The next morning, it was sunny. Jason woke up with his room’s programmed alarm. He groaned and activated the ‘off’ voice command. “Shut up please.” He mumbled then raised his voice. “Alarm reset to off.” He was given a ‘Verified’ remark from the computer and Jason sat up on his bed.
He brought his hands to his eyes and pressed them, then rubbed his eyes to stimulate his senses and waked him up. When he removed his hands he took in a deep breath and stood up off the bed. He winced as his muscles bunched together. Sharp pain ran through him and he was fully awake. Apparently his sword fight Rapid did not do him justice.
In fact, thinking of rapid made Jason want to go back. He looked around for his helmet and he saw where it had rolled off his bed. Jason bent to pick it up and thought about playing right now, but then he remembered why he got up.
First off, he was hungry. Second off, he had to go to Schooling. His weekly chore had been canceled, so if he ran home as fast as possible then he could be ready to play in just a few hours. Satisfied with his plan, Jason shed his cloths from yesterday and got dressed in a pair for today.
After he had smoothed out his shirt and splashed some water on his face, Jason opened his room and went down the hall to the kitchen in jog. All the rooms he passed had the doors open and were dark with vacancy. Save for his mother’s, but that was to be expected of her.
Jason walked into the kitchen and the aroma of fresh food greeted him. It was eggs and sausage and Megan Reye waved as Jason entered. She held up the pan she had been cooking in. “Jason, I thought you overslept! I will have your eggs in a minute, go sit down.” Jason nodded and ruffled the twins’ hair as he walked past them. He leaned across the counter as he watched his elder sister.
Stephan snorted beside Jason and jabbed him in the side. “Move your fat ass hotshot.” Jason looked over at him frustrated.
“Move your ass!” he fired back.
“Jason, Stephan, please, not first thing in the morning. Why do not you talk about something everyone can agree on?” Megan Reye glanced over her shoulder at the young men. “Like Genesis Alpha?” As she spoke it her eyes lit up and Megan Reye worked more intently on the breakfast. “Um, what level are you two on?” She said.
“I am on level four.” Jason said.
“Bullshit!” Stephan fired and glared at Jason. “How the hell would you get so high up so fast?”
Jason rolled his eyes before replying. “By training, idiot. I have finished a quest and had quite a few duels recently. What level are you on?” Jason said, intending to spite and mock his elder brother.
Stephan narrowed his eyes and shook his head so his grungy black hair swayed. “None of your damned business.” He said and stood up and backed away from the counter. “I am going to schooling.” He said in a near snarl at Jason. He stomped his way to the door and opened it, then slammed it behind him.
“Bye.” Jason said and turned to Megan Reye, who stood there, shaking her head.
“Really? Jason do not provoke him, please.”
“I did not! He was just being a bas-” He cut himself off as Megan Reye glared t him. She mouthed ‘Not in front of the twins.’ Who were, at that moment, giggling and whispering to each other. Jason watched them as Megan Reye turned back around to work on his food. He sat down next to Cory and leaned over to listen to them. They stopped talking and looked up at Jason innocently.
“What are you two jabbering about?” Cory shrugged, but Carrie smiled and her eyes gleamed.
“The game Jason! Cory says that his master taught him how to fight with a sword! Is it not that cool? I wish my master would let me learn. But Vixen says that I have to master hand combat first.” Jason laughed and flicked Carrie’s nose fondly.
“Silly. So where are your bases at?”
“Mine is in the forest.” Cory said puffing out his chest. “It is really cool because I can climb trees.” Jason smiled, but he also felt a pain of nostalgia as he remembered his last family member that could climb trees. Carrie seemed to sense something was wrong with Jason, so she piped up.
“Mine is underwater! I can fish and swim reeealy fast! Megan Reye, where is your base at?”
Megan Reye had just poured the contents of her pan into a bowl and handed it to Jason, along with a fork. Jason scarfed it down and listened to the conversation. “Well sweetie, my master’s base at is in the ruins.”
“Ooooh, that sounds scaarrry.”
“Aree der zwombiz ter?” Jason muttered through a mouthful of eggs. Megan Reye looked at him and laughed behind her hand. Her eyes scrunched up cutely as she did so.
“Jason, do not talk with your mouthful!”
Jason rolled his eyes and swallowed really hard. “Fine. I just asked if there were zombies there.”
“Um… Yes there is, how did you know?”
“My base is in the Tundra. I had apparently attracted a Zombie and it tried to eat me.” Jason thought it was alright to talk now, since Carrie and Cory had both gotten up and walked away.
“Are you human? It must have been attracted to the scent of your blood.”
“Actually, I am half elf and half human. And I kinda figured that.”
“Do not talk to me like I irritate you Jason. I am not Stephan, and besides, it is not nice at all. So stop.” Jason nodded his head.
“Sorry. So what race are you? What level too? Oh, and what is your name?”
“Prying aren’t you? Haha, it is okay. Let us see, I am a half elf half human character that is on level two. My name is MoonRun.”
“That is pretty.”
“Thanks. Hey, we better go to schooling. We do not want to be late, and truthfully, I am earnest to get back.” Jason nodded, he felt the same way. He finished eating and the brother and sister left the house, without catching a glimpse of their mother, and neither one truly caring.
At the Schooling, Jason and Megan Reye both arrived early and went to their separate corridors. Jason stood outside and leaned against a tree. He watched as people bustled around and he gave a crooked smile as he saw a familiar figure.
Skylar waved when he saw Jason and pushed his way through a couple of shrimpy commoners and lifted his fist and gave Jason a light punch on the arm when he reached him.
“Whats up dude?”
Jason shrugged. “Nothing much, just been playing the game.”
“That thing is awesome, ain’t it?”
“You know it. So where is your base? Your name?”
“I am out in the forest, what about you? And my name is rustyFlame.”
“Rusty, eh? I am in the tundra. Hey, look who’s coming.” Jason prodded Skylar’s arm and pointed to a group of people that were making their way over to Jason and Skylar.
It was one of the gangs that were often causing trouble. They called themselves the Hunters, and right now were pursuing a small commoner girl. The group itself was not very large; it consisted of about three boys and a very tough and gangly girl. The only reason it piped Jason’s and Skylar’s interest was that one of the newer members was Jason’s brother, Stephan.
Skylar snickered as he saw the gang coming closer, the guy at the head walking with a swagger as he caught up to the girl he was chasing. It was a popular sport for the gangs to attack one another, and it seems that the Hunters had found an enemy out on her own, and were going to punish her.
Jason watched with mild interest, not really caring what happened to the girl. These things were common and it did not bother him at all to watch, especially since it was usually him who was attacking someone else. He watched, hoping to pick up on a few moves when he recognized, faintly, the girl that the gang was attacking.
It was the same girl Jason had nearly run over yesterday. The same freckled, pale skinned, and brown haired girl that Jason had paid no attention to. So why did he grow hot with anger. He did not know the girl, and felt little but resentment for her, but for some odd reason, he thought he had to save her. He made up his mind when she tripped and he saw the flash of silver in the leader’s hand.
“Skylar, we need to stop them.” Jason said fast and barely above a whisper. He snapped out his own blade and held up a hand to silence the almost protesting Skylar. “Do not ask why, I just have a feeling, now let us go.” Skylar muttered something doubtfully pleasant, and he started lumbering off after Jason.
When Jason was within attacking range, his whistled, and the leader, a shaggy blonde haired boy whom Jason remembered to be called Parker, Glanced up.
“Get lost!” Parker shouted to Jason.
Jason ran the last few feet and stood in front of the rival gang member. “Not a chance. Leave her alone.”
Parker raised an eyebrow and stepped away from the girl, whom he had already cut into her upper left shoulder. The girl’s ice blue eyes watched Jason fearfully… and a little hopeful he presumed. “No why would I do that?” He asked lazily and angled his blade to make sure Jason noticed it.
Jason made a noise almost like a growl. “Because I said so.”
“Oh really? Tough Luck. Stephan!” Parker looked back over his shoulder to the rest of his gang. Jason’s brother lifted his head and glared at Jason. “Take care of your runt brother, will ya? I will get the big guy. Nancy, hold this rat,” he aimed a kick and the girl and Jason flinched as she yelped. “Hold this rat down. Chris, keep watch!”
Skylar shouted something at Parker that Jason could not make out, then he rushed up and jammed his shoulder into the smaller guy. Jason turned to face his brother and held his knife above his head while he crouched, waiting for him. “Are you coming Stephan? Or are you afraid of your ‘runt brother?’” Jason taunted as Stephan froze.
Stephan narrowed his eyes and walked within three feet’s distance of Jason. “Damn you Jason!” He spat, and spit as Jason’s feet, his eyes bloodshot with rage. Jason frowned and swiped at his brother with the knife viciously, but he jarred his arm as Stephan whipped out his own defense dagger.
Jason unlocked the contact and kicked at Stephan, but missed wildly as his brother ducked. Stephan then thrust his dagger upwards and cut the sleeve of Jason’s shirt. Jason cursed and threw himself forward so he body slammed Stephan and knocked his brother’s dagger from his hand.
The girl on the ground gasped as the blade embedded itself in the earth right next to her face. She sucked in a breath and plucked it from its place just as Jason tripped and fell next to her. “run!” he gasped winded, and she just widened her eyes, recognizing something in Jason’s face. Jason rolled over and pushed himself up, but just as he did so Stephan knocked his knife from his hand sharply. It flew through the air and landed in the distance, leaving Jason and Stephan facing each other, each one hating their brother more each second.
The girl pushed herself up, behind the fighting brothers, and was about to run off just when someone punched her in the side and winded her. She gasped and flailed back with her own fists at her assailant, the girl that was named Nancy. Nancy snickered and punched the other girl again, this time in the face and making her collide into a tree that she gripped for support. Her cry of pain was only muffled by the noise from Jason and Stephan.
Jason lunged forward first, his fist held in an arcing punch, but he gasped in surprise as Stephan caught his fist and twisted his arm until he cried in pain. Jason rammed his other elbow into Stephan’s gut until he released his grip. When he finally did, Jason retreated slightly and cradled his arm as the sharp pain slowly receded.
Stephan hunched over to preserve his own strength, and stood up as quickly as possible, but a second to late as Jason kicked at him in a karate style move. It knocked Stephan against a tree and he cursed loudly, then ducked and dodged another attack from Jason.
Jason’s fist hit the bark of the tree and he pulled it back after crying out. He looked around because Stephan had fled the scene. “Stephan!? Where the hell are you!? Get your damned ass back here so I can pound your face in, you good for nothing, two faced, lying son of a bi-” Jason ducked just in time and stephan’s fist flew over his head. Jason turned around only to be caught in a half nelson, Stephan’s arm in a crook against jason’s neck.
The pressure was intense. It squeezed Jason tightly and made him gag and gasp for air. Only he could not get any. He pulled both his hands to Stephan’s arm and tried with unhuman strength to pry his brother off of him, but to no avail. He felt himself grow weaker with lack of air and he slumped to his knees. It was only then that Jason realized that their little feuds had all added up to this.
Stephan was trying to kill him.
Jason summoned the last of his strength and tried to squirm, tried to release himself. He tried pulling Stephan downwards, but it did not work. He tried ramming his elbows into Stephan’s stomach, but it did not work either. Finally Jason gave up and he gripped his brother’s arm only to announce his presence. Finally, when Jason’s sight was going black and his body weak with lack of air, Stephan let go. Jason fell facedown to the ground and sucked in a deep breath of the musty smelling grass.
He coughed badly and rolled onto his side with a moan. His vision went from blurry to focus and he watched, uncomprehending at first, as the girl fought with his brother.
The glint of silver flashed from the sun and she brandished the dagger. Stephan cradled his injured arm and blood shone through his fingers, red as bright and sickening as that of rust, the smell metallic like death. The girl stepped forward to set distance between Stephan and Jason. The elder brother watched her with hatred in his eyes, glowing bright with flames. “Leave him alone.” She said boldly, indicating tot e stunned, and hopefully not dead, Jason. “And get lost.”
Stephan narrowed his eyes and studied her face. “You stupid damned girl. We will get you one day, you can be sure of that.” He said slowly as a promise and looked around until he saw Parker, who had run away from skylar, and Nancy, hiding with him. “Let us go!” he called to them, and motioned to Chris.
The foursome retreated from this area of the woods quickly and rampantly, leaving only Jason, Skylar, and the strange girl. Skylar came over and crouched next to Jason, who he put his hand on his shoulder. The girl watched them, then dropped the dagger as if it were coated in some kind of infectious disease. She stumbled over to Jason and buried her head into her hands and wept softly next to him, the recent events overloading her very suddenly.
Jason coughed and looked at her in surprise. “Thank you..”He mumbled. “But why are you crying?” Skylar watched to make sure no one returned and listened as the girl talked.
“I- I do not know.” She stuttered softly, as looked up at Jason and wiped away her tears. “Why did you do that” She asked gently, a trait Jason had noticed. “Stop them, I mean.”
“Well, they had no right to attack you like that. No matter what you did, it was wrong. And plus.. Something seems familiar about you…”
“Oh… I- I noticed that too. What is your name?”
“Um, Jason. What about-“
“Not your real name, your game name.” She cut him off sharply, her eyes earnest as if they had just realized something vitally important. Jason did not respond at first, just studied her face, the freckled, the long curly brown hair, the pale skin and ice blue eyes… then it clicked.
“Thief! You.. You are Wings, aren’t you?” She nodded and smiled.
Skylar watched the two with mild jealousy then stopped what remark he was about to make when there was a loud chiming tone. “Jason, the curfew sends in about three minutes. We need to go.”
Jason and wings looked at Skylar, surprised expressions on their faces. They had momentarily forgotten about him at the surprise of their reunion. After a second Jason nodded and stood up. He winced as pain enveloped from bruises on his stomach, shoulder, sides and neck. He massaged the latter and began heading back to the building. Wings leaned against him for support.
Skylar watched them leave, and he realized how small Wings actually was. When they had passed through the trees, he turned around and walked in the direction opposite of the building.