Clouds

Niu discovers her brother, the tribe's crown prince, no longer holds his rank as such.

A flash fiction based around a young tropical princess. More will be revealed as more is posted.

Translation notes:
Ali'i = chief, royalty
Makua = Father
ho'oilina mo'i = crown prince

"Hauka." Niu peered through the vine at her brother, who was sitting on a rock. He started and wiped a hand across his face.

"Niu." He stood and gave a forced smile. "What's the matter, little sister?"

"I should be asking you that." Niu stepped back as her brother stood and came forward. "I saw you leave Makua's hut. What were you discussing?"

Hauka feigned disinterest. "Discussing? Nothing, really."

"You have been crying."

"You are mistaken."

"Your cheek is wet."

"A drop of water from the trees fell on my face." Just to be sure, he quickly wiped his face again.

Niu was silent for several moments. "Perhaps I am mistaken about that, then..." She began to walk and Hauka followed her. "I am not mistaken in thinking that something is the matter, though."

"What makes you so sure?" Hauka turned to look at her.

She stopped as well, but didn't turn to face him. "I am not stupid or a child, Hauka. You are distraught. There is no other way I can explain it."

"Not a child? I do not concede to that point," Hauka teased her and grinned.

Niu's face did not change. "Answer my question, please, brother."

"What question?" Hauka asked.

"What were you discussing with Makua? What happened to upset you?" Now, finally, she turned to look at him. "Hauka, please...I beg you...tell me. I understand you wish to be strong and unemotional, but I...I will not think less of you, brother, please, please tell me." Tears rose in her dark eyes.

Hauka nearly reeled back feeling the emotion in his sister's pleas. In frustration he threw up his hands. "Aah! Niu! You...you can't simply...why must you..." He took several deep breaths, calming himself. "I cannot avoid this discussion with you, can I?"

"I never said that." Niu's tone and look rather implied otherwise, however.

"Very well..." He gritted his teeth and looked at his hand. His next words were quick and blunt. "...Makua has given the future of the tribe to your husband."

Niu felt herself go numb all over. Her face must have reflected it, as Hauka smiled grimly, fighting the tears slowly coming to his eyes, and said, "You see now why I wished you not to know yet."

"Then that means...Nuku is to be the new ho'oilina mo'i..." Niu said, her voice quiet and slow.

"Yes. That is exactly what it means." Hauka looked away, avoiding her searching eyes.

Finally she seemed to come back to her senses. "But...but why? You have longed to be the ali'i of our tribe since we were children!; since you were old enough to know what it means to be an ali'i! Why would Makua do this?!"

"Why don't you ask him yourself, Niu?" Hauka said, his smile turning sad...very sad.

"He didn't offer any explanation?" she prompted, looking up into his eyes, demanding answers.

"None that...I could fully understand." He turned away again, the smile vanishing altogether now. "He was not angry at all. He explained to me that Nuku had suggested more than once that he be the heir of the tribe, and seemed very calm and strong and capable..." he trailed off, trying not to choke on the lump in his throat. "...and it is for the good of the tribe, and such as that..."

Niu looked stunned once more. "Father...was always so wise...his vision is now clouded...I do not understand this, Hauka, I do not understand."

She felt a drop fall onto her face and they both looked up at the sky. It was beginning to rain.

Hauka suddenly sneered. "Well, what are you so upset about? You are the crown princess now--" He was stopped by an incredibly painful and stinging slap to the face. He looked at his sister wide-eyed, a hand covering his reddened cheek.

Niu glared at him with more anger than he'd ever seen within her. "Do not...EVER...dare to speak to me that way again..." she said, teeth gritted, fists closed, and body shaking with rage. "Do not EVER dishonor me in such a way...ever...again."

"Niu, little sister, forgive me. I cannot express how sorry I am." Hauka covered his forehead, unsure of what bitterness had overcome him, and almost glad for the blow to drive it out of him. When Niu continued to stare at him, though a little less angrily, he continued. "I've never liked him, Niu. There's something wrong with him. I know you love him, but I don't," he said, his tone dark. "He has taken much from me."

"Hauka, I do not wish to be crown princess," Niu said, still shaking with emotion. "I...I have no hand in this. Please do not--"

"Niu." Hauka turned to her, his face suddenly stripped of all emotion, but his voice soft. "I was wrong. Please accept my apology. I know this is not your doing. I am only upset that Nuku has wronged me." He looked up to the sky, then back at his sister. "I am going home. Please do the same. I do not wish for you to become sick." Without another word he strode off, then broke into a run toward his hut.

Niu watched him go, fully intending to take his advice and return to the hut she shared with her husband, but before she could stop herself fell to her knees sobbing, the rain now coming down in torrents, drowning her sobs and mixing into the puddle of tears falling below her. "Hauka..." she whispered, drawing a hand through the mud. "If only you knew, my sweet brother..."

The End

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