Chapter One Hundred
I looked over at Eric and saw him staring, stars in his eyes, in a state of awestruck wonder at the presence of one of our Founders. He got down on one knee and bowed his head out of respect. Sometimes Eric could be real old school.
Me, not so much, especially when Tab looked like a guy from my family reunion back when there were more of us to get together. And when I recalled that some of these space guys might want to dismantle my girly parts to see what made me fertile.
"Stand Eric. You are a good mate for Sookie and we appreciate the way you look after her," Tabula said graciously.
He was using the royal "we" so he must be speaking for Jagula and Dracula too. I remembered there were three Lightning Brothers depicted in the ancient rock wall drawings. He left on his space suit except for his helmet, which he tucked under his arm. I got the feeling he was uneasy being here and was ready to pack up and leave as soon as he could.
Eric got to his feet in a flash. "Thank you, my liege." He stood straight and tall, like a soldier waiting for his general's orders. I was so proud of him.
"Why do I look like you? We could be kin," I asked. I hoped I wasn't being too pushy but I didn't know how long Tab was going to be here and I wanted to find out about our connection.
"We are kin," he said. "When we arrived here our reproductive powers were almost but not completely gone. We met and mated with human women hoping the native human fertility would give us the best chance at natural conception. We had a few successes though not enough to replenish our home planet. Our vampire reproduction was much more reliable."
I recalled something in the Bible, something about the 'Sons of God' that were mating with the 'daughters of men'. Could this be what was it was referring to? I imagined a guy showing up in a spaceship would seem kind of godlike to the primitive tribes back then.
"After all this all time I'm surprised we still look so much alike," I wondered aloud.
He laughed. "We have dominant genes."
"So that's what makes me a good bet to be the next Pythoness?" I asked.
"Having the bloodline and endorsement of the Founders removes any chance your judicial authority will be challenged. By next week every vampire on Earth will know that you are the next Pythoness and that you are to be protected at any cost. Anna Hita will be given the ingredients to cast a spell on all that matter to you, a spell that will keep them safe. You can live where you want, have anything your heart desires." He chuckled and looked up. "You might say the sky's the limit."
"Does having the bloodline and endorsement of the Founders mean my family and myself are safe from being used as some kind of science experiment to solve whatever fertility problems you-all might be having?" I asked.
I saw Anna Hita stiffen slightly, she hadn't expected me to come right out with my information, but I needed to know if my "protectors" were poised with scalpels to take me apart.
"Oh absolutely. Besides, we now know the truth about many things that were unclear to us in the past." He was one of those guys that could talk without really saying anything.
I made a point not to glance at Anna Hita. I hoped very much she wasn't in trouble with the Founders for keeping her ability to time travel a secret. And who knows, maybe it wasn't a secret anyway, except in her own mind. Those kinds of secrets are hard to keep.
So was my new identity. Every vampire on Earth was going to know about me. There went my hope that I could hide behind a computer monitor and pass judgements over the Internet.
On the plus side I wouldn't have to put up with anyone's guff anymore. And maybe now Eric could stop looking over his shoulder all the time. Maybe we could just live in peace with our family.
"Are you still making new vampires?" I asked, changing the subject. I was thinking about Jason.
"Not on this planet. Your sun has some strange atomic abberation that makes it dangerous to us if it shines on us directly. We dislike coming here except for important occasions such as this."
This seemed to remind him he wanted to be gone before dawn broke. He consulted a complicated watch-like gizmo on the arm of his space suit. It had numerous hands and dials, kind of like those fancy underwater watches they sell on the shopping channel late at night.
He said something to Anna Hita in a language I didn't understand and from the slight frown touching Eric's brows I didn't think he understood it either. I had been taught that it was rude to speak in another language in front of guests but maybe Anna Hita and Tabula were just treating us like kin. There was a lot more wiggle room in how you could treat kin.
Anna Hita answered him in English by saying simply, "Of course" and giving a gracious bow to her head.
"I must be going. It was very nice meeting you," he said to Eric and me. "Try not to worry about anything, I'm sure you'll do just fine. We'll keep in touch. Just tell Anna Hita if you need anything." He pulled his big helmet over his head and tightened the latches that held it on, not easy to do with the bulky gloves he was wearing.
He was already starting to glow and I thought he was going to do his entrance thing backwards. Instead he just wavered a bit and blinked out, like a TV picture being shut off. For the first time I wondered if he had really been here at all or if what we had been looking at was some kind of hologram.
Did Tabula really look like a Stackhouse or was he really some hideous being that just projected the image I expected to see?
I hadn't thought to try and smell him while he was here. I sampled the air to find there was absolutely no trace of him, not the tiniest whiff of anyone or anything that wasn't here before he showed up. I stopped when the residual smell of the baby's milk hit my nostrils. It was like having hot yogurt pumped into my sinuses, not a good thing at all.
Tabula was right about one thing. Dawn was coming and Eric and I needed to get somewhere safe for the day. Besides I wanted to talk to Eric in private. I had so much going on in my mind right now I didn't know how long it was going to take me to get it sorted out.
First and foremost I needed to find out how Eric was dealing with all this. I wanted the truth about the effect of the Pythoness's blood on me. At least I could take comfort in the fact that this wouldn't be the first time I reeked of something that made Eric stay away, if that was the case.Jure had messed things up for us a while back. Fortunately it wore off in time.
Mercy, mercy me, I hoped I wasn't repulsive again. I needed Eric near me, now more than ever.
"Honey, can we go back to our room. I need to digest all this," I said, inwardly cringing, as soon as the the word "digest" was out of my mouth because I had fed, however minimally, from the Ancient Pythoness. I didn't need to be reminding Eric of that.
"We are leaving," Eric said to Anna Hita. He turned and strode away.
I could tell by his tone and rigid body language he was still miffed with her and the way she got us here. I thought she probably did her best to smooth out the plans the Ancient Pythoness had made for me. Who knows what abrupt and traumatic summons I might have gotten if Anna Hita hadn't intervened on our behalf.
"We'll be in touch," I called to her as I ran to keep up with Eric.
We were outside and in our car in the wink of a bats eye. Eric was silent on our drive back to the hotel. I wanted to wait to hear what he was going to say about all this before blurting anything out that might make things worse.
more to come ..... (Can you believe it's Wednesday again? Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to let me know you're there, it makes a cloudy day bright! See you Saturday ...)