The two baby sylphs lay in Autumn’s arms, peeping happily while the healer gently fed them wisps of Solie’s energy, edible to them now that they’d been brought into the hive.
“They’re so cute!” Solie squealed, overcome by the adorableness of the two while a half dozen other women crowded them and cooed. “How did they get here?”
“Through the gate,” Autumn said. “I dread to think what much have happened to their home hive to let them wander around on their own.”
“But how is it no one noticed them?”
Autumn smiled down at the two, who burbled at her. “Baby sylphs don’t have much of an aura. They’re easy to overlook. We keep them in nurseries inside the hive until they’re much older, to keep them out of trouble.”
“Well, they’re safe now,” Solie smiled. She’d make sure of it. They’d have to be very careful indeed picking masters for these two.
That thought reminded her of something. “How did they even manage to be in this world without masters?”
Autumn looked at her evenly. “Because they hadn’t tried to take any of the energy of this world in, so they weren’t really part of it. If they’d eaten anything, they would have been poisoned and rejected back into their own world. They’re lucky they’re picky eaters.”
Solie smiled and bent over the two. “You’re so clever! Yes, you are! Yes, you are!” The two babies squealed in happiness and she wriggled her nose at them and turned to regard two battle sylphs cowering against each other nearby, both of them covered in dirt and pie filling.
“I can’t believe you were going to kill them!” she snapped. “Thank the stars that Casi was there!” Casi smirked and Blue and Dillon cowered some more.
The Widow reached down to stroke a gnarled finger along the edge of the two’s bodies, her expression soft. “It’s amazing how much they managed to steal.”
Autumn looked down at the two, communicating with them. “It wasn’t them,” she said at last. “A battle sylph came with them. He’s the one who’s been trying to steal food for them.”
Mace had been standing nearby. At Autumn’s words, the big battler stiffened.
Battlers! he sent along the hive line. There is a foreign battle sylph invading our hive!
Roars started up around the Valley, battle sylphs rising in the air to hunt and kill their enemy. Autumn looked at Mace, one eyebrow raised.
“He’s from the same hatching as them,” she said. “Are you seriously going to raise the entire flight to track down and kill a baby less than a day old?”
Mace looked at her and at the other women, all of them glaring at him with thunderous outrage.
Battlers! he sent. Never mind.