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The young irken’s silver eyes twinkled behind his bandages and his mouth zippered a smile. He relaxed in his seat, propping his elbows on the counter of the bar. A bartender sauntered to him. “Wha’ cha’ want?” asked the bartender.

“Just the usual,” stated the young man in an accustomed manner. The bartender nodded, and poured him a glass of blue, vortion ale. The silver-eyed irken proceeded to drink the ale, handing the bartender some monies.  He turned to the pub.

The pub was a crowd of murmurs, drunken laughter, and tears. Irkens of every class clumped together, some came to talk with friends, others just to drink. The atmosphere wasn’t consistent, sometimes merry with conquest, sometimes dark with deactivation of a comrade. In the midst of the clamor came a silence as imperial elites stormed into the room. A dumpy, dirty irken stood abruptly, sweat on his brow. Everyone in the pub knew exactly what was going on. For some unknown reason, that irken was going to be put on trial. The maroon-eyed irken was ready to sprint as the guards came towards him. The pub held their breath as they watched the maroon-eyed irken run through the bar, away from the elites who chased after him. No one dared help him, in fear that they may be deactivated as well.

Once the irken was caught and carried off, there was a brief moment of silence; the pub went back to its chatter. One of the bartenders was cleaning an empty glass as he went to speak with the silver-eyed irken who remained beaming during the whole ordeal. “Yo, man, why are you always grinning? What are you so happy about?” The young irken leaned towards the bartender, as if he were telling the secret of life. Curiously, the bartender inclined himself towards the smiling irken.

“Well, ya’ see. I always feel like somethin’ good’s gonna happen’.”

~~

DSM ambled brusquely as she held her friend Zeel’s hand. They chatted as they entered the underground arena. DSM had a match today, and she brought Zeel to cheer her on. The air was filled with sweat and victory, and DSM felt a sure confidence. Her coach, a towering, bulky Goliathen, was standing patiently in the intermission hall. He waved pleasantly at DSM and Zeel, and tipped his hat. “Hello there ladies.”

“Hiya.”

“Hello.”

“Hey there coach, who am I fighting today?” said the charcoal-eyed irken with enthusiasm. The coach looked down to his clip board, running his finger down the paper.

“It seems you’re fightin’ one of your kind. Name’s Tar. He’s pretty new to the arena, but by his records, he’s familiar with fightin’. You best be careful.” DSM smirked, confidence glistening in her eyes.

“I can take him.” The coach grinned.

“That’s my girl,” he said with a father's pride.

A tall, slim irken strolled towards them. He wore bandages over his eyes and nice, big smile on his mouth. “Well hi there,” he said casually. DSM’s eyes widened as she looked up to the tall irken. He towered over her.

“H-Hi,” she said with a stutter, her confidence vanishing.

“You must be DSM.” She nodded. He stuck out his hand and she wearily shook it. He seemed to notice the fact that she was shaking, because he moved his face close to hers. “Somethin’ the matter?” Surprised, DSM squeaked, falling back. Zeel acted quickly to help up her friend.

“What’s wrong?” said the blue-haired irken, worried. DSM moved her eyes up to Tar, who stood there rather confused by her reaction.

“H-he’s so tall.” Tar snickered lightly.

“Not really,” said Tar hearteningly. DSM was not persuaded.

“Dude, you’re, like, super tall. You’re going to smush me!”  Tar chuckled. He found his opponent rather adorable.  He squeezed her hand gingerly, and playfully tickled her chin.

“Don’t worry, lass. I won’t hurt ‘cha too bad.” Dark green began to blossom on her cheeks, and she pulled away.

“I-I’m going to go change,” said the charcoal-eyed irken, rushing off to her changing room. Zeel hurriedly followed after. Tar smirked, and placed his hand on his hip.

“What a cutie.”

~~

DSM cautiously climbed up into the ring, wearing a figure-fitting, black tang top and and dark grey shorts. Her antennas were secured back so that they wouldn’t interfere with the fight. Tar climbed in, shirtless with green shorts. He was beautifully lean, and DSM couldn’t help but gawk. But she shook her head, and went to her corner, waiting for the match to start. Tar turned to his corner as well, carrying his smile with him.

As soon as the bell rung, both challengers were up on their feet, and their fists clenched. DSM was the one to make the first move, and the crowd began to roar. She swung her arm at Tar’s gut. Tar swiftly avoided the hit, and he swung his fist against her jaw. DSM was thrown back, but with expertise, rebounded the blow, striking Tar in the gut and while he was recovering, under his chin. A trickle of clear, green blood trailed from his mouth, but his smile remained. “Whoa, you pack quite a punch,” he said, wiping the blood with his glove.

“Thanks,” she said, her guard was let down a little.

“But that’s not enough, I’m afraid,” he said, taking advantage. He charged towards her, striking a blow in her core. The audience watched in entertainment as the two irkens clashed.  A fury of punches was exchanged between the two, but it was Tar who hit the hardest. DSM dropped down, coughing up blood. The female began to shake, and she raised her head up to Tar.

“I-I give up. I know I’m not going to win.” Tar smile seemingly everlasting smile disappeared, and he frowned disappointedly.  Soft mumbles were exchanged in the crowd, wondering what exactly was going.

“But, lassie, ya can’t give up. We were just havin’ fun.” The charcoal-eyed girl shook her head.

“N-no.” Tar clamped his hands on her waist, lifting her to her feet. DSM was thoroughly confused from his action, but he leaned close to her antennae. The crowd continued to be lost. Was this part of the show?

“I’ll let cha win,” he whispered. The irken’s charcoal eyes widened.

“N-no, I couldn’t let you do that,” she said with a shaking voice.

“Nah, it’s alright. Go ahead, make your move. I won’t stop ya.” She looked up to the irken with bandaged eyes who so kindly offered to forfeit because she refused to fight.

“I-If you say so…” The audience held their breath at the pause, but then-

DSM struck Tar’s abdomen as hard as she could, and he cringed as he fell back. The crowd erupted out in cheer, and the bell was rung. The match was over. DSM shook, not with victory, but with guilt. She burst out of the ring, and collapsed onto the floor of the intermission hall, murmuring a prayer in ancient tongue. Zeel ran to DSM, and put a cautious hand on her shoulder.

“D-dude, what’s wrong? You won.” DSM paused in her prayer, and looked up, her eyes glazed over.

“I didn’t win anything!” Zeel kneeled down next to DSM.

“What was going on between you and the Tar fella?” inquired the blue-haired irken. DSM pulled her knees to her chest.

“I wanted to give up, but…but he let me win,” she said shamefully. Zeel shifted her weight, unsure of what to say. The coach broke the awkwardness of their silence and went to congratulate DSM.

“Honey, that was spectacular. I was thinking you were gonna lose, but then you strike him down with one hit. Amazing!” he chirped happily. DSM gave him a very forced smile.

“T-Thank you…” The couch, too dense to realize she didn’t share in the same enthusiasm he had, handed her her prize monies. He strolled off whistling. DSM clenched the monies in her hand. “Let’s go to the food court. I’m gonna go stuff my face.”

“Oh, okay.”

~~

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