Sybaris yawned hugely and coiled herself around one of her access poles in the library and slid down a dozen centuries, turning slowly as she slid, green eyes scanning the levels as she passed.
Her coils tightened and she slowed to a stop at the Ziggurat level from before the fall of Babylon. Temis wasn’t clicking, and clacking through the tablets though. She had her talon covers on and was carefully leafing through the birch-bark pages of the northern tribes.
“Hello, love,” she said, and wound herself through the gate.
“My dear!” Temis pushed her spectacles onto the top of her head and pounced, carefully away from the books but Syb coiled her up and rolled her toward herself. They ended up tangled together, breast to breast and nose to nose and both started laughing. When she caught her breath, Temis asked, “How is the Kitten doing?”
“She’s… upset,” Sybaris said. “Asteri is still gone, her very own ushera is no-where in my sight… I’ve been looking in my mirror and all I can see is snow and lightning. Not a good combination. It think the ushera is from very far away… China? Korea? Oceania? Perhaps as far away as the Aleuts and something happened in Tibet.”
“Syb… you’ve been hiding something from me.” Temis put both her paws on either side of the lamia’s face. “You went to talk to Them, didn’t you?” She rubbed her chin across Sybaris’s cheek. “They always make you bleed when you do that.”
The lamia looked down, not meeting her friend’s eyes and then leaned forward and put her lips gently up against the sphinx’s long, elegant pointed ear and whispered. “They made a mistake.”
Temis pursed her lips, wrinkling her muzzle in a smile that exposed her fangs. “Oh?” She wiggled in Sybaris’ coils. “Oooh, scratch between my wings, please!”
Sybaris reached up with the spike on the tip of her tail and delicately scratched between Temi’s wings, using both hands to dig into the fur along her sides. “I’ll do my best not to tickle!”
The sphinx wiggled around till her head was on Syb’s shoulder. “So tell me how They made a mistake and what you are planning to do.”
Sybaris sighed. “They gave me leave, to leave here to come talk to Them. Then They started bickering amongst Themselves and didn’t rescind that permission.” She paused.
“And you’re going to take advantage,” Temis hissed into her ear.
“You know me too well.” Sybaris turned and kissed her. “I suppose after a few centuries you’ve had a chance to study up on me!”
“Stop kissing me, at least right now. I’m going to miss you. I’m going to be horribly alone and you’ll owe me a lot of love and cuddles when they catch you and hurl you back here.”
Sybaris hissed quietly and ran her talons through Temis’s fur and curled into her hair. “I’m going to miss you dreadfully, you big pussy cat.”
“Not a cat. Meow. I love you.” Temis’s eyes were full of tears. “The Kitten needs you. There’s something horrid happening on the heels of the volcano. I’ve been dreaming.”
“You too? I’ve seen a lot of blood and murder in my mirror.”
“Do me a favour?”
“Of course my love.”
“Take the light away from your mirror room when you go. I don’t want to be tempted to look.”