Inés woke up to the sound of a knock on her door and realised that she was alone. Lilis was gone. Odd, usually Inés woke up when one of her lovers left during the night. She must have been more tired than she’d thought.
She got out of bed, stretched and dressed and opened the door.
“I told you not to stay up too late,” Sylvie chided. “Come on. We have a job to do, remember?”
“I know,” Inés said. “Just calm down. We’ve got all day to get the pegasi for the old timer.”
“I’m looking forward to seeing pegasi in person,” Serena said.
The three walked down the corridor. Several Aurai flew past them, hurriedly turning away from Inés when they saw her.
“How many of these ladies did you sleep with?” Sylvie demanded.
“Hmmm?” Inés muttered.
“Don’t play coy,” Sylvie stated. “Every one we’ve passed today has been pointedly not looking at you.”
“That’s impressive,” Serena said.
“And shouldn’t you be mad about it?” Sylvie inquired.
“Why?” Serena asked.
“Because she’s your lover, isn’t she?” Sylvie stated.
“Well, yes but it’s not like she’s mine only,” Serena said. “I knew ever since our first night together that she was going to sleep with other women.”
“I only slept with Lilis,” Inés stated. “Her chorus wasn’t even present. I’m not sure why the rest of them are so embarrassed.”
Lilis and her chorus approached them. “Lady Inés ,” Lilis bowed. “Good morn.”
“Good morn,” Inés stated. “We’re just heading out to the fields.”
“Will you not stay for the morn’s meal with us, at least?” Lilis asked.
“We really need to get started,” Sylvie said.
Inés nodded. “Thanks for the offer, but we do need to get started.”
“Very well,” Lilis said, sounding disappointed. “We will show you the way.”
“Please do,” Inés said. The three of them followed Lilis. Inés noticed several more Aurai looking away from her. “Lilis.”
“Yes, Lady Inés ?” Lilis asked.
“Why won’t your people look at me?” Inés inquired.
Lilis’ face flushed and she looked down. “They felt our encounter through our link, Lady Inés . Now, they recall the pleasure you brought them and it makes them meek in your presence.”
“Link?” Serena whispered.
“Dear merciful Athena,” Sylvie muttered, placing her palm against her forehead.
“What link?” Inés asked.
“My apologies,” Lilis said. “I thought you would know, Lady Inés . All Aurai are connected. Everything you did with me, to me, my sisters felt all of it.”
“That’s what I was afraid she meant,” Sylvie whispered.
“Awesome!” Inés declared.
“It was indeed,” Lilis agreed. “It’s a pity you must be leaving so soon. Many of my sisters would like to feel your caress directly.”
Inés turned to Sylvie. “What do you say we stay a week or two?” she asked, winking.
“We will not,” Sylvie decreed.
“Spoilsport,” Inés muttered.
There was a great gate blocking the path to the summit. Atop the gate, wyverns sat perched and at the ready. Lilis moved in front of Inés and did a quick chant. The wyverns flew up and the gate opened.
“Please, go ahead,” Lilis said. “One of my sisters will be waiting should you need another day. Or should you desire rest.”
“Thanks for all your help,” Inés said.
“It’s the least we could do for one such as you, Lady Inés ,” Lilis said. She hovered up and gave Inés a deep, long kiss. “May the Gods aid you on your path.”
Inés winked at her as she flew away.
“There is something that bothers me about this situation,” Serena said.
Sylvie nudged Inés . “Don’t snog other girls in front of your lover.”
“Not that,” Serena said. “I just can’t figure out why they’re being kind to us. It can’t be because we’re priestesses, can it? I mean, we aren’t even full-fledged priestesses.”
“I don’t disagree with you,” Sylvie said. “There has to be something else going on. Something we aren’t seeing.”
Inés shrugged. “You guys aren’t wrong, but I kind of doubt we’re going to figure it out by stopping and thinking about it. Whatever it is, we’ll learn when the time comes.” She pointed upwards. “Come on, let’s grab some pegasi!”
The pasture had lush, green grass, flowers and trees in full bloom. The temperature was perfect. Warm, unnaturally so for the elevation, but not hot. All manner of pegasi grazed and frolicked, their wings folded down as they ate.
“How should we do this?” Serena asked.
“We should pick out a target, surround it together and then move to the next one,” Sylvie stated. “No need to be selective. The slowest ones should do.”
“No,” Inés said. “We split up and each grab one.”
“Why go to all that trouble?” Sylvie demanded. “It’ll be faster if we work together.”
“Because Lilis said we each had to capture on for ourselves,” Inés said.
“I remember that!” Serena exclaimed. “She said it was our trial, or something.”
“And we don’t want to risk making them mad,” Inés finished. “So, we do it the way they want us to.”
Sylvie glanced back at the wyverns and sighed. “Agreed. We’ll split up and meet back here when we’ve finished or when we’re reaching night fall.”