Chapter 6:

The Fighter of the Favela, Part III

Desert Company

The calm waters subjected the boat to an endless, gentle swaying motion. The Al-Wa junk vanished from view. Had it not been for them out at sea for a long time, Suruj would have gotten seasick a long time ago. No matter how many times he looked beyond the dark horizon, he couldn’t see anything that resembled a coast, a Basad, or even the islands of the Walang Sahar de Islas. They wouldn’t dare venture into the ocean at dark; or risk the freezing hypothermia of the Takaí-Hăi Sea.

“Nee, sankyuu for helping mi zere.”

“You don’t have to. I couldn’t think of anything, as-”

“Yu onri know ‘Alam Daigdig’, rait?”


She was right, for Suruj only knew and mastered the one spell. Although he had an abnormally high saharic mastery, Suruj could only perform one spell perfectly and effectively, that being ‘Alam Daigdig’. He couldn’t use any other chants, other syntaxes.

“How’d you know?”

“It wa just e guess. ‘Chuucho’ ja.”


“Ah iesu, heshiteshon,” She repeated after him, “Ai wa afureid to jump, and yu were afureid to use yu’r sahar. We heshiteshon.”

“Didn’t you swim in the beaches of Gulf Al-Heiwa when you were in Azutami?”

They were sitting on opposite sides of the boat, as if not to disturb each other. It was cramped, fit tighter than a rectangular box. Both of each other’s feet reached the opposite ends of the tiny vessel. She closed her eyes, remembering her Ala-ala.

“.... Ai cudn’t du swim in ze gulf. Ai was en hausu all za taim. So ai neba swim.”

“I see,” Suruj folded his leg, yawning, “Y- You shed tray to shwim.”

The girl softly laughed at his attempt to speak Azu. Suruj’s face grew red. He switched back to Galag.

“When we get out of here you should try the waters. In Doloos, my family and I would go to the end of the Khoit Peninsula and swim at the beach. My fa- …”

His brain stopped him at the second repetition. A stimulus that grabbed his tongue, his head. His mother, his brother, nanay, totoy, all dead, gone. Stabbed by the men of Al-Wa, their blood seeping into the earth, this world. Suruj felt constrictive bind on his throat, a quaking headache. The aroma of the sweet tupa, the smiles of Koi, his mother’s laughter, flashed through his eyes. All of this happened because of him, Suruj Zundui. He caused more damage to his home ward than they did. His family died because of him.


“N- No, it’s nothing. Nandemonaiya,” He repeated his words in Azu. “Nandemonai…”

Suruj saw the sky, filled with splashes of light. The starry sky that broke into bands of brilliance.

“Aniweis, ze Aru-Wa boat and this boat ar heading towaads the Yahmajô̗ kontinent. Zei and we ar furaiying ze northern wind. Follow ze stars, ‘hosyi’ of za warudo. Zei konnect za tu kontinents tugeza.”

They could be going towards the Tier̃a Muęrta Dunes, the Strait of Azutami, or Wakoku. But to Suruj it was better than being with those Al-Wa lakkies, or fighting in the Dineh Kazaàd.

It was when it was silent until Suruj realized something, something detrimental that he had forgotten.

“Wait, anong pangaa mo?...”

“Mai name?”

“We don’t even know each other's names,” Suruj listened to the waves, “I don’t even know what to call you.”

“I don hab e name. I don know wat to call maiself.”

“Oh, uh, well you can give yourself a name,” he exclaimed. She then positioned her arms in an enthusiastic motion, closing her fist.

“Yu kan gib mi e name. I don really mind.”

“Nope. That would be weird. You can decide what you want yourself to be called, not me.”

She sighed as she rested her head on the side of the boat.

“Jya zen wats your name?”

“How about I’ll tell you when you’ve come up with yours.”

It was these words when the girl pouted again and looked away. Suruj scratched his eyelids, as it looked as if it was the middle of the night in the still sea. He yawned and stretched out his arms.

“I’ll be sleeping already,” He said in Azu, laying his head on the bow of the small boat, the pure silence pursuing the rest of the cold night on the water.

Regret and resent. It felt like something was missing. It felt like someone had stolen the heart, his feelings. He felt like he should be sad but was perfectly fine. It felt like he was searching for something that he couldn’t find. Nowhere to go. Where to go, when nothing was ahead for where he was led.

He could see the sand. The desert’s gaze, of the deadly duel that would end up ablaze. Is it worth dying in the Dineh Kazaàd, his family’s death, and what meaning did it hold. What meaning did it have in this world?

Suruj woke up leaning on a wall. Immediately, he became alert with his new surroundings. They were merely on the boat supposedly. Was it all a dream, he thought. He analyzed the surroundings. It was a room with a tall arching ceiling fit for multiple guests, decorated with Azu ukiyo-e art that wrapped around the room in looming colors of white and red. There was a limestone dining table for four with an Azu cupboard set, the plates intricately placed in a well manner as if it had been tended by the most virtuous butler. An erect sahar lamp peered in the corner along with a large Buhang style carpet of marvelous spindles and colored threads beneath all the furniture.

Suruj, arched his head to the right, to find the girl, fast asleep, next to him. With a startled scream he fell and his back collided with the rigid sandstone floor, waking the girl up. Then he heard a voice from the entrance to his right.

“Seems like you two are awake,” The voice of a young man called out in Azu, “Been at sea for a couple of days.”

It was a tall man wearing a black vest and a tie, along with a black-lined coat that fluttered with the wind. He wore a peaked cap that bore the emblem of Al-Wa, standing against the door casually with a warm smile. Suruj’s muscles tensed up, as the girl’s face brightened.