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The Never Ending Story (Chapter Corrections)

Juan_Pablo
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3/16/2014 7:56:58 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
The Never Ending Story . . . Chapter Corrections

This is not a thread for new chapters of The Never Ending Story, which you can find here:

http://www.debate.org...

Rather this a thread for chapters that have already been published in the main thread, but which required additional editing by the authors. You should only post here if you have already posted a chapter in The Never Ending Story but wish to fix punctuation and grammar errors, and other issues you disliked in the original chapter. Please post the corrected chapter in its entirety, and don't forget to include its original name!

Do not post in this thread except for this purpose.
Juan_Pablo
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3/16/2014 10:23:00 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
Chapter XIV: The Holy of Holies

Apate, Jack, and the elf entered the immense ziggurat bowing their heads in reverence, just as Apate had instructed them to moments earlier as they arrived. The two, hefty guards shuffled aside to let them through, clunking the dull end of their spears on the stony ground as they halted at their new positions.

Apate's alluring face was covered in a black veil, which she procured from inside one of her tattered sleeves. She sauntered through the temple entrance with majesty and grace, her hands folded in front of her, the other two looking around.

"Where is it that we pray?" uttered Jack.

Apate paused, letting the other two catch up. She stomped on Jack's foot. "Sshhhh!" she told him. An erect slender finger was pressed against her puckered lips. "We're on hallowed ground here. We must respect the decorum of this place."

The elf, upon hearing this, set out to upend itself, placing both hands on the tiled pavement then raising its agile legs. Its soft hat fell to the floor, which it gingerly picked up with one hand and placed in its bag pocket, dangling at its hip. Waddling nimbly on both arms, it proceeded forward, into the temple.

Apate looked at the elf from behind her veil, and then gazed in the direction in which they were moving. Jack stared at the inverted elf, unwilling to turn his head.

Inside the cavernous temple, Jack could see rows of benches scantily sat in by only a handful of people, some also kneeling on prayer pads that could be swiveled down from the bench in front.

Apate, Jack, and the elf approached the altar. A few onlookers stared at the overturned elf, blinking.

High overhead, Jack could see an enormous golden chandelier swinging through the air, its candlelit flames arcing back and forth. Behind the temple altar stood a priestess preparing for a forthcoming service; she was dressed in fine robes and a regal headdress.

Apate and Jack kneeled at the wide steps in front of the altar; the upside-down elf tumbled over, immediately taking a kneeling position--

Suddenly a thunderous clang echoed from the temple entrance, followed by the chittering of muted human voices.

Apate and Jack rose and turned to inspect the noise. Unfortunately they couldn't see the entrance corridor from their location inside the sacred auditorium.

A rapid succession of clomps approached the opening to the auditorium, as if a coterie of armor was stamping the ground and on the verge of infiltrating the cavernous room.

"You can't be in here," someone shouted, from inside the hidden corridor. "This is a holy temple dedicated to the All-Father. You cannot draw those sw . . ." His voice trailed off, as if he were forcibly silenced.

A group of seven knights clad in armor emerged from the arched passageway. They were holding iron rapiers and decorated shields. One of them was clenching a taut chain that led into the dim passageway, as if he were pulling something . . . something heavy. The group of knights was led by a leader with grotesque burn marks on one side of his face. His neck was heavily bandaged and he hobbled when he walked.

"You!" he said.

A svelte man in a pew off to Jack's left stood up. "Listen to me carefully because this is only coming once." He gently ambled to the main aisle, in front of the temple altar. From there he plodded to the group of knights, where he dropped to his knees and raised his arms. "I completely and unconditionally surrender," he sobbed gaudily. "You will get no resistance from me. Had I known the melon tree belonged to the King I would have never picked the fruit."

"Not you!" bellowed the knight in bandages. "Him!" He pointed at Jack with a heavy finger. He grabbed the man sobbing before him and tossed him off to one side, where he crashed into a pew.

The few remaining people seated in pews got up and began to leave.

Jack motioned to Apate and the elf to sand aside. "I've got this," he said with conviction.

"Oh, no no no no no!" the knight with the burned face blurted out loud. "Not this time, boy." He raised his fingers and snapped them, evidently issuing an order.

The knight clenching the taut chain pushed forward, dragging behind him a hulking, menacing wolf that appeared from the corridor. It growled savagely and dripped puddles of saliva from its enormous naked fangs.

"This one's fireproof," said the knight with the bandages--grinning.
Juan_Pablo
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3/28/2014 1:23:50 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Chapter XVII: Elf Indigestion--Part 2

Jack's brass knuckles clicked as they came to rest on top of the stone altar; he peered over its edge, to discover the positions of the colossal wolf and the seven knights. The pack of knights was desperately trying to find a way to infiltrate the luminous blue wall. The leader--his neck thickly wrapped in bandages, his face grotesquely disfigured--pounded the flat, incandescent wall with his fists--while screaming orders at the other knights to search the edges; the wolf attempted to gnaw on the glassy effulgent wall using its snout and its monstrous canines, clawing at the barrier with its lethal barbed paws. Unable to get through, it yelped in frustration.

Apate's dark eyes remained focused on the events on the other side of the incandescent barrier. Her stringy brunette hair was tousled, but it gave her the look of an adept warrior. "That wall is going to dissolve in a few minutes. We need to find a way to exit this temple--fast."

The entrance corridor--through which they entered--was on the other side of the blue barrier. Jack could see no obvious way to get to it. He searched behind them, near the stone wall at the rear of the temple. "Found something," he said. In the crevice behind a pillar, he discovered a tunnel with steps that seemed to spiral upwards, toward the roof of the temple.

The noise inside the elf's stomach became louder and louder. He folded his arms and gripped his chest, as if he were sick. "I'm alright," the elf stated defiantly. "No need to worry. This is normal elf business." The elf traipsed to the tunnel entrance, following Jack.

"Are you going to be alright?" Apate interrogated, pinching her lips, as if she knew what the trouble might be.

"Yes; of course. An adult elf like me has complete control over this condition." He turned to face both Apate and Jack. "I stopped being a teenager two years ago. I"m now in my twenties. Most male elves have mastered this hormonal . . . complication at my age." The elf stepped into the dimly lit tunnel and began spiraling upwards.

Apate pushed herself ahead of Jack and quickly rotated once to face Jack, giving him an emotionless glance; she then advanced onto the steps. Jack followed.

The three companions trudged up the revolving staircase, palming the walls for balance; there was flaming torches in their niches, every twenty steps or so, providing illumination to the ascending corridor. When they reached the top they discovered the floor was made-up of squeaky floor boards, with apparent gaps disjoining them. Between two of the boards Jack could see the decorated floor of the temple auditorium--approximately 60 meters below. He suddenly felt woozy.

"Jack, don't look through those floor boards! We need to follow this path until we find a way out." Apate proceeded further onto the creeky floor boards. "They squeak--but they're firm. This has to be the exit the priestess took to escape the temple." She flicked a hand at the elf and Jack to follow her. As they reached the end of the narrow upper room they were in, Apate found an archway with descending steps and could hear the howling wind outside. She surmised the exit led to a balcony high on the temple exterior, overlooking the land of Ala-ki. She guessed there was a stone staircase that coiled around the temple's exterior, down to the foundation. "This has to be a way out--"

The silence behind them instantaneously filled with shouting voices and howling.

"The barrier--it's down," Apate declared. "We can escape if we leave now."

Off to the side the elf dropped to his knees, in obvious pain. He was cradling his mid-section with both arms.

Jack panicked. "Elf, we have to go now!"

The elf waved him off, as if to tell them to leave without him.

Apate turned to the descending steps, then to the elf, then to the descending steps . . . "Fine. We'll stay and fight." She wiped sweat from her nose. "Jack, I hope your body can heal itself faster than that wolf can tear it apart!"

Jack turned to face the long narrow upper room, staring into it. "So do I."

The human voices became louder; finally six armored knights poked out of the archway at the other end of the upper room. They were followed by the leader, who hobbled out of the the archway onto the floor boards.

"So the heroes don't get to escape, after all. Instead, they stand and fight. I applaud your courage." The knight with the pink disfigured face began to clap. He elbowed the knight adjacent to him to do the same; after a short moment all the knights were jestingly applauding and laughing.

Jack interjected. "Hey, knight: nice scarf. It goes well with that limp."

Six of the knights nosily oooohed.

From the archway a mass of fur squeezed out, followed by a long snout and probing, bulging eyes. This was followed by a hairy paw, two muscular legs, and the hind parts of a monstrous canine.

"Oh, look: our friend is here," the knight with the bandaged neck announced. "And it knows everything about you . . . Jack. We let it dig through your personal belongings . . . in your home." He carefully patted the side of the wolf"s head, clear away from the teeth. "I think the woman next to you knows what this thing is."

Apate briefly glanced at Jack, then concentrated on the knights and the shaggy beast.

The elf was now lying on his side reeling in pain. The growling in his stomach was now as pronounced as a human voice from where Apate and Jack stood. Suddenly he ballooned into a ball of pink flesh; his chest, arms, legs and head expanded like dirigibles. His fingers became swollen and he continued to broaden into something that barely resembled the elf he once was moments ago. His tunic and pantaloons were stretched to capacity but they did not tear. He raised himself up with an enormous swollen arm; he repositioned his monstrous legs to accomplish this.

Once erect, it was obvious to Apate and Jack that he stood more than three meters high, his head nearly at the ceiling. The elf's face was unrecognizable and pudgy. He inspected Apate and Jack with squinted eyes, then trudged to the seven knights and the enormous wolf, the floor boards beneath him squeaking heavily.

At once the wolf barreled and leapt at the monstrous elf; the elf caught it with his astounding rotund arms. The hairy beast shook violently in the elf's grip, trying to snap at the elf's head with its pincer-like jaws. The elf"s mouth dreadfully enlarged to about the diameter of his head. He smashed the wolf into his orifice, absorbing more of it with each attempt at swallowing. The wolf's hind legs continued to kick, even while most of it was deep inside the elf's body, gradually dissolving in acid.

The knights all watched in horror, all of them reposed against the stone wall or viewing from the archway.

As the last of the wolf went down, the elf placed a meaty finger to his lips. He smacked his mouth to express intense satisfaction.

He then plodded in the direction of the knights, holding his hands high. The knights all went scrambling down the archway, the majority shrieking in fright.

The gargantuan elf turned to face Apate and Jack, and advanced toward them. He raised his hands high as if he intended to grab them once he reached them. Then his face expressed immense disapproval. He cradled his mid-section like he ate something unpalatable. Then he dropped to the floor boards, foaming and motionless.

Apate and Jack stared at each other in horror, blinking.