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We climbed the flight of stairs that linked the undergrounds to the outside. Henry found it out of pure luck, I guess. I imagined him running like a scared peacock with no feathers, and I had to stop the grin that was forming on my mouth. He might have been a soldier, feeling big and everything in his warlike outfit, but he got nothing of the great man he tried to show off. Of course, he came back rescuing me, how was he going to explain to my father that he freaked out and left his dear daughter behind?
As we approached the exit, there was only one obstacle left, I was in front. I tried to push myself over a giant rock, but I couldn’t. Henry saw it as an opportunity to place his filthy hands on my butt and pushed me to help. “Keep your hands off me!”
“Just helping out!”
I rolled my eyes. Finally, there I was, breathing in the fresh air. He was right behind me, keeping the physical contact. I pushed his hands away from my lower back, giving him dirty looks.
“Here you are!” my father came running toward the two of us. “What happened?”
“We fell down” Henry responded. Yes, thank you very much, they saw it.
I went on giving a more complete response. “I think I stepped on a button and triggered a trap. There is a tunnel beneath us, and I guess there is more. Who knows what’s hidden down there” I noticed there were a bunch of interchanges, and wandered what kind of treasures, natural or not, could be found.
“We’ll care about that in the next days, darling” my father said, while caressing my hair. “You must feel affected by all this”
“No. It’s ok, father”
“I think that for today this is enough. Let’s go back to our camp and call it a day, shall we?”
The group, including me, made its way back. In the meanwhile, I kept my little secret preserved in my pocket: the little rock that the woman showed me just a little before.
As we arrived to our tents, I rushed into mine. I needed to find out what that word meant. It was already dark outside. Light in Cambodia faded quickly, the sun had already set at 6 p.m. I turned on the lamp and started my researches. “Sun…” I was saying to myself to remind me of the word. “Sunt… Sant” I frantically turned the pages of the book, “Santiphap!”