Release schedule?
I get it, life happens, but I want chaps as fast as I can get them: post when you are able
19.76% 19.76% of votes
I want a steady, predictable schedule that I can count on: post a bit less to keep things regular
12.04% 12.04% of votes
I don't really care, just don't abandon the story: Hiatus is evil
68.19% 68.19% of votes
Total: 764 vote(s)
A note from blackflame17


Mitch woke to a horrendous assault on his nose.

God that smells like a hooker's day-old vomit.

Opening his eyes, he saw there was indeed a pool of vomit, which was clearly of his own making rather than that of a hooker. It was lit only by the dim light from the setting sun that managed to find its way through his window, and the view was enhanced by the handful of flies buzzing over it. Not far off of a day old then.

Suddenly everything started to come back to him, along with the weight of the decision he had to make. It seemed a bit unreal now, distant; nowhere near the soul-crushing pressure Mitch had felt during his panic attack earlier.

He tried to stand and failed. Looking around aimlessly, his mind still somewhat muddied, he saw that the side of his body resting on the floor was glued to said floor by a healthy dose of crusted over puke.

Ugh, that's grosser than the opening of Nocturnal Animals.

With a bit more effort and a sound halfway between a squelch and a crunch, he was able to detach himself from the wood. His thoughts still churning he went back to the bathroom and got into the shower to wash off the filth. You would think after such a traumatizing experience he would be racing to call someone and get this story out, but he was still conflicted. Maybe it was that the whole thing seemed so surreal since waking up. Mitch wasn't sure, but he wasn't ready to make the call yet. Maybe when there was no more spew in his hair.

After his shower, he cleaned his floor and sat back in front of the computer. He sat there for a few minutes. The numbers for the news agencies were still open in his browser.

He checked the news again. The government was acknowledging that it had data to suggest that the scores may be able to predict who was most likely to die at the next Tolling. They were quick to follow with statements saying that it was not sure, and was still just a theory and that of course if they were confident of this the American people would have been told.

Mitch scoffed. Even if they had suffered losses at double the average, there would still have been approximately two point four million data points after the second Tolling to draw upon to formulate their "theory." Only the most skeptical of scientists, or those whose body of work was directly challenged by this information, would deny it at this point. There was no mention of what the threshold for survival might be.

There were also no reports on the possibility of changing one's score: no easy solution then.

He browsed the conspiracy theory sites again. The majority of the ones he had visited previously were now shut down or blocked by a government firewall. Mitch snorted, the government would have had to already have the firewall ready and waiting for deployment for it to be active so quickly. Of the few that remained and the new ones that he could find, none mentioned the possibility of the score being anything but a static number.

If anyone had mentioned anything close to the number being dynamic and possible methods of changing it a lot of the pressure would have come off of him, but now, as far as Mitch could tell, he was the sole possessor of this information.

So the burden truly did rest upon him.

Elbows on his knees and fingers intertwined behind his head Mitch took a few deep breaths. Prepare for impact.

He would be reviled. He knows it now that he thinks about it. Some may view him as a savior, but the majority would hate him for not coming forward sooner. He might not have known that acupressure, or formations, or acupuncture could change anything but he had only found out those things because someone had told him seven months ago that the score could predict if you were going to die or not. If he had come forward right away, it might have been different, but now, he would be hated.

Still, countless people might be saved considering that he now had a method for changing the score. Mitch had no way of know if it would be practical for everyone, or even anyone besides himself, but the possibility remained.

He wasn't making any progress like this. He shut off the TV and set up his formation. He climbed inside and activated it once again with his blood. He did not meditate, but he let his mind wander as though he were about to; passively processing the myriad thoughts that he would not even acknowledge consciously on a regular basis.

Sitting there the questions of public perception faded into nothing. Even Mitch's personal well-being and advantage faded out of the equation, and he was left with two arguments: he could potentially save an inconceivable number of people from death: his training method would widen the gap between the strong and the weak. The second may not seem like much of an argument; of course, there will always be the strong just as there will forever be the weak and ne'er shall the two exist in harmony.

The weak are meat, and the strong do eat.

So it had always been, and so it would always be. Whether it was the strength of the arm, or the strength of the mind, or the strength of the wallet those with power would perpetually take advantage of those without. It was a tale as old as humanity itself.

Before a conclusion was reached, Mitch felt his meridians straining to contain the energy present in his formation and so exited.

He found himself single-minded during meditation and did not make any further progress on this decision.

Mitch passed a few days this way, continuing his training while debating the choice before him. He would check the news and the websites every day to see if anyone else was sounding off on the topic, but no one ever was.

After all of this, the arguments were sitting balanced in Mitch's mind. Sure, an incomprehensible number would die now; but, on the balance of eternity, an unfathomable number would be saved.

In the end, it was an argument he had initially discarded that came back to tip the balance: personal advantage. Mitch would be far more likely to survive if he kept quiet, he might even find himself sitting among those powerful few who controlled the weaker masses.

A terrible resolve began to form within Mitch's mind; a sinister surety. The more he thought about it, the more it seemed inevitable until finally, it crystalized into decision.

Even after his choice was made he sat in front of his computer for an amount of time he did not keep track of. He felt hollow: there was something that had been left behind in the process of making his decision; some essential component of his humanity that had fallen by the wayside. Still, even knowing this, his decision was irrevocable.

Finally, he stretched out his hand and used the mouse to close each tab of his browser individually. As each number of each newsgroup vanished, a bit of darkness crept in to fill the void that he had created in his soul.

He didn't cry or curse or scream. He was beyond that now. The stillness of a grave permeated his being.

The rest of the world was on their own.

A note from blackflame17

Thanks for reading!

About the author


  • Indiana, USA

Bio: I've been a reader since I can remember. I remember reading late into the night using just the light I could get from cracking my bedroom door to the hallway, much to my parents frustration I'm sure. Animorphs, Where the Red Fern Grows, Call of the Wild, Ender's Game, Dune, The Wheel of Time and many more than I can name here all defined my childhood. To a certain point I remember the stories from the books I read better than my actual youth. Recently I felt a strong desire to write something. To pour out a bit of what I have built up over the years. I had always had a kind of formless "one day" kind of desire to write, but this was different: persistent. Thus is born my first fiction, Rescendence, begun some random weekday night when an extra nightcap gave me the courage to finally put fingers to keys and see what happened. This is my first serious attempt at writing anything, and is proving more exciting and more difficult than I anticipated. I hope that through it all I can give you, dear reader, something that you enjoy and can look forward to.

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xenofixus @xenofixus ago

Thanks for the chapter!

I voted for "as fast as I can get them" for 2 reasons. First is entirely selfish, I enjoy your story and want to read more.

The second is because I feel that continuous writing is essential to bringing a story to fruition. The problem with with a more steady schedule or with building up a batch of chapters to dump at once is that all of a sudden there is no real need to continuously write. It is easy to procrastinate when you have a deadline. Sure, you can set a fairly fast schedule (lets say 5 chapters a week on specific days) but when you can't meet that (for whatever reason) it would be a negative experience for both the you and the readers. Everyone has seen the dreaded "Sorry!" posts. While I am sure most people understand that life can take presidence I don't believe I am alone in saying that I would have preferred the author make no commitment on chapters rather than make one and not be able to follow through.

Overall it is your choice and you should do what feels best to you. This is just my opinion.



    blackflame17 @blackflame17 ago

    Both of those reasons make perfect sense. I'm particularly fond of the first one.

    Like so many others "The Arcane Emperor" was the story that brought me in to this site, and I suffered with everyone else those last minute notes about delays, especially the last 6 weeks or so before it finally got put on hiatus.

    I do however want to get a feel for what community wants so I can evaluate what the best approach is.

    As an author my selfish motive is that I want this story to be as successful as I can make it here, and I can't do that without giving due consideration to what my modest but growing group of followers wants out of their experience.

    So I guess what I'm saying is, I may go with the vote or not, but I wanted everyone to have a chance to give their input.

bob16 @bob16 ago

Let’s keep the chaps to a low amount of 14 per week... 😂

DeusExPravus @DeusExPravus ago

Though as a reader, more chapters are always welcome, as long as you the author are happy with your output and pacing, then I think that's what's best for the story long term.

Ash Satols @Ash Satols ago

Yey Mc no pussy but pure traditional xianxia Mc..... but i like😎

    lamb @lamb ago

    Why would a selfish hypocrite be your desired character traits for a main character?

      Ash Satols @Ash Satols ago

      Well bro the novel got an antihero tag on it so i wanna want it to stick to it, i rarely have faviouritism to a certain type of Mc( either complaining mc, crybaby mc , cool mc, heartless mc, evil mc, righteous ya name it neither matters ), just like it to follow the tag given lol. Plus Antihero tag has always assholery, bitchiness and a hold lot of selfishness otherwise it undeserves its anti on it. And in a world similar to a apokalypse were can we find saints right all hypocrites with their own selfish motives, it shows us the true evil of the human heart in a distressed time.

      lamb @lamb ago

      The character traits that Mitch is showing are understandable, that doesn’t make them good or even correct. Despite what edgedy internet novels will have you believe humans have as much capacity for good that they do for evil. And no not every saint is a hypocrite, some people are actually good inside and out, and they are willing to sacrifice their life and love to do what they think is right. They are very rare, but that doesn’t mean you can spit on them just because other people are assholes.

      Ash Satols @Ash Satols ago

      Well spitting on them is taken too extreme, in a bid for survival live or do good most ppl will choose the former than the latter(Not saying there are no good ppl but the Mc interacts so low with the world there aint any world building going on). And in here there havent been any mention of mc family, if the Mc was cold to not even care about his family i would look down on him. Mc chose selfishness over righteousness which i wont say is good but it gives originality to the story (which is a litle dark), not a bland generic one where they say mc is evil but still saves ppl like a saint it will totally be spitting on Mc being a hyprocrite and thats what i dont like in most novels, follow good or do bad choose one dont be mumble jumbled like most sup par novels do.(I read stories if its good quality with an indepth storyline, then i see whether its evil or good, and to the extent of how much evil i neither condone or propagondise it, just remain a neutrality lol)

      Plus about his dad( which is the only mentioned family  i think)we have  to give more time to learn about  the Mc's cirmcumstances we cant decide on it now as we havent really gotten to know them as a whole and hope the author gives a Pov of his dad and Mc's problems.

      lamb @lamb ago

      You said “yey Mc no pussy but pure traditional xianxia Mc..... but i like😎” followed by “And in a world similar to aapokalypse were can we find saints right all hypocrites with their own selfish motives, it shows us the true evil of the human heart in a distressed time.” As neutral as you are you seem to really like the main character because of an archetype, and for someone who recognizing good people exist you seem to think that they don’t.

      Ash Satols @Ash Satols ago

      Well ya i do like this Mc not due to him being evil but due him having a good resolve(to become stronger) look at other Mc's who kill ppl like cutting melons but still help other ppl to show how kind they are.. as its total hypocrisy on the authors part to save face and not make the mc too hateable( by showing ruthlesness as well as kindness), and about saints talk i firmly believe evil ppl outway the good ppl and that too were the government is on the brink of collapse(in the storyi.e😑)

      There will be bad ppl and good ppl in our life just have to choose which we wanna be but hypocrisy is a thing i believe is rooted to our core, everybody like to have ppl praise them, all like to have good freinds who protects their backs .... but at the same time when friends in real life are more succesful over their others they will feel jealous an inferior some might hate his freind, some might even think ill and some be happy for them they all chose what they wanna be good or bad just depends on perspective of the one choosing. I never said i like archetypes, but i do say i like the ones who are resolute, and the Mc here is resolute on one thing revenge on his captors.

      tenaciouspfc @tenaciouspfc ago

      Why can’t it? So what if I like selfish MC😈 

SuurSaadik @SuurSaadik ago

YEEEEESSS, I like this, also the military already figured it out but are not telling the masses so they can get even stronger, as it doesn't make sense that no one figured it out, that's what I think

lamb @lamb ago

Black flame I can’t help but feel that the political commentary you put into your story is incredibly out of this place.The political humor earlier on wasn’t funny and in this chapter you are just saying that free speech is good and dictators are bad. I’m fine with horrid goverments, but why are you so closely connecting our current politics to a world that has no bearing for n reality. I mean you even replaced google and yelp with cheap knock offs further reducing the reality of the situation, and yet fox and msnbc are still the same.

P.S. the main character blamed his assholery on his dad, but a much better world to describe him is immature, and it also draws more attention to how he is growing and changing.


Oohh soo mean . he not even spread a clue.

PrimalShadow @PrimalShadow ago

I am really dissapointed with the MC's internal monolgue here. The pro-social reasons for revealing his knowledge are laid out clearly, both here and in the previous chapter - but the description of how such a reveal would be a BAD thing seems stunted. Like, it is touched upon when the MC says this would widen the gap between strong and weak... but there is no followup. Except somehow that turns into "on the balance of eternity, an unfathomable number would be saved."

jmatrix @jmatrix ago

something that feels like this chapter was missing is the idea that his information might not even save that many people. yes he was going to try giving it to the media, but you just said that the government was controlling it anyway. also backlash from revealing the information could be much worse than just "people don't like that he waited", the government could actually kill him for it.

just started this story, and liking it a lot, this is just a random thought