Yeah I meant Kennen to be something like that. He's a yordle after all.
I'll try to keep up writing, though it's a little difficult around know. I'm 17 and my parents are just about to divorce, my mother's close to collapse. But I guess something will happen anyway. I still like writing this story coz it's good.
Anyway, just keep leaving comments till I'm ready with the next chapter, I'm a feedback whöre xD
Kennen awoke and opened his eyes. He saw the ceiling of the house, with tiny little glowing stars, probably silver, hanging from it. He quickly realized he rolled off the puff he slept on. He yawned and climbed back onto it, but noticed that Shen was no longer there. He blinked a few more times and looked around in the room. He finally saw Shen in front of the window. He was on his knees, hands on his legs, eyes closed, as the soft shadows of the leaves from a tree outside played on his face. Steady breathing and solid, balanced position, indeed Shen was meditating.
Kennen tried to sleep a little more, after all they only slept for about six or seven hours after a whole day of hard walk but surprisingly he felt no need of it. Must be that Ionian bread Soraka gave them, for he felt happy and healthy, full of energy. He lay there for a few more minutes then decided it was time to get up, and he jumped off the puff. Shen was still meditating, and Kennen decided to sneak up behind him. With slow and cautious steps he approached the ninja, barely making a sound. He wanted to see if Shen will notice his presence. Just when he was in touching distance he prepared to cover Shen's eyes, but as he moved, Shen, without turning his head, caught the yordle's palm with his thumb and pointer finger.
"Naoooo..." - Kennen sighed - "hah... I can never do it."
Shen released the yordle's hand and put his own back on his leg. He took a few deep breaths and opened his eyes. There was something, as if a slight yellow glow, after meditation Shen's eyes were always filled with wisdom and confidence. He slowly opened his mouth and answered.
"It is beacuse you're not trying at the right time. There is no other time when the ninja is more vigilant, than during meditation. You sense the whole world around you."
"I never do." - said Kennen as he turned and climbed back onto the puff - "I always get bored and my limbs are aching."
Shen smiled. He too knew that the little yordle was way too energetic to master the art of complete control over body and mind during meditation. His time of control was of during motion. Because of this he never really forced Kennen to meditate with him and Akali but of course the yordle tried it, again and again, and Shen valued that, though he focused a lot more on control during motion when he prepared Kennen to his initiation into the Kinkou.
"The sun dawned, it is time to go." - said Shen as he stood up. - "We will thank Soraka for her kindness, and then take our leave."
"We won't have to walk whole day again, do we?" - asked Kennen, a little unmotivated at the thought of another full day on the road.
"No I do not think so." - Shen replied - "Bandle City should be close now."
"I just hope it's in one piece" - said Kennen quietly as he stared at the little silver stars hanging from the ceiling.
Shen gathered up his equipment and went down the stairs with Kennen. The morning sunrays casted through the windows of the house, reflected from the glittering necklaces, rings and bracelets of Soraka, sitting by the kitchen table with a mug of tea and a book. The smell of mandrake burning in a small lantern filled the house. Soraka looked up at them as they approached. Shen spoke.
"Soraka, I thank you for you hospitality. However there are urgent matters requiring our attention. We shall take our leave, and wish you the best of fate."
"Akali, is it?" - asked Soraka softly - "I understand. It was a pleasure helping old friends. May the stars guide you."
Shen bowed shortly, then turned around and walked to the door. Kennen waved a "goodbye" to the healer and followed his companion. They stepped out into the cold morning air of the town. There were only a very few people on the streets in these early hours. Shen wanted to leave town as soon as possible. There was no need for more confilct between him and the residents over his little nonhuman friend, best if they just quickly disappear. Shen guessed at the direction of southeast from the rising sun and began searching for the city gate.
They walked the streets among the houses, sealed doors and closed windows everyhwere. The little bumps of the cobblestone roads turned into small waterpools probably during a rain in the night, as a thick fog also descended into the wet air, floating above the streets like the gloom of the city itself. The little town was much unorginazied, crooked streets, sometimes narrow sometimes wider, as blocks of houses were placed totally randomly around, reflecting the unprepared and nonprofessional foundation and architectural planning of the settlement. The clocktower in a square that proved to be the biggest so far, has just hit five in the morning as Shen and Kennen past through them. It only took a few more minutes to find the city gates opening to the road towards Bandle City.
It was smaller than the northern gate which through they entered town while heading south. This time there was only one guard around, tired and fretful, muttering to himself.
"...dammit I hate this weather, just fcking hot yesterday, barely not melting in my armor, then goddam rain comes and an it all goes to **** so now here I am in a freezin' fcking morning choking in this fog..."
Shen approached the City Guard but motioned for Kennen to stay just a little behind.
"Open up the gate, good man." - he said - "I'd like to leave town."
"Well then ya'll have to wait." - growled the guard at him - "Door's closed till sunrise."
"Then look up at sky. The sun already dawned." - Shen replied calmy.
"Dog's balls I don't give ****. Orders are, I gotta wait for the bell. Then I let people out, go where they ****ing want to."
Shen thought for a moment. Akali could be put on a ship anytime, there is not a moment to waste, especially not an hour. They could climb the city wall, but that wouldn't be easy. But Shen thought of something.
"I have a yordle friend with me. He'll be leaving town too, so you'll have one less nonhuman around here. Who knows if you won't offend the gods by keeping him in the city. Would you risk a curse on yourself?"
"You're bluffin, where's that furball, lemme skin it!"
Shen motioned for Kennen to come closer. The yordle caught up with him and looked at the guard. Pityful being, wouldn't be a challange - he thought.
"Here he is." - said Shen - "But one touch on him and you'll be rather begging for the curse of the gods. We're leaving together."
"Dammit, allright get this **** out of the city." - the guard angrily opened the gate, helping it with a kick - "The mere sight of it makes me sick."
The ninjas quickly exited through the gate as the guard spat on the ground, showing his unmeasurable disgust. Matters not now, as they were on the road again in the foggy, cold and wet morning. The dirt road became all muddy during the night, and Kennen still had no boots. The sticky wet mud quickly covered up the fur on his legs, but so it did with Shen's boots as well. The endless meadows were now all covered up in fog, and not much could be seen in the dim morning light casting through heavy and thick rain clouds. It appeared that this cold front has just caught up with them during the night.
As they walked the wet muddy dirt road to southeast, the fields disappeared and gave way to forests on both sides, wich soon became dark and dense, casting heavy shadows onto the road. After a few hours a strong wind awoke, coldy and aggressively blowing into the face of the travelers. The sticky wet mud glued all the leaves and tiny thin branches to Kennen's foot and Shen's boots, but there was no point in cleaning it, for there was plenty of more mud and leaves on the road. It wouldn't take minutes to get dirty again. However it did make walking slightly more difficult. All of the path's bumps now turned into ponds of water, some of them so deep that it reached Shen's knees. Of course Kennen had to go around all these for he didn't want to get wet to the neck, but over time it actually started to mean a considerable extra distance, doing all those walkarounds.
And then the last thing they needed also arrived. It began to rain. From all those dark, heavy clouds that so threateningly followed them, water started pouring down almost with the intensity of a waterfall. It seemed the clouds decided they were muddy enough and needed a shower, but instead they just got soaking wet all over, and the road became literally flooded with water and mire.
"Are the noxians playing with magic..." - muttered Kennen, with his hands wrapped around himself, tumbling in the dense mud - "...or just nature gone mad? We almost got boiled yesterday."
"Talking about weather usually means you're out of other subjects." - Shen replied with a smile.
"OR IT MEANS, that you are covered in mud up to your hips, you're fur is soaking wet, you're cold to the bone, and if you don't tumble over the mud the wind does it for you!" - Kennen replied resentfully.
"I guess it's normal." - Shen asnwered - "Storms in sea strikes in seconds too. On those open meadows we just left behind, the wind can move without obstacle. I gues the warm air rose yesterday and now this cold wind is quickly taking it's place, coming from the open fields."
"Ouch!" - yelled Kennen - "Something hit my head! What the..."
Shen stopped for a while and held his hand out into the air.
"Ah, dammn. It's ice. We got ourselves a hail."
Ahhh, great." - Kennen let out a hopeless sigh - "Please, can't we wait in the forest till it ends?"
"We shouldn't" - Shen looked into the yordle's eyes, altough through the fog and rain that was between them - "If our estimation is correct, Akali is in Bandle City by now. She can be packed on a ship anytime. We must not delay, for if the ship leaves she is most likely lost to us."
"Allright." - said Kennen reluctantly - "But at least we should walk in the forest. The trees would at least provide some cover."
"Well..." - Shen dropped a glance on the woods - "It's the same as muddy, and we'll fall over the roots and bumps. The road is relatively flat compared to that."
"But I don't want to stay out in this rain. You could wring water from my fur, it's ridiculous. And this ice knocks out my eye. Come on..."
"Okay. We'll be slow boths ways, so we should just get moving. If it's the forest you'd like then so be it."
And so Shen and Kennen entered the forest to hide from the rain, and instead face the lot more difficult terrain. They had to go around huge trees while crushing through stinging, sharp bushes, jump over the enormous roots of the huge trees, cross ditches and smaller pits, all the things that are in a forest. At least the trees did protect them from some of the rain, but it mattered little now, for they were already soaking wet, there was no way they could have gotten worse. There is a point where you just can't get any wetter, and Shen and Kennen reached that point back on the road. There was no specific path and going forward was painfully difficult, especially for Kennen. After an hour of desperate tumbling and climbing and pushing forward among the bushes and tree branches, the little yorlde finally dropped.
"I can't go on any further." - he gasped out of breath - "Please let's stop ... just for a litte at least."
But Shen didn't answer. His attention was focused on a nearby bush. He noticed something unusual around it, maybe just a small forest animal, but one must be vigilant in times of war. As an answer for Kennen's questioning look, he pointed at the place. It did move slightly agian. Shen drew his sword, and waited, prepared for any attack. Kennen also stood up and went closer to take a look. Nothing happened for minutes.
"Just an animal..." - whispered Kennen.
Shen sighed and sheated his blades.
"Allright. Time to get moving. Please Kennen, Akali can't wait."
Kennen sneezed and gathered up himself. Never before he had to travel this much on foot. He was used to quick bursts of fighting not days of journey. All his muscles felt stiff and ached. They already started to get going when the bush they were watching previoulsy suddenly rustled, it's branches opened and a small yordle ran out of it. His fur was light brown and also wet, but he wore professional yordle sized equipment, a few smaller bags on his belt, and a little yordle bow.
"Master Kennen!" - he shouted - "Is that you? And master ... Master Shen?"
"Yes .. who, who are you?" - Kennen yelled back as Shen stopped, seeing the yordle running towards them.
"Kennen! Kenny! You must come with me! Captain's orders!" - heaved the little yordle - "I was told to look for any yordles coming home."
"Captain ... you a scout? Wait, it's you Rolly? Bloody hell, mate it's been so long!"
"Kenny, yeah it's me Rolly. I almost thought you won't recognize me! I'm so happy to see you! But you won't get to the city. There's a blockade and a quarantine. Captain wants to see you!"
"Care to introduce us?" - Shen asked his companion - "I believe I haven't yet met the young scout."
"Oh sure, yeah, Shen this is Rolly. We grew up together, shared all our tricks and pranks. Best friends we were. Well, at least until I joined the Kinkou, then I couldn't see him much. He became a scout when I left." - then Kennen turned to Rolly - "Wich captain you serve under?"
"The most famous one brother" - Rolly answered with a happy grin - "It's Teemo. Well, but he's practically the only Scout Captain left."
"Teemo?" - Kennen laughed - "That's not something to be ashamed of for sure. You must have climbed the ranks"
"Can't deny. I turned out to be an excellent archer." - smiled Rolly - "But come now. The captain awaits. Follow me to the camp."
With that Rolly darted off to lead the way, and Kennen immediately ran after him. Shen also followed them, altough he didn't need to run, because of his tall human nature he took the obstacles a lot easier. Rolly seemed to know the forest perfectly, he always found the way among the thick roots and bushes, skillfully going around deeper ditches or larger rocks. After fifteen minutes of going deeper and deeper into the forest, finally the sight of an encampment appeared.
It was set up completely among the trees. Around the edges there were wooden platforms built around the trunks of the outer trees, at the height of a few meters with yordle guards patrolling on them. Rolly waved a hand at them and they waved back as a sign that they are allowed in. They went further into the camp. There were many poorly established tents made of old linen material, lots of crates lying around, planks and tools, bows and other weapons. There were some targets set up for archery practice. The place was full of yordles, most of them wearing scout equipment. Many greated Kennen and Rolly, and took a good look at Shen. At one point Rolly stopped.
"So, welcome to the Resistance! We set up this camp after the attack on the city. Wait here Kenny. I'll find Captain Teemo for you. I'm sure he'll be pleased to see you."
Then he went away at the direction of the only full built wooden house of the camp. Shen took a deep breath and sat down on an old rag nearby. He didn't know if it was the right decision to follow the yordle to this camp. They could be losing crucial time in reaching Akali. But if the blockade is real, then maybe only these scouts can get them into Bandle City. But will they? Or they want something else perhaps? However it is, Teemo was in Bandle City during the attack, he saw the army and he probably knows a lot about Akali. If only for that, he must speak with Teemo. Rolly soon returned, but alone.
"Captain Teemo can't recieve you right now. He's working on the plans of an operation with the other officers. Once the meeting is over you can see him."
"Oh dammn, but won't he come out for an old friend?" - said Kennen - "Come on, maybe if we'd ask him ourself?"
"Well you can try but I don't think he'll come. He's really busy."
"Got to try, we've got no time to waste" - said Shen as he stood up - "Thanks anyway Rolly."
"No problem, it'll only be a few hours anyway." - the little scout answered - "Come on Ken, I'll show you around the camp. Or you'll coming with him?"
"Need me?" - asked Kennen looking up at Shen.
"I'll manage, thanks." - the ninja replied.
As Rolly and Kennen ran off Shen made his way to the wooden shack. He had a little time to look around. He didn't notice when he first entered, that the camp had an entire second level, constructed on the trees. Little wooden platforms nailed into the trunks, connected by rope bridges, a bit like many treehouses just without the walls and roofs. They were just as untidy as the base except for the leaves and branches, with sleeping bags, rags, weapons laying aimlessly around. The tents were old and rugged, full of patches and holes, torn in many places while broken bows and darts lay around, blood stained yordle shirts among the dry-rotten crates and planks. The yordles looked tired, as if they haven't slept in three days. Many just lay around the camp motionless yet breathing. No surprise, they just escaped death then they had to build up this camp. There wasn't much talk between the scouts, some regular converstations about how bad things are, silent painful groans of the wounded, or just tired, exhausted sighs.
There was a small flag in the middle of the camp, a painting on a linen rug, with a simplified image of a fist stomping the ground which shatters, and the word "Resistance" under it. As it was swaying lonely in the rainy wind, it hardly reflected the actual moral of the camp.
Shen reached the wooden shack were the meeting was held. There was a little sign above the door "Cpt. Teemo" written on it with crooked letters. There was also a guard stting in front of the door with his back against the wall, his eyes closed, dried blood on his fur and a bandage on his shoulder yet he was strongly hugging his little bow to his body. As he heard Shen approaching, he shook his head and climbed back onto his feet.
"I'm sorry" - he said - "But if you're looking for the captain, he's unavailable at the moment."
"I'm an old friend from the League. Please just tell him that and see if he comes out."
"I'm sorry sir, I can't." - the tired yorlde guard replied as he blinked a few times - "The captain is recieving no one until the preparations are finished. You'll have to wait."
"How long till the meeting ends?" - asked Shen.
"I dunno sir. A few hours maybe."
"Thanks. I'll be back." - answered Shen as he walked away.
Things didn't look good. He has to waste hours in the Resistance camp while Akali could be loaded on a ship any moment. But there was simply nothing to do, Teemo's knowledge could prove priceless, and with the blockade and quarantine, his entrance into the city also depended on the scouts. Unable to do anything useful, Shen decided to look for Kennen. He searched for the way up the camp's higher platforms and found a wooden ramp nearby. It led to a wooden ladder leading up to the tree-height platforms. Shen climbed up, looked around and spotted Kennen a little farther away. He crossed a few rope bridges, which wasn't easy for they were yordle-sized. Kennen was sitting near his friend and they were chewing some kind of herb. Shen sat down near them. The sight of the forest was mighty from this high.
"Hey Rolly, mind if I ask a question?" - Shen interrupted the yordle's talk. The lightbrown furred turned to him.
"Sure, what is it?" - he asked.
"Tell me about Bandle City. The attack. How did it go. We're looking for a friend there. I'd like to know our chances."
"Yes, Kenny already asked me about that, but sadly, it's a very short story so I'll tell you too. We took positions on top of the houses at the northern gate, ready to shoot darts and arrows. So the noxians catapulted the entire front of the city. Only a few survived. We couldn't even shoot a single arrow. Teemo was the only Scout Captain who ordered his squad to stay clear of the houses. He knew noxus wouldn't face us, but rather destroy the city with us in it. I was lucky to be under his command. We stayed close, if by some miracle we would have been needed, but it quickly became obvious that we don't stand a chacne. We escaped to the forest. Now, as far as I know we'll try ambushing supply carriages so we can recover a bit. Many citizens fled Bandle City, so we're also providing some safe heaven for the refugees. Reports say even after a complete victory, they still kill yordles, unarmed ones. Those who stay take a great risk. But not everyone's ready to abondon their homes."
"That's sad." - Shen said, then continued - "I'm looking for a specific prisoner taken to Bandly City by the army. Know anyhthing?"
"Teemo has the full reports. Ask him."
"I'll do that. By the way, what's that herb you're chewing."
"It's a local" - answered Kennen instead - "We ate a lot of it when we were just kids playing around the forest. It has a calming effect. They use it in the hospital too."
"You mean here in camp?" - Shen asked.
"It's a small field hospital. The largest tent around the back of the camp. Take a look if you like. I think I'll stay here with Rolly, finally we have some time to talk like we used to."
"I'll do that. Maybe they can tell me more about the battle. See you."
With that Shen left the two yordles alone and climbed back onto the ground. He looked around the camp, searching for the hospital. There were many rugged tents, and not just a few wounded lay below the trees, but he couldn't spot any explicit hospital. It must be even farther than the Captain's Shack, that's the only place he hasn't been so far. The resistance camp wasn't really small, taking into account that the battle only took place a few days ago, it was a considerably large and well built encampment. The fencing wasn't yet ready but constructions seemed to have already began. It's just that all the yordles were so beat up, and their number were few. Maybe twenty or thirty, probably just Teemo's unit, a few survivors and the refugees. As he walked past the wooden shack where the meeting was on, a yordle nearby who was sitting in front of his tent asked him:
"Traveler, did you bring any food with yourself? I'd go out into the forest to scavange for some fruits, but I don't have the strength anymore."
Shen stopped and looked at the yordle. He was thin and looked tired and hungry, like all the others. It looked as if even his fur lost a little from it's color.
"I'm sorry" - Shen answered - "I only have a few coins but there's hardly anyone here you could buy from. Isn't there any food in the camp?"
"Unfortunately no." - the yordle answered on a weak, quiet voice - "We could grab little when we moved out. Then we needed the strength to work, building this camp up. We don't have much left, if we can't loot anything we'll starve to death here. And that is only us, not the refugees. Many also require medication."
"I'm just looking for the hospital. Can you tell me about this camp a little? And how do the refugees find it. I have time anyway. For now."
"Well, the original Scout Encampment was just outside of the City. Captain Teemo had us positioned there in case the rooftop ambush would succeed, so we could give support from the flank. But it all went to hell. I guess the Captain counted on it, he didn't let us die on the rooftops."
"Yes, I heard the story."
"When we saw there's no chance, we packed up whatever we could, supplies, goods, weaponry and headed out into the forest, but these *******s were already looking for us. We were ambushed and barely managed to escape. A lot of cargo was lost. We set up the camp deeper eventually. The work took all our strength. Now the Captain organized patrols to scout the area, both watching for noxians and refugees. We find those who run into the forest and help them. Just for how long? We did set up guarding posts on the trees and we're building a fence, but if the army finds us, we still don't stand a chance. We'd have to run again, and we wouldn't survive that. We're already out of supplies."
"I see." - said Shen - "I hope you'll succeed in capturing some noxian goods. Is that what's Teemo working on right now?"
"Yes, I suppose. It is our only chance to get some food unless we want to grow crops in the forest. It's very important that a viable plan is made."
"Makes sense. He doesn't recieve anyone right now."
"I just hope we'll live..." - sighed the yordle - "I'm so tired."
"I'm really sorry I can't help you." - Shen paused for a few seconds - "So the hospital is further to the back."
"Yes, you'll find the refugees there."
Shen continued his walk in the camp. Behind the Captain's Shack the tents lay more densly, and there was a longer one among them, probably the field hospital Kennen spoke of. This was most likely the refugee's section. As Shen crossed among the tents, he could see these yordles didn't have scout equipment, but rather normal everyday clothing, altough torn and dirty. There were also women and children among them. Shen never really saw yordle children before. Many were still crying, asking when can they go home, or get something to eat. A lot of the kids missed one or both of their parents too, and just lay around the tents, sneezing occasionally. Some of the tougher ones though already stopped crying and played around with some sticks, using them as toy swords.
Shen made his way to the field hospital and gently pushed aside the hanging linen garment serving as the door, when he entered. The smell of disease and festering wounds greeted him. Yordles were laying on rugs in lines to the end of the tent. There was only one nurse, wearing a torn medical cloak that had blood and all other body fluids on it. Seems the nurse had a lot of work. The moans and breaths of suffer filled the place. When Shen entered, the nurse was putting a bandage on a yordle's leg, but she asked:
"What do you want? I have a lot of patients so if you're injured or your friend is, you'll have to wait."
"I'm only looking to talk to the wounded." - Shen answered quietly - "They might know something that could help me."
"Can't you see they're crippled? This isn't exactly the time."
The nurse turned to face him as she finished putting on the bandage. Shen almost didn't recognise her without her hat and fancy robes. It was Lulu, the only yordle healer in the former Leage. She had huge purple circles below her eyes. Probably she was the most restless yordle in the entire camp, because there was no other healer or medic. Her eyes barely open, hands and cloak covered in blood. Shen decided he won't stress her with his own identity for now, he'll just ask a few questions and leave.
"Are these yordles from Teemo's squad?" - asked Shen.
"No, Captain Teemo is an excellent man, he managed to save his unit from a lot. These are mostly refugees and survivors from other units. I just don't know how long will they survive."
"Aren't you Lulu? A recently joined champion." - Shen asked, even though he knew the answer.
"Alas, the League didn't last long for me." - she sighed, and put cold cloth on the forehead of a feverish yordle - "But at least here I'm doing some actually useful work, instead of mindless slaughter. Altough for how long I cannot tell, for there isn't any medicine and I'm running short on herbs. The scouts collect it for me, but they have to go deeper and deeper into the forest for it, and it's getting dangerous. They bring less every time.
"Please, I would really need to talk to someone who witnessed the attack. Someone conscious."
"I know not where they come from or what they saw, I just treat them for the best I can."
One of the yordles, who, judging from the wound on his head and body seemed to be injured from shrapnel, pushed himself up in his bed and said.
"I saw the attack, master." - he coughed - "What can I tell you?"
"I'm looking for a prisoner who was captured before the attack. A young woman, a champion. Have you seen her?"
"I don't remember ... when they marched into the city, yes, they had some chained up people. There were women among them too, but I can't tell you more."
Now Lulu turned to Shen:
"So, will you let the patients rest now?"
"Where's Pix?" - Shen asked instead. He noticed the little fly wasn't around.
"He remained in Bandle City to gather intelligence. He'll never be caught and he can see a lot of things."
"You could always go back to the grove." - said Shen quietly.
"I could, but I'm needed here. Not half of these yordles would live to see the next dawn without my aid. And still, there are so many I can't help. They die in my hands... They call this Resistance, but all I see is us bleeding away here."
"That's the life of a healer, especially in wartime. I' won't keep you any further. Farewell."
Shen left the field hospital to let Lulu get back to her work. The little medic was tired, but just as Shen, she had no time to stop. It must have been an hour since they arrived in the camp, and Shen decided to take a look at the Captain's Shack. Maybe he can finally get the information he needs. He walked back to the little hut, and saw that Kennen was already waiting for him. The guard also disappeared.
"I was looking for you. Teemo will hear us out."
"Allright" - Shen nodded - "Let's see what the Captain has to say, and what can we make him say."
The two companions opened the door and walked into the hut. It really did resemble a general's office, well a poor general at that. There was a table in the middle of the room with a map on it, the only chair was the one Teemo was standing in front of, while his officers stood around the table. The map appeared to describe Bandle City and it's surroundings only, but there were many other letters and parchments on the table. Swords, nets, bows and other weapons and equipment hanged on the wall, with a sack in the corner and an open chest, probably Teemo's personal belongings inside. As Shen and Kennen entered, Teemo noticed them. The captain had a cold, emotionless expression on his face, and he was covered in light leather armor up to the shoulders, with few steel reinforcements on the gauntlets, knees, belt and spaulders. He also lacked the fancy feather from his hat, and instead of darts, he had a short sword on his side.
"Then it is settled" - he told his officers - "We'll take the risk, it's our only chance, but we're preapred and able. But as you can see I have visitors. You may leave."
"Yes sir!" - the officers answered, then left the shack after a quick salute. All three of them took a good look at Shen.
"So..." - started Teemo as he sat back onto his chair after the officers left - "I did order my unit to look for refugees, but you hardly look like ones. What do you want?"
"We're looking for information about a certain noxian prisoner, kept held by the army that attacked your city. Also we would like to ..." - said Shen but Kennen interrupted.
"Don't you recognise us Teemo? We're your friends from the League, I thought you'll be happy to see us, not like 'what do you want...' Really now."
"The League is no more." - Teemo answered as he crossed his arms - "But you're right, I am happy to see you. Altough this time it has nothing to do with friendship. I am in need of people with your ... abilities."
"We are not mercenaries." - Shen answered the captain - "If you're looking to recruit us, you might as well forget it right now. We have important matters that can't wait. I'm merely looking for a few answers."
"Then it seems like we're arriving at a deal." - Teemo replied, his eyes fixated at Shen's eyes - " For I have important matters at hand, and yordles depend on it. If you intend to just take some answers and leave, you might as well forget it, because YOU came to me."
"You'd only need to tell us a few things."
"Information is as valuable as time." - said Teemo coldy.
"Then let's talk. What is it you would ask for in exchange?
"We are preparing for a dangerous mission. As you've probably noticed around the camp, we're all out of supplies. Intelligence suggests that there's a noxain warcamp on the southern end of the City, and supplies looted will be transferred there this noon. We will ambush the carriage and take the cargo home. It's that simple."
"And our role would be..."
"Close combat." - answered Teemo quickly - "We lack the means to defend ourselves at close range. But I hear you're quite effective at that."
"Allright." - said Shen after a moment's hesitation - "But it will cost you. And not just information. You will help us bypass the blockade. You must know some way into the city."
"That I do. A classic solution, a tunnel into the city. I can show you it's location. So it's a deal?"
"Yes." - answered Shen - "Just keep in mind we're no soldiers. We are not part of your unit. And now in advance, you can tell me about Akali. I know she is a prisoner of the army that attacked the City. What do you know about her?"
"Well you've came to the wrong man, friend." - answered Teemo as he stood up - "I saw nothing of prisoners. I only have a single intelligence report, that they do have a champion restrained. That's all I can tell you. And Kennen, go to the armory and get geared up. I have no use of you wihtout proper equipment."
With that Teemo walked out of the shack, leaving them behind. Kennen muttered something about "It's a different Teemo at war..." then with Shen on his side, he also left the Commander's Shack. Teemo started gathering up his squad around the "Resistance" flag. Tired, hungry and wounded yordles lined up before him, readying their weapons. Kennen went off to find the armory, which probably wasn't more than a few crates laying a littel colser to each other than usual. Shen had still nothing to do, but had enough of exploring the suffering in the camp. Instead he stayed and watched as Teemo gathers the warriors he was supposed to protect. Teemo held some speech, about understanding his soldiers hunger and that this mission aims exactly to help on that, while also putting some regular "the fate of the world is in your hands' into it. Kennen soon returned, finally dressed in proper yordle's equipment. Just like Shen, he rather prepared for travel than war, picking only a few pieces of leather armor along with linen shirt to keep weight and free limb movement optimal for long journeys.
Then it turned out that they are only going half an hour later, because the trap makers did not return yet. Teemo ordered target practice for it, but the poor yordles rather spared the strenght of pulling the bowstring. It only had one positive side and that is that the rain has subsided. Then the trapmakers finnally appeared at the camp and Teemo ordered to leave. Shen and Kennen joined up the unit going into the forest. Teemo led the squad, going ahead. There were six other yordles plus the ninjas. It was clear these yordles were trained by the captain. Even from this close up Shen almost lost sight of them multiple times as they moved in the forest, blending with the environment. Mind you, Shen was also tired and stressed from all the helpless waiting. The forest terrain wasn't easy, and the rustling leaves didn't make sneaking any easier. Supposedly there were noxian units searched the forest, looking for any yordles hiding nearby. The rumors soon turned out to be true.
"Enemy patrol dead ahead!" - whispered Teemo - "Hold your position."
The whole squad froze, and anyone who could, moved into the cover of a bush. Shen hid behind a tree. It was only two noxian soldiers heading their way. It didn't look like they're taking their job very seriously. They dangled their halberds around, trying to cut off the bushes while talking quite loudly about the lack of wenches and that yordles are not good enough to plough.
"On my mark..." - the captain whispered.
The soldiers changed subject and started talking about the many ways of cooking and preparing a yordle. They were getting closer but they did not notice the squad hidden among the trees.
The noxians were now only a few metres away from the squad. Not even a tired yordle misses that.
"Get 'em." - siad Teemo, and with that, arrows and darts hit both of the noxian patrolling soldiers, mainly targeting their neck though some went astray. Still it was enough to kill the guards and they fell lifelessly to the ground.
"Excellent. Keep moving."
The litle squad went on forward and after a few minutes they reached the edge of the forest without any further problems. They were just outside the city walls of Bandle City with a road going ahead of it. The tree's branches slightly reached above the road, which was covered with fallen leaves, maybe a little too densly.
"We dug ditches and covered them with leaves." - whispered Teemo to Shen - "Ancient, but effective. Will do for now. Your job is to protect the archers at all costs, understand? We can not allow any more losses."
"Good enough for me." - Shen answered - "Let's get those yordles back at the camp some food."
Kennen also took position, but he joined the ranged unit, for he was skillful with a shuriken, and altough he found only throwing knives back at camp, they still did the job. After ten minutes of painful waiting they finally heard a carriage approaching. As it got closer Shen could see that it really was carrying crates and cargo. It appears Noxus did not expect an ambush, for the carriage was alone and with only a few guards. The man guiding the horses didn't even look at the road. The trap worked beautifully, the right front wheel fell into the ditch and the carriage got stuck.
"FIRE AT WILL!" - roared Teemo - "Shoot! Kill them, goddammit!"
The six little yordle archers gathered all their might and precision, and shot their arrows. There were four noxians on the carriage, one at the fron with the horses and three at the back. Sadly, the assault was unorganized and the soldier at the front with the horses got two arrows in him and one missed near him. Out of the remaining three only one hit it's target and the other two managed to jump off and crawl under the carriage.
"Dammn" - cursed Teemo - "We'll have to get in there and kill them up close before they can call for support in any way. Shen get ready!"
Teemo jumped off the tree, and his squad followed him. They carefully approached the wagon. Altough they knew they cornered the noxians, they might still manage to take a kill, and that was not affordable. As they came closer, it turned out that yordles are small enough to shoot under the carriage while crouching on the ground and that solved the problem with the death of the two men. Unexpected, but lucky.
Teemo jumped up onto the carriage to the check the crates. It was part of the loot from the old scout encampment, just outside the city. It contained some yordle's equipment, armor, ammunition and a few sacks of long-lasting bread the scouts took for expeditions.
"Allright Teemo..." - said Shen - "We completed our part of the deal. Now get us inside the city."
"I thank you for the favor. You and your yordle friend did a great service to the Resistance. With this food and supplies we'll have the strenght to venture out collecting herbs and berrys. It is only fair I keep my end of the bargain. There are several tunnels leading inside the city, one begins at the old scout encampent, but that is probably well guarded now. There's another south of here, but reports suggests the noxians made camp just there. However I do know of a huge tree which's branches reach over the city wall. Follow me."
Teemo led them over to a tree a few kilometers away after he ordered his squad to take the cargo back to the camp. The tree had lots of thick branches and was easy to climb. Kennen went up first and Shen followed him. As Teemo described, one of it's longer branches extended over the city wall. Shen bid farewell to the yordle captain, then jumped onto one of the rooftops from the branch. Kennen already awaited him down on the street.
It was a sorroful sight. Smoke still emerged from many of the ruins and most of the houses had their walls down and crushed. Noxian flags were often seen planted into the ruins and lots of streets were blocked by barricades. Brick, stones, tiles and debris filled the city. Otherwise the place was crawling with noxian soldiers.
"My ... home." - said Kennen quietly.
"Don't worry Kennen. Those who did this will pay. But to punish them, we must find Akali first. We can't do it without her."
"Let's go then! I can't wait." - Kennen replied with voice as if almost crying.
"We wasted a lot of time at that Resistance camp. It would be a miracle if Akali would still be in the city. We must search for any clues she left, any record they kept about her."
"I know! Let's try the embassy." - Kennen suggested.
"Good idea. You know the city, lead on."
The houses of bandle City were surprisingly small to Shen, of course he knew the reason for it, but it still seemed so strange, as if the place was only inhabitated by children. However, as the League was established and yordle champions grew in number, the city got more and more human visitors and therefore some inns and other buildings were build with exactly humans in mind. Such building is the embassy for instance.
Ignoring the sorrowful sight the city gave in it's current state, the travelers went to the embassy as fast as they could, trying to stay out of the way of soldiers. Once a great yordle city, however not many yordles could be seen among the ruins and smoke now. One of the guards stopped them as he saw Kennen.
"What is this disgusting furball of yours doing here? I'll kill it straight away, stand aside please! None ignores the quarantine."
"Wait a moment good man!" - Shen quickly responded, pushing Kennen a little farther from the guard - "He's a political prisoner, I'm taking him for questioning. We just found him in the woods."
"It's NOT a he, it's an IT!" - yelled the noxian - "And don't forget to kill it once it spitted out everything."
"Thanks, but we might need him later. See I'm just a hired mercenary, not part of the army, as you can see on my clothes. I don't know much about here, where should I take him if we need him alive? You mentioned a quarantine."
"Well, any pests left alive are to be taken to the harbour district. They're closer to the water where we'll throw them into eventually. Now off with you, merc!"
"Aight, see you."
And with that Shen quickly hurried away, dragging Kennen with him. The yordle was still stunned at how he was treated in his own homeland. A few encouraging words from Shen were able to shook him back to reality and they hurried to the embassy, Kennen leading the way again. They didn't want to play the game over with another guard again, neither had they time because of Akali. After a few minutes of running they reached the central square where the embassy was. The sight of gallows greated them, with many many yordles hanging on ropes, their corpres rotten, flies gathering around them. Shen recognised one of the convicts hanged as Poppy. He touched Kennen's shoulder and pointed at her.
"A great way to demoralize the city" - Shen whispered - "The ambassador to Demacia. A sign that the Lightshields can't help."
"Goddamit" - muttered Kennen.
"Let's go. I'd rather not see Akali the same way."
They were lucky, because the embassy had a narrow alley behind it. They hurried in before any guard could bother them. It was clear they can't enter through the front door, they would never reach any actual information, besides Kennen would be attacked instantly. However the embassy was an ornamented building with many ledges to grab. They decided they would climb in at one of the windows. Kennen's been into the building a few times and he knew the offices were at the second floor.
Shen found himself a stable point and began climbing with Kennen after him. He helped the yordle occasionally when a gap was too great for him. At the second floor, Shen peeked inside the window while Kennen watched the streets for any guards that would enter the alley and happen to look up. The office inside was clear so Shen quickly broke the window and climbed inside, pulling Kennen up after him. Clean white walls, quality wooden parquet and red carpet on it, chandelier hanging from the ceiling. There was a desk in the room with a great many papers on it, a halberd put against the wall in the corner and a chainmail thrown at the chair. Seemed that noxian officers just took over.
"Quickly Kennen, cover the corridor while I look through these papers." - Shen whispered.
Kennen slightly opened the door and looked around the corridor.
"All clear" - he said - "I'll keep a look out."
Shen started searching among all the letters and parchments, official reports back to Noxus, casualty reports, personal letters to other officers, diary about crew morale, registry of squads and units, reports from their leaders, but nothing about Akali.
"Dammit, there's nothing here. Still no one around?"
"A guy walked over but he entered another room" - Kennen whispered back - "Found nothing?"
"It doesn't seem like we're at the right officer." - Shen whispered back as he searched the drawers and chests for even more letters.
"The little sign at the next office says 'Logistics'. Wanna try that? I didn't see anyone coming in there."
"Sure let's go."
And with that Shen left the desk in total chaos of thrown around letter, and joined Kennen looking at the corridor. Kennen pointed at the door that had the 'Logistics' sign above it. Still no one on the corridors they quickly darted into the other office.
"What the..." - started the officer who was already inside, but Shen reacted too quickly and knocked him out before he could finish.
"That was close." - he said - "Now watch the corridor again, someone might have heard it."
Shen started searching through the papers of this room. Supplies, provisions, weapons registry, loot log, and he finally he found it, prisoner account. He quickly ran through the document, it stated, that "... and as that, the important political prisoner was successfully extracted out of town."
"Someone's coming!!" - Kennen whispered.
"Lock the door, quickly, he might think the officer's not here."
Kennen did as Shen asked him. The guy knocked on the door.
"Sir, may I come in?"
Shen quickly red over and over again the part which mentioned the important political prisoner, but it said nothing more than that she was taken out of town. That's all. The guy grew impatient.
"Sir, please, this is important! Open up!"
"Got what we wanted?" - whispered Kennen excitedly.
"Yes, she's out of town already. Quickly to the harbor, leave this sucker here."
Shen opened the office's window, however this window looked at the main square.
"Bloody hell! No matter we'll quickly climb past the corner, it will be safe from then. Follow me."
Shen climbed out of the window and got to the corner as fast as he could, then climbed over it so he was no longer on the front wall. Kennen quickly followed him. Incredible luck, but no one looked up at the building and they managed to get back on the streets unnoticed. Shen saw that accidentally he brought the letter with himself. But whatever, he knocked out an officer, it'll be noticed anyway.
"Now Kennen, let's go to the harbor, quickly! If Akali was only shipped away recently someone must have saw her. Come on, lead the way!"
"Allright, follow me."
And Kennen showed the way to the harbor district, running ahead of Shen. Even though the city was in ruins, Kennen still recognized the paths, though some of the alleys were blocked by collapsed buildings. They tried to stick to narrow streets and darker alleys to avoid attention, and they successfully made it into the harbor district.
Now that they were in, Kennen needn't hide anymore for yordles were still allowed in this district of teh city. As a result they could run on the shortest path to the docks. Bandle City's harbor was actually pretty large for the size of it's residents, six ships docked at the moment. It was the poorest district of the city, with stone houses on the inner part but wooden shacks closer to the water. Tiled roofs also seemed to be rare around here. Shen spotted an old yordle with greyish fur, and according to the stereotype, he must have been a veteran on seas. He quickly came up to him and asked:
"We're looking for the harbour master. Do you know where he is?"
"Yerrh boy, it be me" - answered the yordle. The stereotpye proved to be rather effective.
"An important prisoner was taken out of town recently. Have you seen her on any ships?"
"No sir, I would nay think so. None ship with noxian flag sailed out lately. But sailing is not the only way of leaving town. There be caravans on the norther part of city."
"What do we do know?" - asked Kennen - "Is it still possible she was shipped?"
"This doesn't make sense at all. Why wouldn't they put her on a ship?" - muttered Shen.
"Well, good sirs." - the harbor master interrupted - "If yay lookin for a hardy ship, the last one takin peasent folk and citizens is sailing out in two hours."
"WHAT?" - Shen gasped - "Two hours is the last ship out of here? What the bloody hell?!"
Shen stopped for a moment, his eyes anxiously looking around, thoughts chasing each other in his head. Akali must be on a ship, there's no reason for her to be sent on caravan. Unless..."
"Where is that caravan heading?" - he asked quickly.
"Up north" - answered the harbor master calmly, even enjoying the funny situation a little.
"Great, that doesn't make sense at all."
If only the caravan would have been heading further south or to the east. Maybe they would have wanted something with Akali there, but if it's going north, then it's the League, or further up Noxus. And Noxus even had it's own harbor, ship was easier and faster. Why didn't they put her on a noxian ship taking her straight to Swain in Noxus? Still these two options remained, either caravan or ship. If it's ship, they have two hours to go after her, therefore within two hours they have to decide wich way they go.
"Kennen, it seems we're at a crossroads, with little time to decide. Akali is either taken by caravan or ship. You must go north and look around the caravan camp, ask people and find out if Akali was taken there. I'll look for a way to find out if she was shipped. We have two hours, otherwise we can't follow her on ship, and I DON'T think she's taken by caravan, but we shouldn't take any chances."
"Allright you've got that. I'm off. Take care."
The old yordle harbor master laughed as Kennen charged away but Shen didn't care for him. How the hell he's gonna find out if Akali was shipped? Where could be the information? The harbormaster's shack maybe? That's a good place to look once you're looking for the exact ship that took her, but until it's not even sure she was shipped, it's a waste of time. What else, maybe the embassy? Akali was already mentioned to the officers there, and the information seemed confident for they didn't share much detail. Where could be the important people around Bandle City? Come on ... Yes! Teemo mentioned a warcamp just south of town. If any general is here who knows about prisoners he'll be there. Just how to get inside? Shen looked at the paper he accidentally took from the embassy. He noticed an important detail on it, a genuine seal. Yes, that will be his key into the camp. He'll act as a messanger sent straight from Noxus. Got it.
Shen darted off to the southern distric of the city. He ran as fast he could, not even caring for the guards calling after him. It took him about ten minutes to reach the city walls. It seemed though that the city had no southern gate. Shen took a few deep breaths and looked around a litte, but he only found solid wall, ruins and yordle corpses. Allright, back to that house with the branch above it, Shen still remembered where it was. He quickly ran from street to street, alley to alley, square to square until he found the little house. He climbed up to it's roof and caught the branch that extended beyond the city wall, pulled himself up and climbed down onto the road outside the city. The carriage Teemo and his squad looted was heading this way, and it headed towards the noxian camp, so Shen just kept following the road.
Fifteen minutes later tents finally appeared before his eyes. He ran closer, and determined to himself that indeed, it was a camp for leaders. It was small and the tents were fancy, large and ornamented. Of course there were still plenty of guards and they wouldn't just let him walk straight in. Nevertheless he tried.
"Stop right there" - a guard yelled at him. - "No passage! Officer's camp!"
"I have important news from Noxus" - gasped Shen, trying to make it look like as if had hurried here all the way from Noxus alone - "I'm a messanger. The fastest around, so I got the job. I am to deliver this to your leader!"
Shen showed him the letter with the official seal on it. He held it together and luckily the soldier was dump enough not to notice that the seal was already broken up.
"Looks genuine. Allright, follow me."
The guard led Shen to one of the larger tents around the back of the camp, shouted in "it's a messanger, boss!" then left him alone. Shen entered it, bowed and held the letter so the general inside could see it.
" I see." - said the fancy dressed noxian officer - "So what do you have for me."
In just a flash Shen drew one of his blades, jumped to the general and held it strongly against his throat.
"Death." - he said - "Unless you tell me very quickly where is the "political prisoner successfully extracted out of town" this letter mentions. And don't even think about calling for help, I'll kill you before they get here."
"You won't get away with it! I promise you won't ..." - groaned the general.
"Maybe I won't, but you'll die before you'll see it." - said Shen coldly, and held the blade even tighter against his neck, slightly cutting it.
"Ghahh, **** it, you *******. She was taken to the harbor that's all I know. She was to be shipped. But I don't take care of stuff like that."
Without answer, Shen punched the noxian on the cheeks, knocking him unconscious. He sheated his blade, put the letter on the desk and quickly threw the body onto the bed in the tent. Then he exited the tent, and headed to out of camp with rather fast steps.
"You in a hurry?" - a guard stopped him - "What did the commander say?"
"Ohh, ah, well, he got the letter, and hmm, he wrote a quick answer, and I must deliver it quickly."
"The commander can write? Last time he still had a scribe for himself."
"Well, he learns rather fast, and did not want to depend on someone else. But if you'll forgive me, I'm in a hurry."
And with that Shen quickly took off and left the suspicious guard alone. They probably figured out what happened very quickly, but by that time Shen already climbed back into the city and was running towards the harbor. Now that he knew Akali was shipped he only neeeded to find out what ship was she put on. And most importantly where it headed. Again, he ran all the way back to the harbor, altough he was getting a little tired and got lost multiple times. It was almost his first time in Bandle City.
Eventually he made it back into the harbor and began searching for the harbormaster's office. In just ten minutes he found it, it was a small shack, the closest to the water, and the grey furred yordle was sitting in front of it, smoking from a pipe. Shen quickly walked up to him.
"How much time till the ship launches?"
"Ooh, ye've got a good half of an hour yet. Yer friend was looking for ye, by the way."
"Where is he?
"He's wating for you by the ship."
"Great. By the way I saw they are messing up with the crates on the ship at far end of the docks. Wrong crates. Thought I'll let you know."
"Bloody... how many times must me tell them?!"
The grey furred yordle angrily got up from his chair and and headed towards the ship Shen pointed at. The one the farthest away. Shen quickly went inside the house and started reading the logs. Cargo uploaded to the battleships, warships, merchants trading with Noxus, anything that that could have had a noxian connection to it. He looked over all the logs he thought Noxus might have something to do with but found nothing. He was getting desperate, as he could see the harbor master was already coming back from the far end of the docks. But it was exactly him who said that no noxian flag sailed out lately. Maybe it was a private ship. Shen quickly took the logs of ships that had no connection to any organizations or trading leagues whatsoever. After a few minutes desperate searching he found it, "woman prisoner, champion, handle with care ... 1" under the cargo log of the ship Fortuna Mayor that sailed out just yesterday to Bilgewater.
He quickly got the logs back into order as much as he could and climbed out the little window, as the grey yordle was already too close to just walk out the door, for he would have noticed. Now that he succesfully made it out, he headed straight for Kennen with the good news. He was sitting by the docks near a small, beat down ship, the Salty Fish. He sadly looked up at Shen.
"I found nothing. I guess we'll have to take the ship then. It's going to Bilgewater. What about you?"
"Bilgewater?" - Shen asked back. He couldn't believe his luck - "Well I just figured out that a ship called Fortuna Mayor took Akali, privately owned, and guess what, it sailed to Bilgewater!"
"Bloody hell, that's awesome!!" - Kennen yelled in joy - "I almost though we'll never see Akali agian."
"We will find her, my friend, we will." - Shen answered, also laughing from joy - "When is the our ship sailing out?"
"Just about now. Look, there goes the captain. Let's get onboard."
There was a lazy sailor guarding the ramp leading up to the ship. When Shen and Kennen approached him, he told them what the told everyone who wanted to get on the ship.
"Five silvers, and it's to Bilgewater."
"This is for both of us." - said Shen as he handed him a gold coin.
"Bilgewater it is then." - said Kennen happily.
Author's note: I hope that, yet again you enjoyed the latest chapter of Shen's Journey. I'm a feedback whöre and I'd really like to know your opinion xD So just comment away.
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