- Author: eden Hudson
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Table of Contents
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Bullet Train to Bogland
Versus Heavenly Contrails
Fan Boat Ride
Easy Come, Easy Go
Dreams and Errands
Grasping at Oblivion
Versus Glass Hammers
Soaking Room Floor
Don’t Get Hit
Versus Stone Jackal
Versus Parasitic Twins
Return from Seclusion
Healing and Restoration
Find the Reaper
The Newest Eight-Legged Dragon
Beauties vs. Beasts
Clear the Tower
Angel of Death
Fight for the Scythe
Lost Mirror Spirit
To the Slaughter
Last-Ditch Battle Royale
Last Light, Last Breath
Rise and Shine
Money in the Bank
Ride off into the Night Sun
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FIGHT FOR YOUR SOUL.
Death cultivator Grady Hake thought his problems would disappear when he and his friends became members of the strongest gang on the prison planet, but all it did was thrust them into the kill-or-be-killed world of the Eight-Legged Dragons.
As Hake fights his way through the Dragons’ grueling trials, he soon discovers there’s a deadlier force on the prison planet than a death cultivator, even deadlier than the Angel of Death, and it wants his soul. Learning to cloak his lethal Spirit attacks in oblivion might help Hake rise through the ranks of the Eight-Legged Dragons, but it won't keep him and his friends alive...or his soul in one piece.
Mob Psycho 100 meets Yakuza 0 in this sci-fi wuxia cultivation adventure from eden Hudson.
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Bullet Train to Bogland
I SAW ENOUGH WESTERNS in my last life to know that you don’t want to be the guy arriving on a train at the beginning of a movie. The tough hero-types who save the day always rock up on horses or limp into town after getting ambushed, head straight for the saloon, and order a stiff drink. Dudes who roll into town on the train are the soft city types who can’t figure out which end of their shiny new gun to point at the bad guys.
That said, after a week of gang wars, running for my life from the small-time outfit indenturing me, and just barely surviving a gang riot, the bullet train through the Wilderness Territories was a pretty chill way to cross the six hundred and fifty miles from Jade City to the Bogland. We were able to kick back and read or watch stuff on our HUDs, get snacks from the dining car, and nap on and off. And I got to hang out with Kest.
“Check this out,” she said, leaning over the armrest between us and holding her HUD out to me.
Normally, people wore their HUDs on one wrist and typed or swiped with their opposite hand, but Kest had lost her HUD arm in the tournament. Now that limb ended just below her shoulder, the black script-healing tattoos where it’d been torn off still vivid and dark against her tan skin. To compensate, she usually squeezed her HUD between her knees while she worked on it or propped it against something.
“If I go with the hand flip-down,” she said, “I could build a revolver to pop up from the back of the wrist. That would come in useful in gang war and other combat situations.”
I took the HUD from her to stabilize it against the shaking of the train and looked down at the blue-and-white wireframe schematic rotating on the screen.
“That would look really cool,” I said, because I knew exactly zero about this biotech stuff. Then I remembered her magnetic slag trick from the tournament. “But what if they have a Metal affinity on their side, too? Couldn’t they just melt your bullets like you did to the Bailiff’s?”
“If I don’t put a protective layer on them as they’re being fired, they could,” she said, taking the HUD back. She pinched the band between her knees and started swiping at the screen, the black lace in her opal eyes shifting. “Same for the arm. This is still the brainstorming phase, though. It’s hard to say how much of this—if any—will make it into the build. Or how much of what I think will be useful will actually come in handy once I’ve accepted a position with the Technols. I’ll upgrade as needed. I considered having multiple arms to switch between, but that wouldn’t be ideal.”
“You could just store them in your ring,” I said, nodding to the thin metal band around her finger. It didn’t look like much to the naked eye, but once you switched to Ki-sight, you could see the Black Hole Spirit artificery that allowed objects to be stored inside.
“Even if the storage ring came with infinite space, there are going to be lots of situations where calling the arm I needed out, detaching the old one, and attaching the new one would take time I might not have. Given the touch-and-go state of most criminal activity, I’d rather be as prepared as possible ahead of time.”
She paused typing and took a drink from my Coffee Drank. That surprised me for a second. But Kest got that way when she was working on a build, not really attentive to the outside world. And to be fair, the can had been sitting in the cupholder in the armrest between us, so she could’ve forgotten that hers was in the cupholder on her left side.
I didn’t point it out. Drinking after Kest didn’t bother me. It was kind of cool that her lips had been where my mouth was not that long ago.
“Of course the ideal arm would conceal any illegal components in case I got stopped by the Confederated Planetary Authorities,” she said, half talking to herself. “I should take another look at Warcry’s leg when they get back.