Chapter 14 - Elf Yourself
Current Region: Confounding Cul-De-Sac
Brent almost couldn’t believe his eyes. A fantasy character, someone who looked like they came right out of one of his light novels, was standing right in front of him!
Ray was not so entranced by the sight of the lady. “Okay, that’s great, so what now?”
“I believe introductions are in order. Everyone, this is- well, I’ll let you introduce yourself, ma’am.”
Harry graciously stepped aside and the lady moved into the center of the group, her head held high.
“Ahem. I am Princess Reisarial Elessar ver Anlusia, fourth in line to the throne of the Elven Kingdom of Anlusia,” she declared confidently. “Pleased to make your acquaintance.”
Elven Kingdom? So she was an elf! And definitely not from this- well, not from Brent’s world.
“Wow, uh, it’s nice to meet you too,” Karisma replied, looking a bit overwhelmed.
“Oh great, another weirdo,” Ray muttered, shaking his head.
Karisma looked at him. “What do you mean, another?”
Yeah, just who was he referring to? All of them?
“Okay, it wasn’t any of you guys, but I ran into one or two other guys before on this island that were also like that, talking and dressed like they were in a historical play or something.”
“I don’t think you’ve watched very many historical plays, mate,” Harry said, and Brent felt inclined to agree.
“Like come on man, this is a life or death situation and you think you can afford to play pretend?”
The corner of Princess Reisarial Elessar ver Anlusia’s lips twitched.
Wait, she was royalty and Ray had basically just insulted her to her face! There had to be some law against that.
Brent had to do some damage control. “Hold on, he doesn’t mean any insult by that, uh, your Highness,” he hurriedly uttered to her with hands clasped, “Please don’t take offense from that.”
Princess Reisarial Elessar ver Anlusia gave an even smile in response. “It’s alright, no offense taken. I understand that men like him cannot help but speak whatever is on their minds.”
Ray raised his eyebrows. “Men like me, huh? What is that supposed to mean?”
Harry stepped back in between them. “Alright, let’s finish introductions before we get really sidetracked. That charming fellow over there is Ray, that’s Karisma next to him, and this is Brent, who was manning the door for us.”
“Hm, interesting,” the princess said as she looked around the entrance hall. “...It’s rather dark here, is there a... more pleasant venue to continue our chat?”
The others looked at each other. Brent spoke up first.
“Uh, yeah, there’s actually a, uh, tea room, your highness. It’s uh, this way.” He led the group through a side door to a small room with a few armchairs and a tea table resting on white carpet.
Brent had passed through it on the way to the sunroom. While the sunroom would be the most pleasant, it was too open to be safe.
“Yes, much better, thank you Brent. “Princess Reisarial Elessar ver Anlusia took a seat in the comfiest armchair and crossed her legs.
Brent sat down in the other armchair. It so happened to be the only other chair in the room, so everyone else had to stand. He felt a little self conscious about that, but he was the one that found the room, and it was finders keepers.
The princess continued. “I understand you are not subjects of my kingdom, and this is an extraordinary situation, so for now I… give you permission to call me Reisa for short. No need for ‘highness’ or anything like that, though I do appreciate it.”
She glanced at Brent, whose cheeks took on a slight tinge.
“Oh, good”, Karisma said in a relieved tone, “To be honest I don’t think I could have remembered to do that every time.”
“Just as well, then.” Reisa said. “What kingdom do you folk hail from? Or kingdoms, I suppose, you don’t look like you all belong to the same one.”
“Um… we don’t belong to a kingdom?”
Reisa’s eyes narrowed. “Really? You sound far too educated to have come from the wilderness or some lawless waste.”
This was it. It was time for Brent’s isekai knowledge to come into play once more.
“The thing is, princess, uh, Reisa, not only are we not from your kingdom, we’re also not from your world. We come from a completely different one, one that doesn’t have kingdoms. Mostly, anyway. There are still countries, they just aren’t kingdoms.”
“Another world!?” Reisa nearly jumped out of her seat, taking a moment to regain her composure. “Ahem, excuse me. But you must tell me more. What kind of world is it? How can there be a country that is not a kingdom?”
“Okay, well there’s this thing called democracy-”
“We come from a world called Earth, and it’s-”
There was a cacophony as everyone tried to speak up at once, tripping over each others’ words.
“Alright alright, settle mates!” Harry bellowed, causing everyone to wince, but they did quiet down. Brent wondered how far the sound had carried outside of the house.
“Much better. Now let’s go one at a time, shall we?”
Explaining what one’s entire world is like to someone with no knowledge of it is not an easy task to do, especially on the fly, but they did their best.
Or at least, Harry and Karisma did their best. Ray was mostly quiet besides the occasional snide comment and Brent didn’t have much to say that the former two hadn’t already said better. Of course, Brent was more interested in other worlds than his own, the “real world” having been just something to escape from in the last few years.
Although, now that he was in another world, even if it wasn’t one of his choosing, he felt a bit at a loss when it came to talking about where he came from. Or maybe he just wanted something to say so he wouldn’t be just sitting there staring at her like a creep.
What were they talking about now? Oh, guns. Ray spoke up a bit more at this point.
Yes, the weapons scattered around the island seemed to all have come from Earth. Well, most of them anyway. Brent wouldn’t know the difference for the guns.
Reisa found this deeply concerning, and Brent was at least curious about it. If this island had both people and places somehow transported in from many different worlds, why only have equipment from one world in particular?
“Your world must be a terrifying place indeed, if everyone has such weapons,” Reisa remarked, holding up an unloaded pistol she had picked up.
“Well, kind of,” Karisma replied, “But we’ve got lots of really nice things too! Like, uh, food! There’s ice cream, and pizza, and biryani-”
Beep boop beep beep boooop. She was cut off by the sudden blaring of the now familiar five notes that preceded every announcement from Dombey Uno.
“Attention all remaining Battleground Survivors in the Confounding Cul-De-Sac!” The loudspeaker sounded close but the voice was slightly muffled by all the walls it had to go through before it reached Brent’s ears.
“It’s time for a new, more fun random event to start: Zombie Apocalypse! Because as you all will agree, everything’s better with zombies.”
Brent was pretty sure nobody in the room would agree with that statement.
“Here’s how it works: Scary zombies are going to be popping up all over the place, coming through our spooky magic portals to try and eat your brains. There’ll be regular ones, fast ones, big ones, and whole hordes with some of each! You’ll get some points for each one you kill, and the survivors with the most points at the end will get the coveted custom title of “Zombie Slayer” plus some neat prizes!
But watch out, if you get bitten by even one of them… well, you’ll just have to find out what happens then!
Also, if you find one of the portals you can destroy it to stop more zombies from coming, but that’s no fun. That’s all for now, folks! OOH HOO HOO HOO!”
The speaker cut off, and all was quiet.
Ok, so it didn’t sound too bad this time to Brent. It was like a Player vs Environment, or PVE type event where they wouldn’t have to fight directly against other people.
“Oh my goood,” Karisma clutched her head, “This just keeps getting worse.”
Ray shrugged. “It’s zombies. Don’t tell me you’ve never thought about what you would do in a zombie apocalypse.”
“Yeah, but like, I only thought about it and didn’t do anything, because I never thought it would actually happen.”
“Pardon me, but what are these ‘zombie’ creatures that the evil one’s voice speaks of?” Reisa asked.
Oh. They probably didn’t have zombie movies in the world that Reisa came from. Or movies at all, for that matter.
Harry was the first to answer. “Zombies? They’re a type of monster, the bodies of dead blokes that were reanimated by a virus or magic or whatnot. They walk around like this-” he held out his arms in front of him and did the stereotypical shambling about- “and try to bite you. ”
Reisa nodded, paying rapt attention to this explanation. Brent almost wanted to laugh at how seriously she was taking this, as she had no idea that zombies didn’t actually exist on Earth and Harry was no doubt just taking all of his knowledge from movies and pop culture.
“Ah yes, the evil one did speak about getting bitten by one of them,” Reisa said. “Do you know what happens if you get bitten?”
“Yeah, it’s pretty bad. You’ll catch the virus from them, get very sick and then die,” Harry explained, still doing the shamble, “And then, 24 hours later, your body will rise again, but as one of them, the living dead!”
Reisa clasped a hand to her mouth, a hand wreathed in rings and other jewelry. “By Elunivar, what a terrible fate!”
“Sure is. That’s why we’ve got to be careful not to get bitten.” Harry started swinging his arms back and forth, almost as if he was… dancing?
This time Ray did burst into laughter, slapping his knee. “Oh my god, that is just too good! I don’t know how you can keep a straight face doing that, man.”
“Quiet, you!” Reisa said in a commanding voice as she pointed at him. “This is no laughing matter.”
“No, it totally is, because… nah, you wouldn’t get it.”
Harry let his arms drop and made the appearance of sobering up. “Gah, I forgot we don’t have all the time in the world to waste here. All that explaining about Earth and not a word about why you’re here. Why don’t you tell them what you told me, Reisa?”
“Ah, yes. The reason I am joining you now is that I need your help to save me from a terrible villain,” Reisa said, “He has been hunting me since the day before, and I came to this place in hopes of escaping him.”
“A… villain?” Brent asked. “Are we talking about a person or a monster?”
“He is a man, but cruel and vicious, with the speech of a tyrant. He wears strange black doublet with a black tail hanging from his neck and has some bauble over his eyes. I think it was made of glass as he was able to see through it.”
So he wore glasses. This was starting to sound a little familiar to Brent…
“They must be some sort of arcane focus for his sorcery.”
Wait. “Sorcery?” Brent asked.
“Yes! He has some powerful charm spell that turns one into his slave, to wait on him hand and foot! By the time I encountered him, he had already taken control of two women and a little girl!
I was traveling with a beastkin woman that I had met when I first landed in this nightmarish realm. When we encountered him, he cast his spell on her. Her eyes turned red, and she too became his slave and turned on me. He tried to do it to me as well, but when I proved resistant to his charm, he sent them out to kill me instead.”
“The little girl, did she have on a red sweater and a pink handbag?”
“I’m not sure, she might have. She did have red eyes through.”
“Holy shite,” Harry swore, “So he’s the guy-”
“-That was controlling Snello,” Brent finished, breathless. He was right, it had been a mind control spell!
But how was he able to use magic? If the villain Reisa was talking about and the glasses wearing man in the suit Brent had seen when he was dropping down onto the island were the same person, he probably came from Earth as well.
“Ocrap. Um. I hate to interrupt you guys, but… they’re here.” Karisma was looking out the window through the curtains. “The zombies, that is.”
Everyone, went over to peek through the tea room’s windows as well.
Brent saw an alarming number of humanoid figures now spread out around the neighborhood, milling about aimlessly. They certainly looked like corpses, dressed in tattered clothing and in various states of decay. They were mostly gray save for a pair of pink rabbit ears sticking out from the head of each one.
“Damn, we really did spend way too much time talking,” Harry said.
“What awful creatures!” Reisa whispered in a frightened tone. “What are we going to do?”
Brent drew upon his own pop culture knowledge, and his first thought was to hunker down. “We’re already in a house, so we can barricade the doors and board up the windows. Uh, there’s some furniture we can drag in front of the doors. I don’t know about the windows.”
He had a sudden realization. “Wait, the sunroom is all windows! We’re not going to be able to stop them from getting in there.”
Right, he was the only one who had explored the first floor. “Yeah, it’s just through that door.”
Naturally everyone was interested, so they went into the sunroom.
“Oh, this looks pretty nice,” Karisma remarked, “I wonder where in the world this area was taken from, it has some serious interior decoration going on.”
Brent had been too preoccupied with hiding and observing before to notice, but now that he had the time to look around he could agree with that. The arrangement looked like it was right out of a furniture store catalog photo, minus the dust.
Reisa appeared starstruck. “So much glass… incredible. This room itself must have cost a fortune to build, let alone the rest of the manor.”
Brrt! The pleasantness of the sight was diminished by the abrupt sound of gunshots in the distance, indicating that they weren’t the only people left in the area.
“Huh. Looks like the zombies found them first,” Ray quipped. “Well, whoever ends up dying, it’ll be less trouble for us.”
“I kinda hope the survivors live though,” Harry said, scratching his neck.
Ray rolled his eyes. “Bruh, not this again. Don’t forget we’re still being forced to kill each other by that rabbit thing.“
“We’re not actually being forced, it’s a choice. And maybe they would appreciate our help fighting the zombies.”
Reisa nodded enthusiastically. “Yes, we could join forces against a common enemy!”
“Yeah, maybe. Or maybe it’s that villain dude who’s mind controlling everyone. You think he’ll want to play nice with us, miss princess?”
“Oh, no.” Reisa’s expression fell. “You have the right of it, he could very well be the one out there.”
“Guys, shhh!” Karisma put a finger to her mouth and pointed outside, where a zombie had wandered into view. It looked like it had been a man, wearing a ragged suit and jacket with half its face missing.
Reisa gasped. “Seven stars, they’re here! Kill it! Shoot it with your guns!”
Karisma waved her hands. “Calm down, it hasn’t noticed us yet, uh, Miss Reisa. If we start shooting it from in here it’s going to break all the glass. Here, let’s just slip back into the other room. Don’t make too much noise.”
One by one they quietly filtered back into the tea room, with Brent taking up the rear. As he looked back he thought he saw the zombie turn slightly in their direction right before he closed the door behind them. Had it seen them?
He almost thought about opening the door again to check but realized that would be very stupid.
“Well, shit, let’s get started on those barricades,” Ray said.
“Maybe we should go back to the house next door,” Brent suggested, “It might be easier to fortify.”
“Eh, moving sounds kinda risky,” Harry replied, “We’ll just block off this door to the sunroom too.”
So they did. The sunroom door was braced with one of the fancy armchairs and a small cabinet while they dragged a table and sofa to block the front and back doors respectively. Ray and Harry did most of the heavy lifting while Reisa just sort of… stood around. It seemed nobody had the nerve or thought her capable of helping, and she didn’t offer to either.
“Wait a minute,” Karisma said as she stacked a chair on top of the table, “Why are we doing this?”
Brent gave her an odd look. “Uh, to keep the zombies from getting in?”
“Okay, yeah, but what’s the long term plan here? The zombies don’t get in, but we don’t get out, so what, are we just going to sit here and wait it out?”
Brent thought for a moment, then realized what she was getting at. “Oh. Ohhhhh.”
“What? What is it now?” Reisa asked.
“We’ve been thinking about this like, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, a ‘regular’ zombie apocalypse, where there would be a small chance of the Army or someone coming to rescue us if we waited long enough. But we’re on a deserted island in some parallel dimension, so the chances of that happening are actually zero. There’s no telling how long we would have to wait for them to go away.”
“Crikey, but that’s a good point,” Harry remarked. “So what are we going to do then?”
Thump. There it was, that sound again.
“That wasn’t me,” Reisa whispered.
It wasn’t any of them, in fact.
It was coming from the front door.