Next one's up.
Act 2: Between Foolishness and Bravery
also known as
The following morning in the town of Bakhu found Tiwaz waking up to the sounds of the hollering of men, shouting for other workers to get up and ready for another day’s work. The grouchy dragon man stretched his muscles, emitting guttural sounds straight from his chest that would cause a lesser man to cringe. He grumbled and glared at the window from whence the shouting that woke him up earlier than he wanted was coming from.
‘Next time, I’m getting a bed,’ Tiwaz thought to himself as he stood up, stretching his cramped muscles. The experience of sleeping on a couch that wasn’t quite as long as he was tall was not an entirely enjoyable experience. It didn’t help that he hadn’t really gotten any adequate sleep for the last two nights.
Before Tiwaz could continue his silent griping, his thoughts were interrupted by the sounds of a pencil scratching on paper furiously. He turned his head to find the source of the sounds, and he was surprised to see Cog bowed over a desk, his hand sweeping over paper faster than the Wisemon could devour a peach slice.
Just as he was about to call the attention of the cloaked digimon, his own stomach growled loudly, and Cogwej turned to look over his shoulder.
“Ah! Teewee!” the Wisemon called, standing up and instantly causing the EmperorGreymon to frown. “What a wonderful morning, is it not? You woke up just in time to-“
“I’m going to get some breakfast,” Tiwaz interrupted, grabbing the Dragon Soul Sword and placing it in its place on his back. He didn’t have it in him to deal with the old man’s craziness so early in the morning. “I’ll be back after lunch,” he said, heading towards the door.
Cog moaned in what sounded like disappointed. “But I was just about to say that-“
“Also, tell the mutt that I still think he’s wrong,” the dragon man once again interjected. He was tempted to glance at the seemingly still sleeping Beowolfmon, but he resisted, knowing that it would only get him in a worse mood than he already was in. He quickly headed towards the door before he could succumb to the temptation.
“Wrong?” Cog repeated in curiosity. “What was he wrong ab-“
Before the Wisemon could finish, Tiwaz had opened the door, quickly exited the room, and closed the door behind him. The dragon man sighed; if it didn’t involve the ten relics, he didn’t want to know. When it came to Cogwej, ignorance was a preference compared to the hijinks that his actions caused.
He then started for the stairs, his stomach grumbling once more reminding him that he had failed to partake in dinner the night before. Well, in his defense, he really hadn’t really felt like eating after his…conversation with Fenrir.
‘Everyone’s selfish,’ Tiwaz thought in his head, rolling his eyes. ‘The mutt’s a bigger prick than I thought,’ he added to himself.
“Weretaz Koging! I demand that you inform me what you are spouting nonsense about!” Cogwej’s voice suddenly blasted from the room behind him, succeeding in surprising Tiwaz into jumping forward and looking back at the door in shock.
“Damn, the geezer must not be a morning person,” Tiwaz muttered to himself as he subconsciously climbed down the stairs a bit faster than he would have. He decided that he was just so hungry that he really couldn’t wait to get something to eat. Yeah, that’s it.
As he reached the base of the stairs, he looked at the receptionist’s desk to see if the lady Drimogemon was there. As he expected, she wasn’t there, but he couldn’t really say that she should be considering their apparent infrequency of customers. But he did smell something good coming from the room across him, and he walked towards it.
“Ah, you’re up,” someone’s voice called out just before he was about to enter the other room, causing him to look at the entrance, where it came from.
“Eh…you’re that vendor guy,” Tiwaz started, identifying the Gigasmon that he and Cogwej had met in the town’s plaza. “Uh, Den, right?” he asked.
The Gigasmon grinned at him and nodded. “Nice to know that not all of you have the bad habit of mutilating names,” he told the EmperorGreymon. “You’d think someone who’s a Wisemon would have enough mental capability of actually remembering someone’s name,” he grumbled as he walked past Tiwaz and into the room the dragon man was about to go in.
“We didn’t name him Crazy Old Geezer Who Endlessly Jabbers for nothing,” Tiwaz told his host, following him in.
The room that they went inside was fairly quaint. It had a number of uniformly-sized wooden tables arranged in meticulous order around the room while leaving spaces large enough for walking to one of three entrances including the one that Tiwaz and Den just came from. The only side of the room that didn’t have a door had a horizontally long window that showed the outside of the inn. Tiwaz’s nose was also being assaulted by a scent that caused him to salivate slightly.
Den looked over his shoulder with a raised eyebrow. “Really? That’s not what he said it meant last night during dinner,” he informed him.
Tiwaz blinked. “What did he say it meant?” he asked, frowning a bit.
Den shrugged in response. “Something with Charming or Cool in it or something,” he told the dragon man as he lead Tiwaz to one of the tables at the far end corner of the room.
The dragon man couldn’t help but roll his eyes. “Should’ve known that Cogwej would change his name when I’m not around.”
“Strange that he could remember it, though, considering his trouble with names,” Den muttered, scratching the top of his head. “Especially since he said he just got the name yesterday,” he added.
“Must be ‘cause it’s just a bunch of words using the first letters as the name,” Tiwaz said, although he was mildly surprised that he just noticed Den’s observation right then.
“I can’t really tell if he’s a genius or a fool,” Den muttered to himself as he stopped in front of a long table that could seat six people on benches on each of its long sides.
“You know what they say about exceptional people; they always have something about them that-“ Tiwaz stopped what he was saying as his jaw almost dropped to the floor.
On the table was a small assortment of aromatic food that looked like it was enough to feed a king’s appetite and high-end tastes. Tiwaz would be drooling if he didn’t have any shame in himself, and even then, he was barely keeping himself from doing so. The sight, combined with the fragrant, mouth-watering smell, was enough to make his stomach growl in hunger.
The mineral Digimon beside him had to give a chuckle at his reaction. “Struck speechless, huh?” he asked, folding his arms and grinning at Tiwaz. “Moe went all out on the food for you and your friends; she loves feeding everyone so much that it’s amazing that I haven’t gotten fat after twelve years of marriage,” the Gigasmon said proudly. He then smiled slyly. “Not to mention that the mayor’ll be spending for it, so everyone’s happy,” he added in a low whisper.
Tiwaz was too entranced to notice, and he sat down to start eating. Den sat beside him, observing him with a bit of envy as the dragon downed plate after plate of food.
After a few moments, Den finally couldn’t help but open his mouth. “I didn’t think I’d see someone who could eat as fast as the Wisemon, and here I am, seeing someone doing so just a night after,” he said, staring at Tiwaz and causing him to stop in mid-bite.
“Yeah, well, it’s been a while since I’ve had food that smelled and tasted this good,” Tiwaz replied, grinning as he turned to him.
The Gigasmon had to smile at the compliment to his wife’s cooking. “Good to know, though I hope you and the other two don’t plan on eating that much all the time, or we’d be out of food stuffs by tomorrow evening,” he informed the dragon man, making Tiwaz look at him curiously.
“Wait, you mean you don’t usually have this much to eat?” he questioned.
Den shook his head. “Remember what I told you about the town having to buy as much food as it can before the next supply caravan comes by?”
“Well, if we want to survive til that time, sometimes we have to cut back on a few stuff like food or stuff,” the innkeeper told him. “Just because this town finds a lot of metal and jewels for other places doesn’t mean we’re rolling in dough. More like we’re rolling in dirt.”
“Which reminds me,” Tiwaz then said. “Why aren’t you out there working in the mountain with the other men?” he asked, starting to eat again at a slower pace.
Den then grumbled and folded his arms. “The missus made me quit after a cave-in that caused me to get stuck in the mines for a few days,” he said. “Not like I didn’t know it could happen; it’s a job hazard. She didn’t have to worry so much ‘bout me,” he added with a grunt.
Tiwaz couldn’t help but grin at him. “Guess I know who wears the pants in the family,” he couldn’t help but comment.
“Oh, what do you know?” Den retorted in slight embarrassment and looking away.
The dragon man let out a bellowing laugh in reply. The two continued their conversation in an amicable atmosphere, something that Tiwaz wasn’t able to experience in a while. He hadn’t realized how much he missed being able to talk with someone that he didn’t want to strangle every other minute.
“Ahhh, that was good,” the EmperorGreymon declared as he put down the fork and knife and patted his full belly. “There’s nothing like home cooking to turn a hungry stomach into a happy stomach.”
“Glad to know you enjoyed it. I’ll make sure to tell Moe,” the Gigasmon replied with a small smile. “You going to head back to your room then?”
Tiwaz frowned. “N…nah, I need to find that blacksmith guy,” he said, standing up.
“Blacksmith…Pavamana?” Den asked with a frown as he looked up at the dragon man.
Tiwaz grinned at him. “Yeah, do you know where his shop is?” he asked, unsheathing his sword. “I need to get my blade done. Can’t be at my best if my weapon isn’t,” he informed the innkeeper.
“Mmm…yeah, it should be a few blocks away. Won’t be too hard to find,” Den said, tilting his head and thinking. “Oh, by the way, if you find my kid, a Grumblemon that goes by the name of Ratchet, can you tell him to come home before nightfall? That kid always gets into so much trouble whenever he’s with his friends,” he asked.
Tiwaz couldn’t help but grin. “Kids will be kids, but yeah, I can do that. Thanks for the meal again,” Tiwaz said as he turned to go out of the inn.
Fenrir’s awakening was a calmer one than that of the dragon that slept on the couch across his bed. He kept his eyes closed for a few more moments, slowly breathing and out, slowing down his rapidly beating heart. He wasn’t quite sure why it was beating so quickly. It was then that he realized that his body also felt cold despite the warmth of the room. He supposed that the possibility of him dreaming was likely, but the way his body reacted, it must’ve been more like a nightmare. In that case, he was glad he couldn’t remember it.
He pushed himself up and sat on the edge of the bed, opening his eyes slowly and letting it adjust to the light that shone from the window. He could hear people outside, already going about on their normal activities for the day. He could also hear mumbling, too low for even his own enhanced hearing to properly decipher. He did, however, recognize the voice.
The Beowolfmon turned towards one of the desks of the room to see Cogwej scribbling enthusiastically on a piece of paper. All around his chair seemed to balls of crumpled paper, which Fenrir assumed to be logs or whatever Cog writes down that he deemed not good enough.
He was a bit surprised, however. While he knew that the Wisemon had the knowledge to surpass that of a scholar, he didn’t peg him to be the kind to make plans so diligently. The old man seemed too scatterbrained and whimsical to do so.
Fenrir stood up silently just as Cogwej let out a happy cheer, standing up and saying, “I’ve done it!”
“Done what?” Fenrir asked before he could stop himself.
The cloaked Digimon turned to Fenrir with gleeful eyes. “Fara! You woke up just in time to witness my masterpiece!” he exclaimed, causing the wolf Digimon to raise an eyebrow skeptically; now he wasn’t only curious but also worried. “Here, here! Observe!” Cogwej told him as he rushed over, placing the piece of paper in front of the wolf man’s face.
Fenrir took a few seconds to scan it over…and then he blinked in confusion. ‘This…this is…’ he thought in slight shock.
“Well? Well?” Cogwej asked giddily, looking like he was about to jump up and down like a little school girl about to meet her favorite boy band.
“It’s…” Fenrir started with a small frown.
“Wondrous? Magnificent? Breathtaking? Remarkable?” the Wisemon suggested with sparkling eyes.
“…a pie,” Fenrir deadpanned.
“The world’s most delectable and amazing peach pie ever created, you mean!” Cog corrected him, happily turning away back to the desk.
Fenrir turned away, rolling his eyes. He supposed Cogwej really wasn’t doing anything as productive as he suspected. As he did so, he spotted the empty couch. He momentarily wondered where Tiwaz was until he remembered the conversation they had just before bed. He supposed it was a good thing that he wasn’t there; they might have gotten into another argument.
“Ah, yes, Tawiz informed me that shall be returning to the inn after midday,” Cogwej suddenly said, looking over his shoulder. Fenrir gave a short nod in response. He didn’t particularly care what Tiwaz did. “And he also requested me to tell you that he still considers you mistaken,” Cog then added.
Fenrir stiffened slightly at his words. Well, it didn’t matter to him what Tiwaz thought. That wouldn’t change his mind. It would take a lot more than a steaming dragon at his throat to make him change a belief formed through a lot of experience and pain. He was simply too proud…too selfish. He sighed.
“Now, may I curiously inquire as to what he believes you mistaken of?” Cog then asked, suddenly beside Fenrir.
‘Damn, crazy, fast geezer,’ Fenrir thought to himself, stepping a bit to the side to make some space between them. The Wisemon could be eerily fast when he wanted to be.
“Nothing important,” Fenrir told him.
“Oh, it would not be significant had Tyrwan not mentioned it, would it not?” Cog asked, stepping in front of him with a curious gaze. The Beowolfmon replied with a grimace.
“It’s not any of your business,” the knight told him with an undertone of a warning.
Cog then sighed. He knew that Fenrir’s anger, while rarer that Tiwaz’s, was quite much more dangerous, or at the very least, he believed so. It was always hard to read those that tend to be quiet, and those that were unpredictable to him…were always the most dangerous to him. But he couldn’t just let it end with that…
“Perhaps, unless you’ve already shared your business with me,” the Wisemon replied. “You’re not quite as…sensitive except with the involvement of your quandary.”
Fenrir grit his teeth. “You vowed not to speak of that,” the Beowolfmon told him.
“Ah ah,” Cog replied, wagging a finger in front of him. “I vowed never to speak of it to anyone else. I suspect that due to your current knowledge, I am quite able to speak to you about your-“
Immediately, Cog made the gesture of zipping his mouth. And Fenrir sighed.
“He asked why I’m helping you,” Fenrir told him.
Cog blinked. “He does not know?” he asked, receiving a short nod from Fenrir. “I had previously assumed that he was aware of your dilemma, considering that both of you came to me together,” he told the Beowolfmon.
“He’s just…meddlesome,” Fenrir decided. “Too much for his own good,” he added with a slightly annoyed expression.
“Officiousness is not an immoral quality, Fey,” the Wisemon told him. “It can be quite a miracle-maker in the right hands.”
Fenrir shook his head. “This is not one of those times.”
Their conversation was suddenly interrupted by the abrupt roaring coming from Cogwej’s stomach. Both Digimon blinked, and then Cogwej plopped to the floor on his behind, groaning.
“Oooooh, I suddenly recall that I haven’t consumed anything since last night’s dinner,” the Wisemon said, looking lightheaded. “Deciding upon a recipe for something as wondrous as the world’s most delectable and amazing peach pie all night has made me a lot more ravenous than usual,” he spouted.
‘All night…perhaps he is as diligent as I thought,’ Fenrir thought, sighing and grabbing the Wisemon’s arm, putting it over his shoulder and heading to the door. He should ask the Drimogemon innkeeper to make them brunch before the Wisemon faints. He glanced at the cloaked Digimon. ‘His priorities, however…’
As Cog’s stomach growled, he suddenly said, “Mmm…do you suppose that they can make me the world’s most de-“
Metal clanging loudly against metal rang in Tiwaz’s ear. That was what drew his attention to the building and made him deduce that it was probably where the blacksmith called Pavamana was. He let out a small grin as he walked towards the clay building.
“Hey, blacksmith!” Tiwaz called out, pushing the dual-swinging doors open. “I’ve got job for you!” he declared as he walked into the building.
The first thing the EmperorGreymon noticed as he walked in was that, while clean, it was severely lacking in weapons. Almost every blacksmith he knew had a rack of weapons on the wall for customers to see; the walls in this smithy were almost bare except for the cabinets with broken glass windows, and the objects inside them looked like rocks and gems rather than weaponry. The PileVolcamon, holding a hammer and looking at him curiously, and the furnace he was in front of came next, and right beside it was the only weapon in the room; Fenrir’s Beo Sabre.
“You are…” the blacksmith started, standing up.
The dragon man grinned and walked over, offering a hand. “I was one of the guys you met yesterday back in the mayor’s house, remember? We weren’t properly introduced; the name’s Tiwaz Koenig,” he introduced himself. “You’re, uh, Pav, right?”
Pavamana looked at him for a bit before taking the EmperorGreymon’s hand with his free one. “Yes. Pavamana Suchi,” he presented himself, giving Tiwaz a firm handshake.
“Nice to meet you, Pav,” Tiwaz said as he returned with a large grin. “I heard you were doing the weapon job for the mutt, Fenrir.”
Pavamana lowered down his hand and nodded, gesturing to the weapon beside his work space. “Done.”
Tiwaz whistled, impressed. “And just one night, too. You really are a top-rate blacksmith, eh?” he asked, folding his arms and giving the PileVolcamon a nod.
“Special order by Rhodo,” the blacksmith told him as he turned back to the anvil with a heated pickaxe on it. “For those who’ll save our town,” he added with a tiny smile as he went back to work.
Tiwaz rubbed the back of his neck, feeling a bit sheepish but grinning nonetheless. “Only doing what’s right. I’d do the job even if it wasn’t part our reason for being here in the first place,” Tiwaz told him as he went to stand beside the working Digimon. “I mean, Den told me how hard life can be here for all of you. The least we can do is to get rid of all the earthquakes.”
“Not all of them,” Pavamana told him as he placed the head of the pickaxe into the furnace using a large pair of tongs.
“Then most of them then,” Tiwaz said as he glanced over at the broken cases at the other end of the room. “Wish we could, though. Even the occasional tremble must be incredibly dangerous for the miners,” the dragon man noted with a grimace.
The blacksmith nodded his head solemnly in agreement. “Most deaths here are caused by them,” he informed the out-of-towner.
“Then why are they still working in the mines if it ends up killing a lot of good men?” Tiwaz asked, folding his arms.
“Survivability. Stability. Family,” Pavamana answered as he took back the mining instrument and started hammering on it. “The town…we wouldn’t survive otherwise.”
“Well, find a new source of digits then,” Tiwaz suggested. “You must make a pretty good living being the only capable blacksmith in town, right?” he asked between the loud clangor of Pav’s hammer.
For a moment, the blacksmith stopped and turned to the EmperorGreymon with a humble gaze. “I don’t get paid. Except from visitors. My work…is for the town. To ask anything in return would be disgraceful,” he said seriously.
Tiwaz shifted his feet a bit in slight embarrassment. “Sorry. Shouldn’t have assumed that,” he apologized.
The PileVolcamon shook his head. “It’s fine. You’re just…unaware,” he told Tiwaz, making him grin gladly.
“I have to wonder though, if you don’t get paid for this, how can afford to eat and sleep?” the EmprorGreymon asked. “Like you said, you don’t get a lot of visitors, so you must not get a lot of profits.”
Pavamana turned back to his work at hand, the room once again filling with the sound of metal clanks. “Rhodo.”
Tiwaz blinked for a few seconds. “The mayor?” he asked after a moment. “You mean you live with the guy?”
Pav gave nod in reply, saying, “For better or worse.”
The dragon man folded his arms and looked up at the ceiling. “You must be close with him then, right?” he asked after a bit of thinking.
“I…suppose,” he replied after a few seconds.
“Known each other long?” Tiwaz pressed a bit more. He was beginning to find out that trying to get the PileVolcamon was a whole lot harder than getting Fenrir to.
“We were childhood friends,” Pav told him, not even glancing at the dragon man.
The reptilian Digimon raised an eyebrow in surprise. “Really? I wouldn’t have guessed; I thought you were just some important advisor or something, considering that he wanted to talk to you after we explained the situation,” Tiwaz said.
“He just wanted my opinion on something,” Pavamana told him shortly.
Tiwaz frowned a bit and scratched the top of his head. “You two best friends or something?” he then asked.
Pavamana seemed to stop his work for a moment to think before continuing on. “Perhaps…in the past,” Pav admitted, although his outward appearance would have made someone think that he didn’t particularly mind it.
“Did you two have a falling out or something?” the EmperorGreymon asked with a raised eyebrow. “Couldn’t be. You two seemed just fine yesterday.”
The reply was a shake of a head. “No. He’s just very busy, as am I,” Pavamana explained.
“Ah,” Tiwaz breathed out, nodding in comprehension. “I guess it must be hard to just sit and talk when both of you seem to have really important jobs to do: you supplying the miners with tools, and him making sure the town stays running.”
The blacksmith nodded as he placed the heated metal into a bucket of water beside him, steam emanating from the container. He pulled out the worked-on object and gave it a thorough look-over for imperfections and slight deformations.
“Huh. Rhodo has a kid, though, so I assume he also has a wife,” Tiwaz then thought, folding his arms and tilting his head in thought. Pavamana frowned, but didn’t say anything. “How about you? Got a girlfriend or wife too?” the EmperorGreymon asked him with a sly grin.
Pavamana stopped what he was doing and turned to Tiwaz in slight surprise, wondering where that question seemed to come from. “Uh…” he started, not quite sure what to say.
“No…I’m single,” the PileVolcamon decided to say as he stood up and walked over to the table in front of the cabinets and placed the mining instrument on it. “Too…occupied,” he told Tiwaz.
“Too occupied, eh?” Tiwaz wondered, although he had lowered his voice too much for Pavamana to hear. He had a sly smile on his face. “Guess you just need a little help,” the dragon man decided, making a mental note to himself.
Just as Tiwaz was about to speak again, Pavamana then turned back to him with a curious gaze. “You had a job for me?” he asked in a tone that was a notch louder than what he had used during their conversation.
Tiwaz blinked. “Oh yeah, I wanted to ask if you could also sharpen my Dragon Soul Sword too,” he said, taking his weapon and pointing it at the wall.
Pavamana approached the EmperorGreymon to give the weapon a closer look. He leaned closer to the weapon, squinting his eyes and holding his hands under the weapon, palms up. “May I?” he asked, glancing at Tiwaz.
“Sure,” the EmperorGreymon said as he laid the weapon in the PileVolcamon’s hands.
The blacksmith weighed it in his hands for a moment before taking hold of the hilt with one hand and letting the other travel along the blade, testing the smoothness of the side and the sharpness of the edge. Then he took the handle with both hands and held it perpendicular to the ground, slowly tilting his hands until the blade was parallel with the ground.
“Heavy, but incredibly durable, but...its weight…”
Tiwaz suddenly frowned. He didn’t like the way that sounded. “But what? What about its weight? Is there something wrong with my weapon?”
Pav turned to him with a curious expression. “It was under extreme heat.” he suddenly told Tiwaz. “It’s heavier at the end, also slightly deformed, almost unnoticeable.”
The EmperorGreymon then smiled in realization. “Oh, right, that. Yeah, it’s kind of hard to explain,” he said, rubbing the back of his neck sheepishly. “I guess it needs a bit more than a little polishing, eh?” he asked as he gave the weapon in Pavamana’s hand a glance.
The PileVolcamon gave him an analyzing look for a few seconds before nodding slowly. “I’ll finish by tonight. Tomorrow if necessary,” he informed the knight.
Tiwaz gave him a large, appreciative grin. “Great! I’ll come back for it tomorrow then,” Tiwaz then told him. He was about to walk back out of the room, but he stopped when the PileVolcamon called out to him.
“Can you give Fenrir’s sword back?” the blacksmith asked as he went over to the dual-bladed weapon. Tiwaz made a point to make a scowl at the thought since he and the Beowolfmon weren’t on good terms. At all. However…
‘I’m not that petty,’ the dragon man thought as he went over and nodded.
“Sure, I can do that,” he told the blacksmith as he took the weapon, placing it where his Dragon Soul Sword would usually be; it wasn’t a perfect fit, but it would do until he saw the mutt again. He gave him a grin that the PileVolcamon returned with readily with a small smile. Then the EmperorGreymon became a bit thoughtful. “Hey, if me, the mutt and the old geezer come back from the mines early, maybe you, me and Den can hit the local tavern tonight,” Tiwaz suggested with a grin.
Pavamana blinked at him. “I have work,” he told the dragon man, looking a bit nervous.
“Come on, I bet you’ve been working all night and day; you could do with a bit of R and R,” the dragon man suggested, the gears in his mind suddenly working faster. “I’ll come pick you up after I meet up with Den. Later, Pav,” he told the blacksmith with an enthusiastic grin before exiting the room before Pavamana could reject the offer. It seems that he can get to work on his plan to get the PileVolcamon a girlfriend sooner than he thought.
The blacksmith sighed and shook his head, rubbing the back of his neck with a free hand. Despite that, he couldn’t help but give a small smile. It had been way too long since someone asked for his presence just for a simple get together.
Well, in any case, it was going to be a while before Tiwaz will come and force him to go against his will; he had the feeling that the EmperorGreymon won’t take no for an answer. He had better warn Rhodo and the barkeeper before then, too.