They all look at me, confusion drifting around everyone.
I smile and clear my throat, “I would like to go first because...I am nervous. If I can’t fight it, might as well join it,” I say lamely, not wanting them to know the real reason. Like, I don’t know, I can cheat the system with life-lines and I got a little too excited.
I do not want to get married, especially to some Alpha-Elven dude. It’s not just that, I do not want to get married period. That’s just how I have always felt, I do not need a man to tell me what to do. I’m not a crazy feminist, but I just think a man would slow me down. He’d want me to have kids and stay at home. Now, I have had long term boyfriends, but I tend to get annoyed with them after a while. They just get too needy, wanting to settle down when I have one foot out the door.
I am an only child, grew up in a broken home. Nothing groundbreaking about that, my grandmother raised me, and once she passed away, it was like I have felt this need to make it on my own. I didn’t want to rely on anyone. That’s how Big Red was born, a version of Wonder Women in my eyes.
It’s silly but I always wanted to be Wonder Woman when I was small, having some weird obsession with her, she was everything I wanted to be. Other girls wanted to be pop-stars or movie stars, but I wanted to be her. She was magnificent, didn’t need anyone or any man to help her save the world. And, I will take that to my grave.
Apparently, I zoned out.
“Yes, sorry, I’m ready.”
“Let’s not waste time then,” the Godmother says and eyes me with a raised brow.
“Right,” I say and walk up to her in my bathrobe, feeling awkward. “So, I what do I do?”
Pierce walks up to me with a smirk. “Your outfit is actually quite fitting for this.”
I give him a dry look and hear some snickers from the girls.
Go to hell.
“All you have to do is place your hands in the waters and wait. It will tell you on the screen behind me what your position will be for the next three months.” His blue gaze sparkles with mirth.
I nod at him. “You know this crazy,” I deadpan. I take a breath and place both of my hands in the metallic waters. The cool substance makes my fingers tingle and tickle. I wait, feeling a wave of uncertainty. I glance behind me and see words being written.
I hold my breath and read: Competitor of Thunia: Team- Ajax Leocaryn.
Pierce claps, “Perfect position! Nice job Crystal.” He motions for the other women to line up for their turn. “Chop-chop, ladies!”
Apparently, I am on the team I didn’t want to be on. I roll my eyes and sit back down, ignoring looks of jealously. Calm down, ladies, I’m no threat. I am probably the worst person Pierce could have found for this.
Angie is next, sinking her hands in the substance with an excited look. The screen read: Competitor of Broyrus: Team- Raibyn Enkas
Angie frowns. “How will I get close to Ajax if I’m not on his team?
The Godmother flips through papers and looks up at her. “When the games are in session, everyone is in the same facility. You all, no matter what team you are on, will have ample time to make a connection. Next!”
Delon is next, and the screen read: Competitor of Sescesh: Team: Sarya Eilquinal
Lila walks up to the bowl and closes her eyes before putting in her hands. The screen read: Competitor of Thunia- Team- Ajax Leocaryn. This makes her yelp in satisfaction, high-fiving Pierce.
Like she won’t be annoying to watch. ”Ajax, can you help me stretch my vagina? I think I pulled a muscle...”
Tany is next, and she giggles, eyes bugging out of her skull with excitement. She places her hands in the substance, and the screen reads: Competitor of Ebrad: Team: Nym Kearen
The last girl is Yada, her A-line, chin-length hair gives her an edgy appearance. Not that I care, just an observation. She places her hands in the water, and the screen reads: Competitor of Ebrad: Team: Nym Kearen.
There is collective talking at once, the girls asking Pierce questions and conversations amongst themselves. I am the outcast because I don’t care to make friends with anyone. I will not be in this weird, alternate reality game for very long anyway. I am actually willing to trade anyone positions, I’m not wanting to participate in this challenge to win Ajax.
I have got to get back to my life that I worked so hard for.
“Crystal, follow me, we are splitting up to go to the briefing rooms where you will meet your agent.” Pierce nudges me. “You have a very good position, by the way.”
“Yay me,” I say and get up, following him to my briefing room.
“You still are not a little excited? This will be an adventure anyone would kill for,” he says and glances at me.
“I am super stoked,” I say and smile at him. “Truly.”
I don’t think he bought it.
We finally enter in this white room with some sort of large pod in the center. What on Earth is this? I almost jump when I see my agent sitting on a marble table, sucking on a lolly-pop.
Pierce nods to him. “This is your agent, Flix Darkcup.”
His large purple eyes assess me. He is very strange looking, almost like a real living anime character. Small and petite, large eyes. His dark hair is spiky with a white stripe on the side.
Flix looks at my outfit with an indifferent expression the takes out his lolly-pop, sighing. “What’s with her clothes. Please tell me this will get fixed, I’d like to win a mission for once.”
Pierce clicks his tongue. “You know this is not my design. We will fix this, did you read over her file?”
“Yes, file confirmed.”
“Great, then I will leave you two to discuss her three transformation wishes,” Pierce winks at me then leaves, whistling as he shuts the door.
I sit at the table, feeling incredibly awkward. I take off my turban, and my hair has dried in knots. Perfect. I tap my fingers on the table and glance at Flix, who is just studying me, sucking on his sucker.
“So,” I say and lean back. “Tell me what to do, I don’t care. Let’s just get it over with.”
His eyes grow wide. “Are you serious?”
I look around the room and laugh. “Yes.”
"Girl, you better take this serious or you’re about to look like a fool,” he says in a very diva way.
I have a bossy gay agent.
“I don’t care, honestly.”
He makes a sound. “Why do I always get the Divas? I swear Pierce does this to me on purpose.”
I glare at him. “Look who’s talking.”
“Have you seen this guy?”
“Of course not.”
“My point exactly. Fairy Godmother Inc. Alfa-males make bitches go cray-cray. I am not even kidding. You are going to wish you picked wisely, trust me. I read his profile, he sounds insanely hot.” He gives me a pointed look.
“I am around hot guys all the time, big deal,” I say, who does he think I am. Ugly?
He laughs, sounding a bit like a chipmunk. “You’ll just have to hear me say, I told you so. Which I say a lot. I wish everyone just listened to me the first time around-annoying.”
I raise a brow, not knowing what to think. “Well, if I have to pick, then which ones?”
A thick book manifests on the table, which he opens. “Ajax. Hmm, he has a fling with Sarya of Sescesh. She sounds like a total bitch.”
“Maybe we will get along.”
He looks up at me. “No, she is on a different level bitch. Like, I’ll slit your throat with my nails, kind of a bitch.”
“Huh,” I lean forward, feeling mildly interested.
“It says he is a leg and breast man, though it’s just a guess.” He flips through some papers. “Though I think this Sarya chick is like a low B cup, I remember reading her measurements. We are very thorough here.”
I laugh at that.
He looks at me, then my hair. “Let me see what we are working with here.”
“I am naked under here, it’s a bathrobe,” I say, is he serious?
He rolls his eyes, his little pixie nose scrunched. “Trust me, this is for your benefit. Cover your privates for crying out loud girl. You know I swing for the other team.”
I take a breath, not even wanting to take this seriously. I am just going to use my life-lines anyway. But I stand and undo my robe, covering my main parts.
Flix jumps up and examines me with a frown, then finally, “You must be one conceited chick.”
I smile and close my robe. “Nope, just blunt.”
“Well, I don’t see anything we need to address, which is a first for me. But you need to be in the best physical shape. It’s a must with this mission.”
“Okay” I say, “what else?” I try not to sound interested.
“Well, I did a lot of studying because this is a very hard mission due to the games. I’m kind of a nerd.” He looks proud as he lifts his little chin. “I have not won a mission yet, and I would like to.”
I feel bad for him because he will not win with me either.
“Did Pierce tell you how humans on Thunia are picked?” he asks, his lips going thin.
“No,” I say, curious.
“Think of it like the X-men, I know that’s a popular show on Earth. Some humans have certain abilities, and most others do not. It’s very rare to have abilities, that’s how these games got started in the first place,” he flips through the book again. “I think having the ability of the Spirit Valkyrie would be beneficial, and super awesome. I read that it’s really rare and might draw attention.”
“What is that?”
“I am not sure. You must find that yourself I guess, but I think you can create these spirit animals like ghost type things to help you. I thought it sounded the coolest. Better than just being a flame thrower or super strong.”
Well, I’m not interested, just merely going through the motions.
He nods, “On this mission, we are only allowed to have one supernatural gift. Anything else you would like to help snare the man?”
I laugh. “Nothing comes to mind, though I don’t care about the man, I always wondered how it would be to have an amazing voice.”
He claps and laughs. “Girl, you trying to be a siren?!”
“This is for me, not him,” I say with an eye-roll. “I play the piano a lot and always had the voice of a dying horse.”
He’s laughing, which is making me smile.
Flix has a cute little laugh.
Not that I care.
Pierce barges in. “Sorry that took so long. Okay, into the pod you go, my dear.”
Flix nods at me to go.
I swallow and walk over to the pod, stepping into it. If someone would have told me last night, this is what I’d be doing for my birthday, I’d say they were on crack. The pod closes around me, making me tense. Oh shit. Pink and blue lights flash around me, and I can see a computer screen in front of me.
"Okay, first trait?” he asks through the intercom.
“Uh, best physical shape.”
“Perfect, always a favorite. Next?”
“A Spirit Valkyrie?”
“An interesting choice. I’m guessing that came from Flix.”
"Something like that.”
“A badass voice. Like with low husky tones, I don’t want no opera crap,” I say. This is fulfilling a little fantasy of mine.
“Okay, I think I know what you mean,” he continues, ”Take a deep breath for me please.”
I take a deep breath, feeling very nervous. I hear this loud ringing and my skin tingles, I gasp feeling hot and it’s very alarming. Right before I panic, I hear the machine shutting down. I am breathing hard, my body is shaking.
What the hell.
I step out on wobbly legs. “That. Hurt.”
Pierce nods. “You look great, though!”
“What?” I say, and glance over to my left. I see myself in a large mirror and my mouth drops open.
“Fairy Godmother Airbrushing. It’s a given, it’s in the contract, not sure if you read that or not.”
He is laughing at me.
“Well,” I say, “Holy shit.”
My skin is golden-goddess status, no blemishes. I’m in shock, like mouth still hanging open. This is insanity. My body feels tight and tone, my ass gaining some inches in muscle. I look like a goddess. Like I have been photoshopped-edited.
“Aright,” Pierce says as he touches his ear-piece. “We are ten minutes out.”
“Spin for me, we need you dressed for the part. Quick please, unless you want to wear your robe. Flix, you will be the water boy, staff member. You will have to be in shape-shift form at first.”
My heart is beating wildly, I spin, closing my eyes in case it hurts. This is so crazy, I repeat to myself as I feel my whole body buzzing. I stop spinning when I feel Flix’s hands stopping me. I look down, and I am in white, shiny skinny jeans, weird light-up sneakers, and a half-fishnet, white top. The top is very sexy, showing some cleavage and making my tan killer.
I look insanely hot.
My hair is shiny, flowing down my back, almost glowing like fire.
I glance at Flix. “I don’t even recognize myself, and that’s saying a lot.”
Pierce nods, “Go give him hell. Flix will explain everything when you arrive. Telepathic talking at first would be advised.”
I am so nervous.
This is too real.
I swallow, feeling sweaty.
And, Big Red is out.