Chapter 3: Best Friends with Weirdos Part I
“Yo guys over here!”
“Lexi… Why did you pick this spot?”
“Why not? The breeze is great.”
“Yeah… I think that’s because of the open window.” Baron said, pointing out the obvious problem with where they were sitting.
Squad S and Tuvira sat at a long lunch table within the school’s café. Since they were late, most of the students had already taken all of the good spots leaving the window seat vacant. The tall window that was shattered and sectioned off by caution tape and signs. Signs that Alexis wasn’t too bothered with as she was already on her 3rd serving of the café’s buffet, determined to make up for lost time.
“Huh, how did that happen?” Alexis asked as she slurped her noodles.
“You know, I was wondering the same thing. How did that happen?” Ash pointed his fork at Lissandra, who sat across from him. “Hey Princesss, you wouldn’t have any idea how there could be a broken window in the café on the second day of school?”
“Why wonder when we know it’s your fault,” Lissandra said as she typed out a message onto her PDA reminding her of the broken window she needed to ask maintenance to fix in her name.
“My fault? How was that my fault? You threw me!”
“Tsk. Tsk. Tsk.” Tuvira waved her finger as she picked through her rice using chopsticks. “Lizzie and her temper tantrums never cease to amaze me.”
“Why the hell are you here? This is Squad S’s table. Go with your own team already.” Lissandra waved her hand in a shoo motion at Tuvira, who sat to the left of Ash.
“You’re such a clownfish. You don’t own the tables, so I can sit wherever I want.” Tuvira said as she grabbed hold of Ash’s arm, convincing his male brain to agree.
“Yeah, I’m fine with her sitting here.”
“They do have a point, princess—I mean Lissandra,” Scott said on the right of Ash.
Lissandra’s eyes narrowed. “Whose side are you on Scott?”
“No one’s. I just want us to enjoy our lunch in peace. Together. Like friends.”
“Pffffahahaha!” Alexis roared in laughter. “Scott, you’re funny.”
“Wh-what’s so weird about us being friends?” Scott said as his face turned red.
“I don’t think it’s weird,” Ash said, roughing up Scott’s hair which made him even more flustered. “If anything, they’re the weirdos for thinking otherwise.”
“I’m surprised you can still say that after Mr. Fireheart’s lecture. It shows how foolish you are, Human.”
Ash wanted to say something, anything, but every time Lissandra looked at him after she said the word Human, he couldn’t bring himself to utter a word. The most he could do was avoid her gaze and turn to Tuvira, who felt his change of heart even through his body’s darkness. Tuvira sighed as she told her prince the truth, hoping that the pup would grow a bit.
“For once, Lizzie has a point. Friendship requires equal footing. None of us here are on the same level. A Princess of Fire. A Hostage. A Faceless. A Low Noble. A Servant. And a Human. It’s already a miracle those four get along as it is, but to have the belief that we can be friends. That’s nothing but a fairytale.”
Tuvira stood up with a succinct smile holding her plate in hand. Though she was small, her words struck a chord with each of them as Squad S looked upon one another, not really sure what to say. What could any of them say since it was the truth? Yet there was a way to overcome that problem.
“Though you could always pretend you’re friends and just forget your roles.” Tuvira turned around and walked off. “But I can tell with one glance you all suck at playing pretend.”
After that, Tuvira didn’t come back to the table, leaving Squad S to think about what she said. And well, Ash was the first to speak.
“A faceless?” Ash looked over to Alexis, who groaned.
“Do I really have to tell you?”
“You don’t have to, but the first step to being friends is being able to open up to one another.”
“Go bite yourself, Human,” Lissandra said with a growl as the table became noticeably warmer. “We just met yesterday, and now you suddenly want us to open our hearts to you? This is why I can’t stand you creatures. No consideration whatsoever. It’s all about yourselves.”
Ash scratched his head. “You know that’s not what I meant. I won’t pry if she doesn’t want to talk about it—”
“But that’s not the point! Even if you are ignorant about the ways of the upper class. It should be obvious that some things you just don’t ask. Period.”
“Liz, it’s fine." Alexis held onto Lissandra's shoulder. "I’m not that mad about it. He was bound to ask anyway. I mean, what kind of weirdo hides her face, especially a girl.”
Alexis laughed, but without her usual liveliness, was that really a laugh? “Probably looks like I’m up to no good, huh.”
Ash didn’t want to say it, but yeah, Alexis practically looked as if she was there to assassinate them. As he could barely see any of her actual facial features, mainly just her teeth and blond strands of hair that stuck out from under her hood. On TV, he had seen people who always wore hoods, hiding their faces no matter the circumstance from time to time—usually with the Queen—but Ash just assumed they were royal guards. Yet after seeing Alexis and Taniss do that, he wasn’t too sure.
“But you are up to no good,” Baron said, cracking a smile.
“I am not, and you know it.” Alexis could barely contain her laughter as everyone at the table knew that was a lie.
“Really, but what about that time you stink bombed the castle?” Scott pointed out.
“I was testing out my flames. How was I supposed to know wyvernshit could explode.”
“Why were you burning wyvernshit?” Ash asked, joining in on the conversation.
“I thought it would be faster to clean.”
Lissandra facepalmed. “Oh, Lexi.”
And like that, the tension in the air was gone as they laughed about Alexis’s shenanigans. She was indeed a troublemaker regardless of the fact she wore a hood, but because that was the first time they had all laughed together. Ash felt like they could be friends, all of them even with their different backgrounds. Enough that he didn’t try to bring the topic back to his question. Instead, when there were about 20 minutes left for their break, he decided to leave.
“Hey Scott my PDA is in here, right?” Ash said, opening his bag that Scott had brought from their room before class.
“Yeah. How come?” Scott asked, tossing away the group’s trash with Ash. “Are you trying to find out our next period? If so, it’s our three-hour combat training with Ms. Sparkfang.”
“Wait, that just opened up a whole can of questions, but that’s not why I needed it. I’ll meet up with you guys once class starts.”
“Alright Ash… Try not to get hurt, and if anything, ping us.”
“I get jumped one time, and suddenly, I have to worry about getting hurt on campus.”
“I-I didn’t mean it like that—”
Ash laughed. “I know. You’re just being yourself. Never change Scott.”
With a fist bump to his friend, Ash rolled off on his longboard, kind of freaking out a few people as they were still inside of the café, but for once, Ash was in control. Swerving past bystanders and through the automated double doors leaving Scott to go back with Squad S alone.
Tuvira sat on the rooftop railing of the Education building as she had Psychology coming up in 10 minutes. It was going to be a boring hour spent learning things she already knew from experience. Honestly, skipping was an option but doing nothing would be an even greater waste of time. She wished that someone entertaining like Lizzie or Ash was on her squad since at least she could phish for a reaction. Sadly she was stuck with four nobodies whose names weren’t even worth remembering.
Then with a sigh, Tuvira’s ears twitched as the rooftop door closed. “You shouldn’t be up here.”
“Then why are you, Little Sis,” Ash said, placing his longboard down and leaning his back against the rail beside her. “Also, next time, can you be somewhere without a lot of stairs? My board is supposed to carry me, not the other way around.”
Tuvira didn’t look at him as she simply continued to kick her legs back and forth on rails as if she was on some highchair. “I told you not to call me that, my prince. And how did you even find me?”
“Tuvira Moonstar right?” Ash waved his PDA, which had her location on it. “Turns out these little things are pretty useful. If only I could contact those outside the school, it would be perfect.”
“So what Mr. Fireheart said was true.”
“About my parents being on the news?”
Tuvira nodded, which made Ash sigh.
“Yup. Our teacher's eyes are even better than mine.”
“I’m sure everyone has better eyes than yours, my prince.”
“If that’s true, you really must not have friends.”
Tuvira finally looked at Ash with a light chuckle and tiny smile, but his amethyst eyes saw through it all. They had barely known each other for a day, but Ash was particularly good at noticing small details. It came with having to fix things all the time. Not to mention he had always felt off around Tuvira, but now he felt closer to the truth.
“Oh wow, that’s a nice look for a pup.” Tuvira’s smile grew as her teeth sharpened. “But need I remind you that I’m a Princess of Water. While you’re a Halfbreed.”
“Ouch. I thought I was a prince.” Ash laughed, only for his entire body to grow stiff, unable to move.
“I thought you were, but you're just another blobfish. Wishful thinking at best. Only because you were a delicacy. Now, why are you here? Give me the wrong answer, and I’ll run you off the roof.”
Tuvira flicked her hand forward, and Ash stepped over the rails where all it would take is a push, and he’d plummet from the 5 stories to his death. With that, Tuvira released the hold over his mouth to let him speak.
“It’s official all Dragonoid women are crazy.”
“I’m not crazy. You’re crazy.”
“You just threatened to kill me when I came to check up on you. I thought my mother was just special, but—”
“Do you understand the situation you’re in? I could literally kill you with no repercussions at all, and you’re making fun of me. Do all Humans have their sponges dried up?”
“Is sponge supposed to be my brain?”
In that moment, Ash ran forward against his will, jumping off the building. It was an approximate 95-foot drop towards the ground, and not even a Dragonoid would survive without major injuries. As a Human, Ash would die for sure unless he grew wings; sadly, that wasn’t a gift he was given. The only thing he had was a stalwart acceptance of death, something he grew up with. Always acknowledging that he was at the bottom of the food chain. The awareness that he was just a flame that could be snuffed out at any time was something he was born with. Mr. Fireheart didn’t need to tell him, nor did his parents need to show him.
Damn it, do the Dragons even turn Humans into stars? Ash thought as the roaring wind and rain filled his ears. Rain? Wasn’t it sunny a moment ago? Maybe I am crazy.
Ash chuckled, but he hadn’t lost his mind completely. It was raining, actually storming with dark clouds of thunder and lightning. Forcing students indoors even faster as classes had already started, so no one saw the silver glint of light that blitzed across the sky and took hold of their fellow student.
And when Ash opened his eyes, he was surprised to see what he could only describe as an armored lizard monster. It stood hunched over on two legs encased in a steel-like shell from head to toe. Armed with sharp claws the size of his body on one hand and on the other was a tumor of metal grown from its arm resembling a shield. With a flick of its armored tail, it tossed Ash his things. Then its steel-plated mouth moved, grinding against its metal gears as it revealed rows of salivating teeth.
“Are you scared…. My prince…”
“Good…” Was all it said before it disappeared in a flash of lightning.
Ash knew that was Tuvira, but history books never covered anything looking like that. And as much as he wanted to think more on it, his pocket was rumbling from his squad pinging his PDA. Checking the time while hoping that waterproof included light storms, Ash quickly got on his board with his bag in hand and hurried to class. He laughed to himself as he realized why her name was Moonstar.
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