Realism and Reward (NML)

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Realism and Reward (NML)

Postby Berserker » Tue Jul 09, 2013 1:08 am

Well it sure didn't take long for me to return to this setting. I had the idea in my head for a long time anyway, as in since I started Crypsis, so there's my excuse.


----“If there’s one thing he would’ve appreciated,” the canine muttered with joking deadpan, “It’s that I make damn good biscuits.” Hanging like a wraith before the counter of her dinky apartment’s kitchen, angry and a little wistful, she eyed her creations with both contempt and hunger.

It was her way of bargaining around her thoughts. That was all. She had to make something. It was how she coped. Drinking was one other way, but she’d had her fill of that already—it was an option she turned to far too readily, and not just on matters of sorrow or anger—and there was no way she’d drown herself so soon. She needed to save what money she could scrounge up.

The giantess didn’t know whether to hate or love her breaded doughy masterpieces, for as she picked one up within the—more controlling than necessary—grasp of her hand, they represented clones of a certain someone. This time, there were no eyes on it. Nothing to show fear, hatred, confusion, doom. No mouth to scream or hyperventilate with. Did she love them, hate them, love them, hate them…

For just that split moment, the biscuit was a tiny. A rabbit. A white rabbit. With that thought she bit down hard, glaring fiercely into the face it didn’t have. Her teeth ground against each other and it, the rabbit, mercilessly tearing its flesh from its bone, crunching whatever was left inside her mouth. Her lips and tongue maneuvered to catch every crumbling, tasty bit, letting no scrap escape. For that split moment, that split, perfect moment in her imagination, a place in her mind where she had won, she felt euphoric victory well up inside her like she’d discovered an underground spring.

Then the biscuit returned to its true form; a chunk of sweetened bread baked to a crispy exterior.

Elsa blankly stared at the half-eaten thing in her hand—not a rabbit. She might have been disbelieving of what she had just envisioned and that she’d made the act of eating a violent and hateful one, though she’d never say so. Instead, she turned away from the whole set, somewhat mortified.

The collie’s mind still hung along the events of a week ago. To put it simply and quickly it was absolutely sickening to be humiliated by a tiny, a little creature. And while she was now of a proper mind and had acknowledged her mistakes, nothing save meeting him again could ever sate the anger she harbored. Anger and some amount of something else. Was it…guilt? N-no! No, no, it was not!

That stupid rabbit. The one that got away. He didn’t know any better than she did what she wanted with him, though he certainly acted like he did. It was just an experiment, nothing more. She wasn’t plotting anything bad! So many ideas popped into the confines of her off-balance mind at that time, eating him was only one of them, that was all! If only he’d realized that. Instead he assumed the worst and spat in her face and insulted her. It was utterly…well, it was heartbreaking. Hell, she had thought he looked cute at one point, too. What a mistake.

And what, then Fiela proceeded to tell her why she should give a damn? Yeah, like she’d listen to what either of them had to say after that fiasco. If she ever happened to see that one rabbit again, why, she’d grind him into paste with her bare paws! She’d…she’d eat him, she’d chew for sure, maybe just spit him back out afterwards! She’d…

Goddamn it. Who was she kidding. Not even herself, that was for sure.

She couldn’t bear to do it, not if she had to see the look on his face when it happened, because seeing it was two steps from horrible. She could pretend to eat him all she wanted, sure—damn she was pathetic—but she doubted she could do it for real now that the experience nearly happened.

A sigh heated with the steam of her anger escaped her. She really wanted to like him over hating him; he seemed…hell, she didn’t rightly know, there was just something about him she was drawn to. Handsome? Yeah, a little, at least she thought so. Those smooth features were great, though there was a lot to be desired with his tone and his build—but no, no, those didn’t matter at a size like his. Hah, Fiela would think she was crazy.

Or was it that he just looked so damn delicious? Like a powdery sweet, a walking bon-bon with just the right kind of crunch. She had no idea which it could be—or rather, which it was more, because there was absolutely no denying that she felt both ways to some degree. By God was she embarrassed.

Her stomach rumbled again. She finished off the biscuit in her hand without drawing out the action, then retreated to the washroom.

****

Step one: take the first step. Step two: do it again. Infantile training was all he wanted to prove he knew. Those first literal steps were Dexter’s way of saying “Just go in there and do it,” that much Mikkel knew. Hell, that was lesson one. But he clung to them like they were all that mattered in the formula.

“We should be way more cautious than this, Jess,” said the male cat. A tentative third step, following behind the female calico. The girl’s fur was a sandy tan splotched with midnight brown spots here and there, one such splotch encircling her right eye. Its location made her seem more intimidating than she otherwise should be. It contrasted her disarming appearance, and his decidedly sharp one.

Mikkel was a black cat—one whose surrounding superstition he would not hesitate to cast aside and lecture for, if pointed out—with no decals or patterns along his fur. His outwardly simple appearance complemented his forward “what’s there is there” ideology.

“Don’t tell me what to do,” the girl snapped back, blonde bangs and short ponytail swishing with the impatient flick of her head. She took two steps toward him—step one, step two—and put her hands on her hips. “You gonna wuss out? Tell me you’re not gonna wuss out.”

“I’m not wussing out.” Jess smiled at him as he shook his head. “I’m getting a surge of common sense.” Then a frown.

“So…wussing out. Listen, I get where you’re coming from, but I know for a fact that we’ll be fine.” Apprehension in the male cat’s yellow eyes. “My friends have been here before.” Now an unconvinced glare. “And I was here once, too. Smelled and sounded like a party crash, booze and snoring and all.”

Mikkel’s ears perked, but he tried to stifle the movement. “Guess that shouldn’t be too bad…but I doubt it’s always like that.”

“Friends said the same thing.”

“Really?”

“Really.”

Mikkel exhaled. “Okay, but can we just take it slow? I’m—”

“A coward,” she finished. “This is our job. Treat it like it’s your business, because it is. It’s not Dexter’s either, or anybody at the Undersector—this is about us.” She took a quick look around. No sign of the giant—though if she was just unlucky, it was on the other end of the kitchen where her vision couldn’t get to; a cabinet directly next to the hole through which they came barred her vision. But she had her faith and confidence.

Things Mikkel clearly did not have.

“It’s none of my business what we’re doing here, it’s yours.” Mikkel retorted sharply. “I’m no newbie.” Though he dearly wished he could still have that excuse...unfortunately, Jess knew better, which happened to be part of why he was here. “But when do you ever see two-person missions? Never. You don’t. Having a group has its advantages; split up to divert attention and maximize profits, all the good stuff. I like that. People can go in alone too—and don’t interrupt me, I know only experts should do that, that’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying that we’re not exactly visitors. I get that there are ups and downs to different numbers but be that as it may, we’re a pair. We’re only more likely to get caught. Have you considered that?”

Jess whipped back around and away from him with a snoot. “You’re a pessimist. A fool.” She suddenly tossed a backward glance of her orange eyes. “Follow my lead. You heard what Randall said; leadership’s two sizes too big for Dexter. We’re on our own.”

Jess started off while Mikkel shook his head. He wasn’t a pessimist; he was a realist.

****

The collie paced for only a few moments, then twisted the knob on her sink. The chilled waterfall trickled over her fingers, coaxing a contented, reluctant breath. Flinging the droplets from her fingers and turning to dry them off with the closest towel, she took back to thinking.

That was one thing she envied about Fiela; she never lingered on her problems like this. Somehow, every time the wolfess had an issue, she just made a decision and went through with it, then stopped thinking about it. She had everything sorted out.

The collie looked herself in the mirror, raised an eyebrow, pulled back her lips, then blinked a couple times. She looked fine, yes, great even; her teeth seemed to sparkle, she unobtrusively smelled like honey from her shower, and she didn’t look half bad in a simple tank top and jeans. Still, Fiela could pull off the look better—and she was not about to go the full mile with denim jackets and leather jackets, hell no; she was afraid of the vibe it would give off.

The wolfess wasn’t though, she thought with a dejected growl.

Though, her wavy mane was a little disheveled. She proceeded to ameliorate it with careful strokes of her claws, muzzle tilted to the side. Ugh, having curly hair was such a pain; people always talked about how much they liked it, but managing it was so tedious. Another thing she was the slightest jealous for about the wolfess…and admittedly Sam, too.

But she found it a lot easier to respect Sam as an equal; Fiela seemed just so…imposing. Better. Superior. And when she was mad, she damn well played the part.

Elsa took back to her kitchen. A distraction would be good for her. She reached to a mahogany-colored tin box on her counter and from it retrieved a single cube of rich chocolate—the “fancy” sort. Expensive beyond necessity but delicious to boot; they comprised a personal “rewards” system for herself to be given as long as she deserved it—which she kept very prudent about—but for now, she could make a teeny exception. She popped the candy into her mouth without a second thought or illusion of vengeance this time, savoring it as long as possible before the eventual swallow.

And yet, the canine’s mind shot back to the white rabbit the second her guard let down, the taste of milk chocolate becoming that of dark; bitter. A subconscious, unrelated loll of her tongue, lasting only a quick second, was still telling of her conflicted thoughts. But…but he took it too far that day, and she couldn’t go back at that point. She had been put between two things she really hated, killing him or letting the little prick go after what he did. Between a rock and a soft place. A soft place she wanted to end out of spite but wasn’t sure she could, and, and—damn it, this metaphor was going nowhere and she was stuck!

Elsa threw her head back and yelled madly to the empty echoing of her apartment, “At this point, it doesn’t even have to be him!” The collie threw a wild fist to her right with a crazed growl, leaving a visible dent in the wall. Jealous, conflicted, angry, guilty—a terrible concoction for the psyche’s health. She needed something, anything to vent with! Her hand was on fire but she did nothing to show her pain.

Elsa’s thoughts were dark, dark enough to cast a shadow across her kitchen.

Wait. Her nose was going ballistic; some new smell was permeating the mask cast by her oven-fresh goods, something lively and something nervous, and since her nose wasn’t as keen as Fiela’s, that meant whatever it was had to be really close—and wait, in that shadow across the room. Could it really be? The collie stalked closer, the hot blood in her veins beginning to calm and cool.

Two skittering shapes hanging close together, they remained unaware that they had been seen. She’d never seen tinies in her house before. Was it as simple as this to find them? Did they just hang around? Had they shown up before during one of her after-parties while she was too smashed to see them? With her luck she always figured they amounted to elusive and rare creatures of myth. With speed and pitter-patter footsteps fitting of their size, they dashed out of her kitchen—though, again, she had yet to be detected.

Youthful glee newfound and emitting a quick squeal of excitement, Elsa followed the vivid scent trail left behind, making sure her footsteps were muffled and quiet. No easy task—especially since she mostly relied on her eyesight as opposed to smell, making it a little more difficult to remain hidden.

The collie peeked out from aside the arch leading to the den, fluffy brown bangs hanging inches from her face. The two stopped there, underneath a chair, and were beginning to speak to each other. Little mewling words she couldn’t hear very well from her distance.

“That’s just adorable,” Elsa whispered to herself. Anger faded away for the most part; she merely wanted to spy on the critters.

They must have been cats. Calico. Or at least one of them was. Part of her knew she didn’t want her food stolen, another was vaguely considering what Fiela had said downtown, and another still knew that she’d like to stomp them into her floor to serve twofold venting and pest control. Cute but irritating, if what Fiela said two months ago about their thieving habits was anything to go off of. If her mind was going to be on business, she was ready to shift.

…But until then, she wanted to play.

Suddenly, they darted off again—this time more hurriedly. She had been seen. Elsa walked out from behind the wall and casually began in the direction of her sofa to redirect attention. Nope, I saw nothing. However, she kept the corner of her eye on just where they went. Back into the kitchen, huh?

When they passed the wall, she followed quietly once more, peeking past the wan wall.

There was a certain manner in which the two cats followed each other around. It wasn’t mere partnership for the sake of survival—that much she could tell, despite her lack of experience with tinies—but something more. The male cat grasped the other’s hand tightly, hopefully, maybe apologetically if she had to guess, when they settled underneath her counter. She spied them from a distance; her awareness was invisible to them once more.

Then Elsa simply watched. Their breaths were heavy, fleeting. Afraid of her, she realized, her superior size and the fact that they were being…the equivalent of hunted. They turned to one another and embraced once, rearing back to say things to each other—“We’ll make it out,” she imagined the male to say, and “Only with you,” from the female, even though she couldn’t hear them.

Ha! This was fun. She could have these tinies reenact Sam’s favorite soaps.

But she shook the idea away; that could wait. She wanted to make her move soon. What would she do…? Oh goodness, she had so much trouble with the rabbit last time she saw him, now this? Well, at the very least she had all the time in the world to decide. No real risk of some bull stopping her.

She didn’t have to be harsh to these two, maybe. They looked so tasty though…well, she’d consider letting them off scot-free later. After all her other options were exhausted. Uh, maybe. She had to think about it.

Ah, hell, this was an opportunity of a lifetime; was she really going to cash it by doing nothing? This was her adventure! It was some kind of playfulness that welled up in her, childlike and giddy. She shifted the muscles in her legs in preparation, growing tense and ready to toy with her new targets.

****

“Terrible idea, just terrible, I told you!”

“Shut up! I think we’ve lost her.”

The two cats wedged themselves under the towering counter, somewhere below the sink. The collie giantess was not present, allowing a temporary wellspring of reprieve.

“No, I’m not going to shut up,” Mikkel said. “You made this stupid idea and guess what? She’s perfectly sober! We’re going to get caught for sure!”

Jess whipped around, fire in her eyes. “You always look on the bad side of things; yeah, we’re in this mess, now we’re gonna get out!”

Mikkel frowned. I’m being sensible, he thought again harshly, but couldn’t find the words on his tongue.

Their surroundings were dusty, but surprisingly well-kept for such a nook. For a party animal she sure does care, Mikkel thought. The ground all around was wood, polished to low friction, while the bottom of a cupboard hung above them both.

Mikkel found himself suddenly grabbing Jess’ wrists, glowering fiercely.

“This was your idea. And it was a terrible one. Admit. When. You’re. Wrong.”

Jess scoffed, raising her arms forward like a zombie. “Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum, right? You sure you’re not a giant yourself?” She swung her arms back to break his grip. “Listen up, Jack, we’re taking what we deserve and skedaddling, and you’re not gonna hold me back. This is for us.” She stood up and began walking.

The ebony feline sighed. He remembered the first time they’d left the Undersector, under Jess’ insistence. Some fox had spread rumors that Dexter was borderline incompetent. That she parroted in his face, but he never got the feeling. Still…here he was now. That on account of Jess being so reckless that he knew it was for the better that he follow.

The cat recalled the singular glance of the collie giantess while he still thought; she was a little pretty, with a cunning, playful glint in her ocean eyes, deceptively gentle features, and…

Well, her modest endowments made it rather obvious that she was, in fact, of the female sex.

Regardless, he wanted to leave. But Mikkel had no choice. He stood up to follow, stumbling once along the waxed wooden floor and slipping by a small margin.

****

All of a sudden, they were on the move again.

With a light gasp, Elsa forced her muscles still and relaxed, nearly stumbling in the process. She didn’t want to make herself known. It was her or them; pounce prematurely or let them entertain her for the time. In all truth, it wasn’t a very difficult decision to make. “Geez, that’s a first today,” she whispered cynically. The ball was in her court, but all she wanted to do was dribble.

Her vigil was cautious; where were they going now?

The collie’s dark blue eyes followed them with powerful interest, like a lioness monitoring her prey as it vainly scattered across the savanna. Elsa was learning, and she was enjoying it. It was a skill of hers; she could piece things together quickly and with certainty. A skill that had saved her on several occasions during her high school and college years, back when her professors called upon her to answer questions she wasn’t totally prepared for. She could scan the board and grasp the context of the current lesson, then recall the vague scraps she might have missed if she wasn’t paying attention during class.

Now these tinies were her own little board. She wanted to understand them…and so far, she could mark some success on her end given her genuine interest. What she noted was that tinies were somewhat deft creatures, clever in a way, their movements methodized and purposeful. These two managed to climb up her counter using flaws and even designs in the woodwork. It was a little impressive.

Now she was even more curious.

“Are they…?” Their little minds were definitely set on something. If she didn’t know any better—or if they didn’t—she might assume they were after…

The mahogany tin lid popped open.

“Hey! You don’t touch those!” Elsa said firmly as she began to march toward the two tinies, though with tail wagging to the joyous rhythm of betrayed excitement. Alarm filled the faces of the tinies as they heaved one piece of her favorite sweets each and began running.

They were a lot slower now, weighed down by their prize. Elsa smirked, feeling the rush—was this what it was like?—as she monitored slyly from the edge of her counter, kneeling so her gaze was level with them. There was no chance of them getting away, and especially not with her overpriced treats.

Playtime began.

“Where you going?” Elsa asked with a cock of her head. An open palm slammed into the calico’s path, forcing a terse shriek from her. She turned to run, meeting with the black one that remained behind her—but another identical wall of brown fur, towering over both of their heads, shut them from an escape. “Might wanna put those down—they’re mine!”

The collie loomed closer and inspected her thieves below with a gleeful, toothy smirk, embracing the endorphins that came with the hunt. “I’ve heard a lot of things about tinies,” she said to them, eyes pouring over every part of them but their own. “All I know is how cute you are!”

The two tinies exchanged glances, then the female shot a nasty glare upward. Elsa looked nearly amused—until the cat set her chocolate down as if it were a peace offering, stepping backward slowly, then burst into a sprint around Elsa’s cage of hands. The dark-furred one mirrored her actions and followed suit, not bothering to split up. Their plan now was to escape.

“Geez…well, a first time’s a first time. Nobody said it’d be that easy.” She followed her instincts, with the tinies just behind.

The tinies were quicker than she gave them credit for, but she knew they couldn’t sprint forever. She lumbered in pursuit, giggling in her head all the while as they made for the floor, evading the playful batting of her hand that amounted more to a kitten with a yarn ball than an actual attempt at capture.

However, instead of going to the ground like she expected, the calico suddenly leaped from her perch at the edge of the counter toward Elsa’s lowered muzzle. Searing pain suddenly surged through her body and she released it with a yelp; then a tan blur whizzed through the air and landed at her paws. The collie felt the size of her muzzle with a hand—s-she tore a couple whiskers right off!

“Suck on that, dog breath!” she yelled back as she continued to run. Elsa snarled, but her heart sank. This was becoming a lot less fun.

Elsa lunged at her then, taking care not to crush her if she managed to get a grip—less out of concern, more out of a desire to keep her toys intact. The male dodged the titan’s first swipe quickly, remaining quiet through the whole ordeal. Elsa growled and turned her attention to the female with her other hand, who leaped over it as it passed while laughing at the failed attempt. Again her arm stretched toward the tan cat and her clawed fingertips nearly ripped a few hairs off her tail, but the vulnerable appendage tucked itself close to remedy the mistake.

“Your aim’s as bad as your looks!”

Oh boy, now she was in for it. In fact, the female was beginning to remind her of the white rabbit. She was getting mad again, insulted. Her need to vent slowly regenerated.

Not again, Elsa thought, I’m not going to be humiliated inside my own place!

The collie shot out one hand, keeping the other a distance away, then attempted a grab parallel to the position of her other hand. The calico evaded the halfhearted swipe, laughing and unaware of the trap—and fell snugly right into Elsa’s other palm, which then constricted her with brutal force.

“No!” she cried out, a mix of despair and pain.

“Caught ya.”

****

“She got Jess, she got Jess!” Mikkel chanted. “I told her this was a bad idea—now she’s dead!” He looked behind him once, continuing to run. The polished floor was damn near frictionless, his footfalls became more and more dangerous—

Suddenly, he tripped.

A light voice from above cried out, “Mikkel!”

He then realized his mistake. Pink saucers flanked by fluffy brown clouds hovered in the air above him, looming over his prone body.

“I’m not a pessimist,” he muttered, staring blankly into the depths of the paw that was about to crush him, “I’m…just a realist.”

Then it bore down on him.

****

Elsa stomped. At first the motion was a rough one, filled with malice and power, but the descent of her foot slowed down slightly as it fell. Then the pressure applied was merely according with her mind to sit him still as she thought of what purpose she could think of for him, though he was no doubt in pain. The collie girl fell to a sitting position, back against the fridge. She tossed a wayward glance to the tiny she’d almost forgotten about in her fist.

And all of a sudden, everything stopped being a fun game.

Elsa’s smile faded. Fear ran rampant in the face of the tiny who knew it was about to die; Elsa’s first impulse was to turn her gaze, which worked for the most part, but something was itching at her. She had to decide right then and there just what she wanted with these tinies. That was something she hadn’t thought through; chasing them was her way of avoiding the issue, preoccupying her while she was still having fun. However…it would eventually culminate in a decision of some kind.

As long as she didn’t look at them when she did it, she could do whatever she wanted with a clean conscience. She could crush the one underneath her paw right now; she could make a snack out of the female it so pleased her—and it just might—or hell, she could toy with them a little longer, even.

But then she saw the male’s face again, sticking out awkwardly from beneath her toes. His eyes; nothing but fear and doubt. And then she could not. Her stomach…

I messed up, she thought, There’s one simple way to get around it, all I had to do was not look, and I still messed that up!

A shriek of a voice pierced Elsa’s uncertain thoughts and directed her attention right to the calico in her fist. “You wretched bitch! You just—you just—you oaf, you just fucking killed him!”

The collie was shocked into defensiveness. “What? Why the—are all tinies assholes?!”

“You killed him!” She cried out. “You stepped on Mikkel!”

“He’s not dead,” Elsa reasoned, defeated. “He’s not. I-I can’t…”

“You’re full of shit!” the cat screeched. Apparently she’d regained her voice. “You chase us all around with a smile, talk down to us, then you step on him and tell me you didn’t kill him? You ‘can’t’? You can’t what?”

The calico reminded her way too much of the white rabbit, except she’d probably say she was even worse. It was all she could do to resist the urge to press down and confirm her beliefs; she could, but she could not…it wasn’t something she wanted to turn to right away. Self-loathing overwrote her current mood—more at her inability to go through with it than the fact that she’d gotten this far in her quest. What was wrong with her?

“I-I can’t do it. I can’t hurt you. I can’t kill you.” Her free fist clenched tight. “It’s too much.”

“Then that’s why you’ve still got your clumsy-ass giant feet smothered all over him?” The cat started up again. “Oh but I’m sure he’s down there just begging you to keep going, right? ‘Soft like a fucking pillow, it feels great, don’t stop!’ I’m sure he loves being crushed by your putrid fucking paws,” the cat spat.

The collie forced steam from her nostrils. The cat was no threat to her. Though she was asking for it.

“Look. Kitten. I could play football with your head and a flick of my goddamn fingers, and you’ve already supplied a perfect punting stand. I’d say it’s in your best interest to believe me when I say somebody isn’t dead.” Exasperated, Elsa drew her hand to her forehead and swept upward.

“Yeah, a death threat’ll take you miles down to my level.” She continued struggling, but Elsa’s grip was stern. “Let me go, g-get away from me!”

“I wasn’t threatening you, I was—” She fell short of words for a moment. She was this close to shoving the uppity snack in her mouth and getting it over with. A bit more arguing and she’d hardly have a problem with it either, let alone chewing first. “—You’re looking a gift dog in the mouth, that’s what! …And my paws are not putrid!”

There was hesitation in the cat, but it didn’t last as long as the canine would like. Her wriggling continued, nothing but a furry worm. “Oh sure, I see the mouth, but there’s nothing to give except a bunch of teeth and bad breath! How stupid do you think we have to be to believe you?!” What she didn’t admit, however, was how strange it was to converse with a giant—whatever connotations that may have.

The collie’s otherwise soft and pretty visage changed. It narrowed its gaze into an annoyed mockery of its normal form and lunged forward, commanding a massive lump down the cat’s throat. Elsa was learning again: this tiny was in the wrong, it was pushing its luck, and…and her breath was not bad!

“Spoiler alert: the ‘gift’ is me not wanting to hurt you. You’re really making me regret that decision. It’s not your birthday, it’s not Christmas; I have literally no reason to play nice with you.” She shook her head, visibly offended and upset. Her face was a little worn with anger that she had forced herself to hold back. “Between every tiny I’ve seen so far being an entitled prick and apparently not seeing giants as people either, one has to wonder how the hell you ever plan on progressing.” Elsa balked. “Unless this whole ‘equality’ bullshit is a scapegoat for you to keep stealing and getting away with it, not to mention being self-righteous jerks. That’s what it is, isn’t it?” She squeezed just a bit tighter.

A thought hit Jess, and hard. Her eyes bulged and shot in every direction; all the mobility of her body shot straight to her head. The rest was utterly frozen. “N-no, it’s not! We really do believe in equality—”

“Then what is it?” Elsa demanded with a bark. She was in control now. The feeling wasn’t for her as a certain wolfess liked to make it sound, but it was there and she needed it. “Tell me just what it is, because I can tell you one thing right now: you’re not treating me like an equal, you’re treating me like a mindless monster! All I’ve done is try to reason with you!” She snarled. “But I can change that right now if you like.”

A surge of adrenaline forced Elsa’s hand. The collie opened her maw wide, treating the cat to a view of her thick, flat tongue and her rows of sharp teeth. She plopped the creature inside and closed her lips, letting her tongue lather over the cat while resisting the overpowering urge to chew. The mouthy one tasted like honey, the tiniest bit dirty from her time underneath her cupboard, though she was all in all a treat.

The struggling of prey inside her mouth was a nearly euphoric feeling. The calico kicked and punched for the first few seconds, but apparently gave up very quickly. When movement ceased Elsa spurred it by jostling her around a little with her tongue. Having the cat sitting upon her tongue and ready to be swallowed—where she probably belonged, Elsa mused—was an experience she did enjoy for what the whole ordeal had thus far been worth.

But at the same time, she could not hold up her threat. That’s all it was: a threat. Regrettably.

Elsa held her palm close and lolled her tongue out, letting the stiff cat fall gracelessly onto her hand. The cat was shivering from those quick fifteen seconds—which felt more like hours inside the warm, pink cavern to the calico—with terror and awe plastered onto her face. Elsa looked down with deign in her eyes at the sopping wet creature that was struck frozen from the moment of near-death.

That was it. Elsa had her fill.

The collie lifted her foot up and pinched the limp cat by his scruff, him mewling with curious questioning as he passed through the air, then set the pair down before her.

“…Just go,” she said, uncomfortably shifting the paw that just had a living being squirming beneath it. “I never want to see another tiny again.” She crossed her arms over her knees and buried her face in them thoughtfully.

There were seconds of quiet; time alone she knew she needed now. Some rest would help, too. Maybe some beer. Oh man, beer sounded great.

The calico bolted away without a second thought, but the black cat remained near. Within her reach. Didn’t he know what she could do to him? She—

“Y’know…” he started. Elsa whipped her neck around, looking for the calico, but she was halfway down the kitchen by then. “I dunno what to say. Thanks, I guess.” A moment of utter silence.

Elsa stammered, disbelieving. “I—”

It seemed the next words were almost forced from his throat. “H-have a nice day.”

Step two, step one, the rules in reverse, he cautiously moved back, then shook his head and proceeded away in the form of a jog. He wasn’t an optimist; he saw that she spared them both. He was merely being…realistic.

Elsa watched as the two figures disappeared from her house, one by one. Her heart was half-warm, half-empty. She said she wouldn’t mind having tinies in her house—and today, she got her wish. But oh, how a piece of her regretted that wish.

Why…why was it that she couldn’t do it? Fiela could, Fiela was better, Fiela was stronger—

And then her eyes widened, as everything made sense.

She wasn’t like Fiela, and Fiela was not better than her. She didn’t want to hurt these tinies; she had it set in her mind that she did, probably from meeting the white rabbit, but it was not true. The hunt was all that mattered—she liked playing with them, maybe making them think they were in danger.

“More…adorable than pestilent,” she muttered.

Just then, she felt a twinge of embarrassment in her brain, like her nerves had just bundled up and snapped themselves; a result of the realization that what she had ended up doing bordered on the very thing she nearly mocked Fiela for. Not advocating for tinies, not quite supporting…but the intent was there.

The collie stood up with a flat, unamused line across her face. A clink accompanied her action of opening the fridge, wherein was stocked enough booze for two whole weeks among the rabble of foods and purified tap, as she took one such bottle out.

But then, while taking a dainty sip, her eyes drifted to the phone.

The drink retreated from her lips and hung in her loose grip. Was this what she needed? No. To take her mind off the whole ordeal, to apologize to the wolfess, and to just hang out. That was what she needed.

No longer jealous, no longer angry, and no longer guilty, she reached for the phone, knowing that her faint wish to never see another tiny was not entirely honest, and unlikely to come true. Then, as it rang, she retrieved a cube of chocolate from her mahogany tin box.----
Last edited by Berserker on Thu Jul 18, 2013 1:03 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Realism and Reward (NML)

Postby Duct Tape Fanatic » Tue Jul 09, 2013 2:43 am

Even though Rey wasn't in this chapter, I got the sense that he was directly working against Elsa the whole time. Also, this installment works to continue the whole idea of one tiny/giant's relationship as a good type of infection among the others.

Also, dog chasing cats, very classic, although I don't know about collies, a lot of dogs are pretty adept at hunting, including small animals in the case of terrier breeds.
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Re: Realism and Reward (NML)

Postby Kusanagi » Tue Jul 09, 2013 3:37 am

This reminds me that I really need to re-read and catch up on this series. Pretty excellent stuff, and I would probably would get more out of it if I just would catch up. :D
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Re: Realism and Reward (NML)

Postby TendoTwo » Tue Jul 09, 2013 3:42 am

Wow, wasn't expecting to see another entry in this setting so fast.

Also wasn't expecting Elsa to end up being that nice, especially with how it started by Elsa pretending the cookie she violently bit the head off of was Ray and after all the crap Jess put her through. When the story first started it wasn't even clear if we were reading from Fiela or Elsa's point of view, it seemed like it was definitely Fiela since she mentioned that a certain male would appreciate that she bakes well, although it became obvious pretty fast, wasn't expecting Elsa to be a baker too.

Her internal conflict actually made the story a frighteningly tense read, despite there not being too much physical action, the mental conflict actually made this one of the tensest stories I have read so far. (Even though she did start leaning towards not hurting them most of the time.) I can see where she is coming from with being curious to toy with them but not go too far, and can't believe she was able to keep that up despite Jess. I honestly couldn't believe Jess was continuing to do practically everything in her power to piss off Elsa even after she was captured, I mean, to just continue to insult and taunt her after she had broken down and admitted she couldn't bring herself to hurt them, and when both of them knew Elsa had no reason to not hurt them...... one of the few times the micro was clearly in the wrong and not very sympathetic at all. Part of me actually wanted Elsa to catch Jess after all the insults during the chase (that and so Elsa wouldn't just become someone who is constantly tormented by the tinies, that thought of "Not again, Elsa thought, I’m not going to be humiliated inside my own place!" was actually a little painful to read), although most of me just hoped they would get away with their lives. Considering that I wasn't expecting Elsa to decide not to hurt them, I feared that after Elsa had already decided this and Jess continued her taunting, that it was going to cause Elsa to just assume all of the tinies were jerks like that and just kill them off. Can't imagine if it was Fiela that she would have let that go.

Jess felt like she was acting like your typical teenager who assumes they are invincible, I wasn't sure if anything Elsa was going to do would break that mentality, or if she would remain that indignant the whole time... provided she she didn't get killed by going too far. With that said, while it was being put in Elsa's mouth that seemed to be the breaking point, I am surprised she got taken aback a bit earlier when Elsa mentioned if the equal treatment was a lie, I didn't expect her to care about that with all the other insults she tossed at Elsa earlier. Figures she would be the one to instantly run after her feeling of invincibility was shattered, even with her treatment of Elsa had her curled up in a fetal position of all things.

Kinda of a hint of Irony that Else concluded Fiela wasn't better than her because she assumes Fiela would kill any tinies that appear in her house. Well, on one hand she did used to act like that, but on the other she had stopped doing it long before Elsa had realized it. I wonder how this mentality of Elsa's would hold up if she ever found out the truth about Fiela and "that white rabbit".
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Re: Realism and Reward (NML)

Postby gadabout » Wed Jul 10, 2013 12:55 am

You most certanily did bring up some interesting points here, this could be like the civil rights movement where the oppressed minorities end up feeling entitled after finally being rid of any bias against them, but in any case I do like that realistic guy, he totally rocks, the calcico is poo head >:I

A most excellent work in the end good sir, I require more from you >:o
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Re: Realism and Reward (NML)

Postby Berserker » Wed Jul 10, 2013 6:34 am

Kusanagi wrote:This reminds me that I really need to re-read and catch up on this series. Pretty excellent stuff, and I would probably would get more out of it if I just would catch up. :D


Hah, to be honest I still need to do the same with your Stage series. I remember reading stuff in its setting years ago and loving it (some of my first introductions to the wonderful world of macro really), but I just haven't caught up as much as I'd like. I mentioned as much in a journal on FA, but I've made navigation a bit easier with links to the next/previous parts on each one, so it should be a little less painful now. :lol:

When the story first started it wasn't even clear if we were reading from Fiela or Elsa's point of view, it seemed like it was definitely Fiela since she mentioned that a certain male would appreciate that she bakes well, although it became obvious pretty fast, wasn't expecting Elsa to be a baker too.


Mistaking her for Fiela at first was quite intentional, I actually removed any mention of her being a collie or referring to her by name right away because...well in my head it certainly felt more amusing: "Oh hey, looks like another Fiela scene--holy crap, is she imagining killing Rey?"
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Re: Realism and Reward (NML)

Postby TendoTwo » Wed Jul 10, 2013 9:38 am

Berserker wrote: "Oh hey, looks like another Fiela scene--holy crap, is she imagining killing Rey?"


Well, to be honest, it was already fairly obvious once she mentioned drinking, hating Rey just sealed the deal, it made me think more "Oh, its definitely Elsa" rather than think Fiela suddenly wants to kill Rey. Actually, that didn't even cross my mind until you mentioned it.
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Re: Realism and Reward (NML)

Postby Berserker » Wed Jul 10, 2013 4:04 pm

TendoTwo wrote:
Berserker wrote: "Oh hey, looks like another Fiela scene--holy crap, is she imagining killing Rey?"


Well, to be honest, it was already fairly obvious once she mentioned drinking, hating Rey just sealed the deal, it made me think more "Oh, its definitely Elsa" rather than think Fiela suddenly wants to kill Rey. Actually, that didn't even cross my mind until you mentioned it.


Yeah, like I said it was more amusing in my head than anything else, I didn't think I'd be fooling anybody for any real period of time since Fiela doesn't really drink that much (Elsa even mentioned/speculated that she can't hold her liquor at one point).
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Re: Realism and Reward (NML)

Postby RaddaRaem » Thu Jul 11, 2013 5:50 am

As has been echoed before, it was quite a surprise seeing that Elsa turned out to be such a pleasant and reasonable gal! I'm starting to ponder how well she and Rey would have gotten along had she been sober at that little rally of his. Given her chat with Mikkel and Jess, she might have been able to give Rey some food for thought. Or at least a slightly different perspective than what Fiela has already offered him.
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Re: Realism and Reward (NML)

Postby kool kitty89 » Wed Jul 17, 2013 11:29 pm

At first I thought there were 3 cats in the raiding party since you mentioned calico, tabby, and black cat . . . but then it confusingly seemed that there were only two and the "black tabby" thing explained the problem. Tabby is a type of pattern (or a category of patterns), like calico, and not a type of cat. It refers to various types of stripes and/or spot patterns in two-tone light/dark coloration. More specifically, it refers to a single color of stripes and or spots and either a lighter shade of that color and/or pure white making up the pattern (most commonly gray and white, brown and white, or orange and white). Similar patterns mixing black/brown (or another dark color) with another color without white is usually called a torbie (that-is, a tortie with a tabby pattern) A tortie is a 2-tone calico without white (black and orange is the typical example). Oh, and a calico with tabby stripe patches is a tabico.

It seems like you meant a black cat, not a black tabby, given the specific comments about superstition and lack of markings (a "black tabby" might refer to a black cat with a faint tabby pattern of a slightly lighter shade than pure black, but I see it more often erroneously applies to smoke tabbys).

Not to detract from your story though (which is still great ;)), but that bit was legitimately confusing.
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