The blob tentacles stopped at Elder Stow’s screen. It tried again, and kept trying, but it was not going to get into the cavern that way. Boston saw the other two blobs arrive, and wondered if they had some way of communicating over distances. She could not imagine.
Elder Stow came to the entrance and spoke as he looked at his scanner. “You see? I was mistaken in my initial scan. I imagined they were more insect-like, and they do have many characteristics of earth insect life, but with a better, more thorough scan, I see they are more plant-like creatures. I must have picked up too many flies in the brief scan I got in Rebecca’s day.”
“That would make them even more difficult to find on a rainforest and mangrove covered island,” Boston said most assuredly. She was the only one listening, as Lockhart, Decker, and now Alexis and Lincoln had all come up to meet Kinitap’s friends.
“Feilo and Reef,” Kinitap introduced them. The travelers suspected that was the case.
“Good to meet you,” Reef said
“Soun Nan-Leng?” Lincoln asked the girl. Her eyes got big and shot to Kinitap. Feilo frowned and also looked at his friend. Lincoln figured out that he should not have said anything when Alexis slipped her arms around his waist and smiled at him.
“It’s okay,” Kinitap said, under the scrutiny of so many eyes. “I think I figured that out.”
Alexis turned her eyes on reef. “Your mother asked us to tell you that it wouldn’t hurt to visit her once in a while.”
“Feilo…” Reef looked upset that her secret got out, but he just took her in his arms and kissed her.
“Now,” he said gently when they parted. Reef took a moment to smile happily before the words penetrated, then everyone in the cavern, the horses and all the travelers’ equipment vanished and reappeared on the island of Temwen. Some people screamed, and the horses got restless for a moment, but the travelers and, for the most part, the horses were getting used to being moved instantly by divine action.
“Welcome to Temwen,” Feilo said to the people. “The blobs cannot come here since the land bridge was destroyed. Please. Catch up with your cousins and friends that are already here. We are working on sending the blobs away. Another year, perhaps. We have to be patient.” He turned to the travelers, but they were busy watching.
The people from the cavern moved quickly toward what looked like the biggest village they had yet seen, even if most of the houses were destroyed by the storm. A small beach had been carved out of the mangrove, and a number of canoe-like boats were lashed to the trees there. That was good. The people could still fish and feed themselves.
Katie pointed as people in small groups came down the hillside. Lockhart imagined they went up into the hills, perhaps to some different caves to weather the storm. Boston was looking at her amulet and voiced the problem.
“How are we going to get to the gate?” she asked and pointed. “It has got to be thirty miles out to sea.”
Lincoln spoke over her. “How are you going to send the blobs away?”
Feilo took Reef’s hand to keep her steady. She smiled and rubbed her shoulder against his. A cat might have purred. He looked at Boston and Lincoln and chose to answer Lincoln first.
“Their ship, a nine-blob craft as far as I can tell, crashed off the coast a year ago. There were five escape pods. The other four melted in the salt water when the ship flooded. I assume there were four.” Feilo shrugged. “One landed on Temwen, and we drove it into the mangrove where it got caught in the rising tide. One came to the land bridge where we pulled the land out from beneath it and made Temwen an actual island.”
“I did that,” Reef said, and she sounded sad to admit it.
“I am sure it would have just eaten all the people,” Alexis said to her, and she nodded, like she knew that, but she still felt sorry for the blob.
“Anyway,” Feilo continued. “Reef’s mom brought the ship to me. She said it was messing up her living room.”
“Caroline,” Lincoln named the woman.
“The sea.” Feilo nodded. “Reef collected the pods and we have put them back in the ship. I am working on repairing it so I can at least send the last three blobs back into space. No sign of battle damage.”
“War?” Decker asked.
Feilo shook his head. “Not really. The Anazi are pretty much running things. The blobs are just resisting the longest.”
“They are a form of plant life?” Elder Stow asked.
Feilo took a deep breath, like a man who thought the interview should be over. “The Anazi are more like we would call mammals.”
“So far,” Lockhart interjected. “We have seen two reptile species, two bird species, one mammal, the Bluebloods, and now one plant species.”
“No,” Feilo said. “The Balok serpents were amphibians. Their young were raised in the water. The Bluebloods were cold-blooded reptiles. Don’t let their human-like appearance fool you.”
“They defied classification,” Feilo said. “But the Anazi are as close as you can get at this point to something mammal-like. Anyway, they have a Human-Blueblood shape, more than some.”
“We haven’t met them yet,” Katie said.
“Hope you don’t,” Feilo responded and he turned his back on them to walk away. Reef let go of Feilo’s hand and watched, sad eyed. Kinitap spoke before the others could follow.
“I’ll watch him. I have to report from the north camp. We are trying to keep an eye on the Tedek. They are people eaters, you know.”
“Bet you wouldn’t mind if the blobs moved into Tedek territory.”
Kinitap paused. “I saw my best friend absorbed,” he said. “But here, do you see how special you are? That is more words than I have ever heard Feilo say at one time.” He turned and jogged to catch up with Feilo.
“But wait,” Boston protested. “How are we going to get to the next time gate?”
“All the same,” Mingus said. “We better wrap up everything in fairy weave and waterproof it. We might not get wet on this side, but a water gate leads to another water gate and no telling how deep it may be on the other side.”
No one disagreed with that idea, and it took about an hour to get everything as water tight as they could make it. Reef watched while Boston, and eventually Alexis and Katie talked with her.
“This is the first time the Kairos didn’t call me and give me a big hug,” Boston said in a weepy voice.
“I can’t hardly get him to hug me,” Reef said in an equally weepy voice.
“I love him so much,” Boston and Reef spoke at the same time
“But not in the way you mean,” Boston said, quickly.
“No,” Reef agreed. “Not in the way you mean.”
A few tears began to fall, and Alexis felt obliged to interrupt.
“He must be tired. He has lived fifty-five lifetimes, over twenty-five hundred years without a break.”
“It must be hard to start over again every time from scratch,” Katie was thinking.
Reef nodded. “Mother says this time he ended up broken.”
“At least he saved you in the jungle,” Alexis encouraged Boston.
Boston looked at her and began to cry in earnest. “He’s the best,” she blubbed.
Mingus came to her and hugged her before he put her in Alexis’ arms. “Alexis is much better at this sort of thing than I am, as she well knows,” he said. It was almost an admission of guilt, but Alexis did not have time to marvel. They were ready to go, and as soon as they walked to a place where they were covered by the trees, Reef transported them all instantly to a spot thirty miles out to sea.
“How is it we are standing here, on top of the water?” Lincoln asked right away
Lincoln nodded. Lockhart spoke.
“Mount up. Thank you.”
Everyone said thank you, and as usual, Boston was at the rear. Reef stopped her before she got up on Honey. They hugged, and Reef said, “Consider this a hug from Feilo. I know he loves you well.”
Boston nodded, jumped on Honey’s back, and rushed through the time gate, which was not a good thing, because Honey slid on the ice and nearly fell before he hit a sufficient snow bank to stop.
Monday, the travelers go Into the Storm where they find snow, ice, and ghouls waiting. Episode 4.10 is 4 parts, and will post in one week: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Don’t miss the adventure, and in the meanwhile, Happy Reading.