A/N: Alright, it's time for my weekly update. This is actually going better than I thought it would, considering I've just come back to Fictionpress not too long ago. Also, thank you to the few anons who are my friends in real life. Minus a couple of you, I knew nearly all of you face to face. I'm glad everyone both anon and those possessing accounts here have supported me this far.
By: Melissa Norvell
Act 2: Twisted Land
The rain beat against the window and the wind howled like the dead of winter. It was pitch black outside, and the night appeared harsh and unforgiving compared to the cozy, warm feeling of being inside. Tarvos smiled at his success. He had been able to finally relax, with a warm place to stay and a stomach full of food. It was nice to be satisfied with life.
"That storm really picked up. Glad as hell it's not me out there." Just thinking about it repulsed him.
"I'm glad that you're in here, too. I hope that you'll sleep well tonight." Rezzi sat with her legs under the kotatsu table.
"I'm fine with a pillow and a blanket. I've never slept on anything else but the floor, so it would be weird for me to start doing it now." Besides, it wasn't that much different than how the Japanese did it. The only difference was that there was no futon to separate his body from the floor.
A blue pillow hit him in the chest, followed by a light blue, heavy blanket. "I hope that these are good enough. I can give you more if you want them," the girl smiled slightly.
"This is fine," it was better than sleeping in a roll of old rug and that was all he could ask for.
"Tomorrow I'll be at school, so I want you to stay at home and be on your best behavior. When I come back, I'll have gifts for you." While she knew that he wasn't an animal, he definitely wasn't human. How intelligent he was, and what knowledge he held of anything human was beyond her. More than anything, it was a statement instructing him to be careful because she was not around to help him.
"You don't have to do that." Really, he could just find something to wear somewhere. He wasn't particular.
"I can't have you going around with nothing to wear. Oh, before I forget…" She made her way over to him, running her hands down his arms and legs, and wrapping them around his waist. It was nothing sexual, in fact it was very professional but it still weirded him out no matter how many times it was done. Tarvos was never one to long for the touch of another and had rarely been touched in any kind of manner.
"What are you doing?" He blinked, befuddled as to what purpose the girl's actions proved.
"I'm just seeing what size would work for you. I don't want to get anything too small, since you seem very tall," Rezzi noted.
"I guess I can learn to be a touchy-feely person. It was just sudden and odd that you'd start feeling on me out of nowhere." Now that he had a reason, he calmed down more than he was.
"I'm sorry," the black-haired girl turned her face away, feeling slightly embarrassed. "I touch a lot because I can't see well. I never think to ask anyone if I can touch them. I probably should do that."
"It's fine. I don't mind. It's not like you're molesting me or anything. It's cool," he gave a slight smile and somehow hoped that she could make it out with her limited vision.
"I'm going to take a bath and get some rest. I'll see you tomorrow. Sleep well," she got up and made her way to the bathroom, but when she stepped into the doorway, she heard a raspy voice, questioning her.
"So, you'll let me stay?"
"You can stay for now," she replied, not turning around.
"Thanks. You're pretty cool for a human."
Rezzi grabbed her walking stick and made her way past the kitchen table, which had a recorder with her voice on it. She had taught the demon how to use it if he needed anything. There were several intricate verbal instructions for various things she thought he might need help on: drawing a bath, using the stove and things of that nature.
She walked past Tarvos' sleeping form, curled up on the living room floor. The girl smiled warmly at him, finding his position pleasing on the eyes. He seemed so peaceful, or at least his fuzzy image did. Quietly, she shut the door and made her way to school.
In front of the school, a perky blonde with bright, blue eyes and large breasts ran up to her and stopped unbearably close to her form. The blind girl simply tapped her shoe with her walking stick.
"Excuse me, who is this?" Rezzi questioned the form.
"It's Mae, silly! I came to walk you around school. I hope that you don't mind." Her confident, charismatic voice filled her senses, followed by a deeper male voice that contrasted with a brash tone.
"She's blind, not crippled. Damn she can walk herself," a boy stood slightly behind Mae, he was relatively short, only a few inches under Rezzi's height. Granted, she was tall for a girl but he was short for a guy. His hair was short, black and messy and his expression always gave off the impression that he was pissed off at the world.
Mae glared behind her, the long, blonde ponytail held back in a blue star band nearly hit her friend in the face. "Shut up, Dante. I'll do what I want," she huffed and grabbed the blind girl's arm possessively.
"I'm not going to fight you for her," Dante could care less. Rezzi wasn't defenseless. If she truly wanted her off of her, then all she had to do was beat her with her walking stick…or whatever blind people did.
"That's because I'll kick your ass," Mae insisted with a pouty face, clinging to Rezzi as if she'd die if she dared to unhand her. Rezzi just stood there; she had grown tolerant of this act. It happened nearly every day she went to school. Her group of friends were always this crazy, especially these two.
"You're a dumbass."
"You don't need to fight over me. I am both of your friends," Rezzi attempted to change the subject. Hopefully it would work and not cause even more of a flare up between the two. Stepping in between their fights was always like playing a game of Russian roulette, and more often than not she was the one who got shot.
"I've been meaning to ask you, did you get your outings done? The weather was pretty bad last night." Mae decided a change of pace was good, but she still clung to her like she was her life source.
"I picked up an interesting item," Rezzi was actually quite proud of herself upon that announcement.
"Interesting item?" Dante quirked eyebrow arched in question. "I don't like the way that sounds." Anything that made the blind girl perk up was questionable. She was a woman that had vague and weird fascinations.
"What kind of item?" Mae was skeptical herself. Rezzi was rather…quirky on her own. She was the type of person who would bring home a piece of garbage that meant nothing to anyone, but it somehow held a nice quality enough to clean and frame. That's exactly the kind of girl Rezzi was.
"A person," that reply was a little too happy, even from Rezzi.
"A person? What the fuck?" Dante was nearly knocked down at the mention of such a thing. A dog maybe? Or a cat? But a person? That was not what he expected. Now he legit worried for her safety.
"I met a homeless man in the alleyway and I invited him back home with me," the blind girl explained it as if it were the simplest of gestures with no true hint of malice behind it. As innocent as it seemed, her friends staunchly disapproved of her actions. It was downright unacceptable.
"What? Is he still at your house?" This was serious business to Mae; her voice was on the edge of fright but still held a lecturing quality to it. Somehow Rezzi should have expected this.
"Are you that stupid?" Dante trudged up and uncrossed his arms, getting close to her face with his upturned frown. However, the blind girl knew that when he was like this, he was just concerned. "That guy could be a rapist. What the fuck is wrong with you?"
"He was really nice to me. We slept alright-" She was cut off by Mae.
"Did you sleep in the same bed as that creep?" Mae questioned. Now they were just jumping to conclusions. It wasn't even that bad. They were just being overprotective.
"No, he slept in the floor in the living room." If they would have let her explain it, then they would have known.
"Thank god. I hope that creep doesn't do anything to your stuff while you're gone," Mae was relieved. No one touched her Rezzi, let alone any of her stuff. She would rip that guy's eyes out and shove them up his ass if he dared to even try it to her.
"What would he do to it?" The question wasn't innocent, just quizzical. Rezzi doubted Tarvos wanted any skirts, pairs of glasses, walking sticks or anything girly. Hell, she felt bad about letting him have the few things she did and that floral soap bath was probably not the best experience of his life, although it made him smell really nice.
"Steal it," Dante huffed.
"You guys really are overreacting-"
They would have none of it.
"I want to see this guy and give him a piece of my mind," Mae huffed angrily. Who did this ass hat think he was, taking advantage of a blind girl? He should be ashamed! To her, he was the ultimate predator and sense of low there could be in the world.
"I want to see what kind of homeless person could possibly catch your eye, much less gain your sympathy." When Dante thought about it, Rezzi wasn't the kind of person who'd just take anyone off of the street. She was smarter than that, and the girl was often the voice of reason in their group. It wasn't like she had a mental illness or anything. So what was up with the random homeless guy she took in? There had to be a reason.
"You can come by after I get home later. I have to do some shopping but I should be home about two hours after school," she noted. Maybe if they just saw Tarvos in his human disguise, then they wouldn't worry so much. Rezzi just needed some time to run things past him; she didn't really know how he felt about people.
They only knew each other for a day.
"I'm definitely coming by," Mae puffed up her cheeks.
"Me too, I can skip playing that game and band practice for this." That was saying a lot, considering Dante sold his soul to rock music and practiced religiously as lead singer and guitarist of his small-time band. His second love was playing that game. If it wasn't one it was the other, and school was the only thing that blocked his further commitment to either one.
"That game? You still play Twisted Land, Dante?" Mae questioned, a little surprised.
"That game can be too real for me at times," the blonde frowned.
"Twisted Land?" Rezzi questioned.
"It's a reality game where you can go around fighting demons and aliens after the world has ended. The object of the game is to find other players to help you kill off aliens and repopulate your dying world. It's so life like. You feel like you're literally inside of the game." To Mae, such striking similarities were frightening on many levels. Absolute apocalypse was hard to even fathom, much less find any enjoyment in playing.
"Your real enemy is the Grand High Messiah.-" Dante started but he was interrupted by a third girl who walked up behind him.
"Grand High Messiah?" A small-framed, petite girl asked.
"Yeah, what about it?" Dante asked as he glanced over his shoulder at her. He knew that voice. It belonged to a certain, lolita-loving girl with sky blue hair pulled back in two buns in the back of her head, large, innocent eyes and a complexion that would make ghosts envious.
"The Grand High Messiah is a very dangerous being. If he should show up, then that marks the end of the world." She pointed this small fact out to him.
"You believe in that horseshit?" Dante shot. It was just a game, and here she was, yet again, for the millionth time making the situation more unbearable for him. She always had some kind of shit to talk about it.
"It's not horse poop. It's a real thing."
"It's in a game," Dante argued. This bitch was crazy in all the wrong ways. It didn't matter how passively she talked to him, shit was shit. Her belief in the Grand High Messiah was shit. If he ever showed up in their world, he would shit himself and curl into the fetal position but no matter how she tried to make it realistic, it was not.
"The game is based on a real being. It's that Twisted Land game isn't it?" Her expression was oddly grave at the mention of the Grand High Messiah. It must have been that game. It made a mockery of what he even stood for.
"It's a fake world," Dante rolled his brown eyes. "Even if your 'messiah' is real, the situation is hypothetical. You worry way too much about all of that apocalyptic crap, Miss President."
"You don't-"The class president tried to explain, but she was cut off by the bell ringing. Sighing to herself, she dismissed the subject. "We'll talk about this later."
Mae hung tight to her friend's arm, "I'll take you to class."
Nodding, Rezzi agreed as they made their way to her first class. There were few people there. Most of them were fellow blind students or special needs students who worked at their own pace. As she ran her fingers over the brail in her text book, she pondered about the Grand High Messiah and the validity of his myth. Things were transpiring at an interesting rate. She wondered if her new house mate could have anything to do with the class president's religion. So many interesting theories ran through her head. It was hard to concentrate at all.
Most of her time was spent theorizing and thinking about Tarvos. That class passed by with no problem. Her next class was one where she had students with her that were not disabled. Dante was in there, but she was sure that he would be talking about Twisted Land with his friends more than paying attention. It was how he usually spent that period.
As expected, he was seated between two of his friends. Dante was writing something on a piece of paper. To his left, a guy his age with tanned skin and a Mohawk was listening to the lecture and to his right was a guy with black hair, wearing shades. He looked younger than Dante but they were actually the same age. He was labeled as one of those chick magnet cool guys. Rezzi knew many girls who had a crush on this guy. Granted, they had reasons. He was a very attractive blur, had a nice, perfect boyfriend voice and he was slick as ice but genuine in whatever he said. She valued him more than the others as a friend and they had been pretty close. Dante was the only other person he was closer to but she could deal with that.
The guy in the shades passed Dante a note. He opened it.
Going to meet online later?
He answered as they began to pass it back and forth in conversation.
Sorry, going to Rezzi's. Play with Tony.
That's bunk, dude. Is there something going on between you two?
No. I'm going to hang out. She, Mae and I.
Can we tag along?
I'll ask her later.
The bell rang, ending their written communication and thankfully so. What the hell was he trying to imply with he and Rezzi? Never mind it, school was over and now he could finally see this homeless fuck that Rezzi was talking about earlier. Honestly, he had been thinking about this shit all day and he couldn't get it to go away for the life of him. There was just something wrong with it.
Besides, Dante had a girlfriend, even if their relationship was a little rough and the situation was complicated, it didn't mean he'd go and have an affair behind her back.
Tony was walking with his friend in the shades after school ended. There was one thing on his mind, one thing that had constantly chipped at the structure of his brain throughout the entire school day, so he inquired. "Hey, what were you two writing about?" He had taken occasional glances at it out of the corner of his eye but he forced himself to pay attention, because his grade was low in that class and his parents would kill him if he failed this close to graduation.
"Dante won't be joining our session tonight," the black-haired boy gave him the bad news.
"Really? What's got you hung up tonight, bro?" Tony glanced over to Dante, who hung on the end of the group.
"Going to Rezzi's."
"She wants us to meet a new friend of hers," Dante informed. Actually, they insisted on meeting her new "friend" and she obliged. The story was only half way true.
"Is he coming to school with us?" His friend in the shades questioned.
"Hell if I should know. He's some homeless guy she met," Dante just blurted it out, as if it were a mundane occurrence and of no importance what so ever. Besides, his friends' constant questioning was irritating him.
"A homeless guy?" Tony asked, breeding a new series of questions.
"It's a long story. I'll explain it when I get more details," Dante could only pray the barrage of questions stopped here.
"Good luck with that, bro," the boy in shades patted him on the back, and strangely enough, it managed to calm him down a little.
"Thanks, David," Dante released a slow exhale of breath.
It had turned out to be a bigger crowd than she thought would show up. The president, Mae, Dante, Tony and David all gathered to wait for her in front of the school. They were all dressed in their normal clothes, opposed to the blue, yellow and white school attire they usually sported.
Rezzi strolled up in a black shirt with a green Libra sign on the breast and a short, dark green skirt that resembled a fuku. The blur was massive and several things moved within it. It must have been how many people were there but she couldn't really tell. "I didn't know that all of you wanted to come shopping with me."
"I didn't really come for that. I just want to see the homeless guy," Dante admitted the truth of the situation. He hated shopping. Hell, he didn't even like shopping for his own clothes, much less anyone else's.
"You never go shopping with me, Dante. I figured as much," Rezzi replied simply.
"Well, of course I want to come! You know how I love fashion!" The president's cheerful, kind voice rang through as she clasped her hands together.
"Speaking of fashion, maybe I should bring Ringo along," Mae stuck her finger in the air, matter of factly.
Tony was the first one to comment her alleged idea. "That fashionista boyfriend of yours?"
"He'd be a great help picking out some clothes for your friend," Mae defended her case.
"Clothes no one can afford," Dante mumbled sarcastically as he stuck his hands in the pockets of his leather pants. Outside of school, Tony's attire was leather pants, a leather vest with a mesh shirt underneath, leather, fingerless gloves, a spiked collar and black leather boots with fur on the top and various arm bands. He and Dante were members of the same band, only he played more on the look of a band member than his friend did.
"It might be nice to have his opinion on it, since he is a fashion designer," Rezzi eased the tension between the two as a girl, still dressed in her school uniform, sporting long, black, wavy hair walked up. "Hey, I heard you guys were going to the mall. Mind if I come along?"
Their group was certainly gathering fast.
"Ayumi," Dante turned and smiled quaintly at the purple-eyed girl.
"Hey, Dante," she ran up and hugged him tightly. He returned the gesture affectionately. Ayumi glanced over his shoulder at Rezzi as David made an awkward face in the background. "You don't mind, right?"
"You should talk to Rezzi," Dante replied.
"Not at all," the more the merrier. Their group was already large, so might as well.
"Now that's settled, let's go and stop by Ringo's place," Mae wanted to get this show on the road already. She was excited to hop on over to her boyfriend's house. He was the best shopping buddy and she couldn't wait to see him. Then again, Mae was a pretty clingy person and hated that he was already graduated while she had to spend time in class. Just a few more weeks and they could finally be together.
"It'll be nice to see Ringo again. I want him to give me some tips on my wardrobe," The president smiled happily.
Oh god, no. Dante wanted to run the hell away as fast as his feet would take him. Producing an expression of irritation, he stuck out his bottom lip and crossed his arms. "Greeeaaaaatttttt…"
David hooked his arm around his friend's neck. The faint smell of cologne wafted through his friend's nostrils and the warm touch of their bodies caused him to unstiffen. "We'll just leave the divas to themselves. I want to get some gear for Twisted Land."
"That's what I'm talking about!" Tony's excitement escalated as he gave a thumbs up and winked.
"We have to help Rezzi first, guys," Mae didn't hesitate to remind them of their original mission. They could wait for their game later.
"Right, we're going to do our own thing on the way." He wasn't trying to be an ass; the mohawked teen was just excited.
"This will be great fun," Ayumi smiled with her arm around the grumpy male.
"If you're a girl," Dante muttered.
"Don't be so grouchy, Dante," She chided.
"Asking for that is like asking for a miracle," Mae shot. Dante was never happy with anything, or at least he was never happy when she was around. The only time he even perked up was around Rezzi or Ayumi. It figured. He liked them more than anyone else anyway…besides David and Tony, but they were just friends.
Everyone began to make their way towards Ringo's house, walking as the sound of faint chattering could be heard. The day was significantly better than that night before and the weather was good enough to wear long or short sleeves without feeling too cold against the skin.
"Hey, Ayumi, you play Twisted Land, right?" Tony brought up a subject to end the silence between them.
"Yes, I do," Ayumi turned to him and smiled.
"How far are you? Did you get to see the Grand High Messiah yet?" Awesome! She played the game! This would make the walk more tolerable for Tony, since the last thing he wanted to talk about was shopping.
"I'm actually on my last life. The Grand High Messiah appeared through a time rift and decapitated me with his war scythe, so I got sent back to the beginning. Now, the blind prophet is telling me that I have to go back to the high school." Ayumi explained.
"That's where you first met him anyway," Tony stated.
"I didn't meet him there. I showed up after everyone died," David joined the conversation.
"What occupation do you have?" Tony was curious.
"I'm a time guardian. I have to go and find Oz."
"I'm a demon; I'm just not sure which one." Dante threw it out there. He actually found it odd that he was given that character, since there were few players who were even given those types of characters. He figured that it was a rare give away. That's what the forum had told him, anyway.
"I'm a warrior," Tony educated.
"I was a mage, but now I'm studying to be one all over again," Ayumi explained. She was really powerful, too. That damned Messiah got the best of her and stole everything she had gathered. At that point, she really wished that she had been smart and saved the game. It was a lesson well-learned.
"I'm a swordsman," Mae told them.
"I'm a blind prophet, or at least I'm studying to be one," Rezzi joined in their conversation. Even though she was blind, she had a big screen to help her see better, and she worked mostly from a special system that allowed her to play the game as well as the other players. It was a present from an online friend.
"I still don't like this game," the president's comment was drowned out, but she really wished they would drop the subject.
"Have any of you met Oz yet?" David inquired. If they had, maybe they could help him do so, or at least give him an indication as to where he even was in the game. That man was illusive as fuck.
"I don't even know who that is," Tony shrugged.
"Oz Castor? He's the one who created Twisted Land, supposedly. He's Time. You're lucky if you even meet him once in the game. Right?" Dante looked to David for affirmation. He knew the most about Oz anyway.
"You're supposed to meet him if you're a successful time guardian. He's kinda weird and hard to find because he hides in time rifts and paradoxes. If you find him and you hit it off well, then he does a lot of amazing things for you, but that's not why I want to meet him." No, David had other reasons of a desired meeting between the two.
"You really like him, don't you?" Mae was pretty sure his fixation with that guy was unnatural.
"More like obsessed," David admitted. "He made such a kick ass game. If I was a chick, I'd probably have a crush on the guy. He's like, my idol. He just doesn't know it yet."
"Some things shouldn't be messed with. That Oz guy doesn't even know what he's talking about, making some fantasy game out of the Grand High Messiah's legacy. I bet none of you even know how horrible that is." The president preached at her friends. She really wished they would see her point or at least consider the legend it was based off of.
"Lannad, it's just a game. I don't see what's so horrible about it," Tony reasoned.
"I told you, Lannad. No one believes in your stupid as fuck religion," Dante shot. He was really sick of hearing her drone on and on about the game. Everyone liked it but her and some opinions should be kept as thoughts. Hers were some of them, and she was doing nothing but dragging everyone down anyway.
"It's not stupid," Lannad defended herself. "It's an event that actually will happen, not something you can just make fun of whenever you feel like it."
"I'll believe it when I see your Grand High Messiah," Dante argued.
"Have you ever seen him in the game?" Tony averted the subject back to a happier place before the fight could escalate.
"No," Dante huffed.
"I have," Dave replied.
"Me too," Ayumi agreed.
"I haven't," Mae told them.
"Haven't what?" An older male's voice intoned.
"Ringo!" Mae squealed, perking up instantly as everyone turned to see a man in the yard of a house next to them.
He was clad in a blue, pin striped suit with a rose in his pocket and a hat. The male was beautiful, fashion model quality with a long, lean form. His shoes were shined to the highest caliber and he was clean shaven and very suave. The male smiled at the group, and more precisely at Mae. "Hey babe! How's it going?"
…To Be Continued
A/N: This chapter was designed to build up the character of Rezzi's human friends and bring them to light. In the next chapter, they will come into contact with Tarvos. I hope everyone is enjoying this story so far. Please leave me a review and tell me what you think! I'll gladly return all reviews that I get.