Death Game - Registrations/Sign-Up (IC)

The Man in Red

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Note: Before you sign up, make sure you have read and understand all the rules, as posted here, especially part 10 and those pertaining to signing up and joining.
All across the Crossroads, with exception to the ruins of Govermorne of course... There are now found the suddenly appearing facades of an organization calling itself the Carnivale Rosa. Everything from simple tents, small rented office spaces, to entire small facilities and tiny communities in more violent areas. Some of these places are staffed, or at least filled out and assisted by locals of the area, though the majority are filled with the always helpful, always bemused, and always masked attendants and employees of the enigmatic group.

They are in the business of entertainment, and the one who sits at the head of the mysterious group has enough connections, power, money, influence, or...something to have 'safely' settled his group and workers into nearly every location of the Crossroads to let their business flourish and get underway.

At these various assorted facilities and stations, there will be countless people in the business of attracting viewers and competitors to a new event they're working on. A huge show, they claim it to be, of the most wonderful kind of entertainment. Prizes on offer for the competitors, and plenty of fame to be had when it is broadcast for all to see. A game, it is, of death and survival! Surviving against the elements, against time, against each other, against themselves...against all odds! They aren't in the business of discouraging anyone from joining, but do advise anyone and everyone to be...prepared for the eventual end of things, in whatever fashion that those who sign up are most comfortable with.


Threads for the pre-show/staging/warm-up will be up sometime today or tonight, as I can get them written up. Sign-ups will officially last until 11:59 PM EST on November 3rd.
 
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Mojo Jojo

Monkey Business
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Nos'Talgia
Eye peering about and head alight with purple flame, The Prisoner moved through the war-wracked city of Markov. Beyond the walls, savage Zoids battled against the men and women who defended this city, and even deep within its heart the sound of battle could be heard over the general din of the citizens. Even before Darkseid turned Cevanti into a battle zone, the populace of this world had been confined within Markov's walls. Despite being used to the forced asylum, there still clung to the air a scent of desperation and fear, though The Prisoner lacked the necessary senses to smell it.

Fortunately, the citizenry seemed used to the odd traveler or so, and though they gave The Prisoner a wide berth, it appeared to have more to do with his flaming head than any actual apprehension towards it. Well… most of them avoided it. One in particular made his way towards the undead, a wide, shit-eatting grin on his face. Other than the creepy smile and unsettling vibe, the man was rather plain, if a bit out of place in his garb. Brown hair slicked back framed grey eyes, and his face was lightly bearded. Though not of exquisite make, his choice of blue button-up and brown khakis was in stark contrast to the relative squalor about them.

The Prisoner's flame shifted to a teal-ish hue, his expressive eye narrowing considerably at the man's approach. With a shallow, empty laugh, the man put up his hands in apparent surrender, yet still moved forward until he was standing before the undead.

"Hey man! Name's Jeff," the man greeted it, producing a clipboard seemingly from the air itself and holding it in one hand where he could easily reference it.

"I'm here to offer you the opportunity of a lifetime! Ever heard of Dante's Abyss?"

A pregnant silence fell between the two, The Prisoner's head shifting to a fuller green as it shrugged.

"No?" Jeff continued, chuckling wryly. "Newcomer, huh? No biggie. I hear the boss is new round these parts too. Anyway, its this little GameSpot thing, right? Go to an island, survive for awhile, win prizes. Easy peasy. Well, the boss is doing the same thing, but basically better in every way! And all you gotta do is sign up right here and you're in!"

Eye narrowing once more, The Prisoner crossed its arms as its flame flashed to a dark blue.

"Alright, I get it. Too good to be true, right? Well… I gotta level with ya, buddy, there might be a tiny chance that you'll die during this thing. But, I doubt it. Look atcha! Now that's a specimen if I ever saw one. You'll probably win the whole deal! And the boss said the winner will have whatever their heart most desires granted to them? Sounds good, yeah?"

Gaze moving from the man, The Prisoner raised a hand to where its chin would be, tapping its arm with its other hand. Soon enough, it shrugged and, with a hue change to purple, held out its hand to the man.

"You're in? Fucking fantastic, bro! And I like the whole 'man of few words' shtick; I think it'll go over great with the audience! Just follow me over to the tent and we'll get you all taken care of!"
 

Karl Jak

Producer, Playboy Billionaire, Arbiter, Sommelier
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The man adjusted his lapels before leaning over to pick up his briefcase. Up ahead of him, the queue continued to progress at a lazy pace—an indictment on whatever crew had been pieced together to man this station.

“So what brings you to these parts?” A voice asked behind the man.

Craning his next, the businessman’s features twisted up slightly as he looked at the hulking, four-armed behemoth standing behind him. Unsure exactly how to respond to someone who looked as if they had more limbs than braincells, the businessman lifted his briefcase and gestured to it with his head. “Official matters.”

The four-armed fighter crinkled his brow as he stared long and hard at the Dolce & Gabanna attaché case. “You’re going to kill people with a handbag?”

The man in the three-piece suit scowled, but he was able to pass the will save needed to keep his real thoughts bottled up in his well-coifed skull. “No, I’m not an entrant. I just have to deliver these.”

“Is it a bomb? A big gun?” The goliath asked as the line continue to advance toward the queuing station at its glacial pace.

“… No,” the man in the suit repeated. “They’re just legal documents.”

The titanic, bare-chested fighter frowned as the reality finally set in for him. “Oh, that makes Orog sad. Explosions are fun.”

“Yes,” the businessman agreed. “We can both agree that a good explosion is a lovely thing to behold.”

A smile spread across the four-armed warrior’s features before he lifted on of his meaty fists. “You are up next.”

The businessman craned his neck and saw that, indeed, he was next in the queue. Had there not just been about a dozen more people in this line? Had they all been in the same party or something?

Shrugging his shoulders, the man made a final adjustment to his attire and made his way to the attendant who operated the station.

“Greetings.”

The worker, who seemed a little frayed around the edges, lifted his head up from a stack of paper and blinked a few times before offering a groggy reply. “Hey.”

After a quick glance around the facility, the man in the suit returned his gaze to the overworked staffer. “You are the only one here?”

“Yea,” the man mumbled as he reached for a nearby cup of coffee. “I’m Alex. How may I help you today?”

Lifting his suitcase, the businessman popped it open and retrieved the pile of legal documents contained within. After glancing through the stack, he plucked a sheet out from the middle and slid it across the counter toward the nonplussed worker. “This is for you and your employer.”

Alex blinked a few times before glancing down at the document. “This is a—”

“It is a formal cease and desist request from Syntech, LLC.”

“Oh, you’re that guy.”

“Yes, I am that guy,” Karl Jak replied before adjusting his collar. “You’ll find that my employer would like for you to desist, as they intend to file claims of copyright infringement in regard to their ‘Dante’s Abyss’ intellectual property.”

“Oh, no, I know, dude,” Alex replied as he handed the paper back. “Your guys faxed over something a few hours ago.”

“What?” Karl replied as the attendant handed him a piece of paper.

“It’s from your boss.”

Karl scowled as he lifted the piece of paper with Syntech’s official letterhead. “Hey, Karl, I’m sorry you couldn’t get this letter directly, but sometimes emails get lost among all the hustle and bustle. You can blame it on all those damn remote meetings and all the emails they seem to automatically vomit into our mailboxes. You know what I’m talking about, right?” Karl scowled, because of course he understood what the author was talking about. “Anyway, I had a lovely conversation with some people at the Carnivale, and we both think it’s in our mutual interest to ‘grow the (blood) sport’ through cooperation, rather than competition or dreaded legal battles.” Karl groaned as he set the paper down. “So I wasted me time.”

“There’s a back side,” Alex remarked.

The executive producer flipped over the paper. “In light of this, I decided that you’re going to sign up to participate! Isn’t that lovely? It’ll be a super fun cameo, and it’ll help grow our brand as much as it will assist them in driver viewership figures as you get bludgeoned and murdered. Great, isn’t it? You know it’s brilliant. Don’t lie.” Again, Karl knew it was brilliant, and he could not lie. “All the information is being processed, so you’re free to proceed to their preshow area. Don’t get lost, since I’m sure it will be totally unknown to you.

“All the love and smooches,

“-Karl Jak.”


Karl put the paper on the desk and scowled at the young man.

“So, you and your boss have the same name?”

“You might say that,” Karl Jak said with a sneer as he looked at the shoddy teleportation technology. “That thing isn’t going to turn me into a fly, is it? Or put my arm in my asshole, right? I prefer to save that stuff for anniversaries.”

Alex furrowed his brow. “Nah, you’re good. Your paperwork is apparently being transmitted digitally, so you can go ahead.”

“Lovely,” Karl Jak groaned as he felt a vibration in his jacket pocket. As he stepped around the counter and to the pad, he retrieved his phone and scanned the email as the technology warmed back up.

“Dear Karl, I’ll get you a Syntech survival back shortly after you arrive, so just keep an eye out for that, okay? It’s the least we can do. Smooches, ~KJ.”

“Gee, thanks, Karl,” Karl muttered as he vanished in a swirl of light particles.
 

Gengar

The Shadow Pokemon
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Erde Nona
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Gengar could barely contain his snickering. The moon hanging in the velvety sky bathed the swaying grass field with light, almost as bright as dawn. A woman sat relaxed amongst the grass, holding herself up with one hand against the ground, and tossed a dewy eyed look over her shoulder, her smile growing. A man strolled lazily toward her, his long hair blowing in the night breeze, in no hurry to reach his beloved. He held a single red rose behind his back, letting it swing with each of his steps.

Stars glittered in the sky like diamonds at the bottom of a darkened lake. Only the wind and the rustle of the long grass made a sound; even the crickets were silent for their rendezvous. Lantern light burned far in the distance, marking their home village, but there was not another soul around.

Well, Gengar thought to himself, except for me.

The ghost Pokemon bobbed in the man’s shadow, melding perfectly with it. His presence was unknown; he made no sound and the man failed to see him slip into the darkness. Gengar hung in that shade like a man floating in the ocean, needing no propulsion, soaking in the moment.

The woman’s smile shrank – still smiling, but less intense, more intimate – as the man approached. Gengar sank deeper into the shadow, fearing the glee at the anticipation could cause him to break out his gossamer-thin hiding place. He took a breath to still himself, focusing. He had to wait for the exact, perfect moment to enact his plan. Half of the fun was picking that moment, right when the terror would crescendo without limit. It was a skill that took much practice, but he had plenty of that, and he would have plenty more in the future.

The man kneeled by his paramour, turning to the side so that his shadow cast to his right side, mingling with the woman’s. Gengar could see everything here. This was the best place he could possibly be. Without any trees around, there were no other shadows to dip into, forcing him to rely on the human shadows for concealment. But with the moon positioned where it was, he couldn’t have asked for a better seat.

With a flourish, the man revealed the rose behind his back. The woman gasped, her eyes wide and drinking in moonlight. She took the rose gently and brought the petals to her nose, closing her eyes as she imbibed the flower’s sweet scent. She opened her eyes again as the man lowered himself to the ground, making an indentation in the swaying grass. Their gazes met, wide and to the exclusion of all else. Their eyes darted to the other’s lips. Their chests rose and fell with great heaves.

Gengar’s crimson eyes appeared in the man’s shadow. So close!

Dipping their eyelids, the two humans slowly, achingly, leaned towards each other. Their lips parted as they drew close. The moon positioned between them vanished behind their profiles as their mouths hovered inches from one another, savouring the moment as best they could.

Now!

Gengar exploded from the man’s shadow, stubby arms raised, and threw out his tongue. They hadn’t noticed him just yet – they were too engrossed in each other’s presence – so he cleared his throat, preparing for a spine-melting roar.

Wait. Gengar hadn’t cleared his throat. Where did that sound come from?

Another man stood behind the couple, holding a staff, smiling. He wore a faded black robe and an impressive, chest-length beard, mostly white streaked with black. His long hair matched the beard, rolling down his shoulders. He didn’t seem too old, especially judging from his wrinkle-free eyes and forehead. Gengar’s glee dropped. Who the hell was this, and why was he ruining his fun?!

The man and woman turned at the throat clear. They startled – startled, damn it – at the sight of the sudden appearance of the bearded man and Gengar. But there was no scream. No cry of terror. No jumping to their feet and sprinting for the safety of their village, sobbing all the way. They did seem perplexed by Gengar’s appearance, so that was something, but still – damn it!

“So sorry to interrupt your evening,” the bearded man said congenially. “My... uh... pet has been most elusive. I saw him here and saw an opportunity to bring him home.”

“My goodness,” the man said, “we didn’t hear you approach!”

The robed man shrugged. “Invisibility spell. Saves having to explain this thing’s appearance. Usually.”

Gengar stared at the man incredulously. What was he playing at?

“Well,” the man said, standing and helping his companion to her feet, “I’m glad you have found your... pet. Please excuse us, if you don’t mind.”

“Oh, not at all! Please, enjoy the rest of your evening.”

The man and woman joined hands, stared lovingly at each other, and strolled further into the grassy field. No doubt to a new location where they could be intimate. Ugh.

Gengar spun at the wizard. “What the hell are you doing?! You’re sorry for spoiling their evening?!”

The man chuckled, dropping the staff and shedding the robe. He wore a white, buttoned shirt with long sleeves and black trousers. He removed an elastic band from behind his head that attached to the beard, apparently fake, and threw that down as well. The long wig came off to reveal short, sandy blonde hair.

“You’re not some wizard,” Gengar said. “You’re just some office jerk! What are you doing in Erde Nona, of all places? This isn’t like Kanto! They’re all like people from fantasy novels here!”

“Astute, Mr. Gengar,” the man said, pulling out a mobile phone from his pocket. At least, Gengar thought that’s what it was. Its entire face was glass, one big screen. Where were the keys? The antenna at the top? “I need to be in costume here. My normal attire would raise too many eyebrows in this land. I’m Scott, and I’m here to discuss a fantastic opportunity with you.”

“It better involve scaring chumps, and a lot of them!” Gengar said, floating to the man’s eye level. “You just cost me a really good fright!”

“Oh, I think you’ll really like this,” Scott said. “After all, you spent so long with Agatha as one of the reigning Elite Four. In fact, you were her strongest Pokemon, weren’t you? A Ghost-type who was rarely ever beaten.”

“I... what?” Gengar said, frowning. “How did you...”

“Oh, we know a lot about you and your life, Mr. Gengar. Please, if you don’t mind.” Scott gestured toward a small stall beneath a striped canopy. How... how long had that been there?

Gengar hovered along after him, more curious at the situation than interested in what he was proposing. Actually, Scott hadn’t said what he was proposing yet. But Gengar had to know. Especially after his night had been so thoroughly ruined.

Scott stood behind the stall. Gengar could see a circular steel pad next to the stall now that he was closer, cloaked by the blades of grass encircling it. Scott swiped a finger across the glass-screened device and tapped it a few times.

“Now Mr. Gengar, what I propose to you is a chance to live out your glory days once again,” Scott said. “There is an island. An island where you will be placed, among other like-minded contestants, where you will battle it out to be the very last surviving participant!”

“Surviving?” Gengar said. “You mean, there will be killing?”

“Well, yes.”

Gengar cocked an eyebrow. While Agatha had expressly forbidden murder, it was a fancy that struck him and his kind on occasion. Not mass murders, just fun little killings when the circumstances were just right. Since he was his own Pokemon now, he could indulge in such things.

“Go on.”

“If you can outwit, outplay and outlast everyone else on the island, you will be the winner!”

“And the prize?”

Scott smiled. “That’s a secret. But rest assured, it will be worthy of the danger and effort you expend to win. And all the while, you can showcase those amazing skills you honed in the Indigo Plateau.”

Gengar floated about, stroking at his chin. “So a murder island. No cops?”

Scott shook his head. “All perfectly... law-enforcement free.”

“I note you didn’t say ‘above board’ or ‘legal,’ Gengar said. He then smiled. “Not that either of those things matter to me.”

“So... what do you say?”

Gengar nodded thoughtfully. “I’m in! Let’s kill some rubes!”

“Excellent!” Scott said, tapping his screen again. The circular pad lit up blue. “Please stand on the teleporter and you will be ushered to the waiting room. Best of luck to you, Mr. Gengar! You are one of my favourite Pokemon!”

“Of course I am,” Gengar said, alighting on the circular pad. “Who couldn’t love a face like this?

Gengar cackled as he vanished in a halo of blue light.
 

Shallan Davar

Knight Radiant
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Mesa Roja
They came for us while we was sleeping, precious. The nasty men with their hats and their false smiles. We heard their clumsy feet flapping near our home. We were famished, and so we came to see who it was. We were a gracious host, hopped down to see them with a cackle and a grin, no sneakings, no theivings. They did not trust us, precious. The three, the three with their skin hats, they held their smiles, but they kept their weaponses pointed at us as they spoke. They wanted us to play in their little game, precious. But they would not play there, we had to go elsewhere to play. We wondered, precious, we did, what game they wished to play, but we did not trust them.

They promised us things. Oh, they offered us so many things, precious! They promised us gold, in heaps and piles. But we have no need for shiny trinkets, we would not betray the precious! The stupid one he said we would be famous if we won, that we would be in storieses, but we only chuckled at him, and he shrank away. Storieses are good fun, but we can makes those for ourselves, and better than others, so why would we go with them, precious? They did not know what else to offer us precious, but we was having fun playing with them so we did not eat them yet. One may have seen our hunger, precious. They spoke next, offering us food, the best foods we hadn’t tried yet, foods we had not even imagined. We was famished, precious, but still we refused. They would not tells how to play the game yet, precious, and we would *NOT* be cheated again!

We were growing angry then, and hungry. We needed something to gnaw on, precious, our mouth watered as we looked at them. We did not need to eats them whole, that would be too much at once precious, it would make our stomach hurt! An arm would do, just an arm. We slunk closer, precious, and this scared the fat one. He shot us precious, he shot US! He shot us with a little tiny arrow from his firestick! We screamed at them and leaped, precious, pouncing on the tricksy fat one. We bit his neck as he screamed, but they were fast precious, and we were growing sleepy. We could not break free of the nets and the ropeses they threw on us precious, and we fell asleep, soon… so soon after our napping.

Now we are stuck, precious. They keep us in this cage, this nasty, stupid cage. We tried to gnaw our way free precious, but it is metal, and we would just break our teeth. The nasty men sits nearby, around their fire. They makes us unhappy by trapping us, so we makes them unhappy too. We wails precious, we makes such a racket, that they cannot thinks! Oh they shout at us, precious, they curse at us, and slam the bars of our cage, yes, but they will not hurt us. They wants us to looks our best soon, looks our best for their game, so we do not need to be scared of them. They can shout at us and curse at us but we will sing, precious, all the same!

They keeps us in the cage until the yellow face was gone away and the white face was high overhead. Their fire was burned low to embers and the men were so tired of our clamor they had stopped speaking, precious, they just sat there, waiting. Then a new one came, precious, not a trapsman with their skin hats, precious, this one was fancy, like an elfs or a kings, but he was not an elfs, and not a kings either we thinks. He gave the wicked men a pouch that clinked, precious, then came over to see us.

We stops our wailings as the fancy man approaches us. We tilts our head, back and forth, looking at him from all sorts of angles as he watches us. This one would be bad eating, precious, they looked so worn and angled, too bony by half, with stringy, sticky gristle.

“Hellos!” We says finally, and he smiles at us precious, another false smiler!

“Hello there!” the fancy man says back, “You are a sorry little wonder aren’t you!”

We scowls at his flattery, precious, we do not trusts him. He wants us to play the game too, we bets. We knows!

“We don’t wants to play *Gollum* we won’t play, precious!”

“That will be your choice. But it’ll be in your best interest to.” The false simperer says, and he holds up a little box to his ear. He steps away to talk to it, precious, but we clamber up the bars of the cage so we can hears him anyway. he talks to the box like we used to talks to the precious sometimes, but he seems angry with it. We would never treat our precious that ways, this man is wicked…

He puts the box away in his pocketses and comes back to speak with us more. He holds a different box this time, with a little flashing light. It looks like a firefly, precious, stuck to his box. He holds it in front of him and looks at us.

“What is your name, then?” he asks us. We only scowls, sliding down the bars to stare at him closer. We gollums at him roughly, but that only makes the fancy wicked man smile more.

“Alright, Gollum, what will you do if I let you out of this cage?” He asks, his wicked smiles only getting bigger! He taunts us precious! He teases us, he teases poor Sméagol! He will not let us out of this cursed cage, we knows it! We hates the fancy wicked man and his false smiles!

“We will follow you, precious!” We murmurs, staring at him and his stupid flashing boxses.

“We will follow you in the darkness, and we shall be quiet, so quiet, yes! *Gollum* and when you gets tired, precious, when you gets sleepy and your eyelids close, then we shall come, and we shall close our hands around your throat, precious! We shall kills you! *Gollum* *Gollum*

We sneaks a hand through the cage and reaches for the false man, but he sees us, precious, and he steps away with a laugh. We do not think he is very funny. We drops off the bars, and slinks back to the far end of cage, the false man is still smiling as he puts away his stupid blinking box.

“Perfect!” He pulls out his smaller box again, and talks to it, but nicer this time. Our threats only seem to have amused him, precious, he does not fear us. He should…

“It’s me again. Yeah, I got the intro, all ready to go. I don’t think we’re gonna want to let this guy roam around the facility beforehand, it’d be better just to drop him straight to the island.”

He walks away from the cage, precious, so we cannot hears the rest of what he says. An island, precious? We shall be put on an island? This is a curious game, oh indeed! We do not wants to play, but they makes us play anyway? How will they keeps us from swimming away, precious? We can just steals a boat and we would be away. No… no… they are tricksy and false, they will have plans and schemes, precious. But we will be smarter than them, precious, they cannot traps us, precious, not for goods. They will regrets this, that we can promise!
 

Katsuki Bakugo

Sparky Sparky Boom Man
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Erde Nona
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Heroes for Hire
He woke up moments before it happened - maybe it was their footsteps outside of the door coupled with how light of a sleeper he was. Maybe it was a coincidence, and he was due to wake up at that moment regardless.

Whatever it was, Katsuki Bakugo was seconds into waking when he heard a knock at the door. Rhythmic thuds, slow and spaced apart, but deliberate and authoratative. The first thing that sprung to his mind was 'police' before he reminded himself that he had not (recently) done anything wrong. In fact, he'd been praised for his heroics by the local community for the past week.

He sat up quickly but carefully to avoid prompting any telling creaks from his shoddy fold-out mattress. Even in the low light of the office-apartment given off by a single lamp it was quickly apparent that he was the only one in the room - Deku and Todoroki, for whatever reason, were absent. Also absent were the ordinary street noises that typically filtered in from the city beyond, indicating to the keen Katsuki that dawn had not yet broken. Whoever was hammering on his door, they were doing it in the dead of the night, and he didn’t care much for that. He donned a mantle of caution as he rose to his feet and slunk carefully through the room.

Then, he pressed himself against the wall beside the door, and carefully turned the handle.

The door cracked open on its own, and then was pushed the rest of the way to make room for not one but two tall men who filed into the room one after another. Oddities in red uniforms, they matched one another well and were cut from the same mold. That mold was one of lean muscle and rigid posture. One, however, was a few inches shorter than the other.

And they both looked puzzled as they took inventory of what was an apparently empty room, aside from two desks and a couple of fold out cots that comprised Heroes for Hire’s office decor.

“Who are you?” growled Katsuki, from his spot in the shadows beside the door.

The intruders whipped around and were met by the sight of Bakugo’s outstretched arm ending in the spread maw of his right hand which crackled, hissed, and popped with the promise of explosive power. The sweet burnt sugar scent of nitroglycerin filled the room, which provided Baku with a familiar comfort. His power brought him confidence.

The shorter of the two invaders spoke first, bringing up two hands in the universal sign of ‘don’t shoot’. They both wore masks, and oddly enough, Katsuki observed that they were both dressed rather extravagantly. Their outfits were near to the style of a circus ringleaders, or really outlandish butlers.

“We come bearing opportunity!” announced the shorter man exuberantly, spreading his arms wide. “We come as pallbearers...pallbearers? That might the wrong term. We come as...um...we come as…”

The larger man cut in, his voice deeper, and also more concise. “We’ve got an invitation.”

“Right!” the first man agreed, butting back in. “An invitation! We come as invitation bearers, and YOU! -” he pointed right at Bakugo. “Are invited!”

Despite the circumstance of their entry Baku did feel any progression in his initial sense of danger from these emerging eccentrics, but nonetheless he kept his threatening hand displayed to convey a message.

“Invited to what?” he asked, tone flinty.

“Well, you’ve heard of Dante’s Abyss,” prompted the first man jovially, and then waited for his partner to pick up on his queue. ...the second man did not seem keen on speaking, however, and after an uncomfortably long pause the first man frowned then plowed on undaunted. “Now it’s time for you to hear of...drumroll...DEATH GAME!”

The shorter man in red did an awkward shuffle that Bakugo supposed was intended to be a dance of some sort, and then performed some hands-in-the-air jazz hands.

“So, that’s some kind of...Dante’s Abyss knockoff?” asked Katsuki, thoroughly unimpressed.

He recalled spectating the event in question on the dorm hall television back before his expulsion from UA. There were times when he’d fallen asleep in front of the television and awoke to announcements of death or betrayal. Other times, he’d tune in to find hosts and celebrities from around the Crossroads yapping about contestants. Screamsicle this, or cowboy that. He’d often imagined himself in a survival scenario, competing for fame and glory, but hadn’t figured he’d actually end up a contestant - let alone a contestant of a knock-off.

On top of that, entering such a contest would certainly delay the purchase of his mansion. He’d need major incentives to miss that.

“...and what do I get out of that?” the bemused teen asked, and though he tried to sound disinterested, he couldn’t keep some modicum of curiosity from trickling into his voice.

“Oh, there will be prizes! That mansion you’ve been eyeing!? Yours! Furniture, money, a heroes’ gym! All of it, yours! All you’ve gotta do is…” and the more talkative recruiter paused again.

This time his quiet friend took the prompt. “...murder every single other contestant and make it to the end of the competition without dying.”

The first guy tensed up, and Bakugo imagined he was grimacing behind the painted wooden mask he wore.

“Well, yeah. ...pretty much, actually.”

Bakugo stood, considering, and then lowered his crackling hand. The scent of burnt sugar dissipated from the room.

“Whatever.”

---

In the ensuing hour, he’d hastily dressed, gathered no belongings (he was told he wouldn’t be able to take them anyway), scrawled out a messy note to Deku detailing what he’d occurred, and then been ushered out of his rundown office and into the street by his eccentric escorts.

He’d been taken to a walled off area that, as far as he could tell, resembled a hastily assembled movie set. His initial assessment had been quickly reinforced when he was pushed into hair and makeup, where he begrudgingly allowed a staff of crimson clothed strangers to fawn over his appearance and make adjustments to everything from the angles his ash blonde hair were jutting, to the circles under his eyes which they whittled away with makeup. It was all rather unpleasant, and Bakugo could feel his famous temper threatening to flare up and make a scene.

And yet…

There was a simmering excitement beneath his irritated exterior. When had he ever really been able to cut loose? Heroes were bound by rules, and even when he found the opportunity to bend some of those rules, there was always the mosquito whine of Izuku Midoriya in his ear reminding him to be moral, to be just, to be a motherfucking priss with no spine.

Here was an opportunity to really step out and step up. This was a chance to gain a reputation as a deadly fighter, and also to accumulate some fame for his business to boot. And the odds of loss? Small. Very small. The folks in this ‘Death Game’ wouldn’t know what hit them.

He found himself placed in front of a camera, and was soon peppered with a litany of questions.

“So - for the hero the Arcadian papers are calling Ground Zero - how do you see yourself behaving on the island?” asked a bubbly woman with blue hair and what looked like fins for ears. She had a long amphibious looking tail jutting out of her aft end, and Bakugo surmised she must be some hybrid species.

“Dangerously,” answered Bakugo with a quirk of his lips. He looked into the camera with his eyes, two gleaming rubies, and stared. “Without any pesky little sidekicks bogging me down, I am going to turn the island into a bloodbath. I’m going to kill every single idiot stupid enough to step to me, and then -” he snapped, and a small ‘pop’ of ignition sparked from his thumb and forefinger as a dazzling ball of flame. “- I will purge any trace that they’d ever been there from this universe.”

There was a silence.

“Well! That was unnerving!” chimed in the interviewer nervously. She looked uncomfortable. “You heard it here first folks! The explosive entry of Ground Zero: Katsuki Bakugo!”

And with that she quickly hastened the interview to a close. Bakugo was led to a teleporter, which he strode towards with a proprietary lope looking every bit as wolfish and predatory as he was feeling.

Let the games begin.
 
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