For once, I was glad of my queasy stomach as we rode the zippy elevator.   I had something else to focus on other than the thick silence that smothered the air between myself and the knights.

"Zaldizko huh." Lita broke the silence with a heavy question.  "Say Famine, what do you think about all that talk on claiming and stuff?"

I felt the knights' intense stares on my face and suspected if I couldn't give them a plausible answer it would be the end of my good relations with them.  

I was certain the prophecy was referring to my brothers and me, yet it didn't make one bit of sense. What did it mean to claim, break, inflict and negate?  Did that mean that I was to put in a claim for something that was broken?  

Ugh, all this prophecy talk was beyond my brain capacity. I had to give them something.

I swallowed my nausea, stared up to the elevator's stucco patterned ceiling with further considerations on the matter, then returned with the only serious answer possible.

"I once claimed all my brothers' ganmodoki when I complained I had none. War can be clumsy, so he tends to break stuff with his big hands like the one-time Bulldog got pissed at him for breaking his favourite cup.  Death's always smoothing out our fights with his clever talk.  Pesti, I dunno, maybe he inflicts admiration 'cause he's so darn adorable and..." My explanation was cut off by roaring laughter.

"Oh, my sides!" Laughed Lita who was doubled over.  

Tears were strained out of Ryoko's eyes as she thumped her fits into the elevator walls.

Saku was looking at everyone with a clueless expression.

"Man, oh, man," Jensen said with a grin on his face. He slung his arm over my shoulders. "You are too damn cute."

"Still, that talk from your Shuso is pretty heavy-duty," said Ryoko once she had calmed down.

"The Captain's arrest; the timing of it almost seems the working of fate," Wilfred soberly voiced.

"Yeah." Lita finished her laughter with a deep sigh.

"I wonder what the Colonel will do about it," Wilfred thought aloud.

I frowned, wondering why Trix was arrested. 

"Why would your captain be arrested?" I blurted and gulped at the deadpan expressions I received in response.

"Well, you turned up unexpectedly and in a high-level demon's lair." Lita levelly stated the fact. "That should be impossible."

"Then the skrit in the West and South Wings go berserk and turn against us." Wilfred added as he thoughtfully rubbed his chin.

"They cause the deaths of five knights and 25 prisoners," Saku commented.  "So of course, fingers are going to be pointed at Trix for blame."

"Why Trix?" Unclear on why any of this would be under Trix's blame.

"Because he's the map of Hell's Labyrinth.  He should always know what's moving in and out of the tiers below the fourth. Nothing should escape his attention whilst the mapglass is on his eye," Jensen answered.

He pointed to the monocle patch I was still holding.

"Tell me Famine, while we're not going anywhere anytime soon, how exactly did you get here?" He posed the question to me.

I recounted the facts of Gat Shiem's burning, being separated from Pesti by the skrit and a skrit dumping me into that lair according to Small Cap's eyes.

"Hey Small Cap, were you awake through it all?" Jensen surprised me when he directed the question to my belt pouch.

Small Cap gingerly crawled to the pouch opening and poked his head out. 

"Like Freend says, then tree-two-legs put us in sacks. Freend sleeping. Me crawl to sack opening, see scary scar-face-two-leg talk to dog-eye-two-leg. We go in a cart.  Tree-two-legs carry us to another two-leg with X scar on the neck.  More tree-two-legs come and take us to the demon."  Small Cap's voice filled my head.

I stared at Jensen and Wilfred to see if they had also heard his words and saw their faces pale.

"You say that aside from the tree-two-legs you saw a two-leg with dog eyes, one with an X-scar on his neck and another with a scar on his face?" Jensen summed up with a question.

"Wait, what's with the 'X' scar on neck thing?" Lita blurted. 

She was given the order to stay her questions by Jensen's hand gesture.

"You sure of this Small Cap?" Jensen insisted. 

Silence lingered the air before Small Cap answered with a strong 'yes' in our minds.

"This is not good." Wilfred gulped nervously.

"Surely you're not implying Trix's predecessor is involved in Famine and War's kidnapping?" Lita gasped.

"Then we better stop talking about it right now," Ryoko answered.

A heavy silence hung about the elevator, but for a different reason this time.

ZaldizkoRead this story for FREE!