Newlin looks up to see someone spying on them. “Uh oh.”
“What is it?” Kiko asks.
They both pull away from each other quickly.
“H-Hello, Makana. What brings you out here?” Kiko says with a worried look on her face.
Arching an eyebrow, Makana retorts, “I want to ask you the same thing. Mother is looking for you two. We are to eat a feast for Kandor.”
“Thank you for the reminder, but you can run along,” Kiko says. “We’ll be there on time.”
After Makana doesn’t move, Kiko cocks her head and asks, “Why aren’t you leaving?”
“Say it isn’t true. You and Uncle Newlin aren’t going to run away, are you?”
The two exchange looks that makes Makana’s heart sink.
Newlin waves a hand. “Of course not, you silly ninny. Now let us go eat a feast and stop talking foolishness.”
Makana doesn’t know if she should believe her uncle. She could have sworn she heard them making plans to escape to her evil great aunt’s tribe. But she doesn’t want to seem silly in the eyes of her uncle. “O-Okay then. Come on.”
After the feast is over and Makana eats her fill of lobster thermidore, broccoli cheese rice, mountains of green beans, and cake, the adults head to the garden where the slaves make a bonfire. Everyone is in good spirits. Even her father pulls out his fire dancing kit, something Makana always begs him to do, but he says he’ll only dance when there’s a special reason.
But Makana’s heart is too full of what she’s overheard to be filled with the excitement of the celebration.
She decides not to think about it. If Uncle Newlin lied about what she’d heard, he must have had a good reason. So, she picks up some sticks and plays with the flickering flames, trying to take her mind off foolish things.
“Hello, my rosy princess,” her father greets her. “Did you like my greatly magnificent dancing? I did it especially for you!”
But Makana doesn’t even look up at her father. Something is wrong, he thinks. But what? Runoi rolls over the day when he’s seen his daughter and nothing seemed amiss. Maybe she has a stomach ache.
“Aw…did my sweet sunshine in the rain eat too much of my wonderful delicious meal? Maybe I should fix up a tonic. That might make you feel a bit better, hmm?”
Looking as if she might cry, Makana says, “I’m fine, Daddy, really. Don’t worry about me.”
“Makana,” Runoi says like she’s in trouble. “You know Daddy doesn’t like it when you keep secrets. Tell me what’s troubling you.”
Should she tell her father? Maybe he’ll know what to do. But then if she does, what if her uncle gets upset with her? She’d feel awful. She has to make up something quick. “I…I skinned my knee at school today and it hurts. That’s all, Daddy. Honest.”
Relief washes over Runoi. “Is that all? Well, why don’t I kiss it to make it feel better? And then I’ll read you a bedtime story. It’s getting late and you need your rest.”
Makana makes a face. “Kissing boo boos is for babies, Daddy. I’m nearly ten suns old!”
“Then how about a peck on the cheek?”
Giggling, Makana lifts her face to receive her father’s kiss. “Okay.”
After he kisses her, Runoi lifts Makana on his shoulders. “We haven’t done this in a while. Will you bet me I can run with you on my back all the way upstairs to your bedroom?”
Makana laughs. “You can’t do that, Daddy. I’m too heavy.”
“Are you saying I’m a weak slave? I’ll show you I’m very strong indeed. Watch!”
Giggling in his ear, Makana cheers as Runoi runs, josling her up and down like a pony she’s ridden at the village market.
After reading a story, Runoi tucks Makana in. She seems in good spirits as she settles down to sleep. “That’s my darling Creator heiress. Sleep tight,” he whispers.
As Runoi’s about to leave, his other daughter stops him in his tracks.
He picks her up. “My, what are you doing out of bed, Hoku? Did no one put you down? I’m very sorry about that.”
Hoku shakes her head. “I’m not sleepy.”
“Of course you are, my little cinnamon bun. We just have to get you dressed and the sandman will dust you, making you very drowsy.”
True to his word, Hoku doesn’t fuss as he kisses her good night for she is a very tired tot.
Children all tucked away for the night, Runoi makes his way down to the fire, but something is troubling him.
Kalani notices instantly. “What is it, my love? Why are you making that face?”
He sighs as he drapes his arm over Kalani. “I’m worried about Makana. She lied to me today. There’s something wrong that she’s trying to hide. Maybe you should have a chat with her about it tomorrow. She wouldn’t tell me tonight, but I think she’d talk to you.”
Kalani nods as she folds her arms, wondering what Makana could possibly hide. The thought put a damper on the rest of the night for the Creator of Tribe Wahine.
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