The Cycle of the Six Moons: An Eclipsing Autumn
Chapter Eighteen: Blood Trophy
His servant returns wheeling in a white cart with a couple of drawers and a tray on top holding color-coded test tubes. I swallow a lump in my throat.
“You want to take our blood?” I ask.
“How quick you are, Miss Goddess! Naturally. I project this will be the final day of the tournament. What will I do with no trophy?”
Jayse draws his sword. Before we know it, the Men in Black have him in a headlock and his sword clatters against the floor, chipping the black stain and exposing the red wood flesh beneath. I hold tightly onto my axe, frozen in place.
“What makes you think we’ll willingly give it to you?” Jayse chokes.
“Your Majesty, you will comply. Resist my needles, and your friend Mr. Raidyne may befall…an accident.”
I gasp. “What are you going to do to him?”
Mr. Gum leans back in his chair and raises a finger for each of his counts. “One, I can eliminate his safety so he sustains injury in this round. Two, once he’s weakened, I can eject him from the tournament. Three, I will then maroon him on an island, one which he’ll never escape. He’ll never have known whether he was fighting to save his precious Martyrs, or if he was fighting for a lie.”
“I won’t let you get away with this!” Jayse struggles against his captors, but they have a grip of steel.
Mr. Gum curls a finger toward his men and says, “Bring him here.”
The men drag him a few feet toward the phlebotomy tray. I breathe heavily, thoughts racing—we can’t let them taste our blood! With all that equipment, they can preserve it and keep it for later. One of the men stretches Jayse’s arm and I scream, “No! I’ll do it!” As a motion of surrender, I twist my axe back into a pen and tuck it away in my pocket. I say, “Take my blood. I’m Goddess. My blood is stronger.”
“Ah, look whose loyalty is stronger, Prince. Your friend is fighting to protect you, and you won’t even pay back with your blood?” He beckons me with his wagging finger. “Bring her here.”