It was a gray morning, matching Teaspoon's mood. He and his riders had come to town to get supplies and have Buck fill out some paperwork for Sam in regards to the tracking job the boy had just finished the day before. That was two hours ago. Now, instead of riding back to the station, here Teaspoon was, leaning against the side of the marshal's office, his arms crossed over his chest, studying the situation at hand. Sam was standing out front, trying his best to calm down the agitated group. It had started with only four people but the townsfolk had gathered in the street, curious as to what had happened, and now the four had turned into many. Unfortunately, the four were very outspoken and the crowd was getting restless.
"Marshal really," the thin, rat-faced man standing to Sam's right drawled, "how else could it a' happened?"
Josiah Edwards was a genuine hero of the prairie - or so he said. The man made his living fleecing people, proclaiming to be a local hero and man of the wild. He told stories about living and trapping in the mountains, his expertise in fighting with Indians, and how he'd saved many people from Indian attacks, stagecoach robberies, and other such dramas. Teaspoon didn't like Edwards and knew him for what he was, a liar.
Though normally Edwards' lies were harmless, getting a stranger to buy him a drink or food, this time was different. Teaspoon heard a grunt from beside him and glanced over his shoulder. Four of his riders were standing in the doorway, and he figured the fifth one was with his best friend, number six, who was probably still sitting in the chair beside Sam's desk.
"We shouldn't have to live with such ruffians in a law-abiding town."
Teaspoon turned to see Mabel Brewster shaking her finger at Sam, as her sister, Mavis, gave a brusque nod. The two were elderly spinsters that lived just outside of Sweetwater and had been very much against the Pony Express coming to town. Now, they felt vindicated and were telling that to anyone they could.
"We told you this enterprise would amount to no good," Mavis snapped. "Told you that having the likes of those, those…" she waved her hand towards the doorway and the riders standing there, "people here would be a disgrace on the town's good name."
"And the possibility of lawless behavior," Edwards added. He nudged the larger man beside him. "Ain't that so Tompkins?"
"We're done arguin' Cain," Tompkins bellowed. "What're ya' gonna do 'bout that Indian?"
"Now, wait," Sam said, holding his hands up. He narrowed his eyes at the four instigators as he slowly placed his hands on his hips. "You seem to think I should arrest him." As the four heads nodded vigorously, Sam grimaced and glanced back at Teaspoon.
"I don't see why since Buck did what he was s'posed to do," Teaspoon said quietly. He pushed away from the wall and walked to stand beside Sam. "Ain't that right?"
"He led the posse right to where -"
"I'm sorry Miss Mabel," Teaspoon said, bowing his head and tipping his hat to the woman, "I didn't realize you'd been on the posse."
The snorts from the doorway, and a few chuckles from the crowd, caused Mabel to flush angrily. "Mr. Hunter how dare you-"
"I mean no disrespect," Teaspoon said easily, cutting the woman's indignant rant short, "but how d'ya' know what happened?"
Sam nodded slowly. "Seems Mr. Edwards here has done some talkin' in the last day."
"I thought it was the right of these here citizens to know that an outlaw -"
"Stop right there," Sam warned.
Teaspoon saw the conflict Sam was struggling with. There were looks of concern on the faces of the townspeople, Sam's townspeople, and Teaspoon knew that Sam wanted to tell them what was going on. However, sometimes too much information could cause even more problems. But Teaspoon knew that Sam had to make this decision and when he heard the heavy, reluctant sigh, he knew Sam had decided. He was there to protect them and to do so they needed to know what was going on.
"Here's what happened," Sam said. Staring at Edwards, he added, "What really happened." With a quick glance, seeing that the crowd was listening and the four naysayers were quiet, he made it short and simple.
"The assay office was robbed three days ago, you all know that." Everyone nodded so Sam continued, "We got a group together with him as tracker," Sam jerked his head in Edwards' direction, "and headed out to find the men." Sam clenched his jaw as he thought of the type of tracking the fool had done. "We were goin' in circles for over a day so I put a stop to it and brought everyone back, cause I knew," Sam stopped and took a deep breath, "I knew we weren't gettin' anywhere so yesterday mornin' I asked Buck to help and he led us straight to the camp. The men weren't that far outside town."
"And ain't it fishy that they was so close and that Injun jus' finds 'em right off?" Edwards needled Sam, elbowing Tompkins in the side, as if to get the man to back him. The riders however weren't going to let Edwards disparage their friend.
"Why, cause he knew how to track 'em?"
"They was waitin' on another idiot. Oh was it you?"
"And that ya' don't know yer ass from a hole in the ground?"
"Boys," Teaspoon said, holding his hand up to stop anymore of their comments. He glanced back and winked at the group. "As Cody here so bluntly stated it, ya' didn't know what you were doin' and now that Buck did, there's a problem?"
"We just feel it's suspicious that he did it so quickly," Mavis said, raising her nose a notch higher. Teaspoon was sure she'd drown if it started raining.
"Um, Edwards, where is it that you've said ya' learned yer tricks?" Sam asked softly.
Teaspoon patted Sam on the arm for thinking so quickly and pursed his lips, waiting for the man to answer. Edwards was constantly bragging about being a blood brother to a Lakota chief, never giving a name of course, always saying he had to keep it a secret. But the chief had supposedly showed him all the ways of the Indians.
"What's that gotta do…why I learned that…it ain't the same thing…" Edwards blustered.
"Mr. Edwards isn't the one on trial here," Mabel stated. "I think -"
"Miss Brewster, no one is on trail," Sam cut in. "Now, Buck did what was asked and that's it. We've gotta -"
"And what happened to those outlaws?" Tompkins demanded.
Sam scratched his chin and looked at the crowd. "Seems we weren't the only ones out lookin' for these men, so they're in Blue Creek right now but -"
"And that there posse said them outlaws was waitin' fer another one and that they was lookin' for an Injun that -"
"That's enough Edwards," Sam said, his voice hard. The crowd was murmuring fretfully. Sam glared at Edwards. "Sheriff Miles knows Buck and said he wasn't -"
"Nevertheless, Marshal," Mavis interrupted, "I think the town would be safer without the likes of his kind." The murmurs grew and the four ringleaders added their very vocal protests.
This worried Teaspoon and he glanced around at the people he'd known for a while. What he saw wasn't exactly what he'd expected. There was doubt in the faces but there was also something else. As Sam tried to talk over the crowd, Teaspoon got an idea but he needed to discuss it with the marshal and the riders first before presenting it to the town as a solution. He leaned towards Sam and whispered, "I think I know what we can do but I need to talk to ya'."
Sam looked at Teaspoon thankfully. "I don't care what ya' do, jus' shut these people up."
Teaspoon grinned. "Ev'rybody, if'n I can have yer attention please." He waited until the talking died down and smiled as they all looked towards him. "If y'all would come back in about an hour, I think we can solve this predicament in a civilized way," he bowed towards the Brewster sisters, "which I believe will fall in line with this law-abidin' town."
"We'll believe it when we see it," Mabel snapped. The sisters stuck their noses up, twirled on their heels, and stormed off.
"You'd best not be playin' us Hunter," Tompkins warned and turned to follow the sisters across the street to his store, with Edwards close on his heels, like a yapping dog.
As the crowd dispersed, the boys stepped out of the doorway and joined Sam with Teaspoon.
"Ya' sure 'bout this Teaspoon?" Jimmy asked, eyeing Tompkins and Edwards standing just outside of Tompkins' store.
"I don't trust 'em," Kid mumbled.
"Neither do I son," Teaspoon said. "At least not Edwards, the others are jus' spoutin' nonsense."
"Let's go talk," Sam said, turning towards his office and indicating for everyone to follow.
The group filed inside and Teaspoon walked over to where Buck was sitting. Ike was now standing behind the chair, his hand firmly on Buck's shoulder. The Kiowa looked tense and worried, so Teaspoon smiled and patted Buck's arm.
"Son, ya' ain't got nothin' to worry 'bout," he assured his rider, "understand?"
"But Teaspoon," Buck said softly, bowing his head, "they want me gone. This is putting you all in a bad spot. I should just go, and -"
Startled by the unanimous answer, Buck looked up to see the others standing in front of him. Teaspoon watched Buck's reaction as the boy swallowed and a small smile showed on his lips.
"I guess ya' got yer answer," Teaspoon said, proudly.
*But even if we want him to stay what about the rest of the town* Ike's hands flew.
"Ike's right," Kid said, "what about the town?" Buck's smile faded.
"Yeah Teaspoon," Sam said, walking over to his desk, he pulled out his seat and lowered his tired body into the chair. "What's the plan?"
"The plan," Teaspoon said, chuckling as he pulled out one of the chairs to sit at the table, "it's kinda interestin' really."
The boys got comfortable around the room, ready for a Teaspoon story. They weren't disappointed.
"It all comes from the meanin' of the word 'ostracize.'" The boys exchanged bewildered looks.
"Uh, but ain't that what we wanna stop?" Lou asked.
Teaspoon glanced at the small boy and nodded. "Yeah it is Lou and I believe this'll help us do jus' that." He leaned back in his chair and continued, "Way back the Greeks had -"
Teaspoon frowned and looked over at the latest interruption. This time it was Jimmy and Kid. "I swear if'n y'all don't let me finish, we ain't never gonna get this done."
They all grinned but held up their hands and nodded that they wouldn't interrupt again. Teaspoon eyed each rider before he continued with his plan. "Now, as I said, the Greeks had a practice where any man entitled to vote could write another man's name on a piece a' tile, a potsherd, and place the piece in a pot. If'n enough votes were cast for a particular man, well he was banished for a period a' time." The blank looks almost had him laughing. "That potsherd was called an 'ostrakon.'" He saw that they'd caught the word and smiled. "Exactly."
"So ya' wanna banish Buck?"
Teaspoon sighed and rolled his eyes. "No Cody, I want the -"
"The town to vote," Lou finished.
Teaspoon nodded at Lou, impressed with how fast he caught on. "Right, the town basically takes a vote on whether or not the boy stays."
Buck's face fell. "I best pack now."
"Naw, don't be too sure," Teaspoon said, as he glanced over at Sam. Though the marshal's expression was skeptical, Teaspoon saw a glimmer of hope in the man's eyes. Everyone got to their feet, suddenly rejuvenated by the plan.
"Where're we gonna get enough potsherds?" Jimmy asked teasingly. The others laughed.
"I believe paper will work for the citizens of Sweetwater," Teaspoon answered.
"But what about people who can't write?"
Teaspoon eyed Lou curiously. The boy seemed much quicker than his cohorts. "Well now that's a good question, wha'd'ya' suggest?"
"Maybe markings," Lou murmured. "An 'x' for go and a circle for stay?"
"I like how ya' think," Teaspoon said. "Let's get ready."
The town gathered outside the marshal's office at the appointed time. People had passed the word along because the crowd was at least twice the size of the earlier group. Teaspoon sighed, hoping that the turnout was a good sign; and that they were ready; and that he'd read the situation correctly. And a myriad of other things he couldn't control. They'd set up a box in Sam's office and got scraps of paper for people to mark. Looking around, Teaspoon waited until the stragglers got closer.
"So, the reason I asked y'all to come back is, I believe we've got a way to settle this situation, amicably," Teaspoon explained, smiling indulgently at the Brewster sisters. The women refused to look at him. "My riders," Teaspoon pointed towards the boys, "are handin' out small pieces of paper. Y'all are gonna use these to vote."
"Vote?" The word floated through the crowd.
"Yes vote," Sam echoed. "We've figured that the best way to solve this, since no law was broken, is to have the town decide Buck's fate. Stay or go."
Everyone suddenly grew silent, people glancing at each other uncertainly. A deep voice from the crowd asked, "Wha'd'ya' mean Marshal?"
"Is this a trick?" Mavis demanded.
"No trick," Sam said. "And I mean jus' what I said. If ya' want Buck to stay, make a circle," he held up a paper that had a neat, round 'O' on it, "and if ya' want him to go," he changed hands and held up the 'X,' "make an 'X.'" He then held up both papers. "It's that simple."
"We have a box inside," Teaspoon said, pointing over his shoulder, "so when yer done, jus' come by and drop it in. You've got 'til sundown and then we'll count the -"
"Excuse me," Mabel said sharply, "you will be counting the votes?"
"Oh, not jus' me," Teaspoon said, "we figured y'all would wanna be there." Mabel's mouth snapped shut and she clenched her jaw. Teaspoon knew the sisters were not pleased with how this was being handled, letting the town actually decide for themselves, but this needed to happen. He looked around at the townsfolk. "I hope you understand the importance and seriousness of this situation."
"Um, when do we start?"
Teaspoon turned to see Wade Tanner standing with his paper clutched in his hand. Buck and Kid had helped Wade deal with a wolf that was causing problems on his small farm. Teaspoon stood aside so Wade could walk into the jail but was stopped by a hand gripping his arm.
"Not until we've looked at this!" Mable stormed into the office, followed closely by Mavis, then Tompkins and Edwards, who was grinning broadly.
"Be my guest," Sam said, as he stood next to the doorway, looking over at Teaspoon. The two men shared a sly grin and followed.
The box was centered on the table, nothing else around it. There was a slot in the top, which was hinged to open and close. The latch was closed but the sisters were poking and prodding at it to, if Teaspoon had to guess, make sure there weren't any tricks. They opened it to see the box was completely empty.
"Well?" Sam leaned casually against his desk waiting for the approval. Buck still sat in the same chair, staring at the wall. Teaspoon felt for the boy and sent up a silent prayer that this would go the way he planned.
"Humph," Mabel grunted but nodded.
"I suppose this will do," Mavis said, dismissively.
Teaspoon watched as the Brewsters eyed Tompkins and Edwards, and saw the not-so subtle smiles. "I s'pose then y'all can jus' make yerselves comfy."
"We will be staying," Mavis said, pulling out a chair as Mabel did the same. The two women cast a steely glare at Buck before turning back to the box.
"Go ahead and vote Wade," Sam said. Mr. Tanner glanced around the room and swallowed nervously.
"I know votin' is normally a private matter," the elderly man said, hesitantly, "but I jus' want y'all to know that," he opened his paper and there was an uneven circle in the middle. "Well, ya' got my vote Buck." He stuck the paper into the hole and let it drop through, then walked over to Buck and held out his hand. Teaspoon grinned as Buck gratefully shook the man's hand.
"Thank you Mr. Tanner," Buck said softly, a slight blush coloring his cheeks.
"I got a store to run," Tompkins barked, grabbing a piece of paper and pulling a pencil from his apron, "but here's my vote." He drew a large 'X' in the middle of the paper and, imitating Mr. Tanner, held it up for everyone to see. The boys had just walked into the room. Smiling, he folded the paper and pushed it down into the slot. "Have a nice day." He laughed and walked out the door. Mr. Tanner shook his head and followed.
"He's the biggest as -"
"Um, Jimmy," Teaspoon quickly said, "how 'bout y'all take Buck elsewhere?"
"Teaspoon," Buck said quietly, "if it's all the same, I'd rather stay." The boys grabbed chairs or sat on the floor around their friend and glared defiantly at the Brewsters and Edwards.
Teaspoon nodded but sighed inwardly. This was going to be a long day.
It had been busier than Teaspoon had even imagined. He could have sworn every single person that lived in or around Sweetwater had walked through Sam's office.
"How much longer?"
Teaspoon looked up to see Emma standing by his chair; she placed her hand on his shoulder. He'd sent Lou and Ike to get her, knowing Emma would be furious if she wasn't there to support Buck. "Oh not much," he said, patting Emma's hand. "I'd say we're -"
"I believe it is time to count," Mabel announced with Mavis nodding vigorously. "Here's Mr. Tompkins now."
Tompkins walked through the door and immediately barked, "Let's get this fool thing over with and get that Indian outta here."
"Don't be so sure," Sam said softly, as he stood. He walked over to the table. "How do we wanna do this?"
The tension was strong and Teaspoon shared a solemn look with Sam. Both men glanced heavenward, sending up another plea for a positive outcome. The four complainants were on one side of the table, facing Sam, Teaspoon, and Emma. The boys stayed in the protective circle they'd made around Buck. Teaspoon wondered if they realized what they'd done and the corner of his mouth twitched with pride. The groups eyed each other suspiciously.
"Well," Emma said, breaking the strained silence, "since Sam is the marshal, I say he opens the box and removes the votes," she didn't try to hide the disdain she had for this situation, "and -"
"How do we know he will count correctly?" Mavis snipped. Teaspoon rubbed his mouth to hide the delighted smile that was trying to appear and watched the fire appear in Emma's eyes. Mavis had strayed into the badlands.
"If I could finish," Emma said, each word clipped, "and as he removes the votes, you mark off the count and we'll mark off the count. That way, we'll each be countin'." Her eyes bored into Mavis and Mabel. "Fair enough for ya'?"
The two sisters cleared their throats and fidgeted. "That's fine," Mabel answered quietly.
Sam sat at the head of the table, the box in front of him. Mavis and Mabel sat on Sam's right, with Edwards and Tompkins hovering over them. Emma and Teaspoon were to Sam's left. Sam looked from one side to the other and taking a deep breath, opened the box. He withdrew a few pieces of paper, opening those that were folded. Immediately Teaspoon saw Sam's face pale.
"Um, okay so," Sam fumbled. He placed three face-up and each had an 'X.' Opening several more, all had X's marked prominently in the middle of the paper.
"That's seven for him to go," Mavis announced, louder than the small room needed. "Isn't that correct?" She met Teaspoon's eyes and he saw the look of triumph. Never in his entire life had he wanted to smack a woman more than at that moment.
"Seems this here idea weren't so bad, Hunter," Edwards mocked. "Ain't that right?" He nudged Tompkins, who remained quiet but wore a superior grin.
"And it ain't over yet, is it?" Teaspoon responded. "And there's still a lot more pieces of paper in there." He winked at the Brewsters who snorted in return.
And so the process continued. Sam pulling out a handful of ballots, opening them up for both sides to see so the tallies could be made. It started badly, getting as high as thirty for Buck to go, and only three to stay. But somewhere a shift happened, and soon the count changed.
"The final ballot," Sam announced happily. He held it up and there in the middle of the paper was a circle leaning slightly to the right. He slammed the lid down making the Brewster sisters jump in their seats.
"Let's see," Emma said, quickly reviewing her count, "I have two hundred seventy-four votin' for Buck to stay…an' thirty-two for him to go." She smiled impishly. "That what you ladies have?"
Mabel and Mavis exchanged an embarrassed glance and nodded curtly.
"Then I believe we are done here," Sam stated. He stood and walked over to the door. "You folks have a nice day." There wasn't any other way to read his intentions - he wanted them out of his office.
The boys were immediately on their feet, thanking Tompkins, the Brewster sisters, and Edwards for helping count the ballots.
"Glad we could spend this time together," Cody joked as he slapped Tompkins on the back.
"Edwards," Jimmy drawled, flanking the man with Kid, "perhaps the Brewsters could hire ya' to track those missin' votes." Kid was practically pushing Edwards out the door.
"Go have a drink," Kid spat and dug into his pocket for a coin. Flipping it into the air, he barked, "On me." The group was laughing loudly now.
"Ladies," Lou said, bowing low. "It's been a right pleasure." This put the boys over the edge and all were laughing hysterically as the women rushed out the door.
Teaspoon couldn't help himself, and laughed right along with them. He looked over and saw that Buck was still sitting quietly, watching the entire scene, wearing a neutral, but relaxed, expression. The boy met Teaspoon's eyes and smiled, giving Teaspoon a feeling of such satisfaction.
"Teaspoon how d'ya' know?" Kid asked after the laughter calmed.
"Yeah, these people certainly ain't known for their hospitality towards any a' us," Cody added.
"Jus' a soon turn their back 'an look at us," Jimmy said, scowling.
"I'm wonderin' that myself," Sam said. He looked much more relaxed with his boots propped up on his desk as he leaned back in his chair. Emma sat in a chair beside him, her hand in his.
"Well," Teaspoon said as he sat in the chair he'd vacated earlier. He glanced at Buck. "It's a matter of envy."
A second of silent shock was intruded on by a wave of doubts.
"Ya' can't be serious."
"Envy? I like Buck but…envy?"
Buck still didn't say a word but he wore a skeptical expression, one eyebrow quirked.
"Alright, alright," Teaspoon said, holding his hand in the air for quiet. "If'n y'all would sit and listen." Finally they all settled down, the other boys finding chairs to sit in and turned their attention to their stationmaster.
"Yes, envy." Teaspoon clasped his hands over his stomach and leaned back. "Buck has never turned away from helpin' these people even if they treat him like dirt." He glanced over at the Kiowa. "He's never refused to help Sam track or deputyin'. He ain't never balked at helpin' with any chores that these people have asked me to get y'all to do." He eyed the boys and grinned. "This is why I've always accepted and made y'all go."
"I jus' thought ya' wanted to kill us," Jimmy grumbled. Everyone laughed, including Teaspoon.
"Naw, Jimmy that ain't it," Teaspoon said. "Buck has proven to these people that he's a better man than they are and they know it. Even if they treat him in the worst way, Buck rises above all that and shows them how wrong they are without rubbin' it in their faces. These people, though not in words, decided to show Buck how much they appreciated that fact."
"I'm jus' glad they had sense," Emma said, reaching over to pat Buck on the leg. The boy ducked his head bashfully and grinned.
As they talked about the town, discussing how the different people could have voted, Teaspoon noticed that Lou had been quiet during this and was deep in thought. "Lou?"
Teaspoon smiled, seeing that he'd startled the boy. "You got somethin' to say?"
Lou looked around, blushing slightly, and said, "I jus' wanted to know more about the Greeks, how ya' thought of all this." He suddenly found a loose thread on his shirt very interesting.
"Yeah," Cody said, his brow furrowed. "I don't get how banishin' someone can be a good thing."
"Makin' someone leave don't seem right," Kid agreed. "Leavin' ev'rythin' for good."
"That's just it," Teaspoon said, pleased that his boys wanted to learn. "It weren't for good. This was really used as a political tactic."
"Political?" Buck said. "How so?"
*Keep people from getting too much power* Ike suggested.
"Very good Ike," Teaspoon said. "He's right, this did keep many from gettin' too much power. But it did get rid of the bad too."
"So what's it gotta do with envy?" Jimmy asked.
"Well son, any grudge or whim could get a person's name written right quick, and then they were gone," Teaspoon explained. "There's a story 'bout that. A man called Aristides the Just," he nodded as the boys snickered. "I can't rightly comment on the man's name since I'm Aloysius." He laughed as the boys joined him. But quickly they quieted down again, wanting to hear what Teaspoon had to say. "So, this man's named for his high moral qualities. But these here qualities are why he had his name on the shards.
"He saw another fella writin' his name, someone he didn't know, so he went up and asked. 'Who is this Aristides? Why would ya' want him gone?'" Teaspoon looked around the quiet room, pleased with how his audience waited in anticipation. "Well, this fella said that Aristides hadn't done nothin' wrong but that he was always hearin' 'bout how wonderful and noble he was and it jus' sets him wrong."
"Ya' said they'd be banished but not for good," Lou said.
"Right," Teaspoon said. "It was for a period a' ten years and ev'rythin' they owned was left 'til they returned."
"I can't imagine leavin' my friends and family for ten years," Kid said softly. "Even if my stuff was still there."
Teaspoon saw the knowing look that crossed between Kid and Lou. 'Those two are gettin' as close as Buck n' Ike.' There were fleeting signs in the other boys' eyes, but the shadow that crossed Buck's eyes gave Teaspoon pause. He wondered what atrocities the boy had had to deal with in his short life, this latest most likely in a long line of hate.
Sighing inwardly, he watched his little family, deep in their own thoughts. All the boys seemed to have overcome some difficulties along their path to the Express, and because of this, Teaspoon was pleased with how they'd come together to protect one of their own. A noise at the door brought everyone out of their quiet musings.
"Um, Marshal?" It was Wade Tanner and Philip Baxter, the owner of the restaurant.
"What can I do for you men?"
"Well, we just wanted to know how it came out," Mr. Baxter said, softly.
"Hopefully, like we voted," Mr. Tanner added and Mr. Baxter smiled.
"He's stayin'," Sam replied, setting his feet on the floor. He stood and stretched. It had been a long, stressful day but at least it had turned out good.
"Wonderful," Mr. Baxter said, clapping his hands together. Mr. Tanner walked over and shook Buck's hand once more.
"Well now," Teaspoon said, pushing himself out of his chair. "I don't know 'bout ev'rybody else but I'm a might hungry. And," he grinned at Emma, "I don't think I can wait 'til we get home."
"I think the restaurant is an excellent idea," Emma said, taking Sam's hand as he helped her to stand.
"I'll get a table ready for your group," Mr. Baxter said, hurrying out the door. Mr. Tanner tipped his hat and followed.
Immediately, the boys all jumped up, laughing and talking at once. As they ran out the door, Teaspoon smiled. Sam and Emma walked up beside him.
"Interestin' what ya' can learn in a day, ain't it?" Sam said, slapping Teaspoon on the back.
"Maybe ya' want to study those Greeks a bit more," Teaspoon teased. Emma laughed as Sam rolled his eyes. The three strolled happily across the street to join the riders in a celebratory meal, thankful their family was still whole.