Walking back to the bar, I shook my head. Felicity gave me four shots of alcohol during Zhuyu and Shan’s run. I started feeling the effects of it now.
Tai pushed a glass of brown liquid over to Ko when we entered the bar. When did she get here? I swore she was still in the dining room when I left. After she drank it, Ko looked up at me. Her face was much more flushed than before, a bright red.
“Yuki. I’m pretty sure I’m riggity rekt right now. So if I do anything to you, I might not remember,” she said.
Contrast to her usual voice, Ko’s current voice was very high pitched now. The alcohol had gotten to her. Although, Ko still looked pretty normal. Perhaps she was just used to it based on previous experience? I mean, she did acknowledge her own drunkenness so I’m sure this wasn’t the first time for her.
“Alright, Ko, I understand. Maybe you should lay off for a little bit,” I advised.
“You’re right. But I want to keep going. It’s okay, Yuki, I can control it. Don’t worry about it,” Ko assured me, giving me a wave.
Ko departed the room, her movements sluggish. Yuka picked up her book from the counter and flipped to her bookmarked page. I saw Shui at the far end of the counter, downing shots. Tai shook his head as Shui said something. Best not to get involved. I would go check out some other place.
“Yuka, what do you plan on doing now?” I asked.
“I think I might go catch up with Felicity. How about you, Yuki?” she asked.
“I’m not too sure. I think I might just walk around and see what else there is to do. I mean, it’s such a big house and all. I haven’t been down to the basement yet so I’ll go down there,” I recalled.
“Okay, I’ll see you later then,” Yuka nodded.
I saw Kisai restrain a man as he stumbled around after wandering around the first floor. Tai also was there, taking a break from his bartending duties. Both of them grabbed him, leading him upstairs to the guest room. I pulled out my phone and checked the time. It was only ten thirty but the casualties were already happening.
Opening the basement door, I saw almost a mirror image of the living room. There was junk and other things lying around but for the most part, it was well maintained and organized. The couches down here were of lesser quality than the one upstairs, showing more signs of use.
I saw Zhuyu and Shan standing in the right corner, watching a man with rather long hair attempting a back flip. He landed on his back with a smile and then suddenly stood up with a glare. His glance went in multiple directions as if searching for something. I noticed a pair of glasses near the sofa.
“I need my glasses. I can’t see. Someone give them to me,” the man demanded,
flicking up his long hair.
“They’re right here man. Just pick them up,” Zhuyu said, pointing at the wrong place.
The man bent down, his hands touching the floor. He then spun around, glaring at Zhuyu and Shan.
“Hey, I know there’s nothing here. Where are they?” he demanded.
“Alright, calm down. They’re right there,” Shan said, picking up the pair of glasses.
He tossed them over to Zhuyu who placed them into his pockets. The man examined the floor with a careful eye and then looked up at the two. He squinted his eyes with suspicion and then shook his head.
“Alright, give them back,” he said, looking at Zhuyu.
This entire scene was rather funny. I couldn’t help but laugh at it. Zhuyu took out the glasses, returning them to the man. I saw the door open behind me and Ko came in. The color of her face was much lighter now but I could tell she was not sober.
“Hey, Yuki, how’s the party so far?” she asked me.
“I think it’s good. You look better,” I responded.
“Yeah? I’m kind of used to it you know. I’m going to go over there and check out the situation,” she said.
I watched as she spoke with Zhuyu, Shan, and the man with glasses. The man took off his glasses with a defiant look. He stared at Ko and the other two with a confident face and attempted back flips again.
He did succeed sort of. He ended up landing pretty hard on his back and once even tried to rush toward Ko. Shan restrained him with Zhuyu’s help. I could hear Ko’s voice as she tried calming him down.
“Listen to me, you’re pretty riggity rekt right now. I know since I am too.
So Kristoph, listen to me, okay? I want you to calm down a little and get some water,” she ordered.
The man looked at her with defiance and then just sat down on the ground. He looked around the room with interest and then laid down. Ko passed by me as she went upstairs. Hmm, Kyoi’s words were definitely unfolding before my eyes. Except Shan and Zhuyu still were pretty good. Speaking of which, where was Kyoi? I expected to see her at the beer pong game. Better not think about it or else she might actually appear before me.
I observed the other people in the room. Someone was on the couch holding a large liquor bottle in his hand. He occasionally took a drink from it. Other people were playing a card game in the center, their eyes lacking focus. Looked like there wasn’t anything to do here for now. I would return upstairs and see what was going on there.
“Tomo, have you seen Kyoi?” Zhuyu asked, appearing behind me without a sound.
“Jeez, it’s just you, Zhuyu. You scared me there for a moment. Uh, I saw her at the beginning of the party but I don’t know where she is right now. Did you need her for something?” I asked.
“No. Just a little curious. I’ll leave you to whatever you were doing before,” Zhuyu replied.
Returning upstairs, I saw a group of people watching a movie in the left part of the living room. On the right side, I saw a man singing as Shui and a few other people watched from the couch. Kisai was near the Christmas tree, hugging a man wearing a grey zip up sweater and glasses. I also saw Ichaival talking to Jen.
It appeared that for the most part, people had started settling down. I walked toward the storage room and saw Tess exit from there.
“Tomo, I see you’re free. Care to join me for some drinks?” Tess asked in a rather monotone voice, much more flat than usual.
“I’m free right now. Sure,” I agreed.
We entered the bar. There were a few people inside, most with their heads down on the table. Shui was still in the corner just consuming shots. Kisai sat on the opposite corner of Shui, conversing with Tai about something.
“Tai, give me ten shots please,” Tess said.
Whoa, wait a minute. Tess, this might be a bad idea. She glanced over at me and I said nothing. Tai nodded as if it were a normal request and started making them. A few minutes later, he poured the completed drinks into ten shot glasses and pushed them in front of Tess.
“Enjoy,” he said.
“Wait, one more thing, five shots for Tomo over here,” Tess added, pointing at me.
I thought we were going to split the original ten. Are you a demon, Tess? I can accept your exceptional prowess in academics and also your excellent athletic skills. But there had to be some kind of limit on what you could do. Before I could refuse, Tai pushed five shot glasses filled with icy blue liquid towards me.
“Zha, I’m surprised this is your first time here. Have you been looking after people?” Tai asked, wiping the table behind the counter.
“Sort of. Speaking of which, you might want to check on Jin’s condition,” Tess advised.
“Nah, he’s fine. At least much better than our other friend. Right, Jin?” Tai asked.
“Yep, I’m doing good. Still pretty sober, ” Jin confirmed, nodding his
Tess looked over at me, high expectations written across her face. I stared at the five shot glasses in front of me. I looked to my left. Shui had seven shot glasses in front of him and he seemed okay. To my right, Kisai was a little flushed but otherwise functionable. He had three shot glasses in front of him and a cup of brown alcohol.
Okay, I could do this, maybe. I had some doubts. But I guess it wouldn’t hurt to try. I would follow Tess’ advice of feeling like a 95 and just go for it.
The bar door opened before I could take a shot. Kyoi walked in and surveyed the room. Oh no, she noticed me. Her eyes locked onto mine and a dangerous smile appeared on her face. Tess, as usual, showed no reaction to her appearance.
“Tess, it seems you finally have made your way to the bar,” Kyoi said, ignoring my shocked look as she took a seat next to Tess.
“I have,” Tess responded, picking up the first of her ten shot glasses.
“Tai, please give me ten as well ,” Kyoi ordered.
Tess placed her shot glass down and looked over at Kyoi. Oh no, oh no. This was not looking good. I could see both their eyes and they did not display pity. An overwhelming sense of dread filled my body and I wanted to run away.
I devoured one shot glass out of nervousness as Tai prepared the drinks for Kyoi. I picked up another glass and drank it. Anything to distract me from the silent battle going on between the two woman right now.
“Here you go,” Tai said, pushing ten shot glasses toward Kyoi.
I now moved onto my third shot, watching in silence the events unfold. Without hesitation, both woman downed all ten shots without any pauses. This was getting too intense and I really wanted to move away. But I felt if I made even a single movement away from the two, something terrible would happen. Finishing all my shots, I asked Tai for two more.
“Hmm, it seems that you’re fine, Tess. Very well, let’s continue then,” Kyoi declared, looking up at Tai.
“So it seems,” Tess responded, nodding her head.
Please, just end this already. The hostility between the two now enveloped the entire room. Those with their heads on the table kept them down in fear of incurring the wrath of the two women. During the wait, I downed the two shots I ordered and waited.
“For both of you. Just don’t destroy the bar, please,” Tai begged and then pushed twenty shots of alcohol towards the two of them.
Like before, both downed ten shots each with smoothness. Kyoi and Tess stared at each other after, their eyes displaying resolve. By now, Shui’s head hit the table. No doubt from the amount of shots he drank. Kisai held his glass of alcohol up, watching the two women battle.
“Okay, okay. You’re pretty tough, Tess. No less from the one they call the Gatekeeper. Fair enough, we’ll settle this with a bottle then,” Kyoi decided.
“Agreed,” Tess said, her voice as flat as ever.
I examined their faces for any signs of intoxication but saw none. Either they had amazing poker faces or their alcohol tolerance was high. Much higher than mine.
I felt the effects of the shots through a slight headache. Tai placed two bottles down on the table and walked towards Kisai’s side. Even he was scared of the potential destruction that might occur if he stayed there too long.
Tess poured the alcohol into cup and chugged it. Kyoi, on the other hand, just drank straight from the bottle. How long could the two continue on without finally succumbing to the eventual side effects? My vision was starting to blur a little as the two finished off the bottle. Both flipped their bottles over as proof that no more alcohol was in it.
“Tess, how are you feeling?” Kyoi asked, a tinge of red finally appearing on her face.
“100 with extra credit. Much better than my usual 95. I might have to admit my defeat on this one,” Tess admitted, her words a little slurred at the end.
“Oh, that might be the best choice for the both of us. However, how about one more to officially end it?” Kyoi suggested.
“Sure. Tai, make sure it’s that of top tier quality, it can’t be a 95. It’s not good enough,” Tess agreed, the slur in her words much more pronounced.
What could I say? This was actually quite an amazing sight to see. Tess actually drunk. But her face still showed no emotions. I guess that would have to wait for another time.
“Oh, one more thing, Tai. Tomo needs some drinks too,” Kyoi added, giving me a brilliant but deadly smile.
I shook my head but Tai did not see it. He poured a glass of cherry colored liquid into three cups and gestured towards them. Kyoi and Tess immediately downed them while I stared at mine.
I happened to glance over at Tess who gave me a thumbs up. She also wrote a 100 with a plus sign after it with the spilled alcohol on the counter. The hell? I checked my right side and saw Kisai’s head on the table. Well of course he would be out. However, his head snapped up and he stood up.
“I guess it’s time to check out the situation in the living room. See you later, Tai,” Kisai declared, walking away as if nothing happened.
How? Were these people just experienced beyond the point of caring anymore? Despite the additional drink, Kyoi appeared fine. Tess displayed signs of inebriation but masked it quite well. I, on the other hand, was struggling to keep my eyes open.
“Tess, you were a worthy opponent. Off to eat some food now. Tomo, I trust that you’ll manage to keep your eyes open,” Kyoi left with those words.
“Indeed,” Tess agreed and then her head plummeted down.
“Uh, Tess, you okay?” I asked, shaking her.
Damn, I couldn’t be concerned about her right now. I needed to worry about myself. As I felt my eyelids droop, I saw Yuka enter. Good, good. She could take care of me….
Synopsis: Somewhere in the universe, there was an altar. On it, laid a bloody eye as big as the sun itself. It burst with light and bathed the entire star system in red.
"The aura of an ancestral artifact!" Someone's voice rose in surprise.
The Great Galactic Era had begun.