KH-Vids Royale III

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

  1. Aelin Best Waifu

    Jun 30, 2011
    British Columbia, Canada
    That just makes me more mad then you dying
  2. Roxas OG

    Sep 26, 2006
    Cin's basement

    The shot echoed across the island. Mish and Misty shared a sad look.
    “Do you think someone’s dead this time?”
    After twenty seconds, the happy trumpets came in. Doo-doo-dah!
    “Player twenty-two - cstar - has left the game. Player twenty-six - GhettoXemnas - has left the game. Twenty-seven players remaining.”
    “What happened over there?” asked Misty.
    “I wouldn’t have gone north myself,” Mish said. “I don’t know why anyone would.”
    “I agree,” Misty nodded. “The volcano - now that’s smart.”
    “The highest point will give us the best view of the island. And it’ll be the easiest place to find us, in the M column.”
    “Who are we hoping finds us?”
    “Kitty. Inasuma. Cin,” answered Mish. “Darkandroid, C, I could keep going. Anyone we can trust, or know will team up with us. People who Roxas loved. With enough of us, we might stand a chance if we go back to the dormitory.”
    “If we take that kind of stand, Roxas can just blow our microchips,” Misty sighed. “It’s valiant, but it’s unrealistic.”
    “You really think he’d do that to us?” asked Mish. “To you?”
    Misty hesitated.
    “It could be our one chance,” Mish said. “I mean, maybe…”
    We still have no clue who those Organization people are, or what they’re capable of. It troubled her. A full on stand… yeah, maybe that’s not the best choice right now.
    They walked in silence for a bit, the canopy blocking out the midday light.
    “Ew!” Misty whined, waving her hand. “These bugs up here.”
    “It’s humid, and they like it.”
    “It’s getting hotter as we get closer to the volcano’s peak, Mish. I'm getting sweaty. Can we stop for water?”
    “Here, take this. But don't take forever. We need to make sure we get there before anyone else.” Mish tossed a water bottle to Misty, who stopped to take a drink.
    “Come on, two seconds,” she said before she started chugging.
    Mish sat down to wait. They’d been walking and hiking for a couple hours now, and knew they had a nice head start on everyone but Lauriam. She sipped her water and thought back to New Year’s Eve, when she’d received a phone call from a random number. She kept going back to that, beating herself up - wondering why, for any reason, she went along on this stupid trip.
    Why’d I even pick that damn thing up?
    Maybe she would have never looked out the front door and found Roxas’s letter. She’d still be with Sam, cuddling and watching The Holiday; not here, baking under the trees on the slope of a volcano. I could have worse company, Mish realized. At least she was finally meeting many of her old friends. Perhaps their relationships online could translate into something here that could change the game in their favor. Misty’s a good partner, she nodded. We just need a few more friends.
    “Thanks for sticking with me,” she said, deciding to put her thoughts into words. “I was pretty worried until you told me you'd wait for me.”
    “We’ll stick together,” Misty responded. “If there can be more than one winner, then there’s a way out of this for both of us. It’s in the rules - so let’s find a way to do it. Some people will be freaking out, easy pickings. But we have more to do, Mish. We need to find out where we are, and why this is happening.”
    “Do we really need reasons?” asked Mish.
    “I do,” Misty answered. “This could have been the most incredible trip, and he did this. I’m sure I’m not the only one who wants to know why.”
    Beep, beep, beep!
    Their phones buzzed, and they both pulled them out and looked at the screen. Roxas had sent a text to everyone on the island:

    The first challenge will be announced in, oh… five seconds! Haha! Prepare to play!

    “A challenge - already!?”
    Dah-dah-dahhh, doo-doo-dahhh.
    The trumpets played and Roxas began his island-wide announcement.
    “It looks like it’s time for our first challenge, folks - and you know what that means! Someone will be leaving the game this afternoon, oh, they will indeed… but don’t worry - if you move fast, it won’t be you!”
    Roxas burst out laughing, his chortles distorted by the low quality of the microphone.
    “It’s a simple game, friends. We’re playing last one’s the rotten egg - and if you’re the egg, well, you might just crack like one! Haha! But seriously; you’ll die. Anyway, here’s the rule. Reach the top of the volcano, okay? Easy, right?”
    He stopped speaking, but they could hear breathing.
    “Do I need to say go? Oh, right - sorry everyone. On your marks, get set… go!”
    A horn blasted and a flock of birds flew from the treetops and scattered over the water.
    “That’s not good,” Misty whispered, crestfallen.
    “Nope. Everyone’s coming right here!” screamed Mish. “Come on, let’s move!”
    They grabbed their bags and hauled ass to high heaven, Mish’s random weapon had been a Glock 42, so she took the lead. Misty, with her crossbow, stayed back and kept an eye on the rear.
    “We aren’t far from the pinnacle,” Mish said. “So let’s get there first and bunker down. If everyone's coming here, it’ll be a bloodbath.”
    “I didn’t think about that,” Misty shook her head. “Maybe we want to stay on the outskirts?”
    “Our head start was good enough,” Mish replied firmly. “We’ll get there before anyone else.”
    She eyed her map. They were in the L-6 square, nearly to M-6; the top of the volcano.
    “Up there!” Misty shouted. “Where the trees end!”
    Mish sprinted forward, her weapon outstretched. She cleared the trees and the trunks broke. The peak rose in front of her, its cavernous opening waiting to be searched. But between two boulders was a sight she had not expected. There, at the top of the volcano, waited the Organization.
    “What’s going on?” Misty screamed. “Is this part of the game?”
    “Congratulations,” said the Organization member. “You are not the rotten egg.”
    But before she could move, Mish felt herself go numb.
    “Don’t worry,” the Organization member began, flanked by two others with machine guns. “It’s the microchip. It’s all part of the game.”
    Mish’s eyes began to fade and she was reminded of being gassed.
    “No,” she called, turning to Misty. Her friend had already passed out and was being lifted up by the Organization.
    We’re ****ed, it hit her. But they said congratulations, so… maybe, just maybe…
    Mish’s chin dropped as she lost the strength to hold it, and she closed her eyes and gave in to the chip as the Organization carried her away.

    27 players remaining
  3. Mish smiley day!

    Sep 30, 2006
    Nuke York.
    did i win
  4. Roxas OG

    Sep 26, 2006
    Cin's basement
    What happened to Mish and Misty when they reached the top of the volcano?
    Why is the Organization waiting for players at the end of the challenge?
    Will Roxas ever find the lost sock that goes with the one that's been on his closet shelf for the past month and a half, and he's starting to wonder if he should just throw it away?

    Find out in Chapter 011 of KH-Vids Royale III
  5. Lauriam I hope I didn't keep you waiting...

    Jun 4, 2009
    Nonbinary she/he/it?
    don't throw it away

    I had a single glove in my drawer for three years and finally threw it away when I started packing for my recent move
    and then I found the other glove deep in my closet two days after that

    there is always hope
  6. C This silence is mine

    Sep 30, 2006
    I hope Catch the Rain will be able to make it to the volcano in time
  7. Roxas OG

    Sep 26, 2006
    Cin's basement

    Darkandroid lifted his fingers from the bark of a palm tree's trunk. He’d studied each tree and left an etching with his nail as he journeyed deeper into the jungle. The place was a maze and the trees were so similar, one would go mad wandering the place without a way out. Occasionally, the brush grew so thick he had to whip out his weapon - a sickle - and hack his way through before he could carry on. He advanced toward the volcano, his legs heavy with the weight of a two hour walk and the sickle slowing him down even more.
    When the game had begun, he’d exited the dormitory and started up the eastern coast. With water on one side, he knew he could only be attacked from his left. One eye looked at the map while the other watched his surroundings, and soon the beach ended and merged with the palm tree jungle.
    At first, Darkandroid hadn’t really had a specific destination in mind, but during his walk in the forest, he thought he heard whispers. He crept carefully to where the voices were, but discovered no one. Giving up, he moved on. But later, two sets of footprints appeared where the canopy broke and the sun brightened the forest floor. The grass was matted and the tropical flora had been smashed. Darkandroid felt they weren’t far off. I’ll follow them closely, he told himself. But don’t be seen. You look dangerous. Scary. He glanced at his sickle and grinned. He was the grim reaper of the forest, and he had to be careful he wasn’t seen.
    The trees grew more sparse as he reached the base of the volcano, and the trail of matted dirt left by the two players in front of him began to ascend its brown slope. Darkandroid crouched, realizing how easy it was to see him now. His weapon was great for close-combat but he was a sitting duck to those with guns. I wonder how many guns Roxas put into the game? I wonder how brutal and gory he wants it to be? Cin. Sara. Mish. Me. That he’d throw us away, after all we’ve been through together… His fingers grazed the sickle’s pole. That he’d expect me to hack one of my own friends to bits with this bloody sickle. He was getting emotional. That this would even happen in the first place...
    He suddenly realized the footprints had disappeared. He had no idea where they'd gone.
    “So, Darkandroid. You’ve been following us.”
    Darkandroid gasped and held his breath.
    “Don’t turn - not yet.”
    “I know that voice,” Darkandroid interrupted. “It’s you, Trigger, isn’t it?”
    “Not just him,” said Yozora. “Yozora here, too. So watch yourself.”
    “You idiot!” Trigger tried to whisper, but practically shouted. “It was still a mystery ‘til you said that.”
    “I mean, he knew who you were,” shrugged Yozora. “He’s gonna turn around in a second anyway, right?”
    “I already have,” Darkandroid smiled. He held up his hands when he saw that Trigger had a Colt Python .357 Magnum. “Wow - fancy weapon you got there, Trigs.”
    “And that sickle’s yours?” Trigger chuckled. “Gaudy, but at least it can do some killin’.”
    “Yo, were you tracking us?” Yozora asked. Darkandroid saw no obvious weapons in his hands or on his person.
    “Yeah,” he replied. “Well, if these were your footsteps.”
    “It was a trap,” Trigger explained. “But we can’t kill you, man.”
    “And how did you two end up together?” Darkandroid asked.
    “My name was called after Trigger,” Yozora recalled. “And he must not have gotten far, because I caught up with him pretty quickly.”
    “Someone else didn’t get far, either,” Trigger reported. “We saw Kitty and Calxiyn heading for the volcano not too long ago.”
    “Did you approach?” Darkandroid asked. He wouldn’t mind running into Kitty himself - she might have a plan, and she’d be a good ally besides.
    “We stayed back,” Trigger answered. “Kitty had an axe, and well, we didn’t really know what to say.”
    “Damn,” Darkandroid stomped his foot. “We need allies.”
    “Allies?” asked Yozora.
    “Forget the players,” Darkandroid said. “We need to take out Roxas and the Organization.”
    “Them? But-”
    “They had machine guns, right? And look what we have.”
    Trigger looked at his magnum.
    “With enough of these…”
    “Exactly,” Darkandroid jumped. “We can take them out, right? I mean, Roxas only had three guards back in that room. And there are twenty-nine of us!”
    Dah-dah-dahhh, doo-doo-dahhh.
    “Player twenty-two - cstar - has left the game. Player twenty-six - GhettoXemnas - has left the game.”
    “Make that twenty-seven,” Trigger said.
    “The game has truly begun,” Yozora said frantically. “People are killing - multiple people, maybe! People want to play!”
    “It’s that ****ing money,” Darkandroid said. “Who knows how weak some of us are.”
    “I mean, it’s tempting,” Trigger admitted. “We all thought about it, didn’t we? I still think about it now.”
    “But I love you all,” Yozora said. “Well, except Boris... But, I don’t want any of us to die!”
    “That kind of mindset will get you killed,” Darkandroid shared. “We need to stay sharp - or at least sharper than whoever we run into next.”
    Their conversation was interrupted as their phones rang in unison. They all checked to see the text from Roxas regarding the first challenge, and soon, he made his announcement. “Reach the top of the volcano!” he said, and the men shared excited glances when they realized how close they were to completing the challenge. A horn blasted and it officially began.
    “We’re practically there!” shouted Darkandroid. “Follow me!”
    Bang! Bang!
    “Agggh!” screamed Trigger. A bullet tore through his right forearm, and the magnum flew from his hand. It landed in front of Darkandroid, who picked it up and fired a warning shot back toward the gunfire.
    “Grab him!” he screamed at Yozora. Bang! A bullet whistled by his ear. “Let’s go!”
    Darkandroid turned to see who fired, but no one was in view. Bastards, he thought. Just leave us be.
    He helped Yozora lift Trigger, who was moaning and clutching his arm. “You still have legs, don’t you?” asked Darkandroid. “Use them!”
    Another bullet missed Yozora and the three gentlemen ran for it. They reached a patch of boulders and soon, the shooter had no line of sight. There was no time to stop and talk, and soon they crested the lip of the volcano. As they came up on the peak, Darkandroid saw the Organization waiting ahead.
    “They must be the finish line,” said Yozora. “Run!”
    They reached the Organization, who stood silently while they gasped for air.
    “Congratulations,” one of them said. “You are not the rotten egg.”
    Darkandroid turned to celebrate with his friends, but he saw that Trigger and Yozora had been apprehended by the Organization. Tubes of gas were strapped to their mouths and they both struggled as they slowly passed out. A hand grabbed Darkandroid’s arms and he felt a canister slip around his own mouth.
    “This one needs treatment,” said one of the Organization members, pointing at Trigger’s bullet wound. Another pair of masked men came to examine him, but Darkandroid’s vision began to blur. Why would they help us? What’s going on right now?
    Confused, troubled and concerned, Darkandroid's brain began to shut down. Everything faded to gray and soon, he felt the sweet hug of sleep.

    27 players remaining
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2021
  8. Roxas OG

    Sep 26, 2006
    Cin's basement

    Arch had no trouble lifting the sledgehammer he’d received as a weapon, his muscles flexed and taut as he used it to smash a tree stump. Woodchips splintered everywhere and he grabbed a few long pieces, storing them in his duffel bag. Who knows how cold it’ll get out here. Fire will be good. He’d already gathered two stones as flint, but this wasn’t his first outdoor rodeo. Though it will attract attention. Best to find a hidden place.
    But he couldn’t make a place like that out on his map. He knew not to head north - not after the earlier gunshots and the lost players that followed. He could keep gathering supplies for now, but he’d been doing that since the game started. You’ll go mad, just wandering around. You need a plan. Something to focus on.
    If only he could find Aelin. Ever since the game had begun, he’d stared at her from across the room while Roxas called their names, and he’d been looking for her since he’d come out of the tunnel and made his way into the trees. If I’m going to die, then there’s one last thing I need to do, he knew, deep down. And if this is my last chance, then-
    There was a stirring in the brush some distance away, and Arch, who could hunt a deer in the dead of night, stepped in the opposite direction. A shadow moved in the distance and he gripped his hammer, knowing full well that if someone with a gun had tracked him, he was all but done for. Someone is following me. He quickened his step.
    Turn, Arch. Get out of here while you still can.
    He turned to sprint and nearly tripped when those annoying trumpets blasted across the island. Roxas blathered on about the new challenge, but Arch kept moving. Even over the sound of the loudspeakers, he heard the brush rustle behind him. She needs you, Arch. You can’t die now. Not ‘til you find her.
    “Arch! Wait!”
    That was my name, he realized. Is that someone… Someone who knows me?
    His eyes darted around as he looked for something to crouch behind. There were plenty of trees, so he stood up against a trunk and held his sledgehammer up against his pecs so no part of him poked out on either side. At first, it was silent, the announcement of the first challenge completed. But Arch heard footsteps begin to move again when twigs began to snap. There was more rustling and branches breaking and he heard his name again.
    “Arch! Are you there?”
    He waited, hands sweaty.
    “Arch!? Come back!”
    Wait, that voice. Is that…?
    “Lauriam?” he called. The footsteps stopped.
    “Yes, Arch - it’s me!”
    Arch turned and saw Lauriam waiting, her map in hand. She tried to catch her breath, too excited to see Arch to breathe properly.
    “I-I’m sorry,” she finally said. “When I saw you, I got so excited. I’ve been looking for you.”
    “Is there some way you found me?”
    “Yes,” Lauriam smiled. “The busted stumps. The foraged mushrooms. And the berries, too.”
    Arch touched his bag, where all those things rattled about. “I didn’t realize I was being that obvious.”
    “You weren’t, but I was looking for you, Arch. And I’m so glad I’ve found you.”
    “You are? Why?”
    “I met with Amaury,” Lauriam explained. “And he told me he was looking for Aelin!”
    “Aelin!? That’s who I’m looking for!”
    “I figured. Look here,” Lauriam beckoned. She grabbed Arch’s bicep and pulled him in to show him her map. There, he saw Amaury’s avatar a few blocks away on the grid. “I met with Amaury. He’s looking for Aelin now. And, if he’s found her, then-”
    “Then she’s with him now,” Arch finished. To think I could find you so soon, Aelin. No, it’s too good to be true. I don’t know if you’re really with Amaury…
    “But what about the challenge?” he asked. “We need to make it to the top of the volcano.”
    “I can go,” Lauriam said. “But you need to find her. Take this.” She extended her phone toward Arch. “And give me your own. It’s a fair trade, no? And then you’ll know where to look."
    “Are… you sure?” asked Arch. “You’d do that for me?”
    “Not just you, Arch. For both of you.”
    They exchanged phones.
    This is my chance. I find Amaury, and maybe I’ll find you. Or so I'll have to believe.
    “And what about you, Lauriam? What will you do?”
    “I’ll finish the challenge, whatever the hell that means,” she replied. “Maybe we can trade in our weapons, or get more food and water."
    “I'm not sure,” Arch said. “I don’t think winning challenges means any kind of reward. But if you don’t win, then…”
    “Let’s not find out,” Lauriam interrupted. “This challenge is easy, right?”
    “Right,” Arch nodded. “But first, I need to find her.”
    “Then go,” Lauriam waved, and she made her way toward an opening in the trees. “I’ll wait for you after I complete the challenge, Arch. You, Amaury and Aelin.”
    “And I’ll see you then,” Arch smiled. Lauriam disappeared. He looked down at his phone. There, the avatar for Amaury wandered about north of where he was now. He slung the sledgehammer over his back and turned to his left.
    I’m going to finally tell you, Aelin. I’m coming.

    27 players remaining
  9. Mish smiley day!

    Sep 30, 2006
    Nuke York.
    one chapter per day? you spoil us
  10. Aelin Best Waifu

    Jun 30, 2011
    British Columbia, Canada
    Hm, I don't know how I feel about the implications of this chapter.
  11. Lauriam I hope I didn't keep you waiting...

    Jun 4, 2009
    Nonbinary she/he/it?
    I'm freaking loving myself in this story lol.
  12. Roxas OG

    Sep 26, 2006
    Cin's basement

    C sprinted over splintered logs and burnt pines as he started up the volcano. The minute the first challenge was announced, he’d made his move toward the spot on the map tiled M-6. Get to the volcano, and you win the challenge. You probably have plenty of time, but keep moving. And keep those eyes open.
    He saw no one else on his way up, but he had to be wary. His random weapon had been a pair of boxing gloves, and he’d thrown them away to lighten his load the minute he’d opened his bag and seen them.
    A slew of logs and boulders were ahead, but he remembered the rivers he’d jumped and the trees he’d climbed as a lad. He’d never lost that deft touch and danced over the debris. Surely, by now, some had made it to the top of the volcano and completed the challenge. Yet when he’d checked his map, C had noticed so many other potential places the players could have gone to when they’d left Roxas’s underground dormitory.
    Imagine if you’d gone to the dunes to start. That’s one way to end up as the rotten egg. Or just being the last one to come out of that damn room. I wonder who it was?
    As player twenty-five, C knew that if everyone had gone straight for the volcano, he’d be close to one of the last to finish the challenge. But damn, I’m going fast now. And no one knew this challenge was coming. I’m good. All good.
    His years as a runner in school were finally paying off.
    He kept his feet moving, gliding over the volcano’s tricky terrain.
    “Run, boy, or you won't be worth the salt on your sausages!”
    Hop, skip, jump. He hurdled over two more logs.
    “You could have won, son. You should have.”
    Get that man’s voice out of your head, he told himself, shaking off the words of his late father. He would have never been happy, no matter how much you accomplished. Not even a district championship had been enough for his father after he’d failed to win the regional race that followed. But now it’s all paying off, C. The sportsy guys always joked, saying running wasn’t a sport. But brawn isn’t everything, especially on this island. I’ll be proof of that.
    His father’s voice grew distant, and C's legs began to churn through the dirt as the volcano’s slope grew steeper. He'd trained on stairs many times - his legs were used to the incline, and he fought against gravity as he climbed higher. Keep up the pace, he told himself. Don't forget; you’re weaponless. **** you, Roxas.
    When he first pulled the boxing gloves from his bag and let out some expletives, he’d almost believed that everyone else on the island had a **** weapon as well. And if he hadn’t seen Catch the Rain’s face pop like a grape back in the dormitory, he probably would have thought it was all part of some big joke. He still wondered if Roxas was going to helicopter in and appear out of nowhere to announce what a big, dumb laugh this had all been. Yet every player who died, from Catch to GhettoXemnas, made that less likely to happen.
    Stop thinking about the game and focus on the challenge.
    Yes - if he could keep winning challenges, then perhaps he could figure something else out. Surely I’m not the only one looking for a way out, am I? And the island seemed to hold mysteries of its own. When he’d left the dormitory and seen the small road with the abandoned shops, it looked fake, like some scenery lost to time. So where are we? And why did Roxas choose this place for his game?
    C was so lost in thought, he didn’t notice movement ahead.
    Keep running. Keep moving. The answers will come.
    Behind a tree, a strong arm lifted a saw.
    Don’t stop running, or-
    C heard the scream before he saw the movement. From behind a tree on his left, a saw swung from out of view and caught him on his left bicep. The teeth tore into his skin and he felt a chunk of flesh tear out of his arm. “****!” he screamed, stumbling. Pain shot up into his jaw and he felt it in the back of his teeth. Blood squirted onto the blackened volcano slope and he turned to look at who had attacked him. His foe was already moving in for another slash.
    He turned to see EvilMan_89 jump from behind a tree, his saw raised above his head. C rolled to his right and the saw came crashing down where he just was. Evil breathed maniacally and turned, his beady eyes scanning for C like a hungry iguana. Sweat dotted his bald head, and he wore his torn jumpsuit as a tracksuit. On his forehead was the patch he’d been assigned - twenty-eight.
    How’d he catch me? C wondered. I thought I was so fast!
    “Can we talk this out?” C tried. Evil chuckled.
    “Not unless you talk louder than money!” Evil laughed. “That cash is mine!” He stood and swiped at C with his saw. C leaned back to dodge the blade and began to crawl away. He nearly tripped as he got to his knees and launched himself over a decayed stump. His back against it, he heard Evil’s breaths get louder. “I know you’re back there, C. You’re dead meat, kid.”
    C rolled out from behind the stump and looked up. Evil jumped back, shocked.
    “I don’t want to shoot you,” C told Evil. “So don’t make me.”
    Evil hesitated. “Where's your gun, then? I don’t see it.”
    “It’s in my pocket.”
    “And what is it?”
    “Uh- urm,” C pondered. “A… a pistol!”
    Evil glanced down at him. “Shut up, you lying little ****.” He raised his saw and C screamed, rolling back behind the stump. The saw smacked against its brittle wood and splinters flew everywhere. When C lifted his head, Evil was right above him.
    “I’m not going to say much,” said Evil. “Because a speech too long would let my prey get away!”
    C watched as the saw came down toward his unprotected face.
    Run, his father would have said if he were here. Run, you little sod. Stop sitting there like the ***** you are and RUN!
    But there was no time or place to run. C reached into his pocket and pulled out his map, raising it to block Evil’s saw. It was all he could think of.
    The phone screen shattered and plexiglass flew everywhere. Sparks singed C’s light cheeks and he saw the saw’s blade vibrating wildly. “****!” screamed Evil, dropping it and grabbing his wrist. “What the **** was that?”
    C looked at his left hand. His pinky finger had been severed by the saw. Run, he heard his father say again. Run, C.
    Instead, he used his good hand to grab the saw. Blood drenched his upper arm where his bicep had been cut open and covered the ground where it leaked from his finger. Evil had turned the other way, holding his forearm.
    I’m not running anymore, father. He raised the saw and walked behind Evil. Not everything’s a race, and right now, the finish line can wait. He brought down the saw, but turned away before it reached Evil’s exposed neck.
    The noise was disgusting. Evil fell to the ground, his breaths gargled as his throat filled with blood. But C hadn’t dealt the finishing blow, and he brought the saw down again, this time severing Evil’s spine and slicing deeper into the meat of his neck. Evil reached out his hands to grab onto something - anything, but his grasp found nothing as C brought down the saw one last time to decapitate him. His body writhed on the floor for a moment until the life finally left it.
    Now you can run, C told himself, looking to the top of the volcano. He threw the saw in his bag and began to make his way toward the mountain’s peak when he realized he didn’t have his map.
    ****, he realized when he saw it broken and smashed some meters away. I'm screwed. Evil had completely destroyed it when his saw smashed it - but C was alive, and that’s all that mattered. That’s when an idea entered his head, and he went to search Evil’s body.
    Inside his back pocket, C pulled out the man’s phone. Perfect, he smiled. A replacement map. Just what I need.
    He decided to turn it on to gather his bearings, even though the top of the volcano was in sight. Loading, said the screen as some gears turned. Finally, the map loaded.
    My god.
    C nearly dropped the phone when he saw Evil’s map. What did he do? C wondered. Did he… did he hack this thing?
    It was the only plausible reason C could think of why Roxas’s avatar was visible on the screen.

    26 players remaining
  13. Roxas OG

    Sep 26, 2006
    Cin's basement

    “We already took too long when we stopped for water and bread!” shouted Risk. “Keep moving, come on!”
    Aelin ran behind Amaury and Risk as they moved south from the city ruins toward the volcano on the eastern coast. Roxas had just announced the death of EvilMan_89, and with the challenge well underway, the island’s tone had changed, too. Aelin tried to hold back tears as Amaury and Risk guided her toward the challenge’s end. If I can only find you before this is over, Arch. You must be out there somewhere.
    Or maybe he wasn’t. Maybe he’d finished the challenge without her. Perhaps she hadn’t crossed his mind at all.
    Bang! Pop!
    There were gunshots to the south. Risk looked at his map. “It came from that direction,” he pointed. “K-4, if you check your map.”
    “Fools. Avoid the depths of the forest,” Amaury told them. “We don’t want to get lost in there while we’re on the clock.”
    Aelin imagined the chaos of a gunfight in the trees, beneath the darkness of the leaves and with the tall shadows of trees on every side. More guns were fired. “This could end a bloodbath,” Amaury said. “Everyone’s rushing for the peak of the volcano. They’ll be at each other left and right. Let’s not let that be us.”
    Pap! Pop!
    “We’re nearly there,” Risk mentioned. “Maybe we should hang back and let the carnage unfold.”
    “My ass,” Amaury said. “Do you want to be the rotten egg, Risk? I won’t let that happen to Aelin.”
    Aelin wasn’t sure why Amaury had come looking for her until he mentioned Arch. He filled her in and let her know that Lauriam was looking for him and hoped to meet up with them. She didn’t want to hyperfocus on any hypotheticals so she shelved the conversation. But now, as gunfire erupted around her, she couldn’t help but wonder if it was really true.
    “Stay behind me,” Risk said. “We’re nearly there!”
    The trees grew sparse and soon, Aelin, Amaury and Risk walked upon the dirty, ash-covered slope. She looked to the right and saw C running some distance away, holding his right arm.
    “Come on,” Amaury beckoned. “Everyone else is getting there, and we’re still at the bottom!”
    Aelin began to look around and noticed more players charging up the volcano’s slope, duffel bags on their backs. Cia was running up the northern side, an Uzi in her right hand. On the other side of C was Hissora, and though Aelin couldn’t see a weapon, there was something strapped around her waist.
    “Come on!” Amaury repeated. “Don’t concern yourself with anyone else. Do you want to die?” He grabbed Aelin’s arm and tugged her up the hill. They moved as fast as they could as they dodged broken logs and half-buried boulders.
    “Wait!” Aelin screamed. Amaury and Risk froze and turned. “I see him.”
    At the bottom of the volcano, she saw Arch break through the trees. The sun hit his tanned arms and handsome face, and the metal head of his sledgehammer gleamed in its reflections. Aelin gasped and a small squeal escaped her lips.
    “Well,” Amaury began. “I was hoping to reunite you two in the first place - and I suppose I have.”
    “He sees us,” Risk interjected. “So can we get moving? He can catch up.”
    “Right,” nodded Amaury. “Let’s go.”
    “Forget about me. I’ll follow up,” Aelin said. She was already making her way down the slope.
    “Don’t!” Amaury called, but she ignored him. She felt Amaury begin to follow her, so she turned and put up her hand.
    “Stop. I won’t be long behind you.”
    Amaury stuttered but nodded, and Risk began to move. “We’ll try to wait for you,” he said, and they left. Aelin jogged down and watched as Arch ran to meet her. He arrived and set down his massive hammer while he gasped for air. Aelin put her hand on his shoulder.
    “I’ve never seen you this burnt out,” she smiled.
    “I’ve never run so fast to catch up with someone,” he laughed. Aelin giggled.
    “You look like Thor right now.”
    Arch flexed. “How about now?”
    “You’re such a hero.”
    “Come on,” he said. “Let’s end this challenge. Then we can talk.” They ran toward the top of the mountain together.
    , thought Aelin. I knew we’d find each other.
    When they reached the peak they saw members of the Organization milling about. Pink tents had been set up, and Aelin saw the flap of one open when a hooded, masked person walked out. She swore she saw beds - and even more curious were the people in them.
    Were those other players? No…
    “Halt,” said the head member of the Organization, holding a machine gun. He spoke from beneath his mask with the Keyblade UI men icon stamped on its face. “You have reached the end of the first challenge. However, only one of you may pass.”
    “One?” asked Arch. “But we’re both here.”
    “Someone must be the rotten egg,” the Organization member said. “And with the arrival of player twenty-seven, tamale, 15 seconds ago, you are the last two players remaining in the game.”
    “B-but,” Aelin stuttered. “No. This can’t be right!”
    “There will be losing players in each challenge. Those were Roxas’s exact words hours ago.”
    “Surely someone else hasn’t made it yet. We can’t be the last two!”
    “Roxas began this challenge early to weed out the weakest player first.”
    Aelin felt like she was going to crumble. It’s me, she thought. I was the last one to make it here.
    “Go,” said Arch. Aelin looked up at him. He couldn’t look her in the eye. “Cross the line, Aelin. Move on to the next challenge.”
    “I can’t, Arch. Not without you. This game - this madness! It would be so much easier if you were there.”
    “You really think if only one of us can cross that line, that I’d let it be me?”
    He never would, she realized. That’s who he was.
    “It’s a shame we won’t get to talk,” Arch sighed. “There’s so much I wanted to tell you.”
    “Tell me?” asked Aelin. “What do you mean?”
    “It’s better if I don’t, now,” he winced, looking down. Aelin rushed to grab him.
    “I don’t want to go on without you,” she said. “Let’s die together.”
    Arch waited. She held him, and she felt his arms close around her.
    “No,” he whispered. As his hands came undone from her back, she tried to hold onto him - so tightly that he couldn’t push her away. But he was too strong, and she felt herself fall back as he gently knocked her to the ground. Her body passed the line.
    “The challenge is complete,” informed the Organization.
    “Keep playing,” Arch said to Aelin. The microchip in his neck began to beep. “And keep living.”
    “No!” Aelin screamed. Tears ran down her face. “I can’t live without you!”
    “Then live for me,” Arch asked her. “And end this game.”
    “No, Arch! No!”
    The tempo of the beeping increased.
    “Save everyone from KH-Vids.”
    Aelin closed her eyes. She knew what was about to happen and she couldn’t watch it. A hand touched her forehead and she felt something strap to her mouth. It was a gas canister - she knew then what the pink tents were for. This challenge was only the beginning; there was still so much more to come. One by one, they’d kill each other off, until Roxas began the next in his series of silly challenges. And at the end of every challenge, those lucky enough to survive would wake up to do it all again.
    I'll have to do this once more, but without you. Without the dream of seeing you arrive at the bottom of that slope to find me.
    She was lucky enough to pass out before Arch’s head blew up.

    25 players remaining
  14. Mish smiley day!

    Sep 30, 2006
    Nuke York.
    Big oof

    I assume these maps are on Nokia 3310s, what other phone could withstand a saw being swung at it?
  15. Aelin Best Waifu

    Jun 30, 2011
    British Columbia, Canada
    I was going to complain about you stroking Arch's ego too much. But I guess you made his head so big it exploded. I am okay with this.
  16. C This silence is mine

    Sep 30, 2006
    Evilman never saw that coming. It seems like people really enjoyed the first challenge
  17. Lauriam I hope I didn't keep you waiting...

    Jun 4, 2009
    Nonbinary she/he/it?
    “Fools. Avoid the depths of the forest,” Amaury told them.


    Also I'm glad C lived. rip to Arch though lol
  18. rikusorakairiown Contributor

    Jul 24, 2009
    oh god there's so many chapters already I fell way behind
  19. Roxas OG

    Sep 26, 2006
    Cin's basement

    Roxas watched his Organization goons load the bodies of his friends from KH-Vids onto trucks. One by one, the pink tent flap opened and each player was brought out on a stretcher. A drone filmed the scene and broadcasted it back to the control room. Others worked at computers, preparing the footage into highlight reels and getting the best moments into clips. Some of his workers focused on individual 'players of interest' while others tried to get broad sweeping shots of the fights as they went down. The entire operation was providing live footage to multiple Twitch channels that were streaming the events on the island.
    “Your tea, sire,” said one of his minions, tray in his hand. Roxas gleamed at the LED screens and grabbed the china cup. He went to take a sip, but spat it out the minute he tasted it.
    “The ****!?” Everyone turned, but quickly looked away in fear. “I said two sugars, not one! Two!” The Organization minion backed away in fear and then ran for the exit. “And bring me a ****ing Hobnob next time. I’m not in the mood for shortbread.”
    Idiots, Roxas thought, sitting back down. He hated stupid people, and he considered someone who couldn’t make his tea properly to be of the utmost stupidity.
    “Roxas, my Lord; a report!”
    The electric doors to the room opened and someone in a red cloak walked in. Instead of the black mask worn by all the other Organization members, their face was covered in red bandages, similar to DiZ from the Kingdom Hearts series that brought Roxas and the doomed players so close.
    “Tell me,” Roxas began. “Were the numbers good?”
    “We started with ten viewers - then we went up to hundreds, thousands, now hundreds of thousands!”
    “And how has Twitch reacted as a company?”
    “They kept banning our accounts, but our bot farm was making them faster than Twitch could delete. But we don’t need them anymore. The shareholders saw the profit and they said don't turn that off, Twitch. Keep it on. Everyone is streaming it, and the world is starting to watch.”
    “All the big streamers are watching it and giving their commentary, some are doing massive co-streams. They love the blood, the gore - the spectacle! I’m sure some still don’t know that it’s all real.”
    “I’m just glad the world is entertained,” Roxas smiled.
    “Our viewer count is only going up. When Aelin and Arch said goodbye - oh, the number of subs and donations we received!”
    “****ing idiots. Imagine giving me more money… perhaps we can add some of it to the winners’ pot.”
    “A brilliant idea, Roxas. We’ll start a donation goal on stream. You can tell the players how everyone in the world is rooting for them when they wake up!”
    “Do you hear that, all!?” Roxas shouted. He rose from his seat. “I want you to capture the spiciest drama this game has to offer. We want people to have favorites. We want people to cry when the players die and scream when they fight. We need more viewers! And that means more chisme. So let's get on with it."
    His cameramen who controlled the drones waved to signal they’d heard him. Let’s amp up this energy, Roxas thought. Let’s get the world going!
    “I shall begin the donation goal and report back when we’ve reached one million total viewers!” The red figure bowed and left. Roxas laughed. To think the whole world would be so interested in watching a few internet friends tear each other to pieces. He’d done the stream so people from KH-Vids could watch at home - but to think so many strangers would join the fun, too!
    Roxas left the control room and walked into an underground hallway. At the end was a private elevator for the Composer only. He scanned his card and went upstairs.


    In his room which overlooked the dormitory, Roxas waited until the Organization returned from the battlefield. He watched Mish get laid gently into bed, and smiled as Cin was thrown onto his top bunk. He wondered if he should go down there now and visit them all while they still slept. He could tell them about all his favorite memories from back in the day, and show them all the embarrassing private messages they’d sent each other on the forum. A wave of emotion overcame him and soon he was looking at everyone down there and reminiscing about all the great times they’d had so many years ago.
    Relax, he told himself. They’re just people. A part of the game.
    He glanced at Misty.
    They’re nothing to you.
    Was he entirely convinced? He didn’t know. So instead, he grabbed a record from his desk and walked over to the player so he could listen to The KH-Vids Song. As the needle touched plastic and began to play the opening riff, he sat down and stared at the ceiling. He needed to distract himself.
    What should I do when this whole thing’s over?
    But that was boring to think about. Nothing could beat what he was doing now.
    Any good games coming out?
    But what would be the fun in playing new JRPGs when he’d killed off everyone he knew who liked to talk about them...?
    “****,” Roxas said, exasperated. “I hate these intermissions. I just want to play the game!”
    He kicked the record player and the needle scratched. The faint white noise remained.
    There’s still one thing you haven’t thought of yet, right?
    But he didn’t want to come up with it yet. Not until the game had fully played out.
    Oh, go on. You know you have ideas about the final challenge.
    Roxas sat down at his desk and got out a sheet of paper. “Good ideas,” he said aloud, hoping he could summon them with a spell. “Come to me now. Start brainstorming..... now!”
    He grabbed a pen and wrote on the top of the page:

    The Final Challenge. Idea one, a fight on the beach with-

    “Roxas!” It was one of the Organization members in red, standing in the door. “All players have returned to the dormitory. You may begin round 2 at any time.”
    Perfect. I was getting so tired of sitting around and pretending to be busy. I just want to see my friends. “Hmm,” Roxas grinned. “Run a 10 minute ad break.”
    “Yes, sire. And then?”
    “And when we come back,” answered Roxas, “we’re going live.”

    25 players remaining
  20. Mish smiley day!

    Sep 30, 2006
    Nuke York.
    ok but shortbread biscuits are boss