The Man

BY : Unicorn Tickles
Category: +M through R > Minecraft
Dragon prints: 241
Disclaimer: This is fiction, based on fictional characters. I own nothing from Minecraft, and this is not for profit.

 

    Phil was a general, at the end of a small war. They'd won, and their job was over. They could all go home. But before that, Phil tagged along with his soldiers into town to spend their paychecks and celebrate a little. Phil didn't intend to blow his money like most of the guys did, but he could afford a little fun, at least. But he had kids at home to feed as well. So mostly he tagged along, and babysat. Some of his guys could get stupid with a little money in their pockets. Nothing crazy, just the natural result of good times costing money.

      Most guys branched off at the whorehouses, naturally, and Phil was no stranger to those, but he wasn't very restless this night. Just tired. So he ended up with the rest of them, at the fighting pits. It had been a long bloody day, so watching mobs bloody each other seemed like a soothing way to pass some time. Phil even put a few bucks down on a couple good ones he'd eyed like horses for sale. One was a ravager, always a safe bet for a dozen rounds, and the other was an oddity: a little piglin hybrid with fiery red eyes. The kid had looked at him as he was assessing him, and Phil felt as though he'd never known hatred until this moment. He smiled back, knowing this little guy would be able to go through opponents for quite some time before he fell. Another sure thing. Both were sure to entertain for a bit, so Phil had his evening planned out.

    A few of his men put their money where Phil did, so they were all cheering the little piglin on together. It turned out he was worlds better than Phil had hoped. He hadn't been given a weapon, so he had to use his fists until he ripped apart a skeleton, and kept a femur for beating, and the bow. He used that bone for several rounds, but it finally broke on a pillager, so the kid had to switch back to his reddened fists again. It didn't slow him down, and he picked up some arrows that time. It went on for a long time. Phil made his money back on this kid, and it still kept going.

      The crowd became impatient, waiting forever it seemed, for the fighters they'd backed, and it became a contest to take the kid out. Hordes of zombies were released, and he killed them all. Gradually, fatigue seemed to be setting in, and people could hear him heaving breathes, but he went on killing. Like he liked it. Phil knew the feeling. When you're in the moment, the heat of the battle, you lose yourself. But everyone has a limit, and Phil didn't know anyone who wouldn't have reached theirs by then. 

    The piglin looked at the gates eagerly as he stood over the last of a bunch of zombie pigmen they'd thrown at him, waiting for the next challenge even as he used the moment to sag some muscles. And an enderman was thrown inside. It could have teleported away, but the kid rushed up and swung with a golden blade from the last corpse before it could, making sure to piss it off. It screamed in rage and the fight was on. He took it out in a couple more blows, and it dropped a pearl.

      The pigman picked the pearl up off the ground, and looked around wide eyed. He scanned the surrounding crowd, and everyone could see he was looking for a way out. With blood red, yes, but suddenly incredibly human eyes. Phil's heart lurched against his chest in that moment, and he wished he could have given the doomed kid a chance. Those eyes scanned over the faces, and rested on Phil a moment and he could feel the curious mix of desperation and resignation, then the eyes moved on and the moment passed. There wasn't even a place for the pearl to land. They were enclosed in fencing all around. Then the gates were opened again, and an evoker was let in. One of the men with Phil perked up. He'd put money on that one, too.

    The kid pocketed the pearl and used his sword until it broke. Teeth jumped up from the ground to slice into him, and his leg was ripped. A couple people exclaimed over that, knowing it hurt, even though the tough little fucker never cried out. He came back with a flurry of fists, trying to be faster than the spells, and killed it, but not before a couple vexes were spawned. He got one, but when the next thing was thrown at him (a vindicator with a wicked axe) he had the other vex still hovering over him, coming down to strike every time he had to look a way to dodge that axe.

      The little piglin won this round, too, and came out of it with the axe. The Vindicator was replaced with another dozen zombie pigmen to balance the fact that he had a pretty good weapon. And Phil reached the point where he would actually mourn this little fighter when he finally fell. If half his troops had that kind of fire, his campaigns would last a week at most. The rounds went on, and people who had been bored before were now on their feet, curious to see how much longer he could go on for. His axe broke somewhere in the carnage, but he went on. He was favouring his leg heavily now, and there was a dimness to the eyes Phil had seen on the battlefield. The kid was getting burned out.

      Then they let in the ravager Phil had put money on. He shook his head sadly, but couldn't even blink. He'd gotten to his feet at some point. Someone threw a stick into the ring, and laughter followed. The kid was supposed to use it. Phil pushed his way to the front, so he was up against the ropes. His soldiers followed, eager to see if they'd cash in on this or not.

      The kid was manhandled. It took a long time, too. There just weren't any weak spots on the beast, and every twenty blows the kid could land would cost him a good one from the beast. He kept trying, to his everlasting credit, but it had become an endurance contest, and the kid had been going for a long time already. Backing away from it, the little piglin tripped over the stick, and fell. He grabbed the stick, but it wouldn't help him.

      Phil gripped the ropes, and the beast went in with its tusks, ripping into the little body angrily. The kid sucked air in through his teeth, the only admission of pain he'd given so far. It skewered him through his ribs, picked him up, and flung him across the ring. He landed face down a little in front of Phil, who readied himself for the rest.      The ravager charged, and the kid rolled onto his back. Phil couldn't believe he could even move, and partly wished the kid would just die already so he wouldn't have to watch anymore. But the piglin used the stick just as the ravager came with its open mouth, and he shoved the stick through its maw, up into its brain. The eyes instantly rolled back, and it collapsed on him. Then he passed out.

     Everyone was quiet. These things happen from time to time, but not very often, when both fighters fall. Then the ring gets emptied of its bodies, and they start fresh. Phil could see the body underneath breathing still. The kid had fought too hard. Harder than he'd ever seen in the pits, and he couldn't let it end like this. In the quiet confusion and waiting, he pushed his way to the gate, and inside.

      He didn't look behind him, he knew his men would follow. He shoved at the ravager's immense weight, and he was helped automatically. They didn't know what he was doing, but it didn't matter. They shoved the beast aside, and Phil knelt at the broken bleeding body that was revealed. Phil had seen worse. But not much. Not much where the person came back, anyways.

      Very carefully, remembering the ribs crunching on the tusks, he picked up the kid, and didn't bother answering any questions, or collecting his winnings. His men could take care of such details. As well as a detail like talking their way out of this. It wasn't necessary when it became obvious Phil had a portion of a troop of soldiers with him. Money changed hands over the near corpse in his arms anyways. They were given the space to leave, and Phil took the dying kid back to camp, as quickly as he could.    

      He applied regen and healing potions, and wrapped the wounds, hoping he still wasn't too late, but ready to accept that possibility as long as he'd at least tried. He removed most of the arrows, but left one for when the kid was stronger, if that happened. He wouldn't have survived its removal right then. This kid was on death's door. Phil would do what he could, but knew better than to hope too hard.

      When an hour passed, though, and the body still breathed, Phil felt that he would have died by now if he was going to. And he really should have. As hours passed, Phil became certain he'd saved a life. He studied the peaceful face and tried to reconcile that with the raging killer he knew to be in there, and stroked the kid's snarled blood soaked hair, amazed at how soft it was where not caked in body matter, but kept his touches light. Still, he stayed up all night, right next to him, waiting.

     In the morning, the kid stirred. And groaned in pain. He opened his eyes and looked around the room, and his body froze. This place was something new, and he couldn't remember. He could smell people still. Always, the stench of humans since he'd crossed the portal. He'd never be free of them. Just his eyes moved, and he found the culprit. A man in green, and Techno remembered him from last night. The one who'd smiled at him.

      "Don't move," the man said, and Techno growled in warning. If this man wanted a fight ... he tensed his muscles, as though making sure they were all there, and pain lanced through everything. It cut his growl short, but he gave no other sign of his pain.   

    "Your bones need mending. You should stay still for a couple days, at least." Techno narrowed his eyes suspiciously. "I don't even know if you can understand me." He laughed. Humans loved laughing. Techno hated them all. "Just in case you can, my name's Phil." Techno was very focused on keeping his rage in check. Wouldn't do him any good if what the man said was true, and it felt true. He felt like crying from the pain. And like that would have hurt everything even more. 

    "Bet you're hungry." Phil pulled out a golden apple. "Being that angry takes a lot of energy. Here." It was unnerving for Phil, being glared at relentlessly by an otherwise unmoving face like he was. Techno looked at the gapple, and the sight and the smell of it brought something back to him. It hurt to think about, so he turned away from the man, but kept his eyes open, ready for the attack. The man - Phil - smelled like he wanted to eat him. Like a predator. Like a human. And the gapple was reminding Techno of humans that had been good. It was unsettling. "Go ahead, take it."

    "Please leave." The deep rumble of his voice took Phil completely by surprise, and he was backing out of the tent before he could stop himself. The piglin could speak.    

    "K, I'll come check on you later. Please, stay in bed. Your ribs still need mending." He shot back in quick, realizing he still held the fruit he'd offered, and placed the gapple by the bed, then went back out. He had to clear his head. He was never a man to choose the easy path, to the point of ridiculousness; somewhere in the night, or the last few minutes, he didn't know when, but he'd fallen in love.  

 

    Techno was left to stare at the fabric over head, hating himself for not hating one man. He left the gilded fruit untouched and wisely, didn't move. His body told him that much. 
 

   The man came back later in the day with a meal, hot and fragrant. Techno drooled, but didn't accept anything from the man. While his bright blue eyes were full of nothing but kindness, his smell threw Techno into defense. It was the smell of a predator, an eagle scanning from the heavens for weakness. And Techno didn't remember being so weak as he was then. 

    "Didn't eat the apple? That's OK, kid. I have something a little heartier here." Techno deadpanned him, something that humans never failed to hate. They were so inept at reading other beings that they had to let everything, every single simple little thought show on their faces, just so they could put up with each other. 

    The man set the plate down when it became clear Techno wasn't going for it. He pulled out a healing potion, and Techno refused to move away from him as he applied it to the piglin's skin with a soaked rag. The scent of him set Techno's hackles up, and a low growl came out, making Phil freeze with a wide smile. The smile was real. Techno cut off his rumble, not out of politeness, but because he shouldn't give this man as much. He looked away. 

    "Let's try this." Phil put the rag down and brought a spoonful of whatever the food was to Techno's face. The piglin went back to staring at him. "Look," Phil said with a very real laugh, "you'll never be able to get up and beat the fuck out of me if you don't eat. If you don't heal. Please." No human had ever said please to him before. Aside from his father, of course. Someone that this man reminded him of when he didn't smell like he was about to dive on Techno with talons bared. 

    Techno opened his mouth and allowed the spoonful to be deposited. He chewed deliberately, letting a little spite show through. The man knew he wanted to kill him, so what was this? Did he want some sport? Funny way to find it.   

    Techno took a few more bites, and Phil fell into gushing about Techno's performance last night. His eyes lit more as he recounted some of his favourite moves, and Techno swallowed his bite to grind out, "Glad you were entertained."

    Phil stared at him, wondering what to say. This was his chance. They were practically having a conversation there. "Who wouldn't be? You're amazing. I'd like to see what you can do when you have an actual fucking weapon."

    Techno grunted, feeling like he was done talking for the day. He'd already said more today than he'd said in months. He felt like he was done eating, as well, and turned his face to the other side. 

    "No, none of that. Come on, tell me your name." 

    "Just pick one."

    "You don't have one?"

    Techno turned back to him, out of patience. "Look, just tell me what this is. What am I doin' here? You fattenin' me up for supper, or what?" Phil sputtered, confused. "How did you get me out of there, anyways?"

    "I carried you."

    "Did you pay?"    Phil looked back at the food in his hand. Then nodded, ashamed that maybe, technically, he had property that could talk. Well, did that change anything? Yeah, probably. Probably changed everything. Techno felt his weariness as though he was an old man. "Technoblade."  

    It took Phil a bit before he realized he'd just heard the boy's name. He came back with another spoonful, and it was accepted. Phil told him about his home, where he planned on taking Techno in the morning. It would take them a few days of travel, and Phil would be buying him a horse. Phil had three boys that would fall over their feet to be Techno's friends. Phil had a farm, and a home for Techno, a room that would be all his. 

    Techno listened to the drivel and ate half of the stew before he felt familiar warning pains in his gut that meant if he kept eating, he'd lose it all. He pulled his face away from the next spoonful with the tiniest motion, and Phil set the spoon down, satisfied with a half bowl's worth. He picked the rag back up, and Techno felt he had no choice but to allow this. Just a man taking care of his property. Nothing more to see here.
 

    He bought Techno a horse for the journey, and asked him to pick a name. Techno said "Horse", and Phil laughed uproariously. Techno grunted, not ready to be charmed by this human, but had to admit that it was a fine horse. It smelled of fear and resentment, but didn't let that show. Techno took right to him, even if he had to start the trek being pulled behind in a cart to let his body heal.  

 



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