Tag Archive | character: apollo

A Reconcilliation, for @InspectrCaracal

A Change in Routine
[personal profile] inventrix‘s Let’s Pretend
Class is in Session
A Brief Reunion
[personal profile] inventrix‘s Unexpected Visitor
Lessons in the Dojo
[personal profile] inventrix‘s from RP logs
Education and Collars
Trouble in Paradise
[personal profile] inventrix‘s Mistakes were Made

Later in the same sequence, after Apollo has been given to Leo, after Leo gets sick of the two of them moping at him separately and encourages them to talk to each other.

“Hey, kiddo.”

Apollo was walking the walls of the city. Not just anyone was allowed up there, but nobody was going to keep the Mayor away, so Cya had climbed up to join him.

“Kiddo?” He looked back at her curiously. “First time you’ve called me that.” He slowed down his pace to let her catch up.

“Yeah, well. I try not to use terms like that with people I might be sleeping with. It just gets a little creepy.” She smiled crookedly, and hoped it wasn’t awful.

“But you didn’t.”

“Yeah, well.” Cya shrugged uncomfortably. “You weren’t comfortable enough being mine for me to risk it.”

“Risk?” His lips quirked.

“Risk.” She wrinkled her nose. “Someone who knew me well might say I’m risk-averse. I think, I think I was risk averse before I even went to addergoole. And then I learned how to minimize risk…”

“This from a woman who got shot stealing a slave?”

He’d learned how to be snotty without being mean. Another thing she’d have to thank Leo for. She smirked faintly. “You’ve been around us long enough to figure that one out.”

It took him a second. And then he nodded. “Martyrs,” he muttered.

“Leo does it so well, but someone’s always had to clean up after him.” She shrugged like he hadn’t been talking about her, and he smirked like he was getting used to evasions.

“I like having Kept.” It had always been something of a guilty pleasure. “But I like having Kept… and not feeling evil about it.” There was a story there, but it could wait for later.

“You’re not evil,” he protested. She smirked tiredly, and paused in her story to Find if there was any trouble on the walls. She could Find nothing, so she kept walking.

“In school, I picked angry boys, guys who would have gotten broken by the wrong Keeper, and I let them be angry all over me, because… well, because they could, and I could, and I didn’t mind it.” She shrugged, because she wasn’t going to explain how Cabal’s anger had felt like fire melting ice, how the way Howard had grumbled had felt like reassurance. “And then I picked people who looked lost, who looked – “

“Blonde and with horns and antlers?”

“Or skinny and dark. Go take a look at Kheper sometime.” She and Leo had joked about it forever. She had a type. She took a breath. “The point is, I got better at Finding, so I Found people that wouldn’t hate being Kept.”

“Blonde guy with antlers who doesn’t mind the collar? That’s a pretty specific set of requirements.”

“I have a pretty aim-able power.” She shrugged a bit. “I got used to low-risk Kept.”

It was a lousy explanation, but he seemed to be filling in the holes on his own. “Leo said you picked Kept you could help.”

She smiled crookedly. “I try. What Luke said… when I can’t Find one of my Kept anymore, it…” It hurt, like a plan she hadn’t remembered to make. “…it sucks.”

“I thought I was invincible,” he muttered. “And…” he thought for a long time before he spoke again. Their feet moved quietly along the walls. “I didn’t ever want to be under someone’s collar again. I kept expecting it to be like it was. And it wasn’t, and I didn’t know what you were waiting for.”

“And you didn’t want it, and you felt betrayed.” Cya nodded slowly. She knew about feeling betrayed. “You’re doing well with Leo.”

“I didn’t want to. But…” He shrugged awkwardly. “He wasn’t a stranger. And… He didn’t know what he was doing.”

Cya found herself laughing awkwardly. “Not the first time my plans have been the problem.”

He hesitated, his feet stilling, and looked at her. “Why did you give me to Leo?”

“Because I couldn’t help you. We couldn’t get past the bullshit to listen.”

“You wanted to help me.” He smiled a little, crooked, like he’d been watching the way Leo tended to smile – which he probably had. “So, uh. I think you did?”

Cya squinted at him, and then found herself smiling. “You’re a good kid, Apollo.”

“Yeah, well.” He shrugged, but he did hug her back. “Think it’s rubbing off on me.”

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1044549.html. You can comment here or there.

Stolen, Doomsday/Fae Apoc funfic

A Change in Routine
[personal profile] inventrix‘s Let’s Pretend
Class is in Session
A Brief Reunion
[personal profile] inventrix‘s Unexpected Visitor
Lessons in the Dojo
[personal profile] inventrix‘s from RP logs
Education and Collars
Trouble in Paradise
[personal profile] inventrix‘s Mistakes were Made

He was, not to put too fine a point on it, confused and disoriented.

This morning, he’d been waiting in a cage at the slave market, ready to be sold, because his master – who was a bit of an asshole – was sick of him.

Then the crazy woman with the wide smile had grabbed him, assuring him that everything was fine, they were stealing him.

There’d been a rather wild moment where they tortured and threatened his master into passing his ownership over, the woman and her male companion grinning and acting like this was all a game.

And then his new owner had gotten shot and everything had gone sideways for a bit and the man had stopped smiling and then everything had gone even more sideways a few times. He wasn’t entirely clear on any of that until he and a third man who’d appeared at some point had been stuck on a porch, and the man had declared he was going to get cleaned up.

His new owner was bleeding, possibly to death, and this madman wanted him to get clean. He’d argued, but the madman was a teleporter, and he’d found himself physically moved – over and over again – into a bath until he’d relented and let himself be cleaned.

And fed.

And finally, finally, a box on the wall had rung and the teleporter had agreed to take him to his new owner.


“Come in, come on.” She was being carried by a tall man with horns, and she looked wan but no longer dying. She gestured up to her door, somehow making it an invitation, and the telporter pushed him inside, like he wouldn’t have gone on his own.

The horned man set her down on a couch, where she proceeded to settle herself as if it were a throne. “Thank you, Apollo. Go back to Leo now.” Her voice went soft. “Take care of him for me, okay?”

He bowed and left, seemingly in a hurry.

She turned her attention to the teleporter next. “Namir, you’re not fired. Unless you want to be, in which case, you’re still not fired, but we’ll talk about it in a few days. Go home, get some rest.”


“Go home, get some rest.” Her voice was strained, but it still had steel behind it. “Try to stay away from Leo for a few days.”

He left. The woman gestured to the floor in front of her. He knew what that meant, and knelt there, facing her.

“Hey, kiddo. Sorry for the mess there.”

He bowed his head and didn’t answer. How did you answer that?”

“What’s your name?”

He cleared his throat. “Gwyn, Mistress.”

“Gwyn.” She chuckled. “Of course it is. Look at me?”

He looked up at her, pale and freckled, her shirt ripped open where the crossbow bolt had gone through her, but whole, uninjured.

“Yeah, I can see it. From Addergoole?”

“No… what’s Addergoole, Mistress?”

“Mmmn. A place you probably have antecedents. Anyway. Hello, Gwyn, nice to meet you. I’m Cya du’Red Doomsday, and you belong to me.”

“…Yes, mistress.” He swallowed. “Thank you.”

“‘Cya’ will do.” Her fingers ran around his bare neck. “Namir took that awful hawthorn collar off, I see.”

“I tried to stop him…”

“It’s all right, it saves me trying to Work hawthorn half-dead. It wasn’t on for long, then? I don’t see any blistering and only a couple pricks here and there.”

He shook his head. “The auction house requires it.”

“Of course they do. All right. Standing orders: don’t attack me or mine, do your best not to do damage to anything that belongs to me. Loose guidelines: Stay in the city, try not to get in too many fights. Those are breakable as needed for your safety, mine, or that of innocent bystanders.”

Gwyn blinked at her. “Mistress? Err, Cya?”

“I know what I’m doing, I assure you.” She winked. “I’m afraid showing you around and things are going to have to wait. Urrm. Why don’t you help me to my bedroom, and indulge me in a nap, and we’ll worry about the rest later?”

This day was definitely not turning out like he’d thought it would. “Yes… Cya.”

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1042413.html. You can comment here or there.

Trouble in Paradise, a further continuation

A Change in Routine
[personal profile] inventrix‘s Let’s Pretend
Class is in Session
A Brief Reunion
[personal profile] inventrix‘s Unexpected Visitor
Lessons in the Dojo
[personal profile] inventrix‘s from RP logs
Education and Collars
Much offscreen RP lies between that last post and this one. Summary: It’s been a long time since Cya handled an unwilling Kept, and Apollo reminds her far too much of her crewmates when they were young and stupid reckless. Also, she didn’t used to be running a school and a city. Leo can see how it’s stressing her out and has offered to take Apollo off her hands.

Re. Olindo and Adeen; Olindo is a cy’Linden crewmate of Apollo’s who, being as stupidly headstrong as Apollo, had managed to get himself caught by unsavory people of a handwavey sort. Adeen is their stabilizing force, but she’s still in Addergoole.

Apollo looked both thoughtful and nervous as he walked back into Cya’s house, a combination of expressions that made her nervous and told her he’d probably been talking to Leo.

She was mending a pair of pants – the hard way, because unutu had never been one of her good words – so she let him pace and hem and haw nervously for a few minutes before looking up. “Yes?”

“What do you want?” he demanded, and then winced and sat down with a thump on the floor. “I mean… I don’t know what I’m supposed to do. I didn’t know I was making you miserable -“

“Didn’t care, you mean.”

“Didn’t know! But I didn’t really care at first, either.” He coughed and looked away. “Until we found Olindo. Then I started to get the point, I guess.”

Nothing like a well-placed object lesson to hammer things into thick skulls. If only that had worked with Leo.

Leo had been insane. This kid was just young.

And very plaintive. “And I don’t want to be Kept. I really… I still don’t think I need a babysitter. But I don’t want to be making you mad all year, either.”

“That’s the bond.” Hell of a time for it to finally kick in.

“I mean, I’ve been Kept, I went to Addergoole. But if I’ve got to be Kept, I don’t want to be a burden. And I don’t know what you want!”

She studied him, hands up in frustration, tears unshed in his eyes. “I want…” Careful, careful. Phrasing was everything with a Kept. “What I’m hoping for is that you can take this opportunity to grow up a bit, and to look at life more carefully, so that when you leave here, you and Olindo and Adeen don’t dive headlong into trouble.” Which she would probably get them out of, if she noticed in time. But no need to let him know they had a safety net.

“But it’s not like you can see me thinking! I.. You… You’re just… unhappy with me all the time!”

Shit. Cya took a deep breath. She set down the pants she’d been mending and walked across the room so she could pet Apollo, carefully, mindful of his crown of horns. “I think it’s time we go talk to Leo.”

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1038670.html. You can comment here or there.

Education and Collars, a further continuation

A Change in Routine
[personal profile] inventrix‘s Let’s Pretend
Class is in Session
A Brief Reunion
[personal profile] inventrix‘s Unexpected Visitor
Lessons in the Dojo
[personal profile] inventrix‘s from RP logs

Dinner with Leo had been… Interesting. Educational, Luke decided, like every visit to the Ran- to Boom’s place. Wherever Boom’s places were.

For one thing, it had taught him that he needed to visit Howard, or maybe talk Shira into doing so.

For another, it had taught him he owed Apollo an apology. So, sitting in Cynara’s living room while Cynara and Leo made small talk about their students, he looked Apollo in the eye. “I shouldn’t have split your crew up. I’m sorry.”

There was a pause while Apollo processed that. Then, “Yeah. No biggie, I guess.” Apollo tugged on his collar and looked away.

Luke coughed. That. “I’m not going to apologize for asking jae’Red Doomsday to Keep you.”

Apollo glanced at him sideways. “Why not?”

“Because you needed it. Because being here is good for you.” He could see Apollo readying a scoff. He kept talking. “I failed you as a Mentor. But I’ve seen what Cyna- Cya can do as a Keeper.”

“Yeah? Have you seen her collar collection?”

Luke snorted. “I’ve watched her pick her Kept for the last sixty years. If I were Regine I could tell you their survival percentages…”

“Please don’t,” Cynara murmured. When Luke glanced over, she was once again chatting to Leo about something one of their Students had done.

“…I can’t. I’m not that good at numbers. But I’d bet you anything it’s higher than that of the rest of the Addergoole grads.”

“Anything?” Apollo leaned forward, a fierce twist of an expression on his face. “Would you bet a year under this collar yourself?”

Cynara and Leo stopped talking. For a moment, it seemed to Luke that the entire city stopped talking.

It was a fair question. He glanced over at Cynara, only to see that she was studiously watching a patch of wall over Leofric’s shoulder.

“Well,” he started to hedge, “there’s the problem of my teaching job…” No. He needed to give the kid a fair answer. “Yeah. Yeah, I’d be willing to gamble that.” Mike would kill him. Slowly. But it wasn’t like there was much danger of it. “But are you sure jae’Doomsday is interested in being gambled with?”

Apollo glanced guiltily back at his Keeper. “Um. Well. She Keeps someone every year. You said it.”

“All students just out of Addergoole, all of them. Hell,” he added with some frustration, “there was a good chance she would have picked you up without my intervention.” The boy certainly had the look, and that was something Luke wasn’t going to say out loud in front of any of the three of them. “I’m not exactly her type.”

“She doesn’t need a ‘type’,” Apollo retorted with some frustration. “She has Leo and Howard.”

Oh. Well. Luke coughed. “Anyway. Yes. I’d be willing to gamble on that if jae’Doomsday would be willing to be gambled with.”

And the dead gods help him if he was wrong.

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1038122.html. You can comment here or there.

Lessons in the Dojo, a continuation of a continuation

A Change in Routine
[personal profile] inventrix‘s Let’s Pretend
Class is in Session
A Brief Reunion
[personal profile] inventrix‘s Unexpected Visitor

Luke had been curious who this Nanaya was that could get Apollo training against haybales. As it turned out, she was an Amazonian strawberry-blonde woman with an easy smile and a mischievous lift to her eyebrow. Watching her run through kata with the other students, Luke was willing to bet she was deadly in a fight.

He noted, too, that although most of Leo’s students managed to hide their surprise when he called Leo jae’ – as was right, he reminded himself; he still had a couple centuries on Lightning Blade – Nanaya just smiled more broadly. She’d be an interesting one to hunt alongside.

That was a thought for another day, and probably for some other world. He was here to see Apollo and Leo, and he was talking to Leo.

“I’ll be starting class in a few minutes; would you like to stay and watch?” Leo had grown up somewhere along the way. Luke had seen it the last few times he visited Cloverleaf, and yet he still found himself surprised by it every time.

“I’d love to.” Luke smiled. “I hear you’ve got some interesting tricks here.”

“Oh, well-“

“They’re sneaky,” Apollo interrupted, half in awe and half in complaint. “You think they’re coming up to your left and then all of a sudden, boom.”

Luke chuckled ruefully. “Sounds like a hunt, doesn’t it?” He raised his eyebrows at Leo. “It doesn’t usually work well with my Students, but I remember when you were training with Ciara.” His expression slipped. He wanted to be proud of her, he really did, but…

…another day, another world. “It’s a good thing to learn.” He pulled the conversation back to the dojo. “The Nedetakai and the monsters don’t usually fight fair, do they?” He was talking to Leo, but his words were still aimed at Apollo.

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1036114.html. You can comment here or there.

A Brief Reunion, a story bit of Doomsday

A Change in Routine
[personal profile] inventrix‘s Let’s Pretend
Class is in Session

Regine had sent Luke for the kid because he was in a bad neighborhood, as far as their data could discern, he was a descendant of Aelfgar, and he was male.

It made as much sense as most of her decisions, so Luke had armed up, tapped their current staff teleporter, and headed into the wasteland that had once been St. Paul.

It had been surprisingly easy to find the kid; Luke had followed the shouting and found a scrawny, filthy, sunburnt kid holding a stick in each hand and fending off three grown men. Not from himself, Luke quickly noticed; the kid was protecting three smaller children who were, it seemed, roasting a pigeon over a small fire.

“Hey!” Luke had absolutely no problem getting everyone’s attention. “Let’s even this fight up!” He noticed the moment where the kid thought he was going to attack him, and the way the boy’s stance, untrained as it was, shifted.

Me or Shou, he decided, although they were supposed to let the kids choose their own mentors. This one would need training if he was going to survive more fights like this.

When the boy – who everyone called Pony – refused to leave until Luke promised not only to find a safe place for the kids he was protecting, but also to help Pony find his mother and the kids’ mothers, if they were still alive, Luke amended the decision to mine. The kid had Mara instincts. They were going to need a lot of honing.

Maybe he should have let the kid go with Shou.

Luke had been chewing that thought over for well over a year now; by the end of Apollo’s third year, it’d been clear that there were some holes in his education that he had no interest in filling. By the end of his fourth year, Luke had on his hands an Adult – but an Adult it would be a crime to send out into the world.

Cy’Luca had taught Apollo how to fight – but every heroic, stupid, suicidal impulse had just been reinforced by the cy’ree and, unfortunately, by Luke himself. The kid was too full of himself, and any lectures otherwise came out as hypocrisy and worse.

So Luke had asked Cya Red Doomsday to clean up his mess.

It had been a few months, and the guilt was beginning to eat at him. So Luke visited Cloverleaf – walking in, like a normal person – and asked around until he found Red Doomsday’s Latest Kept.

He found him in the pasture, sparring with a haybale. Luke watched for a minute or two, noting that the kid’s technique had improved, that the frown of concentration was the same, that he was putting on color and keeping his muscle tone, and that his tempero huamu was definitely getting better. The haybale moved almost like a person.

“Keep your guard up, you’re leaving your left open,” he barked, both because he couldn’t help himself and because he wanted to let Apollo know he was there.

Apollo nodded, lifted up his off-hand dagger-stick, and lunged into a tricky stab-and-roll that Luke definitely hadn’t taught him. When he came up to his feet again, the haybale settled into an unmoving pile.

“Nanaya keeps doing this thing with her off-hand weapon. It’s tricky, and I haven’t quite figured it out yet.” He pushed his hair out of his face and settled into a more still position. “Sa’Hunting Hawk.”

There was a quietness to his body language that Luke certainly hadn’t managed to teach him. “jae’Sun-fire.” He nodded politely. “Nanaya?”

“She’s cy’Inazuma, one of his best students. I’m still figuring out how to beat her.” Apollo shifted hie weight from his front foot to his back. “Why are you here, sir?”

Luke sighed. “I wanted to check up on you. See how you were doing.”

Apollo tugged on the collar around his neck. “Still Kept.”

“She has only once in her entire history Kept someone for more than a year, and she’s never Kept anyone for less than a year.”

“There’s always another chance to be an anomaly, then.” Apollo smirked. “She might get sick of me, or she might decide I’m hopeless.”

“Last time, the world was ending.” Luke allowed himself a grim smile. “Let’s hope that doesn’t happen again.”

“We found Olindo.” The change in topic came with a shift in posture. He sheathed his wooden practice weapons.

Luke fought down the instinct to move into a combative position and stayed casual, wings folded, hands loose. “Yeah?” The kid’s crewmate had been less than happy with Luke over Apollo’s Keeping.

“You shouldn’t have split us up.” Apollo twisted his lips in something almost like a smile. “We’re too stupid on our own.”

Nanaya cy’Inazume
The character is female.
6 ft. 3 in. tall
slim build
cropped short perfectly straight strawberry blonde hair
blue-grey eyes
light skin
Their eyes is notable in some way.

They have a large feline Change.
Significant physical Changes include: eye color
Their innate ability allows them to attract weather in some way.

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1035741.html. You can comment here or there.

Class is in Session, a story of Cya/Doomsday

after [personal profile] inventrix‘s Let’s Pretend, which is after my A Change in Routine.

When Leo walked into Cya’s front yard carrying her Kept over his shoulder, she found that she wasn’t surprised, and that she was more than a little relieved.

It wouldn’t be enough, of course. Apollo was the most stubborn, ridiculous, arrogant man she had had the misfortune to deal with…

…since Leo and Howard were that age, a thought she was doing her best to suppress, especially considering how Leo’s fierce smile vanished when he caught her looking at him.

He set her Kept down on her porch as Cya opened her door and deftly avoided the angry punch Apollo attempted to throw.

“I see you’ve met Professor Inazuma. Come in.” She made it an invitation for Leo and an order for Apollo. “Leo, I see you’ve met my new Kept. I hope he wasn’t too difficult.”

“He wasn’t difficult at all!” Leo was having fun, a smile flashing onto his face before he remembered he was supposed to be feeling bad. “Ah, we got in a bit of a fight…”

“You kicked his ass, you mean.” She watched Apollo’s face; she didn’t need to watch Leo’s to know what was going across it. He’d be hang-dog for a moment, and then proud of himself again.

Apollo was warring with something simpler: pride and fear. He’d noticed, then, how much stronger, how much more skilled than him Leo was. Good. “Are you just going to let him manhandle your Kept like that?” He spat out the word Kept. He always did. But the end of the sentence was more like a plea. “Or–“

“We were playing a bit of Let’s Pretend.” The pride was clear in Leo’s voice, and the anger and fear were sparking in Apollo’s face again.

You were playing! I was–“

“You were saying you could handle yourself.” She could hear the sharp smile in Leo’s voice. “If I’d been a slaver, you’d be in chains by now.”

It was hardly a fair challenge. They had great-grandchildren older than this boy.

Slavers wouldn’t be fair, either.

“Leo was cy’Luca, too, Apollo, back when we were kids. A lot of kids have been, through the years, if you do the math.” She kept her eyes on him. “One or two in every Cohort… One or two cy’Fridmar, too, and they’re just as vicious in a fight, more likely to cheat, and more likely to turn evil. Never mind the cy’Sakamoto; nobody knows which way they’ll go. And most of the cy’Doug would rather kill you than look at you.”

“I get it!” He flung his arms upward violently. “Yeah, sure, there’s lots of assholes out there. But I’m good, okay? This jackass got the jump on me, that’s all.”

He didn’t believe it, or Cya would have been more harsh with him. Instead, she raised her eyebrows and waited for the moment where he shifted from foot to foot and dropped his arms and his gaze.

She glanced back at Leo, wondering if he remembered when he was that young and stupid. Time enough for that conversation later.

“By the time I’m done with you, it will be a lot harder for anyone to get the drop on you. And step one is realizing that somebody can and will.”

And, because he was her Kept and this one, damnit, she could protect, she kept going. “In the meantime, this is my city. If anyone other than Leo here attacks you, you tell them that you Belong to me. If that doesn’t stop them, you can feel free to tell anyone who can hear you that you’re mine. For this year, at least, that ought to keep you safe.”

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1033777.html. You can comment here or there.

A Change in Routine, a story (beginning) for @InspectrCaracal

Luke was waiting for Cya at the fence around Lady Maureen’s.

She was, she’d admit, predictable, but never in the sixty years that she’d been doing this had Luke stopped her. Talked to her, yes. Chatted, asked questions, sometimes even second-guessed her choices.

Something was different in his posture this time. There was something about the set of his feet and the spread of his wings that told her he wasn’t going to wait patiently, and he wasn’t here to chat.

Cya shifted her own posture, making sure she could feel the weight of every weapon she carried. She couldn’t win a fight with Luca Hunting-Hawk, certainly not on his territory. But she could make sure she got away and survived long enough to call in Boom.

He stepped forward. “Cya.”

“Sir.” She noticed, then, that he had his body and wings angled oddly. Hiding something? “Nice weather this year.”

“I have something for you.”

That’s what I’m worried about. “Sir?” He never had been great at small talk.

“I’m not something!” The complaint came from behind Luke; he shifted, folded his wings, and hauled a young man in front of him.

He was blonde, with a look Cynara recognized well – the chin, the nose, although the eyes were different. He looked more like Howard than like Leo, but they often did. And he looked not very close to either of them — but that made sense, because it’d been generations, and not every child of Aelfgar could’ve managed to have children with a sibling.

Unlike any of her favorite Aelf-get, he had a crown of horns radiating out of his blonde curls like a sunburst. Like many of them, he was wearing a seemingly perpetual scowl.

“Cya Red Doomsday, this is Apollo the Sun-fire. Apollo, this is the woman I was telling you about.”

Cya raised her eyebrows. “I don’t really do unwilling, Luke.” She couldn’t miss the way the Hawk’s fingers were pressing into the boy’s forearm.

“You used to.”

“I used to be a child. We were all children, once.” This conversation was not going where she’d thought it would. “I grew up.”

“That’s the problem.” He pushed Apollo forward; the boy tried to resist, but Luke was a force of nature. “This one didn’t. He managed to sit through four years of Addergoole and I don’t think he learned a damn thing, not the important stuff. He’s going to get himself killed out there.”

“He’s right here.” Apollo shifted as far away from Luke as the grip on his arm would allow. “And I’ll be fine. Look, I know how to fight. I’ll be able to take on anything I run into out there.”

Cya sighed quietly. “I see what you’re saying. But the thrill of the fight got old a long time ago, Luke, and I have my hands full.”

Apollo leered at her. “I’ll give you a fight, Lady.”

“Red Doomsday.” Luke’s voice grew soft and formal. “I am fond of this idiot, and he was my student. I am asking you a favor, that perhaps you might succeed where I have failed. It is not a small favor, and I pay my debts.”

Cya let that hang in the air. She looked the boy, pout, spikes, blonde hair, up and then down again.

“You.” She nodded at the kid. “You Belong to me for the next year.”

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