“Hey Tyzias! Whatcha doin’?”
Tyzias, the teal-blood in question, barely looked up. “I’m working.”
“Huh. What you working on?”
“Olive-blood’s been prosecuted for high-murder. She got caught and then broke out. I’m sorting out the paperwork to get a legislacerator trainee after them.” that was the official story, anyway. There hadn’t actually been a murder – but the escape was true. She paused. “Did you need something, Zebede?”
“Yeah! I wanted to see how you were doing! I was in town, getting some stuff, thought I’d drop by.” Zebede smiled brightly down at his moirail and best friend. “You had anything to eat?”
“I ate breakfast at six.”
Zebede frowned. “It’s one.”
“I’ll eat in a few minutes. Just-”
“Oh, no,” Zebede cut her off firmly. “We’re going to get lunch and you’re going to eat it all. And tonight, you’re gonna get a full day’s sleep.”
“I got a full day’s sleep yesterday,” Tyzias grumbled, even though it wasn’t exactly true. Nevertheless, she let Zebede drag her to her feet, and she felt her joints pop.
“Come on, I passed by that oblong meat product diner that Diemen’s been raving about. Let’s eat there!”
Tyzias sighed. She sighed out her door, she sighed down her stairs, she sighed through the kitchen and right out the front door, Zebede in front of her.
She really, really needed to finish that report, but her moirail – her moirail, she still couldn’t believe they were together – was right. She’d be no use to anyone if she died of hunger or exhaustion.
“Thanks, Zebede.” she whispered.
“No problem, Tizzy.” Tizzy? was he calling her a mess? Because it sure sounded like it- oh. Tizzy, Tyzias – it was a nickname.
Nicknames? She could get used to that. She let the smile curl on her mouth a little as they walked down the road in the urban shroud of night.
“I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS!”
“Calm down, Ami,” the larger girl grumbled softly. Her moirail had not taken the… breakup? Escape? She wasn’t sure, really, all that well.
“How? HOW? She had the most beautiful, most vibrant olive green blood I’ve ever seen! It was so rich, so dashing! How am I going to complete my piece now?” Amisia was pacing up and down her hiving room, pulling at her hair and her technicolour blood-stained smock. Chahut was, not for the first time, quietly glad that she was higher on the hemospectrum than Amisia. For all intents and purposes, it didn’t make sense – Chahut was large, heavy-set, had culled hundreds of other trolls and was a purpleblood – Amisia was a small, skinny and stout blueblood that very rarely killed outside of what she needed for her art.
When she needed paint, however…
“You’ll find some eventually,” Chahut tried. “The jadebloods’ll give you any olive wrigglers that don’t get adopted.”
“But it’s not the same!” Amisia blubbered. Oh, shit, she was crying. Chahut sighed and strode over to hug her, stroking the back of her moirail’s head.
“That’s just motherfuckin’ life for you.” Chahut mumbled. “I’ve lost a few lowbloods on culling nights before. Shit happens.”
Amisia heaved ragged breaths into Chahut’s side – she barely came up to the bigger girl’s chest. “I… I guess you’re right. Sorry for. That.” she tried a dismissive laugh, but it came off as kind of desperate.
Chahut shrugged. “It’s fine. What are moirails for?”
“Yes, you’re right. Let’s not get bogged down by yesterday’s woes.” Amisia stepped back with clapped hands. “Um, far be it of me to ask, but-”
“I’ll help,” Chahut said, giving her a smile. “With whatever it is.” Then she paused. “Apart from your art.” Best save that for a wriggling day present.
“Could you… help me clean up my hive? She did quite a lot of damage on her way out.” Amisia winced, and Chahut nodded, looking around at the various scorch marks and bits of broken furniture.
“Sure. We’ll invoice it to the teals.” that gave her an idea. “Tell you what – how about I arrange for a retrieval?”
Amisia looked at Chahut like she had offered her the world, rather than a bloody and beaten olive-blood girl to use as a long-term source of paint.
Blood everywhere. Green, green, so much green. Too much.
Cuts everywhere. Arms, legs, face, body. Needed bandages.
Strength going. Heat heaving out the blood. Strength gone.
Polypa collapsed in the sand.