I quickly snatched up the steam gun and started inspecting it. The weapon itself resembled a somewhat longer nailgun. There was a canister at the top of the handle with a width of about 6 inches in diameter, and a length of 8 inches. It detached easily, but was too light. The canister was empty. The point the canister attached to was behind the chamber, and had an unfamiliar valve mechanism where the canister would screw in. After putting in the empty canister, there were also two rusty latches to secure it in place. Infront of the handle was where I assumed a magazine would go, as it was a hollow length of bronze that led up to the chamber. The barrel was about 6 inches long, and looked worn, despite being made of steel. The chamber was also made out of steel, but the whole thing looked to be in complete disrepair. Perhaps usable though, if i could fill the canister and find a magazine. I put it in the makeshift sack I was making. It was tedious work, poking holes in the thick cloth with a sharp rock, then threading the holes with rope. I've never done something like sewing in either life so what i made was extremely crude, but at least it worked. I was now carrying with me several stones, about 10ft of rope, a pile of cloth, and the discarded steamgun. I also took with me a stone pole just incase, and left the scene of the stone workshop. I assume the steamgun was used in construction for firing bolts into metal clamps or something else, then when it broke down it was discarded. Fortunately for it, I can still use something like this. I assumed the time was now close to 6AM, as the city bustle started to pick up a bit and I could hear movement in the alleyways, doors shutting and closing, and chatter through half-open windows. People would start to go to their day jobs now, and night shift workers would start returning home. I should be getting tired too, but for some reason i was completely awake. Maybe dying knocked the tiredness out of my brain, twice. Oh well. While considering where I can make a temporary base, I decided to move as far away from the district hub as I could, close to the outskirts. I was going to find a secluded location, perhaps an abandoned building that I could stay in. As Iris, I only lurked in dark alleys and corners closer the the main thoroughfare so that I didnt have to go far just to steal some sand bread. I still couldnt get over how low quality the food was in the gravel district, it depressed me every time I thought about it.
Licht: I guess people that live in these districts just naturally gained resistance to the environment. Which is why we have disease resistance. I wonder what level an old man that lived here his whole life would have? Maybe there's diminishing returns on skills, since otherwise gravel district citizens would be immune to disease.
While Licht was musing about the endurance of citizens in the gravel district, I had found a half-dilapidated abandoned 3-story building. It looked like a large construction site that was abandoned for whatever reason, as there were no machines, but material stacks and several half-finished structures. I made one of these buildings my base on the second floor and began to assemble my "weapon". I had also collected a dusty sack from the surroundings and stuffed a collection of rocks inside, before poking a hole at each side in the top of the sack, pulling the rope through, and tying it securely until I could swing it around effectively. At least this way I may be able to protect myself. Then I also cut up a couple long strips of cloth, tying them around my feet to make it easier to walk on pavement. I still didnt have a real solution for clothing, but what could I do with no money and no guardian? This world seemed pretty cruel to orphaned children. Especially since I heard something that made my skin freeze. A door opening, and heavy footsteps below me. I listened. It was just one set, but they were going towards the stairs on the first floor. I was beginning to panic, before Licht's voice cut through the haze
Lich: Iris, snap out of it. You need to be ready. There's nothing here, so whoever it is clearly followed you.
He was right. I nodded, maybe to myself and quietly sucked in a breath. The steps picked up speed as they arrived on the second floor. I quietly got close to the wall by the door. Another noise cut through the silence as they approached. claclack, claclack, claclack. There was a railway somewhere near it seemed. Beyond this construction site I think. The noise slowly got louder and it masked the sound of my spinning flail, and- CRACH, The door flung open with a crunch and in stepped a cloaked figure, clearly an adult male. My flail swung straight at his face, and with the sound of a crunch and stones grinding together, "Guuh!", the man fell backwards, unconscious. His cloak fell to the sides, revealing a dagger at his waist, which I didn't hesitate to draw and stab his neck with. The man died easily, going limp as blood began pooling around his neck. I took the dagger back out from the man's neck and found myself breathing heavily. Scary... I hadn't anticipated anyone following me. I didn't do anything to warrant it. Licht spoke up at this point
Licht: We should search his belongings. Maybe there will be a clue. Look, there's a bag at his waist too.
Right again, licht. I focused myself and began looting the corpse, starting with the bag. I opened it only to find that it was a dimensional storage. I rifled through it, finding money, food, bottles of powders and liquids and plants, and a wide variety of books.
Licht & Iris: Information.
There was a book on alchemy, one on plants, one on geography, there was a map, there were two books on steamguns. Then there were several books on magic. This man was some kind of scholar, clearly. There was also a diary. Less important but I will read that soon. After confirming the contents of the bag, which ended with the discovery of some steamgun parts and some gem-like stones, I searched the body of the man, and found a note stuffed into a pocket. Or rather, a slip of paper with an icon on it that I couldnt understand. But i could understand it was magical. Then i found a pouch on his thigh, which I opened and found Steamgun magazines inside. I took the pouch and dagger sheath, before also taking to cloak, even if its quite big for me.
Iris: ...How should we get rid of this body? Surely someone will find it.
Licht: No one comes here normally so it should be a while before anyone finds the body. It'd probably be fine if we just toss it in a ditch. Even if the guy has friends that'll come looking, it should take them a while to realize something isn't right.
That's what licht said, and it made sense. I took the body downstairs to throw in a ditch, or I was going to, but
Iris: ...Too heavy... I can't get rid of it.
Licht: Mmm, well, I guess we just leave him here and find another base. Not like we really set up shop here anyway.
I nodded along with his reasoning and collected everything before leaving the building. I even collected the crude sack despite having the man's dimensional bag. I didn't want to leave anything behind. So i left the construction area, and proceeded through the outskirts of the gravel district before finding an open area with nothing but tracks. The train had long left the range of my ears, but some way down the tracks there was a defilade which the tracks ran over with a bridge. It seemed to be a drainage channel, and I figured this would be as good a place as any to set up a temporary base. I finally had access to information, and I would absorb everything I could for survival.