“Does anyone else feel like their spit is on fire?” heaved Jean.
“Mmph!” Beardface said inaudibly. His head had gone out through the other side of the bridge.
“He says, ‘even me’.” Felix interpreted.
Ranaweyt meowed their attention to two suspicious looking butlers who looked as if they’d just seen two people and two cats crash land onto a bridge in a blaze of light.
“Gaah!” Beardface roared as he excalibured his head from the wall. “My tongue is on f…” But, he was interrupted by a splintering crack that resounded through the air.
“Get off the bridge!” Felix yelled. The party leaped into action. The suspicious butlers had their eyes on the prize and were already surging ahead. The party bolted for the other side. All around them the bridge was starting to crumble. Bricks were tumbling down on unknown victims below. It was a shame too, it was such a nice bridge… oh, it also sucked that countless people would be grievously injured.
Ranaweyt was at the head of the pack followed by Jean, then Beardface and with Felix taking up the rear. Any structural integrity the bridge might have had was a bygone memory now as it tore apart under its own weight. They could feel the bridge imploding below their feet.
“Jump!” Felix cried.
Ranaweyt sprang. Jean dove. Beardface leapt. Felix hopped.
“WE CAN MAKE IT!”
… CRASH. CRASH. CRUMBLE crumble crumble crumble tumble tumble boof ouch!
The party sighed a breath of tasty relief in unison. Everything tastes better when you’re alive, you see.
“Did everyone make it.” Jean asked.
“Yeah.” said one of the butlers out of turn.
“Felix?” Beardface’s head shot up. He had only just made the jump and Felix had been behind him. Had he made it? Beardface bounded to the edge and flung his head over. “FELIX!!!”
“Yes?” Felix said from atop his shoulder. Beardface had obviously forgotten the plot armour.
“Who are you and what business do you have here on the Business Strut.” said the first butler.
“The Business Strut?” Jean asked.
“We’re looking for Valiant. We heard he may have been spotted here.” Felix said.
“V… Valiant? You’ll find fair taxes before you find a hero in these walls. Valiant is a false saviour. Hrgl hrgl!” Her laugh sounded like a drowning goose.
“How so?” Felix asked. The butler seemed to have been waiting for this response and cleared her throat in a way that suggested an incoming backstory.
“Valiant was meant to be the hero of the people but he did nothing for me or mine. He didn’t come to our aid when Doshforthewin and Chang stole this land from my people, the fish-kin.”
“Fish skin?” Jean said.
“No. Kin. Like “people” but the edgy 3-letter equivalent. Anyway, the fish-kin were robbed of our land. Our culture has all but died out. My brother and I grew tired of waiting for ‘heroes’. So, we decided to take the future into our own flippers.”
“I sympathise.” Felix said.
“Then help us!” She said.
“What exactly is your intention.” Beardface asked with his arms crossed.
“We want the head of F.O.T. Chang.” she said with a dark glow in her eyes.
“Remind me never to get a butler.” Jean said.
“We are looking for Valiant. We are not interested in your vengeful plots.” Beardface said.
“Have it your way.” she said in the voice of someone who’d just discovered their lifetime supply of toilet paper was 1-ply. “However, let us join forces for now. If anyone were to know of Valiant’s whereabouts it would be Chang. We can lead you to him. If you help us get to him we’ll ask him your questions before we end his wretched life.”
“So be it.” Felix said. Beardface shuffled uncomfortably and gave Felix the I-don’t-think-we-can-trust-them look. Felix returned with the they-may-be-useful-to-us look. Jean gave them the if-things-go-south-we-can-just-ditch-them look. Ranaweyt gave them the a-vengeful-person-especially-one-who-has-had-their-culture-stolen-from-them-is-unpredictable-and-should-be-treated-with-caution look. After that it was up to interpretation.
“I’m Bloop.” said the first butler breaking the visual tension.
“And I’m Grgl.” said the second.
Felix gave them the lead-the-way look.