I cringed when I wrote this. Especially when Fro and Bella were around. But I had fun nonetheless.
A friend helped a lot when it came to the more… let's say attractive males part. I have no taste. Thanks, Em.
(If you're wondering how I got the names, I rolled my head across the keyboard and added vowels, apostrophes and dashes.)
'Hey… Lucy… What the hell just happened?'
Lucy shrugged. 'Teleportation?' She stared up at the perfect blue sky, and raised an eyebrow. The long, luscious green grass tickled her cheeks.
'We just landed in the middle of the field.'
'Powerful stuff there, Captain Obvious. … Hey, Sarah?'
'I'm freaking out.'
'Nah. Maybe we should walk around?'
Lucy turned her head to one side in disbelief, staring at her friend. 'Do you want to die?'
'Nah.' Sarah sat up. 'Nothing hurts, nothing broken. Let's roll.' She pulled Lucy up and strolled off.
Lucy sighed and followed her.
'Umm... hey...' Lucy looked up at a tall, tanned blonde girl with piercing green eyes. Well, they were green right now. They kept on changing, apparently according to her mood.
'Yeah. We're kind of new here? I was wondering if you could... uuh...' She drifted off. The lady's eyes had changed from green to purple to yellow.
Lucy threw a glance at Sarah. 'We don't have any money and... we... needed a place to stay?'
'Yeah,' Sarah said. 'I'm Sarah and she's Lucy, by the way. What's your name?'
'... Real name?'
The blonde blinked her wide eyes (now blue) innocently. 'Cuaw-non'n-kaej.'
'… Mmmhmm. So… are the hotels here free?'
'No, but you're welcome to stay at my house for as long as you need to. I also have a friend staying with me. He just got back from another place. I hope that's no trouble?'
'I dunno, is he cute?' Sarah asked, deadpanned.
Cuaw-whatever grinned, showing off all of her pearly and unbelievably white teeth, and said, 'Only average.'
Twenty minutes later, Sarah, Lucy and Cuaw-My-Eyes-Are-Pink-Now were in what Cuawie called a 'house', but was what could only be called a 'flipping mansion'.
They were seated in a huge room filled with delicate furniture and delicate wall hangings, delicate windows, flowers, tea cups, and everything else which had ever been delicate.
And the conversation was awkward at best.
'So tell me, how old are you?' Cuaw asked, sipping delicately from a delicate teacup filled with delicately-scented tea.
'We're fifteen. I'm three months older.' Sarah grinned and slurped from her teacup. Cuawie winced slightly.
'So how many times have you saved the world so far?'
'… Eh? I saved Lucy's cat from drowning once?'
Cuawie held back a smile and said, 'I've saved it three times single-handedly. How many languages do you know?'
'One. And a bit.' Sarah shifted uncomfortably.
Cuawie smiled delicately (was there nothing not delicate here?) and said, 'I know fifteen. I can learn one in seven days, but sometimes I'm too busy saving the world, you know?'
'Yeah, that's nice. So tell us about this place. I haven't seen any kids, and there seems to be a big black and red land hanging around on both sides of this place.'
'Oh, that. One of them is where the children are brought up –'
'What the frack?!'
'– and the other is the Badlands. They send raiding parties every now and then, and of course sometimes they take some of the children and experiment on them –' Lucy almost puked in her cup '– but they always find their way back, and always stronger than ever.' She chuckled. 'For example, I can fly with or without wings, read and manipulate minds, use x-ray vision and teleport, to name a few.'
'You said something about the kids living in those badlands?'
'Oh, no, they're not the Badlands. They just… we all grew up with tragic childhoods, you know?'
Lucy stared at her tea. 'Yeah, sure.' Poor kids.
After five minutes of relating a horrific story of murder, maiming, experiments, torture, kidnapping, re-kidnapping, running away and all Classic Bad Things, Cuawie took a sip of tea.
Sarah and Lucy had long ago put their cups down.
A door opened, then slammed. Cuawie looked up. 'That'll be my average-looking friend, Wzed-t'fro.'
'Fro, we'll call him, Lucy decided. She turned around with Sarah.
Average?! What the hell did she mean, 'average'?! The (tall, muscular) dude (who conveniently wore an extremely tight black t-shirt) flicked (silky copper-coloured) hair out of his (glistening, pale blue) eyes.
Unfortunately for the girls, he also had one hell of a jaw line.
Lucy caught herself staring, then slapped herself and turned to Sarah.
Sarah was staring, but didn't slap herself.
Lucy turned back to stare at Fro. Hell, even his earlobes looked good. And nobody's earlobes have ever looked good!
'How are you, Wzed-t'fro?'
'Oh, pretty good, Cuaw-non'n-kaej. Just fought off a raid single-handedly.' He flexed his arms. And no sweat. 'This shirt feels a little tight, though.'
'Well, we all knew what to do in this situation, don't we?' Sarah finally spoke up. Lucy looked over, slightly horrified but mostly... excited, she'd say.
Fro looked at Sarah with a little surprise. 'What?'
'Shirts: Optional! Yeah! NOW STRIP!'
Lucy grinned and looked at Cuawie. She was staring from Sarah to Fro and back again, probably thinking what Sarah would do if the actual hot ones came around. (Probably froth at the mouth and faint.)
Fro laughed, waved his hand and walked through the corridor.
Sarah, freaking out, turned to Cuawie and said, 'Hey, Cuaw-non'n-kaej –' She remembered that?! '– can we take a walk outside for… umm… fresh air?'
Cuawie smiled and said, 'Of course.'
Good lord. The eye candy. The crazy world, the crazy, overly perfect people, the overly perfect weather (and the storm brewing where the kids were) and the eye candy.
Forget Cuawie and her perfect hair, perfect height and perfect changing eyes. (Almost everyone's eyes changed here, so that was a con.) Lucy thought, albeit grudgingly that that was impressive. Nope, it was average. There were so many perfect people it was crazy.
And apparently they were divided into cliques. (What was this, high school?) Groups of people who kept to their own places, divided according to personality. And Cuawie was taking the girls around to meet them all.
Lucy remembered to keep her hand linked with Sarah's lest one or both of them fainted.
Cuawie led them on. They'd just left the house and everyone around them, save a few who seemed to not be from this particular section, were either extremely tall or extremely short (excepting the males, who were all tall), hourglass or petite, had wide chests, silky hair (some of which changed colour and all of which flapped in the wind without tangling), killer clothes, wide eyes, apparently perfect eyesight and perfect teeth.
They also all seemed to be oogling each other, which made Lucy really, really glad she wasn't one of them.
A few were even kind enough to stop and say hi.
'This is Kmun'firh-jun,' Cuawe said of a tall, black-haired guy with red-purple-grey-ooh-look-they're-gold-now eyes. 'Hey, Kmun'firh-jun, these are two new people, Sarah and Lucy.'
'Hey there, Sarah… Lucy…' He looked them up and down, apparently revolted (Lucy could tell by his black eyes) by the fact that they were more or less rectangles when it came to curves, of average height, plain brown hair and eyes and – would you believe this – had pimples.
Yeah, and these people didn't even need to exfoliate.
'Hi,' they squeaked, very aware of the fact that Jun looked like he needed to get away (purple eyes), quick.
After an awkward silence of ten seconds, Cuawie tugged at Sarah and Lucy's elbows and said, 'I think I'll take them to see the other sections. Meet more people. Do you want to come?'
Jun's eyes flashed some kind of dark purple (maybe 'I need to get out and these peasants are revolting') and said, 'Look, I think I made an appointment to see Fetygyu and I need to go... now... is that my cat?!' he cried suddenly, taking a couple of steps back and turning around.
'That was the most pathetic lie in the world,' Sarah stated.
Lucy nodded in agreement.
Before they were able to get away from what Lucy had dubbed the 'Perfect Precinct' Cuawie stopped them by another lady.
Lucy guessed that Cuawie was average in this world when she saw that other lady.
The woman Cuawie introduced as simply 'Belladonna' (A name!) was tall, slim, and pale. She had unnaturally wide almond-shaped eyes, even wider than the usual here, which constantly faded between deep violet and shimmering sapphire blue. Her hair, a deep blue-black, was wavy and silky and reached down to her knees. She had a heart-shaped face, a sweet smile and gave off a calm aura.
She wore a simple white dress, tied at her tiny waist with a white cloth belt which perfectly accentuated her hourglass figure and simple brown strappy sandals.
Even her earlobes, fingers and toes looked good.
Lucy and Sarah stared at her with open mouths before Cuawie laughed and said, 'This is my half-sister. Belladonna, meet Sarah and Lucy.'
Belladonna smiled sweetly and said, 'Hello.' Her voice was soft and melodic, a voice which would bring birds to tears.
Sarah woke up from her daze and pinched Lucy on the elbow. 'Hi.'
Lucy started and said, 'Why do you have such a different name from your sister?'
Belladonna laughed. Her laugh, like everything else, was sweet and delicate. The girls wanted to puke. 'Cuaw-non'n-kaej and I only have the same father.' Lucy noted that both girls looked to the ground as she said this. 'Our mothers… had different ideas with names, shall we say?' She smiled and put her head to one side. 'Well, I won't bother you anymore. Where are you going?'
Cuawie pointed past Bella to a place right of where they currently were.
Bella nodded serenely. 'The East Section?'
Cuawie smiled. 'Yes. Are you willing to come with us?'
Bella sighed and shook her head. 'I heard that there was a raid planned. It will start in a few seconds. And don't let the girls wander off on their own. The people there are usually harmless, but…'
'So…' Sarah began, quite used to being indirectly insulted by now, 'shouldn't you kind of be… uuh… going now?'
Bella laughed. 'I will teleport there. And how did you get here?'
Lucy spoke up. 'Umm… I think we were teleported. We're not sure how, though, so I guess that's cool too?'
'Oh, teleportation. Quite normal in some places. Which of you can do it?'
Lucy stood uncomfortably for five seconds. 'Hasn't it started yet? You know, the raid and stuff?'
'I can also travel through time. It seems I am the only one here who can.' Bella shook her head. 'Well, I will be off.'
And then there was no more Bella in front of them.
Cuawie laughed. 'And that's my sister for you.'
'Hey, Cuawie, what's the East Section?'
Cuawie blinked, her eyes turning black for a split second before fading to a light blue. 'Cuawie?'
Did I say that out loud? 'Uuh… You didn't answer my question.'
'The East Section… is really just a little closed-off section of the city. The people who live there are more fierce than some. Shall we go?'
The East Section, which actually only occupied a small fraction of the 'East' bit, was, as Cuawie said, a closed-off section surrounded by metal sheets and people standing at its gates.
'Someone's paranoid,' Sarah whispered.
Cuawie walked forward and began talking to one of the guards. The dude was clothed in black and had a hood pulled over his face so most of it was in shadow. The patch of skin visible was heavily scarred.
Some chatting, negotiating, what looked like eye-fluttering seduction-attempting and possibly threatening later, the Guard-Dude stood aside to let Cuawie, Sarah and Lucy past. 'Do not stay for too long,' he murmured. 'The Sun sets soon, and threats will abound.'
Lucy threw a glance at Sarah and walked in behind her.
The people in this section were probably – dare Lucy think it – weirder than those in the Perfect Precinct.
The girls were mostly tall, but a few were short (duh), and they all had really, really stern, serious expressions on their faces. They either had black or fiery red hair (and fiery wasn't an understatement – Lucy swore she saw one with the ends of her hair on fire) which was either madly curly or tangled or pin straight. Even their clothes were black or red, either made from the coarsest material on Earth or some pretty soft-looking velvet.
The dudes were invariably tall, had dark hair, and looked like they had sticks shoved way too far up their butts.
And more than half of them had some pretty impressively large weapons.
Lucy clutched Sarah's arm and looked her straight in the eye. 'Run,' she mouthed.
Sarah stared back at her with wide eyes, almost paralysed by fear. They both looked at Cuawie, who was standing confidently next to them.
Cuawie, somehow noticing them staring, looked down and grinned. 'Let's meet some people.'
She frowned. 'Only one person, then.' She took one of Sarah's hands and one of Lucy's, gripped them firmly and began to drag them down the street.
Lucy barely had time to marvel at her unprecedented strength (but then again, this place was full of warped logic) before Cuawie stopped them in front of a young woman. The young woman with hair on fire, to be precise. And who had eyes that shifted from black to blood red. And who also effortlessly carried a long, shining jewelled sword on her hip.
Sarah had a look on her face that obviously read, 'Who the hell carries a sword when they have a frikkin' ballgown on?'
'Good evening. My name is Iiixdet, but many know me as Crimson Fury,' said… Iiixdet?, staring straight over Sarah's shoulder to the mountains beyond. 'My father was a king. He fell in love with my mother, who was only a parlour maid. In order to be with her he had to leave his position, however. Which the foolish man did, for foolish love.' She sighed. 'So they ran away and had me, unmarried though they were. From a young age – only two – I had to work to keep the family from starving, for my mother was always ill and my dad frequented the local pub. Then one day a man, old with a shining staff, came to me and taught me the ways of the sword. He has died since, but he left to me this fine sword–' she gestured at her hip '– called Xinh'erfiz-Zwq'ar. It has been my faithful companion and best friend since, and I go nowhere without it.'
'Umm… whooookay.' Sarah shifted uncomfortably. Was it usual to just give your whole life story when someone said hi? Scratch that, they didn't even say 'hi'. She just gave them an autobiography anyway.
Iiixdet's head snapped down to meet Sarah's eyes. Sarah flinched.
Cuawie stepped in quickly and said, 'Iiixdet, sorry about these two. They have proved to be impolite, but they are new here. Whatever place they were originally from obviously didn't place high regard on good manners.'
'Excuse me,' Lucy interrupted, placing her hands on her hips, 'but I'll have you know that my grandmother happened to place a hell of a lot of importance on manners and conduct.' She turned to Iiixdet. 'And you're the one who gave your whole life story before we even said 'hi'.'
Iiixdet's lip curled up. The fire on her hair burned brighter for a moment and her red eyes seemed to swirl. She then swung around and stalked off.
Sarah stared at her. 'Geez, touchy much.' She looked around the street again. Almost everyone was glaring at each other. 'Wow. You all have problems.'
Cuawie said, 'Let's go. And watch your tongues next time.' She turned to Lucy. 'Do you really have a grandmother?'
'Umm… everyone has a granny.'
'A live grandmother?' Cuawie asked, her eyes darkening to red.
'Yeah. Two of them. Sarah has two as well. It's not uncommon where we come from.' Winding up Cuawie was fun.
Sarah spoke up. 'We also have these people called grandfathers. They're the male counterparts of our grandmothers.'
Cuawie sighed and turned around. 'We'll go to the next section.'
Lucy and Sarah exchanged a quick high-five and followed her.
Lucy couldn't figure out which place she hated most. The first had ridiculously perfect people, the second had crazy warriors who glared at everyone and this one had a mix of whiny, weak girls discovering their world-saving powers just before whole buildings collapsed (it happened twice in the minute they were there, and one of them involved a wall, a street of houses and a market) and handsome guys jumping to rescue them before they were crushed by said falling buildings.
'Who built these buildings?'
Cuawie smiled. 'The finest builders in the land.'
'Why are they falling? Good builders shouldn't build buildings that fall.'
'There's an underground monster living under the main street that shakes the ground every so often.'
Sarah grabbed Lucy's arm and took two steps back. 'Let's go. There's no way we're staying in a place like this.'
'Yeah, let's go.' Lucy was staring at the ground with wide eyes, obviously wanting to run out screaming her lungs out.
'No, we're going to meet a few people.'
'I don't want to die,' Lucy whispered.
'I got ya, sis,' Sarah said. 'If a building falls anywhere near us, run away from it.' She grinned.
'Sarah, tell Cuawie I don't want to die.'
'Cuawie, with all due respect, we can't go walking around in here.' A building crashed. From the corner of her eye, Sarah saw a tastefully shirtless dude save a wailing teenage girl. 'There are just a lot of buildings falling around, and we're scared. We have families and friends and pets to go home to, you know.'
Cuawie looked them over, Lucy shuddering and looking at the streets in horror, Sarah with a hand on her friend's head. 'The people here are uninteresting, anyway.'
She led them to what could only be described as a place worse.
The buildings were intact, sure, but it seemed the ladies' shoes were smothered with butter. Every two steps they took, they'd trip over. Some of them tumbled down staircases. One burst through a window. Lucy shuddered.
'This place is a hazard,' Sarah muttered under her breath.
'You can't leave now,' Cuawie said. 'Just try to stay away from them when they walk.' She led the girls down the street, nimbly slipping between falling bodies. They were, Lucy noted with interest, all plain-looking (even more than her), but each was being checked out by at least three guys.
'Everyone here needs to cheer up,' Sarah said loudly. Cuawie threw her a disapproving glance, but Sarah continued. 'Hey, what happened when the ship with red paint crashed into the ship with blue paint? They were… marooned.' Lucy chuckled, but everyone else looked at her oddly before falling down or, if they were lucky, taking a step. 'Let's try this again,' Sarah said. 'Two muffins were in the oven. One muffin said, "It's pretty hot in here, isn't it?' The other muffin said, 'Oh God, it's a talking muffin!"'
Her favourite joke was again met with silence. It seemed these ladies had no sense of humour. One turned to her neighbour and whispered, 'What's she doing?' The girl shrugged and fell on her face.
Sarah turned to Lucy. She whispered, 'You think they're capable of showing any emotion?'
'Try gross facts,' Lucy whispered back.
'Okay, ladies,' Sarah said, raising her voice again, 'did you know that the inside of the small intestine has a texture similar to that of velvet?'
Lucy, off guard, gagged, but there was no other reaction. Cuawie's eyes were deepening to a dark purple, but Sarah said, 'And the toilet seat, despite its function, has less faecal bacteria than the average chopping board?'
Again, no-one flinched.
Lucy whispered, 'I don't think they're capable of any emotion, Sarah.'
Sarah turned to face her. 'But they have like, fifty admirers each. And I haven't seen any of them even smile.'
'The men here have bad taste.' Lucy raised her voice. 'Cuawie, we're going.'
Cuawie, seeming to be nowhere near the end of her patience, said, 'I think I know a place where people will find your… jokes… funny.'
'Good enough for me,' Sarah said, skipping away.
Lucy stayed for a moment longer. 'You guys need to get shoes with better grip.'
The trip was getting worse and worse. This particular area was filled with people running around, laughing and giggling, their hair (mostly blonde) flying behind them and their eyes (mostly a sky blue) wide, bright and raised to the sky.
Sarah flexed her arms. 'Lucy, let's steal the stage and introduce them to some lame jokes.' She cried, 'Hey, guys! We have a show for you!'
Most of them slowed down to a jogging pace and looked curiously at Sarah.
'You think they'll find them funny? They look pretty… air-headed to me.'
'Let's see.' Sarah raised her voice again. 'What's brown and sticky? A stick!'
This was met with mad laughter. 'Not a care in the world, see?' Lucy said. 'Worst audience you can hope for.'
Sarah waved her away. 'Why do seagulls fly over the sea?'
'Because if they flew over the bay, they'd be bagels!' someone screamed, not bothering to keep their laughter in check. The rest of the crowd followed suit.
After ten more minutes of this, Cuawie dragged Sarah away from her admirers and back to her house/mansion.
'Now,' she said, 'you said you teleported here.'
'Yup,' the girls said.
'Which of you did it?'
'Well,' Lucy began, 'we were walking in a park when –'
'Who did it?' Cuawie's eyes were black. She must've been angry. Eep.
'As my friend was about to say,' Sarah said, 'we're not sure who. So we think we should tell you the whole story so we could probably figure something out. We were walking in a park when Lucy pointed out a particularly shiny-looking leaf. She stupidly ripped the leaf off –'
'That's an unfair assessment. You suggested we pull the leaf off.'
'But you did it. Anyway, she stupidly tore off the leaf under my suggestion, and we were caught in a swirly-vortex-thing and ended up in this whacked-out place.'
Cuawie leaned back and rubbed her forehead. 'So both of you did it.'
'Well, Lucy pointed it out so it's probably her fau–'
'I wouldn't have thought to rip it off if you didn't say so.'
'Girls. Girls. Both of you did it. Do you know where this leaf is?'
'Nope,' they answered promptly.
'Well, I think –'
'Oh, please don't say we have to stay here.'
'Fortunately for the community, no, you don't. I just need a teleporter to bring you back.'
'… Aah,' muttered Sarah. 'How long will that take?'
'A few minutes at most. Stay put.' Cuawie walked out the door.
'Who did it?' asked Lucy.
'Both of us,' said Sarah.
'It can't be. Let's settle this like adults. Rock, paper, scissors.'
The girls held out their hands.
'Scissors cuts paper,' Lucy said, smirking at Sarah's flat hand.
'Paper wraps around scissors,' Sarah declared, wrapping her fingers around Lucy's scissor-fingers.
'Scissors gets out and stabs it,' Lucy said, slipping her fingers out and stabbing Sarah's fist.
Sarah formed a heart with her hands. 'Love conquers all. I win.'
Cuawie walked back into the room, a little girl in tow.
Sarah quickly pointed at Lucy. 'It was her fault.'
… *Bows and backs away* I should apologise, but I won't.