After making more than a few turns Keiy stopped by a door and went inside telling Seleya to wait for her.
A few minutes later she came back outside to invite Seleya in. The walked up a flight of stairs and got to a metal door. This surprised Seleya a bit because most of the doors in her tribe were made of wood, fortunately she was too exhausted to let her curiosity get the better part of her.
Stepping inside they were greeted by the warm smiles of a woman who Seleya guessed was Keiy’s mother. She was slightly taller than the both of them and was a bit fat. On her left arm she had three circular tattoos without a line and she had a nose ring. Looking closely at her, Keiy looked nothing like her. Her eyes were big and her pupils were dark in contrast to Keiy’s cat-like eyes and light brown pupils. They really were like night and day so Seleya concluded that Keiy must look like her father.
“Welcome to our home, Seleya” she said still keeping the smile.
“Thank you for having me, ma” Seleya replied.
“No thanks necessary, Keiy told me all about how she found you. This is OQUARA town, our doors always open to guests” she said.
Seleya was still feeling quite uncomfortable. She had heard of other places outside her tribe and she was familiar with the term ‘town’ but she never thought it would be so different from what she was used to.
She glanced at Keiy who was glaring at her with her weird eyes and glanced back at her mother who was smiling at her.
“Is everyone in this town so strange?” she thought to herself.
“You must be exhausted from your trip, Keiy take her to your room so she can rest” she said.
“Okay ma, follow me Seleya” Keiy said, leading the way.
As soon as Seleya saw a bed, she fell on it and slept like a log of wood.
When she woke up, it was dark already and no one seemed to be with her in the room.
“Probably, they are figuring out what to do with me” she thought to herself.
“You look like you could eat?” Keiy said from the other side of the room startling Seleya.
“Don’t scare me like that” she said.
“Sorry, I get that a lot” Keiy apologized.
“It’s okay, you are right I am hungry” she said.
“Your dinner is on the table over there” she replied pointing to the table on Seleya’s right.
She got up, picked up the plate and started to eat. She didn’t realize how hungry she was until the food was done.
“Wow, you were really hungry” Keiy said slightly amused.
Seleya bowed her head slightly embarrassed.
“Don’t worry its fine, I can tell that you’ve been through a lot lately” Keiy said.
Seleya nodded in agreement.
“So tell me, where are you from?” Keiy asked
Seleya became uncomfortable again.
She wasn’t sure it would be wise to tell a complete stranger her life story and she was certain that until she found the person her father described to her she truly wouldn’t be safe.
“I’m tired, please can we talk tomorrow?” she said.
“No problem, get some sleep Seleya” Keiy replied.
Oddly enough Seleya started to feel really tired and found herself yawning.
Dropping the plate on the table she fell back on the bed and slept off.
Suluvu woke up and immediately wished he didn’t. It was the seventh day after his fake awakening which also meant that today was the day he started to perform his duties as the next Udata.
It was also the day that his abilities were supposed to come back and he knew that very soon the people of the tribe would want to know exactly what the gods have blessed him with.
He could only hope that today wasn’t that day and that the people of the tribe were still tired from the festivities of the previous day. His guards were already waiting outside his room as instructed by the Udata the night before.
Today his duty was to take a tour of the tribe communicating with the people and asking them their needs so that they get familiar with him and in turn he begins to understand the struggles of the common man. It seemed easy enough but he couldn’t help but fear that some of the elders of the tribe or the children would try to get him to show his abilities or even worse ask him questions about Seleya he couldn’t answer.
He got dressed in one of his training robes putting on the necklace that his father gave him the night of his awakening. In retrospect, he didn’t think he deserved it now but he pushed those thoughts out of his mind focusing solely on surviving the day.
The day started off calmly enough as he made his way through the tribe. The barter market just opened and people hadn’t really come out of their homes yet. Suluvu was slightly relieved and thanked the gods for the festivities of the previous day.
He went about from house to house talking to the tribe people, learning some of their names and attending to their needs as best he could. Some of the children asked him about Seleya and he playfully answered them. With the elders it was an entirely different matter because their questions were more direct. Thankfully, the guards took him away from these situations quickly and he suspected this was the instruction of his father.
Afternoon came quickly and the barter market was more crowded now. Different people came with things to exchange and to dispose of. Walking deeper into the market he saw a young girl with a bunch of clothes at the fruit stands. She was trying to barter the clothes for a basket of fruits but none of the fruit growers seemed to be interested in the trade.
He approached the fruit stands and at his arrival everyone stood up in fear.
“Please sit down, I just came to see what was going here” he said.
“Thank you, your greatness” one of them answered.
He took a closer look at the girl. She was probably his age or younger. She had short hair about the length of his and she was tall for her age seeing that she was almost reaching Suluvu’s shoulder who was quite tall.
“I came here to barter some clothes for a basket of fruits your greatness but apparently according to them, the clothes lack quality” she explained.
Suluvu looked at the fruit growers for an explanation.
“Your greatness, the problem we have is the quality of the materials and not the sewing.
We simply asked her to bring a few more clothes so we can make the barter” another one explained.
“But that’s an unfair trade, the clothes are enough…” she began to argue as Suluvu raised a hand to silence her.
Suluvu then took off the shirt he was wearing and dropped it in among her clothes.
“Will that be sufficient?” he asked one of the traders.
They all stared at him speechless. When the barter was done, she had five full baskets of fruit to carry home. He asked his four guards to help with four and he carried the last one himself.
The girl stared at him in awe not finding any words to say.
“Lead us to your home” he said.
She walked ahead of them leading the way to her home.
When she got to the door, she realized all the neighbours had come out their homes and some people had even followed them from the market.
Her parents hearing the commotion outside already opened the door before she knocked and as soon as they saw the scene, their faces mirrored the awe on their daughter’s face. The guards helped carry the baskets into the house.
“Welcome your greatness” her father said.
“Sorry we don’t have anything to welcome you with as weren’t expecting you, we are truly sorry” his wife quickly added getting on her knees.
“No need for all that, I just saw your daughter needed help in the market and decided to help out. Please stand up” he said.
“Thank you very much, your greatness” they both said in unison.
Their daughter obviously still in shock as she just stood at the door beside her parents, eyes fixed on Suluvu.
Suluvu summoned his guards and was about to leave when he suddenly paused and looked at her.
“What’s your name? Forgive my rudeness for not asking earlier” he asked.
“Raneta” she said.
“Nice to meet you Raneta, I’m Suluvu” he said and he turned to leave.
It was only when he had walked quite a distance that Raneta remembered that she never actually thanked him.
By the time Suluvu got back to the barter market, it was already evening and people were preparing to close for the day making their last exchange. He resumed his duties, talking to the people and familiarizing himself with them. Walking back towards the fruit stands he saw that they were preparing to close for the day.
One of the traders was trying to gather their gains so they could split it amongst themselves when someone dashed past and their stands taking the clothes that Raneta brought and Suluvu’s shirt.
Before the traders could even shout for help, three of the four guards were already on his tail chasing him deeper and deeper into the market.
“He picked the wrong day to be a thief” Suluvu thought to himself.
After waiting for about three minutes and the guards had not returned Suluvu and his last guard decided to follow their trail to find out what was happening.
Suluvu and his guards walked further into the market until they approached a place where people were gathered, they seemed to be shaking in fear and the women were in tears. As the crowd saw him approaching they cleared a path for him, most of them relieved at his appearance.
He quickened his pace until he got to their centre where what awaited him was too much for his eyes to comprehend. He found his three guards on the floor bleeding. The fourth guard quickly ran to them checking their breathing and pulse.
Suluvu just stood there in shock. When he finally found his voice he shouted angrily;
“WHO DID THIS? WHO DID THIS??”
His voice was quaking and some buildings were already shaking.
This was evidence of the Udata blood running through his veins. He was still the heir to the throne and with or without special abilities, Suluvu wasn’t the man you wanted to face you with his anger.
“We did this” a voice responded from the other end of the crowd.
Three men slowly approached and made their way to the place where the guards lay.
The fourth guard already confirmed the guards were dead and this made Suluvu more furious.
As they approached, Suluvu studied them. The one of the left was almost as tall as Suluvu and hairy. He had hairs on his face most of his chest with pointy ears and sharp teeth. He didn’t look like anyone Suluvu had seen and if Suluvu didn’t know any better he would have said that he was a fox.
The one in the middle was a short man who was slightly chubby, he carried two metal staffs on backs while the one on the far right was obviously a soldier from the tribe.
The man who spoke was the short one in the middle.
“The both of you do not look like you’re from this tribe” Suluvu said.
“That’s the problem with this tribe, you often assume you’re only ones in the world” the fox-like one sneered.
“Quiet” the short one said to him.
“Hello, Suluvu we apologize for the mess but we didn’t know any other way to get your attention.”
“HOW DARE YOU….HOW DARE YOU ADDRESS HIS GREATNESS BY HIS NAME?” said the fourth guard. He was clearly angry and in that anger he charged towards the short one. As he approached, it happened so fast it seemed like just a blur. The short man took one of the staffs from his back and slashed the air twice. The air around the place he slashed went straight for the guard’s chest and he fell flat on his back.
He obviously wasn’t breathing anymore as two large cuts appeared on his chest where the man had slashed. The crowd quickly retreated, some watching from a distance and others heading back home.
“As I was saying, this was the only way to get your attention.” The short one continued.
Suluvu was very angry right now but much greater than his anger was his fear. He asked himself what his father would do in this situation and finally summoned the courage to talk again.
“What do you want from me?” he asked.
“Well, we heard that you recently awakened as the heir to the Udata.
All we want is for you to fight us.” The short one said.
Suluvu’s head began to spin. He suddenly began to realize that this wasn’t a coincidence. These people obviously knew something and they were about to use that information against him. He looked around and realized he was trapped.
His people were watching and these people just killed four of his guards. Four of his guards who had families and children. For their sake he couldn’t walk away from this, for the lives they had given he simply had to fight these people. To avenge his people.
The one that looked like a fox smiled coyly at him almost like he could read his mind.
“You will all pay for what you have done here” Suluvu said charging at them.
“Be my guest” the short one said.
Suluvu went for the third one first. He was a member of the tribe and Suluvu couldn’t forgive his betrayal. Suluvu was in front of him before he could register Suluvu’s speed and delivered the first punch to his shoulder. The crowd heard a crack as the man’s shoulder bone broke and he fell wrenching in pain. Suluvu’s followed up with a fast kick but it was blocked by a metal staff. The short man gave Suluvu two quick jabs from his staff and Suluvu quickly retreated.
“Seems like you’ll be tougher than I thought” the fox like one said, still smiling.
Suluvu looked at two of them intently. He was trying to evaluate their strengths calculating that he should eliminate the weaker one first. The short man so far seemed to be their leader so he guessed that he must be strongest. That left him with the fox-like one to worry about first.
He approached them and moved even faster aiming a high kick at the head of the fox-like man. He dodged it and landed a counter punch on the knee of Suluvu. Suluvu jerked back in pain.
“I’ve evaluated your strengths already, you are a bit stronger than I am but I’ve been doing this longer. You can’t win.” The fox-like man said.
Suluvu quickly recovered from the punch and threw another kick at him. The fox-like man blocked the kick and gave him three quick punches on his stomach. Suluvu staggered a bit and before he could regain his balance, he received two kicks that sent him rolling across the floor.
Suluvu couldn’t move, he was in excruciating pain.
“But I heard that you’ve been blessed by the gods, this can’t possibly be all the gods have given you Suluvu.” The short man shouted so people could hear him clearly.
Suluvu tried to stand up but wind slashed his knees and he bled. He tried again and wind slashed at his left arm and then his right arm. He was weak and he was losing blood.
“Your future Udata cannot protect you from the likes of us.” The fox-like man said approaching Suluvu as he spoke but obviously addressing the people. He then delivered a kick to Suluvu’s chest that nearly knocked him out.
The fox-man then spat on him and they both left him there.
Passing by their comrade whose shoulder was broken. The short man simply said;
“Your work with us is done, you were never one of us.”
After they left, Suluvu summoned the strength to stand up and started to walk away. Thankfully, someone had already sent word to the Udata and some more guards arrived to help Suluvu get back home.
As he made his way through the town he could not help but hear the murmurs of the people echoing exactly what the fox-like man and short man had said. He was a powerless Udata who couldn’t defend his people. He had failed on the first day and the humiliation was far worse than the physical pain he felt.