The Halo Breed…
THE HALO BREED
HELL IN HADES
There was a heavy sense of dread as Sena smashed his fists together to break the rock gloves.
And he walked slowly and painfully to the base of the black wall. He leaned his back against the wall and winced as he felt his broken bones moving and coming together as his body miraculously healed itself.
But the tension was all around him.
He could see them, an endless sea of deep blue faces looking at him from the balconies along the wall, looks that were more than dismay. These indigenes were terrified, and it baffled him.
To all intents and purposes, he had just defeated a demon that no doubt had been threatening them, and he expected them to be happy.
He ignored them as the excruciating pain of his body getting healed continued, causing him to moan and groan as he clenched his teeth to avoid screaming.
Eventually, Tatita and her brother, Blindi, descended the steps and stood looking at him. They were soon joined by Skali and some of the young ones who also looked at him gravely.
“Traveller!” Skali said finally, and his voice shook. “You destroyed Plunder!”
Sena spoke with difficulty.
“You know him?”
“Yes, he’s one of the top demons from Hades, and Lord Lastor’s friend! Now, you will let the anger of Lord Lastor be on us! Surely, he’ll come here and destroy all of us!”
“Now I understand why he came,” Sena said. “Do not despair, for he was not after you, but me. As long as I’m here, Lord Lastor will not have any need to exact vengeance on you, for it is me he craves, and I him. I shall be gone, and you would not have to live with any evil from Lord Lastor.”
Slowly, Skali smiled, and the blue of his head changed to its normal black, and soon all the others were smiling and nodding and speaking.
“Go, you infidels!” Skali said quickly. “Go and tell them that they have nothing to fear, for this Traveller seeks Lastor to destroy!”
Chattering with excitement, the little ones left to disseminate the information. Sena was left with Tatita, Blindi and Skali.
“So, you need to cross over to Hades,” Blindi said thoughtfully. “And that’s why you need my sister’s help. She’s the only one who can see the doorways. She can get you through, but it comes with a price.”
Sena looked at him with bleak eyes.
“And what are you talking about, you ungrateful imp?” he asked codly. “I saved you from the clutches of Hangit, remember? Shouldn’t that be more than adequate payment for you?”
“It is more than adequate, and we do appreciate your help and kind gesture. However, there’s more you must do before she shows you the entrance. Remember, if you stay here for more than five turns of the stars, you will surely perish!”
Sena looked from him to Tatita.
“Are you also in on this?” he asked.
She did not say anything.
“She hears, but cannot speak,” Skali said quickly. “She’s been like that for a long time.”
Sena looked at Blindi.
“So, what’s this other price you speak of?” he asked coldly.
“Perhaps, they want more fruit-foods,” Skali said quickly. “But there is enough fruit-foods in the doorways you opened, and we’ll share it, Blindi. You and Tatita are now our family, so please don’t be hard on the kind Traveller who has helped us so much.”
Blindi licked his lips and looked at his sister. It was evident they were under a lot of stress. He stood up suddenly and walked off to one side so that there was space between them, then he beckoned to Sena.
“Seems he doesn’t want me to hear what he would say,” Skali said with a smile. “Go on, Traveller. Listen to what he has to say.”
Sena walked up to Blindi.
“What do you want? Tell me quickly.”
Blindi looked at him with a direct gaze now.
“If you marry my sister, and spends a night with her, she will take you out of the Desolates. That’s the price you have to pay.”
Sena went still, and he opened his mouth to protest, but he saw a desperation in the depths of Blindi’s gaze that made him stay quiet. There was a desperate plea in the boy’s eyes, a message he tried so hard to mask, and this made Sena know that there was something heavier behind the request. It was not only the mere fact that Tatita had probably never experienced the company of a male; that belied the urgency of the request. Any number of local indigenes would bed down Tatita even if she smelled that bad because the females were fewer than the males, as far as he had seen.
And the request was as absurd as it sounded!
These creatures were bigger than he was, probably with different reproductive organs too. So how was he going to be able to bed Tatita? Obviously, Blindi knew all these, but had still gone ahead to make that preposterous request. And for how long would he be married to such a hideous creature?
“You will marry her, and she will be your wife for eternity, and she will follow you to wherever you go. Only if you accept this condition would she show you the entrance out of the Desolates.”
Sena was angry now.
How could he possibly marry this giant rock girl when the women he loved were waiting for him back home? How could he take Tatita to Densua? She might not even survive on earth because she might not be able to breathe that air, unlike Sena who was empowered to survive anywhere by the Spirits.
He started to reject the offer, but he looked back just then and saw Tatita. Her shoulders had drooped, and her head was bent with abject despair, and once again it struck Sena forcibly that there could be more on the table than just a marriage proposal.
He looked at Blindi and saw the boy smiling defiantly, but his eyes had sudden large silvery rings, and it occurred to Sena that this could be their equivalence to tears.
If marriage would get him out of the Desolates, he would do that, but later he would impress on Tatita on how such a marriage might not survive on earth.
“Alright, Blindi,” he said with a forced smile. “When do we marry?”
Blindi gasped and almost fell down, his shock and relief so apparent that Sena scowled with confusion.
“Oh!” Blindi whispered. “Ah! You agreed? Did you agree? You would marry her?”
“Yes,” Sena said.
Blindi suddenly let out a yell so sudden, so vicious, so prolonged, that Sena clamped his hands to his ears. He watched with surprise as Blindi began a weird bow-legged dance of sheer delight as he raced to his sister and hugged her tightly as he spoke rapidly and began to shout.
Skali’s face was thunder-struck as he raced to Sena and stared at him with horror.
“Traveller!” he shouted. “Are you out of your senses? Will you marry a stinking one like Tatita? Do you need your brains examined?”
Sena wondered about the same thing, but he did not say it aloud as he watched Blindi and his sister dancing in circles and holding each other’s hand.
“Dear Spirits!” he said softly. “Protect me, protect my heart. Please!”
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