SaltySaul, The Reader

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5/2/2017 9:03 PM

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I'm Saul. Saul Sawyer. Call me anything else and I won't fucking respond, because that's not my name, you piece of shit.

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Hey guys and girls on 3/18/2016 1:30:36 PM

Welcome, dammit.

Quiller's Art Giveaway Writing Contest on 3/18/2016 10:24:51 AM

Prompt #1: (And Prompt 2... Sort of?)

Songzang Zhe, the shadow monk, had spent a long time in this desert place. He had learned how to speak some of their gibberish words. Or, at least the ones that mattered. Words like, "Please", "Yes", "No", "Stop", "This", "There", and, of course, "Food/Drink". It turned out, for some reason, he had been transported from his home in the Land of Rivers and Lakes to the deserts of a bizarre, crass world known as "America", where everything was hot, heavy, and dry. But there were still many roads and many villages, so he continued to dig graves for the many travelers he found along the road.

But in the Land of Rivers and Lakes there were always many bandits, and in this world there were bandits too. Only, these were cowardly bandits with weapons of steel and blackpowder. Of course, their thunderous contraptions were no match for a clever mind, quiet feet, and a couple of knives, nor were their own knives any defense against the deadly bladed spade that he wielded with speed and incredible skill. But alas, sometimes you were just caught in the middle of a bunch of filthy bastards with their black lightning staves and the only thing you could do was run.

It was a nice change of pace, the danger of guns. It reminded him of humility and selflessness when he least needed it. Compounded by the fact that he didn't know enough sand gibberish to talk his way out of being shot, negotiating with wild gesticulations and Yes/No answers to questions he didn't properly understand was quite the experience. He was a fish out of water, and that was good, probably. Perhaps it was a necessary step on the path to enlightenment... He hoped...

It was never a long trip between villages. He knew where to look, what rivers to follow, and what to eat. If he had a reasonable lead and could hitch a ride with one of the desert's natives, or one of the natives that were actually native... But he was foggy on the subject of natives and their relative nativity, nobody made it exactly clear who the desert was supposed to belong to. But, judging from the tales of beautiful green places on either side, he was more concerned with why anyone wanted this massive, sunburnt flatland with armies of hairy, roaring, beasts patrolling its wastes more than he particularly cared who it belonged to. He pitied the emperor, if any, who was tasked with establishing order in this boiling hot realm of lawless, unscrupulous men with lightning staves and deadly wandering nomads. But that was only on a bad day. Aside from the plentiful bandits and monstrous animals, the people of "America" were quite nice. It seemed that most of them had never seen anyone from his homeland before.

When he reached the village on the hilltop, he stopped and took the bucket off the end of his spade, filling and drinking from it, then he snatched a rattling serpent off the ground, twisted the head off and ate it. It was initially against his creed to eat animals, but when most of the plants are brown and most of the berries are misshapen, dry, and contain a most painfully fiery poison, (Nonlethal, of course, but inconvenient to say the least) one cannot help but resort to desperate measures for food. Besides, so long as that rattling noise meant what he thought it did, the snake definitely started the fight first.

When he walked into the town, he made certain to avoid the inn. In the Land of Rivers and Lakes, the place was nothing but trouble. It was often a hive of scum and villainy, and when it wasn't, at least one unsavory character would walk in and a kung fu battle would ensue, lasting several minutes, if not more, and ending with pain and bloodshed. Not really Songzang's dealio. Of course, he had never actually seen or heard a fight in one of the inns here, nor had he seen men here practice any recognizable form of kung fu, but it Songzang didn't fancy himself a lucky man, and a battle with hands, feet, and furniture is certainly preferable to a battle with guns. He would take no chances.

He walked to the general store, intent on getting himself some new deerskin to sew shoes out of, only to reach into his satchel and realize he didn't have any papers left. Yes, papers. Unlike the Land of Rivers and Lakes, which traded in coins and small boat/cups made from silver and gold, the people in America traded in papers. He had learned from a far-flung merchant who spoke in basic Mandarin root words that gold and silver were rare in this world, so people stored their collective wealth of gold coins and boats far away in fortresses, and traded with papers that represented different amounts of gold and silver, only to be cashed in under dire circumstances. Indeed, in was nice not to carry so much metal around, but when your satchel is basically a sash that relies on the weight of its contents to create their own pocket, and your money is made of loose papers, then whenever one trips on a rock or gets shoved over or does a few backflips...

Penniless and with little else to do, he elected to sleep on the roof of a jailhouse... Only to be awakened that morning by a perturbed man with a large mustache and a shiny metal badge. He seemed rather confused and upset that his roof was being slept on. Presumably because he had not been paid for the room and board he so graciously provided... Songzang Zhe spoke back in his own language, on the off chance he would understand, as soothingly as possible and offered to pay him in snake skins. (He handed him the one that he obtained earlier, assuring him that he would pay the rest back later.) The man stared at him for a while, then he laughed and said quite the funniest gibberish word that Zhe had ever heard in his life. He didn't know what "Yerrafukkinloony!" meant, but it sounded very funny, and the man was already laughing, so he laughed with him.

Things were finally looking up for Songzang, he had made a new friend! His badged friend politely ushered him into the medicine house and began speaking with the resident doctor. Gibberish was exchanged, and Songzang was presented with a bottle of shoe polish and some rose-tinted glasses... The sheriff and doctor continued talking, presumably to ask if he had room for Zhe anywhere in his quarters, but just as Zhe was about to try and politely decline, (He was a wandering monk, after all) a man, bleeding and clutching at his chest, dragged himself in through the door.

Gibberish was exchanged, and most of it flew over Zhe's head, except for the important parts, like "Please", "Yes", "No", "Stop", "This", and "There", which were fervently shouted by both persons shortly afterward when the doctor laid the man down and tried to remove the metal from his body, which was likely put there by bandits with guns. Eventually, under doctor's orders, the man had imbibed too much of the anesthetic wine to speak gibberish properly, and, finding himself inscrutable to even the Americans, pointed accusingly through the open door at the men on black horses who rode into town.

They were dangerous-looking, tall, wearing black, wide-brimmed hats, (Similar to Songzang's, but made of much different materials) and wielding many thunderstaves. One was burly and particularly nasty-looking, seemingly made entirely out of tanned leather and scar tissues. Another was thin and wiry, wielding two guns instead of the usual one. He had a mustache so impossibly large that it stretched out off the sides of his face... Another one was dressed rather flambuoyantly, even for this place, with tight, yet flared leggings attached to his wide-collared shirt, with a neckline that plunged to his navel, revealing a bear-like, hairy chet. It was colored a sickly shade of bluish-green unlike any dyes he had seen in even the most bizarre marketplaces. He was orange-skinned and golden-blond, and wore his hair long and sideswept, a bizarre head of hair he had never seen imitated in this or any world he had ever been in.

The man said some gibberish and walked into the inn while his cronies tied up the horses. As everyone except the doctor (Who was quite busy with things I'd rather not describe) was stunned by the incredible vision that was this teal-and-golden man, Zhe had seen plenty of odd things in his life, and if that shot man's words meant what he thought they meant, he was probably behind this attempted murder! Against all his inhibitions, he followed the man into the inn, war shovel in tow. He had to get to the bottom of this and bring justice to these bandits!

He heard the man speak in a bragging tone as he threatened the patrons with a very sleek, silver thundergun unlike any of the ones in America. He could tell it was a foreign contraption, even to the natives. He said something about a bank. "Bank" was a word that he had picked up earlier in his travels around America. A Bank was supposedly a place where trading papers representing money were put for safekeeping, during which the employees would trade the trading papers amongst other businesses to support themselves, whilst giving their patrons written numbers on paper that represented a certain amount of trading papers. America was a bizarre place, trading in numbers that represent papers that represent silver and gold... What sort of money by proxy would they think of next?

Eventually, the blonde man came to demand information about the bank. A scared patron offered information about the bank, and at gunpoint, the man led the teal bandit and his unsavory fellows up to the building, where he was then shot. Songzang's heart filled with anger as he saw this, and he shouted at the bandits, demanding that they cease their most unheavenly misdeeds! But this only made the two grunts laugh, because they had no idea what he was saying. However, the blonde man seemed to be able to parse this, presumably demanded that the burly man procure a black noise-box from one of the saddlebags, and then he proceeded to communicate with Songzang through the universal language of music.

It all became clear to him at that point as the orange man communicated with him in mystic tongues:

Songzang was from a magical world of kung fu and chivalry known as Wuxia in all other places. (And known as the land of Rivers and Lakes in his homeland.) He was brought here by equally magical forces that pulled him into the subspacial realities of the past-future when the orange man, (apparently named Dick Harvey, but he prefered Disco Lord,) created a beat so funky that it allowed him to transcend space and time and reunite with his people in the Seventies. In order to regain his youth, however, he needed more power, and so came funkier and funkier beats, until he accidentally caused a reality implosion that sucked him and a few other beings from other dimensions into the world of the Wild West. So they needed to rob a bank, and then find a well-known time-traveler in a green land to the northeast known as Illinois, where the future king of America would help them return to their own time. Prosperity, immortality, and a trip to his homeworld would be his reward, if only he joined Disco Lord in his quest for world domina-

Now, Songzang was really enjoying the song, but enough was enough. This man was clearly a damgerous megalomaniac who needed his ass kicked, so he readied his fists and prepared to do battle, shouting Chinese obscenities. The big-mustached man was the first to attack, one bullet tore the shoulder of his robe with accuracy that was too close for comfort, but Songzang had seen this show-offy gunslinger type before. He ran and ducked behind a rocking chair on somebody's deck, grabbed a rack of drying fireberries, and grabbed a few, throwing the rest up high in the air. It worked just as planned, the man couldn't help but shoot them all before they hit the ground! And when he was busy reloading, Songzang kicked him in the face.

The big man would be more difficult to deal with. He realized this as he dive-rolled away from a shotgun blast. But the big man was slow to react, so Songzang was able to grab the gun and then kick him in the side of the head, once, twice, three times. It looked like the man didn't much care how many times he was kicked in the head, though, as he threw Zhe to the ground and prepared to bash him over the head with the rifle butt. Songzang rolled aside as the man slammed his gun into the earth,  giving him a good opportunity to mule-kick the large man's side... This moved him a few steps, but didn't phase him at all. Terrified, Songzang drew his shovel, and with the crescent side, caught the big man's gun and disarmed him, then swiftly struck him on the shoulder. This was about as effective as your average slap, so it didn't help him much so Songzang unleashed a fury up shovel blows upon the man, most of which were also absorbed, some of which caused minor scrapes in the vaguely human alligator hide that he assumed was the man's skin.

The man was very much displeased with Songzang, and he looked like he was getting ready to charge, so Songzang ran off to the inn. It wasn't the best decision, because, as stated before, inns were rather inn-famous in his homeland, but it was the only place he knew for sure that the door was unlocked. The giant followed in hot pursuit, taking a shortcut straight through the nearby wall as Songzang burst through the flappy doors. The giant man continued running, and punched at Zongzang several times. It was all he could do to misdirect the force, knocking his wrists aside with the shovel... When suddenly, the giant punched with both hands in quick succession! There was no way he could handle two of these hands at the same time, and the next thing he knew, he was flying through the air, holding onto his shovel for dear life as he felt immense pain in his chest.

Songzang shouted Chinese obscenities at the giant man as he hit his back on the wall. This only seemed to anger him more, as he picked up Songzang and hurled him down, sending him sliding down the bar and sending drinks, glassware, and frightened bargoers in all directions. Songzang struggled to his feet, and, using his shovel as a walking cane, hobbled as fast as he could up the stairs, running into a room at random and closing the door behind him, fortifying it with furniture. This rather terrified the gaggle of prostitutes that he had just walked in on, but it was worth not getting-

Predictably enough, the large man burst through the door and the mountain of furniture and two mattresses that were holding the door closed, and grabbed Songzang by the neck, sending him crashing through the window and landing flat on his ass, knocking the wind out of him.

Songzang managed to croak out something along the lines of "I'm not dead yet, ya shit!"

This was enough to cause the man to burst out of the walls of THAT room and come crashing down, fists ready to smash... but he was no more than a few feet above Songzang when he stopped, midair, his eyes wide, his arms falling limp at his sides, and then he fell to Songzang's side and bled to death...

Zhe pulled the shovel out of the man's chest cavity, and ran out to the bank to confront the heinous Disco Lord. The mustachioed man, face bruised, held his badged friend tied up at gunpoint and the Dick Harvey furiously demanded money from the bank teller! The brave bank teller refused, and was shot, and Disco Dick readied his moves, prepared to Disco the living shit out of the vault until it broke open! Zhe would tolerate no such thing, and he hurled his shovel at Disco Dick to stop him before things got too groovy. But Dick spun around and grabbed it!

Disco Dick explained, in the universal language of music, that he had studied many moving pictures about the magical land of Wuxia during the 70s and 80s. He knew every form of the strongest kung fu, and he knew precisely how to use the shovel!

The battle was long and furious. The mustachio'ed man aimed his gun carefully, but couldn't get a good shot on the monk. Every blow was parried, and every strike was mighty and floorboard-shaking. It was the ultimate display of super kung fu prowess... But then Songzang slipped up, attempting to kick Disco Dick in the knee tendons, only to have his other leg swept out from under him with a shovel. He fell flat on the floor, but rolled away as the mustache man shot at him. It all went according to Zhe's plan, of course: he rolled around just enough to get behind Disco Dick and smash the fire-berries into his eyes. 

The neon-colored man screamed in pain as fire juice dribbled from his blinded eyes and into his bright yellow mustache. In a flash, Zhe jumped and spun the shovel just right, decapitating the miscreants with both steel ends of his magnificent warrior shovel. He then cut the ropes that attached his badged friend to the hostage chair, and bowed politely when the man got up.

"Manzou, pengyou." Songzang said to his mustachioed pal as he turned to leave. It was unlikely that the man knew he was saying 'Take care, friend' in Chinese, but it was the thought that counted. After all, friendship was a universal language.

"'Manzou pengyou' to you too..." the badged man said, confusedly.

Songzang laughed. He didn't know what "tyutu" meant, but that was a funny word too.

Taking his bucket of water, hanging it on the shovel and slinging it over his shoulder, the hero walked out into the setting sun, for a travelling monk must never linger for very long: There is evil to be fought in every corner of the world!... He also had to find the emperor Abraham Lincoln, so he could help him get home.