He gets his wish when he wakes up on an alien world.
Alex in Wonderland
Author's Note: Here's chapter 5 of Alex in Wonderland. More about Gods and Gifts in this one. Thank you as always to all my readers for the comments, kudos, and thinking that my work is worth reading. Also thanks to the Big Closet team who work tirelessly to give us all a wonderfully supportive venue to read and post TG fiction ~Amethyst.
Chapter 5: Bearing Gifts
The morning after my Giftsun I awoke late and just stayed in bed for a long while enjoying what was probably the first real chance I had to relax since arriving at the capital. It was then that a wave of hunger hit me. I found this strange since I was hungry but not that hungry. I could feel Michelle as a contented warmth at the back of my mind. It didn't feel like she was hungry but I thought I would ask anyway. ~Sis. Are you hungry?~
It was a moment before she responded, her mind speech heavy with sleepy contentment. ~No. Grayle and I just ate and I was about to take a nap. What's wrong?~
~I feel hunger,~ I responded. ~I know I'm a bit hungry, but I'm not that hungry. Nevermind. I'll eat something then hopefully it will go away. Have a good nap sis.~
~I will. Call me if you need anything.~ I could feel the connection lose it's strength as she started to doze off again. The hunger was still there though, so with a stretch I got out of bed and rang the bell that would bring Felice as I got dressed. She was there before I had even finished putting on my bra and panties. On my first day in the palace I had learned to ring for Felice should I need anything. Not only was she eager to serve or even just chat but it was considered improper for a Princess to do things like go down to the kitchen to fix her own meals. The first time I had tried that had been amusing.
Felice was in a good mood and smiling when she arrived. She even felt happy, it was like I could sense the feeling bubbling around her, and that made me happy. Soon I had eaten and was dressed in a casual light green chemise that really made my eyes pop, brown suede leggings and matching ankle boots with a three inch heel. Strangely I could still feel that hunger even as I felt the happiness and what might just be pride. “You seem to be in a fine mood this morning Felice,” I said as she began to work my raven hair into a long braid.
“And why should I not I be your Highness? I was a little worried when you came back to us with no memory that you may not receive a Gift and that Itari may not accept you, or that you may have had troubles with the ceremonies. But you did perfectly and not only did Itari accept you but you received three Gifts. I am so proud of you.”
Wait a minute, I thought. Gifts? She's happy and proud? Maybe my diviner Gift is some sort of empathy? But if that's the case, who am I feeling this hunger from? I had been the only one in the room since I woke until Felice came except for... I turned my head toward my bed, earning a scolding from Felice. I could feel that her heart wasn't in it though.
On my pillow Chrissy was watching me intently and I felt the hunger intensify a bit. “Felice, once you're done with my hair could you please bring up some leftovers from last night's feast for Chrissy to eat? I think she's hungry.”
I could see my maid nod in the mirror as she continued on my hair. “Of course your Highness. Once you are finished here Lady Jezz wished to continue your lessons. She mentioned wanting to teach you some of the basics of Healing as well since neither of you will be able to begin your formal training until Lady Larane returns from her diplomatic mission in Torma.” I knew Torma was an island nation in the Ujard Ocean to the west and that it was the homeland of the Cinoles. From what Jezz had told me they were pretty isolationist. I had no idea who Larane was.
“Who's Larane and what type of diplomatic mission is it?” I asked.
Felice gave me a sad look at another reminder of my 'lost' memory and her emotions echoed it. “Larane is the palace Healer and she will be teaching you and Lady Jezz. Their Prince, Mathan Biord, has come down ill. Her Majesty offered Lady Larane's services and sent her to Heal Prince Mathan and discuss trade between our nations. Her apprentice Trevas remained behind but is not qualified to teach you both.”
I had to keep myself from nodding as she finished braiding my hair and tied it off. “I see. Please have Jezz join me then when she is ready so that we can get started.”
“As you wish Highness,” was her reply as she left to carry out my orders. It wasn't long before she returned with both Jezz and some food for my kihr.
“Thank you Felice,” I told her with a smile. “I'll ring you if we need anything else before we leave my rooms.”
My maid placed the bowl of food on the floor for Chrissy and bowed as she took her leave, “As you wish Highness.” Chrissy leaped off the bed and began to eat and hunger gave way soon to happy contentment once she was full and in her rightful place around my neck.
We were about to leave the room for the palace library when I could feel something like humor bubbling around my Cinole friend. “I think ya may be forgettin' sumthin' 'Lex.”
I tried frantically to think of what she may be referring to but I had my keys for my rooms, I had Chrissy, I was properly dressed. This might be a bit casual for a princess but there were no formal events today and I was just going to be spending the day with Jezz, since Patar and Runne were on border patrol today. “What did I miss?” I asked finally.
I could feel her humor getting more intense and she looked like she was having trouble not laughing. “Ya fergot yer crown, silly. I know yer not used t' bein' a princess but ya oughta be wearin' that. Maybe it'll remind ya.”
I groaned and went to retrieve the badge of my new office and placed the jewel encrusted gold tiara on my head as I shut the door to my rooms behind me and locked it. “Is this better?” I asked.
“Ya, I think that'll do,” she replied. Happiness and humor seemed to radiate from her along with something different, something I couldn't really define.
“Come on, we got studying to do,” I said.
I took her hand in mine and began to pull the flying girl along with me in the direction of the library when my thoughts were suddenly overwhelmed. ~... my friend and the princess. I shouldn't be thinking about her that way. But she's so sweet and pretty and we have so much in common. What do I do? I can't just tell her. It could ruin our friendship. She probably wouldn't be interested in me anyway. Besides, she has to have an heir some day. Better to keep it as friends. Why did she suddenly stop?~
I let go of her hand and looked away as I figured out what that something I hadn't been able to define was. “Umm... do we need to go to the library to study Healing stuff or is there something better?” I quickly offered as an excuse.
She seemed lost in thought for a moment before answering. “I s'pose we could go t' see Tre'as. He's Larane's 'pprentice and may have some scrolls or books fer beginners.”
I nodded as I tried to bury my thoughts. “Let's go find Trevas then.” Were those really her thoughts I was hearing? And if they were what in the hell should I do? I thought bitterly.
Eventually, with Jezz leading the way we made our way to the palace Healer's rooms and knocked. The door was answered by a Zenin boy maybe a year older than my current body. He had dark brown hair, amber eyes, and his fur was beige colored with black spots. He was also shorter than me by a few inches and a little overweight. When he caught sight of me his eyes went wide. I could feel a mix of hope, happiness and something very close to what I had been feeling from Jezz as he smiled. “Are you Trevas?” I asked.
Suddenly the hope and happiness were replaced with disappointment as his smile left his face.“Yes your Highness, how can I help you?”
I wondered briefly what, if any, relationship Visanee had had with the boy as I replied, “Jezz and I are supposed to be learning Healing from Larane once she gets back from Torma. We were wondering if she might have some books or scrolls for beginners that we might look at until then.”
The boy nodded his head, “Mom has some in her library that she had me read when I was starting out. I suppose they should be fine for you.” He paused as he looked around, “Please come in while I have a look your Highness.” He waved us inside and gestured to a sofa where Jezz and I took a seat. “Congratulations on your Gifts your Highness, and welcome both of you to the ranks of the palace Healers.”
“Thank you Trevas,” I responded. I would have offered a smile as well but he was absorbed in looking through a bookshelf at the moment. “My Gifts were a bit of a surprise to us all but I think I will like being a Healer.”
He nodded as he brought over some of the scrolls and a book he had found, “I have only been one for three tenths myself but I find it very interesting. I think it will be very rewarding.” There was still a sadness about him and something like guilt. I was about to ask him if we had known one another before my loss of memory when he handed me the materials and our hands touched.
I was in the palace Healers rooms and there was white Zenin with black stripes smiling at me. I knew that Zenin. I looked at her every morning in the mirror since I had come to that palace. She had a scrape on her elbow and was speaking to me as I cleaned it. “Trevas, thank you for taking care of me. Will your mom be back soon? I wanted to talk to you privately.”
Visanee is so pretty, the thought came out of the blue, but she would never be interested in a short, fat Zenin like me. The only reason I am here is because my mom is palace Healer and because I show promise. Then I found myself speaking, “Talk to me about what your Highness?”
"I..." Visanee smiled flirtatiously as she replied. “Trevas, we have known each other since we were babies. You know you can call me by my name. I was wondering if you could do me a big favor.”
“Ummm... sure, what can I do for you your High... Visanee?” I heard myself as Trevas ask.
She seemed nervous, wringing her hands and her tail twitching as she replied, “Do you think you can get me a pouch of Corrune pollen?”
Another thought came to me. She has been yawning during our history and geography lessons lately, perhaps she is having trouble sleeping? “I guess I could ask my mom.”
Visanee shook her head, “No I don't want your mom to know. She would tell my parents and they would... umm they would all worry. My Giftsun is under two sevensuns away, I do not want everyone to worry about me.”
I realized that I was a passenger in Trevas' mind. This must be a memory.“I guess I could gather some and bring it to your rooms later today.” There was uncertainty in his mind and his voice.
“I would be very grateful Trevas. So grateful I could kiss you.” I could feel his heart leap at that.
I was brought back to the present as his hand left mine and the book and scrolls fell to the floor. I felt bad for Trevas. The poor boy had it bad for Visanee. Seeing me here not remembering him, a childhood friend who clearly wanted to be more, must be hard on him. I quickly bent over to pick up the reading materials. “Sorry, my mind kinda went blank there for a minute.” I could feel the feelings he had for her, me, and I felt for him. I may have wanted to be a girl all my life but I still knew what it felt like to be a horny teenager and carrying a torch for someone I had no chance with. “Thanks for the book and the scrolls.”
He looked away as he replied, “Think nothing of it your Highness. I guess I will be seeing you both for lessons soon. If either of you has any questions before my mom... Lady Larane returns, just come find me. I will try to help if I can.”
Jezz and I took that as our cue to go and stood and headed to the door. “Thanks again Trevas, we'll see you around.” We left the Healers rooms and as the doors closed behind us I took a deep breath to calm myself. “So where to next?” I had thought briefly of telling Jezz what just happened but I wasn't sure how to talk to her about it without the subject of my new Gifts coming up and possibly that of my inadvertently hearing her own thoughts.
“Let's go t' the palace gardens 'Lex. I'll show ya the Healin' herbs,” was the Cinole's reply as she flew off down the hallway leading the way. Soon we were out in one of the courtyards which sported a large garden. There were some fruit trees and a few varieties of vegetables grown there, but mostly it was
herbs. I saw some red and blue flowers as well and I recognized them from the lakeside gardens where Jezz and I had first met.
“Those flowers look familiar, are they common here?” I asked.
“The blue 'uns are corrune, they're only found here in Azure. The pollen makes folks sleep. The red 'uns are red bonnets, they...” she trailed off as she began to blush. “Best not go smellin' either with yer sens'tive nose 'Lex. Gotta b' careful collectin' the pollen fer use.”
“Come on Jezz, what do the red ones do?” I asked, curious what was making her so embarrassed.
“They make folks more alert but they also make 'em feel... desire.” She answered as she looked away.
I too blushed under my fur as I realized she meant that they were an aphrodisiac. I could feel that warm feeling coming from her again and I couldn't help wondering what she was thinking about. Was she thinking about me in that way? “Oh,” was my not so clever reply. “So ummm what are these other ones?” I asked, trying to change the topic.
She ran through all the various herbs there, many were the same as we had on earth, though I had never really known of their medicinal uses before. Another that was not from earth, at least that I knew of, was padith which has a variety of uses in Healing and is often used in potions. There was also loiku, a common plant in the Greylands whose fibers is used in making cotton-like cloth. The large roots are very sweet and are ground to make a pink sugar-like substance which is referred to by the same name as the plant. The sweetener is used to make potions more palatable.
Another important plant was stingweed, it has purple leaves and long sharp needles. The needles are used by Healers for drawing blood and injections when needed and the leaves contain an aloe-like gel used to treat burns and scrapes. Finally, there was also shiide, a plant with gummy leaves that tastes and smells very minty and is also a mild relaxant. I tried chewing on one of those leaves and found it a lot like chewing gum. Too bad it wouldn't let me blow any bubbles.
We spent a good two hours, sorry candlemarks not hours, in the garden going over the various plants and their uses, though I was sure to keep my nose away from the red bonnets. When we got hungry we pulled a couple of blue citrus fruits from a tree and ate them. They were called rillfruit and were a bit tart but very tasty. Finally when Jezz thought I had had enough we headed for the Drakans courtyard to spend some time playing with Michelle and Grayle before the midday meal.
As the day plodded onward I found myself wondering more and more what Jezz was thinking. She had been with me all through the morning, we had taken lunch together in my rooms, and we spent the early afternoon going over the book and scrolls Trevas had loaned me. She was fun to be with and I knew she was feeling more than friendship for me, as on several occasions I felt that warm feeling I had felt from her when I had accidentally read her thoughts. And as I wondered what she was thinking I also wondered what to do about it. I needed to think.
Finally I couldn't take it any more and told Jezz I needed some time alone to focus on what I thought might be my Wilder Gift. I told her I had been feeling things from Chrissy all morning, leaving out that I had been feeling things from her and Trevas as and everyone else we met as well. Technically it was all true and I was hoping some time sitting alone in the Queen's courtyard, with only the animals and birds around me would help me focus my thoughts. So it came to pass that a candlemark before dinner I was standing before the great doors and their Jiquar guards. “I would like inside please.”
“Yes your Highness,” said the grey one, and they quickly unbarred and opened the doors. Then I placed my hand on the inner door and it opened to allow me access. It was just like I remembered it from the day before, but the illusion of the sky showed the sun preparing to set, just as it was outside. Chrissy was quick to jump from my shoulder to run off and explore and soon I was feeling the emotions of the other creatures around me.
There was a veritable cornucopia of emotions amongst the birds and beasts: Hunger, excitement, curiosity, fear, contentment. The emotions washed over me, soothed me, made me feel connected to the land I was bound to. I stopped walking when I got to the fountain and rather than finding a bench to sit on I just sat right there in the lotus position. Then I closed my eyes and opened myself to the land. Itari's voice soon filled my mind. ~I did not think you would come to visit me again so soon Alexis.~
I sighed as I formulated an answer. “I needed to get away for a bit. I am confused and uncertain what to do.”
~Ah yes, your Gifts have come to you. You will get used to them in time and learn to better control them. But it is not your new awareness alone that bothers you.~ I could hear the amusement in her voice.
“No, it's not,” I admitted. “I think that I accidentally overheard Jezz's thoughts. I think she likes me as more than just a friend and I don't know what to do about it. That and I feel bad about intruding in her mind, even if it was an accident.”
~You are learning, there will be accidents. You will learn from them. I can not tell you what to do with your life. We do not interfere in the lives of mortals.~ There was a bitterness in her thoughts at that.
“Wasn't making the land here habitable interfering? Aren't You interfering each time You bind one of us to the land? Isn't even talking to me interfering?” I asked, genuinely confused about it.
~No,~ was her firm reply. ~The fountain is a great source of power and must not fall into the wrong hands. It must be protected. The hostility of the land before your people came here was a way to protect the fountain. When I made the vow with your ancestor I merely exchanged one form of protection for another. Your people would have continued living here regardless. Speaking with me no more interferes with your fate than you speaking with a friend or relative or even a stranger. It is you who ultimately makes your decisions and guides your fate. So long as I do not try to influence you there is no interference.~
“What about Selune?” I asked. “Doesn't She interfere by giving us Gifts? The right Gift in the right hands could likely change this whole world.”
I could have sworn I felt sadness in her tone as she replied. ~Selune gives Gifts but she can not know how those Gifts will be used, nor will she tell you how to use a Gift she has given. She merely bestows them and hopes for the best. It is up to each of you whether you will cherish your Gifts and use them for good or let the power corrupt you. People are not born good or evil, it is the events of one's life which shapes the soul. None of us, save one, would dare to tell a mortal how to use a Gift given them, especially not the greatest Gift, life itself.”~ There was bitterness as she said the last.
“Save one?” I wondered aloud.
The bitterness increased. ~Would you like to hear a story? Fear not, I will tell you nothing you would not be able to find in the library on your own if you chose to.~
I nodded my head, then fearing She may not have seen it I said, “Sure.”
~I have a brother,~ She began. ~Lharus, God of the Sky. He and Selune were deeply in love and bound themselves to one another. On the night of their union they gave one another gifts to show their love. Lharus used his winds to carve Selune's likeness into a great stone spire. Selune, trusting Lharus gave him a portion of her power. Lharus used this power well at first, giving Gifts as Selune herself did. Soon though the power corrupted him. He saw mortals using Gifts in ways that he was not expecting. He began to think that the world would be better if the mortals used these Gifts only as he intended. He began to whisper to mortals on the wind, promising them power if they would follow him. He started to use these Gifted mortals to shape events and mold the world as he felt it should be. The power drove him mad. He began to call himself The One God and favored only Humans with his Gifts as they craved power most of all. In her anger Selune had me destroy the gift Lharus gave her and for many passes she gave Gifts to no one. Thus the Lharusian Empire began it's expansion and your people were unable to do much but flee your homeland. Now he alone is worshiped by an Empire of Humans that threatens to one day engulf all the Greylands. Still we will not interfere, mortals must weave their own futures.~
I shook my head in shock. “Couldn't the Gods have worked together to prevent him from abusing that power?”
I could feel Her regret and a sense of loss as She answered. ~We can no more see the future than you can Alexis. We see flashes here and there, various possible outcomes, but all we can do is follow our hearts and hope for the best. That is all the advice I can give you.~
I sighed deeply, “If I follow my heart things could turn out badly. I don't even know how people in this world would react to same sex relationships. We're not even the same species. And I thought I needed to produce an heir to take on the Vow after I die.”
There was humor in Her voice now. ~Every decision has the possibility of turning out badly. Whether it turns out badly or well is all up to you and the decisions you make. You would not be the first Queen of Azure to have a female consort. Heirs can be produced outside of wedlock, all that matters is your blood and the will to protect this place and your people. If you pass both those down to a daughter then the vow will be renewed with her.~
“I thought you couldn't interfere,” I said grumbling.
~I am not. I am merely telling you what your options are, I do not favor any particular choice nor will I suggest one. It is you who will decide the path you take.~
I nodded sadly, “I guess you're right. I'm no better or worse off than when I came in here and I still have a decision to make. But if you can't interfere, why talk to me at all?”
~You are bound to the land, the fountain and thus to me. Does a mother stop talking to her child once they reach maturity? No, they watch them become the person they were meant to be, hope they turn out well, and provide a loving heart and listening ear when needed.~ She gave me a warm mental hug. ~I can not interfere in your life but I will be here to listen and embrace you when needed.~
“Thanks Itari, I should go now, I think dinner is soon. I'll see you again soon.” I returned her mental hug.
As I walked away I could feel her mental grip loosening as I heard her say, ~I will be here Alexis.~ Chrissy found me near the entrance and climbed up my leg to make her way to her usual spot. She was a bit hungry but I could feel her happiness wrapping around me as I lovingly stroked her fur and she began to hum. As the great doors were barred behind us I began to give serious thought to what I really wanted to do about Jezz.
Dinner was a quiet affair that night, devoid of all the well wishers and revelers of the past several nights. Patar was still on patrol and both my parents mostly discussed an upcoming trip to Draden, Azure's largest port city and home to some very nice beaches if my mother was to be believed. They planned to stay at our summer house there while they made a tour of the various port towns and held court for nobility, merchants, and other citizens with matters to discuss who might not easily travel to the capital. They asked if Jezz and I would like to accompany them but we turned down the offer. Traveling that kind of distance with two Draklings was just too impractical and neither of us wanted to go have fun without them
Other than that I hardly spoke. I was feeding little tidbits to Chrissy, who was becoming very fond of sweets, when Michelle's voice pop into my head. ~Alex, is something wrong? Your emotions have been bouncing around like a pinball all night.~
I fed Chrissy another piece of my tart before finishing it myself. ~I discovered some of my Gifts this morning.~
~Isn't that a good thing?~ she asked. ~What can you do?~
I washed down my tart with the last of my sweet milk. ~I seem to be able to read the emotions of people and animals.~
~An empath huh? Do you think it's influencing your own moods? Is that why you're all brooding and sad one moment and happy or nervous the next?~ There was concern in her mind as she asked.
I only barely stopped myself from shaking my head in response. ~No. Something happened when I touched Jezz earlier. I think I read her mind.~
I could feel her interest spark. ~Telepathy? That could be a useful talent. Have you tried speaking with anyone like you do me?~
~No,~ I responded. ~It only happened when I touched Jezz and later when Trevas and I accidentally touched. I don't know if I was reading his thoughts or not, it was more like I was watching one of his memories through his own eyes.~
~Maybe your telepathy is only touch based, didn't Patar say something about that being a possibility for some Gifts? Maybe you could get Jezz to help you test this?~
~I'd have to explain to her how I learned about this ability.~ That was not something I looked forward to at all. ~The thoughts I picked up from her were personal. I had no right to hear them. If they really were her thoughts then she's attracted to me, but she doesn't think I'd be interested and doesn't want to risk our friendship.~
I could have sworn she was laughing at me as she replied. ~And how do you feel about her? Do you want to jump her bones too or are guys more your thing?~
I blushed at that and was very happy that my fur was there to conceal it. ~Well we have a lot in common, we get along great, and I really like her. I find her very attractive, but we're not even the same species. As for guys I've seen a few of those I've found attractive since coming here, I've seen other girls I've found attractive too, but looks aren't important to me. I want a connection.~
~Race isn't important Alex.~ Michelle told me sternly. ~You said it yourself, you want a connection. If you feel that connection with someone you're attracted to then everything else isn't important. Now stop moping and make a decision, if you need me I'll be napping.~
~Thanks sis, rest well,~ I replied as I turned my attention back to the world around me. I picked Chrissy up, nuzzling her against my cheek before placing her on my shoulder so she could take her spot around my neck. “Mom, Dad, may we be excused? I'm finished and I think I'd like to go over a few of the things that I learned earlier today. Jezz would you care to come with me?”
Jezz nodded, her wings fluttering as she stretched a bit. “Ya 'Lex. We did go o'er a lot. I'm sure you'll have it all mem'rized soon.”
My mother nodded her head and smiled at us, “You are both excused. Try not to study too hard though, you have plenty of time to learn everything.”
Jezz and I were sitting on the massive bed in my bedchamber and I had sent Felice away for the evening, promising to ring for her if I needed anything. She could hear me ring from anywhere in the palace since an Enchanter had connected the bell I used to one of the earrings she wore. I tried to find a sitting position on the bed that was comfortable for my tail, but finding none I had given up and instead reclined on my belly facing Jezz.
Jezz had taken a similar position and we were facing one another just close enough to reach out and hold hands if we chose. “So 'Lex. Which o' the Healin' lessons did ya wan' t' go o'er?”
I shook my head, “I'm fine with all the Healing stuff we went over. There is something else Gift related I want to talk to you about.”
She nodded and looked toward Chrissy who was stretched out on a pillow. “Is this 'bout yer Wilder Gift?”
I took a deep breath, “Kind of. I've been picking up emotions from Chrissy and other animals all day. I've been picking them up from people too, though peoples emotional states seem a lot more complex and can be hard to figure out. I think there may be one other thing though.”
She seemed to be following me as she nodded and smiled, “Yer Gifts are comin' fast 'Lex. It makes sense yer Diviner Gifts are sim'lar t' yer Wilder Gifts. So what's the other thing?”
I swallowed the lump forming in my throat. “I think I can read minds when I touch people. It happened earlier with Trevas. I think I saw one of his memories of Visanee. He kinda has a thing for her... me. It happened before that too with... someone else. Michelle suggested trying to see if I can do it again, or maybe try speaking mind to mind with someone other than her.”
Jezz looked uncertain for a moment before reluctantly agreeing. I tried at first reaching out for her mind without touching but all that served to do was give me a headache. Finally I reached out and took her hands in mine. And then her mind was suddenly open. ~What do I do if this works? I've never been mind to mind with anyone but Grayle or Uncle Patar.~
~Jezz can you hear me?~ I ventured, now that the connection was made.
~Alex? I can't believe we're talking this way!~ Her thoughts were tinged with excitement, uncertainty and nervousness.
~Would you two keep it down, I'm trying to take a nap. Wait.. why am I hearing Jezz's voice and what happened to her accent?~ Came Michelle's voice.
~Uncle Patar says mind speech is interpreted by our minds as we would think the words ourselves. It's mostly images and concepts that we ourselves put into words to make it easier to understand.~ Jezz responded. ~I have no idea though how you can hear me.~
~Maybe it has something to do with the permanent mind link between Drakan and Chosen?~ I offered. ~Grayle, can you hear us too?~
Another voice, one like soft music and silk, broke in. ~I can hear you all. This is very strange, but it is nice to speak with someone other than my Chosen. No offense to you of course Jezz.~
~None taken my sweet Grayle.~ Jezz responded with a warmth in her mind.
~As fascinating as this is, could we practice this more later? Dinner made me sleepy and it's hard to sleep when you've got a party going on in your head.~ Michelle offered sleepily.
~I will work on a way to not bother you whenever I do this,~ I assured Michelle as I let go of Jezz's hands and severed the mind link. When I opened my eyes I was staring into hers. I'd never noticed before how very green they were. “Well it looks like that worked,” I said as I looked away.
“Ya, 'Lex, tha' could be useful,” Jezz said.
I let out a breath I hadn't realized I had been holding and spoke, “Ummm, Jezz. The first time I read someone's mind.” I paused and took another deep breath to steel myself. “It was when I took you by the hand this morning. You were thinking things about... me I think. I swear I didn't mean to do it! It just hit me out of nowhere, I had no control over it!”
The Cinole's emerald eyes went wide and she blushed as she realized what the nature of those thoughts might have been. “I'm so sorry 'Lex. I dinna wan' t' say anythin' I was worried it would ruin our friendship.” She hung her head down and started to move away, “I should go, ya prob'ly don' wan' me too close now.”
I took her hands firmly in my own and concentrated very hard on sending to only her, hoping not to bother our sleeping companions. ~Jezz! I'm not mad at you, or uncomfortable or anything. You're not going anywhere.~
~But you're the Princess and I'm just a lower class Healer in training.~ She thought at me frantically, backing away. I noticed she didn't seem to share my previous concern over us not being the same species. ~You need to find a nice Zenin man to give you heirs.~
~What if I don't want a nice man? I think I can decide what's best for me. I am the Princess right? Even if I weren't your friend you'd willingly do anything I ask?~ I sent, gripping her hands more firmly, but not tight enough to hurt her as I pulled her back toward me.
~Yes, your Highness,~ she replied uncertainly.
~I told you to call me Alex,~ I insisted.
She sighed, uncertainty, affection, fear and hope all swirling around in her mind as she spoke. ~Alex, if you ask it I will stay and just be your friend. I'll never try to be more to you then you want. We can forget all this and never mention it again, we can...~
I quickly cut her off, opening my eyes to look into hers and squeezed her hands in my own shaking ones. ~Jezz, this is an order. Shut up and kiss me.~
Image by Andree Wallin at http://andreewallin.deviantart.com/gallery/?offset=24
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