The Happy Village – Chapter 23

The Happy Village


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In the bleak afternoon, Sachen had a lot in mind. As she was on the ground and clasped her hands before the dirt mound of Usheniko, she whimpered and sniffled. She had once again, got out of the re-education classes, which became more brutal as the days fleeted by. Having to learn everything good and holy that was associated with the 28th Lama brimmed her mind into steam and fire, and always would she talk back to the teacher with a red face. Her classmates would still laugh no matter what she said. To make it worse, Sachen had not seen Neha for while. Every time she went to school, the desk next to her would be empty, nothing but heavy air around it. But she never wondered, even for once, where her friend was or what her friend was doing at this point. The remarks that Neha had made in their confrontation left nothing but heartbreak. It was hard for Sachen to heal herself from that.

Sachen blamed Neha for being a total idiot. She expected that she would never do anything with her ever again.

“Oh…” Sachen’s nose turned red, and she hyperventilated.

“Usheniko! Please come back to me! I beg you, please… don’t leave me alone! I want you to help me about a lot of things! I can’t deal with this all by myself. If the gods can hear me, then send her back to the earth!”

Sachen pounded her fists upon the mound. “I can’t find my classmate Kuraizang, I have experienced a falling out with Neha, your ‘daughter’ is actually an impostor, and the Holy Army is putting more soldiers in the village! What am I supposed to do? What should I do? For once, I am lost for words… I just can’t do anything right! Usheniko, help me!”

Her words echoed and shivered the clouds. With no response, Sachen dipped her chin to her chest. She opened her ears and tried to pick up something from the heavens. All was futile. Sachen begged again and again for Usheniko to return; what could the gods do for such a child like her? A miracle or a blessing upon Sachen would do nothing but cause her more pain, more uncertain of what was to come. The gods might as well go to sleep and witness everything, Sachen thought they would do that for the rest of eternity.

“Dang it! It’s like the village is trying to swallow me alive. Naransaya was right… I should keep cautious of myself. I should have started being cautious a long time ago! This Naransaya lady, I can’t get her out of my head. Everything she said about her circumstances, it couldn’t be anymore horrifying. I wish you were there, so that you could knock some sense into her. How dare she tricked you? Such a wretched, nasty person she is. N-never mind that!”

She breathed slowly as she shut her eyes. The words of Naransaya had never left her mind, it chilled and haunted the girl without mercy. In fact, Naransaya never seemed to disappear from her memories all together. It was as if the woman had become an everlasting void among the earth and sky. Although Sachen had not seen her around lately, her absence roused suspicion. What was she doing these days? Was Naransaya laughing at the torment of the girls from somewhere afar? It might be so.

Sachen fell into silence. She slapped her forehead and she then trudged along the cobblestone. People came around her here and there, and as typical, they were talking about everything except the war and the riot at school. As a matter from that, her classmates and other kids said nothing in regards to the chaos; the re-education classes made them a blank slate, and it wiped them clean of all the anarchy and protest that they had caused themselves. Sachen called them lucky, she could still remember it fresh as anything else. She wished that she could forget like them.

Sachen went to the village center and journeyed through the western district. She increased her pace, and barely noticed the rocks and gravels cutting the bottom of her feet. Frost conquered the air and thickened her breaths. She heaved and strained her nose. Splinters formed in her lungs, it was it hard for her to continue running. She slowed down. Far away, Sachen heard something rowdy. At first she thought that the Holy Army had started their intermittent parade around the neighborhood again. It was only the clanks and clashes of metal that spurred Sachen into apprehension.

By the time she arrived in her neighborhood, a voice in her head told her that there was nothing to worry about. But at this point, everything was peculiar. The villagers retreated into their abodes and locked their doors and windows. Some of them stared out the windows with eyes like owls. The crickets and worms burrowed through the soil, only for them to hide in the shadows upon the girl’s presence. Beyond her imagination could she think that something malignant had happened, that it required some soldiers to intervene of whatever matter they needed to deal with. Maybe a person had committed a crime, maybe somebody was arguing with his or her neighbor about some petty problem. But Sachen had little confidence that such things would transpire at this time of the day.

The rowdy noise got louder. Sachen walked forward. The calluses and bruises upon her feet daggered against her skin. A fabric of wind rolled along her shoulders, and froze her warmth into icicles. She looked back to the place behind her, then she returned her attention forward. Her neck stiffened. She headed closer and closer… until she found the source of the commotion itself.

A group of soldiers then loomed before her eyes. They were gathering around Neha’s house, pointing and barking at Tulisen, who was on the ground. Full of injuries, the junior officer wormed and avoided the kicks from the troops. On all sides, the villagers in the house took amusement to the spectacle. They laughed and applauded.

Sachen could not understand what was going on. The faces of the soldiers beared zeal, their lips drifted between smiles and frowns, and they showed no qualms in harming the officer of the Holy Army. It made her speechless. Even when Tulisen was an officer, what right did they have to hurt him like that? The scene frightened her, it raced her heart even more. She kept on wondering, but such wonderment then faded away.

Sachen hid in the bushes. She stuck her head out and began to overhear the conversation.

Tulisen got up, and he could barely stand up with one foot. “What are you doing?! Give me a damn reason! Why did you break into our house without a warrant?!”

A burly soldier emerged from the group. “Without a warrant? The Lama ordered for us to get her right away. Didn’t you want her on that spiritual mission?”

“W-what? I do… but I have never expected that you would send her to that place!”

“Then you should have listened to our Lord,” another soldier said.

“People that are candidates for the mission are required to go and stay in the cave for the rest of their days, until all sins in the village disappear. Doesn’t that sound splendid? For two people to help us attain salvation by their efforts alone?”

“No! Give her back, right now!” Tulisen tussled against the burly man in armor. He elbowed his face and chest, and jostled for his firearm. The soldiers ganged up on the officer and jabbed him with the barrel of their rifles. Tulisen gagged his own breath. He fell down again.

“It would be wise if you don’t do anything!” said one soldier. “Stay put, and let the magic happen!”

“Why, you monsters…”

“Monsters?” the burly troop uttered. “We are only doing our job. After we had returned home from the front lines, after the Lama gave us the task of retrieving the girl, you have the galls to call us that? Pathetic. I expected too much of an esteemed person in his position like you… but sadly, you disappoint me.”

Tulisen got off the ground and grabbed the man by his breastplate.

He stared knives at him. Sachen could sense his face boiling.

“As a person of higher rank than you all, I demand that you bring her back home! Or else I’ll tell-”

Another soldier shrugged and smirked. “Who will you tell?”

Everybody laughed at his remark. “The Lama has planned this all along, so why do you have to get yourself so worked up? She was chosen for this task as a female lead, and there’s no use fighting against it. Give it up, old coot.”

“Let us go everybody. Let this man waste his time.” The burly man rallied his soldiers, and they left the neighborhood. Tulisen twisted his face, he wept. He whispered curses and remorseful things upon himself; he then crawled to the doorsteps.

Sachen sprang out of the bushes, her mouth hung open. Her head throbbed. The conversation between the soldiers and Tulisen blazed her mind like wildfire, and it sparked within her that her friend might be in trouble. Now it would have been easy for her to take off right away and help Neha, but she understood well that Neha wanted to be alone; it soon conflicted her on what to do. Sachen paced in circles, she sweated and swelled her face. She was unable to expel any ideas to the tip of her tongue, the willingness to decide what she could do was knocking her back and forth.

“No no no… Neha! I have to go! But, she doesn’t want to see me anymore. But, I need to take her away from the cave! I don’t know! Help me Usheniko!”

The more she thought about it, the more time she was wasting. The sun and moon could wane through the sky, and Sachen would still be in the neighborhood. In the wake of Neha’s words that came too sudden in her head yet again, it gnawed and stabbed her a million times. To leave her alone, to regard her as a curse, how would it help Sachen cope?

Believing that it would solve all problems between them, it only caused the rift to become larger, and it pained Sachen so much that her head was spinning faster than the earth. She had never meant to anticipate that things would turn out like this… never in her life had she felt such agony that Neha might be gone.

The thought of Neha disappearing forever terrified Sachen.

She wailed. It was then that something compelled her to move. A powerful force behind her back, Sachen spurred herself forward. Her legs caught on fire, her arms swung back and forth, and her heart fluttered. Sachen coughed, her throat parched. Without thinking of anything but Neha, Sachen rushed to the eastern district. She shoved people out of her way, and scoffed whenever they scolded at her. She continued her pursuit, and no matter how much she had to run, she started to feel that the right thing to do was to reclaim Neha back from the darkness. The mere image of her friend welled up tears. Sachen thought that should she had done more to Neha than slapped her once, then they would have continued to live normal lives. Sachen would have protected her when she needed it the most.

“I cannot let them hurt her! I must go!” Sachen made her way to the eastern gate. The guards huddled to the doors and drew their rifles towards the girl. They warned her not to go any further. Sachen, ignoring them, spitted saliva towards their boots. She muscled them; with a bite on one of the guard’s fingers, Sachen brisked through. They only managed to hit her left arm. Before they called for reinforcements, Sachen was already out of the gate, and it left them heated. She headed into the forest, and she threw branches and leaves that kept coming in her way.

Then seeing the river ahead, she rolled up her uniform and her sleeves, and lumbered through the water with all her effort. The water cut her skin and feet, and almost made her an ice cube. She hopped to the other side, her nerves thinned themselves from the cold. With little time left, Sachen let herself loose. Every few seconds or so did she look both her sides, in the concern that Neha might be roaming around somewhere in the forest. If that were true, then Sachen would come to her aid and elude their presence from the authorities.

A row of bushes and the cave nearby reeled her eyes. Sachen dipped into the bushes, and looked at the mouth of the cave itself. It sent chills down her spine. What could be in there? Sachen cowered and closed her eyes, and she expected for somebody to appear out of the cave so that she could tag along with them, friend or foe. But such a thought dissipated when she stared at the cave again.

She cleared her throat and crossed her arms. Trying to maintain her awareness of the situation, it took her long enough to decide that she had to act now. Sachen brought herself out of the bushes and approached the place. The moment she took one foot into the cave, her skin hatched goosebumps; she almost ran away.

“I don’t even know what’s in there. But I have to go, before sundown.”

Nobody had a clue to what lie beyond the cave, as common word told that the cave was forbidden to villagers. The ones in the High Order were the only personnel that could go. Sachen heard all kinds of stories about wanderers stumbling into the place by accident, their fates being so scary to hear that it became an effective tool to deter people from coming in. Of course, Sachen had no desire to linger long.

Standing here for the whole day and thinking about the stories did no good. All she needed to do was to get Neha and run.

With determination, Sachen entered the cave. Immediately, the air inside suffocated her nostrils, and the darkness devoured her presence.

Her footsteps reverberated the interior, it bounced back to her ears.

Nobody but herself here, she could project her voice from her position, and nobody would be able to hear her from anywhere. She walked further into a cave… she then stepped on something wet. It stung the calluses on her foot.

“Ew! What’s this?” Sachen jumped back and patted her hand on her foot. No odor, no substance, no color, the mysterious liquid crept up to her. Sachen wagged her leg, and drips of the liquid plunged to the ground. She then scraped her foot against the hard soil to get the remains off of her skin. Shivering when imagining the possibilities that it could be something foul, Sachen sauntered onward. It was better for her not to know.

Now that she lingered deep into the middle part of the area, she caught through her sense of smell something powerful. A bitter, charred scent drifted from the walls. Perhaps this was the smell of the cave itself? It continued to manifest, and she wheezed and scratched her nose. She thought it was incense that somebody had lit for the purpose of warding off intruders.

When she furthered walk in the place, her feet treaded on a series of hard objects. Almost slipping off, Sachen picked one of the objects up.

She ran her hands along it, and found it to be sturdy and fleshy. A quick whiff from it, the charred aroma struck her again. Upon her fingers, bits of ashes discolored her skin. She dropped the object.

“What the heck… are these… bones? No way. What are such things doing here? Maybe an animal was eating a dead prey? This is getting weird.” Sachen wondered to how the members of the High Order would adapt and practice their ways in a place like this. They could have found a more suitable area, but to her, it made sense for them to reside here as to prevent anybody from disturbing them. Regardless, the cave itself started to make Sachen feel a bit of unease. She laughed in a nervous manner.

The darkness seemed to go on forever. In combination to the everlasting scent and the growing presence of the liquid and bones, it might be to Sachen that she had to keep on going until her legs would fall out. As though she had entered the realm of the unknown, she started to imagine in her mind an army of spirits and skeletons and dragons storming the place and attacking her from the shrouds of the blackness. As her eyes glimmered, it felt realistic. They had the potential to be more scary than she could ever believe; and if only they were to be here, then Sachen would plow them as much as possible. But that led her to a jolt. She hoped that it would never happen.

Before her eyes, tongues of flames brightened the path. The torches from both sides hung idle. Below each of the torches was a skull and a pair of bones, the bones being in a cross. The skulls sparkled without having any blemishes, holes, or spots, and they stared at Sachen with their hollow sockets. Among the flames, their mouths seemed to be moving up and down, as though they were chattering about the arrival of the young girl. Sachen exchanged glances with the skulls; of whom they could belong to? Name tags or indications of their identities, they were absent. Then she started to think that these remains might have to do with the candidates who had participated in the spiritual mission under many Lamas… Sachen had no courage to say the word of what she wanted to say. She shifted her glance to her feet and continued walking. In her imagination, the skulls and bones could transform into a skeleton army.

The cave became wider. More torches appeared, and the smoke polluted everywhere. Liquid from the ceiling dripped to the bottom, droplet by droplet did it give Sachen the jitters. The skull and the bones blended into the structure of the cave. Her bodily pulses vibrated the gravels and pebbles beneath her feet. She could not maintain her breaths, for they were turning shallow; an excessive swallowing of the air started to hurt her throat. The lack of oxygen, the dampness of the area, it made her want to drop herself to the ground. Nothing seemed to settle her down, nothing seemed to liberate her from her tension.

Sachen heard somebody from the distance. An agonizing moan her ears received, she lifted her legs and rushed and averted her eyes from the blinding flames. She then stumbled upon a new area, to which she thought at first was a teeming fabric of shadows as a result of the illumination.

She stopped dead in her tracks. She had entered a sanctum. Her eyes then lurched to the soil; the flames revealed something there.

“Huh?” Sachen saw a circle with a four-pointed star inside of it.

Around the outside area of the circle, skeletons of hands and feet protruded upon the surface. All the hands held a vial of blood.

Crouching to the star, Sachen slewed her fingers through the substance of what it seemed to be paint from berries or plants. One whiff of it, and she almost vomited.

“So this is where the scent is coming from,” Sachen said. “Why does it smell like blood?” Sachen balked and wiped the liquid from her skin.

The red color of the circle and star twinkled, as though the heavens had created it a long time ago by cosmic power. It expanded to the very edge of the walls, and it seemed so that there was a ceremony at this moment.

She continued to survey the sanctum. The handprints coated the walls, they were made of ashes. Right across from her, a door stood shut and still. Above the door, a window revealed the outside world; it looked like an illustration. The clouds fuzzed, the sky dimmed, the sun eroded into a dirty yellow, and the birds seemed nothing more than a set of lines. There, wind gusted through and blew Sachen to the wall, and she stayed there with her arms and legs open.

She hovered her sight upwards. Her breaths stopped for a moment. A metal bar adhered itself on the ceiling, it held a line of chains. There were four chains to be exact, and one of them strummed on its own.

Sachen bit her lips and pushed her heart to the wall. Terror clutched her head. With some control of herself, she traced the moving chain with her eyes, and guided herself to the symbol at the surface. The chain extended to the far-left corner of the room… and a moan then rippled. It came in a low tone. Sachen squeezed her face as to disregard it as a hallucination. But it kept coming. The moan then evolved into a blood-curdling shriek.

Dragging her body away from the wall, Sachen slithered to the source of the shriek. She dropped her arms. Her face crescended into a cauldron of sweat. Her breaths ceased all the sudden and her brain palpitated. The source was moving. It was a mere organism, but something more than that; it was a person. It couldn’t have been anything or anyone else. Of all times, Sachen had to encounter this. She asked to herself, what, where, why, and how did this source end up in such a condition.

The person clinging onto the chain, he shrieked again. His throat cut open a scar. Sachen’s hair stood up. From the buildup of tears, her eyes shined.

“No… no! Is that you, Kuraizang?!”

“Ugh…”

The chain coiled around his left ankle, depriving him the freedom to escape. Cuts, scars, and burns laced throughout his body, and his skin became pale as a ghost. He looked like a living corpse in the process of damnation. Much to his lifelessness, there was an x-mark on his left cheek; Sachen touched the spot, and Kuraizang hollered in pain. His hazy eyes, the sickness of his face, and his shrinking belly, all of that flummoxed Sachen. She released a long gasp.

Not any other moment than this could Sachen save her classmate once and for all. In an attempt to free him, the girl yanked and twisted and smashed the chains with her kneecaps.

“Kuraizang, stay with me please! Oh my goodness, I have been looking for you! Sorry if I came in too late! This must be the spiritual mission you are taking, right? Yes?”

The boy motioned his lips. He pointed to the star symbol and rolled his eyes backwards.

“…The righteous shall inherit the earth, and all the beauty and grace before it, and the Dove shall bless us with salvation, forever to come, forever to cherish…”

“W-what? Please don’t talk, you’ll strain yourself! Come on, let’s get you out of here!” She tried to drag the entire chain to the center. In turn, the boy dug his nails on the soil and stuck himself in the corner. He continued to speak his words as though nothing bothered him.

“…The righteous shall inherit the earth, and all the beauty and grace before it, and the Dove shall bless us with salvation, forever to come, forever to cherish, forever to come, forever to cherish, forever to come, forever to cherish…”

Sachen was unable to take him out of the corner. He remained in his ways; darkness had consumed him. As the seconds passed by, the colors of his eyes dulled to the point where it could become part of the walls.

Sachen kicked her heels against the surface and seethed.

“What the heck is this place? The red symbol, the bones, the torches, and everything else, it’s confusing me! The Lama dares to put Kuraizang here in such a place? How abhorrent, how disgusting! Why I ought to-”

A voice emerged from the door. Sachen soaked the sweat on her face and stood up, then she gazed at the person. It turned out to be a pair.

“The purpose of the spiritual mission is for the candidate to bear the sins of the village and ease their way of salvation.”

Sachen sneered. “You… you!”

“Well hello there.”

The same robes, the same face, the same demeanor, Yebuka presented himself before the girl. He squinted and smiled. Besides Yebuka were the same group of soldiers that had appeared in the neighborhood.

“I presume that you have discovered this place by eavesdropping?”

Yebuka asked. “I’m sure you need a spanking.”

“I-I overheard you idiots about bringing Neha to the cave! What’s your problem?”

The Lama chuckled. “It’s all about them committing to the spiritual missions. Why must you be so worried about it? This is done in order to bestow the gods our willingness to serve and worship them.” He then looked to the side and winked. “Isn’t that right, Naransaya?”

Naransaya walked out of the group and leered her eyes at the girl.

Her sudden appearance roped Sachen into panic. The girl growled, she pulled up her fists.

“Indeed sir, you are right!” Naransaya said, she prodded her elbow to his arm. “And thanks a lot for helping me back then in those revolution days! How can I repay you?”

“No need to do anything. You have already paid your debt by joining my side. Good thing that you have led Usheniko Ganshipe to her death, that will be the last of the Ganshipe bloodline. About Azukunika, she’s going to be gone for good. Anyways, I will give you luxurious rewards starting tomorrow. So please, stay as long as you like in the village.”

“Thanks!” Naransaya laughed until she expelled a cough. She wrapped her arms over the shoulders of the Lama. “Go away little runt, there ain’t nothing for you to see here. You can’t save that boy behind you… and you can’t save your friend, who is here right now! Come and bring her forth lads!”

The soldiers abided to her request. Separating each other, they revealed among the group, Neha. She was in a pair of handcuffs. Her face birthed despair. She stared aimlessly at the torches, before bringing her attention to Sachen. She shed tears. The appearance of her friend furthered pained Sachen; how did it come to this?

“Neha!”

“S-Sachen… I thought I told you to leave me alone…”

“Why you… why in the world would I do that?! You’re still my friend aren’t you?!”

“But-”

“No buts!” Sachen went up to Neha and embraced her with everything she had. The two cried on each other’s shoulders. Never would Sachen want her friend to get hurt, to suffer, and to face the pain alone; and one could say the same to Neha.

Sachen shut her eyes for a moment. “Neha. I’m so sorry that I yelled at you back there. I didn’t mean it. It’s my stupid brain that led me to say that. I didn’t know that you were so sad.”

“I have to say sorry too,” Neha said. “I was in a rough place, at the wrong time. I was agonizing over my parents, and I didn’t know how to move on. I’m very sorry!”

“I guess we’re both idiots aren’t we? Haha… if you want, then you can slap me back.”

“N-no, I wouldn’t dare do that. You would cry more than me.”

Sachen giggled, she snuggled Neha to her chest. “Now that we are here, we should escape from this place. I’ll take Kuraizang also, so that we can get these fiends off our tails.” Sachen let her go; Neha then colored her face gray. Her lips flattened and her face ached. “What’s the matter?”

“…I don’t think I can get out of this.”

“Huh? What do you mean? I came here to save you!”

Neha nodded. “That’s great and all, and I would accept your aid – if only the Lama weren’t here.”

Sachen stuck her nose up to Neha’s face and scowled. There was no certainty that Sachen could get Neha and Kuraizang out alive and well.

Still did Sachen hold onto the hope that she would be successful in rescuing the two. It might have looked easy to take them and run back to the village with the Lama behind them, but such a notion could only exist in youthful minds like her.

In an abrupt manner, the Lama staggered into their moment of warmth. He separated the two girls and mumbled to the soldiers.

Naransaya kicked her foot against the door, she scoffed and laughed to herself.

“Enough with the mushy stuff,” Naransaya said, she glanced at Yebuka. “Let’s get on with it. We don’t the village to die off now.”

“Of course, Naransaya.” With a devilish smile, Yebuka cracked his knuckles from both his hands. The soldiers snorted. Complying to the Lama, they snagged Neha by the wrists and chucked her to the door.

Neha extended her arms and wailed. Sachen rushed up to the troops and powered through the gaps, trying to reach for Neha, trying to save her from all this. Her fingers locked themselves onto the handcuffs, Neha stood still and contested against the troopers. The group would not have any of it. They pinched Sachen’s fingers, and when she accidentally let go, the burly man punted her to the side. Sachen rolled, her eyes spiraled in flashes.

“Neha! No, no! Don’t you dare take her!”

“Sachen! I don’t want to go! Please help-”

Before Neha could say anymore, the group transported her to the door. Sachen screaming with all her heart, with all her tears and emotions, Neha then entered the realm beyond the boundary. The other side had nothing but whiteness. Nobody mentioned anything about it.

It was then that Naransaya slammed the door and sighed in relief.

Everything then became well with the Lama; he glistened a grin.

Sachen dropped her knees and let her tears out. Her heart incinerated into ashes, the hopes and aspirations within her had faded from existence. Her friend that she had been with since childhood had parted from her side, never to return, never to show the joy and pain from herself, and never to enjoy life with the one who cared about her. She could beg to the gods again, but doing so at this point was fruitless. The people that hurt them so much had done sufficient damage to tear them apart. The dearth of regret and anxiety from their faces told Sachen everything; they were willing to go through the dark side by hurting anybody in their way. Why must they do this, even if it meant to inflict suffering upon their own people.

Soon this nightmare took place, one that Sachen and Neha could never escape from. Although they were now far away forever, it would terrorize them until the end of their lives. Nothing more, nothing less.

“Neha! Neha! Neha! Ah! Stop this madness! Stop it! Stop it! Stop it!” Sachen’s vocal cords snapped. She fell to the ground, her willpower diminishing.

Yebuka glowered at the girl. Rather than consoling her, he chortled.

He showed nothing but satisfaction.

“This is for the betterment of everybody. Now that we have Kuraizang and Neha, the village will be in a long era of prosperity and peace. Don’t you worry little girl, Neha is not going to die… She will end up like Kuraizang over there, in chains and in the process of becoming a savior. Before she can do anything in her mission, she will have to witness the power of the divine for herself. By leading her to the door, she will soon realize her purpose. Afterwards, she will chant hymns with the monks and draw a bit of blood every week, so that the gods could relish in her essence. From the beginning of time, this is the traditional practice of the High Order. This is the best course of action indeed. By my decisions over the years of my administration, I have maximize the happiness of all. And by the power of the candidate, they will also maximize the happiness for the villagers to walk to the light.”

Sachen twitched her arms, she drew the last of her breath. “No…”

Clicking the roof of his mouth, Yebuka stepped back and latched his hand on the doorknob.

“Perhaps that these things are too hard for you to understand. I am blabbering too much. From your charades and shenanigans with Neha, you have known almost everything about us. You have managed to almost ruin the school, you have mustered wasteful strength in believing Ms. Ganshipe’s innocence. And worst of all, you have contributed nothing but disorder upon yourself and Neha. How shameful and utterly surprising, coming from young ones like you. Naransaya, do what needs to be done to this girl. We must wipe her slate clean.”

“Roger that sir,” Naransaya said. Yebuka then departed through the door. Naransaya turned to Sachen, who laid motionless. Summoning a cloth from her pocket and spraying something on it, Naransaya buried the cloth upon Sachen’s mouth and nose. Stars and comets flashed within the eyes of the young girl. Her face paled.

She then collapsed into unconsciousness.

 

 

The Happy Village

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