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Romance
Beyond the Milky Way
Writer J Linz
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#14
5.3: Bunodic Ruins
J Linz
Jan 13, 2018
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14 Mins Read
No Plagiarism!l9TZpPWKRP8oOTyzsmxeposted on PENANA

The man blew an unsteady breath as he got ready. Bradley didn’t wish to admit it in front of her but Lindsay proved a point. A piece of him was envious. He attempted to dismiss it when Malik pointed out he had feelings for the woman. What convinced him was when Bradley realized that he dawdled on his letters. He had rather spent the evening chatting with Lindsay.copyright protection3PENANAqdfn78RY3B

He assumed it was because not only was Lindsay the lone Earth woman on Buno, but as southern as himself: her family came from Georgia while his hailed from South Carolina. Bradley understood better than to think that, now. Particularly as he saw firsthand how much attention the Baron of Esperia showed Lindsay. There was no need for that stupid kiss on her hand, he ranted.copyright protection3PENANAKoKDnatkUk

It couldn’t be that she was the only Earth woman in the whole galaxy, he kept in mind as he put on another shirt. While the other aliens showed particular interest in her, their fascination died out. Not entirely; he knew, aside from the Royal Magistrate, none had ever seen a human being in person. They received the drawn-out stares when they first appeared. But now as the first race of the season neared, the humans were presently a part of Buno’s native residents.copyright protection3PENANA93JXXhwqE4

Even still, Bradley noticed that Areiv paid Lindsay special attention and concluded that the Baron was as infatuated with her than himself. The Baron had his selection of any female on the planet or in the whole universe. Yet, Lindsay was the one who attended the recital with him. Lindsay was the one he took to the festival. Their nightly walks around Buno were reasonable; the humans really knew nothing of the region. Bradley didn't want another one happening; he had to intercept, even if it made him selfish.copyright protection3PENANAF5hUso3jn6

Bradley knocked on Lindsay’s door after he was ready. When she opened, he stood in slight awe. She had on a basic pair of dark blue jeans and a burgundy tank top; both snug on her. It revealed that the artillery specialist was indeed a woman, Bradley flushed. As he allowed his eyes to travel from her toned arms to her curvy hips and legs, Bradley couldn’t fault Areiv for being enamored with the woman.copyright protection3PENANAU7uFLSQecL

“W-What? Too much skin?” Lindsay noticed that Bradley stared at her. The words broke his concentration. Bradley shook his head and shrugged.copyright protection3PENANAzlPijMAQdf

“Nah. Just makes me wonder if this is what you wear when you’re out with the Baron…”copyright protection3PENANAVSkdNNCQ6Z

“Oh, my God; are you really gonna ruin the night before it begins…?” she rolled her eyes.copyright protection3PENANAW17rHTkx8w

“No, I’m sorry. I’ll stop teasing you… at least about him. You look really nice.” Bradley smiled at her. Lindsay felt her cheeks ache and moved her gaze from his blue eyes to the floor.copyright protection3PENANAjHS80bUB27

“Uh… thanks. I didn’t do nothing special…”copyright protection3PENANAQX0baNYME5

“Some women don’t have to,” Bradley blurted out. It was enough to make Lindsay give him a glance, and it was his turn to redden. “Um, right. So… where you wanna go?”copyright protection3PENANAMB7U2ONmmV

“You’re supposed to be the tour guide tonight, remember?” she smirked at him. Lindsay figured Bradley knew as much about Buno as she had a week ago. When he offered to show her around, she perceived something was awry.copyright protection3PENANATFDLNEXIf0

“Right. How ‘bout we just play this by ear, then?” he let out a laugh.copyright protection3PENANAQ6YQi8EhVi

Night was about to descend as Bradley and Lindsay walked around most of the lush fields. The grassy areas reminded Bradley of the nature trails back home minus trees. The two walked on what looked like a rock path carved through a segment of the plains; both agreed to walk until the path dropped off, and turn back to the housing building.copyright protection3PENANAnIUuDWjrjF

“I… hope this wasn’t a letdown…” Bradley looked at her.copyright protection3PENANAndl0Z8EXRU

“What? No! This was actually… very nice.”copyright protection3PENANAXH1Vyj4dB0

“Really?” he raised his eyebrows at her. The pilot couldn’t speak for her but he was having a wonderful time simply being alone with the woman. Lindsay nodded and gave him a smile.copyright protection3PENANAvYJqsmnLNH

“Yeah. Maybe when we get back, I can have PAS get us those Budweisers. We could watch a movie or something.”copyright protection3PENANAraUMbTVQRM

“That sounds great,” Bradley smiled. “Yeah… let your boy, Areiv do this!” he reveled. Lindsay sighed and rolled her eyes.copyright protection3PENANAKOuMK25PgH

“Brad…”copyright protection3PENANAPMFzc7VzTJ

“I’m sorry; I can’t help it!”copyright protection3PENANAgkUa6541VV

“Okay, let’s get it out in the open! What do you have against him? Really. Cuz, he’s been nothing but nice to all of us.”copyright protection3PENANAOGKitulzjB

“I… don’t know. It’s just something about it. Fishy, you know?” he didn’t need to cause an argument while they were having a good time. It would merely force Bradley to tell Lindsay the truth about his feelings for her. As the trail ended, the two saw the beginning of a settlement. “Hey… look at that.” he pointed out. Looking behind them, the two realized they wandered further than expected. The village was far away from any of the public areas, which looked like shadows as dusk settled.copyright protection3PENANAg9nVIz3E8W

The two strolled through the small village. Lindsay was let down it was abandoned yet that stirred her curiosity even more. The narrow stone huts were practically rubble. In the center stood a taller building which was in a stronger condition. Bradley studied the place and realized that no one could see the village or the building due to the abundance of bushes and trees. The settlement was concealed from plain sight.copyright protection3PENANAnpghznnEpi

“I wonder what happened here.” Lindsay thought out loud as she peered inside one hut; it revealed nothing but the remains of its caved-in ceiling.copyright protection3PENANAzdZkwsPS18

“Probably moved on? Hey… these huts are only big enough for Legooms. Maybe this is where they lived before the Esperians came along and gave them technology.”copyright protection3PENANAuhiRd1rgFA

“Hmm… Bunodic ruins…” she occupied herself looking into another hut.copyright protection3PENANAc3ZtkzRHdg

“Say, Lizzie. You notice that… after the buildings in our area, like the housing building and the marketplace and the bays… there’s nothing but fields? Why only have that area advanced and not the rest?”copyright protection3PENANA0Nu071sWTu

“I dunno. Maybe this area is only meant to be a hub for the racers. Buno looks like the size of Earth so there’s gotta be more to it than this…”copyright protection3PENANA5nMofZpGg4

“I don’t doubt that. It’s just… why give them and us technology?”copyright protection3PENANAhs7gWsPNa3

“A gift?”copyright protection3PENANA4aQyaYzDVt

“Or a bribe…”copyright protection3PENANA80QVo5UOMa

“Brad! Why would the Esperians do something like that? Your problem with Areiv is starting to become unhealthy.” Lindsay stared at him as he made his way towards the tall structure.copyright protection3PENANAT3D0kAtanD

“Okay, let’s forget about Areiv. Let’s just think about the Esperians as a whole.”copyright protection3PENANAdrO4ZY3zCY

“They’re peaceful, Brad.”copyright protection3PENANA2KYTFnYAbL

“The Royal Magistrate and Areiv are. I mean… okay; look at Ehsa. He’s fucking huge; I’m pretty sure everyone else on his planet are the same! He could crush anyone here with the greatest of ease! So, why isn’t he feared? He’s looked down on but Areiv? He’s damn near worshipped.”copyright protection3PENANAL4Op59Zzjm

“You know that’s like asking why no one likes the Joker but loves Batman, right?”copyright protection3PENANAcxO0COZFnB

“Only you would find a way to put comics in this!” Bradley smirked, looking back at Lindsay.copyright protection3PENANADqmBj2ZiDa

“I don’t get what you’re trying to come at.”copyright protection3PENANA3ofSOl2NUl

“The way people around here treat the Royal Magistrate. I truly think he rules this entire galaxy. Comparing him to Ehsa… I wanna know why him and not Ehsa? Why the Esperians and not the Qees?”copyright protection3PENANAa7TY7vN7aa

“Again… Batman to the Joker. And if you don’t like that metaphor: Captain America to Thanos!”copyright protection3PENANAINB5pU7odK

“… I have no idea who the hell that is…”copyright protection3PENANAzh9P9XacL5

“Thor to Loki? Although, I kinda like Loki. Especially when they got Tom Hid-”copyright protection3PENANAxVcrUkWHr6

“Can we stop with the geek shit?!” Bradley laughed fully. Lindsay laughed along with him. “Let’s check this building out. Maybe the answers I’m looking for are in there.”copyright protection3PENANASaUtfjonIB

“Uh, I don’t think we should do that.”copyright protection3PENANA8iTh73fif0

“Nah! We’ll be fine! You’d think if they didn’t want us in there, there’d be some warning signs or something, right?” he grew restless and pulled the reluctant woman along with him. She was relieved to discover that the structure was somewhat of a sanctuary and looked better on the inside. Stone pews filled the sides of the temple and a drab, torn yellow runner ran towards the altar. Stone steps climbed both sides of the building from the doorway, attaching to a balcony above the two. Bradley made his way towards the altar while Lindsay took the stone steps to the left. She took her time, studying the paintings and designs that covered the walls.copyright protection3PENANAnNVAePUaxl

“How’s the steps?” Bradley’s voice echoed. The inside was larger than both expected. While the huts appeared large enough to accommodate a Legoomian family, the church held most of the racers on Buno.copyright protection3PENANAgpwbTLuh9d

“Sturdy.”copyright protection3PENANAThvMyDPNW5

“What’s up there?”copyright protection3PENANANjSJU6zOg6

“Paintings and stuff on the wall…”copyright protection3PENANAaxvGIosdGB

“Alright; meet you up there in a sec.”copyright protection3PENANArzSWmrAcew

“… ‘kay…” Lindsay turned her attention back on the pictures. She realized that they told a tale and wished that either Naav or Areiv was present to help interpret. It had to be evidence that the region was there before the Esperians gave them technology. In the section for the racers, all the signs came in different languages; the temple was void of it. Lindsay made a mental note to discuss the area to Naav; the images looked as though it spoke of a battle.copyright protection3PENANAh2Q9LKflzw

On the balcony, Lindsay received a marvelous view of the cathedral twenty feet below. Behind her stood a space; studying it, she realized that a window was previously there. She turned her attention to Bradley for a moment, who focused on the altar enclosure. Even from her elevation, Lindsay could make out the alien designs; they consisted of the same that existed on the walls.copyright protection3PENANArJ3XqLlSZ2

Before she could make her way to the right side, Lindsay paused as she felt something fall in her hair. Her heart sped, convinced it was a Bunodic insect. She dusted it aside and realized that it was merely sand. Sand, she asked herself. She glanced up as a huge piece of the ceiling came towards her, the only action she had time for was a gasp.copyright protection3PENANAuqCmnYNXb2

Bradley jumped at the sound of Lindsay’s gasp and turned around in time to watch a large piece of rock drop on her head.copyright protection3PENANAut5lCR5ScF

“Lizzie!” his eyes widened as she dropped. He ignored the crumbling sounds coming from the balcony as he made his way towards his partner; more of the ceiling deteriorated. Before he reached the halfway point, Bradley saw Areiv appear from the window. The alien grabbed her before more of the roof gave way. As the balcony collapsed, Bradley ran and leapt for the hole by the entrance. As he rolled onto the pavement, the rest of the balcony dropped, closing the temple shut. Breathing hard, he glanced around and spotted the Baron holding a limp Lindsay, a noticeable bloody slash across her forehead. He hurried up to the two, his heart sinking into his gut. “Shit… Lizzie…”copyright protection3PENANAoDprAPdWId

“She will be fine. We must leave at once.” Areiv turned and started back to civilization. Bradley quickened his footsteps to keep up with the angered Esperian; he could feel the fury emanating from his body.copyright protection3PENANAYcDAz1znZL

In the heart of the marketplace, they made their way to the medical clinic. Legoomian nurses ran to their aid, directing the Baron to place Lindsay in one of the available stretchers. Without another word, they hurried the woman towards the back, leaving Areiv and Bradley standing in silence. Areiv gave the human man a glimpse before moving to the small waiting room. Bradley hesitated but followed him. He looked as Areiv sat. The uncomfortable silence was choking him; Bradley needed to say something.copyright protection3PENANAquevPQnVJz

“How… did you rea-”copyright protection3PENANAA7dZzNONKx

“What were you thinking? That could have killed Lindsay!”copyright protection3PENANA0JJEkjFTGF

“I’m… I’m sorry,” the agitation in the Baron’s tone stunned him. “How the hell was I supposed to know that the ceiling would go like that?!”copyright protection3PENANAE69TCYKZTt

“Did it ever occur to you that there is a reason the settlement is not inhabited?! Even an erites would know better! To think, if I had not appeared when I did…” the Esperian took a sharp breath and turned aside.copyright protection3PENANAytALsazhXk

“A what? What the hell did you call me…?”copyright protection3PENANAOX3yBnRhhy

“I do expect that you are more cautious during the races. Or would it be wise for Lindsay to become my partner?” his tone steadier than before, Areiv still gave Bradley a harsh glare.copyright protection3PENANAWWE5Pg4zfX

“You son-of-a-bitch; you ain’t got no right… you really think I’d put her in harm’s way on fucking purpose?!”copyright protection3PENANA2OrDAUN9bK

“Your actions this evening have already provided me that answer.”copyright protection3PENANAu0IxzkVrCc

“Fucking…” Bradley’s hands folded into fists and it was his turn to use long, steady breaths. “How’d you know where to find us, anyway? And how’d you get up in that window?”copyright protection3PENANAZy9DEYUIya

“I am glad I went with my instincts. I did not trust that you knew Buno as fully as you suggested. Particularly since I am the one who has provided Lindsay with tours every evening. I did not wish the two of you crossing into unauthorized territories and therefore trailed you. As far as how I was able to reach the opening, I am capable of leaping and climbing far greater than any human. You should be appreciative.” Areiv returned with another glare. Bradley bit his tongue; he wanted to strike something or someone. Instead, the man took a seat; he realized the Baron was right.copyright protection3PENANAGBY7ey12Id

After an hour of heavy silence, a Legoomian nurse floated towards the two. Bradley at once rose.copyright protection3PENANANcewKNQFes

“Well? How is she? She gonna be okay?” the human spat out before Areiv could open his mouth. Bradley let out a sigh of relief when the nurse gave him an easy smile and nod.copyright protection3PENANASe11RG0Mpy

“Your partner will be fine. We’ve dressed her wound and ran tests on her. If you would like to visit her before we give her pain treatment, you can. It will cause her go to sleep.” she reported. The two followed the Legoom to an area in the back where Lindsay laid in a bed. A bandage wrapped around her forehead, the woman gave out a faint grin at the two when the two appeared.copyright protection3PENANAW59Udoteqb

“Guys,” Lindsay gradually moved to prop herself up. “What happened?” she asked. The question worried Bradley as he furrowed his brow at her.copyright protection3PENANAseoGK8tAOI

“Oh, hell; you don’t remember?”copyright protection3PENANA3GW4IOKIA9

“Last I remember was… sand in my hair…”copyright protection3PENANAgwfqrsOUHf

“I’m so sorry, Lizzie. A chunk of the ceiling came down on you. Damnit, I should’ve listened to you! If… if it wasn’t for the Baron…”copyright protection3PENANA59tuPeCjOr

“… You can call me Areiv, Bradley.” Areiv replied almost quietly. Bradley nodded. He reflected back to the Baron’s remarks in the waiting room. He was thankful the Esperian was there still it pained Bradley he had placed his partner in harm’s way. Just because he was envious.copyright protection3PENANA2S8ZXQOIzo

“I should’ve stuck with you. I shouldn’t have gone on that damn balcony…”copyright protection3PENANASPV7gnA4hh

“Oh, Lindsay. Do not trouble yourself over such trivial matters. The most important matter is that you are safe and not seriously injured. How are you feeling?” Areiv gave her a small smile. Lindsay rolled her eyes but winced when she did so.copyright protection3PENANAknqNSg1vAQ

“I think half that ceiling hit me; my head feels like it’s gonna split in pieces. Sharp, jagged pieces. Laced in poison.”copyright protection3PENANAWCJ4BGVpou

“Ouch! Yeah, sounds like you got a concussion, too. The nurse said that she would give you some meds, so we had to come in and talk to you before that.”copyright protection3PENANAOhkKoA8ZFq

“There will be no need. I will tend to that need… if you will permit.” Areiv looked at Lindsay for consent. Both humans gave the alien a puzzled glance.copyright protection3PENANAgZOHNGYPby

“Uh… okay,” Lindsay agreed. Areiv nodded as he set his hands on her forehead. The Baron closed his eyes and meditated, chanting in his Esperian tongue. His words grew quieter as a blue light surrounded his hands. When neither could hear him speak, the glow vanished, leaving Lindsay to exhale. She threw him a stunned but full smile. “Um… wow! You’re a healer?”copyright protection3PENANAG7apcM68cu

“Not fully. I am merely able to alleviate minor discomfort. I cannot cure ailments. You should get some rest. Bradley, I dare say that you will notify your Earth comrades?” Areiv looked at the pilot. Bradley blinked a several times before nodding, feeling discouraged.copyright protection3PENANAC1MXMbyUad

“Yeah. Sure. I’ll… see you in the morning, Lizzie.” he gave her a smile. He was glad Lindsay allowed him to squeeze her hand; the woman gave him a smile and nod. Bradley gave Areiv a nod before he walked out the room.copyright protection3PENANAlqd980P6P0

“One moment,” the Baron said as he turned to leave. “Bradley,” hearing his name, Bradley stopped and turned. “Forgive me for my sharp words earlier. I spoke them while under duress. It was crude of me.”copyright protection3PENANAFv8QVlD1tP

“It’s okay. Just… what’s an… erites?”copyright protection3PENANAw6Ri3EtByD

“Ah. It is a creature on Esperia that seems to have an obligation to not abide by our rules of natural order. They are… thoughtless creatures…” he admitted lowly. The look that Bradley gave the Baron made him slightly flushed. “As I expressed, it was improper of me to declare such things. I… I will remain with Lindsay, if you do not mind.” Areiv rushed. Bradley gave him a brief nod.copyright protection3PENANAPT422d3SkS

“Don’t compare me to some stupid animal ever again…”copyright protection3PENANASZo1PkmtlP

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