Chapter 2 (V1.1)
Note: Thank you to Inachis for helping to fix this chapter up a bit.
I dedicated this chapter as a farewell to my granddad, who passed away on 4th of April. Thank you for all your love and all you have done for us. And a big thank you as well for awakening my love to fiction with giving me the first issue of Perry Rhodan 25 years ago. I hope you can rest in peace now after two not to easy years for you. We will see each other again when my time has come as well. Goodbye and all my love to you until then, your grandson Oliver.
(Africa, somewhere in the Egyptian desert, inside a cave system)
After Xander had covered his first surprise at seeing something that couldn’t be, he quickly hurried over to the stone tablet on which the girls they had come to rescue lay. Ignoring the dead body of the last demon and the mechanical being that killed it for the moment, he quickly looked the girls over. Both were still out cold, but his first check showed that they were mostly unhurt, except for a few scratches.
As he cut the ropes that held them on the tablet he heard how his companion Ahmose came up to the tablet as well. “What happened there with you?” he asked.
Ahmose shrugged his shoulders and replied, “Nothing too important. Each time I use the powers of one of my spirit guides I have to give them something in return. How are the girls?”
“Out cold, but mostly unhurt as far as I can tell. We’ll see when they wake up,” Xander replied and finally took the time to look at the being that had killed the last demon and thus saved the life of at least one of the girls.
He walked around the massive golden sarcophagus that stood behind the tablet, but he didn’t even throw a glance at the massive golden thing for now. He still couldn’t believe it, but as the thing that had helped him came into the shine of his flashlight, he could see that his first guess was correct. It looked exactly like the HK-47 model he had loved in that fun game years ago. ‘What’s going on here? Am I dreaming?’ he asked himself as he stepped near it. He looked it over and he could see that the droid must be quite old. The metal showed some signs of rust and one side of the droid was ripped open and exposed to the environment. Xander could see that a part of the engine of the droid seemed to be heavily damaged, which may be the reason it ran out of juice after having saved the girl the way it did.
He stood speechless for a while before the body of the droid and could only think, “What the hell is going on here?”
“What is this?” Ahmose asked him as he stepped beside him.
“That, my friend, is a surprise that shouldn’t be possible, but I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised, what with how my life has gone so far.”
“What do we do now, Xander?” the young shaman asked him.
“I think we should get some water from the oasis and make a camp here. We need some rest after our trek and we should be safer here than upside,” Xander said.
Ahmose quickly nodded and offered to go get the water. After the young man left Xander looked around a bit further. Now he could see a huge passageway that went quite a bit further into the caverns. He looked at walls and his first guess was that the way wasn’t cut or built but more ripped into the stone. For now he let this be because his eyes were wandering to the sarcophagus beside the stone tablet. He looked it over and to him it looked like it should belong to an Egyptian Pharaoh. After looking it over he guessed that it must be worth quite a lot. To his eyes it looked like it was made out of a massive piece of gold. On the side he could see some script that wasn’t anything Egyptian like, but he had seen it before, in one of the older books Giles had. He took a snapshot of the script with his mobile to check it out later. As he tried to open the thing he wasn’t too surprised that he couldn’t even move the top of the sarcophagus by an inch. After looking at it again it looked like it was wielded shut on the sides and without some proper tools there wasn’t much chance to open it.
After a few more minutes of checking out the cave Ahmose came back with some filled water bags and after a small meal they decided to rest for a while.
(Several hours later)
Xander was woken up by Ahmose whose turn it was to stand watch. “Sacmis has woken up and I explained to her what happened. She told me that the demons wanted to sacrifice her and her sister to wake up the being that is lying in the sarcophagus.”
Xander stood up and after he stretched his bones a bit he went over to the young woman. “Hello Sacmis, I’m Xander Harris. How are you feeling?” he asked the woman in her native tongue.
The woman looked at the white man, surprised. It was rare that a white man ever learned their language, but if all was true what Ahm had told her about the young man, this wasn’t too surprising in the end. “I’m feeling fine Mr. Harris. Why have you come looking for me?” she said in English.
“I work for the Slayer’s Council and I’m here in African to find girls like you that were called to be a Slayer,” he answered.
Sacmis tensed a bit and then spoke, “So you have come to take me from my people as well?”
Xander, seeing where this talk was going, quickly shook his head. “No, I visited your village to talk with you about what you have become. After that I would have liked to give you the options to either come with me to train in our compound in Cairo or we would have sent a Watcher once or twice a month to you to train you. Sadly, we can’t give you a permanent Watcher because we don’t have the manpower for that at the moment. It would also work if you would come to Cairo for two or three months to get the ground training and then get regular visits from a Watcher. These are the options I can give you. If you take one of those or not is completely up to you, but you have also seen firsthand what can happen if you lack the knowledge to fight your opponents,” he said, while pointing to the bodies of the dead demons.
“I have to think about this,” Sacmis said after she was quiet for a few minutes.
“No problem, for know we will return you and your sister to your village. After that I will come back here to investigate a bit. In the time being you can think about what you wish to do,” Xander told the young woman.
After that Xander told them all a few of the adventures he had had with his friends in Sunnydale, then they rested a bit and in the morning they started their long walk to the village of the girls. Before Xander left the cave he placed a GPS tracker, so that he wouldn’t have any trouble finding his way back later on.
(Two days later in the home village of the young slayer)
After two long days of walking through quite a lot of sand they finally reached the village. Some outward scouts must have brought back the news of their return already, because the whole village was up on their feed to greet them. Especially the parents of Sacmis and Bestia were overjoyed to see their daughters alive.
After that a lot of talking in the chieftains’ hut, where Xander and Ahmose told about how they found the girls and how they freed them, Xander also repeated what he had told Sacmis about her options.
After Xander had finished, her father, who was the chieftain, said, “You have given us our daughters back and also a lot to think about. We will give you our answers when you get back, but you can’t go back before tomorrow.”
Xander looked at the older man in surprise and asked, “Huh?”
The chieftain smiled at the young warrior before him and replied, “Because this evening there will be a feast in honor of you and our young shaman here for rescuing our daughters, as well as the joining of Ahmose and Sacmis.”
At the last words Ahmose and Sacmis both looked surprised. “Father?” the young girl finally asked.
The older man smiled again, this time at his daughter, as he said, “My dear, I may be old, but not blind. I have noticed quite a while ago how you two feel for each other. If the young man would have asked for your hand before today, I would have denied his request, but from now on he is a proven and blooded warrior of our tribe and he has earned the right to marry you, if that ‘s what you want.”
Instead of answering her father she simply gave him a long hug and then pulled the still shocked young man out of the tent.
“Young love,” her father said proudly after they had left the tent and then looked at Xander. “What is your organizations stand on a married slayer? The old council would never have allowed it.”
Xander shrugged and answered, “No, they wouldn’t have, but we aren’t the old council. In the new council Watchers and Slayers work with each other and every Slayer is treated as a human and not like a replaceable weapon, the way the old council did. What a Slayer does in private is her own decision and not that of the council.”
“Good,” the older man said. “Now young warrior, go and get some rest before the feast. It will be a long night,” he said smiling.
Xander bowed and left the tent. Outside, young Bestia smiled at him and said in a bit of broken English, “I show you tent you can rest to evening.”
Xander nodded in thanks and as soon as he reached the tent and lay down, he fell asleep.
(Next day, around midday)
Groaning Xander checked the Jeep he had left here as he and Ahmose had left to rescue the girls. ‘Damn my head still hurts,’ he thought and promised himself never ever to try a homemade brew from an African tribe again. The feast yesterday was fun and he enjoyed it quite much, but because it went deep into the night he decided to postpone his return to the cave until now, so that he could get some sleep.
He quickly finished the inspection of the Jeep and after he had restocked his water supply he waved to the villagers watching him before starting the motor of the Jeep and driving into the direction of the GPS signal to find out what a droid that shouldn’t exist was doing in an African cave guarding a golden sarcophagus.