A group of children tried to rush past the guards and failed. One of the children threw a handful of black, sticky material through the air, barely missing one of the guards. Vic wasn't so fast.
A black splotch of sticky residue hit him directly in the thigh, dripping down the length of his leg.
Vic stopped. The guard behind him ran into him and stepped back, leveling his spear. "NO!" shouted Vic. He searched through the pockets of his pants, pulling one small package after another out, finally stopping when he pulled out a blue bandanna. "AND it smells like crap!" He knelt down and scrubbed furiously at the spot. The stain spread.
"So, dirt RESISTANT, but not crap resistant, is that what I'm seeing?" BA tried hard to keep from laughing. The guards and most of the people of the city simply stared as Vic poured water on the stain, trying futilely to scrub it off with the cloth.
"I formulated that stain repelling chemical myself, BA, so don't give me grief. I was SURE I had it."
"Ah, finally. A matter of pride. I understand now." BA patted Vic on the shoulder. "It just doesn't seem to work in the wilds, brother."
A tiny shriveled old woman with short, wiry white hair walked up to Kobo, speaking quickly and gesturing. She handed him a small clay vial and crossed her arms, tapping her foot.
Kobo laughed, deep and reverberating, the guards joining him and most of the people nearby smiled. "My esteemed Mother says that she is also greatly disturbed that your garment is soiled. She dislikes dirt as greatly as Vic von Crapp." He handed the small vial to Vic and pulled him to his feet. "My esteemed Mother says you should wash the stain with this juice. Do not drink it, unless you wish to soil your garments even more!" He laughed again.
Vic slipped the liquid into the pocket at his thigh. "Thanks. I really appreciate this." He smiled at BA. "See? Why would they want to help me keep our clothes clean if they were going to hurt us?"
BA growled back quietly. "So they don't have to clean your clothes after you're dead? I'm just guessing."
Vic shrugged. "You are in a pessimistic frame of mind, BA."
"Surrounded by ten foot tall warriors, on a march to be fattened up for sacrifice. No, Vic, it's just a picnic."
Vic looked up at one of the warriors. "They aren't ten feet tall, BA. At most they are…" BA punched Vic in the shoulder and he shut up.
Next part, next Wednesday.
Author commentary (if I have one)