The Brusher…

THE BRUSHER

As always, the Muse of Mischief arrived at the foot of the stairs and was announced by the palace guards. Emperor Bartala was waiting for her. He had a concerned look, almost nervous.

“Quickly M, come inside.” he said whisking her through the front entrance of the palace. She followed Bartala down a hallway and palace guards followed them. That was highly unusual, there was virtually no crime on Ploosnar and palace guards did not usually follow the Emperor around his palace. Outside of it yes but not inside.

Rather than one of the usual grand sitting rooms, Bartala led her to his small sitting room deep within the palace, one of his private rooms. Once the Muse of Mischief entered the room he closed the door and the guards took their station outside. Bartala’s rooms are very masculine, the lower half of the walls paneled in a dark, exotic looking wood. The upper half of the walls painted a burgundy color. The main furniture consists of two large sofas that face each other over a glass topped coffee table.

“What’s wrong Bartala is Nalau ok?” M asked.

“Yes, she is fine, she is unhappy with me, but she is fine. I am worried about you, you and Brzko.” he said taking a seat and motioning for her to be seated on the sofa opposite his.

“An unidentified ship entered our orbit yesterday. They did not respond to our communications, when approached by our defensive squadron they left quickly. This has happened before, nefarious individuals end up here, realize where they are, and leave.” he said.

“Sure, it happens all over. But what does that have to do with me and Brzko?”

“One of the other security reports of yesterday described an individual who was stopping Ploosnarians on the street and asking them if they knew you or Brzko. Sometimes this individual used your names, sometimes only a description. Knowing that you are dear friends of mine that often stay in the palace, someone alerted the palace guards. They were not able to locate this individual, but they did obtain a description, and an image from security cameras.” Bartala said.

“So who was it?” M asked as Bartala took his tablet from his jacket pocket and unrolled it. He turned the screen so the Muse of Mischief could see it. She was looking at a short video clip playing in a loop. The individual in the clip was about the same build as Brzko, he had a long jagged scar running down his right cheek, and also his right forearm. He looked like countless other humanoids, except he was brushing his hair. He had extremely short black hair, and in his right hand he held a small soft bristled brush with no handle. He continually ran the brush over his head, front to back, front to back, front to back.

“The Brusher!” M exclaimed. “I expected his incarceration to last longer, after all the trouble he caused on Cazoova. But I’m not surprised that he came looking for me.”

“You apprehended him, and he wants revenge. He’s dangerous so I’ve taken the liberty of contacting Zri. You need protection.” Bartala said.

The Muse of Mischief waved her hand and made a dismissive shrug, “I kicked his ass once, and I’ll do it again. I might be female, but I’m not feeble.”

It took just a second for Bartala to realize what she had said. He let out an enormous laugh, and stomped his feet. So loud in fact, that a palace guard opened the door and stuck his head in. “Emperor? Is everything OK?”

“Yes, yes, yes. The Muse of Mischief just cracks me up! Please alert us when Zri arrives from Gaznzul.”

“As you wish Emperor.” the guard said and closed the door.

“You’ve never told me what happened with the Brusher. I just know that you apprehended him alone on Cazoova and turned him over to the Gaznzulians.”

“Pour me a shot of nekmid and I’ll tell you the story.” M said playfully.