Phoebe jumped over a log and then stumbled as she made contact with the marshy dirt. Her body naturally adjusted; one foot dug in while the other attempted to outstep her impending fall, arms splaying out to regain her balance. But something hit her–some unseen force–and suddenly she failed to right herself.

She cursed, her face now level with the ground. There wasn’t any time for this- she had to get back up. Except she couldn’t. Pressing her palms flat against the ground, she tried to hoist herself up but it was no use. That force was still present. Something was weighing her down. Had she been shot without realizing it? Arm muscles giving out, Phoebe collapsed back into the dirt. Her legs were beginning to feel weak, too; her breath heaved but she swore she was suffocating. She wasn’t on the ground long before she heard rustling foliage and stomping boots behind her.

The turtle-man emerged from a wall of shrubs. One boot slammed down on her back, further holding her in place. Where was Silver?

Image: The art style has switched from color to grayscale. Phoebe is laying on the ground on her stomach, struggling to get up. The gunman stands above her with one of his boots pressed into her back. He’s pointing his pistol at her head. End description.

“I hear you’ve been making things difficult for our client,” the man said. “But,” he continued, “if you behave, I’ll deliver you alive.”

Image: A black-and white image of Phoebe laying prone. She’s in the same pose as the previous image, but is smaller and surrounded by a black void. End description.

The weight pressing down on her grew. Her lungs felt like they were made of lead now. Where the man’s boot made contact with her, and where she made contact with the earth, her skin tingled like her nerves were trying to jump right out of it. She hadn’t been shot. The blanket of realization fell over her, the knowledge now instinctual, genetic. It was so obvious. And of all the times for her bond with Silver to start breaking, this had to be one of the worst.

Image: An up-close view of Phoebe’s face, still in black and white. Her visible eye is wide as the realization strikes her. End description.



Work is continuing to go well but I'm happy for the 3-day weekend! You probably noticed the grayscale and lack of background detail... I'm going to be working in this simpler style for the forseeable future because it takes less time. I was pretty hesitant about the change at first because it felt like I was "lowering the quality" of my work but that's BS tbh. I think it looks good and I've been having fun experimenting with it.
I had to either change the style or stop updating once a week, and I decided that I really didn't want to update less often. Katabasis is already going to take a long time to finish (with 8-9 total chapters planned, and one chapter per 1-2 years) and I'd rather it not take longer. I love it but I want to tell more stories in the future you know?