“Are you insane?!” Arik yelled, grabbing my arm and yanking me towards the building.
“H-hey! Let go,” I yelled back, trying to pull away and failing. I could already tell I'd have bruises from his grip. He didn't let go until we were back in the building.
“What were you thinking going into a wooded area of a planet you don't know.” I could sense the barely restrained anger as Arik spoke. It quickly dawned on me why he'd been so mad.
“I just needed air,” I replied weakly. Arik studied me with hard eyes before signing and leaning against the wall. He slumped down onto the floor and I followed him, crossing my legs.
“You don't know the animals or plants here. Our species didn't become strong from nowhere. The animals here are a lot more dangerous than on earth,” Arik explained calmly. It's not like I didn't get his point, but was I meant to stay cooped up in here forever?
“Fine,” I said. Trying not to let my voice sound too annoyed.
“I mean it, Erie. I don't want you getting hurt,” He said. I tried and failed to fight the smile that formed whenever he used that damn nickname.
“Okay, but I'm still mad at you,” I replied, crossing my arms.
“I think I can live with that. As long as I know you're safe,” Arik replied. He stood up and held out a hand which I took. I remembered the last time he'd made the gesture, back when we were on earth.
“So, what do we do now?” I asked, because sitting around and being bored didn't appeal.
“Well, after you ran off the lab guys came in to start checking that everyone was fine. So I figure we should just head straight to them. They can probably tell us where we go from there,” Arik explained.
“Lab guys? What are they so worried about?” I replied with a small laugh.
“The Alchemist disease. Though as far as I'm aware it never hit earth. Unless there was a pandemic I never heard about,” Arik replied, his voice serious again.
“Alchemist?” I asked, because it was a weird name.
“That's what most species call it. Since we've never been able to figure out what it is, a lot of people think it was a result of magic and other superstitious methods,” Arik said with a shrug. Strange, I thought. Why had I never been told about it before?
“I would've never made it to earth if I'd had the disease. It's pretty fast acting. Most people were dead by day three, five at most,” Arik said, answering my unasked question.
“Can you guys read minds?” I asked and he laughed.
“Cera does make people suspect that. But no, she's just a good reader of physical and facial movements. She's near impossible to lie to as well,” He said, sounding a little annoyed at that last part. We must've only been walking for ten or fifteen minutes when Arik stopped and pressed something on the side of a wall. There was a beep and a tired female voice spoke on the other side.
“Come on in.” The door opened and inside was a lab full of strange looking devices. I tried to remember all my science classes and some of the extra stuff Thomas would tell or show me. The majority of the machines did look similar to what I thought were their earth counter-parts. But I didn't have the guts to ask and double-check their purpose.
“Ah, the newly found prince and the human that went missing, do you guys plan this stuff?" A drac women asked with a soft chuckle. Already I could tell I was going to like her. She had pale hair tied into tight braids and pinned to the back of her neck so it stuck like a second skin. I couldn't tell how long it was since she had a lab coat on. She pulled on some gloves and grabbed a needle. I guess I shouldn't be surprised they used similar methods to us. I just figured they might've advanced more. The girl obviously saw my face and laughed.
“Humans were actually respected for a long time for their quick advancements in medicine. That's why it was decided to leave you alone to develop on your own,” She said.
“Ermm, thanks. I'm Erika,” I said, holding out my arm.
“Nanette, nice to meet you,” She replied. I ignored the little stab of pain, knowing it'd be over quickly. I was always fine with needles, Thomas was the one who hated them, as well as the dentist.
“Right, I'll start analysing that. Arik, get your arm ready,” Nanette said as she stood up and distributed the sample of my blood in various small containers. Arik on the other hand, didn't appear to be a big fan. He pulled up his arm and seemed content to not watch the whole thing in the slightest. She did the same thing with his blood before telling us we were free to go.
“Where to now?” I asked, following Arik.
“I'll take you to the guest quarters where the others are staying,” Arik said.
“And where are you staying?” I asked, hoping it wasn't too far.
“In my old room. Apparently it hasn't changed much,” He said with a small laugh. Somehow that doesn't surprise me. I just wished he'd realise Cera seemed to have genuinely missed him.