2023.05.29 09:44 FluffWrites The Dark Road Ahead. Chapter 8 Part 1: Misfortune from the Land of Tides
2023.05.29 07:36 NOTLOG4N Another wrap I made
|submitted by NOTLOG4N to NFSHeat [link] [comments]|
2023.05.29 06:40 JoshAsdvgi The Bear
submitted by JoshAsdvgi to Native_Stories [link] [comments]
A long time ago, when our people still lived in caves and walked everywhere, there was a medicine man called Moves Walking.
Moves Walking had bear medicine power.
At that time, food was getting hard to find, so our people split into smaller bands, each band going in a different direction.
Moves Walking was the leader of one band.
He went into the wilderness to meditate and seek wisdom so he could take his people in the right direction.
While seeking his vision he saw a family of bears gather in a grove of trees below the hill he was on.
Moves Walking watched them for days.
He watched the cubs play with each other and with their mother and father.
He saw the mother bear discipline her young by cuffing their ears, and the father bear ignore them when he was tired or had other things on his mind.
Moves Walking saw the roots, plants, and insects that the bears ate, many of which his people had thought inedible.
He learned the roots and plants they ate when they were ill.
After the bears left.
Moves Walking went down the hill into their camp and found the remains of their food and medicine.
When Moves Walking went back to his people, he had a vision for the direction they should go, and he had the wisdom that the bears had taught him.
From that time on, his name was Medicine Bear.
Grandpa Iron said that the bear medicine is good for people, too.
A bear society was formed whose members have a great knowledge of healing.
They know not only about roots and herbs for physical healing but also about healing mental conditions.
Full Moon Written by Eagle Walking Turtle, 1997 - Arapahoe
2023.05.29 05:30 NoOrYesOrWhat 2016 Cub Cadet XT1 LT42 EFI - Fuel Pump went bad
Model: 13A9A1CS056 DOM: 12/2016 Engine: EFI 547cc OHV (The only information I could find online for this was it being a Cub Cadet OEM brand engine that is made by Zongshen in China which is an MTD factory) so it isn't the usual Kohler Engine in the XT1submitted by NoOrYesOrWhat to cubcadet [link] [comments]
Just wanted to document this fix online incase someone has the same problem with the same mower. I am by no means a professional, so feel free to not follow this.
Mower ran fine for the past year I have owned it. However 2 weeks ago, the belt popped off so I cut the mower off to fix it and then mower didn't want to crank. Kept messing with it and finally got it to crank again and finished cutting. This past weekend, it cranked up fine and I started to cut my first pass in my yard and it suddenly died mid cut. No stuttering, no surging just straight up died like I turned the power off.
The mower would crank endlessly no problem, wouldn't once catch or act like it wanted to crank. Battery was brand new a month ago and the mower was just running, so that was good it seemed. Air filter was also clean and seemed to be fine. Checked the spark plug by placing it against the engine block, had a nice spark. Checked fuel injector going into the carburetor (or throttle body technically?). It was spitting out fuel. It would fire when I shot some starting fluid in the air intake, but would die immediately.
A friend came over to help and I wanted to show him that the fuel injector would spit out fuel. Ironically it was one of those "It works till you try to show it to someone, then it suddenly doesn't" because all of a sudden the fuel injector didn't spit out fuel anymore. Problem solved, it was the in-tank fuel pump. Easy fix, just order a new one from cub cadet right? Wrong.
See, they only sell the whole tank assembly for this rig. $450-$550. Absolute rip off. Managed to get the old fuel pump out and found the part number for it. Walbro FTB-11 fuel pump. Literally sold nowhere that I could find online. Like at all, if anyone else can find it, please let me know. But we could find information on it at least, it was a high pressure in-tank fuel pump with 43psi. My friend happened to have a similar fuel pump. Just had to splice the two wires together and it was good to go. Just make sure you don't forget the filter on the bottom of the fuel pump before you put it back in the tank. Was able to crank right up and go right back to cutting for 1-2 hours. Hopefully it holds up over time. I just wanted to share this potential fix with someone else who might be searching, before they waste $500+ on a whole tank assembly, not counting taxes or paying a shop to do it.
2023.05.28 22:41 Bw0434 Hard time checking oil on my cub cadet
2023.05.28 18:36 Stilhrome Cub cadet LT42E battery module
2023.05.28 16:57 Untarr Kohler KS595 on CC XT1 - 20Amp Fuse Blowing on Key Turn
2023.05.28 14:29 skePTic30 New tire recommendations 2019 Ram 1500 Crew
2023.05.28 01:50 MotorSun8227 XT1 will not start
Hi everyone. I have an XT1 that does nothing when I turn the key. I've replaced the battery, checked the seat switch, checked the fuse, bladea are off and the breaks are fully engaged. This is a relatively new mower with only 1 season under it's belt. I'm not very mechanical, but what am I missing? I'm stumped. Any help would be much appreciated.submitted by MotorSun8227 to cubcadet [link] [comments]
2023.05.28 01:33 keithatcpt New to me: Cub Cadet 1715
Picked up a free CC1715 made in 12/87. After getting it home I checked the oil, put a battery booster on it and it fired right up. Needs LOTS of TLC.submitted by keithatcpt to cubcadet [link] [comments]
2023.05.28 01:15 jaws_of_joey Curved kombi edger doesn't fit KM85R
2023.05.27 23:52 turb085 For sale. Sx xline oem tires.
2023.05.27 22:18 painful_man657 Why
|submitted by painful_man657 to PokemonInfiniteFusion [link] [comments]|
2023.05.27 21:51 TheNewtThatGotBetter Riding mower won't start without priming the carb
2023.05.27 20:13 Bw0434 Cub cadet xt2 type of gas?
2023.05.27 19:56 Anakins_mommy18 2019 cub cadet lt50
Worked fine up until 2 weeks ago when my son ran the battery dead on accident.. charged the battery, wasn't it, replaced the starter solenoid wasn't it, and just replaced the starter itself.. still won't start this is the sound I'm getting!submitted by Anakins_mommy18 to lawnmowers [link] [comments]
Any ideas would be extremely helpful!
2023.05.27 17:53 HokageEzio Behind every flashback is another two flashbacks ready to take its place, and the high highs and low lows of Toei's experimentation with the production of the anime - Manga reader first impressions of the anime - Dressrosa Saga
submitted by HokageEzio to OnePiece [link] [comments]
Summary/TL;DRDressrosa is the first mega arc in the series, and it had a ton of moving parts throughout the whole thing. Every time I felt like I was making a solid dent in the episode count I would look at my list and realize I'm barely halfway through. The pacing is obviously the most notorious thing about this arc in the anime. And when it was bad, it was every bit as bad as people say. But there were also some gems and some genuinely great additions too. This arc is definitely the turning point to what we see today which is the best the anime has ever been, with great additions like the Episode of Sabo and other quality flashbacks. But there are some absolutely horrible rough patches to get through before the anime reaches that level of quality consistently, and this arc being the experimentation phase for that definitely hurts the anime version a bit.
ForewordI've been reading the manga weekly since Zou, but I've been trying to watch every piece of animated One Piece content before catching up to see how the anime has developed over time. My interest in how the current anime is being used and incorporating a bunch of stuff that isn't in the manga with a much higher quality level made me want to watch weekly, but I didn't want to just jump into the current anime. So I'm watching everything; movies, filler, specials, basically anything that's on MyAnimeList and that I can find online. Been an enjoyable experience, which you can read about in the previous threads:
King Riku flashback was easily the most jaw dropping part as far as the adaptation goes, amazing two episodes
You know, one of the main things I'm noticing going back through the story. People really owe Franky more respect. He's really had some great moments that seem to just go under the radar with the community. I did not remember at all that Franky was the one who told Luffy we gotta stay and fight Doffy after hearing the backstory of what happened. I remembered Luffy basically giving the order for everybody to split up, but I didn't remember Franky being the one to put his foot down about it. I've always loved every Straw Hat, but I feel like everybody else in the crew has their pockets of the fandom that love them. Then there's Franky who I'm pretty sure is objectively the least popular. Just sucks that his best moments seem to always go under the radar.
Speaking of the flashback, man the anime made Riku's flashback absolutely brutal. Obviously there's no non-brutal way to have the king massacre all of his people. But the way they animated it, honestly the darkest episode of One Piece imo. Parents holding their deceased kids while the fire is all around, kids crying with their dolls in hand cause their parent is dead, just super fucked up. And it really set the tone for the rest of the arc.
I'd be avoiding the elephant in the room if I did not address the pacing of this arc that became infamous as it was going on. I feel like when talking about the pacing, it really has to be split into 3 parts in my opinion. Personally, I didn't feel like the pacing of the Colosseum was that bad. It was a little tiring to see the same blonde woman cheering every fucking episode of the Colosseum since they apparently only animated 3 crowd reactions (if nobody said something unique about what was going on). But to me I felt like the Colosseum was moving at a pretty consistent pace forward, and the length of that part was mostly based on how many different places the crew was split up between everybody and Law. It's not fast by any means, but it felt like it was just a complex moving story with a lot going on. And I don't really have an issue with that. From the arc beginning to Sabo getting the fruit, I had no real complaints with the pacing.
Now... the second third of the arc. Oh. My. God. It's so bad. From the time Sabo revealed himself up through the Law flashback, it's unbearable. I don't have an issue with naturally fitting filler, I think doing filler that naturally fits with the manga storyline is great and really helps bring it to life rather than sticking page to page with the manga. It's one of the main reasons I'm doing this, because Wano seems full of the type of filler that I think works well for an anime even if it's moving a little slower than the manga (especially one as dense as One Piece). And there were some great bits of added filler in this section. I really enjoyed Sabo vs Fujitora which was definitely extended from the manga, and I enjoyed how they added on to Rosinante's death with the executives beating the shit out of him (that was offscreen in the manga). And it also seems like they've added a decent amount onto stuff like the civilians fighting each other because of Doffy's strings. I enjoy stuff like that though, I think it adds onto the vibe of the story (I typically only have issues with that type of time filler in a seasonal show where there's a very set amount of time to tell the story before being gone for a year or more). And that type of content was also there in the first third, which I think is why I didn't really feel like it was slow. For example, there's a scene where Fujitora meets Zoro at the beginning of the arc and walks by him with Zoro clearly understanding this guy is strong. While it was there to fill time because Fujitora walks so slow, it worked and was a cool bit of introduction on top of his canon introduction. That stuff works, manga page count be damned.
But that is FEW AND FAR BETWEEN what they did in the second third of this arc. The amount of times that characters just stare at each other with zero reaction and zero sound effects, you would think the fucking stream is buffering. There was a time where Cub called for those yellow cab Tonttata bugs, and then he just waits. No sound effects, no movement, he just sits there for 10 fucking seconds waiting for the bugs to start flying into the screen. You would think it's a gag where two people stare at each other bewildered, but it happens so often it legitimately seems like everything froze. It's to the point that I'm impressed.
Moving on to the final third of the arc, I'd define that as Law's flashback, the executives fighting the Grand Fleet boys, and the rest of the end of the arc. I felt like it got back on track here and didn't really have any complaints for the rest of the arc. Obviously some slower moments here or there, but I felt like it went back to adding actual good filler and not just staring aimlessly into each other's souls. Like the flashback of how the Donquixote Family was formed was amazing, they really beefed up the whole thing in comparison to the manga. Overall when it comes to the pacing of Dressrosa in the anime, my final takeaway. It wasn't bad for literally the entire arc, but the middle section of the arc between Sabo's reveal and the Law/Corazon flashback was god awful and well deserving of the reputation it has in the community. I look forward to getting more good filler that I know is on the horizon after this arc and less of the dumpster fire that the middle of this arc was.
Alright, pacing stuff over. Feel like I covered the subject enough, let's get back to the story. Wanted to talk more about the character moments. Starting out with Usopp; him running away from the Tontattas was still just as aggravating as always. It's just so bad and feels so beneath him at that point of the story to run away from his allies, and I hated how eager he was to essentially run while they weren't looking. It took huge guilt trips for him to not leave them all to get literally squished to death, which is just crazy. Any time prior to Enies Lobby I think this storyline would work, but he basically called Rob Lucci a pussy at Enies Lobby fully knowing Lucci was going to kill him if Luffy didn't get back up. So I just don't get this and it really did feel like it brought him backwards as a character. I get the intention of his storyline is that he's not a hero, I just don't like how eager he was to turn his back and run away even prior to Robin getting turned into a toy. All that being said, I did get a little emotional when he turned back to save them and started telling them his real name. I just don't like the journey to get to that moment. I do also feel like it was a bit of a weird choice to have him taking down Sugar be a total accident because the grape was too hot, it just kinda stripped away the moment a little bit in comparison to something like the Perona fight (who also lost in a similar way, but thanks to Usopp gritting it out and coming out on top). The Observation Haki moment was really good though obviously, and I liked how nervous the anime made him when it came to making that shot to emphasize how big it was. Great moment, Luffy never needs to know, love it. But I do still wish that the initial save of the toys was him doing something himself and not him falling backwards into the save, just to have him get a moment up there with saving Robin at Enies Lobby.
One thing I keep noticing with this arc is that they really did beef up the backstories a lot. Obviously this arc has a ton of backstories and flashbacks, like I referenced in the title. And especially backstories that kinda surprise the audience because they're way stronger than you'd expect to explain the most meaningless quirky personalities. Baby 5's was good, obviously Senor Pink's was incredible, I brought up Doflamingo's already, Sabo's, the King Riku massacre was crazy, Law's. I really enjoyed the consistent attention to detail to bringing those backstories to life, I think they knocked every flashback out of the park in this.
The ending notes of the arc were also really good as far as added content. Like I brought up, the Sabo flashback was great with the added notes from Oda (honestly the whole arc felt like it had a lot more Sabo than the manga), and the outside of Dressrosa stuff was great too. Really liked what they did with the crew on Zou with the additional content, and obviously Kaido falling and Doffy's speech are some of the best moments in the whole series.
Overall it definitely took a bit of time for this arc to get going, but expected of an arc that is over 100 episodes. There were multiple times I looked at the episode count during this and was shocked how many episodes I had left, it's just a really dense arc with a lot of moving parts. But the end really makes the whole thing worth it. Obviously the fight itself, but even stuff like the people dancing after the arc, Kaido's debut, and Law speaking with Sengoku about the Will of D. And I've always loved that it ends with "Opening Speech" from Doffy. It feels conclusive, but at the same time it's pointing out that there's so much more to come. One of the best closing monologues of the series, right up there with Vivi's goodbye.
My jaw hit the floor during this beautiful opening animation.
Whoever directed this movie is a sick individual and also my new favorite person. The cold open for this movie was crazy. It just runs through Marineford in that new style (like most of these specials that go over older content). And they get to that iconic moment when Ace is holding Luffy with the fire all around them talking about how he never listens... only to IMMEDIATELY transition to Akainu with his fist through Ace's chest. No build up, no Luffy and Ace vs the Marines, none of that. Just an immediate skip to Ace with a hand in his chest. They lulled you in because it was like a solid 5 minutes of running through recap stuff from Marineford just to jump to Ace getting punched. My jaw was on the floor.
Onto the rest of the movie, I enjoyed it. Byrnndi World was actually a pretty solid villain (honestly I'm curious if this was Oda's way of introducing the concept of the Rocks Pirates to us), and I thought it fit in pretty well to the canon. I feel like Luffy is at his best when somebody hurts somebody else who is supposed to be their friend, it just gets under his skin to a level that he loses it. And that's how this story went. And the introduction of Red Hawk for the first time was cool. Bit of a slow start after the initial intro, but once it hit its stride I thought it was pretty enjoyable and fit pretty seamlessly with the series.
Episode of Sabo
Very enjoyable to see Dressrosa from Sabo's perspective, and you can tell that this was definitely Oda's work that he didn't get to include in the manga.
This was an amazing special. You can really tell that Oda and Toei put some love into this one, considering this special was something Oda wanted to put into the manga but simply didn't have the time to squeeze in. When Sabo tells his story to the crew after Dressrosa, you can tell that this was essentially the rest of the flashback that we didn't get to see. If you took this exact plot and just imagined it with black bars around the side of the pages, I feel like you as a viewereader can see the flashback in your head. And I personally feel like you can really tell that this is the turning point for the anime where they realize that the anime can be added content onto the manga that Oda simply cannot cover as a human being trying to finish the story in a reasonable timeframe. What we're seeing now in full force in Wano where there's stuff in the anime that Oda just skipped over in the manga, that started here with this special. And I appreciate the anime taking that route and hope it continues even past Wano.
I'm very curious how Sabo found Ace's grave and knew where to go, but just seeing him get to have that moment was a great start to the movie. And watching him slowly realize that Luffy is in Dressrosa too and thinking about how they grew up, it was a great use of flashback that didn't feel overbearing or like it was stalling for time to make the special longer. It all felt like it fit. The thing I really appreciated about this special though that puts it over the top is that they went the extra mile reanimating a bunch of stuff that they didn't have to do at all. This whole special is basically just Dressrosa from Sabo's side, so you would think going into it that they just add some scenes with Sabo onto stuff that they had already animated. Essentially just splicing some Sabo scenes onto what they had already released, kinda similar to Mugen Train in Demon Slayer where they released the anime version with a couple new scenes and a bonus prologue episode spliced onto the movie to make it anime ready. But no, that's not what they did at all. They completely reanimated a bunch of stuff into this special. Luffy vs Don Chinjao was a completely reanimated fight in this, and I loved having Sabo watch over that fight like a proud older brother. And there were other scenes throughout this too that you could tell were animated from scratch, like parts of the Ace, Sabo, Luffy flashback. Obviously they didn't literally do the entire movie from scratch, but they did far more than I ever expected coming into this for what is essentially 50% a recap episode for the stuff Sabo isn't involved in. That extra effort for stuff that had nothing to do with the focus of this as a Sabo special is what makes me give this a 10/10, really appreciated the work they put into this one.
Long Ring Long Land Abridged
This does not exist.
No video of this exists on the internet. And I'm honestly just impressed that something that came out in December of 2015 for one of the most popular anime of all time just straight up went missing. Not some random OVA from 2001, but a tv special from 2015. Only Foxy is capable of that feat. This special is apparently just the original footage of Long Ring Long Land but in a recap style video, so let's just pretend. Wasn't it crazy when the thing happened and then the thing, and then Luffy did the thing? Sick.
Adventure of Nebulandia
Robin and Nami gambling over Straw Hats winning competitions between themselves was a cute moment, can't convince me that isn't a thing that happens all the time.
Foxy and Luffy is the greatest rivalry in One Piece. At the end of the Grand Line we're going to end up seeing the two of them drinking under cherry blossoms like Roger and Whitebeard talking about their adventures. Honestly I don't think this special was that bad. A little long for what was going on, but I thought the story was fine. The villain was fine for the purpose of the movie and was pretty competent at what he was trying to do. And for whatever you want to say about Foxy in the story and the filler, he didn't feel like an overdone gag character in this special. Obviously he's only shown up the one time in the manga, but he's shown up a lot in the anime. They end with a lot of mutual respect between the two of them and their bond as captains trying to save their friends. I think it was the Foxy's Revenge Arc where I brought up that I kinda liked that Foxy seemed cool at the beginning of the arc, but it sucked cause they went right back to the gag. So I appreciated in this one that at the end he has genuine respect for Luffy and stops just being a random gag villain. If this special is the last time Foxy is ever around in the anime, I thought it was a really good conclusion to his and Luffy's relationship.
Still want Blackbeard to steal his fruit though.
One Piece Arc Rankings
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Next Up: Zou Saga
An arc that created pure degeneracy in the community.
2023.05.27 16:38 V382-Car Cub Cadet LT 1046
2023.05.27 09:23 critical_courtney [A Bargain for Bliss] — Chapter Nine (Sequel to The Fae Queen's Pet)
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Sleep held me for just a little longer than my mistress as my mind swam through sheets of silk and the smell of her bosom I was buried in. But eventually, the afternoon light penetrated my eyelids and gradually roused me from my slumber.
When my brain finally started making sense, I realized that no matter which way my arms reached, the queen was nowhere to be found. And, in fact, the light placement was wrong. I could tell by where the light shined through the windows that I was not in the queen’s bed but my own.
As my eyes finally parted, and a blurry visage of my bedroom passed into my line of sight, I slowly sat up and yawned.
“Well, finally. I didn’t think it was normal for mortals to sleep so late in the day, but with every moment you call this home I learn more,” a familiar piskie’s voice called from across my bedroom.
Turning and trying to focus my eyes, I caught sight of Barsilla sitting over on my armoire, legs crossed and dangling over the edge. My copy of A Kiss for Little Bear was open in front of her, floating in the air.
“Hey, please be careful with those,” I said, voice a little more raspy than I expected.
While I cleared my throat, the piskie snapped her fingers, and the book gently flew back down to the stack and closed, perfectly in line with the others.
“I assure you, I was careful. Mother Bear can be a bit of a bitch to her cub. I like her,” the piskie said, flying across my room with buzzing little wings on her back.
Looking over at the books, I nodded, still trying to wake up. I found myself tired. . . but in a good way? Like I had just enough grogginess hanging around my mind and body to remind me of this morning’s activities, but it felt welcome, almost like a nice buzz or a gentle high.
“Sorry, Barsilla. I just can’t quite seem to wake up entirely. It’s like there’s a. . . tiny and pleasant chill stuck to my subconscious. But I feel it in my muscles, too,” I said, touching the space on my neck where the queen had marked me.
The piskie landed on my bed frame and nodded.
“Well, that’s to be expected after a complete and thorough shellacking our queen gave you this morning. I’m sure you had fun, but in some ways making love to her is like making love to an electric wire in your world. Your body is going to hum for a little bit afterward, all that magic and energy you exchanged.”
She paused for a moment and looked me up and down.
“Your body is running on a glamour high. She already has a large chunk of her power in your wolfheart, but after what you two did earlier, you’re practically smothered in her aura. A normal human would probably go to sleep and never wake up again. But you werewolves are remarkably durable. You just keep bouncing back so long as silver isn’t involved.”
I guess that made sense. Our activities had been. . . quite thorough and explicit. My body still shivered just remembering it all.
“How long will this feeling last?” I asked, rubbing my eyes. “Not that I’m eager to get rid of it. It’s. . . pretty relaxing.”
As I said that, another chill ran down my arm, causing goosebumps.
Barsilla looked me over again. She then started counting on her fingers as if this was some kind of complex equation I didn’t understand. Not mortal math, that’s for sure.
“I’d say you should be back to feeling normal before bed tonight. Maybe watch your abilities today. Don’t try to make use of the queen’s glamour embedded within you until all this excess aura disperses. Who knows what madness would be unleashed?”
That was fine by me. I didn’t have another training session with Ceras until tomorrow anyway. And we were still working mostly on forms and stances. We hadn’t even gotten to tapping into the queen’s glamour. I hadn’t used it much since summoning that pack of feather wolves to defend the palace from the lake witch.
I wasn’t eager to tap into that power again. During the next week, I spend recovering from being stabbed in the gut, my body felt all kinds of weird. Using an immortal’s magic in a mortal body just felt like mixing mayonnaise and peanut butter. It’s possible, but the taste is pretty funky.
“Speaking of glamour, to get at your books, I had to pull off a couple ribbons. And I couldn’t help but notice they seemed a little familiar. . .,” Barsilla said, staring at me out of the corner of her eyes.
“Yeah, I’ve got questions about that, myself. But I won’t know anything for sure until I talk to Lady Bon-Hwa,” I said, staring at my fingers.
Barsilla hovered in the air again and snapped her fingers. The door to my bathroom opened, and I heard the bath kick on inside. Somehow I knew the temperature would be exactly where I wanted it, which had me curious about just how far Barsilla’s intuition went.
She snapped her fingers again, and a pair of soft white towels flew from out of the bathroom and onto my bed.
“You’re in luck, little wolf. Our queen in command is awaiting your arrival for lunch. So you might just get a chance to ask those questions after all.”
I started to get out of bed and then paused, staring at Barsilla with an eyebrow raised.
“What did I say about calling me little wolf when you’re less than six inches tall?” I asked, crossing my arms.
She didn’t even flinch.
“What did I say about telling me what to do when I could shrink you down to the size of a grape and then cut you into five pieces with the snap of my fingers?” the piskie asked, putting her hands on those microscopic hips of hers.
We continued to glare at each other in awkward silence, and eventually, I lost the contest, same as always.
“I’m. . . going to go get in the bath,” I said, clearing my throat and grabbing the towels.
“Excellent choice, royal pet,” Barsilla said, flying back over to my Little Bear books to finish the one she’d been reading.
I called out.
“Those are very important to me. So again, please be careful,” I said.
Before I closed the bathroom door, I heard Barsilla’s voice soften a tad as she said, “I know who gave you these and how dear they are to you. They’ll be just fine in my care for the few minutes I’ll need to read them.”
Strangely enough, I trusted her. So I bathed quickly, found a new soap that smelled like black raspberries, and rinsed off.
Selecting a yellow and orange sundress, I got dressed, put on a little makeup, and left my room to find Lady Bon-Hwa.
I stopped one of the queen’s feathers, a troll with a surprisingly thick German accent, and asked if he’d seen the queen in command. The troll pointed a large hand covered in gray flesh toward the rear of the castle and said she was outside near the water’s edge.
Thanking the feather and leaving, I hummed to myself and wandered through the palace until I came to the rear doorway. Outside, several feathers stood guard and waved to me as I walked by. The talon in command was an elf named Tanya, and she looked a little nervous as I exited the grounds without an escort. She’d been nearby when I ran out before, and the queen gave chase.
Nobody was scolded for that, of course. Awnry werewolves are notoriously difficult to stop, as I knew from experience. Still, none of the feathers or talons wanted to be caught on the end of the queen’s wrath if something happened to her favorite puppy— er, wolf. I was her werewolf. I had to keep at least some measure of respect for myself.
Just because Barsilla calls me that doesn’t mean I need to start, I thought, rolling my eyes.
I found Lady Bon-Hwa just outside of the palace staring at the lake, her long black hair drifting along with the breeze coming off the water. As usual, her hair was tied back with a ribbon, this one a soft blue.
The queen in command wore a matching form-fitting little blue dress that looked like someone a hiker would wear, along with black tights underneath. I didn’t know fae seamstresses could make or use polyester.
Maybe Bon-Hwa hit up an L.L.BEAN store before asking me to lunch, I thought.
“There you are, little wolf. I was wondering when you would wake up,” she said as I noticed a wicker picnic basket in her hands.
“My apologies, Lady Bon-Hwa. I didn’t know we were having lunch today. You could have always asked Barsilla to wake me up,” I said.
The queen in command smiled.
“No, I’ve heard it’s best to let sleeping dogs lie. . . isn’t that the expression in the mortal world?”
Snickering, I nodded.
“Plus, I know your body needed to rest after your mistress fucked you to Avalon and back,” Bon-Hwa said with a straight face.
And there they went again. My cheeks were burning something fierce. I wasn’t ashamed of what we’d done. I rather enjoyed myself. So why did I still blush like an embarrassed teenager when other people talked about my sex life? Maybe it was just the manner in which it was discussed.
Perhaps I’ll never get used to the blunt nature that folks here use to talk about my explicit activities, I thought.
Then again, it wasn’t like the fae were prudes. Pleasure was something the inhabitants of this world seemed to know everything about. They did things here mortals didn’t even have names for back where I came from. It was in the same ballpark as desire, seduction, dancing, passion, and all the other things fae spent their limitless days seeking out.
“I didn’t think we were that noisy,” I said, clearing my throat.
Bon-Hwa shook her head.
“No, dear. We certainly didn’t hear the two of you. Varella’s bedroom is enchanted with all kinds of magic to keep her secrets safe in the dark. But most of us saw her carrying you back to your bedroom. And you’re still dripping with her glamour. So, everything in Featherstone can do the math.”
Speaking of, my mind still had its buzz going from being overloaded on my mistress’ aura, so I swayed to the left a little with the lake breeze.
“I trust you’ve recovered enough to walk a little ways for a picnic?”
Staring again at the basket and wondering what goodies were inside, I asked, “Why did you choose now for us to share a meal?”
Why indeed? I’d never pretend like I could guess Bon-Hwa’s true intentions, but this one should have been obvious enough.
“To uphold our bargain, of course. I told you that after your trip to Featherbrooke, I’d show you my true face. So. . . here I am,” she said, motioning around herself with an arm.
Right, we’d made a bargain. How could I have forgotten? It was just a couple days ago, but somehow after meeting Kit and Vyz, it felt longer than that.
“Well, okay then. In that case, I’m sorry I forgot. By all means, let’s eat lunch. I’m eager to see the true Lady Bon-Hwa.”
The queen in command seemed to glance out at the lake again and then motioned for me to follow her into the forest.
We hiked for what felt like an hour, maybe two. But time was always an enigma in the land of Faerie. That was to be expected for a race of beings that simply marched outside the flow of chronology.
Eventually, we came to a patch of flat rocks next to a small waterfall. It fed into a river that I assumed went out into the lake surrounded Featherstone. It was here Bon-Hwa finally sat down the picnic basket and pulled out a thick blanket. I helped her spread it over the largest rock in the area, and we got to eating pretty quickly after that.
The queen in command had the kitchen prepare several roasted chicken sandwiches that were served cold. And I wasn’t sure if Varella had told her about my appetite or she just naturally guessed werewolves at more than the average person. But every time I reached into the basket to pull out another sandwich, one appeared.
Lady Bon-Hwa put away two sandwiches before wiping her mouth with a cloth napkin from the basket and looking over at the waterfall.
“I’m not sure what you’re expecting to see, royal pet.”
Thinking back on our last exchange, I remembered falling drastically short of the queen in command’s expectations where wordcraft was concerned. And I’d learned my lesson about folly. What if this was another test on her part?
I need to ace it, I thought.
Putting my half-eaten sandwich down, I folded my hands in my lap and spoke slowly, as if trying to verbally feel around my bedroom with the lights off.
“You promised to show me your true face and told me I craved expressions of authenticity here, that it was my mortal nature. So that is what I expect, my lady. An authentic expression of your true face,” I said, my eyes trying to flash confidence.
The fae appraised my look with an analytical eye that probably took centuries to develop. And I sensed she knew I was full of bullshit. But she just nodded twice and said, “Good. That’s a little better. It seems like your visit to the Word Sage helped after all.”
Before I could argue that nothing much had changed, I remembered what Vyz had told me about gaining wisdom.
“The road to wisdom starts with being whole. And you need to reclaim yourself. A pot with holes in the side can’t hold water. So start with that lost piece of your childhood,” he’d told me in the library.
He’d given me back a small piece of my childhood with those books. Could the simple act of knowing I had such a treasure waiting for me to read at any time count as reclaiming myself? And the bigger question. . . did that necessarily give me any extra wisdom?
Clearing my throat and trying to push aside that squeamish feeling that reared its head anytime I had to be assertive, I blinked slowly and said, “I can tell you all about my visit to Vyz and Kit later. But I believe we hiked out here for a reason. And I’d like to see your true face, my lady.”
At that moment Bon-Hwa’s eyes seemed to darken a shade, and she dropped the complimentary mask that said nice words and revealed a more terrifying sight. Externally, she was still the same otherworldly beauty that I’d walked into the woods with. But inside, the queen in command’s aura changed and seemed to raise as though a viper from its nest in the ground.
My skin shivered as gooseflesh appeared, and she knew the subtle shift in her demeanor hadn’t gone unnoticed.
This look she wore now was. . . I’d describe it as visceral and hungry. Her eyes were wild and focussed on one thing at this very moment. . . myself.
There was a controlled rage present now, something that had been invisible below the surface. I didn’t know the source of this acrimony, but I didn’t have to wait for it to be revealed.
“Well, little wolf. Congratulations. You’re maybe the third person in the Raven Court to see my true face, my unbridled hunger for power. My face comes with a short backstory. It starts with a girl who became a slave at a young age and learns all the brutality of the world. Your pampered life here may give you an ignorant view of Faerie, but make no mistake, this is a cold, animalistic world full of spiteful creatures ready to throw you in the mud and drive daggers into your spine.”
I swallowed nervously and exhaled slowly.
“That story continues with the little girl furnishing a new hatred for her owners each day, until they finally let their guard down, putting her in charge of their meals. Their deaths came via poison and ribbons that I used to squeeze the last bit of life from their previously immortal bodies. This face came from an insatiable urge to rise up and tear as much power and glamour from Faerie as I could imagine and more,” she hissed.
My chest felt tight, and the buzz from earlier seemed to evaporate from fear, fear of this raw and true face, the very face I’d asked to see. Except now that I saw it, I wanted to look anywhere else.
But I didn’t. I held her gaze, not wanting to disrespect the expression of her truest self. This is what I’d bargained for. And it was what I now received. It was the very foundation of Lady Bon-Hwa.
“And now you’re the second-most powerful fae in the Raven Court. That’s quite a jump from slave, my lady,” I all but stuttered.
Her eyes narrowed, but it did nothing to lessen the enmity in her gaze.
“It’s nothing compared to the jump I’ll make to queen of the Raven Court. That’s my endgame, little wolf. The corvid crown is what drives me morning, day, and night, growing my glamour and eventually seizing a throne so that nobody will ever again be able to order me around.”
With this confession, her glamour spread to the stones around us, and ribbons rose like snakes, numbering a dozen. They filled spaces between the rocks as though they’d been slumbering here throughout our picnic.
And then the ribbons wrapped around each rock, most of which were the size of a human desk or chair. When Lady Bon-Hwa squeezed her fist, the ribbons joined together and fastened themselves around nearby rocks, squeezing tight until the stone groaned and shattered into pieces before my very eyes.
The very air itself became thick with Lady Bon-Hwa’s glamour. I felt it pulse around the stream and stones as though it was hunting. Because she was hunting. . . for the crown of my mistress.
At that moment, something snapped inside me, and a deep growl rattled the now-shattered rocks around us. My fear of the queen in command faded, replaced with renewed loyalty to my mistress.
“You seek the crown of our queen, Lady Bon-Hwa?”
She didn’t seem fazed in the least at my rattling growl, merely standing until the powerful fae towered over me.
“I’ve made no secret of my desire to the Raven Queen, and now I reveal this secret to you as well. My service to the queen is all in preparation for sitting on her throne myself one day.”
“Treason!” I barked, standing on my own feet and clenching my fists. To threaten to supplant my mistress was an action I wouldn’t tolerate. I’ve no clue what the queen in command thought bringing out here and telling me this, but I was going to put a stop to anything she was planning here and now.
But with a flick of her wrist, I found myself raised several inches into the air, ribbons securing my wrists and ankles, another at my throat.
“Consider this another lesson, little wolf. Be careful who you bark at. I could tear you into tiny pieces in the blink of an eye or across the longest hour you’ve ever known. And you—” I interrupted her, feeling glamour stirring in my wolfheart.
The thought of seeing harm come to my queen while I just stood here in the woods sparked across my chest like a bolt of lightning.
“Will defend my queen until you’ve ripped every last breath from my lungs.”
Glamour pushed outward from my chest as I visualized them around me, the ones I hadn’t called in a few months. Razor focus and need summoned them to me once again.
But the ribbons around me pulled tighter, not that I let even a groan slip as my tendons began to protest.
“Empty threats and bravado may accomplish things in the mortal world. But this is Faerie, royal pet. And I have you alone in the woods hanging in the air before me helpless as a bug in a web.”
With another growl, I matched the queen in command’s fierce gaze. Words flashed through my mind. Traitor. Usurper. Conspirator. I didn’t care if she was the second-most powerful fae in the Raven Court. I wouldn’t let her take one step toward my mistress.
“Not alone,” I said.
“What was that?” she asked, holding up a hand to her ear. She’d heard me, knew exactly what I’d said.
But I didn’t have to repeat myself because a twig snapped behind us. And that’s when she turned to see us surrounded by a dozen wolves made entirely from blackened leaves and feathers, violet eyes glowing and locked onto the queen in command.
Now it wasn’t just my growl filling the air with Varella’s glamour spilling from my chest, but the entire black feather pack.
These were the same wolves I’d called to fight the invading force of kelpies attacking Featherstone. And I was beginning to understand exactly what it would take to summon them again and again.
Lady Bon-Hwa now wore a sickening grin as she gazed at the pack around us. Then she turned her back on them and looked back at me.
Maybe her animosity cooled a degree or two. Maybe that was my imagination. But the fae before me nodded twice more.
“Good,” she said. “Very good.”
I pulled against my bonds until I started to feel my bones groaning as the stones did earlier when her ribbons snaked around them. I leaned my head forward and answered her true face with my own.
“Look at me, Lady Bon-Hwa. This is my true face. These are my claws and fangs. I am the goddamn Wolf of Featherstone and the loyal pet of her majesty Varella. I serve her with everything I’ve got as I will for all my years. You might kill me here. You might take down this black feather pack. But know two things. You won’t leave this forest unscathed, and my spirit will forever hunt you through whatever eternity you have left.”
Her face changed, and that deranged, power-hungry expression retreated behind a calmer mask, one I couldn’t immediately place. With another flick of her wrist, the ribbons that broke stones apart only moments ago cracked like whips, destroying every black feather wolf I’d summoned.
As those feathers and leaves fell back to the ground from which I’d summoned them, I felt the ribbons holding me slack a little until I was back on my own feet.
“That’s the face you’ll need when our queen takes you to Kilgara in a few days. So remember this feeling well, royal pet. Remember how it felt to summon those creatures with the use of her majesty’s glamour inside of you. And for crow’s sake, learn to harness the glamour I planted in your wolfheart as well.”
I cocked my head to the side, feeling fury inside my heart evaporating like rain from the pavement on a hot summer day after a short shower.
“Here is the last truth I will share with you today, little wolf. My service to the queen started decades before even your grandmother was born. And it began with an oath that I wouldn’t pursue the corvid crown while she still wore it. Do I crave your mistress’ power? Yes. Do I know how to keep those cravings in check until my time arrives? Also yes. So turn that protective force outward, and don’t make any more foolish bargains.”
In truth, I wasn’t sure how to feel at the moment. I’d been prepared to tear Lady Bon-Hwa’s heart out seconds ago, and now I was taking final pieces of advice from her. Things change quickly in the land of Faerie. I guess that’s all I could say.
“Then. . . this was a test,” I said, raising an eyebrow.
“It was,” she said, closing the picnic basket and folding the blanket we’d sat on. I watched her stand and start back on the path toward Featherstone.
Following alongside the queen in command, I asked, “Did I pass?”
She said nothing for a few seconds before looking down my way with a coy grin. And I knew the time of her giving answers had passed.
“That’ll do, wolf. That’ll do.”
I guess that’s all I’m going to get from her, I thought as we continued our hike back to the palace.
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