Chapter 15- First Forest Kiss
Much to Lewa's surprise and delight, he meets Venimbus for the weekend at their usual spot, Venimbus's tree house porch.
Lewa knocks, smiling and patting his bag which holds the gifts.
When Venimbus open her door, her smile isn't as big as it normally is, and Lewa realizes she still feels bad about their last encounter.
“Venimbus, I have great-good news....But I need to make sure it was a success.” Lewa starts.
Venimbus gets a puzzled look, “Make sure what was a success?”
“Well....I have an odd friend who has a gift in doing things that can't be explained.” He states in Junti.
Venimbus gapes, her eyes widening. “Lewa....when did you learn to-”
Lewa holds up a hand, “My friend helped me with understanding and speaking the basics of your language, but that's not all...I asked her to adjust my system and grant me the Junti enzyme so you don't have to worry. Don't ask me how, but she did what she could....I just need to find out if it was success. May I touch you, Venimbus?”
Venimbus gives him a disbelieving look, but in her own desperate hopes, she holds her arms up for a hug, knowing his touch will make her flustered, and knowing that's a risk he's willing to take.
Lewa reaches in cautiously and wraps his arms around her. When he leans in and places his head next to hers, his heart rate high, Venimbu's body reacts as last time, but Lewa doesn't feel a thing. Suddenly he flares his nostrils, “What is that strange-odd, sweet-tangy smell....?” he half questions.
Venimbus pauses, sniffing, her brows lifting, “I'm not making anything on the stove....That's the smell of....Junti defense toxin.” She looks at Lewa in utter shock, realizing he's not reacting to it. “By the great beings....you can't feel it.” she states in a surprised whisper, eyes filled with astonishment and joy.
Lewa grins, and Venimbus is so enthralled that she hugs him tight, laughing in wonder struck relief.
Lewa chuckles, returning affection and pulling away. “If I can speak-talk Junti, understand the basics, touch-hold without feeling the sting, then I should be able to nibble-eat your foods too.”
Venimbus beams and pulls him inside, the two facing this with a dream come true attitude.
Lewa sits down at Venimbus's table and reaches into his bag. “I brought you some things.” he smiles, setting the toxic fruit chocolates on the table, and the small box with the locket.
Venimbus sits, her excitement remaining and she gingerly opens the chocolate box. “Oooo, toxic fruit chocolates. I do like these, but...” she pauses and looks at him, holding up one, “It's time to see if you can like them too.”
Lewa looks at the chocolate Venimbus holds, knowing this is the first step to testing if his body is truly immune, and he takes it uneasily, nearing it to his mouth, Venimbus getting up and pulling out herbs and water in case he can't handle it. Lewa sinks his teeth into a very small amount of the chocolate, sounding off a shiver when the tang of the fruit hits the tip of his tongue, but after that he remains fine.
Venimbus sits back down, smiling as Lewa starts to smirk, “Hey....that's pretty good.” he chuckles. Venimbus pats his hand, nodding and brimming with delight as she grabs for the jewelry box.
When she opens it she holds the charm up to the light. “Oh, pretty....” she grins.
Lewa nods, “It's the symbol for air, my emblem. There's a picture inside.”
“Inside? Oh, it's a locket...” Venimbus smiles, charmed by what she sees, and when she clicks it open she chuckles and holds it to her heart. “A picture of you, how sweet.”
Lewa grins and sits back in his chair. “Thought you might like something for memory-thought.”
Venimbus gets up and puts the charm on, popping a chocolate in her mouth. “Lets go for a vine swing.”
Lewa sits back up, nodding. “Sure-fine...” he states in a bit of surprise as Venimbus already heads for the door, he himself following her quickly.
Venimbus climbs through the trees, Lewa following above her as Venimbus grabs onto a vine. “Hey wind spirit, can't get me.” she grins, winking and swinging off.Lewa chuckles and sees she wants to play tag, feeling a sudden enchantment by the way she looked at him and he swings down by a vine, following after her. “Oh yeah, I bet I can.”
Venimbus giggles and maneuvers through the trees with a speed and ease Lewa has never seen before, and gets determined, taking in a breath and speeding up, trying to catch her. He nears her just barely, and puts his hand out to tickle her foot, but misses by two feet. “Bah!” he puffs, smirking at her mischievous laugh and continuing his pursuit, always several feet behind, and just when he thinks he's on her trail, she swings out of sight.
Lewa pauses in a bit of confusion, not able to see her and glancing around in every direction. “Venimbus?.....” He peeks around a tree, “Venimbus?”
Suddenly Venimbus chuckles and swings past, Lewa flinching and half grinning, “Oh...you sneaky little turd.” he laughs, swinging after her, and as he gets near, Venimbus grabs his hand and changes momentum into that of a vine dance, Lewa knowing what to do and joining in with a grin.
When they let go and land on separate trees, they look at each other for a long moment, warmth in their chests, and a sense of passion evident.
They both grab a vine again, swinging down from the trees and as they sway past each other they make eye contact, waiting for momentum to bring them closer to each other, the vines starting to sway lazily and Lewa looks at Venimbus who softly smiles, her eyes taunting and captivating.Suddenly when they're close enough, Lewa wraps his arm around her and lands on a tree branch, his eyes glancing at her lips and he gives her a cautious kiss, brief but meaningful.
Down below, not to Lewa's knowledge, a lone Le Matoran had been watching from undercover in the bushes, his eyes wide and his smile broad. Little did Lewa realize how close they had come to his village, and his secret was not to be for much longer.
Lewa lets go of Venimbus and the two smile at each other, their eyes holding deep question, as though they were seeing their futures before it even began, Venimbus blushing and Lewa fidgeting, feeling stunned and enchanted by what just happened, going to apologize before Venimbus puts a finger to his lips. “Don't feel sorry, wind spirit, I hold the same feelings.” Venimbus states in a hushed breath.
Lewa smiles, letting out a breath. “Let's head back to your tree home. It's getting past-late and I know you need to be in your homeland before it's dark.”
Venmbus nods, swinging off the branch, Lewa following close behind.
When the two are out of view, the Le Matoran bites his lip, unable to hold in titters, and he runs back to Le Koro with the news of what he just saw.
By the time Lewa gets back to Le Koro, it's nearing late evening, around 7, and he lands on the main platform of town.
Matoran who pass him snicker and snort, waving hello and grinning like they know a joke he doesn't, causing Lewa to lift a brow, and as he walks he notices everyone awake seems to be looking at him and snickering.
Lewa’s brow lifts more and he folds his arms, “All right, what's so joke-funny?” he squints, “Aren't you going to let your Toa-hero in on the fun?” he smirks.
The Matoran who had seen him earlier laughs from the trees above, “Quick-ask Turaga Matau, he wants to congratulate you.”
“Congratulate me for what?” Lewa stammers, getting a sinking feeling in his chest, his eye twitching and his heart thudding, “Oh....monkey turds” he grumbles, wanting to find out what rumor is going around, knowing Matau will be the biggest laugher of all if the rumor has spread across town.
He speeds across the platform and flies off for Matau's hut, landing outside his door and knocking. “Matau, it's Lewa, I need to speak-talk with you.”
Matau scuffs to the door a bit tiredly, but his face bears a smile as he opens the door and looks at Lewa. “Come in Toa...” he beckons, scuffing to the side so Lewa can come in.
Lewa sighs and ducks through the door, sitting down on the floor and puffing through his nose. “Word is a joke-rumor is going around, one of the Matoran spill-tells that you supposedly want to congratulate me. What for?” he says with distrust.
Matau sits down slowly and pours some green tea for himself. “Oh....hehehe, we want to congratulate you on your snag-find of a maiden fair. Word is you smooch-kissed this...uh, Venimbus?”
Lewa groans and holds his head, “Mata Nui....someone saw. Listen Matau, it's true, I'm in love, and no amount of tease-taunting is going to shake me from my heart-felt experiences, but please don't go spread-telling this news beyond Le Koro, and don't spout-speak her name. She's a Junti, her kind still have a bit of prejudice towards the air people, but despite that she loves me anyway. All the cultural things I've shared here I've learned from her. If any of her people find out, we’ll both be in for trouble.”
Matau nods. “No worries Lewa, we'll keep your relationship with this sparkle-beauty of a Junti among ourselves, and pray-hope to the great spirit your connection stays stable-strong. Besides, the Ju-Le war happened a long time ago, most the Junti have opened their borders to outsiders, including their windy neighbors.”
Lewa shakes his head, “Doesn't matter, the camp she comes from kicked me out after humiliating me. I'm not getting into details, but I've been secretly friend-dating her for awhile now.”
Matau chuckles, “Soon you'll be bringing out the rings, eh?” he winks with a grin.
Lewa blushes and clears his throat, embarrassed, yet his eyes show he's thinking on that idea, Matau only laughing more, knowing all too well what he's thinking.
“Best of luck to you Lewa, you've done better than I ever could....Nokama was never interested.” he shrugs.
Lewa lifts a brow, “You...joy-liked Nokama?”
Matau pauses, shrugging, “Yeah, once upon a time.”
Lewa gets a puzzled, surprise look. “Didn't see that coming....”
Matau chuckles again. “Well, now we both know something about each other. A few embarrassing secrets shared and kept between us. We know the risks in dating a Junti, especially a beauty like yours, but I'll make sure the truth stays in Le Koro.”
Lewa nods, sighing. “Thanks Matau, things have only just gotten serious, so I need this to be hush-quiet.”
Matau nods and steps back as Lewa stands again. “I best get home, we all need rest-sleep.” Lewa states tiredly as he heads for the door.
“Maybe sometime you can share-tell how you're doing, if you bump into hard-trouble.” Matau smirks, following him to the door as Lewa steps out.
“Yeah....maybe sometime I'll spread-share more of what I've learned, but for now I want this to be hush-quiet. Good night, Matau.” Lewa nods, his eyes more serious than usual, implying he's not joking about wanting his privacy.
Matau nods, “Good night Toa, sleep-snooze and dream well.” he smiles, closing his door, his snickers muffling from within the hut, Lewa shaking his head and flying off for home with a half grumble and smirk.
During the night, Orpheus had come to the low lands of Nu Le Koro in search of a few special plants that grew the best in that region, and he knew the people of Le wouldn’t mind a Junti medic staying around on one of the lower platforms for rest till morning. As he leans up against a tree and sets his head against his medical bag, he notices faint chatter and giggles overhead and his eyebrow twitches.
At first he brushes it off as nothing, just Le Matoran being themselves, closing his eyes for some sleep, till he chances to hear what they’re saying as they move closer through the trees overhead, one chattering to the other about Lewa sharing a kiss with some woman named Venimbus. Orpheus’s eyes shoot open and he sits up in a panic, scrambling closer to the sound of the conversation and squinting as he listens, getting the details that Lewa and Venimbus have been dating, only making his chest throb more as he holds his head and groans. “That idiot…..” he grumbles under his breath, puffing a not so happy breath through his nostrils. “Yep...I knew it...I knew he would do something stupid.” He pauses to think, knowing Lewa lives in the area, and set on the idea of confronting him on a matter that could be more serious than Lewa suspects or even knows.
He settles down again, now unhappy he’ll lose sleep to the thoughts in his head, and grouchily shuts his eyes till morning.
When early morning sunbeams shine down on the platforms, Orpheus twitches awake, snorting tiredly as he sits up and rubs his face. He glances around and reaches into his bag for his old watch, checking the hour and knowing he should get moving while he can.
After shoving his watch back in his medic bag, he stands and climbs the ladder to the higher platforms above, picking a fruit from one of the trees and snacking on it as he walks through the village and looks for someone who can point him in the direction of Lewa’s home.
A half awake Matoran swings by and Orpheus flinches, “Hey….wait.”
The Matoran pauses and hangs upside down from his legs off a tree branch, “Morning, need some aid-help?”
Orpheus nods, “Yes, as a matter of fact, I was wondering if you could point me in the direction of Lewa’s home or the general area he stays in.”
The Matoran smiles and sits back up. “Our Toa-hero lives on the other side of town, just follow the old bridge-paths till you see the symbol of air on a post-poll.”
Orpheus nods, smiling kindly. “Thank you.”
The Matoran waves goodbye to Orpheus as he heads off in search of Lewa’s home, stopping short when he finds the sign, but doesn’t see a way up to the tree house high above, and he grumbles, glancing around for something to climb.
While Orpheus tries to find a way up, muttering about air types not making their homes friendly for land visitors, Lewa opens his door, a smile on his face, not knowing he had company as he stretches and yawns, still waking up and getting ready for the day.
Orpheus glances at the porch and spots him, folding his arms. “Lewa…..Come down here. We need to talk.”
Lewa looks down at him. “Orpheus…? You’re a bit of a surprise-shock…” He says as he lazily flies down. “What do you bad-need enough to see me?”
Orpheus gives him a blank, tired look, sighing. “Lewa...Is it true you’ve been dating Venimbus?”
“Even if I was-perhaps, what great-business is it of yours?” Lewa questions, more confused than anything by his query.
Orpheus shakes his head. “I heard your people talking about something….something about a kiss. I’m not here to chew you out royally, but if what I heard is true, I believe you have a right to know a few things about our culture that may not be the same here in Le Koro. Did you kiss her?”
“Yeeeeeees……. what big-difference does that make?” Lewa flies down and offers a hand to Orpheus so they could speak in privacy.
Orpheus looks at him a bit puzzled when Lewa puts out a hand. “You want to talk about this in private?”
“Matoran are nice-friendly, but love a good gossip-gab.” Lewa helps Orpheus up onto his porch, and waits for Orpheus to speak as he leads him to his living room to sit down.
Orpheus remains well mannered and sits on the floor, a Junti custom being to lower yourself before the owner of a home or land. Lewa is a bit puzzled by this, but doesn’t question Orpheus’s ways.
“You’ve always been in for trouble, it’s not my business to be in yours, but both me and Kakadeus warned you about dating Venimbus. It’s shocking enough that she actually loves you from the sounds of it, but Lewa….In Junti culture, depending on the tribe, a kiss on the lips can mean a lot more than what it may mean in this part of the jungle. In our culture, that sort of affection is practically a wedding ring before you have the band, and usually for the very traditional Junti, we avoid such affection till after we engage and marry.”
Lewa is gobsmacked, He knew it meant a great deal, but he hadn't realized just how much Venimbus loved him, and was grateful to know that she cared for him as he did for her. “Truly?” He says, his eyes wide in loving wonder.
Orpheus holds his nerves, “Yeah…..Might want to read up on our culture before you take a nosedive into something you can’t handle. I’ve known Venimbus to be on the rebellious side at times when it comes to customs, but for her to let you touch her like that in broad daylight is a sign you may be in for more than you can chew.”
“What makes you think-ponder that I can’t handle myself? Do I look-seem like a child? Or an adolescent? I am well aware of what commitment-ties are…..” Lewa states defensively.
“I don’t think you want me to answer those first two questions, Lewa. I simply am warning you, as a possible friend with the gut feeling that if you don’t watch your step, you’ll be on my medical table with a mouthful of I told you so, and I really don’t want to have to see you beat up, battered, or in serious trouble. You’re a nice guy….”
“I value-appreciate your thought-concern, but while I may have some read-studying to do, I am not so lost-clueless as you may think.” He says, still miffed that Orpheus doubted him.
Orpheus blinks and gets up. “If you love her then I won’t stand in your way, I simply came to make sure you know what you’re getting into. Whatever your plans are...well, I can’t say much.” he shrugs.
“Thanks Orpheus, I much-appreciate the warnings, and the concern. But you don't need to worry-puzzle over me.” Lewa gives him a friendly smile to assure him.
Orpheus slings his medical bag over his shoulder, shaking his head. “Have a nice day, Toa…” he states tiredly, helping himself to the door and finding a ladder on Lewa’s porch, smirking and rolling it down, waving goodbye as he climbs off the porch and starts walking back to the village, headed for home.
LoL Chapter 14- Confronting Toxins<<previous chapter/next chapter>>