Ein schreckliches Schicksal

Der Glöckner saß oben auf dem Glockenturm und las ein Buch. Der Mond rahmte ihn sehr schön ein. Seine Silhouette war einzigartig, niemand sonst würde solch zerzauste Kleidung mit einem Zylinder kombinieren. Er hatte sich gerade umgeblättert, als ein weißer Blitz, gefolgt von einem zweiten, ihn zusammenzucken ließ.

Der Glöckner drehte sich um. Er sah, dass der Mond einen neuen, riesigen, roten Krater bekommen hatte. Und dass der Mond langsam größer wurde. Der Glöckner fing an, die Warnglocke zu läuten.

DONG!

Niemand regte sich. Aber nach nur einem Schlag hatte er das auch noch nicht erwartet.

DONG!

DONG!

Die ersten Fenster schlugen auf. Verwirrte Menschen guckten zu ihm hoch. Es war weder Feuerschein zu sehen, noch fernes Hufgeklapper von Pferden zu hören, noch schwere Winde zu fühlen.

DONG!

Mit lautem Krachen kamen die Schockwellen der Explosionen an. Die Bewohner der Stadt richteten ihre Blicke nach oben.

DONG!

Die Bewohner der Stadt wurden sich der Lage bewusst. Der Mond war gerade dabei, auf die Erde zu fallen. Auf ihre Stadt.

DONG!

Panik machte sich breit. Die ersten fingen an, in ihrem Nachtgewand durch die Straßen zu laufen. Alle mit einem Ziel: Das Stadttor.

DONG!

Das Stadttor war um diese Uhrzeit verschlossen. Doch so gut es darin war, Feinde daran zu hindern, unangekündigt in die Stadt einzufallen, so schlecht war es, die Bewohner am ausfallen zu hindern.

DONG!

Die Bewohner hatten den hölzernen Riegel entfernt und versuchten, das Tor aufzudrücken. Es leistete beträchtlichen Wiederstand, da niemand die eigentlich dafür vorgesehenden Winden verwendete, doch die Masse an schiebenden Menschen war endlich erfolgreich.

DONG!

Weitere Bewohner kamen aus ihren Häusern. Sie hatten sich die Zeit genommen, zumindest noch Schuhe anzuziehen, Mäntel überzuwerfen und etwas Proviant, und waren es nur rohe Kartoffeln, mitzunehmen.

DONG!

Eine Familie lief Richtung Tor, doch das kleine Mädchen stolperte über ihre ungeschnürten Schuhe. Der Vater ließ seine Koffer fallen, die er extra für Notfälle wie diese gepackt hatte, und griff seine Tochter und lief weiter.

DONG!

Ein Mann, der anscheinend seinen halben Hausstand retten wollte, wurde an einer Hausecke von jemandem angerempelt, verlor das Gleichgewicht und verstreute seine Habseligkeiten über die dunklen Straßen. Er verfluchte die Person, die schon wieder verschwunden war, und machte sich daran, die Sachen wieder zusammenzuklauben.

DONG!

Ein Kind suchte weinend nach seinen Eltern. Sie hatten die Stadt schon verlassen. Doch niemand hatte die Zeit, dem Kind zu sagen, in welche Richtung es suchen sollte.

DONG!

Der Mann wurde ein zweites Mal angerempelt, er verlor ein zweites Mal sein Gleichgewicht, und ein zweites Mal verstreuten seine Sachen sich über die Straße. Bäuchlings liegend hob er seinen Kopf um abermals zu verfluchen, doch dazu kam es nicht mehr, ein starker Fuß stolperte über ihn, und drückte sein Gesicht mit einem hässlichen Knacken in den Schlamm.

DONG!

Ein flüchtendes Paar hielt inne und diskutierte kurz. Einer von beiden lief darauf hin zurück, um etwas zu holen. Der andere wartete nicht.

DONG!

Der Glöckner hätte eigentlich schon lange aufhören können. Wer jetzt noch nicht mitbekommen hatte, dass ein Notfall bestand, der würde es auch mit weiteren Glockenschlägen nicht mehr mitbekommen.

DONG!

Der Mond war nun schon viel näher und hatte sich gedreht. Die beiden Einschlagskrater leuchteten wie böse Augen.

DONG!

Der Glöckner konnte besser sehen als alle anderen, dass Flucht im Prinzip zwecklos war. Der Mond war wesentlich größer als er je gedacht hatte, und wenn sein Experiment mit der Stahlkugel, die er mal von der Turmspitze fallen lassen hatte, irgendwie hochzuskalieren war, dann würden die Trümmer der Stadt noch Meilenweit fliegen.

DONG!

Die ersten Trümmer vom Mond regneten hinab. Einer traf den Partner, der zurücklief um seine Katze zu retten. Er stand nicht mehr auf.

DONG!

Ein Mensch seilte sich in den Brunnen ab. Er mochte vielleicht als einziger die ganze Geschichte unbeschadet überleben. Begraben unter Meilen starkem Mondfels.

DONG!

Der Boden bebte, oder war es die Luft an sich? Um den Mond herum hatte sich Feuer gebildet.

DONG!

Der Glöckner zog das Tempo seiner Schläge an.

DONG!

Auch die Letzten waren jetzt aus dem Stadttor raus.

DONG!

Der Glöckner fühlte selbst langsam die Panik in ihm steigen.

DONG!

Und Bedauern.

DONG!

Er hätte die Stadt friedlich entschlafen lassen können.

DONG!

Nur er hätte Angst gehabt.

DONG!

Der Glöckner verbrannte als erstes.

DONGDONGDO–knack

Die Glocke läutete noch ein paar Male ohne ihn auf ihrem Fall nach unten, bevor sie zerbrach.

Observations of the VTuber scene

Moin. This thing is mostly observations of the VTuber scene a few weeks in. I end up making some content recommendations in it, so it might be useful to long-time VTubers as well, though it shouldn’t be understood as “this is how you should do something”, but rather a “this is how I see it being done currently”.

The obvious

Starting with the obvious: As a VTuber, your body can look like however you want, but your movements and expressions typically are fairly restricted. Even if you are 3D and have roomscale tracking, you still can’t really interact with objects or other people in a convincing way. At least not now, and not in real time.

That said, even with these limitations, being a VTuber just gives you a lot of benefits that you wouldn’t get as a regular person:

  • Full privacy. Which you’d also get doing Podcasts, radio or voiceover-stuff in general, but all of which would lack…
  • Facial expressions. Just having head bops and wiggles and a mouth that can change between an eternal smile and a 😀 when talking is enough of a fixpoint for me that I can actually watch a just-talking-stream of a VTuber without feeling the need to do something else. (For comparison, I cannot listen to podcasts on a couch, as my eyes start to wander off fairly quickly. Which then leads me to doing something else and abandonning the podcast altogether, more often than not.) Now, you also get that just talking to a camera, but then you’d be giving up your privacy.
  • A more-interesting-than-average brand, without doing anything. Even as the most generic anime girl, you’re still way, way more recognizable than a generic gaming channel that has some 3D-dubstep intro as its only “branding” element.

Branding

Umbrella brands are surprisingly powerful. You can see this most clearly with Hololive and Nijisanji IMHO:

The Hololive brand is super strong. Every new member gets to start out with thousands or tens of thousands of subs, simply because it says “hololive” next to it. And that already sets expectations: It’s going to be a woman, the woman is going to be an idol, and there in general won’t be any unbearable technical issues.

Nijisanji in contrast doesn’t have these expectations as strongly, although their members also start with at least a few thousand subscribers. That is partially because there’s just so many more members, partially because new members could be anything, man or woman, quality ranging from good to “average new YouTuber”, technical ability ranging from good to permanently clipping audio. That said, Nijisanji is offering quite a valuable service (VTuber avatars and support) to quite a lot more people. And this non-exclusivity gives the company quite a bonus in my book.

Update: It has been pointed out to me by various people that I completely misunderstand Nijisanji and the impact they’ve had, and that Nijisanji ID’s technical troubles are more a problem of Indonesia not having that good of an infrastructure. The problem is, these technical issues, though not their fault, are translating into what image I’m seeing of them, and all the awesome stuff they did in the past is invisible to me, unless I really start digging. To be clear, this is an issue of the brand, not an issue of the individual creators among them. And even though the different regional branches are more or less independent from each other, the overall brand still is Nijisanji Region (apart from China), not some wildly different naming like you get with Mars, Twix and Snickers (which all belong to Mars).

These umbrella brands are fairly rare on YouTube these days. For me, only Machinima comes to mind. Like, even the EDUtube empires of the Green brothers or Brady Haran don’t have an umbrella brand. Instead, they have SciShow and CrashCourse with direct sister channels, but keep those brands fairly separate.

Formats

Formats really matter. Most VTubers are doing game streams and talk streams. Those who do game streams tend to get discovered better, while people who do talk streams tend to get loads more super chats. For example, Flare manages to out-rank Aqua in super chat revenue, despite having less than half her subscriber count.

Doing unique formats which are more than just the generic talk/game streams also seems to be an advantage:

  • Coco grew insanely fast with her Asacoco news show,
  • 3D shows (especially 3D debuts) perform super well,
  • non-standard game streams like speedruns/races work quite well, and
  • non-standard talk streams (interviews, fairy counselling, etc) work as well.

This is true across all of YouTube, btw: Having a unique format at least gives you a chance at standing out, and even though you run the risk of having a format which just doesn’t resonate with viewers, you at least are looking for doors with each format you try instead of bashing your head against the wall with generic gameplay in the hopes of breaking through eventually

Highlights and clips are super important, especially for the Japanese scene. I don’t think Fubuki would be where she is now without her viral meme videos, I don’t think any of them would have anywhere near that large of an international audience if it wasn’t for the translators and the translators only translating highlights, rather than whole streams.

I do think that VTubers (and streamers in general) should try hiring fans to make highlight videos and upload them to their own channel, so that their channels become more accessible for those living outside of the normal streaming timezones. Nijisanji in particular has been getting better at that recently, on their company channels at least.

Misc.

Ultra-low-latency with DVR disabled is everywhere. I don’t think this is benefiting any channel that gets more than 100 concurrent viewers or so, because at those sizes, the chat starts being more delayed than the stream itself. This is because YouTube polls chat at set intervals for new messages instead of sending out each message on its own, and those poll intervals get rarer with more messages being sent.

Also, it makes it rather difficult to watch the stream on slightly subpar connections, or just if you’re half a planet away. This is because any rebuffer that sets back the latency to >5s will cause another rebuffer and skip ahead, resulting in large parts of the stream just being constantly buffering. Really as soon as you’ve got a few viewers, Low Latency is the way to go, with normal latency being great for anything which doesn’t have any meaningful chat interaction built in (eg singing streams).


Sexuality is quite a thing. It probably is easier to be that sexual in public if your real face isn’t attached to it, and it’s quite surprising how far you can get with that on YouTube without even being demonetized. On top of that, it tends to generate quite entertaining content by default. That said, I think the process of sexualising others is more problematic among the VTuber scene than other communities on YouTube, whether that is fans commenting on it on every occasion, bosses putting their talent into swimsuits, or character designs having tits so large that you’re running out of alphabet to describe them. I hope for the women involved that the disconnect between their character and the real person can helps with this.


VTubers in general seem to do disproportionately much live content, with the notable exceptions being Kizuna AI and Ami Yamato. I think there’s a lot of potential for non-live content which strictly works with motion capturing (as opposed to hand-animation). It doesn’t need to be the current livestreaming VTubers doing that either; in fact, most of the VOD content I see from the current live-VTubers is somewhat similar to the early 2006-level YouTube nonsense. There really is a lot of different directions to explore here. Putting it out there right now: I want to see a VTuber with a degree in Astronomy teach me about Supernovae.


VTubers being mostly Japan-based obviously results in a lot of Japanese content. The search interest in the USA in VTubers is growing quickly though, so any VTuber who can do English content is at an advantage here. Also, assuming that VTubers become popular in the US, you can bet that they’ll spread to the rest of the world as well, so it might be worth to start doing VTuber content in your local language, so that by the time it gets big, you’ll already be ready and at the forefront.


A lot of VTubers have been doing daily streams. And while that definitely isn’t bad, please, do yourself a favor and take days off, where you don’t spend a single thought on your channel. Daily content tends to be unsustainable, with even the largest YouTubers burning out with that after just a few years. More well-being advice can be found in the Creator Academy.

Overall, …

… I’ve been very impressed by how compelling the content various VTubers make have been to me. I’ve never watched more than 5 episodes of Anime I think (including Pokemon or the Simpsons), but the charme of a dog girl doing cute things while playing Doom, or a chubby devil trying to convince an art student that eyes don’t grow back just gets me. More recently, I’ve been hanging out with the Indonesian crowd, as their content is 75% English anyway, so I actually have a chance of getting the jokes.

In that sense, otsuu, I’m strapped in and ready for a wild ride.

The Money Rat

It had been a surprisingly quiet day at the Imperial Mint. The money printers had been running smoothly, not even once causing a paper jam or complaining that yellow was running out, and most jobs already were done by noon. On such a day, any minder or guard would be bored to death, if it hadn’t been for the engineering prowess of Josh, who had managed to tune one of the CCTV monitors to the sports channel. While this technically was a fireable offense, the guard room had large windows watching the fabrication hall. So they probably would notice a van coming in at the parking lot, masked people jumping out and running towards the entrance on the remaining CCTV monitors, and even if they didn’t, they surely would see those people jogging by to reach the freshly minted piles of cash.

But today was a surprisingly quiet day, and the only thing moving in the parking lot was a lonely rat. Even if the guards had paid attention, they wouldn’t have seen the rat, for the rat was small and the parking lot unreasonably big for a building that so few people would visit in their entire life. But the Imperials wanted their buildings to make an impression, so of course it had to be big, and of course it had to be near the most beautiful landscape the country had to offer.

The rat meanwhile was rather unhappy about its situation on the parking lot. The only thing kinda looking like food was painfully obvious rat poison, real cover against predators was eternities away in all directions, and the pavement was annoyingly rough compared to anything it knew from the sewers and later, enclosures. But all this pain would soon be forgotten, it could almost sense the cheesy smell of success.

A red dot was dancing across a gateway of the building in front of it. The mission was clear: Gnaw through it. The rat ran towards the gateway and went to work. The rubber tasted terrible. But, rubber being rubber and rat teeth being rat teeth, the rat made quick work of it. It was in, but the helpful red dot was nowhere to be found. The rat decided to wait for a minute for it to show up, but even after two minutes, the red dot wouldn’t show up. Cursing at its unreliable partner, the rat went on, searching. It had trained for this.

As with anything in the area, the unreasonably large hall contained unreasonably large buckets and contraptions, and a stair with unreasonably large steps leading up it. People noises were coming from upstairs, and the rat decided to check those out first. Grated stairs, the rat sighed. Of course. Humans seemed to enjoy tormenting their feet.

Finally having arrived at the top of the stairs, the rat saw a familiar color scheme in one of the buckets below. Unfortunately, it had to pass the guard room to get there, but fortunately, all the guards were staring at a screen. The rat closed in on the room, the people in it sparsely making noise. But just as it was in the room, the people started yelling and jumping around. The rat hasted forwards, through the other door, away, away from the stomping feet, which celebrated Josh turning one of their walkie-talkies into a TV speaker for the sports broadcast.

The rat looked down onto the bucket with the familiar color scheme. In it, there were more 1000 ¤ bundles than it had ever seen. The fall down onto it was, while unpleasant, definitely not dangerous, so the rat jumped. Just as the rat had landed, the guards started cheering again, their team had scored a touchdown. One of the guards quickly went back to dutifully inspecting the other monitors and the hall, but there was just as little happening now as there was fifteen minutes ago. Even if he had tried, the grey rat was basically invisible against the grey background of the bin.

The rat grabbed one bundle with its teeth, jumped out of the bucket and back towards where it came from: A dirty van, parking on a nearby road leading to the forest. The handler gave the rat the promised bit of cheese. Then, he opened the doors to the mobile enclosures. More rats were waiting. The money rat, pleased with the bit of cheese it had gotten, but still hungry for more, scurried back to the Imperial Mint. The other rats followed it.

They had trained for this.

11. A Reflection of Beyond the Edge of the World

Moin.

I hope you had fun reading this short story. However, I’m interested in improving, so I’ve collected some criticism both from me and from others.

Alice says:

1. The protagonist is rather forgettable

I think I agree with this. I originally wanted to make them genderless (you know, “I” can be anyone! even you!), but by doing so also made them somewhat characterless. And with the plot going on to let the protagonist find a girlfriend, it’s very probable we’re dealing with a male protagonist anyways, so I completely undermined the first idea anyway

2. My world building is rather weak

I think this is partially because English still is a foreign language to me, so I don’t know the best words. Maybe I should ask Trump if I can buy some of his.
Further, I spend too little time on it. For example:

I had forged my fair share of custom tools in the factory, from the smallest springs to the biggest wrench, but I always had access to the never-ending power of steam. Ralph had his right arm. Well, he also had his left arm, a hammer and an anvil, but all in all, if he wanted a piece of metal to be flat, he couldn’t just plop it into a steam hammer and wait for a couple seconds or minutes, he had to work it flat, by hand, and re-heat it often. (Chapter 5)

This part is meant to convey to the reader that in Valand, industrialization is going on while in Greenland, it’s still all muscle power. (I do think the joke in it worked. I’ve written it so long ago, it completely caught me off guard this morning while I was reading through it again)

To make things worse, I did say in the beginning that industrialization is restricted in Valand , so we don’t even know if blacksmiths up there are using hand power usually. Overall, I think my approach this time (write first, think later) hindered me worldbuilding properly. On the other hand, it did allow me to write the story remarkably quickly. I could’ve fixed this in post, writing beautiful and consistent descriptions after the story was done, but I kinda just wanted to get it out.

3) The logo looks like smash bros, and way too clean.

Firstly, it looks like my brand identity, thank you very much, and secondly, I think both me and Smash bros ultimate try the same thing here, showing sunrise from the ISS. In my case, it symbolizes the edge of the world, in SSBU, it symbolizes the world as a whole.

Sunrise as seen from the ISS. Image: NASA/ESA

That said, my Logo thingy was thrown together in 15 minutes. Had I wanted to execute my other idea, a view from Valand over the lower lands, I’d have to spend quite some time in Blender making it work. Time which I didn’t have this time around, because there was a deadline. So, have the logo thingy one last time:

Logo: Beyond the Edge of the World

4. I’m jumping around somewhat and not bringing ideas to their end.

In particular, in chapter 5 there’s a bit where the protagonist is fixing the machine, and the smith is pleased with the progress. Alice says it’s confusing the smith would say that when they just had started.

In that particular case, I’d agree, I did have a note there this morning saying [[MORE]], but left it as that, so that part was plain laziness. I don’t know if this a problem on a larger scale. Because, I do intentionally jump to skip boring bits, especially between chapters. I kinda write them like L-cuts, with a brief summary of what we as readers missed in the beginning

The question is whether this is as annoying as a jump cut, or not too noticeable like an L-cut.

Algorithms say:

I’m using too few transition words.

Yoast in particular likes to yell at me for this.

I think it flows pretty well and is easy to read, but again, I don’t necessarily have the right feeling for the language. It also yelled at me for not using subheadlines everywhere, and for using the same sentence beginnings when I used repetition as stylistic device.

I say:

I did not follow Vogler’s Hero’s Journey.

If we take the city episode as approach to the inmost cave and the ordeal as per Vogler, it’s a bit weird that the protagonist gets no reward immediately, and instead Lily is both reward and road back much later on. If (as I originally intended) take the path to the volcano as approach to the inmost cave, it’s lacking a fight between good and evil (ie the ordeal) altogether.

Either way, I break with this scheme further by having the resurrection before the road back.

I did not follow Swain’s Scene and Sequel method

… in which characters have a goal, followed by a conflict, followed by disaster, all of which is the scene, ie the part where the plot develops, followed by reaction, dilemma and decision, ie the part where the character and story develops. I think my character could’ve been deeper if I had used it more.

I dislike my dialogues.

I just default to one character asking all the time and the other answering the questions. I tried to get away from this as often as possible, but the dialogues still feel kinda meh.

I keep shifting into indirect speech and speech summaries.

This probably is because I dislike my dialogues, so rather than improving them, I try to avoid writing them. This of course abstracts the dialogue to the point where you’re not really in the story, and instead reading the summary of the story.

The end comes by too quickly.

This of course is due to limited time and my long training with the flash fiction, which I have to bring to an end super fast when I run out of time (usually <90 mins). I had an entire segment planned with the volcano, with the protagonist meeting people there which help him sail to great heights using the volcano updrafts, followed by an air battle followed by him meeting the captain and the crew again — but all that kinda got binned because I really had to finish this. As with some of my other recent texts, because it’s part of the Creative Writing course of the IDW.

All in all, I think this story went surprisingly well, given the limited time and it being the first time I attempt something in this length. I may do more things like this in the future.

But for now, I’ll probably go back to Blender and video effects for a bit. And I need to redesign my website, too. See you in a few weeks, or a few months!

Oh, before I forget: Comments are open on this post. I typically keep them closed because I’ve gotten nothing but bots so far here, but, you know, maybe some of you would like to share their praise and criticism here. Go ahead, but note that I will keep your data with me if you do comment.

10. The End — Beyond the Edge of the World

Lily was excellent at flying. Better than me, at least. She said it was because I taught her well, but also because she had a bit of time to go through the theory before actually starting. We flew almost sideways over her home, her dad waving at us, before finally ascending towards Valand. As we ascended, I noticed my breath getting shorter.

— Is the air always so thin up here?, Lily asked.
— I had never noticed it before. Either it’s better up the mountain, or you’ll get used to it.
— If you say so…

I was beginning to become antsy. Not much longer, and I’d be home again. We now were at the height of Valand. I warned Lily that there are winds coming from below towards the edge, and just as I said that, we were lifted upwards, just like it was when I started. Lily quickly nosed down, and I caught a glimpse of the edge. The steam boat still was there, so the Captain still hadn’t given up his search. I decided to keep quiet, I wanted to go straight back home, instead of getting scolded by him.

— That’s my city, I cried and pointed towards it in the distance. It was remarkably clear today.
— It’s huge!
— It’s smaller than I thought! It feels bigger when you’re actually inside it!
— Where do I land?
— Wherever there’s a road and few enough people around.

I realized too late that Lily was headed straight to the pompous palace road. Sure, it was mostly empty, but the guards were probably not too happy about having to duck under our wings, and unhappy guards aren’t something you want against you. We finally came to a stop and Lily turned off the engine.

— Hey Dave, I greeted one of the guards storming towards us.
— What in the..? You’re back so quickly? What happened to the crew?

I told the story, first to the guards, then to the king, then to my parents and grandpa. The king was delighted to learn that not only did we find a way beyond the edge, but also found a convenient method to trade with it. My entire family henceforth would be part of nobility, though Lily and me weren’t allowed to live a lazy life just yet – we first had to build a bunch flying machines. Lily in particular would later fly the king to visits of the various lower kingdoms, always making sure to stay low when passing her home village.

As for me, I became an inventor. Always making new things to improve efficiency of processes, because even though we had a whole new world to exploit, resource exhaustion still was a problem, especially now that our fuel was made out of plants that otherwise would become food.

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9. The lowest Point — Beyond the Edge of the World

The way back down was more troublesome than the way here. If I had been a bit disappointed in my horse being slow, it still was faster than limping old me. I spotted the horse on the plain below. It had stopped running, but still was far away. I carried on downwards. This horse was the ticket back, and if I couldn’t reach it, I might as well throw myself into the fires.

It turned night, but this time, the moon wouldn’t help me. The mountain blocked all light coming from it. I laid down to sleep, finding a dark horse at night wasn’t really feasible anyway. I dreamt of horses, of home, of Lily, only to be woken up by the rumblings of the mountain before the dreams had a chance to turn nice. The morning after wasn’t much neither either: I had been sleeping on top of a sand dune overlooking the plain, but the horse had moved on during the night. The sun hadn’t started scorching yet, but it wouldn’t take much before it would.

I didn’t move on. It was pointless. The foot was blistering all around, I was just able to resist the pain yesterday, but not today, not without hope. I looked to my home. High up, beautiful waterfalls surrounding it, and far, far away. I wondered what happened to the crew. Had the Captain continued the search for stairs? Had he reported back that I found the way, and now was missing? Grandpa maybe was feeling guilty for sending me into this danger, into my death.

After everything had been thought through, after the tears had dried, I still was on top of the sand dune with no hope left and unable to move on. I stared into the sky. Not even vultures were waiting for me. Well, maybe one, but it still was far away and hadn’t spotted me. Or had it? It was coming roughly into my direction at least.


As the mountain shut up with it rumbling for a bit, I heard a familiar noise. The noise of an engine driving a propeller. I jumped up and waved, doing my best to get its attention, but it just passed me, going further to the mountain. I was disappointed, but curious: Who was flying it? And why was it flying again in the first place? The flying machine turned around, it was looking for someone. I raised my knife, trying to get a reflection towards it. The flying person saw me, rolled back and forth as to wave at me, and landed the machine down on the plain. I hopped down, trying to not let the burnt foot touch anything. The person from the flying machine came sprinting towards me.

— There you are!
— Lily!
— Are you alright?
— Apart from the foot and the thirst, yeah, I guess.
— I can help with the thirst, Lily said and gave me a bottle which I finished in record pace.
— Thank you! What would I have done without you?
— I’d rather not imagine. Come, let’s go into the machine.

Lily helped me get into the flying machine and sat down in front of me. The bench was designed for one person only, but she was just small enough to fit in between, and still have a good grasp of the controls. Before Lily took off, I asked her how she got it flying again.

— Oh, we were looking into the wrong direction all this time. You can just take moonshine and mix it with a bit of oil and it works just fine!
— Moonshine? And I go all this way just to see some hot rock…
— Sorry. I only got to talk to a merchant after you were gone.
— I don’t blame you.
— I know, it’s just… I was so worried about you! It feels like I sent you to your death!
— It’s alright, it’s alright… You rescued me. You’re the hero now. Will you bring me back home?
— Home? You mean, to the peak of the holy mountain?
— Exactly there. To Valand.
— Dad is waiting back in Aucrary. I wouldn’t want him to worry I got lost in here.
— We can do a flyover. He’ll understand if he sees us.
— Alright.

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