Grazing the Sky

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 28 (v.1) - Bright Shadow, Part II

Submitted: November 24, 2019

Reads: 50

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Submitted: November 24, 2019

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Lance found himself back in his own body, watching Zidane rise to his feet. Despite the shaking of his legs and the frail hand finding support against the dumpster, he moved quicker than Lance expected. Soon, Zidane stepped forward, out into the wide strip of sunlight created by the roofs of the two buildings, and followed outside of the alley.

Lance stepped out onto the sidewalk. He sensed Zidane standing beside him, focus darting from one passerby to the next in search for red eyes. Then Zidane's focus slipped away, going in the direction the passerby's were moving. Lance followed, stare instantly being directed to one person; his intuition directing him yet again. Lance looked down at the hands that hung at their side, seeing two fingers curling in a quick, familiar motion.

Zidane started towards him, running and weaving through passerbys for barely a second. He halted when that hand stretched out, screaming for him to stop.

The stranger, someone in a jacket with the hood pulled up, halted at a crosswalk. He stood at the end of a small crowd, waiting for the light to turn. His hand caught Lance's attention again, but a crowd of people passing by momentarily blocked his view. Through the cracks and spaces of bodies, Lance could make out the two fingers moving again. A command to calmly, slowly, follow.

Zidane looked around for a moment before matching the pace of those passing by. He walked, his outfit only attracting a few glances and, to Lance's surprise, his tail seeming to attract none. Although the limb couldn't have been more than a couple inches long, the dark brown was a contrast to the blue of his clothing, and despite this difference, Lance could sense no eyes from either direction linger for more than a split second. It was a passing glance, and whether it was his height or the length of his tail, Zidane seemed to be blending in perfectly fine.

Zidane stopped a few steps away from the hooded stranger, far enough away to see the commanding hand slip into the long pocket of his sweatshirt. They stood silently until Lance saw the crosswalk's light change. The crowd moved forward, stepping out into the street while Zidane hesitated, staying put even when the hooded stranger walked forward. After a few moments, reality caught up and Zidane hurried after him. The hand came out instantly, all five fingers splaying out in a dangerously fierce command. Before Zidane could stop completely, the stranger's hand moved again, motioning for him to follow once more as the stranger reached the other side of the crosswalk.

Taking the same pace as before, Zidane caught up soon enough, another hand movement setting him back a few steps away. They passed by stores and small restaurants in silence until Zidane's head moved slightly, looking towards the people passing by. And then he looked up, staring at the person he was following.

"What's your name?"

A slight turn of the head was the only indication his whisper was heard. "Arzo," he replied quietly, looking back. "Don't ask anything else."

Zidane stayed quiet, feet almost stopping as a taxi slowed to a stop beside him. Lance watched as a woman in a dress got out of the back door, sensing the spike of surprise and fear from Zidane.

"They won't hurt you," Arzo said, "unless you give them a reason to try. Don't get in the way of the cars while they're moving."

Zidane stopped, feet nearly tripping over the robe brushing against the ground. He halted for a split second, standing in complete fear.

"Not the people." Arzo's head turned, hood still covering his face. "Humans are the last thing we could possibly worry about! You should know that by now."

"Wait, these are hu—"

Lance barely saw the movement; he only knew the next thing was Arzo crouched down, the four knuckles of his fingers pressed firmly against Zidane's mouth. Lance stopped walking, seeing Arzo's face for the first time and instantly recognizing those red eyes from the alleyway. Their anger had returned, becoming a fierceness that forced Lance to halt where he was.

"Stop. Talking." There was something else accompanying Arzo's voice; another layer of sounds Lance didn't recognize. They came as a slight echo, the utter foreignness sparking the thought that this was their Spiro language.

Arzo turned back, hands moving into the sweatshirt pocket as he continued moving with Zidane trailing after. The scene changed, cars vanishing and the city buildings becoming houses. On the other side of a nearly dead lawn, failing to be protected by a beaten fence, was a particularly broken down two-story home. Arzo and Zidane came into Lance's view, crossing the lawn and heading towards the front door. As Arzo opened it, Lance was transported, standing behind both of them with a clear view of the inside.

The door had barely opened before Arzo's left hand was suddenly in front of Zidane's face. His other hand had reached over to the right side of the crossbreed's chest, and both were holding knives by the blades. Swinging from the momentum, the door opened fully, revealing an entire room full of people with weapons in their hands. No—not people. Spiros, with their tails in full view. Lance stepped back, listening as Arzo spoke.

"He's a mix." A few knives—weapons that Lance didn't even notice had been thrown—dropped, narrowly missing Zidane's feet as the crossbreed stepped back.

The room was silent for a moment and then an older woman spoke up, voice low.

"What do you mean a mix?"

"Smell it for yourself," Arzo replied, moving into the room with Zidane quickly trailing behind. His head was bowed, and from somewhere far away Lance could sense his lungs moving. He was scared, and rightfully so. The brutality of the weapons they were holding alone was enough to make Lance's stomach tighten.

A man stepped out into their path, stopping them from walking. "If that thing's what I think it is, I'll spill its blood right now," he said, holding a long, curved sword inches away from Zidane's face.

Arzo reached up, hand disappearing behind his hood. The cloth was knocked down as he slipped his hair out from underneath his sweatshirt, bringing the long tail in front of one shoulder.

"I think you're forgetting who you're talking to, Meji."

Meji stared for another moment, every sign of defiance gone. And then he stepped away, giving them room to continue on.

Arzo's hair dropped behind him as he moved forward, the full length almost reaching to the middle of his back. Keeping behind, Lance surveyed the room, noting how everyone's hair was long enough to be tied back in even the most minimalist of ponytails. All eyes were on Zidane, the collective heat of their stares making Lance want to drop further away from the crossbreed. But then he noticed the children, some even younger than Zidane, looking up to those around them in question, in curiosity.

Lance slowed as they reached the staircase in the back of the room. He watched Arzo begin ascending it, two words floating back to Zidane.

"Wait here."

Zidane stayed at the base of the stairs, studying the carpet-covered panels. Gradually, the caution faded from his eyes, his focus slipping back towards the center of the room.

A light trail of shock struck Lance as he turned, seeing the thirty or so eyes still staring. The anger had only intensified, pulling back like someone yanking away a ferocious dog. Lance's attention settled on a male Spiro sitting on a crate, hunched over with his chin on the hilt of his sword, hands wrapped near the handle. The blade was long and wide, more of an oversized machete than anything. Its tip was pressed against the floor, twisting against the wood patiently.

Lance felt time speed up. It was an odd sensation, the kind of strange, stiff ache that occurs after waiting in one spot for a long time and finally moving. He turned, looking up the staircase in time to see Arzo appear at its top.

It was barely more than a few seconds, but in the time it took for Arzo to crouch down and his hand to raise, motioning for Zidane to follow, Lance realized the Spiro's age. No more than nineteen, he was younger than Lance had expected. Only a few years away from his own age. This feeling was carried with the transition to another room, one entirely devoid of furniture.

Lance walked behind Arzo and Zidane as they moved through the doorway, noting there was someone on the room's opposite side. His attention slipped away from seeing who it was as he sensed Zidane slowing down, fear hindering him like quicksand. Arzo pushed him forward with one hand, the motion light enough for him to stumble without falling over. The crossbreed stopped upon catching his balance, halting where he was. Lance followed his stare.

Jykunn. The name sped into his mind at first sight; a flash of familiarity despite the fact Lance had never seen him before. He sat on the opposite side of the room, incredibly long black hair pooling out onto the floor beneath him. One strip of grey interrupted this monsoon of black, the stroke beginning at his hairline. Despite this, Lance averaged that he couldn't have been any older than his mid-thirties.

He sensed there was a coolness about this man; a calm, underlying sense of authority that rolled through the air like a morning fog. It was this observation that made him take note of his face, the way his eyebrows and mouth pulled downward ever so slightly.

"Its smell is a problem."

Arzo remained quiet, eyes never raising from their spot near Jykunn's feet. Lance watched the man's expression flatten again, endlessly black eyes quickly sweeping over Zidane.

"Turn," he said.

A silence came filled the room, one that was amplified by Zidane's lack of movement. The crossbreed stayed where he was, and gradually his emotions sunk into Lance's chest. A paralyzing fear that was keeping his feet, his eyes, his head, from moving anywhere. A nearly crippling feeling caused by everything surrounding him. It was all too new. Too foreign.

Lance never saw the blade that flashed past Zidane's head. He only heard the heavy knock of it embedding into the wall behind them, the one directly above the staircase fifteen feet away.


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