We got our swords and ran out of the hotel. Ben and Alexis were hitching up the Clydesdale to the pole cart and we walked alongside the home cart toward the gates of Upper Market. Alexis had removed all signs of circus from the wagons. The bunting was gone and so were the painted boards. Ben tied the brothers to each side of the pole cart at its tailgate. They both looked worse for wear, and both had bloodied faces and were limping.
“Leave us here! You know we’ll only betray you again!” Passalus yelled to Alexis. “Or are you going to kill us? You know that you’ll be more hunted for every living person you kill!” Alexis smiled slowly, turned around to face the sorry looking pair.
“Hahahahahaaa… nooooo… we won’t be killing you. Not at all. You’re coming with us in case we end up needing to cut you free to distract the dead so we can make a getaway.”
They went pale and stopped taunting him.
I looked back behind the pole cart. It was hard to see at first, but then as we turned back I noticed we were being followed by a small, black, home cart with a chimney on its chevron roof. It was painted jet black and there was an old man with long, white hair in a ponytail with a top hat driving it.
“Who’s that at the back?” I asked Boss.
“That’s the Professor,” he said with a half-smile.
“Were they his kids back there?”
“Well, not his own kids exactly … but he owns them.” I looked back again. I couldn’t see them much. It was still very early and only just light enough to make out shapes. We reached the gates and a man stopped us. It’s not the same as when you exit a town. You just have to pay to get in or out of the market. They don’t care if you’re pariah or a noble person. Just pay the gate man and you can enter.
Once we were on the Empire Road again Jeremy rode up to be beside us. His old horse was extremely well trained. But since it was killed at Pan, and he was forced to take an old mare as a replacement, he had decided to ride the small, white pony that Towers used to ride after we left the market, since Towers wouldn’t be needing it any more. Towers’ horse did one thing well; trot. It also looked a bit funny because Jeremy was so tall and slender that the little pony made him look even more out of place than Towers looked on it.
“Boss, we need to discuss where we go next.” Jeremy said as he came up alongside us.
“I agree. Can you please go and tell the Professor, Ben and Alexis to come up here, and ask May to watch the brothers and occupy the children?”
I was surprised that he included me in his plan. I didn’t think it was fair that he overlooked May just because she was female though. For a second I thought he was including me as one of the children. When the Professor arrived, I was fascinated by him. He was as tall as Jeremy, but thinner. His hair was snow white and silky. He wore a hat that went straight up like the Pope’s hat, but it was black, and like a tube. He had a moustache that was as white as his hair and curled at the sides with a rift of hair under his bottom lip.
“Professor,” Boss said, “This is Elijah, and Jeremy. Jeremy is a Ranger. You know my guys.” Ben and Alexis nodded to him and he took off his hat.