“Fletcher, you’ll get Evelyn while we ring the alarm bells as a distraction. If you can find an opening before they go off to get her then take it. Just meet us at the South Harbor. That’s the harbor for the working class, if we pay the right price one of them will take us out of here without any questions,” Wylie’s finger rested on the southern tip of the Mraga Isle on his worn map.
“He should be the one to ring the alarm bells,” Lyle mumbled.
“You realize they know you’re both gone by now and suspect you will try to get to Evelyn. So, if you went to get her, you’d be going right to them,” I crossed my arms over my chest as my lips pressed into a firm line. He was a giant child. No, a child might actually have more intelligence than him. My little brother did.
“Why do you care suddenly?” Lyle growled as he advanced towards me. Wylie caught his wrist and twisted it. Lyle stopped, glowering at his brother. Wylie released him and moved into the space between us.
“You going to answer me? Lyle smirked, his chest puffed up.
Bowing my head, I squeezed the bridge of my nose. She had asked me that once. I had been so stupid back then. If I hadn’t acted rashly things could have been better, we could have been better, maybe something other than strangers. Looking up with my arms at my sides, I met both their eyes. “I made a mistake, which I am sure you have too. I’m trying to make amends if it’s possible,”
Kicking my opponent square in the chest, he fell backwards. Letting out a sign, I wiped the sweat from my face on my sleeve. This royale was almost over. Only ten of us were left and they would probably release the monster soon. The victor was the last person conscious or the one to kill the monster. Knowing my father, he would want to kill it. Couldn’t really be the victor without killing it he would say.
Rolling my eyes, I shook out my arms. I glanced around the battlefield. Everyone was either preoccupied fighting each other or were prepping for the monster to appear.
Noticing dust puff up from behind, I turned right into my father’s fist. It connected with my stomach and I coughed. Collapsing to my knees, my arms hugged my middle. His boot slammed into my neck, driving me into the ground. Swallowing dust, my lungs heaved as they strived to force it out and take in air. My hands franticly searched for his leg, but my left wrist was seized by him.
Twisting it, he tugged back my braid with his other hand. His warm breath heavy with ale blew across my face. I let out a strangled growl. I tried to push off the ground with my legs, but he held me firm. He chuckled. “You broke the agreement, my little wretch. Those ‘brothers’ of yours got free. However, your incoming death will finely set me free of you. This day has taken too long,”
Slamming my face into the dirt, he pulled something from my left wrist. His boot lifted from my neck as he thudded away. Coughing, I swiped at the dust in my eyes. A roar sounded out as a gale of wind followed it. Covering my face with my right arm, I rolled to the left side of the arena.
Rising into a crouching position, I panted. I examined my left wrist, the cuff hiding my mate scar was gone. My breath caught in my throat for a second, goosebumps dotting the exposed skin. It couldn’t be one of those, could it?
The ground trembled as a dark shadow stretched over the whole length of the arena. The monster’s height was mere feet from the lowest boxes of seats. Its dirty, grey skin was covered in rigid scales. Its purple veins popped out of from the crevices between them. The scales formed mounds of armor along its back.
I gritted my teeth and sat down on my left wrist. It was a Purowick and if it noticed the glow of my mate scar everyone here would be in danger. Crap, how was I going to get out of this? I could tear off part of my pants or shirt to conceal it, but that could leave it exposed for too long. My nails dug to the palm of my right hand. Some great father I had.
Small, but fast thumps came up behind me. Somersaulting forward, I pivoted in the direction of the sound. A beady eyed, stout man rushed at me, sword gleaming in the sun. Rising to my feet, I evaded each swap, keeping my left wrist inward and close to the ground.
Catching his blade on my guard glove, I delivered an uppercut square to his jaw. He fell backward, dust billowing up around him. I pressed my left rest into my stomach and I backed up. I looked up towards the Purowick. Its hazy pink eyes on me, its fanged teeth fully showing. It hacked several times until several grayish-purple orbs appeared in its mouth. It had spotted the glow. I was its target.
Sliding through the patrons, I inched my knife down my right palm as I approached his table. Laughter filled my ears as I stood behind him. He stretched his arms over his head as several eyes from around the table watched me. Swiftly grasping the smooth leather cuff on his right wrist, I sliced it off.
A dagger flew across the table and I ducked out of the way. While still crouching I side-stepped to the end of the table and stood back up. I held up my left wrist. All the men at the table re-sheathed their weapons and sat back down. Some grinned, some whistled, some still eyed me, and some did nothing. Fletcher’s dark hair covered his eyes. His head hung above his clenched fists on the table. The muscles were very visible in his arms. I could make out my initials on his familiar shaped mate scar.
Biting my lip, I stabbed my dagger into my belt. I roughly blew out through my nostrils as I lowered my left wrist. I knew it. He was my soulmate. Why did he lie though? Why?! What sort of person lies about that? Resting my hands on my hips, I closed my eyes and let out a long breath. I opened my eyes.
“So, she’s your soulmate? I like her, she’s got guts,”
“She’s a beauty too! You lucky fool,”
“Wait! Fletcher’s found his soulmate?”
“Yeah, this is her,”
“Oh my, what’s her name?”
“What’s your name honey?”
Men and women from his mercenary company surrounded us. The questions eventually merging together into unclear noise. Weren’t they the curious group?
“Drop it! All of you,” Fletcher roared, his chair crashing onto the wooden floor. He straightened out his back and shoulders as he turned to me. His eyes narrowed and shown darker than normal. He scowled, a vein bulging a bit on his neck. In three steps he loomed over me. I crossed my arms over my chest and raised an eyebrow. Was that supposed to be intimidating?
“You going to explain why you lied?” I nodded my head at his mate scar.
His eyes widened briefly as he seemed to be holding his tongue. His face turning a faint red. “Something like that,” He reached for my right arm and I shrugged out of the way. He gritted his teeth while his chest heaved heavily once. “Come with me outside,”
“Alright,” I dropped my arms and strode out of the bar, steps thudding behind me. Why didn’t he want me here? The cold wind blew through my hair and chilled my skin. My eyes fixed on the dark sky, clouds blotting out the stars. I stopped, a lump forming in my throat. Was there someone else? I knew some people didn’t believe in having a soulmate even if they were marked or they found someone else they didn’t want to leave for their soulmate, but I figured my soulmate would want only me. Had I been wrong? Did he want someone else? My chest tightened. I blinked back tears. Relax Evelyn, you just made assumptions. He’s confirmed nothing yet.
“Are you listening to me?” A rough jerk on my shoulder caused me to stumble backward. Regaining my bearings, my eyes met Fletcher’s piercing eyes. His hands were shoved into the pockets of his worn jacket. His breath coming out in short, quick puffs. “Guess you didn’t…you need to go. Now,”
I blinked a few times. My breathing picked up as the wind seemed to lose its bite. My hands trembled slightly. Who treats their soulmate like this? “Why?”
“I don’t need to explain myself to you,” Fletcher muttered, heading back towards the bar.
Grasping his jacket, I yanked him behind me. He growled while standing taller. A few strands of hair hung in front of his face. He grimaced.
“You going to answer me?” I took a few steps towards him, holding his gaze.
He remained silent.
I grinded my teeth and swallowed hard, the lump was bigger. This wasn’t how our discovery of each other was supposed to go. Why was he being this way? “Is there someone else?”
He blinked a few times, his face relaxing briefly. “No,” He replied as he began to pass me.
Catching his arm, my fingers dug into it. My eyes fixed on his shadowed face. “Then why don’t you want me here? What other reason could you have?”
“Not everyone that bares a mate scar buys into the delusion of having an ideal mate,” He pulled at his arm, still looking ahead.
My grip strengthened. He was the delusional one. “How can you be so sure of that without even knowing me?”
“How can you be so certain it’s right without knowing me?” He snarled. His head whipped towards me.
“Because when our fates were determined it was deemed right and not everyone gets that. There’s a reason that only some-“
“Stop! Grow up and face the reality of what I have been trying to tell you. I don’t want to be with you. I never have, so drop all of your little dreams and let me go,”
My hand dropped from his arm as my gaze casted down to the uneven cobblestone. His pounding steps echoed beyond me as he grew distant in so many ways. Tears froze my cheeks while my body shook. How could this be? He was supposed to be with me. He was supposed to love me. He was supposed to be everything I needed. So why didn’t he want to stay? Why.
Shoving a burlap sack over their heads, I pushed them to the ground with my boot. If they by chance came too while I was still here, they wouldn’t be able to see. Grabbing one of the smooth wine barrels, I dragged it over to the door. I wedged it under the knob, hopefully making it difficult to twist or breakthrough the door. I chuckled. No wonder these guards were so easy to overpower. They weren’t watching the fighters to ensure none escaped. They saw it as a show.
A screeching howl echoed throughout the room and I clamped my hands over my ears. Striding over to the lookout window, I kept my body to the wall as I peered out. A massive creature swung its fist at the ground. It’s built resembled an overly muscular human, but its head was of a big, wild cat, a hairless one though. Its grotesque pink eyes seemed locked on a single target. Following his line of sight, I found it. Evelyn.
Cursing under my breath, I firmly pressed my fingers into the gritty bricks. Of all the people that dang creature could be after, why her? I had to get her out now. I didn’t know what that creature was, but it appeared powerful.
Moving away from the window, I ran a hand through my hair. I had already secured this scout room and left the grate off the sewer. I should wait a bit to see if she will get closer to this room.
Approaching the window again, a sudden gust swept past me. I forced my way through it and scanned the arena. Several fighters went flying into the walls and the crowd. People’s screams were partially drowned out by the creature’s wind. Evelyn had anchored one of her weapons into the wall several yards down from me, using its chain to pull herself away from the center.
Jumping out of the window, I rolled into my landing. The wind aided me forward as I raced towards the chain. Grasping the cold metal, I yanked the chain repeatedly to me. Evelyn’s eyes widened for a second when they met mine. A slight smile graced her lips.
Eventually, she reached me. Dropping the chain, I removed the double-headed, curved blade from the wall while she wound the weapon up.
Once that was over I looked her over. She was covered in dirt and some small cuts, but she seemed fine. “You OK?”
“Get down!” She lunged at me. Both of us smacked into the dusty dirt.
Shielding my eyes from the dust cloud, I squinted through my fingers at the wall. Multiple translucent, purplish-grey balls were stuck to it with numerous long, grey tinted spikes. They sort of looked like tiny, circular cactuses. As the dust settled, I could see Evelyn. She was flat on her stomach on the ground. A ball in the back of her left calf. Scooting over, she started to rise from the ground. I plucked out the ball, which shortly after was kicked out of my hand.
“Don’t!” Evelyn shouted. Her eyes were big with her brows raised, her chest heaving.
I narrowed my eyes at her, my lips pressing into a firm line. What, were those balls poisonous or something? Looking over my shoulder, the monster glowered at us. Now was not the time to wonder. We had to get out of here. Scooping her up over my shoulder, I got to my feet. “You can explain what the deal is later.