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(02) You are (not) alone.

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Caius laid on his back, far deeper into the night than would be okay for him on a weekday or, to be honest, at all. He knew how it went, he'd repeat the lower decks until either finishing the game or until the blinking red lights at the side of the console determined it was the time to face his own thoughts, but tonight he felt rather ambitious as his dark claws caressed the battered device's buttons. Jack making irocani crayon in Siege Slug, Rich walking /him/ of all people through King of Dragons and Ernestein actually figuring out the infinite handgun is okay?

"Sigan soñando." He scoffed before letting a long, wide yawn out. Still not even close to those of the mutt-and-a-half's fellow, either in this side or the other, but the competition was somewhere else. The pixelated cat ran around the rooms of the Queen Virginia as it did for eight years now, with a clarivoyance unseen in all worlds except Fegov as she ran into every single item, mastered every single puzzle to become, some ten minutes of gameplay later, an unstoppable force just as the foe she was about to face.

How many people has he shown this game to? By now it almost was his presentation card. Caius swore to find a Co-Op mode and have Prescott wipe the fur off the apartment with the mutt's very own tail, to get bested by that cat lady whose tactics he knew he had no chance against.

Maybe even find one that could help make up with Stew, too.

Back in reality, the hexagon he grew to symbolize as evil appeared on screen, with all its shades of green turning quickly into the red warning sign as the hero took it upon herself to walk down the loading screen's hallway. Somehow, this long, empty corridor always scared him despite Fores's, Juno's, Roman's or Luca's best attempts. Not once the horrifying visions turned him away from the game, but...

"She's on her own there. Why isn't she scared?" A fawn asked softly, sitting a room away from the light of the game while a leonine figure sat by him on the lower bunk of room 402, closing the door behind them.

"You paid attention while playing, right? You know she counts on people to pick her up by helic-"

"By helicopter, yes. They said that on the radio." He shaked his head. "Just.. what if she fails? What if I fail?"

With a wide pat on his back, the lion smiled, then chuckled by the frowning cervine. Just as the latter pushed him away in anger, he said with a failing degree of self-contained laughter. "You /really/ think they'd leave her on her own there?"

Caius grinned as the hero walked right through the last door, welcomed by the black, tentacle-ridden amalgam of a final boss along with a descending rocket launcher with a pixelated, encouraging note. Next thing to do tomorrow? Share breakfast with Hugon, catch Jack on his way to work, check on Thenyr, Wagi, possibly Laney too and lastly take Ernest and Nate to Oliviero's after work to get the vacations plan rolling.

After every trial, every bloodied step late at night, every stain and scar on this constructed body others identified as his, he knew he was going to win.

After all this years, he was invincible.
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