"One of my own."
Part 28. Ben Sisko part five and six.
It turns out that in the bottom of the alley is a part of boxes which are stacked, which they can hide behind, so they are not visible from the road.
Barely are they come around the boxes before the two water benders take their water skins and opens their white belts. When they change throws the two water benders just the clothes without even thinking about that they are not alone.
It wonders Sisko that especially Sara just gets undress in front of a stranger as he begins to take its dark green upper part of.
Under Sisko's upper part, he has a black sleeveless blouse, which he chooses to keep on before he pulls the new cloak over his head.
Soren, on the other hand, is bare-chested under his tunic, and chooses to remain so under the cloak. That is why he also quickly is wearing the new cloak.
Within the cloak is in place can Sisko see how Soren has placed his black close combat knife across the back so it can be taken by his left hand.
It puzzled him a little earlier where the woman had got the knife from, but now is it then a natural explanation.
One moment he comes to admire the strange man's tan colored, broad muscular back.
"Okay that is something." Sisko thinks for himself, with an almost invisible nod, showing he is impressed
Just as Soren Sara has also bare torso under her tunic. However, she is wearing her white triangle top of silk.
When Sisko's eyes fall on Sara wonder that him still, she just stands, almost topless in front of a stranger. And even without it seeming to bother her, almost as if it falls natural for her.
Sisko's eyes fall quickly to the breasts, which are clearly visible under the white top. Especially her nipples are clearly visible through the fabric, since they have become a bit stiff from excitement after they have been in battle and subsequently tried to shake off their pursuers.
For a brief moment he admired her beautiful muscular body. Like the man, she is extremely well trained and that is just before she enchants him with her natural beauty.
Soon after their first encounter, when they accidently ran at each other, it become obvious to the fire bender that the girl has a certain interest in him, it’s a natural gift of his to read people very well.
"Well... Not as if I would like what I see." he sarcastically commented on his own attitude, just in thought, but as for a professional his mission was the first priority.
Yes the women was interested and for him easy to read, the male on the other hand, seemed to be very private. None of his feelings shown on his face, he is a warrior, a true professional just like Sisko.
"Maybe I can turn her interest to my advantage." he thinks lastly, not with bad intentions only to achieve his goal and complete his mission.
Till now he was carefully eyeing Sara’s beautiful feminine body, but now Sisko gently turn his head away from her, showing being shy or as he would rather not have the man discovers that he looks at the woman, since the two are clearly a couple.
Sara eyeing towards Sisko as she can see his fascination with her and at the same time she enjoys his obvious admiration. She bites her lip, as it turns her a little.
Both that he enjoys her, but also what she sees at him. A slim, muscular and beautiful fire bender.
While she stands and admire the stranger's body annoys her over that he has not bare torso because she would have enjoyed more of his appearance.
Sara moves a few loose hairs from her forehead and eyeing one last time towards Sisko before he gets his cloak completely on.
After all three has got their coats on and taken the hoods up over the head takes the two water benders again their water skins. Both water benders bind their water skins on their back in hip level under their long capes.
Then they can, if need be still grab the water, although it is a little more difficult than usual.
"I must have filled my one skin..." says Sara when she becomes finished to tie them in place.
"The same here..." answer Soren while he gets his Battle Club placed underneath the coat.
Sisko has in the meantime gone a little from them, to see if there is anyone who has followed them when they walked into the alley.
But still they are only the three.
Just after the fire bender is gone from the two water benders looking Soren curiously after the man.
"Sara... Did you notice the knife he has on his back...?" asks Soren curiously "It's a Silver Combat Knife..."
She looks up at him, while his eyes return to her.
"Silver Combat Knife...? Is it something special...?" answer Sara with wonder in her voice.
"Yes... It is certainly not standard equipment for a Fire Nation soldier..." he answers and takes him to his chin while he thinks about it.
He holds thumb on the chin while the index finger scratches underneath.
"Can we trust him...?" she asks as she seems subject should come up now as they have a moment where they can talk alone together.
Her light blue eyes light of a mix between curiosity and concern.
"I do not see any reason that we cannot trust him... Like you, I have nothing outstanding with the Fire Nation..." answer the warrior "So why not...? So far we can easily help each other..."
Both of the water benders nods slightly to each other and leaning towards each other to exchange a gentle kiss.
Quickly turns Sisko back to them and find them sitting on their knees while they pack their tunics together.
He looks at them, and sits down next to the two water benders to also do the same with his dark green upper part.
Quickly becomes the all three finished and Sisko leads them out of the alley again.
At the end, he stands just a moment and look left and right before they step out on the street.
Although neither Sisko's upper part or the two water tribes tunics not wrapped in, no one pay attention to them because they folded and looks like something they could have bought in the market.
Sisko has his upper part under one arm, Soren has both of tunics and the package with the fabric which they previously bought in the arms in front of him while Sara has they small bags with small items they purchased in one hand.
In this way, they just look like three who have purchased in large quantities of different fabrics and other necessities.
They continue their further walk around town while they avoid getting attention. After the worst midday heat is about to be over begins again to get more people on the street. It helps to make it easier for them to disappear into the crowd.
Benjamin Sisko looks carefully around at the people they meet, but do not see any of the types that have been chasing him.
Whether it is because they have come across on the other end of town, or whether the criminals simply lost track he does not know. But right now he enjoys that he was not being followed.
When they pass a rainwater barrel looks Sara curiously at it. The barrel is reasonably filled with water, and the water looks reasonably clear.
Quickly dots she Soren on the arm while she nods in the direction of the barrel and he quickly understands what she means. Quickly place they both their packages and clothing on one arm while they elegant throws the cloak over the shoulder with the other.
Both of them open their empty water skin, and with a quick hand movement is both of the water skins filled, after which they got the cloak in place and again placed the goods in both hands.
It only took a few seconds to get their water skins filled, so no, not even Sisko discovered they filled them.
Soren looking at the man in front of him, which he does not know the name of. It wonder him a little that he still has not seen the man's face.
Every time he has tried to look at him, he has either the back or the side to, or have Sara was between them, so he did not see anything.
What he has seen of him is only that the man is light-skinned and that he might have some beard, but Soren is not sure.
Soren is not the only one who goes and wonders that he has not seen the other man's face. Sisko has more or less the same thoughts as Soren. The fire bender is even not sure whether the man is a water bender, or whether he just helps the woman to wear a pair of extra water skins for her.
He has only seen the woman bending and the number she did with that bending his two pursuers on the wall seems he still was a fun idea. Sisko gets a smirk on his lips.
Without any of the two male benders have agreed anything, both try to look at the other to see if he could see the face.
But just as it is beginning to succeed for them Sara goes in between them. Not to hide the faces of each other, but completely random.
Both of them wrinkles they forehead above it. That Soren managed to see before Sara got in the way was that the man probably has a little beard, and possibly amber yellow eyes, but the color of the man's hair is, he cannot see for the cloak.
At Sisko, it is the opposite. He knows that hair color is dark blond, set up in a fun ponytail, but the other man's face, he has not really been able to see, let alone his eye color.
It was difficult with the narrowed eyes and then came the woman in the way.
They continue their further walk, while the two men wondering how they can get to see the other man's face. When Sisko hear that Soren tense breathing of the heat he begins to get an idea.
"Maybe we should try to get away from the street for some time..." says the soldier while he walks down a bit in pace.
"Then we can sit down a bit so we can save our strength..." he continues while he turning a little on his head to hear what the two say to his proposal.
"A cup of tea could be good now..." suggests the warrior with a smile "Although tea is hot, it is good in the heat..."
Sara also comes with a smile.
"Yes, I am on it... I could use both to sit down a little and get something to drink..." she answers with a laugh.
Sisko smiles surprised, a cup of tea could actually be good now. It surprised him a little that he has just run into two from the Water Tribe, who also likes good tea.
In all his time when he has been away from the Fire Nation, he has only met a few, there were tea lovers like himself, he is slightly beginning to like this two.
After they have been looking little, they find finally a tea salon. They go into the almost empty salon and look for an empty table in a corner where they can sit in peace. At the same time, neither Soren nor Sisko want to sit too close to the windows, so that their persecutors will see them through the window.
"My Love... I pick tea... Can you find a good place to sit...?" says Soren while Sara takes against the tunics and package.
Sisko smiles. He seems himself, he just found a really good place. In one corner, furthest away from the windows are ceiling light gone out, so it's quite dark over there. With their dark gray cloaks, they almost become invisible over there.
"Come with me... I have found a good place for us..." says Sisko addressed to Sara, who nods and quickly she follows him.
Soren come quickly return with a tray with three mugs of tea on. Meanwhile, Sara and Sisko placed on either side of the table, and quite naturally set Soren down beside Sara. After he received a kiss from her, he shares the mugs with tea out to all three.
Curious, they look all three at each other for the first time. But in the darkness, they have difficulty seeing how each other look like.
They can only just make out the rough facial features. Even Sara's red lips are hard to see in the dark and Sisko moving his glance toward the man beside her.
For the first time Soren and Sisko looking at each other, but they have never seen properly how the other looks out because of the darkness.
Sisko are looking at the two sets of blue eyes. They are the only thing that properly lights up in the darkness, as their tan colored skin makes them almost blends in with the shadows from their cloaks's hoods.
The man looks very common out, maybe a little older than himself. Otherwise it does not look like there's something special about him other than his funny hair hairstyle.
Again, it is the woman who steals most of his attention when he becomes captivated by her braid fell down in front of her one shoulder so that just can see in front of the cloak.
Soren smiles slightly. So the man from the Fire Nation anyway has a small beard down his cheeks and chin. In the darkness seemed Soren also that he can see that he has amber yellow eyes, as Sara previously said to him. With a smirk he takes around his tea mugs and lifts it up.
"Shall we taste the green tea...?" asks the warrior low and looking at the other two.
The other two do as Soren, also takes around their mugs and lifts it to the lips. Almost simultaneously take all three of the first sip of tea.
When they get the tea in the mouth, it just before all three are by spitting the tea out again. Only their individual upbringing means that they can force the teen down.
"What in the hell..." gangs Soren low "Have they beaten the tea to death with a wet washcloth...?"
Sisko nods before he asks "And why the hell is it cold...?"
He takes a hand and wipes his mouth and tongue with the back of the hand. Sara sitting and scratching her tongue with her teeth to get the nasty taste away from the tongue.
"This tea... It would Madam Eri never have served to anyone..." she mumbles low while she tries to remember when she's got such a bad thing in her mouth.
The fire bender looking at his tea. He could heat it with his fire bending, but he would also reveal that he is from the Fire Nation and that he is fire bender.
But again... Can he revile his true origin, can he trust them?
Sisko sits for a moment and consider the pluses and minuses before he makes his decision. But Sara comes before him. She put her mug over at him and looking at him with a wry smile.
"Can you heat it...?" she asks as some of the most natural in the world.
Benjamin Sisko looking slightly wondering back at the woman. He can well see at her that she does not doubt that he is a fire bender and is from Fire Nation.
He is sure that the young woman already guessed it to where he comes from, when they were close together on the ground.
Slowly he moves his hand toward her mug.
Soren looking curiously at her when he was just about to bring his hand in above liquid to heat his tea without him thinking about that they were not alone.
Why in the world should the strange man heather her mug. That she could without problems have done herself using her water bending.
Not the mug, but the liquid in the mug, so why would she want him to do it...? And can he possibly heat it?
Curious, he moves his attention towards on Sara's mug.
Sisko moving his other hand over so that he holds with both hands around the mug, and after a moment it stems from the mug.
Quickly repeats the fire bender the process by the other two mugs, so they all have steaming hot tea.
Again they taste all three at tea. It has become something better and more drinkable. But still has the tea drawn too long.
"I still do not understand how a tea salon can ruin a pot of green tea in this way..." says Sisko still annoyed by the poor quality of the tea.
"I think it must have drawn too long..." answer Sara to him "Not something you're used to..."
Her light blue eyes smiling at him, she has tried before to get tea together with soldiers from the Fire Nation.
Sisko smiles smirk back to her. That he had to heat the tea for her, or them, was just a test from her side to see if he was a fire bender.
"It's simple green Sencha tea with rose buds and lime..." mutters Soren irritated and drinking his tea again.
"Even the dumbest from Earth Kingdom should be able to figure out how to make such a tea... Without killing both the tea and the teapot..." he continues in mockery above tea salon's owner.
The two others at the table starts to giggle over his obvious irritation, but they agree with him.
It is simply a crime against the tea, as it has been brewed.
After they have enjoyed the tea... Or at least been sitting drinking tea in for some time in silence they begin again to look curiously at each other.
Sisko scratch on his beard on his chin while he is studying the two. A question starts to build up, but Sara is faster to come with her questions.
"Who were the two who were after you when we met...? Those I put up on the wall...?" she asks.
The last is said with a little giggle. The two men also come with a giggle when they think back to the two men who hung on the wall and looked very surprised besides that they hung there.
"I'm not quite sure... But some types there are criminals in lighter or higher degree were beginning to following after me..." answers Sisko with his smirk smile.
"I just know that after I had been out shopping all day, which I had bought various goods into where they had seen that I had well with money... Suddenly they followed me... Probably because they thought I were easy prey..." he continues, finding nothing wrong with tell these two what he was up to so far.
The two water benders nods to him. All the time, has all three talked together in a low tone, so they were sure that there were others who could hear with.
"What about you...? The guys who were after you, look also not to clean out the edges...?" asks the soldier curiously, wanting to know more
"Especially him I beat down..." he says with a wry smile "He was good enough mad at you..."
His amber yellow eyes staring at Sara. Sara begins to laugh and Soren do quickly the same.
"Would you, or should I...?" asks Soren addressed to Sara.
"It is best that I do it... The short story is that he is mad at me that I knocked him down in a bar earlier today..." answer Sara whiles the fire bender looking wondering and surprised her.
"Beat him down...? Why...?" he asks in surprise.
Soren comes with a wry smile.
"He had the opinion that he could allow him everything towards a young woman... And as he hitting heavily on me, touched me and criticized at the same time my sweetheart, I became mad at him..." she says calmly "So I ended up lead his forehead down in the bar's edge after which he passed out..."
The soldier nods quietly while he with a smile answer "I do understand better... That he could not tolerate that a beautiful young woman likes you who is half his age could beat him up..."
Soren eyeing towards Sara when she said that they were lovers. In a way, they still have not figured out what they are, but he also called her for his wife at the bar.
And to explain to a stranger about what they have for a relationship is probably almost impossible.
"It then explains why we all three have got of little problems here in town..." says Sisko and taste again on his tea.
He is still not satisfied with the tea, but it is better than nothing. Curious, he looks up at the two water benders... Or is it only the woman is water bender...?
Slowly pulls Sisko the lower lip into his mouth and let the teeth rest on the lip while he thinks about how he can most politely formulate his next question.
"What would you do now...? Do you have something specific you need to reach, or...?" asks the fire bender curiously.
Sara and Soren look briefly at each other. Neither of the two water benders had actually thought about what they would now and have thus not talked about it.
"Well..." Sara gets answer but stops again.
"Our plan for the day has actually been that we should have kill a little time and made some small purchases while we wait for our purchase of supplies will be ready." says Soren after little "In the afternoon we will then head to the grocery store, where our seventeen ostrich horses stand and pick up everything..."
Sara nods to confirm Soren's words.
"You know... A little extra spice, a little tea and whatever else we fall over of interesting things..." she says explanatory while she gets a smile on.
Soren reach just to eyeing her before she continues "As... transparent fabric..."
That last is said with a wry smile towards Soren while she with her shoulder pushes at his shoulder.
Soren smiles naughty to her, both water benders have the same naughty thinking about when the orange silk fabric soon to be in use.
"We would actually have continued our journey northwards tomorrow... But as the circumstances are now, it may well be that it is better that we travel this evening..." concludes Soren, and both of them look back at Sisko.
After Soren told of their seventeen ostrich horses have Sisko in the big not heard more of what the two from the Water Tribe told him.
Sisko's mind started to run "That could work."
He should have had at least twenty ostrich horses to wear it, but he will believe seventeen ostrich horses would have been more than enough to carry all his supplies.
Till now he was wondering if he could ask them to create a sort of ice road for him, where they can pull and slide the supplies.
But with the ostrich horse, it's even better, now it just remains to convince them to help him.
Sisko really got to like these two and wouldn’t like to use, manipulate them, but it was his mission that counted for the most. He couldn’t let such an opportunity pass by.
Slowly begin both Sara and Soren to wrinkle their foreheads. The way the man sitting opposite from them, staring at them seems a little... Weird...
They cannot quite decipher why the stranger fire bender suddenly seems like he almost becomes happy.
"Ostrich horses...?" asks Sisko.
"Did you say that you have seventeen ostrich horses...?" he asks, not hardly sounding surprised.
Soren blinks with his eyes and looking weird at him. He can not quite understand where the stranger wants to go with his questions.
"Yes we have..." answer Sara, who are just as confused as Soren.
Sisko biting nervously in his clenched fist, to show important this is to him and that how much he hopes for their help.
He really doesn’t like doing this to them, but without these supplies the mission him and his ship was on is doomed to failure which could result in thousands of lives on the battle field in the next offensive.
He just couldn’t let that happen.
"Is it possible that you...? Against payment of course... Can take a small detour to the south ...?" he asks gently while he looked up at the two opposite him, with true hope in his eyes, he just simply let them see it this time.
"That's because... I bought large quantities of supplies here in town... And it has just not been possible to obtain any kind of means of transport to all my goods..." explains Sisko and crosses his fingers in mind, for his plan to work.
Sara looks at Soren, it is he who has control over how they are traveling and what routes to take.
At the same time she does not know how much advantage they have to Kai and his men... Whether they have the time to sacrifice a day or more to help the unknown stranger which at the same time is from the Fire Nation.
"It... It is not that we are reluctant... But we have a schedule..." Soren trying to explain.
"Sorry to interrupt you, but we are talking at most about a day's journey to the south..." Sisko interrupts with little outstretched hand, to once more emphasize how important it is to him.
He had to do it, maybe it could help to persuade them to help him if they know how much time is talk about...
Slowly nodding the warrior and try to continue again.
"But it is just the opposite of what we should..." answer Soren little reluctantly.
His reluctance comes from the fact that they no longer know how big their advantage to Kai and the persecutors is... Or if Kai is still after them?
Had he been assured that Kai had given up finding them he would gladly have used both one and two days to help his new acquaintances.
The fact that he is from the Fire Nation does not touch Soren. The only thing he has something outstanding with them is from the Earth Kingdom.
That they have tried to make him a slave and hunted him. How they have treated Sara and all the other women in the House of Joy.
The fact that he has repeatedly experienced that when people find out his skills both as a healer and warrior tried to get him to stay. Even if it was against his will.
Yes, he's got a few friends coming from the Earth Kingdom, but most he has no feelings for, besides hatred.
Sara thinking about what Zhou has done for her and that she never gets the opportunity to either thank or do something in return for the kindness he tried to do to her.
She listened closely to Soren's word and that he tried to explain to their time constraints.
But here she stands with an opportunity, a chance to help another fire bender. An opportunity to help Zhou's people. She could not let the opportunity like this pass from her.
"He says no, but I bet the girl will want to help..." the fire bender thinks before he must start the last phase to ensure his success.
Sisko's hope is disappearing from his eyes, he is about to realize that although they have helped each other here in town, are the two stranger not really interested in helping him, or at least that’s what he wants to other two to think.
So he becomes surprised when the woman puts her one hand on the man's hand. Slowly she intertwines their fingers and gets the man's attention.
Sara leans her towards Soren's upper body and begins to whisper something in his ear. The Fire bender cannot hear what she says and cannot see her mouth as she hold her other hand in front of her mouth and hides her mouth moving.
After some time, the man looking at her while she whispers continued nods the man to her.
"If that's what you want... So we do it... My love..." answer the warrior while he looks lovingly at her.
In a moment they exchange very affectionate glances, and quickly conclude their moment with a quick gentle kiss.
The soldier towards them is a little confused. What was this about and why they suddenly become a little affectionate with one another?
With a smile, they look again both of them at him.
"We want to help you..." says Sara with a little sweet smile.
"And we do not want pay for it..." continues Soren and give a little nod to him.
Sisko is once of course happy with his success, but also as man of conscious he feels ashamed of having to play the other two into helping him.
But he had no other choice, for his country he had to do it, he had to make sure his supplies got to the ship in time and there was just no other way to convince them to help.
He couldn’t tell them the real reason why he needed their help, he couldn’t trust them that much, so now he had to deal with his conscience, but it still was a victory for him, and trough him and his mission on board Novara to the Fire Nation.
He may have been just a cook now and an enemy of Ozai, but he still had powerful friends and alliances in the fleet as the Fire Nation secret bureau as well.
"Once an agent always an agent..." he remind himself finally.
Still Sisko is a little confused, but understand that they will help him, even though they to first was a little reluctantly.
It crosses his mind to question why they have changed their position to help him, but Sisko choose to do not ask about it.
Instead for he lifts his tea mug and nods happy at them.
The owner of the tea salon looking slightly wondering at the three customers with dark gray cloaks with hoods. He would argue that it is too warm to have cloaks of felted wool in the summer heat they have today.
But what surprised him most is that they still have the hood up even if they are indoors and they place themselves in the darkest corner of his salon.
As he has been standing a little and looked at them, becomes his curiosity too much.
Now he will look more closely at them, and at the same time he will hear if they can think them to get a little more tea.
Out of the corner of his eye observable Sisko how the owner comes over to them. Quickly he looks back on the two from the Water Tribe and with a small but discreet head movement he makes both aware that soon they are not alone anymore.
Both sets of blue eyes eyeing to the side before leaning the head a little more forward so that their faces are harder to see when the owner comes to the table.
"Can I offer more tea...?" asks the owner "Or else, which the company would like?"
Almost in unison they say all three "No thanks..." while they shake their heads.
Since the owner can see that all three mugs are empty, he chooses to collect them on his tray and carry them with him.
As the owner is a little away from the table muttering Soren low "Baka..." while Sara nods in agreement.
"I agree with you..." she says in the same low and insensible tone as him.
Sisko frowning at it. He has never heard the word Baka and have no idea what it means.
It amazes him, but he makes no more of the word because his two companions make signs to raise them up.
Soren is quickly up to stand and help Sara by gallantly giving her a hand. Gratefully she smiles to him, and together they gathered their things and bought packages and distributed them among themselves.
Sisko takes his folded dark green upper part and rises also up. The two from the Water Tribe comes a little in front of him.
As they are almost in the doorway waving the owner goodbye to them. Sara and Soren lifts both the one hand to greet weakly to the owner.
Almost simultaneously, they both say in unison "Baka..."
Again it was said low and Sisko was the only one who heard them. Sisko keeps his hand a little further up than necessary after his greeting.
Again was the word there, and he wonders what it means. Quickly he comes quite close to them again.
Sisko looks a little confused, looking at their backs and ask curiously "Baka...? What does it mean? You have said it several times now..."
Sara smiling and looking back on the fire bender.
"Baka... In the old Water Tribe language it means idiot..." explains Sara and Soren nods to it.
"We mean that the owner of the tea salon is a Baka because he can serve such a bad tea..." continues Soren and walk out the door order to hold it for Sara and Sisko.
Sisko must press his lips together to not laugh out loud. When it comes to it, he agrees with the two...
The owner of the tea salon is Baka...
When Soren has come out of the door and still holds it observing he quickly up and down the street.
But there is none of their former persecutors to see. It looks as if it was a good idea to get away from the street for a while, as the man from the Fire Nation suggested.
Sara placed her on Soren's right side, Sisko follows and place him at Sara's right side. Just like the warrior observing the soldier that he also cannot see some of their persecutors.
"How long have we been here I wonder...?" Sara asks curiously.
Sisko looks up at the sun and assesses its location in relation to before they went into the tea salon.
"I would say an hour..." he says low.
Soren nods to confirm Sisko's assessment.
"Agree... What do we do now...?" he asks, eyeing towards Sisko.
Again, is Sara placed just between them, neither of the two men can see each other's faces clearly even though they have come out in the sun.
While Sara finds Soren's one hand so they can intertwine the fingertips and she can cuddle a little with them, thinking Sisko about that he needs to see the seventeen ostrich horses.
He would like to, see for him selves what condition they are and be able to assess whether they can transport all his supplies at one time, or if he again will have to think of several alternatives.
"What do you say you two lovers, that I may see the animals...?" suggests the soldier while he eyeing towards the lovers couple.
Soren blushes a little on his cheeks than they are called lovers, it is not something he is used to be called, and at the same time, are he and Sara lovers...?
In contrast, it warms to Sara's heart to be recognized as a couple, and that they are called lovers.
A little uncertain look Sara and Soren at each other and it warms them both to see the happy and loving smile the other has.
From only having the fingertips just intertwined pushes they the fingers together so that they can take each other tightly in the hands, still with the fingers intertwined.
Although the two have disappeared completely in each other's dazzling blue eyes, nods they both and get answer almost in unison "Yes, let's do it..."
Sisko climbs over the fence where they seventeen ostrich horses stand. Quickly he becomes surrounded by the curious animals.
He reaches just to think that these animals in any case curious. He gets his smirk smile on his lips and begins to examine the first animal.
Quick and experienced he examines the ostrich horse, standing in front of him. The animal is in very good condition, very muscular and well cared for. And there is no visible damage or signs of wear and tear on the animal.
If he did not know better, he'd believe that these ostrich horses without problems to cope with the task of transporting his supplies.
Ideally, there should perhaps have been about twenty animals instead of seventeen. But because of the good condition and muscle power of these animals will Sisko think they can do the job.
Sisko is impressed with their condition, and he nods pleased to Sara. She stands by the fence with her elbows resting on the woodwork and smiles happily back to the stranger.
"Satisfied...?" she asks a little teasingly.
Sisko nods back to her and answer "Very..."
In a way, it surprises him not that the animals are in such good condition. Already when they came to the fence went the seventeen ostrich horses their masters to meet them. While the two from the Water Tribe scratched the animals behind the ears came several of them with cheerful sounds and there was almost fight about get to the two masters.
Soren has in the meantime gone into to their merchant to have a chat. Instead of travel the day after he informs that they will help an old acquaintance and will come back in two, maybe three days and that they only thereafter will take their purchases with.
They will however take the animals with them already and some of their feed, so he reorders also a little more feed.
In community drags Soren and the merchant four sacks of feed out just outside the fence.
"The stable boys have given them food and water here by noon." says the merchant when they together place the last sack on the ground.
"Well... Then they get a little bit now, while we buckles the saddle bags on them..." answer Soren.
The two men look at each other while the merchant just wipes the sweat from his forehead with the back of the hand.
"I will have the last ready for you to when you come back..." concludes the merchant before giving Soren his hand and goes back to his shop.
Sara sees how Soren comes with the first two saddle bags and hangs them on the post of the fence.
Already before he is back with the next two bags Sara is gotten over the fence to Sisko, and together they started to buckle the first saddle bags on the backs of some of the ostrich horses.
Effectively, but at the same thoroughly get they quickly a teamwork up to run between all three.
Sara throws the blanket up while she calms the animals they stand with, just by being present.
Then throw Sisko the saddle bag up on the back of the animal and together buckles the two the bag firmly under the belly.
In the meantime retrieves Soren the bags, and depending on where the two other works he places the bags so that they are ready to take to them, so they can quickly get all seventeen animals ready.
"I have purchased several places..." says Sisko while he receives the buckle belt from a saddle bag from Sara under the stomach of an ostrich horse.
"Okay..." answer Soren curiously, standing at the fence and look at them, but he can only see Sara for the ostrich horse they are working on.
"How much and how many places we are talking about...?" he continues while he plays with a piece of rope in his hands.
"Thank you..." says Sisko to Sara and together buckles the belt under the belly of the animal.
"It's four locations where it concerns large portions and a single place where I have purchased a little less..." explains the fire bender finally "But it is actually much I have purchased... We should have had at least twenty ostrich horses to carry it..."
Sisko looks free from the stomach towards Soren, but can only see the top of his head because there are a couple of ostrich horses between them.
Sara looks a little worried at Soren, can their ostrich horses do the task?
"I do not think it will be a problem... The animals are accustomed to hard work, so we can easily load them well... But we will have to go a little down in the pace of the ratio to what we are used to..." answer Soren calming, addressed to both Sara and Sisko "And we're going to go next to the animals..."
Sara smiles again and nods.
"Agree..." she answers and looks at Sisko, who also nods to her.
After they have finished tightening the last bag on the animals they take away towards the first place where Sisko have purchased in.
Depending on how much he have purchased at the various merchants and how much it weighs, they have four or five ostrich horses with for each of the places.
Sisko have hidden his backpack near the first grocery store, so when they have retrieved his goods that takes they on the same occasion his backpack before they return to the fence.
Their plan is that they will get everything Sisko's supplies down into the fence. Thereafter they will reloading the goods, so all animals will get roughly the same weight in the cargo before they leave the south.
The brother in law places himself again beside his buddy. Curious, he looks at how they three pack the goods on the four ostrich horses they have with.
When his glance captures the black boots on him that was doing business with his brother in law, he cannot help but smile.
Yes, it is definitely boots from the Fire Nation.
"And you were sure that he at least must be from the Fire Nation...?" says the brother in law to the merchant in a slightly mocking tone.
The merchant eyeing irritated toward his brother in law.
"Ohh yes..." he answers.
The merchant's attention is directed to the two he have with to help him. None of them can be in any way from the Fire Nation and with the tan color skin, they can almost only be from the Water Tribe.
So the whole idea that the young man had to be from the Fire Nation, seems the merchant is completely wrong.
He probably bought the boots used or gotten them in any other way.
When the last sack has come up on the last animal goes Sisko over to the merchant and his brother in law.
After a quick handshake with both of them they nod goodbye to each other and Sisko goes after Sara and Soren that has already begun to go towards the fence with the animals.
Sisko cannot help but smile. Only one place more and so can they finally turn to the south and leave this city and its bandits.
Finally, is Agni with him, finally it seems that everything will go well now. Satisfied he comes up on the side of the last ostrich horse and it greets him with a cheerful sound.
"I agree with you..." says the fire bender to the ostrich horse "It will be good to get away from this town..."
As if the ostrich horse understood him correspond again it with a cheerful sound.
Whether it is Agni who must prove that Benjamin Sisko is wrong, or if it is Tui and La seemed they just wanted to help to tease a little is a little uncertain.
But one of Sisko's former persecutors stands on a corner and takes a look.
Suddenly discovering the man Sisko and recognize him even though Sisko still wearing his cloak and has the hood pulled up. With open mouth he stands and looks after them.
They had otherwise almost given up trying to find him again after some of their gang had become ice fixed to a house wall at the opposite end of the town and all traces of him suddenly disappeared.
So that he is lucky and find the man with all the gold coins he had not exactly expected.
Slowly he begins to follow them while at the same time he tries to keep him a little on a distance. The bandit proves not just being lucky, but he is more luckier enough than usual since he randomly meets one of his buddies from the gang.
Quickly becoming the buddy informed, and while the first bandit continues to follow the man with gold coins running the buddy around to try to find and gather more members of the gang.
Benjamin Sisko's new friend, the ostrich horse he has just been talking to are very curious about the new human who follow in their flock.
Several times the animal is over and tries to push to Sisko, in the same way as it used to do by Sara.
When it pushes to Sara know it from experience that she either has a treat in her pocket to it, or that she itches it loving behind the one ear. Therefore, the animal tries to see if Sisko also should have a treat and pushes loving therefore to him.
Some of the times when the ostrich horse pushes, Sisko chose to ignore it while he sometimes pushes back lovingly with his shoulder after which it responds with loving sounds.
It pushes again while it comes with loving sounds that Sisko interpret as begging. Sisko chose to push back, and as he turns the upper body and pushes it he discovers by coincidence that they are being followed by a single man.
Just by the look he seems familiar, but Sisko is not sure. He may be one of those types who earlier in the day were following after him.
Still, he has his hand up at the animal, which puts its head into him to make him stroking it lovingly.
"Is this what you want me to?" asks the fire bender while he begins to scratch it behind the ear.
The ostrich horse comes with a happy sound as if it understood what he said to it and pushes the head down on Sisko's fingers, so he can come to scratch it to the bottom.
"You know what...?" he says confidentially to the animal "You have earned it..."
After he has spoiled the ostrich horse some time he begins to work his way up to the front of the small flock when the two from Water Tribe is.
Discreet he comes behind Sara, and he puts a hand up to the ostrich horse goes between Sara and Soren, while he puts his other hand up on Sara's shoulder.
Before the two water benders do something, says Sisko quickly "Do not turn around, but we are not alone..."
Both Sara and Soren lift their head up slightly and turn the ear toward Sisko, so they can better hear what he will say.
For the man who persecute them, it just looks out to him he pursues just went up to the other two that have come to him.
Neither of the two reacts specially to the man came up to them, so he does not expect that he has been revealed.
A smug smile finds his lips while he still follows after them.
"Are you sure ...?" Soren asks curiously.
He tries to look over towards the fire bender, but again, as always, there is something in between them. This time it's not Sara but rather an ostrich horse.
"I'm reasonably sure... I've seen him before..." answer Sisko while he can feel that Sara takes her hand up to his, which is still on her shoulder, and gives it a soothing squeeze.
A little curiously looking the fire bender on her hand, it surprised him a little that even though the two are strangers to him they are anyway caring towards him.
"Can we expect that they are after us again...? Or you...?" asks Sara little worried.
"That is I'm afraid of..." answer Sisko "The question is, what do we do about it...?"
They turn on the next house corner in unchanged pace, in order not to show that they have discovered that they are being persecuted.
Sara and Sisko have let go of each other again, Sisko's hand returns to his chin and begins to play with his beard while he scratches his.
The soldier and the warrior thinking of the same, without any of them know it. Both weigh the advantages and disadvantages of various options.
"The best defense..." starts Soren.
"... Is an attack..." concludes Sisko the sentence.
Sara eyeing both of them, in many ways, she has, in the short time the three have been together, experienced that the two are thinking very similar.
That there is hidden a couple of good strategist in both of them.
"Agree..." answer the two men in unison.
"Then when...?" Sara asks curiously.
She puts her teeth in her lower lip, in a way it is here exciting for her.
"I would say that we must have done something before we get all things retrieved..." says Sisko while he still scratching his chin.
"I cannot agree more... We will be most vulnerable to attack when we have it all together." answer Soren to continue Sisko's thinking.
"Should we take him now...?" asks Sara.
Her left hand comes already in under the cloak to her water skin, so she is ready to fight.
"I think they will make themselves ready while we retrieve the last load, and there should we make a preemptive strike." is Sisko's tactical assessment.
Soren nods to it. If it was he who had to plan an attack on them, he would also strike when they come with the next load of supplies.
The bandit cannot know that the next load is also the last load. But if they follow them now, they know where they will come back for another load and then they can see that there are no more free ostrich horses when they take away with the last.
Therefore they can also figure out that it is probably the last load they go out and retrieve, and therefore they have to strike to when they get back to the fence.
"Honey, I will be with to it..." says Sara suddenly in a very particular tone.
Thereby she brings the two men out of their thinking around the planning of the attack. She eyeing cautiously towards the love of her life and being greeted by a very serious blue eyes.
She looks at him, and is not at all in doubt that he is a little against it. Sara begins to prepare herself that she would not be allowed to participate, even though she comes with the best arguments for why she is ready for it.
"If we all three go up against them, we would clearly have an advantage..." says Sisko while he thinks "But if one of us still leads the ostrich horses ahead of the others, and leads them out of the city, can they other two meet later with the person outside the city..."
Sara nods to it, even if it does not suit her that the soldier has the final proposals with.
For she can almost predict that it is she who is going to go with the animals.
"A slight problem..." says Soren low, it suits him not what he needs to say now.
"Most of our ostrich horses are unevenly loaded... The weight must be made more equal for each ostrich horse otherwise we risk that some of the animals become quickly tired than those who are more lightly loaded..." he says with eyes closed.
He does not want to see the smile that Sara comes with now.
"This excludes me... You two know your animals better than I do..." says Sisko.
It annoyed him that they have to split them up, as they are obviously would have the greatest advantage of fighting together all three.
Soren eyeing towards Sara, the smile on her red lips are not to be mistaken.
"Okay... You will be allowed..." he says little reluctantly to his student.
Sara is surprised, she was otherwise ready to argue why she should be allowed to fight against the bandits with the fire bender.
"I have the muscle power to reload the animals... Plus the merchant knows me, but not you..." says Soren and pointing a thumb over his shoulder towards Sisko.
Sisko nods, although he can only see the hand, there pointing towards him.
"As soon as I got reload the animals, and got the feed bags up, I will retrieve a little of our outings so that we can handle us on the trip... Again, you cannot retrieve it..." continues Soren addressed to Sisko.
While they get swapped they last ostrich horses out, so they are ready to retrieve the last load, get Sisko explained which route to the south Soren and the animals must go after.
They agree that Sara and Sisko will follow him as soon as possible when they are finished with the bandits.
While the two men get agreed the details of the rules using Sara the time to get her tunic on again. She goes into the fence and uses a pair of the ostrich horses as shielding before she throws her cloak.
Quickly she gets her tunic on and put the water skins in place. Hereinafter she pulls back the cloak on, so she looks like before they came to the fence.
The bandits have followed them and now there are four and looking at the fence with all the animals. They can see that the three are getting ready for what must be the last pickup of goods in the city.
Their assessment is that if they strike just before they returning to the fence, and subsequently take the last animal from the fence they will get the greatest benefit.
They could possibly use their cloaks to disguise them so they can come close before they can attack the merchant and stealing the animals from their custody.
They also agree that they are clearly in the majority, as they are already one more than them and that they can reach to collect more from their gang before they attack.
After they have been out to collect the goods from the last place of the places where Sisko has made all his trades, begins Sara and Sisko slowly to let them fall back, so they end up walking a few steps behind they last of the animals.
By they walk and doing as they talk together and occasionally laughing out loud they get it to look coincidence that they have fallen so far back in relation to Soren.
Not immediately does the bandits not notice that it had to be something special in that they fall back.
They user on the other hand the time to gather as many people as possible. So when they are getting close to the fence, they have already reached that they have collected a total of twelve men.