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Subject: Cinderfella 2: A New Life, Chapter 34 Hana Story: Cinderfella 2: A New Life Chapter: 34 Hana Author: Eric McQueen ail) Mature Readers only due to sexual situations and graphic sexual content Freedom of expression is precious. To do that Nifty needs help. Your donation is greatly desired. Give to fty/ or this story ends and all the others! That would be a crime! Hana confesses she can’t marry Thomas and says why. They go to Demetrius’ home. Hana “Another hemisphere?” Seth asked. “Yes, Seth,” Demetrius chuckled. “You DO know the Earth is round? Don’t you?” Seth smirked, “I also know we circle then sun. The sun isn’t moving around us.” “You do?” Demetrius smiled in delighted. “Many learned minds today don’t know that.” He cocked his head. “You know the only thing that obits the Earth…” Seth and I finished with Demetrius. “The moon.” I nodded, “Yes, we know.” “…and the other lights in the sky?” Demetrius asked in a challenge. “We’re still learning,” I defended throwing my arms out. “The minds here said there were other bodies like the Earth circling the Sun.” Demetrius nodded again as he smiled even more, “Which you will be discovering about and even going as you develop and grow in life. Just as we told you.” Seth’s eyes widened, “How are we going to get there? We’re not connected to anything out there by land or even by water!?” “You’ll figure it out,” Demetrius chuckled and his eyebrows rose. “You didn’t really expect me to tell you, did you?” I hugged Demetrius, “No. You never have.” “It’s an incentive!” Demetrius said simply. “Weren’t people paying attention?” Seth muttered as he asked. “The Native people here and in Asiana knew I nodded, but looked at Demetrius, “The Chinese knew that as the Native tribes here did. It explained our seasons.” I smiled at Seth. “You know the Earth is round?” Seth nodded, “Yes, we’ve known that a thousand years.” I chuckled, “It’s been known a lot longer than that. It became more widely known about a thousand years ago, but even today, if you ask the ones that were raiding our supplies I can guarantee the majority of them think it’s flat. The Chinese, Mayan and Inca have known it much longer! Our world moves!” I laughed again, “It also wobbles.” “Wobbles!?” Seth asked. “I’ve never felt it wobble.” I didn’t know what Arthur allowed his children to learn. Arthur didn’t send his children to school. No, he brought school to his children! In A’Dore it had been a question of security. My security. Christian was at a higher grade level, so we weren’t schooled together. Other than that one professor that almost hit me (saved by Christian. Remember?). All of my instructors were nice and very smart men. Wealthy families tried hard to hire the choicest instructors. To the point that families would pool the money and get those few in one place and the families would send their children to them. There were teachers and instructors that traveled from town to town like traveling minstrel groups. Having a reputation of good results helped. There ones with the reputation for good results were often in high demand and came with an invitation. With some of these people, who checked on what they taught? It was about that time if someone told me something was true, I wanted to see proof they were right. Reading, writing, and math proved itself being right. Events in history and conclusions from ideas, I wanted proof. With science…it was sad. I blame the Church for a lot of it. They knew they understood how everything was to be. It was their power. If it was proven they didn’t understand, they would lose control. They did with my parents and with me. King Alexander, too. They fought like crazy to keep that control and almost everyone who claimed the world was round was put to death for heresy against God! Over in A’Dore our people had already begun to meld with Natives! When representatives from the Church came to A’Dore, we already had several of the royal family married to Natives. The Mayans had taught us about the Earth that they had observed. Then the Chinese added to that knowledge. The Church’s “knowledge” was disputed. From the THRONE!! We had charts, equations and documented observations and SHOWED it to them. That was the beginning of the end of any cooperation between the Church and A’Dore. Blethos was the same way! No one was telling anyone from either kingdom what to do. We could show how we got the opinion! Common sense made more sense! There were families that didn’t monitor what was being taught to the children. Arthur hired instructors for Darius and Deena. He didn’t really care if Seth or Sam were included. The instructor was there, if Sam or Seth came, they got taught. I know he didn’t spare a thought to any of the children of his employees. Those traveling teachers would come and in exchange for a roof and food would teach a few months. A year after Seth and I were married, I met Christina who knew she was losing her job because she was pregnant. Arthur’s policies concerning working and being pregnant…well. Christina said she could barely read as they didn’t have money for her to be taught. Now, she had four children and they ALL read now. That’s right four children!! Oh, yeah. The round Earth and wobble. “You know the Earth is a sphere going around the sun.” I saw Seth nod. “The Earth rotates and the day gets longer as the Earth tilts away from the sun in Fall and Winter. Longer days in Spring and Summer because the Earth wobble toward the sun.” He apparently had not been taught this as he listened closely. I held my fist up as a model. “The equator has the world divided into a hemisphere to the North and another South of the equator is the Southern Hemisphere. We are in the Northern Hemisphere.” I touched Seth’s arm. “Not knowing because you were never told is different than being stupid. You are NOT stupid, babe.” Demetrius smiled at us, “No one here is stupid.” He leaned forward, “There’s one other thing.” He was acting out of character as he smiled sadly and pulled out papers that were folded and sealed with the royal crest of A’Dore. “I didn’t look, but I was told this is a letter to you, but a letter to Tom was put with it.” In many ways, the passing of time was playing with me. I knew we had just gotten here, but at the same time it felt like we’d been there a long time. Getting a response about a letter I just sent, Thomas, too. I was surprised there WAS a response. I broke the wax seal and opened the letter. Christian, Ella, and Dennis had written something. Christian “could” write very elegantly and worded sentences suitable to be from a king. This quickly written letter was from brother to brother. You could read it, but…Ella’s handwriting was always pretty. Dennis!? He was eight! Soon to be nine and just learning how to write in cursive. He tried to be grown up about it, but his letters were larger than…Hey, perfecting the fine motor skills to write took a long time. Many adults can’t read or write at all. I put the letter to Thomas down. It was to Thomas, not me or Seth. Unless asked to by Thomas, it would remain unread by us. The letter to us wasn’t lengthy. I held it up so Seth could read it, too. Christian was glad we were safe and things had calmed down in A’Dore and Blethos. The one threat was dealt with and done. There wasn’t a connection to Creid, but we heard about what happened there. Ella told us Dennis was fine, but not his usual bubbly self with us gone. I frowned when she said he was depressed and understandably so. He was well cared for and loved, but his parents and brother weren’t there. The only thing said to us about Thomas to us was to please bring Thomas home. Mentally, I swore to both Ella and Christian I would or die trying. The “love you” comments were there and really sincerely meant. Not just a letter closing or address. It was meant. Dennis expressed it best in big letters. “Come Home!” My heart ached reading that. I passed the letter to Seth as things got a little blurry. Demetrius shook my shoulder lightly. “Just remember,” he began. “They are why you’re doing this.” I nodded and wiped the tears from my face, “It just hurts.” I looked up at Demetrius’ serious face. “No,” I said, shaking my head at him, “You can’t do this.” I chuckled and pointed at his face, but my grin said more. Demetrius looked puzzled, “I can’t do what?” His face told me he knew. “You’re the zany, often crazy god-father!” I shrugged. “You make me laugh. You’re not supposed to be serious!!” Demetrius nodded, but a smirk was on his face, “Oh, you think I’m here to just entertain you.” I shook my head, “No, of course, not.” I said grinning. “Whenever you are here with us, I’m usually entertained, but that’s not WHY you’re here.” “Why is that anyway,” Seth chuckled, asking. “My understanding is that you were here to help Erik marry the right person.” He held up my left hand and wiggled his own left ring finger by mine. “We ARE married.” “That was the hardest thing. Two men legally married to each other, but we are and we have been for a whole decade now!” I added. “I say, job done and mission accomplished.” “It was accomplished,” Seth nodded. “Wasn’t it?” Demetrius laughed and hung his head. He was an artist who appreciated humor from others, “Yes, mission accomplished.” He shrugged. “So, we should just leave?” I hugged Demetrius quickly, “Don’t you dare!” There were advantages to having a child that could read lips. Toby was on Thomas’ other side. I simply asked Toby to tell Thomas to speak with me at the end of the meal. Toby looked up at me, nodded and gave me the agreed signal that he understood. What parent doesn’t get a jolt of pride with a talented child? That was Toby! I felt an ache in my heart thinking about Dennis. If I could harness this transporting thing…I could simply be there. Right? I did it with Seth, but I needed to understand some things first. I did what I didn’t know I could, but was very fuzzy on the how. Could I do it with everyone? Or one at a time? Can I bring our things with us? The horses, trunks…do you remember about Toby? There was no way he would go without Smoky! I wouldn’t dream of asking Toby to and it would be cruel to ask of him. Meals were more than where a person stopped that gnawing pain in his stomach. A good sized kill could be shared with others. See? That and a few other things had me question the scriptures! And still do! There was evidence about people living in caves! Whole families! The people who lived there left paintings on cave walls about hunting creatures that couldn’t be made up. Some pictures showed a hunt of a giant…elephant? It had long tusks. That was on THIS continent! I never even HEARD of elephants here. These were hairy! I knew there were some elephants across the Atlantic… No, rabbit. go on! Scoot! You’re distracting me. Maybe, I shouldn’t call them rabbits. Rabbits are cute. You know what I mean. Those odd topics, unrelated to the main topic that scatter off causing you to pursue it and losing the main point? How about wild geese? You end up so far from what you’re talking about on a wild goose chase… Follow them and you end up nowhere. Where were we? Oh, yes. Was I limited on what I could take? We all had things we brought things, like the armor and clothes… Mealtime became so much more now. A time for everybody to catch up with each other, It was a time for bonding. We had been gone quite a few weeks. It would be the Nativity Season soon. Even if we all left now, we wouldn’t be home in time. There is something I DID that Christian would never consider to do. To get what I thought was impossible, I gave magic a chance. Then, along came Demetrius and my life would never be the same. I will also say again, using magic wasn’t difficult. No words or objects used. No special skills needed. War was a harsh reality. People die in a war and not just soldiers, but innocents, too. Yes, I’m not telling anything you didn’t know. One thing about my father, grandfather, and all members in the Royal Family, we were never the aggressor. No one had what we thought we deserved. If another kingdom did have something we might need, something could be worked out as payment or, even better TRADE! The people of A’Dore were not saints. I know there were some members of the family that were just as bad and evil as Arthur Thorne bursa escort or even worse. I was raised, and I know Christian was and constantly told to be an example to everyone. We often defended our people and what they had from others. Any threat to our people was dealt with and eliminated. We did have people that dealt with spies. Yes, spies. Mostly, the spies tried to find out what was happening that we didn’t tell them. A great grandfather believed in telling everyone everything. What his hopes were and what the plans he hoped to make. A time of war, military strategies were often done in the field. Military leaders knew what the goals were and planned with other leaders to figure out what needed to be done to reach those goals…and you probably don’t care about that. My whole point was. The people were the most important and all efforts needed to be taken was not too much. We protected A’Dore at all costs. I didn’t just want to suddenly appear in the throne room! But I needed more understanding of the magic to plan. Yes, I had to be patient. I was used to having questions answered by someone that would know or at least point out what book I might find it. There were people smarter than me, so I asked them. Only twice did I have to do extensive research to get the answers on my own. I had to research to find out where to look! “Hi!” Thomas said behind us, making me jump. Without even being asked, he forcibly lowered himself between Seth and me, smiling as he did it. Being surprised was to be Human. I had gotten distracted. Times like this I saw him much younger. “Toby said to come over here.” I chuckled at him, but said seriously, “We got a response from your father and mother.” I handed the folded letter to him, “This is to you.” Thomas’s face fell a little, “What does it say?” I shook my head, “I don’t do that.” I pointed to the two hardened splotches of red with the Royal Emblem impressed in the wax to seal it. “It wasn’t written for Seth or me.” He wasn’t moving and I saw the uncertainty in his face. “Thomas,” I began putting an arm over his shoulder, “I’m glad you’re here. I think you were supposed to be here. What do you think happened when you left? What did you expect?” Thomas ran a hand through his hair and did an exaggerated shrug. “I don’t know! I wasn’t thinking about it.” I nodded, but smiled at Thomas, “Did you imagine the streets of A’Dore crowded with adoring subjects all cheering, showering you with flowers as they welcomed you as a mighty warrior coming back in victory and everyone’s hero? All the women wanting to marry you and men want to BE you?” I watched his eyes grow a little. No, I couldn’t read minds. I chuckled and shrugged, “That was the sort of dream I had,” I grudged a nod, “Sort of.” I smiled at Thomas, “The women still wanted to marry me, I just wasn’t interested in marrying them.” Thomas smiled a little, “The men did?” My eyes widened in shock, “Of course, not!” That was all put on. “It was the Summer before my eighteenth year your father tossed me something so I won’t drown. I couldn’t say it out loud to myself and definitely not to anyone else.” I still had the letter in my hand. “I don’t know what is said in this letter, but I KNOW your parents. I’ve known your father ALL my life. I’ve known your mother most of my life. They are both good, kind, and very smart people.” I took a breath, “Without knowing what’s written, I can assure you, except for Ada, Ana, and Edward, no other people in this world means more to them than you. You ARE both of them. I can’t imagine your father using harsh words with you. That’s not Christian. They both love you so much.” Thomas nodded, “I never meant to hurt them.” I smiled and looked at Seth, “Demetrius is always talking about how well we can see looking back.” I waved the still sealed letter. “He needs to know how what’s in an unopened and unread letter is already known.” Thomas smirked at me, but took the letter, “Okay. I’m reading it, I’m reading it.” He broke the seals. There were three parchments on which I could only see small letters of a lengthy letter. “Take your time,” Seth said. “We’re not going anywhere.” This might take some time due to the content. He got up as he read. He looked up as Hana came close. Seth and I rose from our seated position. “I need to read this,” Thomas waved the pages at her. “My uncles are very entertaining. I’ll be…” he looked at the area, “nearby.” He leaned forward and kissed her. He reached out and touched her arm. He jutted his head in our direction. “Tell them,” he said, “You’ll see I’m right and you have to change your mind.” Change her mind? Something was not adding up here. They got along well. What was missing? Math was not a favored subject for me, but I saw the answer and part of the equation…five is the answer, two is part of the equation, so is six. You KNOW something is missing. (Ouch) Math is necessary, but it causes me pain after prolonged exposure. “You say, I tell them,” Hana pointed out. “Then go away!?” “You wanted people to give you unscripted advice,” Thomas smiled. He waved at us. “They don’t even know what we’re talking about.” Then he turned around to go to another light source to read the letter. “Gisshirui,” Hana blew a frustrated breath to which she got a shrug, but he kept going. “While that was not really angry,” Seth said. “It also didn’t sound positive.” “What language was that?” I asked. “I say wrong,” Hana shook her head. “It language of Nihon.” Then she nodded quickly and translated. “Japan.” “It wasn’t a compliment,” I ventured. Hana shook her head, “No,” she laughed. “It is small animal, fur, long tail and cowers from light.” She put her fingers near her mouth and fanned her fingers straight out, “Has hairs here…you bring in light and they run away.” I smiled, “A mouse?” I held two hands close together to show size. She shook her head and pushed my hands further apart. “Is bigger. Brown. Sofu told they get in supply food on ship.” Seth brightened, “A rat?” She shrugged, “Could be.” “He knew what you said,” I pointed out. She nodded, “I say before. Not call him gisshirui, but…” “What does he say you need to change your mind about?” I asked, needing her to tell us. “He asked me to come back to A’Dore with you,” she said angrily. “He asked me to marry him.” Now there was another part of the equation, but still not giving the correct answer using addition or subtraction. “You don’t want to marry him?” She covered her face to hide tears that were coming, “I CAN’T marry him!” She turned to us again, “I just say it. I not…virgin!” Yes, I was surprised at this. I admit it. I shouldn’t have been. She was seventeen. There were mothers with a child or two at seventeen. You could never assume. “Okay.” Seth frowned, “There’s more to this than what you are saying.” “We know a queen now that had a child before she even met the man she is happily married to now and became queen,” I added. “Just really quickly tell me, Sofu means what?” Hana was not happy, but she smiled a bit at our confusion. “Oh,” she smiled, “he was father to my mother.” Seth and I nodded, “Your grandfather!” I said in triumph. Her knees gave a little at having missed that word, “Yes! Grandfather!” She tapped on her forehead and muttered. “Watashi wa sore o oboete irubekidatta.” She smiled again. “That mean I should know Grandfather.” I smiled, “Why SHOULD you? I know Kon’nichiwa and Arigatōgozaimashita.” I threw my hands out. “There. You now have my complete knowledge of Japanese.” “You told Thomas this?” Seth asked. Hana nodded, “Yes.” She shook her head. “He doesn’t…understand. I was…damaged. I didn’t say no.” “Wahkooha?” I asked. She nodded reluctantly. “COULD you say no?” Seth asked. “Isa,” Hana said. “My sister was going to…but…he started with her. She older three year of me.” Hana wiped her face. “But she didn’t?” Seth asked quietly. “She die,” Hana confessed. She pointed up at the roof. “Seven moon…cycles?” Dakotah had told us about some deaths. “She was pregnant?” I said and Hana nodded. “How old were you?” Seth asked. “When he started.” She shrugged, “Fourteen?” “You say you’re damaged,” Seth said. “How?” “You’re a victim, Hana,” I said. “A man, having the power of a god wanted you.” “I could say no,” Hana shrugged. “And died,” I said. “You chose to survive.” “I know somewhat what you’re feeling,” Seth smiled, taking her hand. “We both have had events happen to us.” He took a deep breath, “I was injured very badly, as you may know. I carried the scars for two decades. I saw myself as damaged for a long time.” “Those scars are gone on his body,” I said and took Seth’s hand. “The damage to his soul still tries to come out…” “But he never saw them,” Seth marveled. “He could see the ones on my face and body, but he didn’t really see the ones in my soul. He married me, scars and all and didn’t care.” “You told this to Thomas?” I asked. “Yes,” Hana nodded. “I wish I could take what happened away,” I smiled. “Really, there is no closure with this.” I grinned and laughed. “There were a few times I wished I could resurrect him and kill Arthur over and over again so he had to experience an agonizing death for every cruel moment he caused.” I shrugged, “But he’s gone and will never hurt Seth or anyone again. The same with Wahkooha. He won’t harm anyone now.” “You may be damaged,” Seth continued. “Thomas may not understand, but he is NOT stupid.” “There is a man from the Royal Family in A’Dore sees a very smart young woman that I believe would be a valuable addition to any community.” I smiled. Hana looked away slightly, “I don’t want to embarrass anyone.” “Embarrass anyone of the family?” I asked. I raised Seth’s hand. “I think what we did was embarrassing enough.” Seth and collided a little as we laughed. “A Prince marrying a man!? In a witnessed ceremony with TWO kings!?” “How you would like to handle this,” Seth began, “Is up to you and Thomas, but it came out about my past, the curse, abuse…at the beginning.” “You better believe no one insulted any family with Christian and Ella,” I chuckled, “Especially not Ella.” “Nooo, you didn’t do that,” Seth laughed. “She is kind, polite and all that, but if you say something about family, she becomes a mama bear protecting her cubs!” He looked at me. “Mrs. Cunningham? Wasn’t that her name? Ella threw her out of the palace!” I bounced and nodded. “Mrs. Cunningham was banned from any palace function for five YEARS!! She insulted Seth!! And too stupid to know she had done it.” “Born to the family or married to the family,” Seth said. “They will protect you as family.” “Are you interested in marrying Thomas? Even a little?” I asked. “From what I was told, the people of Japan have all the usual people, good and bad. There are people you can trust and those you can’t.” I laughed. “When it comes to women and sex…” I grimaced and shrugged, “well, when it comes to marriage and daughters, they put a lot of pressure on women to be pure. I can’t imagine what they’d do with a woman who is a victim of a crime like this.” “Hide it and never talk about it,” Hana said gloomily. “Even in families that are part Native, they don’t talk about it.” I nodded, “It would be very uncomfortable to talk about.” “No, embarrassment or shame is not yours to take,” Seth said. “It’s a lot easier to say than to do, but you survived! I can say from experience,” he touched her arm. “It gets easier. Trust me.” “We found surprise was the worst part of this,” I smiled, “Being totally honest is the best defense of surprise. We told everyone how badly Seth was abused.” Her eyes grew hearing that, “Tell people what he did? To me?” I bowed my head and asked any power in charge for the words, “No,” I smiled. “You will control how much they will know, but if the people that love you know more, you take any embarrassment and shame away. It won’t have power over you.” “One more time!” Seth smiled, “You did nothing to feel embarrassed about and no shame was brought to you, your family, or the people. What happened was NOT YOUR FAULT!” “I told you,” Thomas chuckled as he came over. He was using his hand to rid his face of tears, but he didn’t look unhappy. He held the letter up, “I’d like to read this again. I’ll be glad to let you read it, but the first time was escort bayan full of emotion by me.” He explained as he neared the table and lowered next to Hana who took his hand. I smiled as she acted like someone who truly cared for Thomas. The hand she took went into her lap as she caressed his face gently and didn’t say anything, but the look from her eyes expressed a deep affection growing. “We don’t need to read it at all,” I said to reinforce that fact. Thomas laughed and sniffed lightly, “None of it was bad. The reason I wasn’t to go was only said once by Dad. The rest was how much they wanted me to come home, not because of any duty. They wanted me HOME.” He looked at Hana, but pointed at Seth and me. “They threw support behind you, didn’t they?” “Yes,” Hana smiled. “I told you,” Thomas said again. This had some bumps in the road that were coming. I was Thomas’s uncle, not his father. However, I knew how Christian reacted when anything sexual came up. I know how seriously that purity of the royal line was stressed to Christian and me. I was Seth’s first and he was mine. I knew Christian was a virgin when he married Ella and so was Ella. Yannick was older than we were when he married Delta. He had a few lovers when younger, but Delta was already a mother when he married Yannick. One major bump coming was Thomas’s feelings about himself. Only he knows if he followed that purity line. I suspect so, but that wasn’t important. Just because Wahkooha had sex with her, didn’t mean she wanted it. I didn’t know how often he’d done it with her. He didn’t love her and I know she didn’t love him. She was fourteen years old when it started with her!? Fourteen! Yes, that feeling of wanting to resurrect him just to kill him again surfaced again. I did hope that whoever was the real Tawa, or whatever demon that had Wahkooha simply increased his torment and let Wahkooha know why. I did not want Thomas to ever feel he was competing with Wahkooha. Ella was who Hana needed to tell and Ella could explain more to Thomas. I found out only she and her mother were alive now. Hana insisted that when a decision was made, if she went to A’Dore, her mother would come with her. Also, both of the mother’s parents were half Japanese and Native. Hana’s father was from Japan. He worked on a ship that returned to Japan. This was years ago, but no one saw him, the ship or anyone from the crew again. Was he alive? Who knew? “Well,” I said to Thomas, “Your Uncle and I have a long trip tomorrow.” Thomas looked startled, “Long trip!? Where to?” “Maybe nowhere,” I grumbled. Seth bumped his forehead against mine, “Nonsense. Demetrius never took us to his home because he couldn’t take us there. Your uncle can, so we’re going to Demetrius’s house!” Thomas thought a second, “He has a house!? Like a regular person?” “We’ll let you know,” Seth grinned. “Where does he live?” Thomas asked. “Is it far?” Seth shrugged at him and shook his head. Hana proved to be a charming young lady. Her lack of use with English only added to her charm. She used it on purpose and did it well. It was important to see this wasn’t an act. One of the attractive things a person can do is to truly is what they seem. Some women were the worse! And they ARE!! You know it’s going back to the animal kingdom; the males were strength and made the big decisions. Like where to nap. Being leader was tough! Some young punk strolls into town and threatens you and your family, you deal with it! I read many reports from “hunters” that wrote down what they observed, but it was the female lion that hunted. They were dangerous. Yet, the human was dangerous of deception! They observed prey. Learned what the prey wanted and found attractive. I watched out for Christian. Someone had to watch out for him! These predators would circle him and start with the battering of the eyelashes Christian just didn’t have the ability to see beyond that point! Women were ruthless! I was protecting the family! None of them could put on the charade long enough. Their true selves could be seen. There were some who couldn’t hide things well, such as Ella’s stepfamily and three stepsisters. All of them was dead now, except the eating sister in Italia. I know, I know, not another rabbit! I swear. Hana was what she was. She was not playacting. As we were breaking up for the evening, Thomas smiled at Seth and me. “Just do me a favor.” He looked at Seth and me. “You don’t know where, can you at least tell me when you go?” “Sure!” Seth agreed. “You can be there when we leave!” “Why?” I asked. “He’ll be a witness!!” Most of the time I was a glass half full person. Wahkooha! He showed he commanded great power, but I did not even for a moment believe he was a god. Not with a big G or even a small g! He wasn’t even convincing he was a demon or…well, he was sort of a witch, but I was convinced he was the biggest scam artist the world had ever seen! Dad always told Christian and me, “As big as you believe you are, there is always going to be someone bigger! Diplomacy!” I guess up until now, no one proved that to him. That was a trap I wanted to avoid. We were all Human. Except for Arthur, Darius, and Deena…and Wahkooha, Anastasia (Ella’s Ex-Stepsister… I seriously doubted they were Human. There were plenty of rotten people in the world. What happened to Hana was…there is no excuse for what Wahkooha did. Not one. The Natives philosophy about not owning anything kept theft to where it was practically unknown. The Native view on marriage was one of the things I didn’t agree with. Seth and I entered our marriage swearing before God, (See? The big G?) and hundreds of guests from A’Dore, Blethos, and later I heard from England, France…there were a bunch of people! No one else, ever! I just saw one person! I found that security comforting. I was treasured by someone special who was special to me. I didn’t like the marriages that ended on certain dates. That mask wasn’t important. He was beautiful BEFORE the scars were cured! I’m pleased that in some tribes, such as the Muskogee, didn’t always have that. Chitto had one wife. One. His father Harjo also had one wife. One. Neither wife would approve of that. “Should I say anything to Thomas about Hana?” I asked Seth as finished his evening rituals. Seth paused mid-stride and looked at me, “Why are you looking at me?” He straightened a bit. “You know more than I do about that!” “Says who?” I challenged him. Seth shrugged and he sat on the side of the bed. “You just do.” “That one time,” I held a single finger up. “I told you I kissed Yannick. One time,” I moved closer to Seth. “It wasn’t even a kiss of affection! I was tired and he needed…” Seth reached up and stopped me. “…needed distraction.” Seth said with me. “I’m crystal clear on that point.” I was nodding as Seth said that last part. “Yes. Now,” I said firmly. “At first you looked ready to tear our house apart!” “I never threatened you!” Seth defended, but was smiling, “There was Matt! My friend from Blethos, the palace guard that checked on the condition of Royal Valley after the Measles outbreak…” “I remember and I didn’t get upset,” I said. “In fact, I encouraged you to spend as much time with him as you could.” He nodded as he rubbed his hand behind his neck, “Yes, that was a bad example.” I laughed because he looked disappointed! “You wanted me to be jealous!?” Seth looked away and was getting up, “What!?” His voice wasn’t remotely convincing as he stood and was about to walk away. “Don’t be silly,” he chuckled as I pulled him back down and straddled him. “Okay, maybe just a little bit wouldn’t have hurt.” “Oh,” I nodded with a smile. This wasn’t about me, but Seth! “I can’t do anything if you do or don’t cheat, Seth.” Seth’s eyes rolled. It wasn’t what he wanted to hear. “Okay,” I laughed. “How’s this? If you ever encourage any attention, male or female, they’ll be in big trouble.” “They?” He asked me. “They will be in trouble?” “Yes,” I said proudly. “I have one brother who is King of A’Dore and another who is king of Blethos. Not to mention a Creid king I love as another brother.” I looked Seth closely in the eyes. “Do you think with connections like that, I can’t make their lives a living HELL?” There was an obvious advantage to getting up and simply going downstairs. That advantage was a luxury royal had that I was good with. On the other hand, if you were just hungry and didn’t want to dress and go down, you either planned it or asked someone to go get something. Sneaking down to grab something without being seen wasn’t going to happen. Never would we go without our comforts. Going without necessities was unheard of. Eabha smiled as coffee was poured. She watched Seth as he took a careful sip. Even Seth’s eyes widened more. “What is this!?” Seth asked in wonder as he held his mug out but he was smiling as he did it. Eabha’s eyes sparkled, “I debated whether to share this with you or not.” She sipped her coffee. “Ceto’s done a great job with your meals,” she changed her position as she illustrated with her hands, “and really I’m not by bringing this to you now as it comes from some Southern islands in the Great Gulf. There grows this coffee even the Natives avoid because it’s so strong.” She chuckled, “They even named it Ingozi .” No one can know everything, but I had no idea what language it could be. There were islands in the base of this Great Gulf that had almost no contact with the world and who’s language was their own. “That means danger.” Eabha said. “Danger Coffee?” Seth nodded with a smile. “I’ll let you know.” I had a mug. A single mug and knew that was my limit then. After breakfast, I had some training with Max in this new armor. Val and Beau were training, too. Even putting it on took a few minutes preparation for the best coverage. As I did that I was surprised as it came together how much lighter it was. Yes. I heard what Max had said, but putting it on, you mentally get prepared for the feeling it usually has. I was surprised at the “lack” of weight. The cloth undergarment, over the chain-mail and fastened into place…it felt very good! I DID get to spar with Beau again and I promise you. This lack of effort needed helped Beau and he was just as brutal as before…and more! It didn’t make sense. Because something in his mind went after something, he became this…monster? The creature known as Beau was simply not there. In place of that, was this being I’d never seen before. He struck hard, fast, and repeatably over and over pushing you back just to escape his wrath!! He never seemed to run out of energy! Val poured water over his head and neck. He was comfortable with what he did. “I’ll trade you,” I said pointed at Seth who sat/stood a little from excreting himself. “Oh, no,” Val shook his head. “Seth is great for sparring, but Beau!?” He chuckled. “I sort of like it when people talk shit about Beau.” He quickly raised a hand to me. “Sorry, that just sort of came out.” I nodded at Beau’s happy expression, “What do they say?” `The usual,” Val shrugged. “He’s supposed to be this simpleton and doesn’t know what he’s doing, and-” “We know what we’re doing! He’s here and they aren’t!” Val squinted an eye at me and nodded, “Yes, we do,” Val chuckled. “I love when Beau force feeds crow to everyone.” “Can you tell me what happens, Beau?” I asked. “I know you have a fighting face, but…” Beau `s face turned away, “He comes.” “He comes,” I repeated uncertainly, “Who comes, Beau?” Yes, I was a little worried about that. With so many odd and crazy entities in world I knew about, I think a little caution was warranted. I looked at Val who smiled at us and calmly at Beau. Val knew who came? “He’s not very nice,” Beau shrug. “At times, I don’t like him either.” Val was encouraging Beau to say it. “I made up this guy to help me become a Royal Warrior. When I was a small boy people would get mean with me or mean with Mom.” He shrugged, “He is…” he thought, “big brother to me? He is called Ben.” He smiled. “Big Ben?” Val nodded at me even before he began speaking, “No one knows.” He answered my unasked question. “I mean no one. His mother won’t say, and Beau doesn’t ask. There is nothing about an older sibling or even a step-sibling. Beau has a father…” he waved at Beau, “obviously, or he bursa escort wouldn’t be.” Val chuckled as Beau’s face grew red. “He’s a sweetheart!!” He threw an arm over Beau’s shoulder, kissed him noisily on the cheek as Beau gave his red, embarrassed face down to avoid a scene It was too late. “I’ll proudly claim Beau with no hesitation!” “I think that’s great!” I said honestly and got in front of Beau. “What about him don’t you like?” Beau couldn’t look me in the eyes, “He’s mean.” Now, Beau did look at me. “He likes to be mean.” There were enough cases about the world where there were people that did like being mean. I even heard of one recently where a man was brought in based on his children’s testimony that he beat their mother. Since these crimes were new to face prosecution…well…no one was ready for this, but…the wife was pleading with the court not to continue the charges. She was just as guilty has he was! She hurt him as much as he hurt her. On purpose!! They wanted the pain. What!? I knew about sadists. I knew of masochists. Here were two right in our court! I knew that some women protected husbands to save them more punishment later. No, no, this would not do! We swore she’d be free and never have to deal with him again. She and the children would never see him again. No!! She pleaded to let him come back to her. She promised that every bruise he gave her, she’d give him two!! We did caution them to be gentler with the kids home. Yeah, I’m still scratching my head about that one. It never occurred to me that I might like pain. It is pain and we avoid it. Don’t we? Beau’s Big Ben didn’t draw pleasure from pain. Did he? “Doesn’t he sort have to?” I asked Beau. “The job you do is pretty intense and violent, so you have to enjoy it somewhat.” Then I remembered what had happened just a couple of days ago. Just his worry I might be hurt lead him to tears! Tears! I grinned and wrapped my arms around Beau and hugged him tightly. “I say Big Ben is being watched over carefully. When you stop worrying about Big Ben, I’ll be concerned. Don’t you ever change.” “Okay,” Demetrius’ voice came out of nowhere. “Is everyone ready?” Then he was suddenly there looking for someone. “Where’s Thomas and Hana?” “Now?” Seth asked in shock. “Why not now?” Demetrius asked. “You invited them.” I nodded, “Yes, you did.” I chuckled. “Wait for us!” I heard Thomas say as he came in the room with Hana in tow behind him. “I didn’t want to miss…” he looked around us, “How are we getting to… wherever? No cart, or boat…” He looked at Demetrius. “Why are you looking at me?” Demetrius asked. “I have no idea. We can’t do this, remember?” I looked at him, now very cautiously. “How do you know where you’re going? Or know where to go?” Demetrius chuckled, “It’s less of a where and more of a who.” “Not where you go, but who you…” Thomas stood up as he thought about what Demetrius said and then shook his head, “What!?” I circled Demetrius nodding, “Yes, of course!” I turned to Seth, “We could be in any part of the world! Yet, he comes to me! Wherever I am, he feels it!” Demetrius nodded in triumph. “Yes!! That’s exactly it! All those years ago with Sam…I really didn’t have as solid a fix on him as needed. Now, it would be harder to do.” “Clever, this magic,” Seth said softly. “Isn’t it?” Demetrius agreed with a nod. “A person’s…” he thought, “address will be unique. No one else. Later you will learn to use both.” He used his hands as he explained. “You feel where he is by feeling him,” he motioned downward to the right. He did the same with the left side. “How do I choose?” I asked. “After a decade?” Demetrius asked. “That’s sort of decided for you.” He shrugged. “It’s been over two centuries since we’ve had to, but…” Someone had to teach the Children of Lilith’s Children to get around. “Should I mess up on purpose to keep you around?” I grinned. “I’ll do that in a heartbeat.” “You can’t mess up,” Demetrius chuckled. “I love you, too.” He turned, grabbing Seth and kissing his cheek loudly. “You, too, Seth!” He held a finger out. “For now, I’ll say touch for now.” He looked at Seth and me. “You were touching when you went back to your room. The only other instructions, are…you know that feeling you have when you hope I’ll come?” I nodded, “Sure.” “The same thing,” Demetrius shrugged. “You wish you went a little faster?” He waved at everyone. “See you in a second.” “I can’t hurt anybody,” I said. “In the time we’ve done it,” Demetrius smiled, “Never even once have I even heard of someone being hurt during a transport.” “But you can’t do this!” And he did the “he was there and just not there’ thing. Even I was tired of hearing the same thing. I was overreacting. I knew it, but… Shouldn’t I have become more daring and confident? I don’t know. I touched Beau next to me and Seth. Everyone was connected and the change was instant! It was cooler and dark, and then sunny and warm. We had been inside and now we were outside. We were not in Northwest of our continent. It was morning here. “Depending on when you start the day, you’re either ahead five hours or behind nineteen.” Demetrius shrugged. “Which is where?” I asked. “Aotearoa,” Demetrius answered as he smiled knowing his answers were making more questions. “The Maori are a beautiful people.” “Maori!?” Thomas blurted. “South Pacific Maori? Some are calling it New Zealand Maori?!” Thomas balked. “We’ve traveled…eight thousand miles?! In a second!?!?” “You did it every time you step through the doorway,” Demetrius shrugged. “And really, this isn’t Aotearoa.” He chuckled at the comments and moans given. “Honestly, it isn’t.” He held his hands up. We were on a high bluff of thick grass. No random shrubs or trees. “You took steps over rivers, mountains, farms…” Thomas nodded, “Yeah, and my head still won’t take it all in!” “This isn’t Aotearoa?” He pointed off the rise, across the bay or gulf. “That is.” The name Aotearoa mean Land of the Long White Cloud, which is the Northern Island.” He wiggled his hands and fingers together without touching. “It’s just opposite here. The farther South you go, the colder it gets. In the Northern Hemisphere, it’s the end of Fall and beginning Winter. Here, it’s late Spring about to be Summer.” I reached out and used both hands to pat Seth down, “I assume everything’s here and working.” Seth threw his arms around me. “You can check more thoroughly later.” I looked at Thomas. “You know more about these people of this area.” Thomas looked at Hana. “She does, I’m sure. There were some explorers that came from this way just recently.” He smiled evilly, “As with all Brits and Europeans, who they hear is not always the same thing for what they think.” I chuckled without humor, “Such as when they came on these people, saying they were Dutch, when the people themselves claimed to be Deutsch! They almost placed a name on people because these was not an understanding!?” Scratched his head as he tried to work it out. “Given a name to a people, thinking they were the other people from a part of the world those original people never even heard of?” My mind kept up with it, so I nodded. “Yeah!” “Oh,” Seth waved that off. “No one’s that stupid.” I gave Seth my “you think so?” look. (I’ll leave poor Christopher Columbus alone. It really wasn’t his fault. Not all of it. I don’t know about you, but in the late 60’s we had The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Vietnam, the Nightly Casualty Report with Walter Cronkite and it was my first revelation about truth and not all is taught truth and yadda, yadda. Repeat what they say happen or fail a test. I prefer you to say, “we think,” than teaching lies. I’ve got a good joke about Christopher and being a democrat. I’m independent and he was just…confused. Personally, I wouldn’t want to be remembered of an error. Like the invisible bump you and you alone see on the smooth floor everyone can see. We always look for confirmation on someone else’s face. We silently ask, “Did you see that!? It just popped out from nowhere!” Gosh! We need to be careful. It can happen again! Yeah, it’s all connected. A deep cleansing breath. Hold. Be calm. Release.) “It’s warm here,” Beau said smiling. Val nodded, “It is!” “Can we come back?” Beau asked. “I think everybody will like this.” Seth nodded and jutted his head in a direction, “Perhaps we should ask him.” Looking in the direction I saw a single man walking. The closest to look like this man was Hana, but that wasn’t right either. I’d met some from the islands in the Pacific that were Polynesian. This man could be a part of the Polynesian people and something else. He walked on two legs and seemed to know Demetrius! He waved grandly at Demetrius who also swung his arms out to welcome this man! What came out of their mouths…I had not the slightest clue! I would recognize many languages from Europe, even if I didn’t understand. Slavic languages, romance languages, grammatic languages and even Middle Eastern languages I knew when I heard them. Again, I have no clue what said, but… Demetrius brought the man closer and he was clearly telling this man about us and why we were here. Gestures were universal. Perhaps that was the real reason for the universal sign language among natives. “We can really use Toby right now,” Seth said casually. My hands went out helplessly as surrendered to the inevitable conclusion as I nodded at the illusive fate. Seth looked at me and grinned more, “Which you agree with having just thought the same thing!” He waved at me. “Your whole mannerism changed to say that loud and clear! He will have a better time understanding this than we will!” Demetrius stopped in front of us, “Ko te Rangatira hoki tenei i tamai Tamati…” He looked his friend, “Ahaka,” he practically explained it all with what he did as he spoke, “He kake a rātau,” who listened and watched the gestures and frowned? I don’t know what he said, but he clearly didn’t like saying so and almost came at Demetrius! Demetrius smiled at Seth and me. “I was telling you were Thomas’ uncles,” his grin grew, “I explained that one of you is uncle because you married the uncle.” Again, he was putting invisible things in an invisible corral. “He gets a little testy when stupidity rears its ugly head. He thought that explanation was pointless.” I loved them! Who I chose to marry was no one’s business except if it’s made to against their will. They didn’t have facial features like Polynesians, or skin color. The hair was black, not dark brown, like others. Ahaka was a handsome man…and I’m sorry for giving you samples of what they aren’t. They aren’t Chinese, Japanese, Korean or Polynesian. They weren’t from Africa, or Europe! I don’t know. However, I have it, too. There are things I’m used to. Such as long hair on guys. It’s my thing. The tattoos were another. I would find many Maori men and women and these facial tattoos. I found out the significance of that later and the tongue. I liked Ahaka’s name. He who laughs! He was given the name wisely and earned it whenever I saw him. I also got my first taste of being uncle. I was son of the king and queen, I was brother to the king, I married to the king. Today, it felt different. I was Crowned Prince Thomas’ uncle and Prince Toby’s father. I was passed OVER! Isn’t this what I wanted? Yes, but then it happened. Demetrius insisted we at least see where he and Dara lived. It was a sort of hilltop meadow, hundreds of feet above sea level. There was a nice which beach you could gain access to by marble stairs down the side. Most of the dwelling was done in recessed rooms in the side. There was almost no external structure except to let light or air in. There was plenty of lanterns, urns and windows to welcome light and a steady cool breeze from the sides. Tables, couches and pillows set on stone floors with mosaic designs…It was a very comfortable HOME. It reflected both Demetrius and Dara. “Wow,” I smiled, “I had no expectations, so…” “You approve?” Demetrius smiled. “Who cares?” I asked, “You do. This is your home and it is a home. It feels like you!” I smiled. “The feeling for locating you is easy. A comfortable place to reach that special place to unwind and relax.” “And the first Child of Eve we’ve brought here.” Ahaka was right there talking with Seth. Or trying. Demetrius nodded. “Yes, I’ve known him, his grandparents and…we protected them. We’ve always been with them, but you,” he nodded, “You the first Children of Eve who know who and what we are and came here on your own. Welcome to my home.” Next: More Truth

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