Day 4: The City
The warmth crept into Chloe’s thick blankets, seeping into her skin. She opened her eyes and looked at the ceiling. It was textured gold. She sat up, confused and lost.
“Where am I?”
The door swung open, and Chloe hugged the covers to her chest. The grey haired man from the night before entered with a silver platter and Chloe remembered the previous night. She looked at him, and he opened his lid. The dish contained… not anything Chloe was expecting. It was linen clothing, steaming with heat.
“It is your size, youth.” He spoke plainly.
She took the clothes, and the man left, apparently expecting her to change. The clothes were black, with a white undershirt and pants. Chloe lifted the sheets and was hit with an unexpected wave of heat. She worried that the room over might be on fire, it was so hot. She stood in the room for a moment, examining the dark red walls, gold trim, and chic thick carpet. It all insulated a lot of the heat.
Chloe stripped and then she put on the underwear then the over shirt and trousers. They were her size, touching her curves, but not constricting her movement. She thought to the other day. The woman had promised that Chloe would be trained, or something like that. She sighed. Chloe had never had formal education of any kind; she didn’t like being told what to do. As royalty, this often objectionable trait was never an issue. Instead, Chloe listened to her mother, her oldest sister, and read a lot. In fact, she had read most of the family’s library, and was actively searching for new texts and academic writings to consume. Despite the inherent narcissism of the thought, she considered herself the most learnèd member of her family.
Chloe left the room and took a good look at the building for the first time. The Lussa economy was based primarily around mining, and most of the buildings were made from steel or bronze alloys, with more expensive places using stone. Chloe used to wonder why stone was a more expensive than iron, and she quickly discovered that ore was reversed on this side of the planet. Under the top layer of sand was a thin crust of sandstone, than metamorphose rock, and then iron instead of bedrock, with copper, tin and coal veins, as well as seemingly valuable* stones. (*Authour’s note: Research on ores and mining needed for later drafts.)
“Get your shoes on, we’re leaving.” It was the woman, Sorin*.
(*Name subject to change)
Chloe walked down the halls and admired the expensive furnashing. She sat on a silk covered seat and took her shoes.
“Do you own this entire floor?” Chloe asked.
“No, youth, I own this building.”
The two left the building through the front door. It lead out into the city back streets, where the morning chill caused Chloe’s clothes to stick to her skin. She knew that it would get warmer after the sun rose but for now she shivered as she followed Sorin through corridors and alleys.
“So, the Servant of Balance… he mustn’t focus on gathering followers like the other Servants…” Chloe thought out loud.
“No. Balance is highly selective, because those unworthy could ruin her careful balancing. She cannot see the future, and it is difficult for her to contact us, only being able to do it via direct confrontation. Such is rare, as Balance’s low volume of followers makes her a relatively weak Servant. She is often summoned. The only people who can contact her directly are her Demonchilds, Azure and the Opportunist.”
“Oh. Demonchilds… those are people created directly by Servants, right?” Chloe had encountered a Demonchild once, so she knew a little bit about the incredibly rare species.
“Correct. Right this way.”
Sorin lead them to the Night Rave. The police were long gone, but it was still being guarded as a crime scene. Sorin closed her eyes, her breathing becoming slow, deep. She was channeling Balance. Everyone in the vicinity became slightly dazed.
“What are you doing?”
Sorin walked passed the guard, who ignored her completely. Chloe followed, confused. She poked a guard as she passed him. To her surprise, he brushed her finger off as if it was a fly, but otherwise didn’t react. Chloe assumed that Balance had the ability to alter perception. So, while they were clearly there, no one was actually noticing them.
“Strange… A power that affects everyone else instead of you. The… Like a reverse side of stealth.”
Sorin nodded, heading into the club. “The police failed to notice that there is a cellar underneath this building’s main stage. You know, we kept an eye your friends the other day. They came down here and never left.”
She walked to the stage, opened a trap door, and pointed to the cellar.
“But it’s locked from the outside.” Chloe pointed to the padlock on the cellar door flat on the ground.
“Suspicious, isn’t it.”
Chloe nodded. Sorin took a key from around her neck, it had the three pronged crown symbol on it. It was seemingly blank, an uncut key. She pushed it into the lock, and whispered something, then turned it.
“She aids us in mainly small ways. Balance is not a flashy or powerful Servant, but she is very intelligent.”
Sorin shook her head, frowning, “No, you are flashy and powerful as well as intelligent.”
“Oh…” Chloe, embarrassed, decided not to ask any more questions.
Sorin lifted the cellar door and flicked a switch. They both descended. There was a stench, like rotten eggs and soiled clothes. Chloe noticed a dark pile on the ground, crawling with flies maggots. It was pure carrion, bodies abandoned and rotting.”
“What- that’s-” Chloe couldn’t speak without interrupting herself.
“Your… ex-roommates. Someone left them here, along with a wealth of detritivores. That is why they are rotting so quickly.”
They turned and left.
“I know not. However, I highly suggest you tell your police friend of it. These two were one of his main leads, weren’t they. Now, the police will be… much more frantic with the investigation. Before, this was a grand theft, not a high priority in the Lussa City. Now, it is multi-murder.”
“Wasn’t the owner kidnapped with the second floor too?”
“Correct. Still, the law system here is lopsided. There’s a good chance he’s considered only missing.”
Chloe nodded. The Lussa had strange laws, strange buildings, strange customs. The two exited, walking past the guards. Chloe’s face was sombre. She wasn’t sure if she could deal with this all.
Inside her mind raced, her mind’s dialogue racing. An ancient voice within her shouted, something she knew deeply and had long since denied. Chloe couldn’t hear the words, but she knew exactly what they were. Despite this, it called out. It knew Chloe could hear it’s plea.
But Chloe didn’t listen. She had enough to worry about.
[This part is removed, because I don’t remember why I wrote it, or what it was leading to…]