Once in her room, Kira picked up her notes and updated them. She was trying to keep track of the Terran-Ezron clash. It would go down in the history books.
She sighed as she thought of the new girl. Her maternal instinct was demanding that she took care of her, but she didn’t know where to start. How could she, when she didn’t even know the girl’s name?
Vrox threw away the rag he had been using to clean his sword, and propped the weapon on the corner.
He sank down on the bed. “What bothers you?”
“I’m just worried. Too much is happening, too fast.”
“I will take care of you.” He slid down until his face was leveled with her stomach.
“No, Vrox. I can’t tonight. I’m sore.”
He chuckled. “I was not going to taste you.” He nuzzled his face against her stomach and wrapped an arm around her legs. His breath felt calming against her skin. She put her notes on their bedside table, and ran a hand through his cropped black hair.
“I’m glad we’re back,” she told him. “We’re stronger together.”
“Yes, we are..”
They fell asleep like that, as a family. Terra woke up once in the middle of the night, crying from hunger. Kira tried to slide off the bed, but a wave of dizziness made moving impossible. Vrox was quick to bring the baby to her. He sat behind Kira, cradling her between his thighs, and held Terra as she drank from her mother.
“Get some sleep,” he whispered. “I will wake you later. We must attend a Council meeting in the morning.”
She smiled, loving how Vrox was willing to include her in future conversations. She fell asleep with Terra still attached to her, knowing that the Commander would take care of them both.
– • –
That morning, she rushed to get ready.
“Grab a blanket. It is cold,” Vrox told her.
“Haven’t done laundry. They’re all dirty. Come on, we have to go!”
Vrox sighed and ripped his cape off his shoulders.
“What are you doing?” she asked when he tossed it around her. “You need to stop throwing this thing around. You know how important it is.”
Vrox scoffed. “A piece of fur does not compare to one of the few females remaining on Ezron.”
“But the guys said that only your blood family can use this.”
“You are carrying my second hair. Technically, you have my blood inside you.”
“Technically, you are a big headed–”
He smacked a kiss on her lips and grabbed Terra’s bassinet. “Let us go.”
They walked to the highest level, where the meetings are held. Ni’ev, Wo’ton, Usuri, and Terson were already waiting.
“Commander, High Mother,” Wo’ton greeted. He looked down at the basket. “Hello, princess.”
“Hi, everyone,” Kira smiled.
“Mothers,” Vrox offered. “Tonight, I will go down the secret passage with a group of men. It is important to find out what else is there.”
Usuri nodded. “Some men have been guarding the entrance, but saw no strange activity.”
“Good. Let us hope that there is nothing but dust. We have bigger problems to deal with since the prince is coming our way. We cannot afford distractions.”
“Of course,” Usuri agreed. “We must focus on preparing. High Mother, how are the pepper bombs?”
“They’re fine,” she assured. “Nebula and I prepared more than enough.”
“Well done. We have good news for you as well.”
“Oh?” she looked at Vrox curiously. His hand went around her to caress the side of her stomach.
“The Council has approved your suggestion. It is an odd shift in our culture to allow trials, but we cannot ask you to abandon your values after you have saved our planet by giving us Princess Terra. Your suggestion will be passed to the people for voting.”
She almost dropped to her knees and cried.
Vrox squeezed her hip in silent support.
“There is one last thing we must discuss,” Ni’ev said. “Two men were gravely injured yesterday.”
“Hunting. I think you and Vrox should visit them.”
“Yes,” Terson agreed. “That would go a long way.”
Kira nodded. “I’m sure Nebula and Lamara can watch Terra for a while. Vrox?”
“We will go this afternoon, then. Is this all?”
When no one replied, Vrox said, “meeting dismissed.”
Terson remained behind for a few moments to thank Vrox for adding him to the Council. The men grasped forearms and went separate ways.
“You love touching Terson.”
Vrox chuckled. “What nonsense do you speak of?”
“You get sweaty, pant, and rub all over him when you train. I’m starting to get jealous.”
“Jealous? Of Terson?” he threw his head back and laughed. “Trust me, there is nothing that male carries that interests me. He is a good friend, but I am more interested in his fists than cock.”
“My fists are going to get interested in him if he keeps touching my man,” she teased.
Vrox snorted. “Ridiculous female. Come, let us check on the men. We have plenty to do before we check the secret passage tonight.”
“What do you think is down there?” she asked, looking at the covered hole.
Vrox shrugged. “I am hoping that I will find a portal I can toss Kyros through. He is getting on my nerves again.”
They stopped by the common room to greet the women, leaving Terra with them. Kira decided to check on the mystery girl, too. They passed Draekon on their way inside. The girl was on the bed, surrounded by scraps of food. Her skin and hair looked cleaner, too.
“Hey,” Kira said in English. “I’m just checking in.” Although she wasn’t expecting any replies, she asked, “how are you feeling?”
“I have to leave.”
Her voice was faint, but the words couldn’t be missed.
Kira rushed inside, her eyes wide. “Leave? Where do you want to go?”
“I have to leave.”
Kira sighed. She raised a hand to signal Vrox to stay away and sat on the edge of the bed.
The girl turned away and hid under her covers. “Please let me go.”
“I want to help you, but I need to know some things first. Will you tell me your name?”
The girl remained silent.
“I will try to get you where you want to go, okay?” she slowly reached for her hand, unsure if contact would be welcomed. Her fingertips skimmed over her cold hand.
“You’re not my prisoner,” Kira told her.
The girl pushed the covers away and looked at Kira with alarm.
“What?” Kira asked.
“He said the same thing once,” she rasped, tears spilling.
She began to sob. Compassion burned in Kira’s chest. She knew what it was it was like to feel alone on this foreign land.
Although she knew she the girl was unstable, she couldn’t help but wrap her arms around her. “It’s alright,” she shushed, her pregnant stomach flush against her. “You’ll be okay. I’m here.”
Vrox watched from the entrance, convinced that Kira was born to be a queen.