Neytiri looked around the fifth floor Berret had fashioned for the Hunters. There was no ceiling so they could sleep under the stars, yet there were walls for protection and removable ceiling parts the Hunters could set up on top of their tents for shade against the sun during the daytime.
“She really did think of everything, didn’t she?”Griffinasked from beside her.Griffin, Neytiri, and Jay were coming up for the first time as they had been touring the school all day. The other Hunters had already settled in to their new surroundings.
“She sure did. This place is amazing!” Jay agreed. Neytiri nodded, smiling.
“Oh, also, you two,”Griffinsaid, “I set up a tent for the two of you as I will be staying up most nights with work and I didn’t want to bother you, Ney. Plus I’ll be waking Zarina up most nights and I didn’t want to wake you either, Jay. I hope you two don’t mind.”
Neytiri and Jay exchanged a glance. “We don’t mind at all!” Neytiri said.
“It’ll be like old times again,” Jay said in agreement.
“I didn’t think you’d mind,”Griffinsaid with a smile. “Your tent is right next to mine, so I’ll be right there if you two ever need anything.”
“Thanks, Mother,” Neytiri said as she joined Jay at the tent. It was a new tentGriffinmust have fashioned herself.
The Hunters’ tents were passed down through families and were important parts of their history and culture. Tents were marked with family crests and marked the success of that Hunter family. Neytiri andGriffin’s family mark was the soaring eagle on the hilt ofGriffin’s sword.
But the tentGriffinhad created for Neytiri and Jay was what parents made for their children upon marriage. The combining of the soaring eagle with the intelligent owl was like sayingGriffinintended Neytiri and Jay to get married.
She turned toGriffin, but her mother had already entered her tent and closed the flap behind her. She looked back to Jay and grinned.
“Well now, wife, what do you make of this?” Jay asked with a grin.
Neytiri elbowed him as she entered the tent. “Whatever,hubbie.”
As they settled down in their beds, Neytiri turned to Jay. “What did you think of that girl?”
“Rhea? She was nice. Not at all like the witches I’ve encountered in the past.”
Neytiri nodded. She looked up at the tent cover. “Do you think we’ll be able to get past our prejudices to work with them?”
“I have no idea. Right now I think we just felt overwhelmed. Tomorrow when the other Clan gets here we might feel more…I don’t know, whelmed?”
Neytiri laughed. “Whelmed? Is that even a word?”
“Well, I just made it a word.”
“Alright, if you say so,” Neytiri replied. She sighed. “I was a serious jerk to her, wasn’t I?”
Jay laughed. “I can’t deny that, Ney.” He stopped laughing. “You didn’t have to talk about her mother, you know that, right?”
Neytiri nodded. “I know…I don’t know what got into me. I just suddenly wanted to be mean to her. I couldn’t stop myself.”
“Well, just try to suppress that next time, okay?”
“Yeah, obviously, Star-boy.”
Jay laughed again. “Whatever, blue-girl.”
Neytiri smiled. Then she frowned. “What happens if we can’t beat this thing even with all of us working together?”
“What’s with all the negativity?” Jay questioned.
“I’m just asking… I heard Berret telling Mother about how one of their best professors was killed by this thing. Plus Kaita and Jyla were two of the fastest Huntresses in the entire Clan. And this thing caught them.”
Jay sighed. “It may seem like an unwinnable battle. But they all do. And throughout history, luck has always been on the right side.”
“And what if luck doesn’t shine on us? What then?”
“Then we lay down our lives and die for the right cause.”
“And are you ready to do that?” Neytiri questioned.
“Always,” Jay replied fiercely.