• Chapter 3

    She wondered all the sudden of the others who had been sent out. Shelly, the dog maid, had said that slavery was found only in the human cities. Maybe they were lucky enough not to find one. Maybe.
    With a sigh, she rose and went to her clothes. Her forest green, sleeveless, button up shirt had two round burn marks on the back, which she was sure she had matching ones on her own back. Her black pants where scuffed and had a few stains. Her armguards sat newly polished and shined, no new dints from her travels had come to them.
    Next to them sat the picture that had caught her eye earlier. The rabbit girl turned out to be Amber Rose herself. The other figure came as an enigma to her. She knew she had seen the man before. He was tall, much like her father and had quiet the same face as him. He wore a sleeveless shirt and loose fitting pants. They both were black but the pants and blue flames leaping from the bottoms. On his chest sat a small crystal in the shape of a lotus flower. Then it hit her. It was her brother! It was Race! The picture must have been taken years after he had left.
    "He must still be near!" She thought full of hope, but logic soon took over. Her brother would never bend to another’s rule. She sighed. Until she found him, and saw him with her own eyes, she couldn't be sure of where he was at all.
    She changed quickly. Then Kristal gave a peek from side to side down the hall. She had been trained for all sorts of events, and now she went into stealth mode. She was down the hall quickly crouched low. Her mission was to not be seen for half an hour and report in the main room at the end. The thought struck her that this must seem like the silliest thing to do, but it was good training and the only reproach for being seen was that she would look like a fool.
    "Better to look a fool then be dead," she thought.
    Kristal LotusWolf passed window after window, door after door and the same scene seemed to keep coming up. The Creatures where doing their work contently as younger ones played or watched. Some sang while they worked while others would tell stories or talk to themselves.
    If Kristal was noticed, no one gave sign of her silent passing, until she found Shelly. She was in the kitchen with a cook. They had been talking when the cook fell silent and whispered something to her. Her figure gave her away and the sigh.
    "Neko, I know you are there so come out," she said calmly though with an annoyed tone. With ears hung low and tail limp, she came out feeling defeated.
    "How did you...." she began but fell short. Shelly had turned towards Kristal, her eyes a red color. It struck her as odd when she remembered that they had been a light brown the last time she had seen her.
    "Why are your eyes red?"
    “They turn so whenever there is danger coming to me or those close to me. Nothing personal, but I don't trust you yet and you are the only one in this house I do not." Shelly answered in her quiet voice. Kristal's ears sunk a little lower. She wanted to be trusted, and they had been nice to her, but she hadn't been truthful. An urge to tell her the truth all the sudden rose from her heart but before it could take hold Shelly spoke again.
    "It is about the time for you to meet the Mistress. You should be on your way." Shelly pointed out the door.
    Kristal sighed and gave a small bow with her shoulders, and then made her way to the main room.

    Chapter 4

    Kristal silently slipped past the windows, and by chance she glanced out one. Down the road there was a great carriage coming with a large tail of dust following behind. Kristal almost stopped to stare at the site, but remembering her orders, proceeded to the main room.
    She got there early and looked around. The walls were a soft pink color with vases of flowers placed in different corners. A staircase led to the upper rooms and there were a few doors to the back. Amber walked in then, her ears tied back into her hair.
    "Did you have a nice look around?"
    "It was fine." Kristal's ears laid down again as she felt small in front of this woman. She wasn't sure what it was though and shook it off. Her tail swung softly from side to side. She felt quiet relaxed though the air around her was becoming uneasy.
    "Ok Neko," Kristal picked up her ears at the mention of the title, "I need you to obey my orders and if you must speak, then call me Elaine, understood?" Kristal gave a bow in understanding and then stood straight in attention. She felt like it was examination day back at home, only she wasn't getting graded on how straight and orderly she stood.
    The sounds of a carriage coming to a stop drifted in through the large doors.
    "Just stay close and alert and you'll do fine." Amber smiled at Kristal. Kristal gave her a shaky smile. Her stomach seemed to be spinning on its top. It was like she was waiting for some great huge thing to happen.
    "It's behind the door!" she thought as her tail began to sway a little more rapidly.
    Amber took in a deep breath and then stood awaiting her guests. The door soon creaked open and two Fangs held the doors open. Then came an elderly couple. They were human. The man hunched on a cane while the wife looked as if she would fall if even the smallest breeze crept past. When Kristal managed to stop gawking inwardly at the small couple, she stopped cold at the next sight that met her.
    "Race!" the inaudible whisper escaped her.
    He walked in as a soldier does fallowing his commander. Tall, brilliant and terrible, his eyes saw all but seemed clouded by a mysterious fog. Kristal wanted to run. She wanted to scream. She wanted to hug him and tell him to come home with her at last, that mother and father are waiting, but she didn't. Besides her lips, Kristal had not moved a muscle and had become completely ridged when Race had entered the room.
    "Why don't we head to the sitting room?" Amber's voice cut through the mist that had formed in Kristal's mind. She followed without realizing what she did. She stood near Amber's seat and just stared off. Here he was. Here was Race, but he wasn't there too. What to do?
    "So, how are the plans for this year's party coming?" the old man asked in a shaky voice. "
    “Shouldn't we have tea before we start our discussion?" the woman asked.
    "Of course! How foolish of me not to think of it. Neko, fetch some tea for us." Amber waved dismissively towards the door to the far right of the room.
    "Yes, Elaine," Kristal bowed at the waist and turning on heal, walked through the door. It was a small kitchen. One little stove sat under an open window. The sun and the breeze came gently through giving the room a blissful feel. No one was there though, and Kristal had no idea how to use a stove. She didn't even know what one was for that matter. She looked around for someone and then with a sigh, started looking for the teapot.
    The door swung open and Kristal was up at attention, the door to the cabinet she had been looking in still open. Her tail went rigid and her ears fell back as she realized it was Race who had walked in. He calmly opened an upper cabinet near the door. Kristal watched in owe as he got water from the tap and then set it on the stove to heat. She watched for a while as Race leaned back on the cabinet.
    "So...Race...how have you been?" Kristal managed finally to ask the solid figure. He merely stared forward out the window.
    "Don't you remember me? It hasn't been so long that you would forget your sister has it?" she turned pleading eyes up to him. He glanced down but still said nothing. They stood in silence until the whistle from the kettle called out. Race calmly grabbed it and headed back into the main room after placing cups, sugar, tea bags, and the kettle onto a tray which he took with him. Kristal stared after him in dismay.