Small speckles of mud were visible on the blade. Faint enough that Copé hoped Toucan wouldn't notice.
"I see," Father responded, standing up from his chair as well. His eyes went over the blade. Father was never known much for sharing his emotions, aside from anger, frustration, or a simple lack there-of. This moment was not an exception.
The thief tried his best to remedy the situation, to remember how Azlak Temps had spoken of the sword with such passion: "It would seem to me that someone here hasn't been reading their history books. When the Aeonians first ascended up," Secrat began, but before he could really get into digging his grave, Toucan lifted his hand up, silencing him once more.
"I am aware of who Charles Tertius is." Toucan brought a breath of air into his lungs and let it dissipate out. "That sword will make amends with The Red Flux. That sword will welcome you back into our troupe and into our family." Secrat smiled. His head looking down at the sword, he stood back to his feet and eased himself. "Thank you," Secrat said beneath his breath before flashing his smile over to Father Toucan Veras.
However, Veras didn't appear to be finished: "The Red Flux is a forgiving entity because it has to be. Thieves in the night, we've all killed somebody once before in our lives. I've killed more than my fair share and those are scars I wear for which I am not proud." Toucan's voice was calm but underneath that, Copé heard something else in his voice as well. Deep and hidden away, but it was there. "I look at you as one of my biggest accomplishments. I've never said that before but it's the truth. But I also look at you as one of my biggest failures, and do you know why?"
Secrat knew what he was hearing in Toucan's voice now. It was shame and pity and it was frustration. All three of those things, each more abundant than the last. It was the words coming out that bothered Copé. They offended him, and it bothered him more to know whatever Father would say, would more than likely be true. But Secrat cared not about morality, and only cared about it his lack there-of being addressed. Holding his tongue, however, as there was nothing to earn from having a fit.
"Why, Father?" Secrat merely asked. Humoring Father. Bracing himself.
"You never change, and you never learn." Toucan answered. "You are the same selfish and egocentric fool you've always been!" His voice was loud for the final sentence but that all went away as a quieter tone commenced, "Or at least that's what I am thinking. I am thinking you're the same as you always have been. Maybe you're a little humbled by your time away, knowing it's a lot more difficult to make it out-there on your own. But that's not what I am looking for. That's not change and that's not how one seeks to be forgiven. I don't want you welcoming yourself back because it's convenient to you. I look back at all the wrong things I've done with feelings of disappointment and feelings of disgust, but you look at them like humanity itself is nothing more than an obstacle standing between you, riches and treasure."
Toucan counted on his fingers with each addition to the list. "And women. And alcohol. And you don't think of others as people." Secrat made an offended face, but fixed himself, trying not to lose his composure. "I won't keep you out of The Red Flux. I can't keep you out of The Red Flux. Not for killing another member. You're worth more than banishment. But you said something before I brought you in here, and do you know what that was?"
Copé shook his head.
"You told Lukas Lewis you didn't need his forgiveness. That's where your issue lies. You don't need it, but you're supposed to want it." Toucan Veras said, and for some unexplained reason, Copé made eye-contact with Father. His eyes made The Thief feel weak. And how a stare could be so condescending, Copé knew not.
"Lukas isn't like you. Murder isn't something he has been in-contact with. He's weaker than you are. But he IS loyal, and he IS a good person. These are traits I'd like more than anything for you. Lukas will have a room dug for him in the Trophy Room in due time. But you, you'll be starting at the very bottom. And the only way you'll ever go anywhere at all, be trusted on your own heist, or move up the ranks ... is if Lewis approves."
Secrat felt goosebumps on the back of his neck by those words. Toucan smirked with satisfaction. "Welcome back to The Red Flux, Secrat. Your former home has since been filled; you'll have to dig yourself a new one. I'll sort it out with the rest of the members once they've awoke. Goodbye now,"
The Red Flux & the Wunderkind THief
Chapter One (1 - 2 - 3)