Chapter 152:

Strangers 1

The Nonpareil of Resh (Act 1)

The duo of Rheba and Gwyn found themselves in a park in the east section of Nun. After getting off the train, the duo wandered the city section for a short while; they traveled through streets, roads, and even a fountain square, but nothing worth interest showed to them. In the end, the search led to taking a rest in an extended field of grass.

Rheba let out a heavy sigh.

“What’s wrong?” Gwyn asked.

“I wish we had been the team to go to central nun. I have a feeling that Harlan is one-upping me somehow.”

“I think you’re just imagining it,” Gwyn assured.

“You’re probably right,” she replied as she tried to shake off the feeling.

Rheba stood up from the grass and brushed off her legs. She turned to offer a hand to help Gwyn up when a shout echoed across the field.

“Hey there, look out!”

Rheba turned around; a ball was flying to her head. She quickly snatched it out of the air.

“Sorry about that!” a voice rang as two figures came over on what was best compared to a bike. They were made with pedals in the same manner but had hover devices in place of wheels.

The person who spoke was a Zenotote with orange scales. He stood as tall as Gwyn and had very wide arms and legs. His face was medium-sized, not being as flat as Harlan’s and not being as long as some other Zenototes. He wore a sleeveless coat that hid his tail underneath.

“My name is Ripple,” the Zenotote said as his black eyes darted between Gwyn and Rheba, “This big guy is Thorir.”

The orange Zenotote referenced his companion—a large and bulky Netzian with voltage yellow hair and electric blue eyes. He was dressed in a suit but wasn’t breaking a sweat.

“Why are you wearing a suit when biking?” Gwyn quickly asked as he stood up from the ground.

“I like it,” Thorir answered in a gruff voice. Ripple chuckled.

“Please excuse his manners; he’s rough around the edges.”

“It is alright; here is your ball,” Rheba handed back the sphere that had been thrown. It was a small ball used for sports. She couldn’t help but notice that the duo had come on bikes and lacked the proper equipment typically used in such sporting events. “What is it you were doing?” she added.

Ripple clapped his hands together.

“Oh, we are just enjoying a little sport of ours. You see, we toss the ball back and forth while riding. It added a level of complexity which is quite rewarding.”

“Seems like a good way to cause a crash,” Gwyn said.

“Or hit someone with a ball,” Rheba added as she tossed the ball to Ripple.

The orange Zenotote caught it and chuckled.

“I suppose we ought to have been more careful. There is a great restaurant in one of the squares up ahead; why don’t we treat you to a meal as a token of our apology.” Ripple bowed as he spoke.

“A free meal! Sure!” Gwyn eagerly replied.

“I like your enthusiasm!” Ripple jumped forward and grabbed Gwyn’s hand. “What’s your name?” he asked while shaking Gwyn’s hand.

“Gwyn, the Nonpareil.”

“Ah, what a title to have! No wonder you have a Needaimus on your arm. you must be amazing!”

“Well, I don’t know about that… but I did defeat an evil bandit leader and shoot the eye out of a sea monster!” Gwyn replied with a goofy grin. Rheba shook her head. She glanced at Thorir but didn’t stare too long as he looked intensely in her direction.

“Ah, feats you should be proud of!” Ripple replied.

Ripple and Gwyn happily walked forward while the Nonpareil recounted his exploits on Resh. After every feat, Ripple would respond with how incredible Gwyn was.

Rheba followed closely behind the duo. She sensed no malice from Ripple, but Thorir was another story. He followed several paces behind the rest with his eyes trained on the Bentulousian warrior.

As they left the park, it appeared that Ripple was leading them to a crowded place. She figured they would not try anything where the crowd was too thick. As they entered the busy crowd, she rubbed the purple Needaimus bonded to her arm as if to ensure it was still there.

In no time at all, she found how the crowd could be used against them. Gwyn and Ripple quickly got further along in the group than her or Thorir. She could see him somewhat due to her large height and his golden-red hair being bright enough to focus on. At the same time, she knew the Nonpareil would be lost in a moment if the busy crowd didn’t dissipate. Rheba looked up to a rather tall building.

“I will jump to the roof of that building,” she said in as quiet a voice allowed for her ability to activate. Thorir still heard the words, but Rheba had already gone into the air. Many of the crowd cheered and hollered for what they figured was a street performer. Gwyn himself turned to see Rheba fly through the air.

Partner Rheba is calling. Mem said before connecting them.

Gwyn, Rheba’s voice echoed in his head; something’s not right, get out of there and let’s meet up by the fountain we saw earlier.

Gwyn turned to Ripple, only to see an angry look as the Zenotote watched Rheba land on the rooftop.

“Sorry if we’re just misunderstanding,” Gwyn quickly said before sprinting through the crowd.

Ripple gritted his sharp teeth as the Nonpareil was lost in the crowd the Zenotote had hoped to take advantage of.

Gwyn kept running and pushing past all the different species. Many shouted, and others cursed, but the Nonpareil kept going until he broke through. The street was open enough, and Gwyn began his sprint away, trusting that Rheba was right.