Over the next week I spent most of my time in one place.
At Pailadyn’s bedside.
Now I know what you’re thinking, and I’m going to assure you that it’s not what you think. At least… I don’t believe it was. On Earth, I had never been interested in girls. Mainly because girls had never been interested in me. I just didn’t see the need to try and make something out of nothing. It didn’t really bother me. Any time I felt bad for myself, I thought of how I didn’t have a kid on the way, how I didn’t have an STD, and how I didn’t have the added responsibility of a premature family. That usually did the trick.
So anyways, after training for a few hours, I would make my way through the Hub to the Rest Center, sit at her bedside, and chat. I didn’t think this what you’re thinking it was, but I didn’t have a lot of experience to go on. Pailadyn was attractive and stuff, but I didn’t feel like I loved her. I just wanted to make sure that she was doing ok. Especially since the injuries were largely my fault. Not only that, but when I had first arrived Pailadyn had looked out for me. Now was my chance to return the favor.
A romance wouldn’t really be practical either, considering the fact that one of us might die in the near future. That’d throw a bit of a loop in our plans.
And then there was one other issue.’
“So, do you guys get married?”
“Married?” asked Pailadyn. “What is married?”
“Married is… well it’s like… huh… It’s when a man and a woman commit to live with each other for life. In some cases they have children together.”
“Yea- well…not technically forever. Until death do you part.” It hadn’t crossed my mind, that “forever” meant something extremely different to people here than people on earth.
“Oh ok. And, what are children?”
“Children are the small humans made by two married people. And even though the small humans grow into adults they still remain the children of whichever married people made them.”
“And how do they make them?”
My face went red and I looked at the floor.
“Isn’t it my turn to ask a question?” I said sheepishly.
“Oh yes. Of course. Sorry!”
“Why do people choose combative powers?”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, is there anything in it for them? There’s the possibility that they’ll die or get hurt. Is there some sort of grand prize or something? Why take the risk?”
“Well, there is something, but a lot of us do it because we wouldn’t be able to live a tame life. I can’t imagine sitting around some plants or a pot every day. I’m sure it would drive me crazy.”
“And what is the something?”
She smirked, “It’s my turn now Juewuhl.”
“So how do married people make children? Is it some sort of secret or something?”
“Well no… it’s just weird to talk about.”
“Oh ok! So you do know about it. Then tell me.”
How do you explain something like that?
“Well… the two people make sure they’re alone and… well they kiss and… look this is hard to explain. Can I have a different question?”
Pailadyn looked at me, and for a moment the look on her face made me think that she would make me tell her just because I was amusing to watch.
“I suppose so. If it’s hard to explain maybe you could show me sometime? That would be easier right?”
If I had been drinking a glass of water, this would have been the part where I would have spit it out in a spray and said something clever like,
But I didn’t have a glass of water so I just kinda looked at her like she was a zombie or something.
“Well it doesn’t have to be now.” She said. “I’ll ask you later. What did you do on earth?”
“I went to college.”
“It’s sort of like Traynur’s classes only I don’t learn how to fight and we sit at tables and listen to the teacher.”
“Sound very boring.”
“Well… it’s necessary. Ok so what is ‘the something’ that fighters can get.”
“Well there is an optional tournament that takes place. Same rules as a normal fight, you can choose to let the loser live or die, but the winner of the tournament goes to live in the Council’s Castle.”
“That doesn’t sound very extraordinary.”
“Well the Council consists of Skrybe, Traynur, Arte, Fisyk, and Monark. They are all supposedly equal, but Monark is the unofficial head. They are the first five citizens. They rarely work together because all of them combined have the power to destroy Cyst. The only thing they ever collaborated on was the castle where they live.”
“Except for Traynur and Skrybe.”
“Well yes. Save Skrybe, Traynur doesn’t quite trust the others on the council. Skrybe just prefers to be apart from people. His studies warrant peace and quiet.”
“Ok. So this castle…”
“The only people who have ever seen it are those who go to live there. They are fed and pampered and never have to work again. Considering we don’t “age” that is a very good bargain.”
“But if no one has ever seen it, how do you know it’s as amazing as you think?”
“Well, if you don’t want to live at the castle you can ask the Council for a favor. Many people have gone to the castle with the intention of asking for a favor and returning, but they never come back. Monark will usually come and tell us that the winner decided to stay at the castle instead of asking for a favor. So it must be pretty amazing.”
“I wonder if I could ask the council to send me home.”
“You could always ask. Of course, you’d have to win first. You’re quite lucky actually. The Tournament only happens once every one hundred years. This is the one hundredth year.”
So I might be able to go home… I might die in the process, but I could go home. Honestly, the worst thing that could happen would be to lose and live. Because then I’d have to fight for my life for the next one hundred years before I got another chance.
If I won or died, I’d escape this place.
Winning would be preferred.
It’s not that it was bad here, I was growing to like it, but like Dorothy said in the Wizard of Oz, “There’s no place like home.” My dreams and ambitions were to graduate college and be successful. Not to fight and hope that I wouldn’t die.
I yawned and leaned back against the wall. I wasn’t sure what time it was, but it must have been getting close to bedtime. No baby jokes please. Yes I did have a bedtime here. It was actually very essential. If you didn’t sleep you became tired. If you became tired, you would die.
Bedtime suddenly doesn’t seem so bad now does it?