Newlin cannot believe he’s stuck in the Pillar of Punishment. The last time he was here, that awful, evil man trapped him in there when he was just a kid.
The violent, Amazon painting seems to scream at him from the wall, too.
Kanui went too far this time. Newlin didn’t do anything that horrible. Why is he being treated like a common criminal? Surely, this Master Slave is too full of himself and doesn’t deserve the right to lead the slaves of Tribe Wahine. “I’d never put my cousin in this hell hole,” he grumbles to himself as his stomach gurgles with hunger. How many days has he suffered in here?
“Insufferable man,” Newlin thinks. “I’ll never forgive him for this outrage.”
Aulani and Ina come to say farewell to the Creator. “It is time for your mother to go back to the palace. She is desperately needed. There are murmurs of unrest and decrees must be decided on.”
Kalani’s heart squeezes. “But Father, I’m about to have this new baby. Can’t you wait just a little while? At least you should stay.”
Ysa interjects, “I am in need of your father’s protection for the journey back. These are unsettling times, my daughter.”
Aulani shrugs. “Please send Newlin to us if he gives you any more trouble. He might need a change of scenery after his punishment.”
Chuckling, Kalani says, “He’s going to be angrier than a hornet’s nest that’s been upset by a bear. But never fear, Father, I know how to handle my incorrigible brother. His displeasure will not last.”
Many weeks pass and Kalani is very near to the birth of her second child. Kandor comes with tidings of leaving her as well. “Might I have a word, Creator.”
“Of course, Kandor. I’m always available to you.”
“I feel a bit unsettled about leaving Tribe Wahine at this time. Are you sure your grandmother needs me?”
Kalani shakes her head. “I wish it were otherwise, Kandor, for I, too, do not wish my strongest slave to vanish when we are under such threat of that wicked killer, Simon LeBoeff, but what can I do? It is by order of Queen Hawika that you go. In due time, you’ll be back with us.”
Kandor gives a genuine smile. “Well, if it of great importance then. That is the only way I would be able to go even if it is only for a little while.”
Kandor went on, “The Queen had mentioned in her letter to me that she fears civil war. If that is the case, I want to implore you not to send Runoi.”
“Why would you ever think I’d send my mate?”
Kandor cocks his head. “Because he stated to me not long ago that he wishes to fight for the rights of slaves, and if need be, pick up the sword himself and enlist in the growing Royal Army of Slaves second only to the Royal Amazon army.”
Knitting her eyebrows, Kalani wonders why her love never mentioned something like this to her. She flips her hand, swishing that thought away. “That’s absurd. You may mark my words, Runoi will not be allowed to go even if it is his grandest wish.”
Kandor nods. “You are wiser than your mate, of course. He is lucky to have you by his side, my lady.”
Kalani spies a glimmer of sadness etch his face.
Scooting back from his chair, the slave bows then walks toward the kitchen where Runoi is busy making a cake.
“What is it you’re making there, Runoi? Someone’s birthday?”
Runoi glibly nods. “But you know very well it is the Creator Heiress’ birthday, Kandor. And you also know I heard everything you said to my rosy sweetheart. Do you think you have more power than I? If I truly wish a thing, it will happen.”
Kandor laughs. “Think what you like, Runoi, but our Creator will do what she knows is for the good of the tribe. Having a breeding slave like you fight in the army is not wise.”
“Really now? You think I cannot handle a few swords? Watch this!” Runoi spins two kitchen knives with finesse. “If that is not talent, I do not know what is.”
Kandor shakes his head. “I will not argue with you, my friend. This is all up to our Creator, but on this point, I know you will lose.”
“Would you like to wager me, Kandor? Am I not a man? Does my sweet rosy angel not adore me more than the moon and stars themselves? If I make an ardent request, she will allow it.”
Just then Kalani, frought with pain, waddles up to the men. With quick breaths, she moans, “Runoi…it is time.”
Panicking, Runoi spills the cake bowl on the floor. “Do not worry, my love, I am here to serve you in your hour of torture. We will do this together!”
All through the night, Runoi rubs his love’s back as the Creator goes through the arduous journey of labor.