Suddenly, Kiko blinks, trying to pull herself away from the slave.
“What am I doing?” she whispers.
“Kissing me, darling,” Newlin breathes, teasing his warm lips on hers.
It was like some unseen force has put her in a trance, making her forget all the infractions he’s done against her when she was young. She’d loved him so much when she was a child but he used her abominably, playing tricks on her.
Now, she only thinks of him as a friend.
Recoiling, she cries, “No!” and pushes him backward.
“Darling, what’s wrong?”
Kiko can still feel his lips on hers. She doesn’t want to admit she liked it. There is something about Newlin she’s always been attracted to even when she was little. “What have you done?” she accuses. “Put a spell on me? This place…it enhances mana but does it do other things, too?” Her heart speeds up.
Cradling Kiko in his arms, his warmth surrounds her and she caves, leaning into him. He brushes her hair away from her neck and whispers, “I am not my mother. I don’t need spells. And no…it only enhances mana, not romantic feelings.”
Kiko’s skin prickles with goosebumps. She curses herself for not getting away when she could. “This…this is not what I want. I don’t…like you like that.”
“You don’t, hmm?” He sighs, leaning over her. “You probably should update your body about this decision, sweetheart. She’s not listening.”
Kiko shivers at his touch, hating herself for enjoying it. “I…you…you’re j-just using tricks. It’s this place. It’s a…lie.”
“The only one lying is you, darling. You’re lying to yourself.”
“No I’m not. I’m…” Newlin cuts her off with a warm kiss, his tongue tenderly intertwining with hers making her dizzy. Mmm…she wonders why they’re there? Training?
Caressing her shoulders, Kiko is swept away like the rushing waters behind her. And she doesn’t care.
Leia curses in her head. She knew this plan wasn’t as easy as Mor made it sound. A slave from Tribe Hanalani stops their entrance. “What is your business, strangers?”
“I am Mor Rigan. I’ve messaged your queen. She is expecting us. I bring her Creator Leia Wahine, the rightful heir to Tribe Wahine. We have business to discuss.”
The slave arches an eyebrow not moving. “Why was I not notified then? I am Master Slave Nob. I know about all visitors to Tribe Hanalani.”
“See for yourself then,” Mor continues. “Leia has the queen’s look about her. Bright blonde hair, blue eyes like the sky. They are quite famous, slave.”
Leia almost laughs at this statement. She did not realize how renown her family had gotten over the years.
The slave eyes Leia and grunts.
Mor switches tactics. “Do you wish punishment today, slave? Your creator will be quite displeased by your actions. Let us pass.”
Another slave walks up, saying, “I think she tells the truth, Nob. I recognize Creator Leia Wahine as Queen Hawika’s daughter. She came to our slave hold when she was a teen before I was brought into this tribe. I was but a child then but she looks very much the same.”
Unsmiling, Nob relents. “Fine. But only you and Creator Leia will pass. Leave the rest of your company here. No slave is to enter our compound or they will be sent to the Pillar of Punishment to die.”
Leia likes the way this slave is obedient and loyal to his tribe. Could she run the Amazon with obedient slaves like this? Would Hanalani Tribe help her embrace the crown?
“Very well,” Mor agrees. “Lead the way.”
Leia follows the slave into the warm yet haunting compound. Tribe Hanalani is one of the most fearsome tribes. Very rich. They are known for breeding the strongest women who sometimes grow taller than men. She wonders if they are not walking into a trap.
Nob bows before his creator. “Your grace, this woman insists upon meeting with you. Says she is Leia Wahine of Tribe Wahine.”
The creator lifts her mouth in a sly smile. “Thank you, Nob. You may take your position. I will meet with them.”
Leia feels a tingle of unease as she surveys the glaring women of the Creator’s court.
One of the women shoots daggers at Leia. This is all a mistake. They shouldn’t have come. What if they hand them over to her mother to die by drowning in the pit of death at the temple?
“I see you’ve made good on your promise, Mor Rigan. I am quite shocked by this but pleased.”
Mor nods, saying, “You see, I’ve brought her here and we are willing to make your tribe great, second only to Tribe Wahine. This is our vow to you as you well know Queen Hawika has tainted your tribe for all eternity. In spite of this harsh reality, the Maker is shining His face upon you as we speak.”
The creator winces at the name, Queen Hawika, for she killed her mother when she was but a babe. “I have always wanted vengeance for the death of my mother who should have been queen. Queen Hawika used magic tricks, defeating death in a most wicked way. Yes. I am here to help. What is your plan, Mor Rigan?”
Now is the time for Leia to take control. If she will be queen, she must not be Mor’s puppet. She speaks before Mor has a chance to explain, “I am here to say we must rid my tribe of all evil doers. We will be in contact with Mor’s son, Newlin. He will no doubt help us kill everyone in the compound. Under the shroud of night, we will come in and take over when all is quiet. They will not be on their guard. The one they are worried about, Simon LeBoeff, will give himself up and before they can cast him in the pit of death, we will attack.”
One of the women asks, “How do you know this Newlin is on your side?”
At this, Mor responds, “Newlin is my son. We correspond faithfully. He does not like his ill treatment as the lowest ranking slave and hates all the slaves who are not even born of the tribe but rank higher at the whim of Creator Kalani. Kalani is the daughter of a Tribe Wahine Tribal son–a slave–the son of Hawika. Not born of a Creator. This is heresy. All should die for this injustice.”
“Creator Leia,” the creator says, “will you allow me the status of second in command if we succeed in overthrowing Queen Hawika?”
Leia cocks her head, worrying for Mor. Wasn’t that her position? But what could she do? She needed Tribe Hanalani and their fearsome Amazon warriors. “Yes. You will be my royal council Shaman.”
The creator gives a confident look. “Then contact this Newlin. Tell him we will surround Tribe Wahine when he thinks their defenses are down. I am excited for this new journey with you, Creator Leia, and proclaim that you be the rightful queen of all the Amazon. I swear this by the blood of my ancestors it will be so.”