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WELCOME TO THE RESORT
“Dear Mr. Algebraic,
We contact with you to invite you to the Fantendo Resort, a new reality show that will be broadcasted on various TV channels. If you accept this invitation, you will be able to win an enormous quantity of money. If you agree to come, you will receive a seat on the Spaceship Omega, a ship crafted by our most skilled engineers. In it, we will carry you to the Fantendo Resort. The Spaceship Omega is located in Port Gray Clubs, in the city of Calithea. You are expected to come here by the 23rd of August.
Signed, The Producers”
“TV?” 3.14 remarked quizzically, holding the mysterious letter in his hand, “Well, I’ve never done anything like that before. Huh...”
3.14 surveyed the letter several more times. In his mind, he continued to completely overlook the fact that the letter failed to specify an exact location of the Omega, much less the port its located in.
“I-I guess it couldn’t hurt, could it?” said 3.14, his spirits brightening considerably, “Yeah! Yeah, OK!”
And with that, Coal Algebraic sloppily folded up the letter in his hand, and strutted towards the door of his space cruiser. However, upon realizing he was still among the stars, he retaliated and sat back down, still looking out the window on the door at a vibrant galaxy that slowly drifted past.
People underestimate 3.14 in terms of intelligence, and for good reason; he was never the brightest. However, this served as a slight advantage; what he lacked in brains, he gained in bravery, despite the fact that it was only because he was usually too naive to realize he was in any trouble to begin with. Coal was a child in many ways, and ignorance truly was bliss, most of the time.
Then again, everyone was blissfully unaware of what was to come.
“Elfain, do you have any idea at all of who those so-called Producers could be? Any hypothesis? Any theory?” Teardrop asked, curious. Moments prior, he had received a letter saying he was invited to star in a TV show. After finding out where Gray Clubs was, he was going to ask Elfain if he could borrow a small ship to go to the port. However, he wanted to find information about those Producers first.
“I got nothing, Seaside! You might have better luck asking Scoutry. He knows about this library’s structure better than I do.” she answered.
Scoutry quickly started to search. He found a few tomes talking about a strange group of people called the Producers, but no one of these really stated who they were. Curiously, those books were old ones, with the oldest one being from the same year that printing was invented. One of them had photos of runes and writings in rocks talking about the same Producers.
“I guess the only way to find out is from the inside, right?”
Morning. A beam of light gleamed through the window, engulfing the bed in a natural spotlight. Out from under the covers came a weary Ella Metals, opening her eyes slowly to adjust to the sunlight. She moved a strand of her silky strawberry blond bangs from her forehead, yawning sweetly and stretching out her arms. She looked over at a lump underneath the covers to her right and placed a hand on it. She then removed the covers slightly, revealing a matted mop of bluish hair; her husband, Strafe. Ella gazed at him lovingly; there was so much they had been through together, and now here they were in paradise. Ella then glanced out the window; the sun was high, the sky a neon blue, while the ocean below was a dark navy in contrast. She loved their house; when they were there, everything felt peaceful. For Strafe and Ella, nothing ever had before.
Without a word, Ella gazed back down at her husband, admiring the bit of his bare back that was showing. He was facing away from her, and although he was still blanketed by the sheets, she could still make out his muscular figure. She had always thought that the two of them looked better as a couple; Strafe was lean but strong, and his figure showed for it, whereas Ella was petite, albeit a bit muscular in her upper body. Together, they looked like the perfect couple, and having quite literally saved the world together more than a couple times, they were.
“Dear Mrs. Metals and Mr. Strafe,
We contact with you both to invite you to the Fantendo Resort, a new reality show that will be broadcasted on various TV channels. If you accept this invitation, you will be able to win an enormous quantity of money. If you agree to come, you will receive two seats on the Spaceship Omega, a ship crafted by our most skilled engineers. In it, we will carry you to the Fantendo Resort. The Spaceship Omega is located in Port Gray Clubs, in the city of Calithea. You are expected to come here by the 23rd of August.
Signed, The Producers”
“Producers?” she asked, her voice still weary.
Strafe didn’t have any idea who they were. He had never heard about that organization before. However, he did know about Port Gray Clubs. It wasn’t that far away, really, but the journey would probably take them more than a few days. It was hard for him to calculate an exact time, though; having just been woken up by Ella and having gone to get the mail (a trek that seemed ten times longer, still groggy from sleep and not even wearing a shirt).
“I’m not sure,” he answered, and then grinned. “But look at it. It could be important. And you don’t wanna miss out on an adventure, do you?”
“Baby...” Ella whined, taking a hold of her lover’s arm, “Can’t we please just be done with adventures for a while? I thought we came here to get away from it all...
“Honey, you know me,” said Strafe, putting his hands on Ella’s shoulders and looking into her deep blue eyes, “You know I can’t not do this. Its sketchy, I know, but it could be something important. And if other people are getting these invites, they could be in danger. You know none of us can afford to risk that. Not again...”
“But...” she told him, snapped into full consciousness now. She didn’t want to leave.
“No buts.” said Strafe firmly, turning away from Ella and looking out at the vast ocean, “I know that I’ve been sort of soft lately. I’ve just had a lot on my mind. And I just don’t think I could forgive myself if something were to happen to any of our friends. They’re too valuable to this fucked-up world we live in anyway. I’m not. And I’d rather go down in place of them.”
Ella looked at Strafe, tearing up. She wanted to tell him so many things, but she couldn’t make out the words; she wanted to let him know how much he meant to everyone, especially her. She didn’t exactly believe that anything fatal could happen during whatever competition this was, but like Strafe, she had learned to assume the worst.
Strafe turned back to Ella. Seeing the tears in her eyes, he hugged her tightly, as she began to weep in his arms.
“I know, I know...” Strafe whispered comfortingly, “I won’t say shit like that anymore... I’m sorry...”
“W-we can go...” sobbed Ella. She looked into Strafe’s eyes then, tears streaming down her face, “But I’m going with you.”
“I don’t want you to get h-”
“Well I don’t want you to get hurt either,” Ella interjected, “But I know that’s not stopping you. So it’s not stopping me either...”
“Babe, I just-”
“Shh,” interrupted Ella again, “Its ok. I’m a big girl; I can take care of myself...”
“Heh,” Strafe chuckled, wiping a tear from Ella’s cheek, “I know full well you can.” The couple smiled at each other sweetly. Ella’s tears began to subside.
“Plus, it says it’s a resort, doesn’t it?” added Strafe, despite knowingly objecting his own “assume the worst” philosophy, “Assuming it’s not just some evil scheme as usual, we could be in some five-star space hotel, livin’ it large!”
Ella laughed at the notion; their philosophy tended to make such things seem so impossible that they became funny.
“Sure,” chuckled Ella, giving her husband a kiss on the cheek, “We’ll go with that.”
The Starship Omega seemed eerily empty, even though it had more than twenty passengers inside of it. No one spoke during the trip. Everyone was simply waiting for the ship to arrive. They wanted to get this trip over with as soon as possible. Among the passengers, one could spot Squids, Oceanians, Humans and all kinds of extraterrestrials. Some were weirded out by this fact, but for others, it was common fare. The atmosphere was rather uncomfortable. The seats were extremely comfy, and everyone was clearly enjoying their trip through the far reaches space, but no one seemed to be quite sure of what they were doing. The resort seemed to be in the middle of nowhere, with no way of communicating with the rest of the world, aside from the cameras. No one was quite sure where this show was even going to broadcast to.
It was rather bothersome.
When the ship arrived, everyone was amazed by the sheer magnitude of the resort. Gardens expanding endlessly onto the horizon, infinite paths lined with torches and fountains, from which crystal-like water flowed continuously. It was beautiful, incredibly stunning indeed. However, there was something odd about the institution. Something unnatural. Unholy, almost. And no matter how much they were entranced by the appearance of the resort, something in its core taunted them. They were understandably uneasy, but pressed forward as they were met by a short, shady man, who appeared to be the butler. The lip of his large and disproportionate top-hat covered his eyes in shadow, which made his very large and pointy nose even more noticeable.
“Right this way.” the man said in a raspy voice, which made each contestant want to turn back immediately.
The man led them to the main building, a big, old-looking hotel that was perfectly conserved. It had big, pointy and arched windows, and rusty wooden doors. It was filled with the finest persian rugs ever made, and had a great amount of floors. However, there was something it lacked: light. It was getting darker outside, and no one could really see anything.
“Hey, why don’t the switches work? Are they broken or something?” Ella remarked, suspicious.
Suddenly, all the lights turned on. Everyone was dazzled by the beauty of the house, but quickly noticed two androids standing right in front of them. One of them was as dark as night, with big round crimson ears, and one emotionless eye. He spoke through a small hole in his mask, which seemed to resemble a grin. His movements were sporadic and his general balance unstable, and oil dripped from his mechanical skull.
The other one was an elegant, refined robot, covered in blue jewels. Its appearance was very similar to the other one’s, but her patterns were much more ladylike and refined. Her expression was devoid of any emotion, though, and she seemed serene and calm, in contrast to the other. She simply stood here, behind the black android.
The dark cyborg looked at the contestants, and then his entire head rotated a bit.
“WELCOME. TO THE. FANTENDO RESORT.” the Android whispered, mechanically, with a lack of empathy on his tone. However, if listening clearly, one could sense a trace of sadism in his voice, the conductor of the gargantuan train that was the resort, already aware where they were going, keeping it to himself completely, secretly loving every second of it.
They were in for one Hell of a ride.