Maralice, my dearest friend and closest confidante, came back shortly after Victoria left. She sat down across from me and gave me a tight grin. “The captain knows…”
“I bet he hates that we deceived him,” I frowned.
“From what I saw, he does not hate us. He looked angry and his face flushed. He did not want to send us down to Lapus to meet with Jakob. He was able to connect the dots to what I was saying,” Maralice said, taking my hand. “Where did you get the tea?”
“This thing called a replicator,” I said, gesturing behind me. “Would you like a cup?”
“Please,” she breathed. “With a shot of tika.”
“Were you that nervous, Maralice?” I asked, ordering her tea.
“I’m nervous for you. We are going down there into the firatte’s den. Jakob and his men will stare at us and it will not be pleasant at all. I wish we could bring down the captain and his first officer, Commander Whitlock,” Maralice said, gripping her teacup. “Then the Alphans will know that this is not a true act of negotiation, but an act of war.”
“We want the war to stop, Maralice. I refuse to mate with Jakob. He would tear me apart,” I said, remembering the one Alphan I met as a child. He was tall, with long wavy hair that was wild around his head. His face was ridged with an exoskeleton that made him look like a devil. His teeth were sharp and he smelled awful. He had been captured on our home world, ravaging a Cygnarian woman. I do not know what happened to her, but my father knew that I could never be mated to an Alphan. The mere thought of being in the same room with them made my stomach turn.
“You will not mate with that snirap. I’d sooner you mate with a human than with Jakob,” Maralice growled, her blue eyes blazing. “Now, we have a lot to do. Thankfully, we have a long journey to finalize our plans. Captain Cullen is on board with what we want to do. He does want any harm to come to you or to the Cygnarian people.”
“Maralice, I’m curious. I’m having odd reactions whenever anyone mentions the captain,” I said, my spots glowing lowly.
“I see that. Perhaps it’s due to the fact that we are on board a ship with mostly males?” she shrugged. “I’m feeling out of sorts, too. Ignore it for now. Get some sleep, Bella. We’ll work out our plan more tomorrow.”
“I don’t know if I can sleep, Alice,” I whispered, staring out the window.
“Do you want a sedative?” she questioned, brushing my hair back. “I know that this trip has you riddled with anxiety.”
“I would like that,” I said, putting my empty cup back in the replicator. It whirred to life, making my dirty cup disappear. “We so need this technology on Forx.”
“Charanel* would love it. He hates doing the dishes,” Maralice snickered.
*Charanel is Nirabelle's (Bella's) little brother. He's five years younger than her...