As the night rolled in, so was a storm brewing. It was right after the final entrance exam that Bayani and Kontra went back into the clinic. Since they didn’t have dorms assigned to them yet, the clinic was there for the newly arrived students. It was fitting considering the fact that they were attacked by mutants and hybrids back on the train.
Not one person came out unscathed. She had to deal with a slight hearing loss, and he was poisoned by a scorpion hybrid. Passing through the other students, the smell of iron and medicine made the two remember different things from the same stench yet they both reminisced in sadness.
As the albino got on his bed to rest, the thief took a chair and dragged it near his bedside table. They sat in science, waiting for the other to start a conversation. Only the sound of hushed whispers and trays clanking stopped this from becoming too quiet.
“So, do you think you’ll pass?” Kontra started, asked the thief. “I had no trouble with the exams, but it’s kind of a waste if you got lucky at the lottery, fought off those monsters, then had to go home because of a failed grade…”
“I don’t think I’ll pass. I didn’t even prepare for school, for Deities’ sake, I don’t even know how to write!” The thief slammed her head on the table where she rested her arms. “I don’t know why Dakila trusted me this much…”
“We had to write fifty essay questions, Bayani! How did you-”
“I drew my answer…”
“Draw?! Bayani!” The albino couldn’t believe what he was hearing. He risked his life trying to save this girl, got poisoned, and tried his best at the exams only to find out that his rival, that he self-proclaimed, didn’t even try. “How do you not know how to write?!”
“I guess my parents should have taught me to write before they burned in a fire from a hate crime, huh?” She pretended to think. “Hmm, how can an orphan, living in the Outskirts, Mixed, had relatives that wished they were dead, had to steal for a living, hunted for sports, taking care of an illegally adopted son, somehow could pay for her own education?”
“Oh… Sorry. Forgot about that… I uh-” Kontra chose his words carefully. “At least you’re still here?” He said, almost unsure of his words.
“I wish I wasn’t, yet here I am.” She wanted to say that yet she couldn’t, so instead she smiled and said, “Yeah, here I am.”
After the conversation earlier, the two silently agreed to stop talking. It could’ve gotten worse than what happened earlier. Thankfully, his more rabid fans didn’t dare bother him because of the mixed near him, and her bullies wouldn’t try to look awful in front of the esteemed Kontra Bida.
The storm from earlier, which only rained small droplets, now began pouring harder. It hits the roof of the castle harshly. Then a particularly strong thunder echoed throughout the school. The albino was getting antsy, he never liked loud noises, it reminded him of his mother yelling at him for getting a less than perfect score. It reminded him of the roars of the monsters as he was forced to fight them at such a young age to ‘have a head start from everyone in the academy’ when he was five years old. Loud noises were never a good thing in his life.
And now, the worst loud noise of them all, thunder, was here. He could take all the pain from the monsters physically, he could take all the pain from studying five days straight mentally, but sleeping alone, in the dark, as loud thunder echoed in his small room made him feel some other type of fear.
Sure, it was different now, he had people around him. Even one right next to him, the thief, who was practicing how to write using the labels from the medicine bottles. She noticed him looking at her and grew suspicious.
“What? I’m practicing how to write. You don’t have to scold me anymore-”
“No, it’s not that...”
Bayani had seen this look on Dakila one too many times. It was when a person wanted to say something, but something held them back. “What is it, princey?”
He opened his mouth before closing it again. Shaking his head, he turned his back on her and hid inside his blanket. The thief could only roll her eyes. She could see Dakila in Kontra but if they did the same thing, then surely the same thing could be done to coax them into telling her.
Putting her pen down, she gently nudged the form under the blankets. “Hey, I’m a bit hungry. I gotta take full advantage of the free foods around here. Wanna join me in the cafeteria?”
She could see red eyes peeking at her before he nodded and pulled the blankets off.
The pair bid the nurse farewell after they asked permission to go to the cafeteria. It was nice that this place was funded by the king, it meant that there were a lot of things that came for free. Although this means that you have to be a knight or guard after graduating, it wasn’t bad at all.
Free job after college, why not? Even if that means you have to risk your life every day to fight monsters, it was the best option for someone who doesn’t have a choice in her life. As the two walked through the halls, she began to notice him shifting closer to her whenever the thunder would clash.
There were a handful of students in the cafeteria, most of them chatting or eating their midnight snacks. When they entered the room, all eyes were on them, but for reasons they hate. The people would giggle and try to make themselves look good for Kontra but as soon as Bayani walks by them, they would scoff and whisper terrible things behind their back.
She got a cup of noodles, while he ordered pesto pasta. They sat at the farthest table in the back to avoid attention. Bayani let her noodles cook while the albino started eating. “By the way, isn’t it time for your bedtime or something?”
“W-what?” He stopped eating his pasta. “I don’t have a bedtime, I’m eighteen years old. I’m an adult already.”
“So you always just happen to sleep at nine p.m. every weekday and twelve am on the weekend?” She asked.
“How do you know that?! Do you stalk me or something?!” He accused her, but she just raised an eyebrow at him.
“I don’t know, maybe it’s because we hang out every minute of the day despite us being the complete polar opposite?” He made a realization face. “Yeah, did you not realize that? Don’t you have rich friends, so you can talk about caviar or something?”
“I have other friends! Just… none of them really interest me…” He started to doze off and yawn. The smug look on the thief’s face made him realize what he said. “Hey! Don’t go teasing me-”
“So I interest you? More than your rich friends?” She remarked at him. Still giddy at his red face. “Wow! I feel so honored”
“That is… A-anyway, you didn’t come here to eat your midnight snack, didn’t you?” He said, noting the unopened and probably overcooked cup noodles. She sighed and shrugged. “What did you really come here for?”
“I wanted to ask what’s wrong. You’ve been tense ever since the storm started, and I was wondering… Is something bothering you?” She tried to make her voice as gentle as possible. “We are now in a more private place and maybe, but you don’t have to, but can you tell me what’s wrong?”
“Well, aren’t you observant…” He could hear footsteps coming near them, multiple. The thief across him shot them a glare that stuck fear into their core, and thus the footsteps went far away. “It’s a dumb reason. You’ll just laugh.”
“Nonsense! You really think I would laugh at you?” She saw him scoff. “Yeah, I would. But if it’s something that I can help with, I might pull a few strings here and there. Nudge a few people… Down a flight set of stairs-”
“Joking!” She grinned, but it disappeared for a few seconds to frown before going back to the grin. “But really, what is it?”
“I just- it’s-” He took a deep inhale and exhaled. Then he began telling her about his fears. He kept looking at her, waiting for her teasing remarks yet all she did was eat her noodles and nod. Sometimes making a noise of agreement, proving she was still listening. In the end, it was silence.
There wasn’t any laughter or even words or comfort. As she downed the last bit of soup, she sighed and cleaned up her trash. He waited for her answer, not used to this silence from her. He wished that she would laugh at him instead, maybe she was silently judging him.
“You know, you don’t have to be afraid of being alone anymore…” She said. When he looked at her, she looked different. No longer was it the smug and flirty thief that tried to steal his fiancé away, but rather, a kind and gentle person. Something he would never expect that he would use to describe her.
“I mean, I always stuck near you when you were out cold after the train incident. I protected you from your creepy fans. And I...” She slowly inched her hand towards his own before stopping. She was about to pull away, but he grabbed it. They intertwined their hands. “Princey. You don’t have to be scared anymore. You have me.”
“The person that may or may not have killed thousands of people due to my bombs, but I’ve never been caught so-” she stopped when she heard a light chuckle.
“Yeah, thanks.” He smiled before yawning. Just then, a thunder struck once more. His hand gripped hers tighter.
“You know, just this once. You can hold my hand while you sleep. So you’ll always feel my presence.” She stood up and linked her arms in his. “I’ll be the knight in shining armor for a while!”
“I’d hardly call you a knight, much less in shining armor.”
“Would you prefer a thief in bloody clothing, then?” He quickly shook his head. “Well too bad! That’s also me, anyway.”
As Kontra slipped back into the sheets. Bayani continued her practice in writing, but she placed her left hand beside his pillow. He took it gently. Warm breaths tickled her hand, but at least he could finally sleep.
A yellow gem person lying on their bed began to remember things from the distant past as multiple tendril wrapped themselves around them. Looking down, she saw long silver haired person cuddling their chest. They gently combed their fingers into the soft locks and hummed a soft melody.
“You have that face again.” He said, slightly muffled in their shirt.
“What face?” They asked, amused. “How are you even looking at me?”
“I have multiple eyes, remember?” He demonstrated the eye in one of the tendrils. “The face you make when remembering something from the past. Your past.”
“Ah, it’s nothing. I just remembered your past life. He was scared of thunderstorms like this.” They buried their face in his hair. ” I guess it runs in the soul”
“Haha, very funny.” His hug tightened when a thunder struck near them. “I’m guessing you were there for him?”
“Oh, princey. No matter which life you live. I’ll always be there for you. You’ll always have me.”
“Promise?” For a second, they thought they heard their Kontra say that, but they realized that this wasn’t Kontra anymore. But they will always be princey in their heart. If they even had one.