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2012.01.03 11:53 AbsolutTBomb Gatlinburg

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2018.09.05 00:24 AbsolutTBomb Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

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2012.10.16 03:42 Miikeymt Townsend, Tennessee

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2023.05.29 03:43 ElectronicTop_1870 Where Can Watch "The Super Mario Bros. Movie" Free Online Streaming On Reddit

Animation Film!!! Here are options for downloading or watching The Super Mario Bros Movie streaming the full movie online for free on 123movies & Reddit, including where to watch the Nintendo's Mario video game franchise The Super Mario Bros Movie at home. Is Super Mario Bros Movie 2023 available to stream? Is watching The Super Mario Bros. Movie on Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus, HBO Max, Netflix or Peacock? Yes, we have found an authentic streaming option/service.

🔁Watch Now: The Super Mario Bros. Movie (2023) Online Free
🔁Watch Now: The Super Mario Bros. Movie (2023) Online Free

The new 'Super Mario Bros. Movies' streaming on digital platforms starting Tuesday, May 16.. Fans of the video game are wondering how they can stream the new video game franchise animated film The Super Mario Bros Movies streaming online reddit for free at home.

Mushroom Kingdom, here we come! Players of the popular video game will get a chance to relive Mario’s adventure in Mushroom Kingdom. But before viewers imagine collecting coins, the movie will reveal Mario (Chris Pratt) and Luigi (Charlie Day)’s backstory as Brooklyn-based plumbers. The duo head out to a job but are sucked into a different world and separated. This kicks off Mario's journey to find Luigi. Princess Peach (Anya Taylor-Joy), Bowser (Jack Black), Toad (Keegan-Michael Key), Donkey Kong (Seth Rogen), and others also make appearances.

To many, The Super Mario Bros. Movie is the biggest entertainment release of 2023. The film brings together the world's most prolific video game franchise with one of its most prolific animation studios in Illumination. Factor in the involvement of Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto as a producer and an all-star cast of A-list voice talent, and this movie has all the makings of Hollywood's next animated blockbuster. Read our review of The Super Mario Bros. Movie for more.

It's almost baffling how it's taken this long to get a proper animated film adaptation of The Super Mario Bros. series, which is easily one of the most, if not the most, well-known and beloved video game franchises of all time. For over four decades, Nintendo's titular Italian plumber and face of the company has been entertaining gamers, appearing in over two-hundred different games since Mario's debut in 1981. Mario and his brother Luigi also have a history in the world of filmmaking, though not precisely for the same prestigious reasons. One of the most bizarre adaptations in motion picture history, Super Mario Bros. (1993), starring Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo as Mario and Luigi (neither of which are Italian), didn't come even close to delivering the iconic style and tone of the original games, instead opting for a flashy dinosaur-themed sci-fi box office bomb.

Despite a strange first attempt, the Super Mario Bros. IP is still ripe for a cinematic adaptation. Thankfully, we’re finally getting that with the aptly named The Super Mario Bros. Movie. Coming from Illumination Animation, otherwise known as the studio behind The Secret Life of Pets, Despicable Me, and Sing franchises, early looks at the film already tease a visually faithful adaptation that will thrust fans and audiences into the Mushroom Kingdom like never before. Given the huge intergenerational popularity of the series, the film is practically guaranteed to be a massive win for Universal Pictures and Illumination. Those chances are even further improved with Universal Studios' long-awaited Super Nintendo World set to open mere months before the film's release.

The Super Mario Bros. Movie is now playing in theatres, but if you don’t want to go out of your way to watch it, you’re probably searching for the movie online. Is The Super Mario Bros. Movie streaming on Amazon Prime Video or has it found a home on another service? Here’s what we know so you don’t miss out.
The digital release date has been confirmed for the box office smash inspired by the Nintendo video game, but are you able to watch the animated film online? Here's how and where you can watch The Super Mario Bros. Movie online at home.

When Is the Release Date of The Super Mario Bros. Movie
The Super Mario Bros. Movie is now in theatres everywhere. To find when and where you can watch the movie near you. The Super Mario Bros Movies streaming online reddit will be exclusively available in cinemas from April 5, 2023.

It was originally set for release on April 7, but Universal moved it forward so it could hit more than 60 markets on the same day. For audiences in Japan, it’ll arrive in theatres on April 28.

It will not be available on any streaming platform, nor will it be available to rent or buy via any digital or VOD service such as Amazon Prime Video.

Where to Watch Super Mario Bros. Movie
As of now, the only way to watch The Super Mario Bros. Movie is to head out to a movie theatre when it releases on Friday, April 7. You can find a local showing on Fandango.

Watch Now: The Super Mario Bros. Movie Online Free

Otherwise, you’ll just have to wait for it to become available to rent or purchase on digital platforms like Amazon, Vudu, YouTube and Apple, or become available to stream on Prime Video.

The Super Mario Bros. Movie
How to Watch The Super Mario Bros. Movie Online
The Super Mario Bros. Movie can be pre-ordered on Amazon Prime Video and Apple TV in Ultra HD for $30 and will be available to watch starting Monday, May 15 at 9 p.m. PT (May 16 at 12 a.m. ET). You can also pre-order the title in 4K on Google Play Movies & TV. Unlike Amazon’s original series and films, you do not need a membership to Prime or Prime Video to buy the movie.

As confirmed on Amazon’s product page, The Super Mario Bros. Movie will be released on DVD, Blu-ray and digital (including in 4K Ultra HD) on Dec. 31.
How to Watch Super Mario Bros movie At Home

Universal Pictures and Illumination have announced that the film will be available to rent and/or purchase on digital platforms starting Tuesday, May 16. It’s also likely the hit animated title will stream first on NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming service, which has been home to all of Universal’s recent releases like NOPE, Knock at the Cabin, Cocaine Bear, The Bad Guys and more.

The Super Mario Bros. Movie comes out on digital starting at midnight ET on May 16, 2023. For all you west coast watchers, that’s 9 p.m. PT tonight, May 15. Right now, you can preorder the Super Mario movie on Amazon for $30.

When Will The Super Mario Bros. Movie Streaming Online?
After a successful theatrical run, The Super Mario Bros. Movie is headed to video-on-demand streaming in the coming weeks.

Thanks to a social media post from the cable brand Optium, the digital release date of The Super Mario Bros. Movie was revealed to be Tuesday, May 16. That marks 41 days after the animated hit first landed in theaters on April 5, which is a short theater premiere-to-streaming gap for a 2023 blockbuster.

However, this gap isn't necessarily surprising when considering that Universal, the distribution company of The Super Mario Bros. Movie, has had a similar progressive release strategy for recent animated movies. Puss in Boots: The Last Wish was released digitally a mere 16 days after its December 2022 theatrical premiere, while Minions: The Rise of Gru hit video-on-demand 32 days after its Summer 2022 debut.

As for when the film could be streaming on a service (in this case, it would most likely be NBC's Peacock), that remains unknown. Given how much money the movie raked in, it's hard to imagine that Universal is in any rush to get it there anytime soon.

The Super Marios Bros. Movie will be available for digital purchase on Tuesday, May 16.

Is The Super Mario Bros. Movie Streaming On Prime Video?
The Super Mario Bros. Movie may be streaming on Prime Video soon thanks to a placeholder release date for May 16 on Amazon's video streaming service.
The Super Mario Bros. Movie comes out on digital starting at midnight ET on May 16, 2023. For all you west coast watchers, that’s 9 p.m. PT tonight, May 15. Right now, you can preorder the Super Mario movie on Amazon for $30.

The movie's PVOD page was spotted by Resetear user ContractHolder, noting that it's been marked as "Early Access," which means it may start streaming on Prime Video one month after the start of its theatrical run. When you preorder The Super Mario Bros. Movie on the service, you may see May 16, 2023 as the placeholder date. It's expected to come out on PVOD on that date, but that may be subject to change.

"Usually Universal only rushes their films to PVOD if it has under a $50 million opening weekend," ContractHolder explained in the post. "That's probably not going to happen for the Mario movie, but the marker has specifically been used for movies going to PVOD early in their theatre run. So keep in mind that there's a chance home viewings for the Mario movie could happen quickly."

Is The Super Mario Bros. Movie Streaming On Peacock?
As a Universal flim, The Super Mario Bros. Movie will eventually be available to stream on Peacock, but there’s currently no official streaming release date.
Some fans may believe either Disney+ or HBO Max will host The Super Mario Bros., but that will not be the case. Instead, you’ll find the movie on Peacock. Not right away, though. The animated feature will be in theatres for a number of weeks before landing on the streaming service. How long, exactly? We’re not sure, but we’ll be updating you as soon as we do.

Do you have a Peacock subscription? This is a great time to join! Peacock has recently made some sweet upgrades and content additions, you don’t want to miss out.

Will The Super Mario Bros. Movie Be On Netflix?
No, The Super Mario Bros Movies streaming online reddit will likely not be on Netflix any time soon, seeing as it will go directly to Amazon Prime Video after its theatrical run.

A similar timeline would put the rental release date for The Super Mario Bros Movies streaming online reddit in the UK in early May, but it'll then be another month or two until you can buy and own a copy of the movie.

Will The Super Mario Bros. Movie Be On HBO Max?
No, The Super Mario Bros. Movie is not on HBO Max since it’s not a Warner Bros. movie. Last year, the company released its films in theatres and on the streamer on the same day. However, they now allow a 45-day window between the theatrical release and the streaming release.

While we don't yet have a confirmed streaming release date for The Super Mario Bros Movies streaming online reddit, we can look at other Universal releases in 2023 to get a sense of when it might be available to watch at home.

When Will Super Mario Bros Movies Be On Disney?
While a streaming release date for The Super Mario Bros has not yet been announced, Disney typically sends their movies to Disney+ around 45 days after the theatrical release — and more specifically, on the Friday after that mark. With this strategy, we could be watching Avatar: The Way of Water from the comfort of our homes by early April 2023.

Is The Super Mario Bros. Movie Available On Hulu?
Viewers are saying that they want to view the new animation movie The Super Mario Bros. Movie on Hulu. Unfortunately, this is not possible since Hulu currently does not offer any of the free episodes of this series streaming at this time. It will be exclusive to the MTV channel, which you get by subscribing to cable or satellite TV services. You will not be able to watch it on Hulu or any other free streaming service.

The Super Mario Bros. Movie Cast and Characters
The Super Mario Bros. Movie was written by Matthew Fogel and directed by Aaron Horvath & Michael Jelenic. It stars the following actors:

The animated film is voiced by
Chris Pratt as Mario, a struggling plumber from Brooklyn

Charlie Day as Luigi, Mario’s younger fraternal twin

Anya Taylor-Joy as Princess Peach, the ruler of Mushroom Kingdom

Keegan-Michael Key as Toad, the first resident of the Mushroom Kingdom that Mario meets

Jack Black as Bowser, King of the Koopas and Dark Lands who wants to conquer the Mushroom Kingdom and marry Peach

Seth Rogen as Donkey Kong, heir to the neighboring Kong Kingdom

Fred Armisen as Cranky Kong, ruler of the Kong Kingdom

Kevin Michael Richardson as Kamek, a Koopa wizard and Bowser’s loyal advisor

Sebastian Maniscalco as Spike, Mario and Luigi’s former boss

Charles Martinet as Mario and Luigi’s father (Martinet voiced the two brothers in the video game)

How to Watch The Super Mario Bros. Movie Online For Free?
Most Viewed, Most Favorite, Top Rating, Top IMDb movies online. Here we can download and watch 123movies movies offline. 123Moviess website is the best alternative to The Super Mario Bros. Movie (2023) free online. We will recommend 123Moviess as the best Solarmovie alternatives.

There are a few ways to watch The Super Mario Bros. Movie online in the U.S. You can use a streaming service such as Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime Video. You can also rent or buy the movie on iTunes or Google Play. You can also watch it on-demand or on a streaming app available on your TV or streaming device if you have cable.

What is The Super Mario Bros. Movie about?
The Super Mario Bros. movie is an animated, feature-length film based on Nintendo's iconic video game property. Here's the official synopsis from Universal Pictures:

The Super Mario Bros. Movie follows the beloved video game’s brothers, Mario and Luigi, on a whirlwind adventure across the Mushroom Kingdom.

While working underground to fix a water main, Brooklyn plumbers Mario and brother Luigi are transported down a mysterious pipe and wander into a magical new world. But when the brothers are separated, Mario embarks on an epic quest to find Luigi. With the assistance of a Mushroom Kingdom resident Toad and some training from the strong-willed ruler of the Mushroom Kingdom, Princess Peach, Mario taps into his own power.
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2023.05.29 03:01 Darmanarya Hunting Pack chapter 3

((Credit goes to the one and only u/SpacePaladin15 for his Nature of Predators story upon which this is based! Still getting used to the formatting, but I think I am getting the hang of it!)) FIRST // PREVIOUS // NEXT
Memory transcription subject: Arxur exchange subject Syle
Date [standardized human time]: October 20, 2136
I don’t know which was a bigger pain in my tail. Jack, the shots, or these gnashing seats! There is nowhere for my tail to go and this cheap helicopter keeps bouncing all over the place! Sure, we had to use a civilian model to hide something was up, but could they at least have brought in a fancy one!
Ah well. The view is fantastic though. Gorgeous mountains as far as the eye could see. The valley was full of little towns and cities here and there, but it was mostly forest! One human called it a “park,” but my translator didn’t really have much to say about it. All I knew is that I had rarely seen so much green in my life!
Soon we went towards one of the taller mountains deeper in the wooded areas. Jack said something about being in his family a very long time, about how the park grew around it, and more but I couldn’t give a venlil shit about it yet. I was just busy… looking.
All my missions had been in cities since my small size let me hunt better there. Sure there were some hunts and collections that took place in more sparsely populated areas like this, but I never got to see them. Didn’t help I hatched on a ship and spent pretty much my whole life spacebound.
Soon we settled into a long, but pretty thin grassy area by a house. There was a long road made of loose rocks going down the mountains nearby and at the other end of the grass was a bunch of metal, wood, and more with a large pile of dirt and wood behind them. The house itself was HUGE! At least by my standards. It had two super large bay doors on one side, a wooden covered platform to stand guard, two floors with one huge window, and a orange-red stone pipe on the side pointing up, probably so one could have a fire inside. The sides were clearly made of trees stacked on their sides. A “log cabin” the pilot said.
Well, it's my home now. I wonder who else lives here? Its a barracks big enough for quite a few families.
As we climbed out of the helicopter I kept expecting someone to come out, but nobody did. “Hey Jack! Who else lives here?” I screamed out as the helicopter slowly lifted away. Gnashing thing was as loud as a krakotl! “Just me!” He called back as the helicopter floated away.
“Venlil shit. Who else?” I turned to him and crossed my arms. No way this complex was for one man!
“You now.” He said with a shrug as he walked to the door. He had changed into those blue pants and the small top that humans called a “t-shirt.” His other clothes and gear had been put in his car. “No really! I know its big, but hey, inheritance.” He bared his teeth in that “smile” andmade an odd noise. Laughing? “Welcome home. Besides, not like the gov would want anyone else knowing you are here. The basement is full of junk and guns and shit. Don’t worry about that. Upstairs is just my study and office.”
The first room was rather large. It had a TV, a place for a fire, a large and long chair made of animal skin, and a bunch of devices by the TV. In the next room was a kitchen that was far larger than I was used to. I read that humans prefer to “cook” food, but didn’t expect there to be so many tools to do it with.
“Rooms are down the hall.” He explained as he sat down on the long chair with a grunt. “Ohhh fuck yes. Here. Take a seat.” He patted the skin chair by himself and I sat down on the far side of it.
Oh. OH. Oh betterment this is heaven! The chair is cold, yes, but I thought it was just bloated! It was like sitting on what I thought a bed made of venlil fur felt like! I hissed and let my eyes close as I sunk into its embrace. As I relaxed for… probably the first time in my life really I listened and heard nothing.
No screaming sentients being butchered or eaten.
No tiny brained hunters arguing.
No engine or mechanical noises.
Silence besides some animals and the wind.
I could feel the long chair move a bit as the human clearly wanted to talk to me, but he didn’t. He let me just relax for awhile before getting up and leaving me in this bliss. I could feel my tail curling before I started to feel the cold air tickle my scales. Before I could complain though I heard doors opening and shutting followed by a smell.
FOOD.
My eyes shot open in time to see the human walking in with a bowl of red meat. Fresh. Red. Meat. I paused and looked up at him. This was a whole day’s rations. No! TWO days rations! In one bowl! I didn’t even know what it was from!
“It's just some cuts of venison I was planning on making a stew out of later. Nothing too fancy. OH! That is deer by the way. Non sentient.” He explained before putting the whole bowl in my lap. “It's not cooked or seasoned, but figured you would want something simple to start with.” He explained before sitting back down.
Mine? MINE!
Chunk after chunk of meat met my mouth. My teeth tearing into the soft, cold flesh. It was the best meat I had ever tasted in my LIFE! No taste of the fear, no shame of knowing something that thought suffered for this, and the taste alone! I had no words! I hissed as my tail went nuts. I ate and ate until the bowl was empty.
But by the prophet I was full. No. The prophet, betterment, hunters, it could all ROT for all I care! I closed my eyes again and relaxed. The human could slit my throat right now and I would be okay. My belly was full for the first time in my life. Not only that, but it was full of meat I didn’t feel horrible about. The chair I was in was the best thing I had ever sat on and nobody was screaming near me or looking for a reason to call me defective.
Did one of those shots kill me? This was too good to be life!
He let me lay there for a bit, my tail happily thumping as he started to set up a fire. Soon the room was warm with wonderful smells as well. This. This was almost too much.
Two of what humans called hours passed and I woke back up with a happy hiss. The night was starting to fall and the human was relaxed by me in looser fitting clothing that looked soft. I was covered in a blanket that felt like it was woven out of venlil fur and somehow the chair had tilted back and raised up the bottom to hold my feet and legs up.
He was tapping away on his datapad before looking over at me with a grin. “Hey, how do you feel?” He asked before looking back to his pad. His voice was soft, gentle, and sure even I could pick up on his amusement, but like rot I was going to care.
“Mmmf. Amazing.” My noises were… not intimidating at all, but for some reason he stiffened just a little. Weird, but it is my human. “If all the species in the galaxy knew of life like this I bet humans would have lines volunteer for even slavery.” I chuckled a bit before closing my eyes.
“Hm… probably not the slavery bit, but I do live comfy out here.” He chuckled a bit. “Hey, I am talking to random aliens on this app and a krakotl has the username “Firebird.” She is an exterminator so she just combined her job with what her species is. Gunna tell her about the mythical beast the phoenix.” He was already acting so casually around me. Guess seeing me sleep for so long made him drop his guard.
Not going to ruin this for ANYTHING though. Want more.
Wait. “Wait? You said a Krakotl exterminator? They are willing to talk to you? YOU are willing to talk to THEM after what they did to your kind?” I sat up and the chair returned to its normal setup. My eyes locked on his, there was no way he would be chatting with something like that!
“Yup.” He raised and lowered his shoulders again before tapping the top of his pad. “She didn’t attack us, just some crazy asshole of the same species. She wants to learn more about predators actually.” He explained. “It would be like me blaming you for what happened with the cradle. I read your empathy tests by the way. I know you didn’t like it.” His voice was calm, slow, gentle. Casually explaining to me he was talking with someone who should be both our enemy! Then again, I should be his. But here I am, just waking up from a short sleep on his comfy long-chair after he fed me.
Gnash it. Not going to worry about it.
“So… human… What are your plans for me?” I finally asked. No way he was just going to take me in like this without some sort of hard labor planned for me.
“Well. tonight and tomorrow get you settled in and teach you about human living.” Here it comes. The labor. “Then I will start setting you up with hunting lessons so you can help me hunt while I show you more things humans like.”
That wasn’t labor, that was more relaxing!
“So wait.” I pointed a claw at him as I narrowed my eyes. This was too good. “You just want to relax with me, teach me about human things, and spend time with me?”
His head moved up and down. “Yup. This is an exchange program. Not the prisoner kind either. We are here to learn about each other’s species. That, and make sure you don’t die.” He made that soft laughing noise again.
I sat back in the long chair again and stared at the ceiling. “So you have an Arxur female just in her prime, and you want to just… relax with her? You could do anything you want, make me do anything you want, and you just want to live with her?” I could barely believe it.
“Yup.” He nodded. “We don’t believe in slavery as humans. Fought wars to end it even.” He then went quiet for a few moments as his eyes went wide.
“Wait. FEMALE!?” He yelled out in clear surprise.
He didn’t know I was a girl!?
FIRST // PREVIOUS // NEXT
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2023.05.29 01:27 N-Slash Ranger Cabin near Oberg Mountain, MN

Ranger Cabin near Oberg Mountain, MN submitted by N-Slash to CabinPorn [link] [comments]


2023.05.28 22:27 velcrodynamite 28 [F4F] San Francisco Bay Area - looking for a romantic connection but also just fine with friends!

Hey all! My name is Katie. I'm a woman (she/they pronouns) in the San Francisco Bay, 28 years old in July, finishing up my BA in literature, and looking for a woman (preferably in the area but I'm open to something long-distance as well - it's not a dealbreaker at all) for friendship with hope of it turning into something romantic down the line once we know each other well.
I am bi and demisexual, single, and monogamous, and I think I am discovering that I'm more interested in women even though I am bi.
A little (or a lot) about me:
Physically, I am 5'6" and average in terms of size, though I'd call my build a little more on the "stocky" side. I'm not overweight, just "Hobbit-like" as one of my friends put it. I currently have bleached hair as I wait to go blue, but it's usually ash brown, and my skin is very faiburns easily. I have terrible eczema, so I have some scarring on my hands/feet. And my eyes are hazel/light brown with flecks of green.
Personality-wise, I am generally very bubbly and ambitious. I have ADHD and autism, so I have a lot of energy and usually get very into whatever I'm doing, but I can also miss some key social cues. It's not intentional, but it does happen. I'm finishing a BA in literature from Berkeley, and my hope is to continue on to an English MA at my local CSU campus so I can teach at the postsecondary level in a community college. I really value very direct communication and when people clearly express what they need and want from me, and I make a concerted effort to do the same. Another thing that's very important to me is being able to rely on people to do what they say they will. It's a huge pet peeve of mine when people say things and then I realize later that they weren't serious. I take things literally a lot of the times, so if someone says "let's do ____", I will fully commit to making those plans happen and it can be really devastating to find out that the other person wasn't serious. So, dependability is something huge for me, and I consider myself dependable as well! Aside from that, I love to joke and share memes and TikToks, and I'm a big goofball. Family is very important to me, and I want to someday adopt and foster kids. Though, due to some health issues, I am choosing not to have biological kids so I hope that's something we can see eye to eye on.
Some hobbies of mine include reading and writing (I write YA fantasy novels and I'm hoping to publish soon!), video editing, video games, and swimming. I have a youtube channel where I "vid" - edit TV shows/films to music - and it's one of my favorite things. It's about to hit 1k subscribers, too, so that's fun and I'm very proud! For video games, I really love Assassin's Creed Valhalla, Odyssey, Black Flag, and almost all the Pokemon games (currently playing through Violet). I love watching ASMR, "overnight" and "haunted" videos (yes, I believe in the paranormal even if I don't understand it fully - it's a dream of mine to go ghost-hunting), and I watch some playthroughs of games if I don't have the time or money to buy them. I also read, love to swim in pools, lakes, or rivers - but I have become lowkey terrified of the ocean in recent years - and camp/hike. It is my dream to have the gear, friends, and funds to take an annual camping/glamping trip to some forested place near a body of water! Imagine being the bougie group with a portable projector and watching Star Wars or something while roasting marshmallows around a cozy fire. :) In fact, if I ever get married, my dream wedding location would be at this place in the mountains that has a bunch of cabins, tent sites, RV sites, and a little amphitheater and river views/swimming nearby for all the family/friends to stay and play.
A few life goals of mine are to be a successful published YA author, go to some festivals in the woods, own a home with a pool (lmao, pipe dream in this economy, but I can dream!), teach at the California Community Colleges, and have an enviable garden space for activities, my dog, and parties. In case you can't tell, I'm a really outgoing person albeit still an introvert. I love pets (have one cat and one dog, both seniors, and I plan to adopt others once they cross the rainbow bridge... not looking forward to that sad day, but I am loving them as much as I can in the meantime), I love kids, and I am huge into fun outdoor things.
What I'm looking for:
Tbh, I don't have many "deal-breakers" or "must-haves", aside from like... don't be a Nazi. Ideally, though, I think I want someone dependable, down to do outdoor adventures or go to places like Disneyland with me when I graduate from my BA program next year (I haven't been since childhood and want the experience as an adult), and kind. Compassion is a huge draw! It'd be awesome if you're also a book-lover or into gaming, and have your own things that you're doing (school, job, hobbies, whatever it is), are really passionate about the things that move you, and like animals. I am not religious but I don't mind someone who is as long as we can both be respectful. I'm also big on boundaries and healthy communication, so let's just talk if we have any issues. Ummm, I'm really comfortable talking online because written word is my chosen medium, but I feel like I forget everything I have ever learned in my life when I try to talk to someone irl so be aware of that, haha. Honestly, let's just talk and be pals, no expectations, and see what's up and if we connect. No pressure on either of us to force anything, let's just see if we enjoy talking with each other. :)
If there is something I didn't touch on that you'd like to know, just ask me and I'll probably give you an equally long-winded answer as this post, lol. Sorry for the verbosity. I write!
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2023.05.28 19:04 RedhandKitten Navigating doubts and other’s opinions regarding my long term goals

TL;DR at bottom.
I am of the generation that was told “you can do anything you set your mind to!”, “follow your dreams!”, etc. and while I’m old enough now to understand that there are a lot of barriers and systemic problems that stop people from following their dreams, I still hold on to a little shred of hope that I can achieve my life goals. I’ve managed to succeed in accomplishing some big life goals so I’m not devoid of hope. However, as my goals became a little less “mainstream”, I noticed more doubt and pushback from people when discussing my life plan. When that happens, I get little seeds of doubt in my own mind despite how passionate I am about achieving my dreams.
Backstory: My Partner and I have lived in the county in which we were both born. Never lived out of the state (in the US). We lost some loved ones during the pandemic. Others moved away. I started working remotely and realized we can live wherever we want. We don’t have to stay here. We want to leave the west coast for the east coast. (We have done our homework. Have flown out repeatedly to where we plan to live. Calculated costs. Etc. I’m a project planner. Spontaneity is not in my vocabulary.)
In our discussions about moving, we’ve broken down our ultimate goals into phases with phase one being “if this is all we accomplish, that is enough for me.” The remaining phases would just be icing on the cake.
Phase One: Buy our dream property.
We love being outdoors. Physically, mentally, we are people that crave green trees, gentle rains, nature sounds, and solitude among nature. We want to buy a house with a large area of wooded land. We want to have a garden (not feasible currently), let our dogs run to their heart’s content, and go for a hike whenever we want. If that is what the reminder of my life is, I will be as happy as a clam.
Phase two: Build and share. (Small business)
My partner has a background in homesteading/construction/set building and design. We want to build some primitive campsites, a yurt, small cabin on the property. Obviously we won’t be using these all the time. I want to offer them up for friends and family when they visit as well as putting them on HipCamp for vacation rentals. (I’ve done the research and had multiple conversations with hosts.) My Partner plans to construct a medieval style tavern. He wants to have a safe place anyone can come to for D&D games, cosplay, small wedding ceremonies, artist retreat, etc.
Phase three: Helping others. (Non profit)
I had an epiphany a few months ago. I believe I said out loud, “huh. I think this is my purpose in life.” I have been chronically ill with subsequent disabilities since I was a kid. I could not go camping. The outdoors just didn’t have the amenities I needed to enjoy my time in the woods. When I met my spouse, he slowly introduced me to camping, and I loved it! Every time we would go, he would take note of the things that made the trip difficult for me. Our next trip, he had solutions to make our adventures more accessible. That started with things like better air mattresses and warmer tents and evolved into a camper for a while. He made it easier for me to be disabled and still enjoy being outdoors.
I currently work for a nonprofit organization that supports people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). We advocate for as much accessibility and independence as possible. Our mission statement and “culture of caring” is very personal to me and it will be difficult for me to leave that organization when we move. So I am inspired to take that mission with me.
Phase three would be continually working toward more accessible outdoor experiences for people with I/DD. We foresee making wheelchair accessible trails, modified fire pits, sensory friendly spaces, etc. Granted, it is camping so we will never be 100% accessible to everyone but we are going try to get as close as possible. I follow disabled travel bloggers and existing outdoor accessibility groups for inspiration and connections. I just want to create a space that is accessible for people who don’t normally get these kind of opportunities.
My roadblock right now is that despite my logic obsessed brain and feeling like I have a good plan, these life goals seem a bit outlandish to people I talk to. Now I don’t go around blabbering on to everyone about my goals but when people ask why we are moving so far away…well, see phases one through three. (Adding that this plan is only financial feasible east of the Rocky Mountains, hence the long distance move.)
We do have a good support system and people who are cheering us on. We have two very close friends that are talking about moving out east after we get settled and they actually want to help facilitate our dream. I know that should outweigh the few naysayers but it definitely hit me with some doubts. Mostly stemming from my own past failures but I’m aware of that. (Thanks therapy!) I have no intention of giving up on my life goals. I am very proud of the forethought and planning I have done thus far.
I don’t think I have one specific question. Just looking for relatable stories and how you feel about accomplishing big goals. Do you keep your ideas and plans to yourself? Do you want to share but feel like no one understands? What do you do to negate the doubts and keep moving forward?
I appreciate your input and your time. I am happy to answer questions as well. Definitely open to discussion and conversation.
TL;DR: Planning to move across the country to fulfill my “purpose” and life goals. Want to create accessible outdoor experience for people with disabilities. Getting some pushback and lack of understanding on why this is important to me. Do I stop sharing my goals with people? I don’t want to lose my motivation.
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2023.05.28 17:55 bunnyasphyx good place for mini vacation?

Hello, I'm looking for a place in NC (or sc, or maybe even Georgia) for a small vacation. I have a vision of somewhere with a lott of forest, hills or mountains, and a cabin to rent. near a lake or waterfall - somewhere to swim - too. lots of animalsbut any suggestions are welcome and will be taken into consideration. I know a lot of areas in western Carolina fit this description, but maybe somewhere closer to the middle as I'm 4 hours from the mountains and 4 hours from the coast. Thank you!
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2023.05.28 17:23 darkerenergy Trip Report: 18 days + Golden Week (25/04 - 13/05)

Tokyo - Yokohama - Nagoya - Kyoto - Osaka - Tokyo

Hi all, going to go through our trip covering golden week and time around it (: It was myself (F21) and my partner (M24) and the reasoning behind the timing was mainly due to bank holidays in the UK being unfortunately placed perfectly in line with golden week this year! Despite this, I feel we actually got pretty lucky with it all. I'll put an emoji to note which days were for golden week but for the tl;dr we weren't affected that much.
Other important contexts, both interested in Japan for a few different reasons. Anime isn't a small one but I'm also a huge fan of the Yakuza games, he's into the JDM car scene, and we just enjoy travelling in general. We didn't do many things like Universal, Disneysea etc. but hopefully there's some things in here that people will enjoy hearing about! I'll go through some tips/recommendations for the casual readers first before going into the trip in depth - please let me know if there's anything else you want to know about!

Tips + Recommendations

Yamato Takkyubin Luggage Forwarding If like us you are going to be staying in quite a few different places, this service is so so so good I cannot overstate it. We had two big suitcases and one smaller one, we sent just the big ones for two of the trips and then for the final trip from Osaka to Tokyo we sent all 3 and just used our backpacks to bring essentials for the night.Pretty much all hotels will allow you to use the service, some may request you pay them with cash for the actual service but for all but one of ours we could use card. We sent Yokohama -> Kyoto, then Kyoto -> Osaka, then finally Osaka -> Tokyo. There are options for same day delivery I believe however we did both the next day and for a few days later. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments and I'll answer if I can!
Trip Planning I've been fortunate to be able to travel a lot so wasn't nervous about the actual travel, however Japan is such a far away country that I didn't want to go and get there then not know what to do and waste my time. In the past holidays with family were more about relaxing on a beach, or with my partner our city breaks are short as they are other European countries and so easier to return to if we wanted. I wanted to take a different approach to this trip so I made a big Google Sheet and Google Map with all the places I wanted to visit/see. It was never meant to be a strict itinerary as some people I showed seemed to assume 😅 But it really helped me to visually see where things I wanted to go to were, and then make a rough plan in case I did get stuck at some point.Anyway it was a really good idea in hindsight and I'm very glad we did it for this trip as our first time going! Here's a picture of the map looks like, we didn't necessarily do everything but we did most things - https://i.imgur.com/2xLyy7Y.png. I used mymaps.google.com, to be honest there's definitely betteeasier to use tools out there but I got this to work for me so I stuck with it.
Walking People aren't kidding about the amount of walking, although I think our top amount was still under 30k so don't worry too much. That said, if you don't walk a lot anyway then your feet are going to hurt. My partner was fine, I was awful. I thought my shoes would be fine and apparently they weren't so if you can pack walking boots please do. The other thing is I think the way you walk affects it too, my partner and I both had multiple pairs of shoes with us but where his converse boots were fine, the soles of my feet were awful in the same types of shoes 😭
Driving I am not a driver but my partner is. He has a full manual UK driving license and insurance, and so for Japan all he needed was to get the International Driver's Permit a little before we went. We rented a car for three different occasions, two times from the same place then the final was for a JDM rental. All was fine, the JDM place was confused for a moment as my partner has a Polish passport + UK license but we translated Poland for him and after that there were no issues! You'll need to check what you need depending on where you're from, it's easier for us due to the same driving side although when we rented for Daikoku and the Nagoya drive they did give us an automatic so just be aware of that if you want to request/drive manual. The rental places we used were Orix rent-a-car for the Daikoku and Yokohama -> Nagoya trip and we had a Mazda 2. For the JDM rental we used Omoshiro.

Trip Report

Tokyo

25/04 - Airport, Shinjuku hotel, Shinjuku We followed a similar first day that I'm sure many of these reports will begin with - arrived at the airport, we had filled out the VJW forms and had both QR codes ready to go. Immigration had about an hour wait so longer than normal but we were also near the back of our plane and there was at least another full plane in front of us. Actually going through immigration was a complete breeze. Once through and picked up our luggage, we got a Welcome Suica, then headed to Shinjuku. We reached our hotel about 4 hours early for check-in, wasn't sure what to do for that time but they were happy to take our bags until we could go to the room (something that is consistent with all the hotels we went to thankfully). Jetlag was pretty bad, I was flagging by afternoon but we pushed through it and took the few hours to just walk around and see the sights. We spent some time in Hakone-yama before heading back to the hotel and getting cleaned up/accidentally falling asleep too early.
26/04 - Akihabara, Golden Gai Of course woke too early by not being as proactive as we should've with warding off jetlag but used that to leave early for Akihabara. After getting some breakfast we saw the Yodobashi Camera and went in there for about an hour just looking at all the floors 😅 It was raining a ton but it surprised us with how warm it still was and quickly realised why people prefer umbrella with no raincoat!! Spent pretty much the whole day in Akihabara, went round a ton of shops and also went into our first of many many arcades we'd go to. We went back to the hotel to return the items we'd bought then walked to Golden Gai as our hotel was about a 15-20 minute walk ^^ Had some delicious ramen, unfortunately didn't drink as my partner was finishing antibiotics for the first few days but it was still great to be there. Slept a lot later which was good.
27/04 - Kabukicho, Shinjuku National Garden This was more a day for me to fufill my Yakuza game sightseeing. Being so close to Kabukicho I was so excited to visit a city and be able to make my way round without a map loool. It was just the end of the blue festival so the iconic arch was still blue although I did get to see it red at the end of the trip so I wasn't too bothered about that. We went around Kabukicho, the square, again spent tons of time in the arcades and discovered how much we enjoyed the MaiMaiDX machines. Ended up getting one of the passports that save your progress and give you an extra play so if you like arcades then I recommend them!! After this and some lunch, we were going to do a walk to the national garden then realised I went the wrong way so we took the train. As a side note here, the Suica and train system is so useful. Very similar to using a card for the underground except it's actually clean. Walked around the national garden, it was very sunny and warm. Didn't know it had it before going but there's a starbucks in the middle of the garden and we managed to join the queue about 10 minutes before they stopped taking new orders. Had a nice time watching the sun set in that garden before heading back to the hotel.
28/04 - Teamlabs Planets Wasn't something I was going to initially go to however I checked out tickets the day previously and saw some for this day and decided we could do it as we had a ton of free time. I had chosen 2:30pm for an entrance time however it was such a nice day so we left early and spent time just walking around the docks. It was so so sunny, the area didn't have loads going on however it was still very pretty. We spent time in the parks and walking alongside the water. Teamlabs was pretty cool, I did enjoy the water based sections although dodging both influencer and family photos might detract from your experience. This was also where I realised I'd already become the stereotype tourist and was sunburnt :') I guess I had to learn my lesson physically and I did thankfully stop any further burning after this with diligent sun cream appliance afterwards pretty much every day. After this we went back to Shinjuku and after food we packed up ready to go to Yokohama.

Yokohama

29/04 - Bashamichi, Daikoku, Cosmo Clock ✨Showa Day Left our hotel at 11 and hadn't yet discovered the wonders of luggage forwarding so we brought all our bags with us on the train to Yokohama! Not too bad though, we got to our hotel a little early but they took our bags as we went and had lunch before the room was ready. Went around Bashamichi (another game location lol) before taking the train to central Yokohama. We had pre-booked the rental cars all before we left to ensure availability but there weren't any problems. This was also my partner's birthday which is something the rental staff realised whilst we were sorting out all the documents 😆. For Daikoku, we didn't need to pass through any ETC gates from Yokohama but it was the first time on the Japanese roads. It was a little nerve-wracking at first as there's very slightly different rules to UK roads but in general driving is fine. We reached Daikoku PA around 20 past 6pm, and it was about 2 hours until police moved everyone along. My partner was in dreamland with the cars that we saw, if you're into the JDM scene at all or just a petrolhead then you'll love it but it is a bit of luck with what you'll see. After we left Daikoku, we went back to our hotel. We'd checked in with them previously that we could keep the car with them as the hotel we had chosen had parking available for an additional cost. We left the car at the hotel then went out for drinks and to see the cosmo clock. Didn't ride it but it was very cool seeing it all lit up over Yokohama. We bar hopped a bit, then went back.
30/04 - Recovery... Not much to say about this day, my partner was fairly hungover so we returned the car to the rental place and then spent the day just chilling at our ryokan hotel and around Yokohama. No drinks this time round as we had a very long trip the next day!!

Nagoya (Road Trip from Yokohama)

01/05 - Expressways, Onshi-Hakone Park, Expressways, Shinshiro, Expressways, Nagoya I'll condense this one a bit otherwise I'll type forever but this was a really fun time. The driving totaled almost 6 hours by the end so it's not for the faint hearted haha. The point was that we'd stop a few times along the way though which is what we did end up doing. We sent our luggage with the forwarding service (to the hotel after Nagoya as we were just staying the one night), then had an early start as we went to the car rental for 8. We chose the same place we rented from for Daikoku and had the same sales rep sorting out any documents so it was a bit quicker although this time we did get a quick explaination on the toll gates. Anyone going on the expressways will need to know how to use them, we were a bit confused the first time but once you've done it a couple times it'll be smooth sailing (and it's such a good system for people with the automatic cards too). We left Yokohama and set our location for Nagoya. We went for about 2 hours before stopping in Odawara for a quick snack and pee break. Pretty overcast day but despite this we still decided to do a stop in a park on the way and went to Onshi-Hakone Park. It was very cool/bit scary going up the winding mountain passes but wow the views are incredible. We spent again probably a couple hours at the park, had some lunch, no view of Fuji but we could see a lot of the other mountains around which are breathtaking in their own rights (: It's right on Lake Ashi so we did get to see the pirate cruise going round. After this break we did another couple hours or so driving before stopping slightly outside of Shinshiro. Something I will say about the expressways is that it is insane how fast people go 😂 We're not about to try anything so it was sticking to the 120 on the signs for us but people just whizz by. Anyway, we stopped at a familymart in this village for a quick break and I know I've said it already but the views are so beautiful. It's green in the UK but it's something else, I kept wondering if it's just viewing through rose tinted glasses/greener on the other side but I don't think that's true at least about those countryside views. It was also one of the reasons we wanted to do the road trip instead of train at least this time round, we could stop in these places and take it in. After our stop there, it was back onto the expressway until we reached Nagoya. It was roughly 6pm when we reached Nagoya, we had intially booked the car for the whole day with return the next morning but they allow early return with Orix so we did that instead before finding our hotel and having some dinner. Not too much time in Nagoya but it was the first time seeing the bullet train which was cool. Nagoya itself has some nice sights, we were thinking about going to Liberty Walk the next day but instead we just decided we'd head to Kyoto once we left the hotel.

Kyoto

02/05 - Shinkansen, Kyoto, Nishiki Market It was a really lovely day and we were taking the shinkansen for the first time. The shinkansen from Nagoya is only 34 minutes but we did end up buying reserved seats as the station was pretty packed. This is probably the main thing we noticed with Golden week, everything else was busy but not insanely so. Nagoya station was a lot busier but otherwise fine. We didn't have JR passes as when I used the online calculator it didn't come out to be worth it for our particular travel so it was full fare for us. The shinkansen itself was good, we would be using it again for Osaka back to Tokyo but due to Nagoya being closer to Kyoto I didn't reeeally think I'd need to book early. It's probably a good idea still lol but it worked out fine for us to book same day despite how busy Nagoya was. Once in Kyoto we took our time walking down to our next hotel. This was another ryokan style so that was nice, we also passed a garden which we noted to go to the next day (Shosei-en Garden). Our luggage had arrived and was waiting for us at the hotel already so we got refreshed then went out for the evening. We went up to Nishiki market then walked back towards our hotel again. Had a sushi train small dinner as we hadn't had any sushi yet and I've also only had a train once before. It might not be the best Kyoto had to offer but wow was it still better than anything I'd had in the UK!! We then spent hours once again in an arcade, if you like games the MaiMaiDX machines really are addictive :')
03/05 - Shosei-en Garden, Higashi Hongan-ji, Tō-ji Temple, Nijō Castle✨Constitution Memorial Day We woke up early, had breakfast at the ryokan, then went straight for the garden. It was a beautiful day once again so plenty of suncream applied. The Shosei-en Garden isn't the biggest but it's so beautiful, they have this pond that looks so still but my partner spotted a turtle and then you start to see more and more. They have some historical buildings around the place, we spent about an hour there before going to the next place. We walked down the road to the next place, this was Higashi Honhan-ji temple. Both locations weren't really that busy to be honest. Seeing this temple was nice but personally I did prefer the gardens. We next went Tō-ji temple. This is one of those locations that are on the 'must-do in Kyoto' but I did like it a lot. The 5 story pagoda was a cool sight. It wasn't so busy although we were going around lunch time so hungry crowds were likely taking a small break (: We spent an unreasonable amount of time just looking at the koi fish in the moat not even in the temple area 🎏 Finally we went to Nijō Castle. This was quite busy although we were one of the latter groups going around as it was nearing the end of the day. Another of the listed must do's but again I would say it's a cool place to see. If you do go, the tour around the main house is interesting and if you decide to climb the walls there's some nice sights of the area around. We finished up this day heading back to the market area and had dinner including a matcha beer. I'm not really a massive matcha person but I was up for trying all the different things, the beer sort of just tasted of normal beer but it looked exactly like a matcha-green coloured guinness.
04/05 - Arishiyama ✨Greenery Day This wasn't really a packed day as we were heading to an airbnb for a couple of nights. We used the luggage forwarding from the ryokan where they were concerned that we wouldn't get our luggage as soon as we wanted due to Golden week. I then let them know we were looking to get it sent for the 6th and they completely relaxed and said that would be perfectly fine 👌 For context if you've not been to Kyoto, the train system is alright but pales compared to Tokyo. Getting to our airbnb wouldn't be too long, about an hour, but as we didn't really have anything planned and only had our small suitcase with us we decided to walk to the next airbnb instead and waste time along the way. This way when we arrived it wouldn't be before check in time and it would keep us out and about. The walk was about 3 hours total although we lengthed it by stopping a few times. There were some celebrations happening due to Greenery day and Children's day being the next day. We stopped to listen to some music, stopped to have a starbucks, then finally we reached out airbnb in Arishiyama. The place was really nice, and it was fun to have a whole place for a few nights instead of a hotel. If you're wanting to, looking at airbnb's is a completely valid option when staying in Japan - you just might get warned before you arrive not to talk or laugh too loudly or the neighbours might complain/call the police 😅
05/05 - Fushimi Inari Shrine ✨Children's Day Initially were going to do both the bamboo/monkey forest and Fushimi Inari but ended up leaving a little later than planned so just committed to only Fushimi Inari. I was expecting fairly large crowds considering the day and the station was..... not great. That said, the station was very small and so although it was crowded we were also out of there fairly quick. This review of Fushimi Inari is going to follow almost everyone's - it was busy at the bottom and as you go up you'll get a lot less people. Even it being Children's day didn't stop us getting moments of just myself and my partner being alone so don't be deterred if the bottom is busy! Beautiful views, we did the full routes going to the top. It was a bit tricky at times but it's not a race, and you'll feel good doing the full thing. We reached the top, were able to partake in the prayers there, then had a great time going back down. There was a little area near the end with a bunch of cats; we turned a corner and saw one and a bunch of people crowding round to take a photo. Maybe only a few steps later you realise there's about 4 more just chilling around the place. It was a cool experience and definitely worth doing at least once if you're there.

Osaka

06/05 - Local train, Dotenbori, Den-Den Town We took a train from our airbnb to Osaka and went via the local train rather than the shinkansen. It was fine, we reached Dotenbori and our hotel was not far from the station. We got there a bit early again but our room was already available and our luggage had arrived too (: After getting refreshed we went out for the afternoon to Den-Den Town. This is Osaka's version of Akihabara, and we spent a lot of time with my partner looking in all the card shops. It was pretty rainy but not really a problem between the Lawson's umbrella and ducking into lots of shops ;) We spent time in an arcade for a while before heading out to Dotenbori market area and the bridges for the evening/night. Yet again another location in the Yakuza games so I had fun pointing out different places like the Mega Don Quijote or the crab restaurant. We had some food and ended up in a drinking place that used a QR code and website for ordering to the table which was dangerously easy to use haha. Had some really tasty sushi there too, I'll try and find the name if anyone is wondering! Took tons of photos there, the rain at night gave the city that classic look reflecting the neon lights everywhere.
07/05 - Kobe day trip We went to Kobe for the day, lots of rain but the main market area is all under cover so that was handy. My partner was looking for a new phone which he found, we also went to one of those places where they grill the food in front of you for dinner. It was great going in a scruffy elevator up to the restaurant and stepping out onto a really beautifully designed restaurant, and it wasn't very busy so we were able to go without reserving beforehand. Kobe itself is cool although we didn't explore too much outside the market areas due to just how hard it was raining, I think it was the heaviest on this day unfortunately.
08/05 - Nara day trip, Todai-ji We went to Nara and although the advice is to go early, we went for more mid-day time. It wasn't crowded at all so that was fortunate. We ended up walking past that famous mochi stall that you see on all the tiktoks of Nara. I wasn't expecting to see the making of the mochi and wasn't going to wait for it either however they started about 2 minutes after we found the stall so we did stay and watch and it was cool to see in person (: We tried the mochi, it's pretty good although for me it was a bit too dry from the powder. Was still tasty!!! Walked through towards the deer park and saw the pagodas around. When we reached the deer park of course we had to get some crackers and feed them. Oh my god they're so pushy!! It was actually so funny to interact with them, one tried to nibble me and we got headbutted a bit when we had the crackers but once you've given them all out then they'll leave you 😆. We sat on a bench for a bit and watched some other poor souls go through the same thing. Saw quite a lot of young fawns too which is cute. We kept walking up to Todai-ji, stopped for an ice cream, then went to the temple to see the huge Buddha statue. It was a good experience to see this temple, but at least for me it wasn't my favourite part of the trip. I know for many others though it's really great to see so don't knock it off your list if you're interested in it! I'm glad I went once but probably won't return. Spent some more time just chilling around Nara and looking at the temples and shrines around the place. We went back to Osaka for around 4pm. Spent the evening in Osaka again, no rain this time! Oh this was about the time I was developing a sore throat, a little bit nerve wracking but fully vaccinated + boosters and have had covid previously so was fairly certain it wasn't that. Even so, my partner was coughing a bit which is the start of the cold we both had for the rest of the trip 😔
09/05 - Osaka Aquarium, Dotenbori I didn't put the aquarium on my plan initially but we had another spare day in Osaka and I do like visiting aquariums + my partner likes penguins a lot and they had a lot there. It was a cool experience, a lot of families as to be expected but it wasn't packed so lots of opportunities to see the animals and fish :) The two whales were very cool, they're so massive. We also got to see their rockhopper penguin conservation area, you could see them sitting on their eggs. I recommend the aquarium to any families planning to be in Osaka, it's pretty easy to get to and the station gives clear directions on where to go to get to the aquarium and the nearby lego park. After the aquarium we went back to Dotenbori and looked around the various book-offs as my partner was looking for screen protectors. If you're interested in any Japanese media I can recommend them too, I found some games in there that were a lot cheaper than you find in the West in much better condition. Our coughs worsened by evening which wasn't great, we weren't doing much more in super crowded areas but it's obviously not good anyway. We were wearing masks everywhere beforehand but it made it more important. We did end up getting some Bron, if you're in Japan and have a cough then I do recommend it but just be aware that it contains codeine. We got some from a place that specifically had a pharmacy section, you bring the box to the cashier and they'll give you the actual bottle from behind the counter. Really really great stuff, much better than anything you can get without a prescription in the UK which was annoying as my cough was subsequently worse for about 5 days once I got back!! It's pretty much gone now though (lasted longer likely due to asthma but it was gone for my partner after a couple days of being back). Overall I really enjoyed Osaka, all the cities we went to were cool but for me Osaka was my favourite :)

Tokyo

10/05 - Shinkansen, Airbnb We left Osaka for Tokyo and took the Shinkansen back. We did splash out a bit and took the green car with seats on the Fuji side. I fell asleep for most of the trip but woke in time to see Fuji for the roughly 6-7 minutes it was viewable for. It was my only time to see Fuji due to the weather being almost clear that day aside from a single cloud going right across the mountain. It didn't block the peak though so I don't feel too robbed 😆. If/when we visit Japan again I would like to see it again closer but it was still a great sight. Once we reached Shinagawa station, we switched to the local train to head to our airbnb in Shinjuku once again (although closer to Shibuya this time whereas we were more North before). We were staying in a pretty close knit residential area but did a bit of a hello to the neighbours which was nice. We had done the luggage forwarding again but had set it to come the next day so we would be the people available for receiving it. Spent the time around the airbnb and also tried having an uber eats delivered (which worked great lol).
11/05 - Shibuya, Shinjuku We spent most of this day around Shibuya as we wanted a few souvenirs for family and also hadn't visited Shibuya properly. Went to the crossing, then spent time mainly shopping and going around one of the Donkis. Pretty rainy again but not a problem for a shopping day.
12/05 - RX-7 Day Trip (Lake Hinuma, Ibaraki Flower Park), Kabukicho We used Omoshiro Rent-a-car for the RX-7 (for those interested, here's the car - https://i.imgur.com/HRX4DYy.png ) and they were great. We had it pre-booked again before we arrived in Japan as it's a pretty sought after car to rent. Bit banged up but nothing major, and we had it booked for I think 8 hours? We did return it a little early as we didn't really have anything else to do and didn't want to be late with a return as the shop closed at the time we'd be returning it. A funny part of the terms you agree to is no Initial D style driving. For the trip itself, we didn't have anything major planned so I made a makeshift plan to just go a bit out of Tokyo and visit somewhere different. I found this lake on maps that'd be not too far, didn't realise until we were there that it's less a lake for sights and more for fishing 😅. No worries though, as the main reason was to get some driving in and enjoy having the car (which was achieved!). Got some snacks from a 7/11 then went off. We had a lot of time left so we drove to Ibaraki flower park, yet another quick find from scrolling around Google Maps. It was a very beautiful park, they have a rose market there as well as selling some fresh produce. It's a small charge to go in the park but it's worth it for the hour or more you might spend there and will go towards the park maintenance. Also being the middle of Spring of course it's going to be beautiful with all the new blooms (: We spent time there admiring the countryside and being sad about going back home the next day. We went back to the rental place afterwards, also during this drive was the time where we were finding it so funny how we were sticking to the speed limits in this beautiful car and being overtaken by massive trucks going so much faster. We did have a moment that was like from a movie though, we entered the expressway after the tolls and as we were pulling in an older Honda NSX was being driven next to us. The guy driving looked over and gave us a nod with a straight face before pulling ahead a little so we could be behind him. We ruined that movie mood by both being so excited by how cool the moment was but hey it's one of those things that won't be forgotten at least!! He zoomed off a few minutes later but we weren't risking anything to keep pace ahaha. We returned the car then went back to Shinjuku for our final evening in Japan. We went back to Kabukicho and I was able to see the arch in red :') Took photos of the karaoke place that's in the games, would've gone in but my throat was killing!! So we just stuck to being outside. We went back to the area around our airbnb, had our last dinner there then went and packed up ready to go home.
13/05 - Home :') Our flight was leaving a little before 9am so we were leaving the airbnb for 5ish. Early start but as we'd gotten packed up it wasn't too bad of a walk to the station. Grabbed our train, it was fairly early on one of the lines that goes direct to the station so we were able to get on with ease. The train was rammed by the time we reached the station. No problems getting through the airport, got to our gate and then flew home.

Final Notes

I had such a good time in Japan, I loved being there and hope to return within the next few years if life permits!! We definitely missed some of those 'must-do's' such as Osaka Castle, any of the theme parks, Arishiyama Monkey Park, actually doing Karaoke, and some of the food options due to my own anxieties walking into places lol. That said, I don't regret the things we did end up doing and it just means I'll have to fit some of those into my next trip 😉. Although my partner would like to visit more Northern areas like Hokkaido or Sendai so we'll see!
We didn't have probably as much packed into each day as could've been but for me this was perfect and a great time for my first time. If you managed to read all this then thank you very much, and please let me know if you have any questions about the trip!! I'll be happy to answer. Thanks for reading!
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2023.05.28 16:01 Perspiring_Gamer New Release Thread (May 29th to June 4th)

New Release Thread (May 29th to June 4th)

May 29th to June 4th
Chicory: A Colorful Tale - May 30th
Chicory: A Colorful Tale is a top-down adventure game from indie developer Greg Lobanov, published by Finji. It first released in 2021 on Switch, PC and Playstation, and now arrives on Xbox as a Game Pass addition. Set in a colouring book world, the player takes the role of an anthropomorphic dog who wields a large paint brush. Gameplay centres around solving environmental puzzles and manipulating the world through this mechanic, with various abilities unlocked as you progress.
Xbox Store [Game Pass] - Metacritic - TrueAchievements - Trailer - Official Site
Company of Heroes 3: Console Edition - May 30th
The third instalment in Relic Entertainment and SEGA's WW2 real-time strategy series arrives on consoles, with a custom UI and other optimisations implemented for controller input. Company of Heroes 3: Console Edition focuses on the battles of Italy and North Africa, offering a range of maps from mountains and costal locations to deserts. The game also introduces other features to the series, such as 'Full Tactical Pause,' which gives players full control over the pacing of the single player experience.
Xbox Store - Metacritic - TrueAchievements - Trailer - Official Site
Farworld Pioneers - May 30th
Farworld Pioneers is an open-world sci-fi sandbox title from Igloosoft. Droping day one on Game Pass, the game tasks the player with building and managing colonies on alien planets. Tasks include recruiting, exploring, crafting, looting and building your own ship. You'll also defend your base from raiders and attack enemy and rival faction bases if you choose. The game can be played peacefully in co-op or with a 'dynamic faction system' where groups 'band together and split apart dynamically.'
Xbox Store [Game Pass] - Metacritic - TrueAchievements - Trailer - Official Site
Shame Legacy - May 30th
Shame Legacy is a first-person survival horror title developed by Fairyship Games and Revenant Games. Made in Unreal Engine 4, the game takes place in a 19th century village. The protagonist, who suffers from amnesia, must explore the village looking for clues about what's going on while dealing with the village's residents who appear to be hunting you. Gameplay seems to centre around stealth, escape and puzzle mechanics, armed only with a cane as a defensive weapon. Shame Legacy is XS optimised.
Xbox Store - Metacritic - TrueAchievements - Trailer - Official Site
Aquarist - May 31st
Aquarist is an aquarium building simulator developed by FreeMind Games. The player is tasked with building up their business until it's a thriving large-scale aquarium. Tasks include caring for the fish and ecology, acquiring larger and more exotic species, designing, and managing staff and customers.
Xbox Store - Metacritic - TrueAchievements - Trailer - Official Site
Railbound - May 31st
Railbound is a puzzle game from developer Afterburn. From a top-down perspective, players are tasked with placing and removing track pieces, and rerouting connections to guide detached carriages to their locomotive. It features 200+ puzzles, with a relaxing vibe and colourful comic-book visuals.
Xbox Store - Metacritic - TrueAchievements - Trailer - Official Site
The Tartarus Key - May 31st
The Tartarus Key is a first-person horror adventure game developed by Vertical Reach. The protagonist takes the role of Alex Young and her friends as she attempt to escape a mysterious mansion. It features escape room style puzzles and challenges, multiple endings and retro style graphics.
Xbox Store - Metacritic - TrueAchievements - Trailer - Official Site
Undead Horde 2: Necropolis - May 31st
Undead Horde 2: Necropolis is a $16.99 action title from 10tons. This isometric necromancer game tasks the player with raising the remains of your enemies, commanding an undead army and rebuilding the city of Necropolis. The developers state it mixes elements from RPG, strategy and hack n' slash' experiences, with exploration, levelling up, unit and city unlocks and upgrades, as well as fairly unique looking real-time combat. It released on PC in late March, where it has favourable Steam reviews.
Xbox Store - Metacritic - TrueAchievements - Trailer - Official Site
Away: The Survival Series - June 1st
Away: The Survival Series is a 'story-based adventure' from Breaking Walls. The player takes the role of a sugar glider, exploring natural environments and fighting predators in what the developers describe as 'your very own nature documentary.' It first released in 2021 elsewhere, to mixed Steam reviews.
Xbox Store - Metacritic - TrueAchievements - Trailer - Official Site
Diablo IV - June 1st/2nd (Early Access via Deluxe + Ultimate Editions)
Ahead of its official June 6th release, early access for Diablo IV starts on the 1st/2nd depending on your location via the Deluxe and Ultimate Editions. Alongside stapes such as procedurally generated dungeons and loot centric character building, the fourth instalment of Blizzard's iconic isometric action RPG introduces some new features. It integrates PvP encounters, as well as bringing a fully open world environment. It supports both solo and party play, with a 50 hour campaign.
Xbox Store - Metacritic - TrueAchievements - Trailer - Official Site
Homebody - June 1st
Homebody is a $19.99 survival horror puzzle title developed by Game Grumps and published by Rogue Games. The player takes control of Emily, who has gathered at a remote rental house with her friends to watch a meteor shower. Under the darkness of night, they're locked inside and picked off, one by one, by a mysterious killer. The game centres around puzzles and escape mechanics, with throwback PS1 inspired visuals. Emily's backstory appears to gradually unfold, as things get increasingly surreal.
Xbox Store - Metacritic - TrueAchievements - Trailer - Official Site
Killer Frequency - June 1st
Killer Frequency is a first person horror adventure from Team17. As protagonist and radio host Forrest Nash, the aim to stop a mysterious killer who is stalking your callers. The game revolves around real-time decision making, puzzle solving and detective work. The player will explore the town, searching for clues, solving riddles, helping the callers stay safe and more. Killer Frequency features an 80s Mid-West setting, a fully voiced story and branching dialogue. It is XS optimised with smart delivery.
Xbox Store - Metacritic - TrueAchievements - Trailer - Official Site
Slayers X: Terminal Aftermath: Vengance of the Slayer - June 1st
Slayers X is a retro first-person-shooter from indie developer Big Z Studios Inc and published by No More Robots. Dropping onto Game Pass, the title sees the player fighting to stop the Psyko Sindikate from enslaving humanity. It features an over-the-top tone, with crude humour and plenty of blood and gore. Weapons range from the 'glass blaster' and 's-blade' to the 'triple helix missile launcher,' with a variety of maps listed from 'my room,' 'the dollar$haver store' to 'the south boise July 4th fair.'
Xbox Store [Game Pass] - Metacritic - TrueAchievements - Trailer - Official Site
Zombie Derby 2 - June 1st
Zombie Derby 2 is a zombie-based side-scrolling arcade-driving game from Brinemedia. The objective is to build up a vehicle with destructive ability, and then mow down as many zombies as possible for the highest score. The game supports 120fps, smart delivery, achievements and is XS optimised.
Xbox Store - Metacritic - TrueAchievements - Trailer - Official Site
Minabo - A walk through life - June 2nd
Minabo - A walk through life is a $14.99 'social simulation game' created by indie developers Devilish Games. The player starts out as a sprouting turnip and is tasked with building their social circle while contending with a variety of assigned and acquired social traits that effect how you live your life.
Xbox Store - Metacritic - TrueAchievements - Trailer - Official Site
Speed Truck Racing - June 2nd
Speed Truck Racing is a $9.99 arcade racer from Super PowerUp Games. Take on twenty rival drivers, in trucks that reach 200km. The game features a championship mode, arcade mode, four player local multiplayer and online leaderboards.
Xbox Store - Metacritic - TrueAchievements - Trailer - Official Site
Street Fighter 6 - June 2nd
The latest entry in Capcom's juggernaut fighter series arrives, this time switching over from UE4 to their in-house proprietary RE Engine. Street Fighter 6 centres around three main modes. World Tour is a single-player RPG-like story mode using a created avatar character, while Fighting Ground offers a more traditional experience. Battle Hub lets you play matches against other players as well as further customise your avatar. It also features 18 fighters, three control types and new 'real time commentary.'
Xbox Store - Metacritic - TrueAchievements - Trailer - Official Site
Super Mega Baseball 4 - June 2nd (May 30th Early Access via Ballpark Edition)
Super Mega Baseball is a sports series that mixes arcade-inspired style with deep gameplay mechanics. Developers Metalhead Software say the fourth edition introduces a variety of new and fan-requested additions. These include an expanded trait system with team chemistry and shuffle draft, six new stadiums, cross-generation matchmaking 'in Pennant Race and Online Leagues,' improved visuals and animations and a roster of over 200 legends of baseball, from Vladimir Guerrero to Jason Giambi.
Xbox Store - Metacritic - TrueAchievements - Trailer - Official Site
We Love Katamari REROLL+ Royal Reverie - June 2nd
We Love Katamari REROLL+ Royal Reverie is a remake of the second title in the Katamari Damacy series. Developed by MonkeyCraft, this third-person puzzle-action game sees players control a Prince as he rolls an adhesive ball around each level, gradually increasing its size as it collects objects in its path. This remake includes five new challenges and collectibles, a selfie mode with stickers to collect, an eternal mode so you can play with no time limit and other quality of life improvements.
Xbox Store - Metacritic - TrueAchievements - Trailer - Official Site
Additional Releases (image limited reached:)
submitted by Perspiring_Gamer to XboxSeriesX [link] [comments]


2023.05.28 05:00 Kazevenikov Cryptid Chronicle - Chapter 30

A special thanks to u/bluefishcake for the wonderful original story and sandbox to play in.
A special thanks to my editors LordHenry7898, RandomTinkerer, Swimming_Good_8507, CatsInTrenchcoats, and KLiCKonthat.
And a big thanks to the authors and their stories that inspired me to tell my own in this universe. RandomTinkerer (City Slickers and Hayseeds), Punnynfunny (Denied Operations), CompassWithHat (Top Lasgun), CarCU131 (The Cook), and Rhion-618 (Just One Drop)
Hy’shq’e Ay Si’am (Thank you noble friends)
Chapter 30: A Promise Kept
Kalai stepped off the shuttle to the Vaida’s headquarters and into a running tackle-hug from Sitry. “Oh Kalai, I could kill you right now! You got to see the Great Barrier Reef in person, you bitch!” Sitry’s cheerful voice was muffled from where she was still buried in her chest. Kalai staggered backwards a pace or two, happy to be back from her whirlwind adventure around Earth with her father.
Naranjo and Papa Rhaxiid were there on the platform to welcome her back too, but their welcomes were more sedate.
“Not to mention you got out of work for half our damn trip. Ugh, it’s so not fair!” Naranjo huffed as Kalai gave him a sisterly hug.
Papa Rhaxiid reached up and chucked her chin before turning to lead the way back inside from the forested platform. “Welcome back, sweet-sprout, we’ve missed you. Come on, we’ll get you settled again and off to work. There’s quite a bit you need to catch up on if you want your credits.”
The chuckles from the twins behind her were full of sibling malice, but she knew how to shut the pair of them up. “Papa Rhaxiid? I’ve got the paper on Biodiversity in the Reef you asked for, along with the dissection report and stomach content analysis of the tuna we caught. I want to put the finishing touches on it and do a final proofread first before I send them to you.” The man turned and gave her a warm smile as they entered the building.
“Good, why don’t you go take your things back up and say hello to Andy? I’ll give you an hour and a half to get freshened up, then I want you to report to Aquarium 12 with Dr. Sor’ansa. You can put your snorkeling practice to work there.” Papa Rhaxiid walked the three of them to the residential elevator. “I’m heading back to my office. Andy’s been requested by Maetro Pae’ella to work the kitchens for something called ‘Bison burgers'. Apparently it’s a type of indigenous bovine that the eastern Bands raise. That and something from Europe called ‘French Fries’.”
Kalai couldn’t help but get excited as she and her siblings piled into the elevator back to their little shared apartment. Sure the food she’d had all over the place was good, but so far nothing had been able to compare to Andy and his Salishian cooking.
“Nerd, I can’t believe you cheated and did work on your vacation." Naranjo broke the silence of the elevator after a little bit and stuck his tongue out at her.
Spit to windward, you vain little weed. Don’t hate me because I’m awesome.” Kalai’s riposte caused Naranjo to fold his arms and huff. Sitry simply ambushed her with an ear flick.
The elevator door opened to their floor before Kalai couldn’t bear the silence from Sitry any longer. “So, did you bag him yet, you lucky bitch?”
“No she hasn’t!” Naranjo’s singsong mockery of his sister interrupted Sitry’s response. “Papa hasn’t let Sitry even NEAR Andy without one of them around!”
“Rub it in, you snitch, besides, he did kiss me first,” Sitry preened happily as she playfully shoved Kalai’s shoulder.
Kalai pretended to stumble and almost caught Sitry’s foot, but she was just a hair too slow. “Yeah, and then you gave him a black eye, you clod.”
“Will you let it go? It was an accident!”
“It’s not even the only one he got either." Naranjo’s interjection stopped her right in front of their door.
“Wait, what? Who hurt him this time?” Kalai let her bag thunk to the floor as she turned to look accusingly between Sitry and Narny.
Sitry folded her arms and her ears twitched back as she shot a dark look at their door. “He ‘fell down’ yesterday while out at one of the Hatcheries we gave to the Hwatcoms. Mrs. Toloui nearly had a fit! She said she could smell another human on him and that he was covered in blood!”
Narny nodded primly as Kalai tried to process what they were telling her. “WHAT? Did she call out the militia? Track down whoever hurt him?”
“No, and he refused treatment and insisted that no one did it to him! When papa tried to talk to him, Andy said some stupid human macho shit about pain healing and birds liking scars. I don’t know, sometimes humans… they’re frickin’ insane!”
The door shot open and there stood Andy. His left eye was an angry puffy yellow and blue mess, and there were three points on his lips where a dark cinnabar line marked a crack. Kalai and her siblings stood in wide eyed shock at his sudden appearance and the only sound was the music emanating from the common room behind him.
Andy looked up and down at the three without saying a word. He cocked an eyebrow and snagged Kalai’s bag before any of them could react and cleared the doorway for them.
Kalai sputtered at the impropriety but Naranjo and Sitry just shrugged and walked in after Andy. “Femboys, am I right?” Narny whispered to Kalai as he passed. Kalai followed behind and was greeted by the white fluff-ball, Puck, who hopped up and down, whining for attention. She bent down and started scratching his ears and back. While Puck rubbed up against her hands, Andy settled back down at the table where his omnipad was hooked up to a keypad. Her heart started to sink a bit and Kalai shot Sitry a jealous look before the music came to a sudden halt and Andy interrupted the beginnings of her pity party.
“Ok, Kem’ira, I got the pics now and I’m telling you to declare yourself to the farmers first! I guarantee if you tell them you’re with the new DNR and you’re there to kill all the Scotch Broom in their pasture lands, they’ll stop trying to shoot you for trespassing!”
Kalai’s mood jumped up a bit. It’s not that he doesn’t care to see me, he’s in a meeting!
“No, no I’m not coming out to talk this over with them, I’ve got my own work to do! Either you start talking to folks like I showed you how, or ask the militia to give you one of their armored catsuits to wear under your uniform… Uh-huh, good luck." Andy hung up on the call and leaned back as Puck scampered over and hopped up in his lap.
Andy rubbed his temples before shaking his head. He seemed to relax a bit and Puck slid off to follow Sitry to the kitchen. Andy looked over and gave Kalai a happy smile that made her flush. “Welcome back! So how was the land down under? That tuna was fan-frickin’-tastic, if you aren’t sick of seafood I’ll do something fancy with it tomorrow to celebrate your coming back. Can’t tonight though, I got volun-told to be head chef tonight and I… Oh damnit! I’m late! Come to dinner, burgers and fries Indian style tonight. Gotta run!” With that, Andy went dashing out the door with Puck barking and scrambling along after him.
Kalai felt her heart sink back down again, as he left. “Andy I-” She started but he was gone.
“Yeah, it’s been like that for the whole week. The only time we get to hang out is dinner.” Sitry commiserated as she took Kalai’s bag into their room. “On the other hand, we might get to catch up during the family meal tonight.”
The dinner was delicious, though a bit weird. It tasted alright, but there was a certain aftertaste on the sandwich that just didn’t sit right with Kalai. She just couldn’t put her finger on it. The french fries more than made up for it though, and Mama Sakalbi had to hold a science trivia contest to see who got the last little handful.
Kalai and Narny were already silently plotting with each other for their revenge against their sister who had won and refused to share the last few matchsticks when Andy finally joined their table. He was sweaty and he smelled of woodsmoke and french fries. Kalai jumped up and offered him a seat next to her with a nervous smile. He took it gratefully and seemed to sag a bit as he gulped down a glass of water.
“Andy, I think you may be finding your calling as a culinary ambassador,” Mama Aftasia beamed. “A toast to the chef!”
Andy gave a shy smile and looked down as Kalai and the rest of the family gave a hearty ‘Here, here!”
“It’s a simple enough recipe; it’s just using bison instead of cow, that’s all, and I don’t know anyone who’d turn down hand cut fresh fries. It’s kind of hard to screw up.”
“Young man, you are speaking to a woman who found a way to take cold water and dried wumpa flakes and wind up with a Class-4 fire. Cooking has always seemed like ‘blight mysticism’ to me, and these foods? These flavors? Nothing short of a Greenwood miracle in my opinion." Mama Aftasia continued her praise of Andy, which only caused him to shrink even lower in his seat.
“To be honest, I like your salmon better,” Kalai said, and the whole table went silent. Kalai held her ground though, and was rewarded with a tired but genuine laugh from Andy that brought him back out of his shell.
“You know, I do too. My Clan were fisherpeople, not buffalo chasers.” Andy gave Kalai a cheeky grin, which she returned happily, her heart glowing. Mama Aftasia and Mama Sakalbi both blinked in bemusement at Andy’s statement while Sitry just giggled.
“Speaking of which, Andy, I received a call from Elder Alex Hwatcom.” Papa Rhaxiid’s change of subject instantly perked Andy up, and he stared silently, waiting. “He extended an invitation to our family to attend his family gathering this Friday-”
“Alex said that? He used those words?” Andy shook his head in shock as he interrupted Papa Rhaxiid. The table went quiet and everyone held their breath as they looked between the two men.
Papa Rhaxiid adopted as good an impression of the human Elder as he could. “I’d like to extend an invitation for you and your family to be guests at our family gathering this saturday up at the White… something… lodge-”
“The White Ram Lodge?” Andy sat forward, interjecting again as the color drained from his face.
“Yes, that’s the one! I asked if we could bring anything since the last time they hosted us they put on that wonderful spread. He said if we could bring a few salmon for the family, that would be wonderful.”
Andy leaned back and took another sip of ice water before holding the glass to his blackened eye. “Alex Hwatcom… just invited you… to a gathering… and he told you to ‘bring a few salmon’? Do you realize what a huge honor this is?”
Rhaxiid looked from his wives to his children with mild concern. “Um, I thought it was only dinner, but your reaction tells me there’s more significance to this than I originally thought. I was thinking about our stocks of adult Sockeye, but then I remembered in his story how important King Salmon are. Of course, I’d like to defer to you for the choice since you know these animals and the cultural expectations with this invitation better than we do.”
Andy was silent for a moment before he put the glass down. “I’d recommend a ‘hard no’ to all your clone stock!” Now it was the Vaidas’ turn to be shocked, as each of Kalai’s Erbian family’s jaws dropped in synch. Before anyone could say anything, Andy continued, “You need to bring wild-caught. Farm-raised salmon wouldn’t… well we can tell, and you can taste the difference between them. We need to go fishing!” Kalai leaned towards Andy slightly as he lowered his head and started mumbling to himself. She was just able to make out what he was saying to himself as Mama Sakalbi and Mama Aftasia began whispering to each other. “...need to get the Gillnetter out of storage, check what’s running and select the mesh. I’m gonna need a deckhand too.
Kalai reached a hand out but stopped short of touching him. “Andy?”
He popped up and spoke for the whole table to hear. “I need a shuttle to the mainland and a waiver against the fishing ban. I’ve got to get my boat and the drum ready for sea ” Rhaxiid and Aftasia sputtered in confusion, but Mama Sakalbi had a shadow fall over her, and her ears pulled back.
“Do you mean to say you want to go out on the water? Risk the ecological balance for… dinner?”
Andy looked Sakalbi dead in the eye and gave her a firm nod. “Why don’t you come out and see how we did this before you got here. Think of it as a chance to see the way we’ve fished for the last hundred or so years, and then I can explain the way we used to fish before that.”
The offer snapped Rhaxiid out of his confusion and he brightened. “A learning experience? Wonderful, we’ll make a day of it!” His hands shot out to grab both his wives’ and Kalai could feel the vibrations in the floor from where he was excitedly tapping his feet.
“If you don’t mind hard, smelly work. Uncle Willy always called it ‘the worst desk in the prettiest office.' It’ll be a bit cramped, but I’ve got room on the boat for a few guests and observers; four I think would be ok. She’s a working boat, not a pleasure cruiser,” Andy explained. That sent the whole lot of them excitedly talking among themselves.
Kalai was about to lean in to talk to Mama Aftasia, but Andy caught her attention first. “I don’t suppose you’d want to go back out on the water, given you just got back from pleasure-boating-”
Kalai’s heart nearly jumped out of her chest. “I wouldn’t miss it for my own colony planet!”
--------------------
Kalai stood on the pier, bundled in her thermal sailor’s coat. It was still dark and the wind blew from the north in a cold little morning breeze. Kalai took a deep breath and reveled in the smell of the fresh sea air. The soft chattering of Mama Sakalbi’s teeth broke the silence. “It’s a bit chillier than it said it was going to be.”
“The water always does that. It’s never as warm as the lubbers say it’ll be,” Papa spoke as he handed her back her thermos of hot chocolate.
Papa stood next to Kalai and nudged her with his elbow. Even in the dark, Kalai could see him smile up at her and jerk his head at the shivering Erbian. He was also wearing a thermal sailor’s coat, and his hands were stuffed in his pockets to keep them warm, just like Kalai’s. “Landswoman,” he whispered to her and the two of them shared a knowing smile. It was strange, but welcome when she'd told Papa about her upcoming day fishing with Andy, and he’d politely requested to join them. Papa Rhaxiid had graciously given his spot up to accommodate her birth father. Narny was all for it until Andy had explained what they were going to do, but then surrendered his challenge to the fourth guest space, not wanting to go anywhere NEAR anything that could see him come face to face with a Lion’s Mane Jelly. Sitry had done a happy little dance when she found out, but only yesterday had come down with Thistle Fever, and was bundled off to bed by her parents. It left Kalai, Mama Sakalbi, and Papa to accompany Andy on his fishing trip.
The water brushed against the shore behind them quietly. In the gloom, Kalai could just barely make out the outline of the nearest island mountain, but only because the stars had disappeared behind it. It was almost four in the morning, but Kalai had managed a catnap on the shuttle to the empty little lot that had been the boat launch. Aside from the water, the world was silent. Even the breeze made almost no noise and a sense of peace surrounded them. Everything was so calm, Kalai felt like she didn’t have a care in the world.
In the distance, a low rumbling sound of a motor rose from being almost imperceptible to a rolling drum of thunder. From around the point, two green floating lights sped through the darkness, and a spotlight turned on. The beam of light moved jerkily until it came to rest on the pier where they were standing and Kalai started waving her arms. Sakalbi’s omnipad rang, and Andy’s voice shouted over the speaker and the background noise for them to shine a light on the edge of the pier to help him park the boat.
Kalai and Papa moved closer and turned their omnipad flashlights on and waved them as the boat swung gracefully around and glided in alongside them. Kalai caught the rope that flew over the railing of the boat and she heard more than saw Andy moving around on the deck as she tied off on one of the mooring cleats. Several lights clicked on and the deck was bathed in light enough for Kalai to get a clear view of the boat they’d be spending the day on.
Andy hadn’t lied. Kalai saw that this little vessel was a working boat with no frills at all. When he’d told her they’d be going fishing, she’d envisioned something like the charter boat papa had taken her on out of Nantucket. Sporty, fast with a nod to comfort and function. This was not that at all. A giant wheel as wide as Kalai’s outstretched arms that looked like a sideways spool of thread was secured to the deck amidships and dominated the deckspace. Wrapped around it was a fluorescent green tangle with a line of oblong white and yellow corks and rope. There was a covered hatchway sitting behind the drum in front of the raised step to the enclosed cabin. Two large windows let the light out to two children’s bunks, a little table with a booth seat and a raised captain’s chair in front of the helm and engine controls. Andy shut down the engine and that peaceful stillness returned.
“Oway there!” Kalai called, “ship oway! Request permission to come aboard.” Kalai gave the traditional greeting of a Shil’vati sailor.
“Permission granted! Anyone need a stepstool?” Andy finally stepped into the light and Kalai got a look at him. He was wearing a hooded sweatshirt and the same bright orange coveralls she’d seen the fishmongers wearing on their date.
“I wouldn’t mind a hand, Mr. Shelokset.” Papa He’osforos braced a foot on the railing of the boat and Andy pulled him up.
“Just call me Andy, Doc, and welcome aboard. Jackie should be along any minute now with the day’s groceries, and the cabin’s out of the cold. You can get yourself set wherever you find comfortable.” Papa nodded and disappeared around the other side of the wheel moving towards the bow.
Kalai helped Mama Sakalbi into the boat next, and she quickly ducked into the cabin that took up the entire stern section save for a little ledge that ran along the outside. Andy gripped Kalai’s hand and she smiled as he pulled her deftly aboard. The boat rocked a little on its mooring, and Kalai almost fell into Andy, who wordlessly put his arms around her waist to catch her as she lost her balance. She flailed for a moment before she steadied herself against him.
“Gotcha,” Andy smiled, and Kalai could see him flush almost as much as she could feel herself doing as their noses almost touched. Those big dark brown eyes surrounded by white orbs drew her in and she felt she could lose herself in them. Kalai started as Andy danced her around him and moved her towards the cabin door.
“It might be a little cramped for you in there, but the Mary Jean wasn’t built for pleasure boating, she’s a working girl. Sit tight, I gotta check a few things in the back.” Andy patted the railing affectionately before he hopped up and scooted along the outside of the cabin towards the stern. Kalai couldn’t help the little longing groan that came out as he left her there on the little tiny quarterdeck. Her heart was hammering in her chest as half formed fantasies danced at the edges of her mind.
“I saw that, little minnow.” Papa’s voice was soft, but his tone and the sudden broken silence nearly gave her a heart attack.
Kalai could only stammer as her father stared at her with a cocked eyebrow. A thump from the cabin window behind saw an amused Mama Sakalbi daintily sipping at her thermos with her ears twitched forward in interest, staring out at her. “Papa I… he-”
Papa moved carefully around the covered hatchway to stand next to her, leaning back against the cabin window and heaved a sigh. “I must say I’m surprised. This lovely man’s got good clean lines and is very well cared for. It speaks well of his Skipper.”
It took a full minute for Kalai’s brain to process that he was talking about the boat and not Andy. “And the way Andy brought him in smooth in near complete darkness? It gives me confidence in his abilities.”
Kalai breathed a silent sigh of relief and exasperation. Although she was happy to be spending more time with her father, bringing him on what she’d hoped would be a sailing date wasn’t exactly what she’d had in mind for ‘family time’. He wants me to find a nice young man and spend time with him on a boat, but the first chance I get Papa decides to clam-jam me.
From up on shore, the sound and lights of a large human vehicle screeching to a halt heralded the last of their party to arrive. Kalai heard the clomping footsteps coming down the pier and moved to the railing to lend a hand.
“Ahoy Mary Jean! Raggedy Andy, you there?” Kalai stared with wide eyed surprise to see a human female, loaded down with plastic bags and sporting two human weapons on her shoulder. The two of them locked eyes, and while Kalai didn’t understand everything the girl shouted in surprise, she had caught and understood the phrase, “What the fuck?”
“Easy now, they’re my guests, and the one inside is the boss!” Andy appeared on the pier instantly before either Kalai or the woman could react further.
“Ya didn’t tell me we were having pur-” The woman glared at Kalai and her father. She had switched to Vatikre thankfully, but her tone was hostile as she dropped everything but her weapons. “I mean, hwun’eetums, aboard. A gal could get the wrong idea pretty quick in the dark when there’s no warning.”
“Knock it off Jackie. Let’s get the grub aboard and shove off.” Andy picked up some of the bags and took the guns as Kalai offered a helping hand over the railing. “Oh, Kalai, this is Jackie. Jackie? Kalai. That’s her dad over there, Doc He’osforos. He saw and treated Kay Tee a few years back.” Andy jerked his head towards the direction of Kalai’s father as she held out a hand to the human girl. On a quick inspection, she appeared to be about the same age as her and Andy. She had a round face and was about as dark complected as Andy was. She was shorter, only a few inches taller than Papa, but when Jackie grabbed Kalai’s hand to hop up onto the rail, she could feel the strength and the compact muscle hidden by the baggy sweatshirt and pants.
“Wait a minute, did you say Mini-Me over there saw Kay Tee? You’re fuckin’ with me!” Jackie stumbled a bit as she hopped down onto the deck with a loud thunk and advanced on Papa who shrank away at her advance. “You saw li’l Kay Tee? Where the fuck is he? Is he alright? Is he still fighting the good fight?”
“Last I saw, yes, he was ‘fighting the good fight.’” Papa looked over at Andy with a slightly worried expression. Andy smacked the girl in the back of the head, causing her to flinch and she opened the door to the cabin for Andy to go inside.
Jackie rubbed the back of her head and laughed. “Well that’s a little bit of alright, innit? Maybe today’s gonna be a good day after all!”
“Jackie, get suited up and get on the bow. I need a good pair of eyes on the roller horns,” Kalai heard Andy shout from the cabin, followed by a whole lot of thumping and banging from cabinets being opened and closed.
“You got it, ol’ man. We going to your place or mine?” Jackie sidestepped in and opened a tiny little closet and pulled out a set of rain gear that was identical to what Andy was wearing. Kalai collected herself and stood in the doorway next to her father as they both leaned in.
“Mine; Chuck said the Yaw’much are running from the South. We’ll do a set nor’west of Lummi in the Rosario and see if we can get some Fraser Kings,” Andy replied as he turned the engine back on and the vessel roared to life.
“Chuck? Isn’t that one of your cousins? I didn’t know he could keep track of the movements of Salmon, may I ask how he does it?” Mama Sakalbi perked up as she pulled a set of earplugs out of a pocket and inserted them.
Andy prevaricated a bit, looking from Jackie back to Sakalbi then to Kalai and Papa. “I’d rather not answer that-”
“Breakin’ the law, breakin’ the law! Breakin’ the law, breakin’ the law!”
Jackie began singing a human song, and Andy threw her the dirtiest of looks as she finished getting into the orange coveralls. Mama Sakalbi sputtered as Andy shrugged apologetically.
“Make a hole!” Jackie called, and she and Andy came back out as Kalai and Papa made room for them. Andy hopped back onto the dock to cast off while Papa ducked into the cabin.
“Can I help?” Kalai offered as Andy shoved the vessel off and leapt the gap over the black water below.
“You want to be useful? Come forward! I could use an extra set of eyes!” Jackie called back, and Kalai felt a slap on her shoulder from the boisterous human woman.
------------------
Andy stood at the helm, watching Jackie and Kalai as he leaned to get a better view of them past the Net drum. The bow was lifting up again, and the gentle little swells became like speed bumps, jostling them up and down in a predictable bouncing rhythm.
“Are you sure you couldn’t slow down, Andy? It’s a bit rough, don’t you think?” Sakalbi was hanging on to the table and her thermos with a worried expression on her face.
“I could, but we’ll miss the morning set. We want to bomb out the buoy right when the tide changes. If we’re lucky, then we’ll get around seventy or eighty by slack tide this afternoon and call it a day.”
“How do you know where to fish?” Dr. He’osforos was making a good show of standing and maintaining his balance with his hand on the booth.
“Well, there’s two ways you know. The first is you fish the spots your family’s fished since time began. Every family has about two or three different secret spots that we know there’s fish in, and we’re pretty defensive about their locations. The second is by smell. Right now it’s the tail end of the King season, and you can smell them in the water.” Andy turned and saw the incredulity etched on the faces of the two aliens.
“No, I’m serious! King Salmon slime is really pungent, and you can smell them when they’re close to the surface. We get to the fishing spot and take a deep whiff. If we smell them, we’ll set the nets.” Andy laughed at the disbelief on their faces as the GPS on his omnipad beeped and he turned to sail around the last buoy and head for the fishing ground.
“I’ve never noticed that in any of the Kings we’ve raised-”
Andy suppressed a laugh as they caught a larger swell as they left the lee of Lummi Island. Andy reveled in the feeling of weightlessness as the deck rose up and fell out from underneath their feet, leaving everyone suspended for a moment in midair before falling back down. A massive spray of water rose and washed over the deck, drenching Kalai and Jackie, who were still forward. “Cloned and farmed Kings don’t have that same smell. Wild ones smell and taste different, I’m telling you!” Andy pulled back slightly on the throttle as they climbed the next swell. “Brace!” he called as they climbed and fell once again.
There was a look of fear on Sakalbi’s face as she gripped the table for dear life, but to Andy’s surprise, the Doctor looked completely unfazed, and was handling the rise and fall of the deck like an old salt. “You look like you’ve done this before, Doc.”
“I’ve done a stint or two at sea before,” he spoke, in the same tone Andy would have used when trying not to sound too confident, and Andy smiled.
“Kalai keeps talking about loving the sea and sailing. Did you teach her to sail?”
“Yes, me and her mothers. When they were home, we would take the family yacht out in the Vaascon Straits and sail around the Occidiens. Kalai practically spent all her early childhood on a sailboat.”
“And almost every waking moment on one in Junior Academy. I swear you couldn’t dig her out with a trowel when she wanted to go sailing,” Sakalbi managed to add in a word as the boat slowed, and the dramatic rise and fall of the deck slowed with it.
“What about you, Mr. Shelokset, did your father teach you to sail too?”
“I was too young before he passed. My Great Uncle Willy taught me after I came home, and Grandma took me out to the family fishing sites when she wasn’t busy with the Council. For the first two or three years after they let us come home, fishing was the only way to feed our families, but the Militia and the Cambrians would try and sink our boats or arrest us whenever we tried to go out.”
“And that’s why you’re so good at maneuvering your vessel in the dark with no instruments?” Mrs. Vaida had folded her arms, and her voice twinged with that imperious tone she’d had when they’d first met.
Andy huffed a dry laugh. “I did what I had to for me and my people and to survive, Ma’am. I don’t like breaking the law or dodging lasers and gunfire, but there’s a lot of poor families that need to eat.”
The GPS beeped, and Andy gave Mrs. Vaida a slightly defiant look to counter her furrowed brow. “We’re here,” he said as he threw the engine in neutral and opened the cabin door.
Andy walked out and took a deep breath, but all he could smell was the net and the exhaust from the engine. “HEY JACKIE! WE SMELL MONEY?” Andy yelled out as he took stock of the sky. The first signs of sunrise were chasing all but the morning stars away and a light fog was rolling in from the north.
“FUCK YEAH I CAN SMELL ‘EM, ANDY! LET’S BOMB OUT AND GET BREAKFAST GOING!” Jackie looked slightly manic as she smiled brightly. Kalai, on the other hand, looked wet and miserable as she shivered, arms wrapped around herself. Andy gave his cousin a disgusted look as he pieced together what had happened. Every deckhand learned when to duck behind the raised bow and the roller horns that guided the nets so as not to get a faceful of spray when cutting through a swell. It was also a classic hazing trick for Senior Deckhands to let Junior Deckhands learn this the hard way.
Andy moved forward to stand in front of the two of them. Kalai was trying to squeeze her coat dry, but Andy knew it wouldn’t do much good until the sun came out. Jackie at least had the sense to look a little remorseful. “Kalai, why don’t you go sit in the cabin and get out of that wet coat. It’s cold enough out here even for us-”
“No way, Andy. Junior deckhand Kally here wants to impress you and get her dainty soft hands dirty! She’s been bragging about being a sailorwoman and wants to learn to fish ‘your way!” Jackie gave Kalai’s shoulder a wet slap as the poor alien woman went blue. Out of cold or embarrassment, Andy couldn’t tell.
All Andy could do was shake his head and huff. “Ok then! Secure the buoy and sling on my mark. I’ll get us in position!” Andy couldn’t help but chuckle as he heard Jackie start ordering Kalai about. Andy went back into the cabin and looked in the closet/bathroom to see if there was anything hanging up that he could give Kalai. There was only the one rain slicker and a few of Andy’s old sweaters from when he was a lot smaller. Well, looks like I’ll just be cold today. He quickly stripped out of his sweatshirt and grabbed the slicker before throwing a switch on the main control. Dr. He’osforos and Mrs. Vaida threw him quizzical looks as he went back outside wearing less than when he came in. He was down to a sleeveless shirt and his coveralls, and the morning breeze cut right through him and he braced his jaw to keep it from chattering.
“We’re ready to go- Andy, why are you practically naked from the waist up?” Kalai was staring wide eyed at him as he approached her and Jackie was on the bow. Jackie had everything ready; the buoy line was strung through the horns and ready to toss out. A giant orange and blue beach ball sized float hung at the end of the line to mark the end and make it easier to pick up later.
“Trade me your coat for these. If Jackie’s putting you to work, you’ll need these to keep warm.”
“I’m alright, I can-”
“I’m the Skipper of this boat, and I’m ordering you to take off that wet coat and put these on; and Jackie?” Andy gave his cousin a long and piercing look. “Give her the elbow gloves, not the halfsies.”
The scoff and the muttered Salishian profanities meant he’d read the next prank she’d had in mind right. She was planning on giving her the cloth gloves with only the palms and fingers coated in rubber. While perfectly fine for fishing, Andy knew they tended to get soaked through very quickly and did nothing to keep jellyfish stingers and fish slime off your hands. Kalai sputtered for a moment before she complied gratefully and she accepted the dry clothes and rain slicker.
Andy saw Jackie give him a strange look before looking back at Kalai, but he paid it no mind. He walked back to the controls on the drum and switched off the hydraulics, placing the mechanism in neutral. “SLING IT!” Andy called as he took the small jerry rigged steering wheel and threw the boat in reverse. Kalai jumped as the line started unspooling the net into the water at a rapid pace.
Andy set an ‘S’ bend in the quarter mile long net, zigzagging backwards until they came to the end of the line. Andy stopped the boat as Jackie tied off the other large buoy and tossed it over the side, unstringing the cork-line from the roller horns in the process. He pulled hard over and put a bit of distance from the net before shutting the engine down. The line of white and yellow corks marking the net bobbed lazily with the swells as silence settled over the water again. The waves rocked the boat gently as Andy found his sea legs again.
“Alright, I’ll get breakfast going. Jackie, Kalai? Post the watch for seals,” Andy called as he walked back into the cabin to fire up the tiny little gas stove.
Sakalbi, having found the confidence to stand at last, poked her head out of the cabin and stood on by the hatch to the fish hold. “Seals? Why would you need to watch for seals?”
Andy grit his teeth and looked over from where he was cracking open and scrambling eggs. “They’re the spawn of Satan and we hate their guts!” Andy bit out. Jackie came back and pulled the two shotguns and a pair of binoculars from the closet. Andy reached over to a side cabinet and pulled out a box of shells for them. Both his boss and the Doctor’s eyes got wide.
“Seals are the enemy of our blood. Were it not for the invasion, our unending war against these vermin would continue to this day!” Jackie growled as she loaded one for herself and rested the other on Andy’s seat at the helm.
The look of growing horror on Sakalbi’s face towards their facetious declarations caused Andy to chuckle a bit, before launching into an explanation. “We’re not fans of the species because they’ll wait until a fish gets caught in the net and then they’ll steal it, costing us a fish AND ripping a big hole in our nets that we then have to take time to repair. We use the shotguns and buckshot to give them a nice welt and convince them not to hang around, because they’ll wait up on the surface and watch the buoys, just like us. A single seal can and will take between five and ten fish. The worst is when they start getting full, they’ll just bite out the bellies of a salmon in the net. We can’t really do anything with that fish once it’s ‘seal-bit’. So yes, as fishermen, we hate them.”
“Learned opportunism in apex predators as a response to human activity… I think I’ll go see this behavior for myself!” Sakalbi practically rushed out the door towards the bow where Jackie was sitting on the roller horns explaining to Kalai how to spot the bastards, leaving Andy alone in the cabin with the Doctor while he cooked breakfast for them all.
Dr. He’osforos sat down heavily in the booth and pulled out his omnipad. “I’ve had a word with my friend in the Interior. She’s pulled the warrant for your brother, and I’ve withdrawn the charges I filed.”
Andy froze and turned around slowly. The only sound was the sizzle and pop of the eggs and chorizo that he’d added to them in the skillet. “You mean… it’s done? He can come home?” A wave of light headed euphoria swept over Andy and he swayed with the gentle rocking of the boat. “I will pay you back, Doc-”
The doctor held up his hand and stopped Andy. “We’ll call it even, but there’s something… I was able to get my hands on this,” Andy watched as the doctor swiped something towards his omnipad and it dinged. “What is it if I may-”
“Are you really asking an Indian to tell you a story? Because it’s going to be a long one if you are.” “I’m Sevastutavan, young man; we invented long stories.”
Andy froze and stared at the screen of his omnipad. The Vatikre was heavily accented, and Andy had a bit of trouble with the unfamiliar accent, but centered in the frame in a hospital room, sitting in a wheelchair, was a Salishian boy. Andy blinked in surprise as he stared at the screen. “Is that-”
“I am Ikw’is’hi’ehlah, and this bearer is… of the Orca Clan Sheloksets. I drove our Haida enemies onto the rocks and took many heads when they attacked our winter village on Orcas Island. I signed the Treaty with the Great White Father and I fought against the slavers of the south-”
Andy wanted to grab the omnipad but the smell of overcooking eggs brought his attention back to breakfast and Andy stirred and scrapped the food quickly, trying to save it.
“I asked her for any materials she could give me on your brother. Pictures, recordings, anything. This is what she gave me. It's the last known recording of your brother during an interrogation conducted by a Navy Commissar prior to his escape. It seems he made friends with a Pod of Deaths Head Commandos. Quite a bit of the recording has been redacted, but… there are portions of it where he talks about his family and his history. I thought you might like to have it.”
Andy hurriedly pulled out paper plates and a slice of bread for everyone and scooped a heaping portion of the chorizo eggs onto them. He handed the doctor his before leaning out the cabin door. “Slop’s on, come and get it!”
Andy sat down after moving the shotgun out of the way and started the video over again as the three women came back to grab their plates and lost himself watching his brother start telling his story.
“What’s that?” Andy heard Kalai ask over his shoulder, and he paused the video.
“That’s my brother! That’s Kay Tee!”
“Holy shit, what?” Jackie nearly shoved Kalai into Andy as she jammed her bread slice down her gullet and crowded in to see the screen.
Andy started the video over a second time and they watched in silence. “God, that brings back memories. Back when mom was still alive and before we broke up the warband. I can’t believe that slippery little punk ghosted a pod of Commandos for two fucking years! Holy shit, that’s badass!”
Before Andy could say anything, Sakalbi started coughing and brought the binoculars up. “Uh, Andy? Jackie? What do we do about sharks?”
Jackie looked at Andy in confusion. “Sharks? There’s nothing but Dogs around here.”
“Well those are shark fins and they’re charging the net!” Sakalbi pointed and Andy looked up to see dorsal fins charging the center of the net.
Andy looked at Jackie and spoke the same words in tandem, “Oh shit!”

First:
https://www.reddit.com/Sexyspacebabes/comments/yz0u3h/the_cryptid_chronicle_chapter_1/
Previous:
https://www.reddit.com/Sexyspacebabes/comments/13nh0oe/cryptid_chronicle_chapter_29/
Next:
To be posted 6/4/23
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2023.05.28 00:59 mikhailnikolaievitch Respect Ultimate Wolverine (Marvel, 1610)

Respect Wolverine

"Maybe your mutation isn't about healing at all. It's about surviving."
History: Years of torture and tampering with his memories made much of Wolverine's past a mystery. Though it's known he was a Canadian paratrooper during WWII, the man known as James "Lucky Jim" Howlett became one of the most influential figures in history when government experiments turned him into the world's first mutant.
Eventually renamed Logan, by the time he escaped the Weapon X program he became better known as Wolverine. He was given enhanced senses, an accelerated healing factor, and razor sharp claws. His entire skeleton was coated in an indestructible metal known as adamantium, and his memories were rewired to optimize their battle efficiency. He was the perfect weapon...and then he escaped.
Though he served Magneto's Brotherhood of Mutant Supremacy, Wolverine turned on Magneto to serve the X-Men as one of its fiercest proponents. Inspired by Xavier's dream, Wolverine never quite uncovered the secrets of his past, nor did he find much happiness in his present. But when he gave his life to save the world he proved his redemption, and survived in the memories of the X-Men who cared for him and the son that never knew him.
Source Key: Ultimate Marvel Team-Up = UMT Ultimate X-Men = UXM# Ultimate Spider-Man = USM Ultimate Nightmare = UN Ultimate War = UW Ultimate X-Men & Fantastic Four = X4 Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk = WvH Ultimate Power = UP Ultimate Origins = UO Ultimates 3 = U3 Ultimatum = UTM Ultimatum: X-Men Requium = REQ Ultimate Comics Wolverine = UCW 
Scaling - Apocalypse - Captain America - Colossus - Cyclops - Deathstrike - Gambit - Hulk - Iron Man - Magneto - Mister Fantastic - Nightcrawler - Rogue - Sabretooth - Spider-Man - Storm - Thing - Xavier

Physiology

Strength

Striking
Lifting
Throwing
Misc.

Durability

Concussive
High material reference
Low material reference
Scaling w/reference
Minimal reference
Gunfire
Long guns
Handguns
General
Piercing
Explosions
Heat/Electricity
Multiple Damage Types
Toxins/Poisons
Misc.

Speed

Against Superhumans
Against humans
Against objects

Claws

Guns
Robots
Vehicles
Special materials
Scaling
Misc. materials
Misc. abilities/information

Senses

Tracking
Detecting
Identifying
Statements
Misc.

Skills

Combat
Statements
Noncombat
Telepathic Resistance
Statements
Showings
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2023.05.27 16:13 Faris531 Good Day hikes near Rainier

We are finishing 4 nights at ONP and are headed to a cabin near Mt Rainier (Ashford area) for 4 nights 5/27-5/31. First timers in PNW. I didn’t do my homework well enough to realize there’d still be snow at paradise. I thought Myrtle Falls and parts of Skyline would be open.
I have the WTA app and it’s helpful but I know Reddit users have been very helpful too.
Can we hike the Nisqually Vista Loop? We have poles and yak tracks.
I have Comet Falls on my list. Hoping to make it all the way but the description sounds like if we start but turn back if it’s too tough it’s still worth it. True? Others? I saw Christine Falls on the way up to Paradise as a stop.
I see the roads to Reflection Lake are clear. What are the hikes there? Or good spots to just sit and enjoy the nature and view? All I find is information on the trail that goes all the way around the mountain.
Finally any other suggestions of things to see or places to stop (including food) in the area. We planned to make most of our food at the cabin but if there’s a “you must stop here for pie, coffee, tacos” type of place I’d like to know.
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2023.05.27 15:29 s810 Old Austin Tales: Honey Bee Marshall and the Mystery Grave at Smith Creek - 1900s

Today thanks to a tip from Faraday_Rage, I bring you a ghost story from West Lake Hills, although saying that might be a bit misleading because West Lake Hills is a mid-20th century invention and the events of this story happen mostly before that. There used to be a village called Eanes in that general area full of farmers, ranchers, and cedar choppers before it was subdivided into one of the nicer suburbs.
There was only one bridge for vehicle traffic (besides the train bridge) from Downtown into South Austin before the 1940s. Because of this, the western part of Travis County was separated from the growth of Austin and the eastern part of the county, and remained sort of a wild frontier well after the surrounding lands were settled.
Among the early settlers in that area were two brothers named Alexander and Robert Eanes. There is a historical marker at the intersection of Red Bud Trail and Loop 360 which says the following:
Alexander Eanes (1806-1888) moved to Texas from Mississippi in 1845 and acquired this ranch by 1857. In 1873 he sold the property to his brother, Robert Eanes (1805-1895), who had moved to the area following the Civil War. A log cabin built on the Eanes ranch was the first Eanes school, and the community also assumed the Eanes name. Robert Eanes sold the ranch to his son-in-law, Hudson Boatner Marshall (1862-1951) in 1883. Marshall dismantled the ranch house and moved it to a site adjacent to the nearby creek.
So there was a man named H.B. Marshall who lived on the former Eanes Ranch with his wife Viola (Robert Eanes's daughter) and family.
H.B. Marshall was a Civil War orphan. His mom died shortly after childbirth and his dad died as part of Hood's Brigade. He spent his early life in Austin-area orphanages until he graduated high school at the age of 19. That was when the doctors of the era diagnosed him with "consumption", otherwise known as Tuberculosis today. There was no cure in the 19th century. Afflicted people were told to go live in the country and get some fresh air, and that's exactly what he did.
Lucky for him, HB's dad well fairly well off when he died and left him an inheritance. After he left the orphanage he used this money to buy the ranch from the Eanes family, met and married Viola Eanes, and started a family. Legends say a Mexican folk healer convinced him eating goat meat and drinking goat's milk was an excellent remedy for consumption, and so he raised goats.
The book Eanes Portrait of a Community has this photo of H.B. and Viola and their dog, along a brief biographical bit:
H.B. and Viola Marshall sold honey and butter and raised goats. At one time H.B. was president of the American Goat Association and traveled to Chicago to attend that organization's national convention. There he met and talked with Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. In its early days the Ford Motor Company used mohair from goats to make a soft, long-lasting fabric which was used to upholster the seats in its "tin lizzies". H.B. Marshall was one of the company's first mohair suppliers. Later, after Bee Cave Road became a better, more reliable road, Marshall, who was a skilled printer sometimes worked in Austin at that trade.
So HB Marshall and his family were very good at raising goats.
The Marshall Family were also beekeepers. HB liked to be called "Honey Bee" Marshall later in life. He lived the rest of his life on that ranch and died in the 1950s.
Now that you have that little bit of backstory, on with today's tale. The following article appeared on page 21 the Austin American-Statesman on May 16, 1966:
MYSTERY
Old Grave Beside Creek
The mystery of who is buried a shallow grave beside Smith Creek, seven miles southwest of Austin, may never be solved.
With it goes a tale of a robbery and killing said to have occurred more than 60 years ago on the Bee Cave Road.
But at least one story told by a man who died last year sticks in the minds of some residents of the hill country behind Zilker Park.
The man was long-time stock man and World War I veteran John Marshall, who lived out his life on the Eanes-Marshall Ranch seven miles southwest of Austin. His story told him as a child by his father, early Travis County settler and school teacher Hudson Boatner (Honey Bee) Marshall goes something like this:
In the late 19th century, a man from Bee Caves came to Austin with a wagon load of cotton. After selling it, he was returning home when his hired hand killed him and took the money. The slain man was not found for several days, and when he was, he was buried on the spot, several hundred feel off the road.
This is the way Cecil Johnson, of 1500 West Bee Caves remembers the story. He heard it in 1956 when he and his brother-in-law, Elmo Freitag, dug into the grave and found a skeleton. Freitag and Johnson went from where they live to buy a dog killed by a car on the Marshall ranch, Johnson said. "When we found the bones, we were pretty scared," Freitag said. "We went up to the ranch house to tell John Marshall about them." "That's when John told us the story," Johnson recalls. "He said we should cover the bones back up and let the old man rest."
The story was brought to the attention of the American- Statesman by Bruce Marshall of Houston, a nephew of John Marshall and an heir to 10 acres of the old ranch land. Others who lived along Bee Caves Road, or who knew John Marshall, recall hearing him tell the story, but no one contacted so far remembers hearing the story from anyone else.
Sheriff T. O. Lang said he has no records dating back that far, Marshall was born around 1887, and Johnson said the killing and robbery occurred "before John's time."
A check into the archives in the Austin Library's Austin and Travis County Collection reveals a similar crime which occurred in 1871. On Feb. 7 of that year, according to Frank Brown's Annals of Travis County, "an old citizen" named Charles Barnes, who "lived seven miles north of Austin," was killed and robbed after he had come to town and sold a wagon load of hay. He was shot and killed "probably for his money," and his body was found 30 yards from the road, three-fourths of a mile from his dwelling. A $1,000 reward was offered for the criminal, but he was never captured.
This "official" report is quite similar to the story told by John Marshall, but the directions from Austin do not coincide.
There are descendants or a family named Cotton who live in Bee Caves, according to Miss Jessie Roy, former teacher who lives on the Rob Roy Ranch on the Bee Caves Road two miles beyond the Marshall ranch. But she said she never heard of any of them being robbed or killed. Her family moved here in the 1890s.
Conceivably, with the tale handed down by word of mouth for three generations, the name Cotton, and the product "cotton" could have gotten confused. And the Brown report, probably taken from a newspaper account, could have been mistaken about the direction (north or west) from Austin where the crime was committed.
But if the wagon load was cotton instead of hay, the crime would have occurred most likely in October, according to Austin rancher and historian Carl Widen. Widen said in the old days Austin, it usually came from the south and west, from Dripping Springs and Bee Caves, in October, "in time for the circus." "The whole family would come to town with the load of cotton usually one or two bales to a wagon and after it was sold the women bought cloth for dresses and the kids went to see the circus. Then they got back home late that night.
Another hill resident, Charles Roberts, 80, who lives on a creek near the Rob Roy ranch, said he remembered people hauling cotton in trains of three or four wagons pulled by oxen, rather than by horses or mules. And Austin resident Charles Dellana said it used to take at least four mules to pull a wagon load of corn out of the bottoms or "The Narrows" between Bee Caves Road and the Colorado River. He opined that the murder and robbery must have occurred "earlier than 1903."
Besides the Cotton family out Bee Caves way, other family names familiar to those still living are Theodore Bose, Joe Beck, the Freitags, the Teagues, the Simpsons and the Moores. But who is buried beside Smith Creek on the Marshall ranch, how he died, and when he was buried, no one seems to remember.
Well this old story was apparently told far and wide. There was another article on that same day (May 16, 1966) in The Statesman: (h/t/ jbjjbjbb)
Ghost Hunters Have a Go at Ghosting
San Antonians Learn of Murder and Such Things on Austin Ranch
Ghosts, anyone? A strange tale of murder and theft was spottily told Saturday night by a "spirit" who was supposedly in communication with a group of ghost- hunters seven miles southwest of Austin. The ghost hunters, five people from San Antonio, gath ered on the old Marshall Ranch in West Lake Hills with two news reporters. They apparently believed they were communicating with a ghost named Tom Burns.
"Margaret, Margaret, Margaret," the ghost kept repeating through the automatic-writing technique of Mrs. Joan McKee, wife of Don McKee. McKee is manager of the Builders Exchange of Texas, in San Antonio. He and his wife say they are "student" parapsychologists. Spelling out the name of Margaret Owens, Tom Burns said, "She is dead now. She is my love."
The names of Margaret Owens and Tom Burns were interpreted by the McKees from an almost indecipherable scrawl which Mrs. McKee transmitted to sheet after sheet of paper with a pencil, while her husband held her elbow. They were seated at a table in the single upper room of the old Marshall ranch house. With them were this reporter, ranch owner and Houston Post business writer Bruce Marshall, and San Antonio residents Mr. and Mrs. Frank Gibson, Mr. and Mrs. John Mac-Donald, and Mrs. Mary K. Cook. The only light in the room came from a lantern.
"Burns" said Margaret "Owens" was buried on a mountain top east of the ranch, and had been killed in or near some water. Burns also said he had been killed by three men on a road near the ranch as he was hauling a wagon load of hay. Placing the date at 1904, possibly on a Monday, he said he was shot as he got down off the wagon to move a rock that was in the way.
Although at least two other spirits were supposedly contacted beyond the pale, that of Burns appeared to be the most communicative and the most interesting. It was either Burns, or a ghost named Nathan Anderson who spoke of a John Anderson who came "often" to the ranch to drink "rum from South America" with Robert Eanes.
Eanes, according to Marshall, was the first man in the family to own the ranch property. He died in the 19th century and is buried in a family plot on a hill near the ranch house. Marshall said later there had been a man named John Anderson who was a friend of the Eanes family. Marshall and this reporter have established, from local folklore and from written records, that a man, possibly named Charles Barnes, was killed seven miles from Austin around 1871, after selling a load of ether cotton or hay in town.
There is a grave of an unknown man beside Smith Creek on the Marshal ranch, not far off the Bee Caves Road, which is seven miles from Austin. Neither Marshall nor this reporter have verified that the grave on Smith Creek is the one in which the robbery victim was buried, but the coincidences of the known facts leaves room for speculation that it may be the one.
Burns said he had worked for a man named Cotton Roberts, and that Roberts had worked for a man possibly named Mitchell Treadwell. The name of Treadwell first came to the attention of the group when MacDonald, a former announcer for KONO-TV, fell into a trance through what was called auto-hypnosis. He said he got the name from a ghost present in the room, and that he also received "an impression" of the dates 1890 to 1901. Marshall later disclosed that the old ranch house had been built sometime between 1890 and 1905.
The name "Mitchell" was written on the paper when one of the persons asked aloud, "Does the name Treadwell mean anything to you?" Burns also spoke of his mother, naming her variously Mary Markham, Marstur, Masters and Markem, who he said had been sick in a barn and subsequently died.
Mention was made of a bearded man who wore a big hat and was deaf in one ear, of a box buried beneath a barn, and of wild mohair goats. Marshall said the last man to live on the ranch, his late uncle John Marshall, found a hole on the ranch about 30 years ago where a box apparently had been buried. This was when Miriam A. Ferguson was governor of Texas, he said.
He also said a bearded deaf man had once been a ranch hand there and that John Marshall's father, H. B. Marshall, had raised Angora goats on the ranch. Burns said Roberts had buried the box, and he (Burns) had dug it up. "Money means death," came the scrawled message on the paper.
Two of the most dramatic events of the evening occurred when the McKees tried to communicate with a ghost named "Robert" Both of them believed the ghost to be that of Robert Eanes, whom they described as having a very powerful, domineering personality. Mrs. McKee broke down and could write no more after transcribing the words, "My time is up now. Many have come but nobody will listen." Later McKee tried to communicate, and apparently went into a trance after receiving the word "yes" to the question of whether "Robert" had been born in July.
Just before McKee went into a trance, Marshall and this reporter were curious to notice that a strong wind the only one noticed during the entire night rattled the eaves of the house for about a minute.
The time was shortly after midnight Mrs. Cook, who writes radio and TV commercials, took down the following from McKee's barely audible words: "I have many children. I am as Abraham I shan't stay around where my people don't want me. It is dark. Darkness is in the land. We shall bring light."
Further efforts to communicate with "Robert" failed. After this incident, the "ghosts" seemed to leave the parapsychologists and their fellow delvers into ESP (extra-sensory perception).
A long vigil at the family cemetery until almost dawn proved fruitless. Gibson, sales manager for Pratt and Lambert varnish makers, whose supposedly "haunted" house in San Antonio was the subject of a Houston Post story several months ago, conceded with high good humor that he had seen no ghosts Saturday night "But Robert was around," he affirmed confidently.
Marshall and this reporter scratched their heads, totaling up the number of "unexplainable coincidences" which made the night at least a little provocative if not downright exciting. It would take a patient historian to check the names listed. As for the "ghosts" well, who knows?
H.B. Marshall had a son named John and he in turn had a son named Bruce. Bruce Marshall was an artist who spent most of his time in Houston but moved back to the family ranch in 1974. Marshall recounted the story of the 1966 ghost hunt in this 1983 article:
THE SEARCH FOR ghosts is not uncommon with visitors to the Marshall Ranch off Loop 360 South. It is the home of artist Bruce Marshall and his family and nine ghosts, those of seven people and two horses.
Marshall studio and gallery is a restored, pre-Civil War ancestral home located next to the family residence. Parapsychologists visited the building in 1966 and declared it to be haunted by a man who was attacked, shot and killed near the original entrance of the ranch. The ghost of the dead man, whose unmarked grave is still on the ranch, reportedly told the ghosts hunters about his fate. The ghost also admitted that he had committed murder, killing a woman named Margaret by drowning her.
There are two creeks near the ranchhouse that are the source of several other ghost stories.
"SUPPOSEDLY ONE GHOST walks the creek towards Eanes (Elementary) school calling for someone," said Marshall. "There were some kids camping near the creek about six months ago, they heard dogs barking and the noise of a wagon drawn by horses. The wagon has no driver and follows an old road which used to connect to Bee Cave Road."
Marshall said his family tries to play down the ghosts tales surrounding his homestead. "If we really become convinced that we're haunted, we really lose our enjoyment of the place. People seeking ghosts out here are very unwelcome," he said. "If there are such things, they don't bother me. They like me. They probably feel that if I go, the house goes, the property changes, and they're evicted.
In 1999 Marshall sold the house and the ranch to The Eanes Historical Society, who moved it next to the current location of Eanes Elementary School, where it has become the home of the EHS and serves as a small museum today.
So who is in the mystery grave at Smith Creek? I found one lead.
Back in February of 1916 a 20-year-old man named Albert Cook had an unfortunate accident and was killed. The Statesman reported it like so:
While setting a wolf trap on the Marshall goat ranch, eight miles from Austin, Alfred Lee Cook, 20 years old, accidentally shot and killed himself at 8:30 Friday morning, a charge of buck-shot from the left barrel of a double-barrelled shotgun entering his abdomen.
Cook was a laborer on the Marshall ranch, near Summitt. Early Friday morning he attempted to set a steel trap for wolves. He was carrying a shotgun and was accompanied by two small boys.
Setting his shotgun, both barrels of which were loaded, against a bush, he advanced to the trap. The gun fell across his path and he shoved it aside. As he did so, in some way the left barrel of the gun was discharged, the entire charge taking effect in his abdomen at short range and badly lacerating his body. Death was almost Instantaneous.
Justice of the Peace George W. Mendell, Deputy Sheriff Jim McCoy and Deputy Constable Matt Turner went to Summitt this morning for the Inquest. Justlce Mendell rendered a verdict of accidental shooting. The name of one surviving relative was reported to the Justice of the Peace, being Mrs. Rebecca Ann Brown, mother of the young man
Is this the person in the grave? I can't say for sure without DNA testing, but poor Mr. Cook might be the best candidate.
Time is short and space is long today so I'll leave it there. The Eanes-Marshall house today is called the Eanes History Center, and sits next to Eanes Elementary School at 4101 Bee Caves Rd. Bonus Items to follow:
Bonus Pic #1 - Photograph of Bruce Marshall standing next to the graves of his ancestors in Eanes-Marshall Cemetery - unknown date (mid 1970s?)
Bonus Pic #2 - "Photograph of Bruce Marshall and Dorothy Depwe in the Eanes-Marshall Cemetary looking down at a tombstone." - unknown date (mid 1970s?)
Bonus Video #1 - Eanes History: HB Marshall (from Eanes History Center)
Bonus Video #2 - Eanes History: HB Marshall Ranch House Tour (from Eanes History Center)
Bonus Article #1 - Masons BBQ meet at The Marshall Ranch - November 17, 1919
Bonus Article #2 - "Better watch out! Spirits on the prowl!" - May 14, 1966
Bonus book excerpt? - Notes from an interview with Earl Short (a reformed bootlegger), in which he mentions he saw H.B. and John Marshall setting up a soda stand one Election Day after he bribed some illiterate people for their votes.
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2023.05.27 14:09 BLACKNAZZI How do i catch up

I’ve been studying for the NASM exam for a while. I’m having the worst time retaining what I’ve learned. Had an interview with crunch fitness here in NC, and by the second interview I was left feeling so uneducated. The PT who interviewed had a degree in kinesiology, and had years of experience. The PT Manager is the mountain of a man who played for the jaguars. And so damn intelligent and confident. I was nervous and intimidated, I couldn’t get the cues for anything right. I had brain farts when it came to doing the exercises. I’m probably gonna have pay for a trainer when they open a club near me. I just feel discouraged.
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2023.05.27 01:41 Inorai [Menagerie of Dreams] Ch 12.5: Going Up

[Menagerie of Dreams] Ch 12.5: Going Up
https://preview.redd.it/659bct8oza2b1.jpg?width=1024&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=9e49e14ff01c49f3e4dc8590f65c97a11ec13c77
Cover ArtFirst Chapter Patreon Playlist
The Story: When a seemingly-powerless human walks straight through the wards shielding her bestiary, Aloe finds herself with a mystery on her shop floor - and with her merciless kin eager to get their hands on him, they've got a deadline on solving it.
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Just as a note - A) Sorry, I managed to slice my finger open pretty good, I'm fine, but it makes typing a little hard so I'm kind of taking a little break until it's healed up a bit more xD and B) derby is about to start! Which means that Menagerie will be on the shelf until I finish it, which is usually two months. Legion will be slightly more of a priority for me because it's already so close to the ending of the book. This should not be too big a deal, as I have a fair bit of backlog built up that I'm going to try and draw from to keep you guys fed.
Enjoy!
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His stomach was fuller as they meandered off down the brick path, and his legs weren’t even aching anymore after the rest. Rowen grinned, following along behind Aloe. Things were—Well, okay, things were still fucked—but things were starting to turn around for today, at least.
He took a long, hard look at the building they were approaching, though. It was tall and narrow, pressed up against the shoreline, and he could see a dock stretching out into the lake behind it. A sign out front hung out front, painted with a single white wing.
“So you’re saying this is some sort of aviary thing,” Rowen said. His eyes lingered on that sign.
He saw Aloe nod. “Right.”
“But we’re at the lowest point around,” he said. “We’re at the water. So how’s that supposed to work?”
Aloe chuckled, then glanced over her shoulder at him. “You’ll see soon, won’t you?”
Or, you could just-”
“Sylphwings are boats, Rowen,” Aloe said. She was smiling, but her face was pale, dark circles starting to blossom under her eyes. “Don’t worry. It’ll make sense when you see.”
Boats, eh? A dozen new questions cropped up in his mind, but Rowen silenced them, hurrying after Aloe instead. Flying boats was, uh…new, and novel, but not the craziest thing he’d ever heard of. And even if she’d led the way without complaint, Aloe was starting to look a little run down. Now wasn’t the time to pepper her with questions.
She went straight for the building’s front door, giving the handle a good tug to pull it open. It came away with a creak of salt-soaked wood, and she slipped through, giving him a wave. “Go grab us some seats. I’ll buy the tickets.”
Rowen followed after her, not entirely sure what he’d find. It turned out to be a long, open room missing its back wall, with a few rows of benches planted in front of some stairs leading down to the pier he’d seen before. “Seats, huh?” he mumbled. Well…there was one guy sitting on the benches, utterly focused on a book in his lap, but besides for him the place was totally deserted.
So he turned instead, drifting along behind Aloe as she headed for the counter. A woman standing behind it glanced over and smiled. She trotted over toward where Aloe stood, saying something in that same language that Rowen still couldn’t understand. Frustration welled up in him again.
He must’ve made a noise, because Aloe’s head turned, her green eyes settling on him. “Sorry, ser,” she said in blessed English, looking back to the clerk. “We’re bound for Emerald Hills? I was hoping we didn’t miss the mail run.”
The clerk’s brow furrowed for a moment as Aloe spoke, and she glanced to Rowen, but shook off her confusion quickly. “Of course,” she said, offering Aloe a smile. “Yannok will be taking the wing up within the hour. Last flight of the night.”
“Just in time,” Aloe said, flashing a smile at Rowen. He smiled back. It seemed like the thing to do.
“For the both of you, that’ll be 84 calistons,” the clerk said, leaning over to grab a tray from farther down the counter.
Aloe froze, one hand just starting to rise from her pocket. A small leather bag was clutched in it. “Pardon?”
The clerk straightened with a sigh, setting the tray down again. Coins and small colored markers glittered at its bottom. “84-”
“For the mail flight?” Aloe said. She still stood frozen, lips tight-pressed. “I’ve been gone for a while, but that can’t be right.”
“A new sinkhole has formed beneath Asara’s Rift,” the clerk said. “It’s been troublesome for the last year or so. Yannok’s got to go the long way around the edge.” She smiled tightly, her eyes hard. “The price goes up.”
Aloe held her pose a moment longer, lips parting gently. She glanced down into the pouch.
And then her shoulders drooped, a subtle weariness settling over her. She dug through the tiny bag, pulling a scattering of polished coins free. “Here,” she mumbled. The coins fell into the clerk’s hand. “Suppose it can’t be helped.”
“Sorry,” the clerk said, and her expression softened a smidge. “If you wait by the docks, Yannok should pole it out soon.”
“Thank you,” Aloe said.
She headed for the stairs. Rowen followed after giving the clerk a quick nod. Butterflies swirled in his gut. Oh, this sucked. He’d been short on his bills enough times to recognize that whole exchange, and…well, Aloe was out there buying supplies and clothes and flight tickets of all things. All because of him. It burned at him like acid.
So as Aloe flopped down on the final bench in the row, leaning her head against the wooden timbers that formed the shed’s side, Rowen crept after her.
“Uh,” he said. “We really don’t have to do this. I can- Okay, I don’t have a car either, but maybe I could-”
He bit off what he’d been about to say, grimacing. He’d been about to suggest they head back to Earth, and he could figure something out for transportation there. But what? If he was dead, his bank accounts were probably locked—and even if they weren’t, it’d be a hell of a suspicious event if some dead guy started making withdrawals. And he couldn’t call anyone for help, either, for the same reasons.
“W-Well,” he mumbled. “I could-”
“Don’t worry,” he heard Aloe sigh. He looked up. Her eyes were closed, but she shook her head. “I’m not broke or anything like that. Don’t leap to conclusions.”
“Oh,” Rowen said. “I just…feel bad.”
She grimaced. “You shouldn’t feel bad here at all,” he heard her mutter.
“Yeah, but-”
“I’ll be fine,” Aloe said. “I’m just-”
She yawned, pressing a hand to her face as if to rub the sleepiness away. She blinked twice, green eyes bleary.
“This is a whole lot of expense I didn’t plan on,” she mumbled. “I’m…fine. But I’ll probably need to take some commissions when we get to the Hills.”
“Commissions?” Rowen said.
Aloe nodded, eyes still closed. “Special jobs for people,” she said. “Problem critters. Specific components they need acquired. Usually from big scary things they don’t want to deal with themselves.”
“Uh,” Rowen said. He licked his lips, giving her a nervous grin. “That kind of sounds like something we don’t want to mess with either.”
“I’ll be fine,” Aloe said. Her lips curled up. “Haven’t gotten gored yet.”
“Please don’t get gored,” Rowen said. “Christ.”
At the curse, he saw a few heads around the room lift. The man at the end of the benches glanced up, his brow furrowing. It was confusion on his face, not anger.
Shit. Something told Rowen it wasn’t the profanity that had them bothered. It’s probably not a good idea to broadcast you’re a human, his thoughts screamed. Keep your mouth shut for once.
He hunched his shoulders higher, ducking his chin low. The eyes flitted away from him, their interest fading.
But it did raise some worrying questions that’d almost slipped his mind. “Aloe?” he said, keeping his voice low.
“Mmm?” She lifted her head, peering one-eyed at him.
“People here don’t speak English.”
“Sure they do,” Aloe said. “The lady spoke English just now.”
“You know what I mean,” Rowen mumbled. “They’re speaking something else, too, even if they use English sometimes. Is…” He hesitated. “Is it going to be a problem I don’t speak whatever that is?”
Aloe opened her eyes, then shook her head, pinching the bridge of her nose. “English is still common in the edge territories,” she said. “A lot of people live on or near Earth.” Lines dug in between her eyes as she frowned. “Especially with new instability.” Her voice dropped lower, her eyes darkening—but she took a deep breath, returning her gaze to Rowen. “English should be plenty for you to get by in all but the lowest ranges of the deeproads. And if we’re that far down, you’ll be with me.” Her eyebrow quirked. “I’m really not planning on it, though.”
“But everyone else speaks that language, right?” Rowen said.
“Ereliit,” Aloe said. “And…I suppose so. Ora was Erelin, so the language sort of became…” She waved a hand through the air, “dominant, after the Children departed.”
“Isn’t there any way I could learn?” Rowen said. He wasn’t sure why it bothered him so much. Aloe didn’t seem concerned about it, after all—but if something went wrong, he’d be trapped somewhere he couldn’t even speak the language, with no way to even communicate. Potentially.
Aloe groaned. Her head leaned back, blonde hair ruffling between her scarf and the wooden wall. “There’s magic for it, sure,” she mumbled. “Not going to do much good, is it?”
Once again, his mysterious magic seemed for damn sure like it was only here to make his life harder. Rowen clenched his jaw, but stilled himself, letting his shoulders fall from their rise. “So not magic, then,” he said. “I’m not awful at languages. Could I-”
“You’ve just got to make my life difficult, hmm?” Aloe said with a sigh. Her head bobbed. “I’ll…figure something out.”
“No, I- I didn’t mean-” Rowen began, but stopped himself. Inwardly, he cursed. Why hadn’t he thought ahead a little? Aloe was already trying to help him and run her business. She didn’t need to worry about educating him too. He’d just…hoped for a textbook or something he could read over. Those had to exist, right?
“Thanks,” he mumbled.
Her lips curled up. “No problem.”
He masked a chuckle with one hand, giving her a look. She was still fighting the sleep, but it was winning, inch by inch. Just take the damn nap, he willed. They were going to be stuck here anyway, waiting on the stupid sylphwing thing. The whole flying boat thing was still etched with horrifying precision into his thoughts. That was coming. Soon.
Stressing over it wouldn’t change their plans, though, so he leaned back against the bench, turning his sights to the horizon. The sun was going down in full, steadily sinking lower behind a towering, forest-covered mountain. Birds with long, trailing tails looped and soared overhead, filling the air with their trilling cries.
It was pretty. His eyes sifted through it all, lingering here and there as he took the sights in. “And someone made all this?” he murmured. Totally incredible.
The puzzle-driven part of him was already trundling in, slapping down list after list of questions. If this was all artificial, how had the animals gotten here, or the plants? Were they real too? And what about the landscape—had someone meticulously crafted every piece of it, or was it somehow a natural creation within this person-crafted space?
The rest of him stomped down hard on those thoughts. He didn’t know, and maybe he’d ask Aloe about it all later, when she had more time. For now, he might as well enjoy it.
So he stretched out his arms, letting his weight sink into the wooden bench, and gazed out across the horizon. Aloe let out a low, rumbling snore behind him, and he chuckled. Guess she lost the war.
It…was starting to sink in now, he was pretty sure. More than anything, he wanted to get up and run straight back where they’d come from and climb in his own bed, in his own apartment, surrounded by his own things. He’d close his eyes, and all of this would have been a dream. He’d get up the next morning and go to work. The life he’d painstakingly planned would all come back, like nothing had happened.
But little by little, he could feel that slipping away.
Rowen ducked his head, closing his eyes tight. This wasn’t helping anyone. Getting all down in the dumps wasn’t going to bring him back. But…maybe if he sorted this out with Aloe, if all the Children people recognized him as one of them…
Maybe they’d use their magic to help him. The idea was like a candle in a dark room, like a punch straight to his chest. They’d erased him with magic. Maybe, if he was free, he could get them to put him back, and-
He let his breath hiss out, jamming his hands into his pockets, and slumped lower on the bench. “No,” he whispered. “That’s not going to happen.” That was just too complicated, and it got more complicated with every day that passed. With how things had been going, Rowen wasn’t counting on winning his citizenship anytime soon.
Grimacing, he lifted his head, staring back out to the horizon. The low, mournful sound of evening bells rang from deeper in the lakeside village, the perfect match to his mood.
But there was… His brow furrowed. Something glimmered out against the steadily-darkening mountains. He stood, squinting, and crossed to lean against the railing of the aviary. It was a little speck of light—and while it was incredibly hard to make out anything across a distance like that, he was pretty sure it was heading in their direction.
Rowen glanced from side to side, but the few Orrans in sight all seemed totally unbothered. “Guess it’s normal, then?” he whispered.
Aloe mumbled something behind him, the words hazy and unintelligible. He chuckled. So the great Aloisia talked in her sleep? Well, the few customers milling around would have to deal with it, because he was not about to wake her up. Not when she’d been tired enough to fall asleep in this fantasy equivalent of a goddamn train station.
Rowen turned his eyes forward again. A hot breeze rolled off the water, rustling his hair into his eyes, and he brushed it away with a sigh. “It’s a nice night, at least.”
“T’geth’r,” Aloe murmured behind him. “And th…y’st’rday….
He chuckled, glancing to the side. “Here’s hoping you don’t say…anything…”
His words trailed off. His brow furrowed. Something…wasn’t right here. His senses were prickling, screaming in the back of his mind.
The air. It’d been steadily growing cooler as the sun sank toward the horizon. Not cold, exactly, but not warm, either. The lakeside breeze wafting through the dockhouse was hot. That was wrong.
With a pang, he realized he was wrong. It wasn’t rolling in off the water—the lake ahead of him was mirror-bright, not a ripple across its blue-black depths. The wind was coming from behind him
And as he turned, he caught a gleam of golden light dancing across Aloe’s cheek. As quickly as it’d appeared, it faded.
Rowen jumped, eyes snapping wide. “W-What the-”
“Ashes,” Aloe mumbled, her voice still slurred—but now, he realized he could make out her words. Wind wafted away from her in gentle, unceasing waves. “Blue…The boy and the…Beneath the…”
“Hey,” Rowen said, turning back toward her. Okay, he’d just told himself he wasn’t going to wake her up, but there were limits. This was getting weird. She wouldn’t want to sleep through a nightmare anyway, right?
As he approached, her head lolled, her lips moving ever more steadily. Her eyelids fluttered, her eyes darting this way and that beneath.
Hell of a dream she’s having. “Aloe,” Rowen said, crouching in front of her. He took her shoulder, giving a gentle shake—and then, when she didn’t respond, a firmer one. “Aloe, wake up. You’re-”
“Twixt rock and sky, the hand reaches,” Aloe said, her head rising with a jerk. Rowen fell away with a cry. Her eyes were wide, burning like pools of fierce-glowing gold. “Unbroken yet devoured in slices, etched and scarred, the drip-drop of rain, the stamping of feet. A spire of sand, naught but wishes and spit upon which-”
“Aloe,” Rowen whispered. His heart hammered in his chest. Aloe continued unbroken, a steady stream of nonsense pouring from her lips. Her eyes stared ahead, sightless and horribly, sickeningly empty. The air around her grew hotter by the second.
“Like the river, like the well,” Aloe said. Her back arched, her eyes burning brighter. “Until he’s had his fill, and then-”
“Wake up,” Rowen said, lunging back in. His hands closed around her shoulders, and this time, he shook her hard enough to rattle her bones. “Aloe. Please. Just-”
Her words died in a strangled, ragged gasp, like she’d talked all the air out of her. Aloe’s eyes squeezed shut, then slammed open again. A grin spread across Rowen’s face as he saw the familiar green of them, accompanied by a wave of relief.
Aloe lurched, her hand closing in his shirt. Her other hand scrabbled against him, digging to find purchase. She gasped again, the noise right on the verge of a sob.
“You’re good,” Rowen said softly, holding her up. “It’s okay. You’re good now.”
Inwardly, though, his thoughts screamed. What the hell had that been? What was wrong with her?
Aloe licked her lips, shaking her head—then pressed a hand to her face, pulling away from him. “Sorry,” she whispered. “Sorry, I- I don’t know what-”
“Are you okay?” Rowen said. His pulse thundered still.
She nodded, though, rubbing her eyes. “Yes,” he heard her mumble. “Yes, I’m- I’m fine.”
“Well, you don’t look fine,” he snapped. “Seriously. Are you okay? What the hell was that?”
A few heads had turned in their direction, Rowen saw with a start. He clenched his teeth, looking back to Aloe. Keep a grip. Don’t just freak out.
“It’s nothing,” Aloe said. Her voice was low, barely even loud enough to be called a whisper. “I’m just a bit tired, and-”
His hands tightened against her shoulders. “Aloe.” Anger was joining his fear, now. More was going on here than he knew—and while she tried to take the high road and act like some sort of ethical champion, she was still keeping secrets from him.
“Don’t try and just brush that off,” he said, tension rippling through his words. “What the hell is going on here? Are you- What was-”
“One thing at a time,” Aloe mumbled, one hand still pressed to her forehead. Her gaze flicked back to him. “I…You don’t need to-”
A horn blared overhead. Both of them jumped. A cry went up from out on the docks.
Rowen looked over—and flinched, eyes going wide, at the sight of a wooden schooner descending at a prodigious rate, a narrow sail glowing with golden light mounted over its cabin. A dark figure was just visible at its stern.
Voices started to rise around them as others drifted over to watch the landing. Rowen groaned, drooping. “Great,” he mumbled. Their ride was here, it looked like.
Aloe took a step forward, coming up alongside him. “It’s nothing you have to worry about,” she said, soft enough the words wouldn’t carry. “I do mean that. My magic is just…a little special. And that comes with some downsides.”
Rowen glanced over. One of the dockworkers charged past him with a cry, carrying a pair of big canvas sacks. He leaned out of the way, then looked back to her. “Special? Downsides? I still don’t understand what just-”
“I know,” Aloe said. “Just…” She glanced to the dock, which was filling with activity as the skiff dropped lower. “Can you wait until we’re on the boat so I don’t have to explain it to everyone?
Rowen paused, then nodded. He could wait. But…he glanced over to her again, raising an eyebrow. His thoughts were racing, splicing together the details he’d picked up thus far. “Does this have anything to do with why Kyran’s interested in you, or whatever?” He could remember every detail of their encounter, before she’d left him to decide his fate. I’ve been the target of Kyran’s curiosity before, too, she’d said. And Kanna had told him Aloe had as much reason to hate Kyran as he did.
Her eyes darkened—but the corners of her lips twitched up. “It does,” she said.
A wave of satisfaction rolled through him. Knew it. “Okay,” he said, starting to grin. “Because I was wondering what exactly the story was between you two. It’s obvious there’s something, I just-”
“That?” Aloe said. Her eyes widened fractionally. Honest surprise gleamed from within—followed by the swift return of exhaustion. “Oh. I thought I told you already. Sorry.”
“What?” Rowen said, a touch stupidly. “No, you didn’t. Told me what?”
Aloe shrugged, making a face. “He was- Well, no, I suppose he still is, technically, but…hell.” She shook her head, then let her weary gaze settle on him.
“Kyran is my fiance.”
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2023.05.27 00:07 ralo_ramone An Otherworldly Scholar [LitRPG, Isekai] - Chapter 5

Ienus Rob, einus Elincia,” I said under the attentive glance of Elincia’s emerald eyes. I am Rob, you are Elincia.
Elincia nodded across the campfire and a smile of satisfaction tugged at her lips. Her features had a strange timeless look to them that made me doubt her age. Her skin was smooth and fair, yet, her smart eyes were wise beyond her apparent age. Ultimately, my lack of vocabulary and the memories of my mother’s chancla prevented me from asking.
Eique nus?” I asked, hesitantly.
“Elincia,” she answered.
Ieque nus?” I asked again.
“Rob.”
Elincia clapped exactly two times, a gesture I quickly recognized as some sort of unspoken ‘good job’. It was funny that Elincia celebrated even the smallest of my successes. Kind of cute even. If I had to venture a guess, she had already worked with small children before. Maybe she had a little sibling, or a child.
Conditions fulfilled.
You have obtained a new skill.
Scholar unique skill [Master of Languages] acquired.
As always, the System prompt startled me. My brain was once again kneaded like dough and stretched like noodles, to the point I was about to lose balance. The sensation receded after an instant and I found a mint grammatical framework carved into my brain. Common. I couldn’t speak it because my inner dictionary was empty but strangely enough, I knew how to arrange sentences.
New mental note; ask Elincia if everyone in this world felt the same after learning a new skill. As far as it didn’t leave permanent neurological damage I was kinda okay with it. I decided the System wasn’t as bad as I initially thought.
Blinking repeatedly, I waited for the sensation of having an empty dictionary engraved in my brain to disappear. But it didn’t. Whatever change the System had made to my brain seemed to be permanent, which was worrisome in its own way. The perspective of a System that could control my brain was creepy to say the least.
“It is what it is,” I sighed.
Taking advantage of my new skills was the only reasonable course of action, so I started pointing at things, prompting Elincia to say their names in Common. Myinch meant tree and also wood depending on the context. Jilp meant stone. Sje meant floor, ground, and the lowest part of something. Sa’ meant branch and twig. Tsuil meant knife, blade and eyelashes for some reason. Feeding the empty dictionary inside my brain felt as good as eating the golden fruits. Was this the System’s true power?
From time to time, Elincia stopped paying attention to my demands and surveyed our surroundings. Given her bow skills and the agility she displayed during the fight with the Black Wolf, I assumed she was a Hunter or an Archer. And if my RPG knowledge was translatable to this world, she also had some sort of vigilance skill. Whatever it was, no monsters came near the camp.
After exhausting all the material objects around us, I went for more intangible things. I pretended to eat from a plate. A timid smile crept on Elincia’s lips as I mimicked, but she managed to remain stoic. Ma meant eat. Kwut meant sleep. Jik meant drink and read. ‘Drinking a book’ was technically a correct sentence in Common.
I learnt about twenty common verbs when the System popped another sudden prompt in front of my face.
New word learned!
Words learned: 301
Rank: Twaddling Toddler
My brain, assisted by [Master of Languages] compiled meanings and conjugations at a record speed as Elincia taught me words and concepts. I was so immersed in the activity that I didn’t notice the passage of time. From time to time, Elincia’s face relaxed and she seemed to enjoy our conversation just to return to her cautious ways a moment later.
“I’m not a monster, you know?” I said in broken Common when I ran out of concepts to mimic.
Elincia shrugged her shoulders, raising a wall between us once more.
“We are in the Farlands, you better start assuming everyone you meet here is a Mimic. Even if you are not a Mimic, you can be a Bandit or something worse,” Elincia said as if it was the most obvious thing. “But I don’t expect a Scholar to understand how to survive in the Farlands.”
“How do you know my class?” I asked, ignoring her derisive tone. There was something behind Elincia’s snarky attitude other than common mistrust. At least she was trying to use simple language to talk to me.
“You have a skill called [Master of Languages], that’s how you are learning Common so fast. I might live in the butthole of the kingdom but I’m not that ignorant,” the white-haired woman shrugged her shoulders again. It seemed like my time of asking questions had run out. “I need answers. Who are you? Where are you from? What’s that thing strapped to your chest? And remember, if you lie to me I’ll leave you here.”
Despite the fact I spent the last years constantly receiving shit from my former boss, I wasn’t a fan of being threatened. Instead of snapping back, I took a deep breath and pondered over my answer. There was a time for snarky comments and a time for using my brain. And I couldn’t ignore the fact the System had told me to hide my place of origin.
[Awareness] flooded my brain with possible explanations. Maybe the inhabitants of this world knew about dimensional travelers, and they didn’t like them.
Luckily, I was a great liar.
“I’m Robert Clarke, a humble Scholar from the City of Light,” I said, extending my hand towards Elincia. She looked at me like I was crazy, so I explained. “You would grab my hand. It’s a greeting from my land, to show each party is unarmed.”
Elincia didn’t move from her seat.
“Stupid. You can’t tell what skills someone has with a handshake,” she said, ignoring my greeting and keeping her hands under her cloak. I hoped she wasn’t pointing at me with a hidden mini crossbow. “I have never heard of a City of Light, sounds fake.”
Expecting at least the benefit of the doubt seemed to be asking too much and my blood was starting to boil. People around me always regarded me as a relaxed dude, however, even I had a limit. And my limit seemed to be stranded in an unknown forest with ravenous beasts trying to eat me.
“Look, lady, I was peacefully surveying a property when I fell through a trap door and woke up here in the middle of the Farlands with only an obscure warning from the System. I have killed creatures I didn’t know existed. I’m hungry, I’m thirsty, and I’m fucking tired,” I said, indiscriminately mixing English and Common. I was starting to lose my temper. “So, if you could stop giving me shit, I'd appreciate it.”
Elincia recoiled and I instantly regretted my words. I wasn’t making a good case to win her trust. Unexpectedly enough, the woman raised her hands with her palms forward, her face suddenly showing signs of regret.
“You are right, I’m sorry. You have only helped me and I took my frustrations out with you… and I’m sorry you can’t return home, you must be going through a lot right now and I’m not helping,” Elincia said with an apologetic tone. As the words came from her lips, it became apparent I wasn’t the only one going through a lot.
The conversation died and the only sound that disturbed the forest silence was the cracking of the logs on the campfire.
“Let’s start again,” Elincia stood from the boulder she was using as a seat and limped to the campfire. She sat next to me and awkwardly extended her hand. “Elincia Rosebud, Alchemist level twenty four. Don’t you dare say anything about my last name if you know what is good for you.”
My jaw hung open for a solid second before I could react and shook her hand. It was soft. I pantomimed zipping my mouth shut and Elincia gave me a confused expression. The woman tilting her head was the most delightful gesture I had seen in my almost thirty years of life. She didn’t seem to understand what I was doing so I showed her the zipper of my jacket.
Elincia was beyond fascinated by the mechanism to the point she leaned over me to have a better look. When I offered her the jacket she flatly refused, hiding her hands inside her cloak once again.
“Looks expensive and I probably don’t have the money to pay for it if I break it,” she shook her head energetically.
Suddenly a shadow settled on Elincia’s face so I changed the subject.
“Where are we anyway?” I asked.
Elincia grabbed a small branch and drew a few lines on the ground.
“We are in Ebros Kingdom's northern frontier, about three weeks away from the capital, in a remote shithole called Farcrest under the rule of Marquis Astur, protector of the frontier and bla bla bla...” Elincia pointed out with her stick.
The Farlands encroached all the northern and western part of the kingdom. I unintentionally frowned at the notice we were in a kingdom. I wasn’t eager to deal with royalty on top of the already dangerous monsters, I just hoped their laws regarding foreigners were not brutal.
Elincia noticed my gesture because she quickly added. “Living near the Northern Farlands isn’t all that bad. It’s been ten years without a Monster Surge so you could say it's a peaceful place.”
If the Black Wolves weren’t ‘all that bad’, I didn’t want to imagine what kind of abomination inhabited the ‘quite bad’ places. Well, that was a partial lie. The mere idea of seeing dragons and other mythical creatures from Earth was hyping me a bit more than expected.
My expression must’ve given me away because the woman instantly scolded me. “I’m not saying the Farlands are a safe place, they are no place for a Scholar no matter how adventure hungry you are.”
Under Elincia’s harsh eyes was a quite protective personality.
“I had enough adventure for a lifetime already,” I lied.
“Pff, typical Scholar, going out to see the sun for half a day and calling it ‘adventure’,” Elincia mockingly said despite having scolded me two seconds earlier but when I turned to reply I saw the mischievous smile on her lips. She was teasing me.
“For your information, I already killed a Corrupted Bear and an Elder Black Wolf. Un-fucking-scratched,” I opened my arms for Elincia to see my wound free body.
“Aaand, unsurprisingly enough, the Scholar blatantly lies like a typical Scholar,” Elincia crossed her arms under her cloak and glanced at me with her deep emerald eyes. “So… you found the camping gear before or after crossing the magical trapdoor?”
The woman’s skeptical tone returned and a mask of mistrust took over Elincia’s face again.
Then it hit me. I was an Earthling molded and used to the customs of my own land. Back on Earth, meeting a random person on a trekking trail was just a chance of engaging in small talk. The possibility of finding a stranger with nefarious intentions was real but slim at best. However, the same rules didn’t apply in this world.
“The trapdoor took me to a near perfect copy of the building I was surveying. All the camping gear belonged to the owner of the cabin except for my shoes and my pants,” I explained.
“And you couldn’t return through the same trapdoor?” Elincia continued relentlessly dissecting my story. Maybe the fact I wasn’t suspicious of Elincia was a suspicious gesture per se.
“Do you think I would be here if the trapdoor was a two-way portal?” I pretended to be deeply offended.
“I guess not?” Elincia doubtfully conceded. “Scholars are well known to poke their noses into dangerous places from time to time. When they are not locked up with their books, they like to peek into places full of mystery like the Farlands where the magic runs free and lawless.”
That was quite an accurate description of myself.
“I’m more of a teaching focused Scholar,” I replied, trying to deflect her accusations.
But she had a point. When I was a kid I dreamed of being an explorer Indiana Jones style to discover forgotten temples with magical portals to other dimensions. Then I learned there was nothing left to be unearthed. However, I was here, in a magical world with a woman who had never heard of planet Earth. It struck me as funny, little Robby wouldn’t believe what awaited him in the far future.
Elincia suddenly perked up and glanced towards the forest. I thought I saw a glint of mana swirling around her emerald eyes but before I could notice, it was gone.
“We overextended our stay, we have to go,” Elincia stood up, putting her weight on her healthy leg. The sun was high in the sky but I knew from experience that afternoons were short at that point of the year. We only had a few hours to leave the forest behind before dusk.
“I saw like three dead Black Wolves down the ravine,” I said, suddenly remembering the mangled corpses I had found earlier.
“Yeah, one or two days old corpses. Nothing to worry about, I’ll get you out of the woods before anything could find us,” Elincia shrugged her shoulders as she quickly put out the campfire.
We scavenged the few things in Elincia's camp that survived the Wolf’s raid and started walking south. Elincia led the march and guided me through the forest until the terrain became rockier and rougher and the trees more scarce. Even with her wounded leg, she didn’t complain once.
As we left the trees behind and we reached the skirt of a steep rocky hill, Elincia slowed down and pointed towards a hidden path between two rocks.
“Black Wolves didn’t usually venture out of the forest. If you ever get lost in the Farlands, stay out of the forest and next to the mountains unless you know exactly where you are going,” Elincia said with her pedagogic tone of voice. “And avoid fighting at all costs unless you know you can win.”
“Now you sound like my mother lecturing me before going camping,” I said, enduring the slope of the hill with the help of [Improved Stamina]. At that point I loved the System as much as I hated it.
“I get that from time to time,” Elincia turned around to give me a tired smile. As we crossed the hidden path between the rocks, Elincia suddenly stopped. “It was fun to teach you how to speak Common, and sorry for being an asshole, Robert Clarke. I think this is our goodbye. If you hug this mountain you will reach Farcrest by tomorrow.”
“What? Why?” I asked. The woman’s sudden goodbye caught me off guard, I was under the impression we were going in the same direction. “You aren’t going to Farcrest?”
The light on Elincia’s face faded away as she shook her head
“I’m here to gather herbs and I can’t return empty handed,” the woman sighed with a sad expression. “And before you come up with any Scholar solutions, yes, I already tried to buy the ingredients back in Farcrest but with the war in the western frontier, prices are sky high.”
I closed my mouth. To her credit I was totally going to say buying the ingredients and taking advantage of her class seemed wiser than venturing into the Farlands.
“But you are wounded…” I objected, I was starting to like the girl and her blunt yet genuine style.
“One of my kids is sick. I can’t leave without ingredients to brew the medicine,” Elincia cut me off, panic almost showing on her face.
My heart sank. Despite having a sick child at home, Elincia had taken the time to patiently teach me the basics of her language. It might be a long shot but my backpack was full of the Alchemical ingredients I had looted the day before. I pulled out my backpack and revealed the inner pockets filled to the brim with high magical concentration herbs. Elincia let out a small squeal and her eyes twinkled upon seeing my stash of weeds.
A special skill wasn’t required to see that my loot was valuable.
“I’m willing to part with some herbs in exchange for a guide, what do you say?” I tried to sound as if I wanted to do business instead of handing herbs out of pity.
“Dire Cress, Moon Laurel, Deadman Nettle, Red Rat-tail…” Elincia listed the ingredients as I opened the pockets of my backpack. Then, suddenly, she rubbed her eyes and let out a sigh full of relief.
Elincia looked at me with her red eyes and smiled.
“We have a deal, Scholar Robert Clarke.”
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2023.05.26 23:42 JoshAsdvgi Trail of Tears

Trail of Tears

In 1830, at President Andrew Jackson’s urging, Congress passed the Indian Removal Act in order to free up land for the nation’s expanding white population.
The act granted the president the power to negotiate treaties with Native American tribes to relinquish their lands east of the Mississippi River in exchange for unsettled lands west of the river.
While some Indians complied peacefully, the Cherokee, among other tribes, resisted. In 1838, U.S. troops rounded up the Cherokees from their traditional lands in the southern Appalachians, held them in camps then forced them to relocate to Indian Territory, in present-day Oklahoma.
An estimated 15,000 to 16,000 Cherokee people made the grueling journey west, following one of several routes that collectively became known as the Trail of Tears. Along the way, some 3,000 to 4,000 of them died from disease, malnutrition and exposure.
Check out seven facts about this infamous chapter in American history.
Davy Crockett objected to Indian removal.
Frontiersman Davy Crockett, whose grandparents were killed by Creeks and Cherokees, was a scout for Andrew Jackson during the Creek War (1813-14). However, while serving as a U.S. congressman from Tennessee, Crockett broke with President Jackson over the Indian Removal Act, calling it unjust. Despite warnings that his opposition to Indian removal would cost him his seat in Congress, where he’d served since 1827, Crockett said, “I would sooner be honestly and politically damned than hypocritically immortalized.” The year after the act’s 1830 passage, Crockett lost his bid for reelection. After being voted back into office in 1833, he continued to express his opposition to Jackson’s policy and wrote that he would leave the U.S. for the “wildes of Texas” if Martin Van Buren, Jackson’s vice president, succeeded him in the White House. After Crockett was again defeated for reelection, in 1835, he did go to Texas, where he died fighting at the Alamo in March 1836.
Renegade Cherokees signed a treaty selling all tribal lands.
John Ross, who was of Scottish and Cherokee ancestry and became the tribe’s principal chief in 1828, was strongly opposed to giving up the Cherokees’ ancestral lands, as were the majority of the Cherokee people. However, a small group within the tribe believed it was inevitable that white settlers would keep encroaching on their lands and therefore the only way to preserve Cherokee culture and survive as a tribe was to move west. In 1835, while Ross was away, this minority faction signed a treaty at New Echota, the Cherokee Nation capital (located in Georgia), agreeing to sell the U.S. government all tribal lands in the East in exchange for $5 million and new land in the West. As part of the agreement, the government was supposed help cover the Cherokees’ moving costs and pay to support them during their first year in Indian Territory. When Ross found out about the treaty, he argued it had been made illegally. Nevertheless, in 1836 it was ratified by a single vote in the U.S. Senate and signed by President Jackson. The treaty gave the Cherokees two years to vacate their lands. In June 1839, after the Cherokees had been forced to relocate to Indian Territory, several leaders of the so-called Treaty Party, who’d advocated for the New Echota agreement, were assassinated by tribe members who’d opposed removal to the west.
Martin Van Buren ordered the roundup of the Cherokees.
During his two terms in the White House, from 1829 to 1837, Andrew Jackson was responsible for putting Indian removal policies in place; however, he left office before the 1838 deadline for the Cherokees to surrender their lands in the East. It was Jackson’s presidential successor, Martin Van Buren, who ordered General Winfield Scott to forcibly evict the Cherokees. Scott’s troops rounded up thousands of Cherokees and then imprisoned them in forts in Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina and Alabama. During these roundups, the Indians weren’t given time to pack and family members, including children, sometimes got left behind if they weren’t home when the soldiers showed up. The Indians were transferred from the forts to detention camps, most of them in Tennessee, to await deportation. At both the forts and camps, living conditions were bleak and diseases rampant, and an unknown number of Cherokees died.
The Trail of Tears wasn’t just one route.
The first group of Cherokees departed Tennessee in June 1838 and headed to Indian Territory by boat, a journey that took them along the Tennessee, Ohio, Mississippi and Arkansas rivers. Heat and extended drought soon made travel along this water route impractical, so that fall and winter thousands more Cherokees were forced to trek from Tennessee to present-day Oklahoma via one of several overland routes. Federal officials allowed Chief John Ross to take charge of these overland removals, and he organized the Indians into 13 groups, each comprised of nearly a thousand people. Although there were some wagons and horses, most people had to walk.
The route followed by the largest number of Cherokees—12,000 people or more, according to some estimates—was the northern route, a distance of more than 800 miles through Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas and into Indian Territory. The last groups of Cherokees made it to Indian Territory in March 1839. A century later, Route 66, the iconic highway established in 1926, overlapped with part of this route, from Rolla to Springfield, Missouri.

Not all Cherokees left the Southeast.
A small group of Cherokee people managed to remain in North Carolina, either as a result of an 1819 agreement that enabled them to stay on their land there, or because they hid in the mountains from the U.S. soldiers sent to capture them. The group, which also included people who walked back from Indian Territory, became known as the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Today, the group has approximately 12,500 members, who live primarily in western North Carolina on the 57,000-acre Qualla Boundary.

The Cherokees rebuilt in Indian Territory.
In the first years after their arrival in Indian Territory, life was difficult for many Cherokees. However, under the leadership of Chief Ross the tribe rebuilt in the 1840s and 1850s, establishing businesses and a public school system and publishing what was then America’s only tribal newspaper. When the U.S. Civil War broke out, the Cherokee Nation found itself politically divided. Ross initially believed the Cherokees should remain neutral in the conflict, but there was a faction who supported the South so the chief made an alliance with the Confederacy, in part to try to keep the Cherokees united. Ross soon grew disillusioned with the Confederates, who had abandoned their promises of protection and supplies to the Indians. Ross spent the rest of the war in Philadelphia, where his second wife had a home (his first wife died while walking the Trail of Tears) and Washington, D.C., trying to convince President Abraham Lincoln that the Cherokees were loyal to the Union. Ross died of illness on August 1, 1866, having served as principal chief for nearly 40 years.
The U.S. apologized to Native American groups in 2009.
In December 2009, President Barack Obama signed a bill that included an official apology to all American Indian tribes for past injustices. U.S. Senators Sam Brownback of Kansas and Byron Dorgan of North Dakota led a bipartisan effort to pass the resolution, which stated: “the United States, acting through Congress…recognizes that there have been years of official depredations, ill-conceived policies, and the breaking of covenants by the Federal Government regarding Indian tribes.” However, the resolution did not call for reparations and included a disclaimer that it wasn’t meant to support any legal claims against the United States.
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At the beginning of the 1830s, nearly 125,000 Native Americans lived on millions of acres of land in Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, North Carolina and Florida–land their ancestors had occupied and cultivated for generations.
By the end of the decade, very few natives remained anywhere in the southeastern United States.
Working on behalf of white settlers who wanted to grow cotton on the Indians’ land, the federal government forced them to leave their homelands and walk thousands of miles to a specially designated “Indian territory” across the Mississippi River.
This difficult and sometimes deadly journey is known as the Trail of Tears.
THE “INDIAN PROBLEM”
White Americans, particularly those who lived on the western frontier, often feared and resented the Native Americans they encountered:
To them, American Indians seemed to be an unfamiliar, alien people who occupied land that white settlers wanted (and believed they deserved).
Some officials in the early years of the American republic, such as President George Washington, believed that the best way to solve this “Indian problem” was simply to “civilize” the Native Americans.
The goal of this civilization campaign was to make Native Americans as much like white Americans as possible by encouraging them convert to Christianity, learn to speak and read English, and adopt European-style economic practices such as the individual ownership of land and other property (including, in some instances in the South, African slaves).
In the southeastern United States, many Choctaw, Chickasaw, Seminole, Creek and Cherokee people embraced these customs and became known as the “Five Civilized Tribes.”
Indian removal took place in the Northern states as well.
In Illinois and Wisconsin, for example, the bloody Black Hawk War in 1832 opened to white settlement millions of acres of land that had belonged to the Sauk, Fox and other native nations.
But their land, located in parts of Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina, Florida and Tennessee, was valuable, and it grew to be more coveted as white settlers flooded the region.
Many of these whites yearned to make their fortunes by growing cotton, and they did not care how “civilized” their native neighbors were:
They wanted that land and they would do almost anything to get it.
They stole livestock; burned and looted houses and towns;, and squatted on land that did not belong to them.
State governments joined in this effort to drive Native Americans out of the South.
Several states passed laws limiting Native American sovereignty and rights and encroaching on their territory. In a few cases, such as Cherokee Nation v. Georgia (1831) and Worcester v. Georgia (1832), the U.S. Supreme Court objected to these practices and affirmed that native nations were sovereign nations “in which the laws of Georgia [and other states] can have no force.”
Even so, the maltreatment continued.
As President Andrew Jackson noted in 1832, if no one intended to enforce the Supreme Court’s rulings (which he certainly did not), then the decisions would “[fall]…still born.” Southern states were determined to take ownership of Indian lands and would go to great lengths to secure this territory.
INDIAN REMOVAL
Andrew Jackson had long been an advocate of what he called “Indian removal.”
As an Army general, he had spent years leading brutal campaigns against the Creeks in Georgia and Alabama and the Seminoles in Florida–campaigns that resulted in the transfer of hundreds of thousands of acres of land from Indian nations to white farmers.
As president, he continued this crusade.
In 1830, he signed the Indian Removal Act, which gave the federal government the power to exchange Native-held land in the cotton kingdom east of the Mississippi for land to the west, in the “Indian colonization zone” that the United States had acquired as part of the Louisiana Purchase.
(This “Indian territory” was located in present-day Oklahoma.)
The law required the government to negotiate removal treaties fairly, voluntarily and peacefully: It did not permit the president or anyone else to coerce Native nations into giving up their land.
However, President Jackson and his government frequently ignored the letter of the law and forced Native Americans to vacate lands they had lived on for generations.
In the winter of 1831, under threat of invasion by the U.S. Army, the Choctaw became the first nation to be expelled from its land altogether.
They made the journey to Indian territory on foot (some “bound in chains and marched double file,” one historian writes) and without any food, supplies or other help from the government.
Thousands of people died along the way.
It was, one Choctaw leader told an Alabama newspaper, a “trail of tears and death.”
THE TRAIL OF TEARS
The Indian-removal process continued. In 1836, the federal government drove the Creeks from their land for the last time: 3,500 of the 15,000 Creeks who set out for Oklahoma did not survive the trip.
The Cherokee people were divided:
What was the best way to handle the government’s determination to get its hands on their territory?
Some wanted to stay and fight.
Others thought it was more pragmatic to agree to leave in exchange for money and other concessions.
In 1835, a few self-appointed representatives of the Cherokee nation negotiated the Treaty of New Echota, which traded all Cherokee land east of the Mississippi for $5 million, relocation assistance and compensation for lost property.
To the federal government, the treaty was a done deal, but many of the Cherokee felt betrayed:
After all, the negotiators did not represent the tribal government or anyone else.
“The instrument in question is not the act of our nation,” wrote the nation’s principal chief, John Ross, in a letter to the U.S. Senate protesting the treaty.
“We are not parties to its covenants; it has not received the sanction of our people.”
Nearly 16,000 Cherokees signed Ross’s petition, but Congress approved the treaty anyway.
By 1838, only about 2,000 Cherokees had left their Georgia homeland for Indian territory. President Martin Van Buren sent General Winfield Scott and 7,000 soldiers to expedite the removal process.
Scott and his troops forced the Cherokee into stockades at bayonet point while whites looted their homes and belongings.
Then, they marched the Indians more than 1,200 miles to Indian territory.
Whooping cough, typhus, dysentery, cholera and starvation were epidemic along the way, and historians estimate that more than 5,000 Cherokee died as a result of the journey.
By 1840, tens of thousands of Native Americans had been driven off of their land in the southeastern states and forced to move across the Mississippi to Indian territory.
The federal government promised that their new land would remain unmolested forever, but as the line of white settlement pushed westward, “Indian country” shrank and shrank.
In 1907, Oklahoma became a state and Indian territory was gone for good.
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Trail of Tears

"I saw the helpless Cherokees arrested and dragged from their homes, and driven at the bayonet point into the stockades. And in the chill of a drizzling rain on an October morning I saw them loaded like cattle or sheep into six hundred and forty-five wagons and started toward the west....On the morning of November the 17th we encountered a terrific sleet and snow storm with freezing temperatures and from that day until we reached the end of the fateful journey on March the 26th 1839, the sufferings of the Cherokees were awful. The trail of the exiles was a trail of death. They had to sleep in the wagons and on the ground without fire. And I have known as many as twenty-two of them to die in one night of pneumonia due to ill treatment, cold and exposure..."

Private John G. Burnett, Captain Abraham McClellan's Company, 2nRegiment, 2nd Brigade, Mounted Infantry, Cherokee Indian Removal, 1838-39

Timeline
1700- Settlers continued to increase their number by birth and by immigration. There wasn’t enough land to go around so the settlers moved ever westward. More land was needed for tobacco plantations, as England demanded ever mote taxes. The Cherokees would leave a hunting territory for a few seasons to allow the wildlife to recover. When they returned they found the forest cut, dozens of cabins, and no wildlife in sight. The Cherokees would try to scare the settlers away, but the settlers had guns. When the settlers won, they called it an Indian war. When the Indians won, the white men called it a massacre.

1750 - The King of England made treaties with the Indians and gave them ‘King’s Grants’ to the land they claimed. The British sent soldiers to protect the boundaries and to regulate the fur trade between the Indians and the colonies. Soldiers took Indian wives and began calling the children after their own family names. Traders and Indian Agents caught smallpox in the settlements and rapidly spread it to the Indians who had no immunity. Within a few short years, the Indian population was reduced to about one-tenth of its original size.
The traders offered guns for furs. The Indians slaughtered hundreds of animals for furs to trade, and when they looked for game to eat, it had been nearly wiped out. The Cherokees would leave an area to let the game recover, and the settlers took this as a sign that the Indians had abandoned the land, and move in.

1775 – During the Revolutionary war, the Cherokees took the side of the British and attacked white settlements in their territory. After the war, many British soldiers decided to stay in the Cherokee Nation with their families. The new American government refused to honor the earlier ‘King’s Grants’ and sent the American Army to force the Cherokees to sign new treaties, which required them to give up more land.

By 1800, the Cherokee Nation had shrunk to less than ¼ of it’s original size. Most Cherokees had retreated to lands in northern Georgia and eastern Tennessee. Many had adopted white ways. The US government and the State of Georgia adopted anti-Indian policies, and used soldiers to enforce the new laws.

1812 – General Andrew Jackson wanted to drive out the Indians, but they were too strong for his army. He settled on a policy of divide and conquer. He started the French and Indian War of 1812 with the help of the Cherokees, they thought that by helping Andy Jackson drive out the Creek Indians, they would be given special treatment and left alone by the whites. Chief Tecumseh, of the Shawnee, tried to unify the remaining Indian Nations in a last ditch stand to resist the white invasion. In 1813, Chief Tecumseh died in battle and his dreams of a unified Indian Nation died with him.

1815 – The US government forced or tricked many Cherokees into signing treaties to trade their lands for land in Arkansas and Oklahoma. About half of the Cherokees left for the New Territories and became known as the Old Settlers.

1828 – Andrew Jackson was elected president, and Gold was discovered in Georgia. The US government was split as to protect the Cherokees land claims, or to let Georgia drive them out. Gold fever swept the south. Miners and get rich quick scam artists invaded Cherokee Territory murdering, raping, and burning. Chief James Vann, a district judge for the Cherokees, captured, tried and hung the criminals. Georgia threatened war over the outrage of Cherokees hanging white men. The Cherokees sent lawyers and statesmen to court to argue their case. The federal government had given them treaties for the land and they should be protected from the citizens and army of Georgia. Georgia governor, George Gilmore stated, “Treaties were a means by which ignorant, intractable, and savage people were induced to yield what Civilized Peoples had a right to possess.”

1830 – The US Supreme Court decided in favor of protecting the Cherokees land rights. President Andrew Jackson defied the Supreme Court and sent the army to Georgia to drive out the Cherokees. Jackson proclaimed, “Justice John Marshall has rendered his decision, now let him enforce it.” President Jackson signed the ‘Indian Removal Act’, which required the forced removal of all Indians east of the Mississippi River to the new ‘vacant’ land obtained in the “Louisiana Purchase, to be guaranteed to the Indian tribes for as long as they shall occupy it”. Between 1830 and 1839, hundreds of Cherokee families fled the district, to Tennessee, Alabama, and North Carolina. Even while these cases were being argued in court, the state of Georgia organized a land lottery to divide up the Cherokee Nation into farms and gold claims.

1831 – The Choctaws were driven from their homes in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. The federal government had agreed to pay to feed and clothe the Indians on their journey, but the money never came.

1836 – The Creeks were driven out at the point of a gun, put in chains and forced-marched by the US Army. Some 3,500 men women and children died of hunger and exposure along the way.

1837 – The Chickasaw loaded their belongings on wagons and headed west. The Seminoles chose to fight. After a long bloody war, the survivors were herded like cattle into any boat that would float and taken across the Gulf of Mexico and up the Mississippi.

1838 – Seven thousand federal troops, under the command of General Winfield Scott, were dispatched to the Cherokee Nation. Without warning, the troops broke down doors and drug people away to stockades. Those that moved too slowly were prodded with bayonets. In October, the Cherokees were herded into wooden stockades with no food, water, blankets, or sanitation. Most of them were barefoot and had no coats or blankets, yet they were forced to cross rivers in sub-zero weather.

They were forced-marched, with army guards, as far north as Indiana, on their way to Oklahoma. Thousands of men, women, and children froze to death, died of starvation and disease. The soldiers forced the Cherokees to abandon their dead at the side of the road. What few pitiful possessions they owned, had to be dropped at the side of the road in order to carry the sick and dying. Soldiers and settlers plundered the ancient Cherokee burial grounds for buried treasure. Family possessions left behind were plundered and burned. Of the 22,000 Cherokees who started this death-march, some 5,500 died on the way. One thousand six hundred Freedmen walked the Trail of Tears along with the rest of Cherokee.

At the plantation of Spring Place, the Georgia Guard threw a burning log onto the stairs to smoke out the people that lived there. The man who had won the house in the Georgia state lottery was there, urging the soldiers on to get ‘those people’ out of ‘his’ house. The Georgia Guard drove the missionaries out of their homes and school nearby, and turned it into a brothel for the army.

The witnesses

A guard (some years later) wrote, “I fought through the War (Civil War), and I saw men shot to pieces and slaughtered by the thousands, but the Cherokee Removal was the cruelest work I ever knew.”

A traveler from Maine wrote “Aging females, apparently nearly ready to drop into the grave, were traveling with heavy burdens attached to their backs – on frozen ground with no covering for their feet except what nature had given them. We learned from the inhabitants of the road where the Indians passed that they buried fourteen or fifteen at each stopping place.”

John G Burnett, a soldier who participated in the Removal wrote, “Men working in fields were arrested and driven into stockades. Women were dragged from their homes, by soldiers whose language they did not understand. Children were separated from their parents and driven into stockades with the sky for a blanket and the earth for a pillow. The old and infirm were prodded with bayonets to hasten them to the stockades. In one home, death had come during the night, a sad faced little child had died and was lying on a bear skin couch and some women were preparing the little boy for burial. All were arrested and driven out, leaving the dead child in the cabin. I don’t know who buried the body.
In another home was a frail mother, apparently a widow and three small children, one just a baby. When told that she must go, the mother gathered the children at her feet, prayed a humble prayer in her native tongue, patted the old family dog on the head, told the faithful creature goodbye, with a baby strapped on her back and leading a child with each hand, started on her exile. But the task was too great for the frail mother. A stroke of heart failure relieved her suffering. She sunk and died with her baby on her back, and her other two children clinging to her hands”


The survivors

Butrick: Butrick crossed the Ohio on Dec. 15, 1838, he didn't see the Mississippi River until Jan. 25. Even then, it took three more weeks to get all the people in his contingent crossed. From the time the first contingent crossed the Ohio in November to the last part of Butrick's group in February, The Cherokees spent three months in Southern Illinois.
According to Butrick's diary, by Dec. 29, 1838, the detachments were spread out across the region. "One detachment stopped at the Ohio River, two at the Mississippi, one four miles this side, one 16 miles this side, one 18 miles, and one 13 miles behind us. In all these detachments, comprising about 8,000 souls, there is now a vast amount of sickness, and many deaths," wrote Butrick who himself was suffering from fever and a cough.

Quatie Ross: Although suffering from a cold, Quatie Ross, the Chief John Ross wife, gave her only blanket to a child. "Long time we travel on way to new land. People feel bad when they leave Old Nation. Women cry and make sad wails, Children cry and many men cry...but they say nothing and just put heads down and keep on go towards West. Many days pass and people die very much." She died of pneumonia at Little Rock. Some drank stagnant water and succumbed to disease. One survivor told how his father got sick and died; then, his mother; then, one by one, his five brothers and sisters. "One each day. Then all are gone."

Samuel Cloud: Samuel Cloud turned 9 years old on the Trail of Tears. Samuel's Memory is told by his great-great grandson, Micheal Rutledge, in his paper Forgiveness in the Age of Forgetfulness. Micheal, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, is a law student at Arizona State University.

It is Spring. The leaves are on the trees. I am playing with my friends when white men in uniforms ride up to our home. My mother calls me. I can tell by her voice that something is wrong. Some of the men ride off. My mother tells me to gather my things, but the men don't allow us time to get anything. They enter our home and begin knocking over pottery and looking into everything. My mother and I are taken by several men to where their horses are and are held there at gun point. The men who rode off return with my father, Elijah. They have taken his rifle and he is walking toward us.
I can feel his anger and frustration. There is nothing he can do. From my mother I feel fear. I am filled with fear, too. What is going on? I was just playing, but now my family and my friends' families are gathered together and told to walk at the point of a bayonet.
We walk a long ways. My mother does not let me get far from her. My father is walking by the other men, talking in low, angry tones. The soldiers look weary, as though they'd rather be anywhere else but here.

They lead us to a stockade. They herd us into this pen like we are cattle. No one was given time to gather any possessions. The nights are still cold in the mountains and we do not have enough blankets to go around. My mother holds me at night to keep me warm. That is the only time I feel safe. I feel her pull me to her tightly. I feel her warm breath in my hair. I feel her softness as I fall asleep at night.

As the days pass, more and more of our people are herded into the stockade. I see other members of my clan. We children try to play, but the elders around us are anxious and we do not know what to think. I often sit and watch the others around me. I observe the guards. I try not to think about my hunger. I am cold.

Several months have passed and still we are in the stockades. My father looks tired. He talks with the other men, but no one seems to know what to do or what is going to happen. We hear that white men have moved into our homes and are farming our fields. What will happen to us? We are to march west to join the Western Cherokees. I don't want to leave these mountains.
My mother, my aunts and uncles take me aside one day. "Your father died last night," they tell me. My mother and my father's clan members are crying, but I do not understand what this means. I saw him yesterday. He was sick, but still alive. It doesn't seem real. Nothing seems real. I don't know what any of this means. It seems like yesterday, I was playing with my friends.
It is now Fall. It seems like forever since I was clean. The stockade is nothing but mud. In the morning it is stiff with frost. By mid-afternoon, it is soft and we are all covered in it. The soldiers suddenly tell us we are to follow them. We are led out of the stockade. The guards all have guns and are watching us closely. We walk. My mother keeps me close to her. I am allowed to walk with my uncle or an aunt, occasionally.

We walk across the frozen earth. Nothing seems right anymore. The cold seeps through my clothes. I wish I had my blanket. I remember last winter I had a blanket, when I was warm. I don't feel like I'll ever be warm again. I remember my father's smile. It seems like so long ago.
We walked for many days. I don't know how long it has been since we left our home, but the mountains are behind us. Each day, we start walking a little later. They bury the dead in shallow graves, because the ground is frozen. As we walk past white towns, the whites come out to watch us pass. No words are spoken to them. No words are said to us. Still, I wish they would stop staring. I wish it were them walking in this misery and I were watching them. It is because of them that we are walking. I don't understand why, but I know that much. They made us leave our homes. They made us walk to this new place we are heading in the middle of winter. I do not like these people. Still, they stare at me as I walk past.

My mother is coughing now. She looks worn. Her hands and face are burning hot. My aunts and uncles try to take care of me, so she can get better. I don't want to leave her alone. I just want to sit with her. I want her to stroke my hair, like she used to do. My aunts try to get me to sleep by them, but at night, I creep to her side. She coughs and it wracks her whole body. When she feels me by her side, she opens her blanket and lets me in. I nestle against her feverish body. I can make it another day, I know, because she is here.

When I went to sleep last night, my mother was hot and coughing worse than usual. When I woke up, she was cold. I tried to wake her up, but she lay there. The soft warmth she once was, she is no more. I kept touching her, as hot tears stream down my face. She couldn't leave me. She wouldn't leave me.

I hear myself call her name, softly, then louder. She does not answer. My aunt and uncle come over to me to see what is wrong. My aunt looks at my mother. My uncle pulls me from her. My aunt begins to wail. I will never forget that wail. I did not understand when my father died. My mother's death I do not understand, but I suddenly know that I am alone. My clan will take care of me, but I will be forever denied her warmth, the soft fingers in my hair, her gentle breath as we slept. I am alone. I want to cry. I want to scream in rage. I can do nothing.

We bury her in a shallow grave by the road. I will never forget that lonesome hill of stone that is her final bed, as it fades from my sight. I tread softly by my uncle, my hand in his. I walk with my head turned, watching that small hill as it fades from my sight. The soldiers make us continue walking. My uncle talks to me, trying to comfort me. I walk in loneliness.

I know what it is to hate. I hate those white soldiers who took us from our home. I hate the soldiers who make us keep walking through the snow and ice toward this new home that none of us ever wanted. I hate the people who killed my father and mother.

I hate the white people who lined the roads in their woolen clothes that kept them warm, watching us pass. None of those white people are here to say they are sorry that I am alone. None of them care about me or my people. All they ever saw was the color of our skin. All I see is the color of theirs and I hate them.
There were ten million Native Americans on this continent when the first non-Indians arrived. Over the next 300 years, 90% of all Native American original population was either wiped out by disease, famine, or warfare imported by the whites.
By 1840 all the eastern tribes had been subdued, annihilated or forcibly removed to Indian Territory west of the Mississippi.
submitted by JoshAsdvgi to Native_Stories [link] [comments]


2023.05.26 14:44 vanrentaldanang "Explore Da Nang on Wheels: Discover Car Rental Agencies near Me with Asia Transport"

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submitted by vanrentaldanang to u/vanrentaldanang [link] [comments]


2023.05.26 14:10 Abandonedkittypet Rules for the cabin

Toby sighed as he pulled up to the cabin, he was staying at this cabin for a week. Although, his friends were no-where to be found.
A sigh escaped him, as he walked up to the door. "Alright Alison.. very funny." He said, in a dry tone as he yanked a piece of paper off the door. "A list of rules hm?" He said, looking it over, "Alright Alison. I'll read em over and play your stupid game." He shouted before looking back at the paper.
Rules for our Lovely Cabin!
  1. Please don't be too loud when the sun sets, you don't want the residential windigo to find you!
"A windigo huh? Getting read creative Alison." Toby said, stepping inside as he kept reading.
2.Please be mindful of our other guests! Don't go around shouting please!
  1. We know You're here Tobias. Go home, Tobias.
"What the fuck?!" Toby shouted, nearly dropping the paper. He threw his bag down near the door. "ALISON!" He shouted out, the paper crunching in his hand. "THIS ISNT FUN—" He was cut off with a scream, as the paper fell to the floor. Rule two suddenly in bold.
Alison pulled up to the Cabin, seeing Toby's car. "Guess he got here before me." She said, walking up to the door. On the door hung a single note, she pulled it off to read.
Rules for our Lovely Cabin!
  1. Please don't be too loud when the sun sets, you don't want the residential windigo to find you!
2.Please be mindful of our other guests! Don't go around shouting please!
  1. The cabin is a lovely place! But please be sure to be in bed when the windigo goes hunting!
  2. Remeber to always knock on the door of the bathroom, you never know who's in there!
Alison chuckled lightly, "Good one Toby." She said, neatly folding the paper and tucking it into her back pocket. She went out and grabbed her stuff, before heading inside.
"Toby?" She called out, making sure she wasn't shouting, she didn't know why she felt these silly rules were important, but she assumed they were.
She saw his bag by the door and picked it up, it had all his belongings, which struck her as odd. After all, he always kept his wallet in his pocket, never his bag.
"What did that note say..? Something about being in bed when the windigo goes hunting..?" She muttered, when she looked outside it was sunset. She stepped outside to watch the beautiful sunset among these mountains, far away.
She barely had time to scream, as she was suddenly snagged and made dinner. The note reappearing on the door, the third and second rules now in bold.
submitted by Abandonedkittypet to Ruleshorror [link] [comments]


2023.05.26 13:57 dfr1238 [(FP-POV Miyako)Fanfiction] Big mommy & Little mommy

I looked at him wearing a blue shirt, a blue suit jacket, and black suit pants, with a black belt cinched at his waist.
"What do you think of this?" he asked, seeking my opinion.
"Well, it gives off a steady and reserved vibe." I evaluated his attire from behind him.
He turned around and let out a sigh. "Ah, I hope that annoying producer won't be too demanding. Let's go." he said irritably, adjusting his outfit and his golden hair before putting on his gold-rimmed half-frame glasses.
As he walked past me at the doorway, he lightly held my right hand with his left hand adorned with a ring, planting a gentle kiss on my left cheek, causing a slight smile to grace my face. He then continued towards the door.
Inside the room, sunlight was blocked by white curtains, dimming the light that filtered in, but there was still enough indirect light from the beige floor for me to see my reflection in the mirror.
I gazed at myself, relaxing my expression.
Looking at myself in a black off-shoulder dress that just exposed my slender legs, wearing a pair of black and red high heels. My face had a light layer of foundation, and I had drawn a thin black line with a black eyeliner under my eyes. My rose gold hair partially covered an earlobe, on which dangled a golden teardrop-shaped earring. While tidying my hair, I also took a glance at the bright pink nail polish on my nails. I slightly pressed my lips together, allowing the pink lipstick to evenly coat them.
I looked at the ring on my ring finger, not dissatisfied with my current life.
"Miyako, let's go." he called out to me, returning to the doorway. I picked up my small white handbag and hung it on my left hand, slowly making my way to the door.
I just wonder if this was what I truly wanted.
Under a clear blue sky without clouds, the bright blue buildings disappeared from view, their glass surfaces reflecting a golden, round spot of light. I sat in the passenger seat, looking out at the cityscape through the window.
The car engine rumbled softly on the road, and the radio inside played the morning news, talking about today's weather.
"Good morning, dear listeners! Welcome to Tokyo Radio, I'm Tanaka, and today we'll be broadcasting the morning weather for Tokyo. Let's take a look at today's weather conditions." a man's voice came from the radio. "Yes, Tanaka-San. The weather in Tokyo today is quite stable. Overall, we'll have a sunny and warm morning." a woman's voice followed. "Excellent! This kind of weather really lifts one's spirits. So, what's the chance of rain today?"
The man's voice continued, and I gently turned the radio volume knob slightly to the left.
"Are you sure she'll be okay?" I asked him, gazing out the window.
"There's no choice, after all, the producers sent a last-minute message. If we don't deal with it, the other kids' preparations will be wasted." he replied, then continued, "She's almost an adult, she'll find her own way to deal with it, don't worry too much." He patted my shoulder as he spoke, trying to ease my concerns.
"With her sudden suspension from the performance activities, it has affected the other kids quite a bit. Some of the scheduled announcements got canceled too." he said slowly, and I smiled in response, "After all, she's the most dazzling among those kids." He chuckled lightly after hearing that.
The two of us fell silent for a moment, returning to the scene with only the radio's soft sound, the friction noise of the tires on the road, and the gentle rumble of the engine.
"That's right, Reiko-San! In this fast-paced urban life, sometimes we need moments of relaxation and healing. Today, we've prepared some soothing music to help relieve stress, hoping to bring everyone a bit of peace and tranquility." the man's voice came from the radio again. "In addition to music, we'll also bring you some interesting topics and trivia, such as the latest movie releases, popular restaurants in the city, and some life hacks, hoping to provide some inspiration and entertainment." The woman continued.
After driving for a while, he flicked on the turn signal with a click, and we slowly turned right. A faint friction sound was heard as he straightened the steering wheel, and then he turned off the turn signal with another click.
Thinking about it now, being with him wasn't really about love.
"Do you think it's right for me to let that girl rest and nurture her pregnancy alone in Miyazaki?" He asked, and I slowly turned to look at him, his right hand gripping the steering wheel as he stared ahead.
I smiled and said to him, "You just told me not to worry, and now you're worrying yourself?"
It was just about using his connections to find a younger, more handsome guy.
"I just want to know if this decision is right or wrong?" I looked at him as he furrowed his brows, and I slowly leaned back against the headrest, looking up. "Hmm, both Tokyo and Miyazaki have their own pros and cons, don't they?" I said slowly.
"This thing is a double-edged sword. There's no definitive best option." I continued.
We fell silent for a moment, and then he broke the silence.
"At first, to be honest, I didn't want her to keep the baby." he said slowly.
"Yeah, I remember you were strongly against her keeping the baby at the time." I responded, looking up at the sky.
"Because once it's exposed, we, including her, could be dragged down to an abyss with no chance of turning back. I was scared, scared of losing everything with just one wrong step. All our efforts would go down the drain." he said, furrowing his brow as I tilted my head to the side and listened.
"But now, as time passed, I noticed her occasional genuine smile, one that wasn't practiced or put on for others or for the camera. It was a smile that made you feel it came from the depths of her heart." He relaxed his brow and spoke with a smile.
He paused for a moment.
"I don't have the right to deprive her of the opportunity to be a mother." he said. I slowly shifted my gaze to the dashboard of the radio, listening intently to his words.
At the intersection, he flicked on the turn signal with a click, and we made a slow left turn. There was a slight scraping sound as he straightened the steering wheel, followed by another click as he turned off the signal.
"Now, all I hope for is that she can safely give birth to the child. When I first met her, she told me she grew up in an orphanage and didn't understand what love meant, being loved or loving someone." he said.
"Maybe she wanted to push me away back then, but I could see it. From her eyes, I knew she was telling the truth at that moment." I looked at him and noticed a slight furrow in his brow as he finished speaking.
"Perhaps, this time she really has a chance to experience true love, the love between a mother and a child. She missed out on being loved as a child, but now at least she can experience this love as a mother." he said with a smile.
I pondered for a moment. "I think..." I was thinking about how to say it.
"Hmm?" he asked me softly.
I turned the volume knob of the radio to the left until it clicked, silencing it.
"I think... it would be a dilemma for her." I replied, gazing ahead.
"Well, I suppose she would experience it once the child is born, right?" he responded.
"But here's the question, will she know that what she experiences is real? Will she know that her love for the child is genuine?" I looked at him as I replied.
"Why wouldn't she know?" he asked, puzzled.
"Think about it. For sixteen years, when her family was still around, they only showed her love in the form of abuse. And when her family was no longer there, she was sent to an orphanage without any love. You've also mentioned that she herself has admitted she doesn't understand what love is or what it feels like to be loved." I said, pausing for a moment.
"And you brought her into the entertainment industry, where love is often disguised and superficial." I continued, slowly turning my head to look at him.
"If she doesn't understand what love is, how can she differentiate between real love and the love she pretends to have in front of the camera?" I asked him, posing the question.
"That's easy to distinguish, right?" he asked, puzzled.
"If her first encounter was with genuine love, then it's possible. Otherwise..." I trailed off, continuing to gaze ahead as I answered him.
"I... don't think she would pretend in front of the child." he replied slowly. "No, you misunderstood my question. I meant, she wouldn't know if she's pretending or not." I glanced at him, answering him before turning my head back to face forward.
"...There's a possibility of that." he wanted to say something, but it seemed he agreed with what I said.
But for now...
"And have you ever considered what if one day she starts asking herself the same questions? How will she face herself then?" I looked at him and said.
"Well..." I interrupted him. "And furthermore, think about why she insists on keeping the child. Hasn't that day already arrived?" I continued.
We fell into silence, and I slowly turned the radio knob to the right, increasing the volume louder than when we first got in the car.
"Dear listeners, time flies once again, and we have to say goodbye to this beautiful morning. Thank you all for tuning in. I'm your host, Tanaka. On this vibrant Tokyo morning, we have shared many beautiful moments and experiences together. May these warm memories accompany you, bringing infinite energy and courage for the new day." the radio transmitted the slow narration of that man.
I don't know, is that still what I want?
We continued moving forward.
After finishing our discussion with the producer, it was already afternoon. Ichigo and I walked out from the front entrance of their building.
That producer was difficult to deal with, and he even caused some trouble for me.
But we managed to leave unscathed.
I followed behind him. "Phew, finally finished talking with that jerk." he complained while exhaling. As we walked, I thought about what he mentioned earlier about Ai.
"Do you want to go see Ai?" I asked while walking with him. "No, I want to, but there's still work at the agency. If you want, you can go." he said, seemingly about to take something out of his pocket.
"Alright, then I'll take the—" Before I could finish, he tossed me the car keys. "You'd have to wait forever for a bus in the countryside. You drive there. I'll take a taxi back to the agency." I nodded after catching the keys and saw him walking to the side to call a taxi.
Suddenly, I saw him turn his head and shout at me, "If possible, take her out for a stroll!" I raised my right hand high and waved back at him. I watched as he turned his head again and continued walking.
Then suddenly, I saw him turn his head once more and yell at me, "Hey, don't crash the car, huh!" I raised my right hand high and flipped him the middle finger. He chuckled, smiled, and got into the taxi.
After his taxi left, I got back in the car, started the engine, and drove towards Miyazaki.
Because of the city, I had to take a detour, but eventually, I got back to the same road as the last time I drove her there. As I approached, I decided to call her first.
"Hey Siri, call 'Ai'." I placed my phone on the phone holder.
"Alright, I'm dialing 'Ai' for you." I heard the sound of the phone connecting as I continued driving, waiting for her to pick up.
"Hello~ Meemiko~ Good afternoon~" The voice on the other end of the line mispronounced my name, and she must have just woken up. "Hey, get up, I'll be over there in a bit. Do you want me to bring something to eat?" I said while driving.
"Mmm~ No need, I have beef stew here. You can come and try it! It seems like it's almost ready!" She seemed like she hadn't woken up yet. "What? When did you learn to cook stew? Did you go to someone else's house to cook and their stove got struck by lightning?" I remembered her nearly breaking my stove last time and replied with a laugh.
"What! I really have stew here!" I heard footsteps on the other end of the phone. "The chef made it." she whispered.
Chef?
"Wait, what chef?" I hadn't finished speaking. "Ah, it seems to be ready, and it smells so good!" She said, and I heard the sound of something rolling.
"No, wait—" Before I could finish, I heard the sound of picking up chopsticks and a bowl on the other end of the phone. "I'll save some for you! I'm eating first~ See you later!" She seemed happy as she spoke.
"Hey, wait a minute!" The call had already ended.
That girl. I continued driving towards Miyazaki.
I drove slowly and arrived at the apartment building where Ai lives. After getting out of the car, I took the elevator up. Ai's apartment is on the sixth floor.
I pressed the elevator button and waited for it to ascend. The elevator door opened on the third floor, and I saw an old woman with white hair - the landlady!?
"Ah, what a coincidence, Yoko's mother!" She walked into the elevator and greeted me.
She only knows Ai's alias. After all, Ichigo and I planned to let Ai stay here secretly while she was pregnant, not wanting too many people to know she was staying here.
"Hello, landlady." I said with a smile. Speaking of which, after she came in, she only pressed the close door button. Could it be...
I saw her holding a large bag of fruits. "Excuse me, landlady, what is that?" I asked while looking at her.
"These are fruits from my hometown, all of them help with constipation! I heard Yoko-chan say that she has severe constipation and her stomach is swollen, so I'm going to take these fruits up for her to eat."
I started to sweat, what the hell! Ai! Where did you learn the term "severe constipation"?
"No need, landlady! You're being too kind!" I said nervously.
"Oh, it's no problem! Yoko-chan is so cute, she reminds me of my granddaughter!" She smiled brightly, and I tried to respond with a smile.
"Then, landlady, let me help you carry it up, no need to trouble yourself!" I said and tried to move closer to the bag, but she moved it further away from me after hearing me.
"No problem! I also want to visit Yoko-chan!" She smiled brightly.
I had a bad feeling. First the chef, now the landlady.
Ai, who exactly did you attract?
The elevator doors slowly opened, and we walked slowly to Ai's apartment door.
While I was thinking about what to do, the landlady had already pressed the doorbell. A moment later. "Coming~ coming! I saved some for you! Lots of carrots and beef!" She shouted from inside, getting louder as she got closer to the door. My heart raced faster.
She opened the door, noticing the landlady was there as well. "Ah! Landlady, you came with Mommy too! I'm so sorry to trouble you!" She smiled brightly, then walked towards me. "Mommy, I missed you so much!" She hugged me and acted spoiled. "Yeah, I came to see you today, Yoko. How's your exam preparation?" I patted her head.
We decided to use the script we discussed before, which we would use in front of others. That's also the reason we told the landlady she was staying here - "Preparing for high school entrance exams."
After I finished speaking, she looked at me affectionately and said, "What exam?"
What the hell! Are you serious!?
She was about to continue talking, and I prepared to remind her from an angle where the landlady couldn't see. "Mom~ You're talking about- AH! AH! AH! AH! RIGHT! RIGHT! RIGHT! HIGH SCHOOL ENTRANCE EXAMS! RIGHT! I'M STILL PREPARING FOR THE HIGH SCHOOL ENTRANCE EXAMS! MOM, I'M DOING GREAT!" She suddenly raised her voice halfway, happily remembering.
Yes, my way of reminding her was to pinch her upper arm.
"Ah, you two have such a great relationship!" The landlady said with a big smile, watching us talk while we both nervously smiled back, cold sweat on our foreheads.
She glanced at Ai's belly, and I sensed trouble–
"Yoko-chan! Have you been eating the fruit I gave you? Your belly doesn't seem to have gotten any smaller, but bigger instead!" She exclaimed in surprise. However, I thought to myself that even regular constipation wouldn't be cured by eating fruit for just a few days.
"Yeah, yeah! I just ate, so my belly looks bigger. The gynecologist said my constipation is–" I listened to her talk and thought – it's over.
Desperate, I called out, "AI!" OH FUCK.
"Ai?" The landlady looked at me with a puzzled expression. It's really over now.
Then Ai slapped my butt forcefully and continued.
"Ha-ha! My mom has a bad memory. Don't be fooled by her slim figure; her big butt gave birth to several sisters for me! She often gets our names mixed up! Really!" She made her signature gesture towards the landlady.
It was kind of annoying to be talked about like that by a girl who always gets people's names wrong.
And who are you calling big butt, brat?!
"Really? You have other sisters?" The landlady looked at her with delight.
I thought we had managed to dodge the bullet –
"Yes, my other sisters are called 'Meimei', 'Ari', 'Kyun', 'Takamine', 'Nino', and 'Watanabe'. I love them so much!" Her words interrupted my thoughts.
She really knows how to act, even coming up with names.
But isn't that too many? She's so cooperative, but those names seem–
Wait a minute, aren't those the names of our B-Komachi group members?!
What are you doing, pulling your teammates into this?!
"Wow, Yoko's mom, I couldn't tell you had eight children!" The landlady looked at me in astonishment. Oh, for crying out loud–
"Yeah, mom and dad are super good at having kids–" Ai was about to continue when I covered her mouth with my hand.
"Alright, alright, don't say anymore, Yoko. Our 'family secrets' are about to spill out, hahaha." I held my hand tightly over her mouth, trying to maintain a smile.
Ai struggled to break free from my grip.
"Ha-ha, it seems like your family is really lively! Oops, I've been talking too long. I won't disturb your mother-daughter date anymore – ha-ha!" The landlady said with a smile, handing the fruit to Ai. We waved to her as she walked towards the elevator.
As soon as she left, Ai and I breathed a sigh of relief, and I brought her into the apartment.
"Seriously, Miyako, what were you– OW! OW! OW! OW!" That's right, I pulled her into the apartment by her ear, which is why she was shouting in pain.
We entered the house. The afternoon sun shone in, illuminating the entire room in a warm orange hue. The wind chime outside swayed gently, but no sound could be heard. The setting sun cast shadows of Ai and me on the kitchen counter.
The only sounds in the room were the ticking of the clock's second hand, the faint dripping of water from the sink, and Ai trying her best to hold in her laughter.
I glared at Ai.
And then she burst out, "HAHAHA! MIYAKO, WHAT KIND OF FACE IS THAT?!" She laughed with her eyes closed and banged the table.
You little brat!
"WE ALMOST BLEW OUR COVER JUST NOW! CAN'T YOU READ THE ROOM?!" I yelled at her angrily, but she only seemed to laugh louder.
"What's the big deal? She's from an older generation; she won't pay attention to idols. You're too uptight, hahaha!" She continued to bang the table as she spoke. I covered my face with both hands.
"It's not like you almost talked about the gynecologist just now... Wait, YOU ALREADY MENTIONED THE GYNECOLOGIST! WHAT WOULD WE DO IF THE LANDLADY KNEW YOU WERE PREGNANT?" I lowered my hands and stared at her as I finished. She suddenly stopped laughing and closed her eyes, deep in thought.
"Did I really say that?" She asked, and after seeing my expression, she started laughing again.
I didn't know what to say, but I thought about how she cleverly saved the situation when I accidentally mentioned her name.
"Thanks for the save just now, though." I said, a little reluctantly.
"No problem, big butt– OW! OW! OW! ALRIGHT, I'M SORRY! STOP IT, MIYAKO! AI-CHAN'S EARS ARE GOING TO FALL OFF!" As soon as I heard her mention 'butt.' I rushed over and pinched both her ears.
I let go, and she quickly checked her ears with her eyes closed and both hands.
I sat back down in the chair, arms crossed, and watched her. She was still giggling.
"Mommy~" She said happily in a sweet voice.
Honestly, this was the first time she called me 'mommy.' and under normal circumstances, I would have been really happy.
"Did you take the wrong medicine or something? You seem especially happy today." I said with a frown, still a bit upset about the earlier incident.
"What's the big deal, Miyako? Today is just– Oh, right!" She didn't finish her sentence before quickly getting up and taking a pot out from the rice cooker. It seemed like I remembered something.
"Is this the stew you mentioned over the phone?" I looked at the pot. "Yes, yes!" She said excitedly, and then opened the lid. The aroma of beef and the sweet and savory smell of the ingredients wafted out.
"Hmm, it looks pretty good." I said, and then saw her bringing a bowl and chopsticks over. It seemed she wanted to serve me. "I can do it myself–" She interrupted me, "No, it's okay! It's okay! Consider this as an apology for earlier!" She said with a smile, serving me a bowl.
I took a bite after accepting the bowl. "Hey, not bad! Did you cook this?" I asked her, and she smiled at me.
I continued to eat, one bite after another.
Then suddenly, I thought of something.
"Wait, who was the chef you mentioned on the phone?" I suddenly remembered and put down my bowl, looking at her. After listening, she touched her chin with her left hand, pondering.
"Hehe! It's a secret!" She said her signature line, opening one eye and sticking out her tongue.
However, fearing I'd pinch her ears again, she tightly covered them with both hands this time instead of doing her signature pose.
"What's wrong? Why can't you tell me?" I asked her. She lowered her hands from her ears, closed her eyes, and thought.
After a moment, she looked into my eyes, as if she wanted to sincerely tell me an important reason.
"I had my ears covered too tightly just now, so I didn't hear you. Can you say it again?" She said.
...
"I mean, why can't you tell me?" I asked again, and she thought for a moment.
"It's a surprise!" She said with a beaming smile.
I pondered for a moment, "What, did that guy break in and take nude photos of you to blackmail you or–" Before I could finish, she interrupted, "No, no! Amamiya Sensei isn't like that! What are you even talking about?!" She nervously explained, clearly surprised by my wild speculation.
"Amamiya Sensei?" I asked her in a gotcha tone, and she stroked her face.
"Uh... yeah, Amamiya Sensei. Actually, he's the gynecologist in charge of my delivery this time..." She said softly, and I finished the food in my bowl.
"Really? Does he live here too?" I asked, sipping the soup. "Yeah... he lives next door." she said, looking at me.
"Hmm? Isn't that even better? Why do you need to hide it?" I asked, furrowing my brow.
"Well... it's mainly because of the president... He knows Amamiya Sensei is the doctor in charge of me this time, and the three of us have met in the clinic. However, he doesn't know about Amamiya Sensei visiting my home, so I don't know what his reaction would be..." She spoke quietly.
"You don't know? The president? What would he– Oh, oh, I see... I won't tell him." I remembered when Ichigo and I went out with Ai, and when someone tried to hit on her, Ichigo almost tore the guy apart.
To be honest, that was the most fatherly thing I had seen Ichigo do since adopting Ai.
But wait–
"Did the doctor hit on you?!" I looked at her in horror. "No! I'm just not sure what the president would think if he knew the doctor came to my rented place, so..." She spoke softly.
"I...I don't know either, but I'll talk to him when the timing is right." I said, pouting and furrowing my brow as I continued to finish my soup.
After finishing, I put the bowl on the table and thought about what Ichigo had asked me to do earlier – to take her out for a walk. "Where do you want to go? Ichigo asked me to take you out for a walk, so you don't get too bored staying at home." I asked her.
She touched her lower lip with her right index finger, thinking. "Umm... the park?" She suggested.
"The park, huh? Is it far?" I got up and looked at her. "It shouldn't be, I think?" She answered, although it wasn't very helpful.
So i took out my phone and looked up some attractions in Miyazaki Prefecture, finding one that seemed fitting.
"How about the Kitashiroyamagaiku Park? I read online that You can see the Nobeokajō Castle Ruins and also enjoy the city scenery." I asked, and she tilted her head, pondering.
"Ruins? Sounds like a place where people get pushed off and buried? Well, alright." she replied and nodded.
"Let's go then, we'll take a stroll—wait, where did you get that idea from? Don't just blurt things out like that." I said, patting her shoulder.
She went into the room and changed into loose-fitting clothes in a grayish-blue color, slightly revealing her shoulders. The length reached just above her knees, resembling a skirt, and she didn't wear any pants.
After putting on a black cap, we headed out.
We were driving on the freeway - I didn't realize it was such a distance.
"Are we going to arrive there just as the sun sets?" I looked at her as she gazed out the window at the sunset from the passenger seat.
"Maybe, it'll be a great view at night!" I thought about the starry sky in Miyazaki Prefecture, something Tokyo couldn't offer, and it excited me.
"And then we'll be pushed off a cliff—" I saw her turn her head and raise her hands parallel to each other, palms down like a ghost, with a spooky expression on her face, and I interrupted her.
"Where on earth did that ghost story come from?" I frowned and chuckled at her.
"It's a true story, you know! I saw it on YouTube!" She widened her eyes and looked at me. "Oh, tell me about it!" I tilted my head, waiting for her to share.
"So, one day..." She turned on the flashlight on her phone and aimed it from under her chin, creating a cute, spooky effect.
"Tanaka was a doctor. One day, he saw a man in black asking for a deceased patient." She tried to speak in her deepest voice, and I furrowed my brow, watching her.
"So, then the doctor refuted every single word of Article 16 of the Personal Information Protection Act and Article 4 of the Enforcement Rules of the Personal Information Protection Act to that man in black." Sh-What?
"And then the man in black ran into the mountains, and the doctor chased after him. As they ran, a flock of crows flew overhead, and the sound of stepping on branches echoed like the doctor's heartbeat." Ah, it seems like we're getting to the point.
"And then, out of nowhere, the man in black suddenly appeared behind the doctor and pushed him off a cliff." She finished her word, turned off the flashlight on her phone, and resumed her normal position.
After a while, after passing a few exits on the next interchanges, "Uh... what happened next?" I glanced at her and asked.
"He died. The end." She replied.
I swear, if I weren't driving right now, I would pinch her ear— "Look!" She suddenly gestured towards a direction, and I looked over—
"AND THEN THE DOCTOR TURNED INTO THE CHILD OF THE DECEASED! HE HAUNTED THE MAN IN BLACK, PREVENTING HIM FROM BEING REBORN FOREVER!" She suddenly shouted loudly into my left ear, causing me to shudder.
"WHAT KIND OF NONSENSE GHOST STORY IS THIS, YOU LITTLE BRAT!" I shouted at her.
"That was terrifying, you just shudder." She looked at me seriously and said, "NO SHIT, WHAT ELSE WOULD YOU EXPECT? DID I DIE OR SOMETHING!? ANYONE WOULD FLINCH IF YOU SUDDENLY SHOUTED IN THEIR EAR! STARTLING ISN'T THE SAME AS BEING SCARED, COME ON!" I responded loudly to her.
She burst into laughter, and after a brief moment of anger, I joined in the laughter.
We exited the freeway.
"Hey, are we there yet?" she asked me."Not yet." I replied to her.
A moment later.
"Hey, are we there yet?" she asked me."Nope." I replied to her.
A moment later.
"Are we there yet?" she asked me."Not yet, okay?" I replied to her.
"Are we th—" "Won't it be faster if you stop asking repeatedly?" I impatiently interrupted her.
"Wanna hear another ghost story?" She turned her head with excitement and looked at me.
"If it's like the one just now, then forget it." I replied, looking ahead.
"Oh..." She turned her head back disappointingly to look at the scenery
After a journey, we finally arrived at our destination, and it was already late at night.
We got out of the car, and she seemed very interested in the ruins of this tourist spot. She was so engrossed that she even forgot to close the car door after getting out.
As I looked up after stepping out of the car, the ruins gave me a contradictory feeling. It was evident that they had been there for a long time, yet they felt incredibly sturdy.
I looked down and noticed the contrasting colors between the grayish-brown gravel at the bottom half of the city wall and the pristine white walls on the upper half. When I looked up from below, the architecture of the ruins towered impressively, estimating several stories high. However, we were still at the parking area, merely observing from there.
After getting out of the car, we walked to the right. With the gravel on the left and well-maintained green lawns, along with the city lights adorning the right side, we slowly ascended the randomly patterned stone steps, accompanied by the reassuring sound of our footsteps. After a short walk, we reached the gate of the ruins.
On each side of the gate, there were two modern antique-style lamps. The pillars of the gate were painted a vivid red, and the door frame was crafted from dark brown timber. Above them, semicircular black stone tiles with textured patterns connected and formed the roof.
The gate itself was made of beautiful grayish-brown wooden panels. It was connected to the frame with black, wavy-patterned hinges. As it was still nighttime, the shadows cast on its surface enhanced the three-dimensional texture of the gate.
I followed her as she walked up, occasionally glancing at the surrounding scenery. After passing through the gate, we encountered another set of stone steps. However, this time there were fewer steps, and the intervals between them were quite large, with sandy soil in between. I closely followed her, worried about her footing, but we successfully reached the main viewpoint.
After climbing up the stone steps and walking a stretch of gravel path, we reached the scenic spot. We noticed a small cabin ahead, not very big but with a paper sliding door.
To the right of the cabin, there was a small roof structure formed by four wooden posts with aged wooden boards at the top, creating a conical shape. Beneath that roof, we could see a gray iron bell hanging from a knotted hemp rope, bearing historical marks. The carvings on the bell represented the art of their time.
On the side, there were two wooden pillars with historical traces, each adorned with a hemp rope for ringing the bell.
I noticed a timetable on top, but it wasn't the time to ring the bell, so I quickly held her back.
Looking to the right, we saw a bench, gazing solemnly at the city skyline ahead.
The trees beside us acted like drawn curtains, allowing us to view the cityscape without being fully affected yet not completely ignoring them.
Unlike the towering buildings in Tokyo, Miyazaki Prefecture had mostly low-rise structures. The stars in the sky and the dim lights emanating from the low buildings below seemed to depict a celestial sea encompassing both the heavens and the earth.
In the middle, when we gazed into the night sky, it appeared dark and slightly dimmed due to light pollution. Only a tall chimney with alternating red and white colors stood out, flickering with a faint light.
We sat on the bench, taking a rest.
"So, what do you think?" I asked her, looking at the cityscape of twinkling stars.
"Well, it's definitely different from Tokyo." she replied.
A gentle breeze rustled the trees, and the only sounds present were the falling leaves and the swaying of branches. We sat at the ancient city ruins, with a city skyline that differed by several centuries before us.
I glanced at her and noticed that both of us instinctively propped our hands on the back of the bench, adopting a shoulder-shrugging posture as we admired the view. Of course, she had her own quirks. Her little feet swung back and forth in a playful manner.
"Will you miss Tokyo?" I asked her, still gazing at the scenery. "Hmm, to some extent, yes. But I'll also miss this place someday." she replied, smiling at me.
We looked at the scenery in silence, and the stars in the sky seemed to shine even brighter.
"It feels like it's been ages since we last came out to see the starry sky, doesn't it?" I asked her.
"Yeah, it does. After all, in Tokyo, the stars are not in the sky but in people's hands." she answered.
We continued to gaze at the starry sky.
"By the way, how did you and Amamiya Sensei find out that you were neighbors?" I asked her.
"Well, I was making eggs at the time." she began, but I interrupted her. "No way!" I exclaimed in surprise.
"Can I finish my story?" she pouted. "After I was done, I was standing on the balcony, looking at the view outside the window. Then I heard someone coming out from the right side, so I turned and saw him." she said with a smile.
"At first, he didn't notice me. After we exchanged greetings, he went inside, and it was only later that he realized it was me, haha." she chuckled, and I laughed along.
We continued to admire the night view, with only the gentle breeze, rustling trees, and the sound of leaves falling and stirring in the air.
No, there was more. The sound of the wind gradually carrying the sand, our slow breathing, the friction between our clothes and skin as we adjusted our positions, the sound of our heartbeat calming down in our hearts, and the sound of swallowing our saliva slowly.
There was more. Oh, here it comes. Hello there.
I thought about what happened in the morning, about her, about myself.
What was it that I truly desired? It might be the same question she was searching for an answer to in her heart.
A girl who didn't know what love meant, a woman who didn't know what kind of love she wanted.
Bombarded by the dazzling lights and pulsating music of the entertainment world on ordinary days, people chose to numb themselves.
And so did we—she numbed herself under the intense lights and music on stage, while I didn't even spare the radio in the car.
I understood what it meant to love and be loved, but now, like her, I was also lost. Even now, I still pondered whether the person I loved was the right one for me.
We ate together, laughed together, talked together, kissed together, went to bed together, and then—we both put on the rings together.
However, I was still confused. Is he the one I desire?
Looking back, the conversation in the morning seemed quite funny. A lost person who still wanted to lead her like a shepherd. To be honest, she and I seemed quite different, yet not so different.
In fairy tales - you fall in love with the person you like, you become boyfriend and girlfriend, you get married, and you live happily ever after. The end.
In reality - the worst-case scenario might be getting stabbed by your ex at the doorstep, bleeding to death for someone you don't love, causing your the one who love to bleed from a broken heart - the end. This is a cruel joke, isn't it? No, welcome to reality. Because it has happened.
I gaze at the stars, and they seem to blur.
She's lost. I think I am too.
Maybe I'm too late, but she's not. Her youth is just beginning.
"Miyako?" Her soft call brought me back to reality. I felt a weight on my thigh, and I looked down to see that I became her pillow.
"Are you being clingy?" I asked her with a smile. "I'm scared." she said.
"What's wrong? You were just telling me ghost stories halfway." I smiled at her, showing my teeth. She closed her eyes and laughed along. After a moment, she opened her eyes.
"Not that kind." she said slowly, and I placed my right hand on her head, trying to comfort her. "I know." I replied.
I gently brushed aside her hair. "You're not alone." I said softly.
"That's why I'm afraid." she replied, and I noticed out of the corner of my eye that she was caressing her own belly.
"We'll be by your side." I extended my left hand, gently stroking the hand she used to touch her belly, as I spoke.
She closed her eyes.
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2023.05.26 10:11 lockyourtrip05 3 Best and Affordable Accommodations in the Manali Trip

3 Best and Affordable Accommodations in the Manali Trip
One of the top tourist destinations in the nation is the lovely hill town of Manali, which is situated in the Himachal Pradesh state of India's Kullu district. It is possibly the main factor bringing tourists back year after year. Although it welcomes crowds all the time, this lovely resort town is most sought after for quiet getaways or summer breaks because of its idyllic location in the Kullu Valley. The influx of visitors has caused this hill town's demand for lodging to increase. As a result, accommodations for tourists in Manali often include guest houses in addition to hotels and resorts. So to make it convenient for tourists of manali we have launched Affordable Tour Packages for manali trips.
3 Best and Affordable Accommodations in the Manali Trip
Manali is a stunning hill station that is situated roughly 544 kilometres from Delhi and 270 kilometres from Shimla, respectively. According to legend, Manali was given its name in honour of the Sanatan Hindu Lawgiver and ancient sage Manu. There is even a Manu temple in Old Manali. The name "Valley Of Gods" refers to the valley itself. Several hotels, homestays, resorts, and guest houses can be found in this currently well-liked tourist destination.

3 Leisure Guest Houses Included in Affordable Tour Packages

There must be an endless supply of lodging options to satisfy the rising needs of the discerning visitors who come here daily and all year long to take in Manali's beauty. That’s why we have added 3 guesthouses to our Affordable Tour Packages of Manali. Check out all of these by reading the listicle below.

1. Green Forest Café And Guest House

This opulent stay option in Manali is situated close to the popular Hidimba Devi Temple in the tranquil Log Hut neighbourhood. This guest house is a good choice for travellers who like to experience a variety of cuisine as part of their travels because it provides a comfortable stay and great food is available nearby.
There are many different cuisines to choose from at the guest house's attached café. Visitors looking for a relaxing vacation in this hilly city will appreciate its proximity to Mall Road. For guests who want to try the regional cuisine, this Manali guest house is reasonably close to some local eateries and pubs.
Offer : Adventure tour packages
The location of this amazing guest house is near the Manali Bus Stand, Log Huts Area, Manali, Manali Tehsil, India. If available, this guest house also offers paid pick-up and drop-off services. You can get here a lot of amazing Facilities. The facilities are free Wi-Fi, free parking, a restaurant, room service, housekeeping, laundry service, bike rentals, paid pick-up and drops, a first aid facility, CCTV, a doctor on call, and luggage storage. The tariff of this guest house is starting from INR 2200 per night.

2. Paradise Guest House

Another opulent stay option in Manali is Paradise Guest House. This well-known Manali guest house, which is situated in the Old Manali neighbourhood, provides its visitors with picturesque views of the mountains and the surrounding greenery. Hidimba Devi Temple, Manu Temple, Manali Sanctuary, and Gadhan Thekchhokling Gompa Monastery are just a few of the nearby attractions. You can stay in this guest house if you book your trip with our Affordable Tour Packages of Manali. This area has a respectable number of restaurants within walking distance, so it's worth looking into if you're looking for cheap lodging while travelling.
When affordable housing is available, you can undoubtedly feel happy. Manali is a perfect location that has something special to offer everyone, whether you want to take advantage of the snow-capped mountains, go skiing, visit all the tourist attractions, or go for a walk and trail in the lovely forests, among other things.
The location of this guest house is Old Manali, Manali, Manali Tehsil 175131 India. You can reach this hotel by both bus and cab. The guesthouse also provides paid pick-up and drop from both the airport and bus stand so you don’t have to worry about that. You can get here a lot of amazing facilities like free Wi-Fi, free parking, a restaurant, room service, housekeeping, laundry service, bike rentals, paid pick and drops, paid bonfire, paid conducted tours, doctor on call, and luggage storage. The tariff of this guest house is starting from INR 1700 per night.
Book now : Family tour packages

3. Mountain Dew Guest House

In Manali, one of the most well-liked cheapest priced guest houses is Mountain Dew Guest House. This guesthouse is well situated in a key strategic location, just 1.4 km from the Hidimba Devi Temple, close to the Manu Temple, and also close to Circuit House. It's a great place to stay with your family in Manali. The patios and outdoor seating areas are well-designed features of the rooms.
This guest house offers skiing equipment for rent because skiing is a popular activity in this region, which is a big plus for skiers staying at the property. They also provide you with activities like horseback riding, hiking, and fishing. This Manali guest house is well-equipped with a variety of other amenities, including free parking, a restaurant, and bike and car rentals, which is a good combination for a memorable yet affordable lodging option. This area has a respectable number of restaurants within walking distance, so it's worth looking into if you're looking for cheap lodging while travelling. If you have also made up your mind to stay in this guest house then make sure to book your tour with our Affordable Tour Packages in Manali.
10 % Discount : National tour packages
One of the best things about this guest house is the tariff. It is starting from INR 1200 per night. You don’t have to worry about how to reach here. This guesthouse provides pick up and drop off from both manali airports and near the manali bus stand. The facilities are the same as the other hotels like family-friendly rooms, free Wi-Fi, restaurant, room service, housekeeping, currency exchange, saloon, souvenir shop, luggage storage, car rentals, bike rentals, skiing equipment rentals, and free car parking.
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2023.05.26 01:37 onimush115 Carnival Magic 5 day Cruise from Norfolk, VA Impressions

My wife an I have been on 5 cruises int he past, all pre pandemic, and all with Norwegian. We recently moved to NC and live within a 2 hour drive to the Norfolk VA port. When I saw Carnival does cruises from that port, I booked one figuring we would give them a shot since being close to home it's just so much more convenient than flying to Florida. I had high hopes for it being a good cruise, hoping it could turn into our new home port. We booked a 5 night itinerary on the Carnival Magic, with stops in Bimini and Freeport. I paid $2200 for a balcony room. For anyone interested here are my impressions:
Embarkation:
We opted not to park in Norfolk. I had read reviews about cars getting broken into in the Carnival parking lot (it's supposedly since had improved security) and decided to get dropped off at the port. Once we arrived it was pretty apparent this was going to be a different experience than the big ports that run 7 days a week. It just seemed under staffed and disorganized. I was used to Miami and Tampa where everything just felt much more streamlined. Security seemed nearly non existent, none of the added things I had read about like dogs or more staff, just the standard metal detector.
The ship:
The difference is in the details. Lots of rust streaking on the outside of the ship, overall it just looked dingey. In our room there was dust on the ceiling vents, cabinets were chipped, some drawers had broken tracks. The bathroom door had a broken piston on the door so it would swing around (this did get fixed mid trip). The chairs on the balcony were bubbling and rusting. Lights took a long time to come on and some switches just didn't do anything.Though the ship was built in 2011 it looked like it was themed in the mid 90's. Gold and chrome everywhere, mirrors and the ugliest green dome lights lined the atrium. Whoever picked those out loved them because they put them absolutely everywhere. It was comically ugly.On the decks the chairs were in varying condition, some were new, but some were worn and and in need of replacement. One thing I did appreciate though was just the overall amount of seating. All throughout the interior of the ship and around the outside decks there was never any shortage of places to sit and relax.
Tv/Music:
This needed it's own category just because of how bad it was. I don't know if Carnival just has a nonexistent budget for licensing, but the music playing around the ship was bizarre for a Caribbean vacation. They mostly played 70's/80's rock music/pop. I was expecting more stuff that would just sort of set the theme of the vacation, like maybe island music in the lido buffet instead of Quiet Riot lol.The tv in the room had like 8 channels, 2 of which were movie channels. Most of the movies being played were not recent and many I had never heard of. They played some new movies on the screen by the pool, but even those they repeated. Other than that they had HGTV, Discovery and Food network, and a music video channel playing 80's music videos. It seemed to be the same 10 videos on loop.
The food:
The buffet food ranged from okay to gross. Usually we stuck with the salad bar because it's hard to mess that up. They had a "Deli" with "hand carved" sandwiches. I tried the Ruben only to find out it was a pre-made sandwich taken out of a drawer and put into a convection oven. It came out as a soggy melted mess with no thousand island dressing or sour kraut and ended up going uneaten. The Guy's Burger Bar and Guy's Pig and Anchor didn't really look like anything great. The burgers just looked like a backyard bbq burger. The free pizza option on board was surprisingly good and we had that a couple of times for lunch. Eating in the MDR was okay, the food was fine, but nothing great. The real disappointment was that the menu hardly changed, it seemed to only mix up one or two entrees.
We ate at both paid dining options. The Prime Steakhouse ($42 pp) and Cucina Del Capitano ($18 pp). Both of those were actually really good. I understand why people may not like the up charge options, but I enjoy them as an option to get a better meal. I actually wished they had more than the two options on board.
Disembarking at the islands:
This was a real mess. I was used to how Norwegian would handle this with assigned groups depending on what excursions you had booked. It would control the flow of people trying to leave the ship. Carnival pretty much just pulled up, opened the door and said "have fun" which resulted in standing in lines in hot stairwells for over an hour. We even waited quite a while before attempting to leave in Bimini since we had no excursions planned and still got caught in it. People were getting hot and grumpy and staff just seemed confused.
The Passengers:
Now I've heard Carnival get called "The Walmart of the seas" and I now know why. People were just rude and not well behaved overall. You could be waiting for an elevator and as soon as one opens someone will run right in front of you to get on. People would leave trash/drinks everywhere, like in elevators. I witnessed multiple couples fighting in public areas, you could hear people fighting in their cabins. No general respect for other passengers, adults running up hallways yelling at night/early morning (kids I could understand), slamming cabin/balcony doors constantly. I saw multiple people banging on doors to venues that were closed. People had their shoes off with bare feet up on furniture in the indoor seating areas. Guys with no shirts in dining areas, and all I could think about was the amount of body hair that may be dropping off them lol. People were being rude to staff and just giving them an attitude all the time.It just seemed like people didn't know how to behave in a public setting. I saw one guy wearing as shirt that said something about making women cum, another person had one on advertising a bail bonds company, it represented my local Walmart pretty accurately.
The staff:
The staff was excellent. Everyone was so nice and gracious. Never had an issue once with a staff member all week. The cruise director was fun and entertaining. They did seem a bit short staffed if anything, which sucks for the staff that is there. Cost cutting by the company will get taken out on them, but I think that is a trend industry wide at the moment unfortunately.
Overall the vacation was not a complete bust. If anything some of the downfalls made it kind of funny, so we just laughed about it. Like I said we enjoyed our specialty meals, so that worked out. The lobby entertainment like the violinist and solo guitar player were really good, so we enjoyed evenings in that area just getting drinks and listening to the music. It was worth it to experience another cruise line, but we won't be going back. There are too many other options to waste another trip on Carnival. We have a 5 day trip booked on the Disney Dream in January. We will see how that goes, otherwise it will be back to Norwegian since we've yet to have a bad experience there. I may get called snobby, but I think I wouldn't go on Carnival for the same reasons I wouldn't stay in an Econolodge or Super 8.
TLDR: Tried Carnival for the first time since it has a port close to home. It really is like the Walmart of the seas and you get what you pay for I guess. It was our first and last time sailing with Carnival.
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2023.05.26 01:36 Positive_Tennis_6626 The Last Radio Call (Part one)

This is a re-upload for just part one as the old post had half of it cut off.
The Last Radio Call
Chapter 1
(Normal day)
“Fifty-five to dispatch. Show me 10-8 from that call, put me out on Highway 35 near mile marker 157 for radar.” I said into my patrol car's radio.
“10-4 fifty-five, I have you cleared from the call and out at 35 for radar,” the dispatcher replied in her always calm demeanor.
I sat in the median running radar, with the speed locked to ten over the posted limit. The constant low warble of the radar unit was just background noise to me at this point. I just opened up CAD, that’s Computer Aided Dispatch or as the general public like to call it, ‘the laptop in the cop car.’ I just opened up the program to start my report when my cell phone started to ring. The screen said Erica.
I answered. “Hey babe, how are you doing? …That’s good. I’m fine.” I looked over at the clock. It was 1621 hours and my shift ended at 1700 hours. “I have just over a half an hour left pending any last minute calls that come in. I love you too, have fun on your girls’ trip. Let me know when you get there. I’ll miss you too but don’t worry I’ll be fine. I'm going to see if I can pick up an extra shift this weekend. I’ve got to help pay for our wedding that is only three months away. Ok, I’ve got to finish up some paperwork. I love you too, bye.” I put the phone back in my pocket and started my report.
On *date redacted* at approximately 1610 I, reserve deputy Alex (Badge #55), got dispatched via radio to **address redacted** in district two for a report for a battery in process. When I arrived on scene, deputies Kurby (Badge #26) and Welch (Badge #9) had already arrived and had the suspect in custody and were waiting for a transport to the jail. I spoke to the victim, *name redacted* who I later identified by his state driver’s license. He informed me that he was just out for a jog when someone attacked him and bit him on the arm twice and leg once. The victim was able to get away and call 911. SunBurst FireDepartment arrived to take him to Mercy Medical Hospital for treatment. **see form 5910-79 for full report**
I just clicked on the report form after finishing my synopsis report when a call came over the radio, “52-80, 52-90 respond to 618 chatterton. 618 chatterton for a group of five fighting”.
I laughed and thought, Have fun with that SunBurst PD. I alway like to keep the radio in my squad car set to scan to listen for SBPD frequencies. I work for district two in the county of Bear Creek. The biggest city in my area is SunBurst with a population of 91,170 and employs 153 police officers. There are other smaller towns in my district with no more than a few thousand people at the most. SunBurst is surrounded by mountains on three sides and the Cook Cook river a mile long on the fourth side. The main way in and out was over the Cook Cook bridge or the Big-C as we called it. That is why I normally write reports on highway thirty-five; If anyone was going to run from SBPD, this was the only way out of the city. I've gotten a car with my spike strip on more than one occasion. My radar went from a low warble to a high pitch ping. I looked up on the display screen- 90 miles per hour.
I let out a soft, “Ffffuuuuucccccckkkkkk,” under my breath. I looked in the rearview mirror to see a Toyota Corolla flying up on me. I closed my laptop and put my squad in drive.With my foot on the brake and hand over the light bar control, I really did not want to stop any car this close to the end of watch, but ninety in a sixty-five is something I just can’t overlook. The Toyota blew past me. I activated my emergency light, checked to make sure it was safe to pull out into traffic and floored it. The growl of the crown Vic’s V8 rumbled to life as I took off down the highway in pursuit of the speeder.
As I sped away, I could hear my radio, “Dispatch this is 52-90. Myself and 52-80 have five individuals at gunpoint, send backup.
The dispatcher replied with “10-4 52-70, 52-60, 52-50 respond 10-33 to 618 chatterton. 618 chatterton to back up 52-80 and 90 all other officers stay off the air until I hear back from 52-80.”
I just caught up with the speeding vehicle and pulled it over. Our dispatcher for the county is different then the city so I was able to radio my information to dispatch. “55 to dispatch,” I said.
“Go ahead 55,” replied the dispatcher.
“Dispatch can you run a twenty-eight on a Toyota Corolla, license plate Boy, Victor, Adam 2-7-9, B-V-A-2-7-9, silver in color occupied times three.” A few moments later Dispatch came back with “10-4. The vehicle is clean.” Which means it's not stolen, the tags are current, and the owner of the vehicle is not wanted in connection with a crime. I walked up to the vehicle and pressed my thumb onto the taillight so if anything were to happen to me they could dust the car for prints and find I was there. I walked up to the driver door but stopped short just behind the A-Pillar or the car. You never want to get right up in front of the window, that makes it way too easy to get killed. The driver rolled down his window and I did my introduction.
“Hi, I’m Deputy Alex with the Bear Creek County Sheriff Department. The reason for my traffic stop is that you were going 90 in a posted 65. Any reason why you are speeding today? Also, can I see your driver's license, registration and proof of insurance?” I always like to have the driver talk to me and look for stuff at the same time. If they are drunk or nervous they typically can’t do both at the same time.
The driver said to me, “Hey man, sorry I did not realize I was going that fast.” There were two girls in the backseat of the car, maybe no older than twelve or fourteen.
The blond girl spoke up, “Yes you did daddy. You said if we don’t get up to the cabin before sundown mommy was going to tear you a new one.”
I was trying to keep the grin off my face at this. The driver said to me, “Here’s my driver's license sir.”
I took his license and asked, “Mr. *Name redacted* is this your current address?”
“Yes, let me just get you my insurance card.”
The blond girl started talking to me, “Hi officer, how are you?”
I kept one eye on her dad, to make sure he wasn’t reaching for something he shouldn’t be. I turned to her and replied, “Not too bad, how are you? How’s school going?”
“It's good. This is my friend, Jessica, but she is sleeping right now.”
The girl next to her had jet black hair covering her face. Her head was wedged in between the door and the headrest which is the most comfortable position one can get in a car. “Are you staying out of trouble?” I said in a joking manner.
“I’m trying to but my dad says if I develop early like me mom, it will be hard for me to stay out of trouble.”
I coughed, trying to hold back a laugh. I glanced at the dad who was red in the face from embarrassment. “Officer, I found my insurance card.” I took it from him and walked back to my patrol car.
“Fifty-five to Dispatch. Can you run a twenty-seven for me?”
“10-4, 55 go ahead with your 27,” Dispatch responded.
I was just about to read off the name on the driver's license when the emergency tone on my radio went off. I looked down at the small digital display on my patrol car's radio reading Channel 4 SBPD. It was flashing red. Someone must have hit the emergency button on their police radio. When pressed, it gives the officer who pressed the button thirty seconds of open mic time to say whatever they need to say with no interruption. What I heard next is something no officer ever wants to hear.
“Officer down, officer down. Shots fired, 52-80 is down. We got a mob coming after us. Two additional people have been shot. I’m dragging 52-80 down Chatterton Street. I need backup now.”
There were some noises coming through the radio. It sounded like dragging on pavement and then yelling. “STAY BACK!” Two pistol shots rang out over the radio. Then there was silence for exactly one heartbeat.
Dispatch came on with a calm voice, but it was traced with a hint of panic. “Tac-Alert Tac-Alert, Tac-Alert. Officers need immediate assistance. 618 Chatterton, 618 Chatterton. Officers down, shots fired, this is an all units respond. 10-33 Tac-Alert, unknown conditions of the officer. Unknown number of assailants. 618 Chatterton Tac-Alert, Tac-Alert, Tac-Alert.”
I jumped out the door of my cruiser and ran up to the car I stopped. “It’s your lucky day buddy. Here’s your information.” I threw it all in the front seat of his car. “I have to go. Slow it down and drive safely.”
Jessica, the girl in the back, was awake. Our eyes locked for only a few seconds. She had the prettiest emerald green eyes I think I have ever seen. I knew I would never forget them. I stumbled for a second.
“Bye Officer,” she said. That traffic stop would be the last normal thing that would ever happen to me.
I jumped back into my police car, slammed it into drive, and pushed the gas pedal to the floorboard. This was an officer down, a brother in blue, and I was going to go balls to the wall to get there. I grabbed my radio and called dispatch.
“55 to dispatch, clear me for that traffic stop. Show me 10-17 in route to that Tac-Alert at 618 Chatterton. I'm going off frequency and will be on Mutual-Aid 1 if you need me."
Before I got a response back from dispatch I changed to Mutual-Aid 1 on my police radio. I did all this while driving at 120 miles per hour. I took the closest off ramp, crossed over the highway and got back on the highway, this time driving towards the City of Sunburst. In my rearview mirror I saw the lights of another police vehicle. I slowed down so we could travel together. The police SUV was a state police vehicle. I quickly switched to the state police frequency and pressed the push to talk button on the radio.
“State police on 35 this is Deputy Alex from BCSD are you responding to the tac-alert?”
“10-4. Do I need to take the lead?” asked the trooper.
“If you could, I'm not familiar enough with the area.”
“10-4, taking the lead now,” replied the trooper. The trooper honked his air horn twice and passed me on the left.
“10-4, FYI we are on Mutual-aid 1 frequency,” I said before switching back over. Two more squad cars fell in line behind us. One was a City of Bellevue Police squad, which is a small city a few miles away from SunBurst. The other was a Bear Creek County Deputy. Our convoy of four squad cars surged ahead with the emergency lights flashing and sirens wailing.
We drove at approximately 100 to 120 miles an hour for about five minutes when a voice came over Mutual-Aid 1. “This is Caption Kent of Sunburst PD. I’m the incident commander for this Tac-Alert. All SBPD officers form up in your civil control team leaders. BCSD deputies, state police, and other responding agencies are staging six blocks west of Chatterton, forming up and heading downtown.”
Once on scene, we were directed to a side street to park our squad cars. I was confused on why we were staging six blocks away from the original call. Also, why were we supposed to head downtown in the opposite direction? I found a group of six deputies from my department and one lieutenant, standing around talking.
I walked up and asked, “What's going on?”
Lieutenant O’Connor turned around to answer, “How nice of you to join us. I was just about to tell everyone.” He looked at me and said, “You are a Reserve Deputy, aren't you?”
I pointed to my shoulder patch. Underneath the sheriff department logo was a small tap that said, Reserve on it. “Yes sir, but I'm looking to be a good fit for full time when there is an opening in the department.”
LieutenantO’Connor waved the answer away and asked, “ Have you ever done any riot control?”
“I was trained and certified in crowd control, including pepperball and beanbags usage sir.”
“Good, now listen up everyone,” Lieutenant O’Connor said. “The mob that attacked the two officers have turned into a riot and have moved to the downtown area where they have been attacking anyone and damaging property. Their numbers have swollen up to five hundred or so. The mayor said that this is unlawful assembly and rumors have it, the governor has declared a state emergency and is calling in the National Guard.
“Why are they doing this?” A young female deputy asked.
Lieutenant O’ Connor replied, “There are three facts about riots. One: Crowds are anonymous. Two: Anonymity breeds violence. Three: Violence lowers consequences. You need a catalyst to set off the violence. I’m guessing the two officers shot someone who was well liked in the community.”
“Do we know the status of the two officers?” asked the same female deputy.
“Last I heard, their backup showed up and pulled both of them out of there. They were in tough condition, lots of bad cuts and people even bit them. They were transported to Mercy Medical Hospital for treatment.” answered the Lieutenant.
There were a few murmurs from the deputies. One even did the sign of the cross over his chest. “Now let's get down to brass tacks and discuss our role in restoring peace.” Lieutenant O’connor announced. “The front and second echelon of officers will be made up of SBPD and some of the smaller townships. SBPD has six of their C.R.T or Crisis Response Team aka SWAT with us. Their captain will be the team leader for the riot team. Three of the C.R.T officers will be the gas officers in charge of using smoke and gas grenades. If needed, the last two will provide deadly force overwatch on top of the BearCat. If one of the protesters gets ready to throw a molotov cocktail or pull a firearm, these guys will be ready to shoot. State police along with our K-9 and SBPD K-9 will be on the arrest team. The sheriff department (that's us) will be rear guard and transport. We have two of our paddy wagons here that will be used for transport. Our job is to make sure no one slips in behind the group and tries to attack us from the rear. We will also swap out with the arrest team if needed. Now everyone don your riot gear. If you have less lethals with you, like the large cans of pepper spray, or pepper ball guns, break them out now. Meet back here in ten minutes. I'm going to check in with the incident commander and let him know the number of deputies I have.”
I walked back to my squad car, a little confused on how a riot could form so quickly. Emergency vehicles with their sirens balaring could be heard racing around the city in all different directions, no doubt answering 911 calls and doing their best to keep the city from falling apart. The C.R.T BearCat armored car rolled past me as I got to my car. The throaty rumble of its diesel engine passed me. Its weight shook the ground, giving me a surge of confidence that we could restore order.
I got into my riot gear as quickly as I could. Think of a suit of armor made of hard plastic plating with thick foam padding underneath, and then covered by Nomex, which is a very flame resistant material. I clipped my Drop Leg gas mask pouch on my left side. I then holstered my Monadnock Hardwood twent-eight hundred. That might sound fancy, but it's just a wooden riot baton. I had to do some digging around the truck of my squad but found the hard plastic case and flipped it open. Inside, protected by foam, was a Tippmann 98 custom paintball gun in bright yellow.
I assembled the gun and loaded it with pepperball rounds. Unlike normal paintball rounds, they were filled with pepper spray instead of paint. When the round hits someone or something, it breaks apart and sends pepper spray in a powder form everywhere. I put on my belt with four reloads for the pepperball gun. Each reload holds two hundred rounds of pepperball. I checked to make sure the CO2 tank was screwed into the pistol grip of the gun and working properly. After ensuring that it was in correct working order, the other deputies and I returned to the staging area. SBPD took over a parking ramp for the staging area or rally point. Their mobile Command and Control unit was heavily modified RV complete with antennae, satellite dishes, and cameras protruding from all areas along with a flushable toilet trailer, and a large tractor trailer with an OWI/arrest processing center.
I asked one of the local cops why there was a processing center. He told me it was for processing large amounts of people without overloading the jails. They can fingerprint, photograph, run names to search for warrants, and either give a citation and cut them loose or load them directly onto the prison bus to be taken to the local jail. There were several ambulances staged here as well to treat both protesters and officers.
As we began to move out, one of the EMTs holding a cup of coffee in a styrofoam cup gave the passing officers a two finger salute and said, “Good luck out there.”
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