Monday, April 9, 2018

Page 1681

((Triple Monday -- Page 2 of 3))
Parson was a little surprised when Germal didn’t complain. He actually looked like he might do as Damian said, but there wasn’t time for Parson to tell him not to, because Damian was already sneaking over to the horses again. Parson and Germal followed.

They were more careful this time. The same horse from before still snorted and neighed lowly at him, and Parson tried not to let his fingers get too close to the horse’s big mouth. It took a bit of time, but he finally managed to undo the tie on the post and move on to the next horse.

Soon enough, the boys’ work was done, and they were ready for the next stage. Parson decided to take the initiative before Damian did anything drastic with that stick, and he poked one of the horses just above the tail with his knife.

It wasn’t quite enough, but the horse was obviously displeased. Parson slapped its behind and gave a low, “Hyah!”

That did it. The horse scrambled away from him, bumping into the other beasts and disturbing them, too. The other boys slapped them, too, and Germal narrowly avoided a kick that probably would’ve sent him flying. Nonetheless, they accomplished their goal, and the horses all ran off into the night, creating enough of a clamor to alert the men in the tavern.

The boys scuttled up by the window just before a pair of men’s faces appeared in it. A wooden barrel was all that hid them from view.

The men ran out of the building in time to see their horses bolting toward the horizon. And after a brief exchange of indistinguishable words that sounded like an argument, all five of the men ran off to chase them.



Damian and Germal were already rushing into the tavern.

“Wait!” Parson tried to tell them as he followed.

Sure enough, the sixth man in his black-and-brown uniform was still there, standing by the stairs and having a word with the elderly bartender. He saw them come in and seemed confused, though not for long. Perhaps their body language or the looks on their faces gave them away, somehow.

“What do you rascals think you’re doin’?” the man said, placing a hand on the pommel of his still-sheathed sword.

They all hesitated, none answering him.

“Boys?” said the bartender, apparently not understanding the situation. “You’re too young to be in here. Run on home, now. Go on.”

One of the doors upstairs creaked, and everyone looked up at the same time to see a girl standing there. It wasn’t Alisa, but Parson did recognize those pigtails and big eyebrows. Claudia was her name, and she was definitely from Trintol. She looked frightened.

Perhaps Damian thought it best to take advantage of the distraction she provided, because the boy chose that moment to rush in headfirst. He didn’t seem to care that all he had on him was a stick.

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