Taitle was crumbling. Literally. One moment, it was that glorious steampunk city glistening in the sunlight. Now, is was nothing more than a crumbling mass of steel and stone, with steam and smoke obscuring most of the destruction to any eye that would be watching from outside. Soon, the mass would be reduced to rubble, and the rubble would be reduced to nothing.
Amidst the chaos, people fled in all directions. All contestants that had either been in the middle of battle or resting. No one knew who caused the chaos or how, let alone why. It was confusing for everybody. Nevertheless, an emergency was an emergency, and the number one rule in all emergencies was to get the hell out.
One such contestant had just tripped on the floor while running. The short boy panted as he lay face flat on the ground.
Get up, the voice that had forever existed in his head hissed. Get up!
“I am. . .” the boy groaned. He pushed himself up and away from the ground with his hands. But these hands weren’t human. These hands had three fingers on each, thumb included. The same went for his feet. But no further detail of his appendages could be seen, for they were wrapped in bandages—why was anybody’s guess. He wore a long beige jacket with brown pants underneath. He possessed no other garment to conceal the rest of his turquoise skin, other than another bundle of bandages covering his chest, the tell-tale sign of having fought a certain come-to-life resin statue. Standing up, he ran a hand through his sleek dark cyan hair. He tightened his gray scarf around his throat as his coal black eyes searched for trouble. That was something he didn’t want nor need; given the situation, no one did.
You shouldn’t be hesitating, the voice said. You have to get out. . . quickly. . . or you’ll die with the city.
“I know that,” the boy huffed, his fish-finned ears twitching. “I just don’t know which way I should go. . .”
Suddenly, an explosion rang out just above him. He looked up to see a bridge falling down, large chunks of it aiming for a direct hit on his head. Quickly, he dashed forward, not daring to look back. He kept running, heart beating with panic.
Unfortunately, he was far too quick. Just as he thought he saw an open square, a brilliant light suddenly shone before him, blinding him instantly. Skidding to a stop, he shielded his eyes with his arms.
He was not the only one who had been taken by surprise by this beacon of radiance. Several others had seen it, too. Four were children who happened to be experts at building machines. One was an orphan who swept chimneys clean for a living. One was a vampire who had somehow dragged a cat-girl along with him into the mess. Two were a duo of magic-using treasure hunters, their power useless in the moment, for they were exhausted. One was a necromancer, mistress of her dolls, who had barely escaped the control of her malfunctioning headgear. One was a psychopathic walking resin statue, now in shards, a raven perched on what was once his face. One was a cloth mannequin, right next to said statue and raven, petrified by whatever events had transpired minutes before. Two were a married couple, the bride beside her bleeding groom, in as much shock as the doll she had borrowed a pickaxe from.
And there were more. Beyond the island shone the beacon. A few more found their eyes trailing towards it. One was a half-demon, a gigantic paintbrush by his side, relaxing in a meadowy hill when the odd sight struck his eyes. Walking down a cobblestone street some distance from, shuffling his tarot cards, a boy with long black bangs and a cap covering his eyes looked up to find the column. On the other side of Taitle, a little girl playing on her Nintendo DS saw it as well, her demonic and voluntary minions panicking about.
All of them and more had seen the light.
Then they saw nothing.