“Elly! There’s a skunk in the living room! Get rid of it, please; it’s scary!”
Elrith nearly dropped the baby harpy in his hands as a shriek pierced his ears. “Coming, dear!” The baby in his hands started to cry from his shout. He sighed and rocked her as he stood up. Two harpy children waddled up to him from outside the room. He smiled at them. “Did either of you place that skunk in the living room? It’s not nice to scare Mom like that.”
“She did it,” both harpies said at the same time, pointing at each other.
Elrith shook his head and smiled at the two before ruffling their hair. “Go play with the matriarch.”
“Auntie Cory is playing with Auntie Raea today,” one of the twins said and bobbed her head.
“So we have to bother you two,” the other twin said and bobbed her head as well. Elrith sighed.
Carmella yawned and stretched her hands above her head. She smacked her lips a few times before opening her eyes. The space beside her in bed was empty. It seemed like Gerome had already left for work for the day. She scratched her head and climbed out of bed.
“Breakfast is ready!”
“Alright, Mom,” Carmella shouted back. “I heard you the first time!”
“Why’d you choose to stay with us instead of my sister?”
Owen raised his head and glanced at the girl sitting beside him. Ariel, Raea’s youngest sister, was staring at him with her head tilted to one side. He exhaled through his nose. “The Caelums needed me more than Raea did. She’s happy now without me. If anything, I’d make her sad. It only makes sense for me to stay here.”
“You’re a bit weird,” Ariel said and wrinkled her brow.
Owen shrugged. Raea had a much stronger guardian by her side now. He wasn’t needed there anymore.
Snoring sounds filled a cave. A demon was wrapped up in a blanket, floating in the center of the room. Time passed, but the cave remained dark, unaffected by the positions of the suns. The demon continued to snore. In the front of the cave, some wolves were lingering about. Maybe one of them could even be eaten in times of emergency.
“Hurry up! We have to finish these three statues by noon, do you understand!?”
Cherri nodded and crossed her arms over her chest. The centaurs in front of her scattered and used their powers of diligence to shape the bases of three massive statues. Of course, all three statues were going to be of Palan in different poses. Cherri sighed.
“Hmm. Did you see my watch, dear?”
“Are you sure you wore it today?”
“I thought I did…”
Linda glared at the tiny lizardman who acted as a doorman for her store. “How many times did I tell you to stop stealing from the customers?” she asked as the couple with the missing watch disappeared from view.
“Too many times,” Cleo said. “I lost count. You should just stop saying it already.” She nodded and puffed her chest out. “Want a watch?”
“Oh. Well, okay. I’ll give it to Andrea later today.”
Andrea whistled as she walked through a flower garden, carrying a sack of something over her shoulder. She swallowed her saliva as she passed by rows of eggfruit trees and continued through the garden. She arrived at a simple cottage and stepped inside while announcing her presence. She walked up the stairs, still holding the sack, and entered her brother’s room.
“Palan? Where’s Raea?”
Palan turned his head. His brow wrinkled. “Didn’t I tell you not to carry him like that?”
Andrea glanced at the sack she was holding. It was also known as her nephew. “But. He’s so potato-like.”
Palan rolled his eyes. “Call him fierce.”
“Alright,” Andrea said and lifted the baby off her shoulder. “Fierce, your dad wants to hold you now.”
Selena frowned at the bubbling mixture on her desk. She stared at it as she slowly tilted the vial of liquid in her hand. A single drop fell and tinted the mixture with a yellow color. The bubbling stopped. “Did it work?” she muttered and placed the vial down. She rubbed her eyes, which had dark bags underneath them, and blinked hard three times. The yellow color remained. “Success!” She reached over to her notebook and scribbled something inside. Right when she put it down, the door to her laboratory flew open with a bang.
“Sely!” Raea shouted. “I’m here to take you outside! You haven’t seen the sun in three days!”
“No!” Selena said and shook her head. “I’m almost there. Just a little longer and—”
Raea flew forward and hugged her sister. “See. I knew if I left you here any longer, you’d become like Pyre and Headmaster. There’s no way I can let my sister degenerate that far.” She ignored Selena’s protests and flew away from the lab.
“My experiment!” Selena wailed. “You can’t just kidnap me on a whim! I work fulltime as a professor. When else can I pursue research?”
“There’s nothing wrong with pursuing research,” Raea said. “You just can’t do it excessively like Pyre had. Three days is excessive. Besides, Cory and Cleo were coming over today.” Her sister sighed as Raea smiled. She headed towards the cottage in the midst of the flower garden. It belonged to her and Palan.