Bug

After So, Who Are You?.

The halls seemed more empty than normal; it seemed as if Tall Guy was dragging Blaecleah down a viewing gallery to his execution.

He went where he was dragged, because Tall Guy had a very firm grip, and because he wasn’t sure that he could go the other way if he wanted to, even if Tall Guy let go.

Was that Master Tall Guy? Nah, that only happened in the stories. Well, mostly in the stories. He hadn’t been really sure about the collars, until D.J. had brought that skinny skinny girl around with the shiny gold collar. So maybe he just hadn’t read the right books? Maybe the creche library had been holding out on him…

“Here.” Tall Guy came to an abrupt stop, quick enough that Blaecleah kept moving. Somehow he found that momentum used to push him in front of Tall Guy, the grip on his arm traded for a grip on both shoulders. “See, ‘Obe? I told you.”

“‘Obe” was probably the woman – girl? – horned person in front of them, taller than Blaecleah by an inch, blonde and stunning with sun-burnished bronze skin. She looked as if Tall Guy had just handed her a bug, like they were kids on the playground.

Being the bug, Blaecleah found, was far less fun than handing the bug to someone else.

“‘Here?'” ‘Obe looked Blaecleah up and down. “It’s a first-year student, Sedge, well done.”

“Kneel.”

“Wha-” Blaecleah dropped to his knees. “Oh.”

Niobe sighed. “Sedge…”

“Tell her what happened, honestly.”

“What happened? I mean, you said you thought I was soft and dared me to take a year as yours.”

“And you knew what that entailed?”

“I know what being Kept is, doesn’t everyone?”

“See, ‘Obe? You said if I could get someone to willingly agree to the collar, you’d help me with the graduation requirements.”

Next: Think Before You Deal


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