Starting a fire was easier in the cave as the air was calm there. Cooking pots were dug out of the bags with the family belongings and this time they boiled the kelp in water from the flowing stream in the cave. Blue Tentacles noted the boiled kelp was soft and yielding, different from the crisp roasted kelp. Kelp flavoured water tasted delicious, indeed Blue hadn’t noticed how thirsty he was. Silver Grey ate eagerly as she was extremely hungry but later, buried her head in her tentacles and rocked to and fro.
“Have you two done anything silly?” she insisted. “Our Great and Good Lord Sun preserve us! If you two boys both get pregnant we can’t manage!” 
Then the drunk demanded his share, he was quickly given a bowl of kelp which he slurped up complaining that he hadn’t got anything earlier. The drunk pointed tentacles shakily at Blue, demanded why the stranger was with the family, Blue Tentacles rushed away to a far point in the cave. Soon Yellow followed him there with a bowl of kelp which the two shared.
“It doesn’t taste so good anymore.” Blue grumbled and Yellow agreed.
Silver Grey went over and started the talk she’d been meaning to give them.
“Remember if either of you feel you’re about to ... err you know ... fertilise your partner you must remove your male reproductive tentacle from your partner’s female reproductive groove at once! In the Most Holy Name of the Sun Our Lord we can’t manage two new babies! Did you hear me you two?”
Yellow didn’t pay much attention as he’d heard that type of thing before. Blue needed to learn but … well too much had happened, he had too many new things to learn and too much was on his mind.
Meanwhile Amber was the only Centaurian still near Shaky Tentacles, the drunk stretched his eye stalks and pointed them at Amber. For the first time Shaky began confusedly to realise the adult Amber was more of a threat than the adolescent Blue. Shaky grabbed a cooking pot which still had some very hot stew in it and threw it at Amber. The other three rushed over and were reassured that Amber was alright.
“Let’s pack” Amber suggested, “, I’ve got friends at a nearby settlement, I’ll show you the way there.”
“I can’t leave my husband.” Silver Grey tried to sound loyal but Amber just lowered eye-stalks disapprovingly.
“OK, I’ll go on my own.” Amber shrugged his tentacles, it was evident he couldn’t stay so he started separating his things from the family belongings. At first Blue Tentacles couldn’t make up his mind what to do but the drunk pointed at Blue muttering indistinct obscenities and Blue hurried over desperately to Amber.
“Help me pack.” Amber said quietly and Blue was frightened enough to agree. Blue wasn’t used to Plebeian work and began packing clumsily, Yellow went over and helped his friends pack. Then Silver Grey started pleading.
“In the Name of Our Lord the Sun! You mustn’t both leave! I haven’t finished telling you about contraception.”
Blue Tentacles pointed eye-stalks at Silver Grey, afterwards he pointed eye-stalks at the drunk. Blue and Yellow went back to helping Amber pack.
“Are you coming or staying?” Amber asked.
Reluctantly Silver Grey accepted she needed to be with the boys. Packing the family’s few possessions didn’t take long so soon the four were swimming to a nearby cove where Amber had friends. Shaky Tentacles was left alone in the cave, the last time the rest of the family saw him he was picking up the stew he’d thrown at Amber, eating it and licking the cave floor.
- ↑ Remember calling them boys was a convention. As hermaphrodites they were both girls as much as they were boys and both could become pregnant.