A man’s voice echoed in the android’s ears.
“Hey, wake up!”
The android’s eyes slowly opened. It had been several hours since she arrived at the facility her master left her in.
Her eyes slowly absorbed the colorful environment around her. The last thing she remembered before dozing off was a blank, empty, and quiet hallway. Its white walls crept over her, and the same feeling of isolation started to make her inner bolts shiver with uncertain familiarity.
But now, the sounds of excited people sung in her ears.
The peals of laughter of passionate individuals that ran across the hallway dominated her hearing, and the faint sound of elevator music came together to make a lively scene absolutely breathtaking.
“Ah, how long have I….”
She rubbed her eyes quickly and gazed around to find that a curious man was sitting next to her. His round face beamed with a smile.
“Hey! I see you’ve been resting here for a looooooong time. How tired are you?”
Oddly enough, his dark blue hair caught the girl’s attention, for it looked softer than hers. It made her want to ruffle it, but she knew it was socially inappropriate. Her gaze eventually drifted to the man’s heterochromatic eyes of ocean and metal.
His eyes were beautiful.
“Yo, you’ve been staring for a while. I know I’m good-looking, but dang, if you’re staring at me like that. I must be extremely attractive.”
“What….?” The android squinted with disgust, but she shrugged it off and decided to ask him about something relevant. “How long have I been here?”
“Aw, changing the subject already?” He pouted. “Why doesn’t anyone want to admit it…”
The man crossed his arms in such a childish manner that the android felt that she was cursed to have to babysit him to get some answers.
After all, her memories only made her question her knowledge about the world.
Humanity’s population shrinking drastically.
The terrifying explosion that unleashed multiple realms and rewrote the constitution of reality.
At least, that’s all she knew from her master.
“How would I know how long you’ve been here. I was only sitting here for a few minutes!” The man raised his eyebrow and pointed at the android.
An awkward silence fell on them. A few seconds went by, and the man decided to break it by coughing.
“Anyways, you’re assigned to this mission too, right?” He leaned over to observe her mannerisms. His cheerful expression was begging for a hopeful answer.
“What do you mean ‘eh’? I asked if you’re assigned to this mission!”
He pulled out a piece of paper and shoved it in front of the woman’s face. She blinked in surprise at his rapid speed, but then focused on the words on the post.
It was a recruitment advertisement, which revealed vague information on what the researchers were planning with potential slayers seeking high monetary compensation to capture the individual responsible for destroying most of humankind.
“I…believe so? My master sent me here specifically to find a person who was responsible for the explosion twenty years ago.”
The man’s face only insinuated confusion.
“You’re searching for someone?” He hesitantly pointed at the android before setting his finger down. “But this mission is about slaying monsters!”
He rolled the advertisement and placed it back onto his belt. The girl noticed that he was carrying a sword, as well as several blades. They were all peculiarly green, like leaves falling from the trees of the summer season.
“Yeah, man! This is the monster-slaying realm you and I are sitting here waiting for. These are the disgusting creatures that ruin many people’s lives. That’s why…”
The man paused his speech and looked away from the girl, his eyes focused on gazing at the happy individuals sauntering around him. The android could tell he was likely reminiscing of a sad event: something that made him motivated enough to want to start killing creepy creatures at a young age.
“...I must avenge those who have lost their families.”
The girl lowered her eyelids and stared down at the floor.
“I’m sorry,” she said in a lower tone, “I don’t think the master said I had a specific realm to enter, but since I’m here…”
She looked curiously ahead as she bent over to see if there was anything different down the hallway.
“Well, not like I would know,” she raised an eyebrow and fidgeted with her fingers, “why are there a lot of closed doors? And chairs lining up outside each one?”
The man snickered. “Wait, do you even remember how you got here? Did no one tell you anything about Headquarters?”
The girl blinked her eyes once more. Clearly, her nap fogged her memories.
Concentrate. I must remember what happened.
The girl finished jogging her memory lane, and she turned to the man.
“Um, I remembered I was left by my master by the front gate and he told me to look for a girl wearing a red hat.”
“And then, he drove off. I was tired when I arrived so I just kept walking down the empty hallway and took a seat here. Then, you woke me up.”
The man couldn’t believe it.
“Wow, you’ve been resting for a while, then. Because I have been walking around this building for the last hour, and it was packed with people.”
The pink-haired android looked at him, embarrassed yet flustered.
“I was tired.”
“Ok yeah yeah. I’ll stop teasing.”
His fingers curled a few hair strands. He lowered his head, seemingly timid about his upcoming proposal.
“But if you really don’t know where to go, you could join me for this one. It’s going to be so much fun! Although…”
“Many people are still sitting outside because they need a key to get in.”
The android glanced at the door next to them. There was no keyhole.
“What do you mean, a key?”
“Well,” the man shrugged, “I didn’t mean a literal key, anyone could open the doors. But the recruiters have told me all the doors only lead to a dark abyss, and until you get a key, you can’t access the realm.”
“Oh. I see.”
Another awkward silence and the noises of outside chatter filled both their ears.
“By the way,” he smirked, “I don’t think I’ve caught your name, I’m Noah!”
“Oh. Nice to meet you, Noah. I’m-”
“GET AWAY FROM ME!!”
A loud scream shocked the crowd. Several girls and boys glanced in the direction where the scream originated and to everyone’s confusion, a thin girl with long black hair was standing at the entrance of the hallway.
Her skin resembled those of the dead.
An abnormal grin, disgustingly hideous with pitch-black teeth, made countless people want to gag. Several individuals coughed, for the hallway reeked of…
The girl’s frail white dress completed her looks of a true horror legend. What’s worse, her head was constantly twitching, and her elongated fingers were scratching her neck endlessly.
The android’s eyes widened. “That-!!”
She took notice of the slender girl’s blood-stained red hat.
“Wait, THAT’S the girl your master said to look for?” asked Noah, horrified.
The android wasted no time and sprinted towards the mysterious girl. Girls and boys scurried along to the side of the hallway to make way for the android as she sped past them with impeccable speed.
The master did inform me to be aware of this girl!
She was about to attack using one of her mechanical arms when she recalled what her master had said to her.
“Don’t ever let anyone find out you’ve been specialized for this mission.”
The mysterious girl suddenly reached out to the android. Her fingers grew into pointy murderous kinds that a normal human wouldn't have.
The android immediately shielded herself with her arms just as the slender girl screamed; she howled to the ceiling as an aggressive soundwave violently shook the hallway along with its ear-piercing scream. The window that exhibited the ominous darkness outside suddenly shattered into pieces while the glistening glass fell onto the carpet inside.
The smell of death.
It was now lingering in everyone’s nose, and the possibility of dying became a reality as the unbearable fear sent people tearing their hairs and screaming in agony.
Countless individuals started running and flying in all directions. It became chaos. People tripped over one another, and belongings went flying over the heads of fallen individuals. The android and the man witnessed what looked like Black Friday on peak hour. They watched a pearl necklace being tossed by somebody and immediately stepped on by another.
The cracks were inevitable, and the necklace was destroyed.
“Shoot, take cover!”
The man and the android were being blown by the girl’s unearthly scream. The android had to spin around and land on her knees, her hands rubbed against the tiled floor as tiny sparks came out of her wrist. Luckily, everyone was so focused on recovering themselves from the ear-piercing scream and shockwave that no one saw her malfunctioned hand.
“Come on!” The android cracked her wrist until it was back to its rightful position.
The android dodged an attack from behind. She glanced up to see that above her was a concentrated Noah in the air, who jumped and threw his blades past her to reach the screeching girl.
They traveled briskly that the sound of a light wind trailed behind them, but the blades proved to be no effect. The screaming girl reached out and grabbed ahold of them, shattering the knives in the process.
“Tch, so she’s a monster,” the man clicked his tongue.
“I don’t understand,” the android glanced around as she prepared herself for another attack. “Why isn’t anyone else helping? Aren’t these boys and girls also here for monster slaying?”
Noah dodged an attack from the screaming girl and threw more blades near her feet, which caused the girl to howl as she fell onto her knees.
“Most people aren’t here for monster slaying, but for other abnormalities such as drink testing and levitation!” Noah continued.
“Yeah, the explosion caused all sorts of crazy stuff! New discoveries of poison from radioactive plants and stronger magnetic pulses sparked the people’s interest!”
The two started to run towards the collapsed monster. However, the girl screamed once more in anger and began to morph into something much more hideous.
The pink-haired android and Noah watched in disgust. The girl that was once in front of them became the abomination of a horror legend; its face turned white as snow and its eyes became hollow. To make this abomination look worse than it already was, its unnatural grin was now horrifying the remaining spectators still stuck in the hallway. The corners of its mouth were slit from one end of its cheek to the other.
Its head was still twitching uncontrollably. The monster's new body posture was constantly cracking as its seemingly broken limbs dangled.
It was an unforgettable, horrific sight.
“IT’S A DOLLY! IT’S A DOLLY! A DOLLY, DOLLY, DOLLY!”
The creature screamed at the android and lunged at her, all the while yelling “DOLLY!” repeatedly. It stretched its arms out and tried to grab ahold of the android, but she immediately dodged them and punched it on the stomach. It clenched its teeth right as the android kicked its head, which sent the creature flying. It smashed its head hard onto the concrete wall.
Debris covered the area with smoke, naturally hiding the creature from sight.
“Noah!” The android called as she ran towards the creature.
“You got it!”
Noah threw the last of his blades to the pink-haired girl, who caught them all and sprinted directly to the monster. It was groaning and started shrieking in anger, so it began to throw pieces of the broken wall in the air toward her.
The android effectively dodged those she could and smashed the ones that she couldn’t avoid. Her metallic legs kicked one of the enormous pieces in the monster's direction.
It flew at an accelerating speed. The piece smashed the creature’s head, causing it to let out a blood-curdling scream before it attempted to regenerate its face.
“Hey!” Noah called out.
He ran towards the door where he and the android were sitting right next to earlier and forced it open.
“We need to stop causing a ruckus here. Let’s tackle that nasty one inside the realm!”
The android jumped on top of the creature and pulled it away from the debris.
Another shriek of frustration. The creature scratched at the girl’s face, causing faint marks to appear before the girl tossed the creature in the air and kicked it towards Noah.
“You’re right, if we're going to slay monsters, I don’t want anyone else getting hurt here-”
Before the android could finish her sentence, the monster unexpectedly stretched its arms and grabbed ahold of the girl’s legs. This sent her flying across the hallway with the hideous thing.
“Alright, that’s it!”
With all her might, the android reached out and grabbed the monster’s arms just as the two of them entered the realm’s door. She pulled the arms inward, closing the gap between the two entities.
The smell of death.
It was definitely unbearable now.
That is, for a normal human being.
Time seemed to slow down just as the android and the creature flew past Noah and into the dark abyss that would lead them into the realm within.
“My name is Dolly.”
The two made eye contact before the creature and Dolly dove inside the abyss.
“Ah, wait!” Noah shouted. Before he could jump in, the door closed.
Pitch black. For that was all Dolly saw.
And it was cold.
The abyss was nothing but an endless, isolating, pitched black void.
Another shriek of terror. The monster continued to screech and tried to pull its arms away from Dolly’s hardened grip. Now that nobody was looking, Dolly knew she could unleash her deadly blast.
“The master sure is mysterious,” she said.
The android lifted her left hand; a small opening in her palm confirmed that she was about to kill the horrifying existence in front of her.
The monster screeched and attempted to push Dolly away, but she ripped its arms out from its body. It cried in fear as the monster floated away from her.
“I don’t understand what the master wants,” Dolly said as she blasted the creature to nothingness. It disintegrated, leaving only the red hat floating in the darkness.
“Strange. If only I can understand what’s going on around here.”
Dolly sighed, knowing no one was listening, but she didn’t care. She reached over to where the hat was and touched it.
Immediately, there was a glowing sensation.
A wonderful, peaceful, overwhelming feeling.
The abyss was no longer dark, and the bright colors of red, orange and yellow filled her eyes.
Slowly, the scenery revealed itself to be the sky that Dolly was gazing at. She looked around and observed as the abyss revealed itself to be more like a forest. The ground was covered with beautiful grass assorted with a variety of flowers. Dolly could see at the horizon there were two hills with a sun setting between them.
Countless rays of sunlight, and the warmth it provided. She could feel it.
Her body was no longer cold.
“Well!” she exclaimed, just as the hat disintegrated from her hands. “I did not expect a monster-slaying realm to be this beautiful, covered in flowers and all.”
Dolly took a step forward. The zephyr cooled her down, and she felt at peace for a brief moment.
It’s so calm in here. There are leaves flying by, and blades dro- wait BLADES?!
She gasped as she witnessed a piece of grass in the midst of the air transformed into a green blade.
Those look like the same blades Noah had earlier!
“Hold on,” Dolly lowered herself to her knees and felt the grass.
“Is this what they call Plant Weaponry…?”
She pulled a couple of grass from its roots, and they all turned into small, sharp, green blades.
This is pretty cool! It will be the perfect strategy to fight monsters without revealing too much of my own power in case I bump into anyone here!
She searched her dress for a pocket but found none.
Tch, of all things, the master did not give me a pocket to store weapons…
Dolly sighed and dropped the blades onto the ground.
Ah, what can I do? I suppose if an attack were to occur this instant, I have the environment to my advantage.
“Ehhhhhhh~! What’s this that has landed on my turf~?”
The smell of death.
It was the sensation of anxiety that slowly crept in from behind, as the heavyweight of fear and the imagination of corpses briskly flashed through Dolly’s mind. She jumped away from where she assumed the voice came from and turned around.
“Is this, A DOLLY I SEE~!?”
At a distance, Dolly could see another creature. Its pretty dress resembled a schoolgirl, and its shoes were stained with blood.
A playful, mischievous giggle. An uncontrollable urge to mock the android.
The monster was covering its face with a teddy bear. It continued to laugh as its head twitched, and it was squeezing its plush a little too aggressively that some seams popped off.
“IT’S A DOLLY! A DOLLY, A DOLLYDOLLYDOLLY D̴͚̠͎͉̓̈́͑̒͂͆̅͋̚͝O̶͓͎͖̬̭̥̞̱̳̮͗̂̾̆̀̏L̶͚̼̪̦̮̭̹̦̤̒́̈́Ļ̴̨̖̜̫̣̇̃̉̋̐̾̑̈́͘Y̷̛͖͚̗͋͋̇͐́̐̆D̴̛̘̣͗́̆͛͆̒͝Ơ̴̢̦̝̊̅̈́L̷̡̞̳̤̱̺͐̐̔͛͜L̷̡̰̥͔̳̦͈͇͕̓́̏̒̽͋͑̚͘͝Y̴̨̳̭̯̒͜D̷͓̹͚͕̲̀̇̄̿͑͘̕͘ͅǪ̸̟͖͓̰̯̓̉̓͒̿̀L̸̘͆̿̓̏̀͘L̶̤͎̆͝Y̵͊͜!!