Chapter Eleven

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An hour—if not a little longer. The hoonii told Lianna the duration of his absence as he gathered his belongings, attempting to engage her with unnecessary dialogue about locations that were unknown to her. She watched him from the thick, yet...

An hour—if not a little longer.

The hoonii told Lianna the duration of his absence as he gathered his belongings, attempting to engage her with unnecessary dialogue about locations that were unknown to her.

She watched him from the thick, yet hollow branches of the treehouse he had purchased for her. As he tossed his portable talking devise and the small pouch he called a ‘wallet ’into his bag, she silently listened to the possible dishonesties that slipped from the human’s tongue, her thoughts ruminating on his words: F.I.T.E., the potential information these other hooniis would supposedly provide and how they would somehow—eventually—assist her in reuniting with her people.

Lianna also wordlessly prayed to the Gooktai to alleviate her rising impatience. The hoonii’s lingering discomfited her and she wondered if his delay was intentional. Her suspicion soon dissipated when he disappeared from his chambers.

“My Gods,” Lianna sighed when she heard the main entrance slam, releasing the twinge of annoyance she often felt towards her unwanted host. “That damn human couldn’t leave fast enough.”

She glanced at the time telling device that stood on the altar next to the human’s bed. Five fifteen, she mused thoughtfully. If she understood the concept of Earth time, she was granted…an hour…maybe more to seize the suitable weaponry kept in the treasure chest.

Lianna had discovered the treasure box a sun or two ago while the hoonii was out performing something called a “home visit.” She was patrolling his chambers, hunting for potential armament when she noticed a large door attached to the altar on which her treehouse stood. After some effort, Lianna was finally able to open the wooden door and found the treasure chest. Hidden within it was a pin cushion as blue as the Vilo Sea near the Kaddani Jungle, speared by thin silver swords of different lengths.

Lianna managed to steal one that day and concealed it under her pillow for safekeeping. Though she felt somewhat secure, she recognized that a solitary sword failed to suffice. She needed to obtain more of them—at least three or four—without rousing suspicion. On most suns, however, the hoonii occupied his quarters, either hovering over his internet machine speaking to strangers on his portable talking devise or watching moving pictures in the main area while consuming his potion. So Lianna was seldom given the opportunity to sneak into the hiding place of the treasure chest.

Until now.

Lianna glanced at the time telling device once more before she peered down from the branch on which she rested. On one occasion, she neglected to determine the distance between the branch and the floor and lost her footing, nearly falling on her face as a result.

She leaned forward and peered down to investigate the stretch of space. The sand colored blankets on the hoonii’s bed seemed so distant from where she was seated, yet she knew that that was her mind crafting illusions to invoke fear.

Scooting forward slightly, Lianna cautiously pushed herself off the branch and quickly landed on his bed, tumbling over before she grabbed a fistful of fabric to still herself. While working to slow her breathing, she looked towards the door to the flat, straining to hear any signs of the hoonii’s return. To her relief, she only heard the sound of the wind machine that freshened the human’s entire quarters.

Tearing her attention away from the massive entrance, she turned towards the night stand concealing the treasure chest. She rose to her feet and walked across the bed, holding her arms out slightly to maintain her balance.

When Lianna reached the edge of the mattress, she jumped and landed on her feet. Taking a step backwards, she eyed the night stand up and down. She remembered the difficulty of sliding open the door when she initially seized the sword currently in her possession. So she decided to leave it open slightly to acquire those additional swords to guarantee self-protection in order to avenge her people, hoping that hoonii failed to notice.

Lianna moistened her full lips as she approached the entrance, her eyes concentrating on the night stand’s entrance like a benevolent spirit intending to dominate an Innocent. She then placed her hands on the front part of the entrance and began pulling the door open, moving backwards until the contents hidden behind it were nearly exposed.

It did not take her long to locate it, as the treasure chest was lying on its side next to the machine shielded with a thick, plastic cloth.

“That was a disappointing challenge,” Lianna chuckled as she approached the treasure chest. She immediately placed her hands on either side of the box and began to walk backwards, pulling the chest from its storage area until it eventually collided with the floor.

With one hand, she hastily shoved the treasure chest off its side before rushing to the front of the box. Lianna fell on her knees in front of the metal clasp surrounding the lock. At first, the lock on the chest refused to budge, the plastic box resisting Lianna’s efforts. But after some effort, the metal lock loosened its hold, allowing her to raise the top of the chest.

A confident smirk traced her lips as her eyes immediately fell onto the soft stone that harbored the remaining silver swords. She reached into the treasure chest and effortlessly pulled four swords out of the stone, gripping them with moistened hands. She examined her new weaponry, sliding her thumb up each one, determining their sharpness with the tip of her finger before slipping them into the side of her boot.

They were all appropriate—even more so once she sharpened them to increase their lethality enough to kill the hoonii and all associated with him.

When initially discovered, Lianna had promised her host that she would not try to harm him. But in truth, she had no intention of keeping her vow, as there was no guarantee that he had done the same. The human’s unease of authority figures alone heightened her suspicions and she contemplated whether she would either be apprehended by “the Yard,” or returned to Stewart the Overseer.

If anything, she was more concerned about the mysterious female hoonii whose hair was made of flames. She dwelled within the frame perched on the night stand next to the hoonii’s bed, her stilled image accompanied by that of her host. The hoonii often held long conversations with the woman—during nightfall in particular. Lianna eavesdropped on these conversations, listening quietly to him as he told her of the circumstances that resulted in Lianna’s presence on Earth. He would then disappear into the main room, sometimes not returning to his quarters until sunrise.

Lianna thought about the unidentified woman, silently berating herself for revealing even a morsel of information to this man. By doing so, she possibly invited him to inflict harm onto her, which was a consequence she could not afford.

She also knew little about the hoonii or his abilities. While patrolling, Lianna had noticed the shelves that held bound literature with strange writings on their spines. To her dismay, they were reminiscent of the volumes of invocations perched on the shelf in her mother’s study, the covers made with genuine animal hide and Thro tree leaves. She wondered if the hoonii crafted the words eternally printed on their pages. For all she knew, they were spells that could potentially be used against her.

That would only be possible if she didn’t understand the hoonii’s common language and customs. Self-protection and survival were the primary reasons why Lianna made certain to study the foreign scribe on the large “computer screen” and the lettering on the buttons that resembled rows of teeth—something called keys. Lianna noticed that when pressed by the human’s agile fingers, these keys produced strings of words that were unfamiliar to her. She occasionally asked the hoonii for translations while observing him as he worked, feigning genuine interest while the hoonii responded eagerly.

She wondered about these other humans with which her host was corresponding. He claimed that they might potentially be an asset to her and her people. Lianna remembered watching the moving pictures that captured the members of this tribe named F.I.T.E., observing its leader, Rumi, with severe distrust. This woman was supposedly an ally to the downtrodden, yet her unreasoned tactics suggested otherwise. If anything, Lianna contemplated how their mere foolishness had not ended them long ago.

On the other hand, the hooniis’ sole purpose was to overpower and extinguish the existence of others in order to prevail. The very survival of this species depended on the annihilation of other tribes so that they could prosper, remaining fruitful while weakening and subduing Innocents by snatching them from their livelihood.

Lianna recalled that pregnant Shuluan women were thrown carelessly into cages like twigs from a dying tree. During the forced journey, Lianna closely observed some of them from her own cage, searching for any indications of further mistreatment. Though unharmed, the women were fearful of the unknown, weeping softly and not comprehending what had occurred.

Lianna then thought about the Unborns. Though they would be welcomed by Shuluan parentage, the future generations would be born in a foreign world. If Shuluans remained on planet Earth, tribal customs and traditions would become unfamiliar to the point of extinction.

Her right fingers curled into a fist, digging her nails into her palm when her thoughts fell on the Expectants and the Unborns, then on Mother and Father…on Denush…and especially, Orktos, the asshole who brought these misfortunes upon the Shuluans, the one who would be dealt with accordingly once they met again. But for now, the hooniis were Lianna’s priority. These humans cannot and will not escape this injustice and if she finds that any member of her family had perished on Earth, the blood of every hoonii will be shed.

And she will begin with the one named Martin Keating.

 

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