"His name is Guame," I told Nia, after noticing her staring at my friend. She had a tendency to get... distracted. Even while I probed her gently for more information, she managed to change the conversation with a look or question. So far, I had to explain my clothing, my green eyes, and where I came from. Now she was interesting in my friend... "He is my friend and he will not bite you."
To show her I wasn't lying, I pulled Guame off my shoulder, though he protested, and walked over to sit beside Nia. I was still wary, but... With all the evidence I had gathered from talking to the girl and watching her dress for an outline of a weapon of any kind, I had deduced her to be no threat to Guame, much less to me.
She picked up the armadillo carefully, as if grabbing some sacred treasure, and sat him in her lap. Guame, probably frightened by being picked up by someone else for the first time since I had found him or just having separation problems, rolled up the moment he was put down. Nia found this fascinating, as she said so.
"Fascinating! Do all creatures from outside the city do this?" She seemed so excited, I decided against trying to ask more questions. For now. If the Anti-spiral had been telling the truth, we had a week to prepare.
"No, just some species like the armadillo -" I pointed at Guame "- the Armadillidiidae family, and probably a few more. Other animals can pull their bodies into a shell, or camouflage themselves, for protection."
Nia smiled widely at the ball in her lap and touched it lightly, her Spiral Power flowing into Guame. I was worried, of course, but I was more curious as to the result. I had placed my own power into Guame among the years and he also seemed to absorb the excess I gave off, so I was reluctant to believe it would harm my friend. But her Spiral Power was different than my own. Would it cause something else?
I don't know what I was expecting, honestly, but soon Guame uncurled and allowed himself to be playful. It wasn't the first time I had noticed the oddity in his behavior. When I had found him, he acted like the books had said armadillo's did; independent and digging everything he could up for food. Yet... as I traveled with him, I noticed he developed a dependence on me and instead of burrowing, he would climb - specifically, on me. It was odd, but he had never been one for petting.
Yet, here he was being pet by a young girl he had just met. Was it the Spiral Power?
A part of me shouted that all this could be elaborate lies, but I shut it down instantly. It made no sense at this point. I was probably going to die, so why set up this elaborate lie. Plus, I could FEEL Nia's sincerity somehow. It even made me feel more energized just being near her. A side effect of her green glowing power?
"He's so cute!"
I felt myself sigh, but in sorrow. This was a girl from the city who had been taken to die in a tournament to the death, and here she was enjoying the moment. I had to try and make sure she could enjoy moments like this after the games were over. I would not accept an alternative now, though I did not deny my willingness to protect her came half from scientific curiosity. The other half, of course, came from the common decency humans were supposed to have.
"Nia, did that man who won say anything else about the Hunger Games? Anything that would help us?"
The girl paused from rubbing Guame's belly and seemed to think. "Not that I heard... Oh! He said something about sucking up to the... um... bastards?.. in charge."
I blinked. That word was interesting coming from a young girl's mouth. I usually only heard it from scavengers. "So we will need to show the people running the Games - possibly the Anti-spirals - in order to give ourselves a victory? That hardly makes sense, but I will keep it in mind."
"Oh! And my dad told me to always believe I'll win."
I smiled. "Optimism is a good thing, Nia," I told her, "But we will need something more definitive."
Nia's cheeks puffed up for a moment and she grew determined before speaking. "No! He said it was most important to remember! I trust him, Lazen."
I could not answer. It was not this girl's determination in believing her father's advice so thoroughly, of course. That was indeed something I had read about and was sure was precious, but it did not concern me at this time. It was what happened when Nia showed her determination.
Her Spiral Power flared up, changing from serene to... I couldn't describe it. It was as if someone was determined to kill, though only for the reason that it was the right choice. Justified bloodlust, maybe? But Nia wasn't quite to bloodlust, or I would have felt it. I always did when someone had tried to kill me. Instead, her power was threatening any who opposed it.
Was this what a Spiral Warrior was, then? Someone with a lot of this power who could utilize it, unlike anyone else I had met outside of Nia, and even weaponize it? It would make sense, then. If these Hunger Games focused on suppressing the conquered areas, it made sense to use these supposedly rare 'Spiral Warriors' to both eliminate a threat and make a show of power. Of course, that theory revolved around Spiral Warriors being rare and them actually being a threat.
Sure. I could use my own to enhance myself physically and even sustain my energy. I even noticed that I could go several days without sleeping sometimes with no repercussions when I was feeling motivated. But that was not a true threat to a species that could decimate planets. There might be more that the Spiral Power was capable of, of course, but I had no evidence of that...
Except for Nia. She had amplified her own Spiral Power, something I THOUGHT I had done before, but could not confirm. Now, though... Nia was proof I could. And if I could amplify it, that might be enough to give Spiral Power being a threat a viable theory. It was the only thing I could honestly think of that made sense.
Unless it truly was for entertainment and Spiral Warriors were selected simply for their natural fighting prowess... Maybe? I couldn't make any assumptions without more information, but it was something to think on.
So, I focused on Nia, or more precisely, her state of drowsiness.
"Would you like to sleep?" I asked the girl. "I don't think we have to worry. If they wanted to harm us, they would have already."
Nia nodded. "You are most correct, Lazen. Is it OK if Guame accompanies me to sleep?"
I smiled, though more for her than me. "He seems to trust you, so of course."
She instantly curled up with Guame, who seemed content. I followed suite soon after, ignoring my curiosity for the moment. I shouldn't be in any danger. And, if I was, there was little that could be done about it. I did take one last look around the room before I fell asleep, making sure to check for another person - or thing. I saw none.
I also saw no door.