Chapter 19:

#TheFaceofAdversity - 1

Midnight King

Misha mindlessly drums a song on the open pages of his notebook while the teacher at the front of the classroom is giving some useless tangent story about his dog trying to urinate on a public memorial.

Misha has a blue clip with a plastic crystal dragonfly on today, it’s large enough to keep his hair completely out of his face, save for a few strands that he blows out of his eyes.

His little corner was exceptionally quiet today.

No exasperated huffs of frustration. No muffled sounds of a ringing phone buried in someone’s pocket. Not even the faint scratch of a nail filer in use. A certain blonde monster was completely absent from all her morning classes and the school day was dawning on lunch time.

Not that she was devoted to her studies, not in the slightest, but she did manage to keep up a perfect attendance.

Perhaps just to see if someone would swoon over her someday.

Which never happened.

And he might’ve been ecstatic over the peaceful solitude about a month ago when Honey first came to Godforsaken High, but now it makes him rather bored.

He couldn’t lie, Honey was like this amusing, spontaneous, mass of wrathful energy that sometimes, if he was feeling daring enough, he liked to tease. Now she at least had enough restraint to not immediately punch him when he said something she didn’t like.

Though he did receive a fair share of unnecessarily brutal slaps to the back that he was sure would leave welts in the shape of her manicured hands.

It’s too risky to call her a friend, but acquaintance felt too distant.

Well, he wasn’t her keeper, if she wanted to skip school one day, then so be it.

The doors of Class 2-B slam open.

Everyone’s heads whirl around to see the sudden commotion, the girl with the chipped tooth has stopped touching up her makeup, a boy in the front row has dropped his cigarette on his bare arm and frantically brushes off the burning ashes, another student jolts awake from their drooling slumber.

The classroom’s attention is completely centered on the girl who interrupted the lesson no one was listening to.

It’s the entrance Honey always wanted. Somewhat.

Whether she was running late or going through one of her many violent moods, Honey’s appearance was always its best in Class 2-B.

A sort of deadly beauty.

Except for today.

Her curls look like an uncoordinated armada of uncontrolled waves with hair clips acting as ships toiling the sea storm. Half her shirt remains untucked and there’s a lengthy tear in her pleated skirt that’s hastily covered with her pink cardigan, everything is coated with a thin layer of grime.

The only thing she had maintained was her flawless make-up, however, there’s a blooming welt right where her cheekbone stuck out, redness spreading past her rose colored blush.

Her knee is also cut open and thin trails of blood soak into her ankle high socks.

She’s fuming.

Then again, when is she not?

“Miss Honey Bun…” The teacher gulps loudly, “so nice of you to finally join us.”

Most Godforsaken students wouldn’t even bother attending if they’ve missed the first two morning classes. Yet, here is Honey, entering only a few minutes to lunch looking like she’d just walked through a catastrophic hurricane with an expression that could commit a felony with just one glance.

When she glares at the teacher, he shuts up.

Honey trudges to her seat, not bothering to look elegant as she slumps into her chair and pulls a brush from her bag to tame the mess that used to be her oh-so-beloved hair. She doesn’t even acknowledge her bleeding knee.

Misha gives her a look.

Honey rips out a tangle with more force than probably necessary. A few golden strands find themselves stuck in the prongs of her brush.

“Some walking piles of trash tried to take my Rook,” She snorts, “I put them in their place.”

Misha pinches the bridge of his nose. He hadn’t thought about that, maybe it was because he blocked out any memories of The Midnight Fights that he’d forgotten what being in the top 4 was like.

He feels guilty.

Of course, they’d be after her Rook.

A girl in The Rankings? She was an enticing so-called ‘easy target’ in the eyes of some narcissistic teenage boys. They thought they finally had a chance to be in the elite Rankings, must have really damaged their pride.

The King was sovereign, you couldn’t just ask him for a fight. The other 4 elites, well they changed pretty often, anyone could challenge them, but that didn’t mean it came without consequences.

He rummages around in his bag for a bandaid, Gray’s bandaids that have the flowers on them. It’s the least he can do for her.

Someone beats him to it.

The boy in front of Honey, with the multiple piercings and the wildly colored hair turns around and gives her a plain brown bandaid. He and his deskmate have scooted a little inside the barrier usually surrounding Honey and Misha.

“For your knee,” says the boy with a smile.

Honey, still a little standoffish, takes the bandaid. Her head tilts impatiently, expecting him to continue with whatever else he looks like he had to say.

“You’re really The Rook of the Midnight Fights now?” His lip piercing rotates every time he closes his mouth. “That’s sick!”

He’s not swayed by her silence. His thumb jabs at his deskmate on his right.

“We missed your fight, but we’ll be at your next one!”

His friend chimes in a bit too eagerly.

“I followed you on Sinstagram, if you’re going to the warehouse, put a chess piece in your post and we’ll be there!”

Her mouth opens and for a split second, not a sound comes out. Misha almost cracks up at her shock, Honey had probably given up on trying to win the affection of Godforsaken students without force. Now that she has willing fans, the trance had been broken.

Don’t laugh, Misha thinks to himself. Honey would definitely punch him.

Her face softens, teeth exposed almost like her regular snarl, but it has no sting to it. He forgets she can smile like that. Nearly innocent and completely violence-free. Maybe it’s not a good trait to admire, but Honey’s a wonderful liar.

She beams a bit too radiantly, “Make sure to share my Sinstagram with your friends!”

“Yeah, we’ll all be betting on you!”

“Would you take a picture with us after your next fight?”

Honey bristles smugly and Misha tries to cover his snicker behind his hand, pretending to be preoccupied with a particularly interesting beetle smashing into the classroom windows. The piercings boy sneaks a wary glance at him, but that’s nothing new to Misha.

The lunch bell rings and Misha’s already up and out of his seat.

Honey happily continues to chatter with her newfound fans. Her seemingly inescapable drought for attention at Godforsaken High was finally being fulfilled. 

He won’t bother her for now.

He wonders how this new Sinstagram recognition will change her if it hadn’t already.


“Honey’s not with you?” Misha asks when Elias opens the door to Reverie Tea. It seems Gray had gotten ahold of a sheet of glittery stickers and had adorned Elias’ cane from top to bottom.

Gray hasn’t finished decorating just yet, continuing to apply more and more stickers while Elias takes careful steps to not disrupt the process. He’s trying to keep his cane as still as possible so Gray can put a unicorn near the handle.

Elias points out an empty spot that still needed some pizazz.

“She got stopped by some ‘fans’ on the way here.” Elias laughs and makes for a seat at the counter.

There are a few more people here than usual, a group of boys order a whole cake to share for no specific reason and two girls study together in the corner of the cafe, munching on a variety of Misha’s desserts.

Honey took one picture at Reverie Tea and posted it to her Sinstagram, Misha thinks it’s her way of thanking him or maybe she thinks this is payment. Whatever the case, it does bring in business and he should be a little appreciative.

Elias falls into his chair a little too hard since his knees give out halfway.

Misha frowns.

“I can get Gray during my break, you don’t have to walk all the way here.”

“I can walk by myself!” Gray says, taking their usual spot by the cake display, dressed in a simple pink ruffle-y shirt with black shorts. And of course many hair clips.

Misha gives a sarcastic laugh, “No, not happening.”

Elias takes the glass of water Misha offers, waving a hand in front of his face.

“I’m fine! Gives me a reason to not accept anyone’s after school plans and I get to hang out with Gray everyday!”

Gray beams.

Elias always knew what to say to make them both feel better.

Elias always knew what to say, period. Even back then, when he spent days in the hospital, legs wrapped in casts with metal pins sticking out the sides while Misha apologized over and over again, Elias knew what to say.

How could anyone know what to say in that situation?

It’s not your fault.

He would repeat, ‘It’s not your fault’ again and again until Misha finally believed it really wasn’t.

Misha feels for the dragonfly hair clip.

Elias used to be on top of the world, like a real king, not the kind you find in a dirt filled warehouse covered in blood and grit. 

Misha really didn’t know at the time how much he could ruin someone else’s life.

“Honey can walk me!”

Misha blinks a couple of times, regaining his focus on the batter he had been mixing. Macarons. He focuses on making macarons.

Then his brain catches up.

He gives Gray an incredulous look.

Yeah right, like Honey would do anything that didn’t somehow benefit her and her popularity. She probably only walked with Elias for the attention the two of them got together.


Elias raises his eyebrows and slaps his knees as if remembering something important. Misha likes it when he does this, it’s a bit too exaggerated (and too much like an old man) for a red-haired prince.

“I did get some information on The Knight, these new Rankers are really eccentric compared to two-“

There’s a loud crash outside Reverie Tea.

Misha deftly jumps over the counter to pull Gray away from the window. The store’s customers drop what they’re doing to rush towards the front of the cafe.

Probably another one of the Midnight Fight altercations that always seemed to cause a path of destruction. Misha heaves an exasperated sigh.

Reverie Tea can’t afford another repair.

Then he sees a flash of gold hair and a pink cardigan.

And Honey’s voice rings clear through the glass.

“Get your pig hooves off my bag you swine!”

Another crash and frantic shuffling of feet outside the cafe.

“Honey!” Gray shouts, holding onto Misha’s arm.

Misha knows Honey’s the last person to need help when it comes to a physical fight, especially when any aid he might offer would probably get caught up in her violent fury. Still, he bursts out the front doors to get a better angle on what exactly she had gotten herself into.

It’s quite the spectacle.

About six teenage boys, who look like some unfinished background characters in a video game, surround her like they’re trying to corner a rampaging bull.

Unfortunately, they’re facing Honey, which is much worse.

She grabs one by the lapel of his jacket and throws him away from Reverie Tea. Far enough that he smacks into one of the other boys. They both end up on the pink tiled pavement.

She exhales quickly, smoothing out her already torn-up skirt.

Absolutely pissed.

“Give me your Rook and this’ll be over girlie!”

He and his posse don’t even bat an eyelash at the potted plants they’ve overturned and one shop’s window that looks freshly shattered.

Misha doesn’t want to find out how much of that might’ve been Honey.

She tosses curl over her shoulder.

“You lost to me in the morning, how braindead do you have to be to think you’ll win against me now?”

Some of the boys seem to back off.

Misha takes a step towards her, hoping to deescalate the situation before more businesses suffer the consequences. 

He doesn't get a word out. 

She shoves her bag and a little packaged envelope towards Misha, who takes it reluctantly. He doesn’t want her to fight, but if she left it here, they’d harass her for days to come.

Amidst her fury, there’s a sparkle of enjoyment. 

“The envelope’s for Gray. Now don’t interfere.”

Honey skates off.

“Has she been fighting since this morning?” Elias had frantically gotten up from his seat to see the ruckus she makes exceedingly worse. Holding Misha’s shoulder for support.

“Seems like it.”

“Are those bad guys trying to take something away from Honey?”

Gray seems about ready to join the fight themself.

Honey’s skates find their way into someone’s stomach and the boy goes down so hard it knocks him out cold. She whips around and elbows another teenager in the nose. Blood spurts out his nostrils as he hits the ground.

Unconcerned for her victims, Honey mourns the red stain on her white shirt, not that it wasn’t already covered in dirt and other specks of blood.

Like she’s come right out of a cheesy apocalypse movie. Although her stereotype would usually be the one to die first, in this case, Honey has become the whole damn apocalypse.  Ready to probably give these poor high schoolers PTSD.

Then there’s a whistle.

Almost like a coach calling off the end of a match.

But it isn’t a coach. It’s the police.

A small force of them all running towards the scene while a crowd of onlookers watch curiously.

Two groups collide, high schoolers that might need a lesson or two in humility and a wall of navy blue with belts that have an excessive array of compartments and pockets. They roughly pry Honey off a student she just flipped on his back.

The uniformed men take hold of each battered teen, forcing some to the ground with their hands behind their heads or if they tried to resist, laying face first into the pavement with a knee on their spine, holding them down.

Honey is one of those with her cheek against the tile. Not violently resisting, but watching each officer with a vicious glare.

“Break it up! You’re all under arrest for destroying public property.”

“Wait, you-“ Misha tries, still holding Honey’s bag.

“Sir, please stay back,” The officer looks Misha up and down, “unless you're a part of this little brawl?”

Of course, an officer would say that.

Misha had been blessed with his parents’ sharp eyes after all.

“I acted on my own.” Honey spits under the policeman’s grip, she looks like she’s doing her best not to scrape her face or get so much as a blemish on her skin’s surface.

The officer tells her to be quiet.

Then Misha, Elias, and Gray watch Honey be taken into the back of a police car before they drive around the corner and disappear for sight completely.

They stand aimlessly outside of Reverie Tea.

None of them have any words for what just happened. 

Joe Gold