“I don’t know how it happened, Rath. I’m supposed to be in Wetten City tonight. They are expecting luxury goods from Leipzia. They were going to pay me lots of money. Every two months, we go to Wetten and we make a great load of profit, don’t we? Are you listening? Rath! Stop shoveling slime and listen for a minute. This town isn’t our problem! Why are we being forced to labor here? We are trade specialists – the finest in goods operations. I’m supposed to be teaching you what I know. This is such nonsense. I said stop shoveling! How did we end up back in Slumelier?”
“Well, Captain, the little preach made you come back,” Rath said.
“MADE ME COME BACK?”
“Yeah, don’t you remember? He stood in front of the cart when we were just getting on the road last night, and he said in that twanging voice, ‘You, sir, did not pay your employee today. You turned you back on this town which needs your help. Your family, despite your wealth, is disappointed in you.’ I was surprised he knew your family, but then you panicked and…”
“I know what happened! He is a lucky guesser!” Leon exclaimed.
“He got you to unload all our goods into storage for a day, now we’re loading the cart up with mud and worse. Seems to me like your conversation with him convinced you.”
Leon brooded. Rath went back to pitching shovel-fulls of kaleidoscopic filth into the cart. Ozzy returned from lunch and nodded toward Rath, signaling it was his turn to eat. Rath swiped his hands against one another in excitement. Leon sat atop the cart and ignored them. He ignored Rath telling him what he was going to eat. He ignored the many people around town (all volunteers) piling and pushing the refuse into immense heaps, heaps that he was going to cart outside of the town. He ignored the distant sound of Polumet helping the children make their pile and directing people on tactics to keep the piles somewhat solid. He ignored the overcast day and desperate state of the rooftops around him. He sat and brooded on the words Polumet gave him. “Contribute to society and you will make gains. Defraud society and you will find sorrow. Today the grasshopper knows not your deeds; by winter the cricket will curse your steeds.”
Cryptic aphorisms. But Leon had heard words like these many years ago and knew their meaning.