Hello, Venallerima here. This would be my first submission in Fiction Press. This would be the first part of what I wish would be an indefinite story. Submissions would be at least every week, depending on the critics and feedback I may receive.

I'm open to suggestions, critiques and comments. On critiques, I don't mind getting yelled at, as long as you give specific reasons pointers WHY I deserve to get slandered. So, if you say "$%^& is this %^&&…" at least continue it with "…story continuity is %^&* off, grammar sucks…" So on and so forth. That's the least you can do, right?

I hope you enjoy, and I hope I can be welcomed in this community.

Paalam sa ngayon!

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Monsters are Moving: Narcissism

The swordsman drew blood over and over, yet he was the one feeling intense panic against the unarmed and unarmored individual. How could he not? He'd been literally cutting up the person within the minutes of the battle yet his foe still wouldn't fall. With multiple stab wounds and bits of flesh grotesquely missing or hanging out of the body, the being before him was a monster in human form.

His bastard sword was the only reason why the monster hasn't killed him yet. Each slash he performed was the only thing keeping the enemy at bay. He wanted to run, but the shack somehow made it impossible. Stuck in an inescapable place with a monster, all he could do was somehow win this battle. However, his stance was already falling, as each time the monster attempted to strike, the parries and slashes took more and more out of him. His sweat and spine ran cold, the light armor he wore felt heavier and heavier. He knew his stamina was running out and the next strike was the last for him. But despite the horrendous odds against him, experience and instinct forced him to think. Surveying the damage he had made, and the changes in the enemy's movements, somehow he found a probability for victory. Gripping tightly on the handle, he banked on that sliver of hope in surviving the encounter.

Once again, the monster lunged towards him. In response, he swung his sword in a strong, calculated, downward slash, a supposedly predictable attack against the enemy's head. However, that attack was feigned, as it was really intended to sever the shoulder and thigh muscles. The enemy tried to evade the predictable strike, more so as after realizing the blow's true intentions. However, with some reduced mobility due to some previous damage on the monster's legs, the strike made its intended mark. With the shoulder and legs damaged, the monster turned limp and immobile. Finally getting the opening he needed, he repositioned quickly and swung the sword for the follow-up. In a flash, the monster's head flew away from its shoulders. In a split second, the swordsman thought he had finally grasp victory and survival. Surely, without a head, the body would fall useless. Without the head, surely the enemy would no longer be a threat, immortal or not.

However, a split second later, that simple logic laughed at him. The severed head flew straight to him, focusing its eyes and opening its mouth as a sign of sickening sentiency. It landed mouth-first on his head, bare teeth quickly digging deep in his flesh and skull. At his best, he tried to remove it from him, but his final gamble spent his last bit of strength. He could no longer swing his sword nor pry the monster away. Death came slowly and painfully as the monster chewed away his flesh and being.

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A thin, cloaked man named Mand patiently waited within the vicinity of the shack. The set-up was perfect, calculation proved a high probability of success. Plus considering the one who acted out the plan, failure was next to nil. Deep-aquamarine eyes constantly glowed in expectation, searing from the long, black hair that covered his thin face. His wait took about an hour, a little longer than expected. But inevitably, the signal for the completion of the plot came.

Mand entered the secluded shack after seeing the changes in the energies. Upon entering, he surveyed the immediate area; though quite messy to say the least, everything was satisfactory. He appreciated the extent of the damage inside the house and on the unarmored and beheaded body on the floor, realizing the full cause why the plot took so long. The body was dressed in merchant's garb, only slightly muscular in built. The warrior they wanted to meet surely would have never suspected any fighting power within the trader. He made his way to the decapitated head, deeply imbedded in the torn-up skull of the informant they sought. Setting aside the gore covering the severed head, it had an androgynous face with deep, auburn eyes and crisp blonde hair. One could imagine feeling no sense of danger with such a person; all of such was the reason why that particular body was perfect for the job.

He placed it in his eye level, locking eyes with the horrid object. In turn, the bodiless head blinked in response, opening its mouth voicelessly in an attempt to communicate. Mand placed a hand underneath the head, summoning a magic circle which in turn enveloped the head's neck. As the spell started to take effect, the head spoke: "I caught him by surprise, yes, but I still had a hard time going against him. With his sword skill, I could have been cut in to smaller pieces if I hadn't been careful. But thanks to your lockdown enchantment in the place, I was able to corner him easier." The bodiless head known as Ver promptly replied after receiving Mand's silent request for information. "In twenty-seven days, they would likely commence their operation. I'm remembering… that could be a maybe; seems like they still have dissenting voices within their council and personal problems. For now, that's all I can mention since my regeneration is fogging up the data." Ver continued as Mand gave an understanding nod whilst placing Ver back to his body.

The sinews of Ver's muscles spun and intertwined in a macabre dance whilst the bits of his material that was tossed and cut around started to crawl their way back to his entirety. On the other hand, the bit of details made Mand's eyes glow as he started his recalculation for their intentions. Ver looked up at his silent companion, giving a sigh at the pondering look. "Don't start your calculating just yet. I'm sure the number of days before their deployment isn't the only detail that could affect the plans. You can make your full analysis once I get my body in proper operation." Mand shook his head in response, letting the glow die in his eyes as he placed himself at ease. "Just… relax for a moment. This will take a while. How about tinkering with the informant's body? Maybe you can extract his talent. Just keep yourself busy and don't spend too much energy."

It took a good few hours until Ver was finally recompleted. He cranked his muscles, trying to feel the proper electricity within the renewed fibers. Though taking longer than expected, timing was still perfect as it was already night time when he finished renewing himself. Moving iin sunlight with tattered clothes and heavy scent of blood was obviously suspicious. Mand stood up from his seat, long bored from a fruitless dissection. Seeing as everything was now in order, he glanced to Ver that they go posthaste. Before they left, Ver pried out the sword the informant used against him. "It's quality equipment. I can tell it's stained with fairy blood from centuries past. Enchanted, lovely." Immediately after the two removed themselves within the premises, the house shuddered, twisting and grinding towards a black void that appeared within triggered enchantments. In a few seconds, the house vanished in a pop of smoke, flawlessly erasing any trace of evidence.

"The Houses of Wilkrim, V'tua and Caul would move towards the west front while the Houses of Dfebaul and Xzxen on the east. I still have records on each of their specialties, in case you deleted them. You still got them? Right. On amount of soldiers intended for battle, incumbent and currently being trained considered…" As promised after his recovery, Ver stretched the limits of his acquired memory and relayed everything as soon as they ensured their cover in the night. The conversation seemed one-sided, Mand serving nods and understanding as sufficient responses. The travel back to The Home would be a long one. Hopefully when they arrive, the cogs in their individual machinations were already turning.