Chapter 1.9: Butterflies

The next morning, Shane and Lilith made their way down to the abandoned nectary outside town. It was a huge house on a hill, surrounded by different varieties of grapes growing wild on its slopes.

“I bet we’ll find more than clownfish in that little pond over there,” Shane observed. The pond looked to be teeming with fish and frogs.

Lilith smiled at Shane’s delight when he reeled in a HUGE toad. “Wow!” he blurted.

“Wow indeed,” Lilith agreed, glancing at him sideways.



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Evan & Jaron – Crazy For This Girl

They spent a few hours discovering new fish and creatures in the pond at the old nectary, while butterflies drifted lazily across the water.



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“What sort of grape do you think this is?” Lilith asked.

Shane took the proffered grape and inspected it. It was light purple in color. Popping it in his mouth, he said “I’m not sure, but it tastes good. I definitely want to bring some of these back with me.”

They ranged the hillside below the big old empty house, collecting bunches of grapes whenever they found them, while Shane told her his dream of planting a vineyard and maybe a large garden back on Ouroboros. “Well, maybe in the spring,” he added. “That idea is a big part of why I came here to Champs les Sims, in addition to winter supplies.”

“Well I’m glad our plans brought us here. This is so fun!” said Lilith.



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Standing together on the steps of the old house, Lilith wondered if they should try the door. Shane peeked through the windows. “It looks dark, I don’t see much in there.”

Lilith opened the door, and it swung inward, groaning into a swath of cobwebs. “Ew!” she shrieked. Shane smothered a laugh. “Girls,” he said, rolling his eyes as she poked him in the ribs.



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Shane spied a chest standing in the back corner next to the window, and against Lilith’s protests about spiders, grabbed her hand and pulled her into the room. “Oh come on, it’s just a little dust!”

She leaned over his shoulder as he lifted the lid of the trunk. “Whoa,” they exclaimed in unison.


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He reached in, and lifted out a beautifully cut gem, glimmering in the dim light of the room.

“What is it?” Lilith asked.

He turned it this way and that, watching the play of fire through the stone. “I think it might be an opal.”

“You should keep it.”

“I think I will, for now,” he said, carefully putting the gem in the leather pouch tied around his waist.



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Lilith was reveling in the new-found familiarity and camaraderie she and Shane had slipped into. He had always been so…impersonal, whereas now he was more open and carefree. Must be something in the French air, she thought to herself, smiling at him watching the fountain on the town square.

As she studied him, it made her breath hitch to think she had to leave. She had packed her trunks with goods and supplies and booked fare on a ship leaving the next day that would be going past Ouroboros Isle.

She did miss Maru though, she thought with a pang. It would be fun to show him everything she had brought back and tell him all about Champs les Sims. And he would be so surprised to hear she had run into Shane while she was there!



The next morning, Shane carried her trunks down to the waiting ship, and then they wandered up to the courtyard until it was nearly time for her to leave.

In dappled sunlight beneath the trees, butterflies skimmed around them. He watched in silence as one landed on Lilith’s palm.


Right there, in that moment, his heart tripped.
So this is what butterflies feels like.
He drew in a ragged breath.



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He pulled her into an embrace. “Let’s get you down to the dock,” he said hoarsely.

Her arms went around his waist and she laid her head against his chest as she returned the unexpected hug. “I hate to leave, but I do miss home. I’ll see you when you get back.”



You better take good care of her, Maru, Shane thought.