You know,” Rinta muttered under his breath, “When I woke up this morning, I never thought I’d find myself trying to stick a spider’s legs back on.”
“Have you, though?” Uuco asked, thumb pressed down on the squirming spider.
Rinta bit his tongue, and moved the half-squished spider leg down an inch. “I think,” he said.
“That is good enough for the Lady Ira,” Ira said. Strumming her harp, she sang:
“Flesh flows to smoothness, bones knit together
Pain fades to aches that change with the weather.”
The legs fused back onto the spider, regaining solidity and firmness. Uuco let go. The spider wiggled madly, flipping itself back upright. A few hesitant steps, and it raced back over to the urchin’s side.
“Oh, Jenka!” The urchin crowed, stroking his spider’s fur with a single talon. “The hurting you not be, eh?”
The spider made a few small barking noises.
The Urchin tilted his head to the side, then nodded and grinned. “ Great that is! The rejoicing I shall!”
The saurian street child stood up and glared at the gathered Pilgrims. “So then?” He demanded. “The apology Jenka be wanting–why we not be hearing it?”
Corax blinked. “You can talk to your spider?” He asked curiously.
“And angry he be sounding!” The Urchin growled, beckoning with one of his claws. “Now that apology…if you please!”
“Young child–“ The Lady Ira began to say.
Uuco stepped in front of Ira. “We don’t have time for you, boy!” He snapped. “We’re hunting crazy evolution Zealots, and if you want your spider to stay healthy, you’ll tell us what you’ve seen–!”
Ira sighed. V’vendy frowned, but remained silent.
“Hurting my pet you be,” the saurian urchin hissed with bared, sharp teeth, “and biting your nose off I shall!”
Uuco flinched and clutched his nose. “Well, we wouldn’t want that,” he said. Struck by inspiration, he unstrapped the thick clay tablet from his back and held it in front of him. “What’s your name, boy?”
“Coco,” the urchin replied bluntly. “What be it to you?”
“Coco, Coco,” Uuco muttered, eyes pouring over the sigils etched into his tablet. “Ah-Hah!” He exclaimed dramatically. “Your name is mentioned here in this prophecy!”
Coco the urchin stared blankly at the Nobble.
Yes,” Uuco continued, “it says that you are destined to become a great hero, destined to defeat a great evil and be sung of in glorious songs for eternity!” Uuco stroked his mustache. “And it all starts with you telling a group of strangers where some strange Zealots went–!”
“A trashy prophecy that be,” Coco said tartly, folding his stubby arms. “Why the doing of something for the world when the world hasn’t done a thing for me?”
Uuco lowered his tablet and stared at Coco wearily. “If we give you money, will you tell us what we want to know, boy?” He asked.
Coco brightened. “Sure thing sure!” He chirped holding a hand out.
Uuco took out his money string and reluctantly plucked a gold shell free. He dropped it in Coco’s hand.
Rinta approached handed Coco a few more shells. “Sorry for hurting your spider, kid,” he mumbled.
Coco tucked the money away in his hemp saddlebag. “Zealots, you be mentioning?” he asked. “Zealots I’ve not been hearing a thing…but folks in red robes I’ve been seeing. Folks in red robes, all burned and blackened, and a creaky wagon they’ve been hauling, a sleeping being inside!”
Coco pointed towards a small spire protruding from the slope of the Infinite Temple, and said, “Going through the door by there, they did!”
“The Chapel of Lies!” Ira exclaimed. “We haven’t a moment to lose, then! Come, my Pilgrims!”
Ira, V’vendy and the rest took off towards where the child had pointed. Uuco hung back long enough to send a whisper toward Coco’s pet spider, Jenka.
“In that prophecy I mentioned,” he hissed, “Coco murders you in cold blood…Cheers!”
With that, Uuco cheerfully skipped away.
Jenka clambered onto Coco’s back. The boy and his spider watched the Pilgrims walk off into the distance.
“What a jerk,” Jenka said, twitching his mandibles.
“Totally,” Coco replied.