The riverside near the bridge had been the location of their gang for a long time. They reached the bridge and walked down to the bridge to the river bank through the narrow stairs. The bank usually gets drowned during the rainy season and would be no use to them other than the summer and spring but still it had been there’s for a long time now.
As they had thought the west gang was already at the bottom of the bridge which was bare except for a small stream of water flowing to remind them of the river that flows through the city dividing it during the rainy days. The west gang members were watching Shiki’s group as they walked down to where they stood. Their group looked small, it seems not all of their members was there.
“ See I told you all, we could win with fighting “ Shiki could hear Bonchi speaking but he kept an eye around the area. He wouldn’t cross it out of the options for his neighbor to ambush them even before the meeting starts.
Suddenly one of the boys broke away from the group and started walking at a much faster pace with a determined gait. It was Khan, the boy had this bad habit of making it difficult for everyone around him. Khan has this dream of joining the army, and become a general one day, that’s what he always keep saying. And someone had told him ones in some stories that a great general keeps improvising and surprise his enemies. He always tries to improvise but ends up surprising the ones around him. He was walking fast and had already outpaced the others in the group. Shiki mused if he was going to throw the first punch. He might be doing others a great favor. We can all blame him later for starting the fight.
The thought was probably shared by the others, as the overall speed of the group decreased. But when they saw him talking to the other group voicing his discontent at them, they stepped up the pace. “Who are you? General of the stories who proclaims his intentions to fight? Hit them already.”, roared Shiki in his head.
As Shiki’s group got closer to Khan he could hear bits of pieces of the argument. Khan was trying to goad the westerners into a fight. Shiki nodded approvingly. They could blame them for starting the fight. But sadly they were not having any part of it. They probably wised up after seeing they numbered less than Shiki’s group.
“It seems people tends to become wise when they find themselves in dangerous situations “, thought Shiki “at least some people does “. He watched Khan still trying at his blatant provoking. When his eyes fell on the other group, he stepped behind the fatty Boman who is one of the biggest in their group. He really didn’t want to be noticed by his neighbors.
“Well if you want to fight” Shiki heard one of his neighbors say to Khan. “Let’s fight a duel. Our champion against your one.”
“Champion?”, asked someone among Shiki’s group. Shiki didn’t bother to look who it was as he just saw a spark of happy expression erupt in some of the faces among the western gang. “Something is not right”, just as soon as the thought flashed through his mind, he saw the other group mask their expression with different fake incredulous expressions.
Shiki could see Lian taking few steps forward. “Does he want to get beaten up”, thought Shiki but before anyone could say anything he heard Bonchi shouting “ Well then Shiki would fight for us “
“Damn that weasel, I am gonna kill him.“ said Shiki in a low voice.
Some laughed at that some other’s started calling his name out again like he was some kind of hero. Most of them were the ones who was angry at him for making the wrong vote and Shiki had the same standing as the westerners or at least his parent did. So even if the parents of the other group were to bring this issue up it could be handled. Their parents could get bullied by the rich family of the westerners.
Are all the lot of them so fickle minded that they would forget the purpose of the whole thing was not to get revenge at him and slowly the word of the majority became that of the groups?
Shiki could see some did look at him with pity while others just looked away or some like Khan just ignored him, the only exception being his friend Lang who was trying hard to hold his laughter. Seeing this a smile spread through his face. Well, he did say he was willing to fight. He shook his head as he chuckled and turned towards hs friend.
“ Be sure to avenge me brother”, Shiki said to Lang with a cheeky grin spreading his face. He lightly punched Lang who was still giggling which morphed into a groan when the hit landed.
“ I shall my brother “ replied Lang still trying to keep a straight face. Then he motioned for Shiki to go forward by jerking his head towards the other group. He turned and began walking towards the center of the two groups, the boys in his group parted away to the sides. As Shiki walked towards the center he began to miss his books in father’s study. He would probably now had something to eat by now too if he had been at the house. As a desperation to escape, he had forsaken lunch. Now the consequence echoed in the form of a grumble from his stomach, he hoped no one heard that.
Desperation to escape from the gloominess of his studies and boredom of his father’s clinic, he had forsaken lunch. Now the consequence echoed in the form of a grumble from his stomach, he hoped no one heard that.
As he reached the center he could see the sneer in the face of the westerners. Clearly, they had a card up their sleeve and he had just walked right into their plan or was thrown at it. They have someone who assures them of victory, they are not smart enough to have devised a backup plan prior to their arrival here.“ Yun will be our
“ Lord Aathi will be our Champion. “ said a Westerner, his face almost brimming with mirth. Everyone went silent.
Lord Aathi. Are you kidding me? Shiki’s face turned seven shades of gray. Shiki knew the name, Aathi Ekarishi Qan is the son of the head of the Garrison of town. The only lordling of the town. He and his father, Maarath Ekarishi Qan are probably the only nobles in the area around until they reach the Provincial army garrison located at the castle King’s folly.