The Taking Of The First Steps
"Sooo everybody's here for the world meetin', right-o?"
America's loud, obnoxious voice rang through out the entire meeting room, making everybody stop what they had been doing -mostly chatting, showing off, flirting, fighting or in my case, trying to get Kumagoro to remember who I was- and look up at the American. Even Kimijiro went silent.
It was another meeting which in my heart, I knew, would end like the others; everyone fighting, Germany interrupting and forcing everyone to stop, and then everybody going out for lunch. I had been to enough meetings to know what to expect from this one. Not one ended differently. The only thing that changed about each meeting was the location and the attendance. Other than that, the events played out exactly the same. Hundreds of problems, no solution. Today we had met up in a building in a remote part of Japan.
"So, y'all! Listen up! I know we're all pretty excited an' wanna get this over so we can go home or explore or whatevers, but we have a meetin' to figure out! Okay, so who'd like to go first?" The eager blonde continued, standing up so the rest of us would look at him.
"I, personally, think you need to read a nice, thick text book on grammar and spelling. Your slang is improper and such a disgrace." England, who was sitting near me, muttered under his breath as he sipped his tea and read some sort of Shakespeare book.
"Oh hon hon hon! Is somebody getting a little annoyed, mon cher?" France replied, with a creepy smirk plastered on his face.
"I'm not getting any ideas, you old cheesy frog face!" The Brit roared, losing his temper quickly with the Frenchman. He slammed his tea cup and the book he had been reading on to the table as he stood up angrily.
"W-wait, guys! P-please stop -!" I tried to get them to calm down, but they couldn't hear me. They rushed at each other, and soon a giant dust cloud formed around them as they fought angrily, loud yells erupting from their direction. I looked around to see if anyone was going to help, but they all took it as a moment to suddenly go off topic and interact with one another. Oh maple... I thought bitterly as I made my way over to America.
"A-America! Can y-you stop them?" I exclaimed to my older brother desperately, "They're out of control again, and no one listens to me!" America turned, and nodded, though I could tell it was with reluctance. I knew that he liked to watch others battle it out, much like the opposite to me, who would rather have everyone living in peace. Either way, America went over to break the two apart.
I glanced around again, and saw that no one was paying attention to anyone but the person they were with. Germany was scolding Italy for making pasta during the meeting; Spain was remarking how much an angry Romano resembled a tomato; Liechtenstein was offering her older brother, Switzerland, a sandwich; Japan and China were arguing about payments or something; Russia was watching this whole scene in the corner of the room and koling; Austria was ranting about pianos with Hungary listening to him; Ukraine was staring in disbelief as her sister, Belarus, ran around screaming "Russia is mine, mine! He'll marry me! Marry me!" at everyone who'd listen.
This whole meeting is another bust! I might as well get going... I sat down and sighed grimly. So much for thinking that today was the day we'd get somewhere.
All of a sudden, America piped up, "Heeeeey I think we all shall throw a part-eh or somethin' fun instead!" This idea interrupted Germany's scolding and he looked up, his face twitching with anger.
"A-America... You idiot! That'll make things worse!" The German turned to everyone in the room. "This whole meeting has gone to waste! Now, everyone... Just leave!" A large majority of the chatty nations got up and left the room, and there was only the Axis, Allies, Prussia and I left in the room.
"Saaaay... Isn't this an awesome time to mention this epic haunted house rumour I heard about earlier today?" America asked. How does he have this ability to say the worst thing at the worst possible point of time? I thought angrily. But to my dismay, I could see several heads nodding in agreement.
"That'll be soooo awesome! Totally!" Prussia answered loudly. Typical.
"Yeah! That-a would be fun~!" Italy called gleefully.
"Oui, c'est vrai!" France replied.
One by one, before my eyes, the rest of them said they would come. Until I was the last one who hadn't told America.
"I w-will just come so you w-won't get into any trouble..." I said quietly.
"Then it's settled! Okaaay so shall we all go at once or not or what?" America exclaimed excitedly, standing up quickly, anxious to start going to the haunted house.
"I think Germany, Prussia, Japan and I should-a be one group, and the rest of you can all be-a in the other!" Italy said, his cheeriness almost contagious.
"Great, and we can go first, aru. We'll call you when we arrive, aru!" China agreed.
"Then what are we waiting for? C'mon!" My older brother called as he rushed out of the meeting room. I followed close behind, with the rest of the Allied Forces. I don't have a good feeling about this whole thing, but surely it's just a rumour? And if it isn't, maybe we can just look at the house from the outside... And then leave, right?
America, full of bouncing energy, lead the way to the mansion, which was a deserted, old path that looked as if no one had used it for years. Our feet brought up dust and sand clouds, which in turn, made some of us start coughing. However, this did not seem to stop the American, for he bravely struck out ahead, even when he tripped over something. But I was slowly lagging behind, being dragged back by all the little things.
Approximately three hours later, we arrived at a large mansion that seemed extremely ordinary, like me.
"This is it..? I mean, this is it! But..." A crestfallen America stared at the structure closely, obviously expecting ghosts or ghouls to come flying out the windows.
"It doesn't look haunted... Why, if I had seen this near my neighbourhood, I'd think that some one would be living in it! But, of course, if the windows weren't all barred up." England added, walking up to it to inspect the bricks.
"Oui, c'est vrai! La maison a l'apparence d'un manoir ordinaire." France said as he peered at the building before him. "One would think it's simply abandoned, non?"
"But maybe it just wants us to think that, and in reality, there's actually some sort of man eating creature inside of there, Да?" Russia asked, acting all creepy and scary again, making a lot of us a little edgy.
"Yeah... Can we just look at it from the outside and go home, aru? I don't think it's any more exciting inside than out. Should I text Japan back and tell him not to come, aru?" China took out his phone and started fiddling around with it.
"I-I don't find it that interesting at all, either... But if w-we must, we'll go inside..." I said quietly, though I doubted anyone could hear me with my soft voice.
"Aw, we went through all that trouble just so then we could take a quick look at it and go home? Where's your sense of adventure? Come oooon!" America whined, flashing begging puppy dog eyes at everyone.
"America, we are not going inside." England said firmly as he turned around to face the troublesome nation.
"Pleaaasseeee? Just for a quick little look?"
"No. And that means no!"
"What did I just tell you not even ten seconds ago?"
"Who knows what's in there? I have a strange feeling about this place..."
"America, quit your whining and act your age for once! We're going to go home!"
"Argh, fine, fine! We'll go inside and look around, but only if you will stop making that irritating noise!" England looked pretty annoyed, but I could tell that the thing he had mentioned was bugging him pretty badly. I hope it's nothing really, really horrible...
America walked up to the door, an turned the knob. He went inside, and we all followed close behind, most of us a little anxious or nervous. We were, at first, scared of what we might find, but when we saw the extremely clean floors and spotless walls, we relaxed a little. For a few minutes, we stood there, looking at our surroundings.
"Run! Everybody, run!"
A voice that sounded like America shouted loudly as we ran down the hallway, which was slick with blood. The person beside me, England, slipped and fell face first into the red liquid.
I stopped to help him, but the thing grew closer and closer, slowly advancing. Not even the wounds we had inflicted upon it could kill the strange creature for long. I knew that no matter how much I could try, we were going to die.
"E-England... This is... It. The end of... Us..." I whispered quietly.
"Yeah... Good bye." The Brit only had enough time to get up before the gray alien attacked, and our visions went black.
I could hear America screaming at us from a distance, but I couldn't return the call. It was so dark, and so... Engulfing.
"Hey Canada! You alright, bro?"
Someone called as my vision swam with all sorts of strange mental images.
"Q-quel? Oh... Um, yeah! I'm fine..." I said, shaking my head to clear the pictures, "I-I just thought of something... Scary... That's all. Oui..." Though it seemed like a lame excuse, the others ignored me and went on with examining the hallway. I wanted to tell them all about the vision, but I assumed that they'd think I was crazy. And how would I ever get them to listen to me, anyway?
"Hmm... Maybe we should break up into two groups and search the place. England, France and China, you take a look around upstairs. Russia, Canada and I will search here. Come down when you're finished, then we'll leave." Though I knew America was trying to act all brave, I could tell he was scared.
"America? Are you alright? Are you... Scared?" I asked, though I sensed what his answer would be.
"No, I-I'm not scared! What made you think that?"
America was trying to act all heroic, but I could see through the disguise. He was starting to get worried.
"If you're scared or anything... You can go now..." As I said this, America shook his head.
"No, we're gonna explore this place first! Everyone, into your groups!" America called, and we all split up. England, France and China went upstairs while America, Russia and I stayed on the first floor. The Russian started looking around the hallway more while my brother peered at the front foyer. I inspected the whole area. This place is clean... Too clean. The thought, though seemingly insignificant, nagged at me for a while. When I couldn't find anything, I went back to America.
"A-America... There's nothing here... Shall we go find the others?" I asked. Just when he was about to reply, the were loud noises coming closer. Russia, more curious than scared, came over to see what was happening. I could feel America tense up beside me, and reach for his pistol which he always brought along with him. Russia grabbed his water pipe, and I stood, watching. That's when I remembered I had brought my bow and arrows for some archery that I was planning to do after the meeting. So I took out those.
It turned out that whatever was making the noise was a gigantic, disturbing looking, gray, alien-like creature with a large, sharp toothed mouth and claws that were about ten centimetres long. And it was coming towards us.
"W-what is that... That... thing!" America gasped loudly as it headed straight for him. Hey, isn't that America's little friend, Tony? I wondered, but banished the thought when the thing didn't start talking. Russia rushed at it, wielding what appeared to be an ordinary water pipe. But then, with hypnotic eyes, the alien turned on him, and with some unknown power, caused the Russian to be sent flying and pinned to the ground right beside me.
"A-America! Be careful!" I shouted, about to run over to help my older brother when the creature faced me as well, and I felt myself being knocked backwards into Russia.
"Oof! That hurt!" Russia said, as if I had been a little kid instead of a country. He tried to get up, but due to the strange spell, couldn't. We could only watch, helpless, as America stood hid ground to the monster. He fired several shots at it with his pistol, but it had no of a sudden, he decided to sprint off somewhere, and the thing turned around to chase us instead.
"R-run!" I attempted to get up, and after a couple of tries, I finally did and raced off, with Russia and the alien following me close behind. It turned out that the room I ran into was the kitchen. I spotted a door at the back of the room, but when I tried the knob, it wouldn't budge. It meant that this was where our final stand would be. Russia stood in front of me, protectively, as the creature approached us, one step at a time. He whacked it backwards a few times, though it was obvious we weren't going to make it unless someone came to help us.
A voice from the other side of the room jolted both Russia and I out of our focused states. When the Russian figured out it was only England and China, he returned to fighting the gray creature. So I turned to the other two instead.
"England, China! P-please run, w-while you still can!" I called, gesturing for them to leave. They didn't listen, and ran to us, ready to fight. England pulled out what appeared to be a spell book and started an incantation while China brought out his wok and held it threateningly. I knew there was no way possible of stopping them, so I notched an arrow in my bow to prepare myself to fight the horrid monster that was so bent on killing us.
The alien, deciding it was time it got to attack, rushed forward unexpectedly and slashed at Russia, making him jump backwards. I sidestepped so he wouldn't leap into me, but this somehow made the thing notice me and it started towards me. I shot the arrow I had been holding, and it went flying into the creature's nose. Or where it's nose should've been. I really couldn't tell what it was, because to me, it resembled Voldemort's nose slit things.
The alien obviously didn't appreciate getting hit in the middle of the face, so it roared angrily and clawed blindly at me, injuring my arm a little. I staggered backwards, bumping into some one. The some one turned out to be England, who caught me before I could knock him over.
"Careful, or you'll knock us all down," He said calmly, as if he was talking about a school game rather than fighting a giant monster. China rushed forwards to hit the alien, but it kept growing closer and closer, as if it never grew tired from all the attacks we inflicted it with.
England stepped in front of me to use some sort of magic spell on it, but when nothing happened, he gave up. But since the thing was so close to him, he had to do something. I was about to shoot another arrow at it when the Brit ran forwards and hit it back with his spell book. The creature wasn't expecting this, so it was sent reeling.
"We... Might... Actually... Survive, aru!" China said hopefully, but when the creature came back at us, it seemed pretty unlikely. It was more annoyed than angry to have been attacked by us, and it had been toying with us the whole time. It wanted to give us a little taste of hope before it died. It was just another cat.
The monster crept towards us, making us step backwards until we were all huddled in a corner.
"I-I guess this r-really is the end..." I said, shaking uncontrollably.
"I actually... Wanted tea right before I died. Why, it should be around four o'clock now." England nodded, sighing loudly.
"...I hope the others are all right, aru." China added.
"Well, if you want me to be happy, you could always become one with Russia, Да?" Russia whispered, in his usual, creepy way.
"No!" We all groaned, just as the alien reached us and raised it's horrific looking claws for the death blow.
A Serious Meeting Of Seven
We waited for the claw to come crashing down on us, and for death to be quick and painless. To suffer would be devastating. I just hoped that the alien would stop hesitating and kill us already.
After a minute went by, I finally opened my eyes to find that the monster wasn't towering over us anymore. Instead, it was facing... Japan?
"Do... Not... Hurt... My... Friends!" In a quick flash, he leapt at the monster with a gleaming sword, and with swift slashes, the thing disappeared in an instant. Relieved that it was gone, I prodded the others gently, telling the quietly that the creature was gone. When they had finally worked the courage to open their eyes and stand up, they ran over to Japan.
"Wow, you got rid of it all by yourself, aru?"
"Have you fought this thing before?"
"I'll have to thank the thing for all the injuries it gave me~!"
I walked up to Japan. "M-merci pour le t'aider." I said gratefully.
"You're all welcome. Now, I believe Germany-san and Italy-kun will be waiting for us upstairs. Come on." Japan turned and started off, and we all followed, not eager to stick around in the kitchen for much longer. I guessed were all thinking the same thing: Get me out of this creepy mansion!
Our wish would have to wait a little longer before it could be granted. Right now, the top priority was staying alive so we could figure out how to get out. And of course, just to see if we had a chance of getting out, England tested the door knob as we passed by it on our way to the stair case.
"Blast it!" I heard him mutter to himself as he returned to the group. I sighed loudly, for I had also been hoping that it would be unlocked, but I had ridden my hopes too high. I was a fool to think that it would be open. What kind of haunted mansion leaves the door unlocked so it's victims can escape quickly? None. I supposed that the Brit had been correct when he had said that the place spooked him out a little; it certainly sent chills down my spine.
As we walked up the stairs, I noticed that my hands were still trembling from the encounter with the alien. I had to clasp both of them tightly around my bow to cease the shaking. I didn't want anyone to think I was as easily scared as my older brother, America. It was bad enough that most of the time they either forgot me or mistook me for him. It was a bit repetitive now.
Japan led us down a hallway and to a door. He knocked on it first, and hesitated before calling out.
"It's Japan! I found some people. Please let us in." I heard an excited yelp that sounded a lot like Italy, and quick footsteps. The door knob turned and the Italian stood there, an overjoyed expression clearly defined on his cheerful face. "Ve!" He ran To the back of the room, presumably to retrieve Germany. He knocked on what appeared to be an iron door. Quel!An iron door? And in a place such as this! I tried my best to hide my face of surprise, though none of the others seemed to glance my way anyway. Typical.
The iron door slid open, and the tall, blond German strolled out, as if he had been woken up from a casual cat nap. He acts as if he had been sleeping somewhere comfortable! I thought as I tried to get a clear view into the room he had come into, but the door had already closed, and I doubted I could lift it up without any help.
"Hallo. Did you come here after all?" Germany asked. Though he seemed almost fearless, I could tell he was a little anxious.
"Yes... Wait a second - 'after all'? We came before you... Yet... Oh, confound it all. I don't understand any of this anymore." An annoyed England crossed his arms and shot a frustrated look at anyone who glanced his way.
Picking up the conversation, Italy suggested that we come to this 'safe room' the four -now three- had created earlier. We all nodded, figuring it would be better than standing around in a room where the gray nightmarish creature could attack at any moment. So Japan led the way, once again, to the room, with all of us trailing closely behind, as if we were merely lost dogs. Scared dogs who wanted to get away from a bloodthirsty, killing machine of an alien that looked like Tony's big mommy or something.
I quickly shook the strange mental image that was forming in my head of the monster in make-up and serving toast to America's alien friend, and instead, concentrated on being quiet so the creature wouldn't hear us and kill us. As funny as it could be in our minds, it was still capable of murder, no matter how much we wished it wasn't.
Japan suddenly stopped in front of another door, and he took out his key to open it. He held it open so everyone could go inside, and then came in himself. He also made sure to lock it, just in case.
We all sat down at the table, all jittery with fear and worry.
"So, I think we should first explain all that has happened, and from there, we can devise a plan that will get us out of here," Japan started the discussion as he sat down as well. "Germany-san, Italy-kun, Prussia-san and I arrived here after receiving China's text. When we came in, I heard a noise and went to investigate. When I found nothing, I went back to the foyer so I could tell the others, but the others were missing. So I searched for them, until I found Germany.
"Once I found him, I looked around a little further for Prussia-san and Italy-kun. I discovered Prussia in one of the other rooms, and we looked around for Italy-kun. As we searched, we found this strange piece of paper." He placed a slip of torn paper on to the table, and we passed it to one another to examine. Reminds me of keys on a piano or something... I thought, but decided it probably wasn't that.
"We finally found Italy in one of the libraries, and then we came to this room and started a fire so we could spend the night here. But then..." He paused dramatically before continuing, "Prussia-san disappeared during the night. I decide to go searching for him, and as soon as I heard some gunshots, I headed for them. I got lost quite easily, so I apologise for not coming soon enough." Japan finally noticed the gash on my arm, and looked at me. "Do you need a bandage?"
"N-non... I-I'll be fine." I said quietly, blushing and looking away for a couple of moments. "Don't w-worry about me..." I could almost feel the stares of the others boring into my skin, searching for any other wound I could've had. I felt as if I was an injured animal that had arrived at a veterinary office who was being inspected for any more potential wounds. I felt my face warm up even more, for I wasn't used to such attention from the other nations.
Finally, China broke the awkward silence.
"Does anyone else find it strange that our injuries seem to be healing slowly, aru? I mean, Canada's arm should've started healing almost immediately, but it's still bleeding... It's almost as if... If... We are humans, aru."
Italy nodded in agreement as he took one of his trademark white flags out of his back pack he had brought with him, and tied it around my wound, despite me softly protesting that I didn't need it. He looked at me with a serious, hard look that I had never seen on his usually bright face, and said,
"You will need it. Trust me. I do not want to lose you again. Or the others."
The Italian sat back down, a happy expression once again appearing on his face, quickly replacing his previous look. Was it only me who imagined that? And what did he mean by again? Did I die... Before? But that's not possible, because I'm still here, aren't I? Unless I suddenly became one of those zombies from America's horror movies... No, of course not! Just because this whole mansion is... Crazy... Doesn't mean I have to be as well. I can figure this out without going insane.
While Italy had been bandaging my arm, the others were already discussing what sounded like plans of what we could do next. That's when Italy piped up about something being in the wooden box we had thrown into the fire so we'd have something to burn to keep us warm. He ran over to extract it from what was left of the box, with Germany calling after him to be careful.
"Eek! Caldo, caldo, caldo!" The brunette tossed the red-hot object from hand to hand in a frenzied panic before it finally cooled down. It turned out to be a key. "I-it's marked-a... Hallway Key. Huh." He tossed it to Germany, who caught it easily. "What-a shall we do with it-a?" He asked the German.
"Hmm... Perhaps some us can go look at the room this is for," Germany suggested, looking at it carefully.
"I-I would like to go back to the piano room China and I saw earlier. It gave me a weird feeling... Canada? Will you come with me? I don't want to go by myself." England said as he turned to me, with slightly begging green eyes. There's something bugging him as well... Why, everyone has something bothering them! Am I the only one who doesn't have a problem other than getting out? Between nervous England, some what scared Germany, insanely-good-at-killing-that-monster Japan and a serious Italy... I fear I am going mad!
Although all of the colliding thoughts were swirling crazily around my mind, I forced myself to not spill out all of it, in case everyone thought I was the one who had a problem. This place does strange things to us... We better get out as soon as possible before it corrupts us permanently.
I faced England, attempting a false smile. "Oui... I w-will come with you."
As soon as the words were out of my mouth, the door started rattling violently, notifying us of our best friend, the alien, had finally found our hiding place.
"Ah~ The thing finally came so I can thank it~!" Russia said cheerfully, obviously unfazed by the creature.
"This room..." Japan said gloomily, "is no longer safe -"
"Was it ever safe?" England interrupted, though Japan ignored him and continued quickly.
"- So China, Russia-san and I will stay back to fight it while everyone else can make a run for it! Stay with the person you're paired with and meet up back at the piano room. Quick - is everyone ready to go?" I observed, annoyed, as I saw him flash a fleeting concern-filled glance at me. Does everyone think I'm not capable of looking after myself?
"Three... Two..." He started counting down. We all prepared to run or to fight. However, for some strange reason, he stood with his back facing the door. How... %*+!$.
It seemed like forever until he said it, but he finally did -
Japan flung the door open, without even turning to face it, and the gray monster rushed forwards, bent on killing him.
Notes Of Fate
The word echoed around my head, spiralling around and around, momentarily distracting me. It didn't help that Japan was about to get brutally murdered by some unidentifiable creature that should be called something so we could stop calling it 'Thing'.
"Canada! Are you coming?"
England tugged on my arm, jolting me from my mixed up whirlwind of thoughts. Still holding my arm, he ran out of the room, half dragging me with him. When I was finally brought back to my senses, we were already upstairs and on the third floor. The Brit, once discovering I was out of shock, let go of my arm and continued running. Since I didn't know the way, I couldn't speed up and run in front of him. I didn't argue, for we were still going pretty fast.
When we reached a door that England didn't sprint past, we stopped and went inside, both of us sending backwards glances at the door, wondering if the three nations could hold the monster back. We awkwardly glanced at each other we when caught the other doing the same thing. We both blushed. Well, this can't get any more... maladroit. We avoided each other's eyes as we walked further into the room.
England went over to the shelves and drawers by the back of the room, scanning for any clues for his little mystery. I, however, walked towards the piano, and examined the keys. I wasn't a big piano player myself, though I did know a couple of songs by heart, taught to me by some other nations when I had been younger.
On closer inspection, I saw that the keys had coloured numbers all over it. Each key had a different digit. What could these be for? A code? I called out to England, though I had to repeat myself several times, due to the fact I had such a soft voice. When he came over, he looked at the keys, his eyes calculating and comprehending them. He was silent for a few moments as he tried to come up with a possible answer for them.
"Hmm... Could they be a barcode of some sort? But... That wouldn't make much sense. Maybe it stands for something... More significant?" By his tone of voice, I could tell his mind was elsewhere, though he hid it well.
"I was thinking it could be a code. Like for a lock... Of some sort. For a door, perhaps? But then I was thinking that it wouldn't make sense. A safe would be more logical. But what kind of lock would need this long of a combination? Could it be, instead, a date? No, still too long... I can't figure it out." I paced back and forth warily as I thought about the question.
"Well... I wanted to see some of the books in another room. Just... Just stay here, and don't do anything that could kill yourself or put any lives at risk. It's bad enough we can't heal quickly like we do when we're nations. Anyways, I'll be right back in, around, twenty minutes or so." The blond said quickly, as if he was late or something. Before I could ask him why he was acting strangely, he sped off.
"Ugh... Can't anyone act normal for once? I mean, seriously. And to think this was all America's fault as well! He was the one who dragged us here and we're all going to suffer from it. Great. Just great. And no one even asked my opinion on this whole plan. What if they had? Would they be stuck in a mansion with a monster hunting them down and watching their every move? Of course not!" As I ranted about the situation, I began to circle the piano.
"O-oh... England? Are you back already? That w-was rather... Fast. But I guess you did say you'd be quick..." I laughed at my own little joke, but when I didn't hear the Brit respond, I turned around to find myself face-to-face with none other than the thing. Zut! How could I have been so careless! I guess the joke's on me now... England did say that I should be careful...
But the alien didn't seem to notice me. It walked mindlessly around the room. Quel sur terre is that thing doing? Patrolling? I held my breath, scarcely moving. The creature didn't even acknowledge me. Can it not... See me? For once, I was glad I was invisible, even if that sounded kind of silly. But I have to do something! I won't go unseen forever! Surely it'll see me... As luck would have it, the thing decided to turn around, and since I had started to shake again, it saw me and crept closer.
I did the most random, instinctive thing I could think of. I whipped out my maple syrup bottle -I always, always carried one or two on me- and poured it on the ground. Sure, it seemed like the worst thing to do in this type of situation, but adrenaline makes you do strange things at times. Of course, as I dumped the syrup, it pooled around my boots, and I instantly lifted one of them. Since I was occupied with my maple syrup task, I forgot to shift my balance to my other leg and ended up falling, hitting my head loudly on the ground. I felt my glasses go flying somewhere, and vision went black.
I could remember it being dark. All dark. Everlasting waves of ebony, crashing one after another, obscuring my already poor vision and turning it jet black. I reached out through the consuming darkness, crying out in fear as I was sucked further into it. No one would hear my calls of help. No one would hear the almost unnoticeable screams of frustration as I tried desperately to make my way out of this unforgiving, black death. I would slowly disappear and no one would notice.
No one would know.
"Hey! Canada! Wake up!"
I felt someone shaking me vigorously, wanting me to wake up, and badly.
"Wake up and please explain this bloody mess I found you lying in!"
I cracked open my eyes, but only slits, for I was afraid of what I would find. I saw England hovering over me, his hair a wreck as always and his green eyes glowing brightly.
"I said, can you explain to me about this bloody mess?"
The Brit slapped his forehead with his palm. "Listen, will you? You're starting act like Alfred..." He picked something up that was out of my limited, blurry field of vision and gently eased it on to my face. I first struggled against him, but when I realised he had only been putting my glasses back on for me, I blushed brightly, muttering a quick "Désolé" as well as a "Merci". Though I remembered a few seconds later that he didn't speak French, I knew that he would know, roughly, what I meant.
I got up slowly -with a little assistance from England- and wobbled slightly, not completely well yet. When he looked at with a mixture of concern and curiosity, I looked down at this 'bloody mess' he spoke if. I was pleasantly surprised that he had merely been using some British slang on me, and there was no blood involved in the mess. Just shattered glass and spilt maple syrup. 'Bloody' was a well-used word in the United Kingdom for emphasising something, and the mess I had created was pretty bad. I laughed lightly.
"Oh... W-when you had said 'bloody' I took it literally and thought I had been bleeding badly or something..." I told him. England's serious expression didn't change. "Q-quel? What's wrong?"
"You are bleeding. A lot."
He pointed to the fabric that was tied around my injured arm. He was right - it was bleeding quite severely now. Again, me being careless... And I thought I'd be perfectly fine! I felt embarrassed that I hadn't noticed that the dull ache had ramped up to a throbbing, painful sting when I had woken up. I didn't want England to think that I was going to act all babyish over it, so I pretended it was nothing.
"Meh... I-it doesn't hurt that b-badly..."
He obviously wasn't going to buy that pathetic excuse for a lie, but he played along. "It may not hurt much now, but if we don't treat it properly soon, it'll be hurting a lot than you think it will." The blonde took my arm and started examining it, like a doctor. It hurts, a lot! I wanted to shout at him, Make it stop! If only I can actually swallow my pride and tell you... Wait... I realised, stubborn as any one could be, no one could hide their pain forever.
I dropped head, looking the the maple syrup laden floor, unable to meet England's eyes, though he wasn't even looking at my face in the first place. "Hm?" Confused, he tilted his head questionably.
"Canada...? Are you okay?"
"Tell me the truth."
"N-non et oui."
"I-I mean no. I-I... Mean, yes! No... I-I mean no - or maybe I mean yes? I don't even know what to say anymore..." I continued to avoid the Brit's eyes, and when he noticed this, he raised his other hand, and raised my head up, so I was finally looking at him.
"Are. You. Okay."
The simple words couldn't have seem more complexed to me. If I said yes, I could get the whole pain thing over with, but if I said no, everyone wouldn't think I had been lagging behind with an injury. Two completely different paths... The whole time, England held me in a stern glare of his green eyes, almost asking me with his facial expression rather than words - "Well?"
I sighed loudly. Do it or suffer the consequences. I didn't want to feel what the side effects of my choice would be, but I knew I could only choose one answer.
The one I thought would help the most.
The After Echoes Of Choices
"Are. You. Hurt."
I tried to look away, far from the tight grasp of his icy green stare, but was unable to release myself from the density of it's grip. I didn't want to see the pain those same eyes would soon showcase for me to see, not only in my mind, but in my vision, of despair or disappointment. Always untrusting my next moves for the rest of my life. Turning his back on me for who knows how long. And becoming alone.
I took a deep breath, ready to tell him. It was the only thing I could do, the only thing that would be good for all of us in the very end. If I didn't choose it, things were bound to go disastrous.
"Yes. I-I am hurt."
England pulled back a little, letting go of my chin. Unlike how I predicted, he wasn't about to breathe fire from his eyes or something terrifying like that. If that were to happen, I would find the thing -where ever it happened to be- and hug it tightly. Yes. I would. An England breathing fire can be that scary.
To my utter amazement, the Brit started laughing, and hugged me tightly.
"Please, Canada, don't hold me off of things like that. You'll only suffer more." The cold look in his eyes got its place taken by a far more kinder one. "Not to mention you'll probably end up making everyone freak out within a ten kilometre radius of you."
"O-okay... I-I just didn't want you to think that I-I was weak or something..." I said, though that excuse seemed pretty miserable, due to the significance of the current situation.
"Weak? Of course not! Why would we think you're weak all of a sudden, after all those battles you fought, and all those people you've saved? Not even a fool would consider you to be weak. Unless you're talking about America... He thinks he's the only hero of the story of life. Or earth." England let go of his tight embrace, his eyes shining brightly. "The others will be here soon." He added suddenly, gesturing towards the door. He then cracked into a large smile.
"Quel? What's so funny?" I asked, confused.
"I just remembered that you still haven't told me why I found on the ground with lots of maple syrup."
"Oooh, that... I... Um, saw the thing and when it came in here, I-I did the first thing I could think of..." I blushed bright red.
"You threw maple syrup at it?" England raised a suspicious eyebrow.
"N-non... I poured it on the ground." So much for acting normal.
"Um... Okay then. No comment needed for that..." The stunned Brit turned away from me to look at the door. "Oh, hey, the others finally got here." He raised a hand to wave them over friendly. A few of them frowned a little upon seeing the maple syrup splattered all over the floor, but thankfully, none of them asked any questioned it. I guess they've seen enough strange things today that the mess seems pretty ordinary.
"So, mini meeting. What did everyone find?" Germany asked, his ice blue eyes entrancing even the most stubborn of us to stand in a circle and share what we learned.
"Well, China, Russia-san and I defeated the alien rather easily, but after that, Russia-san got a strange phone call. It sounded like a piano of some sort," Japan started off the discussion. Piano? Strange...
"Doitsu and I went-a to the hallway door and-a got chased by the thing. When we went-a back, we found another piece of paper, much like the other one," Italy passed around the new scrap, as well as the first one we got. When the papers reached me, I stared at them carefully, thinking about what they could stand for. Well, they have the same four colours the pianos have on their numbers... It must be some sort of key!
"And then-a I got a weird phone call, and-a it also sounded like a music note." Italy continued.
"Maybe it's some sort of phone bug to mess with our minds, aru." China suggested helpfully.
"Да," Russia agreed.
Suddenly, there was music playing, making everyone jump. It sounded awfully like 'God Save The Queen', so we all turned to England, who blushed in return.
"Ah... That'll be my phone. My apologies - I wasn't expecting it to ring so suddenly." The blond picked up his phone and put it on speaker for everyone to hear.
It was a long, crisp piano note that echoed ominously before ending.
Everyone went completely silent for a little while, until Germany spoke up.
"Well, if England and... Canada have nothing to report, I suppose we can start thinking about this puzzle."
"W-wait a second, Germany..." I spoke up.
All heads snapped over to look at me, all startled.
"I-I think I've figured it out." I said. "You see, the notes we heard on the calls must be piano notes. And there is a piano in this very room, therefore, in order for the puzzle to be solved, we have to take the notes and find them on the piano. However, there are four bars here on these pieces of paper, telling us that we need one more phone call if we are going to figure this out." As if on cue, Germany's phone started to ring. He picked it up, and another loud, clear note played, reverberating throughout the entire room.
"And that'll be the last one. Now, does everyone know what notes they got?" I asked.
"Sol, I got Sol." Russia said.
"I heard La," Added Italy.
"I believe my note was Re," England said.
"I think mine is Si," Germany finished, after thinking about it thoroughly.
"Hmm... Sol, La, Re, Si." I considered the notes as I looked at piano. Summoning what I could recall about the notes, I pressed the four notes, searching around until I hit the exact pitches of them. "So, if we did this by the casual observer's eye, the code would be four-two-five-nine. However..."
"Ve? It's not that?" Italy cocked his head in confusion.
"No, it isn't. It -"
There was a loud cracking noise coming from the back of the room. We all turned to it in time to see Japan holding up a broken clock.
Suddenly, the world plunged into complete darkness.
Scattered Thoughts Of The Mislead
My whole vision went back for a few moments, but when it finally came to, everyone was paying attention to Japan, who was still standing there, blankly staring forwards. A few minutes later, the Japanese nation finally shook himself, as if shaking some sort of nagging thought away.
"Japan, are you alright?" England asked, concern filling his voice once more. How many times has he said that by now? I wondered absentmindedly as Italy ran over to check on his friend.
"W-what happened? I saw this orange flash as soon as I broke the clock and suddenly I started... Getting all these fake memories!" Japan said, starting to shake. "Like, about who came with who to the mansion with me..."
"But... You came with France, Russia, China, America and I, didn't you?" England asked, confused.
"No, because that would mean only France is missing, right, aru?" China questioned.
"I thought only Prussia and America were missing," Russia offered.
"No, listen, America, France and Prussia are missing," I said, but as the others' voices grew louder, mine was instantly drowned out.
"No, only France!"
"Both of them are!"
"I thought it was Prussia and America!"
"You know what... Everybody calm down! We'll figure this out as soon as we solve this problem!" Germany's loud shout made everyone stop immediately. "Now, Canada? You were saying?" He said as he turned to me.
I waited patiently until everyone was listening before I continued. "Umm... D'accord. There is more to the puzzle than that. It only wants you to think that it's that code, but it isn't. You have to put the colours into the process of the solution somehow... So, if you did that, then you'd get five-two-nine-four." I took a pen out of my pocket and wrote down the numbers, in order, on the paper. "There."
"That was a very good observation, Canada." England said, patting my shoulder.
"Th-thanks..." I said, blushing as the others began to congratulate me as well. I've always wanted to have attention, but not this much.
"Ve~! I remember Germany and I found-a this safe in the room behind the kitchen! We should-a go and check it out-a." Italy exclaimed cheerfully.
"That's a good idea. Let's go." Germany said, leading the way out.
"Okay, so, Canada, you'll open the safe while we wait outside to make sure the thing doesn't get in and kill you, aru," China said, going over the plan with me.
Germany and Italy had brought us before the door which was in front of the room where they had found the safe earlier. I had volunteered to open the safe, for I had figured out the code. The others, despite some protesting, finally agreed to let me do the task.
"Will you be alright?" England asked me. "I mean, your arm is still bleeding pretty heavily..." I had no idea where his sudden helpfulness had come from, but I considered many reasons. One of them could be because I looked a lot like America, and he used to care for my older brother a lot. Though he also used to look after me when I was only a colony, the connection wasn't strong. Maybe he wants to remake the bond, after I helped him during the war? I tried to shake the nagging thoughts away, but they stuck stubbornly, determined to stay in my mind.
As the Brit was talking to me, there was a quick flash of blue and brown, and all of a sudden, Italy was at my side, replacing the old piece of fabric on my injured arm with a fresh white bandage. And not to mention everyone else is still acting weird... I reminded myself, if we ever got out of the mansion, that I'd ask the others what was on their minds. It was starting to disturb me a little bit.
When then Italian had finished, he ran back to return to the others. I turned back to England.
"Merci pour ton préoccupation, but I'll be fine," I told him quietly. He sighed loudly, but nodded and left. I was almost sure now that I reminded him so much of America. Though we were pretty opposite in personality, we were both pretty stubborn.
I took a deep breath, exhaling slowly. For some reason, I had another bad feeling coming on. Something was going to happen, something bad, but I couldn't think of what it could potentially be. Calm yourself...
I entered the room with the safe, and walked up to it. Apparently, it had been hidden behind a large box, for I could see marks upon the wall, hinting that someone had dragged something across it without much care. I took a few tentative steps forward, and peered at the lock - it had a four digit combination lock, like I had expected:
I flipped the first zero to five, then hesitated, expecting the thing to come out of nowhere to ambush me. It didn't. I'm too paranoid. I spun the rest of the digits into their places.
I jiggled the lock, trying to open it. It first resisted, then opened with a satisfying click! I lifted the lid of the safe up to uncover a key labelled 'Study Key'. I left the room quickly, and went back to the group, showing them what I had gotten.
"Study key, huh? Well, there's not a lot of locked doors left, so I'm pretty sure I know where this room is." Germany said when he saw the piece of metal. I nodded, agreeing. Once again, he took up the front of the group's little conga line as we headed for the Study.
We stood in front of the door that supposedly opened into the Study. Some of us exchanged looks of doubt, while I went up to the door and unlocked it. I tensed up as I opened it, expecting the alien to suddenly pop out of it and attack me. Of course, it didn't. So I relaxed and went inside, the others following close behind.
The "Study" didn't even seem to be a "Study" - the room was gigantic, so big you probably could've fit all of the countries in there. The other nations didn't seem to care, and went around, examining the place.
"What's this?" Russia called from the corner. He was pointed to a totally-concealed-NOT crack in the wall behind a bookcase. Some of us went to investigate, while the rest checked out other things in the room. Italy sat down at the table in the room, humming some sort of catchy Italian song, while bouncing his knee up and down.
Everyone, startled by the sudden noise, jumped and immediately looked around for the source of the noise. As we searched, there was a loud dragging noise, and suddenly the bookcase covering the crack moved to reveal a door!
"O-oh... Oops! Sorry~! I must've hit-a switch or something when-a I was bouncing my leg." Italy said, blushing brightly.
"Don't be sorry, aru! I think you found a secret button when you hit your leg against the table, aru!" China said excitedly.
"Who would like to go in?" Japan asked, gesturing at the door.
No one volunteered.
"If no one will go in, I'll go in." He continued, going up to the door and opening it. He then went inside.
As we waited for Japan, I thought I could hear something approach us, slowly but surely. Don't tell me it's the thing again... When the door of the Study opened, everyone leapt backwards - The alien had found us.
"R-run!" Someone shouted, but I was too distracted following their order to remember who had spoken. For all I know, it could've been me.
Everyone sprinted out of there as if there was a wild fire spreading after them. Without any planned place to go after we ran away from the thing, we all scattered and split up from each other. I found myself actually seeking refuge in the bathroom, the only place in the mansion I knew of that the creature didn't go into. Good, so I won't have to worry about it killing me if I ever have to go the bathroom...
I waited for a little longer than I needed to, just in case the monster had been chasing me instead of someone else. Apparently it hadn't, so I crept out as carefully as I could. I looked down every hallway I could before continuing my way upstairs to find someone. It hadn't been a good idea, and I wound up lost instead of found. I should've gone back to the Study! I thought. And now I'm lost in a spooky mansion with who knows how many evil creatures coming after me with no sense of direction! I should've taken more notice of my surroundings.
Before I could fully acknowledge it, something ran into me, almost knocking me over.
The 'thing' turned out to be England, who had also been running from it.
"Ah, sorry, America. I do apologise, I thought it was still after me." He said, stepping back.
"I-it's okay, and I'm Canada, not A-America..." I replied, a little embarrassed.
"Oh, sorry... You two look so much alike." He looked away for a couple of moments, looking very self-conscious. How many times have I heard that excuse from someone? I rolled my eyes and put a hand on his shoulder.
"C'mon, we've got to find the others before the thing finds them." I told him as bravely as I could, for I was as frightened as a fleeing rabbit. If he sees me scared, he might just panic as well, and we can't afford to let that happen.
As I was thinking about all of this, I heard loud footsteps behind us. Acting on instinct once again, I pulled out my bow and spun around, aiming an arrow at the sudden visitor.
Acting Upon An Instinct
I lowered my bow as soon as I realised that it was only China.
"Désolé!" I apologised quickly, but didn't put the arrow back in my quiver, just in case the thing decided to turn up again.
"It's okay, aru. I nearly attacked you two as well, aru. I think we're all pretty edgy." China said, smiling nervously as he sent backwards glances behind him, checking to make sure that the alien wasn't behind him. I couldn't blame him I felt just as scared.
"Well, I suppose we better start looking for them..." England added. "I mean, we shouldn't be split up into small groups. Why, we don't even know if the others are in groups as well! They could be alone, and not even have a single nation with them..."
"England, just because we can't find them doesn't mean we have to give up hope, non?" I said, trying to, hopefully, raise his spirits. It was quite difficult, considering the fact I had close to no confidence, but it didn't mean that I couldn't help some one else.
"You're right... We can't just sit around until the thing comes around to kill us. We're sitting ducks right now. We have to keep moving." The Brit, getting the message, finally started towards the stair case. Without asking, I knew where he planned to go back to the Study. At least one of us would have to have the sense to meet back up where we last saw each other. I caught China's eye, just to see if he understood the unspoken plan. He gave me a short, curt nod. I ran after England.
"Ve~! You came back-a!"
As soon as we returned to the Study, I had been hugged nonstop by Italy who was overjoyed to see us. Almost... Too overjoyed.
We were also pleasantly surprised to find that everyone else had made it back safely. As we waited, we checked up on each other's injuries. It seemed that I was only one with a serious wound and the others had small scrapes and cuts. Just my luck, I thought darkly, trying my best to keep a smile on my face. However, Italy saw through it's falseness and ran over.
"Canada, are you okay? You look-a like you're grimacing or something. Is it worse than-a we think?" The Italian hesitated, his cheery face growing serious and grim once more.
"Eh? Non, non... It's fine, but I just want to get out of here," I lied, knowing the attempt was futile. I told the truth a lot, so in turn, I was a horrible liar. But we can't stop whenever someone has an injury that is larger than a bruise or a cut... It will slow us down... I glanced at the scratch it was throbbing something fierce, but I refused to have it take over my life.
"I apologise for the wait, everyone."
Japan walked in, his eyes looking slightly wild from encountering the thing a little too many times. His clothes were starting to look rather ragged, and his normally perfectly combed, jet black hair was starting to stick out at places. We all must look pretty horrible by now. I thought with a slight smile.
"No, we apologise for making you go through all of that, aru." China replied, dipping his head in embarrassment. "We should've stayed we probably could've taken it down ourselves."
"Well, what is done is done. So, then, will everyone become one with Russia?" Russia added, his creepy aura filling the room.
"Um no thanks!" Everyone else said at once, slowly edging backwards away from the scary Russian, who merely laughed at the sight. Thanks for adding to the disturbing mood... It was really necessary.
After a few awkward moments, the conversation was picked up again by Japan.
"So, do you all remember that clock I found in the Study that I broke? Did anyone notice that their watch temporarily returned to the normal time?" Several of us nodded; the rest of us hadn't noticed. Japan continued.
"You see, my theory is that if we break all of the clocks in this house, time will return to normal, allowing us to escape."
"It seems a little out of this world, but nothing in this house has been normal," England noted. "In fact, I've yet to see something normal occur here."
"How about-a the fact-a it had doors that-a can open?" Italy asked cheekily, earning him a smack from both the German and the Brit.
"I didn't mean like that, you twit!" England spluttered, attempting to regain some of his dignity back.
"H-hey... Can everyone listen?" I asked, though my voice was lost through the argument that conveniently sprouted from the Italian's response. "H-hello? Anyone listening?"
Ten minutes later, almost everyone was fighting loudly, claiming that random facts about the house were ordinary. Taking a deep breath, I stood up and shouted at them.
"Quel est mal avec tout le monde? If you all can't keep your heads clear long enough to have a discussion about our survival, we're just about as good as dead now!"
Everyone stopped whatever they had been doing and looked at me in surprise. I could see shock plainly written on their faces in the form of gaping jaws and wide eyed stares. Apparently no one had ever seen me mad like this before.
Still annoyed and frustrated with them, I continued on.
"So, if we need to return time by breaking all of these clocks, we better find the one in this room, if Japan's reasoning or correct, vrai?" Everyone bobbed their heads up snd down, as if they were controlled by some imaginary puppeteer. It's obvious... They're scared of me snapping like that again, even if it's for a few seconds. I should watch my temper better in the future.
"So that means we have to find the one in here and destroy it. C'mon." I walked to the back of the room, with everyone following. I frowned, for they were still keeping their distance from me.
"I-I don't bite..." I said, lowering my commanding tone. A few relaxed, while the rest didn't. Is this how some of the scary nations feel? I wondered as I tugged open the dresser's drawers, searching for the clock. Once I found I, I lifted it up and gave it to the person right behind me Germany. I gave him a slight nod, gesturing that he should break it. He placed it on the ground and stepped on it, the loud crack echoing.
Once again, the world went black, but was instantly replaced by an orange world.
"Hey, I knew there was rumours about this old place, but I didn't think they were true!"
America's excited voice rang out loudly throughout the mountains.
"Oh, be quiet! You'll scare everyone around us to death!" England scolded the hyper America as he gave him a good slap against the face.
"Oowww Iggy! Why'd ya do that?" He whined as he recoiled from the pain.
"I told you that once we got here to be quiet! But now you won't shut up!" The Brit scowled angrily, stomping towards the door. "Now, we better have a quick look and leave before it gets darker!"
"C-can you two stop fighting...? And w-weren't we going to w-wait for France and the o-others before we enter?" A blonde stepped forwards in front of me actually, it was me. But it didn't make sense because if I was me, and it was me, how could it be me if I was me? There couldn't be two mes!
Then I realised, as I tried to hold England back from going inside the mansion, my hand went through him. Wait... It meant that I was supposed to be viewing, not doing...
Could it possibly be a memory?
But I hadn't gone in with just America and England, did I?
No, I didn't.
Suddenly, my vision went black again, and transported me into another orange tinted scene.
Once again, it depicted a group of nations, including me, going into the mansion. This time, instead of just America and England, I was with Italy, France and Prussia.
"Awweeeeessooomme! We're totally gonna be awesome here!" Prussia raved, ignoring the fact he was starting to be a tad repetitive with his whole 'awesome' rants.
"Ve~! Let's go in!" Italy said happily, reaching for the door knob.
"D'accord... mais, it doesn't look very exciting... I-is this place even haunted?" The me in the memory asked, looking bored.
I had said that, didn't I? But... No, it didn't seem right.
This memory is false.
The world went black again, until it showed me yet another memory. This memory showed America, England, France, China, Russia and I standing in front of the haunted mansion, eager to go in.
"This is it? I mean this is it! But..." America looked up at the house, doubt written all over his face.
"It doesn't look haunted... Why, if I had seen this near my neighbourhood, I'd think that some one would be living in it! But, of course, if the windows weren't all barred up." England said as he stepped forward to peer closer at the building.
"Oui, c'est vrai! La maison a l'apparence d'un manoir ordinaire." France added as he examined the building before him. "One would think it's simply abandoned, non?"
"But maybe it just wants us to think that, and in reality, there's actually some sort of man eating creature inside of there, Да?" Russia remarked creepily, making everyone shiver slightly.
"Yeah... Can we just look at it from the outside and go home, aru? I don't think it's any more exciting inside than out. Should I text Japan back and tell him not to come, aru?" Chine brought out his phone and started playing around with it.
"I-I don't find it that interesting at all, either... But if w-we must, we'll go inside..." I said at the exactly the same time the other me did, surprising myself. If I did that, did that make this memory true?
My vision went spiralling into darkness as an unseen force dragged me backwards into the real world.
I found myself back in the Study, with everyone else regaining consciousness. They all looked fine, excluding Japan, who looked as if he had momentarily passed out.
"I-is he alright?" I asked, worried that something bad had happened to him.
"I-I'm sure he's alright-a! I'm sure! C-certain!" Italy exclaimed, running over to help his friend. To me, it seemed like the Italian had been overreacting for everything that had happened, as if there was a whole bigger picture we hadn't been aware of yet. I must get to the bottom of this...
But how? I couldn't just go up and say 'Hey Italy! How are you? Have you been keeping any secrets from us lately?', could I? No, for one, he would not tell us and think we're nosy and for another, what if he wasn't hiding something after? What if the mansion had only made him more... Italy-like?
But if that were true... What was with the serious look when he was bandaging my arm in the fireplace room? That didn't look natural.
I finally came to the conclusion that Italy was keeping something from us, some sort of big secret that we should probably know.
A few moments later, Japan finally woke up, a sort of far away look casted in his deep, brown eyes. It took a few seconds for him to shake that zoned out look out, but he eventually did.
"A-are you okay, Japan?" Italy asked, sounding more troubled than he should for something like this. Even for Italy, he's a little overreacting... Or maybe I'm just being a little cold hearted...
"Y-yeah.. I'm alright, Italy-kun. I'll be fine. Don't worry about me." Japan said as he got up with some assistance from the worried Italian. He looked at everyone else, a rosy blush forming across his pale face. "So... Um..."
"I-I personally think w-we... Um... C-check out some of the... O-other places? I mean... W-we haven't found the others y-yet..." I suggested, expecting no one to listen, but after the whole anger ordeal, they quickly agreed. I'm not that scary... Am I?
"Yes... I did find this key in that room..." Japan held out another key, this one marked with the word 'Basement' on it.
"Bon, which means we have a place to start, oui?" I exclaimed cheerfully, ignoring everyone's slightly strange looks they exchanged that suggested that they wanted to keep their distance in case I decided to snap at them again. I suppose they'll listen to me more...
If I don't end up being lonely...
It was one thing to be in charge and another to be downright feared and unloved.
Moments Words Can Not Describe
I won't end up feared and unloved, will I?
A voice that felt miles away reached my ears, calling me quietly.
"Canada. Canada, are you alright? You don't look all that well... Do you need to take a rest or something? We can watch over you." I recognised the speaker as, once again, England. For some reason, it seemed to me that he had been rather caring to everyone since we went in the mansion. This place makes us all act in strange ways... I knew I had that same drifting thought at the edge of my conscious mind, but for some reason unknown, I could never really shake it off. It was like a pesky flea that wanted to leech on.
"Eh...? Non, I am well..." I said meekly, trying to hide my true feelings behind a blank face. I could tell that the fake look didn't fool the Brit, but he didn't intrude any further. Instead, he drew back a little, and after a short moment of reluctant hesitation, returned to the rest of the group to continue the discussion about where to go next.
"So... Oui... As I was saying before I inconveniently zoned out on all of you guys, I think we should go to the Basement... I mean, it's one of the few places we haven't been to yet, and we still haven't found America, Prussia and France." No one decided to argue when I said the three names. iDo they remember now or are they genuinely scared of moi?/i
There was a brief moment of silence.
"D'accord... Let's go!" This time, I lead the way out of the room and towards one of the locked rooms in the house.
"So... Um... This is the basement..."
We stood in front of a black, open entry way in the room I unlocked a little warily.
"Who wants to... Go first, aru?" China asked timidly, not eager to approach the open area in case our little friend decided to be right there and kill us.
"Well, I'll go at the back to... Um... Protect everyone! Heh, heh, yeah..." Germany moved in behind everyone.
"I don't have any weapons other than whacking it with my book or being bait..." England sighed. "But I do suppose I can go near the front so it can chase me." He rolled his eyes dramatically like it was a huge deal as he walked up beside me.
"Hey... England. This whole basement thing..." I tapped the blonde on the shoulder to get his attention. "Tu sais... We have to really find the others. I know you probably don't care about Prussia... And you dislike both France and America... But America is my... Brother. And your 'adopted'... Relative. And France is too. For Prussia... Well, meetings will be a lot more quiet and less lively without his German sparkle parties." I still wasn't sure about the whole 'brother'son' correct terminology... It was better to be on the safe side. However, he relaxed as I said this.
"You're right Amer I mean, Canada... Family is family and we still need to help them, regardless of past disputes between us." England nodded, no longer tense about the situation. I turned back to everyone with us, who had figured out their position while we had been talking to each other.
The line up, from front to back, was: Me, England, Russia, China, Japan, Italy and Germany.
"I-I think we're all ready then...!" I started forwards, into that dark, open doorway.
Once we had gone through some doors, rooms and hallways, we found ourselves in a small room, which wasn't really exciting. It included some furniture, scattered here and there, but nothing particularly special. We searched around the room, trying to find something worth having. I searched in the furniture, and felt my hand hit something cool and metallic. A key. I quickly slid it out to look at it more closely.
'Cell Door Key'.
"Hé, look at this. I found another key." I said, probably in the most monotone voice I ever used.
"A cell door-a key? Is somebody locked up-a in a cell?" Italy asked as he came over with the others.
"I don't know, but it's another start." I pocketed the key and we walked out, continuing on our way.
We went through a few more passages until we were confronted by a cell door, in the middle of our path. I took out the newly found key and unlocked it, wincing as a high pitched squeal came from the rusty metal pierced my hearing. After that awkward moment passed, we went through and slowly made our way to another doorway to our right.
When we entered, we discovered a typical jail cell like atmosphere within gray floors, drab walls, dirty looking ceiling... All of that stuff. I wonder what's in -
"Yo, dudes! Hey, can ya unlock us? We are, like, kinda stuck in here and stuff!"
The sound of America's voice from farther inside the room quickly interrupted my thoughts, and I looked over to see the American, along with Prussia and France, locked inside the jail cell.
"What happened...?" Japan asked, his voice in a questionable tone as I unlocked the door with the cell key.
"Well, it all started when I was watching guard, over Italy, Japan and West when I heard a loud noise outside the door. Thinking it was the alien thingymabobber, I rushed out as fast as I could and attacked it. It turned out to be France instead! Then, we heard these gunshots and came running downstairs to see what happened." Prussia started, only for France to continue.
"And then we saw America getting attacked by the alien. Parce que nous n'étions pas prêts, we had to run off and hide. Mais, l'Amérique pensé que ce serait une bonne idée à suivre, and came after us." The other nations -excluding me- wore puzzled looks as they tried to decipher the French.
"And then we all, like, ran down here and stuff then hid in the cell, which we locked so the alien wouldn't kill us! It was my heroic idea, of course, but then we couldn't get out." America finished the story. He's calling his hare brained idea 'heroic'?
"Hmm... Very well... I suppose that makes some sense," England said, his voice filled with thick sarcasm. He paused to brush some of his hair out of his eyes, most likely just to have an excuse to not continue. When everyone waited for him to add more, he looked up.
"Ohh... Um... I-I kind of have an uneasy feeling about this place... I think I'll go and investigate some more." The Brit added, noticeably blushing.
"I will come with you." Japan agreed.
"And so will I, because I'm the hero!" America exclaimed, almost shouting.
"No, not you America! You stay here so your brother Canada can explain the whole situation to you, if he can get anything through your thick head." England grumbled, speaking in a slightly scolding tone.
"Awww... Pleeeeaaasseee? Please please please please? I promise that I'll listen to whatever you and Japan say! Puh-lease? Come on Iggy, PLEASE CAN I COME?" America whined, putting on his puppy-dog face once again.
"Argh... Fine, fine! But do pay attention and listen to everything we say and make sure that"
"ALRIGHT! LET'S GO!" The American yelled as he bounced excitedly out of the room, with an annoyed England and a slightly surprised Japan trailing after him.
It wasn't particularly fun to wait around for the three of them to return, but we couldn't all go romping around the place, attracting the gray alien to come after us. A few of us attempted some small conversation, but nothing further than a few 'how are you's or 'nice shirt's. I tried to stay as patient as possible, but being stuck inside a creepy mansion for longer than I wanted kind of sapped my ability to wait away from me. Many of us were starting to pace aimlessly around the room, and I was about to join them when we heard footsteps. Everyone tensing and grabbing their weapons tightly, we turned to face the doorway.
"Heeeeey we're back and stufferz! Did ya miss us? We, like, totally found an exit, so c'mon! We've got to leave now and throw the coolest party and"
"America... Just shut up for once." England scowled at the hyper American, who continued to blab on about plans or something I couldn't quite understand. Japan had the same exhausted expression on his face, as did the Brit. A typical ten minutes of living with him. And I live my life next door to him.
"But anyway, I wanna go and explore the place before we leave! I never got to look around cuz of the stupid monster who tried to kill us all! C'mon c'mon c'mon!" America was literally bobbing up and down at this point.
"I-I suppose we can take... A little look around before we go..." I said quietly.
"That's the spirit, Canadia! Yaaay, let's go!" He shouted happily as he hugged me enthusiastically, knocking the breath out of me.
Suddenly the world went pitch black.
"America... You really shouldn't be squeezing him that tight... I mean, he's starting to look awfully pale."
I felt a large weight around my chest loosen, and eventually disappear.
"E-eh...?" I opened my eyes to find everyone looking down at me, eyes filled with anxiety.
"Pourquoi est tout le monde tellement inquiète pour moi? I-I'm fine and all..." I mumbled as I tried to get up. I heard France translate for the others, but it sounded quiet, almost from a distance.
"But... You're not fine, aru. If you pass out after just a hug from America, then you probably need to take a break, aru." China said, concern clear in his voice.
"J-je vais bien! Vraiment!" I said hurriedly, not wanting anyone to panic about my condition. A cloudy wave of fatigue slowly crept over my
body, but I was reluctant to give in to it easily.
The rest of the countries shared looks of doubt.
"If ya say so..."
"Please take care..."
"If you really think-a so..."
"Are you sure you are alright?"
"Be careful, mon cher~."
"Become one with Russia and you'll feel better~!"
"I am okay..." I muttered, more to myself, as I dragged myself up and stood as straight as possible to show that I was still capable of doing things on my own. Though I tried not to, I wavered a little bit, but quickly corrected myself.
I turned to around to find America speaking to me in hushed tone of voice.
"Please promise me... That you won't do any fighting... Or at least, not a lot of it. I'm seriously worried about you, and so is everybody else... Please..." America gave me his best begging eyes.
Of The Indecisive
"Please promise me... That you won't do any fighting... Or at least, not a lot of it. I'm seriously worried about you, and so is everybody else... Please..."
Seeing his face full of worry stopped me for a second. I can't say no... But who knows when we'll have to fight again?
"I-I'm sorry, America... I can not fully agree to this promise. I will not fight unless necessary, for if I tried not fighting ever again, I fear I will be running around this house, getting chased by the alien." I said, my voice a little shaky. Unlike a typical 'Awwwwww yeeeaaaahh' America response, he actually gave me a genuine smile. Weird...
"Okay, so I suppose we, the Allies, can go and look around a little bit and the Axis can go to the exit and check it out. Clear?" England told everyone as he went over the plans. Everyone agreed, and split off into our two groups. The Axis immediately left to go back to the exit, while we, the Allies, looked around. First we looked around the cell, but we all separated in the end and started searching for anything interesting around the basement. Once, I saw America pull England into another room to 'quickly talk' to him. That's pretty odd as well... What is he getting at?
"Hey, we've got-a to keep-a running!"
A scared voice jolted me out of my thinking as all of the Axis, China and France ran up to me.
"Amer - I mean, Canada! The gray thing is coming after us and-a we have-ta run and hide! Come on!" Italy shouted as he ran by me, along with everyone that was with him.
"O-okay...!" I followed after them, too much in shock to fully comprehend the situation. As we ran, we bumped into the rest of the Allies, and we soon found ourselves in a small room, which Japan quickly locked.
"Well... I think that-a some of the other nations would-a notice us missing and-a come looking for us, right?" The Italian said, but it sounded more like he was accepting defeat. As he voiced this, Germany started going on some small rage, something about being trapped in here forever, which forced his brother, Prussia, to coax him into using his 'indoor voice'. Although he calmed down, everyone looked downcast.
"Well... We can't sit about looking sorry for ourselves... We'll find a way out sooner or later, right?" I asked, making everyone turn to me.
"Perhaps, малыш, perhaps."
"If only I had enough magic... If I did, I could turn into... The -"
"Aw, don't worry bro! We'll figure out a way! ...right?"
"Oui, c'est vrai. We will get out of here, mon chéri."
I got a collection of replies for my answer, which made me feel even more doubtful about getting out of the mansion. But then Italy spoke up.
"I-I sorry that-a I cheated on everyone and didn't tell-a the truth... But-a... When I want-a you to run, run, and don't-a look back!" He said this with a dark, scaringly solemn expression on his face.
"Noo! Italy-kun!" Japan shouted, just as the door behind Italy opened to reveal the thing.
"Italy!" Germany cried, but he held no power to stop it as it came towards the brunette.
"England, now!" A yell from America surprised me - had they thought of a plan when they had left?
At the sound of my brother's voice, the Brit started some sort of chant, and black magic circles appeared, surrounding the alien. England's eyes started to gain a reddish glow, and the air around him shimmered with some unseen force. The thing stopped, as if frozen.
"We don't have any time! Prepare yourselves!" America shouted as he pushed Italy out of the way from the still monster. He sent a warning glance to me, signalling that I rest this battle out, and move to the back of the group. Disgruntled but knowing it was for my greater good, I obeyed and went to the back where I watched as the fight played before me. Another second went by, and England's stunning spell wore off, and the Brit fell to the ground, exhausted. I quickly dashed over to pick him up and carry him to the back where I could watch over him better.
The rest of us who were able to fight split up into two groups of four and took turns attacking once. At first, it appeared as if they were really somewhere, but as they got more and more tired, their moves against the alien grew sluggish. Soon the monster was able to injure them more severely. I can't sit by idly, twiddling my thumbs as I wait for everyone to die, and after them, me!
A bunch of the countries were sent flying by the alien's attack and landed in a heap near me. "Okay... No more sitting around..." I growled, the anger rising inside of me once more. Does it honestly think I'll sit around while my allies die around me?
I raised my bow, notched an arrow, and muttered one fleeting thought just as it left my mind.
"If only I hadn't left Kumajirou outside... He'd be awfully helpful at a time like this..."
As I let go of the arrow, it literally exploded in front of my eyes, causing flames of death to engulf the thing and make it disappear once more.
"Quel le érable juste s'est passé?" I gasped, nearly dropping my bow in surprise. "I didn't even plan that!"
"Yo, bro! Nice fireworks~! Can ya do that on my birthday or somethin'? After we get out of here?" America asked, all pumped up about the exploding arrow trick. The rest of us were dead silent, either from shock or fatigue.
"U-um... We'll see... But is there any place where we can rest...? I'm tired..." I said, trying to keep myself from slouching.
"Ooooh yeah, I forgot about Iggy..." America glanced at the Brit who was still passed out in the corner. Now you remember? I'm glad you're a very trustworthy ally... I thought as the American went over to carry England... Where ever we might go.
"Oh... Um, I know where we can rest safely for the night," Germany announced as he stood up slowly, still recovering from the battle. He started walking towards the door, and we all eagerly followed after, wanting to learn of this unbelievable place.
We found ourselves before the iron door that Germany had been in earlier. I knew there was something special behind it.
"Okay, one at a time, let's -" Germany began to instruct, but most of us ended up barreling inside, the rest of us being pushed in by the force. Once in side, we discovered that it was very, very small.
"Ow, get your foot out of my face!"
"I can't see, aru! And someone's leg is kicking me!"
"Ce qui est de frapper moi? Arrête maintenant!"
"J-je suis trés désolé!" I apologised, moving backwards, only to walk into someone else.
"Now where is the light switch... Where, where, where..."
Suddenly, the lights turned on and we looked around to see ourselves within a giant room, which included beds, tables, chairs, food, a kitchen and more. Most of us stood there with our jaws wide open as Germany talked about the room. I didn't really catch anything he said.
"What... What the bloody - Oh blast it, I'm going back to bed!" A frustrated England who momentarily woke up in America's arms gave up trying to assess the situation and closed his eyes again. That's how we all feel.
"Now, I will-a go and-a cook some pasta. Would-a anyone like to help-a?" Italy asked cheerfully. Japan offered, and everyone else went over to the tables, other than America, who was busy placing England in the bed. As he did this, I noticed a long scratch across his leg.
"A-America! Do you need me to bandage for you? Where's the first aid kit?" I called as I ran over.
"Hey, Canadia~! No, I don't need -" His reply was cut short as Germany handed over a first aid kit from one of the dressers, then returned to the table.
"You do need to take care of yourself! Just sit down and let me do this. Please." Shooting him a dead serious look, I managed to get him to sit on a nearby bed so I could wrap the bandage around his wound. It took not even a minute. When I was finished, the impatient American rushed excited over to the dinner table, where a bowl of pasta was already steaming upon. That was really quick...
Most of the other countries were pretty silent throughout the meal, while others joked around and laughed loudly, making it seem a little like a meeting. It was great and all we were starting to get along, but what about leaving?
After dinner, everyone put their dishes in the sink for France and China to wash as the rest of us went to bed. I chose the first bed I saw -which was between England and America- and pretty much crashed into it, falling asleep instantly.
Bang, bang, bang!
"Get up everybody! Today's another joy filled day of running away from a blood thirsty monster that wants you dead! I know you don't want to miss that!"
I awoke to someone banging pots and creating a ruckus. Around me, I heard many 'five more minutes' or just long groans of disapproval. The person waking us up decided to start shaking us if we didn't move. Since I had my eyes still closed, I wasn't aware of this, and let out a short yelp of surprise and fell off my bed, which was followed by a chorus of laughter. Bright red with embarrassment, I quickly left to go to the tables and sit down, ignoring any comments for the majority of breakfast.
Then Italy said something that made us all look at him curiously.
"Um... I-I need-a tell you something... But not-a here." He said quietly.
"Why not here? I think it's okay to tell us here!" My older brother, not being the sensitive one, loudly replied.
"America... Do consider others' feelings and don't boldly ask one like that when they're clearly nervous." A still tired England scolded the American, slapping him angrily. This, however, had little impact on America, for the Brit's hit was rather weak and unnoticeable.
"Indeed. I would also like to know why you do not wish to speak to us here," Japan agreed.
"I-I... Just... Just follow me to the jail cell in the basement-a!" Italy exclaimed as he bolted out of the room. A little shocked at first, we eventually ran after him, everything else forgotten.