Hanso, Jazan, and Kanrik and the We Hate Hanso Club: Part Two
Jazan stalked out of the entry hall of Faerieland Palace and out into the sunshine. Behind him, Hanso hurried along, calling for him to stop. The Ixi managed to get ahead of the furious king and plant himself in his path.
"Wait, come on, old pal, hear me out!" Hanso cried, waving his arms.
Jazan just blasted him with his magic. Hanso flew into the shrubbery, but quickly climbed back out and and jumped in front of him again. Jazan rolled his eyes and folded his arms, deciding that if the Ixi could pull himself back together that quickly he deserved to be heard out.
Hanso picked twigs out of his hair as he spoke. "Look, yeah, I was a jerk. I heard about this big treasure, and I went in search of it. I expected to be back before Brynn and I were supposed to leave this morning. All I found was a dead end and a trap. It was not a pleasant experience. I'm sure you would have loved my predicament had you been there. Long story short, I didn't actually mean to abandon Brynn to go goof off this time. It's still early in the day, if I find her, we can salvage our plans. Do you have any idea where they were off to?"
"If I knew where the We Hate Hanso Club was off to, would I have come here to see if Nabile was visiting with Brynn?" Jazan asked with a disgusted look.
"The We Hate Hanso Club?" Hanso asked, his face blank.
"According to Nabile, that's what they call themselves when they are together. Or at least, what Hannah dubbed them last time. Flattering, isn't it?"
Hanso pouted, crossing his arms as he did so. "I'm not that bad that I deserve a club for it."
"Says the Ixi whose partner thinks he blew her off so she went off to hang out with her friends and forget him. Oh, yes, you've done nothing to deserve such a fan club," Jazan said with a smirk.
"Okay, maaaaaaaybe I deserve it just a little, right at this moment," Hanso admitted. "I don't suppose you want to join forces to find out where the ladies went to? It'll be just like old times. Best of buds off on a grand adventure."
"We both wound up stone last time, and unfortunately, you got revived. Unless you can promise this will have a different outcome, I'd rather have my mane shaved," Jazan replied.
"Aw, come now, we all know you're bal--" Hanso's poorly thought out reply was cut off by his abrupt return to the shrubbery via Jazan's magic.
Hanso climbed back out, a little less speedily this time. Jazan stalked down the path towards the gate. Hanso hurried after him again.
"Look, I was thinking that if Hannah spirited them both off on an adventure, Kanrik will probably have a good guess at where they are. You could come along just to make sure Hannah didn't talk them into going to Kreludor," Hanso reasoned. "If she did, I figure I'll probably need your help, in case they got into a dangerous situation."
"The ladies will be able to handle space pirates and fungus just fine. You're the only one who needs protection," Jazan replied as he climbed into his carriage.
Hanso stood there and shrugged. "You're right, they'll be fine. It doesn't bother me not knowing where Brynn is. I'm sure she'll be fine and be back soon. Even if she's trapped at the bottom of a sea cave or in a deep crater on the moon, she'll be fine."
Jazan snarled and resisted the urge to beat his head against the wall of the carriage. Hanso had played his hand well. Jazan was now imagining all the awful scrapes Nabile could have gotten into, and he wasn't going to have a moment's peace until he knew she hadn't gone somewhere too dangerous.
"Where is Kanrik?" Jazan asked with a groan.
"I believe he might be at one of the Thieves Guild's headquarters, the one in the Haunted Woods," Hanso said nonchalantly.
"Climb in," he growled.
Hanso hopped in and sprawled out on the seat opposite to Jazan, looking too smug for Jazan's taste. Jazan cursed his lot in life. Despite knowing Nabile was probably fine and somewhere safe, he was ferrying Hanso around to find the girls because the Ixi had managed to get under his skin just enough. He told the Unis where to go and settled in for the ride, planning all the ways he could take revenge on Hanso at a later date.
Jazan walked behind a confident looking Hanso as they navigated the narrow trails of the Haunted Woods. He really hoped Hanso was as confident about where he was going as he looked, because if it found himself lost in the woods with Hanso as his only companion, Hanso would not be returning from the trip.
His doubts proved groundless as a shady looking tavern appeared through the trees. Hanso's confident manner faltered slightly. Jazan realized that most of the thieves in the guild had reason to hate him, and Kanrik most of all.
"Want to call it quits?" Jazan asked, fully expecting Hanso to try to chicken out and wait outside while he went in alone to get the information.
The Ixi hesitated for a half a second before shaking his head. "Nope, I've gotta find my girl. I'm not as big a cad as you seem to think I am."
"No, you're likely a much bigger cad than I give you credit for," Jazan said, following him into the seedy establishment.
The establishment was filled with the usual shady types drinking the various specialties of the Haunted Woods while talking in undertones. All eyes turned to them as they entered. Snarls broke out from all corners and a few of the thieves rose. A big Grarrl stalked over and leaned threateningly down into Hanso's face.
"Hi, Bart. Lovely day, isn't it? How's the family?" Hanso chuckled nervously.
"I'ma break you now," Bart replied, reaching for him.
"As much fun as it would be to watch you maim Hanso, I need him for the moment, and I have already reserved the right to end him," Jazan said.
"I'll break you too," the Grarrl threatened.
"I'd like to see you try," Jazan challenged.
"Yeah, really, go ahead. I'll wait," Hanso said nervously, hiding behind Jazan.
"I wouldn't try that if I were you, Bart. Whatever brute strength you have, King Jazan makes that up times twenty in magical might. They'll be cleaning you off the establishment for the next week," said a familiar voice.
Bart dropped back, muttering an apology. Leaning against the bar and drinking a Hot Apple Cider was Kanrik. He was smirking, having enjoyed the little show. Jazan and Hanso made their way to the counter and Kanrik ordered them drinks.
"Good to see you again, King Jazan. I never expected to see you in one of my establishments, and certainly not with Hanso on your leash. Do I even want to know?" Kanrik asked.
"The idiot stood Brynn up and she went off somewhere with Nabile and Hannah. He wants to find her to make it up to her, and I'm just along to make sure Hannah didn't convince Nabile to go anywhere too dangerous," Jazan started.
Kanrik chuckled and slapped his leg. "Good old Hannah, she always knows just when to set these up, doesn't she? Don't know how she does it."
"Considering that she did it while I was away too, I don't know either. She's psychic or something," Jazan said.
"Or, she knew you were out and set up whatever lured Hanso off. She's crafty like that, and he is the most predictable Ixi on the planet," Kanrik said, grinning wider, clearly approving of Hannah's sly tendencies.
Hanso had been staring uncertainly at the Steamed Ectoplasm Kanrik had ordered him during the exchange. He started to mutter something unflattering about Hannah, instantly thought better of doing that in front of Kanrik, and instead swallowed the suspect drink the wrong way and coughed heartily. Kanrik gave him a leer, but decided to let the matter go since Hanso had already punished himself.
"So, I'm assuming you've come to me to see if Hannah confided in me any of her plans?" Kanrik guessed.
"Yeah, that's about it," Hanso spluttered, pounding his chest in an effort to expel the ectoplasm from his lungs.
"Well, then, no," Kanrik said. "Hannah's not really the type for long-term planning. She doesn't tell me, 'Oh, and I'm going to press my girlfriends into running off on an adventure to so and so on Tuesday!' Monday night, she gets the idea to press her friends into running off on an adventure on Tuesday and flies into a flurry of activity to make it happen. It's actually almost as charming as it is annoying. That's why I always drop in unannounced. Every fourth time, she's totally unprepared and we actually just spend a peaceful day chatting about whatever we've done recently."
"Sounds like fun," Hanso coughed. "I think this stuff is actively fighting my attempts to breathe. I might drown. That might throw a spanner in our attempts to locate the girls."
"Couldn't happen to a more deserving worm," Jazan replied. He turned his attention back to Kanrik. "I don't suppose you have any idea about where they might have gone, then? Anywhere Hannah was dying to explore?"
"Well, there was one place, but you're not going to like it," Kanrik said with a little smirk.
"Oh, Fyora help me, where?" Jazan asked resignedly.
"The Grave Danger Catacombs."
To be continued...