Chapter Three - For The First Time

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Ava watched as the blue and green splashes of Hatalio became well-define separations of land and water. Mountains and valleys consume the land. Massive rock formations tower around them, the shapes in odd layouts. When the land was being created, it was as if nature took its fingers pushing the land up, creating these beautifully ridged rocks. Some of the formations had smooth surfaces at the top, where a few homes were built, others forested trees. Valleys level with the tops of the formations where villages call that place their home. Golden patches of grass grow on the rocks, no rock formation having the same amount. Mountains lay taller in the east, and valleys lay lower in the the west.

The village homes were all constructed different, built by hand. The homes were built of clay, in the valleys, and built with a mixture of clay and stone on the rock formations.

They arrive into the planet mid day, close to evening. They will land somewhere to shield their ship from possible onlookers. The ship glided just above the trees, deepening the spacecraft into the valley. She wished she could feel the wind right now, open the windows and let the wind cool her body. She wanted to know what it felt like to be cold from the wind, not a spacecraft. She wanted her body to feel numb from the cold, so that in the first time in so long, she felt alive.

Coming to a rock formation they prepare to land in a cave just under it. To the left the rock connects to a cliff that lead to a forest. All the trees were golden.

"We have no cloaks?" Nyles face squished together in frustration as he looked through their gear and bags.

"Don't you want to actually feel the coldness of nature for the first time in four years?" 

"I rather not get hyperthermia," he grunted away and she rolled her eyes. 

Once securely landed, everyone gathered up their belongings. She had only two changes of clothing in her bag, an extra pair of shoes, and some stolen medical supplies from the healer center. She couldn't have taken any of the things that she held valuable. Like the picture of her family, or her favorite ring her father had given her after her acceptance into the secondary academy. Those things were too valuable to take. She must have nothing that someone else could take as their own. The Revive will most likely burn her things.

The cave smelt musty from rain as she walked down the landing board. It wasn't entirely dark with some holes in the cave letting light in. This would make it easier to navigate through. 

Xavier lead the way, with Theo behind him. Then it was Ira, Ava, and behind her, Nyles. They walked on a path upwards, having to climb at some points.

The cave was dark with the exception of shiny yellow glass gems trapped in the rock. The gems didn't seem to care for they twinkle like stars as they shine.

She could see her breath as she breathed, the coldness refreshing. Her hands go numb.

No one speaks. Not because they're nervous, but because there was so much to take in. Each of them were taking in this foreign land, and what to make of it.

An opening was up ahead, light streaming inside the cave. The light warmed her rosy cheeks and her heart skipped a beat. Were they close?

The opening revealed about a yard of grassed area. She hesitated as she crouched, her mind somehow not believing that she was about to touch grass. Lightly moving her hands across the tips, the grass pokes and tickles her palm. Running her hands through the grass fully, it's softness curved a smile on her lips. The grass was golden, just like the trees. At first she thought the grass was dried or even dead due to it's color, but it was indeed wet. Earth's grass was different, a beautiful rich emerald hue. 

The voices over her distracted her. They were moving. No more time to observe the simplicity of grass. 

A clay stoned home lied ahead. The front part of the home was circular, with stone steps wrapping around it. The rest of the home must lay inside the rock formation. Walking up the steps a cliff steeped below them to the right. The steps have enough room to fit two people side by side but they walk up the steps one by one.

"Who is this women, Ko-h-mal?" Nyles waved his hands in the air.

"As I said, she's a native. Her son has a general ranking and could help us. I'm awaiting confirmation for our linking."

"Linking?" Ava asked puzzled. Confirmation? Linking? Was Kohmal's son a general in the Universe Council of Allegiance? She thought there were only Director positions for that council. Could he possibly be a general in their defense forces?

"Yes, we'll—" Theo began to say when Xavier interrupted.

"We're here." 

They've reached the top. Metal grey doors rise above them, opening. A tiny women, in her mid-fifties appears. White painted her skin, and she was dressed in walnut hued garments. Her deep hair color looked odd against her paleness.

"Come," she insisted.

Her light lemoned eyes watched them as they filed in.

There were others here, two women, many years younger, who watched afar in the shadows with the same lemon eyes. She assumed they were Kohmal's daughters.

"Thank you for sheltering us Kohmal." Xavier smiled, holding her hands in his, slightly shaking them for thanks.

For a moment she just smiled, continuing to hold his hands. Ava watched this closely, Kohmal's eyes not even blinking. She looked as if her actions have turned to stone. Ava knew what was happening, what Kohmal was now by these small details. It would be hard for Xander or the others to notice, given she's seen what Kohmal's kind was.

Ava ignored this. Kohmad's abilities shouldn't be of problem.

"We've heard many things about the humans from Earth. We wanted to be the first to help, and learn about your humankind," Kohmal broke from her trance looking to each of them.

Of course they want to know who they were. They were alien to Kohmal and the others. Whispers of their strength, stories being told of their training had reached all inhabited galaxies. Kohmal was the first to interact with the humankind of Earth. 

"These are my daughters, Lameka, and Ailee."

They smile to them in greeting.

"I hate to skip to business but, our ships air compressor needs repairs, is there someone from the village that could help us? We are in urgent need." Theo asked leaning against the wall looking to Kohmal then her daughters.

"Theo," Ira whispered scowling towards him. "We just got here and you—"

"You made it here with your air compressor defective?" Ailee's mouth dropped halfway open, her brows raised. She was a bit taller than Lameka.

"We fixed it in launch."

"How, how-that's impossible?" Ailee was wonderstruck. Her mind must be whirling a hundred questions.

"While in launch, we had to connect the air pipes back together," Ava voiced.

"But how did you do that? Did you have an assistant bot?"

"We used our own hands," Theo shrugged.

Kohmal's daughters glance to one another in astonishment. Was it hard to believe they fixed it with their own hands? Was that uncommon? 

"Night is approaching, you should leave now to get the parts," Kohmal advised. "Up the cliff, in the valley, you will find a workshop with a bronze door for sale, as well as many other objects. His name is Obeq Ien. You should find anything you need there."

"Thank you." Theo thankfully smiled.

"I can show you to your rooms," Lameka motioned towards the hall and they follow her. "We hope this will manage." Lameka led them to a small room with stone bunks attached to the left wall. There were two plush couches, leaving only four beds.

"Looks like I'm going to have to sleep with one of you ladies." Nyles smirked widening his eyes to Ira.

She pushed him aside rolling her eyes. "That settles it, Nyles gets the floor!"

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