The man proceeded forward, headed towards the center of the array. Despite his initial excitement, he kept himself composed and proper, only limiting himself to a small smirk on his face. The distance between the entrance and the center of the arena was big, close to that of a jade dragon's nest or a town square, so the man took his time to stroll along. As he passed by the pillars, each participant gazed upon him in varying levels of interest. There was a strange aura coming off him and no one knew what was most present: the unsettling dread or the unnatural excitement.
The man found his place at the center and began hovering off the ground. He flew high into the starry night until he could get a good look at everyone surrounding him. The figures varied in size, color, race, and gender. Some appeared exhausted while others did not. Some appeared well-built while others did not. Some appeared human and some did not. However, he noted, they all shared something in common. Their faces told a story. One filled with the horrors of life and all shouldered alone. One filled with immense sorrow, regret, rage, and shame. One in desperate need of finding an out. Well, I expected as much, the man thought to himself. Otherwise, what would be the point of all of this? He raised his arms up like a showman and began his introduction.
"Welcome, everyone! I wish to congratulate you on your hard work given throughout the past year. From a hundred participants whittled down to a dozen, I must recognize each and every one of your skills and talents. I do hope you all feel honored to have reached the final stage of the Fairy Games."
No one from the group said a word. In fact, it seemed that barely half of them were even paying attention, due to how they responded. On one of the stands, a red-haired ball of fur laid comfortably as it moved up and down, appearing to be sound asleep, while on another pillar, a young boy in a bright green outfit, wearing pixie-like boots, appeared fixated on a silver dirk that he twirled between his fingers. Nonetheless, the man carried on.
"The last time we met if I recall, was 3 months ago. As you all know, you were given a personal objective to complete throughout that time, testing to see whether your heart really was in the right place to continue to this here moment. I now see that all of you are prepared for the worst and that, my dear guests, is the correct state to be in right now."
This time, a few heads perked up. A young lady, appearing to be in her late teens and shrouded in a red hood, stared at the man with attentive eyes while on the opposite side, a young man, looking a tad bit older and bearing a golden-stained scabbard on his back, took a deep sigh.
"I shall sum it up quickly for you since time is of the essence. All twelve of you will compete to be the last one standing. You will be given from now until the clock strikes midnight once again. By then, only one must still have a heartbeat, no matter how frail or deathly it may be."
A man with a green hood over his head was sitting down, sharpening the end of an arrowhead with a crooked dagger, with a fashioned wooden bow and a leather quiver at his side. He seemed lost in his own thoughts and, thus, wasn't listening to the floating man. Next to him, a woman wearing nothing more than her red half-buttoned overcoat and a pair of short jeans was also sitting down, legs crossed as she stared up into the sky looking bored out of her mind. She, too, was not listening.
"Death may come in any fashion— be it poisoned, gutted, shot, torn limb from limb, whatever it must take. As long as the soul is no longer present, it shall count. Teaming up is by no means prohibited, mind you. If you wish to build strength in numbers, be my guest. However, I would highly suggest you don't get too attached to your allies. If more than one person is still alive by the end of your time period, I shall end the game myself in whatever form I wish. Please keep that in mind."
A boy and a girl, both appearing to be of the same age and both looking almost identical to each other, were messing around with a set of firearms holstered to their sides. The girl, wearing what appeared to be a loose fit school uniform, fiddled with the barrels of the pump-action shotgun between her legs while the boy, whose uniform was much more neatly tucked in, checked the cartridge of the assault rifle he held within his arms, making sure nothing was out of place. As he peered at the girl, who was now staring down the barrel of her weapon and being oblivious to this now impending hazard, he frowned, shook his head, and muttered something under his breath as he continued his task.
"As for your battlefield, I have chosen the remote and lovely island of Grimm. There, you'll be exposed to enough biomes that surely will benefit you in some way, shape, or form. Since you'll be broadcasted to the entire world, however, and I don't particularly like being bored, there shall be a mist that will slowly consume the island as time goes on. In order to prevent a tragic end like last time, this should motivate anyone who plans on camping out the full duration of the game to abandon that strategy as soon as possible."
A boy wearing a worn-out tunic and a blue wool scarf remained crouched down on his pedestal with his eyes closed as he mumbled something to himself. It was hard to tell if he was making a prayer of some sort or if he was chanting a spell of some kind. Regardless, no one seemed fazed about it. Next to him, a man, who seemed to be in his late-thirties, stood still as a part of the minority who was actually paying attention. A set of cat ears twitched upon his head every so often and his hand slowly ran up and down the hilt of the saber, he kept at the side of his black striped pantaloons.
"I believe I don't need to cover this since you're all here for this exact reason, but nonetheless, I shall state it. The reward, assuming there is a winner, will be an 'Edit'. I shall personally hand you your Book of Life and you may edit one thing from within it. It may be whatever you want, whether that be to gain immense fortune or to bring back a lost loved one. Think of it as a genie's wish, granting you anything that your heart may so desire and only limited by your own imagination. There are some exceptions, but that will be covered after the game is finished. And with that, I have no more to say, so I'll hand it over to you now. Please, before we begin, if any of you have any questions, please feel free to ask."