In olamani chikaualistli okichtli niokichtli ipan in tlaxauilkan,” Xōchitl said.

“Sir, the warlord’s champions are demanding we meet their challenge,” I told the Captain.

“To what?” he asked.

Tlen tlachiua chikaualistli nik?” I asked her.

Nik se ipatol.

“A game? What game? Tlen ka inon?


Tlen ka Ōllamalīztli?

“Ka se sesepaktik mitspatolli teolamia.

“Sir,” I said to the Captain, “Xōchitl says it’s a game you play with a rubber ball.”

“That doesn’t sound so bad,” the Captain said.

“It’s very violent, sir.”

“So are we. Tell her we accept.”

Tiselh,” I said to her.

Titlachiua amo asikamati in nauatiltin ōllamalīztli,” she warned. “Intla ti mitslose uil ka chachamekatli.

“Uh, sir, apparently if we lose we’ll be sacrificed.”

Mitskuiskehkeh iuan ilpia nik in tsompantli ipan mokuitlapan.

“They will bind us to an altar on our backs—”

Xōchitl traced a line with her forefinger across her midriff. “Tlen se chiuaskehkeh se ueyi tlakotona nikan.”

“—and cut us there—”

Niman uilkeh tilana mo tetekuikalistliïztli yolotli kuauakpa iuikpa tlanik moomikuiluan.

“Oh, and then rip our still-beating hearts out, of course.”

Tiuil ka tlachika as kichiuh.

“Naturally, we’ll be watching the whole time.”

Uil ka tlauel chichinaktik.

“She says it hurts a lot.”

Mitsyeseh moneki amo kamayokaui mitsanoso uil xikuetsi.

“Oh, and sir, we mustn’t scream or we’ll lose honor.”

Ximitschiua ayemo seli in chikaualistli?

“Sir, she asks if we still want to accept the challenge?”

The Captain rubbed his chin. “And if we win, the warlord will allow us safe passage?”

Techintla tetlani in yaotekuhtli uil makixtia?” I asked Xōchitl.

Kema,” she replied. “Ipan imaluilokayouh.

“Yes, sir, on his honor.”

He clapped my shoulder. “We accept.”

“We accept, sir?”

“Go on, son, tell her.”

Tiselh,” I said to Xōchitl.

Tiseli?” she asked with a frown.

Kema,” I confirmed.

Titlauel tikau iuan pinookichtin!” Xōchitl looked sad. “Nitetlakolti ayak chokas ipan mo tekochtli.

“What did she say?” the Captian asked.

“Sir, she says we’re very brave and stupid–“

“Of course we are. We’re American Cavalrymen.”

“–and she is sad no one will cry at our graves.”

“No one was going to anyway, son.”

“That’s very encouraging, sir.”

“I do my best.”

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