Doga had summoned her!
Zita knew she should feel apprehensive that the head of her unit and the third in command after the Queen and Kaza had just for the first time ever summoned her. But she just wasn’t.
She couldn’t explain why or how, but she felt like a whole new ant – all bold and starry-eyed. The experience of the night before out in the open field – uninhibitedly free of laws and restrictions, away form ever-probing eyes and the mundane regularity of their everyday ant life on the Hill has filled her this new strength. It has awakened in her a hunger for something more. A desire for a life that was more than just waking up at the break of dawn and working tirelessly till nightfall.
No, she wanted more. She wanted the fun, the laughter, the freedom… the love. And no, she wasn’t afraid to appear before Doga.
She crawled into the larvae chamber where Doga usually was over-seeing things. Her eyes met Kiki’s as she entered. She gave her a funny look. But Zita ignored her and advanced towards Doga.
“You sent for me, Doga.” She said in a quiet self-possessed voice.
Doga raised her head to stare at the ant standing head-held-up right in front of her. “Indeed I did, Zita. Poki brought forward a report that you were seen crawling in from outside the Hill the night before with another ant she believed to be a drone.” Doga was never one to beat about the bush. “Is that true?”
It wasn’t just the direct question that momentarily rendered her speechless. With Doga, ants always expected directness. No it was the fact that Poki had seen them… when… how? And the nosey, gossipy ant had chosen to quickly report them… oh well…
Squaring up her head, she looked Doga directly in the eyes. “Yes, I was outside the Hill last night. But it wasn’t …”
“It wasn’t with a drone.” Kiki cut in letting go of the larva she was attending to. “It was actually with me.”
Zita swung around to face her. Doga merely raised her big head and focused quiet, assessing eyes on her.
“You were with Zita outside the Hill last night?”
The question almost sounded like an accusation. Zita supposed that was because Kiki was such a meticulous ant and no one expected any such act of disorder from her.
“Do any of you want to tell me what you were doing outside without orders?” Doga was now looking from one to the other.
Zita raised her head to correct Kiki’s lie but the interfering Kiki was already responding.
“We are sorry we left the Hill without permission.” She hastily excused. “But on our last march outside, Zita and I observed a new food nest and wanted to make sure it was a good one.”
Zita could not believe Kiki could spurn such a mad tale and she was almost certain Doga would see through the lie too.
“Hmm. So you discovered a food nest?” Doga was looking at Kiki now who’d crawled closer. “And where is this food nest?”
Zita dropped her head, sure that this is where the road ends for the lying Kiki and for herself.
“Down the valley leading into the corn field.” Kiki promptly responded, giving accurate descriptions.
Zita’s head swung up, what?
Doga seemed to consider her responses. Then she inclined her big head. “Very well, I’ll alert Kaza and we will see about making arrangments to bring in the food.” She turned towards the door. “You two finish up in here.”
As soon as she was out of the chamber, Zita struck Kiki with her antennae. “Is there truly a food nest?”
“Of course there is.” Kiki retorted. “Why would I make up a non-existing nest when I know it will be checked out?” Striking her back, she chided. “And it’s that the thanks I get for saving your love-frenzied head?”
Zita made a rueful whistling sound. “Sorry. Thanks for your help. But …”
“But nothing.” Kiki interrupted. “Now that you two have gone on your moonlight walk, just let all these crazy ideas go and let things go back to normal, will you?”
Zita stared at her as she swung around to return her attention to the larvae. Somehow she knew that things would never be normal… not ever again.
Meanwhile down in my own chambers, Toki was doing his best to drive me insane with his nonstop babbling about the upcoming nuptial flight.
“I wonder which of the Princesses I’ll end up with.” He asked rhetorically for the umpteenth time. “I sure hope it’s Loka, she gleams so brightly.”
I made an appropriate sound not at all listening to him. My thoughts were all wrapped around Zita and her declaration of love the night before.
So she loves me too? The thought of it made my heart swell and almost burst out form my bottom.
We were in love… we had to do something.
And with the nuptial flight already at hand, it had to be soon.