Bright colors paint the walls around me as I try to figure out where I am. One thing is for sure I am not in my dark bedroom, and I'm not in a hospital. The bright green person touching my head is definitely not a doctor...not a human doctor. The thing smiles at me, and I see little pointed fangs where its canines should be. 

"Please...where's my Mam," I whisper, and the creature holds up a finger before stepping towards a bright panel. 

It presses something and steps back toward me cautiously. 

"Please remain calm," it says, and my eyes widen. 

"Where's my Mam," I question as my muscles instinctively prepare for pain. 

"Your Mam is on Earth. You have been transported to Kea. My home planet. Your illness and injuries have been healed. You have been sent from your planet to participate in a Harvest tournament. I am your correspondent, Jali (jail-ee). My job is to inform you of rules and traditions relating to the Harvest. I understand you have many questions, but your body needs sustenance," the alien says and my brain practically explodes. 

" Mam? Why am I here? I'm...worthless...sickly. I can't compete. Please, I can't abandon my Mam," I beg quietly, and Jali gets a sad look on her green face. 

"You are not worthless, Sweet girl. I have healed you. You are no longer sick, and your sickness won't return. Please, follow me. I will explain as soon as I have food in you," Jali says in a voice so kind my normal defenses crumble. 

I nod before cautiously moving into a sitting position. Jali smiles at me, but I drop my eyes to the floor quickly. Her fangs scare me. 

"You are safe here. I know you weren't conscious...and you must not have been able to consent, but you are safe. Your injuries...whoever hurt you...They can't hurt you anymore. I promise on my life," Jali whispers, and I look up to find her watching me with a look of comfort. 

But no amount of comfort from this stranger can save Mam. The devil will kill her for sure this time. There's nothing I can do now. I won't even be able to meet her in heaven. If Jali is telling me the truth and I am healed on some alien planet...dying and being with Mam isn't in my near future. 

"My Mam...she will get hurt," I whisper back, and the alien's face crumbles as she hears my words. 

"I wish I could save her. She obviously saved you...She is very brave," Jali says after a few silent seconds, and tears begin to slide down my face. 

Internal pain instead of external makes me cringe as I silently cry for my mother. She was my one rock. My defender and protector. My savior. She didn't abandon me. She fought to keep me. Then she fought to keep me alive. Now she will suffer that cruel man alone. 

"Please, dear one, come with me. I will get you fed, and I will explain more," Jali whispers, and I manage to scoot myself off the bed. 

My tears don't stop, and I am too depressed to wipe my face. I don't know what they did to my body, but I feel stronger. My legs don't shake from having to support my weight anymore, and my lungs aren't burning to cough. But no magical alien technology can heal the pain in my heart. 

"What is this tournament," I croak after a few seconds of following her with my head down. 

"The Harvest is a tournament set up to ensure future peace between the allied planets. There is a war going on between the worlds, Fiadh. Humans have been deemed to physically weak to fight against our enemies actively, but under the terms of the peace treaty, Earth is still required to send five women to Harvest. The Harvest is where the Galaxy's strongest compete to win the hand of a female of their choosing. With every pair bonded due to the Harvest, the ties between the allied planets grows. Earth sends women so your people will continue to receive protection. With every human female sent, Earth makes ties to the other planets," Jali replies before stopping, and I glance up to see we have arrived at some sort of cafeteria. 

I wipe the drying tears from my face quickly before letting my hair block my face once more. 

"Come, I will get you some food," Jali whispers after a moment, and I follow her legs like an obedient dog. 

Her answer about what the Harvest is swirls within my mind. I understand very little about politics, but it sounds like my life was saved for a political reason. Earth needed women...unwanted women...

"Here. Let's sit over there," Jali says softly as she hands me a bright orange bowl. 

I take the massive dish, and my eyes bulge. I have never been given this much food in my entire life. I don't have a clue what is in the bowl or what it takes like, but I am sure I will love it. 

As I sit, Jali gives me another smile and gestures with her long green arm for me to eat. I dive in happily and moan as the juicy fruits explode in my mouth. Jali chuckles quietly, but I ignore her. I can feel her strange yellow eyes watching my every move, but I can't seem to concern myself with her. Not when I have this much food to consume. 

"One human has already arrived. She was near death as well. Earth only sends women who are dying...Your leaders want to keep the other planets from you. They believe it will keep the peace," Jali says quietly, and I slowly swallow. 

"So I was sent because I was dying," I ask, and Jali nods. 

"Yes. A few more seconds and you would have been lost. May I...who hurt you," Jali asks, and I freeze as my father's face flashes in my mind. 

My hands freeze on my bowl, and my stomach instantly feels sick. Pain, bruises, and bloody moments fill my thoughts. My body begins to tremble, and Jali grabs my hand. 

"I'm sorry. Push that from your mind. You will never have to suffer abuse again. You are safe here, and once you get a mate...not a living soul in the Galaxy will touch you. You are safe," Jali says, and my eyes snap to her concerned face. 

I swallow down the bile and gently pull my hand from hers. 

"Tell me more. Distract me," I whisper, and she nods eagerly. 

"No problem,"

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