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A Hero's Journey: It Takes Two


by precious_katuch14

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Chapter 9: The World Was Wide Enough

     “We really should send a small squad of knights,” Tuffold commented as he and Danner walked down the Meridell Castle hallway. “It’s the third day since Jeran and Rohane left. I hope they didn’t wind up duelling each other along the way.”

     “I…like to think they aren’t that thick,” said Danner tentatively. “They wouldn’t waste that much time with a kid’s life riding on their shoulders.” The blue Wocky frowned. “Right?”

     “How’s Mipsy, by the way?” the yellow Lupe asked.

     “Her leg’s healing up nicely. Velm and the castle healers really did a good job patching her up.”

     Tuffold nodded slowly. “And we had Talinia to help us find all the herbs and plants they needed.” He let out a sigh and scratched his snout. “Too bad she didn’t find Jeran or Rohane.”

     “Well, she went the opposite way, didn’t she?”

     “Oh. Oh, right.”

     The two knights turned a corner into the corridor heading for the drawbridge when they saw a green Eyrie fly past them, miraculously managing not to knock anything over.

     “Lady Talinia!” Danner exclaimed. “What’s going on?”

     Talinia looked at him in askance for a split second before answering, “It’s Jeran and Rohane! They’re coming up on the path toward the castle!”

     “What?” Tuffold cried. He tried to turn toward the nearest window, only to collide with Danner.

     “Watch it!”

     “Sorry, Danner!”

     After disentangling themselves from each other, the two knights sprinted toward the drawbridge, which was in the process of being lowered by two Draik guardsmen as Talinia waited alongside a blue Acara leaning on a crutch and who was being supported by a red Techo. Tuffold and Danner skidded to a halt beside them.

     “Told you we didn’t need that squad of knights,” the Wocky pointed out.

     “I heard Jeran and Rohane were back!” Oakley cried as he ran from the opposite end of the hallway, waving his arms eagerly. “They did it! They really did it!”

     “We’re back!”

     That triumphant shout came from a dishevelled purple Bori who ran straight into the castle, pumping his fists into the air. His clothes were torn and grimy and seemed a bit damp, but he was otherwise unfazed as he tracked mud onto the stone floors.

     “Oh, no, not the floors,” Danner mumbled.

     “Chin up, Danner, at least we got Wilf…Will back for the baron,” Jeran said, making a big show of throwing his arm over the blue Wocky’s shoulder and grinning. Then he glanced down at his boots, which were even muddier than Will’s shoes, and groaned. “Ugh, Rohane and I have to clean up again before we see Baron Cuthbert and tell him we finished his mission.”

     “I’ll say!” Velm exploded. He was already examining Rohane’s bandaged side. “What happened to you two out there? You’re going straight to the infirmary, no questions asked!”

     “A Krawken happened, but it’s fine, Jeran and I took care of it.”

     “Sounds like that Krawken’s not coming back any time soon,” Oakley piped up brightly as he ruffled Will’s mane.

     “They taught that monster a lesson!” Will swung an imaginary sword this way and that, accidentally jabbing the striped Kougra in the stomach. “It was amazing! Then Sir Jeran tossed this potion and – “

     “What did that Krawken do to you?” said Velm, shaking his head and completely talking over Will. “This is terrible, don’t tell me this is another one of your – “

     Jeran moved away from Danner, who was inspecting the grime the blue Lupe left on his tunic. “Cut him some slack, Velm. Rohane saved my life.”

     “He did?” Tuffold asked, aghast.

     “Why do you sound so surprised?” Talinia raised her eyebrows at the yellow Lupe.

     “Rohane can be petty, but not that petty,” Jeran answered, shoving Tuffold lightly.

     The white Blumaroo narrowed his eyes. “You’re calling me petty?” Automatically Velm and Talinia gripped his arms just in case he lunged at his commanding officer.

     “They were getting along so well, and you just had to ruin it,” said Danner, cuffing Tuffold on the ears. “Anyway, we should take young Wilfrith back to his dad, you two babysitters should clean up and get patched up…”

     “Wait,” Rohane interrupted. “Where’s Mipsy? She wouldn’t miss a chance to be part of my welcoming committee…”

     Talinia let go of him. “Oh, about Mipsy…”

     “She, uh, broke her leg while we were trying to follow you and Jeran,” said Velm somberly. “At least she’s recovering, but she’s still in the infirmary.”

     “You were trying to follow us?”

     “Just in case you two needed help,” Talinia replied. She gave Rohane a small smile. “Guess you didn’t need it, after all.”

     “We appreciate it, though,” said Jeran.

     “At least we’ll be able to visit Mipsy,” Rohane added. “Since we do need to get looked at, too.” He glanced at Velm with a crooked grin.

     The red Techo growled. “Of course you do! Off to the infirmary with you!”

     * * *

     When Jeran and Rohane arrived at Baron Cuthbert’s office, they were both dressed in neat shirts, tunics, breeches and boots, complete with their knight badges. Rohane stared at the door as though it were a particularly unsavory and disgusting monster that he had to defeat.

     “I don’t want to see him again.” Rohane rolled his eyes. “What if he’ll just treat us like dirt, like last time? He kept calling us brutes for hire.”

     “It can’t be that bad,” the Lupe replied as they peered into the office. “We accomplished the mission, didn’t we? Maybe he wants to thank us.”

     The royal Kyrii was sitting at his desk, arms folded over the surface. His face seemed impassive at first, but the two knights immediately noticed that his brows were furrowed. Sitting next to him on a small, cushioned stool was Will, with his mane combed and pulled back into an immaculate ponytail. Long sleeves, tights, and gloves obscured any bandaged scratches and bruises. At the sight of his heroes, the purple Bori waved vigorously, but immediately returned to his book after the Kyrii gave him a stern stare.

     “Sir Jeran. Sir Rohane,” Cuthbert intoned. “I asked you to do one simple thing for me, which was to find my son and bring him back to me.”

     “That’s two things,” Rohane whispered, but he kept quiet when Jeran discreetly nudged him.

     “Which we accomplished,” Jeran answered. “We found Wilfrith in the woods, although bringing him back took some time as we ran into a few…complications along the way.” Will gave the knights a knowing smile from over his book.

     Cuthbert steepled his fingers. His brows furrowed more deeply.

     “Which was why I asked for both of you to find my son,” he said steadily. “I know what you’re capable of. And yet, you couldn’t even do this simple thing right.”

     “What?” Rohane snapped before he could control himself. “But we found Will!”

     “Wilfrith.”

     “I asked them to call me Will, Dad,” Will piped up.

     “His full name is Wilfrith and you will address him as such,” Cuthbert said smoothly, as though his son hadn’t spoken. “Before you so rudely interrupted me, I was about to tell you what you didn’t do right. It took you three days to return with my son, and when he came back to me, he was filthy and excitable. Is this how you treat young lords of noble birth?”

     After giving Rohane a pointed glance, Jeran said as evenly as he could, “With all due respect, Baron Cuthbert, we were caught in the rainstorm, and had to fight a Krawken and some bandits. There was no telling what we would encounter while we were in the woods…”

     “Hmph!” The Kyrii shook his head and slammed his hands on his desk. “Unacceptable! You don’t deserve a single Neopoint after this fiasco! You couldn’t keep Wilfrith safe! Some knights you are!”

     “We did our best and brought your son back alive. He was treated quickly in the infirmary for some bruises and scratches from his time out – “

     “How dare you! You let him get hurt, you brutes!”

     “Dad, they saved me!” Will interjected. “Sirs Jeran and Rohane saved me from bandits, they saved me from the Krawken, they gave me food and water – “

     Cuthbert raised a hand, and the young Bori sighed as he sulked behind his book again. Meanwhile, Rohane opened his mouth to object, but Jeran cleared his throat.

     “Jeran – “

     The blue Lupe frowned, stroking his chin. Then he shrugged and said, “You know what? Have fun. Whatever happens next, I won’t see it.” He punctuated these words by turning his back on both Rohane and Cuthbert and moving to shut the office door gently.

     Cuthbert scowled and stood up, not noticing that Will had put down his book and was watching intently. “What is the meaning of this? What’s – “

     Without warning, the Blumaroo drew back and punched the baron in the jaw, eliciting a sharp gasp from Will. Jeran shut his eyes briefly when he heard the moment of impact and the gasp but didn’t even glance over his shoulder to see Cuthbert grunting and rubbing the sore spot on his face as he sat back down into his chair.

     “Dad!” Will cried.

     “This…” Cuthbert winced as he spoke. “This is…how dare you! Your impudence will cost you your knight’s badge! I’m reporting you!”

     “Reporting him for what?” asked Jeran with a straight face, finally turning back to look at Cuthbert. “All complaints about any member of the Order go through me, so you might as well.”

     “He punched me!” the Kyrii howled, gesturing messily at Rohane, who was the picture of innocence. “Didn’t you see it? You ought to strip him of his badge and title! His titles!”

     Jeran raised an eyebrow as Will watched the exchange with wide eyes. “No. Like I said, I saw nothing.”

     “T-Then King Skarl will – “

     “I don’t think so. He doesn’t like to be bothered by those kinds of things. He usually sends them back to me. And I already told you, Rohane did absolutely nothing.”

     Cuthbert glowered at them, looking from one knight to the other with a face red with both rage and pain.

     “Will that be all, Baron?” Jeran asked curtly. “You can course our payment through the knights with the king’s treasury. Thank you.” He and Rohane turned on their heels with almost perfect synchronicity before leaving.

     The royal Kyrii mumbled something incomprehensible before saying in a subdued voice, “Wilfrith. Call a healer.”

     “It’s ‘Will.”

     Cuthbert made a sound that was a cross between a sigh and a snarl before pointing to the door and at the knights’ retreating backs. Without another word, the purple Bori hurried outside, catching up with them.

     “Hi, Will,” said Rohane contritely, rubbing the back of his neck. “Sorry you had to see that.”

     “It’s okay,” Will replied, sticking out his tongue briefly in distaste. “Sorry he was mean to you. He’s always been mean to knights.”

     Jeran nodded slowly. “We know. Normally we’d let it slide, but it was time he learned a lesson. Still, I don’t advise doing…ahem, whatever Rohane did in there.” He winked discreetly at Rohane. “Now run along and get something for your dad.”

     “He’ll be fine in no time,” the white Blumaroo reassured the young Bori. “Especially if he starts being a little nicer to us, once in a while.”

     “And since he didn’t thank you properly…” Will took a deep breath and bowed deeply in front of them. “Thank you, Sir Jeran, Sir Rohane. Thank you for finding me and bringing me back to the castle, and to my dad.” He stepped closer to them and said, “Don’t worry. My sisters and my mom aren’t as mean as he is. They know how to say thank you.”

     Jeran chuckled. “You’re welcome, Will. Don’t go running off again, okay?”

     “Your dad was genuinely worried about you, after all,” Rohane added.

     “And so were we.”

     At first, Will just stared at them with what seemed to be awe, or perhaps bewilderment, but then he flung himself at them to embrace them both. The two knights shared a sheepish look before reaching down to return the hug.

     “Okay! Hope we can see each other again!” After breaking away from them, Will took off in a sprint, down the corridor toward the infirmary, leaving Jeran and Rohane to themselves. The two of them slowed their pace to a leisurely walk past several suits of armour.

     “Thanks, Jeran.”

     “For what?” He winked at Rohane again. “Seriously, it was the least I could do, after you saved me from the Krawken. And you’re right. We can’t let the nobles walk all over us. If you want respect…” The Lupe threw up his arms. “Ah, you know how it goes. Hope you got to blow off some steam.”

     “Oh, I did.” Rohane clenched one of his hands into a fist – the same one he had used to punch Cuthbert – and grinned. “It felt good. That finally shut him up.”

     “Just make sure to shut up about this. As far as I’m concerned, what happened a while ago never happened.”

     It was Rohane’s turn to wink. “Right.”

     Jeran bumped the other knight’s fist with his own. “Heh, guess we make a pretty good team after all.”

     “But next time, we should bring a map.”

     “No, you should bring a map, because you forgot the map,” the Lupe countered with a smirk.

     Rohane shook his head and grinned. “Let’s just play rock, paper, scissors for it.”

     “So long as you don’t suggest we make another meathead sandwich.”

     “Are you kidding? That’s the last time anyone will ever see or even hear of the meathead sandwich.”

     Jeran sighed contentedly. “We’re agreeing on so many things lately. In fact, why don’t you pitch your idea for the war games in our next briefing? I’ll let you have the floor first.”

     The white Blumaroo gaped at him. “Are you sure?”

     “Turns out, you’ve got some good ideas up your sleeve…like finally giving Baron Cuthbert what he deserves.”

     “Only ‘some’, Commander?”

     Shaking his head and grinning, Jeran elbowed his colleague, careful not to hit Rohane’s injured side. “Don’t push it. Let’s start with the next war games meeting. Baby steps.”

     “You’re going to shock the rest of the Order, after our last meeting,” Rohane pointed out.

     “Eh, they’ll get used to it.” The blue Lupe shrugged. “The world is wide enough for Sirs Jeran and Rohane to work together as a team, after all.”

     The End.

 
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Other Episodes


» A Hero's Journey: It Takes Two - Part 1
» A Hero's Journey: It Takes Two - Part 2
» A Hero's Journey: It Takes Two - Part 3
» A Hero's Journey: It Takes Two - Part 4
» A Hero's Journey: It Takes Two - Part 5
» A Hero's Journey: It Takes Two - Part 6
» A Hero's Journey: It Takes Two
» A Hero's Journey: It Takes Two



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