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The loud alert resounded in Chàng Bo’s ears, “TWO ENDLESS PLAIN SCIENTISTS ARE HERE!!!! ALERT TWO CREATORS ARE HERE!!!” “ALERT…ALERT…ALERT” Flashed on the screen.
“LEAVE NOW!!!” The System screamed.

Before Chàng Bo could react, a bulbous misshapen head appeared in the elevator. The head had a pair of pale eyes, brown skin and black hair. Its long neck was stretched like chewing gum, as it peered into the elevator.

Chàng Bo’s heart thudded rapidly, the pressure coming off of this creature was insane, he felt his Life Essences burning up the moment they made eye contact with it. He trembled and as his blood began to boil and his skin began to turn yellow and red as the flesh started to rot. Blood dripped from the corners of his eyes.
Panic consumed him. This was happening just from eye contact? What would happen if this thing attacked him? There would be no way he could fight back, heck he couldn’t even find the strength to run right now.

A tall, elegant, women popped next to the ominously deformed head. Her long black hair swayed in the wind, hissing like snakes, her silver eyes were oval shaped as she stared intensely into the elevator.

“Hmmm… There appears to be no one there Five.” The women visibly relaxed and her body become much more human-like. Her eyes losing their oval shape and her hair turning limp, the hissing ceased.
“There is a reason for everything Four, why would this machine arrive here if nothing arrived with it.” The deformed head replied.

“That is not the case Five, remember when we first arrived here. A human child pressed all the buttons in this Elevator and only got out at one floor. This machine then proceeded to stop at subsequent floors without a passenger. This could easily be a similar case.” Four replied.

Five’s grotesque head tilted as he thought, “Hmmm, I do remember this case Four. There is a high possibility of you being correct and this being the reason,” as Five came to this conclusion his deformed head shaped back into the normal form of a human one. His stretched neck retracted back into a normal length and attached itself back onto its body.
“I do despise these human shells. I wish we could be in more convenient forms, this is so restrictive. Of all the planet’s and races there are, we have to imitate the human race.” Four moaned as pulled at her cheeks.

“I admit these forms are uncomfortable but they can be adjusted, I believe they are very flexible. This is the 487th time you have complained about these forms in the last two days Four, why do you continue to complain?” Five curtly responded.
Four rolled her eyes, “It has been many months since we began our new strategy of waiting here and using these human creatures as a lure, but the bait has not been taken. We haven’t seen the Gatekeeper of this realm nor our actual target since we got here. I suggest we ditch these forms and go back to surveilling the 400 realms from the High Tower. If Nyx’s child still remains in the 400 realms we have a better chance of finding them from the High Tower than we do here.”

Five stood in the middle of the elevator doorway, he stared directly at Chàng Bo. Chàng Bo didn’t dare to even breathe. The elevator doors continuously attempted to close and were blocked by Five’s tall frame.

“All creatures have attachments Four, every creature is a creature of habit. Also, a Gatekeeper is bound to their Realm, the Gatekeeper will eventually return here to see his friends and I expect our target will be close by his side when he does.” Five responded with a deadpan expression. His pale eyes were like shards of ice.

“If it is true that every creature is a creature of habit, then we have more reason to stay in Realm 348, Chàng Bo is likely to return to his family. Staying here seems meaningless.”

“Four, you have raised this same point 20,380 times since arriving in this Realm. My response is the same as my other 20,380 responses. Nyx had a child to smuggle someone into the 400 realm project, we have identified the suspect as Cahir Alerian. If he came to the 400 realm project than there are three things he is likely after. One of those things is his previous Soul Partner, the former King of Titans, Marco Alpha. Marco Alpha is currently existing as a Gatekeeper, the Gatekeeper of this realm. Even if Cahir is unaware of his previous affections for Marco in this life, his instincts to be with his Soul Partner should not have dulled. When we arrived in Realm 348 we noticed traces of Sweet Dream in the area he’d been in before running away, he likely used it to awaken his hormones and find his soul partner. There is no way he is leaving this Gatekeeper alone, as a creature of habit he will be by his side, and as a result sooner or later he’ll come back to this realm. We only have to wait until he arrives, and then we’ll extract this disturbance from the Project.”

Four sighed, “I understand your point Five, but if that’s the case we have better luck tailing the Gatekeeper, last time I checked he was in Realm 1.”
“That is a dumb response Four, you know we can’t go to Realm 1, it would interfere with the Project too much. Plus Three is currently experimenting there if we interfere with Three’s plans we could be demoted.”
Four sighed, “You’re right.”
Five sniffed the elevator once more before turning towards Four, “There is nothing in this elevator.” He announced.
“I thought we had already established that,” Four glanced back at the elevator again.
“I checked again for certainty, something does not appear right to me but I truly sense nothing.” Five said monotonously.

At this point, one of the doors down the corridor opened. Zhao Detong came out wearing a Nike tracksuit with a water bottle in hand. He looked up and smiled once he saw Five and Four.
“Hey neighbours, did you see the News!? There was a flying car, crazy right? Bing Bing bets it’s fake but I feel like it’s the real deal, I’m going to start doing some research on companies developing flying vehicles and buy some stocks. This could change everything, the future is now!” Detong babbled excitedly.

Five and Four stared at him blankly, Zhao Detong coughed awkwardly. “I guess you guys didn’t see the News.”
Fei Bing Bing came out in a matching Nike tracksuit, a water bottle also in her hand. She smiled at Four and Five, “Hi Vanessa, hi John. Detong and I were about to go on a jog, how are you planning on enjoying your afternoon? The weather is lovely right now.”

Five looked at Fei Bing Bing plainly, “The weather is only lovely to you, how ‘nice’ the weather is, is a subjective subject based on your personal opinion. How you feel about the weather may not be the same as how everyone else feels about the weather. Why do you think your opinion is the dominant opinion? Isn’t it arrogant to believe I’d share your beliefs.”

Fei Bing Bing blinked and looked at them awkwardly, “Um…so you don’t think the weather is lovely right now?”
Before Five could speak Zhao Detong pulled Fei Bing Bing into the open elevator, “You know what, the weather isn’t that important of a subject, we really just need to start jogging, you know get that exercise in,” he said.

Five nodded, “Yes your weak species needs to extend your life spans in any way you can, exercise is definitely the most effective method…I mean our weak species.”
Zhao Detong laughed awkwardly, “You’re right.”

Fei Bing Bing pressed the elevator button, “Are you two getting in the elevator?”
“No.” Four replied, “We have been… hanging with you many times over the prior months, you may proceed on your own. We don’t need to be by your sides all the time to achieve our objective.”

Fei Bing Bing’s eyes were wide as she pressed the ‘close’ button on the elevator doors again and again. “Ok, cool, you guys have a great afternoon.”

Five and Four didn’t respond, only staring at them as the elevator doors shut.
Fei Bing Bing and Zhao Detong both sighed in relief as the doors closed.
“Oh thank god they didn’t come with us” Fei Bing Bing gushed, “they are so weird.”
“I know so creepy and clingy, and they’re always watching us. I seriously think we should move.” Detong agreed.
“I wish we had never welcomed them when they first moved here, they give me seriously weird vibes.” Bing Bing squeezed Detong’s hands, “We must move soon.”
“I mean where are they even from, they’re so suspicious, maybe they’re terrorists or something. Should we report them?” Bing Bing added.
“Just because they’re foreigners and they act strangely doesn’t mean they’re terrorists, I mean we might we’re their only friends in the area, that’s probably why they’re clingy, but yeah they are very strange. But, we shouldn’t jump to conclusions too fast.” Detong rationalised.

“I definitely think something is weird with them, they literally come everywhere with us. Ever since they moved in I can’t shake the feeling I’m being watched. And one time John said to me, and I quote, ‘The only reason your futile existence is here is for a grander scheme if you were not a detail of the project and needed for our current plan you would have been eliminated’… Like what the hell was that about?”

Zhao Detong shrugged, “I have no idea, they both speak really strangely, they probably just learnt some really dodgy Chinese expressions. Or maybe they’re avid Gamers and that’s just the lingo”
Fei Bing Bing glared at Detong, “Seriously, you think it’s the lingo. They are obviously crazy. Tanaka and Bei Lao even told me they’ve seen them lingering around their house. I say we report them before it’s too late…what…what if they’re somehow connected to Mao Lu or Frank. We still don’t know how they disappeared.”

“Bing Bing stop, don’t make conspiracy theories.”
“But I can’t help it, what if they are connected?”
“Mao Lu and Frank had both disappeared by the time we met our crazy neighbours, and both Frank’s incident and Mao Lu’s disappearing act are still being actively investigated and we have several PI’s working on both their cases. If there was a link between our weird neighbours and their disappearances we would know about it already.”

Bing Bing sighed and hugged Detong, she sniffed “You’re right, I just still can’t stop thinking about it, it’s been so long. We keep postponing the wedding date because we’re still looking for them, but these days I keep thinking…what happens if we never find them…or worse what if they’re dead.”
Detong hugged Bing Bing back, “I thought with everything going on it would be too stressful planning the wedding. Plus it wouldn’t be the same if Mao Lu and Frank didn’t come, but if you want to still have the wedding then we can-”
“ it’s not about the wedding! If Lu isn’t there than it wouldn’t be our perfect day. We should wait a year, if nothing comes up by then, we should do the wedding regardless… I just…I feel bad, like God knows what’s happening to Frank or Mao Lu, yet we’re just continuing with our lives so easily. If we never find them, we’ll still get married anyway, our lives will just go on. It feels weird, it feels wrong.”
Zhao Detong sighed and patted Bing Bing’s hair gently, “I know it does”…

As Zhao Detong and Fei Bing Bing had this heart to heart, Chàng Bo was trembling in the same elevator.
He screamed “What the hell!!!!!” in his head over and over. He was so relieved that the necklace had worked, they had really stared right at him and didn’t even notice. Yet they had still lingered… Chàng Bo felt general stark fear.

His heart raced and he was petrified, he couldn’t find strength in his limbs. His skin slowly healed and the aching pains he’d felt faded, but the fear remained.

The elevator beeped on the last floor. Chàng Bo watched as Bing Bing and Zhao Detong left, he stared at them in a brief daze before regaining his bearings and following after them.

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Alexia Barrett

Journalism student at Cardiff University. Aspiring Broadcast Journalist, Foreign Correspondent, and Novelist.

January 2020
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