Hey, guys, sorry it's taking me a while to get these chapters out! Life happens, and we all know how that is. Anyway, this chapter has the little language lesson in it, and you, the readers, will be able to introduce yourselves in Kaltikese! You'll also be able to learn some vocabulary and grammar, like you've been able to in other chapters. I'm going to add a few here so you guys can go back to other chapters and figure out what people are saying, as well as decipher what people are saying in this chapter (when I don't automatically put in the translation). Enjoy! =)

ki = here

kat = you

ti = I

tal = who

is/am/are = kal

antakit = hello/goobye

kit- person

mota = to choose (mot = choice)

aba = dad/father

Ti kam = I'm sorry/I apologize

aiki = sweetheart/dear

kot = cave

lik = city

et - proposition "in" (connect to a noun)


Chapter 5

Kahn and I spent the next two two days walking around the city. Kids waved at me with beaming smiles, guys stared with that disappointed look, women looked me up and down as women do when they assess each other, and older people patted me on the back, shook my hand or hugged me. I had to remember that the gray-haired people were close 1000 years old, being anywhere in between 700 and 1000 years old. That was still hard to wrap my head around, like everything else here.

Kahn and I walked on the outer edges of the eastern part of the city when it looked to be high noon since the crystals were shining their brightest, and we met a rather old couple who were almost in tears at seeing us. The old lady invited me into her house. It was one of those houses that was built into the rock, and was mostly made out of rock as well, with the roof being made from woven leaves. Kahn has told me before that the poorest of people have such roofs, while most others have sturdy wood to keep in warmth.

"Anakik," she said, and Kahn told me to sit. I guessed that word meant 'to sit,' with that formality at the end. Kahn wasn't kidding when he said the older people would honor me since I'm such an important person to them. And Kahn still had yet to teach me some of the language. We have been too busy running around the city to even have time to eat a decent meal, let alone have sit down and give me a language lesson. The king made the decision to have me speak to the whole city tomorrow, so I'm going to need that language lesson like—really soon!

The old woman started speaking to me as Kahn sat in a chair next to me. He looked so massive in this tiny house that was actually made of wood, not that sparkly marble.

"Lik kotet kalkik," the woman said, and I waited for Kahn to translate.

"She said this city is in a cave," he said, and the woman went on. "She said that long ago, when she was a child, the city was not that big. Now, it is a great size."

I nodded, and said to him, "Yes, I remember you telling me that. But wait… wouldn't that have been hundreds of years ago?"

"Yes." He eyed the woman and I understood. This old couple looked in their mid-eighties, so they would be around 850 years old! Whoa!

The woman spoke again, and her husband said something, too. I really wished I understood. I think Kahn noticed it as well. He translated: "They said it is such an honor to meet the Chosen Person. Our people have waited so long, and now they have hope for survival."

I smiled. "Tell them I'm honored to be here and to help them."

Kahn did so, and the couple smiled. The woman spoke, and after, Kahn said, "They said that both of their parents were some of the workers who made the city boundaries wider. There has always been that fear that the ocean above would come through because there was not much to hold up the ocean floor." He smiled. "They also said that while their parents were fighting about it one day, that is when they met. They were only children. They have been together ever since."

My heart warmed and I put a hand to my chest. "Aww… they've been together since they were kids? That's so adorable!"

I've always been a romantic, reading romance novels in my spare time, and some of the love stories in them started when the two main characters were children. Kahn smiled and he repeated that, and the older man put a hand on his wife's. He said something to her in the sweetest and most loving voice. My chest warmed at hearing it, even though I had no idea what they were saying. Someday, I want to be like that with someone.

"He said that they have been together for 982 years," Kahn whispered to me as the couple was looking adorably at one another.

They're older than I thought! "Wow! I can't even imagine that!" I whispered back. "That means they were married for... what? 900 of those years?"

"Something like that."

I couldn't fathom being together with someone for that long. Older people at home boast of being married for fifty to sixty years... but being married for about 900 years?

The woman said something to the man in that same loving voice, her aged face filled with wrinkles, "Satakit sala."

I looked at Kahn and he pursed his lips. He said in a soft and hesitant voice, "She said 'I love you.'"

My gaze held his, but I yanked mine away, not wanting to be staring at him for longer than was needed, especially after he muttered those words. My chest pinched a bit. I whispered the phrase to myself, wanting to remember it. The woman asked me something and Kahn said, "She asked if you have anyone special."

My neck heated up, even though it was cool in the tiny house. Memories of a person I once loved flashed through my mind automatically. "Um... no, not at the moment." Kahn translated. "But I had someone before."

Kahn looked at me, eyes wide. He translated for them, then the man asked, and Kahn translated, "What happened? Is he not with you any longer?"

My chest pinched more at that unhappy memory. "Well..." Was I ready to reveal this to total strangers, and in an undersea city? I don't even mention it to my friends and family anymore, even though they know what happened. "I knew him for three years back at home. I worked with him at my job and we became friends. Eventually, we fell in love and were together for two years." Kahn translated, and I felt my eyes burn. "But then I saw him with another woman. Someone who was my friend. Me and this man ended our relationship right there."

The couple looked to Kahn, but he continued to stare at me. I met his eyes, and they had an apologetic look in them. He blinked several times, like he was reminded of his job to translate. "Um..."

He translated for them and the woman exclaimed a couple sentences. Kahn translated, with a smirk on his face, "She called that man a horrible person for doing something like that to a beautiful person like you." The woman said something else. "She said that a man like him does not deserve to be remembered. It is good that you ended your relationship."

I nodded. "I think I made the right decision. Everyone said that I did."

Kahn repeated that in their language and the woman said, which Kahn translated, "You made the right decision. You deserve a kind, compassionate man who will love you for everything that you are, and who will not hurt you." She patted her husband's hand, as if saying that he was that type of man. "But you will have to wait until you are back on the surface, unfortunately."

I nodded, remembering that unfortunate rule of not falling in love, and the fact that I may not even make it up to the surface or may will die in the process. "I know. Thank you so much. It was so great talking with you."

A tear escaped my eye, and I had to wipe it away. "Oh, aiki..." the woman cooed and came over and patted my hand. Kahn sat there, frowning. I tried to stop the tears from coming, and the woman wiped them away with her very wrinkly hands.

"I'm sorry," I said, and Kahn repeated. I took a deep breath. "You are so kind."

The woman smiled, which produced a myriad of wrinkles on her face, and we said we had to go to meet others. The old couple bid us farewell and we left their humble home. I went and sat on a piece of rock that looked as if it came out of the cave wall. I took a deep breath, trying to control myself.

"I didn't mean to cry in there," I said. "But the reality that I may not make it up to the surface and see my family again, and recalling what James did to me..."

Kahn came over to me as people on this small road we were next to were eyeing us, and some even stopped to watch us. "I apologize, Crystal."

"It's not your fault. It's just... James, what he did really hurt me, and I try not to think about it."

"Was that his name? James?"

I took in and let out a massive breath again. "Yes. He was my boyfriend. We were—well, I thought we were—in love, but I found him in his office at work making out with a woman I worked with. A friend of mine, actually, who wasn't my friend after that."

"What does 'making out' mean?"

"Kissing. A lot of passionate kissing. And I saw him doing it with another woman."

He frowned again and folded his arms over his broad chest. "What a terrible, terrible man. He clearly was not in his right mind, going after another woman when he had someone as kind and as beautiful as you."

I smiled weakly, flattered, and my nerves tingled when he called me beautiful. He said it so simply, and I wondered if he forgot that it's a no-no to say such a thing to me. "Thank you, Kahn."

"In fact," he said, "I am tempted to go with you back up to the surface, find that man, and teach him a lesson."

I laughed at that, which was a great relief. Oh, how I wished that Kahn could go with me! It would be fun to have him see the surface world and how different it is from here. "You are fairly bigger than him. He may be afraid of you."

"All the better."

I laughed again. "So, um, should we go and talk to more people? I think all of them would have met me before I make this big speech tomorrow."

"I think you may be right."

"When are you going to teach me your language? I would like to know some of it while making the speech. Actually, how about you tell me what to say, and I can write it down in my language's lettering and read it?"

Kahn nodded. "That would be a good idea. You will impress the people very much."

"I aim to impress. I have to if I want to do my job of interior design well."

He nodded. "Alright. I can teach you tonight."

"Wonderful."

We greeted more people around the area of the city we were in, and talked with some people in their houses, and then we headed back to Amarkit, and once entered the main entry hall, I spotted Hakim walking in the direction that the kitchen is located. Without turning to face Kahn, I asked, "Can we go say hi to Hakim?"

"As you wish."

I smiled, and we headed in her direction. When she sensed that someone was behind her, she turned around and her blue eyes widened.

"Hello, Hakim!" I greeted her.

"Hello," she said back in English. My own eyes widened. She knows an English greeting! She must have learned it from me just saying it. Hakim said something, and Kahn translated:

"She said that is the only word she knows in your language." Hakim said something else with a bow, and I heard the word for prince. Hakim was greeting her city's prince. When she came back up, she smiled at the both of us.

An idea suddenly came to me. I turned to Kahn. "Maybe while you give me my little language lesson, Hakim can join in and she can learn some English. I would love to talk to at least one other person here without a translator. I mean, I appreciate you, it's just, you know... a girl needs to spend time with a girl sometimes."

"Very well. I will ask her if she has urgent matters to attend to after dinner tonight." He did so and her eyes widened. He asked her something else, and I had no idea what he said. There seems to be a lot of k's in this language. Hamik excitedly nodded her head, making exclamations. "She would be happy to join us," Kahn said.

"Wonderful!" I hollered and my voice echoed through the spacious corridor. I beamed. I'm finally going to have my first lesson in the Kamali Kaltik language!


The living room area in the palace-capital building was spacious! I have never been to the room since I would always be out about the city, and would go to the dining room to eat, then go to bed. That was pretty much my life so far here.

When it became dark outside, Hamik, Kahn and I sat on what was supposed to be a sofa. It was more of a bed since it was so big. It was also blue, as were many of the other decorations, excluding the fibrant flowers in pots around the room. The whole building was filled with mostly blue, in fact.

"This room needs some work," I said to my orange-haired companions. "It needs more color. There's too much blue."

"To match the ocean," Kahn said, and repeated what he and I said in their language. Hakim nodded in agreement.

"Yes, well... the ocean is literally all around you. I think adding some purple, green and yellow would really make this a much more functional space."

Kahn laughed, and lower than usual, and it made a really attractive rumble in his chest. "Is that how you speak to your customers for your work?"

"Yes, all the time. They know what I mean."

Hakim said something, and Kahn listened. He told her something, then said to me, "She was wondering what your work is, so I told her that you decorate homes." Hakim, smiling broadly, said something. Kahn translated: "She says that we must get you material so you can make decorations for this room. She also agrees that there is far too much blue in Amarkit."

I clapped my hands together. "Oh, that would be awesome!"

He laughed again, and we got to the language lesson. The paper that we were going to use just looked like a thin piece of tree bark, and the pen was a little stone stick, pointed at the end. A little dish of dark liquid sat on the table in front of us. Ink. But it was made from dark flower petals, I found out a few minutes ago.

"So, the basics of this language... what is the grammar structure?"

"Grammar structure?"

"Yeah, like... where does the verb—or action word—go in a sentence? In the middle or the end?"

Kahn turned to Hamik and spoke to her, and made some hand gestures. She creased her brows, and made the same hand gestures, like they were figuring out what comes after what. Kahn turned to face me.

"The action goes at the end of the sentence. For example, when I say, Ni kilim Kahn kalim, or My name is Kahn, the kal is the action word meaning is, and it goes at the end."

I nodded, thinking about that. "And them im is the formal ending, or the ending you would use with someone you've just met."

"Correct. And ni means my and kilim mean name."

I think I'm beginning to understand this. "Say that sentence again." He did so, and then I said, "So, I would say that, using my name, "Ni kilim Crystal kalim."

Both Hakim and Kahn smiled. "That is correct! Good job. You just said 'My name is Crystal."

"How about just 'I am Crystal'? How do I say that?"

Kahn turned and asked Hakim what I just asked, at least, I'm pretty sure he did. She smiled and said, "Ti Crystal kalim."

"Ti Crystal kalim," I repeated. "That's easy enough. Ti means I, right?"

"Correct," said Kahn. "with the verb kal and its ending."

"So kal can mean is and am?"

"Yes. It can mean, depending on what you say, is, am or are."

I nodded. This language seemed similar to some Asian languages since they have the same grammar structure. I wonder how this language came about? These people didn't look Asian, but maybe the language has some Asian influence since Asia is just across the ocean? But there are Greek structures here... is there a European influence as well?

"So, Hakim, I can teach you how to introduce yourself in English," I said, and Kahn told her what I said. She nodded vigorously. "I am Hakim. Repeat that."

"I am Hakim," she said in a thick accent that was similar to Kahn's, then said something in her language. Kahn responded and she nodded.

"I told her what I and am mean in our language. She understands."

"Good!" I said, and we continued teaching Hakim some English. When we were through, she knew how to say who she is, where she's from, how old she is, and some basic words and the English grammar structure. She learned everything rather quickly. We moved on when Hakim was rubbing her head. "I... head... hurt," she said.

"I think we gave her a headache," I said. "I'm sorry, Hamik. But a least you know some English!"

She smiled after Kahn translated exactly what I said. We moved on...

"So maybe I can introduce myself in your language, and then just read off the rest?" I suggested. "I want to say that I promise to do everything I can to save this city. How do I say that?"

Kahn said every bit for me, and I Romanized it into English so I could read it. "Holy cow, look at all the k's," I gasped after I wrote down what he said.

"K's?" he questioned.

"The k-sound." I pronounced the letter so he would understand. "There are also a lot of t-sounds."

He nodded. "Yes, our language does have a lot of those sounds."

I practiced the sentences that I wanted to say to the people. Kahn and Kamik nodded, and Hamik said something with a thumbs up. Kahn smiled and nodded. "Good try," he said.

"In other words, it wasn't that good."

"No, no, it was great. Say it by little bit, and we will correct you if we have to."

I nodded and I did as he asked, and they both helped me pronounce various words. Kahn and Kamik snickered when I messed up, and my cheeks inflamed with heat from embarrassment. "Hey, I'm trying, you guys!"

Khan said what I said to Hamik, and she covered her mouth, like she was horrified that she laughed at me. She waved her hands and said something rapidly. Kahn translated. "She said that she apologizes, as do I. We did not mean to laugh."

"You totally meant it."

"It is just... when you make a mistake, it is funny, but when you speak it correctly, it is..."

"Bad?"

"No. What is the word you used earlier..." He muttered it in their language, as did Hamik. She nodded, agreeing with him. "Ah, the word is adorable."

My heart jumped at him saying that word in such a low and attractive tone. I cleared my throat and looked away. I know both of them noticed my pink cheeks. "Well, maybe I'll just have you translate it so the people won't focus on trying to understand me and thinking I'm adorable in trying to speak their language."

I spotted movement in the corner of my eye and I saw someone walk into the room. I recognized her as the lady who Kahn said was like the head housekeeper, in charge of the workers. We all looked to her, and Hamik's eyes widened in fear as a stern look crossed the beautiful middle-aged woman's face. Hamik stood up and started speaking in rapid Kalikese. Kaltikese… I think that's what I'm going to call their language from now on!

Kahn stood up as well and started speaking with the woman, whose name I can't recall. After Kahn spoke, she looked to me, then to Hamik, then back to Kahn. She nodded, and said something else. Hamik nodded and walked off with the woman, not turning back. My heart pricked.

"Is Hamik leaving for the night?" I asked when both of the women were out of the room.

"No, Amika just wants to speak with Hamik for a moment."

"She's in trouble, isn't she?"

"I do not think so. Since I asked for her to join us, I think Amika will let this go. I think she is just giving Hamik a warning."

I nodded, and Kahn sat down. He got right to business again. "Now, I think the people would enjoy you trying to speak our language. They will respect the fact that you are trying." He faced his body to me. "You need to move your jaw a certain way when you speak, to pronounce the words better. You move it back and forth with some words. Like this." He demonstrated, and I tried saying what he did. "No, no, like this. Do you mind if I touch your jaw?"

Do I mind if he touches me? That answer's obvious. But would that be a good idea? "No. Go ahead."

"Alright." He touched my jaw with his thumb and pointer finger. I tried reading my speech again, and he moved my jaw as he did so. I couldn't help myself—I burst out laughing. He laughed as well.

"Okay, okay, I'll be serious here," I said.

He tried again and moved my jaw as I repeated what he said. I didn't realize since I was laughing so hard that I came dangerously close to his face a minute ago. We stopped what we were doing for a second as time seemed to freeze. I held his gaze as my insides whirled everywhere inside of me, and my heart pounded as his warm fingers still lingered on my jaw. I almost got lost in his blue eyes.

His fingers moved a bit, and my chin was suddenly cupped in his hand. I knew I shouldn't do it, but I leaned in a little. My whole body started to tingle, and my heart jolted when he about made contact, but Hamik came back in and we immediately drew apart. My heart hammered and heat rushed up to my hairline as Hamik came back and sat next to us. I glanced at Kahn and I saw that he had his lips pursed and his cheeks were a little pink. He knew what was about to happen, and that it was a huge no-no. Honestly, it's surprising that it was about to happen in the first place, considering that I found Kahn irritating before.

"Ti kamkik," she said, and then commenced speaking in more Kalkikese. Kahn nodded and responded to her. He translated what she said...

"She said that she apologizes for leaving suddenly. Amika reprimanded her for not telling her about this little lesson. She let it pass, but next time, she is to be told if her workers will be staying up later."

"Oh," I said, and met Hamik's blue eyes. "I'm sorry we got you in trouble."

Kahn repeated, and Hamik smiled and waved her hands. She spoke, then Kahn said, "She says it is no problem at all. She is honored to help learn our language." He smirked. "She believes that she is not much help."

"What?" I gasped. "No, no, you're great! The both of you! Thank you both so much, and... I guess I'll just practice this speech until I have to give it. We can call it a night." Kahn repeated, and Hamik nodded. I said, "Well, Hamik, would you like to walk with me back you my room? I'm sure the prince here has other duties he has to tend to before the night's over."

Kahn creased his brows, as if asking why I was assuming he had things to do. Honestly, I just felt awkward around him now. He translated for Hamik, and she beamed and said, "I... want... do that," she said, and beamed at her trying to speak English. She's doing well so far.

"Okay," I said and stood up. "Well, goodnight, Kahn."

"Goodnight, Crystal. Remember the jaw gestures."

Will I ever! Kahn's hands on my jaw will never leave my memory, I'm sure of it. "Okay."

Hamik bid Kahn goodnight as well, and made a little bow. He gave her a smile, and I notice her eyes widen as he did so. After he bid her goodnight, Hamik and I were off. I let a large breath out of my mouth.

"Wow, that happened..." I muttered. The Chosen Person is not supposed to fall in love or have any other romantic relationships with anyone, and vice-versa. And to not act on their feelings. Well, we both almost acted on them. That rule almost became broken, and by the prince and the Chosen Person!

Hamik let out some laughter and I looked over at her as we walked into the main entry corridor and headed to the stairs. "What?"

She shook her head, still smiling. I saw the look she was giving me. We stopped at the foot of the stairs and I waited to see if she would try to communicate something. She pursed her lips. "Mota Kit Crystal," she began, "am Hakam Kahnkanit…" She made her hands look like puppets, and she pushed them together, like they were kissing. I gasped, knowing what she was trying to say.

"No, no, no! Kahn and I didn't kiss!"

She cocked her head at me, and I did the same thing with my hands, only I didn't have them meet. I nodded, saying we came close. I made contact, and shook my head, saying that we didn't kiss. I did that a few times so that she would understand.

"Ah…" she enthused. "You... no..." She made the gesture again.

"No, we did not kiss." My eyes suddenly widened, realizing something. "Oh my gosh, you saw it! You saw him almost kiss me!" I was positive she didn't know what I said, but groaned in dismay anyway. "I don't want to fall for him, dang it!"

I sat in the second step to the stairs and Hamik sat down next to me and patted my back. "Kiss..." she said. She made the gesture.

"Yes, kiss. What is it in your language?"

She thought a moment, and I surmised that she was trying to figure out what I said. She said, "Mit."

"Meet?" I repeated, saying what I heard. She nodded.

"Hm." I met her eyes. "Do you want to kiss someone?"

"Me want kiss... person?" she asked, and I nodded. Her eyes widened and she looked away as her cheeks pinkened. I leaned in to her and gave her a sly look.

"You like someone! Who?"

She pursed her lips and she shook her head. I laughed. I recalled her eyes going wide when Kahn smiled. Does she like him? Or someone else? Maybe it would be best to not pry since I don't know her all that well yet. I'll ask her something else. I might as well ask this of her now.

"Can we be friends?"

"Freends?" she asked, looking at me. "You want... with me... freends?"

"Yes."

She nodded rapidly and took both my hands. "Yes! I want, too!"

I smiled, loving that we could talk to each other now, and happy that I found someone other than Kahn to be friends with.

"Mota Kit Crystal am Hakim robam kalkik!" she exclaimed.

That smile of hers was beautiful. She looked so happy and excited. I tried to translate what she said. "The Chosen Person Crystal am Hakim?" She used that word a little bit ago when talking about me and Kahn. "And! It means and! So, the Chosen Person Crystal and Hakam..." I thought a moment, putting together the sentence. "The Chosen Person and Hakim are friends! We're friends! Yes, I'm so glad that we understand each other."

We both stood up, and I repeated the sentence, "Mota Kit Crystal am Hakim robam kalkik." I think that's the first full sentence I actually learned on my own, besides 'I am Crystal.'"

Hakim said something in Kaltikese, and I really wished the I could understand her. We walked up the stairs, and at the floor where my room is on, I thought out loud... "Maybe Kahn can teach you my language. Either that, or he needs to teach me more Kaltikese. I really want to understand more people."

All Hakim did was smile. We walked on to my room, and right in front of the door, smiled and took both my hands in hers again. "We are friends!"

"We are," I said back.

"Goodnight, Crystal!"

She left, bouncing as she went. I shut the door and let out a large breath. What an evening it has been. I had a language lesson with the prince of the city and we almost kissed when we aren't even supposed to have feelings for each other! And, along with that, I made friends with Hakim, and she's thrilled about it, as am I.

I went and sat on my bed and stared at the sparkly stone floor. I held my speech in my hand, the whole few sentences of it written out in Romanized Kaltikese. "I really hope this goes well. These people need this. It doesn't matter if I botch some of the speech. As long as they know that I promise to help them, I'll be good."

I fell backwards and faced the sheer fabric canopy of the bed. Khan came to mind again and almost kissing him.

"It's going to be super awkward around him now. I guess I'll just have to deal with that. The guy's my translator, and... the prince. Yikes, the prince of an undersea city almost kissed me..."

A squeal escaped me and wiggled around in glee. I shouldn't let this get to me, as difficult as it is. I have to focus. That's why love and romance is not an option. I held up my speech and started practicing again.