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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 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 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 4 - Dinner
Five growled as he took a step closer to the others, but his hands unclenched and arms fell defeatedly to his sides. Seven shot him a look to be sure he was not planning another sudden attack, but brought his attention back to Three when he was certain Five was calm.
"Who exactly will I be fighting? These two?" Seven glanced down to Six, who shook his head quickly with a worried grin. Three seemed relieved to know that he had accepted his purpose for being there. He knew it would make the next few weeks much less painful on the young Kazekian, or so he hoped.
"No, these two fight in different classes, unless it's a group battle. Here, come with me." Three gestured with his hand for Seven to follow him as he spoke. Six assumed he was going to give a tour of the facility and bounced on ahead, leaving Five to stand and watch after them.
"This building was constructed a few years ago after William returned from a mission into space. He came home with a gleam in his eye and a plan and immed
Seventh Ring: Part 2 - Numbers
Chapter 2: Numbers
New Earth, 418 A.C. (After Contact)
"Bring the coach around back, Two," said William hastily to a tall, lanky alien standing beside a jet-black carriage. Two was one of William and Ari's longest owned aliens. He was also one of their most trusted, hence their allowing him to remain unchained and unsupervised with their carriage. They were certain of his loyalty to them and often left him in charge of simple tasks; like going to the market and cleaning around the house.
Two looked as though he had just stepped out of the 17th century. He was an older, stuffy-looking alien who had a small head, long face, a large nose, and big green eyes that always seemed to be looking down at everyone. He also had ears that were long like a goat's, but one could never tell, because he insisted on keeping them tied behind his head like a tiny ponytail. William chose him specifically for his snobby demeanor and snooty, high-end tastes. When
Seventh Ring: Part 5 - Accidents
"Grab it! Grab it's tail! That's it, you've almost got it."
Seven's eyes flicked side to side as his small hands scrambled to grab the slippery tail of a salamander-like alien that kept trying to waddle away from him. He was crouched over a large hill of red rock that was currently the home of the wriggling reptile. It hissed each time it felt Seven's hands close around it. A slimy mess of fluid from its body pores leaked all over his attacker and the ground around them. It was a defense mechanism that worked very well against the young Kazekian.
His father's hearty laugh made Seven's brows lower as the alien reptile once again wriggled free, this time through the fingers of his small mechanical hand.
"Careful now, remember not to squeeze too hard. You must learn the strength of your hand and how to be firm without being too strong." Seven's father took a step closer just as his son pounced forward in pursuit of his prey.
"I can't get a good grip, it's too squishy!" Seven tried to be g
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 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
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