Part 3

"There you are Pony!!"

Eponin stopped dead in her tracks when she heard the voice behind her. Turning slowly around, she saw Solari gesturing wildy for her to wait up. 'Oh it comes...' was the only thought she had before Soli was upon her.

"I have been looking EVERYWHERE for you this morning! Where were you?" blurted Solari, a bit breathlessly.

Ep turned and began to walk towards the bath hut. "Ummm...I had some things to take care of Soli, that's all..."

"What things? Pony, you knew we were supposed to spar this morning..." She held out her arm for Eponin to see..."See what sparring with Ephiny gets me?" She blew hair out of her eyes. "I can't concentrate around her!"

A small chuckle escaped the swordmaster. "Sorry..." She grinned. "I guess I lost track of time." A sly smile unknowingly spread across her face.

Solari did not miss that smile. "Pony...."


"What is it you're not telling me?"

"What do ya mean?"

"You're hiding have that look on your face..."

"Me? Naaaaah, I got nothin to hide Soli."

There it was again. This time Solari recognized the grin. "Suuuuure ya don't....sure ya don't. Then explain to me why your skirt is on backwards."

"WHAAAT??" Eponin's hands and eyes went to the skirt and then realized she'd been had. She raised her eyes to meet laughing blue ones and glared defeatedly. "You don't play fair Solari."

"I play to win." She put her arm around the swordmaster's shoulder and they continued towards the bath hut. "Soooooo...." she grinned. "You gonna tell me all about your little tryst with Terreis, or are we going to have to play 'Dunk The Pony' until you do?"

Eponin chuckled. "Ok ok I'll tell you!" She rolled her eyes as she opened the door to the hut for Solari. "Women! Geeesh..."


"So they spent the whole night and most of the morning together! Can you believe it?" related Solari as she tore a hunk of bread from the still warm loaf.

Ephiny leaned back against the wall and stretched her legs out under the table. "Sure I can."

The brunette stopped chewing, and a look of suprise crossed her face. "Huh? What do ya mean 'sure I can'?"

"Just what I said." Eph crossed her arms across her stomach. "I mean, come on Soli....haven't you ever noticed how Pony always got flustered around Terreis?"

" And that's supposed to mean exactly what?" retorted Solari through a mouthful of food. "She gets flustered at the drop of a hat. The only time she doesn't is when she's got a sword in her hand or something."

"Exactly. And do you remember the time you were sparring with her, and Terreis showed up one morning?" Solari shook her head affirmatively. "Wasn't it you that made the comment afterwards that something really must have gotten into her leathers all of a sudden?"

"Oooooooh yeah, I see what you're getting at." She pulled off another piece of bread and added a good sized slice of cheese to it for taste. "You're trying to say that she liked Terreis way back then aren't you?"

"Yes. It seems pretty obvious now. After the fact I mean."

A complete look of shock spread itself across Solari's face. "Good gods Eph! You mean she's been in love with the princess all this time? Wow." The look changed from shock to utter amusement and a wide grin lit her features as another thought made itself present in her mind. "Now I understand why we didn't see her til this afternoon...."

"Oh?" She giggled. "And that's funny why?"

"Well, Pony must have been making up for all that lost time!" She couldn't hold it back any longer, and burst out into full blown laughter. Ephiny joined her and soon they were both holding their stomachs from the pain. "Talk about pent up sexual frustrations! She's been saving forever!"

More laughter, so loud they were beginning to draw the attention of almost everyone in the food hut. Suddenly, Ephiny had a revelation...."Oh my gods!"

"What?" replied Solari between giggles and gasping for air.

"Do you realize no one has seen Terreis yet today?"

Solari's laughter stopped completely, and her eyes met the blonde's. A very serious look came over serious it even stopped Ephiny's giggle fit. A moment passed before Soli said anything....

"Do you think she's dead?"

That was it for the both of them. Ephiny fell off the bench laughing while tears flowed freely from Solari's eyes as she struggled to maintain a semblance of control. She finally gave in and doubled over, nearly joining her lover on the floor.

"Either that...." blurted the blonde between gasping for air and laughing, "Or we have seriously underestimated Eponin's prowess in the bedroll!"

Quite a few moments passed before they could stand up, albeit wobbly-kneed and all, but they managed. "C'mon Soli, let's get out of here. I think we have a Princess who is in dire need of a serious wake up holler." said Eph, grabbing her friend's hand and heading for the door.

"Sweetheart, have I ever told you just how much I love your devious mind?" replied Solari, allowing herself to be led away.

"I guess you're rubbing off on me Soli..." grinned the blonde as they stepped outside into the sunlight.

"Hmmmm..." replied the brunette.

Ephiny's eyebrows shot up as she caught the change in her friend's tone of voice, and she blushed furiously. "Soli! You are so bad!"

"That's not what you said last night..." stated the brunette in a sultry, low voice. "In fact, I quite recall the sentence...'Oh are sooooo good' Or was I hearing things?" She linked her arm through Ephiny's as they continued walking towards Terreis' hut.

By now poor Eph was three shades of purple, with a tinge of magenta mixed in. She cleared her throat and leaned over to whisper in Solari's ear..."After we're done interrogating Terreis, you are sooo going to get paid back for that one dear..."

"Ooooooo, I can't wait." said her lover with a wistful look in her eye.

"Oh...but you're going to." stated Ephiny matter of factly.

Solari gulped. "You wouldn't!"

Her only answer was a sly grin and a very devilish look from the blonde.

Solari gulped again. "Ut oh."


Ephiny and Solari crept silently up to the window of the Princess's hut. Simultaneously, they peeked eyeballs over the sill and were rewarded with the sight of Terreis laying on her stomach, sprawled wildly across her pallet. Ephiny cocked her head as she viewed the mess in the hut. "My my, will you look at that..." she whispered as she pointed at three different spots on the floor. Solari's eyes followed Eph's gesture and she choked back a giggle. "Skirt over there....Gods! How did her bracers get up there?" She pointed to the sconce on the wall. "Forget I asked, I don't think I really want to know..."

"Eph....hey look over there. Isn't that Pony's regiment sash?"

"Why yes it is Solari...." A devious thought came to her as she studied the sash. "Wait here...and above all else, be quiet!"

"What are you gonna do?" whispered a now extremely intrigued Solari.

"You'll right back!" With that she slipped away from her lover and crept around to the door of the hut. Ever so carefully, she pushed the door open and slid into the room. Terreis's soft snores almost made her giggle out loud, but she managed to stifle them as she dropped to all fours and inched slowly towards the sash. She caught sight of Solari's wide-eyed look peeking over the window sill, and almost busted out laughing again. She waved at her lover as she reached for the item, causing Soli to have to duck down and cover her mouth with her hand to keep from laughing herself. She tucked the sash into her belt pouch and was just about to leave when another, even more devious idea struck her. Oh yes, this would be the mother of ALL practical jokes! Her attention was drawn to the window where she noticed Solari peeking into the room again. A sly smile stole upon her face, and she put her finger to her lips to make sure Soli wouldn't utter a sound. This was going to be hard enough to pull off without her giggling partner getting her caught in middle of doing it.

Looking around the room, she spied what she needed to put her plan into action. Stealing over to the desk, she grabbed a quill and the ink bottle, and moved stealthily over to the bed to stand on Terreis's blind side. (just in case she woke up) She glanced over to the window to find Solari's mouth hanging wide open in complete disbelief. She grinned as she uncorked the bottle and dipped the quill into the dark blue liquid. 'They must have really drank a lot last night....this is almost too easy!' She thought to herself as she scribed some letter's on the back of the princess's shoulders. Ephiny froze in mid-stroke as Terreis stirred in her sleep. "Ooooo Pony, that feels soooo nice..." It was everything Eph could do to keep the laughter from escaping her. 'My my Eponin, I never knew!' she thought amusedly to herself as the princess stilled and returned to her nap. She resumed her writing. A few more strokes and she was done. Capping the bottle, she strode over to the desk and replaced the items exactly as she had found them, being careful to wipe the excess ink off the tip of the quill. Then she silently exited the hut.

She made it exactly five paces out before her arm was grabbed and she she was being dragged off into the main courtyard.

"BY THE GODS EPHINY!!!" squealed the brunette as they got out of earshot of the hut. "Have you completely lost every last bit of your mind?" She stared into her lover's eyes. "I can't BELIEVE you did that!!!" She began giggling. "I'm so proud of you darling!" And with that she slapped her partner on her back, almost knocking her off balance. "I couldn't have thought up anything more delightfully evil myself!"

Ephiny chuckled. " was just one of those spur of the moment kinda things Soli." She grinned and leaned in to whisper in her lover's ear. "And it doesn't end there...." She pulled out the sash and waved it in front of Solari's face. "This....." she beamed at her brilliance..."is going to come in very handy. Follow me..."

She walked back over to Terreis's hut and ceremoniously hung the sash on a nail above the door.

Solari just stood there grinning. "You are sooooo so bad Ephiny." She entwined her arm with that of her lover's as they walked away. "Have I told you lately how much I adore your devious side darling?"

"Yes, but I love hearing it." She cast a look at the brunette walking at her side. "I believe we have some business to attend to on the other side of the village, do we not?"

Solari glanced up to see the gleam in Ephiny's eyes. "Oh Lots of it too. Could take a long time to sort through it all...."

"Yes....we'd better get to it then..." replied the blonde with a smile. Their pace quickened as they made a bee-line towards their hut.


Terreis woke about mid-afternoon. Sitting up, she stretched and noticed a tight feeling in her shoulders. "Wow, maybe I can get Pony to take care of that for me later...." She grinned to herself as she remembered the events of the previous evening. "Since it's her fault and all...." Smiling she looked around her hut. "Holy Zeus!" She chuckled at the mess. "Who would have ever thought Eponin could be so wild!" Another grin as she found her skirt and slid it up over her hips, fastening it with the belt she found lying ten feet away. "Not that I minded one bit though..." Finding her top, she slid that over her head, noticing again the tight feeling across her shoulders. "Definitely have to find Pony to take care of this..." She slid into her boots as she found them, and glanced around for her bracers. "How did that get up there?" she wondered as she pulled the second one off the sconce on the wall. "No matter...." Another giggle as she tried to straighten the muss of red locks falling across her shoulders. She walked out the door and into the sunshine, squinting at the brightness of it and headed towards Pony's hut.

She felt eyes on her as she crossed the square, and heard quite a few giggles and chuckles as well. But when she turned around to see what the fuss was about, the giggling stopped. "That's strange..." she thought. She turned around and continued walking, passing by three members of her sister's guard. There it was again! They were giggling! She turned in a huff to confront them....

"WHAT is so funny this morning?" she fumed at them, stopping them dead in their tracks and eliciting a very scared, wide-eyed look as well.

"N..nothing my Princess." replied one of them. "Our apologies for disturbing your walk."

Terreis turned and stomped off. "Some people!" she thought to herself.

She reached Eponin's hut and knocked. "Come in!" came the reply from inside.

Terreis opened the door and strode in. Pony was sitting at the table sharpening her sword, but put it aside when she saw it was her princess. She stood and met her lover midway across the room, slinging her arms around her and bestowing a very sensual kiss upon her lips.

"Mmmmmm...." said Terreis as she pulled back to gaze into the brunette's eyes. "I sure could get to liking that on a regular basis Pony..."

Eponin blushed shyly and cleared her throat. "Count on it." she replied. "So what are your plans for today Ter?" She turned and led the princess to a chair. "Have a seat."

"Well, I woke up with stiff shoulders Pony..." Her eyes met Eponin's. "I was hoping you might be able to fix that..." A seductive smile moved onto her face and her green eyes twinkled mischieviously.

"Well...." replied Pony. "Personally I can't think of anything I would rather be doing Ter, than letting my hands roam all over your body..." Her lips twitched into a sly grin. "Maybe you'd like to get a little more comfortable over there on the know, that way I can have an easier time getting those nasty kinks out...."

"Oh yes...definitely." replied the redhead. She stood and crossed the floor to the pallet.

Eponin watched as Terreis slowly began to undress. Her eyes followed every move as her lover disrobed before her. She gulped unconsciously. Her appreciative gaze was interrupted when she noticed what seemed to be some kind of writing along the back of Terreis's shoulders. She walked over just before the princess was about to take off her top. "What's this Ter?" she asked.

"What's what?"

"This writing on your shoulders."

"What are you talking about?" replied the princess as she craned her neck to look.

Pony got close enough to finally read what was inscribed there, and her eyes went wide. "By the GODS, they are gonna pay for this!"

"Who? What? What does it say?" inquired a now very exhasperated princess.

"It says....." and a chuckle escaped her throat despite her efforts to keep it in.

"OUT with it Eponin! Come on!" Now Terreis was getting quite angry at the thought of someone in her hut while she was asleep.

"It says......" Pony cleared her throat. "Property of Pony." Now she began giggling at the thought of her lover walking in public with that on her back, for all to see. Silently she thanked her two mischievious friends.

"WHAT???" She looked at her girlfriend. "No way!" Eponin shook her head affirmatively. "Please tell me it wasn't you who did this Pony..." This time Eponin shook her head no. "Then who did?"

"Oh, I have a good idea who did it Ter. And don't worry..." She grinned. "We'll get them back I promise you..." She turned Terreis around toward the light from the window and took another look at the words written on the Princess's back. She smiled thoughtfully. "It does have sort of a nice ring to it though..."

Terreis snapped her head around. "Oh you think so huh?"

"Yeah...maybe I do."

"So you think I should leave it on?" She noticed the suddenly panicked look fly onto her lover's face. "Uh-huh. Ok, let's get it off then."

"Ok....come over here by the basin." replied Eponin, taking one last look at those words. "I do like the idea of you being mine though..." she commented as she began scrubbing at the ink.


"Yes." She felt the flush begin to creep up her neck again.


"Ok?" A suprised look stole over the brunette's features.

"Yes...ok. I want to be yours." replied Terreis sincerely.

"Gods..." replied Pony. "I don't know what to say to that!" Her brow furrowed as she retreated into her thoughts, scrubbing harder than she realized.

"Ow! Hey!" yelped the princess. "Take it easy Pony, I sorta need my skin..."

"Oh yeah, I'm sorry." She softened her ministrations. "I Hades!"

"What? You can talk to me Ep. Don't be afraid..."

"Well...." the brunette paused in her scrubbing. "I just am afraid some people will think I'm with you because of what I can get out of it..." She hung her head. "That would be so not true Ter..."

The princess turned around to face her friend. "I know that Pony. After all, it was me who started this..." She smiled. "I don't care what they say...I just want to be with you."



"Wow. Alright, you can be mine then." She met those beautiful green eyes and stared into them. "And I'll be just yours." Her smile lit up the room.

"Deal." replied the princess. "Is it all off yet?" She tried to look over her shoulder to check.

"Well, most of it's ink, we need a special herb to draw it all out."

Terreis grimaced. "Guess we need to go see Cervexa huh?"

"Yeah. I'll go with you."

"Alright, let's get going then."

As they walked across the courtyard on their way to the healer's hut, they passed by the princess's own. Pony glanced over at it and noticed her sash hanging above the doorframe. "Uhhhhhh...Ter?"


"Look over your door."

She glanced at it, turned away, and then did a quick double take. "Lemme guess.....Ephiny and Solari."


"Paybacks are a bitch." commented the princess, and with a flip of her red hair, proceeded towards Cervexa's place.


The summer sun was beating down on the Amazon village by the time Ephiny opened her eyes. "Ooooo, and here I swore off the cider for at least a month! When will I learn?" She casually shut them again, feeling a little sluggish in the early morning heat. She felt Solari toss a bit in her sleep and opened her eyes again. Glancing over, she couldnt help but smile to see her lover sprawled with her head and part of her upper torso hanging off the end of the pallet. Chuckling, she gently eased away and stood up. "Wake her or not wake her?" she said out loud. "Hmmmmm......yeah wake her!" Bending over, she stood just out of arm's reach of the dark-haired beauty.....

"SOLARI! WAKE UP! WAKE UP!!!! WE'RE BEING ATTACKED!!!" yelled Ephiny quite close to her lover's ear.

"Huuuuuh? Whhaaa?? GOOD GODS!!! I'm up...I'm up! Where's my leathers?? WHERE'S MY SWORD????" yelped Soli as she threw herself into the air, just narrowly missing a dodging Eph.

The blonde exploded with laughter as she watched her friend scrabbling to find her clothes. So engaged was she in her mirth that she failed to see the light go on above Solari's head, and also failed to see her grab the bucket that was sitting right next to where she had landed after her frantic leap from the pallet. In one quick toss, Ephiny was drenched from head to toe with water, and it was suddenly her lover that was doing the laughing.

"Heh, that'll teach ya." She said as she walked back over to the bed and sat down, giggling at the expense of her tormentor turned tormentee.

Ephiny just sat there watching the water drip off her and onto the floor. "Yup. Very good. You got me." She turned her hazel eyes upon the brunette and graced her with a great big smile. "I guess I should know better than to try and get one up on the 'Queen of the Jokesters' huh?" She stood and walked over to the pallet.

"OOOOH no, you are not sitting down here all drippin wet like that curly...." Eph made a face at the pet name. "We really need to go get a bath and get to the practice field for drills before Melosa makes us pick herbs for Cervexa for a week."

Ephiny sighed. "Yeah, guess yer right" She flexed her arms, then stretched, popping her vertebrae back into alignment.

"Ewwwww! Stop that! You know that sound makes me cringe Eph..."

"Sorry honey. Well let's get cleaned up then. I'm sure we smell like a wine cellar right now."

"After you my dear..." said Solari as she stood, sweeping her arm out in a gesture for her friend to go first.

"Oh no, after you..."

"No, I insist...after YOU." Soli gave her lover a shove towards the door.

"You are such a bossy woman Soli, why do I stay with you?" retorted Ephiny as she allowed the brunette to steer her outside.

"Because of my exotic good looks and the fact that I am so good in bed. Haven't we discussed this before?" Grinning, she tossed her arm over Ephiny's shoulder as they crossed the square towards the bath hut.

"Why yes...yes we did come to think of it." Eph planted a kiss on her lover's cheek. "Doesn't hurt that I love you to death either."

Solari's smile lit up her face. "You always say the sweetest things Ephiny. I love you too."

They reached the bath hut and were quite pleased with the fact that it was unoccupied for a change. Entering, they locked the door behind them and shed their clothes.

"Yesssssssss, oh this feels so good...." said Ephiny as she slid into the warm water. "Aaaaaahhhh..."

"Doesn't look bad either..." drawled Solari as she let her eyes roam over her love's body. She slid closer so as to be able to gaze into those hazel eyes she adored so much. "I could just drown in your eyes Ephiny..." She smiled as the blush began to color the blonde's cheeks.

"You could?" replied a semi-stupified Eph.

"Ooooh yeah...and your lips..." She licked her own sensuously . "I think they were made just for me to kiss..." She leaned in closer, hearing the gulp from her friend. "I burn for you Ephiny....I want you...."

"Then take me, I'm yours." replied a now very flushed blonde warrior.

"Oh I intend to....right now in fact."

Their lips met in a crushing kiss, Solari's hands running the length of her lover's body and back up. They were well into some extremely passionate lovemaking when Ephiny's head shot up.

"What was that?"

"What was what? I didn't hear anything." replied Solari as she ran her tongue along a sensitive earlobe.

"I swear I heard something outside."

(shuffle shuffle CLICK)

This time they both heard it.

"Hades balls!" cursed the blonde as she hurriedly exited the pool and headed for the door. Reaching it, she grabbed the handle, only to have it come off in her hand.

"Son of a Bacchae!!"

"Uh oh..." said Solari, as she caught up to her friend at the door. "This sorta stinks huh?"

"Sorta?" Ephiny's brows creased as she tried to put the handle back on. "We're going to be late if we don't get out of here."

"Hmmmm....well we could bust it down." offered the brunette.

"I'm afraid we're gonna have to. Come on let's get a running start..." They took a few steps back and linked arms. "Remind me to hurt those two little troublemakers later, ok honey?" Said Ephiny as they leveled themselves for the door.

"Believe me dear, I WON'T let you forget!" replied Solari. "Ready?" Eph shook her head. "On three...One...Two....THREE!"

They made a mad dash for the door and crashed into it with such force that it flew outward and landed 5 paces away. Skidding to a halt they both looked at each other with big grins on their faces. But alas, their grins turned to frowns as a bucket of blue ink dropped ceremoniously on top of their heads.

"AAAAAAARRRGGGHHHH!!!! EP-O-NIIIIIIINNNNN!!!" bellowed the now tie-dyed blonde. "You are gonna pay for this!!!!"

Ephiny's tirade was interrupted by a fit of giggles coming from her partner. "Soli! How can you be laughing at a time like this!!!" she blurted.

"Awww come on isn't that bad." She giggled some more. "Besides, you look sorta cute in blue..."

Ephiny threw up her arms in surrender and turned back towards the hut. "Women! Can't live with em, can't run em through!" she fumed. "Come on Soli, we gotta get this junk off us before it sets into our skin." She grabbed her chuckling lover by the arm and led her back into the hut.

Two silently guffawing forms were huddled together behind the bushes across the courtyard, watching all the action. As Ephiny and Solari made their way back inside to scrub off the ink, they slid from their hiding place and made a beeline for the Princess's hut. Once inside, they finally let loose the laughter they had been holding in for quite a length of time, each holding on to the other for support.

"We did it!" blurted Eponin between howls and hoots. "We did it!"

"Yep! Told you they would pay darling." replied Terreis as she plopped down into a chair.

"That was the most AWESOME thing I have ever seen Ter! You are so smart!" She bestowed a kiss upon her girlfriend's lips. "Thank you for helping me get them back."

"Anything for you Pony." She smiled sweetly. "You aren't alone anymore, and you will never have to be the brunt of anyone's jokes ever again as long as I am around."

Eponin's smile could have blinded a cyclops right then. "Really?"

"Yes, really." replied the redhead. "In fact, there's something I've been wanting to ask you if you have a minute to talk before you head off to the field..."

Pony sat herself in the chair next to her princess. "Sure. Is there something you need? I can get it for you.."

"Yeah, there IS something I need." Terreis turned her eyes to meet Eponin's brown ones, and the brunette swallowed at the seriousness she saw there.

"Oooooo...serious chat...ok I can do that.." replied Pony as she settled back into the chair and crossed her arms. "Lay it on me. I can do it!"

The Princess smiled as she looked at the young woman sitting next to her. "Well...." started Terreis a bit hesitantly..."We have been seeing each other for a couple months now, right Pony?" The warrior shook her head yes. "So...ummm....I was wanting to ask you exactly how you feel about me...I mean...right now, how do you feel now that some time has passed?" Terreis bit her lip as she nervously awaited an answer.

"Hmmm..." Pony's brows creased in thought as she pondered the question. Looking her lover straight in the eye, she replied..."I love you. More than anything Ter....don't think I would like it much if something bad were to happen between us."

The breath Terreis had been holding finally escaped her lungs. "Whew! I'm really glad to hear that Pony because...." She untied the braided leather shoulder sash that signified her rank among the tribe. "....I want you to wear this." She held it out in offering to her lover.

Eponin's face went completely pale as she realized what she was looking at. Raising her eyes from the sash to Terreis's, she honestly still could not believe this was happening to her. She swallowed what seemed to be some kind of lump in her throat, and her voice was just barely a whisper as she tried to get something out. "Me?" was all she could muster.

Terreis looked upon her flabbergasted companion, and a warmth crept itself into her heart such as she had never known before. "Yes you." she replied.

"You sure?"

"Yes. Please say you will, or you'll break my heart..."

Eponin felt tears welling up in her eyes...."Gods Ter, I don't ever want to do that." She reached out a shaking hand and grasped the hand that held the mark of a princess. Their eyes met. "Yes, I'll join with you."

Terreis felt her own tears begin to stream down her face, and didn't care at all. She raised herself out of the chair and stood in front of her lover. Bending down on one knee, she carefully reached out and tied the sash to the left shoulder strap of Eponin's leathers. As she finished, she left her hand on top of it and looked deeply into her warrior's eyes. "I love you. Now let the world know it too."

Their lips met, and everything else faded away as they professed their feelings for each other through the language of their love.


"I haven't seen our two pranksters yet Pony..." stated Terreis as she glanced around the practice field. "They're late for know what that means..." A wry grin tweaked the corner of her mouth.

Eponin turned to smile at her lover, then resumed searching for the perfect practice staff. "Oooooh yeah....hehehe..." She found a suitable piece of wood and stepped back to check the balance. She suddenly became a whirl of motion, whipping the staff around her like it was the easiest thing in the world to do.

As Terreis watched her lover warm up, she was again in awe of how at home with weapons Eponin truly was. The staff became a blur, and the princess couldn't take her eyes from the sight. So mesmerized was she that she didn't see the tye-dyed, blonde mass of curls making a beeline for the swordmaster.

Ephiny grabbed the closest staff and headed straight for Eponin. Just as Ephiny was bringing her staff to strike at Pony's unprotected back, the brunette ducked and rolled to the right, causing Ephiny to overbalance and stumble forward. As she planned, Eponin quickly got to her feet and brought her staff around to shove the blonde forward, face first into the dirt. She quickly placed her boot lightly on the back of Eph's neck to hold her down. She staked her staff into the ground next to her friend's face, casually leaned on it and looked down. "Didn't anyone ever tell you not to make so much noise when you attack there Ephie?" She snickered.

"LET ME UP EPONIN!" Ephiny struggled to rise, but Pony put a little more pressure on her neck and shoved her back down again.

"Hold on there, where do you think you're goin?" She cocked her head a bit so she could look into her friend's eyes.

The blonde struggled a bit more, but finally just gave in to Eponin's greater strength and obviously superior position. "Damn you to Hades Pony!" She frowned. "You are gonna pay for that little stunt of yours at the bath hut!"

Eponin let a chuckle escape. "Is that so?" Now she laughed a bit. "And I suppose you thought I would just let you get away with painting my girlfriend's back while she was sleeping?" She laughed even harder. "That's a good one Eph!"

The blonde sighed. "Alright, alright.....I guess I can't blame you for being a little angry...." Eponin removed her booted foot and held out her arm. Eph grasped the proffered forearm, and, standing up, brushed herself off, sending dust flying everywhere. (This quickly dispersed the small crowd that had gathered to watch the short-lived fight)

By this time, Terreis had recovered her senses enought o come rushing over to the swordmaster. "You ok Pony?"

"Ayup." She replied as she let her arm wrap itself around the redhead's waist. "Eph here is lookin a little blue though..."

"VERY funny Pony....very funny." Suddenly her eyes fell upon her friend's left shoulder and her eyes bugged out. She looked from Eponin to Terreis, back to Eponin and then back to the sash that now adorned Pony's leathers. "Is that....." was all she could say.

Eponin cleared her throat. "Ahem....ummmm yeah, it is."

"Wow! Hey that's great!!" She suddenly ran up to the pair and drew them both into an amazingly strong bear hug.

Eponin cursed as she was suddenly being squashed like a bug. "Eph! You blasted woman! Let me go, yer makin a spectacle!" She finally managed to extricate herself but couldn't do much to save her lover, as Ephiny now wrapped her free arm around Terreis. Finally, Ephiny loosed the princess and stepped back.

"I can't believe it! When did this happen!" The blonde's words came out so fast even Terreis had a hard time getting all the words. Just then Solari came bursting onto the scene in a blue-tinged huff, using her lover to stop her forward progress.

"Eph! What happened?" Huffed Solari as tried to get some air into her strained lungs. "You shouldn't have taken off on me like that!" (A small crowd was now gathering again....after all, two tie-dyed amazons tend to draw some attention...) Ephiny just pointed at Pony's left shoulder, and now it was Solari's turn to go buggy.

"" she blurted.

Amusement danced in Terreis's green eyes as she replied. "Ummm, well I sorta asked her this morning." Now her eyes cast down and she blushed before looking back up to her friends. "She said"

Eponin saw that same look in Solari's eyes that Ephiny had had just before she was made to feel like the grapes at the bottom of a wine squashing barrel. Shutting her eyes she willed herself to grin and bear it, since after all this was one of her best friends, and especially since Terreis seemed to be thoroughly enjoying it. She sighed as now two sets of strong amazon arms were wrapped around her and her betrothed. 'Not so bad...' she thought to herself and hugged back. 'Not so bad at all!' She sorta rather liked this warm feeling that was running through her at the moment...yeah, it was definitely an ok thing.

Their moment of congratulations abruptly ended as Solari turned and saw the Queen standing not two feet away, with her arms crossed and looking extremely perturbed.

"Do I have to be present at all training sessions in order for any training to actually get done?" inquired Melosa as she stared directly at her sister.

Terreis was about to open her mouth to reply when Ephiny stepped forward and bowed her head. "Permission to explain my Queen..."

"Granted. Proceed. And don't forget to include the explanation as to why you are blue this morning..."

Ephiny caught the giggle that escaped Solari and shot her a glare before she proceeded. "Well, you see...." She hurried through the explanation, and by the time she finished, the Queen was trying very hard not to chuckle herself.

"My my....Eponin I am very proud of you." She turned and stood directly in front of the brunette. "That last show of your skill only reinforces the fact that I have made the right decision then."

"Decision?" asked Eponin curiously.

"I was going to wait for the ceremony this evening to announce it, but I guess now is as good a time as any." Melosa looked directly in Eponin's eyes. "Eponin, it is with great pride for me to inform you, that you have been selected as the tribe's Weaponmaster." She smiled warmly as she watched Pony's jaw hit the ground.

"Really? Me?" she swallowed audibly.

"Yes. Tonight you will be officially recognized." replied the Queen as she turned to go. She stopped in mid-turn and added..."And by the way...congratulations to you both." She smiled as she walked away.

Terreis rested her arm over Pony's shoulder. "I guess we have her blessing huh?" She giggled. "And you! Congrats! Oh Pony I am so proud of you!" She then threw her arms around her lover's neck and kissed her soundly. Their kiss was interrupted by the slapping of hands on Eponin's back, and the sound of many voices congratulating both them and Eponin for her promotion.

Pony found Terreis's eyes and she mouthed "I love you..." which was returned with a huge smile and twinkling green eyes. 'Can't get any better than this..' thought the weaponmaster as she continued to be hugged and pounded on the back by a now increasing number of her peers. 'But I swear my arm is gonna fall off if this goes on much longer...'

Continued in Part 4 ---->