“So? Wanna explain this?”
Putting her down inside the alley, I looked down at her as I began my questioning.
The girl with the dark red hair was still keeping both her hands on her mouth, and mumbled something while averting her eyes.
“I cant tell what you’re saying like that, can I?”
“Bu-But you said you’ll hit me if I made a noise so…”
“I’ll hit you if you don’t talk as well.”
“Hii….There was no reason for it; if I had to pick one……to live? I guess?”
Been threatened, the girl began to talk with a trembling voice.
Ah I see. One of those ‘must steal to simply survive’ type eh?
Then why go for a shoddy looking guy like me instead of all the rich folks on the main street. But I can take a guess….
Having been thrown out of [goldpawn], I was walking around dejected and lifeless which must have made me look like a prime and easy target.
“I get your situation. Judging by your skill, this wasn’t your first time either right? No parents either I assume?”
“Any comrades, friends, fellow thieves?”
Asking about her parents got an instant response but the comrades one had her quickly avert her eyes and a bit of silence before answering in negative.
……..what a shit liar.
If this was planned group attack, I was planning to give them a full lecture as well, so let’s interrogate her a bit more.
“Did you just lie to me?”
“………I did not.”
“Your expression says otherwise. Fine, don’t talk. And I’ll just throw you to some soldiers and be on my way.”
“N-No please, anything but that!”
The girl said with a voice filled with sorrow.
Of course, I was the last person who wanted to meet any kind of soldiers right now, but she doesn’t know that and it makes for a good threat.
“Then stop lying and speak the truth.”
“……..I do have a friend. We live in a rundown house together.”
“Its just the two of us.”
“I see. And you both are working as thieves?”
I still had my doubts but it really doesnt look like she’s lying anymore.
That means, these two friends must have planned to go after me.
“And? Where is this friend right now? Must be close by no?”
On my asking, she meekly pointed towards a small house inside the alley.
I see. So she was running back to their little hideout. Hard to track someone once they hide inside a building after all.
“Alright, take me there……..Dont worry, as long as your friend doesn’t try something first, I don’t plan on hurting either of you.”
“Yes. I’m not lying.”
I’m not exactly free and have ended up getting dragged into this trouble. Need to make sure this doesn’t happen again after which I can let her go…..Especially when there’s a partner who might try something else again. A strong warning should be enough. It’s a pain but better than leaving loose ends.
The girl hardly seemed trusting of me but she wasn’t exactly in a position to refuse me and reluctantly began to lead me towards their little hideout.
There was chance that the moment I entered, I’ll get mobbed by many so I was on full guard this time.
“OI, you’re late, I thought you got caught or something!”
The moment we entered, a boy about my age quickly rushed towards us.
He was a tough looking blonde boy but like the girl his hair colour looked dull.
By the time the boy stopped talking, he quickly realized that there was another guy behind her, me, and froze in place staring.
“……….I did get caught.”
“W-w-what do you mean!? And why would you bring him here!!?”
“Be-because……I’d get hit if I didn’t.”
The boy was panicking and began to reach for the short sword on his waist.
“Oi. If you attack, I promise you, you’ll get no mercy.”
“Ra-Ralf! Put your weapon away!”
On my threat, and the girl’s persuasion, the boy slid the sword back into its sheathe.
At a simple glance, he seemed to have some sort of experience with the weapon but how do I say this, his posture, balance were all completely amateurish. I knew instantly he wasn’t worth worrying about for me.
I could easily deal with him even if he did try attacking but frankly speaking, I’d like to settle this without violence if possible.
“So, what do you want!? If you want money, we don’t have any! Wouldn’t be going around as thieves if he had any after all!”
“I’m here to give a warning that’s all. That if you try this again, it’ll end very badly for both of you.”
“……………….Eh? i-is that it?”
The boy looked stumped at this anti-climactic resolution.
……perhaps I should have asked for something as a return for not throwing them to the guards?
“True, perhaps a warning alone isnt enough.”
When I muttered that, the boy’s expression twisted realizing he’d said too much.
That said, I don’t see what these kids could have that’d be worth anything to me if they were desperate enough to try stealing from me in the first place.
Cant be a item then……
Suddenly an idea popped in my mind.
“In return I want information. I just came to this city you see? I’m not exactly knowledgeable regarding this district; especially the back streets are confusing as hell so I want a guide.”
“Th-that’s fine by me…..”
“And you, miss redhead?”
“Eh, me too?”
“Obviously. You’re the main reason we’re here after all.”
They didn’t exactly seemed enthusiastic about it, but I had the two agree to give me a full tour of the district. Forcefully.
I’m definitely a bit odd in the head to make a deal like this with people that just tried to mug me, but my need for info comes first.
I was pissed with how things had been going upto now but this might turn out to be a somewhat lucky encounter in its own way.
With my new tour guides at hand, I once again headed for the back streets.
“So what exactly are you looking for in this district?”
“A cheap inn, and a good place for food if any…….Also, Where were you sell the things you steal.”
“A local pawnshop run by an acquaintance, [Shichifukuya] will take whatever you bring.”
“Heh~so there is a shop that’ll happily taken stolen goods as well huh…..good, lead me there.”
When I said that, the two looked at each other in doubt.
I guess they felt that I might be planning something bad.
“Don’t worry. I’m not planning on doing something bad. Just need to sell some things. That may happen to be stolen goods.”
“………..Ha? So you were a thief as well? You have some gall lecturing us then!”
“Mine was a onetime thing. And I stole from my own parents. Doesn’t count.”
“What do you mean!? Theft is theft! You’re the same as us!”
“Yes yes, that’s why I’m letting you both off with just a little guide job, you see? Not to mention, I only said to not go after me again. I don’t care who else you steal from otherwise. Not my business.”
“So you really don’t plan to call the guards? Or cause trouble at [Shichifukuya]? Really!?”
“Like I said, do what I asked and I’ll do nothing. Let us thieves get along even if for this short time okay?…….not that I plan to actually become a thief.”
While placating the boy’s doubts, we continued our little trip around the back streets.
As expected of kids who had been raised on these very streets, I got introduced to whole lots of interesting and worthwhile shops.
This area suits my current appearance much better than the glamorous main street and while the quality of things here is an issue, the prices are much cheaper to reflect that as well.
Quite the drastic difference between the two districts considering there bordering each other, but it was bound to be of great use to someone like me right now.
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