Violet chatted with Arak for a few more hours, telling him all about Earth, humans, what life was like before the attack and anything else she could think of.
Despite his huge size, Arak turned out to be a sweet, overly curious guy, who seemed to love having a female to speak to. Or maybe it was that she was not only an outsider, as he called them, but someone not of his planet.
He’d asked about why they were in the Dense, and after she told him about Spot and how her and Keel had crashed into the jungle, he sent out three of his men to find the remains of their crafts and have them properly disposed of. As much as Arak spoke about wanting to get out of the jungle, he clearly loved it more than he let on. She didn’t blame him. This was his home. The only place he’d ever known. And despite how dangerous it was, there was a stunning beauty to it.
Another thing that made Violet comfortable enough to spend half the night talking with him, was that he never once tried anything with her. He wasn’t flirting, or asking inappropriate questions. He was polite and honest, and she found herself enjoying his company.
Keel was still out cold, but his skin had more color to it, and his breathing had grown calm and steady.
“Are you sure I cannot show you to a room so you may rest?” Arak asked again, standing by the door, ready to go home. He’d given her his word that a tribe warrior would be posted outside the door in case she needed anything, and that if she wanted to speak to Arak or the healer, she only needed to ask for them. The guard understood a bit of Torian, but not enough to have a conversation with.
She smiled up at him, “Thanks, but no. I’m going to stay right here until Keel wakes up.”
With one final nod, Arak left the hut. She heard him speaking to someone just outside, before his heavy footsteps moved away, leaving only the hushed silence of the early morning jungle.
Violet was exhausted. She felt like she could sleep for a week, but not until Keel woke up.
She sat by his side for a few more long hours, fighting not to drift off to sleep.
At the sound of the first splat, Violet’s heart jumped in her chest as she shot to her feet. The hut had been silent for so long that the sound echoed in the small space.
Looking around, a hopeful smile pulled at her lips when she saw one of the snot balls had rolled off Keel’s thigh and was squirming on the dirt floor at her feet.
“Keel?” She whispered, kneeling beside him. She cupped his face, looking for any sign that he was waking up.
Another splat sounded, then another and another. Before long, all the snot balls were laying on the floor. All that was left on Keel’s body was small red marks and a thick pool of slime where each ball had been attached.
“Keel? Can you hear me?” She asked again, running her hand over his hair.
Keel groaned, his head rolling to the side.
“Oh, thank God,” Violet breathed, tears stinging her eyes.
“Hey!” She called to the guard outside, “Hey, go get the healer.”
The door cracked open and a mud covered face peeked in. The males eyes took Keel in for a moment, then he gave her a short nod and left.
“Keel? Wake up, handsome.”
He groaned again, his eyes fluttering open. They rolled around in his head for a moment, before he found a spot on the ceiling to focus on.
“Hi,” she sobbed, overcome with joy, “You’re okay.”
“Violet?” He slurred, his head falling to the side to look at her. When he saw her kneeling beside him, he gave her the cutest, goofiest smile she’d ever seen.
“Hiiiii. You’re so pretty.”
Violet bit back her chuckle. If she didn’t know better, she would say that Keel was high as a kite!
“Thanks, babe. How do you feel?”
Just then, the door to the hut opened, and Arak came in, followed by the healer.
Keel’s eyes went comically wide as he stared at Arak. She felt a frantic tapping on her arm and looked down to see Keel’s hand.
She took it into hers, “What is it?”
“There’s a really big male standing over there,” He whispered so loud, that even the guard outside grunted a laugh.
“Yes. That’s Arak. The leader of the Jungle clan that saved your life.”
“Aaaarrak! Aarraarraraak. Arakkakar,” he chuckled, “That’s a funny name.”
Violet looked up at Arak, only to see him grinning as he watched Keel.
“What’s wrong with him?” She asked.
“Its a side effect of the blood cleansing. It will pass in a few minutes.”
Keel lifted his hand in front of his face then gasped.
Violet looked down at him, concerned. “What is it?”
Keel turned wide, shocked eyes to her. “Look at this,” He breathed, “I have not one, but two hands. And look how many fingers there are. Why do I have so many? Do you have so many as well? Does the big scary male? The other one has no teeth. Poor male. Should I give him some of mine? I have plenty.” His fingers were in his mouth now, running over his teeth.
Violet laughed, overcome with relief that he was fine, joy to see him awake, and just loving this dopy side to him.
Arak’s deep chuckle made Keel turn to look at the male, his fingers still in his mouth. He frowned, his eyes swimming all around the space as he tried to focus.
“Where are we?”
“This is my clan’s home. You are in the Dense.”
Keel paled, his eyes rounding again. He turned to Violet, trying to get up.
“We are in so much trouble. The Dense is baaaad. Really bad. Everything here is bitey and stingy and chewy and it wants to eat us. I don’t want to be eaten. I want to eat you, but not in the ugly way. I want to eat you in the nice way.”
Violet blushed, laughing at the things he was saying. She wished she had some way of recording him, because she would love to play this back to him when they got out of the jungle.
Violet looked up at Arak, “How much longer will this last?”
Arak was smiling wide as he stood with his arms crossed over his chest, watching them.
“Not long. It should start to fade shortly.”
The healer came over to Violet’s side and bent to examine Keel’s leg. When he pulled the damp cloth off the sting, she gasped when she saw nothing but a small red circle where the ugly black mark had been. It looked like nothing more than a bee sting now.
“Wow, that’s incredible,” She got to her feet and wrapped her arms around the old man. She held him for a moment as he stood stiff, then placed a soft kiss on his cheek, before she stepped back.
The old male said something to Arak, then left the room.
“What did he say?” Violet asked.
“That you are strange, but sweet.”
“Heeeeey!” Keel called, “That’s my mate. Do I need to go kick that old males ass?”
She turned back to Keel, “No, honey, you don’t need to worry about any of these male’s. You just get better, okay?”
His head thumped back and he closed his eyes. “Alright. Stay with me, Violet… Please…”
“I’m not going anywhere.”
She watched him relax again, worry beginning to creep in. But it didn’t take long until Keel opened his eyes once more. This time, they looked clear and focused.
“Violet?” He asked, scanning the small space until he found her, “Are you alright?”
She nodded, “I’m fine. And so are you.”
“Where are we? Did these males touch you? Did they hurt you in any-”
“Easy, big guy,” She smiled, cupping his face. He was back to his old self again, and she felt incredibly grateful for that. “I’m fine. You’re fine. We’re safe. No one touched me. No one hurt me. In fact, Arak and his people have been nothing but kind to us. You have him to thank for both our lives.”
Keel turned, his sharp eyes taking in the large male. Arak had taken the time to wash off the mud at some point since he left, and his waist long hair was in a french braid down his back.
Keel sat up, frowning down at his almost naked body, then stood. He swayed for a moment, but caught himself on the wall, then went around the cot to Arak.
“You saved my life, and protected my female. Thank you, brother,” Keel held out his arm for a warrior’s clasp. Arak took it and held it for a moment, then released him.
“You have a very interesting mate, my friend. She is… one of a kind. While you slept, she became a friend to me. So treat her well. Or You will have me to answer to.”
Keel nodded, “You will not be the only one. But have no fear, she is my everything, and will be treated with the greatest of respect, love and honor.”
Arak nodded, taking in a long breath. “Now that you are healed, you may wish to clean up and eat. My healer had to cut away your clothes, so all I can offer you is the skins our people wear in the winter.”
“Oh, so you do have clothes?” Violet snapped, one brow raised.
Arak chuckled, turning to go out the door.
When they were alone, Violet rushed around the bed and threw her arms around Keel, holding on to him tightly.
He was still covered in slime, but she didn’t care. She needed to feel his warm body against hers. To know that he was truly alive.
Keel pulled her to him, bending to bury his face in her neck.
“I was so scared,” She breathed, trying to hold back her tears, “I thought I was going to lose you.”
“I’m alright, little fighter. I’m here. Thanks be given to the Great God, I am alive.”
She pulled back, looking up into his eyes. “I love you so much,Keel, but if you ever ask me to chop a piece of your body off again, I will kick your ass, you hear me. That was the worst moment of my life!”
He nodded, “I know. It was for me as well. I’m sorry.”
She nodded, mentally pushing that horrible moment to where it belonged. In the past. They were both okay, and there was no need to keep dwelling on it.
Smiling, she said, “You are the cutest high person I have ever seen.”
He frowned, “What are you talking about?”
“Don’t you remember when you first woke up?”
“Yes. It was only moments ago. I asked for you, that was my very first thought.”
She shook her head, “Nope. You, my sexy big hunk, wanted to share your teeth with the healer. You felt bad that he didn’t have any.”
Keel blushed, a small smile playing at the corners of his lips, “I did?”
“Uh-huh. And you thought that having two hands was the most amazing thing in the world.”
He narrowed his eyes, “Now you are just… messing with me. That is the term, yes?”
She laughed, “That is the term, but I swear I’m not messing with you. You were so adorable when you woke up. It was the residual slime or something from the snot balls.”
“The… Snot balls?”
“Yeah, they have a name, but it’s like, Ababaralachacha, or something. I don’t know. They sucked out all the poison from your blood.” She gestured to the floor around the cot to where the clear white balls were still jiggling in the dirt.
“I see,” Keel frowned, blinking as he stared at the small balls.
“Are you sure you’re okay?” She asked, all joking aside.
He met her eyes and smiled. “I feel much better. As Arak said, I need to wash and eat, but otherwise I feel perfectly fine. My leg barely hurts. It’s just itchy now.”
She nodded, swallowing down the lump in her throat.
Keel stepped closer and gently placed a soft, sweet kiss to her lips. She drank him in, not wanting this moment to ever end.
But just then, a brutal flash hit Violet, and she crumpled to the floor, screaming in pain as she watched through Spots eyes as one of his still twitching black legs was taken away by the blonde doctor bitch!