They had been taken straight to the village inside an armored carriage, used for transporting criminals to the prisons after trial. Inside the carriage were two small cages, in which the brothers had been shoved. Shackles hung from the ceiling.
The carriage was pulled by two white horses, which clopped through the gates of Marbaden - which turned out to be a small, grubby German village - taking the carriage to the Town square before coming to a halt.
Inside his cage, Gerard was tapping his chin thoughtfully. He figured they'd got off lightly, all things considered. He much preferred going to a Village and saving some children (women loved a hero after all) than watching his two best friends getting eaten alive by snails.
Mikey on the other hand was clearly pissed off, and had sat with his back to his cage door - and Gerard - without saying a word for the whole journey, no matter how much Gerard had begged for him to speak. He didnt understand what was annoying him so much anyway, it wasn’t Gerard’s fault if they'd been arrested by the French for conning a few people.
Mikey had fallen asleep sometime during the journey, and didnt notice when the Carriage door was pulled open. Gerard watched with disgust as an old, ugly French man leaned into the carriage and began fiddling with the lock on Mikeys cage.
"Rock a bye baby on Ze tree top." He crooned, spit hanging from his yellow teeth as he pulled Mikeys cage door open. The youngest Way tumbled out of his cage and smacked his head into the bars on Gerard’s, he hissed in pain and sluggishly rubbed his eyes as the French man pulled him out of the carriage to tend to the lock on Gerard’s cage.
"Ven ze vind blows ze cradle vill rock..." He continued, in such an ominous tone that it made Gerard’s skin crawl. The old man laughed when he saw the look of disgust on Gerard’s face, and continued to cackle as he yanked him out of the carriage to stand beside Mikey on the muddy floor of the Towns square.
Gerard blinked in the dull sunlight and took in his surroundings with a grimace. Marbaden was another filthy village, so small that one could walk the entire length of it in five minutes. The houses were small and wooden, coated in dirt and grime, no doubt filled with equally as dirty peasants. The grandest building was the church, and that too looked as if it had seen better days. The windows were plain glass, and the wood was splintering and coated in mud.
It reminded Gerard a lot of his home town, and he detested it.
Ray, the curly haired French man who had captured them in the first place, was stood some distance away, grinning evilly at an innocent white goat stood beside the Towns well, chewing on some old hay. Ray took a deep breath, as if savoring the air before turning to stride back towards the carriage.
"Lieutenant keepa your eyes open." He demanded, his cape fluttering behind him as he walked. "Sergeant - they're mine." He snapped, grabbing the two brothers by the scruff of their necks and shoving them forward.
"You go and sell the oil of snakery." He smirked, before pushing them out of his grip and watching them stumble up the dirt road, Mikey clutching the base of his back as he gingerly straightened up.
Both brothers walked slowly, groaning as they went like old men. Gerard strode ahead of Mikey, and looked around, only now noticing that there were no people to be seen. He frowned and held up his hands in a symbol of friendship.
"Good people of -” He stopped and bent down, clutching his knees as he breathed out with a groan. "It’s been a long trip." He grumbled, before straightening up again and wandering about the town. "Good people of Marbaden... Hello, anyone there?" He called, Mikey trailing along behind him as he stretched his arms above his head, swaying from side to side to loosen his joints - succeeding in looking like he was giving some strange kind of dance.
"Anybody there!?" Gerard called again, looking around for any sign of life and receiving none. "Say brother - why don’t you take a look around and make sure there’s no French soldiers anywhere. We wouldn’t want to run into any French." He called to Mikey, walking ahead as Mikey stumbled somewhat sleepily about the road, going up to a house and peering at it, jumping when the window was thrown open and the barrel of a shot gun aimed at his head.
"Agh...err... morning. Good morning." He said quickly, giving the best smile he could muster after such a rude awakening, almost slipping on a particularly wet patch of mud as he stumbled back to Gerard.
"Err Gee - Whoa, morning!" He cried as another window was opened and second shot gun pointed at his head. Gerard turned and stared in surprise at the gun, walking backward until he hit Mikey, the brothers walking in circles back to back as the Towns people began to exit their houses, surrounding the brothers and each one carrying a gun. Gerard watched them all with wide eyes as Mikey muttered 'Hello's and 'good mornings.
"Who are you?" One villager demanded softly as the brothers glanced about like cornered animals.
"Err..." Mikey stuttered and Gerard quickly regained his composure. He held up a hand to silence Mikey and straightened his back, resuming his usual cocky arrogance and gave his best smile.
"Way. One Y. The Brothers Way." He said proudly. The Villagers made no move to lower their weapons and Gerard looked over his shoulder at Mikey. "I don’t think they know who we are." He whispered.
"Stand aside Gregor!" A voice suddenly called and the brothers turned to watch as an old man, missing a leg, swung his way over to them on crutches. "I'll handle this." He declared, squinting through one eye as he hopped through the mud. He had a long grey beard and black trench coat - Gerard grinned as if he had just seen God himself.
"What’s your business here?" The old man asked, his voice cracking from old age. Gerard kept up his white toothed grin as he answered, as brightly as if declaring it was a beautiful day.
"We're here to save your land from evil enchantments." This statement was meant with a mixture of chuckles and groans, an old woman’s cackle rising above it all.
"Too late! The old ways have returned!" She squawked before continuing to cackle, a purple tongue poking out between her toothless gums. Gerard nodded his head repeatedly as he grinned at her, before turning away with a look of disgust and muttering 'okay, you have a nice day'.
"W - Well, we're from Hanua. From Frankfurt." Mikey said nervously, gesturing at himself and Gerard. "We're here to help with the missing children." He explained and the same old lady cackled again.
"They're all doomed!" She cried with a grin and the one legged man waved an arm at her angrily.
"Hold your tongue you old witch or you'll get a second dunking!" He snarled. Gerard glanced over his shoulder with a look of disdain and Mikey pushed his glasses up his nose with a queasy feeling in his stomach.
"Right..." He mumbled, wondering if perhaps watching Frank and Bob get eaten by snails hadn’t been the better option after all. Just as he was pondering this a young child in dungarees and a flat cap raced out of one of the nearby houses - just as they were about to reach the brothers a man seized their arm and pulled them back.
"Stay back child!" He cried, but the child tried to shake him off.
"It’s alright. They're the brothers Way! People talk about them in Malsberg. They're famous." Gerard suddenly resumed his place by Mikey, grinning broadly once again.
"Right you are son. The famous Brothers Way - look at this strapping young lad." He beamed, gesturing at the child. The man holding the kid back glared at Gerard and wrapped an arm possessively over the child’s shoulders.
"She is my daughter." He snarled, causing Mikey to roll his eyes at Gerard whose grin only faltered for a second.
"Oh... and a fine wife he'll make some lucky man." He declared, grinning as widely as ever.
"They kill trolls and giants papa!" The girl cried and Gerard nodded.
"That’s right, we do darling." He smirked. "Me, Mikey... The team." He gestured vaguely at the French men still stood around the carriage. One of them gave a small wave and the man Ray spat at the floor.
"Team Way. At your service." Gerard said brightly.
The village had congregated to the church once it was decided the Brothers and their 'team' could be trusted. Mikey was sat in the corner, scribbling down the words of a boy named Hans as he explained to the village what had happened that morning while he and his sister were in the woods.
"We were trying to find and rescue the others. Gretta was afraid because she believed there really was a witch in the ginger bread cottage. Then birds stole our trail of crumbs. It was a trap - the forest made it." The boy sniffed and wiped at his eyes.
"Yes -the forest took my daughter too." A woman called.
"And mine!" Cried another.
"And mine!" Women all through the church all began shouting up over one another as Gerard looked about at them all.
"Ten girls in all are missing." Shouted a man and the old man with the one leg spoke up from his spot by the doors.
"The trees themselves set upon her. Up and snatched her away. All they left was her little red riding cape." The man said in a soft tone as a woman stood up, holding the red cape in question, though it had not belonged to Grettle.
"Like a wolf... and then when my daughter ran, it took flight - do you understand? It flew!" She cried, sounding somewhat hysterical. Mikey spared her a small glance before continuing to write in his book. Gerard began mumbling key points of the story back to Mikey, rubbing his hands together.
"It’s expensive." He whispered and Mikey hushed him as an old woman spoke up.
"Our people always knew that the forest was enchanted. But it’s never turned against us." She said sadly and an old man beside her scoffed.
"Until the French occupation!" Another man snarled, banging his fist down on the back of a pew. This statement caused the entire room of people to begin yelling and waving their fists, shouting out about the French. Mikey gave Gerard a pleading look before continuing his writing and Gerard bit his lip, picking up a small metal rod that lay on a table and standing up at the alter, tapping the rod against the ornamental cross to try and get the peoples attention. It took a moment, but eventually the noise quieted down and every one turned to face him.
"Good citizens... you have nothing further to fear. The Brothers Way are with you now. Your salvation is at hand." He said majestically before his cheesy grin returned. "Now. We need a guide. Some one who knows the forest." Everyone instantly began to grumble and shake their heads, causing Gerard to frown. He knew they were frightened but it was all just a load of hocus pocus, and they couldn’t expect help if they wouldn’t give them a guide.
"There is one..." A man muttered and everyone turned to stare at him.
"Who? Who?" They cried and he rose to his feet, pointing a shaking finger out the church doors.
"The trapper!" He spat and the people gasped. The crazy lady from before cackled again and rested a hand on Rays shoulder who gave her an uneasy look.
"The cursed one." She laughed, spitting on the floor and the priest quickly crossed himself. The other villagers quickly spat on the floor too and Gerard rolled his eyes, shaking his head as Mikey looked about nervously.
"Perfect..." He grumbled, before slamming his book shut.
A/N: Meh… sorry this chapter isn’t very long. But I just wanted to quickly add to it before getting some of my college work done.
Hope it’s still enough though guys.