Zeta patted the pillow with his forepaws again, “Chel sleep right here!” He obviously wasn’t taking into consideration that Chel would not fit on the pillow. “Sorry wet! Skate want sleep in bed too, until Zeta make her go to ‘quary-um!” He’d had a struggle in convincing her to leave earlier and had hoped an hour of time would be enough for the pillow to dry.

Smiling, Chel sat on the edge of the bed. “How about,.. you three get off the bed and let me in first, then you can sleep wherever you want to,.. Maybe you can find me a dry pillow, Zeta?” She tried to be polite, the entire time thinking, ‘I can’t believe I’m even having this conversation with these three. My cat,.. a miniature fire breathing dragon and a squirrel that likes being held more than Stealth ever did as Mittens…”

“Zeta do better! Zeta FIX! Zeta good Drier!” He squealed happily. Finally, something he could do! He sat up and chuckled, a wisp of smoke starting to stream out of the corner of his mouth.

“Zeta,.. fabric burns.” Stealth pointed out, giving the sallomandyr a condescending look out of the corner of her green eyes. “Don’t even consider it.”

Zeta sniffed and lowered his head, “Zeta just want help!”

Stealth lifted a paw, motioning to one of the compartments beneath Lexx’s bed, “Just go toss that one in the cleaner chute and get another pillow. You know how Lexx is if you mess up his things.” Zeta’s crown went flat against his head and he nodded.

“Lexx can be such a jerk.” Fly squeaked, rolling on the bed as Zeta hopped off and drug the pillow to the bathroom. The little squirrel bounced about playfully as Chel unfolded the blanket laying next to her. Stealth sniffed disdainfully at the display.

“Not all the time.” Chel stood up and flung the blanket over the bed, nevermind that Stealth and Fly were still on the bed.

Stealth didn’t wait for the blanket to fall, darting underneath of it and pouncing on the first part that fell, while Fly continued to jump up and down. Apparently, the cat had more than just a few of Mitten’s behaviours. Chel giggled and flicked her wrists, popping the blanket up again and watching the cat and squirrel bouncing about rolling in the folds.

“That is why I .. said, can be!!” Fly misgauged a jump and smacked into the back wall.

“Haha,… should look where you’re going!” Stealth purred, rolling onto her back as the blanket settled on her.

Chel pulled the blanket back halfway, letting Fly and Stealth out from under it, then she sat down again, watching Zeta work with the panel beneath Lexx’s bed. He had it halfway open and was trying to fit his head into the opening to get a pillow,.. without the door sliding back shut on him. Chel watched quietly, thinking.

Stealth sat next to Chel, looking up at her. She blinked once, then turned her gaze toward Zeta, “Is there something wrong, Chel?” Zeta growled in frustration, one forefoot on the bottom of the panel railing, the other on the panel itself. Slowly, he stuck his head into the opening and grabbed the end of a pillow in his jaws.

“I don’t know why I’m here.” Chel studied her hands, not wanting to look at Stealth. She was her cat. She had been her cat. “I can’t figure out why I’m still here. I’m not supposed to be here. I should be back home.”

“What about me? You said that you wouldn’t leave without me.” Stealth pointed out, still staring at Chel in that manner that cats do.

Fly leapt up onto Chel’s shoulder and curled his tail around her neck, trying to look at the girl, “Hey, wait a minute! You won’t leave without Stealth?! What about me? You would leave me up here alone with Lexx! He’s not nearly as good of a perch!”

Zeta had the pillow halfway out and enough so that the panel wouldn’t close on it. He let go to look back and blink, only catching half of the conversation, “Chel leaving?!”

“I didn’t say I was.” Chel murmered. “It’s just that what business do I really have here? Lexx said that he’d give you to me when the game was over.” She rubbed the cat between the ears, only to get a stinging slap and a very perturbed look from the cat. “Hey!” Chel blinked, looking at her hand and noting a set of four reddening claw marks.

“Chel,… you can’t leave.” Stealth seemed to be having a bit of a problem, panting with her eyes wide and ears laid flat against her head. Her twin tails twitched uncontrollably. “Please, you can’t…”

“Why not? Would Lexx do something to you?”

“No!” Fly blinked at Stealth himself, surprised that she’d actually struck Chel. His fur ruffled and he glared at the cat. “Lexx has always been very good to us. I complain,… but Lexx has never hurt us. He feeds us well, plays with us when he has time and talks to us,… Stealth?” Zeta pulled the pillow over to the bed, tossing it onto the bed with a jerk of his neck, then following, laying down with his head on it. He was perplexed. He wasn’t sure what was going on, but the air in here had taken on a heavy weight.

Stealth was trembling, her fur sticking out in all directions. “Chel, you need to know this. Out of all the dice, I’m the only one who knows all the rules. I know them because it’s my nature to want to know things. If Lexx wins, yes, he can give me back to you, and he will. He has no reason to keep me if I want to leave and I’m just one less creature to have to watch, but.. if Lexx loses. What do you think happens to dice when their player loses, a player who either dies or is captured?”

“You’re set free?” It was all Chel could think of.

“No.” Stealth bristled further and hissed. “We are destroyed. We’re either wiped and recycled or simply, destroyed. We can try to escape, but they will kill us. There’s an entire section of the ADC that is devoted to destroying rogue dice. Dice that refuse to go by the rules.”

“Oh,..” Chel frowned.

“That is, unless someone steps forward to claim us and responsibility for us.” Stealth continued, “You can do that, if Lexx loses.”

Zeta lifted his head and interjected angrily, “Lexx not lose! Lexx always win! You talk stupid fake talk, Stealth!”

“Zeta, shut up.” Stealth snapped, “You don’t know that! He could lose and if he does, we are all going to DIE! And I don’t know about you, but I do NOT want to die!” Zeta went completely quiet.

Chel felt Fly sink his claws into her shoulder, tensing up at the information, but he said nothing. What had she gotten herself into? Why did she keep asking that same question. She knew that the instant she’d decided to go with Lexx she didn’t have any control over what could happen, but she hadn’t thought far enough ahead. Regret began to fill her thoughts and weigh heavily on her. Zeta looked very upset and confused, Stealth and Fly understood and were both terrified. This was real.

She’d felt sorry for Lexx because of his situation and had not even considered what the dice were going through. Again, she had not seen what was really around her. Stealth began speaking again, looking directly at Chel, “At first,.. I didn’t want you involved in this Chel, I was hoping you’d go home, but now,.. now, I am asking you to please stay in case it happens. Claim us as yours, all of us.”

Chel stared at Stealth, “How?”

Stealth shook her head, “I’ll tell you when the time comes, if it does, but please, don’t leave. Not until it’s over.” Stealth looked away and added, “I… didn’t even think about that fact until Lexx had that last battle. There’s something going on that we’re not aware of. The challenger showed up way too early,…”

Chel sighed. She was already here, but what was she going to do with the trio if it came down to her getting them and … the thought of Lexx being killed really hit her hard. Harder than when he’d first told her that was his life. “I can’t say yes or no to that, Stealth,.. I’m sorry, not right now. What if Lexx decides to just take me home and leave me there? I’d have no control over it.”

The cat was silent, then looked back up at Chel, “Stay with us as long as you can then and if it happens, claim us and take us with you. That I suppose, is all that we can ask?”

Chel nodded, “Ok,.. I’ll stay as long as I can, but Stealth, I have to go home at some point, you know that.”

“I know, but we’ll be done well before that time.” Stealth seemed relieved. Just a few weeks. That’s all it’d take as long as they kept up the pace. “Thank you, Chel… I’m sorry for scratching you.” The cat frowned, her whiskers turning down and eyes looking up imploring for forgiveness.

“Heh, it’s fine.” Chel started to undress, placing Fly on the bed and pulling her shirt over her head, “You scratched me worse than that as a normal kitten and didn’t even bother to apologize!” Fly hopped to the end of the bed.

“Chel,… watch Zeta if Lexx not able to?” He had comprehended that part of the conversation and sat up. He looked greatly troubled. “Zeta not want Lexx be hurt. Want know if Chel watch Lexx if Zeta not able help Lexx?”

Chel rubbed her eyes, a bit affected by the child like tone in Zeta’s voice, “Yes, I will.” She couldn’t imagine Lexx being that hurt. He’d recovered very quickly from being shot and being in that last battle. Hopefully, it wouldn’t come down to that, but for Zeta she had decided she’d do it.

“That good!” Zeta seemed cheered up by that. “Lexx need someone watch Lexx! Not have anyone watch him like Lexx watch Zeta!” Chel began to wonder,… if watching meant something a little different than what Zeta thought it meant, since Zeta seemed to be the dice that Lexx liked the most. She’d heard Lexx apologizing to the little creature, petting him and giving him an extra treat to make up for being mad at him.

“Yeah,.. now, do you mind. I feel funny dressing in front of a bunch of animals that can talk.” Chel smirked at the trio and headed for the bathroom to put on the long t-shirt she’d set aside to sleep in.