“Shall we go?” Basalt asked. Seven nodded.
“Alright, off we go, then. HOLD ON!” he yelled as he hoisted Seven up by the waist and took a flying leap off the edge of the terrace. Basalt whooped in delight as they fell. Seven screamed his head off while trying to hold on for dear life.
Basalt landed nimbly on a passing flying bus, taking a few running steps to absorb the force of the fall. Seven had slipped out of Basalt’s hands during the landing. He rolled uncomfortably close to the edge of the moving vehicle. He stared terrified at that dizzying view several hundred feet in the air. His stomach churned, and the contents forced its way up and over the edge. Seven scrambled away.
“How was your first taste of car hopping? Fun, wasn’t it?”
“Why would you do that? I practically died! Did you see that? Did you see how close I came to the edge? You dropped me!”
“You looked like you were having fun to me. See, I knew you’d enjoy it.” Basalt waltzed over and helped Seven stand up.
“Well then, you’re gonna love this!” Basalt snatched Seven up by the waist.
Seven squirmed around in his arms while screeching, “NonononoNONONONONOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!” as he leapt off the edge once more.
This time, Basalt didn’t pause when they landed. He’d leap down onto a car, slow down with a few thudding steps, then immediately launch himself into empty space with Seven screaming each time he did. After nine such jumps, they touched down on solid ground.
Basalt set Seven down. He took one look at the kid and laughed.
“You look like a tornado came through!” He rubbed Seven’s misplaced and windblown hair. Seven reached up and felt his face. His hand came back wet. He had tears and mucus streaming down it, along with some flecks of vomit from when he threw up.
“Please,” he said hoarsely, “can we never do that again?” Basalt chuckled. He knelt down, pulling out a tissue, and scrubbed Seven’s face.
“Stop! Ouch, stop. I’m not a kid!” Seven pushed his hand away. Basalt raised an eyebrow and smirked.
“Really? But I could’ve sworn you were just screaming like a baby the whole way down.” Seven blushed bright red with embarrassment and looked away.
“Come on, Mr. Not-kid. I got something to show you. The sun’s just setting, and it’s the perfect time. We’ll get there right when it gets dark.” He pulled Seven after him.
“Where are we going?”
“Just a couple of corners away. I guarantee you’ll like it.”
“How am I supposed to trust you after you jeckin’ jumped off a hundred and fifty story building?”
“There you go! Sounding like a real Polishman there. Nice going! And we jumped off the seventy-ninth floor, not the hundred and fiftieth floor. Though, I’m surprised you knew it went up that high.”
They rounded a corner and walked down a wide alley way. People passed them on either side wearing colorful robes and other clothing Seven was just seeing for the first time. He looked around intently, absorbing everything he could.
“It does? I just took a random guess. Huh,” he said. “But wait! Stop distracting me. I’m not sure I trust you after that. Next thing I’ll know, you’ll be feeding me to sharks or something!”
“What are you talking about? We’re miles from the ocean. Where am I going to find sharks?”
“I don’t know. An aquarium?”
“Speaking of aquariums. Some time remind me to take you to Delhi’s anti-gravity aquarium. It’s pretty jeckin’ roat. One of the only ones in the world.”
“An anti-gravity aquarium? How does that even work?”
“I have no idea, but it sucks trite!” Basalt grinned as they reached the end of the street and rounded another corner.
Seven noticed several small stalls along the edge of the road selling various trinkets. One sold tiny figurines. An incense burner bled sweet-smelling smoke into the air as the man selling them sat on a rug rubbing beads. He grinned and nodded when he noticed Seven staring at him.
“Who’s he?” Seven asked when they were out of earshot.
“He looks like a Buddhist. Don’t know much about them, or if he’s actually a practicing Buddhist. You don’t see too many around anymore. Not in India. They’re mostly out way east in Nippon or sometimes down south in Austrasia.”
Seven hesitated for a second, then asked, “Do you believe in God?” Basalt sighed.
“I have seen a lot of bad things that happen in this world. Anyone in my line of business will have, and when you’ve seen as much as I have, you either come to believe in a god or you completely reject him. There’s no avoiding it. It’ll happen to everyone.”
“When did you decide?”
“That time came for me when Bask and I were fifteen. We were brand new mercenaries then. Just fresh from signing the paper. We went on our first mission. It was a scouting mission along the border of the Reds, only, we weren’t lucky. We got spotted, and Bask took a bullet to the stomach. The whole time dragging him away from the border, the only thing I could think of was begging God to let him live, that if he lived, I’d believe in God wholeheartedly. So, yeah. I believe in Him. But enough of the depressing stuff, kid. Look we’re here,” Basalt said as they rounded the last corner.
Seven swallowed. It was almost more impressive than the view Basalt showed him earlier. Layers and layers of catwalks stacked on one another stretched between the buildings. They reached high up in the sky, lighted with strings of lights and strung with colorful blanket and rug tents. Booths nestled under the bright fabrics, and myriads of people laughed, bartered, and jostled among them on the wooden and metal walkways. Lively music from many street musicians with strange instruments filled the night air.
“What is this place?” Seven asked.
“I’m glad you like it. Welcome to the Night Bazaar.” Basalt grinned.
AN- I hope all the random Cakemen back stories aren’t too annoying for you guys. Tell me what you think of India so far. 😀