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 Cartoon Eyes chapter 3

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Raduvad

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Posts : 31
Join date : 2010-11-02
Age : 39
Location : Auburn, CA

PostSubject: Cartoon Eyes chapter 3   Sun Nov 14, 2010 11:42 am

Just a quick note here, because italics don't seem to come through. Everything the book says is in italics. Okay, enjoy!




Episode 3: The Elements of Anime Part 2

It was not an especially large dragon that Charlie turned into, only about the size of a shopping cart, but it was more than enough to make the ogres seriously reconsider their attack.
“Looks like your appetizer just became a main course,” their leader told the ogre with the torch as they skidded to a halt.
“Looks like it became the whole dinner table,” the ogre with the sword said.
The torchbearer, who did not look nearly so hungry as before, slowly worked its jaw and studied the creature lumbering his way.
Charlie’s bouncing antennae had drooped to his head and thickened, solidifying into small, jutting horns. His blue fur had shifted to bright sapphire scales, with softer, semi-rectangular, golden plates adorning his stomach and chest. Stubby, fur-concealed toenails had transformed into sharply pointed claws that made a of soft, scraping sound as Charlie prodded the earth, challenging the ogres with a low, rumbling growl.
“You think that one with the blue hair is the girl we keep hearing about?” the torchbearer asked the lead ogre, keeping a keen eye on Charley, “they did say that brat has control over some kind of dragon.”
“Hey, she’s not a brat,” Kim objected, “I mean, hey, I’m not a brat!”
The lead ogre studied those standing near Kim. His features hardened when he spotted Jeremy.
“Might be,” he said, absently running a scaly finger across the blade of his axe. “Looks like the brother over there, maybe.”
Assuming a belligerent stance, he called, “Hey, aren’t you supposed to be off protecting some village somewhere?”
“They think you’re the characters from the show,” Arthur whispered.
Jeremy, in wary agreement, might have found a response, but Kim beat him to it.
We were protecting the village,” she said, her hands on her hips and indignation in her tone, “but we took a vacation so we could come stop you stupid guys from burning down the forest.”
“Um, Kimmy,” Lauren started, as the lead ogre narrowed his eyes “I know you want to be part of the show and everything, but we don’t really know how dangerous-”
“So you better tell that guy with the torch to get rid of it right now,” Kim kept on, ignoring Lauren and trying hard to stare down the lead ogre, “or I’ll have my giant, scary dragon eat you!”
“Get rid of the torch?” the ogre asked, his dark eyes flashing. “Well, if you insist.”
He turned to the torchbearer with a wicked grin.
“I think we’d better do as the girl says.”
“What? No! That’s not what I meant!” Kim shouted, as the torchbearer, shrugging, cocked back his arm.
Kim flailed her arms in a frantic, thousand-hand gesture.
“Charlie, do something!”
Charlie, however, had more important things on his mind, mainly that the strange green creature before him had readied to throw an enormous, appetizing stick. That the stick still carried a lively flame at one end did not seem to register as a great concern. Charlie bent to his forelegs and stuck his rear end high in the air, wagging his tail wildly in anticipation.
“This is going to go wrong in so many ways,” Cameron said, creeping alongside Jeremy. “Guess it’s time to show off my awesome ninja skills.”
“What, like disappearing?” Sondra asked. “Yeah, that’ll help a ton.”
“Hey,” Cameron protested, “I’m sure I can do other…”
The ogre pitched himself forward and flung the torch deep into the forest. Charlie bounded after it with a series of excited barks and a happy clapping of his wings, which had grown to a size just large enough to lift him slightly off the ground with each lumbering hop.
“Get back here you stupid dog!” Kim called, “you’re supposed to be saving me!”
The lead ogre, watching the torch sail end over end, turned to the group with a menacing smile.
“No more dragon,” he said, “nothing left to save you.”
“Oh, I wouldn’t say that,” Cameron said, a sly tone to his voice.
“THOUSAND-STAR ARIEL ATTACK!”
Cameron shot into the air as a shadowy blur, accompanied by the sound of an angry electric guitar and the rapid progression of notes on an electronic keyboard. Thick black lines, like driving rain, shot past him as he spun a screaming stream of ninja stars at the surprised ogres. The two on either side of the leader scrambled back but their commander had just enough time to raise his axe. He shot Cameron an evil grin as the shuriken plunked into the sturdy wooden handle of the axe, not managing to harm the ogre at all and instead equipping his weapon with a shiny new set of bristling spikes.
“Is that the best you can do?” the ogre sneered. “Why don’t I show you what a real warrior looks like?”
“No, that’s okay,” Cameron said, landing deftly in a crouch and scrambling back, “I think I pretty much get the…”
He cried out and spun to the side in time to avoid the ogre’s axe sailing through the air. The creature rushed after his weapon in a bull-charge, splintering a tree as he crashed through it, bellowing as he stooped to retrieve his axe from the spray of fragmented bark at his feet.
“Come back and fight me!” the ogre cried, searching around for Cameron, who had taken advantage of the creature’s momentary lapse in action to follow Sondra’s suggestion and disappear.
When, after a moment, it became obvious that the ninja would not be returning, the lead ogre signaled to his followers.
“Before the dragon comes back,” he said, “take a few to eat and kill the rest. We don’t have time to-”
“You’re not going to do either of those things,” Lauren said, nervousness elevating her voice to the level of Sondra’s, “Cameron’s not the only one with a weapon you know.”
She leapt forward and struck her staff squarely across the head of the lead ogre.
“Ouch,” the ogre muttered, unimpressed.
“Maybe I need to turn it on or something,” Lauren said, and smacked the ogre again.
“Okay, that’s it,” the ogre cried, his eyes blazing, “now I’m going to-”
She hit him again.
“Stop that!”
“Yeah, so that’s clearly not working,” Lauren said, backing slowly away with a pained expression as the ogre rubbed a rising bump on his head and glared, “I guess we go with plan B.”
Sondra stared at her.
“There’s a plan B?”
“There’s not even a plan A!” Kim wailed, clapping her hands to the sides of her face and mashing her features together. “What are we going to do?”
“We’re going to find out if my weapon works any better than yours,” Jeremy said, not at all looking forward to the test. Gripping his sword with both hands, he faced the ogre.
“Come and get it, ugly!”
Did I seriously just say that, he wondered, as the ogre, accepting the challenge, grinned wickedly and rushed forward with enough force to create a spiraling tunnel of frantic air.
Jeremy fought to bring his sword’s point to the level of his enemy’s chest, hoping the ogre’s sheer speed might at least impale it on the blade, but his blade would not comply. Although it had been an easy lift only moments before, the weapon now felt as though it weighed twenty tons. It crashed to the ground, taking Jeremy with it, striking the earth with the weight of an anvil and the thunderous, rattling blast of a cannon shot.
There was a brief moment of stunned silence, and then a deafening, concussive force surged from the point of the blade.
“ULTIMATE SWORD WHIRLWIND TECHNIQUE!”
The charging ogre’s face registered brief surprise before a powerful shockwave of broken earth and mighty, twisting torrents of wind surged into the creature and flung him a good fifty feet into a tree, which he promptly tumbled out of, striking each branch on his bumbling fall through them. When he finally struck the ground his eyes turned to tiny black X’s and a number of large red bumps swelled comically from his head.
“Wow, good job, Jeremy,” Lauren said, “guess it helps to have a weapon that works.”
“Helps to even have a weapon,” Sondra complained, as the sword-wielding ogre turned Jeremy’s way.
“You’ll pay for that!”
He charged eagerly, nearly flying with momentum as his sword slashed the air. Jeremy’s sword shot upward to block the enemy blade with a loud, ringing clang and a sudden shower of sparks. The power of the impact forced Jeremy back. His heavy boots scrapped across the earth, uprooting tattered strips of forest floor.
“I sure hope this sword knows what it’s doing,” he thought, and heard what sounded like a strange, mumbling echo.
The two crossed blades again and this time the ogre skidded backwards, against a tree. With only a moment to consider, the creature turned its gaze skyward and vaulted into the branches.
Jeremy followed his enemy into the dense covering of leaves against his will, propelled violently upward by his sword, which seemed intent on finishing the battle regardless of the danger.
“I’m fighting an ogre in a tree,” he thought absurdly. “What kind of crazy…wait, did I just say that out loud? Am I all of a sudden narrating to myself? Hello? Hello? Oh God, I think I am. What’s wrong with me?”
A glance across the branch at his quarry told him the ogre didn’t have the answer. The creature merely stared in confusion before bounding to a higher position.
“Hey, don’t just leave us,” Sondra called up. “There’s still one of those guys down here.”
Jeremy spared a second to look down at the group and almost fell out of the tree when he saw a consuming wall of fire fast approaching their position. Tendrils of leaden smoke snaked toward the clouds and the fire’s crackle could be faintly heard beneath the windy rustle of leaves and the constant, driving beat of the soundtrack.
“That stupid touch,” he thought, “but how can it have lit up so much so fast. And why and I still thinking out loud?!”
“What is going on up there?” Sondra called.
“First the ogre, then the fire,” Jeremy thought, and groaned heavily as those words too were broadcast into the air.
The ogre chose that moment to launch an attack, slashing through leaves and branches, calling
“Die!” he shrieked, and hurled himself at the branch where Jeremy waited.
Their blades clashed again, and the force of the impact sent them both sprawling. They crashed through the lower branches in a freefall, locked in a whirl of furious combat, Jeremy’s sword directing blow after angry blow at his opponent, who seemed to dodge each viscous strike, as though by magic, at the last second.
“Hold still!” Jeremy cried, but the ogre only sneered through gritted teeth, executed a midair sidestep, and stuck back with a flurry of his own.
“The ground sure is taking a long time to get here,” Jeremy thought. Then, hearing the words aloud, and with as sudden, savage realization, screamed, “THE GROUND?!”
Throwing his sword away in a panic and grabbing the shocked ogre by his shoulders, Jeremy spun the creature around and beneath him just before they hit. The ogre performed an unplanned belly-flop onto the ground with such staggering force that he surely would have bounced, had Jeremy not used him as a noisy, painful cushion. The ogre glanced up once, feebly, and fought to speak, but ultimately face-planted into the ground, unconscious.
Jeremy, staggering to his feet, holding his head to stop it from spinning, moved to reclaim his fallen sword and noticed the remaining ogre, turning in an annoyed circle, taking powerful swings at Cameron, who darted from one side of his attacker to the other.
“Nice of you to show back up,” Jeremy muttered, hefting his blade, “could have used you in the tree.”
Cameron didn’t have time to respond but Kim answered for him.
“That first stupid ogre lit half the forest on fire,” she said, “and this stupid ogre wants to eat us.”
“It’s going to be too dizzy to eat us,” Sondra said, with heavy sarcasm. “Nice plan there, ninja boy. Turning it in circles is much better than…”
“Hey,” Cameron called back, “I’m trying to save-”
The ogre lurched forward. He caught Cameron in the jaw with a punishing uppercut and Cameron sailed back twenty feet to sprawl in an ungainly, groaning heap, his legs curled above his head.
“Okay, that hurt,” Cameron muttered, “lets not do that again.”
Kim’s frightened eyes turned from Cameron to the ogre.
“Charlie, get back here!” she called, spinning to face the forest. “You’re going to get yourself lit on fire, and we don’t want that stupid stick!”
With Cameron of out the way, the solitary ogre stalked the group, savoring the confrontation. His mouth arced into an impossibly wide grin where teeth like twisted daggers jutted at sharp angles.
“All that running around made me hungry,” he said. “Maybe I’ll just take choice bits from each of you.”
He glanced at his fallen kin.
“Nobody I have to share with now.”
The forest fire had grown at an alarming rate since Jeremy last looked. The horizon had gone nearly black from smoke and ash, and the dancing, crackling flames consumed the treetops, casting an undulating tide of sickly red firelight against the faces of the group.
“We have to do something,” Lauren said, “the whole forest is going to burn. Jeremy, hit this guy with your sword already and somebody find some WATER!”
At her final word, Lauren’s staff pulsed like a supercharged strobe light and crated an enormous, foaming wave, rising from the forest floor behind her. The ogre had a short, comical moment as he tried to figure out where the water had come from before the wave slammed against him with all the tremendous, uncontrolled force of a runaway semi-truck.
“TSUNAMI-TIDE!” Lauren called, as the surging wave violently swept up the ogre and coursed rapidly through the tree line to the fire, striking trunks with great momentum and spraying watery plumes high into the burning branches.
The ogre surfaced once, gulping for air and flailing his arms amid extinguished flames and charcoal-scented wisps of steam, but soon sank beneath a surging blue and white wave and disappeared.
As the water coursed away, the driving, beat-heavy music that had announced the fight ended, and, after a moment where the entire world seemed to catch its breath, a softer, slower song began.
Kim stared at Lauren in astonishment.
“You’re like a video game!” she said. “What else does that thing do?”
Lauren grinned and twirled the staff like a baton.
“Guess we’ll just have to wait till next time to find out,” she said. “We seem to be all out of bad guys.”
She planted the staff in the earth in order to take a deep bow, but nearly toppled over as the startling sound of light applause drifted from within the trees to the left of the group. The low, melodious voice of a stranger spoke from within the forest.
“That was very well done. Very well done indeed. Your little band has proven itself quite skilled at combat.”
Cameron, nearest to the unseen speaker, shot to his feet and swung his head around, searching.
“Who…?”
“Your ninja could use some work, to be sure, but of course…oh, but how rude of me. Please allow me to introduce myself.”
The figure who stepped from the black edge of forest seemed to bring the shadows with him. His clothing, a high-collared coat and cloak-like cape looked fashioned from supple darkness. Long silver hair lay along the sides of his face and his eyes held a gentle violet glow. His features were fine, almost delicate, though his lips had a slightly cruel, upturned look to them.
“I am called Toshiro,” the stranger said, and his voice, like his face, had a smoothness about it that made it difficult to tell his age. “I come from a small province to the east, a place you wouldn’t know, but I’ve been wandering these woods for the last few days. It’s a good thing you came when you did. Those ogres would have burned all these beautiful trees to the ground.”
“That would have been terrible,” Sondra said, and everyone turned and stared.
“What?” she whispered. “Look at this guy? He’s gorgeous.”
“Gorgeous?” Jeremy asked.
“I love trees,” Sondra told Toshiro. “I can’t imagine anything bad happening to them.”
“He seems a little girly looking,” Lauren commented, “but I guess that’s just…”
“Gorgeous?” Jeremy asked again.
“Trees are just the greatest things pretty much ever,” Sondra went on, beaming at Toshiro, exhausting her one topic rather quickly.
Toshiro didn’t seem to mind. He glided forward to take Sondra’s hand in his.
“I am thankful to you all,” he said, though his eyes remained on Sondra. “If there is anything I might do…”
Toshiro started to bring Sondra’s hand to his lips, but Jeremy forced himself in. Grasping and shaking Toshiro’s hand like a sleazy car salesman, he said, “Thanks so much for the help. Thanks for stopping by. But we’ve things handled here, so if there isn’t anything else…”
“Oh, but there is,” Toshiro said, refusing to be turned away, his gaze flitting from Sondra to Lauren.
“It’s only just occurred to me, but now it seems so simple.”
He performed the most feminine bow Jeremy had ever seen.
“I offer my services as guide through this forest. I simply could not live with myself should anything happen to the two lovely creatures you have...”
“Charlie is a lovely creature,” Kim said, and proceeded to call for her little dog in the highest pitch possible.
“Yes, well,” Toshiro started, “as I was saying…”
He cringed a little as Kim called, “Charlie!”
“It wouldn’t do to have…”
“Charlie!”
“It simply wouldn’t do to have two ladies such as…”
“CHARLIE!”
Kim’s shrill squeak pierced the air like a tone-def dolphin screaming a sonic boom. Everybody stuck their fingers in their ears, but popped them out a moment later as a warbling bark sounded from the forest behind Toshiro.
“That’s not even the way he went, is it?” Lauren asked.
Kim shrugged. Once apprehensive, she broke into a huge grin and an excited fit of giggling as Charlie, once again puffball-sized, zipped through the air and landed on her shoulder, nuzzling Kim’s face as though they had been separated for years.
“Hey! Stop that! I’m supposed to be mad at you, you crazy dog,” Kim laughed, raising her arms to fend of Charlie’s lapping tongue. “What’s the big idea, anyway, turning into a big, scary dragon, then running away? And how the heck did you do that, anyway?”
Charlie yipped gleefully and wagged his tail. His antennae pitched forward and bounced off Kim’s forehead.
“Yeah, well, next time you better help,” Kim said, showing him a stern look.
Arthur surveyed the massive expanse of damage done by the fire.
“Hopefully there won’t be a next time,” he said.
“Of course, if there is,” Toshiro commented, attempting to break back into the conversation, “you’ll have me to guide you. The ladies need a proper escort and…”
“I think we’re good,” Jeremy said, annoyed, “you can keep doing whatever it was…”
“Yeah,” Cameron added, “if we need somebody to hide in the trees and clap while we fight we’ll call you.”
Toshiro threw back his head and let out a throaty laugh.
“You didn’t seriously except me to enter into physical combat,” he asked, “and take a chance on ruining this face?”
He gestured in a slow sweep from his eyes to the tip of his chin.
Sondra adjusted her tiara with nervous fingers. She smiled coyly at Toshiro.
“That is a pretty good reason.”
“No it isn’t,” the rest of the group said together.
“It might a reason,” Lauren clarified, “but it’s nowhere near being a good one. We’re out there fighting just to stay alive and he’s worried about, what? Breaking a nail?”
“Or tearing my clothing,” Toshiro agreed readily, as Sondra glanced at her fingernails in a sudden panic.
“You didn’t even fight,” Arthur informed his sister, in a voice filled with practiced patience.
Sondra slowly dropped her hands.
“We should probably get going,” Jeremy said, hoping for a graceful escape from Toshiro, “If you can take us through the forest, fine, but it looks like we’re probably just heading up to that castle, and it looks like a pretty straight-”
Toshiro took a sudden step back.
“Your destination is Kasane Castle?”
Jeremy thought he saw an opening.
“That’s the plan,” he said slowly.
“It is?” Sondra asked, looking over.
“Since when?” Lauren asked.
“I didn’t decide that,” Kim said. “Who decided that?”
She shot a glance at Charlie as though her dog might have had some say in the matter.
“I just think that’s the way we should go,” Jeremy said, watching Toshiro. “It just makes sense.”
“How does it make sense?” Lauren asked. “We still don’t know…”
Jeremy gave her what he hoped was a reassuring look.
“Just go with it,” he said softly.
Sondra stared at Jeremy in confusion while Cameron glanced around the clearing.
“Okay,” Lauren said, taking her time to decide, “apparently, yes. We’re going to the castle.”
Toshiro looked suddenly ill.
“I regret, ladies, that I must be going,” he said. “It seems a prior engagement has slipped my mind until just this moment. I do hope you’ll forgive me.”
“Yeah, sure, I guess so,” Sondra said, caught off guard, “but are you coming back or…?”
She stopped as it became apparent Toshiro was no longer around to hear. With only a quick step back he had faded from the forest, into the shadows, and out of sight.
“Okay, that was a little creepy,” Lauren said.
“Definitely,” Arthur agreed, staring at the spot where the stranger had been only a moment before.
“He wasn’t creepy,” Sondra said, “he was…he was just…well, you guys weren’t very nice to him.”
“Because he was a little creepy,” Lauren said.
She turned to Jeremy.
“So what’s this whole plan about going to the castle?”
Jeremy shrugged.
“It just seemed like the way to get rid of him. He seemed freaked out by the castle.”
“I wonder why,” Lauren said, as Kim said, “Oh, great, so now we’re back to the plan B we don’t have, huh?”
Jeremy stared at her.
“I guess we should finished listening to the book,” he said. “I think it stopped because the ogres showed up. It seemed like there was more.”
“Probably more about not going to the scary castle that everybody’s afraid of,” Sondra muttered.
“Well, I guess at least listening to the book is kind of a plan,” Cameron said.
“Kind of,” Lauren agreed, dubious.
Arthur stared at the book in his hands.
“Should I open it again?” he asked.
Sondra sighed.
“Sure,” she said, “maybe there’s a part where it tells us how to leave.”
Arthur opened the book and the bodiless voice resumed.
“In the early days of the revolt, in the forest surrounding Kasane Castle, there appeared a group of strangers in possession of unusual powers and miraculous weapons.”
Sondra removed the tiara from her head and examined it doubtfully.
“No one has ever been able to determine exactly where the strangers came from, or why they chose to arrive at the time they did, but it can easily be said that they played a key role in turning the tide of violence and cruelty perpetuated by the forces of Hyaku the Cruel.”
“Third of his name,” Kim said, then made a stern face, seemingly directed at herself, and stopped interrupting.
“Little is known about the strangers themselves,” the book went on, “though some facts do remain. Their leader is said to have carried a sword mighty enough to kill giant and was followed nearly everywhere by a shadowy figure capable of striking unexpectedly from the shadows and a powerful magician with the power to control the elements.”
“The elements?” Lauren asked, with a look of appraisal at the staff in her hands.
“It is also said that he kept the council of a prodigy scholar, who carried a wondrous book containing all the wisdom of the ages.”
The book paused and coughed gently before continuing.
“Nothing is known about this book save that it was truly amazing.”
Arthur glanced up as Lauren asked, “Did that book just refer to itself?”
“There were two others in this group,” the voice hurried on, “though less is known about them. One is thought to have been a young girl who controlled a mighty dragon. Though both she and her creature vanish from the accounts some time before the final confrontation.”
“It’s talking like we’re part of the show,” Sondra said.
“Kind of like we’re guest stars,” Lauren agreed.
Jeremy, noticing that the book seemed to have paused for the moment, asked, “So does that mean that we might run into the guy and his sister? The main characters? They must know the most about this world, right? The show is all about them.”
He suddenly realized that Kim’s eyes had not left the book.
“What’s it mean that me and Charlie vanish?” she asked, her face clouded with worry, “how come we-”
“It probably just means you go home or something,” Lauren said quickly. “Not all the characters are in every single part of a cartoon, right? Maybe your storyline just wraps up sooner than ours.”
Kim narrowed her eyes.
“What that mean that it wraps…?”
“The second figure,” the book interrupted, “is often described as having hair of shining gold and a regal bearing.”
Sondra, who had not been paying much attention, looked up with interest.
“A few historians speculate that she may have been a member of royalty from the stranger’s country of origin. She certainly does seem to have made a striking impression with those she encountered. She too, however, disappears from the records before the rest of her group make their final stand. Perhaps we will never fully know who these people were.”
“What’s all this final confrontation stuff?” Cameron asked. “It sounds like we’re supposed to fight a war.”
The group waited to hear more but the book seemed to have concluded its history lesson.
“It was talking about me at the end there, right? Sondra asked. “That whole thing it was reading, it was talking about me and Kim. And it sounds like we aren’t…like we don’t get to the end of the story, or the show, or whatever. Do you think something happens to us? Do you think-”
“I don’t think we know enough about this place yet to even be worried,” Lauren said, but Jeremy could tell Sondra’s concerns had struck a chord in Kim.
His sister’s lower lip had begun to tremble, and her eyes had a sheen that said tears would soon follow.
“What if we can actually get hurt in here?” Sondra kept on, her already high voice rising, “what if we can die?”
Kim squeezed Charlie tight enough to make his eyes bulge and enormous tears sprung from her. She let out a high wail, her mouth so wide that it consumed most of her face.
Jeremy hurried over and wrapped his sister in an awkward hug. She resisted for all of two seconds before falling against him and sobbing.
“It probably doesn’t mean anything,” he said, amazed at the sheer quantity of water pouring from his sister’s head. “We don’t know how things work here. We don’t even know if the book is telling the truth. I mean, who wrote the book?”
“That’s right, Kimmy,” Lauren said, with an encouraging smile, “history is written by the victors, right? So maybe it’s just that our side lost.”
As Kim’s sobbing escalated, Lauren tried to cover her mistake.
“That’s not really what I wanted to say. What I meant-”
“It’s because we die!” Kim cried, tearing arcing from her eyes in torrents, “We have to fight in a war and then we die!”
She threw her arms around Jeremy and hugged him tighter than any eleven-year-old girl should have been able to.
“That sound!” a gruff voice complained, “what is that sound?”
Jeremy turned to find the leader of the ogres staggering to his feet. With Toshiro’s sudden appearance and trying to figure out what to do, they had forgotten the two ogres not carried away by Lauren’s magical flood.
The ogre who Jeremy had fought in the tree sat up as well and clapped his hands to the sides of his head.
“Stupid human girl,” he cried, “shut your yap!”
Jeremy tightened the grip on his sword but Lauren gave him a quick, sly look.
“I have an idea,” she said, and winked.
“Here we go, Kimmy,” she said, getting the girl’s attention, “I bet this’ll cheer you up.”
Kim turned her tear-streaked face away from Jeremy just enough to see.
“Elements, right?” Lauren asked, hefting her staff. “Well, we already did the wave thing…”
Jeremy noticed how carefully she avoided the word “Water.”
“So maybe now we can experiment a little.”
She set her eyes on the lead ogre and slowly twirled her staff.
“I think it would go best for you guys if you took off now,” she told them. “Otherwise you’re just going to get hurt again.”
The ogre’s eyes went to Jeremy’s sword but Lauren shook her head.
“Not him,” she said. “Me. And you don’t want to mess with me.”
The leader of the ogres broke out laughing. Kim pulled away from Jeremy, trying to figure out Lauren’s plan. She rubbed away tears with the back of one hand.
“You going to hit me with that little stick of yours again?” the ogre asked. “It didn’t work very well last time.”
“Nope,” Lauren said, “I thought I’d give you guys something you really seem to like.”
“What, human flesh?” Cameron asked.
Lauren gave him an incredulous look and shook her head.
FIRE! She cried, and a bright orange fireball four feet across shot from the staff and rocketed toward the ogre.
“What the…!?” Was all the creature had time to say before the flaming sphere collided with his chest, rocking him back and leaving a massive, smoldering burn mark and the noxious smell of scorched skin.
The creature took one, stunned look at his blackened chest, glanced dazedly at the ogre beneath the tree, and called, “Fall back!”
Lauren put on a wicked little smile as the ogres ran for cover.
FIRE! FIRE! FIRE! FIRE!
Her words sent a volley of angry fireballs into the woods. Many violently extinguished against trees but at least one found its mark, bringing an anguished cry and a string of unintelligible curses from one of the ogres. A giddy strain of antic music played while the enemy retreated.
Lauren turned when they had gone and smiled at her staff.
“I think I like this thing,” she said. “It might actually might be kind of fun to be stuck in a cartoon.”
“Oh, sure, you can say that,” Sondra complained. “You have a magic tree branch that spits fire. Give me that thing and maybe I’ll like it here too.”
Lauren held tightly to her staff and regarded Sondra with suspicion from beneath her hood.
“Don’t worry,” she said, after a moment, “I’m sure you’ll develop some freak mutant powers or something. Maybe those ears-”
“It doesn’t matter anyway, Sondra,” Cameron said, before the princess could reply, “you’re totally safe with us. I’ve got ninja powers, Lauren’s got that staff, and Jeremy has-”
“He has a cute little kitty cat tail!” Kim shrieked, and fell over laughing, color blossoming in her cheeks as her eyes rolled merrily back in her head.
“At least she’s feeling better,” Jeremy thought.
He let his sister have her laughing fit, and when she seemed to be done, he turned to address the group.
“Okay, so obviously we need to get out of this forest. Lauren chased away the ogres but they might have a whole army coming back.”
He paused for comments but nobody spoke up.
“And since the book is really the only help we have here, we need to find a way to get it to tell us what we need. Maybe if we ask for certain parts of history it’ll tell us more.”
Sondra shrugged.
“Anything to get me out of this stupid place,” she said.
“Yeah, the book does seem like it might be jumping around a little,” Lauren said. “So maybe if we could find certain information, if it has an index, or-”
“Whatever, just try something,” Sondra said. “My parents are going to freak out when they show up at the party and me and Arthur aren’t there.”
Jeremy had a sudden image of his mother standing beside the overturned dining room table, wondering where half the birthday party had disappeared to.
“I hadn’t even thought about that,” he said. “I guess we do need to find a way back.”
“Unless you want to fight a war,” Cameron said. “Which I’ll admit, sounds kind of epic.”
“Yeah, because you don’t die,” Kim said, and Jeremy pushed on before she could start crying again.
“So let’s try the book idea,” he said. “Maybe it’s like Lauren said. If we can find the index-”
“Hey, maybe it’s like one of those magic eight-ball things,” Cameron interrupted. You know, where you shake it up and ask a question.”
Sondra shot him a look.
“Please tell me you aren’t seriously thinking about shaking a book to get an answer.”
“Well, maybe…” Cameron started.
“You can’t shake a book and get an answer,” Sondra said. “What kind of stupid-”
“Hey, who’re you calling stupid?”
“You, if you think you can just shake a book and-”
“Have you ever tried it?”
Sondra gaped at him.
“I don’t have to have tried it, moron. You just can’t-”
“Would somebody please, please just ask a question already?” the book said, “I don’t know how long I can bear to listen to this.”
Everybody focused their attention on the book.
“I guess we didn’t need to shake it,” Lauren said, with a sly glance at Cameron.
“Got its attention, didn’t I?” Cameron shot back. “So what question should we ask?”
“What happens to Kim?!” Kim shouted.
“I think we need to get out of the forest first, Kimmy,” Lauren said. “You’re in the histories for a while. I don’t think you have to worry about anything yet.”
Kim thought about that for a long time, pouting and nuzzling Charlie with her chin.
“Okay, fine,” she said at last, “then how do we get out of this stupid forest?”
“An excellent question,” the book said, and proceeded to tell them.
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PostSubject: Re: Cartoon Eyes chapter 3   Sat Nov 20, 2010 5:33 pm

Chapter Three Edited

Man, each one of these chapters is more entertaining than the last. Nice one, James! You'll notice a distinct lack of blue in my edit. Well, that's because there were too many parts I liked to mention. The humor was spot on and the action scenes were impeccably crafted.

Something that came to my attention: Sondra and Arthur seem to be curiously absent during any fighting; Not just that they don't do any, but during these moments they hardly seem to talk and practically cease to exist. This is the curious case with Arthur throughout most of the chapter. It must be difficult to evenly distribute dialog and action with so many lead characters sharing the stage, but remember that they're all still there and we, the audience, would like to see each one as much as we can.
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PostSubject: Re: Cartoon Eyes chapter 3   Sun Nov 21, 2010 1:00 pm

Yeah, man...Arthur. I almost didn't include him in the second draft because I don't really feel that I know him as a character and Sondra was originally going to be part of this epic puppy love triangle but she ended turning into comic relief. I do try and use them when I can but I'm afraid that they're mostly background characters used to flesh out the anime stereotypes at this point. Arthur is of fair importance in my plan for a sequel, if that's anything, but sadly I feel he and his sister are a little wasted here.
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PostSubject: Re: Cartoon Eyes chapter 3   Sun Nov 21, 2010 1:58 pm

I wouldn't go so far as to say they're "wasted", being that they're quite enjoyable in their own right, but you're correct in saying that they are not as fleshed out as they could be. However, within their role as backup anime characters I see it working. I can't even tell you how many episodes of Dragon Ball Z I watched where half of the characters watched a battle, going, "Wahh! WAhhhhhh! WAHHHHHH!" the whole time; and for whatever reason the creators thought we needed to see them doing this every twenty seconds.

Thinking of a sequel already, eh? What foresight! I guess this means Arthur survives. Spoiler City!!!!!!!

(!!!!!!!)
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PostSubject: Re: Cartoon Eyes chapter 3   Tue Nov 23, 2010 5:56 pm

Hmm..spoiler indeed. But as you may have noticed, having read my previous books, I'm not overly fond of offing characters. I just love them too much! Besides, I can't be COMPLETELY like Joss Whedon. Jeez.
Actually, that all might change soon, but I won't say how. Mwhaahahahah!
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