The Neovian Misadventure of Will and Biggs: Part Three
"Can we take the river trail?”
“Not enough time .” chirped the little Buzz.
“ Think you can carry me?” teased the massive mutant Lutari.
“Haha! I couldn’t before!” Biggs chuckled.
“I’m not hurting you am I?”
Together they approached the street. Sounds of life, clinking, pattering, and trudging chorused on the stony street. Will stopped.
“It’s not safe.” he hissed.
“It is! I promise.”
Biggs sighed, “My next paycheck.”
“Oh…you don’t have to do that.”
Biggs gently pushed on his back and they stepped out into the street. Wills heart leapt up into his throat. He sunk his head low and darted his eyes about. A well-dressed Grarrl with a beard to his belly and a Mynci mime were on the street to the south. A Lenny and a Zafara were softly chatting to one another on the northern side.
“Why are they out so early?” He growled. “Shouldn’t they have somewhere else to be?”
“They probably do, just as we do.” hushed Biggs. “They have their own things to concern themselves with-things that aren’t you or me.”
Will took a deep breath as Biggs pushed him along the street. Slowly they crept up the pace.
“I’m terribly sorry about this.” Will muttered.
“Don’t worry about it! Maybe you can find something to use to help you get around in the park while I’m gone.”
“Yes- and hopefully thieves left our caravan alone.”
“Hey misters!” The pair froze as a small Ogrin pup ran up to them. “Ya needs a doctor or somethin’? Yas limpin! Me pop’s one!”
Biggs smiled. “Oh no. He just forgot his cane. Thanks though!”
The pup doffed his hat and ran off. Will sighed and shook his head.
“Forget the cane. I need Onion Ointment, Turnpin Tonic, Petoot Paste. Whatever that colour changing potion was.” Will growled.
“Cane’ll cost a fraction of the potion-and you’ll need to get around somehow while we save for it.”
“Oh Fyora! How long will that be? -Never mind! I don’t want to dwell on it.” Will growled as he swiveled his gaze to the ground.
Biggs gently tapped the paw that rested on his shoulder. A small, weak smile to himself brightened up Will’s face. They walked into the dewy park, walked past the fountain, and to the heavy thicket by the river’s edge. They ducked through the brambles and into the clearing now covered in splintered wood.
“Oh! Guh!” Biggs cried out.
“I know-terrible isn’t it? I really wasn’t trying to do any of it.”
The caravan sat in the middle of the clearing, its top split open like an egg. Shards of wood, books, and papers littered the area around it. Will slid his claw off Biggs who took to the air.
“Ah! This side is practically gone! The roof! My books! Open to the elements! Ah!” The Buzz put a claw to his mouth and twiddled the other through his own hair. “We-well-You might be able to put that piece back. To at least keep the rain off everything.” He pointed to large intact piece of the caravan.
Will clutched his paws together. “I’ll do just that after putting everything back inside.”
Biggs zipped back down to him, “I’ve got to run, I’ll be back in the evening.” He gave Will a small smile, “It’s not a complete loss really.” He flew upwards and waved down to him. “Oh! Also-do keep that fizz bottle if you find it! I’ll want to inspect it!” With a final wave Biggs flew out of the clearing. Will waved after him and frowned. He heaved a heavy sigh as he surveyed the clearing. Pain trickled up his spine.
“Gah!” he relented as he let himself hunch over, placing a heavy claw on the ground to support himself. “Ah! Sweet relief.” His paw began to sink and a cold muck washed up to his wrist. He grit his teeth and muttered under his breath. He pulled up his claw. Schloop! “Ugh! Disgusting!” He flung his muddy paw out and pulled up his tattering sleeve “Bah!” He set it back on the ground and used it to lumber himself down to the riverside. Small rocks covered the shore, and the river rushed slowly between himself and a sheer forested cliff. He glanced up and down the river. Not a soul in sight. He trudged out of the brambles down to the water and put his paws in. He scrubbed them clean, digging all the muck out of his claws. As the sun rose, little mirrors of light dotted the shoreline. A bit of movement to his right caught his eye. He glared down river at a large stony bridge. In the distance a small pool of light shone among the rocks and nearby skittered a creature. Carefully, Will sunk his fore paws into the rocky shore and crept up to it. A Grackle bug chewed on a discarded fish next to a meager pool of water. Will looked around. Discarded newspaper decorated the nearby weeds, bits of glass glittering beneath them. Among them laid a cracked, empty jam jar. He slinked to the refuse and pocketed the jar. With wet rocks digging into his palms he snuck back to the Gracklebug and swiped it up neatly into the jar.
“Mmhm!” He set it aside. Beneath him a twill suit reflected back up at him. He stepped back, his heart pounding, and lowered his head to the pool. Gnarled teeth, bushy brows, and yellow eyes glared back up at him. “Eeegh!” he flinched but didn’t look away.”Hmm.” He leaned in closer to himself, putting a claw to his cheek. Long rebellious indigo fur twirled around his claws. He turned to the right and smiled at his reflection. “I suppose he was right.” He groomed his ears, cheeks and styled the fur above his brow. He sighed, rinsed his paws once more, gently plucked up the jar, and hobbled back to his caravan. Once there he put away all the books, papers and alchemic instruments that were strewn from the cart, keeping a few books between a scrap of cloth on a rock for his own perusing. He lifted the largest piece of the cart back onto it with ease and pieced the rest together meticulously. In the process he found his bouquet and that fateful Flatfruit fizz. He placed a single yellow rose in the bottle and sat it on the porch. For the rest of the flowers he soaked the stems in water and gingerly wrapped them in wet newspaper. He set them upright by his selection of books. He picked up a book and laid it flat as he read, gingerly flipping the pages after tearing a claw through one or two. As the sun turned to an orange glow, Biggs buzzed back into the clearing. His claws were stained purple and black, matching the various spots on his grey cravat. A big smile spread across his face.
“The place looks great!” he landed before Will and eyed him up and down “You too, are looking better!” Will smoothed the hair on his head and smiled back. He reached down by his books and pulled up the cracked jar. The Gracklebug within put its legs up against the glass. Biggs’ eyes went wide, “Beetletrix! Oh, I didn’t even think of her!” Will handed him the jar.
“She didn’t get very far. She found the most rotten thing she could and clung to it.”
“Haha! Thank you! I thought you hated her?”
“Oh, I do. But she’s yours and that makes her incredibly tolerable.”
“Ahah! Glad to know I’m tolerated!” Biggs took a step closer to Will and beamed up at him. Will beamed back and started to twiddle his claws.
“Ahem…I found the fizz bottle.” He pointed to the porch. Biggs walked over, placed Beetletrix just inside the door of the caravan, and picked the violet bottle up. The rose within was now gnarled over, its petals a deep, dark sanguine and its thorns the size of coins.
“Oh! Wow! Potent stuff!”
“Be careful!” Will gasped.
“Relax! I’m a professional!” Biggs carefully plucked the rose out and placed it on the porch. “Did it taste at all odd?”
“Was it sealed?”
“Not very well honestly.” Will sighed.
Biggs frowned. “Could it have been Wagstaff?”
“Impossible. The dullard can barely spell, and I’m quite sure he’s in Altador.”
“Hmm, yeah. He’d have to enlist Sloth himself to make something so dastardly!” Biggs peeled off the label and sighed, “It was just tampered with…” He paused a moment and stared at the printed picture of a Flatfruit beside a bubbling glass. Fear struck through his heart. Biggs looked up at Will, “I…think I know who it was!”
“Wasn’t it you? I could understand-”
“Ugh! No! Well! Inadvertently-I-oogh! I wouldn’t do this to you!” He stamped his foot.
Will hid his head under his paws. “I know you wouldn’t.”
“It was that old Buzz! That old crone!”
“What? She got what she wanted-why would she?” Will put his ears back and furrowed his brow.
“She gave me back the money! Offhand I said I was going to get this!” Biggs shook the bottle at him.
“Doing all this would have certainly cost her more than five Neopoints.”
“Oogh! Why!?” Biggs threw his arms down.
“I wasn’t exactly kind to her.” Will mumbled.
“Yes-but this is extreme! We should find her! Take her to the alchemists guild-the city council somebody-to-”
“We have no proof.” Will scratched behind his ears,” Besides, is what she did even punishable?”
“If she’s part of the guild herself they’ll expel her.”
“Ooh, what revenge.” Will shrugged sarcastically.
“Better than nothing! And better to have others aware of her madness!” Biggs sighed as he slipped the sticky label back on. Will snorted and lumbered over to a tree stump and sat himself on it. Silence, save for the wind rustling through the thicket filled the small clearing. “Well. Want to go to Prigpants? I’ve got plenty for a cane for you! Also I was thinking; Have you ever seen a Duocorn?”
“Well they’re hunchbacked little critters-and they walk around on their hind legs like this!” Biggs hunched over, hung his arms out like a Grarrl and trotted around. “Would that work for you?”
“That…Well-better than getting my paws dirty…IF it works.” Will stood up, held up his paws, clasped them together and took a couple of steps. “Hm! Seems they were after something. I do feel rather silly though. It’s as if I’m plotting something nefarious.”
“Hah!” Biggs’ little mandible smiled.
“Well-that solves it for now, but I’d rather a cane.”
“Ok! Let’s get going then! Just grab me if you need to.” They walked out of the brambles and into the park where sparse visitors sat on the benches and under trees. Will let out a long low growling sigh.
To be continued…