Once I and my sister were done, we walked towards the market place where business was shallow.
We now headed the same path I had taken yesterday, towards the east side. There were noticeably fewer villagers here than yesterday, everyone losing interest quickly once the Zelia had ended.
As we walked on, we noticed the shops and customers fade and it was clear at this point that the West side of the market was much more popular than the east side.
Then the shops seemed to surge in number as we got to the Quike. But the customers were scarce.
Many stores were closed and the place seemed deserted, a stark contrast to yesterday, while few still were open trying to get a last-minute profit from other villagers who might want to still buy some of their merchandise.
My sister and I had been here before and we always looked at the Quike with awe thinking what secrets the arena held inside held from us.
Today as we walked passed the Quike my sister still bore the same awe-struck face like before and looking at her face it only reminded me that even though she acted so mature she still only but a little girl, my little sister
This time however after my brief encounter inside the Quike and hearing and seeing the horrors it had to offer I now showed no interest towards the mighty structure.
I felt hatred build as we passed the Quike and this was even though I had not seen the vicious things Zefe had mentioned and the worst part was that she had not even finished her sentence last night when she spoke about the horrors the arena held and judging by the way she spoke and the damage Muite had taken I could only think of more bad things that might show up in the arena.
Suddenly feeling unease at being at that place I caught hold of my sister’s wrist and pulled her away, she still gawking at the big monument.
I now increased pace the hatred in me becoming dimmer and dimmer as we walked away from the place into a sort of forested area.
As we walked on the sign of civilization of our village faded and at one point we were covered all sides by trees and shrubs of all sorts.
Yet we knew we were not lost as we had a thin brown trail, barely enough for one person to walk at a time going further into the woods.
Conversation was sparse and each one indulged in our own thoughts and I was almost certain that my sister’s thoughts were still stuck back in the Quike.
I did not want to bother her and left her to her thoughts until a new sound emerged.
It seemed like laughter and since the only noises and this time were from our shoes on the ground, the birds chirping and the rustling of leaves this new sound seemed out of place.
After a few feet of walking we discovered a smaller thinner trail that led off from our main trail, more further east towards the dreaded Inimical river was.
It had been a long time since our last visit to Muite’s house, we did not know when the new trail had been formed, but we were pretty sure it was freshly made as we remembered there were no other trails that led anywhere else during our last visit.
We now looked at each other we seemed to have a telepathic connection as we nodded in unison, both of us now knowing exactly what we were going to do.
We tried our best to be quiet as we headed down the new trail, going towards the deadly river.
As we approached the river the noise of the water flowing increased drastically and so did the volume of the laughter.
We proceeded cautiously and few feet ahead we saw a clearing.
We walked up until the edge of the foilage and looked through the overhanging leaves towards the clearing.
It turned out we were a few meters away from the bank of the deadly river and on the bank seemingly innocuous to the danger of the river sat two fat figures, laughing to their heart’s content.
It was tough to make out what they were saying but just seeing the way they sat, feet spread wide apart and their arms extended behind them supporting their backs, we knew exactly who these two were.
It was the two infamous duo of the Gurzal gang. The one I did not the name of and the other more cowardly one. They sat there on the bright white sand of the banks of the river Inimical as if they were on a picnic, laughing hysterically.
It seemed like the perfect spot for them to talk dirty of us or any other villager of our village but since we could not hear them, over the roaring river, it was hard to judge.
Anyways we were in no mood to have a confrontation with them much less a fight and so we decided not to intrude upon them.
So we decided to retreat and continue towards Muite’s house. Carefully we retraced our steps and walked back on the main path.
Few more meters later the main path opened up into another clearing, this one much larger than the one we had just seen.
It was much larger because of the large wheat field that had
been growing in the place of the dense vegetation and then we instantly knew that we had reached our destination.
The field was right next to the river Inimical and although the river was very dangerous it was the only way Muite could get his continuous supply of water for his crops.
Now as we walked through the path that was right at the center of the field that headed upright towards the small hut, I noticed a big black patch of dead crops close to the river.
It seemed as if the place was burnt and just as I pondered the thought of what might have burned a part of his crops I remembered Muite’s frightened speech on he dias earlier. He had mentioned that something had come flying from the sky and crashed into his field thus destroying it. This seemed like exactly what happened.
I tapped my sister’s shoulder and with my other hand and pointed to the blackened patch as she did seem to notice it earlier.
“Poor Muite,” she said. “All he wanted was justice for what had happened to his crops but instead he got thrown into a fight for his life.” she empathized and I knew she was right.
“Also no support from Ivor in providing any help to him even after the ordeal is done.” I added, seeing that no new crops were growing in the place that was blackened. My sister nodded and she might have said something but we had already reached Muite’s open door and we decided to continue our discussion later on.
The hut was almost the same size as our house, which in other words meant small. It consisted only of two-room unlike our house that had a bathroom in-built and like our house, his two rooms consisted of the bedroom/living room and the kitchen.
This would mean the bathroom was somewhere outside his house and this would have made sense as he since he worked almost all day outside in his field, the bathroom must have been much closer to him than his house.
As we entered his house we the first tin that I noticed was that his house was a little bit claustrophobic because of the sheer number of things in his house.
Almost all the walls of his house were lined up with several shelves and on each shelf was packed with jars of several kind holding differently colored powders.
Since I did not have a clue about faring I had no idea what these jars contained, but it most probably might have been fertilizers and other medicines to treat his plants.
Right next to the doorway where we currently stood on the left was a thin wooden bed on which a figure lay. Above the figure was a small window that overlooked the farm.
We thought t this time there night have been many villagers who might have come to see Muite but we seemed wrong.
There was only one other villager in that room and he was currently standing up back towards us looking keenly at the wall of jars.
He was taller than average and his head almost touched the rather high ceiling of the hut.
He was also very thin unlike Muite but as he turned around there seemed some similarity between him and Muite as he somewhat resembled him.
Looking at it we instantly knew that he was an Elder. He was at least seventy years old and had grey hair. The middle of his head was void of this hair and he walked with the help of a cane.
Elders were often the ones who held a spat against me and were the ones who frequently and openly hurled insults towards me. Thankfully this Elder did not and I did not see his eyes light up in fire, so I figured he was an exception to my rule, which was good for conversation right now.
Speaking about conversation, my gaze now fell upon the resting figure on the bed and noticed it was Muite.
He looked in bad shape. Like Zefe had mentioned he had plastered over his fractured limbs, but there was more to it. He had a black eye and the exposed parts of his skin were purple from blood clotting.
He currently looked asleep which made him look like his usual self again which was something that made me feel good for.
He seemed so peaceful that I felt we should just let him be for now and visit him later on.
But the Elder had his attention on us right now and he gestured us to sit as he took a seat himself on a weak chair.
There was only one other chair in the whole house and so I offered it to my sister as I took a seat on the edge of Maite’s bed so very careful as to not touch him or disturb him in any way.
“Me Soulder, close cousin of Muite.” he said in Gorse his accent long and wiry.
“I’m Xaya and this is my brother Aiden” said my sister and instantly knew she was perfect for speaking with him. As I had learned Gorse only as my second language, my Gorse was good for speaking with the typical villagers of Vouldran but wasn’t as refined to speak with the elders.
I conveyed this to my sister and she agreed and so I asked her to ask whether Muite was in a stable condition to which he replied that Muite was out of anything life-threatening.
Many other questions followed and Soulder seemed very cooperative and even enthusiastic in criticizing the leader which made me feel good for once.
Well after asking all my questions about Muite and the horrible conditions one had to face once chosen for the Zelia I had only one other question that was burning me and it was something about the event itself.
“What exactly caused all this to him?“ I asked finally tired of the translation game as I pointed towards Muite’s sleeping figure and the damage he had incurred.
“That my young one...” said Soulder in a weary tone. *“Is something you should ask him yourself. I was so terrified to lose my only relation that I did not have the guts to attend the event myself." he said and there was sorrow in his voice and soon it was showing in his eyes.
We instantly knew we had touched a delicate issue and we had to watch our step from now on.
After a little consolation, we knew it was the right time to leave the hut and so with our heartfelt consolations we left the hut and started a slow stroll back to the small forest.
I had thought we had spoken for hours together but looking at the sky we noticed there was still a lot of sunlight which would have meant ur conversation must have taken only a few minutes.
And since we had walked a considerate amount of distance to meet Muite I did not want to leave so soon and so I stopped in my tracks prompting my sister to do the same.