Challenging Applause (finale)

(back to part one)

(reading time: 47 minutes)

Sneak the Applause

Little Wars was underway, and both Forward Commander Snaps and Lord Ludmenti were missing it. The Challenging Applause that they had worked so hard to assemble, and actually assembled at the last second, was now fully deployed upon the battle board, inspiring and commanding Zoukas’s volunteered myrmidons against Tarkower’s crystallized shards of wit and their pocket Atlases.

They’d had precious little time for recovery after their scuffle with the Wonderland expectoration. Felicity was promptly refilled with flower petals to replace missing wads of cotton and sewn back up. Hans accepted no treatment for his loss of quills, and Momotaro shrugged off the bruises in his fruity flesh. Root Beer and Nero had partaken of the ‘drink me’ concoction and returned to their normal proportions. Continue reading

Challenging Applause (part three)

(back to part one)

(reading time: 1 hour, 3 minutes)

Scatter the Applause

It wasn’t hard for her two lieutenants to guess where the Olympian went directly from under Formaldeheidi’s dress, as within the hour the entire country knew the situation. Minimil was put on lockdown. All traffic in and out that was not Foraging and Reconnaissance was ceased. The main overhead lantern was given special oil so it burned with a reddish alarm flame. All citizens were encouraged to get doubly indoors and pack their most essential belongings should they need to evacuate.

Their escape route was not mentioned however, so many of the citizens assumed they would be alright. Minimil was a country of refugees where not many were born who were not myrmidons, and all the ones who were came from Queen Zoukas alone. Confidence was not placed in parents, or even in the goddess, but in Forward Commander Snaps and Lord Gumbonero Ludmenti of the twin handfuls, of the freshly announced Challenging Applause. Continue reading

Challenging Applause (part two)

(back to part one)

(reading time: 26 minutes)

Sort the Handful

Sir Chee-chee

The queen knighted me thanks to all the assistance I offered Dr. Dolittle in his work. It was I who taught him the marmoset language.” Gumbonero and Snaps could’ve guessed this, given they were speaking to a golden marmoset in Bonsai Park. He’d descended from his little tree house eagerly at first knock on its trunk. “What most people don’t know is that he taught me English in turn.”

Would we have much use for someone who speaks marmoset on the game board?” the gingerbread man asked his companion. Continue reading

Challenging Applause (part one)

The small have their own country, and it fits in a barn!  The place is called Minimil, and it is home to Lilliputians, Shakespearian fairies, and the angels and devils of the shoulder that help you make all your decisions.  The peril of Little Wars, in which they must fight in the stead of humans in chess-like battles, is at their doorstep.  Two veterans of covert teams must now, regrettably, join forces to draft a new group who will defend the sovereignty of the small.

This is the third in a trilogy of novellas, so to get caught up please check out The Challenging Handful and The Left Challenging Handful.

(reading time: 34 minutes) (reading time for entire novella: 2 hours, 50 minutes)

Challenging Applause

by

Blaine Arcade

Snatch the Handful

The laborers refused to look him in the eye. That was a tall order for them, as they were all myrmidons, and thus had no eyelids. They had to quickly turn their heads away whenever they sensed the saccharine gaze of Herschel Pflaumen Snaps. One particularly creative one even put her antennae between her eye and his, pretending she couldn’t quite see him.

It offended the gingerbread soldier, as he was sure to have their attention anywhere but the safety of the city Minimil. Were this the wilderness, he a lost baked good perhaps dropped from the basket of Little Red Riding Hood while she skipped too enthusiastically, and they a roving band of ant-people with no hill to call home, they would have no trouble swarming and devouring his every last morsel. Continue reading

The Left Challenging Handful (Finale)

(back to part one)

(reading time: 56 minutes)

Burn the Handful

The parliament building, which housed the Shoulders of Government, was made out of an old trunk and kept in the highest residential area of the barn: the hayloft. It was fed with several elevators of varying construction as well as by trained birds and their riders. Many of the birds were reassigned as security that day, and so the lip of the loft was covered with the saddled feathery creatures, their beaks making the line look like a living fence of spikes. Continue reading

The Left Challenging Handful (Part Three)

(back to part one)

(reading time: 53 minutes)

Knead the Handful

Forty Myrmidons marched across the walls of Minimil after a hard day’s work. Marching sideways was possible for them, as long as they stayed on all fours, thanks to the clasping hooks on the wrists and ankles of their exoskeletons. Their progress would’ve been extremely slow if not for the divot network.

It was invisible from a distance, which in Minimil was anything greater than two meters. Up close it could be seen as nothing more than even rows of gouge marks in the old wood of the barn walls. Their purpose was to provide footholds to any and all arthropod citizens capable of wall-crawling, the most numerous of which were the Myrmidons. Continue reading

The Left Challenging Handful (Part Two)

(back to part one)

(reading time: 37 minutes)

Spread the Handful

The innkeeper thought she rose plenty early to start preparing breakfast for her handful of guests, but when she stepped down from her quarters into the tavern she found it transformed by makeshift houseplants, created by an even earlier bird.

Delicious was roaming about, watering them with single droplets, using a can lifted from the dead garden’s piled tools. She hummed a tune all the while, but by the time she made a complete lap the gnome couldn’t help but sing a verse.

-I long to see the girl I left behind meee!” When she stopped to breathe she noticed Miss Marood. “Oh, I’m sorry! Did I wake you?” Continue reading

The Left Challenging Handful (Part One)

The small have their own country, and it fits in a barn!  The place is called Minimil, and it is home to Lilliputians, Shakespearian fairies, and the angels and devils of the shoulder that help you make all your decisions.  Minimil doesn’t yet know it, but it is under attack from an elite team of scoundrels in its gutters, threatened into service by an unknown entity.  They will sabotage the tiny government, to keep their heads and achieve their wildest dreams.
This is the second in a trilogy, though each novella tells its own whole story.  To get caught up please check out the original: The Challenging Handful.

(reading time: 36 minutes) (reading time for entire novella: 3 hours, 2 minutes)

The Left Challenging Handful

by

Blaine Arcade

Pinch the Handful

Typically a man of his stature would have no trouble moving through tight spaces. At only fifteen centimeters tall there were several carved conch shells among the furniture in his palace that were positively roomy, but this welcome, if that’s what it was, was far from that.

He was squeezed front and back by musty wood, the only way to orient himself being the various splinters poking the capitals on the map of his body. The predicament was made all the tighter by the finery he rarely took off: a crown of fused amber glass, shoulder pads of the same, a layered cape of blue and white like ocean waves lapping at the sand, and the decorated saber sheath on his hip. Continue reading

Brawny Blue Blerkafeld

The beast Blerkafeld is one of the mightiest dragons, and even more conceited.  After pilfering magics of time and space he has built his own little pocket world, pulling people from all over the Middle Ages to be his loyal worshipers.  The only problem is, one of these groups is secretly a Renaissance fair…

(reading time: 1 hour, 36 minutes)

Brawny Blue Blerkafeld

by

Blaine Arcade

The beast of Kidnapt Valley

Four waterfalls marked the center of the cavern’s many tunnels and chambers. The place was most curious, as the passageways looked naturally formed, the walls porous and uneven, but its layout was certainly the work of intelligence. Each fall was like a curtain separating four identical tunnels from each other.

By unknown force, one fall’s flow ceased just as a cluster of four people reached it, letting them view the rising column of the central shaft. They dared not step over the wet line in the dirt; their invitation had warned them not to do so. Continue reading