“So, this Cloverleaf place is better than Addergoole?” Lemon and Apple didn’t meet often these days. There’s been an apocalypse and they’d been caught on opposite sides of a major continental mountain range. It had made meeting up for coffee on a regular basis difficult.
“It tends to produce better balanced individuals,” replied Lemon carefully. She still had descendants bound to Regine of Addergoole for some generations yet, but then so did her sister.
“Look at the gene pool it’s working with,” retorted Apple. “I mean, they must get the same personality traits, recombined a little, Cohort after Cohort and then they’re being trained up by the same people. If you don’t change anything, why would you get different results?”
“I hadn’t thought of it like that,” admitted Lemon. She twirled a strand of her light brown hair around her fingers thoughtfully and added, “But Regine probably regards it as keeping the testing conditions constant.”
“And not everyone is against the things that we regard as bad about Addergoole,” pointed out Apple. “I mean Yeveronth thinks it’s a wonderful introduction to real adult life, but Frayda,” she named her eldest daughter, “did go there in a bad patch – or so I’m told. They still exchange war stories about life with their Mentors, although hers are mainly about her Keepers.”
“Cya and her school keep a much tighter rein on the Keeping situation,” Lemon assured her. “And if your Yeveronth is anything like Hylakaros, he’ll think that forging a close connection with the Cloverleaf power block will be worth it. By the way, how did we both wind up sleeping with Nedetakaei?” Her gaze had strayed out the window to where Lemon’s menfolk, Hyklakaros and Natos, were entertaining Apple’s partner and the current children of their household with a story accompanied by actions.
“First your brain did funny things and bonded you to one,” started Apple, counting off on her fingers, “then he collared a second one, and then I collared one so he wouldn’t kill me or the children.”
“One and three sound like good reasons,” admitted Lemon. “So why’s yours still collared?”
“Because I don’t think I could pull that off again,” admitted Apple. “Because once I free him, he has oaths he has to keep, and they wouldn’t be good for me. This is still safer.” She smiled sadly at her bedmate through the window.
Lemon’s lips twisted wryly. “Commiserations. That sucks.”
“That’s life, but thanks.”