Chapter XXIV – The Chase (Day 2)

Rem let his body fell on the couch and sighed deeply. Marybeth, on the other hand, sat on the floor with her back touching the side of his head.

Rem slowly allowed his head rest on Marybeth’s back. He felt the heat coming from her and it was relaxing. She let him thinking of his actions and the things he said in the forest. They stayed in that position for a couple of minutes when one escorts entered the living room.

“Rem, Marybeth, it’s time for you to get cleaned,” Dricks said. “Prep up and your dinner is about to be served.”

They stood. Rem asked Benedict if he would like to come. He agreed. Anikka didn’t say a word and followed Marybeth.

In the bathroom, Benedict stayed in front of the cubicle while Rem took a shower.

“What happened to you guys?” asked the younger man. “Bruises are all over your face.”

“Aside from the two escorts, there was this third man who brought you here, right?” Rem asked.

“A-huh!” Benedict replied.

“Have he mentioned the forest?”

“Yes. But, I don’t remember much. He talked too fast”

“The forest will teach you survival skills. But, it will also be the venue to apply what you learned from the start.”

“Uhhh! I remember that. That will be the time that you will go against the experienced and older Arkimans, right?”

“Yup!”

“So, you fought great fighter?”

“Yes.”

“You won?”

“Hmmm. I don’t think it’s appropriate to say what happened. Just make sure you will try to absorb the training, so you will be prepared when that time happened.”

Rem dried himself, get dressed in the locker room and with Benedict, he went to the dining where they continued talking about the future training that the youngsters will have to face.

Marybeth entered the dining room with Anikka. She immediately noticed Rem’s smile. It was actually the first time that she looked at the smile of her partner. She admitted to herself that Rem wasquite handsome despite the bruise on his face.

As per doctor’s advice, Rem and Marybeth will still have to stay in the living room until they were given with go signals to sleep. Their rests were quite long to the point that Benedict and Anikka were asked to go and sleep in their rooms.

“Thanks by the way,” Marybeth said while looking at him.

“For what?” Rem asked chuckling.

“For saving me with those crazy women,” Marybeth said.

“We are allies and that’s what allies do.”

“What you said to me back there? I also feel the same.”

“I know… I can feel it.”

Marybeth’s eyes widened.

“What do you mean?” Asked Marybeth.

“I know…That you also treasure me,” Rem replied.

Marybeth shook her head and closed her eyes again.

“Don’t be too assuming. I don’t have feelings for you.”

“I never said you have feelings for me. I also can’t remember, I said I have feelings for you.”

Marybeth’s eyes again widened and when she saw Rem mildly laughing at her, she felt awkward and quickly get up. She then threw her pillow at him.

Rem stood and walked in front of Marybeth. He bowed down, reached for her face using both of his hand and mildly pulled it. Then, their faces were only millimeters away.

“I know what you feel,” Rem said and this time, he’s serious. “It’s not appropriate to say what we feel for each other due to no assurance outside. But, it’s not also right not to say what we feel, because of our fears.”

Then, silence for a few seconds. Marybeth felt awkward but was too stunned to move. Dricks appeared and asked them to sleep. Rem released her face, stood and walked away. He looked back after a few steps.

“I need to take a rest now,” Rem said. “I got tired saving the person I treasure.”

After Rem got out of the living room, Marybeth hit her face multiple times with a pillow. She felt embarrassed. However, she realized that he was right. There’s no point in hiding the emotions.

The next day, after taking a shower Marybeth and Anikka went to the dining room. There, Rem and Benedict were having fun. When Rem noticed her, he smiled and tapped the chair beside him asking her to sit there.

While eating, Rem used to look at Marybeth and will look away or will widely smile every time she caught him.

“Stop tripping at me,” said Marybeth to Rem while giving him a punch on his leg.

“What?” Rem asked in a low tone. “I’m not doing something.”

“You are looking at me with that annoying smile,” Marybeth replied.

“Sorry, I can’t help it,” Rem said still smiling.

Marybeth shook her head and continued eating. She felt awkward but at the same time, she trembled.

Rem and Marybeth were asked to go directly outside the dome while Benedict and Anikka were asked to continue with their training. While walking, Rem asked Marybeth to try her best to reach the swamp as early as possible noting that they had bigger chances of winning if they were together.

In the forest, Rem was surprised it was only Khyle. Jacklyn then boastfully explained that despite they were more than alright, Buster and Arnold must stay in the island’s clinic.

Looking at his eyes, Rem knew Khyle wanted revenge.

Right after the first cannon went off, Rem immediately ran and again headed to the place where there are lots of agave plants without even minding the second cannon. There, he quickly collected ropes and when he thought they were enough, he wasted no time and ran towards the swamp.

Rem sneaked through from the upper part of the swamp. When he knew that the coast was clear, he walked to the shore carefully hoping to find Marybeth. He concluded that she has yet to arrive. So, he hid among the bushes and started to tie his ropes to create a longer one.

After half an hour, Marybeth appeared running. She also used to look back. Rem knew that she’s being chased. He was correct. The three fighters appeared and once again, they were having fun.

Rem jumped when the largest woman was already in front on him. He took that opportunity because she was being left behind. The moment he reached her, he hugged her, rolled over the ground, and pinned her with his feet on her arms. He then reached for a knife and threw it at the blonde woman who was still running and doesn’t have the idea that her buddy was down. Again, the knife was attached to a rope with a loop purposely created to catch her hand.

Rem then pulled the rope that stopped the blonde woman giving her a hard fall. He wasted no time; he called Marybeth to let her know he was behind.

Rem proceeded by choking the large woman. Seconds later, her alarm again went off.

The blonde woman – while Rem was choking the other one – cut the rope and immediately ran towards him to help her teammate. But, she was too late, the alarm went off. He stood and looked at her with a smile like of a sure win.

The blonde woman readied as she knew, she had no choice but fight. Rem was the first to attack. After several punches and kicks, it was obvious that the lady had no match.

While exchanging punches with the lady, Rem heard an alarm and when he looked, he saw Marybeth on top of her opponent. So he immediately launched a quick blow on her stomach but no alarm was heard. He frowned but left with no choice. He pulled his rope and cut it to make at least 24 centimeters long, rolled both ends on his hand and used to choke her while he’s behind.

“Come on!” said Rem referring to the alarm to go off. His face was obviously worried because he doesn’t want to hurt her bad.

Rem immediately released her when the alarm went off. She went down on her knees and coughed.

“I’m so sorry ma’am, it’s nothing personal,” Rem said while rubbing her back before he ran to Marybeth.

Rem reached for Marybeth’s hand while running. She obliged and ran with him until they were out of sight. He stopped, looked at Marybeth and hugged her while chuckling.

“We won,” Rem whispered to Marybeth.

“Yes, we won,” Marybeth replied while breaking out from Rem’s hug. “Thank you very much! You backed me up again,” she added pinching Rem’s cheek.

“Like what I told you yesterday – as long as I’m here, no one can hurt the people I love… I mean, I treasure,” Rem said feeling awkward.

Out of embarrassment, Rem walked away. After a few steps, he looked back at Marybeth.

“Come Marybeth. We need to replenish,” said Rem. “We still have one more enemy to face.”

Despite confused, Marybeth followed Rem. While walking she asked him what he means with “one more enemy to face.” The young man explained that Arnold and Buster must stay in the clinic. So, Khyle was the only one left. He also pointed out that he wanted to make sure that she’s alright, that’s why he opted to run straight the swamp. He asked if they can go back to the swamp, she agreed.

While walking, Rem improvised a spear by attaching a dagger to a thin bamboo.

In the swamp, Rem asked Marybeth to pick berries and dried woods as he prepared himself to dive. Underwater, he picked shellfishes and speared fishes. Then, they had a feast.

While eating, Rem opened the possibilities when they are outside.

“I’m sad,” said Rem.

“Why?” Marybeth replied.

“It’s because, I know, I can feel that we will soon be out of this place,” he said followed by a deep sigh.

“Me, I’m happy,” she said smiling as she looked at Rem.

“Why?”

“It’s because I can already fulfill my duties…”

“How I wish, we can just stay here forever. I’m ok with that.”

“And why is that?”

“It’s because I want to be with you. However, It just a wish; a wish that will never come true.”

Rem felt awkward, the two didn’t say a word and continued eating for a few minutes.

“You know what Marybeth, again, the moment I saw you being chased, I got angry. It’s like ‘don’t you dare put a hand on her’. I needed to become a man for you, I have to protect you, I have to be sure nothing happened to you, I needed…”

“Shhhhh,” she said interrupting him. “I’m always alright. You don’t have to protect me. I don’t need protection.”

“I’m sick and tired of fighting,” Rem said.

“Fight for what?” she replied getting irritated.

“For what we feel… I can sense it, Marybeth. I can sense it.”

Again, silence for a couple of minutes.

“What do you feel?” Rem asked.

Marybeth didn’t say a thing.

“I have feelings for you,” Rem said pulling Marybeth’s face to make him look her. “I am asking you, what do you feel?”

Marybeth remained silent.

Rem looked at her for more seconds and when he didn’t get any replies, he stood and picked firewood. He slammed it.

“Wait, where are you going,” Marybeth shouted.

Rem didn’t say a word and just continue to walk. She stood, ran after him and gave her a hug with her palm on his chest.

“Don’t leave me. I lied,” said Marybeth almost whispering.

Rem faced her.

“You lied?” Rem said. His eyebrows crossed.

“I lied, I needed you. I need you to be with me,” Marybeth said, this time showing her softer side.

He just hugged her tight.

“Am I interrupting something?” A man with a deep voice said.

Rem released Marybeth as he knew it was Khyle.

“You found us Mr. Khyle,” said Rem while pulling Marybeth to his back. However, the lady won’t allow him.

“Please back off Marybeth,” said Rem while looking at Khyle.

“No, I don’t want to,” Marybeth replied. “You want to protect me. But, we needed to protect each other. Remember, you said we are stronger when we join forces?”

“Ok, as you wish,” Rem said and ran to attack Khyle.

Marybeth, on the other hand, followed Rem. But, she ran to the side. Rem challenged Khyle by throwing punches at him. The more experienced fighter easily dodged and shielded himself from the attack. Then, came Marybeth who launched a powerful kick at Khyle’s waist. But, much to her delight, he caught her foot with his left hand.

Khyle tried to hit Marybeth, but Rem won’t allow him resulting to a tight grab on her leg while defending himself from the male trainee.

After a few struggle, Marybeth was able to get out of Khyle’s grab. She then retreated. Rem also moved a few feet backward to go nearer her.

“He’s fast and I forgot to tell you. He’s one heck of a fighter,” said Rem.

“What’s your plan?” asked Marybeth.

Rem whispered to Marybeth.

“Let’s attack at the same time. But, be careful. Don’t let him grab you,” he said.

Marybeth just nodded.

“Ran to the side and attack to his back while I spar with him,” he added.

After a few more instructions, Rem shouted.

“Now!” Rem shouted and ran towards Khyle.

Marybeth followed running to the side.

Khyle read their plans. So, he ran and met Rem half way and attacked him with all his might. The younger man had no match; Khyle won and able to kick Rem away. He immediately turned to Marybeth and attacked her.

Marybeth wasn’t able to anticipate Khyle, leaving her helpless. The older and more experienced fighter unleashed a powerful punch. Fortunately, she was able to shield her face using both arms, but the blow hurt her so much. He walked towards her, probably, to finish the task.

Rem got angry seeing Marybeth in that position. He immediately stood and ran towards him. Khyle suddenly turned around knowing that Rem was about to attack and unleashed a powerful punch on his stomach.

Rem mildly coughed out of pain holding Khyle’s huge fist. However, he had this evil smirk. He then walked backward and it turned out that he sacrificed his body so he can tie Khyle’s hand.

“Now!” Rem shouted.

Marybeth then pulled another rope revealing that Khyle also stepped on a snare trap she planted a while ago. She pulled the rope hard, lifting Khyle’s leg. Rem, on the other hand, also pulled the rope. Khyle tried to fight by pulling Marybeth and Rem back and he’s actually winning.

Rem nodded at Marybeth, she nodded back. She then released the rope. Khyle lost his balance and fell. Rem caught Khyle’s body with ropes and immediately proceeded in tying him.

Marybeth came and gave Rem a high five. Together, they pulled Khyle, who was already lying on the ground. They tied him to a tree. Right after they finished tying him. Rem gave way.

“He punched you a while ago right?” Rem asked. “Go ahead, avenge yourself.”

Marybeth smiled and move in front of Khyle. Still smiling, she moved and gave him a powerful kick on his face that immediately triggered an alarm.

“Come on, let’s get out of here,” Rem said.

“Wait, I need to do something,” said Marybeth.

She tiptoed and kissed Khyle on his forehead.

“Thank you so much Mr. Khyle for training us,” she said. “We are allies. I am looking forward to working with you when we are outside.”

Marybeth and Rem ran away. After a few minutes, they stopped. They again hugged each other.

“That was great, Rem,” said Marybeth after she broke off. “Nice plan!”

“I think when we are together we are invincible,” Rem said.

Marybeth removed the blood on the side of Rem’s mouth and nodded.

“Yeah I can’t agree more.”

Then, a voice was heard over their earpieces instructing them to go back.

Rem walked to his side, picked a huge leaf and knelt. He was picking wild berries. Marybeth followed and helped him. After they filled the leaf, he stood and gave her a hand.

“Let’s munch on this while walking back,” Rem said who was already chewing. “Mr. Khyle made me extremely hungry.”

Marybeth picked a berry and put it in her mouth and smiled. She then picked another one and tried to place it to Rem’s mouth. The young man obliged and chewed with a smile on his face.

At the end of the forest, Rem and Marybeth were welcomed by their forest mentors. Jacklyn kissed Rem on his cheek.

“I’m so proud of you Burrows,” said Jacklyn.

Brad, on the other hand, also kissed Marybeth on her cheek while complimenting her. The two mentors then switched. Brad gave Rem mild punches on his waist, making Rem twitch left and right. Jacklyn gave Marybeth a tight hug.