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After two hours of travel, the truck stopped near the rain forest. From there, students would be by their own and instructors could only answer the student’s questions before the chimes of a bell from a cathedral not far away.

The sun appeared on the horizon and with it came the cold winds that heralded the arrival of winter. Anael and Thalas were already prepared. If Anael hadn’t realized that Melchior was completely alone, he would have already gone with Thalas. The red-haired guy was moving his belongings when the Guatemalan approached.

“Melchior?” Anael inquired, approaching him “De dónde eres?”

“El Salvador” The boy replied, somewhat discouraged – “I'm living here ... For a while.” He was pretty sad “No conozco a nadie aqui...
Voy a hacer esto sólo...”

“You won’t” Anael stated with a smile “Puedes venir conmigo, sí?
Well, I know that I have a partner already, but one more pair of hands is always welcome.”

Melchior was overjoyed and accepted the proposal immediately. While they were returning to Thalas, Melchior told a little of his history.

He was born in El Salvador, near the capital, San Salvador, in a little misfortuned family. Melchior starved many times in his life because their parents could not afford to buy him food. He told about how they miserably lived, hungry and feeling cold, without ability to envision a better future, especially after his father abandoned the family to fend for themselves.

“And how did you handle the situation?” Anael inquired curiously.

“Well” Melchior began with a smile “My older brother got a job here in Guatemala, after graduating, and he is well paid. Now, my mother and I live well ...”

Before Anael could congratulate him about his family’s overcome, the cathedral bells began to chimer. Thalas quickly picked up his bag and instructed them to do the same. They got into the woods, swift as the wind, followed by dozens of other students willing to be the first to arrive at the Temple.

The boys knew that there were armed groups and fighting would be a regular event there. Right behind them, a group of students have grappled, while others fled the battle field. The strongest could defeat the other groups, leaving them unconscious .Being no fools, the trio formed by Thalas, Anael and Melchior decided to make use of their intelligence: building traps as they went, and sought to hide their trail in order to not be followed.

Unfortunately for them, some students managed to escape and immediately ran to follow them .Some already came with knives and bows .A group of six boys, three of them gunmen, escaped unharmed from the trio’s complex traps. They started fighting; Anael managed to knock one of them with the use of sheer brute force, and the second was disarmed by him. Thalas, who coached archery, could hurt another close combat guy. Melchior surprised two of the shooters with a trap made of advance: a trap dug made by him a few hours ago. He lured them and let they fall there.

They would be crowing if they hadn’t heard a cry of pain and agony, followed the trail of the last shooter .Anael had fallen on the floor and had been wounded in the left thigh. A bull’s-eye arrow shot caused the projectile to enter right in the muscle, causing him a lot of pain. Melchior and Thalas didn’t know what to do; if they couldn’t find not a shelter and take the arrow away, Anael could have an infection and die.

“Look for a shelter!” Thalas ordered to Melchior. “And quickly!”

“No!” Melchior protested “I know how to handle those wounds! You'd better go searching. You are way faster than me, and also more observant.”

Against his will, Thalas agreed, and muttering to himself, he went on an acknowledgment of the area. The night was approaching, and soon, they wouldn’t be able to see a thing. Anael was holding himself not to scream, moaning in pain with his eyes closed. Melchior knelt next to him to examine the wound.

“I confess that I lied to you, Anael.” whispered Melchior, grasping the handle of the projectile. “Yes, my older brother got a job, but it's not so good ...” He pulled the arrow from a single tug, forcing the Guatemalan to scream. “The truth is that I was able to bring them up here.”

“How so?” stammered Anael, feeling too much pain.

“Watch this ...” Melchior placed his hand just above the wound. Almost immediately, a blue light involved Melchior's hand, and it circled the wounded man's thigh and healed the injury instantaneously. Anael couldn’t believe in what he had witnessed. He repeatedly looked to his thigh, and all he saw was a clean scar. Even the blood that trickled down his leg was gone.

“How did you...?” Anael asked, dumbfounded.

“Swish! Keep it down!” Melchior asked, helping him to rise. “Impressive, huh? I am a magician since childhood ... My mother discovered my talent and I revealed to the world as a ‘child prodigy’ ... With the money earned from my presentations, we were able to move here, and I could stop presenting myself.”

“They treated you like a circus animal, right?” Anael inquired, knowing that his question was rhetorical.

“Sí” Said Melchior with a twinge of bitterness “But it was for the good of the family, so I did not care. I just don’t want to have that experience again.”

Once Melchior ended his speech, Thalas appeared in place with good news: he had found a refuge for them nearby. Melchior supported Anael on his shoulders so that the boy wouldn’t force too much his wounded leg. The cave was large in height and, probably in depth. The boys they came in and lit a fire farther from the entrance .They would stay there for a night, safe from harm.

Thalas opened his backpack and took some food from it, eating just a bit .He used the fire’s heat to dry wet clothes and its brightness to finish reading The Count of Montecristo. Melchior opened his backpack and pulled out some food and water, providing Thalas and Anael a little, which they accepted politely.

The boys started talking doing a lot of pauses as a sign of caution .Thalas was still suspicious of the intentions of Melchior, but every minute he talked with him, the more his distrust diminished. In each part of speech they found common things, facilitating their diplomacy. They were so distracted that none of them realized the output of Anael.

The emerald-eyed young man walked inside the cave, following a greenish glow emanating from the bottom of it. His eyes blazed with sudden light in the dark environment. The light came from a crystal containing blue armors that seemed to have been made from the scales of some unknown reptile. Anael took a look in his half-moon necklace, which seemed to react to the brightness of the armors, as if he were calling.

Anael removed his collar and instinctively put it above the crystal. In a short period of time, the material began to melt, exposing the armors .Anael put his collar on the neck again and took the armor in order to bring them to the boys. Maybe it was the proof that the instructors really wanted.

To Be Continued...


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