The story picks up at the fountain in the carnival, just before the party splits up. Everyone except Yachak and Nhymeri heads back to Vastavika’s townhouse. After Septimus nearly falls into an open manhole, Kibu tires of the man’s verbose descriptions of the surrounding buildings and runs ahead. He bounds up the steps and bursts into the apartment. The following scene ensues, in which we learn the origin of the name Kibu intends to bestow upon his future mount:
As evening darkens into night, Vastavika sips her “medicinal” tea on the balcony of her flat on Commerce Street, overlooking the approach to Victory Square. The sounds of the carnival waft over the bustle of the street below, particularly the musicians belting out a lively dance tune. How funny that such sounds no longer tug at her to rush out and join the fun as they once did. So much has happened recently that she’s relieved to be able to just sit and watch the world go by for a while, without having to be in the middle of everything.
A shout from the square catches her attention. Interesting how familiar a voice can become in so short a time – she’s sure that must have been Kibu. She leans toward the railing to get a better view, and sees the figure racing toward her door, followed by the familiar outline of Septimus and the rest of their party.
In what seems like an eye-blink, the lad has burst into her chambers and seeks her out on the balcony. “Why hello, Ki-” she start to say, but they’re the only words she can squeeze in before he starts.
“did you see it? did you see it? the carnival, did you go? it was AMAZING. I’ve never been to one but Sept was right so much stuff! hey.. how did you get down here?…” he pauses for but a moment to catch a breath. “
“I rode down with Yachak this afternoon. I had some business to attend to. But it sounds like you had fun!”
“It was amazing, it was amazing! when we got there they let us pick out costumes! they had all kinds look! look at this lion mask!” he retrieves the mask from around his neck and shoves it in her direction. “I had a tail too but i lost it, not a big deal, was kinda long. Trink had a tail too but hers was different, something black, I don’t know what it was. have you ever seen a lion? they had some there! they were so big, bigger than what i thought they’d be. I bet they’d eat more food than I could too. So I was a lion today! after we got the costumes we got to look at everything there was to see..” he pauses to compose his thoughts and recall everything they ran across.
“Ha! I’d like to see the lion that could eat more than you! My cook was starting to get worried this morning. I’ve always loved the carnival, especially the dancing.”
“Dancing? yeah they had lots of that. I was gonna show them how it’s done, they did all kinds of dancing, weird dancing. so I was gonna show em, but I got busy and missed it but i hear that sept and Marina showed them how its done instead. but that was after we found the gambling, i didnt win anything though, but they had food! did you know that they give food away at these things? you’d think it was nasty if they gave it away but it wasn’t bad.. they had meat and more meat, lots of it.. and some kinda cake pie things.. ‘pakes’ with fruit in em. I took a few of those. Iv’e.. got one left.. if you want it..” he swiftly reaches into his bag and produces a small tart with bits of black fur clinging to the fruit filling and presents it to vasta. “don’t know what fruit it is.. kinda a surprise” he shrugs.
“Why thank you. I’m full now, but I’ll set it on my night table for a midnight treat. What did you think of the elephant?”
he takes a seat near her as he slowly starts to come down from the initial excitement of seeing her again. “It looked sad, they all did, all the animals. but wow I never thought they’d be so big! Could you imagine riding something like that? can you even ride those? have you ever ridden an elephant? i’d bet you could see over all the houses when you did. how do you get on those things? do they make ladders for elephant riders, ya think?”
“Actually I did ride one once, when I was much…”
“What?! no way!” he interrupts
“…younger. They don’t go very fast, but the view is marvelous.”
“Did Gary get it for you to ride? He was always gettin’ me stuff too. did he steal it for you? I could get one for you too ya know. want me to get you an elephant?”
“Ha! If anyone could pull that off, Kibu, I’m sure it would be you. No, this was well before I knew Gary. But I know just what you mean, he always comes up with the best presents doesn’t he?”
Kibu nods in agreement as his ego inflates “Yeah, and i’m even better at it. I’m going to steal the Zebra instead though, its much cooler, I like its hair.” he tosses up a hand above his head to mimic the mohawk mane of his target. ”I think I’ll name him Spot”
Vasta lets out a shriek of laughter. “Oh yes!” she exclaims. “That is exactly what you should name it! It will be the talk of every salon in town. You’ll be giving Septimus a run for his money.” Seeing her friend inside, she calls in, “Do you hear that Sept? You’d better watch your back!” Septimus looks her way and nods without catching onto the conversation.
That settles it in Kibus mind. The game is on. He has to prove to her he can be better than Sept! “Yep, I’m going to steal Spot.” he reconfirms with her.
“What’s he on about?” asks another voice from inside the doorway, probably Trink’s.
“He’s going to steal the spot, whatever that means.” says Marina.
At that moment, Vasta notices a quiet figure standing in a corner. “Good grief, Kibu, whatever happened to James? Where did he get that bandage?”
“he got into a fight, a few of em.. but they were for prizes or something.. Marina did too. I almost made a handful of coins off her but she ended up winnin’. James though, he beat a few guys up pretty bad with his stick sword. I only got to see a few of the matches though, meri came back on her medicine, she doesn’t like lots of people around, and wanted to go off somewhere and have some fun, so we did for a while. When I woke up most of the other matches were finished but I got to see James beat this really big guy, really big. It was alright, I could have done it. But they weren’t very happy about it, his friends, and they shot at James….
Vasta now leaves the balcony and goes inside to greet her guests. The conversation proceeds, with Vasta questioning the circumstances of James’ injury. She then shows them their rooms, but Marina finds a surprise in hers. There is a small lump under the covers which she gingerly liberates, and which turns out to be the prize fox kit she had admired in the livestock pens earlier that day (with odd bits of jelly donut sticking to its fur). Kibu beams at her expression of appreciation, and everyone else is charmed, including Vastavika. No one seems disturbed that now, some rich lady will never have the chance to wear this black and white bundle of energy and cuteness around her neck.
Vasta informs Septimus that she has received the summons to her competency hearing, to be held late the following day. He is sobered by the prospect and decides to conduct his charges on just a quick survey of the nearby surrounds instead of the grand tour he had envisioned. Leading Kibu and Trink, he passes the Police Headquarters, and heads down to the docks. Skirting the Market District, Kibu glimpses a couple of familiar and not entirely friendly faces, but he is confident in the efficacy of his lion’s mask. They head back towards the carnival, past the Banking District, across the central square, and up the northeast avenue towards the government buildings. They take particular note of the Hall of Records, where documents relating to Vasta’s ownership of her estate are supposedly kept. It seems like a fairly secure building, though not heavily guarded. Heading south past the Theatre and Plenum of Burghers, Septimus completes his circuit, and excuses himself to return to Vasta.
Trink and Kibu go a block further south to take one more pass by the bank buildings, watching for alleyways, sewer entrances, and other useful elements of the terrain. Suddenly there are some hoarse shouts, in which Kibu hears his name, and there are now several toughs running toward him from behind and the side. He glances at Trink slyly, says “Run,” then takes off in the direction of the town square. The goons run past Trink, clearly not having noticed she had been walking with Kibu. As Kibu rounds the Counting House, there are even more pursuers than he was originally aware of, including a couple of guards who join the chase as he hurtles into the square. The grate is still open next to the statue in the center, and he sprints to it, disappearing into its depths.
Trink makes it to the corner of the plaza just in time to note where Kibu has gone. Seeing the rest of the pursuers converge around that spot, she begins to look for another sewer opening where she can catch up to his position and help him. Dashing up past Vasta’s, she finds a likely grate near the blacksmith’s shop that looks like it’s moveable, though too heavy to do herself. Luckily, she remembers James is right inside doing something at the anvil, and she enlists his help. He also has some trouble lifting it with only one good hand, but they find a crowbar with which they are able to jimmy it open. She drops into its depths and begins running back in the direction of the square, but as she approaches that area, she confronts a barrier. It seems to have been intentionally built out of miscellaneous crates, beams, rocks, and tools, and completely blocks her passage. Beyond it, she can hear muffled shouts and sees glimmers of torchlight.
When he drops into the sewer in the square, Kibu races east towards the church, and encounters the same barrier from the other side which Trink will reach a few minutes later. Turning left, he soon plunges into complete darkness, feeling his way along. He looks for passages and possible hiding places, and hears the shouts of the men organizing their pursuit, which echo from an unknown distance behind. Finally up ahead, he sees a shaft of light, coming from a side passage. Peering around the corner, he thinks it might be from a lamp or fire. He pauses to assess his options. If he keeps stumbling forward in the darkness, he will eventually be caught up by the men who will have torches and therefore can move more quickly. Not knowing the sewer layout the way he did in the city where he grew up, he has no idea how many branches or hidey holes there will be, and there is a high probability of getting trapped in a dead end. On the other hand, the light might indicate a way out, though it, too, could turn out to be a trap. Rolling the dice of fate, he makes a snap decision to head towards the light.
The light gets brighter as he heads down the side tunnel, and just as it’s about to open into a room, he finds an iron gate that covers the passageway. Upon examination, he discovers the gate has been pried up from the bottom, and there is enough room for him to shimmy through. He is now in a rough-cut stone room, although the far doorway seems to be more finely crafted. Another short passage ends at another grated gateway, this one in much better repair. He pushes, it swings open, and he goes though. He is now in a workroom with benches and masonry supplies, and he can see that the light is coming from around the corner of a passage at the far end. He checks for hiding places and other exits as he approaches the next gate, but there seem to be no other options than to move forward. As he reaches this new gate, he can see the lantern, hung about ten feet further down the tunnel ahead. But this gate does not budge. There is a very secure locking mechanism that looks like he won’t be able open from his side. In addition, he detects some movement in the passage ahead, though what it is, he cannot tell.
He decides this is a dead end, and turns to double back, but when he reaches the gate he had just pushed through with no trouble, he discovers that it, too, is now closed and locked. As he begins to realize he is trapped, he hears the shouts of the pursuers up the tunnel, and sees flickers of torchlight that tell him they have reached the side tunnel and are now blocking his retreat anyway. He begins piling things in front of that gate in hopes of preventing them from coming into his room if it should turn out they have a key. But after a few moments of this, the lantern behind him goes out. He listens in the dark, but can hear nothing besides the sound of the pursuers getting closer. He goes to the gate near the lantern, and whispers, “Is anybody there?” There is no answer, so he finds a hiding spot within the room. Voices from behind reach the broken gate, and someone shimmies under into the first room. Calling to his comrades, the lone man examines the room, comes up to the locked gate and shines his light through. Finding no sign of Kibu, he reports to his buddies (we can assume) that the fugitive could not have come this way, and retreats. Kibu remains silent for a long while after all sounds of pursuit have receded into the distance.
Trink has no trouble creating an opening in the debris barrier that she can squirm through, and can hear echoes of the men who have headed in the direction she figures Kibu must have gone. Hoping to distract them from their quarry, she gathers some small, heavy objects that she can throw in their direction. She begins to sprint towards them, though she pauses at a side tunnel from which no sound emerges. Making a note of it as a possible escape route, she continues toward the voices, and is able to catch up before long, since they are being very methodical and thorough, pausing to search every side passage they come to. She determines that there are at least five men ahead of her, and she pitches a couple of her makeshift missiles in their direction. This has the desired effect, causing three of them to chase her back the way she had come. She slips back through the barricade before they see her and quickly fills the opening she had made. Staying silent, she listens from her side of the barrier as the men who chased her reconnect with the sentries in the market center. Soon, a number of men come back and begin dismantling the barrier, so she retreats towards the grate where she first entered the sewer. There, James helps her back out, and they decide to report back to Vasta’s apartment.
Kibu sits in the darkness and munches on the provisions he has collected from the carnival and Vasta’s place. After a while the lantern light does come back on, and he moves to the inner gate to see if there is someone there who can help him. A figure is standing near the light, wearing baggy trousers and a jacket, which suggest that he might be some sort of workman. He is immediately aware of Kibu, and approaches in silhouette, putting a finger to his mouth in a shushing gesture. Kibu wars with himself whether to act innocent and friendly, but the man doesn’t appear to be armed, and looks like he would be easy to handle in a fight, once the door was opened. The man is reaching a hand towards one of Kibu’s, and looks like he wants to shake. With deep reservations, Kibu slips one of his readied knives back into his pocket and gingerly extends the hand through the bars, ready to snatch it back at the sign of sudden movement. As the man grips his hand, Kibu’s fears are confirmed, and the man’s other hand darts up. Kibu has the advantage of strength as he yanks his hand backwards, but the man is able to hold on just long enough for the object he has been concealing to jab into the flesh between Kibu’s knuckles.
“So, you may want to welax a little bit, because you’re going to be passing out here pwetty soon.”
“What?” Kibu says as he staggers back against a wall, feeling the wound in his hand.
“Youah ok. No one can come in, no one can get out. Just sit theah, welax, you’ll be fine. You may fall asleep, but you’ll be all wight.” (Or did he mean white?)
“Wha-what did you do?” Kibu stutters.
“Well, it’s a twanquilizah…a twanquilizah, y’undahstand that word?” Kibu says nothing. “It means youah gonna fall asleep. So lay down so you don’t fall down.”
“Why?” Kibu says, feeling not the least bit sleepy. In fact, this speech pisses him off, and he charges at the grate, weapons now clearly in evidence, and slashes out through the bars.
The figure jumps back, a little shocked that Kibu hasn’t passed out yet. “No, now look. I made the lock on the dooah myself…”
“Then open it!” snarls Kibu.
“It’s not opening!”
“Oh…open…it…” and with that, Kibu stumbles back, and – splash, thunk, clink clink.
“Heh,” says Weed to no one. “Yeah, well I, um, made it myself.”
Septimus and Vasta listen with growing concertn to the frantic and disjointed account of Kibu’s disappearance and Trink’s attempt to help him. As the story unfolds, Septimus connects this development with the poster Kibu had so proudly shown him in the carnival that day. “I see,” he mutters, “so in his short time, he’s managed to draw the attention of the authorities, ok.” Someone points out that these weren’t policemen but tough guys chasing Kibu. “Ok, so, even more impressive, he has managed to draw the attention of the criminal element in town.”
As they head out to the square to assess the situation, they see policemen standing around the sewer grate in the square. Septimus recognizes the Sergeant in charge and engages him in conversation, taking a gauge of what the authorities know. The officer does indeed confirm that Kibu is who they are looking for, describing his scar, and Septimus admits to having seen the fellow earlier that day in the carnival. He promises he will go to the Police station and file a report there, and asks if there’s anything he can do to help. The officer is quite confident that the situation is in hand and doesn’t provide any opening for the civilians to enter the sewer.
At this point Nhymeri and Yachak appear, and the two contingents fill each other in on recent events. They discuss what their options are, but there doesn’t seem to be much they can do. They persist in brainstorming ideas, however, and Septimus points out that the sewer drains into the river near the docks, suggesting to Trink and Nhymeri that they might go down and watch for Kibu to emerge. Before they leave, however, Yachak’s sensible questions lead to the suggestion that Sy might be able to track Kibu. But this doesn’t immediately lead to a plan of action, so they decide to fan out, watch the sewer grates for a couple of hours, and then meet back at Vasta’s.
However, perhaps it is the mention of Sy (or perhaps other reminders) that prompts Nhymeri to remember that Momo has been residing in her hair all day, or at least since she and Kibu shared a certain lovely trip in a hay wagon. She puts Momo in her hand as they stand peering into the mouth of the tunnel that empties into the river, but Momo merely hops down, circles around, and jumps back into her hand. They decide to enter the sewer here and follow it back to the square, where Momo might have a better chance to catch Kibu’s scent. Nhymeri finds a piece of driftwood to serve as a torch, and off they go. When they pass under the open grate in the square, Momo does indeed suddenly jump down, and leads them on a path that precisely retraces Kibu’s route. They start to lose him as they slip through the broken gate, and by the time they reach the next gate, which is still locked, they can only barely glimpse Momo as he disappears into the darkness. By this time, Trink’s tunnel sense has seen enough to calculate that the passage Momo has taken leads directly under the big church.