Part 3 of Pariah Company Le Reject Version.
The city’s stank carried up river by the brisk wind coming from the tall hill all around the. Charles Alberic hated the city of Trier. Founded in Roman times – first Roman times – as obnoxious bureaucrats and historians reminded the people these days, the city lay on the banks of the Moselle river, and was likely one of the most mundane cities in existence. Subsisting on trade and wine, usually the city would be an ideal place for Alberic to ply his trade as a soldier, be it professional or for hire, or his side occupation as pest control, yet the city was unique in a very bad way for a man like him and his craft. Due to some overly eager mages, a smudge on a book of magic, and a head of cabbage during the last War, Trier was utterly mundane, its background magic obliterated. Overt magic in these parts, native one at least, now cancelled itself out, making the city the most normal place in the entirety of Western Europe. He hoped glimmers and jinx stilled worked, holding tight on his protective charm stolen from a skeleton rider of the Second Invasion. Good times.
As their ferry crossed the river on the eighth day of their journey, Alberic was ready to throw up. Maybe it was Achilleos’ wine or the fact that the man, so galant in combat, so boisterous in defeat, was starting to grate on him. Badly. “Friend Greybeard, I have enjoyed our travels immensely so far,” he shouted from the back of the ferry where he was entertaining the peasant children making the crossing for necessary supplies. The children laughed and clapped both widely and loud, making Alberic wish for the return of the Black Death or lamenting that the wrong half of the family’s children must have died in childhood.
“I am glad you’re enjoying yourself, Achilleos, but you might want to get yourself ready. We’re almost there,” Alberic said as politely as he could still manage. He was already casting a good look at the city’s exterior, thinking of where to find the first recruit for the mission ahead. Because of its mundanity, Trier hadn’t experienced any of the rapid advances the rest of the Empire, or anywhere else for that matter, had. There was still a lot of crumbling arches and columns standing, but the city had been knocked about during the past few centuries just enough for newer, less impressive, architecture to ruin the nice view. One thing he appreciated about the resurgence of the Three Romes was their taste in architecture.
“Friend Greybeard, pray, what are you doing?” Achilleos was now coming aft with him where they had stowed their gear. Here Alberic was busy changing his tunic from the green-grey huntsman working clothes he had worn before to something brown and unflattering, yet wide enough to hide a pistol and a wide-edged knife, leaving his anti-wyvern musket and long sword concealed in his pack.
“Preparing to meet our first recruit. And, if we’re lucky and she doesn’t kill me, the only one we’ll need,” Alberic answered deliberately, while rolling up his other jacket in his pack and carefully storing it in his rucksack. He looked over Achilleos. The man was dressed like a pirate with his high boots, expensive shirt and leather trousers, as well as a single earring in his right ear, all the while wearing flowing golden locks and showcasing more of his chest than a common street whore. He sighed, considering his life’s choices for the blink of a second that let him to this point, then nodded. “It will have to do. You look just obvious enough to blend in perfectly.” Either that or he would deflect attention from Alberic, which suited him just fine.
The ferry landed right outside the city’s gates and the passengers disembarked, all making a beeline for the entrance to have their passports checked. Alberic showed his quite readily, it was after all one of many he carried for this specific purpose, all collected over the many years of his dealings with Voigt.
“Reason for visiting?” One of the guards eyed him suspiciously. Alberic was glad to have grown his attempt at a beard. Last time he had been in town things had not gone according to plan and he was known here, if more by reputation than anything else.
“Price fighting,” he said and slapped his closed fist into Achilleos’ chest, immediately regretting it as flesh hit stone. “Good Wilhelm over here is the unbeaten champion up north.” Alberic’s attempt at a North German accent had become quite convincing over the years and so far south he wondered if the practice had even been necessary, but the guard was highly motivated and eyed Achilleos suspiciously.
“Does he speak?” The guard looked over Achilleos’ clothes with the amount of attention Alberic had hoped for,
“I do, good sir, and would like to hope you come and see me fight tonight. Front row seats for both of you, if you want them,” Achilleos suddenly said in his heavily accented German, sounding somehow both high born and drunk. Alberic was ready to pull his purse to make the two men an offer like civilized men, but they only nodded.
“Maybe we will. Pray thanks for the invitation,” the one guard said, stabbing the other in the side with his elbow and exchanging funny looks. He handed back the passports, barely having looked at them. “Move along.”
They said their goodbyes and hurried inside, disappearing into the midday going abouts, everyone rushing from and to the the markets and shops. Alberic took a deep breath. “Next time keep quiet, I had it under control.”
“I’m sorry, Alberic,” Achilleos apologized profoundly, almost sounding like he was mocking Alberic, but meaning every syllable of it. They moved slowly to the crowd. There was a hectic here that Alberic hadn’t seen outside major urban centers. Trier was usually less busy, even in a good season. Something was amiss.
Alberic kept quiet for a while until the crowd dispersed a bit as they came to wider streets. He tried to reorient himself, but couldn’t remember where the main markets where. All around him were just three and four story high buildings, all looking dangerously eager to fall over at any point. It was at this moment Alberic finally admitted to himself that he was too used to the open forests and genuinely modern cities of the German lands. He grabbed himself a passing child and handed him a small coin, probably more than he had seen in his entire life. “There is a small in overlooking the bishop’s grounds. How can I reach it the fastest?”
The child explained the way to him in great detail, all the while fixating on the coin. After Alberic felt convinced he could remember the way, he let the child go and continued his way.
“Is this city always so up and about?” Achilleos was an odd fellow, but his observation was true enough. The people reminded him more of scared chickens running about aimlessly, unsure of every step they took.
“Not the last time I was here,” Alberic admitted. “Mind you that was three years ago, but a city doesn’t change so quickly even in our interesting modern times. You saw where we landed, not enough ships and boats to justify everyone being so busy, never mind the lack of horses and wagons coming in.”
They made their way in silence towards the inn the child had described to them earlier and it only took them twenty minutes to do so. The inn was overlooking the south side of the Konstantin Basilika, with a remarkable look at the palace grounds. The Kurfürst was oddly still around. Alberic would have imagined him to have left for the Imperial Diet last week at the earliest. It didn’t matter though as this was a quick in-and-out operation to grab a new member of his unit, not a guided tour of the city for the amusement of Achilleos.
Achilleos, meanwhile, was slowly but surely turning into a liability. The people of Trier were betraying their headless-chicken-ways to admire the big world wonder which was slowly making its way through their streets and Alberic was now really regretting having bought him at all. He looked around for street signs just a few meters away from the inn. He grabbed a small purse he kept for bribes, just out of sight of his actual money, raised it in the air, and shouted:
“Come all, come see, the great Achilleos, ninth wonder of the world! He is the strongest man from here to Greece and only today will fight any man brave enough to face him for title of Strongest There Is! Join him now in the markets to receive challenges for tonight!” The crowd that had slowly formed around the two of them was now oohing and aahing, as he threw Achilleos the small purse and, just out of earshot, told him: “Get yourself to the main market and buy me some diversion. I’ll meet you there momentarily. Buy the people beer and food with that.”
“Very good, friend, very generous, this I shall,” Achilleos stated, raised his arms over his head and flexed his muscles as the crowd slowly guided him to the markets on the other side of the Basilica.
Alberic now took a seat on one of the tables outside the inn one street down from where he left Alberic, ordering a beer, handing the plumb wench a coin as she brought him the mug. “I’m in weary traveler in need of a girl. There was a French one last time I was here.” She nodded slowly, clearly confused, but quickly tucked the coin into her dress and ran inside.
He enjoyed his beer for a while. Now with all the headless chickens out and about, their noises still audible from a few hundred meters away at the marketplace, the city was all too quiet again for his taste. Then a strange side appeared from one of the small streets. A group of four, no, five muselman in desert robes. Trier wasn’t that popular as to warrant visitors from that far away. They were clearly lost as they came up to him.
“Pray excuse us, effendi,” one of them said, in a thickly accented Italian. “Do you understand?”
“I speak a few words Italian, yes,” he answered, sipping his beer. “How can I help you fine gentlemen?” The muselmann was an odd enough fellow to be captivating.
“Thank you, effendi,” the man said, clearly happy to have found someone in this backwater to be somewhat educated. “We are looking for a fellow muslim who has… been lost from our group. Do you have any idea where he might have gone?”
“I didn’t notice him coming by, but if he’s still here he’s either at the port or the marketplace. It’s where I head to orientate myself,” Alberic answered, his Italian rusty from years of sitting in his mind unused.
The Arab now communicated with his followers, they got excited. “Thank you, effendi, may Allah always look out for you!”
“Yeah, no worries!” Alberic toasted them with more beer as the ran past. Odd town indeed. He had his mug emptied about halfway as a short moor appeared, her feet bare, her dress disheveled. “You’re not what I ordered.”
The Moor girl bowed and sat at the table. “She is not here anymore, but master said you would like me instead?”
Alberic gave the girl a once over. The inn doubled as a brothel, which everyone in town knew, even the bishop and the Kufürst. A healthy discount for servants of state and church kept them happy though. “They let you work already at your age?”
“I’m not that young,” she said, showing her remarkably white teeth behind her dark face as her small hands started to stroke him under the table. “Come inside.”
Alberic looked about, emptied his mug, then followed the girl inside. There weren’t many girls up and about at this time of the day. Many slept in, others were already making house calls to the nearby abbey and the palace. They climbed two flights of stairs, the girl always two steps ahead of Alberic, teasing him, until they finally reached a room at the very top of the inn. The little background noise there had been, the moaning, the few drunkards, died down the moment he closed the door and locked it.
The girl was now swinging around the pole of the spacious bed, spry and lithe. “Have you ever had a Moor, good sir?”
Alberic looked around the room, seeing the many clothes and belongings lying about. “You know, if you want to keep up the ruse, you should hide the clothes that don’t belong to your current form. Now stop this, Cateline.”
The young Moor smiled again, then jumped off the bed, only to gracefully morph into a tall dark-haired woman with ivory skin, yet still stark naked in front of him, her ears pointy. “I could never fool you, Charles.” She kissed him on the cheek and walked to the big open closet to grab a suitable dress.
“Did you receive my message?” Alberic simply answered, turning around to see Cateline getting dressed.
“Yes, but I can’t come with you,” Cateline stated, unable to choose between men’s trousers and a beautiful dress, eventually deciding on the trousers. From a hidden drawer she also pulled a long knife, almost a short sword. “I will be honest, Charles, you came here at the absolutely worst time.” She turned around, trying to make him blush by pushing out her bare chest. “Or is the right one, I’m not so sure.”
“There is a mission for us to undertake. Voigt has a mission for me that requires more than my usual talents. Though it time to bring Pariah Company back together,” Alberic answered in a short stakkato of exposition. He never took his eyes of Catelin’s sword, even as it was now stored on her back, quickly obscured by a great coat the shapeshifter put on, her black curls falling gracefully around her face, her ears, after a quick inspection in the mirror, morphing into a human shape as well.
“I’m sure Voigt knows of other people to follow you on this errand,” she quickly said, running around the room grabbing random items and occasionally stealing a look outside the window. “I have my own life now.”
“I am very much aware of that,” Alberic answered, recalling the fateful day they had parted ways three years ago after a rather costly mission of which he and Cateline were the only survivors. Well, the only survivors still on two legs but old Thomas was doing quite well now again with his peg leg. “But in this particular case I have need of you.”
“You know how to talk to a lady, you know it,” Cateline said in her raspy heavily French accented German that made Alberic almost lose his self-control.
“Cut out your fairy bullshit,” he snapped as he felt her powers over him growing again as in the old days. It was one of the reasons he was happy to cast her aside. “I need your help with this.”
“Why,” she asked flatly as she gathered some papers from her desk, lighting a candle for fresh wax. “Three years and not a word, three years in which I had to fend for myself, a poor lonesome woman in these parts of the world.”
“Poor,” Alberic cried laughing, “you run this whorehouse.” Cateline answered the laugh with a deep, manly boom and morphed her face for just a second to that of an overweight whoremonger. It was enough for Alberic to gather all his strength and wit again before she returned to her normal radiant self. “I only need your help for a few weeks. It’s a quick ‘rescue the princess’ mission. You used to like those quite well if I remember correctly.”
Cateline smiled thoughtfully for a moment, remember the good old days of running missions with Alberic, often just the two of them, sometimes with others, but always with a cost. Alberic recalled it at the same time as he read her expression. Her smile disappeared quickly. She wrote a few words on a piece of paper and sealed it with wax, a small signet ring provided the official seal she needed. Afterwards the ring disappeared onto her finger once more. “We have had some good times, but I said it before, I am quite busy at the moment.”
“What could possibly be so time consuming to you?”
She pointed outside the window. “You haven’t heard the news, have you?”
The cathedral’s clock started to ring. Alberic looked out and onto the big mechanical clock. It wasn’t the full hour yet, neither did the height of the sun call the accuracy of the clock into question. “You have always had a flair for the dramatic, which is why I need your help.”
“Charming you are,” Cateline said, but her face belied the fun in her voice. True worry was now to be seen on it and she quickly opened the door of the room, walking downstairs. Alberic followed her as quickly as he could. She morphed into a slim young man as she descended down the stairs, one with the air of nobility about him. In his voice she went on: “There are people here under my protection that need more more than your damned princess.”
They exited the brothel/inn to the streets as people flocked past them, all moving in the general direction of the market place. Alberic was surprised that Achilleos was still attracting so many people. Maybe he had started the fights early. “So tell me. Maybe I can help,” Alberic offered as they walked briskly side by side to the market.
“They are starting their own witch trials today,” Cateline answered angrily. The pouty nobleman’s face she wore made that statement less poignant as she had hoped though so she continued: “You know how odd the people in this town are, right?”
Alberic nodded as they made their way through the crowds wanting to get onto the market place. Now he saw them all clutching bibles and crucifixes. Of course they weren’t there for Achilleos. There were murmurs going far and wide, the usual rumor mill. Alberic tried not to pay attention to them, instead holding himself close to Cateline. “Yes, one of the reasons I didn’t want to come back and didn’t want to come back here either.”
“It is so sweet of you to say that, dear Charles,” she said in her own voice but still the face of the inbred nobleman. She gestured to two members of the city guard as they neared a hastily set up checkpoint to where a couple of citizens at a time were let on the market place. There was a sight of recognition and the two of them were able to pass without any further words said. Once they were past, Cateline continued in hushed tones: “But these women need my help, now more than ever.”
Alberic nodded as he finally saw onto the marketplace. While there were still many merchants appraising their goods and services, and Achilleos was a few hundred meters away getting swooned at by the fair maidens and burly fighter types, there were already guardsmen busy to erect a pyr as per the instruction of two men in gaudy clothes. Alberic made them to be church officials. Mundane towns such as Trier were rare, rarer still ones that didn’t fall under the purview of any of the big powers, making it an ideal place for the Catholic Church and their rogues to fortify their own position. “I wasn’t aware that the Pope was so desperate as to bring those silly things back.”
“Blame the Byzantines and their ‘Two Romes’ nonsense,” Cateline answered in righteous anger. “The situation here’s gotten worse over the years, but it wasn’t until a few months ago that the situation was starting to boil over. They’re seeing witches everywhere now.”
“Are there witches here?” Alberic still gazing about him at any opportunity. Once your eyes rested on one thing in particular you were an easy target for rogues, thieves, assassins, and their ilk after all. “A coven I haven’t heard of?”
“Of course not, not enough magic in the air,” Cateline answered as if talking to a child, “but that doesn’t mean there aren’t good women skilled in herbs and common sense around.”
Alberic nodded in disgust. He had known this spiel ever since Calais and many a town he had passed through over the last thirty years. A woman, often strong-willed, maybe even kissed by fire, educated one way or another, an adoring people, a jealous husband, a weakened church, this all couldn’t lead to a healthy combination. He turned around to face Cateline quite seriously. “Look, what help do you need of me?” As she only gave him a confused look, he continued: “Never mind the mission for one moment. How can I help you here?”
She gave him an appreciative look and had she worn her own face at this moment in time they would have ravaged each other as that night when all seemed lost and the Shadow Knight’s forces drew close. “I will go to the watchhouse and take charge of the prisoners. Some of my agents will take them off me, but this is all happening faster than I thought, so if you could draw some attention that would be good.” And indeed the pyre was already completed with the church officials inspecting it and already calling onto the guards. Alberic wondered if something had accelerated their time table. Cateline was looking around at that point, improvising on the spot as they had so many years ago learned to do at every opportunity. She suddenly pointed at Achilleos. “Like that one, that… pirate, I think. Do me a favor and fight him.”
“He belongs to me.”
“Seriously? Oh, in that case do what you do best.” She clapped him on the shoulder and disappeared into the crowd. “Also get rid of the beard if you ever want me to kiss you again.”
Alberic wanted to scratch his beard but fought the urge as guardsmen with torches were coming out. It was only afternoon, but the soon was slowly but surely making it’s way down. Maybe the people here liked their pyres in daylight so that everyone could watch, city folk and wanderers alike. It didn’t matter now though, now action was of the essence. He walked up to where Achilleos was displaying himself. Alberic was still surprised at how sincere the man looked at everything he did. “Behold great Achilleos!”
Achilleos noticed him, his cheeks flushed with joy at seeing him again, coming to him, letting Alberic take his wrist and point it into the air as to showcase a champion fighter. “It is only within a few more minutes before the witches shall burn. Shame on them from taking away from great Achilleos here, the Champion of Greece! Just now in a taste for later he shall battle any man here who wants to take him on!”
Achilleos bowed down as the crowd remained somewhat subdued. “I’m afraid I already fought some of them, friend Greybeard.” He pointed at the opposite corner of the market where a medical man was looking over some knocked about burly sailors and would-be highwaymen. “I’m sorry, I get excited easily.”
“No worries, just follow my lead. Oh and take a fall,” he whispered, then threw a right hook at Achilleos, hiding the pain. Truly the man couldn’t be human, clearly he had to be a demigod or something of the sort they had down in the Mediterranean and Arabia. Alberic faced the crowd instead as Achilleos stood there puzzled for a split second, then stumbled and fell into ten men, bringing them and those behind them to fall. This got the attention of more people, despite the bad acting. “Cowards, all of you,” screamed Alberic from the top of his lungs, “None of you is willing to take on Achilleos? No man in the German lands has the strength and courage to best him? Shame on you all, so let me, a feeble old man show you how it’s done!” He faced Achilleos again who was waiting for a sign to get back on his feet. Alberic nodded unnoticably, then threw himself in Achilleos’ general direction. “Have at thee!” He hoped the giant of a man would pull his punches or his chances of getting paid or getting back with Cateline would be quite slim indeed.
And so they battled, both men pulling their punches. Achilleos as to not hurt Alberic, Alberic as to not hurt Alberic. The crowd around them grew bigger. They parried each other’s punches, groaning as a faint attack hit the other. Elbows, fists, upper cuts, left, right, kicks, all the while Alberic danced around the giant, occasionally getting himself caught in an arm lock, only to get tossed into the crowd, knocking down more of them and slowly but surely drawing the attention of the entire marketplace. Alberic was helped up by some of the onlookers who patted him on the back and cheered for him in a glorious way for a fake match, and so he ran up against Achilleos, using the bigger body as a lever to run up the wall of the stone building marking off the central plaza, and flung himself on the giant’s back, strangling him as softly as possible. “Well done, friend,” he whispered between groans and battle cries. Achilleos grunted, both from the exhaustion of playing instead of letting lose and second for the jolly laughter it was bringing from him. He played at strangulation, staggering about, which made the crowd flinch back multiple times, disturbing the packed marketplace even more so as more and more eyes were upon them.
The clergymen in their robes were now furious with the display of manly prowess at the sight of a somber execution and proper witch trial and so beckoned the guardsmen to close in on them. Alberic noticed this in just a few moments before Achilleos flung him down, headlocking him again. “How much longer?”
“We might need to incite a riot. Follow my lead.” Alberic took a deep breath. Pretending to hurt one another was more tiring than he thought, especially for a man his age. He tore away from Achilleos, with both now able to show how tired they were as they retreated to different corners, catching their breaths. This gave just enough time for the guardsmen to close in.
“Stop this right away, in the name of the law!” The lead guardsman hadn’t even finished as the crowd booed him down. “That’s it, if you don’t stop this right away we’ll start arresting people. So what will it be?”
Alberic made a motion, signaling to Achilleos, and then they moved better than if they had planned this beforehand, so in tune they were. Achilleos cried out loud, then went beserk and ran into the crowd and guardsmen alike. The guards were thankfully only armed with wooden sticks unlike their friends near the pyre with their pikes. One thing followed another and soon everyone was joining in as Achilleos attacked everyone.
Alberic laughed out and screamed: “We have fought but now he is in duress. Pray help might Achilleos as I shall now! Glory for you all!” He screamed as loud as he could and soon the mob, already in a frenzy, was joining in at beating up the guard, while Alberic stayed quietly back and collected himself and his belongings.
Soon the entire marketplace was in disarray as people, already tight packed to witness the witch burnings, were now pushed aside by the rioters. Alberic, considering his job done, leaned back and enjoyed the situation. Now more and more guardsmen were brandishing clubs to come to the aid of their friends. Surely this had given Cateline a good headstart.
“Good job,” a voice from behind said.
Alberic turned around to see Cateline standing there, back to her usual self of pale skin and dark locks. How she managed to get there was anyone’s guess or how many times she changed faces to get through the crowd. “I got the women out. But I’ll need to leave town for good.” She handed him Achilleos’ bundle, her eyes steadily facing the direction of the pyre where now a man in even more ostentatious robes, likely the bishop, was appearing, his right eye bloodied.
“What did you do?” He knew he wouldn’t get an earnest answer, so he quickly made haste to follow her.
“Nothing you wouldn’t do to a mortal,” she snapped but in a flirtatious way. She whistled and a small ladder came down from the roof. She stepped on it cautiously, then climbed up quickly. “Maybe you should call back your friend. He seems to be enjoying himself but not for long once the guards bring out the muskets.”
Alberic looked on as Achilleos led the crowd in the riot and a squad of musketmen was appearing in the distance. He called out. “Achilleos!”
The big brute turned around, saw him, and made himself a way through the rioters, sprinting towards them. Alberic had already followed Cateline up the rope ladder, with Achilleos looking at them from below. “I don’t think it will support my weight, friend Greybeard.” And so he took two steps back and jumped the three stories high, grabbing the offered hand from Alberic, who immediately regretted holding onto 300 pounds of muscle. But Achilleos only needed leverage to swing himself up. His flowing hair, now sweaty, flowed in the light breeze effortlessly. “Very good! My thanks, rarely have I had such fun in a single day. And who might this lovely creature be?” He kissed Cateline’s hand. “Well met, milady.”
“See, Charles, this is how one treats a lady,” Catelin said in jest.
A cough made them all look up. Alberic had wondered where the robe latter had come from and there was the answer. A scruffy looking Arab with a wild beard and turban, and swimming in his robes, a pack tied to his back bigger than the man himself. “Cateline, maybe we should…” His voice was squeaky. A young lad?
“Where are my manners,” Cateline stated, “this is Ahmed. Ahmed, meet Charles and… his friend.”
“Yes. That. Ahmed here is my partner in crime.” She clapped him on the shoulder. “Ever since… when did I enlist your help again?”
“Yesterday when I stepped off the boat?”
“Yes, then,” Cateline said happily, but kept an eye out for the guardsmen, who had seen through their charade and were now making their way inside the houses the old-fashioned way.
Alberic looked around. Nothing to see in terms of escape opportunities. They were on some of the highest buildings in town, but that meant to one side was the market with the guards closing in, on the other an empty street where now more guards were closing in. He could see the harbor with a nice sailing boat to commandeer, but there was no way to get there. “I hope you don’t want me to jump from roof to roof. I am too old for that.”
“When you want to woo a lady, it is not generally a good idea to bring that up again and again,” Cateline said clearly annoyed, “but don’t worry ‘greybeard’, that’s why we have Ahmed. Right?”
The muselman nodded and unfolded his pack. It was a carpet. An Arab one, but a carpet nonetheless. It had a decent size too. Now he stepped on it with Cateline. “Are you coming, it won’t be safe here soon enough,” she pointed three houses down where the Arabs from earlier were now climbing the roof, shooting in their foreign Arab language while brandishing curved swords. Ahmed clearly looked scared now.
“Now please, effendi,” Ahmed screamed, his voice cracking in a high tone.
Alberic looked to Achilleos, who just shrugged his shoulders. So they both stepped on. And then…
There were in the air. There was a short gust of wind, then… fresh air. Alberic looked around. Blue sky, shouting coming from below. He looked and immediately regretted it as he noticed they were indeed flying.
The carpet moved them away from the city at a rapid pace, but they didn’t feel any of it. It felt like Alberic was still standing on solid ground. Meanwhile Ahmed, sitting with both ends of one side in his hands as one might steer a horse, was kissed on the cheek by Cateline, likely blushing even more under his turban. “Well done, Ahmed.”
“Thank you,” the youth whispered, then turned to Achilleos and Alberic. “Please, effendis, take a seat. It is quite safe, but I am new to this.”
“Okay, magic carpet,” Alberic simply stated as he took his seat on the oriental rug that could do so much more. “One never stops witnesses wonders in this modern world of ours…”
“Where to go?” Ahmed looked up as the city disappeared behind them with all its chaos. To think they had only been there four hours.
Alberic gazed at Cateline who simply shrugged, relaxing from the excitement. It was a silent communication that only the two of them understood. It meant she was ready to at least hear him out.
“Say,” Alberic said smiling, “are you interested in earning some easy money?”