They burst out in laughter at my comment.
“You are a funny one.” Papa remarks.
“Follow me” He orders.
I look at Paula and Elena in worry, the lady that stood up for herself introduces herself to me.
“I am Luna, I will take care of them. They don’t know you but I can sense your spirit, teach that old man a lesson or two.” She looks at me like she sees everything.
“Are you a …” I sigh and decide to drop it, Oracles give me the chills and I have heard female seers are the worst.
I step up to a place that looks like a fighting cage, Papa throws me a weapon, it’s a tiny sword and I look at him in question.
“Others will be too heavy for you.” He explains and I nod.
People sit around us and start to cheer for him, he removes his animal skinned coat and exposes his body, the name Papa doesn’t suit him as he is gigantic and muscular with no hint of grey hair, I realize he crouches a lot, when he stands straight, I see how humongous he is.
“Looking good, Papa!” I give him a thumbs up while I pick the sword.
I get into a fighting stance and he looks at me suspiciously, I see that even though he expects nothing from me, he is still careful. He uses a big rod and it reminds me of an old’s giant tale.
I wait for him to attack but he doesn’t, he gets into a defense position instead. I attack him but feign my posture, his ribs get exposed for a second and I nick it, he looks at me surprised.
“Its okay, don’t feel bad. It happens more often than you’d imagine.” I comfort him with a wry smile.
He lunges at me, and I defend, I feel his strength and dodge. I won’t be able to defeat him by sheer strength, respect as a warrior goes to him but the thing about giants, they fall harder. I attack his lower body, he defends but he is not fast enough, I purposely nick at different parts of his body, I learnt it from Akka, he enjoys annoying his opponents, Papa has much more restraint which would come as a war veteran and I almost feel sorry for what I’m about to do.
When he is used to defending his lower parts, I attack his shoulder which leads to a gasp, his eyes get colder as he looks at me.
“Who are you?” He asks.
“No one.” I smile gently.
“You are playing with me.” He admits.
“Yes, yes, what if I am?” I ask.
“Why? Do you look down on me?” He asks with a very serious look.
“On the contrary, I respect you.” I tell him.
“Then fight me, warrior to warrior, no games” He lets go of his weapon.
I think about it and I drop my weapon and I understand that this is a game of pride to him, he wants to lose or win fairly, I realize he is a simple man.
We attack each other, I am faster than he is so I dodge most of his attacks, he is a really strong man, his thighs are too big to trip, his neck to strong and thick to put on a chokehold. I did what every self-respecting young warrior would do, I kick him in the place where the sun doesn’t shine. His eyes show pure agony as he goes down.
The place goes quiet as people watch me, thinking I would kill him. He is a good leader if his people would look that way, they can’t interfere as it would be referred to as a stain in his dignity as a chief and as a warrior. I go to him while he is writhing in pain, he can’t focus so I wait for an uncomfortable number of seconds.
“All I ask is that you let us go, you remove those barbaric rules, you know the ones I’m talking about and listen to a friendly advice. The world is changing and so you need to change with it especially if you don’t want history to repeat itself. Men and Women have different strengths and weaknesses, it doesn’t make one superior or inferior, play to those strengths, build a nation that is much more than hunting, killing and fighting. There is no shame in accepting positive change. Agree to these terms and I will withdraw from this duel, you get to keep your throne and we get to go. Do we have a deal?” I ask and he nods, he is probably in too much pain to talk, I have always wondered how painful that can be.
I withdraw from the duel, I leave the stage and go towards where Elena and Paula is, I see Luna blowing some kind of incense on them.
“What are you doing?” I ask.
“I am protecting them from the evil eye, they have the aura of death surrounding them, yours is thick with it, please let me cleanse your aura also.” She says with a shake of her head.
I decline, “No, Thank you.”
“I have to especially since I have decided to follow you, I can’t have you three bringing death everywhere we go. Sit with them.” She orders and I am too tired to argue.
I let her so her work her cleansing spell, Paula and Elena wake up with a bad headache and I smirk at them.
“Stop putting everything into your mouth.” I scold them.
“How were we supposed to know there would be something in the food?” Elena whines.
“Oh, as opposed to them giving you food and telling you it has poison.” I roll my eyes.
“Who won?” Paula asks.
“I didn’t kill him; I withdrew from the duel.” I say and Paula sighs in relief.
Papa comes in and glares at me. “That was a dirty trick.”
“You know as well as I do that, I don’t need that to win, I just wanted you to win in a way that everyone would know it wasn’t your lack of skill, what man would survive that hit?” I grin at him.
He avoids my eyes and talks to Paula.
“Your mother is alive but she thinks you are dead.”
Paula freezes. “Where is she?”
“Last I heard of, she ran a pub in Roelum. I don’t know the name of the pub but from what I hear she is pretty popular; she goes by her maiden’s name Shyla. Be careful though if you want to look for her, she is not the same woman you knew.” He looks at Luna.
“Are you sure this is what you want?” He asks.
“Yes, this is where my destiny lies, I have been waiting my whole life for them.” Luna replies.
“W..what, what is happening?” Elena asks.
“Don’t ask, I think it’s better that way.” I tell her and Luna looks at me strangely.
“I bother you, don’t I? Or is it Seers in general?” she confronts me.
“Its not you, it is me. I don’t like dealing with things I do not understand. You have to be willing to take care of yourself if you are coming with us.” I say and Elena winces.
“Why is she coming with us?” Elena asks.
“I can’t stop her.” I say.
“Why not? Beat her unconscious or something.” Elena whines.
“I can hear you.” Luna glares at her.
“I don’t care.” Elena rolls her eyes.
“She is a seer.” I say.
“Ooops… Sorry, my bad. Please don’t curse me.” Elena backs away from her.
Luna flushes with embarrassment.
“You will learn to love me.” Luna declares.
“Don’t push it.” Paula says and gathers her things.
Papa gives us horses, the four of us ride to Roelum. Paula stares at the Palace from afar.
“Welcome home Salem.” She says with a sigh.