Chapter Eleven

Keone breathes against her hand with wide eyes and tries to mumble something. She curses herself; she should have waited. She should have found out if she could to turn Keone’s conversation into something else so that she would be able to use it as she had planned. But now she has to come up with another plan that will work as well as the one that she just threw away.

Someone will notice if Keone does not walk into the town before the gates are shut and the sensors are turned on again; and she did not intend on revealing herself so quickly. Perhaps she will not have to. Perhaps she still has a way to get out of whatever she has just done. But she is clearly not a normal settler in her Hirpoun form, and Keone can see her clearly enough that changing back into her normal form will not fool it anymore. She needs another plan, and she needs one quickly.

She grits her teeth together and turns them around so that Keone has its back against the narrow wedge in between boulders, “Come on.” She leans closer to it and looks Keone straight in the face so it can be sure she is not lying, “If you move or make a single sound that is louder than a whisper, I’ll pluck your neck from your body. Is that clear?”

Keone nods frantically and she slowly removes her hand from its mouth. Keone works its mouth open and than closed again, before shrinking back from her, “What do you want?” “What do I want?” The question catches her by surprise and she leans towards it, “I want this planet to be left alone and you to stop exterminating everyone who is already living on this planet. But, because you clearly will not be able to do anything about that, I want you to tell me what is going on in town. And once you have done that, I’m going to decide what to do with you.”

Koene gulps and nods, “I don’t know what is going on in town, but no one is being killed. Someone by the name of Marie has taken over; and everyone is fixing up the houses so that they can be lived in. If there was anyone in town, they would be welcomed back into their homes. But no one seems to be around. No one has seen anyone or anything that might be alive. That I can be sure of.”

Keone’s voice is a whisper just as she asked, and she resists the temptation to slam it against the rocks and crack it open in more than one place, “Fine. What do you have to say about the graves then? But I suppose you don’t know anything about those do you? Because you don’t know anything about what is going on at all. Of course, you’re young and whoever is in change wants to keep you safe from what everyone will have to do if they want to repopulate this planet.”

She scowls and interrupts Keone before it can respond, “What do you have to say about the gangs? What do you know about them?” She moves closer and Keone looks at her with wide eyes, “I-I don’t know much, I’ve only heard that there might be a few gangs around that wouldn’t be happy about new settlers coming in. But I don’t know anything else. I just heard that one of the gangs was found dead a few hours ago. Someone ran into the fence last night and was electrocuted, but that’s all that I know. I haven’t heard anything about anyone else dying.”

She scowls and tries to push down the flood of sickness that sweeps over her, of course. Of course no one would bother to wait. And if Marie truly is in change… she will not think about that now. She will wait until she knows more and until she has a plan. She thought the town was messed up before the ship arrived, but now it is going to become a bloodbath of everyone who used to live there. Anyone who is lucky enough to be dead by now must be rising up in their graves and snarling at everything and everyone they see.

Keone gulps, “Please don’t hurt me.” Her scowl deepens, “Be quiet.” “Please.” Keone’s voice drops lower, “I haven’t done anything to you. Please. I don’t want to die, I’m too young to die.” His pleading grates into her; she is acting like the Hirpoun that she is said to be. She has a hostage… but she has a very good reason for keeping him. For the moment at least.

She is not a murderer; and she is not a devil or a demon. She is someone who is doing what she needs to do. And it just happens to put some beings in places where they do not need to be. She is doing what she needs to do, and that is the end of it.

She drops Keone’s arm and changes back into her normal form to drag it behind a boulder that is a few feet away and closer to the side of the mountain. Keone gulps again and stares at her with wide eyes, “What are you going to do with me?” Its voice starts to raise, and she holds up a hand with fingers bent in the shape of claws to warn it as she steps closer, “I’ll decide what to do with you when I decide what to do with you. Until then, you’ll stay quiet unless you want me to do something far worse than I was planning.”

She pulls it closer to the mountain, and Keone tries to dig its feet, into the ground “So, you’re not planning on killing me? Not now at least? What do you want me for?” She scowls and easily overpowers it, “I didn’t want you in this mess when I met you, but now you are in it and I might as well use you.” Keone tries to dig its feet in again, but she is far stronger even in her normal form. It turns its head towards her, “What are you going to use me for? What are you planning? Whatever it is doesn’t sound good.”

Her scowl deepens, “You’ll find out. Until then, be quiet before I make sure you stay that way.” Keone gulps again and shuts its mouth. She curses underneath her breath, she thought that she might be able to find the unnamed gang somewhere, but it seems as though they managed to find a better hiding spot than she thought.

She should stop underestimating that gang, they have a Silosc as their temporary leader after all. She pulls Keone down to hide behind a low boulder, “Listen to me and make sure that you know what I’m saying.” Keone nods its head frantically. She sighs and tries not to bite her cheek, “You’re going to walk back into town without mentioning me. You’re going to pretend that this never happened, and you’re going to go about whatever duties you have as though you went out for a walk and a meal. You will not say anything about me, or even give a hint that I exist. Otherwise I’m going to make sure that I reconsider killing you and everyone else the next time I see you.”

Keone lifts its chin, “And what if I say something” You can’t get into the town, and you won’t be able to do anything to me or anyone else because everyone will be hunting you. You will be trapped here and I’ll be free to do whatever I want.” She moves closer to it, “Are you asking me to keep you here with me? Because I could do that as well. The thing is, I want a being inside that town, and you are going to be that being. You won’t say anything because you know very well that I have a way in and I’m going to use it when I want to. Understood?”

Keone nods reluctantly, and she lets go of its arm, “Get out of here.” Keone glances back at her as it runs towards the boulders where she was hiding and grabs its bag. She scowls at her own stupidity as she watches it run back towards the town. Perhaps she should have kept it with her, but she needs to make a statement so that she can find the unnamed gang.

She can hope that Keone will leave her out of whatever thing it is planning, but she can also be sure that it will not stay quiet. Not entirely. She never thought that she would be betting on someone’s ability to break a promise, but now it seems as though she is.

She slinks back to the rocks where she was hiding and crosses her fingers that the unnamed gang will find her before Keone tells Marie everything and she is hunted down. She will end up dead before the end up the day if her plan fails. But, even then, it would not be over. Even if her plan fails, the council of beings will know that not even they can exterminate everyone.

She leans against the rocks; she will have to wait until it is dark, she only hopes that she has enough time. She can assume that Keone will not tell Marie everything the first time that it is asked. She knows that it will eventually, but hopefully it will stay quiet through the night. She is counting on something that she cannot control.

She curses again; she never should have revealed herself to Keone. She should have continued to pretend to be the normal being. But what is done has been done. And she cannot go back despite everything. Keone knows what she is, and she will have to find a way to make sure that that becomes an advantage instead of a weakness.

The sun lowers towards the horizon and she breathes carefully with crossed fingers that she will have enough time. “Well, well, well, what is this? I thought you had the sense to hide in a different place once everyone knows that something like you exists.” She turns towards the Silosc and his gang with a smile and mentally crossed fingers that she still remembers her , “I was waitin’ for ya. It took ya’ longer than it should hav’ t’ get here. But, now that ya’ ar’ here, why don’t we talk?”

The Silosc crosses his arms, “An’ wha’ would we hav’ t’ talk about? I thought we already agreed th’ we don’t hav’ anythin’ t’ discuss.” She smiles thinly and pushes herself away from the crevice in between boulders, “Well, th’ was before both of us knew th’ a ship was comin’ down t’ prepare for new settlers. An’ we both know th’ new settlers mean th’ all of us ar’ expendable an’ on a list for extermination.”

The Silosc frowns, but he does not turn and leave, “So, wha’ does th’ hav’ t’ do with anythin’? Everyone knows tha’ you’re th’ one tha’ everyone’s goin’ t’ come after. Your the Hirpoun on this planet, an’ all of us ar’ just others.” She mentally tightens her crossed fingers, “Well, I’ve brought ya’ here for a reason. It’s true tha’ everyone’s going t’ come after me first, but ya’ know they won’t stop at tha’. Your just as much of a threat t’ their perfect colony as I am. An’ that’s the same with all of ya’. I hav’ a plan, but I ain’t going t’ do it on my own unless I hav’ a reason t’. I called ya’ here because I don’t think any of ya’ want t’ die so soon, an’ I hav’ a way t’ make sure ya’ won’t. Ya’ know tha’ way things work ‘round here, why don’t ya’ figure it out by yourself?”

The unnamed gang scuffle their feet as the Silosc scowls a her, “Ya’ want t’ start a war? This ain’t th’ place or th’ time t’ start a war.” She takes a step towards him and ignores the weapons that suddenly raise towards her, “A war would be a different way t’ put it. But, yes, I’m considering startin’ somethin’. Th’ beings like you an’ I are just somethin’ for the council to eliminate when they want t’, but they don’t hav’ complete control. An’ they won’t know it unless someone can prove it.”

The Silosc’s scowl deepens, “The races like yours who used t’ live here tried t’ fight back an’ they failed. They all died. An’ those tha’ didn’t ain’t the same anymore. They don’t live like ya’ do, they just walk ‘round. But their isn’t even many of them left now. What do ya’ think ya’ would be able t’ accomplish? This ain’t a war tha’ ya’ can even start without dying in tha’ process.”

She gives the group in front of her a smile, “Perhaps, but no one has tried for a long time. An’ I don’t think tha’ it would be impossible. No one ‘round here is as powerful as they think, but everyone would be together.” The Silosc narrows his eyes at her face, “Ya’ want t’ band together an’ try t’ fight an impossible war? This ain’t somethin’ that I’m prepared t’ listen t. An ya’ know tha’ it’s impossible.”

Her starts to turn around, but she takes a step towards him and the unnamed gang’s weapons click. The Silosc looks over his shoulder with a scowl, “We’re leaving now boys.” She smiles and leans against the rock as her legs shake underneath her, “I wasn’t finished explainin’. I’m not asking ya’ t’ join a bunch of other gangs, we would start out just like this for now. An’ then maybe add someone else in if everyone feels like it. Until then, it would just be th’ bunch of you an’ me to terrorize the ship’s beings. It could start out small, an’ no one would know that it was you’. Everyone would think it was me, because they’re lookin’ for me anyway.”

The Silosc starts to lead his gang away and she smirks at their backs, “Ya’ think tha’ ya’ will be able t’ hide. But th’ ship’s being ar’ already lookin’ for ya. An’ I know who is in charge; I know who it is, an’ I know how these beings think when it comes t’ things like this. Ya’ know tha’ ya’ won’t be able t’ hide for long, an’ I’m bettin’ tha’ your wantin’ t’ get into a fight at some point anyway. Why not now rather than latter? Ya’ know tha’ ya’ might hav’ a better chance. An’ it might even be kinda fun; spice up tha’ times ‘round here. An’ you’ll hav’ somethin’ t’ do to boot.”

The Silosc stops and turns back towards her with a frown, “But ya’ forgettin’ tha’ no one’s after us yet.” She pushes herself away from the boulder and crosses her fingers that her legs will not collapse underneath her, “Perhaps not, but tha’ won’t last for long an’ ya’ know it. I’m your best chance whether ya’ want t’ think about it tha’ way or not. Ya’ know it. An’ ya’ know tha’ it’s going t’ stay tha’ way.”

The Silosc looks at her for a moment with a tight face before waving to his gang, “Steady your feet boys, we hav’ some things t’ discuss.”

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