March 11, 2013 by Lyn
Niassa was out monster hunting. So was Yolanda. Cody and Lemon were both in their rooms, which left Wylie pacing and miserable. Pacing a lot, and very miserable.
Hylakaros was in the living room, too. Wylie wasn’t certain he hadn’t been told to keep an eye on him. Not that he could leave, but still!
The former Nedetaka was doing some sort of Working with Huamu, not a Word Wylie was any good at.
“Flowers?” Small talk was better than nothing.
“That’s what they’re supposed to be but some of these are slightly mutant at best.” Hylakaros was holding his latest effort and regarding it critically.
“Ha.” Wylie flopped down in a chair near Hylakaros. “How long is it going to take them?” He blurted it out, then picked up a flower-like-thing and looked at it, hoping to cover up his impatience. “I can’t do the hummus word at all.”
“It’s not one of my best ones and I obviously haven’t been paying enough attention to what flowers actually look like beyond a general impression.” He looked at Wylie. “It will take as long as it takes. You and I will know if things go really badly. If things don’t go quite as badly, us being back here is part of their protection.”
Badly. Wylie twitched. “So if things go really badly, does that mean you’re going to start going evil, with no orders to stop you?”
“Define evil?” Hylakaros asked it so mildly, he could have been discussing the weather. “Steps one and two involve consulting Professor Solomon and arming ourselves from Doug’s collection, after you and possibly I stop throwing up.”
“Throwing… oh.” Wylie twitched again. “The keeping bond thing. Yeah. Evil in this case would involve kidnapping Lemon or killing people I care about.” Evil was easier to think about than the bond thingy. That was messed up.
“That’s a fair definition. There are people I don’t think Lemon would willingly leave without and if we lose Luke, Doug and the rest of their group, then a fighting retreat might be on the cards.”
Wylie nodded. Okay, they were going to talk about the thing happening downstairs. “I don’t want to lose her. But if we do, I want to hurt whoever ki… hurt her.”
“Fair enough and well said,” Hylakaros nodded approvingly. Approval from him was kind of weird. “Successful revenge that doesn’t result in mutual annihilation can take a little planning, so don’t go charging off on your own at the first opportunity.”
“Would you? If Doug got killed?”
“I’ve not been under the collar as long as you plus he and I don’t have the same sort of relationship you and Niassa do.” Hylakaros was clearly considering his answer. “I do think he would want Lemon and the rest of his cy’ree to be protected and as I want to protect Lemon, that’s a no brainer.” He gave a short laugh. “But if you go charging off, Lemon would probably want me to rescue you.”
That was worth a laugh. “Yeah. She probably would. So… if things go bad. You’ll keep her safe?”
“Yes. That seems to be my job.” Hylakaros put down his not-quite-right flower. “Now what about you? Does Dr. Mendosa teach combat or do you have lessons with one of the other professors?”
Combat. He’d been trying to avoid that. “Professor Akatil is teaching me some getting out of traps. And Dr. Mendosa taught me some combat magic. But Niassa… well, Doug’s her dad, and Luke’s her Mentor. “I don’t know who I’d ask that it wouldn’t be weird for”
“Dr. Mendosa might ask for you or she might have her own ideas on who would be a good teacher. I hear that both Professor Fridmar and Professor Akinobou teach combat as well. Lemon doesn’t have classes with either of them so I’ve only seen them in passing.” Sometimes, Wylie forgot Hylakaros’ weird situation – and then things like that reminded him. But.
“Professor Akinobu?” He felt his ears perking up . “That might be cool.”
“Ask Dr. Mendosa. If she thinks it’s a good idea too then there’s a better chance he’ll agree to teach you.”
“That’s a good idea.” Something to do, even it if wasn’t now, helped. Wylie leaned back against the couch. “Thanks.”
“That’s okay.” Hylakaros smiled at Wylie. “If you went charging off to rescue or avenge Niassa without knowing what you were doing, Lemon would probably want me to go after you. Actually she might want us to go after you. You can help me keep her safe by getting trained.”
That made sense. He nodded. “I can. I still don’t like waiting, though.”
“The other thing to remember is that if we’re here and not where they are, then Niassa and Doug can’t be made to release us. While they Keep us, the enemy can’t Keep them.”
“Oh… oh.” That made sense. That was horrible. He looked away. Monsters.
“Feel better about being left behind?” Hylakaros looked at his flower attempts. “I might have to buy her some flowers and practice with examples in front of me.”
“Heh.” Wylie was startled into a laugh. “Those are for her?”
“Yes. You saw her face that day she first brought me back here; she would really have liked it if someone had given her flowers.” He shrugs. “It’s all very well for Luke to say that her power is going to let me into her bed on a regular basis but I’d like it to be about her liking me and not just some arrangement our powers have cooked up together.”
“…Yeah. Yeah, that makes sense. Next year…” It was a silly thought, and a silly sigh, but he sighed anyway.
“She’ll have her babies and I’ll have to protect her from the likes of Calvin and Kendon. What about you? Niassa graduates at the end of this school year, doesn’t she?”
“Yeah.” The thought made him squirm. “So it’ll be me, and looking for someone new.”
“You don’t have to Keep; on the other hand it would keep someone out of Calvin or Kendon’s hands.” Hylakaros was still looking at his flower attempts as if wondering if they could be salvaged.
“I’m lousy at hummus but I think you need more petals. Niassa said – next year, I get to protect someone. I’d like that.” He thought he’d like that a lot. Being the one protected just seemed wrong.
“All the better if you get combat lessons now then. I don’t think the petal shape is quite right either, the trouble is I don’t know exactly what it should look like.”
“Yeah. Try a book?”
“One with photos and diagrams,” Hylakaros agreed.
“Yeah. Good luck.”
The older guy was still staring at his attempts at romance. “I may need it.”
“With her or the flowers?” Wylie ducked away before he could get hit.
“I was thinking with the flowers. Our powers bind her as much as me.”
“Dude. Doesn’t mean you won’t need luck. She’s still a girl.”