"We're alone, Ryo."
Mayu sat facing me, her legs by her side with her toes pointing behind her. Her hands rested in front of her, holding her up. The top of her jumper had fallen down on one side from the fall, revealing her naked shoulder.
"Come on, we gotta get back to the others." I shook my head, trying not to stare as I moved off the airbag. In my mind, I was panicking. Who knows what Luna would do to Yumi without my supervision. For all I know, Yumi could be dead right now.
Mayu grabbed my hand, preventing me from leaving and I felt her strength as she pulled me back to where I was.
"W-woah!" I fell down with my back on the airbag and Mayu laughed.
"Let's have some fun, Ryo." She said, bouncing herself on the airbag playfully. "Come on."
"Mayu..." I pulled myself up again and stared at her with a serious look. "We have to find Luna and Yumi, they're going to be worried about us."
Mayu stopped bouncing. "Why?"
I sighed, raising a hand to my head. "Look... to be honest, I don't know what Luna is going to do to Yumi while we're gone."
"So?" Mayu raised an eyebrow. "Who cares."
"I-I care!" I replied. I mean who wouldn't care if someone is going to die. Wasn't there some sort of law that said you must do your best to prevent another human being's death? Something along the lines of negligence?
Mayu stared at me silently for a while. "Do you like Yumi?"
"What?!" I said, feeling incredulous. Didn't she get what would happen if we left Luna and Yumi alone? "No! Yumi's going to—"
"Then do you like Luna?"
I glanced to my side, feeling nervous for some reason. "I-I don't see the point of these questions..."
"You do like Luna then?" Mayu pulled herself up to her hands and knees. "Is that right?"
Mayu moved on her hands and knees towards me, all the while her eyes fixed on mine. I glanced down momentarily and noticed the front of her jumper hanging loosely downwards, showing the top of her breasts. It didn't seem like she was wearing any bra and the thought made my head spin.
Mayu stopped in front of me, not caring that I was staring at her chest. I noticed that some of her hair had fallen over her eyes and her soft lips were moving with each breath she took. "Do you... like me?" She whispered.
"T-that's..." I felt myself losing my voice, noticing how close she was. "I-I can't answer..."
Mayu pouted at my response, but then sighed, leaning backwards onto a sitting position. It seemed she knew what I was going to say.
"Sorry..." I rubbed the back of my head, feeling flustered.
Mayu stayed silent for a while more, staring to her side. She muttered something to herself.
"One day, I'll make you love me."
"What?" I said, not hearing what she said.
She shook her head and smiled. "Don't worry."
"Alright then..." I said slowly, then I moved off the airbag for the second time. "Let's go find the others."
Mayu jumped off the airbag and landed next to me at the same time I got off the airbag. "Alright!" Mayu said energetically.
The basement was as spacious as a car park, and the centre was dark because the lights emitting from the fake torches only covered the walls. Like the corridor, this place was also soundless.
I started walking ahead into the darkness, but Mayu grabbed my hand, stopping me. "That's the wrong way, Ryo." She said.
"Ah, okay." I followed her lead instead, feeling her soft hand tugging mine.
We walked for a moment in silence with Mayu leading the way.
"Ryo..." Mayu said, breaking the silence.
"Hm?" I said, looking at her but all I could see was the back of her head.
"You followed me without even questioning me." She said.
I stopped to think. "Uh... You can see better than me, Mayu. You're an Ashen."
"What if I lead you the wrong way?"
"Why would you do that?" I asked puzzled.
"Maybe I wanted to be alone with you." She chuckled. "Who knows. Do you trust me?"
"Yeah, of course." I answered. "You're my friend, Mayu."
"Friend?" Mayu mused. She turned to me and smiled. "Geez, Ryo. You're too nice." Her voice was back to its normal joking tone. "That's what I like about you."
I felt my face grow hot seeing her smile and I looked away. "Let's just focus on getting out of here."
We stopped at an old, steel door at the end of the basement but Mayu didn't release her grip on my hand.
"Uh, Mayu." I said, lifting our hands up. "You're still holding onto me."
"Ah! Sorry!" Mayu laughed, her face reddening as she released her grip. "My bad."
I pushed open the door and we found ourselves in another corridor similar to the one that we were in before.
"Let me go first." Mayu said, stepping in front of me. "That way, you won't walk into any traps."
"That makes sense." I said.
She walked in front of me, one hand feeling the wall as she did so. I followed behind, my thoughts wandering off to what happened between us a moment ago. Did she really like me or was she just teasing me? I couldn't tell. Mayu always seemed to be talking in a half serious half joking tone so it was hard to know when she was actually serious.
"H-hey Ryo, you're falling behind!" Mayu turned to look at me and I snapped out of my thoughts to see a distance between me and Mayu. "Come here quickly!"
"Ah, crap." I jogged towards Mayu but suddenly the ground of the corridor shook violently, sliding from left to right in a rapid motion.
"W-what the?!" I stopped in my tracks, and instead focused my attention on balancing myself. "What's going on?!"
In between me and Mayu, a wall was quickly falling from above, separating the two of us.
"R-Ryo!—" Mayu tried to run back to me, but the wall fell down quickly and slammed shut to the floor, locking itself in place. Her voice disappeared with it and I felt my heart drop.
"Dammit!" I reached the wall and slammed my hand against the surface out of frustration. I winced, regretting my decision as I realised it was made from steel. I turned around to face the empty corridors with a sigh, and noticed a new path had opened up in the wall that we had previously passed. Why was there so many traps in this place. I groaned and headed for the new path, feeling lonely. I already missed Mayu's company.
The new path led to another corridor, and as I turned in, someone bumped into my me causing me to jump.
"W-what?!" I stumbled backwards, frightened.
A girl around my age stared back at me, her round eyes a natural hazel colour. Light brown hair tied in ribbons fell past the sides of her head, complimenting a perfect complexion and pink lips. A graceful and elegant aura emitted from the girl.
"S-sorry." She mouthed, raising a hand to her lips. "Are you alright?"
"Yeah..." I said, half laughing as I recollected myself. "I-I was just surprised. I didn't really expect to bump into another person."
"Me too." She laughed nervously. "I haven't seen anyone in ages, are you stuck here too?"
"Yeah." I replied, feeling calm now. "I'm just trying to find my way back to my friends."
"I'm looking for my sister. What a coincidence." She said, smiling. "I'm Azumi by the way. What's your name?"
"Ryo." I said. "Nice to meet you, Azumi."
She bowed her head slightly in a traditional manner. It felt good to not be alone, but something tugged at me. Oh crap. I was supposed to be careful for Ashens. I looked at her eyes carefully. They were a natural hazel colour. Not dull or pale like Luna's and Mayu's. A sense of relief fell over me.
"W-what are you looking at?" Azumi leaned back, raising her hand to her cheek. "Is there something on my face?"
"Sorry!" I apologised quickly, shaking my head. "I just kind of zoned out for a second there. It happens."
"Oh, okay." Azumi said, confused. "Anyways, do you want to check out this corridor?" She pointed behind her.
"Um... Didn't you just come from there?" I asked confused.
"Uh..." Azumi paused for a second, then blushed as she touched her fingers together nervously. "The truth is... I was scared. So I wanted to go back and see if I could find other people."
"Ah..." I felt bad for asking. "A-anyways, let's go together. This place is pretty scary for me too." I said, trying to make her feel better even though it was the truth.
"R-really?" She said. "I thought it was just me."
"The worse part is when you're alone." I laughed, rubbing the back of my head. "It doesn't help that the lights are so dim."
She laughed with me. "I know what you mean."
The way that she laughed made my face redden. She was actually very beautiful, and her graceful mannerisms only enhanced this fact. "A-anyways, let's get going then." I coughed awkwardly, trying to change the topic.
"Okay, that's a good idea." She nodded with a small smile and stepped to the side so I could pass. I walked ahead of her, leading the way as we made our way to the end of the corridor.
"What does your sister look like by the way?" I asked while walking. "I'll try to keep an eye out for her."
"Hm..." Azumi paused to think. "Well... she should be slightly shorter than me right now."
"Right now?" I repeated. "You haven't seen your sister in a while?"
"No, I haven't. We've lived away from each other for a few years so I was planning to surprise her tonight."
"You sound like a great sister." I laughed. "What else do you remember about her?"
"She's very beautiful...—"
Halfway through to the end, a screeching noise came from behind us causing us to turn and look. My jaw dropped when a mutilated corpse of sorts stood at the opposite end of the corridor that we came from.
"W-what is that?!" Azumi said, her face pale.
"R-run!" I snapped awake and grabbed onto Azumi's hand without thinking. She blushed, looking down at my hand but I didn't care to stop. "Lets go!" I shouted as I began sprinting for the end of the corridor, pulling Azumi with me as I did so.
The monster let out another high-pitched screeching noise before bolting towards us at a quick pace. We reached the end of the corridor, which led to a door with no handle. I let go of Azumi's hand and ran into the door, slamming my shoulder against it but it didn't budge.
"Dammit!" I took a step back and tried again, this time harder. My shoulder crashed against the door painfully. Still the door refused to budge and the monster was fast approaching us.
"I-it's getting closer!" Azumi said, glancing between the monster and the door. "W-we need to do something, Ryo!"
I didn't bother turning back to look. I knew it was a waste of time so instead I took another step backwards but this time I took a deep breath to refocus as I stared intently at the handle-less door. My heart was racing but my mind was telling me to focus. Come on, I can do this. I thought to myself. You got this, Ryo.
"Open you piece of crap!" I yelled as I charged at the door again. I threw all my energy into the door, slamming it with the weight of my entire body. I felt the door wedge as I collided and it pushed even further, opening completely.
"L-let's go, Azumi!" I said, feeling relieved. I grabbed her hand and ran inside the door, pulling her in with me. I quickly slammed the door shut behind us and leaned my back against it, just for extra reassurance.
"Thank god..." I sighed, my back sliding down the door.
Azumi laughed weakly next to me. "T-thank you, Ryo. You were amazing."
I blushed, shaking my head. "It was nothing..."
Azumi looked down at the ground, her eyes searching. "I lost one of my contact lens." She said, but I didn't hear her.
I looked around us to study the room that we entered, it was a large great hall. A marble staircase stretched out in the centre of the hall, leading up to a higher level with many doors. At that moment, a click sounded from one of the doors. The door creaked open slowly and two figures emerged from the door. The two figures stepped to the ledge and looked down at us.
Dark hair, pale violet eyes and light blue hair, pale emerald eyes. It was Luna and Mayu.
Luna saw me and a look of relief fell on her face, she was about to call out to me when she noticed the person standing next to me. Her face instantly turned upside down.
"R-RYO!" She screamed at the top of her lungs. "GET AWAY FROM HER!"
"Huh?" I turned to look at Azumi.
Azumi lifted her head up, one of her natural hazel eyes was a dull hazel colour.
"SHE'S AN ASHEN!"