Portal Breach: The Collision of Worlds :: v.4.0


    Like a Needle in a Haystack

    Share
    avatar
    Fear
    Exabyte

    Exabyte

    Posts : 1262
    Join date : 2013-09-04
    Location : The comfort of a grave
    Level : 60

    Character Sheet
    Defense Bar:
    65/65  (65/65)
    Health Bar:
    650/650  (650/650)
    Stamina Bar:
    120/120  (120/120)

    Like a Needle in a Haystack

    Post by Fear on Sun Jan 18, 2015 1:11 pm

    Time: 11:00
    Date: 01/09/0005



    Every book and scrap piece of paper from any world and dimension imaginable can be found here...

    A bold statement.

    It had been twenty minutes since Judge Fear had entered through that cramped doorway, polished mantraps scrapping against meticulously-cut closed-grain granite. An entrance befitting of a shrew, not for a curious passerby the size of his outlandish shoulder breadth. Ah, but such a meager complaint was digressing from the here and now.

    Answering the "here" was fairly simply: due to events that be (and because he was compelled), the Dark Judge had managed to find his way, without incident, to Portal City's rather impressive library. He thought it impressive mainly for the fact of its absurdly-daunting volume; they say it took one a little over two hours to not even reach the halfway point of this abyssal building. As for the "now", however... that was by far trickier. Now he was standing at the library's great hall, the leathery soles of his decrepit feet doing a great injustice to the marble tiling they so ignorantly tarnished. Apologies, janitorial staff - it was nothing personal. This "now" pertained to the physical state of being. Mentally, well... Suffice to say, the ghoul must have spent an entire hour rigidly shambling up and down this one area, fingers appraising everything they could get away with.

    All the odd looks he must have garnered, all the foot traffic he must have impeded. Not that Judge Fear rightfully cared, really. What were their undisciplined opinions when compared to his own? No, no. The Dark Judge was far too engrossed with inspecting every square inch of the library's great hall, from its beautifully-crafted sculptures to its painstakingly composed decor. There was nothing wrong, judicially speaking, to admire an architectural masterpiece.

    He certainly hadn't visited a library this grand, if ever.

    But the undead fiend had not come to develop a new appreciation for a trade and art grossly out of his league. He had journeyed all this way for one thing and for one thing only: books! A library wasn't a proper library without books, was it? After a few more curious stares and various appendages holding a plethora of noses and olfactory senses, Judge Fear finally took a hint. He hobbled away in a classic corpse gait and left those of weaker hearts and minds, his many chains and the heavy folds of his cape announcing both his much-desired departure and his much-dreaded arrival. Grand arches foretold the coming of a new marvel, a new wonder to perhaps extol; disappointment became extinct in the next two seconds.

    Rows upon fathomless rows of books greeted him, Judge Fear instinctively astonished. There must have been centuries' worth of tomes in here, and, if the front lobby was to be deemed correct, then he was only viewing less than ten percent of the library's actual content! Shock quickly devolved into a controlled, unspoken panic.

    This was irrevocably going to eat a fairly large portion if his day...
    avatar
    Fear
    Exabyte

    Exabyte

    Posts : 1262
    Join date : 2013-09-04
    Location : The comfort of a grave
    Level : 60

    Character Sheet
    Defense Bar:
    65/65  (65/65)
    Health Bar:
    650/650  (650/650)
    Stamina Bar:
    120/120  (120/120)

    Re: Like a Needle in a Haystack

    Post by Fear on Sun Jan 18, 2015 2:12 pm

    Time: 18:00
    Date: 01/09/0005



    "Eat" had been terribly shortsighted; "devour" was a much better fit.

    One hour beget two, and two beget four - it was too easy to squander one's time, but this was well worth the expenditure. Judge Fear was unaccustomed to performing retrieval tasks and it showed. He couldn't exactly go about slaying the library patrons and demanding that some unfortunate soul fetch a few desired items, now, could he? It took the foul-smelling ghoul little over two-and-a-half hours to reach the library's purported middle; unnecessary, but he wished to see if the local assertion was indeed true.

    It was, and he contently allowed the library maintain its claim. Now, then... Where to begin? A very, very good question. And one the Dark Judge rightfully didn't know how to go about asking; most individuals he approached, with a sickly talon poised to tap their shoulder, had not taken too fondly to his presence. The general consensus was apparently to brush him off or awkwardly shuffle away. Wasn't anyone in this blasted fortress helpful? Guess not, leaving the fiend to take matters into his own rotten, virtuous hands without proper direction - something he was also not well-versed in. No matter, however! After another hour spent limping up and down one of the library's vast wings, stiff joints admittedly not the best for its spiraling stairwells and tight corners, he eventually wound up in... ah, this was rather embarrassing. All this traveling around and he still didn't know where he bloody was!

    Judge Fear would have eaten his own trousers out of pure frustration if he could - and if his pride would allow for such an outrageous spectacle. Nevertheless, he continued in his struggle to navigate this perplexing labyrinth.  

    Another half hour wasted away, the Dark Judge no closer to his objective than having started.

    But it was not all in vain.

    About twenty meters away was a throng of sinners; disgusting creatures, to be sure. He would have regarded them as ants waiting to be crushed beneath his vigilant heel, had he not observed their peculiar mannerisms. What were they doing over there, and why did they huddle around a common focal point? Curious and perhaps thinking the ne'er-do-wells to be committing an odious act, the fiend silently approached his unsuspecting prey with his yellowed talons outstretched and eager to spill blood. It would be a great distraction.

    Alas, it was not meant to be! For, no sooner had he loomed over the group's rear and peered over its members' darling heads (the best thing about being so ridiculously tall), Judge Fear became privy to a different sort of magic: technology! In this case, one of the library's numerous computer terminals conveniently placed to better aid its patrons. Ghostly eyes observed in silence as the sinners typed away, inputting their queries into the faithful machine and walking off once their search was completed. Huh! Do you think he ought to give it a whirl...? It couldn't hurt, right? Eventually all the sinners had finished with the terminal and left him to creep there, the Dark Judge wondering if he should perhaps take a stab. Ah, why not. He shambled over and regarded the computer with mild apprehension. Well, this was certainly more advanced than the old gadgets back on Deadworld... It was also rather small, too.

    There was an awful creak in his spine as Judge Fear lowly stooped, neck contorted in only the most uncomfortable of ways (this was one of the worst things about being so ridiculously tall). Everything in this world was designed with midgets in mind! To compound problems even further, the font was incredibly tiny. What was this, a screen for ants? The ghoul peered closer, helm practically forced into the computer's glass.

    Okay, alright... So, that was the text field, was it? Guess he just uses this... really, really tiny keyboard and mouse.

    Easier said than done. Judge Fear's hand alone was enough to drown the mouse completely (he had to ultimately resort in using three spindly fingers to get it to behave as he wanted), and the keyboard? Pfft, the term "fat-fingering" must have been coined with his condition in mind.

    He tried. Oh did he try. But every deliberate keystroke that he made, fingers poised over the home row like a good typist, he always ended up clicking at least two or more surrounding keys. It went something like this:

    CLACKCLACKCLACKCLICKCLICKCLACKCLACKCLACKCLICK!

    That poor, poor backspace key.

    A good handful of individuals looked up from their reading material, some even peering over bookshelves to better spy what was the source of that awful cacophony of mechanical butchery. And they had not gone unnoticed by yours truly, either. Pausing in his miserable display, Judge Fear glanced over both of his burdened shoulders and felt a wee bit humiliated. What!? It wasn't exactly easy to interact with everyday, mundane objects when your hands were roughly the size of an elephant's FOOT! Don't get him started on his atrocious fingernails, either. He quietly muttered to himself and went about this again, resorting to using a two-fingered dance; the kind where your computer instructor would have cruelly heckled you for.

    Clack!

    J...

    Clack!

    A...

    Clack!

    N...

    Oi, this was going to take a while.
    avatar
    Fear
    Exabyte

    Exabyte

    Posts : 1262
    Join date : 2013-09-04
    Location : The comfort of a grave
    Level : 60

    Character Sheet
    Defense Bar:
    65/65  (65/65)
    Health Bar:
    650/650  (650/650)
    Stamina Bar:
    120/120  (120/120)

    Re: Like a Needle in a Haystack

    Post by Fear on Sun Jan 18, 2015 4:16 pm

    Time: 19:30
    Date: 01/09/0005



    Yes! Yesssss!

    It had taken him over a third of the damn day, but he had done it!

    Happily hissing in line was a pleased Judge Fear, his three books held closely to his emaciated chest. Before him stood a line, a paltry four people waiting ahead, yet he didn't care. Whatever for? The Dark Judge had found what he wanted and now he could go about the rest of his day knowing that he hadn't failed. This library was great stuff, but good Grud! Locating what you wanted, let alone getting directions, had been an utter nightmare!

    "I can help who's next!"

    Oh boy, checkout time!

    The Dark Judge approached eagerly with chains rattling, books placed upon the reception's marble counter. "Good evening. Jussst thessse three," he hissed. Imagine the ghoul's surprise when the receptionist turned out to be a big cat! Er, a cougar...? No, no. Cougars didn't look like this, did they? This thing seemed so... surreal.

    Whatever the receptionist was, they hopped onto something, maybe a hidden stool, and stared up at the ghoul with those big, inquisitive eyes. A tail wagged back and forth excitedly. "Wow, you're really tall!" they exclaimed. She, from the sounds of it. A young she. The receptionist leaned a little closer and sniffed the air, her large nose crinkling slightly. "Wow... you also smell really bad." Rude! The comment was enough to snap Judge Fear out of his astonishment.

    "Mmmrgh... And you are alssso too young to be operating an adult job," he retorted evenly.

    Pretty sure this was a crime and the parents ought to be made accountable.

    "Who, me?" she said, pointing to her fluffy chest with a tilted head. The receptionist laughed. "I guess so, Mr. Smelly, but it's to teached responsibility! Hey, are you a knight? Do you wear that helmet because you hit your head a lot? I knew a rock who could have used a helmet like that... His name was Larry!"

    Teached?

    Knight?

    Mr. Smelly?

    Hold hard, patience! Judge Fear repeatedly told himself that purging was not legalized in the city proper (wretched ISOs), but this overgrown house cat sure made it tempting. "Teach," the ghoul rasped yet again. A bit of his irritation shone through. "The correct word isss teach. And no, I am not a knight. The correct vocation isss Judge." If he had a dollar for every time someone confused the two...

    A paw brought itself to rest upon the receptionist's furry lips, revelation dawning upon her. "Ohh... a judge," she repeated. "Hmm, but if you're a judge... where is your fancy wig and hammer-thingy? You kinda look like a spooky villain..."

    This is why it should be illegal to have children.

    "That isss a gavel - I do not ussse a gavel."

    "...And what about the wig?"

    "I do not - mmmmmmmmmrrrrnnngh..."

    More laughter, more youthful ignorance. "Okay, okay," she relented, placing both paws on the Dark Judge's assortment of books. "Let's see what you gotted here..." Judge Fear visibly twitched. "Oh, cool! I see you have... have... Pride and Prejudice?" Puzzled, the receptionist glanced up, tail curling. "...Is it a good book? I've never readed it!" Sigh, just... let it go.

    "It isss a romance book from the early 19th century," came a succinct history lesson. "Written in a time of Britisssh Regency, it isss a classssic gem and a piece of culture."

    "Hmm..." There was that sound again. The receptionist gave Mr. Smelly's words some thought, eyelids drooping. She gasped and they immediately fluttered open. "Aw, you like romance books!" What!? Out of all that, she got - ! The air grew chilly but still the little nuisance kept chatting away. All that dense fur must have made her oblivious. "It's okay, I won't tell. Hey, what's this one...?" She picked up an older tome, paws delicately tracing its worn, musty spine. "N... Nye... Nye-eet..."

    His sigh couldn't have been any louder. "Nietzsche..."

    "...Huh?"

    Need the undead fiend really say more?

    She thankfully set the book aside with the other, scanning its barcode and soon resting her wide, yellow eyes on the third. "Oh! That's the All You Need to Know about Cold-Blooded Animals book! Hey, do you have a pet?"

    The ghoul at once perked up, pressing a corpse finger against his helm's visor. "Ssssh!" he hissed. "Mussst you be ssso loud!? Yesss, that isss the book! And I do not have a - " Well, hmm... Guess he could somewhat fool around with this. Judge Fear retracted his earlier statement and clarified, "I... I guesss I do. But it'sss not any of your busssinesss, child. Kindly ssscan the book, tell me when they are due, and I can be rid of you."

    A poor choice in words.

    "Cooooool!" She did the complete opposite of what he wanted and leaned forward upon the counter, paws holding up her inquisitive head. "I think it's nice to have a pet. What kind?"

    Um...

    "...The, uh, ssscaly kind?" was his tentative answer.

    "Oh! So like a snake? Or maybe a lizard? Those are reptiles, you know! You gotta keep 'em nice and warm, but also nice and cool! Is it cute?"

    "He."

    "Okay, he! What is he?"

    ...She wasn't going to let this go, was she?

    Dumb is the first word that came to mind, but it was an adjective and not a species or category of animal. Though it was difficult to accurately say, Judge Fear tried his hardest. "Mm, a horny toad, ha ha." And by hardest, he meant not at all; the Dark Judge only chose this particular creature because it was the same one on the book's cover, not even two feet away.

    The receptionist didn't seem to notice. "Just like on the cover!" she bounced happily. "Hey, did you know that some horny toads squirt blood from their eyes? It's to ward off predators and other hostile things!"

    And just like that, the ghoul found his interest mighty tickled.

    "Oh?" he leaned closer, intrigued. "I did not know that."

    "Yeah!" she giggled. "What's your pet's name?"

    "Ke - aaaaah..." Good save, good save.

    She tilted her head. "Ke - aaaaah...?"

    "No, no. I mean, he isss name isss... mm..." Think! He stopped fanning his hands and began tapping a foot. What's a good name for a bloody horny toad...? This was probably a terrible name, but it was the first thing that had came to his mind. "Oatsss," Judge Fear finally revealed. "Hisss name isss Oatsss, ha ha." Get it?

    "Aw..." The joke was of course lost on the little girl, an outsider naively peering in. She scanned the last of his books and neatly bagged them up, slipping in a piece of paper with a stamped date. "Okay, you're all setted!" she said, extending the bag over. "Books are due on Febr... Febu..."

    Mmnrgh...

    "February."

    "Yeah, that one! Books are due on February 9th, exactly one month from today. Enjoy your books and I hope you read to Oats!"

    People actually read to their pets...?

    Relieved, the Dark Judge was all too eager to collect his lent reading material and hastily limp out. He grunted out a small - "Thank you..." - and didn't look back. It wasn't until soon after, in the midst of an intersection, that the word he had been seeking came floating to the Stygian surface of his memory.

    "Lion!"

    Honk, honk, honk!



    ((It's been a long time since I've seen "Between the Lions", forgive me! ;~;))

      Current date/time is Fri Sep 22, 2017 1:08 pm