“I’ve asked Leleu and Empress Nalau to join us. I want to hear what happened from them.” The Muse of Mischief said.

Agent Brzko was sitting in his favorite spot, on the deck overlooking the Shwarth sea. “Hmmm.” He hadn’t really been listening, but he tried to recall what she’d just said. “Oh OK M. Good.”

“Hey, are you OK?”

“No. Yes. Well, this has been…” Close to breaking down, he didn’t finish.

“But everyone is OK, Ferocity is expected to make a full recovery. And this is what we do, this is what our team does.”

“I know, I know. It’s just that I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if we’d been in a different universe, off exploring somewhere. I don’t think we could have made it in time. I doubt if our telepathic links would work form another universe.”

“I see your point. So are you saying you don’t want to explore other universes?”

He turned and looked at her, trying to gauge her reaction before he answered. She saw that he was concerned that not wanting to explore would upset her, she decided to make it easy on him.

“Because I hope that’s what you’re saying. If we’d been somewhere else when Lelelu was kidnapped we would have lost her, if we’d been somewhere else today, we would have lost Ferocity.” She gave him a second to process what she was saying. “Besides,” she continued, “if I ever run into The Muse of Slight again, I’m going to have to teach her how to dress. And it won’t be pretty!”

Surprisingly he laughed. “Oh M, you are too damn funny.” One of the many things she loved about him was his ability to laugh, always.

“Oh I’m not kidding.” She said, feeling herself getting fired up again.

“I know you’re not, I know.” He said grabbing her arm and pulling her down into his lap.

“But what about meeting other Clyreans?”

“First, I doubt the validity of any information we’ve been told so far. We heard that we can be near other Clyreans and we heard that we cannot. So who is telling the truth, and what does the other one have to gain by misleading us? And I’d like to try and figure out if meeting Bartala was arranged, because…”

“And who arranged for Ferocity to be bonded with me. Remember? He said that someone made a request for me to have a Dragon. I’d like to know who that was.”

“That’s right. Have you asked him about it?”

“No, I actually forgot about it until now. Hopefully the bond with Dragona is good enough now that they’d be willing to help us figure it out.”

There was a commotion at the top of the stairs, it was Lelelu, Empress Nalau, and Xiix. Nalau had her hair down, and Lelelu and she both wore casual, loose fitting attire. Xiix had a bottle of espidrun in each of his lower hands, and bottle of nekmid in each of the upper hands.

I think we need to let off some steam.” He projected to all of them.

Nalau and Lelelu both roared with laughter. M pretended to be unimpressed. “Oh Xiix really?”

He looked confused and considered explaining that he was referring to the blue steam released when espidrun is exposed to air. He was sure that this was a joke that they would all find humorous.

“Oh damn Xiix, you’re fitting in better and better all the time!” Brzko said, pushing M off of his lap and getting up to embrace the big four armed being.

“Good one Xiix!” M said, clapping him on the shoulder. “Uh, let me help you with one of those.” She said as she liberated one of the espidrun bottles.

His relief that she’d only been teasing him was felt by them all.

With the espidrun poured they all lifted their glasses, “To a successful rescue!”  M toasted.

“A successful rescue!” They chimed and projected, four of them tossing back the shot, Xiix inhaled the steam and then sat his glass down. M looked at him.

I’ve learned to be a little more cautious with the espidrun. I do not need a repeat of the first time.

This made them all laugh. Lelelu and Nalau had heard the story of the time that Xiix had discovered the steam of espidrun had an effect on Suus.

Brzko felt Ferocity reach for him. “Hey, what’s wrong Ferocity? Are you OK

Yes Lord Brzko. I am OK, I’m tired of being inside. I would like to take a walk or get out of here for a while.

Why don’t you join us on the lower deck, but bring the hover chair, I don’t think you should walk that far. And bring Nguvu.

Brzko stood up and poured another round for everyone but Xiix, and then went to the bottom of the stairs.

“What’s wrong?” M asked.

“Nothing, Ferocity and Nguvu are going to join us.”

“Oh! He must be feeling better!” Empress Nalau exclaimed, joining Brzko at the base of the stairs. She hadn’t seen him since he was on the surface of Jastea MJ.

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