Chapter 1: Dismembering a Laptop
"Krel!! Are you freaking kidding me? I need my computer for homework!" Aja stormed into my room, demanding, "You better be able to put it back together by tomorrow morning. I have to take it to school to work on an essay, and I can't have it in pieces!"
Rolling my eyes, I turned around to reassure her. "I just needed to test one of its components on another thing I built for the tech club. When it's done, I'll put it back where it was and you'll have your computer back."
"You took apart my entire laptop for one piece," Aja muttered, crossing her arms. Shaking her head worriedly, she said, "I trust that you know how to put the whole thing back together without losing any memory or functionality, little brother. Don't let me down."
"You worry too much, sister," I patted her shoulder, "You're talking to an expert. Speaking of which, I have to get going if I want to meet the tech club on time, so I'll be back later." I placed the piece in my backpack, then waved at Aja.
Pushing a smile and rolling her eyes, she waved back. "Stay safe, Krel! Let me know when you're leaving to come home."
"Okay Mother," I teased my sister.
Making a face, she narrowed her eyes. "I just want to make sure you're still able to get my computer together again."
"That's cold," I shot back jokingly.
At the meeting of our tech club, the piece I borrowed from Aja's computer worked perfectly. It was just as I expected, so of course I was proud of it.
"Dude, you're so cool for bringing it to us! We definitely needed it and we can use it at the fair tomorrow," Seamus pounded my shoulder appreciatively.
Wait a minute, we were using this specific piece? That was not a good sign.
She'd probably kill me.
"I thought we were just testing this piece and we were bringing it in from somewhere else," I reluctantly admitted, "This is from Aja's laptop she needs tomorrow."
"Oh no, we need this if we want any chance at beating Pasadena High tomorrow. Is there any chance we can return it to her after the fair?" Seamus asked, gaining the attention from the rest of the club.
As I saw everyone's head turn at me, silently begging me with their eyes, I bit down on my lip nervously. I couldn't do this to Aja. She needed it for an essay.
"I'm sorry, I promised to reassemble her computer again tonight. She's counting on using it at school tomorrow, so I wouldn't be able to give it to her afterwards," I half-way mumbled, not looking up at anyone to see their faces.
"Oh man, what are we supposed to do tomorrow then? We're screwed."
"Where else can we get it by tomorrow?"
"Delivery takes like two days minimum."
"Crap. We're losin' the contest."
Shaking his head, Seamus offered a fist bump as he handed the piece back to me with the other hand. "It's fine, man. Thanks for letting us try it though."
"Club dismissed, dudes."
Leaving quickly before anyone could try and persuade me to change my mind, I made my way out to the streets in defeat.
Looking out, I realized the sun was already gone. It was just the stars and moon lighting the streets dimly.
At least Aja wouldn't be disappointed in me.
Oh right, I remembered, I had to text her that I was on my way back.
As I reached for my phone while walking across the bridge, I heard my name being whispered.
I would've been lying to myself if I didn't say that I jumped at the deep voiced whisper. Lowering my phone from my gaze slowly, I peered down from the bridge to see a pile of broken stone.
A small blue glow from the stone pile caught my eye, and I leaned a little further past the bridge to try and see what it was. Maybe a cell phone? I didn't recognize the voice at all.
When the voice echoed out my name again, I jumped back in surprise. It was creepy, but it piqued my interest a little. The sound quality from its speaker was very good, considering the small object it must've been from. The voice didn't sound like it was from a phone or recorder, but it echoed a whisper strongly enough for me to hear from the distance. Quickly walking around the bridge, I used the sloped walls to slide into the dry canal.
Wait, what if this was a trick to try and kidnap me? Now I'd have a difficult time getting out from the canal, and—
I noticed the blue light glowing a little more strongly from under the stones. Looking around to ensure I wasn't being tricked, there was not a single person in sight. I reached to rescue the object and pull it out from under the heavy rocks.
It was a metal compass-looking thing with a blue glow that had faded when I picked it up.
Accompanying my lifting of the compass object was a harsh sound of metal being hit. A vent cover smack onto the floor of the canal, and what proceeded were heavy, nearly stomping footsteps from behind me. Spinning around, I shoved the object in my pocket. I could feel my heart sinking to my throat as two people approached.
I couldn't see very well in the darkness of the night, but I was pretty sure the people standing in front of me were quite unusual in shape. This definitely was a trick, I thought in a panic. The unusually large, hairy one growled, and I almost felt myself freeze in place.
I realized I should've texted Aja that I was on my way so she would've known to start figuring out I was taking way too long to get home and tell our parents and call the police so they could arrest the kidnappers.
Six eyes glowed yellow on one figure, and the larger figure had two incredibly circular eyes, way bigger than I've ever seen on a living being. They towered over me, and I slowly began backing away as fearful tears began glazing over my eyes.
"Greetings Master Krel. You have been chosen. The amulet of daylight challenges you to ascend to the most sacred of—“
Terror caught in my throat as soon as the adrenaline hit me, and in result I bolted off at the highest speed I'm sure I've ever done. My shoulders burned from the heavy backpack, and my legs, inexperienced with such athletic activity, were beginning to seethe with pain. My chest tightened from the heaving of my breath as I continued to push myself to run as hard as I could until I was able to reach the upper ridge of the canal. My sneakers skidded up at the side as I reached and pulled at the concrete desperately, then able to hoist myself over the edge and out onto the street.
Jumping back up to continue running, I heard my name being called from behind me.
"Krel! Come back!!" I heard from behind me as I ran to my house as fast as I could.
I turned back a couple times in fear, only hearing the voices, but not seeing the figures anymore. I got to my house, screaming and banging on the door for someone to open up.
Aja quickly opened the door, looking bewildered from my screams probably and yanked me inside. "Little brother, what's wrong? Are you hurt?!" She asked, checking me over for injuries. I didn't even realize I had tears running down my face until she wiped them away with her sleeve.
"T-There were two guys! Things? I don't know! In the canal they called my name and I think they tried to kidnap me and they had weird shapes and I don't even know if they're human! There were six eyes on one of them, and they glowed, Aja! Yellow glowing eyes, like a monster!" I rambled to her, watching my grandfather rush into the hall with urgency.
"Varvatos will crush these kidnappers and they will die a slow and painful death!" Varvatos Vex, my grandfather, yelled with intensity.
Aja's worried expression turned to perplexed. "Krel, six eyes?"
"Six glowing yellow eyes, Aja!" I reminded her, and as I was yelling with my heaving breath, it came to my mind that I might've sounded a little delusional.
"Varvatos, I think the suspects were wearing weird masks to hide their faces! We should call the police," Aja told him, looking back at me.
"The police are weaklings in comparison to the blustering storm of Varvatos Vex!" He claimed, "I shall handle a matter of such with my own bare hands!"
Shaking her head at our grandfather's violent-minded intensity, Aja pulled me along by the arm as she went to find her cell phone. "Are you okay, Krel? Did they hurt you?" She asked.
"No, they didn't luckily, but they knew my name somehow. They knew my full name, and were growling like animals! Or I think that was just the larger one?"
"Well, that's creepy. You definitely aren't going anywhere by yourself anymore," Aja shuddered, turning around to pick up her phone and call the police.
I wanted to argue against that, being that she was only a year older than I was, but I didn't want to be caught by myself again with those creeps. At least if I had Aja around, they might be less likely to come across me again. She was the best at martial arts, so even if they tried to hurt either of us, I know they’d both be out cold.
After Detective Scott came over to take my information and statement, I was practically exhausted by everything. Still, I had one more thing to do, and even in the most crazy of times, I wouldn’t forget.
“So, is everything okay, Krel? I know that was crazy, so if you’re afraid of being alone in your room like when you were younger, I can grab my sleeping bag and stay for the night,” Aja offered, softening her tone.
Laughing a bit, I reassured her I was okay (and mature enough) to be alone. I still wanted to reassemble her laptop for her. If I couldn’t use the part for the tech club’s competition, I had to at least put it to use for my sister.
Dragging my backpack into my room, I intended to begin working on it right away. That was until a big blue stone hand slapped over my mouth and the door locked behind me.
Chapter 2: Rock Demons in My House
"Master Krel, I understand this is quite a strange way to introduce ourselves. I know you're not as adjusted to seeing lifeforms like Aaarrrgghh and I, but I'm afraid I won't be able to remove my hand from your mouth until we are positive you will not scream," The guy with six eyes whispered, holding one hand over my mouth and the other behind my head.
I should've listened to Aja and taken her offer, but I didn't know these guys were waiting in my room either! I was terrified and wanted to faint at the sight of the blue man in the light with too many arms, but instead widened my eyes and dropping my backpack down. I tried to push his hand off of me, but it was so heavy. My heart was pumping so fast, I thought it might burst from this horror.
Was I in a nightmare? I really wanted to wake up.
"Old geezer and blonde girl in house," the bigger grumbled as he moved into my sight range, suddenly revealing his large grassy form. He looked like a boulder with grass... or fungus growing from his back and head. He also had horns, as did the six-eyed guy.
Was I surrounded by rock demons?! Were they here to drag me down because I wasn't the best person? I instantly regretted all my worse life decisions, and was ready to start begging for my life.
I felt a layer of tears start brimming already as I tried to squirm away from the demons of rock, and I couldn’t hold back the small whimper that escaped from my throat.
"Please calm down, young man. When you're calmer, I'll let you speak. I apologize for startling you so badly. This isn't how we usually acquaint ourselves with Trollhunters, but normally they aren't human."
I struggled to get my shaking under control, and take deep breaths from my nose so he'd let me talk- or beg for my life, whichever was necessary in whatever situation this was.
Finally, I nodded my head and he slowly freed my mouth.
"W-What are you?" I asked, still breathing heavily as I held my arms in front of me fearfully to shield myself.
Looking at his bigger friend, he then offered me a sort of gentle smile. "We're trolls. I'm Blinky, and he is Aaarrrgghh," he told me.
"What do you want with me?" I asked them, slowly backing myself to the other side of the room, although I was cornering myself into the windowless side. The bigger one, Aaarrrgghh, was standing in front of the door so I wouldn't run out screaming again, I supposed.
"Well, it's not really what we want with you. You heard the amulet, correct?" Blinky confirmed.
"Yes, the device called my name. How did it do that?" I questioned further, although I was backing away even further as they stepped forward just a little. My arms fell by my sides.
Amulet? I pulled it out of my pocket, and tossed it to the ground in front of them. Maybe it was what they wanted and they would leave.
"Oh, that amulet is yours. It called to you, Krel, as the new Trollhunter. Your duty is to protect both worlds of trolls and mankind," Blinky picked up the amulet and tried to give it to me, but I fell back as I tried to recede against the wall.
"Me? I can't even protect myself. Why would it call to me? Tell it to call to someone else," I pushed it back to him, holding myself back into the wall as if I was trying to become a part of it.
Me? A protector of two worlds? That was crazy-talk. I just wanted these two out of my room so I could get to work on fixing what needed to be fixed.
"Are you talking to someone, princeling?" I heard my grandfather ask from behind the door, using my nickname from when I was a kid.
Yes, I wanted to say, I'm talking to two stone beings that tell me that some amulet wants me to protect two whole worlds so please come in here and yell at them to leave.
The two trolls froze up at the voice, and I hesitated as I looked at them. I didn’t want them to murder me.
"Uh... yes, Varvatos. I'm talking to... my friends from tech club on the phone... through speaker!" I replied falteringly, slowly flickering my gaze between the two of them before looking down and crossing my arms.
"Glorious! My princeling has found real friends, so Varvatos will not have to beat them into befriending you!" He laughed heartily behind the door before we heard his footsteps recede into the distance.
I felt my throat clutch with embarrassment, and I chuckled awkwardly. "I have friends," I told the trolls, to which they fake-smiled and looked at one another just as awkwardly.
"Anyway, if I'm the supposed Trollhunter, which I'm definitely not, aren't you two trolls? Aren't I supposed to hunt you if I was?" I continued to question, swiftly changing the topic. At least the lump in my throat was gone, even if the twisting worry in my stomach wasn’t quite gone yet.
"Goodness gracious, no!" Blinky chuckled, "We're good trolls. You only hunt the bad ones as the Trollhunter, which is a sacred duty only given to you."
What was the deal with this guy? I didn't want to be Trollhunter, and there was no amount of "sacred duty" talking to change my mind.
"I don't want it," I argued, still sitting up against the wall for safety, "Give it to someone else."
"Would your sister prefer the honor?"
"No!" I cried out in horror.
I mean, could you imagine Aja getting asked to do this? She'd immediately agree, then end up getting killed because of whatever dangers it brought, and there was no way on Earth I was letting that happen.
Blinky seemed rather smug toward my reaction, "Then I assume you would rather take it on, Master Krel."
"Fine! This isn't a well thought-out plan, but if it makes you go away, then fine!" I sneered in annoyance, although I felt my heart speed up a little at my tone toward something that was nine feet tall.
"You have not yet seen the best part of it, have you?" He asked, still smiling even after my slightly explosive reaction.
"Read the inscription on your amulet, Master Krel," He demanded, pointing toward the amulet on the ground.
There were words on it? I didn't notice it earlier. Then again, I was in the darkness of the streets.
Looking down at the amulet, I hesitantly reached out to grab it. They were rather close, and I wanted to be cautious when approaching the object since it was so close to them.
"We're good trolls," Aaarrrgghh grumbled reassuringly, using his large stoney fist to bump the amulet closer to me.
"Sorry, I guess I'm still a little jumpy," I admitted, pulling it towards me before lifting it into my view to read its inscription. "For the glory of Merlin, daylight is mine to command?"
Suddenly, I realized I was being slowly lifted up into the air by random forces of... magic, I thought it was? I was terrified, but impressed by the blue light being sucked into my chest before a silver metal armor encased my body, with a black suit beneath. A heavy sword of the same metals from my armor appeared as well.
Looking into the mirror, I looked like a hero. I saw a courageous, confident boy looking back at me, and I couldn't contain my enthusiasm.
"That... was awesome! I get to wear this all the time when I'm saving the worlds?" My mouth ran before my mind let me filter my words and emotions. "I get to fight with this enormous sword?!"
"Yes, you would, Master Krel," Blinky answered, gently patting my armored back, "So do you accept?"
If I took this offer, I wouldn't be the same loser who was too shy to stand up for my actions, I wouldn't just be a rude stand-off, but I could get the chance to change myself for the better. I wouldn't be the same Krel who cried in silence every time he was bullied, or the same weak boy who let Steve Palchuk walk all over him.
I'd be the Trollhunter. I could say goodbye to the old Krel Tarron, even if that pit in my stomach was still there.
I did end up fixing the laptop and returning it to Aja's room at midnight. I might've used my uncomfortable metal armor as pajamas that night, but I felt more confident than I had ever felt before wearing it.
Even after the trolls left my room to go back into wherever they hide off to, I found it quite difficult to sleep. My thoughts were overwhelmed with the life-long, life-threatening task I had thoughtlessly agreed to take on.
What if because of this, these "bad trolls" Blinky speaks of decides to come after my family and friends? What would I do then? I had never actually managed to land a punch once, even when I attempted, so what in the world was I doing accepting this kind of soul-crushing responsibility? At what cost would this come with?
I eventually fell asleep on that thought, but my mind continued to wander even as I slept. I dreamt things I could recall as strange and unnerving, but couldn't specifically remember by detail. It definitely involved death, monsters, and pain as far as I could remember.
I woke up almost convinced that I had dreamt the whole thing involving this duty as Trollhunter when I noticed I wasn't wearing the armor anymore. A feeling of relief washed over me for about a good few moments before my gaze fell over the glowing blue amulet on my bedside dresser.
"Why did I agree to this?!" I cried out to no one in particular, forcefully thrusting the amulet at the wall.
"Krel, it's almost time to go! Are you up yet?" I heard my father ask from behind the door. I didn’t think he had heard me, but my yelling must’ve prompted him to rush me.
"Yeah," I rubbed my eyes tiredly, slumping and groaning out, "Just give me another few minutes."
"Alright, son. Hurry though, otherwise your mother and I will be late for work, and I'm sure you don't want to be late to school!"
He knew those words like an anthem, having repeated them practically every morning. Still, I always tried to hurry so I could spend at least a morning with my parents before they were busy with work for the remainder of the day.
I glared down at the amulet, which had rolled down to bump my feet after it hit the wall. When I kicked it with my bare foot out of annoyance, it was heavy enough to actually hurt. A twinge of pain shot up my foot from my toe, and I let out a hoarse cry.
It wasn’t long until another family member snooped in on me.
Aja opened the door, poking her head in, "Hey."
"Hi," I replied back, pushing the amulet under my bed with my heel to hide it from her.
I didn't really want to keep secrets from my sister, but Blinky assured me that doing so would ensure she would become less likely to be entangled in the dangers of my new commitment. While I didn't completely agree, I didn't feel like talking about the issue this morning.
"I saw my laptop, and it worked perfectly. Thank you for putting it back together again. You didn't have to, especially after you were approached by creeps, but thank you," she told me, coming in and closing the door to talk so our parents couldn't hear. We had decided not to tell them, knowing they would've sent Aunt Zadra to closely accompany us on the way to school and back like an embarrassingly overprotective bodyguard. We had enough of that exaggerated behavior from Varvatos Vex.
"Oh please, you know it wasn't a lot of work for me, but you're welcome," I told her, crossing my arms before admitting quietly, "Besides, Seamus and the tech club needed to use that part for the fair after school, but it was more important for you to have it back for today."
It might've actually killed me internally to refuse such an important task for a place where I was mostly socially accepted, but my parents always taught us that family always comes first. That meant that even if I was seen as a loser at school, at least I'd have my sister there to have my back and I'd always have hers.
Aja smiled in response, "You really stick to your word, little brother."
"Pffft, of course, Aja," I couldn't help but smile back, shaking my head.
"So you said your club needs that part for after school?"
Lifting my head, I furrowed my eyebrows back at her questioningly. "Yeah, but—"
"I just need it for the morning. Why don't you just take it when I'm done and as long as you can actually reassemble it, use it for the fair," she suggested, although shooting a small glare in between her words. "I don't mind, but you better be able to put it back together."
I jumped up from my bed, my mood instantly shooting up. "Really?" I asked, almost in disbelief.
I mean, I knew Aja trusted me as her brother, but she was actually entrusting me to disassemble her precious laptop, use an important piece for a project, then reassemble it when it was done. I almost didn't find it believable myself.
"Pffft, of course, Krel," Aja jokingly mimicked my words from earlier, using a deeper voice. She laughed as she switched back to her normal voice, crossing her arms, “I don't mind, little brother. I'll be there to make sure you actually win with it, but make sure you put it back when you're done."
"Thank you!" I ran to her to squeeze her in an appreciative hug. Thanks to Aja, I wouldn’t have to disappoint Seamus and everyone else, and we could actually have a chance at beating the other schools in the competition.
I knew I was lucky enough to have an older sister who actually supported me and my extracurricular activities, even if they involved her beloved objects. My parents weren't as encouraging toward my passion for technological sciences, as they preferred that I would go into a more political field like they did. Of course, Aja supported my decision and interest, so she always attended all of the fairs and conventions I displayed my work or had it judged at.
“I know, I’m fabulous,” Aja joked, squeezing me back, “Now you should continue getting ready so we can actually get to school on time. I’m going to leave you to your business.”
When she left, I immediately swiped the amulet back out from under my bed to re-examine. Feeling the bumps along the engraved metal under my fingers, I watched the glow fade with the sun’s arrival. I contemplated whether I should leave the amulet, or bring it with me. On one hand, I’d be prepared in the event that a crazy troll tried to come after me, but on the other hand, I’d be totally committed to whatever crazy business I mindlessly signed up for.
I dropped it into the front pocket of my backpack before peeling off my old clothes to get into fresher ones. Considering I had the fair today, I dressed slightly more formal, buttoning on a collared blue shirt over some black jeans. I brushed out the knots of my tangled brown hair and slicked it somewhat back using water.
Within minutes, I was ready to go. Being that I took a little longer than expected, I received a toasted butter sandwich for breakfast that I’d have to eat in the car.
“Varvatos wishes you younglings a glorious day!” Our grandfather yelled at us from inside the house.
We waved back with a smile. Aja and I climbed in the back of the car while my parents jumped into the front in a hurry not to be late.
When we drove past the bridge where I had met the trolls, Aja gently jabbed her elbow into my side, widening her eyes questioningly. She was curious if this was the correct place.
I looked past her to see out her window, and nodded to confirm her thoughts, then quickly looked away and focused out my own window. I didn’t want to continue this conversation or bring up the topic, being that I might have to eventually lie to her face to avoid her figuring out this possibly lethal, dangerous Trollhunter business I managed to fall into.
Lying to my sister and hiding things was uncomfortable, being that she was my best friend in all aspects of my life. Whether it was at home, school, or with friends, she was always there for me as a sister and best friend so I would never have to sit alone. I hated the idea of betraying her trust. Besides, she would be able to tell instantly if I tried to lie to her, so if I even wanted to get into the possibility of keeping this a secret, I had to avoid all conversations relating to the topic at all costs.
Aja seemed to stop pressing for information at the moment, but she still had a thoughtful expression as we drove past the bridge.
Once we were dropped off to school, we walked into the hallway where our first classes of the day were.
“I’m going to find Seamus and tell him that we’ll be able to participate in the fair after all,” I informed Aja, “Thank you again!”
“Okay, have fun! I’m going to find Mary and Darci. Meet me after second period here and I’ll pass you the laptop,” she planned before we split ways.
* * *
Later that day, she passed it to me and I had gotten to tell the club’s president the news.
“Wait dude, really?” Seamus asked me in class, almost as incredulously as I had done earlier that morning, “Aja’s letting you use the piece for today?”
“Yes,” I confirmed, explaining the condition, “We just have to make sure I can get it back immediately afterwards so I can reassemble the whole thing.”
“Great! I’ll text the rest of the club the news,” he told me, hitting my shoulder.
At lunch, I had found a shaded table to sit at and disassemble the device. Apparently, Steve couldn’t find his usual target that day to pick on, so he noticed me at the table. Glowing through the front pocket of my backpack had been my amulet, and I suppose Steve found it tempting to mess with.
“What kind of phone is this, buttsnack?” Steve asked, snatching my bag away to open the zipper. Dumping it out, my amulet had fallen out, along with my actual phone and calculator. “What kind of nerd thing is that?!” He teased, swiping it up before I had the chance to.
“Give that back!” I demanded, jumping up a little to try and pull it out of his grasp. The boy was too tall, and held it above me like a jerk.
“Why do you want this nerd toy back? Is it for your dorky cosplay, buttsnack?” Steve questioned patronizingly, beginning to talk loud enough so that other students turned.
A few snickers echoed around in the lunch area, and I felt my cheeks flush with both irritation and embarrassment. “No, it isn’t! Just give it back!” I insisted, trying to pull his arm down.
“Oh wait, I think I hear a call coming in,” Steve announced jokingly, looking around as if he were playing serious. He put it up to his ear, pretending it was a phone, “Hello? Oh, Krel’s mommy? Krel, your mommy wants to talk to you.”
Students laughed and snickered, almost as if they were watching a comedian. A burning sensation of humiliation went through my face and chest, and I felt tears of frustration well up and a lump in my throat form again
“Krel’s gonna cry! You should talk to your mommy,” the oaf condescendingly spoke down to me as he held the amulet up higher so I couldn’t grab it.
That was it. This guy needed to be punched, and I was strong enough to do it. I had to.
Squeezing my hands into fists, I used one to try and land a punch on his chest, but he used the amulet to block it. When my fist hit the raised bumps of metal on the amulet with the hard pressure, I let out a cry of pain.
Some students groaned in response, while some just laughed at my pain. I dropped that fist to my side, shaking it off a bit.
“Oh no,” Steve mocked, to which I smacked his arm as hard as I could.
He let out a small grunt of pain from that hit before tossing the amulet as far as he could onto the roof of the school. Grabbing me by the arm, he pinned me to the brick wall before landing a hard punch to my jaw. I felt it crack out of place as pain raced up into my face, and the tears immediately spilled. I tried to push him off, but he held me down with his force.
“Don’t ever try to pummel me again, buttsnack!”
Just as he tried to punch me again, I squeezed my eyes shut and tried to flinch away to avoid another blow to the jaw, but his fist never came in contact with my face. Instead, I felt his hands being ripped away from me, and so I dropped, my back slipping down against the wall until I hit the floor.
“Stay away from my little brother, snackbutt,” I heard a familiar voice warn dangerously.
Peeking one eye open, I caught Steve practically flying back and hitting a bench from Aja’s kick.
I used this chance to escape the situation and run into the building that the amulet was thrown on top of. I slipped into the halls and found the door that labeled the entrance to the roof access. Sneaking into the unlit room quickly while no students were around, I ascended the cemented ladder that led up to the roof.
Surely enough, my amulet was up on that roof. Not wanting any staff wandering around outside to see my walking on the rooftop, I dropped to my knees to crawl to the edge to retrieve the dang thing.
Glancing over the roof after I picked up the amulet and shoved it in my pocket, I noticed Steve was gone and Aja was picking up my things from the ground to put into my backpack. People were no longer watching the area with Steve not there.
Sighing, I wasn’t sure if it of was relief or annoyance, I crawled back to the roof access door. I descended the ladder again with caution, being that the room was in complete darkness. I gingerly felt for the doorknob, not having my phone on me at the moment to use as a flashlight.
Once I made it out of the roof access room, I hesitantly went back to the lunch area. I wasn’t in the mood to be pitied, teased, or laughed at. My jaw still burned with pain from being slightly cracked out of place, and I could feel that my face was still stained with dried tears.
What kind of Trollhunter was beat up at school like this?
Taking a deep breath, I hardened my expression and sturdied myself as I went back to where I was sitting originally.
“Krel,” Aja sat beside me, I guess trying to remind me that I wasn’t alone or something.
“I’m on it,” I muttered, picking up my tools again to continue disassembling the laptop carefully.
“He broke a tooth,” Aja poked my shoulder, “I thought you might find it amusing.”
“Ha,” I replied shortly, still focusing on my activity.
“I’d ask you if you’re okay, but— you might want to go see the nurse, little brother. Anyway, what did he throw up on that roof? I put everything he dumped out back in your backpack, but we can ask the janitor to retrieve whatever he threw up there.”
I paused, trying to think of a way to respond without looking at her. I focused on the objects in front of me before speaking, “It was something for the project the tech club and I were working on. I already got it back.”
“Oh, that’s good,” Aja replied.
I felt a twinge of annoyance, figuring she was only sticking around me out of pity. Of course she had to step in to stop Steve from publicly continuing to humiliate me, and I was helpless as usual.
“You can leave now.”
I felt Aja narrow her eyes at me, fixating a glare. “I’m not leaving my little brother alone again,” she protested.
I let out a groan of irritation. “Can’t you just leave me alone? I want to be alone.”
Aja lightly backhanded me in the head, to which I elbowed her back just a little harder.
“Hey, no hitting,” she scolded me.
“You hit me first!” I snapped back, to which I saw the small joking smile on her face. I groaned, going back to work.
Throughout the remainder of the lunch period, she stuck by me to make sure I was okay. Even if it annoyed me, I was still thankful to have a caring sister.
I’m trying to update this on a daily basis, but it might take a little bit longer!
Let me know what you think so far! ❤️
Chapter 4: Trollhunt-ed
With my sister's support and permission to use her computer piece, I was able to quickly put it into the technological project for the contest after school was let out. Fortunately, no one in the club was still annoyed with me after "not initially cooperating" at the meeting yesterday.
Did we win the contest at the fair?
Not exactly, but our school still ranked high overall. Of course it was Pasadena High School that beat us, but Seamus promised us that we'd figure out a plan to beat them next year. Still, everyone in the team was pretty satisfied with our second place ranking, so we decided to go out to celebrate with pizza afterwards. Pizza was one of my favorite foods, so I was most definitely pleased to have that for dinner.
It had gotten dark out, with it being so late and all, so everyone had their parents drive them to the closest pizza place. Mama and Papa didn't exactly get out of work until way later into the night, and Varvatos Vex had his license revoked not long ago, so I ended up having to walk.
"Krel, do you want me to walk you to the pizza place?" Aja asked me, still concerned for me. "I mean, I don't exactly need you getting kidnapped on my watch, so I think I should at least walk you there. I don't have to stay or anything since it's your tech thing, but I might as well make sure you get there safely."
Of course, after yesterday's events, I wasn't opposed to the idea of having a butt-kicking sister around. Even though it was just friendly trolls, I thought I was on the verge of getting kidnapped yesterday. I might've been a little more than paranoid now. Besides, I didn't want Aja being home by herself either just in case random trolls decided to stop by the house and scare her silly.
"Sure," I agreed, cracking a smile, "You can stay for pizza if you want. It was your computer piece that you let us use, so you're technically responsible for our ranking! Second place wasn't exactly our intention, but without your contribution, our project wouldn't have worked at all and likely would've put us all the way at the bottom."
"So I'm a member of the tech club," Aja confirmed braggingly, flipping her hair back.
"Don't get too far ahead of yourself," I joked, chuckling.
As we walked through the dark streets from the school, I didn't expect to hear deep grumbling noises sound from a sewer. I thought maybe it was the plumbing system, but now I was aware a species of living rock organisms existed.
"Fleshbags," I heard a deep voice from below. The sewer lid popped open, and a rocky bull-looking troll climbed out. "Surrender your amulet and I will make your death speedy and less painful."
So that's what a bad troll is.
"Krel," Aja squeaked, clutching my arm tightly.
Slowly backing away, I clung to my older sister's grasp as I scrambled to think of something to say or do in this situation. I shortly spoke, "Run."
We both bursted off into the fastest sprint we could manage, having heard the bad troll's heavy steps following closely behind, yelling about a Trollhunter.
"What weak opponents! An honorable Trollhunter usually sticks around to fight me until they're crushed into dust by my hands!" We heard from behind us.
Aja yelled back as we continued to run away, "We aren't Trollhunters!! You're heavily mistaken! No one here has the amulet you're looking for!"
A heavy sense of dread filled me, not only because we were being chased by a rocky bull man, but because this thing was chasing the both of us for something I had. I honestly wanted to just throw it at him and run, so he'd stop trying to run after us, but according to what Blinky had told me the night before, I was responsible for another entire world with this thing.
"I was made aware that a fleshbag whelp by the name of Tarron was the new Trollhunter, and as far as I know, you are both Tarrons, so I am correct in murdering both of you!"
"No one in my family is the freaking Trollhunter, mister!" Aja screamed back, yanking me to the side and down to duck behind a parked car.
A heavy thud and crash caused me to spin my head around to see that the stone guy had attempted to throw an entire truck at us. I was pulled away by Aja once again to continue running to try and lose this guy.
What were we supposed to do when we had nothing to fight him— with...
I pulled the amulet out of my pocket as we continued to run, and did my best to read the inscription once more. "For— the glory of Merlin, daylight- is mine to command!"
"What?!" Aja asked, probably unsure as to what in the world I was talking about.
That same blue light flashed over me as the metal armor fit itself to my body.
Aja and the troll froze for a moment, watching the transformation in awe.
"You most certainly are the Trollhunter, you lying fleshbag! Now your deaths will be slow and torturous!" He threatened as I struggled to carry the heavy sword in my arms. I swayed a little to try and regain my balance while holding such a heavy object.
"Krel!! What is this?!" Aja yelled out, unsure as to how to react to it.
I tried to swing it at the troll, but he used it to fling me into a wall.
"Krel!" Aja screamed as soon as my body smacked against the brick wall and fell to the floor.
I groaned as pain shot all around my body, and felt Aja's arms lifting me from the ground. "There's no way you're fighting! Come on!" She pulled me up and supported my weight as I faded in and out of consciousness, my vision spottier than ever.
I felt the sensation of being dragged, and Aja was yelling for me to wake up. "Krel! Wake up and get the heavy suit off!"
I released my transformation somehow, and felt my entire body go numb. Groaning, I struggled to regain my vision, but I noticed I was being carried away by Aja. Seeing the bad troll come after us, I shook off the remains of my blackout, and squirmed out to run with my own legs.
“I’m fine!” I told my sister, pulling her along to run into an alleyway.
It happened to be narrow enough to which the troll couldn’t fit through, meaning we successfully escaped. Still, we continued to run and stay out of sight until we got back to our house.
Unfortunately I did not make it to the celebratory dinner for our project, but I did escape a troll who attempted to kill me.
Blinky and Aaarrrgghh were waiting outside, which caused my unsuspecting sister to scream. “Krel!! Why are trolls everywhere?!” She yelped, pulling me in the opposite direction.
“Whoa! My apologies for startling you, Lady Aja! You are, of course, the sister of the Trollhunter, correct?” Blinky quickly apologized, jumping to make a kind greeting. I tugged her arm back and nodded at her to reassure her that he was safe.
“Trollhunter? What in the world?! Krel is my brother. He doesn’t hunt trolls, but a troll did try hunting us!” Aja ranted, sending a confused glare in my direction as she let go of me and slowly approached Blinky and Aaarrrgghh a little more, “Why aren’t you hunting us?”
“That troll must’ve been Bular. Ah, so he hasn’t yet explained,” Blinky looked back at his larger friend.
“You spilled beans,” Aaarrrgghh grunted his words out in response, letting out a slow, deep bellow of a laugh.
“What haven’t you explained, Krel? Wait, these guys. They’re the creeps who tried to kidnap you, aren’t they?!” Aja asked me, whispering so that they don’t hear.
“I’m the Trollhunter, I guess.”
Chapter 5: I Don’t Want the Lifespan of a Fly
"What the H-E-double-hockey-sticks is a freaking Trollhunter, Krel?! What are trolls, and why are they hunting you when you're supposed to be hunting them?! What kind of job is this? I guarantee you that the pay isn't worth your life, even though the title sounds awesome. And that was a pretty cool armor suit."
I cringed a little at the beginning when Aja was scolding me, but it seemed that she ended up finding the whole thing interesting as she continued talking. I was hoping that she'd talk Blinky and Aaarrrgghh out of the idea of me taking on this responsibility.
"I didn't pick this! Do you really think that I wanted to have angry stone men chasing me when I've already got Steve doing the job?" I told her, grabbing her shoulders, "Aja, I don't want to do this!"
"Then quit! I won't have my little brother dying on my watch!" Aja motioned toward Blinky.
"Oh, but you must know that destiny is a gift," The troll held one pair of hands behind his back as he used the other to talk with his hands.
"A gift? You know a gift is supposed to be pleasant, right?" I asked, crossing my arms as I looked back to Aja for further comment.
Before she had the chance to respond, Blinky continued on.
"Some go their entire lives, living existence as a quiet desperation. Never learning the truth that what feels as though a burden pushing down upon our shoulders, is actually, a sense of purpose that lifts us to greater heights. Never forget that fear is but the precursor to valor, that to strive and triumph in the face of fear, is what is means to be a hero. Don't think, Master Krel. Become!"
Aja's mouth was still open from planning on speaking previously, but whatever she had been planning on saying faded from her mind like smoke.
"That was surprisingly really wise," I conceded, my arms dropping to my sides.
"So you'll resume the duty?!" Blinky asked, a wide smile coming across his features.
I dropped my head down, then turned away before replying. I felt ashamed to disappoint, but I knew what I was and wasn't capable of, and I couldn't even envision a single image of me being a successful protector. I was the behind-the-scenes tech guy, not the hero.
"I still don't want to do it. My fear, that is supposed to be 'the precursor to valor,' is actually the reason I can't do this. I'm afraid to die," I told him, still turned away.
"Why does it have to be my little brother?" Aja asked, stepping in front of me protectively. "Isn't there anyone else who can take this?"
Even Aja knew I was too weak to take on this duty.
"No one wants to die," Blinky chuckled, continuing to try to persuade me, "But this is a duty you were destined to take on! Do you think your destiny would be incorrect, and harmful?"
I glanced back up at him, sighing a little.
"It doesn't have to be someone else. You can be the change and protection that the worlds of trollkind and humankind need!" He continued on anyway. "And do you think you would just take this kind of duty without training, Master Krel? Of course Aaarrrgghh and I would give you proper training to take on all kinds of conflicts and you would learn all there is to know."
Aja frowned, still standing in front of me. She turned back at me to see what I was thinking.
"Ay-ay-aye," I grumbled, shaking my head as I walked forward, "Fine. I already agreed to this anyway, but I better be fully prepared."
I didn't want to look back at Aja, as I already had an idea of what face she was making at me.
"Success will follow this decision, Master Krel. However, I can understand that human activities can be significant in your time, so there will be several times that Aaarrrgghh and I will assist you. Your training begins tomorrow night. You need rest, and may take the rest of the night to do so."
Blinky and Aaarrrgghh used the window to climb out of my room, waving as they left.
I sat on the edge of my bed with a groan as I covered my face in my hands. An overwhelming sense of pressure and stress hit me like a catapult. Why did I sign up for this? Wasn't I supposed to just be a kid? Why did the dumb amulet think I would want this? It was a sure way to shorten my lifespan, and I couldn't help but choke on the painful dread of it all.
I didn't want to look at my sister, already knowing her sympathy would make me cry.
I heard the bed creak as the mattress lowered a bit beside me. I didn't have to look up to know that Aja was likely stressing just as much as I was.
"I'm scared," I admitted to my sister, terrified to open my eyes in fear that the forming tears in my eyes would fall. It was the least of my problems to let her see me cry, but I wanted at least some kind of control, even if it was just over my emotions.
"I know," Aja replied, her voice shaky.
Hearing her voice on the verge of breaking almost made me break down, but I took a deep trembling breath.
"If this is something you're going to do, I'm going to be a part of it too," Aja struggled to hold her voice steady as she told me.
"Aja, you— it's too dangerous," I muttered, rubbing my hands over my face, "Last thing I need to worry about is you getting hurt. I can't let you get hurt— or even worse."
It all broke down when she told me, "I don’t care what happens to me, Krel! I- I just can't let my little brother die."