Beloved Runt: Part I

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4- Artemis

It was too early to be up. I don’t know how all the warriors do this every morning. It was currently 6:30 am. And the sun wasn’t even up yet but here I was heating up the coffee maker to make a fresh pot and desperately looking for Tylenol.

I didn’t really need to be up so early, but I woke up to a huge headache that prevented me from returning to sleep. After tossing for a few hours I finally admitted defeat and went to the kitchen. I figured I could be useful and make breakfast for everyone. I did this most mornings unless I wasn’t feeling well which happened more often than not. On those days pack warriors would deal with cold cereal.

I was popping some toast in our toaster while simultaneously stirring a pan of scrambled eggs when out new guest walked in. At seeing him I immediately adjusted myself to face my left side towards him. At first, I didn’t acknowledge him. I was still embarrassed about running into him last night. Goddess only know what he thought of that.

Ignoring him would only last so long as he walked over and sat at the breakfast bar near where I was making breakfast. There was food spread all over the counter. Warrior need their strength and because of that they eat a lot. I also like to give them a variety of things to eat. After a while I realized I needed to speak to him or my behavior could be taken as being rude.

“Good morning sir.” I mumbled quietly while looking at him sideways.

“Good morning Artemis,” he called back pleasantly. I felt weird not knowing his name, but it seemed strange to ask for it now. We both sat in the kitchen awkwardly for a few minutes before some of the warriors came in bustling away. I was grateful for their interruption.

The three warriors, Teddy, Russel and Pat went around the plates of food piling their own plate high while talking amongst themselves until they Russel saw the guest and promptly hit the other two to address him.

“Lord Edmon,” Russell greeted. “Good to see you this morning. I’m Russell, this is Teddy and Pat.” He pointed to each person as he said their name. “We’ll be some of the warriors at training today.”

“It’s good to meet you boys.” Our guest, Lord Edmon, replied. I wondered what a Lord was. I had heard he was from the capitol but never knew what for.

Russell talked with Lord Edmon a little more making small talk. That was something I was never good at. While they were talking Teddy walked up to me.

“Hey Artie, is there any coffee?” Teddy was a caffeine addict. I gestured with my head towards the coffee machine before replying.

“Sorry Teddy. It’s acting up on me again.” I could never figure out that fancy machine. What happened to normal coffee makers?

“No worry, Artie. I’ll fix it.” I turned back to the eggs stirring them before plating them for others to eat. I turned to find Pat buttering the toast that had popped up. With all that done I finally turned to Lord Edmond to help him.

“My lord feel free to help yourself to anything. Can I get you anything to drink? Coffee? Tea?” Lord Edmon looked at me with a critical eye. Was there something wrong?

“Actually, I wouldn’t mind a cup of tea. Any Earl Gray?” My nerves spiked. I didn’t want to disappoint him but our tea selection was limited to mostly herbal teas that I grew during the summer.

“Sorry no Earl Gray,” I mumbled hesitantly, “but I have a nice lavender blend if you like”

“Sure. Sounds great.” Turned towards the kitchen cabinets reaching for the tea tin I kept and a large mug. While the tea steeped, I grabbed the cream from the fridge and the honey from the cabinet. I like tea way more that I like coffee. After discarding the used tea bag, I poured some cream and honey stirring the tea with the same spoon I used for the honey and set it in front of Lord Edmon. The lord stared at the tea sitting in front him eyeing it carefully.

“Did I do something wrong?” I asked. Maybe he hates lavender tea. Lord Edmon looked up at me then shook his head before grabbing the mug and taking a sip.

“mmmhmm…wow. That’s really good!”

“Glad you like it my lord.” I tried to busy myself by cleaning up to various items around the kitchen. I hated a messy kitchen.

“Don’t worry about the dishes Artie,” Russell called out. “We can clean up when we get back. You should go and rest before Dalton gives us extra drills for over working you. “

“I don’t mind.” I called back. “I don’t think I can relax knowing I have a messy kitchen waiting.

Before I got too far into cleaning up Dalton walked in. He stood just in the doorway looking at everyone. He had a stern look on his face. The others better watch out. Dalton was fair but strict with the warriors. I turned to try and defend the three warriors but Dalton’s focus seem to be pointedly on Lord Edmond. Lord Edmond on the other hand see, to be ignorant of the negative energy being sent his way. After a moment Dalton looked at me and made eye contact to which he then walked closer to me.

“Everything alright Artie?” I just nodded my head at him and grabbed a rage and started wiping things down. I didn’t want to draw any attention. Dalton didn’t like that answer. He walked right up next to me grabbing the rag from me to force me to look at him.

“Are you sure?” He spoke quieter this time but he was making a point. He wanted an honest answer.

“Everything is fine,” I managed to squeak out. Dalton’s eyes searched my and I looked towards Lord Edmon who was making me uneasy. Dalton felt the underlying message and acted.

“My lord,” He said turning to the guest, “the warriors are assembling outside for our training. Perhaps you would like to join us?” Lord Edmon narrowed his eyes at Dalton, took one last sip to finish his mug and set it on the counter before rising from his seat.

“Thank you for the tea, Artie. I’ll see you around.” It wasn’t until Lord Edmon left that I was able to finally relax. That man made me nervous.

“Did he say anything to you?” Dalton was looking at me concerned again. I didn’t want him to run away with conclusion.

“Not much. I offered him some tea. He seemed, to like it. Russell talked to him some.” Lord Edmon didn’t do anything, it was just his whole dominating being that made me nervous. I’m not even sure he was conscious of it.

“I don’t want you alone with him ok. If you run into him find either Dad or me ok?” I nodded my head

“Thank you Dalton,” I mumbled.

“Your welcome Artie.” He tehn turned to the three other guys in the room barking order at them.

“Alright you three. Times up. Let’s get outside and get started. Move!” All three warriors dropped what they had in the their hands and shuffled out calling out thanks to me as they left. I smiled as they exited.

“Artie?” Dalton called.

“Hmmm?”

“Why is the Tylenol out?” I looked at him with wide eyes not wanting to answer rhim. It would only worry him and I didn’t want to bother him more than I had.

“Artie…” Dalton growled out my name as he reached over me to grab the pills. He narrowed his eye at me waiting for an answer.

“I may or may not have woken up with a headache this morning.”

“Artie!” Dalton was exasperated.

“It’s not that bad” I tried defending myself.

“I knew you over did it yesterday. You need to go lay down and rest. No more extra work today.”

“I really am fine, Dalton. I can manage.

“I’m not risking it. Now go lay down. I’ll have someone bring something down to you later he handed me the pills and pointed his gaze towards the door.

“I grabbed the bottle form him and turned to follow his direction. Hopefully Russel, Teddy and Pat would follow through with cleaning up. I hated leaving a messy kitchen.

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