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    A reality miscalculated

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    Becca-chan

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    A reality miscalculated

    Post by Becca-chan on Tue Apr 26, 2011 7:39 pm

    Here is my on-going fanfic crossover project, consisting of Fullmetal Alchemist and Gregory Horror Show, I began writing it on the 2nd May 2009 and it's still on-going.
    There have been 14 chapters written so far, with chapter 15 currently in the works.

    I hope that you enjoy this story as much as i enjoyed writing it.
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    Becca-chan

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    Re: A reality miscalculated

    Post by Becca-chan on Tue Apr 26, 2011 7:40 pm

    A reality miscalculated.

    Chapter One - The hotel.

    It had all been a mystery to him really, he was sure that it wasn't that long ago that his surroundings were of the mansion that he resided in with his beloved only daughter and family dog...but now he seemed to be walking in a dark, mist covered and eerie-looking forest.
    Nevertheless, Shou Tucker shrugged off this rather odd situation and continued walking straight ahead.
    ' I'm so absent-minded sometimes...perhaps I just went out for a walk to clear my head and ended up walking in the wrong direction? East City is quite close to rural land...' he thought to himself, it would make sense afterall.

    Shou did have an alchemy assessment coming up and that's normally when the middle-aged man found that he couldn't think straight, too much pressure riding on his shoulders, intense studying, sleepless nights and all that; it was a surprise that it hadn't drove him crazy by now.
    " Nina should be fine...Alexander's there to watch over her and it's not like I'll be too long, I just hope that I find the right path that leads me back home soon" his thoughts ended up becoming unintentionally vocal; almost as if he was only trying to tell himself that rather than it being actual fact as he strained his light blue eyes ( despite wearing perscription glasses) as he tried to look through the mist...it seemed like it became thicker the more he walked on, but then if it did that...then it had to dissipate at some point, right?

    But not only did the mist get thicker as Shou walked onwards, it's like the sky became darker as well...and then there were the strange sounds that echoed through the trees every now and then; it was like a wolf howl mixed with a pigs squeal.
    It certainly was a sound like no animal he had ever heard before...yet the bespectacled man didn't seem too phased by it, maybe just a little discomforted...but no where near as freaked out as someone should of been.
    ' Probably just my imagination...the mind has been scientifically proven to be more than capable of creating all sorts of things if given the chance to' although there was almost a faint smile playing at his lips as he thought about that, but it failed to spread and his otherwise serious expression remained.

    With every step that he took, his footsteps also added to the strange sounds that echoed around Shou...and at one point, it even sounded as if something was following him...but he had to mentally tell himself to keep a level head.
    ' You're not a little child anymore Shou...don't let all of this get the better of you!' he clenched one of his hands into a fist as he tried to stay determined that he wasn't just going to panic there and then; but such a thing was easier said than done.

    A few minutes (or maybe even an hour, who knew in a place like this?) passed and he was still walking down what was becoming a seemingly endless path; and it was now, at long last that the noises had subsided.
    It had taken a lot of mental reassurance...but finally, Shou's growing anxiety had started to subside as well...yet now it was like that feeling of slight fear was being replaced by a feeling of growing tiredness that just seemed to sweep over him like a wave of water.
    Yet Shou merely blamed it on his anxiety from before and tried to keep his eyes open so that he could at least see (just about) where he was going.
    Step after exhausting step, Shou walked onwards...nearly stumbling on a lone rock at one point; his legs felt like they were becoming too heavy to move and it had got to the point where he was pretty sure that he was going to collapse if he didn't rest soon.
    " I just want to sleep..." he murmured softly to himself, wishing more than anything that he was back at his home by now.

    And it was then that the mist finally started to clear up...and Shou's tired eyes fell upon the sight of what looked like a large run-down mansion with a front double-door in the middle of a graveyard.
    Sure it looked as creepy as the forest that surrounded it, but right now that didn't matter to Shou as he eagerly approached it with a relieved smile spreading across his face...it was a house, and a big one at that; with any luck that meant that there would be somewhere for him to sleep for at least a few hours or so.
    In fact, Shou was so eager to get inside the building, that he didn't even bat an eye-lid when the double-doors seemed as if they opened up as soon as he'd put a foot on the first step of the small staircase that led up to them.
    ' Maybe someone saw me coming...if so, it certainly is nice to see some hospitality!' he thought as he made his way through the doors and into the mansion.

    No sooner had Shou taken a few steps into the mansion, the exhausted man was pleasantly surprised to see that the inside of the mansion couldn't of been anymore different to the outside.
    The interior seemed to look rather well looked after ( which was more than what could be said for the buildings exterior) and excluding the fact that it seemed rather gloomy (with no thanks to the poor lighting that came from just a few candles that were in brass holders on the wall as well as the chandelier on the ceiling) it otherwise felt rather cosy.

    The teal wallpaper, tapestry rug, cherrywood floor and oak timber panels; all of which were complimented by a small polished wooden coffee table with four leather arm chairs around it; and there was even a phone hooked up to the wall...these surroundings all added to the fact that despite it's appearance outside, this mansion appeared to have a rather fine taste, it's interior being perhaps in better condition than what Shou's own estate was...something that perhaps he would of been ashamed to admit, but right now there was no need to say such a thing.
    Shou was so enthralled with the surroundings, that he barely noticed when the front doors slowly closed behind him, letting off a loud creak as they did so.
    Of course the only time the young man was caught offguard was when an elderly male's voice seemed to suddenly speak up out of no where.

    " Do you like what you see around you, my friend?"

    Spinning around to face the direction that the voice had came from, Shou's eyes widened in shock as he saw the owner of the voice sitting at a reception desk (that had been unattended when Shou had came in) although it was not because of the fact that this person had just appeared there, no...it was because of the fact that the owner of the voice just so happened to be an elderly grey mouse with blonde graying hair wearing a pink trenchcoat with a red and black striped shirt underneath; and what's more, this mouse was the size of a seven year old boy, it was safe to say that this was the biggest mouse that Shou had ever seen!
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    Becca-chan

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    Re: A reality miscalculated

    Post by Becca-chan on Tue Apr 26, 2011 7:41 pm

    A reality miscalculated.

    Chapter Two - A room for the night.

    As he stared at the mouse that sat at the desk in front of him, Shou found himself rubbing his eyes in disbelief, surely what he was seeing before him was just a hallucination as a result of an exhausted mind, it wouldn't be the first time that something like that had happened afterall...

    But the mouse didn't disappear...on the contraire, it actually came out from behind the desk and started to walk towards him with a rather puzzled expression more than visible on it's old worn out looking face.
    " Is there something wrong?" the old mouse asked in what sounded like a vaguely concerned tone as it looked up to Shou.

    The man in-question faultered with his response for a few moments, the shock of the fact that a mouse was talking to him was something that his mind still had to get around...back where he lived, he'd handled talking chimera's before; but they had never looked anything like this bizarre mouse.
    But as soon as Shou finally started to give a more vocal answer, he found himself letting out a big yawn instead, something that he had been fighting back while walking to the hotel and it had finally managed to escape.

    In response to that, the old mouse then chuckled and gave a small shrug of his shoulders.
    " Well by the sounds of that, I would say that you must be rather tired..." although the mouse barely gave Shou time to give an answer to that before he then added; " By all means, you can stay here for the night; we here at Gregory House never turn out a traveller, especially those that are exhausted"

    It was then, that Shou finally found the voice to talk back to his rodent companion...although instead of stating about the others appearance like he'd intended to, an altogether different question escaped from his lips instead.
    " Gregory House?"

    The old mouse nodded in response and began to walk back to the desk.
    " Yes, that's the name of this hotel or rather, my hotel..." as soon as he was at the reception desk once more, the mouse opened up a book that had been resting on the desk's surface and took out a quill pen from it's holder; looking to Shou, the old mouse then grinned.
    " The name's Gregory and I don't believe that I got your name, Mister..." Gregory trailed off, his voice going into a prompting tone as he gave Shou an expectant look.

    " A-ah!" Shou exclaimed, seeming a little taken aback as he got the hint that Gregory wanted his name and then just responded quickly.
    " My name is Shou, Shou Tucker"

    " Shou Tucker..." Gregory repeated as he then started to write the man's name down in the book.
    Once that was done, the old mouse placed the quill pen back into it's holder and started to walk around the desk again, picking up a nearby candle that was held in place by a brass holder, from it's spot on the reception desk as well as a set of keys that were hanging on the wall nearby.
    " Well now that you're booked in, how about I show you to your room? please, follow me" Gregory said as he then started to slowly walk down a corridor.

    Shou really felt like he should of been questioning his hosts appearance and perhaps hesistating on even doing so much as following the decrepit-looking mouse down a darkened corridor...but the need to sleep was stronger than the need to ask questions, so the middle-aged man merely did as the mouse had suggested.

    As the two of them walked along, Gregory cast a slight glance over his shoulder at the man following him and just decided to break the otherwise awkward silence that was surrounding them.
    " So...if I may ask; whatever were you doing, travelling at such a late hour?" he asked, that surprisingly soft Grandfather-like tone sounding in his voice once more.
    " Not many guests come by at a time like this"

    The tone of Gregory's voice seemed to have a rather interesting effect on the fully grown man, any anxiety he may of had seemed to be numbed and was finally making Shou feel a bit more confident in talking more casually with the hotel manager.
    " Well I wasn't really travelling anywhere...I was just out for a walk and then all of this mist came up out of nowhere, I guess that I must of just lost my way"

    Now...maybe it was just Shou's ears hearing things, but as soon as he'd mentioned that last part of his sentence, he could of sworn that he heard Gregory mumble something along the lines of; " Or your mind..." yet when he gave the old mouse a questioning look, Gregory had merely shrugged off such a thing with an awkward smile and looked straight ahead again.
    " Well whether you were travelling or not, I am so glad that you found the hotel when you did...you almost look like you're dead on your feet" it was then that the old mouse chuckled about something that only he found funny as both he and Shou turned a corner.

    Not too long after that, Gregory finally stopped at a door and rubbed his chin with a thoughtful expression.
    " Hmm...yes, I think that this is the right room" and with that, he began to unlock it before turning his attention to Shou once more.
    " It only just became available earlier today...the last guest who occupied it, had to leave on an emergency call" he explained; although the tone that he said it in seemed a little less calming than what it had been before...in fact, if Shou's ears were hearing right, it almost sounded like a fairly dark tone.

    Once the lock in the door clicked, Gregory slowly placed his furry hand on the door's handle and turned it, the contents of the guest room's interior soon became visible for the two men to see as soon as the door was lightly pulled open.
    It seemed to be a rather cosy-looking room; deep blue wallpaper with a creme-white panelling that lined the edges made out the room's otherwise box-like shape; then there was the iron bed that stood in the far corner on the opposite side of the room, by the looks of things it was fully made and all ready for Shou to sleep in.

    Other contents within the room consisted of a small wooden bookcase, an oak closet and where lighting was concerned; there was a single candle burning away in it's very own little holder, on the table's surface...
    And aside from the only window in the room being boarded up, the room that Shou was going to be staying in looked rather normal; so there were no concerns from the bespectacled man there.

    " Please make yourself at home, my friend; and I hope that you enjoy your stay..." Gregory said to Shou as the latter stepped into the room and just proceeded to look around at his surroundings, the old hotel manager then did a smile that seemed to have some kind of undertone to it as he then began to close the door.
    It then seemed that just before the door shut completely, Gregory added on in an almost inaudible whisper;
    " Because you may be staying here for the rest of your life" but while he wasn't sure if his ears were deceiving him again, Shou Tucker knew that he heard Gregory laugh ( not chuckle this time, this was a laugh that seemed to echo down the halls) about something as the old mouse had started to walk down the corridor.

    Out of instinct, Shou quickly ran over to the door and opened it up again, looking out of it in the hopes that he could at least ask Gregory what he had found so funny...only to see that the mouse had long since faded into the shadows and was now no where to be seen.
    Ignoring the small chill that ran down his spine at that moment, Shou then just closed the door and went to lay on his bed...perhaps he didn't feel like questioning any more things tonight afterall, especially not that bizarre talking rodent.

    After taking off his glasses and placing them on the table, he then crawled onto the rather soft blue coloured blanket and felt rather happy with how comfortable it was; Shou just let himself sink down onto the bed...now that he was relaxing, his body would finally let the exhaustion take over and he could already feel his eyes starting to close.
    And as he began to fall into a slumber; any worries about the alchemy assessment, his daughter being at home with only the family dog...and if he ever would find his way home, all began to fade as Shou finally fell into a much needed sleep.
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    Becca-chan

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    Re: A reality miscalculated

    Post by Becca-chan on Tue Apr 26, 2011 7:41 pm

    A reality miscalculated.
    Chapter Three - An extended stay and exploration.

    There was no inclination as to how much time had passed since he'd fell asleep...but Shou soon found himself returning to the waking world once more; the strange patchy peach/ flesh coloured ceiling of the room being the first thing that met his eyes as soon as they opened up.
    Naturally a ceiling shouldn't of caught the man's attention the way that it did...but there seemed to be something strange about it; the colour seemed to remind him of something very human, almost like the lining of a womb or something like that...it was enough to send him into a trance.
    And the more he looked at it, the more Shou could of almost sworn that it sometimes looked as if it moved, although he couldn't tell if that was just his eyes playing tricks on him or not ( Shou knew that his eyesight wasn't what it used to be...too many late nights studying alchemy books in poor light had been the cause of that)
    Regardless of that fact, it got Shou to snap out of his trance and make a grab for his glasses, only to put them on and look up at the ceiling again.

    Now that he could focus on things more clearly, Shou was relieved to see that the ceiling wasn't moving afterall...but now that he was fully awake, his concerns from last night had resurfaced again and the desire to return home was fresh in his mind once more.
    Without another moment's hesitation, the young man walked out of his room and down the corridor towards the lobby; although it still looked as dark as it had when Gregory had shown Shou to his room.
    The one thing that Shou realised as he walked along, was the fact that there was nothing but silence all around, save for the odd creak of floorboards here and there...but that could of easily been put down to however old the building was.
    ' For a hotel, this place certainly doesn't seem to have much in the way of business...it's a wonder that the manager hasn't fallen into bankruptcy!' he thought to himself as he finally entered the lobby.

    And there at the desk sat Gregory, currently reading a rather heavy book...this time around he was noticably wearing glasses as he intently went over whatever words were printed on the page that he was reading.
    His concentration was broken only when he noticed that Shou was standing there.
    " Oh good day, my friend! and how are we doing?" the old mouse piped up almost immediantly as he carefully put the book down on the desk and just focused on the human male with his tired-looking purple eyes.

    " I'm doing fine thank you, Mr. Gregory..." Shou responded, although he then bowed his head slightly as he remembered that hotel's often charged people to stay and naturally, he had no money on him.
    " Erm...but I regret to tell you that I have no money to repay you for your hospitality towards me; you see, I never thought that I'd be staying anywhere, so I never brought my wallet and..."

    " Oh it's quite alright" Gregory insisted, waving one hand in a care-free way.
    " My policy is that if you're here, than you've already paid for your staying, well in advance" again, there was another of Gregory's little chuckles that escaped from his mouth after saying those words.

    That just got Shou to blink in response to that, he was rather unsure what he could say to Gregory as a verbal answer, even though his mind was more than adamant on voicing it's opinion.
    ' Well this is the first hotel I've ever been to that has that as a policy...if such an establishment with that policy had existed when my family were living in poverty, I would of gladly taken them to live in a place like that' Shou's thoughts echoed within his head as he then flashed an awkward smile to the manager.
    " Well...that's an easy payment if ever I heard one" he said with a nervous little chuckle as he then slowly turned to face the front door.
    " Anyway, I just wanted to say thank you for putting me up for the night...I will just be on my way home now, I don't want to keep you from tending to any other chores that you have to do"

    Being a working man himself, Shou couldn't help but wonder if Gregory's lifestyle was the same as his in some respects, if it was...than Shou knew that distractions from work was probably the last thing that the old mouse needed.
    And with one final bow, Shou began to walk towards the front door...once he got to it, he attempted to open the door, only to find out that...it was locked?
    " What the...?" the young man muttered audibly, one light-brown eyebrow raising questionally as Shou attempted to open the door again, but to no avail.

    " Oh! I'd been meaning to tell you...while you were sleeping, the weather took a turn for the worse; going out there now would be suicide!" Gregory exclaimed as he still remained behind the desk.
    And as Shou pointed at the doors and opened his mouth to say something, Gregory just shook his head and gave a small shrug of his shoulders.
    " The doors have been specifically designed to keep stormy weather out, so you'll be safe in here...believe me, my friend; you'd be much better off waiting out the storm; why don't you take the time to explore the hotel for the time being? I'll be happy to have you for however long it takes"

    However long it takes...as Gregory said those words, Shou was almost positive that he heard that same dark undertone that he'd heard the previous night and just tried his best not to audibly gulp at the manager's expense.
    " That's...awfully kind of you" Shou spoke up at last, subconciously fiddling with his glasses as he did so; but despite his words, the words spoken inside his mind were something of a different story altogether.
    ' But I really need to get home as soon as possible...if I don't get back in time for that annual assessment, my career as a State Alchemist will be over!'
    Yet despite his longing to return home, if there really was a nasty storm outside...there wasn't really anything he could do, other than to do as Gregory suggested and just remain in the hotel for the time being.
    But just as he was about to head off down the corridor, he heard Gregory call out to him...and so the young man turned to face the manager again, honestly wondering what the mouse had to tell him this time.

    " This hotel is a pretty big place" Gregory explained as he walked over to Shou ( was it just Shou's imagination...or was the old mouse actually starting to look slightly annoyed with having to do this on a regular basis?) putting one hand into his trenchcoat pocket as he seemed intent on searching for something, only to pull out a rather dog-earred piece of paper.
    " So to find your way around, here is the map for the hotel..." he said as he handed it over to Shou.
    And as Shou looked at the map, a rather undeniable smirk spread across Gregory's face as he turned around to go back to the desk.
    " There's no need to thank me...you just seem like someone whose rather forgetful" and again, that trademark chuckle ( albeit this time in what sounded like a vaguely mocking tone) accompanied those words.

    While that left Shou feeling somewhat bewildered ( and rather insulted) as he blankly watched Gregory go, the alchemist decided to not take it up with the old mouse and just began to walk down the corridor he'd come down just a few moments prior.
    ' Well if I'm going to explore the hotel, I suppose it would be best to start from a point that I'm most familiar with' Shou reasonated with himself as he walked along.

    Just until the storm passed, just until the storm passed...he would only be staying here until the storm passed, Shou just had to keep telling himself that inwardly as he glanced up at the brass candle holders that lined the walls of the corridor, did this place really just have candles as a source of light?
    Even the place where Shou had come from had such things as oil lamps and lights...but so far, the lighting here was almost primative in comparison.
    ' Is this Gregory really as wealthy as some of the interior in this hotel leads me to believe?' Shou asked himself inwardly.
    ' Or is he just a little behind with the times?'

    Then, as if something had heard his thoughts and hadn't been too pleased with them, a gigantic crackle of thunder suddenly echoed through the skies above, with what must of been fierce lightning accompanying it...since it was then that a small flash of light could be seen through cracks in what Shou had previously thought was a part of the wall ( they hadn't really been that noticable in the dark) but upon further inspection, it actually turned out to be a window...a boarded up window at that.
    As Shou looked down the corridor in that brief moment of illumination thanks to the lightning, it was to the man's horror, that there were actually a few windows on one particular side of the wall, but as with the one that he was near, they were boarded up.
    ' I know that Gregory said that he'd made the front doors to keep out the stormy weather, but does that really go for the windows as well?'

    And as the thunder still continued to echo over what Shou assumed was the hotel, the alchemist's light blue eyes widened as he could of sworn that he heard a scream of someone or something cry out from the very end of the corridor.
    Clutching at the map out of the pathetic need for some form of comfort, Shou just tried to keep a cool head about all of this.
    ' Relax Shou...I-I'm certain that what you just heard wasn't the cry of some tormented soul in pain, and...and it didn't just happen to be coming from the very direction that you're currently going in' he tried to mentally tell himself as his steps began to become rigid motion-wise.

    Oh who was he kidding? it had come from there...and while a part of him seriously didn't want to venture any further into the unknown territory of the hotel, there was another part who just wanted to see exactly what secrets this building held; why would he let a little bit of freakiness stop him? he'd seen plenty of freaky things in his job, so this shouldn't of made him feel as nervous as it did.

    ' Just until the storm is through, remember? I will only be staying here until the storm is through...might as well do something productive until that time comes' were the thoughts that eventually won the man's consciousness over and his once rigid strides became more fluid-like as he then went to see what resided near the end of the far side of the corridor, his curiousity pushing him with every step he took.
    Yet all the while...there was the feeling of not wanting to do this that still remained within Shou's head, but that particular side of his personality unfortunately had to take a back-seat for now and could only watch as the body that it resided in, walked forwards down a now once-again darkened corridor.
    ' Please let it be finished soon...' were the only things Shou's other side could say in regards to the storm as another roll of thunder echoed through the skies outside once again.
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    Becca-chan

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    Re: A reality miscalculated

    Post by Becca-chan on Tue Apr 26, 2011 7:42 pm

    A reality miscalculated.
    Chapter Four - The bizarre room.

    As he continued to walk down that desolate corridor, Shou honestly couldn't help but think about the scream that he'd heard over the claps of thunder; he knew that this was a hotel and it may of just been some person's child throwing a temper tantrum because it hadn't got what it wanted, Shou knew that children like that existed in the world...and he also knew that such a childish trait happened to grow with the person as well, not that he had been one of those spoilt children; on the contraire...in regards to his life now, he had practically been deprived.

    But personal lamenting on his childhood aside, finding out about the source of the scream was currently much more important to the alchemist as he briefly glanced at the map that had been given to him by Gregory.
    As he studied it, it came as a great shock to see that he was going back in the direction of his room...so the thing that he was investigating was more or less next door to his room? so much for a peaceful stay.

    Eventually he reached the spot where he was sure that the scream had come from, and after putting the map into one of his jacket pockets, had a look around; there was no sign of any living thing hiding anywhere ready to jump out at Shou, nor was there a spoilt child throwing a wailing temper tantrum...but there was a door to another room.
    This door was different to Shou's one and the other doors alongside that corridor though...while all of those were wooden with a coat of blue paint on them, this one was a rusty-looking steel bolted door that had honestly looked like it had seen better days, there was a small slot-window that currently had the hatch over it so that no one could see what was inside; and to top all of that off, it had an iron padlock fixed to it, keeping the door firmly shut.

    Although Shou was unfamiliar with this particular design of door, the bespectacled man just seemed rather uneasy about what could possibly be behind it.
    ' Gregory never mentioned anything about a room like this being in the hotel...then again, I can't say that I've really been here that long to be told about certain things anyway' he thought to himself as he took a step towards it.

    It was times like this that Shou hated the curious side of his own personality...the side that loved to poke around the unknown and was persistant in doing such a thing until he got the answer that he'd been looking for, the side that pushed aside the warnings of others as if they were obstacles that were supposed to be overcome; and of course, the side who reckoned that the quest for knowledge was the most important thing above all else.
    That side could also be taken as the alchemist within him...and right now, it was that particular side of his personality that was pushing him closer towards the door, intent on finding out the secrets that could be locked behind it; the door had a padlock on it after-all...that was suspicious in itself and there was no way that it could be used as a storeroom!

    Studying what the door was made from, Shou very much doubted that he would be able to hear into the room if he put his ear to it, so his next best bet to find out if anything resided within the room, was to peek through the keyhole.
    Kneeling down on the ground slightly, Shou then put his eye to the small keyhole that was fixed onto the door...of course it didn't take long for his eyes to widen in shock when he saw the contents of what the closed off room had to offer.

    Unlike the wooden floorboards of Shou's room and most of the hotel's interior, the floor in the locked room was paved with cold stone; hardly looking comfortable nor welcoming at all...the only window in that room was a barred one ( much like one that would be found in a prison cell) and the only source of light in there came from the moonlight that shone through the window in-question.
    With help from the light of the moon ( it was still dark outside? Shou thought that it would of been daytime by now) the young man could just about see how the walls of the room looked, but they were no better than the floor; being made of bare bricks that no one had even bothered to cover up.

    But it wasn't just the state of the room that caught Shou's attention, as there was suddenly some motion in the darkest corner of the dungeon-like room and following that, a small crying sound started to become audible to the alchemist as he tried to see what on earth was making the noise in the first place.

    The more he listened to it, the more that it reminded him of a small child when they were frightened...and to think that the poor thing was shut away in such a room, made Shou's heart ache with a tinge of pity.
    ' Who on earth could do something this cruel?' he thought to himself as he kept looking into the room; despite being an alchemist who thought of things scientifically for the most part, there was still a remnant of Shou that was a loving father and it was also this particular part that could feel sympathy for others, needless to say that it was that part that was coming into play now.
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    Becca-chan

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    Re: A reality miscalculated

    Post by Becca-chan on Tue Apr 26, 2011 7:47 pm

    A reality miscalculated.
    Chapter Five - The prisoner next-door.


    For what could of been less than a few minutes, Shou had been gazing into the room in the hopes of seeing the owner of the pitiful little crying sound that tugged so badly at his heart-strings; yet there was no such luck in seeing it...and it was then that Shou had inwardly debated to himself over going and asking the hotel manager about it.
    All of a sudden, there was a glimpse of movement from that particular corner as something shuffled around, followed by the sound of something like metal clinking against the stone floor; and it was then that Shou finally heard the little voice ( that he had a hard time distinguishing if it was a boy or girl) finally speak up.
    " I'm so hungry...I want to eat, I want to eat" the voice murmured, it sounded so pitiful!

    Not being able to withstand his own silence any longer, Shou finally opened his mouth in an attempt to calm the occupant of the room with any comforting words that managed to come into his mind...yet all he did was inhale some air and it was then that the owner of the voice turned it's attention to the door with a shocked gasp.
    Before the bespectacled man knew what was happening, the person in the room began to step out of the shadows in an effort to find out who was outside it's room; and it was as soon as the moonlight from the barred window revealed the occupant, did Shou nearly stumble back in shock.

    The occupant of the cell-like room was none other than a purple-furred cat with a faded white streak of fur going down the middle of it's face...maybe that didn't sound too strange, except for the fact that this cat wore a ripped red and blue striped T-shirt with the words 'Jack Ketch' printed onto it; and also wore dirtied ( the colour was unplaceable) trousers fastened with a leather belt.

    As if the clothes hadn't been enough to of caught the alchemist's attention, the fact that this cat had stitches running all the way down it's face, across it's ears, eyes ( that would of been practically socketless had it not been for the two blood-orange orbs gleaming from the darkness within them) and mouth; basically across it's entire body was more than enough to make the man wince.
    This poor creature was a patchwork cat that looked as if it had honestly seen better days...and one that could talk the human language, no less!
    Yet as Shou looked on in shock, the bizarre cat spoke again.

    " Who's out there?" the cat murmured questionally, before letting out a worried sounding meow to accompany it's words.
    " James, if you've come to play with me...I really don't feel like having my tail stepped on again, why don't you go and annoy your Grandpa instead?" was the next thing that it muttered as it shifted around as best it could; Shou was now able to see that one of it's feet was shackled which explained the sound of chains from before.

    Although when it peered towards the keyhole that Shou was looking through, the cat soon gave a questioning meow which soon became one of surprise.
    " A new guest..." it murmured, the patchwork cat knew about every single resident that lived within this hotel and Shou's appearance was certainly unlike those that it had ever seen before.
    Not wasting any time, it attempted to scramble towards the cell door, waving it's arms frantically.
    " Please listen to me, you have to get out of here!" the cat said, raising it's voice slightly as it spoke in a tone that almost sounded pleading.

    Needless to say that this sudden outburst from the patchwork creature got Shou to stumble back from the door, although the bespectacled man managed to keep his balance as his gaze was still fixed on the cat's room...or for lack of better word, it's prison.
    It wasn't long before one of those orange-red irises peeked through the keyhole of the door and Shou finally found the voice to respond.
    " I have no idea what on earth you are...but what makes you think that I'm going to listen to some cat-like thing that's locked away in a prison cell?"

    The cat just seemed to sigh at that and gave the impression that it was shaking it's head in despair.
    " I take it that you find me scary-looking?" it mumbled, although it barely gave Shou time to respond to that, before the cat just huffed and added to it's previous statement.
    " Well whatever, but I'm the only one in this place that you'll be able to trust..."
    It then stepped back from the door's keyhole, and turned towards the single barred window in the room.

    Shou just stood looking at the door's keyhole for a few moments, with the words from the cat spiralling around within the young man's mind...had he perhaps been too quick in his judgement of this bizarre creature? it didn't seem to have that same undertone that the hotel manager tended to have in his voice, could he really trust it?
    Finally, the alchemist sighed and just lightly scratched at the side of his cheek as a guilty expression formed on his face.
    " I'm sorry...it's just that I'm not really used to animals speaking the human language so perfectly; I already had enough of a shock with that talking mouse back in the lobby" he said, his tone being as apologetic as he could muster; although it still felt awkward to be holding a conversation with an anthropormorphic cat.

    But apologies aside, Shou wanted to get onto the topic of why this cat was the only person that he could trust in the hotel and why it was that he needed to get out of here as soon as possible.
    " You said that I had to get out of here...is something bad going to happen if I don't?"

    There was a rustling sound within the prison cell, as the cat turned towards the door's keyhole again; it was then heard taking an intake of breath and was just about to reply to Shou, when the sound of footsteps echoing down the corridor interupted it.
    " Oh no...surely it can't be that time already" it was heard murmuring, more to itself rather than Shou.
    Following up on that, the cat spoke up again; yet now it sounded like it was the cat's turn to sound apologetic.
    " I'm sorry, I can't tell you now; if he finds out what I've been telling you...I don't even want to think what will happen" it's tone seemed to go down into a whisper as every second passed, the patchwork cat then imparted a few more urgent-sounding hushed words to the perplexed man.
    " Come by my room later on with a nice snack so that I know it's you, I'll tell you more then...now go, before he catches you near my door!"

    Shou had felt himself becoming even more nervous as the cat told him to get away from the door, and with a meek sounding; " Understood" as his response, he soon found himself running down the corridor in the opposite direction of where the footsteps were coming from.

    As he ran along, Shou found his thoughts going absolutely crazy...
    ' First I meet a creepy talking mouse in this place, now I've met a talking cat that looks like a patchwork quilt gone wrong, whatever next?' was one of the thoughts that came up as he skidded rather sharply around a corner, while that caused him to slam his shoulder into the wall; Shou shakingly continued onwards.
    ' Furthermore, who is this he that the cat refered to? surely it couldn't of meant that old mouse, what on earth could a little thing such as Gregory, do to me?'

    Eventually, Shou ended up running out of breath and his once fast running soon slowed to a worn-out pace; placing a hand to his chest, he could feel his heart pounding for all it was worth as Shou felt like he was about ready to collapse on the ground!
    But it wasn't just his heart, the nerves in his body were going crazy; making him shake uncontrollably, it was nearly a task for Shou to pull out the map from his coat pocket as his fingers trembled violently.

    Was he really shaken up that badly? the young man just laughed nervously at his own misfortune as he tried to keep himself steady as he looked at the map.
    " Le-let's s-see..." Shou mumbled, stuttering slightly as he tried to find where he was now.
    " I must of turned off to the left, ran right past the jacuzzi room, gone along this corridor here...and now I'm-" he looked up at that moment, only to see that he had stopped at an area that went in two seperate directions, much to Shou's despair.
    " At a crossroad...wonderful"
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    Becca-chan

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    Re: A reality miscalculated

    Post by Becca-chan on Tue Apr 26, 2011 7:49 pm

    Standing in the middle of the crossroads, Shou could only ponder which direction he would take next...yet as he looked to both the left and the right, the two choices seemed to be just as foreboding as the other.
    While that un-nerved him somewhat, Shou was at least thankful that he couldn't hear the footsteps from before, coming down the direction that he'd just came from, nor could he hear the tormented shrieks of that patchwork cat echoing down the halls...it was just silence, just graveyard-at the-dead of night, silence.

    With his indecisiveness settling in, Shou gave a sigh and decided to once again consult the hotel map; a part of him seriously couldn't help but wonder if Gregory had known that something like this would happen and...no, that was impossible! how would an anthropomorphic mouse know such a thing...he was just the hotel manager around here afterall, right?
    ' Gregory said so himself that I look like a forgetful one...but I didn't think that I'd have to use the map this much'

    Glancing at the map once again, Shou soon found where he was and traced both of the directions with his forefinger.
    The path to the left, led to a room as well as a flight of stairs...although Shou had doubts about going there, he did take a few steps forward to inspect the room.
    Although he came to a stop once he was in viewing distance of the door, from where he was standing, his eyes were able to read a sign that was on the door.
    " Storeroom..."
    Giving a sheepish grin at that, Shou just shook his head slightly.
    " I don't think that I need to go in there..." he said with a small chuckle as he then turned to face the other direction; so in this case, the right path was probably the right direction afterall; and it wasn't long before he was walking down the corridor.

    While this corridor wasn't lit any better than the previous corridor that he'd been in, Shou found that the atmosphere here felt less foreboding, and didn't fill him with the immense dread of something jumping out at him from the darkness...and with how things had been since he'd arrived at this strange place, he considered that lack of dread to be a good thing!

    There seemed to be a few more rooms on this side of the corridor, with one door in particular having the words 'Judgement Factory' emblazed on it...although while Shou found that strange, he went against his curiousity and decided not to take a peek, not forgetting what had happened the last time he decided to look into a strange-looking room.

    Once he'd walked past that room, as well as a room with the numbers '106' on it, Shou was rather surprised when the corridor seemed a lot brighter in a certain area...and turning to his left, he soon found out why.
    Three beautifully crafted stained-glass windows were placed there; and had it of been daylight ( as well as a sunny day) then perhaps they would of been lit-up and glistening majestically...but instead, the only time they lit-up, was when bolts of lightning flashed in the skies above.

    Yet Shou couldn't waste his time looking at the windows, no matter how pretty they looked...and then carried on walking down the corridor, doing his best to ignore the ever-growing throbbing pain in his shoulder that he'd slammed into a wall just a few minutes ( or less) ago...obviously now that the shock of smacking it into a wall was gone, the said-shoulder had decided to act up now.
    ' I can't be walking around like this all day...that won't do this any good at all' Shou thought to himself as he tried to soothe the pain in the shoulder slightly by rubbing it; finally unable to ignore it any longer.

    Although it only took him a few more steps before he reached yet another door ( once again, it was a different colour to the other doors along that corridor) yet this one didn't have a number on it, nor did it have some bizarre words on it; instead it had something that came as a pleasant surprise to the alchemist.
    " Lounge..." Shou read out as he looked at the sign on the door, a smile soon spread across his face; perhaps now he could finally have some form of normal relaxation in this strange hotel afterall!

    And without a second thought, Shou just opened up the door and went into the room; more than eager to have a sit-down and perhaps see to his aching shoulder.
    Upon entering the room, everything looked normal enough...it was nicely furnished ( save for a somewhat dirty rug) with a clean wooden boarded floor, the lighting was good, there were chairs, two sets of sofa's as well as coffee tables and the addition of potted plants helped give the room some form of homely feel.
    The only thing that Shou found really bizarre, was a mechanical square shaped thing with a screen on it; that was perched up on a wooden shelf, this strange contraption had what seemed to be an aerial on the top of it...the screen seemed to crackle every now and then, but the weirdest thing was that there were moving pictures on it!
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    Becca-chan

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    Re: A reality miscalculated

    Post by Becca-chan on Tue Apr 26, 2011 7:49 pm

    A reality miscalculated.

    Chapter Seven - An unexpected encounter.

    Shou could only stare in silence, widened blue eyes focused on the screen as he watched the pictures move around on it...it was like looking at some kind of moving photograph; but the images on the screen made sounds and moved around just like people did.
    ' Could this be one of those film projector things that I heard so much about back home?' he thought to himself as he continued to stare.
    ' I wish that I'd had enough money to go and see those things in the cinema when I was little...when I finally did have enough money to go, I barely had enough ti-' although his thoughts were then cut off by a young child's voice calling out to him all of a sudden.

    " Hey mister! Have you come to watch TV too?"

    Spinning around to face where the voice had come from, Shou was surprised to see a blonde-haired mouse sitting on one of the sofa's that was closer to the back of the room, although the mouse in-question was much smaller and younger-looking than the hotel manager, with cute little freckles just above it's snout.
    It's clothes consisted of a red and yellow-striped jumper and some little black shoes; the latter of which Shou found rather perculiar, Gregory had been bare-footed, why did this little one have shoes on?

    Blinking in response to the child's question, Shou just repeated the one word that he had found confusing.
    " TV?" Shou asked in a somewhat puzzled tone, he glanced at the mechanical device that was perched on top of the shelf...could that of been this TV thing that the mouse was talking about?

    The little mouse just raised one eyebrow at that answer, honestly looking as if it couldn't believe what the human man had just said.
    " You...don't know what a TV is?" the mouse child said in a tone of disbelief, although the questioning expression soon became one of amusement and the mouse just laughed.
    " How old-fashioned are you? I'm surprised that you haven't turned into a fossil!"

    While it seemed like the little mouse was joking, Shou couldn't help but feel rather insulted at the child's outburst; just who had taught this child manners? ...or rather, lack thereof.
    Yet Shou would try and remain pleasant towards the mouse for now, it was only little afterall.
    " Well...it's not that I'm old fashioned; it's just that where I come from, we don't have such a thing, that's all" he explained, giving a soft yet shy smile.

    That piece of information got the little mouse to gasp in shock, it's purple eyes widening as it then scrambled off of the sofa and ran up to Shou...it was only then that the young man could see that this mouse child appeared to roughly be around the size of a four year old human child.
    " No TV at all?" yet the child barely gave Shou enough time to respond before speaking up again.
    " That's hard to imagine...nearly everyone in this hotel watches TV; did you know that if you don't watch TV, then you could turn into an old fossil? so...do you come from a place where there's loads of fossils?"

    The more this mouse child spoke, the more annoyed Shou could feel himself becoming...although the questions were innocent in the tone in which they were spoken, the bespectacled man really wasn't used to a child being so...inquiring? nosey? boistorous?
    Whatever word could be used to describe this child's behaviour, Shou continued to keep on a pleasant front for the mouse child's sake...although that smile of his had now became a strained one.
    " Your logic is an interesting one, but if that was true...then wouldn't that mean that I would be the youngest fossil around here, huh?" he replied to the mouse, trying his best to humor the child's rather unique sense of thinking.

    The little mouse just fell silent at that moment...it's mind seemed to be thinking over what Shou had just told it, although a sly grin soon began to spread across the child's face...something that Shou certainly hadn't expected.
    " But Mister, you don't look that young at all...in fact, you look kinda old"

    Needless to say, that comment threw the adult's guard off completely.
    ' Of all the nerve, just who does this little brat think he is?' Shou's thoughts echoed within his head as the alchemist's mouth just fell open at the mouse child's rudeness.
    Just as Shou was about to lose his temper with the child however, the now-flustered man was interupted by a more than familiar voice calling out in a scolding tone; although it seemed to be directed more towards the little mouse.

    " James, that's no way to talk to a new guest!"

    Out of instinct, Shou turned to face the direction that the voice had came from; the same time as what the little mouse did, standing in the lounge's doorway was Gregory, a rather stern-looking expression replacing what was usually a smile.
    Obviously Shou guessed that the old mouse had heard what James had said, and just smiled inwardly...maybe Gregory would teach the boy a much-needed lesson for being so rude.

    Yet to Shou's surprise, James ( despite looking surprised at first) just chuckled and went over to greet his Grandfather, waving both of his arms up and down excitedly as he bounded over to the older mouse.
    " Aww but Grandpa, I was only playing with the guest" the child said in the most convincing tone he could muster.
    " We were just going to watch TV together, did you know that he doesn't even have a TV where he's from? I was doing him a favour!"

    " Is that so?" Gregory just responded, his tone sounded rather unsure over what his Grandson was telling him...by the sounds of things, Shou could gather that this probably wasn't the first time that something like this had happened.
    Instead of scolding the boy further however, Gregory suddenly just gave what seemed to be a careless shrug, accompanied by a sigh and looked towards Shou.
    " I'm terribly sorry for my Grandson's behaviour, my dear sir...James tends to become rather excitable when meeting new people, I do hope that you'll forgive him"

    Shou just looked down to James, who merely smiled up at him as if nothing had happened; and despite the fact Shou still felt angry with the little mouse boy, he just gave a nod towards Gregory; not really wanting to take things up with the child's Grandfather.
    " It's quite alright, Mr. Gregory" Shou replied with that shy smile appearing on his face once again.
    " To be honest, I was just having a look around in here and that TV thing over there really is quite a new thing for me..."

    Gregory said nothing in response to that; but just nodded to show that he did at least understand how Shou must of felt.
    " They do say that the unknown is always the most overwhelming..." the old mouse said thoughtfully as he glanced towards the TV.
    Yet a ghost of a smile soon showed up on Gregory's face as he turned to look back towards Shou.
    " But don't worry my friend; the longer you stay here, the less alienated you'll feel"

    ' The longer I stay...'
    Shou just looked to Gregory with a questioning look...just what did the old mouse mean by that?
    " Erm...you do still mean until the storm passes, don't you?" he said, finally feeling the need to voice his concerns towards the manager's rather omnious words.

    Now it was Gregory's turn to be caught offguard and the old mouse just waved one hand dismissively as an awkward chuckle escaped from his mouth.
    " Oh! of course, Shou! I just meant that depending on how long the storm lasts for...perhaps in that time, it would allow you to accept things that you've never seen before as some form of normality during your stay?"

    While Shou was unconvinced with Gregory's undeniably nervous explaination, the human male barely had the time to say a word in response before a sharp pain caused him to wince and clutch at his shoulder again; something which came to Gregory's attention right away.

    " Oh dear, did you do something to your shoulder?" the old mouse inquired, taking a few steps towards Shou; his eyebrows raised in concern as he then held out his old wrinkled hands to Shou.
    " This won't do, please allow me to have a look at it..."

    Feeling a little ashamed of his injury, Shou didn't take his hand away from his shoulder at first and just bit the bottom of his lip slightly...he was an adult afterall, he didn't really need people fussing over him just because he'd hurt himself.
    Yet as the old mouse seemed persistant in seeing the injury, Shou took off his jacket and rolled one of the sleeves of his black t-shirt up a little, so that whatever he had done to his shoulder, could be seen by all in the room; and lowered his arm so that Gregory wouldn't have to climb up onto something just to see it.

    Despite Shou lowering his arm for the hotel manager, Gregory still had to stand on tip-toes as he examined Shou's shoulder; frowning as he noticed that the shoulder was bruised rather badly.
    " When did you do this?" was the only thing the old mouse asked, his usual friendly tone of voice going into a much more serious-sounding one.

    " Erm... something ended up scaring me and I...I ended up running into something a while ago" Shou answered, wondering if it really would be such a good idea to tell Gregory the real reason as to how he ended up hurting his shoulder.
    " I didn't think that I'd done anything to it, so I decided not to tell you...I mean, I just didn't want to bother you or anything like that; you looked pretty busy back at the desk so I didn't want to interupt you and..."

    Gregory just shook his head, making a despaired sounding 'tsk' sound as he did so.
    " I really don't know what to say my friend...you shouldn't take possible risks to your health so lightly, and it's my job as manager of this hotel to make sure that my guests are safe and happy" after one more glance at the shoulder, Gregory pointed out towards the corridor.
    " I think that it would be best if you went back to your room and got some rest, I will send the hotel nurse to your room to give you a check-up as soon as possible"

    However, Shou really didn't want to go back to his room; he just wanted to get out of this hotel as soon as possible...but he had no idea how well he'd cope with making his way home with a painful shoulder, so for now he decided to take Gregory up on his offer and without another word, began to walk out of the lounge and in the direction that he'd came from; with Gregory following shortly afterwards.

    As the two adults walked down the corridor, Shou suddenly felt a tug on his trouser-leg and looked down to see that James was tagging along with them too.
    " I want to come too!" the little mouse stated...and judging by how tight he was holding onto the material, it was clear that James wasn't going to take no for an answer.

    Shou just grinned at the child nervously, while Gregory just groaned and massaged his wrinkled grey forehead with one hand.
    " James, weren't you watching something on the TV?" the old mouse asked his Grandson, who just clutched Shou's trouser-leg even tighter than before.

    " Uh-huh, but then it finished...now it's just commercials on there and they're really boring" James explained, his expression seeming rather close to looking like a pout as his eyebrows furrowed downwards.
    " Let me come along Grandpa, you're nearly always busy these days; and you used to let me play too!"

    Whether or not this was the mouse child's intention's all along, Gregory went silent after that as if his mind was going over what James had just said to him and had started feeling rather guilty as a result, eventually Gregory's eyebrows went upwards as he sighed and just gave in to his Grandson's words.
    " Alright James, you can come with us...but we're not going to be playing just yet, understand?"
    When James just answered with a happy sounding little 'Uh-huh' and an accompanying nod, Gregory just smiled, reached over to pat the child on the head and looked up to Shou.
    " James is certainly quite the stubborn one, isn't he?" he said, chuckling slightly.
    " I have no idea whose side of the family he gets it from"

    Shou just laughed softly in response to that, but underneath that laugh was a tone of uneasy realisation, as the young man could almost see these two mice as himself and his daughter, Nina; it was particularly noticable with the situation between James and Gregory that he'd just witnessed; a young child who just wanted to play, an adult relative who was working most of the time, that was a story that Shou was more than familiar with, but had never really paid much mind to...until now that is.
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    Becca-chan

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    Re: A reality miscalculated

    Post by Becca-chan on Tue Apr 26, 2011 7:50 pm

    A reality miscalculated.
    Chapter Eight - The price of curiosity.

    As Gregory, James and Shou continued to walk along the corridor; Shou glanced down at the little mouse boy as he happily strutted along beside Gregory and the alchemist himself...the young man found it rather strange as to why James was dependant on playing with his Grandfather, shouldn't there of been a mother or father figure that he could play with instead?
    Letting this curiosity bite at him for a few more seconds, it wasn't long before Shou spoke up again, breaking the silence that had been between the three of them.
    " So Gregory...you're the main care-taker of James, right? where are his parents?" was all that came out of Shou's mouth, although it was at that moment that Shou thought he saw Gregory tense up the moment that he'd spoken those words.

    Gregory didn't answer Shou straight away, but instead turned his attention to his Grandson.
    " James...would you be a good boy for Grandpa and get Shou's room ready? he can't sleep in a messy bed afterall"

    Naturally the first thing James did, was groan in response to that.
    " But Grandpa, I want to be apart of the conversation too!" James retorted, balling his tiny little hands up into fists ( which he then folded) as he went into what Shou could only assume was 'pout-mode' but this time around, Gregory wasn't going to give in to it.

    " You want a lot of things, young man" Gregory dryly told the younger mouse as he just shook his head slightly.
    Although he then grinned and put on a wondering posture as he looked away from his currently pouting Grandson.
    " If you do this chore for me, I may have a super-sized chocolate bar especially for you..."

    James had still been pouting, until his large round ears twitched; hearing the words 'super-sized chocolate bar' and the little mouse immediately perked up once again, his eyes widened eagerly as he looked up at his Grandfather.
    " Really?"

    Gregory slowly looked around to him with a smug expression on his face, his tone of voice echoing that same emotion when he answered his Grandson with a nod and a rather straightforward answer.
    " Really"

    Gregory's answer got James to do even bigger smile and then the little mouse child practically leaped up into the air, letting out a whoop of joy.
    " Alright!" and after those words, James scampered off in the direction of Shou's room; disappearing around the corner of a wall, his little footsteps could be heard fading into the distance by both Gregory and Shou.

    Shou just grinned nervously after having witnessed the entire display between the Grandfather and Grandson.
    " Isn't it rather wrong to bribe a child like that?" he asked with a raised brow, looking down to the little old mouse who merely chuckled softly in response.

    " You may say that it's wrong...but the truth is that a lot of parents do that everyday without even realising it" Gregory said, doing a little shrug.
    " It's only really wrong if you don't follow through with what you promised them...there's nothing worse than a broken promise afterall" although Gregory was smiling as he said those words, there was a rather solemn feeling hidden within the tone...and it was something that got Shou to do a double-take, was Gregory directing those words at him personally?
    Whether he was or not, Gregory was quick to change the subject and finally answered Shou's question from before.
    " As for his parents and where they are...well, it's not something I like to dwell on; but they disappeared when James was only a baby, I've been the one responsible for raising him since then"

    Shou just fell silent at that, although Gregory's answer wasn't that clear in explaining why or how James' parents disappeared, it was still a rather sad revelation...it actually made him feel rather sorry for the little mouse child.
    " I see...I-I'm sorry to hear that" he said rather meekly, with that said; Shou was rather shocked at how the mouse family seemed to bare more resemblances to his family than he had first thought...with a few differences of course.

    Despite Shou's condolences however, Gregory just dismissed them and turned his attention to the only light that he carried around with him; a candle that was just burning dimly in it's brass holder, it's flames softly flickering to-and-fro as it illuminated Gregory's face in a rather creepy way.
    " It's alright, it's not something that you need to worry yourself with anyway...it's not like James remembers it and even if he did, he doesn't let it bother him in the slightest, so if anything; you should be happy for him..."
    There was a slight pause between the man and mouse after that, as if both of them suddenly felt a bit awkward over the conversation that they'd just had.
    But eventually, after the two of them finally walked around the corner and were in the same corridor as Shou's room was in, it was Gregory who chose to break the silence with another reoccurring topic.
    " So...the thing that scared you earlier, would you care to tell me what it was?"

    Shou's pupils shrunk as soon as Gregory asked that question, he had hoped that the old mouse had decided to leave-it-be when Shou had answered him when they were back in the lounge, but apparently that wasn't the case.
    Not answering for a few seconds, Shou tried to think about how he would answer the hotel manager's question.
    ' That cat seemed rather worried about me being caught talking with it...so I can't really say that I saw the creature personally, perhaps if I was to say that it scared me with it's shrieks instead?' although another idea soon came to Shou, one that would hopefully keep himself and the cat out of trouble.
    ' Perhaps then I could find out more about it and why it's in there...' at least, that's what Shou hoped.
    " Just this really loud ear-piercing shriek...like a cat in pain, or a child screaming, something like that, but it came from that room that's next to mine" Shou replied, doing his best to sound as innocent over not knowing what was really in that room, as possible.
    " Do you know anything about it, Mr. Gregory?"

    Gregory's eyes widened at the moment Shou had mentioned about the room next to his, obviously alarmed by it...but a rather dark glare slowly began to replace the look of shock; much to Shou's confusion.
    But before Shou could question Gregory again, the old mouse spoke up again, as if knowing what Shou was about to ask him...yet that dark tone could be heard very clearly and that glare hadn't disappeared.
    " That, my friend...is something that you'd be much better off forgetting"

    While Gregory's dark glare and accompanying answer had caught him off-guard, Shou did his best to ignore it and continued to ask about the shriek that he'd heard; how could he ignore such a thing when he really knew that there was something in that room?
    " But I heard it for myself...so how can I forget it when I know that I wasn't imagining things?" Shou asked, hoping for all that it was worth that Gregory wouldn't get offended about him answering back.
    " You know that a curious mind is one that will want to know; regardless of the outcome..."

    Now it was Gregory's turn to get caught off-guard when he heard Shou's answer, he had never known a guest ( save for perhaps one) to ever keep prying for answers...and while a glare did remain on Gregory's face, it was no where near as dark as the one he had done beforehand.
    " Alright then Shou...but please remember that I'm not telling you this, willingly..." was all he said as the two of them walked along the corridor, passing a few other rooms as they did so.
    " That room belongs to Nekozombie...he's one of the hotel's oldest residents"

    " Neko...Zombie?" was all Shou said questioningly, his mind briefly thinking back to the cat's appearance...thinking about it, the cat really had looked as if it had seen better days, but to find out that it was technically a walking dead animal? that made Shou wince just thinking about it.

    Gregory merely gave a small nod to answer Shou, before carrying on with the story.
    " He used to be a nobleman's cat...a very beautiful looking creature, with fur as soft as the finest silk...it's rather shocking to think about if you were to see what he looks like now...it's such a misfortunate thing" he explained, his tone sounding distant as he spoke about it, the emotion was pretty hard to place...so Shou had a hard time figuring out if it was genuine or not.
    " You see, someone came into his room one dark stormy night and sewed everything shut!" another roll of loud thunder echoed in the skies as Gregory started to sound as if he was getting more into what he was telling Shou.

    " Eyes, mouth, ears...practically his entire body ended up looking like a patchwork quilt!" the old mouse exclaimed.
    " Oh, it was terrible...my friend, just terrible" Gregory murmured, shaking his head in disbelief over what had happened to Nekozombie; at this point in time, both he and Shou were just passing the cat in-question's room.
    " But as pitiful as he may sound, please don't be fooled...that cat is also a dangerous beast who will attack anyone if given the chance; he's been that way ever since that fateful night" once Gregory finished his story, he looked to Shou...who seemed to be rather speechless over what he'd been told.
    " Well, I did say that I wasn't telling you the story willingly...that's technically the reason why"

    Finally finding his voice, Shou just shook his head in disbelief...his voice sounding rather choked as his mind was still taking in everything that he'd been told.
    " But I don't understand...why would this person do such a thing to that poor cat? what did Nekozombie ever do to deserve a fate like that?"

    Gregory shrugged as he finally stopped at Shou's room, his expression rather blank and emotionless as he opened the door.
    " Who knows? sometimes there are no motives behind actions such as this...of course at the same time, it could of been done as an act of revenge..."

    Now that last part definitely caught Shou's attention, and his blue eyes were focused on Gregory once again; why on earth would the old mouse say such a thing like that anyway?
    " Revenge? but why would anyone want to get revenge on one single cat?" yet when Gregory said nothing in response, Shou decided not to say anymore.

    " James, did you get the bed ready?" Gregory asked as both he and Shou entered the room; a genuinly pleased smile forming on his face when James responded with an 'uh-huh'
    " Good, now...let's just get our guest settled again, and then we can go and get you your chocolate bar"

    " Okay Grandpa" James responded, and then looked up to Shou...that seemingly innocent smile from before was still on his face; obviously he seemed happy that Shou was possibly going to be staying a little while longer.
    " Come on Mister, you need your rest; and maybe when you're feeling a bit better, we can go and play!" the little mouse stated as he just put his hands behind his back.

    " Now James, you know that we mustn't rush things" Gregory softly told the boy as he then walked over to his Grandson and ruffled his hair slightly.
    " But perhaps we could see if the hotel nurse will help him heal faster, hmm?"

    For some reason, that just got James to laugh about something that he obviously found hilarious, but just nodded in agreement with his Grandfather...after that, he began to head out of the room with Gregory following shortly afterwards.

    Shou ( despite the fact that he really didn't want to stay any longer) decided to do what Gregory and James had suggested, and just get rested up for now.
    After taking off his glasses and placing them on the nearby table; Shou laid down on the bed, taking one of the pillows to prop up the arm with the injured shoulder...with any luck, that would help ease the pain slightly.
    He then looked to the doorway of his room, as he heard Gregory make a sound to get his attention.

    " Just rest for the moment, Shou...I shall send the nurse to check up on you very shortly" and just as he turned to go, the old mouse suddenly looked as if he'd remembered something vital and looked back into the room.
    " And remember, if you do hear the cat shriek again...just ignore it, okay? that would be a much more wiser choice; just remember that old saying about the cat and curiosity..." Gregory grinned after that...but this grin seemed to be an almost sly looking one; or maybe it was because Shou wasn't wearing his glasses, but either-way; that grin didn't look like a pleasant one.

    James in the meantime, just chuckled about something as he peeked out from behind his grandfather; that innocent smile of his becoming more of a smug smirk as he looked to Shou, James merely waved and then looked up to his own Grandfather.
    James then started to run down the corridor with his arms wide apart (as if he was an airplane) as Gregory closed the door to Shou's room, it was then that Shou heard James chant something in a loud sing-song tone that sounded like; " I'm gonna sew you up, sew you up, sew you up good!" only for Gregory to laugh shortly afterwards...surely that little mouse couldn't of heard the story that Gregory had been telling Shou beforehand, could he?

    As the story that Gregory told him spiralled around inside his head, Shou heard the cat from the room next-door shriek loudly again; it's echo mixed with the loud chant of the child mouse as well as the echo of Gregory's own laugh...and it was then that all three of those sounds made their way into Shou's train of thought.
    Suddenly Shou suddenly felt rather ill, but it wasn't because of the pain in his shoulder...
    A messy revelation had managed to surface within his head...and right now, Shou only had his curiosity to blame.
    " I would of been better off not knowing..." he muttered as he closed his eyes and attempted to block out the sounds as they seemed to taunt him; yet they soon followed him to the land of sleep...where his dreams were anything but sweet.
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    Becca-chan

    Posts : 170
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    Re: A reality miscalculated

    Post by Becca-chan on Tue Apr 26, 2011 7:51 pm

    A reality miscalculated.

    Chapter Nine - Nightmares or reality?

    The nightmares that had followed Shou to dreamland had finally managed to subside after what must of been an hour of uncomfortable slumber; yet when Shou opened his eyes once more...he found himself in a dark bare room...a place with no bedside candle, no comfortable bed or any other furniture that could of made the room seem more homely; the ground below him felt cold and hard, like it was made of nothing but paved stone.

    " Wh-where am I?" Shou muttered to himself as he looked around, trying to find some source of light that he could go towards; but there seemed to be none.
    " What is this place?" pulling himself up off of the ground (noting that his previous injured shoulder no longer hurt, had the nurse seen to him already?) Shou then looked above him; only to see even more darkness looming overhead...it was like he had been taken to a different place all together, was this still in the hotel?

    " Nekozombie?" the young man called out, hoping to at least hear a meow from the patchwork cat, but there was no reply.
    Despite Shou's poor eyesight, he began to take a few steps forward in the hopes that he'd eventually reach the door that led out of this weird room; yet on the moment that his shoes made contact with the stone floor, the sound of his footsteps echoed all over the place, unnerving him even more.
    " James?" Shou once again called out into the darkness, he didn't really know why he wanted to call for the name of that child; but since that little mouse was the grandson of the hotel manager, Shou figured that he would help Shou if the human male managed to persuade him with toys or something...but there was still no reply.

    Anxiety began to set in at a faster pace as Shou tried walking a little faster, those footsteps of his becoming like a neverending, disorientating symphony of sounds.
    ' I have to get out of here, I have to get out of here now!' said the thoughts that spiralled within Shou's mind as he eventually broke into a stumbling run.
    There was no indication of what direction he was running in, nor was there any visible way out from this scary place; but Shou wasn't going to stop.

    All of a sudden, Shou spotted a faint (and blurry) bright light that was flickering in what he assumed, was in the distance...a relieved smile spread across his face as he began to run just a little bit faster, his stumbling lessening to a point where he ran much more smoother; apparently his determination to get there was perhaps even stronger than what his determination to become a State alchemist had been.
    Yet the closer he got towards this strange light, Shou began to hear the voice of a very familiar person.

    " You have to get out of here!" the voice of Nekozombie said within Shou's mind...only to be closely followed by another short speech.
    " If he finds out what I've been telling you...I don't even want to think what will happen"

    Yet it wasn't long before a different, yet familiar voice chimed in.
    " That, my friend...is something that you'd be much better off forgetting" Gregory's voice said, the deadly serious tone echoing within Shou's mind, as if to make a point.
    " Just remember that old saying about the cat and curiosity..."

    As Shou ran closer to the light, he was shocked to see that it never grew any bigger; but there was the shadowed outline of a certain someone holding onto the light, it soon became clear that the light was in fact a candle and this person holding it, happened to have mouse ears and a tail...
    " Gregory?" Shou exclaimed in surprise, skidding to a sharp stop so that he didn't bump into the little old mouse...yet Gregory didn't turn around straight away.
    " Gregory?" the young man then uttered, his tone becoming uneasy as he had no idea why Gregory was standing with his back to Shou.
    " Mister Gregory, are you alright?"

    Much to Shou's relief, Gregory began to turn around to face him...although that relief was quick to melt away when it was obvious that the smile Gregory was doing happened to be anything but friendly.
    The old rodent's usually deep purple eyes almost seemed to gleam a blood red as the flames from the candle illuminated them.

    And as Shou glanced down at the little mouse, he noticed that Gregory seemed to be holding something in his other hand, but it was hard to identify what it was; and to be honest...Shou really didn't want to find out.
    Yet as his mind had suddenly started to tell him that he had to run, Shou found that neither of his feet would move...it was like they were frozen to the spot!

    " Oh dear my friend, I did warn you...but it appears that you didn't listen to me" Gregory finally spoke, his tone sounding fairly friendly despite the expression that he was currently pulling...yet as he began to walk towards Shou, the light from the candle managed to catch on the object he was holding in the other hand so that Shou could finally see it...apparently it was something small, shiny and had a rather sharp pointed end; with some white thread coming through a little hole at the top of the object.

    Upon seeing the small object much better, Shou's eye pupils shrunk in fear as he had a feeling about what was going to happen and just shook his head at Gregory, his eyebrows going up as he tried to plead with the approaching mouse.
    " Please don't...Gregory you can't do this, you wouldn't!"

    Despite Shou's words however, Gregory continued to walk towards the now terrified man; that already evil smile becoming a demonic grin as the old rodent's sharp teeth were visible for the very first time.
    " But why not, Shou? you're the Sewing-Life alchemist! don't you sew things together too?" the tone of Gregory's voice soon became a mocking one as the old mouse began to run towards Shou, his eyes widening to the point of looking psychotic as he raised the sewing needle; pointing directly at Shou's eyes as Shou began to scream in terror.
    " Remember this, curiosity has a price for all beings!" were the final words that Gregory yelled, his voice coming out as a harsh rasp as he brought the needle down; that leering sharp-toothed grin and crazy purple eyes being the only thing Shou saw before it all went black.

    It was then that Shou's eyes snapped open; and as he looked around slightly, a wave of relief swept over Shou as he could see that he was back in the bed of his room; there was the boarded-up window, the wooden floor, the deep blue wallpaper, the small bookcase, the table which still had Shou's glasses and the lone candle on there, the closet...it was all still here!
    And as Shou went to sit up, a sharp pain ran through his arm that had the injured shoulder once more...obviously the shoulder hadn't been treated afterall.
    " It was just a nightmare..." Shou muttered as he glanced around at everything.
    " Just a crazy, crazy nightmare"

    All of a sudden, Shou was alerted as there was a knock on the door and a certain little mouse came into the room carrying some extra pillows.
    " Grandpa is just talking with Aunty Catherine, so I was put in charge of bringing these pillows to you" James explained as he placed the pillows on the bed and then just put his hands behind his back as he swayed from side-to-side slightly.
    " Catherine will be coming to see you soon..."

    Shou just gave a nod of his head, then remembered about how Nekozombie had wanted something as a snack the next time the two of them were to talk with one another, since he couldn't personally go to the kitchen and get a snack at the moment, Shou figured that it would be a good idea to get James to do it.
    " James?" he said as the little mouse had started to go towards the door...when James had just responded with a 'yeah' in response, Shou just gave a sheepish grin.
    " If it isn't too much trouble, do you think you can be a good boy and get a snack from the kitchen for me? I'm really hungry"

    At first, Shou half expected the mouse child to complain...just like he had previously done when it came to his Grandfather asking him to do something, yet to the human male's surprise; James just nodded.
    " Sure" was the only thing that James said as he then chuckled about something and once again, flashed a cheeky grin.
    " But you'll have to make do with whatever I get, Grandpa's been pretty lazy with asking the chef to restock the fridge lately" and with that, James ran out of the room before Shou could even do so much as object.

    " Doesn't sound like I have much of a choice, does it?" Shou groaned as he placed one of the new pillows on the bed and slowly lowered himself into the bed again, his head finally coming to rest on a fresh comfortable pillow; the other pillow was then placed under the one that was already cushioning his arm, so that was propped up just a little higher than before, while another pillow was wedged between his arm and his torso.
    Finally in a more relaxed position, Shou just sighed and looked up at the ceiling of his room; noticing that it didn't look like it was moving this time, unlike the last time that he'd looked at it with his glasses off...but that wasn't on his mind right now.
    " I just hope Nekozombie doesn't mind whatever this little child gets for me, I know that some cats can be rather fussy eaters..."
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    Becca-chan

    Posts : 170
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    Age : 33

    Re: A reality miscalculated

    Post by Becca-chan on Tue Apr 26, 2011 7:51 pm

    A reality miscalculated.

    Chapter Ten - The nurse cometh.

    In the next few minutes that followed, there was nothing but silence as Shou just laid in his bed; even Nekozombie was quiet at the moment, something that made Shou feel relieved yet slightly worried at the same time...he seriously hoped that nightmare hadn't been trying to tell him something.
    ' Surely Gregory wouldn't of gone to the cat's cell even if he knew that Nekozombie was the one that scared me, right? and if my thoughts about Gregory were true, than what else could Gregory possibly sew up on that poor creature?'

    All of a sudden, Shou's attention turned to the door as he heard some footsteps coming down the corridor outside; and it was out of instinct that Shou went to sit up slightly.
    ' Could this be James coming back with the snack already? he certainly is an energetic boy!' he thought to himself as he heard the footsteps stop at the door, which then began to open.
    Yet as the door opened up completely, Shou's mouth just dropped open in shock as the person that had been on the other side of the door came into view.

    Instead of James standing there, there was an anthropomorphic pink lizard dressed in nurse's clothes, standing outside the door...it was hard to see what her height was, but the nurse lizard was definitely taller than Gregory.
    Of course it went without saying...this lizard lady was most likely the same Nurse Catherine that Gregory and James had talked about, yet Shou was still at a loss for words.
    ' A lizard who happens to be a nurse...considering the things I've seen in this hotel so far, why does this come as a surprise to me?' Shou's thoughts bluntly asked themselves as he stared at her.

    Catherine just smiled a rather sweet smile as she walked into the room; and upon reaching Shou's bed-side, the lizard lady just looked over her new patient.
    " So...you're Mr. Tucker, hmm?" the young lady asked rhetorically.
    " Well I must say that you are quite a handsome one...and by the look of those glasses on the table there, you must be quite the intellectual sort too" that voice of hers was actually rather sexy despite her scaly appearance, another thing which caught Shou off-guard.

    " You poor, poor man..." Catherine crooned as she looked down at Shou, now that she was much closer; the young man could see that she had heart-shaped spots under both of her eyes...almost like heart tattoo's or something like that.
    " Gregory told me that you've injured your shoulder" one of her hands lightly touched Shou's forehead, massaging it as softly as a scaly hand could.
    " But don't worry, I'll make it all better"

    While the words that Catherine had spoken had been said in a soft tone, Shou just seemed to nervously squirm beneath the bed cover...
    Now Shou was no stranger to being talked to like this...he had no problem with it back when he and his wife had been newly married; she had talked to him like this on a regular basis, but that was back before things had got difficult and she was not a walking, talking pink lizard like Catherine.

    Realising that Shou seemed to be acting rather bashful around her, Catherine just giggled at that and took her hand off of the nervous man's head.
    " Relax my dear, I'm only going to see to your shoulder" she told him as she looked to the arm that was propped up on some pillows.
    " Now sit up slowly, we can't have you in any more pain than what you've gone through already"

    Nodding in response to Catherine's suggestion, Shou carefully sat up and rolled up the short sleeve that had been hiding the shoulder's condition.
    " It's still giving me a bit of trouble, Nurse Catherine...I think that I might of dislocated it" he finally said, figuring that he might as well say something about it to the nurse.

    Taking Shou's words into consideration, Catherine carefully held onto Shou's arm so that she could get a good look at it.
    " Hmm...well it does seem rather swollen" she said, the expression on her face seemed to be rather pitying as she slowly turned the arm so that she could see the shoulder at different angles.
    " The area around it seems to look rather blue as well..." all of a sudden, Catherine visibly tensed up; the conversation between nurse and patient came to a rather abrupt halt.

    Finding this rather odd, Shou just glanced up at Catherine with a concerned expression; it wasn't right for someone to just go silent after inspecting an injury like that, especially not a nurse.
    " Nurse Catherine?" he asked, his eyebrows went up with worry as he saw that her expression had suddenly gone blank; completely void of any emotion.
    " Are you alright, my dear?"

    " Blue..." Catherine suddenly muttered, her pink eyes just carried on staring at Shou's swollen shoulder, and she didn't seem to blink once.
    " Blue, like veins...juicy blue veins" all of a sudden, Catherine turned to look at Shou and a smile began to spread across her lips, yet something wasn't right as her eyes looked rather empty.
    " Mister Tucker, I think that I should take a blood sample..."

    Puzzled by the nurse's sudden suggestion, Shou just pulled a confused expression at the nurse as she suddenly went over to the foot of the bed and reached down to get something that was on the floor.
    " I...I really don't think that's neccesary, nurse...I mean you could just get an ice-pack to reduce the swelling, I'm sure that would be much more useful than taking a blood sample"

    " Oh no, a blood sample will do just fine..." Catherine responded rather cheerfully, her pink eyes lit-up with happiness as she came back up holding onto what seemed to be a huge syringe.
    " Look, I picked the biggest needle, just for you!" she then stated proudly as she began to walk back over to Shou's bedside.

    Shou's mouth dropped open in shock as he glanced at the medical instrument, that syringe of Catherine's looked big enough to most likely drain him of all the blood in his body!
    Understandably, the frightened man began to struggle to get up; trying his best to ignore the pain in his shoulder as he moved both limbs around frantically, trying his best to claw his way out of the bed.

    Yet Catherine wasn't having any of that and restrained Shou by pressing one of her hands down on his torso, she was certainly stronger than he had anticipated!
    " Now, now..." she purred in the most seductive tone that she could muster, yet there was nothing seductive about the situation as she got ready to stick the needle into Shou's arm.
    " Just sit back and relax, it will all be over soon" although a rather dirty laugh erupted from her throat as she finished that sentence.

    Powerless to do anything, Shou could only close his eyes as he saw Catherine raise the needle, only to plunge it down towards the arm of Shou's that was closer to her side.
    Feeling the needle penetrate his arm, Shou winced both from the pain that came with it as well as the fact that he could feel the blood rushing towards that area...he couldn't believe that he'd got himself into this bizarre situation, wasn't this only supposed to of been a medical check-up?

    Despite how horrified Shou was already however, nothing could of prepared him for what was about to happen next; because Catherine suddenly started to make these strange noises as she started to draw the blood up into the syringe...the exact emotion behind her sounds was hard to place other than just being really joyful; coupled with a few purrs and hisses from the lizard woman herself, but just listening to them would of made Shou turn a deep shade of red, if his complexion wasn't currently being drained of colour that is.

    He had already attempted to struggle out from the psychotic nurse's pin-grip; but it was when the extremely terrified man glanced at the syringe, did Shou start to scream in terror as the amount of blood in there had gone way past the usual level...and he could feel the strength in his body being sapped away with every bit of blood that Catherine drew from him.
    Eventually his once frantic struggling dwindled down to weakened flops as his body was nearly drained of all blood, and after a brief bout of nausea; it was then that Shou lost consciousness.

    In the meantime, Catherine finally pulled out the needle and just nuzzled the now blood-filled syringe as she held it close to her.
    " Ohhh~ so warm and crimson, it's been such a long time since I had human blood, I almost forgot how satisfying it is!" she happily murmured, glancing over to Shou who was still unconscious.
    " Oh dear, I do hope that I didn't overdo it too much, this time..." the lizard woman mused as she looked at the extremely pale man as he laid sprawled out on the bed; she didn't make any move as to try and revive him.
    " Well if he's neither dead, nor alive...that ought to be enough for Gregory" she reasoned with herself as she turned to go out of the door, still hugging the syringe.
    " But I do hope that Gregory lets me see this man again, this encounter was rather...enjoyable" she said; a rather audible purr sounding in the last part of her sentence as she blushed slightly, and with that; Catherine walked out of the room chuckling to herself.
    " Now, I wonder who else needs a check-up today?"

    At that moment, James came to the guest room door and narrowly missed bumping into Catherine, quickly swerving to the left as the nurse walked past him; yet he cringed as she did so...that lizard seriously scared him, her obsession with blood was just too weird for his tastes.
    Once Catherine had started to walk down the corridor now humming a happy song to herself, James walked into the guest room; happily waving an apple around.
    " Hey mister, look what I got for you!" he said in a sing-song voice before coming to a stop at Shou's bed-side and holding up an apple.
    " ...Mister?" the little mouse boy said, puzzled that Shou didn't open his eyes to look at him.

    James continued observing Shou's complexion for a few more seconds, before curiously poking the currently unconscious man on the shoulder.
    " Hmm...guess he wasn't that hungry after-all" James said to himself, giving a rather careless shrug before taking a bite out of the apple.
    " Guess he doesn't mind if I have some of this then, if he does...than that's just too bad" and after James took another bite out of the apple, the little mouse then put the half-eaten apple on the table.
    " I'll leave this here for him when he wakes up...I don't want to be around if Catherine comes back!" and with that, the little boy ran out of the room; leaving Shou to solely recover from his near-death experience at the hands of a blood crazed lizard.
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    Becca-chan

    Posts : 170
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    Re: A reality miscalculated

    Post by Becca-chan on Tue Apr 26, 2011 7:53 pm

    A reality miscalculated.

    Chapter Eleven - The hotel's informant.

    Time seemed to pass by rather quickly for Shou as he remained in an unconscious state, his body remaining limp and almost barely moving as it was still trying to recover from the heavy blood loss that it had suffered; it was also at this point in time that the young man went through a period of a coma-induced slumber, his dreams consisting of virtually nothing as his mind remained blank for the time being.

    After what could of been days, Shou finally regained the strength to open his eyes again and upon doing so, he noticed that the extra pillows that had been propping up his bad shoulder had gone.
    Pulling himself up (albeit rather shakily) he was rather surprised to see that his previously injured shoulder no longer hurt anymore and he could move it around with great ease.
    ' It's...healed?' Shou thought to himself as he then rolled up the sleeve of his T-shirt, just to check how the shoulder looked...sure enough, it had gone back to a rather normal colour aside from being somewhat on the pale side; but other than that, it was completely healed.
    ' I wonder...is it possible that Catherine could of done that?' he mused to himself as he then glanced over to the table, only to blink in surprise when he saw an apple there.

    Climbing out of the bed, Shou stumbled over to the table and put his glasses on before having a good look at the apple.
    Despite the fact that it had actually been a fresh apple when James had brought it in to Shou, the skin on it had now turned wrinkly with the exposed interior of the apple (where James had bitten into it) now being a rather disgusting-looking brown colour; a sign that a fair amount of time had possibly passed since Shou had his blood test.
    Looking at the apple's condition made Shou wince as he then glanced up at the cat portrait that was hanging up in his room.
    " And I'm supposed to give this to Nekozombie?" Shou exclaimed in disbelief, yet barely a few seconds had passed before he just gave a defeated sigh.
    " Well, it's better than nothing I suppose..."

    After picking up the apple (and cringing at how unpleasant it felt) Shou walked over to the door and peeked out through the keyhole, the encounter with Catherine had been enough to make him paranoid about that lizard nurse...and he really didn't want to go through that awkward situation again.
    A wave of relief swept over him when he saw that the corridor was practically deserted; and after opening the door, Shou slipped out of his room and began to walk towards Nekozombie's cell.

    Once he approached the door, Shou hesistated for a while before speaking up.
    " Nekozombie, it's me again...I'm sorry that it took so long, I ran into some difficulties" he apologised while pulling back the slot on the door.
    " But here's a snack for you, I know that it probably doesn't look all that appetizing; but James was the one that got it for me" and with that, Shou threw the apple into the cell.

    Shortly after Shou had thrown the apple into the cell, the young man just heard the sound of paws tapping against the stone floor of the prison cell as Nekozombie was obviously walking towards the place wherever the apple had fallen...although much to Shou's surprise, the door then opened shortly afterwards to reveal the patchwork cat just standing there, free from the shackles that had been immobilizing it the first time they'd met.

    " Feel free to come in, the door's been unlocked since you and I last spoke to one another" the cat said as it then started to walk back towards what appeared to be it's favourite corner in the cell...of course with the room being as it was, it was a wonder that the cat had any favourite part within the room at all.

    Although Shou just stared in disbelief at first, it wasn't long before he simply nodded and followed the zombie cat into the cell, hoping for all that it was worth that someone didn't witness it...after the nightmare that he'd had, the last thing Shou wanted to do was get into trouble with Gregory.
    Once inside, Shou made sure to close the door behind him and walked over to where Nekozombie had sat down.
    " I'm sorry that I didn't come sooner, you see Catherine came to my room and..." Shou had started to apologise again...although he trailed off when Nekozombie just waved a dismissive paw

    " It's alright, I heard everything" Nekozombie confessed, a mournful meow escaping from his throat as the patchwork cat just looked down at the remainder of the apple that he was holding in his hand.
    " I'm sorry that you ended up encountering Catherine...out of all the guests here, she's probably the most notorious one when it comes to making human guests suffer"

    Had Shou of had this conversation with Nekozombie on the day that he first discovered him, Shou most likely would of been puzzled by the mentioning of human guests...but ever since the encounter with the hotel's resident nurse, he understood exactly what the cat meant.
    Giving a nod in response to the old cat's words, Shou just did a nervous grin and began to rub the back of his head slightly.
    " It would seem so...but what were you going to tell me about what will happen to me if I don't get escape from this hotel?"

    Nekozombie just sighed in dismay and pointed at Shou, noticing that the human males complexion was still a bit pale.
    " I think your current condition should answer your question...and the longer you stay here, the worse it'll get" turning his attention towards the door for a few moments, the cat stayed quiet for a few moments...just to make sure that there was no one outside the cell door, before he looked back to Shou and spoke up again.
    " If you're not careful, you'll eventually end up as one of them..."

    " One of them?" Shou repeated the last part of Nekozombie's sentence, only more as a question rather than a statement.
    " As in...I could become a guest like Catherine, right?"

    Nekozombie merely nodded in response, the expression on his face clearly showing his dislike at the possibility of that outcome.
    " Yes, I know that it may be hard for you to believe...but some of the permanent guests that lurk in this hotel were once humans, just like you" pausing to eat the rest of the apple, Nekozombie could just see Shou trying to deny the possibility of what the patchwork cat was telling him as being fact.
    " You may not want to accept that as the truth, but that's what it is...those guests lost their way and ended up here; the hotel then played around with their minds, drained them of their sanity and eventually robbed them of their identities...their less-than-human forms are actually nothing but shells of their former selves"

    " Wait, wait a moment!" Shou cut in, his tone sounding rather alarmed over what he was being told...although the bespectacled man then brought the tone of his voice down to a hush as he glanced fearfully towards the door and then back to Nekozombie.
    " You say that the hotel made them the way that they are now...how can that be true? the way that you said it, it makes it sound like the hotel is a living thing!"

    Nekozombie said nothing in response to that, but by the looks of things; something seemed to be bothering it...yet before Shou could ask what was wrong, it just turned away from Shou and started to play around with it's broken shackles.
    " I just don't want you to end up becoming another victim..." he mewed quietly.
    " I've seen too many people like you become trapped here, and if you don't end up trapped here as a lost soul..." the cat faltered at that moment, suddenly hitting out at the iron ball that his chains usually bound him to; an anguished sound escaping from Nekozombie's mouth as such an act possibly hurt his paw.

    While that had got Shou to stumble back out of shock, he couldn't help but feel concerned for the cat...had Nekozombie just had some kind of painful memory come back to haunt him or something like that? the outburst had after-all, followed shortly after Nekozombie had mentioned something about lost souls.
    " Nekozombie...if you're worried about me believing Gregory's story more than yours; you don't have to worry...after all the things that happened since I arrived here, I've been starting to doubt that old rat and the stories that he tells" Shou admitted as he longed to go over to the patchwork cat and place a comforting hand on his shoulder...yet he just didn't have the courage to.
    " He told me that you were a dangerous beast who would attack anyone if given the chance, I haven't seen you do such a thing yet"

    Nekozombie just huffed bitterly as Gregory's name was mentioned, a pure disdain for the mouse seemed to show in the cat's actions as he looked to the stitches that were on the visible parts of his body.
    " The only person that I'd attack if I could, would be him...after everything he put me and my family through, there isn't a forgiving bone in my body when it comes to that old rodent!" he spat as he looked to Shou.
    " Until the day that me and him finally get to settle things once and for all, the best thing I can do to hurt him is by helping out the humans who end up getting trapped here" the cat explained and finally stood up, dusting any bits of apple that had fallen onto it's clothes when it had been eating it.
    " So like I said to you before, you have to get out of here before it's too late"

    There was no doubt about it...despite Nekozombie usually having a quiet demeanor, when the topic turned to Gregory; the patchwork cat's personality suddenly seemed to shift into a much more volatile version...the hatred this cat had for the hotel manager was undeniable; but even if it was understandable, it was the sudden change in personality that made Shou feel rather nervous.
    Yet as the topic then changed to escaping the hotel, Shou gave an agreeing nod; followed shortly by him pushing his glasses further up the bridge of his nose as they had started to slip.
    " Do you know of any routes that I could take? you know...like a secret door or something like that; pretty much anything that would lead me out of this place?"

    But it was then that an awkward pause came between the cat and human, as Nekozombie seemed to think about something...finally he pulled a sheepish expression and just meowed in an apologetic-like tone.
    " That...is the one thing that I can't help you with" he confessed.
    " I wish I could explain it better; but if you want to get out of this hotel, then it is you who has to find the way for yourself" and with that, Nekozombie turned to look out out of the barred window in his prison cell; his tail flopping side-to-side as a thoughtful expression appeared on his face.
    " I'll say this though...you should be aware that it's not just the residents here that you should look out for, there are many things in this hotel that are not what they appear to be at a first glance; and should you fall for such tricks, your sanity will take one step closer to disappearing; along with the very essence that makes you the person that you are"

    Shou just did an audible gulp in response to what Nekozombie had just told him...perhaps it was a truth that he would of been better off not knowing; but at the same time, he was thankful that the old cat had told him what he needed to tell him since it just pushed him into wanting to leave even more.
    " Thank you for everything, Nekozombie..." he said as he then turned towards the direction of the door.
    " So if I'm going to try and find my way out of here, the best thing to do...would be to start now, right?"

    " Right!" Nekozombie replied, turning around to face Shou once again.
    " Of course, don't expect escaping from here to be an easy feat...Gregory can be quite a persistent one when it comes to keeping a guest trapped here, and I don't see him making things any easier for you, either"

    " It's alright" Shou responded as he finally reached the door, a small smile spreading onto his face as he turned to look at Nekozombie one more time.
    " I learnt long ago that the more steps a person takes toward a goal; the longer the path ahead, becomes" although Shou was smiling at the cat, there was a hidden half-heartedness in his words...like he was already starting to doubt himself before he'd even begun.
    " And now that you've told me what I need to becareful of, I should be okay" giving a small wave, Shou then walked out of the cell and closed the door behind him as he began to walk down the corridor.

    Nekozombie just waved silently to Shou when the young man had walked out of the cell...but as he heard Shou walking down the corridor, the cat just shook his head in despair.
    " A living mixture of determination and doubt...if he continues to hold both feelings within his heart, the latter will start to eat him from the inside out" the cat said sadly to himself as he looked towards the now-closed cell door.
    " Good luck Shou..."
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    Becca-chan

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    Re: A reality miscalculated

    Post by Becca-chan on Tue Apr 26, 2011 7:54 pm

    A reality miscalculated.
    Chapter Twelve - A brief sanctuary?

    So all he had to do was find his own way out of this weird hotel, it didn't sound all that hard to Shou as he walked down the corridor after just coming from Nekozomie's room...maybe going out the front doors was out of the question, but surely there had to be another exit somewhere.
    ' Maybe I'll start by looking in that corridor that I ran down last time...with the way things turned out, it didn't allow me to explore that area too well' he thought to himself, rubbing at his shoulder slightly...it wasn't in any pain or anything, but just the thought of that accident made Shou's brainwaves project mental pain into his shoulder.

    Turning the corner ( but not before spotting another door that was down a little alcove) Shou then walked to where the door to the jacuzzi room ( yet the sign on the door said 'Bath' ) was...of course now that he wasn't in any particular hurry, the first thing he noticed was that there was actually a rusted metal door on the opposite side of the bathroom; so there were two doors in this corridor afterall.
    Although he was a little hesistant in opening the metal door, due to the fact that it was one that was once again different from the others; it wasn't long before the alchemist put aside his doubts and opened the heavy door anyway...but when it opened with the loud creak of rusted metal, he saw something that he honestly hadn't expected.

    It was a garden, a normal looking garden inside a crazy place like this; whoever would of guessed?
    Shou had just stared in awe before rubbing his eyes, just to make sure that he wasn't imagining things...but he wasn't, the 'normal' place of the hotel was actually right there before him.
    ' Well I suppose it couldn't hurt to have a look around out here...' Shou thought to himself as he walked out of the door and into the garden, looking around at whatever things were out there.
    ' With any luck, there shouldn't be anything that has the potential to kill me!'

    It certainly had the potential to be a nice garden, Shou could see that much; even if there didn't seem to be anywhere that led out of the garden and away from the hotel, it all seemed to be rather boxed in...there was a single lamp-post that stood over by another part of the hotel, the light that came from it was dim, yet atmospheric at the same time; if not slightly dreary.
    Near the lamp-post was a wooden door that led back into the hotel...although by the looks of things it was another padlocked one, so there was no hope of Shou going through there even if he wanted to.

    There was even an old bench that sat against the wall of yet another part of the hotel...it could of possibly been a good place to just sit and enjoy the views, but unfortunately, it seemed as if it's wood was rotten and the bench was falling apart; the chances of getting it repaired looked rather slim.
    Shou then spotted a notice beside it and examined it, only to see that it was a message from the hotel manager himself.
    " This is a family heirloom, please do not sit on it" the young man read aloud, only to give an unimpressed huff at that.
    " What kind of family would want to keep this as a heirloom? it looks like it's more than ready to be thrown in the trash than be something that is to be preserved for generations..." he muttered with a sigh before looking down towards an alcove; there was a dead-end down there...nothing much to take note on.

    Looking to the opposite side of him, Shou could see another rusty metal door (much like the one he'd came through) leading back into yet another part of the building...yet while a part of him wanted to know where it led to, he decided against it; he still had things to look at out here.
    To the right of that particular door were some stone pillars with iron fencing between them and yet another alcove leading into a slightly smaller area of the garden, yet there was something that seemed to stand out in this dreary garden, something bright and vivid, something full of life...and like a moth to a light, Shou found himself drawn to them.

    There were two stone flower beds standing apart from one another and in them, grew the most prettiest roses that Shou had ever seen; gorgeous bright red blooms that swayed lightly in a gentle breeze, their unusually long but healthy green stems kept firmly rooted in the fertile soil.
    Carefully grabbing ahold of one, Shou took the time to examine the rose a bit better...even though he'd never been one for botany; the fact that the flower was bigger than any others of the same variety he'd seen before just awed him.
    " Whoever looks after these roses has certainly done a good job on raising them" he commented with a small smile as he looked from the flowers' leaves, to it's flurry of petals...yet he suddenly winced as a pain shot through one of his fingers and after letting go of the rose, Shou quickly looked down to see that the finger in-question had started to bleed, obviously the rose thorns were sharp...but they seemed a lot sharper than a normal roses, they were more like knives!

    Wincing as the blood continued to seep from the pricked finger, Shou then sucked at it in order to soothe the pain and then reached into his trouser-pocket in an effort to find some kind of tissue that he could wrap around his finger; once he found one...Shou didn't hesistate in doing just that and just gazed at the roses again.
    " Perhaps they've raised these roses a little bit too well...these things are deadly!"

    However, it was then that Shou suddenly felt like he was being watched by someone or something; and the fact that the garden was so still didn't help matters either.
    Cautiously glancing back at the main part of the garden, Shou couldn't see any signs of anyone hiding nearby...and if it was James, the little mouse would of probably given himself away by now.

    The bespectacled man could feel himself becoming even more anxious as he kept looking for anything that may of given away someone's hiding place, only to freeze when he heard the creak of wooden floorboards come from somewhere above where he was standing.
    In a quick motion, Shou sharply turned around and looked up; only to see that there was a walkway between two parts of the building...and that someone was peeking through the walkway's wooden railings!

    Yet before Shou could even do so much as react, he heard the person let out a gasp in what sounded like a little girl's voice and could only watch as the mystery person started running across the walkway towards whatever door was up there; the footsteps were tiny and extremely quick, definately belonging to a child.
    But a flash of two braids was all that Shou had seen through the rails, his attention piqued as he remembered that his daughter wore her hair like that...he should of known, he was normally the one who braided Nina's hair for her!

    Without another thought; Shou raced for the door that he'd came through in the first place, his every intent was to find out who the identity of the little girl really was.
    ' Nina...you wouldn't of followed Daddy all the way out here, would you?' was the only thing that went through his mind, this place was much too dangerous for a grown man to wander around in, let alone a four year old girl.

    Once inside the hotel once more, Shou just looked down the two seperate corridor lanes as the heavy metal door slowly creaked to a close behind him; which way could he go? which path would hold a better chance of helping him catch up with the little girl...and more importantly, which route would be safer?
    The alchemist barely had time to make up his mind before the sound of grinding metal could be heard in the distance from the darkened right-side of the corridor; it was difficult to place what was making that noise exactly...but by the sounds of things, whatever it was just so happened to be sliding across the ceiling.

    What could of once been an incentive to run, soon became a feeling of boundless fear as Shou found that his legs were rooted to the spot, almost like something was holding them there.
    Sweat tricked down his face as the grinding sound got closer and closer every passing second, he had no idea what was coming towards him...but whatever it was, he would find out very soon.
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    Becca-chan

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    Re: A reality miscalculated

    Post by Becca-chan on Tue Apr 26, 2011 7:55 pm

    A reality miscalculated.
    Chapter Thirteen - Money or love?

    The grinding noise continued to close-in towards Shou as he still stood frozen in fear, whatever was making that noise; he really didn't want to meet it...but had a bad feeling that it was inevitable that he eventually would anyway, his feet still weren't moving anywhere.
    ' No matter how hard I try, I can't move a muscle...and whatever it is sounds huge' were the only words that went through his mind as he muttered a few choice words under his breath and had began to brace himself for the worst.

    However, he then began to hear something else amidst the grinding...it took a little bit of a job to actually hear it clearly, but the other sound appeared to be a males voice singing a song.
    Yet the lyrics seemed rather strange in terms of a song; " Do you know who I am? they call me Judgement Boy!" the child-like song continued to drift down the corridor, that same line repeating over and over as if that was the only line in the song that the mystery voice was singing.

    Eventually movement was seen in the darkness and Shou's attention was drawn to two different coloured lights from it, one a rose-pink and the other a golden yellow; they almost looked like two bizarre coloured eyes belonging to a fairly big creature...yet only a few seconds later, that proved to not be the case as something fully emerged from the darkness and what Shou had thought to be eyes, actually turned out to be two objects ( one a rose-pink love-heart and the other, a golden yellow dollar sign) held in small brass cages.

    Yet while they had turned out to be more or less normal-looking objects, the creature that they belonged to however...now that was a different story altogether.
    Shou slowly looked upwards, his blue eyes going from focusing on two black 5 tonne weights and the metal poles that held them on, to the triangular yet diminutive striped object with the words ' The Judgement Day' emblazed on it.

    Although that wasn't all of the strange creature, there were two more poles stretching out at eitherside like two arms, chains hung down from those and that's what the two cages were fastened to.
    Going back to the triangular object; as Shou looked up from that, there was a cubic-shaped red object which appeared to be the creatures head, it even had hair and a face!
    And finally, that was attached to an isosceles triangle which seemed to give off the impression of a pink and purple striped hat with a red circle on the top of it, the chain that was hooked to the circle was what suspended this bizarre being from the ceiling.
    Technically, this strange new-comer was like a rather big set of scales.

    As he took in all of it's details, Shou honestly couldn't believe that such a thing was standing in front of him right now.
    ' It's either some kind of insane masterpiece or a geometrical nightmare!' he thought to himself as he gazed up at it's face.
    Round owl-like prescription spectacles eventually met angled cat-eye spectacles, Shou had a hard time seeing what colour eyes the creature had beneath those lenses.
    Blonde-hair, a pink button nose, a smile that flashed nothing but sharp teeth...the young man had trouble figuring out if this thing was meant to be a human or animal, it looked to be a cross between both.
    Yet it was then that the object moved it's mouth that Shou's legs finally found the ability to move again and jumped back in shock.

    " A new face...I don't believe we've ever met, sir" a young man's voice emanated from the creature's mouth, it's tone of voice sounding exactly the same as the one that Shou had heard singing the weird song from a few moments earlier.

    Shou didn't do much in the way of reactions ( having already reacted to this creature moving after all) but he did point at the creature with a shaking forefinger.
    " You...you can talk?" he should of known that already though, the other creatures that Shou had met in the hotel could talk; but they had been animals, warm-blooded ( or in Catherine's case, cold-blooded) but this...this creature was a being made out of iron and other man-made materials, how could it even have the will and furthermore, the intelligence to talk?

    " You seem rather surprised, but yes I can talk...I've been talking ever since the day I made my first judgement" the creature responded back...from the way it talked, the voice seemed to sound as if it was a highly educated fellow, clear-cut and straight to the point but with a slight tinge of superiority in it's voice.
    " Speaking of which, you seem to look as if you have an awful lot on your mind..."

    ' Judgement? this creature works in the law and order business?' Shou thought to himself as he continued to look up at the creature with one eyebrow raised.
    " Well...to be honest, I've been troubled by a lot of things lately" he confessed, rubbing the back of his head slightly.
    " And right now all I want to do is just get out of h-" yet the creature interrupted him before he could even finish his sentence.

    " Say no more, I can see exactly what's wrong with you...you appear to have a lot of difficult roads to take in life and you need a little help in knowing which way to go, right?" the creature said, only for it's smile to get a little wider; those teeth looked even more unnerving now.
    " I think it's time for a judgement!"

    Shou couldn't help but catch onto the way the creature had said it's last part of the sentence, it's tone having suddenly become rather enthusiastic about the prospect of judging the perplexed man.
    " You mean I'm going to be put on trial?" he asked, a tinge of panic in his voice as he looked up at the creature; it was only now that he suddenly remembered the strange song from just a few minutes beforehand and that this creature was in fact the self-proclaimed 'Judgement Boy'.
    " Bu-but I haven't done anything wrong!"

    " We'll soon see about that..." the scale simply told him as it then slid a few inches away from him, the reason why was only for something that it knew.
    And before Shou could even do so much as respond to that, Judgement Boy suddenly spoke up again.
    " You are a man in your late twenties, you live with your wife and only child in a dismal life of poverty...this life drives you and your wife to both of your wits end and you attempt to turn to using alchemy as means for creating a better life; your wife isn't impressed however...and she threatens to leave you unless you get a proper well-earning job.

    At the same time, someone from the military promises you a life of wealth and easy-living if you take an alchemy exam to become an alchemist who works for the military, but you are given a deadline to present your entry and if you fail, you stay in this awful lifestyle" Judgement Boy then raised one eyebrow at the human as Shou stood trembling on the spot, if he was terrified now...the scale could only imagine how he'd react next.
    " So...what do you do?"

    This sounded familiar...all of this sounded very familiar; the situation, the pressure...but right now Shou had no time to reminisce as he blurted out his answer almost straight away, yet the tone he said it in was hasty, almost defensive.
    " I-I'd listen to my wife! th-there would have to be a much better job for me out there than the military and...and if I did use alchemy, she wouldn't have to know!" the stutter was evident in the man's panicking; but despite saying his answer, there was a heavy feeling in his heart...he knew he'd lied, he knew that he'd tried to make himself look good; but the scale would never know that, how could it?

    " Is that so?" Judgement Boy asked blankly, not sounding as if it believed what it had just been told.
    " Well I think that it's time that we should consult the scales of truth"

    " Scales of..." Shou audibly gulped at that point.
    " Scales of truth?" that was impossible...just a simple ( slightly larger than normal) pair of scales couldn't see through a person's lies now, could they?
    The young man tried to laugh it off with a meek chuckle, this Judgement Boy had to of just been joking, trying to fool him into thinking that it could see right through him.
    Afterall there was no way that it could do such a thing, it was obviously just doing all of this for show...at least that's what Shou thought.

    The Judgement Boy then started to spin around all of a sudden, the speed of which it reached could of had enough impact to injure someone with those cages if they came into contact with said-person; although thankfully that didn't happen.
    And while spinning, the creature uttered some kind of strange call; " Judgemeeeeeeeeent!"

    Had Shou of not been terrified at this moment in time, he probably would of laughed at it...yet right now, he winced whenever the cages whipped past him at a fast rate; they weren't close enough to hit him, but he could feel the breeze from them.
    ' Please let this be over soon!'

    Finally Judgement Boy's frantic spinning came to a sharp halt and the living scale just smirked as one of the cages opened...in this case, it was the one containing the love-heart.
    The beautiful rose-pink heart then fell to the floor, it's form shattering into tiny pieces as soon as it made contact with the wooden floorboards; right before Shou's eyes.

    The cage that held the dollar sign still remained in place, it's golden-yellow aura illuminating the ceiling as Judgement Boy now held that cage up high, while the cage that had once held the heart now drooped low.
    " You chose to take the alchemy exam...shortly afterwards, your wife carries out with her threat to move out and leaves you and your daughter" it told the man in a somewhat sterner sounding tone, it's lighter attitude from earlier had diminished completely.
    " A day later, you successfully become an alchemist working for the military, you and your daughter now have a much better life than before...but it's all come at the cost of you losing a loved one" yet the scale wasn't finished there as it bitterly added in one more snide remark.
    " It was your choice...and now you get to live with it" and with that, Judgement Boy turned it's back on Shou and began to go back down the corridor that it had came from, singing it's song once again, yet this time it's tone of voice was different; almost like it was goading Shou as it trailed off into the distance.
    " Do you know who I am? they call me Judgement Boy...do you know who I am? I am Judgement Boy!"

    Shou just stood in silence for a few minutes as the humanoid scale gradually disappeared into the darkness, it's lingering voice eventually doing the same.
    The bespectacled man was still trembling on the spot as he tried to speak...yet no words came out.
    One of his hands were clutched at his heart as Shou glanced at the fragments of what was once Judgement Boy's glass heart...his mind was still registering what had just happened here.
    Yet what had spooked him even more, was that the living scale had seen right through him...it had judged him; and it had guessed right.

    Eventually Shou's legs gave out from beneath him and he just slumped down onto his knees, the guilt seemed to feel like it was weighting him down at this current moment in time as he tried to mentally calm himself down.
    ' It's almost like it knew from the very beginning...' he mentally told himself as he gripped at the clothing that covered his chest.
    ' But...no matter what I chose, it could of ended the same way...I would of suffered no matter how things would of turned out'

    " No matter how things would of turned out..." he softly repeated a part of his thoughts out loud, finally letting go of his t-shirt as the guilt was slowly starting to turn to anger at being mocked by something that really had no right to tease him the way that it did.
    " It wouldn't of made any difference if I'd of chose my wife over the prospect of a new career" Shou called out into the darkness, hoping that his words would reach the scale.
    " You don't even understand the seriousness of the things that I went through back then, things wouldn't of gone any better!" his pitch of voice raised until it showed signs of hoarseness from his vocal chords being strained so much.

    Yet there was no response from the darkness, everything around the Sewing-Life alchemist was as silent as it had been when he had first came into the hotel and the Judgement Boy didn't come back...Shou's defensive cry had gone unheard and therefore didn't exist to the opposition, again he was labelled as a coward.

    Taking everything within his very being not to lose his temper ( although his nerves still trembled from the stress) right there and then, Shou took a deep breath and shakingly got to his feet, then skulking forward in the direction that the Judgement Boy had gone in, he had no desire to find that know-it-all scale again...but he was hopeful that he'd be one step closer to discovering the mysterious little girl and her identity; and he wasn't going to let some guilt-tripping scale-creature's taunting get in his way.
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    Becca-chan

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    Re: A reality miscalculated

    Post by Becca-chan on Tue Apr 26, 2011 7:56 pm

    A reality miscalculated.

    Chapter Fourteen - Time is money!

    Shou wandered down the corridor of the hotel, still hoping to catch up with that little girl who he suspected to be his daughter; but it was difficult to see with what little light there was, save for perhaps the light emanating from a few candles that were fixed onto the walls.

    However, Shou's travels soon brought him to a bizarre-looking clock shop; with clocks of all different shapes and sizes...although they all showed different times, with some going slow and some going way too fast, there were even a few clocks that were going backwards!

    As he gazed at some of the fast clocks, Shou soon began to feel a bit dizzy due to the speed of the clock hands, it almost felt like it was hypnotizing him.

    However, Shou was soon snapped out of it when a child's voice called out to him.

    " Huh? what? w-who was that?" he uttered as he looked around, there didn't seem to be anyone else around.

    Shou wasn't sure where the child's voice could of came from, the shop had nothing but clocks in it and no other person other than himself was currently standing in it.

    Thinking that it was probably his mind playing tricks on him, Shou dismissed it as his imagination...but just as he'd done that, he heard the child's voice again.

    " Mister, are you alright? you came in here to buy something, right?" the voice asked him this time.

    This time Shou was more quick to react, he looked over in the voice's direction...only to notice one particular clock that seemed to stand out from the others, it wore a white shirt with a black bow-tie, black trousers; but this clock didn't just have clothes, oh no, it also had a proper human face!

    Well, maybe not completely human as it had no apparent nose ( yet it did have two red globs coming from where the nose should of been, this child or whatever it was didn't seem to keep it's nose clean) but it had eyes and a mouth, the words " Time is money" were emblazened upon this clock person's forehead, while there was a little clockwork part sticking out the top of it's head, like the kind that you would perhaps see in an antique clock.

    And it was this clock person who was the next person out of them, to speak.
    " Can I help you Mister? you seem to be looking rather lost"

    " Lost..." Shou repeated blankly while staring at the clock child with a slight look of awe in his eyes, he didn't know if this child was biologically created or man-made, but it certainly was a sight to behold!

    Yet within a few short moments, Shou remembered what kind of place this was and shook his head to snap himself out of the dreamy gaze.
    " Erm...no, I'm fine, it's just that I was wondering what this place was"

    That amused the little clock boy to say the least since he chuckled at Shou's obvious question, and figured that an obvious answer was at hand.
    " You're standing in a clock shop, Mister"

    That answer caused Shou to face-fault slightly, he should of expected that answer from a mile away, but had fallen for it regardless; yet he was quick to regain his composture, throwing in a sheepish chuckle as he replied.
    " Ahh I see, well thank you for telling me..." although his eyebrows furrowed, this boy only looked to be about ten years old or so, wasn't he a little bit too young to be manning a shop all by himself?
    Unable to keep his concern to himself, it wasn't long before Shou found himself voicing it.
    " But...aren't you a bit too young to be running this shop on your own?"

    " Huh? you're saying that like it's forbidden, I mean Roulette Boy is a lot younger than me and he has his very own shop in the basement!" the clock boy exclaimed, although he then shrugged his shoulders.
    " Well this shop is actually my Daddy's, but he's currently gone to the bar..."

    Shou's eyebrows furrowed a little bit more at hearing that...so the boy's father was a drinker huh? this didn't sound like a very good relationship.
    Yet before he could say anything judgemental on the boy's father, the young child continued.

    " You look like you're new around here, so I'll explain; my Daddy is known as the Clock Master; when he was younger it's said that he was the master of time and could control it as he pleased; making it go forward, go back, go fast, go slow and sometimes even create a time-warp or two" the boy explained, sometimes gestering things to add extra emphasis on the words.
    " But now he's grown old and can't do a lot of the things he used to..." the child said sadly, although he quickly added in a more steadfast tone.
    " But he's no pushover, if my Daddy catches anyone giving me trouble, he gets really mad with them and creates a time-warp!"

    Of course, the little clock boy knew there was more to that, Clock Master could only do a few time-warps now...and if he overdid it, it caused him to breakdown; that particular fact was one of the reasons as to why he'd taken up drinking, another reason was that he'd once tried to save a guest from being stuck in a warp, but had ended up failing miserably...Clock Master was reminded of his failure everyday when he saw that guest run past, now a permenant resident in the house; so his sorrow never seemed to end.

    But Shou needn't know about such things, maybe if he had an audience with Clock Master, then yes he should of known such things, but since Shou wasn't planning on going to the bar anytime soon, he didn't need to know anymore about Clock Master than what was neccesary.

    " By the way, my name is My Son, it's a pleasure to meet you Mister!" the little clock said happily, holding out his hand in greeting.

    Despite the late introduction ( and odd name of this new aquaintence) Shou just smiled and shook the boy's hand, returning the greeting.
    " Pleased to meet you, my name's Shou, Shou Tucker"

    " So anyway, have you seen any particular clock that you like around here?" My Son asked suddenly, his hands going behind his back as he leaned forward on tip-toes slightly; one could only assume that the boy was going for a business-like pose.
    " The time goes pretty weird around here, so a clock might help you to keep your senses"

    Shou took one glance at the clocks that were all telling a different time and shook his head.
    " No thank you, I already have a clock with me; so that should help me out just fine" Shou said as he reached into his trouser pocket and pulled out his silver pocket-watch, a watch that was given to all State alchemists when they joined up.
    Opening up the watch's compartment so that he could have a look at what time it was, Shou was shocked to see that the watch was broken, it's glass cracked...almost as if it had fallen from a high height or hit the ground with force...the problem is that Shou couldn't remember how that could of happened.
    " My, my watch!" he exclaimed in shock as he just looked at the pocket-watch, it certainly wouldn't be of much use anymore!

    " Oh dear, well it doesn't look like it'll be of much use to you now" My Son muttered sympathetically while glancing at the pocket-watch.
    " If you want, I could see if it could be repaired; but in the meantime, you'd have to use another watch"

    Shou stared at the pocket-watch, then at My Son and just sighed, resigning himself to the likelihood of having to use another watch for the time being.
    " I guess I have no other choice...but are there any others in here that tell the right time?"

    My Son just looked down at that point, his cheeks flushing in slight embarassment.
    " Unfortunately I can't really say..." although he then looked up at Shou with a more positive expression.
    " But if you have a look around the shop, I'm sure that you'll find one that is to your fancy"

    Shou decided to finally give in to the boys advice and began to look around the shop for a part-time replacement watch, once again looking at some of the many different clocks with different times on them.
    There were clock hands going clockwise, clock hands going anti-clockwise, a cuckoo clock that had the cuckoo coming out endlessly and an old Grandfather clock whose hour hand was incredibly slow.
    Yet it was admist all of these clocks, that one in particular caught Shou's attention.

    A small golden pocket-watch lay upon a silver silk material among all of the bigger clocks, it was almost like they were trying to shield it from being seen by potential shoppers, but they couldn't fool Shou.
    Drawn in by it's beautiful colour and spectacular shine, Shou found himself walking towards the pocket-watch and picking it up.
    " Excuse me, but I really like this one" Shou called out to My Son as he began to walk back to the front of the shop where the little clock boy was standing.
    " It isn't expensive is it?"

    My Son's eyes widened in shock when he saw the golden pocket-watch in Shou's hand and was about to say something...yet before he could, another voice arose which made the young boy look around.

    " Are you so sure that you want that clock, my friend?"

    Shou also looked around to see Gregory just coming up the corridor towards them with one eyebrow raised in interest.
    " Ahh...Mister Gregory, I was just curious about this, that's all; you see...my pocket-watch has broke and I need to borrow one as a replacement; and this one seems perfect"

    Gregory just took one look at the pocket-watch before looking to My Son.
    " You know, this is nothing personal my boy; but you should try and keep those kind of clocks away from the public eyes...you know how much trouble they caused in the past"

    My Son just gave a dismal nod and looked down with a somewhat sheepish expression.
    " I'm sorry Mr. Gregory, I thought that it was hidden well"

    ' Hidden well? is this watch dangerous or something?' Shou thought to himself as he gazed down at the golden pocketwatch that he held in his right hand.
    It certainly didn't feel dangerous and in terms of shape, it nearly matched his own State alchemist pocket-watch.
    " But it's only a pocket-watch!" the alchemist exclaimed in disbelief of this watch being able to harm anyone.

    " Now my friend, don't be fooled by it's ordinary appearance; that may look like a normal pocket-watch, but it contains a power that's too much for someone like you to control" Gregory stated in a firm tone.
    " Opening that watch will spell trouble with a capital T for you!"

    Shou couldn't believe what he was hearing, all of this drama over a tiny little watch, in his disbelief, he frowned and placed his silver pocket-watch onto the counter.
    " If there's any kind of power in this watch then I'll handle it, I wasn't given my silver watch for nothing" he said, sounding somewhat boastful...something which made him act somewhat surprised, he very rarely had any confidence in himself, let alone his so-called talents so this outburst was a one-off.

    " Fine then" Gregory said, as he moved over to the counter to stand next to My Son.
    " You can have that replacement watch for free and take it away at your own free will..." although he then grinned.
    " As long as you keep it closed"

    Shou frowned at that, this was complete madness; how was he supposed to know what the time was when he wouldn't even be able to look at the watch.
    Yet the fact that this was a freebie was too much to ignore, so he gave a nod.
    " Alright then, I won't open it"

    Gregory just studied Shou's face for a moment, but then smirked slyly to himself about something.
    " Okay then, the watch is yours...but you'd better remember my words Shou, don't open that watch at any cost; just wait until your old one is fixed and then you can have that back"

    My Son seemed to have no qualms about that agreement and felt the need to chip in.
    " Mr. Gregory is right sir, you'd be better off not opening it"

    Shou still didn't understand the point of having a watch if he couldn't open it up, was the watch really all that dangerous, or was it hiding some kind of secret?
    ' Knowing Gregory, this watch is probably broken too' he thought to himself as he glanced down at the golden pocket-watch once more.
    Looking back up, he just looked over to Gregory and My Son and just smiled.
    " Well, it was a pleasure doing business with you!"

    My Son just smiled back, then gasped as he looked at one of the clocks in the shop that must of had the right time, as he then started to run off down the corridor.

    " I'm sorry, but I have to check on my Daddy; have a good day, Mister!" he called out as he disappeared into the darkness.

    Gregory just rolled his eyes slightly.
    " That old clock has probably gone and drunk himself into a drunken stupor again, you wouldn't believe how much alcohol he can go through in one day; I have to raid the basement just to check if we still have enough wine!" he muttered, shaking his head in a dismay.

    Looking over to Shou, Gregory then lightly chuckled and glanced at the golden pocket-watch that he noticed Shou had now clasped between his hands.
    " That watch there...that's quite remarkable that it even met your gaze...most shoppers ignore it, think that it's too much of an old relic that's even worth having" he stated, his tone being one of utmost honesty.

    " However..." Gregory's violet eyes glimmered briefly, an unknown emotion behind them.
    " They have no idea what they were turning their noses up at...in the right hands of a person with the mind of a businessman, that little pocket-watch could sell for millions!" he then walked over to Shou and patted at the man's arm.
    " Of course I'm not saying that you should do that...wouldn't want you to get lost in time afterall, especially with your current situation and all that" Gregory said with an amused tone in his voice.

    Shou just stared at Gregory for a few minutes, his mouth agape ever since Gregory mentioned about the little pocket-watch possibly being able to sell for millions; was it really true? would such a little watch like this actually make a more-then-comfortable supply of money?
    Needless to say that Shou liked that idea a lot...but had to shake his head in order to snap himself out of such a daydream.

    Gregory noticed that and couldn't help but do a little chuckle in response.
    " Is your will-power really that weak, Shou? I would of thought that a man of your stature would be much more sensible than that" however, before he could playfully tease Shou some more, Gregory suddenly went serious again as he glanced at one of the shop's watches.

    " Oh my, is that the time? it's time that I went to clean the bath" he said and grimaced slightly, that was by far his most worst job, next to seeing his mother of course.
    The old mouse then turned to look at Shou.
    " Remember what I said Shou, you're to keep that watch closed at all times, you must not open it, not even for a little peek!" and with that, the old mouse hobbled down the corridor and into the darkness, he looked as if he was clasping something close to him...not that the Sewing-life alchemist paid much notice to that.

    Shou watched as the old mouse disappeared into the darkness and just let out a long sigh as soon as he was left alone in the clock shop, where his only company was the countless clocks all ticking in an ongoing rhthym.
    He looked around at the clocks yet again, shaking his head in disbelief at the different times that the clocks were showing.
    " This place could end up driving me crazy...no wonder that patchwork cat was so worried about me" he muttered as he glanced down at the little golden pocket-watch that still sat, nestled in the palm of his hand
    " So I mustn't open this..." Shou said, more or less repeating the order that Gregory had given him.

    The allure of the pocket-watch's golden sheen seemed to catch Shou's sensitive blue eyes, almost in a mesmerizing kind of way, this watch wanted to be opened, Shou was sure of it.
    " No! I won't, I won't open it!" he suddenly stated and averted his gaze from the watch, it was then that Shou decided that it was time that he went back to his room...he'd have to start searching for that little girl when morning came once again...or at least, when he was feeling more rested up; which he hoped, wouldn't take long.
    ' I just hope nothing bad happens to her...what if that little girl I saw really was Nina, why would she of followed me to this place?' the alchemist thought to himself as he opened the door to his room, heading straight for the bed, not forgetting to place the pocket-watch down on the night-stand before trying to fall asleep.

    An hour or two had to of passed as Shou tossed and turned, but to no avail, he just couldn't get to sleep.
    " Why am I even trying to rest up? if my body doesn't feel like sleeping, than surely it must still be daytime?" yet looking over to the window that Gregory had once advised to keep closed, there was no real way to tell what time of the day it was, Shou's stomach wasn't rumbling...so it couldn't of been lunch-time either.

    The corridor outside was eeringly quiet, not even Nekozombie was yowling this time, it certainly was strange to not even hear James running up and down the corridor as he often liked to do.
    Of course there was only one thing that didn't make it seem completely quiet and that was the soft ticking of the golden pocket-watch on the nightstand, that little pocket-watch that glistened with pure gold; and what still met Shou's gaze as he had just idyly looked over to it.

    Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock

    " I really don't understand why that child and Gregory made such a fuss about this little pocket-watch..." Shou uttered silently to himself as he listened to the watch.

    Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock

    " It's just a normal everyday item that you use to tell the time with, I mean how could something bad be associated with it, so much so that it can't even be opened?"

    Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock

    " Besides, since I'm an alchemist, how would I know that I could be harmed by something like that...why, even if I tried, I could probably counter whatever it was that resided in this watch..." although Shou gave a huff of disbelief " or they could of just been pulling my leg"

    Shou then got up from his bed and picked the pocket-watch up.
    " The glass inside is probably cracked or something, them two just tried to trick me so that I could sell off a broken watch without evening knowing it, if I did do such a thing"

    He frowned at that thought, ever since he was little; people had always delighted in pulling his leg...he could even remember a prank that his wife had pulled on him when they were still dating, and then of course, there was his childhood friends who always thought he was game for a laugh...although it hadn't been so much that he was game for a laugh, more like easily led and completely naive.

    Well not this time, Shou wasn't going to be the butt of a practical joke this time around!
    " Nice try, but no one's going to pull the wool over my eyes this time!" Shou called out to no-one in particular as he then opened the golden pocket-watch up with the greatest of ease, well...so much for the thought of it being glued shut.
    Shou smiled as he saw that the pocket-watch's clock face wasn't broken either, in fact, the entirety of it was in very good condition, you would never even tell that it had been used by anyone before.
    " I did it...I opened it up and nothing bad happened!" his tone of voice became ecstatic over this fact...maybe My Son and Gregory had just been tricking him afterall, if that was the case than the two of them were brilliant actors.
    " Hah! and they thought they could fool me with telling me scary stories about some old pocket-watch eh?, well look who had the last lau-aaaaaaarggghhh!" Shou had been laughing ( and venting out of genuine pride) before his laughing suddenly turned into screams of horror.

    It suddenly felt like he was being pulled by some unknown force as the pocket-watches hands began to spin out of control, just like the clocks in the shop had been doing.
    " What, what on earth is happening?" Shou managed to yell out as everything in the room looked as if it had gone into some kind of timewarp...the hours on the pocket-watch advanced onwards, going full clock-wise in less than two seconds flat.

    During this time-warp, Shou had seen several guests come into his room, supposedly paying him a visit or so...there was even Gregory who came in with a bowl of soup, yet before Shou could even reach out to it...it disappeared, presumebly taken out by Gregory since Shou hadn't eaten it or something like that.
    Not only that, but the gravitational pull that Shou was experiencing made it really hard to get to anything

    ' I have to stop this somehow!' the alchemist thought to himself as everything continued to warp around him, by now the gravitational force had started to pull his torso and lower body in opposite directions, if Shou didn't stop this soon; he was positive that he'd be ripped apart!
    Looking at the top of the watch, Shou reached for the key-wind and began to wind the clock backwards, this seemed to lessen the gravitational pull slightly.
    Yet the warp hadn't stopped yet...and Shou had to work fast so that his body didn't start getting pulled again.
    Winding the clock back was actually quite hardwork too, since the clock hands were still going forward, Shou continued to wind the clock back until all of a sudden, with one almighty jolt, everything went back to normal again.

    Shou looked around and breathed a sigh of relief...yet that was short-lived when he realised that he was back in his bed and Catherine had just come into his room with her needle at the ready.
    " Nu-nurse Catherine?" Shou exclaimed as he saw the lizard nurse.
    " What are you doing in here?"

    " Gregory said that you haven't been eating for a few days...so I've came to give you a check-up" Catherine replied, her voice sounding as sultry as ever.
    " Now just relax and let me take your blood sample~ afterall, we need to know what's wrong with you"

    Normally Shou would of made a break for the door, but it soon became apparent that the pocket-watch had made him jump forward by several days...as the exhaustion from all those days he'd obviously hadn't slept or eaten, kicked in...and before Shou knew it, he was flat out on his bed, unconscious.
    Yet he had managed to utter a scream before passing out.

    A scream that had managed to reach the ears of the hotel manager, who sat at the lobby desk; playing around with Shou's silver pocket-watch.
    " Oh my..." Gregory said as he listened to the scream suddenly stop, and just shook his head in dismay.
    " I told Shou not to open that watch...but it seems that he just wouldn't listen, such a shame..." Gregory muttered.

    " But I guess sometimes things like that happen...I wonder, do people really value such replaceable objects over their own lives...some don't even realise that their own time could be running out" he had stated that fact solemnly...yet there was a certain irony in that quote that he found funny, yet Gregory's chuckle stopped abruptly when the pocket-watch he'd been playing with, smacked him in the head; only for him to utter a loud " Owch!"
    avatar
    skullvic

    Posts : 30
    Join date : 2011-01-19
    Age : 27
    Location : SpaiN

    Re: A reality miscalculated

    Post by skullvic on Thu Apr 28, 2011 12:08 pm

    Wow XD
    What a large story, my friend. XDD
    Im going to read it slowly. Because my engglish level is low XDD
    Thanks for the crossover!
    avatar
    supercomputer276

    Posts : 357
    Join date : 2011-03-26
    Age : 28
    Location : Southern California

    Re: A reality miscalculated

    Post by supercomputer276 on Thu Apr 28, 2011 9:20 pm

    Just managed to finish reading. Pretty good, even if the presentation is slightly confusing and I don't know who Shou is having never seen Full Metal Alchemist. But overall good.
    avatar
    Becca-chan

    Posts : 170
    Join date : 2010-08-06
    Age : 33

    Re: A reality miscalculated

    Post by Becca-chan on Sat Sep 10, 2011 8:41 pm

    (( After a long wait, chapter 15 is done!))


    It had to of been a good few hours after his last encounter with Catherine, but Shou’s body still felt weak from the amount of blood that the dreaded nurse’s needle had drawn out.

    He had since been going in and out of consciousness, but the next time he opened his eyes; there were two blurry figures talking over him…it appeared to be James and a small dog-like guest that the alchemist had never seen before.

    “ So Grandpa had promised me a big chocolate bar for doing a chore…” James said, though for some reason he didn’t sound very enthusiastic about it.

    “ Really? Wow, Mr. Gregory is such a nice guy!” the dog-like figure responded, sounding rather happy at the kindness of the hotel manager.

    “ Hmph, that’s what you think…I did the chore and he gave me a stinking normal-sized chocolate bar, I was jiped!” came James’s snappy reply.

    “ Oh…well I’m sure that your Grandpa meant well James, you just never see things that way”

    At that point, Shou let out a groan as he slowly but surely sat up on the bed, his focus getting just a little bit better to see the faces of the two children more clearly.
    Although he got a bit of a shock when seeing the dog-like figure; it’s head wrapped in bandages and an axe that looked as if it was stuck fast in the dog’s cranium, as could be expected from such a wound, there was crimson blood cascading down the little dog’s head…but it didn’t seem the least bit bothered about it.

    “ Ahhh, Mister, you’re awake!” James said, suddenly brightening up as soon as he noticed that Shou was looking at them both.
    “ I brought you some breakfast earlier, but it’s probably stone cold by now!”

    Shou looked over to the table, there sat a bowl ( of goodness knows what) that should of initially been in his stomach by now…he reckoned that it would be a good idea to pass breakfast and instead, set his mind on getting out of bed.
    “ It’s alright, I’m really not feeling very hungry” Shou insisted to James as both his feet finally stood on the floor boards.

    “ Meh, the food was nothing special anyway” James said letting out a huff.
    “ I don’t know why Grandpa seemed so eager for you to eat it”

    ‘ He probably wanted me to get sick so that I stay here for a while longer’ Shou thought to himself…of course he didn’t know for sure, but given the circumstances and everything that Nekozombie had told him, he really wouldn’t put such a thing past Gregory.
    “ How long was I out for?” was the next thing to come out of Shou’s mouth, a quizzical expression gracing his features.

    “ Oh, for about a week” came the child mouse’s simple reply.

    Shou’s eyes widened with horror.
    “ A week?!” what if the alchemy assessment was over by now…oh who was he kidding, of course it would have been over by now!
    This of course was bad news for Shou, he had everything riding on him for this assessment and if he wasn’t there to present something great, he could kiss his life of living as a State alchemist in a big mansion goodbye.
    Him and Nina would be thrown back into a life of poverty, he could just see it now…he’d be scrapping to save up any penny that some kind soul might spare him, just to make sure that he and his daughter would at least have some food in their bellies and somewhere warm to sleep at night.

    Shou wasn’t about to accept that outcome willingly and just started stumbling towards the room’s door.
    “ I have to get out of here…” he mumbled, leaving a rather bewildered James and Mummy Dog behind.

    A few seconds after Shou had exited the room, the mummified puppy looked to James with a concerned expression.
    “ You don’t suppose that man is still sick do you? Maybe I should of let him have some of my medicine”

    James just shook his head.
    “ Nah, a lot of Grandpa’s sacrifices all go a bit weird in the head if you ask me, don’t know why he’s in such a rush though, Grandpa already said that there’s no way that bespectacled old guy will escape…” although a grin soon spread across the little mischief’s face.
    “ It’ll be fun to watch though”

    Mummy Dog had no idea what James meant by that, but just laughed happily as a response, he was blissfully unaware of what James had been talking about and personally just saw all of this as some kind of game.

    In the meantime, Shou had been dashing down the corridor, his mind was telling him to carry on running; no matter what person or thing came his way.
    At that moment, he could hear a very familiar song sounding from the direction he was running in; and as soon as he saw two lights ( one golden, the other rose-pink) illuminate from within the darkness and heard the sound of something being pulled along a rail, he knew exactly who it was.

    “ Not again, I’m not having a judgement, not this time!” Shou growled to himself as he picked up the pace, dashing right past the living scale.
    ‘ I just have to look for a door that’ll lead to an exit…or a room with an exit!’ Shou resonated in his mind as he continued to run, making sure to give himself a space between his body and the wall as he went round a corner.

    Before long, he came to some stairs and a door at the end of the corridor he was in.
    Thankfully he was at the end closest to the door and proceeded to open the door, hoping that it would lead to the way out…instead, he was greeted with the sight of book-filled wooden shelves, a table and chair and of course the musty scent of old books, he had reached the hotel library.

    Shou silently cursed as he had hoped to of found an exit as soon as possible.
    But instead, he had stumbled upon just another room in this big old house.
    He was about to go out of the room, when all of a sudden he heard a moan from behind one of the bookshelves.
    Moving cautiously, Shou slowly crept forward to have a look at the sound’s source, but when he looked around the shelf, he nearly screamed.

    Laying on the ground in a puddle of blood, was an anthropomorphic dog dressed in grey clothes, it’s head bandaged up with white bandages…yet those bandages had crimson blood soaked into them and on top of the dog’s head, a gigantic sword was cleft into the dog’s head, much like that little dog boy that Shou had seen moments earlier.

    Shou was about to scream in terror, but for some reason it became a silent scream when the dog’s eyes suddenly opened wide and it stood up, towering over Shou in the process.
    Then the alchemist could only stare into the big dog’s rather lifeless looking eyes as it looked down at him, there were a few seconds of silence between the two before the dog spoke.

    “ Oh my, did I startle you, sir?” it asked, it’s surprisingly laid back ( male-sounding) voice catching Shou off guard.
    “ I honestly don’t know what happened, all I remember is that I was reading a book…and all of a sudden I felt dizzy, then I saw you and…” it paused, it’s eyes studying Shou very carefully, there was something vaguely familiar about this strange dog’s eyes and Shou’s own eyes…they were both the same colour and rather lifeless, a lot like doll eyes.
    Of course, Shou backed away slightly, not particularly comfortable with the fact that a humanoid animal felt like it was staring into his soul.

    At this, the large dog just shook it’s head and changed the subject.
    “ I’ve been trying to find out what’s causing my nasty headaches…you see, I’ve been to see the hotel nurse and she prescribed me some medicine, but it just doesn’t seem to work” the dog then held it’s head and seemed to wobble a little on the spot.
    “ And this splitting headache makes reading very difficult”

    Shou bit his lip slightly, not really knowing how to answer to the big dog’s plight.
    But finally, something managed to be made vocal.
    “ Well…maybe if you were to have that huge sword removed…”

    “ Hmmm?!” the mummified dog looked rather shocked at that.
    “ A sword in my head?!” although he then started to laugh.
    “ That’s a good one, you nearly had me fooled there!” the large dog said with some hearty laughs stringing along.
    “ Afterall, if I had a sword in my head, I would be dead!”

    Shou just stared blankly at the dog as it continued to laugh.
    He couldn’t believe how it could be walking around and speaking and yet only complain about having a headache.
    That is…unless it was also a zombie like that patchwork cat.

    When the dog stopped laughing, it held it’s hand out to Shou in a greeting manner.
    “ By the way, my name is Mummy Papa, it’s a pleasure to meet you”

    “ Mummy Papa…” Shou repeated, he seemed rather unsure over his latest acquaintances’ name, it didn’t really sound like a proper name…but then again, that little clock boy, the Judgement boy and the zombie cat didn’t really have proper names either.

    “ Pleased to meet you, my name’s Shou Tucker” came the alchemist’s response, feeling perhaps a bit more at ease with this latest resident.
    “ Although I do have to ask, are you feeling alright? I mean…well…you were out cold when I came into this room?”

    “ I was? Oh…” the big dog scratched the side of his head slightly.
    “ I’m really anaemic, so I tend to pass out every now and then, comes with this splitting headache that I have…I’ve been meaning to see the hotel’s nurse about it again”

    Shou’s eyes widened in sheer terror at the mention of that dreaded nurse’s name.
    “ Ca-Catherine?”

    “ Oh so you’ve met her? Well how about that, this world really is a small place!” Mummy Papa jovially exclaimed before laughing again.
    “ Really now…well I’ll tell ya something, this hotel is certainly lucky to have such a reputable nurse working here; if there’s anyone in this place that can make you feel better, she certainly can!”

    Shou couldn’t believe what he was hearing, were they even speaking about the same person or lizard as the case may be.
    He found it very hard to believe that crazy nurse could actually help someone out with their ailments, but despite all of this doubt, he said nothing.

    “ She prescribed me this medicine and so far it’s helped me out…but the pain in my head always comes back, I’m beginning to think I need a stronger dosage”

    “ Erm…I’m sure you don’t have to do that, sir…” came Shou’s rather awkward reply.
    “ I mean…by the looks of it, you’re quite a scholar, perhaps if you were to not study so much, maybe you wouldn’t be as in much pain?”

    But Mummy Papa just shook his head.
    “ I can’t do that…you see, I’m trying to find a book about illnesses; the sooner I find out the symptoms, the sooner I can find something that will help me get better”

    Shou just stared at Mummy Papa with a questioning look on his face, surely there must have been a reason as to why this gigantic humanoid dog wanted to get better.

    Then, as if he could read Shou’s mind, Mummy Papa suddenly responded.
    “ I want to get better for my son, then perhaps I could be a better father to him”
    Mummy Papa gave out a long dragging sigh, and sat down on the only chair in the library.
    “ I’m not sure if you’ve seen him, but he’s just an infant more or less…so he’s still at that age where he needs an adult’s support so that he’ll be able to grow up into a well-adjusted adult.
    But because I’m ill all the time and am always needing treatment, we don’t get to bond very much…even though he knows that I love him dearly, but if I was healthy, we’d be able to do some proper father and son bonding, I’d be able to take him out on trips and read him stories, without fear of passing out”

    The more Shou listened to Mummy Papa talk about his son, the more it made this strange creature seem more human than what it’s appearance let on.
    Shou could relate to Mummy Papa’s plight over his child, his only child at that…it made Shou think of Nina, his own little ray of sunshine.

    All of a sudden, Shou’s memory was prompted into remembering the little girl with pig-tails and how he thought that it might be his daughter.
    Hoping for some information of the whereabouts of the little girl, Shou then spoke up.
    “ Actually there’s something that I want to ask you…have you seen a little around here? She has pig-tails”

    Mummy Papa raised a brow at that, getting up from his chair.
    “ Hmmm…pig-tails, pig-tails…now who around here has those…” he mumbled to himself for a while, obviously thinking hard about the question…yet he soon started to sway, as if his sense of balance was suddenly non-existent and he was very quick to sit back down.
    “ Oooooh my poor head” he groaned as he then held his head and started rubbing the side of it.
    “ I’m really sorry sir, but my headache’s getting really bad again; I feel kinda woozy…”
    “ It’s alright…erm maybe I should ask someone else” Shou just responded, feeling a little guilty that he was to blame for the dog’s ailment this time around.

    “ Oh no, it’s fine!” Mummy Papa quickly insisted.
    “ I know the resident that you’re thinking of…that would be the little girl whose in one of the room’s upstairs…erm…top right, I think”

    “ You mean she’s one of the residents here?” Shou felt his heart sink a little, or maybe he should have been rather relieved...the last thing he ever wanted was his little girl wandering around in a place like this, sure he had once thought that this place would have been a great place for the family to live…but after a few bad experiences, he had finally had second thoughts.

    Mummy Papa gave a simple nod.
    “ Yes, she’s been here for quite a while now…my son told me that her parents threw away a doll that was her only friend and after that, she ran away from home and ended up here” he just gave out another deep sigh.
    “ She can’t be much older than my boy, if anything she might even be the same age as the hotel manager’s grandson and he hasn‘t even reached double figures yet”

    “ So she’s that young, huh?” Shou’s eyebrows furrowed, he really didn’t like the idea of a small child being here, who knows what kind of effect the place had on the poor little girl.
    “ It’s just that…I have a little girl waiting for me back at my house…she’s my daughter, Nina”
    “ Oh so you’re a father too? That’s wonderful, so you know what parenthood is like too, huh?” Mummy Papa seemed to sound rather cheerful that Shou was a father…completely ignoring the fact that Shou hadn’t even mentioned having a wife yet, let alone the fact that the little girl might of even been home alone.
    “ Ya see…there’s not too many father’s around here…only Clock Master and myself, you can’t really call the other residents parents, they all have jobs that get in the way”

    “ Really?” Shou had once had a job in a factory, back when the family still consisted of him, his wife and their daughter, so he hadn’t really noticed that fact much, if anything he was working to support his family…but ever since he became a State alchemist ( and his wife disappeared) he had become a stay-at-home dad, it was then that he realised how much his job got in the way of cherished family time; but work was something that had to be done, no matter how long it took.
    “ I guess some of them have never had the chance to fall in love…”

    Mummy Papa seemed to fall rather silent at that, it made Shou feel as if he’d hit some kind of sore spot.
    But just before Shou could ask him what was wrong, he just spoke up in a rather different tone of voice.
    “ It’s such a pity…but ah well, better them than us!” and after that, he just gave out a loud laugh.

    Taken aback by Mummy Papa’s rather strange reply, Shou just stared at him with questioning eyes.
    He didn’t see what was so funny about what he had just said, something just didn’t make sense here…from what he could tell, Mummy Papa loved his son and presumably his wife very much, yet it seemed that he felt those that had never fell in love had to be better off?
    And the more Mummy Papa just kept on laughing, the less Shou believed that this bizarre dog was as sane as he had come across as being earlier on.
    ‘ He’s just another crazy resident in this weird place…’ Shou thought to himself as he started backing away towards the door.

    Mummy Papa must have been so caught up in his laughing fit, that he didn’t even notice when Shou slipped out of the room.
    Although he soon started to calm down again when he realised that Shou wasn’t there.
    “ Oh my…now where could Mr. Tucker of gone to?” he wondered outloud as he looked to the door that was just closing.
    All of a sudden, Mummy Papa felt light headed as a wave of dizziness overcame him once more, a built-up result of laughing and moving around too much and it had finally caught up to him.
    “ Oh no, not again…” Mummy Papa murmured as he fainted yet again, thus returning to the state that he‘d been in when Shou had found him.

    In the meantime, Shou was heading up the stairs in order to find the little girl that Mummy Papa had talked about, at least now he knew that this child wasn’t his daughter, but he still felt sorry for her after hearing her story.
    Once up the stairs, Shou checked the map that Gregory had given him, in order to find out where he was.

    “ Let’s see…Mummy Papa said that the little girl lives in the top right of the hotel, I went up these set of stairs here…so that should put me in…” he looked up to have a look at his surroundings.

    The corridor he was in definitely had a much better atmosphere.
    The walls were a beautiful blue with polished wooden rims, the windows had no boards over them, so they let in the lovely moonlight…the only thing is that there were metal bars on the outside of them, almost as if they were put there to stop someone from getting out of them.

    But Shou let that possibility slip by him as he continued to look at the corridors contents, not only was it well cared for, it’s furnishings looked rather posh as well; there was even a standing column with a vase of flowers on it.

    Now…Shou had wished that this was the area that the little girl was living in, but when he quickly checked the map, he found out that he was in the left corridor.
    “ I’m in the wrong place…” he muttered as he began to walk along the corridor, taking one of the directions shown on the map.
    He soon found himself on the balcony walk-way that overlooked the garden, it was then that he had a flashback of the little girl running over to the door on the other side, maybe she had been running to her room on that day.

    Breaking into a slight run, Shou jogged across the walk-way in a short space of time.
    Of course, this was partially because he didn’t want to risk meeting of the other strange residents…maybe there was a chance that he could save the little girl from this place, afterall…who would want to raise a child in a place like this.
    Just as he reached the door however, the sound of a rusty metal door caught Shou’s attention and almost immediately, he gave in to the sudden impulse to duck down and peek out from between the bars.

    It was from there that Shou watched as some kind of red-eyed being wearing chef clothes and had a large candle for a hat, came out into the garden.
    Shou was unable to see the person’s features as they were cloaked in darkness…but whatever or whoever this person was, they had a dark aura about them.

    This person ( from what Shou could gather) was possibly the hotel’s chef and he ( if it was a he) carried on walking until he reached a flower-bed.
    Growing in the flower-bed were some herbs, the herbs themselves seemed to vary by colour, some were green, some were yellow, some were red.
    Shou had no idea what kind of herbs they were as they obviously hadn‘t grown when he was out there, but the chef seemed to look rather interesting in them.

    All of a sudden, the rusty door opened up with a loud creak and this time it was Gregory who walked into the garden.
    The old mouse looked over to the chef and seemed to give a nod of hello.
    “ And how’s my little trooper doing today?” he then asked in a quite joyful tone.

    “ Finding ingredients for my latest cuisine…” the chef responded, his deep voice sent a shiver down Shou’s spine.
    “ …I want to make an even better dish”

    Gregory just gave a nod of approval.
    “ I’m sure that this meal will taste just as delicious as the previous one” he said, giving a light sigh.
    “ Very few can match up to your cooking skills” …of course Gregory just gave a somewhat cold smile and said in a darker tone.
    “ Very few live to tell about it…”

    Shou silently gulped as this seemingly normal conversation between the chef and Gregory just took a turn for the worst.
    But it came as a surprise when the chef just laughed…did he actually enjoy the thought of that happening?!

    “ Anyway, good luck with the meal, Chef“ Gregory said as he started to walk off with his hands behind his back, towards a door that led to the basement, yet he suddenly stopped and turned around.
    “…oh! And just before I forget, make sure that you make one of your specials for our guest tonight, he hasn’t tasted any bit of your cooking yet” that creepy grin came back.
    “ Make sure you go all out on the ingredients”

    Chef seemed to laugh a little at that and gave a nod.
    “ It would be my pleasure…”

    Shou managed to stay as still as possible when Gregory opened the basement door and went inside, and when the chef just returned to picking herbs for whatever he was going to brew up.
    Yet through all that time, Shou had been perspiring out of sheer terror and sighed as he quickly opened the door to go into the other corridor.

    As soon as walked through the door that led into the corridor however, the bespectacled man had a horrible surprise...
    The interior within this side of the hotel looked awful, bare beams of wood ( possibly the only things still holding the old building up) were exposed for all to see, being as the wallpaper that once covered it had shrivelled away, any wallpaper left had been infested with mould and the smell of the mildew reached Shou's nostrils, causing him to flinch in disgust.

    It wasn't just the walls that looked awful, since the floor did as well.
    The boards were mismatched and some even looked a bit flimsy, obviously this side of the hotel was one that was perhaps forgotten by the manager...afterall, no hotel manager would ever let their hotel become this decrepit.

    There wasn't much in the way of lighting either, the only light that illuminated the features of the corridor, was the natural light of the full moon as it shone in through the barred windows.

    Shou checked the map again, just to make sure that this is where he would find the little girl...and sure enough, this was the right corridor.
    " I can't believe Gregory would put such a young girl in an area like this...if anything, this would terrify the poor thing!"

    After a few minutes of mentally debating whether or not to go any further, Shou gave in to his fatherly instincts wanting to find the young girl, and began to walk down the corridor.
    Inch by inch, step after an unnerving step, the alchemist ventured along the corridor.
    He tried his best to ignore the loud creaks of the floorboards and batted not an eyelid at the glimpse of a couple of old cobwebs.

    Looking to the rooms as he past them, one could tell that some of the rooms hadn't been used in years; not that he could see into the rooms...but just the fact that they gave off a vibe of not being inhabited for quite some time.
    As he passed one door, he could of sworn that there was a bloody hand-print on the wall, with the fingertips dragging on the mouldy wallpaper as if the person who made it had slid down it.

    His heartbeat began to go just a little bit quicker as the mental images of what might of gone on up in this corridor flashed through his mind.
    Shou really hoped that he'd find this little girl soon...

    All of a sudden, the sound of a child sobbing reached Shou's ears and his feelings of uneasiness subsided as he found the little red-haired girl from before, sitting with her back against the wall and crying into her hands.

    Maybe she was frightened and felt lonely in this hotel? Shou knew that was the case for him.
    But the little girl wouldn't have to worry anymore...since Shou planned to escape from the hotel with her and hopefully find her parents so that he could return her to them.

    " Um...e-excuse me?" he said as softly as possible, hoping not to startle her...
    But as soon as she heard his voice, the little girl uttered a little cry of surprise and looked straight at him, her eyes meeting directly with his.
    The first thing Shou took notice of were the bizarre colour of her eyes, they were a violet colour with indigo irises, almost the same colour as the hotel's manager.
    Shou couldn't ignore the fact that they were an otherworldly colour...but judging by the fact that the little girl seemed as scared as he was, perhaps she was normal afterall.

    " I'm sorry for scaring you" he was quick to say, in the hopes that the little girl wouldn't run off.
    " But...I noticed that you were lost and I wanted to help you..."

    The little girl just stared at him for a while, almost as if she was registering his presence...after that she just sniffled and shook her head.
    " Oh no Mister, I'm not the one who's lost...I-I'm looking for my dolly"

    'That's right, Mummy Papa had said that the little girl was looking for the doll that her parents had thrown away...' Shou thought to himself
    " Then perhaps I could help you find your dolly and then we could get out of here?" he proposed with a soft tone, it was the same tone he often used when talking to his own daughter.

    At first, it looked like the little girl would refuse his offer...but she obviously had a change of heart since she nodded and held out her hand.
    " I hope that we find her soon...Katie will be scared without me"

    " Katie? is that the name of your doll?" Shou smiled as he held onto her tiny hand.
    " It's a very pretty name"

    The little girl seemed to blush a bit but gave a small smile back.
    " Th-thanks!"
    Obviously she wasn't used to people giving her nice comments on her choice of name.

    Shou felt that things were going well...with any luck, the two of them would find the doll and also find a way out of the hotel, yet doing the latter would be a lot easier said than done.

    They had walked a fair way down the corridor, perhaps even walking past a room or two, when Shou realised that the little girl had suddenly gone rather quiet.
    Could it of been because she couldn't think of anything else to talk about?
    It made Shou feel a bit uneasy, was she feeling alright?

    " M-Maybe when we get out of here, I can take you back to your parents... do you know where they live?" Shou asked out of curiousity, although he was also hoping to strike up another conversation, just to break the feeling of anxiety.

    The little girl seemed to be looking down at the floor and she suddenly came to a halt, causing Shou to trip, yet he quickly regained his balance.
    " My parents...?" the little girl murmured, she sounded like she didn't like the idea.

    " What's wrong? don't you want to go back to your parents?" Shou's eyebrows furrowed.
    " Did something happen...?"

    All of a sudden, the little girl looked straight up at Shou with a piercing glance and to Shou's shock, her head twisted around to reveal another face...only this face was blue and inhuman looking with yellow wild-looking eyes that had red irises, it had sewn on eyebrows resembling a patch doll and very sharp teeth.
    " That's none of your business!" the horrific being snarled back, it's voice hoarse and aggressive, nothing like the voice of the innocent little girl from moments earlier...but this thing, this thing had her body!

    Shou's eyes widened in shock and he stumbled back from the demonic creature.
    " But...y-you're..."

    " I'm what?" the being asked, a toothy grin spreading across it's face.
    " Scary? Hideous? The most unsightly thing you've ever seen?"
    It then cackled like a wicked witch from folklore before yelling back it's reply.
    " Good! It's always been that way and I don't intend to stop!"

    " But the little girl...all this time...she was...she is...you...you are..." Shou mumbled nonsensically, he couldn't believe that the monster in front of him was the innocent scared little girl he'd been walking with just a few moments ago.

    " I'm the doll that she's looking for!" the being cackled, it suddenly started to rise into the air, as if pulled up by invisible strings that were controlled by unseen hands.
    The nightmare doll's laughs became more louder and wild with every passing second.
    " And you're a nuisence!" it screeched before lunging at the horrified alchemist.

    Shou screamed as Katie flew towards him, her yellow eyes blazing like a fire.
    He quickly turned and bolted down the corridor, not even paying attention to the creaks beneath his feet.
    All the while, Katie followed in hot pursuit, laughing manically as she glided across the ground with little to no effort.

    ' I have to get away from this thing...what if she tries to eat me?!' he thought as he struggled not to lose his footing on the uneven floor.
    He wasn't sure if she really would do that, but looking at those sharp teeth of hers, he really didn't want to find out whether she would or not.

    As he approached an alcove, Shou's prayers of escaping from the possessed doll were answered as he could see a staircase, turning a sharp corner; Shou didn't hesistate in thundering down the stairs, but Katie just floated down after him.

    Completely panic-stricken, Shou carried on running through the lobby and through a door that led to the other corridor.
    By chance, he noticed that a door to the basement had been left open and not taking the risk of being caught, he quickly ran through the door, closed it behind him and headed down the stairs into the basement.

    Seconds later, Katie came flying into the corridor, only to realise that Shou was nowhere to be seen.
    She gave a frustrated yell before floating back down to the ground, and fainted, only to reawaken as the innocent little girl once more.

    " Where did that man go? he was going to help me find my dolly..." she murmured, completely oblivious to the other personality that had scared Shou off.
    The little girl once again began to sob as she walked back the way she'd came, convinced that her trust in adults had been broken once again.

    Shou was now regretting his choice of escape route now...as it had gradually got darker the further down he went.
    But there was no going back now...
    " What if she's waiting for me up there? I'm going to have to try and find another way back up to the hotel..." he then paused, realizing what he had just said, staying in this place was the last thing he wanted to do.
    " What am I saying? if anything, maybe this will lead to a way out!"

    Upon reaching the bottom of the stairs, Shou found himself in complete darkness with not even a single light to illuminate the way forward.
    His only choice of moving along was to fumble in the dark, feeling with his hands was the only way he could make out a safe route without having to worry about bumping into any walls.

    As he stumbled along, sounds echoed around him, mainly the sound of his footsteps amplified by the rather closed-in space that he was currently in, and somewhere nearby, there was the sound of water trickling down from the ceiling...this may of been a basement, but it currently felt more like some kind of underground cavern.

    After a while of blindly walking in the dark, Shou began to wonder if he'd ever find his way out of here.
    " All I need is some light and I should be able to find my way..." he said outloud.

    All of a sudden, a familiar voice came out of nowhere.
    " In that case, allow me to offer you some light, my friend"

    Shou turned around rather quickly to see Gregory standing there, candle in hand.
    " Mr. Gregory?! where did you...how did you?"

    Gregory just did one of his trademark chuckles and pointed a finger at a route that Shou couldn't quite see.
    " This basement has many twists and turns, as well as many paths that lead to different places; of course if you're someone who can see in the dark than getting around down here is no problem...if you can't see in the dark however..." Gregory trailed off as he reached into one of the pockets on his pink trenchcoat and pulled out a glass of eyedrops.

    Shou just looked at the bottle of eyedrops as Gregory held it out to him.
    " And...erm...how will those help?"

    Gregory smiled with one eyebrow raised, as if questioning Shou's hesistance to trust him.
    " I'm trying to help you and yet you doubt me?" he pushed the bottle of eyedrops into the palm of Shou's hands.
    " If you don't start trusting me, then who else do you have to trust in this place?"

    Yet before Shou could even answer, the old mouse spoke up again.
    " Those eyedrops will allow you to see in the dark, that should make getting around down here much easier and the path that you seek so badly will finally be in your sight instead of the possibility of you walking right past it"

    Shou didn't know how to respond to this...was the old mouse actually helping him, with no strings attached? no ulterior motive?

    ' I hope I'm not going to regret this...'
    Eventually Shou gave in to Gregory's assurance and decided to give the eyedrops a try, gingerly holding up the bottle Shou then pulled the top off of it and squirted one drop into his eyes.

    All of a sudden, as if by magic, the dark surroundings of the basement suddenly became a bit brighter and Shou could finally see what was in front of him.
    There wasn't really much to look at other than the brick walls that served as a corridor but Shou finally saw what had been making that trickling noise, it turned out that there was an underground stream running through the basement...or it was a sewer, but Shou didn't want to think that.

    " There, you see? there was nothing to worry about" Gregory said with a chuckle.

    " S-sorry I doubted you, Mr. Gregory" Shou said, rubbing the side of his head in slight embarassment.

    " Don't worry about it, it's not the first time people have hesistated in listening to me" Gregory gave a small sigh.
    " Although I am curious...what in the world are you doing down here in the first place?

    " Oh...that..." Shou looked at the way he'd came and then looked to Gregory.
    " I was chased by one of the guests, that little girl...doll...thing"

    " You mean the lost doll?" Gregory inquired, a knowing tone suggested that he knew quite a bit about that little monster.
    " I'm dreadfully sorry, I'm afraid that child has been like that for quite some time..."

    " Mr. Gregory?...do you know her?"

    " I know that she's been a long-time guest here...I can't even remember when she came to this hotel; she truely is a pitiful creature"

    " Pitiful?! she nearly scared the living daylights out of me!" Shou exclaimed, shocked that Gregory felt sorry for such a horrid child or whatever she was.

    Gregory frowned at Shou when the man had an outburst.
    " My, my...and who are you to judge the actions of others who can't help themselves?" the old mouse said, sounding somewhat offended.
    " It's not like it's her fault, you don't even realize how much she's been through"

    " What do you mean...?"

    The old mouse sighed and looked to the side slightly, the look on his face seeming sad.
    " That little girl had a rough life...she went through things that no child should have to go through and her doll was the only thing that kept her sane...however..." Gregory then looked towards Shou with what could only be described as a stare that looked straight into the soul.

    " She had started to pour all of the negative things into the body of her much loved doll...the doll could never fight back afterall, it could never tell her to listen to reason and before long, it became a vessel in which all of her unpleasant memories were held"

    He had to stop to take a breath, but Gregory was quick to speak up again.
    " Her parents hated the fact that the little girl spent so much time with the doll, she wouldn't be able to keep the doll forever afterall...so they threw it out,
    As a result, the little girl was distressed and felt like another part of herself had been thrown away...so she ran away from home to try and find her doll"

    " And that's when her travels brought her here?" Shou rhetorically asked, of course he knew the answer already.

    " Upon arriving at the hotel, she still tried to search for her doll...but instead of discovering the physical form of the doll, the personality that she'd given the doll began to take ahold of her, since the toy for which the personality was made for was now gone.
    She ended up becoming two people that day...the lonely little girl looking for her doll, and the monster born from the negative emotions she'd tried to get rid of..."

    Gregory stopped for a while, giving a shake of his head as if he didn't approve of the story.
    " It's an unbearably sad story...to think that the child will never find her doll, and yet this beloved doll of hers controls her without her even realizing it" he then frowned as something else crossed his mind.

    " And to think...all of this could of been avoided if her father had never thrown out the doll" he looked directly at Shou as he said this, almost as if he was accusing Shou of such a thing.
    " Maybe he's the true monster in all of this...because of his heartless actions, his own daughter becomes a monster; a helpless soul forever transfixed to a spiteful monster"

    Shou just stood there open mouthed, he really didn't know what to think of this...it all seemed too much, perhaps he'd heard a little too much as well.
    ' Why would the manager tell me all that in great detail? And why is he looking at me like that?
    It's like he thinks I'm to blame for it, and that girl isn't even my daughter, I'd never throw out Nina's toys!'

    But before Shou could ask Gregory why was he giving him such a sour look, the old mouse made a sound like he was clearing his throat and turned on his heel.
    " I'd like to stay and chat for a while longer, but there's some work that I need to see to...please join everyone in the dining hall for some supper when it's ready" Gregory said as he began to walk down a corridor.

    " But how do I get out of here?" Shou called over to the old mouse, sure he may of been able to see now...but he still had no clue on where he was going.

    " I've already helped you enough, my friend" Gregory simply answered back.
    " Perhaps you should just rely on your gut instincts for once, who knows? you may even find the thing that you want..." Gregory turned around to Shou and gave a faint smile.
    " Sometimes the thing of which we seek is right under our noses all along and we don't even realize, but if you never allow yourself to slow down and look carefully, you may be wandering forever..."
    There was a tone of irony in Gregory's voice as he finished his sentence, that old humming laugh of his echoed as he eventually walked into the darkness.

    Shou gulped a little when the old mouse vanished from sight...he really didn't fancy being stuck down here forever...heck, he didn't even fancy staying in this hotel; but he obviously wasn't going to be escaping anytime soon.

    " Well...I guess I should take Gregory's advice...as much as it pains me to say it" Shou muttered, his trust in Gregory still wasn't particulary high.
    " Let's see where this leads me..." Shou said as he began to walk down the basement corridor, he was unsure of what was just around the corner...but he was just going to trust his gut feeling and see if the directions he took were the right ones.

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    Re: A reality miscalculated

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      Current date/time is Tue Oct 24, 2017 12:51 am