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Two Cards, One Fool

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The subway wasn't as crowded as he'd expect. It was approaching midnight, but it seemed like the car was almost abandoned. There was him, Minako, a couple of drunks, and a mother with her sleeping toddler. The train was silent for everybody else, but the soft music in his ears relaxed his nerves. Wasn't Minako talking about something happening at night? He didn't really listen, but it seemed the rambling had caused her to fall asleep, her head lolling to the side, on top of their combined luggage.

 

It had been a long trip, moving to Tatsumi Port Island in a moment's notice. They'd gotten asked to transfer to a school there, the letters currently resting in his hands, rolled up. At least he heard their dorm wasn't a big one, apparently having only 3 or 4 people staying there. He knows his sister wouldn't mind with a big dorm, but he surely would. Maybe that's why they were going there.

 

Minako did a lot for him. They were almost like polar opposites, she was extroverted and creative while he preferred being alone. People are often surprised when she says they're twins, with a smile on her face. It's contagious most of the time. She had so much energy that it surprised him, almost every night she would stay up till midnight and still be able to function in class. That was nearly impossible for him.

 

One night he had tried, much to her discomfort, but he'd fallen asleep right before 12. She catechized him that morning, while he was making breakfast. He'd never let her go near a kitchen, especially after what happened one day.

 

The train started to lull to a stop. Minato took out his headphones just in time to hear a tune go over the intercoms.

 

" Now arriving, Iwatodai Station. Iwatodai Station. "

 

He gently nudged Minako, laying his headphones around his neck, not bothering to turn the music off. She woke up with a start, blinking her eyes rapidly as she looked around confused. "We're already there? It must be late…" She checked her phone, before grabbing her two bags. Minato grabbed his own, a direct contrast to her own. She decorated hers with cute stickers, fitting with the pink of it. His own bag had nothing and was a dull blue.

 

They were so different.

 

"It's almost 12." Minako sighed as they existed the train, the toddler crying in the background. She shivered a bit, patting her pockets for their map. "Aren't you tired, Mit?" She stopped to look up at Minato, her nickname for him making her sound more mocking.

 

He gently pushed her shoulder in annoyance as she started to laugh. She covered her mouth, pulling out the map in her pocket in one fell swoop. "Alright, let's see where we need to go."

 

The cold subway's rings call out. " The time is now 12 AM. The time… "

 

The lights go out. The jingle cut off suddenly, and the few people around them suddenly disappeared. In there place was coffins, the entire station turned a dull green. The moon from the outside casted the place in an unearthly glow of yellow. He could feel himself getting sleepier, his legs couldn't hold him up as he fell to the ground.

 

Minako tried to catch him, but he couldn't hear her scream as he slowly lost consciousness.





Minato woke up from the apparent nightmare. He was already starting to lose memory of it, something about a train station?

 

He sat up quickly from the bed, looking around. He was in a dorm room of some sorts, sunlight streaming in from the windows. Probably his own, he'd have to guess. His luggage was sitting next to the door, a note taped to the front of it. Looking down, it seemed he was in his clothes from last night, his shoes left next to his bed. Getting out of bed, he raised a hand to his forehead. He felt a headache coming on as he stumbled over to his luggage. He could handle a simple headache.

 

" You wouldn't wake up this morning, and you almost had a fever. Don't worry, I'll tell the teachers! - Minako "

 

Minato crumbled up the note, tossing it into a trashcan next to the desk. There wasn't a point in trying to rush to school, one check of his phone confirmed it was early in the afternoon. He can't believe he missed a day, but that's just going to be that. But did he have a fever?

 

Minus the headache, he felt fine. His eyes drifted to the bottle of pills and key setting on the sink. The key must be his dorm room key, and the pills for his fever. That he was pretty sure he slept off. One glance in the mirror, however, and he was starting to believe the note.

 

His hair was going in all sorts of places, his clothes were messy, and his eyes looked like he hadn't been asleep for days. The headache was starting to become more fierce. All at once, he was beginning to get dizzy. He briefly noted that this was familiar, but not from where.

 

Steadying himself on the sink's edge, he looked over at his luggage. He should change out of his uniform. That was what he was wearing, right? Or maybe Minako changed him... he wouldn't put it past her, but a shiver ran up his spine all the while.

 

He decided against it, figuring he'll wake up in a few hours. He'd have to wash them then. But for now, his bed was calling him again. He couldn't even muster up the energy to take some of the pills, instead stumbling over to his bed, hitting the covers without the energy to properly put himself in.

 

~ ~ ~

 

"Welcome to the Velvet Room."

 

Minako blinked, yawning as she looked up. The train was moving at a slow pace, but it was different. The entire car was blue, the seats just happened to be a darker shade. It took her a moment to realize the man sitting across from her, a wooden desk with papers and a feather in an ink bottle. She cringed at how long his nose was, before realizing he was speaking.

 

"Do not worry, you are fast asleep in the real world. This is a place between mind and matter, dream and reality." The man's mouth hardly moved. Minako shivered, this man was really freaking her out. So was this train - she was on route to Iwatodai with her brother! Not in a blue train! It felt too real to be just some dream, though.

 

"My name is Igor." The nose-man stated, matter-of-factly. "Although you do not have a contract at the moment, it does not mean that you can't make one now."

 

A piece of paper flew from the man's desk, landing in Minako's lap. She hadn't been able to really feel herself until then, only know. This entire thing was confusing her!

 

She subconsciously looked down at the paper, almost as if she didn't have a will of her own. The fine print was nothing more than scribbles to her, but she raised a pen (when did she get a pen? Had it always been in her hand?) and signed her name at the bottom.

 

The paper and pen flew back to Igor. "You are now our guest in the Velvet Room. I wish to explain more, but it seems our time for now is up. We will be seeing each other a lot in the near future."

 

Minako wanted to ask him what Igor meant by that, especially the "our" part, since the train was pretty much empty. But her vision started to dim around the edges, and no matter how hard she tried, her eyes closed.




Minako started to sway, something was poking her at the side. She jumped awake, looking around before calming down to see Minato. And other people. She had a suspicion about Igor already. "We're already there? It must be late." Minako begun, giving a little yawn. Her mind getting rid of Igor and her strange dream, she started to focus on the time. One check from her phone proved it, it was nearing 12.

 

Strange things happened at 12. The sky turned green, the moon turned yellow. Most of the entire world transformed into bloody coffins. Ever since they were little, they'd experienced this situation. Every night, she'd had been able to get Minato to sleep before the hour.

 

There was no explanation. She'd given up on trying to explain this a long time ago, instead just getting told off of her being grief-stricken. Dark beings would travel the towns they were in, screaming and growling. She'd seen what happened once, when someone who wasn't a coffin was caught. It was like a predator feasting on prey, like they hadn't eaten in months.

 

The cleaver in one of her bags was more of a comfort than anything.

 

Grabbing both of the bags, she started to exit with Minato. "It's almost 12." Minako mumbled, shivering from fear. She could easily say it was from the cold, however. Why'd they have to arrive in their uniforms again? She'd much rather be in something more warm. "Aren't you tired, Mit?" Minako smiled at her nickname for him, trying to find their map. He playfully shoved her, forcing her to burst out in laughter.

 

She covered her mouth, yanking out the map when she felt it, trying to catch her breathe. "Alright, let's see where we need to go." Minako wheezed out.

 

The desolate subway's rings call out. " The time is now 12 AM. The time… "

 

Minako stopped laughing instantly, going cold with fear. As she expected, the world started to change. The walls, the sky, the blood . More importantly, Minato was here. Awake. And he was falling.

 

She caught him right before he hit the ground, but his eyes were closed. His breathing was easy. That's one fear checked off.

 

As she looked around, she could already hear it. The croaking, the grumbling, the screaming . She needed her cleaver, she needed to get him out of there.

 

Gently setting him on the ground, she tore open one of her bags, shifting through the clothes to find a small black bag. Minako tore it open, not caring in the slightest, and took the cleaver by the handle. It was easy to lie, to say this was just for cooking in the dormitory when people asked.

 

She put the cleaver in her mouth, holding it by the handle, as she went back over to Minato. Picking him up, bridal style, she started to sprint through the streets. She could come back before the nightmares ended to grab their things, but right now it was a life-or-death situation. Thank any being that Minato was asleep.

 

Ever since they were little, she trained herself. It wasn't often that the monsters gotten close to her or Minato, but she had to be prepared. Carrying Minato wasn't a big deal, nor was the weapon in her mouth.

 

She kept an eye on things she passed - gaudy signs and coffeeshop doors. She sidestepped into an alleyway, hiding behind a few trash bins. She placed Minato down gently, pulling her weapon out of her mouth and scanning the area. The noises weren't as loud as the station, and from a quick few glances around some corners proved to her that the area was safe. As safe as it could be.

 

She let herself slide down the wall next to Minato, exhaling a breathe she didn't know she could hold. "I should've forced him to ride an earlier train." Minako huffed out.

 

A screech alarmed her, too close for comfort. Way too close. Hopping to her feet, she went alongside the wall closest to the street, leaning just out of the alleyway to see a giant monster. One bigger than she had ever seen before, one of the things . It seemed to be in.. pain?

 

Another monster, floating in the air, had attacked it. She’d never seen any of the monsters attack each other , and none of them looked as, well not black, as it was. It was huge, reminding her of some sort of super-hero, including a silver gun on it's left arm. It's "armor" seemed to be apart of it, as blonde "hair" flowed down from where it's head would be. The monster screeched some more, launching itself at the floating one.

 

"Polydeuces!" She heard someone scream. Someone else was out there! Taking a glance back at Minato, she figured she could go help. For a bit. And then she had to go back to Minato.

 

Swinging her cleaver around in her hand, she shouted out a warcry before slashing the monster in the back.