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Part One - Isengrim
Katsa wondered how in the world she could be so sick. She had never felt this way in her life, her Grace usually protected her from all illnesses. It had only started after she had been staying with Po in his castle for a while. She loved coming to see Po, but soon she would be on her way back to Monsea and stay with Bitterblue. She decided she would ask him if anything was going around tonight when she saw him.
"I don't know." Po said when Katsa asked him about her strangle illness. It probably wouldn't even be strange if anyone but her had it. It seemed like the common stomach bug. "You sick, Katsa? I don't like it. Maybe... maybe you should rest for a couple days. It couldn't hurt." Katsa just made a face at him. She thought Po should know her better by now.
"I know. I know." He said with a sigh. "You're not the kind of person that stays in a bed all day. But I'm worried, you don't feel right either." If it really worried him that much, Katsa would listen to him. He probably knew what was going on in her body more than she did. That's what his Grace was. Feelings, a sixth sense. Technically for Po, one of his regular senses too. It'll be alright, Po. She thought to him. Sending reassuring feelings his way. He got the message and moved closer to her. Wrapping one arm around her waist, and one around her neck and head. He kissed her cheek and told her to go to sleep.
Sky was looking for Katsa. He wanted to tell her that Po had beaten Sylverin easily. And that his Grace seemed to be working almost better than before, his fighting skills were more amazing now than ever. He was proud of his little brother for healing so quickly, for acting like himself again.
He found her in a what had become her room since the first time Katsa had stayed with Po. That wasn't the part that bothered him. That was the first place he looked, he knew she would be in here. The part that bothered him, the part that worries him. Scared him even. Was the fact that Katsa was crying. More like sobbing. Katsa was more than his brother's ... romance, to Sky. She was also his friend, and he truly cared about her. Which was why when he saw Katsa, one of the bravest most courageous person he knew, seem to shake apart. He felt like the word was tilting the wrong way.
"Katsa? What's wrong? What's going on?" She looked up at him and he could see just how red and puffy her eyes were.
"Sky!" He kneel by her and patted her back.
"What's wrong?" He asked again.
"Nothing. I'm fine"
"If you were fine, and nothing was wrong, you wouldn't be in here crying. Would you?" She just looked at him sadly. "Fine be that way. Come see Po. He just beat Sylverin in record time." At that she smiled and followed Sky out to the east of the castle. To the wide open fields they often use for combat practice.
Po's head snapped up before he should have been able to see Sky and Katsa, but he could feel them and... something else. He would talk to Katsa about that something later that night.
"Katsa... You're pregnant, aren't you?" At that Katsa burst into tears again. Like she was already holding them in and Po's words had broken her resolve.
"How'd you know?" She managed through her tears.
"I-I can feel him."
"Really?" She asked incredulously, her tears drying a little. "It's a boy?" Po nodded. Feeling like Katsa didn't need words right now. Wouldn't want them, or appreciate them. He let her ask the questions before he said anything. "Oh, Po. What do we do?"
"We have a baby." He said and pushed the hair out of Katsa's face. After he said that she started crying again. "It's ok. Everything's going to be alright." He kept repeating until she fell asleep.
The baby was born in spring. It was a boy, just like Po said. Healthy, with dark hair. They named him Isengrim. And his eyes were green, at least, one of them was. The other was gold. He was a Graceling.
Part Two - Melaie
Po didn't understand why anyone would give up their own child. He would protect Ri with his life. But here was a little family, with a Graceling child, ready to hand her over. Just because a Graceling child was bad for business at their little Inn in the town over.
"Please Prince Po, keep her. We can't. We would if she wasn't, uhm, graced. You can keep her, teach her how to use her Grace. We-we think it might be combat skills. Her older brother had a bloody nose today and wouldn't tell us how he got it. Please just take her." How strange, the girl had to be at least five. For a Grace to appear so many years after birth was rare.
"Her name is Melaie. She's quiet." They held Melaie up for Po to take her. He could feel how scared she was. Her heart thumping at a crazy pace.
"Ok." Po had to take her, he didn't know what would happen to the poor thing if he didn't. Po knew he was lucky for a Graceling, being a prince of Leinnid. But usually a Graceling's fate was much darker than his. And maybe Melaie would be a good companion for Isengrim. He doesn't play with other kids his age, Po wasn't sure if Ri had even ever seen a kid his age. Younger children stayed far away from his graced son out of fear. But older kids would seek him out to test their skills on his fighting grace. But Melaie was only a couple years younger. Po hoped they would get along.
"Thank you, young prince, thank you." And then most of the family left. Except the mother, who stayed behind to say goodbye to her little girl. And kiss Melaie on the forehead.
"Take care, Mel." She said and left. Not even an I love you, thought Po sadly. He could tell how scared Melaie still was of him. He tried to calm her down.
"It's ok, I wont hurt you. It'll be ok." He told her, still holding her in one arm, he patted her head with the other. Ri and Katsa were in Monsea at the moment, but they'd be back soon. Po hoped Ri would welcome a little sister.
Po washed up Mel. Her clothes had dried blood on them, and a little in her hair. If combat skills really was her Grace, it was probably her brother's blood.
That night Mel slept in the curve of Po's stomach. Po felt a connection with the girl. And Mel was starting to like the young prince, Po could feel it. He had already gained her trust. He also knew that she was confounded by his eyes. She loved them and they scared her a little too. Po only wished he could know what color her eyes were. He was curious, and would just have to wait for Katsa to tell him.
"I don't mind you having taken in a Graceling. It kind of makes me happy. But what if, she and Ri..." Katsa said.
"They'll be fine. Ri loves her." As Po said that, Ri and Mel were wrapped in a blanket, asleep together on the floor. After beating each other to a pulp, they were so tired they fell asleep on the floor using each other as a pillow.
"But, she gave Ri a bloody nose. Ri, the seven year old that beats up the teenagers that make fun of him." Katsa sounded actually worried. Po was flabbergasted, Katsa's a great mom and all, but he'd never seen her actually protective of Ri. She always let him solve his own problems. He couldn't believe a little girl could scare Katsa so much.
"Katsa, theyíll be fine. Remember how we were when we first met? How we still are most of the time? Ri was holding back, I could tell. They wouldn't actually hurt each other." Katsa seemed to accept that.
"I know." She said with a smile. "You have a point Po. Ri could take out most adults, it must be fun for both of the to have a challenge."
"Oh, before I forget. What color are her eyes?" Po could feel how sad Katsa was when he reminded her of his missing sight.
"One's dark gray and one's white."