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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 18 (v.1) - Soul and Fearful Biscuits. Part 3

Submitted: February 01, 2017

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Submitted: February 01, 2017

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December 21, Christmas Eve. 17:09

"Ah! Look at that!" Ashley screamed from excitement when she saw a huge golden star up high in the distance.

"Now, now, don't forget not to draw too much attention to us." Ray gave her a warm smile. The government shouldn't be able to find Ashley and Purity after Ray did his work, but his face was still well known to them since they had his file.

The three walked down a pathway towards the central park. Ashley wasn't the only one with a reaction like this. Some kids were dragging their parents by their hands. Everyone seemed filled with the festive energy.

"Fine, go ahead, I'll catch up." Ray waved her. The girl turned around the moment she saw the gesture. Her reddish cloak flapped from the wind as she rushed through the people. "Aren't you going with her?" Ray asked.

"I can't run in these clothes." Purity was looking around. Her eyes stuck on a snack stand and she started making way to it.

"I guess this isn't that different from your home. I heard London puts a lot of effort in events like this." Ray followed her.

She gave him a blank look. "Don't pretend we're friends." 

The android gave her a big of steaming chocolate. Purity blew on it a couple of times and took a sip.

"You're not making it any easier." Ray sighed.

"Why should I? For the record, don't think Ashley is any better. She might act like she's fine with it, but she's not." The woman looked at the overwhelming Christmas tree before them. 

It was more than a hundred meters tall. A mountain of green branches were floating in the air, spinning in a circle. There were lots of people standing in front of the display. Some children wanted to go closer, but their parents stopped them. They weren't allowed to go on the floor, above where the tree shape was floating. 

Ray found it missing something. It wasn't flashy enough for him. There were lights of all colors floating between the branches, alongside other decorations like sculptures and garlands, though not as many as last year. 

"I know it's not easy, what I'm making you do. But at least try. Never stop looking at the future." Ray felt his hands going cold. This almost never happened. Usually his body could withstand both cold and heat, however, it wasn't in its right condition.

Purity smiled and waved at Ashley. Then turned to Ray, condemning him with her sight. "I no longer have that future." Ray wanted to say something but didn't think of anything that could please her. "I'm coming, I'm coming!" Purity waved again and left Ray standing further back.

Ray looked at the tree. He had to go with it and be patient. Sooner or later it would be better. He walked up to the two and listened to them chat.

After watching the Christmas tree, the three went to one of the shopping districts. Since the Christmas Eve was tonight, everyone had already bought everything they needed, therefore there weren't that many people here.

There were some people going from one shot to another by themselves. They weren't looking for anything to buy, they simply enjoyed spending time this way. As long as the person sticks to his schedule, the government provided him with more than enough credits to live and enjoy living. A person could pretty much buy anything they wanted from these stores and still finish their month without using all their credits.

Even with such freedom, people didn't buy much. They renewed their things to keep everything fresh, but there was only a handful that went to buy things solely to have more things. 

Having that said, it was quite a common way to spend their free time, just going to the shops, trying new clothes, new cooking recipes, looking for things for one's other hobbies.

"Wait!" Purity shouted. 

"Huh?" Ray was lost in thought when Purity suddenly stopped in front of him and bumped right into her, falling down to the ground on her.

"Ouch." She corrected her hair. "Get off." An unpleasant tone reached Ray's ears and he got up. 

"What is it?" He looked at the shop window. There stood mannequins with all sorts of winter clothes.

"Hm." She turned away from him to Ashley. "Look at this!" She stretched both of her hands at one of the mannequins. It was wearing a long bright brown coat. Its shoulders, neck, sleeves, and sides had blue fur-like material making it look quite elegant. "Doesn't it look amazing?!" 

"I guess so." Ashley wasn't very enthusiastic about it and could only answer with an awkward smile.

"Come on, I'm so getting it." It seemed Purity had forgotten about everything else. 

"I'll wait here." Ray shoved his hands in his pockets.

"Me too." Ashley took a step closer to him.

"Suit yourselves!" Purity quickly walked into the shop.

Ray could loosen up a bit without her near. He felt tension from just being around her and would be completely engulfed by it whenever she spoke to him in that cold tone.

"Doesn't look like it will be easy getting to her." Ray sighed. His body felt a little cold and he didn't know if it was the weather or the pressure. 

Ashley knew what Ray was talking about. She took another couple of steps and stood at his side, looking at Purity through the window. "It's hard for her. Give her a little time. I'm sure it will turn out fine." She looked happy.

"And you?" Ray looked down at her.

"I'm fine." Ashley shook her head. "I'm glad I'm here." Her cheeks drew a reddish color.

"And your parents?" Ray didn't question her answer.

Ashley remembered how she left today and pleasantly laughed. "They were happy that I left." 

"Seriously?" Ray laughed.

"I guess they were happy with my reason for leaving." Ashley bent her head on Ray's side. 

He patted her head. He wondered what Ashley told them. How much truth did she say? Either way, the way she said it, Ray felt that reason was important to her. 

Inside the shop, Purity was looking at herself in the mirrors. The material pleased her skin and provided enough warmth to stay out even during the nights. But most importantly- it looked great on her.

She went to the shop-assistant to transfer the credits for it. She looked at the shop's window. Outside stood Ashley and Ray with his hand on her head. They were talking, but when they noticed Purity watching, they stopped and waved. 

Purity waved back and tried to force a smile back. She touched her credit card on the table and left the shop.

"It suits you." Ashley came up and started groping the coat. 

Ray glanced over it. It looked fine, though he didn't put much thought into clothes. Then again, it was a bit small at some parts. Not by a meaningful amount, but enough to underline her body curves. 

"Thanks." Purity made a strange pose. "Like what you see?" She noticed Ray looking at her. He instantly diverted his head, however, the way she spoke just now had no former cold ring in it. 

The group moved on. They visited shop after shop. At the end, each of them was carrying at least a couple of bags. Or at least Ray wished it was so. His arms felt like they were about to fall off.

"I could carry mine." Ashley said after seeing Ray struggle with the weight. 

"It's fine, let him carry them." Purity was marching with a cheerful grin. She had brought more than ten bags of all sort of things.

Compared to Ashley, who probably brought half of the things from her house, Purity had only brought a few things in a small luggage. Ray understood that she needed all this stuff, but that didn't make it any easier on him.

"Let's take a short rest." He suggested and put the bags on a bench.

"Really, you're a man, aren't you?" Purity wasn't very pleased with this decision.

"Yea, I'm a man, not your butler." He started doing some stretching exercises.

"I'll be right back." Ashley walked away.

"Where's she going?" Ray continued his stretching. He said not to stand out, but if there were people around, he would be reached my all of their sights.

"The bathroom, why? You want to go with her?" Purity smirked.

"I think you're implying something inappropriate." He finished his stretching and glanced at the woman before him. "You suddenly seem a lot friendlier."

"I figured if Ashley can do it, I should at least try too." Purity watched Ray take out a bottle and shove four pills from it into his mouth. "What's that?" 

"Fentanyl. It's to relief the pain." He put the bottle back in his pocket.

"You need a shower, not pain medicine." Ray's oily hair bothered Purity for a while now. It wasn't such in the game, even if it was still messy, but here it just got on her nerves. "You don't look like you're in pain."

"Ha, funny." Ray said with a sarcastic smile. "I don't look like I'm in pain, cause I take medicine so I wouldn't feel it." 

"You know, you don't have to act like a douche." They gave each other a smirk.

"I'm done! So, where to next?" Ashley noticed the two exchange looks as she came. It seemed like Purity had calmed down, but Ashley wondered how much of it she was forcing.

"How about we go to eat! Ray's treat." Purity could have gone till curfew and still have energy to browse these shops.

"It's fairly late. How about we do it tomorrow?" Ray checked the time again. It was already past nine.

"Really? Fine, I can pay then." Purity sulked and waved Ray aside.

Ray sighed. "I need to get up early, plus I need to escort you to your apartment."

Ashley and Purity exchanged looks.

"We thought we're going to live with you." Ashley said.

"Unfortunately, my place doesn't have enough room for two more people." Ray took the bags and the three started making their way out of the shopping district. "So you'll live with someone else for a while."

"Who?" Purity got suspicious.

"I don't know. I was told it's a guy from the organization I work with." Ray send out a call for a taxi while they were walking.

"Let me get this straight. Not only you make us leave our home, with our families and friends. Screw it! Our entire lives! But you'll also make us live with some man who you don't even know?" Needless to say, Purity didn't sound very pleased.

"It's just for a while." The escalator brought them beneath the pathway, where a taxi was waiting for them. Ray opened the trunk at put the bags inside. "Look." It closed. "I'm coming with you. If you won't like it, I guess you can come to my place."

Purity put her arm around Ashley's neck as she saw her face turning red.

"So we can stay with you?" She muttered.

"If you won't like it there, yes." Ray got inside the front seed of the taxi. Purity pushed Ashley inside and got in herself.

After five minutes they arrived at their destination. They entered the elevator and up to the twenty first floor. The three were silent. Purity and Ashley didn't know what to expect. Ray was the same. Marcus did provide him with an address, but Ray had never been here. The girls were supposed to live with someone from the organization until he would find a new apartment for all of them. 

Chances were, Ray had met with the owner of the apartment at least once since he had been in the organization for a long time, yet he started being uncertain about this. Maybe this was a mistake and they should just to his place? Ray saw this as an opportunity to go to Marcus and used it, but maybe he shouldn't have asked for a living place? In a way, it would be better for him to keep the two closer to himself.

With doubts in mind, he ringed the bell and came inside, Ashley and Purity behind him.

"So this is where we'll live, huh?" Purity looked around. "It's not as bad as I imagined."

Ashley came after her. It was a large apartment. The living room was combined with the kitchen, making the room almost as big as their entire first floor back home.

Ray put the bags down and closed the door. The apartment was two times bigger than his. All in out, it should have been a twenty meter long square, leaving a ton of free space. There was a large wooden table in the kitchen area, with a bar facing the sofas set near the fireplace. It was only decorative but gave a cozy feeling to the place. Near the door, the area was completely empty. It reminded Ray of how his apartment's living room looked like when he would push out the furniture to make room for training. 

Wait a second. He noticed a jacket on one of the chairs. It was the jacket of the high school Ray went to. Ah, shit. He covered his face with his hand.

One of the doors opened. The girls looked at their new roommate.

"Ray! Long time no see." The man said with a broad smile.

"Michael. I did not expect to see you here." Before him stood a half naked man. He had a tough build and was slightly taller than Ray, although he was a younger. His face had a trace of genuine kindness that Ray found annoying. With his dense half long blond hair, he looked like a prince out of a fairytale. Compared to Ray, it was like night and day. 

"Oh, and you must be his friends. Nice to meet you, I'm Michael." He stretched out his hand.

"Hello, I'm Ashley." Said the girl with a shy voice. Usually, she would be against such greeting a half naked man, but his kind smile was shining all over her eyes and it questionable if she even noticed his lack of clothing.

"Ray." Purity leaned down and whispered.

"What?" 

"Remember that thing about making me leave my life? You're forgiven." Purity went up to the handsome man right as she said that. "Hi, I'm Penelope, but all my friends call me Purity." 

"Nice to meet you, I hope we can become good friends." He gently shook her hand.

"The feeling's mutual." She gave a flirtatious laugh.

*** ***

"Where the hell is everyone?" Tanatos was getting flustered.

For a couple of hours now he had been wondering around the streets of Vine Garden, looking for adventurers. At the beginning, he planned on staying away from the cities so that no one would notice he was back, but the world looked so much different than he remembered that he just had to get some answers. 

Two things puzzled him. The first was to know how long exactly he was locked up in the mausoleum. To him, it seemed like a few years, but he probably lost the sense of time. The villages and nearby temples were all in ruins and overrun by monsters. Even the Wdeion Nation Capital no longer stood there. He only gave it a quick glimpse, but from what he could see, all the inhabitants had become senseless monsters that attacked anyone who came near. There wasn't even a drop of the kind bards left in them.

The only thing that still stood was the Akropolis, the high city. Tanatos wanted to go there, but he sensed a powerful presence about to engulf him and had to retreat. It wasn't as strong as Tanatos but it used some strange magic that could really hinder him in a fight. On top of that, Tanatos had gotten rusty over the years in the mausoleum. He was certain that he wouldn't lose in a fight, but he didn't know if he could win either, therefore he decided to postpone the investigation of the Akropolis a bit and instead headed to Vine Garden.

The city that he remembered had drastically changed. It had gotten a lot bigger, the style of architecture was nothing he had seen before, and the people here didn't even blink when they saw him. 

Aside from the blackish skin and two short horns, he looked very close to a human. Even so, he expected at least someone to recognize him.

Using this, he went around the city and inns gathering information that eventually answered his first question.

"Really now." Tanatos jumped on the roof of one of the city castle towers. "This is getting boring." 

Now he was curious about something else- the adventurers like Ray and his companions. 

Apparently, these adventurers came only recently. First only a few, that prepared the city for the coming of others. Then, this very month, came thousands of new adventurers. From what people gathered, they came from another world and would go back each day after some time. 

Honestly, Tanatos was surprised of how little people knew about them. On top of that none of them showed even the slightest interest in the matter. He had to ask Ray a lot more the next time they met.

Why? Because there was no one else in this city! Not one adventurer. It was night time, but it seemed like there would still be at least a few parties wondering the inns and other places in the city in the previous night. Then why aren't they here now?

Tanatos scratched his head. 

"Shit, maybe I shouldn't have killed those guys?" He had met a few adventurers but they got on his nerves and he ended up killing them on the spot. He did get the clothes and some gold from them, so he didn't need to run around naked anymore. 

"Huh?" He wanted to leave, but he noticed someone sitting on the top of the highest castle tower.

Tanatos leaped from roof to roof until he landed near a woman.

"Huh? Who's there?" She swirled her head back. 

Tanatos sighed, just a waste of time. He turned around to leave but a thought hit him. Wasn't she with Ray? He took a closer look at her. Shit, was she? I can't remember. Tanatos looked over his memories, but he simply didn't bother to memorize the faces of people he would kill.

"What are you looking at?" She grouched. "I'll rip those eyeballs out myself if you won't piss off." 

"Oh, the last man that said something similar had his head rolling down a hill." Tanatos laughed.

"You wanna gave a go? Fine." Suzane stretched out her hand and clenched her first.

"Huh?" Air compressed around Tanatos, crushing anything within. "Well, that was surprising." He smirked as he watched the roof go out in shatters.

Suzane jumped up from Tanatos scaring her.

"When did you?" She opened her eyes wide. "Doesn't matter." She waved both hands. 

Air current lifted Tanatos up from the roof.

"You're done." Suzane let out a broad smile and clapped her hands.

Air pressure crashed from both sides, leaving him nowhere to run.

"Interesting." He said, standing behind Suzane. He swung his hand at her neck. "What?" He was genuinely surprised. His swing was equal to a slash from a high grade sword, yet it did no damage. 

Not only did it no damage, the entire impact was absorbed. He didn't understand how this was possible. Even if she had some defensive magic that would negate the damage, the power from the swing itself had to send her flying. 

This made no sense. Especially since Ray cut her down in one swing in the plains. Tanatos moved in closer. He leaned down to look at the neck. He didn't sense any magic, yet he couldn't even move the woman. 

"Hey, what do you think you're doing?" Suzane yelled. She suddenly felt embarrassed. The man had one of his hands on her neck and the other on her hand. He then leaned down to her neck. For what? Was he about to kiss her? The distance kept on getting smaller and smaller. "Stop!" She cried out.

The air launched them both into the air. 

Fascinating! Tanatos finally found something interesting. Nothing about this woman made sense. Her strength, her defense, her magic. He could always feel magic, but he couldn't get anything from these wind blasts. It was as if they just naturally occurred where ever she wanted.

The two landed on a lower roof. 

"How about we stop? It doesn't seem like either of us will be able to hurt the other." He smiled. This had never happened to him in this life.

Suzane didn't know who this person was. To go up against a moderator.

"Fine, leave then." She sat down on the edge of the roof.

"No way, I'm interested in you." Tanatos sat down next to her.

"Huh? You want to continue?" She was about to attack again but changed her mind. "Whatever." She took out two bottles from her inventory. "Here." 

"What's this?" Tanatos looked at the bottle.

"If you're staying mind as well have a drink with me." She opened her bottle and filled her throat with the liquid. 

"If you insist." Tanatos took a small sip and instantly spat it out.

"How is it?" Suzane laughed loudly.

"Complete trash, what is this?" He wanted to throw the bottle away but controlled himself.

"What, you've never had it?" Suzane took another drink. It wasn't uncommon for people to never taste any alcohol. 

"Not this garbage." Tanatos couldn't understand how she could drink it, where was her sense of taste?

"It's the nectar of the gods." Suzane proudly announced.

Tanatos squint his eyes. "This flavor is nothing like wine."

"Pfff..." Suzane spat out a mouthful of transparent liquid and wiped her mouth with her sleeve. "Wine?!" She started laughing. "Nah, this is vodka." 

"Vodka?" Tanatos looked at the transparent liquid. "Your gods have a relish for taste."

"Ha, ha...." Suzane was laughing more and more. Tanatos looked at the bottle in her hand. It was already empty. "Fine, here." She took out another two bottles from her inventory and handed one to Tanatos. 

He looked over it. This time it was a crimson liquid. He opened the bottle and smelled the content. 

"This is more like it." He took a mouthful and gulped it down.

"Hmm." Suzane watched him with a smile. "How is it?" 

"Far from the nectar of gods." He paused. "But I'm no god." The two clung their bottles.

Tanatos looked behind him. A couple of hours had passed and there were bottles laying everywhere.

"I don't want to leave..." Suzane was laying with her head on his laps.

"Then don't." They stared at the sky. Stars were shining like jewels under the sun.

"I wish." She opened her window. At the upper corner was a timer counting down. "I do have an hour, though." She turned and curled up.

Tanatos traced her eyes. It seemed she was looking at something. People did say adventurers would do that. 

A time limit? So that's why they leave. Tanatos didn't ask any specific questions from Suzane, but he managed to gather some information from things she mentioned.

"I hate waking up. Hey, do you have anyone waiting home?" She looked at Tanatos face. It was probably from the alcohol, but his dark skin mingled with the clear sky, only leaving his eyes shine like two yellow moons. 

Tanatos thought for a moment. Suzane was most likely talking about that other world. "No, I don't."

"Right? We don't need anyone!" She sat up. She was swinging both ways, not able to sit straight.

"Can't argue with that. Love only brings trouble." 

"Have you ever loved someone?" Suzane felt over comfortable with this man here. Of course, it was from all the alcohol she drank. Normally, PROJECT prevented an overdose, but she, as a moderator, could enable or disable this. 

Tanatos recalled the past. "I wish I hadn't." He laughed. When did this become funny for him? He looked at the bottles again. He couldn't be affected by drinking. But then why was he so open all of the sudden? 

I should have stuck with Ray. He understood the reason. In the past, he would always talk to someone, but he hadn't had anyone to chat with for a really long time. Ray was the first one, but after he opened the door of the mausoleum, Tanatos wanted to get out as quickly as possible. He went to the Shepherd Plains to talk to his friend, but he was asleep, so Tanatos decided to wait a bit. Then Ray showed up again. At the time he didn't realize it, but after Ray left with his companions, he suddenly felt lonely again. He then went around the maze but was overwhelmed by questions. Now, he finally got someone to relax with.

"Tough breakup?" Suzane got interested. Tanatos hadn't told her anything about himself up to this point.

"Ha, ha!" He burst into laughing. Tough? "That's an underestimation. Let's say she left me in the dark for centuries."

"That hard? Sorry." The two were having a good time. Suzane didn't remember when was the last time she felt like this.

"It didn't help that she turned out to be my sister too." Tanatos caught himself oversharing.

"Pfff..." Suzane broke with laughter, swirling down and falling from the edge of the roof. "Ah." She tried flying, but she couldn't control it in her current state.

Tanatos watched her fall. He waiting for a couple of seconds and jumped down himself. He rushed down the wall and caught her in his arms right before landing on the ground.

Suzane looked at his yellow eyes. She put her arms around his neck and kissed him. 

An hour later Suzane opened her eyes. She stared at her apartment's ceiling before burying her head in the pillows.

The alcohol effect was only in the game. Back here she was completely sober and completely aware of her actions just a minute ago.

"Aaa!!!" She slapped her hand on the pillows. Her body was still hot, she was breathing heavily from simply remembering what just happened.


© Copyright 2018 July Kimono. All rights reserved.

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