Admiring the scenery took but a moment as the boys rushed towards the direction of the room Eason was in. Beneath them was room number six. Leaning over the edge of the wall, they could see a balcony below them, and could hear voices from inside the room.
“Mr. Inktop, please hold still,” Eason said.
“I can’t help it! That’s cold!” Mr. Inktop said.
“If you keep jumping around, I won’t be able to hear your heartbeat. Now, sit!” Eason, truly a lupus at heart, growled with his last words. A small huff was heard from Mr. Inktop as he sat down.
“How has your wife been doing?” Eason asked casually. The sounds of Eason moving around Mr. Inktop made their way up to the boys.
“She’s been sick with the boy again. Another flu struck him. My poor boy just hasn’t got much defense. And here I am, stuck working all the time.”
“He’s still young though, right? What did the doctor say?”
“That it’s going to make him stronger later on. She said that he hasn’t been getting sick too often to be a real problem. He’s just catching things constantly. She said that later on in life he’d probably get sick much less, but I don’t know. Eason, is it normal?”
“Probably. I don’t know if it’s relevant, but I do always hear from my older patients the complaint that they never got sick when they were younger, and once they hit mid-life things just start hitting them one after another.”
“Oh, so it’s the opposite of my, ah! Cold! Didn’t that warm up already?”
“New one, for your lungs. Breath in deeply.”
The examination went on for a while. The three boys on the rooftop paid attention to every mundane detail of the conversation between the men, to see what they might glean. Unfortunately, the conversation was rather bland and uninteresting. The only exciting parts were when Mr. Inktop made a new sound of surprise each time Eason did a different test.
“Well, I’ll give you a passing grade today,” Eason said. “I want you to keep paying attention to your knees; keep applying this balm daily. And no jumping. But I’m sure you wouldn’t do that anyways.” A deep laugh was heard from Mr. Inktop. Hearing the depth of the laugh impressed upon the boys that Mr. Inktop was probably a large man. He didn’t have an accent of any kind, so it was also difficult to tell what race he was. Of course, that meant that he probably didn’t have fangs like a lupus; the sound of a fanged speaker is just slightly different than the clarity that a human spoke with. Kelin guessed that Mr. Inktop was probably either a human or a swine. It was more likely that he was a swine, because humans rarely had non-human doctors.
“Great. Well, thank you, as always, Eason. It has been a real pleasure, as always,” Mr. Inktop said with a hint of sarcasm.
“Yes. I do look forward to our next prodding,” Eason replied.
“Thank you so much. I’ll try to lose those few pounds.”
“Yes, you do that. It’ll make my job easier.”
There was a silence. Neither person seemed to be moving inside the room. No door opened. Nothing shut behind Eason as he left. He had not left.
“Are we forgetting anything?” Mr. Inktop asked cautiously.
“Oh dear, yes, I seemed to have overlooked that, right,” Mr. Inktop said sadly. His attempt to get a free appointment with Eason had failed. It seemed to the boys that this was a common occurrence between these two; that was part of their chemistry. “Here it is. I hope you enjoy them. I added a few oddities from my private collection. The worth should be correct. But really, do you need such a high payment? I’m sure you make good money from your usual business?”
“You underestimate me,” Eason said with a pleasant tone. He didn’t explain any further.
“You’re a greedy doctor. Trustworthy, but I’ll sooner lose an arm before you save one!” Mr. Inktop spoke firmly, but he didn’t sound angry in the least.
“I’m sure your confidence in me will be repaid in full, one day. After all, I doubt you could trust anyone else. As such, a payment of my choosing is all too reasonable. Now if you’ll just excuse me for a moment. I’ll just place this here while I clean up in the washroom.”
A hand stretched out into the balcony. It was holding a wicker basket filled with items. Golden necklaces, polished stones, blocks of fine cheese, small toys, and many other items filled the basket. Some appeared very valuable, and others looked ridiculously worthless. They were all neatly arranged in the basket. Eason could be heard packing up his supplies and walking out of the room. The door shut behind him. Mr. Inktop walked into another room, and slammed the door shut behind him.
“Va’il, your bag,” Kelin said. As instructed, Va’il handed the bag he was carrying over to Kelin. Kelin pulled out three items that soon became one.
The hook of the fishing rod soon caught something in the basket below. A wide grin appeared on Kelin’s face. Pete and Va’il stood back quietly; though they objected to what Kelin was doing, they didn’t have the courage to stop him. Nor did they have the ability.
“Are you sure we should be doing this?” Va’il asked.
“It’ll be fine,” Kelin replied.
“But, you’re stealing from him,” Pete said.
“He stole from us first,” Kelin said with anger in his voice.
Va’il decided not to object to Kelin’s reasoning. Mai’ou was still Va’il’s; nothing had changed. But the risk of her being taken by this strange and despicable man wasn’t one he wanted to take. Therefore, he could at least go along with Kelin’s fervent desires. Kelin had finished pulling up the line.
“What’s that?” Va’il asked.
“A flute of some kind.” Pete said while crossing his eyes at the strange object.
“Why isn’t it straight?” Va’il asked.
“It’s because nobles are like that. They make strange objects and call them art,” Kelin said. Pete and Va’il, who were now over their moral objections due to the strange nature of the bent flute in front of them, awed in unison at the object. No matter how they looked at it, the idea that something so bent and twisted was really a flute was fantastic. Kelin tossed the object into his own bag. He handed back Va’il’s bag, into which Va’il placed the disassembled fishing rod. Va’il sighed lightly as the only bounty the rod had ever caught was a strange flute.
The opening and closing of a door was heard. The boys went back to looking down at the balcony. Eason arrived again, picked up the basket, and then walked out of the room again. Judging by the sounds below, it did not appear that Eason was bothered by the missing contents, nor even noticed. Mr. Inktop was still in the other room; no one would tell Eason what valuable treasure had just been plundered from him.