Battle of Genre Round Six: Romance
Arch-Angel Versus RichardLongflop
Click me for the BoG R6 Main Thread for additional info!
Welcome to a Round Six Battle Thread for the BoG Tournament! Be mindful now, as your votes are the determining factor to who takes the win!
For a few reminders though:
Spoiler for REMINDERS:
Simple. 5 points per vote.
Comment and Critique
CnC is important for a writer to flourish and grow in his craft. Giving some will benefit the writer and you as well! A point will be given to you and tallied overall at the end of the tournament [this is a separate tally]. If your CnC proves to be substantial [ergo something that helps the writer improve rather than just saying its good or my favorite part is this] an additional point is awarded.
Now without further ado here are the works of our would-be Masters of Genre!
Spoiler for This Romance is hot:
A fury of steel sliced clean through the torso of a demon, leaving it in three separate pieces on the ground before disintegrating in a black ash. Annabeth stood on the opposite edge of the sword that had slain the demon, and she eagerly scouted for more opponents.
“They’re all dead, Anna,” a familiar voice called out from behind the angelic woman.
Anna turned to face her comrade in arms, Loki. He stood a foot taller than Anna and gazed at her through brown eyes that matched his short brown hair. Annabeth was the type of fighter who would prefer the front lines, but Loki preferred a much stealthier approach to battle. Her blade quickly found its’ scabbard as she spoke with a soft yet enthusiastic voice, “Then let us make haste back to Marcus.” Loki bowed in acknowledgement as the two set off to return to their leader.
The two angels arrived outside the gate of a large mansion that was surprisingly well maintained given its size. The house had a medieval style of architecture and was surrounded by lush gardens that seemed fitting for a king. Annabeth noticed the small white haired girl on the front porch playing with her even smaller white haired brother before an extremely tall man welcomed them at the gate. “Annabeth, Loki, I hope your return here is a sign that the task I assigned you has been completed.”
The two angels nodded and bowed to the tall casually dressed man, speaking in unison, “Your will, our hands.”
The tall man smiled before opening the gate behind the two angels and inviting them to his home. “Please, come with me inside. It’s been a while since the two of you have graced me with your presence aside from the tedious tasks that I have been assigning you.” Annabeth and Loki followed behind their leader sheepishly.
As the trio went to enter the house, Annabeth was stopped by a harsh tugging on her leg. Upon looking down, she was surprised by the young boy jumping up at her with both hands extended in the air. He rawred and growled at female angel, who giggled playfully. She bent over and booped the young child on the nose with her finger playfully, “You scared me, Zayne!” The small boy responded to the nose boop by swatting at Anna’s finger. Anna’s grin widened before she waved goodbye to the small child and entered the mansion behind Loki.
The two angels entered the living room right behind their leader who graciously offered them a seat. Loki respectfully declined and chose to stand while Anna sat across from their leader with her legs crossed. Loki was eager to get right down to business and broke the short silence, “so, m’lord, what is it that you would have us do?”
The tall man relaxed as he lifted one of his daughter’s dolls from the living room table, “Please, the two of you can refer to me as Marcus. We aren’t in the heavens any longer. There is no need for formalities.”
Annabeth tilted her head at Marcus and looked at him with pondering eyes. “So… Marcus.. Loki is correct. You do require something else of us?
Marcus closed his eyes and sighed, “Always down to business with you two. Fair enough. My son has received a rather unfortunate fate. He is only three years old, so his destiny is still a mystery to even me. With his mother locked away and my duty to safeguarding this world, I would like invite the two of you to assist me on a mission much closer to home. This does not involve the fate of the heavens or mankind, so you two obviously have the right to decline this task if you so wish.”
Loki raised a finger to Marcus and opened his mouth to speak before being cut off by Annabeth, “We accept!”
Loki smiled and shook his head at Anna’s enthusiasm, “I’ve always wanted to get a taste of life down here. What exactly do we need to do?”
Marcus was eager to further discuss their roles, “Loki, given your unique abilities, I would like you to keep an eye on my son and act on my behalf when I am not present as well as patrolling for any possible threats to not only Zayne but the rest of my family. As for you, Annabeth, I would like you to be his guardian angel. Keep a distant eye on my son and ensure that his fate is not altered from its intended path. It is important that you do not directly influence his decisions no matter how much trouble he may find himself in.”
Loki unusually quick to give his response, “sounds easy enough, Marcus. I appreciate the opportunity.”
Annabeth responded with a frown, “So I can’t ever play with the little guy? You can’t deny me his adorableness.”
Marcus chuckled at Anna’s question. “I have a feeling that you are going to play a much greater role in Zayne’s life than any of us know. You can certainly be a part of his life, but you must remain impartial to his destiny. Even if his life is in danger, you cannot save him. That is the fate of a guardian angel.”
Annabeth’s frown turned into a smile as she accepted Marcus’ offer. “I’ll be the best godmother ever, I promise! “
Several months had passed with Zayne under the watch of Annabeth and Loki, but somehow his older sister, Valkyrie, had managed to disappear completely. Marcus redirected Annabeth and Loki’s attention to that of finding his daughter, and so the two angels set off to scour neighboring towns. They followed any leads they came across until the duo arrived at a neighboring capitol city high atop the mountains that overlooked the sea city below.
While Anna was determined to follow through on her oath to their leader, Loki had indulged himself too much in the vices of the mortal world. “C’mon, Anna, it’s been a long day and we haven’t made hardly any progress in the last couple of days. Why don’t we take a break and treat ourselves to a well-deserved meal?” His voice was sincere.
Annabeth gazed up to Loki, obviously not buying into his slick words. “Need I remind you the severity of this expedition? Gentle Loki, I fear your nights of drinking in this world have altered your perception. I cannot allow such a thing to befall the both of us.” Her tone was stern.
“Oh come on, Anna,” Loki practically shouted, “Can’t you see that you’re invested too much in this? Even Marcus said that if it doesn’t directly involve the fate of the heavens that we had every right to refuse this task! If there’s anything I’ve learned from being amongst mortals, it’s that angels are the true slaves to creation. C’mon, Anna, you push yourself too hard in affairs that don’t concern you.”
The female angel kept silent as she turned and walked down the dark city street, away from her comrade. The thought of Loki’s twisted perception worried Anna to the point where she wasn’t even focused on tracking down Valkyrie any longer. Anna found herself sitting on a bench by a fountain, watching couples as they journeyed from restaurants or into inns. She remembered how much fun she would have with Zayne, and even longed to have a family of her own. Despite these mortal ambitions, Annabeth did her best to stay true to her godly nature. Divine creatures were not meant to live amongst the mortal world, and she knew this.
On the other side of town, Loki was busy drinking away his rejection with strangers while they gave women money in exchange for explicit favors. Regardless of how many women he took to bed with him, Loki still longed to be with Annabeth. Unlike his partner, Loki only desired the greatest trophies that the human world had to offer, and viewed Annabeth as such.
The night was long for Anna, but she managed to entertain herself by playing with some of the children who were out much later than their mothers would have cared for. Loki’s words from earlier still plagued her thoughts, and she found herself contemplating the thought of a family even more. That was until she turned a corner to see Loki holding hands with another woman. A powerful urge to approach the two built up in the angelic woman’s heart, but she refused to jump into action in such a way. Instead, Anna simply returned to the inn where they were staying and collapsed on her bed.
Hours went by when Loki stumbled into the room, reeking of alcohol. His legs were trying to move him in two different directions. Anna was awoken by the sounds of him bumping into furniture and tripping over himself. She sat up and stared at the stumbling man with a blank stare, as if she was waiting for something to happen. Loki tried crawling onto his bed, but stumbled off the edge and onto the floor, dragging the sheets with him. Anna sighed, “Well, you almost made it to the bed this time.”
Loki woke up to the blinding light of the afternoon sun shining brightly in their room. Silver eyes and a wide grin greeted the fallen angel. Anna had gotten on the floor with Loki to comfort him in his drunken state. This position wasn’t new to Loki, and he admired how the woman always had a smile on her face in the morning regardless of whatever he had done the night before. “Y’know, you should’ve come out last night. I wouldn’t have had as much to drink if you had been there.”
“Oh, really?” Anna chuckled at Loki’s attempts to persuade her. “How would it look if the both of us stumbled into the room in the middle of the night and passed out on the floor?”
Loki smirked at his partner’s statement, “Well to be honest, I would prefer such a position!”
The thought of Loki with the mystery woman came to Anna’s mind, “Oh, you mean the same position you were in with that woman from last night?” She sneered at the thought, “If only your sword were as sharp as your tongue.”
“You saw her? She was just some whore from the bar trying to bed with me for coin. C’mon, Anna, there’s only one lady for me and it certainly isn’t some bar maiden.”
Anna felt more at ease hearing Loki’s assuring words, but was still jealous that someone else had managed to catch his eye. “Is that so? Tell me, when do I get to meet this splendid woman and offer the two of you my blessing?”
Loki stood up from the floor and stared out the window while he talked, “She’s meeting me at a restaurant tonight if you would like to tag along and offer your judgement. Your company would be greatly appreciated.”
The female angel stood up behind Loki and gently shoved his shoulder, “Then it’s settled. I’ll go search around town for a few hours while you get ready for your date tonight. We can meet here in a few hours.” Loki had a mischievous smirk on his face as Anna quietly left the room to search for the missing child.
Annabeth’s search was fruitless. It was as if the trail they were following had just suddenly ended inside of this massive mountain town. The long day of scouring the misty city and questioning random citizens made the angelic woman hungry. She hurried back to the inn to find Loki dressed in a businessman’s suit outside, waiting for her to arrive. She approached her partner and complimented his change of uniform. After a short discussion, Loki escorted Annabeth to one of the fanciest restaurants in town, The Jade Dragon.
The greeter at the door acknowledged Loki’s reservation for two and proceeded to escort the couple to a fancy table set for two in the upper class section of the restaurant. Anna looked at Loki curiously, “Where is this mystery woman? Why are there only two chairs?”
Loki grinned and admitted to his partner, “Because you are the ‘mystery woman’”.
Annabeth’s cheeks were a rosy red, “You tricked me! Why would you do such a thing?”
The devious man sat back in his chair, “C’mon, Anna. You’ve been at your wit’s end lately over this kid. You deserve to be treated to the finer things that this world has to offer. What do you say, will you finally admit to being my date tonight?”
Anna whined innocently at Loki before admitting to defeat and nodding in agreement to Loki. “You get this one chance.”
Dinner was excellent. The shows that Loki took Annabeth to afterwards were even more spectacular. The naïve angel never even considered how Loki came across the money to foot all of the tabs that he was racking up. She was having far too much fun to consider that her closest comrade might be playing her.
After an exciting evening, Annabeth and Loki found themselves sitting on the same bench where Anna watched couples only a day ago. Their hands together, fingers interlaced. Anna had a heavy feeling in her tummy as she nuzzled herself closer to Loki. She was lost in thought about what life might be like on earth with Loki, much like Marcus and his wife. Before she knew it, Loki had his lips pressed against Anna’s neck and his hand wrapped around her thigh. She found herself conceding to his advances until his hand moved too far up her skirt. She gripped his hand tightly to stop him. Her voice purred as Loki kissed her neck, “We shouldn’t be doing such indecent things, Loki.”
The mischievous angel grinned, tickling Anna’s neck with his lips, “C’mon Anna. You deserve this.” Loki forced his hand to where he wanted it to go, not where Anna would allow it to go.
Annabeth dug her thumb into the tendon in Loki’s wrist until his grip weakened and released. She stood up quick, but Loki stood up just as quick. He gripped her chest before pressing his lips against hers. Anna stepped back and materialized a celestial saber in hand. With incredible speed she sliced with perfect accuracy at Loki. Her blade sliced through the tendons in the arm that Loki used to grope Anna. Loki roared in pain as golden ichor painted the ground beneath him.
Anna’s voice was severe and harsh, “You are not my ally you treacherous beast! I will tell Marcus what transpired here and let him decide your fate! You can’t hide from him!”
Loki stepped away from Anna in fear and listened to her threats before running off. As he ran he noticed that she wasn’t following him. His frightful expression turned into a mischievous smirk as he disappeared in the dark alleyways.
Two hours passed while Anna struggled to come to terms with what happened. She fought with herself trying to think about how someone that she had trusted for hundreds of years could just turn into a completely different person in just a few weeks. She decided to search their room for anything that he might have left that could give her the slightest indication of his sudden change of heart.
Loki had changed into a suit before their date, but left his other clothes on the floor of their small inn room. Anna searched through the pockets on his pants and discovered a note containing an address. She could tell that it was written by a woman, which infuriated her even more. Without thinking about the consequences, Annabeth stormed out of the building in search of the location on the paper.
Several caravans were being packed in a shady alleyway when Annabeth arrived. She made certain not to be seen as she spied on the things being loaded on the wagons. It was obvious that these people were planning on traveling a great distance. One container caught Annabeth’s eye as four men struggled to chain it to a cart. There was a crude painting of a horse on the container, but Anna could swear that she was listening to the cries of… a little girl.
Anna charged out from her hiding spot, armor dawned and sword drawn. The humans loading the carts stopped and hid behind their carts at the sight of an angelic warrior. Annabeth demanded, “Open that cage-“
Spoiler for Holy Shit Batman:
A hand covered the woman’s mouth and a familiar voice spoke to hear ear, “Victoria sends her regards.” The cold steel of a knife pierced Anna’s armor and skin, ripping her insides apart.
The woman fell to the ground in a pool of her golden ichor, staring up at her treacherous partner, Loki. He shouted to the workers, “Don’t mind this bitch. Finish loading the cargo so we can go!” Loki kicked Anna onto her back and knelt down next to her. “Don’t worry about the kid. I sold her to someone that wants to make her a real Champion. “
A woman made her way into the cleared out alley and called for Loki to come to her side. He skin was pitch black and covered in white tattoos. Her hair was as white as the tattoos covering her flesh. The tall woman was dressed in a gown of feathers from all types of creatures, including angels. After exchanging words and saliva with Loki, she approached Annabeth, who tried squirming away from the woman out of fear.
Anna’s eyes were huge, “W-When Marcus finds out-“
The tall demonic woman stepped on Anna’s stomach where her insides were exposed. She knelt down and placed a hand on Annabeth’s forehead and chanted a few demonic phrases. Anna was quiet afterwards and watched blankly as Loki, the demon priestess, and the caravan departed the alleyway.
Spoiler for Spartan Ants:
There was a young man who kept to himself. An introvert. He worked hard as a child and, later on, found himself in a rather well-paying job. He has a house, now, a small one. It’s got a garden with a sizable shed, where he spent a lot of his time. He lived out his hobby in there.
See, on the side, he was a writer. It was a hobby. But, he had another hobby that he creatively intertwined with it. He played with ants. Not living ones, no. In his shed he had a wall, covered with brown plasticine, with pathways here and there, giving it the appearance of an ant farm. Instead of live ants, he had populated it with fake ones. It had all the types: A single Queen ant, sterile worker female ants, and a lot of winged male and female ants. He had created each ant by hand, under lense and tweezer, putting realistic detail into one.
Whenever he wrote a story, he planned out the events by using the ants as puppets, like a child would use dolls to act out a scene. He’d voice out their lines, move them delicately and formulate stories.
Today he was thinking deep about a story set in Sparta, where the winged ants played warriors, the Queen the Queen, and the workers the city folk and children.
The protagonists of the story would be the Queen ant, named Neptunia, named after the god of the sea, and two gladiator ants, known as Myles and Orestes, two men born of different mothers, but in battle became brothers.
Myles was courting Neptunia in private moments, however scarce they were. He’d be her thrills. Myles knew that the Queen could not move from her place, due to her size. She was constantly tired out by laying eggs, it was horrible work, but he sought to distract her. One day as he was moving through the tunnels he noticed her alone and struggling. He went over to comfort her, and it all started from there.
He would talk to her about the world outside, saying things like “The sun was beautiful today, my Queen. It glistened on the dew drops so, I could barely bring myself to harvesting the leaves that they had decorated,” and “I and Orestes dove into battle again today. A beetle, fierce and heavy, though we took it down.” She always paid quiet attention, losing any exhaustion in her eyes, it being replaced with wonder and admiration.
“My dear Myles,” she would say, lovingly, “It is a shame I cannot fly with you. But your moments here make my suffering seem far less so, though I regret that our moments are scarce.”
The Queen’s guards often give Myles fierce looks as they return from wherever, swearing to keep closer watch over the Queen, but being lured out again the next day. That was thanks to Orestes, Myles’ blood brother. He would conjure up schemes to lure them out of the colony, so that Neptunia could gain the comfort of Myles’ presence once more.
One perilous day, news approached from another colony. It had fallen some days ago, and the surviving warriors had just managed to reach Neptunia’s colony. They were exhausted. They used their wings tirelessly, and when they could not any more, they ran. And when their legs gave way, they returned to their wings.
After a night’s worth of much-needed rest, they came to their senses again. One of them called for counsel with the Queen immediately.
He warned her, “They are coming, Neptunia. The army of Agis approaches. Fire ants. They bring with them torturous pain with their bites, and they’ve even made allies with some groups of… of bullet ants. Bullet ants. I thought they were mere legends, said to scare children to sleep at night, but I saw them in the battlefield. They are the Man Killers of legend. They… They are true.”
And, within an hour, all the warriors were assembled. The Queen commanded as she could from her position, and gave the rest of the command to selected generals. Soon enough, all the warriors ants were outside, save for one saying his goodbyes.
Neptunia quivered with despair, “I am sorry, my love. You can get no special treatment from me. My lovers are meant to die upon the first coupling, I was never meant to have a real one. Forgive me, Myles, I-” He rested his forehead against her own, and whispered, “I love you, Neptunia. And I will return.”
She collected herself, “I… I know. And I love you too, Myles. But remember our Law. You must return successful or… or not at all.”
“I respect that law, Neptunia. That is the law of our colony. I accepted it when I was but a larvae. I will go, and I will return victorious. Now I must go, Ares awaits me.” As he left her chambers, she started to weep once more.
Myles met Orestes on the battlefield formation. They but gave each other solemn nods, and awaited for their call into conflict.
They met their adversaries on the battlefield. Their enemies were fire ants, skin as red as clotted blood, the sounds of horror and torture shrieking through the air. The fire ants never killed their enemies outright, they bit them and left them writhing in agony until they either died of the venom, or by their own hand. But they didn’t expect the will of the Spartan ants.
The spartan ants launched into attack, a fierce sea of black clashing into a confident red current. The first fire ant to deal a bite was surprised, the Spartan it had bitten did not whimper or collapse, instead it turned this pain into a berserk rage and struck down its enemy. It managed to snatch the lives of three unders under its mandibles, before the poison finally brought it down. At this point it felt like the battle was one-sided, until the Man Killers showed up.
They towered over all ants, their slender black bodies and legs looming over the swarms of fire ants. These ants did not bite, they stung. Each time their stingers were lowered into the battle, the death of a spartan rose up. The tide turned once more, and even fear started to grip the hearts of the spartans, though that quickly became a fervent desire for battle. To die in fighting for their Queen and colony, to lay their lives down in battle was the highest honour. And that they did.
Myles and Orestes were lost in the swarm, but together. Myles had an idea.
“Orestes, allow me to climb you. You will charge me into a face of a Man Killer.”
Orestes was confused at first, but figured that it was a good way to defeat the height advantage. “Aye,” Orestes agreed, “They have a mighty sting, but our mandibles outmatch theirs. Climb on, brother!”
“I have a little more planned than that, Orestes,” chortled Myles with a smirk. “Get me closer.”
It was tough for Orestes to fight through the current of war. Myles gave him no issue, as he had carried items fifty times heavier. The trouble here was seeing, until Myles started barking down directions. And soon enough, Orestes saw antennae looming above them, and Myles was face-to-face with a bullet ant.
“Man Killer,” challenged Myles, “You and your men work in solitude, you fight by yourselves. But I have my brothers here. And because of that, you will fall!”
The bullet ant tried to lunge for Myles’ face, but Myles leapt atop the Man Killer’s large, slender body. He gave a powerful bite at the bullet ant’s neck, killing instantly. Then he turned around, chewed off the stinger, and held it in his mandibles. The poison oozed out around his mouth, pain starting to rack his body, but the rage was strong. He would not die yet. And, with sword at the ready, he fought.
The Spartan ants had learned from Myles’ antics, and had learned that the most the bullet ants had over them was fear, height and their sting. Once they had conquered the first two, they could steal the third and become Man Killers themselves. But at a price.
“Orestes…” Miles weakly uttered, flat on his belly. His mouth was covered in poison. It had seeped into him, killing him slowly, in immense torture. “Come here… brother,” he wheezed, weakly.
Orestes had gained a few battle wounds, but had survived with his health and limbs. He came bounding over to Myles’ side, “Yes, brother?”
“Heed my dying wish, Orestes. Please, it will be the last thing I ask of you.” The glisten was slowly draining from Myles’ eyes, reflecting Orestes’ weary, concerned look.
“Of course, Myles. Anything.”
“Take my place. For the Queen. You… you have never seen her. Oh, what a sight. But she had never seen you, either. Say… say you died in the battle, brother. Become me for… for her sake.”
“...you would give up the honour of your death? Would she not be happy-”
“Orestes, please. She is locked down there. She has forgotten the scent of grass, the blueness of the skies, all she knows is dirt and pain. I gave her escape, but you…”
And like that, Myles was dead. His last thoughts was worry for his lover, and Orestes understood completely.
“Yes, Myles.” Orestes cried in silence, the remaining Spartan ants around him already heading home.
When Orestes entered Neptunia’s chambers for the first time, he was greeted with a sight of beauty. Her skin was smooth and glistened like the morning dew. Her eyes were as lively as the sun. “W-who are you?” She questioned the intruder.
Orestes cleared his throat, “Uh, it is I, my Queen. Myles. I… had suffered in battle, you may not have realised it was me at first.
“M-Myles!” She was ecstatic, little leg scraping on the floor, but her bloated body could not move. “You’re alive!”
“I am, my Qu-... My love.”
The writer stood back and admired his handiwork. The story was set, and all he had to do was write it. It was perfect for a short story for an online competition. The subject was romance, and the very first thought the man had was:
“Romance? Heh. More like, Rome Ants.”