The Return of Talking Time

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  #61  
Old 06-10-2012, 01:12 AM
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CHAPTER EIGHT
THE SIGNPOST

“Good grief!” said Tim Bradley, gazing upon the thing with a mixture of awe and bafflement. “This is the weirdest signpost I’ve ever seen!”

“As I said, Timothy Bradley, things are not the same here in Castlevania as they are in your dimension!”

“Boy, I’ll say!”

The sign was normal around the edges. Its stand was of wood – solid oak, from the looks of it. And the frame was wood as well. However, it was the image inside the frame that was weird.

“Clouds,” said Tim. “It looks like just a muddle of clouds. I feel like I’m looking into the Twilight Zone.” He looked over his shoulder. “Is Rod Serling hiding anywhere around here by the way?”

“Twilight Zone?”

“Cultural reference. But what good is it going to do in getting our directions to Dracula’s chest bone?”

“Just a moment, my friend. Observe!”

From around his neck, Simon took the leather thong to which was tied the magical ring that had brought him to Earth and to Tim. He picked the ring up between his fingers, and it sparkled with his touch. Tim found himself holding his breath with excitement. There was something righteous and glorious about that ring now as Simon held it forth to the sign. The gold and glitter touched the wood.
Tim Bradley gasped with wonder.

The clouds exploded with light.

Tim had to hold up his hand to shield his eyes. There was violet light, red light.

Light of rainbow dazzle…

And then the light faded into a soft and simple radiance surrounding a face.
It was a woman’s face, and it was the most beautiful woman that Tim Bradley had ever seen. She had eyes the color of the sky at its most blue and hair the color of honey. Her skin was soft and pure and clean. She was smiling, but it was a smile of sadness, of melancholy.


Quote:
“Linda!” said Simon Belmont. “My wonderful and beautiful Linda Entwhistle! You were correct. At night, the signs can become portals into the dimension where you are imprisoned.”

Linda Entwhistle smiled understandingly at her beloved. “I should think that’s fairly obvious, darling. But, ah! I see that you have successfully brought the hero from Earth here. And my goodness, he is a handsome young man!”

Tim blushed. “Hi!” was all he could manage.

“He has already saved me from Dracula twice,” said Simon. “But time grows short, Linda. We must seek out the five vital parts of Dracula you have described. The closest, you say, is Dracula’s rib. But where is this rib?”

Linda Entwhistle’s image shook and quivered as though the sign were a magical television screen and something were interfering with the transmission.

“There are limits to the power of the ring you hold, my darling,” she said. “It, too, is affected by the curse of Dracula upon the land of Castlevania. When I attempt to tell you the direct truth of the locations of these parts of Dracula, the message is garbled. Therefore, I must tell you indirectly, through puzzles and riddles.”

“Puzzles and riddles?” said Simon, cringing. “I am not too good with puzzles and riddles, Linda. You know that!”

“Yes, my dear. I remember how baffled you were when we played such games as children. However, this is one of the reasons I had you seek the help of Tim Bradley here. Tim, you are good with such brain teasers, are you not?”

“Well, that’s what my teachers say, and I do like to do crosswords and stuff sometimes. But I’m not really the best. I don’t know why you chose me.”
She smiled. “Perhaps for your modesty. Now there are people…”

A kind of static frizzed through the “screen” shot with veins of blood red.

“.. different. These will also be told in puzzles and riddles.”

“Stop,” said Simon. “We didn’t get the last part. There was an interruption.”

Linda Entwhistle cleared her throat. “I said, there are people of Castlevania and the surrounding environs who have learned of the whereabouts of these pieces of Dracula.”

“And they know the how-abouts to get to them.”

“Precisely. You are a sharp fellow, young Tim!” She sent him a smile. Tim’s pulse quickened. Wow! Forget Carol Jance back home! A guy could really fall hard for a lady like Linda Entwhistle. Tim could feel a stupendous crush squeezing in on him hard already!

“Ah, yes! Of course!” said Simon. “All good Castlevanians would want to rid this land of Dracula!”

“All good people everywhere would want to get rid of a vampire, Simon,” Linda admonished. “However, to protect themselves, these people must deliver their messages in riddles and puzzles as well.”

“Understood, understood,” said Simon impatiently. “Much as I adore you, Linda, we really need to find out the location of that rib!”

“What you need can be found,” said Linda Entwhistle, “where love is joined and Sundays sound.”

And then, with a flash of colored smoke, the image of Linda’s face swept away, re-placed by the previous clouds.

“ ‘Where love is joined and Sundays sound,’ “ said Simon scratching. “Well now, that doesn’t make much sense, Linda! Love isn’t a thing so how can it be joined? And days don’t make any sounds as far as I know!”

All Timm could think was that he was glad this guy had a lot of goodness, bravery, and muscle, because he sure didn’t have much in the way of brains.

“She wants us to go to a church, Simon! Love is joined by marriage, usually in a church,” he said. “Are there any churches close by?”

“Well, actually there’s only one church in Castlevania…so I guess that must be the one she wants us to go to.”

“Let’s just get to that church before any more of those weird ghouls show up. I enjoyed the energy boost, but I might not be as lucky next time with this sword.”

“Perhaps we can get you another weapon. At least you’ll have a choice, if need be.”

They started off, Tim looking wistfully back behind them at the signpost where Linda Entwhistle’s face had been.
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  #62  
Old 06-10-2012, 03:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Loki View Post
Ah, okay. The rest of the design is Captain N, so that threw me.

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From around his neck, Simon took the leather thong to which was tied the magical ring that had brought him to Earth and to Tim.
I'm a little surprised more wasn't made of this. Does "thong" have some sort of other meaning I'm unaware of?

And dang, Tim's trying to move in on Simon's turf.
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  #63  
Old 06-10-2012, 03:11 AM
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Originally Posted by LBD_Nytetrayn View Post
I'm a little surprised more wasn't made of this. Does "thong" have some sort of other meaning I'm unaware of?.
A thong is any thin strip of garment too thick to be considered a "string." There's hair thongs. The undergarment your most likely thinking of is actually called such because of the back of it is a thong. But, people just call the whole undergarment a thong for shorthand, and that's pretty much taken over as the main use of the word now.

In this case, it's just referring to the "string" his little neck-pouch is suspended from.
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  #64  
Old 06-10-2012, 04:31 AM
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Ah, okay. Gotcha.

And now I'm smarter than I was before!
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  #65  
Old 06-10-2012, 07:36 AM
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Well, actually there’s only one church in Castlevania…
!

WHO WERE ALL THOSE OTHER GUYS THEN?!
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  #66  
Old 06-10-2012, 09:16 AM
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!

WHO WERE ALL THOSE OTHER GUYS THEN?!
What Simon meant is that there's only one church, and all the rest are franchised out.
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  #67  
Old 06-10-2012, 09:18 AM
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I love how the book is actually contriving a reason why all the NPCs in Castlevania II make not the least bit of sense.
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  #68  
Old 06-15-2012, 02:40 AM
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CHAPTER NINE
THE CHURCH

The only church in Castlevania proved to be not only the old-fashioned European cathedral type, but a mighty big one, more than big enough, according to Simon, to fit all of Castlevania’s citizens inside.

“This way!” said Simon, gesturing impatiently for Tim to hurry. His footsteps echoed as he entered. The inside was lit by candles. Candles, candles, everywhere! More candles, it seemed, than on a thousand birthday cakes combined. Up ahead, Tim could see Simon walking down an aisle. The place smelled of candle wax and age, and it all seemed ancient and holy. Tim hurried along to catch up with his friend. The echoes of his own footsteps skitted along the floor excitedly, without the sound of authority of his friend’s.

“Wait up!” he called to the hero, and his voice came back to him from the walls like a choir. However, despite his call, Simon was intent upon his goal: the altar. When Simon reached it, he took the handle of his whip and knocked on the wood three times. Almost immediately, a man wearing a gray hooded robe stepped out from the alcove. He walked up to Simon.

“Yes, my son.”

“I am on a quest, Brother. I seek to rid this land of the curse of Dracula.” Tim walked up, and opened his mouth to make a quip. However, something stilled him. There was something about this place, but especially about this holy man that said, “No jokes, please.”

The monk looked at Simon, and then over to Tim. “The monster’s evil even penetrates the walls of this church.”

“Yes. You can help us though?”

“Indeed, I shall do what I can,” the monk said solemnly. His hand reached back, and he took off his hood. His eyes fairly sparkled with good humor – but the frown on his face showed he knew well how serious the situation was.

“We are having a white elephant sale of certain items to benefit charity. Have you sufficient coin that you can buy these things?”

“Oh!” said Tim. “Simon, this must be part of what Linda was talking about. He wants to pass these things along in an indirect manner.” Tim rummaged through his pockets and came up with two quarters, a dime, three nickels, and a penny. But by the time he put out his hand to offer the coins, Simon was already tinkling three gold pieces into the outstretched palm of the monk.

“Thank you, Brother Simon.” The man turned and retrieved a wooden box from the altar behind him. “Your items of purchase are enclosed.” The monk handed Simon the box and began to walk away back into the cloisters of the church.

“Hey, wait!” called Tim. “What about the puzzle I’m supposed to solve about the next part of our journey?”

The monk turned around and gazed at Tim quizzically. “Oh, you mean the part about where to find Dracula’s rib?”

Tim was astounded. “Shhhhhh!” he said.

“This is all supposed to be hush-hush!”

“The rib, my friend, would be at Berkeley Mansion! You just leave to the right from here –“ he gestured – “and take Bulgaria Road straight on into Jova Woods. Now, be forewarned. The paths are very confusing there, but I’m sure you’ll muddle through.”

Tim’s mouth had dropped. “But…but what about… I mean, Dracula might hear you!”

The monk shrugged. “I’ll take my chance.” With that, the monk left them.

“Well, there’s a brave fellow for you,” said Simon. “Now let’s see what we’ve got here in this box, shall we?” He set it down onto a pew and opened the lid. Tim was still overwhelmed by the monk.

Wow! What a guy! Too bad the rest of the Castlevanians aren’t as brave as he is!”

“The rest of the Castlevanians don’t have the trappings of a church to protect them. They’re out in the middle of all that darkness!” Simon pulled out a large flask.

“Excellent! Look what we have here, Tim!”

“Great. A canteen of water!” said Tim sarcastically.

“Ah, but not just any water,” said Simon, holding the flask reverently. “Holy water.”

“Well that’s all very well and good, but what does it do?”

Simon seemed baffled by that one.


Quote:
“We shall just have to find out, won’t we?”

“What else?”

Simon retrieved two whips. Tim recognized them immediately. They were thorn whips. Long, beautifully crafted thorn whips.

“Excellent!” said Simon. “The battles with the ghouls damaged my other whip. Now I have a new one. And you have another weapon, if you care to use it.”

“Well, I suppose I could try,” said Tim.

“Still, I’m getting pretty good with this sword, huh?”
Simon said nothing.

“Okay, okay, but I am getting better, aren’t i?” Simon raised an eyebrow.
Tim held out his hand. “Just how do you snap one of these babies, anyway?”
Tim gave him the whip.

“It just takes practice, Timothy. Practice. You keep on doing it and that’s the way you do it correctly. This is one of the lessons that your video games have taught you, is it not? Could you win the games when you first tried them?”

“Nope. But this is different. They were fun!”

Simon looked his friend right in the eye.

“All of life is not fun, Timothy Bradley. If you learn nothing else from this adventure, then you should learn that. So what else do we have here?” Simon reached in, grabbed something, and lifted it out. At first, Tim thought it was a diamond. And if it was a diamond, it was the biggest that Tim had ever seen. But then he saw it wasn’t a diamond. Although it was mostly white, it had streaks of red in it. Tim had never seen anything at all like that in a diamond.

“It’s some sort of crystal,” he said in wonder even as it sparkled and shone like a fireworks display.

“Yes,” said Simon. “And if my hunch is correct, then not only is it a magic crystal –“ Simon took a deep breath, exhaling with a weariness of the weight of a whole dimension on his shoulders –“it is the key to finding Dracula’s rib in Berkeley Mansion!”

“And I don’t suppose you mean the barbecued type, do you?”
Simon looked at Tim with total confusion.

“Never mind. Dumb joke.”

“You should try to be more serious, Timothy.”

“Hey…it was my dumb jokes that drove Dracula off, wasn’t it?”

“True. But you lack a certain gravity in your character.”

“Well, I don’t feel like I’m about to float off, if that’s what you mean.”

“This shall be one of my missions on this quest,” said Simon. “I shall make you a more serious young man.”

“And I,” said Tim. “Will make you have a good laugh or two!”

Simon grunted. “We’ll see.” He turned and started marching off back to the exit of the church.

Tim tried his thorn whip. All he managed to do was knock over a bunch of candles into a baptismal font. Their flames hissed out.

“Oh,” said the voice of the brother, echoing with sarcasm through the church. “Wonderful. Thank you so much.” Tim wound the whip back up, grabbed his satchel and raced after Simon.
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  #69  
Old 06-15-2012, 02:49 AM
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Knocking out candles, like a true Belmont.
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  #70  
Old 06-15-2012, 11:15 AM
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I know we're far from any kind of real-world location, but I got curious about what actual churches in Transylvania look like. Two things stand out:

(1) They're really pretty.

(2) There are a lot of Unitarians in Transylvania. Kinda surprising.
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  #71  
Old 06-15-2012, 02:23 PM
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“Great. A canteen of water!” said Tim sarcastically.
I stand by my theory that Tim is correct here. The monk just gave it to them in a nice bottle because the church had so many of them lying around.
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Old 06-16-2012, 05:30 AM
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CHAPTER TEN
A RIB TICKLER

Tim Bradley had seen some big, fancy houses in his life. But never before had he seen anything like Berkeley Mansion.

“Wow! Looks pretty intense!” he told Simon Belmont.

“An intresting word for a house of evil,” said Simon grimly. Simon looked ill, as though he were struggling with something inside him that he didn’t want to talk about. “Berkeley Mansion was a bad place before Dracula ever came to Castlevania. It is a house where a great baron once killed his entire family, his servants and guests – and was there beheaded for his crimes by the law. They say that it is haunted by at least a thousand ghosts!”


Quote:
Tim Bradley gulped. He could believe it.

This house certainly looked like a haunted house, from the gothic architecture to the creepy mist that overhung it like a grave shroud. Even from the outside, he could smell rotting timbers and the mustiness of hundreds of years of misuse.

This was one creepy place!

“Prepare, Timothy Bradley, for experiences that shall stretch and perhaps distort your mind!” A smile touched Simon Belmont’s lips. “As we enter the doors of this great house, I am reminded of the beginning of one of your jokes, Timothy Bradley. ‘Knock-knock!’ “

Tim looked at Simon, and then back at Berkeley Mansion. “You want me to say ‘Who’s there?’ Well, I’m not going to!” He took in a long breath. “ ‘Cause I don’t really want to know!”


Tim Bradley had always wondered what a video game would look like if it became real. He’d always wondered about how the strange zigs and zags of a game would translate into three dimensions, along with taste and smell. However, he truly had never wanted to know what Castlevania would look like – it was too scary to comtemplate! However, now he knew. And the truth was not pleasant.

This whole dimension seemed somehow tilted like an old horror movie. This was certainly the case with the interior of Berkeley Mansion. The floors and the ceilings and the walls just weren’t square, just did not meet at right angles. The place not only smelled of old shoes and dead socks. It smelled of forgotten things in the back of the refrigerator. It smelled of a terrible past unearthed – something better off buried. The door was no problem. There was no door. They walked into the main hallway through the sagging open doorway. Draperies and tapestries hung in ruins all about a great hall to the the right. Clutter and antiques lay strewn in the wreckage.

“Which way?” Simon wondered, stroking his chin.

“I would think down, wouldn’t you?” suggested Tim.

“Why would you say that?”

“I don’t know – Dracula always likes to be close to the earth. Reminds me of the joke, why does a vampire take cold medicine?”

Simon made a face.

“To stop coffin!”

“I do not understand the joke, but your reasoning is correct. What else do you see here in this room that you think gives us information or might be of use?”

Tim surveyed the cluttered chamber. “Good thought. You know, the thing about Nintendo games is that there’s always something around somewhere that you need to use somewhere else!”

“This is not a game of any kind,” said Simon sternly. “This is deadly serious!”

“Yes, yes I know… but I still think we should look for something that doesn’t seem to belong here – something that looks like it might be useful later.” Tim began to walk among the odds and ends. “Now look at this, for instance.” He picked up a broken cuckoo clock, a bird on a broken spring hung out of it like a weird, alien tongue. “I don’t see a thing that this would be good for.” He tossed the thing back into a heap of junk. “But this… I don’t know, it may be a possibility.”

He bent down and pointed at something on the ground.

“What is it?” asked Simon.

It was an arrow. But not just any arrow – it looked like an Indian arrow, with colorful feathers on one end and a stone arrowhead on the other.

“Look at where it’s pointed!” said Tim.

“At the fireplace. So?”

“I guess you wouldn’t know, but these kind of mansions always have hidden passages. And they usually have them behind the fireplaces with marble mantlepieces.”

Simon looked puzzled. “Why is that?”

“Because of these.” Tim walked toward the fireplace. On the top of the mantlepiece was a row of candlesticks. “For hidden passages, you need handle openers.” He pulled on one of the candles. It was just a candle-stick and it came off.

“Ha! So much for your theories!”

“Please, Simon,” said Tim still feeling self-confident on the subject. There were ten brass candlesticks on the mantlepiece, any one of which might be the secret handle that opened a hidden door. Tim tried another candlestick. No go. Another. Nope. He started to get worried.

“Gee, I don’t know. Maybe I am wrong. Maybe…” Sticking out from the fireplace was an old grate. Looking over to Simon, he did not see it.
He tripped over it, falling flat onto his face. “Oooph!” he said. His dignity was hurt far worse than his body.

“Tim, are you all right?” Simon rushed over to check, suddenly all seriousness again.

“Yeah. Stupid of me, but I’m kind of a klutz at home anyway. I -- wait. What’s that sound?” The sound was a metallic scraping, like cement skidding along a steel floor. Tim looked around at the same time that Simon did. One of the dusty, cobwebby panels inside the fireplace was slowly sliding away, opening a section of musty, mysterious darkness.

Simon looked down at his fallen friend. “It would appear that I have an apology to make, Timothy Bradley!”

“Wow! There is a secret corridor!” Fear tickled his backbone. “On the other hand, how do we know for sure that this isn’t a trap?”

Simon shook his head. “A trap would be more alluring, more obvious. No, you have done well. Let us progress. We, after all, have the torches we got at the inn to light our way.”

“Yeah, let’s just try not to burn down anything. This looks like a real firetrap here!”

Simon started for the passageway, his touch held out before him.

A sudden gust of wind blew out from the passageway, blowing out both torches. The room was plunged into darkness.

“Well, so much for that!” said Tim. “Wait a minute though! That arrow! You know, maybe there’s something magical about that arrow. I mean, it did show us the way to the passage.”

“What do you mean?”

“Just a hunch. I mean, this sounds just like something from a video game. You need to find objects, you need to use objects. And sometimes those objects work together. So it follows that the arrow may affect whatever magic we’ve already gotten.”

“The crystal! The crystal we got at the church!”

“It’s worth a try, right!”

Tim heard the sound of uncertain footsteps as Simon searched his way back to the arrow. With a grunt, he knocked into something. Tim could hear the sounds of his hands feeling about the floor.

“Found it!” he said.

“Okay. Take the crystal and touch the arrowhead to it.”

“Very well.”

It was like turning on an electric light bulb. The crystal ignited with a white light that lit the whole section of the room. Simon gasped with surprise and wonder, blinking with the brightness.

“I think that’ll do the trick!” said Tim, brushing himself off as he got up. “Still, since you’ve got the light, maybe you should go first.”

“Yes,” said Simon. “Bring the torches, though. We could find a light later, and who knows how fickle this magical light will be!”

The passageway proved as dusty and murky as Tim had expected, but otherwise it was bare of danger. They followed it to a set of stairs which they descended. Three flights down, they came to a dead end. Simon, using the light, scoured the walls for some sort of opening. He found nothing.

“Well, this is a fine fix!” said Tim, shaking his head. “I don’t know, though. It doesn’t really make sense, though, does it! I mean, why would there be a stairway down to a dead end?”

“You are the puzzle solver, Timothy.”

“You know, you can call me Tim.”

“Tim. Somehow it doesn’t sound right.” He stepped very close to the wall to inspect it closely, holding the arrow and the crystal up for better illumination. And a very strange thing happened. The crystal dulled in its brilliance. The closer the magic thing got to the wall, the lower dipped the light. Simon stared at this phenomenon for a moment, drawing the crystal back and forth in the air to determine if in fact it was the wall that was dimming the crystal.

“Something evil is blocking this passageway!” he said. “Which means that it may be something that is protecting the rib of Dracula!”

“It looks that way. But how are we going to unblock it? We’re not magicians. Should I start telling the wall jokes? Hey, wall! What’s the stuff between an elephant’s toes?”

“No, no. this time I know what to do!”

Simon dug into his pack and drew out the large flask filled with the Holy Water they had received from the monk. “If indeed this is evil, it’s not going to like this!”

He tossed a splash of the water upon the wall. The effect was immediate. It was as if Simon had tossed a stick of dynamite. With a profound kablam! the whole wall caved in with a cloud of dust. Tim took in a lungful and began coughing himself hoarse. However, he was gratified to see that the crystal was fairly bursting now with brilliance.

“You—“ cough cough “—were right, Simon. Which reminds me of the joke about –“

Simon held up a hand. “Shh! Look into the next room, Tim!” He held forth the white crystal, which cast forth its light deep into the adjacent chamber.

Tim looked, and astonishment overtook him.

“Goodness!”

“Well don’t just stand there,” came a cackling voice like something out a rest home for witches. “Enter! If you dare!”
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  #73  
Old 06-16-2012, 12:47 PM
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Frankly, "Magic light that works where fire does not" is a heck of a lot more intuitive of a use then "Makes a platform appear that would otherwise be invisible".

Mind, "you have to touch a magic arrow from a pile of debris" is a fantastically obtuse way to use said magic.

Basically, Timothy Bradley has learned the right lessons from Shadowgate.
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Old 06-16-2012, 01:00 PM
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Or he's been playing a lot of Sierra adventures.

1. Pick up thing
2. Try it on everything else in your inventory
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Old 06-17-2012, 08:00 AM
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So the holy water works, but it works because the walls themselves are evil!

I am very ok with this.
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  #76  
Old 06-19-2012, 12:28 AM
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CHAPTER ELEVEN
MISS EZEDERADA

The next chamber was not the stark cellar room that Tim Bradley had expected.

Far from it.

Instead, it looked as though they had just knocked down the wall of Ye Olde Curiosity Shoppe. At the very least, it seemed to be some sort of room filled with antique chairs, lamps, mirrors, knick-knacks, doo-dads, and whatnots, to say nothing of whatsits! In the very middle of the room, sitting in a creaky old rocker was a creaky old lady with a very large black cat square in the middle of her ample lap, purring as it was petted.

“Come in, come in, you two! I’m not going to bite! I promise!” she said, with a reasuring matronly smile. “I can’t thank you enough for knocking down that stupid, silly wall! I was just thinking about trying to start chipping away at with one of these sweet little antique sledgehammers over there, and that wouldn’t have been very ladylike, now would it?” Even though she was old and wrinkled, she was somehow very pretty, with a wealth of blonde curls above her head and a set of healthy white teeth behind a brilliant smile.
Her eyes were bright blue. She fairly glowed with kindness, only dimmed by the paleness of being inside for so long.


Quote:
Tim liked her immediately. He had the feeling that not only was she of no harm to them, she might even be of help!

Simon evidently had the same impression. Tim could sense him relaxing his guard. “However do you find yourself down here, madam?” he asked politely. If Simon had been wearing a hat, Tim suspected that the valiant hero would have taken it off.

The old woman’s eyes fairly glittered with good humor. “Well, now, there’s an intresting story for you! But first things first! My name is Ezederada Perkins. And pray tell, who are these old eyes gazing upon?” Tim and Simon introduced themselves.

“Simon Belmont! Well, hush my puppies! You wouldn’t remember this, but I dandled you on my knee when you were just knee-high to a bat.” Ezederada put her hand up to her mouth. “Oh, dear. How unfortunate a term. Especially in these circumstances!”

“Go ahead with your story!” urged Tim.

“Oh, dear, of course. How I do go on sometimes.” She gigled almost girlishly.

“You must understand, that I am the care-taker of Berkeley Mansion..”

“Caretaker!” said Tim, unable to hide his surprise. Immediately he was embarrassed about his blurting out, but by the look of amusement in Ezederada Perkins’s eyes, he could see that she didn’t take it as an insult.

“Not what you think, Tim! You see, I take care that Berkeley Mansion looks ramshackle! I distribute the cobwebs, the dust, and the clutter just so. A work of art, I say, and it took years to get it this way! And now, that rascal Dracula has me locked down here, unable to appreciate my own handiwork!”

“However, thanks to you all, I am now free again! I can go up and drift through my lovely rooms and enjoy the delightful dilapidation!”

“That’s all very well and good, Ezederada Perkins,” said Simon. “However, we must tell you that we are on a very important quest!”

“Oh, yes, of course! You must be after the rib of Dracula. Well, it’s downstairs, and you’re welcome to it as far as I’m concerned. It’s caused me absolitely nothing but a head-ache. The way it pounds on its drum some-times!”

“Pounds on a drum?” said Tim.

“Yes, well, it hasn’t got much else it can do, being just a rib and all. And I must say, it must feel a bit isolated without the rest of Dracula to keep it company. So it’s got this silly drum and sometimes it pounds on it. What do you think? You think maybe it reminds it of the beat of its owner’s heart?”

“I wouldn’t think that Dracula had a heart!” said Tim.

“Oh, yes, and that is one of the things we must find,” said Simon. “A heart, yes, but definitely a ver black heart!”

“Yes, well, I daresay,” said Ezederada.

“None of my business. But anything I can do against Count Dracula will do my heart good!”

“How can you help us then?” asked Simon.

“Hmmmm. Let me see,” Ezederada stroked her double chin. “Well, for starters, I can tell you how to get down safely to where the rib is located. And I suppose I might give you what you need to take the rib safely. Tricky business at best, that, and mind you, Count Dracula’s minions may be stupid, but the count himself isn’t. he’s set up some safeguards for his rib!”

“We are prepared.”

“Sorry, cat, but you’re going to have to get off,” said Ezederada, gently lifting the fat cat from her lap and placing it down on the floor. “Now then, let’s see what we’ve got here!”

She turned her attention to a pile of junk in the middle of the room, pulling this out, pushing that aside.

“Sewing scissors. No. thread. Won’t help. Curling iron. Maybe with Dracula’s hair, but not his rib!” She pulled out an old boot, a hat, a bicycle pump. “You find some strange things in haunted houses,” she explained. “Even ghosts sometimes. Ah! What do you know! Here’s something I think you’ll be able to use – a stake!”

Tim blinked. “what, to eat after we cook it on the barbecue with the rib?”

“No, no. you clearly think in puns, young man. An unhealthy habit. No.” She held up a length of wood. A stake! Oh, thought Tim. That kind of stake! It was long and had one blunt end and one pointed end.

“This is the kind of stake you’ll need to deal with Dracula!” said the old woman.

She thrust it into Simon’s hands. “Go down the staircase past that door. Take a left at the bottom and watch out for the troll.

“You’ll see the dungeon to your left. There are skeletons hanging from chains. That’s how you’ll know you’re in the right dungeon. Get past whatever monsters lurk down there, climb the steps, touch the rib with the stake – and hey, it’s all yours. Bring it up here, dearies, so I can have a look at it, all right?” She started going through the junk on the floor again, humming a tune to herself, suddenly totally oblivious to the presence of the two heroes in her room.

“You’ll give us more directions when we get back?”

“Hmmmmmm?” She turned around, smiling happily upon them. “Well, of course I will, loves! And also, there might be another goody or two that I unearth from this pile with your names on it. Toddle off now, then! Have a good time. Mind the monsters! Oh, and if you see the spirit of Dracula pop up, give the old blaggard my worst, will you?” With that, Ezederada Perkins turned her attention back to her work.

“Off then!” said Simon Belmont, pointing with the stake toward the door. “To the dungeon!”

“To the dungeon with a bludgeon!” said Tim Bradley. And off they went.


If the previous part of Berkeley Mansion had been dirty, then the dungeons below could be called absolutely, undeniably and irrefutably, totally filthy.
In short, a real mess.

“Maybe we should fire up the torches again, huh?” said Tim, chilled to the bone with the cold gloom into which they were descending.

“No. we shall make do with the white crystal. Look! See how nicely it glows, so close to the stake! This oaken stake must have magical properties as well. Good magical properties!”

“Well, all I can say is that I wish the good Lady Litter had given us a magical heater!”

“You are beginning to complain too much, Timothy Bradley! Did you think that a quest of this nature would be comfortable?” Tim thought about that. True. When he sat down for a game of Castlevania, it was usually in his temperature-controlled room at home, be it air-conditioned or heated.

“All I can say is this experience certainly makes me appreciate heroes more!” He rubbed his rumbling stomach. “Especially hero sandwiches. Boy, could I use one right now, with some ham and cheese, salami and lettuce, tomato…and gee, don’t forget the hot peppers! Hold the mayo!”

“You are a very strange young man!” said Simon. Tim laughed. He thought about digging into his pack for another hunk of chocolate, but he’d eaten so many already that he had to admit that even in this frightening and suspenseful moment, he couldn’t possibly in-dulge himself in another.
It was on the lower level, just where the lady caretaker had told them to expect it, that Tim and Simon encountered the troll.

It was not quite what they had expected.
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  #77  
Old 06-19-2012, 02:48 AM
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I can't wait for the troll. I just hope he trolls them... even though I'm pretty sure this predates the term, at least as we know it now.
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  #78  
Old 06-19-2012, 05:07 AM
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I can’t thank you enough for knocking down that stupid, silly wall! I was just thinking about trying to start chipping away at with one of these sweet little antique sledgehammers over there, and that wouldn’t have been very ladylike, now would it?
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Simon Belmont! Well, hush my puppies! You wouldn’t remember this, but I dandled you on my knee when you were just knee-high to a bat.
Quote:
“Pounds on a drum?” said Tim.

“Yes, well, it hasn’t got much else it can do, being just a rib and all.
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No, no. you clearly think in puns, young man. An unhealthy habit.
I'm buying this book.
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  #79  
Old 06-19-2012, 08:11 AM
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“Not what you think, Tim! You see, I take care that Berkeley Mansion looks ramshackle! I distribute the cobwebs, the dust, and the clutter just so. A work of art, I say, and it took years to get it this way! And now, that rascal Dracula has me locked down here, unable to appreciate my own handiwork!”
dah dah dah DAH

*snap snap*
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  #80  
Old 06-19-2012, 08:24 AM
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Of all the... everything... in this book, I think it's the fact that the rib has a drum that has me the most baffled.
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  #81  
Old 06-19-2012, 08:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Büge View Post
dah dah dah DAH

*snap snap*
My thought was that this lady obviously shops from the Boffo catalog. Is FX Nine secretly Terry Pratchett?
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  #82  
Old 06-20-2012, 05:53 AM
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Of all the... everything... in this book, I think it's the fact that the rib has a drum that has me the most baffled.
Yes, I'd have banked on that belonging to the ear, myself.
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  #83  
Old 06-20-2012, 04:42 PM
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Originally Posted by LBD_Nytetrayn View Post
Yes, I'd have banked on that belonging to the ear, myself.
*Throws rotten fruit*
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  #84  
Old 06-21-2012, 10:26 PM
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CHAPTER TWELVE
STAKE OUT


That it was a monster there can be no doubt. That it was the most peculiar monster that Tim Bradley had ever seen, in all the movies, comics, or television he’d experienced, there could be no doubt either.

“Good grief,” Tim gasped, getting his sword ready.

“Prepare for battle, my fine assistant,” shouted Simon Belmont, brandishing his whip. “I think we shall have an excellent little tussle against this one!”

The monster was tall. It walked like a man, but that was where the resemblance ended. It’s face was lizard hide. It’s head looked as though someone had jammed a basketball through its fanged mouth. It looked, thought Tim, like the Creature from the Black Lagoon after a long spell on the wrong side of the lead shield in a nuclear reactor!


Quote:
Arrrgh!” it growled.

“Back, oh villainous creature of the night!” said Simon Belmont, bringing his arm back for a snap of the whip.

“Hey, hold on there!” said the thing. “I said argh because I just stubbed my toe trying to get away from you guys. You wanna give me a break?”

“I do not trust you!” said Simon, and he flung the whip over his shoulder, preparing to strike. However, Tim stepped in and stayed Simon’s hand, causing the whip to strike the wall instead of the monster.

“Why did you do that!” screamed Simon Belmont, his face growing red.


Quote:
“I don’t remember if anger is one of those seven deadly sins,” said Tim. “But you sure are getting out of control. I don’t care how ugly the thing is – it’s asked for a chance to explain what it’s up to.”

“But it is a creature of Dracula!” said Simon, growing more furious.

“Hey, simmer down, Simon. It looks like you’re more a creature of Dracula now than it is! I mean, show a little mercy. Just because it’s big, wicked-looking, and ugly doesn’t mean it works for Dracula.”

“Please!” said the creature. “Your companion is correct. Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Freddie.”

“Say, no kidding. We have a guy in the horror movies back home. His name is Freddy, too.”

“Ah, but ‘Freddie’ with an i-e?”

“Hmm. No, I suppose it’s with a y.”

“Well, there you go! All good monsters have there names end with an i-e; all bad ones with a y. helps keep things straight.”

“Good monsters?” said Simon skeptically.

“Give a fella a break!” said Freddie, rearing to his full height with no small amount of indignity. A clatter of loose scales tumbled to the floor like snow. “I have a few bad habits, and we all lose our temper some-times. But all in all, I must say, I’m a pretty nice guy.”

“Why, then, has Dracula not possessed you?”

“Don’t you think he hasn’t tried? But you see, we smart monsters –“ Freddie tapped his bulbous head cagily “—we know how to outwit the old skunk. It’s the dumb ones that are in its sway. Not that we don’t get tempted sometimes.”

“Yes,” said Simon. “I, too, have a temptation problem. This is one of the reasons that Timothy Bradley is here with me – to remind me that I am being tempted. And again, he has done an excellent job. And I thank him.”

“And I thank him, too!” said Freddie, bloodshot thyroid eyes bulging almost comically. “But for you, good Sir Timothy, I most surely would have been snapped back into Ye Olde Nasty Dimension from whence all monsters, good and bad, arise. And let jme tell you, that is not a nice place. No, I far prefer the twisted passages of Berkeley Mansion and Veros Woods to that other dimension!”

“But that is where we’re trying to send Dracula, isn’t it?” said Tim excitedly.

“Precisely!” said Simon. “But he stubbornly clings to this world. Why is this, Freddie Monster? What is the allure of the land of Castlevania, that Count Dracula should want to stay here when it would be so much easier for him to just let go and drift back to his home dimension?”

“Simple,” said Freddie. “Here, he’s big stuff. Back home, he’s just another creep. Here, he’s boss. Back there, he takes orders.”

“But who from?”

“The biggest monster of them all, that’s who. The Master of Death. Thanatos.” Freddie Monster shivered. “Gazookas! It gives me the willies just to think about him! Just pray you don’t ever run into him!”

“Thank you for your advice, Freddie Monster,” said Simon with the utmost seriousness. “But perhaps you can be of further help to us.”

“Sure! Advice I can give. But I can’t help you to get Dracula. We’ve got sort of a truce, you see.”

“That’s all right,” Tim said. “All we need is some help. The lady caretaker upstairs mentioned that there are all kinds of unpleasant creatures down in this cellar!”

“Oh, yes! She would! Well, we’re just monsters, don’t you know? Well, I guess I can put the word out. Can’t guarantee much, though.” Freddie smiled.

“Maybe you can also tell us where the dungeon with Dracula’s rib is.”

“oh, sure, that smelly old thing!” Freddie Monster pointed a claw. “It’s that way. Take a right at the fork.”

“Thanks, Freddie,” said Tim. “You’ve been a real help. You’re a real credit to monsterdom!”

Freddie Monster took a deep bow, dislodging a number of small furry insects from the crevices on his body, all of which scurried back to his hairy feet for shelter. “glad to be of service to you, gentlemen.” Tim and Simon bowed in return. Then they headed deeper into the darkness of the dungeons..


The skeletons were what tipped Tim to the fact that they were in the right place.

It was dark and dank, just like a dungeon was supposed to be. Somewhere water dripped. And in the distance monsters shuffled. But it was when Tim smacked into the hanging bones that he knew they’d made it. They hung from the ceiling like grisly decorations, grim reminders of exactly what sort of fellow this Dracula was. When Tim hit the bones, they clattered and clinked around like castenets on celebration day.Tim jumped back, scared nearly witless.

Yow! Looks like bone day in biology class!” he said, trying to make a joke so he wouldn’t be spooked.

Simon grunted. “And look – on that platform up there! The item that we seek!”

Tim, still wary of these skeletons (in this world, you knew knew when skeletons would come alive and clatter down to grab ahold of your neck and squeeze!), stared up. “No bones about it – I mean, yeah, there it is!” And there it was indeed. The rib was bleached a bright white. It sat on a short pedestal and was encased in a globe made of crystal.


Quote:
Simon strode toward the winding steps that led toward the rib. However, before he could get very far, there was a sudden rumbling sound from deep in the earth. The floor shook. A fissure opened in the rock, and something emerged that made Tim want to just forget this whole thing, go run back to his home dimension and hide under his bed.

It was an eyeball.

A flying eyeball!
Quote:
Game Hint

˙(ɔılɹɐƃ ʎnq oʇ ɹoolɟ ǝɥʇ ɥƃnoɹɥʇ oƃ oʇ ǝʌɐɥ ll’noʎ)
slǝɹnɐl puɐ ɔılɹɐƃ ʎnq
'ɐqıɾl∀ oʇ ʇǝƃ noʎ uǝɥM
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  #85  
Old 06-22-2012, 12:15 AM
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Stiv Stiv is offline
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Reading this is like having a knife slowly pushed through the skin between my thumb and forefinger, which is then twisted, but I am powerless to stop it and helpless to do anything but stare in fascination.
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  #86  
Old 06-22-2012, 05:16 AM
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LBD_Nytetrayn LBD_Nytetrayn is offline
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Wow, so that's how good and bad monsters work, huh?

And now I want to see Simon take on Horde Prime-- er, I mean Thanatos.
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  #87  
Old 06-22-2012, 06:07 AM
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I'm starting to wish this author had written a book for Maniac Mansion.
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  #88  
Old 06-24-2012, 12:34 AM
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CHAPTER THIRTEEN
THE GHOSTLY EYEBALL

“I see you!” said the eyeball.

It was a big thing, with trailing veins and surrounded by a ghostly mist of ectoplasm. It was mostly white, with blue and red pulsing blood vessels.
Unlike other eyeballs, however, this one had a big mouth filled with nasty, sharp teeth – as well as two arms filled with claws!

Yikes!” said Tim. . “You’re just like Arnold Schwarzenegger’s weight trainer!”

That stopped the Ghostly Eyeball in its tracks. “Why ever do you say that?”

“Because!” said Tim. “You’ve got a big pupil!”

The Ghostly Eyeball had no lids, so it could not blink.

It could only stare.


Quote:
“Is that supposed to be funny?” it growled, gnashing its teeth sharply. “Stand back! You shall get no further! I am the quard for the rib of Dracula!”

“Wait! Didn’t you talk to your buddy Freddie Monster?” said Tim.

“Freddie! Bah! He is no friend of mine! And if he has turned on the master, then surely he is a traitor of the most heinous sort.”

“I thought all you monsters were heinous!”

Bah! Enough of this talk. Go away, or I shall devour you!”

“Sorry!” said Simon Belmont. “Our course is set! We must follow through! It is you who must stand aside.” The thing started for them. Simon snapped his whip, striking the thing square in its cornea. The monster was only moved back mere inches, and then it advanced again.

Tim looked down at his own whip. He still hadn’t gotten the hang of using it.
He dropped it and drew his sword. “How about a poke in the eye, Ghostly!” he said, swinging with all his might. The Ghostly Eyeball flew nimbly aside, and Tim’s swing went astray. He spun wildly. The blade whacked into one of the skeletons, knocking it apart. Bones flew everywhere.

“You see, you cannot harm me!” said the monster. “I see all! I”—“
Suddenly, the thing was enveloped by a cloth.

Simon Belmont had taken off his cloak and draped it nimbly over the creature. The thing tried to tear free, but it could not.

“I can’t see!” It cried. “I can’t see!” Simon then took the arrow and jabbed it hard, under the edges of the cloth. There was a loud pop!
A spume of green gases, smelling of bilge water, billowed out raggedly, followed by a burst of light; then the cape fluttered to the ground, limp as a flat tire.

“It’s… it’s gone!” gasped Tim.

“Yes! Tossed back to its home dimension.”

“The dimension of monsters!” Tim shivered. “That’s one place I sure don’t want to take a walk in on a cold and lonely night. Boy, Castlevania’s bad enough.”

But Simon wasn’t listening. He was busy looking up at the pedestal, upon which rested the rib of Dracula. With the Ghostly Eyeball gone, Tim felt much more self-confident about this whole business. “I’ll get it!” he said, and rushed ahead of Simon. Running smack into an invisible wall.

“Ouch!” he said, almost falling backward onto the floor. “I almost broke my nose.”

“You know, I think that this arrow may help us again,” said Simon. He advanced to the spot where the invisible wall had stopped Tim. He stabbed at the wall with the arrow’s head. The wall shimmered like torn sand-wich wrap.

Simon walked forward through where the wall had been, then up the steps. He touched the crystal globe with the arrow, and it, too, dissolved. Then he touched the rib of Dracula with the arrow. The rib shuddered and radiated a faint sparkle. He picked it up.

“We’ve got it!” said Simon triumpantly. “We’ve got the first part, Tim.” That was when the skeletons began to move. The skeletons shuddered and shook.

Yikes!” said Tim. “Dracula’s making no bones about the fact he doesn’t like us.” He stepped up to stand beside the blond hero, to be of help –and also enjoy the protection of Simon’s excellent whip work. When he turned, he saw the skeletons were joining together. And from their joined bones and skulls, a face was forming.

The face of Count Dracula.

Bah!” he cried in a voice that sounded like the rattle-snap of thousand of bones breaking. “You think you have beaten me! But you have so much further to go yet. I have more tricks up my sleeve that will not be so easy for you to deal with. You shall not uproot me from my adopted home!”

Simon stepped forward. “I have sworn upon all that is good, true, and just, that you shall be removed from my beloved land of Castlevania – banished forever, never to return!”

“Right!” cried Tim, feeling full of himself. “You can go to New York City and visit the Vampire State Building!”

Arggh!

“Yes!” said Simon. “Go join the other pains-in-the-neck!”

“Pah!” The bones rattled with profound annoyance.

“Simon,” said Tim, flabbergasted. “You made a joke! You actually told a joke!”

Simon seemed equally astounded. “My goodness! I did tell a joke!” The vampire however was not amused. The skeleton bones he had possessed shook and rattled. Bones, and teeth began to flake off and clatter to the dungeon floor.

“You shall not beat me, mortal!” cried the voice of Dracula as it echoed away. “You shall not best my powers, I swear!” And then, with the howling of a terrible wind, the spirit essence ripped away from the dungeon. The skeleton bones all tumbled to the floor in a huge heap.

“We did it!” cried Tim. “We beat Dracula.”

However, Simon Belmont was not convinced. “We have far to go yet, Timothy Bradley. Very far to go!”
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  #89  
Old 06-24-2012, 08:20 AM
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Büge Büge is offline
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So I guess the arrow is a G-rated replacement for the wooden stake?
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  #90  
Old 06-24-2012, 11:32 AM
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Octopus Prime Octopus Prime is online now
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And yet still it goes straight into someone's eyeball.

Which is bad enough when ones entire body does not consist of an eyeball
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