"The Killer's Allies"
“Westington – 5 Miles” As Nathan and I looked at the sign by the worn bike trail we came across, I couldn’t help but feel relieved. Finally, we were coming to a city. There, we can get a car, and ride the rest of the way to the Valley of Borea. Unfortunately, Nathan didn’t feel the same.
“Darn, and I was enjoying myself too. The hiking and the excitement were a nice change of pace from sitting around in a building all day. I wouldn’t mind walking all the way.”
“No. We can’t afford to wander about like we have been. We could easily be attacked again, and next time, they’ll probably come prepared to combat our combined strength. We’ll rest in the city up ahead, then we’ll grab a car, and get to the valley faster. Which is what I want to do. Walking takes far too long.”
As we were walking along the trail, we came upon a couple of brothers, hiking in the opposite direction. As we all passed each other, one of the two brothers eyed Nathan. It wasn’t just a simple glance, either. That brother seemed to recognize Nathan. Nathan didn’t notice it, so I strayed the other way to see what that was all about. The brother whispered to the other. “Did you see that guy we just passed? He looked an awful lot like the guy in that wanted poster we saw.” When I heard this, I called to Nathan. He looked towards me just as the brothers looked towards him. “Oh, do you think he heard me?”
Nathan saw the brothers looking at him. “Why are you looking at me?”
The second brother responded. “Are you the one who killed King Rechin?”
“What? Why do you think I killed him?”
“There are wanted posters all over town. They show a sketch that looks just like you, and says you were the one who killed the king.” I knew it. Blaque was again attempting to capture Nathan and get the jewel back. This time, indirectly. I then wondered how King Rechin was killed, and I’m sure Nathan did, too. Though Nathan asked a somewhat different question than what I would have asked.
“Did they…find the body?”
The brothers gave a surprised look, and the first spoke out. “So you are the one who killed the king? Well, it’s about time somebody got him!” I couldn’t help but drop my jaw when I heard this. Nathan didn’t really seem all that surprised. “I’m surprised he wasn’t killed sooner, you know? He was bringing this country into ruin! I hope his successor is a lot better. Oh, by the way, I’m Joshua, and this is my brother, Jessie.”
This didn’t seem right. Here are these two brothers, meeting the supposed killer of King Rechin, and they think that the occasion is such a great thing? Sure, Rechin sounded like an awful king, but with there being a wanted poster out for Nathan, the happiness of the brothers seemed too good to be true. “Nathan, don’t trust these two. They’re obviously tricking you so they can get whatever reward was on that wanted poster.” But Nathan ignored me.
The conversation continued. It turned out that though the King was announced killed, there weren’t any details of the killing that were released. Probably because the King was still a parrot, and had his counselors make the wanted poster because Nathan refused to change him back to normal, but didn’t want anyone to know of his exact predicament. Eventually the brothers offered Nathan to hide out at their house for a while. Nathan accepted the offer, despite me opposing the idea.
Finally, we came into Westington. The town certainly wasn’t as large as Durhia was. Nor was it as heavily populated. However, there were plenty of guards wandering around, both on foot and in cars. Undoubtedly they were on full alert, keeping a lookout for Nathan. I figured that with all the guards that were around, the brothers would call out to them and have Nathan turned in. But to my surprise, they offered to help him avoid the guards. But my suspicions were not put to rest.
“We’ve been living here all our lives,” Jessie said. “And there’s never been this many guards here.”
“Yeah, usually there are barely any,” Joshua responded. “Good thing, too, ‘cause that means that there aren’t any security cameras in the streets. But that won’t make things too easy.”
The first thing we did was hide Nathan’s gear. We would have stood out too much carrying around all that weight. Before we started sneaking to the brothers’ house, Nathan took the jewel out of the backpack and stuffed it in his pocket. We couldn’t just leave it there.
Joshua took the role of leading us there, checking to see if our path was guard-free. Jessie’s role was to watch our backs. I stayed close to Joshua to make sure that he didn’t pull anything. I didn’t worry about Jessie, since he stayed close to Nathan. Watching for guards was easy enough, since there didn’t seem to be anybody else on the streets. Everyone was afraid of heading out of their houses. It was interesting how the two brothers were the only ones who seemed to have enough courage to go out and about. A little too interesting. I brought this to Nathan’s attention, but still he ignored me.
Getting to the brothers’ house took a long while. Nathan had to duck behind trees, into bushes, and behind houses. We couldn’t go through most of the allies, since they were guarded almost as much as the streets. Several instances we had to hide in people’s houses. Those living in them had the same opinion about the king as the brothers did, and though they let Nathan hide long enough for guards to go by, they all refused to let him stay at their houses due to their fears.
We got stuck at the main road that went through the town. We could see a good distance both ways, and if we could, so could the guards. Nathan and Jessie hid in a bush a little ways away from the road, while Joshua went on ahead to his house, to see if he could find anything that would work. Naturally, I followed Joshua. At first, it seemed like the guards didn’t pay much attention to him, but it didn’t take long before they grew suspicious, and stopped him.
It was then that I saw movement in a window of a nearby house. Someone saw Joshua get caught. As Joshua denied having ever seen Nathan, and was told that he should stay at home, the radio in the guards’ car went off, saying to let him go. I looked around, and saw that other people have left their homes, and were nervously walking about. So they let Joshua go.
He finally reached his house, and immediately started looking for something to help Nathan reach the rest of the way. Unfortunately, it didn’t seem that he could find anything. Then, to our surprise, Nathan and Jessie walked in!
“How’d you two get here? I thought I left you two hiding in that bush.”
Nathan had sweat running down his face. Something obviously happened. But Jessie seemed ecstatic. “You won’t believe what happened. Nathan and I were hiding in that bush, when this guard walked by and saw us. He quickly recognized Nathan, and had him cuffed. And I as well, since I was helping. But then this other guard came to help, and took a look under Nathan’s shirt. Then he hit the first guard, and said ‘Idiot, this ain’t him. He looks like him, but there isn’t any cut on his chest. Not even a dang scar.’ It turns out that the real killer was cut at by the General of the Army. We were asked why we were hiding, and I simply told him that we were afraid of the guards. So they let us go!”
Hearing this, I was relieved. Not only had Aura saved Nathan’s life by healing the gash that the supposed General Blaque created, but also by doing so, she prevented Nathan’s arrest. It also helped that the cut shirt that Nathan had was with the rest of his gear. Then I looked at Joshua, and saw that he was more disappointed than relieved. “So then, you aren’t really the one who killed King Rechin?”
“Actually, I am. The general only thought he was able to cut at me, but I faked having a serious gash, when it was only a minor scratch. Now that we’re finally here, do you have anything to eat? I ran out of food about a day ago, and I’m really hungry.”
I couldn’t believe that Nathan could think of food at a time like this. Those guards were still looking for him, and he just told these two brothers that he faked an injury. It was only a matter of time before these supposed allies would tell the guards of the fake injury, and have Nathan arrested for good. But I didn’t say anything. I knew that he would ignore me just like he did before. Well, at least the food they gave him wasn’t poisoned or anything like that.
But something else bothered me. Nathan confessed to having killed King Rechin, when he really didn’t. I couldn’t help but wonder why. Did he like the treatment he was getting for being the supposed killer? I feared that I would never find out. I was certain that Nathan had just walked into a trap. And I knew that we were in trouble when I looked at the poster sitting on a desk, with the words “Dead or Alive.”