The Aer Festival's aesthetic enlightened Secrat Copé on his own in-the dark obliviousness. It looked like no festival he'd ever been to, and that made him realized he'd never been to a festival prior to the day's event.
The crowd was sickeningly robust. Even the time in the very populated Whispey Deserts was not proper inspiration. Th the left of him, a few feet, was a person, same as to his right. And, if, for any reason, he decided to halt his movements, he'd be run over. Behind him, the force of impatient men and women was a constant. But in-front of him, his bear-shaped acquaintance fought through the civilians. And was winning.
The visuals were scarce and restricted. In-front of the people was more people, and in-front of them was likely more of the same. As Secrat felt himself shoved into Brutus for the third or fourth time, he wondered how anyone in their right mind would subject themselves to this.
The crowd offered no wiggle room, and for that, Secrat couldn't decide if pick pocketing would be easier or more difficult, or something in-between. It was all about the big steals now though. Whatever that meant. Perhaps Secrat was expected to rob the richest of nobleman? But, more likely, Father Toucan had something more in mind.
Worse than all of that though, than the crowdedness and obscured vision, was the sound. Overlapping whispers in unison, an ever-constant, but not one of them could be clearly understood or distinguished by Copé.
Luckily, the deeper and deeper into Italina they became, the more the crowd began to thin, like water from opened floodgates beginning to settle. It remained hectic, but in time, Secrat at least found himself able to look down at his feet without being thrown into Brutus.
Where Acera had a badly worn cobblestone pathway, the floor beneath Italina was well-maintained marble, tiled in squares. Squares made unique through different shades of gray, each of them with a black border around them. An ambitious décor, all things considered. How it wasn't completely scoffed up to hell was an answer alluding Secrat.
The restaurants were the first distinguishable attraction, albeit, very occupied. Ollie's Abil was the name of the restaurant the Guard mentioned, and with white columns holding it up and glass-walls peering into the candle-lit establishment, it looked like a restaurant held to a high standard. A delicacy. And, as such, all the Italina civilians with reservations boarded themselves inside, safe from the common-folk. It didn't seem hectic inside, through the glass-walls, they all appeared to calmly enjoy their meals.
Copé saw a second restaurant appearing more frequented by visitors from the Aer Festival, but cornered the restaurant before he could place a sign with the name. Brutus directed him into an alleyway between two adjacent buildings where it was less populated. A gap of about eight feet. Secrat rested his back against one of the buildings, his hands flat against the walls.
"Daaaaaaaamn, boy!" Brutus Ess exclaimed, looking out at the mob beyond the alleyway. And Brutus was accurate, in-fact, Secrat noticed his body was shaking because the torment of it all. Bringing in a breath through his nose and letting it out from his mouth, his initial shock began to fade and welcomed some rational cognitive coherence, "Where do, ...," he started, almost coherently, "Where do we start?"
Brutus shrugged, looking out at the crowd and shaking his head by the bulk of it. "Maybe we can rob a local supermarket of all its apples or something," jested Brutus with a smirk.
Secrat let out a polite chuckle, hardly humored by the comment. His worrisome angst mustn't have fully dissipated and all The Thief wanted was for Brutus to lead. But Brutus had other intentions.
Copé walked to the edge of the alleyway and looked into the crowd. But for only seconds, as the sounds behind him kept The Thief from venturing further. At first, anticipating Brutus' mischief, Secrat found a line of little markets on the sides of the alleyway Copé hadn't even noticed prior. Distinguished by their various sales items, this particular strip of bazaars seemed devoted mostly to carpet selling. If I wanted to rob pompous jackasses, Secrat thought to himself.
He and Brutus ventured fourth. "Even the alleys are shops," Brutus commented.
"But nothing looks like what Toucan Veras had in-mind," Secrat whispered back.
"Never know though, and we can let the crowd bleed out in the meantime," Brutus said, then stopped.
A smaller fellow with a black top hat bowed in-front of them. His head lifted and a huge smile was spread. A smile of ungodly stretch, with the smile, all his teeth were visible and the top of his gums. "Well, well, well," He said fast, standing straight, "Hello, wanderers!" The man's ensemble was a black suit, riddled by dust and dirt, old, but like it was once very expensive. His smile emptied and his voice descended into monotone, "Oh, I thought you were women, never mind." The Man in the Top Hat straightened his tie calmly, brushed himself off, and walked away.
Secrat heard a chuckle from Brutus as they watched The Man leaned back against the wall. Beside him was a large coffin-shaped box, standing up, open.
The box was black, but the inside was a dark-red leather. A story to that box Copé hadn't the interest to hear.
The market with the smallest crowd is where Copé and Ess looked first. A wooden stand with small rug squares strewn about the top as samples. Carpets rolled and stood up behind the merchant. One rug in-particular stood behind him, rolled out and fixed to where it rested against the wall. The grand attraction, it'd seem.
"Oh, definitely," the merchant answered, a light-skinned, scrappy-looking fellow with long, brown, unkempt hair. "All of the items here are screamingly authentic. Absolutely," his voice, laid back and sleepy.
"It looks lovely, I must say," the older woman in-front of Secrat commented.
They haggled, and the merchant's willingness to reduce the costs of his item in-half stood out to The Thief. His items might have been authentic, but they were likely useless as well. As the older woman left him, Secrat walked on, Brutus had evidently pursued other pastures. "What's the significance of the rug behind you?"
"I'll tell you, but brace yourselves, it's a story, I'll tell you," The Merchant started.
"This is the very same rug that," he stopped again for a second, "When I was a kid, I'd walk around at night in Italina. And one night, I saw a falling star," The Merchant's eyes grew larger, "I'm tell you it was this rug, mate!" he said in a shouting whisper.
Secrat walked away.
His eyes looked the room for Brutus, who looked to be having the same successes. They walked back to one another, "Nothing?" Copé asked.
"I offer discounts!" The Merchant yelled behind him, but Copé ignored it, looking at Brutus.
"A man tried to sell me narcotics," Brutus answered grimly.
"Did you nick them?" Copé asked.
"He said they'd make me smaller."
"And yes." Brutus said, showing Secrat the vial of green liquid upon shoving it down the pouch in his leggings.
The Red Flux & the Wunderkind THief
Chapter One (1 - 2 - 3)