Led by the armed young thieves, T’Challa carries the unconscious Ororo into a hut, were the thieves’ teacher is already waiting for them. He introduces himself to T’Challa as simply Teacher. His students had run ahead of T’Challa. They saw him fight well. Many of them have been injured.
T’Challa explains that the two girls were shot with certain darts. Teacher examines them and realizes they are tranquilizers. As the two unconscious girls are put down, Teacher asks why T’Challa didn’t allow the others to kill the men. Because it wasn’t necessary, the boy replies simply. As he sits down beside the second girl who warned Ororo, Teacher lectures T’Challa that, one day, not killing the enemy may become his biggest mistake. Then he will understand. The girl moans.
T’Challa retorts that, in war, leaving a single enemy alive to tell the story allows fear to spread. So they say, so they say… Teacher half-agrees, as he examines the girl.
T’Challa, who sits beside Ororo, points out that the other girl didn’t get as much poison. Calling her “Zenja” and his child, Teacher agrees, but it was still too much. T’Challa insists he should pay more attention to Ororo, who took a full tranquilizer.
Angrily, Teachers asks again why he let those men live. Men who attack girls? Men who beat children? He is strong, but far from wise. He admonishes T’Challa to always kill his enemies. Kill their children. That is how you kill the snake, because children grow up to become your enemy renewed. T’Challa looks at him wordlessly.
Noticing the boy’s injuries, Teacher offers to tend to them. T’Challa admonishes him to tend to the ones who are hurt them most. Teacher keeps him back by gripping his shoulder. He is strong for an old man, T’Challa announces. He is not strong. The boy is weakened by the battle, the man retorts. T’Challa admits he may be right as he sits down.
Is he an escaped prisoner or a thief? Teacher asks. Neither, T’Challa replies. His father was a king. Of what land? asks Teacher. Wakanda. With that one word, everyone in the room stares at the boy in amazement. Wakanda, the land of the panther god, announces the excited Teacher as he sits down opposite T’Challa. He now identifies him as the son of T’Chaka, offspring of warriors supreme. T’Challa simply replies ‘yes’ each time. Always kill your enemies, T’Challa, Teacher repeats his lesson.
Not too far away, said enemies, the men, are out for revenge. Their leader tells them that, back at the truck, he will call his brother. He will have the wind rider. He will have the legend. As soon as they get to the truck, he will radio de Ruyter. They’ll tell him about the wind rider. Now he will believe. He hopes he has a plan B another man remarks wryly. The radio is smashed. They have to get to the city’s main bazaar to get a phone. They start walking.
Back among the thieves Teacher reminisces that, according to legend, T’Chaka defeated Captain America in hand-to-hand combat. It was not hand-to-hand, T’Challa corrects him, as he stares at the still sleeping Ororo. Captain America had a shield and his body was enhanced with serum that augmented his performance. His father’s abilities and strength were natural, of his own, not manufactured in a laboratory. But how could he possibly win then? Teacher stammers. Looking at his fists, T’Challa explains that a true warrior is taught to think two steps ahead of his enemies, three ahead of his friends. Which shall he become? Teacher asks. That is for you to decide, Teacher of thieves, T’Challa retorts.
He teaches the art of survival, Teacher points out. He saw that art in the village, T’Challa snaps. He was there as the urchins stole, as they picked pockets. He saw this one – he points at Ororo – steal a wig from a woman’s head, then take a camera at the urging of another boy. He heard what sparked this? Teacher asks. T’Challa explains that Ororo robbed the men who did this, at the challenge of that other girl. What else did he see? Teacher asks. Did he see Ororo… escape? His arms crossed, T’Challa announces that, in Wakanda, they teach honor and dignity. Teacher looks at him wordlessly.
A moment later, he remarks that legend has it that the Black Panther – the ruler of Wakanda – single-handedly defeated the Fantastic Four –
T’Challa cuts him off, asking why he is so concerned with the deeds of his ancestors. Teacher explains that it’s merely conversation, combined with an old man’s admiration. A foolish man’s enthusiasm. He has studied the legends of the truest warriors. He is sitting in the presence of one who carries the blood of a warrior supreme. The blood of warriors of Bahenga to T’Chaka run though T’Challa’s veins. Does that not excite him? He is a prince from one of the riches lands in the world, from a land that has never been conquered, one that has technology that is America’s rival, that has more vibranium than could ever be imagined, that sits on oil. Yes, he is in awe. If that awe offends T’Challa, he apologizes.
He teaches children to steal, T’Challa states matter-of-factly. Angrily, Teacher accuses him of insulting an elder in his own home. In an ironic tone, he calls the boy warrior from a land that sits both on Vibranium and oil, warrior who will never know a day of hunger, warrior who finds it so easy to be condescending when he should be humble, he teaches children who have no parents how to survive in a wretched world that couldn’t care less about them. He teaches children to steal, T’Challa repeats accusingly.
Teacher looks down, possibly in shame, before asking why a prince travels as a pauper. He is on his journey into manhood, the boy explains. His walkabout, Teacher adds, before reminiscing that he made a similar journey long ago. The Panther god willing hopefully he will see as many years as Teacher, T’Challa adds graciously. Addressing the boy as T’chaka’s son, Teacher announces that as an appreciator of both intellect and science he is honored to be in T’Challa’s presence.
Elsewhere, people are cheering a muscular shirtless man, the picture of a bull tattooed on his broad chest. He stands in a kind of arena opposite him a bull and is getting ready to fight. In the meantime, a servant has answered his phone, informing the other party that they have reached the phone of Andreas deRuyter. How can he be of help? A moment later he laughs when he learns that the other man was robbed by ignorant street urchins. He wants helicopters and guns to attack children? he asks incredulously. And who should he say is calling? he asks ironically. He changes his tune when he learns that the other man is DeRuyter’s younger brother and politely asks him to hold on… for the fight is beginning.
Andreas deRuyter is ordering his people to let the bull go. Furiously, the animal attacks. DeRuyter grabs him by the horns, but the bull shoves him to the ground. De Ruyter gets up again and punches the animal hard. It doesn’t get up again. Leaving the pen, DeRuyter curtly orders ice for his hand and knees and a cigar before he gets mad.
His servant hands him a telephone, informing him that his younger brother has said something about street urchins and a wind rider. Wind rider? De Ruyter repeats almost reverently.
Back among the thieves, Teacher assures himself that his daughter, Zenja, will be fine. Will the other girl recover as well? T’Challa asks. It is not for a warrior to worry, Teacher remarks. Even a warrior has a heart, the boy retorts. Teacher explains that Ororo will have to sleep. She took in more of the tranquilizer than his daughter.
T’Challa notices that her name is Kenyan. Yes, Teacher agrees. She is different… special in ways not even he can comprehend. She is special to the gods. Is Ororo his daughter as well? T’Challa inquires. He wishes she were, Teacher replies, but no, she is an orphan like the rest of them. They are all orphans.
T’Challa asks if it would offend Teacher were he to watch over Ororo a while? He would wait in the company of an old man who teaches children to steal? Teacher asks. That has to be below the Wakandan standard of morality. He’s sure there are no thieves in Wakanda. None at all. T’Challa stubbornly repeats his question. Teacher suggests that his presence would be of better use outside. T’Challa looks out of the window to see the young thieves stare at him reverently.
Teacher explains that they want to see the son of the legendary Black Panther. They want to see a man who has never had to steal in order to survive. A man whose country has never been conquered by any other ruling nation, T’Challa offers to talk with them, but not until he knows Ororo will be okay. As he wishes, Teacher replies. They are but simple thieves here. Not being able to feed your child is every parent’s nightmare, a problem foreign to T’Challa’s parents, he points out. He is right. He is but a teacher of thieves.
T’Challa sits down and waits. Outside, the hut the children have begun to dance, chanting his name. Ororo finally stirs and awakes, his name the first thing on her lips. T’Challa smiles.
Some time later outside, Ororo watches how all the other youngsters from Sudan, Rwanda, Ethiopa and so many other places come to bow before the boy and tell him their stories. One boy describes how he was separated from his family when he was five. Teacher saved him. The government is responsible. But no one seems aware of the crisis. No oil, no publicity, T’Challa realizes. Another boy describes how his brother died from a respiratory infection, his sister of diarrhea, other relatives of Malaria. All illnesses that could be prevented. Why doesn’t America help? He cannot speak for America, T’Challa points out.
Can he speak for Wakanda, another boy asks, a land richer than America? Can he speak for the Black Panther? Will he talk to him? Ask him if Wakanda could do more? T’Challa promises that, upon his return, he will give him a report of what he has seen and whom he has met.
Ororo watches as T’Challa tells the youngster that they have all survived hardships. That they are strong and have become warriors in their own right. She sees how the boys are in awe and the girls humble themselves the longest, crushing on the boy. Embarrassed by her own feelings, Ororo feels stupid for being attracted to him. All the other girls with a glance offer him paradise, while she decided that she would never bow before anyone but her husband as she’d expect him to bow before her, out of mutual respect. With a smile, she waves at T’Challa from a distance and thanks him, before she turns to walk away.
Teacher tells her to be back before dinner with their guest. Ororo walks away to a secret chest in the forest, where she hides her few treasures. Later at dinner, she has dressed up as well as she can. T’Challa sits a another table where Zenja is trying to come on to him, while Teacher asks T’Challa to tell them of his walkabout. Ororo asks another girl named Adai what a girl’s rite of passage to cross into womanhood is. The other girl replies that according to some it is when your cycle begins. Others say it can only be reached through the loins of a man. Sounds like the word of a man, Ororo spits back. She takes a look at two clearly pregnant girls at another table and wonders if this is the only way for a girl to reach womanhood. She watches Zenja flirting with T’Challa and gets up to walk away.
T’Challa hurries after her, asking where she is going. When she tells him she is out for a walk, to think, he offers his company. Sharply, she asks what mood he in. He replies he’d like some company. He has company, she retorts. They all want his ear. If it’s only for company, nothing more, he is welcome to join her. If it’s more than that, there are plenty of girls who are more than willing to accommodate his needs. Moving closer to her, he asks what are his needs. After a moment, they begin to walk together.
Having watched the scene, Zenja is clearly furious and feels humiliated for others to have sent that.
Ororo inquires what T’Challa wants to be when he is older. He wants to be King of Wakanda, he replies simply. Will he play his flute for her, she asks. Will she dance for him? he retorts. Is that what he needs? she asks. For now, the boy replies.