We Begin by Entering is the first chapter of Lissa's Game High fanfic, Pixels and Polygons. It can be read below.
We Begin by EnteringEdit
This story begins with doors.
A murky woodland obscured rings of doors, held upon stone platforms, three steps leading to the earth below. The foggy September morning sent a cold chill on through, rustling leaves upon the trees, some floating around the sign that labelled this particular door ring: CAPCOM. Train tracks ran in front of the door, passing further into the abandoned woodland, going off towards (and coming from) other door rings, also labelled by signs: NINTENDO. SONY. SEGA. POPCAP. UBISOFT. So on and so forth. In the distance, the sound of the train rumbled. Doors began opening, and teenage boys and girls began going towards the train tracks, holding suitcases and duffle bags and phones in their hands, talking to their friends as they too came out of their respective doors, doors bearing plaques above the frames with images of attorney’s badges and firearms and rising suns.
A door, the plaque bearing a strange monkey flying by spinning it’s tail like a helicopter, slowly opened. Unlike other doors, only one boy stuck his head out. A white-haired pale boy stepped out, holding a white leather suitcase in his hands. He took a glance behind him, leaving the high seas and their hijinks behind. The door shut, and he walked into the crowd, awaiting the train like the rest of them. He took glances at the other students, remembering the faces, unsure what they were like. Aw, could he just turn back now…?
The train’s roars increased, and soon, the chitchat among students stopped. The brakes screeched, the loading car doors opened. Those students from the Capcom ring made their way in, chatting and calling out the names of friends, and the white-haired boy pushed his way through as well, giving a polite nod of thanks to the train’s conductor (a very odd monkey). The car doors closed, and the train began moving.
The boy went off in search of a desolate area, taking note of students already picked up. A monochrome boy, tossing a baseball between his hands, across from a girl who spoke in a thick German accent and had a dove (called, once or twice, Curie) on her shoulder. A meek-looking girl with freckles and hair that seemed more like spines. A boy with a notebook and pencil, next to a girl who looked like she was drawn from crayons. A trembling boy clutching a strange camera, eyeing the boy with the baseball in particular. He shuffled into the next cart, passing by four little mousey kids, two girls and two boys, chittering away; and found himself a nice empty set of seats. He smiled, settling himself in and placing the suitcase at his feet.
This white-haired boy was named Simon Centifolia. He was was the son of Captain Rose, leader of the very famous Rose Rock pirates. Er, okay, perhaps that was a bit of an embellishment--The Rose Rock weren’t very famous at all, at least among other Capcom games. Or else someone from his home game (a little Wii puzzle game called Zack and Wiki: Quest for Barbaros’ Treasure) would have been in a Something VS Capcom game. And it wasn’t. He crossed his legs, looking out the window as the train sped on to other doors, more students flocking onto the train as it went on. A pirate girl with frizzy hair. A boy with feathers poking out of his skin, looking something like a sci-fi space adventurer. Another person with a camera, this one female, taking snapshots of everyone she passed. He turned his head back towards the window, watching the woodlands dissolve into a lush park, the train speeding along. He was beginning to wish he never got that letter that said he’d been accepted into this boarding school…
The rabble in the train grew now that every student (so far as he could assume) was officially on the train. Simon focused his attention on the roar of the train, trying his hardest to ignore all their conversations. It was like everyone already knew one another. Simon, on the other hand, knew nobody.
But then again, he preferred sailing then studying.
The train rushed over a bridge, the clear water barely rippling as they sped on by. The good thing was that there was apparently enough seats to accommodate everyone without anyone coming by him. Fantastic. The park resumed on the other side of the river, a quaint cobblestone path in the distance, picnic benches and shady trees. It’d be picturesque, almost gorgeous. But there was nobody in it to enjoy it.
The picturesque landscape crashed into another thick woodland, the canopies of the trees filtering the light. He heard some gasps and squeals due to the sudden darkness, but soon the others got over it, back to their aimless chatter. Already he found himself pondering if this situation would be far better with friends to aimlessly chat with, and very he concluded that yes, it would be.
However, the second forest did mean something good. In the distance, if Simon tilted his head and squinted, he could see a gray monstrosity of a building. It looked almost like a palace, worn from years upon years of weathering, tall and imposing against the blue sky backdrop. That was it. That was the boarding school he’d been sent to, the one everyone in the train had been sent to.
A strange building called, simply, Game High.
As the building approached in the distance, Simon picked up his white leather suitcase and set it on his lap. He took a deep breath, adjusting the sleeves on his white coat and then straightening his purple bandanna, proudly bearing the stylized skull of the Rose Rock. Might as well show where he’s from, if he was gonna be the only one from there. Game pride, right?
The train’s brakes engaged again. The screech snapped everyone out of their conversations and into eager gushing. This school year was going to be fantastic, right? Totally! Students started getting up from their seats, filing towards the front, ready to enter the boarding school. No going back now. Simon got up, wedging himself behind a skeletal squire.
They all hopped off of the train, saying their thanks and giving polite nods to the monkey conductor. They all approached the outside of the building, gaping in awe at it’s astounding presence. Even Simon had to admit it was pretty spectacular. Everyone began filing in, following an unseen leader as they went into the intricate front corridor, bearing portraits of game heroes and villains from some of the best-selling games. They went around, turning into the music hall, adored with framed sheet music from some of the most recognizable tunes. ‘Song of Time’. ‘Dreams Dreams’. ‘Philistine’. ‘Gourmet Race’. The music hall made a small divot in the side, going into another hallway, and the line of students filed into this new hall. Doors lined the side. Some went into a lower side door, others went up the hallway still, into a different set of doors. Simon followed the first set into a large room.
The theater was very nice, with many red velvet seats and a large, cherrywood stage at the front. A sound booth could just barely be seen in the way back. If he looked up, he could see a balcony, where more students talked one another’s ears off and sat in chairs. So that’s where the other doors went. He took up a seat at the very end of the row behind the front, next to a princess who was rooting through her bubblegum pink suitcase. She eventually came up with a plastic case of store-bought mini cupcakes and cracked it open. Then, for courtesy's sake, she pulled out a small cupcake and held it out to Simon. “Want one?”
He looked at it for a moment, then shook his head. “No, thanks.”
“Don’t you like cake?”
“Lemon pound cake. It’s my favorite. But not this store-bought junk.”
She shrugged. “Your loss.” She then peeled off the paper and stuck the whole cupcake into her mouth, crumbs spilling on her pink-and-white Sweet Lolita-style dress. She swallowed hard, licking frosting off of her lips. “So,” She said brightly, “Where ‘ya from?”
“Zack and Wiki. The name’s Simon Centifolia, esteemed son of Captain Rose. Charmed, I’m sure. And you?”
“Fat Princess!” She giggled. “It’s Chiffon. Chiffon Plump. An’ you’re pretty regal for a pirate.”
He straightened up nobily. “Not every pirate has to be a savage plunderer. The Rose Rock prides itself on nobility.”
Chiffon’s eyes lit up, smiling and unwrapping another mini cupcake. “Sounds like my sort of crew! Lemon pound cake and nobility. I can get behind that.” She stuffed the treat into her mouth, and Simon shifted in his seat, trying to signal he found this line of conversation to be over. She seemed to get it, and anyhow, she was far more invested in those cupcakes. His focus went back to the stage, idly finding himself adjusting his bandanna and sleeves once more…
The rabble began fading out and the lights dimmed. All attention went to the stage as the two headmasters stepped out, one on the left, one on the right. Everyone applauded, as everyone’s expected to do when the headmasters step out. But something was off about these headmasters.
They were hands.
The one on the right was relaxed, seeming more interested in the class of students before it. The one on the left, more tense, and clearly a lot more distracted. Simon, reasonably enough, was a bit taken aback by this sudden development, as were a good handful of others judging by the noises the crowd was making. “A pleasure!” The right hand began, “And welcome to Game High. I’m so honored you all chose to be a part of this fine establishment. So very honored! I am Master Hand, your main headmaster; and my brother is Crazy Hand--” The left hand tensed at hearing it’s name called. “...My accomplice. On behalf of all the staff here at Game High, I applaud you! Or I would.” Some stray chuckles here and there. “Here, we provide a safe and secure learning environment for you all. Some will become heroes,” All who were children of protagonists (this including Chiffon) whooped and hollered enthusiastically. When it died down, Master Hand went on, “Others, villains,” And the cheering resumed, this time on the deviously-inclined. Another pause for it to simmer down, “And still a third of you will adhere to their own, greyer morality.” The anti-heroes and all those not traditionally filling good or evil roles had their time to scream and shout, to which Simon joined them, not entirely sure if he should be here or cheering with the villains. But soon it, too, faded away, and Master Hand continued his speech. “But no matter what role you fill, you may be assured of this: You will achieve your utmost potential. You will learn to be genre savvy, to dole out punishment and still be enjoyable in your own ways, and above all, to make use of your greatest skills. You do not have to stay in the shadows of your parents. You will use your individual skills to make your own paths, to be the best you you could ever possibly--”
“Of course, some of you will fail at even that.” Crazy Hand suddenly interjected, twitching slightly. “Some of you will be banished into the shadows, where you won’t be held as cult classics or best-sellers. Ignored. Realized for the writhing maggots some of you are!”
Master Hand flinched, slightly taken aback. “Now, now, Crazy--”
“Subordinate! Call me Subordinate Hand! I am not crazy!” The left hand shrieked, twitching again, writhing. His objections were seeming doubtable.
The right hand cleared its throat (or sounded like it did) and shifted slightly. “Ahem. Yes. Subordinate Hand, despite his bleak outlook, says the truth. Regrettably, some of you won’t make it into fame. But this is no trouble. The Lord of Games assures us that every single one of you will do their very best and make it at least as high as your parents have, if not higher. Your fears are unjustified. This is a place of success. A magnificent place of success.”
“The Lord of Games is a liar!” Cra--Er, Subordinate Hand shuddered. “He’s a spiteful maniac who dooms games to die!"
“We owe everything to The Lord of Games.”
“He’s what makes us die! Grabbed by the Ghoulies! It had so much potential! And he destroyed everything it had!”
“He understands what works and brings us to success.”
“He allows glitches through! Missingno.! Don’t tell me I have to bring up the Missingno. incident again--!”
“Anyway!” Master Hand coughed loudly. The argument ceased. “We will continue this at a later date. As a last word to all our students: Welcome! We look forward to your utmost efforts in being the best you could ever be. Good luck to you all!”
Craz--I’m sorry, Subordinate Hand began another argument as the lights rose and the hands exited the stage. The students began rising, an unknown voice coming from over the PA: “Please file towards the ticket booth to get your room keys.”
Simon picked up his suitcase, confused and on edge all over again. The headmasters certainly were...Something. And who was The Lord of Games? Was his homeland just really reclusive? He wasn’t sure, but nevertheless he followed the crowd, finding himself behind those four mousy kids again. The crowd moved out of the theater and into another hallway, going towards a booth where tickets would probably have been sold. The line, blissfully, moved quickly. An invisible emcee slid keys from the ticket slot, spouting numbers and then providing maps, with enviable quickness. He saw Chiffon go by, then the skeletal squire, the four mousey ones going next...If there was something this place could rightly brag about, it was efficiency. Soon, the emcee slid keys towards Simon. “Room four-oh-six.” It spouted, then provided him with a map.
“Thanks,” He said, taking both objects. And then, “Pardon, but are the headmasters always like that? It’s a bit off-putting.”
“You get used to it. Usually they don’t let Crazy Hand onstage. L.O.G. knows why they chose to this year…”
Simon gave a nod and went out of line, opening the map and walking down the hall. Room 406, despite it’s misleading number, was on the second floor. Bizarre. He didn’t think too hard about it and followed the map to a grand staircase, ascending to the second floor. The second floor was not as ornate as the first, looking like you may expect a fancy-shmancy private school to look. He looked from the map to the doors and back again, walking in long strides down the hall. He sighed. Why did he have to be here?
The stained-red door’s golden numbers shone. He blinked, then looked back to the numbers on his keys. 406, to be sure. He stuck a key in and unlocked his dorm.
It was half the size of a regular dorm, separated by a black folding room divider. The half of the room nearest to the door had been taken, a bright brown and red suitcase on a bed with ho-hum default blue and white sheets. A girl in a red dress was taping posters on her half of the wall, old WVBA advertising fliers and shots of hunky video game heroes: Nathan Drake, Captain Falcon, Solid Snake...She turned her head suddenly, leaving a shot of Dante half-taped. “Oh! You’re my roommate!” She rushed up to him and forcefully shook the hand holding the map. “So nice to meet you! So, what’s your name, de pelo blanco niño bonito?”
He had no idea what she just called him, but decided to be insulted. “Simon Centifolia.” He pulled his hand away sharply. “Esteemed son of Captain Rose, leader of the Rose Rock. Charmed. And you would be?”
“Un placer! Mi nombre es Sofía. Sofia Flamenco!” She smiled broadly. “Daughter of the legendary Don Flamenco! It’s so nice to have such a guapo chico rooming with me.”
“With the Spanish. It’s distracting.”
Sofia crossed her arms, pouting. “I’m from Madrid, of course I want to speak in my lengua materna.” She stuck out her tongue.
Sofia, unlike Simon, was not pale in the slightest. She had rich dark skin, darker hair to compliment it, fluffy and thick and the kind of hair you secretly wanted to touch. She wore red, her dress going over one shoulder and showing off one leg, exposing one simple yellow shoe. Her hair was tossed over one shoulder, displaying many large roses threaded in. He didn’t exactly know who Don Flamenco was, but if this was his daughter, his respect for the man plummeted. What a chatterbox already. She spun around and went back to her Dante poster, finished taping it, then pulled out another one of Eddie Riggs. “Your half is beyond the divider. Why they decided to lump boys and girls together, nunca sabré…”
He nodded, walking along to the other half of the room, shimmying around the room divider. Well, she was already annoying. He made a mental note to learn Spanish sometime, just so he’d know if she was insulting him under her breath. He set the map on his bed and flicked open the white leather suitcase, beginning to tuck away clothes and tape up some hand-drawn treasure maps, for future reference when he came home.
Simon could already tell in the pit of his chest that this would be a long year.
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