Pianto swung out the Light Sword, the blade still sheathed
in its case. As he cut down an imaginary enemy, he stabbed behind him, piercing
another invisible foe.
He had been practicing with the sword for the
past week and had gotten to be good. He still slipped a couple of times and
the blade would fly out of his paw. Yet, the entire time, he had never accidentally
hit either Tetra no Aryll. Well, he had hit Tetra once, but that wasn't really
Both he and his fellow Pteri had become suspicious
of Aryll, though. She had spent the past week being disheartened and depressed.
None could figure what was wrong. She constantly denied it, but they could both
see she was clearly lying.
As he practiced with his sword, he gave off
the impression of a young child, shooting off his brand new bubble gun.
"You missed," Tetra remarked, as the Gelert
cut down yet another opponent who had come at him from the side. Pianto gave
Tetra a strange look. "How do you know?"
The Pteri just shrugged. "I call it as I see
Aryll remained silent the whole time, focusing,
instead, on what was ahead of them. It was, in fact, a town.
It reminded Pianto of one of those towns out
of an old-time western film his owner had shown him a couple of times. This
brought a little of worry to the Gelert. He wondered how Mason was, and if he
would forgive him for running off.
As the trio walked into town, few of the townsfolk
gave them more than a passing glance. They were all used to having travelers
pass through their settlement all the time.
"Yum! That smells great!" Tetra was referring
to the aroma of fresh bacon and eggs that wafted through the air. It was coming
from a nearby saloon that was right off the main street. They all decided to
stop in for a bite to eat.
As they walked in, Pianto looked off into the
horizon. Vanantic Mountain was becoming ever closer by the day. He gauged they
would be there in the next few days.
Inside the saloon, all kinds of pets sat at
tables spread throughout the building. To the side, the bartender, a female
red Lupe, severed the drinks and food to waiting customers. She reminded Pianto
of the bartender who had served him at the Mystery Island Eatery, except of
course this waitress was a red Lupe, not a yellow Aisha.
The trio went up and pulled up three stools
in front of the bar. The Lupe came over and took their orders. Tetra pulled
up the menu and began rattling off everything that was on the breakfast menu.
"I'll take an order of Hot Jacks, Scrambled Eggs, a cup of milk, some coffee…"
The bartender turned to Pianto; she could obviously
tell that this pet had no idea what he wanted.
"He'll take an order of waffles," he said. "And
I'll take some hot jacks. What do you want Aryll?"
Aryll looked up from the counter top. "Umm…
I'll just have some milk."
Tetra gave Aryll a strange look. "We have a
chance to have more than old rations and all you order is milk?" He went back
to looking over the dessert menu (naively unaware that they didn't server dessert
'till after six o' clock) muttering to himself. "Crazy Gelert…"
Pianto was glad to notice that, this time, the
Lupe had taken down the order on a pad, unlike his last experience in a bar.
Behind him, he could hear a group of pets being
unnecessarily rowdy. Pianto turned his head slightly to see a group of pets,
all of which were painted green, yelling at each other, though they were all
sitting right next to each other. There were about twelve of them spread out
among three tables.
They seemed to be gathered around some pet who
appeared to be their leader, a green Techo. All of them had a weapon of some
sort, be it a dagger, sword, or pistol, strapped to their side.
Pianto turned back to facing forward as the
red Lupe brought them their food. As all three went at consuming what was before
them, the green Techo from the group came up and sat down next to Aryll.
"Well, I'll be! I didn't think there was anything
of value in this town, but it appears that I've found gold!"
The green Gelert continued sipping her milk,
trying to ignore the jerk next to her. Tetra could sense trouble coming and
shrunk down into his seat.
"You hear me, missy? I just gave you a compliment!"
This time, when the Techo realized that this Gelert was still ignoring him,
he pushed her away her milk, trying to get her attention.
Aryll looked up at the Techo The ignorant Techo
smiled, thinking he had won over the Gelert That is, until she spit the milk
up into the Techo's face. All around, bits of muffled laughter and chuckling
could be heard at the gang leader's striking-out.
Slyness turned to anger. "Spit milk on me, well
you missy? I'll show you respect yet!" He drew back his hand to strike Aryll
when Pianto moved.
He head-butted the Techo, knocking him to ground.
A gasp so large went off in the bar that one might have wondered how there was
still enough air to breath.
The green Techo moved quickly to his feet, not
about to leave this attack unanswered. He pointed a large finger at Pianto,
sputtering milk out of his scaly mouth as he spoke.
"That was a bad move your friend made, pal!
I'm gonna show you how Rufus Rango is treated around these parts! Tomorrow,
at dawn! Right out front of this bar!"
Aryll stepped up in front of Pianto before he
could reply. "I'll take care of this, Pianto," she answered. But Pianto wouldn't
allow it. He gently moved his female partner out of the way.
"No Aryll, I'll handle it."
He turned back to his opponent. "I'll take you
on," he replied. The Techo pushed Pianto to the ground and walked out of the
bar. "You had better be there," he shouted back, as he walked out. "Or there
is gonna be major trouble!"
* * *
The trio pulled up a hotel room and there they sat, wondering what they would
do. Pianto was on the floor, polishing the Light Sword's sheath. Tetra sat next
"So you're really going to fight him?!" Tetra
couldn't believe his friend's decision. "Are you nut?! He'll kill you!"
Pianto only offered a sly smile as an answer.
"He normally would, except for one thing. I've got the Light Sword! He doesn't."
Aryll sat up on one of the two beds (it was
decided that Tetra would sleep on the floor), staring out the window at the
dusty street outside. "Why don't you let me fight him, Pianto? He was assaulting
me, not you. I can handle myself!"
"But he called me out, not you. If I don't go,
I'll look like a wimp. And I can't do that."
Aryll rolled her eyes. Guys are such idiots!
she thought to herself.
* * *
Early morning had come. The sun had just begun to break the horizon as Aryll
arose from her slumber. Carefully, she reached into Pianto's pack and removed
the Light Sword he had stashed in it.
I'm not going to let some punk push me around,
she thought. I'll show them all I'm not just a little girl.
She was going to fight Rango. She was going
to regain her honor.
* * *
Outside, the wind blew softly, pushing little bits of dirt around the street.
Rango's gang had come out to watch their master teach this Gelert But the Gelert
who showed up was not the one they had expected.
"What are you doing here, little missy?" the
gang leader shouted out boorishly. "Why don't you go back inside and play with
your Usuki dolls?" All the others broke up into laughter at his stupid joke.
"I'll be fighting you today!" she retorted.
"You got a problem with that? Or are you too afraid to fight a girl?"
The Techo lowered his eyes and gave the Gelert
a scowling look. "I'm not afraid to fight anyone!" he replied. The Techo drew
out two large silver daggers. They gleamed menacingly in the early morning,
reflecting what little light had crawled over the horizon.
Aryll pulled out the Light Sword from behind
her back. "Please don't explode," Aryll pleaded silently.
Aryll unsheathed the sword and suddenly, morning
had turned to noon. Everything was bright, like staring up at the sun. Even
the air itself seemed to radiate light. Aryll though she would go blind from
the intenseness of the light.
But that wasn't all. All around her, the world
was exploding. The sound was terrible, and terribly loud. It was like someone
clawing on a chalkboard combined with the sound of someone screaming in immense
Aryll quickly fumbled and found the sheath,
which had been dropped on the ground, and re-sheathed the sword. All was suddenly
quiet and, though it was no longer night time, all seemed dark compared to how
bright the light had been.
Rango just stared at the female Gelert with
amazement. Had it been long enough, his jaw would've been on the floor. Both
of his daggers were, instead.
All around them, windows had been broken by
the shear force and magnitude of the energy blast released by the sword. Townsfolk
were looking out doors and windows, awoken by the noise they had just heard.
"Aryll!" Pianto screamed rushing up to her.
"What are you doing?!"
Aryll smiled gleefully. "I just won the fight!"
she screamed victoriously. Tetra surveyed the destruction the sword had caused.
"I'll sure say you did!"
Pianto put his paw on his partner's shoulder.
"I think we should get moving." Aryll gave him a strange look. "Why? I just
won! Now we have to leave?!"
Pianto was taking notice of the groups of people
coming out of their houses. "Well when theses other people begin to realize
that you're the one who wrecked their homes, you won't be feeling very victorious
Aryll knew he was right and turned to leave.
"Wait!" Tetra whinnied. "Can't we at least stop for breakfast?" Pianto grabbed
him by the scruff of the neck and pulled him along. They really had to get moving.
* * *
Ever on the move, the trio was once again coming ever closer to the looming
"You know, that was a terrible thing you did
back there, Aryll," Pianto said, taking note of Aryll's new-found happy demeanor.
Aryll nodded. "Yeah, I know. But I guess I should
him what's-what, huh?"
Pianto could only shake his head, a sly smile
coming to the Gelert's face. It was good to know that he was going to be fighting
this battle with someone who knew how to handle themselves.
To be continued...