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Eugene Esposito

A tug on his arm halted Eugene’s ascent. Turning to look behind, Mr. Jade had reached out to stop him from going further. “Forgive me, I forget that not everyone is familiar with Wilde Hall. The party, so to speak, is coming to us.” He says.

“Ah, is that so?” Eugene replies with a smile, waiting for the hand to leave his arm before going back down. The sound of large doors being thrown open caught his attention. A sharply dressed figure, presumably one of the butlers, had opened up a pathway before leaving. Gradually, the muted talking from above started to get louder, signifying that people were headed their way.

Mister Jade was still at Eugene’s shoulder, but he had to raise his voice to be heard. “Come. Let us make sure we can find our seats!”

Giving Mr. Jade a smile, he responded. “It’s clear you know more than me regarding Wilde Hall. Lead the way my friend.”

Mister Jade shook his head dismissively, returning Eugene’s smile with a lopsided one of his own. “Think nothing of it. The place can be a maze for all of us, I assure you, and…” Mister Jade trailed off mid-sentence, looking past Eugene, and back up the stairs beyond him. Following his gaze, the journalist turned to look up the stairs and he was met with striking yet haunting beauty. The blood red dress and dark hair contrasted with the smooth pale skin. It was no question as to who this person was. After all, he had seen her very portrait in the hallway on the way to the main room. Avery Wilde.

The matriarch of the Wilde family was clearly in her element, the guests following in her wake enraptured by her, hanging on her every word. In that moment, Eugene could not blame them. As the group reached the foot of the stairs, Avery seemed to notice Eugene and Mister Jade for the first time, and she smiled warmly. Her voice was soft, but it somehow resonated above the bustle of movement and conversation. “Mister Jade, and…” Eugene was suddenly aware that those dark eyes had settled on him, one eyebrow raised in curiosity.

Her voice was soft but even above the murmurs and whispers of the people behind her, every word could clearly be heard. It was then that Eugene realized, that he was holding his breath. “I am Genie, Lady Wilde.” He answered, dipping his head slightly in a polite bow. At this point he didn’t know whether he was fortunate or not to have met Avery Wilde this up close and personal.

A smile danced across the defined features of Avery Wildes face, and she nodded her head slightly as she spoke. “Then it is good to meet you, Mister Genie.” Whether it is the movement of her nod, a shift in the light, or something else altogether, but it is suddenly as if Eugene is shaken from a dream, and sees clearly for the first time.

As Eugene raised his head from the bow, something catches his eyes. His gaze drifts slightly towards her chest and the object resting upon it. The sound of water flowing begins to hush the crowd, turning their murmurs and whispers into nothing more than a passing breeze. He starts to feel cold. Eugene looks down and sees water. Pitch. Black. Water. An endless expanse of water just like the numerous painting that he had seen. Water that was slowly rising. It was cold and he needed to get away but every form of movement seemed to be for naught as he could barely lift a finger. The only thing he had control over was his eyes and his breathing. His breathing that started to get ragged the moment he noticed another ripple. He wasn’t alone here. There was something el…

“Mister Genie?”

Warmth and feeling begins to rush back, filling his body with intense sensation. Looking up he could see Avery Wilde and the crowd of people staring back at him with a quizzical expression as a gentle tug from his sleeve was brought about by a concerned Mister Jade.

“Are you quite well, Mister Genie?” His newfound companion asked.

“Oh… yes of course. I was simply taken aback my Lady Wilde’s presence that’s all.” Eugene replied to him, trying to sound as confident as possible. Turning back to Avery he once again dipped his head this time in apology. “My apologies for holding up the crowd.”

There’s time for me to think about what the fuck happened later. I’ve already made a fool of myself. Gotta lay low for a bit. Despite his thoughts, a cold sweat formed then dripped down the back of his neck.

The dark eyes of Avery Wilde lingered on Eugene for a moment longer, before the sharp edges seemed to soften, and the thin lips held the ghost of a smile. “Not at all, Mister Genie.”

Though it was only for a second or so at most, the silence in the air was thick as Avery Wilde stared at Eugene’s bowed figure. All of the pressure disappeared as her soft voice announced that there was no harm done, the host walking away and bringing the crowd with her. Eugene glanced up slightly as all the people walked around his figure, his eyes catching a few familiar faces. It was only when everyone else had left that Eugene realized he was holding his breath.

“Come, my friend. A hearty meal will do you the world of good.” He inhaled deeply as a hand landed on his shoulder. Looking over to see Mr. Jade, Eugene smiled and straightened up.

“After that encounter, I’m going need a couple glasses of wine as well.” He joked with a smile on his face as the pair started to follow the crowd. “With the way she carries herself and jewellery she sports. Lady Wilde has… quite the presence.”

Mister Jade smiled at Eugene’s first remark, the concern fading from his face as the two men followed after the crowd. “Well then, you are lucky that the Wilde cellars run deep. Perhaps the two of us can try and reach the bottom!”

At Eugene’s second remark, the smile faltered. Only for a heartbeat, the blink of an eye, but Eugene had been watching for it, and Mister Jade did not disappoint. However, if the shorter man was thrown by the remark, his recovery was remarkable, the smile returning. “She is certainly quite something.”

The two men stepped through the doorway, leaving the games room and it’s haunting artwork behind as they arrived in a dining room. The room itself was suitably grand, almost as large again as the hall that they had left behind them. The space was dominated by a vast table, with space for more than a dozen guests. The table itself was all clean white tablecloth and silver cutlery that glinted in the light of the pair of grand chandeliers that hung from the ceiling above, although a quick glance at the chandeliers would show that the candles had been replaced by flickering electric lights. Lady Wilde had led the party into the room, and she had already made her way to one end of the table, other guests drifting towards other empty chairs. Whether there was an arranged seating plan or not, Eugene could see no sign of one, but Mister Jade was still at his shoulder, and the other man deftly guided him to a pair of unclaimed chairs, on the far table side.

By the time Mister Jade and Eugene had reached their seats, the table was already half filled. At the head of the table, to Eugene’s right, sat Avery Wilde herself. Beside her, and in the two seats beside Eugene himself, sat two figures that Eugene had not seen before. The seat beside Eugene was taken up by what looked to be little more than a boy, cheap seat hanging loosely on a lanky frame that looked to stand a few inches shorter than Eugene’s own. A simple black mask half concealed a face marked with blemishes, blonde hair looking to have been brushed back in a hurry. The boy was in hushed conversation with the figure in the seat directly beside Avery Wilde, but as Eugene shifted his attention to the young woman, dark eyes were suddenly watching him from behind a silver-wrought mask, and the hushed conversation halted.

Whatever the topic of the conversation had been, the two conversationalists could scarcely be more different. Where his clothes were ill-fitting and unremarkable, her dress was elaborate and undoubtedly expensive, all dark blue fabric and black stitching. Where his mask was simple, hers was complex, wrought silver and covering nearly all of her face, save for those dark eyes. Not wanting to come across as rude, Eugene finally managed to tear his gaze away. Five of the six seats across from Eugene still stood empty, but one was taken. While the two beside Eugene were young, the man across the table was old, thinning hair long turned white, thick moustache dominating what face was not covered by the white and gold masquerade mask, dark suit expertly tailored.

The man was in hushed conversation with the figure at the other head of the table, and here at least Eugene had some recognition, although perhaps he wished he did not. The man in black. The man that Eugene has glimpsed across the crowd what felt like a lifetime ago. The man that had struck such fear into the maids heart. Unease gripped Eugene’s throat, his breathing suddenly laboured, and it took all his willpower to tear his gaze away. Mister Jade was still at Eugene’s side, and that gave Eugene at least some little solace, and the seat beside his new companion was still untaken. However, sitting on the other side of the man in black was another stranger, all slicked back hair, expensive suit and unforced ease. Eight guests already in their seats, six more to come, if the laid places were anything to go by.

Eugene took in the scene before him, eyes landing on a couple figures around the table. “Good evening.” He said to those around him, even the man in black before taking the seat next to Mr Jade. Although he did not wish to interact with him, there was simply no choice. It was a social event and they were all sharing one table, it would be rude to ignore one of them after greeting everyone else. Thankfully his greeting was met with nods and brief smiles of recognition. It had been a very eventful last couple of minutes so as soon as wine was poured, Eugene reached out to pick up his glass. He swirled it around for a few seconds, allowing the scent to fill his senses before taking a sip.

The journalist was still reeling from the effects of the vision or hallucination he had just witnessed but the taste of the alcohol helped calm down his nerves. Once he was more or less relaxed, he decided to continue where his conversation with Mr Jade left off. There would be more time to mingle with the others later especially since they all seemed to be busy with their own conversations. Turning to his new companion Eugene said. “Shall we continue where we left off? Those paintings, despite being images of still nature certainly evoked a feeling of life wouldn’t you agree?”

However instead of receiving an answer, Mr Jade asked a question. “You clearly have an appreciation of art, Mister Genie. Tell me, is that your profession, or simply a pastime?”

“Not, not a profession.” Eugene replied, setting down the glass of wine. “Just someone who appreciates it. Now let me return a question. You say you’re not the most religious person yet you seem to have a a verse memorized. Was religion a thing of your past or did you just happen to come across such a passage?”

Mister Jade watched Eugene’s face intently for a moment, before shrugging. “Blame it on an interest in…” Here, Mister Jade seemed to hesitate, as if he was searching for the right word, before finally settling on one with a slight smile.

“… divinity.”

Mister Jade took a drink from his own glass, before turning back to Eugene with seemingly renewed intent. “So, humour a hopeless gossip, the man who caused the unfortunate business outside, did you know him at all?”

Eugene would raise an eyebrow at Mr Jade’s statement but decided to look around to see if Mr. Red was anywhere in the dining area. However, he was nowhere to be found. “We traveled by the same carriage.” He said, eyes still scanning the crowd. “It was clear from then that he had quite the short fuse despite our friendly attempts at conversation. An air of hostility if you will. Unfortunately, it seems like that troublemaker is nowhere to be found.”

His attention turned back to Mr. Jade with renewed interest. “Also… divinity? An interest in any specific deity? Christ? Allah? Buddha? Or perhaps one of the thousand Hindu gods?”

“You say unfortunately, Mister Genie, I say fortunately.” A smile danced across Mister Jades face as Eugene’s questioning continued. “Your interest flatters me, friend. But I am sure you did not come this evening simply to trade stories with a man who spends altogether too long with a book in his hands. Please, allow me to introduce you to some more interesting guests.”

Mister Jade glanced around the table, before settling on the pair that sat beside Eugene, the two that looked barely older than children. Leaning across Eugene slightly, Mister Jade raised his voice to be heard. “Madam Blue, it is a pleasure, as always.”

The young woman, her face almost entirely concealed by her wrought silver mask, turned, dark eyes flicking between Mister Jade and Eugene. “Mister Jade. It is good to see you.”

Mister Jade nodded his head in greeting, before continuing, gesturing towards Eugene as he did. “You do me a service, my lady. Please, allow me to introduce my new friend, Mister Genie.” The dark eyes settled on Eugene, expectantly.

Seeing Mr. Jade deflect the question and immediately change topics, Eugene simply reminded with a smile and a nod. He was an experienced talker that much was true but there would hopefully be more opportunities to continue this conversation in the future. Instead, he looked over at the person his companion spoke to. It was the well dressed lady who was accompanied by the young man, the pair that had been speaking in hushed tones when they arrived. Eugene met her gaze and smiled. “A pleasure to meet you Madam Blue, I am Mr. Genie.” He said with a smooth voice

Whether Madam Blue returned the smile or not, Eugene could not tell from behind her mask, but the voice that replied was almost sing song, rising and falling. “The pleasure is mine as well, Mister Genie. I hope you have enjoyed…”

The dark eyes darted away, and the words died away in an instant. Eugene instinctively turned to follow Madam Blues gaze. In the doorway, dominating the space, stood a figure that Eugene recognised in an instant. Perhaps he had already suspected that the man would make an appearance, or perhaps he had managed to drive the memory of him from his mind, but all the same, Eugene couldn’t help but catch his breath.

Professor Green.

Professor Green only has eyes for Avery Wilde. Crossing the gap between the door and the table surprisingly quickly for a man of his stature, Professor Green practically dropped to his knees beside Avery, taking the woman’s hand in his own and kissing it gently. He leant in close and whispered something into Avery’s ear, quietly enough that Eugene could not make it out, but it caused a smile to light up Avery Wildes face, and she visibly squeezed Professor Greens hand. Behind Professor Green came two more figures that Eugene recognised.

First Mister Violet, and then Corporal Khaki. Both men cast their glances over Eugene as they entered, Mister Violet managing a smile, Corporal Khaki’s face showing no flicker of recognition, before both were ushered to their seats. Behind the two men came another couple, an older woman whose attire was the twin of the older man sat alone, and a sharply dressed younger man holding her arm. Neither of them spared a look towards Eugene. But following them was a familiar blue outfit, their eyes meeting midway. Mrs Copper.

Eugene Esposito

Just before the maid was about to leave, Mrs. Copper asked her a question. “Tell me regarding the band.” A glance towards the musicians follow suit. “Perhaps I’ve heard them before. Were they engaged for this evening or do the Wildes retain their own musicians?”

The query seemed to fall on deaf ears for a moment as the maid was found quite distracted. She was looking at the tall man in black, the same one that gave Eugene the heebie jeebies. When she realized what had happened, her eyes widened in surprise for a moment before composing herself and replying politely. “The band… Forgive me, ma’am. The band play for the evening, and then return to Arkham.” She answered, looking around the members of their group.

Interesting, so I’m not the only one who had noticed that strange fellow.

Mr. Violet, with his friendly and extroverted nature stepped forward with a smile. “Thank you, we won’t be keeping you any longer.” He said, allowing the maid to return to her duties. Though she didn’t leave right away, and instead seemed to study Mr. Violet’s face for a mere moment before dipping into curtsy and leaving.

The smile quickly faded as he turned around and addressed them. The jovial attitude from before gone and replaced with a seriousness that had Eugene, Mrs. Copper, and Corporal Khaki all leaning to listen to him. “I think, perhaps, we should all be careful what we say.”

Almost just as quickly as it entered, the seriousness left the man. Mr. Violet straightened up and looked around. “I say, I wouldn’t mind a breath of fresh air after all this excitement.” His booming and jovial voice attracting the attention of nearby guests. Whether it was an act to distract others or not, Eugene would probably never know.

Although their trip was and time spent together was rather nice, Mr. Violet seemed to be the type of person to be two faced. Able to switch between masks rather easily which was a rather handy ability to have. Especially in a place such as this.

“Of course, take care Mr. Violet and I hope to see you again later in the night.” Eugene said, raising his glass as a way to say goodbye to his companion. Taking it as the cue to split off, the journalist finished off his drink and placed it on the tray of a passing servant. “I might head off as well. The trip here took… far longer than expected and I need some time for myself. I hope fate brings us all together again later.”

“Until then, Genie.” Mrs. Copper said to him as he nodded his farewell to them and walked away.

Eugene moved through the shifting crowd, eyes searching for another servant that could hopefully lead him to the nearest washroom. An effort made by his part to hopefully explore more of Wilde Hall. His eyes settled on another young maid. He walked over, managing to grab her attention as she lowered her gaze and dipped in curtsy. “Good evening, pardon me for interrupting your work but you see I’m not too familiar with the layout of this mansion.” He said with a nod, his voice smooth and calm. “Would you be so kind as to show me which way it is to the washroom?” Just like servant before, the journalist would study the young woman, trying to see if there was anything off or out of place about the way she carried herself.

She replied with a smile of her own. “Of course, sir. If you’ll follow me, I’ll be more than happy to show you.” Turning around, she began to make her way through the crowd, leading Eugene to his destination. Unlike the previous maid who was quite clearly uneasy, this one seemed far more relaxed and at home. Either she was someone low in the food chain who didn’t know anything, or was had a bit of power and was more experienced amongst the servants.

To his surprise, she led him towards the wide stairs, Eugene following without a question. Just before descending however, he felt the urge to look back and upon doing so, locked eyes with a familiar face. Professor Green. It was only for a brief moment as he quickly shifted his attention and with all the guest milling around one could say that he had simply glanced but Eugene knew. The professor was staring right at him. A chill ran down his back before continuing down the stairs after the maid.

As Eugene climbed down the first flight, the maid was already around the corner, and he instinctively picked up his pace, not wanting to be left behind in unknown surroundings. The music faded behind him, and suddenly he was at the foot of the stairs. The room he found himself looking out on was positively cozy, a handful of worn and deep armchairs gathered around a roaring fireplace, a billiards table dominating the room. It certainly caught him off guard and he found himself staring a bit longer than expected as the maid’s voice called for his attention.

“Sir?” She said, head tilted to one side as if she was curious about his reaction. “Just this way, sir.” A hand gestured to a room at the foot of the stairs.

“Oh, thank you very much. I’ll be able to find my own way back. You may go ahead and return to whatever it is you were doing.” He said, hoping the maid would leave which would allow him to snoop around the place. Regardless of her answer, he would enter.

Stepping through the doorway, Eugene found himself in a narrow room, little more than a closet, or cloak room judging by the row of heavy winter coats that hunt from the rack to his right. At the end of the room was another door. Beyond that, Eugene was greeted the most posh bathroom he’d ever been in but knowing that he was here for a job, he couldn’t really take the time to admire the place. After taking care of his business, Eugene washed his hands then took off his mask to freshen up, using the cool water to wash his face before drying it off with some paper towels. Eugene looked long and hard into the mirror, staring into his own reflection. The night was still young but already so much had happened, the incident in the carriage followed by the scuffle immediately after arriving, then Mr. Red’s sudden mood shift. He’d have to be on guard especially against Professor Green, that man was… powerful.

“Okay buddy.” He said taking a deep breath before putting donning his mask once again. “I’ll see you tomorrow.” It may seem weird but that was a bit of reassurance for him. Saying that to his reflection was an indication that he’d make it through the night. Finally exiting the bathroom, he would finally pay attention the hallway leading up to it. “Weird place to put the toilet, especially one as lavish as that. I can’t imagine why they’d put a closet in the way.” He’d say, glancing over at the all the coats but never really putting much thought into it. Rich people were weird anyway.

Leaving the place he’d return back to the maid and say. “Right, I’m ready to go back now. Thank you for the assistance.”

Eugene’s words were met with silence, the maid that had escorted him here nowhere to be seen. Perhaps she had been called away by someone else but that shouldn’t explain her leaving without a word. Either way there was nothing he could do about it now. Looking around the room, he can make out no less than five doors leading into the unknown, not including the one he has just stepped through. And then of course there is still the staircase leading back upstairs.

Paying no attention to the larger doors in the room, he turned around to go up the stairs before something catches his eye. A smaller door that was just beside the staircase, parallel to the bathroom. The journalist bit his lower lip as his gaze lingered, curiosity beckoning him forward. He glanced up the stairs, light and sound filtering in from the party above and suddenly recalled Professor Green. That man rubbed him the wrong way and he knew that Eugene had gone down here, if he took too much time then… No, nevermind. It’ll just be quick and besides, Eugene knew how to talk his way out of confrontations. For the most part at least. Turning towards the other door beside the stairs, Eugene gripped the handle and opened it.

Stepping through the door, Eugene was immediately struck by the change in decor. While the room behind him had been lavish and warm, here the walls were bare, the floors uncarpeted and the wood beneath his feet worn and marked. Not only that, but where the noise of the party had once been, now there was the clatter and bustle of people at work. This place certainly seemed like the rooms and hallways that servants use to travel around the mansion… and the perfect place to pick up some gossip. There was no doubt that the help had heard juicy stories and rumors so this would have been the perfect place for him to snoop around. Mumbled voices at the far end of the hall enticed Eugene. Softly closing the door behind him, the journalist sneaked his way towards the hushed talking completely ignoring the door to his immediate left.

Eugene makes his way down the corridor, passing two more doors on his left before he reaches the source of the hushed voices. Heat, sound, and light spilling out into the corridor. Staying close to the wall, he looked into the room beyond, and found himself looking into a kitchen. A thick set woman with a shock of white hair stood in the centre of the chaos, half a dozen maids and other cook staff milling around her, like a conductor in the heart of the orchestra. None of them seemed to notice the sneaky eavesdropper in the doorway, all of them focused on their task of seemingly preparing a fine dinner.

Just the kitchen then. Eugene thought to himself. I should probably head back now. I spent too much time here. Turning around he would make his way back to the room he came from, quietly opening the door to exit the hall before turning to go back up the stairs.

When he exited the corridor, the journalist froze for a moment as the room was not as empty as he’d left it. A man stood with his back to Eugene, across the room, seemingly fascinated by one of the paintings hanging on the wall. The door swung closed behind Eugene before he could think to catch it, the thud suddenly sounding like a cacophony.

The stranger turned to look at the newcomer, but if he was surprised to see Eugene, the pale face didn’t show it, and he quickly turned back to the painting. The man was soft around the edges, dark suit straining in some place and hanging loose in others, and shorter than he was. When the man spoke, his voice was thin. “This was painted by Avery, you know. All of these were.” He lazily gestured around the room, and for the first time, Eugene properly noticed the dozen or so paintings that hung around him. They all looked to be landscapes, but as he looked closer, he could see that shadows seemed to creep in from every edge, and every last painting was dominated by water. Lakes. Rivers. Ponds.

Eugene carefully watched the man. At the moment it looked like he wasn’t in trouble but he couldn’t shake off the unease. In that brief moment where the stranger turned to look at him, the journalist could make out pale skin. Swallowing some saliva, Eugene straightened up and decided to humor him. As much as he wanted to avoid this, there was nothing else he could do. “Lovely pieces. I take it she’s quite fond of water?” He casually mentions.

“He lets me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters…” The man trailed off, as if he had been reciting the lines to himself. Seeming to remember his surroundings, the man turned to face Eugene properly. The pale face was clearer now, as was the thinning dark hair, and the hooded eyes behind the simple white mask. “I don’t believe we have been properly introduced.”

In that instant, it clicked. Eugene knew who he was. Tony Blackwell. The king of Arkham’s newspapers. He had inherited a failing Arkham newspaper from his father, and in only a few years, had turned it into an empire. In fact, Eugene remembered the countless articles holding up Tony Blackwell as one of the great successes of post-war America, and here he was in the flesh.

Not wanting to seem rude, he walked forward a couple steps and offered a handshake. “Genie.” He said. “A pleasure to meet you Mister…?”

“Mister Jade.” Tony ll said, crossing the room to reach Eugene’s offered hand, his gait loping and unsteady. He had expected the great Tony Blackwell to be in much better shape but you could never tell with people unless you met them yourself. Eventually reaching Eugene, he shook hands. “Would that be the same Genie that witnessed the… unpleasantness outside?”

He gave Mr Jade a tight lipped and apologetic smile. “That would be me. I’m sorry you had to witness that, I didn’t expect that person to be cause such a scene in front of everyone else.” Implying that Mr. Red was just as much trouble during the carriage ride as he was outside. Changing the topic, he said. “I take it you’re a fan of literature Mr. Jade? That line you just said, was it piece of poetry or prose?”

“Psalm 23. Although I can’t claim to be the most religious man.” Mister Jade did his best to straighten up, although he still stood a few inches shorter than Eugene. He looked to be about to say something further, when the ring of a gong, somewhere from the floor above, echoed down the stairwell. The general hubbub of the party above died down in a moment, and when Eugene looked back at Mister Jade, he saw that a slight smile was on the other man’s face. “Dinner, at last. I insist that you join me, Mister Genie. I feel we have much still to discuss.”

The smile seemed to be genuine enough and if the two journalists were anything alike, they could not resist the allure of getting a big scoop. Perhaps this would be a good idea to try and find out some information. Eugene thought. Returning the smile with one of his own he replied. “Of course Mister Jade and please, just call me Genie. Now then, shall we?” With that being said, the two began to ascend the stairs.

Eugene Esposito

Eugene walked with the group, entering Wilde Hall. The chilly, night air was replaced with a warm interior. The dark sky, with bright lights. He took the time to admire the corridor they were at, observing each of the portraits hung up across its pristine walls. Generations upon generations of the Wilde family staring down at their guests for the night.

“Captain Khaki, isn’t it? Do you often attend these functions?” Mrs. Copper said distracting Eugene’s admiration for the paintings. He took note that she did not address their new companion by his proper title.

“I’m afraid it is Corporal Khaki, ma,am. I…” Corporal Khaki seemed caught off guard and quickly corrected himself and her for that matter by reminding her of his position. However it seemed as though he was about to say something else before switching topics. “I confess that this is not entirely ‘my scene’, so to speak. The three of you seem far more at home”

“I speak for myself but while I do enjoy a good party, something as…” Eugene pursed his lips and snapped his fingers as he thought about what word to use. “Something as grand and formal as this event is definitely new to me” Eugene’s throat felt dry and he realized that between his last drink and everything that happened, he was quite thirsty. “I’m actually quite parched. Shall we hurry along? After all what better way to meet and mingle with new friends than over food and drink.” He said with a smile.

“I feel you have read my thoughts, Genie. Yes, let’s have that drink!” Mrs. Copper replied with enthusiasm before marching onwards.

After the rather awkward exchange and Mrs. Copper’s apology, an exaggerated laugh filled the air followed by a clap on one’s shoulder. “Whatever the case, you’re in better company now, my friend!” Mr Violet said to their new companion, causing the corporal to flinch slightly. After giving him a couple more pats, their loud friend led the way forward before their walk to the party was interrupted by the last painting.

A grand portrait of the host herself, Avery Wilde. Something about the way she was painted was captivating but also powerful. An aura of power shone in her eyes that seemed to put all the previous heads to shame. How intriguing. Eugene thought to himself. If I manage to get her in a one on one interview I’d be able to get some juicy information. I can’t blow my cover though so I need to pick and choose my words carefully.

Mr Violet spoke first, though the tone of his voice was a lot less jovial than usual. “Our host for the evening looks like quite the woman.”

Eugene turned towards Mr Violet and smiled. “Certainly does and we’d best not keep her waiting.”

“I doubt anyone keeps her waiting,” Came Mrs. Copper’s reply.

Following the group, the hallway they were in opened up into a massive room. Music filled the air, seemingly from all around them and upon closer inspection, the source was a large group of musicians standing underneath the tall windows of their venue. “Well, the party has certainly started.” Eugene commented as he took note of the men and women dancing along to the jazzy tune.

One particular area caught the journalist’s attention the most. It a huge staircase to their right, going up and beyond into the dark expanse of Wilde Manor. It was probably where their host would make her grand entrance. He needed to find a way up there but using that specific staircase would be too obvious. Perhaps he could sneak away in one of the later hours and wander the hallways in search of a way up. For now though, it was time to mingle and blend in.

“Now this I could get used to!” Said Mr. Violet, the enthusiasm in his voice returning.

Looking over at his companions excitement, Eugene laughed. “You and I both, my friend. Now where can a man get himself a drink?”

With perfect timing, a maid appeared out of nowhere presenting Eugene and his group some champagne. It was either perfectly planned or simply a coincidence. Probably the latter. Before he could even respond, Mr. Violet eagerly picked up a flute and started to take a sip. Not wanting to seem too rude, Eugen followed. Only this time he didn’t drink right away, he swirled the alcoholic drink around and took in its aroma, trying to find any sort of inconsistencies. But he couldn’t figure anything out except for the fact that it was of the highest quality.

Looking back up at the maid, the journalist noticed something off. She was fidgety, frequently glancing to the side as if afraid of something. Eugene followed her gaze and his eyes locked on a man. If the people around them was like the sea, that man was an island. The guest flowed around him as if he wasn’t there, as if he was invisible. That wasn’t all, a strange fear gripped his heart. Somewhere deep with Eugene’s consciousness he was praying that this man wouldn’t turn and pay him attention. Something about this guest was dark. Darker than his hair and suit and Eugene hoped he would not be the one to find out what happened when darkness takes notice.

He quickly shifted his eyes and took a sip to quench his thirst. As the champagne flowed down his throat he let out a satisfied sigh so as to seem perfectly fine. A sent a quick glance to each of his companions, lingering on Mrs. Copper’s just a split second longer before saying. “Exquisite drink, don’t you all think so?”

“Quite exquisite,” Mrs. Copper replied, agreeing to his statement before giving out a friendly word of advice. “Though one must pace oneself.”
Old man incoming. Do tell if there's things I still need to change or adjust.

Dropping my interest for this
@Moon Man Ooof my guy, it was fun while it lasted. Good luck

Yeah, the hiatus it was on and all the irl stuff just killed my momentum. Once again, sorry to everyone.
@Guardian Angel Haruki
Hiya, really sorry about this but I've lost interest in the rp and it wouldn't feel right if I try to continue with lackluster posts.

Eugene Esposito

Eugene exits the carriage and takes a deep breath, it felt good to be in the open. The atmosphere in there was quite restricting these past few minutes. He saw the other invitees with their fancy outfits and masks, an air of pompousness radiating from majority of them. Now it’s time to act like one of them. He didn’t have to be all stuck up, just show enough bravado to make them think he wasn’t a stranger to such events. Straightening his collar he looked to Mister Violet.

“Now, now Mister Violet. Now that we’re here there’s no need to rush. Seems like we arrived just in time though, a couple minutes of tardiness shouldn’t bother anyone.” He said, his voice exuding confidence.

Eugene turns back towards the carriage and raises a hand for Mrs Copper which she takes. Turning around he is greeted with the magnificent sight of Wilde Hall. Fixing the coat he wore, Eugene was about to head towards their venue but was stopped by a commotion.

Just as the tension from the carriage seemed to die down, the peace was broken once again Mr. Red. The southern man walked up to, who he assumed, was a chaperone of another group. The man Mr. Red was talking to was massive, looming over the car he was standing next to. Despite this, Mr. Red walked up fearlessly, even throwing his real name out into the wind for all to hear. Eugene looked around and noticed the stares of the other attendees, eagerly watching to obtain some material for some late night gossip.

Even though the man supposedly called Adams kept denying Mr. Red, that didn’t deter the southern man. In fact it motivated him more. He carefully watched Adams, vying for any reaction but there was none. Blank as a slate. No hint of recognition, no movement apart from his mouth and the occasional blink, hell, it seems like he doesn’t even notice Mr. Red. The situation escalated to the point where two servants grabbed Mr. Red and attempted to drag him off.

Gracious! What’s all this?” Mrs. Copper said. She walked up towards the servants grabbing Mr. Red and sternly rebuked them. “What rights have you to put hands on a guest for simply asking a question of a servant?”

It seems her voice held some power as the emotionless servants actually flinched. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out in anyone’s favor as Mr. Red broke free and punched the servants. There was a dull crack and Eugene subconsciously winced. The hit sent the servant towards the light which arose some confusion in the reporter. No moan of pain, no blood dripping from the wound, pale, and taut skin. If they weren’t moving out and about he’d have thought they were long dead corpses.

A few, slow seconds passed. The tension in the air was palpable. Mr. Red stayed in a hostile stance, one hand up using it as a guard and the other…slowly moving into jacket. Eugene’s eyes widened. He had a gun. Just as he was about to open his mouth to yell that Mr. Red was armed, a voice rang out from behind him.

Eugene spun around and was met with two figures. A larger, broad shouldered man with fierce green eyes, no doubt he was the source of the voice. He exuded an aura of power that none of the other attendees had. The second man, wearing the uniform of a shoulder, had just left the carriage behind the green eyed man and was shorter though more fit. However his body language lacked the confidence that his companion had just showcased.

The green eyed man called out to the coachmen and sternly reprimanded them. The coachmen quickly stood at attention and kept their heads low. Eugene watched as the man who called himself Professor Green apologize to Mr. Red on behalf of the servants. Seemed like they had just met one of the top dogs of Wilde Hall. Being able to command those strangely lifeless coachmen and apologizing on behalf of them. As Mr. Red reached a hand out to shake Mr. Green’s he was pulled in and the two exchanged some words before quickly pulling apart.

"I can only extend that apology to the three of you. As I said, clearly there has been some misunderstanding. You have my personal assurance that this unsavory moment will not spoil your evening! From this moment onwards, please allow me to consider all of you my companions." Mr Green said to Eugene’s group. Looks like they had gained a powerful ally. Still, despite the friendly disposition, Eugene did not let his guard down.

Eugene bowed slightly and said. “Much obliged Mr. Green. I am called Genie.” He said, thanking the patron that stopped the commotion from escalating. “Mrs. Copper that’s an excellent idea. It’s a party after all, why don’t we go and experience the beauty of Wilde Hall.”

As Eugene turned to leave, Professor Green called out and mentioned that one of his men would join them. It was the one in a soldier’s outfit wearing a white opera mask, Corporal Khaki was his name. “Oh, of course. I’m sure my companions would agree with me when I say, we’d be delighted to have him.”

While he was still facing them, Eugene glanced over at Mr. Red. A wave of confusion washed over him when he did so. Mr. Red was…still. The tension in his body which was ready to lash out at any given time was gone. In fact it seemed like he was now withdrawn, a cornered beast with no way out except death. What the hell did Professor Green say to him?

“Well?” Eugene asked, enthusiasm in his voice. “Shall we?” He made a sweeping motion with his hand before turning around and walking towards Wilde Hall.
“Gah!” Arma cried out as he tripped and fell through the floor. “I’m okay!” He called out, raising a thumbs up. The bori got up just as Ferrin arrived. “Killed? Maybe. In here though, I doubt it. They did say that this was just a test besides what would people say about the king if he killed the very heroes he sought out.” Arma got up and began walking, looking around the room. He heard a flap and the sound of feet landing as Wyler arrived . He gave the petpet a wave and continued with his exploration.

“This is weird.” He said, as he noticed the glasses and vials shaped like neopets. “Wonder what these are for.” Reaching out, he pocketed a couple of the bori shaped vials. Arma suddenly shuddered as it felt like someone was looking at him. Turning to the left he was greeted by another set of eyes. “WOAH!” He jumped back and immediately assumed a battle stance. Eyes darting around he could see other shapes in large glass jars. Slowly his expression turned from battle ready to disgust. “What the fu…” He walked up and began inspecting the jars. Various body parts including whole petpet’s were kept inside, preserved by a strange viscous liquid. He was so distracted by the morbid scene that he didn’t notice the key on the desk.
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