Now several months passed and, as more and more travelers came through his village with their tales and goods, Pio decided once again to leave the village to see the world beyond. So with the few coins he'd saved and his meager belongings, he set out once again, determined to not turn back this time.
As he left sight of his village he became anxious but pushed on anyway until in the distance ahead he saw a great city surrounded by high walls with travelers of all manner of dress and races going in and out of its massive gate. Even from that distance he could hear a babel of sounds, strange music, foreign voices and his nose detected smells he'd never experienced before.
But then his initial excitement turned to fear as he wondered what terrors might lie in wait behind the city's walls. Maybe the inhabitants were hostile to travelers and practiced strange rituals such as cannibalism (he'd heard such tales of far off lands from travelers passing through his village), or maybe the foods were poisoned to eat and he would become deathly sick if he ate them.
Suddenly, he turned and there was the mysterious black rider on the fearsome black horse again, the same rider he'd met on his first journey. The rider greeted him in a friendly voice and said that he could see that Pio was again terrified and that he was wise to be afraid for there could be many terrible and dangerous things lurking in the city awaiting him. So he told him that for all the coins in his purse he would sell him a magic cape that would take away his fear. And so again the exchange was made and, after he'd wrapped himself in the cape, Pio's fear again vanished as he turned and headed back to his village. And, as before, the black rider had disappeared.
Back in his village again, Pio's life resumed its quiet and comforting routines and thoughts of travel quickly drifted away like grains of sand in a windstorm.
Next Time: PIO'S JOURNEY WITH THEFEARMONSTER (Part Three)