Original Stories Fan Fiction ❯ Pit of Despair ( Chapter 42 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

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Shattered Illusions

Chapter 42: Pit of Despair

By: Melissa Norvell/Revamp

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Copernicus looked over the battlefield set out before him.
Perplexion sat heavily on his features as he thought his options
over. ‘All of the options are mine, I can move in any which way
that I desire. The only thing is, the first move is the most
important. One advance is better than none.’
He had to choose
wisely. After he moved the first piece, there was no going back.
« I’ll move the tank forward, straight ahead. » He pointed towards a
tank that sat in the middle of the field.

« Good choice, » Hide complimented. « Did I mention that there is one
other method of defeat in this game. »

« Oh? What would that be? » Copernicus was a little on edge. Why
would Hide hold off mentioning a rule until after the game started?
That was underhanded of him.

« If the building behind the king i taken out, then you lose. » It
wasn’t as serious as Copernicus was making it. There was just that
one thing to take note of. Hide figured that he shouldn’t just hide
that little tip and attempt to takeout his castle without
Copernicus being prepared for such a threat.

« Of course, so the object of the game is to take out the other’s
side…and bring down their leader, » the Inheritor noted as the
tank rolled forward a square on the board. « Since this game is
based on a monarchy system, all of the power resides at one focal
point. » It made sense now. That was exactly why Hide had chosen
this game for the two of them to play. It fit their situation so
well. « Kind of symbolic, isn’t it? »

« In many ways, » Hide glanced over the field, « I think I’ll advance
my tank ahead as well. »

The tank rolled ahead one space on his side of the board.

Tsubomi watched from the side lines as their pieces became animated
and advanced in whichever direction that they commanded. She could
feel the tension in the air between the two of them. ‘Please,
Copernicus, you’ve got to win this one. Who knows what will happen
if you don’t. We’re already in a bad situation as it is. It’s just
the two of us…with Hide, alone in this room.’

The girl glanced over her shoulder to the door behind her. ‘I
bet its sound proof in here as well.’
She then glanced to her
master. ‘He looks so calm and composed. Then again, I’ve never
seen him show the least bit of fear in the face of danger. I
remember him mentioning that he and Hide used to play chess a lot,
and that he always won…but this doesn’t seem like chess at all.
It’s set up like a typical chess board, but the rules are slightly
different.’

A loud, crashing noise caused the girl to jump, snapping her back
to her senses as she glanced back at the scene before her to see
Copernicus looking down at the board. His pieces were blown up and
pieces of debris littered the squares.

« That was a good warm-up tactic. You managed to take out two of my
battle units with one simple move, » he expected no less from the
red-clad vampire.

Hide’s smile widened. « Now, you must spill your blood on the battle
field. »

« How do I do that? » Copernicus asked.

« You pierce your hand on one of those razor blades, » Hide
instructed, « give your command, then accept your punishment. » Oh,
how he would enjoy watching Copernicus bleed all over this sadistic
battlefield.

A wicked smile crossed the brunette’s face. « Since this is a game
of torture, it’s time to show you how great my tactical skills are.
I order my tanks to take out the three of yours that are at my
frontline, and advance forward into the open, away from your enemy
fire. » Several surrounding tanks fired their canons; the balls
sailed through the air and made contact with the enemy tanks,
causing the tiny pieces to explode. Bits and pieces flew across the
checkered landscape, littering the battle field. Copernicus’ tanks
advanced.

« With that, I accept my punishment! » Lifting his hand, the
Inheritor slammed it down through the razors. Blood ran down the
blades as his hand twitched and spasmed in pain. The tip of the
razor pierced through his palm, exposed. The red substance ran down
and soaked the battlefield below.

Tsubomi was shocked that he had done something like that so easily,
then saddened that he had to hurt himself while all she could do
was watch. ‘Copernicus…’ It was hard to watch.

Hide’s eyes were slightly widened. A part of him couldn’t believe
that the vampire would have done such a thing. « This was indeed a
good move. I’ll accept my punishment. » Without a second thought, he
slammed both of his hands over the spikes, one for each hit he
took. Then the blonde ripped out one of the spikes from the
battlefield and pierced his shoulder with it. « Each sacrifice will
equal my own. »

‘They seem evenly matched. So far, everyone’s playing fair and
Copernicus seems to have the upper hand, but the game has just
begun. I remember the first time I saw Hide. I never thought much
of him, other than he was the mastermind who wanted to murder
Copernicus. Now I can see why he’s such a threat. He’s just as
smart as Copernicus.’
A sharp pain shot through her head and
she winced, clutching each side of her head. ‘Ugh…Damn it, I’m
still screwed up from Hizaki’s possession. He really got me good,
feeling off of my energy this entire time. It’s hard to
concentrate.’

Copernicus frowned as more of his pieces were destroyed. This was
getting intense, and the more pieces that got destroyed, the more
he would have to take damage on himself.

Hide, on the other hand, smiled in amusement. Seeing Copernicus
hurt himself was the best idea he had yet. His opponent really
should give up; there was no way that he was going to win. « Is that
the best you’ve got? Really, you aren’t the tactical genius I used
to know. It seems as if you’re a little rusty. » He was actually
expecting a better fight than the one before him. It was clear to
see that he outsmarted the other vampire by leaps and bounds. How
disappointing.

Copernicus grabbed the razor, plunging it into his shoulder, and
Tsubomi winced. The blood welled up and bled through his clothes.
The girl glanced at the floor as she tried to see through the haze
of her own pain.

Hide turned towards the girl, who looked as if she were in physical
pain. « Are you enjoying this show, Tsubomi? » He asked, amused by
the outcome.

The girl’s frown deepened and her eyes narrowed in malice.

« If you interfere, you’ll die, » he warned the donor.

« I’m not that reckless, or stupid. I merely came to support his
highness, » Tsubomi spat the words out.

« Oh? » Hide arched his visible eyebrow. « He told you that he was a
king, did he? »

Copernicus frowned.

« Yes, he did, » Tsubomi confirmed.

« Did he even tell you what kind of ruler he was? » The blonde
vampire was curious now.

« Yes, on and off. »

« This man, if not for his royal breeding would be branded as a
killer. He’s helped out the execution committee, planned wars and
funded weapons of mass destruction. He also ordered the execution
of his own royal court because of his paranoia, » Hide decided to
shed a little light on the man she rightfully called ‘his
highness’. He wanted the girl to see him for what he truly was.

« I order my knight to move forward and annihilate your three tanks.
I’ll advance six spaces in a diagonal line. That will put me face
to face with your bishop,Copernicus ignored what he had to say and
continued to play the game. He couldn’t allow himself to be
distracted by the things that the vampire was spouting.

Hide’s smile widened. He knew exactly what Copernicus was trying to
do, and it wasn’t going to work with him. « Averting the subject to
cover your actions. While you’re vindictive, you really lay down
the pain, as usual. » Taking three of the spires on the field, he
rammed them forcefully into his shoulders and arms. « There, the
punishment has been dealt. »

‘They’re both so calm…Neither of them are showing any dear or
break in their confidence.’
Suddenly, Tsubomi’s vision blurred,
and she muttered under her breath. « Damn, what the hell is wrong
with me? I feel like I’m going to faint. Why? Why am I feeling so
bad all of a sudden? » It didn’t make sense. Was something else
going on that she wasn’t aware of? Was Hizaki draining her
again?

« You are ruthless, aren’t you? You’re just as cruel as you’ve ever
been. » Hide remarked.

« I learn from the best, » his opponent smiled as his knight
obliterated the tank, chopping it into bits and pieces with its
highly sharpened sword. Then Hide’s bishop stabbed the opposing
knight and Copernicus slashes his arm. The blood was brought to the
surface yet again and the vampire concentrated on it, he looked
back at the board. His body was riddled with contusions, cuts and
gashes but still, he would not give up. ‘Now, all I have to do
is get him to move that other bishop out and I’ll create a hole in
his defenses around the king. No matter how he moves his pieces,
because of their placement on the board, he could never have the
king completely surrounded at any given time.’
A smirk twisted
across his lips. ‘This is splendid. I didn’t think Hide would
just fall for that trick…then again…I can never be too sure; He
could just be faking me out in order to make his move. However, I
have many back up plans if things go wrong.’

« Even your game play is iron fisted. It’s sad, really…Seriously,
in reality your moves are perfect but your motive in this game is a
shallow one. I shall move another tank forward, but only one
space. » It was going to take more than an iron fisted battle tactic
to rid the board of him.

‘He knows what I’m doing. It’s time for a change of plans.’
Copernicus had to keep him away from predicting his moves. « I’ll
move my canon to the center of the field. » The tiny canon, which
was the biggest piece of the board, positioned itself to the
center.

« What will that accomplish? Your canon is an idle piece. It can’t
do anything and it’s not even aimed at any of the pieces. » What was
the brunette thinking with that kind of action? What a waste of a
perfectly good and strategic move. « I’ll move my tank ahead another
space. »

Tsubomi’s vision swam before her, and it blurred to the point of
going black for a few moments. She shook her head, trying to will
it away but that only made her dizzy as a result. ‘Ugh…That
made it feel worse. What the hell is wrong with me? I’ve got to
stay conscious. I want to make sure that Copernicus wins and that
nothing bad happens to him.’
Her body jolted and her eyes
popped open. Tsubomi stayed there for a while, her eyes with a
saddened look and her mouth upturned in a frown.

However, painted red lips curved into a devious smile.

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Millie, Shiva, Horatio and Teru all sat at the familiar white table
in the kitchen as several tea cakes, plates and tea cups littered
the table. The tension was thick as Millie and Horatio had worried
looks on their faces. They couldn’t stop thinking about Copernicus
and what was going on as he faced off against Hide. More than
anything, they wanted their king to come home.

« Still no word from them, » Horatio checked a nearby grandfather
clock, which rang to the beat of the current hour. It was beginning
to feel more and more worrisome.

« They should be fine, » Teru waved in dismissal, « you guys honestly
worry too much. You should have more faith in them. » That was no
way to be a team mate! They had to believe that Copernicus and
Tsubomi would pull through; otherwise there was no point in waiting
around for them to come back at all.

They were perfectly capable to facing off against Hide, despite the
worries they had.

Millie stared down into the tea cup, watching the liquid swirl
around in an amber haze. ‘Copernicus…I know you can do
this…Please, for our sake, and hers.’
Glancing back up at the
others, she expressed her concerns. « Man, I’m worried. »

« It’s still too early to truly determine anything as of yet. Who
knows how much longer their game is going to last. It never had a
time limit. » Those were things that they could think of as
positives. Right now, Horatio wanted to only focus on those things
in order to chide his own worries.

« It could very well take more than one day, » Shiva picked up a card
and glanced at it, moving it from back to front. She reads it over,
scanning back through the text. « This says nothing about a time
limit of anything. No location, no conditions, really. The
conditions listed as so vague that I can’t decipher them. »

« It’s Hide himself. It’s a very direct challenge, » Millie
noted.

« He wanted to draw Copernicus out into the open. Up until recently,
the king hasn’t been too adamant about coming out and facing things
by himself. He’s always had a wall of people defending him, »
Horatio stated, it was only up until recently that Copernicus
started acting like a rightful king and doing things solo, despite
all of the protests that were made.

« He hated it, » Millie’s words cut through the group like a
knife.

« Huh? » Horatio glanced towards the girl in question.

« That’s what Tsubomi said. She says that Copernicus hates being
defended by us all. I can’t blame him. I would hate it, too. I’d
feel really guilty about it. » It wasn’t fun having people who would
risk their lives for you actually doing it while you sat back and
did nothing. Millie felt odd enough being treated like a princess,
much less anything like what’s happening with Copernicus.

« But, do realize that we are knights of the Blue Rose Order. As
such, it’s our job to protect his highness, » Shiva pointed out the
entire mission of the Blue Rose Order to the girl. Above
everything, they must uphold their positions in the organization
that Prince Yale had created and live out his dying desires.

« It’s still so weird…or, at least it is to me. » It wasn’t like
the girl was used to doing anything like that. She was just a
normal girl until she became involved with Copernicus and Millie.
« It’s like everyone has this hidden life that they don’t want you
to know about. Copernicus is an iron fisted king and Tsubomi is a
girl. » What other secrets did they have? Did anyone else want to
confess something?

« That was pretty shocking, » Teru admitted that he was caught off
guard by it all.

« Yeah, no joke, » Zino entered the room and took an empty chair at
the table, pulling himself up. « He’s also a Wittenburg. I can see
that now, though. He looks a lot like King Carlyle. » The only
difference was longer hair and facial hair. The two would be twins
otherwise. He was really impressed at the male’s looks.

« You knew King Carlyle? » Millie wanted to know what Copernicus’
father was like.

Zino smiled, taking a sip of tea before he continued. « Yeah, he was
a nice guy. King Carlyle Calares Wittenburg and Queen Hepesta Saera
Wittenburg, very high class people. I met them when I was
fifteen. Come to think of it, I saw Prince Yale with them at that
party. We talked for a while. »

Horatio looked caught off guard by that information. « Oh, I
remember you now. You were the boy who complimented the queen’s
dress. »

« Yep! That’s me! » Zino jerked a thumb to himself.

‘Copernicus…Tsubomi…Please, be alright.’ Millie looked
out of the open window and into the sky, silently praying for their
safe return.

XxXxXxXxXx

Hide plunged a knife into his bicep and called out in pain as the
blade pierced him. Clenching his teeth, his body had lost quite a
bit of blood. It seeped through his bright red and white clothing,
tinting them in crimson. « Alright, my sacrifice has been made. All
of this blood just makes the vampuric senses run wild. It made it
hard to concentrate, doesn’t it? » The blonde smirked. It was the
hidden aspect of the game, after all. They were supposed to be
tempted, as they lost their own blood to want to lap up the
battlefield. Their bloodlust would overrun their senses and make
them lose concentration on the battlefield.

« So, that’s part of your game? You want to fog my mind and
not allow me to think straight in order to operate at my fullest. »
Now Copernicus saw what this game was truly about. It was designed
to try and trip up vampuric senses and make the enemy fall from
blood lust.

« It’s a part of my plan. I bet you’re trying your hardest to
resist, aren’t you? » Hide’s words teased him to go on.

« Losing as much blood as I have, you’d think that I’d be thirsting
for it, but I’m not, strangely. I’m not even thinking about it. »
The Inheritor didn’t think twice about his answer. He had been so
focused on making his moves that the smell of blood was completely
tuned out. Even noticing the smell of copper now didn’t do much for
his cravings.

« You’re just as focused as you used to be when we played chess.
It’s nice to see that you have so much determination, » Hide smirked
playfully.

« I’m confident in my abilities. » If there was anything he was good
at, it was war games. Copernicus’ features hardened into those of
determination. ‘Besides, you fell right into my trap. You think
you have the upper hand because you don’t see the worth in the
canon piece. Good, he’ll keep attacking me and I’ll keep receiving
punishment, looking as if I am losing. When the time is right, I’ll
take out that king and the castle behind him.’
A twisted smile
spread across his visage. He was going to win, no matter what Hide
did. This plan was perfect.

Hide arched an eyebrow when he noticed that the vampire was sitting
across the table with a smile plastered to his face. ‘What’s he
planning? He’s sustained far more damage than I have, so what’s his
tactic? If I know him, he has a plan but his movements are obscure
and they don’t follow any set pattern. Usually, I can read him, and
he’ll throw me off in the end but not this time. This time, it’s
different. He’s changed his tactics.’
Skepticism crossed his
face. Hide found it irritating that he couldn’t read his opponent’s
moves. People had never been as unreadable as Copernicus was in
this moment. That smile on his face unnerved him. There was
something dark amidst and he was unsure of what it was. « Are you
experiencing the affects of blood loss yet? »

« Funny, I didn’t really notice. » When it came to concentration, he
was giving it his all. When he thought about it, he did feel a
little cold and light-headed, but no matter. The game would
continue on.

His opponent was amused. « Do you not feel pain? »

« If you feel anguish your whole life, you forget what it’s like to
lack pain, » Copernicus replied.

« A memorable quote, too bad it will be your last, » Hide held out
his injured hand like a commanding general and gave his final
order. « Go forth, my knight and destroy his tank! »

‘I have him right where I want him.’ If Copernicus’ smile
could have grown any wider, it would have. « I’m going to take this
turn to fire my canon. »

« What? Why do you want to do that at a time like this? » That threw
Hide for a loop. What in the hell was Copernicus thinking?

« You made all of the wrong moves, and your key piece is wide open
for an attack. Not only that, » the vampire continued after a grunt
of pain was released from stabbing himself in the arm again, « but
your castle is also positioned perfectly. »

Hide watched in horror as the canon let loose a large blast that
blew his king off of the board and a giant hole in the side of his
castle. The pieces of the foundation were flung across the area,
bouncing off of the wide-eyed vampire and the tiny replica fell
tumbling across his other pieces in a landslide of bricks.

« You…You defeated me but…but how? » The blonde could hardly keep
his composure from all of the shock that he felt. At this point,
Hide could do nothing but stare at the board full of devastation
before him.

Copernicus smiled in satisfaction at his victory and crossed his
arms over his chest. « It was easy, actually. I just completely
winged it. I know how you have a feel for the way I play chess,
since this game is so much like chess, then I would obviously have
to change my tactics. I’d be a fool to let you read my so
easily. »

Just then a hand was placed on his shoulder. Copernicus glanced up
to see Hizaki standing above him with an amused look plastered on
his face. The cross dresser flashed a wide smile, his sharp fangs
shown. « Fool-hearted man, did you think that I was going to let you
leave of your own free will? » That would have been far too
easy.

« Copernicus… » Tsubomi’s weakened voice trailed as she laid on the
ground on her side. Her limbs felt like cement and she had no
strength to move. There was definitely something wrong. Hizaki had
drained her again.

« Now, you belong to me. »

« You tricked me. I knew there was something wrong here, » Copernicus
protested as he shot up out of his chair, but before he could make
a move, his body froze in position.

…To Be Continued

Punishment Game
Dark Master