Clayton was sitting on the floor propped against the wall in this chair-less shamble of a house, trying to regain control over himself, his wild heartbeat and trembling muscles rattled his entire body as he tried to collect himself. He found that one of the best ways to calm himself was thinking about his next move. Finding nothing else more focusing, he began taking deep breathes and prepared for his strategy. He could leave Dorter right now; nothing was stopping him. But then his revenge plot would be incomplete and will fail, and his time and pain spent today would have been for naught. But he needed that monk; he needed him as an informant. There is so much Clayton needed to know right now; why didn't that stupid woman listen?
"I needed that monk! He was to tie everything together. Well, I suppose I don't need him alive, do I? He just needs to be there." Getting that monk meant going back to the house again, which is insane; he barely escaped whatever magic she was preparing to hit him with, he might not be so lucky this time. On the other hand, the element of surprise is his element. And he has just the tools to aid his attack. He thought as he pulled out one of his smoke bombs. "I sneak up, smoke out the place, kill that bastard of a monk and get out. I think I get away with that." He paused and thought for a moment. "Hmm, I was going to wreck up my house so it seemed that there was a break in, explaining my missing items, but since I don't have that kind of time, burning the sucker down would work to cover up as well. It's more suspicious, but I don't have the time or opportunity to stage anything better. It'll also maximize my chances of escaping. I'll also need something to wrap the body in as well. Can't have blood trailing behind me." He pulled out some oil bombs, and a phosphorus strike stick. A dusty rolled up rug caught his eye, it was lying in a pile of assorted junk propped up against his opposite wall. He pulled it out of the heap and rolled it out onto the bare wooden floor
"I suppose this will do. That guy looked heavier set than that boy, so if I don't get away clean, I can't do hand to hand. I have plenty of bombs on hand this time however if things get at their worse." Despite his resolution to venture into danger once again, his strategizing had steadied him. His tools at the ready, he cloaked himself and looked out of the window, spying on his own house again. Clayton could see nothing, not in his backyard. He designated his route to his house and began to move in. "This has to work, the sun is setting, I can't be in Dorter any longer than I have to." Cautiously, Clayton tip-toed back onto his property, eyes and ears alert. He made contact with his house, crouching underneath the window-still. Stopping for a moment to take a breath, and ready himself for anything that might happen. Relaxed and ready, Clayton peered through the window in the back. The house looked the same as when he left, McCloud was in the chair adjacent to the monk's couch, where he had been resting this whole time; although one thing was out of place, Mother was not there. Clayton took in an investigative sniff of the air, but the results ended only in Flowers and the Stew. Clayton pulled out his oil bombs and silently broke them open, proceeding to spread its contents in rising vertical stripes on the outside and the door.
He was once tasked to burn down some house; he was advised that spreading fuel vertically makes it burn better. Another was broken open; this time spread over in front of the landing of the door, to impede possible pursuit. Satisfied with his oil prep, Clayton pocketed his remaining Oil Bomb, and readied himself. He cast illusion of a closed door on the door, allowing free opening and closing of the door without any notice. Opening the door, he let himself in, but opted to leave the door open. His eyes peered around the house and around corner into the kitchen to see what was lying in there. Mother was in the kitchen, stirring the soup. Her eyes, focused on the monk, her face, distraught. Feeling the soup to be ready for its third and final meal, she grabbed a bowl of soup and brought it with her to the living room; Clayton ducking out of the way when she passes him, watching the both of them intently. He decides to close the door, just as a precaution, and naturally he did such oh-so quietly.
Mother took her seat in the chair closest to the Monk, her eyes not moving from the Monk, it is obvious she is in thought. Without thinking she took a sip of the stew, but in reaction to the heat she placed the stew on the table. Empty handed, her mind was made up.
"Clayton really wanted info from you...." She got up and moved to the floor next to the sofa. "As an apology and as the only thing that it appears I can do for him now.... I guess the best I can do is help him achieve that" She leaned in and began whispering powerful words into his ear. She pulled back slowly and aims her voice now at McCloud.
"Get packed please. It’s about time for us to head out. I think we have already over stayed our welcome here. And besides it’s best to leave with-" She cuts herself off, and stares at the Monk. How could she have just thought to call him a present. A gift? An item? He was human, no mire item. "Well, I hope Clayton can get good info from this monk."
McCloud stood up after Mother stopped talking, and began roaming about the house picking up his armour. Mother’s attention was snatched up by the Monk. She stared at him until she felt it right to speak again.
"Sir, I'm sorry for what you're likely going to go through soon. Interrogation is not fun... But look at the bright side. You won't have to get punished much since I just made you want to talk." The last sentence was hard for her to choke out. “Well. If it goes well for you, you will wake up and he would have not come here. Your other option is death. But for a good cause." Again, her last sentence seemed hard. She didn't know if that was true. Would Clayton truthfully get such a large task done alone? Highly doubting such, but still wishing him luck, Mother gave him her blessing. McCloud appeared back in the living room with all of his armour in hand. Mother turned to face him.
“Oh, dear, I don't think we will be wanting that." She stood up and took a gander at the armour. “I fear we cannot afford such repairs, and that armour is in no use to you. Also, nor can we buy a new suit so soon..." She looked up at him. “I think you're going to have to say bye to it dear.”
The Knight looked longingly at the armour, he knew she was right, but how could he part with
it? He didn't have a shield since he used a two handed blade. Without his armour, how would he protect Mother so easily? What if he took a fatal blow in battle? No armour would make protecting Mother increasingly harder to do...
"I know what you are thinking McCloud, but it would be too much of a burden. But you're going to have to part with it. And the next time we have a chance to get you some armour, I promise I will get you some!" McCloud looked hopeful at Mothers words; she's never let him down, ever.
Clayton snuck back outside briefly. Once outside he pulled out a bag of some of his Gil, and precisely tossed it as silent as possible over the roof into a in the front. Clayton wasn't sure how much he gave, truthfully he was looking to buy supplies, but seeing as he had gotten it for free, might as well give it to someone in need.
“Now dear,” Mother started at McCloud “I think it’s time to part from this house now." She stood up, and picked up her bag, which now had a newly obtained white flower sticking out of it. Agreeing with her, McCloud nodded and proceeded with leaving out the front door. Following behind, but drawing to a stop was Mother. There was so much on her mind that she had yet to speak, so much to tell Clayton. Mother turned back to face the house. Drawing in a deep breath, readying herself for what may spill out of her mouth, she began to speak as though Clayton were there.
"Clayton I'm sorry our little party didn't work out. We are leaving now, for your sake. But if I ever see you again, I promise to tell you my true story, for I actually spoke false. What I told you last night before bed was only partly truth. I feel as though it is necessary at this point, that I retell it to you with no fabrications set to cover the truth. I’m not afraid of my past and I’m ready to tell anyone it. I want you to note, that although I seemed harsh, uncaring, out to get you, and anything but what you needed at the given moment. I actually care for you deeply, and I wish your quest to be successful, you have my blessing child, good luck." She turned back to the door and took a step, but stopped quickly, as there were more words to tell. "Clayton. I know you cannot hear me. But, when you are done with your quest. Please promise me that you will continue as a flouriest. It is one of your many gifts in life, and I personally think the best. You can really change lives with it. And you are amazing at it. Ta-Ta my friend." With that she took her finals steps out the door into the cold night, closing the door behind her.
"Alright McCloud let’s go!" She called out to the knight, who was busy on the ground rummaging through something. He jumped up, startled by Mother's voice. "What have we got there McCloud?" Mother inquired. He looked as though a child had found a bag of gold, for it was true. As though to say: "Lookie what I got Mommy!" McCloud smiled boldly and walked to her holding the bag.
"What’s this?" Mother questioned, but she was answered quickly when the bag's contents were show to the light of the world. "Gil..." she trailed off. “Last I saw this we gave some to that Inn Keeper..." Picking her words back up just as quickly as the trailed off, she demanded an answer. “Where did you find this?” McCloud pointed to the bush that bore obvious signs of recent activities.
"You found money. In a bush?" McCloud nodded in response. "Interesting... So money doesn't grow on tree. But on Bushes!” She said in a comical tone. “On a more serious note dear, I doubt that this was here earlier. More so do I doubt our friend was hiding it there. He’s much smarter than that. I will bet two Gil, the ones in that bag of course since we are taking it with us, that that bag was meant for us to take. Clayton would have obviously hid money elsewhere, in a more remote and harder to get to place." Mother slipped her left arm out of the strap to the bag, making it fall to the right and swing to her front. She opened the bag and placed the newly obtained coin purse in there. Picking the bag back up and over to her back, she immediately slid her arm back into the bag.
"Are we all ready to head off into the darkness in a random direction in hopes to continue a ridiculous quest and hope not to starve to death or die of other horrible causes on such ways?" McCloud held his sword up in the air, since it was no longer attached to his armour, and shook it in the air.
"Good then off we go child, off we go."
And so the two picked up their lazy feet, and began walking in a random direction; knowingly into a path of fatigue, starving, and pain; unknowingly further into the gapping mouth of what continues to await them at the end.
Meanwhile Clayton leaned against a non-oil covered section of the wall. Life had once again thrown a curveball at him only this time; it had curved straight into his hands
"Be a florist when this is all over, eh?" He couldn't help but feel somewhat bitter. If he was to plant flowers ever again, they would be blood red, growing out of corpses.