Mace Black, Page 385-391 by Wolfenshire ()
Members remain the original copyright holder in all their materials here at Renderosity. Use of any of their material inconsistent with the terms and conditions set forth is prohibited and is considered an infringement of the copyrights of the respective holders unless specially stated otherwise.
Mace Black, Page 385-391
The ones not him in the stacks used verbal speak, but that was only for the benefit of their patrons. Girl was saying something, but boy was already too exhausted to make his ears translate the sounds. He brushed against girl. Girl had gotten used to it and didn’t realize what boy was doing. The blissful combinations of protein strings were passed, but girl could not hear.
“I think we can get inside now,” girl’s body told him.
Boy did what boy always did and girl always seemed satisfied. Boy smiled broadly and verbal speak said, “Okay.” Boy could speak in more complex sentences, but it made boy’s throat hurt.
Boy glanced at girl and casually brushed an arm against girl. Girl had told boy yesterday girl loved him. Girl didn’t love boy. Girl loved being in love. Girl was close to love - seven protein strings and away from correct chemical balance for love. Girl didn’t know what love was yet. Boy did. Boy couldn’t not know what love was. Any casual contact with any others not boy could tell him anything he wanted to know. Mathor could not hide thoughts from each other, could not lie to each other. All one was there inside one, in the billions of protein strings. Order was not in girl, girl was a chemical chaos of jumbled alien thoughts.
Boy chemically checked girl’s reproductive organs again. If girl was Mathor they would both have checked for compatibility the moment they met. Girl was nearly identical at the DNA level, compatibility was not the problem. There was only one string that needed adjusted. Service had been given, payment would be received when Master Aestar requirement met. Boy was patient. Order, balance, and forever together in aligned order would be soon.
A protein string separated and rose to his awareness. Memory. Boy glanced at boy’s wrist. It was there, waiting. Boy could meet girl, be aligned and hear. Boy was excited and grabbed girl’s arm. Boy went to all the private places Mathor didn’t go normally. Boy went deep into girl’s DNA, and shuttered. Boy saw darkness, violence, girl was so strong, deadly. Boy liked it.
Boy smiled broadly. There could be order. Boy had to wait.
Jasai glanced at Zil, he had grabbed her arm and was smiling broadly. “It’s okay, I’m not going to slip on the ice. I can walk on my own,” said Jasai. “You are very sweet to watch out for me.” She shook her head and grinned. She often wondered what went on in that big empty head of his. She almost laughed, he was probably trying to figure out how to walk from the train to the library without getting his feet wet.
Zil removed his hand and she was about to step down from the train. She put her hand where his had just been on her arm. It was warm, and had that slightly oil feeling she had been noticing. Her heart nearly froze in her chest. She liked Zil and had ignored all her Temple training. Zil might be poisoning her. She smiled and waved a hand at the stairs. “You go first and make sure it’s safe,” said Jasai.
Zil smiled broadly. “Zil, Body Protector,” he said proudly, and stepped down from the train.
Jasai took the moment while he was in front of her to withdraw the poison detection kit from her pocket. She might have changed into fresh clothes and left some of her equipment behind on the train, but no Raven would ever leave this small device behind.
She put her finger on the sensor pad and waited. Zil was on the bottom step. The poison detector flashed red, ‘anomaly detected’. Her throat closed up, he was poisoning her. She stuffed the detector kit back in her pocket. Zil reached the bottom and turned around. He held his hand out to Jasai. She reluctantly took his hand and stepped down. She felt that euphoric feeling and warmth spreading from his touch. She glared at him and placed her hand on her dagger.
Zil turned around and held his hand out. Girl took boy’s hand. Boy liked girl, even if girl was deaf and could not hear boy. Boy held girl’s hand as girl stepped down from the train. Fear, hate, and distrust exploded in boy’s head. Girl was scared. Girl thought boy was poisoning girl. Girl was shouting aggression, kill, defend at boy. Boy tried to make girl hear. Girl pulled girl’s hand away. Girl had dagger in girl’s hand. Girl was going to kill boy.
Jasai snatched her hand back and drew her dagger. Zil was a traitor, a spy sent to kill her. She crouched and prepared to attack. She would have to watch for his tail, the barb on the end would be lethal. She thought about the Daiami and where their weak points were. She would attack at those points.
She tensed and readied to leap at him, but tears welled up in Zil’s eyes and he slowly lifted his tail and wrapped the end of his tail around his neck with the barb hanging in the back. Was that the way they surrendered?
Boy put his tail into the most submissive position a Mathor could? Girl was screaming at boy. It hurt boy’s ears.
“What are you poisoning me with?” girl said in verbal shout.
Girl was holding girl’s arm out. What was wrong with girl’s arm? Boy could see nothing wrong with girl’s arm. Girl was pointing where boy had touched girl. Boy tipped boy’s head to the side. Boy’s mouth dropped open. Could girl could feel the protein strings passing between them when boy touched girl.
“I’m not trying to hurt you,” he said verbal speak. Boy hadn’t been with girl long, less than a week. Master Aestar had made sure he could speak girl language, but it was still hard to use verbal speak. Older others not boy said it got easier to verbal speak if boy practice.
“You’re a liar,” girl screamed.
“That’s enough,” said a voice from the library. Jasai quickly glanced behind her. A man was standing in the doorway. “Master Aestar, what do you want me to do? She had five days and a clue given, the same as the boy and tiger, but she has clearly failed the test.”
“Who are you?” demanded Jasai.
A voice spoke from the train’s A.I. external speakers on the train. “The boy and tiger used their emotions to solve the test, she is using her intellect, and it is preventing her from finding the answer to the test. I am disappointed, but I’m not certain the test has failed yet.”
“That’s not the A.I.’s voice,” accused Jasai. “That’s Master Aestar. Have you been spying on me? And what are you talking about, test?”
“You have failed to understand the vast differences between yourself and Zil,” said Master Aestar. “And you all but ignored the provided clue to bridge those differences.”
Jasai shook her head. “Please, the Darai are not Xenophobes, we embrace all species. I accept Zil as he is, I don’t see differences, I only see similarities to me, he’s the same as me, a person.”
“It is admirable that the Darai accept other species, without that quality you would not have been worthy of my attention,” said Master Aestar. “But, by blindly ignoring the differences, you are without any true understanding of those you embrace as equals.”
“That’s not true,” said Jasai. “We understand cultural differences. I just want to know what Zil is poisoning me with, and why. I haven’t done anything to him.”
“And in that you have made two cultural mistakes with Zil,” said Master Aestar. “The first was nearly eating a raw rat, and now believing he is attempting to poison you. I will give an extra day to complete the test. Mr. Grath, they are not to have access to library until further notice.”
The man in the doorway of the library went back inside and closed the door. Jasai could hear the door lock. Jasai sheathed her dagger and glared at the train. “I don’t want to do some test I don’t understand, just tell me what this is about.”
“You have one day, Miss Raven, I suggest you re-read the journal and embrace your differences with Zil, in that you will find the key to understanding,” said Master Aestar.
Girl stomped back up the steps of the train, opened the door, and slammed it behind girl. Boy was not sure what boy should do. It was cold out here. Boy wanted the warm fire. Boy stood in the cold, it was snowing again and boy was shivering. The train door opened again and girl came out.
“Do you swear you’re not trying to poison me?” girl said.
“I am not poisoning you,” said boy in verbal speak.
“Then get in here before you freeze to death,” girl said.
Boy obeyed and went to the train steps. Girl was already back inside, but the door was open. Boy climbed the steps and entered the main coach. Boy closed the door and went to the fireplace. Boy put a few more logs on the fire. Boy lay down with his head inside the fireplace and resting on a burning log. Pleasant relief. The flames licked up around boy’s head and boy could only hear the soft flames whispering in boy’s ears. The screeching of girl and Master Aestar had given boy such a headache.
Boy wished the fireplace was bigger so boy could fit all the way inside. The new logs caught fire and all the sounds outside the fire tickling boy’s ears were gone. Boy slept.
Jasai watched Zil crawl back into the fireplace. He really liked the fireplace. She sat back down in the red plush chair and picked the journal up. This was the clue to the test. The test she had no idea what she was being tested on, but she liked tests, just maybe not this one. She was mad that Sern had solved the test before her.
She re-read the journal, looking for clues, something, anything that might give her some answers. She didn’t want to fail. She wanted to see inside of the library, but if she failed she would never get to read the books it contained. She couldn’t find anything in the journal that might relate to what was happening now.
“Alright, let’s rethink this,” she thought to herself. The test was something to do with Zil, so the first half of the journal probably wasn’t the important part. The clue would be after Tarius Aestar had met the Mathors. So, let’s look it from that angle, and only the facts. Tarius had been sitting on top of the train, the Mathor appeared, he had crawled down, and a Mathor woman approached him. It was like she had known what he had gone through and hugged him… wait a second, that’s not a fact, that’s an opinion.
Tarius couldn’t have known what the woman was thinking. The facts are that she held her arms out and hugged him. Jas tipped her head to the side. No, that’s still not the facts. The woman held her arms out, Tarius had thrown himself into her arms. But, all species have a personal space, but the woman hadn’t pushed him away. Why? Telepathy? No, she had already checked Zil for telepathy, his mind was a blank when she had tried. So what then? Master Aestar had said, ‘embrace your differences’.
Jasai groaned. Oh my gosh, he had given a second clue, and a super lame one at that. It was the embrace that was the clue. Jasai got up and went to Zil. She tapped on his foot to wake him up. Zil sat up and smiled at her.
“Zil, do you remember that letter you got on the road?” asked Jasai. “Do you still have it?”
“Yes,” he said, and pointed at the cushions he had been playing with the night before.
Jasai found the letter and unfolded it. She looked at the writing and held it up for Zil. “Is this your language?” she asked.
Zil shook his head.
“Is this Master Aestar’s language?” she asked.
Zil nodded his head.
“Do you have a written language? Asked Jasai.
“No, we use Master Aestar’s language to write,” he replied.
Jasai sat down on the couch. She understood now. That Mathor woman Tarius Aestar had met on that first day hadn’t been trying to give him a hug. She was greeting him. But Tarius was just a scared boy that had been alone for a long time and he had misunderstood what the woman was doing.
The first day she had met Zil on the road, his greeting was to hold his arm out and offer her a gift. That Mathor woman probably had had something in her hand, but Aestar and been so happy to see someone, anyone, he hadn’t noticed and thought she was offering a hug.
Jasai understood now. The Mathors were a non-verbal species, they spoke by exchanging some kind of chemical through touch. The Daiami was only partially vocal, but they had a complex sign language. She would have noticed if Zil had a sign language. No, they spoke through touch.
“Zil, I’m really sorry I accused you of trying to poison me,” said Jasai. “I’m a Raven, where I’m from everyone is trying to kill everyone else. Master Aestar was right, we really are different. I’ll never be able to really talk with you. It’s okay though, we can just make do with verbal speech.”
Zil smiled. This was it. Girl understood. Master Aestar’s requirement was met. Boy got up and went to sit next to girl. Boy touched girl’s arm, girl didn’t pull away. This was what boy had been waiting for, to give the gift payment for helping Master Aestar with boy not boy and tiger not boy. Boy had been the boy on the rock the river had swept away in boy not boy and tiger not boy test. The test was real not real, but still very dangerous. Boy could have drown, and boy couldn’t swim. Others not boy would never have gone onto the rock and let the water take them. Boy was very different than other boys not boy’s species. This boy was adventurous, liked danger, fought monsters, explored alone in desert danger out of the safe caves and walled city library.
Boy had not liked any girls available in the caves or walled city. Girls there were boring. Boy’s people liked walled cities, never left. Not boy. He wanted exotic dangerous girl that could fight monsters with boy, explore with boy. Master Aestar promised boy a chance with a girl like that, and for his help, he had the gift payment to share.
Zil sat on the couch next to her and took her arm. Jasai felt the warmth spreading from his claws, the warmth she had thought was poison. He pressed the tip of a single claw against her wrist and moved it in a circle.
“I did something very dangerous for Master Aestar,” said Zil. “This is my payment. I had to wait for the requirements Master Aestar set. I share my payment with you.”
Jasai stared curiously at him and looked down at the Night tattoo that was on her wrist, it was changing shape. “How are you doing that?” The tattoo had been a moon, but now it was changing to a… “Oh my gosh, it’s a Gecko,” said Jasai.
Zil let go of her arm and turned his own wrist upwards. He pressed a claw to his wrist and made the same circle motions. Jasai watched as the shape of a Raven formed on his wrist.
Zil smiled. “You first,” he said.
Jasai looked at her new tattoo and concentrated on it, but wasn’t sure what was going to happen. The tattoo burst into dark flames, and then a moment of vertigo as the world blurred.
“Ouch, ouch, ouch…something hurts,” she cried out.
“Stand up, you’re sitting on your tail,” said Zil.
Jasai jumped up and a tail unwound behind her. “I’m a…I got…holy goddess…I have a tail…” She held her arms up, they were covered in scales, and her talons were gone, she had claws. She wobbled back and forth, off-balance.
“Use your tail to balance,” said Zil.
She pushed her tail to the ground to hold herself steady. Zil grinned.
“That’s the way a baby does it, you’ll catch on,” said Zil.
Jasai understood. Master Aestar had changed one of the night tattoos to allow her to change shapes to a Mathor and bridge the differences between them. She stepped forward and wrapped her arms around Zil.
“Girl hears boy,” she passed boy the correct protein strings.
“Boy hears girl,” boy replied with the correct protein strings.