17th day of December in the year 2140
The Council of Elders took less than a day to approve my and Matteo’s proposal.
Monty isn’t happy that we seem eager to kill bandits, but he just doesn’t get it. I’ve seen firsthand the greed and cruelty of our kind. We act like we’re high and mighty, without weaknesses, but that isn’t true. We hurt and bleed and die just like any colonist, and I’ll kill as many bandits as I need to stop them from destroying another colony.
Because of my suggestion to have Maggie, Lori, Hank and I join the recon missions, my siblings were all given the scouting exam early. Lori passed with flying colors, but Maggie and Hank did great. All three were approved to be scouts and join the mission, leaving one last order of business that I may have forgotten to mention… The Semes Tribe.
I went with Monty, Chris, Alexa, and Tony to the tribe’s territory, much to Monty’s disappointment. He was adamant that I not go with him, but I knew the chief would be more open to lending us aid if someone who cared for his followers was there. All twelve demons share a home in Pooler, just outside Savannah limits. I was excited to see my friends again, though I had wished it would’ve been under better circumstances.
Chris had teleported Lizzie and the court’s leadership onto the tribe’s driveway; when the light from his port faded and her vision returned, the human took in their surroundings, her hand on the blade at her hip. They stood on a filthy, cracked driveway beside a lush, overgrown lawn. An electric guitar could be heard playing loudly from within the three-car garage. The home itself was a warm taupe accented with rouge bricks and white wood. Brick steps led to a wooden door that was three-quarters glass.
The group was walking up the driveway when the front door opened, and out burst Gabby.
“Lizzie! I missed you!”
The younger teen nearly tackled the human, trapping her in a tight embrace. Lizzie laughed loudly and reciprocated, holding Gabriella Moore tightly.
“I missed you too. How are you? Are you guys eating well? Do you get along with the other members of your tribe!”
Gabby giggled as she pulled away and met Lizzie’s gaze. “Yes and yes. The guys are really cool and respectful–Benji and I have our own room! Come see!”
She took the human’s hand and led her back up the steps and into the home, the angels close behind. It was as she followed the demon that Lizzie studied her more closely. She wore sheer black tights under light wash denim shorts and a leather jacket over a plaid button-up over a black and white band tee. Her carob brown waves were already past her shoulders, peeking out from beneath a knit hoodie. The biggest difference was her aura–the greyish-blue was completely gone, and her energy was almost completely overtaken by baby pink and gold, both of which sandwiched a thin layer of violet.
The human was confused by her friend’s outfit more than anything else. Don’t spirits think our planet is too hot?
Lizzie wasn’t sure what she expected as they entered the dwelling. When she heard that the tribe all shared one home, she imagined a cramped hole in the wall in complete disarray. What she actually saw impressed her; as she walked in, she was faced with a set of stairs that led directly to the floor above. To her right was a door with a sign tacked onto it that was decorated with fake rhinestones and plastic beads and read: “Gabby & Benji’s Room.” Past the stairs and to the left was an open area, and beyond the hallway was a living room and a set of glass doors leading to the backyard.
“Is your chief cool with you showing us around?” Monty asked just as Gabby began pulling Lizzie toward her bedroom.
She nodded, a big smile pulling at her lips. “Yup! Already cleared it with him. You guys have full access–we have nothing to hide.”
Gabby showed them her bedroom and the communal areas of the home before pausing at the garage to open the door. Inside were four young men, only one of which she recognized as Kent. He and the three other guys were rocking out; head-banging, hair-bouncing, the whole nine. The eldest looked to be around Monty’s age, and he was jamming out on an electric guitar beside a large amplifier.
“Guys! The court is here,” Gabby called out to them. When they didn’t answer, she shouted, “HEY!”
The blond teen with a mohawk noticed her first. He gestured for the other guys to cut the music, and all four granted Lizzie and the angels their attention as silence fell over them.
“Ho-ly shit,” Kent cackled, pushing himself off the sofa and approaching the human wearing a huge grin. His once short, onyx hair was chin-length and straightened, his side-swept bangs dangerously close to covering his left eye. Those walnut brown pools mirrored his toothy smile, and Lizzie couldn’t help but notice that he was dressed warmly, too. His aura was even more telling; what was once a dingy brown striped with dull orange was now a bright orange-yellow glow with hints of blue around the edges, emitting off the teenager like a flame. “Is that Elizabeth Peters, the baddest scout on Savannah’s border?”
She smirked. “Well, someone had to take your place.”
The two hugged tightly for a brief moment before Kent spun around and introduced her to the other demons. “Guys, this is Lizzie–the human that my friends can’t shut up about. Lizzie, that’s Spencer Carr–”
The tall guy holding the guitar threw her a kind smile and a half-hearted wave. His crow black hair was disheveled from the head-banging, but even messy Lizzie could tell that his hair fell halfway down his torso. Spencer’s aura was predominantly peacock blue.
“That’s his brother, Jason–”
Jason was a lankier, less bulky version of his older brother. His hair, though the same shade, fell just past his shoulders. Jason smirked and winked at the human; she cocked an eyebrow before bringing her attention to the third and final young man.
“And that’s Fletcher Ward, our headman.”
“Headman–?” she began to ask, only for the blond teen to approach their group with an amicable smile. His energy was a strong stripe of vermillion across a lapis backdrop.
“He means I’m Dane’s second in command,” Fletcher explained. He shook first Lizzie’s hand, then Monty’s. “Good seeing you again, Prince Monty. Has Gabby given you guys the grand tour?”
“Only the first floor, save for Dane’s room,” Gabby reported dutifully.
“And we appreciate it, but we don’t need to see everything–” Monty tried to say, only for Fletcher to quash his appeal.
“Of course you do! It’s not every day you guys check up on your former colonists. You gotta make sure they’re all alive and healthy, right?”
“Right,” Monty gritted his teeth as Fletcher pushed past the angels, oblivious to their urgency. The prince gestured for Lizzie and his subordinates to follow the headman, leaving Kent and the Carr brothers to return to their music.
As their group reached the center of the home, Fletcher gestured down the hallway beneath the stairs. “Down there is Dane and Marilyn’s room,” he pointed out before adding, “They’re in there right now, but you’ll see them in a little bit. Everyone else is upstairs.”
Fletcher, with Gabby on his tail, led Lizzie and the court up the stairs. The second landing branched out to both the left and the right. The headman spun around as everyone grouped together at the top of the stairs, and he waved his hand in the direction of the left side.
“Down there is mine and Jason’s room; across the hall from us are Kent and Koji, and Spencer lives in the garage.” He waved toward the right. “On this side are Gavin, Kaine, Tawni, and Tripp, our teleporter. Everyone’s probably playing video games in Gavin and Tripp’s room.”
Then Fletcher strolled down the right hallway, leading the court to the only bedroom with an open door. The loud commotion could be heard from within as several people clamored to decide who plays next–most of which sounded familiar to Lizzie.
“Dude, it’s a tournament, and you lost–”
“You’re a goddamn cheat and you know it!”
“Give me the controller!”
“–So you have to wait until the tournament is over–”
“You’re using the most O-P character in the whole fuckin’ game–”
“He’s not O-P!”
“Dude, he’s O-P as hell.”
“I want a turn! I beat Tripp and Koji, so I should go next!”
“The hell? You didn’t beat me–”
“His recovery is better than anyone else in the game, so he shouldn’t be used in a tournament–”
“Then you should have brought that up beforehand when we were making the rules!”
“He has a point, man. Tawni even asked if any of us wanted to exclude characters, and we all agreed to include the whole roster–”
“Who’s side are you on?!”
“I’m not taking sides–”
“I’m on the side of give me a fucking turn.”
“Hey, hey! Relax,” Fletcher’s voice rose as he entered the bedroom. “You’re making us look bad. Look alive, we got company.”
Gabby entered the room first, pulling Lizzie in behind her, and there was a collective gasp from the room’s inhabitants.