Jyp knocked Kore's rescuer clean off his feet en-route to grab Kore and hoist her off hers.
“Damn, shite, hell and pox!” Jyp ranted. “Jyp is extreme crap in looking after Little Lady! Jyp meaning to get among 'Bassador's house and castrate whole lots of whoresons!”
“Jyp I can't breath.” Kore wheezed and the giant released her from the bear-hug. “Calm down. Yes, I mean it Jyp, calm down or you'll set off your illness.” Kore said seriously. Jyp clenched and unclenched his huge fists and tried to take deep breaths. “I'm fine, you can see that. It wasn't your fault, do you understand?” The last thing Kore needed was Jyp taking ill while it was possible that the Military could still be in pursuit. It wasn't exactly easy to hide a Nellatian, let alone a sick one. “It was no one's fault but my own. Don't argue, it's true. I just presumed Creed would be there instead of checking it out properly first.” She turned to the older man who'd rescued her from the Villa. “He's prone to seizures.” She explained. “If he goes berserk then he'll take out half the Military. You've seen what he's like regarding my safety, so I'm extremely impressed that you managed to persuade him not to crash through the Villa like a tornado, let alone leave the grounds altogether. So you have me at a disadvantage. You called me by my name but I don't know who I'm thanking here for my rescue.”
“Allow an old man a moment of emotion.” The man got to his feet and he had a look of utter astonishment on his face mixed with something was close to tears. Kore automatically backed off a bit and became edgy. She didn't understand this at all and found herself unable to fathom this man's reactions to her and that was so rare it made her wary. “Seeing you now has unleashed all sorts of emotions to race through my head. It's incredible.”
“Well I'm pleased I've produced a legal 'high' for you, and I'm grateful for your help back there, but if you're just going stand there and stare at me then I really should be going. Come on Jyp.” Kore turned to go.
“No, don't go. I'm sorry, how rude of me. My name is Faust Cooper and I'm a retired Azorian General.” Faust told Kore of the day she was found, with Leo, in the forests of Plaus. He told her of how he delivered them both into Blacklock's care and he explained that he hadn't expected either of them to survive childhood, hence his reaction to seeing her after ten years.
“I can't remember any of it.” Kore sat on the ground and sighed. “Or at least, I can't remember the people involved. Faust you're the second person tonight who's told me that they were instrumental to mine and Leo's passage to Azoria, after ten years of it never having cropped up at all. How did you know I was at the Villa and how did you know I was in trouble? Shit, Creed will have a meltdown.”
“I heard of Leo's arrest and went straight to Blacklock He told me that you apparently had some sort of communication going on with one of the Captains.” Faust said and Kore glanced at Jyp, who pretended he hadn't seen. “Given what Blacklock and Shawn had speculated on so far I wanted to offer you any help I could give you regarding Leo, in an ex-General type way.” He said vaguely. “You weren't where Blacklock had left you, in the library, and you weren't in the Pit. I found out that Creed had gone to the jail-house even though the arrest wasn't his, and that he was on supervision duty at the Villa. I made the same assumption that you did, that he would be there. Just a few gaps remain. Why did you need Creed's help in such a hurry?”
“First off, I don't need Creed's help. We were sort of flung together and I took advantage of his Military status and his ability to access arrest records. I doubt they'd tell me.” Kore said miserably. “I'm not sure exactly what Blacklock and Shawn are speculating on, but Creed and I are helping one another regarding Leo, that's all.”
“Pardon my asking, but how did such a mutual arrangement come about? I can't think of any way at all that you'd know of each others' existence, let alone seek help from one another.” Faust said. Kore looked suspiciously at Faust and he smiled. “Nosey old coot aren't I? I don't blame you for being suspicious. I'm not affiliated with the Military at all, Kore. I'm retired. If I had my time again, this present Military is not one I'd enlist for anyway, an opinion that had started forming ten years ago, as you can probably tell.” Kore weighed the situation up for about five minutes and Faust left her in silence, with her own, very intelligent reasoning.
“For some warped reason Toller wanted me at Lady Toller's Birthday banquet up at the Villa.” Kore went on to explain to the ex-General how Creed had ensured that she attended the party, but also stressed that it was a bygone issue and that she held no grudges because of that particular issue. “Obviously, I immediately thought that Creed had reneged on his word after I heard of Leo's arrest and went for an explanation from him. From it arose the association we have now.” Kore exhaled loudly. “Great isn't it?”
“And tonight?” Faust asked carefully.
“That weasel Bonetti is inquiring of the cost of block hinges.”
“What?” Faust laughed. “What in hell's name does he want block hinges for? Good grief the man's off his head. The last time those monsters were ordered was for ... for ... shit.” Faust just looked at Kore in shock. “The Pit gates?”
“I didn't make the connection myself until I returned home tonight and fell into one of them. Faust, they're planning to re-secure the Pit.”
“Hang on Kore, don't jump to conclusions. Those hinges are used on the bridges too.” Faust informed her.
“If the bridges needed maintenance work then the Military would know. They get the job of supervising it all, so quite a bit of preparation would be needed to re-rout everything. Creed had no idea why Bonetti wanted block hinges either.” Kore reasoned. “They need a damned good reason to do that and they know I'm a bad tempered harpy that would take on the lot of them for my brother, they also know I have a lot of respect and support from just about everyone in the Pit. They're orchestrating a riot and I very nearly gave one to them tonight just by appearing in Marx's presence. The arsehole. I'm not even sure of Creed's integrity but he's the best of a bad bunch in my opinion. I wouldn't have a clue who else to go to with this.”
“Yes I see that. Bent bastards. Can't go to the gladiators either without causing the riot they're wanting.” Faust said thoughtfully. “From what I know of Creed, he's sound so I don't think you have any worries on that score.”
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