Object 181

The Holder of the Five Rings

In any city, in any country, go to any mental institution or halfway house you can get yourself to. When you reach the front desk, ask to visit the one who calls himself "The Holder of the Five Rings". If the worker tells you how much he loves that book, ask again immediately.

If you are fortunate, the worker will assume a grim expression and lead you to a staircase. The staircase will run straight downward, deeper than any underground installation should be. As you and the worker go down the stairs, your guide will whistle a tune so enticing you may be tempted to ask what tune it is. Do not ask what the tune is; do not even turn to see the worker if he whistles the tune. If you do, pray for a swift and painless end to your life.

Once you reach the bottom of the staircase, the worker will open the door to a blank, gray room with Chinese characters written in blood on the wall. Do not try to read the Chinese characters, or you will be driven to a state of insanity so profound and horrifying that the experiences had in this insanity cannot be described.

The worker will leave the room. Fifteen seconds later, if you have not read the Chinese characters on the walls, a person identical to you will appear and challenge you. Should you decline the challenge your double will shake its head and disappear. You will hear a chorus of snarls and growls and moans growing louder and louder, and your body and soul will feel excruciating pain as you are eaten alive by the mad creatures around you.

Accept the challenge, despite your fears. If you lose, your double will eat your soul, and your soul will feel infinite pain. Most have a doppelganger too skilled to defeat.

If you win, ask your double, "Who else desires them?"

Your double will tell you, in horrific detail, the ones who desire the Objects. You must only look into its eyes. Do not look at what is in your double's right hand, or it will seize the opportunity and kill you.

When your doppelganger is done speaking, it will hand you several small, hard items. Thank it, then, without opening your hand, leave through the door from whence you came. You will be near the place you call home. At that point, you may look into your hand to see that you have five golden rings linked together.

These rings are Object 181 of 2538. The horrors they have seen are surpassed only by those they have caused.