The Revenge of Auk'a

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It was still dark outside when David finally sat up. Two days had passed since Auk'a had attempted to attack him and there was still some argument over whether the man should be payed the rest of what they had agreed to. David thought he had forfeited the gold. Even if they didn't pay Auk'a, Ch'uya had set a sales goal for the new business.

The second wagon had been completed the night before and they were going to deliver it that day. Sañi was more reserved in some ways with how she treated other people than David and Mark were used to from their own culture but she turned out to be better at bartering than either of them. If they were honest, on top of her cooking duties, she was responsible for selling half of the wagons that they had sold since she had begun to help.

David found some day-old bread and a piece of jerky for breakfast. He intentionally ignored the pickled chicken's feet and wondered if he should be jealous of Sañi's sales ability or whether she simply knew the culture better. He was just putting everything away when he saw that Mark was up also.

Soon both were outside where they could see the stars and enjoy the cool morning breeze while eating. This was becoming a habit for them though not one that was unwelcome. The day felt more focused when it started like this.

After they had eaten, they headed to the far side of Ch'uya's land. The sky had not yet begun to brighten because of the sun but with both moons in the sky it was bright enough to start building a fire for another batch of coal. They also had another motive as the wooded lot contained several wild blackberry bushes. It was a good way to finish their morning meal.

They talked about the best way to streamline their building process with so many different steps. Mark said that the mass assembly line process Henry Ford had used required numerous people each doing one specific job. They didn't have enough people to pull that off but it might help for them to focus on one task at a time instead of rotating as frequently as they did. David joked that he got bored too easily if he didn't change jobs.

By the time that Sañi arrived after making breakfast for the others, more than half of the boards were ready for the next wagon. Some of them had been planed the day before but it was a significant number and they were happy with it.

Sañi didn't even greet them but started with, "We can't leave today."

"¿What do you mean?" asked Mark.

"We have to stay here."

David was puzzled. "¿Why? We need to deliver this wagon and we'd like Kusiñawi to meet you. He was our first..." His voice trailed off as he realized the argument wasn't doing any good.

"The soldiers were making their rounds today with the list of the most recent runaways. I was on it. Ch'uya said he needed to talk to you when you have a moment."

Mark looked at David and switched back to their own language. "Well, why don't you make the delivery. Think you can handle it alone? I'll go see what Ch'uya thinks about this."

"Are you sure that's a good idea? This is the first time I've heard of such a list but I'm guessing we're probably mentioned on it too."

"It will be fine. If we are mentioned, people will expect to see us together."

"Do you have any idea how many people have seen us together in the last two days? A lot."

"Just come back after the delivery. We'll figure it out from there."

David grudgingly did as he was told. Between finding an animal he could use to pull the wagon, hooking it up, and the delivery, it was nearly an hour and a half later before he returned. When he did, Mark was waiting for him at the stable.

"We're free to go."

"Say what?"

"Ch'uya said we can go."

"What?! What about our customers? What about paying him back for buying you?"

"We're too visible. We need to leave tonight."

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