In the deep confines of the jungle, there in lay a home to a group of priestesses and priests, who worshipped the Moon Goddess, Ixchel.
Near the river, nine young women were collecting berries and plants, for herbal medicines and food. All of the young women had opalescent skin, and dark raven hair. There were four sets of sisters, all of whom, also, each had stunning eye colors. The first set had dark blue eyes, and the elder one had long straight hair, and choppy bangs, and the younger one had short straight hair, that went to her neck, and choppy bangs. Their names were Gentle Blossom and Cherry Jubilee. The second set of sisters had light blue eyes, and the elder one had her hair up in an elegnat bun, while the younger sister had her straight hair in a low-set half-up half-down. Their names were Star Gazer and Golden Rain. The third set had greyish eyes, and the elder sister had long wavy hair, while the younger sister had medium-length wavy hair, and they both sported a long bang on their right side. These two were named Snow Drop and Wind Whistler. The fourth set had teal eyes, and the elder had a bun resembling Star Gazer's, but it was a lot messier, and the younger sister had hair similar to Wind Whistler's, but choppier. Their names were Moon Orchid and Doll’s Eyes. The ninth girl, however, had dark brown eyes, but, even though her eyes were brown, they were so vibrant then when she would look into the sky, the sun would hit her eyes a special way, and it looked as though that her eyes were lighting up. Her hair was set in a low ponytail, and she also sported a long bang, on her right side. This young woman’s name was Meadow Lily, and and since she was the eldest of the girls, she was the unofficial leader.
As the girls were collecting, Gentle Blossom and Moon Orchid were having an argument.
“I know that it is our job to do gather medicinal herbs for the head priests and priestesses, but, why can’t at least one of us go with the men and hunt?” Gentle Blossom asked, looking agitated as she pulled up some Echinacea.
“Because we are women, Gentle Blossom, and it would be against the clan to become a warrior.” Moon Orchid said to Gentle Blossom.
Gentle Blossom seethed, but just as about as she was going to say something, she saw Meadow Lily looking off into the distance.
Meadow Lily grunted and then turned to Gentle Blossom.
“You have been day-dreaming lately. But, aside from that, what do you think of us women becoming warriors?”
Meadow Lily gave a skeptical look at Gentle Blossom, which made Moon Orchid snicker. Meadow Lily turned back around, and really thought about the idea. Her father was a warrior, but he left her and her mother when she was young. She always wanted to become a warrior, just to see her father again. But, but that was a stupid reason to become a warrior. Meadow Lily knew she would never see her father again. It had been almost 15 years since she had last seen her father, but, it was funny, because she still knew what he looked like.
Meadow Lily finally got out of her trance, and called to the girls, to go back to the village. While walking to the village, Meadow Lily’s best friend, Star Gazer, stood next to her.
“You are troubled, Lily.”
“How do you know?”
“How do I know? I’ve known you for almost 20 years… that’s how I know. What is going through your mind, Lily?”
Meadow Lily stopped at a boulder that was in front of one of the makeshift temples, and jumped up and sat upon on it, looking down at Star Gazer,
“I was thinking about what Blossom was saying. About us being warriors.”
“Which means you were thinking about him, again,” Star Gazer walked towards Meadow Lily, “and you want to see him.”
“Well, of course I want to see him again. It’s been, how long?” Meadow Lily looked at Star Gazer, and then stared at the temple.
“He just up and left me and my mother. My mother said I look just like him.”
Star Gazer smiled, and rubbed Meadow Lily’s knee. With that, Star gazer went into the temple, along with the other girls. Meadow Lily soon followed suit, and each of them gave the Head Shaman, Howling Star, the herbs that they had collected. Howling Star accepted the herbs, and dismissed the girls. Howling Star looked at one of her companions.
“The reincarnations of Ixchel are soon reaching their prime. Hopefully, the city does not get a hold of them.”
The other Shamans nodded their heads, and all had begun the process of making the potion for Revival.
The next morning, the healing was supposed to begin. The crippled, the maimed, and the sick all went to the temple, and waited to be healed. Among them was Golden Rain, who had been suffering from a sickness ever since she was young. She would cough profusely, and sometime, cough up blood. If she had not been healed by the shamans, she would’ve died long ago.
Meanwhile, the other girls were at the edge of the village. They were all just hanging out, when something caught Meadow Lily’s eye. She saw, at a distance, a group of warriors, coming towards the village. They got closer and closer, when she finally stood up on the rock and yelled out.
All of the villagers tried to get into safe places, but before they knew it… the warriors had arrived.
Meadow Lily looked long and hard at the warriors. They were the Holcanes from the city. Meadow Lily went to one of the huts, to retrieve some of the weapons that some of the village warriors left behind. She grabbed two daggers, and the ran out of the hut.
She saw one of the warriors go to the temple, and she ran as fast as she could. She caught up to him, and aerial kicked him in the face. Although he fell, he got right back up, and swung his macuahuitl at her. She was so flexible, she bent backwards, with her head touching the ground, and got up so fast, that she was able to swing the one dagger into his throat, and the other into his chest, killing him instantly.
Meadow Lily then grabbed the macuahuitl and stuck on of her daggers in her skirt.
Although Meadow Lily wasn’t having a hard time fighting, some of the girls were. Snow Drop was constantly being pursued by a Holcane with a red plume headdress, and a belt, with what looked a human spine. He would catch up to her, and just about to grab her, when she would stop, and since he was still running, she bent over and he would flip over her back.
Doll's Eyes was having a showdown with a Medusa-haired Holcane. He eyed her up and down, then charged at her. With a bow and arrow in tow, Doll's Eyes fire two shots at him, missing. But the shots stunned him, and as he looked back to see where the arrows landed, Doll's Eyes threw the bow aside, grabbed a large stick, and at the right moment, clocked him in the head. The Holcane fell, but recovered, and got up, and grabbed her by the shirt, lifting her up. She looked at him. He just smiled evilly. But, then, he saw Moon Orchid coming, and he threw Doll's Eyes to the side.
"Don't you touch my sister!"
Moon Orchid grabbed a spear from the ground, stuck into the ground, spun herself around, until her feet came into contact with the Holcane's face. Moon Orchid saw that he was down, and turned to Doll's Eyes.
"Get out of here, now!"
Doll's Eyes listened, but she was soon caught by a Holcane with a feathered belt, who had to fight with her to get her down.
Meanwhile, Gentle Blossom was fighting a Holcane with pigtails. He was tough, but he was younger than her, and she was just a bit more experienced, contrary to what he thought. As he tried to slice her with his obsidian dagger, she would duck, kick him in the ankle, knock him down, and kick him in the ribs. The young man then got up, and again, went to go after her, and made contact, knocking her down.
"Get off of me!" she screamed, and kicked him in the inner thigh, to which he cried out in pain, rolled off of her, and she got up, to look for her sister.
As the other girls and villagers tried to fight off the Holcanes, Meadow Lily was also fighting, but also, looking around. All of a sudden, the leader of the Holcanes came charging at her, and hit her in the face with a club. She got up, and fought him. She would hit him with everything she had, but, he would deflect it. Then, she grabbed an urn, outside near the temple wall, and threw it at him, hitting him. But, it wasn't enough, for the leader clocked her again with his club. Meadow Lily fell to the ground, and looked up to really look at him. Her eyes widened, and she gasped…
The leader looked down at her, and had a mean expression on his face, but when she said that word, his expression softened just a bit… However, he still grabbed her by her throat and slammed her against the outside temple wall. Meadow Lily was about a good foot shorter than the Leader, and when he slammed her against the wall, her face was level with his. She looked at him, and and a tear came streaming down. She then looked around, and the villagers, giving up, were being taken captive. The leader, Zero Wolf, let go of Meadow Lily, and let her fall to the ground, but immediately grabbed her hands, and tied them, and let a medium-length rope lead her.
Meadow Lily sat amongst the rest of her village, and looked around at the destruction of the village. She saw bodies lying on the ground, and blood everywhere. She then looked to see where the others were, and saw that the elder sisters were tied to one bar, while the younger ones were tied to another. But, there was one who was not tied up: Gentle Blossom. The Holcane with the long three pigtails, who she was fighting against her before, and the Holcane who captured Doll's Eyes, were, not trying to have their way with her, but actually trying to tie her up. But, Gentle Blossom was not having it, and would kick the young men numerous times, until she finally got tired, and they tied her up: her hands and her feet.
Meadow Lily called to the girls, but got hit in the back by a Holcane, who had a dot on his forehead. He smiled evilly at her.
Meadow Lily just looked at him, and glared. But, he just chuckled and walked away. Meadow Lily looked at her wrists and tried to loosen them, but to no avail. She looked up to the sky, and a single tear fell down her cheek.
Time passed by, and it was finally time to move. Meadow Lily was being lead by Zero Wolf, although it seemed he would have rather had her with the other captives. Meadow Lily looked back to see the other girls, and saw that they were right behind her. Meadow Lily looked at Star Gazer, and asked her something.
“What do they want with us?”
“I don’t know.” Was all that Star Gazer could say. Meadow Lily turned back around and walked right behind her father, and next the man who hit her. She looked at him.
“What is your name?”
He looked at her, dumbfounded because of why she would ask that.
She just looked back.
“It’s just a question. But, I guess you Holcanes are too good for even those.”
“The name is Middle Eye.” He answered, slightly shocking Meadow Lily. But, she composed herself, and nodded.
The way to the city was a long, and arduous journey. As they walked one of the cliffsides, the group noticed that rocks were falling from the moutainside. The rocks would barely miss the group, but, suddenly, one of the rocks got a lucky break, and smashed into the pole, holding Golden Rain, Cherry Jubilee, Wind Whistler, and Doll's Eyes. The rock smashed into the middle of the pole, and Wind Whistler and Doll's Eyes, who were holding up the rear, surprised by the rock, both fell off of the cliffside, but landed on a smaller cliff.
Moon Orchid and Snow Drop screamed out, and forced their guide to bring them over to where their sisters had fallen. Golden Rain and Cherry Jubilee were looking down, speaking to Wind Whistler and Doll's Eyes.
"Don't look down!"
"We'll get you up, don't worry!"
Golden Rain then looked at the Holcane with the complex feathered headgear.
"Well, do something!!"
He then looked at the Holcane with the pig-snout headgear, and he went over to a few others, where he then retrieved some rope. The Holcanes struggled to make a loop, and as they were doing that, Golden Rain noticed that the cliff that Wind Whistler and Doll's Eyes were on was slowly breaking off.
"Hurry up with that--- oh, they'll never make it in time."
Golden Rain placed her fingers in her hair, where she revealed a very small obsidian dagger, and cut her bonds. She then ran over to the men, who were stunned by her freedom, but even more stunned when they saw her knotwork, and ability to make a bit of a lasso. She then walked over to Cherry Jubilee, cut her bonds, and gave the end part of the rope and then, threw the other part to the girls.
Wind Whistler started to climb up first, and made it halfway, when Doll's Eyes started to also climb. But then, the rope started to tear, and the two made up past the tear, but didn't trust themselves to climb anymore. Wind Whistler looked up.
"We'll pull you up!" Golden Rain replied.
With that, Golden Rain and Cherry Jubilee started to pull up the two, but, were slipping. They were struggling, and the Holcanes could see that. But, they didn't lose hope. With all of their strength, Golden Rain and Cherry Jubilee pulled up the rope, and then, in no time, the two other girls were up on the cliffside, along with everyone else.
The girls fell in a heap, and exhausted, Golden Rain had to sit down. Wind Whistler and Doll's Eyes went over to their sisters, who were both a nervous wreck the entire time.
Golden Rain, exhausted, started to cough a lot, and spit up some blood, but shook it off, and got up, but noticed that neither she, Cherry Jubilee, Wind Whistler, nor Doll's Eyes could be put on a pole. So, they were all then separated, and placed onto other poles.
During this time, Zero Wolf, noticed that the rest of the group was not behind him, and being the leader, went to inspect. Dragging Meadow Lily with him, he walked over to the rest of the group and then noticed the broken pole.
None of the Holcanes answered, but it was Cherry Jubilee, the youngest, who answered.
"As we were walking, the rockslide was getting heavier. A rock came flying down, broke the pole into pieces, and two of the girls fell of the side of the cliff..."
Zero Wolf's eyes glared at the Holcanes, as if to say *And you couldn't prevent them from falling?*
But, Cherry Jubilee continued.
"However, they landed on a smaller cliff, and my friend and I got a rope, and we pulled them up. Now, since, I can tell, that you're the type of leader who wants everything perfect, we are all here and accounted for, I assure you."
With that, Zero Wolf scanned and saw the girls, scattered , but they were still there. He went back up into the front, with Meadow Lily in tow, who looked at the girls forlornly, and they all continued on, until nightfall.
After the hectic day, night finally fell. Meadow Lily, being the only one not connected to a bar, was sitting close by to Zero Wolf. She looked up at him, and examined him closely, and saw that her father’s eyes were the same color as her own.
Zero Wolf noticed Meadow Lily looking at him, and turned to looked at her. Meadow Lily gasped, and quickly looked down. Zero Wolf walked over to her, and stood in front of her.
“Look up, girl.”
Meadow Lily refused, and kept on looking down.
“Look up.” He said, more sternly this time, but Meadow Lily, again, refused. The third time, Zero Wolf kicked her in her knee caps, and forced her to look up.
Meadow Lily looked at her father, and just cried.
“This pain is nothing compared to what awaits you.”
Meadow Lily looked at him.
“You don’t understand. The pain I feel right now will never be overrode by anything in the near future. You left me and Mother by ourselves, and then you come into our village, raid the place, and look at me like you don’t know who I am. I am the daughter of your former wife, Sundance Rose, and you, Zero Wolf.”
Zero Wolf crinched at the name of his former wife. He closed his eyes and remembered the time he was with her, and that fateful day, when he decided to leave her for good. He did, and when he came home, and she had also left for good, along with their young daughter, Meadow Lily. However, Zero Wolf regained his composure and looked at Meadow Lily.
“No matter… you will soon be erased from my memories.”
With that, Zero Wolf walked away, leaving behind a distraught Meadow Lily, who just there, crying silent tears through the night, and until the sun would rise...
The next day, the sun rose slowly, and creeped up to reveal the captives, all sleeping amogst themselves, except for Meadow Lily, who was curled up next to a tree. Zero Wolf came reigning down, shouting and screaming, waking up all the captives, except for Meadow Lily.
One of the Holcanes, a young man with long pigtails, kicked Meadow Lily in the shin, to wake her up. Well, he woke her up, alright. The next thing this Holcane knew was he was tripped by Meadow Lily's foot, with him falling down on his ass. Another Holcane, the one with the red plume coming from he headdress, rushed other to him, helped him up, and hit Meadow Lily across the face. Moon Orchid called out to that Holcane.
"Hey, leave her alone!!"
The Holcane walked over to her, and hit her in the knee-cap. Moon Orchid grunted, and her knee buckled, but she didn't give him the satisfaction of knowing that any of them could hurt them.
Right after the Holcane, whose name was Hanging Moss, hit Moon Orchid, Gentle Blossom stomped on Hanging Moss's foot, making him scream out, and double over in pain. Another Holcane, by the name of Monkey Jaw, walked over to her, and was about to hit her, but got kicked in the back of the knee by Cherry Jubilee, whose group was right next to the elder sisters.
Not long after, it was a total melee between the Holcanes and the girls. Zero Wolf, although chose to ignore it before, walked over to the commotion and got everything situated. He then was informed by the young man with the long pigtails, whose name was Drunkards Four, that it was Meadow Lily who started it all. With that, Zero Wolf walked over to Meadow Lily, grabbed her rope, and tightened the grip on her wrists. Although he expected to hear a shriek of pain, he was stunned to just see Meadow Lily looked down at the rope, and back up at him.
"The next time you start up a commotion, the Gods help me... I will break your legs, and your arms... and then kill you...and then..."
"And then, I will be erased from your memory, forever, I know."
Zero Wolf looked at her in shock... he couldn't deny it... she was him all over. The personality... the attitude... She was definitely his daughter... but, he didn't want to believe it.
Instead of killing her, Zero Wolf then grabbed her rope, and started to lead the captives to the city. While they walked, Zero Wolf loosened Meadow Lily's grip a bit.
Meadow Lily was thankful, but said nothing. She looked straight ahead, as they walked into the poor part of the city. She looked at all of the men and women, and children. Some of the children would grab on to the girls' skirts, and follw them, but then, would be shooed away by the Holcanes. It was not long until they got to the internal part of the city, where the villagers' fates would be faced.
Suddenly, the men and women were separated. The women were sent over to a platform, where they were to be sold as slaves. One by one, the girls walked up the steps, onto the platform. They stood behind a few older women, and the bidding started right away. As the slave traders went on with the bidding, Meadow Lily looked at her father, who looked at her briefly, and then turned his heel, and walked with the men, where they were to be sacrificed. Suddenly, Meadow Lily felt someone grab her by the wrists, and it was the female slave trader.
"Alright... what do you say? Very pretty, very healthy girl... Pretty strong, too... Hwo much will you give me?"
The men, who were buying the slaves, all oggled at her, and were starting to come forward, in a crazy fashion. Meadow Lily, backed away slowly. Meadow Lily looked at the men, and then, one of then grabbed her foot. She didn't move, and it was as though he was trying to pull her, but, with all of her resistance training, and the supernatural powers that she held, but that she did not know of yet, Meadow Lily remained standing, as though she were a statue.
Suddenly, a strange voice cried out. It was a woman's voice. The female slave trader looked up to see the High Priestess walking towards them. The High Priestess was a noble looking woman, around her 40s, and adorned a lot of jewelry. Meadow Lily recognized her voice, and looked up. It was her mother, Sundance Rose.
"Why are you selling these young women as slaves?" She asked the slave traders. The traders looked at each other, and then at Sundance Rose.
"They were given to us..."
Sundance Rose looked at them, and then looked at the nine young women, whom were all oblivious to the fact that the only reason why they were being spared was because of the powers that they held. Meadow Lily looked at her mother intently, and Sundance Rose suddenly realized who she was, and embraced her.
"Meadow Lily, my baby..."
Sundance Rose and Meadow Lily pulled apart, and Sundance Rose looked at the young women.
"You will all be freed from slavery, and you will come and live at my temple."
Breathing a sigh of relief, the girls were all untied, and they were all about to go to the temple, but Sundance Rose went to confront Zero Wolf. Meadow Lily saw the fire in her mother's eyes, as she had once before, 15 years ago. When Meadow Lily was 10, Sundance Rose and Zero Wolf had gotten into a huge argument, which prompted Zero Wolf to leave. Sundance Rose was left alone with her daughter, and they went to live in the forest. A year later, Sundance Rose made the hardest decision of her life, and journeyed back to the city, and regained her post as High Priestess. Meadow Lily was left, parentless, for 14 years, but she never hated her mother for leaving, but she hated her father, for never saying 'goodbye'.
Meadow Lily followed her mother, and after the sacrifices had finished, there were still a number of men to be disposed of. So, Sundance Rose knew exactly where to find Zero Wolf.
As she entered the death game arena, the girls followed, and the Holcanes noticed Sundance Rose, and informed their leader. Zero Wolf saw Sundance Rose, and walked up to her.
"What is it that you want, Priestess?"
"I want to know why you would sell those girls as slaves. Clearly, you should've seen."
"That these girls are the reincarnations of Ixchel."
Zero Wolf just stared at her, dumbfounded. The Holcanes murmured about themselves, and then, they noticed the girls entering the arena. Sundance Rose saw them, and looked back at Zero Wolf. Meadow Lily walked to her mother's side, and looked down at her father.
Zero Wolf said nothing for awhile, but the silence was broken by Meadow Lily.
"So, I guess I won't be erased from your memory forever, then, Father."
Zero Wolf looked up to her, and then, got a death glare from Sundance Rose.
Sundance Rose walked down to Zero Wolf, and although she was a small woman, she grabbed Zero Wolf by his armor, and dragged him out of the arena.
Meadow Lily looked at how her mother dragged her father out of the arena, and desperately wanted to follow, but chose to remain behind. She then looked at the Holcanes, and smiled. Walking up to the weapons, she set free the captives, and then, looking at the dumbfounded Holcanes, she simply stated.
"Whose up for a challenge?"
The Holcanes looked at each other, looking slightly worried, while the girls were all smiled cheekily. It was on.
The girls walked over to the Holcanes, and each of them paired off. It was Meadow Lily against Middle Eye, Star Gazer against Ten Peccary, Moon Orchid against Snake Ink, Snow Drop against Hanging Moss, Gentle Blossom against Drunkards Four, Cherry Jubilee against Cut Rock, Doll's Eyes against Buzzard Hook, Wind Whistler against Monkey Jaw, and Golden Rain against Speaking Wind.
Meadow Lily walked out first, to explain the rules of the challenge.
"There will be three challenges: archery, spear-throwing, and hand-to-hand combat... There will no killing, but significant damage can be done. "
The Holcanes all looked at their respectable opponents, to which they received a glare.
"This first challenge is archery, but there is a catch. You have to hit the target, but as the rounds go up, so do the number of arrows you shoot simutaneously."
Meadow Lily saw the Holcanes' faces, and smiled.
"Moon Orchid and the one with the tattoo on his face... you two go first."
Moon Orchid gratefully accepted the challenge, and grabbed her bow and arrow. While Meadow Lily was talking, there were targets lined up about 65 ft. away from where they all were standing. They each grabbed a quiver of arrows and walked over to their spots in front of the targets. Moon Orchid shot the first shot, and got a bull's eye. Snake Ink fired right after, and also got a bull's eye. Snake Ink looked at Moon Orchid, and smiled cheekily. She glanced back, and then, grabbed two arrows. The one arrow was between her index finger and her middle finger, while the other one was between her middle finger and ring finger. She fired the arrows, and both of them got a bull's eyes. Snake Ink did the same, but, when he shot the arrows, the both landed far outside of the bull's eye. He grunted at that, and then, was suprised to see Moon Orchid grab, this time, three arrows, and shoot them. All three of the arrows landed in the bull's eye. Snake Ink never had a chance, since he couldn't even hold three arrows in his fingers.
After the all of them went through the archery round, with Holcanes being devastatingly behind, it was the spear-throwing challenge. Each person got one chance to throw it, and whoever threw it the furthest, won their round. Gentle Blossom and Drunkards Four were up and threw their spears, with Drunkards Four's being about 6 inches further. However, when it came to Wind Whistler and Monkey Jaw, Monkey Jaw clean-sweeped Wind Whistler by almost 15 ft. The Holcanes won this round.
It was finally down to hand-to-hand combat. In this challenge, not only do you use your body, but, hand-held weapons, such as daggers, can also be used. The other girls went, with the younger ones losing immediately, however, in the battles between the elder girls, the girls dominated, especially with Gentle Blossom against Drunkards Four, and Snow Drop against Hanging Moss. And then, it was Middle Eye against Meadow Lily. Meadow Lily walked to the middle of the grounds, where she went face to face with Middle Eye.
"You'll be sorry you thought of this challenge, girl."
Meadow Lily said nothing, and got into her fighting stance. When Moon Orchid called them out to fight, Middle Eye punched Meadow Lily in the face, and then, kicked her. She got up quickly and went to kick him, but missed, and received a blow to the back.
"Haha... you think you are stong enough?!"
Meadow Lily, still not saying anything got up, and faced him. He started to hit her again, and, she would block some, but, mostly got hit.
Meanwhile, as the girls and Holcanes watched on, Golden Rain started getting nervous. Her opponent, Speaking Wind saw her nervousness, and looked a bit sympathetic.
Meadow Lily continued getting hit, and finally, fell to the ground in a heap, and Middle Eye took out a dagger, and was about to finish her off. The girls screamed out to Meadow Lily, for her to get up, but Meadow Lily remained motionless. Middle Eye walked up to her, she looked at him bleary-eyed, and then then closed her eyes. He then stated.
Middle Eye went to stab her, when he felt a strong grip on his wrist. Meadow Lily opened her eyes up wide, and head-butted him so hard, that he flew backwards about 9 ft. When he got up, e came face to face with a heated Meadow Lily, who kicked him in the face, then the stomach, then the face, and then the stomach, and then, to finish him off, did a spinning heel kick, knocking him down.
As he layed down, Meadow Lily took out her own dagger, and walked up to Middle Eye, and threw it at him, but it landed next to him. He looked at the dagger, and then at her, and she was smiling.
"Almost." She said. Middle Eye glared at her, but then, was suprised to see that Meadow Lily lent out her hand, to help him up. He was going to slap her hand, but chose not to, and took it, and got up. Meadow Lily looked at him, and then walked over to the group. They all looked dumbfounded.
"I guess we can just call it a draw." The group nodded, and then, started to pack up the stuff. Meadow Lily walked over to the side of the arena, and sat against the wall. Middle Eye followed her and sat next to her.
"I never fought someone like you."
"What? You never fought a woman like me?"
"No, I mean, somebody like you. I don't like you, but I've gained some respect for you." Middle Eye looked at her.
"You don't have to like me, and I don't have to like you either, but, I agree with you. I have also gained some respect for you."
Meadow Lily was breathing heavily, and Middle Eye passed her the gauze he was drinking from. She drank a bit, and handed it back to him.
Meanwhile, the others were all sitting under the shade, quietly. Then, the silence was broken from Drunkards Four.
"So, you all are the reincarnations?"
The girls all looked at him, and then down. Star Gazer, the improptu second in command of the group, looked at him.
"Yes, we are."
"So, what is your jobs?" Hanging Moss asked.
"We won't know yet, until Sundance Rose tells us." Moon Orchid stated. She then turned, and saw Meadow Lily and Middle Eye walking towards the group, "So, the champions come to join us."
Meadow Lily giggled, and gently nudged Moon Orchid in the hip, and then, sat down next to Star Gazer, and looked around.
"So what happens now?"
No one said anything, but suddenly, everyone turned their heads when they saw Zero Wolf and Sundance Rose coming through the doors. Sundance Rose was looking peeved, but Zero Wolf, usually looking surly, was looking a bit like a young child who had just been scolded. Sundance Rose went over to the girls.
"Alright, let's go."
The girls followed her, and they all walked to the temple. Before they left, Golden Rain looked back and waved goodbye to Speaking Wind, who waved to her, but went back to talk to the guys.
Meadow Lily was in the front with her mother.
"Lily, I heard commotion while I was talking to your father. What was going on?"
"We just had a challenge... so what were you and Father talking about?"
"Mother, it has to be something, or you wouldn't have been so long."
Sundance Rose remained mute, and Meadow Lily, knowing her mother like the back of her hand, ceased to further the conversation, but that didn't keep her from thinking. She must have had said something pretty harsh to make Zero Wolf look the way he did. All the times Meadow Lily saw her father, it was very rare to see him look in such a pitiful way. She kept on thinking about it, and when they got to the temple, the girls' jaws dropped.
"Welcome to your new home..." Sundance Rose stated joyfully.
It had been a full week since the girls found out that they were the reincarnations of the Moon Goddess, Ixchel. However, they didn't really adhere to the life of a noble. None of the girls wore the clothes that the noble women wore. In actuality, they wore the same types of clothing they wore when they came to the city: tank-top choli tops and mid-thigh length skirts. Even though they looked like peasants, the girls were revered and constantly gawked at. It was something that they were not all used to.
One morning, Meadow Lily was the first to get up. She looked at the inner city, then where the middle-class resided, and then, her eyes fell upon where the poor resided. Meadow Lily looked sad, and then, an idea popped into her head. She rushed to the other girls, not waking them up, except for Star Gazer. Meadow Lily flicked Star Gazer in the ear, to which Star Gazer opened her eyes and looked at Meadow Lily.
“I have an idea. Get dressed.”
Star Gazer, although being very tired, didn’t argue. When Meadow Lily was on to something, she was usually right, and there was no arguing with her... That’s was what you got when you’ve known someone for nearly 20 years.
Star Gazer got dressed, and looked for Meadowl Lily, who was standing outside of the temple. Meadow Lily met up with her.
“So, what’s the idea?”
“Well, since we are the reincarnations of Ixchel, and she is the goddess of medicine, midwifery, growth, and all types of wonderful things… I was thinking that we could rebuild the city. You know, work from outside in?”
Star Gazer just looked at her.
“You want to rebuild the city?”
Meadow Lily nodded fervently.
“Well, if that’s all you want to tell me, can I go back to bed?”
“Star Gazer, I’m surprised at you! I thought you would’ve agreed with this idea!”
“I never said I didn’t agree. In fact, I do agree, but, as you should know, I’m tired and it’s early, and I want to go back to sleep.”
Meadow Lily just looked at her.
“Get everyone else, and tell them.”
Star Gazer was nodding off and then, looked up.
“I want to start early. I don’t know about you, but, If I am going to live here, I want everyone to be happy.”
With that, Meadow Lily headed off, with Star Gazer standing in the doorway. Star Gazer just shook her head and went back to the rooms where the others were, and woke them up.
Meanwhile, Meadow Lily was heading into the marketplace, looking around. She gazed at the merchandise, animals, foods, and other paraphernalia. Then, something caught her eye. It was a jaguar in a cage, which was surrounded by noble men, who were poking it. Meadow Lily walked up to them, and stopped them.
“Stop it, can’t you see she’s in pain?”
“How can you tell, girl?”
Meadow Lily ignored the jeers and looked at the jaguar, who then looked at her, and it looked as though it was crying. Somehow feeling the pain of the big cat, Meadow Lily broke the lock of the cage, and grabbed the jaguar by the scruff of the neck, leading it out of the small cage.
While doing this, Star Gazer walked over to Meadow Lily and the jaguar.
“Lily, what on earth are you doing?”
“These people are cruel, Gazer. They keep on poking her. I’m setting her free.”
“How are you going to do that, Lily? The forest is about 2 miles from the city.”
Meadow Lily looked at Star Gazer, and knew it was the truth. She then got up, and looked down at the jaguar.
“I don’t care… I will walk that far, knowing that this creature is away from harm.”
Meadow Lily then grabbed some of the rope that was holding the cage together. She made a series of loops, until she made an impromptu leash, to which she placed on the jaguar. Star Gazer looked at Meadow Lily.
“I’ll go with you.”
Meadow Lily smiled and she and Star Gazer set off. They went through the middle-class part, and the people were a bit afraid looking. Then, they went through the poor part, where they were stopped by a few children, who wanted to pet the jaguar. A little girl looked at Star Gazer.
“What is her name?”
Star Gazer just smiled, and shrugged. She then heard indistinct chatter from ahead, and saw that the Holcanes were coming back with more captives. As they walked by, Star Gazer looked to see if she could see Ten Peccary. And then, she spotted him.
Guiding a pole of women, Ten Peccary looked a bit peeved, and Star Gazer noticed a large cut above his right eye. She walked next to him, and walked with him for awhile until he noticed her.
“Star Gazer… I didn’t see you there.”
“I like to hide… you got hurt, Ten Peccary.”
“It's just a scratch.”
“Scratch or not, you know I’ll be needing to see to it.”
Ten Peccary looked at her, and smiled. Never before had he felt something so strong for a woman. Most of the time, he would do a girl and be done with her… but not this one. This young woman had a special place in his heart. They weren’t romantically involved, but, they were very close. *If only…*, he thought, *If only we could both destroy that wall…*
With that last thought, Star Gazer left Ten Peccary and walked back to Meadow Lily, and no jaguar. Star Gazer looked a bit worried.
“Lily, where’s the jaguar?”
Meadow Lily looked at Star Gazer and smiled.
“A few passerbys took her to the forest. She is so placid that she didn’t mind anyone else handling her. By the way, where did you go?”
Star Gazer blushed and turned her head, to which Meadow Lily knew what that went.
“You talked to Ten Peccary, didn’t you?”
Star Gazer just nodded, and she and Meadow Lily walked back to the city. There, they met up with the other girls, who all wondered what was going on.
“Meadow Lily, what is this plan that you are talking about?” asked Wind Whistler.
“I’ll tell everyone in a bit. Until then, let’s go check out what they are doing…”
But before they could go off to see the sacrifices, Sundance Rose caught them.
“You girls had me worried. We all have to go to the temple. They are doing the sacrifices as we speak.”
The girls went back and went up to the main temple, where the sacrifices were being held. The girls looked like priestesses, and although they looked beautiful, they were all uncomfortable. They each sat down on a mortar against the temple wall, and they all watched, time after time, a man being sacrificed. Not being able to handle it, Golden Rain started to cry, and Snow Drop turned her head away. The others looked on in awe and disgust. Meadow Lily wanted to end it. She then got up, and as the High Priest was about to stab the captive, Meadow Lily grabbed his wrist, so tight that he dropped the knife.
“I cannot let you do this anymore…”
Sundance Rose got up and walked over to her daughter. Meanwhile, the crowd down below were getting restless. The Holcanes looked up, and saw Sundance Rose, The High Priest, and Meadow Lily having a conversation. Middle Eye looked more intently than the others.
Meadow Lily looked at her mother.
“Mother, we can’t keep sacrificing people to suffice the Gods. All of these sacrifices won’t help.”
“Meadow Lily, these sacrificial rituals have been going on long before you were born.”
“I understand that, but I believe that now is a time for a change.”
Meadow Lily leaned into her mother’s ear, and Sundance Rose listened intently. She then told the High Priest, who then told the King and Queen. They all looked at her, and nodded their approvement, but Meadow Lily wanted much more. She released the captive from the sacrificial mortar, and then, taking off her priestess garb, and in nothing but a cropped tube top and mini skirt, she climbed up the mortar, and all eyes were on her. She gulped, and then, being brave, started to speak.
“People of the Sun and the Moon! My name is Meadow Lily, 1st reincarnation of the goddess, Ixchel! I have seen that, in a time where there is supposed to be prosperity and wealth at all times, there is a time of drought and sickness. In a time where all people should be happy, most are not. These sacrifices are not sufficing the Gods enough… do you agree?”
The crowd cheered in agreement.
“The blood of our brothers, husbands, fathers, and sons is not enough to make the people of the Sun and Moon feel fulfilled!”
Again, the crowd cheered.
“I say, it is time to make a change. Even if I have to do it myself, everyone in this city and outside the city will be happy, and fulfilled. I feel a change in the winds… Do you?!”
The crowd cheered, and Meadow Lily climbed down, and walked over to the others.
“Tomorrow, I want us all to start to rebuild this city.”
The others looked a bit nervous, but they all nodded, and got up, and walked with Meadow Lily to the front, where they all shed their priestess garbs, and had on their normal attire. As the crowd still went nuts, Meadow Lily started to walk down the steps, down to the people. The people calmed down just a bit, and as Meadow Lily reached the last step, she looked at everyone, and threw up her arms as everyone else, and joined in the celebration.
Golden Rain looked down at the crowd, and started to walked down as well. Behind her came down Wind Whistler, and then Doll’s Eyes, and then Cherry Jubilee. Star Gazer, Gentle Blossom, Snow Drop, and Moon Orchid, all simuntaneously, then walked down the steps, and joined the crowd.
The celebration went on until dusk, and at that time, everyone was back home. Meadow Lily decided to stay out, and sat on the bottom step of the main temple, looking at the sky. She then saw Middle Eye walking towards her.
“You know that your speech is going to prohibit us from doing our jobs now.”
“It’s for the better, Middle Eye.”
“We are who we are because our jobs, Meadow Lily.”
“Oh, come on, Middle Eye, no one can be that heartless.”
“Oh yeah? Does that count for your father, as well?”
Meadow Lily looked at him, shocked.
“How do you know about my father?”
“He told us about it when you and the others left the death game arena.”
He then grinned, but, his face fell when he looked at Meadow Lily. She was shaking from crying, and had her face in her hands.
“I didn’t mean to get you upset. I mean, yeah, I don’t really care that you are sad, but…” he stopped when she looked at him.
“I know you don’t care, and none of you do… but… uhhh!!” She got up and walked aways a bit.
“I’m sorry, I’m not mad at you… I’m, just… I’m just upset. I know you probably don’t care, but I care about everyone in this city… even you.”
Middle Eye, never ever feeling compassion, just looked at her. God, was she beautiful. Mad or not… But, as he then shook his head, when he heard those words. She cared about him. He then shook his head, and snickered at her.
“I’m probably wrong, but, I don’t think you are as heartless as people say you are.”
“Well, you better keep listening to them, darling. Because you may want a change, but I don’t. I’ll never change for anything or anyone, for that matter.”
“I never said you had to change for me, Middle Eye.”
With that, she went to walk back home, but before she left, she took off one of her necklaces, and gave it to Middle Eye, and surprisingly, kissed him on the cheek. She walked away, and back to the temple.
Middle Eye stood there motionless, and put his fingers in the spot where she kissed him. What did this mean? Any other time a girl would kiss him, he didn’t care. But there he was, Middle Eye, the sadistic, ruthless, cold-blooded Holcane, suddenly feeling warm inside at the thought of a girl. He then shook off the thought and returned to the barracks, where he went to tell the others about what happened.
Meadow Lily was in her room, looking out the window. Tomorrow was going to mark the change of destiny.
The next day, all of the girls woke up extra early, and set off to the poor part of the city. The peasants looked on as the young women were walking to them. Suddenly, a man came towards them.
“Is it true? Are you truly going to rid us of the sickness that has scourged us?”
The girls looked at each other, and smiled.
“Yes… we are here to do that. It seems that the gods have not been too merciful of late, but we are here, so do not worry.” Golden Rain to the man.
The man thanked them many times, during which time, all of the rest of the peasants were coming towards the girls, thanking them.
After awhile, the girls made it to the crop fields, and they looked at it in disgust.
“How can these people live like this?” Moon Orchid asked.
“How do they live at all?” Gentle Blossom asked, picking up a rotten piece of fruit, which she immediately threw down, when a maggot crawled on her hand. She started to gag, to which Snow Drop walked over to her, handed her some water, and then, they started to work.
“We have to first find the exact location of the plague… it has to be somewhere…” Meadow Lily said, looking around.
“Meadow Lily… this cornfield go on for almost 2 miles…” Star Gazer stated.
Meadow Lily then looked around, and sighed.
“Then, we’ll split up, and one of us is bound to find it.”
With that, the girls separated, each of them circling, zigzagging the cornfield. None of them were successful, until Wind Whistler felt the ground extremely soft, softer than the surrounding ground.
The over girls ran over to the spot, and started to dig. They dug about 20 ft., until they found the root of the problem: an obese grub, about 100 pounds, and it was spewing some green liquid from its body, poisoning the land.
Immediately, Gentle Blossom got out of there, but it was Doll’s Eyes who started to poke it. The grub growled, and spit at Doll’s Eyes.
The poison got onto her arm, which started to sting immediately. Moon Orchid grabbed her sister immediately, and ran her over to where she saw the Holcanes standing.
“Buzzard Hook! Watch over Doll’s Eyes, for a moment!”
Buzzard Hook walked over to Doll’s Eyes.
“We found the root of the sickness, and it got me.” She showed him her arm, which started to look like it was cut by a dagger.
“Damn, let me get you something to wrap that up, until Moon Orchid comes.”
Buzzard Hook went to one of the huts, grabbed some material, and wrapped up Doll’s Eyes’ arm. Doll’s Eyes looked at him.
Buzzard Hook just smiled, and sat down by her, with his arm cradled around her shoulder.
Meanwhile, the others were trying to kill the grub, but it started to spit at them, and each of them got it. Finally, it was Gentle Blossom, who got over her fear, and stabbed it with a spear, killing it, but making the guts splatter all over the girls. They all looked at Gentle Blossom, who was also covered, and she started to scream, disgusted and horrifyed that she killed a bug.
With that, the girls then grabbed the huge grub, dragged it from the hole, tied it and drug it to the barracks, where they also met the Holcanes.
The Holcanes’ jaws dropped when they saw them drag the huge carcass in, but their eyes widened more when they what the girls were covered in.
Hanging Moss walked over to Snow Drop.
“What happened to you, Snow Drop?”
“We found this beast 20 ft. under the ground… this is the reason behind why the crops are the way they are. We all tried to kill, but it spewed out this green liquid, which burns like hell, and then, Gentle Blossom stabbed it, and the friggin’ thing exploded on us.”
While she was talking, Hanging Moss was wiping off her face. Snow Drop smiled, but stopped him. He smiled at her, and kissed her on the cheek.
Gentle Blossom, still grossed out, was freaking out, trying to wipe off the guts, and poor Drunkards Four, who had since fallen in love with her, tried to help her out, but was getting hit instead. Gentle Blossom was a hard one to please, but he would stay strong to prove to her that they could make it together.
Golden Rain sat down on a rock, in front of one of the huts, and Speaking Wind sat down next to her. He took her spear away from her, and started to clean her up. He was very caring towards her, since the beginning, and when Star Gazer told him about her sickness, Speaking Wind promised to take care of Golden Rain, through the hard times, and easy times, no matter what.
Moon Orchid went to tend to her sister, but got stopped by Snake Ink, who simply looked at her and grinned.
“Something funny, Snakey?”
“You’re a mess.”
Snake Ink just smiled, and walked by her. Moon Orchid, although really wanting to hate him, was surprised that he didn’t really care for her. She sighed, then walked over to Doll’s Eyes.
“Baby sister, you get into so much trouble, and one of these days, I’m not going to be here to help you.”
“I’m glad you are here now, though, Moon.”
Moon Orchid smiled at her sister.
“Yes, I am glad as well.” Buzzard Hook said, to which Moon Orchid looked up at him.
“And what do you mean by that, young man?”
Doll’s Eyes looked at him, also.
After Moon Orchid was done healing her sister, she stood up and looked at him.
Buzzard Hook stood up, and faced Moon Orchid.
“I like your sister, very much, Moon Orchid… May I have your permission to court her?”
Moon Orchid looked at him in surprise, and then turned to her sister.
“Do you like him as well?”
Doll’s Eyes, also afraid of what Moon Orchid would say, just looked at her. In the past, whenever a man would ask to court her and Doll’s Eyes didn’t like him, Moon Orchid would usually be piledriving him, or clock him upside the head. Even if Doll’s Eyes did like the man, Moon Orchid would have something bad to say and Doll’s Eyes would always be so infuriated, thinking she would never be able to find someone to love her.
And Doll's Eyes knew why Moon Orchid would act this way. About a year ago, Moon Orchid's husband left her for another woman. Moon Orchid had to learn to be independent, since, during that entire time, she was dependant on her husband. It was then that Moon Orchid, along with Gentle Blossom and Snow Drop, started to be more independent and less of what they were known to be. Moon Orchid was so afraid that Doll's Eyes would end up like her.
But, this time, Doll’s Eyes looked at her sister, and Moon Orchid turned to this young man, a man who raided their village, and killed probably everyone close to them, and nodded her approval.
Doll’s Eyes and Buzzard Hook waited for Moon Orchid to walk away, when Buzzard Hook kissed Doll’s Eyes fully on the lips.
Meanwhile, Star Gazer, trying to get cleaned up, was being closely watched by her companion, Ten Peccary. Although they were not lovers, both Ten Peccary and Star Gazer wanted to cross that line. Every night, he would watch her undress, and dress, and think about how it would feel, to be there with her… in her room… in her bed… But, until then, Ten Peccary knew his distance and kept it, but, every so often, would get closer, much to Star Gazer’s liking.
However, one of the reasons behind why Star Gazer was keeping her distance was because of her young daughter, Morning Sun. Star Gazer had to leave her behind in the raid. After 8 years, this was the first time Star Gazer was not with her daughter.
Meadow Lily went to one of the huts, to get cleaned up as well, when she felt someone come into the hut and stand behind her. It was Middle Eye.
She didn’t shriek, nor did she hit him. She simply stood there, looking at him, until she felt comfortable enough and went back to cleaning herself off.
“Let me guess… you fell in the mud. I can tell. You’ve all got mud plastered on you.”
“It’s not mud, it’s blood. We found this huge grub in the middle of the field, 20 feet under the ground. It’s the source for the famine. When we killed it, it exploded.”
Meadow Lily nodded, and put her top back on. She then went to walk out, but Middle Eye was blocking the way.
“Middle Eye, I need to get back…”
He didn’t answer, and still blocked the doorway. Meadow Lily tried many times to get around him, but failed all the times. She then thought of an idea.
She leaned in closely, kissing him on the lips. Middle Eye, surprised, went to back away, but actually fell into the kiss. Before either of them knew it, they were practially devouring each other, until they both pulled apart for air. Meadow Lily looked at Middle Eye, who just looked at her, and smiled at him, and walked past him. He then followed.
“What was that?”
“What was what?”
“That kiss! I don’t kiss people I don’t like…”
“Oh, my! Are we really complaining about a kiss? It’s not like I wanted to have my way with you… I wanted you out of my way… anyway, you didn’t seem to not enjoy it.” Meadow Lily giggled at him, to which he opened his mouth to respond, but closed it. To this, Meadow Lily widened her eyes at him.
“So you did enjoy it? Well, I guess that you do like me, because, actually, I do like you.”
He was stunned, but got back.
“I don’t like you!”
“Then prove it!! Scream out to everyone that I am a rabid sleeper!!”
The other warriors looked at the two, and Middle Eye, really wanting to say it… didn’t. He just looked at her. When she turned away, he then yelled out:
“Meadow Lily is a rabid sleeper who is only doing this job to be famous.” He then walked over to a group of warriors and laughed with them.
Meadow Lily just looked at him, and then turned away. She started to walk towards the cornfield, and Monkey Jaw noticed that she was crying, and he told Buzzard Hook, who then, in turn, told everyone else. Monkey Jaw walked over to Middle Eye.
“You made her cry, Middle Eye.”
“Why should I care?”
“Because I don’t think she was lying when she said she liked you.”
Middle Eye looked at Monkey Jaw, laughed a bit, not believing him, until he saw that Monkey Jaw was being serious. Middle Eye’s expression softened a bit, and he looked to where she walked off to, but decided against going after her. He then scoffed, and walked into one of the huts, with Monkey Jaw walking back over to the others.
Meanwhile, Meadow Lily was sitting at the edge of the city, feeling beaten. She meant what she said, but she knew, deep in her heart, that he would never love her. This softened the blow a bit, but, not by much.
As Meadow Lily was pondering, she heard someone coming behind her, and looked up to see who it was… it was her father. He simply looked at her.
“Is anyone sitting here?” He pointed next to her.
“No, you can sit…”
Zero Wolf sat down next to his estranged daughter, and there was an awkward silence between them, until he spoke up.
“Your mother told me about your plan to restore the city.”
“I thought you didn’t want to talk to her anymore. That’s why you left, right?”
Zero Wolf sat there for awhile, and trying to remember why it was that he left.
“Why did you leave, Daddy? And did you even think about me when you left?”
Zero Wolf looked at his daughter, and for the first time, in a long time, felt remorse and regret.
“No, I didn’t think of you. I didn’t think of anyone but myself.”
Meadow Lily then stood up, and put her finger in her father’s face.
“Well, that was a selfish decision, Father!! You left me and Mother alone. But, she then left, and left me alone parentless for 14 years, which was f**ked up, but at least I knew WHY she left!!”
Zero Wolf looked at her, shocked.
“You never even said goodbye, and that is why it hurts so much… I didn’t know what happened to you, and for 15 years, I’ve been wondering, waiting… and then, I finally see you… but not as my father… no, not at all as my father, but as a man who thinks that his job is so much more important than his family. Oh, nevermind, you have Cut Rock! Bet you won’t walk out on him, anytime soon!”
During this time, Sundance Rose was witnessing the interaction between her husband and their daughter.
“I hated you for leaving, and not saying goodbye. I always thought that it was because of me, that you left…”
Zero Wolf then got up, and hugged his daughter tightly.
“It was not because of you, why I left. And I apologize an infinite amounts of time for leaving you… But, you must know, that I cannot change the past.”
Meadow Lily looked up at him.
“I know, but you can pave your way to the future.”
He smiled at her, stroking her cheek, and then, hugging her again. Both of them decided to go back into the city, where Zero Wolf and Meadow Lily saw Sundance Rose. Meadow Lily went over to the girls and the Holcanes, while Zero Wolf and Sundance Rose walked back to the temple.
“I saw you and Meadow Lily talking.”
Zero Wolf looked at her.
“I just want to apologize to you, for yelling at you for all these times. I apologize for ruining our marriage...”
“We’re both to blame, Sundance… We both argued and fought, and we both had to pay for it, but not as much as our daughter.”
Sundance Rose stopped in front of the temple door, and looked down.
“I’ve missed you so much, Zero Wolf,” She looked up at him, with tears in her eyes, “Not once... Not one day, have I done right by you…”
Zero Wolf lifted her chin up, smiled, and kissed her lightly on the lips. She melted into him, and then, they pulled away.
“Sundance Rose, I accept your apology, but, do you accept mine?”
With that, Sundance Rose nodded, and then, walked back to the temple, to which the girls followed. Zero Wolf did not stop looking at her, until she was completely inside the temple. He then smiled, and walked back to the barracks, and wondered about what the next day was going to bring.
The next morning, the girls woke up, again, very early, but, didn’t go to the shantytown. They stayed in the inner city this day, since none of them wanted to work after the little accident from the day before. Especially Meadow Lily.
Meadow Lily set off over to the barracks, where she was going to confront Middle Eye. Not to accuse him of anything, but just to get a reason why he did what he did yesterday. She finally found him.
Middle Eye was talking to a few of his comrades, when he suddenly spotted Meadow Lily coming towards him.
“Here comes the very *friendly* person.” One of them said, laughing.
Middle Eye said nothing, and as she got closer, his heart started to beat faster. HE wracked his brain. Why was HIS heart beating at the sight of this girl. Why was he feeling this way? Before he could answer those questions, Meadow Lily was face to face with him.
“Hello, Middle Eye.” She said, coolly.
“Hello, Meadow Lily.”
“May I speak to you for a few minutes, if it’s not going to look like you are going to lose your machismo ways?” Meadow Lil glared at the other two men, who immediately recoiled, afraid of that look in her eyes. Damn, she looked so much like Zero Wolf, and it was scary.
Middle Eye accepted and started to walk with Meadow Lily.
“You know, I was thinking… maybe I was wrong to tell you I liked you yesterday. I mean, stories float around that, you don’t love anyone, and when you ARE with a girl, you just have your way with her and leave her.”
Middle Eye laughed at that last statement and looked at Meadow Lily.
“You know, darlin’, not all stories are true. I do love people… mostly myself. But, about those girls… yeah, that’s true.”
Meadow Lily smiled.
“It’s funny, you know? That a brave warrior such as yourself as to stoop down to such a level. People revere and fear you… you’re one of the most influential people in the city… but, to think, that you warriors are just like anyone else in the world.”
“Do not compare me to you, girl. I am nothing like you.”
Meadow Lily looked at Middle Eye, dead in the eyes.
“No, you are not. I, unlike you, care about people, and I am more open to new experiences. You, on the other hand, enjoy killing people, and enjoy humiliating people. So, yes, we are different, Middle Eye, but we are both still people, and you, being the smart warrior you are, should’ve realized that long ago.”
Meadow Lily started to walk away from him, when she turned around and faced him again.
“And I meant it when I said I cared about you. Even though you may not let people in, you have a place in my heart, when the day comes, and no will be there to help you, be assured that I will be there to help you, even if you don’t want it. I won’t let you die, even though you are a sociopathic jerk.”
With that, Meadow Lily turned her heel, and walked away. Middle Eye watched her walk, until she was clear out of sight. He remembered her words vividly.
“And I meant it when I said I cared about you. Even though you may not let people in, you have a place in my heart, when the day comes, and no will be there to help you, be assured that I will be there to help you, even if you don’t want it. I won’t let you die, even though you are a sociopathic jerk.”
He looked down, cursing himself for hurting her the day before. Through all the pain he put her through, she still cared about him. He didn’t understand it, and thought he didn’t want to. But, he did. He did want to understand why such a beautiful creature, inside and out, like her, could care about a monster, such as he. How could one person, being put through the worst things in life, aside from death, be so compassionate towards those who took away her way of life. He didn’t know and craved to know.
It was true what she had said. He couldn’t let people in. He wouldn’t let people in. It was so difficult for him. He enjoyed violence and enjoyed seeing people in pain. But… that girl. It actually pained him to see her in pain. It hurt him, to see her hurt. Yesterday, he actually, for the first time ever, felt regret for saying what he said to her, and now would’ve been a great time to apologize, but that damn ego and that being, which restricted him from letting people in, got the best of him, and he refrained from mentioning it. But, oh, how he wanted to. He just couldn’t. He did know one thing, though. There was something about that girl that was getting to Middle Eye. What it was, nonetheless, he didn’t know.
While the girls headed back to the temple, Meadow Lily noticed that there was something different about Star Gazer. She walked up to her.
“Star Gazer, What’s up?”
“Huh?, Oh, nothing… I’m just thinking…”
Star Gazer looked at Meadow Lily, and Meadow Lily knew, right off the bat.
“Oh, about Morning Sun, huh? Well, she’ll be okay… she’s pretty strong for an 8 year old.”
“It’s not that… But, for 8 years, I have been with my daughter, and it’s only been a week, and I feel like she’s…”
Star Gazer couldn’t finish, for she collapsed onto the ground, crying. Meadow Lily kneeled beside her, and consoled her. But, how do you console a mother of a young girl whom she had to leave behind, to make sure that she would make it.
Eight years before this present, another raid had happened in the girls’ village, and Star Gazer, being one of the lucky ones, wasn’t caught, but got raped. She was 17 years old, and pregnant. Many times, she thought of giving the child up, but when that morning came, and Star Gazer gave birth to Morning Sun, Star Gazer knew that it was for the better that she keep Morning Sun.
Before Morning Sun came into her life, Star Gazer used to be one of those girls. She would walk around, strutting her stuff, making the men, and some of the women, drool. But after that raid, and after finding out she was pregnant, Star Gazer changed her ways completely.
During this past raid, though, Star Gazer had to hide Morning Sun in the forest, so she wouldn't get hurt. Even after 8 years, a week without Morning Sun left Star Gazer a wreck.
Star Gazer looked up at Meadow Lily and smiled.
“I’ll be fine.”
She and Meadow Lily then walked to their rooms.
The next morning, Star Gazer got up and headed into the city. She browsed through all of the shops, not buying anything, though. She then heard a commotion and noticed a few soldiers were chasing a little girl. Looking closely, Star Gazer noticed that the little girl was Morning Sun.
“She got out alright.”
Star Gazer started to follow the soldiers, but got caught in the crowd.
Morning Sun, a small, but quick 8 year old girl, ran as fast as she could, weaving in and out between the people of the city, until she ran into another soldier, and fell on her butt, and looked up at him… It was the man who took her mom. It was Ten Peccary. Ten Peccary looked at her closely, and noticed that this was Star Gazer’s daughter, and picked her up.
“Don’t worry, little one. I’m not going to hurt you.”
Morning Sun looked at Ten Peccary, and nodded, and then the two other soldiers caught up to the two of them.
“Good job, Ten Peccary. You caught the little thief. Now, hand her over.”
Ten Peccary kept her close to him.
“I will not hand over this little girl… She belongs to someone very close to me.”
Right when he said this, Star Gazer appeared and Morning Sun noticed her, and ran into Star Gazer’s arms.
Star Gazer wrapped her arms around her small daughter, and looked up at Ten Peccary. The two other soldiers noticed that Star Gazer was not going to give them the girl, and turned their heels.
Star Gazer stood up, and walked up to Ten Peccary.
“Thank you, Ten Peccary. I don’t know how to thank you.”
Ten Peccary said nothing, but leaned in, and kissed her on the cheek. He then looked down at Morning Sun, and kneeled down in front of her.
“So, you’re Morning Sun?”
Morning Sun, still a bit nervous, nodded, and hid behind her mother. Star Gazer looked behind her and smiled at Morning Sun.
“It’s okay, Morning Sun. He won’t hurt you.”
“But, he hurt you, Mommy.”
Star Gazer frowned at her, and then looked at Ten Peccary, who looked at Morning Sun, and then at Star Gazer, and smiled.
“Star Gazer, I’m very sorry for hurting you… do you forgive me?”
Star Gazer smiled, and nodded.
“Yes, I forgive you, Ten Peccary.”
Ten Peccary smiled, and looked down at Morning Sun.
“And I’m sorry, Morning Sun, for hurting your mommy.”
Morning Sun looked at him, and smiled, and jumped into his arms.
Ten Peccary laughed, and threw her into the air, and caught her. Star Gazer watched and smiled. Ten Peccary held Morning Sun, and as she laid her head on his shoulder, he looked at Star Gazer, who looked back at him. He then leaned into Star Gazer, and kissed her gently on the lips, to which she received gratefully. They then pulled apart, and Ten Peccary put Morning Sun down, and looked at Star Gazer.
“I have to go do my rounds… I’ll see you later.”
“Will do… Be careful, Ten Peccary.”
He stroked her cheek, and hugged Morning Sun, and set off. Star Gazer looked on as he left, and took Morning Sun by the hand, and brought her back to the temple, where they met the girls, and Morning Sun went straight to Golden Rain. All of the girls greeted Morning Sun, and then they all sat around the room, talking.
Star Gazer was blushing profusely, and it was Gentle Blossom who noticed.
“What happened, Star Gazer?” she asked, smiling cheekily.
Star Gazer looked at her.
“It’s official… Ten Peccary and I are now officially a pair.”
The girls all were giddy, and listened to how this pairing happened. Then, Morning Sun said something, which made Star Gazer’s go wide.
“Mommy and Daddy are together now.”
Wind Whistler leaned into Moon Orchid’s ear.
“Did she just call Ten Peccary ‘Daddy’? She hasn’t even known him for that long.”
“I know, but I guess she has that same instincts as her mother. Star Gazer knew a good person the moment she met them.”
Star Gazer walked over to Morning Sun, and kneeled in front of her.
“What did you say?”
“Morning Sun, what did you say?”
“Why? Are you mad at me?” Morning Sun started to tear up, but Star Gazer leaned in and took her out of Golden Rain’s arms, and embraced her little girl.
“No, I’m not mad.”
Star Gazer looked at Meadow Lily, who smiled back at her.
“I guess Morning Sun finally has the father she’s been wanting. She’s just like you, Gazer. She knows a good person right at the moment she meets them.”
Star Gazer smiled, and held Morning Sun, who fell asleep, and thought of Ten Peccary, and how she was going to tell him that, unknowingly, he had become a father, in such a short amount of time.
*Hopefully, he’ll be happy.*
Star Gazer put Morning Sun to sleep, and headed to the barracks, where she set out to find Ten Peccary, where she found him in the pub, drinking with his comrade, but she noticed, he wasn’t really drinking. So, she walked into the pub, and walked behind him and tapped him on the shoulder. Ten Peccary turned around, to see who was tapping, and saw it was Star Gazer, and he got up immediately, and offered her a seat, but she declined and asked to speak to him alone.
“So, what is the matter, Star Gazer?”
“I know it has only been a few hours since you have met Morning Sun, but she has said something about you, that has shocked me, and will probably shock you more…”
“Well, what is it?”
Star Gazer hesitated, but when Ten Peccary took her hands, she looked at him.
“She called you her father…”
Ten Peccary breathed in and looked at her, and then, turned away. His hands fell out of her’s and landed at his sides.
“I’m so sorry, Ten Peccary. I didn’t mean for her to say things like that. I know you have your own life to lead, and probably won’t want to be bothered with her, and that’s ok…”
She was cut off by Ten Peccary kissing her, and she melted into him, and they pulled apart.
“I’m not mad, my love. Actually, I enjoy the thought of being a father to your daughter.”
Star Gazer’s eye lit up, and she smiled more at this moment than in her whole life. She kissed him again, him receiving it graciously, and for the first time in her life, Star Gazer felt genuinely happy. More was to happen, though, and she was ready for it.
After hearing about Star Gazer and Ten Peccary, the girls were all excited. Well, everyone except for Gentle Blossom. For the past few weeks, Gentle Blossom was rethinking about her relationship with Drunkards Four.
*What is it about me that he is drawn to?*
Gentle Blossom walked down to an oasis, away from the city. She knew that was a spot, as well as the bathing house, that some couples would go for intimate reasons. Luckily, no one was there. No one was there, but her and the animals surrounding her.
Gentle Blossom, still a bit nervous that there was someone around, gently stepped into the water, keeping her clothes on. She went into the water, knee deep, and just looked at the fish, circling her legs and lightly swimming into her. She remembered, long ago, when she and the others would stand in the pond next to their village, and try to catch the fish. Gentle Blossom would always win, catching about 5. But, those days were gone, and all Gentle Blossom, and the other girls, could do was remember those precious moments.
Suddenly, she heard footsteps coming towards her, and she quickly turned around, and saw that it was only Drunkards Four.
“What are you doing here, Drunkards Four?”
“I was looking around for you, because you left without telling anyone.”
“I can go where I please, and I have told you before, I am NOT your woman, and I do not need to answer to you.”
“I understand that, Gentle Blossom. But…”
Gentle Blossom got out of the water, and walked up to him, and got into Drunkards Four’s face, before he could continue.
“But, nothing, Drunkards Four. I don’t understand why it is that no matter where I go, you have to follow me. I’m fine. I’ve been doing this for longer than I can remember.”
Drunkards Four looked at her, intently. He studied her face, and tried, very hard, to read it. Gentle Blossom was definitely a pill, and would answer to those whom she was friends with, whom SHE believed to have a power over her, and those whom she cared deeply for. Drunkards Four knew, in his mind, that he did not qualify in any of these sections, but, in his heart, he wanted to. And he also wanted to know, what it was about him, and other men, that would set her off. Being brave, he asked her.
“Gentle Blossom, why is that you snap at me, and any other man who talks to you?”
Gentle Blossom, who was busy getting dried off, stopped what she was doing, and looked up at him.
“Why is it that you snap at me and other men? I want to know, so I can help you.”
“I don’t need to tell you.”
“Gentle Blossom, please…” Drunkards Four went to grab her wrist, but she retracted, and Drunkards Four looked at her face, and for the first time, in those few weeks, he saw fear in her eyes. Drunkards Four’s hand fell to his side, and he watched Gentle Blossom keep her arm up, in defense.
“Gentle Blossom, I didn’t mean…”
“Just stay away!! Just leave me alone!!!”
Gentle Blossom ran off, back to the city, leaving behind a saddened and confused Drunkards Four. Something was the matter, and although she looked scared, Drunkards Four had to find out. He walked back to the city, and went to one of the huts that he knew Gentle Blossom would be at. There were a few other girls, and when they saw him, they all left, leaving behind Gentle Blossom. She looked up and backed away from him, but Drunkard Four walked towards her. Gentle Blossom tried to kick him away, but he dodged all of her kicks, and finally got close to her. He could see tears in her eyes, but he had to ask her.
“Gentle Blossom, I am not going to hurt you. I would never want to hurt you. I care about you too much to do that, but if you want to keep this up, then I’ll leave.”
With that, Drunkards Four went to walk away, until he heard her.
Drunkards Four turned around and looked at her, and Gentle Blossom was standing, tears falling down, and her breathing ragged.
DF walked towards her and cupped her face in his hands, and they both sat down. He wiped the tears from her eyes, and she looked at him.
“Before I answer your question, I need to ask you one.”
DF looked at her, and nodded.
“Why do you care about me so much?
DF looked at him and breathed in deeply.
“I cared about every woman that has ever been in a relationship with me. But... those women were the type who were always flirting with other guys, and it would make me feel insecure, making me feel that I wasn’t good enough. But, you, on the other hand, tell it to my face that you don’t need anyone, but when I look inton your eyes, I can see that you are actually yearning for someone to love you.”
Gentle Blossom looked at him, and she knew he spoke the truth.
“I am looking for someone to really care about me. When I was 13, I had found out that I would never be able to have children. It hurt so much, when I found that out, and it hurt even more when no man would want to be with me, for that reason. So, I started to be more independent, and in my mind, I always thought that I didn’t need a man. But, in my heart, I really did. And I knew that, when that day, during the raid, when we were being tied to the poles, and you told me that I shouldn’t fight it anymore, I knew that, somehow, you were the one for me. But, I was afraid. Afraid that, when you found out about my imperfection, you would leave me like those other men, and my heart would be forever broken.”
Gentle Blossom cried, but Drunkards Four lifted up her chin and looked deep into those dark blue eyes of her’s.
Gentle Blossom smiled, and looked down, and back up at him, and kissed him, deeply. This was her first kiss, and it felt good, all over.
The rest of that day, Drunkards Four and Gentle Blossom walked around the city, went to help out the girls at the shantytown, and among other things to do a city like the one they lived in.
That night, Gentle Blossom spent the night in Drunkards Four’s hut. She wasn’t to go that far with him, but she wanted to keep that trust.
As she laid in the bed, she watched him undress in front of her, and felt his body rub against her, as he got into bed with her. She turned to face him, and he stroked her cheek. She smiled at him, and kissed him, and for the first time, she felt loved. Drunkards Four might’ve been a bit younger than her, but, he knew, and she knew, that he could love her.
Upon hearing about Gentle Blossom’s newfound romance with Drunkards Four, her best friend, Snow Drop, was not at all surprised that Gentle Blossom was going to be with Drunkards Four.
However, Snow Drop’s relationship with Hanging Moss had begun right from the start. The moment he captured her, their relationship started. It was weird, but they both worked well with each other.
Snow Drop, however, was the second most outward of the girls, and wasn’t really about commitments, which was also okay with Hanging Moss. They had a very open relationship, but remained committed to each other. Neither of them would mind the other being with other human being, as long it wouldn’t go any further than flirting and giggles.
Before coming to the city, Snow Drop had a long standing relationship with one of the men from her village, but she left him, since he was so protective of her. In a way, she regretted it, but on the other hand, she was happy, because she finally met Hanging Moss.
Snow Drop walked to one of the stall, that was selling fans, and bought one. She then felt two hands grab her hips, and she gasped and turned around. It was only Hanging Moss.
“Hello, there, Snow Drop… Are you buying that for later?” he asked, while looking at her, both playfully and seductively. Snow Drop just thwacked him on the arm, and laugh.
They both walked to the barracks, where they saw that there was a party at the pub. Snow Drop stopped in her tracks, as Hanging Moss went forward, but he stopped and looked at her.
“What’s the matter?”
“N—n—nothing. Nothing, I’m fine. I just gotta go back, that’s all.”
Snow Drop turned to walk back to the temple, when she felt Hanging Moss grab her shoulder. She turned around and looked at him.
“Your friends are there… Why won’t you be there with them?”
Snow Drop lowered her gaze.
“I’m embarrassed to be there, with them, that’s why…”
“Embarrassed? You?!” Hanging Moss started to laugh, but stopped when he looked at her. “Why?”
“The others are so elegant, and I’m viewed as the open door very *friendly* person. I’ve come to realize that as time goes by. Star Gazer and Meadow Lily carry themselves so well, and me… well…” She trailed off, looking down.
“I don’t see you as a slut, Snow Drop. You are a very beautful woman, and you can hold your own, very well. I’ve never met any other woman quite like you, Snow Drop. I love you.”
Snow Drop lifted her head up when he said those words to her. She gently smiled, and laid her head on his shoulder, as he wrapped his arms around her waist.
She then looked up at him.
“So, what are we waiting for?”
Hanging Moss smiled and both he and Snow Drop ran into the pub, and prve to everyone how they could their own.
Of all of the Holcanes and the girls, Snake Ink and Moon Orchid were the least compatible. First of all, Snake Ink was married and very faithful to his wife. And secondly, he was jealous of Moon Orchid, and she found out in a harsh way.
It all started during that challenge that the girls set up. The Holcanes could see that their second-in-command was not at all happy that a country girl from a village could have the fortitude to beat HIM in archery. He was the best archer, of course second to Zero Wolf. But he was great, nonetheless. But then, that girl came and ruined it.
One day, about two weeks after the girls arrived at the city, Moon Orchid, who was usually milling about with Snow Drop, was actually at the arena and practicing her archery skills. It was this ritual that had taken over her for almost 15 years. 15 years of practicing archery, one would think that one’s archery skills would improve. But, it all came natural to Moon Orchid. She remembered her mother, before she and the others were sent to live in the village, when they all, once before, lived in the city, and how she was able to do the impossible and shoot four arrows. But Moon Orchid knew that she would never able to be up to par with her mother, but how she wanted to.
As Moon Orchid continued practicing, Snake Ink had gone into the arena, and stood by one the pillars and watched her. He was a good 30 ft. away from her, but, very eerily, she turned her head, so he could see her profile, and she said.
“I heard you coming, Snake Ink.”
Snake Ink was shocked, but kept his cool. He then walked down to her.
“Well, one would hope, with skills like yours, you would be able to sense me coming, Moon Orchid.”
Moon Orchid ignored his remark, and went to grab an arrow. Snake Ink then stepped on her hand, and she looked up at him.
“What is your problem?”
Snake Ink said nothing, but stepped harder. Moon Orchid said nothing, although the pain of her hand being crushed was almost unbearable. She finally released, and gave out a small whimper, to which Snake Ink finally lifted up his foot. Moon Orchid grabbed her hand and sat on the ground. She then looked up at him.
“There was no reason for that, Snake Ink.”
"Yes there was. If your hand is broken, then you can’t shoot those three arrows and make me look like a chump.”
Moon Orchid raised her eyes to him, astonished.
“Is that why? You’re jealous? Well, I apologize to you, Snake Ink that you feel that way, but I’ve been doing this for almost 16 years. Maybe that is why I’m so gifted and you are not.”
As Moon Orchid went to stand up, Snake Ink grabbed her face, and looked angrily at her. He then slapped her hard, but not hard enough for her to fall.
“You’ll regret saying that, you whore.”
With that, Snake Ink went to exit the arena, leaving behind a distraught Moon Orchid. But, something within him told him to stay behind and make sure she was okay. Also, something else started to vex him. He had never struck a woman like that before. It wasn’t in his nature to do so, but, there was so much anger. Or was it something else?
Forgetting about Moon Orchid, Snake Ink went back to his home. As he walked into the large hut, he didn’t see his wife anywhere, and the place was a mess.
“That’s odd… She’s usually here.”
Snake Ink exited the hut, and went into the inner city, to see if Shadows Fall, his wife, and he found her… in the arms of another man.
Snake Ink stood there, watching her, and Shadows Fall locked her eyes with her husband, and immediately wrenched herself from the arms of her lover, and walked towards Snake Ink.
“Snake Ink, please forgive me.”
Snake Ink said nothing, but just looked at her. He then shook his head at her, and walked away, and went back to the arena, where he saw Moon Orchid, still there, but her hand was wrapped up.
He then walked up to her.
“You told me that you were once married.”
“Yes I was, Snake Ink. Why do you ask?”
“I’ll get to that… How did your marriage end?”
Moon Orchid sighed looked away. Snake Ink looked intently at her. She finally answered.
“My ex-husband was sleeping around with another woman, and just didn’t love me anymore.”
Snake Ink’s eye widened. She continued.
“There was no real initiative to actually break my heart, but the affair had been going on ever since we had gotten married, and we had been married for almost 7 years. But, when we got divorced, he begged me to come back to him…”
“And what did you say to him?”
Moon Orchid looked at Snake Ink, and smiled.
“I told him to kiss my ass. If he didn’t love me then, why would we love me now? After that, I learned to be independent, and really didn’t care about falling in love again.”
“But, would you fall in love again, if the time comes?”
Snake Ink looked at her intensely, watching all of her facial expressions. She didn’t answer for awhile, but then, she looked at him, answering him with a question.
“Why are you asking me these things?”
Snake Ink lowered his gaze, and stared at the ground. He finally looked up, after a few moments.
“I caught my wife cheating on me, today. I have heard stories from your friends that you gone through the same thing. I never knew what it felt like, and I never thought it would happen. I was jealous of you, Moon Orchid, and I never knew why. But, now I do. You are strong, and courageous, and sometimes, downright brutally honest… but, you had to fight throughout all of your hardships, and in doing that, you still remained true to yourself, and that is what I am most jealous of you.”
Moon Orchid just looked at him, and smiled.
“Yes, I have stayed true to myself throughout this entire ordeal, and I have never lost sight of who I am. When we entered the city, we all knew that everyone here were not themselves, They all just want to try to impress everyone, but, don’t you think that the best way to impress someone, if by being yourself? I have always thought that way, and no matter what someone says, I will never act like someone else so others will like me. If they like me, that’s great. If they don’t, well, that’s okay, too. I was fine with you not appeasing to me, Snake Ink.”
Snake Ink marveled in her honesty, and smiled. There was something special about this young woman, and as he looked at her, he found out, that deep within, he had always wanted to be the same way. But, the city made you believe otherwise. But, by listening to Moon Orchid, Snake Ink came to the conclusion that he would be himself, no matter what someone else had to say.
The rest of that afternoon, and into the early evening, Moon Orchid and Snake Ink continued talking at the arena, and they finally walked back to the city. But, before Moon Orchid set off to the temple, Snake Ink kissed her on her cheek, and bid her farewell. Moon Orchid also felt something for this man, and hoped that it wouldn’t end up like her last relationship.
Of all of the couples, Cherry Jubilee and Cut Rock were having the toughest, because, for the most part, they were both still unable to be released from their guardianship. Cherry Jubilee and Cut Rock were both still 19, and would have to wait another year until they were released. Not that they mind, but, well, you know how some teenagers get.
Aside from the fact that they were both underage and couldn’t really do anything until they both turned twenty, the time spent between Cut Rock and Cherry Jubilee was usually done by practicing in the arena, or hanging out at the temple. They couldn’t do much and got bored, but, they both knew, that, enough though it was annoying, they had to wait.
One day, Cherry Jubilee was walking with her sister to the barracks. Cherry Jubilee would look around at the barracks, to get a feel for it, because she knew that soon, she would be able to hang out there as well. Gentle Blossom noticed.
“What is going through your mind, little girl?”
Cherry Jubilee looked up at her sister and looked back down.
“Nothing is going on, Gentle Blossom.”
“Oh, really now? Then why are you staring around the barracks? There isn’t really much around here but soldiers and whores and us…”
Cherry Jubilee giggled at her sister’s mannerisms. Gentle Blossom was the one to always speak the truth, even if it hurt someone’s feelings. Cherry Jubilee knew this because she was usually the one constantly getting berated by her sister, even if it was for something insignificant. But, Cherry Jubilee knew that Gentle Blossom’s intentions were genuine, and she was only looking after her baby sister. But, how would she react when Cherry Jubilee tells her that she likes someone? Cherry Jubilee knew that the subject of loving someone was a very sensitive subject to her sister. But, she had to say it.
“I know that, Gentle Blossom, but this time next year, I might be coming here more often, without you…” She looked at her older sister, who stopped dead in her tracks.
Gentle Blossom slowly turned around, and went face to face with her significantly shorter sister.
“What are you talking about?”
Cherry Jubilee gulped, and looked up.
“I like Cut Rock, and next year, we’ll be released from our guardianships.”
“Oh no, not happening, Cherry Jubilee. There is no way that that will be happening.”
Cherry Jubilee looked at her sister, stunned.
“What do you mean by that, Gentle Blossom? Of course you have to release me from the guardianship!”
“No I don’t!! Mother has to. Our mother has to give up HER guardianship on you… I don’t. And do you see our mother here anywhere?”
Cherry Jubilee’s face fell, and she looked down. Gentle Blossom walked up to her sister, and picked up her chin, but Cherry Jubilee refused to look at her. She was forced to look at her when Gentle Blossom grabbed her jaw.
“You know as well as I do that we CANNOT break these laws. If I did release you, they would kill me. Now, would you want that?”
Cherry Jubilee shook her head, and Gentle Blossom released her sister’s jaw, and gave her a hug.
“I’m afraid to lose you, Cherry Jubilee.”
Cherry Jubilee said nothing, and stared off into the distance as she hugged her sister.
Later on that day, Cherry Jubilee was at the temple and was helping one of the priests with cleaning up a room that was used for a ritual held earlier that day. He looked at her intently.
“Say, what is your name, girl?”
Cherry Jubilee looked at him, and stood up and bowed.
“My name is Cherry Jubilee.”
“And what is your mother’s name?”
Cherry Jubilee’s face contorted, as she tried to remember her mother’s name.
“I believe it was Starlight Blaze… My older sister and I used to live here in the city, before our mother brought us to live in the village. She never told us why, though. And we never saw her again after that.”
The priest looked at Cherry Jubilee carefully. He then smiled. It had been 15 years since he had last seen his daughters, and here was one of them, standing in front of him. Cherry Jubilee then looked at him.
“Am I finished here?”
The priest nodded, and Cherry Jubilee left the temple and walked outside. It was the early evening, and there was still a bit light left. She saw some people still milling about the city, but her eyes zoned in on Cut Rock. She walked over to him.
“Hello, Cut Rock…”
Cut Rock, who was drinking a cup of water, spit out, and looked up to see who was talking to him and smiled.
“Hello, Cherry Jubilee.”
Cherry Jubilee smiled and sat down next to him, and placed her head on his shoulder, and they both much the rest of the sunset.
Golden Rain was the one who thought she had no chance in ever meeting someone, since she was sick, and everything. But, ever since the day of the raid, she thought differently.
Speaking Wind looked extremely fierce, with his feathered headdress and the netting on his shoulders. But, he was one of the few soldiers that had a heart. Especially when it came to Golden Rain.
Three days had passed by since the day with the grub attack, and Golden Rain was feeling worse than ever, and to make matters worse, the responsibility with being a reincarnation was also a stress factor.
Golden Rain was hanging out at one of the temples, writing and learning arithmetic. When girls had all arrived at the city, they each were supposed to be sold as slaves, but they were saved. Also, each of them met their fathers, and it so happened that Star Gazer and Golden Rain’s father was an astronomer and teacher. Star Gazer took up astronomy, and Golden Rain took up arithmetic. And she was quite good at it, but her illness was taking a toll, and her ability to pay attention was slowly deteriorating.
As Golden Rain was studying, Speaking Wind walked up to her.
Golden Rain looked up and smiled.
“Hello, Speaking Wind… How are you today?”
Speaking Wind sat down next to her, and looked at what she was doing. He didn’t answer her, but in a way, she knew what he was saying. Golden Rain continued writing, and then stopped, and looked up at Speaking Wind.
“You seem very wary of something, and I have a feeling on what it is.”
“Golden Rain, you’re sick, and I’m worried about you… How long have you been sick?”
Golden Rain sighed and looked down. She felt uncomfortable about talking about it, but she knew, if she wanted to be with him, she would have to spill her guts.
“When I was 6, I became sick. I coughed a lot, and at times, I coughed up blood. My mother attempted to use different types of medicine to cure me, but none of them worked. However, they have kept me living this long… but…”
Speaking Wind looked at her intently.
“Ever since you took us from the village, I haven’t gotten the medicine that I needed… So, because of that, I’m slowly dying.”
Speaking Wind’s eyes widened.
“I’m so sorry, Golden Rain. I never knew. I will try to get the High Priest to do something.”
“Speaking Wind, I accept what you are doing, but nothing will save me…”
Speaking Wind looked at her, and grasped her hand, and kissed her gently on the lips. And for the first time in a long time, tears started to well up in Speaking Wind’s eyes. He loved this woman dearly, and would do anything to save her.
“I know, Golden Rain, but I cannot lose you… I love you.”
Golden Rain looked at him and her eyes widened.
“You… you do?”
“Yes.. ever since I met you, I knew you were the one for me.”
Speaking Wind nuzzled into Golden Rain’s neck, and Golden Rain, still stunned, just laid her head on his, and they both sat on the temple steps, until the sun set.