Astarte did a beautiful job. Sukki cried right along with some of the other women, and Lincoln. Decker held his head most of the time, and said now he knew how Elder Stow felt, until he felt a soft arm beside him and an alluring breast pressed into his side. He looked, screamed, and ran away. Aphrodite got miffed.
“That is not the usual response I get from a man.”
Everyone around her laughed.
Most of the gods and goddesses had to go that evening, or at least the next day, but Nameless’ people knew how to celebrate, and they threw a seven-day feast that left everyone exhausted. It was expected, so the honeymoon couple could sneak away and enjoy those seven days, and no one saw much of Katie and Lockhart during that time.
When it was over, Nameless brought Sukki to the travelers and said she would be going with them. He found Wlvn to lay hands on the woman and give her some horse knowledge. He took advantage of the presence of so many gods to duplicate the hedge around her, so her words and learning about future things would not leak out into the hands of the gods. Eir clothed her in fairy weave and gave her a glamour so she could appear human, albeit a bit shorter and a more broad-shouldered twenty-year-old than most, but not inhuman.
“But how will we take her?” Katie asked, as she and Lockhart stood side by side, holding hands, and trying to concentrate on the group, and not each other.
“I have already moved her out of sync with her timeline. She will age normally, like the rest of you, but she will not age any extra when you make the time jump.”
“I was wondering where you went,” Boston said. “I looked for you for three days and could not find you anywhere.”
“Yes,” Nameless said. “It only took me three days this time. I think I am improving.”
“But why would you want to find me?” Sukki asked.
“To see if you wanted to be friends,” Boston said, in all honesty and elfish innocence.
Sukki did not know how to take that. She looked at Elder Stow, and he responded. “The offer of friendship with an elf. That is very special. You know, Boston is not human, either.”
Sukki turned red, looked back at Boston and said, “I would like that.”
“Good. So it is all settled,” Nameless said, knowing nothing was yet settled, and Katie pointed that out.
“But how can we take her. Did Casidy send back another horse for her to ride?”
Nameless just shook his head as Eir and Artie came to join the group. Artie came dressed as an android commander, and she looked sharp in the uniform, like her body was designed for it. She hugged Katie, who let a few tears fall, and hugged Lockhart, who got teary eyed, himself. Then she spoke.
“It is done. I have returned to being the android I began to be.” She grinned slightly. “An upgraded model. See? I won’t take on water anymore.” Her grin became a smile, but when Boston raced up to hug her, she lost it and began to weep. “I am going to miss you all.” She hugged them all. She even hugged Sukki and offered a word. “I am leaving them to you along with Freedom. Take care of my horse, and take care of my people. They are only human, after all.” Then she did not dally. She turned and marched off to the waiting androids and their twenty-one ships of the line.
“I have tied Freedom to Sukki,” Nameless said. “And they have gotten to know each other. Meanwhile, there is one more thing to do.”
Alexis stepped out from the group. “I’m ready.”
“What? No…” Boston did not know what to say.
“I m not going anywhere,” Alexis said. “You can still ask me questions, but you don’t need me to guide you at this point. You passed the elf maid test and the fairy test. Salaquia and Acacia had no idea you had not been born and raised an elf. They were surprised to hear that you were once human. Meanwhile, they kept wanting to call me Missus, like I was over five hundred years old. They would not believe Iwas not yet three hundred. Humans age so fast, but they also mature fast. I am sorry for my father, but I just don’t fit into the elf world anymore. I am human at heart, and that is where I belong, as Missus Benjamin Lincoln.”
“And me with you,” Lincoln said.
“And I agree,” Nameless said, and it took only a second for Alexis to be made human again
Eir stepped up to hug her husband. “It is like you healed her,” she said, but Sukki had another thought. She looked at Elder Stow.
“And you never wanted to become human?”
Elder Stow looked shocked by that idea. “No. Never entered my mind. There is nothing wrong with being Gott-Druk.”
Decker spoke up. “I warned Aphrodite that she better not make me fall for someone where I have to be turned into some creepy creature or something.”
“What did she say?” Boston asked, having already gotten over her loss of Alexis, though mostly it was because she thought Alexis and Lincoln belonged together.
“She didn’t. She just giggled. You know the way she does that you are on my list giggle thing. Very unnerving.”
Nameless said no more. The whole group simply turned to watch ships take off for the sky. Then the travelers said good-bye and took off for the next time gate, with the assurance that the Valkyrie would watch over them until they were safely gone. Katie and Lockhart took the front. Alexis and Lincoln rode in the center. Sukki and Boston brought up the rear, and Boston assured Sukki that her butt would only hurt for the first few days. Decker and Elder Stow rode out on the wings, as usual, and thus they rode through the quiet heat of the afternoon.
Begin a time on the Black Sea with Althea, sailing on the Argos, with the expected cast of characters. Join the travelers as they bump into the Argonauts, and have an explosive time.
Meanwhile, Happy Reading.