“Gods, I hate being mortal sometimes,” Isabella mumbled to herself.
“You’re good,” Beth said, causing Isabella to look up at her.
“Not as good as I used to be,” she replied. “I could teach you if you like.”
“I don’t think kickboxing is a sport especially designed for pregnant women,” Beth replied with a small smile.
“So Lucius confirmed it then?” she asked, unravelling something from her hands.
Beth nodded. “Yeah, he did. Why are you so against me going to the Dimension?”
“It’s a land of murder, inequality and uppity nobles. It’s a world you don’t understand, and don’t speak the language of.”
“I could learn,” she snapped in response.
“You’ll have to, if we’re going in two days.”
“‘We’? You’re coming with me?” Beth asked, shocked.
“I won’t have you wandering around Altsina on your own. I don’t care if Lucius and Da’lela are there; I want to see you’re well protected. Besides, I need a reason to see Evil again.”
Beth looked at Isabella, overwhelmed by the fact that she wanted to protect her enough to follow her to the Dimension. She rushed over to hug her. Isabella, after a short moment of surprise, returned the embrace.
“Did you really think I’d be letting you go alone?” Isabella asked seriously.
“I don’t know, to be honest,” Beth replied, sniffing back tears.
She felt Isabella tighten her hold.
“I don’t know what I’d do without you, Ibby.”
“Oh, Beth. I’m sure you’d manage.”
“I don’t know.”
“You’re like my little sister; I couldn’t ever leave you to get through all this alone.”
Beth nodded a little and moved back. Isabella held her hand tightly before letting go.
“I think I should teach you some Tan’ganta. The language spoken in the Dimension,” she added when Beth was about to ask.
“Let’s see how much we can fit into the next two days,” she grinned.
By the time Lucius arrived, brandishing a slip of paper, Beth knew the basics of Tan’ganta; how to say hello, goodbye, and a few other phrases essential to any language. She found that it sounded and worked a little like Latin. When she’d mentioned this to Isabella, she’d simply said:
“Of course. Where did you think the Romans got their language from?”
Now, Isabella and Beth were sat in the living room, watching television, sprawled across the two sofas with a bowl of popcorn.
They both looked up as Lucius appeared in front of the TV, holding a piece of paper.
“You’re in the way, son,” Isabella said, trying to look around him.
“Mother, I have the permit. We can go,” Lucius said.
“Mother,” he whined, moving even more into her line of sight.
“Fine.” He placed the piece of paper down onto the table. “Tell me when you’re coming and I’ll meet you at the gates.”
He disappeared again and Isabella continued watching the TV.