The Divorcee is a Wicked Black Belly Chapter 42: The restoration begins

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After talking about it over breakfast that morning, Han and An Ning decided to stay a little longer in Saravia so they could plan their next move against Yu Yan. It was useless to go back to M City anyway. With An Ning's office bugged and now accessible to Yu Yan, the possibility of the penthouse being compromised as well was another worry the couple took into consideration when making their decision.

An Ning also confided to Han that she feels a responsibility towards the Amazons now that they're free from Yu Yan's clutches. The Amazon tribe was facing an existential crisis they haven't faced in their long lives ever: how to survive in an era where vicious territorial wars no longer exist and technology was the single force that spin and hold the world together.

"Let's ask Enxuo's opinion about it," Ceres suggested. "Look at what he's done to this place. He single-handedly turned it into a miniature M City. No money spared in transforming it into a luxurious, dream-like paradise. The fact that it's closed to the public is what makes it even more amazing."

"Do you have plans in opening it to the public then, Mom?" An Ning asked.

"No need. The Amazons can leave the village anytime they want. It's only the outside world that has to go through father's maze if they want to come in."

"It works like a border wall, huh?" Han said, holding An Ning's hand in his.

"Precisely," Ceres smiled.

"If you're staying, then we're staying," An Ma said. 'I'd better fly Sarai over then. I don't want to lose weight eating your mother's cooking," he added, winking teasingly at Ceres.

Ceres laughed, shaking her head.

"I'm guessing you're so used to Sarai's cooking your taste buds are practically immune to other cooks. Leave the daughter behind then. We don't want the rest of them to starve."

Enxuo's opinion was he'll keep the women up to date by teaching them the last 20 years of modern evolution. He had it all planned. Lessons in the mornings. Actual practice in the afternoons. Ceres will teach them banking and finance. The corporation she founded with Enxuo was a conglomerate with distinct yet separate entities. The purpose had always been to transition the Amazon tribe from war to commerce.

If Hippolyta had not disappeared, Ceres knew that her mother would have thought the same. Hippolyta was a realist after all. She viewed war as a means to an end. It gave her power and immense riches and the freedom to do whatever she wished. But she also moved with the times, and was in fact a prime mover of change herself. This 21st century would have suited Hippolyta very well. She would have loved technology, the internet; she would have been out there changing the world with like-minded innovators like her.

Sarai arrived two days later. Enxuo moved out of the big house and into one of the houses in the village. Han and An Ning decided to stay in the man-made cave. Han replaced the small bed with a much larger one. He also put in a new heater, which he purchased online. Since Sarai was in charge of food supplies and the kitchen, Han was free to make online purchases he knew would please An Ning. Her favorite scent, her favorite snacks, a crib for the baby, baby garments and toys.

An Ning opened up Hippolyta's lab and was amazed by the further proof of her grandmother's genius. Hundreds and so hand-made swords and blades displayed on the wall. Horticulture experiments on medicinal plants, fruits and vegetables, even seaweeds. There was also a basin for making candles, fruit preserves and what turned out to be scent recipes lying on top of several books.

An Ning also found doodles on several old yellowing paper, written in a distinct flamboyant style, of diagrams and sketches of what turned out to be the early template of the time machine her grandmother built from scratch. What she didn't find, however, were any mention of how she powered the machine and made it work. The generator they found inside the cave only powered the electricity needed to make the place habitable but it was not enough to power a time machine that actually worked.

Han called in some outside help to help clean up the lab. The contractor and his staff were flown in from a nearby city and began working on the lab almost immediately. An Ning inventoried all the stuff her grandmother made and had them displayed on shelves and cabinets. The blueprint for the time machine she took to the cave with her, studying them at night with Han looking over her shoulder, his cheek lightly grazing hers.

An Ning's new working office began to take shape. Crates of boxes began to arrive not soon after. Han and Enxuo set up computers, printers, faxes, scanners, LEDs in the new space while An Ning set up a war room in one of the newer rooms. They were finally ready to fight fire with fire with Yu Yan.

Han again surprised An Ning when the builders tore up one side of the cave and added a big room that was to be their new bedroom with additional space for bathroom and closet. The design was incorporated with the mountains and greeneries surrounding it so that it looked as natural as if it belonged there. Han designed it with mirrors and wood and slightly elevated so that it looked out into the waterfall and the gentle river that were the centerpieces of the estate.

The cave also underwent a change. A newer kitchen, dining room, bigger bathroom, wood floors, and a family room that featured a huge TV set, and a circular sofa with plushy pillows and blankets.

"Why not just build a house instead?" An Ning asked when the family room was eventually added to the mix.

"It's more fun this way," Han said, looking as excited as any child with a new toy. "Don't you want to live in a cave like this one? It's pretty amazing and I get to live in it with you," he smiled, kissing her softly on her red lips.

So An Ning let him have his way, cautioning him, however, not to mess with the time machine which still stood in its original site, further into the cave and hidden from sight.

The village was also going through some restoration or rather some injection of new needed life when An Ning and Han came for a visit. Nyra welcomed them, her face beaming with a smile when her gaze settled on An Ning's stomach.

"You're now showing a little bump," she said, laughing. "Those wee kids can't wait to be born. They're practically dancing awaiting their time."

Han and An Ning looked at her with blank expressions on their faces.

"Kids?" An Ning stammered.

"You didn't know you were having twins?" Nyra asked, looking at them with surprise.
"I knew as soon as I saw you. A girl and a boy. Don't worry. Both are healthy. They're just excited to be born, that's all."

"Twins..." An Ning was flabbergasted. She looked at Han who looked like he had been struck by lightning. "Han..."

"Did you say twins?" Han finally found his voice. "A boy and a girl? How did you know?"

"I can hear them," Nyra said simply. "All Amazon women have this ability, you know. It's the way we can tell if our babies are a boy or a girl. If a boy, then its given to the father as soon as it was strong enough. If a girl then it stays with the mother and receives her milk."

"Receives her milk?" An Ning asked, confused.

"Our bodies don't make milk if we're carrying a male child. It's one of the reasons a male child is given to the father almost immediately after birth. So that it would bond with one parent as it won't with the mother. The male child is also at risk from death if it stays with the mother for long."

"Why?" An Ning asked, fascinated yet creeped out by what Nyra was saying.

"I don't know," Nyra shrugged. "It's been that way for centuries. Maybe it's in our nature. We're the Amazon tribe, after all."

"You said we're having a boy and girl twins," Han said, feeling nervous of what he's going to hear next. "Will there be problems if the little boy is born? I mean, will An Ning have milk to feed both babies?"

"I told you they both sound fine," Nyra assured him. "An Ning's body will recognize that the other baby is a girl so it will follow the natural order. Besides, both of you are parenting them so that will more or less solve the problem about the baby boy."

Han and An Ning left with some questions that remained unanswered until An Ning decided to ask Ceres about them later. The next in their list of as yet to be resolved details was Taey.

Taey and the rest of his men were currently staying outside the village, in the same house Enxuo used to occupy when he was still working for Hippolyta. The men numbered more than a dozen so the question of what to do with them became more urgent with the passing of days. An Ning, following the same instinct that made her follow the lead about the island, asked Taey to stay for a while when he arrived so they could talk later.

The first in the order of business was to destroy Yu Yan. But even though the Amazons were now safe from her clutches, An Ning still worried about their safety. So she and Han decided to hire Taey to be the women's bodyguards until the problem with Yu Yan was fixed.

Taey was surprised when he saw Han. He was even more surprised to learn that Han survived the attack. It was easy to convince him that Han's supposed death was part of an elaborate hoax to ensnare some suspicious characters involved in the present government.

"I always knew you had some deep shit going on in your work in the military," Taey said, not even questioning or evincing any surprise at Han's relationship with An Ning.

That night, An Ning sent a coded message to Matt. It was in the form of a passionate love letter anyone reading it would blush to read. Sam flushed a deep embarrassed red when he caught sight of some of the lines of the letter on Matt's open desktop. Matt saw his blushing face and laughed, clicking the desktop close as if Sam had caught him watching porn during office hours.

The one who wrote the letter gave a strangled shriek when the man beside her suddenly gripped her hand, preventing her from closing the Word. Han read the letter in silence, the lines on his forehead gathering like a brewing storm.

"I can explain," An Ning began.

"You're writing code," Han said, looking at her with the fires of jealousy gathering in his stormy eyes. "But why a love letter? Why not send a simple business letter? Like a, hey you, stop making me send you love letters and do your job instead!"

"You're kidding, right?" An Ning didn't know whether to laugh or cry.

"Where did you learn to write such garbage anyway? I love you to the level of everyday's most quiet need? Come on, that sounds like a pile of drivel to me. Who writes like that anyway?"

"Elizabeth Barrett Browning," An Ning dimpled mischievously.

"What?" Han looked at her blankly.

"From her Sonnets from the Portuguese. Elizabeth Barrett Browning."

Han was stumped, a tide of red creeping up his cheeks.

An Ning laughed delightedly, kissing him on the cheek.

"Serves you right for being jealous," she said, then jumped down from her chair as he was about to grab her.

"Ning Ning, come back here!" Han shouted as she laughed merrily and exited the door.
Han chased after her and punished her for daring to laugh at him by devouring her lips with his own. They were both out of breath when they parted.

"Jealous cat," An Ning teased, her voice husky with passion.

"I am not," Han pouted.

She continued to tease him until Han put a stop to her tormenting words by carrying her in his arms and taking her into their new bedroom where he laid her on the large bed and proceeded to swallow her laughter by kissing her senseless.
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