“You certainly know how to pick them!”
Phovos smiled as she leaned by the open doorway to the old Dessaron Headquarters, watching as Arkay struggled to reach high cupboards, trying to put his freshly purchased shopping away. Helping him was an unfamiliar black and lilac Temthan wearing absolutely nothing, who was absent-mindedly shoving food into the refrigerator. Upon seeing the Raptor standing in the doorway, Arkay jumped down off the counter, tutting loudly.
“I genuinely find that offensive! You know I am not interested in…”
“It was a joke, Arkay…” Phovos tapped the Skayvok on the shoulder. “But I assumed something was up as soon as I got an angry call from my water-niece, so I decided to pop by.”
Behind the kitchen, a large, draconic head popped into view. The moment it spotted Phovos though, it disappeared again, ducking out of the way. This was followed by a “who is it?” from an unknown, somewhat watery voice.
“So, how many you got hiding here, Arkay?” Phovos asked, straightening herself out. “I assume none of them have any form of ID, correct?”
Arkay shook his head. “No, they haven’t. And I’m trying to work out how to sort it all out. But keeping them fed is more important right now.”
“And who are these… miscreants?”
Arkay knew that Phovos was being playful and wouldn’t get them into trouble, but the way she was messing him around was… bothering him to the point of not wanting to speak. He quickly moved past Phovos, slamming the door shut so no one could look in.
“They’re not miscreants. Just lost!”
“Fair enough, but who are they?”
Before Arkay could answer, the Temthan had leaped off the table and had forced herself in Phovos’s face.
“I know you! You’re THAT one!”
“I don’t know you though,” Phovos remained calm. “Who are you?”
“I’m…” The Temthan hesitated and glanced at Arkay. “I’m Sini.”
“And the other two back there? Who are they?”
Again, Sini hesitated and glanced at Arkay, turned back to Phovos then glanced at Arkay for a third time. “Uh, we haven’t thought of names for them yet.”
Phovos tutted. She too turned to Arkay, wanting answers. “Mate, what are you not telling me? Why are you so insistent on keeping me in the dark?”
“B-because…” Arkay gave in, not wanting to make things more complicated. “Because that’s Yisini and Epani and Kairos are hiding in the living room. Kinisis got mad at us and made us into mortals for a bit.”
“Oh.” Phovos didn’t really know how to respond.
“That’s basically how Tenuk reacted…” Arkay sighed as he backed away.
“Can… Can I see Kairos?” Phovos suddenly asked.
A loud NO echoed from the living room, followed by a slapping sound and a quiet “sorry”. After a little bit of scuffling around, a fairly large, dark grey creature with smooth skin and red patches, appeared. Phovos recognised this being to be a Falena, an old fishing race that had withdrawn from interstellar activities after the Dessaron’s victories. A strange race, even on Portalia, but a fitting choice for a large, whale-like being like the Panelix.
“He is embarrassed,” Epani explained. “He believes he is weak and ugly. I am not doing much better…”
“What does this all mean?” Phovos asked. “What… what happens…”
“We don’t know. We are as clueless as you are!” Arkay grumbled. “But you can’t tell anyone this. Because if people find out that the gods are, well, mortal, that’s a massive target on our backs. I get away with it since I built a persona for myself, but they can’t. Especially Kairos.”
Phovos nodded in agreement. “Yeah, an unknown, unregistered Thraki in these parts is a pretty bad idea…” With a sigh, the Raptor shook a backpack off her shoulders and started rummaging through it. After a few tuts and curses, she pulled out three flimsy, plastic cards, all slightly chewed on one corner and handed them to Arkay. On them were the words “Edgeland Visa”.
“What are thoooose?” Yisini beamed, snatching one of them out of Arkay’s hands.
“Since I kinda stepped down, I can’t give you all proper citizenship in Palaestra or give you proper passports, you’ll have to go through official channels. But at least these will allow you in and out of Palestra without too many issues. It’s what the… less civilized Thantophors use around here.”
Arkay bowed slightly. Epani and Sini both lowered their heads as well, but only because Arkay did.
“Thank you, Phovos.”
“No worries, mate!” Phovos grinned, throwing an arm around Arkay. “I’ll try and sort something out with Lokmahro as well, but… well, Thraki are weird right now. At the very least, I can get jobs for you all in the Arena if you want?”
“I’m supposed to be retired, but that… that is a good idea…” Arkay also began to smile. “Sounds like a plan.”
“Cool! I’ll make some calls and schedule something for the next few days!” The Raptor clapped her hands together. “We always need new contestants!”