Scene Sixty Four
In which a celebration is interrupted
The town was happy again, and Tony Tony was glad to see it. There was still talk about tracking down the people who had stolen the statue and stringing them up by the smallest available body part, but now it seemed good natured, like one might scold a child.
It had been surprisingly easy to find the statue. That was a good thing; there had been talk of calling in mercenaries to join the search, and that had worried Tony Tony, who had dealt with mercenaries before and didn’t think he had enough money to make them stop fighting afterwards.
But there was no need to worry about that anymore; the thief had left the statue right out in the open, just sitting by a picturesque mountain stream. Tony Tony didn’t quite know what to make of that, he thought that maybe the thief had realised what was coming after him, and decided to cut his losses. He didn’t really think that it was likely, but he couldn’t help giggling whenever he imagined a shady man with a mask looking back at the pitchfork wielding mob and then running for his life.
He didn’t know exactly where Alice was. He hadn’t seen her since the disappearance of the statue, and he couldn’t help but suspect that the two things were related. He worried that whoever had taken the statue had kidnapped her as well, but he dismissed his worries as groundless; it would be impossible to find anyone in the mob he was travelling in, everything was too disorganised, she probably was around and he just hadn’t seen her.
Besides if the thief had dropped the statue then he would have certainly left behind a live human. Tony Tony had done a little smuggling in his time, and though he had never tried to move a protesting person, he felt sure that it would be far more difficult than moving even the heaviest statue.
Of course a released person would tell your trackers where you were going and what you looked like. Unless they couldn’t carry a tale. Dead men told no tales, they were proverbial for it.
Before Tony Tony could pursue this new line of worrying someone clapped him on the back, and said something hearty in a language that Tony Tony didn’t understand.
This was their victory. This a victory which belonged to all of them, even if in this case they hadn’t actually done much work. Word had spread and all the other search parties were joining them, like a dozen feeder streams, all leading into one great tide of humanity, which surged back towards the village.
Someone seemed to have declared a party; a big one. Tony Tony was surprised and gratified, their village burns to the ground, he thought, and they celebrate anyway.
Huge bottles of beer were being passed around, along with, surprisingly, slabs of chocolate. There were banners and streamers in dozens of bright colour, and someone had managed to collect together three dozen rusty saxophones, Tony Tony passed one on when it came his way, but the man next to him took up the challenge, and soon the mob was marching to music that was, if not very good, then at least upbeat and enthusiastic.
People were getting into it as well.
To Tony Tony’s left a man old enough to be his father was turning cartwheels in time with the music. On his right a woman of the ‘Sweet Old Grandma’ mould was using the edge of a battle axe to lever the cork off of a beer bottle. A little in front and to the right a nubile young girl was looking backwards and giving, the look, in Tony Tony’s direction. Tony Tony was gratified, and was about to give the look back, when he realised that her eyes were aimed at the cart wheeling man next to him. Tony Tony laughed out loud, and silently wished them the best of luck.
Someone had pressed something clear in a bottle into his hands, and Tony Tony had been sipping it for a few minutes. So when he first saw the black pointy thing slipping across the sky like an escaping bar of soap, he put it down to high spirits and high Spirits.
 It really had been a pitchfork equipped mob. They had had flaming torches as well, and Tony Tony could have sworn that he had seen at least one person with a battle axe