When the sun was overhead, they merged onto a road filled with other cars unlike their trucks. They were much fancier than the vehicle carrying the carriages. They stayed within blue lines but stopped briefly to stare in at his people. They pointed and laughed before speeding up and disappearing. The people in those cars wore brightly colored clothing and seemed so carefree and happy. The closer they got, the more cars came beside them. All running off of sunlight and all distressingly loud.
The people were so tired and weak that they had long since quite standing. They sat in a circle in the middle of the carriage and held onto each other. The Capital was loud and smelled so much different than the open lands back at home. Tian closed his eyes, lulled by the rocking of the carriage and Axel’s weak pledges against killing all the men in the trucks. He’d been planning nonstop about how they’d jump the men as soon as the doors opened. In the beginning, he had everyone’s attention, but as the thirst and hunger started to get to them, they’d stopped listening. Choosing to silently wait out their fates, wait out Tian’s own decisions. Tian didn’t have any.
When the carriages came to a stop, the men got out and started to unlock the door. Axel moved in front of Tian with his fists raised. As soon as the doors popped opened Tian stood, pushing Axel out of the way. He was the first off the truck with his head held high and his shoulders squared. He looked the men straight in the eyes, and they stepped back in disgust. His people filed in behind them, huddling close to each other. Their shackles were put back on their wrists and they drug Tian forward. Hands fisted his shirt weakly as his people hung on.
His people gasped at what lay beyond the carriages. Huge flashy buildings rose up miles into the sky and loomed over their heads where the birds flew. Fog hung low against the buildings, hiding the very tops in their embrace. Fake faces appeared on the sides of buildings selling products that Tian never knew existed. Make ups, toys, foods all with colorful banners and loud words. Cars zoomed around on large grey roads stretching up above the ground on huge, iron pillars. They disappeared behind the buildings, twisting and turning into separate directions. Hundreds of people started to gather around in curiosity. He ripped his eyes away from the monstrous buildings above their heads. How could people live somewhere so dead? There were no trees, no plants. He breathed in the stale air, littered with scents Tian didn’t have a name for.
The men around them spat at Tian’s feet and whispered. But this was one fight that Tian was going to win. RT was standing in front of him with dark eyes, but Tian knew without a doubt that he was watching his own men. He didn’t know anything about the man, he didn’t understand why RT was protecting him, but he definitely wouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth. RT turned his head toward Tian, his brown eyes flashed against the sunlight before the man nodded.
Something struck against Tian’s back, almost knocking him down. A rock fell to his feet and he turned and looked at a small Capital child. It stared up at him with disgust and fear, and more children showed up at its side. Rocks pelted Tian’s people and they screamed at the villagers, pointing their fingers in disgust. They laughed and pointed fingers at the group. A rock hit Tian’s forehead and blood started to drip down his face.
Adults gasped, grabbing their children in shock before dragging them away. They wailed at Tian, calling him a beast and screaming for his death, but Tian didn’t turn to look at them. With his blood staining his cheeks, he followed RT, pulling his own people along. They neared a large building in front of them. It was encrusted with grey steel, making sunlight flash off it blindingly. Warriors stood in front of the doors with guns at the ready, their eyes leveled on Tian specifically. RT’s spare shirt was unnaturally large against Tian’s small frame, and it hung low against his collar bone. The marks of his father’s people were clear against the blinding sun, and men mumbled nervously.
What Tian didn’t know, though, was that with RT in front of him, his life was saved. RT’s eyes were so fierce and challenging that it made the nearest warriors piss themselves and step back. RT’s breathed a sigh of relief once Tian passed the golden doors, now safe from his own brethren.