Mauren shook her head, not trying to be subtle. "We shouldn't. She can handle herself." They watched as Akabeko made some notes on a stained sheet of parchment before drinking deeply from her beer stein.
Iharu sniffed. "She clearly isn't handling herself. We should go over there."
"Fine, but leave me out of it." Maurene stalked away, presumably to play Whack-a-Gnoll again.
Katza gathered her skirts in her bony fingers and made a beeline for her tauren guildmate. Iharu followed close behind, and the shopkeeper gave an audible sigh of relief as all three stopped loitering.
Akabeko looked up from her document, remarkably sober for the amount they had watched her drink. "Katz, Iha. I didn't realize both of you were into the faire games."
"I'm not," Iharu replied brusquely. "And to be honest, I didn't realize you were either."
"Of course I am! In fact, the Darkmoon Faire hold me in high regard. Except for, well..." She grimaced, shook her head, and gestured to the other side of the picnic table. "Will you join me?"
Katza slid onto the bench immediately. She shot Iharu a look before lacing her fingers together with a dry rasp. "Listen, Aka, we've been wondering. What exactly have you been up to since Deathwing was destroyed?"
Iharu sat down beside Akabeko, who in turn looked back and forth between the pair. She casually placed an arm across the notes she had taken.
"I'm beginning to think this isn't a social visit."
"It is, because we are your friends and we want to be social with you! We're just a little...concerned. About your well-being." Katza's hands twitched apart, and she began to nervously click her finger joints.
"What, exactly, is concerning you? I've been fishing and visiting the faire. Relaxing. It's nice!" Akabeko made a show of nonchalantly rolling up her parchment.
Iharu shook her head vehemently. "That's just it! You aren't one to just sit around! There have been dozens of minor raiding parties leaving Orgrimmar each month and you haven't joined a single one!"
Before Akabeko could whisk away the paper, Katza snatched it out of her hands and unrolled it again. Akabeko made a grab for it, but the forsaken woman was already reading aloud.
"'Ways to Eliminate Dubenko. One: fireworks "accident." Two: Gun or crossbow misfire "accident." Three: "Accidentally" leave cage door open. Four--' Aka what the fel is this?" She slammed the parchment to the table.
Iharu looked incredulously at her friend. "This is what you've been working on? You want to kill the Faire's prize turtle?"
"You don't understand!" Akabeko bellowed in response. "He's so fast! Turtles aren't supposed to move that fast. The whole system is rigged! The ring toss game is a sham!"
Katza shook her head, disappointment plain on her face. "You've been out of the raiding scene for too long. Without goals to aim for you start making up your own!"
Iharu was nodding in agreement, but Akabeko wasn't having any of it. "You two just don't understand because you never play the ring toss! That turtle is up to something! I won't let you stop me!" There was a puff of air and suddenly a storm crow was perched on the bench.
Before she could fly away, Katza leaped across the table, upending Akabeko's beer and tackling the druid to the ground. There was a flurry of feathers, and then Katza stood up with a squirming crow in her arms.
"We should get her back to Orgrimmar and onto the Moonglade healer rotation. Then--ah, ow, she's pecking me!" Katza turned her face away from her guildmate's sharp beak.
|illustrated by the wonderful Kamalia!|
Katza created a portal to Orgrimmar, and together they stuffed their protesting friend back into respectable society.
Next: Plans, Causing trouble, Devious Design