WRITING Role play Quiz; Golden City

Discussion in 'SHOWCASING' started by Nemopedia, Nov 13, 2017.

  1. Golden City
    A steampunk Role play Quiz

    Author's Note:
    For these who don't know what a role play quiz is: it is a story in a quiz form where you can pick and choose your own path/ending. It was really popular on the old site Quizilla, and can still be found, but to a lesser extend, on sites like Quotev.

    This is a self-insert story. I didn’t give the main character a name or gender on purpose, so you can imagine yourself in there, or whatever floats your boat. So, tally up your answers and see what results you get!

    Anyway, I hope you will enjoy this little project of mine. Please don't post in this thread. You can leave your feedback, or whatever comments you may have in my PM box, or on my profile.

    If you wish to know more about role play quizzes, check out Jaharaan Love. It is an original romance story published on Lunaescence by Penguiduck. Or if you rather read a fandom Emeraldxdew from Quotev has a nice series for Haikyuu!

    Chapter Index
    #1 Nemopedia, Nov 13, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2017 at 4:59 PM
    • Love Love x 2

  2. Trial

    ONE 1 )
    The gears came to a screeching halt, waking you up from your half-slumber. Realising that you had been leaning against the shoulder of your neighbour you quickly shot up, wiping the corners of your mouth in the hope you hadn’t drooled. ‘Out, out, out!’ a nervous lady called, a whining toddler that needed a wee in tow. Sorely you stumbled out of the vehicle, arms outstretched to catch yourself if you were to fall. Letting go of a loud yawn, and sucking a deep breath of smog, you felt like collapsing on the spot. After days of travelling you had finally arrived at your destination.

    A - One at a time, there is only one door.
    B - //still half asleep
    C - //presses self against the sides to let people through

    TWO 2)
    "Welcome in Golden City" the driver told you, tipping his hat, while the rest of the passengers unloaded. You wondered how he remained so crisp and chipper, squeezed up with a bunch of strangers in his car and all the smoke wafting in his face. The travel had been far from comfortable, but you supposed he made a good penny from providing a means to reach Golden City. Everyone wished to reach the copper city, after all.

    A - Why is it called Golden City if it is copper?
    B - What is this place?
    C - ‘Thank you, kind sir!’

    THREE 3)
    Long you didn’t get to ponder this over, or to take in the new place. "Watch it!" a voice called out and you felt the weight of your luggage thrown into your face. Wanting to glare up at the culprit for the rude treatment, you weren’t given the chance, however. Pushed to the side your fellow passenger were eager to get to their possessions as well, leaving you ignored at the back of the group. You only had one bag to take care of and as such had no more business near the carriage anymore.

    A - A warning would have been nice!
    B - Okay, that is rude!
    C - Ouch, that hurts!

    FOUR 4)
    No matter, you had arrived. Golden City, the city of innovation, the city that was said to bathe and reflect in gold. Where dreams were said to be true, and where it didn’t matter who you were, or where you came from. Everyone had equal chances at wealth. Including you, who had a dream to realise here.

    A - What dream?
    B - Oh, a dream?
    C - Sounds good.

    FIVE 5)
    The factories towered high above you, the infamous cable lines hanging between as you could vaguely see the delivers gliding past them. Standing at the border of the centre plaza you could see the outlining of the tube through the light smog that covered the city. The construction reached high up into the air, where you saw dark spots hanging. The Sky, you knew from the many stories. The richest part of the city that hung high above the Land, where you were now. The place closest to heaven, they said. Fascinated you wondered if you could tour around later.

    A - Of course, we will!
    B - To the Sky!
    C - Got to learn my way around!

    SIX 6)
    "[Title, Surname]?" a voice peeped up behind of you. Turning around you met with a young female with a blank expression. Not waiting for your answer she gestured, seemingly already having her answer. "I’m Lorelei, Montgomery sent me for you," she introduced herself before turning around to lead the way. You noted how she was moving a little awkwardly, as if her motoric skills hadn’t fully developed yet. Despite that she still kept up quite the speed while you struggled to keep up.

    A - Can I trust her?
    B - The people here aren’t very polite
    C - Not very social, is she?

    SEVEN 7)
    Not knowing any better you decided to follow her for now, hoping that you did well in trusting her. It was not like you had anything of value on you, so robbing you would hold no gain. You did recognise the name Montgomery, knowing it as the surname of your employer. Lorelei lead you through narrow alleyways, deeper into the city as you slowly started to leave the industry grounds. Slowly the factories turned into habitable houses, made of brick instead of copper and metal, but still hovering high over your head.

    A - Try to rob me, I dare you!
    B - So, where exactly are we going?
    C - //peeking in through the windows.

    EIGHT 8)
    You could hear the light zooming of the cables being used above you, while the children were spinning their toys at their front doors. You couldn’t help but let your eyes fall over their automaton toys, your eyes bulging out at how realistic the design was of some. One child in particular was playing near a drain gate, the fabric of its clothes slightly blowing up as if warm air was rising up from underneath. With a makeshift hot air balloon they let their toy rise up slightly, but it never reached higher than their chest due to its weight. Curious you wanted to go nearer to it, but had to pay attention to the road as Lorelei made no sign of slowing down.

    A - Slow down a little, can you?
    B - Do I know the way back, still?
    C - I want to try going down these cables as well!

    NINE 9)
    Suddenly coming to an halt you ran into Lorelei’s back, grunting at how hard it was. The collision was rough and cold, as if you had walked into a wall yourself. She didn’t answer, however, turning around to face you again. "We have arrived," she responded calmly, unfazed over the accident. Confused you looked into her blank expression, slowly piecing together your earlier observations.

    A - An…!
    B - She is…!
    C - Eh…?

    TEN 10)
    "Science is amazing, isn’t?" an older voice came. You turned around to see an elderly woman, her build tall, taller and broader than you expected an eighty years old to look. "I made her to my likeness," she continued, going over to the automaton and stroking the long dark hair Lorelei was given. Grinning at your expression she winked playfully. "A splitting image, isn’t she?"

    A - Not really...
    B - I can see it, somewhat?
    C - Sure.

    ELEVEN 11)
    "Welcome to The Tinkerer, [Name]. From now on this will be your home and workplace" Montgomery told you. You looked around the workplace, the dimmed lights and the clockworks surrounding you. They all were in ticking in sync with each other, dazzling you a little at the swings and their ticks. The worktable was scattered, little pocket watches laid out bare with small trinkets and gears spread around like a puzzle that still had to be fit together. However, that wasn’t all. While the shop existed out of clockworks you weren’t here for these. It were the automatons stalled in the back, much alike to Lorelei that excited you the most.

    A - So, I get to be a tinkerer?
    B - Original name.
    C - Am I going to be a scientist?

    TWELVE 12)
    Seeing the excitement on your face the woman put her hands on her hips, cocking a slight brow at your amazement. "You probably want to get to know the city, no?" Montgomery spoke up, putting on her binocular glasses to get ready for work. "You don’t start until tomorrow, so go out and explore if you wish," she simply told you and picked up her gear, ending your conversation. "Lorelei will show you the room, dinner is served at six," she continued before falling silent. You figured that this was her way of telling you to enjoy yourself outside, following the automaton upstairs to your room.

    A - See, we get to explore the city.
    B - Confirmed. People here are rude.
    C - Let’s go!


    Mostly A’s

    Prejudiced system (open)

    Believing that you had seen enough of the Land you decided to pay a visit to the much rumoured Sky. You wanted to see exactly how rich they had it there and how wonderful the place was. Tracing your way back to the Tube you quickly lined up behind the group of people who were all eager to go up as well. However, as you got nearer the queue became more chaotic and dense. People were starting to push at each other and curse another, fighting for their way to the front.

    "Five coins!" a guard standing near the elevator door barked, looking down at the crowd. Immediately a few fists shot out with the amount of coins demanded, but not everyone seemed so eager, or amused to pay the price.

    "Yesterday it was three coins!" a man yelled at the guard, who remained unfazed by the comment. "Scammer!" another voice screamed, but it was unclear from where it came as the crowd became rowdier. You could feel the tension rising as some were starting to feel nervous whether they would be allowed up or not.

    The mood made a turn for the worse when a couple, clad in fancy clothes and held an air of importance came through the crowd. Surrounded by a quartet of guards that pushed the crowd to the side to make way you could hear the people around grumbling and growling at their sight. Tension rose up even higher as the couple walked up to the elevator that came down from the tube and stepped in without paying a single coin.

    "Nonsense!" the man from earlier screamed, trying to grab hold of the lady. Shrieking the woman jumped away from him, falling against the chest of one of her guards. However, the crowd behind managed to grab hold of her hat. Luxurious curls fell down her shoulder, a little disheveled from the attack and the lady and her company were quickly shielded and escorted into the elevator.
    The crowd grew even more restless, fighting against the guards that ran up to them with batons, hitting into the crowd.

    One of the rioters lashed out, ending up being restrained and pushed down to the ground. By now the queue had dispersed and only a few daredevils dared to fight. The rest had backed away, or ran off, afraid of getting involved in the chaos. While the man kept on thrashing you decided to leave as well, believing that today may not be such a good day to go and explore the Sky.

    Mostly B’s

    Mysteries to solve (open)

    You decided to explore the Land a little more. While most of the stories of Golden City always revolved around the Sky, you found yourself interested in the industrial part of the city. Climbing the stairs you passed by the many small shops that were much alike to the one you just settled down at. However, despite their similarities in trinkets they all oozed their own personality, showing off their expertise to the crowd. You saw a little floating ball that could be moved from a distance, a vendor was advertising a prototype boot that could help humanity ‘fly’, it were all sorts of little scientific innovations and you couldn’t get enough.

    However, as you were trailing off, you travelled deeper and deeper into the city. Eventually, when you finally snapped out of your curious trance you realised that you were lost. The houses surrounding you weren’t as tall, or habitable as before, looking sagged and unmaintained. The shops became lesser and shadier as well. You figured that this part of the city was probably abandoned, seeing as the smog was getting thicker as well. In any case, you had to return to again as the sun was slowly going down, making it hard to see the road.

    Deciding that you didn’t know the way back you approached the first figure you saw in the desolate place, hoping to find out what direction to go. Before you could even start a gruff voice growled at you. "Show me what you have first." A hand shot up at you, seemingly expecting you to hands something over. The accent sounded somewhat posh, a little unfitting to the setting.

    "Well?" the figure continued to speak, hurrying closer over to you. "I don’t have all day, the cloaks may be here any time now." You could tell that the person was nervous, anxious to get over the deal, whatever it may be. However, you had nothing to offer and a gut feeling told you that it was better not to get involved.

    "I’m sorry, I just wanted to ask for the way," you finally spoke. The figure realised that they had misunderstood your actions and chuckled. "If you go straight ahead and turn left and left again you will see the Tube, follow that," they explained in a hurry as they covered up their face. Unable to wait to see if you had understood they then dashed away into another alley, leaving you alone again.

    Mostly C’s

    Truths to reveal (open)

    You went out of the shop, back onto the streets again where you decided to go back to the city centre, to the Tube. Tracking back the same road you had taken to get to Montgomery’s shop you decided to check out the grate from earlier. Walking over it you felt the warm air brush up against you, slightly blowing your clothes up. You realised that the grate wasn’t part of the sewer system like you had expected it to be. Curious, you peeked in, but the thick smog that was underground blocked most of your view. All you could really make out where shades of building-like blocks and a red glow, as if a big fire was spreading down.

    As you came closer to the city centre and the plaza you noticed that the grates became more frequent, blowing up the skirts a little of the ladies that passed by and entertaining the children with their own little games. Whatever their purpose, it seemed to be normal and you let it be.

    Not paying attention to your surroundings you soon bumped into a cloaked figure, making the both of you stumble. The one you walked into fell over, however, catching themselves with their hands.

    "I’m sorry!" you were quick to blurt out an apology and was about to help them. However, the figure quickly crawled up by themselves, ignoring your offer as they straightened up their cloak. It was then that you realised that their hands were covered in a scales and that the skin was blue. Unsure if you had seen that right you decided to ignore it, but the children who had seen it happen had different thoughts about it.

    "Back down with you!" one of them spat, picking up a rock and throwing it after the cloaked figure. The rest of the children joined in with the chants, spewing terrible things at the person. Annoyed you were about to help them, but they had hurried off. Gripping tightly on their cloak you had a good look at their hands; seeing sharp purple claw-like nails that accompanied the blue scales of the skin. Flabbergasted you just watched the figure run off towards the Tube and disappear down the stairs to whatever was down the city.

    #2 Nemopedia, Nov 13, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2017 at 7:01 AM
    • Love Love x 1
    • Bucket of Rainbows Bucket of Rainbows x 1
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  3. Chapter 1

    ONE 1 )
    The very next day after your arrival you were set to work. Handing you a pile of papers Montgomery told you to check out today’s inventory and do the administration. You went to work diligently, checking every cabinet in the shop and making sure to note down the parts that needed to be ordered. It was a dull, repetitive work, but it taught you were everything was in the shop. It also taught you that that neither Montgomery nor Lorelei were much of a cleaner.

    A - I thought I was going to study automatons?
    B - That sounds so… boring.
    C - Typical, the odd jobs.

    TWO 2)
    The shop was dim, making it hard for you to see what you were writing and reading off the papers that Montgomery gave you. On top of it the heavy dust were starting to irritate your throat and nose as well. Unable to deal with it any longer you decided to throw open a window. "Down!" a voice called and the last thing you saw was a mop of blond hair before you were toppled over to the floor.

    A - //Cursing
    B - What in the world?!
    C - This is it, this is my end, crushed.

    THREE 3)
    A few seconds passed, with you on the ground and a heavy body on top of you. The papers scattered around as well. “I didn’t expect the window to be open,” a male voice cursed as he crawled off you. You glared up at the young man, not amused over whatever was happening. It was a blond man, who you guessed to be around his mid-twenties. “Sorry, let me help you up,” he offered, extending his heavily gloved hand.

    A - “I didn’t expect someone to be flying in, either.”
    B - “You are one big bird”
    C - “Next time enter through the door, please”

    FOUR 4)
    “Jeremiah!” Montgomery appeared next to you with Lorelei in tow. The elderly seemed amused, suggesting that she had witnessed the scene happen. The automaton seemed annoyed, however, but you found that hard to tell from her waxen face. “Lorelei pick up the papers,” Montgomery ordered, dusting off both you and ‘Jeremiah’. “[Name], meet Jeremiah, our deliverer,” she introduced.

    A - Does he always come flying in?
    B - What is wrong with Lorelei?
    C - Nice to meet you

    FIVE 5)
    After growing over your initial shock you soon learnt that Jeremiah brought around the post and packages in Golden City with the help of the cables. “It doesn’t pay much, but it is awesome sliding down the cables,” Jeremiah boasts. Lorelei doesn’t look too impressed, while Montgomery just smiles and nods. “Yes, yes, and you have something for me, no?” the lady asked eagerly, a mix of impatience and excitement in her voice.

    A - Some deliverer you are...
    B - Can we switch jobs?
    C - The door still exists, you know?

    SIX 6)
    “I only have letters for you this time,” Jeremiah exclaimed, handing a bundle of envelopes to Montgomery. A wave of disappointment spread over the woman’s face. While Lorelei takes it all away the lady signs, her face pulled into a slight frown. “Well, love to talk to you some more, but I have to go!” with that Jeremiah saluted and jumped out of the window again with one swift move, gliding down the cables expertly.

    A - “Whoa, whoa, hey!”
    B - //runs to the window to see it

    SEVEN 7)
    After that eventful meeting the day passed by without much else. You continued to check the administration, made your checklist, cleaned out the place and before you knew it the day had passed. “[Name],” Montgomery called for you, cleaning her hands on a smudged rag covered in oil stains. “Let’s go out for dinner,” she invited you, Lorelei already helping her into her coat. “My treat,” the elder followed with a wink, thanking the automaton for her help as she waited for you to get ready.

    A - //lights up “Y- Yes, thank you!”
    B - “Coming!”
    C - I wonder if automatons eat?

    EIGHT 8)
    Evening fell early in Golden City. The combination of the setting sun and the smog forever hanging around covered the city in a misty shade. A row of streetlights attached to the walls lit up the road for you. Lightening up as if it was the sunlight hitting the streets. “If you look at the streets from birdview it looks like veins of gold” Montgomery informed you. “Of course, that if the mist doesn’t get in the way.”

    A - Too light, much too bright.
    B - I suppose the name makes sense now?
    C - Is that why it is called Golden City?

    NINE 9)
    You were taken down through several alleys, cutting off the crowd from the mainroad while Montgomery led around. More tinker shops flashed by on your road, but there were also plenty of other stores that came by. Some presenting the latest fashion of the city, others luring you in with delicious smells, or eye-catching jewellry. Sometimes music could be heard, whenever the door opened and a customer left, their eyes glazed and a smile on their face. It was obvious that Golden City had always something to do.

    A - A bit early to be wasted, no?
    B - Living the life, I see!
    C - I wonder if we can find our way back, later

    TEN 10)
    Finally, after the upteenth turn you stopped in front of a bar called; ‘The Siren’. A mermaid on a rock was displayed on its door, which Montgomery pushed leading the both of you in. Inside you were hit by an air of sweat, beer, and smoke. A ring announced your arrival, but it could be barely heard over the live music and the loud chatter of the customers. It was a busy night for The Siren, it seemed, with live music for the diners and a card table in a dark corner near the bar.

    A - Crowded.
    B - Oooh, a card table!
    C - Fancy, live music!

    ELEVEN 11)
    Maneuvering your way into the place the two of your struggled finding a proper, and clean, table to finally sit at where you could enjoy the music while eating. Finally you found one near the wall, facing the stage, but still within the range of the card table. Waiting to be helped you decided to watch the band playing, finding your eyes drawn to the singer on stage. A beautiful woman with strawberry blonde hair and warm brown eyes. Her voice, though you could barely make it out from the noise, sounded heavenly. Captivated you kept on staring, Montgomery nudging you smugly to get your attention. “Good evening,” a waitress greeted you with a stiff smile.

    A - It is not what you think!
    B - “Oh, sorry, I was… Occupied”
    C - //blushes “A-ahahaha, n-nice music, no?”

    TWELVE 12)
    Thinking nothing of it the waitress handed you the card, an empty smile on her face. “The usual for me, dear.” Montgomery had already made her decision, waving away the menu. While you quickly scanned the card your boss continued the conversation. “Already getting caught by Ondine, no?” she whispered at you, a teasing tone in her voice. Blushing you quickly stuttered out your order to the waitress, trying to avoid the glee of the other woman.

    A - I was just looking!
    B - //too flustered to remember what was ordered
    C - Ondine…

    THIRTEEN 13)
    Ignoring any further remarks from Montgomery you decided to scan out the rest of the bar, eyes falling over a tall figure that was dealing cards in the corner. His long dark hair was pulled into a high ponytail, bright eyes scanning the crowd around the table. Something about the dealer unsettled you, but at the same time pulled you in, wondering what he had to hide behind that cheery smile. “Qiu An, be careful of him” a voice popped up behind you.

    A - Huh, what?
    B - Oh, hi!
    C - “[Something incomprehensible]”

    FOURTEEN 14)
    Freezing a little you shivered at how much you enjoyed hearing this new voice. It was captivating, an underlying slur that was trying to invite you, hypnotise you. Turning around you saw the singer from before, a bright smile on her face. “Ondine,” she introduced herself to you, taking a seat between you and Montgomery. “This is your new intern?” she directed her question at the elder, who confirmed the fact with a certain degree of smugness directed at you. “Enjoying the show so far?” Ondine asks you with a wink, making you blush again as Montgomery was leaning back in amusement.

    A - This old … //mumbles more curses
    B - Please don’t do this to me, boss…
    C - “Haha, nice meeting you! I heard you sing just now…” //sweats and facepalms at self

    FIFTEEN 15)
    “[Name] here couldn’t look away earlier,” Montgomery budged in, making you almost choke on your drink. Ondine thought nothing of the comment. Laughing heartily before wrapping an arm around you. “You aren’t alone, [Name],” she whispered to you, her breath tickling your ear. The faint smell of her perfume mixed with liquor and smoke invaded your nose, tickling your senses.

    A - //holds in a sneeze
    B - She even smells pretty!
    C - //shy mess

    SIXTEEN 16)
    She didn’t stick close for long, however. A crash was heard from the corner of the cards dealer. Qiu An, as you had figured the card dealer to be called, was held up by his collar by a bulky man. “You dare cheat me?” the man asked briskly, his tone low and dangerous. Gulping a little you wondered if he would be fine, the long haired male shrunk in size compared to the ball of meat and muscles his aggressor had. Yet the male remained smiling, calmly letting himself go from his captor’s grip. “There is no reaso--” before he could finish his sentence the man launched a fist into his direction. One that was swiftly evaded as Qiu An duck and leaped over to the tables. The man following in tow.

    A - Someone needs to step in...
    B - Fight, fight, fight!
    C - Aaah, think of the people here!

    Luckily the man never reached the card dealer. The waitress of earlier stepped in, grabbing hold of his arm. The man yelped, groaning in pain as the female pulled him out of the bar with the same empty expression. The bar fell silent as this happened, staring at the mess that was left because of the scuffle. Qiu An’s eyes closed into a foxy grin, clapping his hands as he made a bow. “Show time is over, dears. Thank you, Two!” he called, making light of the situation. “As per usual,” Ondine mused, seemingly unfazed over what had happened.

    A - I guess this is normal?
    B - Who is Two?
    C - I wonder what is gonna happen to the man?


    Mostly A’s

    Prejudiced System (open)

    After dinner passed Montgomery had moved the two of you to the bar. Shoving a big glass of beer to your side, the woman ordered one for herself along with something to smoke. Whether you drank or not didn’t seem to matter to her, as she held her glass up in an encouraging manner and started to chug away. It didn’t surprise you anymore that the tough looking Montgomery could drink heavily. She seemed like the type for it. What did surprise you was how she remained so healthy despite her age.

    “Have some room left for me?” a deep voice pulled up next to you. Turning around you met the face of the post deliverer that tackled you this morning. He seemed amused to see you again, calling out your boss on her drinking habits. “That heart of yours can’t be replaced as easily as your legs.” The woman waved him away, hollering that she had nothing to worry about yet.

    “Want a smoke?” he asks you, lightening up a stick. Puffing out some smoke he then sat down, relaxing instantly as he leant forward against the bar. “It sure is rowdy here, I saw Qiu An being thrown into the crowd there,” Jeremiah smirked as he nudged his head towards the tables, talking about the fight scene of earlier. “Bastard deserves it,” he scoffed.

    “Why so?” curious you couldn’t help yourself but to ask the question. Surely, he seemed suspicious, but you hardly believed that the accusation of setting up a rigged game was enough to get him thrown around like that.

    Taking a large gulp from his glass the male wiped his mouth on his sleeve, his hazel eyes piercing at you in a calculating manner. As if he wasn’t sure why you asked the question, as if the answer was supposed to be obvious to you. “There are better people to trick money from than scum like us,” he replied. The way he described everyone in the room, including the two of you, confused you as you blinked at him.

    “What people?” Your voice was careful, wary of what his temper was going to be like. You got a slight feeling that Jeremiah wasn’t the most patient as he scoffed again, his eyes rolling as he put out his cigarette. “These creatures from the Sky, of course, who else?”

    Mostly B’s

    Mysteries to Solve (open)

    After dinner Montgomery settled herself down at the bar, planning to drink away the rest of her night. Instead of joining in you decided to settle for the cards table, interested to see what was going on and maybe even participate.

    Qiu An was still dealing the cards, never seeming to tire out and the smile forever bearing his face. Now that you were closer you could observe the male better. He seemed to be much younger than the average crowd here. You guessed that he was in his late teens, still a boy in the eyes of most. Turning your attention to the rest of the table you judged that this was true. A few stubborn faces sat around the table, seemingly determined to win something. However, all of the faces told you a story, their lines of age revealing their journey to the table. It made you wonder what a young man was doing here, mingling with the adults and tricking them out of their money.

    “Please do join us, newcomer!” Qiu An told you, pulling out a seat. Caught you just sat down without any objection, finding yourself suddenly being stared at by the rest. Rugged men, wary women, they were all gauging you, trying to analyse you in the same way they stared at the younger male. Shuffling his deck Qiu An started to explain the rules of the game to these who just joined as well, handing the cards out to everyone, including you.

    “First game is on the house, newcomer!” he told you, giving you a wink as the rest of the table grunted in objection.

    “I certainly got none of that, mister,” an older lady complained. The male just clicked his tongue at her in disapproval, shaking his head. “Think of Mr. Bright! He might think I’m hitting on you!” he exclaimed. The table snickered as the man next to her spoke up:

    “Not that you would want to with an old hag.”

    More laughing and Mrs. Bright huffed at the jokes made at her expense, hitting the man who had spoken. “Now, now, you aren’t such a catch either, Adam,” Qiu An retorted, sending you a wink. “Besides, [Name] here just arrived in the city,” he followed, surprising you with his knowledge.

    The table all grunted in agreeance, not questioning Qiu An from where he had gotten to know you, or how he had even known. You didn’t expect the city to care much for your appearance, so you hadn’t expected anyone to have heard of your arrival. None asides from the ones you expected to know, which was Montgomery alone, really.

    “Say, Qiu An, you weren’t planning on letting [Name] win on purpose, no?” one of the players groaned, staring at his cards. It was obvious that he had been dealt a losing hand, making the young male at the head of the table grin toothily.

    “Oops, seems like I have been found!”

    Mostly C’s

    Truths to Reveal (open)

    The rest of the dinner went by idly. After the fight broke apart the bar resumed with what it was doing earlier. The music picked up again, the food was served, cards dealt. You couldn’t help but be captivated by Ondine’s singing, which you weren’t alone at as everyone seemed to forget their own company or food whenever she started to sing again.

    “Not a chance,” Montgomery whispered at you. Confused you turned towards the elder as she shrugged her shoulders. “Many are after her, you know? She isn’t picky with company either. Men, women, as long as she enjoys their company,” she continued, taking a bite from her beef tartar. “She dumps them just as easily as well,” the woman continued with a sigh.

    “Look, I’m warning you now,” your boss said, leaning in closer. “She will wrap you around her pretty little finger, captivate you and leave you heartbroken,” she continued with a warning tone. “It really ain’t pretty and I need you fully committed to the shop,” her voice lowered in volume, making it hard to hear her without almost pressing your ears against her lips.

    “Don’t get wasted on that pretty little thing, she isn’t interested in anything serious,” a gentle smile crossed over the elder’s face. “Ondine is a sweet woman, but I really can’t lose you to her, understood?” her voice was commanding as she gave you a stern glare. Gulping you just agreed, nodding your head before returning to your food, your gaze not travelling over to the singer again.

    At the end of your meal you decided that you needed a breather. As Montgomery staggered over to the bar for a drink or two you went to the backdoor. It was calmer outside, only few souls standing in the cool night air to chat with each other, taking a break from the crowd inside. One figure in particular stood out, hidden away in a dark corner you noticed that Ondine was also taking a short break.

    Smiling at you she waved you over, hugging her scarf closer as she seemed cold in the sleeveless dress she was wearing. “I never liked the smoke and smell of sweat inside,” she admitted, seeming exhausted from the constant singing. You could agree with her, having escaped the place for the same reason.

    “I noticed that you weren’t watching near the end,” Ondine suddenly spoke up, surprising you. Had she been watching you? Caught off guard you tried to find an excuse, Montgomery’s words ringing inside of your mind.

    “I know, Montgomery warned you. She probably is afraid I will woe you away like her last intern,” the singer giggled, sending shivers down your spine and aweing you in how she could take away your breath with just a smile.

    “Though,” the female whispered huskily as she stepped closer to you. “I’m afraid she was too late.” Planting a kiss at the corner of your lips she pushed away, her eyes locking with yours before turning around. Walking back into the bar again she never looked back to see your reaction, however, you supposed she already knew.

    • Love Love x 2

  4. Chapter 2

    After meeting with Jeremiah, a delivery boy, Montgomery invited you to the nightlife of Golden City. There you meet the alluring Ondine, the singer of the bar, and Qiu An, a swindler ruling the card table in the said bar. A small incident happened, but it was swiftly taken care off by an automaton waitress. While you are enjoying the rest of your night you get to know the people of the city a little bit better...

    ONE 1)
    You woke up with a light buzz in your head, the memories of last night slowly swimming to the surface of your mind. Turning around your heavy eyes glanced over to the clock, trying to make out what time it was. It didn’t take long for the realisation to sink in that you were late, the shock clearing up whatever drowsiness there was left. It was only your second day and you were already late! Stumbling out of your bed you cursed as you hit your knee, and a light-headiness washed over. The booze from last night was still in your system. Gathering your belongings together you also noticed that your wallet was suspiciously empty, furthering the proof that last night had been long and full of unwise decisions.

    A - Ugh, shouldn’t have drank that extra glass, or two...
    B - That little shi--- tricked me out of my money!
    C - Doesn’t matter, I’m late!

    TWO 2)
    Running into the tinker shop you were ready to make up whatever excuse needed in order to maintain your job. However, what you faced instead was a ghoulish looking Montgomery sipping on some medicine. "Don’t worry, dear," the woman didn’t seem to be in any hurry to start her day either. You suspected that she was suffering from a hangover as well, seeing as the elder didn’t have her usual energetic glow. Lorelei was quick to serve the both of you, setting down tea and breakfast while giving her creator more of that concoction. "At this age, still," you could hear the maid mumble as she turned away.

    A - Is she grumbling?
    B - Someone/something is in a bad mood, I see.
    C - Can’t disagree.

    THREE 3)
    However, no matter how hungover you were feeling, you were soon ushered out for work. "This needs to be delivered to the De’Rossi household," Lorelei instructed, after she had put Montgomery back into bed. The woman had announced that she would keep the shop closed today. That didn’t excuse you from your duties, unfortunately. Handing you a heavy package, some money, and a note with the address she turned away from you, leaving no room for questions. "He-hey!" you tried to call out for the automaton, realising that you had no idea where to find the address. The door was thrown smack into your face, leaving you with only the knowledge of what to do.

    A - P. Sherman 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney. [translation: we’re gonna get lost]
    B - I guess I will have to ask a real person!
    C - Hey, we aren’t done yet, missy!

    FOUR 4)
    "Oh, that is the De’Rossi household, myeah…" the old man told you before slugging off. Hopelessness settled in on you as this had been the sixth person already who told you the exact same thing. Sighing you sat down at the sideways, package still next to you. No one in the city seemed to be willing to give you anything useful to help you in your errand, or a straight answer for the matter. It was as if they expected you to know as well, despite the fact that you were asking them for directions. That, or no one really knew where it was despite acting like they do. Frustrated you kicked a pebble in front of you, heaving another sigh. Why did Montgomery sent you out on this errand anyway? You were no delivery boy like Jeremiah!

    A - Yes, indeed, and that hag closed the shop!
    B - If she has a day off, why can’t I have one?
    C - I wonder what’s inside the package…

    FIVE 5)
    A shadow loomed over you as you were still sulking. A woman stood in front of you, a brunette with shaggy short hair and small build. If it wasn’t for her curves you would have mistaken her for a young boy instead. "Heard you were looking for De’Rossi," she smiled down at you, her dark eyes piercing in an analytical and unnerving way. Wondering if you should be talking to her you didn’t respond, waiting for her to cut to the point. "I know the way," she stated, eyes confident, and glistening in triumph, as if she had hit the jackpot with you. "That, if you will let me accompany you as your colleague?"

    A - Why?
    B - If that is the only condition?
    C - Lead the way!

    SIX 6)
    Before you could answer the female had already pulled you up, leading you towards the elevator that leads up to the Sky. "I’m guessing you’re new, since everyone knows who the De’Rossi are, or rather is," she started immediately. "Oh, I’m Thomas by the way, Thomas Baris, but most call me Tom. I’m a journalist here in Golden City." Laughing at your expression the female rolled her eyes. "Yes, I know," her voice mocking as she rolled her eyes. "Isn’t that a boy’s name?" she imitated the crowd that must have been asking her this a countless times. Shrugging the female gave you a nonchalant look, "My parents wanted a boy, but they got me. Shame!" was her matter of fact follow up, as if she had this on repeat.

    A - Is there a pause button on her?
    B - Nice to meet you?
    C - Oh, of course Lorelei couldn’t bother telling me anything!

    SEVEN 7)
    "Who are the De’Rossi?" you decided to bring her attention back to your package. Thomas seemed to be eager to tell you more than others do, something you could appreciate greatly at the moment. Stopping her ramblings about the misfortune of her name Thomas heaved a sigh, as if she was about to read from a textbook. "Well, the right question would be: Who is the De’Rossi?" correcting you for the second time. "The current head, Antonia, is the sole member of the family ever since that fire," she mused, her expression almost bored as she continued to recite her information.

    A - We got a know-it-all here!
    B - I guess I will just let the tape run itself out, no?
    C - She will get there. Eventually.

    EIGHT 8)
    "Anyway, Antonia De’Rossi is one of the richest people in the city. She comes from a line of architects, her family basically designed this place," Thomas continued, sounding somewhat disdaining. "Some say that she owns all blueprints of this place and knows every secret passage around. Which is why everyone wants to get in touch with her, you know?" another sigh escaped Thomas as she pushed her hair out of her face. "It is hard to meet the ice queen, however," a scoff escaped her, arms crossed and a deep frown settled on her face. "She refuses to meet any journalists, or let them even near her." The frustration was evident within Thomas’s voice as she said this. "Which is why I need you there to say that I’m a colleague," she explained as the two of you reached the elevator.

    A - Secret passages, huh?
    B - I suppose she doesn’t have much of a reputation?
    C - Aaah, so that is why you are helping.

    NINE 9)
    "Seven silverlings," a foul-mooded guard barked at you. Raising up her chin Thomas gave the guard a good look in the eye despite their height difference. "It is four silverlings, we both know that," she corrected the guard, but she just got a cross eye in return. "For you I will rise up the price to fourteen silverlings, filty sensation writer," was thrown back at her. The eyes of the guard were condescending, as if they didn’t approve of the female, not hiding the zero-amount of respect they had for her. Fearing that the woman might get herself involved in a fight you quickly pulled out the silverlings from the money Lorelei had given you.

    [A - Now, let us through!
    B - How do you sleep at night?
    C - May it haunt you for the rest of your life

    TEN 10)
    "This one is wise, why don’t you follow the example and stop running that mouth of yours, Tom?" Letting you through to the elevator the guard was quick to block the journalist. "We paid the price you demanded?" Thomas was losing her patience, you saw, but the guard ignored her. "I will take it as a tip," the guard tipped their hat at you before switching a level. "Have fun up there, newcomer!" with that the elevator was put into motion. Rumbling and shaking the box shot upwards for a split second before stabilising, the screeching metal drowning out Thomas’s frustrated voice.

    A - Got rid of that.
    B - I guess she won’t be leading me anymore?
    C - How am I supposed to find the place now?

    ELEVEN 11)
    Annoyed, you arrive at the Sky, fussing over how you were possibly going to find your way around without directions. You had just handed over the coins the guard asked for, hoping that by doing as they asked would get the both of you up. However, the opposite had been proven true as now you had lost double the amount needed without a Thomas to lead you around. A harsh lesson was learnt in this event as you were starting to become aware of the daily flow of Golden City.

    A - Just my luck.
    B - Now what?!
    C - At least we got there halfway?

    TWELVE 12)
    At least you got to explore the Sky now. The place was definitely much cleaner than the Land was, both on the streets and in the air. Due to the factories that were constantly running in Golden City the pollution had grown heavy in the Land, however, none of this could be seen in the Sky. It was as if you had entered a completely different world. The Sky was as you had imagined the layer to look like, and more. With spacious and modern houses, greenery surrounding you and a peaceful atmosphere. It was the opposite from the constant hustle and bustle that went on in the lower layer. Everything seemed sweeter here, even the taste of the air. Despite the fact that you were standing on floating lands you still felt secure and grounded, even with the swaying horizon.

    A - Amazing!
    B - Don’t I feel motion sick?
    C - Both places are nice.

    THIRTEEN 13)
    "What do you mean, De’Rossi is not here?" your voice sharp. You were getting beyond annoyed now, first Lorelei’s lack of directions, then Thomas and the corrupt guard. Now you were standing at the frontdoor of a grand mansion. Somehow you had managed to find your way towards the De’Rossi household, it helped that Antonia wasn’t shy of making clear which house was hers, the golden plaque with her name engraved was proudly etched on the wall. "I’m sorry, but the mistress went out to the Underground for an expedition," the automaton repeated, hands wringing together. You rose a brow at the nervous twitch, wondering why it was showing such human-like qualities. "You will have to find her there, I’m afraid." With that the door was closed, blocking you out with the package in arms.

    A - At least take the damn package?!
    B - They have that in common, these automatons.
    C - Does this mean I have to go to the Underground as well?

    FOURTEEN 14)
    Peeved you decided to go down to the Underground anyway. It was a nice excuse to explore the city, you supposed. However, it was starting to annoy you how Antonia’s package was sending you all over the place. What was the content that it was so important that no one else could take it over? Staring down at the box in hands you wondered if you should try and peek. Were you curious enough to break the trust of a client? The package was surprisingly heavy for its size, making you wonder what could be inside of it. Tempted you reached over to the seal, pondering over your options and wondering what excuse you could make if they questioned you.

    A - Oh, no...
    B - I’m curious, but at what cost?
    C - If we find Antonia we can ask her to open it? I hope?

    FIFTEEN 15)
    In the end you had decided against it opening the package. There were too many risks cleaving onto peeking and you had just started working for Montgomery as well. Who knew what her temper was? Finally reaching the Underground the first thing that greeted you was the heat. You had seen it before when peeking down the rosters on the Land, the constantly burning ovens that kept Golden City warm and basked the lowest layer in red. Feeling clammy and sweating all over you slowly made your way down the stairs. The heavy pollution in the Underground wasn’t helping either as you felt unusually out of breath. The particles of ash, dust, and other dirt stung your eyes while the heat dried them out as well. This was no place to go without protective wear.

    A - Again, no one could warn me.
    B - I give up, no. This is hell.
    C - //coughing, heaving, tearing up.

    SIXTEEN 16)
    Following the path down into the Underground you realised that the stairs ended at the start of the Underground. The place ran much deeper into the depths of what you imagined hell to look like, a path swirling downwards, cut out from the edge. Shacks that resembled houses were build closely to the wall and next to each other, all in the same shabby state and making the whole imagery all the more miserable. Most of them seemed to be thrown together at random, however, there were a few that seemed to be sturdier and more solid. These often seemed to have a source of power as well, with red lights decorating the empty windows. Hanging above the entrances were also lights attached to signs, vaguely showing off their suggestive names. You could only guess what business could be found here.

    A - I got to that part of the city, huh?
    B - //casually tries to peek inside.
    C - I don’t get it?

    Walking deeper into the place you kept your senses on sharp, suspicious of everyone that you encountered and was eyeing you, or the package you held. The overall state of this place and the mood had you on alert. While you knew that there were bad places on the Land these hubs bleaked in comparison to the Underground. The fact that most of your senses were being clouded or blocked by the crackling fires of the ovens and smoke surrounding you, you still had to adjust to the new environment. The third layer seemed to be a world apart in how bad the conditions were here. It was hard to believe that Golden City sheltered such a place where people actually lived.

    A - I wonder how you end up here.
    B - Hell is real.
    C - How inhumane!

    EIGHTEEN 18)
    However, despite your caution nothing could prepare you for that what clawed into your shoulder from the back. A low growl was heard, one that reminded you of animals fighting for territory and dominance. Immediately you dropped the package to the ground, trying to fight and fling off whatever it was that had jumped onto you. "Help!" you yelped out as loudly as you could, hoping that there was someone nearby to save you. Managing to escape your attackers grasp you fell to the ground, glancing over the face of a surprisingly human boy with red eyes and an animalistic look on his face. Leaping over to you he pinned you down to the ground, knocking you out.

    A - This day has been terrible so far.
    B - Am I dying already?
    C - What will happen to me?!


    Mostly A’s

    Prejudiced System (open)

    "The package!"

    It was the first thing you gasped when you came to be, shooting up from your place and hitting the head of whoever had been looming over you. As if the headache you woke up with wasn’t bad enough already you had just worsened it by slamming your head into something hard. Groaning loudly at yourself you were surprised how you weren’t knocked out yet, despite the fact that it felt like you ran into a wall with full force. Blinking away the stars you met eye to eye with the unimpressed face of an automaton looming over you.

    "Don’t worry, it is here," a female voice popped up, ignoring the scene you were causing. It was a brunette sitting at a table not too far from you. Her long hair tried into a loose bun, likely to keep herself cool, judging from the sweat pearling down her pale skin. "You really shouldn’t come down with valuables unless you want it stolen," she continued, mostly amused, but also scolding in a way. Squinting at her you sat up again, wincing at the worsening headache you had. You couldn’t make up much from her features, except from her startling green eyes behind the safety glasses. The rest of her face was being covered by a gas mask, making it hard to determine the expression she was wearing right now.

    "Antonia De’Rossi," the female introduced herself, distracting you from your throbbing head as you recognised the name. "Judging from your package you were looking for me, no?" she didn’t sound too sorry about making you run around the city in search of her. However, you were long glad that you had finally found the person and could be done with the day. "What happened?" you asked, remembering the face of the boy. Antonia stiffens up, her eyes narrowing in disgust.

    "The Platypus," she sighed. "The human beast," her voice sounded disgusted and troubled as she said this. "You got lucky there, intern," you rolled your eyes at this statement, as if you hadn’t realised such yourself. You knew from that crazed expression you met that you weren’t supposed to survive the encounter, yet here you were. "We were quick to act," she followed up, revealing what it was that had kept you alive. Eyeing the guards Antonia had, you recalled how you had slammed your head into one of them earlier. That didn’t sound too unbelievable.

    "Who is the Platypus?" you tried, but were cut off by the noble who handed you a sack of coins. Refusing to meet your eyes the woman was quick to turn away. "The package has been delivered, so go back and rest up. Don’t worry about the attacker anymore," Antonia coldly told you off, brushing over your question. "I will leave one of my guards to escort you." Staring at the guard that was left behind by the lady you wondered if this one would talk instead of her mistress. However, something told you that you weren’t going to get answers today.

    Mostly B’s

    Mysteries to Solve (open)

    When you finally returned to the Land the day was already nearing its end. Squinting painfully at the setting sun you groaned, your head still throbbing from the fall you had made earlier. After that you were attacked it seemed that Antonia had appeared for a rescue with her guards, patching you up and sending you back home. A little disgruntled that the noble was unwilling to give you any details on what happened you just took her escort and got back safely to where you belonged.

    Not that the Land was much better for your head...

    Almost immediately Thomas came bouncing, seemingly having waited for your return all this time. It was touching, however, you were not in the mood after everything that had happened and you just wanted to sleep. The female wasn’t planning on letting you go, however, firing off her questions at you without a breath or a break.

    "Did you find her?" "How was she, what was she doing?" the female spun out her wheel of questions, her eyes trying to meet yours in the hope that you weren’t ignoring her. "You look positively terrible, what happened?!" the female gasped, making you wince all the more at her volume. There really was no stopping her.

    "I got attacked," you finally managed to get out. "Some crazed beast-boy," you explained, but were unsure if she would know what you were talking about. Figuring that Thomas would simply restate her questions again you were quick to answer the rest to spare yourself the time: "Miss De’Rossi saved me with her guards, she helped me back up here, but other than that I have no idea what she was up to," you briefed.

    Stumbling forward you tried to pass the journalist, but Thomas wasn’t planning on letting you go so easily, deftly grabbing hold of your arm and supporting you. "You mean that you met the Platypus?!' her voice pitched in excitement, making you wince once more. "Ah, sorry," she quickly lowered to a whisper with a silly smile on her face. That was better received.

    "So, you met the Platypus, right? Face of a man, power of a beast, red eyes?" she continued as you groaned at yourself. Slowly you were finding yourself regretting mentioning your attacker at all. It seemed that Thomas was even more intent in gaining every bit of information about the Platypus. "What did it look like? Did it speak? Why were you attacked?" You just gave up and let the journalist ramble on.

    Mostly C’s

    Truths to Reveal (open)

    Soon after waking up you had found yourself in a hut, taken care of and with no sign of your attacker. It turned out that Antonia and her guards had stepped between just in time saving you from an horrifying end. After making sure that you were fine the noble was quick to send you back again with one of her bodyguards, which was the situation you found yourself in now.

    "So, uh, thanks for saving me," you started, finding the silence between the two of you awkward. The guard kept quiet, seemingly ignoring you as it kept on marching. Sighing over the lack of response you supposed that it was just not in its program to interact like normal people. Which really made you wonder how the noble could deal with being surrounded by them all the time.

    Following silently you still felt on edge despite the protection you had. The chill you had felt when meeting the eyes of your attacker wouldn’t leave you. You could swear that you caught a glimpse of it again when you glimpsed downwards the Underground. Two flickering lights of red, but with no face that it belonged to. Realising that you were staring down into a place scattered with embers and bathed in red you quickly shook it off as your nerves.

    With another deep breath you quickly followed the guard, afraid that the automaton had little regard in whether you kept up or not. The feeling of being watched never left you, however, and it was gnawing at you.

    "Excuse me, I need the bathroom," you suddenly announced, feeling squeezy and deciding that you just needed to freshen up, a moment alone. Without a question the automaton took a sharp turn towards one of the brothels at the side. As you asked around for the loo your mind couldn’t help but trail over the skimpily clad bodies that were trying to seduce you into their rooms. While it seemed that most of the rooms were unoccupied you could be hear sounds coming from a few of them, leaving little to the imagination.

    However, none of that took you as much by surprise as by the dark figure at the end of the halls. When you stepped out of the restroom again, grumbling how there was no proper sewer system implemented, or running water, you froze up at the shadow staring at you. Blue eyes were staring right at you. You recognised them, the sensation of alarm and fear overtaking your breath, and your heart picking up. It was the Platypus, but not entirely. The boy standing in front of you only had his face, but lacked the beast-like expression and hunger that had defined him before. No, this boy only looked like the beast that had attacked you.

    Yet, from his eyes you could tell that he recognised you as well. Guilt and hurt playing on his face. Breaking the eye contact you quickly rushed yourself out of the brothel, convincing yourself that it was all your imagination playing up again.

    • Love Love x 1

  5. Chapter 3

    You were sent out on a wild goose chase to deliver a package to Antonia from the Sky. After being joined by the enthusiastic Thomas and going all over the city you end up in the Underground. There you get attacked by the Platypus for unknown reasons, where Antonia and her automatons finally appear to save the day.

    ONE 1)
    A week since the incident passed by, but your job as Montgomery’s intern didn’t get much more exciting. You were still stuck doing odd jobs and the simpler reparations for the customers that visited the shop. In the meanwhile Montgomery was working in the back of the shop on her own projects, showing no sign of including you, or plans to teach you anything new. In overall; the internship wasn’t what you expected it to be. The same went for the city. Golden City was nothing of what you imagined it to be from the stories you had heard. None of the glory, or the chances that it offered. The lack of everything had you restless, wondering if this really was all that the city had to offer. .

    A - Worst. Internship. Ever.
    B - At least I still get paid?
    C - It will come! Eventually... hopefully…

    TWO 2)
    Deciding to focus your mind elsewhere you went to check out the cable racing that Jeremiah had invited you to. You had found out that the cables that hung across the Land weren’t only used for fast post delivery, but were occasionally also used to race down from when the deliverers had their break. According to the blond it was quite a popular event in Golden City. Curious to see what the races were like, especially as Jeremiah refused to give more details, you decided to use some spare time to check it out.

    A - He probably made everything sound more exciting than it actually is.
    B - Sounds curious.
    C - I bet it is exciting because it is dangerous.

    THREE 3)
    “[Name]!” sharp as ever Qiu An was the first to notice you in the crowd, waving you over with that everlasting smile of his. Over the past week you had learnt that this young male was not to be trusted, as he always had his eyes out on your wallet. Grinning again the male shook his head at you, unnervingly aware of what you were thinking. “No, not this time. Too easy!” The young male was seated on top of a folding table, a box next to him in which people slid their money. “The Moth,” one of the givers grumbled at Qiu An, eyeing you suspiciously as the male gave him a ballot. “Good choice!” the boy complimented, making a little note on his own paper.

    A - What kind of identity is ‘The Moth’?
    B - Figures that there will be gambling involved at a race.
    C - What are the other choices?

    FOUR 4)
    Looking over the brunette's shoulder you saw a list of animal-related names alongside the aforementioned name. “If you are going to vote, vote for me,” Jeremiah popped up from the crowd. He seemed to be pleased to see you, a smirk on his face as he sauntered over. “I have never been caught and know the city like the back of my hand. This is easy,” he boasted, to which Qiu An clicked his tongue. “Knowing your luck you probably just jinxed yourself,” the male said disapprovingly, but there was a teasing tone underneath it all. Jeremiah just scoffed and rolled his eyes, turning his back at the younger male in one deliberate move.

    A - And what would your name on the list be?
    B - I dunno, hearing Qiu An that might be a bad investment.
    C - I’d worry more about falling than being caught…

    FIVE 5)
    “The race is about who gets the fastest from point A to B using only the cables,” Jeremiah explains, pointing at the dark wires hanging throughout the city. “People here like to gamble to see who will win, or gets caught last by the authorities,” he continued, shrugging off the part of the authorities without a care or fear. “But keep your money for now, [Name]. You don’t know the racers well enough to know who to vote,” the blond ruffled your hair as he said this, his voice unusually low, as if he had lost all confidence. It seemed that whatever Qiu An said did land. A signal was given and the racers started to gather along with Jeremiah who bid you a goodbye and left you alone with the swindler.

    A - Figured most of that out before you came.
    B - Hah, Golden City’s own version of horse racing!
    C - And just how legal is this all?

    SIX 6)
    “It pains me that he always treats me with such hostility!” Qiu An whines, catching your attention again. “He never gave me a chance to be his friend.” The childish whining made you realise that Qiu An was younger than most of your newfound friends. He always seemed to be aware of everything surrounding him, knowing more than that he actually let on. It made him look older, but in his childish moments you could see that he was still a boy deep inside. “Say, [Name], we are friends, right?” he suddenly turned to you. Startled you didn’t know how to react. What did he want to hear? What did you think yourself? Feeling cornered you didn’t quite know how to answer him, struggling to find the right words. Luckily you were spared from answering due to a shift in mood.

    A - “No.”
    B - “Of course!”
    C - “...”

    SEVEN 7)
    “The inquisition!”’ someone yelled and immediately the crowd started to move. Panic rose and people were pushing, trying to escape into all sort of directions. “Run back to the shop,” Qiu An told you, voice uncharacteristically serious as he swept the box from the table. Without another look into your direction he jumped over the side, letting himself fall past the stairs and seemingly disappearing into the ground. No one paid any attention to it, too busy focussing on their own escape. “The inquisition!” The name was repeated in panic and you wondered what it meant. The name sounded ominous and no one seemed to be willing to be caught by whatever it was.

    A - I suppose they are part of the authorities?
    B - So, no escape plan?
    C - That was short lived.

    EIGHT 8)
    Two flashes of red soared over your head, hunting down two of the racers that had decided to escape via the cables. The crowd gasped as some threw themselves to the ground. Guessing that this was the inquisition you understood that you needed to flee. Hurrying along with the current of the crowd you soon found yourself swooped up by a pair of strong arms. A blond mop of hair brushed into your face as you were looking down on the city from a birdseyeview. The small alleyways that you passed by daily, with the small tinker shops, and the narrow streets leading to the center. It all ran into each other smoothly like an intricate clockwork. Corners and intersections smoothed into each other like cogs keeping the many wheels together within a machine. You had never thought about it, but the roads of Golden City were quite complicated to navigate through, with many dead ends and sideways that one could use to escape.

    A - Did I get caught?!
    B - Well, at least I get a nice view.
    C - Why me of all people?

    NINE 9)
    “Do you like the view?” your captor spoke, revealing himself to be Jeremiah. The blond had hauled you over his shoulder as if you were a package. Asides from the slight freight you had you did find yourself in awe over the view. “Hold on tight and still!” he yelled at you, not giving you any time to ask, or even wonder, for what it was he warned you for. The sound of sliding metal stopped and you felt yourself weightless for a moment. Realising that Jeremiah had let go of the cable and was soaring through the air you panicked a little, gripping onto his back tightly. The deliverer just laughed, throwing his weight and yours into the leap as he latched onto another cable nearby, resuming the path. “We’re fine! You’re fine!” he called out over the wind and the adrenaline rushing past.

    A - Warn. Me. Please.
    B - Again! Do it again!
    C - **frozen in shock and breathless**

    TEN 10)
    Watching the chaos fade from view, and watching the center moving further, you let Jeremiah take you down the cables. Soon the stone houses started to become scarcer, and the place started to look more desolate and abandoned. After a few more switches Jeremiah finally put you down to the ground. Before you could open your mouths to ask any questions he cut you off. “I just wanted to make up for the race” he tells you. Frowning you wonder why that is. After all, he couldn’t help it if the Inquisition barged in. Remembering the view, however, made you not mind the experience either. It was a shame that the activity seemed to be illegal, but you could understand why. The rush of danger, the fear of falling down, crashing down to the ground. You shivered at the thought. It was all to protect the people.

    A - There must be more to the story he tells me.
    B - Well, that is just dull.
    C - They don’t do a good job in maintaining the rules.

    ELEVEN 11)
    “Brother Jeremiah!” a young clear voice called out for the male. Turning around you saw a bunch of kids running up to the blond, throwing themselves at him. They seemed happy to see him, climbing onto his back and hanging onto his arms. Fighting for his attention you were left at the back watching the scene unfold. The blond reached for his pocket, taking out something folded into a napkin. Revealing its content it turned out to be sweets, to which the children hungrily attacked. The first thing you noted was how tattered and hapless their clothes were. Most of their faces were covered in grime as well, with thin sticks serving as their limbs. It was clear that they didn’t have much to survive on.

    A - Are these all his siblings?
    B - I don’t think candy is what they need, really.
    C - Who are these children?

    TWELVE 12)
    “[Name],” Jeremiah waved for you to come closer and he wrapped an arm around your shoulder. “Rats, this is [Name], the friend I told you about the other day,” Jeremiah seemed proud as he introduced you. The kids all stared at you for a moment before they started to surround you in the same way as they had done with Jeremiah. “The new tinkerer!” one of them exclaimed happily, wobbling over to you with an ill-fitting leg. Wondering if you could do anything for the kid you got dragged along to a building. “Golden City’s orphanage,” Jeremiah informed you, disdain clear in his voice. Understanding now that the children were orphans you felt a pang of pity for the boy earlier. They could barely dress the children, let alone give one of them a fitted new leg. Blinking at the rotting wood of the entrance and the dusty windows, you wondered why the orphanage was in such a dire state. Didn’t the institution receive any money to take care of their kids and building?

    A - Rats?
    B - Orphans?
    C - This isn’t what I imagined Golden City to be…

    THIRTEEN 13)
    Much time you didn’t get to spend with the orphans and Jeremiah. Soon afterwards you were told to leave the orphanage by one of the caretakers. A smudgy looking woman who was as gruff as she sounded decayed. Informing you that the orphanage wasn’t a zoo to visit she sent you away, making you leave the rest. Looking for your your way back to the city center you noticed that all of the buildings in this area were in a similar state as the orphanage. Where it had looked like from above that they were abandoned you soon realise that this was another side of Golden City that you hadn’t seen yet. The smog hung low over the ground, making it hard to see and breath, and all around you, you saw people buckled over, either crouching because of age, or coughing their lungs out because of the bad quality of air. It made you wonder how anyone could survive here.

    A - The distinction between rich and poor.
    B - **covers mouth and nose**
    C - This doesn’t feel fair.

    FOURTEEN 14)
    Feeling someone clamping hold of you, you quickly jumped into defense and pushed. An old man fell to the ground, shivering and whimpering in a pitiful manner as you looked down at him. “Please, don’t hurt me- oh my back” he begged you in a ragged breath. Regret filled you as you watched him on the ground, crawling up into a ball as if you were about to beat him. “I just wanted to ask you for some spare,” he continued, a crowd started to gather around you as the stranger continued, making you feel awkward. Reaching out for your pocket you were about to hand over some change when suddenly an arm slung around you. ”Now, now, sir,” Qiu An’s cheerful voice pitched. “I just gave you some money earlier, why the need to strip this poor soul off?” he continued, making his way over to the man. “I just checked your back as well, there is nothing wrong with your health,” Qiu An continued, giving you a wink as he threw back your wallet.

    A - Tha-- wait, my wallet?!
    B - Whoa, what?
    C - I should report him for this!

    FIFTEEN 15)
    You were too surprised to say anything, but as the crowd dispersed and the man scrambled up, the red hot on his ears, you slowly turned towards the brunette. “You’re welcome!” Qiu An cheered at you. “I will take this as a token of your gratitude,” he followed, flipping the change you had in your wallet before running off into an alley. Flabbergasted you scrambled together your thoughts and ran after the boy, annoyance flooding in. “Hey, hey, Qiu An!” you called for him, but were met with a wall in front of you and no sign of Qiu An. Confused you tried to see if there were any open doors or paths for him to slip through, but realised that there was only one shattered window. “Looking for the doctor Wang?” a voice came from the window. A curvy woman polishing her dishes addressed you, her hair greasy, but her face in a pleasant smile despite the desolate environment. “He tends to do that, the lad,” she continued, nodding towards the wall.

    A - He just robbed me!
    B - I’m not sure how to feel about this.
    C - Doctor Wang?

    SIXTEEN 16)
    “A true mole,” she grinned, confusing your further. “You know him?” was your first question. Qiu An seemed too polished to come from this pace. You couldn’t quite put your finger on it, but the boy’s manners and air was too graceful to be anyone from the land, even. Yet you couldn’t say that he was part of the Sky either, he blended in too effortlessly within the city for that. “And if I do!” the woman’s voice beamed, startling you from your thoughts. “He helped me a great deal when poor grandmaman fell ill, I, and many people here, are forever in his debt,” she told you, confusing you even further at the praise given. You hadn’t expected anyone to speak well of the male in the city, seeing his methods of making money. However, addressing him as a doctor he seemed to have acquired quite the respect here in this part. Once more you realised that the swindler wasn’t all what he seems to be.

    A - Are you sure we are talking about the same Qiu An here?
    B - Just who is he?
    C - I’d rather believe him to be a quack.

    It was already nightfall when you finally reached the city center. Agetta, the woman at the window, had a great deal of stories that she liked to share and you had spend most of your time stuck with her, learning more about Golden City and some of its people. It seemed that your little spare time had turned into an entire day. Passing by the tube you wanted to hurry your way back to the shop, hoping that you hadn’t missed out on dinner yet, when you tripped over a huddled up figure. Rolling over the ground you saw familiar green scales again, accompanied with a hissing voice. “Sorry,” the hooded figure spoke, turning their face away from your view. Blinking you sat up, brushing off your arms and back. You had seen this figure before, on your first night in Golden City, when you were exploring the place. Back then you also had ran into him, but never got the chance to speak to him. It didn’t seem that he wanted to give you the chance this time either, fleeing again before you could speak. However, this time a small notebook was left behind by him, moving you to pick it up.

    A - Well, that is rude.
    B - I suppose I should use this notebook to learn about the scaley man?
    C - I hope that it isn’t anything too important.

    EIGHTEEN 18)
    It was a small worn thing with pages loose and rounded corners. Strapped around was a thin rope that kept the book together and in form. Telling yourself that you needed to open the notebook to look for clues you promised only to read the first page. However, noticing something sticking out you decided to check it first, tugging lightly at the corner. Slowly, but surely, you managed to pry the picture out, revealing strawberry blonde hair and hazel eyes. A face starkingly similar to that of a certain bar singer you knew, yet a slightly different.

    A - A relative maybe?
    B - I get creeper alerts.
    C - Maybe an admirer?

    NINETEEN 19)
    Confused of why the lizard-like creature was holding a picture in possession that was so similar to Ondine you quickly opened the notebook. Inside you found that the loose pieces of paper were actually ripped pages that had been used as notes and letters. Willing yourself to respect the man’s privacy you didn’t dare to read any of its content. Flipping through the pages you found another picture, this time of a young girl that looked like Ondine with the woman from before. A date was scribbled on it and a note next to it revealing that the picture was taken on the fourth birthday of young Ondine. Flipping to the last page of the book you found a note in a swirly handwriting. ‘Eight o’clock at the clocktower’ it read. Checking the time you realised that this was in less than half an hour.

    A - Maybe a date?
    B - Honestly, this is getting more and more creepy.
    C - Will it be the woman from the picture?

    TWENTY 20)
    Betting your chances that the scaly man would pop up at the meeting place, or at least someone that knows him to be waiting, you made your way to the rendezvous point. As you get there you see another cloaked figure leaning against the wall. This confirmed your suspicion that the meeting was indeed today. Getting closer you noticed familiar blond strands again, confusion welling up as you tried a name: “Ondine?” It startled the figure, who looks up, but quickly averts their face away from you again. However, the damage was already done, you had seen her face and were certain that it was Ondine that the man was meeting. Walking up to her you smile, relieved to see another familiar face. The singer doesn’t seem too happy, however. “What brings you here [Name]?” the female asks you, masking her own discomfort as she takes off the hood from her cloak.

    A - Got a crime to hide?
    B - Was this a date?
    C - I suppose it was sort of to be expected?

    TWENTY - ONE 21)
    As soon as she exposed herself you couldn’t help but instantly wish to get closer to her. Your eyes drawn and locked onto her face while her voice lured you in. Wordlessly you lifted up the notebook, explaining how you came into possession of it. “How strange indeed!” she exclaims. “I have never seen anyone with a scaly skin, but I have heard of stranger things in the Underground,” the singer spoke, fingers lingering over your arm. “Though, it really is for the best not to get too near that place so late in the day,” Ondine leans over her voice getting higher, that mysterious charm of hers affecting you again as you felt drawn in by whatever power she possessed. Whatever questions you had disappeared that instant, making it hard to remember why you came here in the first place.

    A - Is she playing dumb?
    B - What is she doing to me?
    C - So she isn’t related to the notebook?

    TWENTY - TWO 22)
    “Come, let me walk you back to Montgomery,” Ondine took your arm, pressing it against her body as she led you away from the church clock. You didn’t fight her off, too mesmerised and enchanted as your eyes never left hers. “She must be waiting with dinner for you,” she continued in a muse, a smile playing around her lips as you wordlessly nodded in agreeance. Questions were rising up, but whenever you wanted to ask them Ondine cut you off, diverting your attention elsewhere with another question. Eventually you forgot all about what had brought you to the clocktower in the first place, until Ondine had patted you on your back and skipped off. However, when you finally came to your senses the female had disappeared and you were standing in front of the shop.

    A - Did I just get...
    B - What?
    C - Okay?..


    Mostly A’s

    Prejudiced System (open)
    Lorelei wasn't too happy with your late arrival, informing you that Montgomery had already dined and left for sleep as she couldn’t wait for you any longer. Sitting you down with cold soup and some bread the maid sat across of you.

    “So, what was it?” the automaton asks, eyes narrowing at you in a warning. Despite being made out of cogs and gears the maid was sharp and strangely hot-tempered. Gulping down your bread you tried not to shrug your shoulders, as that would probably anger her more.

    Taking a moment to look for the right words you started your story at the illegal races and Jeremiah. It didn’t escape you how the automaton seemed to narrow her eyes even more at the mention of the blond, making you wonder if Lorelei disliked the deliverer that much, or if there was something more going on.

    “Jeremiah is still doing these races?” the dark haired machine snapped you out of your thoughts. Her voice was low, as if she was about to bite someone, before following in a murmur: “I thought he would quit…” a hint of betrayal could be heard and you slowly picked together your pieces.

    “Well, the inquisition came and the race had to be abandoned, so…” hoping that this would cheer up the automaton you carefully examined her face. Lorelei shot you a glare before realising what you were doing, muting her expression as she stood up resolutely. “Whatever, it is his own life,” she snapped, breezing away from the table.

    As you watched the maid brisk off you swore you could hear her murmur something to herself. “Can’t--- value---” you couldn’t make out much more, but you guessed that she was fussing over Jeremiah, which eliminated the possibility of dislike in your mind. The automaton was so strangely human at times, not only in appearance.

    Mostly B’s

    Mysteries to Solve (open)
    That night you kept the windows of your room open, squinting your eyes to make out the dark cables in the cold night air. You could still see shadows reeling down the lines, assuming that there was either another illegal race going on, or that they were still being chased. It was, after all, not a regular hour for post delivery.

    Would Qiu An still be sneaking outside? You always imagined the young boy to be gambling until the next sunrise, but today you had been proven wrong. The brunette was strangely charitable for someone that scammed the wallets empty of his victims.

    Recalling the words of Agetta you tried to merge the two images of Qiu An together. The one that was known as doctor Wang in the slumps, and the scammer you had met him as. You had trouble reconciling both into one person. To you the doctor Wang that was well-respected within the slumps could impossibly be the crafty young boy you had met in the bars. The money lover didn’t seem to care about the fact he was emptying the wallets of people with families and stomachs to fill. However, at the same time the thought of Qiu An being some version of Robin Hood did make sense.

    Despite the boy’s claims of being your friend you found that you knew little of him, or anything at all. Yet he seemed to have you through already.

    This didn't make sleep any easier for you.

    Mostly C’s

    Truths to Reveal (open)
    "Be careful of the inquisition, you wouldn't want to be caught by them," Ondine's voice sang into your ears as you told her about your day.

    When you finally snapped out of your trance you were well on your way home. The notebook was still in your hands, but Ondine was nowhere to be found. Confused you wondered how that happened and when you even had walked away from the clocktower. You had just been talking to the blondine, taking in her scent, her voice, her warmth…

    Goosebumps formed on your arms as you slowly realised that the singer had charmed you. Much like the first night when she kissed you. How she did was beyond you. Surely, Ondine was beautiful, but you always believed that you weren’t one taken in so quickly by beauty alone. It seemed that it wasn’t only Qiu An you had to be careful of, Ondine seemed actually much more dangerous than someone that swindled your wallet empty.

    Noticing that night had long since fallen you decided that you would try to return the notebook another day. Too unnerved by the events of today you decided that you needed rest. However, a curiosity kept on gnawing at you, telling you to find out more about the singer. Why was she waiting at the clocktower? Why did she lure you like she did? Why were you incapable of asking the questions you wanted to ask when you were around her?

    There was almost something inhuman about her, fearsome even. You wondered if it was wiser to stay away from Ondine instead. Who knows what more she could do? You dreaded to find out what more the singer hid behind her enchanting smile and pretty face.

    • Love Love x 1