Chapter 9:

The Fighter for the Gold, Part III

Desert Company

Kwazhak wasn’t considered an heir at the time of his birth. He remembered how his mother was one of the indigenous peoples that had been enslaved after the exploration of the Al-Diyu Sands and Lāoyuàng Oasis, way up north of the country.

“Kwazhak, nws lub npe yog Kwazhak,” were his mother’s words, but it was in a language that his father, nor Kwazhak had ever heard.

At the time, he was always surrounded by Renhua conversations and media, so he would never obtain the skill of picking up his mother’s language, which people called her ‘Thoj Dàrén’, meaning Madam Thoj in Renhua.

Even at the time of her death, Kwazhak couldn’t speak her language.

“Lus yog lub ntiaj teb no.”

Even now, there were some days when he’d crash head first on his bed in his dormitory, and recite the words that he had remembered.

“Lus yog lub ntiaj teb no.”

Even if he had searched the Xinggong Imperial Library, the Laoyuang House files, every single book and crevice of the pages, he couldn’t find anything on his mother’s language. No record, no file, no book, all that was left was the few words of the dead language he could remember. And dead language was practically the correct term, for it was rumored that the indigenous people living near the Lāoyuàng Oasis were sold off to participate in the Dineh Kazaàd.

“Lus yog lub ntiaj teb no.”

Kwazhak approached a large corporate building, which stood out like a sore thumb in the traditional architecture of Wakoku. A large sign was placed on the top of the tall building, showing the company logo and the infamous name, Al-Wa in Khoit. A right wing connected the building to another structure that resembled a temple, or rather a church, with the slanted arches and wooden pillars. He remembered that the right wing was the living quarters for the fighters, so he changed directions and walked towards that.

By foot, it took only a few minutes, circling around the park that surrounded the estate, with lush greenery and sandstone fountains. The building lights were the only source of light from the outside, so Kwazhak could easily slip past people watching the perimeter by going parallel with the bushes to his left side. Using sahar to transport himself inside was impossible, for he was sure that Al-Wa had devices that detected any saharic particle movement in the vicinity. From ground level, he could see the office lamps and silhouettes of people inside the glass building, while with light steps he made his way around the main building and managed to go around.

When he was devising a plan to get inside the right wing, he heard multiple footsteps behind him. It was two or three steps per stride, so Kwazhak assumed that it could be two people. Had the guards already spotted him? He reached behind his waist as a large sword materialized out of thin air, ready for him to unsheathe, floating behind him. Kwazhak turned around calmly.

“Aha, so this is where Al-Wa is!”


Saya was too busy talking about the estate as Kwazhak stared in disappointment. But he soon snapped out of it. It was too dangerous for the Obaa and Saya to be with Al-Wa. No matter the reason, they shouldn’t meddle with the affairs of this monstrous company.

“One must not associate with Al-Wa,” Kwazhak lowered his voice, “For thou art meddling in a situation one does not understand.”

“Why not? Al-Wa wants to sponsor me in the Dineh Kazaàd, so I can’t let this chance slip,” She responded, leaning on the tall bushes.

“One has received a letter, but such a parchment to people is an infringement of their lives,” He avoided wording it to ‘normal people’, because Saya clearly wasn’t a normal person at all.

“I don’t understand what you are saying,” She twirled around, “Al-Wa is giving me a chance to fight in the Dineh Kazaàd, but you want me not to?”

“The Dineh Kazaàd isn’t a child’s game. It’s a cruel game of life or death. One could find their friend’s blood on one’s own hands in this tournament. Tell me child, why do you want to fight in the Dineh Kazaàd?”


For a long pause, Saya did not say anything, and Kwazhak could not tell what she was thinking. People did not speak of the tournament the exact same way the Yyvubia existed. Young children were not informed of the tournament until their crossing of adolescence, and when they were told, they feared the name if it was brought up. And how could her grandmother allow her granddaughter to pursue this delusion?

“Because I saw it on the holographic screens. I saw the reigning champion, Ayai Toya. She was super cool and strong. She was born in a place far-far away in the Al-Diyu Sands, just like me in the Sunakhamaj Desert. All my parents have ever taught me was how to fight, so I guess I felt drawn towards the fighting,” She put up a small smile. Kwazhak lowered his mental guard. “I would always get into small scuffles with thieves and predators, and think more about fighting them often than getting scared.”

“I see,” He said, wrapping his head around her words. Ayai Toya… the reigning champion in the Dineh Kazaàd. He had never heard of there being a champion, but had always heard stories of the tournament. Every fighter sent there, never returns. If Ayai Toya was born in the Al-Diyu Sands, near the Lāoyuàng Oasis, then could this champion be one of the indigenous people from his mother’s tribe? Could she speak his mother’s lost language? If he went to the tournament, could he meet this Ayai Toya? But it was a risk.

He solemnly laughed as he made up his mind. But he couldn’t forget that he had an obligation to help L as well.

“Thank you for sharing your reasoning. If that is what you wish, then you may disregard my saying,” He said, as the levitating sword behind him disintegrated. “Well then, Miss Saya, let us go to Al-Wa.”

Saya and Kwazhak planned out how to get into the right-wing living quarters. They decided that in order to not use sahar, they would use other means of transport, and by that meant Kwazhak throwing Saya and her Obaa across the street onto the back entrance. At first, Kwazhak was against the notion, but agreed after being nagged by Saya. He grabbed her by the stomach as he wrapped his right arm around her. He catapulted Saya across the street into the nearby bushes. Saya would then be ready to catch her grandma, but Kwazhak took it upon himself to swiftly sprint across, carrying the Obaa on his shoulder.

Once they had reached the doors, he quietly pushed it open, as a creaking sound wavered. As he entered, he saw everyone. The center of the structure had no roof, as the only thing that illuminated the place was the dim moonlight. L was standing in the center, with his hand pulling his peaked cap downward, covering his eyes. Around him, under the roofs were more people, but they weren’t just unique people. They didn’t fit those words.

They all wore colorful variants of a uniform of sorts, with the Al-Wa symbol on the right and their name branded on the left sleeve of the clothing. The uniform had a collar, and was long-sleeved. Kwazhak read the names off the shirts, ‘Toqemur’, ‘Zundui’, ‘Perez’, ‘Shunji’, and many others, along with one that didn’t have a name plate at all. They each looked bizarrely different from each other, one was wearing massive metal gauntlets, another had glowing green eyes that reflected in the dark, and ‘Zundui’ looked like a normal adolescent boy, but Kwazhak felt a particle distortion that glinted in the boy’s body.

They weren’t just unique, they were fighters.

“Le Prince de Laoyuang, you’re just in time for the discussion,” L lifted his head, as his eyes shone crimson in the solemn moonlight. “Sorry for the sudden cliffhanger. Tired night, ain’t it?”

Desert Company

Desert Company