Thursday, August 2, 2012

“Mrs. Sabre may not be safe there.”

(Excerpt of Sororate Chapter One)

An hour later when we were dressed, breakfasted and our teeth brushed, we checked out of our hotel.  The same hotel clerk was behind the desk when we handed in our electronic key.

“Altogether 488 credits will be charged to your credit card Mr. Sabre, for your accommodation, your entrée and main as well as the additional de-alcoholised wine you ordered.  However your dessert will not be charged as it came compliments of the hotel.”  The clerk read off his computer screen.

My mate handed over his credit card to pay as he still looked on the clerk warily.  A moment’s silence passed as the clerk swiped his credit card and then he raised the EFTPOS device for Declan to punch in his PIN.

“The food was delicious, thanks.” I suddenly said. 

My husband gave a funny look but the clerk smiled politely, “I will pass your compliments on to the chef.”

He handed Declan’s card back to him however when we turned to leave, we were stopped.

“Will you both be walking in a westerly direction along the Great Wall today?” The clerk asked out of the blue.

We both turned back around to look on in surprise.

“Maybe and maybe not.”  Declan said vaguely. 

We were, but he didn’t want the Asian Werewolves to know of our movements.

“I ask because when I saw your itinerary last night, it has your accommodation tonight at the Bamboo Inn in Wuwei, which is in a westerly direction.  Wuwei is in the Gans province and I feel I must advise you that the area is the territory of the Hsin family.”  The clerk said simply.

“The who?”  He asked.

“The Hsin family is not as enlightened as we are and they have not seen or smelled a female of your kind in a very long time.”  The clerk stopped smiling. “Mrs. Sabre may not be safe there.”

My heart almost stopped as my mate’s eyes widened.  I suddenly felt one of my tell-tale ominous feelings from Hsu’s warning.

“But we start a new tour tomorrow morning and we’re getting picked up by bus from the Bamboo Inn in Wuwei.”  Declan sounded annoyed.  “What are we supposed to do?  Boycott the tour as well as the town?!”

The clerk looked on unimpressed before he spoke in a low voice, “My apologies, I did not realize how different we are with our separate cultures. I was speaking as a friend.  My family is very protective over our wives, mothers, sisters and daughters.  We have not allowed our women anywhere near the borders of Gans province since one of our females were kidnapped by the Hsin family 50 years ago.”

My husband’s eyes almost popped out of his head when he heard this and my heart began to race. 

Declan threw innuendoes to the wind as he looked on the clerk suspiciously.  “I was told there was only one female Asian Werewolf left.”

“Then whoever told you that was not truthful or accurate.”  The clerk said simply.

“Figures.”  He rolled his eyes.

“Didn’t either Leo or Marcus tell you that?”  I remembered.

Declan gave a short nod, “It makes you wonder what else they lied about, doesn’t it?”

“Our people know of the Lokoti Werewolves.”  The clerk spoke plainly as there was no-one else around. “They are respected by my family. It is because we know that you are not man-eaters you were allowed to stay last night. It is a sign of respect that I warn you now, avoid Gans province.”

“Maybe we should just go back to Alaska?”  My husband complained.

However a plan started to formulate in my mind, “Show me the itinerary.”

“What? Why?”  He gave a funny look.

“Please?” I held out my hand.

He pulled out the itinerary from the front pocket on his backpack to hand over.  I looked on the tour details we were meant to be embarking on tomorrow as well as the nightly stopovers before I turned back to the clerk.

“OK, so if we boycott Wuwei today, what if we head south instead until we come to Yushu?  It’s where we’re supposed to stay for the first night of the tour.”  I spoke to both the clerk and my husband.

“Yushu is not in anybodies territory and you should be safe.”  The clerk gave a single nod.

“What about for the rest of our holiday?”  I held out the itinerary to the clerk who took the document out of my hands to look on it again.

“In Cambodia you may meet the Truong clan who live in the northern region.  But if you do not go out at night and remain in your hotel room, they should leave you alone.”  The clerk handed the itinerary back.

“So after this place and if we avoid Wuwei, the other Asian Werewolves we’ll come across are in Cambodia?”  Declan wanted to double check.

“The route your proposed holiday takes you on will be avoiding the territories of the other clans.”  The clerk answered.

“Right,” Declan returned the itinerary to his backpack before he looked my way, “now to find our way to Yushu.”

“If you head down the main street to the south side of town, you will find a reputable car rental company.”  The clerk offered.

“Thanks.” I smiled at his helpfulness.

“I wish you a safe journey on your travels."  The clerk smiled at me but then it disappeared when he looked on my mate, “And I must ask you Mr. Sabre that you do not come into our territory again.”

What the…? I didn’t see that coming!  Declan and I exchanged a surprised look which we turned towards the clerk.

He spoke as he looked upon my husband, “You were protected last night because of my family’s respect for the Lokoti Werewolves.  However my family has not had the best experience with your breed before. I cannot vouch for your safety should you return to our territory again, with or without the company of your wife.”

The clerk was referring to Declan being a European Werewolf.  The clerk didn’t seem so nice now and I saw that by suggesting the car rental company it was because he wasn’t trying to help us, he was trying to get rid of us.  I recalled the sight of the two Asian Werewolves standing outside of our hotel window, watching.  Now I saw it wasn’t because they didn’t trust me, it was because they didn’t trust my mate. 

I was going to protest Declan's innocence when he stopped me.

“Come on B.”  He gently pulled me backwards.

My mate walked me to the door of the hotel and held it open. As he followed me out, he threw the clerk a parting glare.

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