Mara and TnC make it over to the flashing light, and they see that it is the Bull and Leyla. The Bull tells them that if it's like this all the way to Vista, they should come up with something better. After bouncing ideas off of each other, they settle on TnC dressing up as human soldiers while taking Mara, the Bull, and Leyla as their "captives".
The Bull and Leyla hold position near a group of rocks, while TnC and Mara walk up to the camp to get the uniforms. They can see that the soldiers have already started to gather the bodies to burn them. They spot two officers talking, and Constantine is close enough to hear their conversation.
Officer: Are you sure it was them Corporal Ross?
Ross: Yes sir. Positive sir. This is their style for sure, plus we found this.
The corporal holds up a piece of paper, which Mara and TnC assume that its the wanted poster that TnC kept with them. Not realising that they could be seen, the trio began to discuss their next move. They flipped out when they saw the officer pointing over to them and a group of soldiers headed their way. They tried to hide, but it was no use in the desert. They got back on their wildebeests and proceeded over to the rocks.
As they approached, they all saw that the Bull and Leyla were gone. After finding some tracks, they were able to determine that the Bull and Leyla were going Northwest, presumably to Aloeste. They start riding.After a few minutes they lose the trail, but notice nine sets of tracks headed perpendicular to their course. They press on.
Constantine notices some horsemen headed their way. Since horses were faster than wildebeests, they would be caught if they ran. Torix, Constantine, and Mara put up their face coverings quickly. The human horsemen approach them.
Lead Horseman: I am sergeant Danville. Identify yourselves.
Constantine: (in an elvish accent) We are humble water merchants. We're not looking for any trouble sir.
Danville: Show me your ears.
TnC tense up, but Constantine's got it covered. More or less.
Constantine: Okay, man. You notice that our ears have been foully rounded. This was the work of an evil human who was intolerant of our kind!
Danville: Okay…fine. You said you're a water merchant?
Constantine: Oh, yeah, man. We're the best, you know? We hook you up with the best water around, man.
Danville: Really? Do you happen to have any right now? I'm very thirsty.
Constantine: Oh sure, man, no problem (hands him his canteen).
Danville(Quaffs the whole thing) You're right, that was excellent water! (nonchalantly throws the canteen in the sand, and Constantine picks it up.) So, merchant, where are you being sent to? I assume your skills have been requisitioned?
Constantine: Yeah, man, we're headed over to Aloeste, man.
Danville: You mean Port Rose, don't you?
Constantine: Right, yes, my bad, man.
Danville: Indeed. We will escort you there.
Constantine: No, really, its okay, man. We can make it there ourselves, you know?
Danville: I'm afraid I must insist.
It goes on like this for a while, and the situation goes south when Constantine incorrectly translates Torix and Mara's elvish. Danville "escorts" them right into the middle of the human encampment outside of Port Rose, then reveals that he knows who they are…butchers.
Soldiers file out, and when Danville is about to order them to attack, a lieutenant comes out and orders him to stand down. Lieutenant Schwarz raises the stakes by revealing that he has taken Leyla hostage (and presumbaly the Bull as well). He threatens to kill her if the brothers don't surrender. Torix tells Schwarz that the girl means nothing to them, and that killing her will accomplish nothing. While Torix is completely sincere, Constantine thinks otherwise, but knows that saying so will only hurt their position.
Schwarz orders one of his men to stab her, then the battle starts. Torix kills Danville, and Mara kills Schwarz. Constantine makes a daring dash over to Leyla and grabs her as they run off away from the encampment. After reaching a safe distance, Torix dismounts and stabilizes Leyla. Because of the chaos of the battle, they had steal a horse, and only made it out with one wildebeest.
Torix, Constantine, and Mara set up camp near an oasis and discuss their next move. They decide that it is best to abandon the Lion and the Bull, and to head north to the east stromm. Leyla is still unconcious. After a well-deserved rest, they head north.
TnC mention that in the long run they might want to go to Dverzistan to warn the Dwarves about the impending human attack. Mara tenses up at the mention of Dverzistan, and tells them a story about why. When she was younger, she was taken captive by some other elves and sold to a Dwarf who ran a labor camp in his homeland. She was vague on the circumstance of her escape, but TnC understood. There were things that they would be vague about too.
Leyla wakes up, and they give her the scoop on what happened. Constantine told her his thoughts on the hostage situation, and she was somewhat understanding. Leyla looks at Constantine, and tells him that the baby was probably killed when she was stabbed. Torix suspected that they had…you know, while they were drunk, but he never thought this would happen. Mara was surprised too because she heard from Torix what "may have happened". Constantine is understandably embarrassed, so he tried to get Leyla to shut up.
He gave her a cold stare, and Torix backhanded him. This made the younger brother even more ashamed. Torix, as usual, was unapologetic. They stopped to eat some of the wildcat they had killed. Leyla pulled Constantine aside to have a talk.
Leyla: Constantine, I…I just wanted to let you know. I didn't mean to embarass you. (She looks at him for a while) I also wanted to let you know that if times were different, I'd want to stay with you. You, know? Stay with you.
Constantine: Leyla. I know-
Torix: Come on, let's get…Oh my Umm…I'll be over there…
Leyla has nothing left to say to Constantine. They continue on in an akward silence. After a few hours of travel, they hear two men talking obnoxiously and the smell the familiar scent of opium smoke.
TnC dismount, and sneak up to see what's going on.
Smaller man: Hahahaha! (cough) One of the many underutilizized resources of the Zonne. Haha! Hey, do you hear that ova there? Gee I sure hope its not Torix and Constantine, haha(cough)!
Larger man: Don't be stupid! Why would Torix and Constantine come all the way…all the way…all the way ova here?
Together: FOR THE OPIUM! HAHAHA!
TnC look at each other, and leap out of the foliage and start making weird gestures and faces at the two increasingly familiar facs.
Smaller man: What the hell, Mark. Its Torix and Constantine. Wait, no. It can't be them because Torix and Constatatine don't dance. They kill people. Heh heh heh, they. They…
TnC stop. If the big one is Mark, then the little one's gotta be…Sly Eddy.
Torix: Eddy? Sly Eddy? And Mark! No way.
Mark: Hey. See, I knew this shit wasn't that good. You can't hallucinate Torix and Constantine.
Constantine: What are you guys doing out here?
Eddy and Mark start talking about how they basically lost their jobs, so they've been hanging out in one of the Librarian's summer homes (which is one of the many uses of the Zonne). TnC introduce the mobsters to Mara and Leyla. The men continue to talk. TnC tell them about their ship, and Eddy says that he wants to join their crew, even though he knows that he'll probably regret saying that later. Mark offers to bring them to the town of Merlot, where their house is. On the way there they talk about all the action that TnC have been up to, and about the changes in Eisenreich. Apparently, the resources being utilized in the Zonne were enough to make it possible for Vincent Violet to eliminate organized crime in the capital, which put Mark and Eddy out of a job. Constantine mentions Mad Seamus, and Eddy talks about how he and Mark grew up in Westhaven with the now old pirates. They may have even known Prospero. They get to the outskirts of Merlot, and Eddy sneaks in to get them some clothes.He comes back with some farmer's clothes, and a robe for Leyla. There was no belt for Constantine, so he pulls out the silver sash he stole from Mahmoud in Bhangra Baba and ties it on.
Eddy: Now ya see, we've been livin' here quite a while, so we know the lieutenant that's in charge. He's gonna ask questions, and might wanna pull somethin. So, the best way to deal with suspicion…is to walk up and punch it in the face. Torix grunts, and Eddy walks right up to the lieutenant and starts talking.
Eddy: Hey there lieutenant Hoffman!
Hoffman: Oh. Hi.
Eddy: So, these here are my expatriate friends that I found in the forest. They're forest junkies. Wait, no, their parents were expatriates, and they crashed on the river and these guys grew up on their own.
Eddy: Right, so they're gonna be stayin' wit me for a couple a days. Sound good?
Hoffman: Sure, whatever Eddy. Just go away.
They walk away towards Eddy's house.
Eddy tells them that the floor is made out of some kind of cork, and it helps your back when you sleep on it. TnC nod along. They start talking about getting on the move again. Eddy and Mark tell them that it would be nearly impossible to rendezvous with their ship if they just start walking along the East Stromm. Torix asks about river towns that are big enough to stop at. Eddy points one out. Du Noir.
Eddy and Mark go to sleep on the floor. Leyla's still pretty hurt from the knife-wound, so she lies down too. Being so close to Dverzistan reminds the brothers about their time there, and Kramer. Mara was curious about Kramer. From what she'd seen, Vincent Violet was the only person to earn a death mark like this, and she wondered what it was that Cassius Kramer had done. Tnc tell her about how he betrayed them for the opportunity to get free opium for life.
While Mara and TnC make their plans to go through the Zonne, some soldiers come through for an "inspection". Everyone tries to maintain their disguises to get the soldiers to go away, but they march right in anyways. The man leading the "inspection" is Corporal Blakely, who seems pretty clueless. He starts with an inspection of TnC and is in love with Constantine's silver sash. They make a "trade" so that the officer will consider his inspection complete if Constantine gives up the sash.They sleep afterwards.
Torix wakes up to Sly Eddy poking his face. Torix grabs his hand. Sly Eddie and Brutal Mark are more than a little confused, and ask what the hell happened last night. Eddy and Mark flip out when they hear that soldiers came by for an inspection, but they are reassured by Constantine, who points to his less than fantastic belt. Mark and Eddy mention something about "their plan", and Mara and TnC trick them into telling them about it. It wasn't too momentus of a secret, though:their plan was to kill lieutenant Hoffman.
Eddy and Mark share what they've really been up to around here. They were in Eisenreich when Violet got around to harnessing the resources of the Zonne and putting them to use, so they knew its importance. Eddy and Mark also explain a bit of the strategy behind Alfenne. The Kaiser's initail push through the Rainy desert was a catastrophe: desert fatigue and elf guerrillas harassed the army constantly. So he pulled back into the Zonne, and tried to deal with the desert-folk by themselves Since the Lion (and the Bull, presumably) had been captured by the forces of Hommeland, it seemed that Violet had made progress. Eddy tells them that they were also able to "get a hold" of a cache of explosives, which they were hiding in their house. Remembering the wonderful utility of these little nuggets, they asked if they could take some with them. Since Eddie and Mark had enough explosives to level a city, they agreed to let some of them go. They continued to talk about a guerilla campaign they are planning to disrupt the steady flow of goods from the Zonne to Eisenreich.
Torix: Eddy. Mark. I just want you guys to know that this makes me very happy.
Constantine: You guys will be the thorn in Violet's side that we need.
Torix: I have an idea (he pulls out his Penumbra uniform). Take these. Everyone knows that only we wear them, so they're no use to us.
Constantine: Plus, it'll annoy Violet to think that Torix and Constantine are ruining his tidy little empire.
Eddy: So let me get this straight. If we wear these, everyone else will think that we're you?
Torix: Those are are signature uniforms.
Mark: Okay. But our styles are different than yours. They'll know its not you.
Torix: That's not important. What's important is the infamy factor. If you guys want elves to start joining your fight, thinking that someone as crazy as us is leading the fight will speed things up!
Constantine: Plus we'll be messing things up in other places too!
Mara: So we'll be in two places at once. That'd piss anyone off.
It was settled. Eddy and Mark took the uniforms, and hid them with the explosives. TnC and Mara tell Mark and Eddy about going to Du Noir to wait for their ship. Eddy corrects them. New Kaspargrad. The brothers thoughts immediately go to Cassius Kramer. Constantine drops his name, and Eddy tells him that "Boss Kramer" sells opium out of New Kaspargrad. TnC inform him that they are probably going to kill Kramer.
Since Mara and TnC came on a horse and a wildebeest, it would not be easy for them to walk around with explosives. Fortunately, Eddy and Mark have a solution. What they needed was a large animal, like a cow, to put the explosives in. Mara and TnC were skeptical of this procedure, but Eddy reassured them that they'd done it plenty of times. They know just the place to find some Cows too.
The five of them head over to one of the local farms, owned by the elf Jose Maria. He's deaf, but he still has elvish eyesight, so they need to sneak by him, while Eddy and Mark distract him. The mobsters engage him in conversation, while the van Rijns sneak by. Jose Maria spots Mara, and pulls her into the conversation too. Meanwhile, TnC take two cows, a brown one and a black&white one, and take them away. Eddy and Mark see this, and excuse themselves from the conversation, leaving Mara with the farmer. Eddy cuts a hole in both of the cows, and they pack the explosives inside. They quickly cauterize the wounds. They decide to name the brown cow Betty and the black&white one Norma.
Mara is still talking (if you can call it that) with the deaf farmer. He signs to her something about her face. She doesn't get it right away. He touches her face, and she understands quite clearly that he thinks she has a nice face. She politely excuses herself and meets up with the four men. The operation is done.
They continue talking about the Kaiser, and Eddy mentions that he knew Violet personally. When he and Mark were growing up in Westhaven, Violet was there too, but people called him "the orphan". He was a loner, but the Librarian there liked him. Violet was very skilled with knives as well, and they recalled him bullseyeing a snake at night from fifty feet away with a throwing knife. One day, they heard that the Librarian was sending Violet on a mission, whose details are unknown, and he effectively dissappeared. The next time Eddy and Mark saw him was when they were transferred to Eisenreich.
TnC put that info into the archives, and prepare to head off. Eddy reminds Constantine that Leyla is still pretty hurt, and that she would only slow them down if they took her with them. Reluctantly, Constantine agrees to let her stay with the mobsters. Constantine asks for a moment alone, and everyone steps outside. He walks over to Leyla, kneels down beside her, and kisses her on the forehead. He goes outside, and they start heading off. As they ride away, they can just make out Eddy and Mark in the Penumbra uniforms, with lieutenant Hoffman. Mark strangles him, and Eddy gives Mara and TnC a thumbs up then pulls the mask over his face.
The trio rides into the forest as the sun sets behind the trees.