2022.01.21 11:26 sandmac What would happen to mankind if somehow conspiracy minded people are the only ones left on the planet?
2022.01.21 11:26 runningxbackwards RIP Meatloaf
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2022.01.21 11:26 marketshareroller Rollin' Goes Up 6 Places to Number 15 at This Evening's Music Bank
2022.01.21 11:26 cleanser70x7 Still waiting on the soundtrack
2022.01.21 11:26 MissingASemicolon 2 games into my new job and chill, and I've already found out just how batshit the FFA Cup can get
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2022.01.21 11:26 Beliavsky Fraudsters cash in as Dems shovel out billions and billions in COVID relief
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2022.01.21 11:26 1u43r Not bad with only 1 loss during 😎
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2022.01.21 11:26 Versus_M Lepthyphantes minutus - female & epigyne under the stereomicroscope. #linyphiidae
2022.01.21 11:26 Gullible_Ad_6411 Sauce (all three pics are from different comics)
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2022.01.21 11:26 wosos 2183
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2022.01.21 11:26 John_Doe11037 Crossover
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2022.01.21 11:26 adartagnan [The True Confessions of a Nine-Tailed Fox] - Chapter 24
Blurb: After Piri the nine-tailed fox follows an order from Heaven to destroy a dynasty, she finds herself on trial in Heaven for that very act. Executed by the gods for the “crime,” she is cast into the cycle of reincarnation, starting at the very bottom – as a worm. While she slowly accumulates positive karma and earns reincarnation as higher life forms, she also has to navigate inflexible clerks, bureaucratic corruption, and the whims of the gods themselves. Will Piri ever reincarnate as a fox again? And once she does, will she be content to stay one?
Previous Chapter | Next Chapter | Table of Contents
You can start reading about her adventures here. Advance chapters and side content available to Patreon backers!
Chapter 24: Lord Silurus, Take Two
Back when I was Prime Minister, I’d noticed that Sericans – especially Sericans who lacked power – often sighed, “Humans’ plans can’t compare to Heaven’s plans” when something (or someone) scuttled their hopes.
Like that time Cassius’ Grand Marshal tried to appoint his own son-in-law to lead an expedition against bandits, but I upset his meticulous scheming via dream interpretation. I’d had nothing against the Grand Marshal or his son-in-law, really – they were bland, unobjectionable courtiers – but I’d wanted to make the point that as Prime Minister, I controlled the military. Conveniently, Cassius happened to dream about a white-clad, halberd-wielding hero who fought off a demon and then leaped into a dragon’s mouth. So I’d explained to a rapt court that the prophecy pointed to a different young general, one who wore white (albeit not more often than anyone else), fought with a halberd (albeit not better than anyone else), and hailed from Dragon’s Gate in the east. That last point clinched my argument, the Grand Marshal conceded with a muttered, “Humans’ plans…,” and I reveled in my victory.
Now, however – now I was starting to understand the sentiment behind the saying. And I didn’t like it one bit.
Because Captains Carpa and Carpio had chosen today to conduct an inspection of the barracks. Today – of all days! After weeks of inactivity! They just had to pick the one day that I’d already picked to raid their armory!
When I glided up to the barracks and glanced inside, expecting the usual still darkness and the lone shrimp drowsing at the duty desk, I saw a frenzy of antennae instead. Standing on his chair and waving his front legs, the shrimp sergeant was barking, “Make the bunks! Polish the armor! Sweep the floors!”
The smallest shrimp, perhaps a new recruit, scurried for a broom and starting whisking at the bits of eelgrass and reeds and other debris that the currents had scattered across the packed-earth floor. Other guards dashed deep into the grotto, presumably to straighten the dorms and polish the armor.
“Count the spears! Report the inventory to me!”
Nooooooo! I flapped all four flippers in distress. No no no! I needed a spear! Now how was I supposed to steal one? How long would the inspection take? How long would it take the guards to settle back into their lax routine? When would I have another chance to sneak in? I should have come yesterday! Even half a day ago would have been fine! Why, oh why, had I put it off until now?
And seriously – an inspection? Who needed inspections? And why did the captains have to run one on precisely the day I needed to get into the barracks? It was just not fair. Paddling with choppy, angry strokes, I started to storm off.
That was when I heard voices drifting out of a side tunnel, so small it hadn’t rated a door. Slowing, I eavesdropped.
“ – have two more spears than the last inventory. If we report that, Sarge will get mad at us for counting wrong last time.” That sounded like an older guard, a veteran of past inspections.
“Did we order any new spears since the last count?” asked another.
“No. Someone counted wrong.”
“I did not!” chittered an indignant, youthful voice. “I counted three times!”
A crack, like an antenna striking shell. A yelp.
“What do we do now?” asked the second guard.
A long, pondering silence.
“Can we, uh, hide them somewhere?” suggested the mathematically-challenged shrimp. “Like, under a bunk?”
“During an inspection? Are you crazy?”
Another long silence. The darkness inside the tunnel stirred, and out of the hole poked a shrimp’s head, swiveling right and left. It vanished, to be replaced by a smaller one. This junior shrimp scurried out carrying two spears, which it tossed behind the garbage heap. Then it hurried back inside. Three sets of feet pattered away down the tunnel.
For a moment, I was too stunned to move. Had the guards just thrown away two perfectly good spears because they couldn’t count? Not even under my rule had the military achieved such heights of incompetence! My first, mad instinct was to swim straight to the Water Court and report it to Yulus.
Insanity. Why would I do that? Here were two free spears! And I hadn’t even had to burglarize the armory for them! Ah, truly the Heavens provided!
Gliding over to the garbage heap, I examined them. They looked identical, so I scooped them both up, curved a flipper around them, and swam off, buoyed by the memory of the guards’ boundless ingenuity.
After that, I practiced using the spears. Flippers weren’t meant for gripping, any more than spears were designed to be wielded by mouth, but I learned to hold the butt between my jaws, support the shaft with my front flippers, and flick my neck. That gave me enough control over the spearhead to prick and herd my targets. And when all else failed, I simply hurtled at the fish like a battering ram. Startled, they’d dart out of the way, and if I’d positioned both them and myself properly, they’d streak straight into a net.
Ahhhh. So satisfying.
Too bad I didn’t dare try it on the shrimp guards, especially that big bully. If I failed to get them caught by humans, they’d report the incident to Yulus and Nagi, who’d open an investigation into this weapon-wielding, unawakened turtle. Even if I succeeded, Yulus and Nagi would still open an investigation into why their guards kept going missing, and eventually something would lead them to me.
Ah, well. Even if I couldn’t get revenge, at least I could console myself with positive karma. That would have to do for now.
One day, as I maneuvered an eel into a trap, the long, narrow, almost throat-like basket gave me a flash of genius. It was true that the spearhead couldn’t hurt Lord Silurus from the outside – but how about from the inside? I could let him swallow me and then either wedge myself in his throat until he choked to death, or swim around shredding his internal organs! Those were sure to be softer than his hide.
Yes. I liked this plan.
Since I couldn’t afford to have any witnesses, I added surveying Lord Silurus’ stretch of river to my daily routine. Luckily, the spirits were all giving the demon a wide berth, and the humans’ pathetically short memories weren’t so pathetically short that they’d started trickling back to his territory. Except for insignificant mortal creatures, I’d have the demon to myself.
Now it was time to confront Lord Silurus again.
After some thought, I wedged one of the spears into a crevice to hide it from casual inspection. Realistically, I wasn’t getting out of the demon alive, but if Glitter reincarnated me in Black Sand Creek again, which seemed likely, I could come back for the weapon.
Flippers trembling, I picked up the other spear and approached the cave. It lay black and still and somehow expectant, as it had for all the days of my surveillance.
Edging up to the opening, I peeked around a stone. Lord Silurus? Lord Silurus –
“Ave, daemon, moritura te salutat” popped into my mind, and I smiled a little, remembering.
“Hail, demon, she who is about to die salutes you.” It had been one of Aurelia’s ladies-in-waiting who’d said that, right before the guards pushed her into a pit of vipers and scorpions. Like I’d said, Cassius and I had favored methods other than the Burning Pillar for executing women. (Sadly, I’d been pretending not to be a demon, so feeding them to me had not been an option.)
Still smiling, I called into the cave again, Lord Silurus? Are you home?
Maybe he was sleeping. Should I swim in and brave whatever traps he might have set? Or come back and try again tomorrow? I waffled, batting my three free flippers and bobbing up and down.
No. No, she who was about to die did not want to put it off any longer.
Lord Silurus! I yelled. I need to talk to you!
One second, the hole gaped emptily. The next, waves burst out of it, battering me and tumbling me head over shell. Up rose a mountain with blood-red eyes and whip-like whiskers.
Just like last time, the bellow vibrated my very bones.
Keeping a firm grip on my spear, I righted myself. I do, I declared, and swam up right in front of his face. His eyes crossed as he focused on me.
“IT’S YOU AGAIN! THAT SUICIDAL MIDGET! WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM LORD SILURUS THIS TIME?”
Well, I was about to die anyway. Couldn’t hurt to tell him the truth. I want you to stop eating humans.
He exploded into laughter, waves blasting from his mouth. I flailed my flippers and fought to stay in place.
When he finally calmed down, he asked, “WHY WOULD LORD SILURUS DO THAT, LITTLE TURTLE?”
Because I’ll kill you if you don’t.
I expected more laughter, but he simply lunged, jaws wide. With one hard stroke of my flippers, I shot at his mouth, straining to make it past his teeth before he bit down. Swimming with only three flippers, I was off-balance and awkward, but I didn’t have time to shift the spear to my mouth. His jaws were closing – gleaming steel points jutted down above me and rose up to meet me – the inside of his mouth was getting darker – and then I was through.
Behind me, his teeth slammed shut and ground against each other.
I took a moment to transfer the spear to my mouth before I swam forward. Although I couldn’t see anything in the darkness, I kept the horrible metallic screeching behind me, and that worked well enough as an anti-compass. Soon enough, his jaws reopened, letting in murky light and a torrent of water. Hanging onto my spear, I let it carry me into a vast, cavernous space.
Funny, shouldn’t his throat be narrower than this? Well, I guessed I wouldn’t be jamming myself in and choking him to death.
Even more oddly, bars of light lit the cavern from both sides up ahead, falling between long rows of what looked like – shelves maybe? What was this, a warehouse? Why would a demon carry around a warehouse inside him?
As the current started to curve towards the shelves, I suddenly realized what they were. Gills! They were gills! Of course! Silly me – fish didn’t have lungs or windpipes. Gills were how they breathed!
Should I attack them? Could I destroy them and suffocate him? That might not be a bad option.
But as the water pulled me closer, I saw the problem: The gills were spaced so far apart that I’d be swept right between them and end up outside the demon again! Clenching my jaws around the spear, I paddled furiously, straining to keep going straight. Even so, I was drifting sideways – I could tell I was drifting sideways – but if I could just stay far enough inside that I missed the last gill –
I bumped into it. The water swirled and tugged at my shell, but I braced my back flippers against the gill and kicked off as hard as I could. I shot away from it, cutting through the water, and then I was out of the current and gliding down his throat.
Whew! That was close. Gills in a fish – who’d have thought? Maybe studying natural philosophy did have its advantages.
But whatever. Now it was time for some stabbing. Using my mouth and flippers the way I did when I herded fish, I thrust the spear at his throat lining.
It bounced off. The demon didn’t so much as twitch.
Hmmm. Backing up, I charged forward and rammed the spear into the lining. This time, the spearhead pierced it and stuck. Then it started to roil up and down, as if Lord Silurus were trying to swallow a fish bone. Better.
Backpedaling, I yanked the spear free and then drove it in again, trying to puncture his throat.
Everything moved from side to side, as if he were shaking his head.
Clamping the spear in my jaws, I gave a hard stroke of my flippers and shot down, dragging the point through the lining.
His throat convulsed harder, nearly shaking me loose. Then water roared in from his mouth and slammed me all the way into cavern full of acid.
Stomach acid hurt! I could feel it eating away at me. I had to kill him before he digested me!
Stabbing the spearhead into his stomach, I raked the point along it. Although the lining parted, no tang of blood filled the liquids around me.
Not deep enough! Yanking the spear out, I rammed his stomach even harder, driving the point in as far as I could and then dragging it sideways. Still no blood.
Why wasn’t this working? How thick was his stomach lining? Every bit of exposed flesh and shell was screaming in pain. I was running out of time. Desperate, I stabbed at the same spot over and over, trying to punch a hole through it.
But I was dissolving. My skin was gone. My shell was gone. My muscles were turning into goop.
Howling, I shoved the spear forward one final time before my consciousness melted into nothing.
Thanks to my awesome Patreon backers, BananaBobert, Celia, Charlotte, Hookshyu, James, Lindsey, Michael, Voligne, and Anonymous!
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2022.01.21 11:26 blainiac89 Barrels
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2022.01.21 11:26 kacperke 48/32 crankset and 12-25 cassette on a road bike?
I currently ride my bike on 50/34 crankset and 12-25 cassette and it suits me very well. I appreciate how smooth the gear ratios are. Usually i ride od the 4th or 5th gear (19 or 18/50).
However there is one thing that bothers me. When the road gets a little steeper or there is some headwind i need to go down with the gears. Usually when i hit 21 cog the next reduction is to change my front cog from 50 to 34. This situation is presented on the uploaded picture (on the left side). However if my crankset was 48/32 i would have one "extra" gear on the biggest front cog. Also i would have lighter ratio doing occasional hills. The cost is obviously lower max gear ratio, but i use my lowest gear very very rarely.
Where i live the terrain is mostly flat and i don't ride hills. Also i don't race ever. I just like to ride a bike long distances and i think that such a change would be rather good. But i would like to know what do you think about it?
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2022.01.21 11:26 michaelpett24 Finally Got them All :)
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2022.01.21 11:26 ayediosmiooo Saw this in a nursing sub, Share your salary!
Ive been seeing a lot of burnt out CNAs on this sub (who can blame us?). Talking about leaving the industry all together, etc. An important factor is how grossly underpaid we are. (Most if not at facilities in my area pay less than fast food employees). We all deserve a living wage, but i dont feel like cnas get paid nearly equal to the back breaking work it is. (And many went to school for this!)
If you feel brave, feel free to share your wage/salary and state? NYS ive seen from 10.25/hr to $15/hr ($15 being with a night shift differential).
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2022.01.21 11:26 Goanimelist1 Shuumatsu no Harem episode 3
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2022.01.21 11:26 sabbah Jewish Settlers Assault Palestinians, Activists near Nablus
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2022.01.21 11:26 bucket--bot pure spouses therein, and some of luck :D
2022.01.21 11:26 0xLeaibolmmai Is my printer conscious?
I started a small print today and walked away after the first layer. After about 2mm the print got cancelled due to a thermal runaway. Resuming the print didn't work either, as resuming the print lifts the cold nozzle up immediately, with the small print sticking to the nozzle rather than the cooled down bed. I started over, walked away after the first layer and the same thing happened again. I removed the failed print and started over again, this time sitting next to the printer. Right now the print is 38% through and still going strong with no signs of failing. 😁
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2022.01.21 11:26 Nodeo-Franvier Would Panther Schmalturm Turret be a competitive design post war?
This seem like a very fascinating design,Would it have been competitive in the post war period?
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2022.01.21 11:26 wellcrap1234 Had it all going on at once!
2022.01.21 11:26 ins4yn Boxwood Biscuit Co closing after January 30
2022.01.21 11:26 Kuyosaki Help
2022.01.21 11:26 crytoloover 🔥 Leon Token IEO on Kanga Exchange PRESALE!! 🚀 Plus Tenset Infinity Airdrop Updates 💎