24 Apr

We were underneath the leafy protection our new friend had made for us until well after the sun had appeared on the horizon. Wings flapped above us for the entirety of the moon's time in the sky, which kept us all on edge. 

Not wanting to potentially have any more issues, no words were exchanged. Even when the sun arose, much of that time was spent quietly opening the leaf shield to look around and then closing it up again. Luckily, our comrade could make near-endless fruit for us to eat, and with a bit of concentration I could summon water to drink from morning dew that ran down leaves and the trunks of trees. 

We did our best to make the most of this time. Sleeping in shifts when we felt able.

When it was Aku’s turn to sleep, the pouli woman and I both agreed to let him rest longer. Even though he insisted that he was okay, he still wasn’t doing so hot; whatever sickness he’d contracted while in the hole left his brow moist with sweat and his body restless during sleep. While he was out, she conjured some kind of leaf from her palms, stripped it in half and applied it to his forehead and both sides of his neck, which seemed to ease his pain a little. 

Finally once the sun was beginning to set, it appeared that most of them had left our general area. The winged woman left the shield and came by once the moon had almost risen again.

She guided us out of the protection towards another cavern. Aku lit a flame inside, showing a cave a little smaller than one of the cavern rooms we had just escaped. Just inside was some more water and fruit. 

Aku and I looked at each other uneasily. It brought up fresh wounds in our memories that we wouldn’t be forgetting anytime soon, it seemed. 

She watched our expressions curiously for a moment, frowned, and shrugged before jumping in. Having no other choice, Aku and I hopped in after her, landing on our butts as we did so. 

The girl stifled a laugh. 

Aku lit yet another flame, this time only on his thumb, us looking around the confinement. While it wasn't perfect, hopefully we’d be alright. 

“So now that we have the chance, I should thank you, flying stranger, for risking so much for me and firey friend here,” I said to her.

“Oh it's no problem,” she dismissed as if it was of no trouble to her at all. 

“I can’t stand watching Tokar and his rats torture innocent people like that. Plus, I’m on a mission from your leader, so can’t exactly decline,” she replied slyly.

“You’ve met the rainbow-haired woman?” I asked. 

She nodded.

“She calls herself Hope, just so you know. And that’s what she has for you guys, plenty of hope.”

“You are a Pouli correct?” I questioned, trying to wrap my head around her being here. 


“Why would you go up against your own people, even for our leader?” I asked.

“We aren't all exactly on the same page. The king just happens to be the one in power. And what those in power say, goes for most. As long as his people have enough food and safety from predators, they’ll turn a blind eye to a lot of things.” The woman said as she sipped on some water.

“I can wait to burn that so-called King to a crisp.” Aku finally spoke up.

“You’ll get your opportunity one day Aku, but if that's how powerful Tokar is, imagine how strong Goltri will be.”

He went silent again, his expression burning with frustration and bitterness.

A smile grew on her face before she finally chimed in. 

“You know, with everything you two have been through, I think you could use a break from all this stress. We may not be able to defeat them right now, but let’s take tonight to just relax and celebrate you two escaping captain douchebag’s chains.” 

She pulled out some herbs wrapped around in another leaf. Aku and I looked at each other, puzzled. 

“Aku, or whatever fish boy called you, Could you pass your thumb over here? I’m going to light the tip of this, and each of you will take your lips to the other unlit side and pull smoke into your body. Hold it in for a moment, and then blow it out. Whatever is in this will wash the past bad suns right out of you,” she said.

I cleared my throat. “Rak-Li is my name, if you must. What do you mean, “whatever”? You don’t know?” I replied with concern.


Aku scoffed, amused.

“I can summon plants at will with the power Hope gave me. And a friend of mine from up in the icy mountains showed me this amazing herb, though for the life of me I can’t remember the name. But it will cure all of your problems, I guarantee.” She said with a grin.

We both did what she said, passing it back and forth until all that was left was nothing but a little bit of leaf.

For a moment I didn't feel much, but then I felt my whole body relax, and a smile crept onto my face as well. The woman was right, it was exactly what we needed. Even Aku was finally smiling, mesmerized by his own thumb.

“I never did catch your name,” I said to her.

She giggled a little. “Leesa’s my name and nature’s my game.” 

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