WE made our way hastily towards the exit of the Hill, our antennae linked as we marched side by side.
“Are you sure we won’t be caught?” Zita asked again, her words trembling.
“I am sure we were meant to do this.” I answered. My tone was gentle. “Stop looking behind you, you have nothing to fear.” I made a gurgling soothing sound.
“I can’t help it.” Zita whispered, but she strived not to angle her head backwards again. “Maybe Kiki was right. Maybe…”
“No, she was not right.” I cut in. “Stop second guessing yourself. You wanted us to do this because you knew it is the right thing to do.”
“Yes.” I stopped at the sandy exit. “This is it.” I told her, my eyes glowing as they looked into hers.
“Okay. This is it.” Zita drew in a tittering breath, gripped tightly to my antennae and then stepped with me through the narrow exit of the Hill.
The moment our legs stepped over the exit into the damp, wide-spread field, her fears and apprehension vanished into the dewy early morning still dark air. I watched as her eyes widened in her head with awe. They grew large, bright and glowing as they roamed across the extensive meadow all around us.
“Oh my.” Her voice thrilled with marvel. “This is utterly amazing.” She let go of my antennae and rushed forward.
I whistled in pleasure, going after her as she ambled around in quick steps.
We ran across the slightly damp ground, climbing on low plants and gliding down another. There were dewdrops everywhere. I flew over a droplet and it splashed on Zita.
“Ha.” She crinkled in delight, tapping on one too. The water splashed on me.
We ran in zigzag circles across and all over the field, jumping on dew droplets and splashing them all over the place. Zita picked a morsel of food, took a bite and passed me some.
“Taste this.” She told me. “It tastes so different. Everything here is so different.”
I took a bite, savoured it and trilled. “It surely tastes sweeter than anything inside the Hill.” I declared. “And you know why?”
“Why?” Zita asked, her eyes shining in anticipation of my response.
“Because it tastes of freedom.” I whispered, drawing near to her and linking our antennae again.
Zita made a shrill sound of delight, struck me with her antenna and then crawled off in another direction, dodging my pursuit. For a while, we did nothing else but just run around, play, glide up and down the low leaves of the plants in the meadow. After a bit, we huddled together on top of a wide leaf, staring up into the sky.
The big round moon stared down at us.
“I have never seen the moon this close and this big.” Zita said.
I turned my head to look at her. Her entire frame glowed with awe and contentment.
“Me too.” I whispered back.
“This is so beautiful.”
“You are beautiful.”
She turned swiftly to find my eyes on her—unflinching and adoring. Zita edged closer and with our antennae still linked, we watched the moon as it smiled down on us.
Much later, we crawled slowly back into the Hill. Just as we were about to separate, Zita nudged me with her head.
“Zoro, thank you for showing me the field. It was simply awesome.”
“Thank you for coming with me.”
Our eyes locked for some minutes. Then she whispered. “Zoro, I love you.”
And turning swiftly, she hastened down in the direction of their resting chamber. I stared after her, my eyes wide, my heartbeat thumping… at last!
I turned and flapping my wings, flew off in the direction of the drone chamber.
Neither of us had noticed the skulking figure of Poki.