- Shari -
"Don't look, we're being watched." (Elin)
I can barely contain myself from shouting.
"The alley down the left." (Elin)
I should have known that they'd observe the inn.
"What now? Are they going to attack us?" (Shari)
"Not here. A little too open and Marsha will turn anyone into mincemeat who causes the guard to show up here. What just happens at murder. Guess they'll follow us until they find where we stay or get a good opportunity." (Elin)
If we don't get rid of them their number will increase.
Not to speak of that we will eventually lead them to Tamarah.
I can't afford this.
"Any plan? We need to do something about them." (Shari)
"Well, one. But you won't like it." (Elin)
"Even if it's a bad one, it's more than I have." (Shari)
The guys there get clearly agitated why we talk already for so long in front of the inn.
"Well, they are in an alley. And it's not really surveyable from the street. So if you'd go over there and kill them..." (Elin)
"I shall just kill all the people over there? Do you take me for a monster?" (Shari)
"I have no problems with self-defense but just going mass-murdering is too much. Also, I'm not half as proficient as Liqu." (Shari)
"Believe, me. It's enough for this scum. But fine. How is this? You go over there, beat one really badly up, and scare the others. After this, we went through the alleys and see if they follow." (Elin)
If they do, we have to be more excessive.
But if not and they're occupied with their injured comrade and we're free to go.
It's not perfect, but something.
However, there's a fault.
"Nice plan, apart from the little detail that I'm totally squishy and by no means able to beat someone up." (Shari)
"Oh, sorry. Did I say beat? I meant slice him up. You have your blade, right. It doesn't have to be a fatal wound." (Elin)
"Duh. Aren't you the one with a fable for knives?" (Shari)
"Yes, but most of them just got stolen, if you remember. And I'm not invulnerable." (Elin)
"Goddamnit, okay." (Shari)
Without showing any hesitation, which I accomplish by putting all my anxiety into a split-second of high-speed thinking, I go over there.
The men are obviously surprised at my daring move.
Their supposed leader talks first.
"Look who we've got here. The bounty delivers itself directly to us. That's too good." (human scum)
This one is so obviously up to no good that I ask myself how he manages his daily life.
With that eye patch, the scars on the face, and that permanent evil grin, which is missing some teeth, it can't be easy to interact with others.
Such a poor existence.
Yet I'm in no position to pity others.
Especially not regarding teeth.
"Let's see. I would really like to ask you to leave me alone. If you cannot do that I'll have to do something violent." (Shari)
"What overconfidence! Guess we need to change that." (still worthless trash)
With this, the guy slowly closes in on me.
He isn't too impressive but a brawl with all five people here would become messy.
"One more step and I simply take your ability to walk. That goes for everyone else who decides to follow me further as well!" (Shari)
"Oh, how scary. And what if I do this?" (soon to be victim)
He throws his fist in my direction and I just dodge enough to not deform too obviously.
After this, he grows frustrated and starts a barrage of neglectable light strikes.
The others seem just to be there to cheer for him and block my way out.
I take the punches like a slime.
They're not too hard and as long he can't break a bronze-iron alloy with his fist I should be fine.
Naturally, I have still to watch out that my cap won't get lifted.
However, as long he doesn't grab for it I'm fine as it's properly glued.
Like this, I let him continue and take my time to look for weak spots.
Naturally, I try to appear pitiful to make him feel like he's winning.
Getting sure of himself he comes closer to get me done.
This is the chance I waited for.
Miraculously I recover from a direct hit to my face, let my dagger slide in my hand, and ram it into the side of his knee.
I pushed deep and at times like these, I realize that this dagger is of really good quality as easy it wents in.
With this injury, he can't stand anymore.
Well, and lies wailing on the ground.
But suddenly I get grabbed from behind.
Seems this one shall hold me, while the others do damage.
This must have been the plan from the start in case their boss struggles.
Yet he couldn't expect my next move.
- Slime dash!
Using all the force I can muster without losing any part of my clothing I throw us both into the wall behind us.
The impact is hard, on him.
The moment the crash numbs the guy, I free my arm, take his head and push it into the ground.
Guess this makes two.
Don't think I caused too much harm for the grabber to recover.
The boss might need medical attention if he wants to prevent a long-term disfunction of that leg.
However, he started it.
I raise myself and speak to the others with a tone that makes clear that I'm neither exhausted nor in pain.
"I will now take my leave. But if I find that any of you guys follow me, then you can be glad if I take just both of your knees." (Shari)
After that, I turn around and do a fast slice in the direction of the two, who still stand in my way, to get out of here.
Nothing dangerous but enough to draw a bit of blood and induce them to retreat.
I go through the created gap and meet up with Elin.
We follow her plan and walk through some other alleys where we can make sure that no one follows us or alternatively get rid of them.
Yet it seems they either lost us or are too occupied with their wailing boss.
We could still meet other headhunters but for now, it seems we are clear.
Even if this is pushing our luck I need to do something about our destroyed stuff.
So we head back to the market, where we split up as planned.
I need to replace bags and other things based on fabric.
Especially the clothes.
- Just what is wrong with these people?
Elin meanwhile needs to take care of utilities and metal wares.
Again I do look like a weirdo when I commission clothes with proper measurements.
They need to work just based on my looks, as I cannot risk getting exposed while they take them.
The problem is, tailoring stuff takes rather long so that our bags are still not finished when Elin comes back from her errands.
I brought the sad rest of my special bag with me, but apart from some parts, it was no good anymore.
"Will it take long?" (Elin)
"Seems so. They are just halfway done with it." (Shari)
"I'm sorry dear customer. But quality requires patience." (tailor)
- You can talk! You have no idea what I've left at Tamarah's place!
"Could I also get a new set of clothes? Didn't include it in my count before." (Elin)
"Fine, as long it's something simple." (Shari)
I won't buy her any more new equipment but a shirt and pants are possible.
Following an idea, I buy aside from our typical white and black sets, also one in green and blue.
Elin gets a shirt in dark red with black pants.
I hope at least that with those the color of our liquid bodies will become less visible.
This should be worth it, even if specially colored goods are more expensive than usual.
In the end, everything comes down with seven silver since I have to afford some quality.
Especially regarding a fabric that prevents leaking.
- And please don't ask me how I had to ask for that trait!
"This will take a while longer, right?" (Shari)
"Yes, I'm sorry dear customer!" (tailor)
Behind the smile of a professional, I notice some contempt.
At least there is some kind of oozing dark atmosphere around her.
Not the place where I want to stay.
"Oh and before I forget. One set of child's clothing." (Shari)
The poor boy's own were totally drenched and torn.
Had to ask Tamarah if she could at least borrow him a shirt for sleeping.
"This will come with another fifty copper, dear customer!" (tailor)
"Here are three silver down payment. We will come back later." (Shari)
"As you wish, dear customer." (tailor)
Whenever she says that I feel a blade in my not-existing back.
"Why do we leave?" (Elin)
"There is something else important I need to procure!" (Shari)
"Okay, I follow." (Elin)
That's what she said, but...
"R-really? That shop?" (Elin)
"I need something from here. You could say we are regulars." (Shari)
So we enter.
"You again!!!" (clerk)
- I missed you too!
And with this, I stand in front of my good friend the clerk from the cosmetics shop.
"I would like to buy some of the cosmetic powder." (Shari)
"Again?! What you took should last a while. How much do you use?" (clerk)
Not even trying to hide your aversion, huh?
"I have a problem and need big amounts, remember?" (Shari)
To be honest, I am anxious about walking without it through the streets.
The mask and hood work out but they are just one layer and even small gaps can be revealing.
"Urgh, then please make fast." (clerk)
Hidden meaning: "Before the real customers see you!"
"Thank you very much!" (Shari)
Knowing already where my goods are located, I can fast fetch them.
And unsurprisingly the woman is even faster in selling them and throwing us out.
Two silver poorer (we've got the special "get-out-here" discount) we go back to the tailor, where they finally finished our clothes.
I make fast, putting everything together, yet let Elin handle most, using my body situation as an excuse to take only my special bag.
"Why are you hurrying this much?" (Elin)
"Excuse me? Am I the only one who is aware that we left Liqu back there alone with Tamarah and a child?" (Shari)
"She promised, right? I don't think she would break her word and harm them." (Elin)
"That's not the problem. I am more concerned about the mental health of the boy. Liqu is not really my first choice as a babysitter." (Shari)
"Might be true. Then why did you not take her and left me there?" (Elin)
"Because if we've got into a delicate situation, you are more proficient in solving conflicts between humans. Isn't this right?" (Shari)
"Might be. At least I can stand a fight." (Elin)
"This is reason enough for me. Still, Liqu alone back there isn't optimal." (Shari)
She really sucks at conversation.
I hope the boy is fine.