The dining hall of the Hiraya Tribe is full of young and old katalonans who have just come back from their morning practice. There were hundreds of long tables filled with foods that varied from meat, fish, vegetables, and soup. There were also gold-colored cushions for the people to sit on during their meals.
It can be said that meals from the Hiraya Tribe are always extravagant and classy. Not only are they good at teaching mahika, but they also provide the best experience when it comes to eating.
There are smaller tables at the front of the dining hall, where the Hiraya family and some katalonans of high position are seated. But since Amaras brothers are katalonans, they are seated at one of the long tables.
Amara and Gaki are the only ones seated at one of the smaller tables since Gaki is not a Katalonan yet, and Amara—well, she doesn have the right to be one.
She also sat beside Lakambini Hiraya, her mother, who wore a gold Filipiniana dress that was more luxurious looking than Amaras clothes. Her hair is tied in a bun and adorned with golden hair ornaments, and around her neck hangs a golden necklace with a white tear-shaped pendant.
As the wife of the current tribe leader, its customary for Lakambini to look and act sophisticated. Its something Amara has been having trouble with ever since she transmigrated. She does fancy jet-set dresses, but they
e too uncomfortable to wear. Besides, wearing pants is more comfortable to use when running than skirts. Well, if only she could wear pants!
Lakambini Hiraya smiled and gently spoke to her, ”Your kuya Lakam told me that he would punish you later. Is it because you used mahika against your kuya Hari earlier? Hari was displeased by your actions. He said he caught you sneaking out some spell books. ”
Amara doesn know whether to smile or feel guilty. Her mothers voice was too calm. It was more terrifying than Haris roars.
There was not much description of Lakambini Hiraya in the novel. All Amara knows is that their mother is kind and soft-spoken. Lakam didn have much interaction with her.
Amara nervously laughed while lightly scratching her hair. ”Kuya Lakam told me to bring a bilao and mung beans. ”
Lakambini nodded. ”I won be able to stop your brother; hes just disciplining you so you can learn from your mistakes. ”
Amara nodded along even though she was cursing Lakam in her mind. ”I am thankful that I have an older brother who is ready to teach me what I should and should not do. ”
”Thats right, ” Lakambini Hiraya said, ”youll understand why we are doing this once you get married to your husband. The delegates of the Dakila Tribe, Kalinaw Tribe, and Bughaw Tribe are here to ask for your hand in marriage. You may choose among them. ”
Amara felt her body tense as soon as she heard the word marriage. Arranged marriages are common in this novel, and Amara, who is considered the most useless Hiraya, is better off being married off to some faraway prince.
Even though Amara didn like what Lakambini said, she still had to act as Amara. ”I hope I can marry a man I will truly love and not hurt my feelings, mother. ”
Yikes! What kind of nonsense am I even spouting now?
”My ate Amara is going to get married? I won allow it! ”
Amara turned her gaze to her left when she heard Gaki Hiraya, the youngest child in the Hiraya family, speak. Gakis hair is shoulder-length, his skin is brown, and he looks exactly like Lakam. Of course, he is also handsome, but since he is still young, he is cute first.
Nothing much is said in the novel about Gaki, except that he has great potential in mahika related to the element of fire. But this boy is good and kind to Amara. When she came to the dining room earlier, he immediately hugged her. The little kid even asked her to lift him up, and he kissed her cheeks.
Amara finds Gaki adorable, unlike that grumpy kuya Hari.
”Little Gaki, you should not join the conversation of the elders, ” Amara gently said to him. She noticed that Gaki hadn touched his food much, so she took his spoon, took some food, and tried to feed him. ”Today is the celebration of your birthday, but you are not eating the food served to you. ”
Gakis forehead furrowed as he ate the food without a word. When he swallowed, he stared at Amara for a long time.
”Ate, please don get married. Ill be a good Katalonan, and Ill take care of you when you
e old. ”
This child, hes too adorable for me to handle!
If only her older brothers were as reliable as little Gaki, then she wouldn have any problems with her life right now.
She lightly pinched Gakis cheek. ”Oh, my youngest brother is just too cute. Is what you said true? That you will take care of your sister? ”
”You won be able to take care of your sister Amara, Gaki. ”
They both turned and saw Hari standing behind them. He was glaring at Amara, and she already figured out the reason why.
Hari Hirayas body is not very muscular because he focuses on using mahika, and he does not use any weapons like swords or daggers. The only thing remarkable about his character is his rudeness.
Lakam is strict but sweet. Meanwhile, Hari is as bitter as black coffee and as bad as the taste of a ripe ampalaya.
But in the novel, he changes when he finds out that Amara has died. He did not know what to do then, and he almost lost his mind when he saw Amaras dead body being carried by Lakam back to the residence of the Hiraya tribe. From then on, he just locked himself in his room, and when he came out again, he was very kind.
In fact, he had a side story where he married a Babaylan and had a daughter. His daughter should not be allowed to study magic, but he secretly taught her, because he remembered his dear sister whenever he looked at his daughter.
Amara greeted Hari with a smile. ”Kuya Hari, our little Gaki is just comforting me because kuya Lakam will punish me tonight. ”
Hari snorted. ”Ha! I was told about it, and I think it is too light of a punishment. You are just going to kneel in a bilao full of mung beans? If I were kuya Lakam, I would put you in a sack full of ants and hang you on a mango tree! ”
Amara laughed awkwardly before chastising.
”Thats why Im grateful you
e not the eldest son, kuya Hari. Otherwise, I might not be able to see the sunrise again because of your stringent method of punishment. ”
”You really have the audacity to criticize my ways! ”
”Hari Hiraya, ” said Lakambini in a threatening voice. ”Today is a special day for our little Gaki. Don tell me that you will hurt his feelings? ”
”I apologize, mother. ” Hari bowed, and when his eyes met Amaras, he clicked his tongue and left.
They resumed their meal, and Amara almost gulped down a basket of pandesal. The food was delicious, and she couldn wait to eat lunch later with Gaki again.
If life had always been like this, she wouldn have planned to run away from the Hiraya tribe.
Amara was quietly drinking hot chocolate when Lakandula Hiraya and Apo Bagani Hiraya arrived.
According to Lakam in the novel, they are famous on the Ligaya continent.
Lakandula Hiraya is a muscular man, and despite his age of fifty-two, he is still powerful and can defeat a lot of monsters. He always stood regally, just like Lakam. He always had a stern face, and his body was full of tattoos that he mustve gotten during his days as a young katalonan. Everyone looked up to him because of his greatness. Not only that, he was also known for defeating the sea serpent, Bakunawa, at the age of twenty.
Of course, the Hiraya Patriarch himself would never disappoint his followers. Apo Bagani Hiraya is known for defeating Raha Sitan. According to the story, Raha Sitan became immortal using the mahika of kadiliman. And not only that, in a war three hundred years ago, he was the cause of the death of nearly ten thousand katalonans.
At that time, Bagani Hiraya was not yet immortal, so his win against Raha Sitan was pretty much a big deal.
Lakandula and Apo Bagani walked to their tables at the same time. Apo Bagani Hiraya looked to be at the age of fifty-four, but in fact, he was already at the age of three hundred and twenty-five. Even as an adult, his gait was still elegant, and his physique was still beautiful. And since he is the patriarch of the Hiraya tribe, of course he is very handsome. His hair was tied in a bun with a gold ornament.
On the other hand, Lakandula, in his fifties, looks exactly like Apo Bagani. If people didn know that Apo Bagani was immortal, they would have thought that the two were twins. They have the same height, the same way of walking, even the same style of hair. The only difference is that Apo Baganis face is friendlier, while Lakandula is serious.
They were both wearing gold -colored robes. In fact, all the leaders of the tribes wore robes, as if they were in their uniform. And they will really flaunt their robes. Often, their robes are made of silk, sagut, abaca, or any other expensive fabric that is sure to be even more expensive than Amaras life.
Meanwhile, the Babaylan and Asog also wear robes. Its just different in length. The Babaylans wear robes that are below the knee, while the Asogs wear robes that are up to their hips.
When the two leaders sat down at their designated tables, they greeted the people and threw in a few words.
After that, the people went back to eating. Amara was still anxious when Lakam stood up from his seat and went to Lakandula. Lakam was saying something to their father. And Amara only stared at them, pondering what they could be talking about.
After they exchanged a few words, their father turned to look at Amara. And in an instant, she saw how her father pursed his lips. Lakam also looked at her, and he just calmly nodded. Soon, her father talked to the Hiraya Patriarch, and Bagani Hiraya himself looked at Amara.
This is the moment she dreaded the most.
I think that scene is about to happen now!
Lakandula rose from his seat and started getting the attention of everybody. ”Fellow katalonans, I would like all of you to welcome our visitors from the Dalisay tribe, the Kalinaw tribe, and the Bughaw tribe. ”
Everyone applauded, while Amara braced herself for the news about her hand in marriage.
If she remembers the events in the novel correctly, the three tribes will have a competition to have her hand in marriage. But even before the official competition started, Amara objected to the marriage. Lakam dragged her out of the dining hall and severely punished her.
In this scene, all Amara needs to do is to object fast, like really fast, and then run away from the dining hall like nothing happened, preparing to leave the Hiraya territories before she even gets her punishment.
Lakandula started speaking again. ”Although we have three delegates present, the elders and I have come to decide that our only princess, the unica hija, shall be married to Agos Bughaw, the prince of the Bughaw tribe. ”
Although Amara prepared herself for the worst thing that could happen, But she didn expect that the scene would be so different!
How come whats happening right now is not similar to what she has read? She had always followed the plot–study mahika even if its forbidden, making a plan to escape the Hiraya tribe, and even wearing **ing pants!
And Agos Bughaw? Really? That arrogant guy who tried to kill her kuya Lakam and tried to forcefully marry Tala Kalinaw!
Come to think of it, in the novel, Agos Bughaw said that Raha Sitan had killed his future wife, who loved him dearly. Did he mean Amara back then? Argh, bastard!
Amara tried to drink her hot chocolate to calm herself down, but–
”And their marriage is set for next week. Let us all toast to this! ”
She spat on her drink and mindlessly exclaimed, so loudly that everyone heard her. ”Putangina? Why the ** would I marry that prick next week? ”
Terms and Definitions
Ampalaya – also known as Momordica Charantia.
Ate – (pronounced as áte) is the female counterpart of kuya. Ate is translated as elder sister or big sister.
Filipiniana – it is a traditional dress worn by women in the Philippines
Bilao – its a woven tray
kneeling in a big woven tray full of mung beans /confined in a sack while hanging on a mango tree – These are typical punishments used by parents to discipline their kids in the Philippines. (That was long ago, I guess. But when I was a kid, I experienced these punishments, and boy these were extreme. ”
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