Surprise from Puckworld

By Karai Heartfeathers

Part 3: Agreement

Karai protests violently as Mallory and Nosedive half drag her down the street. "I don't need new clothes! The ones I have are fine!" Duke and Wildwing follow watching amusedly.

"Gimme a break girly girl...Those clothes of yours are ready to fall apart!" says Nosedive.

"Yeah and you can't keep Duke's shirt forever!" exclaims Mallory. "You are going to buy some clothes whether you want to or not!!" Mal yanks on her arm and suddenly despair, fright, and anger blazes through Karai. She yanks away from them and races down the street, quickly leaving them behind.


I didn't know what was going on...All I knew was I had to run. I had to get away. That has always been my problem: when the going gets tough, run away. Instinct led me to the Anaheim Park and secluded area. I collapsed to my hands and knees and began to sob. I barely registered the sound of my name being called. All I could think about was the peace of Naren's forest territory. That brought on another torrent of tears as I thought about them...the only friends I had on Puckworld....


Wildwing and the others slow to a stop, breathing hard. "Man that girl can run!" exclaims Dive as they deactivate their skates.

"Tell me about it.." says Mallory. "Where'd she go? And why'd she take off like that?"

"The stress of having us around is gettin to her..." says Duke quietly.

"How do you know?" asks Mallory.

"Being around you guys would frazzle anyone who is used to isolation..." he replies.

Mallory starts to reply but Wildwing cuts in. "We'll split up. When you find her, let the rest of us know." They nod and head off in different directions.

Duke finds Karai sitting on the ground with her knees curled up to her chest, crying as though she had just lost everything. He walks up quietly and kneels beside her, unsure of what to do. He reaches out and touches her shoulder. "Karai?" His voice is softer than normal. He forces himself not to jump back in alarm when she turns and buries her face in his chest, crying. Tentatively, he puts his arms around her and holds her as she cries into his chest..


I know, I sound like a complete baby but think of it like this. When they mentioned new clothes, it hit me that I probably would never be able to return home. I felt as if I had lost my entire life. Miserable though it was it was my life. I was so scared that I would never be able to see my friends again. And I was also FURIOUS that they were constantly making decisions for me.

I couldn't help but think of Naren when Duke put his arms around me. I used to cry into Naren's chest as well when I was young. and thinking of Naren reminded me of my stone the only link home...That helped calm me enough to stop crying. I looked up a Duke and saw a look on his face that I had never seen there before. It was concern.

" Feelin' better?" he asks gently.

I nodded, suddenly aware of how close we were. I almost started to push away but then he leaned forward a little and kissed me. <Use your imagination here folks.> It was my first kiss...and the one who gave it to me was Duke L'Orange...How many girls can say that?


Karai stiffens for a moment but then melts against him, surrendering to his will completely. He pulls away a few moments later. "Karai, was that the first time anyone has kissed you?" he asks gently.

Karai blushes and nods looking away. He smiles faintly and turns her face back towards him. He would have kissed her again had not she asked, "Duke? Why me? And not Mallory or Tanya?"

"'Cause you are endearing and I guess 'cause you are the only one who understands the freedom people like us need."

Karai smiles broadly and ironically. "No boyfriends/ girlfriends...just someone to make out with on occasion right?"

"Exactly." Duke returns her grin and helps her up. "Now we better find the others...and the next time you want to be alone just say so...They'll respect your privacy."


I suppose most girls would have been insulted but I understood what Duke wanted. He and I couldn't take the risk of having a serious relationship. Thieves lead lives that are subject to change without notice and relationships only get in the way. I have watched people destroyed because of a relationship so I understood perfectly.

He wanted someone he could care about without having to worry about endangering them while offering the same in return.

I sighed and stretched..."Let's go find the others."

"How do you know I didn't come alone?"

"Wildwing wouldn't let you come alone...Not his way..." We start off looking for the others and I shyly slip my hand into his. He immediately folded his hand around mine.

"You've only been with us for a couple of weeks, how do you know so much about him?"

"Observation...I have trained myself to be alert to the doings of people around me, to be alert as to their personalities and patterns."

"You are gonna make a great thief." he grinned at me and let go of my hand as the others came into sight.


Karai reaches up and quickly wipes away the tear streaks. "Are you okay Karai?" asks Wildwing concerned.

"Yeah...sorry about running away like that...I just panicked all of the sudden."

"We can return to the pond if you want."


"Let's get the shopping over with...Karai is due to begin her lessons soon."

"Lessons?" asks Nosedive with a suggestive lilt in his voice. He grins teasingly. Duke rolls his eyes as Karai promptly clobbers 'Dive.

"Duke has kindly offered to continue my thief training...that is the lessons he is talking about." she states in a matter of fact tone.

"Owww...okay, okay.. yeesh."

Reluctantly, almost shyly, she lets Mal and Dive help pick out clothes for her. After about two hours, Wildwing and Duke, loaded down with packages. "I am never going to be able to repay all this money you spent on my clothes." she states.

"Aw it'll give ya a reason to stick around." says 'Dive.

Karai glances at Duke and grins. " will."


Duke and I managed to keep our agreement, I guess it could be called, a secret for about three weeks after that day. They had been up in the rink all day practicing and I had been cleaning all day. I was still cleaning when they were done. They wearily traipsed past me each saying hi as they headed towards their rooms for a nap or a hot shower. Only Wildwing paused to ask why I was still cleaning.

I explained that since I started training with Duke I had less time to clean so when the all day practices came up I had to clean thoroughly while I could. He nodded and continued onto his room.

When Duke passed me I saw a familiar look in his eyes that told me I wouldn't be cleaning much longer if he managed to find me alone someplace.

I nodded slightly to him and had the pleasure of seeing his eyes brighten a little at my assent. I should have said no and continued cleaning but I was tired as well and ready for a break.

I was intercepted about an hour or so later in the rec room. Everyone else was off doing their own thing, thankfully or I think I would have gone berserk. I like the guys kisses...So sue me.


Duke walks in to the rec room, smiling when he sees her. She stretches upward to dust the top shelf of a book case as he sneaks up behind her. She jumps when he wraps his arms around her waist. "You scared me." He nuzzles her neck.

"Sorry..." He pulls her towards one of the couches. He sits down, then pulls her onto his lap and kisses her. She would have smiled if she could and slipped her arms around him. He pulls the hair tie from her hair and begins undoing her braid by entangling his hand in her hair. < Gimme a break. This was the only way I could think to work this in.> They barely register the sharp clink of something hitting the floor.

They make out for several minutes before being interrupted by a tap on both of their shoulders. Reluctantly, they look up to see the entire gang looking at them curiously. "Yeah?" says Duke as Karai blushes and hides her face in his neck.

Wildwing, carefully keeping his face blank, "If you two are going to make out please do so in privacy...not in the middle of the rec room."

Karai blushes even harder. In a soft muffled voice that Duke can barely hear, "Oh man....I can't believe this happened..."

Whispering, "Tell me about it." Duke looks at Wildwing. "Uh..wha'd you want?"

"The Saurians are causing trouble again...Care to join us?" asks Mallory sarcastically. Karai gets off Duke's lap and re-braids her hair. Duke, starting to stand up notices the sapphire that had fallen to the floor. He scoops it up and puts it in his pocket standing up. He hands Karai her hair tie and she fastens the end of the braid.


We piled into the Migrator and took off. I went along because though I am not a very good shot I can play back up in a pinch. I kept feeling as if there was something wrong or missing but I couldn't put my finger on it. I watched them pile out and sat down to wait for them to call.

I watched and noticed a strange mist arising. The next thing I know I am waking up in a cell and my body hurts, as if I had just carelessly been tossed in. I looked around and my friends were all awakening. It was a matter of moments before they realized that their weapons had been taken.

"Duke can you pick the lock?" asked Wildwing.

"I can try." Duke pulls out a pick and goes to work on the cell lock. "AGH! SHIT!" We looked over and saw him drop a melted piece of metal onto the floor. "Any other ideas?"

"Grin?" Wildwing looked at the giant duck who proceeded to grasp the bars. The bars glowed brightly. He held on for a few moments pulling, before finally letting go. He didn't say anything but I could smell the burned feathers and could see his burned palm.

"Anyone else got any other ideas?" asks Duke.

I spoke up. "I do." I reached back to work the sapphire out of my hair but it was gone! I looked at them and knew my expression was grim. "Or I would if I had my sapphire."

"Sapphire? I thought you were ah-" says Mallory.

"A street rat? I am...that stone is unique...not something I would sell for any price."

Duke pulled something out of his palm and held it out. "I found this on the floor before we left." It was my sapphire. I realized what had happened and sighed in relief.

"Thank the gods...We'd be out of options if you hadn't picked this up." I told them as I walked over near the bars.

"What is that little bitty stone gonna do?" asked Tanya.

Go to Part Four
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