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