DIVISION 1 – Pokemon battle imaging – No.3, Y.W
CarrotCake94 was a patient person, but LotarrMotarr and DefconZero’s bickering was pushing even her to her limits.
“For the last time, I did not piss myself crossing that infernal bridge!” roared DefconZero.
“Well, if that’s the case you sure sweat a lot around your private parts,” laughed LotarrMotarr.
CarrotCake94 turned around. “Guys, think about your common ground! You’re on the same team. We all capitalize our names strangely. Can’t we get along just for a few more—?”
“Uh, guys?” Master Aqua chimed in. “I think we just stumbled on something really big.”
LotarrMotarr caught his breath. “What is it, Master Aqua?”
“It’s the Champions’ Stadium,” said Darkbird, speaking up for the first time in days. He hadn’t taken the casualties from last week’s expedition very well. “Something is wrong. The organizers wouldn’t have led us here unless…”
Memories of his old life came flooding back. Before his parents had sent him to military school, he had spent his nights plugging away as his Gameboy (only 90s kids would understand this reference). At the young age of seven, he had collected 149 Pokemon and trekked all the way to the end of the game, but the moment he butted heads with the first boss Pikachu had died on him, the cute bastard. Sadly, that was the end: in a fit of Kool-Aid-induced rage he threw the Gameboy across the room and it never worked again.
If history was any indication, there was a good chance this stadium was the end of this journey. Only this time it wasn’t Pikachu that was in danger.
DIVISION 2 – Railgun, Blue Stahli
The first thing SureWanda heard when he woke from his drug-induced stupor was a cry of bewilderment – pain.
The second thing he heard was a short, harsh burst. Something punched into his stomach and he screamed. A familiar face entered his view. It was the bartender from the Irish pub, sneering as he brandished a miniature railgun (if such a thing could exist – let’s assume for the sake of storytelling that it can). Then he realized his mistake: there was no reason for the Tournament organizers to grant anybody a reprieve. District Two’s forces had fallen into a perfectly microbrewed trap.
“Well, the good news is that these are non-lethal wounds,” the bartender chortled, chewing on every word like a villain in a badly-written FPP. “The bad news is that three of you still have to die.”
DIVISION 3 –Sonic The Hedgehog Dubstep, Boyinaband + NoneLikeJoshua
Emanresu13 didn’t think the situation could get any worse – he had already been through multiple neko attacks, drops, and the worst level of Super Mario Bros. ever. And yet here he was in a boat with Boyinaband and NoneLikeJoshua, who were proving him wrong with their dubstep rap. Was this what the young ones were listening to on their smartphones nowadays?
Chromatique rolled her eyes so hard that they fell out of her sockets. “How many times do we need to listen to this song again?” she muttered as she ran her hands over the wooden floor, attempting to find her dislocated eyeballs.
The answer was as obvious as it was bleak: as many times as it took to get out of this godfangled Tournament in one piece.
DIVISION 4 – Valhalla, Xi
“I wish Sgt. Traveler were still alive,” moaned DissonantMuse. “He wouldn’t have gotten lost in the forest for seven days.”
xAlphaWolf sighed. Men weren’t men anymore.
“Well, at least I can see lights now,” DissonantMuse continued, before pausing…in the echoes of his mind boss music began to play. Oddly jazzy boss music, but boss music nonetheless. They were getting close to the end, he realized. Wherever that was, hopefully there would be hot water and WiFi.
DIVISION 5 – Sokuseki! Nouchoku Music System, MOSAIC.WAV
“Headcount!” Salitz declared. “Can y’all raise your hands?”
Fourteen bruised, chipped and otherwise mutilated hands met his request.
“Well, well,” chimed in one voice, “that’s more than I expected.”
A laugh was halfway out of Salitz’s mouth before the realization struck him. Thirteen heads turned towards YoshL, who grinned darkly as he stroked the beard he had bought from…
“Did you get that from Wal-Mart, dude?” NeoMaxx69 asked. He prided himself on his love of pizza and his willingness to ask the hard questions.
“I wasn’t going to, but it was Black Friday and I wasn’t letting my last dollar go to waste,” giggled YoshL. At least he tried to giggle: the sound was more malevolent than benevolent. Salitz frowned as he tried to pinpoint why.
As it turned out, he didn’t have to.
rCaliberGX raised a quivering finger in accusation. “You set us up.”
“Took ya numbnuts long enough to figure out,” shot back YoshL, as if he were ordering a medium personal pan from Pizza Hut and not stabbing his ostensible lifelong friends in their dirt-stained butts. “Congratulations, I guess? It won’t matter, anyhow – not unless any of you live to tell the tale.”
He snapped his fingers and a porthole into the FFR Event Staff Skype room opened. The others heard him speak one last time: “See you at the finals, suckers!”
DIVISION 6 – Rave5, DEV/NULL
dAnceguy117, ____________ and gameboy42690 could no longer see anything in the cloud of dust around them. “What do we do?” shouted gameboy42690, coughing as the airy musk infiltrated his throat. At this ___________ was wordless.
“Hold my hand and don’t let go!” dAnceguy117 raised his voice to be heard over the avalanche. “Left, right! Left, right!” He wasn’t called that for nothing, but even his years spent in nightclubs and community center dance-a-thons were faltering in the face of 2,642 pounds of rubble hurling downhill.
He knew that this was unstable terrain, but something didn’t quite feel right. He had waved to SaFyre13 only moments before, and everything had been calm then. His vision began to black out; for a brief moment he saw yellow but swallowed just hard enough for the color to fade away.
DIVISION 7 – Epidermis, Venetian Snares
L.B.D.D.’s skin peeled under the sweltering sun as he desperately pushed into shadow_1800’s bleeding chest. His first aid training was slipping away from his fingers with each heave, more and more red pooling beneath his fingers.
Dynam0’s hand settled on his shoulder. “We need to go.” His voice was sandpaper, only a few strings from being completely tattered.
“Why?” Against L.B.D.D.’s own will he blasted the word like a gunshot – harsh, fiery. “So we can die like everybody else?”
“I know how the game works. All of us knew what we were getting into.”
“But we were fighting against somebody else,” L.B.D.D. countered. “And now we’re fighting…against ourselves. While the world watches as we fall one by one.”
He turned to his comrade. “You go. I’m done, but I’m not taking you down with me.”
Laughter had exited Dynam0’s vocal range, but a smile wasn’t beyond his reach. “Good. Neither am I.”
DIVISION 1 – Dreadnought [Standard], paraoka feat. haru*nya
Xonica had to rub his eyes to make sure he wasn’t hallucinating.
“Xonica!” Skeelie gasped, as the rest of what remained of District Four hobbled, crawled, and struggled up to him. “Whatever you do, don’t cross that bridge!”
Behind them, robotic cheerleader cackling filled the damp air. The thunderstorm had stopped only a few minutes earlier, and the mixture of moisture, laughter and blood made for a particularly nauseating Friday morning.
“You guys are lucky you caught us here,” continued the winded warrior, exhaling in short, harsh bursts. “If we weren’t all maimed, you’d all be dead by our hands by now!” And just as quickly as he had come, he was gone, running as fast as his sprained ankles could take him.
Yeah, as if you’d kill your best friend.
Even so, Xonica felt uneasy. He and Skeelie went together like rice and beans, but this was the Tournament. He wasn’t here to make friends, he was here to win. Could he trust his friend even as his competitor?
“Cow poop,” Darkbird said, flapping his feathers. “I’m going to see for myself!”
“No, wait!” Xonica replied, following him—unbeknownst to him, to their doom.
DIVISION 2 – Sunshine Rainy [Heavy], taqumi
“Thank you for having us!” portalbob340 gushed to the owner of the tavern they had just spent several days in. Smiling, he waved back.
CDCan!” madsen_12001 growled. “Turn that racket off! There are villagers here!”
CDCan stuck his tongue out before opening his mouth and ejecting Miley Cyrus’ Bangerz.
While the weather had not been kind the past week, it looked like for the time being the rain was over. The sun was visible for the first time in days, and the remaining members of District Two basked in the warmth of a perfect seventy-degree afternoon.
Just then, it began to rain again.
“Guys? Why is it raining? What are these drops? They’re pink! I like pink! Once I found a piece of gum on my shoe! I licked it! It didn’t taste like gum to me! Aaaaaaaaahh!”
“mr_candy, did you forget your insulin shot again?” Sylrifaide asked nervously, approaching.
Before he could answer, mr_candy passed out.
Slowly, each member looked up at the sky, where raindrops were falling from the still-sunny sky. Wait—not raindrops. One fell on nolimits112’s tongue and he immediately recognized the taste from his days in med school. These were sedatives. Before he could share this insight with his teammates, he, too, lost consciousness.
DIVISION 3 – ORIENTAL SEA!!, Shigusa ma
The irony of running back into the ocean that had just taken over half of their soldiers was not lost on District Three’s survivors, but with Goombas, Koopa Koops and Bowser’s minions on them they didn’t have much of a choice. xSonicBulletx gasped for air as the attackers dumped him back into the waves.
At first, the colors reassured him: they were the typical reds, yellows, and blues you’d see in any saltwater ecosystem. But then other colors began filling his field of vision, and before he realized the mermaids were back, a series of 24th notes impeccably delivered across his face did the job.
DIVISION 4 – Eclipse (Luna), Glome
“You s-sure you wanted to h-help out thos-se guys, S-skeelie?” asked Sspeed9, voice fading on each word. “I…f-feel like it wa-was a little d-d-dangerous.”
“Tournament or not, I wouldn’t wish those cheerleaders on my worst enemy,” Skeelie replied.
“Hey, guys, when did it get so dark?” Jararered chimed in. “The moon’s covering everything.”
It was, and the sight was oddly beautiful—here they were, in the middle of an endless slaughter, yet the moon was right where it had always been. That brief moment of clarity was quickly subsumed by more practical concerns, however: they had to find a light source before whatever lurking in the shadows found them.
DIVISION 5 – Shatterscape (Bexarametric Remix), Bexarametric
Bexarametric had three bullet holes and various knife wounds in his armor at this point, but as with any product from Dossar Manufacturing, he was a machine incapable of feeling pain. Revving up, he hurled orange shards of glass at Rapta and linky123456, who were both only saved by the riot gear they had found early on in the Tournament.
“When is he going to stop?!” shrieked Rapta.
“I don’t know, but at least we know how he—“
A teal shard skimmed linky123456’s arm, drawing blood.
“WHAT WAS THAT?!”
At this point, nobody could even fight back. All they could do was shield themselves from each onslaught of debris and hope they would survive just a bit longer.
DIVISION 6 – to luv for me i xxx for u (Reprise), t+pazolite
“They’re coming up,” NekoGon said.
Soaked from head to toe, Tim Allen climbed out of the water. “God, it’s freezing!” he shouted. “Anybody there?”
“We’re up here!” SaFyre13 replied, smiling devilishly. NekoGon didn’t like it.
“Alright, I’m coming up! Thank God you guys are alright,” he panted, climbing. “What’s with this gravel, though? It feels a little loose—“
Above, SaFyre13 grinned as he pitched his foot into the ground. With just the right amount of force in the right place, it wouldn’t be too hard to get some sand rolling, maybe even an avalanche—
NekoGon finally realized what was about to happen.
But when he looked at the eyes of the man who had only two days ago been fine, the pupils were completely gone. The only thing that remained was a throbbing red that seemed to fill his very soul with fire.
SaFyre13 grunted in a foreign tone and kicked his left foot into the gravel. Rumbling began, then grew louder.
DIVISION 7 – Extratone Pirates, Annoying Ringtone
What had just earlier felt like a fart from Satan’s butthole scorching shadow_1800’s back had now subsided to a mild heat; even so, he refused to put his head back up. Wreckage from the airship’s explosion was still falling around him, and if he got up too quickly there was a good chance he’d die before taking a single step.
The unfamiliar voices around him, on the other hand, suggested otherwise.
“Ahoy! Wayl wayl wayl, what doo we haaave heeeeere?” whinnied one high-pitched voice. “Lee-ooks like treaaaaasure for the taaaaaking!”
And then, sickeningly, one voice that was much more familiar: “Good booty, eh?”
At this shadow_1800 balked. Was…wasn’t that TC_Halogen’s voice?
Just then, something in his pocket began to vibrate. The dulcet tones of one Lady Lykez filled the air: “I love my butt, I love my butt, I love my butt…”
Even with his head down he felt the weight of twenty pairs of eyes on him. The embarrassment was too much. Reaching one hand into his pocket, he put his cellphone on vibrate and raised his head. “A—AJ?”
“To you, maybe,” sneered TC_Halogen, and the fleet of pirates around him sneered right along with him. “Call me Anthony from now on, will ya? It’ll save us a whole lot of confusion.”
“I…” This wasn’t his friend, the guy he had known since he was five. The guy he had trained in. His partner-in-battle, his shoulder to lean on, his dudebro.
“You…” TC_Halogen—Anthony mimicked before laughing. “What, you still haven’t figured it out? Why do you think I was always the one who volunteered to pick berries at night? How do you think I always knew exactly where to go, exactly what to do? Do you actually think I love my butt? I’m no pawn, sweetie. I run the motherflipping game.”
Shadow_1800 felt like a knife had just been stabbed into his already-bruised, mishandled heart. Then he felt blood running down his chest and realized his crappy metaphor had become reality.
DIVISION 1 – Ame no odoriko, asha
A bolt of lightning struck the branch shielding BitterTaste, forcing him to duck as splinters fell around him. What had earlier been a light drizzle was now a full-on torrent, and apparently the producers of the Tournament weren’t above throwing in some thunder to go with the spectacle.
He felt his teeth sinking into something soft, and only when the taste of copper filled his mouth did he realize what he had done: blood dripped from the newly-made gash in his lower lip. Dr. death111’s tent was about five fathoms off, but in a storm this bad he wasn’t going to risk anything. He couldn’t make out any of his comrades in the rain, but amidst the crashing sky he heard cries of anguish. Maybe even death.
I’m going to die.
He cringed at the voice in his head and thought of home instead. It was 9PM right now – his parents would be reading to Asha right now. Of all the people he missed, he missed his little sister the most; they’d sit together on the juice-stained bench in the living room and play the piano. Her fingers would caress the keys, he’d throw in a scare chord or two, and they would laugh and laugh into the afternoon.
If only for her, he had to make it back.
DIVISION 2 – Clocktown, Theophany
JonnyTurtle nursed the beer in front of him and exhaled slowly. “Can we stay here a little longer? My head’s still spinning.”
Deidara837 smiled sadly and pushed his empty mug to his friend’s side. “You know the producers won’t let that happen. They need somebody to win, and with us waiting out the fight they’re not going to get one. Besides, pubs here are hotbeds for douchebags looking for meat to pound – I think we’re better off on the road.”
“RARAWR,” sighed RARAWR drunkenly before he passed out.
DIVISION 3 – Nintendon’t, Mayhem
xSonicBulletx gasped for air as the waves dumped him onto the beach, along with at least a dozen other survivors of the neko attack. “What…what happened to _Rainbow Dash_?”
Samwais coughed up a swirl of seawater and vomit before replying. “I didn’t see him after we went down. I’m so sorry.”
Damn. Tears welled in his eyes, but as it turned out there would be no time to mourn.
“Guys?” asked Toccy, whom Goombas were now surrounding. “What are these things surrounding me?”
“Toccy, jump!” rsr2 shouted, flapping his arms to warn his friend. “If they touch you, you’ll die!”
To xSonicBulletx, his vision still blurry from the salt water, this conversation was heard only as an exchange of guttural back-and-forths. And yet the horror in rsr2’s voice said all that needed to be said. He looked up just in time to see a spiky shell hurling towards him at 60 miles an hour…with countless others on the horizon.
DIVISION 4 – Dreadnought [Heavy], paraoka feat. haru*nya
Sadly, the gang of rogue cheerleaders swarmed around Turboyoshi had no intentions of mercy, and our doomed friend soon found himself hurling off the footbridge into the canyon floor some five miles below.
“Haha, he got owned,” giggled lolpwnlol, only to quiet down as soon as xAlphaWolf shot him a look. “How fast are we running?”
“You don’t ask that question, scum!” Sgt. Traveler screamed. “Find out yourself!”
Skeelie eyed his pedometer. “I’m guessing around 215 miles an hour, lolpwnlol! We’ll be at the other end in two minutes—in the meantime, they’re not going to let up, so don’t trip!”
DIVISION 5 – HAELEQUIN, orangentle
Dirt caked igotrhythm’s hands as he found himself crawling on the forest floor. Above him, the legendary HAELEQUIN towered, glaring and tossing piano notes every which way. It seemed like every time things seemed okay, the angry ghost would turn things up a notch: from 16th notes to 24ths, then to 32nds. What would come next was anybody’s guess at this point.
Rule number one: when it came to the Tournament, anything involving a piano was dangerous.
DIVISION 6 – Love Hurts [Lonely Dance Mix], Ryuno
From his perch, NekoGon looked at the devastation below him. Fire covered the entirety of the bay, including the now-charred hulk of the steel monster above the city. Arrows were flying so quickly that he could no longer make out any of them. It was a good thing he had made it out of the water and climbed to the highest point he could find early on.
Next to him, SaFire13 frowned. “Do you know what’s going on right now?”
“I don’t know,” he replied, and honestly at that. “The last thing I saw before getting out of the water was FFR Pro 21 and Elite Ninja clawing at each other. The steel monster’s dead, so now there’s no reason they shouldn’t be trying to make it out of the…”
Before NekoGon could voice his realization – that it was every man for himself – he felt something cold and sharp running along the back of his neck. SaFire13 pulled his penknife away and drew blood.
NekoGon closed his eyes and shuddered. “Are you going to kill me now, too?”
At this SaFire13 only laughed, a short, harsh snort that sucked all heat out of the air. “Not now. I don’t see the point. But when the time comes, I can’t promise you I won’t.”
DIVISION 7 – Dishevel, The Flashbulb
It was times like these that One Winged Angel wished he had one more: as hard as he flapped he could only slow his descent into the abyss. Lucky for him, the branches jutting out of the stone walls were stronger than he expected, and just feet above the floor of the canyon, they finally broke his fall. Even so, he felt something in his legs crack as he hit the floor.
Thirty yards away, the corpse of Airship Adraen was smoldering. AlexDest crawled out of the dishevel, face bruised and clothes tattered. For a brief moment he felt time slow, as if this moment only existed to be snapped by some hotshot photographer and archived in his portfolio—and then he looked back and saw a bright orange flower blooming in the heart of what had once been a safe haven.
Instinctively he knew what that meant, but before he could open his cracked lips to warn everybody, the ship exploded.
A number of people have come up to me telling me that their scores have not been recording due to the site going up and down repeatedly. Please keep in mind that I can add scores manually to the dashboard.
As taken from the first post from the tournament thread: if for any reason a score does not record, take a screenshot AND save a replay after you have restored connectivity. That way, I can definitively verify that your did obtain that score. I will not be adding scores without this form of proof. This allows me to verify that you played the FFR file.
Send any unrecorded scores to me via PM or Skype (debit13), and I will take care of them the moment that I see them. If you do not provide the necessary proof as listed on the first post of the tournament thread or as listed on this post, I will not manually add your score.
Apologies to everyone who has played this song; unfortunately, The Steel Monster Above the City was not the only file that I missed fixes for. Rest assured, I will be considerably more vigilant in making sure that I have the most recent fixes.
The notecount for Time (Soular Remix) has been changed from 567 to 639. Anyone who AAA’d the song will obviously have to AAA again.
Again — apologies! Thank you all for your continued patience. Feel free to insult me heartily in the comments below.
The meetup was a fantastic success! CarrotCake94 was a wonderful host, and the situation/house was phenomenal! Shout out for the superb location and hosting!
PrawnSkunk did an excellent job as “MC” and stream manager. The visuals that many of you saw were courtesy of Mr. Skunk, so a round of applause to him as well!
A thanks to all of you who came out to the house, and an extended thanks to all of you who came to watch the stream and chat with the active player! We had a blast and will being doing this again since it was such a killer!
Pictures to follow in the thread, stay tuned for hilarity and bathroom bromance.
DIVISION 1 – Drizzling Rain, DG-P
As soon as Dr. death111 walked out of the hut, kefkaesque bolted up. “Is she still alive?”
“CarrotCake94’s doing well,” the good doctor replied. “Her pulse is down to 78 BPM, but the rhythms are stable – still a couple of jolts here and there, though.”
“Jolts? What jolts?”
“Nothing too alarming. Sometimes her heartbeat shifts a 48th, sometimes it runs 24ths instead of 16ths, and sometimes it staggers its rhythms a little.”
Above the remaining survivors of District 1, storm clouds began to form.
DIVISION 2 – Exodus (On Vocal ver.), Y-NRG System
“Quick! More Hatsune!” screamed Pizza69; soramimi turned the volume on her iPod up to full blast. They had finally found Soular Order’s weakness, as the wicked beat wizard recoiled, horrified at these mystic vocals he had never heard before.
“RARAWR!” roared RARAWR, clapping his paws in happiness.
With a steady beat (a healthy 160 BPM) to keep the room stable, gravity had returned to normal, but some of District Two’s finest were having trouble keeping steady. Yellow arrows whizzed by here and there, forcing people to jump and avoid them. But they’d get out of here alive yet.
DIVISION 3 – Aishiteru Yo Ne, Virtual Riot ft. Miss Neko
_Rainbow Dash_ swallowed another gulp of water as another flock of nekos swarmed around him. These weren’t your average mermaids. Nekos were fierce computerized warriors, a experiment the Virtual Riot movement had started that had gone bad. Armed with leeks and dubstep, they were so intimidating that he now wondered if going down with the ship would have been the easier way to die.
One neko approached and attacked, slapping her tail back and forth across his face rhythmically: he saw stars red, blue and yellow. Others joined in the attack and before long he was taking three slaps at once, getting flung into 24th swing rhythms like a rag doll, and generally not having the time of his life. Despite what his name suggested, he did not enjoy the rainbows splattered across his perception, and before long he couldn’t see anything but raw, unrelenting pain.
DIVISION 4 – Over the Bridge, G5 Project
TheSaxRunner05 ran across to his teammates. “Grandma’s fine! She baked me cookies. What did I miss?”
“A lot, douchedick!” screamed Sgt. Traveler, spittle forming at his mouth. “Now get your ass on down here, boy, time’s short!”
“Watch out!” BattleBears waved hysterically, frantically motioning at the rioters approaching our doomed saxophone runner.
Alas, it was too late, and District Four watched as their friend was torn to pieces. BattleBears turned to his sergeant. “What do we do now, commander?”
“Quick, you scoundrels! There’s a bridge there! It’s long and a little unstable, so make sure you don’t slip!”
DIVISION 5 – Requiem -Dies irae-, Colorful Sounds Port
The blood of the slain summerghost on his hands, Hateandhatred grimaced. It had taken seven days and cost at least ten lives, but the spirit was done for.
“Where do we go from here?” grunted omega_grunt666.
“I DON’T KNOW LOL,” giggled FontSize72LOL.
Hateandhatred turned to his comrades and took control. “Our strategy was underwater subterfuge, but we don’t have a submarine anymore. The Port of Colorful Sounds is two days’ walk from here. If we can make it through that suspiciously dark forest, we’ll be there in no time.”
“But senpai, I heard there are…monsters! And bats! And POLYRHYTHMS! Aaaaah!”
He turned to supermoe1985, who, being older than him, was technically his senpai, and sighed. “We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”
And District Five stepped tentatively, perhaps foolishly, into a wasteland of dead choir victims and wicked piano runs.
DIVISION 6 – The Steel Monster Above the City, Kitsune^2
Out of the frying pan, into the fire.
Not that dAnceguy117 hadn’t been happy to see General McKnuckle’s fleet absolutely decimated…if only their savior hadn’t turned out to be even more awful. The entire reason he had joined the army was to travel, and this was one story he’d get to tell his grandchildren someday – granted, of course, that he survived. Which, looking at the 200-foot monster above him spitting out 24ths and 32nds every which way, was probably going to be a crapshoot.
DIVISION 7 – Wraith, Adraen
scottiena saw another volley of 16th jumps flying his way. “Hang on, guys!”
Only sixteen tributes were left hanging on the edges of Airship Adraen as it whirled across the sky at 215 BPM. Waiting out the devastation on the ground had seemed like a smart idea until the rulers of the Tournament had thrown a wrench into their plans. Wouldn’t want the viewership numbers to drop too low, eh?
Drones followed, firing bullets into the flaming hull of Adraen. They were rigid, precise attacks, delivered in rapid one-two taps and never letting up long enough for anybody to get the ship back under control. All they could do was hang on and hope that by the blind force of their grips they wouldn’t drop 35,000 feet to a gruesome death.
This war of attrition was no longer something they could avoid. This war was everywhere. This war was now their own.
DIVISION 1 – Bluebird, YDK
SapphireYoshi wiped a strand of hair out of his eyes and felt tears well up. They had lost a lot of good friends crossing the Eastern Cloud Bridge. At least they’d fared through the past few days well.
It was a lovely (if slightly downcast) day, and a bright, chirpy song filled the air–slow (at 93 BPM) and oddly relaxing. Beautiful teal birds filled the sky, tweeting twinkly melodies amidst the fog of synthesizers. But wait—why were they all flying towards him?
Beside him, he heard a bloodcurdling scream. A huge blue projectile protruded out of his friend CarrotCake94’s stomach: a red mist filled the air as everybody around him panicked. Those weren’t birds; they were bullets—and this was an ambush.
DIVISION 2 – Time (Soular Order Remix), Soular Order
Just as Fluvs managed to land a punch, the room flipped again and he found himself face down on what was just before the ceiling. Behind him, the swell of an orchestral melody he vaguely remembered but couldn’t quite place was chopped into bits by the hip-hop beats of his attacker: producing prodigy gone bad Soular Order—behind him was Christopher J. Nolan, blood caked around his rotting body.
(Fluvs wasn’t too torn up about that last part, honestly. Inception was overrated, anyway.)
He had heard much about Soular Order from his studies in the District Two Police Academy. He had a way of toying with his victims, offering them brief moments of refuge before dialing up the intensity when they least expected it. So when the beats subsided and gravity finally returned to normal, he knew better than to let his guard down.
“Everybody stand your ground!” he shouted.
Beside him, Ninjacide arched his hand back before reconsidering and putting his throwing stars down. After all, with one turn of gravity his perfect throw could be aimed right back at him.
Soular Order stared down the remaining 53 members of District Two and grinned wildly. “Well, well, well, you think you’re so smart, huh? Well, let’s see how you deal with THIS!”
The room began spinning again, and soon enough everybody was spinning right along with it. Even Fluvs was flummoxed: he had been trained to deal with straightforward 16th beats, but never 24ths. It’d take a while to get past this guy, that was for sure.
DIVISION 3 – Exogenesis, Rogue
Netjet! had always been easy to excite, but this was just too much for him. “Ah! Hey! What do we do, guys!”
“If you stop exclaiming things, maybe we can work something out!” snapped omgfail. “Oh my god, do you ever stop failing?”
Granted, everybody in District Three knew what the protocol for dealing with rogue attacks was: when 20% of your district’s work force worked on pirate ships, you were always better safe than sorry. Everyone knew that when your shipmates turned against you, you had to keep your hands on the ground and jump as fast as you could off of the ship. But now, with arrows flying every which way, two or even three at a time, nobody had any idea what to do—and looking at a drop this big, jumping ship was no option.
DIVISION 4 – Prove Them Wrong, Virtual Riot
All Doug31 could make out as he was flung down yet another staircase were colors: red, blue, yellow and the occasional purples and pinks. Above him, computerized hooligans ran about, smashing databases and running off from the pet shop with RAMs. They weren’t your average rioters looking for a quick fix, that was for sure: these digital deviants were precise, tapping you in the face over and over before knocking you out cold with an unexpected flurry of 16th punches.
They had already lost so many: runescapedude1126 (dead running from The Whip), mint_man (dead from food poisoning), and TheSaxRunner05 (not dead, just out on military leave to visit his grandmother in the hospital). And for the time being it looked like they would lose a lot more.
DIVISION 5 – summerghost, paraoka
Despite his cute name and fruity, funky demeanor, the summerghost was no small threat. His attacks came in many flavors: jackhammers thrown about every which way, flaming orange arrows nestled in between already-chaotic ambushes, and piano flourishes everywhere – impossible to sidestep, they had to be dealt with head-on.
j-rodd123 crouched behind a rock, hiding from the spooky specter, as he planned out a counterattack. On the other hand, thesunfan was dodging projectiles from every direction while desperately trying to reason with him.
“It’s okay! I know what it’s like not to have any spaces in my name! I’m on your side!”
DIVISION 6 – Great Battleship, Stone McKnuckle
“We’re going down!”
Near the stern of the District 6 Battleship, which was now taking on water fast, Father PriestREA had a huddle of crying men and women around him. “Nay, even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me…”
The ship had been designed to take on assaults at an intensity level of 16—but an attack of this ferocity was unprecedented. Volleys of 32nd bullets pierced the hull, while focused pairs of 16ths pounded away at critical points in the defense mechanisms. Their enemies had even brought in a guitarist to play a gnarly solo just because they could, the arrogant bastards.
You could hear all you wanted about General Stone McKnuckle, but there was nothing quite like meeting the legend and his fleet in the flesh.
DIVISION 7 – Ah Shwe Bah, Dr. Lefty feat. Admiral T
As he watched over the carnage over the Battledome, Admiral T smirked.
“How are things looking?” Dr. Lefty asked, bringing along the aspiring his client had requested.
Admiral T chugged water silently before dropping the pill into his mouth. He grimaced as the oily capsule grated down his throat. He wasn’t 20 anymore, that was for sure. “Lots of surprises so far. It’s a shame leonid got taken down so early—he was my early favorite. Oh, hey, throw in another amen break there.”
“What for?” Dr. Lefty’s brow furrowed.
“Just for the fun of it, whatchasay? Let’s just set attack power to RANDOM, that’ll get some eyeballs on this. Ratings, my friend!”
It was a time of disorder, destitution and debauchery: innocent citizens were slaughtered by the thousands in a series of riots, famine spread like wildfire, and Justin Timberlake released the second part of The 20/20 Experience. The government of Flash Flash went down with the country; in its place, The Event Staff came to be—and so a new power was born.
Despite the occasional uprising here and there (the most recent of which was a coup d’etat led by freedom fighter Arch0wl), the unlikely empire has held onto its power with an iron grip. The secret to its reign? Bread and circuses, my friends: spectacles like the annual Tournaments, the latest of which is where our story begins. Valiant warriors from every basement in every district—gerrymandered in an event known as The Great Division—have come to compete in a survival-of-the-fittest arena unlike any other. One district reigns supreme every year; those who see their task to its end are rewarded with an orgy of credits (though inflation renders them more and more worthless by the year) and Sriracha sauce.
And with that, we now return to the regularly-scheduled programming in progress…
DIVISION 1 – Clouds From The East, DJ Meas
The first few days had been peaceful. Too peaceful.
Helixia’s brow furrowed as she followed the twists and turns of the mountain road. Hiding and waiting the carnage out wasn’t too bad a strategy, but the fog around the 83 representatives of District One was growing thicker the higher they climbed, and the rope tying them together was fraying under their collective weight.
Just ahead of her, goose64 began to slow down. The team ground to a halt.
Somebody cried, “What do you see, guys?”
At the very front of the line, $ecret.LuX gaped at the canyon just ahead of her, so vast that the other end was nowhere in sight. The only way forward was on the bridge of legends, the Eastern Cloud Bridge. They would have to traverse a shaky chain of clouds situated 30,000 feet above ground level—all the while dodging arrows red, blue and occasionally yellow. The sky spirits loved to play tricks with wanderers, switching up patterns and sending off volleys of two arrows at once (forcing those traversing the narrow, uneasy path to jump).
One misstep meant certain death: there was no way all of them were making it to the other side alive. As $ecret.LuX took the first step, an ominous piano melody began to play in her head.
DIVISION 2 – Hoot [AREIA REMIX], Jun Areia
As cool as he wanted to be about this whole situation, SC_coolguy44 was not, in fact, cool about this whole situation. He hadn’t showered in days. His eyes were bloodshot. And at the back of his head, an urgent concern gnawed at his psyche:
What if Girls Generation releases a new song and I don’t get to hear it?
No doubt his comrades were feeling the desire for companionship: though all of the canned franks had been devoured by last Tuesday, there was still plenty of sausage to go around District Two. The mental anguish had gotten to many already—so when SC_coolguy44 first heard a familiar melody echoing from far away, he thought he was hallucinating. But as it got louder, he knew his mind wasn’t playing tricks on him.
Yes, those were definitely the luscious vocals of diva superstar Tiffany. And the song was definitely “Hoot,” which any true fan would know as objectively the best Girls Generation single.
Beside him, MrPoptart objected, “But what about Gee?“
“Shut up!” he snapped.
Exhausted and with no better prospects on the horizon, the soldiers followed the siren song until they found themselves in an abandoned dance club: the lights shattered, the chairs toppled, and there was in sight—so where was the music coming from?
Something was wrong. This wasn’t the “Hoot” they knew. No, the beats were darker, the tempo slower, the vocals chopped. Before any of the 95 could come to their wits, a perfectly-arranged gaggle of girls armed with bows stomped into the room—led by an ominous presence.
It was him. Jun Areia. FFR’s Top 10 Most Wanted. The serial remixer.
“Fire, girls!” Areia shouted as they held up their bows. When the poor deluded souls of Division Two finally realized where they were aimed, it was too late.
DIVISION 3 – Reading For Days, The Living Tombstone
“Are you finished yet?” moaned MyRoseTearsBlood.
“Patience, my friend!” replied Brandon Schewe as he flipped the page. Sure, his comrades might underestimate the value of strategy, but he didn’t bring his Kindle to the Tournament for nothing!
“You’ve been reading for days!” his friend cried. The river was soaking everybody in District Three, and it was getting tougher and tougher to row their rickety boat against the current.
“And I’ll keep reading until I figure out just what to do about these godfangled arrows!” he retorted! Mr. Schewe was, of course, referring to the incoming attacks of natives: fortunately, they were slow and came in easily-recognizable patterns.
That is, until now.
“Hold on, guys!” screamed X6viz, muffled under the sudden roar of the waters. “Big drop coming ahead!”
“Brandon! Watch out!”
As the boat dipped its nose sixty degrees, a swift volley of arrows rushed across the river—two orange ones grazed its side. omgfail looked down to see water pooling under his feet. A series of six in pink and purple came next; the rhythms were getting trickier and trickier. Now in freefall, the hapless members of District Three could only cling to the sides of their boat as they plunged into a watery doom.
DIVISION 4 – The Whip, FoxSky
Another trio of arrows whizzed by Coveyduck’s head, forcing him to put his hands on the ground and kneel. Whose blasted idea had it been to ask this FoxSky guy for help, anyhow?
FoxSky stood in the center of the shuttered coliseum, whip in hand. This was no ordinary whip: instead of rope, it was made of the remains of arrows—orange, pink, teal and even green. (So the rumors that Fox Corp. had been tampering with nuclear waste had been true!) As he swung his gigantic lasso around and around, it disintegrated, sending debris flying every which way. A chain of orange arrows here, a volley of pinks and purples there—FoxSky wasn’t a national jazz soloist for nothing—and green notes aimed at those who dared fire back.
“Yeeeee-ooooo caaaaaaan’t staaaaaaahh-ppp meeeeeee!”
Funmonkey54 sidestepped a handful of radioactive sludge hurled his way. “What now?”
DIVISION 5 – Stories Can Wait (Virtual Riot Remix), Submatik
Flaming_Dingleberry saw another slew of yellow torpedoes roaring towards his cockpit. “Everybody duck!” he screamed as one made impact, sending District Five tumbling across the floor. Three more torpedoes rammed into the submarine in quick succession: over at the control station, NeoMasterPie tried to hit the corresponding key for defense but didn’t quite get the timing right.
“Still doing good, guys!” he yelled.
“Good isn’t good enough! Our defense has to be perfect!”
Things were getting dire fast. So much for underwater subterfuge. The stream of projectiles coming in from every direction didn’t look to be ending soon—and a slew of sneakier, unpredictable ones were soon on their way. Getting back to the surface alive would take no small miracle.
DIVISION 6 – Guile of the Rime King, Clonepa
“Are you sure it’s okay to be here?” Hakulyte stammered as the warriors of District Six lurked the cavernous halls of the pyramid. “I don’t feel okay with raiding dead people’s tombs for weapons.”
“I’m telling you,” said awein999, “Pharaoh Clonepa’s been dead for centuries. What, do you think he set off some kind of trap so nobody would come—“
Suddenly, they heard the ominous tinkles of a music box.
“What was that?” somebody shouted.
Pretentious flipped her hair pretentiously and replied, with an air of pretension, “I’m sure it was nothing, let’s just—“
Then came the drum ‘n bass.
Arrows whizzed from every corner of the halls, stained brown with the blood of slain looters. They were fast, unpredictable, and brutal. The last thing the survivors heard was an anonymous command everybody should have taken far, far earlier.
DIVISION 7 – Mirage Garden, Xi
Nobody knew warfare better than the elite group of fighters that made up District Seven, known as the Sparta of Flash Flash. And yet the past few days had taken a toll on even them—as they ambled weakly through the forest, they kept things to a quiet murmur. No use in wasting any more energy than they already had.
It was kjwkjw who first saw the light.
“What is this place?” wondered RB_Spirit as he and his comrades stepped into a garden full of the lushest flowers he had ever seen. In the middle was a lake with water so crystalline it seemed as if it were a mirror. Taking in the beautiful fragrances, he smiled as he tiptoed to the edge and peered at his own reflection in the surface.
In the distance, he heard the crashing of pianos, the shredding of guitars, the thundering of drums.
Then the water muddied. Stunned, he stumbled back, but the image on the now-grey surface began to shift. He saw arrows from every color of the rainbow: pinks, greens, even whites. He saw a mirror image of the garden; everything was the same, but the plants had rotted and blood stained almost every square inch of the earth. And finally, he saw his comrades turning against each other, one of his closest friends crawling in a futile attempt at escape only to be thwarted by his own fellow soldier—him.
A sickening realization dawned on RB_Spirit. He had felt that something was a little off about this tournament: now he knew why. This time, they weren’t here to destroy the other districts. They were going to end up destroying one another.