I decided it was time to head out on the mission. It looked to be a simple one. Face those deadly mantis and bring back their stolen treasures. This I knew we could handle, it being KaptKaveMan and Moekong who were joining me.
I sent notice to the winds that we required some form of a caster, be it a poet or a mage. And it wasn't long before Gravyfish the mage sent word that he would help us out.
Before traveling to eastern Buya, I stocked up on provisions in hall of the great Tiger Clan. I called to Bumsagi, "Give me four of those herb pipes."
Bumsagi is a funny little guy. He's always in his usual place, just kinda looking around. He's quiet, and only ever really asks what you'd like to buy or sell. I gotta ask him more about himself next time I see him. I bet he's got a story to tell.
It had grown dark, so me and my Deer friend Buckbeak traveled by lantern light into Buya. It being late when we arrived, not very many people roamed the streets. I could see KaptKaveMan and Moekong up ahead at the east gate.
While we waited for Gravyfish to arrive, we discussed the mission and our objectives. Several Muses had seen swarms of Mantis crawling around, and it was feared they may soon try to advance on the city. We needed to thin their horde. Along with that we were to recover as much stolen treasures as we could.
Gravyfish arrived then, and we rode off, wasting no time at all. There was not a single fear in any of us. Though something did seem to be bothering Moekong, but I couldn't tell what.
We each cast Spirit of War and entered into forest of the Mantis. They seemed to be everywhere at once.
Hiding behind every tree.
Ambushing us constantly.
But they could not take us! Gravyfish stopped them dead in their tracks and we leapt in. Slashing into their exoskeletotine bodies and decimating them.
And leaving no bounty behind! We soon had amassed a small fortune in Mantis gold. To my left a black mantis cried out, "Invaderssss." I briefly reflected on the necessity of battle.
It was then that Moekong said, "Stance...out." He spoke those words in a voice no louder than a whisper, but I could have heard it from a million miles away. It's the unrecognizable sound of a fallen comrade.
I left the fighting to KaptKaveMan and rushed to Moekong's side. He was struggling to tell me something. I pressed an ear to his mouth and and I heard him say, "I...Didn't b-bring...Ambros."
I called for Gravyfish to heal him, and provide him with armor and sanctuary. Meanwhile the Mantis had begun to circle around us, ready to attack at any minute.
I knew that being fully healed would not be enough to protect my brother, he needed ambrosias if he was going to survive the onslaught! I thought quickly, and the answer came to me.
"Here take this!" I shouted, helping Moekong to his feet. I handed him one of my Silver Gloves.
"But Dean," he started.
I held up my left hand, "We'll each have one."
I've never really seen Moekong cry, but that day I could swear I'd seen a few in his eyes. It was a single glimpse that didn't last long. Moekong was back on his feet, and I was right behind him.
Shortly after we had cleared the area of any and all Mantis, and bid thanks and farewell to Gravyfish, we all arrived back at the Sodo.
KaptKaveMan started dancing. I groaned, "I'm a bit too beat up to celebrate, Kapt. I'm not as strong as you yet."
As I was sorting out the treasure for Sonsu, Moekong approached me with the Silver Glove. "Thanks," he said. But there really wasn't any thanks necessary because I knew he'd have done the same for me.
As I took to my place of rest in the Sodo I thought back on what an exciting day it had been. And about how the heart of the Chongun beats within all of us.