Despite the number of times Sini had fallen flat on her face, she seemed to be enjoying herself. It was nothing more than a trip to the shops, to replenish the food and drinks that Arkay, Sini and the others had… somewhat stolen from Tenuk, but roaming down the aisles of this Ksithan store had put a smile on her face.
It hadn’t been too bad for Arkay either. Now that Sini was over the initial shock of what happened, she was settling down very quickly into her new life. Sure, there had been some very, very awkward questions that Arkay had to explain and wasn’t sure why Sini didn’t know already, but everything had initially been quite smooth. Somehow, Sini had also managed to overcome the urge to buy all the food and eat all the food, something Arkay still struggled with.
They’d browsed up and down the aisles, picking out things to eat. Arkay had grabbed several bottles of caramel soda, while Sini had mostly just grabbed dried meats and some vegetables. They needed to buy some fish as well, as their Falena friend tended to have a less meat-filled diet, but this particular shop only had the tinned variant, so Arkay had picked up some cans. He had planned out some sort of meal list for the week, but Arkay had no idea how willingly his friends would stick to it.
As the Temthan and the Skyavok reached the checkout though, things started to go wrong.
“Heya, Arkay, what are you doing, wandering around with a nice Temthan like that?”
A white-furred, blue-scaled Ksithan was blocking the path to the checkout. This Ksithan staring down at Arkay was Nera, one of the many “Elemental Daughters” that ruled the more… traditional Ksithan territories. Nera and her ilk in particular were known for being not the nicest Ksithans around.
“Oh, hello Nera…” Arkay grunted, trying to think quickly on his feet. “Didn’t know you came by here…”
“HI!” Sini suddenly bounced in, patting Nera’s shoulder in an obviously very Temthan way. Temthans were known to hug new people, and Sini was very tempted to do so, but decided just to go for the more subtle ‘shoulder hug’. “Who are you! Arkay, is this one of those people who helped save my village when the Whenvern attacked?”
Arkay shook his head, realising what Sini was doing. She was providing excuses. After all, Skyavok rarely spent time with Temthans.
“No, Sini, this is Nera, she rules one of the nearby villages.”
“I do!” Nera puffed up her chest. “So why are you with a Temthan, Arkay? Can’t find anyone of your own?”
Immediately, Sini took over the conversation. “The Dessaron saved my village all these years ago and I always wanted to meet the heroes who did it all! I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Arkay! And because of what he did, I offered to cook a meal for him and the other Dessaron as a small way of working towards paying them back!”
Sini’s closeness was clearly distracting Nera and getting on her nerves. Nera backed away slowly, suspicious but mostly swallowing Sini’s story.
“Well… that is… kinda weird…”
“You’d actually be surprised. Happens all the time to Elksia and Tenuk, but Elksia’s off-planet and Tenuk thought it would be a nice change…” Arkay shrugged.
“You’re not dating?” Nera sneered.
“No, of course not!”
With a giggle, Sini got even closer to Nera. “Why do you ask that?”
Nera tutted. “Not everyone likes cross-breeding.”
Sini got closer still, until she was right in Nera’s face. “You seem to though.”
Nera’s eyes widened. The Ksithan quickly finished what she was doing, muttered something about crazy Temthans and having a nice day and moved on. Within a few minutes, she had paid for her shopping and left.
“Uh, what did you say to her?” Arkay asked as he resumed shopping.
“Oh, nothing!” Sini beamed. “Some people are just so rude.”
“Yeah, unfortunately…” Arkay shrugged.
Sini’s joy faded slightly. “You need to stand up for yourself more. She was being an asshole and you let her.”
“Please don’t say that…”
Arkay sighed. “Yeah. That. It’s a really bad insult among Skyans and Rethans…” The little Skyan took a deep breath. “Let’s just finish this shopping and head back. We have things we need to go over…”