Sword Training (The Solune Prince ActIII, Si)

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Chloe and Lillith sat at the breakfast table, eating in silence. They eyed each other, each wondering what the other was thinking.

Lillith wondered if Chloe would show up to the gymnasium for practice as she had promised, or if she would forget and wander into the city like she had the day before.

Chloe wondered if Lillith was doubting her, if Lillith believed her word, her promise at all. They had both come to the agreement that she was to train from morning until early afternoon.

And so they sat in anticipation. Chloe’s eyes darted to Lillith’s plate. She tried to pace herself so that Lillith finished first. Lillith didn’t notice at first, but eventually it was clear that Chloe was eating at an extremely leisured pace. And then Col re-entered the room. Having finished serving the meal, he sat down between them and, oblivious, began to speak.

“No, no, I told him, I don’t own the building, I just live here, and work here! I told him. And he looked at me suspiciously! I can’t tell if he was stopping me because I don’t look like the kind of person who would live here, or if it was my missing teeth, or what. How would he have seen my teeth from where he was? I wasn’t talking, my mouth was closed. So I guess wasn’t the teeth, huh. I just don’t understand. I tell you, the officers around here are getting more and more paranoid. It’s like they’re looking for something. Or maybe they’re just looking to pick a fight? I don’t know, I don’t know.” Col shook his head and then began to eat.

Distracted, Chloe had unconsciously finished her food. She gave a half frown, stood, said thank you, and then exited. She stopped in the hallway, looking left and right. She couldn’t remember where the gym was. She thought, maybe I should have stayed at the table and waited? That would have been polite too.

“Ah,” she exhaled. Too late now.

Chloe went to the ground floor to look for the room. She tried a few doors and eventually found the right one. She opened it and peered inside.

“Ah, so you found it,” Lillith rounded the corner, “well, don’t just stand there, go in, let’s get started.”


They entered the gym, and Lillith headed to the left wall on which hung her sword collection. She took a couple of thin, edge-less swords off the wall.

“These are training swords. They have no edge, and weigh less so that cutting is safer. And they flex more and have this roundly folded tip, so that thrusting is safer. We’ll use them while you’re learning so that we don’t have to call for the Servant of Duels every time, but still don’t cause too much accidental injury.”


“We’re going to start with some exercises, because I don’t think you’ve enough strength to wield a sword properly.”

“Well, I fought okay on my way here…” Chloe said.

“Was it a quick fight?” Lillith asked.

“Quick? I fought a whole horde of wild Riley people.”

Lillith tilted her head to the side, “consider how many cuts you actually threw.”

Chloe thought back and tried to form an estimate, “I guess around seven or eight.”

“Right, and you said they were wild, which I’m assuming means untrained. Should we have to retaliate against an army, or battalion, or whatever is thrown our way should the situation in the city turn dark, you’re going to need to be able to throw out more than seven or eight. And, since we’re expecting trained guards and officers, you’ll need the strength to pull your weapon back.”

“Pull it back?”

Lillith handed Chloe on of the training swords, and then stood beside her.

“Throw out a cut, and then pull it back. At the same time as me, ready?”

They both swung forward. Lillith’s sword cut down faster, but she waited for Chloe to finish cutting. Then, she returned to her starting position. The gap between the two women’s return was noticeably larger than the gap between their cuts.

“Hey,” Chloe said, “that’s not fair, you have more training than me.”

Lillith nodded, “You’re absolutely right, but that’s not the kind of argument you can make against an enemy. And, I didn’t show you this to compete. I’m showing you that you need to build a kind of strength that most people haven’t.”

“What’s that?”

“Strength in your forearms. A lot of hand movements are controlled by the wrists.”

“And the wrists is controlled by tendons attached to muscles in the forearm. And swords are heavier than everyday objects, so those muscles need to have more strength, right?”

Lillith nodded, “Err, right. Yes. So, what you need to do is exercise those muscles. For today, that’s all we’ll work on. Then I’ll start adding more in training.”

So, under Lillith’s instruction, Chloe spent a few hours throwing her weapon out and pulling it back in. Lillith made her focus on the speed of her pull back.

“You want to have your sword in a position to defend or cut again as soon as possible. It’s easier to attack, both through your thought process and by how muscles work, so for today we won’t focus on that.”

As she made cuts with the weapon, Lillith added diagonal cuts, and made her alternate. The work seemed to be easy at first, but eventually it began to wear on Chloe. She began to sweat, and her arm started aching. Lillith allowed for some breaks, and gave her water, but they kept going until Chloe started to feel pain.

“Al right, we’ll pick up tomorrow.”

“I think I can keep going through the pain.” Chloe panted.

“That’s admirable of you, but if you damage yourself, then we have to wait for you to heal. You still need to come back tomorrow.”


“Well, we stopped early today, but that’s fine. I’ll get Col to prepare lunch. We can eat when it’s ready. And don’t forget, you’re going to feel this in the morning.”


Daniel Triumph.
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A Choice Part 2 (The Solune Prince ActII, Sxiv)

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Chloe re-entered Lillith’s room, this time with Elliott.

Lillith sat back at her desk, “come to change your mind?” She smiled, “or perhaps you’re just here to interrupt my work?”

“I’m here to say that I don’t want to work all the time.” Chloe paused, nervous that she had  implied the wrong thing, and then added, “I don’t mean that I don’t want to work, I mean that, ah…”

“Yes?” Lillith said.

“Ah,” Chloe had run out of steam. She had many arguments for how doing the same thing every day could put you in a rut, but she hadn’t bridged that argument into how a break might help solve that issue.

Lillith said, “what would you do outside of working and training with me?”

Elliott spoke up, “I’d like her to come out and help me with some projects. We could use more hands.”

Chloe nodded, “I don’t want to have to spend all of my time here. But… I still want to work with you enough that I’m not… neglecting my duty to the Lussa royalty.”

Lillith exhaled, “It seems what you really want is time to do the things you want to do.”


Lillith said, “Consider my situation. I work with Prince Riley, and with the rest of the Lussa royalty. Then I also have this building to maintain. I don’t think I told you this, but you’re not the only person living here, this is a government-owned apartment complex; although that’s a story for another time. On top of all that, I have to train you in fencing, and probably also certain Lussa customs and culture, what little I know of all that.”


“I don’t know what you were expecting, but I can’t be with you every hour of the day. Possibly, I’ll have time for a few hours every morning and into noon, for most of the week. We can practice sword fighting and battles, then we can talk during a late lunch, but after that I’ll have to go back to my own business.”

“Wait wait,” Elliott said, “So what you’re saying is that we have the whole afternoon? That’s great, isn’t it Chloe?”

“Yes…” Chloe said slowly, “I can’t believe I hadn’t thought of it before.”

Chloe cleared her head and added, “So, you have from morning into noon, and then in the afternoon I have my own time, and I can go out with Elliott, or explore independently.”

Lillith smiled, “if that’s what you want. But please remember to be well rested in the mornings.”

“Which means not to return too late,” Chloe said.

Lillith gave a tilted nod.

“Well, thank you for helping me come up with a more clear schedule.”

“Of course. I think I said this the first time you came in here, but I’ll see you tomorrow morning.”

Chloe and Elliott sat on a bench outside the building eating a dinner, and watching the city get dark.

“I’m pretty happy that this while thing was settled,” Elliott said, “it all ended up working out fine.”

“Yes, it did.”

“Are you okay? You don’t seem that happy” Elliott said.

“Well, we didn’t specifically solve anything, right? We just found out that my worries didn’t exist in the first place.”

“I mean, I guess.”

“No, it’s true. I assumed that I was going to be working with Lillith all day. I didn’t consider that she would have her own responsibilities outside of me.”

Elliott frowned, “so what are you saying?”

“I’m saying that I was only thinking about myself.” Chloe said.

“I don’t know what to say. To be honest, I didn’t think about her side of it either,” Elliott said, “I guess it’s just easier not to worry about other people.”

Chloe sighed, “yeah. But, despite that, I think I’ll try to be a little more considerate.”

They picked at the food in silence for a bit. Chloe wasn’t sure what she was eating, but it looked like rice.

“Hey,” Elliott said, “I’ll see you tomorrow afternoon then. We can meet up at the building we’re painting, if you remember where that is.”

“Yeah, I remember.” She looked at the darkening sky, “Is that the sun getting brighter?”

“Hmm? No that’s not the sun. That’s Opsto.”


“It’s like the Lussa moon… It’s not the same as the normal moon, it’s a second planetary object that kind of just stays in one place in our sky. Honestly when I went to your side of the planet I was a little surprised that you didn’t have one.”

“So you just have a stationary planet in your sky?” Chloe said.

“Pretty much. That’s why it’s dimmer for most of the day. Partial eclipse. Opsto literally means hinder. Didn’t you notice it?”

“I couldn’t see it past the clouds. I also assumed that’s why it was so dim.”

Elliott nodded, “that’s one reason, but it’s actually dim for most of the day every day. It’s only evenings and mornings when Opsto isn’t in the way when it gets bright. And it can get really bright. The break of dawn is actually blinding.”

Chloe tried to process this. She said, “Is it brighter because when that planet… er, when Opsto is off-center, it also starts to reflect light to the surface?”

Elliott said, “that would make sense, although I’m not particularly sure.”

They finished their dinner and, as Elliott said, the city did start to get brighter. Light began reflecting off the metal buildings, and eventually they headed inside to escape it. Other people started to trickle in too, Chloe assumed these were the other residents Lillith spoke of.

The two stood in the hall near the entrance of the apartment and waited.

“Now I understand why the halls are on the outside of this building,” Chloe said, “that way the morning light doesn’t hit the room.”

“Yeah, the rest of us have to use heavy curtains. It is not cool to wake up to blinding lights, let me tell you.”

“Huh, I would have thought that your buildings would be built with this in mind.” Chloe said.

“Well,” said Elliott, “not everyone can afford a house with exterior hallways, or special windows or whatever. But heavy curtains? Now that’s something anyone can go out and buy.”

“Oh. That makes sense.”

Sunlight came in through the front door window, and Chloe and Elliott watched as it got brighter and brighter, and eventually, suddenly faded out. Afterwards, Elliott said goodbye, and went home in the dark, where his eyes were safe.

Daniel Triumph.
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First draft disclaimer: This narrative is a first draft, and is therefore subject to grammar errors, repetitiveness, lack of clarity, repetitiveness, weak character voice and other issues. Later drafts will smooth such things over, but for now they remain.

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Wow, this one turned kind of weird. To be honest, I’m a little unsure of the whole day-night cycle in the Lussa City and the Underside.

The original setup was that the sun got really hot during the day due to a thinner atmosphere, and the moon reflected a lot of light, so most creatures flipped the clock. Night time was safer, and bright enough to see, so people went out then. Day time was treacherous, so people decided to stay in caves, settlements, and so forth.

Then I decided I wanted things to happen at night, so I changed the treacherous only to apply at sunrise and sunset, like it does here. That’s when the planet (which is bowl shaped) gets sunlight at the edges. The theory was that the atmosphere acted like a lens an amplified the suns rays like a magnifying glass.

Now I’ve added Opsto, the giant planet that sort of acts like a binary to the “diskworld” or rather “bowl-world” of Dawngale. I came up with this because I couldn’t explain how the moon would get light when the sun is on the other side of the world. And I ended up making things way more confusing than they have to be. Maybe I’ll cut this part out in a later draft.

A Choice (The Solune Prince ActII, Sxiii)

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Chloe shut the door behind her, then closed her eyes and let the outside world pull back into the quiet of her mind.

She thought; what will I do? Will I spend all my time here receiving training? This physical education? Is that all I came here for? But, I can’t think like that. I am a kin of the royal people of the Lussa city. Albeit distant kin, but still, I came here on their request, and I must hold up my promise to help them. Like Lillith said, I need to be reliable. I need to be capable for whenever they decide to move to action.

But, she thought, I don’t know if I can stand doing only one thing all day every day. I don’t know how the militaristic people of the East do it, but I didn’t come from that kind of culture. To raise myself to such a high energy state overnight, what will I do?

“I just don’t know.”

A voice responded to her spoken conclusion, “what don’t you know?”

Chloe, startled, opened her eyes noticed Elliott was still in the hall, waiting.

“Oh, did I leave the door open when I was taking to Lillith?” Chloe asked.

Elliot waved his hand dismissively, “Yeah. I heard most of it. So you’re not coming out any more, huh.”

Chloe guessed that he was disappointed.

“Ah, did you want me to help you with your painting project?” Chloe asked.

“I was hoping to get you involved. Although, I never asked, would you even be interested?”

“Painting with a spray can? I’ve never done anything like this.”

“Ah, well,” Elliot said, “it doesn’t really matter as much as helping Riley, right?”

“Yes…” Chloe nodded with deliberation, and then, “no.”


“No.” Chloe said, “no. That’s not right at all.”

“What isn’t right? Are you saying that you’re not going to help the city?”

“That’s not what I’m saying. What I’m saying is this: I don’t think you can just work all the time. I don’t just mean you or me, but everyone. People need time to rest, or they get burned out.”

“I mean, that makes sense, but I know someone who just works non-stop and they seem fine.”

Chloe shook her head. She wasn’t going to let this idea go unless Elliott was going to apply arguments justified with reasons.

“No, no, I think, and when I say I think, I really mean that. I don’t actually know, I think. I’m building this argument on a reasonable assumption.”

“Okay,” Elliott smiled, “breaking out the fancy words! The fancy… fancy diction? Yeah. Breaking out the fancy diction! Let’s do this, I think I can keep up. Tell me why someone shouldn’t work every single day.”

“Right! Ah, okay.” Chloe returned his smile, and then her mind began to whirr. “If you’re doing the same thing every single day, then it becomes very easy to start going through the motions, to become caught in a groove. I think that what’s going on with these people who claim to work all the time is that they really are working, but it’s not… deliberate. It’s not… ah…” Chloe rubbed her face.


“Look, you can get by okay in a groove. Grooves are comfortable, easy, and there’s nothing really bad about them. But if you want any real improvement, you have to step outside your comfort zone. You can’t learn anything if you never have new experiences!”

“New experiences! I like it. Maybe you’re right, then, about taking breaks.” Elliot stopped, “wait, weren’t we talking about taking breaks? I think you started arguing for something different partway through.”

“Oh, ah,” Chloe said, “right. Okay, I do have a thing or two to say about breaks, but why don’t we, you and I, go to Lillith and see if we can reason with her. She did say it was my choice, right?”

“Uhh, yeah, that’s what I heard from out here.”

“Well, let’s go then.”

Daniel Triumph.
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The Decision (The Solune Prince ActII, Sxii)

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Chloe entered the room. Sitting behind a large desk, Lillith looked up and gave her a stern expression.

“I was wondering when you were coming back.”

“Ah,” Chloe said, “you were?”

Lillith stood, and stepping towards Chloe said, “I was. When you left to get your letter delivered, I told you to come back so that we could train today. So that you, like me, and like the Prince, would be ready if anything happens, if any conflict breaks out.”

“I, ah…”

“Isn’t that why you came here in the first place?” Lillith paused then tilted her head upwards, making an obvious gesture of thoughtfulness, “or maybe you just came to the city to see the sights? Maybe this whole trip is just a vacation?”

Lillith made eye contact with Chloe, and her expressions softened a bit.

“Or maybe you don’t really know why you came here?”

Chloe looked down and mumbled, “I, ah, I came here to… Or rather, I was brought here by Elliott and Dool to help with your conflict. To be another noble and strengthen the royal position.”

“You didn’t come on your own. You were brought,” Lillith further loosened her stance, “but you’re not really part of the conflict, you’re an outsider. You’re really more of a guest, aren’t you.”

Chloe wasn’t sure what to say. She knew that she had been brought to the Underside for a specific reason, and what that reason was. Even if she wasn’t directly involved, didn’t she come here to help?

“I guess…”

“If you don’t want to train, that’s fine; it isn’t really your duty to help us. You’re not obligated to learn from me. You don’t owe it to the Lussa people to be a capable warrior.”

“Well, I guess…”

Lillith continued, “There’s no need for you to feel responsible for our situation. I know you came intending to help, but if you don’t want to, it isn’t your fault, is it? You can just freeload off of Prince Riley-”

“Okay!” Chloe shouted, “okay, I get it. I understand.”

“You understand?”

Chloe sighed, “I went out and wasted the whole day exploring with Elliott, when I should have been here, doing my duty as a royal guest. Right?”

“Prince Chloe, for you to stay here and work, or to go out there and commit leisure, is neither right nor wrong,” Lillith returned to her desk and sat down, “you can likely tell from my speech which action I would prefer you take, but really I have no power over you. It’s up to you whether you want to commit or not.”

“Well,” Chloe said, “there’s clearly an obvious choice. I… I guess I’ll do the right thing and give up ‘committing leisure’ as you put it, and just focus on training. That is the correct decision, right?”

Lillith opened her hands, facing her palms up, “the choice really is yours.”

“Okay,” Chloe nodded, and then turned, ready to exit the room.

“I’ll see you tomorrow morning then?” Lillith asked.


Chloe nodded again, to herself this time, and then left. She felt as if she’d done the right thing, but wasn’t entirely confident in that decision.

Daniel Triumph.
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First draft disclaimer: This narrative is a first draft, and is therefore subject to grammar errors, repetitiveness, lack of clarity, repetitiveness, weak character voice and other issues. Later drafts will smooth such things over, but for now they remain.

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I actually proofread this one! Finally, taking these small steps towards improvement. Also, not that I’m finally paying attention to tension. Not that it’s played out particularly amazing in this scene, but I have to start somewhere, right?


Elliott’s Project (The Solune Prince ActII, Sxi)

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In the morning, Chloe milled about her room. She regarded the day clothes on the ground and wondered if she would have to wear them again. Then she remembered that Riley had tricked her travelling bag back from the police. She put on new clothes. Chloe stuffed the old clothes back in the bag and leaned it on the desk.

“Oh right, the letter. I guess I’ll find a courier for that today. Lillith must know someone.”

Chloe headed down to the ground floor, hoping her host would be there. The letter contained a simple question to her father asking who Venus was, as well as assurance that she had made it to the underside okay, but that the Lussa city certainly was troubled.

“Ah, you’re awake.” Lillith said.

Chloe returned to reality, “ah, yes. Is there anyone who can take this letter to the Overside, to my father in the Solune Kingdom?”

“The Overside? It isn’t easy to deliver to the other side of the planet.” Lillith considered for a moment and then added, “although, I do know a merchant who takes goods there occasionally. This isn’t urgent, is it?”


Lillith gave Chloe the merchant’s location.

“But return soon. We still need to figure out what weapon best suits you, and also to build up your stamina.”

“Sure thing.”

Chloe left the house and wandered around for a while, glancing at the address that Lillith had given her. Eventually she encountered Elliott, who had come to see her. After explaining her predicament, Elliott offered to help. They found the merchant with ease, and he accepted the letter. The man accepted Solune coin, so Chloe paid him for his trouble.

Elliott said, “hey, you know, this place is close to the shop we’re painting. Want to see?”

“What do you mean?”

“Okay, I told you I do odd jobs for Prince Riley, right?”

“Yes, and that you have a lot of free time,” Chloe nodded.

“Right, well with the rest of the time, I do commissions with a few friends.”

Elliott began to lead Chloe towards the shop.

“Commissions?” Chloe asked.

“I’ll explain,” Elliot said, “you see how this place, this whole city, is made of iron right? It’s the easiest material to find around here other than, like, sand. And for some, it’s nice and shiny. But others find it all grey and dull, because everything looks the same. So, those people come to me or one of my friends, and ask us to paint it!”

Elliott rummaged through his bag and took out a metal tube. On one end was a nozzle, and on the other was a capped hole.

“See, you can take the top off and fill it with paint, and then you pump air into the bottom. Then it’ll spray.”

“Interesting. I’ve never seen this method of painting before.”

“Oh, it’s great. So, there’s a shopkeeper who wants his building painted with a design. Nothing two intense, it is a place of business of course, but enough to make it stand out. Of course, we can’t just paint, you need to get government permissions. Oh look, there it is!”

They stopped in front of a long, thin, two storey building on the corner of a marketplace block. In front of it was a small group of people.

Chloe said, “That’s it? This building looks just like the rest.”

“No no, we haven’t started yet.”


“We’re planning today. Look, you can see Spider up there on the wall with the soft stone, checking measurements and doing outlines.” Elliott pointed.

“Wow, this is a whole process, huh?” Chloe said.

“Yeah, it’s our project.”

One of the people in the group was shouting instructions out to Spider.

Elliott introduced Chloe to his colleges.

He pointed to a white skinned, perturbed looking bald man who was staring at an outline on his sheet of reeds-paper, “this is Gerome. He’s the oldest, and he’s volunteered to help the Prince, kind of like you. Gerome, this is Chloe.”

Gerome said, “hey there, Chloe, nice to meet you.”

Chloe gave him nervous smile.

Gerome went back to his work, “Alright, so who all drew up this plan? It’s giving me a lot of mixed signals. Eh! Spider! Rub off that marking at the top there! No, not that one!”

Elliott looked at the awkward situation, and said, “yeah, it’s probably better to let him be. Anyway, these two are my brothers.”

Chloe looked at Elliott’s brothers. They were young, but older than Elliott. They were clearly twins, and they both had pale skin and light orange hair. They looked back at her, one at a time, bored. Chloe turned to Elliott, who had black hair and dark skin.

Elliott said, “they are Olllie and Eastton.”

Chloe felt a little better about talking to these two, since they were related to Elliott, and she knew Elliott.

Confused, Chloe said, “And they’re your brothers?”

“Elliott, look, you’ve gone and confused her,” Olllie said.

Eastton added, “Yeah, really. Did you even bother to explain why we have different skin tones? She probably thinks we’re adopted.”

Chloe looked from the twins to Elliott with a questioning look.

“Right, okay,” Elliott nodded, “good point. So, my brothers are albino. Apparently Lussa people have a higher chance of being albino than other races. You do know what albinism is right?”

Chloe nodded, “yes, it’s when you have no pigmentation in your skin.”

Olllie said, “right. Although, it’s a little different for the Lussa. Since it’s so common, even the albino people have become more adapted for the sun and whatnot.”

“Whatnot,” Chloe nodded.

“Right, so it’s not a complete loss. That’s why, while I may be pale, I can stand the sun, at least for a bit. It helps that the sun is fairly weak on the Underside.”

“That’s very interesting…”


“Very interesting, Olllie.”

“And,” Eastton added, “it goes the other way too. There’s a decent chance of a white person being born melinistic!”

“It’s around fifteen percent either way,” Ollie finished.

“So,” Chloe said, “it can be hard to discriminate without the pitfall of being straight out wrong, huh.”

The twins looked at each other, then shrugged.

“Okay, but who made these plans, anyway?” Gerome said, “they don’t make much sense.”

Elliott walked over and began explaining his outline. A few times, he himself got confused, or had to scratch lines off of the reeds-paper and redraw them. The twins left shortly after to go to work. As the day went on, Chloe watched as Gerome and Elliott with amazement as they instructed Spider, who diligently began to replicate the dark lines on the page as light marks on the wall.

Some time in the afternoon, Spider came down from the wall.

She took off her helmet and said, “I’m tired. My mom wants me home.”

Elliott and Gerome shrugged. Gerome packed away the plans, and everyone went their separate ways.

Elliott followed after Chloe and said, “hey, maybe I should stop by and see if Riley’s there. He might need something, you know?”

“Sure, we can walk back together,” Chloe said.

It didn’t take long for the two to get back to the House of Angels. Chloe went inside to find Lillith, and see she could get any food, and Elliott followed. Instead, she found Col.

“Where is Lillith?” Chloe asked.

Col gave her a nervous look, then said, “she’s in her study on the second floor. She’s… waiting for you.”

Chloe headed up the stairs, mumbling, “waiting for me?”

A neat label declared it’s door to be the study.

Elliot stopped and said, “you know, I’ll wait here. I don’t know why she wants to see you, but I don’t think I should interrupt.”

“Sure,” Chloe said.

She entered the room.

Sitting behind a large desk, Lillith looked up at Chloe and gave her a stern expression.

“I was wondering when you were coming back.”

Daniel Triumph.
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First draft disclaimer: This narrative is a first draft, and is therefore subject to grammar errors, repetitiveness, lack of clarity, repetitiveness, weak character voice and other issues. Later drafts will smooth such things over, but for now they remain.

If you want, you can help me out on Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/DanielTriumph)


This chapter was a real struggle to write. Not only because I’ve got my bipolar depression issues right now, but also because I’m starting to find all sorts of holes in my plot, or unnecessary portions. I think this is a lesson on planning.

I really want to finish anyway though. At least I’ll have something I can add to consistently, and also first drafts are notoriously terrible, right? Maybe I’ll have a better outlook on it when I’m not so down. For now, at least I got something out.