Ever since Kiko came home from training in the jungle mountains, she’s been acting very strangely. Ina wants to get to the bottom of it. “What truly happened at the falls, my daughter? I’ve heard rumor that you have been seeing Newlin in a romantic light. You do realize your young adult birthday is suns away. It’s not time to choose a mate.”
At this, Kiko burst out laughing. “Oh, Mother, you do jest! Newlin? I think of him as I would any slave whom I grew up with.”
Blood rushes to Kiko’s cheeks. She hates lying to her mother, especially when only yesterday as everyone had gone into the local village for supplies, Newlin talked her into having a romantic time in the spa.
As Newlin slipped off Kiko’s top in his sexy way, Kiko cried, “Newlin, we cannot be like this at our compound. It’s folly. Someone will catch us.”
Caressing her chin, he tutted, “You do realize there is no one here. All are adventuring at the village market. I personally watched the lot of them, saying I would keep a careful watch of our grounds. Now will you stop worrying, darling?”
He wrapped himself around Kiko, sending flurries through her. “Just worry about me.”
And as usual, Kiko gave into him, hating herself for falling so hard. But she couldn’t help it. He had a way that always made her feel special. She truly loved him with all her heart.
Coming back to the present, Kiko giggles even more trying to squash that memory and says, “You’re being a silly worry wart, Mother. Newlin is my training partner. Nothing more.”
Ina eyes her daughter, not sure if she should believe her, but she hasn’t witnessed anything more than friendship between Kiko and Newlin. Maybe what Eila heard wasn’t true. Her daughter, Lilit, was apt to make up idle stories and create drama. “Very well, if you say so. Come, let’s sit and chat then. Tell me all about your trip.”
As Kiko tries to talk about everything EXCEPT her romantic escapades with Newlin, Horus walks up to them.
“Hello, Kiko! Are you ready to spar with me? I heard from Newlin that you’re almost as good as he is.” He winks.
At this, Kiko jumps up and starts to laugh hysterically. “Oh…hee hee…me? As good as Newlin? Ha ha…he must be joking…ha ha.”
Ina is even more surprised by this reaction. “Kiko, that wasn’t a funny comment. Why are you laughing? And Horus, my love, why are you joining in with her?”
“Because, sweetheart, her laughing is making me laugh.”
Kiko doubles over, laughing even harder, bewildering Ina even more.
On the other side of the compound, Newlin is playing with Hoku. He loves his little niece–she’s so full of spunk. Even more than her sister, Makana, was at her age.
“Would you like some juice, little Hoku? Uncle Newlin can get you some if you’re thirsty.”
“Juice! I want juice!”
“Please?” Newlin reminds her of her manners.
“Your wish is my command, princess. Come then and hold my hand.” As Newlin waits for Hoku to get to her feet, his sister, Kalani appears.
“Newlin, you’re so sweet to watch Hoku for me, but Kanui needs you in the slave’s quarters. There’s a toilet that’s exploding right now.”
“Of course there is,” Newlin mutters under his breath. He plasters on a smile and says, “It would be my pleasure. The little princess is all yours.”
Kalani adds, “And could you fetch Lilit for me? She can take over babysitting duties. I have to get ready for a ceremony. Sadly, we must say good-bye to Kandor this afternoon.”
Newlin bows in reverence then trods off in search of the silly Lilit. He knows just where to find her. She is usually either in the kitchen eating, bothering Kanui, or snacking in a lounge chair on the deck.
As he predicts, he spies Lilit wolfing down some grilled cheese near the pond.
“Dearest Lilit, I hate to break you away from all the hard work you seem to be doing, but our Creator wishes for you to do your mother’s job in watching over Hoku. She’s in front of the compound.”
Lilit cannot stand Newlin and his tone makes her want to spit venom, but she knows Creator Kalani would not welcome a fight in the middle of the compound. Instead of lashing out as she wishes, she glares at the impudent slave and says, “Of course,” through gritted teeth. “I’ll come at once.”
The cute girl was playing in the road. Not a good place for any toddler. “My goodness, why are you out here, little one?” Lilit picks up the princess.
“Would you like to play in your playhouse?”
“Yay!” cries Hoku.
Lilit smiles. “That’s what I thought.”
Kiko is not feeling well. Her stomach queasy, she worries something is wrong with her. But what could it be?
And then the words of their Shaman Mist rings in her ears. She gave a speech when Kiko was ten suns old. “It is forbidden for any amazon to couple with a slave until it is the time of her choosing. For with it, you could bear a child and that is taboo until your young adult birthday. Beware, young Kiko. Do not get too close to a man until then.”
Kiko grabs her stomach as she walks down the Hall of the Creators. Each pair of eyes seem to stare at her as she passes them.
“Oh dear Maker! Please don’t let it be so!” she prays.
As she makes her way to the training room, her insides prickle at the sight of her lover. Not wanting to face him, she slips past, hoping he won’t notice her.
“My darling, is it time for training already? I will meet you later, dear. I must wrangle a toilet at the moment.”
At the sound of Newlin’s voice, Kiko breaks down. “Newlin. We must talk.”