Warning: This work has been rated 18+ for language.
I swear to god by the end of each chapter my creativity juices are completely depleted. Much like my mana bar when I play Anivia.
All of their voices and thoughts seemed to vanish along with the body.
Chris blinked a couple times, as if the corpse would reappear after a while. “That was quite strange.” Of course, it was beyond strange, but in their dumbfounded states, a simple statement was all any of them could produce or process.
Lucius’s heart felt as if it was freezing and thawing at the same time. With the same indescribable logic that always applies to human emotions, he began to laugh. “What… was that?” The laughing and wheezing made him sound like a madman, but he felt exactly like one right now. “The, the body just disappeared! Like poof! Fucking fairy magic or something! Well, it was really more fading, so maybe a snow fairy? That melted the body? Ah, but the colors! Well, then-“
“Lucius.” Claud placed a hand on Lucius’ shoulder. “You’re rambling.”
Lucius stared at Claud, the previous hysteria being replaced with annoyance. “No fucking duh. I get it, Mister Cool has been in here longer, but I’d say I’m reacting like a normal person when I see a fucking body disappear before me!”
Of course, Chris couldn’t resist a quip. “Well, if you think about it, you came here through the means of a magical white door that appeared before you.”
“Shut up.” Lucius wasn’t in the mood, not that he ever was, for Chris’s comments.
Claud walked up to where the body had been, kicking the grass as if the body was hiding beneath a blade. “Where do they go?”
“Probably nowhere,” Chris said. “I’d imagine that they just disappear. Not everything needs a motive… But everything does need a reason.”
“Deep,” Lucius said, his heart not in the sarcasm. “Mikhail, are you okay?”
Mikhail had stayed silent the entire time, red eyes round with surprise, even more so than Lucius. “Eh?”
“I said, are you okay?” While Lucius wasn’t exactly the most fitting person to be asking if others were fine, he wanted to confirm that the youngest of their group was at least comprehensive. “I don’t want the murderer to come back and for you to be a sitting duck.”
“…. I, I’m f-fine…”
Lucius didn’t miss Mikhail’s worsened stuttering, but at least the kid was sort of active now. And, out of it as he was, he really couldn’t muster up the usual amounts of sympathy for anyone. Call it human selfishness. So he just gave Mikhail a pointless pat on the head.
“Where are you going?” Claud’s voice drew Lucius’s attention away from Mikhail. The older man was looking at Chris, who had been inching away from the scene.
Chris looked irritated but not guilty of his foiled escape plan. “I have no reason to be here. I came here to inspect the body, and I was going to leave when you people showed up. Now, with this disappearance, I have more investigations to do and you’d slow me down. Good enough for you?”
“No.” Lucius felt anger well up inside him again, and he noticed that he’d become a lot more emotional since coming to the arena. “I’m sorry for ruining your perfect plan, but you’re coming with us.”
“… Why?” Chris raised an eyebrow. “Won’t you be happier to have me out of your hair? And speaking of which, your hair is impossibly messy.”
Claud picked up the argument for Lucius, for whatever reason. “It’s more for your own benefit. If the murderer is still out there, what will you do? Clearly, the person doesn’t…. have mercy if they would do something like this- well, what was here before, anyways- and you’d be safer travelling in a group for a bit.”
Chris pondered over that, and didn’t seem to be able to find a good counter for it. He sighed, brushing a strand of hair out of his face. “At least you make a valid point. I will come with you people for now.”
Lucius felt torn. Why had he insisted on Chris not leaving before? Now, it was either contradict himself or be stuck with the smartass. He shook his head, wondering what was wrong with him. It was like all logic had left him to moment he entered the arena. “So what are we going to do now? I mean, the pigeon was Esmerdan or whatever the pigeon was called, so we’re done here.”
“Esmeralda,” Chris said, and the pigeon in question gave a supporting chirp.
“Close enough.” Lucius really didn’t care.
“I guess we go find Reyna and Wila,” Claud said, shrugging. Either he was an excellent actor, or he was somehow relatively undisturbed by the bloody discovery.
“Wait, there are more of you?” Chris looked rather displeased about it.
“More of me, no,” Lucius said, “but yes, there are more people. What’s wrong with that?”
“… Nothing…” Chris turned away, his mouth a thin line of annoyance. He wasn’t social at all, it seems.
“So how are we going to find the two, anyways?” Lucius scanned the forest, despite there being next to no chance that Reyna and Wila would be within eyesight.
“Mmmm,” Claud looked deeper into the woods –they were on the outskirts, after all- and pointed there. “Probably somewhere that way. The way Reyna and Wila were headed, they were closer to the other end of the forest.”
“So to the other end?” Lucius sighed, not at all looking forward to it.
“No, just the middle,” Claud replied, his face unchanging, “Reyna isn’t very cautious, fortunately or unfortunately. Without a doubt, she would’ve gone in deeper to scout the area, alone or not.”
Lucius stared at Claud. “How’re you so sure?”
Claud gave a small smile. “I know Reyna well enough. Plus, I’ve been with her in the arena for a quite a while now; I’ve learned how she behaves.”
Lucius couldn’t help but grin, but not in admiration or respect. “You sound like a stalker.”