Jasper sits on his bed. The trip back to Zone 2 was rough. Not just because of the goodbyes he had to do. Not because It had been two days since he took his last Exceed dose. Not because Ben was trying to patch things up with him. He found himself unsure about everything. He closed his eyes and tried to figure out when it all truly went wrong. What part of his life could’ve been the turning point for him? Was it when Thomas died in the wire punishment?
“Maybe if I put up more of a fight, then we could’ve gotten out sooner? No, that won’t have mattered. The games would’ve still happened. People still would be killed. Lance would’ve continued looking for his replacement. His death was necessary. I’m sure about that. I won’t be like him. I won’t murder players. Not through such childish means anyway. Death is needed. A King is needed—someone who can help the people. I can do it. I know I can. I didn’t have much going for me before. Now, I have a job to do,” Jasper shakes his head, trying to clear the thoughts plaguing his mind.
“JAZZ! IT’S ABOUT TO START!” Amber says from downstairs.
“Would you stop yelling?!” Jasper shouted back. “We were there when they filmed it! Why should I watch something I was in?!”
“Jazzy! Get down here!” Ronda said. “Come on! Let’s watch this before we finish packing!”
Jasper sighed and stood up. His eyes drifted towards his suitcase. He opens the front pocket and takes out a vial of Exceed. He takes a syringe out and injects himself. At first, it feels like fire but then nothing. It takes a moment but then he starts to feel better. Calmer. His thoughts become clear again. Then he heads downstairs.
“Alright, alright. I’m here,” Jasper said, sitting on the couch. “Play it.”
“Excuse me, you may be King now, but you need to put a please on that,” Amber said.
“Please play it,” Jasper said.
“Thank you,” Amber said, playing the video.
Ex-queen Kate appears on the screen maskless. “Hello, my name is Kate Matthews. I used to be Queen Kate. Now, that title no longer belongs to me. But you’re not here to hear about me. You’re here to learn who the new King is. Well, here he is. I’ll let him introduce himself. Give it up to our new King!” Kate moves out of the way, and Jasper takes the stage.
“Here we go,” Jasper says, watching himself.
TV Jasper starts to talk. “My name is Jasper Lee Jones. Some of you may know me as Number 99. throughout this competition, I’ve learned so many things about what it means to be King. It’s more than a title. It’s not just about the money. It’s about carrying the weight of everyone’s pain and hope on your back. So many players lost that chance to show what they could do. You all saw what happened. I won’t forget their sacrifice. I won’t waste this opportunity either. That’s why I want to say right here and now what is at stake for when the next King of the World. I have purchased the entirety of Zone 10. Instead of one winner, we will have many. It will be point-based. Whoever reaches the threshold we will determine at a later date will become a resident of Zone 10. It used to be a dream of mine to go there. Now, I live there. I want those who prove that they can work hard to live there with me. We have five years before it will be ready, but I look forward to seeing which of you has what it takes. Prove yourself worthy. Thank you.”
Jasper grabs the remote and turns the tv off. “I sound insane,” He says, coving his face in embarrassment.
“You sounded like a King. Well, the not crazy ones. I think it’s nice you want to give people the chance to live in Zone 10. I can’t wait to move there. I already have my stuff packed!” Amber said.
“Whatever you choose to do, Jazz.” Ronda intertwines her fingers in his. “I’ll be right there beside you.” She leans in and kisses him.
“I love you, Ronny,” Jasper says, smiling.
“I love you too,” She says back.
“Taylor said they’ll be here in ten minutes,” Amber said, messing on her phone.
“Glad you two are getting along,” Jasper said. “You two got real close on the ride back.”
“It’s not my fault he likes me. Plus, he’s hot, and he saved my life. All points in my book,” Amber said. She stood up and slung her bag over her shoulder. “Hurry up and get your stuff.”
“You’re lucky you’re my friend, or else I’d banish you. I could do that, you know?” Jasper laughed.
“You wouldn’t dare!” Amber snapped. She walks over to the front door and opens it. She frantically waves at something then closes the door. “He’s out there.”
“You packed?” Jasper asked Ronda.
“Yeah, ready to go; you guys go down. I’ll be right behind you.” Jasper hurries upstairs and grabs his bag. With one last look at his old bedroom, he shuts the door and heads out of the apartment.
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