The party was what I expected. But also, different.
My hand still hurts, though I see no injuries. My injuries are starting to rack up. I...
I don't know how much longer I can keep going. One arm grazed by a bullet the other...
well. let's talk about New Year's Eve.
The party was in a Loop. I've never been in one of these before. I must say, I don't really believe in supernatural stuff. I've only ever experienced Slender. But the entrance was where I was told it would be.
I entered the party clothed in a red dress. I had decided if I was going to make it out of here alive, I'd need to not stand out. Fit into the crowd. My goals for the evening were to meet Ember, thank Writer personally, and generally identify any future assassins.
I had a conversation with Fia early in the evening. She didn't recognize me. If a Huntress, (one of the Host's own) didn't know me, perhaps this evening would be fine after all.
I chatted with Photographer, for a moment. Though he recognized me, he was willing enough to keep my presence a secret. He was a quiet ally through the whole night. Whenever things started to go wrong, tensions were rising around me, he'd appear with drinks, and perhaps even a quiet concern.
My friend...I am in your debt.
Time melts together. I remember talking to Nee-chan, I remember watching people far beyond my paygrade dominate whole portions of the room. Big names entering. Nightscream. Morningstar. Valtiel. Big guys. There were more so many more.
I stepped to the sides of the room. Truth be told, the last thing I wanted was to run into one of them.
And that was when David found me.
He approached from across the room. I watched him with dread unable to escape. Ro- TMV had described him to me once, when things were a little more murky and light and David was the scariest thing on my mind. I still had that lingering fear. Rachael acted the Coquette as he approached.
"You seem familiar" he said to me, a faint smile on his lips. His eyes searching.
I giggled and smiled winningly "A lady never gives up her secrets, David."
"I guess I can understand. But it is terribly rude to make me guess."
It was then that Photographer appeared, breaking some of the tension. Thankfully.
When he left, I turned back to David. It wouldn't do to anger him.
"Ah, I do not wish to offend...I am Rachael, David." I said quietly.
"Rachael, of course. It's a pleasure."
"You must understand my desire to keep my name to myself, no?" I chuckled nervously. Tried to disguise it as a foxy chuckle. Failed. "...I would be indebted to you if you could keep my presence to yourself."
He nodded. Silence. I looked over the crowd so I wouldn't look him in the eye.
"How...How is he?"
He showed me the ring. We talked about him for a long while. I really am happy, TMV. I want you to be happy, and I can't do that right now. I can't even make myself happy yet. Once I'm free, maybe then, someday...focus.
I met Ember much later that night. I don't want to compromise them. So I will not say what we talked about. Boasts were made, a bond was formed. I like Ember.
I would hate to see Ember turn out like me.
At one point in our conversation we were looking over the gathering. Saying who we hated. Who we wanted dead.
I will leave Ember's choice out of this.
But I chose Valtiel.
I do not really know how loops work. But he had heard me, somehow.
Valtiel towered over me when I left ember.
He grilled me. I knew that he knew that I was a Rouge. He knew that I knew. I retreated into myself, into my role. He let me walk away. I tried to find the host, Joseph, only to find Valtiel over there already, demanding to see the list, and demanding to know why I was here. Joesph, bless him, stood up for me, for himself.
And then I had to ruin it.
I thanked Joseph for hosting the party, and turned to Valtiel who was still there still looming like a bully. That's what he is. A Bully.
But I had to gloat. I approached him.
"You are free to leave Rachael. Though I do expect to be seeing you again." The threat was in his voice plain as day. I should have left right then.
"I would love to see you again, Valtiel." I smiled at him. Taunting. I offered him my hand, palm down.
He stared at it like it was a fish. My smile widened. He grabbed my hand.
Valitiel's touch burned my hand the worst physical pain I have ever felt. But I know pain I knew pain I held my face I am an actress. I smiled at him and said, slowly, haltingly "A gentleman...would kiss...a ladies...hand"
Then things get hazy for a while. I remember David and Valtiel squaring off. I remember Valtiel grabbing Joseph and taking him away and Morningstar and his goons squaring off with David. I remember pulling out my gun and shooting at Morningstar and the...the ren faire one. Jack? I remember Ember climbing Morningstar. I remember Ridley saving the day and breaking the draw...fighting with us. Who knows why? Thank You, Ridley. You probably saved my life.
I remember through my haze threatening to "shoot Jack's fucking dick off"
And then I remember Joesph when he returned. the battle ending.
I remember chanting Auld Lang Syne while Ridley babbled madly to an empty room.
I woke up today in a motel East St. Louis.
Happy New Year.