Chapter 9: Results
Lea kept training to improve her guard for a month, ready to fight in her next match. The day of the match arrived, in which Lea was going to fight. Alinda was also going to fight in the same day as Lea, so everyone went to watch the both of them. Lea was going to fight first because she's a 4-rounder. Everyone was just waiting with Lea for her to be called. Once called, Lea, Fergus, and Alonso started to head to the ring. Hilda and Salena went to their seats, and Alinda stayed in the locker room. Lea got into the arena and received a nice welcome, claps and cheers rained down from the audience. Lea responded with a shy wave of her hand, while keeping her eyes to the ground, still not used to the cheering and clapping. Lea's opponent was already in the ring. She was around the same height and weight as Lea, with barely any hair on her head, but it looked to be of a dark color, either black or brown, freckles on her pale looking skin, and blue eyes. Lea's opponent may look weak with the skin color, but she showed a well-trained body and a good face to go with it. Lea nervously started to climb into the ring, along with Fergus and Alonso.
"Coach, she looks scary," said Lea with a nervous voice.
"I can see why, but looks aren't everything in boxing. Just remember everything that we did in training and everything should go just fine," said Alonso. On the other corner, the opponent's coach started to give advice to his boxer.
"Don't let your guard down on this one. She defeated Valeria with a KO. Just attack from a distance and keep her away from you."
"Got it," answered the boxer without changing her expression. Without wasting any more time, the announcer ordered for the seconds to leave the ring.
"All right, chica, go get her!" Said Alonso as he left the ring.
"Yeah!" Said Lea, who was no longer nervous. Then, the bell ringed.
To start things up, Lea put her Peek-a-boo defense, a familiar stance to every boxer in the world.
"Now that's a tough defense to crack, but I'll bait her out of it," thought Lea's opponent, who moved close enough to get into punching range, and immediately started throwing jabs at Lea. None of them do damage and Lea was not opening the Peek-a-boo. "Damn it, open the fucking guard." Out of frustration, she threw a right punch at Lea, but Lea ducked the punch and rushed in, getting close enough to only throw compact punches. Lea landed a left punch on the opponent's body, followed by a right punch to the opponent's body, and ended with a left hook to the opponent's head. All of them were thrown so close and compact, that they went faster than normal. Lea's opponent was strong enough to resist such a barrage of punches and tried to fight back. She threw a right hook at Lea's head, and Lea threw a right hook at the opponent's head. "No matter, mine is going faster than hers." What the opponent didn't notice, is that Lea didn't drop her left arm, and blocked the opponent's attack, while Lea's right hook landed cleanly on the opponent's face. Whether it was because of confidence or bad habit, the opponent dropped her left arm as she was launching the punch, while Lea never dropped it as she threw the hook. "Shit, she's pretty good. That leaves me with no choice, but to use it." While she still had consciousness, the opponent rushed in to grab Lea in a clinch.
"Chica, she's trying to clinch, punch her away from you!" yelled Alonso, and Lea tried to follow Alonso's command. Unfortunately, Lea wasn't quick enough and she was about to be grabbed, but something else happened. Once the hands of her opponent were at the sides of Lea's head, the opponent used the left palm, which the referee could not see, and hit Lea in the ear, causing Lea to stop long enough for the opponent to grab properly.
Alonso and Fergus saw what happened from the corner and tried to protest about it.
"Hey, referee, she used a foul, a foul!" yelled Fergus, who tried to inform the referee, but he wasn't heard and the referee proceeded to separate the fighters.
"He obviously didn't see that, that girl doesn't have any kind of respect for the sport, doesn't have the looks of it anyway," said Alonso, who was angered by the dirty trick that the opponent used. Once the boxers were separated, the referee gave the okay to continue the fight.
That time, Lea didn't bother to wait, she decided to charge in, noticing that her opponent needed time to recover from the previous attack.
"I really don't know how she did it, but I know that she hit me in the ear while trying to clinch. The answer sounds simple to me. I just have to keep hitting without giving her any chance to clinch," thought Lea. She dodged and blocked all the attacks thrown at her. She pressed forward, reached the opponent, and started another in-fight. The opponent tried to attack first with a right hook, but Lea parried with the left arm and landed a right hook. Then, Lea landed a left uppercut to the opponent's chin, followed by a right uppercut, and a left hook to the opponent's head. Lea's opponent fought back with a right uppercut, but it was stopped by Lea's left hand. After that, Lea fought back with a right uppercut to the opponent's chin, making the opponent slide back. In an attempt to survive the round, Lea's opponent decided to throw some jabs at Lea, but they were quickly blocked and dodged by the Peek-a-boo style. With no other option, the opponent decided to close up and stay on the defensive. It didn't stop Lea, she simply rushed in and started a barrage of punches.
"Shit, shit, shit, her punches are really heavy. I won't be able to defend for long. I need to buy time," thought the opponent, and decided to use another clinch. Alonso and Fergus feared that she was going to hit the ear again.
"Cuidado, chica, she's going to do it again!" yelled Alonso. Lea didn't need to be told twice, she started to throw short straight punches at her opponent's face, keeping the opponent away from grabbing Lea into a clinch. The punches were small and quick but lacked any real power behind them. Either way, they were enough to push Lea's opponent back, stopping her clinching attempts. The opponent moved back, trying to make distance to recover, but realized that she was close to the ropes. With that advantage, Lea decided to stop the opponent from running away anymore and charged in, attempting to start an in-fight on the ropes. Her opponent tried to stop Lea with a left jab, but it was blocked and Lea attacked it with a barrage of punches, leaving the opponent trapped.
A minute had passed, and it was easy to see that Lea was the dominating boxer in the match, but the opponent refused to give up.
"You little piece of shit, trying to make me look bad," thought the opponent. Either out of desperation or rage, she attempted to fight back with a left to Lea's body, but it was blocked with the Peek-a-boo. Lea retaliated by landing a right uppercut on the opponent's chin. The punch caused serious damage to the opponent, her tail started to wobble, but she managed to keep standing and decided to tighten her guard. Lea didn't pay attention to it and threw an endless barrage of punches at the opponent's guard. Lea's opponent was actually waiting for the inevitable hook, which came at the right time. Lea threw a right hook at the opponent's head, trying to blow the guard away, but the opponent ducked the punch and grabbed Lea in a clinch. Lea attempted to push the opponent away, but failed to do so and the referee separated them. After separating them and making sure that they were ready to fight, the referee let the match continue. With the new distance between each other, Lea's opponent left the ropes, and Lea was quick to follow. The opponent quickly circled around Lea, making sure that the opponent's back was facing the referee. She managed to do so and attempted to grab Lea in another clinch, adding a foul with it. Lea ducked the clinch and returned with a right uppercut to the opponent's body. The punch pushed the opponent away from Lea. While the opponent was groaning in pain, Lea rushed in and landed a left uppercut on the opponent's chin, forcing the opponent to back away. With enough distance, Lea threw a right straight at her opponent's face, and the opponent attempted to fight back with a right straight of her own. Fortunately, the previous damage on the opponent's body caused her punch to get slower, making Lea's punch the first one to land. Unable to take anymore, the opponent fell on her tail and the referee quickly got between them. The referee ordered Lea to the neutral corner, which Lea did, and started to count on the opponent.
"1…2…3" The opponent was still sitting on her tail, but was visibly conscious. "4…5…6" At the count of six, the opponent grabbed on the ropes and lifted herself up. "7…8" At the eight count, the opponent managed to stand up, but was unable to hide the damage done to her. The referee checked on Lea's opponent and decided to let the fight continue. At the signal, Lea came out of the corner and headed straight to the opponent. The opponent charged in out of desperation and started with a diagonal right uppercut. Lea dodged by weaving to the left and landed a left uppercut on the opponent's liver. The punch made the opponent go to the mat again. The referee quickly ended the match because of the 2-knockdown rule. In other words, in a 4-round match, if one of the boxers fell twice, it was considered a KO loss. The referee pointed at Lea with his hand and announced her as the winner.
After that, Alonso and Fergus got into the ring and started to head towards Lea. Once they reached Lea, Alonso said.
"So this are the results, you ended this fight on the first round, first half of it. You seem to have gotten better at in-fighting." Alonso was happy to see that the training paid off.
"Yeah, as far as I know, I didn't get punched at all, excluding that hit to my ear," said Lea, who was glad that she didn't take any serious damage.
"She was obviously using whatever she could use to win against you. After all, you defeated someone who was getting ranked before you. Having that in mind, she didn't expect to beat you in a fair fight. Well, let's go, Fergus and I have to be prepared for Alinda's match."
"Oh, yeah, let's go." They all get down from the ring, but then, they're stopped from moving by the audience. The audience was cheering so much, that it stunned Lea. She never expected that kind of response.
"That was a good one, Specter!" A person from the audience said while applauding.
"I'll go to another one of your matches!" Said another person.
"That's what I like to see, keep the KO's coming!" They continue on and on, which was a problem for Lea because she didn't know what to do.
"Hey, what are you waiting for? Respond to your fans," said Alonso, who was hiding his delight at knowing that Lea was gaining fans.
"Oh, uh, okay," said Lea. Then, she responded by waving to the audience and saying her thanks for their support. It was something that Alonso wasn't expecting. He was expecting a fist in the air or a victory pose, but not something that shy from her. The audience didn't seem to mind, so they kept cheering for her and hoped to see her again soon. Lea, Alonso, and Fergus reached the locker room that Alinda was using and went in. Alinda herself was still warming up for her upcoming match, while waiting to be called. Hilda and Salena were already in the room to keep Alinda company. The air around the room was very calm, not even the slightest feeling of pressure because Alinda was already used to it. When they saw Lea and the seconds come in, they started to congratulate Lea.
"That was a great match you had there, she barely touched you," said Salena, who was amazed by Lea's new skills.
"The coach's training seems to have made you stronger than you already are. Not as strong as me though," said Hilda, who didn't want Lea to let it get to her head.
"I don't think there's anyone stronger than you out there," said Alinda while warming up. Everyone could agree with Alinda in that matter. In all of the fights they have seen, except Lea, Hilda seemed to have a very destructive punch. That was more emphasized by the fact that Hilda had also won all of her matches by way of KO, like Lea.
"Who knows? Maybe there's someone out there who can be my match."
"If that ever happens, I would pay anything to see her," said Salena, who was honest about it, but believed that Hilda would win no matter what.
"Then you better start saving, lass. One day, I'm going to fight against the world champion, you'll see," said Hilda.
"How come you haven't fought the world champion yet? You have boxed longer than I have." Asked Lea.
"There aren't that many heavyweight boxers, so is difficult to find matches for Hilda," answered Alonso with a serious voice.
"Is that why she hasn't been able to get a championship belt?" Lea could just feel it. She could feel that Hilda was capable of becoming a world champion, if given the opportunity.
"Exactly, but we tend to find a decent amount of boxers, enough to rise in the national ranks."
"I'm actually very close to getting the national championship, so I'm getting closer to my goal. After that, I'll rise in the ranks and become the new world champion," said Hilda with determination. After Hilda said that, a staff member asked Alinda to be ready for her match and left. "Well, we'll take our seats, good luck with your match." Hilda said to Alinda with a smile.
"Go get her, Alinda." Cheered Salena with a smile.
"Lea, go get checked up first. If you're not that injured, then you can head to your seat with the rest," said Alonso as he started to get his stuff ready for the match.
"Okay, good luck in your match, Alinda," said Lea, who was confident that Alinda would win without a problem.
"Thanks, everyone," said Alinda. After Alinda's friends said what they needed to say, they left Alinda with Alonso and Fergus.
After Lea got checked up by the medic, who declared that Lea was well, Lea headed directly to her seat, which was right next to Salena and Hilda.
"Hey, Lea, I see you are just fine, you got here pretty quickly," said Hilda, who was glad to see Lea up and going.
"Yeah, I wasn't hit seriously, so the medic said I should be just fine," answered Lea.
"Well, get ready, you're about to see another interesting thing today." Informed Hilda with a playful smile.
"Another? Like in Salena's match? Don't tell me…" Lea could imagine what Hilda was talking about and started to look around the arena.
"What interesting thing are you talking about?" asked Salena with a confused expression.
"Oh, nothing you should worry about," answered Hilda with that same smile.
"Uh, okay." Salena didn't get it and simply dropped the subject. Lea was having an idea of what Hilda was talking about, but didn't know if it would be girls or man. After the announcer informed about the next match, the boxers started to get into the arena. When Alinda came out, it happened just as Lea believed, there was another fan group waiting to see Alinda. It was a little more different than with Salena, there were more males in Alinda's fan group than with Salena's fan group.
"Salena may be considered the 'Prince of the Ring', but Alinda is considered the 'Princess of the Ring', due to her more graceful style. Unlike Salena's style, in which she prefers to charge at her opponents." Hilda explained to Lea.
"So, does that bother Salena?" asked Lea.
"Look for yourself." Hilda pointed at Salena and Lea looked at Salena. Salena was just her normal self, she wasn't showing any kind of annoyance or been disturbed. Salena noticed the stare and turned her head towards Lea.
"What is it?" Salena turned her head to the other side, where she believed that Lea was looking.
"Uh, nothing, nothing at all, I was just…looking around, that's all," said Lea.
"Well, the match is about to start. So, let's cheer for Alinda," said Salena with the same cheerfulness that everyone knew.
"Oh, sure." Putting the matter of the fan group at the side, the match started with the ring of the bell, and both fighters put their fighting stances. Since Alinda's hair was too long to put in a simple bun, it was left in a ponytail. Her opponent started to throw punches at Alinda, which were dodged without much problem. Just as Hilda said, Alinda's movements were more graceful than the time that she fought Lea. Alinda must have improved for that fight. Alinda was faster than her opponent and had the skill and technique to counter any attack that her opponent threw at her. Each counter thrown at her opponent was effective, and it made the opponent's attacks slower. Alinda took the opportunity to attack with jabs. The opponent tried to retaliate, but the damage was too much for her to move freely. In the end, it led to another counter hitting her square in the face and putting her down on the mat. The referee didn't needed to count, he immediately lifted his arms and crossed them, signaling the end of the match and announced Alinda as the victor. Lea didn't notice it before, but on the trunks of Alinda, was the logo of a store, which must be from her family.
"So that's how she advertises her family's store." The audience cheered for the outcome and for Alinda. After their matches, everyone left the arena, not seeing any point on watching the other matches. Once they grabbed their payment, they left the building and started to head home for the night.
"You were really fast tonight," said Lea, who was amazed by Alinda's new speed.
"That's nothing, I'm sure she can go faster than that," said Salena with pride in her voice.
"Is that true?"
"Yes, but I didn't needed to go that fast, just enough to see her movements and to use counters," answered Alinda in a manner as serene and regal as always, but happy to hear Salena's praise.
"Tonight was a good one. All of our fighters won their matches, especially you Lea. I was waiting for you to win this match," said Alonso.
"Why?" asked Lea.
"With this victory, I am completely certain that you're ready to enter the tournament that will be held in two months. Winning this would not only give us money, but it will also give you a rank, even if it's a low one."
"That's great, Lea, you will start to get famous in no time if you win this," said Salena.
"Then again, it means that there will be a lot of strong opponents too," said Alinda.
"This brings back memories of the time I won the tournament. I had fun in it," said Hilda with a smile on her face.
"Be prepared for your training, chica, because this tournament will be a tough one for you," said Alonso in a more serious way than normal.
"I'll do my best, coach," said Lea, which let everyone know that she was ready for anything.
"Then we are ready to enter, 'The Rising Seeds Tournament'." After hearing the name, everyone got quiet, and Alonso didn't expect that.
"Wait, rising seeds? Is that really the name they used this time?" asked Alinda, who couldn't believe that they would put something like that as a name.
"Well, they don't have that many ideas for a name, so let's just go with it. Besides, they are seeds that are rising in the country and all that," said Alonso, who was thankful that it wasn't him who came up with the name.
"I guess." After that announcement and strange name, they all went to their respective homes.
The next week, after resting up from their previous matches, Lea and her friends went on to do their own things. Lea was working in the gym as usual, her friends training in the gym, and Alonso training the other boxers. Everything was going as normal, but Salena decided to change that.
"Hey, Lea, since you don't have to do any serious training at the moment, why don't you go and visit Julie?" asked Salena.
"I don't know, I'm actually busy right now. I need to clean and maintain the gym," answered Lea, not to avoid Julie, but because she was truly busy.
"Come on, you should be fair, she paid you a visit, so it's your turn to pay her a visit."
"She might be busy. Since, you know, she has to manage her house," answered Lea while working.
"Then call her, I'm sure she will answer immediately if she knows it's you."
"What makes you say that?"
"Well, yeah, but I don't have any free days right now, I have stuff to do." Lea tried to put an end to the conversation, but something must be playing tricks on Lea because Alonso approached her after she said that.
"Oye, chica, I notice you haven't taken a day off since your fight, I'll give you two days off," said Alonso with a business-like voice.
"Thanks…coach," answered Lea in suspicion.
"No problem, you need some rest every once in a while, but after that, is training and training. So make the most of it." After Alonso said that, he left to train the other members. Lea turned towards Salena with suspicion on her face.
"Did you have something to do with this?" asked Lea.
"About that? You actually think I could do something like that?" asked Salena.
"Well…If I think about it, I don't really think so." Lea didn't want to add that she didn't think that Salena was smart enough for something like that.
"You see? Now, want me to get you the phone?" Salena would be making small jumps out of eagerness, if it wasn't for the lack of legs, but the tip of her tail was wagging.
"Wait, I need to prepare." Lea started to fix her hair.
"To speak with Julie?"
"Well, yeah, I don't know what to say to her. It would be the first time I give a phone call to a friend." Lea was nervous.
"Don't worry, I'm sure it'll come to you when you get her on the phone, I'll be right back." Salena started to slide away to get the phone.
"Wait, wait." Begged Lea, but said it too late to stop Salena. That got the attention of Alinda, who was close by.
"Hey, Lea, what's going on?" asked Alinda.
"Alinda, I'm glad you got here, can you go and stop Salena from calling Julie?" asked Lea, who started to consider Alinda a hero because she appeared at the right time.
"Why would she do that?"
"She thinks I should go visit Julie and wants me to call her, but I'm just not ready yet, can you stop her?"
"Well, as your friend, I'm going to help you out." Alinda started to head straight to Salena, just as Salena was heading towards Lea.
"Thank you, I knew you were the most reasonable one." Alinda caught up to Salena and it looked like they were having a conversation, but it was too far for Lea to hear anything. Lea could see Salena had a sad expression and Alinda had a serious one. After a few words, Salena brightened up and started to dial a number, which was weird for Lea. The both of them started to slid towards Lea, and when they got to her, Salena presented the phone to Lea.
"Here, is ringing," said Salena.
"Wait a minute. I thought Alinda was trying to talk you out of it," said Lea, who was confused.
"She was? I just forgot that I didn't have the number, so I ask her what it was and she gave it to me."
"Alinda, you said you were going to help me!" Lea felt a little foolish. She should have remembered that Alinda liked that kind of things.
"And I did, I 'helped' you to go 'out' with her," said Alinda.
"I'm not ready, I'm not ready!" Said Lea, who started to panic, until she heard a voice at the other side of the phone.
"Hello?" asked the voice, and Lea quickly put the phone on her ear and answered.
"H-hey, Julie, h-how are you?"
"Hey, Lea, I'm doing great, even though I'm working. What about you?" Said Julie, who was certainly happy to receive a call from Lea.
"I-I'm doing well too, you know, working here and all, but still doing well."
"That's good to hear, so what's up?"
"Well, I…" Lea looked around, trying to find something to say, and her eyes fell on her friends, who were encouraging her to speak. Hilda returned from her roadwork and saw the group together. She wondered what was going on and decided to find out.
"Hey, what are you guys doing?" asked Hilda.
"Shh, Lea is on the phone," answered Alinda while paying close attention to the conversation.
"Julie," answered Salena, who was also paying attention.
"Oh, how is it going?" asked Hilda, who joined in after hearing that answer.
"They are still on the phone." The trio decided to keep quiet, to hear as much as possible.
"I was wondering if…I could go and pay you a visit," said Lea, who was gathering as much courage as she could get to ask that question.
"Of course, just let me know when you're coming so I can take the day off," said Julie, who would take any excuse to rest from all the paperwork.
"G-great, yeah. Is it okay if I go tomorrow?" Lea wasn't expecting it that easily, but she was happy for it.
"Sounds great, want me to pick you up?"
"Oh no, I can get there on my own, don't worry about it."
"Okay." Their called was interrupted by Alonso.
"Oye, chica, I need you to clean something over here!" yelled Alonso.
"Okay! Sorry, Julie, I have to go," said Lea in a hurry, not wanting to make Alonso mad.
"No problem, see you tomorrow then," answered Julie.
"Yeah, take care."
"You too, Lea." They hanged up the phone after that. Once Lea put down the phone, she started to get the feeling that someone was watching her. She looked to her left, and saw the trio, just standing there with a smile, which was disturbing for Lea.
"I'm not going to like this," said Lea, who was just waiting for it.
"You know, one of us can take you there, is bad manners to keep a lady waiting," said Alinda.
"I actually have the schedule of the bus. I can tell when it's going to arrive there," answered Lea.
"Come on, lass, you would waste time on the bus, you're going to need it later on," said Hilda.
"Need it? For what?" asked Lea.
"You know, maybe you can get out of the 'friends zone'." Hilda wagged her eyebrows after she said that.
"I…don't think I'm following." Lea was getting more confused. After hearing that, Hilda let out a sigh and said.
"What I'm trying to say, in a subtle way, is that you get closer to Julie, so that you can sleep with her." Hilda found it tiresome, but funny that Lea was that clueless.
"But…I'm not…" Lea took a moment to think about what Hilda was saying, and realized where the conversation was going. "Oh, wait, what? No! We barely know each other, and I don't see her that much, it takes a month or more before I speak to her. Besides, I like it this way. I don't even think I could go that far." Lea strongly argued.
"Come on, lass, you're 20. As far as I know, a lot of people at your age tend to have done it already."
"I'm not them, and she's not just anyone that I would have 'done it already' with." After hearing that, the trio got in a circle and started to have a conversation, not considering that Lea was close enough to hear.
"Now that I think about it, Julie might be the submissive type because she was such a gentle person," said Alinda with a serious voice.
"No no, she is too energetic to be submissive. She's definitely more on the offensive," said Hilda, who could imagine how Julie would be in a 'private' moment.
"What about a sadist? She looks playful enough for it." Alinda was hoping that it wasn't the case.
"Wait, what are we talking about?" asked Salena in confusion. Not wanting to hear any more of their conversation, Lea took her chance to leave.
"This has gone to the gutter. I'm going back to work," said Lea, who slid away from them and continued with her work.
The next day, Lea was on a bus stop that was close to the gym, wearing a long-sleeve red t-shirt with black cargo pants. Lea called Julie to let her know that she would be arriving somewhere around eleven. By then, Julie was awake and had already taken breakfast, so all she needed to do, was to wait for Lea. It took Lea around half an hour to arrive, which it could be worse. It could have taken an hour to arrive at Julie's house. The place was the same as always. Even with the debt, it didn't look like it would close at any moment. Lea slid to the door, got into the house, and saw Nick reading a book on one of the couches in the living room. Nick was wearing a business suit, which Lea didn't know for what, but believed his job to be the reason. Nick heard the door opening and turned his head towards the door. Nick turned at the right time to see Lea coming in, which brought a smile to his face.
"Good day, Lea, glad to see you're doing well," said Nick.
"Hello, Nick," said Lea, who was happy to see that Nick was doing well.
"I heard about you coming in today, so I was waiting for you. Julie is outside playing with some of the kids."
"Oh, I don't want to interrupt."
"Don't worry about it, just go and see her, I'm sure the kids won't mind. Just go through the play room and you'll reach the backyard." Nick pointed at the door between the stairs.
"Okay, thank you, Nick."
"No problem." Nick simply returned to his reading, while Lea headed to the backyard. Once she got outside, she could see how big the backyard really was. It wasn't as big as a park, but it was big enough to have a playground, a good open area to play sports, maybe even throw a party. It was surrounded with a wooden fence, as tall as Lea was in human height. There was also a pool, probably designed for the mermaids and merman that they have with them. Lea looked around, and she could see that many of the children were playing outside, some even playing with Julie. Lea could see that Julie was playing with some of the kids using a frisbee, chasing and catching the flying disc. Julie was wearing a white t-shirt with blue knee-length shorts and tennis shoes. She also fixed her hair in a ponytail. Julie threw the frisbee towards Lea's direction and saw Lea by chance. Julie told the kids that she would be back in a moment and ran towards Lea.
"Lea, you're here. Sorry I couldn't receive you, I was playing with the kids today," said Julie with a smile.
"Oh no, don't worry about it, it doesn't bother me one bit," said Lea, who returned the smile with one of her own.
"That's great." Suddenly, Julie started to make a face that Lea knew well enough. Julie was having an idea, and one that she liked a lot. "Hey, how about you play with us? I'm sure the kids would like to meet you." Julie looked proud of herself, thinking that she came up with the best idea she had ever thought of.
"Uh, are you sure?" Lea was nervous about that, which Julie could see.
"Yeah, don't worry. They'll love to meet you." Julie grabbed Lea's hand and took Lea to the kids. The group that Julie was playing with had kids of around 10 to 12 years old, all of different species, and they looked at Lea with curious eyes. "Everyone, I would like to officially introduce a friend of mine, Lea." After hearing the introduction, the kids greeted Lea at the same time.
"Hello, Lea." The greeting made Lea a little nervous, not knowing how to answer to kids.
"H-hey, kids." Greeted Lea with a small wave of her hand.
"So, now that the introductions are over, how about we get back to playing?" asked Julie with a smile and the kids cheered for that, happy to know that they would keep playing.
"Are you going to play with us, Miss Lea?" asked one of the kids, his eyes hoping for a yes.
"Yeah," answered Lea, and the kids cheered for that. They all go to an empty part of the backyard to start playing with the Frisbee. "Are we playing something specific?" Lea asked to Julie, wanting to know what game they were playing.
"We were playing Frisbee soccer, have you played it before?" asked Julie, who was ready to explain the rules if the answer was no.
"That's good, saves us time for explanations. You can join the other team, so we can make it even."
"Okay." And so, Lea's team was playing against Julie's team. Both teams had a variety of inter-species teammates, making it quite an interesting game to watch. They decided to let Julie's team start first. Julie started the game by throwing the frisbee to one of her teammates to the left of the field. A young Centaur girl caught the frisbee and quickly looked around for another teammate to pass it to, since the rules said that they had 10 seconds to throw the frisbee. The girl quickly threw it to a free human boy, but didn't notice the goblin girl jumping and intercepting the Frisbee.
Goblins were believed to be grotesque, little demons that were not only greedy creatures, but very dangerous as well. That, of course, was not entirely true. They were pretty much normal, some were greedy, that was true, but any other race could say the same about themselves. Their height was half the human height, but they could come in different colors, sometimes green, other times they were brownish and so on. They were believed to be hairless, but that was wrong too, they had hair like anyone else, and of different colors too. Another misleading belief was that they weren't bright creatures, but they were quite the opposite. They were as bright as a human being. Some have made discoveries of their own. For someone of their height, they could jump pretty high, around double their height, which was believed to be an evolution to reach places that they couldn't reach by normal means.
That explained why the goblin girl managed to intercept the flying Frisbee in mid-air. The girl quickly threw the frisbee to one of her teammates, who was an Arachne. The teammate caught the frisbee Then, she threw it to Lea, who was close to the goal. The frisbee was flying directly towards Lea. It was just a few feet away from her, but out of nowhere, it was intercepted by Julie. Julie had to jump for the Frisbee, but she landed on her feet. Once she regained her balance, she turned her head towards Lea and gave her a playful wink. Then, Julie threw the frisbee away from the goal and a male satyr caught the frisbee. Lea slid as fast as she could and tried to predict the direction that the satyr was going to throw it. The satyr threw the frisbee towards the direction of Lea's goal, and was passed to a werewolf. Lea was faster than the throw and intercepted the frisbee. Lea used her quick boxing reflexes to quickly find a teammate and threw the frisbee away from her team's goal. The teammate caught the pass and threw it back to Lea, who advanced to the goal as the frisbee was flying. Julie saw it coming and was heading to intercept the pass. Lea noticed that and slid towards the frisbee, trying to catch the frisbee before Julie did. Lea may be a Lamia, but Julie seemed to be in good shape because they were at the same speed. They were both very close to it, and Julie decided to jump for it, but Lea had the same idea and launched herself. They both jumped at the same time, everything went in slow motion for those two. Their hands were getting closer and closer to the frisbee, but none of them caught it. The wind had enough strength to make the frisbee go faster than normal and slipped away. It was unfortunate for the two of them because Julie couldn't stop herself from the momentum, and it was also too late for Lea to stop. They crashed into each other and started to fall to the grass. To prevent Julie from getting hurt, Lea hugged Julie close to her as they kept going down. Lea fell on her back, which didn't hurt as much as she believed because of her trained body. Once Lea recovered, she checked on Julie.
"Julie, are you okay?" asked Lea. Julie sat up and shook her head for a little bit.
"Yeah, I'm fine. What about you?" Julie asked as she rubbed her head, before realizing their positions. When Julie sat up, she was sitting on Lea's waist in a straddling position with her hands on Lea's abdomen. Thankfully, the kids didn't know about it, but Lea and Julie were adults, which meant that they knew. Once they got their senses right, they quickly moved to stand up, with their faces bright red. The kids went to check on Lea and Julie.
"Are you okay?" One of the kids asked out of concern.
"Huh? Y-yeah, we're okay, nothing happened. We just tripped on something," answered Julie, who tried to downplay the incident.
"More like crash, you sure you two are okay?" asked a more mature kid from the group.
"Yeah, yeah, we're okay, right?" asked Julie as she turned towards Lea, mostly looking for help at calming down the kids.
"Uh, yeah, it didn't hurt at all. Come on, we still have some time left to play," said Lea, which made the kids cheer and take their positions in the field. And so, they kept playing until it was lunch time. All the kids went to the cafeteria with Lea and Julie. When they got inside, the kids started to take seats, while Lea and Julie look for their own. While looking, Julie freed her hair from the hairbands, no longer needing them. Julie found the perfect table for them, and gently pulled Lea to it. The table wasn't that far and they reached the table.
"Hey, Lea, do you remember this table?" asked Julie, who had a gentle smile on her face. Lea looked at the mentioned table in curiosity, and she remembered instantly. That was the table that they both shared on their first breakfast together. Lea slid to it and put her hands on it, a smile starting to appear on her face.
"Y-yeah, this is where we ate breakfast for the first time," answered Lea.
"You remembered," said Julie, whose smile brightened even more.
"Of course I would. I could never forget it."
"Well, take a seat while I go and prepare something to eat."
"You're going to cook?" That was a little surprising for Lea.
"Yeah, I said I would do it when you paid a visit, so I'm going to cook for us."
"Isn't the kitchen busy right now?"
"Not really, they tend to have the food ready 10 to 20 minutes beforehand."
"Oh, okay, do you need help with something?"
"Don't worry about it, just sit down and relax. It won't take long."
"Okay." Lea took her seat, while Julie went to the kitchen. While on her seat, Lea was looking at Julie going to the kitchen, then she started to look around the cafeteria. "It hasn't changed that much since the first time I came here." While looking around, she started to feel someone pulling her t-shirt and turned her head towards the person. Lea looked towards her right side, and down, to find a young Arachne looking up at Lea. The Arachne had flowing shoulder-length light brown hair, fair white skin, and blue eyes. Her spider half was brown colored, very much like her hair.
Arachnes were half-human, half-spider, that could be taller than a human being, because of their 4 pairs of spider legs. From the waist down, was the thorax, and after that, the abdomen. Even though Arachnes were half-spider, they didn't possess any poison, but they still maintained the ability to shoot web. They also possessed six eyes, including the main eyes, which are more human-like than the rest. The four smaller eyes were compound eyes and were found in the area of the forehead. Unfortunately, they didn't have any special function. They were pretty much the same as the main eyes, which gave them a wider range of vision. Adding to it, they also had the ability to sense vibrations more easily with their threads and body. They were believed to be either infernal monsters or women cursed by demons or gods, which was wrong, like any other inter-species people. They may cause fear easily with their half-spider or with their legends, but they were respected as skillful weavers, capable of making clothes with their silk, which was very durable and valuable.
The little Arachne kept looking up at Lea with innocent-looking eyes. "Um, hello there…" Lea greeted nervously, especially since she didn't know the little girl's name.
"Jenny," said the Arachne with a straight face.
"Nice to meet you, Jenny. I'm Lea." Lea tried to be friendly.
"I know." Responded Jenny with the same face.
"Yes, Julie likes to talk about you."
"Oh, she does?"
"Yeah, you're the one that makes her happy, who can actually make her very happy."
"W-what do you mean by that?" Lea was feeling a little embarrassed from receiving compliments from a kid.
"Julie doesn't show it, but she's actually sad." After mentioning that, Jenny's face turned into a sad one. Jenny tried to hide it, not liking to show her sad face, and decided to look at the floor.
"Sad? Why would she be sad?"
"Because she might lose her house." That surprised Lea because she thought that no one knew about it.
"W-what makes you say that? She's not going to lose it."
"She always smiles to us, but is not the same smile that she gives when you're around."
"Really?" Lea turned her head away from he girl to look at the kitchen area, seeing Julie working in their food with the usual smile that she always had.
"I don't want to lose the only place that is home." Lea turned her head towards the girl and they went silent for a moment, while Lea was trying to find words to say.
"Are you new here?"
"I was in other places like this one, but they weren't home, they never felt this warm. No one in those places really cared about us, but Julie actually likes us."
"What happened to…your parents?"
"I don't know, I was abandoned and they never came back for me. That's all I know. Julie is the only one who has been nice to me, to everyone."
"She's a nice person," said Lea with a smile.
"And it's going to come to an end, but I will try to enjoy the most of it," said Jenny in a way that was too mature for her age. Then, she started to get shy, grabbed something that was lying on her abdomen, and showed it to Lea. "Here, this is for you," said Jenny, showing a white scarf to Lea.
"Yeah, I heard that you were a Lamia, so I made you a scarf for when it gets too cold. I don't know how to make anything else right now. I hope you like it." Lea grabbed the scarf and looked at it.
"Thank you." It was the only thing that Lea could say at the moment, too touched to find words. After hearing that, Jenny lifted her eyes from the floor and looked at Lea with a small smile, happy that Lea liked it.
"You're welcome. I hope to see you again, bye bye." After Jenny said that, she left Lea. Lea was left there, just looking at the scarf. She was so focused on it, that she didn't notice Julie arrive with their meal.
"Hey, Lea, I hope I didn't keep you waiting for too long. Lea?" Said Julie, who started to wonder what was wrong with Lea. "Lea?" Lea responded after that.
"Is something wrong?"
"Uh, no, nothing at all." Lea still had the scarf in her hands and Julie noticed it.
"Is that yours?" Julie pointed towards Lea's scarf.
"Oh, yeah, one of the kids gave it to me as a gift."
"That's really cute of them, I bet it was one of the Arachne children, they like to make clothing around here." Julie felt proud of their skills and thankful for their help.
"Yeah." Lea didn't know what else to say.
"Well, we better get eating while the food is still warm. Eat and be amazed at my awesome cooking skills," said Julie with a playful smile. After that, they start to enjoy their meals and get into small talk. Throughout the whole meal, Lea had the scarf close to her, never leaving her side.
The day went by quickly for the both of them and it was time for Lea to go back home. They were both out on the front door.
"Thanks for coming over. It was a lot of fun," said Julie, who had the same smile that Lea always saw.
"No problem, I had fun too," said Lea, who gave Julie a calm smile.
"You sure you don't want me to take you back?" It was getting a little dark in Julie's opinion.
"Yeah, don't worry."
"Okay…well, take care of yourself, okay?"
"Yeah, you too, Julie." After saying that, Julie grabbed Lea in a hug, leaving Lea a little stunned. Julie ended the hug and walked back to the door.
"Come back anytime."
"Y-yeah, I will." Julie gave Lea one final smile and went into the house. Lea started to slide back to the bus stop. While on the way, she stopped and looked at the house, where they started to turn the lights on. Lea turned away and looked at the ground, clenching her fists and closing her eyes in shame. "I'm sorry, Julie. I was fighting to save your house, but now I realize it. I barely put the kids in my mind, it was mostly you. I just wanted to make you happy, barely giving the kids any thought. I was been inconsiderate." Then, the wind blew towards Lea's direction, and Lea lifted her arm to block the wind from her face. Lea remembered the scarf that she put around her neck, she remembered the little girl giving it to her, and she remembered the kids that she played with. "It will be different, Julie. I'm going to fight, not only for you, but for them as well." With that in mind, Lea lifted her head and moved forward, with new resolve in her mind and in her heart that was even stronger than before.