I guess I expected this. I haven't seen one of the Masks since Gabe, and that was a while ago. I wasn't to surprised when another one found me. Or at least I think it was another one.
I've been talking to a few people, and I think I have a place to stay for a few days. I'm not telling you where exactly I'm going because I'll be easier to track that way and because, well, I have to admit that what I'm doing is sort of stupid. Canis certainly thought so. But I can't have anyone talking me out of it and I'm not going there unprepared, so my lips are sealed.
Anyway, I was in a rural area cutting across some fields and pastures. It can cut a lot of distance off of a trip if an area is laid out in square miles. Cutting diagonally across a square mile can, in theory, cut it down by...over a mile I think? It'd be a 45, 45, 90 triangle, so it'd be 1, 1, square root of 2? I'm not sure how the math works anymore, but it's really cuts it down.
Anyway, I was partway across across a pasture when I saw someone. He looked over and saw me, and started running at me.
He was dressed in a red zipper hoodie that hid his face, along with running shoes, black polyester sweatpants with reflective white stripes down the side, and what I think was athletic tape wrapped around his hands. I tried to run but I was weighed down by everything on me. He, on the other hand, was dressed in light, loose clothes designed for athletics. There was no way I could outdistance him.
My first thought upon seeing him was that it was Redlight, the sarcastic mastermind who had been responsible for the downfall of White Elephant's Robert Sagel, but I thought he was dead. Or...came back? He had the hoodie and the tape, but I thought Redlight wore camo pants. And why was he after me...?
As I puzzled it over, I reacted in time to just narrowly dodge a fist. A flurry of quick jabs struck my chest, and he hopped back as fell to the ground. He jumped back and forth from side to side with his fists up, hood restricting any view of his face. Whoever he was, he certainly didn't move or act like Redlight.
"Who are you?" I asked. He didn't answer. Didn't even respond, like he hadn't heard me. I shrugged my backpack off and charged at him with Lily. As I swung he ducked under my staff and threw another jab that connected with my side. I managed to stay up until his leg swept under me. He hopped back again, shifting his wait from foot to foot.
This continued for a bit. I tried to attack, he dodged and counterattacked fluidly. I'd yell at him, and he wouldn't even acknowledge me. He wasn't very strong, but he was coordinated. His movement was almost more like he was dancing than fighting.
Then I noticed something. He bounced back and forth like he always did, always waiting for me to get to my feet before attacking, when his rhythm...changed. As if he was a metronome and someone had suddenly shifted the weight. Then I realized: that's exactly what happened. He was listening to music.
It made sense. It's why he didn't respond: he couldn't hear me. It wasn't like he was dancing; he was dancing! And as the two of us continued to fight, I noticed that he was definitely fighting to a specific rhythm. If I could just figure out what that rhythm was, I could maybe use it to my advantage.
Sure enough, now that I could predict his moves, it was easier to block or dodge his punches and kicks. I even got a few hits in on him (though not many) by trying to attack when his music would have offbeats. After a few of these hits, though, he redoubled his efforts. He went on the offensive, driving me back, then managing to slip a punch past my defenses directly into my gut. As my body doubled over in pain, he jumped back and, instead of launching further attacks, turned and sprinted away.
I lost track of him. It didn't occur to me to follow him, and I spent the time after the fight catching my breath instead. I grabbed my pack and staff again and headed across the pasture again, trying to make it to the next town.
The question is...who was that? I think he's one of the Masks, but he didn't say anything. I don't know for sure. Why would he be fighting to music when it made his movement predictable like that? If he's one of the Masks, why did he run instead of trying to kill me? The longer this all goes on, the more I'm getting the sense that I have no clue what's going on.
Anyway, you should hear from me again fairly soon. It probably won't take me to get where I'm going. I'll let you know then.