Copé smirked some more. This was the same man that earlier in the day approached a woman with clenched fists and cold-blooded murder on his mind. Secrat knew himself no different than that but found it off putting to see the same man so indignant. “Do you enjoy Italina?” Secrat inquired.
“It's absolutely terrific!” Ezik exclaimed. “The folks are rude and pompous, the cost of living's damn-near impossible, it's almost always crowded, and I can't hardly hear myself think, let alone sleep.”
“Sounds terrific,” Secrat said, finishing off his first full-glass of alcohol.
“You've dealt with much worse, brother.” The Giant, Ricar Bell reminded.
His voice frightened The Thief, more-so for his location, he was scooping up the remnants of their bar stool, but Secrat didn't recall seeing him move from the counter. Very quiet for a man of such stature.
The sound of the entrance-door being kicked came soon after, and once more, Copé jumped, as did everyone else. The Heavy Man walked forward, back into The Pub, his footwork sluggish, expressing his inebriation. His hands clenched tightly, and beside him, several more men entered the fold.
Every bit as hefty, and all every bit as drunk. Secrat left his bar-stool and went off to the side, he saw a knowing look from Ezic that told him it was the right decision. Copé knew it wasn't wise to draw attention to himself. Ess, however, stayed planted into his seat, watching like it was a stage-play, a show for his enjoyment.
“You seem lost,” Ezic said, a worry on his face that was hardly masked by a tough-guy demeanor.
“Far from it,” the Heavy Man argued, reaching over the counter and grabbing Ezic by his tunic, yanking him over the counter to him like a rag doll.
“Let's hear some more of that pretty-boy mouth of yours.”
“I,” Ezic stopped, “… I don't want any trouble.”
“Course not,” the Heavy Man said, shoving The Pale Man forward with all his might. Ezic's back slammed hard against the counter, and Copé could clearly hear a yelp come from him upon impact.
“Damn you!” Ricar said, … like a child unused to swearing, and he drove a boot into the large man. The large man, caught off-guard, let a loud noise escape him that said it all. The sound of ribs cracking sounded plainly as well.
Like lions on a gazelle, the Heavy Man's friends went on the attack against The Giant, Ricar.
Three of them. One midsized and short, older-looking, about mid-to-late forties, average-build, with graying brown hair. The other fit and muscular, was about ten years younger, but also, several beers drunker. The second's hair was long and straight but looked polluted by a night of debauchery. And, finally, the third, every bit as prodigious as The Heavy Man, his face was not as much old or young as it was hair. That is, his face was engulfed by a long beard and midlength brown-hair.
Ricar fought back, at first, shoving them all away and demonstrating the sheer height advantage he had on all of them, standing at around seven foot, five inches.
Copé watched on, knowing the numbers would soon be too much for him,
and he even felt a little bit of guilt over the fact. That is, until he watched Brutus Ess bash one of them over the side of the head with his glass.
The man fell instantly as the glass connected to the side of his skull. It caught him off-guard more than anything, as, it did not draw blood from him or cut his flesh. The glass grazed him and only broke upon impact with the ground. Seconds after, the rest of the guys' mates piled onto him, and after a single fist to Ess' injured mid-region, he dropped like a rock.
Copé looked on only for a moment. The death of his colleague wouldn't be very convenient. He ran forward, taking a page from Ezik, leaping onto one of the bar stools, alas, however, it was simultaneous with the smaller brothers' unexpected return to a standing position. The Thief made a valiant try to sway himself mid-flight, but changed nothing, he collided into Ezik Bell, clonking heads first and falling down against the dirt-floor.
Ezik reacted fast, twisting and turning his body until he squirmed out from underneath Copé and pinned down his arms. “Whose side are you on!?” Ezik asked with a confused look on his face, dirt riddling his face from the fall.
“Yours,” Copé answered, though, he answered with some uncertainty in
Ezic laughed sarcastically then frowned,
“Well, let me just say you've been a big help.”
In that moment, The Heavy Man drove a fist to the side of Ezic's face. Copé heard it connect, in-fact, he saw the blood spurt out of the Pale Man's mouth upon impact. The spit left his mouth and he dropped off to the dirt-floor.
Copé fought back to his feet. Ess was lying lifeless now on the ground, and meanwhile, it was The Giant battling against the three men. Secrat found it most curious, the simple fact he wasn't losing.
The Heavy Man attempted a club-like fist down on Secrat, who moved out of the way, causing the Heavy Man to drive his fist onto the counter again. This time, breaking through it. The Man seemed unaffected, a considerably sized piece of wood splintering into the bottom of his fist. Blood dripped down his fingers.
Secrat kicked him between the legs. Nobler attacks were for older men.
The Heavy Man held his crotch as Copé reached down to grab a piece of wood broken off from the counter. However, right as he reached his hand down, he felt the Heavy Man's boot stamp down over his fingers.
A cry of agony and dismay came from Copé as the Heavy Man's shoe lifted off his hand. He yanked it out of reach of him and suffered. When Toucan did that, months prior, it took away The Thief's ability to make a fist.
Now, he'd be lucky if he would ever be able to move any of his fingers again. The Fat Hand Smasher did a quick movement, dragging The Thief to his feet by the back of his shirt.
Copé felt the heavy hyperventilating of the man, already drenched with sweat. The warm and odorous breath of the man on his face and The Thief headbutted him. He had no doubts it'd hurt him more than the Fat Man, but he needed to buy some time for himself.
In the end, that's what it did, as the Fat Man held his head angrily. Secrat had heard the man's jaw slam shut like a door kicked in and thought it likely he bit is waggling tongue with his reflex. Cupping a spot on his face, once he freed his hands, Copé could see the blood gushing out from his mouth, confirming his suspicions.
Behind him, Secrat could see Brutus and Ezic had both made it back to their feet. However, they were preoccupied with helping The Giant against the other three men.
The Heavy Man glared angrily at The Thief. Blood covering the bottom half of his face a crimson mask. The sight was almost more frightening than Not Azlak Temps in Acera. Not Azlak Temps was near-naked, however, which gave him the edge.
The Heavy Man charged at Secrat, lugging the body he was not in full control of. Secrat did the only thing he could thing to do … run. The opposite direction, of course, he noticed the bar seemed to have cleared out of the other customers. He snatched an unfinished glass of alcohol from a vacant table and tossed it in the man's direction. He was not surprised to discover it doing no real damage. The Heavy Man kept running at him like a large rolling boulder, it left Secrat having to use all his skills to defend himself.
He thought of nothing before it was too late.
The feeling of the man running into him felt like being run over by a carriage. Nay, it felt like if a chariot reeled itself off the Sanchi Tower onto him. And not a small carriage either, but one of those three stories ones Copé saw when leaving the Aer Festival the first time around.
The wind was knocked out of him and ricocheting off him and into the wall only knocked it out some more.
As Copé fell to his knees in anguish, he watched as Ezic was flipped onto one of the wooden tables by the muscular man. The table broke under him after a short delay.
At least someone's having a worse time than him, he thought. “You should have stayed out of it, would've made it a lot easier on yourself.” His voice broke off occasionally between breaths, blood and sweat drooling off him like a big dog in the Deserts.
“But ….” Secrat began, and stopped, “I've never been one for making things easier on myself.” Secrat said, a dizzy feeling in him like the whole room was spinning around him, but in its spinning, he noticed something special off to the side of the bar he'd forgotten about.
The rusty and metallic taste of iron in his mouth. The taste of blood.
The Heavy Man paid him a little half-smile, fairly content with his revenge. He turned his back to him and began to make his leave to assist the others. Copé climbed to his feet soon after, a malfunctioning equilibrium made his body stumbled some. But then, like a man with a death wish, he threw a half-full glass to the back of the man's head.
Mid-throw, Secrat had second thoughts for his decision. But once the shattered sound came as it smacked against the back of his head, The Thief realized there was no going back.
The Heavy Man turned around fast and immediately charged after Secrat. Blind rage had taken the reins for him now.
Copé, same as before, ran away, this time in a different direction. The hanging piece of plywood punctured with knives, he ducked beneath it and assumed the Heavy Man would go around. As he met the wall, Copé put one foot in-front of the other. He ran up the side of the wall without fear, his goal to flip over the charging man.
Alas, an acrobatic godsend, Copé was not, and he found himself landing with his stomach over the shoulder of the man; trapped. The Heavy Man ran him into the wall. Imminent pain, but The Thief swallowed it to premeditate a revised attack. The Heavy Man walked around with Secrat in his arms, squeezing tightly.
In a desperate attempt, Secrat raked the man's eyes with his finger nail, causing The Heavy Man to free him from his clutches. Secrat did not change positions, and instead, climbed further up the man, reaching his hands out until he could finally make a grab for the plank of wood that dangled from the ceiling by a rope.
It happened fast, so fast Secrat didn't stop to think of what he'd done in desperation. Secrat Copé took the plan of wood, punctured with knives and slammed the blade-end side of it into the Heavy Man's back.
Copé freed himself from proximity and watched as the man reacted. At first with bulging eyes of sheer shock and a grunt, then, he dropped to the floor, bringing the blank of wood down with him. It was now “attached” to his back.
Secrat let out a big sigh, fully depleted. Though, it wasn't for certain the man was dead, it was safe to assume.
The Thief looked on over to the others. Brutus Ess was back on the ground, no surprise there, and Ezic and Ricar were both handling their own well against the two conscious men.
A man was dead by Secrat's hands, and whether it was just or not, Father Toucan would be displeased. But it freed Copé's hands. With nothing to lose. The Thief walked over to the inside of the counter, walking through the newly made door-way.
Lifting the heavy bottle of beer, scribed with the words “Brother's Beer,” it was more than half full and was even heavier than it looked, exceeding forty pounds.
The cavalryman would arrive soon, once they had wind of the fighting, Copé knew he needed to finish the altercation off. But before Copé could do anything, he found himself attacked by the muscular attacker. The bottle fell out of his hand and rolled somewhere else, and from the fist to his back, Copé dropped to one knee. The ache of everything on his body was evident. His hair felt a yank, and his relenting body followed, falling and slamming to the ground. Secrat looked to the ceiling in a daze, feeling a deep and full hatred for Brutus Ess.
The Red Flux & the Wunderkind THief
Chapter One (1 - 2 - 3)