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    Cia
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Ancalagon - 47. Chapter 47

I ate, but my brain was whirring so fast from thought to thought that I was surprised they couldn’t hear it. Or smell the neurons firing. I swear, it was all flowing through my brain so fast that it was a surprise static wasn’t sparking from my fingers every time I touched my metal fork.

Swallowing a bite of something I didn’t even taste, I glanced at Garjah yet again. He frowned at me. “What? Are you not hungry?”

“They’re staring at me.” The Kardoval were watching us both, though they were attempting to be discreet.

Not exactly possible in such a small room and with them sitting directly across from us.

“Can you blame us?” Sloval asked abruptly. “You are just as unknown to us as we are to you.”

Maybe. “I am an unknown, yes. But you know about humans, the universe at large. I know you have databases on us; Timok used them when he treated me. I’ve never meet your kind before, your planets are hidden from the rest of the universe, and culture is a complete unknown.” I put my hand on Bouncer’s head, stroking him with my fingertips. “I’d say you have me at a disadvantage.”

“You’re not exactly human anymore,” Sloval rebutted.

“Stop that,” Mereval hissed.

That was not the kindest way to approach the changes that had happened to me, one of the main reasons we were here. That, and the fact that I’d somehow bonded with Garjah in the first place.

“Essell, we appreciate that you are here to speak with us, and we wish to know more about you personally and find out more about humans. Things are… changing. This is a sign.” Mereval indicated him and Garjah.

“We are not a sign.” Garjah’s voice was a harsh rebuke, and I turned to him, astonished. I’d never heard him speak that way, not even to Seedrah when he’d screwed up.

Maybe I should feed Bouncer. He was getting restless, starting to shift his weight on his front feet, and eyeing the plate on the table. I took a breath, turning away from Garjah’s tightened features to look at Quixoval. “You wanted to see Bouncer eat, didn’t you?”

Quixoval’s shoulders dropped and he let go of the table. A smile spread across his face, but then he hesitated. “Oh yes. Is it safe here? Will he stay under control when he gets a taste of meat, or should we leave?”

“He’s never hurt anyone before.” He could get a little… bouncy. There was a reason I’d named him the way I did, but I’d fed him with others in the dining hall before and it’d been fine. “Just stay over there.” I grabbed the plate. “You hungry, buddy?”

Bouncer’s ears perked up. His nostrils flared, and I chuckled. “Oh yeah, you smell it, don’t you?” I turned my chair and scooted a few paces backward. He’d gone deathly still, and he was staring directly at the plate in my hand. I picked up a strip of meat. “Ready?”

He crouched, his thick muscles bunching around his shoulders. As soon as I threw the meat into the air, he was moving. Bouncer jumped, catching the meat in his jaws in mid-air with a sharp snap. The light scattered on his pebbled red skin as it darkened. Bouncer shifted from foot to foot, whining for more.

I threw one more piece into the air and then two more left and right. Bouncer caught the one in the air, then pounced on the one to the right. He tore into the piece on the left, shredding it with his claws.

“Bouncer, stop that!” I scolded him. He was going to scratch up the floor. I got up and pushed him away from the strips of meat. Picking them up, I dangled them over his head. “Come on, take them.” There were gasps, but I ignored them as he did a little hop and delicately took the strips out of my hand.

“What if there was poison on that meat?” Quixoval asked. “You just picked it up.” He turned to Garjah who was sitting relaxed in his chair. “You let him.”

I shrugged. “There’s never been any before.” I narrowed my eyes and pursed my lips. “And Garjah doesn’t tell me what to do.”

“The cerops would never hurt Essell. He doesn’t release his poison.”

“Maybe he’s incapable,” Sloval suggested.

“Bouncer is perfect.” I resented them suggesting otherwise. “He loves me so he doesn’t want to hurt me.” To prove my point, I fed him the next few strips from my hand. He always took them gently. “I only throw it because he likes to move. It’s fun for him.” I threw two pieces up right next to each other and he did a rapid snap, snap and got them both.

Bouncer settled down at my feet with the last piece I tossed him as I tucked the plate under my half-full one.

“It’s almost like he knows what you’re going to do.” Lenveval stated his observation just as quietly as he’d done everything else since we entered the room. He seemed to take in everything and miss very little.

“He does mirror Essell’s emotions,” Garjah confirmed.

“You do as well,” Mereval said. She looked disturbed, tapping the table.

“What?” I frowned.

“You get upset, he gets upset. You relax, he relaxes. It’s a complication.”

“Isn’t that the nature of the bond?” I asked.

“No, not like this. Timok warned us to keep our distance, but we thought that was the result of an incomplete bond. You have bonded, but this mirroring between you two is unknown.”

Great, more things unique to me. I’d already changed my arms and eyes. Now the bond? “You’re not going to try to break it, are you?” Would they separate us? My heart started to pound.

“Has anyone told you what a broken bond entails, Essell?” Lenveval asked.

Copyright © 2020 Cia; All Rights Reserved.
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Chapter Comments

32 minutes ago, drpaladin said:

There is a caveat of them being insular and any way you look at this it's a limiting factor. Add into it this group is basically omnipotent and used to being unquestioned. Why put in any extra work?

Well, it that were the case...it's a hell of a way to run an interstellar empire...is there a comparison to be made to the last days of the Roman Empire???

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What an intriguing development! It's like a combination of the bond between two Four Arms and the emotional mirroring between pack members and their alpha. Essell has somehow become the emotional crux of two distinct bond types.

I'm reminded of what we were told earlier of the strangeness of 6888 Ardra. Essell's suit was compromised and he'd already bonded with Bouncer when Garjah hunted him down. Didn't someone lend importance to Essell having been touching the bare earth? Perhaps his human physiology allowed for a heretofore unknown reaction.

Knowing Essell, I just hope this revelation doesn't lead him to question the purity of the love he shares with Garjah. I'll never forgive them if the Kardoval plant the seed of bitterness that irreparably damages their feelings for one another.

Edited by Danners
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20 hours ago, astone2292 said:

What does a broken bond entail, Kardoval-person? Garjah and Essell's bond is behaving differently? Lots of new questions.

This meeting seems to be flying everywhere and anywhere at any given time. Surely someone has an agenda for the topics of discussion, instead of talking about different subjects with reckless abandon. 

Another great chapter, Cia!!

Hmmm 🤔, bonded not only with a human, the Human Essell, a human male that has a mother type bonding with the Cerops, Bouncer, a protective and traditionally aggressive creature that also shares his bonding with the more masculine Garjah. Now how again,  gathering-o-vals, do you expect this bond to suddenly revert to your traditional vision of a normal bond?

The fact that the gathering-o-vals, has seemingly discussed this bond and now the repercussions of breaking such bond gives reason for great concern; a concern that perhaps the “un-trainable cerops” may sense to give the magnified  paranoia to Essell, and the lack of tolerance by Garjah, as these emotions are the protection I would expect the cerops child to alert on; and that is maybe the most clear thought of the meeting for this special family unit.

20 hours ago, drpaladin said:

I fear Garjah mirroring Essell's moods doesn't bode well for his current position. He can't do his work with this handicap.

The last question devolves from rhetorical to plain stupid. Of course no one has told Essell much of anything.

19 hours ago, CincyKris said:

This chapter had a foreboding feel to it.  I'm worried about their future.

21 hours ago, DJSMITH74 said:

Is it wrong to want Bouncer to eat these f*ckers. Something seems strange about this group.

Handicap or defensive posturing via bond? This gathering has the curiosity to make it seem innocent, yet they quickly talk of the broadcasting emotions of Essell. Ironically, their on judging arrogance seems to be feeding Bouncer’s discomfort and minimal tolerance beyond the close circle of his family. Bouncer’s “reading of them” may be bond transmitted in the paranoia and intrusive judgment and superficial tolerance.

21 hours ago, DJSMITH74 said:

Is it wrong to want Bouncer to eat these f*ckers. Something seems strange about this group.

Given the collective feelings and comments within this commitment block, I’m thinking this notion to feed Bouncer the Gathering-O-Vals, may ultimately be the Garjah family’s judgement in response to the non-sense that may be found around the corner.

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Very interesting chapter.  I am wondering about the comments made by the Kardoval as well as those shared by other readers.  I do hope to catch up soon so I can actively participate.

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