KH-Vids Royale III

Discussion in 'The Spam Zone' started by Roxas, Dec 6, 2021.

  1. Lauriam I hope I didn't keep you waiting...

    Jun 4, 2009
    Nonbinary she/he/it?
    "Defending wasn’t her style, but she couldn’t help but wonder… if the other weapons each had some kind of special ability, then what was the shield's?"


    also I didn't used to wildly swing jump-ropes around when I was a little kid because I wanted to fight like Selphie or anything

    I guess you could say Cin's got me on the ropes? Too soon?
  2. GhettoXemnas literally dead inside

    Jun 9, 2007
    I am here to say I read the first two or three chapters when they were posted and then faded into a time warp. Boy, do I have some catching up to do.

    edit: I just finished chapter nine and I can barely contain myself
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2022
  3. Cin Derp Derp Derp Derp Derp Derp Derp Derp Derp Derp

    Sep 26, 2006
    Waiting for this next chapter reminds me of the wait for KH3
  4. Roxas OG

    Sep 26, 2006
    Cin's basement
    Small announcement:

    I will be back writing the story this evening. Had a ton going on recently and whenever I had free time, I spent it on Elden Ring or the new pop punk album I've been working on for a few months now.

    There isn't much left, so I hope everyone is excited for the finale. Chapters should start dropping in a day or two. See you soon.

    p.s. LMFAO at the post above this.
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2022
  5. Aelin Best Waifu

    Jun 30, 2011
    British Columbia, Canada
    Yay, time see what sort of crap Mar pulls next
  6. Roxas OG

    Sep 26, 2006
    Cin's basement

    "Oh, I'm ready," Lauriam answered. Cin held up Cia's wooden sword, his blitzball long gone. He wasn’t sure what kind of defense it would give him against the nunchaku. Sure, a deft swipe in the right direction could block or even deflect one of Lauriam’s strikes, but those things spun in such a way his eyes couldn’t follow. He’d be at the mercy of physics and gravity if he were to try to take them on full-stead.
    Don’t defend, he realized. Attack.
    It felt like an epiphany. Lauriam’s weapon was incredible for attacking - the best of the three offered, undoubtedly. But when cornered, a well-placed slash from Cin could knock her out. There was no good way to protect yourself with the nunchaku besides using the chain as a makeshift barrier. If he could bring the sword down hard enough, perhaps he could bend the chain and get a hit in.
    And then what? I strangle her? It’s either that or I beat her head in.
    The Destiny Islands weapons were laughably weak compared to the Dream ones from last round. Even calling them “weapons” seemed a to mock the participants - they were toys for children, capable of inflicting harm in the right hands but hardly made for murdering each other. The next death would have to be a creative one, too.
    Lauriam charged, breaking Cin’s train of thought. Her bright hair billowed as she jumped in the air and smashed down with one half of the nunchaku. Cin dodged left, careful not to accidentally step outside the boundary line and end the game prematurely. Sand kicked up into his face and he coughed, swinging the sword wildly in confusion.
    One end of the nunchaku smashed into the back of his leg and jarred his entire body, knocking him to one knee. ****! Let’s be careful here.
    Spitting sand from his mouth, Cin got back up to his feet and began to move along the perimeter of the battlefield. Lauriam wasn’t just swifter than he was; she had a weapon with a bit more length. Any attempt he made to attack, as good as that plan might have seemed a moment ago, would simply end with a blow to the cheek before he was in striking range. And sure, he could try to parry her attacks, but he was just a painter from New York. He’d never actually been in a fight before. What other choice do I have?
    It dawned on him; if you can’t win via speed, and you can’t win via reach, try to exhaust the opponent and wait for the right window to engage. Easy…! Yeah, right. What the **** am I on about? I don’t have any experience with this… I mean, I hid behind a GPS the entire game. But he knew the time to fight would eventually come, and here it was - along with all the baggage of a live crowd and TV audience watching.
    “Gonna keep walking backwards?” Lauriam asked. “I’ll just follow you.”
    Cin turned, eyeing the line he dare not cross. “Yeah, guess so,” he answered, unsure of what Lauriam expected him to say. She was giving off her usual sass but without her usual smirk. He gulped and admitted it was somewhat unsettling. Here he was, doubting every step he made while she looked ready to kill him on the next slip. The nunchaku swung in a circle as she turned, eyes beaming. Beads of sweat began to roll down Cin’s forehead as he entered the path of the sun. The heat, the noise, the stakes; it was too much.
    A voice came through the stadium speakers: “circle shrinking.”
    Circle shrinking? Cin thought. What do they mean…?
    A mechanical rumble grew in decibels. Behind him, the sand bounced and rolled away as the arena’s perimeter began to shrink inward. Cin ran forward a couple steps, trying to keep one eye on the line and the other on Lauriam. The radius of the circle grew smaller and smaller as the line moved inward a meter at a time. Ka-chonk! There was a snap, and the line stopped. Cin looked up at Lauriam, the distance between them far less vast than a moment ago. The camera danced between their two faces on the LED screen above.
    “Probably won’t be hard to follow me now,” Cin said nervously.
    “Stop running,” Lauriam responded. “Let’s get this over with.” She let the nunchaku drop at her side before she ran at Cin. He sprinted down the edge of the circle. This won’t work anymore, he realized. She can just hang in the center of the circle and I’ll always be a leaping strike away.
    He knew now that he had no choice but to fight.
    “Lauriam,” he said, stopping. Surprised, she halted her advance. Cin raised his wooden sword and prayed luck would fall his way. “You’re right. Let’s just get it over with.” The crowd went mental as he dropped the sword in front of him, mimicking the swordsmen he’d seen in games. I literally have no clue what I’m doing right now.
    A smirk finally crossed Lauriam’s face. This is what she wanted.
    “Go on then, Cin,” she chuckled. “Come at me.” The nunchaku swung ominously, bits of Cia’s hair still caught between the links of the chain. Cin galloped, holding the sword out like a lance. He reached the center of the circle and felt the nunchaku slam against his blade. Hilt and handle nearly flew from his hand, but he clung on as the force of the chain sent him careening to the ground. The crowd cheered and jested as he dusted himself off.
    “Let’s put on a show,” Lauriam said, circling him. “I can play this game as long as you’d like.”
    **** this. Enraged, Cin jumped up and dashed toward Lauriam again. She took one step back and deflected his sword with the nunchaku, giggling to herself. The crowd began to laugh and Cin felt his cheeks turn red. He took his time positioning himself, no longer interested in being the fool. His knees were trembling, his arms weak, but he knew there was a way to expose her. I’ll have to be tricky here. She's toying with me.
    Cin ran forward, and when he saw Lauriam’s arm flick to crack the nunchaku in his direction, he spun and took a step back. The nunchaku ripped through thin air and wrapped itself back on Lauriam. Gotcha. He charged, and with Lauriam trying to recover from her missed swipe, Cin managed to land a hard blow on her shoulder.
    The crowd was loving it. Cin felt he’d discovered the nunchaku’s weakness - its momentum. Any mistimed attack would result in a huge opening. If anything, him baiting Lauriam with his own attacks - assuming he could dodge her swings - was better than running away. For ****’s sake, he grimaced. I should have gone with my first idea.
    But Lauriam seemed to be thinking the same thing. Before he knew it, Cin saw the nunchaku screaming through the air as Lauriam descended on him, her silhouette blocking out the sun. He lifted the sword and smacked it into her knees, but it wasn’t high enough to stop the end of her weapon from striking him in the corner of the eye. A blinding pain shot through him and he felt the sword fly from his hand. It spun through the air and landed on the edge of the circle, blade first in the sand.
    “Dammit!” Cin grabbed his face and fell backward. He opened his good eye and saw Lauriam looming over him. She raised the nunchaku and smashed it down. Cin rolled toward her feet, throwing all his weight at her shins and sending her off balance. Lauriam fell to the ground and Cin pulled a hand away from his wound as he felt his vision returning. His palm and arm were covered in blood, symptoms of the intense pain throbbing through his face.
    The sword sat at the edge of the circle, stuck in the ground like Excalibur. Cin half ran, half stumbled in confusion. His left eye could only see momentarily before it filled with blood again. He dared not look up at the televisions to see how bad he might be - as if he had the time to, anyway. The sound of Lauriam getting to her feet was already something he’d noticed.
    Thud thud thud thud THUD!
    He had almost gripped the sword's handle when Lauriam’s nunchaku smashed into his back, just below his neck. Cin tripped and clattered into the sword instead of grabbing it. His body crumpled at the edge of the circle, white pain searing down his spine. Twitching, he reached for the sword, but it was too far away.
    He looked up to see Lauriam right on top of him. He was too weak to reach the sword and his eyes were too filled with blood and sweat to see where she actually was. He blindly stuck his feet in the air at the place the scream came from.
    “****!” Lauriam screamed as Cin’s feet planted right into her stomach. The nunchaku came swinging down and smacked Cin in the chest but she had no way to get off him as he rolled backward and launched her in the air.
    The nunchaku dragged along Cin’s chest, catching him one more time on the chin. He bit his tongue and felt his mouth fill with blood. Lauriam’s frame blocked the sun until it passed over him completely, landing on the outside of the circle. The arena went still.
    Laying on his back, Cin watched as Lauriam realized where she was. The nunchaku landed next to her, its two ends bouncing away. Had the circle not shrunk, the area she was in would have been perfectly valid. But both she and Cin knew what would happen next, and their eyes met, each with different looks of horror in their eyes. This round was over.
    Beep, beep, beep, beep, beeeeeeeeeep.
    Cin passed out due to blood loss before Lauriam’s head exploded.

    5 players remaining
  7. Aelin Best Waifu

    Jun 30, 2011
    British Columbia, Canada
    Damn there goes who I was cheering for... What does that say about me considering I am still alive?
  8. Roxas OG

    Sep 26, 2006
    Cin's basement

    There were only three of them left in the bleachers - Aelin, Misty and Tamale. A blanket look had fallen over their faces. They were led into the pit by Organization goons as the lifeless bodies of their old friends were dragged to the side of the battlefield like roadkill. Was it an advantage or disadvantage to sit through two rounds of action before you were called up to fight?
    Now that the crowd was in rhythm, the boxes that contained weapons were brought out without the usual fanfare. Roxas stayed in his seat, watching the next game get set up as Flo Rida’s Good Feeling boomed. The bloodthirsty attendants did the wave as highlights from the last round played on screen. Each of the remaining players were pushed toward the circle.
    “Go on,” an Organization lackey in red said behind Aelin. She was sure she recognized the voice, but a forceful hand threw her into the sand and when the dust settled, whoever it was had already retreated up the edge of the pit. So many questions unanswered… so many things I’ll never know, she mused, glancing at the balcony where Roxas sat. All it takes is one maniac to ruin many lives. And I’ll never know, will I? Why you did this? She’d felt hollow since the start; since she’d lost Arch. Everything after had simply deflected off her like a dart missing the dartboard and clattering to the ground. The walls she’d put up were too thick to pierce. It had been her greatest asset in the game. The key to it all, she thought, looking back. My secret weapon. I’m not scared because I don’t need to be. Because I’m alive, and the alternative is to be with you.
    A hand gracefully touched her shoulder. She jumped and turned to see Tamale. “Hey,” she said, stunned.
    “Let’s team up,” Tamale whispered. “Take out Misty. After that, we’ll figure out what to do.”
    Aelin glanced up, eyes wide. Nothing left her lips, but she nodded gently as Misty herself was pushed into the pit.
    “You three,” called a goon, rifle pointed their way. “Pick a box.”
    She watched Tamale cross to the other side of the pit. All three boxes were the same size, so it didn’t seem to matter which one she got. It's all RNG at this point.
    Misty walked past her and went for the closest box.
    She didn’t hear us, did she?
    No, there was no way… in fact, Aelin realized Misty had no idea what little chance she stood. A flash of pity flickered through her, compartmentalized quickly. What would they do after Misty was dealt with? She had no clue - and it seemed like Tamale didn’t, either. It’s irrelevant, she decided. I’ll be one person closer to the final three.
    The last box awaited, and as she walked up to it and brushed it with her palm the noise level in the stadium rose to a staggering level.
    “Players!” Roxas announced. “Who will join our fated winners in the final three? Your game begins in ten seconds!”
    A giant number began to spin on screen. 10… 9… 8…
    Her throat tightened and her hands clenched. She gulped, but she was ready. Tamale caught her eye and Misty finally looked at her, too. Neither of them seemed worried. The desensitization was real.
    3… 2… 1…!
    A foghorn went off, the crowd jeered and the three boxes cracked open to reveal the weapons inside. Aelin was expecting something wacky, but as the wooden sides fell to the dusty ground a pistol with one clip of bullets lay waiting.
    She looked at Misty and Tamale. The former had a machine gun, the latter a shotgun. They stared at each other momentarily as it dawned on them the kind of weapons they’d received. A hush fell over the crowd. They’d come seeking violence and it was about to be as violent as it had gotten all day long.
    Misty scrambled to grab her chamber and shove it in the machine gun. Tamale was panicking, clueless on how to put the shells into his shotgun. Aelin quickly picked up her pistol and shoved the clip inside. She flipped the safety switch and cocked it back, pointing it at Misty.
    She was too late. Misty pulled the trigger and bullets shredded Tamale. Tat-tat-tat-tat-tat! Riddled with smoking potholes, his corpse collapsed to its knees and he fell face first into the sand.
    Aelin screamed at the top of her lungs, pulling the trigger again and again. Her first two bullets missed Misty, but the third grazed her shoulder blade. Screaming, she fired off the rest of her clip, but none of the bullets she spent hit.
    “Dammit!” Misty screamed, swiveling in Aelin’s direction and firing off a spew of bullets. Aelin dived to the left but couldn’t dodge the spray. She felt the small metal objects pierce her chest and legs and heard her own blood splatter on the ground behind her. As her body hit the floor, more pain shot through her than would have been normal to experience. Her pistol rolled away, outside the edge of the arena. I’m finished.
    Warm puddles formed beneath her as she began to leak out. Misty walked over, holding her shoulder. She lifted the machine gun and pointed it at Aelin’s face but couldn’t seem to bring herself to pull the trigger. Trembling and defeated, Aelin watched as Misty’s face morphed into Arch’s.
    He’s waiting for me, she smiled. The sky began to blur. I can’t really lose this game, can I?
    “You can’t lose,” Arch said, embracing her. “The fact that it’s over means you’ve finally won.”


    “Our final winner is Misty!” Roxas belted, and the stadium was thrown into its final frenzy. Misty was grabbed by two Organization members who took her gun and led her out of the pit. She was whisked across the sand and into a tunnel.
    “Wait here,” ordered a goon. She stood still while important looking people rushed by. Down the hall, Cin was being treated by medical personnel. A group of doctors rushed toward her in the background with a bed of their own.
    “You,” one said, an Organization mask on despite the scrubs. “Sit up here.”
    Misty hopped on the bed and alcohol was immediately applied to her wound. She was injected with anesthesia before the doctors sewed up her broken skin. A bandage was wrapped around her arm. It must have taken a minute, as Mish had arrived by the time she looked up.
    “M-Mish?” Misty called, her voice unsteady. It felt like the first thing she’d said in years.
    “You made it!” Mish called, running over. She went to hug Misty, but the goons stopped her.
    “Is it over?” Misty asked. “Just… be over.”
    “It should be,” Mish replied. “We’re the final three, right?”
    “I’m not so sure,” Misty said, feeling sick. “I don’t know anymore.”
    Clap. Clap. Clap.
    The creepy claps echoed down the hall, and Misty turned her head in disgust. She’d been listening to that distinct clap all game long, every time they’d woken up in that dingy, dirty dormitory. It was Roxas himself - their so-called “forum friend” - always showing up at the most inconvenient and inappropriate times.
    “Excellent work, players,” Roxas chuckled as his silhouette emerged from the shadows. He gave Cin’s bed a little push, but the man was unconscious. “Today was the day the world has been waiting for; and unlike KH3, it delivered.”
    “Is it really the end?” Misty asked. She had to know.
    Roxas paused. “You three are the winners of the first Royale.”
    Misty felt relief wash over her. “Say it’s over,” she begged. “I need to hear those exact words.”
    “Heh… really?” Roxas asked. “That traumatized?”
    “You sick twat!” Mish screamed, raising her arm. Her hand whipped across Roxas’s face faster than Misty could blink. The slap echoed down the hall. Why had none of Roxas’s madmen stopped her?
    She looked around. None of the medical personnel or Organization goons she'd just seen were present. Somehow, when Roxas had appeared, they had all decided to leave at the exact same time.
    Something’s not right.
    “Ouch,” Roxas said, a small grin on his face. The red mark on his cheek seemed to throb.
    “Of course we’re traumatized,” Mish shouted at him. “Roxas… we were friends, all of us! How could you do this!? Why!?
    Mish mouthed a few words before she managed to speak again. “I can’t believe you,” she continued. “That stupid letter you sent me - I wish I’d never opened it! I wish I’d never answered! **** you, you hear me? **** you!”
    “I hear you,” Roxas answered. He wasn’t grinning anymore. “I won’t stand here and pretend to be some emotionless freak. After everything I’ve put you through - not just you, but everyone from KH-Vids - it would be callous. I've seen you as friends this whole time. In a way, Mish, this is the first time we’ve ever met. Isn't that great? I’ll tell you what I know if it makes things right. And I’ll tell you why this is happening. Why I went through with this: I was forced to.”
    Misty straightened up so fast a chunk of pain pummeled her shoulder. She had no clue how much skin Aelin’s bullet had shaved off, but the damn thing hurt. “You were forced!?” she managed to sputter, more confused than she’d been since the morning the game began.
    “I was…” Roxas nodded, looking at no one now. He began to pace. “Look, friends... if you'll even let me call you that. The Royale is over. But I never said the game was done. There’s one more round for the last four players.”
    “Four?” Misty asked, counting the last of the KH-Vids kids. There were exactly four - Roxas included.
    “You were part of the game all along,” Cin coughed from the bed. They all turned, flustered and scared. Misty brushed herself off and pretended she didn’t jump. “I ****ing knew it,” Cin groaned. "You appeared on that GPS, and then... I just knew." His eyes closed and his head fell back onto the pillow.
    “What now?” Mish asked, a horrified look plastered across her face.
    “Well,” Roxas began. “Based on what I know-” His words were cut short as a loud hiss began to ripple from the walls and ceiling. At the end of the tunnel that led back out to the stadium, a gate began to close. Misty had grown so used to the sound of sleeping gas by now, it could have made her laugh. Here we go… again.
    Though Roxas was never able to finish his sentence, the question was answered.

    4 players remaining
  9. Aelin Best Waifu

    Jun 30, 2011
    British Columbia, Canada
    Aw damn. Top 5 is pretty good but I was hoping to get an under dog ending. Oh well
  10. Yukai Traverse Town Homebody

    Apr 7, 2007
    In the Internet
    So, character!Roxas wasn’t a terrible person the entire time? I’m disappointed by this very expected development. I kinda wanted character!Roxas to actually have been a bad guy with a screw loose.
  11. Roxas OG

    Sep 26, 2006
    Cin's basement

    When Cin’s eyes opened he expected the dormitory’s looming ceiling to greet him once more. But the room he was in had a window and real sunlight was entering the room. His mattress was soft and the blanket pulled over him wasn't a thin, plastic sheet. Outside, he heard waves lapping against the shore and birds singing with the sunset. The clock read 5:32 PM.
    “You’re up.”
    He jumped and skewed his back as he looked right and threw his hands into a defensive position. Roxas was sitting on an identical bed on the other side of the room.
    “Roxas!” Cin said, wincing. Distracted by the sounds of nature, he’d forgotten the wound he'd received during the chaotic fight at the stadium. The bandage felt tight against his muscle. “How much time has passed?” he asked.
    “A day,” Roxas replied. He got up and walked over to the side of Cin's bed. “You can stand, Cin. I know it hurts, but the doctors said you’ll be alright. Lucky *******.”
    “I’m sure I will,” Cin said, uncaring. “But that’s the last thing on my mind. We're here, both of us... finally. Tell me what happened, Roxas; why this whole thing occurred, and how they forced you into this?”
    “Heh,” Roxas chuckled. “Straight to the point. Sure.”
    He looked down like his eyes couldn’t bear to look at Cin while he explained it all. “They didn’t quite force me. An arm twist might be the best way to put it. There were promises - of money, of fame, and glory, too. All the things I’d ever wanted, I guess. I was a weak target. An easy one.”
    “Wait, what do you mean?” Cin asked, flustered. Was Roxas implying that this was what he wanted? That the game was still his doing? “What promises did they make? And who is they!? Just tell me straight, man. How involved are you?"
    “Once I knew the game was happening, I also knew I’d have to be a player like you,” Roxas said. “So I figured I’d throw the whole shebang instead, what with my knowledge of Royales in the first place. When I was contacted by the CIA, I thought it was a joke, obviously. But nope. They were dead serious. Those boomers blame the internet on everything, and this is their way of getting back at us."
    “At us? But we haven’t done anything to them!”
    “It doesn’t matter,” Roxas sighed. “This is their way of pruning the world of what they deem to be… 'unwanteds.' They compiled a list of online communities and pulled us out of a hat. It's that simple. This Royale won’t be the last. Not even close. I’m sure the kids from KHInsider are being rounded up as we speak.”
    Cin was stunned. “KHInsider!?”
    “Yeah,” Roxas nodded. “What - you think this is a one time event? Do you remember the Organization members in red? They were all staff members from KHInsider and KH-13. And once their forum members have been killed for sport, they’ll move on to the next community they pull out of a hat. And the next. And there's nothing we can do about it."
    “So you could have been a player all along,” Cin sighed. “A friend. Yet you chose to use us.”
    “I chose the weapons, the island, even the challenges, Cin. It was... well, it was fun. They promised me I’d make the final four, so long as I acted like the ringleader the whole way. So I did. I got to skip the game. And in a ****ed up way, I enjoyed some of it, too. I guess for a minute there I felt invincible. Like a King. I got to watch; now I get to play. The competition has dwindled and my chances of success are higher. So yeah, I was forced. But it wasn't hard for them to force me.”
    Rage awakened in Cin and he lurched out of bed, punching Roxas in the face. His old forum friend grabbed his cheek and shouted in agony but Cin gave him no chance to retaliate and began to pummel his head.
    “You ****ing ****!” Cin screamed, trying to hold back the tears. “Everything! You ruined everything! Why, Roxas!? Why!?”
    But Roxas couldn’t answer, his lips getting ever more busted as Cin’s fist smashed once, twice, three times…
    The door burst open. Organization goons ran in and pinned Cin down. Blood coated his knuckles and the bottom of Roxas’s face was covered in cuts.
    “Let it out,” Roxas chuckled, spitting a bit of blood onto the floor. Cin saw red, absolutely livid. “But given the choice you would have done the same, Cin.”
    It was the last thing he said before the goons dragged him out of the room while he grinned.
    “You’ll be getting a different bunkmate,” the last Organization member said to Cin before closing the door.
    Beside a little blood on the bedsheets, it was like nothing had happened. Cin listened to the birds again and stared at the ocean out the window.
    I so wanted to believe this was all some mistake. Some joke.
    The man who he’d trusted everything with had done this to him - and not just him, but all their friends.
    There has to be a reason, Roxas. There has to. Fame, glory… Just shut the **** up. It's another lie. It has to be.
    Confused and hurt, there was only one thread he wanted to resolve before the game was over: to find out the real reason Roxas had done this.


    Misty and Mish were talking in their room when the Organization goons opened the door uninvited.
    “Ladies,” a robotic voice said. “Due to an incident, we’re making a roommate switch. Mish, you’ll be moving to the other room and Roxas will be staying here.”
    Mish glanced at Misty, who only shrugged in response.
    “Oh… do you want me to leave now?” Mish asked. She rose.
    “We’ll be making the switch after dinner,” the Organization member explained. “Which, unlike breakfast and lunch, will not be occurring in your rooms.”
    “Ah, we get to leave our cell," Misty said sarcastically.
    The goon just stared at her. “It's time for dinner. Follow me.”
    They left the room and walked down a long hall, passing modern art and strange paintings. Sculptures decorated open spaces and every window revealed snowcapped mountains and sprawling valleys.
    “Look,” Mish whispered, pulling on Misty’s arm. A giant window revealed the Hollywood Hills rolling across the horizon. Little bits of land protruded out into the water and in the distance, the few skyscrapers in LA marked a hazy blur of city buildings. “We’re back in California.”
    "It must be some kind of mansion," Misty said back. "Some kind of place they're holding us."
    The goon ahead heard them. “This is the location of the final game. More will be explained at dinner.”
    Finally, after walking for what felt like five minutes through the vast residence, they reached a spiral staircase that led down into a beautifully adorned room with a window as a wall. From there, the Pacific Ocean reflected the setting sun inside, sending dazzling sparkles throughout the house. A table had been set in the dining area - it was a large square table, with one place setting at each side. Roxas and Cin were already in their seats, across from each other at the north and south ends of the table.
    It was quiet when they sat, and none of them seemed capable of saying a word to each other. An awkward feeling hung thick in the air, and Misty noticed bruises and a couple band-aids on Roxas’s jaw. Her eyes flickered back toward Cin. His knuckles were bruised, too. What happened?
    Organization members circled the table and poured glasses of red wine. Even with their aprons on, Misty saw machine guns poking out from underneath or hanging from their backs. Another group came out of the kitchen carrying platter-covered trays to serve dinner.
    It was the most delicious meal she’d had in weeks. Meat fell off the bone, the potato was whipped perfectly and the vegetables came with all sorts of sauces, from cranberry to dijon to horseradish, and before she knew it, she’d finished off two plates covered with gravy. Had you only listened to the noises, it would have almost sounded like pigs feeding. They were starved prisoners, eating their first real meal in days.
    Dessert came next, and Misty realized she’d forgotten the taste of ice cream. She had pistachio gelato, then a spoonful of some strawberry mousse, and finally a nibble from a vanilla bean cheesecake. Her stomach, which must have shrunk to the size of a pea during the Royale, felt like it was going to pop. Misty sat back and exhaled, looking at the chandelier above until the plates were cleared.
    She wanted to say something, but she wasn’t sure where to begin. Here they finally were - four old friends - and yet no one was able to muster up a conversation starter. Cin can't even look at Roxas. Something terrible went down.
    When the table was finally empty, a familiar chorus began to play. All the stupid Kingdom Hearts kids, why the hell did we go along with this? Misty thought to herself, ignoring the song which had gone from one of her favorite nostagia pieces to a rapid anxiety trigger. Whenever it played, it meant only one thing; someone important had something to tell them.
    An Organization goon in red entered on cue.
    “Players!” he announced jubilantly. There were no mechanical alterations to his voice. “The final supper has ended, and I must say - the ratings are through the roof! Who knew watching you eat your last meal would be so entertaining!” The other goons laughed alongside him.
    Misty looked at Roxas. Everything this goon in red did, from his mannerisms to the way he talked, reminded her of when Roxas was the one "running" the game. Of course it would be reminiscent of you. They probably had you at gunpoint, telling you to act a certain way, do certain things. She couldn't wait to talk to him again - the real him.
    “Look," the man in red continued. "This has been quite the adventure for you all, so let’s get to the final chapter. You all know there’s one more game. So what is it? Well, we decided to make it a little bit more fun for our viewers at home this time.” The man paused. “That’s why I won’t be telling you anything. Surprises are the best, aren’t they?” It was quiet for a moment.
    “Well thanks for the meal,” Cin responded.
    Mish started cracking up, and even Misty cracked a smile.
    “You’re very welcome, players. That’s all we have for you. Cin, Mish, you will be escorted out first."
    Mish glanced at Misty like it was the last time they would see each other again. The man in red took her and Cin up the spiral stairs and away down the hall.
    “Roxas, Misty. This way.”
    Misty felt someone approach behind her and put their hands on her chair. “Get up.”
    She obliged, and Roxas did the same. They grabbed his arm and led him up the stairs. Then it was her turn.
    I finally get you one on one. She had so many things she wanted to say that she didn’t know where to begin. When they passed the esoteric art, she felt like she was slipping into a dream. They walked in and out of shadows cast through the windows until her and the guard approached the room.
    Misty was shoved inside. She spun to see the goon with his hand on the door.
    “We will return when the game begins.” He slammed it closed and turned the switch.
    “Christ,” she said, turning around. “But at least we’re finally-"
    She never had a chance to finish her sentence before Roxas kissed her.

    4 players remaining
  12. Roxas OG

    Sep 26, 2006
    Cin's basement

    The sun had begun to set over waters that slowly lapped higher up the Californian shore. A mirage of twinkling lights covered the flat city like a flame as people came out to play. Cin gazed across the blurry metropolis, wishing he could go back to reality for one more minute. He’d have to win to accomplish that, and even then, after everything he’d been through and witnessed, it was more or less a consolation prize to the deep scars that would never quite heal.
    As he peered across the mansion’s grounds, it didn’t seem like there was a way out. Walls too tall to climb were topped with barbed wire. If one could manage their way over, he saw another higher wall just beyond that was covered with armed guards. There were landmines in the grass if he tried to jump from the window, and all of this was before he factored in the three helicopters that circled their position. Analysis complete, he grimly told Mish the news.
    “Yeah, there’s no way out. They planned for everything.”
    “Figures,” Mish said, drained. “Guess it’s time to face the facts. At this point, we’ll have to kill each other... Are you ready to do that?”
    He turned, not sure what to say. “Well, I - “ he stammered. In his mind, the prize pool could still be split between more than one player - that was the rule stated at the beginning of the game, after all. But that was before Roxas was thrown into the mix. He knew now that only one of them was walking out of here alive. The game was rigged from the start. His mind raced and the pain in his wound throbbed alongside his heartbeat. No matter what kind of clever plan I try to come up with, it won't be good enough.
    “I’m sure you’re wondering why we had to switch roommates,” he said while he looked out the window. “I hurt Roxas.” He let those words linger while he stared at his fist. Mish said nothing. “I asked him something I shouldn’t have, maybe. I asked him what was really going on with the game. I figured he’d be able to explain this whole thing, having been so close to the top.”
    Mish stood up and walked over to him. “And?”
    Cin wasn’t sure how to articulate exactly what happened before dinner. When the words finally came, tears flowed with them. Mish was stunned, unable to comprehend all Cin said. It was quiet while they stood in disarray and processed their emotions. Once that moment passed, they held each other.
    “He must die,” Mish grimaced, shuddering. “No matter who walks out of this game alive, it can’t be him.”
    “This world is finished,” Cin whispered, scared to admit it. He pulled away. “The government’s gone apeshit and half the people have gone with them, apparently. At the very least we take Roxas with us.”
    “Whatever’s next, we’ll get him,” Mish said enthusiastically.
    “There’s something I want to give you, Mish,” Cin said. He went to his bed and pulled the blanket back to reveal something that had managed to stay on his person after he’d been taken to the infirmary. Like a miracle, it was the paint brush he’d brought to Los Angeles on a whim.
    “Wait,” Mish laughed before he even had a chance to hand it to her. “A brush? Why do you have that?”
    “It’s always been mine,” Cin replied. “I brought it thinking I might have a chance to use it, but I guess with everything that happened, I never did find that paint. But maybe you’ll have the opportunity, Mish.”
    “Me?” she asked. He looked into her eyes.
    “Take a look,” he said, before he passed it her way. She took the brush from him, her eyes focused on the bristles. “The other end, Mish. The pointy one. I sharpened it as a little surprise.”
    She gasped.
    “I doubt they’ll let me near him again, and even if I get close, Roxas will be on edge. It won’t work if I go for the killing blow," Cin explained. "But he wouldn't expect if from you. Or at least, I don't think he will."
    Mish looked at the brush. “I can do it,” she said. “I’ll kill him.”
    “Not just Roxas,” Cin said. “Misty, too. I want you to be the one who gets out of here.”
    Misty? I mean… wait, Cin. What about you!?”
    “I told you this world’s finished. Done. Someone like me, someone who knows that so truthfully… I don’t deserve to be the one who gets out of here. I don’t care anymore. Not after the last couple weeks or however long it’s been. It has to be you.”
    Cin felt Mish’s arms wrap around him.
    “I know I can’t change your mind,” she sobbed. “So… I’ll say thank you, instead.”
    Cin looked down. She looked up.
    “I always wondered what would happen if we met,” Cin began. He didn’t know where he was going with this. “Before I got on that plane… before I answered Roxas’s letter… I logged on to KH-Vids and read our old personal messages. It was so nostalgic, it brought all those wonderful memories back in a flash… those innocent, joyous times. At that moment, I wanted to go back to those days again so badly. And I hoped - I wished - that when we finally met, it would feel that way. That I’d feel that free again. But look what happened. We were betrayed, and everything was taken from us. Everything.”
    Mish hadn’t taken her eyes off his while he’d been speaking, even as the tears ran down his cheeks and splashed off her chin.
    “It has been,” she agreed. “But at least for now, and until the next game begins, we have each other.”
    Cin had never noticed how close their faces had become. He let the inevitable happen and kissed her. They held their faces together until he gently pulled away. Mish leaned in and kissed him again.
    “Are you sure?” he asked.
    “...Yes. Are you?”
    “Of course, I mean… yes.”
    The sun dropped slowly over the Pacific Ocean as the minutes ticked by, and eventually the moon could be seen rising in the east. As the bright lights of the city illuminated the night sky, the last players fell asleep in each others’ arms.


    Baaaah! Baaaah! Baaaah!
    Misty jumped awake, screaming. Roxas was gone, the door to the room open. The blaring alarm was deafening. She threw the covers off and stumbled out of bed. Outside it was dark, and she had no clue what time it was.
    Black. Red. Black. Red. She tripped on her way to the door, unable to see until the alarm filled the room with a crimson glow. Everything moved in frames as she made her way toward the hall.
    What's going on? Where'd Roxas go?
    After all the things he’d just said to her, too… and all the things she’d said back. Something wasn’t right. He should be here right now - especially if something like this was happening.
    She ran out the door and caught her foot on something heavy. “Agh!” she screamed on the way down. She slammed into a potted plant and sent the vase crashing to the floor. “What was that...?"
    She looked, but she wished she hadn’t. An Organization goon lay face up with a piece of shattered glass stuck through his throat. The mask had been removed and the eyes were bulging out of their sockets. Misty heaved up dinner into the remnants of the pottery.
    It can’t be…
    A dead goon, right outside their door. And Roxas was missing.
    Misty crawled up to the man and looked at his face. These Organization freaks had been terrorizing them all game long, and she’d wondered long and hard who they might be. She didn’t know what she expected - a familiar face, perhaps. But all she saw in the dim, red light was a complete stranger.
    “This is a nightmare,” she wept. “A total nightmare.”
    She leaned back and her hand hit something metal. “Huh?”
    In the darkness, she saw the handle of a gun. She pulled it closer and realized what it was - a machine gun, dropped by the dead goon.
    Oh my god.
    Misty stood and put the strap over her shoulder. The handle was cold. She triple-checked the safety to make sure it was off.
    An ear-splitting scream echoed down the hall and Misty turned.
    "Mish!?" she called, but there was no answer.
    The dining room, she realized.
    She set off with one thing in mind - to get the answers she deserved.

    4 players remaining
  13. Mish smiley day!

    Sep 30, 2006
    Nuke York.
    My poor fictional husband....

    Gee I hope I win!
  14. Hiro ✩ Guardian

    Dec 28, 2010
    This is genuinely the most intense thing I’ve read in a while.
  15. Luka Deafening silence

    May 25, 2007
  16. Yukai Traverse Town Homebody

    Apr 7, 2007
    In the Internet
    Hmm… the mystery…
  17. Lauriam I hope I didn't keep you waiting...

    Jun 4, 2009
    Nonbinary she/he/it?
    I totally forgot about this lol. Interested to see how it ends.