Chapter 11:

The Coliseum 2

The Nonpareil of Resh (Act 1)

"Calm down, Netzian!" The creature flew to the ceiling and hung upside down from the grate. It was just high enough that Gwyn could not reach it even as he jumped in the air. That did not stop him from making several tries before he gave up and sat down on the bench. "Hahahaha," the creature laughed while pressing the tips of its wings to where the hips would be located, "You thought you could best me, but I am far mightier than that!"

"Whatever, it doesn't matter anyway," Gwyn said while crossing his arms and looking away from the creature. The dragon-like creature finally settled down from its laughter. It swiped a wing under its eye as one would with a tear, though there was nothing to wipe away.

"So, what are you doing here anyway. Never thought I'd see a Netzian in the Aqueenian arena," the creature asked.

"I think I'm waiting to die."

"That's a given; I meant, how did you get in Quenth?

"Some portal energy thing."

"Oh, so you are the other worlder! That's amazing!" The creature let go of the grate and fluttered down to the bench. It did not make a graceful landing on the bench, stumbling a little and having to catch itself with its wings, but both the creature and Gwyn decided not to bring it up. "I go by the name Persistent Memory; what name do you go by?"

"Gwyn Black."

"Fascinating! Tell me, what do your parents go by?" Gwyn gave a confused look to the creature that seemed to have an eager expression, despite being some mechanical creation.

"If I'm answering questions, then shouldn't you as well?" The creature nodded to confirm, and Gwyn continued, "James Black and Himari Black. Now tell me...." Gwyn pondered his next question; he had many but probably didn't have enough time to ask them all. He settled with a, "What are you?"

"Ah, I guess you would be confused. Ahem," the creature called Persistent Memory stood up straight and appeared to make a motion as it coughed into its wing. "I am a Needaimus; we are an artificial support created by the Ancient Ones to enhance society!"

"That just gives me even more questions, Mem."

"I suppose it would; I like the nickname, though, well each was created with a different ability meant to aid a partner. When partnered, my ability can do things like change a liquid to solid and back again! No heat required!"

"Why?" Gwyn asked.

"Why, you ask! Just picture the uses! Metal could be switched into a liquid without needing to heat it, reshaped, and turned back into a solid! Making castings becomes safer and easier with an ability like mine!" Mem seemed rather proud of his ability.

"Why are you here and not in a factory then?" Gwyn asked.

The Needaimus tapped the tips of its wings together slowly as it gave the reason.

"Well, I got in a bit of trouble, and I'm sort of on the run, so I don't get melted down," Mem said softly. Gwyn laughed. "Don't laugh at me! You don't seem to be in a great situation either!"

"Sorry, I guess we're both in trouble, huh?" Gwyn said.

"Well, one of us is more in trouble than the other; I can escape through the vents!" With that comment, Mem fluttered back up to the grate and pushed its way through the holes.

"Wait!" Gwyn called out. He had gotten a sudden and likely lousy idea. Mem answered by poking its head out from the vent.

"I can't stay too long; I need to run!"

"If you have some sort of power, maybe you can help me?" Gwyn stood up as he asked. "The king said I'd be a citizen if I won, so maybe I can vouch for you afterward?"

Mem began to laugh so hard it fell out from the grate. This time, Gwyn caught Mem before contact could be made with the ground. The Needaimus was surprisingly light, despite the metal-looking exterior.

"I'd hate to tell you, but when that king offers that, there is no way the fight will be fair," Mem said through laughter. Gwyn set it on the bench and sat down again.

"Perhaps, but if we are both sentenced to die, maybe we can work together to get out of it?"

Mem stopped laughing and shook its head.

"Let me tell you what will likely happen; you're going to go up against some vicious beast you have no chance of beating. Then it will eat you. If I go with you, I will end up eaten as well!"

Gwyn thought to himself. He had thought he would have some gladiator-type opponent, but the chances of winning were slimmer against some animal.

"Well, maybe..." Gwyn started.

"It won't work; why do you want my help anyway?" Mem interrupted.

Gwyn thought to himself for a moment before giving his answer.

"I thought I was doomed, but with some power, I might be able to fight back."

Mem sighed.

"So, you think you would have a chance with my ability?"

"I don't know, but perhaps our meeting today was meant to be!" Gwyn happily said. He wasn't convinced of that himself, but he hoped it was enough to persuade Mem.

"I'd hate to tell you, but I just ended up in the vents by a powerful gust...." They stared at each other for a moment longer; then Mem shook its head. "Fine, if you can find a way to sneak me into the arena, I'll help. Beats being on the run and getting melted down later anyway...." The Needaimus said.

"Sneak you in?"

"I'm not large, but I'm not small either," Mem spread out its wings as if to show Gwyn, "They will not let me enter the arena with you, so you have to hide me somewhere." The task would be difficult, and Mem knew that. It did not plan to accompany Gwyn, and even if the Netzian could find a way to hide it, Mem planned to run at the first sign of trouble.

Gwyn rubbed his chin and looked around the room. His eyes settled on the orange curtains.

"Do you think they care about those curtains?" he asked with a grin. It was a grin that gave Mem a brief second thought. The kind that made the Needaimus want to see where things might go out of morbid curiosity.

"They might, but I want to see what you have in mind," Mem answered. If it could grin, it would have as well.