Stone Warriors

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Chapter 32

Definition of suspicious: Throwing yourself against the door to your coach and grinning stupidly at your best friend.

Jyrixi looks my age, but in reality she’s at least fifty years older than me. The land she comes from is filled with immortals and inhabitants who age slowly. This being said, she has been around long enough to where what I’m doing does not fool her in the slightest.

She gave me an incredulous look before removing me from the door. Jyrixi is also stronger than she looks so fighting against her was next to useless. When she opened it she gasped in shock, then turned on me, “Explain yourself and this better be good.”

After we smuggled Zakyrik’s cousin into my penthouse and ordered food, Jyrixi learned her name was Zytriana. “That’s a beautiful name for a beautiful, young lady. Can you tell us what happened?” Jyrixi wrapped a blanket around her and sat down a glass of water on the end table.

Zytriana graciously drank the water in long draughts until it was gone. Poor thing was not only scared to death, but dehydrated as well. There will be a reckoning for Trevalo, I vow on all that I love it will happen.

She pulled the blanket snug around her body and began telling us a dreadful tale of how she was taken from her house in the middle of the night by a tall, black haired man. She was staying with two elderly ladies, who were killed while trying to rescue Zytriana from this intruder. She ran out of the house to scream for help, but was drug back inside and knocked unconscious.

When she awoke, she was lying on an unfamiliar bed and in front of her was a man that told her if she behaved she would get to see Zakyrik again. She was then brought to a filthy room with cages and was thrown into one. She couldn’t remember much else up until the time she woke up in my coach. Bless her, she’s in shock.

The food came up and even though it looked delicious I didn’t eat one bite. I was too worried about Zytriana being properly fed that I didn’t even think about my own hunger. Jyrixi say silently beside her, observing Zytriana like she was going to vanish any second now.

Zytriana ate to her heart’s content, which I was thankful for, then said she was very tired. I helped her up off the chair and led her to my bedroom. Unfortunately the only thing I forgot to bring was clothes.

Letting her know I would ride back tomorrow to my room and grab some, I then pulled the covers over her. She was so exhausted that she fell asleep instantly. It was remarkable really how she looked so much like Zakyrik even though her hair looked like tendrils of sunshine.

Jyrixi was leaning against the wall with her arms crossed looking at me expectantly. She had been quiet and patient with Zytriana, but all that was obviously gone now. I knew she wasn’t going to let this go.

“I don’t know if I need to be angry that you would do something this dangerous, impressed because you pulled it off, confused because this is not like you or all three emotions at the same time. Please, for the love of all that’s golden, tell me what the hell is going on here? You know you can trust me, Xori.”

Naturally, I opened my mouth to say something, anything, but instead my mind went blank. What is going on? Did I rescue her because she was a young lady in need of saving and didn’t deserve to be kidnapped? Did I save her to spite Trevalo, who it’s no secret I hate?

Or did my reasoning run a little deeper than that? Did it have to do with the raven haired warrior for which I have a fatal, unexplained attraction for? How do I put all this in words?

It’s so easy inside my head. Confusing, but simple to put together. Forming every feeling along with my desire into sentences full of conjugated verbs without stumbling and stuttering is something that seems next to impossible right now.

Jyrixi must have sensed this, “Look, don’t blow up your brain trying to think too hard. The look on your face says it all, that you have no clue why. I’m glad you got that girl away from Trevalo as much as the next person. He is a sick bastard and one of the lowest sort of human life forms.”

She relaxed her posture, “But I’m sensing there’s another reason underlying here. A deeper reasoning that even your unsure about. When you do end up figuring this out, which I’m sure you will, just know I have your back.”

She gave me an apologetic hug for being so hard on me, “Listen Xori, Trevalo is not the type to let something like this go. He will pool all his scumbag resources out from under the gutter and do whatever it takes to find out what happened. Do not let this happen. If he finds out it was you and tells your father, well... I just don’t want to see anything happen to you.”

Holding me at arms length, she looked me in the eyes, “You are my best friend and I love you dearly. I’d never forgive myself for not helping protect you, so I’m going to keep an ear out for anything suspicious that involves the missing girl. Anything I find out I’ll run straight here and tell you, alright?”

Soft snoring could be heard from the bedroom, making Jyrixi turn to the door, “Do not move her from this spot, don’t let her near any windows and never let her open the door. I know she’s going to feel like a prisoner all over again, but at least she’s a prisoner where she’s safe. That precious little girl has been through enough and I can’t imagine what she’s feeling right now.”

Giving a half-hearted nod, I stepped away from the bedroom door for fear of waking up Zytriana. When Jyrixi mentioned the word prisoner my heart dropped. Isn’t her cousin going through the same thing? Hasn’t he been placed in a horrid cage in a smelly cellar, forced to be a slave to this competition?

A moxie spirit rose up in me like I’ve never felt before. The urge had always been there, but now it’s turned into a full on need. After I find a way to get Zytriana somewhere permanently safe after this competition, I’m going to find a way to end all future competitions forever, or my name isn’t Xori Xanthea Tamminalin!

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