I’ve been trying to head out again. Canis hasn’t been making it easy. He’s wanting to keep an eye on me. He knows I’m looking for a chance to sneak away.
Yesterday, as we were walking through the city, a man clapped his hand down on Canis’s shoulder. I turned as Canis put a hand on my shoulder to keep from walking off. The man who stopped him was a fairly small Asian man. Canis looked at him for a few seconds, then his eyes widened, then narrowed. He moved his hand to his holster, but the Asian man swept the arm away and struck a quick jab into that shoulder. The movement was incredibly quick and fast, and I don’t think anyone else ever noticed it.
“No,” was all he said through a thick accent.
Canis grimaced. “I see,” he said. “Well, Kenny…I hate to say it, but I think this is goodbye for now.”
The man looked at me. “Uh…Mantis,” he said, gesturing to himself. “Please, come.” His speech was slow, and he thought a bit before he spoke, trying to find the words. When he did speak, he gave each word a deliberate emphasis. He obviously didn’t speak much English. “Ah…I am on your side.”
“Another one of the Ten Masks?” I asked.
“Ah…yes.” He nodded. “Mask.” He gestured for me to follow him. “Please.”
I followed him a few blocks to where a car was idling along the sidewalk. He opened the passenger’s door for me and the backseat for himself. The driver smiled at me as I got in.
“Hey, Kenny,” Crimson said. “It’s been a while.”
“So I’m being kidnapped again?”
“I’m pretty sure that Mantis asked nicely if you’d come. You asked nicely, didn’t you Mantis?”
Mantis nodded. “Please.”
“Well there you go. It’s probably a good thing you didn’t try fighting Mantis, since I’m pretty sure he would have beaten you.”
Mantis nodded, smiled, and held his arms up. Like a Praying Mantis, I realized. I’m pretty sure there’s some sort of mantis style martial art. “Very strong,” he said.
“And besides, I’m pretty sure that the last time we ‘kidnapped’ you, we saved your life, celebrated Christmas with you, and then let you go unharmed.”
“Fair enough. So where are we going?”
“Oh? And what’s in California?”
“That’s where we’re currently stationed. It’s time, Kenny. No more games. No more playing around. No more pointless fights. You’re finally going to get some of the answers you’re looking for. It’s time for you to meet our boss.”