He supposed the sighting was owed to Allen, the kid Mana had found on the side of the road a few years back. The boy had been sent to the nearby town to get food while everyone set up the usual stalls, stands, and stages, and he had yet to return. Mana, like the over-protected father the Earl teased him relentlessly about, had sent Tyki to go find him. With a genuine smile, he had agreed to go after the pale boy.
He ended up running all over town, ignoring people's reactions to his old and worn clothes as he looked all over for the small kid. Each corner he turned, each call that went unanswered, worried Tyki more and more as time went by. What if he had been taken? He had only been with them for two, maybe three seasons, and he was still young and innocent, still unused to the harsh world Tyki was already aware of as a gypsy. Allen would trust people blindly, and- - -
He saw a flash of white, and he skid to a stop, nearly slipping in the dirt.
"Allen!" He called, racing towards the kid. Allen was staring at him, eyes wide and filling slowly with tears, his cheek red. Coming to a stop, he didn't notice anything else, focusing entirely on the boy he had spent the last couple hours looking for. "Everyone was getting worried. What are you doing?" He smiled lightly at the boy, glancing at the people around. There were two small boys- - -one with dark hair and eyes, and another with fiery red hair and green eye, the other covered by an eye patch. He didn't recognize either boy; the woman behind them, though, made Tyki's blood freeze despite his slight ignorance.
"He has insulted our family." She said coldly as he joined them by standing right next to Allen. He gulped- - -what had Allen been thinking, talking to these people? Yes, it was true that the boy was young, but Tyki had though Mana and Cross had taught him to not talk to people so obviously above them! "He either needs to apologize, or be punished according to the family rules."
Tyki couldn't help the anger coursing through him at the woman's words- - -yes, Allen should know better, but Tyki knew what Allen did couldn't have been that bad; the boy was only five seasons old (at least, that's what they all assumed), and the woman he was talking to was most definitely speaking of a rule that would most likely warrant Allen's death. Forcing a polite smile on his face, Tyki allowed his mind to wander frantically and freely to think of a way to save Allen.
"On behalf of my little idiot here, many apologies, madam." He started, placing a hand on the back of Allen's head and pushing his head forward in a bow as he did the same. "I'm sure," and here, his grip in Allen's silver hair tightened enough to make the boy gasp quietly in pain, to make sure he didn't say anything that might have made the situation worse, "that he meant no harm. We are merely travelers passing by."
"Tyki...!" Allen whispered almost inaudibly; in response, Tyki's hand tightened even further as a warning before releasing his tight grip. They stood together, Tyki taking the groceries from Allen. Tyki chanced a glance at the woman- - -she was still glaring at them, but it had less fury and anger than it did a few moments prior, and Tyki took it as his chance to continue.
"Please forgive him." Tyki continued, hoping to prey on the woman's motherly side (if she even had one- - -from the looks of her, she would rather find a way to injure them greatly than listen to a child), "He is only five seasons old, and we're still teaching him manners." Placing the groceries on the ground gently, Tyki pulled Allen onto his back and picked up the food again. He felt Allen tighten his arms around his neck, his legs wrapping tightly around Tyki's waist. "Come on, Allen. Mana is getting worried."
They weren't five feet away when Allen scrambled to get a better hold.
"Tyki, Tyki!" He said sweetly, making Tyki 'hmm' in response. "Thank you for coming for me."
"Mana sent me." Tyki answered carelessly. "He was getting worried- - -you were gone a long time, Allen."
"Sorry." Tyki could feel Allen deflate against his back slightly, and the older boy smiled.
"Did ya get lost? You do that often, you know." He felt Allen flush against his shoulder and he laughed. "You did! Haha, Allen, why would you agree to go shopping if you wouldn't be able to find your way back?"
"I met new people." Allen said defensively. Tyki stopped walking, looking at the pale boy with his gold eyes. "Two boys, but I think they're older than me."
"That doesn't matter." Tyki said. "Did you forget what Mana taught you already, little one?" Allen stared back, his silver eyes wide. "Have you forgotten?"
"No." Allen murmured defensively, his head falling against Tyki's shoulder again. Tyki started walking, the two boys reaching the edge of the town rather quickly. "He knocked me over though."
"Who did?" Tyki asked patiently, looking around for their caravans.
"Stupid BaKanda did." Allen muttered angrily, and Tyki froze, his eyes wide.
He heard of the Kanda family, with its harsh training and family of swords and swordsmen. The whole family came from a long line of samurai, each able to wield weapons from a sword to small, sharp pointed stars called 'shurikan'. Each of them, from the father to son, mother to daughter, were hard, cold, practically heartless people; Tyki felt grateful that he had come when he did, as he most likely saved the boy from a quick, most likely painless, but still horrible demise.
"Allen," Tyki said slowly, walking again. "I want you to be careful around that boy, do you hear me?" He ignored Allen's surprised noise and continued talking. "That whole family is dangerous, if you aren't careful."
"But, Lavi isn't part of BaKanda's family." Tyki winced at the new name Allen thought suited the youngest Kanda son.
"Lavi?" He questioned instead, watching Mana pace back and forth in front of Tyki's older brother Sheryl.
"The boy with red hair." Allen said, scrambling to get off of Tyki. "With the eye patch. He's really cool. Mana!" The man turned, and despite the fact that no one could see his face, Tyki could see the relief that flooded the man's body.
"Allen." As Allen started chattering excitedly, Tyki brought the groceries to Sheryl.
"Hello, brother." Sheryl smiled at him encouragingly.
"Tyki." He stood, ruffling Tyki's hair (to his annoyance) and stretched his back. "It took you a while to come back with Allen. Any longer, and I would have been making trails with Mana as well."
"Kid got lost." Tyki said, looking at Allen on Mana's shoulders. "I don't think that we should send Allen for groceries in a while; he's still too little to do it by himself." Sheryl laughed.
"Well said, little brother!" Tyki growled and moved his head quickly as Sheryl's hand came down. "I'm going to find Lord Millennium and put the food away."
With that, he turned and ran, the incident with the Kanda family already put out of his mind.
Things were wild around him. They had officially started yesterday, and the entire troupe was working hard. Most of the younger children were placed in bed; Tyki, as part of the Noah clan and the opener for Mana's magic show, the Earl's almost inhuman abilities, and his own tricks with the butterflies he called the Tease, was one of the very few exceptions to this rule.
As such, Tyki was struggling into his performance outfit while having Allen sit on the bed beside him and his niece Rhode lay next to the pale boy with her bear in her left arm, both watching him with a sleepy look in their eyes as he dressed and tried to get them to sleep at the same time. On the far side of them, the two toddlers that had been picked up a few days ago, Jasdero and Devito (names curtesy of the Millennium Earl), were already sleeping; Devito spread out on the bed, Jasdero clinging to him tightly in his sleep.
Outside, he could hear Sheryl's wife Tricia greeting everyone who came in, and the familiar muttering of a crowd in awe.
"Tyki..." Allen yawned. Tyki 'hmm'ed and turned slightly, looking at the boy. "When can I help out like you do?" Tyki smiled gently and helped Allen lay down next to Rhode; her golden eyes, so similar to his own, were already shut as she slept.
"Wait a few more seasons, ok?" He said softly, pulling the blanket over them both as Allen snuggled closer to Rhode, his arm thrown over her waist as he turned on his side. Tyki shook his head, and a fluttering on the other side of the room caught his attention.
"Ha!" He hissed triumphantly, leaping instantly into action and capturing the movement. "Gotcha!" He fell to the floor with a 'mmph!', careful of the object in his hands, before opening them to discover the empty space. "Dammit!"
A dark purple butterfly landed gently on his nose, making Tyki cross-eyed as he tried to keep it in sight.
"You're such a pain, stupid Tease." He grumbled as he raised his hands slowly. The butterfly's wings fluttered, but it didn't move from it's perch; instead, it bit his nose. "OW! That hurts!" He moved quickly, each hand grabbing a wing and pulling it gently off of his nose. The butterfly flapped in protest, but stilled after a few moments.
He took a moment to look it over critically. It was the largest butterfly (just bigger than his palm when it was spread open) in the hundreds that the Earl had given him to train and own, and the one the he had with him more often than not. It seemed as though it were the leader, because while he had tried relentlessly to train them, if he couldn't get this one to do as he said, then none of them would.
"I dunno why Lord Millennium gave me you." He muttered, releasing one of the wings so he could place the insect on his shoulder. "But you and the others belong to me now, remember?" Tyki felt ridiculous, talking to the butterfly as he continued getting ready, but the purple insect seemed to be paying attention to him, which was enough.
"Welcome, ladies and gentlemen of all ages, to the Millennium Earl's Clan of Noah!" Tyki was standing at the top of a very thin, very high pole with one foot balanced at the tip of it and the other just behind it in midair (if Sheryl could see him now, he would have heart failure similar to the time he though Tricia was going to be gravely ill months and months before Rhode was born). Below him, everyone gasped in awe and surprise as they stared at the boy high above them. He smiled smoothly, using his left hand to touch the brim of the black top hat Lord Millennium was generous enough to buy him as part of his outfit.
"And as you have decided to grace us with your presence," Tyki bent his knee slightly, holding his right hand up, the purple butterfly flapping its wings in preparation for take-off. "Allow us to entertain you for a few moments." He jumped, flipping backwards easily as the butterfly took off, and many more others joined it suddenly, appearing to come out from his body as he fell. They surrounded him, completely covering him from view as he landed easily on the top of stall, careful not to step on any of his Tease. From there, he went into the stall, joining the Millennium Earl and one of the other Noah teens, Skinn Boric.
"Excellent work as usual, Tyki-pon." The Earl said, clapping happily as the purple butterfly fluttered down to land on Tyki's shoulder. "I'm so proud of you."
"Thank you, Lord Millennium." Tyki's gold eyes traveled over to Skinn, his teenaged cousin. "I haven't seen you recently, Skinn. Where have you been?" The teen glared at him angrily.
"None of your damn business, pipsqueak." Tyki's eye twitched slightly, but he pushed back his wild hair back, placing his hat on firmly.
"As you wish, Skinn. I suppose I can leave it be, as your strength and size alone can best me in the fairest of fistfights; though you rarely fight fair to begin with. But I digress." Tyki turned to leave, his fingers lingering on the brim. "Be careful, though. My butterflies are carnivorous, and it'd be a shame to discover you missing." Skinn growled at him, and Tyki glared back.
"Now, now, boys," The Earl called cheerfully, placing a hand on Tyki's shoulder as if deciding which of his little 'family' he would support. "No fighting, not now. Besides, Tyki, eight seasons is much too young to be making threats of that nature."
"Of course, Lord Millennium." Tyki said, walking away when he felt the Earl's hand leave his shoulder. "I'm going to check on Tricia. I know something's up with her, despite my brother's protests. I feel that it would be better if she opened up and told me what was wrong with her, seeing as all my brother can do is fawn over her and Rhode all the time."
Tyki searched for Tricia, his golden eyes going over face after face after face to find the woman his brother had married. Every now and then, he'd backpedal, thinking he saw her, but it always ended up being someone else.
A flash of red caught his attention, and he turned.
He felt his face flush lightly when he saw one of the boys that were with Allen a few days previous. He had no idea what the boy was doing here, but he forgot his idea of finding Tricia and began to follow this boy instead, curious about his intentions.
The other didn't seem to notice, running to the different stands and stalls they had. Tyki stayed in the shadows, his hand firmly on the brim of his hat.
He was called suddenly, and Tyki gave the other boy one long last look before turning and running face-first into Sheryl's chest.
"What happened?" Tyki asked- - -his brother had this stricken look on his face, one similar to when they thought Tricia was going to die a few months before Rhode was born...
Tyki felt his stomach drop.
"Is it bad?" He asked instead, chasing after Sheryl when his brother simply turned and ran. "Sheryl? Tell me!"
The man still refused to answer; spotting a familiar black dress, Tyki stopped short with a growl, grabbing the edges of the dress around the woman's waist.
"Miranda!" He hissed, and the woman jumped, her shoulder-length hair flying slightly through the air.
"Ahhhhhhhh!" She shrieked in surprise, glancing down at him; her eyes widened even more in fear as she registered Tyki. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry! Please forgive me, oh please!" Her accent, foreign and thickening with each word, made Tyki wince slightly.
"Shut up." He said harshly, and Miranda obeyed so quickly it was stunning. She stood still, trembling madly and looking as if he were ready to stick his Tease through her chest and into her heart. "Tricia needs help. Follow Sheryl and help us bring her into the medical tent." Miranda's eyes widened in shock, but before she could thank him or anything, Tyki shoved her in the direction his brother went. "Don't speak, just move. Now!"
Tyki sat outside the tent, head falling back against the soft material. His golden eyes shut, the boy gave off the impression of being asleep, the Tease fluttering gently every now and then against his shoulder.Tricia, it turned out, had collapsed in the midst of her job. She had been running a high fever, and somehow made it worse by not telling anyone and continuing with work. It was by some miracle that she didn't get caught, especially with the way Sheryl doted on her.
Speaking of Sheryl, the man had hardly stopped pacing. He'd been like this for hours; despite being the best and only doctor they knew or had, Miranda Lotto had the strangest ability to be clumsy in all manners. If it were not for the fact that they needed her so (no other doctor would look at them, let alone join them, as they were gypsies in all sense of the word: work, play, and travel; in fact, most doctors laughed before shutting the door in their face).
At any rate, she was their best hope.
"Stop pacing, you dolt." Tyki muttered from his seat. His suit, having been held in safety in the Earl's trunk for travel, was now mussed and slightly dirty, was very uncomfortable by this point. "It won't make Miranda come out faster."
"I know." Sheryl said miserably. "But, Tricia- - -she was so still when I found her..." Tyki sat up straighter, looking at his brother strangely.
"Sheryl..." The man shook his head, not wanting to hear- - -
Miranda stepped out of the healing tent. Her shoulder length hair, usually pulled back in some semblance of a bun as she worked on one of the troupe, was falling out of the tight wind, spilling around her shoulders and sticking to her face. She was slightly out of breath, and the usual black rings around her eyes were made even more pronounced by the dark bags that accompanied them underneath.
Sheryl turned to look at her and paled slightly.
"Tricia?" He asked quietly, almost as if he were afraid to hear the news. Miranda looked at him unblinkingly for a long time before a sigh escaped her mouth and she seemed to fall in on herself.
"She is fine, ja?" She said, relief coloring her voice. "She vill be sleeping heavily for the next few days, but she vill recover after about a week, especially if she stays in the medical tent." Sheryl sat next to his younger brother (more like collapsed, but the man had been put through his own Hell the night before). "You can go in and see her, if you vish."
Sheryl darted in, but Tyki declined with a shake of his head.
"I really must check on Allen and Rhode." He said calmly. "And change out of my performance outfit. Besides, I'll leave the love-sick idiot and his wife alone for some privacy." With a slight smile and the tip of his hat, Tyki left Miranda in the front of the tent.
Hello. I haven't been around in a while. XD haha I'm sorry for those waiting for 'Hope, Faith, Family, and Love'- - -I can't seem to figure out where to go with it, and as such will have it on hiatus for a bit.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy this!