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Seventh Ring: Part 3 - Formalities
Three was silent for a moment, making sure that William had put enough distance between them before he spoke. He was short by alien standards and quite stocky and square-shaped. His body was covered in a thick, leathery skin that was no doubt used to protect him from the harsh rays of his own planet's star. He appeared to be reptilian, but his face looked like a scaly bulldog. Two long teeth pointed straight up from his lower jaw and wrinkles sagged over his forehead, cheeks, and below his eyes. Three was clearly well-aged.
"So, they've reached as far as Kazek, huh?" he asked curiously in a rough, dry voice. He tucked the dirty towel he'd been using into his back pocket and crossed his thick arms. His tattered, once-white shirt was covered in what looked like oil and red dirt beneath a tight pair of suspenders that stretched over his very broad shoulders. Seven looked at him fiercely, but it was obvious that Three was genuinely curious. "They don't tell us much 'round here.
Seventh Ring: Part 18 - Upgrade
Six shot into the air like a startled cat when he heard the sudden popping sound of Seven's arm. He had stopped to take a break from his training with Six to work on some repairs. The look on Six's face said it was not going well.
“Is it supposed to make that sound?” Six slinked his way over to Seven on all fours while his small, cat-like nose went to work on sniffing the air. Each time the Kazekian's arm made a sound, Six visibly jumped, but continued his slow approach.
“Probably not. I'm trying to tighten this rotor here, but I can't reach it.” Six's pupils grew nearly as large as his irises as he examined the area that Seven was trying to reach. It was deep within the rods and hydraulic cylinders of his cybernetic forearm.
“Want me to get it?” Six lifted his small hands and clapped his finger tips together in a crab-like motion. Seven assumed this was an attempt at trying to convince him that it was a good idea, but it did little to help reassure
Seventh Ring: Part 11 - Worlds
"Are you ready?"
Seven had just wiped beads of sweat from his dirtied brow with the back of his hand when he heard the familiar voice of Ari. Each day, at the same time every morning, she came by the small construction site where he and Lucas had been working to build the new workshop beside the house. It had taken them three days to complete the framework and lay the foundation of the shop according to Lucas' designs, and now, they were busy mixing concrete.
A humid, stifling summer heat had set in over the past day, which slowed down their work considerably and forced them to work late into the evenings when the weather was more hospitable. Seven did not mind the longer hours, but it was putting an obvious drain on Lucas. He noticed that the human was not moving with as much excited zest as he was a few days ago when the project first began. He was less patient, sluggish, and noticeably stressed. Perhaps now was a good time for a break.
Ari stood quietly in the bare, wooden door fram
Seventh Ring: Part 6 - Welcoming
Seven did not see much of Ari in the days that followed his tour of the farm. William was off-planet, but kept him busy with chores and labor and any jobs where Three could use the extra muscle. Three theorized that it was William's way of "conditioning" him and getting him healthy and ready for his first fight when he returned from his business trip. His meals were often much larger than the other Drudges', a fact that they all noticed around dinner time when Two doubled Seven's portions right in front of them. Three warned Seven not to get too comfortable with such treatment, as he was certain the extra protein and carbohydrates were meant to bulk him up. Seven surely wasn't complaining. After starving himself for a couple of days after his unforgettable first meal on the farm, he finally came around when Three volunteered to try all of his food before he would touch it--an act the other Drudge was more than happy to do. The plan worked to reassure Seven and brought him back to trust
Seventh Ring: Part 10 - Escort
“He's fading again. The poison's spreading fast.”
Seven repositioned Three's arm over his shoulder as he carefully led him out of the woods and back into the wide, grassy yard just outside of William's house. His jaw tightened as Three's weight fell entirely on him as the older alien dipped out of consciousness with a miserable groan.
“Go get Two,” said Seven when Six joined his side. He'd just lifted Three's other arm as if to try and bear some of his weight, but Seven thought it better to send him ahead for help. Six's wide round eyes were filled with worry for his fallen comrade. His pupils dilated as he examined the large, sticky tail barb that was embedded in Three's meaty forearm. Blood and poison oozed around the entry point, prompting Six to move faster than ever back to the house.
“Hang on Three, we're almost there,” grunted Seven as he plodded forward.
As Seven began to cross the yard, he noticed that Three's other side had suddenly become
Seventh Ring: Part 1 - Sold
Chapter 1: Sold
New Earth, 418 A.C. (After Contact)
"We'll start the bidding off at 100 credits!"
Ari shifted uncomfortably in her seat as the auction began. The fan she'd crafted out of the event's flier was starting to crumple between her fingers and become less and less useful the faster she moved her arm. The heat of the sun above them was unbearable, despite how early in the afternoon the auction was scheduled. It didn't help that the tight leather corset that hugged her middle was making it harder for her to breathe and shed the heat her body was emitting. A long, cream-colored dress kept her legs hot while a wide, flowery bonnet helped shield her pale face. She unlocked her ankles and shifted her weight in the hard wooden chair near the auction's stage.
"Stop fidgeting, will you?" hissed the man beside her.
She obeyed and recrossed her legs without meeting his gaze. She didn't move again until the auctioneer shouted "sold!"
The object that was
Seventh Ring: Part 12 - Storm
The days that followed Gabby's visit were much of the same. Each morning, Ari met Seven for breakfast while Lucas continued to work on the shop. After delivering Marge's meal and inhaling his own, Seven explained more of his world to the curious human girl who seemed so fascinated with him and the place he called home. He had to admit that he was starting to look forward to speaking with her each morning, as she always had new questions, and he was able to appreciate his world more and more. While it still made him homesick to think about, it also served as a reminder as to why he needed to escape William's farm. With as involved as their conversations often became, he was ever vigilant for the Cerasaurs that had seemingly vanished into the woods. And despite his feeling guilty of the impending danger the creatures posed to the farm and its inhabitants, he was beginning to worry they may never return.
Large, puffy cotton ball clouds rolled through the sapphire sky as the morning sun co
Nine TimesI saw him nine times.
The first time we were both sitting in the room together, getting ready to take the math test that would determine our placement. I was scatterbrained and throwing things around, trying to find the pencils that I had known I would need but had still just tossed in my purse. He was lounging backwards in his chair, looking for all the world as though he didn’t have a single care in the world, including the upcoming test. It annoyed me, that I was frantic and ready to scream, while someone else could be that relaxed.
I tested out of the class.
I don’t know if he did.
The second time I saw him, it was a few months after I arrived on campus. He was the one rushing and frantic this time, running across the square. He was probably late for class, though I had no way of knowing for sure. I was already lost in my own thoughts and ideas, deciding on my major and convincing people that yes, this is what I really want to do with my life. If they weren
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