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[personal profile] wonder_city
The Fifth Destination

"Are you serious?" Wire said, shrinking back visibly from the sanguine torrent.

The Equestrian turned to look over her shoulder as Maelstrom forded the River of Blood. The viscous serum rushed around her booted legs and Maelstrom's shoulders. "This is the way in. Don't get squeamish on me so that I have to come back across and kick your ass. There's lots worse in this country, kid."

Nereid took a deep breath of the metallic-tasting atmosphere and walked into the unimpressive current. It was warm, of course. "Come on, Wire," she said with forced cheer. "At least it isn't cold."

"Fuck that shit," Wire said, planting her back firmly against the high bank behind her. "Where are the tinkly damn bells? How do they get a whole goddamn river of blood?"

The Equestrian and her horse gained the other bank and turned to look at their charges. Maelstrom sighed explosively. The Equestrian rubbed her forehead. "They just have one, all right? Didn't you do any reading about this place? Not all of the books are wrong."

"No!" Wire shouted. "Why should I? How do I know what's right? Aren't we going with you so we don't need to do research?"

"What kind of goddamn superhero are you anyway?" the Equestrian shouted back.

Nereid, wet to the shoulder with blood, clambered out on the bank next to Maelstrom. She looked down at her formerly blue costume, up at the horse -- which was, of course, spotless by now -- and gestured with one hand. The river parted straight across, even the mud at the bottom crisping up dark brown as she removed the moisture from it. "Quit bitching already," she said.

Wire's eyes got very large and she crossed the stretch tentatively, eying the surging liquid walls at either hand. Nereid could feel the weight of the Equestrian's scowl on the top of her head.

Wire slapped Nereid on the shoulder, laughed, and said, "The parting of the Red Sea!" as if it was clever.

"I hope it doesn't come back to kick us in the arse," the Equestrian said, in a tone that anticipated several kicks in the arse.

"Sorry," Nereid said, somewhat contrite, but mostly relieved to have averted yet another Wire-induced crisis.

Maelstrom turned his back on the river and started up a road. "All right," the Equestrian said, "we will follow this road. We will not follow any other road until I say that we will. You will not step foot off this road. Think of it as the yellow brick road to Oz."

"Except that it's a dirt road?" Wire said, walking up the hill of the bank.

"Stop thinking you're witty," the Equestrian said, a harsh edge in her voice. "You might be universally thought clever at home by your playmates, but here, your jokes may be taken literally, dismissed, taken as insults, or taken as reasons for hilarity. There is no way to predict how they might be received. And if you insult someone? There's practically no way I can save you. So be very, very bloody polite. As polite as you might be to your best friend's grandma. All right?"

Nereid watched Wire's face go from irritated to contrite to stubborn and sighed internally. This was so going to be a long trip.

---

From the Author:
My shoulder does not love northeastern snowstorms. More specifically, it does not love the shoveling of snow after northeastern snowstorms. We went out and shoveled a bit yesterday, getting the front walk and sidewalk and most of the driveway clear. But now we're faced with having to excavate the end of the driveway, plowed in most thoroughly by the city. We are not happy campers.

I'm posting twice weekly during January. If you like this twice-weekly thing, I'm doing it again in January: if January's posts draw 50 comments total, I'll post twice weekly through February too. As before, if you provide a comment bonanza, I'll extend appropriately.


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Date: 2011-01-13 05:47 pm (UTC)
kyleri: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kyleri
Ew creepy!

Take it easy on the shoulder, okay? As much as you can, anyway. You gotta skip a post, we'll all live.

Date: 2011-01-17 06:55 pm (UTC)
kyleri: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kyleri
Ooh, yeah, percocet brain makes things unnecessarily exciting, doesn't it?

Be well!

Date: 2012-01-28 04:32 am (UTC)
the_leaky_pen: (Default)
From: [personal profile] the_leaky_pen
YEP. I definitely foresaw Wire being a problem. And there it is. And will be. *sigh*

Date: 2012-01-28 05:40 pm (UTC)
heavenscalyx: (Default)
From: [personal profile] heavenscalyx
Apparently one of the requirements for becoming a Young Cosmic is being a brat.

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