A Different Species

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Chapter 14

After June had asked whether their wood supply would last them the night, Kargon volunteered to find more, or at least it was the best he could say without having her wonder why he was leaving the cave at this time of the day.

He made sure to hand her the blade he made for her before he rose to his feet.

"Stay safe." He turned to June who continued to look at him with a smile. "I'll pack everything for when we leave morning."

Kargon nodded, grabbed his things, and made his way out of their cave.

For every step he took, his worries grew. Not only was he leaving June alone for however long it would take him to get back, but also because of what could possibly happen once he arrived at his destination. After the fire that occurred a few nights prior, his orientation from home was uncertain. It was only today, on the way to their new shelter, that he was able to find landmarks that he knew led him home.

Kargon knew he couldn't bring June there right away. He had to speak to Raziel first.

His steps came to a halt when he caught sight of the lit gates of his tribe. He was supposed to have returned two weeks ago. There was no doubt in his mind that many wouldn't have questioned his disappearance, but surprisingly, it didn't bother him as much as it had in the past. In fact, he wanted to turn around right this second and run back to June.

Kargon stopped himself from doing so. While they could live in the wild for the rest of their lives, Kargon didn't want that kind of life for June. He wanted what was best for her and only Raziel could grant that for her.

He resumed his walk.

A voice called from the gates, greeting him. Kargon returned the greeting.

"Let him through," said another voice. Kargon instantly recognized it. The gates opened enough to allow Kargon to enter without having to shift his body. Nikos was already there to welcome him back home. The others who stood watch didn't leave their locations, but sent a nod in Kargon's direction. Another thing Kargon was accustomed to.

Nikos was the tallest and strongest male of the tribe. After serving a majority of his adolescent years as a warrior, he was rightfully given the title of General. Aside from Raziel, Kargon trusted Nikos with knowing about June.

"Brother," Nikos spoke. "How was your journey?"

"Unlike any other." It was the best way he could simply explain. He wished he could explain everything, but Nikos would only hear what he needed to for the night. Kargon would elaborate more some other day. "It is why I have delayed my return and why I must speak with you and Raziel."

Nikos' forehead creased. "What happened?"

"I will tell you, but I must speak with Raziel as soon as possible. It is urgent."

Nikos knew Kargon well enough to know he was serious. With a nod, he led him to Raziel's quarters. The tribe appeared to be full of only warriors during night when no celebrations occurred. Daylight would prove otherwise. None of the warriors approached the two alien men nor did they pay any attention to their words, knowing they must remain vigilant in their posts until further instructions.

"I have found a female," Kargon began.

"A female in the woods? Was she alone?"

Kargon nodded. "She had eaten a mik and would've been killed by a frol had I not been there." The memory of it had made him feel both angry and relieved. Had he arrived any moment later or gone a different direction that morning, without June, Kargon wouldn't have spent the last few weeks the way he did. Every day and night would've simply been the same as it had always been. "I was able to get the poison out of her before it spread. Since then, she's accompanied me."

"You want Raziel's permission to bring her here." It wasn't a question. Nikos understood Kargon's reason for returning.

"Yes."

"Is it someone from our old home?" Nikos asked.

Their old home. Kargon and many of the others in the tribe had not thought of it, much less spoken of it. Raziel was a different story due to his tie there.

"No," he shook his head. "Do you remember the stories Raziel told us about Tellus and it's people?"

"What about the humuhns?"

"I believe June is one of them."

Nikos steps immediately halted. "While you were gone, Raziel spoke with them during their last visit. They said Helon would've been one of the locations they'd be found at."

Chills traveled down Kargon's back. "When will they return?"

"In forty five days, unless Raziel tells them before then."

Kargon's violet eyes left Nikos' grey ones. The Amazons were not an enemy. Nepune was in fact the best option for June, should she choose to go. But Kargon couldn't imagine going back to how his life was before her. Do not be selfish.

"You wish for her to stay here." Another true statement.

Yes. He swallowed. "It is for June to decide. For now I wish for her to live within the walls of the tribe."

"I stand with you."

"Thank you, brother."

Upon reaching Raziel's home, Nikos stepped inside to inform him of Kargon's return. Kargon followed only after Nikos guided him in.

Raziel happily welcomed him. "Kargon, my friend. Please do have a seat. I thank the Goddesses for your safe return." With a nod, Nikos left to guard outside. He reached for the jug beside his empty cup and offered a drink. Kargon accepted it. Raziel continued to speak as he poured their drinks. "Nikos said there is something urgent you must tell me."

Kargon retold the same story he told Nikos. Raziel listened carefully, a bit surprised when he heard about June, but by the end of the story, his smile had returned. "How were you two able to understand each other? The humans and our people do not speak the same tongue."

"It took time, but we taught each other."

"Where is June now?"

"A cave not far from here."

"Did Nikos tell you about the Amazons?"

Kargon nodded. "It is up to June to decide if she wants to go with them, but I want her to live with the tribe until that occurs."

"Do you think she would?" Raziel arched a brow.

"I don't know," he answered honestly. "I think it is best for June."

Raziel turned his gaze away momentarily. "June would be the first human to live with our people. Things will be unusual, but as leader, I shall do my best to help whoever I can whether they are our kind or not. I will not ask you to stay. I know you wish to return to her side." He sent Kargon a small smile. "Bring her during daylight. I shall speak to everyone and have a place ready for her by the time you return."

"Thank you." Kargon did not bow his head, but thankful nonetheless. Not because he didn't want to. It was a custom at their old home. When Raziel became leader of the tribe, he did not wish for his people to bow to him. "If there is any way to rep—"

"You do not need to repay me. I want to help June."

Raziel reached for an empty bag and filled it with a few of the aplins that remained on his plate. He handed them to Kargon. "For your journey back and should June want any."

They shared another drink before Kargon joined Nikos outside. The brothers made their way back to the gates. They spoke of Raziel's decision. No goodbyes were exchanged, only 'see you at daylight' before they went their separate ways.

While Kargon was grateful for Nikos and Raziel's support, he could not predict how the rest of the tribe would react, nor how June would. Relief and anxiety clouded his thoughts that night and again in the morning.

When he returned, June had woken up. He mentally cursed himself when he saw how worried she was when she saw he returned with nothing of what he said he had left the cave for.

Now they stood only a few feet from his people.



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