Savage Kingdom

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Eighteen

Kane periodically stares at the door to see if his sister was going to come back at any moment. It had been silent while Kito was giving the old woman lying in the bed with a drink of something he put together. The boy didn’t mind waiting patiently, but he did mind that Clara didn’t come back to at least check on him like she usually did. She always checked on him if she was near to make sure that he was alright.

He didn’t want to interrupt Kito with his work that he seems focused on. The only one that knew that she was gone was Pippie, who glances up to see the space that Clara stood before was empty. “I guess she was bored. She left.”

He looks in the spot she once stood at and his ears perk in attention. “Kane,” he says. “Where did she go?”

The little boy shrugs and puts his hand on his knees, “I dunno. I think she wanted to go outside.”

How could he have not known that she had left? Didn’t his tether to her should have let him know that she stepped away? Or was their bond not as close as he thought quite yet?

If so then it was something he needed to work on more. The thought of her leaving without him knowing brought a sour taste in his mouth he didn’t like.

Pasha laid back on her bed and looked at Kito with calm eyes, her voice softer than before with exhaustion. “You can go now, Na’Kito. I will be fine.”

Kito pats her hand and stands up while he shutting the flap of his bag on his waist, walking past Kane and stopped at the door long enough for him to speak to Pippie, “watch Kane for me while I am gone.”

“What?” His head shoots up. “You’re going to leave a kid with me? I don’t know how to watch anyone young. I don’t keep an eye on anyone under the same age as I.”

“Just do it,” he wasn’t taking no for an answer. He needed to find Clara. “I will not take too long, but it will be enough time for me to send Zeta here to come to look at your injuries. Your choice.”

Pippie was silent, then responded. “Whatever. Do not take too long.”

Kito left without a second thought and was hoping that he would just meet her outside. He was immediately alarmed when she wasn’t outside at all and only the faint scent of her lingered behind.

Just the mere thought of him not knowing where she was made his heart beat faster. Luckily he could follow where she had been just by the trail of her fragrance alone. He could even map it in his mind how she was walking slowly around each corner just from the trial, an easily learned skill after tracking for as long and as much as he had. He could even taste a hint of worry that mingled with the scent, and when he turns the second corner he could sense the fear rise.

And his eyes land on the very reason why.

“Cheeto!” Kane ran after Kito with his hands out and a smile on his face. “You didn’t tell me goodbye!”

Behind him came Pippie, “I told you to stay! Kito, grab-”

Before Kane could see the bleeding corpse Kito snatches him into his arms and covered his eyes and turned him away. Pippie froze, his face blank of all emotion. His mind was refusing to adjust to the sight that bares itself before him with a new tragic shift.

“Dia!” When it finally came to him he went over to the corpse’s side. His instinct was to grab her but he knew that it would do no good. “Dia, Na’mer’an’s stars,” He couldn’t believe his very eyes. “Did that human kill her?”

Kito rushes back to the side of the long hut and put Kane on the ground, making sure he was seated still this time. “Stay here, Kane. I mean it. No moving.”

He sensed worry. “Cheeto, why is he sad?”

“Nothing that you should worry about,” he even placed his large hand on his head in a way to comfort him. “Stay here for me, Kane. And listen to Pippie. He may say strange and mean things but he will not hurt you. He will watch you while I find Clara. ”

“Okay,” Kane nodded. “I will be good. I promise.”

He returns to the scene and left the boy in the secure spot, stopping momentarily beside Pippie who was silently mourning to see the footprints on the ground of the rarely treaded area behind the long hut. Although the tracks were helpful it was the scent that mingled with Clara’s that uncovers the one who killed her. He knew it wasn’t Clara. Deep down, he knew. A scent that made his heart drop in his chest with guilt.

Alira.

Pippie learned who it was when he saw the blue silk tunic laying a couple of steps away from where Dia lay. His features darkened. “Her. That insane Xutashi of yours.”

“She is not mine,” Kito growls at the mere thought. “what has gotten into her mind doing this? I knew that she was going mad... But this,” he was angry. Furious. Enraged. “She has Clara too. I’m going to find her. Both of them.”

“You should just kill her when you find her,” Pippie suggests about Alira. “When Skaal finds out... When they all find out... It will be better just to kill her. Or bring her back alive. I am fine with any choice you choose. I know that nose of yours will find her.”

He knew his friend was upset and angry. He even allows him to be when he gave him space by walking away, “Find Ruro and Skaal and tell them what happened but make sure Kane is somewhere safe first,” he started for the Jungle. “I’m going to find Clara before she is next.”

Pippie didn’t say anything to prolong his journey. Kito didn’t even look back when he enters the Jungle pursuing the trail that their footsteps left behind. He even channels his rage into the thick growls that filled the air.

Alira finally lost her mind.

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