3, 2, 1, killshot! Let's discuss One Punch Man!


May 25, 2012

I Hraet You (8)

Beat 8: Shine On, You Crazy Surfer

Lloyd slammed his palms against the desk.  “You’re on the run from the authorities, aren’t you?”

Trixie couldn’t say a word in objection -- but her body said more than enough.  Her reeling posture; her reddened face; her legs, once so straight and proud, now buckling under her weight; her hands, held up like those of a prisoner caught in a searchlight.   

“Now I can see your heart,” said Lloyd with a quick nod.  “I was wondering why you were a bit restrained in talking about your heritage; call it a misconception if you will, but I would have guessed that a southerner like you would have been eager to describe your hometown.  It can only mean that, for one reason or another, you’re unwilling to go back -- especially due to the consequences you stand to face.  Am I wrong?”

“Y-ya couldn’t be more wrong!” Trixie yelled.  “What, are ya tryin’ to say I’m some kinda criminal?  Huh?  Are ya?  ‘Cause I’m not!”

“What is guilt but a matter of perception?  One man’s mistake is another man’s crime.  But I digress; you left your town for a reason, came here, and can’t afford to be caught until your business is concluded.  If you ARE caught, then I would assume that you would be returned home before you met your bitter fate…or is the return itself what you’re trying to avoid?”  He waved a hand through the air.  “No matter.  What concerns me is just how much trouble you face -- and how you intend to turn your luck about.”
He glanced at the pages again -- at the “failure” written in pulsing red.  “Bad fortunes have brought you to Porbeagle.  But it is a fortune, locked within our fair town, which you intend to unearth and use to claim newfound glory.  In doing so, you intend to prove yourself to your peers and kin.”

“Wh-what’re ya gonna do to me?” Trixie asked, with her guard raised; for a moment, Lloyd almost thought her a camper staring down a growling bear.  “Are ya sayin’ that ya don’t want me here anymore?  That you’re kickin’ me out?”

“Good heavens, no.”  Lloyd held out a hand.  “What I’m saying is that, for one reason or another, you ARE a failure -- but it’s your search for redemption that gives you strength.”

Inch by inch, Trixie started to lower her guard.  As she did, Lloyd had to force himself not to lick his lips in anticipation; the stars that he once feared reaching zero would no longer be a problem.  He’d seen everything he needed to see -- and with one masterstroke, he would see four illuminated lights at once.

“You came here to act,” said Lloyd -- all too aware that her real self had ulterior motives, but that this phantom was his current target.  “Acting is a profession that requires passion, skill, and dedication -- all qualities you possess in spades.  If you’re to move my heart, and the hearts of any audience before you, then you have only to decide it.  Use the passion that drives you to seek glory. Have it fuel every word you speak, and every action you take, from here until the toll of your funeral bell.”

“I…I don’t really…what are ya talkin’ about?” Trixie asked -- but Lloyd knew better.  Both the woman before him and her fishy mask opened their eyes wide, contemplating, and hanging on his ideals.  He could feel the heat radiating from her; and, from himself as well.  With just one more push, one more offense, he could…!

“You, my dear, are full of scalding passion,” Lloyd said, offering an almost childish grin.  “I felt it all too clearly when you -- a version of you, at least -- hit me with the hardest blow you could muster.  If you could channel even a tenth of that energy into your every word and action, then you could blaze your way into the hearts of all.”  He clasped his hand into a fist.  “You needn’t fear.  You needn’t worry.  You came this far on passion alone, and you can come even further.  You can triumph, Miss Walters, if only you’re willing to believe.  You are no failure.  You were never a failure, and never will be.  Not just because of your inner heat, mind.” 

Lloyd pressed a hand to his heart, and smiled once more.  “I feel you, Miss Walters.  And I believe in you.”
For a moment, Trixie just stood there, staring at Lloyd.  A part of him feared for the worst; he wondered if he’d gotten a little too carried away in his declaration (or if his words had been too dense and hammy to even understand).  She showed no signs of registering, or reacting, or resisting his claim.  She just stood, still a little red in the face, her mouth slightly agape.  Her mask must have felt the same way, as it gazed blankly at Lloyd.  Even the stars seemed a little wary to react.

And then, finally, she spoke.

“Is all that really true?”

Lloyd nodded, and held up four fingers.  “There are four rules that I must never break, if I’m to be a man worthy of a woman’s time.”  He wiggled each finger in turn.  “Never lie to others.  Entertain the masses.  Love everyone.  And most importantly, have faith.”  He clapped his hands together.  “What I do, I do to move the hearts of men and women everywhere -- and, Miss Walters, I expect…no, I believe you can do the same.”

“Lloyd…ya really feel strongly about this, don’t ya?”  She rubbed her hair for a few moments, and then -- for the first time since her second debut -- stared at her host with the same pride and confidence she had in the real world.  “All right then.  I guess I’d better give it my all.”'

Ka-SWOOSH!

Lloyd’s eyes widened as the stars spun at quadruple speed.  And then, as if that wasn’t enough, they doubled, then doubled, then doubled their RPM again -- they blurred into one consecutive line, and threw heated gales through the audition room.  Did I do it?  Is this what I’ve been working toward? he wondered, feeling his hair ruffle across his forehead and watching the stage’s curtains flutter.  Yes.  This is it.  This must be -- this HAS to be --!

The stars shot into each corner of the stage, leaving golden streaks floating in the air for a brief moment.  One by one they took their positions; on arrival, each one let fly a corona of light. 

All four stars in place.  All four stars, shining bright.

Trixie, at long last, took notice of the stars, taking a moment to stare at each of them in turn.  “Did I do that?” she asked -- but a second later, shook her head and smiled.  “Nah, doesn’t matter.  I’m not here to look at some fancy decorations.  I’m here to put on a show.  Can’t let down a guy who’s willing to give a girl like me a chance, right?”

“I couldn’t agree more.”  Lloyd leaned forward, his moistening hands now clutching the table’s edges.  Trixie looked more radiant now than she’d ever been, even compared to her real world counterpart; her colors were more vibrant.  Her posture, more proud, and almost making her look several feet taller.  Her face, cast into a bold, energetic grin -- one that had long ago cast aside fear.  As Lloyd stared at her, his eyes drifted once more to that mask; it, too, bore a great smile.  He could hardly tell which of the two looked happier.

“All right.  Better get ready, ‘cause here I go!”  Trixie took a step forward, and for a second left Lloyd breathless.  The heat he’d so desired almost made him start sweating; as he watched Trixie toss her pages aside, he felt his own heart speeding up.  The boldness he sought lay bare…and now…
“I’m Trixie Walters!” she declared, her voice packed with enough force to bowl Lloyd over.  “Better get ready, Porbeagle -- I’m here to make your treasure mine!”

Lloyd’s eyebrows shot upward.  Did she just say --?

But Trixie didn’t give him a chance to ponder her words.  She kicked up a storm onstage -- the mask that had once looked so bashful and uncertain started to beam.  And then, all at once, its materials turned to swirling gas, and mixed with the rest of the sphere behind it.  Like the stars that had once orbited around it, the sphere whirled faster and faster, tossing out sickles of blue particles. 

Could this be? Lloyd thought, holding a forearm over his face to protect himself from the winds.  But suddenly, he realized there was no need; they did no harm, save keeping him from watching the storm unfold.  Yes.  This is it.  This has to be what I -- no, we have been striving for.

He folded his arms and smiled.  Climax!

Ka-BOOSH!

The gaseous sphere burst, spraying its contents throughout the room.  Wind and light followed behind, along with enough of a temperature spike to leave heat waves in the corners of the stage.  To Lloyd’s shock, the display was more than just a pretty show; the black and white that had dominated the audition room gave way to an array of blue hues.  The ocean itself filled in all the formerly blank gaps -- cyan and cerulean, teal and turquoise, and even sapphires glimmered below its surface.  No matter where he looked, he spotted crests and undulations, and the pale twinkle of sunlight on the sea.

You’ve done it, Miss Walters, Lloyd thought with a smile.  He nodded in approval as the woman of the hour stood onstage, standing tall and radiant; for a moment, he feared that the watery surfaces might scald his skin.  I can feel your heat.  Your heart beats like a mighty drum -- and its resonation moves my own. With that, I see no more reason for me to stay here.

“A new star has been born!” he declared.

--STAGE OUT--

TO BE HEARTINUED...



6 comments:

  1. Have I popped in here yet to say that I think this story is great? Because it is.

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    Replies
    1. Why thank you. Nice to know that there's at least one person out there enjoying what I put up here.

      Hopefully I can continue to entertain; I still have a LOT of ground to cover (wrestling!), so I hope you stick around.

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  2. Still not 100% sure what's going on but I love the stage (pun intended) that you've set regarding Lloyd's 'powers'. Really enjoying the one of the read overall.

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    Replies
    1. To be fair, I doubt Lloyd knows what's going on, either. For now, let's just say that he's planning on making the most of this power of his...in the most hilarious and easily-misconstrued way possible.

      Glad to see you're enjoying it. Rest assured, the best is yet to come. Well, probably. Maybe. Possibly.

      ...

      ...Maybe there'll be a ghost or something.

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  3. I'm getting a really strong Phoenix Wright vibe with these dream sequences. From the way this "battle" of wits and words swings from extreme highs and lows, to the way the main character primes himself and his target for a "killing" blow born of logical deduction, this is more-or-less Turnabout Theatre Auditions. And it is delicious.
    But this is just the beginning. I'm interested in what all this leads up to.

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  4. Ah, I was wondering when somebody would make the connection.


    Yeah, I'll gladly admit that Lloyd's power is heavily based on the Ace Attorney games (the psyche-lock sections well among them). He even puts on a costume that's a palette swap of Apollo Justice's suit. Isn't my dedication just so endearing?


    In any case, good to year you enjoyed it. By the way, fun fact: Lloyd's not the only one with powers in this story. Best prepare yourself for a real turnabout...

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