Rubik shoved the door out of his way and scrambled outside. He cleared the doorway, but his foot caught a rock, and he fell to the ground, face landing in the clean and fresh snow. Rubik got on all fours to make another attempt at running like hell, but realized that two skeletal legs were directly in front of him.

This skeleton was not Spicy. He was much taller, perhaps twice the height of Rubik, and wore a grey chest plate with gold trim, blue gloves, silver briefs with a golden belt, and knee-high blue boots. He was staring ahead, mouth firmly closed so Rubik couldn't see what lay behind. His eyes had no light, just a darkness.

"Something is wrong.," He muttered. "My brother should have met you, not me. The author shouldn't introduce me yet. If they were smart, they wouldn't have introduced me at all."

"The... What?" Rubik asked. "Are you Ghosty?"

"Yes. But this shouldn't be my body," Ghosty replied. "Some people wrote me as a wisp. Others wrote me as something that doesn't exist in this universe, yet is very pink."

"... Great."

"But something is wrong. You can feel it, the boredom, the blandness? It can't just be me who knows..."

"Knows what?" Rubik thought it was best to entertain this person.

"That this place lacks something more. That there is someone more powerful than any of us... And they've been killing those who don't go according to plan. The original Royal Scientist, Yami, her follower FirePyre? Rex, the ghost? Dead. Dead, or... fragmented. The author can't get rid of me, though. I'm needed. And when the time comes, I'll play my part. But I hope you won't. You seem like the main character."

Rubik became worried. Ghosty obviously was losing it. He began to back away, when Ghosty spoke again, halting Rubik in his tracks.

"You've been having dreams, haven't you? You want to go home. Well, there is a ferryman. Or woman. They'll take you to the Hotlands, you won't even need to pass through the Waterfall. There you can talk to Jmskilz, the new Royal Scientist. Or maybe Chengsha knows something. Who knows?"

Rubik began to sweat. He decided that, while he would follow Ghosty's advice, sticking around wasn't smart. Something had taken hold of Ghosty's brain ... --- -- . - .... .. -. --. / -- --- .-. ., and Rubik did not want to have whatever it was take hold of him. He turned on his heels and fled.

Ghosty called from behind him. "10, 1871!"

After asking a kind stranger with the body of a bear but sprouting antlers, Rubik was able to find the ferry-person. Ze went by the name of Venera, and apparently had such strong arms that ze was too dangerous in any other profession. Sure enough, with only a couple pushes on the oars that were connected to the boat, Rubik was practically flying down the river.

Venera was completely swathed in blue, with a hood shadowing zer face, so it was impossible to get any features. But it was obvious that ze was humongous. Easily taller than Playful, Eclipsa, or even Ghosty, Rubik made a mental note to himself not to get in a fight with the boat-keeper.

The boat slowed down, and Rubik hopped out into a sweltering land. The ground was literally red, and it was maybe 35ºC (95ºF). Gigantic buildings of metal dotted the horizon, like a land of heat and clockwork. Rubik looked up, and sure enough there was a sign pointing to the Royal Scientist's lab.

Rubik walked down, surprisingly refreshed by the heat. He hadn't a sweater or anything of the sort in Snowtown, and his T-Shirt was perfect for this weather. He made his way to a building with a towering metal sliding door. The word to describe this area, Rubik mused, Aside from sweltering would be large. He stepped up to the door, and didn't but touch it and it opened.

He stepped in to the brightly-lit laboratory, steps echoing. It was quite bare, for a place of science. And tall. The ceiling was extremely hi- was that a bird?

No, a bat. No... it was something else entirely. A person with wide bat wings swooped down from the ceiling to land in front of Rubik, and put out his hand.

"Pleasure to meet you. I'm Jmskilz, the Royal Scientist." Apart from the bat wings, he had dark hair and leather clothing with some metal rings in it. "How can I help you?"

Rubik opened his mouth and the wall beside them blew to smithereens.

There was a humanoid robot, waving its arms. "HELLO." It said, in a robotic voice. "MY NAME IS 3DD13. MY CREATOR PROGRAMMED ME WITH HOMOCIDICAL TENDENCIES BUT I OVERRODE THEM. JMSKILZ CALLS ME THE ANTI-ULTRON. IT IS A PLEASURE TO MEET YOU." 3DD13 had the body of a human, but made of steel. He had a featureless face, and there were holes in his hands.

Rubik smiled. Finally, someone sane. "Hello," He grinned. "I'm Rubik. I'm... from above, and I'm trying to get back."

Jmskilz creased his brow. "Hm. Interesting problem. I haven't had to simulate flight yet... A jetpack, while feasible, would probably burn off your legs, and synthetic wings might take a long time... Eddie, ideas?"

The robot managed to pull of an air of confusion without eyes or a mouth. "I AM AFRAID THAT I AM NOT SKILLED IN THE AREA OF FLIGHT. PERHAPS CHENGSHA, THE BAKER, HAS AN IDEA?"

"Good thinking. Synthetic wings would take too long to create, but Cheng knows a lot of things. She has an appointment with the king right now... Perhaps you should go there?"

Rubik nodded, and made his way out of the lab.

So, I haven't had the most time to work on this.

Should I update this later with Cheng and the king (identity to be revealed), or leave that for Part 4?

Answer in the comments/on discord...

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