“Ajax, Shaula, what was it like when you saw Jelli fight?” Meixi notices a lull in the conversation and Ajax’s depressed look. She asks this question of him in slight awkwardness.
Ajax looks over to Shaula, but sees that she would still rather remain silent if possible. She was closest to Angelidis during the fight, and has an interest in physical combat. But, her antisocial personality wins out. She stares back at him, and he understands.
“Well, it was pretty cool. The way she moved, she looked like a really good fighter. I’ve never seen someone fight with a tail like hers, and the way she used it was so graceful. Really amazing, honestly.”
Angelidis smiles while holding her drink in her long, jet-black claws.
“I know, right!? She’s so awesome!” Meixi praises Angelidis wholeheartedly.
“She’s so kind too, she takes care of us even though we can’t really help her out… Honestly, we should be getting more drinks for you, you know?”
Sudirja hurriedly nods her head to confirm Meixi and Olah’s praise. Angelidis blushes at the sudden attack. Her pale face becomes visibly red, something that Ajax and Shaula had never actually seen in real life.
“H-Hey, stop that, I-I just did what anyone would d-do!”
“Look at her blush, she’s so cute! I love you, Jelli!” Meixi laughs with a joyful air. She does like making Angelidis feel anxious with her lavish praise. She’s just too cute when she hears nice things being said about her from people she’s close with. But, Meixi does truly feel deep admiration and love for Angelidis.
There was once a time where Meixi was almost about to be sexually assaulted. She screamed and her rapist had struck her in the head to shut her up. When she woke up, she was in bed and Angelidis was there. She had a throbbing headache. But, she didn’t feel any pain in her genitalia like the previous times she was raped.
It appeared that Angelidis saved her.
Later, some city guards put out news about a human man’s body being found with his chest caved in. The sketch of the guy in the newspaper looked like her assaulter. Meixi adores Angelidis for making sure there was just a little less pain in her life. Angelidis continues to blush with a wavering voice.
“Hey, look, I’m not that great, just look at Ajax and Shaula here, two humans who were able to stop an ice mage from shooting me in the head! I-I mean, it wasn’t that–”
“Jelli, you told us that they saved you from being bruised, it was that serious!?” Olah is concerned that Angelidis had been downplaying the encounter.
“I-I mean, not my head, m-maybe a broken arm o-or–” Sudirja, sitting right next to Angelidis, grabs her and hugs her tight.
“Don’t be so reckless, Jelli. We don’t want anything to happen to you…” Ajax and Shaula hear Sudirja’s sweet voice for the first time. If the two of them are understanding correctly, Angelidis only told her friends that it was a small incident. It certainly did seem like a small assist to Shaula, but her perspective is skewed. Not everybody can heal their wounds like she can.
Angelidis feels slightly bad that she let a detail slip. A few minutes pass as Angelidis receives lectures from each of her friends. Meanwhile, Ajax gets two plates of the house special for himself and Shaula. The two of them eat slowly, savoring their food, while hearing a stern conversation between friends in the background
In the middle of his meal, Ajax hears a slight stomach rumble from Angelidis.
Aw, look at her, she looks like she’s about to cry… These girls really care, they’re like her sisters. Imagine if Rita heard that I almost died during… Let’s get some food for her.
Ajax heads to the counter and gets two more plates of the house special for Angelidis. His expression isn’t smiling however, he still has a few errant thoughts about home.
While Olah and the now talkative Sudirja question Angelidis about the incident, she scarfs down both plates of food. Meixi gets another round for the table, this one being paid for by each individual when the bill comes. Angelidis finishes off her meal and nurses her drink, feeling the weight of a deep scolding. Meixi asks a different question, subtly trying to change the subject.
“Jelli, how is your family doing?”
“Oh, mom and the twins? They’re… alright, I guess.”
“You have kids, Jelli?” Ajax asks this question, and Angelidis smiles softly.
“No, they’re my little brothers, Varin and Rand. They’re living with my mom and… still in public school.”
“...What’s wrong? Something happen?” Olah notices Angelidis hesitation when mentioning them.”
“Well, it’s tough. Both of them are seventeen now and almost done with public school, you know? I had always wanted them to go to a post-secondary place, but they don’t have the aptitude in magic or in their academic subjects to get anywhere good on scholarship.”
“That sucks, Jelli.”
“Yeah, I know, Olah… it’s that fucking school, you know?”
“...What’s wrong with the school?” Ajax doesn’t understand the context so he asks.
“Oh, well, it’s a fucking racist shithole. They don’t let demihumans join any of the higher placement classes. Fucking human prick teachers and administrators holding us back. I-I know Varin and Rand aren’t super geniuses, but maybe if they could try, they could show some nice results. The human kids don’t even have to get high grades to enter those classes…”
Ajax and Shaula learned about how racial discrimination used to affect schools on Earth and in some cases still do. It normally results in generations of students falling behind their peers, because of their race, ethnicity, religion or gender. Something like that seems to be happening here as well. It’s not surprising.
This place does seem even more backwards than Earth, even though deities run things.
Perhaps with what Angelidis says, Shaula can gauge how far rights for the discriminated have come in this world. She knows that demihumans are discriminated against to some degree and that women have it worse than men. The poor as well don’t have any legs to stand on. There might be more information to learn right here.
At the very least, it would satisfy her curiosity. It could also give her a lens to view the world more objectively. She listens carefully as Angelidis continues.
“And then, the teachers my mom talks to make up excuses about how the advanced classes might be ‘too difficult’ for demihumans. What a load of shit. At least let them fucking try, you know? If they fail, they fail, but… But no, no trying even. My mom’s too backwards to push the school on the issue, and I’m not a legal guardian, so I can’t go to the school and talk to them either.”
“I’m sorry to hear that, Jelli.” Ajax gives his thoughts and Olah shares her own.
“Shit, that’s annoying. The school I went to had a ton more demihumans than humans, at least three to one. But still, barely ten of them in the senior year got to join the upper placement classes, and all of them were studying like crazy for their chance. It’s like this in every fucking school in the Federation. Or at least Tritol…”
Olah is 16 right now and dropped out of school about two years ago when her dad died. She still carries anger about that time in school. It felt like she was only there so that the barony wouldn’t look too callous.
The demihuman liberation groups always argue for better schooling after demihuman slavery had ended. The Barony ‘compromised’ with them by letting demihumans join public schools while treating them like garbage. Angelidis sighs.
“That’s all stuff I’ve come to terms with already. I made my peace with them not going far, that’s fine. They’re pretty strong, so I thought they could find work in another city with better employment for demihumans. It would suck if I never see them more than once every two years, but they need to live. They can have families and raise children. They can still be happy.”
Angelidis clenches her teeth and Ajax and Shaula see her sharp, interlocking teeth.
“But then, my mom suggested something and I got really pissed off. She is just so stupid sometimes, going on about ‘well, they’re draconids, this would be perfect work for them, let them at least try’. Even though she married my dad, she’s still so weirdly racist about what draconids can do. We’re not just strong, dumb animals… I love her, I really do, but ever since my dad died, I’ve noticed her being like this, and… honestly it… it just makes me sad…”
Angelidis lowers her head in dejection. Her mother is human and has been raised with a lot of propaganda. When she found Angelidis’ father, she fell in love. She never argued with dad about draconids while he was alive, but Angelidis believes that she reverted to her old indoctrination.
That’s what Angelidis thinks at least.
“What did your mom ask them to do?” Shaula, feeling quite curious now, asks this question in a quiet voice. It is the first time Angelidis’ friends hear her voice.
“Oh… She wants them to join the army.”