The man is staring at me in wide-eyed horror, fear and recognition in the depths, until his throat suddenly starts bubbling blood from a slice I never saw.
One is standing over him, sword in hand, as the man’s head starts to slide away.
I jerk my eyes away, not keen on watching a head fall off, even though I’ve seen them do this before. I’ve never actually been so close.
It figures the one person who I was able to touch, and the one person who has ever been able to see me, would be a monster who wanted my boys dead.
What a waste.
There’s suddenly a sword swiping through me, and I look down, seeing it swipe thrice more before I peer up in confusion at One.
He stares at me like he’s confused, and swipes again with that sword. I notice it’s his weapon, the one he reaps souls with.
“What the hell?” he asks on a breath.
It’s then I realize it’s me he’s trying to hack to bits, and my eyes widen as my heart thumps a little harder.
“You can see me?” I ask on a choked breath, cautious hope and tempered excitement bubbling inside me.
“What the fuck are you?” he snaps, swiping at me again.
I fling myself at him, ready to finally touch one of them! And, much to my dismay, pass right through him. I should have known that since that sword was doing the exact same thing to my middle, but I got a little excited. Understandably so.
But it’s the weird tingle I feel when I pass through him that has everything on me stir to attention.
I whirl around as his eyes glimmer with flakes of gold for a second, and his sword falls to his side as he cants his head.
“What are you?” he asks a little calmer, sounding more curious and less hostile.
“I don’t know,” I tell him, still entranced by the fact he can see me. Hear me. “You can really see me?” I ask, stepping closer.
He lets his gaze dip, and he bites down on his bottom lip. “I can definitely see you.”
So much relief floods me at once that it’s a little dizzying. After spending five years being completely invisible, I can finally be seen? I can talk to them?
Tears cloud my vision. How am I crying?
I never knew ghosts could faint.
At least not until it all goes black.
“They sent one of their own assassins. This guy’s sword? It’s made from much better fire-metal than our weapons. It disappeared from sight the second he lost it. I barely saw it in time to know it was even here at all,” is the first thing I hear as I slowly come out of whatever just happened.
I didn’t fade. Otherwise, I’d hear that terrible buzzing sound for days as I came back. This is more of a drowsy feeling.
“And she saved you?” Three asks.
I can feel the weight of his gaze, and I swear, if I could have an orgasm, just the weight of someone’s gaze would give it to me.
I wonder if I’ve ever had an orgasm. I know it’s got to be amazing. I’ve heard the real moans, and I always feel warm when those moans are teasing me. It’s not a physical feeling like the one I had when I hit that man, but it’s a—
I hit that man! How did I forget?!
“Yeah. But she’s not a soul. It’s like she’s a being with a soul, but not alive or dead. I’ve never seen anything like it,” One tells them.
Oh, they’re talking about me. Because they see me. Because this is really happening.
On the verge of doing another ghostly faint, I open my eyes, and they all go stiff as they stare down at me.
“That’s fucking creepy,” Two says, eyebrows up as he studies me with wary eyes.
I guess, since I don’t breathe and I’m just staring at them with wide eyes in my transparent-ish form, I am creepy. But they can still see me, even if I am still mostly invisible.
I’ve always been able to see my reflection, though no one else could, but staring at the wall mirror across from me lets me see more of me. Less transparent than before, but still nowhere close to whole.
Somehow, I just leveled up. And now I need to figure out how to level up again.
“Someone needs to try and die again, so I can see if I can get whole,” I tell the four guys who are staring at me as though I’ve sprouted a tail.
I check, since I feel like anything is possible these days. Nope. No tail.
“What the actual fuck?” Four asks.
“Those weren’t the first words I ever planned to say to you, but seriously; someone try to die so I can save you and see if that helps me level up,” I state again.
“Who the hell are you? What are you? And why the hell are you here?” One asks me, crossing his arms over his impressive, still bare chest.
They’re all bare chested. That’s not even distracting me, because I’m too excited about finally making progress.
“No clue who I am. I’ve been here for five years, and I just sort of appeared here. I have no memory of anything before that. I have no idea why I’m here, other than the fact I need the four of you to exist.”
They give me a blank stare, all of them bristling. It’s hard to see things from their point of view. I know so much about them. I’ve been watching them for years.
It feels like it’s just finally my turn to talk and that they should be as comfortable and close to me as I am to them. When in reality, this is the first time they’re meeting me.
One looks at Four, and Four shakes his head. “I’ve heard of every type of creature out there, and she’s nothing like I’ve heard of. Her soul is intact and fused to this…state she’s in.”
“She can finally be seen, and would not like to be referred to as though she’s not in the room,” I say, holding a finger up as a small smile curves my lips.
Three’s eyes dip down my body, and he takes an unconscious step closer.
“Is she an illusion? Because if they wish to distract us, this would be the way to do it,” Three states absently.
“I can assure you that I am a real person. I’m not sure why I’m like this, or if I’m even alive or dead, but I’m definitely real. Until One was almost killed, you’ve never seen me. But I freaked out and had to save him, and somehow I leveled up to this. And I’ve been watching you for five years, but only recently have I been able to stay here for longer and longer periods of time. These past couple of years, I’ve been able to stay all the time.”
“One?” One asks me with an arched eyebrow, at the same time Two dubiously inquires, “All the time?”
“All the time,” I say with a little too much sassy enthusiasm. “Now I need you to try and die, so I can level up again. Then you four can do all those really fun looking things to me, though I think Three needs to sit out and just take notes for the first few times.”
Four’s lips curve in a grin. Three looks like he’s not happy, though I did just state he was out of the game, but he doesn’t know he’s Three. Two looks like he’s trying to figure me out. And One looks like he wants to lock me in a lab so they can study me from a safer distance.
“She’s certainly been watching us all the time,” Four says with a smirk and a dark glint in his eyes.
“I’m not sure a pretty apparition should win you over so easily,” One tells him. “Not when someone clearly wants us dead. They’re upping their game.”
“She saved your life,” Four reasonably points out.
“Yes, I did. And it was epic. Except for the part when it hurt to crash into that guy. You have no idea how good it feels to finally be heard and seen. So who’s going to put their life at risk so I can see if it’ll propel me into the flesh state?” I ask, looking between them. “If we have a vote, I think it should be Three. He’s quite lazy and lets you three do all the work in the bedroom, while he just has his fun and moves along. He’d bring less to this relationship.”
Two’s lips curve in a reluctant smile this time, as Four’s grin spreads wider. One’s lips barely twitch, and Three tilts his head.
“Why are you calling us by numbers? If you’ve been watching us, why haven’t you learned our names?” Three asks.
“And who’s three?” Four asks with a knowing grin.
“Jude is Four,” I tell Jude.
I suppose it is rude to continue calling them by my pet names now that they can hear me. They don’t realize it’s a term of endearment.
I think I’ve sprang enough on them today.
I stand and walk over to Four, lifting my hand. The other three spread out, their weapons clutched in their hands, and I slip my fingers over Four’s chest, not allowing them to pass through.
There’s no actual feel or true physical contact, and I can press against him but he’ll feel no pressure, since I can’t move objects. I can only rest my fingers on the surface, just as I learned to rest my feet above ground.
Before then, I had to find iron to be around to keep me anchored enough to do it.
A little hum of electricity seems to pass between us, though it’s so watered down I can’t be sure. He tilts his head, his dark grin still fixed to his face.
“Four’s my favorite,” I decide to say honestly.
He releases a rumble of a laugh, as Two snorts derisively.
My eyes flick to Two, savoring this moment. I’m finally introducing myself to them. And I’m actually introducing who they are to me, since I know them and don’t know myself.
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