Violet held onto Keel tightly as they flew through the air. She loved riding on Keel’s air-bike like this. The sleek little craft was the sexiest piece of machinery she’d seen so far on this planet.
But even with the thrill of rushing over the ground at an incredible speed, she found she had to fight to hold back her tears.
Telling Keel the things she did that morning had hurt them both, but she had to get it out. The feelings were eating her up inside, and she had to let them out.
Now, her heart ached as she gripped his waist tighter, resting her head on his back.
All too soon, the bike slowed and he lowered them to the parking area outside the academy. Once the craft was settled on the ground, Violet let go of Keel and climbed off. She pressed the release on her helmet and waited as the small metal panels shifted back into the ring around her neck.
Taking a deep breath to steady herself, she met Keel’s eyes. He’d removed his helmet as well and was watching her with sad, pain filled eyes.
“Thanks for the ride,” She said, handing him the ring back.
He took it with a nod. “You’re welcome. I will be here when you finish your lessons to take you home.”
She wanted to tell him not to come. That she would make her own way home, but she couldn’t. As much as she wanted this big, stubborn male to make his mind up about her, she couldn’t push him away.
“Thanks. Have a good day.”
They both stared at each other for a long moment, before Violet stepped closer and gave him a soft, quick kiss on his cheek. It was something she did every day, and the thought of not having this tiny moment of intimacy between them tore at her heart.
She stepped back, noticing that Keel’s eyes were closed and the thin ridges on his nose were flaring. A soft, deep rumble came from his chest before he opened his eyes and took in a long breath.
Without another word, Violet moved away from the bike and watched as Keel reengaged his helmet and lifted the bike into the air. A moment later he was gone from view.
Sighing, Violet turned away and made her way to the main entrance of the academy.
As she approached the massive doors of the large stone building, she spotted two familiar faces waiting for her to the side.
Smiling and shaking her head, Violet went over to them.
“Hey,” she said in greeting.
Both females let out a longing sigh as they stared at the sky where Keel had disappeared.
Violet turned to look over her shoulder, rolling her eyes.
“Are you two ever going to stop ogling my future husband?”
Tamna, the smaller of the two females, tore her eyes off the sky and gave her an unapologetic smile. “No.”
Her long, light brown hair was in a tight ball at the base of her skull this morning, her matching eyes twinkling in the morning sunlight.
The other female, a woman named Golva, came over to them and linked her arm with Violet. Both girls had wide smiles on their faces, but Violet couldn’t bring herself to enjoy their usual morning banter.
“There is something so erotic about a warrior male in uniform on an Air-bike,” Tamna said, clearly not noticing Violet’s mood.
In fairness to her friends, this was something they joked about every morning before class. Tamna and Golva would tease her about Keel, talking about how handsome he was and how lucky she was to have him in her life, and Violet would give them all the juicy details of Keel sparing in the evenings without a shirt on.
But this morning she felt too down, too sad and worried to enjoy the light-hearted joking.
“Can we just get to class,” Violet said, pulling her arm out of Tamna’s and walking faster into the vast entrance hall of the academy.
The one thing Violet loved about this planet was that all education was free to anyone who wanted it. Not just normal school, but higher education as well. With hundreds of academy’s like this one all over Toria, anyone, of any background or status could study to become anything they wanted.
It was a wonderful idea, but it also meant that a lot of the very wealthy people were mixed in with the common folks. Tamna was a lovely female, who came from a very rich family. Golva on the other hand was the daughter of a farming family. She had to travel to the academy for two hours one way from her home on the outskirts of Tortaria.
Both females were awesome, in Violet’s eyes, but there were other students that didn’t see the equal opportunity as fair.
And one such person was heading her way down the long hall.
Violet ground her teeth in preparation for what Arlim would say.
“Well, well, well. Looks like the alien trash is still littering the halls,” The big male said, his light blonde hair cut into the short warrior style she knew well.
Violet rolled her eyes and let out a long sigh. She was so not in the mood for this. Any other day she would have found it somewhat amusing to be the alien in that insult, but today was not the day for this.
“Back off, Arlim, I’m not in the mood for your shit today.” She snapped back, pushing her way past him.
Arlim was the spoilt, snobby brat son to one of the more wealthy families in Toria. His mother was some kind of genius scientist, and his father was the law advisor to King Bor. She’d never met his family, but from what Tamna had told her of this guy, he was the only son. Most Torian’s had two children, but as far as Tamna knew, Arlim had been a surprise child.
It didn’t stop him from being an entitled, annoying asshole most of the time.
“Filthy off-worlders like you should be put down, not allowed to pollute our fine species with your worthless blood.” He snarled back.
Violet stopped, her anger nearing a boiling point.
“Violet, don’t,” Tamna whispered from beside her, “He is not worth getting into trouble with the Master Scholar.”
She was right, Violet thought, but she was far too wound up to let that slide.
Turning back to him, Violet tilted her head to the side and glared at Arlim.
“Golva, you know the law, right? You’re studying it here?”
“Yes,” Her friend replied.
“Good. Tell me, what is the punishment for insulting the King, threatening the Lady of Toria and their unborn child in such a way?”
Arlim paled, his throat working as he swallowed hard.
“The punishment is six months in a work camp, or a very large fine.”
“Hmm. Okay. And what do you think will happen when I tell my sister and my brother… you know, the king, what you just said? What do you think Bor will do to your father? Because I know for a fact that he wouldn’t want anyone related to you anywhere near his family.”
“You wouldn’t dare!” Arlim snapped, taking a menacing step closer to them. Tamna and Golva stepped back, but Violet held her ground. She bawled her hands into fists, ready to take this asshole down if needed.
“Enough!” A loud, booming voice called from behind them. Violet turned to see Scholar Patkar coming towards them. The tall, thin female had her long black hair in a tight ponytail, and her dark brown eyes blazed with anger.
“What is the meaning of this?” She demanded, glaring at both of them.
“She threatened me, Scholar Patkar!” Arlim rushed to accuse, pointing a finger at Violet.
“Silence! You would have me believe that a small female like Violet threatened you? What kind of warrior do you hope to be if you are afraid of a tiny female? And more to the point, what did you do to provoke her?”
Cool brown eyes fixed on Violet, waiting for an answer.
“We were just having a slight disagreement, Scholar Patkar. Nothing to worry about.”
“Are you sure? This academy has very strong rules about males hurting or disrespecting females.”
Violet met Arlim’s eyes, “I’m sure. It’s nothing that can’t be settled in our private time.”
Arlim’s eyes narrowed at her, but he nodded.
Patkar sighed, looking between the two of them, then nodded. “Very well. Off to class, all of you.”
With that, the tall woman strode away, leaving Arlim glaring at Violet.
“Come, Violet,” Golva said, gently pulling Violet’s arm, “Let us do as instructed.”
Violet nodded, giving Arlim her best I’m-going-to-kick-your-ass-later look, before she turned away and followed her friends to class.
“What’s our first lesson today?” Violet asked when they turned the corner.
Tamna answered, “Planetary Understanding and Astral Navigation.”
Violet sighed. “Right. Cos math and geography is so last year.”
Her joke fell flat as they entered the large hall that was their classroom. Unlike classrooms back on Earth, this room was a huge open space with half circle desks in neat rows. There were no windows, only the bright white glow of the lights above.
Violet moved to her desk and eased into the big comfy sofa like chair. Each student sat alone at a desk, but her friends were not far away. Tamna was seated at the desk behind Violet, with Golva to her right.
A few minutes later, a tall, muscular male walked in at the front of the class. His white gray hair seemed out of place on his still-young face. The same short, warrior cut hairstyle made the clear silvery blue of his eyes glow.
“Let us begin!” He called, swiping a hand over the controls to the lights, turning them off.
Violet reached for the activation button on her desk and waited as a half circle of holographic screens rose in front of her.
“Who can tell me,” The teacher began, “What is the point of origin when navigating the Los Moral Galaxy?”
Violet frowned. She knew this. She’d studied it on the data pad the day before the execution.
Taking a risk, she pressed her call button and waited.
“Violet?” The teacher asked.
“The point of origin in the Los Moral Galaxy is the Tri-Saga-Six constellation. It is visible from all areas of the Galaxy, and is used as a reference point in all navigation in that sector. It is also the only constellation of stars that includes three white super giants, a blue giant, four red dwarfs and two fading white dwarfs. If viewed from the planet As’Lo’Muna, the constellation forms the shape of a bow and arrow.” As she spoke, the hologram of the constellation appeared on her screen.
“Very good, Violet,” The teacher said, smiling at her. “And what is the most unique fact about this constellation?”
Violet frowned. She tried to think back but she was coming up blank.
“The alien doesn’t know,” Arlim sneered, “The most unique fact about the constellation is that seven of the ten stars have habitable planets with oxygen rich atmospheres. Something I guess a primitive race like the Humans wouldn’t know.”
Violet was one word away from getting up and going over to Arlim and beating the shit out of that fucker. With her worry for Spot, her heartbreak over Keel and her anger at Arlim, it wouldn’t take much to make her snap.
“Is that right?” The teacher asked, going over to Arlim’s desk, “Very well. If you are so wise, then tell me the twelve Zodiac constellations found on the planet Earth?”
Violet smiled. She knew this. She loved reading her horoscope before the attack. And by the look on Arlim’s face, he had no idea.
“Well, Arlim? Earth, it’s solar system and The Milky Way Galaxy were all assigned to your reading list at the start of the term. You should know this if you wish to stay in my class.”
Arlim paled, his frown getting deeper.
“Are you telling me that you did not study as required to continue attending this class?” The teacher persisted, his hands behind his back as he circled Arlim’s desk.
“I did, Scholar, but… I am having trouble remembering.”
“I see. Perhaps our little alien might be smarter than you. Shall we find out. Violet?”
“The Zodiacs are Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces.”
“Yes. And what are the planets of your home world’s solar system?”
“Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune. There’s a bit of iffyness on including Pluto, but if you do then it would come after Neptune on the list.”
“Yes. Amazing, is it not, students? A race of beings from far away who until only two years ago had no idea that other life existed in the universe. And yet, here she is, in my teaching hall, being smarter than a Torian male. Perhaps next time, Arlim, you will think before you speak.”
Violet looked over at Arlim, who was glaring daggers in her direction. She gave him a sweet smile and waved, before she turned her hand and threw up her middle finger. The crude symbol didn’t mean anything on Toria, but it made her feel good inside.