12/4/2020 - See you next year! Welcome to The Bridge’s bi-weekly web magazine and the last issue of the year! Thank you for reading The Bridge this semester. 2020 has been challenging to say the least. We are all so happy we’ve been able to continue to provide content throughout these difficult couple semesters and we look forward to seeing you next year!
Alex Johnson Editor-In-Chief
What’s on the cover?
Lewis and Clark from above! A winter view of campus from the fifth floor of the science building. Art by Krystie Morrison
The Bridge is... Alex Johnson
Entertainment and Technology Reporter
Graphic Designer and Writer
Ashtyn Britt firstname.lastname@example.org
Zack Bussman email@example.com
Web Editor and Social Media Manager
Illustrator and Cartoonist
Ad Manager and Writer
Illustrator and Cartoonist
Writer and Graphic Designer
Podcaster and Illustrator
Illustrator and Cartoonist Lindsey Becker firstname.lastname@example.org
Web Specialist Maria Martinez Nogueda email@example.com
Graphic Designer and
Web Specialist Louise Jett firstname.lastname@example.org
Table of Contents Campus News, Pg. 3-8 Opinion, Pg. 11-14 Entertainment, Pg. 15-18 Product Reviews, Pg. 19 Sports, Pg. 20-22 Serial Story, Pg. 23-26 Cartoons and Games, Pg. 27-28
Photo by Krystie Morrison.
‘Tis the Season to Preview what Student Activities has in Store By Jenna Shelton email@example.com As of the release of this article, the following are the most current plans that Student Activities has planned for the remainder of the Fall 2020 semester, which officially ends on Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020 at 10:30 p.m. This schedule may change at any time, events may be added, canceled or rescheduled for a later date depending upon situations beyond their control. All events and activities are virtual at this time, and will remain so until further notice. For the most up-todate information and links to join, please like, follow, and make sure your settings are set so you see the posts for Student Activities at L&C first on Facebook. (15) Student Activities at L&C | Facebook
Show Us Your Thanksgiving Plate - Contest on Facebook
Post a picture or video of your Thanksgiving plate or spread to win great prizes on Student Activities FB page. Possibly categories may include traditional, non-traditional, burnt, or under-cooked. Contest will run until Dec.7, at 11:59 p.m. Xmas Bingo - Contest on Facebook Play a game of Bingo and post your played card on the Student Activities FB page to see if you could win various restaurant gift cards or popular L&C face masks! The contest will run from Dec. 7 and 18, at 11:59 p.m. Christmas Tree Decorating Contest - Contest on Facebook Who doesn’t already post pictures on their social media about how good their Christmas tree looks? Show off those tree decorating skills and post it on the Student Activities FB page and you could possibly win gift cards for the L&C Bookstore! Contest runs Dec. 1 to 18, until 11:59 p. m. Page 3
Holiday Pictures - We Want To See Them - Facebook Contest
Post your holiday pics of your Kwanzaa, Christmas, Hanukkah or any other type of celebration: Decorations, menorahs, gifts, candles, indoor/outdoor lights, trees, etc. Be proud and post your pics on the Student Activities FB page between Dec. 1 to 18, until 11:59 p. m.
Holiday Baking/Dessert Contest - Facebook Contest
Sugar and spice and everything nice! Post pictures to Student Activities FB of all of those delicious looking Holiday cookies and gingerbread houses, pies and cakes, the sweeter, the better!! After much debate, it was decided that gingerbread kits were acceptable, as were store bought cookies that could be decorated, but everything else needed to be homemade. Winners could possibly choose from a special prize, gift cards to local restaurants, L&C face masks or L&C Bookstore gift cards! The contest will run from Dec. 1 to 18 until 11:59 p. m.
Favorite Holiday Playlist Facebook Conversation Starter
Let’s start a discussion! What Holiday songs are past their prime? What songs are an all-time favorite and should never go out of style? Let’s make a 2020 Holiday Playlist for L&C! Hop on Student Activities FB and let them know your opinion! This will be posted the week of Dec. 1.
Ugly Sweater Contest - Facebook Contest
U*G*L*Y - you ain’t got no alibi, you ugly sweater Holiday Contest at L&C for students, Campus News
staff and faculty! Post pictures of you wearing those ugly sweaters on the FB page and winners could possibly win a special prize or gift cards to the L&C Bookstore or an L&C face mask. The contest will run from Dec. 7 to 18 until 11:59 p. m.
sweater. For more information, please contact Jenna Shelton at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let’s start a discussion! Do you have a favorite Holiday memory? Has it changed how you look at and celebrate Holidays as an adult? Share that memory with Student Activities on their FB page. This will be posted the week of Dec. 7.
thing that’s straight off the back off the box from the supermarket! Either way, share those favorite Holiday recipes with Students Activities on their Facebook page. This will be posted the week of Dec. 14.
Favorite Holiday Recipes Facebook Conversation StartFavorite Holiday Memories - er With every Holiday comes the responsibility of Facebook Conversation Start- great...food! Maybe it’s a family recipe that’s er been passed down for generations or some-
Flow & Restore Yoga - Free Flow & Restore Yoga - Free Event - Wed., Dec. 9 at 6:00 p. Event - Wed., Dec. 16 at 6:00 m. p. m. Join Louise M. Hamlin-Laird, E-RYT 200 and Y.A.C.E.P., for a Flow & Restore Yoga Class. This class will incorporate a gentle yet challenging yoga flow, breathwork, and restorative yoga poses with modifications to allow the class to be suitable for all levels of experience. In this class, we will unite movement with breath creating a sense of flow, ease, strength and tension release. This class will conclude with Restorative Yoga postures to settle the body and mind. This event is completely FREE, does not require prior registration, and is open to everyone - students, staff, faculty, family and friends! The class will be Wed., Dec. 9, scheduled to begin at 6:00 p.m. and runs for one hour. Check on Blackboard’s calendar and/or Student Activities FB page for the link to join the Zoom. For questions please contact Jared Hennings at email@example.com.
Join Louise M. Hamlin-Laird, E-RYT 200 and Y.A.C.E.P., for a Flow & Restore Yoga Class. This class will incorporate a gentle yet challenging yoga flow, breathwork, and restorative yoga poses with modifications to allow the class to be suitable for all levels of experience. In this class, we will unite movement with breath creating a sense of flow, ease, strength and tension release. This class will conclude with Restorative Yoga postures to settle the body and mind. This event is completely FREE, does not require prior registration, and is open to everyone - students, staff, faculty, family and friends! The class will be Wed., Dec. 16, scheduled to begin at 6:00 p.m. and runs for one hour. Check on Blackboard’s calendar and/or Student Activities FB page for the link to join the Zoom. For questions please contact Jared Hennings at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Xmas Murder Mystery - Free Christmas Carols, Story ReadEvent - Friday, Dec. 11, 7 p. m. ing and Santa - Free Event Join fellow students, staff and faculty to discover who has been “murdered” and who did it! Could Dec. 17 at 7:00 p.m. you be guilty? The theme of the night is Ugly Holiday Sweaters, so make sure you wear the most gaudy, ugly piece of Holiday trash. There’s enough parts for 20 players but anymore will have to be audience members, but don’t worry, the audience will still get a chance to be a super sleuth. Those who correctly guess the culprit will be entered to win a $25 Applebee’s gift card. Other opportunities to win other prizes and gift cards will arise from attendance, acting skills, or lack of skills, and the ugliness of your Holiday Campus News
Are you ready for a rockin’ Christmas? Let’s all join in and sing some carols - karaoke Zoom style. A Night Before Christmas reading will be performed, as well as a special appearance by the man in red himself, Santa Claus! The Zoom link will be posted on the Student Activities FB page and on the Blackboard calendar. For questions please contact Jenna Shelton at email@example.com.
A Letter From L&C’s Student Activities President Greetings Trailblazers, As Lewis and Clark Community College’s 2020 Fall semester draws to a close, I would like to take a moment to thank everyone who took the time to come to our virtual meetings and events, students, staff and faculty. I know that this is not what anyone thought that their college experience would be like, myself included, but we have come together and we are doing the best we can to support each other in this crazy time. I have had the great pleasure of being part of Student Activities before this pandemic struck, and the Fall semester was personally always my favorite. We would hold Holiday parties, have dances and Fall Fest, all with the beautiful colors of the changing seasons as a backdrop on our gorgeously landscaped campus. The determination and imagination that the members of the Student Activities Organization have had this last year to ensure that the students, staff and faculty at Lewis and Clark Community College have had the opportunity to continue to meet for fun and games has impressed me beyond belief. They have came up with so many great options including game nights, a psychic reading, Friday Movie Nite’s, multiple online contests and the upcoming Murder Mystery, Christmas Caroling, a Night Before Christmas Reading and a surprise visit from someone special from the North Pole - ALL DONE VIRTUALLY!!
educations, some just starting their college careers while some are set to graduate, and all with different goals for their future. What brought us together was our love of having fun, making new friends, a desire to get more involved with our school and, for some, it was an opportunity to fit in. It gives us a reprieve from the constant humdrum of schoolwork and allows us to have fun while making connections and networking for our futures. Of course, none of the events that we have held or plan to hold in the future could be possible if it weren’t for our wonderful advisors, Jared Hennings and Dr. Sean Hill, who have been advocates for our various clubs and organizations, standing with us, and allowing us the opportunities to learn and grow with their experienced hands at our backs, supporting us. Of course, I could never leave out the two wonderful administrative assistants, who I have always been able to turn to for help and that I believe may truly be running things sometimes (but don’t tell anyone I said that or I might get in trouble), Christine Strotheide and Dionne McElroy.
I believe that this pandemic, while still incredibly stressful, has brought out a stronger, more capable side to all of us, one that we were not aware we had. We have learned more about ourselves in this last year, and probably our families and friends - sometimes more than we ever wanted to. We have had to learn how to work more practically as a team in the most trying of situations and I think that those of us at L&C have become better for it.
For myself, I feel blessed for the opportunities that I have been afforded at L&C, especially with all of the wonderful individuals I have had the chance to interact with. I have learned so much from so many special people that I do not think that I ever would have gotten to meet, had it not been for joining Student Activities, much less becoming the President. I felt so out of place coming back to school as a 35 year-old, single mom and yet I found a place to fit in, and then I met all these great people who have taught me so much. I am so grateful for everything I have achieved and gained from my time at L&C and for all of the wonderful people who have changed my life.
While some of our group had previously worked together, some were literal strangers going into this semester, and yet, we have started to form a bond that many may not have had an opportunity to during this strange year. We come from different socioeconomic backgrounds, age ranges, races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, genders and gender identities; we have different interests and are all in different positions with our
We will be back again in January, planning and executing our fun and eclectic events, virtually, for the time being, at least until we can find some kind of normal to return to. Until then, please stick with us, join us for a meeting or a game night, you never know, you might just enjoy yourself. Please remember to stay safe over the upcoming Holiday Season, wear a mask and I really hope to see you back in the Spring! With Love,
Jenna R. Shelton firstname.lastname@example.org Student Activities President Page 5
The Happiness Habit Calendar Challenge Information provided by Christina Chapman
This calendar is a way to try out some positive activities that may help you feel a little better, and it was created by several groups of students. The first group is Active Minds; Active Minds hopes to change the conversation about mental health. As the national website states, “We believe no one should have to struggle alone. By empowering young adults to speak openly about mental health, we can reduce stigma, encourage help seeking, and prevent suicides.” At their November meeting, students were brainstorming ways to get out information about positive activities people could do, and they thought of this calendar idea. Chapman took the idea to her SOSC 132 Science of Happiness students and asked them if they’d like to take this on, and they said yes. Students chose the happiness activities that most interested them, and created videos using Lumen5. Chapman took the short videos they made and the corresponding Greater Good Science Center links and created the Happiness Habit Calendar Challenge. Detailed directions and research for each happiness activity can be found at the GGSC links or in the information summarized in the student videos. We do want to note that these activities can make you feel a little happier, but they are not a substitute for counseling or professional help if you need it. Our counselor is available at 468-4125, or if it is an emergency, call 911, or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or text BRAVE to 741741. Our hope is that students will check out and try some of the activities listed on the calendar. Some of the activities are meant to be repeated (like thinking about three good things every day) and hopefully they will become habits that will help bring a little more happiness to students’ lives. If you’re interested in joining the Active Minds student group, contact Alice Bunjan at email@example.com. If you are interested in joining the Science of Happiness class, SOSC 132, please ask your advisor or contact Chrissie Chapman at cchapman@ lc.edu. See pages seven and eight for the Happiness Habit Calendar and TheLCBridge. com for the links and videos.
Happiness Habit Ca Sunday
Write a Gratitude Letter
Random Act of Kindness
36 Que for Incr Close
Acti Nine St Forgiv
Give it up
Activity: Positive Emotions and Resilience
Activity: Three Good Things
Common Humanity Meditation
Themes: Social Connection=RED; Meditation and Mindfulness=PURPL Self-Compassion=DARK BLUE; Building Resilience=ORANGE. Please note: T substitute for counseling or professional help if you need it. Our counselor Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800
Go for a Walk
Activity: Check in on Loved Ones
Activity: Body Scan Meditation
Go for a Walk
estions reasing eness
ivity: teps to veness
Letting Go of Anger Through Compassion
Go for a Walk
Activity: Loving Kindness Meditation
Go for a Walk
LE; Exercise=GREEN; Gratitude=YELLOW; Altruism and Kindness=BLUE; These ideas are meant to help someone feel a little happier and are not a r is available at 468-4125, or if it is an emergency, call 911, or the National 0-273-8255, or text BRAVE to 741741. Campus News
L&C & PTK students on the panel are going to offer tips & tricks for E-Learning & talk about how they’re coping with online learning. Featuring various programs including Nursing, General Education, & Psychology!
Hosted by Phi Theta Kappa Join our Zoom on December 10th at 3:00 pm. Meeting ID: 964 0473 9931
My Mama’s Mac-N-Cheese Is Better Than Yours By Jenna Shelton firstname.lastname@example.org Depending on where you are, “My mama’s mac-n-cheese is better than yours” is some fighting words! I come from a huge family that is spread all over the country and I am almost positive that my mama “borrowed” this recipe, which was a favorite dish from a beloved Harlem, NY restaurant that one of my cousins, who used to work there, had sent her. She altered a bit and now claims it as her own! Regardless of where the original recipe came from, it is absolutely delicious and you will not regret making it. We especially like making it a day or two after holidays in which we have made a ham because that is one of the ingredients. It’s Photo by Jenna Shelton. The finished, cheesy product. a great way to use some leftovers after you are tired of eating ham sandwiches and don’t want to make some gross Jello-ham-salad thing that your great-grandma is saying you would love. My Mama’s Mac-N-Cheese Is Better Than Yours Recipe
The recipe calls for certain ingredients, like country ham, but if you make a smoked ham or a glazed ham, it’s not going to matter. You could even add cooked sausages, like kielbasa, in there. It also calls for shallots, and I do not know about y’all but I do not have many shallots sitting around my house. I do, however, have onions, which work perfectly fine! Feel free to substitute as needed, it will not hurt. Another thing that we do often is play around with seasonings. For example, the original recipe called for 2 ½ tablespoons of rosemary, but we don’t particularly like rosemary. This time we left it out of the mix and after it came out, I put on a light sprinkling of a seasoning called Jane’s Crazy Original Mixed-Up Salt that I found on our spice rack, and I found that I really enjoyed it. A bonus for my family when we made this recipe this time was that my daughter is in a Foods class in high school and is required to do a home lab; specifically a lab involving dairy. What’s better than mac-n-cheese? So, not only did she get to do her homework, but we also got to use up some leftover ham from a previous dinner (we actually didn’t do a traditional Thanksgiving because it was only three of us, instead we opted for chicken wings in the air fryer, which was so good), and we got a delicious, warm and creamy mac-ncheese dinner all-in-one!! If you make this recipe or any of my recipes, please send me your reviews and/or pictures at jshelton@ lc.edu. I’d love to hear how you liked it and what other types of recipes you’d like to see. Page 11
By Jenna Shelton email@example.com
√Prep Time: 15 minutes √Cook Time: 1 hour √Serving Size: 4 Ingredients -Olive oil -Kosher salt -1 pound garganelli or penne rigate pasta -1 pounds shallots, whole and peeled -4 cups whipping cream -4 cups white cheddar cheese, grated -4 cups smoked gouda cheese, grated -2-3 teaspoons freshly ground pepper -1-2 cups country ham, roughly chopped * Optional - 2 ½ tablespoons Rosemary - add in at step 5 Directions
√ Preheat the oven to 375°F. √ Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot; add 1 1/2 tablespoons of salt and pasta; cook according to package directions. Drain well. √ While the pasta cooks, in a large skillet over low heat add a few drops of oil and whole shallots. Cook shallots over low heat until they begin to fall apart and caramelize, around 15-20 minutes. Once caramelized, remove from the skillet and set aside. √ Bring cream to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Do not boil. √ Stir in Cheddar and smoked Gouda. √ Whisk often, over medium-low heat 2 to 3 minutes or until melted and smooth. √ Remove from heat. √ Whisk in pepper and 1 tablespoon salt. √ Stir in pasta, caramelized shallots and ham (you can also use cooked sausage, if you have that laying around). √ Pour mixture into a lightly greased 3-quart baking dish. √ Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly. √ Remove from the oven; let stand 10 minutes before serving. Opinion
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COVID BEYOND PHYSICAL By Jenna Shelton email@example.com As the year 2020 draws to a close, I have found myself to be a bit more introspective, and thinking about when I was a little girl, what I thought the world would be like when it was 2020. In my wildest dreams, I had never imagined that it would be like this. Instead, I imagined that we would have world peace, no one would be hungry, there would be no pollution, there would be no drugs or abuse or murder. I imagined cures for diseases and flying cars. Now, I know that may sound funny to some of you but remember, I’m a non-traditional student, someone who is not immediately out of high school; I am a 35-yearold single mother to a 14-year-old daughter, I am back finishing my BA in Human Services with a Minor in Psychology with the FABULOUS 2 + 2 program offered here at L&C with Missouri Baptist University (seriously, it is totally worth checking out!) So, flying cars weren’t an out-there sounding idea all those years ago. Honestly, if you think about it, there are cars that drive themselves these days, so really, was I too far off? Also, we have found treatments and cures for so many diseases, so that was a good prediction too. The others were sadly off, but with this being my last year at L&C, I was sure that 2020 was going to be a great year for not only me, but for my family and friends too - boy, was I wrong! While the first part of the year might have started off pretty good, it quickly went downhill. My daughter, mother and I all celebrated the end of 2019 and the first week of 2020 in Chicago, which was a blast; but, shortly after coming home, we all came down with a horrible “respiratory illness” within a couple weeks. All three of us were sick as dogs until mid-to-late Feb. with this bug; so weak some days that we couldn’t even get out of bed. This was all before COVID-19 was even in our country supposedly, but much later this year I was given an antibody test by my physician, at my request. Although the test was negative, my physician told me it could have been a false negative, because not enough is not known about this disease and the test may not have been accurate. Page 13
Still, my family and I buckled down, and we quit going out completely since we have family members that are considered at-risk due to their health. So, I started as the sole person shopping and going out to handle the errands for multiple households for my family and extended family members, which let me tell you is a hassle when there are two item limits and you need to buy two of those items for three houses because you only go out to shop every two or so weeks to avoid catching something. But, one day, things changed. I noticed that my grandma, my mother’s mother, seemed like she was having trouble breathing. After speaking to each of her children virtually, of course - she agreed to allow me to take her to a local Urgent Care Clinic that had been converted into a Respiratory Clinic to test and deal with possible COVID-19 cases. Surprisingly, against their restrictions, the clinic let me come in with my grandma and after a very short wait she was taken to a x-ray machine on site. Shortly after, they came in and said they were almost positive it was not the Novel Coronavirus, still they ran a test to be safe, but they saw a mass on the x-ray and they needed her to go to the hospital. They explained it could be as simple as a case of pneumonia or, with her smoking history, it could be cancer. After smoking for 70+ years, my 88-year-old grandma yelled at me as soon as we got in the car, “This is why I didn’t want to come! Now they’re [her children] all going to make me go to the hospital and they are going to make me take poison because I have cancer. I won’t do it. I don’t want that poison. Take me home to my cat!” As soon as I got my grandma home, she asked me to wait to call anyone, then sat at the table and smoked two cigarettes before getting up to feed the cat, Nicky, who is named after the Adam Sandler movie Little Nicky. She then let me start calling everyone while we worked out a plan. We decided that since I was one of her medical power of attorneys, I would take her to a local hospital that I had the clinic send the files to after she had some time to play with her cat and pack a bag. She was afraid that she’d go to the hospital and she would never come home since that is what happened to my grandpa, her husband, 10 years ago; he went in, they found cancer, he started hospice and then died four hours later. Opinion
We got to the local hospital and there were signs up in the parking lot that only patients could come in, no visitors, so as we approached the doors, I told my grandma what the signs said since she is legally blind from glaucoma. She started to get nervous but I explained that I had her cell phone and it was charged and she could call me; I’d be in the parking lot. It was probably just pneumonia, like the clinic said, and she just needed antibiotics and fluids and we’d be home to play with Nicky, the Devil cat, later.
That month between her diagnosis and her death was hard as well. Everyone in our family, from all around the country, wanted to come immediately to see her. That was an ordeal on multiple levels - my grandma did not want anyone to, first-off, take the risk of catching COVID to come see her, no matter how much she wanted to see them all, nor did she want them to spend their hard earned money to come, then there was the issue of where they were coming from and possibly bringing the virus to us.
I had also told my grandma that I would do my best to talk my way in to be with her, but they were completely firm. No one was allowed in except the patient. They started to do the intake for my grandma, asking her questions, when she started replying back as I walked out the door... IN GERMAN!! Yes, my grandma came to America with my grandpa after the War, and she started acting like she didn’t speak English so I could act like her translator and come back with her to the exam room.
Could they bring the virus and give it to grandma? Cut our time short with her or even give it to one of us who were her caregivers, and then we may have no one available to help care for her? Remember this is still April - May, so it was still super early in the shutdown and we did not know as much as we know now, so we were going on emotions and fears.
Unfortunately, her intuition was correct all along and just a few short hours and some very expensive tests later, my grandma was diagnosed with Stage IV Lung Cancer that had already spread to her kidneys. Her decision that night was to forgo any further testing and treatments, go home and have Hospice services start the very next day. The day she was diagnosed was April 21, 2020 and just weeks later on May 24, 2020, she died and was able to join her husband, her daughter and my father who had also died in the past couple of years. I know what we did was totally breaking the rules and a horrible thing to do during a pandemic, but could you imagine if you were an 88-year-old woman and were thinking that you were going to be told that you had cancer and were going to be all alone? On the other hand what if we were wrong and it was just pneumonia and I caught COVID and brought it home to my at-risk daughter or mother? There was no right answer in that situation, but I was going to be damned if I was going to let the woman who was there for me my entire life, who never judged me, who loved me and my daughter like we were her own children and who would give the clothes off her back to a total stranger who needed help, be told they had cancer and were dying while alone. I upheld my promises to her to make sure she died at her home, in as little pain as possible, and I made sure her cat continued his spoiled rotten life at my house. Cancer was her greatest fear but at the same time it wasn’t a great enough fear to make her quit smoking, something I never understood. Years ago, she had a best friend named Rosie, who died a slow and painful death from cancer. My grandmother was her caregiver, and after her death she would have nightmares about how her friend had suffered. Then, seeing the way my grandpa and father were when they both died of cancer, was another blow to all of us.
I had to beg a local store manager to let me buy more than the store limit of disposable masks and cleansing products so that I could make sure my grandma’s family members and friends of 88 years could come and visit and say their goodbyes to her, while making sure that we wouldn’t contract the virus. After her death, we tried to have a funeral but of course, COVID had a say in that as well, and my very wellrespected grandmother’s funeral was only allowed to be attended by immediate family. That was a blessing by itself honestly! Her pastor at the church she has taught at and been a part of since she came to America in the 1950’s, kindly allowed our immediate family to hold her funeral at the church during a time when it was only supposed to be no more than 10 or so at a gathering. She was not the only family member of mine that has had health issues, but thankfully no one else has passed away. Unfortunately, one member lost a limb, and had done so in the hospital and rehabilitation centers alone because of this pandemic. Their spouses and children, grandchildren and family and friends cannot come and give them the support and encouragement that they need because our government heads and certain people in the community are not taking this virus seriously. That needs to stop! There are people literally dying completely alone, they are losing limbs, or giving birth without any support from their partners, they are going through the hardest fight of their lives - cancer completely alone. Not to mention what our healthcare workers have been going through! There are three simple things to do to stop this virus in its tracks: 1.) STAY HOME!!! If you absolutely have to go out then 2.) WEAR A MASK, PROPERLY COVER YOUR MOUTH AND NOSE 3.) WASH YOUR HANDS. What has COVID-19 done to affect your life? I would love to hear how your 2020 has gone! Was it a good year for you? Do you have a crazy story? I want to hear it all! Feel free to shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Stay safe and healthy and please wear a mask!
polybius Ashens and the Polybius Heist is a strong and loving parody of heist movies by Gary Chapman email@example.com
YouTubers have been making movies since the site has existed. One of the first was 2008’s Ryan and Sean’s Not So Excellent Adventure featuring Ryan and Sean from the then-popular Youtube channel Nigahiga. There is also FЯED: The Movie from 2009 and the critically panned Smosh: The Movie from 2015. The latest YouTuber movie is from Stuart Ashen, one of the first channels to get big from reviewing cheap tat. The film is Ashens and the Polybius Heist. The film, which is a sequel to 2013’s Ashens and the Quest for the Gamechild, is a loving parody of heist films like The Sting, Ocean’s Eleven and Reservoir Dogs. The film involves a fictional version of Ashen organizing a heist to steal the mythical arcade cabinet Polybius, which in the film is developed by his estranged father and is owned by a mogul who wants to use the machines brain-addling abilities to develop an app to push his “New is Good” agenda.
The film is mostly a standalone film rather than a sequel, with it only having two or three of the characters from the original one; the sidekick from Gamechild, Chef Geoffery Excellence (played by Dan Tomlinson) only appears as a millionaire who contributes the funds for the heist. The film includes associates of Ashen, like Jarrod Christmas, playing the mole and Daniel Hardcastle (also known as NerdCubed) playing the part of the tech guy in the heist. The film also has Eli Silverman as Stuart’s right-handman-turned-antagonist, Ben. The film was done through crowdfunding, like the first film, with $195,888 dollars raised through Indie Go-Go. The film looks really good for that amount of money. The film is directed by Riyad Barmania who directs the actors well. The film is edited well. The film made me chuckle a few times. The film overall is a very decent movie, jokes could have been a little better, but it was pretty good in my opinion. I rate Ashens and the Polybius Heist 3.5 out of 5.
It’s Just a Burning Memory: A look at Everywhere At The End Of Time By Gary Chapman firstname.lastname@example.org
Albums are usually compilations of mostly unrelated songs by the same artist. Sometimes you’ll get an album like Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” that tells a story. But you never see ones that tell an overarching story over six albums, right? Wrong, today we are going to be looking at the six-part magnum opus that is Everywhere at the End of Time. The album is by The Caretaker, a project by Leyland James Kirby. Leyland started making music under The Caretaker in 1999 with Selected Memories From The Haunted Ballroom. He was inspired by the end scene of Stanley Kubrik’s The Shining. The Caretaker’s most famous work before this is 2011’s An Empty Bliss Beyond This World, which is based on a study about how people with Alzheimer’s remember music. Everywhere at the End of Time follows a similar style. The album is about a person going through dementia represented through sampled and manipulated 1930s ballroom records. The album started in 2016 and finished in 2019. The album’s first track is A1: It’s Just a Burning Memory. The track is a slowed down and looped version of Al Bowlly’s 1931 cover of “Heartaches” where the title comes from the line “Your kiss was such a sacred thing to me/I can’t believe it’s just a burning memory”. The track loops the first 40 seconds that are slowed down and filled with reverb; when the track stops and shows how big the room is. This is to show that the cavern is big, which is how the brain is throughout early dementia. Stage 2 is the “realization” phase and is more depressive feeling. Stage 3, and the track “And Heart Breaks”, is the last Entertainment
stage before the “Post-Awareness Stages”. It goes from coherent but distorted tracks from Stage 1, 2 and 3 to distorted horror for Stages 4-5. The track goes from song lyrics to the stages of dementia. The tracks also go from 2-3 minutes to 20 mins. Each one is described on the Bandcamp page, with Stage 4 being described as “Post-Awareness Stage 4 is where serenity and the ability to recall singular memories gives way to confusions and horror. It’s the beginning of an eventual process where all memories begin to become more fluid through entanglements, repetition, and rupture.” Five is described as “Post-Awareness Stage 5, confusions and horror. More extreme entanglements, repetition and rupture can give way to calmer moments. The unfamiliar may sound and feel familiar. Time is often spent only in the moment leading to isolation. “ The last album, Stage 6, is left with the description “Post-Awareness Stage 6 Is without description.” This album is the last album under The Caretaker name as the last track “R1 - Stage 6 Place in the World Fades Away” signals the end of the Caretaker. The art for the albums also depicts the feeling that the albums depict. The shapes look familiar but are distorted, just masses. The album is a great work from Kirby, and while he is done with The Caretaker alias, he is still making music under a plethora of other aliases. The album is available on Bandcamp and the whole thing is uploaded on YouTube. There are also physical releases on Vinyl and CD. Page 16
Parker Takes a Vacation, Morales Becomes Spider-Man By Andrew Agney email@example.com
Marvel’s Spider-Man on PS4 was a very successful title from insomniac games that received raving reviews from critics and fans alike, so when it came time to make a sequel, the question on everyone’s mind was “how could they improve or change the original title’s mechanics, but keep it fun?” Well, let’s discuss how they did just that in Spider-Man: Miles Morales. Releasing this year, in 2020, Miles Morales follows the titular character one year after the events of the first game; with Miles learning about his new spider-powers and how to become a superhero, when his mentor, Peter Parker, leaves New York for a vacation, making Miles New York’s only Spider-Man for a month. Though technically a sequel, the game could more be considered an expansion of the first one, as this game’s mechanics are built heavily on the original’s, with the controls, traversal and combat playing out almost exactly like the original game. But there have been changes and additions to keep it all feeling fresh and to expand the options the player has. Such as finishers becoming available through long combo strings rather than from the power meter; said meter still being used to be able to heal yourself like in the previous game, but also fuels one of Miles’ unique powers, the venom strikes. With the ability to produce electricity from his body, Miles is able to perform devastating moves such as the venom attack, which breaks enemy weapons and stuns them; or the powerful venom blast, which knocks out all enemies around Miles as he lets out an explosion of electricity. Page 17
Also added to the list of options for players is another power unique to Miles, invisibility that allows him to hide from enemies; this can be useful during stealth sections, or in big combat arenas where you need a moment to take a breather and heal. Unfortunately, this game is much shorter than the original; I was able to finish in just a single weekend and the selection of extra costumes and suit mods has been reduced by about half. There are also only four gadgets to work with in the game compared to the original’s eight, albeit they are very powerful gadgets. The game is also much more difficult than the original; this game on the normal difficulty expects you to use every power, technique, gadget and suit mod you have available to gain the upper hand and finish combat, whereas in the first game you could get through pretty well with just repeatedly pressing the attack button. Some players may find the harder difficulty a positive and may want to challenge themselves, but for those of you that want an easier time going through it, you are able to change the difficulty whenever you like during the game. Overall, while it leaves some things to be desired, Spider-Man: Miles Morales is still a very fun, solid game that captures the spirit of the first Spider-Man game and the comic books. If you enjoyed the original, I recommend grabbing Miles Morales. I give it a 9/10 Entertainment
Superhero Spotlight Who is John Constantine By Andrew Agney firstname.lastname@example.org Magic always seems rather whimsical and bright in the media; one spell or a flick of the wrist and all of the magic user’s problems just go away. But some media likes to remind us that problems can’t be solved so easily, like with DC comics’ own John Constantine. First appearing in Saga of the Swamp Thing in 1985, John Constantine, sometimes referred to as just “Constantine”, is a warlock from the UK who specializes in hunting down and battling magical, demonic and angelic threats on the world. All of his magic is self taught, starting when he was a young child, but he is descendant of a bloodline of magic users called the “laughing magicians” who specialized in trickery and deceiving even gods. Although he specializes primarily in illusion magic, Constantine dabbles in pretty much all kinds and is some level of trained in all of them, however he doesn’t battle with his magic; instead choosing to use his cunning, quick-wit,
manipulation techniques and knowledge of the occult to get the upper hand on his foes, only casting spells when he needs to. Featuring in his own comic series known as HellBlazer or Constantine, John Constantine hasn’t really been that popular of a comic book character but has started gaining a place in the spotlight as he appeared in the animated Justice League Dark movies and in the CW live action TV show, Arrow. In his stories, battling magical or otherworldly problems is only half of the battle for Constantine as he struggles constantly with alcoholism, drug problems, past trauma from his life, depression and having the burden of being one of only few defenses earth has against Heaven and Hell fighting for control over it. These dark stories accompanying Constantine in his comics serve as a grim reminder that even if you have the power to defeat a god, you still can’t beat your own demons.
I Shouldn’t Have Hesitated on the Apple Pencil By Alex Johnson email@example.com I’ve had an iPad Pro for a few years now. I purchased it with the hopes of recording music using Garageband; while that is a surprisingly powerful tool on the iPad, I found it too limiting and ended up picking up a Macbook Pro so I could get some higher quality recordings and have more control. The iPad was reduced to playing videos while I cooked or browsing the internet when my phone died. I had been told, as a creative type, I needed a Pencil, but after spending the money on the iPad and not getting any real use out of it, I was hesitant to spend another $100 on the device. Unfortunately, for the past few months Instagram has been advertising Procreate (an iOS drawing app) and different brush packs. The beautiful drawings drew me in, and I bought a used Apple Pencil. Do you need a Pencil? Let me just get this out of the way: if you have an iPad that is compatible with the Apple Pencil or Pencil 2 and you like art, get a Pencil. If you’re not sure which Pencil you would need or if you can even use a Pencil on your iPad, you can check the chart below.
Is the 2nd generation better? Functionally, the first and second generation Pencils are the same. The pressure sensitivity and low-latency drawing performance aren’t lost getting the first gen Pencil. The second gen does offer some upgrades; better charging options, a matte finish and a physical button are among them. The second gen is also square, like a drafting pencil, while the first gen is round; that’s a personal preference as many love the new square design but I like the traditional “pencil” feel of the first gen. How much? This is where things hurt. The first generation Pencil is $99, the second generation is $129 (and that’s on top of the cost of an iPad.) Of course, you can buy used; I was able to snag a first gen for $70. Keep in mind, though, buying used comes with no warranty, Apple Care, or confirmation that it’s never been anywhere gross. Regardless of which way you go, you’ll also probably want to get Procreate, the goto iOS art app. That comes at another $9.99. Alternatively, if you have an Adobe Creative Cloud account, you could try out Illustrator or Photoshop for iOS. Is it worth it? If you are an artist, YES! (I already told you that.) I’ve used my iPad more in the past few months than I had in the first few years of ownership. The iPad went from being an accessory to an indispensable tool. That being said, if you just want a simple stylus to poke around with while browsing the web, the Pencil is beyond overkill and far too expensive; you’d be much better off just getting an inexpensive, passive stylus. The Pencil does offer some unique navigation options, but nothing worth $99+ unless you’ll also be using it for art purposes.
Did I Just Stumble Upon A Table Tennis Fixing Scheme? By Nathan Tucker firstname.lastname@example.org In the past few weeks, I’ve felt like I unearthed a secret I shouldn’t know about. I’ll get started on this one by telling you to bear with me here, because there’s quite a bit to explain. After all, you don’t just Google “fixed ping pong betting online” to find something like this. And, for the record before we get started, I cannot and will not endorse or condone gambling here. Especially not on this stuff. This all started in my usual hanging out online, casually enough. A few online pals were making fun of sports betting handicappers, because they tend to portray these perfect and “larger than life” personas online, to lure people into buying picks on games from them. Most handicappers are just scammers, advertising a lifestyle that buying their football picks can bring you. This story just started with friends making fun of guys for hyping up their picks and then deleting them when they lost, including one guy, known on Twitter as “King Ping”. King Ping appeared out of nowhere on the Twitter sports handicapper radar, and has amassed almost 1000 new followers on the site since I first saw his tweets about two weeks ago. King Ping, as the name suggests, specializes in betting on table tennis. But not just any table tennis, King Ping specifically offers picks on Moscow Liga Pro Table Tennis. Why? He repeatedly claims he is receiving “information from Russia” on fixed table tennis matches. King Ping claims to have paid thousands of dollars for information on fixed Liga Pro matches. Like most sports handicappers on Twitter, he offers a paid “VIP” package, where he Sports
allegedly gives out information on said fixed Moscow Liga Pro matches. Naturally, I did not believe this, as I know most handicappers to be scammers. King Ping and this “fixed” table tennis league became an obsession of mine, and also of Twitch streamer and online pal known as “sexualjumanji”, who I’ll refer to as SJ to save myself from typing out “sexualjumanji” any further. SJ found a site to stream Moscow Liga Pro on, and watched some on his Twitch stream that I was watching and chatting along to. As a man who watches many sports, I remembered the fast and furious action that table tennis can provide at the Olympics. Liga Pro on the other hand, looked like guys at a YMCA ping pong tournament. Old guys, fat guys, guys wearing t-shirts or soccer jerseys, all playing a level of table tennis I am confident that I could compete at given a few weeks of practice. Not just Liga Pro either, the streaming site offered several other table tennis games in “Cups”, the Setka Cup, the WIN Cup and the TT Cup. The varying cups are all based in Ukraine. More worrisome than the really bad level of play at hand here was the setting of basically every one of these table tennis matches. Tables were situated in a room(?) surrounded on all sides by a big tarp, that may or may not have a design for the league or cup . The only camera angle comes from a security camera’s perspective at the top corner of a room. The camera quality, typically, is also that of a security camera. Continued on page 21 and 22.
In July, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement instructed the state’s sportsbooks to suspend betting on all table tennis events in Ukraine, or involving six players; Liliia Zaitseva, Ivan Gaysin, Karen Dzhanibekyan, Eduard Panichev, Anastasia Efimova and Gleb Zoto. As reported by ESPN, the Sports Wagering Integrity Monitoring Association informed New Jersey gaming regulators on July match. 7 of match-fixing concerns rePro a Lig a of g tin set l ica The typ garding Ukrainian table tennis.
Continued from page 20.
Mesmerized by this awful table tennis and the fact that people were apparently betting on it believing at least some of it was fixed, I went to Bovada. Bovada is an off-shore gambling site, and sure enough, there were betting lines for Liga Pro table tennis, as well as a handful of other Russian or Ukrainian table tennis competitions. I was browsing all of these betting lines and advanced gambling metrics for guys I felt I could beat in this sport I haven’t played since PE in high school. The weird setting, the bad play, the tailored gambling lines, everything about this table tennis felt fishy With the rise of sports betting in several states following the legalization of online sportsbooks, I was wondering if legal, sanctioned by state sportsbooks were offering odds on these competitions. The answer: Yes and no. There are several different casinos running several different sportsbooks in the US, all offering their own variety of sports, leagues and events to gamble on. While just crossing my personal radar, this somewhat strange eastern European table tennis has been in the crosshairs of (some) sportsbooks across the nation.
“While there is not yet any evidence that any match fixing occurred in New Jersey, due the nature of the alert, the Division is suspending approval for wagering on all table tennis events in the Ukraine, including but not limited to the Setka Cup, WIN Cup and TT Cup.” A spokesperson for Setka Cup told ESPN in an email that the matter is “under investigation”, and added that Setka Cup requires participants to take lie detector tests to prevent match fixing. When major sports weren’t played at the start of the spread of COVID-19 in the US, betting on global, more obscure sports boomed at sportsbooks across the country. Hundreds of thousands of dollars a day were being wagered on these Russian and Ukrainian table tennis matches that took place nearly 24 hours a day. Legitimate information on these competitions is hard to come by. Regulators and governing bodies of table tennis in Ukraine and Russia say they aren’t sanctioning the events, according to ESPN. Websites for these competitions were once regularly updated, up until March. Since, the websites have gone dead, but the games keep coming at a rapid pace.
Games are being played around the clock, almost in shifts. In spending an afternoon watching Liga Pro on SJ’s stream, we noticed that players would play their match, typically a 15 minute event, give or take, and then take a breather for a while and play again in an hour or two. Consider Vladimir Nemashkalo, who’s become a celebrity among those who’ve seen Liga Pro. The day of this writing, Nemashkalo played in four different Liga Pro matches, two within the same hour. A week of work for Vladimir and his Liga Pro colleagues typically consists of four matches a day, every other day, with occasional variance. Again, it must be stated that the Russian Table Tennis Federation isn’t sanctioning this. Registered and known participants in Liga Pro tournaments previously held in Moscow before crowds are now playing matches in undisclosed locations. In an email to ESPN, Marina Znamenskaya, a sales and marketing manager with SportLevel, a company that provides livestreams and is a partner with Liga Pro, said the matches were taking place in China, Czechia and Belarus. Znamenskaya also claims locations are “undisclosed” for a variety of reasons; to prevent fraud, fixing and from anyone contacting the athletes. “We have partners in each country who run these competitions and guarantee strict compliance with the standards of the competitions integrity policy,” Znamenskaya wrote in the same email. “We interact with them on all issues, but we can’t give their contacts because of privacy agreements.” Well all that sounds perfectly normal. Surely the only way to prevent table tennis from being fixed is to have matches in undisclosed locations 24 hours a day. William Hill US, the largest sportsbook operator in Nevada, and a sportsbook also offered in the state of Illinois, told ESPN they have not seen any irregular betting patterns on matches, and views the league similar to other lower-level leagues in sports, such as college athletics.
It’s unclear who actually oversees Moscow Liga Pro, and the other cups and leagues running matches around the clock. The top governing body of table tennis, the International Table Tennis Federation, put a stop to all sanctioned tournaments during the coronavirus pandemic. Jimmy Cowan, a marketing manager for the ITTF, also told ESPN he had never heard of Moscow Liga Pro before. DraftKings, a sportsbook offered online in Illinois and in-person at the recently taken-over DraftKings Casino Queen, has specifically requested to offer bets on Liga Pro, citing the ITTF as a governing body associated with the league. PointsBet, also offered in Illinois, has claimed the Russian federation as a governing body. Both have stated repeatedly that they are not overseeing these matches. William Hill only lists the URL for Liga Pro’s website as a “governing body”, according to documents obtained by ESPN. The Ukrainian Setka Cup, in its current form, is a tournament organized by an international sportsbook, specifically for gambling purposes. PointsBet filed paperwork with Iowa’s gambling regulators that the Setka Cup was being “held under the auspices” of the Ukrainian Table Tennis Federation. As last reported earlier this year, the UTTF has disqualified over 350 table tennis players for *competing in* the Setka Cup. Don’t think that’s the same thing, PointsBet. As of this writing, gambling lines for Moscow Liga Pro, Setka Cup, WIN Cup and more are still available in Illinois, through William Hill’s online sportsbook, who still lists the URL of the Liga Pro site as the league’s governing body. While finishing up here, King Ping just tweeted that he knows another match is fixed. Presumably, people are buying his picks, hoping they know something the public, and sportsbooks, do not. So now I ask again: Did I just stumble upon a table tennis fixing scheme?
The Vermillion Sky The Vermillion Sky Part 9 By Andrew Agney email@example.com
lone with just the wind blowing and the rustling of leaves, Ciel and Breeze make their way through a supposed shortcut through the forest, trying to catch back up with the rest of the Nature Coven students, a bright starry sky and crescent moon hanging in the sky above them.
falling in their way, the girls jumping backward and giving another surprised yelp at the sudden crashing of the tree, and as they turn to find a different route, the cause of this disruption is revealed: a large beast with the body of a lion, the head of a goat and a snake for a tail leaps in front of the girls.
“I’m still not sure about this Ciel…” Breeze “Th-that’s...a Chimera,” Ciel says with says quietly, quickly looking around as she a mix of surprise and fear in her voice. grows more and more nervous. “This forest is scary at night.” “I know,” Breeze replies, sounding just as equally surprised and scared. “I told you to relax Breeze. We’re going to be fine,” Ciel says reassuringly to her gob- “That could easily kill us,” Ciel continlin friend, before a loud snapping sound ues, as she starts to walk backwards unis heard from deeper in the forest, causing til hitting the tree that had blocked the both the Dragonchild and Goblin to give a two. startled yelp, both of them looking around in surprise. “I-I know…” Breeze again says, also walking backwards. “B-but maybe we should keep moving on.. if we want to catch up with the others,” Ciel The mighty creature raises its head to continues, her fear starting to slip into her the sky and lets out a roar, a stream of voice before the two girls continue on their fire bellowing out of its mouth, before way, picking up their pace a bit more now. it lowers its head back down and gets into a crouching position, taking a leap As the two hurry through the forest, their at the two girls, bearing its claws as it path is suddenly cut off by a large tree barrels down on them.
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The Vermillion Sky The Vermillion Sky The Vermillion Sky Part 10
ove!” Ciel shouts as she slaps a wind glyph on Breeze, the goblin girl getting pushed out of the way of the Chimera’s pounce. Ciel, jumps back as the mighty beast slams down, destroying the fallen tree that had blocked the girls path.
sive series of explosions, Ciel needing to cover her face and close her eyes as all the explosions erupt.
As the smoke and fire clear, Ciel opens her eyes and puffs out her chest with a triumphant look on her face...that quickly fades, as she “Get out of here, Breeze!” Ciel calls to her sees that, while her explosives did damage friend, picking up a rock and throwing it at the the beast, it is still standing and starting to apchimera to get the monster’s attention; the beast proach her again. snarles as it turns to face the half-dragon girl. Ciel tries to take a step back, but slips and “What? I’m not just going to leave you!” Breeze falls on her back, her breathing getting shalcalls back, wondering what the other girl was low as the chimera approaches her. “Au revoir, thinking. “That thing will tear you apart!” Maman…” she says quietly as she starts to accept the fate coming towards her. “Don’t worry, I have a plan! Besides...this was my idea; it’d only be right if this thing mauls me,” When suddenly, vines covered in thorns rise out Ciel says before throwing another rock at the of the ground and wrap all around the beast, chimera and quickly sprinting off into the oppo- pinning it to the ground. site direction, the mighty beast giving chase to the dragonchild. “I said, I’m not just going to leave you!” a voice calls out, Ciel turning her head to look at her The two make their way through the forest, Ciel savior, sees Breeze, the goblin’s hands glowing just barely outrunning the monster by placing with the green nature magic she specializes in. down explosive and wind glyphs to keep it at bay until Ciel runs into a dead end, turning “Come on Ciel! That won’t hold it for long!” around she faces the monster barreling down Breeze shouts. The dragonchild quickly scramon her. bles to her feet and runs over to the side of her friend, the two quickly taking off into a sprint to “All right you ugly abomination...eat this!” she get away from the monster before it can escape yells as she takes off her backpack and tosses it its prison. at the monster, who catches it in its mighty jaws and begins tearing the pack and its contents up, throwing pieces of paper with explosive runes all around, each one going off to create a mas-
Continued on page 23-24
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The Vermillion Sky The Vermillion Sky Part 11 By Andrew Agney firstname.lastname@example.org
iel and Breeze emerge from the to go through a series of tunnels and side forest, the two girls panting as they passages, before they finally reach their try to catch their breath. destination: a large chamber with a massive dragon inside; it’s bright red scales “o-ok...I think we lost it,” Breeze gasps somehow shimmering despite the lack of out as she hunches over with a hand on light in the room. her stomach as she recovers from the pain and exhaustion of the run. Sat atop a pile of gold and other treasures, the large dragon sneers as it lowers “Yeah...thanks again for the save, its head and glares at the group before it, Breeze.” Ciel says, in a similar state as letting out a low, guttural growl, causing her goblin friend. the group to shudder...all except for Ciel. “No problem… just, don’t do anything “Well? What are you guys waiting for?” stupid like that again,” Breeze comments, Ciel asks, all eyes turning to her for an before she perks up and points towards explanation of what she means. the hiking trail, “look! It’s the others!” “He asked if you guys brought offerCiel turns and does in fact see the rest of ings...I’m a descendant of dragons, I the nature students and their teacher, just speak the language,” she states simply a small ways further up the trail then the before the nature coven students cautwo girls. tiously step up to Varos the dragon and present their offerings: a large collection “See? Told you I knew a shortcut,” Ciel of food and treasures to add to his hoard. remarks with a cheeky smirk on her face, before she grabs Breeze’s hand and rush- Varos takes a moment to scan over the es forward to rejoin the group, dragging offerings brought before him..before his the exhausted goblin behind her. expression turns sour and he lets out a mighty roar that shakes the whole chamThe rest of the hike up the trail is relatively ber. painless, as the group soon reaches the top and approaches a cave with a large “Uh oh…” Ciel says, “he’s not happy with opening. Inside the cave the group has it.”
The Vermillion Sky The Vermillion Sky The Vermillion Sky Part 12
he Nature Coven and their teacher all go pale at Ciel’s words.
“What do you mean he doesn’t like it?! That’s all we had!” the teacher calls out with panic in his voice. “Well...he just sounded really angry and said he didn’t want any of this stuff,” Ciel replies, seeming nonchalant about this whole issue. “W-well...what does he want?” Breeze asks, the little goblin girl sounding nervous. “Hm...I’ll go talk to him,” Ciel replies, before walking up to the front of the class, clearing her throat before she begins speaking in low, guttural growls and roars; the mighty dragon replying with its own, much louder roars. This conversation goes on for a few moments before The dragonchild finally returns to the group. “So...I’ve worked something out with the big guy. He’s got a spear lodged in his stomach, and will accept us helping him as the offering,” she relays to the rest of the group. “But...we don’t have any healing magic,” one of the students mentions, sounding dejected. “Then it’s a good thing I’m part of the recovery coven!” Ciel proudly announces, pulling out a piece of chalk from her cloak. “You guys work on getting the spear out, I’ll be drawing a healing glyph,” she instructs the rest of the group, and they all step forward, Varos the dragon rolling over to reveal a massive spearhead piercing through his soft underbelly. The nature students all begin using their magic, creating massive vines that reach up and grip the spearhead and begin to pull it out, the dragon roaring in pain as the object is removed. Meanwhile, Ciel slaps a flight glyph on her back and grows her dragon wings, using them to fly up to the wound caused by the spear and draw a healing glyph around it.
Once the spearhead is pulled out, Ciel slaps her hand against the dragon’s stomach, the wound starting to close and repair itself. As the wound is healed, the dragon gives a low grumble, Ciel once again translating. “He says thanks for the help, and we are free to leave now,” she says, the rest of the students giving a sigh of relief as they all start to file out and make the trek back down the hiking trail and back home. During the walk back, however, Breeze pulls Ciel aside to talk with her. “I-I was wondering Ciel...you seemed so calm during that whole ordeal. Why weren’t you worried like the rest of us?” the small goblin asks curiously, to which the half-dragon gives a playful smirk before answering. “Well...cause I knew Varos wasn’t being serious. Something like that wouldn’t bother a dragon, and all those angry roars and stuff were just him playing it up. Plus, he told me while we were talking that he wanted to test us, make sure this new generation of Witches are ”kind in heart” or something like that,” Ciel explains, casually putting her arms behind her head as she walks. “Oh...well, that’s a relief, I suppose,” Breeze says, letting out a sigh as she relaxes with this new information, the two then joining back up with the rest of the class. Back at home, Ciel brings out her diary and begins to write in it before she heads to bed. “Today was awesome! I learned a new spell, went on a field trip, almost got killed by a manticore (That part wasn’t so awesome), and got to meet and help a real life dragon! Things are already going really well at this school. I can’t wait to see what else I learn and to finally become an actual witch!” Afterwards, she closes her diary and puts it back in her desk; then crawls into her bed for the night, unaware but excited for what adventures could be in her future.
The End? Page 26