Chapter 4: Taoists

"Aa-choo!" Train sneezed, "It sure is cold in here."

"It's winter, what do you expect? Besides, it was your fault for selling your only coat without thinking of the weather conditions up ahead. And just what are those things on your jacket? Extra food supplies or something?" Sven asked.

"Yeah, pretty awesome eh?" Train smiled.

"You have a strange sense of fashion." I muttered to Train.

"I'll take that as a compliment Lia." He smiled.

"Aa-choo!" I facepalmed when Sven sneezed too. This was getting old.

"Hey! Keep your snot to yourself and you call yourself a gentleman?!" Train complained.

"You're right Train, it is cold in here." Sven mumbled.

"Quit complaining. Do you see Eve and I doing anything? Geez…" I sighed.

"Whatever Lia. Anyways Sven, Lia and I have been helping out on every one of your sweeper jobs, where is all that money going? Do we really not have enough cash to afford a heater?" Train asked.

"It is going towards you eat like a pig and sleep for the rest of the day routine." Sven explained.

"You know Train, he does have a point." I muttered.

"Um anyways, Eve what book are you reading?" Train asked the young girl.

"The Desperate Trio: Escape From the Pits." Eve stated.

"That seems like a pretty hard book for a kid like you to be reading." Train said.

"You idiot, Eve's only reading that book to get us out of our own crap situation right now." Sven and I told him.

"Yeah, yeah. Anyways, who is our next guy?" Train asked. I showed him the poster. He snatched it away from me.

"Ha, this Igor Planter guy? I can catch him in my sleep!" Train exclaimed. I sighed.

"It sounds like another boring guy…"

"I will catch him." Eve calmly stated. We all looked at her. "If we catch him, we get a reward." Train laughed.

"You are right about that but you aren't the one getting the money. How about you leave this scumbag to me, that way you can hangout with your buddies Sven and Lia here and read your books." Train smirked.

"Don't go off running by yourself. I'm coming with you." I told Train.

"Fine whatever Lia." He sighed and I grinned.

"A challenge? We'll see who gets to him first." Eve said. We drove for another couple of miles before Sven stopped the car and we came out. There was a Desburg sign.

"One of those guys that escaped from prison lives here?" Train asked.

"That's what Annette's intel said. Her stuff is usually dead on." Sven stated.

"It is still three miles until town." Eve said.

"Three miles?! That'll take forever!" Train complained.

"And let me guess, we're out of gas…" I said mournfully.

Sven grinned. "Heh, help me push. Kalia's dead on." We all groaned before pushing the car. It took about five hours to get there. By the time we arrived, it was already the afternoon and I was pretty much out of steam myself.

"Ugh, I'm pooped." Sven groaned when we finally arrived at a restaurant in the city.

"We should hurry and catch this guy." Eve told all of us.

"Igor Planter the forest ranger? He seems like a really boring guy living a really boring life so why do we need to rush ourselves?" Train asked Eve.

"I completely agree. I just want to fill my stomach right now. And besides, we haven't even done the most difficult job of being a sweeper yet." I grumbled.

"Yeah, Kalia's right. We need to find out where he is hiding first so lets catch our breath okay?" Sven concurred.

Eve looked annoyed, "Fine I'll go get him myself." She reached for Train's sheet. Train held it back looking bored.

"I don't think so princess. You're crazy if you think you can pull this off all by yourself."

Eve look stunned, "You think I'm a princess?" We all chuckled.

"That's a good one Train." Sven laughed. I smiled at Eve's pouting. A waitress came over.

"You guys ready to order?" She asked. Sven stared at her for a while.

"Wait a minute…" He muttered. The both look at each other before both shouting out: 'Ahh!"

"You're from that place in Rockio City." Sven stated.

"And you're the one who skipped out on your bill." She smiled. Sven got up embarrassed.

"There's no need to bring up the past lady, I was in a dark place then!" He exclaimed. I saw Train grinning a bit.

"Hey, you know her?" I asked.

"Nope but I'm pretty sure Sven skipped out on his bill cause of me." He said.

"Why?" I questioned.

"Oh, you know. I was kind of assigned a mission to assassinate this guy who also happened to be Sven's bounty." He smirked.

I laughed, "It seems you and Sven have known each other for quite a while."

"Well I guess we go way back too eh?" He mentioned. It was a depressing memory but I managed a smile. I turned my attention to the waitress.

"It's been like six months, it's nice to see you again." She told Sven.

"What are you doing here?" Sven asked. She started rambling while we all ordered our food.

"Listen to me!" She called out. She looked at all of us.

"Shirt and tie, flea collar with a bell, black jacket and earrings, and a suit with an eye patch. What are you guys? Like travelling performance artists or something?" She remarked. However, after telling her that we were sweepers, she got us some food.

"These things are disgusting." Train complained at his vegetables. I just ignored him and ate my share.

"Vegetables are good for you." Eve lectured. I nodded. Train just kept eating.

"I don't get you Train. You complain about the food yet you continue shoving it down the hole under your nose." Sven stated. I noticed a lady with purple hair come in.

"Hey!" She casually said. We all looked up. "You know, I thought I'd be running into you again but not here." She looked at Train and I. I watched as she pulled Sven to another table. I could still hear their conversation though.

"What the hell is going on? Why is that assassin with you?" She asked.

Sven sighed, "Actually, make that two. And trust me, it is a really long story."

"So you hang out with two assassins everyday. How are you still alive?" She asked confused. Well, I seriously don't blame her.

"Yo waitress I'm ready for seconds bring me whatever!" Train shouted and I facepalmed as a shoe hit him on the head. I still can't believe his personality change.

"Tao users? I've never heard of such a thing." I heard Sven say. Well he was a good liar. He's obviously heard of it from Train and I because I am one too. I listened more closely.

"They're a group of revolutionists that use bizarre techniques." The girl explained. I sighed. I was definitely keeping my mouth shut this time.

"Bizarre techniques huh?" Sven asked obviously thinking of me.

"The two suspects that we are looking for are recruiting violent criminals and forcing them to drink a mysterious potion." That got my interest. I remembered the bottle I saw at the blacksmith's shop.

"Who put you up on this job?" Sven asked.

"Chronos." She replied. Sven seemed to have the same reaction as me. He spit out his coffee at the sound of that name.

"Don't worry, I didn't tell them anything about your little friend." She smiled.

"And how long have you been working for them?" Sven grumbled.

"Don't worry about it. Besides, aren't you working with them too?" She pointed at Train and I. Sven just groaned.

"Are the Taoists that much of a threat for Chronos to be concerned?" Sven asked.

"In term of strength, they match the numbers." She replied.

"How is that possible?" Sven asked. It was pretty unbelievable. For Chronos to be evenly matched…Train was having a dilemma with food so I just ignored him.

"So what are they doing here?" Sven asked.

"Six months ago, a guy in a tall top hat helped six convicts escape from prison. One of those convicts is hiding here." She explained. I got up and walked over to them.

"Say, do you happen to remember all the convict's names?" I asked.

"Yeah sure." She replied before Sven and her both turned dumb.

"You mean you were eavesdropping on us all this time?!" The both exclaimed.

"Yeah, it's a lot more interesting than listening to Train eat." I replied casually.

"Ok…good point. Anyways where are you getting Kalia?" Sven asked.

I turned to the lady, "Was one of the convicts called Ricker Crowdell?"

"How did you know?" She asked. I turned to Sven who had a face of realization.

"When we went to capture the guy, he exploded and later on when we were inspecting the house, I found a small vial. It had strange designs on it. Could that vial have contained the spirit water you were talking about?" I asked.

She looked shocked, "Do you have the vial?"

My face fell, "Um…no. It didn't feel important at the time so I just left it. Besides, it was empty."

"That is a great lead. Sven, you are so lucky you have such a smart girl on your side! Are all Chronos members this bright?" She asked.

"Sure, Kalia's really smart. I wouldn't be so sure about that guy though…" He pointed at Train.

"Train was brighter before he quit." I muttered.

The lady smiled, "Anyways, I'm Rinslet Walker. It is a pleasure to meet you." She held out her hand.

"Thanks, I'm Kalia Vanguard. Honor to meet you too." I grinned.

"Ok, I'm looking for this guy." Rinslet held out a poster of Igor Planter.

"Him?" Sven asked.

"Igor!" A voice shouted. We all turned to look. It was the waitress.

"You actually know this guy? Where can I find him?" Sven exclaimed.

"Wait a second! Are you telling me we are going after the same guy?" Rinslet asked.

"Hmm? You guys didn't know that? I thought it was pretty obvious." I asked. Sven and Rinslet just looked at me dumbfounded.

"Shut up Kalia! So where is he?" Sven asked waitress, "If you don't tell me his location, I won't be able to pay for all this food!" The waitress looked annoyed.

"Desburg Botanical Gardens" She groaned.

"Botanical Gardens?" Sven questioned.

"That's right and you better not try to stys this time mister." The waitress shouted.

"Wait, where'd Eve go?" Sven asked. I looked at her chair and she was gone. I immediately turned to Train.

"Hmm? Oh yeah! She didn't leave a note." Train realized. I facepalmed.

"God Train! How useless can you get?! She probably ran off trying to find Igor and I far as I can tell, that guy is dangerous!" I ran off after Eve. When I came out of the shop, I saw a guy in a tall top hat with a girl about my age beside him. He looked really suspicious so I followed him. They soon stopped.

"Please stop following us." The man said.

"Who are you? You don't look like someone around here." I asked. They turned around.

"Hmm…Ah! Aren't you Kalia Quitrine?" He asked, "It is really a pleasure to meet you." I stepped back.

"H-how do you know my real name?" I asked.

"That is easy. We work for the Apostles of the Stars, which is directed by Creed Diskenth himself. He desperately wants you and your boyfriend Train to join us. You are a real Taoist after all." He explained.

"How does he know all of this?" I stammered.

"Oh I do believe you know of a man named Stephen Caoji. He told us this and therefore we allowed his family and him to live." The girl smiled.

"You did what to master?" I bellowed. This was unacceptable. Creed, he knew he was killing a family of Taoists that day. He also knew that I was still alive. He purposely spared my life so I could join him.

"We told you, he is alive and well so don't worry Kalia. Our master would very much appreciate it if you came along with us today but I assume you need some consideration time? Be sure that we will meet again." The man said before walking away. I fell to my knees. So much for keeping my identity a secret. They already know everything about me and why would they want Train to join too? I got up and started walking. This new information was making my brain fuzzy and the last thing I saw was a patch of grass.

Thanks to the reviewers. I really appreciate the people that are actually reading this piece of crap. Lols. Again, so sorry for not updating in a long time.

keller75863548274483 - I have something in store for them in the next chapter! Thanks for the review!