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Excerpt from Chapter 10:
…When her fairy's tiny hands reached, there was a glaring light. Then images of mortals appeared inside. They seemed to be having fun.
“Managat,” called Sarikit. She was frightful to the images so she held the merman's hand tightly.
“Do not be afraid, Sarikit.” He watched the mortals on the display intently. They seemed to be inside a tight room. But then he realized that one of them was the young woman named Eda, his mortal friend.
Chapter 11.1: The Budyong and Ramag (1/3)
"Where are we going again?" Roselda asked her friends.
"You guess?" Japeth answered. "Is there any other resort on this area?"
Instantly, she was able to guess their destination. That's the only nearest resort in their locality and that's also their usual place when they asked for an outing.
The white van suddenly turned to the narrow roads. On the edge of the crossroad, an archway made of bamboo was erected. It's covered with plants and creeping lush vines. Written in blotted white paint were the words: Burubukal Cold Spring Resort.
This resort was quite famous due to its cold and relaxing spring water that could be traced back from the source of the stream. It's also the only tourist destination in their town and the people from their adjacent towns usually visited, as well.
"Haven't you had enough of that place?" asked Roselda. But deep inside she's excited that they're going to the stream.
"Really fed up." Mirasol answered, her gaze was outside the window, seemingly bored.
"Next time, let's go to Eda's," suggested Michael or simply Mike to his friends.
"Sure," agreed Marissa as she turned her head to her classmates. "Let's go to the beach next time."
"I agree to that," Japeth, another friend consented. "But you'll get tanner, darker there."
Again, everyone roared in laughter.
"Managat," Sarikit called the merman in confusion. Her little face was still displaying that frightful expression.
"Do not be scared. They are only images." Assured the merman. "They can't hurt you."
"But Managat, they are mortals. Maalam said that they are all evil." Sarikit was completely scared. For the first time, she saw the horrible figures of the mortals.
Managat decided to pick up the fairy away from it which wiped away the images. He then pulled Sarikit out of the Hinigkuan Room.
When they were finally out, they bumped to Umala, the Counselor. He was in deep thought and didn't notice them until they're in front of him. Managat quickly hid the fairy he's holding to his back.
"Counselor," they both bowed and paid their respect to him.
"What are you doing here?" ask the Counselor.
Sarikit was about to answer when her hand was suddenly gripped tighter by Managat to stop her.
"We're lost." He answered.
"That's the way ou,." Umala pointed the path to exit.
While still holding the young mermaid's hand, Managat quickly turned to the exit, the very same place where the Counselor came from.
"By the way," suddenly the counselor called to them.
They both abruptly stopped. Managat felt Sarikit trembling with fear.
"I think the Healer was looking for you."
The cave surrounding her was very dark. Her only light came from the wicker jar made from woven mosses that she carried here. She raised it ahead of her to light the part of the wall where various extraordinary engravings could be seen. These were only a small part of the many engravings etched all throughout the cave. But this one has gotten her attention.
She held the lamp jar higher and it lit the marks that she's purposely came for here. The engraving that looked like a jellyfish, something that looked like a shell and a pearl inside a circle. On top of this circle, etched the lines and shapes of the olden language of the mermen and mermaids, the Kinadtong Sugil. The ancient language that's believed to be used by the ancient engkanto1 of the ocean. However, the use of this language has long been forgotten in the passage of time. It took a long time before she could translate them into what the words really meant:
In the wake of the sacred sound
The moon flowers will dance
And the tears of pure love
Grief shall heal
Until now, these lines remained inscrutable. What mystery is hidden in this riddle and its connection to the symbols inside that circle?
She returned inspecting these engravings. Perhaps, she missed something while translating. And yet, after five more tries deciphering these lines, that riddle was the only part that's left incomprehensible.
"Rabalya?" called the voice from the darkness.
"It's still fruitless, Askala." She answered back. "Let's return for now."
1Engkanto - from Spanish word 'encanto' (incantation or charm); a Philippine mythological creature synonymous to fairies, fays, nymphs, deities, gods or goddesses who are believed to be guarding the seas, rivers, forests, trees and mountains. They are also associated with dark beings that bring sickness and bad luck.
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