Pieced Together 13
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Reysha kept her head low and her presence lower as she swayed through the village like a drunk. A not too uncommon sight at this time of the day. Theatrically, she put one foot across the other, stumbled (predictably) and fell into a dark alley between two houses. A quick exit from the line of sight belonging to a party of adventurers who were coming her way, now only laughing about the (presumed) woman barely able to catch herself by the frame of a backdoor.

“Maybe we should help?” the healer of that group, ever the concerned lot and the last kind of person the tiger girl wanted around right now, suggested.

“Only if you want to risk your pretty white robes getting covered in whatever that drunkard had,” a member laughed as Reysha bowed forwards and let a very unwomanly, croaking sound be heard as if she was about to vomit. The group passed and the redhead allowed herself a moment to stand relaxed.

‘I will need a thorough back massage after this,’ she thought, rubbing her upper spine with circular movements of the back of her hand. Reysha knew her craft well enough to not just go into a village cloaked and think that was enough. At her level of Rogue-craft, she had access to no tools to hide properly who she was. Even under general categorization she would eventually gain access to the ability to change her voice, change her body structure a little bit and obscure her presence so that most people just wouldn’t think of approaching her.

It wouldn’t be on the level of Infiltrators, the proper, well, infiltration specialists, not the greatest at combat but with enough tools to fool just about everyone. They could restructure their bones and everything else to a degree that bordered on outright shapeshifting, all while choosing whatever voice they wanted and have their aura masked to fool whoever could even see auras.

Best Reysha could do was walk hunched over and with buckled knees to obscure her actual height under her coat. A coat which she had, very thoroughly dragged through dusty soil and mud alike to give it as used a look as possible. The last time people had seen Reysha in this thing, it had been fresh off the shelves, so it was best it didn’t look like that.

These were the only two precautions she was able to take and with such a loose safety net, she didn’t dare run around the village during the day. Only when it was night and there was their fair share of adventurer’s stomping around in manners unacceptable in the wider society, did she dare walk around.

‘No giggling, no stabbing and not being able to order alcohol make Reysha a sad kitty,’ she thought and did her best to prevent her lain down ears from twitching in annoyance. Quickest way to get her identity revealed was to lift her cowl off her head with the conspicuous cat ears. She may have been able to get away with ordering a beer or two if Mehily hadn’t been around, together with her oaf of a meat shield and some charred-armour wearing woman. No idea who that was but given what Aclysia had told her and Apexus a few days prior, it was probably an Inquisitor.

Reysha started moving again, hunching to the protesting pain of her back and getting back into stumbling. At least this she had a lot of practice in, given that she had been drunk past the point of reason a fair few times in her life. With a shocked sting, she realized that she might not have been able to drink alcohol anymore, given her condition.

‘Fuck my life sideways and up the ass,’ she thought, almost cursing out loud, as she stumbled along the street. Finding the right mixture between stumbling drunkenly and not bothering people was difficult. If she made too little of a fuss, people could have been confused what coherent drunk this was, too much and they would talk about her. Reysha wanted neither type of attention. Walking around normally would have made her look just as suspicious. People let drunks get away with odd behaviour such as wearing a hood pulled down deep during a warm summer night.

Once Reysha had gotten used to the layout of the houses and knew the particularly dark corners, she could attempt to sneak around properly. Just out of boredom, she stopped above a rain barrel and looked inside for an orb of metal. Nothing of the like. The fact that she only had the fact that it was hidden somewhere in the village to work with didn’t help.

After making a couple more stumbling rounds through the village, careful to not be seen twice by the same people, she eventually began her trip back into the forest. In that, she was even more paranoid about being tracked. The moment she was certain no more eyes were on her, she slipped into the brush and walked normally. About half an hour later, she arrived in their current hideout.

The large tree they had arrived at had a burrow hidden under its roots, which Apexus had found using his tremor sense. Made accessible through minimal effort, a few dirt covered branches had sealed up a small hole, it would be relatively easy to hide again once they left. Squeezing in was the biggest problem, Reysha almost got stuck with her hips between the two girthy roots that surrounded the entrance, each thicker than her leg.

“At times like this having a fat, sexy ass is… not… that… HELPFUL!” she complained as she weaved herself into the cavity under the trunk. It was dark, earthy smelling, but pretty warm and more than big enough for all three of them to fit inside.

“While I do not contest that your bottom is quite attractive,” Aclysia greeted the redhead in her usual tone of seriousness, “You are not as heavily downwards weight as I am.” Gesturing towards her own, proportionally bigger, ass.

“I’m also a fair bit bigger than you are, so you don’t have these fucking problems,” Reysha responded grumpily and picked some random piece of solid matter of the ground and threw it at the fairy’s outline in the darkness. It turned out to be a nail. It missed her and hit the wall of roots.

Rusted iron rings sizable enough for barrels and the remains of rotten planks indicated that this place had once been used as a smuggler’s den or something of the like. Reysha guessed that it was either abandoned because the criminals got caught or because the roots eventually became too dense to get the wares in and out without hacking at the tree around the entrance, which would have made the entire thing way less hidden.

It still wasn’t the best hideout they had ever had, the tree was basically a landmark anyone could get to, but it was better than camping out in the open. The low ceiling worsening her backpain aside. Combined with the current hiatus on sex, those sessions always got messy and they had nowhere to get clean afterwards around, Reysha became a very cranky cat.

“Get back to me when your ass is scaled up to my size you pear shaped bitch,” she growled and then sighed heavily. “Sorry… can somebody pull my back into a position that doesn’t hurt?”

A moment later, she felt the liquid body of Apexus creep up on her. She laid down on her stomach and purred as her back was treated to an equal massage on multiple spots. Although the force which the slime could muster behind the movements of his original biomass was pretty limited, for a relaxation of her muscles it was just enough. Not like he had to wear full plate armour. The idea made the tiger girl giggle, imagining that Apexus would simply collapse into a pile of heavy metal plates or move about like a squid trying to walk normally.

“Found anything?” Apexus asked.

“Nope, no lucky findings,” Reysha told them. “Saw Mehily and her ‘Inquisition’ in the local inn though, so that’s a fucking brilliant circumstance.” The movements on her back stopped until she let out a miserable meow, Apexus getting back to his task afterwards. “It’s going to make sneaking around a bit more difficult, but I’ll manage. If I don’t get back for over a day, I recommend you run away though.”

“Perhaps we should just leave and return at another time?” Aclysia suggested, then made a concerned face and asked. “They wouldn’t happen to have an actual Inquisitor with them, would they?”

“They did, so us leaving is pointless,” Reysha told the metal fairy. “They’d just find the same general area we are in. If you ask me, the quicker we get this over with, the better our chances.”

“I am in agreement with you,” Aclysia stated. Although it was risky, their best shot was to just leave the leaf entirely as fast as possible. Even the whispers of the divine could only guide people so much and when they were on an entirely different world, it would take a mighty Inquisitor to track them down accurately.

“We do that then,” the slime added, barely informed about what any of these classes could do but trusting his girl’s judgement. “If you find anything that could lead us to the last part, let us know as quickly as possible.”