92 Exodus Preparation
When Zoey woke up after her beauty nap, the sun was setting again. Athena was not around, but Nito was sitting a the table with a look of intense concentration on his face. Zoey could already guess what he was doing. With a smile she turned on her comm-link and joined the conversation.
"So more of them have shown up?" Nito's voice came through the connection as if he was speaking directly to her mind.
"Yeah, two of them have landed and one is still in the air. That makes a total of six Kreppelins sitting around Sand Pit," Athena came through next.
It looked like both of them had quickly grasped the use of the communication devices that Zoey had gifted them.
"Hey you two, what did I miss?" Zoey sent out her own greeting as she joined the conversation.
Nito jumped slightly when he heard her voice, making Zoey chuckle.
"Hey hun, I'm outside taking a look around and spotted more noble Kreppelins arriving. These seem to be armored up and ready for a fight. Also, they are flying northern colors, red and gold." Athena said.
Zoey and Nito looked at each other. The only noble house from the north that carried red and gold colors was the Rellen house!
"Athena, that has to be the Rellen house! I have no doubt that they are here looking for Zoey!" Nito said urgently. "We should leave this place as soon as possible, to avoid them."
"We don't really have any way to outrun them though. If we try to head out on foot, they will easily catch us with their Kreppelins," Zoey said in warning.
"Actually, I may have a way to fix that problem," Athena said. "I got some information earlier that the Sand Sharks and the Siren Vultures are getting real cozy with the that southern noble group that showed up before these northerners. Doris and his Flame Scorpion troops are not too happy about it. Doris in particular had some choice words to say when he heard about it. There is even word that Doris may be leaving Sand Pit with his company."
Zoey turned thoughtful for a moment, then said, "Do you think if we talk to him he will take us along?"
"Not sure, but it's worth a shot. He is usually pretty agreeable with people he likes, and we get along ok. There's a lot of activity right now up on the mercenary landing platform, but if you are careful, you should be able to get to the Flame Scorpions. Before you go, can you grab the stuff in my apartment? I get the feeling we won't be back for a while."
"What about you? Are you coming back into the town?" Zoey asked Athena.
Athena replied, "I got something to take care of out here first, let me know what you find out from Doris and we will go from there."
Now that their plans were set, they closed the comm-link and got to work. Zoey was easily able to store all of Athena's stuff into her inventory, leaving the once cozy apartment empty. She them pulled out some disguises for her and Nito, typical worker clothing and scarves to cover their faces. With this getup they would not stand out among the inhabitants of Sand Pit.
They headed out, making their way up through the tunnels towards the mercenary areas. When they got to the main area of Sand Pit where the market was, they found that something was definitely going on.
There was a tense atmosphere and the people of Sand Pit were on edge. The cause of this was the two groups of noble troops facing each other in front of the entrance to the upper section of the town where the mercenary companies were.
The scene was an interesting one as Zoey and Nito blended into the crowd wo see what was going on. There was the northern nobles, dressed in red military uniforms trimmed in gold with the Rellen house crest on their chest. Then the southern nobles, all dressed in white robes and decorated turbans that looked almost religious. They were not as military as the northern nobles but they all sported a blue sleeve on their left arm that seemed to show some kind of rank.
The noble leaders were currently facing each other in front of their groups, and it looked like the standoff was just getting started. Zoey felt like the leader of the Rellen troops looked familiar. He was a taller, better looking, more arrogant version of Markus Rellen who she had encountered a few times. Maybe they were brothers? This guy was serious looking, standing ramrod straight with his troops lined up perfectly behind him, and not a single one of his perfectly groomed blonde hairs were out of place. His eyes were blood red and showed no emotion and no weakness as he looked at the world with a cold, calculating gaze. Zoey could already tell that he was a pain in the ass to deal with.
Facing him was a noble looked like the exact opposite of the strict military style of the Rellen and his troops. It was a big overweight man dressed in casually draped white robes. On his head was a huge turban decorated by badges and medals that probably indicated his achievements. His face was dominated by a rather large nose and small beady red eyes, and despite his appearance, Zoey could tell that he was no fool. There was a shrewd intelect hidden behind that benign smile, and she felt like if she underestimated him, it would be a mistake.
"Zoey." Her comm-link came to life as Nito covertly contacted her. "That is the oldest son of the Rellen Patriarch, Cornelius Rellen. Since the Patriarch was wounded, he has been the one running the family, and he is good at it. Be careful, he is extremely dangerous, far more so than his brother."
Zoey acknowledged Nito's warning as she watched the scene before her with narrowed eyes. These nobles may be dangerous, but she was not a push-over herself.
If they got in her way, they would learn the hard way.