The entirety of Zone 1 broke out in heavy rainfall one evening.
Chester had elected to stay behind in the office to finish off a last bit of work and arrived back home soaked to the bone.
Dedan came to greet him with a towel. “Did you forget your umbrella?”
Chester chuckled. “Yeah. And I know you reminded me this morning.”
Dedan smirked. “That I did. Well, come inside and get some tea and dinner.”
“Thank you,” he said, rubbing the towel into his damp hair.
As Chester ate, Dedan sat next to him with his own cup of tea.
“How are your studies with the Queen going?” he asked.
Once Chester was released from the hospital, they wasted no time getting him moved in. Dedan had to do most of the heavy lifting, considering Chester’s wounds were still healing. Luckily, the elsen didn’t have much in the way of material possessions. They were able to fit everything into two of Dedan’s suitcases. Everything Chester didn’t want or need, such as appliances and furniture, was left for the next tenant.
They carried everything to the train and headed to Alma. Once at Dedan’s place, they started unpacking and finding places to fit Chester’s clothes and possessions. They managed to finish just aft
Dedan followed the paramedics to the hospital, work be damned.
They hooked Chester up to a respirator filled with fresh smoke. An IV was attached to his arm.
He looked like death itself. Dark purple circled his eyes. Hair frayed. Body scuffed and scratched.
Dedan sat in the chair across the room, just barely big enough for him to fit in. He laced his fingers together and held his hands in front of his mouth, trying to piece together the witnesses’ testimonies and play them out in his head.
Apparently, his assistant had come to fight off weak specters and got caught in a fight with a burnt. The mental image made him uneasy. For all
The next few weeks passed. Chester and Dedan met as always during the weekends, except this time Chester brought a few movies and books to explain how Dedan can show affection while still looking like a tough guy.
Dedan wasn’t always a fan of the lessons, but Chester did a good job of explaining the hows and whys of couples doing what they did in the stories.
“So, you want me to copy their actions?” Dedan asked once.
“Not without purpose,” Chester said.
“The hell is that supposed to mean?”
Chester sighed and closed his book. “How can I explain it…? Don’t do it unless it feels n
That Friday, Chester went home with Dedan as usual, but this time they met in the basement where Dedan had a gym. They wore loose fitting shorts and Chester wore a white tank.
“If you’re going to be a Guardian, you must learn to fight for the Zone!” Dedan said, he hit his chest with a closed fist.
“But Dedan, look at me, I’m a shrimp,” Chester countered.
“That doesn’t matter. If an intruder came, you must be the one to stop them from getting to the Prince and the Queen.”
“Stop that, now!” Dedan snapped. “This is an important job! Perhaps the most imp
“Become a Guardian?” Chester looked up from his tea cup. They were having another one of their weekend cuddle sessions.
“Yes, but you’d need to train for it.”
“You’re telling me that if I just work hard enough, I’ll become a Guardian?” the elsen looked at him skeptically.
“Not quite. You’d need to be officially honored by the Queen and wander the Nothingness.”
Chester’s doubtful expression stayed. “And why do you bring this up? Why make me a Guardian?”
“Because,” Dedan took a breath. “Because I want you… to be my assistant fo
Chester went home mid-morning the next day. Dedan could see him sneak glances at him the entire morning, as if he hoped the Guardian would invite him to stay more, but Dedan wouldn’t give it to him. As much as he despised Chester’s company the least, he longed to spend the remainder of his weekend alone. With a friendly smile and wave, Chester made his way back to the train station to head back to his own apartment.
As promised, Dedan started training Chester that Monday to handle each area of Zone 1, starting with the slaughterhouses. At first the elsen handled it with that irritating cheery attitude, so Dedan piled more and mor