LNH/LUNA: The Liminals #8: Motivationquest part 3: Guilty Feet Ain't Got No Rhythm [2/2]

Jeanne Morningstar mrfantastic7 at gmail.com
Mon Dec 14 13:23:17 PST 2020


Jeanne groaned, pressed deep into the ground of Hell by the Shoe Devil's 
attack. With the lack of motivation they were finding it harder to 
fight, move, harder even to breathe.

"Jeanne!" heard a rather familiar, very cute voice in the distance.

"Drew?" They rubbed their eyes and before them was the Ununnilium 
Stranger. "What are you doing here? This isn't the right universe--"

"Yeah, I know. I can't help you directly, but I can give you a boon. 
See?" They waved their Knitting Needles of Continuity and intoned "Boon, 
boon, booooooon!"

A glowing boon symbol appeared in the shape of the rainbow UCX icon Drew 
uses on all social media. [Real World Jeanne has been playing a lot of 
Hades, have you noticed?--Footnote Girl] Jeanne touched it and was 
infused with holy ununnilic power! Their attack was increased and 
charged with positive emotional energy!

"I get it now," said Jeanne. "I may not have enough motivation on my 
own, but I don't have to be on my own! I have Drew, I have other friends 
and people I rely on, and we can draw on each other! Everyone who writes 
or comments is helping!"

They shifted their sword into hellfire chain mode and slashed at the 
Shoe Devil with the chain that burned with neon pink fire.

Jeanne resolved to give Drew some nectar the next time they saw them, or 
maybe some comics.

They leaped up into the air, spun around, shifted their weapon back into 
swordmode, slashed at the Shoe Devil with their sword, and kicked it in 
the face. "HELLFIRE KICK!" they shouted. A burst of pink fire shot out 
of their feet as their kick landed. The Shoe Devil kicked them back, 
knocking them right into the wall, but Jeanne got right back up like it 
was nothing.

"Guess what, Shoe Devil?" shouted Jeanne. "I've leveled up enough to 
unlock my finishing attack!" With their burning chain they traced the 
shape of a heart bound by a crown of thorns with a flame above it--the 
Sacred Heart--in the air. "HELLBOUND HEART!" The heart burst in and 
struck the Shoe Devil right in the face. "LOVELY!" it screamed. Jeanne 
made a triumphant pose, and then keeled right over. Having made their 
finishing move, they were finished. The Shoe Devil was still there, 
though its flames were starting to sputter.

"That was all right,' said the Shoe Devil, smirking. No one really knew 
how it was possible for a shoe to smirk, but he was. "Got anything else?"

The others stared silently with grim determination.

"You are nothing more than insects," said the Shoe Devil. "And I am the 
shoe which will crush you to oblivion!"

"Yeah, well, I'm going to leave a nasty stain that will take forever to 
clean off!" said Manga Girl.

"I'll finish you before it takes too long. I have to make some trade 
negotiations with Net.phisto at four, and well, frankly I'm hoping I can 
skip that, but I'm getting bored enough with this fight i'd rather be at 
a meeting." It opened the mouth on the front of the join of its toe cap 
and sole, revealing a disturbingly detailed teeth and tongue (an actual 
tongue this time), and spat out a barrage of small burning shoes (all 
identical to itself) in an elaborate pattern like a Bullet Hell boss 
(jeez that was a lot of parentheticals! Who do I think I am, Badger?).

Manga Girl ducked and weaved through the air, flying around like a Tohou 
character, shooting out sapphire bullets of pure love.

"Wow," said Alice, "a They Might Be Giants reference. Haven't had one of 
those in a while."

The others were all holding back now. They were worn down, but Manga 
Girl only seemed to be growing stronger and stronger. The divine 
creative energy that had been held inside her was rushing out all at 
once. No one else could keep up with her, not even Net.Access--in her 
magical girl form, she wielded divine power, but Manga Girl *was* divine 

The power took hold of her in the form of a glowing purple aura. Her 
body began to expand, her muscles growing larger and more powerful, her 
flesh began to twist and bubble and shift. When she was doens, he was a 
towering, muscular, satyr-like figure with hairy on her legs and back. 
Goat-like horns jutted out of her head. There was a huge, unblinking eye 
on her chest and others on her arms

"Hahahahaha! Fool! You have unleashed the true depths of my power! I 

"Holy Hollow!" said Alice.

"Uh," said the Shoe Devil. For the first time, his smarmy confidence had 
been dented just a little.

"Devil Fire Breath!" Devil Manga breathed out a huge gout of fire which 
hit the Shoe Devil on his instep. "Yeowch!" he said.

She was mutating. As the fight went on, her body was stretching out 
more, drawn with scratchier lines and there were progressively more and 
more eyes on it.  Everyone knew that the battle was now between the two 
of them, and the others would be lucky if they survived, whoever won.

Masterplan Lad was doing his best to keep conducting the energy to aid 
her against the Shoe Devil and keep Manga Girl from losing control of 
her body. But even as he was fighting the Shoe Devil in Net.Hell, he was 
also fighting Plotchopper in the LNHQ. [See HHS 
#ERR_19834_ASKDAFJKADSLF] He knew he could not shift the plot or move 
out of it; this was something that had been built into his character arc 
for a long time. He could picture the moment before it happened, and 
even as he was fighting against it with all his might he knew it was no 
more possible to move out of the way than to stop the rising of the sun.

"Wait just a minute," said the Shoe Devil, as he gazed into the layers 
of the narrative. "So... you're fighting me and you're fighting in the 
LNHQ *at the same time*... in an issue that was actually posted a while 
ago... and it's not even clear where on the timeline it takes place? 
That does it. Get out of here. And you can have your motivation back, I 
don't care." A will-o-the-wisp-like burst of light left the Shoe Devil 
and entered into Jeanne; then the Shoe Devil lifted himself up and 
kicked them all out.

As they shot up from Hell, the hellfire burned away at them like a space 
craft in reentry. Jeanne held out a force bubble to shield them from it, 
shivering and screaming, holding it together even as the hellfire caught 
ahold of them and they started burning.

Then it was over, with one huge burst of flame as they landed. They were 
all lying on the sidewalk outside the LNHQ. They could still hear the 
distant noises of crossover business going on inside it.

"Hnng. I'm never doing that again," said Jeanne, pulling themself up off 
the sidewalk. They looked like a gnarly Todd McFarlane-style revenant, a 
walking corpse barely held together by force of authorial will, with 
patches of hellfire bursting out of their body.  But they were, more or 
less, alive.

But Manga GIrl was still transforming. "Please..." she growl/whimpered 
"...help me. I can't stop."

Masterplan Lad stood up, swaying on his feet, and touched his Plot 
Device to her. He knew that in the other story thread the Plot Device 
had already been destroyed. He knew that if he didn't try to exert his 
Plot Device, there was a chance he could still hold it together, but if 
he used it to draw away her excess creative energy, it would shatter to 

He didn't even hesitate.

"No," said Maria. "No."

The violet energy left Manga Girl's body and was drawn into the Plot 
Device like lightning. It silently crumbled away into dust. Masterplan 
Lad fell to the ground. He was pale and tired, only inches away from death.

Victoria ran to hug him but Alice held her back. Maria bent over his 
body and felt his pulse.

"Oh god," said VIctoria. "Is there anything you can do to save him?"

Maria shook her head. "He wouldn't be the first friend I had to bury. 
There's nothing we can do."

"No," said Alice, in a way that made it sound like a swear word, which 
she barely ever used. "We will save him. We--" she looked at Jeanne. 
"You're the writer, do you know what you were planning for Masterplan Lad?"

"I think he makes it," said Jeanne. "I... think."

"Since you're involved in the story, you have to be the Real World Minus 
One version of you, not the real one," said Alice. "Would it be possible 
to contact the real Author?"

"Of course." Jeanne let out a deep sigh. "Now I have to deal with being 
a fictional character on top of everything else."

"You could just ask, you know," said a voice that was a lot like 
Jeanne's but more echo-y. It came from a being that was floating in 
midair. This was the cosmic authorial aspect of Jeanne, who everyone 
immediately thought of as "The Morningstar." Like a certain other cosmic 
entity of that name, they resembled David Bowie a bit, but more the 
Ziggy Stardust/Aladdin Sane version than the Thin White Duke one.

"All right," said Jeanne. "Can you save Masterplan Lad?"

"I can," said the Morningstar, "but there's a cost."

"You don't have to give me that cornball speech about magic and 
narrative cost," said character!Jeanne. "I remember. I wrote it." 
[Hungry, Hungry Sabertooths #6]

The Morningstar nodded. "To save MPL, you will have to give up your own 
authorial power. You will be completely separated from me and exist as a 
character in the story."

"Well, it beats dealing with the academic job market." Jeanne laughed. 
They stretched out their hands over MPL's body, as Maria sat down, held 
his head in lap and his hands in hers. A swirl of blue energy left 
Jeanne's body, and as it moved over MPL it reshaped itself, taking the 
form of a violet winged teardrop, which then descended into his heart. A 
violet aura flashed around his body and then faded away. He still seemed 
pale and weak, but his breathing was steady. Jeanne, standing over him, 
felt the hellfires in their body die away.

  "So I guess I'll be like this forever. A walking corpse."

"No," said the Morningstar, "a motorcycle-riding corpse. Call up your 
symbiote and just watch."

Jeanne summoned their sword and pressed the button. The symbiotic ooze 
congealed into a suit that was now pink with red highlights, with a pink 
heart emblem, not unlike that of Aphrodite in Hades, surrounded by a red 
flame. In another burst of flame appeared an honestly really cool pink 

"Well, I got a motorcycle out of the deal. That's something, I guess... 
wait, why is my symbiote suit PINK?"

"Well," said the Mornignstar, "Drew's costume as Writer's Block Person 
is purple, so since they're purple you have to be pink, by the laws of 
anime lesbianism."

"But Drew is much more the pink girl in personality terms and I'm more 
the purple girl."

"I know, I know," said the Morningstar, "you'll have to ask WBP why 
they're purple when you meet them, OK." And with that, they were gone.

Victoria took a deep breath. "Jesus *Christ*," she said. No one else had 
much to add to that.

Then they heard the chittering of kiwis. A patrol of power armored kiwis 
marched in toward them. After Alice tried to explain the situation but 
really couldn't, they performed first aid and got the bodies of MPL and 
Manga GIrl on stretchers. The kiwis bore them into the LNHQ, with the 
two net.heroines, the ex-writer, the trenchcoater and the ostrich 
following silently after.



Sheet music: the legendary "butt song from Hell" from Hieronymus Bosch’s 
Garden of Earthly Delights. 

"Capacious pockets": a phrase often used to describe the Fourth Doctor's 
pockets in Terrance Dicks's novelizations.

The Discalced Carmelites: an order of Catholic nuns that is a branch of 
the Carmelite order, following its' founders original vow of poverty, 
including not wearing shoes. "Discalced" is Latin for "without shoes."


Next: The battle with the Shoe Devil is over. Who will survive, and what 
will they become?

More information about the racc mailing list