Purgatory Island, eh?

Yangus brushed himself off after he and his friends found themselves summarily booted into a dank cell carved from rock. He sighed as he heard the High Priest Rolo whinging and whining against the cell door.

First thing was first. "'ey, Jessica. C'mere for a second."

The fiery haired whip mage cast a glance at the form of Rolo. "What is it, Yangus?"

"You're a fiesty bird an' 'avin' to deal with us riffy men, you're used to us. But we're in a bad place, yeah? Prison ain't no place for ladies." A shifty glance around the large cell revealed curled up forms in the dark.

"Stay next to one of us blokes at all times."

"You don't think I can take care of myself?" she asked. Her tone didn't hold its usual confidence.

"Oh, I know you can, Jessica. But think 'ard. Real 'ard. You're in a place where ladies aren't usually. Prison can make a man go all funny in the 'ead, yeah? You're a bright bird. You know wot I'm gettin' at."

Yangus almost wanted to kick a surge of feeling that wanted to hug the woman as the blood left her face in a rush. Bein' with this bird so long made me soft, he thought.

"R-Right then. Stay n-next to one of you at all times. Thank you, Yangus." With a shaky breath, she nodded and tried to smile.

"'Ey, guv. Wot should we do?" Yangus asked their leader.

Akagi, who usually came up with creative ideas and suggestions that pulled them out of everything, sighed. "I have no idea. Honestly, both of you, I really don't know what to do."

Yangus waited, but no zing of comment came from the fourth member of their party. Saying nothing, Angelo sought out a spot against the rock wall and sank slowly against it. Even in the dank and gloom of torchlight, the Templar looked drawn and exhausted.

"I guess I can try talking to that High Priest. And...let's leave Angelo alone for a bit. I can't imagine being thrown into prison by your own brother puts you in a conversational mood," Akagi murmured.

"Right, guv. So, restin' for a bit the order of the day?"

"For now."

Fortunately for Yangus, his earlier impressions about the desperations of prisoners turned out inaccurate. Still, you never could tell. Prison did that to a fellow.

It seemed to be doing something to Angelo. When the man wasn't staring off in silence, he curled into a ball and slept for untold hours.

Having traveled for quite some time with the Templar, Yangus genuinely liked the younger man. Not with the same undying friendship he had with Akagi, of course. But underneath the many jibes and flirtations with the ladies lay someone worth fighting with and for.

If Yangus cared nothing for the Templar, he would have let him be. Since it wasn't the case, he couldn't let the man brood forever.

Which is why one day, Yangus stretched and said, "Cor blimey, such nice accommodations we 'ave 'ere, thanks to your brother."

Blue eyes peeked above crossed arms.

"Prison until we rot an it's all 'cos of your brother. Nothin' but trouble since we met you, all 'cos of him."

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Akagi grab Jessica's hand. At least the guv had a good idea where this was all going to go.

"Shut up." Quiet, but finally a peep from Angelo.

"All schemin' an' backdealin'. You an' 'im are a pair, only you don't aim so 'igh."

Every prisoner in the cell turned toward Angelo.

"Nah, you stick with fleecin' an' wenchin'. 'E, you know, 'e's going places. You? Just sittin' there goin' woe is I, little more bread sir while you rot in 'ere. An' you know the best part? Your brother's 'avin' the best laugh 'cos you can't do noffin' about it."

No warning. But Yangus didn't need one, knowing Angelo's anger sparked quick and burned hot when lit. He still hit the ground hard when the Templar threw himself at the larger man and tried to beat him in the face.

"Murder 'im, redcoat! Five gold pieces you murder 'im!" The guard on duty roared from his table.

Yangus reared his head up and rammed his head underneath Angelo's chin. He clearly heard the younger man's teeth slam together. "'S that all you got? Come on, then!" Yangus crooked his fingers in invitation.

Angelo, on one knee and hands around his mouth, glared bloody murder and gladly took up the challenge.

Nothing like a good scrap to make a bloke feel alive. Said scrap lasted a few more minutes, long enough Yangus judged the smoldering anger fading in Angelo. It ended when he punched the younger man hard in the stomach.

Coughing, Angelo seemed to fold in on himself and curled in a ball on the ground.

"Gah! Good thing I didn't really bet nothin' on you, redcoat," the guard said disgustedly.

Fight over, the prisoners settled back into their own dreams and miseries. Yangus sank down to the ground next to the sprawled Templar. "Now, you feel a little better? All that sitting there in a funk won't do no good. Only good thing you can do is crack your brother across the face, yeah?"

Angelo coughed for a moment before responding. "You didn't pull that at all."

"Nah. Figured you'd be more angry if'n I did."

A sharp breath in, then out. "You're right. Apparently...apparently Templar training lacks in how to fight demented thieves."

"Well, if'n you meet a pack of 'em someplace, I better teach you 'ow t' keep your guard up better, yeah?"


The rising and falling of the elevator marked the passing of another day. Yangus listened as Jessica tried to convince Akagi of her latest scheme to break free. If'n I can't break the bars, 'ows we goin' to escape from 'ere? he thought miserably.

Quietly, Angelo joined their group. He steepled his hands above his nose for a moment before saying, "I am an utter prat. In spite of this, you've kept me around all this time. I...I just wanted to say thank you, my friends."

"Angelo?" Jessica asked, uncertain. "Are you all right?"

"I think prison makin' your 'ead funny," Yangus decided.

"I think prison makes everyone go funny," Akagi concluded. "Just as long as you don't get into any more brawls, we should be okay."

Angelo chuckled. "I'll try not to. I've been told I'm not particularly good at them. But, I am good at something else." From the carry pouch attached to his belt, he reached in and fanned out a set of playing cards. "Since the Goddess knows when we can escape, the least I can do is help take our mind off things."

"So, I teach you punchin' and you teach us poker? 'S fair enough, mate."

"I hope, Yangus, you aren't above teaching a lady a few things about defending herself?"

He shouldn't. He really shouldn't. But he couldn't resist. "Not at all. Just point me to one an' I'll teach the bird."

With a flare up of temper that rivaled Angelo, Jessica began powering up a spell of fire.