NaNoWriMo 2019 Chapter 27
Disclaimer: This is a NaNoWriMo attempt where quantity trumps quality. This will also be a long piece, so if you’re looking for a quick read, I recommend checking out a different category like Short Stories.
~Chapter 27 A Few Friends Dropping By~
The weekend arrives in the blink of an eye. Some people return their sign up sheets, already filled, but the vast majority of the guild are procrastinators that are content to wait until Monday. She hopes they will hand in the sign in sheets on time. Because if they don’t, she’ll need to track them down, and the longer they make her wait, the harder it’ll be for her to sort and organise them in time for the special lessons they have planned for the next month.
“You look stressed,” Lucy says bluntly when she arrives with the other guild members from Shatterstrike.
“I am. A little,” Sherri admits.
“You need another holiday.”
“I don’t know. My last ‘holiday’ turned into more work for me,” Sherri says with exaggerated uncertainty.
“That’s because you’re a workaholic. Let us take you on a holiday. We know how to have fun on our time off. Right, Lex?” Lucy says.
“That’s right,” Lex says with a grin.
“And your idea of having fun on your time off is to come over to my guild… to work,” Sherri says.
“We’re not here to work, silly. We’re here to visit a friend,” Lucy says.
“That’s not what I remember from last time. And anyway, believe me. In some way or another, you’re going to end up working for us for something. Don’t say I didn’t warn you,” Sherri says.
Already, she can see the curious children peeping in from a distance. A few braver ones walk over to hover behind her. The bravest among them step forward.
“Who’s the strongest?”Rudy asks.
Lucy and Lex exchange amused glances.
“Hmm, let’s see. I think Nolan’s the strongest,” Lex says as he taps his chin in contemplation.
“Yeah. He’s right. I’m sure he can carry us all with one arm,”Lucy says.
Sherri doesn’t need to look, but she knows all the children are now eyeing Nolan.
“Not that kind of strongest,” Rudy says, but his words are drowned out by the voices of the other children. Bold from the safety in numbers, they swarm around Nolan, arms in the air.
“Carry! Carry!” they call out.
Without complaint, Nolan graciously accepts the unintended babysitting duty he has been volunteered for by Lex and Lucy. The purple-eyed man follows the children’s lead to a more specious space as the children hang from his arms.
Already, they are one man down.
More people hang around, further away but still within hearing range.
“Ah, Derek. Thank you for the food you packed for us last time. They were delicious. Everyone loved it. We finished it the night I came back,” Sherri says.
“You’re welcome. I’m glad your guild enjoyed it. I can share the recipe of you want it,” Derek says.
Those are the magic words that draw the cooks in.
“You’re Derek?” they ask.
“That’s me,” Derek says.
“We’re preparing dinner at the moment. Would you like to take a look?” It comes out as a question, but Derek is savvy enough to see it for what it is.
“Certainly. Lead the way,” Derek says and follows the cooks to the kitchen.
The others can see where this is going.
“I suppose we’ll volunteer at the hunting ground?” Fletcher says with a wry smile.
“If you insist,” Sherri says with suppressed amusement. “But first, let me bring Corvus and Julia to my parents’ office.”
She looks to Corvus and Julia and ask, “Shall we?”
“Lead the way,” Julia says with a smile.
Leaving the others to explore the guild hall while they wait, Sherri brings Corvus and Julia to her parent’s office. Unlike Corvus’ and Julia’s offices in their own guild, most of Morning Song’s offices and public spaces are located downstairs on the ground floor, leaving the upper floors as private areas exclusive to their guild members. She leads Corvus and Julia around the stairs to the back of the guild hall, where her parents’ office is located at the very end. She drops Corvus and Julia off, then head back to the living hall to find the others.
She finds them… under a pile of children.
“So… should I just leave you with the kids? I’m sure we can use the extra help,” she says with a look at the daycare staff who are keeping an eye on the children.
Lucy snakes out a hand to grab Sherri’s ankle.
“Help meeeee,” Lucy says in a loud whisper.
Sherri laughs and claps her hands.
“Alright, everyone. Let our guests go. We’re going to go to the hunting ground,” she says.
The children groan but move out of the way. The daycare staff tempts them away with a game, and the children all dash off to another part of the guild hall.
“They like you,” Sherri comments.
“They can like me a little less,” Lucy says as they pick themselves off the floor.
“I don’t usually mind kids, but I don’t normally deal with a dozen of them all at once,” Lex says with a chuckle.
“Yes. We’re a little unusual like that,” Sherri says. “So, ready to go hunting on your off day?”
“Do you really hunt on weekends too?” Lucy ask curiously.
“Yes. But we organise less teams on weekends for shorter patrols, and they are meant to observe rather than fight. We don’t have someone like Jessica in our guild who can monitor the monsters remotely, unfortunately.”
“Oh.” Lucy’s mouth forms an ‘O’. “I ended up in the right guild. Well done past me.”
That earns her a few laughs.
Before they can be snagged by anyone else, they head off to the hunting ground. Sherri taps into Morning Song’s emph network to find a hunting team. It’s not as easy for her as it is for her father, but she’s had a lot of practice.
There are two teams out at the moment. The team deeper in the hunting ground has just found a group of four monsters, so they head towards that team. This will be a great opportunity, not just for Morning Song to get some help to clear the monsters, but also to advertise the training sessions by Shatterstrike that they plan to run next month.
Sherri takes a breath and keeps her thoughts to herself. Some things are better experienced than informed.
They find the monsters before they find the hunting team. Sherri has to hold her friends from Shatterstrike back before they rush in.
“Let’s find my hunters first,” she says.
As they look for her hunters, Fletcher and Lex divide the monsters between them. Lucy is more than happy to step back and let them fight whatever they want.
“I don’t even fight on my work days. Why would I want to fight monsters on my day off?” the green-eyed girl points out.
By the time they meet up with the hunting team, Fletcher and Lex have chosen their targets. Three for Lex, and one for Fletcher. But before the annihilate the monsters, Fletcher needs one thing.
“Could anyone allow me to copy their emph?” Fletcher asks as he shows the hunting team the crest on his palm.
Her guild members are understandably wary about what Fletcher means by ‘copying’ their emph. Sherri is just about to offer hers (perhaps this time it’ll be fine since her emph has been restored) when Fern steps up to offer hers.
Fern’s emph is already in its active form, a long chain that floats around her with a blade on each end.
“May I?” Fletcher asks.
Fern’s lips are pressed together and she looks like she’s a second away from changing her mind, but she nods.
“Let’s see what you can do,” Fletcher says and presses his palm to the emph’s purple crest.
This time, Fletcher isn’t immediately knocked unconscious. After a moment, an identical chain to Fern’s emph materialises around Fletcher, but bearing Shatterstrike’s green crest instead of Morning Song’s purple one.
“Oh. This is interesting,” Fletcher says.
“What is?” Fern says.
“Do you know what your hidden ability is?” Fletcher asks.
“I can split my chain up to have multiple blades,” Fern says and shows what she means by splitting her chains so that it has multiple branches, each ending with its own blade.
“It’s not just that. I’ll show you. After Lex has his fun,” Fletcher says and looks at Lex. “Lex, are you ready?”
“I’m ready,” Lex says and raises his right hand before him. “All I need is one shot.”
The ring on his hand glows into a gun. The monsters haven’t even noticed them yet, but they will soon. Lex pulls the trigger, and a bird of light shoots out.
The bird of light slices through all three monsters in one clean sweep. Even though all four monsters were clustered close together, Lex’s bird leaves the fourth monster completely untouched.
As Lex’s bird folds itself back into a streak of light to return to Lex’s gun, Fletcher steps forward to catch the remaining monster’s attention.
The chain he copied from Fern multiplies into multiple separate chains. Felix folds the chains in the air so that the twin blades on the ends of each chain snap together to form a larger blade. Then, he sends the chains to the monster to encircle it, blades pointed down. With a gesture, he rains them all down on the monster and skewers it.
And just like that, the four monsters, which they would normally not risk attacking even in a team, are eliminated.
The copied chain disappears in a flash of green light.
Fern dashes to Fletcher.
“How did you do that?” Fern demands.
“It’s a little hard to explain. What works for me might not work for you, even if they are both the same weapons, but I can help you figure out how to do what I just did,” Fletcher says.
They continue their patrol. The first opportunity Fern has, she slides over to Sherri’s side.
“I want his class,” Fern says.
“Make a note of that on the sign up sheet I gave you. I’m still waiting for you to hand it in, by the way,” Sherri says.
By the time night falls, news of the Shatterstrike members’ combat strength has spread throughout the guild, and Sherri runs out of her sign up sheets. That… might be a problem.
Shatterstrike can spare people to come over to offer them training sessions, but they can’t all come over at once, which means there can only be a limited number of classes and students. She will have to be very efficient with how people are organised into the sessions.
Sherri picks up her pen.
~End Chapter 27~
Chapter word count: 1781
Total word count: 50121 (NaNoWriMo goal achieved!)
It’s been a crazy one month. I started with embracing the idea of ‘No plot? No problem!’ with an amnesiac protagonist, and somehow reached 50k words.
And it’s not over yet!
The main story ended before I reached 50k words, so I had to add an extra bit at the end. There will likely be another chapter or two to wrap things up. So stay tuned 🙂
Edit: Final chapter up now here.