“Jordan, recited the 12 basic laws. I want to hear them again.”
A seven year old boy slouched down on his chair almost groaning. He looked like he wanted to complain, but a glance at the boy next to him sent him sitting upright again.
“Number one - Never use violence to solve a problem. Violence is only for lowly people like those of the slums.
“Number two - Always think before you act. Compulsion is only for lowly people like the ones in the slums.
“Number three - It’s better to be polite than to be rude. Only lowly people, like the slum people, are rude.
“Enough!” The teacher glanced sternly at the boy. “Do you only know to compare to the people of the slums?”
“Father said that the people of the Domes are perfect. The Slums is the symbol of imperfection.” The boy stared up at the teacher defiantly.
“Yet you forget about the freelancers.”
“The freelancers are nobodies.”
“What did you say? Freelancers are no idiots. Garth, tell Jordan about the freelancers.”
The boy next to young Jordan smiled contemptuously as he gave Jordan a know-it-all glance.
“The freelancers formed as a small society of people who claimed to keep our two worlds in balance. They tend to move back and forth between the two worlds and are usually described as ‘wordly’.”
The teacher nodded.
“Thank you Garth.”
Jordan stared at the far wall as Garth turned to sneer at him. Garth was such a smartass. But Jordan was smarter. He knew it. The only thing he was lacking in, was the impetus to try hard. There just had been no reason, no need to try hard. And now Garth was surpassing him. Jordan wouldn’t accept it. He just wouldn’t. But it was just so hard to try.
And that’s how he ended up getting sent out to be a spy. His father thought that the only way Jordan could learn was to go out on the field and experience everything himself. Oftentimes, you understand things better if you’ve experienced them firsthand.
So while he was working his ass off trying to fulfill his father’s requests, Garth was sitting around reading in the library and as Jordan had heard “worked on blueprints and other plans” with his father. In the end, his father became much more closer to Garth than he could ever be with Jordan.
Jordan was jealous. There was nothing to lie about when it came to that. When another person, especially your rival, means more to your father than you, the son yourself, it was really hard not to get jealous.
But that wasn’t even the biggest issue Jordan had with Garth.
Garth was a naturally sickly looking boy. He had a look that lacked authority and his thin voice only seemed to confirm it. He was a direct contrast to Boss, who had a rather chiseled stature to him, his voice deep dark and booming, filled with power energy and force. Garth had a mass of curls in the top of his head that he always had trouble taming. Somedays he would just give up and let it be, and on those days, you could tell because his hair would almost puff up into an afro.
Jordan couldn’t stand Garth’s weak ways. Often times he would beat Garth up out of anger and he would always be the one in trouble. Or you could say that Garth was Mr. Goody-two-shoes. Now, Jordan wasn’t a thug or anything. He didn’t have the ridiculous muscle that his father had, but he wasn’t terrible flimsy looking either. But next to Garth, he looked like a bully. Actually, anyone next to Garth looked like a thug.
So on that same day, after the teacher had left them out, Garth surprisingly challenged Jordan.
“I can beat you. Do you want to bet?”
Jordan was skeptical. He wasn't sure what garth had hidden up his sleeve. For all he knew, Garth could have poisoned his breakfast that morning. But how would he know? Jordan was skeptical and he knew it. It was deep down in his gut. He knew that Garth was not the type to try to risk his own life without a way to win. But Jordan accepted anyways.
“Alright. What do you want to bet?”
Garth smiled wide.
“I thought you would be afraid to bet.”
And another thought his Jordan. He wouldn’t have been able to refuse the bet anyways. Because how would that affect his reputation if he was too scared to even fight Garth? What what if Garth didn’t have something hidden up his sleeve? Then he’d be screwed.
“Why would I be afraid?” Jordan sneered at Garth. “I’ve beaten you every time.”
“But not this time.”
And that did it. Jordan knew that Garth was probably hiding something. And now he was so much more sure that he was. Something. But what could it be?
“Oh, are you sure? I’m pretty sure I’ve beaten you quite easily every time.”
“But you don’t understand. I’ve got a way to win. Every person has their weaknesses and their strengths. I’ve found your weakness and I’m going to exploit it to the best of my abilities.”
Jordan squinted at Garth. Really? It only made him even more attentive. His weakness, exploited? Really? Garth must be trying to steer him off course. He was trying to trick him and Jordan could feel it in his gut. But why not go with it? And then defeat him in the end. It would be a total defeat and he possibly won't ever have to deal with Garth ever again.
“Alright. Let’s start now.”
He didn’t even wait for Garth to respond before jumping out to beat him down. Garth sidestepped and dodged it quickly. Jordan hadn’t expected to hit Garth anyways, but it would bring him closer. Garth suddenly kicked out and Jordan looked up at him in surprise. Since when did Garth have the wits to attack him? Jordan tensed up his chest and prepared for the worst, only to be gently tapped by Garth’s foot. Jordan stared at Garth for a moment confused, loosening up his tensed muscles and then suddenly, Garth pressed hard against his chest, sending him flying backwards.
Jordan cursed as he landed on the ground. Strategy. Garth was using strategy. He had taking advantage of his stupidity and now Jordan was the one on the ground instead of Garth. Jordan scrambled up with a growl and lunged forward once again, this time throwing a hard punch right at his gut. Garth dropped down to the ground Jordan only managed to scrape his shoulder.
Garth threw out punch towards Jordan and knocked him backwards again. Jordan was bewildered. Since when did Garth get so good and so strong? Did he learn something new? Jordan squinted at Garth how was only smiling slightly at him. Jordan couldn’t lose. He just couldn’t. If worst came to worst, he still had one more trick and there was no way Garth would know about it.
Jordan sent himself flying towards Garth once again, this time throwing another punch. Garth dodged to the left and Jordan switched the punch into an elbow, finally making solid contact with Garth. There was a crack and Garth landed on the ground with blood spurting out of his nose.
Jordan smirked. In the end he would win anyways. It was just a fact.
But his smirked quickly disappeared as Garth revealed something that was once hidden in his hands - a small dagger.
“You-” Jordan’s eyes flew open as he searched his hidden pocket that had once contained a hidden knife that he carried around with him all the time. The pocket was empty.
“Yes, I have it.” He smiled again, an ugly smile as his nose swung crookedly around on his face. “And you can have it back.”
He lunged at Jordan with a stab. Jordan was no idiot, he wasn’t going to try to grab the knife! He took a step back and his arm shot out toward Garth’s hand, his face dark. No one knew about his knife except for himself. But now that Garth did, he would have to kill him. It was a secret that he had tried to keep to himself. All that had found out were effectively shushed. Why it mattered so much to him? Because if he couldn’t even keep something as small as a knife secret, then Jordan would seriously doubt his ability to live anymore.
Garth flicked his wrist slightly and sent the point of the knife flying towards Jordan’s hand. Jordan had no choice but to catch the knife with his fingers. The knife slid until the hilt hit his fingers. He twisted his hand and wrung the knife out of Garth’s hand, but also effectively sent it flying across the courtyard. Jordan growled as their eyes met. Jordan pushed hard against Garth, sending him flying backwards as he shot forwards towards the knife.
Garth rolled over and clambered back up, throwing himself towards Jordan and effectively tripped him with his hands. Jordan tumbled head over toes forward. Garth, still on the ground, dragged him backwards on the ground. Jordan shouted on in pain as a sharp rock jabbed into his gut. He rolled over just as a shadow of Garth flashed past him.
“Oh no you don’t!” He gasped and threw himself at Garth, knocking the sickly boy down. This entire time, Jordan had been thrown off guard and he was not going to get tricked again. He lodged another solid punch against Garth’s face before his hand shot out and grabbed the knife, just to notice that Garth’s fingers were wrapped solidly around it and the razor sharp tip was pointed directly at Jordan.
“Now get off of me.” Garth eyed Jordan harshly, pushing the knife harder against his neck to make a point. A single drop of blood trickled down his neck. Jordan was out of tricks. Garth had the knife. There was no way he would be able to defeat him now that he had a hard sharp metal object in his hands, something so much stronger than Jordan’s bare hands.
Jordan got up slowly, backing up as Garth slowly stood up, the knife stil pointed steadily at Jordan’s throat. Jordan’s mind was whirring. He had to find a way out. He had to win. He was not going to let Garth win.
There was a moment of awkward silence as Garth just stood there, not quite sure what to do. Inexperience with this had left him wordless. He didn’t know what next. Was he suppose to just let Jordan go? What would happen then? Would he get in trouble like the many times Jordan got in trouble? Garth hated getting in trouble and he couldn’t stand the idea of risking his streak of goodness.
While Garth was trying to figure out what to do, Jordan was getting terribly restless. The knife was rather uncomfortable against his neck and he was getting rather tired, trying his best not to move. But this time was good and Jordan was taking advantage of every moment of it to think of a way out. He scanned Garth and saw the internal fight he was having and Jordan knew that it was his chance.
Jordan suddenly grabbed Garth’s arm and twisted, causing him to cried in pain. The knife clatted harmlessly on the ground and Jordan grabbed it. He pointed it at Garth and a small smile formed on his face.
He plunged the knife deep into the boy’s chest. Garth collapsed on the spot.
Jordan smirked once more before he left. Garth would survive alright, but the fact was set. Jordan was more superior and there was nothing to question about it.