Chapter 3:

Not born under a lucky star ( 2/2 )

Chaos' Game

The proposition offered by Woodle brought scepticism in the pretty interloper's face. What kind of trap was it again? What was he even talking about?

“…Joining … 'you'? What do you mean?”

“I mean exactly what I say. Joining us, me and my comrades. We are the Players. A gang of six persons, well, with you it would be seven.” he explained with a crystal clear voice.

“Nonsense… Why would I associate with such a suspicious group?”

“Because we appear to share the same values. Didn't you say you wanted to be free? You don't want society to restrain your life, no matter how harsh it may be. So do we, we want to be free in our actions. We want to follow our desires, without restraint, without limits. And we share the same dream, to make out of this city our board game.”

     The leader's voice was plenty of conviction and for this time his glance was truly sincere. That was their ideology, their manner of considering the world. She could feel it.

     For the first time, the little girl did appear absorbed by his speech. Her soft mouth smoothly ajar, she was holding her breath.

“For real?… And… I would be allowed to bring together with you?”

“Yes, that's the idea.”

     In view of her situation, this seemed to be an unexpected opportunity to the blond girl. So that it took her less than a minute to make up her mind.

“I'm in.”

     Woodle maliciously smiled at her response.

“So now I would be grateful if you put away your knife.”

     With a slight hesitation, the newcomer released the pressure of her blade, folding back her Swiss knife though she kept it in her tiny fist. Then the underage fellow lifted up and, while the blond child pressed her hands against the ground to first sit down, he offered her a hand so she could stand up easily. She winked her eyes several times before grabbing it.

“What is your name?” the hacker inquired.


“From now on you're part of us, Marnie. I am Player's leader, Woodle Bomme. May we have fun.”

     Lowering his head, he enunciated his last words with a sharp-eyed stare.


A dust cloud floated in the whole practice room, filled with an odd mix of gunpowder's and cement's smell. It was alike whole battalions had fought in this room, nonetheless the ones solely responsible of this hodgepodge were Ling and Reisig.

     Panting in the middle of the room, both were staring at each other, though Reisig's hat – back on his head – almost completely masked his eyes. The oldster was holding at arm's length his superior, tightening her neck while a few centimetres above the scuffed paving the golden-eyed lady directed her white gun, Yang, straight towards his cheek.

     Even Reisig's prominent beard was grey tinted, not speaking of their skin covered with cuts.

“I admit you're struggling quite well, but next time I expect from you to defeat me, not only quitting on an ex-æquo. Don't forget I did solely use my guns. If you fail, I'll really pierce your cheek.” she spouted with a sadistic smile.

“Uhh… Well, roger that.” the elder Player responded, a mild shiver going up his back. Then he added with more enthusiasm. “I'm gonna confront you with all my might.”

     At that moment Ling lowered Yang and her subordinate laid her on the ground. He ran a hand over his beard while taking a glance all around.

“Fighting with you is always that exhilarating that I forget to spare the equipment.”

     As the dust fell back, all sorts of arms, training mannequins and dumbbells were coarsely spread on the paving. Fortunately devices for specific training as laser projectors or the hologram simulator's control pad were stored in a discount which door was in a corner of the room.

“You are flattering me. Well, enough for now. Let's take a shower, we definitely require it.”

“Yep.” Reisig answered, stretching briefly before following Ling, leaving the practice room.

     Reisig soon arrived in the living room as his superior first got to the shower.

I won't be against a bag of crisps.” he thought while stroking his chin.

     Meantime, the front door opened letting in Woodle, wearing his common satisfied smile.

“Boss! You're back. What about the intruder? Was it worth to handle it yourself?” the oldster asked, making a few steps towards him.

“I suppose it was.”

     Entering the room, a small silhouette appeared behind him. Her verdant eyes fell on the old man, glancing at him with curiosity. In return, Reisig stared at her with a complete lack of reaction.

“Dude. There's a child behind you.” he commented with an equal voice.

“What a remarkable sense of observation, Reisig.” replied Woodle, a slightly amused grin upon his face.


     The oldster winked twice, then twice more time. Remaining silent.

“WHAAAAAAAAAAAT???! There's really a kiddy over there???” he yelled opening widely his mouth, raising his right hand to point a finger at Marnie.

     Surprised, she made a step back while their leader leaned his back against the opposite wall, assisting the show.

“...I thought the time just had come for my eyes to play me tricks.” the oldster added, blurred.

“This is our dear interloper.”

“I beg your pardon?” Reisig immediately replied like ping-pong playing, promptly rotating his head towards Woodle so that his whiskers floated in the air.

“It's as I say. I introduce you Marnie. We've tried to kill each other until reaching an agreement. As you see her presently, she is a brand-new Player.” the young fellow explained with an unfailing calm.

     Incredulous, he rose up his hat with the tip of his finger, so he could attentively examine Woodle's expression. This latter looked at him with his casual smile, his hazelnut coloured eyes glistening with mischief. Albeit genuinely serious.

“I'd like to continue my programming so get to know each other. I've told her on our way what she had to basically know on this place. As you're with it, find her proper clothing!” the hacker gave a wink to Reisig and waved a hand towards him and the little girl.

     He intended moving on before changing his mind, having one more thing left to add, squinting his eyes.

“And you should take a shower or something. You look and stink like a miserable yeti who would have fallen from a dusty hill staked with stones.”

“......Just that? Well I suppose I should be at least glad to be that unforgettable.” Reisig replied observing his chief leaving the lounge straight to the control room.

“Are you… Are you sure you're okay?”

     As the door closed, the lassie have made a few steps towards the old-timer, lifting her head.

“I am. Don't even worry for that.” Reisig assured.

“But… You have many wounds.” she observed.

“I will soon heal them, though I'm not made of sugar you know, I won't collapse that easily.”

After considering the young girl for a while, he added with an emphatic smile.

“You've already heard it from the leader, but my name is Reisig. Reisig Meisenwick.”

     He gave her a hand, which she looked at with circumscription.

“Oh! Forget it.”

     Coming to mind that his hand was particularly dirty, he intended to take it back although he lacked time. Indeed, the little girl caught two of his large fingers within her frail hand.

     The oldster smiled back. He didn't really know how they came up to enlist such a young child, nevertheless it wasn't that important. Woodle knew what he did. His decisions were always calculated and thoughtful. If a heterogeneous group like their obeyed to such a young boy, it was not a mere coincidence.

“Actually, you also are a little banged up. Even if I suppose it is largely Woodle's fault. Did you run away from your house?”

“Not really from my house. From the orphanage. Yet it was already two years ago.” the young one explained with an absent-minded face.

“Wait. Hence, where have you lived till now?”

     Reisig knitted his brows while hearkening her words.

“In the street. I never really kept in the same place. It was more secure to move on frequently.”

     The uttermost striking was that she kept saying all of that with an unsettling gentle voice. As if this kind of life was casual. Even Reisig, though he had close acquaintances with this environment seemed shocked for a brief moment, opening slightly his mouth. However, he soon managed to regain his mind.

     First wiping his hand on his pants, he kindly patted the child's head.

“Let's make a pizza, Marnie.”

     Opening widely her eyes, she could hardly believe what she had just heard. Staring at Reisig with an unmatched astonishment, her gaze began to fill up with dazzling stars.

Haru Yumera