Now, for everyone who’s been following along -> this chapter is from another characters’ POV, in another world. It has seemingly nothing to do with Kuryo’s world. It is a little bizarre, but hey, it’s based off a bizarre dream I had, haha.
Thank you so much for reading and following this story! Let me know what you think 🙂
The party was a strange, cheap, cocktail mix of drunk partiers and alchohol on the grass. Everyone was dressed extravagantly, laying their chips out on their arms. What did these souls want? One man in a brilliant red boa dress gestured at me. He wanted something. What, I wasn’t sure. I avoided him and circled towards a group of drummers. They were sitting on the grass – not a wise decision- but they were happy. They didn’t mind as I sat with them and plucked at the greasy green strands around my feet.
Drink-less, I was waiting. It took some time.
I wandered, leaving the cheer and not quite rhythm of the drummers for a pool table. Here, the balls floated and everyone wanted to take shots at the white ball. Things were that strange half-reality that I had come to be used to. That was this world. Home, at least for now. Some day, as I dragged a finger along the edge of the table to collect dust, some day, I would bring my master to my home. He would then see what I meant when I spoke of half realities. The slight keel to the side that this world seemed to possess. The way red boa men would keep appearing. The way their costumes were perfectly reasonable amongst this strange cheer of cat-callers.
A man in a black cat costume was mocking me for wearing exactly the same thing as he, but his words turned into a cawing drawl like all these languages sounded like to my ears. Behind him, a moving figure caught my eye. As our eyes connected the world seemed to stop.
As if in slow motion I took the figure in breathlessly. Black hakama pants, a white shirt that suited, with red cherry blossoms descending the sleeves in an artistic detail too expensive for a costume. The rich quality of these clothes were offset by the cheap white powder that coated the face, by the cheap afro wig that covered the hair. But there was nothing that could hide those electric blue eyes. No, what distracted the common person from them was the black geisha lips.
In my world, a man wearing painted lips would be strange. But here, no one thought the painted geisha face on a man – a handsome one no less- was strange at all. Not even the afro seemed to be thought of as weird.
Smiling, I left the pool table. The man turned and walked away, the gait fluid, his hips rolling in that particular walk that experienced fighters of his caliber had. I had learned to recognize it by much trial and error. Now, there was nothing else that I judged a person by.
It was by following him that I slipped into the thick of the party. That I finally ventured to the back, to the mass of pounding bodies jumping and writhing in time to music – and the house slid into view.
Yesterday when we had been preparing ourselves my master had told me not to look at it before he arrived.
“It’ll discourage you,” he had said while lining my eyes carefully with kohl. I had sat patiently, eager for the attention. He had stepped back, taking in his work on me in with narrowed eyes. I loved the way he held that brush just then. So delicately. So expertly. Then, tapping me on the shoulder in that way he had to draw my attention back to serious details, he said “you don’t want to be discouraged for this.”
That’s how I knew this cleansing would be difficult.
As we broke through the crowd the house came into full view. It was a monster of a thing. Three stories, a massive front porch with giant pillars supporting it in what I would later tell master was ‘greek style!’ and educate him on what greek was in my world- later. For now, the house was large. Tyrannically white. Ominous, the porch like a mouth with windowed heartless eyes above it. Soon, it may clamp shut on the partygoers and digest them.
‘Hardly,’ master would have said with narrowed eyes if I’d said that out loud. But to me, that’s what it was. These ethereal, these strange, these… unwordable things that he was now sent out to battle. They were difficult, only a high-ranking prince of his fighting skills and birth-bought lineage could be sent to battle them. Of course, this sort of mission ought to be done in utmost secrecy otherwise – well, if anyone saw his hair they would panic and guess at what was happening – but worse, the house’s inhabitants would flee and would have to be caught elsewhere. And was it me, or was every new appearance subtler? More cruel and demonic? More and more lives seemed at stake with every battle.
I purposefully stopped myself from thinking that this was another video game.
Those things don’t exist here- and I was rudely drawn back into the reality of this world by the doorman stopping me with an arm out.
“I said, ID,” he barked at me, cat ears waggling dorkily. They were all the fashion for men here, weren’t they?
I bit my lip, looking at this massive wall of a man before me. Tiny, tiny, and frail-looking me. Master promptly turned around, afro sliding slightly askew as he did. Luckily, none of his hair showed. “She’s with me. My plus one,” and he reached over the beefy arm and caught my shoulder somewhat roughly.
“Oh, I understand,” and the beefy man smiled. He even had cat-like dots on his nose and fake whiskers drawn on. How ridiculous!
But then the arm lowered and I, staring still at the man, was hauled forward by master.
“What are you doing?” he whispered. “How did that happen?”
He was right. I should have used my skills. But, all these cat things were dragging my attention away! “Why are there so many cats-”
He turned around, hands on both my shoulders now. Those electric eyes held me captive. Their faint glow illuminated his face slightly, and it made me breathless. He lifted a hand from my shoulder- and flicked me hard on the middle of my forehead. It stung, but it definetely reset my attention in an ethereal way. Wincing and making a face I rubbed my forehead then my nose. My power felt all mangled now-
“Charr, I need you to focus. This isn’t some game. Forget about them, they’re not real cats.”
Because cats only exist in my world. That was why I had been summoned here. To replace them. Gulping, I nodded and stopped rubbing my nose. “I understand,” I said weakly.
“Good,” he said gently. His hand left my shoulders. “Are you ready?”
I nodded, and the world seemed to reset. It slid into action. A group of drunk party girls passed by, cheering and whirling in a spinning type of dance as they held their drinks aloft. They looped arms around my master, trying to drag him into their drinking game. He pushed them away gently and they cursed at him.
I noticed one girl in the back was wearing a plain black square as a costume, the box hanging from her chest like a sign. She was laughing too, but it seemed strange. She held no drink in her hand.
“Come,” master said sharply and he took my shoulder. We walked further into the house. The corridor was a deep red at first, light glowing down from bulbs set in the ceiling that were normal for both worlds. The only strange colors were the colored glow sticks that were strung about like streamers.
At the end of the hallway was darkness, then a turn to the left. Here, the ethereal began.