Chapter Five, Page One, the City of Locked DoorsMature

Chapter 5

Noir strode down through the undercity, Adrian in toe. Night was falling on the surface and every living inhabitant in Umbras had been dismissed to their prisons; all except for Adrian who accompanied Noir at Solomon Doll's behest. There was no danger of her losing control and running rampant, the night did not affect Umbrans as it did humans; they suffered only the physical changes.

Noir slid down a ladder and continued along the waiting passage as Adrian followed him, "So why do you live down here instead of up in the Dollhouse?"

He turned at the next intersection, "For the solitude."

"You don't like people that much?"

"No, I don't particularly care for the majority of people."

"How about your parents, you must like them."

He arrived at a hatch and crouched to open it, favoring her with as he did so, "No, I didn't get along with my parents and they didn't particularly like me either." He pulled the lever and opened the hatch with a sharp clang, "Besides, they're both dead now, so it would be irrelevant even if I did." He dropped down, landing on the floor beneath with a dull thud.

She dropped down after him, her form already becoming spectral, "But there must be somebody you like."

"There was, once." He continued down a stair, "Now that'll be enough questions from you."

"Yes sir," she did a little hop and glided down the stair after him. They arrived at the furnace chamber shortly after that.

Adrian paused as they descended into the heat and orange glow, her spectral eyes darkening slightly to a happy rose color as she looked out across the vista. He glanced back up at her and sighed, "What are you stopping for? You've already seen all of this."

She shook herself and recommenced her descent, "I didn't really get to look at all of it before; I was in such a hurry to get you and bring you back upstairs that all of this was just a blur." She looked around again, "This really is incredible, I wonder why more people don't come down here?"

Noir adjusted the pack on his shoulders, "Most people don't know it exists, let alone have any idea how to get here through the undercity. Speaking of which, I was surprised you managed to find you way down here."

She shook her head and edged around a gently swaying Drosera bait-vine, "It wasn't that hard, I may only be half Undertaker but that still more than enough to find my way around the city easily."

"They won't bite you know."

"What?"

He pointed at the Drosera fruit behind her, "The Drosera, they won't bite if you touch their bait."

"But aren't they carnivorous?" She glanced up the bait line to where the massive, orange bloom clung to the ceiling.

"Yeah, they're carnivorous, but they don't eat humans, there's too much of the apocalypse's poison in our blood." He moved to the edge and motioned downward, "They mostly eat the fish in the waterways because they don't carry as much poison; the water dilutes it." She glanced over the edge just in time to see a bloated catfish leap from the water and bite on one of the low-hanging Drosera fruits. It instantly shot upward past them, struggling uselessly to release the bait. Once it reached the ceiling, the bright orange Drosera bloom snapped shut around it, ending its struggles.

Adrian returned her attention to him, "But why do these other plants hang their baits over the walkways and not the water?"

He smirked and pointed upward, "Those aren't individual plants, kid, that's one Drosera plant, and it just hangs its bait wherever it happens to bloom."

Her eyes widened and she glanced upward at the massive plant, her irises darkening with awe, "That's all one plant?"

His smile widened, "Yeah and what's more, they're naturally dark skinned but gain that bright orange color from the heat, which they absorb to survive. Now come on," he beckoned her onward.

The End

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