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Everything felt surreal, was surreal.

As he sat on the ground in a daze, Howard lost track of time. People moved around him, whispering, crying, and huddling together to find comfort.

But Howard didn't care about them. To him, those people felt as distant as an unreachable dream, almost as if they existed only as characters of a movie. There, yet not exactly there. All he could think about was how he had seen his best friend on the ground, laying in a growing puddle of his own blood with a broken and torn body.

Shocked to the core, the boy never realized Heidi walked up to him until she placed a hand on his shoulder in an attempt to comfort him. His body shuddered at the contact, and he looked up at her with eyes filled with fear and emotional pain.

“Come on, Howard,” Heidi whispered, helping her younger brother up on his feet. “Let's go home. Mom and dad must be worried sick by now.”

At first Howard refused, wishing he could just sit where he was and wait, hoping that it had been a bad joke. Yet, no matter how much he wanted to stay, his sister started to push him towards her car.

“Heidi...” his voice was nothing more than a whisper that was almost drowned by the sounds coming from around them. “I...”

Whatever he was trying to say, though, did not get past his lips as Heidi pushed him once again. She wasn't being forceful, but her insistence was a distraction that he could not get rid of. Part of him was glad for it, because he forgot about the blood and the open wounds for a few moments. Yet another hated it with a passion because he was forgetting about his best friend.

“Heidi...” he tried again, finally finding enough strength in his legs to stop moving along the path. “Heidi, I have to go... I... he... I can't leave him alone.”

He was not sure why he felt the desperate need to go to the hospital. It wasn't as if being there would give Randy a better chance at surviving, and to be truthful his best friend wasn't alone at all. He had all the doctors and nurses that would take care of him. He would have his mother once they figured out who he was under the mask. And he had that stupid book.

But again, they were not Howard.

“Tell mom and dad I'm fine,” the younger Weinerman said, pulling his shoulder free from Heidi's hand by taking a step away from her. “Tell them to not worry.”

Before she could ask or stop him, Howard turned around and started to run as fast as his stubby little legs could carry him. He ignored his sister's cries. He ignored the confused gazes of the people he pushed past. He even ignored the stinging of his eyes and the weariness of his feet.

Nothing would stop him from being at his best friend's side.

Not even his sister's maniacal honking as she followed him in her car, screaming demands of where he was going and why.

By the time the hospital was in view, Howard was feeling like jelly. His run had slowed down a lot compared to when he started. His knees were shaking under his weight and his feet were even worse. If at the beginning they were hurting, now Howard felt as if he was running on hot iron spikes.

Still, he struggled with his own body and pushed past a few doctors and guards, ignoring their cries and their attempts to stop him. Heidi, having left her car in the parking lot, was right on his heels and was doing everything she could to reach him.

Heedless of the ruckus he was creating, the boy threw open the double doors and searched every corner for his best friend. Yet the confusion inside the emergency department was so overwhelming that Howard felt as lost as a wet puppy during a storm.

Gritting his teeth and clenching his fists, the boy mentally cursed everything he could think of. He was so close, yet...

Then Heidi was standing right in front of him, her hands on her hips and glaring at him with all the anger and frustration she could muster.

“Howard Weinerman!” her voice would have been scary if it wasn't drowned by the surrounding confusion. “What has gotten into you? Running like that through half the city and ignoring me! Do you know how worried mom and dad are? They asked me to take you home so...”

The more she spoke, the more Heidi realized that there was something wrong with her brother. He was leaning against the nearby wall, his eyes darting left and right in search of something only he knew of.

“I can't go home, Heidi,” the boy replied before his sister could ask what was wrong. “I have to be here. I have to find him and make sure he is alright!”

For a moment the two remained in silence as Heidi tried to understand what her brother was saying. Then a sudden realization hit her and she almost gave a loud sigh. “Howard,” she placed a firm hand on his shoulder and looked at him in the eyes. “I'm sure everyone here has the situation under control even if it doesn't look like it. The Ninja is in good hands.”

Howard immediately shook his head, refusing any kind of comforting words. “No, Heidi! You don't know him like I do! The monsters, the robots... do you really think they are the real problem?” the boy took a pause and watched as his sister became speechless. “Heidi, they are only the surface! There's so much worse out there, and if... if his secrets falls into the wrong hands...”

The boy shook his head once again and forced down the urge to cry. He placed a hand against his eyes and spent a few seconds focusing on breathing. It was a little trick Randy had taught him for when he needed to calm down. He would never admit it to his friend, but he felt better.

Taking one last deep breath, the boy looked straight into Heidi's eyes. “He's my friend, Heidi,” he said, willingly omitting the 'best' part to keep the Ninja's identity hidden. “I don't know what I can do, but I will not let anyone steal his secrets!”

And with those words heavy with meaning, the boy realized that his sister was not the only one listening to him.

He had no idea how or when the Nomicon's large form had walked up to them unnoticed. Yet, by whatever means it had used, the spirit was now standing right behind Heidi with its ancient samurai mask staring at him.

“Howard Weinerman,” it spoke, scaring Heidi and making Howard cringe. It was the first time that the ancient book was speaking to him directly, and it made the boy feel small. "We have often disagreed, but your loyalty and your willingness to protect our secrets do not go unnoticed.”

The giant samurai's figure was fizzling in and out of existence as it struggled to remain corporeal. It reminded Howard of a TV with horrible reception. Despite that though, the ancient spirit stood straight and its presence was as imposing as it had been when it first appeared.

A bunch of rushing doctors pushed a stretcher past the trio and the Nomicon's behavior changed. It tensed and its left fist clenched around the familiar black and red fabric of the mask.

“That... that was him, wasn't it?” Howard asked, feeling a burst of courage that he didn't know was there. “How is he? Is he...”

Despite Howard being unable to finish, the Nomicon understood. It cast its ancient eyes onto the stout boy and gave a small nod of reassurance. “He will live.”

And for the first time that day, Howard cried in relief upon hearing that everything would be alright.
The Ties That Binds CH03
Friendly Reminder: My works are not betaed. I reread them and correct them at the best of my abilities, but I'm not perfect. There might leftovers of errors, mispellings and weird phrasing.
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Pink.

Forte looked left, and saw pink. He looked right, more pink.

For a moment, the black navi closed his eyes and let his mind linger into the darkness that embraced his vision, silently willing that the sea of pink just disappeared once he reopened them.

He had been traveling through the Undernet in search of Serenade, sure that this time he could best her in a battle and finally absorb her powers. Instead, after locating her in a particular remote zone of the lawless network, he was met with... that obnoxious color.

There was no way he would even think of uttering that word again. Neither out loud nor in the privacy of his own mind. Not after seeing so much of it...

Forte slowly reopened his eyes and repressed the urge to scream in anger when he realized that the Marumokos where still there and didn't seem like they wanted to move. He knew Serenade was somewhere around there, he could feel it, but the sea of sheep-like viruses was effectively preventing him from locating his target.

Even from the air he could not find Serenade.

Of all the places within the Undernet, she had to pick the stupid grassy field with the stupid Marumokos on it.

There were times when Forte would wonder why he went through this kind of stuff, but as soon as he reminded himself that Serenade's powers would be a sweet treat to absorb, he squared his shoulders and braved the endless sea of... of... that.

Face set into a determined snarl, Forte raised his right hand and aimed a finger at the nearest Marumoko. A mere moment later, a thin, purplish ray of energy erupted from his fingertip and went to collide with the virus' side, resulting in a glorious explosion of fluff and terrified cries.

The Marumoko, now shaved clean of its -he was not going to think about that word- protection, was joined by a second virus in the same conditions. Then a third, and a fourth, and many more as Forte continued to snipe on the digital creatures.

Their cries of shock and fear intensified and within seconds the sea of light colored fluff shook and trembled like a shockwave running through a large mass of jelly. When the first of the Marumokos started to run, following a random direction, the rest of the flock followed mindlessly, bleating and thundering their little hooves against the ground.

Forte watched as the mass of obnoxiously colored creatures moved. At first it was slow, almost lazy, but as he continued to blast at every virus he could see, the flock quickened its pace until it was nothing more of an undistinguished mass of fluff and dust in the distance.

“There was no need to scare them away.”

The black navi immediately recognized the voice and turned around to face the one he had been looking for, mad grin spreading across his face.

“Serenade...” he greeted. If he hadn't been so crazed his voice might have been pleasant.

The ruler of the Undernet crossed her arms and divided her attention between the dark navi and the flock of panicked Marumokos that were nothing more than a small speck in the distance.

“For real, Forte,” she said, forcing her hand to not go up to her face to pinch the bridge of her nose in exasperation. “It was no necessary.”

Forte decided that words were useless now, so he charged forwards with one raised hand. Power collected between his fingers and the crackling sound associated with it filled the now empty meadow.

Taking advantage of the fact that the black navi was several paces away from her when he started his charge, Serenade sighed deeply and uncrossed her arms. All the while wondering why her opponent couldn't just get on with his life and leave her to her own business.

“You know...” Serenade stepped back as the black navi swung his arm at her, his precision highly dangerous. “I was thinking why you kept coming after me no matter how many times you lost and I all I can think of is... do you have a crush on me?”

It was amazing how such innocent words could cause such devastating consequences.

Forte stilled in midair, one hand reared back and ready to strike and a never seen expression on his face. Serenade couldn't figure out if it was surprise, embarrassment, or shock. Perhaps it was a mix of all three...

And she was pretty sure that she had heard a small 'eh?' from him, too...

“Are all these fights your own way to ask me on a date?”

It was definitely shock that Forte was showing, because Serenade saw him open and close his mouth a few times. Probably trying to figure out what to say to recover what little pride he had left after her words...

And it must have been a pretty new feeling for him too, because he never realized an oncoming danger until it was right behind his back.

The first Marumoko he had previously sniped was back and it collided with him headfirst. Forte never felt pain, but the strength behind that impact sent him lurching forward a couple of feet.

“What the..?”

Frustration and anger rose, and Forte turned around to face the obnoxiously colored virus to exact rightful revenge when he stilled. Again.

Not a second later, a fistful of that hateful shade of very light red fluff was in his mouth, nose and eyes. He let out a muffled scream of anger, hands clawing at the insulting virus just before he felt more collide with him, throwing him to the ground and stampeding against his body.

Horrible moments of confusion and disorientation passed with him cursing everything he could associate with the herd of 'I-have-banned-that-word-from-my-vocabolry-for-the-rest-of-eternity'.

When the last of the Marumokos finally stampeded past his back, Forte cracked his eyes open, dreading the moment he would see the state he was in.

“Let's make a deal...” Serenade's voice sounded right next to him, coughing and spluttering a bit as if she had something in her mouth too. “We never speak of this to anyone...”

Red eyes glanced at where the Ruler or the Undernet was and as soon as Forte realized that he had been thrown right on top of the female warrior, he agreed wholeheartedly.

“Deal.”
Marumokos
It's been... what? Way too long, I suppose.
I'm finally starting to get out of my writer's block, and finally got to finish one of the ancient trades I had pending.

I even wonder if I managed to keep them in-character...

I'm rusty. Very rusty, but I hope you enjoy it nonetheless, SLiDER-chan and sorry for the HUGE delay.
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...because I realized some of the requests I have pending dates back to late 2012...

I keep saying "I need to sit down and write them", but apparently, that is NOT enough to get me going.
  • Mood: Guilty
  • Listening to: Totally Random Music
  • Reading: Anything interesting
  • Watching: The monitor (and whatever it's displayed on i
  • Playing: Perfect World
  • Eating: APPLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEES

deviantID

Az-The-Dragon
Plotting since year 2001
Artist | Varied
Italy
Current Residence: In The Middle Of The Green Nowhere
Favourite genre of music: upbeat and happy music
Interests

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:iconblazethecat7125:
Blazethecat7125 Featured By Owner Feb 17, 2015
Seems like someone's familiar with the Sonic & Mega Man franchises. (^-^)
Reply
:iconaz-the-dragon:
Az-The-Dragon Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2015   General Artist
yeh. but it's been a while since I touched the Sonic franchise.
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:iconblazethecat7125:
Blazethecat7125 Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2015
Are you also familiar with the Transformers franchises, too? (^-^)
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:iconaz-the-dragon:
Az-The-Dragon Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2015   General Artist
yes, but movies only
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(1 Reply)
:icon0-g-inspired:
0-G-Inspired Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2014  Student General Artist
😌Had an x-ray done today and they found you in my heart. 😉The doctor said if they took you out, 😔i would die, because i could not live without such an amazing friend. 😃Give this heart to everyone who you don't wanna lose in "2015" including me if you care 😊Try to collect twelve (12) its not easy. ☺Be honest! Send this to anyone who made you smile this year💙
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:icon0-g-inspired:
0-G-Inspired Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2014  Student General Artist
Well I know the day is almost over but hope you had a nice birthday anyways and always. Happy birthday. :hug:
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:iconaz-the-dragon:
Az-The-Dragon Featured By Owner Nov 24, 2014   General Artist
thanks!
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:icon0-g-inspired:
0-G-Inspired Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2014  Student General Artist
Your welcome. ^^
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:iconsu5anlee:
Su5anLee Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Heeeey, long time no see. Just wanted to tell you happy birthday! :D
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:iconaz-the-dragon:
Az-The-Dragon Featured By Owner Nov 24, 2014   General Artist
yes yes. long time no see. how are you doing?
and thanks!
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