Riotori are able to demonstrate amazing patience if there is a clear end to their wait. Pyrope and Calcite had themselves passed such a test about two decades before, and knew that it might take most of the day for Gypsum to reach his goal.
But they were also sensible. Both had other business to attend to. After a brief discussion it was agreed that Pyrope would go back to New City for two hours and take care of business while Calcite waited. Then Pyrope would return and allow Calcite his time in New City. That pattern would continue until the waiting was ended or until it became too dark to see anything in the Old City.
The three younger Riotori waited. Eventually Beryl persuaded Feldspar to accompany her back to her home; this was while her father waited atop the hill. They prepared food and drink enough for all and fetched it back to the hill. Topaz and Pyrope were grateful; Topaz, though, would not leave the vicinity of the hill. She fidgeted, stalked the perimeter of the hill and nearly wore circles into the ground at the top, and always her eyes searched the skyline of Old City in hopeful search for Gypsum.
And always she was disappointed. Often she would rub gently the back of her hand and recall the feel of Gypsum's smooth sharp tusk against the soft fur and hope that soon he would greet her with the same gesture of chivalry that he left her with.
Feldspar was not worried, but he was impatient. He wanted his brother to hurry up and succeed and return so that he could begin his own task. He grumbled and occasionally stalked back and forth across the top of the hill, his eyes focusing on the spires in Old City, expecting and wishing that he would see his twin climbing one of those spires any time.
But, like Topaz, he was disappointed.
In Old City, Gypsum was engaging in one of his brother's favorite pastimes. He was cursing in a mild monotone of muttered grumbles. He could barely believe his own stupid forgetfulness. He was getting hungry and he'd brought nothing to eat.
His sojourn into the city and the achievement of his goal was taking longer than he'd expected. That morning he'd believed he could slip in, make his way with speedy stealth to his goal, scale the pinnacle and secure his flag, and return to his brother—and Topaz—only a little past the time for the noon meal.
He had been much too optimistic. He could imagine the derisive laughter his father and uncle would have piled upon him if they were present.
It was well past noon and he still had over a mile to go. The closer he got to the center of the city, the more natives there were. He had not again been seen, but the necessity of hiding, advancing quickly in short spurts, often perpendicular to his line of progress, was wearing on his nerves.
As he sat on a block of broken stone from the interior of the roof of a deserted building, he resolved to make better progress. He hoped he would not need to kill again, but he was becoming impatient.
These people did not inspire the slightest respect, individually or collectively. They only demanded caution.
He would make his way to the spires as quickly as possible. If these degenerated natives got in his way, and it became necessary, then blood would be spilled.