“-and he never calls me by my name. ‘Three do this’ ‘Three stop messing around and kill that poor idiot’ ‘Three go get me food’ It’s like he doesn’t even know my name, and he’s the one who gave it to me!”
If I ignore it, it’ll go away.
“and when I complain to Mother, she just gives me the oddest look like, ‘who are you and how dare you speak to me’ like she doesn’t brag about me when I’m not around all the time. I’m her favorite child.” Bargrl tried what she probably thought was a smirk but looked more like a squirrel with acorns. The old pair were harassing the poor muscle-bound idiots in the arena.
“People tell you that a lot?” I asked when she finally took a break to breathe for the first time since that traitorous old man threw me to her mercy.
She rolled her shoulders and straightened dramatically, but wilted slightly before speaking, “Actually, I’m not sure where I heard that.” Her surprisingly red lips pursed for a second and her chest- I mean her shoulders rose as she sighed. “Oh well!” She clapped her hands and dove back into complaining about her father.
Tuning her out, a skill I learned from living with that woman, I looked around some more.
The arena was new, dirt still fresh and the stone and wood seating was pretty much pristine. There was a definite boundary where the grass was cut neatly and the roots could still be seen when you looked up. It was hard for me to imagine that they put all this together in a week.
“-of course, being raised by the Generals, that must have been fun too!” She paused a minute, then repeated the “question” when I looked at her blankly.
“…actually, they picked me up a month or so ago.”
“So, they picked you up pretty early!” Bargrl’s eyes glowed with, excitement?
“What do you mean?” I’m probably about 17, how is one month early?
“Welp, they only met each other like just over ‘a month or so ago’ so that means they picked you up not longer after that! That, is very efficient relationship building! Strangers to parents, in like a week tops! Maybe two…” she leaned forward and peered into my face with a wink, “Wanna try and break that record?”
“I could have sworn they’d known and (tolerated) each other for decades.” I muttered into the empty sky, where all of my attention was after getting that little bombshell.
“…I know where some orphans are?”
“Does that mean their relationship isn’t as stable as I thought?”
“Or we could go the old-fashioned way, take longer but hey, at what point does it really count as parenthood?”
“Are my parents going to split up? What will I do?” I can’t go with the old woman, we’d starve! If I went with the old man, he’d probably just teach me random stuff till the grave-but I would be fed…
“I’ve room to spare, but only one bed…”
“Yeah so do we, we really need another one. The old hag’s a clingy sleeper.” Distracted, I gave a half-hearted reply.
Everyone around me, who were apparently listening in, took a large step back.
“I’ve decided, I’ll go with the old man. Food is more important than freedom.” That decided, I settled back down into watching the fight, right as the pair decided to motivate the contestants. The angel, Steve I think, probably knew her as he was significantly more terrified than the demon.
From where I was standing, I could hear him muttering, “not-again-not-againnotagainnotagain”
From the rest of the fight, it looked like a phenomenon that the researchers discovered that they called, “Fight and Die Mode.” Humans would fight with extraordinary strength beyond what they normally have but tear their body apart in the process.
Steve had nothing but pure desperation in his eyes.
“Hey, hey, hey, when you say, “one bed” do you mean all three of you…?” And she was back.
“Only once.” I answered shortly, trying to focus on the fight. The demon was acting a little odd, not his moves but his expression was-
“REALLY? Wow, boy you are full of surprises! I wonder if they'd let me keep you…”
“What in the three realms are you talking-” I finally turned around to face her.
“We have a winner!” I glared at her. With all the force I learned from the old man, I glared.
Ignoring her, I joined the medical crew to help patch up the demon enough to go die- chat with the old woman.
I studied him, particularly his face. It was a very plain face for a demon, nice and forgettable. His hair was light, though it was hard to say the exact color with the dim lighting, and probably a pinkish or purple. It was weird, but I felt like his face was the wrong shape, or his expressions where…muffled? Somehow.
Before I could get a hold of him for a closer look, that decided to rebound again.
“Don’t get caught in the mess of people, it’ll be hard to keep you unharmed…” she whined, “My head, or at least my dad’s head, ‘s depending on your safety! If he gets decapitated, my allowance is going to run out!”
Why do I get surrounded by people who can pick me up with one hand? And why do they always do it by the collar?
He got carted off to his doom, but there was a commotion and the old ones made a run for it for some reason.
I ignored the pang in my heart, I was used to being abandoned anyway. It wasn’t anything new.
She finally set me back down on the seat as the second round was starting. Things relaxed considerably, though the angel’s cheering section looked oddly confused.
I watched, in minor horror, as they pulled out some strange instruments and began… “playing” them. One of the medics, also angel, muttered under his breath,
“Dang it, we’d hoped the fire got them all…”
Bargrl rolled her eyes, “Deaf fools,” and reached over to put her hands over my ears.
“I’m pretty sure he’ll count psychological damage, so to be safe…” She smiled, but I couldn’t hear a word she said. Her hands were cool, or normal, it was hard for me to tell normal body temperatures anymore.
On the stage, the demon was winding up for an attack with his back to us, standing in the way of my view of the angel. Thanks to that, we didn’t see the fireball until he dodged it. I had all of five seconds to watch it get closer before my word went black abruptly.
I think my hand was hurt, but my focus was on the fact that I couldn’t breathe. The main weight on me shifted as arms that were cradling my head shifted to either side of it and pushed up.
Then my focus was on the soft pressure that was on my face. They were covered, but I could still tell they were soft…
“We need to give him some room! Oh crap, his arm…” Bargrl was shouting above me.
“My what?” I looked down to see my arm was red and blistering. “Oh…I feel like that should hurt…”
“AND his nose is bleeding. Welp, it was nice knowing you Dad. Can I get my allowance for the next hundred years in advance?” She patted a man who had to be her father, who was looking devastated.
“We can still fix this, lets move him to the other side of the island.” A kind, very tired, voice sounded. The fellow Mo-the old woman introduced as Tavliel interceded. When did they all get here?
“I will go.” An angel in familiar white armor grimaced at us, yet was still smiling somehow…
“Three, bundle him up and let’s go.” Her father was riffling through a medical bag and we were gone before I could process anything.
After that…we got caught. Or they got caught.
…they fought. Over me. But they left so quickly, no one was giving me time! Let me think! Why was she mad? What did he do? Why was Bargrl’s father panicking? Why didn’t anyone stop that mad woman from rolling me out like a ball of yarn at a chicken?!
When I finally woke up after getting abducted by the crazy old people who seemed intent on giving me the shortest trip ever, they were getting ready to throw me in the ocean.
“Time to learn how to swim boy.” The black monster patted my back when I jolted up. The ocean was in front of me and the woman had both hands on the back of my shirt as she swung me back and forth.
But it was too late.