Riwenne and the planetary warriors are on the moon. They’ve been invited to the home of the moon goddess, Quilla. But the moon is also home to the souls of the dead, the Afterlife. And she has many more questions about what comes next.
Questions and Answers
I stared at the open-air platform that she called home. Soft rugs covered the floor in dark, swirling patterns and pillows rested atop them. The only real furniture seemed to be a low table in the middle with a spread of covered dishes. Lanterns hung from the pillars, shining with moonlight, but didn’t quite penetrate the shadows that lurked in the corners.
Quilla waited as we took in the sights. “I’m sure you must be tired from your long journey.” Her voice seemed to reverberate through the air and in my mind in a dizzying way. “Please, sit down and help yourselves.”
I was already heading for the promise of food, my empty stomach clenching with hunger, when Fairuza grabbed my hand to stop me. The others halted just behind us.
“Wait,” she said, sizing up the moon goddess with her shrewd gaze. “First, we need some answers. Are we truly safe here? If this is the Afterlife, can we still get back to the land of the living?”
Quilla’s smile deepened with amusement. “I would not have brought my champion here if it wasn’t safe.” She gestured at me. “Riwenne is very important to me, and it would be hard to find a worthy replacement. Do you trust that I value her enough not to risk her life?”
Fairuza raised her eyebrow at me. “Why is this one girl so important to you? Aren’t all the gods’ champions working for you at this point?”
Quilla folded her arms. “It’s true that I’ve convinced most of my fellow gods to join me in the rebellion against my sister. Even your reluctant patrons have agreed on my plan. But Riwenne is essential, especially with her latest weapon.” She winked at me. “And you must also recognize her power, since you’re following her.”
I blushed and looked at the ground. She’d put so much pressure on me, but she rarely told me that I was doing something right, so I wasn’t used to praise from a goddess. It was different from how my friends told me that they believed in me.
“True,” Fairuza said. “No matter how many times I’ve seen her screw up, part of me still wants to do whatever she says.” Her voice lowered on the last words, sultry and smooth.
By now, my face was so hot that it felt like it was going to burst into flames. I pulled away from her grip and rushed over to the table. “Okay, so we can eat now?” I mumbled.
The others broke their defensive postures and stalked over to the table. Fairuza kept up her protective position by my side, while the boys and Ixi arranged themselves strategically around us.
They left a space open for Quilla, but the moon goddess lounged on a pile of cushions across the platform from us. “Eat whatever you wish. It may not be what you’re used to, but I promise that all the food is safe and nutritious for your delicate mortal stomachs.” Her smile widened, flashing her sharp white teeth.