Laughter filled the air and Albert couldn't help but smile.
"Stop worrying," Alisha chided, walking around the room and adjusting various objects. "I assure you that the Mother Confessor and the Seeker will know what to do." She smiled and her green eyes sparkled, which caused Albert's mood to instantly lighten.
Despite what he had just seen, this woman lifted his spirits. He was sure that he could see the Keeper coming after him and Alisha would be able to make him smile. The amount of life she had in her was something he had never seen before. It was almost as if nothing would be able to bring down her good mood.
"I'm sure you're right," Albert sighed, running a hand through his hair. "The Seeker and Mother Confessor always do seem to fix the impossible."
Alisha nodded and smiled, satisfied with his change in thought. She walked over and placed a small bundle of blankets beside him on the bed. "Nothing to worry about at all."
As she pulled back, Albert reached forward and grabbed her hand, pressing a kiss to the back of it. The gesture caused Alisha's face to turn bright pink, which, in turn, caused Albert to begin laughing. When she tried to pull away again, he held onto her hand tighter.
"Stop worrying," he mirrored her previous words, soliciting a scowl from her. He let her hand slide out of his and smiled, watching her as she left the room, her eyes looking back to steal glances at him.
He sighed, letting his back fall against the mattress. He heard the door open again and a grin played on his lips.
"Did she wear you out?"
Albert bolted upright, brow furrowing when his eyes met the blonde. Cara smirked, crossing her arms and shifting her weight to her right leg.
"If you are incapacitated, I can always come back. She looked rather... flushed when she practically ran out of your room." Cara's eyebrows lifted suggestively and Albert clenched his eyes shut. He should be used to the Mord'Sith's playful banter, but he couldn't help but get flustered every time she talked to him.
"What do you need, Cara?" Albert smiled, looking back up at her.
"The Mother Confessor and Seeker would like you to go back to the site of the... crack." Cara drew out the word and Albert tilted his head to the side, his eyes darting to the left.
"Is everything alright?" Albert had never inquired into her thoughts and feelings before, nor did he ever intend to. Despite her reformation, as Richard called it, Albert still held his reservations about her. She was still a Mord'Sith, and as far as he knew, Mord'Sith didn't have feelings. Or thoughts that weren't their Lord's.
From the look that flashed across her eyes, he knew that his previous notions were deadly wrong.
"Everything is fine, lover boy. Now get to your superiors before they wise up and decide to skin you alive." Cara turned on her heel, marching to the door. She placed a hand on the doorframe and turned around, smiling. "Maybe they'll even let me do the honors."
Albert chuckled, pushing himself off the bed and following her.
His eyes scanned the area, taking note of how the sun was beginning to set in the sky. He followed the route Cara was taking, making sure not to steer away from it. Even though he was sure that Kahlan and Richard wouldn't allow Cara to skin him alive, he wasn't entirely sure she wouldn't issue her own punishment behind closed doors. He wasn't willing to take the chance.
They reached the small clearing, where Kahlan, Richard, Zedd, and the small group of soldiers who were there when the event took place, were standing. Kahlan turned to him and smiled, gesturing for him to come over while Cara moved to stand near the soldiers.
"Yes, Mother Confessor?" Albert asked, receiving a disapproving look from Kahlan. She still hated that he called her by her title, but he couldn't break himself from doing so.
"Do you know what this is?" Kahlan asked, an arm resting under her breasts as her other arm was propped up, her fingers tapping on her cheek. When Albert cocked his head to the side, she motioned to the large crack.
"No." He simply stated, looking around. From the looks of it, he was the only one who didn't know what was before him.
"It's the Underworld." Richard stated, pacing in front of the broken earth. "Somehow, some way, it broke through the surface."
"The real question is whether or not the Keeper is trying to push his way into the world of the living." Zedd chimed in, staring at the green fumes.
"I don't really think that's a question," Kahlan spoke, looking at the wizard from the corner of her eye. "Why else would there be a rift?" A slow murmur worked it's way through the small group.
"Is there any way to... seal it off?" Albert asked.
Zedd shook his head. "Not that I know of. Even if it were possible, it'd require a wizard of great strength in both additive and subtractive realms."
Richard stopped pacing and turned towards Albert. "We need to know if this has happened anywhere else." Albert nodded. "In the morning, you and a small escort of soldiers will need to go to surrounding areas to see if they have the same... rifts."
With that, the group was dismissed and disbanded.
Cara walked with the soldiers, laughing lightly. The men didn't seem to fear her. Richard and Kahlan joined hands and began walking back to the Confessor's Palace. Albert stood staring at the crack until Zedd placed an arm around his shoulder, leading him away.
Richard smiled, watching Kahlan bend over to scoop up Amadora in her arms. The girl was growing rapidly and becoming stronger with each day. It seemed like she was born yesterday, when in fact, she was born four months ago. He smiled as he thought of the new life that was developing in Kahlan's stomach at that very moment. Even if she protested, he was determined to have Kahlan be with child for the majority of the rest of their lives.
Kahlan smiled as she bounced the girl in her arms, slowly lowering herself on the bed beside Richard. The blue eyed girl began stirring, and Kahlan set her down, allowing her to crawl across the bedspread.
Richard wrapped an arm around Kahlan's shoulders, pulling her in and pressing a kiss to her hair. "We make beautiful children." Amadora rolled over and began giggling, kicking her arms and legs into the air.
Kahlan laughed. "That we do. Not only that, but if the next one is anything like her sister, they are going to be an exhausting handful."
Richard smiled, squeezing Kahlan and causing her to squirm and produce and airy laugh. Amadora began gurgling incoherent sounds as she crawled back up towards her parents, climbing onto Richard's legs and steadying herself as she moved forward. Richard smiled as Amadora reached his lap, rolling over so that her back was pressed against his legs and her arms and legs shot up once again.
Zedd had marveled at Amadora's crawling, stating that she was developing at a much faster rate than most other children. Richard and Kahlan didn't have much to say, so they just sat and listened as Zedd rambled on about how Amadora was "different" than other children. This wasn't news to either of them, so they let the old man go on until they were called for other business. Seeing Zedd so focused on things other than world ending devastation was a nice change of pace.
Kahlan ran a hand through Amadora's unruly hair, curling up closer to Richard. Richard grinned, turning his head and leaning down to kiss Kahlan. Kahlan began laughing when he separated from her, and he looked at her questionably. She began laughing even harder. Suddenly, there was a tug and Richard was caught off guard, his head being forced to lower itself. He met the eyes of his daughter, his pendent wrapped firmly in her hand as she continued to tug on it.
"When you moved, your pendent swayed and she became transfixed on it." Kahlan managed to choke out after catching her breath. "It seems that all the women in your life like that hanging tooth." Kahlan smiled, lifting a hand and running it through his hair, then resting it on the back of his neck. She moved her thumb along his skin.
Amadora tugged again.
"Spirits!" Richard's head jerked lower and Kahlan laughed again. Richard was trying to pry the pendent from Amadora with his free hand, but was doing so to no avail. The girl giggled and laughed, tugging on the pendent with force at random intervals. "I give up." Richard sighed, grinning down at Amadora.
"Look at that," Kahlan said, shaking her head. "You are just going to give into your daughter's every whim with no real protest? She is going to be quite spoiled."
"What? Like her mother?" Richard asked, finally able to maneuver his head to look at her. Kahlan's jaw dropped.
"I am not spoiled," laughter was working it's way up her throat.
Richard made a face at her. He knew she wasn't really spoiled, not in the traditional sense at least. However, he did always try and bring her little gifts when she wasn't expecting them. She wouldn't admit it, but he was sure she was now accustomed to it and would worry if he stopped doing it.
Kahlan hit him with the back of her hand. "I am what you made me, Cypher." She teased, leaning into him.
"Oh, do not place blame on me, Amnell." Richard smiled, relieved when Amadora let go of the pendent and he was able to straighten his back. "Plus, what kind of example would I set if I adhered to all of your desires and then refused Amadora what she wants?" Kahlan's nose wrinkled. "Granted, your desires will be quite different from one another." Kahlan laughed, leaning down and gathering Amadora in her arms.
"Speaking of desires," Kahlan moved off the bed, walking over to the crib. She leaned down, placing the young girl in the soft bedding that lined the wooden structure. When she turned, Richard's eyes flicked up to her face. She smiled. "I have some that you need to... adhere to."
Richard smiled, wrapping her in his arms and flipping her onto the bed.