Chapter nine

Nyala was laughing, and hadn't stopped laughing for a full five minutes, while Zolan looked uncomfortable and a little concerned. The Balvedarian royal guard were all strictly keeping their eyes on the polished floors. Ari felt as though she was in some way going to be blamed for this; but that didn't stop her from encouraging several of her women -who had broken out of the up stairs bath in a brawl, completely naked- to keep going until the opponent conceded. Ellie was being a good girl, keeping her distance from the brawl, and even offering to lead them outside. That idea had been instantly rejected, but Ari wondered if they should have allowed it.
"No Vera! Her shoulder! Go for her right shoulder!"
Nyala called, moving a bit closer to the brawl, probably to help keep it contained to the wide foyer like Ari was trying to. A familiar -annoying- tingle shot up her spine and she glanced to her right just as Keita charged up to her.
"Stop them. Stop them now!"
He ordered. Ari stopped her encouraging long enough to look at him like he was crazed and a little slow.
"They're naked amazon women that have had a disagreement. I'm not getting in the middle of that, because then not only will they get hurt, but thier honor will be called into question. It's almost over, you can quit your boyish blushing."
And the General did look a little pink. If Ari didn't know any better, she would swear up and down that the man had never seen a naked woman before. But of course it had; what woman in their right mind wouldn't throw themselves at him if given the chance? Surprised at that thought, she mentally slapped herself as Nikki finally pinned Vera onto her stomach and Vera quietly, reluctantly conceded.
"Excelent! Now both of you go get clothing on, you're making out Balvedarian friends flush a pretty little pink. Nyala darling, do try to contain yourself. Kei! Kei, where are you now?"
She suddenly became distracted and marched away from them towards the stair, which the fighting amazons had started up quicker than any there could blink. Nyala watched them go before she looked to the Balvedarian guards worriedly.
"I am sorry about that; those two are always arguing for one reason or another. I'll try to tell them not to do such a thing again, if only for your sakes."
Keita took in a deep breath and nodded wordlessly, and his men slowly followed suit. Rolo caught his attention from where the man had -wisely- been lingering outside. With a single nod from his head Keita was out the door faster than a blink and he took a deep breath.
"Drastic measures may be needed in the future to handle those women."
Rolo merely nodded his head in agreement, looking nervous and the two men turned their attention to securing the perimeter for the rest of the day, wisely avoiding the manor.

Ari was absolutely terrified.
"Why are they coming here? Can't they get the hint? We don't want to see them!"
She hissed into Nyala's ear, then returned to pacing back and forth on the balcony above the front doors. They had been at the honey-moon manor for two days, and Ari had hoped that Zolan's relatives not showing up was a good sign. Apparently three days was what she had to look for. Nyala sighed in reply, and Zolan stood up from his seat, then walked over to gently hug his wife. Ari made a face then turned to watching the steadily approaching carriage. It had been moving in on them for twenty minutes, and with each passing second, Ari grew more irritated.
"There's really not much that we can do about it. We'll just have to put up with the visit and politely request that we be given a few days on our own to settle."
Ari seemed to think that over, and finally and turned back to Nyala with a firm look.
"You do that."
The way that Ari said those words, Nyala was afraid about what would happen should they not be able to avert the unwanted guests from making daily visits. Zolan nervously twisted some of her hair around his fingers and waited until Ari had marched off before he gently tugged on her hair and nuzzled her neck.
"I should be worried, right?"
Nyala wordlessly nodded her head in the affirmative, and Keita, who had been mostly quiet, stood. He stared at them for several long moments before he nodded to Rolo, then left in the same direction that Ari had gone. Nyala's dread was instantly cured, and it only took one look between her and her husband before they happily followed after the two.

Ari took in a deep, calming breath and tried to straighten her thoughts. She couldn't do this. She needed something to do, and there was nothing for her to do. The perimeter was secure, Nyala and Zolan were fine, and everything was peaceful. She hated peaceful. Letting out a frustrated breath, she stalked out the nearest door and into the snow, then away from the house. As soon as she reached the tree-line, she let out a frustrated breath and violently kicked the nearest tree.
The deep, rolling voice had her shivering, and she turned around slowly, her eyes raking over Keita quickly before she look around. He drew closer, observing the tree that she had left an imprint on, and she took several steps away from it.
"I'm not used to standing still."
She replied, rolling her shoulders. Keita nodded, and his blue eyes finally landed on her. They stood in a strange, tense silence before he spoke again.
"Spar with me; I can't have you acting out violently around my King and Queen."
Ari was caught by the offer, and she slowly, dumbly nodded. They positioned themselves in a mostly clear area, and Ari gave them ten minutes before they had to be back inside. Keita agreed, and then it began. He moved first; and he moved in the same way that Nyala did. Elegantly, gracefully, like he was dancing to a tune that only he could hear and the beat was erratic yet seducing. She almost lost her footing several times as they exchanged light blows and taps.
She got to use the terrain to her advantage, using the fallen trees and even the ones still standing as obstacles when she made an observatory retreat. Of course, the trees served against her in that Keita was observing her as well. By the third time she lead him into the trees, he had gotten used to her movements, and each time she tried to dodge behind a tree, he was there waiting to deliver a firm slap on her rear.
"That's harassment where you're from, isn't it?"
She asked curiously as she danced away from him and cornered herself in between a fallen tree and a live one. Keita slowly started to walk around her, his eyes on her feet.
"Something tells me that I don't have to worry about you running off o tell your mummy on me."
He replied, honestly shocking her. That was probably the first joke that she had gotten from him at all; he hadn't smiled once since she had met him. If he had, she hadn't sen it.
"And why do you say that?"
She asked, jumping onto the fallen tree just as he stepped over it. He managed to roll away, though from her point of view, he had been very closed to being knocked out cold.
"One: you like it. Two: you don't expect anything from me."
He replied, rolling to his knees and watching her eyes now. Ari smiled happily, then darted away. Or tried to, he ended up tackling her to the snow and pinning her there.
"Ah, but if you're not careful, I will start expecting things from you."
She whispered. He seemed to be considering the words as he looked down at her. She watched in amazement as his eyes -for the first time- seemed to follow along with his thoughts. They went from puzzled to curious to amused before they ran back to being full of curiosity and he spoke.
"You really don't feel the snow."
He seemed to be confirming something, and Ari shrugged as much as she was able to.
"We're conditioned to fight in any weather, and any situation. It's part of our training, and our tests."
He nodded absently, the traced the scar on her face as if he had noticed it for the first time. He was so close Ari was sure that she would be able to identify him by sent alone for the rest of her life, and when it seemed as though they were close enough for things to start getting interesting, a rattling from the snow covered path froze both of them and Ari shoved with all her might. Keita seemed to willing fall back, and she stood quickly. She looked from him with wide eyes to the road before she felt her cheeks flush and she scowled hard.
Great amazon warriors were not suppose to blush. Before anything else could be said between them, she turned and marched back into the house, leaving Keita to find his own way.