The moment Akki left the carriage, he walked around the block, turning right four times to make sure no one was following him, ending up at the same position he had been initially. It was very unlikely that anyone was watching him in this small little town, but he had to be sure. And he especially did not want Mitch snooping.
As he arrived back at the square, he did not necessarily go near the road or anywhere that he could be easily spotted. He went through bush and hopped over a short sloping wall and onto smooth wide stone steps. He followed the stairs up until he stood before a large building.
This building was actually a church they had seen when they had first entered the town. And at present, Akki was the only one on those steps.
Akki walked up to the row of bronze doors. There were engravings on them, which were of circular runic images that seemed to endlessly swirl on the metal door.
Reaching out, he grabbed the handle, it’s cold biting metal prickled his palm, and he pulled.
As the door swung silently, a cool draft blew, warding off the day’s heat. And Akki went inside.
Mitch looked at the assistant. Most of the customers were seated already, leaving none in line at the front. Mitch smiled. Usually Questionable Pies was packed. It seemed he came at the right hour. The shop’s slow hour. And so, Mitch quickly walked up to assistant.
“Hi there.” He started, “I need your boss, can you bring him out for me?”
Mitch flashed his best smile. This girls pretty cute. Dark hair; dark eyes; tall, but not taller than me. Just my type.
The girl blushed and coughed.
Akki (narrator): I’m rolling my eyes right now. Can you hear it. It’s that bad. Even Mr. Jenkins down the block can hear it. And there is two feet of concrete between us, house to house.
Mitch (narrator): What are you on about now?
Akki (narrator): That if she blushed, it wasn’t because of your smile.
Mitch (narrator): Shaddaap. You weren’t even there. It’s my time to tell ‘my’ part of the story. Emphasis on the ‘my’.
Akki (narrator): Whatever. >_> She probably just noticed your staring, and was coughing like….why is this foppish fool staring at me?
Mitch (narrator): I’m the foppish fool? And why would she blush?
Akki (narrator): Embarrassment? Pity? Pick one. Besides, the store is called questionable pies. You seeing that blush is questionable in itself. It must be infectious. Eating a pie from that place would probably make you see things……… You ate a pie didn’t you.
Mitch (narrator): *spits blood
“Sir, I run the store at the moment. The boss man is not here today.” She said. “Is there anything else I can help you with?”
Mitch frowned. He could read her face. It was something he picked up a few years back doing a mission in Cobarno. And the change in the girl’s voice when she said it. She’s lying. But why would she lie about this? I wonder what’s going on. But even though Mitch was doubtful of the girl, he didn’t overtly tell her he knew she was lying. And not a good liar either, she gives it away too easily. The owner is slacking in his hiring.
Arching one eyebrow at the girl, Mitch finally sighed and whispered, “Bomb of de pie!” But the girl just tilted her head in confusion. “Wait. That wasn’t it… Umm. Bomb of de pie diggity?” But the girl continued to look at him, confusion growing by the second. “Ah, it was pie de bomb diggity. Definitely… no?”
“Sir, if you have come here just to make jokes I will have to ask you to leave!” The girl said. She was no longer blushing, and she looked over knowingly to a corner behind Mitch where two hulking men stood. They weren’t overtly standing, as to not deter customers, but they were placed strategically to get behind any unwanted business. Mitch had taken notice of them when he came in. He was trained to fight, and like most who were trained, they kept a watchful glance at their surroundings even in places that seemed less likely to pose a danger. And considering that there were none placed behind the girl, leaving her to any last-ditch devices of a prospective intruder, the girl must not be so simpler herself. As expected of Questionable Pies… But, what’s going on? Why isn’t this working?
Just as the two men were striding towards him, someone called out from behind the counter.
The two men stopped. Mitch had kept them in his peripherals, without fully turning his back on the girl.
Coming out from the backroom was a man. He was tall and skinny, and would look normal if not for one thing. His head… It was a giant upright pie!
Akki (narrator): If I hadn’t seen him later on, I still wouldn’t have believed it. Your world is so strange Mitch…
Mitch (narrator): My world is strange?! You’re one to talk if… No No. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We’ll get to that part of the story later on.
Akki walked in the church. The front hall was large and expansive, and also… empty. But even though it was empty, Akki could hear some soft music playing at the far end. He quickly crossed the hall, and entered through another but much smaller set of doors. As he came through, rows and rows of people dressed in black sat with white caps on their heads. They all stared openly under their visors at the pastor in the front.
When Akki came through the doors, the pastor only glanced up and gave him a knowing smile – a smile he would give when a new member came to watch; came to learn from them and believe before he continued his sermon.
Mitch (narrator): You were religious? You are religious?!!
Akki (narrator): What? Do I not come out as a devout believer?
Mitch (narrator): …. No.
Akki sat down at the side. He looked the odd man out being the only one not dressed in black. But if you looked at his face, there was a deep seeded grin. Just like the smiles plastered on those around him as they listened to the pastor.
But if you were to look closely, you would see that unlike the others, Akki was not glaring fervently at the pastor. No. He was glaring down at the front end of the pew. Sitting there, with her mother and siblings was a woman. She was young and pretty, but most of all, a small bun of hair poked out from under her cap.
And the color of that hair was red.
Mitch (narrator): Of course.
Akki (narrator): I never said I believed in the religion of that church.
Mitch (narrator): -____-
“Ladies and gentlemen of the faith. I tell you this. We have come here to change this world. These people. Those faithless out there. They don’t understand that the time for revolution is coming. The word of the goddess is not only true, but just! We must save them… And I know. Why must we subject ourselves to the cruelty to the tasks given to us? Why must we work ourselves to the bone to save them? Why must we…. But I’ll say this. We were all unbelievers at some point. We all distrusted and hated. But we all come here because we knew there was this gaping hole that needed to be filled. A gaping hole of pain that our goddess helped us relieve. So Don’t we owe it to ourselves to do so for those others? We have to give them a chance. Like the chances we have been given. We do this not only for them, but for ourselves and for our goddess. This is our eternal salvation.
And at that moment, Akki got up, and walked down the aisle. At that moment, the crowd began to take note of him. His walk was smooth, and unfettered. As he walked towards the pastor, a few men begun to rise. Was this guy dangerous? Did he want to subvert the message of the pastor? Of our goddess? The men and women of the church probably thought. But, suddenly, Akki stopped. He turned and sat next to the pretty young woman with red hair at the very front.
And… the priest smiled. He said in a low voice.
“Even now, a few words from the faith shake the hearts of those outside. Can you imagine when we go out there and impart wisdom onto them openly?”
And those words, and Akki’s actions, who was obviously an outsider by his dress, made the audience believe. Now was the time to act! Now was the time to spread their faith at all cost!
But Akki wasn’t paying attention to the heated atmosphere. While the audience were drinking the words of the priest. Akki was smiling at the young woman, and the women smiled back. She seemed smitten in her gaze.
And at that moment, Akki thought, I’ve finally found her.