The Completely True Tales of Jax: Part 16

I slept really well that night. When the early morning light hit my face, I had sort of forgotten about the day before. I had forgotten about Captain, forgotten about Baruka…

I breathed in the fresh mountain air and listened to the sound of the birds singing in the forest around us. I was at peace for the first time in a long time, but then I remembered. As soon as I opened my eyes, I remembered because my eye was sore and swollen still. I pit formed in my stomach, but I had no idea how I was supposed to get to Baruka without Captain finding out.

Loina was sitting there, watching me. What did she want? She looked concerned, but I was not sure why. She fed me and then took me outside the village wall- out the back gate where they kept livestock in a clearing surrounded by fences.

There was a group of men there: more Baruk look-alikes. They were tall, muscular guys with those same mustaches! Loina introduced us, then asked one of them if I could stay to train with them.

“Train with us? This little guy?” they mocked. They weren’t wrong! Compared to them, I looked like I might snap if the breeze was strong enough! Loina insisted, suggesting that if they did not help her out, she could make life very unpleasant for them.

“Why should she care?” I wondered, but the first thing their leader did was to grab my ax and chuckle.

“What is this? Are you going to gather some wood for us?” they all laughed.

“It was my father’s,” I explained, but he had already given it back. Then he noticed the dagger in my boot. This intrigued him.

“Where did you get that?”

“Baruka gave it to me,” I explained. The men then looked at each other like I had said something important.

“Well, then, let’s teach you how to use it,” he said. “I’m Henry, and this is Osten. Let’s get you a real ax and see what you can do!”

It turned out I could do very little, but that was okay. An ax isn’t that complicated to use. You just jab at the person. Jab! Jab! Jab! Yes, like… well, now, what are you doing under the table? Get back up! Okay, then, where was I? Oh, yeah! JAB! JAB! JAB!

You have to control it, not pull it back too far, or you’ll leave yourself open. So that is what I did all that day. I jabbed. Then I jabbed. Then I jabbed even more until my arm was about to fall off! I was invited to Osten’s for dinner, and we had a blast. I woke up on his floor the next day, and we just went back to it: JAB!

When I needed a break, they showed me some of their own weapons. Then talk of Baruk’s sword came up. How had Captain gotten it? I knew, but I did not know what they knew if you know

what I mean! I said I wasn’t sure, but then they suggested that Baruk had given it to Captain as a sign of his engagement to Baruka as it was a family heirloom! Who knew that was a thing? It was like a dowry or something to them, and it meant that, at least as far as they knew, that Baruk must have given his blessing for the union to proceed.

I wondered that night if that was Baruk’s intention when he told me to bring the weapon here. It was odd to recall that little tent I had met him in and to try to imagine him now in the village laughing with his family. He wasn’t anyone important, as far as I knew, so what was I missing? Did he mean that Baruka and I ought to marry? What had I done in giving that sword to Captain?

For Part 17 Click Here!

The Myth of Arden Chapter 2: Part 1

Chapter Two: The Road to Pent

      “Are you hungry?” Marcus interrupted as he removed a small basket from a compartment under his chair. “There is not much, just some leftover fruit and cheese, but the castle is only a few more hours from here so it will go to waste if we do not eat it now.” He reached into the parcel and removed an apple. “Here, this is still good.” He said as he stood up in the carriage and sat next to the girl. He leaned in close to her with the fruit in front of him. She instinctively leaned away, and for a second, he paused staring into her eyes before smiling jokingly. They both laughed as she took the fruit.

      “Thank you. You are most kind,” the young girl said before she took a bite.

      “It is nothing. At the start of the trip, I had all sorts of wonders. All that is left is this.” He trailed off, realizing his subject choice was a little poor. “Well, food is food!” he said chuckling as he took a bite of his apple. “What did you say your name was again?”

      “You never asked,” the girl pointed out.

      “How rude of me, please tell it to me, then,” Marcus said between bites.

      “Everyone calls me Anny. It is short for Antoinette,” the girl explained.

      “How wise of you to shorten it!” Marcus teased.

      Anny smiled and said, “You know you do surprise me, Marcus. They say you are a great prince…”

      “But I don’t act like one,” Marcus interrupted her. “True, true, it is all my brothers’ fault. I was the middle of three brothers. My elder brother was to assume the throne, but he died of a strange illness. My remaining brother was then to assume the throne, but he also fell to an untimely death.”

      Anny gasped horrified.

      Marcus chuckled, reassuringly clarifying, “the death I speak of is a spiritual one! The poor fool lives on, but only for himself. He has taken the luxury to go traipsing off looking for some deep spiritual meaning to life where there isn’t any. The older one I mean. No, just the older one. The younger he is dead: yes, dead as dead can be.

      “They were so concerned with the crown when they were young, but I wanted nothing to do with it. In fact, since I was ten, I’ve been wandering these roads in search of real wisdom and adventure!”

      “And did you find it?” Anny asked when he had finally stopped.

      “Well, a little I suppose before these damn guards tracked me down and brought me back home,” Marcus said as he made a rude gesture out the window. “Actually, it was on one of my last trips that I heard this story you speak now, but it has to be years since those times, fifteen maybe twenty.”

      “You mean you have heard this story before?” Anny said surprised.

      Marcus chuckled. “Well of course! Who has not heard the famed story ‘The Myth of Arden’! Though no one tells it quite as well as you do. Tell me again where you first heard it.”

      “My mother told it to me. She was the head cook in a great house,” Anny said as she gazed out the window.

      “Ah, and whose house was that?” Marcus asked. He had finished his apple and threw the core out the window in front of Anny’s gaze.

      Anny looked back at him disgruntled and said, “Well it was a great house in the small town near where you found me. I would not be surprised if you had never heard of it.”

      “I have been from one coast to the other of this silly country. I bet I have heard of the place and probably dined there too,” Marcus assured her.

      “Well, the village nearby is called Fay Hill,” Anny said hesitantly.

      “Ah, good old Fay Hill! That is just outside of Reed? Am I remembering correctly?” Marcus asked jovially.

      “You could not have possibly heard of it!” Anny insisted.

      “And why not?” Marcus quipped.

      “Because it is so small!” the girl replied while crossing her arms.

      “Why I was there just three years ago sighing a peace treaty with those fine people, though I do not remember you being there. It is nearer to the border of Paultry in Arden right?” Marcus said with a triumphant smile.

      “Yes. I guess it is,” Anny conceded.

      “See, but what I do not quite understand is why a young and pretty girl such as yourself would be traveling alone from there. Come now, you can tell me,” the man said with a wink.

      Anny’s shoulders slumped, and she went on to explain, “Well, suffice to say all of my family is dead and so I am seeking refuge at the nearest castle. I hear there are jobs available that will provide food and shelter.”

      “But that is no good,” Marcus said firmly. “You would be stuck there the rest of your life! Why not stay at the estate and indenture yourself there? They would treat you much better.”

      “I have no skills,” she said with a sigh as she held out her hands as if to prove that they were worthless.

      “But you grew up in a great house. You must have learned something,” Marcus pointed out.

      “I am sorry I did not,” Anny said. “I must be a slow learner.”

      Marcus slapped his hands together and said, “Well in the least you can tell stories.”

      “That is the only story I know,” Anny confessed sadly.

      “But you tell it so well!” Marcus assured her. “Tell you what, you go ahead and take a position at the castle in Pent, which is where we are going. If by the time I must leave the castle for my own, you are not happy I will pay your fees and take you as my own. Once at my castle, you would be treated with the best of care, and I will make certain of it.”

      Anny looked at him skeptically. She was sure she knew exactly why he would make such an offer, and it had nothing to do with chivalry. “But why would you do that?” she finally mustered the courage to ask.

      Marcus turned to her, and for a brief moment as he spoke she felt like a mask had slipped from his face. “Because I know you are lying to me about certain things, and I hope that by being nice you may open up a little to me,” he said softly. 

      “But I am not lying!” she blurted out, her face turning all shades of red.

      “If you say so,” Marcus said.

      “Well, why should I tell you anything anyway?” Anny said, flustered.

      Marcus shrugged his shoulders and said, “You are right. You are under no compulsion, but I wish you would trust me a little.”

      They sat for a moment, the both of them, with arms crossed staring out opposite windows of the carriage.  

      “He is mocking me,” the young girl thought to herself. “Tell me, how famous is this story I tell you?” Anny said, finally breaking the silence.

      “I would guess everyone alive knows it or at least everyone who has a common border with Arden, which is everyone,” Marcus informed her.

      “And who told it to you?” Anny asked.

      “I have just heard it my whole life,” Marcus said dismissively. “Except, I should say that if you wish to tell it to anyone else, then you ought to get the names right.”

      “What do you mean?” Anny asked.

      “Well it is the king who is called Ramoth,” Marcus began. “Ramoth means ‘great leader’, so you can see it is more of a title than a name. But you do have the queen’s name right, which is quite impressive. As for this strange man who you call Ramoth, perhaps he was Cailar as he seems to have the position of head advisor. You know: one who holds no words in the king’s presence.”

      “Well then, shall I finish this great story or would you have me stop seeing as you know it already?” Anny asked dejectedly.

      “No, no, go on!” Marcus insisted. “I do wish to see how it ends according to you though you do realize that the king you speak of is one of my best friends but forget that now as this story is entirely fiction.”

      Anny nodded and agreed, “Yes, it is.”

      “Then continue, and I will try not to let the name’s scrambling get in the way of the story,” Marcus said as he leaned back into his seat.

      “Well, I left off when Ramoth had gone to see the king then?” Anny tried to recall.

      “Yes, yes. Go on,” Marcus muttered.

      Taking a deep breath, Anny continued…

Chapter 2: Part 2 coming soon!

The Completely True Tales of Jax: Part 15

When I woke up in the morning, it was to the sound of several hushed giggles. I sat up, startled by the change in surroundings, having forgotten where I’d been. There, outside the door of the house, were a group of girls, and again they were pointing and laughing at me. Loina brought me my clothes, and I was happy to have them back, I tell you! Not that I had anything to be ashamed of! It was for their sake!

Petton had already gone out, so I wandered around the town looking for him. I ran into Captain instead. I was in no mood to deal with him. Just seeing his face, well, you know what it is like when you are angry with someone. I had heard rumors that he was not treating Baruka well, but she was nowhere to be seen. Captain saw me, smiled, and waved. Can you believe that fool? I went right up to him and gave him a piece of my mind! I told him that he had better not lay a finger on Baruka if he knew what was good for him! That is about all I can remember because when I came too, I was back at Loina’s house!

Petton was there, holding a wet cloth over my left eye that smelled sweet. “Just stay still!” he hollered at me when I tried to get up. “You fully fool; you are lucky to be alive!”

“What happened?” I asked, but I sort of knew already. Petton then went on to explain that after running my mouth off, I challenged Captain to a fight. Then I just stood there like a fully full while he sucker-punched me in the face! You would think you’d see it coming, but no. It was like, POW! That is good technique! No grand movements; just strike! BAM! Then I hit the ground, and Petton had to drag my fully self back home.

Thanks to whatever that medicine was, my eye did not swell shut, but it hurt like nothing I had felt before. I was ready then to just go home. What was the point in staying? I mean, really? I had been pretending to be a mercenary this whole time, but all it had gotten me was a sore eye and humiliation. That’s the thing about it; I was a fake, and I knew it. When you are faking your life, it is exhausting. You wake up, and it is another day of pretending you know what you are doing, pretending you are confident, pretending that you fit in. My swollen eye was proof enough that I didn’t. I didn’t fit in. I was a fully loser, and I was ready to just start my trek back down the mountain alone. It didn’t even matter one way or the other if I made it or if I fell to my death; Made no difference at this point because I was done!

You would think Petton would have tried to stop me, but he didn’t! Some friend! He just told me that if I wanted to quit, I ought to get moving right away before Captain finished me off for good. Then he left without another word, and it was just Loina and me. She took that sweet smelling rag from me and dipped it in a bowl. Then she handed it back to me and said, “It was nice of you to try to help Baruka like that. You know, Captain has been telling everyone that they are married, but the way Baruka acts, I wonder if it is true.”

I was about to confirm that it was indeed false, but thinking better of it, I just muttered, “I wouldn’t know.”

“In a few days, the Elders will arrive from the other towns. They have been summoned to confirm the marriage and to place Captain in his rightful place among them. He speaks of a peace treaty between our people. If the Elders sense that he is lying, there could be many unpleasantries.”

“That is an understatement!” I thought to myself, but I just kept quiet because I did not want to get Captain in trouble.

“Tell me the truth, Jack,” she whispered. “Is Captain really who he says that he is? Is he truly Ramoth?”

I just about passed out again. “Ramoth?” I asked.

“Yes, he has dropped hints that he is Ramoth and that the peace treaty would spare us all!”

Now I knew that Ramoth was all the way back in Pent, probably having a nice drink in front of his fireplace, but I could not tell her that. I might have been mad at Captain, but I didn’t want to get my friends killed either. They must have misunderstood, so I said, “Well, Captain has the authority of Ramoth.”

Loina seemed pleased with that. She pushed me back down onto the mat I was lying on and begged, “Do not go! Stay here with me! Our people will be as one soon!”

I was not sure what to do, so I pretended to pass out, and I stayed like that until the morning!

For Part 16 click here!

The Myth of Arden Chapter 1: Part 2

The king now heard another noise, something closer, louder and in the room! His hand unconsciously reached for the cord to his bell. He searched in the darkness. Where was it? Where had it gone? Where had it been? Within a split second, his hand had touched something else: something warmer than the still air and with solid form.

      He gasped, trying to scream but no words could escape his throat. It seemed an eternity of wondering…waiting. Yet slowly there was a light: dim at first but growing steadily from the darkness itself. A form slowly grew out of the light. It was that of a man, nothing more, yet terrifying, nonetheless.

      How had he gotten past the guards? Who was he? What did he want? Again the king struggled to speak, but it was to no avail. As the form grew denser, it placed a finger to its lips to show its desire for silence. The king ceased his efforts to speak, for it seemed he no longer could recall how to do so. The form walked about the room, his feet causing faint echoes to multiply in the king’s head. The king seemed now almost completely incapacitated by this. He placed his hands over his ears and closed his eyes. 

      Suddenly able to speak the king boomed, “What do you want from me?” into the stillness that was everywhere but within him. “Why are you here?” he continued.

      His words caused the figure to look up towards him smiling. His teeth glowed behind transparent lips! “You have come seeking contentment as all men do, but you do not yet know how to find it or how to keep it,” the figure said, lips unmoving. 

      The king shuttered for it could not be. 

      The figure went on to say, “Why great king did you not listen to me? I offered you the world, but you would not follow my orders and for what? The Myth lives even if you deny it.”

      The king then came to himself; a ghost without a body cannot harm you. “But my son,” he retorted, “he is dead.”

      “Ah, but the Myth lives!” the figure boasted.

      “Impossible!” replied the king incredulously.

      “The future is never absolute. By telling you that which is not certain I was taking a risk. Your actions have changed the course of history for Arden,” the figure explained.

      “What do you mean? How can a man do that?” the king asked, now looking around for his robe. “Only what was meant to be has transpired.”

      The form, still smiling, laughed under his breath. “Of course, you are of a small mind. Be content to know that another has been chosen to rule at the time of your death,” it said.

      “Who?” the king exclaimed.

      “Who controls the waves that roll to shore? What use is a fire that burns no more? Where are the flowers before they grow, and when the sun sets where does it go?” the figure replied.

      The king stared, baffled. Next, he spoke, “You may think you are clever, but I know where the Sisters are! They…”

      “Will be dead by morning?” the spirit interjected. “Not likely. Remember all those preparations you entrusted with your advisor Ramoth? Well, it’s not his fault, but what if something, or dare I say, someone, was overlooked? Perhaps one, just one child was accidentally misplaced? Who knows?”

      “You are trying to confuse me, but I will not allow it! Ramoth will vouch for himself when I have the time for it, but for now, I must be on my way. Even six dead Sisters is better than all living. Even if one of them is destroyed, the myth will be no more! I am not as afraid of you as you may think. I am the most powerful man alive. And you? You are some transparent fool. Tomorrow at the sun’s rise I shall go to the fortress in the Venom Mountains. I will go to Faverly and destroy them all!”

      “Go right ahead. Perhaps that is what I desire,” the figure said.

      “Lies, all lies to distract me from my course!” the king insisted. “Begone! You cannot stop me! My holy men shall rid you from this castle tomorrow! No, this very night!”

      With that, the king clumsily pulled the cord next to his bed. Before long a small fleet of servants were in the room trying to make sense of the king’s ramblings. The king was soon out of bed, arms flailing. He demanded to see his wife, who soon appeared of her own accord to comfort him. The whole castle was awakened within a matter of an hour as all were needed in the preparations.

      The servants ran from this place to that, except for Ramoth himself, who sat behind the meek desk set in the corner of his chamber. His eyes were beginning to blur the words that he could see only by candlelight. In one hand was a response from Cavner, a mining country, confirming the authenticity of some jewels delivered to the castle. In his other was a ring: silver washed in gold. 

      He turned his attention from the page to the ring, which he rolled between his large fingers making it seem small by comparison. The candlelight reflected off of the tiny filigree wrapped around the band. It was intended, along with a few other small, jeweled pieces, for the wife he never had. His remorse in never spending time apart from his job to find one weighed heavily on him. Yet as before, the ring was soon back in the bottom drawer of his desk as he pulled out the clean sheet of parchment that was needed to send a reply to the country of Cavner.

      He started the letter, read over what he had written and then groaned at the site of it. He seemed unable to think clearly and seeing as this letter had sat unanswered for the last few weeks, he decided to leave the task till morning. He began to prepare for sleep, removing his robes slowly and taking care to place each so that it would not wrinkle.

      Before he could finish, a light knock presented itself at the door. Again he groaned as he clumsily returned the articles he had just removed to his shoulders and walked to the door. It was Kayla, the queen.

      “Ramoth, the king has gone mad! He speaks rubbish of going to find his sisters and destroy them,” she said as she rushed into the room.

      “His sisters? You mean the Sisters of Faverly?” Ramoth asked.

      “Perhaps that is what he meant,” Kayla replied. She seemed distracted by his state of undress.

      “Then I must go! I must stop him!” Ramoth said as he turned from her to hasten to the king’s chambers. The slightest whimper from the queen’s lips was all that was needed to draw him back to her. He froze in his tracks, turning towards her now to see she was holding back tears. “Is something the matter?” he asked tenderly. Slowly he walked back to her and took her hand in his. 

      She looked pleadingly into his eyes and said, “Please don’t go, Ramoth. The king is in such a rush; He asks for only his army. Let him go.”

      “You expect me to stay when he plans on killing seven innocent girls?” Ramoth asked in surprise.

      “I knew you would not be pleased with the idea, but I did not tell you his plans so that you could chase him down!” Kayla scoffed.

      “But why then?” Ramoth asked.

      “Ramoth, this is our only chance!” Kayla said as she took his hands into her own. “If the king does leave tonight then we have the perfect opportunity to run away together. We can say we are going with him when in reality we are running as far away as we can.”

      “But Kayla, you speak nonsense! We would surely be caught. Besides, you cannot expect me to throw away the last years I’ve spent saving them, only to let them go now!” Ramoth said as he motioned to go.

      “Oh, you fool,” Kayla lamented. “It has been so many years that have now elapsed since you rode off with those infants to Faverly. Why make the time any greater? Simply think on it. What are sixteen years in the breath of your life? Why sacrifice all the years of happiness we could have to make the last worth it?”

      Ramoth looked at her tenderly and said, “What joy could I have knowing those girls died because of my selfishness? I was there for all those early years. I watched them grow and learn. If only you could appreciate that! It was the king that kept us apart. He sent me a dozen different places to keep me from returning all these years just so that we could not be together.”

      “Those little dogs are lucky to have been spared the famine in their fortress all these years and to have lived as well as they have lacking noble blood. Let them die,” Kayla said as she turned away from Ramoth. 

      “Kayla, what has come over you? Why do you hate them so?” Ramoth asked, his large hands leading her back to him.

      “It should have been them years ago! Not my little boy, but my husband…” She trailed off for a moment, her eyes searching the floor. “Do you not see all I have given for nothing? My son is dead, and my husband no longer even wishes to look at me. How then can I now lose you too?”

      She broke into tears then, falling to the ground at the thought of her only child taken for no reason. Ramoth lifted her and carried her to the bed so she could rest on its edge. He sat next to her, his arm around her. Her tears slowed after a few minutes, and she again looked at him.

      “Kayla, it was just a senseless accident. Forget about it,” Ramoth tried to assure her.

      “Forget?” the queen asked. “It has been so long since you left for Faverly, gone for years trying to make their lives better while I remained, wandering the halls thinking of our love while my husband remains estranged to me. And yet it seems as if no time has passed between us at all. Why can we not have a second chance together?” She searched his eyes, hoping for a response.   

      “Hush my dear and think not of such things,” was Ramoth’s reply.

      “Why not?” she implored, looking deep into his eyes.

      “You know why. The king would have my head for it! Once I was foolish and young. Forgive me for that. Now come, I must go to him and convince him to stay,” Ramoth said as he again went to leave.

      “Have my words no sway? Stay with me! I need you!” she begged, wrapping herself around his arm so he could not leave.

      Ramoth turned back and looked into Kayla’s eyes. He whispered to her,  “And they need me. The seven of them do weigh out just us two.”

      “And what if you go and cannot change his mind?” Kayla pled.

      Ramoth shrugged and said, “Then I must go with him and try to sway him there.”

      Kayla looked away and lamented, “Then, either way, we cannot be together?”

      “Kayla, either way, you belong to another,” Ramoth said as he removed her arms from his.

      “That is not how you felt before,” Kayla called after him as he left.

      “Silence. Be away from here, as I must be away,” Ramoth said as he hurried to the king’s private chamber.”

For Chapter 2: Part 1 Click here!

The Completely True Tales of Jax: Part 14

In the morning, we headed out to the village. Baruka was now leading us, and I noticed Captain was paying an awful lot of attention to her. We’d been wandering in the woods for weeks, so I couldn’t blame him, but now I was regretting giving her that little make-over. I call it the WCA Effect: Whatever Companion Available! When you are the only one available, it doesn’t matter what you look like; you’ll look good compared to the alternative!

So, how could I compete with that? I kept as close as I could, but even then, I could not hear what Captain was saying to Baruka. I did notice that Captain was now carrying Baruk’s sword with him. The tension in the group began to grow as we went along. There was a sense that we were about to step into something nasty.

That’s when we saw it: a village! It was up on a hill, surrounded by a wall made out of tree trunks tied together. Baruka pointed to it as she said something to Captain. He grabbed her arm and told the rest of us to stay a ways back. Then he and Baruka approached the village entrance. Baruka was waving and calling out to them. A whole group of chickens walked right by me like nothing was happening! Eventually, we were noticed because the doors flung open, and children came running out to greet her.

The tension melted away as the sound of kids giggling flooded the woods. Several of them ran back to greet us as well and to chase some of the chickens around. At that point, Captain signaled that we ought to follow him into the village. As usual, he had not told us what was going on. We were just following his lead.

Inside the village, there were houses built along the wall around the outside. You could climb up on the roofs to look out, but it seemed they hardly got any visitors. The big surprise was that they had dug down as well. The center spiraled down to a cistern carved out of solid rock. Each of the houses was furnished with the finest linens and furniture. There were some fancier than Ramoth’s Private Chamber!

Baruka and Captain disappeared into one of the houses, leaving the rest of us sitting in the roadway just inside the village wall. The kids were burning through me with their eyes, looking at my sword and pointing to it. So, naturally, I handed it to one of them and watched him try to lift it. Three of them together couldn’t do it! His mom got pretty mad at me. She came running out of one of the houses, yelling at the kid to give the sword back.

Then, one by one, more women appeared and began to “adopt” us. They brought us water, then asked that we go wash up before a meal would be prepared. You know when you stink, but the person is too polite, so they just sort of hold the back of their hand to their nose and smile, but their eyes are watering? Yeah, that was the treatment we got!

Some of the older women led us over to the baths. They’d have you stand one at a time on this rock, and they would dump water over your head while they laughed. It wasn’t even the laughing that made me blush; it was the pointing! Then they took our clothes and gave us these brown robes to put on. I was having a hard time keeping it closed. Every time I sat down, there was more pointing and laughing!

Finally, Petton and I end up in one of the nice little houses. There was a round fireplace in the middle and cushions to sit on. They gave us food and more of that brown liquid Baruk had served us back in Pacia. This stuff was good, though. I wonder if Baruk wasn’t very adept at making it.

Suddenly, Baruka walks in! I was startled to see she was back. So was the mustache! Then the woman explains that she is not Baruka but another cousin: Loina. The family resemblance was strong with that clan! We ate and then we played this game with little marbles. Loina played the flute, and we danced until it got dark. Then, we stretched out on the floor. I remember Peyton whispered to me, “Hope we can trust them. Should one of us keep watch?”

“Nah,” I muttered back. “At this point, I don’t care what they do!”

For Part 15 Click Here