Marc Sero was a capable fighter, however, and was known for often boasting during combat. That was where he felt most comfortable.
The other thief was somebody Secrat had seen around before but never figured out the name of. A round-faced boy with a small, but protruding stomach. Brutus Ess' gut was from alcohol, but this boy looked like he simply let gluttony get the better of him. A boy. That was the best way to describe him.
Brown hair was even and tidy at the front. A small stubble of facial hair at the bottom of his chin.
Secrat Copé climbed out of the wagon and dropped off to the ground. The green grass under his feet. The sky was without denigration from the clouds, yet the smell of damp-grass washed ashore Secrat's nostrils. Morning dew had a magical existent more curious than all the Aeonians combined.
The Thief stretched his legs; they ached. He hadn't been on his feet very long, but the hurt would leave him soon.
He was uncertain of their location. Somewhere between Acera and Italina obviously, but with the time they had to kill, he wondered if Samuel might have taken a detour at the reins.
The soil beneath some of the grass was as dark as charcoal. That implied they were nearer to Acera and perhaps even Urgway than they were Italina. Agriculture was a necessity to Acera and was all that Urgway had to offer except for a faster route to Jalint. Once they neared Italina, they'd see the soil become brighter and fainter at the blink of an eye. In Italina, there was essentially no means for fertilization.
Copé could see Lukas Lewis leaned against one of the trees not too far off, speaking to Samuel Syi.
Besides the wet-grass, The Thief could also smell something very distinctive in the air. Beyond the smell of the leaves and the dirt, the freshness of it all, he could also smell the saltiness of the Amisoic Seas. The Seas wrapped around all Maharris, and in some areas, the Seas extended to small creeks and lakes throughout the Unprotected Wilderness. Secrat followed the smell. His legs marched through bushes and twigs, crackling some of them and sweeping through others. He could hear the loud hissing noises from beetles somewhere on a nearby tree. That, and the crickets roaming around.
Copé stopped as he met a creek. The water was a slight greenish tint and rocks led a path as the creek became deeper and deeper. Enough to submerge his body to his waist, the creek went on for as far as his eyes could see and the width from his side to the next exceeded ten feet. Secrat dropped down to his knees near the rocks and held one of the stones in his hands. The weight of it.
He chucked it into the creek and watched it skip and make a splash.
The sound of thick footsteps came behind him, but he didn't turn around to see who it was. Brutus Ess walked with such oomph that it was easy to distinguish him from everybody else. Unless, it was a bear. Secrat hoped it wasn't a bear.
"It wasn't exactly true what I said back there," Brutus said. His voice sounded more serious than usual.
"About what part?" Secrat asked, throwing his eyes over to Ess.
Copé fidgeted with a stone in his hands. Rested it in his palms. Wrapped his fingers around it.
"I have never seen Veras angrier than the night he found out what you'd done."
Brutus walked nearer to Secrat. His haggard body moved damn-near like a snail, but Copé didn't pay it much mind in this moment. Soon, Ess dropped down on his bottom beside Secrat, without grace, he landed, sending several rocks tumbling down off from the creek's edge and into the water.
"It was a mistake."
"Nobody's doubting that, not even Veras. But the whole thing burrowed into his skin, like a worm festering through the dirt. You see, that's a man with thick skin. Thick as it comes. But the simple thought you could betray him or this troupe, even by mistake, was enough to send him over the edge."
Secrat said nothing. He looked down at the stone in his hands like a nervous child being lectured by an adult.
"Veras sees something special in you. He has a long time, but to see you fail like that, that's something I didn't think he'd be able to move past."
"I never asked to be held to a higher stan..."
"But it's that high standard that saved your ass, boy!" Brutus quipped.
"That higher standard does nothing but good. Tell me, what would happen if, in some made up world, Lukas Lewis would've done been in your situation? If he'd killed Elson instead of you? If you'd been traumatized by it? Think Old Daddy Toucan would've let him come back?" Brutus Ess' voice didn't change throughout. His voice was unsteadily loud but not because anger but because inebriation.
"Toucan Veras," Secrat began, but then stopped, "Father would have made certain to have Lukas' severed head on a pike."
"That's right," Brutus agreed.
Secrat looked down at the stone in his hands. The weight of it. A lot to bear. And like last time, he would chuck it out and into the creek.
"I can be everything Toucan wants me to be," Secrat said, a smirk forming on his face at the thought of it. Humility didn't last him very long, and frankly, he figured everybody else knew it to be true. His eyes went off the creek and over to Brutus, who smiled at him with amusement.
After a snort, Brutus exclaimed: "You and Veras might not be blood, but you're his son, that's for certain."
Secrat's eyes went back to the creek, but he flinched when he heard the sound of Brutus rising up to his feet. Copé watched him a moment, as Brutus stripped out of his leggings. It wasn't a very attractive sight, because, as described, Brutus was far from physically fit. His legs like tree-trunks and his stomach round like a barrel. Brutus' body was covered in hair. It was a bear behind him after all, Secrat thought to himself.
The Red Flux & the Wunderkind THief
Chapter One (1 - 2 - 3)