Himeko felt her cheeks flush, and immediately began a fit of coughing so convincing that one of the elves ran over with a mug. He held it close to her and encouraged her to drink from it. She took the mug and found that she had not been brought water, but a rich, aromatic tea. She drank deeply of it, and then stood up straight to look at the elves who were now surrounding her.
“Thank you,” she said as she held the mug back towards the person who had given it to her.
“Did you not like it?” he asked her. “Drink as much as you like; no need to hold back.”
“Oh… Thank you you,” Himeko replied. She took another sip of the tea.
“Is everyone all right?” a voice said from the back of the crowd. “It sounded like somebody was choking.”
Himeko looked over and nearly blushed again. There he was with his hair pouring down his back like so much sunshine, he smile warming of the village even while the real sun was hidden by the canopy high above them. She gave him a meek smile when he looked over at her. Some of the elves were talking to him, telling him that there was nothing to worry about, that it had merely been a cough. He walked over to her.
“Good morning,” he said, and Himeko suddenly found herself thinking about honey. “I suppose I should have told you about how breakfast works among my people, in case you woke up before I did.”
“I was no problem,” she told him. “The others were very kind in offering me something to eat.”
He smiled down at her. “I can put together a platter for you, he suggested. “All the best of elvan breakfast.”
“That is very kind of you, she replied, taking another sip of tea. “Should we wake up Cerys and the others first?”
“Let them rest,” Nashtra insisted. “There is no sense in taking tired travelers out north of the forest.”
“You do not know Peter very well,” Himeko replied. She began to follow Nashtra as he took her around to the different fires.
“The boy looks exhausted,” Nashtra told her. He accepted several pastries from on of the cooks and took one for himself before moving on, though not without remembering to offer one to her. “They are better hot.”
Himeko accepted his offer and together they continued on. “And if he sleeps the entire day?”
“Is he ill?”
“No,” Himeko admitted, “but he is a teenager.”
Nashtra chuckled as he finished loading up her plate and take for himself. He led her over to a place where they could sit together and chat in between eating. “Peter will be all right,” he assured her. “You have to believe in him.”
“I suppose,” Himeko sighted.
“He might be a bit surprised about actually being here, but when the time comes, he is going to do something incredible with that bow of his.”
“And Bayani’s help?”
Nashtra shook his head. “He will do it all on his own. Watch him, himeko; he is going to astound you.”