The group alternated gazes between a wounded and bloodied me, a pipe covered in blood at my feet, and the blood covering Red. Blood was essentially everywhere which made it obvious that they would assume that she attacked me.
“It’s not what it looks like.” I wanted to erase any semblance of a misunderstanding so I spoke up in order to avoid conflict.
“Are you hurt?” The man at the lead didn’t seem like he believed me.
“Yeah, he’s obviously fucking hurt, dumbass.” Red cursed at the man which caused him to turn his attention to her. He was instantly cautious of her and kept his distance.
“Did you do that to him?” The man asked. The group had their own makeshift weapons and the numerical advantage so it was obvious they wouldn’t be scared of her.
“My memories a bit foggy.” Red shrugged.
I don’t know why she was being so confrontational, but I decided not to intervene. I had already told them she didn’t harm me and she seemed dead set on fighting the group so I stayed out of it.
“You can’t just hurt people!” The woman shouted at Red.
“How do you think I got this nice jumpsuit, lady?” Red pulled at the bright orange prison jumpsuit.
“We won’t hurt you if you just go about your way.” The man in the lead decided that he had heard enough and finally moved toward Red. Whether he was aware of it or not, he stopped within arms distance of her.
She looked up at him while smiling before she suddenly punched him in the nose, breaking it and knocking him to the ground.
“Hey!” His two friends swung their wooden stick at Red but she nimbly avoided them. She threw a fierce right hook and instantly dropped the closest of the two which surprised his remaining group. Taking advantage of his brief opening, she delivered a ruthless kick to the last guy’s groin.
“Fuck!” The man shouted as he fell to his knees. Of course, Red being the person I thought her to be, didn’t let him off with just that. She aimed another kick at his jaw and watched as he fell motionless.
The only person left was the woman who attempted to fight, but Red grappled the woman and lifted her into the air before slamming her head first onto the cracked asphalt.
“Whew!” Red was breathing excitedly as she looked at me, “Told you I fucking was good. Did’ya see that shit?”
The leader struggling to his feet while holding his bleeding nose, but Red wasn’t about to let him recover. She kicked him in the ribs before flipping him over and straddling his chest. Then, she began to punch him repeatedly with complete viciousness. It was far better than what I tried to do to Daniel. After adding more blood colored stains to Red’s outfit, he looked to be out for the count. Red stood up and drew the katana.
I realized at that moment that there were people like her all around. People who were hard-wired for violence. Whether it be a shitty childhood or a developmental issue, they existed just like everyone else and they’ll probably become more prominent from now on.
“Hope you aren’t squeamish, Ulysses.” She tried to stab into the man’s neck, but an invisible force stopped her.
A black screen appeared in front of her face and she shouted, “What the fuck does that mean?!”
“What is it?” I was curious about what caused her to stop.
“You can’t kill after the trial is over, but you get their Black Coins if you can beat them up.” Red showed off her wrist which showed 36 coins. I checked my wrist and saw that I had received Daniel’s portion, putting me at 17. So I guess killing was a valid way of receiving someone else’s coins instead of making them hand it over. Since Red didn’t have a higher amount I guessed she killed her group before they could reap the bonuses at the end.
Red looked at me and narrowed her eyes, “Maybe I should beat you up too.”
“Please don’t,” I said but I looked at her with resignation. I’d rather just hand over my coins than to go through the trouble of fighting her.
“I’m just kidding, Ulysses. Learn to take a joke, alright?” Red clicked her tongue as she sheathed the sword.
I was thankful I didn’t try to sneak attack Red when she was moved close to me if I used the knives I had to try and stab her I would’ve been met with the same notification before suffering a harsh beat down.
Red hopped on the roof of the car once again as she searched for her next victim. “How’d you clear the apartment anyway?”
“...I shot one guy in the leg with a crossbow before letting him get eaten by a monster...The remaining two members of my group didn’t like it and thought I would turn on them too so they planned to let me die...I ended up burning the entire building down to get to them first. The one who originally had that sword managed to survive and wasn’t too thrilled about it. That’s basically how I ended up like this.” I summed up the events without getting into too many details.
“That’s nice.” Red looked up at the burning apartment while appraising my handiwork. “It’s flashy for sure, but not as cool as me. I popped up with this jumpsuit on and I automatically knew it wouldn’t work out too good for me so I hid myself until they left. After, that I followed them down for a few before I made a sheet rope and climbed ahead. They were fighting one of those monsters and then wham! I came up from behind them as soon as they got comfortable and got rid of them. Because of that I kind of struggled with killing the rest of those monsters, especially that roided out fucker.” Red complained and bragged at the same time.
“Yeah, I couldn’t kill it either.” I shook my head.
“No I killed it, it was just hard as fuck to do. I had to run around a lot before I finally shoved a broomstick down his throat.” Red sighed.
I really wanted to have her as a partner no matter how unpredictable she was. I felt like that would be the smartest decision for me to make. It would be hard not to think she was going to bash my skull in at any given moment but if I could get past that I would be ok.
“Hey, why didn’t you attack me like you did those people?” I asked.
“I dunno, I thought that you were about to die anyway so I was going to just wait it out while making conversation. Halfway through I noticed that you weren’t injured that badly so it would’ve been awkward to just start beating the shit out of you…And you were alone so you must’ve fought your group like I did.” Red’s words let me know that she was honest at least. It was a good trait to have if you could overlook her some violent tendencies.
“That’s...comforting,” I instinctively said in a sarcastic tone. She didn’t seem to care much about how I spoke but I didn’t want to find her limits. I made a mental note to try and keep my responses a little less confrontational, at least, around her.
Still, I guess my luck wasn’t completely terrible since she didn’t beat me unconscious.
|Calculation complete...You have received a reward of 30 Black Coins for your actions.|
|Spectator One has taken an interest in you. Spectator One has chosen to sponsor you. Spectator One has sent you 20 Black Coins. Spectator One has requested a meeting with you.|
|Error. Meeting prohibited until after you arrive at the Broken City.|
“So we’re being watched,” I mumbled aloud. I looked up at the sky for some reason as if the only way for someone to watch was from above...I didn’t even know what to think after reading the messages.
“What?” Red looked around in search of a new target but she didn’t find anyone nearby. “The fuck did you say that for? I don’t see anyone.”
“It was nothing.” I closed my eyes.
I had a few strange thoughts. Aliens? A Bored Deity? Something was watching me. No, was the title “Spectator One” indicating that there were more? Or maybe it was just a name of a single entity? Whatever the case was, it meant that we were either being watched for amusement or being judged, probably both. We received compensation for our actions and for surviving but what was the end goal?
“What are you thinking about?” Red’s face appeared in front of mine, knocking me out of my thought process.
“I was trying to figure out what all of this is about. The coins, the messages, this place.”
“Ah, it’s no point in worrying about that now. You should just be focused on living as long as you can since it’s going to get a lot worse. Especially for you, Ulysses.”
“What makes you say that?” I examined my bandaged hands. The blood and soot that covered them. The dirt underneath my fingernails as well as small scratches I didn’t realize I received.
“Well, everyone hated you right? I bet they still do. And in times like this, you have a bad day and want to punch the first person who gives you an excuse. You’re the excuse in this case.”
I had to admit that she made a really good point. I knew people hated me for no other reason than what my father did and the fact that I didn’t go out of my way to apologize on his behalf. But now, as long as they recognized me nothing was stopping them from actually trying to kill me.
“I almost feel bad for you,” Red spoke like nothing could be done.
I let out a dry laugh full of contempt for the ounce of pity. I felt her eyes on me but she didn’t say anything else. After that, we both kept silent. I guess the start of the apocalypse didn't leave much for things to talk about.
|Transportation to the Broken City will now commence. Evaluating the status of participants...Evaluation completed.|
The alert appeared in front of my eyes as well as Red’s judging by how she reacted.
|Outside objects will be removed in order to ensure that there is no distinct advantage between participants.|
|Transportation will begin now. Please prepare yourself for the transportation process.|
“What the fuck?!” Red yelled.
I didn’t get see her face as I vanished almost as soon as I finished reading the message.