“I don’t understand,” Jasper said. “What does King want with me?”
“We’re not gonna spoil the surprise. Just know you’re safe, and that’s all that matters. You know this is kind of your fault. We told Jason to bring you and only you. If you would’ve kept your mouth shut, then they might have lived longer. Not too much longer, but still,” Jessie said. “Alright, everyone, pick your favorite. Since theirs three, we all got one to ourselves.”
“I want him,” Rose pointed towards Lance. “He’s kind of cute.”
“Of course you’d pick him. Fine, I’ll take the eyepatch guy. Oh, I don’t think I introduced myself. I’m Damon or The Diamond Knight. Pleasures all mine.”
“Aw man, I get stuck with him. I knew I should’ve picked first,” Jessie said.
“Don’t we get a ******’ say in this?” Josh asked.
“Oh, I think he’s mad,” Rose laughed. “No, you don’t. As for you, Jasper, you wait here. King will be here soon. We’ll give the rest of you a headstart. 30 seconds. The real hunt begins.” Rose took out a long sword and brandished it. “I’ll slice you up real good. Don’t you worry, okay?”
“Heh, I wasn’t. Just don’t be too disappointed when you lose,” Lance said, smirking.
“You act tough now but will see. I’ll have you begging for your life in no time,” Rose said, winking at him. “You should start running. You have plenty of hiding spaces down here. Also, FYI, the elevator doesn’t work anymore, and the “car” Jason promised never existed. Please don’t make this boring.”
“What she said. I’ve been looking forward to this. Don’t let me down, guys,” Jessie said, holding a pistol in his hand and aiming it at Franklin. “I’ll let you choose how you die. Between the eyes or multiple shots in the body? Or should I surprise you?”
“Got to catch me first, *******,” Franklin said.
“Hey, eyepatch. You don’t mind if I take my time, do you? I barely saw any action this entire game. Try not to die quickly, okay?” Damon said, moving his coat to the side so they could see his collection of knives.
“******’ hell,” Josh said under his breath.
“You need to get out, Jaz,” Lance said. “Forget about us and go. While they’re hunting us, you can find a way.”
“Like hell! I’m not leaving you guys!” Jasper shouted. He didn’t care that death was only a few feet away from them. “We made it this far; we’re so close.”
“Hate to ruin your little pep talk, but you can’t leave without King’s permission. All the exits are sealed. We’re under strict orders not to kill you but…” Rose crossed the room and held her sword to Jasper’s neck. “He never said we couldn’t hurt you.”
“Your king doesn’t seem like the type to honor loopholes,” Jasper said.
“Maybe. Maybe not. Doesn’t matter. You do anything I don’t like, and I’ll choo you up into little pieces. Everyone makes mistakes. I’m sure King will understand,” Rose smiled. “At any rate, go on, boys. That timer starts now.”
“Guys, let’s go. We can meet up…” Suddenly, Josh felt a sharp pain in his shoulder. He looked down and saw a blade sticking out.
“Whoops, my hand slipped,” Damon laughed. “Get going before it does that again.”
“Josh!” Jasper said.
“I’m fine,” Josh said, pulling the knife out. “Agh! Bad idea. Don’t you go dying on us, Jaz. I better see you later. Or else.” Josh’s voice sounded weak. He felt bad for him. “Hey, don’t give me that pitty. I’m fine. You’ll see.” Josh looked at Franklin. “Give ’em hell.”
“You too,” Franklin said. Then he looked at Lance. “You be careful too.”
“Aw, I didn’t know you cared,” Lance laughed.
“I take it back. Go die,” Franklin laughed, then ran out of the room with Josh and Lance behind him. The door closed automatically behind them. Their footsteps echoed through the hallway.
“Spunky group. Wonder how long they’ll last?” Damon asked.
“Ten minutes tops,” Jessie said.
“That’s generous,” Damon said. “Eyepatch wishes he had that little time.”
“Well, boys, times up. Let’s go hunting,” Rose skipped towards the door. “Later, Jazzy!”
“Man, you are one lucky *******, you know that?” Jessie said, walking past Jasper.
“Have fun, Mr. Jones. You’ve earned this,” Damon said as all three of them left Jasper alone.
Jasper stood there frozen. He’d never been so afraid in his life. “How could they be so happy about murdering them. They act like this is a game.”
“That’s because it is, Jasper.”
Jasper’s head shot towards the door, and the last person he wanted to see was standing there. “The hell do you want?”
King walked past him and sat on the floor. “That’s why I like you. Well, one of the reasons. You’re a fighter, Jasper. And a leader. You got what it takes to replace me. That’s why I choose you. I want you to be the next King.” Kings mask mimicked a volume indicator. Every time he spoke, the bars would go up. “What do you say?”
“You what?” Jasper asked.
“Please have a seat. We have a lot to talk about,” King gestured to the spot in front of him. When he saw Jasper hesitate, he sighed. “I’m not armed if that’s what you’re worried about.”
Jasper sat down where he was. Far enough that he could run if he needed to. Or ready himself for a fight. “What?”
“So rude. And to think I brought someone here just for you. She wanted to congratulate you in person,” King said as the door opened behind Jasper. “Well, say hello.”
Jasper turned around, and his heart sank. “Ronda?”
“Jasper,” Ronda asked as tears ran down her face.
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