatic barrel, stabilized stock, standard sights)
Ts/ine/90 EPR (standard capacitor, true flamer barrel, stabilized stock, standard sights)
Slug buster
V/limb/90 rolling pin
v/50h/15r radium rifle
V/50/15v Gatling laser
V/hit/15r light machine gun
V/ff+A EPR (refined beta wave tuner, aligned sniper barrel, stabilized stock, long recon stock)
V/50h/50dr fixer
v/ff25 railway
Z/50v/25 EPR (standard capacitor, automatic barrel, stabilized stock, standard sights)
Junk/50vch/dur EPR RIFLE(standard capacitor, automatic barrel, stabilized stock, standard sights)
Jug/50vch/25 EPR PISTOL (standard capacitor, automatic barrel, stabilized stock, standard sights)
EPR b/15ap/bash (standard capacitor, true automatic barrel, stabilized stock, reflex sight)
EPR b/25%aim/dur (standard capacitor, true automatic barrel, stabilized stock, reflex sight)
Raider PA right leg ari/glut/ammo
Heavy armour ovehard/ammo heavy
Metal left leg ovestjunk heavy
Heavy Metal left leg uny/agi/junk heavy
Sturdy metal right leg uny/int/ammo heavy
Sturdy leather left leg vang/stfood heavy
wood right leg assn/stfood
submitted by Hot_Ad2871 to Market76 [link] [comments]

2023.03.27 02:29 Qilbyy Should I hold off on getting a pigeon?

I have 3 dogs but more importantly 2 cats. I have a lizard and I keep them very safe and nothing bad in the sort has occurred but I don’t know how secure bird keeping cages are. Is this alright? And,if anyone has a pigeon and a cat could you share how it’s going?
submitted by Qilbyy to pigeon [link] [comments]

2023.03.27 02:07 Trash_Tia I've been talking to the boy next door through my bedroom window for a while. His latest messages are freaking me out.

I want to talk to you about the boy next door.
I first noticed him when we arrived here. Mom was moving in all of our boxes and furniture, and I was sitting on one of mom’s boxes labelled “fragile” downing ice-cold lemonade.
It wasn’t exactly the weather for cold drinks, but I was pooped after spending my morning and half of my afternoon going back and forth with all of our stuff. It was just a glimpse.
One of the movers asked me to help him with a box of kitchen equipment. I was struggling to get a proper grip of it, twisting around to shout that I needed help—when I saw him.
Not much of a person, more of a shadow poking from behind the fence. What I could make out was a tallish figure and mousey hair.
I lifted my hand in a greeting, but the guy walked away. I didn’t think much of it.
Maybe he was shy.
Though I was curious about my neighbors. I was expecting them to join the parade of families on our doorstep harbouring every food you can imagine, but they stayed away. I did know a family existed next door, however. There was a large wooden fence separating us. So, if I really wanted to talk to them I’d either have to grow several feet taller or invest in stilts. I’m not sure why I was so obsessed with meeting them.
I knew they had kids my age. I could hear them.
Whether they were arguing over video games, or laughing at something trivial, I could always hear them when I was sitting on our wooden porch or helping mom clean our yard.
According to mom, who heard it from the nice lady across the street, our neighbors were called the Wilders.
There was a single mom, and her four teenage kids.
Huh, I thought. So the mystery shadow guy must have been a Wilder kid.
I was told to not get too excited, though. Apparently, Mrs Wilder was very protective over her children and home-schooled them.
So, there was no chance of me making friends or even getting to know them. On our second day in our new home, mom told me over breakfast that Mrs Wilder had sent out a polite notice to the neighbourhood that her children were not to be disturbed or talked to. Which was crazy. I thought that was weird. But mom understood it—and to my annoyance, accepted the woman’s notice. I was warned not to talk to the Wilder children.
And if I did, that was an automatic week grounding. Which meant no diner, no seeing friends after school, and my phone privileges taken away. According to her, she figured they were just a private family and wanted to accept that. She theorised the kids had been bullied at public school and had to be home-schooled. But I was sceptical. “All of them?” I’d asked her through a mouthful of cereal.
“Phoebe.” Mom sent me a warning look, sipping her coffee. “What we’re going to do is respect Mrs Wilder’s wishes.”
“It’s child abuse.” I muttered into my frosted flakes. Only for mom to reach across the table and poke me with the prongs of her fork.
“Don’t play with your food.”
“I’m not playing with my food.” I held up a spoonful of soggy cereal. “You just never get the chocolate brand. These taste like sandpaper.”
“We are going to be respectable neighbors,” mom said, ignoring me. “So, you are not going to speak to those kids. Do you understand?”
I knew mom only wanted to abide by the weird rules because she was obsessed with joining the mom’s club, or whatever they were called, but it didn’t make sense to me that his woman wasn’t letting her own kids have a social life.
At a younger age, maybe eleven or twelve, I could understand. But seventeen? That was almost college age. What, was she expecting to coddle them forever?
Did she really think these kids were going to stay with her? Seventeen was the age of finding first loves and making mistakes. Not staying at home with mommy dearest. “Okay, but would you do this to me?” I asked her. “Would you really lock me up and stop me from going outside and living my life?”
Mom had been spreading butter on bread. I didn’t realise her mood had drastically changed until she was almost slicing her finger with the knife. “You don’t know this yet because you are far too young,” she lifted her head, her lips curving into a smile. “But there is something called a mother’s instinct. When our children are born, we are overcome with an almost… feral need to protect them from danger. If you look it up, it is present is every creature. Every mother. Our children are worth more than ourselves. We give our own lives to keep them alive. You can roll your eyes and say it’s stupid, but I’m sure as soon as you have your own child, you will feel the exact same with them.”
She nodded at me. “I had that with you. I… I still have it with you, Phoebe. No matter how old you are. When you were a baby, I wanted to hold you in my arms every second of every day. I hated it when people wanted to hold you, and you were such a clingy baby. Always cradled to my chest. As you grew up, I started to understand that you were seeing the world for the first time and you needed your own time and space. I let you take your first steps on your own. I cried when you said your first word—and when I grabbed your hand and raced down the kindergarten steps for the first time. Letting you go was painful. And if I had a choice in the matter? Yes, I would keep you in here. I would stop you from going outside and seeing this world.” She dropped the knife with a startling, metallic clang, before picking it back up.
“Because this planet is a scary place, Phoebe. And as mother’s, it is our job to keep our kids safe. Even if that means going to the slightest of extremes.”
“Slightest of extremes?” I scoffed, despite knowing I was being pedantic. “They have to fly the nest! That’s called growing up!”
Ignoring her glare, I continued.
“Yes, I believe in mother’s instinct. But at what point do you have to look at yourself and realise you’re being ridiculous? Seventeen year olds aren’t infants. They won’t just blindly walk into traffic. They have self-awareness of what is wrong and right.”
I pointed at myself. “You let me drive, right? I got my license. Where was your ‘mother instinct’ when I got myself a big-girl vehicle I could easily have an accident in?”
Mom curled her lip. “Don’t push it.”
Leaning across the table, I fixed her with a smile. “See? You trust me, mom. You let me grow up. That’s the difference between you and Mrs Wilder. Kids have to grow up. No matter what the circumstances are. It’s just part of being human. We all grow up and leave our parents.”
I sent her a look, stirring the soggy soup of my cereal. “Well. Unless you’re Mrs Wilder.”
Mom finished her coffee and stood up. “You don’t even know these children. They could be in any stage of development which makes them very different to you. All kids mentally age at different points.”
She took her plate to the faucet and dumped it in the bowl. Mom washed the dishes when she was angry or stressed, and she was really going to town on our brand new pattern plates. I saw that as a mark of finality. “I’m done talking about this, okay? You’re not eighteen yet which means you abide by my rules, and really, Phoebe, I’m not exactly holding you prisoner. I’m just asking you to be polite and follow a simple rule which is not hard. We are a new family, and we need to make a good impression. Which means no talking to Mrs Wilder’s children.” She cleared her throat.
“Respect our neighbour’s wishes or lose your phone.”
Ducking my head, I continued to stir my cereal into a mushy soup which had quickly become unappetising. It looked like barf. I pushed it away. “You only want me to follow the rules so you can get into Mrs Becker’s book club and go on Pilate dates with middle aged Karen’s.”
Mom dropped a plate in the sink, and the sound of the splash made me flinch slightly.
“Is that understood?”
“Yes.” I said, rolling my eyes. “Obviously, I will abide by this street’s draconian rules so I can continue scrolling through Tik-Tok.”
It was sarcasm, but I wasn’t sure my mother could detect it. She was so blinded by becoming one with our neighbors.
Why was she so obsessed with meeting all the other mom’s anyway?
Was she planning on setting me up on a playdate with 3 year old Evie? I wouldn’t put it past her doing that for the brownie points.
“Good. End of conversation.” Mom said, hurrying to get her jacket and bag. “I’m late for work, and you have an induction to get to.”
I wanted to argue further because this sounded unfair. The kids were teenagers, right? How were they not arguing against this? It seemed insane that they were going along with what their mother said. But I was aware of significant punishment if I broke this rule. So, I begrudgingly agreed. After my induction, I asked around new friends and classmates if anybody knew of the Wilder kids, and they did.
But they didn’t want to elaborate on what they knew. I heard a lot of rumours with dead ends. Most of them involved a father who had walked out on them, and their mother going into ultra-protective mode in response. It sounded like these kids were bearing the brunt of a messy divorce. They were complete enigma’s.
I didn’t know anything about them except from their insanely overprotective mother’s wicked grip on them. I gave up being curious. Mom was serious about me not speaking not them. She gave me a lecture on respecting the woman’s privacy, and blah, blah, blah. I tuned out after five minutes, my attention flicking to an episode of Breaking Bad playing on the lounge TV.
The next few weeks were boring. Mom was invited to join Mrs Beck’s book club, so on Monday’s at 5PM, I made myself scarce. I did exactly what mom said. I ignored the kids next door. My bedroom happened to be facing the room of one of the kids, but their dark blue curtains were always shut. Sometimes it was hard. When I was sitting in the yard, reading a book, I could hear them on the other side of the fence.
The boys were the most vocal, laughing and teasing each other. There was a point when I risked it. I jumped to my feet and got halfway across the expanse of grass, standing on the tips of my toes and trying to catch a peek. But mom was calling me inside. I swore she had eyes in the back of my head. Mom always knew when I was outside. When I was near the fence.
It wasn’t until a month had gone by when I finally got a glimpse of a Wilder kid. I had just gotten back from school. I’d dumped my backpack on my bed and grabbed my phone, slumping onto my bed to text my friends and mindlessly scroll through social media. I noticed movement at the corner of my eye, and when I’d lifted my head, blinking rapidly—those same blue curtains which had shut me out for what felt so long—they were open. Not just that.
I could see a bedroom smothered in personality. I glimpsed a hardwood desk strewn with paper and an expensive laptop, a blue bedspread, a beaten up guitar leaning against light green walls covered in old-school movie posters.
There were screwed up pieces of paper everywhere. I had to guess he was some kind of artist. The room was illuminated in the evening dim, a soft warm light bringing the room to life. A knock startled me, and my gaze flicked to the window.
There he was. The Wilder boy next door.
He was my age, maybe even older. This guy looked almost college aged. Which made it increasingly weirder that his mother would insist on babying him at the age of seventeen.
He was cute. The dorky kind of cute. He wore bulky glasses but was the type to instantly suit pretty much anything. If I could compare him to anyone, it would be the mental image in my head that my younger self had imagined Percy Jackson when I reads the books.
The guy looked comfortable in a sweater and jeans, mousey brown hair hanging in warm eyes. There was an inquisitive smile on his lips. I jumped up to open my window to speak to him, but he shook his head—and I quickly remembered his mother’s stupid rule which forbid us from talking. So, I got creative.
Give me a moment! I mouthed.
I expected him to ignore me and go back to what he was doing, but the guy straightened up and nodded, arching a brow.
He was intrigued.
I grabbed an old notebook and a pen and sat on my bed, scribbling a message. I wrote: “Hello! So, you’re the kid under house arrest lmao.”
When I held it up, his smile pricked. He laughed. But I couldn’t hear it. I could tell he had a dorky kind of laugh, a nasally one. The guy held up a hand for me to wait and rummaged on his desk. He quickly wrote out a message and held it up with a grin. He looked almost proud of his own message, and I couldn’t resist my own smile. I expected him to curse his mother, maybe apologise for the lack of communication.
But instead, he simply wrote: “Hello! What’s your name?” Followed by a slightly smudged smiley.
After a moment of consideration, mom’s words echoing in my mind, I thought fuck it. “Phoebe.” I said. “Yours?”
“It’s nice to meet you, Phoebe.” He responded. Which spanned multiple conversations which took up several of my notepads.
We talked about everything from school to his life at home. He had three siblings. Matilda, Freddie, and Issac. He liked to play the guitar and draw, but also apparently sucked at both. When I asked what his favourite TV show was, he looked confused for a moment before answering “All of them”. Following that odd answer, I asked if he liked Marvel, and again, he had that look again. A look of confusion.
But I knew he was trying to make a good impression. “What is Marvel?” He wrote back, this time his handwriting in a bubbly font. I could almost call his writing calligraphy. It practically danced off of the page. The Wilder boy’s strange answers made wonder if this kid had been home-schooled his whole life. He seemed way too polite. Kids were polite, sure.
There was a certain amount of respect you had to pay to your elders and parents.
But looking at this kid, I wasn’t even sure he knew what a meme was—or even the concept of a joke. He had no idea about one of the biggest movie franchise in the world, and his favourite celebrity was apparently “All of them”. In fact, he had answered “All of them” to several of my questions. His messages reminded me of my grandma’s. Still though, he was good company. Though I made it my mission to convert him into a normal teenager.
I had to guess due to constantly being home and around the same people, this kid had zero social skills. I asked him what his favourite movie was, out of the posters on the wall. He had Kill Bill, Reservoir Dogs, and Fight Club.
Again, he looked confused. His head cocked to the side, and I had to physically point to them behind him.
“All of them.” He wrote back with a smiley face.
Damn, this kid needed to see a movie which wasn’t some educational shit. I bet his mother had turned him into perfect member of society.
“What have you seen?” I couldn’t help asking him. “Like, movies, TV shows. Do you play video games?”
He shook his head before scribbling back. “What is that?”
Holy shit, this kid was completely cut off from the outside world.
I was already mentally thinking up plans to get him out of the house and to a party, or something like that. From the look of this kids face—a slightly blank if not completely innocent smile—he needed time away from home. Away from his overprotective mother’s wicked grasp.
After a while, I realised he never told me his name. I didn’t notice time go by. Almost three hours, and I’d spent most of it lecturing him on movies and TV shows he really should have known. I guessed Mrs Wilder didn’t let him watch the TV. My gaze flicked to his laptop. And I wouldn’t have been surprised if she had blocked out all social media. My notepad was full of scribbles and doodles, an attempt at copying his handwriting style. The sky was blooming into twilight outside, thick orange and cotton candy pink streaking the horizon. I have always loved a pre-twilight sky.
“What’s your name?” I wrote in marker pen, before holding up my notepad. I was running out of paper. I could hear mom downstairs preparing dinner, and I could tell from his diminishing smile Mrs Wilder was probably shouting for him to go downstairs.
He didn’t reply for a while. I watched him put the pad down, before heading over to his desk and cleaning up the paper—every trace we had been talking and dumping each response he’d given in the trash. Before he slumped onto his bed, wrote something down in several strokes, before holding it up for me to see. “Casper.” He’d written. “My name is Casper Wilder.”
For a moment, his expression changed completely. He glanced at the door, before frowning at the pad of paper in his lap.
It looked like he wanted to write more, before twisting around, his eyes widening. Someone was coming. I could tell by the look on his face.
The knot between his brows.
Casper gathered everything he’d been using to write to me, pens and pencils, scraps of paper and the backs of movie posters, and shoving them under his bed. Then he grabbed the curtains and pulled them closed, blocking me out once again. I thought he’d come back, but after standing like an idiot with an odd feeling in my gut, frowning at his curtains, I realised he was finished talking to me for the night. What I expected was that to be it. I didn’t think he’d come back. The next morning, however, he was back at his window, smiling at me through a mouthful of toothpaste. He was still in his pyjamas, unbrushed curls falling in sleepy eyes.
He looked strange without his glasses. Like his face was too bare. The more I took him in, though. Something was… different. Though I couldn’t make it out. It hit me then.
Casper wasn’t moving, staying in the same position. The night before, he had gone to and from his bed, hurrying around to grab equipment to write with. But now he was stood, looking more shadow than human. I was quick to dive for my notepad, but Casper was already holding up his own greeting with a grin. “Good morning, Phoebe! How are you feeling today?”
“Tired.” I wrote back, my writing barely comprehensible. “Do you have school?”
“YES.” He responded with an excited smile. “I’m so excited to learn! Do you have a favourite class?”
I laughed at that. And after looking confused, he copied my laugh. Which made me laugh harder.
“None of them!” I scribbled back. “School is boring!”
Casper shrugged. “I like it. I have a great tutor.”
“Really?” This time, I drew an attempt at the rolling eyes emoji. “You shouldn’t be excited for school. Weirdo.”
He curled his lip. “You’re the weirdo.” He wrote back. Casper paused, chewing on the lid of the pen, before writing, “What’s a weirdo?”
“You’re kidding!” This time, with too much vigour, I pointed to him with a laugh. “You! You’re the weirdo!”
We talked as I got ready for school, gathering all my books and homework. I was stuffing my gym clothes in my bag, when I noticed something was on the ground behind Casper. Looking closer, it looked like a chord. Like a long cable sort of thing. I thought it was for a games console, but then I remembered he had no idea what a video game was. I didn’t question what it was for a while. We talked every night, about everything and nothing.
I told Casper about school and friends, filling up every piece of paper we had in the house, and he told me about his siblings. They were all the same age, and all enjoyed school. His brother was a piano prodigy, while his sister’s strongest subjects were math. Casper told me he felt like the odd one out being the artist of the family, and I quickly told him that creativity was the best part of a person.
He showed me his drawings. And to my confusion, and slight disgust, they were all of his mother. They were good—sure. His skills were Ivy League worthy. Perfect shading. Everything about the drawings were perfect.
But the fact that his muse was his mother—it put a weird taste in my mouth. He showed me each drawing, his smile widening with excitement. While I nodded and pretended to be impressed. Well, I was.
Though it became startlingly obvious that Casper didn’t have a choice who he drew. He didn’t draw fruit or landscapes, or even the sky. We live in a picturesque town, the perfect canvas for an artist. However, Mrs Wilder was at the centre of every single fucking drawing and painting, ink blot. Even with different styles and angles, she was always there. And Casper Wilder saw no wrong in it. He saw absolutely no fucking wrong in this woman taking control of every aspect of his life. His social life, his friends, education and hobbies.
I half expected him to grab his guitar and start singing about her through the glass. I couldn’t take it anymore. It was driving me crazy. We continued to talk through writing to each other, but soon enough the only subject was his mother. Casper asked me if I could rate a drawing he was working on. It was her. Of course it was. I ignored him, getting to my feet and holding up the sign I had written weeks before. But I was too scared to show him.
I didn’t want to ruin our friendship, but I had to know. I had to know several things which had been keeping me up all night
“Why are you okay with your mother controlling your life?” I asked in bold letters.
And below that: “Also… I’ve been wondering this for a while. But what is that thing behind you?”
The thing behind him was at the centre of my thoughts. I’d worked out it wasn’t a chord for a TV or a games console. Not even a laptop, or for his guitar. Not to mention it was always there. Morning and evening, even at night when I spied him getting ready for bed. This thing was always on the floor, snaked across his bed. Sometimes it was even wrapped up on his desk. I couldn’t understand the length of it. I asked friends at school, and even the internet. But my descriptions didn’t do it justice. A long, silver chord like thing which didn’t have an end.
Casper blinked at my message. Before he ducked his head and started writing before holding up his response.
“I love my mom.” He said, doodling a little heart. “She doesn’t control my life. I like that she’s in it.”
Below that, a follow up message which twisted my gut. “What do you mean? I don’t see anything, Phoebe.”
Tapping my pad with my pen, I struggled to think of a response. There was no way he couldn’t see this thing. It was pretty hard to miss. Instead of writing, I pointed behind him.
“That!” I mouthed, using my lips for the first time. It felt good to actually talk to him. Even if a window of glass separated us.
“What?” His handwriting was slipping slightly. And I noticed his hands were visibly shaking. “What can you see, Phoebe?”
This time, he stood up. I noticed something change in him, the notepad slipping off his knee. Casper turned around, scanning the room.
Before his eyes finally found the cord-thing. His smile seemed to dampen, eyes going wide, fists clenching.
“Casper?” I hurriedly wrote when he didn’t move for a while. His gaze was glued to the chord. I watched his eye follow it around the room, before his hand slowly raised, trembling fingers moving to his neck, and then the back of his head. Was there an insect? That’s what I thought. It must have been a spider, or some kind of bug which had startled him. I could only describe his expression as close to catatonic. He stood up, but then quickly slumped back down. But not like it was his choice. As if he was being dragged back down by an unseen force. Like one minute I was looking at Casper Wilder, and then I was seeing a stranger. A completely different person take over a rapidly paling face. Something snapped inside my gut when he moved forwards suddenly, his arms lunging out to close the curtains.
But that wasn’t the end of what I saw. The boy had unknowingly left a splinter, a tiny gap allowing me to glimpse. I expected him to react to whatever had freaked him out. But instead, he simply flopped back onto his bed. This time, I noticed the silver chord jolt with his movement. He was already asleep, his eyes closed. I watched him, my heart diving into my throat. There was no way he just fell asleep like that. It was too fast.
Mrs Wilder came into his room soon after. But I only got a glimpse of her because she was already striding over to the window. I ducked behind my bed, panic creeping up my spine. I expected the woman to start yelling at me through the window, but instead she simply pulled the curtains properly shut. Mrs Wilder definitely saw me. And even if she didn’t, Casper’s messages to me were still piled on his bedsheets. I was left completely in the dark, then. I stood and pressed my face against the window, fully aware that I was addicted to the mystery surrounding my neighbour.
My mind began to wonder to uncertain and scary places.
What exactly was Casper’s mother doing to him behind the curtain? I wanted to believe she was simply tucking him in and saying goodnight, but the strange chord-like thing on the ground, and how he’d reacted to noticing it—for what seemed like the first time. His change in expression, like a different person had taken over him, and that person was… scared.
Catatonic. I refused to believe Mrs Wilder was innocent. I waited for him to draw his curtains again—but he didn’t. Casper’s window stayed completely blocked for days. I stopped hearing his siblings in the yard, and after days of nothing, mom reiterated her warning to me over dinner. “No communication with the Wilder children,” she told me. “Which includes notes and letters.”
So, Mrs Wilder knew we were talking.
I wondered if she was punishing her son for breaking the rules—and that was why he had been MIA for the last few days.
“There’s something wrong with Casper.” I worked up the courage to tell mom “The boy next door. I think Mrs Wilder is hurting him.”
“Hurting him?”
“Yeah, like…” I frowned. “I think she can make him go to sleep when she wants.” I pulled a face. “Like, hypnotism—or maybe even drugs.”
“Mmm hmm.”
“Drugs, mom.” I said. “Mrs Wilder is drugging her seventeen year old son!”
“That’s nice, honey.”
“Are you even listening to me?” I leaned across the table, stabbing the page of her book. “Mom! Casper Wilder is a total blank slate!”
“I’ve told you a thousand times. She’s protecting them,” she hummed. “You have just seen far too many crime dramas—and your generation have been poisoned by the likes of crime entrainment. Finding what you think is your own mystery must be fun, but you are reaching, baby.”
“Reaching?” I prodded my own temple. “I’m sorry, were you not listening when I told you he doesn’t even know what video games are?”
Mom was acting weird. Usually, she talked about school with me, and at least tried to engage in conversation, but she was too busy reading the book Mrs Becker has recommended her. It was like talking to a brick.
“You’re being ridiculous, Phoebe,” she turned over a page with a sigh. “I’ve spoken to his mother. She’s a lovely woman. We’re having lunch next week. I met her in the grocery store."
“What a coincidence,” I shot her a look over my phone. I was looking up child abuse helplines. “You’re suddenly best friends with the neighborhood witch when I’m caught talking to her son.” Dropping my phone for emphasis, I stood up. “If you would just listen to me—"
“That’s enough.” Mom cut me off. She finished her coffee, grabbing her jacket from where it was slung over a chair. “Stay out of trouble, okay? I’m heading back to work. I’ve left cash if you want to order pizza. You have other interests, alright? Please. Leave Mrs Wilder alone. This obsession you have with her kids is unhealthy. Why don't you stick to fiction, hm?"
Yeah, no.
As soon as she was gone, I sprinted to my room to see if Casper’s curtains were open. To my dismay, though. They weren’t.
Frustrated, I yanked mine shut too.
Slumping onto my bed, I continued looking up helplines. I got bored soon after and started googling chords and wires which fit the description of what I’d seen.
There was a match, though it was on a weird medical website which looked like it had been made in 2005. The interface was outdated, and according to the description, it was some kind of clamping device. There were a lot of words I didn’t know, and after further googling, I was getting increasingly more confused. Until my gaze flicked to a section at the bottom of the page. According to whoever wrote it, the chord in question was experimental. There weren’t many in circulation, but it was mainly used in medical centres such as specialist surgeries and hospitals. When I scrolled down, there was a diagram which showed a long chord-like thing labelled as “The body” and a sharp looking needle. Something warm crept up my throat and I sat up, frowning at the screen. Was that it? Was that thing the end?
And what did this thing even connect to?
A sudden THUD made me almost jump out of my skin. I slid off my bed.
It was coming from my window. My curtains were still shut, blowing in the slight breeze. Slowly, I made my way over, my spine tingling.
The first thing I saw was red. Bright, intense scarlet spattering the Wilder boy's window. Then I glimpsed Casper. He was slamming his face into the glass, over and over again, his already bleeding nose exploding with more red. But it wasn't the boy I knew. The kid I had gotten to know over the last few months. No. This kid was a mess of torn up clothes, bruises yellowing his eyes and scratches sliced into his flesh. My first thought was his mom. She must have done this to him. But then my gaze was finding his bloodied nails, and claw marks on his arms and cheeks. There was something white wrapped around his head, a bandage.
I could glimpse red leaking through, smudging clinical white and pooling down his temples in sharp rivulets. Casper's eyes were an enigma in themselves, a mixture of fear and confusion, and almost feral look of anger and frustration. But the twitch in his lip and between his brow, was evident that something was fighting that.
Emotions and feelings he wasn't feeling himself.
It was like looking at two different guys. One was Casper, the artist who lived next door, who ended every message with a smiley. While this twisted other self, a self which was broken out and was feral in his expression, was a whole other person. I started to realise the more I looked at him, at the mess of flesh and blood caught between his nails, and his trembling hands every so often creeping to the back of his skull before jolting and coming back to curl into fists, battering the window--- he had clawed into his own head.
Immediately, I reached for my phone. But he already knew what I was going to do.
“No!” He mouthed, shaking his head—so I grabbed my notepad. I could barely write.
“What’s going on?” I held up my pad. “Are you okay? You’re fucking bleeding!”
Instead of using a pen and paper, Casper squinted, blinking rapidly. His handwriting was different, a manic scrawl, as he wrote in the explosion of blood on the window.
When he twisted around, his gaze going to the door, the breath caught in my throat. Someone was yelling his name. I could tell by his reaction. His bloodied fingers clawed at his face and hair, at bald patches and rugged stitches lining his scalp and the back of his skull. They kept going, a narrow line of stitches all the way down his neck, and presumably his spine.
My thoughts flashed back to the equipment I’d been looking up. This kind of thing was designed to bury into the brain and spinal cord. I looked for it, but the thing was nowhere to be seen on him. It was no longer on the floor. Casper struggled to write coherently. I notice he kept swearing, his finger smudging the words he was trying to write. This was more like it, I thought. This was the kind of boy I had expected to be the kid next door. “Fuck.” He shook his head, his movements erratic as one hand went to the back of his head and came back slick with glistening red.
He slammed his fists into the window in frustration, but I was already seeing his message start to blossom and make sense.
Casper was crying. I could see that he could barely breathe, struggling to inhale, swiping at his eyes with smudged fists.
I started to back away, but he continued. When he’d finished, he wrote it again and again, growing more and more fraught.
I jumped when he slammed his head into the glass of the window again. At first a part of me thought he was using his blood for paint.
So he was intentionally hurting himself to draw more.
But his words spelled it out for me in black and white.
Who am I? He wrote. WHO AM I? WHO AM I WHO AM I? WHO AM I?
This time I could barely even read my own handwriting. I held up a scrap of paper.
I gestured to the bandage on his head, and he stumbled back, wild eyes searching for something to write with.
“THAT WOMAN.” He scribbled in block capitals.
“THAT WOMAN IS NOT MY FUCKING MOM.” He wrote, before he dropped to his knees. He was still writing but failing to show me.
I don’t know who I am.
He wrote the same thing 12 times, before tearing up the paper and burying his head in his lap.
I gave up writing messages.
“Casper!” I shouted.
Then I threw a rock at his window, and he lifted his head, blinking rapidly.
Gesturing for him to open up his window, he struggled with the latch for a moment before pulling it open.
I stuck my head out of my own window, cold air hitting me in the face. “I’m going to help you.” I managed to choke out. “Hold on, okay?”
Casper clawed at his face. "Help me." His voice was a sharp hiss. "Please help me. I don't know who I..." His fingernails ripped into the flesh of his cheeks, but he barely seemed to feel it, to be fazed. They kept going, digging into layer after layer. "I don't know who I am." He jumped up suddenly trashing his desk and throwing his laptop against the wall. He reminded me of a child having a tantrum. In this case though, it was more than acting out. I was sure that Casper Wilder didn’t exist. "I don't know who I am. I don't know... fuck... I don't know who I am!”
His eyes found mine, and I could have sworn I saw something there, buried deep, deep inside his pupil.
He blinked, and it was gone.
“You need to tell me what she’s done to you.” I said stiffly. “Tell me what she’s done to your head.”
Casper was only growing progressively more frenzied. Animalistic. He came back to the window, slamming his fists into it. Then his head. Again and again. Like he was trying to knock himself out. "Help me. I can't remember... I can't remember who I am. I just know.. I know her.”
His lips suddenly twisted into a startling grin.
“Mom.” He whispered, his expression softening. “My mom.” His gaze flicked to the desk. “She won’t like that I’ve… I’ve made a mess.”
“Your mom did this.” I gritted out. “I’m calling the cops.”
His expression was scaring me. Whatever was in his eye was scaring me. But this boy needed help. He needed to be taken out of that house.
"No." Casper sobered up. "No, my mom... my mommy said... she said no police." His eyes widened suddenly, seemingly noticing the mess of the window for the first time. “Oh, no.” Casper stumbled back. “I should… I should clean this. Before my mom sees what a mess I made.”
His door opened, and another head poked through.
Another guy. I figured it was one of his brothers. Freddie, or Issac. He too had a bandage wrapped around his head.
His brother’s eyes found the blood spatters, and then me. Like his mother, he strode over to the window, shutting the curtains.
But I could still hear it.
A mechanical whirring noise, followed by Casper’s sharp breath and the sickly crunch of metal protruding through blood and bone.
That was it.
“Mom!” I yelled. I’d heard her come back earlier. She must have finished work early.
I stumbled downstairs to tell her to call the cops, but a shadow was already looming behind the corner. Before I knew what was happening, a wet rag stinking of pool cleaner was being pressed over my mouth and nose.
I don’t remember passing out. When I woke up, I was lying on my mom’s couch. It was dark outside, but the curtains were open. My foggy thoughts drunk in slithers of moon poking from between the clouds before registering I wasn’t alone. Sitting up, my stomach galloped. There was no sign of mom. But I recognised each of the faces surrounding me. Mrs Becker was sitting with her legs crossed, delicately sipping from a cup. And next to her, wearing a smug smile, was Mrs Wilder. She wasn’t looking at me. Instead, her eyes were lovingly glued to something which had been built over mom’s coffee table. It was made completely out of paper. The scraps of paper I had been using to talk to her son. Though there weren’t just my messages. I glimpsed Casper’s writing too. It was a house. I was staring at a perfect paper rendition of the Wilder house. And next to it stood four little paper dolls.
There were no faces. No expressions. Just four dolls. Two boys, and two girls.
Though in her lap were more. Mrs Wilder’s nimble fingers were working to make more of them. They filled her lap differing in sizes.
“Phoebe, is it?”
Her voice was smooth like chocolate. I could almost mistake it for kindness.
I nodded, my heart in my throat. I was watching her create another doll. She folded a piece of paper in half, cut it in two, and started to fold sections, bringing the doll-form to life. This one, unlike the other, did have attention put into it. She had even added the birth mark on my right temple, following that, colouring in my dark blonde hair, and finishing with my jean jacket. Mrs Wilder didn’t have to spell it out for me. When she got to the doll’s head, she shocked me, by tearing it off. Then she ripped off its arms and legs and tearing its torso in half.
Mrs Wilder straightened up. “Phoebe, are you aware of a mother’s instinct?”
I couldn’t reply. Instead, I was staring at the paper-doll she had set alight. I watched smouldering orange rip into it, before she put the fire out, dropping the blackened paper doll on the carpet. For just a brief second, I could have sworn the hem of my jacket had also caught alight. Just a single flash of orange. But maybe I was seeing things. “I was pregnant with four beautiful children,” she said softly. “As soon as I found out, I had already named them.” Her smile was dreamy. Melancholic. “Freddie. My little Freddie. He kicked quite a lot. Oh, and Matilda. She and her twin were quite the pair, I must say. Swiftly draining me of my energy so I had to take medication.” Mrs Wilder chuckled.
“And finally, Casper. Named after my favourite movie. I loved him with all of my heart. He was my little fighter.” She quickly lost her smile, her gaze flicking to me. “I hope you understand that if you talk to, or even the breathe the same air as my children again, I will rip you apart too.”
Mrs Wilder never raised her voice. She didn’t need to. I was terrified of her.
She held up my doll for emphasis, before throwing it in the paper dollhouse. “Or… perhaps you could become another daughter of mine, hmm?” I couldn’t move, my body paralysed when she leaned over me, cruel eyes drinking me in. “Maybe not.” She hummed. “I only take the dead or dying.” Straightening up, she sighed. “It’s not a hard task, Phoebe. Keep away from my children and I will keep away from you.”
The two of them left after that, leaving me unable to move. To breathe. They took the dollhouse. All of the paper. Even my own doll.
Casper has been unreachable since. Mom has hardly been at home—and I’m starting to lose my mind.
I don’t know what to do. I don’t know who or what Mrs Wilder is, but I’m afraid she’s going to keep adding to her collection.
Whoever those kids are, they’re not hers. I think she’s taken them. She’s using them as canvases. Dolls. For what she’s lost.
Am I next?
submitted by Trash_Tia to TheCrypticCompendium [link] [comments]

2023.03.27 02:01 ShroomieDoomieDoo Bruh I just wanna fucking sleep

I’m in that weird transition phase where my brain/body is exhausted from go-go-going for like a week, but I can’t rest because I’m still too wound up.
I’ve gotten maybe 10 hours of sleep in the past three days and I’m just physically, mentally, and emotionally wiped. This morning I had a breakdown once I started hearing birds chirping because I knew another night had gone by with barely any sleep.
My sleep Rx isn’t working, and neither is the OTC shit. Melatonin, diphenhydramine, dramamine, all of it. And no matter how hard I try to clear my head, I just lie in bed staring at the ceiling until I give up and go do something.
I’m so so tired and I just want to sleep.
submitted by ShroomieDoomieDoo to bipolar [link] [comments]

2023.03.27 01:50 MaestroPolo [H] Hundreds of games humble and fanatical games [W] PayPal, gift cards, total war/stellaris/hearts of iron 4 dlcs i dont already own

***I will NOT go first unless you have more rep than me**\*
Resellers are welcome, but please don't lowball, I know the value of my games - all fees on resellers
My PayPal is US, so any fees on you. If u send money without covering the fees, I will refund the money minus any fees charged by PayPal
NOTE: due to recent wave of humble bans i only trade keys now with the understanding that those keys sold will be for your personal use
PLEASE do not lowball. While I obviously DO NOT expect full retail price for my games as they were bundled, if you can't beat reseller prices on the sub I will have no choice but to refuse the offer.
Finally, this list is both my backlog and spares so we may value games differently!
Some are of high value to me because they are part of my backlog so I will swap them only for other games I intend to play
My complete list of game keys + source updated 03/26/2023
Humble weekly + pre-choice monthly bundles
Humble choice
  2. February 2020 - 2 choices left out of: ELIZA, THE HEX, WARSTONE TD, UNDERHERO
  3. March 2020 - 1 choice left out of: EXAPUNKS, NIFFELHEIM, ETHERBORN
  8. September 2020 - 3 choices left out of: lethal league blaze, YOOKA-LAYLEE AND THE IMPOSSIBLE LAIR, the occupation
  9. October 2020 - 2 choices left out of: THE SUICIDE OF RACHEL FOSTER, THE UNCERTAIN: LAST QUIET DAY
  17. August 2021 - 5 choices left out of: AS FAR AS THE EYE, CEPHEUS PROTOCOL, NOWHERE PROPHET, BLUE FIRE, ENCODYA (GOG key)
  18. September 2021 - 3 choices left out of: narita boy, heaven's vault, fort triumph
  19. November 2021 - 1 choice left out of: MÖBIUS FRONT '83
  22. November 2022 - KINGDOMS OF AMALUR: RE-RECKONING - FATE EDITION (might keep), shadow tactics aiko's choice, roboquest (might keep), eldest souls, unmetal, raji an ancient epic, morbid the seven acolytes
  23. December 2022 - wasteland 3, greedfall, first class trouble, backbone, blade assault, super magbot
  24. January 2023 - doom eternal, tribes of midgard (might keep), encased, grow song of the evertree, conan chop chop, the serpent rogue
Yet more leftovers
Steam wish list (I value games at their lowest sale prices)
Indiegameswap rep #1:
Indiegameswap rep #2:
Indiegameswap rep #3:
Steamgameswap rep page 1:
Steamgameswap rep page 2:
Steamgameswap rep page 3:
Steamgameswap rep page 4 (most recent):\\\_profile\\\_umaestropolo/
Steam profile:
Giftcardexchange rep:\\\_gcx\\\_rep\\\_profile/
Steam wish list (I value games at their lowest sale prices)
submitted by MaestroPolo to SteamGameSwap [link] [comments]

2023.03.27 01:12 cgstories The Mother, the Son, and the Bride [Part 5-final]

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4
The Gray Rabbit knew how to get to the stairs that’d lead them back to the world above. All they had to do was follow the river to the Great Temple of Roh. They tread the grounds with great caution, stopping every now and then whenever they heard the faint sound of footsteps. The Spade guards roamed the forest. And when Hana spotted a pair of diamond-shaped red eyes peering from the darkness, she'd dart behind a tree and the Gray Rabbit in a bush, and there they’d wait, languishing in intense anxiety and holding their breaths until the red eyes retreated into the darkness and the metallic footsteps faded.
The closer they got to the temple, the narrower the river became. The river became a stream then the stream into a brook. The milk curds grew chunkier and more pungent. They were no longer treading on grass dirt. They were trudging through the milk chunks which squished between their toes and caked underneath their toenails.
The Great Temple of Roh wasn’t as lavish and great as the other parts of the estate Hana had imagined. It was a simple hanok with its curved tiled roof accentuated by the uplifted eaves. Upon closer look, however, the temple wasn’t made of wood. As she climbed on the stone steps and touched its walls, a sickening realization struck Hana.
Bones. Piles and piles of bones tightly compacted together, even the roof was made the shoulder blades and pelvic bones, the Gray Rabbit so kindly pointed out with awe and fear. The doors too were constructed of femurs and tibias, and they were stained and encrusted in dried blood.
“Whose bones are these?” asked Hana, recoiling.
“Peons like you and me.”
The temple’s red doors were slightly ajar, and a gnawing feeling told Hana to come closer. She must look inside. A sound inside lured her to the cracked door. She peeked. A few candles lit the room in a soft yellow glow. The room was mostly empty except for an altar; and a row of monstrous faces that lined the walls. Their big black eyes were fixed on the limped and naked figure lying in the center of the room.
When the shivering figure moaned and lifted its head, Hana gasped, realizing who it was and, without thinking, rushed inside.
“No! Don’t go in!” the Gray Rabbit half-whimpered and half-yelled, but Hana ignored him.
“Oh, Minji!” she cried, brushing the woman’s long dark hair aside.
Minji’s glazed eyes stared back at her, and she smiled. “Hana, I’ve been chosen. I’m the bride.”
Hana searched the room for any stitch of clothing. Frustrated, she went back to Minji, took hold of her arms and urged her to get up.
“We have to get out of here,” she said, desperately. “We’re in danger!”
“Us? In danger? No, no… I’m safe. We’re safe. I’m okay.”
“You’re going to die if you stay here! The Mother is going to kill you!”
“That’s a stupid thing to say! She’s not going to kill me. She said she’s going to bless me.”
“Please, Minji,” Hana’s voice cracked, and she started to cry. “We need to get out of here. I’m telling you that you’re going to die!”
Minji pulled away. “I can’t leave. I’m so happy, Hana!” she exclaimed, deliriously with eyes shut and shaking her head as if in a feverish dream.
“Please, come with me. Let’s go home.”
“I can’t do that. I’ve been chosen. Don’t you know? I’m the bride! I’m the bride!”
Heartbroken, Hana gawked in disbelief. “What did they do to you?”
Minji shoved Hana away and started to convulse. Her legs and arms began to twist. Jaws clenched. Eyes bugged out. She let out an agonizing scream.
At the sound of the red doors creaking open, Hana rushed into a dark corner and clasped a hand over her mouth, steadying her breathing.
Hyun-jeong, now having returned to human form, walked in with a golden seat cushion, and she ceremoniously placed it beside Minji, who had begun to convulse and groan and pant on the floor. Then, three more Court Ladies entered. One went to light more candles on the altar. Another stood by the altar with a white folded cloth in her hands. The third dragged something behind her. Long vines that grew out of her fingers were roped around the whimpering and trembling Gray Rabbit.
Clutching onto the arm of Jeong-wook, the Mother stepped into the temple. She was wrapped in bandages, and her face was obscured behind a veil. Fragile and easily tired, she was brought to the golden cushion, leaning on her son more for support.
“I’ve never thought I’d see this day,” she said, her voice quivering from joy. “I will shed this body and rise anew.” She reached out her gnarled hand and stroked Minji’s head.
Jeong-wook smiled. “And we’ve a body for you, Eomma.”
With a glance and a nod from him, the court ladies morphed into their monstrous form. Before a scream left Hana’s throat, a swift, wet breeze swept past her, spraying her cheek with mist. With a trembling hand, she wiped her cheek. Her heart resonated through her ears like a jackhammer as it pounded violently against her chest.
The smell of blood was heavy in the air. She did not need to look to know that the Gray Rabbit’s blood now coated her fingers. From the corner of her eye, she saw the beasts atop her companion in captivity, ripping him apart from limb to limb. His lifeless head rolled and stopped at her feet. A long fleshy vine snatched it up and cracked the cranium open. The court ladies fed the bloody bits and pieces of the Gray Rabbit to the demonic faces in the walls.
The faces’ lower jaws split open into thick, strong mandibles with jagged teeth. What came whipping out of the mouths were long, black forked tongues. Using their tongues, they feasted upon bits of brain and licked the bones clean. They let out a shrill whine as loud as a choir of hellish cicadas, further tearing apart the very fabric of Hana’s reality.
As she came to terms with the possibility, nay inevitability, that this could be her gruesome end, a small voice in her head urged her to press onward.
“Save yourself!” It screamed.
A surge of adrenaline coursed through her body. Her heart pounded relentlessly in her chest. She made a mad dash to the doors dodging the court ladies’ vines as they lashed at her. The threshold was within reach, but a great force violently pulled her back into the wall. The faces held her in place, digging their teeth into arms and calves.
“Wonderful!” Jeong-wook exclaimed with a mischievous grin. “We’ve another witness for the ritual.”
Love was all that Hana craved. She was loved by her family. She was respected and admired by her math students. Though this had warmly touched her heart, she had also longed to be loved in a much more intimate way. She had believed she had found this with Jeong-wook. He was her first. The one and only who had ever seen and touched her in the most intimate way. Never had she ever felt so exposed and vulnerable during their time together.
Now, those memories sickened her. Bile started to rise in her throat as she watched him undress the Mother. Underneath was skin thin as wet paper glistening from popped abscesses and peppered with pus-filled blisters. Her arms and legs were bent and warped like a featherless bird. Jeong-wook removed the bandages with extreme caution for the slightest misstep could rip a strip of skin and cause the Mother unimaginable agony.
The ritual began.
Jeong-wook kneeled beside the matriarch. He had a dagger in his hands. With one knowing look from the Mother, he struck her in the heart. Wailing, she slumped onto her side, life fading as blood pooled around her. From her wide opened mouth, out climbed an oily creature resembling a black-haired woman. Its face was long and gaunt, and its eyes were hollow. It moaned and writhed across the floor towards Minji. She lay in a deep trance, blissfully unaware of the creature clawing at her legs, pulling itself up to sit on her chest.
“Minji, wake up! Minji!” Hana screamed, though knowing the efforts to snap her friend awake were futile. She tried to wiggle out of the faces’ biting grip. But that only forced them to dig their teeth deeper. Tears flowed down her cheeks from the flashing pain.
Jeong-wook strode over to her and wiped them away with his fingers. Hana recoiled.
“There’s nothing to worry about, love,” he said, smirking. “My dear eomma is giving Minji the most wonderful gift of all: her essence. She will be my perfect bride.”
He grabbed her head and pried her eyes open. She watched in horror as the creature forced itself into Minji’s mouth. Convulsing, Minji started to rise into the air. She thrashed about so violently, her body contorted in odd angles to the point of snapping at the joints. Hand in hand, the court ladies circled her, humming in unison an eerie yet soothing tune which seemed to have a calming effect on Minji.
The fit stopped, and she dropped to the floor with a loud thud. Then, hushed silence.
“Jeong-wook…” a soft voice said, breathlessly.
Hearing his name, Jeong-wook rushed to Minji’s side and tenderly brushed aside the strands of hair from her sweaty face.
“Is it you?” he asked.
She straightened herself out on the golden cushion. Without saying anything, she caressed his face and guided his mouth to her breasts. Jeong-wook crawled into her lap, shrinking once again into an infant, and latched onto the nipple. The baby suckled and slurped. He gurgled and cried happily, milk spilling out of his pink lips. The Mother wiped the mess with her thumb.
Much to her surprise, the other breast, too, started to gush out the white creamy liquid, soaking the Mother and the Son. It flowed onto the floor, spreading throughout the room, and over the threshold, renewing the stagnant and spoiled river of milk in the forest. A honey aroma wafted in the air.
The court ladies wept in joy. It had been too long since they had such fresh milk. Their jaws split open like a blooming flower, whipping out their long tongues. They fell to their hands and knees and lapped up the overflowing cream.
The faces on the wall opened their mouths, and Hana collapsed. She didn’t move. Too weak. Too much pain. She lay there, half-drowning. She tasted the milk’s freshness slightly tainted with her blood.
The Gray Rabbit was right, she thought. It tasted like mad honey.
“Aich! I just don’t understand,” said Grandmother, slicing a roll of kimbap with frustrated haste. “Why did you break up with Jeong-wook? Now, I heard he’s engaged to someone else. That could’ve been you!”
Hana’s mother tutted at the older woman. “Oh, let her be!” But as she glanced curiously at her daughter, she said, “Though I’m curious as well.”
Failing to conceal their eavesdropping, the few customers at the restaurant shot curious glances at Hana. She paid them no mind; she was too busy helping her mother refill the small tubs of kimchi and yellow pickled radish at the self-serve table.
Hana shrugged. “It just didn’t work out, that’s all.”
Mom shook her head and sighed. “That’s too bad. He came from a good family.”
“Good stock! Oh, you’re going to regret it one day, Hana,” Grandmother added.
Fighting the urge to scream the truth, Hana bit her lip and said nothing. She was quite aware of all the pitiful and disbelieving looks she’d gotten after returning from the trip months ago. She knew what they thought of her: Oh, what a stupid girl! What was she thinking? Now she’s like old milk. Too spoiled for the marriage market.
Despite what those people thought, she was content with what she had. She was glad just to breathe. All that mattered now was living in the present. True love...that was a fairy tale she’d abandoned a while ago. She didn’t think much of it nowadays. And she couldn’t tell them the truth. Not that they would believe her anyway. The police certainly didn’t when she had run to them, barefoot and with clothes drenched in sweat and milk.
She had told them about how she’d been kidnapped; the lizard-like humanoid creatures that roamed the Roh estate; and the Mother and the underworld and the milk. After she had run out of breath, the officers gawked at her and then they laughed.
“You said that they hurt you? But you don’t look like you’re hurt,” one of them said.
Hana didn’t know what to say. The Mother’s milk had healed the deep bite marks on her arms and legs. She was allowed to leave the Roh estate. The spade guards had dragged her out of the underworld, and a different chauffeur drove her out of the estate and dumped her on the freeway. Though she didn’t leave the house without an unsettling warning from the Mother's favorite court lady.
Reverted to her human form, Hyun-jeong with her usual dead-eyed smile, said, “Be grateful the Mother spared your life. And remember, our eyes and ears are everywhere; always watching, always listening.”
Hana had to be careful. Her words must be carefully chosen. She knew that they were listening. And they could be anyone. Perhaps, they were already sitting at the restaurant. It was a daily reminder for her not to speak of what had happened. They had even sent her a newspaper clipping of Yoo-jin, who had gone missing several days ago. Then the following day, she received a polaroid photograph of herself taken from across the street while leaving her math academy.
“But tell me, really,” her mother pleaded, shaking Hana out of her thoughts. “You know you can tell me anything.”
“Tell you what?”
“Why did you end the relationship?”
“He wasn’t who I thought he was. He was simply not the one."
submitted by cgstories to libraryofshadows [link] [comments]

2023.03.27 00:47 subreddit_stats Subreddit Stats: standardissuecat top posts from 2021-10-21 to 2023-03-25 23:12 PDT

Period: 520.90 days
Submissions Comments
Total 998 66334
Rate (per day) 1.92 127.11
Unique Redditors 763 21433
Combined Score 3851807 1266826

Top Submitters' Top Submissions

  1. 87976 points, 23 submissions: MissCrazyLady
    1. Just another small update for you guys on Indy and kittens. The kittens will soon be exploring more of the house. (5623 points, 71 comments)
    2. Thought I’d let everyone know how the babies are doing. They are doing good. (5094 points, 85 comments)
    3. Just a little update on the babies. They are starting to open their eyes. (5000 points, 42 comments)
    4. Indy and kittens update. The last one. Indy and Iris are leaving for their forever homes. (4725 points, 66 comments)
    5. Indy and kittens update. All is well. Indy decided that Iris needed a bath. (4612 points, 64 comments)
    6. Indy and kittens being cute. (4382 points, 41 comments)
    7. Indy’s kittens update. They are now five weeks. (4325 points, 62 comments)
    8. The babies are doing good. (4159 points, 45 comments)
    9. Update on Indy and kittens. The kittens have now discovered the water bowl. (4148 points, 65 comments)
    10. I bring another update on the babies. They have reached the three week mark. (3915 points, 47 comments)
  2. 77511 points, 18 submissions: vhm3
    1. No longer sure if I have two SICs™️ or I was duped by a mirror extension installed by the cat dealership (9339 points, 89 comments)
    2. There was an attempt to sleep (8561 points, 72 comments)
    3. I rushed these guys to the vet because I found bumps on their undersides. Today I learned male cats have nipples 😬 (5389 points, 252 comments)
    4. They used to steal my chair so I added another chair...clearly I did not think this through (4915 points, 69 comments)
    5. My SICs™️ were assembled at the cat factory eight years ago and picked up at the cat dealership 12 weeks later. With regular maintenance, they’re still in great working order. Please wish them a happy 8th assembly day. (4410 points, 148 comments)
    6. I live here now (4194 points, 33 comments)
    7. Working overtime at the bread factory (4100 points, 44 comments)
    8. UPDATE: KINGSLEY HAS BEEN FOUND!!! 6 days and so many tears and blisters later, he's back with me and his bonded sibling as lovely as ever ❤️ Thank you all for the amazing suggestions xxx (3995 points, 256 comments)
    9. Come on man, I don't yell at you when you're in the litter box (3838 points, 56 comments)
    10. Catnip induced attempt at fighting (3802 points, 54 comments)
  3. 50753 points, 7 submissions: princessohio
    1. If you don’t have a valentine today, Dwight is your valentine. (17650 points, 464 comments)
    2. My SIC - Dwight. I rescued him when he was 6 and he just turned 15 and he’s the love of my life. I don’t know how I survived before finding him ❤️ (8975 points, 419 comments)
    3. SIC Dwight’s Sweet 16th Birthday! Swipe to see the roller coaster of emotions of an old grumpy angel 🥹 🎂 (6050 points, 162 comments)
    4. Dwight is helping me move. (Swipe to see him asking me if we can leave the dog behind) (5822 points, 250 comments)
    5. Happy new year from resident sad-face boy: Dwight. 🥰 (4848 points, 124 comments)
    6. Dwight has his holiday gear on! He says “happy holidays to whatever holiday you celebrate! We love you!” (4456 points, 145 comments)
    7. Guess who’s back? Back again? Dwight is back, tell your friends…. 12 new photos of my king for my favorite subreddit ❤️ (2952 points, 222 comments)
  4. 48063 points, 8 submissions: Souled_Out
    1. Standard Issue Jujitsu (15065 points, 207 comments)
    2. Standard Issue Productivity Manager (7084 points, 52 comments)
    3. Standard Breakfast Heist (5407 points, 54 comments)
    4. The Anti-Helper (5022 points, 34 comments)
    5. Standard Issue Instigator (4593 points, 20 comments)
    6. The 4x4 Technique (4188 points, 29 comments)
    7. Standard Issue Sister (3515 points, 23 comments)
    8. Standard Issue Foster Brother (3189 points, 53 comments)
  5. 39504 points, 11 submissions: mstorijo
    1. I love Leia’s face. (7134 points, 70 comments)
    2. Leia gives me so much love. (5147 points, 48 comments)
    3. Leia has a Christmas hug for you. (3723 points, 34 comments)
    4. Leia is now a year old and an epic snuggler. (3548 points, 17 comments)
    5. Leia snuggles (3408 points, 45 comments)
    6. Leia, 7 months, the best colleague ever. (3310 points, 25 comments)
    7. Twitching in her sleep (on my desk) (3155 points, 25 comments)
    8. 8 month old Leia and her glorious tail (2672 points, 31 comments)
    9. Leia is still living her best life. (2551 points, 14 comments)
    10. Leia the heroine who just caught and ate a spider in the bathroom. (2447 points, 52 comments)
  6. 32047 points, 6 submissions: skeletowns
    1. Posted my SIC squad a couple months ago. Here they are now....the kittens are getting so big. ❤️ (9016 points, 147 comments)
    2. Haven't gotten a photo of my fleet together in a they are! (6344 points, 95 comments)
    3. my SIC collection!! 2019, 2021, and 2022 models! (5598 points, 150 comments)
    4. Has anyone else had trouble with their units melting together? What do you suggest? (4194 points, 87 comments)
    5. Halloween upgrade came out earlier than anticipated! (4187 points, 28 comments)
    6. The BOGO offer is not one I'd pass up if I were in the market for a SIC! (2708 points, 30 comments)
  7. 31389 points, 9 submissions: bassclef62
    1. Nothing like being the recipient of SIC biscuit making at 3am in the morning! 😻 (5919 points, 126 comments)
    2. Selfie with the SIC! (4639 points, 70 comments)
    3. Today is a special day for Loki and me. A year ago today I adopted him! Wow, can’t believe it’s been a year! Maybe meant to be, with his heart condition he may have never got adopted or ended up with someone not willing to pay for the proper care. Well he’s a handful but allot of fun! (3953 points, 62 comments)
    4. My SIC came with the massage option! (3242 points, 18 comments)
    5. SIC in full bird watching mode! (3095 points, 36 comments)
    6. Oh man, Amazon sent me another SIC in a box! I thought I canceled my subscription!! (2895 points, 36 comments)
    7. We’re at the SIC Maintenance Center to check his engine with his cardiologist. (2716 points, 22 comments)
    8. I didn’t realize my SIC was a thief model! (2473 points, 69 comments)
    9. This is the reason I get nothing done when I get home! (2457 points, 21 comments)
  8. 22803 points, 4 submissions: Visual-Extent
    1. 2022 model going from “sports mode” to “cruise mode” in mere seconds (7502 points, 86 comments)
    2. I think my brand new 2022 model finds tickling amusing (v8 engine) (6975 points, 31 comments)
    3. Tippy went in for some standard re-wiring and was fitted with this FANTASTIC little cone (4232 points, 62 comments)
    4. 2022 Floor Model: fantastic gear shifting! (4094 points, 35 comments)
  9. 20976 points, 4 submissions: Forsaken_Bonus6164
    1. Making progress with this Spicy Standard Issue Mini! (6465 points, 109 comments)
    2. Spicy Standard Issue Mini (6200 points, 107 comments)
    3. Like a dragon on a hoard, a SIC on a bowl of food! (5693 points, 47 comments)
    4. Standard issue feral mini protecting the fleet! (2618 points, 67 comments)
  10. 20374 points, 2 submissions: Noob032010
    1. My daughter and her best friend. By far the coolest SIC we will ever have (16923 points, 293 comments)
    2. SIC Pickle needs a good tune up. He sputters a bit now but I would never trade him for a new model Note the Sport Edition tail (3451 points, 54 comments)

Top Commenters

  1. IzobelStarsw0rd (8903 points, 145 comments)
  2. businessadviceanon (8064 points, 141 comments)
  3. Lady_Scruffington (7558 points, 253 comments)
  4. vhm3 (7024 points, 243 comments)
  5. princessohio (6014 points, 281 comments)
  6. Perky214 (5023 points, 107 comments)
  7. ObviousToe1636 (4828 points, 71 comments)
  8. cragbabe (4659 points, 129 comments)
  9. Wyrdletini (4142 points, 177 comments)
  10. Dry-Bullfrog-3778 (3805 points, 50 comments)

Top Submissions

  1. I didn't order a new SIC but ended up accidentally acquiring one. It came missing a leg and slipping into sepsis, cost a fortune to refurbish but is in pretty good shape after 7 weeks of hard work. by haleyforyou (19221 points, 385 comments)
  2. If you don’t have a valentine today, Dwight is your valentine. by princessohio (17650 points, 464 comments)
  3. My daughter and her best friend. By far the coolest SIC we will ever have by Noob032010 (16923 points, 293 comments)
  4. Standard Issue Jujitsu by Souled_Out (15065 points, 207 comments)
  5. Her adoption tag said “doesn’t like laps” and “not cuddly” by 1StoolSoftnerAtaTime (14821 points, 295 comments)
  6. Someone just told me about this sub. Thought you’d enjoy my standard issue twins! by sassubear (11836 points, 72 comments)
  7. What is a Standard Issue Cat? We have made a guide for you! by SIC_ModCat (11810 points, 392 comments)
  8. Just learned that I have a standard issue cat, 2022 model by anna_alabama (11498 points, 88 comments)
  9. update: GREAT NEWS!! The stray SIC had his vet appointment, and passed the major inspections. He is FIV/FeLV negative, just needed dewormed, and medicated for fleas and mites. He has one tooth. HE GETS TO MOVE IN WITH US! by snugglebrat (11175 points, 404 comments)
  10. A beautiful stray decided our house was the perfect place to have her kittens. She had one little SIC! by Whatsthepointofthis9 (10834 points, 178 comments)

Top Comments

  1. 2385 points: runninghils's comment in What’s this called on our Sic’s bellies
  2. 1447 points: Here2lafatcats's comment in my brother saw these in his yard. are they SIC? he asked if i wanted to adopt more kitties!
  3. 1392 points: coreytiger's comment in This is Felony, my 5 month old fluffy sic, her ears suddenly became floppy today… what’s happening?
  4. 1382 points: thesnarkyscientist's comment in Just added some aftermarket parts to my 2012 model. Now he has Bluetooth connectivity.
  5. 1304 points: TurkTurkle's comment in Is my SIC scared? When I pet him sometimes he will freeze up.
  6. 1260 points: NY-LI-2-LV's comment in I didn't order a new SIC but ended up accidentally acquiring one. It came missing a leg and slipping into sepsis, cost a fortune to refurbish but is in pretty good shape after 7 weeks of hard work.
  7. 1201 points: DeathpaysforLife's comment in Bella on our morning walk before she went into labor
  8. 1065 points: SIC_ModCat's comment in Are these Standard Issue Kittens, or do their mittens disqualify them?
  9. 1029 points: SpaceNinjaNarwal's comment in Can anyone explain why my new SIC ears are bent? Might have to send her back to the factory! (jk)
  10. 1007 points: Nimrochan's comment in My precious SIC was neutered four days ago, and had been extremely lethargic since then. I almost took him to the animal ER, but I first removed his cone on a hunch - and he was back to his energetic, loud happy self. What a drama queen 🙄
Generated with BBoe's Subreddit Stats
submitted by subreddit_stats to subreddit_stats [link] [comments]

2023.03.27 00:41 insane1666 H: plans( bear arm, TV aqua, gite Station bell, junkyard fountain, raw cem barricades, safari Croc back pack, scorchbeast Queen plushie, wv bird rug and animatronic clown W: caps

submitted by insane1666 to Market76 [link] [comments]

2023.03.27 00:03 UsedCicada9696 Discussion about Sullivan.

This forum has been boring without Sullivan. § < - > 13:40+11
: . . Sullivan, Mickey, and Wabbie ruin the forum. § < -RealityCheck > 13:40+5
: . . : . . You're not adding any topics of interests. § < BiggerRealityCheck > 13:41
: . . : . . : . . Holy non-sequitur, Batman! § < - > 13:42
: . . : . . Wabbie and the Pafo trolls. Mickey < ItsmeLD > 13:42
and Sullivan are great guys
: . . : . . : . . Oh, you also ruin the forum, bigot. § < -RealityCheck > 13:43+5
: . . : . . : . . Wabbie only replies to topics he doesn't < - > 13:45
conduct changes of subject matter either. At least Mickey and Sullivan top post different topics or aspects for discussions.
: . . OpFo Royalty. Mag. 💜 § < StarshineMoonbeam2 > 13:44
: . . : . . You're ridiculous, bird lady. § < - > 13:45
: . . : . . : . . 🌻 How did you know I'm a bird lady? 🦜 < StarshineMoonbeam2 > 13:47
You spyin' on us?
: . . : . . : . . : . . Specifically, bird-bot lady; I'm observant. § < - > 13:49
: . . : . . : . . : . . : . . 🕊️I have a very science based view of the word. < StarshineMoonbeam > 13:51
It is what it is!!☺️
: . . : . . : . . : . . : . . : . . Get real, you're insane. § < - > 13:52
: . . : . . : . . : . . : . . : . . : . . I clown on conspiracy theorists. 🦚 < StarshineMoonbeam2 > 14:01+3
It's fun. Hence, birds aren't real.
: . . : . . : . . : . . : . . : . . : . . : . . It's dumb. § < - > 14:09
: . . : . . : . . : . . : . . : . . : . . : . . : . . What exactly makes it dumb? § < StarshineMoonbeam2 > 14:15
: . . : . . : . . : . . : . . : . . : . . : . . : . . : . . Saying that birds aren't real. Spying bots. § < - > 14:17
: . . : . . : . . : . . : . . : . . : . . : . . : . . : . . : . . Why do people say that? § < StarshineMoonbeam2 > 14:19-2
: . . : . . : . . : . . : . . : . . 😁😁😁 § < HorseDickMick > 13:55+1
: . . : . . : . . : . . Because you've got a bird brain. § < - > 13:49
: . . : . . : . . : . . : . . That's going to be a problem for you. < StarshineMoonbeam2 > 14:03
Since I'm infinitely more astute than you.
: . . True, that clueless paranoid putz is always good < - > 13:50
for a laugh or two.
: . . : . . He's entertaining, unlike your obsessive ass § < - > 13:51
: . . : . . : . . No one replies to his lame baiting top posts < - > 13:54
Not even the loser who keeps saying how boring the forum is without him.
: . . : . . : . . : . . Funny how the top post got a bunch of < - > 13:55
replies about him.
: . . : . . : . . : . . : . . From people who think he's an idiot. < - > 13:58
Good to see you've noticed that the only thing entertaining about that jerk is his astounding stupidity.
: . . : . . : . . : . . : . . : . . Are they the same ones plussing the top post? § < - > 14:02
: . . : . . : . . : . . : . . : . . : . . No, that's you and Mickey. < - > 14:02
You're also the only losers who care about points.
: . . : . . : . . : . . : . . : . . : . . : . . Is that why you top post about their deletion < - > 14:05
rates all the time?
: . . : . . : . . : . . : . . : . . : . . : . . : . . 👆 paranoid self-promoting putz § < - > 14:06+5
: . . : . . : . . : . . : . . : . . : . . : . . : . . : . . You seem to have trouble letting go § < - > 14:15
: . . : . . : . . : . . Your jealousy of him is showing. Plenty of < - > 13:56
people reply to him.
: . . did you not see the ayame/kroty/man-here drama § < from-yesterday- > 13:52
: . . There is nothing entertaining about Sullivan < - > 13:54+5
And he's a pseudo-intellectual and a Maga-Tard.
: . . : . . Wrong, smug woman hating xenophobes are § < high-larious! > 13:56
submitted by UsedCicada9696 to OpenForumPG [link] [comments]

2023.03.26 23:59 Substantial_Glass647 I broke my arm

So imagine your walking to a one stop shop, on a sunday the birds chirping dogs barking. Well speaking of dogs, a massive great dane runs towards me with a leash that broke off and just runs into my legs and chubby old me falls to the ground and brakes my arm so yeah its a shit sunday today.
submitted by Substantial_Glass647 to complainhere4free [link] [comments]

2023.03.26 23:53 LadyParnassus I need some goblins who get it to mourn with me

When we moved into our apartment, I knew this was only temporary. A starter home, too small for we two goblins to really live, but it was ours and we could do as we pleased with it.
The backyard was bleak. A tiny concrete pad and gravel patch, gathering nothing but trash and sunlight and losing the war of attrition to erosion.
But in it I saw something that could be great.
Over the last few years I have built an empire in miniature. It began with raised beds to strategically manage the flow of rainwater, and a few native wildflowers carefully planted. Over time bits were added on - a worm farm to recycle our kitchen scraps, a bed of edible plants for our dog to enjoy, an umbrella to bring much needed shade to certain corners.
First the worms moved in, then the flying insects, and the rollie pollies and many marvelous jewels of the invertebrate world. Bumblebees bumped heads with cicadas. Millipedes and centipedes counted legs together.
Last year there was a swarm of native junebugs that dug their way out of the native beebalm plants. It brought a following wave of birds and squirrels and every other kind of predator. We hosted praying mantises, katydids, an explosion of garden spiders, and even the occasional dragonfly stopped to visit.
But our landlords, previously so friendly, have turned cruel. So we are leaving. And the final cruelty is that we are required to undo our work in the backyard and render it bare.
So the raised beds are gone, the native plants ripped up, and the ground raked clean.
But I am a sneaky goblin.
My final act here was to bring in dirt, a lot of it. If I cannot save my kingdom, I will bury it. And then bury that beneath a layer of leaves. The landlord won’t notice, we are one of many and our backyard is now unremarkable among its neighbors.
Below the soft soil, larva sleep and worms trundle along, undisturbed. Perhaps the dark richness of it will entice another goblin to move in, and dig. And find, buried, the outline of a tiny lost empire.
submitted by LadyParnassus to goblincore [link] [comments]

2023.03.26 23:51 Calypthea Accidentally a Dungeon Chp. 2

Previous Next>

If mana was money, I’d feel an awful lot like Scrooge McDuck right about now. With Jackie off exterminating mice like it's going out of style, I find myself practically swimming in the stuff. I even grew in size! No longer just a green shard, I’ve matured into a small ovoid gemstone, like what you might find in somebody’s jewelry. I’m still the same green color as before, but now I’ve also got a streak of gold light bisecting me lengthwise. I look rather similar to a cat’s eye emerald now that I think about it, if said gemstone could glow from an internal light source that is.
Regardless, now that my life is out of immediate danger I've got to find something else to work on. Looking around my domain results in 3 different options to sink my mana into currently.
First off, my new scions. When I spend a smidge of mana focusing on Jackie, I'm given a more detailed pop-up than before that looks like this:
[Jackie: Lvl 3
Special abilities: None
Magic Affinities: Life, Wind
Titles: None]
Hmmm? Wait, lvl 3 already? What a busy bunny you are Jackie! Kinda excited about the mention of magic too, but we'll get to that later. More important, is the fact that under all that info I've also got the option to 'upgrade' her with the mana she's accumulated for me. Having stronger scions can really only lead to good things, so I happily oblige. Interestingly, even after upgrading her a few times, it doesn’t seem to affect her level at all. Instead, it's her base attributes that seem to have been raised, since she’s definitely moving faster and has a larger mp bar than before. I wonder if having an upgraded baseline like this will allow her to grow faster as she levels up. Well, only time and observation will tell on that front. Regardless it's clear to see that I’ll get a lot of value out of prioritizing my scions.
Speaking of priorities, I can’t help but feel a bit guilty as I turn my attention to my frog scion. Poor guy was spawned first but I haven’t even given him a name, so it’s high time I rectify that. Problem is, what to call him? He doesn’t have a clear role yet like Jackie either, which I’m certain now contributed greatly to why she took so much longer to spawn. Despite my negligence, I find him diligently commanding the other frogs and even some rabbits around like a seasoned professional. While I was busy fawning over Jackie, he’d completed my task of clearing the area of loose bugs and was now setting up patrols for my entire perimeter to sweep for other problems.
What a reliable guy! Someone this calm and capable definitely deserves an appropriately cool name. Unfortunately, as soon as I thought of capable frogs the only thing that would come to mind are the many depictions of frogs in tuxes. On top of that, picturing everyone in tuxes just made me think of the godfather movies, so now my brain is stuck on the idea of a frog mafia and it won’t let go.
“Eh, whatever. They say it's better not to overly agonize over names anyways, might as well go with my gut. From here on out Imma name you Giorno! I’ve no idea what future adventures will be in store for us, but I’ll be sure to count on you when they come, no matter how bizarre they may be.”
I give him the same number of upgrades as Jackie and then leave him to do his thing. Next stop, the spawners! Unlike when I upgrade my scions, these actually increase in lvl, presumably to spit out relatively stronger minions, eh-hem, I mean denizens. Interestingly, each level seems to swap between increasing the quality of the spawns, and increasing the quantity of them. I'll leave them both at lvl 4 for now, don't want swarms of critters with nowhere to go and nothing to do after all.
And now for the main event. The final option I found to upgrade was none other than yours truly. It's a very expensive option compared to upgrading my scions and their spawners, but it'll let me expand my borders quite a bit. If I'm a mana-making factory then the factory must grow I say! Now the only question is, which way to go? I've got the option to expand up, out, or down, and each one holds their unique pros and cons.
I'll go ahead and cross out down for now. Something tells me that I'll be sure to run into problems with enemies potentially digging around everywhere, and I'm in no mood to make my new Sanctum utterly useless. Going up would certainly be a promising option, especially since that gives the most space per mana spent, but I'd rather wait on getting into the tree's heights until I at least encompass its base I think.
So that just leaves me with outwards. Considering it looks like it'll take a couple expansions to get around the tree anyways, I think I'll focus instead on finding out what kinda body of water it is that I'm sitting on. The other benefit of expanding into the water first is that I don’t actually know what may come with the new territory, but by keeping any surprises limited to the water, I’ll remain safe and secure in my sanctum regardless. Pretty smart right?
With a fwhoosh my borders balloon outwards, and I now find myself the proud owner of some percentage of a lake. It’s unclear just how much I have since despite the size of my expansion I didn’t encounter any new shores, just more lake. The portion I have at least stretches on for more than a mile, and goes almost as deep with little sign of stopping. In fact, the only reason I can confidently call this a lake and not a sea is the lack of salt in the water.
What is in the water though, is fish, and lots of them. I was never one for fishing in my past life though, so I’ve got no idea of their species nor how to really define them besides green and scaly. My UI isn’t much help in identifying my new denizens either, as all it says of them is [Fish, lvl 1]. Well, I guess it doesn’t matter too much, it’s not like their species name would help me decide what to do with all of them anyway. It’s surprisingly peaceful in the lake, with no signs of predators or invaders anywhere. It’s enough to make me paranoid honestly, compared to the chaotic battle on land this lake is far too quiet.
I end up waiting for about an hour before finally letting myself relax in the calm atmosphere. I guess it’s safe for now at least, so might as well think about what I want to do about my new fish spawner. Ideally, I’d like to give each of my scions are more clearly defined role when they start out, so the question is what do I want from my little fishies? Ruminating on roles has me thinking back to my days spent enthusiastically on teambuilder style gacha games, much to my best friend Judithe’s chagrin. I would adamantly defend my spending by extolling the fun inherent to collecting new units, upgrading them into powerhouses, and designing a team that synergizes well with each other. Now that I think about it, my current circumstances aren’t all that dissimilar to those games. It seems like it could actually be a lot of fun, building my scions up into a powerful party ready to take on all challengers. And there is one thing in particular that every team needs to be able to thrive.
“No matter how strong a damage dealer, nor how durable the tank, they cannot carry a weak team by themselves. Only a powerful support is capable of turning a mediocre team into a competitive one.”
I chuckle to myself, imagining the look of exasperation Judithe would always have upon hearing me repeat that line with each new game. But they are words to live by, and I intend to stick by them still. With the very real possibility of magic here in my new world, I suspect all kinds of buffs, debuffs, and healing will be possible. So with that role in mind, I turn to the fish spawner and then decide to push the envelope even further.
From the testing I’ve done with the rabbit and frog spawners, it would seem that I can only ever have 1 scion per spawner, as I’ve been unable to designate any more since Jackie or Giorno. But that’s only tested for cases made after the original scion has been born. What would happen if I tried to influence the spawner with the mental image of the designated scion splitting and developing separately like twins in the womb? I’ve got plenty of mana saved up at this point, and with the coast all clear of danger, I decide that the only way to know is to find out.
[Designate Scion?]
I make a mental note that the UI has updated the prompt now that I’m aware of what the process entails and accept. Immediately I’m left reeling as first it takes the same amount of mana as Jackie had, then doubles it, and doubles it once more for good measure. The timer over the fish spawner now reads 4 hours, and I’m completely spent on mana reserves. Whether my plan worked or not, I think I can safely say that I won’t be doing that again; the mana consumption is just too great and too inefficient.
Naturally, it is at this moment that my presumptions of safety were laughingly disposed of. First, a handful, then a dozen, a now hundreds of forms flitted into my domain from beyond its borders. It was a large flock of herons, and each one bore the same title overhead, [Invader]. So much for the idea that expanding into the water would keep the potential enemies confined to it. Helplessly, I watched the horde settle in to begin the wholesale slaughter of their preferred prey, namely my poor fish and frogs.
Um, excuse me, police? I’d like to report a stalker named Murphy, and would very much like a restraining order, please. What’s with this absurd level of difficulty and atrocious timing?
Trying valiantly not to let panic set in, I get Jackie to rush over as fast as she can to protect Giorno from becoming dinner. Despite their size, herons should still have light and brittle bones due to being birds, so they won’t be in a rush to try and pick a fight with my most ferocious scion. Much to her frustration though, they don’t dare get in close enough range for her to pick a fight either, so Jackie is forced to stand helplessly and watch the massacre unfold.
I’ve got no mana, and no options left…No, I can’t think like that. There has to be a way out of this mess, some method or advantage to overturn the food chain. Looking at Giorno shaking with fury beside Jackie’s legs, it occurs to me that the answer is staring me in the face, but I’ll need mana to pull it off, and probably lots of it. Thankfully, standing at almost 4 feet tall these herons are sure to have plenty to offer, I just need 1 to pull off this desperate gambit, so it’s time to go all in. Since my frogs are getting eaten anyways, I get a handful of them to jump straight into the gullet of one of the herons, and then have them spread their limbs out and clog the blasted bird’s throat. It takes a few tries, but eventually, it collapses in a heap unable to breathe past my kamikaze amphibians.
The surge in mana lifts my spirits and I immediately dump it all into the frog spawner, searching for my salvation. After a few levels, I’m prompted to choose a specialization to permanently lock the spawner into, and with a shout of victory, I find just what I was hoping for. Poisonous frogs. The kind of brilliantly colored frog that spells doom for all that would wish to make it prey. I quickly queue up a line of them, and one by one they pop out into the fray, only to be immediately snatched up by an unsuspecting heron.
The cost of one frog, vs the giant quantity of mana I get from the resulting dead dodo-brain, is overwhelming in my favor, so the tides are quick to turn. The unending aggression apparently inherent to all invaders actually works in my favor, since the birds cannot seem to help themselves from attacking my bright defenders, thus falling to the same trick time and time again. As the last birds fall and the waters grow still once again, the sun seemingly slips past the horizon and darkness falls, marking the end of my first, and very eventful, day in this new world.

Previous Next>
submitted by Calypthea to HFY [link] [comments]

2023.03.26 23:49 afterandalasia In 430 BCE, an epidemic swept through the besieged Athens that killed up to a quarter of the population. What caused the first well-documented epidemic, the Plague of Athens? Medical Mystery

This week, we're headed back in time to the earliest well-documented epidemic disease: the Plague of Athens. While the city was besieged by Spartans and packed with refugees from the surrounding countryside, an illness swept through the city and killed between 75,000 and 100,000 people. By the time it was over, the epidemic had decimated the Athenian army and navy, killed the influential ruler Pericles, and left social and legal repercussions that would last for generations. It was only in 1994-5 that an excavation uncovered the first mass grave dating to this period, giving archaeological backing to the historical record, but almost since the Plague of Athens occurred there has been speculation as to the cause.

Background - The History & Archaeology

A quick note! History and the historical record refer solely to written material from these periods, while archaeology and the archaeological record refer to all material culture. There's a lot of debate about whether that material culture should include the written records, but in practice archaeologists can and do use the written text as one source of evidence. Palaeoepidemiology is the use of epidemiological techniques to study historical disease, while palaeomicrobiology is the use of modern techniques to detect, identify and investigate historical microbes.
At the time we'll be discussing, Athens was a polis or city state: a sovereign (ruled) city with political, economic, and cultural influence/control over the area surrounding it. (Singapore and Monaco could be considered modern examples.) The city in this time is often called Classical Athens in history, to make it clear which stage of the city is being discussed; at the time, it would have been called Attica. I'll be using Athens, along with BCE notation, for this write-up.
The area that would become known as Athens has been inhabited continuously since at least 3000 BCE, and seems to have risen to prominence around 900 BCE (during the Iron Age of the region) to judge by how grave goods become richer during this time. Passing from kings to land-owning aristocracy, Athens drew the surrounding countryside under its control, but this created waves of social unrest that first led to the harsh laws of Draco (7th century BCE, and where we get "draconian") followed by the reforms of Solon (594 BCE) and a constitution which would lead to the later Athens.
In 508 BCE, Cleisthenes established Athenian democracy (where all male citizens over 20 could vote), and in the following years the silver mines of Laurios also helped to make the region rich. From 499-449 BCE, Athens was heavily involved in the Greco-Persian wars, which can be more or less summarised as the various Greek city states working together to prevent invasion by the Achaemenid Empire (First Persian Empire), at the time the largest empire that the world had ever seen. Athens was one of the forefront players, and even faced brief occupation, but used their impressive naval strength to lead a battle that routed the Persians.
This role in ousting Persia marked Athens as one of the great political powerhouses of the area, and helped them to form the Delian League in 478 BCE, an alliance of coastal kingdoms which Athens quickly came to dominate and manipulate until it also became known as the Athenian Empire. The Peloponnesian League, an alliance of more inland states dominated by Sparta, had already existed and began to grow concerned by growing Athenian power.
In 461 BCE, a charismatic soldier-politician named Pericles came to power in Athens. During his time in power, Pericles managed to strength Athenian military power and prestige, develop the Acropolis (the inner citadel of Athens, which is still full of famous buildings from the time of Pericles), and encourage culture and art in the city that cemented it as a cultural keystone in the region. This is known as the Age of Pericles, and represents the peak of Athenian power and influence in the Mediterranean.
Through the time that Pericles was in power, however, tensions simmered between Athens and Sparta, the two foremost powers in the region. This led to the Peloponnesian War (not to be confused with the First Peloponnesian War), where Sparta sought to invade Athens in order to curtail its power in the region.
Athens, however, was not easily invaded. From the sea, she was protected by her powerful navy (comparisons could be made to the much later British Empire); on land, where she knew she was less effective than Sparta, she had the Long Walls of Athens. These extraordinary walls formed a sort of barbell shape going around the port of Piraeus and protecting a clear pathway to the city of Athens; Piraeus and Athens were about 6 km (3.7 miles) apart, so the entire structure (including the walls of Athens, Piraeus, and a third southern wall) included some 30 km (18.6) miles. An MapPorn thread here gives a great image of the walls as they would be overlaid on the modern city.
Sparta had limited options, but did what she could with them. The Spartan forces would briefly invade the lands around Athens, cutting off access to productive farmland and forcing Athens to rely on its maritime or colonial resources, then return to Sparta for agricultural work or to put down their own near-constant slave revolts. In 431 BCE, Sparta and her allies went through with one such invasion; the residents of the countryside, as usual, retreated within the walls of Athens for safety, to undergo a brief siege and wait for Sparta to withdraw. But this time, something went very differently.
Read more:

The Plague of Athens

Our best source for the Plague of Athens is Thucydides, a historian and Athenian general. (Fortunately, Thucydides was also a political realist and preferred to discuss human causes and influences without relying on divine intervention for an explanation. Equally fortunately, his main text The History of the Peloponnesian War is available in English translation online; it's book 2, sections 47-70, that concern the epidemic itself.
Thucydides survived the plague himself, in his work outlines not just the signs of the disease (reddening of the skin, pustules, and coughing) but also the symptoms (pain, thirst, and hopelessness). He does not speculate on the causes himself, but lists the symptoms so that the disease can be later recognised or discussed.
Per Thucydides, the disease was first noted in Ethiopia and moved into Egypt, Libya, Greece, and outwards across the Mediterranean, but Athens was the worst affected area.
The symptoms that Thucydides described, in the stages in which he gives them, were:
  1. "Heats in the head" (unclear if fever or pain), redness and inflammation of the eyes, throat and tongue becoming reddened or even bloody, breath becoming foul;
  2. Sneezing, hoarseness, pain in the chest, coughing;
  3. Gastrointestinal distress, with diarrhoea and retching/vomiting;
  4. Reddish skin with small pustules and ulcers;
  5. Feeling of being overheated, to the point of desiring nudity or immersion in cold water;
  6. Extreme thirst;
  7. Restlessness and insomnia;
  8. Death at around the seventh or eighth day after illness onset.
If this stage was survived, he added:
  1. "Violent" diarrhoea that could become fatal;
  2. Some people faced the loss of fingers, toes, eyes or genitals (unspecified method, usually speculated to be gangrene);
  3. Amnesia.
While the "Plague of Athens" is generally attributed to 430 BCE, the disease was also seen in 429 BCE, and the winter of 427-6 BCE.

The Social Effects

Along with the epidemic itself came a wave of fear that was at least as infectious; the effects of this were also laid out by Thucydides. Anyone who has studied the Black Death may find some striking similarities in behaviours during an epidemic at a time when the causes and treatment of disease was poorly, if at all, understood.
Care for the sick and dead decreased. People were aware that the disease was both infectious and highly dangerous, and as a result there were many who would not risk caring for an ill person even if they were a family member. Thucydides notes that doctors who treated the ill were highly likely to be infected; he also notes that some of those who died did so from lack of care (likely lack of water) while they were too weak to care for themselves. Similarly, Thucydides reports that some of those who died were not given proper burial rites, ranging from being added to the pyre of another to simply being abandoned. This may in part explain the mass grave that was found in the 1994-5 excavation.
Respect for religion decreased. Temples were generally considered places of healing, and may have seemed to have some success simply by providing supportive care such as pain management, food and water, and even certain surgeries. With the epidemic, however, they were overwhelmed and unable to offer significant assistance. Many people who went to the temples, or were taken there, died. Thucydides reports that while offerings and supplications at the temple were common early in the epidemic, they declined. While the Greek gods had never been considered all-loving, the inability to help of priests and temples undermined religious organisations and perhaps in some cases religious belief itself.
Respect for the law and society decreased. When people felt as if they could die at any time, the law would not have time to catch up with them, and many members of the army were sick anyway. Some stopped caring about long-term investments and instead spent their money on living well while they could. Class and wealth became unstable subjects as deaths - even whole families being wiped out - redistributed wealth across the populace. Between societal instability and the fear of only having a brief time to live, some also behaved in socially unacceptable ways without care for backlash. (Thucydides does not particularly outline what these ways were.)
Citizenship became a hot-topic issue. In 451 BCE, Pericles had introduced a law stating that one could only be an Athenian citizen if both parents were, and had struck from the records of citizenship anyone who did not meet this strict criteria. While foreign residents (I will not use the ancient Greek term as it has been adopted in more recent times as a xenophobic slur in French) were subject to taxes and military service, they did not have the same rights as citizens: they could not claim state payments, could not claim emergency rations, could not own real estate without special exemptions, and could not vote. The issues in italics were particularly relevant during the epidemic. During the 430 BCE wave, a number of foreign residents were found to be claiming to be citizens, and were punished with slavery. After both of Pericles's legitimate sons died in the 429 BCE wave, however, he tried to adopt his illegitimate son and raise the son to citizen status despite having a non-citizen mother. Debates have continued since about whether this was a general loosening of the law (since there were doubtless other powerful families who had lost all legitimate male heirs) or whether Pericles was trying to create an exception just for himself.
Military decline. The number of deaths, which per Thucydides included many healthy men of military age, heavily impacted what Athens was capable of for a generation. Athens would not manage another major military endeavour until 415-3 BCE with the "disastrous" Sicilian expedition, and by 405 BCE Athens lost in naval battle to Sparta and her naval supremacy was also broken. This was still within 25 years of the Plague of Athens - young soldiers then should have been experienced officers by 405 BCE, but because of a lack of military activity creating a lack of experience, the impact was significant.
Political shift. Pericles was not the only prominent statesman at this time, but he was arguably the most influential in terms of both military policy and cultural focus - these can be seen continuing across a stretch of time in which other statesmen come and go, and seem to decline after his death. The focus on philosophy and culture, as well as the monumental architecture as seen in the Acropolis, both fade away over the following years.

The Clues

As well as the list of symptoms outlined by Thucydides, the following information can be fairly considered regarding the Plague of Athens:

The Prime Suspects

At the time of the first wave of the disease, Thucydides writes, the residents of Piraeus suspecting that the Spartan armies had poisoned their water supplies, as the Spartans did not get sick while the disease spread through Piraeus and then Athens. While poisoning water systems is a known tactic, Thucydides did not think it likely in this case, and even noted that the Spartans retreated more quickly because they became aware of epidemic inside the city. Moreover, this would only be a mechanism for the epidemic to reach Athens, not its underlying cause.
Throughout over a century of discussion, there are some diseases which have been discussed more seriously and which seem to be stronger contestants for the title - I'll start with these.
  1. Epidemic typhus (Rickettsia prowazekii) is a bacterial infection passed along through tick faeces getting into open wounds. After exposure, the disease presents at 7-14 days with high fever, sickness, diarrhoea, coughing and joint pain; at 5-9 days after presentation a rash spreads across the entire body except for the face, palms and soles of the feet. Signs of meningioencephalitis (infection of the brain and/or membranes around it) follow, including sensitivity to light, altered mental status, and coma. Estimated 10%-60% mortality rate. Proposed in 1956 by historian A W Gomme; in 1992 by Vlachos; January 1999 by University of Maryland staff. This matches with symptoms of fever, chest pain, coughing, gastrointestinal issues, "reddish skin" and rare gangrene, but not eye inflammation, pustules/ulcers, or insomnia. Dogs can catch typhus but do not show symptoms. The timeline does not fully match.
  2. Typhoid fever (Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi) is a bacterial disease that spreads through the fecal-oral route. After exposure, the disease presents at 6-30 days with a slowly building fever, malaise, headache, cough and nosebleeds; during the second week of symptoms, the fever plateaus, delirium occurs, rose spots (small red macules) appear, the abdomen is distended and painful, and there may be constipation or diarrhoea. In the third week, the patient may experience intestinal bleeding, pneumonia, encephalitis, or sepsis. Proposed in May 2006 by Papagrigorakis et al based on dental DNA from the mass grave discussed above (though some consider typhoid fever endemic to ancient Greece, which is possible as Typhi is likely at least older than the Neolithic.) This matches with symptoms of fever and coughing, and may match with pustules (if misidentified macules - Thucydides was a historian, not a doctor) and gastrointestinal distress (diarrhoea is much more noticeable than constipation), but does not match with vomiting, insomnia or rare gangrene. Thucydides does not mention any delirium-related symptoms. Dogs cannot develop typhoid. The timeline does not match.
  3. Smallpox (Variola minor) was a viral disease that spread through respiratory droplets or fomites. After exposure, the disease presented at 7-14 days with fever, muscle pain, headache, and gastrointestinal distress; at 12-15 days after symptoms appeared, lesions appeared on the mucous membranes (inside of mouth, nose and throat), then 1-2 days later a rash would start at the forehead and spread rapidly across the body, developing into pustules that slowly scabbed over and scarred. Estimated 30% mortality rate. Proposed in 1969 by Littman & Littman. This matches with symptoms of fever, coughing, gastrointestinal distress, and pustules, but does not match with insomnia. Dogs could not contract smallpox. Smallpox could cause blindness, which could explain the loss of eyes that Thucydides mentions. However, it is notable that Thucydides did not mention the very distinctive scarring that results from smallpox, in contrast with the Antonine Plague (165-180 CE) which is believed to be smallpox in part because Galen specifically recorded that 65-85% of survivors bore scarring.
  4. Measles (Measles morbillivirus) is a viral disease that spreads through respiratory droplets or fomites. It is the most contagious virus known. After exposure, the disease presents at 10-14 days with high fever, cough, sneezing, red eyes and a rash which starts on the back of the ears and covers the head before spreading downwards. Complications can include diarrhoea, pneumonia, encephalitis, corneal scarring, and immune system suppression. Fatality rates as high as 28% have been recorded. Proposed at least since 1953 (as per this rebuttal), and more recently in 2004 by Cunha. This matches with symptoms of fever, conjunctivitis, bad breath, coughing, pustules (if misidentified, as typhoid) and loss of eyes (if blindness), but does not match with symptoms of gastrointestinal distress, insomnia, or rare gangrene. Dogs cannot contract measles. Timeline may match. Note that there is disagreement over the age of the measles virus: some calculate that it evolved around 1100-1300 CE (Furuse et al 2010) while others calculate 700-600 BCE (Düx et al 2020 [Manuscript without paywall]).
  5. Plague (Yersinia pestis) is a bacterial disease that spreads through the bite of infected fleas (bubonic) or through respiratory droplets (pneumonic). After exposure, bubonic plague presents at 2-7 days with fever, chills, malaise, and buboes (swelling of the lymph nodes, especially those of the groin or armpits) and can progress to seizures and gangrene of the extremities. 30-90% mortality rate. Pneumonic plague can develop from bubonic plague, with the infection spreading into the lungs, or can be caught and will present after 3-7 days with rapidly developing pneumonia and fever that can cause death in as little as 36 hours. Near 100% mortality rate. It is difficult to find who first proposed plague, but it seems to go back at least as far as the 1940s. This matches with symptoms of fever, malaise, coughing and rare gangrene, but not with symptoms of gastrointestinal distress. Dogs can, in rare circumstances, contract plague. Timeline may match. It is generally considered unlikely that Thucydides's reference to "pustules" could possibly refer to the very distinctive swollen, blackening buboes that mark bubonic plague throughout history, which are therefore not mentioned. There is also no mention of an influx of rats, which is common (though not universal) to later histories of plague.

Secondary Suspects

These are largely included because I have seen them discussed and don't want to let any of them feel left out, but they are more fringe theories. Some are more compelling than others, while some are rather surprising.
  1. Viral Haemorrhagic Diseases - including Lassa Fever (Lassa mammarenavirus), Dengue Fever (Dengue virus), or a disease from the Ebolavirus or Marburgvirus genuses. These are all viral diseases with varied methods of transmission (Lassa Fever from mouse droppings, Dengue Fever by mosquito, Ebolaviruses and Marburgviruses from bodily fluid contact) which present in short times with fever and bleeding (as small bruises, flushing, or "VHF syndrome" which is extreme full-body bleeding and circulatory shock). Mortality rates range from 1% (Lassa Fever) to 90-100% (early Ebola outbreaks). Due to the range of illnesses covered by this label, it is difficult to survey them all, but while Thucydides discusses "reddish, livid" skin he does not seem to discuss massive haemorrhagic events.
  2. Ergot Poisoning - much like Lupus in House, Ergot poisoning or ergotism seems to crop up regularly in discussing historical mysteries. Ergotism comes from consuming grain infected with the fungus Claviceps purpurea which produces an alkaloid toxin. Ergotism can be convulsive (with seizures, spasms, diarrhoea, mania/psychosis, headaches, nausea and vomiting) or gangrenous (causing dry gangrene of the peripheries). Frankly, ergotism does not match many of the symptoms of the Plague of Athens, and it seems highly unlikely that a large proportion of the city would all become ill from infected grain at the same time, or that it would recur in following years.
  3. Anthrax (Bacillus anthracis) is a bacterial disease which can spread through skin contact, ingestion, or inhalation. Cutaneous anthrax (of the skin) causes skin redness around an ulceration that can become necrotic, fatality rate 20%. Ingestion anthrax causes diarrhoea, sometimes bloody, and occasional vomiting of blood, fatality rate 25-75%. Inhalation anthrax causes fever, fatigue, coughing, shortness of breath, may develop nausea or altered mental status, and when the infection reaches the lungs a heightened fever, circulatory shock, and death in as little as 48 hours. Fatality rate near 100%. Proposed in 2003 by Holmes. While Holmes describes how anthrax can answer all of the primary symptoms discussed by Thucydides, the three types of anthrax do not typically overlap, and anthrax persists in the soil for up to decades yet the Plague of Athens is not described as having lingered or recurred in this way. Moreover, the largest recorded outbreak of inhalation anthrax is known to have killed at least 66 people, following a breach of the Biological Warfare facility in Sverdlovsk in the USSR (now in Russia) - and while Soviet secrecy means the number may have been higher, and vaccines were administered, it is still a long way from 100,000 deaths.
  4. Scarlet Fever (Streptococcus pyogenes) is a bacterial disease which is a relatively rare complication of either strep throat or streptococcal skin infections. It presents with fever, coughing, and reddening of the skin with flat spots that develop into rough-feeling bumps. When untreated, the infection can spread to other areas of the body, most dangerously as encephalitis or endocarditis (infection of the heart's inner layers), and in some cases can cause acute rheumatic fever or severe kidney infections. Most cases resolve within 5-10 days, but fatality rate 15-20%. Proposed historically but viewed with doubt by the 1920s. Matches symptoms of fever, coughing and reddened skin, but not gastrointestinal distress, and is a complication of strep throat or of skin infections rather than a condition that will effect every infected person.
  5. Syphilis (Treponema pallidum pallidum) is a bacterial disease which is transmitted sexually or from parent to foetus during pregnancy. I cannot find any source that actually proposes this as a reason, only sources refuting it, which seems eminently sensible given that large proportions of the city were supposed to have been infected at once.
  6. Malaria (Plasmodium) is a parasitic disease transmitted by Anopheles mosquitoes (at least one subspecies of which historically inhabited Greece). It presents with a cyclic fever, vomiting, headaches, and in severe cases can cause jaundice, seizures, coma or death. However, malaria does not have anything like the death rate of the Plague of Athens, and as early as 1907 (Jones) it was considered that malaria was more likely to have been or to have become endemic in the region around this time. Hippocrates (who was born around 460 BCE, so was around 30 when this epidemic took place) wrote later in life on identifying fevers that had three-day or four-day cycles, which are specific to different forms of malaria. While Thucydides is not a doctor, it seems unlikely that he would miss the cycling nature of the fever, especially having experienced it himself, and malaria would not explain gastrointestinal distress.
  7. Cholera (Vibrio cholerae) is a bacterial disease transmitted by the fecal-oral route. To be honest, I didn't even look deeply into this suggestion, because cholera has very distinctive "rice-water stool", or diarrhoea so extreme that it looks like cloudy water. Fever is rare in cholera (to the point that fever usually points at a secondary infection) and the throat/chest are not affected.
  8. Influenza (Alphainfluenzavirus or Influenza A) is a viral disease transmitted by respiratory droplets. It presents with fever, coughing, and can cause gastrointestinal distress, but does not match with the reddish skin and pustules described by Thucydides. Moreover, most human flu strains are very rarely fatal - even the 1918-20 influenza pandemic is estimate to have had 2-3% mortality. Strains with higher fatality, such as H5N1 ("bird flu"), do not show human-to-human transmission and have fewer than 1,000 recorded cases altogether.
    1. An argument was at one time put forward that the Plague of Athens was caused by epidemics at the same time of influenza and staphylococcus infections (dubbed "Thucydides Syndrome"), which seems to have been generally rebuffed and occasionally mocked. While 2022 has shown that multiple epidemics or pandemics can be present at once, it is much rarer for individuals to be affected by both at the same time, let alone for a large percentage of individuals to be so affected. While influenza can leave people vulnerable to secondary infections, it does not do so reliably enough to sustain this argument.
  9. Alimentary Toxic Aleukia (ATA) is a disease caused by ingesting grain infected by fungus (seemingly from the Fusarium genus) and was identified in 1945. It presents with nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, bleeding, skin inflammation, pustules, depression, and death in up to 60% of those affected within 3-5 weeks of symptom onset. Proposed in 1994 by Bellemore et al. While it matches with some symptoms, it does not cause a fever, and though conditions were overcrowded and unpleasant in Athens it does not seem that they were desperate or approaching starvation - the Spartans only ever besieged the city for a few weeks at a time, and throughout Athens maintained her port and therefore connection to the outside world. ATA has only been rarely recorded among communities with entirely shared food sources. (Efremov, in 1984, provides a thorough coverage of the condition.)
  10. Glanders (Burkholderia mallei) is a bacterial disease primarily associated with horses, but which can be contracted by humans. Proposed in 1962 by Eby and Evjen. Symptoms depend on the manner of exposure, similar to anthrax, but human infections are rare. Glanders as it is currently known seems an impossible match for the Plague of Athens; the authors of the paper point out that symptoms and fatality rates may vary from outbreak to outbreak, but do not outright suggest that this was a different subspecies as would seem to be necessary for transmission to occur.

See also

Of course, there are always complications - and the two major suggestions that arise are either that the Plague of Athens was a disease which no longer exists or which has mutated significantly since this time (consider how Influenza C and Influenza D only split in around 480 CE, how current strains of canine rabies only date back to 540 CE at most, or as mentioned here how some people suspect that measles may be only hundreds, not thousands, of years old) or that there were in fact multiple diseases wracking Athens.
Thucydides does not list percentages of symptoms, or whether certain symptoms correlated; he does not give case fatality rates, mortality-by-age breakdowns, or even a single case study (his own would have been interesting enough). However, the simplicity with which he describes the symptoms and course of the epidemic which he experienced is rare enough in historical writing, and it is likely that clarity - that glimmer of a riddle being solved - which draws people back to this epidemic time and time again.

Outstanding Questions

  1. Was it one disease which caused the Plague of Athens, or multiple?
  2. Was this the first recorded outbreak of this disease?
  3. Was it a disease which still exists today?
  4. What disease or diseases most appropriately explain the symptoms and course laid out by Thucydides in his description of the epidemic?

My previous medical posts:
submitted by afterandalasia to UnresolvedMysteries [link] [comments]

2023.03.26 23:13 cmoney02 I just love how this part of my farm looks. Also my dog has butterflies and birds to keep him company lol

I just love how this part of my farm looks. Also my dog has butterflies and birds to keep him company lol submitted by cmoney02 to HayDay [link] [comments]

2023.03.26 22:51 HokageEzio Thriller Bark is better than Alabasta and I can't pretend that it's not; Manga reader's first experience with the Anime - Thriller Bark Saga

Thriller Bark is better than Alabasta and I can't pretend that it's not; Manga reader's first experience with the Anime - Thriller Bark Saga


I owe the Thriller Bark arc an apology. In the past I felt about this arc the way I think most fans treat this arc. The only things people really care about from this arc in terms of general discussion are Brook's backstory, Nothing Happened, and maybe sometimes Usopp's fight. Going through the arc again I feel like this arc is significantly better than it gets credit for, and we get some great moments for some underutilized and underappreciated Straw Hats. I feel like Moria being a lame fight is what really knocks this arc down for the community, which I get, but I think there was a lot more good in this arc than bad even with that.
Thriller Bark Saga
I've been reading the manga up to date weekly since the Zou arc started, but with the increased quality of the recent anime I've decided that I want to go through and watch all of the anime before becoming a weekly viewer. And when I say all of the anime, I mean everything. All the movies, all the fillers, all the specials. If it's on MyAnimeList, I'm putting in my best effort to find and watch it. This is not my first experience with the show as a whole, so none of these are a first experience with the story as a whole. But I do think watching it animated (and watching it knowing the context of certain things) has led to some new opinions over the course of this. I've done one of these for each saga so far, which you can find here:
Onto the new stuff:

Anime Arcs

Ice Hunter Arc
Don Accino
For a filler arc I thought this arc was pretty nice. I enjoy these filler arcs where we get to see a bit of the new crew dynamic for a new Straw Hat joining, and this arc had a lot of Franky action with him showing off the upgrades of the Thousand Sunny and what he brings to the crew. As somebody caught up with the story I think it was fine, but it's probably not one I would advise to somebody just watching for the first time.
I really enjoyed the Robin storyline with the little girl and their bond over the course of the arc. That did a lot of the heavy lifting as far as storytelling on the Straw Hat side. And the Phoenix Pirates were pretty likable, even if there's a much more prominent character who probably has a thing or two to say about being a phoenix. I like when these filler arcs incorporate something from the upcoming story as one of the foundations of the arc, in this arc it was the fact that the Phoenix Pirates' vice captain sacrificed himself to save the captain and his crew. He believed the captain could be King of the Pirates, which is obviously alluding to Zoro's sacrifice at the end of Thriller Bark. A nice addition for those who are in the know about what's coming next.
The final fight between Luffy and Don Accino was honestly really good for a filler arc, I was surprised. Usually in filler arcs when it's all said and done the villain goes blasting off like Team Rocket once things get serious, but Accino actually put Luffy in a bind and had a pretty cool devil fruit. Made the arc end on a strong note and puts it on the higher end of One Piece filler.
Merch God
Not much to say about this one since it was only one episode. I liked it, funny story to have Chopper face off against Usopp and defeat him via cuteness. Chopper is the Merch God for a reason, and I can do nothing but pay my respects.
Thriller Bark Arc
The best Straw Hat recruitment by a long shot
I didn't go into this arc expecting to enjoy it as much as I did. Like I've said, I've read the whole story, so it's not like I didn't know what was in the arc. But seeing it all play out, I came away from Thriller Bark with a deeper appreciation for it. And like I said in the title, I actually ended up enjoying this arc even more than Alabasta (which is probably equivalent to blasphemy for some people). The build up of Brook's story and the slow build up of Franky and Robin learning Brook's story, to finding out why Brook cares about the afro, to finding out that the crew met Laboon and that's who he's waiting to meet, it was just so good. I feel like Brook is a little underappreciated by the fanbase just because Brook hasn't really had many storylines since joining the crew. Besides Whole Cake Island he hasn't really had a lot to do. Somebody has to be the least favorite crewmate, and in the community it's pretty soundly Franky and Brook for that reason.
This arc to me was like the arc of under appreciated Straw Hats shining. I loved the Chopper and Hogback storyline, it felt like Chopper was really growing up. I know a bunch of people find Hogback annoying (and he is), but I just loved seeing a genuinely angry Chopper with a villain getting under his skin. And having it be one he held in such high regard made the point a lot stronger. Also finding Oars' weakness to ice and his weak arm, Chopper pulled a lot of weight this arc. Usopp vs Perona, just a great fight all around for Usopp. Him turning into Sogeking again to pull through, the 10 ton hammer, it was all great. And I loved how much Franky cared about Brook and helping him throughout the arc. Not really a Straw Hat duo you think of as a fan, but it was nice to see here. And then there are the more popular Straw Hats of course, I loved the Ryuma fight and Zoro earning his respect. Nami took a bit of a back seat in this arc but I liked the stuff with her and Lola. Luffy always pulls through of course. Robin teaming up with Chopper and Franky for most of the arc was again, a nice duo you don't usually see combat wise. Sanji... let's pretend this arc never happened.
I think the main thing that probably kills this arc's reputation is that the Moria fight just ends up being kinda lame. The ramifications of the fight are intense (and I liked that the end of it was basically building up to the timeskip with the crew acknowledging they were ill equipped to protect Luffy), but Moria himself just did not pull his own weight. He spent most of the arc just running around and teasing Luffy, and then when he finally does fight he overdoses on shadows and Luffy headbutts him a few times. There's no iconic "Luffy vs arc villain" moment here, and I think that's what usually pulls the whole arc together and determines how people feel about it overall since that's the arc villain's presence. I really liked what Moria represented as far as having his crew die unable to protect them in the New World, but you can really feel how nobody inside or outside of the story respects Moria. And that sort of determines the emotions of the entire arc imo. Kuma obviously stole the show from him in the end, and Nothing Happened is a moment that needs no discussion for it's impact on the community as a whole. I think if Moria had a genuine fight with Luffy people would feel a lot differently about this arc, but then again if Moria genuinely fought Luffy instead of defeating himself he'd almost certainly kick his ass. So I get it.
The moment where Luffy gets to tell Brook that Laboon is alive and they met him, that's one of the most emotional moments in the entire story. Just hearing Brook be so glad to be alive, I think that's the best moment of the arc (no disrespect to Zoro). While Alabasta clears this arc in terms of the combat and the villains, I think moments like that and the character moments are what have me saying this arc is slightly (slightly) better than Alabasta.
Spa Island Arc
This arc is a little weird because the Spa Island section and the Brook episode are like two completely different storylines. And the Brook episode does a lot of carrying for this arc that boosts it higher. So I'll talk about both. The Spa Island stuff was just really weird, and the villain was quite possibly the most incompetent villain I've come across in this entire watch through so far. He's going way to the bottom of the list. I did like the storyline of the dad off doing his research and making both daughters believe in him, it was a cute but short storyline. Foxy shows up again because that man is the king of fillers, I haven't seen a character this dominant in filler arcs since Tenten. And we got to see Nami and Robin in bathing suits, so it can't be all bad.
That brings us to Episode 384; this is genuinely the best filler episode in the entire series so far. If you haven't watched it, you really should. This is the type of filler that I really enjoy from One Piece, where it's a new member joining the crew and we get to see more of the crew dynamic than we would ever see in the manga. Brook, having spent 50 years alone, is eager to please everybody on the ship by doing tasks for them because he's terrified of being kicked off the ship for being a burden. He doesn't want to lose his friends again. Of course this isn't how Luffy or anybody on the crew thinks of friendship, but you can't blame a guy who hasn't had human interaction for the majority of the last 50 years. I just really loved everything about this storyline. Considering this arc was 3 episodes but includes this one, I have to rank the arc much higher than the Spa Island portion warrants. This episode was just that good.


One Piece Episode of Alabasta: The Desert Princess and the Pirates
Robin finds the Going Merry
This movie is definitely a recap and not a substitute or summary in any way for the original story. On top of some of the changes made to make the story move quickly, there's honestly just so much context missing from the original story. For example, they show Bon Clay's ability and how he can transform into people (including Cobra) because that's pretty critical to the arc. But the X mark that is created because of that really doesn't play any role in the story. They spoil that the X mark is under the bandages at the beginning of the movie, and Vivi never has to prove that there's a catch when Bon Clay tries to trick her. Obviously the most important part of the X mark is the end of the arc, and that's there of course, but the context of why it was a key moment is gone.
Speaking of gone, they completely skip over Ace and Smoker even being part of the arc. Ace isn't part of the arc as much as Smoker obviously, but that's back to the context of the movie. The whole Mr. Prince thing, Smoker realizing Luffy is one of the good ones, all that stuff is gone in the movie. This is a purely Straw Hats and Vivi movie. That being said, if you just want to see high res versions of some classic One Piece fights, it does a decent job of that. The fights are much shorter than they were in the original, but you get some snapshots of the key moments. If you come into this movie with the mindset that it's just a fun way of breezing through some old moments, I think it's fine. If somebody is trying to use it to avoid watching Alabasta for the 30 some odd hours it would take to get through, I think they'd be doing themselves a disservice.
One scene I did really enjoy from this special that doesn't exist in the original story is how Robin ended up on the Merry. I wish this was a scene from the actual manga, it would have been so good! Robin is stumbling around looking for places to go after Luffy saved her, and she brings up how she's been saved by people with that D. initial twice (thinking back on Saul saving her). Then she looks up and she's in front of the Going Merry, realizing she found a place to go. This scene doesn't work in Alabasta obviously since it would be a huge spoiler, but I think this scene would be absolutely perfect at Going Merry's funeral. Everybody thinks about their favorite Merry memories and Robin's happens to be when she asked to join the crew. But if they just slid in this moment of her and Merry alone with her realizing she had a place to go, I think it adds even more to the scene. It shows Robin actually taking that first step to be vulnerable and join them and not just her being Mrs. Cool when she was on the ship. And it's nice that the first crewmate she thinks of other than Luffy would end up being Merry. Very nice scene.
One Piece Episode of Chopper Plus: Bloom in Winter, Miracle Sakura
I had absolutely no expectations for this movie whatsoever (well... minus the obvious one). The last Chopper movie is still the worst movie in One Piece imo, so I thought that a new Chopper movie would just be shoving merchandising down your throat. But this movie was so good. It's a rewrite Drum Island as if Chopper was the 8th crewmate instead of the 6th. Which is weird, but it really worked in this movie. Robin kinda takes the role of Vivi in this arc (hanging out with Usopp), and Zoro and Franky hang around. It touched on all the important story beats, and the redo of the Hiruluk flashback was great too. This movie did was Episode of Alabasta couldn't do, which is keep the raw emotion of the original story mostly intact. Even Wapol's brother, again it's weird as somebody who knows the story. But it worked. Luffy pulling out Gear 2 and having a crazy fight in Drum Island was something I never expected, but it was so good. And unlike the real Drum Island, I like that the entire crew participates in this movie. Where in the real Drum Island a few characters don't really do anything in the arc if they weren't on top of the mountain.
For a retelling of one of the weaker arcs in One Piece, this movie was awesome. Definitely doesn't fit as a replacement (cause it would make no sense), but a nice treat for those who have watched up to this point of the story.


Episode of Alabasta - Prologue
Straw Hats arriving to Whisky Peak
This special is essentially a slight rewrite of the Whisky Peak arc as a way of opening into Episode of Alabasta. Whisky Peak is a short arc, but they go through it at light speed in this special. I'm not much of a Whisky Peak fan in general, so this isn't really for me. I think it did fine for what it is, but it's definitely something I feel like you should only be watching if you've seen the original. Because this special is essentially written like they met Vivi on Whisky Peak and then went straight to Alabasta (no Robin hopping on the ship, no Little Garden, etc.)


Romance Dawn Story

From the makers of pink Nami and blue Nami, meet blonde Nami
We finally get another OVA, this one is for one of Oda's original Romance Dawn stories. The Straw Hats are part of this, so it's not a complete retelling of the original story, but I still thought it was a nice storyline. Silk was a cool character and her bond with the rest of her island really did feel nostalgic of early One Piece with small time pirates terrorizing a small town vs toppling an entire government system. Her storyline kinda made me of Chouchou the dog from Orange Town, which isn't a bad thing at all. Cool, short OVA.

One Piece Arc Rankings

  1. Enies Lobby
  2. Water 7
  3. Post-Enies Lobby
  4. Thriller Bark
  5. Alabasta
  6. Arlong Park
  7. Jaya
  8. Loguetown
  9. Baratie
  10. Drum Island
  11. G-8
  12. Shells Town
  13. Foosha Village
  14. Skypiea
  15. Syrup Village
  16. Orange Town
  17. Little Garden
  18. Rare Animal Island
  19. Post-Alabasta
  20. Spa Island
  21. Ice Hunter
  22. Reverse Mountain
  23. Long Ring Long Land
  24. Foxy's Return
  25. Boss Luffy Historical Arc
  26. Chopperman
  27. Ocean's Dream
  28. Goat Island (Alvida's Hideout)
  29. Whisky Peak
  30. Goat Island Paradise
  31. Warship Island
  32. Ruluka Island

One Piece Villain Rankings

  1. Rob Lucci
  2. Crocodile
  3. Arlong
  4. Enel
  5. Spandam
  6. Gecko Moria
  7. Don Krieg
  8. Kuro
  9. Bellamy
  10. Jonathan (G-8)
  11. Smoker
  12. Buggy
  13. Omatsuri (Baron Omatsuri)
  14. Captain Morgan
  15. Wapol
  16. Don Accino (Ice Hunter)
  17. Mr. 3
  18. Gasparde (Dead End Adventure)
  19. Higuma
  20. Alvida
  21. Mr. 5
  22. Mr. 9 and Miss Wednesday
  23. Foxy
  24. Saga (Cursed Holy Sword)
  25. Noko (Ocean's Dream)
  26. Ganzack (Defeat the Pirate Ganzack)
  27. Eric (Warship Island)
  28. Captain Joke (Ocean's Navel)
  29. Gally (Romance Dawn Story)
  30. Kibagaeru (Foxy's Return)
  31. Minchey (Goat Island)
  32. Eldoraggo (One Piece: The Movie)
  33. Ratchet (Giant Mechanical Soldier of Karakuri Castle)
  34. Bear King (Clockwork Island Adventure)
  35. Count Battler (Island of Strange Animals)
  36. Wetton (Ruluka Island)
  37. Bayan (A Father's Huge, HUGE Dream)
  38. Doran (Spa Island)
  39. Governor (Last Great Performance)

One Piece Movie Rankings

  1. Episode of Chopper Plus: Bloom in Winter, Miracle Sakura (Movie 9)
  2. Baron Omatsuri and the Secret Island (Movie 6)
  3. Dead End Adventure (Movie 4)
  4. Episode of Alabasta: The Desert Princess and the Pirates (Movie 8)
  5. One Piece: The Movie (Movie 1)
  6. The Cursed Holy Sword (Movie 5)
  7. The Giant Mechanical Soldier of Karakuri Castle (Movie 7)
  8. Clockwork Island Adventure (Movie 2)
  9. Chopper's Kingdom on the Island of Strange Animals (Movie 3)

Specials Rankings

  1. One Piece: Protect! The Last Great Performance
  2. Once Upon the Great Sea! A Father's Huge, HUGE Dream!
  3. One Piece Special: Adventure in the Ocean's Navel
  4. Episode of Alabasta - Prologue
  5. One Piece New Year Special: Special Report - Secret of the Straw Hat Pirates
  6. One Piece Special: The Detective Memoirs of Chief Straw Hat Luffy
  7. One Piece: Emergency Planning, A Perfect Strategy for the One Piece

OVA Rankings

  1. Romance Dawn Story
  2. One Piece: Defeat the Pirate Ganzack!

Shorts Rankings

  1. Dream Soccer King
  2. Jango's Dance Carnival
  3. Take Aim! The Pirate Baseball King


  1. We Are! (1)
  2. Brand New World (6)
  3. We Are! (2008 Remix) (10)
  4. Bon Voyage (4)
  5. We Are! (Straw Hat Version) (7)
  6. Crazy Rainbow (7)
  7. Jungle P (8)
  8. Hikari e (3)
  9. Kokoro no Chizu (5)
  10. Believe (2)


  1. Shouchi no Suke (4 - crew spotlight)
  2. Tsuki no Taiyo (12 - family left behind)
  3. Free Will (9 - Robin wakes crew)
  4. Glory - Kimi ga Iru Kara (7 - Vivi's past)
  5. Eternal Pose (15 - Past arc snapshots)
  6. Dear Friends (16 - Merry memories/funeral)
  7. Asu wa Kuru Kara (17 - young Robin in flower field)
  8. Before Dawn (5 - foot crew race)
  9. Memories (1 - Sunset water)
  10. Fish (6 - Chopper's adventures)
  11. Dreamship (13 - group photo)
  12. Run! Run! Run! (2 - Young crew runs)
  13. Mirai Koukai (14 - different birds)
  14. Adventure World (18 - fan art)
  15. Faith (10 - colorful Straw Hats)
  16. Shining ray (8 - crew jumps off cliff)
  17. Watashi ga Iru Yo (3 - Going Merry life)
  18. A to Z (11 - Come back to your friends)

Next Up: Summit War Saga

Can he be saved?
submitted by HokageEzio to OnePiece [link] [comments]

2023.03.26 22:24 AaronDarkus Are we the baddies?.png

Are we the baddies?.png
Authorship: Centurii-Chan
submitted by AaronDarkus to Animemes [link] [comments]

2023.03.26 22:21 AaronDarkus Are we the baddies / bad guys?.png

Are we the baddies / bad guys?.png
Authorship: Centurii-Chan.
submitted by AaronDarkus to animememes [link] [comments]

2023.03.26 22:19 AaronDarkus Are we the baddies / bad guys?.png

Are we the baddies / bad guys?.png
Authorship: Centurii-Chan.
submitted by AaronDarkus to memes [link] [comments]

2023.03.26 22:04 Cheesypower Wings of Freedom - Part 7 - A NoP Fanfic

Previous First Next
A full night's rest still hadn't been enough to clear Yegel's head- though thankfully this time it was just confusion rather than gore-filled nightmares that plagued him. Where was he even supposed to start?
First, Eren was alive- and wasn't that a shocking revelation on it's own? He'd watched the boy die, seen him get swallowed whole- well, somewhat whole, with two of his limbs having been bitten off. Both limbs having somehow regrown, which he was pretty sure wasn't supposed to be normal for humans.
Though, was Eren a human? He'd been a titan, even if an abnormal one that only attacked other titans. Which, considering Eren's... aggressive personality, suddenly made a lot more sense, but still- how could a monster have been living among them, training alongside them for all this time, and still have nobody notice?
The halls of the base seemed to close in on him as Yegel continued wandering, unable to focus on the world around him. Pieces of a puzzle he'd thought he'd started piecing together suddenly didn't fit, and nothing about this new information made sense!
He wished he could talk to Kallik and Jelliba about this- they were always willing to help when he felt overwhelmed or confused. But that would mean exposing them to humans, and while he was getting more personally interested in their contradictions, they were still predators at their core. Traumatizing his friends just to assuage his own confusion wasn't a trade he was willing to make.
Why WAS he even this confused about it? Humans were predators, that was the entire reason he had been given this assignment in the first place. It shouldn't be surprising that one of them turned out to be a monster- they were ALL monsters! Their very existence went against the natural order, consuming other life for their own selfish desires!
It shouldn't be surprising- it WASN'T surprising! This was the truth of predators- the truth of humans! He shouldn't be reacting like this, just because he sympathized with them! Just because he'd watched them struggle, and fail, and despair in the face of a monstrous enemy, just like... just like the federation did... like he did...
It should be obvious- it should be expected! Just a predator showing it's true colors.
...So why did those accepted answers ring hollow?
Unfortunately for him, his fevered wanderings left him careless and inattentive to his surroundings, and the turning tumbling thoughts in his head distracted him from the world around him until it was too late.
"-So we're going to need these numbers corrected, as quickly as you can. How about, say, by tomorrow morning?"
Blinking away his swirling thoughts, Yegel found reality reasserting itself as he took in the unfamiliar walls- blue markings indicating he was in the administrative section of the base. More relevant was the three Krakotl gathered in the hallway, their rank pins marking them as Naval personnel- and the nervous-looking Ventil they were gathered around, who was trying his best to melt into the wall behind him.
"I-I'm sorry, but I can't!" the woolen accountant stammered. "The inspection of the Crimson Pinion found several m-major issues in need of addressing, s-so to clear to the ship for deployment instead of performing repairs w-would be-"
"Repairs?" the krakotl in charge scoffed, his crown feathers flicking up in a rudely dismissive gesture. "On a backwater rock like this? We all know that those mandatory repair facilities aren't all equal- if we have to leave her here, she won't be rejoining our fleet for months at minimum, if she ever leaves again!"
"W-while it's true our facilities won't be as efficient," the Ventil bleated, "the sheer n-number of systems in need of attention-"
"Will end up staying exactly the same, because your boss has better things to do than devote resources to getting us up and running again," one of the cronies snarled, bobbing forward as the fluffy accountant cringed backwards. "Isn't that right? We'll just keep her patched up until we make it to a real shipyard, with competent mechanics instead of airheaded rejects!"
The floor of the corridor cracked under Yegel's talons as they clenched, clawing grooves into the industrial flooring until he realized what he was doing. Thankfully they were too engrossed in their own conversation to have noticed, so he was able to carefully extract his claws from the divots he'd accidentally carved.
It was a coincidence, they didn't know what they were talking about, he reminded himself. They were just making a general judgement of remote postings like this, and they wouldn't even be wrong about most of them- Jelliba was the exception, not the rule.
He'd heard her talking about that ship, actually- apparently it was one of the older models, one that had been modified for combat rather than designed for it, and was apparently starting to really show it's age. She'd been excited about the chance to crack it open, talking about ways she could not just fix, but improve it- using terms and words that flew right over his head, but with an excitement that made him smile.
From the sound of it though, she'd have to be disappointed- while what they were doing was a breach of protocol, it wasn't the first time the navy would insist on waiting until they reached a major port before scheduling repairs for any but the most serious issues. Remote outposts like this didn't exactly have a reputation for having the equipment or engineers to get ships up and running in a timely fashion.
Yegel sighed, forcing himself to turn away from the confrontation. It wasn't his problem- he didn't even know the guy. It was too risky to intervene- he couldn't afford another strike like that, especially since he was already on punishment duty. They might even have a point- he didn't know what was going on for sure, so who was he to step in?
Better to play it safe. Wasn't the first time this sort of thing had happened after all, wouldn't be the last.
"Don't know what you guys are talking about, saying she'll go to a repair yard," the other crony interrupted Yegel's thoughts. "With how decrepit she is, a scrapyard is the only place she's going-"
"SHHH!" the boss snarled, feathers flaring as he battered the crony with his wings. "don't fucking say it, you idiot!"
"I'm sorry," the Ventil interrupted, cringing away from the violent display, "b-but policy indicates that she is not currently in an unsalvageable state, a-and if she were to suffer damage on the journey that made such an assignment necessary, when action could have been taken to prevent it, t-then-"
"But it can't be prevented!" the Boss snapped at the cowering pencil-pusher, flapping into the air to rake his claws through the Ventil's wool, drawing a startled cry from the unfortunate soul. "And we're not going to play these patchwork games anymore- you're going to fix those numbers, and we're going to leave with that ship in a week's time, and that's final!"
"M... m-my position," the now-sobbing accountant blubbered from where he'd curled up on the ground, "I-I can't- if they find I edited official inspections- t-the punishments for tampering with essential equipment maintenance- I'd lose my job, my career- be b-b-blacklisted from-"
"Then don't get caught," his tormentor drawled, as if spelling something obvious out for a hatchling who had plucked his pinions. "It's not like the oversight in these backwaters is particularly stringent, after all."
One of the cronies noticed Yegel, feathers rising in a threat display as he glared from one eye at the intruder. Silently challenging him to step forward and do something, or to speak up.
Yegel forced himself to take a step away from the situation he'd stumbled across. Then two, three, four... taking careful mental focus to avoid digging his claws into the floor again.
It wasn't his problem, and he already had problems to spare.
It wasn't anything he hadn't seen before.
It wasn't worth it.
He couldn't afford it- he couldn't have another incident- to risk his punishment assignments being made even worse.
The crony relaxed, turning his back to Yegel as he refocused on their victim.
Five steps. Six steps- the turn was right up ahead, and then he'd be away, free from dealing with this.
"Of course," the Krakotl sneered down at the cowering accountant, "if you really have such an issue helping us out with this, we can just go someone else to fix it for us."
Having such a wide field of vision meant Yegel could see the Ventil's expression of tearful hope even with his back turned, the overwhelmed paper-pusher clearly desperate for any way out of his current predicament.
"Yeah, that seems simple enough," one of the cronies drawled, smirking down at the Ventil's hopeful expression. "Just make a formal complaint about your manipulation of Essential Equipment Maintenance reports, with an explanation of the 'proper' results... and that should fix the issue real well."
The Ventil choked, the hope in his eyes smothered beneath the growing void of horror and despair.
"Heck, why are we still talking about this?" the leader chuckles, stepping away from the frozen accountant. "Let's just go do it- I'm sure one of the accountants who knows how these things work will help us out. Good luck with your next career, fuzzball!"
"No..." their victim choked, reaching out and clutching at the air. "No, no please, you can't-"
"Who do you think they'll believe," the Krakotl smirks, dismissively pushing the Ventil back against the wall, "A paper-pusher still on his probation period, freshly shipped in to a place that's known as the dumping ground for failures, or a decorated fleet officer with the testimony of his crew?"
The Ventil clutched the leg pinning him down, mouth moving up and down, only for no sound to come out, tears streaming from his wide, dilated eyes, choking on air as he sobbed.
And Yegel sighed, blowing out a stream of air, shoulders slumping from their tensed position to a fully relaxed slump.
Damn it all to Maltos.
"How about the engineers who did the inspection in the first place?" he announced loudly, turning around to face the startled group, approaching them in strides that felt light as the wind. "I imagine that their personal explanations of the ship's failing sublight drives and malfunctioning water pumps might punch some rather large holes in your narrative."
The leader's glare could melt steel as he visibly sized up the newcomer, sneering as he realized that he needed to tilt his head downwards to meet Yegel's gaze. "Butt out of this, boy," he scoffs, feathers puffed as he spreads his wings to increase his profile, the lackeys behind him doing the same. "This doesn't concern you- and if you know what's best for your continued career, you'll keep it that way."
"Actually," Yegel drawled, his feathers forcibly relaxed as he stood firm against their attempts at intimidation, "the swarm of inspectors that would come from any report of tampering with essential equipment would be incredibly inconvenient for everyone on this base, so I'm afraid it very much DOES concern me." Quietly letting air flow in through his nose to slowly inflate his chest, he spread his legs in a loose, relaxed stance, wings held close in a carefully limp dangle at his sides. "So I suggest you forget about this whole thing, turn around, and prep the crew of the Crimson Pinion for transfer to other ships, or an extended stay on our base."
The two cronies boggled at him, taken aback by his lack of response to three krakotl bigger than him showing threat displays, their wings drooping as they glanced between each other and took a subconscious step back. The Ventil on the floor stared at him like a drowning man seeing a lifeline thrown his way, eyes burning with desperate hope tinged with the black of choking fear.
The leader, however... his eyes tried their best to bore holes into Yegel, his crown of feathers flexed to their maximum extent, wings quivering with rage as he swelled up and loomed over Yegel.
"Well, sounds like you want to play officer, don't you?" the leader sneered down his beak. "But you really should have kept on walking. Now it looks like this paper-pusher had an accomplice in their altering of official documents. Do you really want to deal with those kinds of charges, so early in your career?"
If Kallik was here, he'd have stepped in with sweet words and some sort of intelligent argument, probably making the leader look stupid and thanking Kallik for the opportunity.
If Yegel's mind was clearer, he would have taken inspiration from that, and taken the time to think up which specific policies could be brought up to diffuse the situation- or to at least convince them to back off.
But with his mind clouded by frustration and a lack of restful sleep, whatever answers there might have been to resolve this without causing problems eluded him. Instead, he calmed his breathing, loosened the iron grip he always maintained on his Krakotl instincts, and fell back on his natural response to a bully facing him down.
"Better that than charges of Sabotage of Critical Material," Yegel shot back, talons planted as he returned the leader's burning stare with cold detachment.
His opponent's eyes narrowed. "Now that's a stretch if I've ever heard one. We're just keeping the ship flying until we reach an actual repair port, after all-"
"But that's not your actual plan, is it?" Yegel shot back, stepping from one talon to the other, carefully flexing them and testing his claws. In the corner of his vision, he saw the other two Krakotl dancing back and forth, flapping halfway into the air in an instinctual attempt to scare him off. "You're actually hoping that when you make a jump, or maybe the jump after that, the ship will suffer a catastrophic failure that will justify scrapping it instead of making an attempt at repairs. Am I right?"
The leader blinked,turning his head to focus one eye on Yegel, while his subordinates shared worried glances as the silence stretched.
"Damn smart brat, aren't you?" he finally rumbled, talons creating an ear-grating screech as they carved deep divots into the floor. "That junker has been slowing us down for years, and I am not letting this cycle of having a few months of actual functional fleet action before she trundles back in to slow us down again keep going!"
This would be the correct point to try and diffuse the situation- to try and pressure them into leaving without trouble. If Yegel's mind was clearer, he would have taken that option to avoid another report being filed against him.
But his heart was thundering in his own ears, and after so many days of mental exhaustion, the call of a simpler option proved too strong to resist.
So instead, he gave the leader a condescending smirk. "Wow, you actually admitted it. I didn't think you were that dumb, yet here we are."
The lackeys hissed angrily at him, stalking right up to him and snapping their beaks, their angry display undercut by the worried glances they kept giving each other and their boss.
Yegel breathed out, forcibly releasing some of the building tension in his body. Loose, he needed to stay loose. No Kallik here backing him up, so he needed to stay mobile- be ready to react to all three of them at once.
"Trying to play cute, kid? You're as dumb as a Yotul if you think this is going to go the way you want." The leader's growling strained Yegel's self-control to the limit, the pitch of his furious jabs tugging at something primal that told him to puff himself up in his own threat display, to try and scare away the threat before he got hurt.
With practiced ease, he pushed that instinct down, heart pounding in his ears as he forced his feathers to stay relaxed. He had to keep calm- couldn't afford to simply give in to the aggressive krakotl instincts that all the rest could freely flex. Instead, he needed to control it- channel it; keep it held close to his heart like a burning power core.
"Actually, I think that's exactly how it's going to play out," he retorted with forced calmness, continuing to smirk as he puffed out his chest and spread his wings behind his back- an intentional slight that fanned the flames in his opponent's eyes. "Though it's cute that you think you can stop me."
His wings stayed behind his back, relaxed and loose- just as he'd learned to keep them time and time again. His knees stayed bent, stance straight and steady, eyes clear as he focused on the krakotl in front of him. Watching their beak clench, their eyes burn with rage, their legs tense as they kicked off the ground...
The cronies following him forward, one to either flank, hanging back just enough to let their leader get the first strike, and set the standard for how badly they were allowed to hurt the threat.
One flap of the leader's wings to gain height, torso leaned forward with his momentum. A second flap to stabilize, swinging his hips forward, talons already open and beginning to reach forward.
A classic move, expertly executed- an instinctive strike that came naturally to Krakotl, to give a blow and perhaps shallow cuts to the perceived threat and convince it to back off. It was almost an automatic response from any Krakotl who was angry enough, effective at getting their point across, and unlikely enough to cause serious damage that there was rarely cause for repercussions.
Yegel had never been able to do it himself- without the ability to fly, to get himself even an inch off the ground, he'd never been able to do something that came instinctively to everyone else.
But he'd seen it enough to learn how to counter it.
Shooting forward, his own talons dug into the floor, sending him speeding right towards the incoming leader. A twist of his shoulders let him squeeze right between their talons, avoiding the startled bird's attack and inserting himself right into their personal bubble. His own wings snapped up, slamming into the bottom of his opponent's talons and lifting them as high as he could, sending his opponent tumbling backwards with a squawk.
Then, with talons dug deep into the floor, he clenched his belly and pushed his wings downward as hard as he could, beak open in a violent screech. Disoriented from having his world spun upside down, the leader had no time to recover before he was slammed into the ground head-first.
The hallway rang with the sickening wet crack of a rigid skull on the unyielding floor. The leader's challenging cry cut off in strangled hacking through a bent windpipe, his eyes glazed over as Yegel pushed him away, crumpling to the floor in an uncoordinated heap.
Yegel's eyes rolling in two different directions, his field of view expanding as each eye focused on a different approaching crony. Once doing this had been incredibly disorienting, and he'd still probably have a minor headache tomorrow- but given how often he'd been on his own against a group, necessity had forced him to learn to manage it anyways.
The hallway was cramped by Krakotl standards, which was a blessing and a curse- they couldn't fly up and make harassing runs at him, but he couldn't easily get away from them either. The only way out was through- and he wouldn't be able to avoid getting hurt.
Twisting to the right, he took advantage of their moment of stunned shock and went for one of the startled henchmen. Pushing aside a sloppy talon-strike with his leading wing, he drove his other wing deep into their gut, rotating his hips to maximize the power behind the strike.
No time to follow up- he had to yank his wing back from the doubled-over krakotl and duck under his friend's attempts to claw up Yegel's wings. The other crony flapped backwards before Yegel could land a hit, blinking as his buddies' conditions started to register- but Yegel pursued before he could fully escape.
Stomping down to pin their talon to the floor, he followed up by slamming his shoulder into their chest. The crony found all the air forcibly driven from his lungs, wheezing as he tried to push Yegel away with frantic slapping from his wings.
Claws raked into Yegel's back, feathers flying as he hissed in pain. Didn't feel too deep, but that didn't matter if they started adding up. He needed to end this quickly, before they could fully take advantage of their numbers.
The one he had pinned kept battering him with wing-blows, but clearly wasn't used to having his opponent this close. A quick upward snap of Yegel's own wing, straight into their wing-joint, and the hall echoed another stomach-churning crack of shifting bones.
Screeching in pain, the crony hopped backwards the second Yegel released their talons, nursing their aching wing- it didn't look dislocated thankfully, so he wouldn't get in trouble for that, but it should slow that one down.
Jumping over the still-prone leader, Yegel pushed as hard as he could off of the ground, jump through the air towards the hunched-over second crony still holding his gut with one wing. Claws extended, his instincts told him to aim his talons right towards their exposed neck-
-"I-I'm sorry, I did what you asked-"-
-pain, lancing through his body, pulsing in time to the hum of electricity-
-"-you devil-child!"-
-forcing his talons to spread just in time, his foot landed flat on their throat, slamming them backwards into the corridor wall. Struggling to push away the shaking shock, Yegel crouched against the pinned crony before backflipping away, putting all the force into his opponent's throat and chest and leaving them clawing at their own throat.
However, he was still distracted by painful memories, and stumbled on the landing. His ankle twinged painfully as he barely avoided twisting it, wings flapping uselessly as he tried to steady himself.
Unfortunately, his opponents had no intention of letting that happen, and he paid for giving them an opening. Pain exploded in his chest as one of them took advantage of his distraction, clawing three lines across his torso before flapping backwards away from retaliation. The bright purple of his blood blended in with his own purple feathers, but the warm sticky feeling that began matting those feathers down was an indication that this would need more than a quick bandaging to fix.
Skipping backwards away from another strike, Yegel cursed to himself as the cuts on his chest throbbed in time with the ones on his back, the pain grounding him and bringing him back down to reality. Thankfully not deep enough to impede his movement, but they would add up over time- and he couldn't count on staying lucky.
There was a lull as both sides sized up their competition, Yegel's posture low and wings raised as his feathers spread in a full threat display, trying to ignore the twinging aches across his shoulders and the tugging at his wounds- he couldn't risk showing weakness now.
Across from him, his opponents looked to be in rough shape, their leader still stumbling with unfocused eyes, one crony keeping a wing carefully folded at his side, while the last still clutched his throat and fought to suck in wheezing breaths.
The moment of reprieve stretched as both sides continued eyeing each other, looking for any sign of aggression or weakness from the other. Yegel could see the familiar glint of fear in their eyes, the former self-assured bravado nowhere to be seen as they reconsidered their chances.
Then their leader, head still clutched in his wing, took a stumbling step backwards- and then another. His lackeys followed his lead, hissing and screeching at Yegel as they slowly backed down the corridor, never taking their worried eyes off of him.
"Your commander... will hear of this," their leader hissed, doing his best to glare at Yegel through unfocused eyes.
"I'm sure he will," Yegel growled back, hissing and faking a lunge forward- and watching them scramble back in fear. "And when he does, I'll be happy to share everything with him."
His opponent cawed in rage, but continued limping backwards, beak visibly grinding in frustration. Whatever he might have wanted to say, he thought better of it- or was simply too concussed to properly form the sentences.
Finally, the battered group of avians made it to an intersection of the corridor, and carefully backed their way down a different path. The last thing he saw was their leader's furious eyes before he disappeared around the corner.
Yegel carefully waited, refusing to relax and drop his guard, instead listening as their steady retreat devolved into the chaotic clattering of talons on rock as they apparently took off running. Wracking his brain, he mentally plotted out what he knew of the passages in this section of the base, making sure they weren't simply doubling back to catch him off-guard. Only several moments after the sound of their retreat had faded did he allow his wings to drop to his side, groaning in pain as he clutched the bleeding divots carved into his chest.
Inhaling deeply, he winced at the way the cuts on his chest tugged painfully with the expansion, forcing himself to hold it for a moment before slowly breathing back out. As his hammering heart slowed, the tingling fog of adrenaline began to clear, the hallway almost seeming to tilt side to side as he came back down from that state of heightened awareness.
Taking careful, deliberate steps, he turned around to fully face the Ventil, who had apparently remained frozen in place throughout that entire mess. Stepping forward, he winced as pain shot through his talons- apparently he'd landed worse than he'd realized.
"S-sorry about all that," he quietly apologized, pushing down the pain to deal with later. Forcibly flattening his feathers and lowering his stance to look smaller, he held out a wing to help the Ventil up. "They didn't hurt you too bad, did th-"
Instead of taking the offered appendage, the Ventil jerked backwards, scooting away down the side of the wall. Eyes filled with fear stayed focused on Yegel as the fuzzy accountant whimpered, curling up on themselves and shrinking as small as he could.
"Hey," Yegel whispered, ignoring the clenching of his heart. "Hey, it's okay, they're gone now. I'm trying to-"
With a sharp cry, the Ventil burst to his feet, sprinting down the hall away from him as fast as his paws could take him.
Yegel's wing stayed suspended in the air, still reaching towards the fleeing Ventil until he vanished around the corner. Slowly, the useless appendage dropped back to his side. His other wing came up and clutched at the sharp aching in his chest that had nothing to do with his wounds.
With a sigh, Yegel put his back against the wall, hissing at the pressure on his still-bleeding injuries and battered shoulders that were already beginning to bruise. Resting his head backwards, he closed his eyes and let himself retreat back into his own head.
Stupid. That whole mess was stupid of him. He should have just kept walking. Now he was going to have to deal with whatever report those idiots filed- and while Jelliba would definitely get enough Engineer testimony to prove their misconduct, having this on top of his current punishment was sure to get ugly for him.
...At least the Ventil had gone in the opposite direction of his attackers, so they shouldn't run into each other again.
Damnit, it had been years since he'd been this sloppy- dealing with these humans was taking a greater toll on him than he'd realized.
Nothing he could do about it now though- continuing to worry about the inevitable wouldn't do him any good. He needed to focus on something that was within his ability to change- like the source of the stress that had left him so vulnerable to his instincts.
Even now, the adrenaline and fog of instinct were fading, leaving him with an aching body and a tired mind. The questions that had been tormenting him began bubbling back up, now that the distraction was gone... but now they seemed more subdued, quieter. Or maybe he'd simply exhausted his ability to think about it.
At least today he might get some answers to those questions. Yes, that sounded good- delving back into those human videos to find some closure was exactly what he needed.
Groaning in pain, he pushed himself off of the wall, wincing at the sticky tugging at the gouges in his back that had adhered to the wall from his blood. Ignoring the grisly stain he'd left behind, he pushed himself forward, slowly limping his way down the empty corridor.
First, a stop by the medical office to get patched up- fights between krakotl were common enough that they shouldn't ask too many questions. Then, he'd get back to work, and finally get some answers.
"Of fucking course," Yegel groaned, his new bandages tugging at his feathers as his head buried itself in his wings.
Because why wouldn't this installment start with a flashback to a few hours earlier in the setting, rather than actually giving him some answers.
Sighing heavily, he glared at the screen as his chin came to rest on his crossed wings. Needing to lean forward to avoid pressing his injuries against the back of his chair was annoying- just one more frustration on top of everything else.
At least getting some insight into how the titan attack had been so devastating was interesting- if these Scouts were like human Exterminators, then of course the bad luck of them being out on assignment when the attack hit would lead to disaster.
The two characters being introduced were initially annoying, since he wanted them to hurry up and get back to the important part of figuring out what was up with Eren- he'd turned into a titan somehow, and Yegel needed answers about that! Yet, he couldn't help but find himself being drawn to them- especially as the way they behaved, with the aloof and serious guy and energetic bubbly girl (at least he thought the one with long hair was a girl) was, well... familiar.
...Though, Jelliba got that excited over mechanics and new machines she was getting the chance to work on, not encountering horrible monsters, so clearly they weren't exactly the same. When the short one said he already saw an Abnormal, Yegel tensed, fully expecting an attack, but the long-haired human just excitedly looked around, asking where. If he imagined himself and Jelliba in that situation-
-and then the short one grabbed her head and forced it towards himself, saying the Abnormal was "right here."
Yegel blinked. After too long of a moment, he waved away some... strange thoughts that had conjured up. He really must be out of it today.
Ignoring that... strangeness, it was kind of interesting to hear the way they talked about the scouting regiment- their 30% casualty rate was brought up in a way that seemed to imply that was considered high, but compared to the risks of exterminators deployed to remote areas or prepping new planets for colonization, those were pretty standard figures.
Though, seeing a human scout halfway inside of a titan's mouth, getting chewed on as he yelled in defiance, was a pretty effective way of showing that just because such figures were standard didn't make the reality any less horrifying.
Why did the human feel the need to keep struggling against the monster?! All his act of defiance accomplished was provoking it into going from absentminded chewing to deliberately biting down- an act that had Yegel retching from both the sound and the way blood sprayed out, coating the human's face.
What even was the point of continuing to fight in such a hopeless situation? The human was screaming something about Captain Levi- did he really think just one more fighter would make a difference?
Then there was the hiss of maneuver-gear wires whistling by behind the titan- and in a single flash of motion, Levi arrived- and the titan fell to the ground.
Yegel couldn't help gaping like a fish at the screen, struggling to comprehend a human having taken out a titan so easily- and acting so nonchalant about it! After seeing humans struggling so much against the titans, even with numbers on their side, to see such a reversal of that dynamic was jarring.
His nonsensical orders afterwards didn't help- sending someone to look after the human that had been getting chewed on? They weren't safe yet, and the guy had been in a titan's mouth- why waste manpower on a lost cause like that? Though at least that kind of made sense when you remembered humans seemed to have empathy, so while dumb it was at least well-intentioned...
His order to send the rest of his squad after one titan, while he went after two on his own?! How dumb could this human be?!
And yet, seeing his squad take out their titan so easily, with Hange acting so happy and energetic even as she dodged a blow from it's massive hand, followed by Levi utterly dismantling the other two titans with a mix of spinning blades and disinterested condescension... apparently Levi was just that strong.
He should have been horrified by such violence, but after seeing the titans and their monstrosity on display for so long, he couldn't help but feel a spark of vindication at their demise. Of course, Levi's apparent disdain for blood also helped with that- it was strange to see a predator's reaction to having their hands covered in blood be to whisper "disgusting." Especially one who seemed so adept at predatory violence.
The way Levi said "disgusting" was... a different kind of problem- one he pushed to the back of his mind and firmly stomped down on until it stopped moving. He'd deal with whatever the heck that was later.
So, these were the human's version of Exterminators, then? He could see how they had developed such a fearsome reputation- and why Eren aspired to join their ranks.
Unfortunately, Yegel had been right about the human getting chewed on- the one assigned to help him wasn't able to stop his bleeding, and his fate was all but sealed. It was sad, seeing him reaching out towards Levi, asking if his death would have meaning. Unfortunately, his hand was blood-soaked, and Levi didn't like blood, so-
-Apparently Levi was willing to set that aside and grasp his soldier's blood-soaked hand, as he launched into a passionate speech about how his death would have meaning, and how humanity had made great strides because of him. And he kept talking, trying to comfort a dying man, until his subordinate interrupted to tell him that the soldier was already dead.
Seeing such a cold killer with such a shaken look on his face at his subordinate's death was yet another reminder of how humans refused to fit into the role of predator or prey properly- the Arxur would have already left such a weak link behind. Even now, they were ignoring the potential food of the corpses around them in order to question whether he heard them before he died, and to muse on how the look on his face was so peaceful. It was the sort of respect for the dead you'd expect from the Federation, not violent meat-eaters.
...Humans really were different, weren't they? Obviously there had been signs of that all along, especially with how they refused to fit into one category or another, but each time another piece of evidence popped up reinforcing that idea, it made an idea at the back of his head a little louder, more insistent.
Maybe... it would have been possible to coexist with humans? Not without Federation intervention of course, there were still aspects that were completely unacceptable, but... maybe if humans had been the first predators the Federation found, things might have turned out differently. With warriors like that who'd been bettered by the Federation, maybe even cured of their hunger for meat, maybe the Arxur could have been crushed as soon as they showed up.
It was a stupid thought of course- in the end, humans hadn't been able to avoid nuking themselves into extinction- but still, after everything he'd seen of the Arxur, these humans were at least trying to be something more than slavering flesh-tearing monsters.
Back in the show, their commander had turned up and called a retreat, despite Levi's protests- apparently titans had been observed massing towards the city, and the commander deduced that it must be like what happened five years ago. Which knowing what was happening back at the city, gave Yegel some hope that maybe things would improve once these elites showed up- even if just by burning the city down.
Hearing Eren's voice as the scene shifted to the city in question, Yegel couldn't help but perk up. As interesting as seeing the human Exterminators in action had been, he'd been so eager to get back to this because he needed answers to whether Eren was a monster or not. He leaned forward, focusing in and preparing to see his questions answered...
...Only to find himself transported straight to hell. Or more specifically, the belly of the titan that ate Eren.
(Continued Below)
submitted by Cheesypower to NatureofPredators [link] [comments]

2023.03.26 21:53 ChickenNuggetJuice90 A children’s bedtime story book

Hey everyone!
I am trying to remember this book that I read with my grandma (we bonded over this book). I remember everything about the book, except for the title and the author. The cover was hot pink, and had nothing on it. It may have had a paper cover but I’m not too sure.
In this book there is a little girl named Susan and she has blonde hair (two ponytails). Her family consists of mom, dad, Susan, a dog, a cat, and a bird. In this story, Susan has a hard time sleeping in her bed so she goes to her parents room and asks if she could sleep on their bed. One of her parents walk her back to her room and she that Susan should sleep in her bed and tucked her in. After her parent left she still couldn’t fall asleep so she went back to her parents room and asked again if she could sleep on their bed. Then the other parent took Susan and they should that the dog sleeps on the dog bed, the cat sleeps on the cat bed, and the bird sleeps in the bird cage. So she should sleep in her bed. After that Susan is able to sleep in her bed.
Does anyone know the title of this book or even the author?
submitted by ChickenNuggetJuice90 to whatsthatbook [link] [comments]

2023.03.26 21:24 DingoOk6400 Current PC Top 12. Not by value but my favorites. (Roger and Kareem are from my childhood PC!) All RC but the Robbie.

submitted by DingoOk6400 to sportscards [link] [comments]

2023.03.26 21:18 Chosen_Wisely_Or_Not [eli5]Where is preprogrammed behavior stored exactly?

Like mating behavior in birds, or basically any behavior patterns in insects? I understand it's in brain, but how does it keep structure?
submitted by Chosen_Wisely_Or_Not to explainlikeimfive [link] [comments]