It was just about time. The man stood in the darkened room, waiting patiently for the last person to arrive. Behind him was his associate, Air, standing next to the young woman they had captured, Earth, who was now bound to a chair and gagged. Their preparations were complete, and everything was now in its place. All they had to do now was wait.
The wait wasn't long, as they soon heard distinctive sound of their target entering through the front door. A slow, rapping walk along the metal floor toward them, and he began to smile. He was happy, he was excited. There was no reason to try and hide it, he had been waiting for this moment for years.
"Welcome," he said, as the door opened. In through it stepped a young man, brandishing a flashlight in one hand, which he shone in at him at the sound. "We have been waiting for you for a long time, Fire."
He raised his hand as the young man stepped fully into the door, and snapped his fingers. Lights in the room burst to life at the sound, bringing spotlights onto the four of them. At the sight of it, the young man dropped the flashlight, and ran in toward the girl on the chair. But he stopped, as a sudden, fierce gust of wind blew against him, causing him to lose his balance and topple to the ground.
"Now, now," Air said, smiling. "Let's not get too hasty, you just stay over there for now." Cautiously, the young man stood up, and took a few steps back.
"Let her go," he said, to which was met laighter from the two of them. Water stepped to the side, walking over to the other side of the young woman bound to the chair.
"Why should I," he asked with a smile. The young man started to say something, but he held up his hand to stop him. "You don't even know this girl, yet you came all the way here to rescue her. Why?"
"Because," the young man stammered. "Because I-"
He snapped his fingers again, and the lights in the room pulsed brighter. "No, you came here because the Bearer TOLD you to. Becaue he told you that you had to, or the world would be destroyed. You came because he told you he had no choice!"
The young man scowled, and held up his hand toward him. From it shot a burst of flames, but he simply laughed and returned the gesture, shooting forth a wave of water and completely drenching the young man, and putting out the flame. Air chuckled, and the man simply clicked his tongue a few times.
"Now just wait," he said, stepping forward toward the young man. "Before you go galavanting to the whims of the game, perhaps you should hear what I have to say first."
Crossly, the young man glared at him. "Why should I care?"
"Because," the man said with a laugh, as he put his hand on the young man's shoulder, "I have been in your shoes." He turned to the woman and nodded, and she untied the girl from the chair and removed the gag. "Both Air and I have."
Coughing a couple times, the young woman spoke, voice raspy as the gag had dried out her mouth. "What do you mean?" The man turned toward her, and walked over to her, motioning her off the chair. She stood up as directed, and he sat down.
"It was..." he sarted, then stopped in thought. "Fifteen... years ago now, I think?" He looked up at his companion, who nodded. "Yes, fifteen years ago. The first time we became involved in this deadly game. At that time, so long ago, she was the Water, and I was the Earth."
"Impossible," the young woman said, as Fire walked up next to her, still dripping with water. "There's no way, you never would have made it through-"
He held up his hand, and she stopped. "This was before your company took over its operation, and before the Bearer came into play. Back while the Grand Game was still active, she and I had unwittingly found the Cube in a building while our grade school class was on a field trip in the mountains. Back then, the game truly was wild, and the world was very near destroyed."
He looked at the young man. "Nowadays, I should tell you, the game is regulated. The elements are used by a shadow company, of which she is part of, and their disasters are controlled to manipulate market resources, simply to lead to a profit. It's a deal, you see, they made with the Cube."
The young man turned to look at the girl in surprise, and she turned her face away in shame. "Wait," he said, turning back to the chair, "with the cube? With that old man, you mean?"
They both shook their heads, leading to only a confused look from the young man. "No," Air said with a serious tone. "Not with the bearer, he's a new element trying to make the game wild again. No, I mean with the Cube itself." He turned from her to look towards Water, but he just nodded his head in agreement, and the young mans face began to turn to horror.
"The Cube," Water said, "is alive. And that malicious spirit derives pleasure from making us play this cruel game."Sun, 10 Apr 2011 16:00:00 -0500