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Lost Faith

by P L Nunn

 

Chapter Five

 

Sanzo woke up with a start, clear and alert and with none of the tell tale side-effects of recent drugs polluting his body. Not even so much as the throbbing head of a hangover, which in and of itself was suspicious. He lay for a second on sheets worn soft from long use and many, many washings, staring at a warped wood ceiling with a thick layer of blue paint. Sunlight striped the bed sheets and the worn carpet on the floor between it and the barred window.

Barred window . . . . Sanzo cursed, memory flooding back like a slap in the face. He scrambled up, throwing off sheets, setting bare feet on the floor, scanning the immediate area for weapons. Any weapon that might be used to separate certain youkai from their lives. Of course there were none. Just the bare bones of furniture. The bed, the wardrobe, the spindly table where the wash basin had set . . . that basin no longer there after he'd smashed it up side the head of an unlucky youkai. Fuck.

The curtains billowed a little, drawing his gaze back to the window. Shadows shifted there, revealing something that he hadn't in his panic, noticed before. Or maybe that something simply hadn't been there. Homura leaned against the side of the window, half obscured by blue drapery, lashes at half-mast, covering miss-matched eyes, lips curved up in an amused smile.

Sanzo hissed, snatching blindly for the bed sheet, not prepared to show fear, but unable to quite discard bodily modesty. He wrapped it about his waist and stood there, trailing a good deal of sheet, glaring at Homura.

"Please, don't go to any trouble on my account, Konzen." Homura's gaze trailed up his body with supreme leisure. "I've seen it all anyway. What a fine piece of entertainment your auction was. Who would have guessed you'd have ended up on a youkai block. Kanzeon must be smarting . . . her pretty pet fallen so low."

"Fuck you, you demented bastard. I'm nobody's fucking pet."

"You'll be anyone's pet who'll pay from now on." Homura corrected, pushing himself off the wall with a faint rustle of chains and moving into the room with a grace that stank of power and ill-intent. Sanzo tensed, hair prickling, all too aware of the unearthly aura that surrounded this man who claimed godhood. All too aware that there was something less than entirely sane behind those miss-matched eyes. He had no weapons that would make a dent in Homura at the moment, save his words and Homura had proven less than prone to reason in the past.

"What do you want?" It was still worth a try to force calm upon himself and try to worm his way out of this regrettable situation.

"What do you think I want?" Homura tilted his head, stopping close enough to touch, impressing upon Sanzo the difference in height. Homura was taller than Gojyo and broader about the shoulders. There was a solid weight to the corded muscle of his body that would have been impressive even if he hadn't had the strength of a god to back it up. Sanzo had felt the weight of those chains attached to his wrists before and anyone forced to carry them around for long could not have helped but to build up considerable muscle mass. Homura acted as if they were not even there.

"You want the sutra." Sanzo looked up, unblinking into Homura's amused face. "I don't have it with me."

"Yes. That's rather self-evident." Homura let his eyes drift down Sanzo's bare torso again. Sanzo's knuckles cracked of their own accord, he clutched the edges of the sheet so tightly.

"And Son Goku? Where is he? He's usually dogging your footsteps like the faithful dog you've convinced him he is."

"I've convinced him of nothing. I'm not his keeper."

Homura laughed. "Surely you don't believe that, Konzen. You've been his keeper from the day your destiny's crossed. Preordained. A puppet to a greater will . . ."

Sanzo hissed, that last observation hitting on all too raw wounds. "You want him. Go find him. Knock yourself out. I couldn't care less. Take the sutra too, for all I care, just leave me the fuck alone. And stop calling me Konzen, its not my Goddamned name."

Homura chuckled, reached out and caught Sanzo's jaw. "Ah, you are amusing in your tantrums."

"Let GO!!" Sanzo drove his fist towards Homura's throat and connected with nothing so substantial as empty air as the half-god leaned back, then snatched hold of Sanzo's wrist faster than Sanzo could easily follow and spun him about with that snared limb, pulling him back and trapping him against his chest. The chains lay heavy against him, hindering his free arm when he tried to slam an elbow back into Homura's side. It was an ineffectual blow and Homura caught up the other arm and drew it up with the trapped one, catching both wrists in one long fingered, steel gripped hand and holding them tight against Sanzo's shoulder. Sanzo cursed and bucked, tossing his head back in efforts to smash his skull into Homura's face, but Homura proved immune to the efforts, hunching over a little to press his jaw against the side of Sanzo's neck while he very casually loosed the tucked edges of the sheet that tenuously clung to Sanzo's hips.

Sanzo felt it slipping away, felt the cool air on his legs and the sensitive skin of his cock and balls. He saw red. Just ceased for a few moments to have rational thought at all in his efforts to escape this embarrassment. He must have made an impact of some sort, for Homura didn't seem amused when Sanzo's vision cleared. Seemed rather put out, in fact, even though he still possessed the unquestionable upper hand.

They lay across the end of the bed, the mattress half off the bed frame, Homura bracing himself on the floor, leaning his weight down on Sanzo's trapped wrists, the chain lying heavy and strangling across Sanzo's neck. Perhaps that was what had brought Sanzo out of his frenzy, the lack of proper breath.

"Do you know how easy it would be, to snap that fragile neck of yours?" Homura said, and as if he willed it the chain grew heavier, like a pair of hands tightening around Sanzo's throat. He gasped and the red came back in spots, this time not accompanied by berserker rage, but by sickening dizziness and mounting fear of strangulation. "Do you know how much control it takes not to break this mortal body you wear, Konzen? And still you insist on fighting me."

Sanzo might have had something to say to that had he had the wind. As it was vision was fading and the fight was draining away, all of it whirling down a dark spiral of dizziness.

The pressure let up of a sudden and air flowed freely. Sanzo drew in a great gasping breath and shuddered. It took a moment to realize the weight was off his body, another to realize that the lurching he felt was not the room spinning around him but Homura heaving the mattress with Sanzo still sprawled upon it back up onto the wooden bed frame.

"Shit." He wheezed and tried to bolt up, but Homura slammed him back down with the palm of a hand against his chest. That impact stole his tenuous breath and he floundered like a beached fish, momentarily useless for anything resembling self-defense. Homura flipped him over and drew one arm behind his back, fastening cool metal around his wrist, then the other. Sanzo lay there, wheezing, beginning to feel the accumulated hurts, beginning to feel the sickening sensation of fear that he'd told himself he wouldn't allow in. To admit fear meant admitting some sort of defeat and he wasn't prepared for that.

Homura's fingers touched his hair and Sanzo ground his teeth. He made to twist, to roll away, but a hand on his back kept him down.

"So what - -" Sanzo hissed, face pressed to the mattress. "You can't handle a mere mortal without restraints? Pathetic."

Homura did not rise to the bait. He simply grasped Sanzo's hips and dragged him to the edge of the bed, legs on either side of Homura's jean clad hips, all the vulnerable places between his legs exposed.

"Always so arrogant. In this life. In the last. How long do you think it will take them to strip that arrogance from you, little priest?" The chains rested across the small of Sanzo's back, trapping him more than the manacles prisoning his wrists. They shifted minutely as Homura worked at the buttons at the front of his pants, then without preamble, his thumbs dug into the pliable flesh of Sanzo's buttocks, parting flesh, exposing him more. The heated head of Homura's cock pressed implacably against Sanzo's opening, forcing its way in with no more lubrication than the warm precum that leaked from the tip, proving that Gods were no less weak than men when it came to rutting like animals.

It hurt. It hurt a lot. Even at Gojyo's most desperate and hasty penetration he took more care than Homura did at preparing the way. Homura simply overcame the resistance of fragile flesh and plowed into Sanzo's bowels like he was proving a point, or carrying out a dire punishment. It felt very much like the latter. Sanzo opened his mouth in a silent cry of shock, stubborn pride overcome by the unexpectedness of the hurt. He'd had blades enter his body that hadn't quite hurt so much. Though he couldn't see the particular weapon pummeling his body, it felt considerably larger than anything previously inserted. There was nothing vaguely sexual about it. It was assault pure and simple, though he had to assume from Homura's quiet grunts that he was getting something out of it other than the simple satisfaction of pounding Sanzo into the mattress with enough force to bruise his hips and smash his shriveled genitals into the edge of the bed.

It went on forever. Every grating stroke a fiery lance of raw agony. Sanzo was immensely proud of himself for not uttering a word or a cry of pain. He thought he'd uttered other sounds, involuntary gasps and grunts that a body could not help but make with the air pressed out of it on every inward stroke. Homura finished spurting half inside of Sanzo and pulling out to finish up across Sanzo's ass and back. He felt the hot, sticky substance on the palms of his hands, trailing down the crack of his ass, down his thighs. He wanted to scream. He pressed his mouth tight and stared at the iron headboard. This proved absolutely nothing other than the fact that Homura was stronger than he was. It meant nothing.

"Happy now?" he asked bitterly and heard Homura pause in rebuttoning his pants.

"No." Homura said. "I imagined having you . . . differently. I imagined you moaning like a whore, Konzen. But after a while here, you may yet. This was simply a testing of the waters, so to speak. An establishment of hierarchy. Next time, when I have more time, we can be more creative."

"If you live that long."

Homura laughed at him. "You think you can kill me? Haven't you learned anything?"

"You're going after the sutra, aren't you and Goku?" Sanzo asked and Homura frowned taking the threat Goku represented somewhat more seriously than he took a mere mortal Sanzo.

"Perhaps." Homura said. "It depends on my mood."

There was the grating of a key turning in an old lock, the squeaking of hinges as the door cracked open. Homura seemed not surprised at all, in fact crocked a finger when the person on the other side seemed to be taking too long to make an entrance and the door swung inwards, compelled by his will. A skinny youkai boy stood there, mouth gaping open, eyes wide, a whole, if not old, pitcher in his hands. It was the boy Sanzo had seen before, upon his entry into this detestable brothel. The boy could not take his eyes off Homura, youkai senses alerting him to the dangerous power that stood mere feet from him. Sanzo rolled painfully to this side, sitting up as best he could, drawing a knee up instinctively to shield himself. It hurt moving, twinges of hollow aches reverberating through his muscles. He ignored it. It was harder to ignore the wetness coating his thighs, the stickiness on his hands and back. Just thinking about it and its source made bile rise in his throat.

"Tell your master, little one, that he may barter the monk's services as he choices, but any irreparable damage that occurs will be taken out tenfold upon him. Understand?"

The boy's eyes widened even more, amber iris's surrounded by bloodshot white. He nodded and in a flash of wind and sparks and light, that made both Sanzo and the youkai boy squint their eyes tightly shut, Homura was gone. Fucking smug, showoff.

Sanzo shuddered in reluctant relief and blew tousled hair out of his eyes. The youkai boy was still standing there, staring at the spot where Homura had been, so Sanzo glowered at him, embarrassed and uncomfortable and snapped.

"Are you just going to stand there? Come or go, but make up your mind."

The boy blinked, shifting his wild gaze to Sanzo. "You're a monk?"

Sanzo glared, recent disputes with that profession making him press his lips tight and refuse to voice an answer.

The boy did not press the issue, squaring his thin shoulders and hurrying to set the new pitcher in the basin. Water sloshed and Sanzo was distracted momentarily from his pique by the strong desire to wash Homura's foul leavings off his skin.

"If that's for me, then release me so I can use it." He suggested, rattling the manacles.

"You - - you're supposed to be still groggy from the Numb." The boy said warily and Sanzo guessed that was the local slang for whatever opiate the brothel master had forced into his veins. Homura, he surmised, had wanted him sober enough to appreciate their interaction and stripped him of its effects. Gracious of him. Fucker.

"Just undo the manacles." Sanzo said through gritted teeth, forcing himself not to scream at the boy. Not to simply scream.

"I - - can't. If you tried to escape - - I'd get punished for letting you go."

"Goddamnit, Just . . ." Sanzo stopped, took a breath and gathered the edges of his badly frayed temper. "I won't. Not right now, okay? I'm not in any shape to break through a house full of youkai at the moment." Which was nothing but the truth, with all the aches and pains presently plaguing him. Simply sitting up was a strain. "Just toss me the key to the cuffs if you want and lock the door behind you. Send your master's goons in later, I don't give a fuck, I just want to wash away the . . . " The filth. The cum. The embarrassment. He swallowed and stared, waiting.

The boy stared back, clearly troubled, but finally he made his decision and moved towards the bed, hesitantly gesturing with the key to the manacles and Sanzo leaned forward, eyes shut in a moment of relief, to let the young youkai unlock the cuffs. The boy stepped back quickly enough, and Sanzo caught a glimpse of a skinny bare back, laced with pale, wicked looking scars. Whip marks maybe. Or claw marks. Either was possible in a house that catered to the 'rough' trade as master Vhan Kai had boasted. Though for a boy, even a youkai boy of no more than twelve or thirteen to be so abused, that seemed criminal for even a rough youkai brothel.

Sanzo was not in a generous enough frame of mind at the moment to ask. His own problems loomed rather too starkly to give the boy more than a thought, other than wishing him gone from the room so he could lick his wounds in decent privacy.

"Go. Wait outside the door if you must. Tell them that bastard Homura released me. Tell them flying monkeys did. I don't care. Just get out and shut the door."

The boy did, responding much as Goku did to Sanzo's 'authoritative' voice and scurrying out, shutting and locking the door behind him. Which left Sanzo free and alone and for a few wretched moments, too shaky and weak to take advantage of it. By force of will alone he uncurled his legs and pushed himself off the bed. His knees almost gave way under him and the muscles in the general area of his buttocks screamed in burning protest. Something that was more than likely blood rather than come leaked out, trickling down his leg. He blanched, head going just a little faint and held onto the bed post to steady himself while it passed.

There were marks on him that were fresh and vivid that he had not even realized that Homura had made. On wrists, arms, hips and thighs. He shuddered again, but this time it was more in anger than weakness. Of all the foul, miserable luck. If it was luck at all and not some malicious retribution by the powers that be for his rebellion.

He found clean rags in the drawer under the basin and washed as thoroughly as possible, regardless of tender spots and torn flesh. The water in the basin was pink with blood when he'd finished. He limped about the room afterwards, the sheet around his shoulders, looking for something better suited for clothing. There was nothing. The huge, heavy wardrobe was locked tight and no amount of effort on his part threatened to open the doors. It didn't contain things for the room's occupant to use, he shivered to think of what it did have hidden in its depths. The only thing other than the half full pitcher and basin and the sheets in the room that he could use were the manacles, heavy metal cuffs connected by a short span of chain. He hefted them thoughtfully, a very slight, grim smile crossing his lips as he imagined the satisfying sound the cuff would make as it cracked the skull of the fat youkai brothel master.

 

Telling Goku that the monk was in the hands of ruthless slavers was one thing, explaining the possibility that he'd more than likely end up flat on his back in a youkai brothel was quite another. There were some things that Goku just didn't need to hear if they wanted him to function rationally at all. Like Sanzo not pissing off his captors to the point of homicidal madness and actually making it past the first day alive. Sanzo raped and killed - - or killed and raped depending on how pissed off the youkai were, in a youkai brothel was just was not the sort of image Goku could carry around in his pea brain and not go berserk. A berserk Goku was not a safe Goku . . . for friend or foe. It wasn't particularly an image that Gojyo was finding much comfort with, himself and he'd had thoughts about strangling the monk on many an occasion himself.

So, he told Hakkai the bald facts and they gave Goku a censored version of what Gojyo thought had happened to their wayward monk. Goku, of course, was all for taking off down the river right then and there, on foot if need be, but Hakkai, who had the tendency to ask around about such things, warned that the land route to Ruvan was difficult and chancy at best, not at all suited for hoofed or wheeled transport, which was why the river trade was so strong. You could reach Ruvan in a day aboard a fast moving barge where it would take four times that to navigate a path through the treacherous cliffs and hills on either side of the river by land. Goku wasn't happy, but he wasn't about to ignore complete common sense and go storming off without them on what was likely a fool's errand through the overland route. Gojyo kept him occupied, buying supplies for the trip while Hakkai bartered for boat passage. Even angry and worried, Goku couldn't help but find some interest in the buying of foodstock to fill their packs.

By the time Hakkai had bartered their passage down river on a dubious barge, Gojyo and Goku had filled their packs with the sorts of food that would keep over days of travel and be easy to prepare on the road. Gojyo stood on the docks and entertained serious doubts about the water worthiness of the boat. It looked to have seen better days, with wood obviously rotting in spots. It road low in the water, loaded down with canvas wrapped cargo. The boathouse consisted of nothing more than a frequently patched canvas tent at the rear of the boat. Gojyo hated to imagine how dark, wet and cramped the belly of the boat might be. All in all, the boat was small enough to be claustrophobic if too many bodies were crowded upon it for too long and just likely to sink if bad weather tossed it about to strenuously.

Still, the river wasn't that wide and Gojyo didn't mind a good swim if push came to shove, so stepping onto the warped deck was distasteful, but not frightening.

"Its all I could afford." Hakkai explained, only a very slight tightening of his lips indicating that he was not quite so easy with their choice of transport. Jeep fluttered his wings nervously, long body curled about Hakkai's neck. Gojyo didn't know what the little dragon had to be nervous about. He could fly away when the boat started to go down.

The captain and his one surly crewman told them to go to the prow and stay there and not to interfere with their work as they pushed off from the dock and let the current pull them slowly out into the dark river. That was fine. Gojyo sat down upon a canvas wrapped lump, tapped out a cigarette from a new pack and watched Tinto town recede. Goku stood at the prow, hands gripping the wood so hard his knuckles were whitened, eyes glued to the hazy river horizon ahead of them, as if he could see Ruvan miles and miles away. As if he could see whatever trouble the monk had gotten himself into. Better that he couldn't. Sanzo wouldn't like it, them worrying over him. Sanzo would like even less them pitying him for whatever damage he'd taken from his captors. You had to be careful with Sanzo when it came to dealing with his wounds. There was a fine line between practical concern and compassion and Sanzo just didn't tolerate the latter very well. Soft touches and kind words made him pissy as hell, at least when they came from the people that were of necessity closest to him. It had to be an act though. Had to be, because nobody was that jaded. Nobody that wasn't pure evil and though he was damn sure Sanzo was far from the pious man his position demanded, was ill-tempered and surly and careless of priestly codes, he was far from evil. He'd just been hurt somewhere along the line and Gojyo knew from damned miserable experience how being hurt - - really hurt where it counted inside your heart - - could make a man put walls up. It was hard tearing the walls down sometimes. It was like tearing down part of yourself. It took courage and trust and Sanzo just didn't have the trust part down. Of the courage part, Gojyo just wasn't sure. There was the courage to face down a pack of howling youkai out for your blood, then there was the courage to admit a mistake or take the plunge into something that might end up wounding you in the long run. They were entirely different things. It was a lack of that latter, Gojyo thought, that had sent the monk running in the first place. So he supposed he could consider Sanzo a coward of sorts and would happily tell him to his face - - if the monk didn't have gun in hand - - if they could find him. He looked forward to it, to putting to words his epiphany about Sanzo's behavior.

"Gojyo?" Hakkai tapped him on the knee, looking up from the nook he'd made himself in the cargo.

"Huh?"

"You've just been sitting there for a while with nothing but a cold butt in your mouth."

"Oh." He examined the end of a long exhausted cigarette, then flicked it into the water. That's what he got for deep thought, complete loss of time and place. It was a wonder Hakkai didn't drive them off the road more often than he did, as much as he hashed things out in his head. Also a wonder that Goku wasn't more perceptive than he was, considering that there wasn't a lot of inward musings going on under that thick skull of his.

It was a slow, lazy ride down the river, but the air was fresh and the breeze cool and despite the tension it was easy enough to nap. He could be pretty sure that Goku was too wound up to sleep, so felt confident that the kid would be on watch in case the caption and his first mate decided that slitting their throats while they dozed, robbing them and dumping them in the river was as good a plan as ferrying them down it to Ruvan.

It was an uneventful journey, interrupted only by Jeep's furious, protective squawking when a beady eyed river rat scurried too close to their nook at the prow. Gojyo cracked an eye and peered at the indignant little dragon clinging to Hakkai's shoulder, its wings flapping agitatedly, its long neck outstretched so it could properly show its small white teeth off to a rat that seemed indifferent to any of their presenses.

It took the better part of a day and night to reach Ruvan. The winds were sluggish, the captain explained and the boat drifted along a little slower because of it. Only a few hours behind schedule though, which put them into Ruvan port at the ass crack of dawn. The hazy dimness of such a early morning arrival may have been the best way to be introduced to Ruvan, the lack of proper sunlight casting a kinder face on the ramshackle docks. Most certainly the town was poor, the buildings dilapidated and weather worn, but there were ample signs of vandalism as well, things only human mischief could achieve that made the place seem dismal and dangerous. A fight broke out on the docks before they'd even set foot off the ship. A snarling tangle of two drunken youkai that attracted a crowd of jeering onlookers. No one seemed willing to break it up and the human captain hung back warily, cursing the youkai under his breath.

"Thank you for the passage." Hakkai performed the civility out of habit.

"Your funeral." The man snorted.

At least with the fight, no one paid their entrance to the town much heed. There were not a lot of folk out and about at this hour, but the majority of those that were, were clearly of youkai blood. The last time Gojyo had been around so many full-blooded youkai that weren't immediately going for his throat had been - - well the devastated monastery in the mountains where he and Sanzo both had almost lost their lives.

There were human faces here too. Surly, angry men that would as like to cut your throat as talk to you. There weren't many places left where you could find human's and youkai living together, even if it was a sty like this.

"The madness, it hasn't touched them all, here." Hakkai observed as they skirted the crowd around the brawling youkai. "Not yet."

"It's touched those two,." Gojyo said, tight lipped, hesitating just a little to stare at the fight within the circle of onlookers. It was animalistic. They were snarling and growling like beasts rather than men. Blood freely flowed from wounds made by claw and tooth alike. Perhaps that was why no one bothered to break up the fight. These two had gone feral and it was just as well that they kill each other now than be trusted loose in a town desperately trying to keep its head afloat in a tide of desolation and youkai madness.

They passed on, down the dockside street towards a string of buildings that might have been taverns or inns. The best place to start after all would be to find the slavers who had hijacked Sanzo to begin with. If they were still here, chances were they wouldn't all leave the docks and their boat unprotected. Which meant some of them were likely to be found at portside bars.

The gangbangers weren't up yet, but there were other surly characters loitering in the deep shadows of buildings that watched their passage with interest. They must have looked like ripe marks, two human seeming travelers and one half breed that could just as well pass for full human, if the darkness dulled the stain of hair and eyes.

Gojyo almost wished someone would make a move on them. It would be an excuse to violently extract information. It might even gain them a little money to add to their almost non-existent funds. They were going to have to get Hakkai into a game of chance and soon, if they wanted to have enough to buy information that would otherwise not come to them willingly.

They walked into a tavern that was open even at this hour, catering to the rivermen that had come into town with the tide. It stank of watered down beer, sweat, smoke and piss and a good many of the men inside were passed on rickety tables or sprawled in corners, easy pickings for any industrious pick pocket who was sly enough and quiet enough to slip up and empty their pockets. There were a few conscious patrons though, rough looking youkai dock workers, a huge human riverman covered in fading tattoos and a drowsy barkeep behind a much worn, much scarred bar. They might have walked in bearing the marks of plague bearers for the looks they got. Hostile and suspicious, men crouching a little closer over warm drinks, hands surreptitiously drifting to weapons. No matter that their clothes were travel worn and rumpled, they lacked the look of sullen rage or rock bottom despair that most of the other faces in this place held. It made them outsiders and outsiders were not to be trusted.

Gojyo sauntered up to the bar, figuring the red of his eyes and hair would make him a little more reliable in the eyes of a man used to youkai clientele than Hakkai and Goku's human masks.

With the very last coin he had to his name he bought a beer and settled at the bar while Hakkai and Goku found a table in the shadows and sat down to let him chat up the barkeep. He asked about games of chance first. Where the best local action was. Told a sob story about his lack of luck up river in Tinto town. The barkeep was well acquainted with runs of bad luck and grudgingly mentioned the names of a few local haunts where games of chance could be found. Gojyo elaborated on his tale, mentioning a friend of his gone missing from Tinto town, mentioning the suspicious that river borne slavers had had a hand in it. Asking which places slavers were known to frequent.

The barkeep closed up at the mention, eyes going narrow and wary. Scared maybe of retaliation if word should get back to the slavers that he had sent trouble their way.

"Don't know nothing about that lot. Don't want to know nothing." the man jerked his stubbly chin towards Hakkai and Goku. "They drinking? If not, be on your way."

Gojyo finished the last of his watery ale and didn't argue the point. It would be useless to antagonize the first source they met. Word would spread faster that way and their prey would go to ground and they'd never find them. Or Sanzo.

Gojyo nodded amicably and pushed away from the bar. "Don't want any trouble. Just asking."

If he'd had money he might have turned the man's attitude about, as it was the next stop they made would of necessity, have to be one of the games of chance the barkeep had told him about. They were not going to get information out of the goodness of anyone's heart here. They'd need to buy it.

 

 

 

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