Flash fiction prompt: have a color in your title. I rolled ‘olive’ but decided to go for olivine instead.
Olivine skidded across the paving tiles, his rough exterior grating against smooth glass.
“Come on, Ollie!” Roger did not wait for Olivine to even stop before urging him to return to the battle. “I know you can do this.”
A sleek metal pillar stopped Olivine’s momentum, and he used it to help him stand once again. “I want to believe you,” he rumbled, voice like a rock slide. “But he is too strong.”
The glass beneath Olivine shuddered as Lord Peridot landed, what looked like several meters away. Olivine had trouble judging distances in this realm.
“Give up, Olivine,” said Lord Peridot. Olivine’s opponent seemed his opposite, all smooth planes, gleaming and bright, while Olivine himself was rough, pitted, without a smooth surface on his body.
The only thing they shared, Olivine figured, was a shade of green. Not much of a connection.
“Quiet, you!” Roger screeched, then batted Lord Peridot aside. Peridot took the strike in stride, slipping across the glass and maintaining his posture without seeming like he had a care in the world.
Then Roger was by Olivine’s side, helping him stay standing. Olivine could almost feel the warmth of the boy’s hand on his shoulder. Almost.
“I do not understand,” Olivine said. He looked up at Roger, who sometimes seemed to tower over him. “Why are you so invested in this fight?”
“It’s important,” Roger said.
“But how is it important?” Olivine ground his teeth and tried to stretch sore muscles. “Why force me to battle when you yourself can easily overpower Lord Peridot?”
Roger’s face scrunched for a moment, his eyes tracking back and forth between the two still warriors. Then his eyebrows shot up as he captured the word. “Principle.”
“I do not have any principles,” Olivine said.
“That’s probably true,” Roger replied. “It’s not in your nature to have principles. That’s why I have to have them for you.”
Olivine held his breath, waiting for a followup to the boy’s argument, but it seemed he had heard the extent of it. He sighed, setting his arms and legs in a defensive posture for what would surely be a hopeless battle.
Lord Peridot fell upon him before Olivine could fully prepare.
Roger leapt back, almost out of sight, as if surprised by the sudden attack.
As Lord Peridot hammered blows against the center of Olivine’s mass, the boy let out sympathetic grunts and growls, whooping when Olivine managed to get his own licks in.
“This is a pointless battle,” Lord Peridot said, grabbing Olivine by the arms. “You will always be inferior to me.” Peridot heaved upward and swung Olivine over his head to slam him down on the other side. Olivine thought he heard the glass crack beneath him.
“You may be right,” Olivine said, knowing that Lord Peridot could not be wrong. “But my inherent inferiority does not mean I should not try to win.”
Taking advantage of Peridot’s confusion at the statement, Olivine swung a chunky arm at his opponent’s flank. Where smooth green had been, Olivine’s hand tore scratches into the hard surface, marring it.
“How dare you!” Lord Peridot kicked Olivine, who skidded across the surface once again. “I will destroy you.”
The opposite corner, it seemed, had a matching metal pillar. Olivine leaned against it. “You cannot destroy me, Peridot. I am too hard for you to break, or you would have done it by now.”
A light blasted them from above, filling the glass battlefield with such illumination as to almost blind Olivine. At first, he could hardly see beyond his own outstretched hand. As he squinted, though, he spied Lord Peridot’s near perfect form basking in the light. His flat planes channeled the light rather than reflecting it, and a green glow seemed to fill the entire battlefield.
Roger’s eye appeared above them both, staring down first at Olivine, then at Peridot. The boy gasped. “Be right back, guys.”
Lord Peridot began to march toward Olivine, who could tell this only by the way that the green intensified. “Now,” said Peridot, his voice almost a clear song, “you will die.”
Olivine dropped his gaze for a moment. “But I die defending the honor of my charge.” When he looked up again, Peridot poised to strike.
Roger’s hand, as large as the world, appeared and snatched Olivine away from the battle.
Everything was dark in the giant boy’s grip.
“What do you mean, ‘they’re the same?'” Roger asked, scratching his head with his free hand.
Mrs. Pennington held up a large book. The page she showed him was covered with pictures of various green-colored rocks and crystals. “Olivine is the base rock formation,” she said, keeping her words measured as she tried to explain. “Under high pressure, olivine can turn into peridot, its crystalline form.”
“Oh,” said Roger. “That explains so much.”
“Explains what?” asked Mrs. Pennington.
“They’re brothers!” Roger snatched the little gemstone and shoved both rocks into his pocket. “Thanks, Mrs. Pennington!”
The teacher turned to examine the microscope that the boy fled. “Roger! Why is there a crack in your slide?”
The cloth room was so different than the glass battlefield had been. In there, it was warm, so warm that even Olivine could feel it. He sensed that Lord Peridot was somewhere nearby, but he knew now that there was no danger.
Olivine waited, and waited.
Soon, Roger’s hand snatched them out of the dark and held them aloft. Roger’s face hovered nearby as Olivine and Peridot faced each other.
Olivine took in a rumbling breath, waiting to find out what the nature of this encounter would be.
Lord Peridot looked from Roger to Olivine, then smiled, reaching out a hand.
“Brother,” said Peridot.
Olivine nodded and took the hand.