Finally, her village came into sight. Blinking back tears, Katerina smiled. “I missed home,” she thought. “Even though it was only two days, it seemed like forever.”
Reaching her family’s dwelling, Katerina ducked inside. The dimness surprised her, and it took her a moment to adjust. “Nona?” she whispered.
“Katerina! Oh, my sweet girl!” Nona hobbled over to Katerina, tipping up her face. “Are you alright? Did you find the tree?”
Katerina shoved the flowers into her hand. “Here. Is Father alright? Where is he? Is he okay?”
“Is that my Katerina?” A voice came from behind them. Katerina slowly turned around, unsure of who it was. What if it was Spiro and Petros already?
“Father!” she cried, running into his arms. “I was so worried, and I was afraid I wouldn’t get back in time!” she sobbed.
“Ah, all is well now, Katerina,” Father knelt down and looked in her eyes. “It turned out that it wasn’t the snake we thought it was. But I am so proud of you for going out into the unknown for me.”
“You’re proud of me?” Katerina’s voice betrayed her surprise.
“Of course I am.”
“But what about all the times I messed up? And forgot to do what I was supposed to?”
“I will be proud of you, no matter what. As a matter of fact, I think you are ready to begin preparing to lead this tribe one day.”
Katerina’s eyes filled with fear. Father noticed and asked, “What’s wrong? Isn’t that something you’ve been waiting for?”
Katerina looked down. “They’re after me. They didn’t want me to make it back to you.”
“Who’s they? Why wouldn’t they want you to come back?”
“Spiro and Petros!” Katerina blinked back tears again. “They said that if something happened to me, they could take over the tribe. They chased me all the way back. They’re probably out there right now.”
Father’s face darkened with anger. “They threatened you? How dare they threaten my daughter! Mother,” he addressed Nona, “please keep Katerina in here. I am going to find those two and take care of it once and for all.”
Nona pulled Katerina to her as they watched him disappear outside.
“I’m proud of you too, Katerina.” Nona released her to poke at the fire. “You don’t need to worry any more, sweet girl. Your father will get to the bottom of this.”
Looking around for something to do, Katerina spotted her sewing basket. “Is it alright if I work on my beading, Nona? Do you need my help with anything?”
Nona waved her hand in dismissal. “Go right ahead. After all you’ve been through, you deserve some rest. And maybe I’ll tell you a story while we work.”
Katerina tried not to smile as she said, “Nona, can I tell you a story? I want to tell you about my adventure.”