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View Full Version : IgnusBurns (Riley A. Sanders) v. Vern (June)



Vern
01-05-2017, 02:05 PM
So, in true Vern fashion I managed to deliver on this battle nearly another two months after the initial due date. I kept this battle going to constantly revise the things I felt I could do better, though honestly I could keep improving ad infinitum that way and I'm pretty satisfied with what I have so far (a first), so without further ado here's the battles ;

(Ignus)

Riley Adam Sanders (http://forums.stickpage.com/showthread.php?100479-The-Dead-Man-Walking)

For once in his life, Riley had a normal day. No contracts, no deals, just a day to stay at home and relax. Not something that happened often. He hated it…

Not that he hated having a day off. It was the fact that nothing interesting happens on such days. He was so used to fighting superhumans and criminals that going cold turkey for a day kind of shocked him, in a good way.

He’d done his regular chores, taking out the trash, washing dishes, and a few out of his own willingness. Like making breakfast and lunch for his two roommates. It was the only way he could pass the time that morning and early afternoon. No ranges were within walking distance of the Mercs’ house, so Riley didn’t know how else to kill the time…

Things got interesting a few hours past sunset though. He was getting groceries for dinner, as he was gonna make that too. When things took a turn for the worst.

He was toting a bag full of various fruits and vegetables to make his mother’s taco soup. With his own touch of course. Riley had always liked fruits more than veggies, so any dish his mother passed down to him he added a bit of fruit.

That’s when he noticed the absence of his wallet, which was supposed to be in his right pants pocket, and whirled, tossing the bag of groceries into his left arm and whipping his right arm out and catching the thief by the shoulder.

From their frame he could tell she was a girl. A black hood covered her face, and she wore black gloves, baggy gray sweatpants, and black sneakers. A ball cap’s visor stuck out from beneath the hood, further shading her features.

He leaned down and set the groceries on the pavement while maintaining a tight grip on her shoulder. “C’mon, lass, give me my wallet back.” he asked, extending his hand out. The thief didn’t move, and Riley frowned, “Please. Give. Me. My. Wallet…”

Again not making a move, the CIA sighed, “Alright, look, I’m a cop, in manner of speaking, and if you give me back my wallet, I’ll let this slide.”

The girl looked up, revealing her face. She had blonde hair tucked in under her cap, and a pair of sunglasses covered her eyes.
Just like that, a force, not from the girl as she hadn’t lifted a finger, pushed on Riley’s shoulder and sent him skidding backward on the pavement.

He looked up, and the girl was now running down the sidewalk.

Riley stood quickly and dusted off his jacket, dropping the groceries on the sidewalk, “And, we’re doing this now.” He muttered, and the Operative gave chase, exploding off his right foot and accelerating to max speed within a few strides. His target looked behind her and, seeing him in hot pursuit, quickly turned into an alley. “Gotcha now…” Riley said confidently, rounding the corner.

His approach was swiftly met with a fist slamming into his chest, making him keel over backwards and hit concrete. He coughed as his rifle case dug into his back, then felt blood trickling down his neck.

Putting both hands to the ground, Riley deftly pushed himself up again and continued after the thief, who had hit the end of the alley.

With a wall in front and to either side of her, Riley was ready to make a quick arrest. But as he approached, the girl squatted, then leapt, all the way to the edge of the roof, grappling the gutters with both hands.

The CIA stopped a few feet from the wall as she pulled herself up onto the top, looking down at him and smiling. “You play basketball kid?” Riley asked, smirking back. She shrugged, then disappeared over the edge.

The Operative sighed, “Still gonna do it the hard way huh?” he mumbled.

Taking a couple steps back. Riley took a deep breath, then rushed forward, leaping towards the right wall and kicking off it, propelling himself at the one in front of him.

Rearing his synthetic arm back, the CIA’s mechanical eye pointed out a weakened section of wall, and he slammed his mechanical fingers into the piece of brick. Holding fast, Riley gripped the wall with his left, then ripped his right free and began to climb, eventually reaching the top and pulling himself up and over.

Activating his eye again, Riley spotted the thief jumping across rooftops at least a hundred meters ahead of him. He quickly brought his rifle case into his hands, opening it and bringing the sniper into his grip. Peering through the scope, the reticle floated over the girl’s head, then glided down to her upper thigh, and Riley fired.

The thief staggered and fell, the bullet having ripped through her pants and grazed her skin, if not worse.

The CIA cased the weapon and slung it over his back as he ran, leaping across the roofs to reach the girl.

Once within a good twenty feet, the same force which had shoved him before resurfaced, and Riley instinctively rolled to the side, the feeling of pressure subsiding.

The girl’s leg was indeed bloody, as red stained her upper thigh region and she struggled to stand. She pulled her hood down and ripped her cap off, allowing a blonde ponytail to tumble down to her midriff.

She turned towards him, a look of shock and anger covering her face. “You shot me?!” She roared. Riley bent down, resting his arms on his knees. “If you don’t want people to shoot you, don’t take their stuff kid…” He replied.

She pressed hard on the wound, trying to staunch the blood, and Riley waved the attempt off, “Don’t worry, I grazed the skin, just a flesh wound.”

She glared at him, and he smiled down at her. “Will you give me my wallet now?” he asked, but she frowned, clearly offended, “It’s already back in your pocket!”

Riley stood and felt both sides of his pants. Gripping a familiar bulge in his right, his mouth slightly opened and closed slowly, gulping air, “Oh… My bad…” was all he could manage. Looking down at the girl’s bloodied leg, he sighed. “I can help with that…”

He set his rifle case down again and popped the lid, revealing his R700, but also extra ammo and bandages. Pulling these out, he ripped a sizable amount from the roll and approached the girl’s leg with it. But she pulled the limb away, “You’re not doing this to try and make me drop my guard are you?”

Riley’s arms drooped at the question. He sighed, “No, I just want to try and make up for my mistake. I could’ve killed an innocent girl. I’m lucky I decided to stagger you.” he replied.

She snorted, “So… What? We’re supposed to be friends now?” She asked, clearly still angry.

“I didn’t say that, just hold still and cooperate.” He murmured. The girl snorted again in response, and Riley snickered at her spunk. “What can I call you?” He asked. She looked into his coffee brown eyes and her expression softened a little, his change of attitude starting to affect hers as well.

“June…”

***
A minute later, after June had pulled up her pant leg to reveal the wound and Riley treated it, he decided to break the silence. “So… I noticed when you were around, there was sort of, another presence. You doing that?” He asked.

She nodded in response, so he continued, “What is it exactly, electromagnetic? Psychokinetic?” June snapped her fingers at the last one, and Riley nodded, smiling. “So you’re a metahuman?” he asked, and she shrugged. “I guess so… What about you?”

The CIA’s smile dropped a little, then returned in full force. “Yeah. Sort of.”

“What have you got?” She asked. He shook his head, “‘Fraid that’s classified, lass, couldn’t tell you if I wanted.”
“Mechanical enhancement of the body?” She said, straight out of the blue. Riley looked up from wrapping her leg, surprised.
“How did you-”

“Forgot to mention.” She pointed to her temple, “Telepathy as well. Read it in there.” she explained, poking his forehead. Riley laughed again.
“Interesting. My mind is organized I reckon?” he asked playfully, to which June laughed,

“Quite the opposite actually…”

Riley laughed aloud, then stood, the wrap complete. He offered her a hand, and she took it, letting him pull her off the ground.

They stood silently for a moment, then Riley spoke, “I have an idea.”

June leaned to one side, resting either hand on a hip. “Yeah? Enlighten me…”

“I’m not gonna take you in, but you have to do something first.”

“And what’s that?” She asked.

“Fight me. If you win, you get a free pass, if you lose, well, I’ll probably let you go anyway.”

June took a step back, confusion across her face. “Why do you want to fight?”

Riley sighed then rolled his shoulders, “I’m rusty, and frankly, my day’s been too normal, I’m used to crazy. I need something to fix that. And here you come running. Not a coincidence I’d say.”

The girl smiled, then stepped back again. “Alright, I’ll bite. But be warned, I fight hard.”

The Operative bellowed with laughter, “I never said you didn’t...”

Both of them went to one side of the rooftop, and Riley set his case down on the edge. “You’re not going to use your rifle?” June asked, and he nodded,

“Don’t need to give myself too many advantages.”

She nodded, then bent both legs, putting more weight on her right than left. She raised both fists to her chin. As did Riley, adopting a more balanced stance and keeping his fists closer to his chest.

Making the first move, June thrust out both hands, and Riley was shoved backwards by her psychokinesis. Predicting such a move, the Operative bent his knees low to the ground and grinded his right hand along the roof, bringing him to a screeching halt.

Looking up, a leg swung at him in a slanted arc, and Riley dodged, moving just under June’s thigh as her kick missed. He feinted a blow to her abdomen, then slammed his left elbow into her sternum, just below the collarbone.

He put quite a bit of energy into the strike, and Riley obviously underestimated his strength, after all, it had been quite a while before he’d been in an actual fist fight. When was the last time he had one? Middle-school? That was almost twenty years ago, long before he’d gotten his mechanical enhancements.

June flew backwards, flipping in mid-air and placing a hand to the ground, pushing off and landing gracefully a few feet away.

She then jumped into the air a good ten feet. On the way down, she thrust her hand out again, the gravity around Riley seeming to increase five-fold. He braced his feet against the roof, the materials groaning and cracking underneath his magnified weight.

Unable to move, the CIA could do nothing as both of June’s knees slammed into his chest and sent them both crashing through the creaking wood.

They landed with the broken pieces of wood and roof, dust settling around them. June leapt off and landed a few feet away, back in her fighting position.

Riley was struggling to his feet, “Not bad kid, even I couldn’t see that coming.” He complimented, to which June smiled.

“Been working on that for a while.” she replied, cracking her knuckles.

As soon as he was on his feet and ready again, his rival rushed forward, taking a swing at Riley’s chin. He smacked the blow aside with his left and countered, slamming the palm of his right hand into her chest, pushing her back.

He walked forward casually as June recovered, the blow from his mechanical limb having hit her pretty hard. She looked up to see him smash his wrist into her cheek with a haymaker, sending her flying into the left wall, the impact causing dust to rain from the ceiling.

Her body shuddered from the obvious pain, but she got up rather seamlessly. Blood was rushing from a cut on her left cheek, probably from the previous blow, but a savagely determined look remained in her eyes.

She faced him, and the gravity increased around the Operative once again. He tried to move, but even with his enhancements he could only lift his foot an inch off the ground before it smashed into the floor. His enhancements, which increased his weight, had become his worst enemy…

June walked forward, her face still constrained as she held the gravity field in place. Once she was within a foot, the gravity around Riley dissipated, but he couldn’t react in time as his opponent started to smash her fists, knees, and shins into his gut and face.

He was shocked by how strong her punches were, considering how young of a girl she was. Either she worked out, a lot, or she was using her powers to augment her strength. She obviously had some experience in combat, and Riley was going to get beat if he didn’t figure out something soon…

He activated his eye, the HUD beginning to display diagnostics of June’s fighting style.

Riley took in all the info as quick as he could, the blows from his foe beginning to take too much of a toll on his stamina. He may have been able to take ten times as much abuse as any other guy, but he was almost at his limit...

His HUD beeped at him, the scan done, and Riley lifted his right hand up and caught the next blow, a kick, mid-swing. The calculations were correct, and he threw her leg down. She threw a hook, and he blocked that too, every single attack after being deflected by a mix of Riley and his eye’s diagnosis.

She attempted a jab at his ribs, but he dodged to the right, knocked the blow out of the way and grabbed her wrist with his mechanical arm, gripping it tightly.
June cried out from the synthetic limb’s strength, and Riley heaved her towards the opposite wall, her body sailing through the air like a rag doll.

She hit the wooden floor and slid into the divider, groaning in pain. As soon as she did, the CIA ran over, leapt into the air, popped open his forearm, assembled a firearm mid-flight, extended his foot, and slammed the heel into June’s left cheek, following up by putting the gun to her temple. “I win…” He growled triumphantly, breathing hard.

The girl sighed as she sat up against the wall, slightly flinching under the pressure of the gun’s barrel. “Alright, I yield, you got me…” She replied, holding both hands up in surrender.

Riley dismantled the weapon and offered her a hand, she took it a bit reluctantly and stood, holding her side. “You good?” the Operative asked, raising an eyebrow.

June nodded, wincing a bit. “Yeah, might have bruised rib or two, but I’ll be fine.” She explained, shaking her head, looking disappointed. Riley slapped her on the shoulder, making sure to use his left arm.

“Don’t sweat me beating you kid, you gave me a real good fight.” Riley complemented, laughing.

June snorted, “I may have done good, but I can always do better, I certainly didn’t do my best today…”

It was Riley’s turn to snort, “Puhhhleaze! You did great! Now let’s get out of this place.”

He jumped up and managed to grab a broken support beam, which now jutted out from the hole in the ceiling. The Operative pulled himself up and out, then turned to help June. “Here.” He said, offering her his right hand.

She waved it off, “I can get up on my own.” and leapt out of the hole, easily clearing the roof and Riley, landing behind him.

“Forgot you can do that…” He responded, scratching his head. She chuckled at the statement, looking at the now risen moon, bright white and radiant.

Riley sat on the edge of the roof and took in a deep breath of the night air. “I think I got my fill of excitement for the day.” He stated, laughing to himself. June stood behind him and raised an eyebrow.

“Tired already, old man?” She asked.

The CIA turned and looked up at her, feigning insult. “First off, I’m twenty-nine. And second, I’m probably in better shape than you June…”

The psychic laughed again, “I know, I know, so, I get to go then?”

Riley rolled his eyes, “Yeah, you get to go, just try not to steal too much alright?” He replied.

“Of course…”

He sighed contentedly. Taking out his wallet, he rifled through the various pockets, making sure everything was still there and wasn’t lost during the fight. He jumped to his feet at his conclusion.
“HEY! Where’s my credit card?!” Riley roared, and he turned to see June on the other side of the roof, holding it in between two fingers.

“Right here.” She replied, pointing at it.

The Operative shook his head, quietly sighing. “Did you steal that to be funny, or just to steal it?” He asked.

She tilted her head, agreeing. “Just to be funny. I’ve got a proposition for you now, Old Man.” She said, smiling devilishly.

Riley smiled back, but was obviously annoyed. “Yeah? What?”

“I’m tapped into this city’s police radio frequency. There’s currently a bank robbery down on Main. I want your help stopping it.”

The CIA nodded to himself, not saying anything. “You said you’re a type of cop, right?” June asked.

Riley breathed sharply out of his mouth, then nodded to her, “Yeah, I’ll help. Though I can’t promise I won’t fight at my max, we did just have a brawl and all. And Only if I get my card back...”

The girl held up one hand to her temple, “Thief’s honor!” she stated, and the Operative laughed.

“That’s not reassuring…” Riley said, shaking his head.

He flexed both sets of fingers, he picked up his rifle case and checked to see if his Beretta’s were in working condition. June pointed at them with two fingers, “Just promise me you won’t use those.”

Riley looked at the weapons, confused, “Why not?”

She adopted a grim and angry look, “I don’t like killing. Doesn’t help get anything done. Certainly doesn’t help the person who gets shot. You gotta give people a second chance.”

The Operative raised an eyebrow, “Never been one for second chances.” He replied, which made June glare at him, he raised both hands in compliance, “But I guess I can make an exception.”

She smiled hugely after that last part, then turned and leapt off the roof, yelling, “Let’s go then!”

Riley smiled to himself, “Can’t believe I was that reckless when I was younger…” Then quickly made chase after his makeshift comrade in arms.

Google Docs version (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1fzqp3LnWUe2sp_z_-KuEhDV94AmKqNtG8sGLAgHxBt0/edit)

(Vern)

June (http://forums.stickpage.com/showthread.php?100827-June)

The hot and sunny autumn afternoon that had beset Sierra Pines today had caught everyone by surprise. Men and women who had come that morning packed in clothes to fend against the cold on the forefront of the upcoming winter, were now suffering and scurrying about in search of the shade, some of them already having hastily undone themselves of their burdensome coats and sweaters.

In Canary Pete’s, the picturesque little cafe known only to its frequenters, hidden away in the old, forgotten part of town and accessible only by that terrace located slightly below the sidewalk, life continued as usual. The heat outside bothered them not, as its slight subterranean location dispersed all the heat into the earth’s cold crust, the torments of that beautiful but gruelling day lost upon those who dwelled inside.

Amongst them, amidst the faint khaki walls with the dark wooden supports, the haze of smoke from the cigars and cigarettes, the card-and-pool table games, and the strongly smelling liquors was June, leaning her head on her folded arms rested upon the red mahogany of the bar. Across her stood old Pete himself, cleaning various glasses and mugs that lay all across the counter, with a towel in hand.

“Come now, June. Chipper up. No need for long faces now.” His intonation was a bit old fashioned, and his accent betrayed his Welsh roots, but his voice was warm and comforting. Somehow, hearing him always invited one to smile, and the man always welcomed the merriment.

June straightened her back and sat herself straight, still with a hand on her nose. She never let out a tear, but her face was reddened and painted by a mix of anger and indifference, and those familiar with her knew her to be distraught. The hand on her face wasn’t as much to hide her tristesse as it was to alleviate the pain she was enduring; She hadn’t thought much of her wounded nose during her last nightly escapade but when it started to hurt as she crawled in bed it was obvious it’d been badly bruised after all.

She lowered her hand and locked eyes with Pete: He was a stout man with flat brown hair that hung from the sides of his head, a well grown beard and a tidy moustache. His deeply chestnut-coloured eyes strengthened that feeling of warmth he emanated. He was a friend to all that frequented his bar, and he’d fostered June as a parent for as long as she could remember.

“I-... Well, it’s just that I feel like a fool, I feel tricked.” After a brief pause she collected herself a bit and dismissed her previous words with a wave of the hand. “I know I shouldn’t be behaving myself like this.”

Pete put down one glass and picked up the next, absently running the towel over it as he spoke up, a bit louder as if to reassure her.

“Nonsense, June. You have every right to be distraught, my dear, but you shouldn’t be too harsh on yourself. You couldn’t have known that Jake was like that from the get go, even with your abilities. I think it was very noble of you to not have pried into his mind when the two of you first met.”

“See where being noble got me.”She scoffed as she nestled back into her folded arms.

“You took a leap of faith, and it backfired. Sometimes things like this just happen.”

He put down the glass in his hand as if it were a little treasure and leaned in closer, laying a hand on her shoulder.

“Now, I want you to forget all about him and put that wonderful smile of yours back on your face. It’s your big day today, after all, don’t let it be ruined by a person who couldn’t see you for what you are. He’s not worth it.”

June sniffed and ran her sleeve past her right eye, then her whole face brightened up as a smile came to be.

“You’re right-.. You’re right. Now is no time to be brokenhearted.”

She straightened her ponytail and shook her hood down as she smiled even wider. With a bit of sneering joy she continued.

“You know what? It’s like he never even existed.”

Pete responded by smiling his big, warm smile and handed her a glass of water before resuming his duties as barman. The sounds of the idle chatter, the raw coughing, the foosball and the billiards overtook her as she slouched down again. It’d be another two hours to her RHG appointment, something she’d looked forward to for years, but somehow, right here and now, that dreadful moment could wait another thousand years for all she cared.
~
“What do you mean rejected?!” June’s voice flared as she shot straight out of her seat and slammed her palms on top of the glass table in that dark, small room, almost threatening to smash it to pieces.

The man seated across her, somewhere in his mid-thirties with a light brown skin, wearing a flimsy white shirt and tiny spectacles, folded his hands across the bridge of his nose as if to sigh. He clearly hated doing this, but she didn’t care.

“We’re sorry, miss. One of our handlers got overzealous and overstepped her boundaries, it was only after your file was pushed to the gamemakers that we found out that she had.”

She opened her mouth and wanted to yell but nothing came out and she instead turned her head to the side as it reddened, the sadness from earlier that day stalking her like a bloodhound. This was not happening. Quietly she answered, word for word.

“What exactly is wrong with my application then, huh?”

“They have reasons to believe you’re just a muggle.”

June started wandering about as she turned to face him again, a puzzled look on her face. “A what now?”

“Right, it’s an inside joke of ours. A reference to some obscure book that’s a rather poor take on real life wizards. We use it to imply someone is utterly defenceless. No powers. No skills or weapons. Nothing. Now, the board is pretty lenient, but they’ve never really legally condoned cannon fodder to be added to the roster.”

“You really think I’m helpless then?!” She felt herself growing ever more emotional.

“I’m sure you aren’t, miss, but the decision’s not on me. If it were up to me I’d let you in like that.” He didn’t mean it, that much was obvious to her.

“I just had to wait in line for two hours, I sat through the people in line behind me and even the damn guy who works your reception telling me the fanclub’s further down the hall, and that I had no business queueing as a gladiator here, and now you’re telling me I should just go away with my tail between my legs?! I have worked for this my whole life, do you have any idea how insulting this is to me?!”

The employee simply rocked in his char. “Please don’t make this any harder than it has to be, miss.”

June wandered over to the doorpost and leaned against it with one arm as she held her forehead in the other. The reality of the whole matter was starting to hit her. The man stood up now and straightened the papers in his hands.

“Now if you’ll excuse me, miss, I have other business to attend to. I trust that you will show yourself out?” He didn’t await her answer and made for the exit. As he passed her she took hold of his right arm.

“Miss, please!” He made no more effort to hide his agitation with her. She held on for another second before she let go and turned her head. The door slammed shut behind him and June sat herself down against the doorpost, her head still in her hand.

She looked up and took a good look at the keycard in the other. Once the compulsion arose there was no stopping it, and this time it worked out for her. She knew who to look for, and this golden ticket would take her straight there. Still, was it worth ignoring her principles for?
~
The inner halls of the complex were ill-lit, astonishingly so. They felt more like a dark, winding maze than anything else. June barely managed to make out the numbers of the office she’d been looking for; Office 339. Well, this was it then. If there was any other way to join the roster, the answer’d be here. All that had had happened that day started weighing on her like lead.

No more hesitation, she’d been willing to use what she’d stolen to get here, there was no point in stopping now. She slid the keycard into the slot next to the door, only to be met with beeping and a flashing red light. The card had been denied, as was to be expected, but there were plenty of other ways to get inside.

With a loud crack she kicked through the lock of the white wooden door, immediately followed by a loud “Whatefuck” from inside and an equally loud bang as the door smashed into the wall it was attached to. With fierce composure June strut into the room.

The office itself was a lot more charming, with a nice big window pane overlooking the gardens outside the complex. It had many funkily coloured retro furnishings, an old school bamboo carpet and a cutesy “Hang in there” poster of a cat along with a slew of posters of bands she didn’t recognize.

In the corner a small female figure was cowering against her curved desk. She had short, curly brown hair, her blue eyes priming at her from behind her fashionable glasses, and wore a long sleeved black blouse and a long, violet skirt. She must’ve been somewhere in her early twenties. With her one hand she held a red folder she clenched tightly against her chest and with her other she now pointed towards the broken door as she nodded towards it.

“Eh, you could’ve just knocked you know, the door was unlocked.” She was hesitant to make herself heard.

June had another glance at her handiwork and all that fierceness that had defined her figure just a second ago left her being in an instant as she shrivelled together in embarrassment.

“Oh…”

Suddenly the other’s face lightened up and a smile crept on her face. “Wait, but… You’re June!” In an instant the woman rose from her crumpled up position and tiptoed over to her. When she stood in front of her, June realized that this woman was a little bit shorter than herself.

“It’s such a pleasure to finally meet you! Oh, how rude of me, I’m Jessica Parker, your handler, though you probably knew that already.” As she spoke she swiftly extended a hand and she shook it; The woman’s spontaneity left her dumbfounded.

“I have to say kicking in my door is a pretty weird way to make an entrance... but it sure is imposing! Good! We can use stuff like that here! Though do tell me, what convinced those greyhairs on the board to let you in? Last I heard I was about to be reprimanded for pushing your file!”

Parker spoke with such a breakneck pace and enthusiasm that June found herself completely at a loss for words for a while.

“Uhm, they haven’t really let me in. I-..”

“What?!” She stormed off back to her desk in frustration and started packing a whole bunch of papers into her red folder.

“Those-...! Ugh. They would give me two of those stupid boring emo kids who kick the bucket the second they get the chance, but a pearl like you they would rather throw to the swines! Bah, I’m fed up with this place!” She turned her head to face June as she continued to hastily throw some papers together. “They’re gonna come in here and tell me if I pull a stunt like that again I’m out, but ya know what I’ll tell em? No more ya hear me! I’ll quit of my own accord. If edgy hippies is all they got for me I’m done here!”

June shook her head and finally managed to snap out of her astonishment. She turned around and closed what remained of the door before rushing over to Parker and softly grabbing her by the arm.

“No, wait. Please calm down. I need your help.” June felt that the woman was incredibly tense and worked up, and her thoughts were a literal battlefield of emotions and nerves. She seemed to ease down a bit now and laid down her red folder on her desk.

“Sorry, right.” She spoke slower now, and her tone shifted quite a bit. “Well I’d love to help you but there really isn’t that much I can do.”

“Surely there has to be something?”

“Well, there’s one thing, though I can’t say for sure it’ll work out. I’d risk my job too… though it’s not like I particularly care much for it at this rate.” She turned to face June fully now, and took hold of her by the wrists.

“Listen, they say anyone who beats a glad on record becomes one themselves, handler and everything. I dunno how true that is, but I do know the board can’t say no to a good fight. I know a guy in rec, I can get my hands on the cams for a bit, should be just long enough.” She let go of her and started sliding the papers she’d put in her folder out again.

“So, wait, you’re gonna help me then?”

“Yeha, didn’t I just tell you?”

“Why are you putting so much faith in me?” After a day full of setbacks Parker’s sudden spontaneity seemed almost deceitful. She couldn’t wrap her head around it. She sensed that her question had Jessica questioning herself too.

“Call me crazy, June, but I think, even if you’re only half the person your file says you are, you’ll be exactly what this place needs.” She didn’t seem sure about her answer, and after a pause continued. “Fuck it, like I care what this place needs, you’d be what I need, June. I seriously can’t take another case like the ones I’ve had.”

She didn’t really know what to answer so instead kept silent for a bit. Parker had stopped rummaging through her papers, turned around, and pointed at June’s chest, her smile having returned to her face and her enthusiasm to her voice. “So you get me that battle, and I’ll get you your spot on the roster.”

June smiled too now, for the first time today she felt confident again. “Alright, so who am I fighting?”

Parker tapped her chin in an overly exaggerated gesture. “On the top of my head? There’s only one I can think of.”
~
Riley Adam Sanders, the CIA agent gone mercenary, found himself striding along the pavements of downtown Sierra Pines with a blue duffel bag slung over his shoulder. This hot autumn afternoon had been a welcome change of pace from the rains he’d endured in Seattle. It’d still be a ten minute walk to the target and even he could do with some time in the sun every now and then. A good stroll always reminded him of the good old days.

A mild onset melancholy overtook him as his mind invariably hearkened back to times long past. Better times. Back when he could still go for such a sunny walk with his wife and kids, and hold them by the arms. Now it all felt so unnatural, so forced.

He busted himself reminiscing. Not good. He had to keep a clear head for the task at hand. Instead he thought about just how smashingly good he looked today. He wasn’t really a man for appearances but the mirror never lied. The thought made his melancholy go away. There’s no time to be sad when you’re looking this good on the job, he joked to himself.

He came across a little plaza with a cobbled pavement, hidden away from the loud streets, enclosed by nice antiquated row houses and only connected to the rest of the town through a slew of back alleys and a road that halted in a dead end not too far from there. It was a tranquil and open place, the water of its rustic humble fountain shimmering and the cobbled stones, polished by wear and tear, shining bright. People from all over had flocked together here to enjoy the nice weather, sipping away at simple drinks on the couple of terraces found here.

It was a nice place. Did he not have a job to do he’d certainly have stuck around a bit longer. A little ways further a few boys and girls were playing an impromptu match of soccer. It reminded him of the countless matches he’d played back in his hometown, and that nasty collarbone injury he’d gotten from it. It was such a big deal at the time but, in retrospect, he thought he could now safely say he’d been through much worse.

“Riley Sanders?” a soft, feminine voice called out behind him. He turned around to face the owner of the voice. As he did it struck him that maybe he’d be stuck in this place for a while after all. Damnit, wishful thinking.
~
“Yes, that’s me.” He turned, taking hold of the blue duffel bag slung over his shoulder.

He looked her in the eye with a bit of indifference. She opened her mouth froze in place, at a loss for words. This whole day had been building up to this point and now she simply stood there because she didn’t know what to say.

“Well? What is it?”

June shook her head. Now was not the time for stage fever. There was nothing much to issuing the challenge anyways, and Parker had assured her that she knew how to make an entrance.

“Riley Sanders, I challenge you to a duel in fair combat and spirits!”

She closed her eyes and shook her head slightly in embarrassment. So much for making an entrance.

“Sorry, I never caught your name?”

“I’m June.”

He rubbed his chin then crossed his arms as he inspected her, his brows furrowing as his eyes darted down and back up again. After a few seconds he answered.

“Hmm, well June you’d do best looking for someone else if you insist on fighting. I’m sorry, but I’ll have to turn you down.”

She felt like lunging at him right then and there. There had been too many hurdles on her path already, and whereas it wasn’t exactly fair to him, surely she could let herself indulge just a little more today?

“To hell with that, come on raise your fists! I have too much at stake to let you turn me down.”

He simply stood there, ever as indifferent as he shrugged. “I’m sorry lass but that is honestly none of my concern. Now, sorry, but I gotta bail.”

June felt her breathing get funny and her hands being shaky. “I’m not taking no for an answer!”

His answer came in a turned back as he started walking off again. Why was he turning her down? She couldn’t use this. No, not now. Not now that she’d come so far. She had to lure him out, and his thoughts betrayed how.

~

“Sanders!”

Riley didn’t know what made him turn back around, was it the urgency in her voice or was it simply the belief she was going to say something he hadn’t already anticipated? Either way when he saw her holding a woman in a stranglehold he was glad he had.

He flinched and the duffel bag slid off of his shoulder. This girl had struck him as a rather forthright person, he’d never expected her to resort to this.

“I’m not leaving without a fight, Sanders!” Her shouting made the trembling in her voice all the more audible.

“There’s no need for this, June! You strike me as reasonable, why are you doing this?”

He could see her gritting her teeth and her arms shaking, but she was not letting go. He never had felt much for beating up defenceless girls, but he was indeed not being given a choice. He dropped his bag and raised his arms halfway.

She stood there staring at him before ultimately letting go of her makeshift hostage, dropping her head to the ground in shame as the woman ran away screaming. People all around were vacating the plaza now, so much for a nice afternoon in the sun.

His adversary clenched her fists and readied herself, he did the same and he gave her a curt nod. She hesitated for a second, then made straight for him. The lass moved extraordinarily fast, so much so it caught him by surprise, but it mattered not. He braced himself and caught her right fist full force in his right palm. The force made him stagger and he took a step back as he caught her left fist with his remaining hand.

Both of them were pushing against each other like bulls and he was struggling to get the upper hand. Something must’ve been malfunctioning in his body that this girl was overpowering him so, he couldn’t push her back for the life of him. He upped the ante and pushed himself even harder and felt her caving beneath him at last. With a sweep of his leg he kicked her feet from beneath her. Using her lack of anchorage he pulled her past him and threw her a ways off, her body sliding on the cobbles and pebbles of the pavement.

He patted the dust off of his coat as she lay there clutching her side and curling up in pain. She didn’t make a sound though, and not a few seconds later she jumped back on her feet and raised her fists again, the pain on her face being discarded for determination.

“Not giving up yet, are you? I should’ve figured you were mean business.” Her only answer came in a quite venomous and pained glare. Not a very talkative person then, Riley thought to himself. Suited him, the less time wasted on idle chatter the sooner he’d be back on track.

She beckoned him to attack though he remained in place. While he felt like it, with his implants acting up he knew it was too big a risk. It visibly agitated her and once more she bolted straight for him.

Again, Riley braced for impact. She raised her fist to strike him and he raised his in defence, yet as he did she jumped up and vaulted over his shoulders. Before he’d even processed it an elbow jabbed into his back, followed by a kick that sent him staggering and her leg hooking his, making him stumble forwards. Despite her assault he still managed to keep his footing and now turned to face his assailant.

She was chaining into another roundhouse kick but he caught her leg with both hands right before it would smash into his chest. He pulled her leg as if he were playing tug o’ war and kicked her other one against the shin. Her supporting leg doubled over and she smashed into the pavement back-first, all the air leaving her lungs in a scream of pain as he dragged her on. He started turning the leg in his hands around, forcing her onto her belly. She frantically kicked away with her other leg in a desperate attempt to hit him, and she did a few times, but it wasn’t long before he caught this leg with his left arm too. He pulled her once more to thwart her attempts at getting back up.

Riley lowered himself and pinned both her legs to the pavement with his one knee while pinning her back with the other. He took hold of her right arm, folded it against her back, and began pushing up to apply pressure to her joints. She was defenceless now and completely in his power, ‘less she didn’t mind a broken arm. Finally he had her where he’d wanted.

~

“Give up now June. It’s over.”

June panted with her face in the dirt. She jabbed into his sides with her one free elbow, she tried wriggling her legs, tried raising her back, tried everything, but no matter how hard she tried Sanders didn’t move an inch. She gasped and felt herself snickering, she felt so powerless, so weak and puny. He started pushing her arm up even more and she cried out in pain.

“Don’t be so stubborn, lass! Don’t make me do this!”

She pounded the pavement with her free fist out of frustration and tightly clenched her mouth and eyes shut in a desperate attempt to keep the tears and cries at bay. So weak. She couldn’t show it, not now. Not ever.

He pushed up even more.

She started wailing in pain, her eyes shot open, and she smashed her fist into the cobblestone, to the point it almost started bleeding. This was unbearable.

“Alright! Alright! I give up! I give up!”

He kept her arm in place and the words “I give up” became much more of a murmur amidst the cries of pain. Then finally he let go. What sweet relief. Her arm coiled back and she took hold of it to ease the pain.

Riley got back up and extended his hand to her now. “Come June, it’s over. Time to go home.”

Her decision didn’t sit right with her, but nothing much had today. There was too much on the line, she’d made up her mind.

As soon as her fingers clasped around his palm her grip tightened like a vice. Even before surprise could paint Sanders’ face she reeled him in like a fish on the hook and launched a full-force kick at his groin. Air rushed out of his lungs in a wheeze of pain as he doubled over. June introduced her knee to his chin with a powerful blow that sent him stumbling backwards. She bit through her pain and swept back onto her feet as her foe struggled to stay on his.

June didn’t let up and immediately launched a flurry of fists at him. Lefts, rights and elbows smashed into his sides, his gut, his chest, his arms, his head even. Her fists were beginning to hurt plenty, he was like that steel beam she’d tried to punch through once.

Her battery came to a sudden halt as a palm smashed into her face full force, crushing her already busted nose. A sting like a jackhammer shot through her and she coiled back in pain. She got no chance to resume her attack as the very next moment Riley introduced his own knee to her gut and she doubled over. He took hold of her shoulders and rammed his foot into her left knee. Her leg felt as if it had broken and she couldn’t keep her footing any longer. The next moment he swirled her around like a bag of flour and threw her against the wall of the nearby cafe.

She tried getting back on her feet but the pain was too much to bear. All of it was. She felt blood pouring out of her nose, if it wasn’t broken before it sure as hell was now. Riley strode towards her and stood there looking down on her with contempt, still bending over slightly from her kick and rubbing his chin in pain.

“Even fools know when to give up, June.”

She pulled in her left leg and took hold of it with both her arms and slumped up against the wall, leant against it with her head, and closed her eyes. Was this it then? All she’d worked her whole life for to become? A sobbing, little, brokenhearted weakling, huddled together against a wall crying in defeat.

Yes, she’d been a weakling. She’d forsaken her every ideal, her every principle in this selfish obsession to prove herself. This chance she’d never deserved, but her loss she certainly had.

The pain was ebbing from her body now, she’d managed to dampen the last blow considerably, yet she was hurting even more now. Her remorse stung harder than any wound.

“You know, June, I wanna be angry at you. I wanna be able to call you a bad person and move on. But when I see you here like that, I can’t.”

Riley was a good man, she’d sensed this from the start. She felt even worse for having done to him what she had. She ran her sleeve over her face to clean it up a bit even though any contact with her nose hurt like hell. He hesitated, then extended his hand, and she took it.

“I’m sorry...” The words barely came out. He helped her up, but standing on her legs proved difficult through the pain. Still, she managed to bite through it.

He huffed and smirked as he rubbed his chin some more. “Just try to do the right thing now, lass. Not very pretty, the things you did today.” She kept her mouth shut in shame. Sanders made off towards his duffel bag and June was compelled to follow. The both of them moved with great difficulty.

June rubbed her arm and spoke up. “So, where were you headed to before this whole debacle?”

“Work. It was quite urgent.” He looked at his watch and picked up the pace. “Still is, actually”.

He seemed a lot more distant now and she figured he was still angry at her, so she kept quiet for a while longer. They weren’t far from the duffel bag now. June spotted it and pointed at it.

“What’s in the bag, anyways? Hope it wasn’t anything fragile.” Curiosity won over her shame.

He cast a glimpse at her and smirked. “Just stuff for work, don’t worry too much about it.” June smiled back, but it was a hollow smile. She couldn’t help but pick up on stray strands of thought at times, and this time she wished she hadn’t. Riley’s thoughts had hinted at something far darker than she’d anticipated, and it unsettled her.

With every step closer to the bag she began involuntarily digging deeper into his thoughts as her concerns manifested themselves, and everything she found only helped to strengthen those concerns. They halted in front of the bag.

“You think you’ll make it on time?” She feigned a smile once more, though now she had nothing to smile about.

He turned to face her. “If I hurry, yes, though there won’t be time for a big goodbye. Take care of yourself, June, and start doing the right thing now.”

“Yeah, I will.”

In an instant she snatched the bag and ran off with it just long enough to open the zipper and behold its contents. It was a disassembled high caliber rifle with a scope. ‘Stuff for work’, she finally understood why those words had caused her such distress. He was going to kill someone.

“June!” She looked up and found herself looking down the barrel of a gun. Riley stood there aiming a silenced pistol at her from a few metres away, her face paled and she got up and slowly backed off, but he kept up with her.

“Hand me the bag, June.”

She cast a glance at the unzipped blue bag in her hands and promptly held it behind her back with both hands, still backing off.

“You’re going to kill someone!” Her disbelief sounded through in her words. He kept silent for a while before answering.

“I’m going to rid the world of an evil man, June. A man who causes pain to hundreds. It’s what I do. Don’t be stubborn now, you know I don’t want to hurt you.”

She kept the bag firmly behind her back. “Is this what you do for a living then?! Murder people in cold blood?! You just told me to do the right thing!”

“I am doing the right thing, June, can you not see that? If I don’t kill him now, who says how many he will kill?” He was calm and collected in a way she couldn’t wrap her head around.

They started circling each other now. She found herself at a loss for words for a while, she knew evil men only rest when they’re dead, but could she condone of murder if there was anything she could do to stop it?

“How are we any different from them if we sink to their level?! Do you really think that murder in cold blood is the answer?!”

Riley kept silent and instead cocked his pistol. She felt that her words had struck a sensitive chord with him.

“Do you even know whether the men you kill are bad at all?!” The words came out more like a cry than anything else. This time his answer was immediate.

“Dammit I did not come here to discuss ethics, June! Give me the blasted bag! Any other agent would’ve shot you by now!”

June halted and straightened herself now and looked him straight in the eyes.

“If you’re going to shoot me, then do it already. I couldn’t live with myself knowing I let you kill someone.”

~

Riley hesitated. This girl was a tough bitch in every sense of the word, and she knew she was. Still, he knew she meant right. He’d seen her regret, she wasn’t trying to trick another fight out of him, she seriously meant it this time.

But it was his duty, if he didn’t take out this man who was to say how many would die because of his own negligence? How much blood would stain his hands by the time he could take the next shot? His window was closing with every second wasted here. Whatever he was going to do, he had to do it now.

Then it all happened in the blink of an eye. He lowered his sights from her head to her shoulder, yet halfway through, as he was starting to squeeze his trigger, it was as if his hand froze in time. The chambered round came flying out and June immediately ducked, the bullet smashing into the concrete behind her with a soft tick.

The clip of his pistol came out clattering against the cobblestones as he regained control over his own hand and before Riley even realized June had turned her duck into a forward dive roll. He looked down just in the nick of time to see her launching herself into his stomach, feet first.

She smashed into him with the force of a cannonball and the contents of his lungs wheezed out as he was knocked off of his feet. The pistol slipped from his hands. His fighter instinct kicked in, and he quickly turned his fall into a tumble and smoothly landed back on his feet.

Riley never got a chance to recover as June pounced onto him. He fell onto his back and she mounted his chest, bombarding his face with a flurry of lefts and rights as he lay pinned to the ground. She punched him a bloodied nose, bloodied lips, a black eye, everything the facial injuries had in store for him that day.

He gave her half a serious punch against her ribcage with his right arm and she squealed out in pain as she took hold of her side. He had no trouble shoving a lightweight like her off and he crawled back on his feet as he backed off while she lay there huddled together.

“Have you gone absolutely mad, June?! How much longer are you going to make me hurt you?!”

She got up and was panting, completely exasperated. No answer came. He made up his mind, there was no negotiating with her, she had to be incapacitated before his window would close on him fully.

His right arm sprung open and in an instant he’d assembled his second beretta. She charged at him but a firm kick sent her coiling back and in an instant he aimed at her knees. He squeezed the trigger with ease now, yet right as he did a football smashed into his hand and the shot tore through the window of a shop’s display in the distance. Once again he heard clattering, and looking down revealed that once again the clip of his gun had fallen out.

It dawned on him then and there that nothing had been wrong with his equipment. Suddenly, it occurred to him that this girl had been a lot less defenceless than he’d first anticipated.

He didn’t get much time to act on this newfound knowledge, as a foot nimbly kicked his pistol out of his mechanical hand with a force that would’ve easily broken his other one. He got kneed in the stomach though repaid her in kind by stomping her in the chest with his elbow. She stumbled backwards. Yes, if she were empowered that’d explain why a punch that would’ve broken any other man’s rib cage in half only merely pained her.

He looked up and saw her dropping to her knees. Whatever power she was using it was starting to weigh on her, he’d only have to outlast her a little longer now.

~

Her lungs were burning like cinders and her head was spinning like a merry-go-round. To have any fighting chance against Riley she had to push herself well beyond her usual limits, and with what injuries she’d already sustained she knew there was no way she could keep this up much longer. Adrenaline could only keep her afloat for so long.

She looked up and saw the silhouette of that mountain of a man towering against the sparkling fountain behind him. It seemed like Sanders had realized this too, from what feeble interpretation of his thoughts she could still manage. This would be her last attack by the looks of it, so she’d better make it count.

Her eyes fell on the football that had been her saving grace rolling off into the distance. With little effort she brought it to roll her way, picking up speed as it did, and now she looked Riley in the eyes. She only had one shot at this.

As it entered Sanders’ field of view he quickly cast a glance and spotted it, but he proved too slow to process what was going on as the ball connected with the hook of June’s foot. With a roundhouse kick she launched the thing at Riley’s face with the speed of a bullet. The inflatable burst into pieces as it hit him and the sheer force sent him staggering.

June bolted towards him and hooked his feet and he stumbled even more, threatening to lose balance. He recovered and lunged straight at her with his fist, exactly like she’d wanted to. Nimble as ever she evaded the blow and she took hold of his arm, tugging him in with one arm as she elbowed his face with the other. The blow connected and his head flung back, dragging the rest of his body with him as she let go and gave him a kick to the shins.

Sanders kept stumbling back until his calves met the edge of the fountain. There he finally came to a halt, barely regaining balance. He opened his eyes right in time to stare straight into hers as she coiled together like a spring. Then with one swift sweep of her right leg and a good helping of her powers she launched herself forward like a rocket and kicked him in the center of his chest with such force that the both of them crashed into the little fountain, the small rustic thing breaking to pieces as Riley’s heavyweight torso torpedoed into it.

The dust settled and June barely managed to crawl forward on bloodied forearms and chaffed knees over the wet cobblestone. The hair tie keeping her ponytail together had snapped somewhere and now her blonde locks were hanging all over her head and back in a wild mess. She only got so far before she collapsed onto her side and lay there panting for what felt like an eternity. From her plight she could barely make out Riley lying amidst the ruins of that cute little fountain, what remained of it still spouting a little stream of water onto his chest. Looked like he’d be out cold for a little longer.

She felt herself gagging as everything in her stomach was convulsing out of fatigue. She was certain that had she eaten more that day she’d surely be throwing up now. Every part of her body weighed on her like she was about to sink through the cobbles and all over it hurt, but as she caught another glimpse of Riley laying there she couldn’t help but smile. Sure, she’d be nailed to bed for weeks after this but she didn’t mind. It was good pain. She’d managed to stop him for long enough and that was all that mattered to her.

Consciousness started leaving her as she closed her eyes, yet right as she threatened to faint her eyes shot back open as the realization set in. With the greatest effort she managed to raise herself atop her elbows and have another good look at Riley laying there amidst the broken fountain. She felt like laughing but nothing more came of it than a soft wheeze as the pain it caused made her shrivel together again. Still, a sudden joy made itself master of her as her disbelief started to fade; She’d won.

Google Docs version (for those who prefer it) (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1tOJ3gVDAuGLVTZJh_Rw2pkdeiMNbs535-SxmTIRzc18/edit#)

Special thanks to Ignus for being very patient and not losing his temper throughout my inane stalling and laziness, and for keeping me on my work by constantly prodding me with a stick.

CnC is appreciated, as per usual, though I have a few more specific questions for those who would leave feedback ;

My target length for this battle was initially 10 pages. I've by now exceeded that length by five more pages and I feel as if I could have been more concise. How do you feel about the length of the story, is it good, too long or too short? If so, what parts were (good/too long/too short)?

Characterization was another little thing I tend to struggle with (since anyone who knows me knows I am this soulless machine of a man who doesn't understand the human notion of emotion :P), how do you feel I managed the portrayal of all characters involved? In specific, how do you feel about June and Riley, do you feel I wrote them true to what you'd imagined of them, that I expanded your understanding of them or that I fell short somehow?

Last question, how do you feel about the action segments? I know fuck all about fighting so I'm mostly sucking this stuff out of my thumb. Does it make sense to you? Most importantly, is what I'm trying to convey clear to you?

That's all, thanks for taking the time to answer these if you have.

IgnusBurns
01-05-2017, 02:14 PM
I felt like I was more prodding you with a double-edged sword, but that's pretty close to a stick isn't it?

But yeah, it was actually very fun to cooperate with you and write with you as well. June was pretty fun to write myself, and I hope you had a fun time illustrating (through words) Riley as well.

Vern
01-05-2017, 02:39 PM
Riley was fun to write. All in all this took longer than it should have though.

Also Piston, you know you're not supposed to vote before having read both battles right? If you're going to make a biased un-vote then at least be subtle and don't pretend like you can read 23 pages in under 30 minutes.

Piston1937
01-05-2017, 02:49 PM
I did read both. :mad: Don't doubt my reading skills.

IgnusBurns
01-05-2017, 02:51 PM
I did read both. :mad: Don't doubt my reading skills.

Dang we got an epic speed reader here...

https://media.giphy.com/media/7rj2ZgttvgomY/giphy.gif
BTW: THAT WAS SARCASM!

Piston1937
01-05-2017, 02:54 PM
Thanks Ignus for believing me not very many do.

Alphaeus
01-05-2017, 07:40 PM
(CnC will be incoming here too...)

Devour
01-07-2017, 11:18 PM
Nice parts :) I could feel the fun you guy had writing your parts in the stories as I read. I'm pretty sleepy so I can't give that in-depth of C&C, but here's some things that stuck out to me with both stories.

Ignus/Riley's part:
The introduction could have definitely been done better. Mostly, the little piece-by-piece description of how his boring, normal day was going took away from the story more than it added to it. You can explain that the morning was boring and mundane without making the writing mundane as well, ya feel me? I like to provide fixes or examples of a fix when I'm bringing up new concepts, but I can't really think of one right now lol. Maybe just try to keep the narrative moving and don't dedicate too much time to describing things that don't need to have their own screen time. Sort of like how movies work.

For all the fun that Riley and June seemed to be having, they didn't really feel or sound like real people in a world. I felt like they were reading off of a script, sort of. Their dialogue happened in strange moments where the other person might not have been able to hear them, or where stopping to talk would have made one or the other get caught by, or lose track of their adversaries. Sometimes the actions they took felt like that as well. Maybe try to keep the thought that these could be real human beings, rather than the cool concepts and ideas that they are, at the front of your mind whilst writing.

Critique aside, the story was fun to read and a little heartwarming too, with how both sides were always in good spirits towards each other. I enjoyed it.

Vern/June's part:
I really wish I could sit down for like 30 minutes and explain the things I see in your part. I see a lot of skill in the writing and the dramatics, as well as the way the story was built to bring June and Riley together to create a meaningful battle. But beneath some very talented storytelling skills is quite a bit of sloppiness when it comes to the small details. It's not things like spelling, but it's the unspoken rules of writing that are being a bit neglected.
It's stuff like redundancy in descriptions ("but her face was reddened and painted by a mix of anger and indifference"), describing something twice with similar phrases when one or the other would have done just fine. Some conversations feel pretty unrealistic--as do lots of characters' responses to the world around them when things are happening. I would love to just read through the story again, copy everything that I wanted to comment on and give advice on every detail that I see, but I'm coming pretty close to falling asleep right now lol.
I know many of these unspoken rules of writing unconsciously, but it's a lot harder to actually point out and describe how to improve your writing at a fundamental level.

However, noticing the room you have to improve didn't obscure the quality of the story from me. It was a pretty good read, though I can't say the grammar errors and somewhat questionable turns the story took didn't take me out of it a little bit. Although more work was put into Vern's part, I enjoyed reading Ignus's more. My vote goes to him.

ErrorBlender
01-08-2017, 08:43 AM
I've been sitting here for a bit now, contemplating which story was better and whose I enjoyed most. After hours of tedious reading of webcomics, playing on my phone and going elsewhere, I've finally come to the conclusion that I have to give now:

I can say I've enjoyed both stories. I can't really spot much errors at my current state of being tired most of the time so I just go with the one that made me nod in satisfaction after reading it.

With Ignus', the chance encounter was well executed. I loved how Vern's went along with the impromptu battle that had June's career on the line. While I did feel Ignus' had a more lighthearted feel to it, I am more drawn to like Vern's more. With his, it felt more of a story while Ignus' more of an introduction.

My vote is handed to Vern.

Crank
01-11-2017, 11:22 AM
Woke up pretty late today, so I don't have much time, but it was a good clash of stories! Burns was brighter, where Vern hugged the dark corners a bit more. I didn't run into the same issues Devour had with it, to be honest, so I'm a little curious if what he saw could help me out too. Between the two, I did lean a bit more on Vern's side.

I take it June wouldn't be big on the death penalty, huh?

Ignus, I'll trying having something a bit more in depth for your forfeit, although I did like the characterization you had here, there was much more personality between them that I've seen in the past. Great job!