“Holy shit, Lioness, you live in a fucking castle! That’s so badass, hahaha~!” I suddenly shouted out to the topless muscle-girl in front of me, who was struggling to load shells into a shotgun… Yeah, we canoed past like five houses and she was still loading one of her two guns. On the other hand, Angel and Demoness were already bickering with each other while having an archery competition amongst themselves. Gemini was bored after using a couple magazines with the two pistols, which she was able to accurately hit targets with at the same time by the way, so she went back in the house to play with the crying ‘Viper’ whose little ear-holes were aching from the noise.
“Hell yeah, Dude!” Lioness laughed as she explained, “They tried to talk me outta it like ten times, but as soon as I saw that castle I knew it had to be mine! I call it Fort Lioness, hahaha~!”
“Yeah, but ain’t it kinda hard to take care of a castle on your own?” I couldn’t help but ask. After all, if she had some robot maids or something, that would be important information to know about.
“Dude, you got no idea! Agh, I really didn’t care that much before, but now it’s like… Ugh~! Who the hell wants to clean a freaking castle by themselves?!” By the time she finished complaining, she finally loaded all the shotgun slugs into the magazine and then needed my help to shove it into the hole without breaking anything.
“I can imagine…” I snickered and suggested, “Why not move into one of the other houses instead? I mean, a castle is cool and all, but it’s kinda silly to live there by yourself.”
“Oh for real Dude, I’ve actually been staying with Angel since… Like, yesterday.” Lioness sighed and then cheered up suddenly, “Woah! What if we like, turned my house into some kinda super-awesome secret base?! Well, I guess it won’t be secret since we’re the only ones here and we know about it, but like… Umm, we could definitely hang out there though, right? Plenty of room for all kinds of cool shit! Maybe we’ll even get attacked by some badass giant monsters?! That would be soo~ awesome man! Hahaha~!”
She was so fucking excited about everything. At least that’s what it seemed like on the surface. Maybe it was a childlike mentality of being literally only five years old, or it could be that she just hid her true feelings under wild enthusiasm?
“That really is pretty cool. And kinda what I was thinking too when I look at this place…” I smirked and couldn’t help saying, “Imagine being in a castle during a zombie Apocalypse? Then again, I’m not sure how useful the walls and moat will be if we have to fight against flying monsters or crazy shit like that, haha~!”
“Damn, it really would be badass! But where would we get a bunch of zombies on a deserted island like this? Hahah~!” Lioness walked up to the little wooden fence I built in front of the shooting gallery, it was literally just some sticks and stuff that I stacked together to mark out twenty meters from the nearest targets. She raised the shotgun, aimed at a jug of water about thirty meters away and pulled the trigger… Well, she completely missed the target she was aiming at, but she still laughed her ass out because a glass bottle exploded about fifty meters behind it.
“By the way, try not to shoot the arrows and bolts if possible, since I don’t have that many of them…” I muttered, even though I could tell that the muscle-girl’s aim was so bad that it was an impossible request. Four shots later, she finally nicked the side of the plastic jug and it exploded. Obviously it was filled with ocean water instead of spring or tap water.
Going back to the exploration of the island, once EMP and I checked out the castle at close range, we decided to go back out a few hundred meters from the shore. Then we continued traveling east.
“The island is twenty miles from east to west and ten miles from north to south, if you’re looking at it on a map. But the truth isn’t that simple.” When we canoed for a few hundred meters past the eastern hill next to Fort Lioness, EMP started explaining the weird geography: “What I mean by that is… Well, don’t go deeper into the island if you can avoid it. The closer you get to the valleys between the mountains, the more dangerous it’ll be… Because those weird rifts distort the space around them.”
“What the fuck? How much? Like a literal mountain out of a literal molehill or a whole planet inside an acorn shell?” As an author and prolific reader, obviously my imagination was much more dramatic than the reality.
EMP giggled and shook her head, “It’s not that bad. But when you’re trying to walk through several miles of jungle, you might end up going in circles even if you’re literally walking in a straight line. Or you could experience hours when people on the outskirts of the island go through weeks or months. Plus there’s all the monsters and stuff, just don’t go there. Too many people died trying to explore the secrets of this ‘Death Gate’. And I really don’t want to lose any more friends.”
“Yeah, I ain’t suicidal so I don’t get why everyone keeps telling me not to do crazy shit?” I snickered and shook my head, “Seriously… If it wasn’t for the rest of you girls, I would’ve probably never left my front yard. This is pretty fun though. Connecting with people again… Going out and doing shit. I forgot how much I loved the water growing up… And the fresh air, warm weather, sunshine, it’s really nice. Only a little confusing because I’m currently in two places at once.”
“Oh no! I almost forgot about that!” EMP suddenly frowned and looked at me as if I was going to die at any moment, “Michael! What’s the range of your power?!”
“Ah, I have no fucking clue.” I sighed and shrugged, “This is farther than I’ve been away from Ana since, well, since I woke up in her body one day in my basement. I haven’t noticed any latency problems though. So I’m starting to wonder if there even is a limit? Maybe it works on like quantum entanglement or something like that? Then again, maybe the reason why Ana was in a coma until recently was because they just kept her too far away from me? Or it could be some other factors that I don’t understand.”
“Either way, maybe we should turn back?” She was furrowing her brows and looking around anxiously, “We could turn back and then go towards the west, that way you can see both sides of the island where our homes are. There’s no point in traveling too far…”
“I think it’s much safer to test the limits of my power than canoe past Lioness and her shitty aim, hahaha~!” I smirked and kept paddling forward, while looking out towards the shore in the distance. There was another ruined house, but this one wasn’t burned down, just smashed apart by multiple trees and overgrown with vines.
“Well… Okay, but I think that you should still be careful. Tell me right away if you notice anything wrong. Don’t joke around with the side effects of our powers Michael. It can be really dangerous, even for the younger Eves like Lioness. I don’t know for sure, but enhanced regeneration usually means that there’s a higher risk of mutations like cancers and premature aging. So just don’t push yourself too hard. Please.”
There were three big mountains or dormant volcanoes on the island. Well, as you can imagine, the island was a bit more complicated than just a giant egg shape or whatever. Even the mountains were kinda broken up to a certain extent. We were closest to Mount Nexus, the central mountain, which actually has three peaks. Hence why there were ‘valleys’, those valleys are actually cracks and gaps in the mountains themselves, while between the three mountains were jungles, rivers and in some spots, bays. For example, after passing the lighthouse to the east of Fort Lioness, we reached the edge of a bay between two parts of the island.
“Why am I suddenly super terrified?” Maybe it was a sixth sense or I don’t know what, but the moment we reached that open area, I could feel my heart pounding and every instinct was telling me to escape immediately. I turned to EMP and asked, “Maybe we should get closer to the shore? Like… Right now.”
But when I turned to look at her, I realized that she was holding a double-barreled shotgun and looking around anxiously. Then she said something that scared the living shit out of me, “Michael… Where are we?”