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[Fan Work of Fan Work] Koishi Komeiji's Heart Throbbing Adventure The Interim Chapter 12

2023.03.22 06:51 Sevchenko874 [Fan Work of Fan Work] Koishi Komeiji's Heart Throbbing Adventure The Interim Chapter 12

You Matter to Her in a Way No One Else Could
When you died and were reborn, you became divine. You were love, and you were violence, and you were my miracle. A God sprung forth from the decaying machinery of your broken body. Koishi, the God of Love and Hate—have mercy on us all.
Down by the shore of one of the great Lunar seas, there sat a lonely shack thatched with feathers. Inside, there was a massive wani no less than eight leagues long… and her infant son. To that crocodile who had never known true familial love, that delicate little child—who cooed and smiled at his mother’s every move—was nothing less than a miracle. Such a delicate life in her claws, who knew nothing but unconditional love for his mother—to the crocodile, it was proof there was still good in the world.
She was tired, but the crocodile forced herself to stay awake. There was something she needed to do—a memory she wanted to share with the most important person in her life.
So, with all the caution and tenderness in the world, she picked up her child with her jaws and coaxed him into her throat pouch. The newborn child, perhaps having some shared instinct with his crocodilian mother, did not cry or struggle. Instead, he let out a giggle as he poked his head out from between his mother’s jagged teeth. With a snort, the dragon climbed out of her thatch hut, and crawled along the shore, drawing a meandering trail in the sand as she went.
When she reached the point where the water came to shore in gentle waves, the crocodile set herself down in the sand, letting the waves wash in and lick at her child in gentle sprays. Her child giggled as the Lunar sea’s tickled him with its pure waters, and as he did, his mother couldn’t help but feel at peace.
Nothing. Nothing at all would be able to take this from her.
Her miracle.
Toyohime opened her eye to clear blue skies.
She flexed her fingers, and instead of feeling the cold steel of the ship she started to tear apart, she felt so many tiny pebbles, warmed by their time in the sun. Sand? She brought a fistful of the stuff into her vision, before letting it fall through her fingers and run down her face. It was too real to be a dream.
Toyohime sat up to observe her surroundings. As far as the eye could see, there were infinite stretches of sand collected into wind-swept dunes that obscured the horizon. It was hot. Unbelievably so for what was supposedly the void. She felt a gentle gust of warm wind pass by her and toss her hair. This place… this impossible place… was she dead?
She rose to her feet, fighting biting aches and pains from her battle not too long ago. No—not dead. Somehow, she had survived—there was no other explanation. And as she looked down to assess the damage she had taken, her suspicions were only confirmed. Her right arm was missing, and in its place was nothing but a healed stump. The nasty cuts and bruises she had received in the fighting had all healed over for the most part, the only evidence they happened at all being residual scars that were yet to disappear. The ground was covered in dried blood. She must’ve been laying here in this sand trap for hours.
She brought her free arm, completely healed, up to the general space where her right eye was to find an arrow still protruding from it. Wrapping her fingers around the shaft, Toyohime tore it out in a fluid motion, causing the wound to reopen and drip blood onto the sands below. But, through some miraculous action, it was mere moments before the flow of blood stopped as the wound healed shut. Her right eye was still inoperable, but this healing ability was downright uncanny, even for a god.
She flexed her fingers. It felt like there was a hole in her head from which memories and feelings poured out. The mystery of how she got here, who she killed, and whether she could even trust her own senses had no answer—Toyohime knew she herself had made sure of that. She supposed there was a good reason. The less she knew, the better. That was something she could trick herself into believing.
Though no matter how much she forced herself to forget, she had the horrible feeling she had done something unforgivable—something she would kill over. In a sea of atrocities however, she could hardly even begin to suppose what that might have been. Maybe the heat was starting to fry her brain.
After spending a few minutes snapping the arrows lodged in her body by their shafts, Toyohime looked to the horizon, and then up. Ahead, there was a massive sand dune, no less than five times her height, and beyond the crest—a black pillar of smoke. Toyohime was not alone.
As she made her way up the shifting incline, Toyohime got to thinking about her next course of action. If this wasn’t a hallucination, then it most certainly had to be some extension of Koishi's will. Land in an impossible space… the creation of something impossible like that could only be a factor of a deteriorating mind, or God. And Toyohime had no time to consider the possibility of a crumbling psyche—not when she had a duty left unfulfilled.
But then… that would mean this was the paradise of Koishi’s mind. Surely, by her side is where she would find her salvation. She had already come to terms with it—that there was nothing left for her in the old world. Koishi could pervert and corrupt reality in whatever twisted ways she wanted—as long as it was the creation of her heart, it would be sufficient. Everything beyond that was not worth saving to the former princess.
… But that also meant there would be more enemies. More people she had to kill. She was ready. Ready to kill and ready to die in the name of love.
And as she planted her boot upon the peak of that sand dune, she saw the whole world become bare before her. A fair distance away was the crashed wreck of a golden ship, releasing plumes of black smoke as it burnt away. From this distance, it was difficult to make out any finer details, but she was sure the occupants had escaped. Satori was resourceful and stubborn, if nothing else. Dying in a crash was an impossibility.
She then traced a line from the ship through the shifting sands—to a city upon the horizon. Massive towers of glass and steel pushing against the sky, half buried in the sand, bending light around them as they reflected the intense heat of the sun. It gave the sight an unnatural fuzziness, as if the city was threatening to disappear at any moment.
As she traced the decaying visage of those buildings upwards, she saw a thin line reach beyond and into the sky. The line separated into two before converging back on itself. Above the city, etched upon the sky itself, was a pitch black gap in reality, opened and filled with so many eyes. And above still, the object of Toyohime’s desires and her sole driving factor—Koishi Komeiji.
Though the God’s eye was open, as well as the myriad collection of smaller eyes and drooling jaws that had lined every square inch of her squirming appendages, it was hard to tell if she was awake or conscious. Toyohime knew Koishi best, and if she had any guess as to what Koishi had been doing in the time they spent apart, it was receding back into the numbing comfort of her own mind. Even now, Toyohime figured she was still dreaming, avoiding the cruel weight of her responsibility. What manifested outside of her mind must’ve been some sort of twisted runoff.
Down there, hidden in the dunes, Toyohime knew there were those who would take this dream from Koishi. Those who would hurt Koishi. Those people would’ve done just as well to dig their own graves and build their own coffins. Because so long as Toyohime drew breath, she would protect Koishi with everything she could muster—that was her promise and the nature of her impossible, unconditional love.
Koishi was Toyohime’s second chance.
This time, one way or another, there would be no opportunity for a third.
Mima, on the other hand, had woken up quite a bit earlier than Toyohime had.
She had not suffered any fatal wounds or debilitating strikes leading up to the point where the reality around her started to crumble and distort—but she had briefly lost consciousness regardless. She figured that might’ve been a good thing; an action so absurd and so against everything she knew, perpetrated by an impossibly powerful being… even if a mere glimpse didn’t physically tear her mind to ribbons, she had no interest in trying to understand such a nonsensical event.
Mima awoke not in a desert, but in a grand sprawling city of seemingly human construction. Though the sun still hung overhead, the impossible hills and mountains of sand that caged the city in, always seemed to shift and move in the most calculated way… such that the sun was always put out. Caught in the shade, the city looked like it was in a perpetual night, in spite of the blinding yellow of the endless desert just beyond its limits.
Though that was the case, the city was far from dark. Street lamps, blinding neon signs, blinking traffic lights, apartments and houses with windows illuminated by the fluorescent lights within… It gave the impression the city was alive. It seemed exactly as a real bustling city at night, with its breathing and blinking—but there were no people. No matter how far Mima walked, no matter how many buildings she popped in, she would encounter no souls. She would find, in those buildings, immaculate setpieces filled with lived-in charm, hints and implications of life—but not people. Not even Yukari, who she wandered the streets in search of.
She recognized this place. This city—Tokyo. It couldn’t have possibly been, but it was the same Tokyo she grew up in, back before the Moonlight Descent and before the Kaiju. Before her chance meeting with the youkai who used to be her friend. This city, trapped in the middle of the desert, caught in an artificial night that obscured the flow of time—somehow it managed to be the perfect recreation of a long lost city, as if someone had taken a scalpel to the part of Mima’s brain that held onto the precious memories of her past life. It was comforting, being back in familiar territory, but it also carried along a pervasive uneasiness. The nostalgia said it was real, but the rational mind knew better than to buy into an impossible mirage—made all the more uneasy by the deathly silence of its streets.
After wandering around for a dozen minutes or more, Mima eventually came to find Yukari in a 24-hour fast food joint. She was sitting, out of her suit and miraculously healed, on a stool that faced the street outside, with her head down and a small pool of drool collecting at the point where the corner of her mouth met the countertop. Renko always said Maribel could fall asleep anywhere.
Mima floated back and forth around the gently snoring form of Yukari for a bit, considering her options. She changed back into her Renko form for a second, and after adjusting her hat a little, she reached over to tap Yukari on the shoulder… but then shied away. Glancing at Yukari, then back to her bag, she rummaged through its bottomless contents and pulled out a whole host of items: hand mirrors, makeup kits, two liter bottles of listerine, mints and peppermint breath spray and assorted beauty products.
She stole a quick glance back at Yukari to make sure she was asleep before going at it—in one go, she dumped every minty product she could into her mouth before swishing the unholy mixture in her mouth. It was not a moment later that she coughed out all of that liquid ice with a retch and a gag. Sheepishly, she turned her head to see if Yukari had woken up in all the commotion. Luckily, she was still knocked out something fierce. Mima might’ve guessed she was dead, if it weren’t for the occasional snore.
Undeterred, she opened a hand mirror and began to apply her makeup. Carefully. There was a subtle art to it—she only needed enough to hide any unsightly blemishes she might’ve gotten from her rather shut-in lifestyle as a ghost. Anything more, and Maribel was bound to notice Mima was purposefully fixing her appearance around her. None of that. Mima was trying for a more subliminal approach… It’s what worked in the past, after all.
Well, upon further thought, Mima figured “worked” was too strong a word. She did die before she saw any results, after all. But enough of that, Mima thought—now that she regained her memories, she’s finally gotten another shot. This being the apocalypse and all, she figured she should probably make it count.
She clicked close her portable hand mirror and, along with the rest of her stuff, threw it back into her field bag. She stole one last glance at Yukari, who was still sleeping soundly, before straightening her hat and clearing her throat.
“Maribel…” she said in a quiet, sing-song voice. She placed a hand on Yukari’s shoulder and gave it a gentle shake. “Maribel, wake up.”
No response. Mima pouted as she shook her around again. “Merry? It’s so scary around here—I need someone super strong and amazing by my side. Maybe we could hold hands?”
Nothing but more snoring. Mima’s expression fell. “... Okay, seriously. Wake up.”
“Don’t make me break out the big guns, Merry,” Mima said, digging through her bag and pulling out an airhorn. “I’ll do it. You think I’m bluffing?”
A tense beat passes. Mima stows away the airhorn. “... Ah, I’m just kidding. I wouldn’t do something like that to you. You’re too cute, hehe.”
“I’m not above this, though.” She reaches back into her bag and pulls out a spray bottle filled with water… before giving Yukari’s face a couple of quick spritzes.
That quiet, tranquil expression to Mima seemed almost a timeless representation of the relationship she shared with Maribel quickly contorted into one of disgust. After a moment of being pelted with spray after spray of water droplets, Yukari finally was roused from her sleep, a squinty, grouchy mess.
“Who..? Urgh…” She mumbled with a groan. When Yukari saw Renko, immaculately constructed before her with enough accuracy to convince her she came straight from her memories, she froze. Her voice was barely above a whisper. “... Renko?”
“Hehe… Yep, it’s me! Your best friend. Best girl-friend, even. That is, a girl who is also a friend. Not a girlfriend, you know? Aha… Unless? Kidding, kidding.” Mima flashed an easy smile. “Glad you’re awake. Hey, before you say anything else—how do I look? I look cute, right? I know we’re in the middle of saving the world and everything, but I’ve actually been spending a lot of time taking care of my appearance.”
As Mima continued to ramble on and Yukari continued to wake up, her expression made a slow and gradual pivot. Where at first Yukari couldn’t hide her bemusement from her face—as well as that strange pained expression someone would have, seeing a loved one they have long since finished mourning appear upon their doorstep—she eventually came to settle on an empty stare and a neutral, apathetic expression. It hurt Mima a little, seeing such a radical turn in her demeanor.
“Oh,” Yukari muttered. “It’s just you.”
Mima didn’t think she intended it, but there was a layer of latent annoyance in her words. Or maybe it was disappointment? A thousand years or more apart did a lot to shift their relationship. That much was clear—and it hurt.
Yukari took a moment to look Mima up and down. With a scoff and a roll of her eyes, she delivered an unceremonious answer. “You look fine.”
Mima sighed in response. “Hey, I’ll take it.”
“More importantly…” As Yukari continued, she craned her neck around to absorb every detail of her surroundings: everything from the light fixtures above to the tables that were so meticulously set and prepared. “... Where are we?”
Her eyes naturally gravitated toward the front counter and the kitchen section that was just behind—meticulously wrapped burgers and fresh fries, set underneath heat lamps… it was as if they were all made recently. But that wasn’t even the strangest detail Yukari’s eyes were able to pick out. Upon one of the tables was a tray, filled with half eaten food—as if the patrons ceased to exist in the middle of their meal. This was beyond a mere liminal space, where it gave the impression of once being a place where people gathered—it was closer in relation to the scene of an ongoing disaster, where people had left in a hurry.
In that way, it didn’t carry much of the surreal quality of a place no longer meant for humans—it more so felt like a place with a cursed history, its sinister and mysterious narrative etched into its skin and flesh through the vestiges of human presence. Mima could tell, being a ghost herself, there was more to this place than the physical construction. As to what ‘more’ was, she could not place.
She could tell Yukari was thinking something similar by the way she walked around and took in the feeling of the place. Her posture was rigid and cautious, but not necessarily ready and waiting for danger. There was a quiet dread to the things that weren’t, but should’ve been.
“I’m trying to figure that out myself,” Mima replied, following Yukari around with her arms folded behind her back. “You’re going to think I’m crazy, but… I think we’re back in Tokyo.”
“I don’t think you’re crazy.” Yukari replied. She walked over to the table with the food and traced a finger across its top. No dust clung to the surface of her finger, as if the tabletop had recently been cleaned. She brought the back of her palm close to the food. It was still radiating just a little bit of heat, as if it had been freshly served. “That’s the part that scares me.”
“... Assuming this is all very much real, this must be Koishi’s doing,” Yukari declared, taking a moment to look down at herself. As she flexed her fingers, her eyes narrowed. Mima figured she might’ve just realized she had been healed and mysteriously back to her usual outfit. She still looked younger and weaker than she once was, but there was an undeniable, albeit subtle increase in the vitality she seemed to convey. As Yukari’s eyes wandered to the empty city street outside, Mima couldn’t help but notice that expression—that idle, faraway gaze that looked like Yukari had trapped herself in a vivid daydream. She couldn’t help but realize how much Maribel had changed—and yet stayed the same.
“Whatcha thinking, Merry?” Mima tried, shuffling up to Yukari’s side.
“Oh. Right. Ha, that’s my bad. My bad…”
“I’m thinking: why Tokyo specifically?” With a wave of her hand, Yukari opened a gap next to her. Through that little tear in reality was a bird’s eye view of the whole city, as well as the infinite desert that surrounded it. “... There must be some significance to this location, but I couldn’t possibly imagine what it could be. Not right now, knowing what we know.”
“Hey, I grew up in Tokyo, you know? Maybe it has something to do with that? And… y’know, we were teaching in Tokyo before…” Mima gestured vaguely around herself. “... Everything, I guess. Maybe Koishi’s reacting to our memories.”
“Could be. Could just as easily be something related to Koishi. Could be nothing at all.” The view through the gap eventually fizzled out, leaving nothing but the inky blackness of the pocket dimension Yukari held dominion over. She let out a sigh before stitching the gap closed with a wave of her hand. “I’d suggest we keep on moving. Collect as much information as we can about this place. But only what we need—the plan is still largely the same. There’s no telling when she will appear again. Best be as quick about it as we can.”
“Oh. Uh… Alright. That’s cool.”
“... What?”
“What’s wrong? You disagree?”
“Oh no, ah…” A sheepish grin crawled across Mima’s face. “I was just thinking about how much you’ve changed, is all. It’s just… you know, a huge city missing all of its people is pretty mysterious, huh? Don’t you want to do more exploring? Poke around a bit and take in the sights? Like we used to—just one last time?”
There was an unsettling period of silence where Yukari stared straight through Mima with that flat look. She averted her eyes for a passing moment. When Yukari returned her gaze to Mima, it was steely and cold. “No. Neither of us are kids anymore. We have duties and responsibilities that we can not abandon. Not for anything.”
Yukari brushed past Mima. The gesture wasn’t very rough at all, but Mima felt it come at her hard. As Yukari opened the door, she looked back at Mima and gestured to her to follow.
“Let’s go.”
Orin did not want much from life.
There was Satori, her master, who she cared about deeply. There was Okuu, her best friend, who she loved. There was Koishi, the younger sister of her master, who she felt obligated to take care of. And of course, there was her job of transporting corpses, which she could do endlessly and without tiring. Those things more or less encompassed everything she cared about—Orin was a simple person.
So as she crawled out the emergency hatch located at the top of the ship her master had so recklessly buried into a sand dune, she couldn’t help but feel so hopelessly out of her depth. With a groan, she hoisted herself over the lip of the hatch before losing her balance and tumbling over.
As she tumbled downward, bumping her head against every little edge the ship had on her way down, the visor to her suit cracked and then shattered. But as she flopped down into the warm sand, her arms and legs spread in a state of absolute fatigue, she couldn’t really bring herself to care about the warning tones in her helmet—or the fact she was able to breathe the air here, in what used to be the void. Frankly, all she could think about was how much she wanted to go home.
“Orin! Are you okay?” A familiar voice called from somewhere outside her field of vision. It was followed by the hasty clattering of boots on metal as they no doubt clambered down the ship in a hurry.
All Orin could offer in response was a weak grunt and the extension of a thumbs up.
“Are… are you insane?” Another voice called soon after, all breathless and hoarse. It cracked with exertion, as if it had already been worn out by so much screaming. “Satori, what form of devil possessed you to do that? We could’ve all died!”
Satori, of course, didn’t respond. Not before she entered Orin’s field of view, her own helmet long since thrown away. Her face was etched with a rare look of concern, and she breathed a deep sigh of relief when she saw Orin manage a weak smile. Wordlessly, Satori jostled off the smashed helmet from Orin’s suit and brushed away any remaining debris… before pulling her into a tight embrace.
Orin, dazed and shocked from the crash, could manage little else than to rest her head upon her master’s shoulders as she was pulled in. But through whatever stores of energy she had left, she managed to raise her arms and wrap them around in loose reciprocation.
“I’m okay,” she whispered. “I’m okay.”
Satori pulled back from the hug, but stayed kneeling by Orin’s side. Cautiously, she looked to the horizon, as if she had caught a vanishing glimpse of something stalking them from behind the shifting sands. She extended an elbow for Orin to grab on to. “Let’s go. Can you stand?”
“I… I think so,” Orin mumbled, hooking one of her arms around Satori’s elbow and placing a hand on her shoulder for support. Her master lifted, and in response Orin tried her best to stumble onto her feet, with mixed results. As she straightened herself out with the help of Satori, she heard her bones shift and crackle in strange ways—followed by an absolute lightning strike of localized pain in the leg and the fuzzy static that came to replace it.
After a sharp intake of breath and a pained wince, Orin settled into a decidedly unconvincing posture—she plastered a smile on her face and shifted all of her weight onto the other leg in a poor imitation of nonchalance, but Satori’s face only got graver. It broke Orin’s heart. For a moment, Orin tried to separate herself from her master so she could stand on her own—but Satori only squeezed her in closer, as if she would’ve lost Orin the second she let go.
That didn’t surprise Orin much. She knew better than anyone that the events one year ago were still fresh in her master’s mind. Even now, it haunted her every action, and now the consequences were starting to catch up with everyone involved. But to Orin, that didn’t matter. It never did—not so long as Satori was her master, and Orin was her pet. Satori could march to the deepest pit of Hell, pick a fight with a God, oppose reality itself… and Orin would march along right beside her, no matter what.
Patchouli, on the other hand, did not share the same sentiment. She marched up to the two, at least temporarily uncaring of the fantastical environment they found themselves in, and went straight to airing out her grievances.
“Recklessly engaging with Toyohime like that, against all better logic… one day, and this day might very well come sooner than you think, your obsession with that cursed woman will hurt someone you care about,” Patchouli snapped. As she looked to Orin, whose body was riddled with evidence of blunt trauma, her expression softened. “... It already has.”
“As if we had any other choice. It was our best shot to kill her, once and for all,” Satori replied, stone-faced and cold. “... Besides, let Orin speak for herself. As if you know what she does and doesn’t wish for.”
“... Orin wasn’t the only person who got hurt. Or killed.”
“It just so happens that Eirin conveniently falls outside my definition of ‘people I care about.’ I fail to see the issue.” Satori snorted with disgust, as if offended by the mere implication. Orin wanted to speak up and cut between the fighting, but couldn’t find the strength to oppose her own master. “That aside, who says I was the one who got her killed? She got herself killed, following her own incomprehensible mess of half-baked ideas and strategies. What are you coming at me for?”
“How could you be so cold toward someone like her? Especially since we were all fighting out there together, as comrades? Have you no shame?”
“I’ve no love for her. Not after what she did to my sister.” Satori stared straight into Patchouli’s eyes. Sometimes her master was like this—staring straight ahead through a person, as if judging the content of their soul itself. Sometimes, this was literally the case, given that she made liberal use of her opened third eye. “We might be fighting beside each other, but we’re fighting for completely different things. Yukari, Eirin, Kaguya, even you and I—we’re all fighting for something different. Those are just the facts. Just as it was a fact that Koakuma had darkness in her heart. It’s that kind of fact.”
“How cynical. Aren’t we friends?”
Satori fixed Patchouli with a steady glare as she thought through her answer. Even with an open eye, Orin found her master’s thought process difficult to parse.
“... No. We aren’t,” Satori settled. “It’s not a secret—I’m fighting to get my sister back. I’m fighting to kill the person who turned her into a monster. I’m fighting to protect my family. You are doing none of those things—you’re fighting for a more abstract reason: protecting the world, or preventing human suffering, or whatever other justification you assign to your actions. It’s admirable, but recognize that It’s only by convenience that we’re here, helping each other out.”
“... Is that right?” Patchouli muttered under her breath. “Then if it came between Yukari, or Eirin, or me, or anyone else… and your family. Who would you choose?”
“It’s best to be honest with ourselves. It saves us the heartache.”
“I see.”
In the silence that came after, the atmosphere seemed to become heavier. Orin spent each passing beat being suffocated by the pressure. Her eyes darted from Patchouli to her master, and then back again.
“Er…” Orin started. “Let’s ah… could we just figure out what we’re going to do next, maybe? Without fighting—that would be nice.”
“Good plan, Orin,” Satori said. Though strangely enough, she wouldn’t take her eyes off of Patchouli. “I’m not quite sure what we would do without you.”
Patchouli looked away. Orin couldn’t help but feel vaguely responsible—though the second the thought even popped into mind, Satori squeezed a little tighter, as if in reassurance.
“... There’s no use in arguing,” Patchouli said with a heavy sigh. “Or rather, it’s a subject for later, when we aren’t all in danger. For now, I agree—we should figure out our next steps.”
The guns had long since run quiet.
Those satellites—their powerful bodies forged by the greatest minds, cast in the strongest metals, and mounted with the fiercest weapons humanity could muster—how could they have possibly matched the horror of God’s wrath? They could never, and for their hubris, their bodies and their souls were scattered and broken as a million glittering lights upon the ocean.
Those were the kinds of things Kaguya Houraisan thought about as she sat beside a flickering fire, her only source of light deep in the darkness of a desert night, not a few meters from the turned and battered wreckage of the CNS Beyond the Sun. In the void, It was battered by unseen force, turned three times—and upon the fourth, struck down and consumed by the void, as was the divine will of God. To its crew, it might have seemed like nothing less than a castigation of divine nature—but Kaguya knew it was nothing more than the temper tantrum of a child. As infant children must necessarily cry, Koishi must necessarily kill—it was her unconscious will.
Woe upon humanity, as its greatest accomplishment was brought low and made worthless before a child. Her own child. What a dubious honor it was—being the mother of such a terrifying, omnipresent killer.
Kaguya was on the ship when it was attacked by Toyohime. She was there to see Eirin march on to meet her. And she was there to see her die. It didn’t bother Kaguya too much—after all, she had watched Eirin die countless times. She will likely watch her die countless more, before all is said and done. But it was there, seized by the temporary shock, that Kaguya lost consciousness. When she woke up, she was deep within the fresh wreckage of humanity’s greatest weapon—alone. On what happened to her crew, and why Kaguya was spared, she could only make guesses.
With no direction and no plan, Kaguya spent what felt like hours wandering the claustrophobic halls of that great metal cage of a ship. But she was alone. Alone in such a way that not even the impression of humanity remained. Even the spot where she saw three men become atomized by Toyohime’s attack, which had burnt dark impressions of their silhouettes into the steel, was mysteriously void of any sign they were killed at all. The damage remained, but the people were gone—erased from existence in a way only God could manage.
When she eventually emerged from the dark recesses of the ship into a darker night, with nothing but the stars above and the inexplicable ground below, she could do nothing but start a simple fire. The night was cold, and she had a feeling it would be long. Warmth would be needed.
This, alone and huddled by a dying fire, must have been the end. Kaguya shifted closer to the flame, and held her knees closer to her chest. She didn’t know what to do. When her own daughter had sought her out, she didn’t know what to say. All she could do was recognize—that in pursuit of an easy life, she had made things so much worse. She wondered if it was too late to make things right between herself and Koishi. If Kaguya had looked up to her daughter now, and said sorry, would she hear? Would she care?
She wasn’t sure. And she wasn’t sure if she wanted to find out.
As she stared at the stars above, Kaguya heard the shuffling of boots displacing the sand. The sounds came in an irregular, halting motion. When it came to a stop, Kaguya lowered her gaze to the figure who stood at the edge of her fire’s light.
A moon rabbit in a pilot suit, all ripped up, tattered, and blackened by combat. In the gaps of her suit, her skin had melted away from severe burns—and froze in place, creating large patches of gangrenous tissue that covered her body. As Kaguya’s eyes drifted downward, she noticed a patch of body that had a view to the other side. Somehow, by some miracle of medicine, the wound remained stable and closed.
Her face was concealed by her helmet, tinted and patterned by a spider web of cracks, but by the way she stood, so still and lopsided, Kaguya had the impression of an empty gaze just behind the facade.
The moon rabbit carried in her left hand a revolver, its chambers empty and on display as the mechanism that connected the grip to the top half of the hung loose. In her other hand, was an ax, splintered in half at the handle from excessive use and its blade caked in a thick layer of blood.
Without a word, the moon rabbit collapsed into a heap by the fire.
Kaguya rushed to the moon rabbit’s side and, upon removing her helmet, froze.
Atonement—she wondered if it was even possible.
Previous Chapter:
Interim Chapter 11
submitted by Sevchenko874 to touhou [link] [comments]

2023.03.22 05:55 brennybrennybrenbren Teacher experience of student-lead education models?

Our kids have been in a Reggio-Emilia motivated education model which gives students a great deal of freedom to pursue their interest and... not pursue their non-interests. Little rigor is done for hard subjects like maths, spelling, grammar etc. We have observed that our 10yo is now about 2- 3years beyond the national curriculum for maths and could not do or understand 80% of a sample numeracy NAPLAN test.
My research since has lead me to read about progressive student-lead models (Reggio-Emilia in particular, but there are others) and form a theory that an academic echo-chamber has emerged in which teachers are relegated to "facilitators" and students run the classroom, motivated by ideology rather than hard evidence. We are regularly told that the school "attracts international attention" and "people come from around the world to see how things are done here", and yet, the results seem crap.
By my assessment, false assumptions about the nature of primary school children abound, such as...
That's my impression and we are appalled at the performance of our local school and looking to move. And with 2 years left before high school we have a great deal of extra-curricula work to do to get them ready in time. There is no point asking the school to change as this is an ideological commitment and fundamental to their model.
I also observe anecdotally that the school has a high turnover of teaching staff, and that the later grades seem to have fewer students than the earlier grades.
So I would like to know what teachers who have been in a progressive "student-lead" environment thing. Does it work? Do you feel like you are valued as a teacher? Is my asessment above accurate or not?
submitted by brennybrennybrenbren to AustralianTeachers [link] [comments]

2023.03.22 05:23 Armored-Sword Pain when biting on tooth with new composite filling

So I just started going back to the dentist after almost 9 years. I got 6 composite fillings, 3 of which were replacing old fillings. I got one on the biting surface of tooth 18 which replaced an amalgam filling and one on tooth 19, between the previous tooth. I also had one on the biting surface of the tooth directly above 18. The latter 2 are new fillings.
The dentist had to numb me so much that it was difficult for me to do the bite strip correctly, so a few days later I went back to get my high point filed down a little more because just resting my teeth on top of each other alone was uncomfortable, and my mouth felt pretty great after that. Now a few weeks later I have been getting a pain in either one of those teeth which is hard for me to pinpoint, though leaning towards 19, it's usually always the same cause, like a little blackberry seed or firm piece of rice or something being bit down. If I switch to the other side of my mouth things like that cause me no pain.
I have 0 sensitivity to hot or cold in those teeth, and it's really difficult for me to pinpoint where on my teeth the pain happens because it seems to be so random. I also have had similar pain from this area in the past from accidentally biting on something hard, or at least only noticed when biting something hard, like a tiny bone in ground beef--resulting in my tooth being tender for a few days, which I told the dentist during my initial examination, but she found nothing wrong like a cracked or infected tooth.
I was just hoping someone could tell me what my next step should be. I don't want to keep going to my dentist and have her try to file down my fillings more if that's not what the actual problem is. If I bite my teeth down while not eating I get no pain at all. I do have malocclusion, so my top molars hit my bottom molars slightly inward and tooth 17 leans a little more towards my mouth than 18, it's a pretty tight space between the two teeth. One reason it was difficult for me to floss my teeth all these years is because of how tight my teeth are together. My dentist did mention I have a small mouth. I guess my real question is as a patient what information is most helpful for a dentist to diagnose this issue I'm having? It's been almost a month since I've had all the work done. Should I give it a few more weeks?
submitted by Armored-Sword to askdentists [link] [comments]

2023.03.22 05:01 AlexBellPhone Repaint a Pool with Me

Repaint a Pool with Me
I wanted to share my experience with you guys and show you how I repaint my pool. Now, let's get this out of the way first: this is probably not the best approach, nor the easiest, nor a long lasting one, yadda yadda. BUT, this is a 500$ method that will do the job for a few years.
By the way, I have not finished this yet so will keep posting as I complete the project :)
Here is what I am dealing with.
- Pool built in 1995 - Spa has 4 jets that are primary return; this then overfills and flows into the pool - Pool has 14 Caretaker pop-ups that don't work well - Main drain (double entry), skimmer and spa drain (double entry) - Currently running a 3HP Pentair IntelliFlo® VSF Variable speed pump - The current paint is chlorinated rubber (on top of plaster)
The main reasons why I wanted to repaint:
- Dog scratched up all the stairs and anywhere he can hang out (shallow end walls) - The spa paint chipped out (I assume due to previously bad paint job + heat)
Step 0 - Pick your paint
If you wanna paint, you need some paint. Duh! There are three types of commonly used paints: epoxy, acrylic and rubber. I am using Smart Seal paints and they have a nice guide of why choose one paint over another.
Here is what I understood from my research that can hopefully help you:
- If your pool is painted, you typically MUST repaint it with the same type of paint - For Rubber, the above is true exceptfor the conversion that they offer (see below). Not sure how well that works... my pool guy friend told me he has never done that. - The longest lasting one seems to be epoxy followed by rubber then acrylic. I was suggested to use acrylic on an unknown previous paint... shrug. - Calculate about how much paint you'll need... I guesstimated and mine took 2gallons per coat. Do what you want with that information hah

Step 1 - Empty the pool
- I bought a 50$ submersible water pump. I got a 1HP 3700GPH off Amazon (Prostormer) - I attached my regular (cleaning) vacuum hose to it (with some electrical tape around the hose male part to assure it goes IN the pumps' female connector really tightly)
Step 2 - Remove all pop-ups, covers and lights
- Unscrew the covers for the main drain and the spa drain - Remove pop-ups using a caretaker pop up tool (this one was about 75$ from ePool Supply) This one was pricy. I suggest asking a neighbor or a pool guy to borrow it. It takes 10seconds to use per po-up... So spending 75$ for 5min of work might not be worth it. - To remove the light covers, I used two small screw drivers and one larger one. Insert the small ones in the holes and then use the big one to rotate the two smaller ones counter clockwise. (Not sure that made sense but I saw someone doing it on another type of light:
Step 3 - fix the lights (nice lil bonus)
When I removed the lights, I realized they were actually fiber optic bundles. Flashback to when I bought the house, I was told the lights don't work. All I knew is there was a box with "stuff" in it that controlled the lights... and it wasn't working. So I never thought anything of it.
So! I went and opened up the box with "stuff", and saw that it was quite a simple design actually. 110V power comes in - transformer steps it down for the light (19.7V halogen HI-111 lightbulb) and a small motor that moves a tiny color wheel. Then a fan that runs on 110V that cools the whole thing. That's the basics of it.
The system I have is Firberstars; model is so old that I have no idea what it is. Fiberstars since then has been renamed to SRSmith, FYI. Spare parts can be found here, here or here.
I bought the bulb (HI110/HI111) from eBay for ~20$. A set of o-rings from Harbor Freight was 5$. (You need two for each light cover).
The fan worked (thankfully) as most places sell it for an obscene amount (250$!!) but if you look into it, it is a PAPST 8500N type. You can find OEM for ~38$ here or 41$ here plus 52$ here.
Step 4 - Start scrubbing... everything, everywhere, all the time
An important step BEFORE you start any kind of painting activities is to prepare the surface! I will not go into all details as each surface has slightly different requirements. Start with a solid pressure wash.
Overall, you want to scrape any old paint and bumps off from existing surface. For me, since I am working with a previously painter with rubber surface, I used a set of metal scrapes and putty knives to get any major paint chips off and try to loosen any other pieces that might be easy to remove. This takes FOREVER. Especially in the spa as things seemed to "peel" off easily, which to me means I need to remove it (see pic).
If you paint over a loose previous layer, your new layer will not hold. That much I know hah
I then repeated this process through the whole pool. Yeah, took me two weeks after work and a painful shoulder... but hey, no pain no gain? As you can see around the pool, there are less areas that required heavy removal. Most paint in the pool seemed to hold really well.
Nonetheless, I did make sure every single inch of the pool was scraped with a putty knife/scraping tool. I then used a pressure washer again to see if anything else comes off, and to clean up.
Finally, I used a 40 grid sandpaper on an orbital sander and went around everything to smooth out final bumps that I might have missed. This one was much faster.
Step 5 - Perform any repairs now
Since things are dry and easier to access now, it's a good time to look for any fixes you might need to make. Small cracks, irregular surfaces, area around the drains or skimmer... take a look and see if anything looks off. I applied some silicone around the inside of the skimmer as it looked a little worn. An ounce of prevention and all.

Step 6 - Pressure wash again
Again, before doing anything else, make sure you are starting with a clean, dust free (as much as possible) surface.
///// I am currently here ... it's been raining last few days so couldn't do much \\\\\
Step 7 - Wash with TSP > Muriatic Acid > TSP
Note: this is what my paint manufacturer suggested I do, so I am following their recommendation. Please follow the one you pick. Also, please wear protection anytime you are handling any kind of chemical, mkaayy? thanks!
Tri-Sodium Phosphate (TSP) is used before paint. The compound prepares pool (and deck) surfaces for painting by removing dirt, grease and oils. I got mine from Home Depot for 7$ and a sponge from the dollar store for 99c. Use a 5 gallon bucket and dilute based on TSP instructions. Use a sponge and wash all the pool surfaces thoroughly. Rinse it all off.
Now you have to acid wash the whole shabang. My paint recommends 10% solution of muriatic acid in water. Spray the mix with a multipurpose garden sprayer (bought off harbor freight for 8$). Rinse with water immediately and then repeat the TSP wash to neutralize the acid. Then allow surface to dry completely.
So ... TSP > Wash > Muriatic > Wash > TSP > Wash > Dry
Step 8 - Pre-paint the bare spots
My paint recommends that on a painted surface, the bare spots (like the ones I have in my spa and some spots in the pool) be painted with a 10-20% diluted paint solution. I will then wait for 4-6 hours, and proceed.
Step 9 - First coat
After spot priming, I will apply one full strength coat of the paint using a 9" premium roller from Home Depot (got a pack of 2 with the base for 16$). I will wait again 4-6 hours (or longer, depends when I paint it) .
Step 10 - Second coat
Once first coat is done, I will check for any irregularities and use an 800 grit sandpaper to fix anything that is sticking out too much.
Then, I will use the 9" rollers and apply a second coat at full strength.

Step 11 - Fill & Enjoy
Will let you know how that goes :)
submitted by AlexBellPhone to swimmingpools [link] [comments]

2023.03.22 04:41 scarymaxx I have a paralyzing fear of water. After I became a dad, I found out why.

I’ve always been terrified of water. Not like, a glass of it. I’m fine drinking it, using a toilet, washing my hands. Showering is tolerable, but unpleasant. Bathtubs are a no-go. Fuck pools, lakes and streams. And especially fuck the ocean.
Did I mention I live right on the beach. My therapist thought it might help me face my fears. I can’t say it’s done much yet.
My mother always said my dad was the same way. He didn’t stick around long after I was born. Just a couple of months. But the one memory that stayed with her is me crying my head off while she tried to bathe me in the sink, and my dad screaming his head off, “Not the ears! Not the ears!”
The word around town was that dad had little babies like me all over the state, all of them scared of water. When I went to the beach as a kid, I’d always walk up to the other kids who weren’t swimming and ask who their daddy was, but I never did meet any of my half-brothers or sisters.
Naturally, I always hated my dad. For a long time, I thought the best way to avoid becoming him was to skip having any children of my own. Then I married a great girl, Mira, who convinced me I was a worthy human being, and that the best way to fix the mistakes of the past was to settle down and become a loving father.
And she was right. When my son, Matthew was born, I almost physically felt myself become a better man–that something in me had changed at a biological level. When he wrapped his tiny fingers around my thumb and stared straight up into my face, suckling at the air, I knew I was done living for myself, that every day after would be for him.
Matthew was about three months old when I had a knock on the door and opened it to find an old, bearded man that looked like me on my worst day. I knew right away that he must be my father.
“I’m here to see the new grandbaby,” he said.
“Like hell you are.”
“Come on,” he said. “Be civil. It’s starting to rain.” He nodded to the threatening storm clouds overhead. A shiver ran through me. I’d been caught out in a storm once when I was young and ended up having a severe panic attack, screaming myself unconscious as I huddled under the relative dry of a maple tree.
My father entered, shaking a few drops of water from his coat and then setting it on a hanger by the door.
“I don’t suppose anyone’s stopped by to tell you the do and don’t of being a father,” he said, settling into a spot in the center of my loveseat.
“I’m doing fine on my own,” I said, picking a rocking chair in the corner. “Can I call you an Uber or something?”
He ignored me, and looked toward my baby monitor, where a black and white image of Matthew sleeping filled the screen.
“You’ll be having the headaches by now, I ‘spect,” he said. “Probably not enough to knock you on your ass yet, but believe me, in a month or two…”
My stomach dropped as he said these words. Because they were true. Over the last few months I’d been having headaches for the first time in my life. And they were getting worse and worse. It was like my skull felt too full.
“I’m fine,” I said. “You really should get going. My wife’ll be back soon, and I’d rather you two didn’t meet.”
“No she won’t,” he said quietly. “Won’t be back until 2:00am after her job at Rudy’s gets done. You and I, we’ll have plenty of time.”
My hands were shaking a little bit now.
“Time to do what?” I asked.
“What needs to be done,” he said, gesturing to the baby monitor. “It’s really better to get it done now. Less suffering for both of you.”
Outside, the storm was starting in earnest. Sideways rain pounded the front windows, and lighting struck the nearby ocean.
“Come on,” he said. “You must have sensed what you have to do. It’s in your blood. Your instinct. The Second Birth is just as natural as the first one.”
My head was throbbing. I rubbed at my temples, and they felt foreign to me. Where they’d once been spongy, I know felt new bristles of bone, like miniature spines beneath the flesh. Had they always been that way?
“They’re ready,” he said. “God, you’re practically bursting. Nothing like the first time. Come on, let me get a look at you.”
“You can look at me from there,” I said.
“Not this you,” he said. “I mean you. Come on. Whatever you think about me, I’m your father.”
He stood and walked over to me. I thought he wanted to look me in the eye. Instead, he leaned over and peered into my ear. His breath stank like birdshit and his beard tickled against my cheek, yet somehow I couldn’t tell him no.
“Come out,” he said. “I can’t see you.”
“What the fuck are you talking about?” I said. I didn’t know whether to cry or scream. Of course, if I got too loud, I knew I’d wake up Matthew, and my night would get even worse than it already was.
Then, without another word, my father knelt on the ground before me. Then his eyes rolled back and his body went limp. For a second, I thought he’d had a seizure, maybe even a heart attack. Yet he was strangely still.
Then I saw movement: a sickly, subcutaneous shiver by his temple that progressed downward toward his ear. And then finally the thing came out: white and shimmery as a pearl. It might have been a worm, but it moved more like a snake, wet and glossy, clothed in shining scales.
“What are you?” I asked, pulling back into the chair, my heart beating uncontrollably.
“The same thing as you,” came a whisper from my father’s human lips. “You could call us passengers. Unkindly, parasites. But really, we’re symbiotes. We live amongst them, growing in their young at an early age. I’d like to think we live their lives better than they ever could.”
My stomach was in knots. I knew I was about to vomit any second.
“You’re saying I’m a… I’m not… I’m not human?”
My whole existence was shattering before me, because deep in my aching, pounding head, I knew it was true. I was just like him, a shimmering serpent, a predatory monster.
“You’re something far better than human.”
As my father’s body spoke, the snake withdrew back into his ear. Then, slowly, he rose from the floor stretching out his withered limbs.
“Now that your human body has sired an heir, the next stage of the life cycle has begun. Already, your eggs are hatching within you, ready for their host. All that remains is for you to sleep beside your boy, to let your real sons emerge and enter him.”
“Matthew would die?” I asked. And then I threw up everywhere, my stomach acid covering my legs and the chair beneath them. But my father just kept speaking, unperturbed.
“Of course not,” he said. “Everything about him would remain. But he would be… enhanced as part of the symbiote. Reborn as something better. As us. And once that’s done, your work here will be done. You can move on to another human woman, sire another heir. And then another and another. The survival of our species depends on it.”
I looked at the monitor. Matthew was still sleeping peacefully, even with the raised voices in the living room. He really was an awesome baby. He deserved better.
“No,” I said.
My father shook his head.
“I knew you were weak. I’ve been watching you all week, waiting for the right time to have this talk. In that time, you know what I’ve seen? A little man who jumps when his wife makes the littlest demand. You’re the one who rocks him at night, feeding him a bottle as she sleeps. You’re more a daughter to me than a son. Fine then. If you won’t do it, I will. I’ve always got an egg or two lying around.”
He got up and started walking toward the hallway, toward Matthew.
And that’s when I snapped. Without another word, I tackled him. We collided against a wall. As we did, I heard a sickening crunch and he crumpled to the floor.
“You broke its neck, you idiot,” my father’s body rasped. “No matter. Bodies are replaceable, and the solution lies right down the hall. Just drag me by your son. I’ll take him myself. Of course he’ll be a bit small for me at first, but in time–”
But I didn’t let him finish the thought. I dragged him outside into the storm. Rain pounded down and panic filled my body, but I didn’t scream. This fear was primal, but that didn’t mean it was real. As the raindrops circles around my ears, I felt myself–my reptile self–choking, but not in a way that would kill me, just like a little coffee that had gone down the wrong pipe.
I dragged my father’s body through the sand toward the ocean.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” my father rasped. “What the hell–”
I plunged him into the ocean as we reached it, the water crashing over his head, completely submerging him. He was trying to say something, looking up at me from underwater with terrified eyes, but I was no longer listening. For a second after that I saw the silvery snake–my real father–emerge from the body’s ear, but it was too late. The snake gave one last shiver and then went limp even as the life went out of his human form.
Back at home, I took the best shower of my life. For once, the hot water running down my neck didn’t bother me. I knew it wouldn’t be enough to choke me, now that I knew what I really was.
When Mira got home that night, I was rocking Matthew in the chair, which I’d cleaned thoroughly.
“You okay hon?” she asked. “Hope he wasn’t too rough on you.”
“Not at all,” I said. “He was perfect.”
“You know,” she said. “I was reading this article on co-sleeping on the bus ride home. Now that he’s a few months old, it sounds like it wouldn’t be too risky, and there might be some real health benefits. Plus, I just kind of like the thought of it: all three of us cuddled up together in one big bed.”
“He’s been doing so well,” I said. “I’d hate to change a thing.”
“Maybe one day?” she asked.
“Maybe one day.”
submitted by scarymaxx to nosleep [link] [comments]

2023.03.22 04:08 washabePlus [Complete] D100 Fantasy Moons

(Original Post)
Inspired by this worldbuilding post, let's make some fucked up moons. This obviously isn't the sort of list that would have a lot of reusability (unless you're in a campaign with a lot of traveling between planets or mortal planes), but it's something that was on my mind long ago and I figured now's as good a time as any. Many of these could be the basis of an entire setting, and I really really wanna do it :(
Also, as you read these, consider how the moon appears in Earth's symbols and designs. A world with funky moons will have them show up differently in heraldry, flags, etc. than in our world. Not to mention the religious significance many of these would have.
1 - The moon has a massive bite out of it.
2 - The moon is heavily damaged, with debris floating all around. Some legends say it was a giant egg that hatched the sun god (of the first dragon, or the tarasque, or the creator god). Other legends say it was destroyed in a war or by a god.
3 - The moon emits very bright light, while the sun projects darkness.
4 - The moon projects darkness.
5 - Many many lights are visible on the moon, as if it is covered in cities.
6 - The moon has a thick atmosphere of some color, with swirling clouds that are looked to by some cultures for omens.
7 - The moon is a planet; the world we live on is its moon.
8 - The moon is extremely close to the ground. Its gravity creates colossal waves, leaving most coastal regions too difficult to inhabit. Airships have managed to reach the moon at midnight, and it is explored instead of the sea.
9 - The moon is quite close to the planet and has a giant space elevator dangling off and into our atmosphere. People have reached it from the highest mountains.
10 - The moon is said to be an egg.
11 - The moon has a kind face.
12 - The moon has a terrifying face.
13 - Just as the sun blinds those who look at it too long, the moon drives them mad.
14 - The moon was completely destroyed long ago and now forms a ring. Meteorites from it have fallen ever since.
15 - There are a large number of moons arranged in a circle.
16 - The moon blinks as if it were an eye, causing brief moments of total darkness throughout the night like a reverse lightning strike.
17 - The moon is a world like ours, with oceans and continents full of life. The life there may be fundamentally different or very similar.
18 - The moon is the homeworld of some race on our world, but it met a catastrophe long ago, leading to them becoming refugees.
19 - The moon is a ringworld.
20 - The moon is a second sun that was extinguished long ago. The world was once much hotter and covered in desert and jungle. They say that one day the other sun will be extinguished too, beginning the final era of existence.
21 - The moon has an additional phase beyond full, new, crescent, gibbous, and half. When the moon is awoken, the dead rise for the night(s)
22 - When the moon falls, it lands in the ocean a very long distance away, then emerges from the ocean on the opposite side of the world. Many explorers have sought to find the land known as Moonrise to harvest the treasures that are said to be found on the moon before it reaches Moonfall.
23 - The moon has a hole through the center of it, with an exposed burning orange core.
24 - The moon is permanently eclipsing a second sun, which is associated with destruction and evil.
25 - The moon is a gigantic, shriveled creature curled up in a fetal position.
26 - The moon is a gigantic skull.
27 - The moons hates us. With every beam of light that bounces off its regolith it sends us nothing but malice. Its gravity well directs meteorites towards us more than should be expected.
28 - There are dozens upon dozens of small moons.
29 - There are a few moons connected together by some superstructure.
30 - The moon was deconstructed into thousands of huge glowing space habitats in orbit around the planet.
31 - The moon projects a massive aura.
32 - The moon is creeping towards us, ever do slowly.
33 - The moon's motion is controlled by a powerful individual or organization in our world.
34 - The moon is a superweapon aimed directly at us.
35 - The moon is shaped like Arrokoth or another contact binary.
36 - The moon is one of the others on this list, but is connected to our world by an ancient portal network. The moon is probably one of the options that are colonized or have life, but if not, it could be that activating this network to drain away the world's oxygen is a goal of some villain, and ancient dungeons could have been built to protect the moongates in their depths.
37 - The moon is a giant spaceborne creature that is entirely alive and active, unlike #35. It blinks at us and feasts on void-krill/dreams/souls/sin.
38 - The moon used to be a colossal tree on our world, a tree of life so big that it became uprooted and drifted into orbit. If it isn't fossilized, then when the moontree peaks out from over the horizon during the day its leaves get scorched, and when out only at night it is frozen.
39 - The moon is a palace where a god or the greatest god-emperor to ever live dwells.
40 - The moon is made out of trillions of bones.
41 - The moon is entirely colonized and utilized by modrons. The whole surface is visibly divided into a perfectly ordered grid, and each square serves a different purpose. Some are being deconstructed to build constructs in Mechanus.
42 - The moon shoots out lightning during "moonstorms".
43 - The moon is a different geometrical shape. A cube, a pyramid, a dodecahedron, etc. Possibly several moons, one for each shape of die used in D&D.
44 - A legendary figure carved a grand symbol into the moon. Or a smiley face, one of those.
45 - The moon is branded with a magical sigil, causing it to cast a zone of truth over everything touched by the moonlight.
46 - The moon is branded with a magical sigil, causing it to turn everything touched by the moonlight into a wild magic zone.
47 - The moon is branded with a magical sigil, putting everything in the moonlight inside an antimagic field.
48 - The moon is a colossal coin. Rather than full or new moon, the phases are heads or tails, and it's random every night.
49 - The moon is a vampire. Blood slowly flows upwards to it at night time, causing beacons of glistening red at night in places where things have been killed during the day. Battlefields become crimson waterfalls at night. Some blood stays in the air as sanguine clouds - they say those spirits haven't moved on to the afterlife, and during the blood-rain they haunt the world.
50 - The moon pulsates in many different colors, the patterns being used by diviners to tell the future.
51 - The moon makes the night nearly as bright as day, but less hot.
52 - The moon flashes like a strobe light, making seeing at night even harder.
53 - The moon is a magical illusion, and because this is common knowledge it appears transparent.
54 - The moon shoots concentrated beans of moonlight down at any humanoids it sees outside during night-time. Most likely live underground, in massive structures, or under forest canopies.
55 - The moon speaks to everyone at night through telepathy. It is nearly all-knowing because of this, but great at keeping secrets. This may be how the Common language spread.
56 - The moon is the slumbering form of Atropus, the World Born Dead. (next bunch is from u/quantumturnip)
57 - The moon is a dead eldritch abomination that periodically hijacks people for unknown long-term goals.
58 - The moon houses a portal to another dimension, used as a methods of escape by the gods during some long-forgotten war.
59 - Long ago, a wizard got tired of worldly politics and left for the moon. He is now a lich and has his own magical research facility on the moon, populated by sentient undead.
60 - Multiple rival countries have established their own bases on the moon. None of them are aware that their rivals also have moonbases. Or maybe they are, it's your setting - go wild.
61 - Literally just a giant ball of cheese in space. (also, u/World-of-Ideas thought of this too, but I'm keeping it as just the one entry)
62 - The moon has its' own moons orbiting it
63 - The moon is chained to the surface of the planet
64 - The moon changes color each month, and a year is measured by the color cycle.
65 - There is a giant fingerprint on the moon.
66 - That’s no moon. It’s a space station. (u/infinitum3d)
67 - The moon is the eye (artificial, real) of some giant planet sized being, that lost its eye. (u/World-of-Ideas for the next bunch)
68 - The moon is a giant space station built by some ancient race.
69 - The moon is actually a giant colony ship. It delivered the original colonist to this world so long ago, that no one remembers.
70 - The moon is the shed carapace of some giant space creature.
71 - The moon is a planetary shield generator. It is meant to keep something imprisoned on the planet.
72 - The moon is a planetary shield generator. It is meant to (block the frequent meteor storms, keep outsider out, reduce solar radiation because the planet is too close to the sun).
73 - The moon is a hole in this reality. If one travels through it they would end up in a solar system in another dimension.
74 - The moon is an illusion. For some reason only the natives of this world can see the moon and the light that is reflects. Travelers from other worlds can't see it.
75 - The moon can only be seen by those who will die tonight. (u/mil_a1)
76 - The moon disappears for months at a time. (u/mil_a1)
77 - The moon is hollow and strange things live on the inside. (u/mil_a1)
78 - The moon is suspended above the world by chains that affix to the sky. Many of the chains are rusted through, and broken chains hang down from the moon. The longest of these broken chains drag thick gashes into the planet below. (u/Paydirt49)
79 - The equator of the moon is inscribed with a sentence though only half can be seen from the ground. (u/CommonlyQuixotic)
80 - The moon is a prison, housing a dangerous entity. (u/Daloowee)
81 - The moon is actually a highly sophisticated satellite designed to monitor the biggest threats contained on the planet. Manned by 2 chill guys Mike and Dave and their gazer pet, Goober. They are able to project themselves down to the planet and project the gazer as a beholder. (u/DrBeefsome)
82 - One of the most powerful spellcasters to ever live cast a spell that put a permanent sigil on the moon. If you copy the sigil onto a piece of paper and then step onto it, your viewpoint changes to be from the moon. (u/AlephBaker)
83 - The moon is replaced with a rift in time and space. (u/UmbramonOrSomething)
84 - The moon is rigged with explosives in case a threat erupts on the planet. (u/UmbramonOrSomething)
85 - The moon is made of thousands of different types of crystals smashed together into a ball. (u/UmbramonOrSomething)
86 - The moon is a giant, floating, white pig. (u/UmbramonOrSomething)
87 - The moon is actually an interstellar beast (think space whales) (u/UmbramonOrSomething)
88 - The moon is an eyeball and its different phases are just how much its eyelid has blinked. (u/Aspiring-Mutant) + The eye-moon tells you if your enemies are aware of your presence/how aware they are. The greatest thieves and assassins and that one kid who hid so well in Hide-And-Seek you had to file a police report are said to be able to black out the moon entirely just by crouching… (u/BuddyWhoOnceToldYou)
89 - The moon is anti-predictable. If you try and predict where or when it appears that is the one time/place it cannot be. (u/Metal-Teacher)
90 - The moon's phases control the moral compass of the planet's residents. (u/Metal-Teacher)
91 - The moon is in a highly eccentric orbit, causing massively different tides and gravitational effects. (u/Metal-Teacher)
92 - The moon, when it appears at noon and reflects light into a room, can cause a boon to goons. The boon is a familiar cat in a hat. (u/Metal-Teacher)
93 - The moons are in chaotic orbits, one day they might crash into one another. (u/Metal-Teacher)
94 - The moon is always opposite the sun, like it's hiding from it. For this reason, it is always red. (u/MitigatedRisk)
95 - The moon changes in size rather than waxing and waning (u/MitigatedRisk)
96 - If you look at the moon through a telescope, you're actually seeing the world at some point in the future (u/MitigatedRisk)
97 - The moon used to be a planet before someone sent it rocketing around the solar system. Warforged, Constructs, and similar beings still wander its long dead surface. (u/Kingsdaughter613)
98 - The moon is known as Vagabond (vague-a-bond). The moon is a mirror ball of astronomical size that makes the material plane accessible to all other planes of existence simultaneously. Thinning the metamorphic veil, meaning that you can take a walk into another plane of existence by accident (u/Emotional_Guillotine)
99 - The 72 Demon Sigils as moons (together known as Hell's Courtroom) (u/Emotional_Guillotine)
100 - The 7 archangels as moons (together known as the Radiant Citadel) (u/Emotional_Guillotine)
101 - The 12 zodiac and or astrology moons (u/Emotional_Guillotine)
102 - One moon per school of magic or plane of existence (u/Emotional_Guillotine)
103 - The 22 Alchemy Symbols as moons (u/Emotional_Guillotine)
104 - The 78 cards of a tarot deck as moons (u/Emotional_Guillotine)
105 - The 22 major arcana as moons (u/WashabePlus)
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2023.03.22 03:59 Suspicious-Poetry221 What would you do? Pay extra or say ha.

Seller of a home just listed under a week ago had open house & we fell in love with the renovations, the space in each room, the layout and ease of access from multiple points- side, front and backyard. The fenced in yard, pool, master suite with built in sauna , basement with entertainment & game bar & movie theater area. & basement gym. The bedrooms are ample sizes but have small Victorian sized closets (still plenty big for dresser, desk, and full/queen beds, renovated bathrooms, finished attic with a man cave lol (urinal for bathroom & separated living area and gaming area), low taxes even upon sale/reassessment, above ground pool.
Good: -recently replaced roof, furnace, central air, oil tank removal, oldest thing is the fence within 10 years.
-has a dining room and living room and family room!!
Issues; -On a Busy road. Like the town residents complained all over the Facebook page saying don’t live off main road always get traffic. An accident can cause a standstill for an hour. (It’s literally the only main drag for multiple towns off the highway, less you spend time and effort driving double the distance out of way)
(However Victorian house may have good insulation. Because couldn’t head main road from inside besides one room where the old windows are still there)
-house is a foot or less away from neighbor. Yuck. At least the windows on that side are minimal and u kind of forget to look over there
-corner lot, doesn’t bother me, just hate how other corner is main drag.
-school system good, not the best. Not horrible. Good for sports
-kitchen eventually needs a remodel maybe add big walk in pantry and remove eik and install center island.
Unknowns: -across from police station/municipal building
-over time other areas have become a flood zone due to small river- so afraid over time area may actually be a flood zone in future.
-Home is built pre 1900.
Selling agent has been saying they’ve been expecting multiple offers, however after our offer was submitted 10k over ask, they’re saying they appreciate the offer and the thoroughness of our application from lender and realtor, but they want to show the house again and expected multiple offers and want 40k over what they listed. So they’re asking us to raise our offer to match what their mental expectation was and we’re guaranteed the house and they won’t accept or show the house. They’ve owned it for almost 20 years. And their list is almost 200% what they bought it for.
We toyed with the idea of just paying the 15k extra. However the house in the area doesn’t justify spending extra. Recent sales , even if above 20% list are still below our over asking offer Our relator says we’d basically guarantee covering over appraisal. Lender says we’d just renegotiate or walk.
So we’ve politely declined to increase our offer 15k. If they want to be greedy, that’s fine. Figured if it’s meant to be it’s meant to be. However if they come back to us edging 2 weeks after their open house pending this week we’ll consider decreasing our offer to the list price for being greedy haha.
Why is this all mental mind games, guessing games, and a game of chicken
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2023.03.22 03:36 PuppyLover77 Win a Bestway Steel Pro MAX 18 Foot x 48 Inch Round Metal Frame Above Ground Outdoor Swimming Pool {US} (03/27/2023)

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2023.03.22 03:36 PuppyLover77 Win a Bestway Steel Pro MAX 18 Foot x 48 Inch Round Metal Frame Above Ground Outdoor Swimming Pool {US} (03/27/2023)

Win a Bestway Steel Pro MAX 18 Foot x 48 Inch Round Metal Frame Above Ground Outdoor Swimming Pool {US} (03/27/2023) submitted by PuppyLover77 to sweepstakes [link] [comments]

2023.03.22 02:40 LeeCloud27 ACT 2-6-6: Lingering Scarlet Fear

"Tell me, please. Everything you know." Sumireko asked Meiling.
"Everything?" Meiling asked. "What do you mean by-"
"The state of the mansion, the whereabouts of all the residents, whatever happened to Koakuma and Patchouli, the events that took place in Gensokyo. I want to know what exactly happened here. Please, I want to know what went wrong, and you seem to be one of the only people around who has an idea of what exactly happened." Sumireko said in a single breath.
She looked at Meiling with a serious and scared look. Meiling looked back at her with minor bewilderment, only to lower her head as the calm and gentle look she had was replaced with one more grievous.
"You want to know how it all started? I can do that." Meiling said. "I’ll tell you everything I know."

Switching POVs…

Several months ago…
It was the night of the Moon Festival. I had been taking a break from my daily duty of gatekeeping and had been enjoying a nice cup of tea with everyone else in the living quarters. Sakuya’s tea was always a delight to enjoy and helped keep me from feeling fatigued after the long hours I put in.
I was talking to her and Patchouli about how nice a night it was and the things we would’ve done over at the Moon Festival had we gone. Unfortunately, we decided to stay at home since it was one of the few nights where we could enjoy the peace and quiet.
"It is a shame that we decided not to go." I say. "I would’ve wanted to try all the delicious foods they have over there."
"I agree. I heard that the Kappas had something called a ‘fried cucumber on a stick’, which sounds weird but at the same time very appetizing." Koakuma said as she poured Patchouli another cup of tea. "Wouldn’t you agree, Lady Patchouli?"
"Hm…I think staying at home was for the best. We had a lot of chaos this past week, especially with the way both Remilia and Flandre were acting." Patchouli said. "Did anyone else feel like it was odd of them to be so childish with one another?"
"I didn’t think they were exactly childish." Sakuya added. "Though, it was weird on the day that Fargo Kid came, they were acting much different. It’s not everyday you see them bicker or do something so meaningless."
"Hey! We weren’t bickering! We were having a well-conducted discussion about pudding!" Flandre said. "Besides, you were the one who decided to buy a road roller from Kourindou the other day!" She pointed at Sakuya.
"...Fair." Sakuya said while I laughed. I noticed the look she gave me, almost seemingly threatening to pull out her knives, so I stopped myself.
"Um…Well, we can’t forget about that book Koakuma has, can we?" I say.
Koakuma flinched, nearly dropping the kettle when she was pouring herself some tea. "T-That was only one time! Besides, I burned the thing, so there’s no way anyone else will be reading it anytime soon."
"Book? What kind of book?" Flandre asked in an oh-so innocent manner.
"It’s nothing a lady like you should be reading!" Koakuma responded.
"...Say, I wonder where Remilia is right now?" Patchouli asked out of nowhere.
"Didn’t she say she was going to be talking to someone?" I asked. "But the way she was acting was a bit strange indeed."
"Yeah," Sakuya said. "She was acting as though-"
And then it happened. We heard the sound of the doors to the room opening up. We stopped our conversation to look at who it was.
We saw Remilia standing there, wearing a black dress that she almost never wears except on certain occasions. Her eyes were closed when she walked in, her steps almost sounding like echoes with each step in the immediate silence we all displayed. I took a look at her, at her posture, her hands, and her face. Her smile was wide, too wide. She didn’t have the look of a humble vampire who got home from an evening stroll. She looked more…sinister. It only took one sense of her qi to get the idea of what’s going on.
“Something’s not right.” I thought.
"Milady?" Sakuya said. "What brings you here? And why are you wearing one of your event dresses?"
"..." Remilia stayed silent; her eyes opened up to reveal not the familiar scarlet-red ones but purple. She looked around at all of us. She looked at me, at Patchouli and Koakuma, at Flandre, but didn’t look at Sakuya for some reason. Then her mouth opened up, and she spoke.
"F̷̜̓o̶̜̿ṷ̶̉r̷̓ͅ ̴̱́P̸̱̂u̴̗͋n̶̗͑c̶͕̅h̴̰̉i̶̱̕n̴̤̄g̸̹͆ ̸͚̑B̶̼̅a̵͝ͅg̶̘̀s̷̠̽ ̵͇̅a̴͖͗n̵͖̿d̶̪͑ ̶̟̈́ä̴͇́ ̶̢̉L̸̨͒o̷̬͛y̸̩̍ȧ̷̝l̵̟̾ ̵̨̄B̴̡̍i̷͓̎t̶̠̕c̴͉̃h̶͕̽.̴̪̃.̷̟̃.̵͈́I̴̙̔ ̴̩̋h̴̠̀ỉ̷̼ẗ̴̡́ ̷̗̃t̴͙̍h̷̞̉e̵̦͝ ̷̰̾j̷̼̓ả̸͜c̵̳̀k̴̲̃p̴̞̑o̸̟͆t̴̝̀.̶̦̊" She spoke in a hard-to-distinguish voice. That was when we all knew something was wrong.
I stood up from my seat, getting into a fighting stance as I readied for what was to come.
"WHO ARE YOU!?" I shouted. "What did you do to Lady Re-"
She vanished from sight, and a split second later she was in front of me as I felt a heavy blow pass through my stomach. I was knocked back, falling to the ground due to my energy flow being disrupted and the immense pain that followed.
"Meiling!" I heard Flandre shout. "Why did you hurt her, Onee-Chan!?"
"Onee-Chan?" Remilia said. "So you’re her sister… How ironic." She said. She zipped over to Flandre, grabbing her by the neck and squeezing with her hand while lifting her up.
"Let go of me. Why are you-aa…aaaugh…ack…" Flandre tried to speak, but due to being strangled, she was unable to.
"Hm…I can sense a lot of destructive power coming from you… I think I can use that somehow. I’ll think of a way though, so I’ll keep you." She said. I watch her throw Flandre over at where Patchouli and Koakuma were, hitting them both and sending them all to the ground. The sound of teacups shattering rang in my ears while I tried to stand back up.
I look back down at my hands, noticing a purple electrical energy coursing through them. It felt weird, but at the same time it was good, too good. It was an intoxicating sensation that I knew could easily consume me if I allowed it. I focused my energy, releasing this corrupt energy from my body, then stood back up again, more focused than before.
"Oh? You’re back up already?" Remilia spoke to me. "And your eyes don’t seem any different…Not everyday you come across someone who can resist the feeling of power." She said.
"Don’t move, or I’ll slice your neck off." Sakuya said, standing behind Remilia while holding a knife to her throat. She looked at me, giving me a nod while I nodded back, and moved to help Patchouli and the others back up.
"...If you wanted me dead, you would have done so by now, right Sakuya?" Remilia asked her. "Your ability to stop time would allow you to do whatever you please and no one would even know, yet you don’t take advantage of your ability to its fullest extent. Why is that? Is it because you know it would be too unfair for your opponents, or perhaps an external, omniscient force up above us is making it so that no one in this universe is allowed to use their powers to their full capacity?"
In a blink of an eye, Remilia seemingly warped from one stance to another, facing Sakuya instead of being pinned towards her. She grabbed her wrist, pulling her knife towards her neck instead, a hint of blood leaking out of the small wound that she gave herself using Sakuya’s blade.
"So why don’t you do it now? Kill me while you wield that precious weapon of yours. End the biggest threat you’ll ever face before it can unleash havoc." She smiled almost sadistically, only for her tone to switch and her face to express sudden sadness rather than vile intent.
"Ẃ̵̠-̶̥̎Ẅ̶͕́a̴̖̒ì̷͔ṯ̷͝.̵͕͝.̸̦̑.̷̪̋ ̷̾ͅD̵̝̏-̷̻͂D̷̖̾ò̶̟n̸͓͝'̵̙̍t̶͉̕ ̶̣͒l̴̙͆i̴̭̓s̵̥̎t̸̮͑e̵̯͛n̵̼͐.̴̘̆.̷̣̂.̸͕̐ ̶̗͌T̸͉̋-̶̱̆T̵͛͜-̸̯̾T̶̺͌õ̵͜ ̵̺̿h̷͕̆ė̸̠r̶͔̔.̸̧́.̶̞͆.̴̖̃ ̷̟̓S̴̬͑a̶̫̔k̴̰̓u̶̩͝y̷̺͊a̴͓̐.̸͙̐.̷͉͋.̵͎͝ ̷̩̀Ẹ̷͒v̸̠̾e̵̪͘r̷̗̎ý̵͔o̵̭͋n̵͔̕e̷̬̓.̶̧̈.̵̂ͅ.̸̨̈́ ̵͊ͅṔ̸͔l̸̠͠e̷̅͜a̵͕͑s̶̰͐ë̸̖́.̸̱̅.̶̩͝.̴͈̋ ̶͍͆I̵̘̔ ̵͇̚ṇ̷̅ȩ̴̀e̵̼̿d̴͙̎ ̷̅͜y̷͚̔ô̸ͅu̵̠̐ ̴̯̍t̸̮̓o̴̙̅.̴̱͋.̴̤́.̸͎̕" I could hear Remilia’s voice while I was helping Flandre back on her feet. All of us were shocked to hear Remilia speak before that imposter took back control.
"Ah, whoops, I let her slip a little…But I think you get the idea of what’s at risk should you end my life now." She said, pulling the knife closer to her neck, letting the tip of the blade dig into her skin. "So, are you willing to sacrifice your beloved mistress, Sakuya Izayoi?"
Sakuya stared at her for a few moments before dropping the knife, the sound of the blade colliding with the polished wooden floor flat on its side. I could see the look on her face. Of all the years I’ve known Sakuya, I've never seen her show a look of hesitation.
"...I-I…Can’t…Hurt the mistress…" Sakuya said.
"Oh? You can’t? But why? There is nothing preventing you from doing so. Literally nothing…But I suppose so long there exists a consequence, nothing can ever truly be done simply because someone wants to, because someone can… Unlike me, who has nothing to lose."
She let go of Sakuya’s hand, stepping away from her while Sakuya reached back down to grab her knife. Then, using her own hand, she formed one of her scarlet spears that she is known to wield and began walking around us. I kept my guard up, staying by Patchouli and the others if she decided to get close.
"...Relax, I’m not going to kill you all…Yet." She said. "All I want is a place I can stay until my plan comes to fruition. Considering you all care oh so much for your friend, you have no choice but to allow me to stay. Should you try to fight back, go against my commands, or even drag others into this…Then I’ll show you how one goes about killing a vampire in the most painful, brutal fashion imaginable."
She stopped pacing and stood before us, looking into our eyes.
"Do we understand one another?"

Switching POVs

"We all had no choice but to comply. We couldn’t risk losing Remilia, let alone have someone else suffer our fate. We ended up spending the next several months living with that monster, Inco. Patchouli took it upon herself to maximize our security while also looking for a possible solution to save Remilia. I, on the other hand, forced myself to be as awake as possible to ensure no one outside the mansion got close. But it wasn’t easy. Day after day she did whatever she pleased, abusing us in ways that only got more and more creative as time progressed. She would constantly abuse Flandre verbally and make her feel like she’s the cause of all our problems; Patchouli and Koakuma were overfed and starved respectively, and I ended up being her main target for unleashing her anger and joy. Yet for some reason she spared Sakuya everytime, but always kept her around to watch the rest of us be tortured." Meiling finished explaining.
"I-I’m so sorry you had to go through that." Sumireko said.
"That’s not even the worst of it… On one particular day we had a trial take place over at the Human Village, and for some reason Inco wanted only Sakuya to attend…I haven’t seen her since, nor have I seen Remilia come back."
"W-What about Patchouli, or Koakuma? What happened to them?"
"She broke…Inco broke her… On that same day the trial took place, I ran inside the mansion when I knew something was up… I went into the library first to find Patchouli but…I saw…Koakuma…" Meiling hesitated to finish her sentence. "E-Eating her."
"...E…Eating?" Sumirkeo asked with alarm.

I ran into the mansion the moment I saw the darkened sky. All I could think about at that moment was looking for Flan and the others. I sprinted down the halls, arriving at where the library was and barged through.
"Patchouli! Koakuma!!!" I shouted, running inside the apparent dark yet spacious room. I ran inside until I arrived where I knew Patchouli would be. "We need to get out of here! Something went wrong, and I don’t think-"
I stopped, taking another look at what I was staring at. I froze upon seeing what my eyes were exposed to.
"P…Patchouli?" I say.
I couldn’t believe my eyes as I looked down at the sight beneath me. Patchouli lay on the ground, looking almost lifeless, while the ravenous beast that I knew to be Koakuma was going at it, clawing at her and digging into her insides. Her skin looked ghastly pale and shriveled up; she showed no signs of having any muscle or fat, yet she was going at it like a lion that hadn’t eaten in days.
"I’m so sorry…. I’m sorry. I’m sorry… I’m sorry… I’m so sorry… I’m so so sorry Lady Patchouli… I’m sorry… I’m sorry…" Koakuma said over and over again while continuously eating her. "I’m just so hungry… I haven’t eaten anything proper in a long long time… She wouldn’t let me… I wasn’t allowed to eat… I’m just so hungry… You understand right? You understand that I need to eat food to live… You understand, don’t you? Don’t you Lady Patchouli? I’m just doing this for the sake of my survival… It’s your fault anyway; you were allowed to eat. She was so kind and generous to you, letting you fatten up that gluttonous belly you have, your plump and juicy body. I-It's not my fault… It’s not my fault… IT’S NOT MY FAULT YOU HAPPEN TO BE SO FUCKING DELICIOUS!!!" Koakuma screamed with a mouth full of blood and flesh.
I watch her continue to gouge into her. I was shaken up, unable to react. I only stood there, afraid of what ended up between those two. Koakuma stopped for a moment, turning her head around to look at me with those cold, ravenous eyes.
"What’s wrong, Meiling?" Koakuma said, pulling out what I could only assume was one of Patchouli’s organs. "You want some? It’s deliiiiiiiiicous." She said while biting into it.
I was so afraid that I turned around and left the library, instead going over to find Flandre.

"I wasn’t able to save Koakuma or Patchouli; I failed to save either of them by the time she turned into that abomination, a former shell of someone I called a friend." Meiling said.
"B…But you managed to save me. You healed me with the flower. Couldn’t you have done the same for them?"
"...You don’t think I tried?" Meiling said. "I was able to use the flower on you, but… For some reason, it wouldn’t let me save them. The flower allowed me to bring you back because you were still alive, but they were not. I had to kill Koakuma with my bare hands just to keep you from dying. And Patchouli…She was far too gone when I saw her again. All that remained was a living corpse that felt nothing but misery."
"...W…What about Flandre?" I ask. "Did she also turn into that?"
"...No…She did not." Meiling said. "When I found Flandre, she was hiding in one of the bedrooms of the mansion. We tried to escape together but… I-I haven’t seen her ever since."
Meiling slowly but surely began to shake, and her words started to sound more sorrowful with a heartbreaking tone. "...I lost everyone…I lost Lady Remilia to that person who called herself Inco. I worry that Sakuya met the same fate. I was forced to kill Koakuma with my own hands, and I had to put Patchouli out of her misery because I couldn’t watch her suffer any longer… I don’t even know if Flandre is even okay. I lost everyone. I-I lost!!! And it’s… It’s all because of that damn tyrannical-!!!"
Instead of finishing her sentence, Meiling proceeded to make a dent in the wall next to her. A dent in a shelter that was designed to withstand WWII Era Bombcraft, and she managed to damage it with her fist. Sumireko was startled when she showed her frustrations instead of shouting them out. Meiling put her hands on her face, almost looking like she wanted to cry but didn’t, yet she wanted to regardless.
"Meiling…" Sumireko spoke again. "I…listen. I think Flandre is still out there."
"Huh? What makes you say that?" Meiling asked, removing her hands from her face.
"I found something a while ago that may hint at her still being around. We shouldn’t give up hope just yet; I’m certain we can find her." Sumireko said. "But first, I need you to help me. I have someone who’s also trapped inside the mansion. Her name is Ko-Chan, and I’m worried about what may happen to her if I don’t do anything."
"...I-I’m sorry but…Even if I wanted to, I can’t help you with that." Meiling said. "I’ve seen what those god-like beings are capable of. I nearly lost my life twice after accidentally confronting them the few times I looked for a possible way out. It’s safer if we stay in this shelter where they can’t reach us."
Sumireko sighed.
"What are you even saying, Meiling? That doesn’t sound like the brave gatekeeper who stands diligently in front of the mansion gate, keeping trespassers out while protecting those who threaten the other residents. What happened to the Expert Martial Artist, the Champion of Sleeping While Standing, the sworn enemy of the Legendary Catfish?"
The last one caught Meiling off-guard a little, "W-Where did you hear that?"
"All I’m saying is that you can’t give up now. Not while there is still hope, a chance, a moment to make a difference. Would the other members of the mansion give up on you? No, of course not. They would probably use whatever they have up their sleeves to save you from whatever issue you face, so you should do the same. Do it for me, for them, for Flandre."
Meiling didn’t say anything for a moment. There was a brief silence afterwards, followed by a confident smirk from the gatekeeper herself.
"First, all I can say is that you need to work on your speeches a little. Second, you’re right. I’ll help you save them." Meiling said. "But if we’re going to do this, we’ll need a plan on how to handle the imposing threat that lingers inside the Scarlet Mansion spreading fear."
Sumireko nodded her head. "Just tell me what to do."

On the second floor of the mansion, Satsujin, Rumia, Cirno, Mary, and Suika were all walking together, following the cybernetic cat as it led them down the everlasting hallway. They made twists and turns; checked doors and rooms. But all they found were roots, deceased hobgoblins, and fairy maids who had experienced tragic fates. So far, most of them were feeling very uneasy as they continued down the hall.
"How many doors are we going to check until we find something other than a dead body?" Cirno complained. "It’s just nothing but stuff you would find in a horror story, and it sends shivers down my spine."
"So even an ice fairy can feel shivers." Suika commented.
"Well at least one of us is lucky to not have to see all the blood-gushing bodies all over the place, right Satsu? Speaking of blood, I’m feeling thirsty. Do you mind if I-" Mary said.
"No." Satsujin said.
"I didn’t even get to finish what I was about to say~."
"Regardless of what your intent was, the answer remains the same."
"Hmph! You’re no fun." Mary expressed.
While everyone else was chatty, Rumia was silent. All she could think about was Ko at the moment, yet the sights of dead or mangled bodies only made her more uneasy. It reminded her of her past, what she used to be, and how hard she has tried to move away from it.
She could still recall the happy smiles of her Reimu, how they made her turn a new leaf and experience the life of a family, but now she was in a land that was the same as her own, yet it was unfamiliar at the same time. Sometimes she thinks about what her purpose was in all of this; why was she of all people brought here? It’s no doubt that Cirno probably thinks the same, yet she doesn’t bang her head around the matter.
The group continued to follow Amai when she suddenly stopped on her feet.
"Huh? Amai, did you sense something?" Satsujin asked the cat.
Amai turned her head over at the wall on her right, and then she started sprinting down the hall as quickly as she could, leaving the others behind.
"Amai!? Where are you going!?" Satsujin asked, running after the cat.
The others pursued him and Amai, but the chase was cut short when they all heard the sound of screaming.
"Help!!! Help!!! Get away from me!!! Heeeeelp!!!" A voice chirped.
Satsujin turned his head over at one of the doors on the right, his eyes figuratively widened with shock upon realizing who that voice belonged to.
"Huh? What was that screaming?" Mary said. "It sounds kind of familiar."
"That voice… It can’t be…" He said.
"Because it is not!" Apathetic Satsujin’s voice yelled in his head. "That is obviously a trap, and you are a fool for going in!"
Satsujin ignored the voice in his head and ran right for the door anyway. He literally tore the door off its hinges, revealing a girl with torn-up clothing struggling to move away from what looked like a zombified hobgoblin.
"Ew! No!!! Get back! Help! Help!!!" The girl cried. Her hair was a shade of pink, her eyes gray, and her clothing white and brown. She had a pair of wings on her back, but both her wings and her arms and legs were bound up together in roots.
"Heh heh heh… I’m going to be feasting on some tasty pheasant." The hobgoblin said while making some ludacris tongue noises. "But first, maybe I should have some fun with you."
"Noooooo!!!" She screamed. The hobgoblin laughed maniacally, reaching for her, when suddenly a blade with a brand new handle came and split the hobgoblin in half. One half fell on the left, the other on the right, and blood spurted outward like a wringed sponge.
The blade, coated in blood, absorbed the contents while Mary became sated from acquiring some fresh blood yet again. With a few quick slashes, he cut off the roots binding the girl’s arms, legs, and wings up before he moved the blade back into his cloak, inserting it into its sheath.
"Mystia?" Satsujin said, facing the girl. "Are you alright?"
"S…Satsujin? Is that…Really you? You’re…You’re not one of those fakes, right?" The girl said. "Why do you look so ghostly?"
"It’s a bit of a long story, but let’s just say that I kind of ran into an embodiment of death." Satsujin said.
He reached his hand out, helping the girl back up. Mystia stood up, and moved to embrace the man, hugging him tight.
"You’re so…cold…But your heart is still warm." Mystia said. "It really is you."
Satsujin returned the hug, feeling happy to be able to reunite with Mystia. The others were either confused as to who the girl was or how they were inside the Scarlet Devil Mansion of all places. But their confusion was cut short when Gummy, who was riding on Rumia’s shoulder the entire time, noticed a smaller figure walking into the room.
"Ribbit!!! Ribbit!!!" Gummy croaked.
Rumia looked over by the door, and saw a very damaged Shanghai. She looked as if she had been thrown and brittled, her shoulder dislocated, and her clothes burned. She was leaning against the wall, looking weak and tired.
"Shang…hai…" She said.
"Shanghai? What happened to you!?" Rumia moved to help Shanghai as the doll struggled to keep standing. "Where are Sumireko and Ko!?"
"Shanghai…Shang…Hai…" She said.
"Ribbit…Ribbit?" Gummy responded back.
"Ah…I forgot we can’t understand either of you without Ko." Rumia said.
"Ko…Ko!!!" Mystia pulled away from Satsujin, speaking with immense worry. "I remember her! She’s trapped in here too! I know where she may be!" She said.
"Wait, you do?" Satsujin asked. "How do you-"
"There’s no time! We have to go save them before it’s too late!" Mystia said, pushing past Cirno and Suika and leaving the room, turning right down the hall. "C’mon! Hurry!!!"
"Lead the way!" Rumia said. She started following Mystia, while carrying both Gummy and Shanghai. Cirno followed, and so did Suika and Mystia. Satsujin was about to do the same when he stopped upon hearing his apathetic self again.
"Wait wait wait… What are you doing you fool!?"
"Huh? What do you mean?"
"This is way too convenient. First you find the one person you’ve been wanting to find; next, they know the other person you’re trying to save, and now she’s leading you right to them. It’s obviously a trap!" The Apathetic Satsujin said.
"A trap? We just found Mystia and you’re already accusing her of being a liar?" Satsuki said. "Honestly, you’ve been so paranoid lately, ever since we came in here."
"I’m just trying to make sure this gullible bird-lover doesn’t get us killed…again!"
"Hey! I’m not gullible! I trust Mystia; she’s done nothing wrong!"
"How do you even know she’s the real Mystia anyways? You should know by now whether or not she’s real."
Once again, Satsujin rambled and argued with his other personalities, while the others watched him, very confused. Mystia especially as she had no idea what was going on.
"Um… Why is Satsujin…" Mystia asked.
"We don’t really know either." Cirno said. "We’re pretty sure he either developed some kind of split personality."
"I see…Are any of them dangerous?"
"Well we had a run-in with one of them a few days ago, but other than that, not particularly." Suika said.
Satsujin’s split personality conversation continued on, all three variants bickering like dogs barking between a fence. It was up to Satsuki to get them both to stop.
"Hey! Stop it you two!" She said, using her trusty bat to bonk both of them to make them stop fighting. "We don’t have time to argue; we should focus on our objective and get out of here as soon as possible. Satsujin, It’s up to you on whether we should follow Mystia or not."
"What!? Don’t just leave it up to him! It’s obvious what his decision would be!" The Apathetic Satsujin said. "And why leave it up to a choice? That almost sounds meaningless to do!"
"Well we don’t know until he speaks. Satsujin, what’s it going to be?" Satsuki asked him.
View Poll
submitted by LeeCloud27 to touhou [link] [comments]

2023.03.22 01:58 FreestyleKneepad robbie reyes update

Respect Robbie Reyes, the Ghost Rider!

"I just won your stupid hell race by showing you that a Ghost Rider doesn't have to ride alone. That maybe it's best when we don't. Because amid all the hellfire and penance and racing to beat the devil, it's family that keeps us sane."

Robbie Reyes is the latest in a long line of Ghost Riders, but one thing makes him very different. Typically, a potential Ghost Rider makes a deal with the devil and as a result, they are bound to a Spirit of Vengeance and become a Ghost Rider. That's not the case with Robbie Reyes.
In order to help feed himself and his disabled kid brother Gabe, Robbie competed in an illegal street race in Hillrock Heights, CA. Unfortunately, the race was busted up by the cops and Robbie found himself chased down. He gave up, expecting to be arrested, but was instead gunned down by the mercenaries that were actually responsible for the bust. That would have been the end of the story were it not for the spirit of Eli Morrow, Robbie's uncle and a deranged, Satan-worshipping serial killer. Eli had been haunting the car, and when Robbie died Eli possessed his body and brought him back to life, complete with new Ghost-Rider-adjacent powers indicative of Eli's connection with Hell. Robbie's willpower and good nature battled with Eli's bloodlust and unhinged personality for quite some time, making it difficult for Robbie to act as a Ghost Rider.
Later on, Robbie found himself embroiled in a conflict between a thrown-together group of Avengers and Loki commanding a bunch of nigh-unstoppable Celestials. Despite feeling way out of his league, Robbie fought alongside Captain America, Thor, Iron Man and others to defeat them, and ended up being the newest (and youngest) member of the reformed Avengers.
During his time with the Avengers, Robbie felt as though Eli had left him at some point (and in fact, he had recently gotten a proper Spirit of Vengeance as a replacement), but before he could get a handle on his powers, Robbie was corrupted by minions of the Shadow Colonel and was used as a pawn against the Avengers, during which time Robbie was trapped in his own personal hell inside his mind. While trapped there, he called out to anyone to help him escape, which drew the attention of Johnny Blaze, the newest King of Hell. After racing and defeating Blaze for the possession of Robbie's Spirit of Vengeance, Robbie accepted his role as a proper Ghost Rider and remains with the Avengers to this day.
Not bad for a street kid from East LA.

Feat Legend / Scaling Context

The following Respect Threads are linked here for convenience as Robbie in some way fights them or scales to one or more of their stats. Please refer to the links below to help figure out how good one of Robbie's given feats is in this context.
I'll also be marking the sources for each feat, using the following shorthand. Mouse over each link to see where the feat comes from.
  • A18: Avengers (2018)
  • AN: All-New Ghost Rider (2014) - This is the origin story for 616 Robbie Reyes, and as such is generally his earliest showings (there is a ten-month timeskip near the end).
  • GR16: Ghost Rider (2016)
  • ML: Marvel Legacy (2017)
  • Race: Ghost Racers (2015) - This is an AU, but Robbie seems to remember some of it in 616 later on, making it questionably canon.
  • UG: The Unbelievable Gwenpool (2016)
  • War: War of the Realms (2019)
If an appearance only comes with one or two feats, I'll just list the full name in the mouseover. In all cases, generally the first link in the feat will have the tag.
Additionally, I've included a few tags for feats that are notably above or below what Robbie is typically capable of. [Limit] tags show limits or anti-feats that explicitly show Robbie or the Hell Charger failing to do something, and [Outlier] tags show feats I personally feel are wildly above what Robbie is typically capable of without some form of buff.

General Feats & Abilities

A note on lethality: early on, Robbie doesn't fight to kill anyone, usually opting to restrain or incap them and call the cops instead. He finds it difficult to resist the urge especially with Eli tempting him, however, and soon makes a deal with Eli that he'll kill the wicked to sate Eli's bloodlust, but only the truly wicked.
Like other Riders, Robbie can control his chains and make them grow to ridiculous lengths.
Penance Stare
For the entirety of his pre-Avengers runs, Robbie never had Penance Stare. In a fight with Starbrand, Robbie is hit by Starbrand's lasers and retaliates with Penance Stare. After the fight, Robbie expresses surprise that he did it, since he didn't even know he was capable of using it.
Robbie has good durability, but so far doesn't appear to possess the regeneration that other Ghost Riders have. When he first got shot to death and was healed by Eli Morrow his wounds vanished, but that was a one-time thing and Robbie wouldn't have been resurrected twice.
Miscellaneous Feats

Robbie's Ride: The Hell Charger

Like most other Ghost Riders, Robbie transforms his vehicle (often in an explosion of hellfire) into a powered-up Ghost Rider version of itself. Unlike most other Ghost Riders who prefer motorcycles, Robbie drives some good old fashioned American Muscle.
  • Chulk describes the car as going up to 6000 horsepower
    • Here's a couple videos on how horsepower works (it helps determine how much force the Hell Charger can output and how fast it can go): 1, 2. For reference, most Formula 1 cars hit around 750 horsepower, most Nascar cars are typically in the 800-900 horsepower range, and the Koenigsegg Jesko which can reach around 300 mph (482 km/h) has about 1600 horsepower at its best. At the high end, Top Fuel drag racers can wield up to 11,000 horsepower in a few brief seconds of acceleration.
    • Amadeus is known for doing mathematical calculations of pretty much everything, so he's a fairly reliable character for this.
Robbie can control the tangibility of his car and move through it at will.
Ramming / Driving Force
While generally comparable to a normal car, the Hell Charger can spontaneously repair any damage at any time.
As far as I can tell, there isn't anything the Hell Charger can't drive on.
Robbie and/or Eli can command or control the car to move independently of Robbie's actions, allowing them to tag team opponents and attack in unexpected ways.

"Pretty sure I can find my way back to Earth. ...Can't I? 'My very educated mother just served us nachos.' Uh, where are we right now in relation to nachos?"

submitted by FreestyleKneepad to freestylekneepad [link] [comments]

2023.03.22 01:27 Phrog_1 2011 335i N55 Coolant Leak

So I was driving to class ripping my car having fun, got to the lot and parked, was idling for about 10 min and started noticing large amounts of smoke from the hood. Shut the car off and saw a huge pool of coolant under the car, found out my expansion tank hose bursted (heard it was very common). The thing is coolant sprayed everywhere all over my engine bay and on my belt which is making it squeak, I also noticed that when I was driving home (engine temps were normal) I felt a very slight sluggishness every couple seconds as if it was misfiring. Once I replace the coolant line will it keep misfiring or did something get damaged? Also what’s a good way to clean out all the coolant in my engine bay?
submitted by Phrog_1 to MechanicAdvice [link] [comments]

2023.03.22 01:21 slightly_basic Confusing item location in randomizer?

So I found a fantastic farming spot with a malformed star right next to a grace that drops 70k runes per kill, and I was thinking to get the gold scarab talisman for even more runes, but the location in the cheat sheet is really confusing. It reads:
Gold Scarab in Liurnia of the Lakes - Ruined Labyrinth, Uld Palace Ruins: From Robed Corpse. Near Uhl Palace Ruins (Underground Ruins) - 127.33 away in 4 o'clock direction, 73.08 height offset. Replaces Stonesword Key.
Is it in the Uld Palace Ruins or Uhl Palace Ruins? I have scoured each of them, going from the ruined labyrinth grace and looking all around and exploring both of the Uhl Palace Ruins locations in the Ainsel River. On the wiki, the only location out of these with a stonesword key is the northern Uhl Palace Ruins, but I feel pretty certain I've found every item there. Does anyone have any advice?
UPDATE: Found it. If anyone has this same issue, it's actually gonna be directly north of the Ainsel River Well, above ground in Liurnia, on a corpse sitting on a chair close to the cliffs.
submitted by slightly_basic to EldenRingMods [link] [comments]

2023.03.22 01:20 ScoobertoV Skimmer Leak Repair Options

In ground pool here. I had a leak detection company identify leak(s) in my skimmers. They are very old. Is it worth paying $400 to do the skimmer injection, or paying $1,500 to replace the entire skimmer. Has anyone every done the injection? I just wonder if it’s a bandaid rather than a “permanent” fix.
submitted by ScoobertoV to pools [link] [comments]

2023.03.22 01:09 Phrog_1 N55 Coolant Leak

So I was driving to class ripping my car having fun, got to the lot and parked, was idling for about 10 min and started noticing large amounts of smoke from the hood. Shut the car off and saw a huge pool of coolant under the car, found out my expansion tank hose bursted (heard it was very common). The thing is coolant sprayed everywhere all over my engine bay and on my belt which is making it squeak, I also noticed that when I was driving home (engine temps were normal) I felt a very slight sluggishness every couple seconds as if it was misfiring. Once I replace the coolant line will it keep misfiring or did something get damaged?
submitted by Phrog_1 to BMW [link] [comments]

2023.03.22 01:08 Phrog_1 N55 Coolant Leak

So I was driving to class ripping my car having fun, got to the lot and parked, was idling for about 10 min and started noticing large amounts of smoke from the hood. Shut the car off and saw a huge pool of coolant under the car, found out my expansion tank hose bursted (heard it was very common). The thing is coolant sprayed everywhere all over my engine bay and on my belt which is making it squeak, I also noticed that when I was driving home (engine temps were normal) I felt a very slight sluggishness every couple seconds as if it was misfiring. Once I replace the coolant line will it keep misfiring or did something get damaged?
submitted by Phrog_1 to BmwTech [link] [comments]

2023.03.22 01:08 Phrog_1 N55 Coolant Leak

So I was driving to class ripping my car having fun, got to the lot and parked, was idling for about 10 min and started noticing large amounts of smoke from the hood. Shut the car off and saw a huge pool of coolant under the car, found out my expansion tank hose bursted (heard it was very common). The thing is coolant sprayed everywhere all over my engine bay and on my belt which is making it squeak, I also noticed that when I was driving home (engine temps were normal) I felt a very slight sluggishness every couple seconds as if it was misfiring. Once I replace the coolant line will it keep misfiring or did something get damaged?
submitted by Phrog_1 to 335i [link] [comments]

2023.03.22 00:59 ineedabettertitle Have you ever received a phantom call?

Your phone begins to vibrate, indicating that someone is calling you. You look down from whatever you were doing, and pull your phone out of your pocket. You look at the screen...and.
The screen is blank, no emails needing to be read, and no missed calls. The call was a hoax, it seemed to not exist. Just the imagination of a busy mind.
You chuckle to yourself. I must really be addicted to my phone if I am imagining it ringing, you think. You chalk it up to the phone suddenly changing position in your pocket, and get on with the task at hand.
Blissfully unaware.
You see, at that moment, they wanted your attention elsewhere.
Journal Excerpt, Ivan Mikhailov 9th March 1982 [Translated]
"You can't be serious with this." Dimitri slowly said, carefully reading what I had given him.
"It works. All preliminary tests and calculations have been run flawlessly. There seems to be no current limitations."
"No...limitations." He looked up at me, narrowing his eyes. "You do realise what this means for the future of energy?"
Of course, I was well aware. I had created it for that purpose after all.
I nodded. "As amazing as this may seem, this is only the beginning, imagine the possibilities. Endless."
His gaze shifted off into the distance. "Infinite, you mean."
His statement was correct. I had devised a way to create infinite energy from a finite source. This was always theorised to be impossible, you would either have to make the source do infinite work in finite time or have it do finite work in zero time. Both of which were scientifically unfeasible.
Key word being were.
I had opted for the finite work in zero time route. I had hypothesised that, if I was somehow able to slow down time to a complete halt in a specific location, even as small as a pinprick, then by moving the location past the speed of light, I would technically be able to manufacture infinite energy.
After years of trial and error, I was able to hone my research. It wasn't unstable, nor volatile, it would operate consistently and expectedly. In other words it was perfect.
And I was ready to share my discoveries to the world.
Dimitri looked at me again, snapping out from whatever daydream he was in, "You do realise we have to keep this under wraps, right? The potential power of th-"
"Under wraps?!" I interjected. "One of the greatest discoveries of our time, and you want to sweep it under the rug?"
Dimitri placed his head into his palms, clearly worried. "The Americans, man! We don't have the resources to do this practically right now. And if we did, their spies would surely discover it, and beat us to the punch. Remember the moon race? We'd be giving our enemies essentially the keys to unlimited energy, bad enough, but especially in this time!"
I didn't say anything. He was right, of course. But something this big couldn't be contained. Not on my life.
"We do not do anything about this now, agreed?" Dimitri asked.
"Agreed." I said, and got up to shake his hand.
I will start tonight.
This morning, there was a journal in my mailbox.
Covered in 'happy birthday' wrapping paper and topped off with a red bowtie. The journal itself was a faint green, leather-bound, and peeling at the edges. The pages were dog-eared and filled with inky diagrams of thoughts and ideas, machines and contraptions. Things that were really beyond my knowledge.
And it was written completely in Russian.
Intrigued, I ran it through an online translator, and began to read the journal. Most of it was technical jargon that I couldn't understand. But, occasionally, the author would write about what they did that day. I have inserted one such instance above.
After the excerpt I have shown you, the journal goes on to detail how this scientist builds a machine harnessing the power of 'both refracted nanoparticles and a manufactured gravitational pull to create a momentary time dilation in an area of 1nm².'
Essentially, he stopped time.
As best as I can reckon, the formulas and measurements he used were not known in his time, and the way he stopped time has been proven to not be scientifically possible. So I chalked up the journal to the ramblings of a mad scientist, intent on making a name for himself.
As I neared the end of the journal, his writings and notes became even more jumbled and incoherent, in my opinion further solidifying my point. On the very last page of the journal, the scientist had wrote, in very large letters, in what I have come to understand as his final words:
Below the message was a haphazard drawing of a man looking at some sort of device, and above him, was some sort of creature. I say creature, because while it was human in shape, it definitely wasn't intended to be interpreted as such. The creature was drawn with jagged lines which criss-crossed over each other in an irregular pattern, similar to how a toddler would aimlessly colour in shapes.
Its back seemed to be hunched over, making it parallel with its legs. The head was triangular in shape, and its hands were outreached towards the man on the ground.
I shivered at the picture. It looked frightening, of course, but the person who drew this was obviously demented. Grasping at straws, trying to prove that they had created an 'infinite energy' source.
I was closely studying this page of the journal, when my phone began vibrating. After a few seconds, I began to take it out of my pocket, when out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a flash of blue cross my ceiling. I took my hand out of my pocket and stood up, scanning the room for what I just saw.
On inspection, there was nothing out of the ordinary, so I took my phone, which had not stopped vibrating, out to look for who was calling me. And...nothing. No missed calls. I unlocked my phone and searched through my apps, but the search was fruitless. Nothing was new.
But my phone had definitely vibrated.
I put my phone down, wondering what had just happened, when I saw a glimpse of another blue flash on my left side. The flash was so small and inconsequential, that I probably wouldn't have noticed it, had I not been thinking about it.
Remembering something, I began to look through Ivan's journal again. I quickly flipped through the pages before I reached what I was looking for. It seemed like he was going through something similar to me.
Journal Excerpt, Ivan Mikhailov 15th January 1983 [Translated]
The first of the speed experiments has been an undeniable success. After manufacturing a way to retain the time dilation for lengthy periods of time, my next goal was to make it move faster than the speed of light, yet have it remain stationary.
The answer to this admittedly complex problem was simple.
Theoretically, if I could make the speed of vibration equal to the speed of light in a time dilated location, then my experiment would be a success.
So I put my theory to the test. And it worked. I was able to, using vibrations and time dilation, manufacture a source of infinite energy. In essence I was creating energy. Of course, since I had no way to contain this energy, it spilled out in all directions, which made some sort of hyper-blast. The resulting destruction has only set me back a couple of months.
My only goal now is to create some sort of energy containment unit to harness this unlimited energy source.
In other problems, which I believe are due to the hyper-blast, some technologies have been acting up. Vibrating and whirring as if they were on, although thorough investigation has proved that they most definitely were not hooked up to a power source. I am also occasionally seeing 'blue streaks' in the corner of my vision. I do not know the reason, and I am contemplating going to the doctor's for an examination.
This may be irrelevant, but the streaks seem to be more prevalent when I have abstained from using technology for a lengthy period of time.
I will look into this.
I closed the journal.
Blue streaks.
As if on cue, my phone began to vibrate again. A subtle reminder from deep within the recesses of my pockets that someone was trying to contact me. I ignored it.
If I wanted to learn more about these streaks, I had to apparently not use my phone.
So I sat in expectant silence. I didn’t know exactly what I was waiting for, or how long I had to wait for that matter. I ignored my still-vibrating phone and waited. After a while, my computer chassis started whirring and flashing its lights, as if it was in the process of turning on. I ignored that as well and moved my gaze away from the monitor.
A flash of blue.
Moving in and out of my peripheral vision in mere moments. I turned my head to see what had caused it but had no luck. I concentrated on where I had seen it last, and resolutely decided to spend all day here if I had to.
Another flash, purple and more prominent.
I again turned my gaze to fixate on it. Nothing. And so it went on for about an hour. I would catch a subtle glimpse of a colour and chase it around the room. Purples and pinks, blues and magenta, my vision was filled with dancing colours. Over time, the colours became more discernible, resolving themselves into blurry shapes of various sizes.
And then finally, it stopped.
The colours grouped together, in the far corner of my ceiling, swirling and muddling, but staying somewhat still. I could finally study what I was actually looking at. I got up to get a closer look, but still wary, I did not touch them.
They were fluttering around in a mini storm. Cascading and colliding, they seemed to emanate anger. Each colour seemed to have its own consciousness, moving and gliding where it pleased. The colours rippled against each other in a flurry of motion.
Then, as if a veil was lifted over my eyes, my vision refocused and I could make out what I was actually seeing. The originally shapeless colours reformed into a person standing on my ceiling, their back bent over, arms outstretched towards me.
Needless to say, I got the fuck out of there.
I ran out of my room and quickly shut the door behind me, chest heaving. Suddenly an arm appeared through my closed door, heaving and writhing like a pit of snakes. Another arm and a head soon followed suit. Once the creature’s eyes looked at me, it opened its mouth and began to shriek.
The resulting sound brought me to my knees, as I covered my ears in a failed attempt to stop the pain. The shriek was high-pitched and made a crackling sort of sound, similar to an intense television static. The sound pierced through my ears with aggressive force, echoing inside my skull.
The creature advanced on me, taking each step with what seemed to be great difficulty, before thrusting a large tendril towards my chest. The force pushed me backwards, and pinned me against the wall. It drew closer, preparing to strike me again.
Rendered immobile due to the noise, I had no choice but to accept my fate in silent fear. It thrust out at me again, forcing its arms through my chest, while apparently leaving no physical damage.
And yet it still hurt.
Each strike burned like a living fire, stretching throughout my veins and causing immeasurable pain. The creature showed no sign of slowing down, it was relentless in its assault against me.
Another strike.
I threw my head back and cried out in anguish, begging for even a moment of respite.
Another strike.
The force of the attack sent my head reeling, I could not comprehend anything else but the searing pain.
Another strike.
The creature picked me up and threw me again once more.
The momentum carried me backwards, and I heard several bones snap as the wall collapsed behind me. I hit my head on something hard and cylindrical, causing me to momentarily lose consciousness.
I woke up to another shriek, louder and more intense than ever before, and the sound of gas rushing out of the pipe I made contact with. Unable to get up, I slowly turned my head towards the creature, who was writhing and jerking, seeming to be in battle with itself.
The creature shrieked again, however this time sounded different. What used to be a vicious noise that was dripping with unbridled anger had turned into a hollow and reverberating echo.
The creature was in pain.
The several colours it was made up of began to drip off the main body, and pool at its feet. The creature staggered around drunkenly, as it began to slowly lose limbs and mobility. With whatever strength it had left, the creature made its way through my walls and away from me, leaving behind a trail of mismatched colours.
I looked back at the colours, which were bubbling and shaking, and noticed they were pooling together again, shaping and forming another creature, although somewhat laboured this time. They were swirling together, and stacking on top of each other like building blocks.
I screamed, for I could not move.
And then my phone vibrated. A soft buzz that I would have laughed at, if my ribs didn’t feel like they had been run over. I painfully repositioned myself, in a way that I would be able to take my phone out of my pocket.
I looked at it. Nothing.
With a blinding flash, the colours around me disappeared, leaving behind no indication that they were ever there, except for the hole in the wall. Breathing a sigh of relief for the first time in a while, I called emergency services.
I left the hospital in a stable condition, but broken bones still take time to heal. Every time my phone rings, I consider not looking at it.
But I can't.
For all I know, I won't make it out alive.
Journal Excerpt, Ivan Mikhailov 29th July 1983 [Translated]
I will write this quickly, as I have much to do and so little time.
I have decided to abandon the project. I was toying with things beyond my control, that perhaps even God himself didn’t want me to see. I will do my best to clear up my mess, but it is unlikely I will be successful. I have let too much escape from my grip.
I will leave whoever may stumble upon these words of mine with a final warning:
Resist all temptations.
It wants your attention elsewhere.

submitted by ineedabettertitle to nosleep [link] [comments]

2023.03.22 00:16 DelightfulFishTV Mini mechanics of Reddit help please (r53)

First off, I've recently put a new W11 engine into my 2003 r53 Cooper S 6Speed. I did all the work my self.
I replaced -All gaskets -Cam and crank sensors -Thermostat -Spark plugs -CV axles -All fluids -Radiator -And of course a new engine block.
Engine modifications I kept while swapping parts -17% pulley reduction -ALTA Cold air intake -Bigger Intercooler -Colder spark plugs
All the connections and hoses are hooked up fine. No leaks, I'm pretty proud of myself not gonna lie.
2 days after it's road worthy, I'm having issues. These are the codes my UltraGuage is throwing. TCs =5 P0138 P1321 F0336 P0506 P6301
So the issue I'm having is when I start my car it's absolutely fine, it's super smooth throttle, runs amazing. I'd say in 3 ish minutes though it starts to bogdown and jerk for 5 seconds, my thottles disapears, then it nearly stalls. At this point I've pulled over. If I start the car right away it bogs and jerks like before, the strange part is that the RPM gauge doesn't move, like its off but I can clearly hear revs.
So I wait a bit, probably for 5 minutes, start the car and it will be fine again, super smooth like before. And then it repeats the symptoms I mentioned above. The longer I wait the more consistent it starts smoothly.
Any advice would be awesome!
submitted by DelightfulFishTV to MINI [link] [comments]

2023.03.21 23:37 Careless_Reaction_42 Minecraft is a christian game

ou start above ground in an outdoors environment filled with hills, mountains, oceans, grassy plains, sandy beaches, rocky outcrops, and forests. You can also dig into the ground and find caverns, underground waterfalls, and lava. Even though it's all low-res blocks it's really beautiful!
Minecraft uses procedurally generated worlds based on Intelligent Design theory. Front-loading by the creator gives Minecraft worlds specified complexity, just like the real world.
In Alpha, the player isn't told what to do or given any back-story, but it is clear to those familiar with the Bible that the game takes place in a world much like it was shortly after the Fall. The land is vast and unspoiled by human settlements, but death has entered the world. During the day you gather resources to build shelters and craft supplies. When night falls, demons appear and try to kill you.
At first glance the game doesn't appear overtly Christian, but the more you play the more it become apparent that the goal of its creator (a programmer named Notch) was to teach Biblical wisdom.
During the day, lambs frolic around the countryside, reminding us of the Lamb of God.
Many lessons from the Bible are delivered to the player through intuitive immersion: For example, the player learns through trial and error to build his shelter on solid rock instead of falling sand, much as we should build our lives on the rock of Jesus. This is the same lesson taught in Matthew 7:24-27, however by engaging the player in actively experiencing the parable, the game subtly and effectively reaches Secular gamers who might otherwise reject explicit witnessing.
"I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock."
One of the central lessons comes when the player realizes that the most important thing to craft in the game are torches. Demons can spawn anywhere there is darkness, like at night or in caves. Torches keep this from happening, conveying the importance of light in a dark world. This makes the player more receptive to the good news that Jesus is the light: "I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness" (John 12:46) and "I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life" (John 8:12).
Building shelter and torches will protect you from the darkness.
Just like in real life, wandering around Minecraft in the dark is a sure way to fall victim to demons. Again, this conveys Jesus' teachings: "If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world. But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him" (John 11:9-10). The demons' fondness for darkness and spontaneously combusting in sunlight are also Biblically founded: "They are of those that rebel against the light; they know not the ways thereof, nor abide in the paths thereof ... For the morning is to them even as the shadow of death: if one know them, they are in the terrors of the shadow of death" (Job 24:13,17).
Demons burst into flame when exposed to daylight (Job 24:17).
In the beginning, the player is fearful of darkness, but soon learns that light provides safety and his fears subside: "The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?" (Psalm 27:1).
The Biblical themes of solidness of rock and righteousness of light are central to Minecraft's gameplay. Even the most Secular of gamers will have these values instilled in them effortlessly without realizing they are learning the Gospel.
Another Biblical theme is Spiritual Warfare. Eventually the player is able to craft armor and a sword. This is necessary to survive the scariest of the demons, the creeper, which can silently sneak up on you and explode. Unlike other demons, creepers can survive sunlight without burning, teaching the player the value of putting on the Full Armor of God in order to engage demonic powers (Ephesians 6:10-18).
(And back to the theme of light, another enemy, the giant spiders, can also survive in the day. But sunlight makes them become peaceful, showing how the light of Jesus can transform even the most wicked among us.)
To reach the Secular gamers who would never play an explicitly Christian game, Minecraft needs to be subtle and non-threatening, teaching Christian values without scaring off those whose hearts have been hardened by years of anti-Christian conditioning. Still, there are clues to the Christian purpose of the game. The most obvious is the name: Minecraft Alpha. This is of course a reference to Jesus' revelation that He is the Alpha and the Omega (Rev. 22:13). Also, the only animals in the game you can kill for food are pigs. This emphasizes the New Covenant with Jesus where we can now eat delicious ham -- a common ground we share with most Secularized people.
The other branch of Minecraft, Classic, doesn't have demons, darkness, torches, or many other Gospel elements that Alpha has. Instead, you are simply allowed to build whatever you want using an infinite supply of all types of blocks. This branch, based on an earlier version of the game, is free to play online and the multiplayer mode of it has a more social feel, kind of like a chat room where you can build things.
Classic multiplayer is a great tool for reaching the unsaved.
It's this multiplayer mode, in both Alpha and Classic, that's the true strength of Minecraft as not just a Biblical game, but a witnessing platform. Once Secular gamers are hooked on the innovative, open-ended, gameplay and have had many key Biblical values sowed in their minds, then they will be receptive to being approached by Minecraft missionaries in the multiplayer servers. Here is the real beginning of Salvation for these lost gamers, as they discover how the values they learned playing Minecraft apply to the Truth of God's plan for us all.
Minecraft Alpha is still under heavy development, with many more improvements and features planned. You can pre-purchase it now for half off the price of the final version (about $13.50). It's already a hit among Secular gamers and probably the biggest cross-over game on the Christian market today. Even though it is still a work in progress, I'm giving it †††††. It is an excellent game that teaches core Biblical values and represents the future of online Evangelism.
On Sunday a new Minecraft version (1.2.0) was released that increases the urgency of the game's message of Salvation by including the ability to witness Hell first-hand.
(The game's creator, Notch, was originally going to call this realm "Hell", but he thought that would make the Biblical origins of the game too obvious to the religion-averse unsaved gamers he's trying to reach, so he used the euphemism "Nether".)
Everything is on fire!
The Nether (Hell) is presented as a vast underground cavern composed of brimstone with lakes of fire (Rev. 20:10), without light (Mat. 8:12) except for the fires that burn everywhere. Fire is the central theme of this realm. You even travel there by building a portal out of obsidian and lighting it on fire.
Don't let this happen to you!
The unsaved wander around Hell in constant torment, their corrupted flesh eaten by worms (Mark 9:44) as they wail and purr in madness (Mat. 13:50). Pale demons (Rev. 6:8) patrol the cavernous skies spitting explosive fireballs at you. There is no water here to quench your thirst (Luke 16:24). If you bring some in a bucket and try to use it, it just evaporates.
Minecraft's Biblically accurate vision of Hell is very disturbing and scary and will convince any unsaved person of the necessity of accepting Christ into their hearts before it is too late.
Another new Biblical feature is a fishing minigame (Luke 5:1-11), which adds fish to the already existing loaves of bread as the most reliable sources of sustenance (Mat. 14:13-21, etc.).
Minecraft continues to be updated as the official release approaches. It's now up to version 1.9 (or at least the pre-release of 1.9). Besides lots of improvements in the technology such as a new lighting system, and more building materials such as pistons, Notch has added new mobs that further flesh out his vision of delivering Biblical teachings through interactive allegories.
Most interesting are the Endermen. The name is a portmanteau of "end of men", meaning the end of Man's stewardship over Earth, which the player's activity represents, and the beginning of the new Kingdom of God after Jesus returns. The Endermen come in the night and steal your blocks, causing destruction to your buildings. This is a clear reference to the analogy from 1 Thessalonians 5:2-4 of the day of the Lord coming "as a thief in the night" and bringing sudden destruction to the unsaved. Also, the Endermen drop "enderpearls", which if you use on a pig will do absolutely nothing (a clear reference to Matthew 7:6).
A more vaguely Biblical mob is the Blaze, which seems to be a simplified, blocky version of the whirlwind of fire from Ezekiel 1:4 that marks the arrival of God's battle chariot. This was just added to the pre-release so it doesn't do much yet other than shoot fire and drop blaze rods, which might be a reference to the golden measuring rod that Jesus uses in Revelation 21:15 to measure New Jerusalem. It's a bit confusing, but I'm sure Notch is going somewhere with this. Maybe it'll be clearer in 1.10.
Much less vague are the villager mobs which appear in procedurally generated villages. They wear monk-like robes and are all currently named "Testificate" (ie. "one who testifies"... maybe a little too on the nose there, Notch ;) but this name will be replaced with their jobs, one being a priest. Again, these were just added and they don't do anything, but Notch has said that they will assign missionary work. Also, since they seem like Catholic mobs, what with having a priest and the Latin "Testificate", perhaps you have to convert their villages. I'm sure we'll learn more in future updates.
Similar to the villages are the strongholds, which are underground. They are in a state of ruin and populated with the usual zombies, skeletons and creepers, plus a new mob, silverfish (which are not true fish, which represent Jesus, but deceitful insects). This addition, and especially the use of the name "stronghold", is very telling as this can only be a reference to the Spiritual Strongholds that we erect to protect us from pain, that we must tear down in order to free ourselves from the clutches of Satan. Notch has said that there will be bosses in the strongholds that you must defeat. Devils perhaps? Combined with the silverfish swarming out of the walls when you try to break them, hindering you from tearing down the stronghold, we're definitely getting into some seriously deep Spiritual Warfare allegory here!
The most exciting news is that Notch has promised there will be end game content, so adding all this up, perhaps what we're seeing are the building blocks (pun intended!) for a game about the return of Jesus and the establishment of His Kingdom on Earth! Could this be what Notch had planned all along? All the unsaved who have been playing will be so pleasently surprised when they hear the good news!
Unfortunately I need to address a rumor that has been going around about Minecraft. Some people have been writing me to say that Notch is really an Atheist. Apparently they heard this on something called "Twitter", which is like a Secular version of Christianchirp. I got permission from Pastor Hoskins to use his unfiltered computer to check this out and what I found out was that there are a lot of people creating fake Notch accounts on Twitter, like "Communist_Notch" and "Lying_Notch", and writing all sorts of silly or even offensive things, including that he's an Atheist. The people behind this have even set up a blog called "The Faces of Notch" [NSFC] telling people how to make fake Notch accounts to cause mischief and confusion. Don't be fooled by these fake Notchs! Notch's game and the Christian themes woven into it speaks for itself.
I have troubling news about Minecraft. The game has been hijacked! Notch, the man who created Minecraft single-handedly and whose vision of a game that teaches the Gospel to the unsaved in a non-threatening manner made it a cross-over hit, has been pushed out of control of Minecraft's development by the people running Mojang, the company he formed with the profits from Minecraft. (Notch wasn't the CEO of Mojang since he just wanted to work on making games. He hired someone to be his boss. Bad idea?)
The game's now under the control of a guy named Jeb Bergensten. Since Jeb was hired last year by Notch to help out with development, he has been adding all sorts of questionable content, like occultic "enchantments" of weapons using the captured souls of demons, and drug labs that let you brew amphetamine-like drinks. Now he's been put in charge of the game and Notch is no longer allowed to work on it.
The last thing that Notch added before he was removed from development was a final goal you had to work toward where you must travel to the End (ie. the End Times) and defeat the Dragon (ie. Satan, see Rev. 12-13). Could this less cryptic Biblical content have been the cause of his removal?
I don't know what's going on at Mojang. Has there been a coup? Is Notch OK? His Twitter account, which is probably under the control of Mojang, is filled with all sorts of strange messages that sound like the fake Notches mentioned above, with Atheist stuff and.. weird math or something. Did anti-Christians realize the threat that Minecraft posed to their hold on the mainstream game industry and seize control to pervert the true meaning of Minecraft?
submitted by Careless_Reaction_42 to Christianity [link] [comments]

2023.03.21 23:29 grumpimusprime You Broke Reddit: The Pi-Day Outage

You Broke Reddit: The Pi-Day Outage

Cute error image friends, we love them.
Been a while since that was our 500 page, hasn’t it? It was cute and fun. We’ve now got our terribly overwhelmed Snoo being crushed by a pile of upvotes. Unfortunately, if you were browsing the site, or at least trying, during the afternoon of March 14th during US hours, you may have seen our unfortunate Snoo during the 314-minute outage Reddit faced (on Pi day no less!) Or maybe you just saw the homepage with no posts. Or an error. One way or another, Reddit was definitely broken. But it wasn’t you, it was us.
Today we’re going to talk about the Pi day outage, but I want to make sure we give our team(s) credit where due. Over the last few years, we’ve put a major emphasis on improving availability. In fact, there’s a great blog post from our CTO talking about our improvements over time. In classic Reddit form, I’ll steal the image and repost it as my own.
Reddit daily availability vs current SLO target.
As you can see, we’ve made some pretty strong progress in improving Reddit’s availability. As we’ve emphasized the improvements, we’ve worked to de-risk changes, but we’re not where we want to be in every area yet, so we know that some changes remain unreasonably risky. Kubernetes version and component upgrades remain a big footgun for us, and indeed, this was a major trigger for our 3/14 outage.


  • Upgrades, particularly to our Kubernetes clusters, are risky for us, but we must do them anyway. We test and validate them in advance as best we can, but we still have plenty of work to do.
  • Upgrading from Kubernetes 1.23 to 1.24 on the particular cluster we were working on bit us in a new and subtle way we’d never seen before. It took us hours to decide that a rollback, a high-risk action on its own, was the best course of action.
  • Restoring from a backup is scary, and we hate it. The process we have for this is laden with pitfalls and must be improved. Fortunately, it worked!
  • We didn’t find the extremely subtle cause until hours after we pulled the ripcord and restored from a backup.
  • Not everything went down. Our modern service API layers all remained up and resilient, but this impacted the most critical legacy node in our dependency graph, so the blast radius still included most user flows; more work remains in our modernization drive.
  • Never waste a good crisis – we’re resolute in using this outage to change some of the major architectural and process decisions we’ve lived with for a long time and we’re going to make our cluster upgrades safe.

It Begins

It’s funny in an ironic sort of way. As a team, we had just finished up an internal postmortem for a previous Kubernetes upgrade that had gone poorly; but only mildly, and for an entirely resolved cause. So we were kicking off another upgrade of the same cluster.
We’ve been cleaning house quite a bit this year, trying to get to a more maintainable state internally. Managing Kubernetes (k8s) clusters has been painful in a number of ways. Reddit has been on cloud since 2009, and started adopting k8s relatively early. Along the way, we accumulated a set of bespoke clusters built using the kubeadm tool rather than any standard template. Some of them have even been too large to support under various cloud-managed offerings. That history led to an inconsistent upgrade cadence, and split configuration between clusters. We’d raised a set of pets, not managed a herd of cattle.
The Compute team manages the parts of our infrastructure related to running workloads, and has spent a long time defining and refining our upgrade process to try and improve this. Upgrades are tested against a dedicated set of clusters, then released to the production environments, working from lowest criticality to highest. This upgrade cycle was one of our team’s big-ticket items this quarter, and one of the most important clusters in the company, the one running the Legacy part of our stack (affectionately referred to by the community as Old Reddit), was ready to be upgraded to the next version. The engineer doing the work kicked off the upgrade just after 19:00 UTC, and everything seemed fine, for about 2 minutes. Then? Chaos.
Reddit edge traffic, RPS by status. Oh, that’s... not ideal.
All at once the site came to a screeching halt. We opened an incident immediately, and brought all hands on deck, trying to figure out what had happened. Hands were on deck and in the call by T+3 minutes. The first thing we realized was that the affected cluster had completely lost all metrics (the above graph shows stats at our CDN edge, which is intentionally separated). We were flying blind. The only thing sticking out was that DNS wasn’t working. We couldn’t resolve records for entries in Consul (a service we run for cross-environment dynamic DNS), or for in-cluster DNS entries. But, weirdly, it was resolving requests for public DNS records just fine. We tugged on this thread for a bit, trying to find what was wrong, to no avail. This was a problem we had never seen before, in previous upgrades anywhere else in our fleet, or our tests performing upgrades in non-production environments.
For a deployment failure, immediately reverting is always “Plan A”, and we definitely considered this right off. But, dear Redditor… Kubernetes has no supported downgrade procedure. Because a number of schema and data migrations are performed automatically by Kubernetes during an upgrade, there’s no reverse path defined. Downgrades thus require a restore from a backup and state reload!
We are sufficiently paranoid, so of course our upgrade procedure includes taking a backup as standard. However, this backup procedure, and the restore, were written several years ago. While the restore had been tested repeatedly and extensively in our pilot clusters, it hadn’t been kept fully up to date with changes in our environment, and we’d never had to use it against a production cluster, let alone this cluster. This meant, of course, that we were scared of it – We didn’t know precisely how long it would take to perform, but initial estimates were on the order of hours… of guaranteed downtime. The decision was made to continue investigating and attempt to fix forward.

It’s Definitely Not A Feature, It’s A Bug

About 30 minutes in, we still hadn’t found clear leads. More people had joined the incident call. Roughly a half-dozen of us from various on-call rotations worked hands-on, trying to find the problem, while dozens of others observed and gave feedback. Another 30 minutes went by. We had some promising leads, but not a definite solution by this point, so it was time for contingency planning… we picked a subset of the Compute team to fork off to another call and prepare all the steps to restore from backup.
In parallel, several of us combed logs. We tried restarts of components, thinking perhaps some of them had gotten stuck in an infinite loop or a leaked connection from a pool that wasn’t recovering on its own. A few things were noticed:
  • Pods were taking an extremely long time to start and stop.
  • Container images were also taking a very long time to pull (on the order of minutes for <100MB images over a multi-gigabit connection).
  • Control plane logs were flowing heavily, but not with any truly obvious errors.
At some point, we noticed that our container network interface, Calico, wasn’t working properly. Pods for it weren’t healthy. Calico has three main components that matter in our environment:
  • calico-kube-controllers: Responsible for taking action based on cluster state to do things like assigning IP pools out to nodes for use by pods.
  • calico-typha: An aggregating, caching proxy that sits between other parts of Calico and the cluster control plane, to reduce load on the Kubernetes API.
  • calico-node: The guts of networking. An agent that runs on each node in the cluster, used to dynamically generate and register network interfaces for each pod on that node.
The first thing we saw was that the calico-kube-controllers pod was stuck in a ContainerCreating status. As a part of upgrading the control plane of the cluster, we also have to upgrade the container runtime to a supported version. In our environment, we use CRI-O as our container runtime and recently we’d identified a low severity bug when upgrading CRI-O on a given host, where one-or-more containers exited, and then randomly and at low rate got stuck starting back up. The quick fix for this is to just delete the pod, and it gets recreated and we move on. No such luck, not the problem here.
This fixes everything, I swear!
Next, we decided to restart calico-typha. This was one of the spots that got interesting. We deleted the pods, and waited for them to restart… and they didn’t. The new pods didn’t get created immediately. We waited a couple minutes, no new pods. In the interest of trying to get things unstuck, we issued a rolling restart of the control plane components. No change. We also tried the classic option: We turned the whole control plane off, all of it, and turned it back on again. We didn’t have a lot of hope that this would turn things around, and it didn’t.
At this point, someone spotted that we were getting a lot of timeouts in the API server logs for write operations. But not specifically on the writes themselves. Rather, it was timeouts calling the admission controllers on the cluster. Reddit utilizes several different admission controller webhooks. On this cluster in particular, the only admission controller we use that’s generalized to watch all resources is Open Policy Agent (OPA). Since it was down anyway, we took this opportunity to delete its webhook configurations. The timeouts disappeared instantly… But the cluster didn’t recover.

Let ‘Er Rip (Conquering Our Fear of Backup Restores)

We were running low on constructive ideas, and the outage had gone on for over two hours at this point. It was time to make the hard call; we would make the restore from backup. Knowing that most of the worker nodes we had running would be invalidated by the restore anyway, we started terminating all of them, so we wouldn’t have to deal with the long reconciliation after the control plane was back up. As our largest cluster, this was unfortunately time-consuming as well, taking about 20 minutes for all the API calls to go through.
Once that was finished, we took on the restore procedure, which nobody involved had ever performed before, let alone on our favorite single point of failure. Distilled down, the procedure looked like this:
  1. Terminate two control plane nodes.
  2. Downgrade the components of the remaining one.
  3. Restore the data to the remaining node.
  4. Launch new control plane nodes and join them to sync.
Immediately, we noticed a few issues. This procedure had been written against a now end-of-life Kubernetes version, and it pre-dated our switch to CRI-O, which means all of the instructions were written with Docker in mind. This made for several confounding variables where command syntax had changed, arguments were no longer valid, and the procedure had to be rewritten live to accommodate. We used the procedure as much we could; at one point to our detriment, as you’ll see in a moment.
In our environment, we don’t treat all our control plane nodes as equal. We number them, and the first one is generally considered somewhat special. Practically speaking it’s the same, but we use it as the baseline for procedures. Also, critically, we don’t set the hostname of these nodes to reflect their membership in the control plane, instead leaving them as the default on AWS of something similar to `ip-10-1-0-42.ec2.internal`. The restore procedure specified that we should terminate all control plane nodes except the first, restore the backup to it, bring it up as a single-node control plane, and then bring up new nodes to replace the others that had been terminated. Which we did.
The restore for the first node was completed successfully, and we were back in business. Within moments, nodes began coming online as the cluster autoscaler sprung back to life. This was a great sign because it indicated that networking was working again. However, we weren’t ready for that quite yet and shut off the autoscaler to buy ourselves time to get things back to a known state. This is a large cluster, so with only a single control plane node, it would very likely fail under load. So, we wanted to get the other two back online before really starting to scale back up. We brought up the next two and ran into our next sticking point: AWS capacity was exhausted for our control plane instance type. This further delayed our response, as canceling a ‘terraform apply` can have strange knock-on effects with state and we didn’t want to run the risk of making things even worse. Eventually, the nodes launched, and we began trying to join them.
The next hitch: The new nodes wouldn’t join. Every single time, they’d get stuck, with no error, due to being unable to connect to etcd on the first node. Again, several engineers split off into a separate call to look at why the connection was failing, and the remaining group planned how to slowly and gracefully bring workloads back online from a cold start. The breakout group only took a few minutes to discover the problem. Our restore procedure was extremely prescriptive about the order of operations and targets for the restore… but the backup procedure wasn’t. Our backup was written to be executed on any control plane node, but the restore had to be performed on the same one. And it wasn’t. This meant that the TLS certificates being presented by the working node weren’t valid for anything else to talk to it, because of the hostname mismatch. With a bit of fumbling due to a lack of documentation, we were able to generate new certificates that worked. New members joined successfully. We had a working, high-availability control plane again.
In the meantime, the main group of responders started bringing traffic back online. This was the longest down period we’d seen in a long time… so we started extremely conservatively, at about 1%. Reddit relies on a lot of caches to operate semi-efficiently, so there are several points where a ‘thundering herd’ problem can develop when traffic is scaled immediately back to 100%, but downstream services aren’t prepared for it, and then suffer issues due to the sudden influx of load.
This tends to be exacerbated in outage scenarios, because services that are idle tend to scale down to save resources. We’ve got some tooling that helps deal with that problem which will be presented in another blog entry, but the point is that we didn’t want to turn on the firehose and wash everything out. From 1%, we took small increments: 5%, 10%, 20%, 35%, 55%, 80%, 100%. The site was (mostly) live, again. Some particularly touchy legacy services had been stopped manually to ensure they wouldn’t misbehave when traffic returned, and we carefully turned those back on.
Success! The outage was over.
But we still didn’t know why it happened in the first place.

A little self-reflection; or, a needle in a 3.9 Billion Log Line Haystack

Further investigation kicked off. We started looking at everything we could think of to try and narrow down the exact moment of failure, hoping there’d be a hint in the last moments of the metrics before they broke. There wasn’t. For once though, a historical decision worked in our favor… our logging agent was unaffected. Our metrics are entirely k8s native, but our logs are very low-level. So we had the logs preserved and were able to dig into them.
We started by trying to find the exact moment of the failure. The API server logs for the control plane exploded at 19:04:49 UTC. Log volume just for the API server increased by 5x at that instant. But the only hint in them was one we’d already seen, our timeouts calling OPA. The next point we checked was the OPA logs for the exact time of the failure. About 5 seconds before the API server started spamming, the OPA logs stopped entirely. Dead end. Or was it?
Calico had started failing at some point. Pivoting to its logs for the timeframe, we found the next hint.
All Reddit metrics and incident activities are managed in UTC for consistency in comms. Log timestamps here are in US/Central due to our logging system being overly helpful.
Two seconds before the chaos broke loose, the calico-node daemon across the cluster began dropping routes to the first control plane node we upgraded. That’s normal and expected behavior, due to it going offline for the upgrade. What wasn’t expected was that all routes for all nodes began dropping as well. And that’s when it clicked.
The way Calico works, by default, is that every node in your cluster is directly peered with every other node in a mesh. This is great in small clusters because it reduces the complexity of management considerably. However, in larger clusters, it becomes burdensome; the cost of maintaining all those connections with every node propagating routes to every other node scales… poorly. Enter route reflectors. The idea with route reflectors is that you designate a small number of nodes that peer with everything and the rest only peer with the reflectors. This allows for far fewer connections and lower CPU and network overhead. These are great on paper, and allow you to scale to much larger node counts (>100 is where they’re recommended, we add zero(s)). However, Calico’s configuration for them is done in a somewhat obtuse way that’s hard to track. That’s where we get to the cause of our issue.
The route reflectors were set up several years ago by the precursor to the current Compute team. Time passed, and with attrition and growth, everyone who knew they existed moved on to other roles or other companies. Only our largest and most legacy clusters still use them. So there was nobody with the knowledge to interact with the route reflector configuration to even realize there could be something wrong with it or to be able to speak up and investigate the issue. Further, Calico’s configuration doesn’t actually work in a way that can be easily managed via code. Part of the route reflector configuration requires fetching down Calico-specific data that’s expected to only be managed by their CLI interface (not the standard Kubernetes API), hand-edited, and uploaded back. To make this acceptable means writing custom tooling to do so. Unfortunately, we hadn’t. The route reflector configuration was thus committed nowhere, leaving us with no record of it, and no breadcrumbs for engineers to follow. One engineer happened to remember that this was a feature we utilized, and did the research during this postmortem process, discovering that this was what actually affected us and how.

Get to the Point, Spock, If You Have One

How did it actually break? That’s one of the most unexpected things of all. In doing the research, we discovered that the way that the route reflectors were configured was to set the control plane nodes as the reflectors, and everything else to use them. Fairly straightforward, and logical to do in an autoscaled cluster where the control plane nodes are the only consistently available ones. However, the way this was configured had an insidious flaw. Take a look below and see if you can spot it. I’ll give you a hint: The upgrade we were performing was to Kubernetes 1.24.
A horrifying representation of a Kubernetes object in YAML
The nodeSelector and peerSelector for the route reflectors target the label ``. In the 1.20 series, Kubernetes changed its terminology from “master” to “control-plane.” And in 1.24, they removed references to “master,” even from running clusters. This is the cause of our outage. Kubernetes node labels.
But wait, that’s not all. Really, that’s the proximate cause. The actual cause is more systemic, and a big part of what we’ve been unwinding for years: Inconsistency.
Nearly every critical Kubernetes cluster at Reddit is bespoke in one way or another. Whether it’s unique components that only run on that cluster, unique workloads, only running in a single availability zone as a development cluster, or any number of other things. This is a natural consequence of organic growth, and one which has caused more outages than we can easily track over time. A big part of the Compute team’s charter has specifically been to unwind these choices and make our environment more homogeneous, and we’re actually getting there.
In the last two years, A great deal of work has been put in to unwind that organic pattern and drive infrastructure built with intent and sustainability in mind. More components are being standardized and shared between environments, instead of bespoke configurations everywhere. More pre-production clusters exist that we can test confidently with, instead of just a YOLO to production. We’re working on tooling to manage the lifecycle of whole clusters to make them all look as close to the same as possible and be re-creatable or replicable as needed. We’re moving in the direction of only using unique things when we absolutely must, and trying to find ways to make those the new standards when it makes sense to. Especially, we’re codifying everything that we can, both to ensure consistent application and to have a clear historical record of the choices that we’ve made to get where we are. Where we can’t codify, we’re documenting in detail, and (most importantly) evaluating how we can replace those exceptions with better alternatives. It’s a long road, and a difficult one, but it’s one we’re consciously choosing to go down, so we can provide a better experience for our engineers and our users.

Final Curtain

If you’ve made it this far, we’d like to take the time to thank you for your interest in what we do. Without all of you in the community, Reddit wouldn’t be what it is. You truly are the reason we continue to passionately build this site, even with the ups and downs (fewer downs over time, with our focus on reliability!)
Finally, if you found this post interesting, and you’d like to be a part of the team, the Compute team is hiring, and we’d love to hear from you if you think you’d be a fit. If you apply, mention that you read this postmortem. It’ll give us some great insight into how you think, just to discuss it. We can’t continue to improve without great people and new perspectives, and you could be the next person to provide them!
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2023.03.21 23:24 One_Dragonfruit_8342 Tending the Garden

This is my first post here, so let me know how I did and what I could do better in the future.
I watched the ship take off and disappear into the starry sky and sighed as I knew it’d be another six months before it came back. I turned and began making my way back to the tree. I strode across vast fields the size of hab blocks, waded through a marsh the size of a city, and across a mountain range that reached so high it scraped the edge of the void.
I scarcely noticed as I was lost in thought at the monumental task of running the Garden, my mind linked with the massive atmospheric generators, continent-ringing terraforming engines, and the clouds and rivers of nanites that drifted across the land. With these technologies at my beck and call, I ensured the Garden flourished and was a venerable paradise.
It took me twenty-eight days of ceaseless travel to reach the tree. I unlinked and returned to my body, taking it the beautiful sight that brought tears to every visitor I had brought here.
A massive meadow with golden grass, and in the center rose a low hill that was crested with an enormous tree with leaves of gold that was always laden with silver apples. I made my way to the tree and found my seat, a large dark river stone I had cut and polished til it shone like a mirror. I had nestled it amongst the tree's roots and used it as a seat to rest, from which I taught my yearly visitors everything they needed to know.
I leaned my crook against the tree and rested my bulk on the stone, now long worn smooth by the passage of millennia. I rested my arms on my knees, cast my mind through the link, and ran primary through tertiary diagnostics on every system and function in the garden.
When the diagnostics were done, the grass had wrapped around my feet and grown up my legs to just shy of my knees, and a thick coating of pollen and dust had settled onto my body. I looked down at my dirty robes and skin and decided I needed a bath. I grabbed my crook and headed south.
I passed through jungles and shrublands til I came out onto a savannah that stretched far beyond what even my prodigious sight could see. I made my way toward its heart, and after another thirteen days of travel, I came to a lake so large it could technically be classified as an inland ocean.
I stropped from my robes and began to scrub them in the water until they shimmered white again. Then I took handfuls of the fine sand of the shore and scrubbed every inch of myself til my silver skin was spotless, then I kneeled and washed my golden hair, and when I was fairly sure I was clean as I could get, I dressed and made my way back across the savannah.
After two days of walking, I heard a sound that made me smile, the trumpeting of elephants. I picked up the pace and climbed a boulder ahead of me, and there I saw a herd of them lumbering across the savannah.
There were probably around eighty of them in the herd. I smiled and cracked the butt of my crook against the boulder, and a low note rolled out over the savannah. When it reached the herd, they halted, and I saw the matriarch turn towards me and let loose a trumpet and begin to thunder towards me with the rest of the herd hot on her heels.
I laughed as they reached me, and soon I was swamped by dozens of trunks running through my hair and tugging on my robes I smiled as I patted their heads and scratched ears as I walked through the herd. I stopped at the matriarch and used a nail on my left hand to scratch a mark on her tusk, similar to the dozens of others running up her tusks. I scratched her ears and smiled as I walked off.
It took another ten days until I reached the edge and stood in the wall's shadow. I linked with the wall and could sense the intricate machinery in the three kilometer thick wall at work. I adjusted the wind patterns in the vicinity and ended up dialing the rain back by seven percent.
After that, I traveled back to the tree, but instead of running diagnostics, I accessed the archives and began constructing a new lesson plan. I decided that since it had been over five hundred years since the last time, I would cover the origins of the Garden and how I came to care for it.
Project Garden was created as a last-ditch effort to preserve humanity's history. With the civil war raging and weapons of mass destruction being used as freely as soldiers' lives were spent, a group of scientists began a number of tremendous undertakings.
Project Elysium would create a series of extra-dimensional archives holding every fact of human knowledge. In the end, thirty-seven such archives were created and placed in a dimension unaccessable but through a single data link. The project was a success, and the knowledge of humanity was forever preserved.
Project Tir Na Nog would give birth to the most sophisticated terraforming technologies ever before seen. The power to crack planets and reshape the land like clay, swarms of nanites that could strip things down on an atomic level and assemble it as something new, engines that could create an atmosphere from the most toxic air and able to rebuild one from nothing,
Project Eden was to gather a single cell from every living thing on the planet, from microorganisms to common lichen. These cells would be stored alongside the archives from Project Elysium, and cloning technologies would allow the plants and animals to be reborn and seeded around the world from those single cells.
Project Valhalla was perhaps the one the second most attention was given. Every form of weapon and defensive technology was pooled together, and new and bizarre ones were conceived in the rush to ensure that Project Garden would be safely defended. The main items to come from the project were void shields of a caliber unseen anywhere else and graviton weapons capable of pulling destroyer-class ships in orbit apart at the seams.
Project Du’at was perhaps the most critical of all the sub-projects in that its task was to create a being who would be capable of using all the projects to their fullest in their areas. The being would be unaging, unlike anything the galaxy had seen before. It would never leave the planet and would be tasked with the construction of a “garden” that it would tend to for all of time. At the last second, it was decided that it would also be a teacher so that, hopefully, the ongoing tragedies would never happen again.
I ended up spending four months building the curriculum for the next batch of visitors. When I had finished, I decided to spend the last two months doing a full walkabout around the Garden.
I traveled to the north and checked on the pack ice and the populations of the various seal species. Next, I dove into the water and spent two weeks swimming with the narwhals, belugas, and grey whales.
When I was sure everything in the cold waters of the north was in order, I headed east and came to a great desert and, for the next three weeks, shifted through the sands, checking on every species that crawled through the sand. I ended up having to exterminate a large part of the rodent population due to a virus and replace it with fresh stock from the gene chamber.
After that, I decided that I’d spend the last week wandering the plains and steppes of the southwest. The great herds of bison, wild mustangs, and elk cut vast swathes across the land, always followed by the packs of wolves that preyed upon them.
I realized the week had already passed by when one night, the security system alerted me that a ship was approaching. Instantaneously dozens of passcodes and security checks flew from the Garden to the ship as I turned my gaze skyward and sought out the approaching vessel.
I quickly found it approaching on the same flight vector it had used for the past six millennia. The words Guardian of Terra on the prow caught the light of the sun, and I lowered the void shields. When everything was cleared, I gave the signal to begin the approach for landing.
Being halfway across the Garden, I would never reach the landing pad in time to meet them, so I quickly linked with the Garden’s subgeo array of locators, and with the use of the Fold Gate Array and single step, I was at the landing pad as the Guardian of Terra was beginning to touch down.
When the bay doors opened, I was greeted by a sight that always warmed my heart, five dozen human children, all between the ages of fourteen and fifteen. They were ushered outside by the crew, and the captain, like always, was leading them to take what was probably their first step on a planet.
I stepped forward with a smile, and the captain gave me a small bow. He stepped aside and, with a flourish of his arm, made a grand gesture of showing me the children.
“These lads and lasses are from the Stella Nomade fleet. As the captain of the Guardian of Terra, I hereby hand them over to your care for the next six months. They have all sworn by their names and their fleet to be true and honest in their ways while in the Garden. Do you, the Caretaker accept them and swear to teach them their history and open their eyes to the past so that it may guide them to a better future?”
I looked over the children and saw a mixture of skin tones and styles of clothes show, casing that they were from all walks of life on the fleet. I smiled and gave them a low bow.
“I, the Caretaker, accept them and swear to teach them all I half to offer so that the mistakes of the past may never be repeated. They will come to no harm in my care and will have full access to the Garden. They shall be respected and be treated fair so long as they return it in kind.”
I held up my crook and, with a wide sweep, made the nanites clouds above us generate light like it was noon, and as I turned back to them, I could see every child's face was filled with awe.
“I welcome every one of you and hope that in the coming days, we all can become fast friends. Welcome to the Garden of Terra.”
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