The jailbreak didn’t go all that well by jail-breaking standards, at least according to Cass, but I couldn’t see why. The watchmen were actually quite good-humored about the whole thing, and they even let us go, with only one condition! All we had to do was find out who stole the goods from the village, and we would be “absolved from all our crimes of previous conviction that were to have taken place in the village of Westthorp, up to, and including: assault, battery, trespassing, breaking and entering, interfering with watch affairs, interfering with traffic, causing a guard to fall under the influence of a compulsion spell, and conspiracy to partake in criminal behavior”. I wasn’t sure how serious any of that was, but it all sounded very important and scary, so I was glad I wouldn’t have to worry about getting in trouble for it later. After all, Gramma would get really mad at me if she learned that I got into trouble, and if I couldn’t be held accountable, I wouldn’t have to tell her, right? …Right!
So that was all well and good, but the search for the mystery thief wasn’t. We looked everywhere, and asked everyone, but all we were able to learn was that a lone gypsy caravan had passed through the town about a week previous, before it vanished into the forest.
So of the course, the obvious thing to do was to just go into the woods and look around! It was our only lead after all! But, unfortunately, no one really knew what to look for, and pretty soon after we started looking we got lost. I honestly couldn’t see the problem. I mean, I had never even seen this part of the forest before, and everything was just so wonderful and fascinating, like the pretty little flowers, and the tall, thick trees, and the babbling brook filled with fish! I loved being able to see and experience all of these amazing new things! But the rest of the party was less than enthusiastic… Especially Eviss.
“This is bloody ridiculous!” He was furious. “We’ve been wandering around on some wild goose chase for hours, and we have nothing to show for it! How could possibly get lost in a forest anyhow?! There was a bloody path!” Even for demon-possessed warlock, Eviss seemed to have a ridiculously short temper, and it seemed like it was only a matter of time of until he started making everything even more miserable for everybody else.
“We’re not lost,” Kurgan nonchalantly brushed off Eviss’ comments. “The town’s back thataways. We just don’t know where we are is all,”
“Oh, of course!” Eviss’ voice was dripping with so much sarcasm that I was surprised the ground beneath him wasn’t wet. “We’re not lost, we just don’t know where we are! BECAUSE THERE’S SUCH A BIG DAMN DIFFERENCE!” He started laughing maniacally. “Good gods and demons Kurgan! Sometimes I wonder if you’re incompetent, or just bloody stupid!”
“What did you call me…?” Kurgan’s growl would’ve put a wolf to shame. He stalked over to Eviss and loomed in over him, glaring him right in the eyes. Nothing good was going to happen from this. I really hoped that just this once, Eviss would stand down.
“You heard me,” Eviss sneered. My stomach twisted itself in a knot. Even though I didn’t like Eviss, I really didn’t want anyone to get hurt. After all, we were still a party. But Eviss didn’t seem to care about stuff like that. “Or is it just as hard for you to hear as it is for you to think?”
Kurgan was livid. I saw his eyes bulge, and his veins pop out and everything! He balled his hand into an enormous fist, and prepared to hit Eviss with all of his enraged strength. And worse, no one else seemed to be doing anything! Selhallen looked completely indifferent about the whole thing, and Cass actually looked amused! As Kurgan threw his arm back to strike Eviss, I screamed.
“KNOCK IT OFF YOU TWO!” the volume of my voice was a lot louder than I had intended it to be. In fact, I hadn’t even intended to yell at all. But Kurgan stopped his fist mid-movement and turned to me, as did everyone else. And now they were all looking at me…
“C-come on guys,” I was so nervous! I felt like I had done something wrong now too, and I really hoped that none of them would start yelling at me now too. “W-we’re a t-team, you know? We sh-shouldn’t be fighting…”
Kurgan stared at me incredulously.
“He started it!” he bellowed. “He called me stupid!”
“Yes, but if you were to hit him, you really would be just as stupid as he said you were!” The next thing I knew, I was lecturing him like Gramma lectured me! “It would be pretty stupid to hit someone you need to work with and then ruin all this for everyone, right?”
Kurgan glared at me, but then, to my surprise, he sighed and bowed his head.
“Yeah, I guess…”
“Good!” I felt so proud of myself! “Now apologize to Eviss,”
“Seriously?” Kurgan looked absolutely stupefied. I nodded. Kurgan sighed again and reluctantly turned back to Eviss, who was grinning evilly.
“…Sorry Eviss,” Kurgan grumbled. Eviss started laughing hysterically, but I wasn’t going to have that.
“Very good Kurgan,” I smiled as I turned to Eviss. “Now Eviss, apologize to Kurgan,”
Eviss doubled over in laughter.
“BWAHAH! Oh, no! I don’t think so!” He sneered. “No, I apologize for nothing! I meant everything I said!”
“Well then…” I had actually hoped he would say that! “That just proves that you were the stupid one then! Because you were the one who spent all of this time complaining without contributing anything at all! Maybe if you weren’t whining so much, you could’ve helped out and made sure that we wouldn’t have gotten lost! So it’s just as much your fault that we got lost as Kurgan’s!”
Eviss’ jaw dropped.
“That doesn’t make any sense!” he screamed, outraged. “You’re blaming me for doing nothing?! That’s the stupidest thing I’ve heard! I wasn‘t involved at all, so I can’t be held accountable for anything!”
I got him!
“Can’t be held accountable for anything, huh?” I couldn’t contain my smile. “Then I guess that means you don’t have any right to complain either, since you weren‘t involved at all!”
Eviss’ pale white face suddenly grew a whole lot pinker. He gaped. He spluttered. He kept opening his mouth to shout something back at me, but he kept tripping over his words.
“Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go look for those missing things so we can all get back to our lives!” I said as I turned and walked away. And as I walked, I heard the footsteps of my companions following me! I turned, and saw Kurgan, Selhallen, Cass, and even Eviss, marching along behind me!
I felt so important and mature! Of all the people to finally get this group together, I could barely believe that it was me! But at least we were all ready to get back on our grand adventure! And THAT I didn’t mind being held accountable for!