Chapter 4:

The Fighter of the Favela, Part I

Desert Company

A boy walked triumphantly through the streets of the favelas, the fish in his hands apparent. He had just finished trying to fish in the Khuuchin-luma river. Bearing slippers and khaki shorts, the boy only caught three mere katolos, the two of which had garbage and oil stains on its scales. But with that amount he predicted his family would be fed for around a week.

The squatter settlements of Dyak-ar-salaam surrounded the outskirts of the city, a town of scrap metal and packed units. The run-down Kowloon-styled two to five story housing formed a municipality that challenged the urban part of Dyak-ar-salaam itself. It was dusk, and the people of the slums were beginning to serve supper. At this time was when the Zundui family would open their food stall and sell fried tupa, lamb chop served on skewers sprinkled with cinnamon.

“Dumating na ako, I got three,” The boy said in Galag, entering their family’s abode. Inside was busy with his mother constantly checking the pot, minding the meat on the grills, each flip with precision.


His younger brother came to greet him, and the boy returned the gesture with a smile and a pat on the little brother’s head.

Their local radio was blasting in the background as he placed the fish in a cooling case.

“Breaking news on Khoyor 12th, Z̆ongren-Azu tensions skyrocket from increasing naval presence of Z̆ongren ships at the ports of Wakoku ‘Basad, Dyak-ar-salaam ‘Basad, and the Walang Sahar de Islas. The Buhanggilog na Pangulo Antonio Tovar has yet to comment on the matter.”

Suruj went to his room, and fell back first on his bed. There was not much in his room. The walls stunk of mold, with a hole in a wall revealing creaking pipes that haven’t been tended to in years, with a coat rack bearing lab goggles and a ripped jacket. A sandwood chair, missing an arm, was placed next to a wooden desk that held Suruj’s school assignments. A sahar powered wind fan was in the corner, which would turn on whenever he focused his sahar onto it.

Knowing the time, he rolled off his bed and slid onto the chair, grabbing a pencil from under the stack of papers and began working on his assignments. Without making an error he went through each subject; arithmetic, Galag language, Khoit language, saharic science, and Kali martial arts. After a while he rested his head on the desk, and leaned his eyes towards the lab goggles. Suruj briefly remembered playing with sahar when he was little.

“In just one month, I’ll be able to take the exam and get into the university…” He fought the fatigue in his eyes.

He had to get his family out of the slums. The conditions were bad enough with the current situation between Azutami, As-Z̆onghu̐a, and Buhanggilog. Suruj could only imagine the violence that would break out if the Tasdaha government canceled the Dineh Kazaàd because of the military tension. Except that those sounds Suruj had imagined were real.

Suruj was flung from his room. A violent explosion boomed from the building. As he fell, he was unable to concentrate on anything.

He stood up slowly, the dark clouds high, the storms followed. Human blood dripped down Suruj’s face as he looked at the perpetrators. They were people dressed in bizarre uniforms, masked in gray and bore Al-Wa insignias, a symbol of an Ala Shan bird and the Othoji rattlesnake.

“Jūn tiān, nǔ lái wǔ de gǒngsī!”

The boy couldn’t understand what they were saying, but the language was Renhua. He gazed around in confusion looking for his family.

“Suruj!” His mother called out from the house, “Suruj, where are you!? Your brother is hurt, what’s going on?!”

“I’m fine nanay, tell the watchers to evacuate the Juancito ward!”

Suruj’s nanay shouted back with confirmation and quickly ran out of the house as fire broke out. The boy then turned his head back to the Al-Wa men. They spoke in his own language.

“We’re here to pick you up. We’ve sent you a letter of invitation, but you declined. You refused to comply peacefully, so you’ll be taken by force,” One of the men brought out a device, resembling a rifle, but had a short barrel and an ominous blue scope.

“I don’t want to fight in the Dineh Kazaàd…” Suruj stated, as white particles gathered around him. He focused his mind on the saharic particles, now surrounding him. The Al-Wa soldiers stepped back in fear, for they were aware of his high saharic mastery and level.

“Alam Daigdig!”

Suruj punched the ground. The ground took the punch, absorbing the blow. Cracks ran in the ground below the soldiers. White light seeped out, and a massive energy burst sounded.

He then raised his fist, and pummeled the nearest troop in a flurry of punches. Mincemeat came shortly after, bursting into blood. Azure gunfire flew before Suruj, dodging the projectiles with a corkscrew. The favelas toppled down in destruction. A loud horn was heard, coming from the loudspeakers in the ward.

“Emergency. Juancito Ward is under attack by an unknown military force. Citizens of Dyak-ar-salaam ‘Basad please evacuate from the ward. Repeat. Emergency.”

“Don’t fight us, Suruj. We have more power than you think,” The leader of the group shouted, bringing his arm up. “Dihu Quxiao…”


Suruj dashed at the man, bringing his fist charged with sahar. Suruj reached maximum sahar level as he growled. He landed a blow on the leader’s face. As it made contact, the city shook, the sky screamed; A burst of white energy poured out of Suruj’s punch. The force was enough to power four hundred sahar generators, extending göröms ahead, disrupting sound.

Then came a sudden implosion, as if time reversed itself back into Suruj’s hand. His attack was over, and he was shot into a concrete wall.

The leader, holding his hand out, having created a force field that was created by the spell.

“Why are you doing this…” Suruj questioned, getting off the wall. His body was beginning to go through a state that he never entered since he was little. Tiny debris and rocks began to levitate with a white hue.

“Al-Wa needs fighters for the Dineh Kazaàd,” The man responded, aiming the rifle at him. ”Nothing personal, kid. We ask people nicely with a letter, and no one gets hurt. However, if you refuse…”

He fired, the blue projectile coming in Suruj’s direction. As the boy reached out to destroy it with his hands, Suruj saw his family in his peripheral vision. His mother and younger brother were bound and blindfolded by the Al-Wa men.

Suruj bashed the projectile out of range and ran towards them. If anything, time seemed to move unfairly for him.

“Sú tūmen.”

Those were the words that sentenced his family to death, and very much as Suruj’s death as well. Rosa and Koi Zundui dropped to the ground with swords in their hearts. He was too late. He was too slow.


A projectile landed a direct hit on his back, the azure bullet attaching to Suruj. Soon he was on the ground flailing from a galvanizing shock, the amount of a thunderbolt.

“Al-Wa… You…”

“All of this happened because of you, Suruj Zundui. You caused more damage to your home ward than we did. Your family died because of you,” The leader of the group blew away the smoke coming out of the barrel of his rifle, as the gray clouds had opened for the sun to rise above the horizon. The ward had been engulfed in flames, the part of the city glowing in orange and ash.

And those were the words Suruj heard before he blacked out, with tears streaming down his face.