Hiding in the bushes to be safe, Qilmara was forced to admit to herself that she was immediately enamored with this newcomer. He was…different, somehow, from other gorillas she had known.
His speech was different. His courage was unreal. And his fighting skills…those weren't academy standard! And where did he get a guan dao?
The stranger fought with heart; like none Qilmara had seen before. Apparently, it was nothing Brassandra had seen before either.
Blow for blow, there was nothing Brassandra could do against her new adversary!
: "Who are you!?!?!?"
Little got under Brassandra's skin more than knowing she was losing to a gorilla whose name she'd never even have the luxury of knowing!
The two apes continued their battle, but one false step from Brassandra proved to be her undoing! The stranger seized the moment to impale her right through the chest with his swift guan dao!
It dawned on her in an instant that this was it: her lifetime and legacy of terror…all for what
But it was too late to repent. Her still-unknown adversary had gotten the best of her!
As Qilmara retreated along the path to find her remaining clothes, she overheard what sounded like an explosion she'd heard often before.
(thinking to self): "He has a banana bomb of his own design too?"
She knew there could be only one reason for the stranger to use it…to destroy what remained of Brassandra and leave no chance for her to return.
Qilmara's rescuer had a spare in his hands; but was confident the flames he walked away from were confirmation enough: Brassandra wasn't coming back. Yet, there were thousands of other dangers in the jungle! It was now imperative he find the princess.
Midikag!!! The Ice Chimp scout had also been following her for quite some time; and now felt he had everything he needed for his master's latest plan!
: "Midikag, stop!!! You are DEAD for this!"
The Ice Chimp dragged her a few feet, then threw her aggressively to the ground.
: "The new master will be very pleased to know this! You Gorillas will ransom anything for your future--"
Before he could even finish his sentence, Midikag found himself being apprehended by Qilmara's rescuer from earlier!
: "State your business, frozen filth! And be quick about it!"
: "Fool of a Gorilla! You are already too late! This capture and ransom of the near-queen was but a bit of a diversion! We already have one of your sacred relics!
And when the new master, Lord Quirini, finds the others…it will be as though the Promised One never were!"
: "You have a credibility problem! Elaborate!"
: "Niqmad! Our new telecommunications officer! He finds everything!!!"
The stranger immediately saw what he didn't notice earlier: Midikag had hidden a banana bomb in the weeds! Showing mercy was not an option!
The stranger quickly aimed for Midikag's visor—the one weak spot on all Ice Chimps. Midikag squirmed and shrieked in agony, the heat of the jungle an unbearable burden to his frosty innards. Steam arose out of him as he succumbed to his demise.
But to Qilmara's relief, she'd never have to worry about Midikag again. And the stranger knew that banana bomb would go off one day—but not today.
Qilmara knew she had to follow the truth, follow the faith, and follow the code. Her heart would only mislead her. Yet, she could hardly resist the temptation inside to think that somehow, just maybe, this stranger could one day be made king. It would be devastating for the Qilantan order to keep him for but a night; but could she justify asking more of him?
Never before had her personal desires led her to such a moral quandary. Yet, she didn't wish to diminish the stranger's insights about desire versus right. How could she undermine his rationale, with which he morally defeated Brassandra? It would be a very poor way to show gratitude.
She was soon to be queen. She had to shrug off such crazy notions as what her hormones were suggesting! Even so…everything about this stranger had her completely enamored.
If he were truly the kind of gorilla she imagined him to be, she at the very least had to find one thing wrong in his life, and make it right; to return the favor for his having rescued her—twice.
He dropped his guan dao to the ground as he approached the princess. He knew she'd be in the area; but he never imagined she would be this beautiful.
: "Come, your Highness! Let's get you to the Q-Temple. You'll be a lot safer there."
: "I know the politics of things are what they are; but I am the one who is honored to meet you! If nothing else…I must at least know your name!"
: "We both just survived an encounter with Brassandra; and made history doing so! Emotions are running high for us both, naturally, after something like that! But since you asked…my name is Flix."
She embraced him, her gratitude overcoming her. She stared into his eyes intently, about to kiss him but managing to stop herself.
: "In another time, another life, perhaps things could be different. I admire your bravery, Flix. You are truly sent by God! How's about you escort me to that temple now?"
Flix paused for a second, flattered by the princess and her being mesmerized by him—but too duty-bound to pursue the implications.
: "I would be honored, Highness."
Princess Qilmara and her new hero, Flix, continued their journey. They decided they had to arrive at the Q-Temple before sunset, so they skipped the search for her hat. She'd require new garments after her journey anyway.
They soon arrived at the hidden location of the Q-Temple, soon to become the new home of the new queen after Topaz Division completed the move to North America.
Like with all Q-Temples, the major civilization was underground. A small, military-like village surrounded the temple on the surface level.
This particular Q-Temple took the latest in Qilantan technology to task. Not only did it function as a place of worship and symbol of hope; but it also worked as a military outpost and as a solar power plant for the city beneath it—a city which also relied heavily on geothermal power.
Most importantly to Qilmara, she and Flix would be safe inside these walls. To their best knowledge, nobody outside of their society knew where the temple even was. That kept them safe from the Ice Chimps—as well as human governments. But for how long?
TO BE CONTINUED...