The Legendary Couple

Prologue

''Ameena!''

''Mom!''

Ameena's heart skipped a beat as the dark, short woman she hadn't seen in six months scooted towards her, the hems of her long blue dress flapping in the sea breeze. In a few seconds she would finally, finally feel her mother's arms around her again.

A big grin spread across the young woman's lily pink Tigermisu mask, to widen as the older lady embraced her.

''I've missed you so much, my little girl!'' her mother whispered in her ear. Ameena felt getting pulled so close that all the air was being pressed out of her lungs.

''I've missed you too,'' she groaned, unable to talk properly with the outragiously big dose of maternal love crushing her. She didn't mind the bear hug at all, though. She found it rather comforting.

''Atsou's still at the boat,'' Ameena's mother, who's name was actually Alyssa Kwabena, muttered as she at long last let go of her daughter. ''Struggling with the suitcases...'' She giggled. ''He insisted on carrying them for me... he can be a brat sometimes and he's got a filty mouth, but he's good of heart.
Now, tell me. Who are these two people?''

The woman glanced curiously at the two young people, who apparently were friends of her daughter's.

One was a girl who wore pigtails, patched clothing and a mask, of course. Those were part of the complicated religion of the Island she'd just arrived on. She had the most beautiful blue eyes, a skin as pale as the clouds she'd seen on her long sea voyage and a slim figure to kill for.

The boy standing next to her was shorter and likely younger; and Alyssa immediately felt sorry for him. He looked incredibly sweet and loyal - he undoubtedly was a great fellow, but he also had that loser-thing about him that would probably make most of his peers want to tease him...

I'll have to keep Atsou away from that guy as much as possible, Alyssa couldn't help but think as she compassionately shook her head. Even she, as a woman in her forties, could see the boy looked like a total geek with his yellow shorts, enormous backpack, strange maks and huge glasses.

''Hello. My name is Seedos,'' the boy said, giving the woman in front of him a crooked smile.

''And I'm his sister, Leafos,'' said the girl, offering Alyssa her hand.

''It's nice to meet you two,'' Alyssa grinned as they shook hands.

''The pleasure's ours,'' Leafos replied sunnily. ''We've heard a lot about you!''

''Haha, thanks, only good things I suppose?'' Alyssa winked at her daughter, who nodded and said: ''Sure. Only good things.''

''Well, I've heard a lot of good things about you two as well... I'm glad Ameena's met priceless people like you, emigrating to the other end of the globe at her age ain't nothing...''

Seedos' cheeks flushed, the redness of his blush shining right through his mask's greyish-beige paper mache. It'd been a long time ago anyone had called him anything good, so the impact of a total stranger calling him 'priceless' was absolutely tremendous on him.

''Thank you,'' he murmured shyly.

''You're welcome,'' Alyssa replied, looking at her silver Rolex watch. ''Maybe I should go back to help Atsou, we don't wanna miss the coach, do we? I've heard there depart only three buses per day from here...''

'Here' meant the quay of Luzia's Harbour. There were five harbours on Piñata Island, Luzia's being the closest to Ameena's current residence, a small town that went by the simple name of 'The Village'.

Luzia was a medium-sized, yet very flashy city that had once belonged to the Old Sun God, Mze. You could still feel the presence of the Sun God all around you; his soul seemed to linger in the terracotta pavement, the clay buildings and the gold leaf statues of the notorious deity and his Priests and Priestesses - not to mention the fact there simply wouldn't fall rain in Luzia, not even during the heavy monsoons that terrorized the rest of the southern part of the Island in October.

''Ey, SIS!'' the voice of a teenage boy sounded right at the moment Alyssa had wanted to return to the boat to search for her son.

''Atsou!'' Ameena shouted back as she hurried towards the fourteen-year old who was carrying way more luggage than his mother and he could possibly need on their 20-day stay on Piñata Island. ''You've grown so much!''

''Yeah, I know, I'm a man now,'' her younger brother chuckled as he slowly faltered towards the small crowd at the other side of the wharf. ''Here's ya case, mom... Damn, it's heavy! Is you carrying bricks or somethin'?''

''Atsou, what did I tell you about cuss words and intentionally using incorrect grammar in company?'' Alyssa said in a monitory tone of voice. ''You'd behave appropriate since we're guests here, remember?''

''Aye,'' Atsou answered, while handing over his mother's luggage. ''Ma behaviour could've been worse though, I held some real impolite ish back y'know.''

''Ameena and I both know that, and you don't have to prove it to our new friends.''

''Oh, hey, I ain't even seen you guys yet...'' Atsou sighed while putting his own, heavy backpack on the ground. ''Nice ta meet you... My name's Atsou, Ameena's lil' bro.''

''Seedos,'' Seedos said as the younger boy grabbed his sweaty hand. Something about this Atsou-guy rubbed him the wrong way...

''Wow! When I look at you guys, I can't help but think: Piñata Island sure has funny fashion! The masks are cool and shit, but eh... you know.''

''Atsou...'' Ameena scowled at her younger sibling. ''Come give me a hug. I know you want to, you're still my baby bro! And no clowning around, okay? We've got a bus to catch.''

VPVPVPVPVPVP

''Pfff... Is we even close to the muhfu... ow...'' Atsou immediately fell silent when his mother threw him a withering glance. ''I meant to say,'' he said in a slightly annoyed tone of voice, his hot forehead pressing against the cool glass of the bus' window ''are we nearing the beautiful, pitoresk village Ameena's living in yet?''

''That's better,'' Alyssa, who sat in the seat next to her son's, hissed. ''And I've no idea, Atsou, ask your sister.''

''Just thirty more minutes,'' Leafos replied instead of Ameena. ''The distance we've still got to cover isn't that big, but ShellyTrails isn't exactly known as the fastest bus company on the Island... It's the only one that goes up and down our Village though, so we'll have to settle with it.''

''I'm a bit car sick,'' Atsou soughed, The Motto blasting out of his Blackberry's earphones.

''Seedos gets that a lot too,'' Leafos grinned bitterly. ''I remember a him trowing up over me on a family trip a few years ago...''

''Can't recall that,'' Seedos wheezed weakly. ''But it might as well... happen again...''

''You were five,'' Leafos mumbled quietly. ''It was a fun day, mom took us out to the beach...'' Her voice trembled, and to prevent herself from sobbing like a small child whose ice cream had fallen in the sand, she hasted to say: ''Hey, look, Atsou! See that tree over there? It's a gem tree, it grows actual jewels!''

''Awesome!'' Atsou flew up, gagging but enthusiastic, and shouted, ''So on this island money does grow on trees! My God! Ameena, I understand why you've chosen this place, girl! First thing we should do when we get out of this bus is run back to that tree, and -''

''Harvest its fruits? By no means, boy, when we get out of this bus first thing we're going to do is introduce ourselves to Leafos' and Seedos' father. He's the man Ameena bought her garden from, and he's a true legend around here.''

''Aww...'' Atsou fell back in his chair, grabbed his BB and scrolled down his playlist for another song. Alyssa amusedly shook her head and Ameena began to tell her mother about Claire, the new Camello she'd attracted only nights ago.

Leafos was the only one to notice Seedos rolling his eyes in irritation, and sometimes the reputation of her self-centred dad made her want to do exact the same thing.

''I think that's our stop already,'' she said cheerfully instead. ''That wasn't too bad, was it boys?''

The boys both remained quiet; Atsou thinking up ways to smuggle Islandian gems past customs on their way back to Europe, Seedos engulfed by reluctance of joining his sister introducing these mainland people to 'The Legendary Gardener...'

As if the old man's ego wasn't bloated enough already.