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Table Of Contents
Chapter One: Shit
Chapter Two: The Jasmine Child
Chapter Three: Angels
Chapter Four: Just Keep Running
Chapter Five: Travelers
Chapter Six: Nothing but Snow
Chapter Seven: 31337
Chapter Eight: Perception
Chapter Nine: A Candy Cane Revolution
Chapter Ten: Projected Outcomes
Chapter Eleven: Hometown Horror
Chapter Twelve: Kittens At Large
Chapter Thirteen: A little R and R
Chapter Fourteen: The End Of the World As We Know It
“SHIT.” THE CURSE ECHOED THROUGH the large open space, outmatched in volume only by the crash that preceded it. Material similar to colored glass lay in fragments on the cold cement floor.
“Ugh. Not another one. The boss’ll throw us in if we lose anymore.” The voice was tinged with annoyance but colored with fear.
“It-it’s not my fault! They’re too fragile- they break too e-easily.” A more timid voice stuttered out. “Look at this one! It’s only two old and it’s already so cracked.” There was a small pause, a tense almost silence in which the machines whirred and clanked un-interrupted. “They don’t seem to make them like before.” A slight jostle of thick cloth could be heard as the larger of the two shook their head. Then they sighed, choosing their words before speaking again.
“No, they’re being recycled too quickly. There are too many remnants of their lives left. The marks they make are too deep. They aren’t designed to deal with this. Souls are fragile, when it comes to knowing their own existence- in the modern world where there are too many ways to find their past...” A slow breath passed before it finished. “There are too many holes in the web.”
“I don’t see how that’s something we can help.” The timid one grumbled quietly.
“Well, it’s their job to worry about that. It’s our job to not drop them. So stop dropping them.” The other chuckled a bit, turning over an orb in its large grasp. It was vaguely warm as he placed it inside its new vessel. The process was repeated over and over again until a cool orb was within the grasp of the handler. The temperature wasn’t what halted the process; rather it was the sensation and texture of touching the orb itself.
“What’s wrong?” The timid voice sounded after a long moment, concerned with its partner’s lack of motion.
“Call someone. This one’s awake.”
SWEAT DRIPPED OFF HER FOREHEAD. The little circles the liquid left on the floor were starting to make a pattern on the tile. It was a hot summer day. The girl stared at the beads of salty liquid that splashed down before her in disgust. She had just woken up and yet was already drenched in sweat. She wanted to turn the air up, but she could practically hear her parents scolding her for the waste of electricity. She tried shaking her head to clear up the foggy feeling it held, but that only succeeded in flinging more sweat around.
It was one of those days in which the sun showed no mercy on the living and the skies offered no breeze to lessen the oven-like feel of the mid afternoon. Riko hated this kind of weather. The stuffy air made it difficult to breathe and the temperatures practically glued her bangs to her forehead with sweat.
She hated the dream she had awoken from even more though. Something about it always felt too real to be a dream. It was always foggy, but the voices always said the same thing. Both the fog and their words hung in her mind. Combined with the suffocatingly hot awakening and the mid-day weather she was well on her way to irritated.
Sighing heavily, Riko pulled herself from her chair and ventured towards the kitchen in search of something cool. She stood there, dressed in nothing but boxers and a tank, deliberating her options. She enjoyed popsicles, but in this heat they quickly turned to a sticky mess. Deciding that juice might be the safer option, she ignored the freezer door, opting for the contents of the fridge. Only it stared back at her surprisingly empty. She sighed once again as she slammed that door shut in annoyance.
“Pops it is then.” She grumbled. Riko pulled on the freezer handle - but it was stuck. “Seriously? Just open up.” Now she was annoyed. She gave it a rough tug, and it finally flung open. Only this time the contents had changed and the blast of cold air was more than she had bargained for.
PALE HANDS REACHED OUT TO the tools on the table. A soft sunlight filtered through various colored glass, creating odd designs on its surface. Small fingers danced over various tubes and containers, in search of the one that held just the right color. A gentle voiced hummed out lyrics to the latest love song while a smile played her face.
“Avi, are you ready to go dear?” The girl looked up at the sound of the voice; startled out of her daydream.
“Uh, I’ll be just a minute mom!” She called into the air, blue eyes quickly glancing over her reflection. Once satisfied with her appearance she darted from the room, blonde hair and white dress billowing in a flurry behind her.
Her friends met her at the door and hurried her out into the warm weather. She caught the smiles and returned them sincerely. She didn’t catch the way some of them rolled their eyes or snickered behind her back. She never did.
“Halloween is coming up. What are you all going to be?” She asked the group as they walked to wherever it was that they were going. Avi had told her mom they were going to the park but she honestly didn’t know what the plans were. She was just happy to hang out with her friends. Where they ended up really didn’t matter.
“Are you really still going to dress up? Aren’t you a little old for that?” One of the boys asked, laughing at the sad look that crossed Avi’s face. She glanced at her feet as her face colored pink and the rest of the crew joined in.
“Well - I mean, you can always dress up to give out candy. And the little kids in costume are always so cute!” She defended herself, feeling a little self-conscious.
“That’s true - little Avi would rather play with little kids than hangout with us on Halloween. Baby Avi playing with all the babies.” A girl joked.
“I bet she’ll dress up as an angel this year. Not much of a costumes since she’s already miss purity.” Another chimed in before they all broke out in another round of laughter. Avi laughed along, even though her face flushed in embarrassment.
“Oh C’mon you guys. I can totally pull off a scary costume. Just you see. I’ll have the best one!” She stated confidently. One kid shook his head at her dismissively, but most just ignored her outburst as they had already moved on with their conversation. “I’ll be the best.” She whispered happily to herself. She was already planning the design in her head.
After a few moments of walking they made it to the little shopping outlet at the center of town. Avi loved the little shops and the found the owners to be incredibly friendly. Her friends thought it was boring though. They could have their own opinions. She respected that.
“Hey Avi! Come take some pictures with me!” The group leader called over. The dark haired girl was someone Avi looked up to. She was beautiful and had so many friends. Avi agreed immediately and followed her to the cute photo booth that had just recently been set up. Just after the pair slid into the booth, the dark haired girl paused.
“I’m sorry, I forgot to get quarters for the machine. Hang in here for a second and I’ll be right back with them. I’ll be quick, I promise.” The girl apologized quickly. Before Avi had the chance to offer to use her own quarters, the girl was gone.
“She’s always so thoughtful.” Avi giggled to herself as she waited. The interior of the machine was so very different from the quaint little town they lived in. The walls were painted vibrant colors and the screen that reflected their image was surrounded by little light bulbs. Hesitantly, she reached forward and touched the screen. The machine immediately jumped into action, playing upbeat and almost carnival-like music. The screen changed to show options of silly backgrounds for them to pick. She giggled at how cute it was before realizing that the other girl had been gone for quite a bit.
“Maybe she’s having trouble getting change...” Avi wondered aloud, pulling the heavy red curtain aside. Just as she noticed that all of her friends were gone, the camera clicked on.
“Smile!” The machine called cheerily as the lights in the both lit to a blinding level. Avi screeched as she was tossed backwards through the machine.
When she opened her eyes she wasn’t in the photobooth anymore. She wasn’t even in the shopping center. She sat on a hard cement floor with twenty or so creatures staring at her. The creatures were of varying heights and colors but none came higher than her shoulder. They seemed to be frozen in shock. Some were holding glowing orbs, while others were adorned with goggles and work gloves, but all their eyes were locked on her. Something in Avi found them oddly cute. She pondered if she should feel scared, given what had happened, but the emotion hadn’t quite taken hold. She looked down at her white dress and somehow bare feet. She bit her lip wondering what to do. Then she decided she had to speak.
“Hi, is-is this heaven?” She asked. She wasn’t sure what she wanted the answer to be.
There was a moment of silence and then all hell broke loose.
“WHERE’S THE FIRE KIDDO?” A bouncer called as a boy rounded the corner at a full sprint. The man laughed but the situation was far graver than he would ever realize. The boy ignored the comment. It was made in good jest - but it was far too common an occurrence for him to bother to respond. The boy’s heart was pounding nearly as hard as his head was.
He wasn’t running to catch the bus. He could only wish there was a bus that ran this late. He’d hop on it and never come back. But there were no busses. And there was no one who realized the gravity of the situation. He was a bit bitter about that.
The dark haired boy took a better grip of his jacket as he hopped a low fence - then crawled through a hole he had cut a few weeks before. It was far too warm out for such a heavy coat, but he couldn’t survive without it. It held everything he needed to make it to the morning: a little bit of cash, his phone and enough finished homework to keep the professors from asking questions. It was also his only comfort against sleeping out in the elements at night. He would keep running until he reached the woods, he needed to hurry or he wouldn’t make it before the gate was locked. The barrier was far too high for him to climb. Out there he could stop and breathe easy. Out there no one could spot him and no one would drag him back to where he was supposed to sleep at night. He found it difficult to find sleep in his own home, rest there was full of risk and was rarely peaceful.
Quite a few had watched him run, night after night into the woods. And even more knew his habit was a result of his home life. Some tried to help, while others watched on. It was difficult to change years of tradition. He knew this himself, but the little things people did helped him sleep at night, however futile they may be. So when he saw the pillow and thin blanket placed neatly where he found his nightly refuge he had no questions or hesitations. He simply set up a bed and faded off into another world entirely.
THE MONSTERS LET OUT TERRIFYING cries and screams. They bolted for the edges of the room. Some of the smaller ones dove under the tables. The larger ones backed themselves into corners. Several orbs were dropped, most clattering and rolling away but one shattered on impact.
“W-wait!” Avi cried out softly. She was startled by the sudden adverse reaction. The monsters halted in their tracks but still trembled. “I don’t mean you any harm - really!” She tried to explain, climbing to her feet. She slowly moved towards one of the smaller creatures but it shied away.
As she continued to edge closer its eyes got darker and it’s trembling became more fierce. Just as she was about to reach it a voice stopped her.
“You really shouldn’t mess with them. They’re like cats. They may hide away now but once they’re cornered the claws come out.” A deep voice called out from a walkway above her head. Avi looked up to where the speaker stood. He sighed and slowly made his way down the metal stairs, boots clunking heavily with each step he took. She glanced around the warehouse and couldn’t help but find that the speaker fit the scene with the welder’s mask and heavy blackened work gloves. She didn’t find him to be scary or even the least bit intimidating as he approached however. Something about him felt too familiar for that.
“Hey- hey! W-What’s going on down there?” A younger, far more energetic voice called. Quick footsteps followed and before she knew it, a smaller body shoved past the first speaker. Avi jumped back, startled, as the smaller one nearly crashed into her - his goggles and gloves covered in what looked like soot. The creature that she had cornered used the opportunity to run to a new hiding spot, snarling as it passed her.
“Another traveler?!” The young man called bewildered as he pushed his goggles up on to his forehead so that he could see. His camel like eyes took in her white dress and blonde hair. “Why’s this one got no color?” He spun to look at his partner.
“Kage really did make a mess this time didn’t he.” The older one replied through the welder’s mask with a sigh. The young man’s question was ignored completely. “Waking souls, harassing my workers and now you and the other three. Travelers. He made travelers. I can’t believe him!”
“Well... he was a little stressed out. And you know, he’s got a bit of a short fuse. Maybe he’s finally lost it?” The younger one spoke hesitantly. He wasn’t fond of speaking ill of the firecracker of a person they were referring to. In fact, he actually kind of liked Kage and his antics.
“Lost it? I doubt he ever had it to begin with. That one’s never had his head in one place.” The older one snorted as he slowly made his way to Avi’s side as well. “But this is too far. I don’t care what he does outside these walls. I don’t even care what he does to the worlds. He just can’t go making a mess out of other people’s jobs.” The man started to snarl. Lights flickered on behind the mask. The glow showed eerily behind the face shield in the place his eyes should have sat. They focused in on her as the younger man shrunk back in fear.
“Sorry girlie. But this isn’t heaven - and you’re one angel who is about to take a fall. Watch the travels - the third world’s a doozy.” He lifted his gloved hand to her chest level. His eyes seemed to have her locked in a trance. She couldn’t move from the spot; couldn’t even fathom the idea of resistance. All she saw before she slipped into darkness were those glowing green eyes and the slight outline of a blue orb in his hand.
Cold. That’s all Riko could feel as she struggled awake.
“Over here! There’s another one over here!” A voice fairly close to her called. As she pried her eyes open she could hear the crunching of what seemed to be boots over snow. When her eyes finally focused they confirmed this guess. Everything was white, including the face of the man running towards her. He was bundled head to toe in a dark brown fur, but his face was so white that it was almost translucent.
“Wh-hat?” She stuttered out. Suddenly she was aware just how cold she was. Her bare limbs burned from the contact with the icy material that surrounded her. Her teeth immediately began to chatter as her body worked for a way to warm her up.
“Here. Put this on. I’ll carry you back.” The man was quickly at her side. He wrapped her in warm fur and easily swung her up onto his hip. He was far larger than any man she had ever seen before. With her smaller than average size added to the equation, Riko felt like a child as he carried her with ease. She buried her face in his shoulder, legs dangling as he trekked back to a small gathering of people.
“I found another one. She’s even smaller though, where could they have come from?” The man addressed the group. A few murmurs went around in speculation but no one spoke up confidently.
“Another one? Who is it?” A female voice sounded curiously. Her voice was gentle and sweet and didn’t seem to fit any of the oversized humans in the group. Riko realized she wasn’t the only one who came to that conclusion when the crowd fell to silence. “Hi there! Its okay, they’re pretty nice!” The girl spoke again, closer now.
Riko lifted her head to see who it was that was addressing her. A blonde girl around her own age stared up at her, blue eyes sparkling as she grinned. She was wrapped in the brown fur as well and wore boots that were far too large for her petite frame.
“My name is Avi! I think we might be in Iceland... though they call it Abia” The girl laughed in a friendly manner, the sound of which seemed to bring a twinge of a smile to the faces of the group. Riko herself was almost brought to a smile.
“I’m Riko.” She stated- unsure of what was proper for the situation. “I doubt we’re in Iceland though. Greenland’s the country with all the ice. Iceland had the green fields. It was a marketing ploy.” She added with a shrug. The group shifted uncomfortably in the silence.
“Uhm... nevermind then. Welcome to Abia! Malik is the one who saved us. Isn’t he amazing?” Avi cheered on. This pulled a deep chuckle from the oversized man cradling Riko.
“Oh! Y-yes. Thank you.” Riko said politely as she could. She felt awkward being held in this manner but she didn’t particularly want to risk loosing her toes to the cold either.
“Well then, lets get you two back to the fort. Neither of you should be out dressed like this.” Malik stated firmly, the group falling into line with his words. Another large creature lifted Avi onto his shoulder as they walked.
Riko couldn’t help but feel a little jealous of the girl’s long legs and thin frame as they progressed. She watched the pale girl wave her delicate hands through the air as she chattered with an endless enthusiasm. Riko herself was slightly short and still carried what her mother called ‘cute baby fat’. Watching the way Avi’s face lit up as she spoke seemed to brighten the eyes of the group but it wore Riko down. She really only wanted to go back to sleep, to wake up in her own home. But something gave her the feeling that this time, it wasn’t a dream. It might have been how vivid the world was or maybe the way the cold ate at her but this felt real, as unlikely as that should have been.
The fort was actually a series of small homes surrounded by the snow. Riko was amazed at the volume of the white stuff and at the way the little town seemed to incorporate it into everything from walkways to layers of insulation around their homes.
“Don’t you ever get sick of all this snow?” She asked. Several members looked at her in surprise.
“What do you mean?” Malik replied, boots crunching at a steady pace beneath them. “There is nothing besides the snow. This is just how it is. There’s nothing to get sick of.” He explained as they entered one of the larger buildings.
“That’s ... kind of sad.” Riko muttered. She was already sick of the snow. She wanted things to be a little colder, not to enter a frozen tundra.
“What do you mean? I think it’s wonderful! The snow is so gorgeous.” Avi laughed full heartedly. The group laughed as well, but Riko could tell that some of them were laughing at the bubbly girl rather than with her.
“Okay. Here we are. The hospital. This is where you two can stay until we figure out what you are.” Malik stated, setting Riko onto her feet.
“Sir - such dark hair. Do you think she’s infected?” A thin, but equally tall figure approached swiftly, addressing Malik. That’s when Riko noticed that despite the dark color of the boots and fur, the skin of the people was extremely pale. Their eyes were all almost crystalline and their hair hardly had any color at all. Avi had very similar tones to the over sized people but was in full color rather than their washed out coloring. Riko on the other hand had dark brown eyes and black hair. She most definitely stood out. Her Asian heritage did not have space for blonde hair and blue eyes.
“What do you mean infected?” She asked the thin man directly. “Are you a doctor?”
The man jumped back, clearly fearful of the small Asian girl. He kept a sizable distance between the two, Riko would have to move if she wanted to touch him.
“I - yes. There are many patients here that are very ill. You can see them in the room around you. And we have had two others like yourself already appear. So very... dark.” The doctor explained. Riko already didn’t like the man. He didn’t seem to like her either.
“Doctor- we need your help! We’re losing her!” A woman, which appeared to be a nurse called over. The group had dispersed earlier, but now Malik and the doctor left the girls’ sides - leaving them to explore the large building on their own.
“What do you say we go visit the sick? I think we could cheer them up!” Avi suggested, the sudden outburst startling Riko.
“Sure. I guess.” The floor felt icy under her bare feet as they approached the beds. The people were buried under layers of fur, but looked no warmer for it. Some didn’t even look like they were still alive. Each one had the same pale skin, but on the sicker ones the skin had become so translucent that their face appeared blue.
“Why do they look so blue?” Avi questioned suddenly, concern expressed clearly on her face.
“They have no skin coloring, so we can see their blood.” Riko replied almost instantly. Her parents were pushing her into the medical field so she had been doing her best to learn about anatomy.
“But isn’t blood red? Shouldn’t they be turning red?” Avi’s line of questions continued.
“Blood is only red when it has oxygen. Inside the body it tends to be blue, except where its carrying air. And when they’re this cold... I guess they aren’t getting that much air into their blood.”
“Oh.” Avi didn’t know what else to say. She didn’t realize that people being sick was so complicated. When she was sick her mother would make her soup, bring her medicine and make sure she slept. It was simple and she would always feel better. To think that someone didn’t have that kind of recovery both confused and depressed her.
“Let’s warm them up then! My grandmother always said that making people smile warmed their heart. Let’s see some smiles!” Avi cheered, marking the end of her speech with a little leap of joy, before running off to find a patient who was actually awake.
“Her enthusiasm is going to kill me.” Riko groaned.
“Oh, pardon the little doll. The dear is a new soul. The poor thing can’t help it, as pitiful as that may be.” Riko jumped as a male appeared at her side. He winked at her before turning to watch the blonde try to cheer up one of the patients on the far side of the room. They couldn’t hear what she was saying, but she jumped around with joy and a level of energy Riko wasn’t sure she’d ever had.
The boy didn’t belong here. She knew that the moment heard his voice. It’s wasn’t as rough as the oversized humans she had seen so far and his manner of speech was something else entirely. He was also much smaller than the creatures, about the size of an average male, maybe a bit on the thinner side. He had light brown hair in what looked like a faux hawk under his black hood, and mischievous hazel eyes. His clothing was the final clue. Wrapped up in a black hooded cloak, the only thing fur about him was the puff of fur that lined the very edge of the hood and the tassels that tied the collar together.
“This is your fault somehow isn’t it?” Riko didn’t know how or why she thought that, but somewhere deep in her gut she knew he was the reason she wasn’t in the discomfort of her own home. The boy didn’t say anything nor did he meet her gaze, but the grin that hit his face as she spoke answered her question.
“Because.” He giggled a bit.
“Because what?” She snapped. He was being evasive and she did not appreciate it.
“Because, why not?” He asked in a childish manner, eyes flashing to meet hers. To add to her annoyance he then stuck his tongue out at her. “You worry too much and act too little.” And then he was gone. Riko doubted anyone else had seen him. After all, Avi was way too involved in whatever it was that she was trying to do and Malik and the doctor were trying to solve a medical crisis on the other side of the room.
Riko stood in place and tried not to think. Thinking always got her into so much trouble. It made her realize awful things that sheer ignorance would let her enjoy. Like how the people in the beds around her were all probably going to die. Avi could laugh and play, trying to get them to smile, but Riko knew there was very little hope for them. Warming their heart was going to do nothing to save them. And she knew there was nothing she could do about it. So she wouldn’t do anything.
“You worry too much and act too little.” She whispered, repeating the boy’s criticism. It was like the boy only popped up to tell her that. To tell her something she already knew. She chose not to act; taking action was pointless to her. Yet still the statement was still nagging at her. Like he was daring her to do something, challenging her to change.
“Do you know what’s wrong with them?” She asked, finding herself next to the doctor. “If we know the problem we can make a cure.”
“Not a clue. Now get out of our way. They already have one illness, they need not catch yours as well.” He hissed, maneuvering around the patient’s bed. Riko took in the woman’s blank stare and motionless body and knew immediately that she was already gone.
“You might as well stop trying. She’s well past dead now.” Riko stated calmly, gaining everyone’s attention once again.
“How do you know?” Avi asked sadly. She had never witnessed death before. She had expected it to be something kind of beautiful, something magical. But it seemed instead a bit harsh and in some ways fake. The doctor glared at the two girls he still viewed as intruders.
“She’s not breathing. Her eyes are not moving and I bet if you check her pulse there’s nothing. My grandmother looked just like this when she passed away.” Riko stated. To her death just was. You lived then you died. She didn’t fear death, just dying in a painful way. Once you were gone you were just gone. Maybe you’d be reborn as someone else, but that’s no longer your life so she didn’t feel as though she had to worry about it.
“The girls right. She’s dead.” Malik stated. “What do you mean by pulse? What is that?” He questioned the small girl. To him, anything they could do to learn could help them survive.
“It’s their heartbeat. Everyone has one if they’re alive. No heartbeat, no life.” She explained, a bit worried they didn’t know that. She thought that was something everyone knew.
“Crazy talk.” The doctor dismissed. “Her and that boy. The darkness is messing with their heads. She keeps going on about these things that don’t exist just like him. He and his ‘heat makers’.” He grumbled, eyes fixed in a glare upon her.
“What do you mean by ‘that boy’?” Avi asked innocently. The doctor’s gaze softened a bit when he looked at her sweet innocent expression but he remained tense.
“He’s in quarantine. Showed up a bit before you both. Darker skinned, dark eyes and dark hair. Every thing about him is dark. That can’t be healthy.” The doctor explained. “And he keeps going on and on about turning on some kind of heat maker. A furnace? Is that what the boy called it?”
The nurse nodded her head. In all her years she had never heard of anything that could possibly make heat, yet the boy seemed rather adamant that not only it existed but that they should increase its power immediately. He certainly seemed crazy, but the nurse couldn’t deny that it would be nice to really be warmed by something for once. Nothing but the people themselves could warm anything. Heat belonged to the living and moving - not the inanimate. It was crazy talk to hear about an inanimate object making heat, so as nice as it sounded she dare not share that particular thought with the others.
“He asked you to turn the furnace on?” Riko questioned in disbelief. She hadn’t seen a furnace since she had toured a famous old house on a field trip. Everything had gone to electric heating as far as she had known. Some houses had a fireplace for show but only really old homes still boasted a true furnace. “He still uses those clunky things?” The nurse gave her an odd look.
“You know - you know what he’s talking about? You know what a furnace is?” The woman asked in awe.
“Of course I do. It’s basically a machine that makes hot air. The hot air gets circulated in little pipes through the rooms which makes them warmer.” She explained. Avi seemed to appear proud of Riko’s expertise but the Doctor had a dark look in his eye.
“She’s definitely infected.” He growled. “She needs to go.” Malik took a step closer to the small Asian.
“Do you really think she should? She might be able to help us.” He questioned grimly. The doctor nodded, and before they knew it both girls were firmly detained.
“Toss them in with the boy. We can’t risk this infection to spread as well. We’d have to deal with the dying and the delusional.” The doctor finished, turning back to his already dead patient. “And I need to try and save this woman.”
The girls were roughly forced through a doorway and into a much smaller white room. White seemed to be the color of this world: white rooms, white snow, white faces. Riko doubted that they even knew of other colors besides the whiteout their world and the brown of the creatures they killed.
They were locked in, the heavy click of the bolt notifying them of that very fact.
“Well, now what?” Riko asked, more to herself than the rather ditzy blonde. “That- that was pretty rude. All we were trying to do was help.” Avi muttered, a little put off her usual pep. Riko found herself a little disappointed that the other seemed to lose her enthusiasm. It actually made her feel a little sad, though she couldn’t really place why.
As she took in her surroundings, she noticed there were two beds; one empty and neatly made, the other holding an occupant with messy brown hair.
“That must be the boy they kept talking about. Dark hair, tan... Is he seriously sleeping right now?” Riko couldn’t believe that someone could be so at ease as a prisoner, much less sleep through his imprisonment.