Karifki's Beginning: Part Two
It was nearly two hours later when Karifki pushed open the door to a small diner on the far side of town. He looked around for a second then found what his eyes were looking for. Xavier sat with four of his ‘buddies’ in a corner booth in the back of the diner. This diner was the drop off point for all of the Neovian Thieves ‘findings’, as the diner was owned by Xavier.
The rules were that you drop off your stuff at the counter and receive your next assignment. But Karifki walked past the counter and ignored the waiter’s objections as he made his way to the back booth. He stopped a few feet away from the table, for he knew better than to approach without an invitation.
Xavier glanced up at him. “What do you want, kid?”
Karifki took that as an invitation and stepped up to the table. They had been playing a game of ‘Cheat’, but they all stopped and stared at him. He was clutching his side in pain and had tucked the sword into his bag so no one could see it till he was ready for them to.
“I-I would like to ask you a question, Sir,” he said, clearing his throat.
Xavier sat back and motioned for him to continue.
Karifki had been planning this moment for a while, what he would say and everything so he cleared his throat once more then let it out, “You know that I didn’t want to be in this guild, but you forced me into it. So, I’ve been stealing for you for six whole years now, but... I want to leave Neovia. I want ‘ta see the world. So, instead of just ditching out on you I’d like to offer you a bribe. And my question is, would you take a bribe?” There. He had said it, exactly the way he wanted to as well. Now he waited silently for his ‘boss’ to speak.
Xavier sat with his arms crossed and staring intently into Karifki’s eyes. Karifki’s eyes did not waver and he held his ground despite his aching side.
“Well, it would depend what your offer was, kid. I’m not gonna take some lame item for your freedom. You are worth a lot to me,” he said. That was one of the things Karifki liked about Xavier. He got straight to the point. He never bounced around the truth.
“Yet, you can’t even remember my name,” Karifki said. It was a bold move, considering what Xavier could do to him.
Xavier laughed. “So what will you get me for your freedom, eh? A rug? Some nice earrings? Oh! Perhaps a NeoCash item? Hmm?” His goons joined him in his laughter.
“How about a ‘Sword of Skardsen’?” Karifki said and everyone stopped laughing.
“A ‘Sword of Skardsen’?” He chuckled deeply, “Ya know what, kid? If you get me a Sword of Skardsen. I’ll consider your freedom paid in full.”
“Promise?” Karifki asked brightly.
“Promise,” he said and they all began to laugh again only more uproariously than before.
Karifki smiled smugly. “That’s what I was hoping you’d say,” he said then pulled out the sword and put it on the table gently.
Karifki was pleased to see all their faces drop into astonished gazes and they stood up from their table, backing away as if the sword was on fire. It took a moment, then Xavier slowly reached out and picked up the sword. He examined it closely then his eyes drifted back to Karifki.
“Where did you get this?” he whispered.
“A mansion. I just got back. I didn’t tell you because I wanted to make sure you’d let me go first. But it’s all yours. Have fun. I’ve gotta go pack.” Karifki started to walk away, but was grabbed by the shoulder and spun around to face Xavier.
“You just went over there picked this up and left. And you just got back,” he stated.
“Well, no, it was a lot harder than that. But yeah, that’s the jist of it,” Karifki said, shrugging his shoulders. “Can I go now?”
Xavier smiled again, staring in awe at the sword. “I don’t think so, buddy,” he said, not looking at Karifki.
“Excuse me?!” Karifki shouted.
“You just proved to me that you are worth a lot more than I thought you were. You are one of my top thieves! I’m not letting you go after this!”
“What?! But you said...” Karifki struggled in the hold of the Robot Krawk.
“You’re staying here, dude. And you are going to steal for me your whole life. You have more potential than a lot of my finest guys. And I’m not gonna let that slip away,” Xavier said, finally taking his eyes off the sword.
“BUT YOU PROMISED!” Karifki yelled.
“Did I? I don’t remember that.” Xavier nodded to the Krawk, who began pulling Karifki away.
“Yeah, no surprise there! You are so stupid it’s a wonder you can even remember your name,” Karifki shouted and Xavier’s smile dropped.
“What did you say?” he asked, his voice dropping into a dangerous whisper.
“You can’t even remember what I just said? Jeez. Maybe you should see a doctor. Your stupidity might be contagious.” Karifki bit his lip in an effort to stop his flow of words. He always got like this whenever he felt threatened. His mouth had a mind of its own.
“You’re pushing it, brat,” the Krawk warned threateningly.
“I’m going to say this nice and slow so you can understand me,” Karifki continued brazenly, “I. WILL NOT. STEAL. FOR YOU. ANYMORE.”
Xavier’s eyes were murderous and he jutted his chin at the Krawk.
“You’ve done it now, kid,” he said as he pulled Karifki out the back door.
Once in the alley behind the diner, Karifki was slammed against the wall and his satchel was taken from him. He protested, but was powerless to stop them as they dumped its contents on the ground and took all the valuables from it and handed them to Xavier.
“Thanks for the items, kid. It’s a shame that you are gonna be just another Brain Tree quest. Too bad, really.”
Karifki spat. He was too angry to let the fear in at just that moment.
Xavier slammed his fist into the wall by Karifki’s head, pulverizing the bricks and leaned in close.
“You won’t even be able to be a ghost by the time I’m through with you,” he said, his voice dripping poison. Then he hit him.
I won’t go into the details of this part. Let’s just say that Karifki’s stats were in the negatives. He didn’t know how negative, but just being in the negatives was enough for him. We’ll skip to the end for those readers who are more sensitive to violence (and the TNT, yes, some of us do read your tips. Thank you very much ~_^).
Xavier leaned back for the finale blow. Karifki knew this was the end. He didn’t think it would end like this, in an alley back against the wall with four or five large, cruel pets about to finish the job and get on with their lives.
He thought he’d at least have a Petpet.
But, just as Xavier’s fist was descending in an ending, crushing blow, a ghostly pale blue light intercepted it and in a wink Xavier was thrown to the other side of the alley, though he did not fall.
Karifki blinked his almost swollen-shut eyes at the ghost before him. He was a Lupe, though not THE Ghost Lupe, just a ghost Lupe. He was very tall and was dressed rather oddly for this part of Neopia. He was wearing swim trunks, with a ‘Star of Paradise Flower’ print on them and a wet suit top, with flip-flops. His hair was as white as snow and his fur was the natural, ghostly pale blue. His tail whipped back and forth slowly in front of Karifki’s face.
“I think that’s enough now, don’t you?” he growled almost playfully, but with some acid behind his words, at Xavier.
“Who the heck are you?” Xavier growled right back, not playfully at all.
“Me? My name is Jakes. Jake_Jakes to be specific. And you?” the Lupe, Jakes, asked as if this were just an ordinary day on the neoboards.
“I am not important. But my business is. And you are interrupting my business. So, you have two seconds before I make you part of my business. And you don’t want that I can assure you. Got it?” Xavier threatened darkly.
“Now, now, we just met! Is that any way to treat a complete stranger? I don’t even know your name yet.”
“’S name’s Xavier,” Karifki slurred from his spot on the ground. “’E’s the boss ‘round ‘eer. Ya s’ould go.”
“Good to know you can still speak, dude,” Jakes said to Karifki, “but no worries. I’ve handled bigger fish than him.”
“Please, you’re outnumbered! And your stats are no match for mine! Give up and go home. Go play hero somewhere else!” Xavier cracked his knuckles.
“Too true, too true,” Jakes admitted, “and if we were in a fair match at the Battledome I STILL couldn’t beat you, but here’s the thing.” Jakes leaned forward as if he were about to reveal a huge secret. “We aren’t in the Battledome and you are not the only one who can fight dirty,” he whispered.
Just then, all four of them were hit with a gigantic fireball that seemed to just appear out of nowhere.
To be continued...