The First Her

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Part 54

Vrox’s advice didn’t work.

The massages and medicine weren’t alleviating Terra’s pain. She cried through the night, and Kira was slowly sinking into insanity.

To avoid the risk of hurting the fetus, they had sex that night. Kira was a teary mess in Vrox’s arms as he gently rocked into her. She was so upset by Terra’s crying that she was barely aroused.

Vrox peppered her face with kisses and rubbed his nose once he was done pumping into her. He was trying to calm her, and she appreciated it because she knew he also felt upset.

Thighs still dripping, Kira pulled away and picked up Terra from her crib. No amount of kisses or stroking from either parent would calm her down.

“I do not understand,” Vrox said as he massaged Terra’s temples, being careful with his nails. “It should work. I was so sure this would work.”

He picked up Terra and secured her on his unscaled shoulder. Then, he gently pat her back. “I know it hurts little flower. Father is so sorry. I wish I could feel this pain for you.”

Kira crawled forward, so she sat on Vrox’s lap, and then tossed her arms around him. Terra kept crying between them. She didn’t stop until she was too tired to cry anymore.

– • –

Kira slept for about three hours before Vrox had to get up and check in with the men. Terra was thankfully still sleeping, the poor thing exhausted. Instead of going to the common room, Kira helped Ni’ev fill a small pool of warm water.

Just as they finished, Terra woke up. Kira was quick to slip into the pool. She breastfed Terra and hummed. They couldn’t stay in the pool forever, but at least she could offer a few minutes of peace.

She slipped out when the water began to cool, thankful that Terra slipped into a milk-induced sleep.

In the common room, the only thing she could do was fidget. Nebula was cleaning the slots in the walls and organizing the few dozen Ezronian books that remained intact. Lamara was making her own book that listed observations of her pregnancy.

She asked Kira a few questions here and there. Their pregnancies were very similar. Kira’s latest pregnancy, however, was a mystery. Terra’s twin seemed to be developing at the rate of a human baby.

“Are you okay?” Lamara whispered to not wake Terra.

“It’s just… the stress. There’s a lot going on.”

Would Draekon and Rokan return soon? Would they bring good news? Was the prince at their heels? The waiting was unnerving.

“I should check on Layla,” she sighed. “Can you keep an eye on Terra?”

“Of course.”

With Ni’ev at her heels and Kyros protecting the women, she left for Layla’s room. Akdronis was guarding as usual, although he seemed to be more alert. The same could be said for any other warrior in The Ruins. Everyone was on their toes, waiting for enemies to pour in.

Layla was awake. She was sitting up and observing her fingers. When she noticed Kira, she shook her head. “I can’t. I can’t talk.”

Kira took a deep, calming breath.

Be patient. Queens don’t rupture. They build bridges.

“My baby is sick, and we still don’t know how many spies are lurking around. I need your help. Please.”

Layla shook her head. “I want to help you, I do… but I just can’t.”

“Did someone threaten you?”

She pursed her lips.

“Just give me a hint of who it is. Please?”

Layla struggled before delivering, “just… don’t trust anyone but your husband, okay? No other man.”

“But Vrox has many brothers. Six of them. I trust them with my life.”

“Just be careful,” Layla whispered, her guilt stark.

She was close to cracking. Kira would feel it in her bones.

“Thank you. Take care of yourself. You’re important.” With that, Kira returned to the common room just in time to hear Terra wake up.

That night, she had to skip the council meeting because she had to take care of Terra. The baby was quieter, but Kira wasn’t sure if it was because of healing or a lack of energy.

“Kira.”

She stopped pacing. Vrox was back, and he looked stern.

“How did the meeting go?” she asked.

“I lied to them.”

“Huh?”

Vrox reached for his golden shoulder straps and pulled his heavy cape off, tossing the precious material that announced him as king on the ground. He then stepped over it and kissed her as if she was all he needed.

“Draekon and Rokan came back,” he whispered against her lips.

She threw her head back. “What? It has only been a day. What… what did they find?”

“I love you, Kira.”

“You’re scaring me.”

“The prince will be here in two days. That is what Rokan estimated. Draekon found him along the way and brought him home. No one knows they arrived but Akdronis, you, and I.”

“Why would you keep this from the Council?”

“I'm beginning to think there's a spy in the ranks.”

“But… the men? Will they be prepared if they don’t know the arrival date?”

“They are already on high alert.”

Two days? Having a date only worsened her worry.

“Rokan and Draekon will remain in hiding, but they are here, watching over you and the females.”

She swallowed hard and allowed silence to waltz with her fears.

When she realized she didn’t reply, she said, “I love to too.”

– • –

Kira swatted at the green, pushing past the leaves that stood between herself and her freedom. She could hear the monster mowing down the wilderness behind her, grunting out words that sounded as heavy as his footsteps.

She could remember that day like it was yesterday– the day she stumbled upon Vrox for the first time and ran for her life.

The terror of that moment paled in comparison to today’s horror.

The red horizon had arrived, and it was ready to rain its downpour.

It was early in the morning, and the sun was slowly opening its eye, ready to glare at its subjects. The sky was bloody, and the air was warmer than usual.

She stared outside, her baby at her breast and her female friends behind her. Vrox slipped them all to the highest floor of the pyramid, leaving them with the protection of Ni’ev and Draekon.

The trees in the distance shifted from the wind. Once, twice, a thousand times. Hours passed, and her legs ached, but she remained standing. Terra slept, and she was grateful for that. Her last request to the universe was that Vrox came back unharmed.

“You should sit, Kira. It will be a long…”

An arrow took flight from one of the lower levels of the pyramid, and fell by the treeline. A warning shot.

Seconds later, a single male emerged from the wilderness. Even from the distance, Kira could sense his power.

One hundred of her warriors flooded the arena, ready to defend The Ruins and its leaders.

On the front of the pack was the Crowned Commander, his head crowned with two long, black, slightly curved horns that pointed upwards, left arm dotted with diamond-shaped scales. Over the past two days, his transformation ran its course. He no longer needed his cape, because his body was the crown that declared him king.

Kira couldn’t see his face from where she was, but she knew that it was narrowed with possessiveness. She knew because she saw it when they made love the first time and procreated Terra.

He would bring down the raging sun itself to keep her and Terra safe. Everyone knew this. And if the prince was intelligent, he would know it too.

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