“Welcome to the Shanah Market, little human,” the female boasted with another sharp grin.


Terri blinked with watery eyes and squinted against the bright light as she followed Navesha out of the flyer. The moment was interrupted by a ding, and the female in front of her glanced down with a scowl, muttering as she pulled up a holo-image from her wrist. It definitely seemed to be a list of some sort. It was only up for a moment before she dismissed it and turned to face Terri with a twist of her lips.

“Featha decided that she required a few more things from the market. I regret to say that this is going to take longer than expected,” Navesha grumbled. A long sigh escaped her.

“Oh,” Terri replied with a slight grimace.

As much as she had enjoyed the prospect for an adventure out in the market, that list had looked a lot longer than what she anticipated. She absently rubbed at her melon of a belly.

“Perhaps I should stay here…”

The Argurma glanced over at her in surprise. “Why would you desire to do that?” Her eyes trailed down to Terri’s hand and rested there. “If you are worried about your offspring, do not concern yourself. I will give you an opportunity to rest while I acquire the majority of the items that are clustered within the same square. We will shop a little while I get some of these items nearest to the gates. Afterward, you will rest and eat in the shade, and I will fetch,” she added with a chuff.

She was hungry, and the idea of enjoying the market from someplace cool and comfortable did sound nice. She spared a quick look over at Navesha, trying to discern if her companion was up to anything, but the female was once again looking at the list, hissing to herself in annoyance while she waited for Terri’s decision.

“I would like to look around,” Terri admitted.

Navesha nodded as if she had never had any doubt that her answer would be otherwise. Without glancing away from the list as she busily shifted things around, she began to stride away, leaving Terri to hustle after her. A moment later, she grinned in her peculiar mostly close-lipped manner over her shoulder, the hologram once again dismissed.

“The cities have larger and more impressive markets that host many different vendors from all corners of the cosmos. Everyone is eager to trade their luxuries to Argurumal. Our market here is very small in comparison, but I am certain it is like nothing you have seen.”

“I’ve only seen the markets of the space stations, and they are quite impressive,” Terri murmured, her head craning as they passed through a large arched gate, “but this place looks like it can fit three of them within its walls.”

“I forget what a primitive species you hail from to be impressed by a space station.” Navesha gave a low chuff and shook her head in apparent amusement.

“I take it you don’t agree.”

The female lifted a shoulder casually. “They are constructed by inferior beings. The variety of species can be fascinating, from what I have seen from instructional vids, but the space station is not a great marvel of technology. Argurma tech built this place to be suitable for the needs of the species who come to sell their wares for our credits. By that alone, it is far superior to the filthy space stations that are barely held together in space.”

Terri couldn’t argue the point. As they came around a corner, the market stretched out in front of her like a sea of activity. Everywhere she looked she saw shops, many of which had merchants standing out in front attempting to lure in customers. The scent of food filled the air, along with the cacophony of noise from voices shouting over each other, the hum of conversation and a number of exotic alien animals that were perched on arms and shoulders, many of which seemed to be sold from more than one shop.

Navesha nudged her with a smirk, and Terri promptly snapped her mouth shut, heat rising up her neck and into her cheeks. It was bad enough that most Argurma seemed to be of the opinion that other beings were far inferior to their own species; the least she could do was not gape like the primitive that Veral’s family seemed to think she was.

“Come along, human,” Navesha said with the faintest note of something Terri might have called cheer if it didn’t sound almost threatening. “We will begin over there.”

Terri trailed after her as the Argurma’s large body weaved through the crowd with apparent effortlessness that was lost to Terri. It seemed that the moment the crowd shifted out of the way for Navesha, they closed around her again, making it nearly impossible for Terri to push her way through. Most of them were aliens of different colors and builds of unrecognizable species that she had yet to encounter. She got flashes of horns, webbed frills, scales, those with thick, leathery skin, among many others.

She felt ridiculously relieved that it wasn’t a mass of Argurmas. Although there were a large number weaving through the crowd, there were few among those pushing their way past her. Even though they were unlikely to come close to mowing her down due to their sensitive cybernetics, she couldn’t help but to be a little intimidated by them.

Growling in frustration, she threw up her hand, allowing several tendrils to escape from her symbiont. They churned in front of her like a protective barrier. Although it didn’t spare her from being bumped by careless individuals surrounding her, those in front of her, however, stepped out of her way. Very few were sent off their feet for nearly trampling her in their distracted, hastened state. Terri winced as they stood up and brushed themselves off with pained grimaces.

That had to hurt.

She tensed when the males gave her a peeved look but seemed to reconsider as their eyes fell upon her lashing shield extending out in front of her. Instead, they growled unhappily and departed without conflict. Terri let out the breath she had been holding and faced forward once more.

Where was Navesha?

Alarm shot through her. With muttered curse, Terri pushed her way through to the location where she had last seen the other female. A hard hand suddenly wrapped around her shoulder and turned her around to face a familiar scowling face.

“Navesha,” she said with relief as she called back her shielding.

The female’s eyes narrowed slightly. “Stay near me. Veral will be displeased if I lose you.”

Terri gave a jerky nod of her head. “Sorry, was having trouble pushing through the crowd.”

Navesha glanced down with appreciation at her symbiont. “Yes. I thought as much, which is why I returned for you. But this protection you have is like no other.”

Tags: S.J. Sanders Argurma Salvager Science Fiction
Source: www.StudyNovels.com
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