Chapter 9: The Touch - Zephyr

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Zephyr woke up when her shoulder was shaken. Startled, like anyone else might be, she immediately punched the offensive person in the face.

"Ow," Etesians said flatly, clearly not in pain.

"You didn't have to wake me so rudely, father."

Etesians hummed as he stood back up. "No, but it worked, albeit not quite as planned." He chuckled.

Zephyr gave him a halfhearted glare. "Why did you wake me up instead of waiting for me?"

"Because I just found out he had another night terror and I wanted to let you know not to worry when you couldn't find him."

Regret and concern washed through her like a sudden wind. "Oh. Did he tell you what it was about? Or did he go directly to the animals?"

"The animals."

Zephyr swore. "That sucks."

Etesians nodded. "Indeed. Now... while I have your attention and your wakefulness, I would like to let you know it would probably be a good idea to plan what you wish to teach the others today? Hmm?"

Zephyr sighed. "Yeah.... Probably," she said petulantly.

"So..." Etesians said, raising an eyebrow.

Zephyr gave him a blank look. "Stances, we'll start with stances... And maybe some basics too."

Etesians smiled. "Good enough!"

Zephyr sighed. "Thanks."

Etesians' smile softened. "You know... if she were here, I believe your mother would be quite proud of the woman you've become, even though you've grown a pair of wings and countless scales and developed an ego larger than a mountain."

Zephyr jokingly punched Etesians again as both of them laughed. "Father!"

Etesians sparkled with amusement. "Now, how about you head over to the sparring chamber, you actually managed to sleep in for once."

Zephyr's eyes widened in panic. "What!? Why would you just spring that on me! Father, that's rude!" She then vaulted to her feet and ran out of the room, the echoing laughter of her father trailing behind her.

****

Zephyr was about to enter the sparing cavern when she heard talking. She paused, curious about what was being said.

"Hey, why isn't lil' greeny here? Too busy tending to the plants to learn with us?" Zephyr heard Chinook ask meanly, clearly in reference to Wally.

"Yeah! If we gotta be here then so should Williwaw!" Rashabar practically yelled in agreement.

Zephyr didn't like the sound of that. Wally didn't need their teasing right now. She could feel anger bubbling now, like a slow boil. She wasn't going to act on it, she couldn't, not here. She needed to teach. So she slowly made her way into the cavern, so as to not draw attention to herself.

Chinook chortled. It was an ugly sound, full of cruelty. "It'll be fun to watch him scream as he fails to fight back, and even more fun when we get to beat him up in the name of training."

Zephyr's rage exploded and she stomped her way over to Chinook, each step resonating with her feelings as the sound reverberated in the large cavern.

"DON'T YOU DARE TOUCH HIM!" She screamed. "HE'S MINE!!"

A hand touched Zephyr's shoulder, and she would have attacked the person who touched her while she was this angry, if it weren't for the extremely concerned and slightly judgemental face of Khamseen.

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