“届けて, 切なさには名前をつけようか ‘Snow halation!’”
The harpoon lodged itself into the Ocean Soul’s chest following a powerful toss from Pork Soda, the beast desperately trying to hit the tether to destroy it and release the harpoon, to no avail. The Ocean Soul had underestimated its opponents, who were currently singing some sort of song, perhaps a sort of war cry, meant to display their superior strength.
It had to do something! It released the Calamus Root in store within its mouth, ready to spit it out, before Sayonara Kodoku picked the Ocean Soul up, shut its mouth tight, and tossed it over to Pork Soda. With a thrust of its fingers, the porcine stand pierced the Ocean Soul’s eyes, blinding it.
Then, the two stands rushed at it, sending forwards a barrage of blows, breaking bones, claws, and disorientating it, before getting ready for a finisher. Pork Soda picked the Ocean Soul up by its tail and began spinning around, the rapid movement disorientating the fish and sending it closer and closer to its doom.
No, no! It couldn’t let this be! The Ocean Soul was a hunter, and even if its prey had gotten a leg up on it this time, it wasn’t going to give up! It could barely remain conscious under the pressure as the porcine stand spun it around, its already severe wounds getting exacerbated, but it had to do something!
Just one shot! Just one precise shot and it could use the opportunity to escape, to recover! The porcine stand was spinning it around by its tail, so the Ocean Soul could calculate the stand’s position! It just needed to regain its bearings, focus on getting a shot aimed, and it could use its spit to- SLAM!
With a brutal impact, the Ocean Soul was slammed into a nearby rock. It felt itself sinking in the water as the two stands approached it, its imminent doom coming closer and closer with every movement they made.
It needed to escape, but it couldn’t bring itself to move. The two stands made their way towards it, floating above the ground as they loomed over the barely conscious beast.
Was this going to be it for the Ocean Soul?
“微熱の中 ためらってもダメだね, 飛び込む勇気に賛成 まもなく start!”
Like hell it was.
Gathering the little remaining energy it had, the Ocean Soul spat out the Calamus Root stored within its mouth, mixed with its saliva. Hitting the ground underneath the two stands, two long spikes quickly sprouted out of it and towards their bodies.
Though Sayonara Kodoku’s tough skin didn’t get pierced, the force of the growing spike sent it flying into the air, incapacitating it, if only for a moment. Meanwhile, Pork Soda wasn’t as lucky as it, the spike piercing through the left side of its body, tearing through its left leg and shoulder. The Ocean Soul couldn’t hear anything from underwater, but it was sure that its user was reeling in pain right about now.
Using the remainder of its energy, the Ocean Soul bolted away, desperately trying to remain conscious as it swam away from what it once considered its prey. It didn’t even look backwards, fearing that doing so would give its opponents the time they needed to finish it off for good. It didn’t even keep track of how far it swam, or for how long its opponents had chased it, or if they had done so at all. Its body was searing in pain, broken bones and wounds all over it.
Eventually, it couldn’t bring itself to swim any further, losing consciousness and sinking down into the ocean, not even the searing pain keeping it awake as it began to rest.
The Ocean Soul had lost, but this wasn’t the end of the beast. Though barely, it had managed to escape this encounter with its life. The results are in for Match 10. The winner is… ‘Agnes’ Bayley and Prince Cosmo, with a score of 80 to the Ocean Soul’s 60!
|Category ||Winner ||Point Totals ||Comments |
|Popularity ||Players ||25-5 ||The word of the voterbase was clear: the vast majority felt that the Ocean Soul was handily defeated by the players. |
|Quality ||Players ||23-22 ||Reasoning |
|JoJolity ||Ocean Soul ||22-23 ||Reasoning |
|Conduct ||Tie ||10-10 || |
“AAAAGH! GODDAMIT, STUPID FUCKING FISH!!” Agnes screamed in pain while clutching his leg, body strewn onto the nearest island, carried by Sayonara Kodoku. “IT STABBED THROUGH MY GODDAMN LEG!! FROM THE FOOT, TO MY WAIST, TO MY FUCKING SHOULDER! AAARGH, DAMMIT, WHERE’S JENNY WHEN YOU NEED HER!!”
“You should be happy we got away with our lives. The Ocean Soul isn’t going to come finish us off any time soon after what we did to it.”
“OH, REAL RICH COMING FROM THE ONE WHO DIDN’T GET STABBED IN THE FUCKING LEG BY THAT MONSTER.
DO YOU WANT ME TO STAB YOU AS WELL SO YOU CAN SEE HOW IT FEELS?!” Agnes started rummaging around his surroundings with his right hand, searching for a sharp object to use for his “demonstration”.
“Frankly, you deserve it. Don’t forget that you are the cause for this all. Were it not for your foolishness, Webb would still be alive, and this would not have happened to you.” Cosmo chided.
“PFFF- WHATEVER!” In between his heavy breathing and pained cries, Agnes let out an audible sigh. “Fffffuck this, I’m gonna check my phone to see if there’s any connection here so that we can get the hell out of this place ASAP!” Agnes picked up his phone and pulled it up, taking a look at it.
“That will not be necessary. There is no connection here anyways, and I am certain that a helicopter has been sent out to retrieve us, or at the very least ascertain what might have happened to-” “Shut up, I’m getting a message from Cairo. ‘Don’t worry, Agnes, we have sent your location over to Vitus, and help should arrive in about fifteen minutes.’” Agnes looked at his phone in confusion. “Vitus? Who’s that asshole?”
“Vitus is the man who sent the helicopters out. The one which you indirectly crashed. Nonetheless, let me see that - I have a hard time believing that your phone is capable of picking up a signal when we’re so far away from any cellular towers.”
“And why should I care about what you believe, huh? Here, take a look for yourself!” Agnes shoved the phone in front of Cosmo's face, the dog looking intently at it and seeing… nothing beyond a simple homescreen. “What is this supposed to be. This is your phone’s home screen, and though that horrendous chimera at its center is an affront to anything and everything I believe in, there is no notification here. Could it be that you are perhaps hallucinating from the pain?”
“Wh- you can’t see it?! Don’t fuck with me!” Looking at the dog’s deadpan expression, Agnes could tell that that wasn’t the case. He looked over at the phone, spotting it right there, as clear as day - a notification for an sms from Cairo themselves, containing what he read out loud! “Fuck you, I’m not hallucinating! If anything, you are!”
Cosmo was about to retort, when he spotted something over the distance - a sailboat. It was old and decrepit, seemingly having gone through significant damage and yet still remaining intact, somehow. It clearly didn’t belong to Vitus, and likely wasn’t Cairo’s either. On the boat, he saw a silhouette of a haggard man, but the distance meant that he couldn’t exactly tell exactly what he looked like.
“Someone is coming.” It wouldn’t be much longer before Agnes and Cosmo were able to get back onland, learn what terrible things they’d missed, even if they still had a wait and a talk ahead of them. Left to nurse grievous wounds, this seaborne menace has seen this chapter of aggression momentarily closed, but further inland, the waters of a laundromat are being braved by a time traveler and a woman in chains. Scenario:
Sound’s Garden Eastern Strip - A Golden Limousine
The evening was beginning to set in, the lights of the islands of the area beginning to flash on and dot the sky as two women rode through the city, looking out through the windows as they relaxed in luxury. Cybil Antoine was one to travel in style, and now, with a companion in tow, was no exception.
“A strip that absolutely comes alive at night… Makes me feel almost nostalgic for Vegas,” her redheaded travel companion mused as she looked out, “speakin’ of which… you ever play anything like that, Cyby? Cards, slots, so on. We could try Heartache Casino, maybe, if we have time sometime… I bet you’d just have to throw your name around to get up on its higher floors.”
“It’s Cybil,” the wealthy woman emphasized, with an exhaustion begotten by this having been far from the first time, “or Miss Antoine… Either way, I am not a ‘Cyby.’ Get it right next time, alright?”
“Right, yeah, I know you’ve told me… I’m just a nicknamer by heart. Cross my heart, though! It won’t happen again!” Alexis Williams seemed… As serious as she could get about something like that, as curiously carefree, even devil-may-care, as the performer could get.
“Commit it to memory, then. Despite how much a fool you can act, I’m sure you know how much I had to pull to get you onto this stage.”
“Believe me, I do appreciate it!” Alexis answered, focus now turned away from the topic of gambling and onto that. “Putting on a show at one of the biggest stages in Los Fortuna, bigger than anything I’ve done before… I know our group has had some bad luck lately, with Bucket causing that trouble down at the fish market, and how down on herself Leo has been since that dumb show she said she got roped into, but we’re still the freakin’ Judecca Highrollers, right? I want to show the world that, and from their box, I want to show the rest of our team that we’ve got no better option than to face it all with a grin.”
“How very like you,” Cybil answered, neutral in her tone, careful not to betray the affection in such a statement as she pondered their current status, where they would be playing.
Alexis wouldn’t be headlining, unfortunately, though admittedly, her act wasn’t the sort of thing that did that anyway. Rather, a certain piece of immensely beloved local talent, a rocking performer who went by TD/MD, would be having her play immediately before her at the Alexander Dickinson Amphitheater, just a drive over a rapidly approaching bridge away. Cybil had been a little annoyed that one of her statues had been overshadowed by a plane crashing near it, not to mention had a desire to spread further the local influence of their team, and so she had arranged with the heads of the entertainment industry of Los Fortuna to see to it that her personal favorite performer among the allies and associates she’d made was onstage at the best possible place for a person wanting to be noticed.
She curled her lips at a cell phone which found its way to its hand, then, narrowing her eyes at its screen. “No word back from your backing band… Where are they? How inconsiderate not to send word on this, especially at how that Mr. Sins recommended them so glowingly.”
“I’m sure they’ll show,” Alexis answered, “and if not… We can make do, can’t we?”
“Of course,” Cybil answered, only to have her eye finally drawn back out the window by the sight of a vehicle which had pulled into the lane directly next to theirs as their limousine crossed the bridge.
Another golden limousine was directly next to them now, this one almost pointedly bigger, longer, more decked out in jewelry, and it seemed to be headed exactly the same way. Cybil, rather than confused or alarmed at the coincidence, simply thought aloud, “that would probably be Mr. Sins… Speak of the devil.”
“Amazing how quickly his casino recovered from nearly burning down…” Alexis mused aloud. “I heard that one of the people who trashed it sent him to the hospital, too.”
“An overreaction I’m certain, from what I know about the man. Absolutely terrified of a little pain, a little elbow grease… I’m not one to gossip, but I can’t help but wonder how a man like him even managed to become so prominent, so consistently successful.”
“Right,” Alexis answered, smirking and putting her finger up to her lips, “I won’t spread that around, then. I know how to schmooze with that type if the need arises.”
Los Fortuna Canals - The SS Sledge Sister
Admiral Pineapples was more comfortable on his own boat, but as far as the fleet of the Masters of Funky Action went, there was no real reason to send out more than one boat for this right now.
“Man, I can’t believe nobody else is ridin’ with me,” his companion, Rudolf Pavlova, said after downing an entire bottle of water in a single gulp, on the tail end of an hourlong keytar solo. “The rest of the Masters better at least make it to the Alexander! It’d really bum me out harder than when Wrenn shot me down if none a’them made it!”
Sorry, but I’m really more the headlining type! Playing second-fiddle to a man in a speedo opening for some local star sounds fun and all, but, I’d totally just overshadow them, I bet! So I should really probably stay out of it! That sentence, clear in its passive-aggressive scathingness, had put Wrenn Aflight’s declining of this gig pretty succinctly. As the man more or less everybody on the team could tolerate, listen to, and generally have a good time with, Admiral had been tasked with asking the other star performer of the team to join Rudolf on the gig he’d accepted opening up for locally beloved rock star and all-around idol TD/MD.
Not wanting to break Rudolf’s heart, he more or less told him the short version, ‘he couldn’t make it,’ and then volunteered his own services for the younger man. “You won’t be out there with none of your allies, though, Nureyev! For I, Admiral Pineapples, will aid you in coordinating every moment of your work! This will be one of the worthiest usages of my tactical mind in a long time, I’m sure!”
“I hope you’ve gotten those hour-long solos out of your system now, Nureyev,” Pineapples warned with an amused, lax tone, “you’re only going to have thirty minutes onstage before the headliner has to get ready, and there’ll be trouble if you bleed into that.”
“I know, I know,” Rudolf answered, casually, as he slipped into an open-chested bathrobe mainly meant to function as the legal requirement of public decency until it was time to perform, “I’m not one to step on anyone’s toes, let alone the star of the show. Live and let live, yeah?”
“I’m curious, though, and you never told me…” The Admiral asked, cracking open a beverage of his own and taking a sip, “how did you manage to get such a part as this in the first place?”
“Oh, that’s simple!” Rudolf said, the thought to answer having simply not occurred to him.
A few weeks ago - A beach in the Waterfront District.
“Alright! Thank you, Los Fortuna! I’m here all day, and all night, and all tomorrow too, baby! Party never stops!” Rudolf had just finished the latest of his performances to a small crowd of beachgoers, shredding through the end of his one-man keytar rendition of 2112 and transitioning into a truly epic medley of the extended Family Guy, American Dad, and Cleveland Show OPs.
As the crowd dispersed, a corporate suit-looking type of guy, bronze-skinned with neatly-groomed hair, remained, eyeing his keytar curiously and smiling artificially. “That was an excellent show, Mr… Pavlova, I think it was? You have such an undeniable energy about you that I can see when I lay eyes upon you… You’ve star material.”
“Am I being poached?” Rudolf asked, tilting his head, “‘cuz I assure you, I am a free agent! Not about to be scooped up by some label and forced to chill out the party churnin’ out music I don’t feel in my soul.”
“Nothing so abrupt, no… I’m a Manager, representing TD/MD. You can call me Thutmose. Anyway, she has a concert approaching rapidly, and we’re struggling and scrambling to find local, new talent and performers to open for her. We’ve managed to secure a lot of artists already, but the most important spot… Playing right before her… That, still, we have a particular need for, and I think you would serve it perfectly.”
“So I accepted!” In the present day, Rudolf finished, “why not, yeah? I can spread the party to tens of thousands at one of the biggest venues in town!”
“Scouted on the street, hm… That’s awfully lucky.” Something about this struck Admiral as odd, but he supposed it was all the more reason it was good he was backing his friend and ally up. He had a strong hunch there was more to it than appeared.
Rudolf’s party yacht would disembark soon, ported on the central-most island of the places which made up Sound’s Garden, and the party would make their way forward from there.
Sound’s Garden West Side - Outside the Alexander Dickinson Amphitheater
At the same time, a self-important first step was taken out of a pair of golden limousines, one a heel clacking first out of it and a short, stocky woman in pinstripe emerging, the other dress shoes leading up to a tall, lean man in a gold and yellow tux, grinning and running a hand through his slicked-back hair.
Cybil Antoine hadn’t had the “pleasure” of a personal conversation with Tigran Sins before, but had happened to overhear some of him during her meeting with that Thutmose man, and then and there, she had known everything about him, and knew that she had already had the displeasure of knowing dozens of men like him.
Still, though, one needed to be cordial in times like this, so as Alexis came out behind her, and a very strongly built-looking, mean-looking man with brown hair and a nice vest, attached to the lapel of which was a Heartache Casino brooch (a bouncer? A bodyguard?) stood by Tigran waiting to see what he wanted or what he did, she approached the man who dared to try and be more golden than her Stand. “Mr. Sins, I believe… I believe we’ve crossed paths, briefly, but we didn’t really have a chance to speak.”
The man tensed a bit, only to relax slightly again when he saw that Cybil intended only to speak. “Cybil Antoine, right? I’ve heard you’ve been making a hell of a lot of waves around town lately, so I must say I’m excited to meet you too.” He looked back past her, towards Alexis standing and stretching outside of her team’s limo. “Would that be your star you’ve got going on? Certainly she’s got charm.”
“Hi, right in front of you,” Alexis answered, teasingly passive-aggressively waving, “yeah, I’m going up before TD/MD.”
“She’s a very important star around here, you know… So you’d better put on a show that leaves them wanting for more of the best.” Tigran’s attendant spoke, then, sounding dead serious as he looked them over. “A lot of people have come here just for this, just for her sake… It is completely imperative you keep that in mind.”
Tigran simply nodded, concurring, “couldn’t have said it better myself, Fox.”
Shortly after that, the pairs went their separate ways, shifting through VIP areas of the area of the main structure of the amphitheater, series of comfortably shielded stadium halls that it was.
“Still no sign of the band… Still no word from them either. I’m cross now.”
Alexis, then, stopped in her trail, looking at a schedule which had been printed out and emblazoned upon a green room wall. “Uh, Cybil, you’re gonna wanna take a look at this.”
“Hm?” Cybil raised an eyebrow, turning to face what her partner was pointing at, and then glared again. “Who the hell is Nureyev, and why are they listed at the same time as you?”
“There’s gotta be some kinda mixup or somethin’, man… I know about this ‘Alexis Williams’ it talks about, and hear she’s a Vegas Performer, damn fine one at that who can really strut her stuff. But we ain’t in Vegas at all, so what gives?” Rudolf himself was gesturing at a printout version of much the same piece of programming, he and Admiral Pineapples having wandered much the same series of halls.
“Hrm…” Admiral, now, took a look at the sheet himself, combing over the names before Rudolf on the list and speaking names aloud. “‘Arancini,’ ‘Tenacious-er E,’ ‘Guy and the Fieris’ Heavy Metal Barbershop Quarter,’ all as scheduled… What the hell? Yeah. We’re the only acts double-booked like this, and you say you don’t know this woman personally?”
“Not in the slightest,” Rudolf said, “never laid personal eyes upon her! So maybe there’s a typo, yeah… I know! We could track down Thutmose! But, uh… Where the hell’s Thutmose right now?”
A distorted voice shout-whispered, “I heard that he was visiting TD/MD’s green room.”
“Huh? Oh, thanks!” Rudolf accepted that advice uncritically, beginning to make his way, but Pineapples looked, at least, in the direction it came from, seeing then flashes of a short-looking person in a maroon turban, face bandaged but mouth section bulging with something hidden underneath, and a pair of aviator goggles, as well as a tunic, trousers, and many bulky scarves adorned in the forms of climbing stick figures.
Looking at the man, Pineapples couldn’t help but feel suspicious, but hell, there was a lot shady going on here. “Yes, thank you, Mister… Who am I thanking?”
“No,” the figure answered dismissively, “think little of it… I’m just another interested party watching the show. If there’s confusion, then, I want to see it resolved fast! If you’ll excuse me, though, I need to make my way to my box…”
“Strange man…” Pineapples shook his head, not wanting to leave Rudolf alone to deal with this strange situation. He knew from hearsay and rumor that there were some truly dangerous things lurking in the bowels of Sound’s Garden, and Rudolf, more heart than head, was bound to be barreling into it.
Sound’s Garden - The largest and nicest green room in the halls of the Alexander Dickinson Amphitheater.
Metra Doria sat before a makeup chair as assistants fussed and fussed with her hair, her face, her clothes, occasionally being met with polite thanks, compliments, or idle chit-chat, representing a sort of familiarity the team had had with the pale, short-dark-haired girl with a single blue streak through her front left locks. She stared at her own dressed-up eyes in the mirror, one silver, one blue and at once black-striped through the iris. As she sat here, initially clad pretty casually and low-key, she was Metra, but as the outfit she had selected was put together, she would become TD/MD.
She was being cordial before now, but all of the small talk had ended as soon as her manager came into the scene, knocking, being invited to come in, and then doing so.
“How’s the show going, Thutmose? I wish I could see Guy and the Fieris do their thing, but… Makeup, I swear.”
“There’s… People insisting upon speaking, Metra. They’re performers, the ones before you, and they seem annoyed. I tried to shoo them away and tell them to work it out, but that only incensed the old-timers with them, and now they want to speak to you. I tried telling them it was a waste of your time, but-”
“This close to going on?” Metra narrowed her eyes at the reflected form of her manager. Always, it was one thing after another with this guy. Though most of the time, one might assume there was something not worth it going on here, she knew Thutmose well enough to know there might be problems. She sighed, shutting her eyes now. “It had better be important… Let ‘em in.”
And like that, a quartet of two twenty-somethings, a middle-aged woman, and an old man barreled in through the door at once, all talking over one another and expressing confusion with the other’s very existence and presence. It was making the half-prepared girl more uncomfortable than sitting in a chair for awhile just to get ready for a show often did, so she raised her voice, calmly but authoritatively, literally seeming to drown out their babbling in the process. “Quiet down, alright?! One at a time.”
There was a little more whispering among the four, then, and it was the pinstripe-suited woman who stepped forward among them to speak the crowd’s mind. “TD/MD, I presume… This ‘Thutmose’ man, he has made a grave mistake in the scheduling. My associate Alexis here, and this half-nude man carrying a keytar around, they have not met before today, and they certainly did not intend to collaborate before you. Your manager has refused to listen to reason about this, so we are taking the matter straight past him to you… Resolve it at once, and we can be on our way.”
“What?” Metra, facing them all, blinked, shaking her head and glaring at Thutmose. “Again? How does this keep happening? You overbook acts right before me, and it’s such a disaster I’ve started to need to allot extra time to cleanup guys after those sets… It was bad enough before, but it’s seriously getting out of hand, man. I can’t keep dealing with you if you treat everyone else you deal with like this. You’re done working with me. We’re through.”
“B-but… But Metra..!” Thutmose was flabbergasted, looking almost terrified at the prospect. “Please, be reasonable..! I need this job, understand? I’ve got gambling debts, and-”
“Whoa whoa whoa,” the keytarist (Rudolf, or Nureyev, according to the program) interjected then, “let’s not ruin a man’s life over me and Lexy here, yeah? I looked into the history of this place, the Alexander Dickinson… Named after a big dead deal Philanthropist, so basically a dude from the 90's who gave his all to culture in this city, funded all kinds’a stuff! Would a man like that want a man to be fired in his own memorial stadium?”
The logic seemed to confuse nearly everyone there, not least of all Metra, whose response, after a moment, was, “Huh? You… Are you saying it doesn’t bother you?”
“He’s saying that!” Thutmose pleaded. “I am certain he’s saying that!”
“I don’t mind, either…” The redheaded Alexis said next, nodding and looking around at nothing in particular. “Yeah, I think we can work with that… The band he set us up with bailed on us anyway, right? So… Music might help, and it’s not like the things we do step on each other’s toes, yeah? So whatever, I’m sure we’ll still leave a bigger impression.”
Cybil, then, pursed her lips. “If it doesn’t make a difference to you, then, and we’re all on the same page… But still, this is so very inconvenient.”
“Agreed…” Pineapples looked to Thutmose. “Be more responsible in the future, aye? I think even if you keep your job right now, you’re gonna be on thin ice for now. And give up on gambling, if it’s sunken you this far.”
Metra nodded. “Agreed. I can’t guarantee I won’t start looking for a new manager, but… You’ve been good to me, at least. Clean up your act.” Then, she looked over the quartet. “I’m seriously sorry about this… You say you had backup, but they’re not showing up now? I, uh… I don’t know what happened to whoever those were, or why they fell through, but I have something I can do to help both of your shows exist at once: six of the best stagehands I've got.”
At that, the star snapped her fingers, and from the shadowy corners of the room emerged two trios, three men in a pose one well-versed on incidents in the early 20th century Roman Colosseum might compare to Awakening One’s Masters appearing before the Masters of Funky Action, three women in turn also sliding in before the Judecca Highrollers in perfect sync, stepping in with the coordination one might associate with, as a weird example, teenage mobsters jazzed about a dude being sent to the ninth circle of hell.
All six were muscular, clad in black sleeveless shirts, leather gloves, pants, boots, and bandannas over their heads, and all around, they gave off auras of immense reliability.
“Harry, Mark, and John, and Thorn, Dusk, and Luna… I kid you not, these guys can basically do anything and everything you ask of them. If they didn’t much prefer supporting other people to being in the limelight themselves, they would be as big as I am. Treat them well, they’ll learn fast, and they’ll be invaluable to making your bits work. But, uh… I’d hurry it up. Guy and the Fieris probably only have a couple more encores in them, and then you’ll have fifteen to set up. I wish you all luck..!”
Metra Doria had been a bit of a miracle for the grateful performers and put-off older supporters, who had in turn both begun to explain their intended strategies and how those might change to their crew members, who understood alarmingly fast.
“Man…” Rudolf whistled in relief, chuckling. “What a scare that was… But you, Lexy? You’re alright, actually.”
“Thanks,” Alexis answered in turn, still trying to figure this guy out, “you don’t seem bad yourself… I almost kinda feel bad that we’re gonna totally eclipse you out there.”
“Y’think so, huh?” Rudolf answered with a grin, pointing forward with a friendly competitiveness. “Well, the party don’t get drowned out by a damn thing! I’m gonna get all these good people pumped as hell, and they’ll be cheerin’ for me even when that Metra chick goes on!”
“Ooh, I’m starting to feel a bit competitive…” Alexis answered, good-naturedly chuckling and folding her arms. “Wanna see who gets the crowd more pumped? Loser, uh… Buys the winner overpriced concert t-shirts. These things need stakes, right? Heh…”
At the somewhat tongue-in-cheek suggestion, Rudolf nodded. “Sure, yeah! That, and the pride of bein’ one of the best in the city! May the best team win!”
OPEN THE GAME!
Location: The Alexander Dickinson Amphitheater, one of the biggest outdoor venues in the entirety of the Metropolitan area, in the buildup to TD/MD’s headlining act, wherein both of your teams have had a performer set to open for her. The place is packed at a capacity of tens of thousands of people.
The stage is a competently designed semicircle which is roughly 30 meters across for length and maximum width, with plenty of room all over and the various necessary fixtures upheld off the ground. It is raised up about 2 meters off the ground. Its back half is partially covered by the overhanging roof of the backstage area a dozen meters above.
The backstage area spreads out about 10 meters from both sides and the back of the stage, being somewhat indoorsy and absolutely full of things one could expect an excellent stage production to have, including, of course, sturdy rafters which lead up to the ceiling area overtop the stage. Both sides have had time to arrange for some extra things to be brought in.
Goal: With a leadup of fifteen minutes before acts, and a half an hour where both of your performers are onstage at once, you have a show to put on, and that is not getting ruined by this overbooking. So, with Rudolf and Alexis up on stage, and Pineapples and Cybil each operating their abilities and managing a three-person stage crew, outperform your opponents!
Given the vastly different skill-sets of the competitors, the goal is to execute on your vision better than your opponent executes on theirs. You will be judged and voted on the following criteria, in decreasing priority:
Additional Information: There is a huge simp for TD/MD in the audience of the match, and he is connected enough that he will have both of you successfully and canonically killed if you ruin the show before the headliner can go on; therefore, murdering your opponents or audience members (“the ol’ Abraham Lincoln Tech” as they say in the biz) on an audience member is a loss condition. Not at all a moral thing for the record.
- Feasibility - Whether your performance is actually within the bounds of what your Stand and Stats would imply.
- Skill Use - A close second in relevance; how well you integrate your User Skills and Stats into your performance. While your Skills will help in completing this objective, they do not provide an automatic advantage by merely existing and must be woven into your strats, as per usual. Even the best of artists can have abysmal live performances.
- Stand Use - Similar to the above, and similarly important. How cool, creative, and well-integrated is your Stand use. Put another way, wow the judges, voters, and viewers at home! This is more or less just the same as before.
- Environment Use - How well you use and integrate the auditorium - its features, its backstage, its stage, and the hearts and passions of its occupants - into your performance.
- Efficiency - How much quality footage you obtain and how well you use your time. This does not mean that setup for more complex performances is automatically penalized, but do try to minimize ‘deadtime’ and maximize the amount you perform.
Stage Crew members for the respective teams (Harry, Mark, and John on the MFAs, Thorn, Dusk, and Luna on the Highrollers, if you care about their names) have 4s in strength, agility, endurance, Stagehand, and Backup; pretty much, anything their associated team asks them to do, they’ll be able to do, at minimum, competently. Though they won’t, like, murder for you. Generally you can use them for moving props on/off stage, extra bodies or on-stage back up performers, speaker and soundboard control, and/or on-stage camera crew as well as managing any other stage controls. Pretty much everything save for pyronetics and lighting is in their purview.
There are also dedicated lighting guys, totally neutral in your squabbles, who are going to do an entirely too good job adjusting their focus and making things work exactly as is needed so attention is on the stars of the show. They will also be coordinated with a third party camera crew that will be streaming the live feed onto screens for the audience. These feeds can be replaced or split screened with your own crew’s footage, but otherwise they will generally be in control of what is shown on-screen.
Players can be assumed to already have well-rehearsed their plans of action, the in-universe basis for the modified plans of the match, and have knowledge about every aspect of the stage, even if parts of their initial plan obviously need to be modified to account for new challengers also occupying stage space. If something performance related isn’t insanely, “years of training to do competently required” level hard, but would still require some practice ahead of time, they have had it to, at absolute max, somewhere between a 2 and a 3. Players, don’t overly-game this, though; the ‘stars’ of your performances should be the sheeted unique abilities of you, your skills, and your Stands.
All stands can be seen on camera and on the live feed for the audience's viewing pleasure.
Link to the Official Player Spreadsheet
|Team ||Combatant ||JoJolity |
|Judecca Highrollers ||Alexis Williams ||“This one is for the guy who keeps yelling from the Balcony, and it’s called ‘We Hate You, Please Die.’” Gymnastics is a sport of rhythm and pace, this performance should be no different for keeping your momentum. Make as seamless transitions as you can between the acts of your performance! |
|Judecca Highrollers ||Cybil Antoine ||“Prepare to have your minds obliterated by… The boys! And Crash!” You have a whole crew of people working for you here, no need to do any heavy lifting by yourself. This is their job after all, better put them to work since that’s what they are here for. Make the most use out of your stage hands in your performance! |
|Masters of Funky Action ||Rudolf "Nureyev" Pavlova ||“What is with this band? They’ve… changed. Have you noticed they don’t have instruments? Where’s all this amazing noise coming from?” Keeping the audience’s attention for a full 30 minutes should be a piece of cake for the world’s greatest dancer, you can keep the party rocking even between your different acts. Make as seamless transitions as you can between the acts of your performance! |
|Masters of Funky Action ||Admiral Pineapples ||“You and your fireballs and your demon hipster chicks / you’re talking the talk and it’s pretty slick / You think you’re so great, but you’re missing the point / You gotta have friendship and courage and whatever!” You’re all in this show together, you and your crew of stage hand. Everybody should be contributing here, no man left behind. Make the most use out of your stage hands in your performance! |
Link to Match Schedule
As always, if you would like to interact with the tournament community and be among the first to get updates for the tournament, please feel free to PM a member of our Judge staff for an invite to our Official Discord Server!
Link to part 1 submitted by
You're a Dirty-Grey Earth Fluffy with an even dirtier Black mane and tail, walking as fast as you can to the north, part of a massive Herd that stretches as far back as you can see and beyond.
Back when you were part of your Original Herd, you were called Dirt, because no matter what you did or how many times you jumped in the Water Holes, your Fluff seemed to attract dirt all on it's own. Now you're just 'Fwuffie', like everyone else.
Across the highway is another, equally massive Herd, full of Meanie Fluffies who say that Uni loves them more.
You'd go over and give them owies, but the Desert Fluffies know that Biggest Meanest Monsters come roaring down the highway frequently, so it's best to conserve your strength for the day when the Meanie Herd is being incredibly Mean.
As a Desert Fluffy, you know the surrounding regions quite well, but you've never had an adventure like this before
Follow the Black Hard Thing that Hoomins call the 'Highway', always follow it, never leave to follow down the smaller Black Hard Things, because they do not go 'North'. Find the Water Holes and have to stop Fluffies from pushing each other in.
Have to force them to wait for their turn, and then have to make those who have had their fill of water keep moving. And with so many Fluffies, thousands of them, it's hard to make them stop fighting.
The last water-hole, there was barely any water for the last few Fluffies, just very dirty water that they cried over, but drank anyways, because they were so hot and thirsty.
These Cee-Tee Fluffies are real pains in your Poopie Place. They never work together like your Herd used to.
And there's barely enough food for everyone now. Have to beat the Fluffies who try to eat everything, they are supposed to only have a mouthful of something and move on, so those behind them can eat too.
You have had to beat a lot of Fluffies to get them to understand that if they eat all the nummies, then their friends behind them will have none.
Then you had to keep driving them on when they tried to turn back and 'Gif Sowwy Huggies!' to their 'Fwiends'.
Have to stay on your side of the road too, as there's a Mean Herd just as big on the other side, eating all the shrubs and grass and shouting that they love Uni more than you do.
Want to fight the Mean Herd to prove you love Uni the most, but can't, Fluffies need to keep moving and go 'North' as fast as they can, and if you waste time fighting, then Uni might pick somebody else as her One True Special Friend.
Fluffies whimper, some cry about being hot, about their hooves hurting, about wanting nummies, but nobody stops. Uni is waiting, at a magical place...
Fluffies walk till it's too hot, then try to find shade to wait out the hottest part of the day.
Some of the Herd's Cee-Tee Stallions say they have been walking for many turnings of the Sun, from a place full of Hoomins and Fluffies and Grass and Water, and it makes your head spin that they would abandon such a paradise.
There's nothing out here but the blistering hot sun, the cruel, burning sand and small shrubs and patches of hard, bitter grass.
And Snake-Munsta and Bug-Munstas and... well, there's a lot of Munstas.
Until She came along, you despaired of ever finding a way out of this hellhole.
Uni... just remembering her makes your heart swell with longing, and you find the strength to push onwards just a little bit more.
"Too wamm!" A Stallion near the front of the Herd shouts. He's right, the Sun is climbing so high it's nearly overhead
Fluffies walk down into the bad-lands, and here is where you and you can help these 'Cee-Tee' Fluffies find shelter.
It's hard, there's more Fluffies than you can count, stretching back farther than you can see, but you try. Fluffy Mammas and Foals get the best shade, because they are the most vulnerable, then Mares, then Stallions.
Everyone is so hot, fluff is bad when Fluffies get this hot, so everyone pants through their mouths to try and make the 'Wamm Bad Feww' to leave their bodies.
Fluffies are warned about the Bug-Munstas and the Snake-Munstas, but some don't understand, or are too mean, and push into the rocks, looking for shelter.
Hear them scream as the Munstas sting them. Fluffies flop about, howling and pooping and shrieking as the Bad Bites make them spit boo-boo juices and turn ugly colors.
Fluffies cram in under shrubs, behind tall rocks, anywhere there is shade, and pant, flicking their tails and twitching their ears to try and make the Fly-Not-Friends who plague them go away.
On the other side of the road, the Other Fluffies are shouting in dismay, apparently several of their Herd tried to take shelter behind a Prickly Green Plant, and got bad owies from the thin needles that cover it.
Good. Don't like that Herd that is leading that mob of Cee-Tee Fluffies.
Made it impossible for you to be with Uni. Were naughty, so Uni's Hoomins pulled you all away.
You sigh and close your eyes, remembering how soft her fluff felt against your body, as the sun climbs higher into the sky, and the shade the Fluffies hide under shrinks
"Yuu weft dem awone! Wun away to chase Uni! Why yuu weave yuu Hewd to chase Uni! Bad Fwuffies! Hewds wuv yuu, an' yuu wun away!"
Whimper and try to forget the memory of Uni being so very angry with you. It's not your fault! She just... you think of Uni, and then your Mares, but there's just no comparison at all. Your Mares were small and scrawny and dirty, their ears ragged, their fluff full of dust and burrs.
Touching Uni was like... you don't know the words to describe it. It was like every good thing you ever wanted, and so many good things you never knew existed, all at once.
Soft, clean, warm, pretty, good feels, nice smells
You sigh and try to block out the sounds of Fluffy Ponies complaining loudly, pushing and shoving each other as the shade shrinks and shrinks, forcing the hot, unhappy Fluffies ever closer together.
But Uni is going 'North'.
And you will follow her to the ends of the Land, you said so.
Well. Las Vegas...certainly more than you ever expected.
Spent a week and a half here, doing 'adverts' for various businesses that think appealing to Fluffy Pony Owners is a sound business decision.
Uni's getting the work out of her life here.
Fluffies are brought out to meet her by their owners, get hugs, and 'help' with the adverts.
Done everything from garages trying to sell fuel and repairs to specialty stores selling 'all natural' Fluffy Chow and even a Fluffy Pimp.
Don't think that one is going to see air-time.
The three mares were quite beautiful and were wearing makeup, with ribbons tied through their manes.
"How much yuu chawge?" They asked you, scowling at 'Uni'.
That was surprising. Uni was designed to be adorable by Fluffy Pony standards, until you twigged that they saw Uni as a 'rival' for business.
Only reason they weren't attacking was your size, otherwise you're sure that 'Uni' would have been showered with 'Sowwy Poopies!'
Regardless, you're a professional, do the shoot, then BUG THE HELL OUTTA THERE.
Prosti-Fluffies shouting at Pip and Eddy they can 'haf one on da howse!'
Second-to-last Advert Shoot is in a Casino.
Well at least there'll be AC. Feel like a steamed dumpling at this stage.
Whoever came up with the concept of a Latex Suit never worked in a desert, you're sure.
'Uni' is given some chips, 'plays' some of the games and 'wins' bowls of Spaghetti.
Big, heaped bowls of Spaghetti.
Set six weeks later
Be Natasha Goodaluv, again, and watch with bemusement as Eddy and Pip go out to meet the Fluffy Ponies and the Cows.
Some wit decided to stuff a Feral herd with Bovine Hormones, and started to bottle Fluffy Pony Milk. Without the addition of specific foods, the milk has a tendency to have a very starchy taste, but with all the sweet, well-watered grass and high-sucrose fodder the Farmer feeds them, the milk is almost sickeningly sugary.
Had a glass, can barely stand still. No wonder the little fluff-balls are so hyperactive if this is what they grow up on.
Sammy has bought twelve bottles of the damn stuff. Swears it'll be better for everyone than the redbull they're going through. Might be healthier, but for fuck's sake, you feel like you're vibrating right now from the sugar-high.
Oh God, the Mares in the fields have finally noticed Eddy and Pip are 'Stallions'.
This ought to be good. Eddy is 'interviewing' the Mares, while Pip is having a natter with the Farmer who originally came up with the concept of Bottled Fluffy Milk, a scattering of Fillies and young Mares following in his wake and giggling loudly.
In the fields outside the "Dairy Farmers of America" buildings, taking a well-earned break from the Uni-Suit as the madness starts.
"Yuu big Fwuffy! Yuu haf Hewd?" The 'Smarty Friend' of this all-female Herd asks loudly, grinning at Eddy.
Well, leering, but still...
"Eddy haf Hewd wit' Wittle Brudda Pip and Wittle Sistah Uni." Eddy rumbles at the Mares, who all squeak and squeal in delight.
Seriously, did they have to build the suit so Eddy sounded like that? You understand the marketing pitch, to make Eddy sound as big and authoritative as possible to make him popular with Earth Fluffy Ponies, but this is just ridiculous.
"Wan join mah Hewd?" The Smarty Mare shouts eagerly, tail lifted into the air and waving back and forth.
If you were closer, you'd bet you could smell the hormones flooding off her right now.
Combination of a lack of males, rich food, constant hormone injections to make her produce milk all the time, and that has to be one ripe little Fluffy out there trying to be sexy as all hell.
"For the record, if you two fuckers pop the suit's boner out there, I WILL beat you to death with your own fucking limbs." You hear the Director mutter into his head-set, and stifle the urge to giggle.
"An yuu is nice Hoomin who gif miwk to Fwuffies at home?" Pip squeaks to the Farmer, who grins and nods, obviously only just resisting the urge to burst out laughing.
Yes, the whole situation is absurd, just deal with it.
"Aaaaah, yep, I started bottling Fluffy Ponies milk a few years ago when they wandered onto my property, thought there might be a market." The aging, balding man snorts and grins as he watches 'Eddy' desperately trying to outrun the Mares, who had all latched on to his belly fluff, squirming and wriggling.
"WOOOOOOO!" You hear one Mare squeal in delight. Shit. SWAG has been launched...
Director is making choking noises, and you swear you can hear the coffee mug in his hands cracking as his knuckles turn white.
"Oh my God... well, uh, focusing on the milk again..." The Farmer makes an half-muffled snort of laughter as Pip and he walk away from the train-wreck of Eddy and the Mares. "The milk is bottled and treated on my farm, filled with all the good things Fluffy Ponies need, and then sold all over the country. There's Fluffy Milk for Foals, Fluffy Milk for Adults, Fluffy Milk for the Elderly Fluffies. Hell, I even pasteurize some for people too."
"Yaaaaay! Nice Hoomin get Fwuffie Miwk fo' evewy Fwuffie an' dere Mummies an' Daddies!" Pip 'cheers', dancing from hoof to hoof, his wings flapping 'eagerly'.
The Mares who followed pip also start dancing, delighted.
"Yuu is Guud Fwuffies who make Miwk fo' otha Fwuffies!" Pip tells them, 'smiling' at them. "Yuu is wunnerful! Yuu is Best Fwuffies!"
Mare cling to Pip's fluff and shout they love him, that they think he's 'wunnerful' too.
Eddy has fallen over with much cursing, sending Fluffy Ponies flying.
They rushed over to ask if he was okay, then saw the SWAG just lying there. Fluffy Mares all crowd around, rubbing their back-ends on the exposed shaft, giggling and cooing, even as their Smarty Friend tries to back into the damn thing.
"Nnnnnngh! So Big! Fwuffy gun' haf Best Speshaw Huggies!" She shouts loudly, grinding back as hard as she can, her face contorting hilariously as she tries to push all 2 feet of flanged latex horse wang into her tiny body.
That does it. Everyone bursts into laughter or starts wolf-whistling.
"Oh for the love of... FROM THE TOP!" The Director yells, rubbing at his temples.
Time till Spaghetti Land in Cleveland, Ohi opens ... 6 weeks
4 Weeks till Spaghetti Land in Cleveland, Ohio opens.
Kansas City. By All The Gods, so many adverts.
Uni's getting more mileage than you thought possible. Much as you hate to admit it, the suit is incredible to hold up under this constant 'abuse' without the mechanisms failing.
Doing a shoot at the St. Louis Arch, with the other two Suits.
Redo of the 'Journey' song. Seems that Fluffies absolutely adore it.
Apparently Las Vegas has had a surge of customers, with Fluffies in tow, and made a killing.
Customers can either take their winnings or have free all-you-can-eat buffets for themselves and their Fluffy Ponies for a week.
Naturally, people try to take the money, but the Fluffy ponies break down into tears, and the owners either boot the Fluffy, try to make it understand or give in to the guilt.
The other thing that's surprising is there's close to a million Fluffy ponies following in your wake.
Jesus enfing Christ. There's so many of them following the Freeway from Hollywood to Cleveland that satellites can pick them up.
They're only just reaching Las Vegas now, according to the News Reports, a sprawling two-part Herd that shambles on morning and night, leaving a trail of weak or dead Fluffy Ponies in their wake.
"We fowwowin' Uni!" One Fluffy Pony said on National Television, making the entire cast spit their coffee out in horror. "We fowwow Uni fow'evah! We wuv Uni!... I wuv Uni mowst dou...."
Cue the Feral Fluffies going into a screaming free-for-all as the Stallions jumped on the Smarty Friend, shouting that they themselves 'wuved' Uni more than anyone!
Any complaints to the show get funneled down the line to the your Mystery Asshole Boss. Hope the bastard's ears are melting off from the enraged Fluffy Pony Owners whose babies have run away to follow their Idol.
And there's scores of abusers out there attacking the herds, but apparently there were so many that a couple of flat-bed trucks actually went out of control when their wheels locked up with Fluff, and tipped over, crushing their inhabitants, who got 'Owie-Fixin'-Hugs' to make it all better.
And promptly suffocated under thousands of Fluffies trying to fix their 'boo-boos'.
Karma at work, ladies and gentlemen. You thought to yourself as you watched the police pry the Fluffy ponies off the corpses.
Las Vegas City Council apparently decided that it was a fantastic attention-getter, and has 'helped' the Fluffy Ponies by diverting them down the main 'strip' of road leading through town and blocking off the alleyways and side-streets.
Show-Girls are holding signs saying "Uni went that way!" instead of working the tables, or under them.
Lying bastards. They're just eager to see the Ferals leave, and possibly make their own Feral Fluffy Pony population disappear in the process.
Fuck you can only imagine what the Ferals have had to go through .....
You hold up your son to the sky... and weep bitter, bitter tears. The tears wash down into your dirty fluff, leaving two clean trails on your cheeks as the foal remains cold and stiff, despite your attempts to warm it with the morning sun.
The mare you had befriended on the way died, leaving you to look after the last of the babies you had given her one night when you couldn't stand the Hot-Naughty-Feels pulsing through you.
Brandy died because the Mean Herd snuck across the road and ate all the nummies, marching all night long while your herd slept.
Your herd kept following their side of the road, too afraid of the Munstas to cross the highway, too determined to stop and seek food further from the highway's edge.
Three days without food, and barely any water, and eventually she was too weak to move.
Babies had been without milk for two days when the first, your daughter Gust, fell off her Mother's back and wouldn't get up.
You and Brandy cried over her body so much, then left the Herd to take her and put her under a bush, where she could rest.
You both knew she was dead, but it made it easier to go on if you pretended she was just sleeping.
Then your son Brambles began to fall ill, and you tried everything you could think of to make him better.
Hugs, half-chewed grass, some sweet berries you found and brought back for him to suck on, nothing worked.
Bandy kept on telling you she was sorry, she was a "Bad Fwuffy Mumma". Told her she was the "Best Fwuffy Mumma evah, it not her fault if Meanie Hewd steaw nummies."
Brandy didn't move the next day, still and cold even with you hugging her through the night, your son snuggled between you both, wheezing in his sleep.
Now, he's dead. He's dead. HE'S DEAD. You feel so hollow and empty inside as you bring his body down, staring at it and fighting the urge to break down and will yourself to join your family in death.
You made a promise, not just to Uni, but to your mare and your babies that they would see Uni once again.
Your heart breaks, being a Fluffy Daddy was so... so fulfilling! It made every day wonderful to be alive, to know your babies were waiting for you to play with them, teach them to be good Fluffies.
You told them about Uni, the biggest, most beautiful (after their mumma) and most magical unicorn Fluffy who was leading Fluffies to a magical place.
Fluffies who joined you from the Cee-Tees said it was 'Sketti Wand', a place of endless Spaghetti, where Fluffies could play all day with nice hoomins who loved them, ride on toys made just for Fluffies, even find homes for themselves with the nice hoomins.
How the babies' eyes lit up when they heard that, how your mare sighed happily, all their hunger and pain forgotten for a few blissful moments.
Now... you have but one child left. A small, pale brown fillie with a shockingly bright-red mane and tail. Brandy the Second.
She's the only one that has managed to hold on to life, the only one that didn't fall sick from the lack of nummies, even though you can feel her ribs clearly when you give her huggies.
She's sitting there, dry-eyed and staring at her brother, her face inscrutable.
"Baybeh... we aww dat weft of famiwy." You whisper to her, placing your boy reverently down under a bush, tears still falling from your eyes.
"Fwuffie know. Fwuffie miss Mumma, miss Sissy, Miss Brudda." She whispers back, closing her eyes and sighing, sounding so much older than her single week of life could possibly suggest. "Buh we goin', Daddy? We goin' to see Uni, yes?"
Sigh and sob and laugh all at the same time, and let her climb up onto your back.
"Yes, Baybeh, we gon' see Uni. Daddy pwomise, an' Mumma wan' hew baybehs see Uni too, pway with Uni and eats wots of Sketti." You whisper to her as you shuffle off to rejoin the Herd, leaving your son to 'Sleep' alongside his mother under a prickly bush that will keep the Munstas from hurting them further.
As evening falls, you are all but falling over from weariness, but your daughter has had some nummies, where a nice hoomin had pulled up in a Fast Box Munsta and was distributing water and sweet nummies to the Fluffies.
"You keep going, you brave little things." She said, her face all wrinkled, smiling down at you as she handed out buttered peanut-butter-jelly sandwiches, which the herd dutifully broke down into bite-sized pieces, ate their share, and shuffled on after hugging the nice hoomin's ankles.
There's a lot of nice hoomins coming out now, saying they love Fluffy Ponies, want to see them make it to Sketti Wand.
Without them, you'd be dead by now, you're sure.
Some have Fluffies living with them in their Moving Safe Places, who cheer at you as well, saying they are going on ahead, and will be waiting for you at 'Sketti Wand'.
It's later that evening when you find the first of the Mean Herd, broken and bleeding, screaming about "Bad hoomins who gif huwties!"
They are quickly given Biggest Owies, and their bodies are rolled away from the road so that the Foals don't see them. They are evil fluffies who stole your nummies, and want to be special friends with Uni.
You once wanted to be like that. To make Uni your Special Friend, and yours alone.
Brandy changed that. Brandy filled your heart in ways that Uni never did.
You still love Uni, but Brandy will always live in your heart. You want to find Uni still, but so that she can teach your daughter to be a Good Fluffy too.
TO BE CONCLUDED.....
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