The last thing I needed was to have the fate and safety or a universal breeder – a human – in my hands. She wasn’t only confused, clueless, and clumsy. She was also a danger to me and my mission. If the slavers who’d abducted her were alive, they would be looking for her and all the other females who’d escaped. But the slavers weren’t the only problem. The second the outlaws on Reazus Prime figured out the crashed spaceship had just rained a bounty of innocent, luscious human females on their planet, the hunt would begin. They would want them for themselves, or they would want to capture and sell them for profit. Either way, Angie, as she called herself, wasn’t looking at a bright future.
Unless she made it to the Hub unscathed and she managed to catch a ride to Terra. But then she’d have to pay for the ride, and I doubted she was in possession of any credits.
Did I care enough about her well-being to sponsor her?
I looked at her over my shoulder. She didn’t notice my stare, as she kept her head down and focused on putting one foot in front of the other. I could tell she wasn’t used to this kind of effort. She was struggling to keep up with me, and I slowed down a little. I was in a hurry, and I didn’t want to waste any more daylight, but the pathetic way in which she was sighing and grunting made me feel bad. She often stopped, closed her eyes, and put a hand on her chest, as if to try and calm down her erratic heartbeat. It didn’t help that she was carrying a bulging bag on her back.
She was innocent and luscious, indeed. All human females were, to some extent; at least that was what I’d heard from others. This was the first time I was seeing one with my own eyes. She had soft hair, the color of the first sun on Reazus Prime, and flushed lips the color of the second, smaller sun. Her skin was smooth and perfect, slightly tanned. Her eyes were big and blue, and now that I thought about them, I shuddered as I remembered water spilling out of them. Crying, she’d named it. I didn’t want to see her do that again, though I couldn’t quite say why.
Her body was short and voluptuous. When she’d faced me, earlier, her tiny hand on my wide chest, her head had barely reached my sternum. Her shortness and obvious frailty were endearing, I had to admit. Though, again, I couldn’t quite say why I felt that way about her. Maybe it was because she was new and interesting. The first human female who’d touched me and whom I had touched, if only for a brief moment. Yes, that had to be it. Nothing more.
I wasn’t fascinated with her curves, no. Only to the extent to which the roundness of her hips and the heaviness of her breasts confirmed she was a universal breeder, one of the best in the universe. Anyone in my position would’ve probably snatched her the first chance he got, and safely tucked her inside his spaceship. Not me. I was to be a priest, and priests on Zorran didn’t take mates. Had I met Angie years ago, I would’ve considered it. But now I was too old. The fact that I hadn’t met my soulmate in my twenties, when all Zokunians who were fated to build families took mates, only meant that I was not to have that fate.
I was meant to pledge myself to the Three Heads – the triple deity the Kingdom of Zo’kun worshiped. I felt that was my destiny, and I was here, on Reazus Prime, the worst outlaw planet in the universe, to make sure I could fulfill it.
I was here to find my sister and bring her home, where she would become queen. Only then, knowing that the kingdom was in her good, fair hands, I could retreat to the temple and spend the rest of my life in prayer.
“Oh God,” I heard her mutter under her breath. “Dear God, what have I done to deserve this?”
I assumed the name she kept repeating was that of her deity. I often invoked the Three Heads when I found myself in challenging situations.
I stopped and waited for her.
She almost bumped into me. She winced, looked up, and apologized.
“This is a nightmare! And where is the light?” She motioned at the dark forest. We’d managed to enter it, but we were far from our destination. “It’s damp, and it stinks. What are these trees?”
“I’m afraid I don’t know what they’re called. I’m not an expert in off-world botany.”
“Will it get even darker?” She squinted at the rare slivers of light that managed to penetrate the thick canopy. “And this mud...” She lifted one foot to inspect the squishy ground. “Where are we going, again? What is your mission?”
I sighed and resumed walking. She was asking too many questions.
“Oh, come on!” I heard her follow me. “Let’s at least make some small talk, okay? It will help make time go faster. This trek is killing me! I mean, thank God I’m wearing the right shoes and all, but still... I wasn’t mentally prepared for it.”
“I told you to wait on the ship. Had you listened to me, you would’ve been comfortable now. And I wouldn’t have to slow down every five minutes.”
She picked up the pace, marched to my side, and poked me in the arm. I looked at her, confused. She grinned at me, then pouted. That took me aback. Her human face seemed to be capable of ranges of emotions I had never seen in the females of my species. It was hard for me to read her.
“Come on! Where are we going? What are we doing here?”
I once again put some distance between us. When she was so close, she made me feel things I didn’t understand.
“I am here to find my sister. You, on the other hand, are here because you’re stubborn.”
“You’re right, I’m stubborn. Especially when a green-skinned alien with tusks wants to leave me behind on a mysterious island. And that, after he tells me the island is dangerous.”
“It’s more dangerous out here than on the beach. You should’ve listened to me.”
“So, your sister... She’s on the island?”
“I believe so. I landed at the Hub last night and asked around. Not everyone I talked to told the same story, but more than a few mentioned Sorahan Island. If Ta’sha is here, I’ll find her.”
“And then what?”