Hettie stood on a step outside of the dining hall, looking over a railing at a field full of ruby flowers. Grant lightly tapped Hettie on the shoulder.
“Good day, Grant!”Hettie exclaimed.
“Hettie, you should get inside before Rayden eats all your bread. You know he will try. He loves to bother you.”
“He’s such a pest. He’d have to find my plate first though.”
“Oh, so you are not sitting with us?” Grant asked.
“I’m sitting with the twins.”
“So, you are avoiding Nestor? You were right to question his leadership. No, need to feel guilty about it. We all care about Kobo. I am just not ready to lead or be….”
“You can say it. The word is betray like Agnes said. I think I distract Nestor from his work. Anyways, the twins have shown me more compassion than he has lately.”
“This has been a hard time for him as well. He made a wrong decision. He is still mostly human you know. ”
“He said nothing about my home burning down, like it never happened.” Hettie raised her voice.
Grant hugged her. “You will have a new home. Even if I must build it myself.”
“You are so kind. You are a great man, Grant.” Hettie held him tightly. “You’d be a great leader.”
Hettie sat down at a table next to the twins Missa and Rebe inside of the dining hall. Nestor waved to Hettie from behind a rectangular table located at the front of the room. She waved back as Nestor stood up to begin his speech.
“Agnes, thank you for putting this evening together. It is great that we can all come together. The last days have been beyond difficult for all of us. Kobo is a magical place in this land. A place of peace. I believe that Mercy was sent here to disrupt my plan. To take away the peace and our future. But as I look around this room, I see that we are more together than ever. We will show this land that we can all live in peace if we choose peace. Mercy appeared to be kind, her past as I saw it was clear. I saw no evil in her. I made a mistake which put us all at risk. I hope I am graced with your forgiveness. She is gone now. Peace will return. We will move forward and continue to prosper in Kobo as we always have,” Nestor proclaimed.
Rayden stood up and cheered loudly.
“If you stare any harder at Grant, he will be able to read your mind,” Hettie warned Rebe.
“Grant can’t read minds. He doesn’t have powers like your eternal flame Nestor,”Rebe informed Hettie.
Missa the other twin interrupted, “Keep it down. I’m trying to listen to what Nestor is saying.”
“How come you are not sitting by Nestor? Or is it that you don’t want to sit next to Rayden?” Rebe questioned Hettie.
Hettie looked over to Rayden who was still giving Nestor a standing ovation. “Rayden and I get along fine. Nestor needs to focus on the safety of the village, not on me. ”
Missa whispered, “Do you know who the new girl is, Hettie?”
“Yes. Her name is Lottie. I hear she frequents the Crescent, but she was born in Flaco. Oddly, Agnes was at Nestor’s one day creating a row about Lottie being in the village. Agnes said she isn’t supposed to be here.”
Rebe peered over at Lottie who was seated at a front table. “Well, Agnes loves to meddle. If she had it her way, only she and Nestor would be in Kobo.”
“No, the berries would be here too. Berry tarts anyone.” They laughed at Missa’s joke. “Lucky for Lottie she came after Mercy left. Perfect timing.”
“I can’t thank you guys enough for letting me stay with you while they rebuild my home. I couldn’t ask for better friends.” Hettie placed her hand on her heart.
Sarah delivered a few berry tarts to each table. Agnes had become her mentor. She made sure that she placed one tart in front of everyone at the table except for Hettie. Agnes was busy staring at Lottie who had been placed at her same table. Lottie looked completely uninterested in the festivities and barely touched the food.
Hettie smiled at the twins and then at Sarah who was about to leave the table. “Sarah, dear I didn’t get a tart yet.”
“O’h, Hettie you are still here? I thought that traitors of Nestor, like yourself get sent back to the Octo Trail during the night.”
Hettie then wished that she had sat with Nestor. Sarah never would have pulled such a stunt in front of him. The twin’s mouths were half full of berry tart. She was sure now that Agnes was out to get her. Agnes and Nestor had an odd without chemistry deep relationship. Hettie never understood why and never asked. If Agnes wanted her out of Kobo, she’d have to throw her out herself. Hettie loved Nestor but she wished the very best for Kobo.