Previously: Having defeated the Cobalt Czar and his ethereal enforcer, Ghost Dragon, Digger and Cole were saying their goodbyes to Twain. And now…
Digger held out his hand.
Twain looked at it warily. “What’s this?”
“I thought, you know… Shake hands,” Digger said.
“Why?” Twain asked. “We haven’t exactly been on the same side through all of this.”
Digger withdrew his hand, shrugged, and nodded. “I know. I should probably be more pissed than I am at the way you dragged me into all of this. But you know, we stole a magical artifact together. We beat up the Big Apple Corps together. We traveled in time, separately, but still… We came halfway around the world and brought down the most powerful bad guy on the planet together, so it’s not like the time was wasted. And it’s not like you haven’t paid a price.”
Twain nodded at that. “Yeah. It’s not like that.”
Twain took a deep breath and held out his hand. Digger shook it. “Next time I see you, though, I’ll be putting your ass in jail,” Digger said.
“Next time you see me, you’ll probably be in jail,” Twain said.
Digger nodded and stepped back. He got into the passenger side of the limo. Standing next to the driver’s side, Cole put on a pair of sunglasses and said, “Later, dude.”
[blockquote type=”blockquote_quotes” align=”left”]Under a small pile of stones, Bogdan found a shirt and a pair of pants, with shoes and underwear nearby…[/blockquote]He got into the car, and a moment later, it lifted off the ground with a creak of its shocks and zipped silently down the road and out of sight. Twain watched for a few more moments, then sighed and turned away.
He walked away from the neighborhood of the palace and to the flattened remains of the foreign ghetto where Yi Fan’s house had stood. Bits of the ruined house had been spraypainted with foul insults, and here and there, Twain found small piles of human feces left on top of the piles of fallen brick. He began to dig through the wreckage anyway, moving the piles of fallen brick and timber aside methodically, looking for a cylinder that could contain a scroll.
As he was so occupied, Bogdan was also digging through wreckage. He pored through the piles of stone where the City of the Moon had once stood, seeking a lost canvas bag containing a golden mask, as the voice of the Ghost moaned faintly nearby. Under a small pile of stones, Bogdan found a shirt and a pair of pants, with shoes and underwear nearby. They were whole and in good condition, as if someone had just taken them off and left them there.
In the limo, as the border of the former Czar’s former territory faded into the distance in the rear view mirror, Cole turned to Digger and said, “You know, I did as much to beat the Czar as you and that other guy did.”
“Yeah, you did,” Digger said, staring out the window.
“So why didn’t you give me a little credit when you and he were having your little lovefest back there.”
“Why should you care if I give you credit?” Digger asked. “I’m sure you’ll give yourself plenty when we get back to the girls.”
“So not the point,” Cole said, but didn’t elaborate as they continued down the road.
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