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This issue is extra special because it's a Sponsored Issue! Thank you!

Hey guys. As you can see the page is still in the sketch phase. I went over things in a ramble on Tumblr, but what it basically comes down to is... the impression I've received over the years is that you all are more invested in the story than my art. Which is great, it means I'm doing a good job as a writer. With that in mind, I'm dropping the pages down to sketch only.

Drawing the pages is very painful for me lately due to the nerve issues in my arm and, because of the slower speed I'm stuck working at now, increasingly time consuming. I have a great deal of story yet to tell and would like to be able to move forward with sharing that story with you all while limiting the strain on my arm.

I can do a clean sketch like this in a day without causing any major pain. This does mean that we can, in the future, increase the update schedule. FINALLY! I would like to make a small buffer first before adding more pages a week. That way if something does go wrong in the future, I'll have a bit of breathing room.

I'll let you know next week when we'll be able to begin increasing the update schedule. I'm thinking the beginning of March at the latest, most likely sooner. Matt and I were discussing what's going to happen to Fredrick last night and I can't wait to share it with you all! *evil laugh*

Thank you for understanding and sticking with the gang and me through all this! It means a lot to me! Until next week, take care!

And yes, I did change Mercy's hair. She's a shapeshifter. Occasionally she has a new hairstyle. It happens.

If you'd like to see the sketch without words, please click here.

Our spam filter has been a little over zealous lately. If you leave a comment and it doesn't show up right away, please don't panic. Matt and I will be popping our heads into the admin area whenever possible to okay comments falsely marked as spam. Sorry for any inconvenience.

If you see a mistype, please drop me an email. I'm more likely to see your message and correct the mistake faster that way.


 
KrimsonNekros
2017-01-27 00:12:31 
Can I safely call the Blatant LIes trope on Mercy here? Or am I being Wrong Genre Savvy? Also grats on getting better Darc. Always good news to hear.
Argent
2017-01-27 00:22:20 
Yes. Just decoration. Magical decoration. That will most likely make you hornier than a bull on a Monday night. It's a love potion, luv. You won't like it if I have to get more direct. Just ask Ash.
Fairportfan
2017-01-27 00:57:59 
Wow - morality vs friendship vs basic instinct. What a quandary for Max.
Dawn
2017-01-27 01:32:03 
definitely not complaining. I'd rather read the story and you not be in pain than have a nice colored page and you be in pain.
gold25dog
2017-01-27 02:07:59 
oh my... :)
Lorralie
2017-01-27 02:18:17 
You just concentrate on getting better in your arm/hand/wrist. Speaking from experience when i say that nobody will be happy if you damage your body just for a comic! And yes, you do wonderful art, but as you said we are staying becous of the story :) And mind you, this clean "sketch" is a piece of art itself! Your doing wonderful with or without coloured pages, so you you just keep up this good work and let your body heal!
Bear
2017-01-27 02:22:33 
She might be telling the truth
Brighttail
2017-01-27 10:33:59 
Wow, all the questions I asked answered right here. Best of all Max hasn't broken his brain yet! Oh Mercy, you know what Max is into...the cake is that to help Ruby along?
Brighttail
2017-01-27 10:34:55 
Love that the story is moving along, your sketching is spot on, Darc. If you need to take some time to get a buffer, do what you need to do. Love ya all the same.
Anonymous
2017-01-27 11:03:47 
I do not fully understand why you feel you need the permission of your fans, people that you have gracefully invited into your world, but if you feel it necessary - "I, the anonymous sponsor of seven issues (and two interludes), do hereby grant permission to convert to a sketch format. Your talents in storytelling, world building, and character creation are spectacular. While we will miss your wonderfully rendered pages, your hard work and dedication will still be appreciated by your fans. Thank you for inviting us into your world!"
Sulnim
2017-01-27 11:10:34 
You call this a 'cleaned up sketch'. I call this a Black&White comic. Either way, I get Story, and you are not in pain. WIN-WIN!
Spindizzy
2017-01-27 12:04:04 
Dear Lady of the Art and Story, whilst we do enjoy the beautiful colors, we also enjoy the graceful drawing, and the enticing story. We would much rather you be pain free, and able to enjoy both your Art and Story, than cause you any grief whatsoever. Blessings Be upon You, Your Skill, and Your Health. As to the cake? If it is a 'love potion', it actually is a "welcome home" gift for Max, from Mercy, with Ruby as the conveyant. Now, if Max realizes this, what's he going to do? If Ruby realizes this, what is SHE going to do? If neither of them realizes this, and the cake is eaten, how are they both going to feel in the morning?
Brighttail
2017-01-27 13:02:34 
And will Mercy watch? :)
Celtcath
2017-01-27 22:51:55 
With cameras.
Lemurvid
2017-01-27 13:31:16 
If this is what you mean by a sketch page then go ahead by al means, I think it looks great and it's perfectly clear what's going on etc. Also, it's nice to see Mercy again...
Delisle
2017-01-27 15:40:23 
Why don't I believe Mercy about the fluffy hearts? This is a fun page in every panel and I really like the art as is!
Brighttail
2017-01-27 17:29:42 
Max has been called "rodent-boy" by two different females in under 2 hours. Makes you wonder how many folks call him this?
TheWumpus
2017-01-27 20:21:34 
It's been done to death but....IT'S A TRAP!
bscruffy
2017-01-27 21:21:52 
Up to a year or so ago, I would have agreed that your story was what kept me coming back. Now, both the story and the visually jaw-dropping visuals are equal draws. As long as I'm venting, the recent 'feint' by the queen was exceptionally well told...certainly kept me on the edge of my seat.
iMouse
2017-01-28 03:29:23 
"you all are more invested in the story than my art" I hope you won't do "Picture with text instead of comic page" thing?.. Or so-called "text updates". I'm fine with web-novels, but it is a very bad idea to suddenly change format.
NamesAreSilly
2017-01-28 16:02:59 
I...sketch!? That's your idea of a "sketch"?? Damn... I mean, the coloured pages are gorgeous, but the "sketch" is spectacular as well. I think we'll be fine. Your health is more important than us getting to look at shiny new art after all. And, with that in mind: please make sure you're not screwing up/slowing down any healing by using your arm too much - even if you can do the "sketches" without too much pain.
Krachak
2017-01-30 08:04:44 
As much as I love the comic I would love a novelization of the story. One of the other webcomics I follow went down that route and the novels are so good. They are able to expand the story more.
Darc
2017-01-31 15:05:13 
Thanks for the support everyone! I really appreciate it! For anyone concerned, no, I will not be changing formats to text only or a web novel. I'm dropping down to sketched pages in order to keep the comic going. Please don't worry. Thanks again!
Celtcath
2017-02-02 18:51:01 
I would still follow your work if you did.
Bear
2017-02-01 10:05:20 
Still nicely done.