She placed her free hand on her stomach and turned to Joshua. He was standing
behind her impassively, looking intently at the tangled center of the small forest. He saw
Mara turning to speak, and his gaze tore from the vale to look at her. Mara was smiling,
and a small flush of embarrassment tinted her cheeks as she said in her normal, soft voice.
"Joshua, I'm hungry. It looks like there's food down there on the bushes, some kind of fruit?
Do you know if it's safe to eat?"
"It is fruit, similar to the fruits you knew. And, yes, it is safe for you to eat them. The water
is clean and safe to drink as well."
"I guessed as much on the water. Well," Mara tugged at Joshua's hand, which was still
firmly gripping hers. "Let's go down there! It's time for breakfast. It'll be fun, almost like
a picnic in a beautiful garden - have you ever seen such colors on leaves? And those trees-
it's so wild, and magnificent. This whole valley is amazing and beautiful!"
"You want to rush down, to eat, without regard for those in the valley?"
"Those in the valley?" Mara's puzzled face was questioning Joshua, then she turned her
head to look in the vale once more. She continued. "I don't see any - Wait! What are those?!
They look like, well, me, but they're so tall."
Joshua looked down into the vale again, his eyes resting on the same people that Mara had
just noticed. They shared the same deep coloring and long, fluffy, hair that Joshua had.
Their bodies looked almost human, bipedal and standing seven feet tall. Their eyes were
brown. The two of them, male and female, were walking around the vale, grazing off the
bushes and splashing in the creeks.