The castle was oddly quiet. The endless white halls were completely devoid of any other living things, or so it seemed at the very least. A pair of deep green eyes took in the scene of the long, echoing hallway, angular features contorting into a scowl. Vexen shook his head as he headed for his lab, several books tucked securely beneath his arm. He was somewhat surprised at how very CALM things had been around Castle Oblivion as of late, something that worried the aged Nobody a little. Things were always quietest before a storm, as was often said.
His footsteps echoed as he descended into the basement levels, black coat fluttering a little as he moved. He hoped to have a bit of time for more of his research, and possibly a moment or two to work on his latest personal project. Things were moving so very well with that, and he simply could not WAIT to continue.
He came to a quick halt as he reached the door to his personal laboratory, aghast at the sight that greeted him. Vines crisscrossed back and forth over the door, woven together so tightly that the door behind them was obscured from view. To add insult to injury, a tacky assortment of flowers adorned them, arranged in a massive heart shape. There seemed to be no two blooms of the same shade, making the whole thing a terrible eyesore.
Gritting his teeth, the Academic placed his books on the floor and cautiously approached the barrier. This was, without a doubt, Marluxia’s doing, though why was well beyond the frigid Nobody at the moment. While it would have been far easier to simply use a portal to transport himself into his lab, Vexen didn’t want this unsightly mess on his door. It was damned humiliating to be mocked by a subordinate.
A gloved hand seized one of the vines, ice quickly encasing the offensive plant until it snapped off from the others. Dropping it aside, he repeated that action with another vine, and another. Soon, he had a small pile of vine-sicles at his feet, each new bit landing with a quiet clink upon the others.
There was just one problem, though. Despite the growing mass of frozen vegetation…he was making NO progress. Scowling, he jerked away another clump, watching this time. In an instant, a new tendril of green moved to take its place, flowers sprouting out in place of those lost.
“Oh that wretched…” the Academic began as he ripped away another handful. Unfortunately, these were not so thoroughly frozen, and didn’t break off despite the force with which he tore at them. The vines snapped back into place, yanking his hand along with them, ensnaring it in the mass. Cursing under his breath, he tried to work his hand free, tried to freeze away more of the tightening tendrils.
But the more he tried, the more there were. They began to snake up his arm, slowly drawing him into the colourful collection of sentient vegetation. So focused was he on freeing his arm that he realized far too late that it wasn’t the ONLY thing caught in the twisting greenery. As he tried to jerk his arm free, he found his ankles had been caught as well. The inability to take a needed step backward made him waver, falling forward into the mass.
Quick as a snap, the vines whipped up and around him, completely encasing his body from the neck down. Vexen writhed, thrashed, fought and tried to freeze the vines, all to no avail. He was caught, and quite irreversibly so it seemed.
The sound of boots echoing through the halls caught his attention. Please KINGDOM let it be Zexion or Lexaeus, the Academic thought, trying once more to wrench free. His hopes were dashed as a deep chuckle resonated through the vast emptiness. Oh…no…
A rose in hand, Marluxia stepped from the shadows in all his devious glory. Accompanying his normal haughty expression was a particularly wicked smirk.
“Why, my dear Vexen,” he said softly, twirling the rose in his hand. “I see you found my little present.”
“Marluxia! Let me down from here this instant!” the aged blond demanded, one eye squinting slightly in annoyance. Marluxia’s smirk never wavered as he ventured closer.
“Oh now, Vexen that’s so rude of you,” he said with a leer. “Don’t you like it?”
The icy Nobody writhed as the vines tightened their hold on him, and for a moment, it seemed as though they would crush the life out of him. But, they stopped just short of strangling him, though their hold was still uncomfortably firm. The rose haired Nobody shook his head, chuckling softly.
“You just don’t appreciate the lovely things in life, do you, Vexen?” he taunted, taking the rose and lightly brushing over the blond’s cheek. Vexen grit his teeth, fighting back the faintest of blushes from that velvet soft touch. With an exaggerated sigh, the Assassin took a step back. “Very well then. I’ll take my lovelies and go.”
Turning, he started back up the hall. In the same instant, the vines began to release their hold, uncoiling slowly from their prisoner’s form.
“Oh Vexen I almost forgot…Those vines secrete a very special sort of enzyme. Think of it as a mild kind of acid. Anyway, I certainly hope they didn’t eat ALL the way through your uniform.”
No sooner had he finished speaking was a very nude Vexen dropped onto the cold tile floor. That mocking laugh echoed through the halls even as the blond hurriedly seized his books and charged into his lab (which was mercifully devoid of plant life). Slamming the books down on his desk, he moved to the closet where he kept spare uniforms for the times his experiments got out of hand.
To his dismay…all he found were tacky garments in an array of hideous colours. Clenching both fist in fury, he resigned himself to further indignation for the moment. He’d lost too much time as it was, and he wasn’t about to leave his lab and let his rose haired tormentor have another chance to booby trap it.
Zexion made his way down to the depths of the basement, where his two superior cohorts could usually be found. His first item of business was to see what sort of progress Vexen was making. So, to the lab.
“Vexen?” he said quietly into the dimly lit room. The Schemer froze, staring at the aged Nobody a moment. Sitting at his work table, diligently plotting out his latest work, Vexen was clad in what had to be the most hideous Hawaiian shirt in all of known existence. Add to it a pair of khaki shorts that stopped above his knees and no shoes what so ever…and it was like something out of a horrific nightmare.
“Number IV, what-” the Schemer began. He was cut short by a glare from the other Nobody, one eye twitching as he spoke through gritted teeth.