((Heavily inspired by this wonderful intermission
.))Music pounded in the woman?s ears. She was entirely alone in a sea full of people. Her movements were slow and deliberate. Minoko was dancing, same as everyone else, but she had to be careful not to spill her drink. The concoction was some sort of raspberry martini, colored a violent red. She was lost, both in her drunkenness and in the establishment itself. Where exactly was she? Restlessness got the best of her very often, that was for sure, but it didn?t necessarily take her here. Here? Her movements ceased. Dark eyes began to take in the room. There were numerous lights flashing everywhere: blue, purple, pink, green. Everything appeared to her in a thick, foggy haze. Another glance around told her that she was most definitely still in Rhy?Din. The empty air reaching from the dance floor to the ceiling was filled with floating platforms. Scantily clad women of several different races were dancing atop them, surrounded by colored rings. She wondered to herself if the rings were to prevent the women from falling or if they were there simply to add to the ambiance. Of course, some of them had wings. It wasn?t really possible for a fairy to fall, was it?
?Ah!? A man?s elbow had flown into her back. She stumbled forward. Her drink did not follow. Raspberry cocktail sloshed backwards, spilling onto some trendy dress that she most certainly did not own in real life. An inevitable string of curses was let out as Minoko began to work her way through the crowd. The typically graceful woman was anything but on this night. Her feet were clad in black heels that had only been worn twice before. Both outings had apparently not given her enough practice in the shoes. Minoko grabbed onto arm after arm to keep upright. No one acknowledged her presence.
After what seemed to be several minutes Minoko emerged from the dense crowd. In front of her lay a single door. The telltale female symbol told her that this was exactly what she had been looking for. Without taking a glance back, she dashed into the room. Instantly her arm raised up to shield her face from the nearly blinding light. A few steps were taken backwards as her right hand felt along the spot where the door had previously been. Though those strangers hadn?t acknowledged her, it appeared the nexus had.
Her body slowly began to relax. Minoko?s closed eyes did not prevent her from taking in the general atmosphere of the room. A lone piano set the tone for a grand party. Numerous feet shuffled this way and that. Little chatter could be heard. Her eyelids drifted upwards. In front of the woman lay a massive ballroom. Each well-dressed guest donned a mask, causing Minoko to feel entirely naked at this masquerade.
No one will recognize me anyway. The hardly reassuring thought was what gave her the courage to push away from that wall and seek out the nearest source of alcohol. She would get extremely drunk, fall asleep somewhere and wake up back in a familiar inn. It was the same thing she always did when the nexus set its eye on her. But just as Minoko reached out to grab a glass of champagne from a waiter?s tray, someone grasped onto her hand. The waiter disappeared as Minoko turned to face a man who was about the same height as her, thanks to those heels. His face was framed by shoulder length silver hair, and eyes that were a shade of the purest blue peered at her from behind a black mask. It was when Minoko opened her mouth to speak that the stranger rested his hand on her waist and swept her away in a dance.
Despite the fact that Minoko had never attended a formal ball in her life, she easily kept up with the man. He did not make it difficult. The faint smile that he wore was both mesmerizing and encouraging. She studied him, like she did most people, in an attempt to discover his motives. Was he drunk? Was he simply trying to sleep with her? That wasn?t the vibe she was getting. The man felt strangely familiar. That mask would have to go. She attempted to pull her hand away from his, but the man?s grip held. Frustrated, Minoko?s gaze shifted to their hands. It was then that her face lit up with recognition.
His knuckles bore scars, and she knew exactly how he had gotten them. Years ago, Minoko had been trapped in a burning building. As boys tended to do when they were frustrated, he had punched a wall. How had she not seen it before? No one else even had skin like that: pale, but with hints of the loveliest of blues. ?Olanis.? The name came out in a rush of excitement. Her head tilted upwards, and she could immediately feel tears stinging at the corners of her eyes. It was really him. The half-moon elf was back from the dead, if only for a night. A shaky hand effortlessly lifted and gripped onto the corner of his mask.
Before the mask could be removed a sickening noise echoed through the air. The people surrounding her continued to dance, making it apparent that only Minoko had noticed the sound of metal swiftly cutting through flesh. It made sense that things would be that way. She took a step back and allowed Olanis?s now headless body to crumple to the floor. A small girl wielding a sickle five times her size stood behind him. Though her face was obstructed by waves of ocean colored hair that spilled onto the floor, Minoko was fully aware of the assailant?s identity. Her lips curved upward into a confident grin as a surreal sense of hope surged through her. This time would be different. She was in front of him, present during this horrible incident. That much meant that she could save him. After all, resurrection was only a phone call away. The piano tune?s tempo had increased to an insanely fast pace. Still, the people danced. Minoko charged at the girl. Four running steps were taken before Minoko lost her footing. The heels that were intended to give a height advantage had ruined her balance, and she found herself plummeting to the ground. Outstretched hands broke her fall. Minoko?s panicked gaze quickly swept up, only to see the scythe?s point aimed at her neck. She cried out as the blade made impact, spilling her blood. Somehow she could still see, and Minoko watched as the ever growing puddle was disturbed by the party?s guests. Nothing would break their stride.
There was that feeling again. It pounded through her head and ran through her body. The constant throbbing in her neck was intensified, an accompaniment to the sensation that told her she was losing her mind. Bare feet fell onto the wooden floor. Minoko stood there briefly before abruptly dropping to her knees. Hands reached out to pull open the bottom drawer of her dresser, which was empty except for a lone bottle. She could only read two of the words on it: Jameson and whiskey. The rest of it was nonsense, words that were lost to her mostly illiterate mind. She wrestled the cap off the bottle and tossed it to the side. With the ferocity that she drank the liquor an observer might think that she had been lost in the desert for days, that maybe the bottle held water instead of whiskey. Sadly, that wasn?t the case. Soon enough she pulled away. A few sputtering coughs came from her as she slumped backwards against the side of her bed. ?F*ck, f*ck, F*CK!? Her shaking had subsided. Now she sat completely still. The alcoholic warmth was enough to distract her from the ache in her heart and the pain in her neck. But still, her mind was racing.
She started to sob.