Chapter 9 = City Patrol
Disclaimer: Although all characters here are of my own invention, the original Yoshi is copyright of Nintendo, and I make no money from writing this.
“We’re lost, you know that, right?”
Manny sighed. “No, Karin, we’re not lost, this just looks like the same open fields that we’ve crossed for the last… however long it’s been.”
“Great.” She moaned, “Not only are we lost, but we don’t know how long we’ve BEEN lost.”
“We’re not lost. Just ambling.”
Laen, at the front of the group, ignored the argument behind her and continued walking at a brisk pace along the empty fields, her bow strapped to her back. Everyone she had ever known was now dead, and she was the last elf outside the Crelata forests, but even so, even in those forests the elven population was far from bustling.
“No, Manny, we’re lost. You see, we’ve been walking and walking for… I have no idea how long, and we haven’t seen any landmarks or buildings or-”
“Karin, turn around. The black forest ain’t getting any closer, is it? We’re not lost. Just between here and there.”
“And ‘there’ is…?”
“Ultimately Sansata, but for now I’ll settle for Lince, the biggest Yoshian city in the whole of Chyrus.”
“I’d heard of that place, but how big is it really?”
“Heh, we won’t be able to get off the island without at least seeing it, it’s that big. We’ll just keep walking ‘till we get there.”
“If we get there.”
“We’re not lost, Karin.”
“That’s a lie, and you know it.”
“It’s not a lie. It’s a terminological inexactitude…”
Marcus, strolling along behind the pair of blue Yoshies, was lost in thought. He was trying desperately not to look at the two of them holding hands, keeping his gaze focused just above them, and wondering to himself whether ‘inexactitude’ was a real word or not.
He was pretty sure that they were lost, too, but didn’t want to say anything. Granted, they weren’t in the black forest, or any other forest for that matter, but still, the countryside seemed to look a lot like what it had done for the past few days. However many they numbered.
Manny and Karin seemed to be getting close to each other, which both annoyed and depressed Marcus. While he was glad for the company and happy for his friend, their feelings for each other reminded him of what he had loved and lost… he remembered a proverb along the lines of ‘Better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all’, but Marcus wasn’t so sure about that. It would take a long time for the pain to go away.
Marcus was in the middle of another thought when Laen suddenly called back, “Look out, city guard patrol up ahead! They don’t look friendly, but it does mean that we’re close to the city.”
The trio of Yoshies caught up to Laen and spotted a six-person patrol up ahead composed entirely of armed humans under mediocre armour. Their leader, hardly discernible under his armour didn’t seem to look too happy, even at the distance he was approaching from.
“This doesn’t look good.” Marcus said. “Hmm… quick, Manny, draw your sword. Let’s pretend we’re ferals; they may let us by without any hassle.”
“Ferals?” Laen asked.
“Yeah,” Manny replied, “Not all Yoshies live in cities or villages. There are still some wild ones out there who don’t speak the common tongue and live relatively simple lives. They’ve been dying out though, mostly via genocide, but there’s still a few of them about. They probably won’t care too much about ferals; they figure they’re all too simple-minded to cause any trouble.”
“But,” Laen argued, “If they don’t speak the common tongue how will these guards know that you’re not just being silent?”
“Feral Yoshies speak their own language. We call it ‘Old Yoshi’, because that’s what we all spoke before the humans basically took over. All Yoshies can speak it, but we just use the common tongue because we’re more used to it. It relies heavily on sounds that can only be produced with a ten-foot tongue, which is why we used to use it all the time. Now then, they’re getting close, so just be quiet…”
They waited where they were until the patrol reached them, whereupon they were surrounded. Marcus narrowed his eyes at the leader and said something Laen found incomprehensible, and the leader paused for a moment before looking to his right at one of his comrades.
“What’s he saying?” he asked, and the soldiers shrugged, producing a wide variety of metallic noises. He then turned to Laen and said to her, “Did you understand any of that?”
“No, I didn’t. I was wandering around and I came across these ferals. They seemed pretty tough, but I gave them some fruit and they befriended me.”
Manny leaned over to Marcus and said, in old Yoshi, “Let’s not forget that either. Ferals are stereotypically fruit-loving, extremely impatient, overactive Yoshies. We’d better keep this disguise up well.”
Marcus nodded back and replied, “Yeah, and don’t even whisper to me in the common tongue. Humans sometimes have sharper ears than you might think.”
“I don’t know about that one.” One of the soldiers said, gesturing towards Manny. “He looks like he’s got attitude, a little bit more than a normal feral would…”
“No, you fool,” A third soldier responded, “Ferals have more attitude than regular Yoshies.”
“You two don’t know anything about Yoshies.” A fourth soldier interjected. “Ferals could be anything, but the last time I checked, ferals didn’t wear saddles.”
“Now that is just plain wrong.” The leader said. “Regardless, we’ve still got our orders to imprison any suspicious characters we come across…”
Laen looked questioningly at the leader. “Suspicious? I’m just a traveller. From what I gathered from other Yoshies I ran into, a feral village was recently burned and these three were most likely survivors.”
“Well, whatever.” The leader replied with a shrug. “Point is, ferals don’t usually like people, you see… and dressed up like that, you sure seem suspicious. I couldn’t care less about ferals and burned Yoshi villages or whatever, but the point is, we’ve been hired by the baron of Lince to look out for any strange travellers, IN PARTICULAR a brown Yoshi and a blue one!”
“Brown and blue Yoshies aren’t exactly rare.” Laen replied coolly, whilst wondering to herself why Marcus and Manny were wanted Yoshies. “Besides, I doubt you’d ever be interested in ferals.”
Marcus was getting impatient with the delay, and looked over to Manny again, who shrugged. Karin was keeping still and silent next to Manny, and she nervously grasped his hand.
“…Regardless,” the leader said, still arguing with Laen, “We outnumber you six to four, and none of you have much in the way of armour, weapons, or… anything, really. So, I think you’ll be coming along with us.”
“I thought that humans were scarce around these parts.”
“Oh, they were, but the baron of Lince had a change of heart, you see. He’s taken to hiring human guards now for security, and is keeping a lookout for ruffians like you who’re bound to cause trouble.”
Speaking in old Yoshi, Marcus turned to Manny and mumbled, “This sounds very suspicious. Last I heard, the Yoshi baron here never hired humans and kept them out of the city as much as possible. Lince is known as the ‘City Of Yoshies’ simply because Yoshies are really the only ones allowed in.”
“I agree.” Manny replied, “I don’t like the sound of this…”
The frustrated leader spun to look at the Yoshies and shouted, “Will you shut up!” at them in a blind rage. Marcus blinked for a moment, then turned to Manny and casually said in old Yoshi, “Great, now he’s shouting, like that would make any difference if we really were ferals…”
It was the final straw; the leader stepped forward and brought a steel-clad foot down on Marcus’s left shoe, and Marcus cried out in pain, pulling his foot out quickly, before swearing quite fluently in the common tongue at the guard. He quickly slapped a hand over his mouth as he realised his mistake, but it was too late.
“Aha!” the leader cried. “So, they’re not ferals at all! I call that sufficient evidence; disarm them and take them back to Lince!”
Manny quickly attempted to swing his sword, but a steel gauntlet hit him on the back of the head and he was knocked out as Laen was forced to the ground. Another soldier quickly put Karin in an arm lock, and Marcus barely had time to register what happened before he, too, was hit in the back of the head, and he blacked out…
To be continued…