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The Fiorious One
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And then, once again, Maxwell Lombardi found himself all alone.

He wasn't entirely sure how long he lay there on the brink of consciousness, the bright sky above him slowly dimming as an entire hour passed by without him moving a finger. If any onlooker were to see him right now, they would have assumed that he'd died from the vicious beating he'd received or was in the process of dying.

His body was covered head to toe in bruises, his lips split and a black eye ruining his once perfect face. His tongue felt an empty spot in his mouth were one of his teeth used to be, the sickening taste of blood coating the inside of his mouth. The threads holding his arm together had barely managed to survive the beating, although that didn't stop it from aching painfully. Every single part of his body felt as though it was on fire, and whilst he was fairly certain that nothing too important had been broken he knew for a fact that it would take time to completely recover.

Not that it mattered. The fact that he'd been beaten senseless by some random schmuck whose name he didn't even know was the least of Maxwell's worries at the moment. Nor was the fact that he'd been left completely weaponless by that thieving harpy Mizore, or that his ego had been thoroughly ripped to shreds by the whole ordeal. No, the subject that Maxwell couldn't stop thinking about as he tried desperately to get back onto his feet was the fact that throughout his stay on the island all he'd managed to achieve was demonize himself in the eyes of the world whilst the rest of his more "innocent" surviving classmates managed to get away scot free.

Whilst he'd barely been conscious in the minutes following his beating, he'd been conscious enough to hear that there was apparently a mass escape in progress. Not a theoretical one, or an optimistic thought, but a genuine escape plan. All this time, Maxwell had assumed that such a thing was virtually impossible, but from the sound of things that was exactly what was going on.

Which meant that all this time, he could have simply waited to be rescued rather than turn himself in public enemy No 1.

He thought back to that eventful morning on the beach, as he stood there on the sand beside the sea with a gun in his hand and two fresh corpses as company. Corpses who had died by his very own hand. It was at that moment that he came to the decision that playing the game was the most pragmatic option in his situation, seeing as sitting around and praying for some miracle to occur would have gotten him killed. Escape via nonviolent means, whilst ideal in the long run, was considered to be an impossible outcome back then. Now though, it became painfully obvious that if he had simply waited and focused on survival, he could have joined in on this escape and left the island guilt-free.

But instead, the only thing he'd managed to achieve was becoming the bad guy.

A myriad of thoughts and feeling began to swim about in Maxwell's head as he slowly moved onto his knees, his heart beating at an impossibly fast rate. He felt furious, shocked, terrified, distressed, confused and anguished all the the exact same time. What did this mean?!? What had he actually achieved after all of this?!?

Nothing, that's what. Nothing but the scorn of every living person on the planet who wasn't a sadistic sociopath like himself. He'd gotten so caught up in all the excitement, so focused on surviving at any cost that he had sacrificed his humanity for a cheap thrill. Even if he managed to win, everyone back home would curse and berate him, provided he wasn't executed on the spot for all his actions. If he had been the sole survivor, then at least he would be able to gain some sympathy for that very fact alone. But with this escape, dozens of others would have survived alongside him. And unlike himself, these people would have survived without having to commit a series of unforgivable atrocities along the way. They had all waited for this event to arrive, and had been rewarded for their patience with a trip home. Whereas he had taken the easy route and damned his soul to hell, enjoying the unprecedented pleasures that this game had to offer.

After an entire hour of nothing but silence, Maxwell finally let out a prolonged moan of anguish as he frantically clawed at his hair, a moan which soon turned into pitiful sobs as Maxwell began to cry openly for the first time in years. How could this have happened!?! A few hours ago, he'd been in more-or-less top condition. His determination was strong, his ego was confident. But now, he felt weak and puerile, like a shell of his former self. He wanted desperately to turn back time to the moment where he had made his grievous mistake and right what was wrong, change the past so that he could save his future.

It wasn't as if it was too late to redeem himself, was it? Make amends for what he had done, turn a new leaf so to speak. Save his soul before it was truly too late to do a single thing about it? Maybe he could try to protect others or something instead of killing them, try to find some way to look good in the eyes of the audience. Grovel for forgiveness at the feet of those whose loved ones he had harmed.....


Slowly, but surely, Maxwell's repentant weeping began to take a more sinister turn. Instead of crying like a little baby, he began to chuckle, which itself grew in intensity until he found himself giving out the most demented laugh he ever had in his entire life. His tears had turned from those of anguish to those of sheer joy within seconds and he continued to cackle wildly.

Jesus Christ, what the hell am I thinking?!? I can't quit whilst i'm ahead! Why, doing that would be such a waste of time! I've already made it THIS far without breaking, so there's no point in pussying out now just because of some doomed rescue effort!

His confidence slowly returning, Maxwell finally managed to find the strength to stand up, briefly leaning against a nearby tree as he regained balance. His laughter had began to die down by this point, instead replaced with a particularly cruel grin.

Yes, that's right... Those idiots think that they can all escape and live happily ever after, don't they? That just because some megaphone says that theres a way home that it can be achieved with ease. Imbeciles. More likely, they'll all wind up dead before the end of the day. Which would just leave him with all the smart people who knew from that start that escape was nigh impossible. Not without earning it anyway...

Besides, why should HE care what other people think? The only thing that mattered to him was that he survives this ordeal, nothing more, nothing less. So why should he give a damn whether or not he fits in with their ill-conceived notions of morality? Everyone is someone else's antagonist in some way or another. He just so happened to be the bad guy for a lot of people simply because they're between him and getting off this accursed rock in one piece.

So what if I have to play the villain in order to survive? If I have to sacrifice my humanity to stay alive, then so be it. I'd rather live in infamy then die a martyr. One gets to enjoy living out the rest of their life in luxury whilst the other dies painfully for some naive cause, so its an easy decision to make as far as I care.

It was at that point that the burning pain in his arm reminded Maxwell of the fact that he was still in pretty bad shape after his little scrap with the Japanese boy, something which he hoped to pay him back for before someone else got the bastard first. For some reason, he doubted that the nip who'd proven to be a much more dangerous threat than he first realised would have been able to leave with the rest of the escapees. Maybe it was just blind intuition, but somehow he got the feeling that he too knew what it was like to have killed several people in order to survive. Who knows, maybe Maxwell had heard this guy's name on the announcement several times and never even realised it. Hmm, Liam Brooks? No, name doesn't really suit him. Chris Hartmann? No, that doesn't suit him either...

...Raidon Naoko? That sounds kind of Japanese-y. Hmm...

Either way, what mattered now was that Maxwell needed to find someplace to take a good rest and heal up, even if it was just for a single day. Thankfully, Mizore hadn't taken any of his bags along with her, which was good considering the fact that one of them happened to have a spare set of clothes for him to wear. His current attired had seen far too much action, after all.

And so, with his confidence firmly reassured, Maxwell gather his stuff together and slowly made his way in the direction of the nearest building he could find. Where that would lead him however was something he wasn't entirely sure of, not that it mattered. Soon he wouldn't have to worry about such things.

After all, whether this escape is successful or not, the fact remains that a good portion of the competition will be removed by the end of the day. They were almost certainly past the halfway point by now as it is already, so with any luck he should be off this island before the end of the week.

Now THAT was something to smile about.

((Maxwell Lombardi continued elsewhere...))
V5 Characters

Brian Zhdanovich - Homestead
Ruby Forrester - Shopping Mall
Jenna Rhodes - Hotel

Deceased V4 Characters
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Riddles Of Monsters · The Woods: Inland