'What are you doing?'
'I'm growing my hair,' Milueko replied as she stared out to sea.
A little frustrated by her facetiousness, Teomura paused for a few seconds to contain himself, before patiently asking: 'But what else are you doing, my love?'
'That is all,' she stiffly replied.
Teomura flew away to a nearby island, and took shelter under a hoku-nut tree. There was no point in disturbing her while she was in this mood.
Mileuko relaxed again. She no longer had him there as an excuse to be angry, nor as a target for her fire. A flock of seagulls landed on the beach in a perfect ring around her. Was it a sign?
The sea morphed into a torrent of purple and green swirls. Bubbles rose from it and it took on a mercury-like form. A rainbow washed over her, dyeing her skin and hair. The sea was sympathetic to her moods.
She dived in the water and swam in the direction which Teomura had taken earlier. She was worried she had upset him and wanted to make amends. These tempestuous pregnancy moods were outside of her conscious control and she felt terrible guilt for them after the event.
Mileuko had been pregnant for over three years now, and was several months overdue. Her uterus was so densely filled she could just about form a black hole.
Teomura was cooking her a special peace-making meal of fried orchids and tamarind paste. It was one of his mother's recipes for pregnant women.
Mileuko would be home soon, and he hadn't finished the meal yet. He was pacing up and down with anxiety. Never before had he been so afraid of somebody he loved.
He moved the pan to a hotter part of the fire to speed up the process, only to find he had burnt one of the orchids. He burnt his hand trying to pluck it out, then moved the pan off the fire as the rest of the dish was cooked.
He hurtled down towards the sea and plunged his hand in the water. It was splendidly soothing – almost magically so. When he took his hand out of the water, it did not hurt at all, and there was no scar. Where the scar should have been, was painted a blue butterfly.
Mileuko decided to take a detour through the underwater caves. This would give him time to vent before he was ready to see her again. A shoal of fairy fish swam around her in a loop – another sign?
When she arrived home, Teomura was very relieved. Even more so when he discovered she was in a good mood. The pregnancy had taken a toll on both of them.
'My favourite! You read my mind.' She snatched the plate out of his hand and ate it ferociously.
When there were only a few crumbs left, she asked: 'Oh, did you want some too? Sorry.'
'No, it's okay.' It was a small price to pay for sanity, he thought to himself.
This was more than an ordinary pregnancy. All the predictions that had been made by the countless oracles that Teomura's mother had dragged her off to may have had something behind them.
Mileuko was the water spirit, Teomura was the sky spirit, their son would bring these two forces together. That's why fairy fish were auspicious – they could swim and fly, and so belonged to both realms.
The sea and sky had been engaging in strange behaviour lately – her experience on the beach was the last in a long line of bizarre phenomena, including: freak storms where the sky rained purple; tides low enough to walk between the islands; and fish falling from the sky.
The birth finally came early in the fifth fertility season. Mileuko was sweating every colour of the rainbow. Her scream became so high-pitched that those around her could no longer hear it. Thankfully.
The fairy fish were hurled into a turbulent frenzy by this sky-piercing noise, and swam in a circle with such pace that they formed a whirlpool which rose out of the sea into the troubled sky.
Teomura held her hand in a vain attempt to comfort her. After a week of pain, screaming, hot and cold wet leaf treatments applied to her face, hoku-nut poultices applied to the feet, and yet more strange phenomena, the moment finally arrived.
A rush of colourful mist, gas, ice, sound and light burst out of Mileuko's belly-button, and formed a living mass, hovering peacefully above the ocean.
'He's beautiful!' Mileuko exclaimed gushingly. She was barely able to speak after such a visceral experience, and yet these words poured out of her.
She couldn't tell if Teomura's excitement was due to the beauty of their child, or to the relief that her moods would soon return to normal. Probably both.
They called him Yaemoni, meaning sky and sea (Ya e moni). His second name was Manapurwa, meaning the first day of the fifth fertility season, at the insistence of Teomura's mother.
Yaemoni's diffuse components merged into the form of a translucent, rainbow-coloured baby. He rubbed his eyes, and flew into his mother's lap. The touch of her skin caused him to emit a warm glow. It was not long before he fell asleep, and the family was at peace.
Yaemoni held promise that equilibrium could be reached between sky and sea, and created hope of a stable future.
Nobody noticed the clouds forming on the horizon, or understood the future that lay ahead for them…