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Chapter 4: Jungle biome-walled city

Terra’s eyes snapped open as she tried to figure out where she was. For a moment she couldn’t remember and then the whole night came racing back to her. “What the hell?” She whispered to herself in disbelief. The events of the past night seemed even more ridiculous in the light of the new day. What was Daniel doing here ? And why did he seem to think he had a claim over her when she hadn’t seen him since she left his house 4 years ago in search of her brother? None of it made sense. The only good thing was that she hadn’t gotten as wasted as she wanted to last night ,because of all the drama and didn’t have a raging hangover.

She groaned again as she remembered the club. It had been an amazing party one of the best of the year. But as a result of the high and intoxication she’d ended up basically humping a guy against the wall. Then it all went downhill from there. Honestly it was just her luck that the first time she allowed herself to act her age that something like this would happen. Of course it did. Back to being a nun for 4 more years then she guessed since it was easier.

Terra sighed and stretched her arms out as she prepared to get out of bed. No matter what happened she wasn’t the type to stay in bed all day moping about it. She threw back the covers and left her room in search of food. She hadn’t eaten since before her final exam the day before. Her living room was dark but she had the space memorized and easily found her way into the kitchen. As she was looking into her refrigerator she heard footsteps coming up behind her. She jumped up and spun around with her fists raised to defend herself. The light from the fridge hit the person coming up and she realized it was Dexter. She’d forgotten he stayed the night. “ You scared the crap out of me. Where did you sleep last night ? I didn’t see you.” She asked as she lowered her fists.

Dexter yawned and rubbed his eyes as he took in her appearance with an appreciative gaze. She suddenly realized she was clothed in just her bra and panties. She reached up to cover her chest. “ I slept on the couch last night. I didn’t want to make you uncomfortable by being the same bed while you didn’t have on adequate clothing.”

“It would have been fine. I trust you . Sorry I thought I put on some clothes before I went to bed last night. You know I don’t mind sharing a bed when you sleep over.” They’d often stayed the night at each others places when it got too late or they were too drunk to walk back to their own place.

“ Eh, it’s fine. No worries. You find anything to eat in there ?” He stretched and pulled his shirt off and handed it to her. She pulled it over her own head feeling more comfortable since it fell midway down her thighs. “Thank you.” She turned back to the fridge to continue looking for anything to eat. “Uhhh we could make omelets if you want.” She pulled out the eggs and various other ingredients that went into omelets .

“I’ll cook you can relax and talk. I have some questions about Daniel.”

Terra kept her back to Dexter as she tried to school her expression. She knew this conversation was coming but was hoping that it wasn’t the first one of the day.

“ What do you want to know ?” She moved out of the way and took a seat at the dining room table. She took a deep breath and waited.

“Where do you know him from?” Dexter asked casually as he started mixing eggs.

“ He lived near my childhood home. We grew up together in a sense.”

“ What was he to you?”

“He was my boyfriend during the last year I spent outside the wall with my family.”

At this statement Dexter stopped what he was doing and looked over at her she wasn’t exactly known or dating.

“ So you did date before you came to the city ?”

“Yes, he was my first and last boyfriend. After I lost my family I focused solely on getting stronger so that I could learn how to defend myself against the beasts outside the wall.”

“What happened to your family and what does Daniel have to do with it ?” Terra never fully explained what happened to them besides saying that they were killed by a beast.

“ I was out with him when my parents were attacked. When I returned home I found their bodies and my brother missing. I figured that he would be in a certain tree that we used to play in as we grew up so I grabbed my father’s sword and ran after him. I found him; however as we were escaping the beast scented us and was following so I had him hide and I went back to lead it away from him. While I was doing that I ran into Daniel in the woods. We argued and he tried to convince me to hide with him. He was so focused on his twisted agenda of protecting me that he didn’t care what happened to my brother. We fought and he knocked me out.” She clenched her fists and forced herself to tell the rest. “When I awoke it was several hours later. He tried to justify his actions by saying he would rather I was alive and hating him then killed by a monster I didn’t know how to fight. I left immediately and went to go find my brother.”

It was silent for a moment in the kitchen as Dexter absorbed this information. Terra’s heart was thudding frantically inside her chest. She’d never told anyone this part of the story because it hurt too much. They just knew that her family was killed by a beast. It wasn’t an uncommon fate for those who lived outside the city and didn’t raise any eyebrows.

“Where is your brother ?” Dexter asked as he set a plate with an omelet on the table in front of her . “ I don’t know.” Terra whispered into her plate. “I searched for three weeks all around the area but never found him. I can only hope that he’s okay. I figure maybe he got picked up by another settlement that lived outside the wall or maybe even a passing tourist group from another biome. I believe I would feel if he wasn’t okay. I’m going to find him.” She said forcely. She felt a hand on her shoulder and looked up at Dexter. “ I’m not going to stop you. I want to help. How do you plan to find him?”

“ First I had to become an official Hunter so I could protect myself as I searched through this biome and others.”

You had to be a licensed Hunter in order to pass through the boundaries of other biomes without first getting your request approved by the government officials of the city that resided within.

“ These years have been my first step to being able to properly look for him and having my own apartment here gives me somewhere I can bring him back to when I find him.” Terra looked away from Dexter’s gaze. She’d never told anyone any of this.

“I’ll help you. I can get you assigned to missions with me. I frequently travel to the other biomes and I’ve been over every inch of this one.”

Terra looked up him in shock. It was unusual for experienced hunters to allow new ones to join them on their missions. Most preferred to work alone, occasionally in pairs but always with someone of their own skill. The new hunters were generally paired up within their graduating classes.

“You don’t need to do that. I know we are friends but I’m not experienced enough to properly watch your back. I’m graduating Monday but I’m still learning.”

“Terra the best way to learn is to get there and get some experience under your belt. Plus I’m the best resource you have right now . We both have environmental adaptation of any kind which is extremely rare. It means that we can survive in any biome. So it just makes sense to pair us together. I’m not supposed to tell you this but the president of the city already approached me about making you my partner for those reasons alone.”

Terra’s mouth dropped open as she absorbed what he’d said. It made it when he put it that way. The fact that they were already well acquainted was just a bonus. “Okay.” She acquiesced. “ I still don’t know why Daniel suddenly appeared out of the blue and acted as if I was still his girlfriend. Honestly I don’t care. I’m just going to try to enjoy the rest of my weekend and get ready for graduation on Monday.” Dexter nodded at this and moved away to get his own omelet off of the skillet. They ate in a comfortable silence as they both processed information.

“Well you want to watch a movie or something ? I don’t have any plans for today.” He asked her after they’d finished eating. “Yeah sure.” She agreed easily. She ran into her bedroom and pulled out a huge blanket. They sat on different end of the couch and stretched out so that their feet were entangled in the middle. Terra relaxed more the longer they lay there. Dexter picked out the movie and to her amusement it was a romcom . She knew he only picked it because he thought it was something she would want to watch. She hadn’t been sure how he would react to everything but he seemed to just accept it and move on and even offered to help.

She wondered if this was what it like to have a partner in life and not just on the job. It felt nice. She knew plenty of couples within the academy but since her first boyfriend had turned out to be a massive tool she never dated again. Terra shook her head to rid herself of that train of thought. Dexter may be helping her but he was her only close friend she had in the city. She wouldn’t risk that for something that could end up not working out and ruining their relationship, especially since they would be working together now. She could admit to herself that it was nice to feel wanted and that she’d enjoyed kissing Daniel until she knew who he was. She would have to find someone to fill that void in her life.

Seeing him last night made her realize that it had been fear holding her back from making any romantic connections these past years but she done being afraid. As she relaxed into the couch and glanced over at Dexter who was watching the movie and smiling at the corny banter between the main characters. She was happy with where their relationship was. It was comfortable and she would avoid anything that could potentially ruin it.

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