A story about yak ice cream (WIP)

A boy wants ice cream. But there are obstacles in his way. Can he overcome them to be able to acquire the treat?

Inspired by Capcom's Spirit of Justice. Highly recommended for any fans of mystery, fantasy political drama and those enjoying settings that are a mixture of timeless fairy tale queendoms and small modern day countries undergoing political upheaval.


– Part 1 –

A bell rang in the distance. Nothing special, the boy thought. Bells rang all the time in this town. Doors, carts, merchants all had them, and none were alike. Not to mention the royal princess, or now queen. Well, not really queen, officially she was president, but she is surrounded with so much pomp and ritual everyone calls her a queen anyway. Anyway, he returned to sweeping the floor of the law firm, the first one that had opened after the ban of them had been lifted following some... tumultous events.

A lot of dust was still covering all kinds of surfaces, evidence of decades of abandonment during the time when practicing law was illegal. Trying to get everything clean just ended up resulting in sending the dust dancing through the air to land, and even with a facemask on, he had to sneeze a lot, making it fly even further. The room clearly needed some fresh air. Perhaps a better broom, too.

And so he walked to the door and steped outside, taking a deep breath. And as he heard a lot of commotion, he wondered aloud:

"What's going on?"

Among the scents of the busy market street there were now unfamiliar milky-fruity ones. And as the same bell was ringing again, he could finally see what it belonged to. A white cart drawn by a burly yak trotted alongside the street, beleagured by a horde of children. The cart was loaded with a weird, large metal machine with various cranks and levers, operated by an elderly bearded man wearing odd white robes and a small white hat. He was passing cones and small cups of a luscious seeming, snow-white treat to a sea of small hands that all tried to reach it first.

His eyes lit up. Was this really the "ice cream" that had been the talk of the town?

He grabbed his bag, a large brown closed with a flap resembling an oversized messenger bag, and left the house, quickly locking up the office. Unfortunately, just as he started running to the cart it began moving away and the crowd that had gathered around it prevented him from getting near it. He had to find some other way to get a frozen treat. Away from the loud people shouting and cheering.

– Part 2 –

Maybe the cart would stop somewhere at some quieter corner of the town? Following it should not be that difficult. It was hard to miss in even the busiest of places and would probably go to another popular place. But which one? Probably the square in front of Tehm'pul Temple! It would be teeming with people awaiting the trial of a self declared masterthief inside, in the halls of justice known as the High Court.

But the market day today would make following it difficult. Among the crowds of people, carts and yaks, not to mention bicycles and unicycles it would be easy for it to just disappear from your eye. The only way to make sure it stayed in your view was to resort to some "unusual" paths. He had seen it on some imported show on TV recently. They called it "parkour". You made all of the town your walking ground, rather than just the streets! It looked really exciting and cool on screen. And he had done a lot of climbing and running in the past, there was no question for him he could pull this off.

He made his way to the other way of the street, pushing himself through large amounts of people while uttering apologies, eyeing a tree that had large, sturdy branches, and hopped on some stones near it, then a mural next to it and finally a lower branch. His bag was swaying from side to side, and its weight made climbing even more of a balance act, but he was experienced enough that he managed. On the next branch he slipped for a moment before regaining his footing. A yelp could be heard in response, as the contents of his bag were sent flying for a moment. Getting to the third branch was a bit easier, it was larger than the other ones and extended to a roof which provided a shortcut to the street leading to the temple complex.

Jumping to the roof was only slightly dangerous. Sure, it was several meters to the hard stone ground, but the gap was narrow enough that he managed it with grace. It was starting to become fun, and the fun was doubled when he realized the great view he had over the two busy market streets. Masses of people selling, haggling and buying various fresh fruits, vegetables from all over the country in all colors of the rainbow, meats and steaming pastries with mouth-watering smells and an impressive variety of handicraft items for all walks of life at stands. In the background, the cry of the national bird could be heard, loud and ferocious. It was startling him a bit, even though he had heard it so often before. Other animals could be heard as well. Dogs barking, one seemed particularly close, and yaks trying to squeeze themselves past the masses in the narrow streets. The cart he was trying to follow was among them, easily spottable from up above, slowly making its way past clusters of children yearning for a refreshment on what was a hot day.

His little moment of serenity was interrupted when he noticed a shadow looming closer and closer. He turned around to see a monk approaching him, clearly intent on capturing him, thinking him a lost student absent from school. While he was normally living and learning at Tehm'pul Temple, he had already finished his lessons for the day and was free to spend the afternoon working at the law office to save up money for better food than the ascetic fare at the temple. And he wasn't going to waste time trying to explain that to someone who would never listen. The older monks often talked over him and always thought they knew better. It was so annoying.

So he looked for a way to escape the confrontation and avoid getting taken back to the temple against his will. He noticed a clothesline hanging from the roof to the other side of the street. Thinking quickly, he grabbed the ends of a sturdy looking shirt on the line with both his hands, jumped off the roof and used his weight to force the line down, allowing him to slide down the line. A whining sound that seemed to come from his bag accompanied the trip. It went well until he was above the middle of the street, maybe a meter above the yaks. Then, the end of the line became loose and he fell uncontrolled, crashing into a fruit stand with all the clothes landing on top of him and the various fruits. He had had better landings in the past.

"No! my fruits" he heard the vendor exclaim behind him, hands raised into the air in protest. It was quickly followed by a "No! My cabbages!". He quickly turned around to see that the flying fruits had also caused cabbages of the neighboring merchant to take into the air, which in turn had apparently caused a cart with river fish to swerve abruptly and consequently tip over, spreading fish all over the place, one of them landing on the head of the cabbage stand owner.

Sheepishly, the boy looked around for his bag. It was on the ground, covered by the white awning of the fruit stand that had come down. Something seemed to come out of it, small and shapeless, moving around below the sheet like a ghost. The entity finally found an exit and emerged as a ball of two shades of brown on four legs, a tiny puppy with expectant eyes and flappy ears. He looked around, in search of his best friend, jumping over peaches that were now rolling all over the street. This small chaos soon led to a much bigger one, as people tripped over the sweet fruits, yaks no longer managed to get through and collided with each other, some losing their cargo as well, which only made the situation worse.


The noise on the market street from people yelling, yaks grunting, wheels squeaking and dogs barking, that his singular exclamation could barely be heard. He scratched his hair. The small dog jumped on his head, licking his forehead. He would have enjoyed this moment more and also offered to help clean up the mess, but then he spotted the same monk, now on the street behind him, running towards him, jumping over barrels that fallen onto the street and dodging tumbling yaks. And so they were now both running, dog and boy.

No one and nothing could stop them now. He zipped past stands, crawled below yaks, careful not to have their hooves stump on him and jumped over tipped carts. He finally felt like a proper parkour runner. But as exciting as it was in some way, it was extremely exhausting. He would need a lot of ice cream later to regain some strength. After all, ice cream was a superfood, wasn't it? He realized he was getting closer to the temple complex now, but it was still a decent distance plus hundreds of steps upstairs away. A lot could still happen. And despite all his parkour skill the monk was closing in, as he was pushing people to the side left and right, and not treating yaks any better either. What a brute.

Music was coming from a side alley, and gave him an idea to shake off his pursuer. A crowd of people always gathered in front of musicians there, and if he passed in front of them he would be sure to get their attention. But did he really want that? It could also make escaping harder... He didn't really have time to decide. He could hear the breath of the monk already. He stepped on a crate that was laying around, apparently had held some expensive imported persimmons, wished the owner had some kind of insurance, and leaped to reach a gutter pipe at the corner of the alley. He swung around it and after a slightly wobbly landing he continued running, towards the source of the music.

The musicians eyed him oddly, but kept playing until a moment later the monk also ran past them. A gasp went through the crowd, and some looked at the boy with concern. No one stepped in, though, and so he had to keep going. He grinned as his small dog turned around and barked at the monk angrily. Together they were unstoppable! Even the alley being a dead end wouldn't stop him. Up some planks laying in a corner he went, then over some small fence onto a small wooden structure that probably held gardening tools, and from there he climbed onto another roof that belonged to a shed for carts.

He could hear the monk at the other side of the fence curse as his much longer robes got stuck in the fence, allowing the boy to finally put some distance between the two again. With a big grin on his face, he moved on, stretching out his arms to maintain balance on the roof as he ran a bit faster than might have been safe, his small dog still on his head barely being able to hold onto his hair. A branch that had fallen down from a nearby tree almost made him trip but he just about managed to retain his footing, and then found a windowsill and a balcony that allowed him to climb on top of the adjacent house, where he finally sat down for a moment to rest and take in the sight of the city again.

It was a beautiful sight, bustling with activity, although even more chaotic now than normally. People and yaks continued struggling to move past each other on the narrow streets as many stand owners were still busy with cleanup. He could feel himself blush at what had happened, so he tried not to think about it too much, and looked beyond the market, to the densely packed two-and three-story buildings lining the streets. The houses stretched on almost as far as the eye could see, black pointed roofs connected by bright prayer flags in various colors and red lanterns hanging on the side, and in the background to the right on a hill, accessible by climbing probably hundreds of steps was the gold-adorned purple palace with the royal residences and the main temple doubling as High Court. He considered himself blessed, even proud to be living here.

Unfortunately, he had lost sight of the ice cream cart in the chaos, so he could only hope to meet it where he assumed it would show up later. But he couldn't be sure the cart would really be at the High Court square. Some detective work would be needed. How exciting! He had seen the owner of the law office do it several times, and assisted at previous investigations, even given a statement that was presented in court!

Now was the time for him to do it all on his own. He scratched his head on both sides, the puppy on his head eyeing him attentively. If he remembered correctly, he needed to gather witnesses and question evidence. Or maybe the other way round. Then reconstruct what had happened. And that way he would track down the ice cream cart for sure!

He carefully climbed down a sturdy waterpipe, just barely avoiding falling into a barrel that surprisingly had been placed at the end. Then it hit him. What would even be evidence? The tracks in the ground could be from any of the many carts passing by here, and he was not seeing anyone eating ice cream here. Frustrating. He did not want to give up so easily, though, and decided to carry on his investigation at a different place, venturing into the direction of where he had seen the cart go. After some more careful sidestepping of loose fruit, yak hooves and wheels that were almost as large as him, he had reached a small crossing. In front of him the main market street continued, eventually leading to the Tehm'pul Temple gate at the bottom of the palace hill, to the left and right a parallel street, leading to other parts of downtown.

He hesitated a moment on which path to take, scratching his head again, when he noticed something in the corner of the street on the left. Was that an... empty ice cream cone lying on the ground? But they were edible waffles. Why would someone throw them away? Despite the sad scene presenting himself his faced visibly lightened up. He had a chance to put his crime scene investigating skills he had gained working in the law office. Well, mostly it was observing the lawyer working there while he brought in mail or cleaned the room, but he had been very attentive!

Approaching the tragic scene with caution was now paramount, being careful to not upset anything.

What's the first thing an investigator has to do? Securing the site! He pulled out some tape from his bag, then fished out a marker, and unfurled the tape on the ground, to be able to scribble "CRIME SCENE! DO *NOT* CROSS" in big blocky letters on it repeatedly. A low branch hanging from a nearby tree worked perfectly as something to tie the tape to, and then he led it to a lantern at the street corner.

Unfortunately he forgot to pack in a magnifying glass, but he thought he might be able to solve this mystery as is. The cone was no ordinary cone, he noticed! It had the special kind of wrapper you can only get very rarely, showing a print of the local superhero Demon Death fighting her and her compatriots' darker sides in the otherworld. A masked and plumed woman wearing the traditional yellow skirt below a fluttering red cape. But half of the wrapper was missing for some reason.

And the cone, still spotless, had landed upside down on the dirt, all of which seemed to indicate... He had to think about this for a moment. Some kind of fight surely! Because all fans of Demon Death are surely as fierce and brave as her. A grin appeared on his face, as it was something he knew that because he, too, was a fan who always tried to follow her example. Besides, if it had just been an accident, the other half of the wrapper should still have been somewhere here, but looking around, it was nowhere to be found. He did find traces of ice cream on the paved street, though, suggesting that the acolyte of the otherworldly warrior had passed by here very recently.

The house on the opposite side had a man put up laundry who might have observed the entire scene. How fortunate he was to have a witness! It put another excited smile on his face. He could ask the man what had happened, and, additionally whether he had seen the ice cream cart. Not that that was now as important anymore, of course. After all, he was on the case of a mystery.

– To be continued –