The Powers that Be is the twelfth chapter in Lissa's Game High fanfic Pixels and Polygons. It can be read below.
The Powers that Be Edit
Perhaps Simon was somewhere else. Yes, Sofia thought, trying to calm her frantically racing mind. That was completely reasonable, he’d woken up earlier than her before, maybe he was just in a different room. Maybe he was with Honey and Takashi. He seemed to like being with Honey and Takashi best.
Except no, he wasn’t. Neither Honey nor Takashi could say they saw Simon since last night.
Well, that was no issue, Sofia assured herself. Simon had two other friends, because Takashi and Honey and even she herself had two other friends--Vanessa and Harold. Maybe he wanted to know what Voltar had to ask of Vanessa last night! Yes, that seemed completely reasonable, she thought with a smile. She’d go see right now.
Except no, he wasn’t there either. Harold seemed very anxious when Sofia explained the situation, but neither he nor Vanessa had seen Simon, either.
That’s no issue either! Her reassurances were growing a dollop more panicked now. Who were his favorite teachers? He liked Walker, because he had the planet Saturn for a head. Prof. Layton, because they both really really liked puzzles. Firion too, probably, because weapons! Haha, why hadn’t she thought of this sooner!? Petals on her roses were starting to shake and fall off, but she dashed to each of those teachers in turn, explaining the situation in desperate breaths.
Except no. He wasn’t seen by any one of those.
Sofia’s hands had begun to shake, her breaths quickening. No issue, she tried to assure herself--No issue, no issue, no hay problema, no issue...Her thoughts began to dissolve into panic in her native Spanish tongue. This was an issue. This was an issue. A very, very, very big issue!
“He--He was there last night, and then--!” It was harder than it should have been to force out the words in front of the diligently listening Master Hand. Especially without slipping into Spanish, in fear he wouldn’t be able to understand and ergo wouldn’t be able to help her. “I try to say good morning--He’s--He’s not there! T-Takashi and and Vanessa and Harold and Honey, nonna’ them have seen ‘im, an-and neither have Walker and Layton and Firion--He’s just--Not there!”
The right hand shifted, visibly uneasy. Her panic was doing nothing to make the situation easier. “Calm yourself, Sofia. We’ll do our best to try and find him.”
“No--No no no no, you don’t understand--This is Simon! He wasn’t s’posed--No! Wh-what am I s’posed to tell them, T-Takashi an’ Honey an’--He can’t be gone, he can’t be, he can’t be!”
“I understand, Sofia, but I’m afraid there’s little I can do as of current. We’re still unaware of the whereabouts of Ambros, much less Simon. I assure you, if anything is found, we’ll alert you as soon as possible. For the time being…” The hand shifted, turning around, meeting the gaze of Officer Wagon. “...Put Simon Centifolia on the list and study the bug closer. Have you seen Subordinate Hand?” She wrote down a note on her clipboard, shaking her head. The hand hummed in disapproval, turning back to Sofia. “...I advise to continue your studies. It is natural to worry, but--I assure you--It’s little more than a glitch in the system…”
“Wait--Waitwaitwait, the bug!? You think--It wasn’t Vanessa! It wasn’t!” A new wave of panic went over her, fearing for another of her companions--But Master Hand didn’t reply, making a small shooing motion with his fingers, then going back to converse with Officer Wagon in hushed tones. Sofia fumed, stomping a foot, her face turning red with anger and her roses flickering to a blacker hue. Then she turned on her heel and stomped out of the office, hands balling into fists.
No way was it Vanessa--Vanessa was good, Vanessa was just as worried as the rest of them--She was framed! Like Magnilde was! Maybe. But Magnilde’s syringe could have been planted, Sofia had seen Vanessa adjust the position of her radio spider--But it was Simon’s idea to spy on Prof. Layton using it! So Vanessa couldn’t have used the bug to do Simon in, like Magnilde had used the syringe to nab Gregory! That was impossible, Vanessa wouldn’t, Vanessa would never...But Simon was gone, really gone, nobody had seen him and she should have been there, like Harold had been there for Ambros...Always distracted, always distracted, just like at that fateful Halloween party, always so very…
As though fate was trying to prove her own point, she ran into someone.
“Triste!” She practically yelped, jumping back, some of the fallen rose petals caught in her hair being shaken out. Her hands relaxed from their clenched fists, and it took a while for the fear to subside and her memory to kick in. When it did, she knew the blonde to be--“Takashi?”
It took a moment for the evil prince to collect his bearings, smoothing his shirt, adjusting his cape. But he nodded when Sofia spoke his name. She blinked, her face falling into a slightly confused look. “Wh-what are you doing…?”
“Is what you said true?” He had some sort of odd mix of emotions in his voice, a mix Sofia was having the hardest time deciphering. Anxiousness, regret, loneliness maybe, an almost out of place note of guilt in there. She hadn’t heard him sound this way before. “Is Simon really...Missing?”
She hated to be the bearer of bad news. It was against everything she stood for. But ever so hesitantly she nodded her head. “...N-nobody’s seen him, and he wasn’t--Wasn’t in his room...Or with you, or with Vanessa and Harold...And now Master Hand thinks it’s Vanessa’s fault but it couldn’t have been, it couldn’t have been, it couldn’t…”
“Shh.” He reached out awkwardly, patting her bare shoulder. Almost unnoticed, the PA began it’s now practically normal message detailing the disappearance of Simon Centifolia, and how any evidence surrounding the event should be reported immediately. Sofia practically choked on her repetition, eyes twitching up to meet Takashi’s. “I don’t think he’d want you to beat yourself up about it.”
That was true, and she knew how true it was. She swallowed back an ever-growing lump in her throat. “I know, but...I-I was gonna do this whole thing for him, y’know, make him feel less--Oh, what’s the word he used--Worthless or somethin’. An’--An’ now he’s--I should’a been lookin’ out for him, I’m his roommate, for L.O.G.’s sake! An’ Vanessa’s gonna get the blame like Magnilde did and--And--And--” Her eyes welled up with tears, and she blinked, trying to suppress them. They just spilled over, running onto her cheeks. “Oh, papá me mataría…”
“Shh! Shh.” Both of Takashi’s hands were on her shoulders now, and he smiled wide, trying to look comforting. “It’s not your fault, alright? It’s not--Your--Fault. We’ll figure it out, it’ll just--Inspire us to work harder! Hah! Like, like…” Boxing analogy, boxing analogy, he needed a boxing analogy. “...Uh, didn’t your dad get beat up once? And then he got serious, all for his--Girlfriend, lady love, woman on the side...Or something. It’s like that! Get serious for Simon!”
This was a horrific analogy.
Sofia got the gist, though. She smiled back at him through her spilling tears, her roses glittering. They lost their brilliant red hue, going to black. Black of mourning? Black of seriousness? Who could say? Whatever it was, it seemed to inspire a little more confidence in Sofia. She rolled her shoulders back, straightening, wiping the spilled-over tears on the back of her forearm. “...You’re right! Just have to work harder, like papa did. It’ll--It’ll all be fine.” Clearly she was still trying to convince herself that this was the case, but it was something. She picked Takashi’s hands off of her shoulders, then gave a wave goodbye, grateful for the little pep talk as she turned around again and trotted off, clasping her hands behind her back.
Takashi waved in return, then began going off on his own path. He didn’t want Sofia to keep beating herself up about it. No, no.
He was doing enough of that as it was.
The door to the Advanced Magic Use room was open, yet Weber wasn’t anywhere to be seen. Perfect. Stepping lightly, Takashi pushed open the door to the classroom, walking inside and then shutting the door behind him. There had to be something in here that could solve these disappearances. There just had to be! Afraid that turning on the lights would attract too much attention, Takashi made his thumb and forefinger into a ring and blew into the circle, creating a bubble of pure light. With a little smile that the spell had worked, he clutched the bubble with his fingertips--But his fingers quivered and dark magic began leaking out of them again, seeping into the bubble and causing it to go black. No, no--Dang it! He pinched all his fingers together, and the bubble burst.
Ugh, why did he keep leaking magic?
He blinked once or twice, allowing his eyes to adjust to the dim lighting, then walked off to the chalkboard at the front of the room. He got a stick of chalk, then drew a rectangle, making sure it was taller than it was long. Then he picked up the small plastic model door Weber always had on his desk, moving a stack of tombs of magic to create a platform. He placed the platform of books onto the third table from the back of the room, then propped the door atop it. Takashi then strode to the back of the room, where a podium was kept. Usually, this podium was an enigma to the students, since all their backs were always facing it. But Takashi had seen the teacher do this once, so logically...He stepped onto the podium, then closed one eye, tilting and shifting until the model door and the chalk outline on the board lined up perfectly. A pulse of orange-hued magic signaled that it worked, and with a smile, Takashi hopped off of the podium and rushed up to the chalkboard. The door was now as large as the outline he had made, and was locked onto the chalkboard--The way to Weber’s hidden closet.
Perspective magic was really, really cool. Takashi vowed to learn more of it someday.
He had to jump up to reach the doorknob, and once the door was pulled open, it took a little scrambling to get in. But soon enough, he was standing in Weber’s hidden closet, which was even more dimly lit then the classroom proper. He blew another light bubble, and though it ended up a little spotty due to his leaking fingers, it functioned. This one he just let hover in the air, providing just enough light to see all the stuff that was in here.
Making no haste, Takashi rooted through the closet. There were souls in glass bottles here and there...Stacks of blackmail...Retry clocks and sleepy sheep...More rings than he could count, and was that a green star? Yet nothing useful. He needed something useful, there had to be something here…
Ever since Sofia had brought up Simon’s disappearance, something had been nagging at his mind. Namely--Simon had pitched the idea of favors to him first. ‘It’d be unwise not to help my wizard friend’, he had said. Which--Well, it was nice, yes, but--’Unwise’ not to help him? That--It didn’t--It didn’t sit right with him. And his last offer was to do him a favor? Get GG off of his back, which he more than anyone else knew would make him ever so happy? Then he left and it all just...Nothing sat right with this, it felt...Forced, somehow, it felt...Wrong. And then--He just had to go and say it, ‘mightier than the god’, of course. ‘Mightier than’--His mother, yes, she was, he--He wasn’t. And then Sofia, she had to say...Had to mention he’d been feeling worthless, wanted to cheer him up, and the last memory Simon had of him was him being all concerned! ‘Mightier than then god’...No, no, that wasn’t him. That wasn’t him! And that’s how Simon would remember him, a conceited wizard friend--!
And then something screeched.
Takashi screeched along with it, stumbling backwards, accidentally knocking over a pot of...Was this Prisoner’s Honey? Not that being in a dreamscape wouldn’t be nice, but matter at hand. He cringed, trying to scrape the honey off of his clothes, but all the while something kept screeching in his ears. It wasn’t particularly loud, just abrupt, and very, very bothersome. What was making that noise…? He repositioned the pot he upset, stepping around a few times to make the stickiness dull from his shoes, but it was practically for nothing. He was all sticky and he couldn’t see what was making that sound, not to mention the smell of this dream-inducing honey was becoming so very overwhelming and he hadn’t found a thing that could save Simon! He shook his head rapidly, trying to clear out that disoriented feeling he had. Okay, okay, think of something to hum, to distract yourself…
I am mightier than--No, no no no! Start over. Here’s a lullaby to close your...Your heart is stopped and your brain is cold, you are so, so dead...Here’s a little bonus room ‘cause...’Pleather for Breakfast’ barely had lyrics, what was that doing in his head!? Oh, he couldn’t distract himself, it was still screeching, why wasn’t there anything helpful in this room, why could he still see his fingers leaking magic, why couldn’t he focus, why was this honey so potent, why why why why why why WHY--
“...Hehehe...Hey, kid...Wanna see some magic?”
All Takashi’s thoughts stopped dead. Slowly, agonizingly slowly, he turned towards the doorway. There, illuminated by the bubble and grinning ear to ear, was Weber. Takashi’s face grew into an expression of dread and horror. “M-mr. Weber! I know this--This looks really, r-really bad, I’m--Sticky--Sorry!”
Weber waved a dismissive hand, giggling a little. “I expected something like this would happen,” He said, leaning forward and approaching Takashi. The evil prince couldn’t help but back up a step at his advances. “Ohoho, look at yourself! Seems someone got a little upset, didn’t he?”
“I--Um, well--You see--Simon, he, and then I…”
“I don’t care why! I’m impressed, though! It’s been so very long since a student got whispers of dark revenge.”
“Whispers…” Weber pointed a finger upward with a little chuckle, and Takashi looked up. Flittering above his head (and screeching incessantly) was a dark purple bat. “...You mean…?”
He nodded, his grin growing larger, if at all possible. “Im-press-ive! Takes some people a lot longer to work up all that anger an’ confusion an’ negativity! Oooooh, yes, yes, impressive indeed.” Weber crept another step closer, the floating boxes on either side of him slightly quickening their bobbing pace. “Someone’s gonna get some extra credit!”
“That’s, um,” Takashi swallowed, backing up another step, his boots sticking more than he would have liked, “Th-that’s very nice, but, er, maybe if you could get it to stop screaming in my ear…”
“Stop?” He looked legitimately surprised at the request...Then something glinted in his eyes. Something subtle, but something not necessarily...Good. “Of course I can get it to stop…” He insisted with another small laugh, fumbling in his coat for a sheet of paper and a pen. “Just a little thing you need to sign first…” With a grin, Weber held the sheet out to Takashi, giving him a prompting nod. “Well?”
Takashi took the sheet, looking it over. It was blank--Just an ‘x’ and a line to sign on. He shot Weber a skeptical look, but the master magician shrugged. Takashi sighed, but he still felt disoriented, the whispers screeching and the honey clouding his thoughts and...He quickly signed his signature on the line and handed the paper back to Weber. The teacher seemed very excited, sticking out a hand. The evil prince (after scraping off a little bit of honey from the offending hand) shook it.
Takashi could safely say he’d never felt so much pain in his life.
It was the very dead of night, and something was breathing.
You didn’t deserve this, his mind crooned. Nobody deserved this. Nobody deserved to be abandoned, left behind, treated as worthless...So what if you looked a little conceited? It was what you were supposed to be, this is what you were supposed to be, perfect…
‘Mightier than the god’, indeed.
His breathing may have been able to be heard, but his footsteps weren’t. Every now and again, there was the gentle flap of wings. Something was stalking the hallways, eyes twitching back and forth, up and down, grazing over numbers to rooms until...There it was. There was the room he needed. A flick of a finger, a small pulse of dark magic, and the room was unlocked. The door creaked as it opened, and the creature slipped into the shadows, avoiding the possible gazes of the room’s occupants. He entered the room.
But you could make them pay. Make them feel like you do. Make them see, make them understand just how horrible you feel, how awful it is...Couldn’t you? Wasn’t that the point? You’ve been screwed over. Now screw them over. Yes...He didn’t remember when his mind began crooning like this, but he liked the sound of it, he drank in every little moment…
Someone was stirring.
His breathing stopped dead as someone shifted position in their bed. Above their head, a text box blinked in lazy letters, ‘z...z...z...’, over and over and over again. Sound asleep. Splendid. Another flap of wings, his breathing resuming, the creature going a little higher, a little closer. In a moment’s notice he was hovering over the bed, tail twitching, rocking back and forth as a subtle indicator of his anticipation. Slowly, slowly, he lowered himself.
The bed’s occupant shifted. The beast’s tail swayed, scraping across the bed’s occupant’s cheek. The text box blinked, small letters spelling words in tiny text amongst the ‘z’s. ‘Whozat go’way not time ‘t get up...’ The bed’s occupant was feminine in stature, looking somewhat like a marionette puppet in form, as she always did when asleep. She batted a hand in the air, brushing the tail away from her cheek. ‘Go’way.’
Her wooden body began to feel an odd sort of pressure, and her eyes blinked open. ‘Ugh, minus twenty sleep points for GG. Wha’dya want…?’
Pressed up on her body was a strange sort of demon. It almost seemed to blend in with the shadows themselves, the whole monster being the strange purplish hue it was. It had two pointed horns from the top of it’s head, a similarly pointed tail swaying like a cat’s might. Wings, batlike but ever so different, so much more rigid, protruded from it’s back. It’s eyes were a vibrant red, it’s teeth too jagged, too sharp. Around it’s neck, a spiked collar. Slowly digging into her wrists were pointed fingernails that were far too long. The demon breathed slowly, but every breath felt like it held the weight of the world itself. It leaned forward, mouth in a horrible, awful, wicked grin.
GG’s text box screeched. GG herself flailed. Noises were being made subconsciously, noises that sounded like sound effects from old RPGs. The text box began blinking words, the text growing larger and larger, more and more frantic:
‘What in L.O.G.’s name--Who are--Stoppit stoppit let go’a me! That’s--That’s my arm, what’re you gonna--Let go! No no no no stop that stop that let go let go letgoletgo let GO!’
Oh, he let go.
He let go, and the arm fell with a clatter onto the floor before melting into slime. GG gaped at the sight before her, then her eyes twitched back to the demon. Her text box went blank. She was shaking. Shaking so...So...Very hard.
There now, you see? That wasn’t so hard. You worry too much, always so afraid--That’s how you got here, isn’t it? Worries and fears, too many worries and fears. So life took advantage of you. But you--You--You can take advantage of life, too, can’t you? Can’t you!? You’ve been screwed over, bested, lost, treated as worthless by friend and foe alike. So make them pay. Make them feel just like you felt. It’s so easy. Just a pull there, a twitch there, you’re smiling! You’re happy! And how couldn’t you be? The world is yours. The world is yours. The world is yours.
He liked the way his head crooned.
The demon only stopped when slime was scattered all over the floor, formerly body parts of the Game Glitch herself. It held the decapitated puppet head in it’s hands, chuckling as her text box flickered and faded. He set her head on the pillow. He flittered up. He left the room.
That felt right.
First Chapter: We Begin by Entering
Previous Chapter: Simon Says
Next Chapter: A Fine Line