The sound of crackling sticks roared in the raging fire. It almost had a rhythm to it. Or at least, Secrat took a liking to it. His legs out-stretched as he sat down on the grass, feeling the warmth of the fire in-front of him. Dark outside now. The night-air vanquished by the blaze, the blackness and smoke traveling up with the stars. All of it was very necessary to him. A sanctum for his wearied bones.
He gnashed his teeth into the side of the cooked fish.
Brutus Ess was a skilled fisherman.
A crunching sound happened with every bite he made. Perhaps it had been in the fire for too long. But Secrat didn't mind. It was a different kind of taste to what he had become accustom to. Fish wasn't something he had eaten many times before.
"I don't see why none of you joined me in the creek, would've been able to catch your own fish. Been a nice bonding moment for all of us!" Brutus spoke with such unsteady enthusiasm that Secrat hardly recognized him.
Brutus took a swig out of his flask. Not as nice as the one Secrat had. Ess' flask had a brown and fuzzy-looking fabric wrapped around it. The flask was likely hand-made by Brutus.
"The leeches you'll discover on your more sensitive areas might help you figure out why no one wanted to bond with you," Samuel commented dryly.
Samuel wasn't wrong about the leeches either, when Brutus arose out of the water, his legs were covered in them, and because his leg hair, he was still finding more as the night progressed.
Brutus scratched at his leggings, now dressed, the fire long-since dried his body. "Toucan's sense of time and distance don't seem to be what they used to be." Brutus let out. "We wasted a whole day doing absolute nonsense and will still arrive at Italina with time to spare."
"I don't have a problem with it," the round-faced thief exclaimed. "I am only happy it has gotten me a day off from cleaning the horses." A obnoxious laugh followed that sealed the chubby fellow as a new target for insult. "He wanted us to establish a rapport before we actually made it Italina. He wanted for this added day to make everybody a little bit more comfortable with each other and help us all function together coherently." Samuel answered back
"But, we're all comfortable with each," the chubby thief stopped. He threw a glance over to Secrat and then to Lukas, figuring it out for himself.
A laugh from Brutus Ess followed. His body was leaned back against a hollowed tree trunk covered in dirt and moss. This left nothing about his heavy protruding stomach to the imagination. Some might have been insecure about such a figure. Maybe have felt the need to hide it. Brutus wasn't like that. He wasn't ashamed of anything about himself, and he let his gut hang out to show it. "That's right, Father Toucan doesn't want Lukey Luke or Secrat over there," motioned at both as he spoke, "Ripping into each other. He 'specially doesn't want it happened in somewhere as crowded as the Aer Festival. But I don't think we got nothing to worry about, you ain't going to kill each other, are you boys?" Brutus asked, looking forward over at Secrat, who was now feeling uncomfortable.
Copé gave a polite smile as distraction. Distraction so he had time to find a team-building response that would benefit him more than work to his detriment. "There are no ill feelings for me to Lukas Lewis. He did nothing wrong and I can only hope his anger for me subsides in time." Secrat replied. The words felt awkward as they came out of his lips. No inflection in them, and no emotion. Like he was reading a bit of dialogue out from a storybook, but nobody seemed to catch onto his phoniness.
Brutus chuckled aloud some more, laughing at a joke that nobody but him seemed to be let in on. "That's right," Brutus said, both his hands resting on his belly.
Secrat found himself with an odd mental-visual of Brutus playing the drums with his stomach. Brutus looked through the fire at Lewis, "And what about you?"
Secrat threw his eyes over to Lukas also. The fire was in-front of him, making a slight discoloration on Lukas as well as brought him into the light.
Lewis looked like a demon, but Secrat knew Lukas wasn't a demon, and knew that Lukas looked through the flames at Secrat and saw the same thing. Secrat wasn't completely sure that he, himself, wasn't one of the devil's men.
Lukas Lewis looked at them with cold-eyes and replied, "I'm not the one that kills people."
Nobody said anything for a moment. Leave it to Lukas to end a wonderful night on such a somber note, Secrat thought, but didn't say aloud. After all, that wouldn't have been very team-building.
Brutus Ess was the one to break the silence, as Secrat was certain everybody expected. "I don't 'spose any of you has any smokes," blurted out, coming off a little sadder sounding than usual, perhaps out of empty. "I think I dropped all mine somewhere near the creek."
It was empathy that made Brutus sad, but inconvenience. He dug his finger-nails into his teeth, scraping the pieces of fish out the gaps between them. Brutus had already finished two of the fish he had caught, whereas Secrat was still chomping at the bits with one of them and thought it unlikely for him to be able to finish it.
"Do you think it'll be difficult stealing at the Aer Festival," the round-faced thief asked. Like Brutus, he had already dug into two fish by himself, while everyone else was finishing their first.
The Red Flux & the Wunderkind THief
Chapter One (1 - 2 - 3)