Rocky and Colt exchanged a look; that didn’t sound like good news. They both straightened up as their grandfather came outside, while Tum moved to sit between them. No matter the outcome, they would show a united front and take the punishment dictated.
As it turned out, Grandpa was more concerned and angry over the scene he had walked in on of the three boys in the center of an adoring crowd, praising them for fighting. The resulting lecture was a mix of warning – “You’re getting too cocky!”- mild threat – “maybe I should stop giving you ninja lessons…” – and obscure lesson – “listen to the sound of the flowers blooming. Only then will you be able to walk the correct path.” Overall though, they had gotten off fairly easy, though Colt was still a bit irritated at the overreactions.
Grandpa hadn’t even given him a chance to explain why he was fighting! He hadn’t been thinking about wanting to ‘play hero’, as the older man assumed; at least not for a bunch of strangers. They had actually gotten in the way of the teen’s original goal – to talk to the pretty Native American girl from the protests who had been the catalyst for this whole mess in the first place. What did he care about a bunch of adults who were intimidated by three lunkhead cowboys?
Colt sighed heavily, doling out a series of punches and kicks to the well worn practice dummy. Mori had set practice tasks for them to do, instead of allowing them to enjoy the rest of the day of freedom and starting their training in the morning. His brothers were at the target range, practicing with the throwing stars.
“Still thinking about earlier?” Rocky’s familiar voice sounded from behind him, as he and Tum walked over.
“It’s not fair, Rock!” The words burst out of him again, rife with frustration. “I wasn’t trying to be a hero, or doing it for attention! I was just doing the right thing, when no one else would!” Why didn’t anyone understand that?
“Shh!” Rocky warned, glancing towards the cabin. “It’s okay, Colt. I told you I get it. Grandpa’s wrong about this one.” That surprised Colt into silence; Rocky usually believed that their grandpa could do no wrong. “But this isn’t a battle that we can win. So we go clean up our mess, because if the manager was too scared to say anything to those guys about harassing that girl in the first place, then they sure as heck aren’t going to blame them for destroying the parlor or dare to ask them to clean up their mess and pay for the damages.” He pointed out logically. “And we’ll just try to keep any other confrontations under the radar. Okay?”
His brothers exchanged a considering look. Rocky knew full well that they had heard what he didn’t say – he was on their side, come any future dust ups with those goons or anyone else, which they knew was a near certainty. The small town of Azureheart was populated by under 5,000 people, and bracketed by the Indian reservation and land fill on one side, and a two lane high way that was a meandering hour and a half to the next major city on the other. Doty’s Pizza Parlor was a popular hangout for adults and kids alike, especially since they served beer during the day. Now that the boys were older, Mori had relented enough to allow them to ride their bikes into town after training, so it was inevitable that there would be another confrontation. Plus, trouble just managed to find them, especially when a cute girl was involved.