Abandonment Party 2: Chapter 19 (First Draft)



Oh wow. Once again I am stunned at how much work needs to be done to clean up a chapter. This sucker needs to be razed with a purifying flame and swept from the earth. I think there’s like ONE joke that I want to keep.

I mean this is the FINAL match and I did nothing to capture any feeling of excitement. No air of tension–it’s all ruined by characters making pointless asides. And then all the worst ideas I’ve ever had decide to show up in one place and have a parade. Just–ugh–read it yourself. If you must. This is for learning, remember.


19 – Phony


Darrow stood over the couch, his arms folded and a red crease on his cheek.

“Geez, guys,” he said, “if you aren’t going to use the beds let me know; it’s not like I’m sleeping on that beanbag because I want to.”

Mean gave a startled murmur and unwrapped her arm from Dark’s middle. With blinking eyes she sat up, shrugging off the cape that covered her.

“Oh, Darrow,” she mumbled. “I was just cold, so I took his cape––”

Darrow pointed past one of the bedroom doors. “And I could have been taking those silk sheets or whatever King set us up with! Honestly!”

“Sorry,” Mean said. “Crud––what time is it? I need to get ready and eat or something.”

“Oh, I swiped some more food,” Vornis said. Mean turned to see him, Tome, and Trisk around the kitchen bar. Something was sizzling in a plate Vornis held, and the spikes at his sides and neck were now a translucent, reddish hue.

Mean looked between them all, and Trisk fought back an amused smile.

“New spikes?” Mean squeaked out. “Red ones?”

“Like your face right now, yeah,” he replied.

Mean covered her forehead with her hand. “Fine. Just give me some of those eggs,” she sighed.




The sun shone into the hallway at Dark and Mean’s backs; they stood before the hex door room on their suite floor.


“Busy day,” Dark stated. “They must all be coming to see your match.”

Mean stepped forward with him. “Yeah,” she grumbled, “like how everyone saw us before we woke up this morning.”

“Saw us?” Dark repeated. “Oh, you mean when we were all––”

“Uh-huh. Even Trisk,” Mean finished. “Of all the times for her to actually be in the room.”

Dark chuckled. “Come on, it’s not like we were doing anything wrong. I had to make sure you got some sleep, didn’t I?”

“And I did,” Mean said. “Thanks.”

She touched his arm and the sunlight came down bright on all sides: they stood on top of the pyramid’s roof along with the crowds.

“Hey, look, it’s her!” someone called out. Several passers-by pointed and acknowledged the two; the people leaving the hex door turned and stepped aside to let them pass.

“Thanks, hi,” Mean said as she walked past them and into the path through the vendor’s stands. On the other side the edges of the ring awaited. At the corner, Tome, Conneld, and Kello argued.

“Oh––here she is!” Kello said, reaching out her free arm. She motioned with her fingers for Mean to come forward. “Now we can start; right up here, Miss Me-anne.”

“We still have a few minutes,” Conneld objected. “And I read your rules: the first match needs to start exactly on time.”

“What’s going on?” Dark asked. Conneld pushed his way over at once.

“I know who you are,” he announced.

“Congratulations,” Dark said. “Many have tried to guess, but––”

“Not you––her,” Conneld said. “She’s the daughter of Hatchel Lavir: The only person to escape the Teery Mine incident alive. The both of them went missing with the wife shortly after it happened.”

Kello lifted the rim of her umbrella, peeking out. “Teery?” she repeated. “Are you talking about Hellzoo?”

“I don’t want to alarm anyone, but yes,” Conneld said. “I believe it might even be here. And why else would that man’s daughter come here, if not for revenge? I’m going to need to ask her some questions.”

Mean threw up her hands. “Okay, alright: he’s my dad––good job. But I have no idea where you got that Hellzoo idea from; I’m just here to play your silly game.”

“This is not silly!” Kello roared. “And you––inspector! We are finishing the match. You can ask all the questions you want when we’re done.”

“I’d rather not,” Conneld said, tugging his uniform straight and giving his medals a jingle. “But I suppose I’ll respect the wishes of my brother.” He marched away, trailing a wagging finger as he went. “But the first sign of anything––anything strange––and I’ll shut this place down.”

Tome and Dark watched him go as Mean hoisted herself up onto the ring and sat. Kello stepped away, checking a small watch on her wrist.

“That was the best theory he could come up with?” Mean asked. “Why would I want revenge if Dad survived?”

“He may not be far off the mark,” Tome suggested. “About Hellzoo being here, that is. I just don’t see any other explanation for what I saw during Vornis’ match.”

“But we know where she is at this point in time:” Dark pointed out, “sealed up in the Teery Mine.”

Mean let out a small yelp. “But there are more of them,” she said. “Hellzoo talked as if she wasn’t the only one.”

“Even if there are more,” Tome began, “what about that restriction? When we sat down with that Lord Ley afterwards, you told us that Hellzoo needed an extremely large pattern in order to appear. Parlay’s hall and the one in the mine are enormous––no pattern used in everyday life comes close to their size.

Mean gazed across the pyramid’s roof. “Not even this building?” she asked.

“No,” Tome replied. “It has millions of smaller components; it would be too easy for outside forces to manipulate it if it were all one piece. Making a giant pattern is just impractical. It would be huge, gaudy––a waste of money that only the most––”

He trailed off and his eyes wandered up to King, sitting on his pedestal: munching on snacks and tossing a few to the floor for his gold and jewel-plated rory. Higher still his gaze went, up past the trees and the clear sky to the looming words above them that eclipsed the sun.

“King’s Fair,” he whispered as Dark and Mean looked up at the cloud-formed letters. “That was his clue––not the fair, but the words.”

“I’ll get him to shut it off,” Mean said. She tucked in her feet and leapt up from the ring. Kello shook her head as she flew over and up to where King sat.

“Shouldn’t you be in the ring?” he asked, brushing crumbs from his clothes.

“King, listen:” Mean began, taking hold of the awning. “Can you turn off the cloud machine or whatever it is making those words? I think something’s up there.”

King frowned. “Did my brother scare you with his conspiracies?” He let out a sigh and reached over to his rory’s saddle. From a pocket he pulled out a pad with the words “KING’S FAIR” written upon it. “I suppose I’ll clear it––I was going to write out the winner’s name anyway.”

He gave the tablet a vigorous shake, dispelling the words there as he did. The sky lightened a little and Mean squinted up at it.

“Well, crap,” she uttered.

King leapt up. “What is it?” he asked, reaching the edge of the platform and peeking past the awning. As the clouds dissipated a black shadow remained where the “K” used to be: its shape long and thin; coiling in a cylindrical fashion.

“Well that isn’t Hellzoo,” King said. “It’s not what they said it looked like.” He noticed that the spectators were cooing up at the object: pointing and poking the people next to them. “Drat, this isn’t good. Where is Pinada?”

“What is going on!?” Conneld roared, pacing back over to where Dark and Tome were. “How did you know it was up there?”

“We guessed,” Mean said, alighting on the ring’s edge again. Conneld scoffed, turning his attention to where Templetine stood cowering behind the game throne.

“And you! You’ve got guilt written all over your brain. ‘they weren’t suppose to see him yet,’ is what you’re thinking. Mind patterns viewed by a qualified inspector can be used in court––you’re under arrest.”

“Well, I guess you win,” Dark said to Mean. Kello stomped over.

“You! Why would you do this!?” she cried, wringing the handle of her umbrella. “No one will ever take me seriously back home now!”

“But there’s a monster up there,” Mean explained. “And Templetine cheated; he should have been thrown out––”

“And I’m the gamemaster;” Kello cried, “I’m the one that was supposed to see it!” Her eyes teared up and she lowered the rim of her parasol. “You don’t know how important this game is in Blue Forest. I worked so hard to be a referee there. But it’s tough; I have to prove myself first.”

“So this kind of makes you look bad,” Mean pointed out. Kello stamped her foot.

“Of course it does!” she said. “I only came to this sweltering country to––”

She sniffled and hung her head down. Mean looked at Dark, who shrugged. She closed her eyes, opened them, then walked over to where Templetine and Conneld stood.

“Hey, let us finish this,” she asked. Conneld turned and Templetine’s eyes glimmered behind his dark sockets. “If you let us finish the tournament I’ll tell you anything you want to know: how we got here, why we’re here––everything.”

“You must think I’m insane,” Conneld stated. “This spectacle is over; it’s done! There is no way in the world that either of you”––he paused, jabbing in Mean’s direction with his finger––”either of you are going to––”

His hand dropped and he stared out over the crowd, who were all watching either him or the sky.

“What am I doing up here?” Conneld asked. He looked up and saw an empty, blue expanse and the faint outline of the overhead planet. Mean patted him on his arm.

“We were about ready to start the last match,” she said. Conneld nodded.

“Right, right,” he agreed. “Well, good luck. I think I’d better get out of your way.”

He tugged on his uniform, nodded, and made his way back down the side stairs. Templetine slipped over to Mean with a simper stretching across his face.

“You must really want this,” he snickered. Mean crossed her arms over the vest that she wore.

“Not as much as you:” she started, “no one would cheat this much just for a silly prize. But it ends now––call off your friend. Tell him to go back to cloud land or whatever.”

Templetine scoffed through his teeth. “Cloud land? He’s already gone. Not that I’ll need him. And how do you know so much about that, anyway?”

“I dealt with one before,” Mean said. “They’re sadistic and cruel, and I won’t have them doing whatever they want with this world.” She stepped back toward one edge of the ring and he did the same. “Hey, Kello, are you going to start this or what?”

Kello held her parasol between her shoulder and cheek; she was putting on a pair of sunglasses with her hands. “Yes,” she said, sniffing. She grasped the umbrella again and smiled. “Let the final match begin!”

“You sound like someone I know,” Templetine said. As he backed up to the edge the colors blurred across his laughing face and split from his body. There were now three men standing across from Mean now: one pale yellow, one splotched with light blue, and one streaked with red.

“Geez,” Mean groaned, “what is this?”

“There are many things that can be thirded,” Templetine said from three different directions, in three separate tones. “Color, sound––perception. Everything your senses rely on can be shattered, remade, and distorted.”

A chorus of giggles sounded around her. Mean placed her palm on her forehead and closed her eyes.

“You know what, Templetine?” she began. “When I saw you cheat that Caldera guy out of a fair fight––I admit––I wanted to get matched up with you. I wanted a drag-out, knock-down brawl. But then I saw you take out Trisk; you humiliated my friend. And then the same with the Beast. And you know what?” She threw out her hand. “I just want this done.”

A ring’s surface bounced and a tremor reverberated across it; building, as a slow, tearing sound came from beneath.

“I mean, I could sit here and swat away at your illusions,” she said as the ring’s base snapped away from the pyramid’s roof. “I could play out some huge fight that I’ve been imagining in my head all this time––”

The three ghost-like Templetines wobbled their arms as the ring rocketed up: past the tops of the bleachers and King’s comfortable perch. With a sudden jerk the arena came to rest in mid-air.

“So I’m ending it;” Mean stated, walking over to the throne and taking hold. “I have more important things to do today. Bye-bye, Templetine.”

“No!” came the voices, discordant. The red, blue, and yellow colors streaked and converged; melding together two steps away from Mean’s body. Templetine appeared, whole, and leapt at her. “Importance is all I have; I won’t let you take it away from me!”

She struggled in his grip and the floor rocked. The chair, tilting, hit the floor. It began to slide.

“If it breaks, you lose;” Templetine spat in her ear, “you’re the one doing this; it’s your fault!”

She wriggled out of his arms and sped after the throne; it slipped toward the edge and the crowd below was standing in their seats to see. It vanished over the edge. Mean followed in a blur.

“Can’t lose,” Templetine repeated to himself as he lowered himself to the tilted mat. “Can’t. Not to her.”

He pressed his fingers flat and held his head down; his breath came in staggered hisses. He looked to the side and saw Mean reappear: guiding the chair back up with two hands as she hovered. She tossed it to the ring with a huff and the entire ring leveled out. Templetine leapt.

He caught her by the vest and hurled her to the mat, and she bounced; as she rolled to the edge he gave her a kick; she cartwheeled over the side again.

“Thanks for catching it,” he said, turning back to the seat. He positioned it so that it faced the nearby ringside. Plopping down, he kept his eyes on the edge and the visible corner of the pyramid.

“I know that wasn’t enough to knock you out,” Templetine called down. Kello’s voice shouted back over the murmur of the crowd below, counting ‘one.’

He licked his lips and swung his neck around the side of the chair, checking both sides. “Come on back up and get it,” he challenged. Worried noises from the spectators wafted up and Templetine chuckled, drawing out the gun from the folds in his frumpy attire.

He sat, his pupils roaming the edges; Kello counted to five, then six. Bursts of laughter came from the stands below now, followed by shushes and stifled hums.

“Something’s not right,” Templetine said as the count reached seven. He tapped his gun on knee. The count reached eight.

Planting his arms, he launched himself out of the seat.

“Nine!” Kello said, the tone of her voice letting audible excitement though.

“No!” Templetine shrieked, dropping his gun and racing to the edge. He flinched back as he reached the brink: Mean floated up, seated in another large throne. She held a small remote in her hand.

“Sorry––that’s a fake,” she chirped.



Mean wakes up on the day of the final match. Conneld interrupts her on her way to the ring, confronting her about her father and the incident at Teery Mine. This brings up Hellzoo, and a search begins: one of her type may be helping Templetine.

A massive pattern was needed in order for Hellzoo to manifest before, and it seems that King’s giant message in the sky not only attracted it–it’s hiding the monster from the fair’s attendants.

Then Kello starts whining about something and the narrative completely loses focus. A bunch of weird stuff happens and then Mean wins!

Hm, was the chapter really that bad? What do you think, Kalas from Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean?


Choice Edits:

Mean gave a startled murmur and unwrapped her arm from Dark’s middle.

As cute as it is to have Mean fall asleep next to Dark, I seem to have forgotten that he has a toxic slug living upon his breastplate at the moment. I’ll have to settle with just the cape covering her.

“She’s the daughter of Hatchel Lavir: The only person to escape the Teery Mine incident alive. The both of them went missing with the wife shortly after it happened.”

Conneld just blurts all this out in a public area!? I see why I did this–I needed to get the conversation on Hellzoo so the train of thought would lead to the words in the sky. But Conneld wouldn’t be that careless. Hm, it is a problem.

“King’s Fair,” he whispered as Dark and Mean looked up at the cloud-formed letters. “That was his clue––not the fair, but the words.”

Okay, so I still have Pinada’s clue from the very beginning of the book. There’s hope! Maybe they don’t need Conneld to say anything after all! Yeah! They’ll just suddenly remember an obscure hint from sixteen chapters ago! Sounds like a great idea, right, Sagi from Baten Kaitos: Origins?


Hey, if Rowling can get away with it so can I!

He gave the tablet a vigorous shake, dispelling the words there as he did.

King uses an Etch-a-Sketch to write his cloud messages!? Is there a single good idea in this chapter!?

“Well that isn’t Hellzoo,” King said.

A massive UFO is revealed in the sky and all you can say is “Oh, that isn’t the monster I thought it would be?” Gotta be kidding me.

“You! Why would you do this!?” she cried, wringing the handle of her umbrella. “No one will ever take me seriously back home now!”

And now Kello is crying. What in the world; this is pointless. All of this needs to be erased–I need to focus on Templetine and his cohort now. And isn’t there supposed to be a FINAL ROUND for the tournament around here somewhere?

There were now three men standing across from Mean now: one pale yellow, one splotched with light blue, and one streaked with red.

Oh, here it is. The B.S. method at its finest. I have no idea how this is supposed to make any bit of sense.

“So I’m ending it;” Mean stated, walking over to the throne and taking hold. “I have more important things to do today. Bye-bye, Templetine.”

Mean’s dismissive attitude here mirrors what I was thinking at the time. I was sick of writing first draft fights for Templetine, knowing that they’d all be replaced with something better later. So I just had Mean end it. Not before trying out one last desperate idea, though.

“Sorry––that’s a fake,” she chirped.

So Mean makes the entire ring float. Then she takes the throne beneath it–out of Templetine’s sight–to copy it. Then she brings the fake one up and he sits in it while she sits in the real one below and yeeeeeah this is all going straight in the trash.

Here’s what I’ll do: I’ll write a completely new match using the abilities that I’ve been coming up with for Templetine in this second draft. All of the bits with Conneld and Kello will be cut out, building up the actual event instead.

Almost there!

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