Chapter 21: Lost Bonds
“Japan!” Italy’s voice called out, as Japan was suddenly shaken from the premonition.
Japan blinked as light flooded back to his eyes. What a strange thing to think about... Japan wondered where this premonition had come from and why he had seen it. He thought they had been doing pretty well. Everyone had been working together pretty well hadn’t they? His gaze wandered over the group. Their expressions. Not all of them showed it, but he could tell there was something wrong with them. Secrets. Things they did not want to share with the others. Hiding things that would lead them to that unfortunate end he could see lying on their horizon.They might be together, putting up that front of friendship, but in reality they were divided.
Japan pulled away from them, his eyes wide with disbelief. How many of them held some sort of secret? He counted across the room. It was almost everyone. They all knew something they weren’t saying. Keeping a distance. ...and that would lead the to the danger he saw ahead.
“Japan?” Italy asked concerned by Japan’s expression, “What’s wrong?”
“All of you!” Japan yelled with a sense of betrayal, “I thought we were passed secrets.”
“Japan,” China tried to calm him, “calm down. What are you saying?”
Japan turned facing China in particular, “Even you. You know one of thesesecrets, and yet you’re trying to cover it up.” Japan was beginning to panic, he felt so betrayed. He screamed at the lot of them, “I thought we were passed secrets!”
“Japan-” Canada stepped forward frightened by the usually quite nations sudden outburst.
“You as well...” Japan turned with an angry betrayed face, “You had your suspicions and yet you never voiced them, leaving the rest of us in the dark.”
Canada and China stood back from the group, frightened from being accused. Japan paced the room, his hand resting over the hilt of his sword reflexively. Merely a reflex, his hand rested their whenever he was anxious. Still it had everyone in the room on nerves. “Is anyone here NOT keeping something secret?!” Japan accused.
Everyone was too stunned to answer. The silence creeped across the room, like the dread of danger.
“Fucking great,” Japan muttered. He couldn’t believe this. It was one thing to have something you were afraid to say, but these secrets. They seemed like it was more a matter of mistrust. He had trusted everyone of them until now. But it seemed he had been mistaken to do so. “Fine then...You can all keep your secrets then. I’m done. I’ll find a way out on my own,”Japan decided angrily, storming out of the room.
“Wait! Japan!” Italy called after him.
Japan spun around brandishing his sword, not with the intention to attack, but reflexively, “Down follow me!” He growled.
Italy froze, stunned silent in fear. The door slammed behind Japan. He was gone. Tears began stream out of Italy’s eyes as the initial shock slowly began to dissolve. His heart raced like a hummingbirds, and it was ever so painful. The tears caught in Italy’s throat as he choked on the pain.
“J-Japan...” Italy sobbed. This couldn’t be happening.They were doing so well! They were going to get out of here! But if they lost Japan. What happened to sticking together? What happened?! He couldn’t lose him, it was dangerous out there, “I-I have to go after him.”
Prussia caught Italy’s arm keeping him from taking off, “Let’s calm down a minute Italy. There was something not right with the way he acted. He probably needs a few minutes to cool off.”
“B-but if that monster finds him-” Italy tried to object.
“I’m not sure you’ve seen it,” China interrupted, “But with how angry Japan is, I’d worry more for the monster.”
“But-” Italy was still worried, although he was relieved to know what they meant. Japan was a strong fighter, especially if angry. It was so rare to see him angry though. What had Japan seen that had him this upset?!
“I don’t know about you, but to me, everything I witnessed our past selves go through only assures me that this time we are definitely going to all make it out alive,” tried to comfort him.
Italy nodded satisfied for now. They certainly had put a lot of work into this world. But he was also aware of just how suddenly that could vanish from his grasp. The words were also something, he’d repeated thousands of times, over and over through every world. And every world, just like the last, had ended in despair. The words were certain, surely “They would all get out together,” but unless they were careful, it might be another hundred years before any of them saw that day.
“Speaking of the past, we need to put together all the information we learned. There’s the safe that Germany hid, then there’s the issue that the mochi ate our key, and... what else?” England brought up.
“Well, I’m not sure there’s much we can do about the front door. According to what we just saw, even if we get the key somehow, we’ll only end up ambushed like we saw in the past,” France mentioned.
“Well for that matter-” China joined in but was abruptly interrupted.
Russia looked embarrassed, “Oh. Sorry, that is my sister calling again. She can be quite... protective.”
Russia attempted to leave the room before answering the call.
Canada stopped him, “Wait a second. You’ve been getting a lot of these phone calls, a-and I heard Lithuania say earlier that no one outside was able to get through to you,” Canada took a deep breath trying to work up the courage to continue talking. Everyone was staring at him, and Russia had worked up a sizable dark aura. He could already hear the “Kol’s”, “... Japan was right to scold me earlier for not speaking up about this sooner. I-I want to know who it is you’re talking to!”
“I told you it is my little sister, Belarus,” Russia stated defiantly.
“Then why do you always leave the room? Why don’t you answer the phone here if you have nothing to hide?” Canada challenged him, his heart racing with fear. If it turned out to be nothing he would have just made a dire mistake.
Everyone in the room jumped in surprise as they noticed Russia’s response.
“Then it’s not your sister is it?” Canada took heavy breaths as he shook with fear. He was right, everyone knew he was right now. Now what exactly was Russia hiding so desperately? “Who is on the other line then?!”
Beep. The call went to voice mail.
“Hmmm... I don’t feel like answering,” Russia grinned. It didn’t involve them. This was his business. If he told them now, it might ruin everything. No, they didn’t need to know.
“You don’t feel like answering? I’m sorry I don’t think you have a choice. We just lost Japan because of these secrets, we can’t afford to keep anything to ourselves,” America confronted him.
“Please, don’t fight!” Italy begged, “We were all just starting to get along!”
Canada immediately resorted to his back up plan, before things escalated, “China, you talked to him, didn’t you? You know who this person on the other line is. That’s also what Japan was referring to when he said you were ‘trying to cover something up.’”
Russia stared at China, warning him to choose his battles carefully. China paid him no mind, he had decided his position on this before this “conversation”, if one could call it that, had started. “I do know,” China admitted honestly, “but knowing who he’s talking to, I can also see why he’d want to keep it a secret. I can promise you this much though, if it will put your minds at ease, it doesn’t put any of us in direct danger.”
“Well i’ll admit that’s a relief, but I have a hard time believing it’s not something important given how guarded it is. And at this point anything we aren’t aware of can mean the difference between life or death here,” france argued.
“Yeah. I understand why Japan was so upset earlier if he figured out something like this,” America agreed, “This is serious.”
“You guys... I’m sure he’ll tell us when he’s ready. Right? Russia just needs some time, like I did,” Italy asked them. He knew better than anyone how dangerous it was to keep secrets from each other. How this could literally cost them everything. He was also just as curious about what the phone calls were about. However, he also knew how scary it was to have a secret like that. And from what China had said it at least wasn’t dangerous.
“Italy...”Germany sighed, “You’re heart is in the right place but the situation is a bit different.”
“How? You didn’t know how bad my secret was before I said something did you?” Italy asked, “It could have been worse, but you still gave me a chance.”
There was an uncomfortable stir in the room. “You make a good point Italy,” France agreed, “If you think we should give him some more time I’ll agree.”
There was an uneasy, hesitant agreement from the room. Well except for from America who had suspected something more sinister was brewing, “I still don’t trust this. and I won’t sit easy until I know what’s going on.”
Russia grinned realizing he’d won. Good, he was at a crucial part and he couldn’t have them interrupting that now. “Then I’m going to return this call, Da?” Russia pointed to his cell-phone. “China you make sure no one tries to listen in?” Russia instructed China, as he headed for the door.“I’m not your accomplice aru!” China argued but went with him anyways.
Japan paced around the annexe. There had to be something they were missing. What was it? Some secret to finding their escape. Or at least to preventing what he saw in those premonitions. What were they again? His head felt like it was going to explode. first: there was Russia, he did something that got him into a big fight with everyone. He also noticed Russia keeping his distance and avoiding conversation. What was that about? Did it have anything to do with what he was hiding? Then he overheard Russia on the phone. He said things that related to what was going on. But they were small details, things that shouldn’t need to be mentioned to anyone outside. So why did he mention them? and why did he need to leave the room to talk? The behavior was suspicious to say the very least. Then there was China. It was one thing to catch someone like Russia keeping secrets, but to see that China had known as well without knowing... They were supposed to have each others backs here. This was a violation of trust. The same could be said to Canada, who seemed to suspect something for a long time without telling anyone.
The rest was even more frightening. Prussia, neglecting to tell anyone that he was injured and thus falling during a critical point during a fight. Japan was unsure if he had even survived the attack. England, recklessly used his magick to his breaking point once more, and... and even Italy seemed to still be hiding something. That single step away from the group only seemed to serve as warning flag that they had all become more divided.This was ridiculous! At this rate they would all end up fighting a war before they even escaped. He had to get a grip. These premonitions were going to drive him, iNsANe.
Liechtenstein fired her gun at the incoming enemy. Or should she say enemies. There were six of these monsters, and only the four of them to fend them off. The bullets fired were ineffective as well, and that was primarily their weapons.
Hungary hit one of them in the head keeping it off of Ukraine. “Watch your back!” She called out. This was insane. They hadn’t even found the clock! ...but it must be close if these things were appearing in such large groups already. Hungary certainly had her hands full, these girls weren’t cut out for this heavy battle. They’d been fighting since they got here; there just seemed to be no end to it!
Hungary spotted one of the cretans sneaking up behind Liechtenstein. “Liechtenstein, behind you!” She shouted the warning, turning her attention away for only a moment. Claws raked her side pushing her to the ground. She could see the impact of the next blow before she could react to the first one. She winced bracing herself for the attack she could not avoid.
It never came. Instead there was the sound of an explosion. She opened her eyes to see Romania standing over her, the enemy paralyzed by some dark magic. Bulgaria joined in the fight, stabbing the monster through with a long sword. Romania released the magic and turned around to taunt Hungary, “I think you’ve lost your skill. Getting brought down by something like this.”
She might still ache from the wound she received from that monster, but that didn’t mean for second that she was going sit there and take Romania’s insults. She stood up, brushed herself off, and then proceeded to hit him over the head with her frying pan.
“Ow!” Romania yelped, holding his head as it started ringing. As if the sunlight wasn’t making him dizzy enough.
“I think I’m still plenty strong enough to take you down,” She proclaimed, checking to make sure everyone was alright. The girls seemed to have managed to fight off the rest of them on their own; that was a relief.
“What the hell was that for?” Romania protested, “I just saved your damn life!”
“I would have been fine without your pesky assistance,” Hungary denied. “Why are you two here anyways?”
“We heard about what’s going on,” Bulgaria explained, “We couldn’t exactly just sit back now could we?”“We’re not the only ones either.. There are more coming.”
The door opened and Russia re-entered the room. “So it’s ok for us to keep secrets now? Even when the rest of us are potentially at risk?!” America accused the second he was able.
“Aiyaa! I already explained that it’s nothing dangerous,” China explained. He could understand the concern, but he was making the situation worse than it was by making such a big deal about it.
“There’s something I want to check out in the annexe, so that’s where I’m going now,” Russia informed them. Of course he could have just gone ahead while China was guarding the door. But since this didn’t directly reveal his secret, he would prefer letting their suspicions grow to the point of combat. It would be troublesome if they got hurt. “If you have a problem with that you can follow me,” He allowed.
“Well I’m sure as hell not letting you disappear alone!” America argued.
China shook his head, “Maybe if you actually tell me what we’re looking for this time, I can actually help you find it.”
“I-I’ll go too. I brought all of this up. I should see it through,” Canada decided.
Italy stared at his feet. He didn’t like this. Any of this! “H-hey! Let’s not get so upset about this! We still don’t even know what it is. W-What happened to us all working together?!” Italy cried chasing after them.
“Wait a minute. Italy!” Germany called after him.
Russia paid them no mind, as a larger number than he predicted followed after him. They might prove themselves to be a nuisance if they all decided watch his movements though. he did not want them to discover anything before he had this all together afterall. what point was there in in understanding a tiny piece of a larger puzzle when you didn’t have the rest of these pieces, nor understood what the puzzle would look like?
Russia listened to their voices as they descended into the annexe, five of them had followed. How could he put them to good use? He couldn’t exactly tell them what he was looking for, but with this many people, it would be rather wasteful just to have them all stand around watching him.
“Actually,” China spoke up, “I wanted to take another look at the tunnel system we discovered.” He eyed the door. It was a bit... off, but he could sense Japan’s aura coming from that direction. Perhaps he’d had some time to cool down. Maybe now he’d be able to talk to him. Only he didn’t want anyone else getting involved. If too many people showed up, it would look like they were ganging up on him.
“Are you sure?” America asked.
“Isn’t it a little too dangerous to go alone?” Italy worried.
“I’ll be right next door, and I won’t take too long,” China assured them, before sneaking through the door.
Japan lurched at the sound of the door opening. Blade drawn and pointed suspiciously at... China.
“J-Japan!” China yelped with shock at being put at sword point. He put his hands up defensively and pressed himself against the wall. So his time alone, had only seemed to kindle his fiery rage rather than cool it down. There was a wild, twisted look in his eye China could only recall seeing a few times before. Neither times had ended on pleasant terms.
Japan lowered his sword, but did not sheath it. “China,” He forced a deep breath, before pacing.
China tried to play it off as simply surprising Japan, but he was already picking up on something else odd about Japan’s behavior, “Did I startle you? My apologies...”
“Don’t bother,” Japan brushed aside China’s facade like it was a sheet of paper. “I’ve had sometime to calm down now,” Japan explained, remaining expressionless while he spoke calmly. “Do you want to explain to me what all these secrets are about China?”
“hah-a...” China attempted to laugh, “There’s really not-”
“Cut the crap. I can see right through you,” Japan stopped, standing uncomfortably close. He stared into China’s eyes expressionless as he added, “Tell me. What’s going on.”
The serious, emotionless look on Japan’s face sent chills down China’s spine.It was a look he hoped to never see again. “Listen, Japan. I-I can’t tell you. It’s not my-”
“China I don’t think you understand the situation. I am giving you a chance to explain yourself right now,” Japan cut him off.
“And what if I can’t?” China asked. He had already promised to keep quiet, about this. Surely if he waited it out Russia would eventually either tells the others or get found out. It was only a matter of time.
Japan took a step back, a look of disappointment and disgust crossed his face. The first sign of emotion he’d seen yet. “I never thought I would end up pointing my blade at you once again. Unfortunately for you, there is no chance that you can defeat me.”
At that moment a monster descended from above, behind Japan. “Japan look out!” China warned Japan as he dodged a sweep of the katana.
Japan dodged the claws of the massive creature, turning to face both it and China. He glared at China, as if he had brought on the creature, “Two against one? That’s hardly fair.” Japan countered by landing a good slice into the creatures midsection.
“What you think I-?” China ducked avoiding a dangerous swing from Japan.
Japan was right about one thing, in a state like this there was no way China could beat him. Japan was having no trouble keeping both China and the creature at bay in his attacks.
“diE!” The creature screeched lashing out at the both of them, erratically.
“It’s attacking me too aru!” China dodged the attack, trying to figure out what was going through Japan’s head, and defend himself at the same time.
Japan swung at China, coming close actually landing a hit. The second attack came from the monster, cornering him against the wall. “Aiyaa! I’m the with the uneven fighting conditions!” China muttered. Japan might have no problem turning his sword on him, but China was still trying to get through to him. Something really awful must be going through his head to make him act this way. But he wouldn’t explain, how ironic considering he was angry with them for similar reasons.
Japan defended and attack against the creature. He could hold his own against it. “Fine,” China decided feeling defeated. There was no way they could both make it out of this fight unscathed. He would have to retreat for now and try and talk with Japan later, “I’ll leave. But when you decide to tell me what you’re so upset about come find me.”
China darted out the door. Japan should be able to hold his own against that creature, but he and everyone else should probably vacate the area, less they want to become casualties.
“China?” America asked coming out of the annexe’s library, followed by th others, “We heard swords some shouting.”
China hadn’t realized they had been shouting. “Aiyaa, I ran into Japan. We need to get out of here while he’s ‘cooling off’.”
“What? Why should we leave?” Canada asked. If Japan was here, maybe they could talk to him and try to calm him down.
“Do you remember when we first got here, and Japan, in a rage, defeated one of these monsters, while together we we didn’t stand a chance?” China reminded them. Yes, it was that bad, or escalating to that point. Something had snapped within Japan, and he had no idea how he was going to fix it.“...!!” they were shocked as they came to the realization. China was right. They were safest to retreat for now.
Back in the safe room England’s phone began to ring. “What’s this about?” England wondered answering it.
“England?” The other line asked.
“Y-Yes, who is this?” England asked trying to place a face to the familiar voice.
“My apologies. This is Austria,” Austria explained.
“Austria? Is something the matter? You’ve been keep us informed on what’s going on through Spain so far. Why are you suddenly calling me?” England asked concerned they were about to discover yet another unfortunate circumstance.
“Not exactly,” Austria sighed, “I just thought you should be aware that Sealand somehow found his way here to come and ‘rescue you’.”
England grew rigid. This was a joke right? Sealand, getting mixed up in all of this. He was just a child! He couldn’t possibly fight these things, and he wouldn’t even be there to protect him! ... Even if he was there, they were having a hard enough time just to keep themselves alive. “I-Is he alright? Is he there with you now? Can I talk to him?” England asked frozen with shock.
France, notice this change in England and started to pay more attention, “England. What’s wrong? You look pale.”
England held up a finger to silence him as he heard shuffling on the other line. “You’re not gonna scold me are you?” Sealand’s voice answered.
England took a sigh of relief. It sounded as if he was ok. “What are you doing here? You should be at home. This isn’t a safe place,” England scolded him out of concern.
“I want to help! I’m a country too!” Sealand argued taking up a defiant defense.
“You don’t understand. I can’t protect you here. If something were to happen to you-”
“I’ll be fine! I’m strong. We’ve already taken down a couple of things anyways,” Sealand whined.
England’s heart felt as if it was about to freeze solid, “You what?! ... No don’t tell me. I don’t want to know. What did you mean by we? Who else is with you?”
“All the members of the micronation club!” Sealand announced proudly.
Oh, the others were not going to be happy about that. England rubbed his forehead, “How did you even find out about this place?!”
“I heard about it from Ladonia. He was getting intel for Russia, so we decided to come and check this place out for ourselves,” Sealand explained, finally revealing who the phone calls were to.
England hung up the phone and set it down, staring blankly for a few minutes in shock. His chest heaved as he felt an intense rage build up in his chest. That bastard! it was his fault!
“England. Are you alright? Did something happen?” France asked troubled by what little he heard of the phone call.
England shoved the table back as he got to his feet and started pacing. “I’m gonna kill him,” he muttered, “I’m gonna bloody kill him!”
“England?” France got to his feet as well, “Calm down. Who are you going to kill? What happened?”
“He fucking told them about this place! That’s what happened,” England ranted without really explaining himself. There were a few moments of heavy breathing before he continued, “There gonna get themselves killed...”
“Who’s going to get themselves killed England?” Spain asked. The attention of the room had at this point become directed completely to England.
England shook his head, “I swear when I get my hands on him...”
Prussia grabbed England by the shoulders, “You need to CALM DOWN. We don’t understand. Tell us what that phone call was about.”
England took a deep breath, attempting to do just that. That’s when the door the the room suddenly opened.
England pushed passed Prussia to confront Russia head on. “YOU!” He accused making his way across the room.
Russia’s expression didn’t change even slightly. The same confident smile lay painted across his face. “Oh, Me?” He asked pointing to himself.
England didn’t give him a moment to make up excuses, “You. You told Sealand, and the rest of them what was going on here!”
Russia flinched. How had he figured it out? He shouldn’t have been able to. After all the work Russia put into covering his tracks. Of course he had no proof. Or at least he’d shown no proof so far... Russia smiled widely, a warning, “I don’t know what you are talking abou-”
“You know bloody well, what I’m talking about! I just got off the phone with Sealand,” England challenged him. He wasn’t going to get out of it this time.
“Oh,” Russia frowned, “It looks like I’ve been found out.” It would be pretty hard to cover that up. Besides, with all the suspicions, it was going to come out eventually...
Russia got up from his restless sleep during the night. It was strange, but despite the long day they just had, he found himself unable to sleep. Everyone else seemed to be sleeping soundly though. As they should be, this was the first time they had all gotten to rest since they joined up.
There was something he should do with this time, he thought. It felt like a waste to simply sit around and wait for everyone else to wake up. He wondered how many more puzzles lay before their escape. If only he knew more about this place. Of course there was no way he could learn more about it from what they had. He would need someone on the outside.
Russia suddenly remembered a conversation he had with someone a long time ago, at one of the conversations. A little micronation, looking for tips on becoming a powerful nation. Russia had simply brushed him off at the time, seeing as he didn’t want to pick a fight with Sweden. But not before getting the little nation’s contact information.
Russia checked his contacts. Yes, here it was, Ladonia. He seemed to know a lot about computers, and finding information, so he kept the number.
Russia looked around the room. But if he was going contact this kid, then he might need to go somewhere more private. Everyone was quite protective where micronations were concerned.
He headed into the bathroom before making the call. An irritable voice answered on the other end, “Who is this?”
“This is Russia. You are... Ladonia, da?” Russia asked checking the name once more.
“Yeah? What do you want? It’s like three in the morning,” Ladonia growled.
“I have a job you might be interested in,” Russia grinned.
“What kind of job are we talking about?” Ladonia asked, pondering the thought. It would of course depend on how well it would personally benefit him.
“It comes with your recognition as country~” Russia baited him. Of course he could only promise that his nation would recognize Ladonia as independent. Not any of the other nations, or even that his nation would act differently as result. All he was really promising was that Ladonia would receive recognition on Russian maps.
Ladonia was stunned. Finally! About time someone realized his importance! He punched the air in celebration before returning to the phone call. “I’m listening,” He answered calmly.
Russia contemplated over how to relay the following information, “Word has apparently been spreading around the world, but I suspect it hasn’t reached you yet, da? The meeting that took place... not long ago. About three hours away from there we stumbled upon a mansion. Now we’re trapped and we can’t find a way out...”
“What?! How the hell do you get stuck in a mansion?! You’re the G8!” Ladonia shouted shocked. He checked his regular news sites. How did he miss this?! No information pertaining to this course of events came up on any public sites. Maybe if he hacked into some of the blocked boards then? After some coding and searching he came across a mysterious email sent to Sweden. Detailing the location and crisis. That would at least explain why he, Finland, and well, practically everyone else suddenly had to go on “business trip”.
“Keep it down or you might wake someone up,” Russia warned him, fearing Sweden or someone else would catch on. Of course after saying it he realised he should be fine. Sweden and the other nordics should all be around here.
“So, what do you need me to do about it?” Ladonia asked, not seeing how he would be much use, when there was literally already a world army on their way to the doorstep.
“You’re good with computers da?” Russia asked.
Ladonia chuckled, looking across his computer screen of hacked government websites. Good with computers?
“I want you to see what you can dig up on this place. I want to hear anything and everything,” Russia instructed him.
Ladonia grew quiet as he heard footsteps growing closer to his door.
Sealand burst through the door hyper as ever, “Ah! I was right! You are on the phone with someone! Who are you talking to? Is it Sweden? When are they coming back?”
“Sealand! ah- Get off!! -- Go back to bed already!” Ladonia shouted fighting Sealand back.
"See? Just as I said, wasn't it?" Russia couldn’t say he didn’t warn him.
“Well I didn’t think he’d just storm in here!” Ladonia complained. “... Go away! I’ll tell you in the morning,” Ladonia directed at Sealand.
"Yeah, but he literally woke up,” Russia continued with their previous conversation, “Anyway, you will work for me until you die.”
Ladonia sighed, “He’s going to throw a fit until I tell him. I’ll have to fill him in in the morning.”
“You do know that we have no such...service as a compromise, right?" Russia warned him against doing so. The more micronations that got involved, the riskier this deal would get. He didn’t want the others to find out. At least not until they were all safe and sound back home.
"What?" Italy asked from behind him. Russia jumped from shock. When did Italy come in?! How long had he been standing there? How much exactly had he heard? Russia quickly ended the call.
Russia answered the phone. Finally! It was about time, “What took you so long? What have you been doing?” He thought this was just going to be something he could do quickly while he was waiting for everyone else to wake up. it was going on a lot longer than planned.
“Calm down. You know there’s like no official record of a place like this, right? Quit harassing me,” Ladonia complained.
“What? Harassed?” Russia thought he was being pretty civil considering. “Just tell me already. Do you want to cooperate with me or not?” Russia asked, trying to get to the facts as quickly as possible. The others were awake now, which meant he could be walked in on at any minute.
Ladonia rolled his eyes, “Well given what little information I had on it, all I was able to find was that it appears to be in a lot of folktales local to the area. Of course it’s rumoured that no ones ever escaped.”
“What the heck? I don’t care about that,” Russia responded disappointed. That was it? He expected a bit more than that.
“Well if you’ll let me finish, i’m taking a record of all these alleged stories, and seeing how many of them match up. From there I might be able to find out if some of these ‘details’ are legit or not,” Ladonia explained.
“Hey I helped!” A mysterious voice complained from somewhere distant on the line.
“Where are you now? We are making progress, aren’t we?” Russia asked. He expected Ladonia would have something like that before calling him at least. He suddenly remembered the second voice... “And why can I hear a voice?”
Canada who was in the bathroom the entire time and overheard him and sneaked up closer.
“Sealand! I told you if you were going to be in here you needed to be quiet!” Ladonia scolded the fellow micronation. He then explained to Russia, “Sorry. He wouldn’t leave me alone until I told him.”
“…Why would you do that?!” Russia asked. Damn! If only Italy hadn’t walked in on him, he could have properly warned him not to. he didn’t want this spreading any further.
“He wouldn’t leave me alone! how was I supposed to work?” Ladonia whined. “Anyways. There should be blueprints to that mansion somewhere in there. They aren’t in the public records so they’re either there or else destroyed. If you can find them, it might help validate where the real exists and entrances are. ... You might also notice, according to many of these stories, that things will move around. The papers would most likely be somewhere harder for you to get to.”
“I can’t believe it. I did find it weird. Playing tricks like this…” He already had an idea of where to look. This was good. They might even be able to find a few shortcuts this way. Learn the creatures weaknesses, find all the exists. He could use this.
“Um…” Canada finally found the courage to speak up.
“C-Canada!! …You-er-how long have you been there?” Russia tried to laugh off his shock. that was close, but how long had he been listening? Had he figured him out? He shut off his phone quickly hoping to prevent him from hearing any more.
“Uh, well…I’ve been here all along,” Canada admitted.
“R-right…” Russia stuttered. This was bad. Too many people were starting to become suspicious. Was he going to tell? How long could he keep up this facade?
Down in the annexe, Russia waited for China to get out earshot. He pulled out his cell phone and put in the first number on his speed dial. It rang twice before he got an answer.
“Russia?” Ladonia asked picking up the phone.
“Da, it’s me,”
“What do you want, now? It’s like 2 in the morning!” Ladonia whined. Apparently time was still moving differently inside the mansion. It was still the same day here.
.”I found it,” He explained.
“What really?” Ladonia asked sitting up, “Let me see! ... Your phone has a camera or something like that right?”
“Da? Should I send a picture?” Russia asked.
“Yeah just send it through text, I’ll analyze it on my laptop once I get it,” Ladonia explained.
Russia pulled out the blueprints and took several pictures, “Did you get them?”
“...Yeah, just got ‘em,” Ladonia yawned, “I’ll have to look over this for a while before we know more...”
"Sorry," Russia responded, "Its my sister again. I'll be right back." He left out the door.
"Wai-" Canada tried to stop him but was too late, "nngh."
In the hallway between the annexe’s library and the lever room Russia finally answered the phone.
“ANSWER YOUR DAMN PHONE!!” Was the first audible thing Russia heard from the other line. It was a good thing he moved two rooms out for this call.
“What? Slow down. I can’t hear, what’s going on?” Russia asked, suddenly picking up on several distinct voices.
“Russia?” Another voice answered. “Is America alright?”
“Hey what about England?”
There voices blurred together confusing Russia until Ladonia finally regained control. “SHUT UP!” He snapped at them, “I said you could stay and maybe ask a few questions. I didn’t say you could steal my phone!”
“Ladonia?” Russia asked, “What is going on? All these voices?” Russia worried. How many people did he tell now? The more that got involved in this, the further in trouble he knew he was going to end up.
“Sealand went and blabbed about all this to everyone at our weekly ‘Micronation club meeting’,” Ladonia explained, “Help me out! They won’t leave me alone.”
“You WHAT?” Russia complained. The others would have his head.
“Hey don’t yell at me. Sealand was the one who blabbed,” Ladonia defended himself.
“Did not!” Sealand argued.
Russia rubbed his temples, “Just try and get this under control. I don’t want this spreading further. Did you find anything out yet?”
“Huh? No. These lame-os kept pestering me about what’s going on so I haven’t made much progress,” Ladonia complained.
“Then why did you call me?” Russia asked.
“They wouldn’t leave me alone until I did!” Ladonia whined.
“Look. We are in... a critical situation here. I can’t keep stepping out to talk with you,” Russia explained.
“Critical situation?! What’s going on? Is everyone alright?” Wy asked.
“Da, everyone is... alive. But Italy is still... asleep, Spain and Romano are... I’m not sure exactly where to call it. and England is momentarily blind,” Russia rambled without thinking.
“What?!” Sealand shouted, “Blind?!”
“Hey what’s with being so vague with some of those answers?”
Great. Russia had forgotten they were just children. He probably frightened them now. “I-It’s alright. Everyone will be fine, da? But I need to help out as much as I can,” He stuttered out trying to reverse the effects of what he just said. He hung up in frustration. Dammit. Why did he have to be so bad at this? He just wanted to figure out a little more about this place. How did that turn into some secret operation he had a bunch of kids running?
France dug into his pocket, “Oui, I still have it. Did you find something?” France asked excitedly.
Canada gestured toward the large grandfather clock. He could still see the area behind the clock where the keyhole was, “Yes, behi-”
Russia’s phone began to ring. “Oh. Sorry, It’s probably my sisters,” Russia apologized digging his phone out of his pocket. Again? He really hoped they had something for him this time.
“You’re sisters sure call you a lot,” Canada confronted him calculatedly.
He was catching on. Better play it cool for now... “Oh. You think so? I’m surprised they haven’t more. In any case, I better take this da?” Russia left the room, hitting talk on his cell phone.
Canada watched him carefully, as he left up the steep stairway above them. Russia moved to the next room to be certain he was out of earshot before answering. “Da?” He answered.
“So I’m looking over some of these notes,” Ladonia immediately started explaining, “And, Is there a chimney on the roof?”
“What? I don’t know that. I can’t exactly see the roof from inside,” Russia answered. He still wasn’t done going through those reports?!
“Augh...” Ladonia groaned in frustration. There were seriously hundreds of these articles! It was like a “local wise-tale” or something. But there were so many versions he couldn’t properly verify anything!
“Well I guess there was a fireplace on the second floor... but it was very narrow and no light shone through it, so I’m not sure it reaches the roof...” Russia tried to be a bit more helpful.
“Great,” Ladonia muttered. He wouldn’t make any progress at all like this, “I’ll have to go take a look for myself then.”
“What?!” Russia shouted. No, no, no, they could NOT come here. If he wasn’t in trouble already...
“Well It’s not like I’ve got much of choice! I can’t make any progress on this if I can’t verify any of the facts!” Ladonia shouted before abruptly hanging up.
“Ladonia? Wait don’t!-” He was going to be in so much trouble for this, “Shit!”
Russia stepped out into the room outside the safe room to take a call. “Ladonia? You ignore all my calls, then suddenly call me now?” He asked slightly irritated.
“Yeah hey. We found the world meeting place, but where do we go from here?” Ladonia asked.
“What the hell?!” Russia continued to grow irritated. This had turned into a really bad idea. “I said I didn’t want you coming here! Why would I tell you where it is?”
“Because it will help me figure out some more details,” Ladonia smirked.
"Ladonia! I said don’t come here!" Russia revealed unknowingly as he argued on the phone.
China opened the door completely, finally understanding why Russia wanted to keep these calls a secret. "So this is who you've been on the phone with this whole time aru?... Well I can see now why you've been so secretive about it."
Russia spun around, widened eyes, and fear from being caught. He'd done so well up until now. Why did he have to be caught now? It wasn't fair. "Ch-China!... I didn't hear you..." Russia was at a loss for how to explain.
"Playing the role of the villain again are we? Well this time I'll keep mum about it," China eased his mind.
China led Japan out of the piano room. Russia waited for the footsteps grow faint before he redialed the number for the missed call. When the other line picked up he began talking, “You need to stop calling me so much.”
Ladonia ignored him and just started talking, “We found the place, no thanks to you.”
“... Well I told you not to do that didn’t I?” Russia worried. How did they find it? ... How much longer could he keep this up if they were here? They were at least staying at a safe distance right?
“Yeah, and I said I needed to see this place for myself. Anyways, I can see why it’s been causing you all so much trouble... We had a pretty rough go with one of those things.”
“You what?!” Russia shouted into the phone with a bit of panic.
“Jeez...” Ladonia lowered the volume of the call via his laptop. internet signal was shoddy at best, but cell signal still seemed to work. At least while he stayed inside the computer. “Look, we’re all fine,” Ladonia assured him, “...It sure put up a fight though.... Augh! I wish I could’ve gotten in on some that!”
“...I see well that’s good at least,” Russia sighed with relief, “Why are you calling here now?...”
“Right,” Ladonia pulled up some of his record pools, “Well I’ve managed to narrow down a lot of these reports, I’ve even managed to find a bit of information you might find useful.”
“Really?!” Russia asked, “What is it?” Finally they were actually getting somewhere!
“The signal here is still bad. Which means time is somewhat confused in this space. Although it seems to get better if we break a clock. There might be some inside as well, so you should track them down and break them.”
“Oh,” Russia was disappointed, “We figured that out a long time ago. Before we couldn’t make any calls, and time was so distorted that when someone left the room we’d forget they came. We already broke all the clocks inside... But there are more out there?!”
“What?” Ladonia asked in frustration, “and you didn’t tell me? That would have separated a lot of this information! What else have you neglected to tell me??”
“I didn’t realize it was important,” Russia admitted. Honestly it had just slipped his mind, “anything else? ... Well, this isn’t the first time we’ve been here.”
“What was that?” Ladonia froze. He’d read the line “been here before” somewhere...
“We’ve been stuck in a loop for... a long time. Each time none of us can remember, but we always end up back here,” Russia elaborated.
“I have to go,” Ladonia quickly ended the call. He’d seen this somewhere. This was important. Something like this, why hadn’t he said something sooner?!
“Wait. Ladonia-” Russia heard the distinct click of the line cutting, “I got cut off...” Hmm... He hoped he hadn’t scared the poor little micronation.
Russia checked the door this time before pulling out his phone. China was thankfully still watching the door. Damn, this was bad. He knew he should have been more careful around the canadian. Now everyone was very aware he had a secret. He had no idea how he was going to get out of this now.
Russia redialed the number.
“WHAT TOOK YOU SO LONG!!” Ladonia shouted at him before Russia even had the chance to answer.
“I ran into a bit of... trouble, and your call certainly didn’t help. Now what is this about?” Russia asked.
“I found something!” Ladonia grinned.
“R-Really?” Russia asked skeptically. So far this whole thing had caused him far more trouble than it had done him good. ...but if he found something useful maybe it would help smooth things over later.
“Yes really, what do you take me for? One of these reports, that I’ve deemed accurate, claims there was a book written about this place. No copies of it exist, and there is no information detailing it’s whereabouts, but if it does exist it would be in the mansion somewhere. If you can find it, it should give us some clue as to how to defeat this thing for good,” Ladonia explained.
“R-really?” Russia asked, that would certainly be useful information, “Where can I find it?”
“How am I supposed to know?” Ladonia whined, “...Probably somewhere like the blueprints were. It’d be kept away from prying eyes.”
“I’ll call you back when I find it,” Russia answered seriously, “and... good work.”
“You bet it was good work!” Ladonia boasted, “You know how much trouble I went through to get that information??”
“Wait, by ‘the others’ do you mean?...” Italy started to worry.
“So our little brother’s here then?” Romano summed up.
“Molossia too then?! Are you serious?” America cursed.
“Why? Why would you bring them here?” Italy asked a little panicky.
“It’s not like I told them to come here,” Crap, this was exactly as Russia feared things would turn out.
“But that’s exactly what happened isn’t it?” England ranted, “Bleeding hell! What could you have possibly have had to gain from this!”
“I was only trying to help... the one is very good with computers, I thought he might be able to help,” Russia tried to explain himself.
“So you thought that would make it ok for you to lure all of them here? They’re going to get themselves killed out there!” America argued.
“I didn’t want them to come here!” Russia said in his defense. “but once they knew about it, it was hard to keep them away,” he admitted.
“You say you didn’t want them to come, but then how exactly did you intend to use their ‘help’?” Germany asked.
“Ladonia is very good at finding information hidden in the internet. I only wanted him to look up something about this place,” Russia answered defensively, “I told them explicitly not to come here.”
“I don’t care. All I know is Molossia and sealand, and a whole bunch of other kids are out there right now, and it’s your fault,” America scolded him.
“America,” Canada spoke up softly, “you’re a little over worried aren’t you? England talked with them, so I’m sure they’re alright. Honestly I’m relieved it didn’t turn out worse. These secrets were really starting to divide us.”
“Did you at least find out anything useful from all of this?” Prussia asked.
“Da. We found blueprints to the house... but they are a bit incomplete. Everyone outside is apparently breaking clocks, and... there should be a book somewhere in the annexe that could give us some clue as to how to stop this monster, but I haven’t found it yet.”
“Ah! the annexe! We found Japan down there earlier,” China reminded them.
“Really?” England asked, “down there? Is he alright? Did you talk to him?”
“I did but... he didn’t want to listen to me really. It seems he’s worked himself into a dangerous mood,” China relayed.
“I’ll try talking to him,” Prussia announced.
“Prussia?” Germany asked surprised by his brother’s willingness to volunteer.
Prussia shrugged, “I’ve talked with him about stuff like this. Besides, as far as I’m aware, I’m not hiding anything, so he’s got nothing to to be pissed with me about.”
“But it’s a bit dangerous to go right now. He’s pretty worked up,” China warned him.
“You think he’ll calm down if we give him some space?” Prussia laughed, “I’ll be back soon,” he waved to them as he left the room.
Prussia and Japan
Japan breathed heavily as he took another swing at the creature before him. It was quite a durable monster. The creature screeched one last time taking a fatal blow, “YoU wiLL nOT eScaPE!!” It vanished and Japan sheathed his still blood encrusted blade. “you will not escape,” he was becoming more and more aware of that reality by the minute, without the reminder. But he was already losing faith in their reason to escape. This was the way the world worked, secrets, betrayal, hatred, all working in an endless circle. They could not escape that truth, even when they all had the same goal in mind. Even when all they looked for was survival, they could not trust each other enough for that. Japan rested against the empty desk in the room, he was growing tired of fighting.
His rest didn’t last more than a moment before the door began to creak open again. Japan drew his sword and pointed it upon the intruder.
Prussia froze with his hands up as the tip of a katana suddenly appeared in front of his face. The door creaked shut behind him. “Hehe, That was close,” Prussia laughed it off, “You mind pointing that thing somewhere else?” Prussia asked pushing the sword gently out of his face.
Japan lowered his sword, but kept it ready at his side. “What do you want Prussia?” He asked, recalling his premonitions.
“I came, because everyone is worried about you,” Prussia explained, “What is going on?”
“What is going on? I’m tired of all the lies, and secrets. I’ve seen what they will bring, and I’m not going to let it happen,” Japan conveyed in frustration.
“You’re doing it again” Prussia commented, “You’re trying to solve everything on your own. By keeping your distance, and not letting us no what’s going on, are you not keeping secrets yourself?”
Japan didn’t let his surprise show. He hadn’t thought of it that way. Was this... No not right now, he needed to focus. “And what about you. When were you planning to tell us your secret?” Japan asked, turning the question back on him.
“My secret?” Prussia asked, “I wasn’t aware I had a secret.”
“You’ve been having panic attacks for a while now haven’t you? When were you planning to tell us about that?” Japan asked, recalling Prussia falling victim to one of them just before a serious fight, which could cause someone to get hurt or even die.
“Oh...” Prussia hadn’t thought about that. It’s true he hadn’t exactly explained this to the others, but he also didn’t realize there was a reason to. “I didn’t realize I needed to tell everyone every part of my life. It’s not like I was keeping it a secret, it’s just that no one asked me about it.” Prussia shrugged.
“Even a secret like that could be the difference between life or death,” Japan responded seriously. Although now that he thought about it he was starting to wonder exactly how serious it really was.
“That goes for you as well you know?” Prussia responded bluntly, “I don’t have any idea what happened in those premonitions of yours, but they could be just as dangerous if we don’t know about them.”
“I can’t trust that this information will be safe, if I can’t trust that things aren’t being hidden from me,” Japan explained.
“Hey, aren’t you forgetting something? I never said I gave you passing marks,” Prussia reminded him of the last time he tried to solve everything on his own.Their strength was as a unit.
“Ah!” Japan took a step back as he remembered trying to save everyone that time before when they were in the basement. “But that’s exactly the problem. Our strength to escape comes from our ability to trust and rely on one another. Without it, everything is going to fall to pieces.”
“But if you don’t tell us what’s happening, we can’t avoid the situation,” Prussia countered.
“Very well,” Japan conceded. “What I saw was in glimpses, one by one, everyone slowly started keeping their distance. Heading in another direction until we were all completely separated. It led to people getting hurt, broken alliances, and lost trust, eventually that would destroy us,” Japan explained what he saw. “Tell me, how are we supposed to avoid something that’s already started?”
“Well you could start by coming back and talking with us. The path we walk can be changed, it’s not set in stone. If we know what to avoid, we can choose a different path. But if you aren’t there to warn us it will carrying on as you feared,” Prussia tried to explain. He brought up an example, “You missed it upstairs. There was a big commotion when Russia’s secret come out.”
“You know what Russia is hiding?” Japan asked with surprise. He hadn’t been thinking all that rationally lately. He had just become so overwhelmed with everything it had driven him, iNsANe.
“Apparently all those phone calls he was making earlier were to the micronations, and now they found their way outside,” Prussia explained, remembering the shocking news.
“What?! But its too dangerous for them!” Japan worried. After all Japan was the parental figure for NicoNico. “I can’t believe that China would hide this from me if he knew,” Japan shook his head.
“Yeah, but you have to admit it’s a bit of a relief considering how potentially dangerous it could have be,” Prussia reminded him.
“Even so-” Japan shook his head, although he had to admit, he felt much better knowing it wasn’t worse.
“I can see why he kept it from you too. You’d freak out like this. The others all did. and don’t take this the wrong way when I say it, but I can see why he did it. Considering what they managed to uncover... a little outside help was really helpful,” Prussia admitted.
“How could you say that!” Japan was shocked. Even if it was helpful, there was no way it was worth the risk it put those children through.
“Japan, are you alright?” Prussia asked, picking up on Japan’s still strange behavior. it wasn’t like him to get worked up so easily. Actually, unless it was over food, it was hard to get him worked up at all.
“Am I alright?” Japan repeated the question.
“...You’re not acting like you usually do,” Prussia explained.
“I’m not?” Japan wondered, “Perhaps it’s my head. It’s been a long time since i’ve had a good rest, and seeing so much of the past and future is taxing on my body.”
“Let’s head back to the room then. You can explain what’s happening to the others and get some rest,” Prussia suggested.“That is probably a good idea,” Japan nodded, “and Prussia... this time I will learn from the advice you gave me in the past.”