Guardians

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Chapter 15 - I see a chicken Therapist

“The one and only.” Stryder chimed.

Welp, I think it’s fair to say the tooth fairy is here too. Probably downing listerine in some shot glasses…

The man at the table had snow white hair, that I swear had flurries flying out of it. His complexion was rather pale, but it seemed natural? For couple thousand year old legend, he had surprisingly good style. Dude looks like a calvin klein model. A blue V-neck shirt with brown joggers, and Vans.

“Oh my gosh he actually exists…” Me and frosty both shuttered out at the same time.

His icy blue eyes wandered all over, he even got up from his chair to get a closer look. I could feel the goosebumps form as a rush of cold air followed him.

“Yes, yes I pee standing up and speak to the trees.” I sighed.

“Wouldn’t that make you the Lorax?” Jack chuckled.

“I mean…”

“I was friends with your brother Robin a few hundred years ago. Ah, dude had a good sense of humor.”

“Wait what! Really!? Can you tell-”

“What’s your claim name?” Jack shot out, cutting me off quickly.

“I mean, I do claim the name Eden.”

“No, no the name Gae-fart calls you.”

“I mean, is it really that important?”

Jack sat up and raised his brow, a playful smirk forming on his face.

“Oh, someone’s embarrassed. Well come on now, I can’t start training until I know your claim name.” Jack insisted.

“Jack come on, he’s already had a rough-”

“It’s Arbuscula! My claim name is Arbuscula! Happy?” I roared out over Stryder.

Jack began to snicker, moving his hand over his mouth. Clearly trying to hold back his laughter.

“Short bush! She named you short bush!” Jack started laughing hard. “You don’t know this yet kid, but claim names are very important to an Adventurer!”

“Of course they are..” I sighed rolling my eyes.

“U-umm Jack Frost?” We heard a quiet voice speak up from behind us.

Standing behind us was some guy in a hoodie. He looked nervous. His hood could barely hide his short dreads that were poking out. However his most noticeable feature was his eyes, it was like looking into a storm. They shined through his hood and dreads. A cloudy gray color, with seemingly a lighting like flare to them.

“Yeah that’s me, what do you want?” Jack inquired.

“I heard you taught-”

“The answer is no.”

“P-please reconsider, I don’t have anyone else who’s willing to train me.”

“The heck did the sky king cast you out for?” Jack asked in shock.

“My claim name is Icarus.” He put bluntly.

“What the hell..” Jack sighed.

“Please, I can’t fly and no one thinks it’s worth helping me.” Icarus begged.

“Look kid, as tragic and depressing as that is. I can’t help you. I already got two kids I’m training.” Jack turned away from him and went back to his seat.

“Come on Jack, have a heart. He’s literally out of options.” Stryder begged, but Jack wasn’t having any of it.

“This ain’t no camp for misfits alright. Your lucky enough I’m helping short bush over here! I’m sorry, but, sucks to suck kid.” Jack said waving him off.

That’s when I had an idea. I reached down to my pants leg and lifted it up slowly.

“How about if you let him in, I’ll give you this!” I cheered as I pulled the arrow from under my pant leg. “Its an Elven made arrow! I know this has to go for something high.”

“Elven arrow!?” Jack perked up. “Old Gae-fart keeps her borders hidden well. How’d you get it?.”

“Stole it of course.”

“Ah, respect.” Jack chimed.

“Well this could be yours, for the small price of training a chicken!” I cheered.

“Hhhmmm, I don’t know. Got anything else to add?′ Jack asked.

I sighed and looked back to Icarus. My mother’s words echoed in my mind. ‘You’re just a mistake.’ The memory of every elf laughing in my face followed after. Stryder lent me a hand...

I went into my pocket and pulled out the drachma.

“My baby…” I muttered.

“Huh?” Jack asked.

“You can have my drach-”

Stryder stepped in front of me.

“Jack, I’ll fund his training.” Stryder turned around now and I stepped back. “What’s the name you claim?”

Icarus stormy eyes seem to shine like a lighting storm at Stryder.

“I-it’s Rushon. I go by Rushon.” He spoke up. “But Stryder, you don’t have to do that. Either of you. I’m not worth all that trouble.”

Stryder smiled and moved a hand on Rushon’s shoulder.

“I think you are.” Stryder said firmly.

Rushon’s eyes widened in surprise at Stryder’s words. I looked into Stryder’s bold blue eyes, and I could see a strong conviction in them. He really meant what he said.

“Thank you, thank you both so much. I won’t let you down,” Rushon cheered confidently.

“We start at ten am tomorrow. Don’t be late.” Jack commanded.

“But I have class..” I chimed in.

“Guess that’s to bad..” Jack remarked before taking another sip of his drink.

“An adventurer’s job always comes first, even with school. I’m in college right now and I still leave out for quests. Your guild’s reputation is constantly on the line.” Stryder added in.

“I see. Well leaving school to kill some monsters sounds pretty Percy Jackson to me!” I cheered.

“Percy what?” Stryder asked.

“You read the Lighting Thief!?” Rushon perked up.

“Yeah it’s my favorite seri-!”

“Leave! Your nerd essence is scaring the women off.” Jack roared.

“Right, did you two know how to forest walk home?” Stryder asked.

“Yup.” We both said at the same time.

With that Stryder walked us out of the tavern, and to the woodline. We exchanged numbers with him and each other. (I had about a hundred messages from Ellie and Aden.) After that, we all went our separate ways.

As I was walking home I read through the messages I had. Aden had like fifteen messages, and like a hundred calls. The messages were asking if I was okay, where did I run off to. That he wanted to talk about things.

Ellie pretty much said the same thing, but she added that she left my birthday gift outside on my front porch.

It was around seven now, and the sun was setting. The dark orange rays of the sun were bathing the area around it, and the whistling of cicadas whispered around me. I was kinda just wandering now. Trying to either ignore my thoughts about Ellie and Aden. Or fall down the Alice and Wonderland hole of depression thinking about them both. And the latter was happening...

What should I say next time I see them? Do I even feel like saying anything at all to them? Do I even have a right to be mad at them at all?

That’s when I accidently left the tree line. I noticed I was out behind the woods, behind Aden’s house. I blinked hard a few times, really trying to grasp the situation here. I guess I subconsciously really wanted to be here...

I took a few steps out, and started to walk around from the back of the house to the side of it. Taking my time to take in the big wooden house that loomed over me, I forgot how fat his house was. As I turned the corner, I felt my blood run cold. I lost my breath, and my mind went blank.

There stood Aden and Elie. Aden had his arms wrapped around Ellie waist, her body was against his. And they were kissing each other intently. I had no thoughts, no feelings. Nothing. I just felt empty. My arms dropped, and I felt frozen.

It was like life was trying to torture me. My legs felt like cement, I couldn’t get them to budge. I was just forced to sit here and watch.

When they finally broke the kiss, I was free. I saw the smile on their faces, and all my emotions hit me at once. I was furious, I wanted to just run over and clock Aden in the face. But I also felt empty, I felt defeated. Like I should of expected this, I felt stupid. It was like staring at strangers...

I took a step back, my eyes glued onto their smiles. Why was I still watching…?

‘Why can’t you be more like Aden?’ Something my dad used to always say to me. I don’t think I ever once got a compliment from him. It was always Aden this, and Aden that. I remember every time someone would groan when they found out Aden invited me to come along to hangouts. I remember how every sport I ever played told me I didn’t belong because I was a nerd. I remember Ellie telling me I was fine just the way I was.That she liked the one hundred percent Eden, just the way I was. I-I wanted her to be the one who could finally see me and him, and choose me.

I wanted to be more than just Aden’s annoying sidekick to someone!

I’m so stupid! Stupid! Stupid!

They were right, they were always right! I was just a nuisance!

I turned around to the woods, and I started running. I ran with all I had. I wanted to be away, far away from everything!

Stryder was just being nice, he didn’t mean it. He couldn’t have meant it. I bet if he met Aden first, I wouldn’t even be a thought in his eyes...

I suddenly felt nauseated, like earlier when I was on Stryder’s back. Before I could get my bearings straight, Bam! I slammed into someone and dropped.

“Ahhh what the heck!?” I heard someone yelp.

“Ahh my bad..” I groaned.

It felt like I was hit by a car. My head was throbbing, and my ears were ringing faintly. At least the naustia stopped...

“Eden..?” I heard Rushon grumble.

I sat up slowly, and squinted my eyes. I could see Rushon laying against a tree, rubbing his head.

“What are you doing here?” Rushon asked.

“Oh you know-” I panted out, trying thinking of a clever joke.

But my mind was fried.

“Know what…?” He asked.

“N-nothing.” I gasped still catching my breath.

“You okay?” He asked.

“Y-yeah.”

Rushon was quiet for a moment, his stormy grey eyes roamed around the woods. Then slowly came around and landed back on me.

“It’s been a rough day. Trust me I can understand. If you want to talk about it, I’m all ears.” Rushon offered.

I looked away from him. Compared to all the other crap I’ve got on my plate. It seems so stupid to be worried about something so insignificant.

“I-I don’t want to bother you with it. It’s not a big deal really.”

“Well if it’s not a big deal, then that makes it even easier to talk about it right?” Rushon chuckled.

I slowly moved myself against the tree behind me. I started picking at the bark on it. The sound of the cicadas echoed throughout the woods, filling our silence.

Maybe if I explain he’ll understand how stupid I’m being. I took a deep breath and then met his gaze.

“I have these two friends. Aden and Ellie, and I’ve recently found out they’ve been secretly dating behind my back. And I’ve had feelings for Ellie, for forever.” I stopped talking for a moment.

I was debating how much I should really be telling him. I stopped picking at the tree, and started tapping it. I’ll spare some details...

“I know it’s wrong of me to be mad at them. Ellie can choose to date whoever she wants. That nothing was promised to me or anything like that. I know I’m just being selfish. So there’s no need for advice or anything like that. I just need to get over it.”

This should be enough to get him to stop asking...

“Well, I think your being a bit hard on yourself Eden.”

I blinked a few times, did I hear him right?

“Huh? How?”

“What you said was right. But that doesn’t make your feelings any less justified.”

“What do you mean?” I asked, legitimately puzzled.

That’s supposed to be the actual solution here, that’s reality! How can I be wrong? This should be easy to dismiss.

“Well yeah, your friends can date whoever they want. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be hurt that she didn’t choose you. You’re allowed to grieve over losing a girl you liked. Especially to someone like your best friend. Friends are honest with each other. If they really care they’ll tell you the truth. Even if it hurts. So you’re justified in feeling betrayed. Just remember, they’re probably scared to say something because they think sparing your feelings is better than the truth. But that still doesn’t make what happened okay.”

“I never really thought about it like that before…”

“Your trying to ignore your feelings. I don’t know you well enough to know exactly why but, you need to accept those feelings. That’s the only way you can grow past this. Your trying to use your logic to cope with the problem.”

“Your sure you’re not a child of the psychology guardian?” I asked squinting my eyes at him.

He laughed. “I wish! Maybe not being able to fly wouldn’t be such a big deal. But I speak from experience. A few years back my ex-girlfriend cheated on me with my best friend. I figured it had to be something wrong with me. So I made up every excuse in the book and told myself I deserved it.”

“I feel the exact same way. Like I’m some type of mistake.”

“I still struggle with that mentality sometimes. What that guy at the tavern said to me. I don’t want to believe it. He doesn’t know me from atom. Yet he’s going so far for me…”

I remembered what Stryder said to me at the Tavern. Telling me to hold my head up high, because I’m clever, because I am the only son of Gaea.

“Rushon, I think your worth it. Even after only talking to you this once. You’re a good listener, and your pretty smart. Plus you’re the only Icarus the sky guardian has. We both have to keep our heads up, and own our names. Show them that that our names won’t hold us down. Being born a guy, or being flightless won’t determine what our future will be.”

He looked surprised at first. His cloudy looking eyes fixated on mine. Then his surprised face quickly formed into a smile.

“I can say the same about you. Wasn’t I the one consouling you a minute ago?”

“Well it’s only fair I return the favor, I was feeling pretty sorry for myself a second ago.” I chuckled.

“Then let’s do it.” Rushon announced, getting up from his tree.

I followed his lead and pushed off the tree, walking over to meet him in the middle.

“Do what exactly?” I asked with a smirk.

“Prove ’em all wrong, Arbuscula and Icarus.” He took his hood down, exposing his black dread locks and held out his fist toward me.

“I like the sound of that, we’ll be the top adventurers. Settle for nothing less!” I cheered as I went in and fist bumped him.

Then I began to hear a familiar ringtone begin to play, from what I assumed to be Rushon’s phone. He jumped a bit and took his phone out of his pocket. That’s when it hit me. IT WAS THE POKEMON BATTLE THEME MUSIC! HE’S A NERD!

YES!!!!!

“Uh huh, uh huh. Yeah I’m almost home Mom, I’ll be there soon. Love you, bye.” He hung up quickly.

“Hey I gotta bounce, my mom is super worried about me. She really isn’t into this magic crap.”

“Totally get it, my dad is just the same.”

“See ya tomorrow?” he asked.

“Absolutely!” I cheered.

He stepped away from me.

“If you ever need to talk again, just text me.” He said as he turned around and jogged off.

“Whatever you say Dr. Phil!” I called out to him.

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