Home > Worse Guy(3)

Worse Guy(3)
Author: Ruby Dixon

I bite back a malicious grin.

The guard approaches, his tail twitching, and I remain very, very still. He watches me, hesitates, then shoves the tray full of meal bars again. Once more, it gets nowhere near my cage, and the male makes an unhappy sound. He rubs his head at the base of his horns and then takes another step forward.

One more, I tell him silently. Just one more step and then the hunt begins.

The guard hesitates, then leans forward and places his hand at the edge of the metal tray to give it another push. His tail flicks in agitation, and the moment it swings toward my cage, I act. I reach out and snatch it, jerking hard. The male loses his balance and stumbles toward my cage, and then I grab him. I sink my claws into his arm and when he screams, I bury my fangs in his throat to stop his howling. Hot, warm blood rushes into my mouth, better than a dozen of their dry protein bars, and I revel in the sensation.

Kill, my old master's voice says. Make it messy. Give them a good show.

I rake my claws down the male's chest as I tear at his throat—

The sizzle of the cuffs—turned up to max—jolts up my arms. I can ignore it and keep attacking the male, but if I do, I discard all of the work I've done to convince them that the cuffs work on me. I'm not going to give up my plans for a snack, no matter how bloody, so I release him, howling my rage, and jerk at the cuffs. I make a good show of it, just like my master taught me, and lick at the blood on my muzzle. The male stumbles away, clutching at his neck, and I resist the urge to curl my lip in derision at his moaning.

It's barely a keffing flesh wound. Pathetic. I suffered worse on a daily basis at the last stable.

They send another jolt through the cuffs and I react appropriately, then lick the blood off my chops. I wasn't going to eat the fool. I just wanted to maul him a bit. Watch them scurry. Have a little entertainment. I keep my eyes closed and pretend to be unconscious, listening to the guards race around the room.

"Again?" the one in charge states. "Who got too close to the asshole?"

"Abbik, sir," another male says. "They're taking him to the clinic right now."

The one in charge groans in frustration, and I just imagine how annoyed his face is. "That's the third one this week. When are they going to learn? You don't approach the keffing cage! Why do you think he's in one?"

"Sorry, sir. Abbik is new. I'll have him reassigned to outpost duty."

"You do that. He clearly can't be trusted with this." The male sighs heavily. "Today, of all days." His booted feet echo on the floor. "Someone come and clean up this mess before Riffin brings his female in. We don't want her screaming at the sight of the blood."

Screaming?

Female?

My senses prick with interest for the first time in days—weeks? I don't know how long I've been in this cage. Ever since they woke me up. I don't know who the new master is, or why he's letting his guards fool around with watching over me. I don't know where they're keeping the rest of the fighters, or what they plan to do with me. Probably fodder for a particular match. Wouldn't be surprised if it was a death-match. They're not acting like they know what to do with me, which isn't a good sign for my longevity.

So I have to be smarter than all of them.

I remain still as someone brings in a cleaner bot. The thing whirrs, squirting a harsh smelling soap that makes my eyes water. My wrists ache from the angle that I've 'collapsed' upon in the floor of my cage, but I don't move. To do so would put them on alert again, and I want to know what this 'female' situation is.

The floor is cleaned, but no one bothers to clean me, which is a shame. I'd love for them to put a hand on me so I can show them just how many limbs I can break in under a breath. There's blood on my muzzle and claws, but I don't suppose that matters. The female isn't for me. They never are.

I pretend for a while longer, listening to the guards as they go about their duties. Somewhere in the distance, the buzzer that indicates a door is opening goes off, and then two new scents enter the building. One of them is familiar—a mesakkah male who's been in here plenty of times before. The other is new and beguiling.

It's a female. A female that smells different than anything I've scented before. My senses prick with curiosity. That must be the female. It's a being, but the scent is softer and more delicate than the others. It's almost…sweet.

I wonder what she'd taste like underneath my fangs. Even her blood would be sweet, I imagine. I like the thought.

I can hear voices talking as they approach, and hers is more musical and pleasing on the ear. The male with her stinks of a herbal soap that he prefers to hide his body odor, as do many of the guardsmen. To my surprise, the female has no such scent at all. It's a welcome change, because some of the guards make my eyes burn with how much they enjoy their stinky soaps. I can't wait to get a good look at her.

In fact, the curiosity burns at me so much that I feign an awakening and get on my haunches the moment they step into the room.

The female is…soft. That's my first impression of her. Soft and vulnerable. She's smaller than I thought, as she stands next to the stinking guard. The top of her head only comes to the middle of his chest. Her form is all rounded curves—fascinatingly round teats, a round backside, and soft-looking arms with small hands. She is not mesakkah, I realize. They are varying shades of blue and hers is a cross between a pale gold and light brown. Her dark mane is pulled into a tight weave against her head and her eyes are big and dark as well. Unlike the mesakkah, she has no horns, no protective plating, no nothing to give her defense of any kind.

Is this…a taunt? Are they trying to show me the most vulnerable creature in the universe as a joke?

"Is that him?" the female asks, her wide-eyed gaze resting on me. "Crulden?"

Huh. Is my name Crulden? I thought it was “Asshole.” That was all my last owner ever called me, and the males here do the same.

"That is your project assignment, yes," the male in charge says, moving toward her and the male she arrived with. The one in charge smirks, but the one at the female's side is not laughing. He looks very unhappy, and I wonder if she is his female. He does not like the thought of her being left with me.

I don't blame him. I wouldn't leave a thing that soft with me, either.

Her mouth falls open, her expression one of confusion as she studies my confinement area. "Why is he in a cage?"

The one in charge snorts. "Because he is a dangerous creature. Just a short time ago he attacked one of my guards that was attempting to feed him."

The female's brows draw together. I wait for her to show shock or terror. Instead, she focuses her little frown on the male in charge. "He's not a creature, First Rank Novis. He's a person, and if this is going to succeed, you're going to treat him like one."

That's…unexpected.

"He's being treated like an animal because he acts like one," the male—First Rank Novis—says. "He attacks anyone or anything that comes too close to his cage. He's violent and unruly. He destroys everything. Lord va'Rin wants him tamed without the use of medication since he cannot consent to it, but I'm not sure how it's possible. He's tasked my crew with it, but no one can get close enough to befriend him. He doesn't like males, and Lord va'Rin suggested a female. So now, we have you."

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