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Return to Royalty: A Gexalatian Tale Series Book One
Published in United States
Fiction - Fantasy, Young Adult

Print: 978-0-9984620-0-4
ePub: 978-0-9984620-1-1

Date of Publication: 10 Mar 2017
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Return to Royalty: A Gexalatian Tale Series Book One

E. Paige Burks

Published by Infinity Flower Publishing, LLC

Find out more about E. Paige Burks: Author's website | Facebook | Twitter | Blog | Book Trailer

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Synopsis

Nyx Estrella is a princess from Gexalatia, a world on the other side of a portal. Unfortunately, she has no idea. Sent to Lucky, Texas, when she was a baby to protect her from the evil King Paraximus, her biggest concerns are grades and seeing her friends. She has no idea that she possesses magical abilities and that her reality is about to become really strange.

Jet Lamia is a war prisoner, sent from Gexalatia by the queen, Liana Estrella, to bring Nyx back home to the kingdom of Ymber. The portal only opens on the winter solstice, so Jet finds himself trapped on Earth, trying to blend in. Fortunately, he has help in the form of the queen’s chosen assistant, Seth Alvar. But playing well with others has never been one of Jet’s talents.

It is a race against the clock to tell Nyx her true identity and try to train her, while also keeping her alive. Nyx and Jet struggle to defeat the assassins sent to kill them both, while trying not to kill each other. Can this duo put their differences aside and return to Gexalatia?

Prologue

Copyright © 2017 by E. Paige Burks. All Rights Reserved.



 



 



Prologue



 



100 years ago, the Plains of Aduro.



 



Everything was chaos.



All along the valley below the sound of swords and yelling filled the air. Fading beams of sunlight were cast about, setting the cerulean blades of grass ablaze. Blood was soaking into the ground, turning it muddy and ugly. Men and beasts clashed; this would be the last great battle for Gexalatia.



Hairy dog-like monsters used clawed hands to tear into the men that charged down the hill and into the valley. Archers stood at the edge of a cliff, firing into the fray. The monsters, atrox as they were known, fell dead, their hair matted with the gore of those they had slain. The plainsmen of Aduro, the Caelin, sat astride their bird-mounts. The sound of a battle drum sent the raperes charging, their riders shouting as they cut down the atrox and any who bore the crest of Siccita.



Mages stood just beyond the raperes and their riders, weaving spells meant to destroy the atrox. Blasts of Auresi and Acerbi magic charged the air, making it sizzle with the energy they summoned. It did little to deter the hell-spawn as they clambered from fissures which had opened along the plains.



Liana knew that time was drawing short for them. Her army was vastly outnumbered, overwhelmed by the atrox. She knew that soon, if the Siccitan army was not stopped, her dead would begin to rise, turning to cariosus as they were imbued by dark magic. There would be no hope for victory if she allowed that to happen. Cariosus had no sense of sides; they would kill and devour whoever stood in their path. Desperation was rising in her chest as she turned her eyes toward the far side of the valley, where a black dragon was hanging in the air, flapping massive wings. Her desperation turned to fear as she watched a man drop from the dragon’s back into the midst of the fight.



Liana knew she had to cut off the evil at its source, and that source was King Paraximus’ most renowned and feared general, Jet Lamia. It was by his hands that the atrox clawed their way out of the earth, and it was through his doing that darkness had fallen over the country of Ymber. Peace would be a distant dream until he was cut down.



Gexalatia had seen war for too many centuries now. It was becoming commonplace, something Liana lamented over. Too many good and noble men met untimely deaths; too many sons and daughters came into a dangerous world. But today would be the last day. Liana would make sure of that. She would meet her own death this day, or she would finally stop Jet. There were no other options.



*****



The battle that raged around him was nothing as Jet walked among the pandemonium. Beside him, an atrox roared, ripping into an enemy soldier. Jet watched the beast maul the soldier, tearing chunks of flesh from his body. This battle was no different than all the ones before. The atrox paid him no mind as they ran about him like wild dogs, clearing a path for their leader. It made a dark smirk come to his lips.



The horror of war was nothing to him. He’d stood among scenes such as this countless times, enjoying the dying screams of his victims. He craved the taste of his enemies’ blood, but today was special. Today he would have the one life he truly desired.



He turned his dark eyes, looking toward the top of the hill to where three mounts stood. Two soldiers in the green and white of Liana’s banners sat astride raperes, which pranced to either side of a thick black warhorse. A small rider sat easily on the horse’s back, a hooded cloak pulled low. Jet knew instantly it was her, and satisfaction filled him. This was the moment he’d spent his entire life preparing for.



It was easy enough for him to make his way to her. He met no resistance, her soldiers like paper as he used his hands to tear into them. Jet had always been one for close-quarter combat, using his own brute strength to stop his enemies. He enjoyed the fear that streaked through their eyes, and the scent of their blood on his hands. Even the Caelin were no match for him, their bird-mounts unable to pierce him with their razor beaks.



A Caelin warrior charged at him, swinging a heavy war hammer from his mount’s back. Jet threw up his hand, a silver shield forming to block the man’s attempted blow easily. He used his free hand to send a blast of searing magic at the rapere, which it managed to dodge with a flap of stubby wings. The blast glinted off the rapere’s armor, the chalargentum repelling Jet’s magic. Unfortunately, the beast’s fluttering unseated its rider, causing him to fall to the muddy ground.



Jet watched the rider scramble to his feet as he released the magic that formed the shield. Sadistic humor shot through him as the warrior leapt to his feet, the rapere feathers in his braids catching the wind. He lifted his war hammer, bellowing a battle cry. Jet smirked as the warrior brought down his hammer and he ducked under it easily, dealing a blow to the warrior’s forward arm. He bared his fangs in a delighted grin as horror flashed across the warrior’s face, the bones in his arm jutting against his skin. In desperation, the warrior used his good arm to draw a short blade at his belt, but it was too late. Jet caught the blade of the sword, enjoying the feeling of it biting into his palm.



Jet let his eyes shift over the warrior’s face, seeing that the colorful oils he’d used to paint his skin with were smudged, smeared with blood. He always wondered, just before the killing blow, what was going through his victims’ minds. He liked to imagine their fears and their regrets and what he looked like through their eyes. With an easy motion, he drove his hand into the man’s chest, feeling bone and flesh parting around his fingers. The Caelin man’s beating heart was racing as Jet wrapped his fingers around it, squeezing it and twisting as he withdrew his hand. It continued to twitch for a long second as Jet held it, watching the man collapse.



Jet shifted his eyes to the hill then, grinning maliciously as the hooded rider urged her horse forward. Her warhorse was strong as it leapt through the battle, racing toward him. The wind caught at her hood, pulling it from her face as she let the cloak fall away from her shoulders, drawing swords from sheaths on her back. She cut down a foot soldier that meant to stop her, her eyes fixed on her target.



Time seemed to stand still as her horse neared Jet and he tossed the chunk of flesh in his hand away. In an easy motion, he waved his hands, forming a Geminaci blade in each one. He twirled the double-ended, hooked blades easily, sparks of Acerbi magic slinging from them like water. He drove them into the body of the horse as it reached him, watching it crash heavily to the ground, its leg severed from its body. He scowled as he realized that she had leapt away, landing a few feet from him.



Her armor was black, her lavender hair braided into plates down her back. A helmet sat on her head, leaving her eyes bared. Her lilac gaze was calm as she held her curved scimitars, which Jet could see were etched with a Priorae prayer of vengeance.



“Here we are at last,” Jet said darkly. He lifted his weapons, ready for her next attack.



Liana said nothing as she gazed at him. Her calm was deceptive; inside, her heart was racing, fear and rage pulsing through her. Jet had certainly done a good job of drawing her out. He’d slaughtered her men and her subjects, driving a knife into the heart of the kingdom of Ymber, just to lure her here to Aduro. He’d destroyed everything he touched, and she was certain that was his plan.



“No words?” he asked, smirking lightly.



Liana noticed that blood was splattered across his face. He didn’t wear any armor, only black leather and the bright red mantle of Siccita, which was stained with the blood of her people. His dark hair fell across his eyes, strands pulling from the braid down his back, and his hands were dripping with the blood of his most recent victim. He bared razor fangs in his smile, and she knew she had to stop him here.



Her aura brushed strongly against his as she watched him, darkness pulling her into it. She’d heard stories about the monstrosity that he carried with him, but she’d never seen it firsthand. Even now, she could feel it twisting just underneath the darkness, something more sinister than Jet’s own brand of evil.



“What shall I say to the likes of you?” she asked finally, pulling the helmet from her face. Despite being his enemy, Jet could see the beauty that had once lured his father into her clutches.



He tilted his head, something disturbing crossing his eyes. “I’ve been waiting for you.” He seemed genuinely pleased with himself. “I’ve prepared something. Just for you.”



Liana gritted her teeth. She braced as her eyes followed his swift movements, blocking the crushing blow of his Geminaci against her swords. In an easy motion, she twirled her body, swinging both of her blades. She watched as one managed to catch him, slicing into the thick leather doublet that covered his chest.



His black eyes darkened as he touched his sliced flesh, looking at the blood on his fingers. His lips quirked tauntingly. “Do you want the beast to come forward so soon?”



Liana drew a steeling breath. “I have yet to see what you really are,” she said, a bitter edge to her voice. “Would you hide your true nature from me?” She arched a delicate brow. “I thought you’ve been preparing for me.”



Her words were enough. Haughtiness crossed his face as he stepped toward her. He twirled the Geminaci, as if he was baiting her, but her plan was already in motion. Liana could feel a presence closing in behind her. She offered Jet a grin, lowering her swords. Realization crossed Jet’s face too late as a massive cat lunged from behind her.



In an instant, the huge black monster was on him, her tail whipping fiercely as she dug her talons into his body. They tumbled to the bloody ground, tussling for a moment, a blur of black and red. Liana remained still, watching the exchange. Her heart caught when Jet inflicted a painful wound, causing the cat to fall to the ground. Bakene struggled for a moment to regain her feet, baring massive fangs, a low growl shaking the air.



When Jet moved to his feet, he was bleeding profusely, a bite gouging into his shoulder. He was returning her snarl with equal fervor, having released the Geminaci to press his hand over his wound. He was furious as he stared at her. Liana had tricked him.



The black cat snarled loudly at him, crouching low to the ground. She looked like she was preparing for another strike, but she was forced to brace when Jet lunged at her, digging his claws into her neck. Bakene was strong, twisting and writhing against his grip, but his fury lent him strength, allowing him to hold her down. A strangled yowl left her lips, just as another hairy body leapt toward them.



Dexter, a hulking black wolf, lunged at Jet, driving him from Bakene, allowing a red-haired girl to slide from his shoulder. Sinister, a white wolf and Dexter’s mate, was hot on his heels as he pursued Jet, her powerful jowls snapping.



Behind them a tall woman swung a large battle axe, dispatching an oncoming atrox with a single blow. She grinned as she reached Liana. “Sorry to be late,” she said, her northern accent thick. “Atrox are a pain in the ass!” Her sandy hair was bound with a leather tie, her face painted in customary Aife war paint.



Liana frowned at the warrior-woman. “This is no time for jokes, Ungyo,” she said softly. “Bring him down.” A grimace was on her face as she watched the wolves encircle Jet. He was snarling darkly at them, but his eyes were fixed on her. The monster was stirring once more in his aura, this time pressing to be released.



Ungyo nodded and her smile vanished at the shift in his aura. She lumbered into the fight behind the wolves, preventing any of the atrox from coming to their leader’s rescue. The red-haired girl, Otsana, was kneeling beside Bakene, using a healing spell to seal her wounds.



Frustration was seeping into her as Liana realized the most important member of her team was missing, but then she felt him slowly materialize beside her.  She turned quickly, surprised when he lifted a hand, striking down an atrox with a golden blast.  He smirked at her, smug laughter in his eyes. “You should be more careful.”



“You’re late,” she snapped, watching Kumiho. He was dressed in plain clothes, brown and unassuming, obviously intending to be long gone after the fight was over. He never did anything by anyone’s timeline except his own, and he never stepped into battle on anyone’s behalf. It’d been a miracle that he had agreed at all.



He offered a sly, foxy grin. “I needed you to seal the illusion,” he said. He turned his head, nine golden braids falling over his shoulders. “It will be to our advantage.” He lifted his fingers, his golden eyes becoming bright as he touched the bloody edge of Liana’s sword.



Liana held her breath as magic suddenly pulsed over the battlefield, freezing the chaos. Men and atrox, mages and raperes were suddenly stilled where they stood, poised in whatever action they had been performing. Jet blinked, confused as he realized the wolves were also frozen, silence filling the air. He clenched his fists, baring a snarl, feeling his own body unable to move. What kind of trick was this?



He drew a sharp breath as the ground suddenly opened under his feet, plunging him into darkness. He summoned his blades as movement returned to him, ready to kill the next person he saw, but the sound of a harp stilled his hand, making his heart lurch in his chest.



“Wake up, Sleepy-head,” a sweet voice said, calling him from the darkness.



Jet blinked, light pressing against his eyes. His confusion was worse as he realized he was lying in a bed, one that he was familiar with. He sat up quickly, pressing his hand against his face. Had he dreamed the battle?



“Hello, Sleepy-head.”



Jet turned, seeing a blue-haired woman sitting near balcony doors. She was looking at him from where she sat in front of her harp, her hands poised over the strings. Her pale cheeks were flushed slightly and she smiled softly, shaking her head.



“I didn’t think you were ever going to wake up,” she said, playing a beautiful melody as her fingers tickled the strings.



Jet moved slowly to stand, his feet bare on the cobbled floor. “You never play when I’m here,” he said softly, watching as she closed her eyes, long eyelashes kissing the top of her cheeks as the music moved through her and into the harp.



“I felt like maybe I should today,” she said, smiling coyly as she glanced at him.



Jet felt his heart soften at the way she gazed at him. “Savra,” he said, brushing his fingers across her cheek.



She let her hands fall from the strings, pressing one over his. “I have something for you,” she said then, standing slowly. The thin silk of her nightgown flowed over her legs as she walked toward a bureau, her navy hair falling thickly down her back.



“What is it?” Jet asked, watching her open a box.



“A good luck charm,” she said, turning back to him. She was smiling warmly. “Close your eyes.”



Jet sighed. “You know I hate these games.”



She laughed, the sound caressing Jet’s ears. “Just do it.”



Jet sighed again, but did as she instructed. He felt her cool fingers grasp his, lifting his hand, sliding cold metal over his ring finger.



“Open,” she said.



Jet blinked, looking down at his hand. He frowned, looking back to her. “What is this?” he asked, lifting the gold band.



“A promise,” she said, stepping toward him. She reached up, pressing her hand against his face.



Jet lifted his hand, reaching for hers, surprised when he suddenly felt talons against his face. He blinked quickly, feeling lightheaded. “Savra…” He staggered backwards, feeling the beast in his chest suddenly twisting, much as it would if he was dying. “What…”



Her face began to melt away, becoming furry and ugly. She snarled, falling to the floor on all fours. “You’re so stupid,” Bakene growled, baring a fangy grin.



Jet’s knees buckled and he collapsed to the ground, shaking his head as the fog from the dream began to clear. Once again, the fury of battle filled the air, blood on his hands as he clutched at the cerulean grass. He realized his mind was slow. This had all been a trap.



Rage filled him as he looked up, despite the breathless feeling that was choking him. Something was binding him, magic wrapping tightly around his body and his aura. He could see Liana’s team standing around him, the wolves growling as Otsana pointed the tip of her sword at his neck.



“It’s over, Jet.”





Chapter One

[1]



The Limen, Somewhere near Lucky, Texas.



Morning of Tuesday, December 21, 2010.



 



The wind was beginning to pick up, whipping fiercely around a lone figure. A swirling doorway was beginning to open before him, lighting the dark with bright light. He wrinkled his nose against the scent of the world on the opposite side of the doorway. He knew the light was from the sun on the other side.



Liana had warned him that this place was different. It was unlike anything he had ever seen before and it would take every ounce of his cunning and strength to do what she had tasked him with doing. The thought made him roll his eyes.



After all these years in the dungeon, he didn’t feel any different.



Jet drew a steadying breath, pulling the bag on his shoulders tighter.



It was time.



The pushing and sucking of the Limen was cold against his skin. It made him feel like he was covered in goop when the Limen unceremoniously dumped him from inside of it. The air was hot suddenly, much warmer than the frozen winter he’d left behind. Foreign, putrid smells hit his nose instantly, and he fought the urge to cover his face. Golden rays of light were streaming down through the branches of the trees around him.



Jet lifted a hand to shield his eyes, scowling darkly.



Earth was nothing like Gexalatia.



Instead of faded hues of cerulean, the trees were an obnoxious shade of green or brown. The leaf litter around him was dead and brown, and the scent of pine trees was strong as it filled his nose. He could feel his scowl deepening as he took a moment to gather himself. He wasn’t surprised when he turned, catching sight of a figure beside him.



“Who are you?” the man demanded, pulling a knife from his belt.



Jet arched a brow at his weapon, unfazed. He stepped toward the man, reaching in his bag to withdraw a palm-sized stone. “From Liana,” he said shortly.



The man frowned, clearly surprised. He slowly lowered the knife. Jet let the stone drop heavily into his hand, watching a rune begin to glow brightly.



The man was surprised as light flashed around them, the trees turning into limestone pillars. He blinked as the grass gave way to a velvet carpet, a throne room springing to life around them.



Jet had always admired this type of glamor. It was sophisticated and difficult to master. He stood silently, crossing his arms as the man before him fell to his knees. A woman appeared before them, her violet eyes softening. Lavender hair fell around her shoulders and past her waist, her gown rustling as she took a step forward. A simple golden tiara sat in her hair.



“My dear Seth,” she said, smiling gently at him. “It has been too long.”



“My Queen,” Seth said, keeping his head bowed. “It is quite a surprise to be graced with your presence.”



“I apologize for this message coming to you in such an unusual way, but there is much to be said, and not enough time to say it,” she said, folding her hands in front of her.



Seth looked up then, moving to stand. “Is everything all right?”



She shook her head, her lavender eyes filling with sadness. “We are running out of time,” she said softly. “Paraximus’ forces are pushing at our borders, leaving me with little choice.” She turned to look at Jet. “I intended to save this for when the time is right, but I fear it will never be. We must act now. That is why I have sent Jet to you.”



Seth turned his eyes on Jet, surprise on his face. “You are him?” he asked. “King Paraximus’ general? They once called you the Black Terror.” Seth looked down, a sign of respect. “It is said the battlefields ran red with the rivers of blood when you walked them.”



Jet rolled his eyes, looking away.



“Jet has promised his allegiance to me,” the queen said, drawing Seth’s attention. “He has sworn his fealty and will do what he must to keep my granddaughter safe.”



Seth shook his head, pleading in his eyes. “I don’t understand, Highness.”



“You do not need to understand Seth,” the queen said pointedly. “I have trained and prepared Jet for this purpose. He knows what to do, and all I require is your compliance and help.”



Seth bowed at the waist, hearing the slight edge to her sweet voice. “Yes, My Queen,” he said.



“Deliver my message to Dorothea,” the queen continued. “Training and preparation is to begin immediately.” She drew a slow breath, uncurling her hands. “I cannot sustain this much longer.” She turned to look at Jet. “Do not forget our agreement.”



Jet nodded. “Of course,” he said blandly.



She turned back to Seth. “Good bye, Seth, my dear,” she said, offering a small smile. “Gods be with you.”



Seth bowed, drawing a slow breath when the glamor fell. The stone in his hand fell still, beginning to crumble with the loss of magic. He looked to Jet, his blue eyes still uncertain.



“Well then,” he said softly. “I am at your disposal, General.”



Jet turned to face him, feeling a deep sigh escape him. “Do not call me that,” he reprimanded. Despite the way the title grated on him, he couldn’t bring himself to be upset with the man. He felt too disoriented in this foreign place.



Seth nodded once, lifting his eyes to Jet. “Apologies,” he said softly. He took a moment to take in the single bag slung across Jet’s shoulders. “May I assist you?”



Jet scowled again. “Just take me to the girl!” he snapped. He’d been here for less than a minute and already he was tired of it.



Seth pressed his lips together, uncertainty filling his gaze. “In due time,” he said hesitantly. “We need to make preparations.” He took in Jet’s customary tunic and pants. “You cannot get along in this world without certain things.”



Jet fought down another sigh, this time feeling frustration welling inside him. “I don’t have much time,” he growled. “There are things to be done if the girl is to survive.”



Seth offered a small smile. “I am aware of that,” he said slowly. “But I know this world.” He angled his head. “And I know that you will never gain the princess’s trust unless you allow me to help you.”



Jet narrowed his eyes at the man. Clearly he wasn’t about to make this easy. Jet had a feeling none of them would, and his frustration began to build once more. This wouldn’t be a quick extraction like he’d planned. Dread filled him at the thought of having to spend a year here, but it only made him clench his jaw harder. “Tell me your name again.”



“Seth.”



Jet shifted his eyes over Seth, taking in his tall frame and curly, brown hair. He was wearing denim jeans and a button-down flannel shirt, looking strange and very different from the clothes Liana’s guard had given him. “And what do you know about this place, Seth?” he asked carefully.



“Many useful things,” Seth said with ease. “I have been here for many years, keeping watch over the princess.” He turned, indicating that Jet should follow. “I will take you to where you will stay and help you get ready.”



Jet scowled, but followed him. He was at a disadvantage, and he knew better than to piss Seth off. He couldn’t make it here without Seth’s knowledge. Liana had spent the time to teach him what he needed to know, but practical knowledge was something he lacked.



The trees gave way shortly to a clearing. It was odd to Jet how the clearing was cut into a perfect circle, clearly unnatural. He felt his feet still when a black object caught his eyes, glistening menacingly in the sunlight. It looked something like an armor-plated beetle, and what should have been its eyes flashed as Seth walked toward it.



“A machine,” Seth said, reading his face. He saw Jet’s surprise deepen when he opened a door. “It’s called a car.”



Jet took a slow step toward it. He realized his heart was racing as he watched Seth. “Car?” he asked. The word was foreign. “Is this a war beast?”



Seth laughed and slipped inside, and the beast suddenly roared to life.



Jet jumped at the sound, feeling his body tense. He watched Seth step out, the beast continuing to rumble as he walked around to the other side. He gave a pull to a lever, causing another door to open.



“Transportation,” Seth said then. He inclined his head. “The mortals here are quite adept at building machines to assist them in their everyday lives.”



Jet arched a brow, walking toward it. He was surprised to see a rather comfortable-looking chair inside. He pulled his bag from around his shoulders, sinking into the car. He tensed when Seth shut the door, feeling caged suddenly. His eyes followed Seth carefully as he walked around to the other door.



Once he was settled, Seth closed his door. “Put on your seatbelt,” he instructed. “I don’t want a ticket.”



Jet frowned, watching as Seth reached over his shoulder to pull a lash across his chest. He did the same, snapping the clip. Anticipation was crawling down his spine. Why did he need to tie himself down? Was this another way to trap him?



“Don’t worry,” Seth said, glancing at him. He reached down to move a lever. It clicked several times. “You’ll like this.”



Jet felt his stomach flip when the car began to move, rolling slowly backwards. He watched as they moved toward a gate, which opened onto a stretch of black. “What is this?” he asked, gripping the door handle when the car bumped onto the pavement.



“A road,” Seth said easily. “The humans here use materials to pave their roads.” He moved the lever up. “It makes driving so easy.”



Jet clenched his jaw when the car began to move forward, eating up the ground with swift speed. It was terribly disconcerting, making his heart race in his chest as the terrain flashed by at an ungodly speed.



“Were you given instruction on how to operate a car?” Seth asked. “Her Majesty said that you were.”



Jet forced himself to relax, nodding once. “She gave me a book,” he said shortly. After she’d taught him to read the language, she’d given him a small manual to study. She’d said it would be helpful, even though the words seemed like a pile of gibberish to him at the time.



“Good,” Seth said. “I’m sure it didn’t make much sense to you, but I’ll show you what you need to know.” He pointed suddenly, the car slowing. “Do you see that sign?”



Jet turned to follow his gesture, seeing a white plaque attached to a pole. He narrowed his eyes. His brain was adjusting quickly, reading the English words. “Speed limit?”



Seth nodded. “That tells you how fast you can drive on this road.”



Jet turned to look at him as if he had five heads.



“This gage tells you how fast you’re traveling,” Seth said, pointing to the speedometer. “The sign says 65, so that is where I put the needle.”



Jet scowled. “You realize that means nothing to me.”



Seth offered a smile. “It will.”



The ride seemed insufferably long. Despite being used to sitting still for long periods of time, Jet was beginning to regret coming here. He reached into his bag after a moment, producing the paper that Liana had given him. It was smooth to the touch and colorful, the colors having been manipulated into a picture. It was of a blonde-haired girl. Liana had explained that it was a photograph and that the humans here possessed machines that produced these. He didn’t understand how that was possible, but he let his eyes drift over her face, memorizing it. If nothing else, she would be the one thing he would know here.



“She is a sweet girl,” Seth said suddenly.



Jet looked at him, narrowing his eyes. He didn’t respond, seeing that Seth clearly was trying to make conversation.



“You’ll like her.”



Jet scowled. “I’m not here to make friends with her,” he snapped. He could feel himself bristling suddenly. “You forget why I came here.”



Seth shrugged then. “I haven’t,” he said easily. “Perhaps I envy you.”



“Why?” Jet asked bitterly.



“I’ve watched her for many years and never been able to speak to her,” Seth said, offering a smile. “You are much more fortunate.”



Jet rolled his eyes. He didn’t have time for Seth’s childish notions of worship. She was nothing but a means to an end.







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