The punch landed square on his jaw and Syphon fell to the ground spitting out blood.
"Well that'll wake you up." He retorted with a chuckle, looking at his friend Feldor with a grin.
Effen shook his head holding a bag of silver sheckles in his hand. Bren and Feldor looked at him worried, also holding bags of money.
"They aren't going to help you Syphon, you better focus on me." Simon smiled and cracked his knuckles.
"Your money is going to be mine Simon, you can't beat me and my boys." Syphon grinned and rubbed his mouth. "I think you chipped my tooth."
He took another couple punches to the gut and fell to the ground again.
"Give it up Syphon; just stay down." Simon growled.
Syphon looked at Feldor again who seemed quite impatient.
"Seriously I think I could take two?" Feldor shook his head no. "One?" Nod of approval. "One more punch and I'm done."
"He said he's had it!" One of Simon's friends yelled with excitement and tossed up his bag of money.
Syphon danced around Simon so that he was between him and Feldor. Then he dodged a punch and caught Simon in the ear with an elbow followed by a fist to the kidney.
"Come on Simon we need the money, you don't give it up." Syphon whispered in his ear. Just then Simon uppercutted Syphon and he staggered back and waved his hand to Feldor.
Without missing a beat Feldor jumped on Simon's back crushing him to the ground face first. Immediately he sent fist after fist into the back of his head, bouncing his head off the ground.
"You know I did say me and my boys. Did you think I was going to play fair?" Syphon said as he knelt next to the wailing Simon.
"I yield, I yield!" Simon screamed between bounces.
Feldor jumped off and Syphon helped him up. He looked at the other two of Simon's friends with a glance that said I dare you to fight.
"Any other takers? No, then pay up fifteen sheckles a piece." They all threw their money down on the dusty road and ran off.
"Now that was fun." Feldor said cracking his knuckles. Bren sighed and shook his head.
"When are you going to learn to hustle guys you can hustle Syphon?" Bren said.
"I do it's just all the ones I can beat are broke right now. Usually I don't resort to fighting, but that was the only game Simon felt sure he could beat me at." Syphon laughed and spit out a little more blood.
Syphon was about 5'5 with buzzed off black hair tanned skin and nearly black eyes. He was a human and had a bit of gravel in his voice from years of smoking. Despite being only thirteen he was a known hustler and was rather good at it, and an even better partier. His clothes were quite raggedy as he was a homeless peasant orphan.
Feldor was a young dwarf prince of sorts who visited the city regularly. He was short of course and fat with the makings of a red beard and long red hair. His eyes were a golden hazel. He wore a black short sleeved shirt with a flannel vest, unbuttoned and black fingerless gloves with tiny metal studs.
Bren was a human and was shorter then Syphon by a few inches. He was just a tad on the chubby side and had short strawberry blonde hair and green eyes, and freckles all over his face. He wore a yellow shirt with red overalls. And though he didn't have Syphon's taste for violence being rather empathetic, he was happy to get the extra pay.
Effen who was an elf stood about 5'8 and had long blonde hair and sky blue eyes. He had pale skin and his long ears were pierced with the elven star which has six points. He wore a matching outfit from head to toe that was forest green and black. Looking closely at his clothes one would notice vines interweaving throughout and the same star.
"Forty-five sheckles, how shall we spend it?" Syphon said greedily as he shook the bags next to his ears.
"As if we didn't know you were using your cut to take Ember out." Effen retorted with a laugh.
"Well yes, but we could all go out, you guys want to meet us at the Golan Inn?"
"Alright go get your girl we'll meet you there."
Right at that time a young prince rode up on a tall white horse. He had a small golden crown on his head above silvery golden hair. His eyes were a deep purple and he wore a red and white robe. He was an amot, which are fairer then elves but not as long lived.
"What's this I hear about three boys being cheated out of Forty-five sheckles?" The prince asked.
"Your majesty we cheated them not." Syphon began with a bow. "I bet each of them fifteen sheckles that they couldn't beat me and my boys. Is it my fault that only one fought and the rest ran like cowards?"
The prince looked back at the boys who hung their heads in shame. Their reaction said all he needed to know. He dismissed them and they went away empty handed.
"Thank you sire, most authorities take one look at me and sign with the other guys." Syphon bowed again.
"Enough with the sire and your majesty crap. I may be a prince, but I don't exactly like the titles. My name is Doon you may call me that."
"Well I beg your pardon Doon but we'll be going now we're rather busy." Syphon said and began to walk away but Effen wasn't satisfied.
"So a royal who doesn't like titles eh, do you actually have fun?" Effen asked and Syphon looked at him worried.
"Fun meaning what?" Doon had a rather suspicious look on his face.
"You ever played a drinking game with an elf and a dwarf?" Effen smirked mischievously and Syphon gave him sidelong look that said that's mean.
"No, but I can handle my own."
"Care to prove it laddy? The first thing I nursed on was a bottle, not me mothers teet." Feldor chimed in gruffly.
"I would but no place will serve me ale, my father has forbidden it."
"And what if I could make you look like an elf? With the proper clothes and some fake ears you'd pass for an elf." Effen said.
"If you can do that, count me in I don't want to do what I'm supposed to right now anyway."
"Wait here I'll be back." Effen walked off and Syphon followed him.
"What are you doing, he's a royal?"
"We have forty-five sheckles, that's enough to get us all buzzed. But a prince who likely has money on him, that will get us drunk." Effen laughed.
"True, but I don't like authorities, bad luck with them."
"Relax and go get Ember we'll meet you at the Golan Inn."
"Fine but mark my words somethings going to come of this, and it might be you in a dungeon."
Syphon walked away and nervously began to run over what he was going to say. He had plenty of time it was about a twenty minute walk. Legionor was a fairly big city, roughly twenty miles in all. It was circular in shape with stone and wood buildings and dirt roads. A twenty foot stone wall stood around the city with four gates, one to each direction of the world. The Hange river ran through it and outside the walls stood the Mira forest, one of the largest woods in the world.
As Syphon arrived at Ember's home it seemed all his thoughts along the way deserted him. He knocked on the door and nervously put his hands behind his back and began to rock back and forth while he waited. Ember's father Levillian answered the door and glared down at him.
Levillian was tall, roughly 6'8 with long sandy blonde hair and sandy colored skin and honey colored eyes. He was an elemental elf, the most powerful of the elves. He was gruff when it came to protecting his daughter, however he was a rather agreeable and charming person.
"What is it you want Syphon?" He asked gruffly.
Syphon choked on his words and twittled his thumbs behind his back for a moment.
"I um I wanted to see if your daughter would like to come to the Golan Inn with my friends and I."
"What friends? What will you be doing?"
"Effen, Bren, and Feldor. We will be playing darts and pool and drinking a few cold beers."
"It better be just few if she comes home drunk or pays one rat cent I'll skin you and make landfill."
"I promise she won't be drunk, and you can make sure she has no money to spend. I won forty-five sheckles today."
"I wonder; does that cut lip have anything to do with your sudden wealth?"
"Possibly sir, um may I have your permission?"
"Yes Syphon I'm just giving you crap. Any guy willing to get beat up for money to spend on my daughter is okay with me. Besides I know you're safe unlike some other boys around here."
Syphon smiled as Levillian called Ember into the room. She walked in and as always Syphon's breathe was taken away. She had jaw length blonde hair with bright blue eyes that had streaks of honey gold. Her smile could light up any room and her body was perfect in all respects. She wore an outfit similar to Effen's. Her voice rang out like a sweet melody, almost as if an enchantment of love clung to every word.
"Hi Syphon long time no see. So you want to play darts and pool with me huh?"
Syphon nearly melted and stood speechless a moment. "I um, yeah I do."
"Shut your mouth boy before a bird poops in it." Levillian grumbled and Syphon quickly clapped his mouth shut and started to blush.
"Daddy, don't embarrass him."
"He's embarrassing himself." Levillian retorted as Syphon offered his arm to Ember.
Ember put her hand on his elbow and they walked side by side in silence. Syphon looked up at the sky trembling slightly from nerves. The elm and sycamore trees were casting shadows across their path as they walked.
Ember looked at Syphon and laughed a very cheerful little giggle.
"You don't have to be so nervous Syphon, I like you too." She leaned over and kissed his cheek.
"Thanks Sunshine I needed that." Syphon's voice was still quivering slightly.
"Sunshine? Well if you're going to call me Sunshine; can I call you Honeybear?"
"I don't mind, it's just that's what your smile reminds me of. Your smile lights up my day."
"Awe, you're so sweet."
"I'm just being honest Sunshine."
"I know that's what makes it so sweet."
Syphon blushed again and stopped just outside the Golan Inn. He took her hand and gazed into her eyes.
"Ember, I think I love you. I know it's a little early to be saying that. But I've never felt this way about anyone."
"Syphon we've only known each other for two months. But, I think I'm falling for you too."
Suddenly Effen was in the middle of them.
"Alright break it up you two. Syphon I told you it was a good idea. Doon's got us a fair amount of ale and we haven't dropped a cent yet. You coming to play beer pong?"
"That's mean man, does he know what he's getting into? Does he know how hard it is to get an elf or a dwarf drunk?"
"Don't know, we set it up so he can play without getting up from his seat."
"Well that's not good, he'll be tanked before he realizes it if he just sits there."
"Exactly and he'll spend more. And he's already had three shots of the hard stuff."
"You're going to be arrested." Syphon laughed as they walked in.
The Golan Inn was a wooden building lit by lanterns, the wood of the building was enchanted and seemed to dance in the lantern light to the sober eye, the intoxicated eye was mesmerized by it. Especially since it seemed to break the light and send rainbows of light through the wall. In the main room a cloud of smoke hung over the heads of the many regulars and a band was playing on a small stage. Behind the counter two bartenders were busy mixing and handing out drinks and taking money, hardly having time to stop and breathe.
"So do you wanna play pool while we have a couple cold ones? Then we can go out to the woods I know a good spot to watch the sunset." Syphon said handing Ember an ale.
"Sure sounds like fun honeybear."
Syphon blushed and began to rack up the balls and Ember grabbed a cue and played with it while she waited.
"Now the key to this game is knowing the geometry of the table." Syphon said trying to sound smart as he hung the triangle up.
"You don't say." Ember giggled and shot the break sinking three balls in the process.
"Something tells me I'm happy I didn't bet on this game." Syphon grinned.
"My dad and I have played pool ever since I can remember."
"Well at least I don't mind loosing to you."
"How good are you at darts?"
"Darts is my specialty, I can throw a hat trick like snapping my fingers."
"Oh really, well I'll have to see if that's true after I beat you."
"Haha very funny you'll see."
Ember quickly ran the table and beat Syphon without him taking a shot. Syphon downed his ale.
"That's not the way to hustle, you're supposed to pretend to suck til money's on the table."
"Yeah but I'm not hustling you dork."
"Alright new game you're in trouble now nobody beats me at darts."
"Hmm." Ember said and shrugged her shoulders.
Syphon grabbed the steel tipped darts holding them by the needle. He then threw them knife style one by one each hitting the bullseye.
"Told you darts was my specialty, beat that."
Ember stuck her lip out and nodded her head. "Not bad; for a human." And she grabbed her darts in one hand and placed her arms on Syphon's shoulders with the dart board behind her. She looked deeply into his eyes and smiled big.
"Silly human, you can't beat an elf." Without looking away she tossed all three darts at once over her shoulder. All three hit the triple twenty.
"Hmm, this isn't really fair is it?"
"No, I'm an elf honeybear, you're a human, it's no contest. Still that was very impressive for a human."
"Well you're still my Sunshine, do you wanna go to the woods?"
Ember drained her glass. "Sure, and you can show me this great spot of yours." She giggled and took his hand on their way out. They had only left the bar just in time Bren had begun dancing on the table while Doon ran for the bathroom looking like he was going to throw up, Feldor wasn't far behind.
"Looks like a special moment in there." Ember jested as they left the room. They casually walked toward the southern gate which was only a half block away and stepped out into dense forest. The Mira forest was quite hilly with many dirt roads going in several different directions. Butterflies and other various insects flew here and there and a few deer scattered as they walked out. Suddenly a large boar came charging towards them, but the boar had a passenger. A little hobgoblin named Gordon was riding on his back.
Gordon was about two feet tall with green skin and webbed hands and feet. His eyes were golden and cat-like. He reigned in the boar and stopped just in front of them.
"Gordon what are you doing, adding more critters to your list?" Syphon asked.
"Indeed, I love critters, prefer them to people honestly." Gordon voice was very raspy and long breathed.
"How do you manage to tame all these beasts?"
"The key to taming any beast no matter the size is to know their favorite food and where to scratch."
"Haha, well we're heading up the hill to watch the sunset so I'll catch you later."
"Oh, romantic did you bring any food?" Gordon winked at him.
"There's raspberries up there and I have a few sweets in my pack."
"Well pay the toll, one sweet and I'll leave you two alone."
"I figured that's why I brought more." He threw him a sweet roll.
"Smart man, didn't want a third wheel planned ahead." And Gordon rode off while they headed up the hill.
"You know him huh?" Ember asked with a giggle.
"Yeah although last time I seen him he was riding a giant spider, and before that a griffin."
"Wow he does tame a lot of critters."
"Yeah he has a new critter every time I see him." Syphon stopped and grabbed a blue and red wildflower that looked something like a paintbrush. He stuck the flower behind her ear and kissed her cheek.
"Do you like poetry Sunshine?"
"Of course honeybear, are you going to recite me something?"
"When we get to the top of the hill, we should reach it right before sunset I think."
"So, are you biding time to get the most romantic spot; or are you trying to come up with a poem?"
"Maybe both you'll never know."
"You're not that crafty, it's definitely both." She giggled. They walked in silence for another few minutes and then they reached the summit of the hill.
"Beautiful, absolutely beautiful." Ember gasped. They were at the top of a fifty foot cliff overlooking the silver lake. The Hange river fell in a waterfall about fifteen feet to their right. Red, gold, and purple streaks danced across the sky and just a few stars could be seen over the Ara sea; which was on the edge of view to their left. Syphon leaned over behind her and wrapped his arms around her resting his head on hers. Then he began whispering in her ear.
"It's a flower you can't see with your eyes, smell with your nose, taste with your tongue, or feel with your hands. But here's a flower from me to you. Prettier than a beautiful sunny sky of blue. Has a fairer fragrance than the sweetest scent known to man. It tastes better than chocolate that melts in your mouth and not your hand. It's soft and smooth and has not a thorn. It contains all the colors of the rainbow, yet it's so easily born. Close your eyes; can you see it? Can you smell it? Think of your favorite color or the most beautiful thing you ever saw. Neither rivals the beauty of this flower. It's you."
Ember turned to him with a new look in her eyes and kissed him deeply.
"I'm not much of a wordsmith, but I have a gift for you too."
She put her hands over his eyes and whispered something in the elvish tongue then she kissed his forehead.
"For a short time you will have elf sight, now look."
Syphon gasped; now he could see the sunset and a billion stars all at once. The lake appeared as though the light glanced off in dancing crystals and each drop of water from the waterfall was like a little light crystal flying through the air. Several animals that had been hidden from him before suddenly leaped into view. He could also hear the distant sea waves and the beat of a butterfly wings. He turned to look at Ember and she shimmered with a redish gold light and every detail of her was amazingly brilliant.
"Wow, is this how you see all the time?"
"Yes, not all elves only elemental elves see the world this way."
"What's the light you glow with?"
"We can see emotions and moods."
"So, there's no hiding what I feel around you?"
"No, it's pretty hard to fool me."
"No fair, so you've always known how I feel about you but I don't know what the colors mean."
"Well you look reddish gold if that helps."
Syphon melted and kissed her again.
"Could this night get any better?"
"No, cause we're going to have to head back soon. My dad will have a fit if I'm out much longer."
"Yeah we should head back, I love you."
"I love you too Syphon."
They walked back hand in hand and Syphon dropped her off at home. Syphon headed to his home; which wasn't really a home. His home consisted of a sleeping bag and a pillow under a stone archway in the cemetery. He lit a quick campfire and his pipe and glanced over to two headstones.
"Hi mom, hi dad; I got a girlfriend today. Had to get in a fight to take her out but it was worth it. She gave me temporary elf sight I wish you could have seen it. Effen befriended a prince and I hope he's not locked up. God has been good to me just like you said. I love you; goodnight."