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Lively yawned, tongue curling between her sharp little teeth. That Sky was caring for a predator—for two of them, the cubs born to her cheetah friend Rush—was one of many strange happenings in Bravelands. But she did not regret her decision to keep responsibility for them, no more than she could her vow with Rock, so newly made.

"You went somewhere?" Lively half-asked, blinking sleepily. Her brother Nimble was still all the way asleep, a bundle of spotted and grey fur beside her.

"For a little while," Sky answered, softly. "Rock and I—that's something you will understand when you're much, much older."

Lively shrugged her fluffy shoulders, and seemed to be unconcerned. "Can I ride Rock on today? I woke up first, so I get to choose, right?" She looked suddenly embarrassed, and started washing her paws. "You're fun to ride on too," she added quickly.

Sky laughed, an elephant's deep rumble of amusement. The cub was so cutely earnest.

Nimble was stirring; just as well, as they should soon to continue their journey. The cubs, and Sky—and Rock, her betrothed. Sky could trumpet her happiness, but that would be a startling way to wake Nimble.