As stories start...
“Hey! Three to one isn’t fair!” I hollered indignantly at the men, to which one answered with a vindictively gleeful voice, “Life is not fair.” Damn, I asked for it, didn’t I? Note to self, never mention the word ‘fair’ in front of distinctly unfair people.
I frowned to myself, “I still think you should be fair with these things…” Instead of answering, the three men brandished their knives. Oh, and if I didn’t mention it, I’m being robbed. I think. I mean, I think that’s what they’re doing brandishing knives in a deserted alleyway at the only other living being – me – and asking for money.
Again, if I hadn’t told you, there’s a reason I walked down a deserted alleyway without fearing for my life, and that’s not because I have a death wish. Another one got too impatient and snapped, “Your money or your life! Choose!” And lunged. Which is kind of weird since he did ask me to choose.
I dodged to the side, taking a few light steps away from the dangerous man. “You know, I’m only thinking of your sirs wellbeing is all, after all, you don’t want to be stabbing each other accidentally do you? Well, I have nothing against self harm and all, but a knife in your gut I find is terribly bad for your health, especially a rusty one.”
They blinked, but ignored my goodhearted – I swear – warning and tried to gut me like a fish. Which wasn’t very nice of them. I’m not a fish, last I checked, so I’m not meant to be gutted like one. Having decided I’ve wasted enough time with the three robbers, I gathered the air around me and wrenched upwards, jumping.
The wind carried me above the rusty knives – seriously, where did they get those things? I’m curious – wrapping around me in a cold but gentle caress. The arc of my jump landed me onto a nearby roof, and I turned to the gaping men, shouting a last warning before going my way.
“The tournament is here! Lots of strong people are coming to the city, your sirs take care!!!”
Jumping from rooftop to rooftop – in fact, I’m quite fond of rooftops, they are nice and high, with a great view – I finally spotted my destination, the multi-storey hotel, Cerulean. Or, according to my good friend – who I lost somewhere between the South Boarder and East Gate, whoops – a name befitting an often-frequented brothel. You can tell she’s a sarcastic soul to the very end.
The hotel is where everyone signs up for the tournament. You get free room and board for the duration of your stay, and free food as well.
The wind swirled around me gained force, and I made my final jump, the scenery blurred past as I summersaulted in the air, halting myself half a meter off the ground, hovering for a moment before dropping to the ground. I released my hold of the air, and the wind stilled, my hair yielding to gravity once again.
The security guard standing in front of the hotel looked down at me – there’s nothing wrong with being short! Though I prefer if people didn’t look down at me, it makes me feel small – and grunted, “Here for the tournament?”
I grinned, “You bet! I'm Liliruca by the way, what's your sir's name?”
“Damn it… What was his problem?” I grumbled quietly, dejectedly pacing outside of the hotel. The guard won’t let me enter. Again, damn it. “Tee-la, you look in a bind.” I blinked – it’s not everyday a person calls you big sister in the dialect exclusive to your part of the country – and turned to the source of the voice, to see a messy black-haired boy grinning up at me.
“Well, you could say that, the guard won’t let me get in!” I exclaimed. The boy tilted his head, smiling, “They don’t let just anyone in you know, especially at this time of the year. Though,” His green eyes glowed with a spirit of mischief, “I’ll tell you tee-la, if you treat little old me to some lunch.”
Oliver sighed as he swallowed a bite of pie, “That hits the spot.” He commented cheerfully, patting his – admittedly flat – stomach. This, friends, is the proper way to ask for other people’s money – in the form of bought food, of course – it seems the three robbers had yet to master the art.
The boy rested his chin on his hand when he finished off his pie, “So, in order to get into the hotel, you have to get the entrance pass first. You can see it as a preliminary round before the tournament if you want. After all, if just anyone can get into the tournament, the hotel would be overrun with thugs looking for a free room to stay in for the night. That’ll be a real problem!” I nodded seriously, “I see, so this entrance pass… how do I get it?”
Oliver studied me for a long while, then looked around furtively, “You know, it’s really dangerous for me to reveal this kind of information to just anyone, it’s tip top secret, so you know…” I studied the edgy boy, and then smiled brightly, “You really know how to lay it on thick, don’t you?”
He blinked. Then the chuckles started, “The heck? You actually have a brain in there somewhere!” I smiled sheepishly, “Well if I didn’t have a brain…” Oliver interrupted me, “Let’s not continue with that thought.” I conceded reluctantly. I know a lot of things about brains after all. Like how it’s inside your head. …Bad example?
“Are you sure that’s the place?” I whisper-shouted. Oliver nodded enthusiastically, crouched beside me behind a bush, “Yea, tee-la, that’s the place alright, the most notorious tourist attraction in the city.” To be honest, I’m intimidated.
The huge mansion loomed in front of me. The paint is peeling, and wood looking like loose pastry (that simply crumbles in your mouth when you bite into them). I don’t think the house looked particularly tasty though, I might get a stomach-ache if I ate it, it’s that scary looking.
Oliver whispered ominous facts to me as I studied the formidable structure. “People used to live here a long, long time ago, but there were you know, accidents, and a lot of them. It was abandoned not long after construction, of course, a new family might decide to buy and renovate the house every few years, but leave very quickly, driven away by an angry ghost or something. Then, then…”
I drew in a deep breath and stared at Oliver wide-eyed, “Then, a decade ago, not all that long, a girl’s body was found… Ooh, and it was a gruesome sight it was. Her ribs were pried open, everything in her chest cavity, strewn across the rosewood floor. But they were all still attached to her they were. And the worst thing was…”
I leaned forward as he did the same, his eyes as wide as mine, and he whispered with terrified reverence, “That’s not what killed her.” I squeaked, scared out of my wits as I waited for the climax of the story. “You see, rigor mortis didn’t match the time her wounds were inflicted, she could’ve been alive for days. The iron nails in her intestine proved it. And the cause of her death? A mixture of strangulation and blood loss, the experts were never sure which one took her first. See, her own intestine strangled her, and the nails she swallowed before slit her throat. The killer was never found. The monster could still be alive to this day.”
And I have to stay in that mansion for 12 hours to get an entrance pass. Isn’t my luck just supreme at this moment? I must say I feel very lucky right now.