Guardians

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Chapter 14 - Zero luck stat

“Alright! Time to pay up ya ogre!” I cheered from beyond the wood line.

The sun’s warm rays bathed over me like waves in the sea. I felt so energized! So free! I couldn’t help but smile. Even with the woodland hoodlums telling me I should have died weren’t getting to me!

“You filthy human!”

“You made that thing smash my house!”

“And I love you too random citizens!” I cheered pointing and winking at the angry squirrels and birds.

I was coming onto the tree line, my brain was telling me they were right ahead of me. I couldn’t wait to see the look on their faces! The loser nerd Eden just proved Artemis and the Goddess of nature wrong! Ha!

A smile was plastered on my face as I strutted over to them. My father looked like the embodiment of ‘I stepped on a lego.’ And then stubbed my toe on the corner of a desk.

“I admit, I’m impressed.”

My whole body tensed up for a moment, my Mom’s words gave me goosebumps. I could feel this warmth, like a flame kindling in my chest. I’ve always dreamed of a moment like this.

But I forced my smile down, and I kept myself focused. Mistake, your nothing more than a mistake to her. Don’t forget that. As far as she’s concerned, your a useful mistake now.

“Well I didn’t do it for you, or for Dad. I did it to gain my freedom.” I turned toward my sister and held out my hand, “Well cough it up.”

My sister looked puzzled, she tilted her head and smiled ear to ear (which brought back flashbacks of the bride Frankenstein.)

She huffed and snickered as she turned her nose up at me.

“Ha! Men and their hubris! You lost Arbuscula! The rocks can’t kill terebris, no matter how many smash it!”

I couldn’t help but smirk.

“Well sis, I seem to remember our agreement being incapacitating the beast. Not to kill it.” I looked up at my sister’s astonished emerald eyes.

I could hear the chattering of all the elves around us, whispering and murmuring to each other.

“What no-!” She started to yell but I quickly cut her off.

“So much for the honorable Guardian of hunt, can’t even remember what she said.”

“You little piece of tree bark I’ll-!” My sister roared like Godzilla at me.

“It’s little bush, actually. Gotta be politically correct here.” I added.

I swear, it was like I watched her turn into the red ranger. I realize now that maybe I was doing a bit much. Stupid or not, she could still pop me like a grape.

“Enough! Polyta, you lost the bet.” My mother’s voice boomed over us with an intense demand for respect.

All of my witty comebacks seem to go south for the winter. I just hushed up, and so did Artemis. Or was it Polyta? The heck was a Polyta?

“You’re clever Arbuscula, it’s like Robin Hood reincarnated…” My mother added as she seemed to trail off in thought.

I could hear a faint growling coming from beside me. At first I was like, gotta be a wild dog or something. But then I was like OH GOD A WILD DOG! I turned to look, and it was my (for lack of a better term) human sister growling at me. I jumped a bit more when I looked into her eyes. Rage, all I could see was rage.

“Woah Cujo! Let’s calm down! I’m not actually Robin Hood!” I pleaded with her.

“All you sons of Gaea are cursed!” She grunted out.

Sons of Gaea...am I related to Robin Hood! Oh snap! Then the reality of the situation began to set in. She said we were cursed, is she just saying that cuz Robin Hood trolled her? Or is it something more sinister? I doubt after my stunt just now she’ll answer me, plus I think their on to my trickery now…

“Regardless, Polyta you owe him.” My mother sighed. Then my mother began to hum, as a soft smile etched it’s way onto her face. “And remember your wording of what you promised.”

Oh no, no no no. Please be a dumb Gerudo please be a dumb Gerudo. Then it happened, her sadistic rabid gorilla face. Turned into a crooked evil smirk.

“I agreed to help get your adventurer life started right? Funding and all?” She reached down and dug around in her pocket.

Quickly pulling out and flashing me a single gold looking coin.

“Your next phase is joining a guild, and to do that you’ll need to pass through a dungeon. Then a guild will decide who wants you.”

“I’m sorry did you just say dungeon?”

“Yes?”

“Like, filled with monsters that want to eat me and traps that can filay me dungeon?”

“Is there any other kind?”

I opened my mouth to give her the old Eden ‘Well actually statement’. But you know what, let me not piss off the only person giving me help right now.

“Forgive my ignorance oh guardian of wisdom. For I am but a dumb bush, go on. Please.”

Sometimes I wonder if I I accidently pushed hard mode when I was born. Or maybe I just didn’t add enough points to luck...

“Normally a child would train under their Guardian parent, or their Guardian’s chosen races.”

“But I refuse to train you.” My mother finally spoke up.

“I figured as much.” I sighed, “Where do I go to sign up?”

“Stryder from the Dragonfang guild is still in the area. Waiting just beyond the tree line. He’ll get you in.” My sister chuckled and flicked the gold coin to me.

I stumbled but I reached out and snagged it. It was about the size of a dollar coin, and looked like it lost a fist fight. I stared intensely at it. Puzzled by the odd language surrounding what I’m assuming to be a man on the coin.

It took a few seconds before the useless facts file in my brain opened.

“Is this a real Drachma!” I screeched like a little girl on Christmas day.

“I guess that’s what their called.” She replied as she moved her pinky into her ear and started picking.

“And your just casually carrying this thing in your pocket!? How much is this worth here!?”

“Don’t know, don’t care. I’ve funded you, and started your adventurer career. Leave Arbuscusla.”

“Fair.” I sighed

I looked around for my dad. I figured we’d at least leave together.

“The naked ape left a little bit ago.” My mother spoke up and pointed toward the wood lines to the left of me. “Stryder is just beyond the tree line. Now go, and leave the elven bow, arrows, and cloth.”

“Tch, I almost forgot you don’t care if I live or die.” I replied as I took off the hood.

However, I secretly put an arrow in my pants leg. I’d imagine these must go for something. She did call it elven. Just pray I don’t stab myself as I walk…

…..

“Vomit, I want to. Soon, I shall.” I gulped.

“Please if you can help it, don’t vomit on me. We’re getting close.” Stryder assured me.

I was riding on his back yoda style, while he tarzaned through the woods. Apparently Guilds aren’t allowed to train newbies. So Stryder suggested I go train with his old teacher.

Sadly I don’t know who this wise old sage is. So I have to follow Stryder’s lead. Which means this stupid artificial forest walk.

Let me tell you! It was like my brain was in a washing machine! Right was left, left was right. Up was down, down was Africa! My brain was all out of whack! Why couldn’t I have been born the Guardian of Naps!?

It didn’t help either that riding on Stryder’s back felt like a freaking roller coaster! The wind in my face, the random and aggressive jerking. He was one leap away from a cafeteria lunch hair conditioner.

I felt him skidding to a stop, and I about washed his head in my special conditioner. I could hear a lot of people, it sounded like we were at the mall or something. I had my eyes shut tight the entire ride, so I had no idea where we were.

“We have arrived at Evergreen Garden!” Stryder cheered.

“Set me down before I ever green your head.” I croaked.

Stryder seem to jump a bit and quickly set me down, on what felt like a rock. I immediately opened my eyes, taking slow deep breaths.

“Vomit I shall not.” I panted out.

“Thanks for not vomiting by the way. I can’t imagine how that must feel for you.” Stryder said chuckling.

“You know crash bandicoot?”

“Yeah?”

“Imagine my brain being swung around by him, and never stopping.”

I took another deep breath and stood up.

“I think I’m good no-”

I almost forgot how to breath. It was just so beautiful. Before me was a huge lavender tree. I was a pebble in the wake of this mountain of a tree. It seemed like even its rough bark was shining. It illuminated the forest around it like a full moon in the night.

The leaves were all over the place with an array of different colors, just like a rainbow. All illuminated just like the tree. They seemed to endlessly fall, slowly and freely to the ground. Illuminating the way just like the tree.

Around the tree was an even more amazing sight. People, monsters, shops! It was like every bazaar in every fantasy game I’ve ever played! Draconics! Cute cat girls! Ogers! Even saw some dwarves with beards!

“Come on, he likes to hangout in a tavern near here.” Stryder beamed, happily taking the lead.

Ellie would so love this!

The colors! The vibe, the different races! She would have a field day painting something like this!

Her smile flashed into my mind for a moment. I could feel this cold vice gripping around my heart. All the excitement, all the joy. It all vanished.

Even in a crowd full of people, I felt alone.

Aden, my best friend. This is a place we could have so much fun together. We could nerd out over everything like we do at cons. Ellie and I could run around exploring and getting into shenanigans together.

I missed them, I wondered if they were missing me too? I thought about how I saw them together again. I remembered how Ellie and my hangouts have lessened. How I got her to admit to saying her and Aden had hangouts alone.

I felt this pit grow inside my stomach. I wonder if they really would miss me if I was gone? I wondered if I would even enjoy this place with them.

I probably would just be bitter, I’d be on my toes. I’d be anxious to know what’s going on. To know where I stand with them. And If there together, why didn’t they trust me? I wonder if things would change between us all…

Maybe I was just a mistake. My dad left me here without a word. My mom abandoned me, and my selfish feelings make it hard to even want to see my friends.

I bumped into Stryder (which was basically running into a wall).

“M-my bad, I was lost in my thoughts.” I quickly explained.

“Eden.” Stryder called out as he turned around. “Don’t buy what your mom, or anyone else says alright? I watched you fight, you’r clever. Even when the situation was stacked against you, you still came out on top. So hold your head up high. Your the only son of Gaea.”

I couldn’t help it. A smile slowly found its way onto my face. I didn’t want to be smiling right now, but this guy. He knew exactly what I needed to hear.

“Thanks, you sure your not a mind reader or something?” I laughed out.

Stryder opened the tavern door and stepped inside. I quickly followed his lead and walked in. The tavern was dark with purple orbs floating around that seem to illuminate the place. It seemed like your average bar inside. You know, besides the orcs and fairy’s strolling around.

“Nah, it’s not mind reading. I’ve just been there before. My mom said the same thing to me because I dislike conflict.”

“Right! Your the child of combat and war? That’s gotta be rough.”

“Not as rough as fighting a minotaur Terebis.”

“What? your mom didn’t send waves of monster’s after you? Maybe our folks should switch jobs.” I joked

“Well she did send three of my siblings at me…”

“Yikes! You got jumped!?

“I managed to put all of them down without seriously damaging them. She was trying to get me to fall into, what she calls my inner warrior.”

“Sounds like you got a sleeping Kratos in you.”

He looked back to me for a moment, and he gave me this somber expression. Like he’d done something wrong. I guess I hit a sensitive spot.

“M-my bad man.” I chuckled. “I can’t imagine what kinda changes your body went through being a child of war and all.”

“It’s fine really.” He assured. “Thinking of Kratos, just brings back some bad memories.”

I was debating if I should ask. He didn’t seem like the secret type. However, I could tell it pained him to think about it.

“Yo, Jack! This is the son of Gaea I texted you about!” Stryder happily called out to someone alone at a table.

The guy had snow white hair and glistening light blue eyes. He was wearing a rather old looking blue hoodie and jeans.

I wonder, if Artemis and Robin hood are real

“Is that, Jack frost?” I muttered.

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