One Month Later

I went to the market today to check on how the locals were faring. To see if they were being harassed (more than usual, that is).

While inquiring about, two young gangsters accosted a shop keep and overturned his cart. I pulled him to the side and placed myself between the two youngsters and the shop keep, glaring at them with stony resolution.

The bigger of the two attacked me, but I shed his blow and continued my glare. I then struck at both, stopping an inch from each face, giving them the chance to realize the error they were making.

A large Lapin climbed to the top of the overturned cart, demanding they cease their behavior.

Suddenly, he was pushed from behind. At the last moment I rolled out of the way, springing back up to a fighting stance.

A Waxmade strode toward the fray, viciously mocking the new arrival’s clothing and that of his compatriots.

Dodging more blows, I struck again at both foes, hitting them squarely.

The crowed gathered in, drawn to the fight. One gang member took off running. I followed, ducked under a blow, ran up a wall around a slack-jawed bystander, burst into the hallway and leapt into the air, landing a blow moments after he released a dagger at the Lapin fighter.

I heard more mockery from the Waxmade inside.

The fight continued inside, but I couldn’t let them call for reinforcements. The gang member moved down the hall.

I followed.

I pulled a shuriken free from my satchel’s strap and threw it at the back of his knee. He stumbled and fell heavy to the ground, unconscious.

I turned around and saw another fleeing at the opposite end of the hallway. I shouted to the crowd surrounding the unconscious man, “No one touches him!” and ran toward the retreating foe. Separated by a void, I threw another shuriken, but it sank into the wall beside him. The fighter took a running charge at him, but he escaped.

The fighter and I righted the shop keep’s cart, while the Waxmade bound the unconscious gangster. The Waxmade gathered the gangster’s possessions and placed them in a pile across the hall from the man, then proceeded to revive him. I picked up the man’s knives and put them in my satchel, telling him that he would not be hurting anyone with them. The gangster told us we had no idea who we were dealing with. The fighter put his face close to his and asked, “Who are we dealing with?” He told us the gang was led by a man named Taflish.

With steely resolution in my voice, I told him, “Tell Taflish to leave this market alone.”

With a kick in the back, the Waxmade sent him on his way, holding fast to the man’s leather jacket. He gathered up what possessions the children hadn’t pilfered, and introduced himself as Hal Frourbaugh.

One Month Later

Watchwater Chri3