CB2:Chapter 40 Meeting the Kids by RedPhantom ()
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“Where are you going?” Joanne asked Nim. It was barely daybreak and he been up for a while already. He’d started feeling better during the night. Now, he was feeling better than she’d ever felt from him. He was also feeling stir crazy. Being stuck in his room all day yesterday had not helped.
“Hunting,” Nim said.
“You can’t breathe fire.” Jo reminded him.
“I wasn’t planning on it.” He grabbed a quiver and slung it over his shoulder.
“How will you cook it?” Nim always ate what he caught.
“I can eat raw meat, but I’m not hunting for food today.” That surprise Jo. Nim didn’t hunt for sport.
“Why are you being so cryptic?”
Nim smiled. “I’m sorry. I’m diamond hunting today. Jaidu needs a vial.”
“And the bow?”
“Like you said, I can’t breathe fire. The mine is out in the desert. I’m better with a bow than a sword.” He came and sat by her on the bed and kissed her. “I’ll be back by lunch. I’m only collecting the diamonds today. Ann wants to learn to do this so we’ll do that part another day. Don’t tell anyone where I am. That many diamonds would be a big temptation for theft.”
Joanne nodded. “You be careful, okay?”
“I will. I have someone to come home to now.” He kissed her again. “Do you want to come?”
“I can’t. I’m going to meet with the kids today. I want to make sure everything is ready.”
“When do you officially start?”
“Sapphire said not for a few days. She thinks I need to get settled first.”
Nim nodded. “Have fun. I’ll see you at lunch. Will you be home then?”
“I should be. We’re going shopping with the others, remember?”
He nodded. “If you’re late have Dae or Ti contact me. I’ll join you there.”
“I need to go. I love you. Oh, the gossip among the staff is Ann is pregnant,” he said as he left.
“Nim!” Jo called after him.
“I got a go,” he called from the hall.
Jo grunted. Men. At least he had told her this time. He hadn’t told her that Sapphire was pregnant. He told her that she had the baby but no details, not even if it was a boy or girl. The same thing with Sinta’s baby, although with as early as Vaila had been, he did tell her he was doing as well as could be expected and Shunati was doing everything in his power to keep him that way.
She got up and dressed. Ann would have started her day already so there was no telling where she’d be but Andy had a more regular schedule and didn’t get up as early. She might be able to find him.
She did find him at breakfast. He was eating with Thailyn.
“Nim tells me there are rumors Ann’s pregnant,” she said as she joined them.
“She is,” Andy confirmed.
“Andy, you know me. Details,” she insisted.
Andy laughed. “How did you end up with the most tight-lipped the guy on the planet?”
“I don’t know. Sometimes, he drives me crazy. He told me as he was leaving this morning.”
“At least he told you this time.” He turned to Thailyn. “Nim didn’t tell Jo when Sapphire was pregnant.”
“Or Sinta. At least with Sapphire, I found out fairly soon. With Sinta, she was out to here.” She held her arm out in front of her.
“Sinta was never out to there.” Andy laughed.
“You know what I mean. You could tell by looking at her. So, tell me details.”
“Not much to tell. Ann’s a few days pregnant and she has to be careful not to hold in too much magic for long or she’ll miscarry. She’s apparently had a few miscarriages already we didn’t even know about so we weren’t going to say anything yet, but someone has a big mouth.” He gave Thailyn and exaggerated glare.
“Sorry. I didn’t know. Nobody told me to keep it a secret.” Thailyn looked rueful.
“It’s okay.” Andy assured him.
“Do Pt’this and Sapphire know? I’m going to be over there today. I don’t want to spill the beans if you want to tell them.”
“Pt’this was there when we told Emeton and Tylan so I’m sure Sapphire knows. He tells her everything. Don’t worry about it if she doesn’t know and you do say something,” Andy told her. “Half the palace probably knows.
“Do you still want to join my class?” Andy asked. “You said something about that.”
“I do. When does it meet?”
“First thing in the morning. I think you’ll fit in with the advanced class. Ann is in there.”
“I’m going to Sapphire’s right away today. I’ll workout my schedule so I can attend soon.”
“I’m trying to convince Thailyn to join the beginners’ class but he won’t, although he sat and watched a few classes so I know he’s interested.”
“Not everyone needs to take karate. Although, it’s great for self-defense and good cardio.” Jo asked.
“Cardio?” Thailyn asked.
“Good cardiovascular workout. Good exercise, gets the heart going.”
“My heart is fine. I said I’d think about it,” Thailyn said. “Jo, can I walk with you to Sapphire’s? I’m helping Shunati and need to check on the kids, but I have no idea where the house is. Besides, I have a terrible sense of direction. I’ll get lost four times before I get there.”
“Sure, it’s not far. I’ve got directions.” Joanne nodded.
“Does Shunati know you’re helping?” Andy asked. All the healers seemed to be s bit territorial.
Thailyn laughed and nodded. “I offered yesterday. I also convinced him to let the dragons keep an eye on Vaila for a few days to give them a rest. Dad set up a tent with his wing and Jaidu was under there playing with him before class this morning.”
“Shunati agreed to this?” Andy was surprised. Shunati was more protective of his son than a dragon, something Andy hadn’t thought possible.
“Sinta did. When I explained the toll the constant fever was having on Shunati, she informed him that he would let us help or else.”
Andy chuckled. “That woman is almost as bad as Sapphire. I would not want to be on the receiving side of her temper.”
“How is Shunati doing?” Jo asked.
“Not bad, all things considered. It is taking a toll on him though and he’ll burn out if he’s not careful. A few days of not running a fever and getting some good sleep will do him good.”
“What about that surgery on Nim?” Andy asked.
“He agreed to do it. We’ll schedule it once Shunati’s better. I don’t want to schedule it first and have Shunati push himself before he’s ready.”
“How did you convince him? He doesn’t even like to be healed.”
“Joanne did that.”
“I told him about having my tonsils out and I told him if he ever wanted to have sex again, he had have the surgery because I wasn’t going to go through that pain when we didn’t need to.”
Andy laughed. “You are cold.”
“Cold?” Thailyn asked.
“Uncaring,” Andy said.
“Sometimes, it’s hard to believe we speak the same language.” Thailyn shook his head.
“We don’t. You speak Menthan while Jo and I speak English. They share the same words, but we have different expressions,” Andy said.
“So, you actually speak the same basic language there as they do here?”
“Pero no todo el mundo habla Ingles. Algunas personas hablan otros idiomas,” Jo said.
“What?” Thailyn asked.
“I think she said not everyone speaks English but other languages. She speaking a language called Spanish.” Andy translated.
Jo smiled. “Pretty close.”
“I picked up a little listening to you and Chuck.”
“There are hundreds, if not thousands of languages back home. Spanish and English are the two most common where we lived. I grew up speaking in English and a language called Chinese and I decided to learn Spanish to help at work,” Jo explained.
“On Tricon, we only spoke one language although some of the older generations spoke immortal also. My parents speak it. My mom speaks several languages. Nim was able to act as a translator when we first came here. I learned Baj-tisk and Menthan when we came here, mostly by hearing others use it,” Thailyn told them.
“When the other healers told me a bunch of foreigners had come and one spoke Tricon, I was surprised. I couldn’t imagine who it was.”
“Who was that, Pt’this?” Joanne asked.
“No. It was Ann.”
“That must’ve been a shock.”
“How did she learn it?”
“My sister taught her. Many spells are written in Tricot. Mirimar would translate for her. It’s not that different from Baj-tisk. The two languages are related.”
“Guys, it’s been fun, but I need to go,” Andy said.
Joanne nodded. “I should go too.” She turned to Thailyn. “Ready?”
“I am.” He nodded. They said goodbye to Andy and headed to the home.
Once they were on the way and following the directions, Jo asked, “So, what’s wrong with you heart?”
“Your heart. The world’s greatest healer should know what a heart is.”
“I do. I’m trying to figure out why you’re asking about mine.”
“The way you reacted when I said karate was good cardio.”
“I said my heart is fine.”
Jo nodded. “Which, around here, is code for there’s something wrong but I’m trying to hide it.”
Thailyn laughed. “And what would be code for there is absolutely nothing wrong with my heart?”
“I don’t know. I haven’t heard that one yet.”
“I’m a healer. If there was a problem, wouldn’t I heal it?”
“So it’s a birth defect,” Joanne guessed.
“You’re not going to let this go are you?”
“It’s a birth defect. Too much stress, like that karate class, causes problems. It’s not a big deal. A lot of dragons have it and I can monitor my heart so I know if there could be a problem. I’m not going to suddenly die from it, okay?”
“Then why don’t you want Andy to know? If he knew, he wouldn’t be pushing the class.”
“I just haven’t had a chance to tell them. Too much is going on. I do plan on telling them. I just want to be able to answer any questions so please don’t say anything.”
“I won’t, yet, but if a problem does come up, I won’t keep it a secret if you need help.”
Thailyn nodded. “That’s fair. Shunati does know and so does my dad.”
“Not your mom?”
He shook his head. “It wasn’t discovered until after she left.”
“How old were you when she left?”
“About six hundred.”
“You had a birth defect for six hundred years and didn’t know about it? Are you sure you’re a healer?”
Thailyn laughed again. “Like I said, it’s not a big deal. I went over six hundred years before I had my first bout. It actually wasn’t until we came here. The trip was a bit difficult.”
“So what about coming this time?”
“Same as I when I went back to Tricon. I took it easy, rested a lot. The times when there was a great distance between islands, I transported.”
“And the shock of seeing your mom?”
“Not as hard as the shock of what was done to her. But, neither caused severe bouts. Everyone hears heart defect and thinks it’s just going to stop beating. It’s not. It’s a slow deterioration. The more problems I have, the faster the deterioration but for a shock to kill me, it would have to be bad enough that it would most likely kill someone with a normal heart.”
“What about a bunch of small shocks? Your mom, your dad, what was done to them, what was done to Ann, your sister. Doesn’t that add up?”
“It’s been a little difficult, but I managing.”
“You said you feel others injuries when you touch them?”
“It’s more like I read it, like a book. But, severe injuries can still affect me.”
“You might want to avoid touching Ti.”
“Why? What happened to Ti?”
“Back when Lyra attacked, he got burned by a mage. Nim said it made his arm look like nothing. They thought he was close to shedding so they skinned him and he wasn’t as close as they thought, but I guess a month off wasn’t too bad. He seems okay now.”
“Thanks for the warning,” he said and put on his gloves. “How far from shedding was he? Do you know?”
“I think Nim said it ended up being two months.”
“That’s not too bad. Painful, but I’ve heard of them trying it is early as five months. He didn’t survive. But, many four months and later have.
“But, if skinning helped, he was not as badly burned as Nim. Nim’s shed several times since then he still has the scar.”
Joanne nodded. “I figured that. I guess it was the way he looked. It was on most of his body. This is what before I met anybody but Ann and Andy so I wasn’t here.”
“How did a woman like you end up with a guy like Nim?”
“What’s wrong with Nim?”
“Wrong? Nothing. He’s a great guy. It’s just you seem to be more inclined to go after a peacock.”
“Someone who likes to be out in front, to have everyone looking at them. They put a lot of thought into their appearance, so they always look good, Pt’this, you, the exact opposite of Nim.”
“Nim is sweet and caring. He put others before himself. Do you know how he got that burn on his arm?”
Thailyn shook his head.
“Pt’this did it. Nim was trying to help him after he went into a wizard’s trance. Pt’this resisted but Nim kept trying until Pt’this went mad-dragon, or almost, and then tried to roasted.”
“I wasn’t meaning to imply he wasn’t a great guy, just not what you’d pursue.”
“He pursued me.”
“Nim? I’ve got to hear this. How did you meet?”
“About a week before Ann and Andy got married, Ann and Nim came to get Andy’s parents to bring them here for the wedding and Nim was trying to contact your dad. They slept in shifts so Nim could wake Ann if she had a nightmare. I stayed up talking with him. The next morning, before they left, Ann invited me to go to, but I had responsibilities that I couldn’t be changed at the last minute.
“The day of the wedding, Nim shows up asking me if I wanted to go. He said Ann and Andy would appreciate it if I went, but I got the feeling, he was the one who really wanted me there. I’m not saying Ann and Andy didn’t, just he wanted it more. I had enjoyed spending time with him and was flattered he came all that way on the chance I could come. I didn’t even know how far he had come.
“He was horribly nervous. One minute he was trying to convince me to come and the next he was apologize for showing up last minute, unannounced. And then back again.
“I agreed and we had a great time. We spent the next day together which was also fun. I think I was already falling in love with him by the time we reached the gate. I didn’t want to leave. I thought I’d never see him again.
“Then, he scry me a few days later. It was one of the best nights of my life.”
“When did he tell you he wasn’t human?”
“He didn’t. Dae did, at the wedding.”
“And what did you think of that?”
“By that time, there’d been so many surprises, I was barely noticing them anymore. It didn’t even hit me until two days later that he said he was twelve hundred years old.”
“What’s wrong with twelve hundred? I’m twelve hundred.” Thailyn pretended offense.
“Nothing, just unexpected to someone from a race that only lives about eighty years.”
“We’ll change that.”
“A simple spell, it’ll slow down your aging. With Ann’s help, you could probably live another five hundred years.”
Jo stopped and looked at him.
Thailyn laughed. “Nim will probably live twice that long or more if he starts taking care of himself. You don’t want him to lose you after only fifty years do you?”
“I hadn’t thought about that. What about you? How long were you with Ann’s mom?”
“Only about two years.”
“And you’ve never found anyone else?”
“I don’t want anyone else. I’m happy alone.”
“That’s what Nim said.” Joanne got the feeling there was something more but they were at the home so she didn’t pursue it.
Some of the kids were out working in the yard. They stopped when they saw the two visitors.
“Jo, hi!” Krila said. “Who’s this? What happened to Nim?”
“Nim’s hunting today. This is Princess Ann’s father.”
“The king?” Chormi asked.
“Thailyn, her birth father,” Jo corrected him.
“The one who abandoned her?” Chormi sneered.
“Chormi that’s mean!” Lamdi scolded. Jo had never heard the girl speak before. “Take it back or I’ll tell Ti.”
“No you won’t. You don’t talk to him.”
“Guys, stop,” Thailyn said. “He’s right. I did abandon her. I shouldn’t have and I’ve regretted it ever since but I did abandon her.”
“Why?” Krila asked.
“Krila!” Ti scolded. “That’s no way to treat a visitor.”
“Sorry,” Krila said. She reminded Jo of Dae when Nim had scolded her at the wedding.
“You and Chormi have weeding to finish. The rest of you get cleaned up and come in,” Ti said.
Chormi followed Krila to the flowerbeds.
“Chormi, that side,” Ti said, pointing. Chormi nodded and obeyed.
Ti turned to Jo and Thailyn. “I’m sorry about that. Come in.” They followed him in.
“Sapphire, Dae and the rest of the kids are at the market.”
“They can meet Thailyn later,” Jo said.
“You must be Ti. I’m Thailyn. I’m helping Shunati until Mila returns.” He hugged Ti in true dragon for fashion, careful not to let his skin come in direct contact with the younger dragon.
“Good to meet you. Shunati needs help,” Ti said. “Let me introduce you to those who are here. Shunati uses that room. Mostly, he takes them two at a time so they feel more comfortable.”