/A Note On Language: Khun is the Thai word for Miss, Missus, or Mister. There will also be words from other languages sprinkled in when the story calls for them, and I'll have a Language Note on the top of every page that has a new one. /

/Authors Notes: I was watching IJackie Chan Adventures/I and decided to draw pictures of people with short hair in robes. This turned to drawing pictures of people with long, alive hair. And, viola, Malaya was born. This takes place in an alternate universe (think Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials without the subtle knife) version of Thailand and a made-up religion sort of like Buddhism. Now, Buddhists are supposed to be peaceful, so please don't flame me if you find this insulting for some odd reason. This is the only possible way I could have people with such cool hairstyles. Absolutely everything is stolen from various TV shows and mythology, so instead of flaming me for that, go try and find an even more uncreative girl, which will take a few years, and by that time you will probably have forgotten me. Anyway, enough of this long and rambling note, to the actual story. /

"Sahara! Lazy bum! It is your big day!" shouted Mother from downstairs. Even though my head was currently buried under various blankets, I could still imagine what she looked like, her perfect braid of dark brown hair going into the danger zone of a loose hair, and her face growing red from yelling from all the way down the stairs, and various children pulling on her dress for breakfast.

Realizing that it would be cruel to have my siblings wait for breakfast, I got up anyway because twelve hungry and angry gnomes (except for the case of Din, Mali, and Hyena, all older then me, but still rather short) are not a pretty site. I quickly got up and slipped into my blue silk Dressy Dress for special occasions. It was, after all, a special occasion. In a few hours I would make my way for the Malayan Temple. It would take many hours to get there, so I'd have to be energized by the nutritious delicious slop Mother would cook up for me. Being a Malayan Monk probably required you to eat slop every day, so better to get used to it. Quickly checking in the mirror by my bedside-dark brown hair, dark brown eyes, light brown skin, check. Was I tall for eleven years old yet? No hope. I went down-stairs.

"Sahara," scolded Mother, "Really, that took much too long, you're lucky you'll be a monk by tomorrow, or you'd have so many extra chores just reading the entire list of them would be them!"

"Mother, there is no guarantee they'll except me."

"Of course they will! Now, scoot, to your breakfast!" She slapped my back to push me forward, and I needed know other warning. Following a herd of squealing children into the kitchen, I quickly ate, while Hyena-The- Teenager talked about various teen things. I didn't listen to her-the Land of Teenagers was too dangerous for a pre-teen like myself. After I finished, Baba, a cute little tyke of 5 years, grabbed on to my leg.

"No Baba! Bad dog!" I said, trying to shake him off. He looked at me with big wide eyes.

"How long is Sara going to be gone?"

"A few all of my life."

"But I'll MISS you!" he wailed.

Nonplussed, I replied, "D-d-don't worry Baba, I'll still visit on weekends. It'll be like when I'm at school for 5 days, then see you for 2 days!"

"But I still MISS you when you're at school! And 2 days is nothing!"

"Baba, if you learn to count, two days is a long time! 48 hours! And the seconds-you won't even recognize the number!"

"But, how much is five days?"

"Not 48 hours, that's for sure."I bent down and gave Baba a big hug, wishing Mother hadn't forbidden me to tell him lies after I told him that when the day turned to night, the sun was out partying and drinking in Arizona, and general mayhem ensued, so that I could tell him that 2 was more then 5.

"I'll MISS you too, Sara," said a whispered voice in my ear. Hajjis, who was one year my junior. Fearing that soon I would be assaulted by gnomes saying they would miss me, I said, "Me too," and hugged her quickly. I realized then that I really would miss them, and began to get teary-eyed.

"Well."said Mother, "Better go. Your father will go get the carriage."

Many teary good-bye hugs later (why did my little sibling have to be so damn adorable?) I was on a bumpy cart-ride to the Malayan Temple, and- possibly-the rest of my life.