Discord Ch. 8: Lurking Around

[Discord is a very old passion project I have long since abandoned due to a severe amount of plotholes. I’ve been slowly posting edited versions of the chapters.]

(This one has a lot more editing. I found a lot I wanted to add to it, and I think it came out well. Not as well as my current work, but I like it!)

        Do you know those dreams that you instantly forget when you wake? Y’know you’ve completed almost all of your REM cycles until you’re startled from your rest as your dream just…poofs away. Well, that day, you guessed it, he instantly woke up to a sharp pain in his side and his dream fizzled away. He quickly sat up, and when his eyes adjusted he saw David sitting on the edge of the bed with a sly grin. Max bitterly assumed that it was the Umbra who had hit him.

        “Morning sunshine,” the boy greeted.

        Max blinked twice, the cogs in his brain moving ever so slowly to make sense of his words.

        He was only able to drowsily muster, “What do you want?”

        David rolled his eyes, his smirk relaxing into a small smile, “Silvia wants to see you.”

        Max looked around. Everyone’s beds were empty except Silvia’s and David’s.

        David answered his question for him, “Silvia woke up early to plan. As for me, I’m a bit of an insomniac.” He shrugs nonchalantly.

        Max, too tired to keep a conversation, let out a long sigh and stood up, stretching his arms above his head. He saw his clothes in a neatly folded pile on a mahogany dresser. He grabbed them and walked across the room to the bathroom.

        “Can I use your toiletries?” he called to David.

        “Sure, but be careful,” he snorts, “They may be cursed.”

        Max knew this was a joke, but he made a mental note to check his toothbrush just in case.

        After a few minutes, he was fully dressed and fully awake, walking to the study (he didn’t even know they had one) to meet Silvia. His hand ran across the wood wall as he strolled, and he let his mind wander. Had he seen a spark of kindness in David’s eyes when he mentioned the demon girl? It was so strange, it almost felt like a mirage, another of his shadow tricks. But something told Max that he genuinely cared for Silvia. They were childhood friends after all…

     When he had arrived at the study, the door was closed, so he was unsure as to whether or not she should open it. Then, he heard an exasperated groan which he assumed was Silvia’s.

        He opened the door to see the violet-haired she-demon staring down at a large paper laid out in front of her, clearly frustrated. Her hair was wild and messy, and her glasses were askew. Tendrils of magenta smoke rose from the blue illusions. A pencil was placed behind her ear, sharpened and ready to stab anyone who came too close to her face. She was holding her head with one hand and scanning the map with the other.

        “Morning Silvia.”

        Silvia’s head snapped up to look at him. The smoke from her eyes dissolving in an instant as she began pushing down her hair nervously. She took off her glasses, her blue eyes flickering to pink, and she smiled a bit.

        “Good morning, Max,” she replied, “I see David woke you.”

        He nodded. “Yep. Far from gently. How’s the planning going?”

        “Great!” she said, but instantly noticed Max was unconvinced. Her tense shoulders slumped, and she reluctantly admitted, “Okay, it’s not going the best. I’ll. . .explain outside.” She rolled up the map and left the room, slipping past Max with minimal effort.

        Max turned to face her. “Outside?”

        “I have a headache. Maybe some fresh air will help.”

        David poked his head above the stairs and called, “I’m coming too!”

        Silvia fingers moved to the bridge of her nose, pressing to hopefully fix the throbbing pain in her head. “Yeah, that’ll sure help my headache,” she muttered.

        “That’s why I exist, baby,” he sneered in response.

        The three strolled down the sidewalk, Max taking the time to admire his surroundings. His backpack propped perfectly upon his shoulders. Silvia kept fiddling with her satchel, possibly checking if the map was safe or something of the sort. David tripped anyone who walked near him and kicked pebbles at hooved creatures pulling vehicles. Nothing like a little mischief in the morning. Mean Street itself was a strange place with strange people. Every so often, the floor would change color, give way, shake, or even talk; signs on buildings would spin or shrink with a mind of its own; things would fall from nowhere or rise into the clouds and let’s not even start with the shop windows!

        “So in what way is the plan not going the best?” asked Max.

        “It’s the map,” Silvia told him, “It’s all written in Assassins’ Code. I can’t understand a word of it.”

        David nodded understandingly, but Max was still confused, “What’s Assassins’ Code?”

        David stuck out a shadow tendril so that a man in a nice suit fell on the floor face first. “It’s a secret code created by Discord’s most infamous assassins, spies, and thieves in the form of a complex series of markings. It’s nearly impossible to decode, he spoke.”

        Max opened his mouth to speak but he was immediately cut off by a shout in front of him.


        The group turned in the direction of the noise to see an anthropomorphic lizard man clad in brown leather. He faced a thin man in his early 20s with dark brown hair and bright orange eyes that contrasted his dull expression. The younger one frowned glancing once or twice at the passersby that had crowded around them including David, Max, and Silvia.

        “Yes?” he asked.

        “You stole my crystal, didn’t you?!” The reptile demanded.

        The younger one gave an amused smile and asked, “Now, why would you accuse me of such a thing?”

        The reptile laughed, “Oh ho ho! You think you’re so clever huh?”

        “Why yes, I do,” came the reply.

        The bigger one snatched the collar of the man’s shirt and yanked him off the ground and against the wall with a sickening thud. The young man’s smile faltered, and he looked nervous at all the attention he was getting.

        “Hey, hey buddy,” reasoned the young man with an uneasy laugh, “ I told you. I don’t have your crystal thing. Can’t we just work this out like civilized beings?”

        “Too late for that, buddy,” growled the reptile.

        Max nudged Silvia. “So, this kind of stuff usually happens?”

        “Pretty much. That guy with the scales is Snake, he part of a gang called the Toxics,” Silvia explained, “I’ve never seen that other guy before, though. He must be a thief or maybe a new resident. Rookie move to mess with Snake if you ask me. He’s either foolish or desperate; maybe both.”

       “So you think he did it?”

       Silvia shrugged. “It’s Mean Street.”

        “Shouldn’t we do something?”

        “Nah. Better not get involved with this stuff.”

        Max didn’t know what to think of this. Her standing by was obviously morally wrong. Why couldn’t she see that? “So you’re okay with overthrowing an evil ruler, but not standing up for other people.”

       “The overthrowing thing is a revenge plot,” she said matter-of-factly.

       C’mon aren’t you a good person.”

        Both David and Silvia answered, “Not really.”

        Max quickly rephrased his question desperately. “Wouldn’t you want someone to help you if you were in that situation?”

        Silvia frowned, seriously considering this. David on the other hand easily shrugged it off. “Well, that’s my fault for getting caught.”

      Max sighed and searched his brain for another explanation, but he seemed to have gotten through to his demon friend who shot David a glance and said. “Now David, it’s not like you to reject a chance for a little action.” And to this, he immediately smirked.

        Meanwhile, Snake pressed his claws up to his victim’s neck and slowly dragged them down until they drew thin lines of blood. The crimson sight immediately brought a malicious smile to the criminal’s face. “So either you give me the diamond or I do more than draw a little blood. What’s it going to b-“

        “What about the third option?” called Max stepping into the circle along with Silvia and David. His goggles were placed crookedly over his eyes like a very clumsy vigilante.

        Snake glanced at the three and snorted with amusement. “Excuse me?”

        Silvia wore a small smirk. “The third option. Y’know, the one where we leave you in the alleyway, beat up and unconscious.”

        “Oh so you want to defend the thief, huh?” asked Snake as he cracked his knuckles.

        Before Silvia could reply, Max fired his plasma blaster with a loud bang. Snake easily jumped aside.

        “Great aim, kid,” he teased, “Is that all you’ve-“

        Snake was instantly cut off when a void appeared from under his feet and he fell into the endless darkness. Once it had closed everyone around them was silent. Max turned to David who stood with his arms crossed and his smirk colored with satisfaction.

        “What?” David asked once he noticed Silvia’s and Max’s stares, “He’ll reappear somewhere nearby, shortly. It’s not like I killed him.”

        Max chuckled a bit but stopped after looking around. “Umm guys…? That thief guy disappeared.”

        Silvia glanced around her and shrugged. “It’s fine now. Why don’t we get some food before we start looking for someone that can translate Assasins’ Code? I know an amazing place in this creepy dark alleyway.”

        Although Max was unsure about this information, David seemed unfazed, so he decided to trust Silvia and followed them down the street once more. After maybe five or ten minutes, they make a left into a dark alley and then at a door next to a dimmed lamp.

        “So, do we pull a lever to access a secret door? Maybe the lamp?” offered Max.

        Silvia gave him a skeptical look. “Umm no. We just go in.”

        And so she pulled the handle and walked in. David followed her, and lastly, Max. It looked like the Nowhere Saloon got upgraded a century or two, but with more people and less alcohol. A man walked up to them and seated them, greeting Silvia who Max assumed was a regular. 

      “So what are you going to get?” asked Silvia looking through the menu.

        “I’ll get the hatching eggs. I haven’t had that in ages,” David replied.

        “Do you have Earth animals?” Maxwell inquired.

        “Some,” Silvia told him, “So, what are you having?”

        Max frowned at his menu. There were so many confusing options, and he had so little time to decide. “Umm…I guess I’ll have the…the…”

        “I’ll have the yogurt special, and my goggled friend here will have the house breakfast,” Silvia told the waiter before turning to Max, “Trust me you’ll like it.”

        When their food came, David got some eggs on a plate that hatched into balls of meat and cooked egg. Max received a plate of pink hash browns and puffy-looking pancakes that attempted to float off his plate, and Silvia was given black yogurt with colorfully odd berries and granola in it.

        They ate talking about the world of Discord meaning Max got to answer some of his many questions. He wrote some of it down before his pencil broke and there was too much writing on his paper. After a bit, a figure walked past the table and sat down in front of them without a word. It was a man with dark brown hair and bright orange eyes that stared at the three of them with a dull expression.

        Max blinked at him and immediately recognise. “Hey, it’s you. The thief guy”

        The man nodded. “I’m sorry for leaving before I could thank you. I appreciate you…getting rid of him.”

        He grinned wide. “Yeah man, it’s no problem.”

       I was wondering if there was anything I could do for you in return. I am in debt to you after all.”

        Silvia looked at David and Max and then back at the man. “Umm…” 

        He smiled a bit at her reaction. “Oh, where are my manners? I’m Lurk. Maybe you’ve seen me around here. I’ve been here for maybe 18 years now. Moved here from my family farm when I was 14.” 

        “Well my name is Silvia and this is Maxwell and David,” Silvia replied slowly, and Lurk nodded his greeting, “There…is something that we need.”

        “Of course. Anything.”

        She laced her fingers together and warily asked, “Do you happen to know anyone who can decipher Assassins’ Code?”

        Lurk raised an eyebrow. “Why would you need to decipher Assassins’ Code- if you don’t mind me asking?”

        “It is none of your business,” Silvia told him with narrowed eyes.

        Maxwell frowned at her and said, “Silvia, I think we can trust him.”

        After a wary glance, and a nod, she continued, “We’re attempting to overthrow Discord- a sneak attack.”        

        Lurk’s eyes went wide, and his smile copied them. “Oh! How interesting. Very risky and foolish but, dare I say it, exceptionally brave. Please, continue.”

        “We were able to come into possession of a map of the castle’s secret tunnels, but…”

        “It’s in Assassin’s Code,” he finished with a nod of understanding, “Ah yes, I do think I know a guy. In fact, I can take you to him right now.” He casually stands and shoves his hands in his pockets. “Finish your food, and follow me. Why don’t we pay a visit to the Toxics?”

[8 pages]


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