Strange Strangers: Part Two
Unfortunately, I couldn't get back fast enough to watch the whole unraveling of the operation. By the time I got back, I missed out on seeing the insider get caught and the Titanium members rounding up members of the Company before dragging them back to the house where the operation was done. And somehow, I even missed the grand entrance of Chief and only arrived when he was midway through his eloquent speech. I slipped into the shadows and watched.
“... so you can see, this has nothing to do with the Company as they had done this on their own accord! But you can rest assured that I'll personally see to these members that had caused the trouble and make sure they're well taught since they acted out of line.”
Oh? So now he's claiming that the Company had nothing to do with what had happened? Well, that’s to be expected. After all to do what they did, they had to enter Titanium territory when there was already an unspoken rule in place where no one member of any group can just trespass each other’s territories. But I was more interested with where Phontus had disappeared to. I worried that he would have arrived earlier than I thought he would and be made to hide someplace else.
“What are you doing here, boy?”
By now, I had gotten used to the old Moehog’s way of “appearing” from behind that I just turned back and replied “I couldn’t miss watching what will happen now, Master Choirus.”
“Humph. You are putting yourself at needless risk. With those wounds too, you won’t be able to move as fast as you should. Funny, I thought I told you to use your wits as well and not so much your guts. What did you do to get yourself like this?”
At that moment, his question was answered by an arrival which I had hoped not to miss. Phontus, not being familiar with Titanium territory as I am, would have taken some wrong turnings and ended up here late. As such, he burst into the scene acting exactly as how someone whose next step was to plant the evidence on someone else. He knocked someone over as he forced his way in and asked to the gathering at large as he entered “Is this the house of Titanium’s second-in-command?”… If I had decided not to forge my own path elsewhere, I would have felt very exasperated with him at that moment. What more, he was holding those items right in his hands and not hidden away in his clothing like any good Picker would!! The whole gathering was so shocked that an awkward silence permeated the whole area. I was also rendered speechless at the way Phontus did things that all the Moehog could say was “I think you need not answer that question.” He too, had a mildly astounded expression at that way Phontus did things so nicely.
That silence did not remain for long. It immediately went into an all-out shouting match between Titanium and the Company, which stopped for a moment when the leader of Titanium came forward and silenced both groups with outstretched arms. “Enough. Let me hear things out from the boy first. You, where did you get this from?” he asked in a kindly but stern manner.
“Ah-,” Phontus who had by now realised he shouldn’t have done what he did earlier tried to cover up. “I just happened to be passing by around here when someone in one of the houses motioned to me come over and told me to pass these to Titanium’s second-in-command.”
“Then, I did as I was told! Ah, and I was told that the second-in-command’s house has a Kyrri fountain.”
At these words, the leader looked even more grim and stern. “Kyrri fountain? Boy. Do you know who owns the house with the Kyrri fountain? It was the one where these items came from! And you’ve brought them right back to the doorstep of the owners! Why did you think that this was the house of the second-in-command?”
“Because I was told that!”
Unable to stand it any longer, Chief bellowed “FOOL OF A BOY! Why would you be asked to bring those back to the owners’ place! You’ve been tricked!!! Haven’t you a brain of your own??!” Well! I knew that and I will dare say that Chief is of the same cloth too. And the leader of Titanium realised it too.
“Ah, judging by the way you’ve been yelling at this boy, he must be one of yours. And boy, your saying that you’ve been passing through here is very suspicious. Why would you be passing through a place which is off limits to your other group members’ and at this hour too?” Since he couldn’t answer anymore, the leader brought his focus back to Chief. “I think all these that happened on our territory here tonight are no coincidences. Out with it! What have you been trying to do here?”
Chief became quiet. Anyone who had not worked with Chief would’ve taken that as an admission and defeat. But I know better and held my breath. This could get really nasty. Chief walked right up to Titanium’s leader and said “Well, there’s not much to say “Let bygones be bygones”, right? We can say this then!” At that, he drew out a long knife and lunged at the leader. The leader must have known Chief would act like that and managed to side-step him. From there on, all chaos broke loose on all sides.
Group member against group member, it was frightening but riveting at the same time. I managed to catch sight of Phontus trying to help and get in the way of some Titanium members when a figure as large as he swooped down from the roof and drew him into physical combat. It was the Eyrie pupil! Phontus didn’t waste time and took him on instantly. It was my first time in a while seeing him fight someone actually his size and stature. But I could also see who would win the fight. Within moments, Phontus was immobilised and unconscious on the ground, while the Eyrie had a just a bruise from encountering Phontus’s infamous fists. It was amazing!
The Eyrie was trying to haul him to one side when a member of the Company tried to take him down unawares. I almost stepped out of the safety of the shadows to warn him when I was pulled back roughly and saw a swift shadow dash out. The shadow, which turned out to be the old Moehog attacked the member with such ferocity that I felt a little sorry for him. The Eyrie himself was a little shocked to see the shadow, but quickly moved away and went after another member of the Company. The old Moehog spared a moment to look back at me to pass an instruction “Boy, it isn’t safe for you to remain here. Go and wait under the cypress tree the northern most edge of this city. We make our move tonight. And be quick!”
I drew myself away from the scene reluctantly, but as always; that Moehog had a point. I needed all the head start that I can get away from the city, now that I had indirectly caused all these to happen. Though I enjoyed watching the chaos between the two groups, I was and am more than glad to see the last of the Company as I left the city forever. ---
I woke up with a start upon hearing hushed voices drawing nearer. Finding myself under a cypress tree, I remembered what happened and slowly got up, only to fall back down.
“Get the boy up, boy. He will need your help until we can get him to the nearest healer.”
“But who is he Master? Wouldn’t any healer in in this city do?” the Eyrie asked as he hauled me up and steadied me on my feet.
“The boy is coming with us for the time being. And he can’t be treated in the city anymore. So we will try seek for that healer I know of in these parts. And boy… argh. Fine, you’ll be boy two and the pupil will be boy one for the time being as well! Boy two, can you walk as fast as you can?”
“I don’t think so,” I replied.
“Huh! All speed and low pain tolerance is it? Wonderful! I must have done something bad to someone when I was much younger, to be landed with you two useless Neopians now!” he grumbled before ordering me to get on his back. I hesitated. The Moehog is of smaller stature than I am and I worried that he wouldn’t be able to hold me up. “Oh, get on now!” he growled as he just picked me up and swung me on his back as though I was a mere pack. The whole time, the bluish-black Eyrie who was so competent in fighting now looked awkward and guilty for letting his master carry me. He tried to ask if he could carry me instead, but the old Moehog was so grumpy by then that the Eyrie gave up and listened quietly to the earful that he got.
So started my journey with these two strange strangers that would last a few months before I finally settled in another city somewhere, working as both scribe and messenger boy to the officials. The whole time I was with them, I ended up learning a few more fighting techniques suited for someone of my stature. But I could and would never be able to beat that Eyrie. And neither one of us could ever beat the famed yet mysterious travelling fighter, that is Master Choirus.