Traveling light wasn't an issue for Secrat Copé. All he had to his name was his flask and a few knives. Not even the special-knives Father Toucan Veras had made him. Instead, they were sharpened stones with vine around the bottom to make a hilt. Everybody else was also able to make do with little. Everything they had could be carried on their person. Some food was loaded up in the wagon, but it'd only last a day or two for normal stomachs. The bare essentials, and if they needed more, it'd be hunted for or bought at the festival.
The trip wouldn't a long one. The Red Flux was in the middle of Acera and Italina, who often considered themselves as neighbors. They weren't that nearby, but it'd only take a day or two to arrive at Italina with horses.
Riding in the wagon as the horses pulled each of them, Secrat couldn't help but feel an unaddressed awkwardness. This was the same wagon carrying him before he killed Elson Mans.
His back was propped up against one of the walls, and opposite him was Brutus Ess; grouchily sighing after each rickety bump the wagon endured.
Samuel Syi was at the front, in the carriage, watching over and navigating the horses with the reins. Lukas Lewis was sitting to Secrat's right, some ways away, beside another of the Elite thieves. To the left of Brutus, side closest to the horses, was another of the young trainees.
Secrat sat without saying a word, nobody said a word for a while. It was early and without much breakfast in their bellies, nobody felt especially talkative. All they could do was listen in on the ruckus of the wagon wheels atop the dirt, tumbling over tree roots and rocks and whatever else. That, and enjoy the sights of the scenery around them as it changed ever-so fast.
But nobody said anything. At least not until they came to a stop.
Secrat dug his fingers down into the wood, the memories of it weren't lost on him. Memories he knew weren't lost on Lukas Lewis either. As the wagon began to slow, each of the thieves went up to their feet. They had spent the last few hours in silence but Secrat could tell it was starting to lighten up a little bit. Samuel Syi stepped out from the carriage and walked over to the wagon. It was customary for the head-Elite to be held to a high standard. However, as Samuel stepped onto the wagon, he discovered Brutus Ess' teeth gnawing on some bread. The bread had been kept in small crates dressed with a tarp over each.
Syi smiled. "I don't suppose you could've waited," he said.
Brutus stopped his eating, holding a chunk of bread in his mouth. It broke in half and part of it fell to the floor. "I waited several, ... several seconds," Ess fired back.
"The Red Flux has an image to uphold." Samuel replied.
"Who fed you those lies? Our image is the scummiest of scum."
"True, but that doesn't mean we have to be rude scum," Syi replied, letting out a soft chuckle as Brutus handed him a loaf of bread.
They each became seated again once the bread was handed out. The taste wasn't the best, but it'd be filling enough. Secrat watched Ess delve his teeth into his loaf of bread. Soon, Ess would adjust to his normal self with food in his belly. Although, his regular demeanor was a little less ill-tempered.
Lukas Lewis leaped out from the wagon, without saying anything to anyone. Secrat watched him step out and walk further out into the forest. His eyes traveled back over inside the wagon. Brutus Ess stared over at him.
This might have been the first time Secrat could recall Brutus acknowledging his existence since being withdrawn from The Flux. "That boy really hates you, you know?" Brutus remarked. The way he said it felt more like a blunt statement than a judgment.
"I made a terrible mistake and all I am looking to do is repent," Secrat Copé replied. He had rehearsed his lines many times. Killing Elson Man felt no different than killing Azlak Temps, or more accurately, the man he thought to be Temps. Such an act was always the same. Still, he felt guilt at his mistake.
But opted not to dwell.
"Lukas Lewis isn't really made to be a Thief. Thick-skin. That's what you've got to have, and Lewis' skin could be sliced by the blade of a leaf."
Brutus Ess said matter-of-factly, chomping down on a second loaf of bread. Secrat smirked but regained himself. He had not expected that. Even from Brutus.
"People die," Brutus remarked, stopping a moment to let the declarative statement sink in. "Fact is, Lukas didn't even know Elson, not like I did. If I can get over what you did, he should be better by now. It's not that he's bothered by Elson's death, but that he's bothered by death itself. He best get comfortable with it."
"You weren't exactly the best of friends with Elson, however," Samuel Syi countered, sitting down in the middle of the wagon with his back leaned against the crates. "The act made Veras angrier than I had ever seen him. Secrat took one of our own. And yet, it's Lukas Lewis that feels excluded and distant from the Flux."
"Toucan's been angrier than that, I'll tell you that much for absolute certain. If he were really angry than this fella wouldn't be standing here with us," Brutus said, motioning to Secrat.
"Perhaps," Samuel added. It seemed as though he wanted to say something else or offer a rebuttal, but his passiveness restrained him.
"A loss of innocence and a loss of a friend, I can only hope time will heal his wounds. Time will bring forgiveness faster than anything I could ever do," Secrat said with a somber inflection.
Samuel Syi nodded at Secrat Copé. His dark-skinned face never looked angry or annoyed or frustrated but did look sad.
Samuel climbed out of the carriage and started way toward where Lewis was headed, leaving Copé and Ess with the other thieves.
The Elite's name was Marc Sero and he was a keep-to-himself fellow that didn't talk very much or step out of line. A lot like Lewis in that sense, except Lewis could be friendly or likable. Lukas could be sociable at times too, but Sero only spoke a word when he had to.
The Red Flux & the Wunderkind THief
Chapter One (1 - 2 - 3)