Features the team from Mission Gone Wrong.
Theo was many things. Eager, clumsy, strong, naive, but he wasn’t tardy. So when he didn’t arrive fifteen minutes after their scheduled meet up time, they left the training room without hesitation to search for their newest member.
They found him locked in a storeroom outside the Department of Defense building, looking equal parts embarrassed and sorry for himself.
In hesitant bits and pieces, Theo told them the story of how a group of delinquents cornered and robbed him before locking him in the storeroom.
“Your super strength isn’t just for fighting monsters. You’re allowed to defend yourself too,” Ezra said, voice sharp with indignation on Theo’s behalf.
“No. I get it,” Thomas said, “It’s different for you, Ezra, but the rest of us… Fighting normal people is hard. It’s like fighting glass. One wrong move and they shatter. It’s good that the newbie held back. He’s not trained to fight with normal people.”
Thomas’ lips stretched into a cold smile. “But we are. Who are these delinquents?”
That evening, four young men were found mysteriously tied in ribbons like a giant present at the doorstep of the police department. Along with boxes of stolen items.
The next day, Theo began his special training sessions with glass.
In everything he did, he was meticulous. Even in a game, he preferred to take down his opponents with finesse and strategy.
The rest of his guild liked to jump straight in and bulldoze their way through with brute force.
Someone cackled as he called up a massive fire storm against the fire-resistant enemies. Someone else was impaled after turning his back on an unexpectedly sturdy enemy.
With a long suffering sigh, he cast his support skills over the other members to save them from themselves.
He needed a new guild.
Short story: fantasy
One day, without warning, his surroundings kept changing. He begin at the dinner table at home, then between one blink and the next, he was in a forest, on a beach, next to a tiger…
It took a frustratingly long time for him to link the sudden location changes to his blinks. He couldn’t keep his eyes open forever, but he could keep them closed. The thought of being blind in an unknown place was terrifying, but at least he could stay in one place long enough to do something. And if he needed to escape, freedom was just one blink away.
With his sight out of commission, he relied on his ears to hear for people. All he needed was one piece of information.
“Where am I?”
The first few dozen times, he wasn’t even in his own country. Rather than try to figure out all the legal requirements he would need to travel back without his passport on him, he blinked until he appeared in his country. Only then did he contact his family.
“How did you go all the way there?” his parents asked after the initial flurry of panicked questions. Just to keep the conversation going until the relative closest to him arrived to pick him up.
“I blinked,” he said.
“I’ll explain later.”
Genre: slice of life
She looked away for two seconds, and when she looked back her pristine garden was completely trashed.
It took her longer than that to get over her shock and get very angry.
She grabbed her two offsprings by the ear before they escaped.
He was powerful. Without him, they would have wiped out long ago, and destroying the enemy nest would have just been a dream of a dream. But such power came at a cost.
In exchange for monstrous power, he himself would turn into one, just like the monsters they had defeated. His original plan was to sneak out after he was no longer needed and quietly end himself before he became a threat. Fortunately for him, they caught him before he could and grilled the secret out of him.
That was two hours ago. Ignoring the nails slowly sharpening into claws and teeth growing into fangs, they brainstormed and argued endlessly since then over all kinds of theories and possible solutions.
“Enough,” he said, “I asked for this. Let me deal with it.”
“Shut up. This was our dream. You don’t get to play hero alone,” their healer snapped with tears in her eyes.
“Sit.” Their leader pushed him back in his chair. “Let us save you for a change.”
“The contract was very clear.”
“Every contract has a loophole. We’ll find it.”
They ignored the baby horns starting to peek through his fringe.
The smell of Milo hit him before he even stepped into the room. It was the smell of school days. Of mountains of homework. Of his parents watching him and his siblings like prison guards so they didn’t escape before they completed all their exercises. Of mugs of Milo brewed as bribery to convince them to stay a little longer and write a little more.
He took an involuntary step back before he remembered. He wasn’t the one with endless piles of homework now.
Schooling a schadenfreude grin into a more commiserating smile, he stepped inside.
“I don’t want to write anymore.”
“My hand’s going to fall off.”
Ah. It was nice to be a grownup.
Genre: family, slice of life
Their little cousins loved his sister. She always played with them and showered them with gifts. At family gatherings, she was the first person they called and the only one they called at the top of their voice with obvious delight.
But she was only human, and as much as she loved her cousins, playing with all of the at once was exhausting. In a rare opportunity where all the cousins were otherwise occupied, she retreated into her room to rest. Their little cousins, however, were soon ready for more.
He cut in before they burst into her room. He wasn’t like his sister, but surely he could entertain them for a short time?
“Who wants to play ‘pop pop’?”
She undulated to his music, something he would appreciate a lot more if he wasn’t so terrified.
He peeked at his watch. They asked him to buy them ten minutes. Only two had passed since he started serenading the monstrous guardian with his music.
His fingers slipped. The wrong note screeched horribly out of tune and shook the guardian out of her haze.
In his fear, the next few notes also missed the mark. The guardian’s gaze sharpened.
He ditched the current piece for a new one that he could play blind back to front in his sleep. His fingers moved easily through the the familiar tune. The guardian slipped back under his thrall.
He took another peek.
Seven minutes to go.
Come back soon everyone.
His plan was brilliant. Foolproof. Groundbreaking.
It just didn’t last ten seconds after it was put into action.
Someone slapped him in the face.
“Move! Don’t blank out now.”
Half pushed, half dragged, he got out of the fire behind cover.
“Got a Plan B, smart guy?”
In the distance, he heard a sizzle, then a pop. Second pop. Third pop. Boom.
“Plan A is back in action. You know what to do. Let’s go!”
They funnelled the whole vat of liquid into the tiny bottle. An undeniably magical bottle because that was a lot of stuff going in there with no problems. Plus it still weighed practically nothing afterwards.
“Magic,” she argued.
“Technology,” her brother shot back.
As one, they turned to their uncle. “Which is it?”
“Doesn’t matter.” He pocketed the bottle. “As long as it works.”
She shared a look with her brother.
Their uncle sighed.