As they approached the village, Levi saw a water pump with a few villagers gathered around it collecting water in buckets. Some of the sand around the pump was wet from water that had been spilled. Levi let Zoe have a closer look with his monocular and they decided to stop for a water break of their own.
"What do you think Zoe?" Levi seemed uncertain or maybe he just wanted a second opinion.
"Want to ask the villagers at the water pump about their village? Maybe they will have information about the cave painting." Zoe looked pensive.
"We could go over there and ask them about filling up our water bottles," Hazel suggested. "See what they say to us. We might be able to find out if they are friendly or unfriendly."
"Ok, why don't we walk over there." Levi headed off in the direction of the water pump with Ruby in tow. "Give me your hand Ruby-bird."
Levi grabbed hold of Ruby's small hand and the others followed as they made their way towards the village water pump.
As they walked closer to the water pump, they saw a few village women dressed in brightly colored dresses. A bucket overflowing with water sat on the desert dirt tied to a hemp rope that led down into the well. The pump handle creaked as it came to a rest. One of the village women smiled at them and said brightly in their own language,
"Hello! You must be visitors here! Have you come for the water?" The villager was shading her left eye with her left hand held above her eyebrow. She was standing next to a large clay vase filled halfway up to the top with water. A wooden dipper sat floating on the top of the water.
Zoe responded first,
"Yes! We did come for the water. We are travelers here and we're thirsty." Zoe spoke their own native tongue but through their Interstellar Communication Device, which seemed to have translated English into the villagers native dialect successfully.
"Here." The village woman held out her wooden dipper filled to the brim with water. "Come closer." She beckoned to Zoe with her free hand for them to come over to the water pump. Levi, Zoe, Hazel and Ruby all filled their water bottles from the villagers water pump, and each of them took a drink in turn. The village woman with the dipper kept smiling at them as they drank water from the water pump. When they had finished, Zoe thanked the woman and asked her about their cave painting.
She found the translation using the Communication Device, and then tried speaking the translation herself instead of using the Communication Device's electronic voice. Zoe repeated the words in the tribal dialect to ask the village woman,
"Are you familiar with the cave painting in the cave that is approximately two miles from here, toward the southwest?"
The village woman turned back to the rest of the women in their small group, and spoke with them briefly before turning back to Zoe.
"Yes, we know of the painting in the small cave, not far from here. What do you want to know about it?"
Zoe responded, "We would like to understand it better. Can you help us?" The village woman smiled brightly at Zoe and nodded. "Yes, what is the question? Maybe we have the answer."
Zoe remembered the confusion about the symbol for Treasure. She pulled a wrinkled picture of the cave painting out of her Travel Pack and tried to explain to the smiling villager.
"The first symbol is a drawing of the sun. The second symbol is for water. The third symbol is a clay vase used to store water, along with another symbol that means treasure. The fourth symbol stands for crops. It looks like the entire original cave painting was drawn at the same time, around 25,000 years ago. What is the meaning of this cave painting?"
The villagers smiled at Zoe, Hazel, Ruby and Levi.
"Yes, let's find out together, shall we?" The village woman smiled at the four travelers and motioned for them to follow the group toward the village.
"We will see the village healer. Walk this way."
Levi, Zoe, Hazel and Ruby followed close behind the villagers and they all stopped at a small hut decorated with candles, bundles of sage and a small, rectangular tapestry that said Fortune Teller / Clairvoyant in their tribal dialect. The tapestry swung gently back and forth in the afternoon breeze.