C2 Chapter 2
A young man, who appeared to be a traveler, stood beside one of the many street vendors that cluttered the area. His attire was sufficient indication of this. He was dressed in somewhat loose tan slacks that came down over his black boots, and the long-sleeved, brown shirt he wore looked like a tunic but was much shorter, stretching just beyond his waist. The dark brown cloak was most likely the most distinguishing characteristic. It was something that could only be seen on a traveler or a sorcerer, yet this man did not resemble a sorcerer. If he was, his cloak's pockets would have been stuffed with talismans and spell books. His showed up to be pretty much empty.
However, as far as travelers were concerned, he seemed a little out of place. He was way too tidy to have simply wandered out of the woods. His clothes were almost pristine. He was either a new wanderer from a neighboring town, or he had the means to purchase luxuries and had arrived just as he was about to run out of supplies. She could only pray that it was the second.
Xyra grinned as she moved through the crowd, her gaze fixed on her target. He appeared to be a preoccupied guy, and the smile on his face gave the appearance that he was dense and a little naive. That simply makes things easier. She couldn't stop the light, bubbling sensation in her stomach, which caused the corner of her lips to lift even higher. This was exactly the kind of person she had been looking for.
It didn't take her long to get to the street stall where the young wander was standing. He looked to be looking over a few goods, most likely contemplating what to purchase. He wouldn't have to make a decision for a long time. He wouldn't buy anything when she got done with him.
She ran directly into him, making it appear to be an accident. He was pushed back slightly, and when she went into his coat pocket for his money, his hands came up to rest on her shoulders. She tightened up immediately, anticipating the worst. Had he figured her out already? Did he realize what she was up to?
"Are you okay?" he questioned, leading her to look up at him. His voice had been so soft, yet not at all high. It had a noble, authoritative tone about it.
A smile covered his lips as Sarah gazed at him for a second, his jade eyes meeting her sapphire ones. He seemed to be able to look straight through her. His eyes were extraordinarily clear, and it was difficult to look away.
"You should be more careful," he said gently, his grin gradually turning into a sneer. "I'm sure there are others in this town who are significantly less understanding."
"O-okay," she said, pulling away slightly, and to her amazement, he let go of her shoulders, allowing her to depart in peace. Her goal had been a resounding success. She could feel her hands shaking as she moved away. She took a few heavy breaths to attempt to relax herself, but she couldn't escape the impression that his words had a deeper significance. It seemed like he was aware that I had taken his money...but if that's the case, why didn't he intervene?
As Xyra drifted away, the young man simply grinned and stroked his ear-length golden-blonde hair. It was a bit wild in places, but the blue headband on his forehead kept it out of his eyes, which were still focused on the young girl who had "innocently" bumped into him. She didn't run into anyone else as she walked down the street. She dodged every hurdle with ease, almost reflexively. Her demeanor was tinged with elegance and pride...as well as a touch of worry. She was walking straight but with her head down, which looked natural to her. It was a unique blend.
It wasn't long before she vanished entirely into the crowd, but he remained gazing, starting to take notice of everyone else walking through the streets. He was startled to see so many people wandering about in such a little town. It was a beautiful day, but all those people couldn't really be locals. Even all of the tourists going through on their way to the city of Dagen couldn't have caused this much commotion. Something has apparently garnered a lot of attention to this small place.
"Excuse me, sir," the woman at the little street stand in front of him said. "Regarding the item you requested..."
"Aw, yeah," he answered happily, turning to face her. "I'm sorry, but it appears that I will not be purchasing anything at this moment."
"But why?" she asked, her face stricken.
His smile just became brighter.
"Because I don't appear to have any money," he said, "but if you hang onto it for me, I'm sure I'll have enough by the end of the day." He was glad to see that his idea had made her happy. It was clear that she didn't have a lot of repeat customers. This was a talisman store, and only sorcerers could utilize such items. Given the town's location, she most certainly made a lot of money on a good day, and her clean and nice dress helped to support that claim. This location was conveniently located between several of the main cities, and many individuals, including sorcerers, would have passed through on their route. However, here didn't appear to be many magical folks strolling across the town today.
"Very well," she said, grabbing a piece of parchment and a quill from her pocket. "Could you just tell me your name, sir?"
"Magnus," he said in response. "Just Magnus. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some business to attend to," he said, bowing slightly to the woman before turning around and walking away. He had a smug expression on his face. He'd have no trouble earning some money by the end of the day, but not by going after the woman who had taken his. That would be a complete waste of time. What were the chances of running into her again? Besides, she's probably in greater need of it than I am.
As he proceeded, he peered around, hoping to locate a location where they awarded bounties—not for mankind, but for demons. He'd have enough money in no time if he could only kill a few. This town, on the other hand, was rather little. There was always the chance that they wouldn't have any demon bounties available for him. Hopefully, that won't be the case, or he'll have to devise a new strategy.
He didn't go very far as he made his way along the congested and busy street. A rear-end collision drew his attention. He could see that many people had stopped what they were doing to witness the emerging event, which was taking place at a crossroads to one of the larger streets. However, as a result of them, he couldn't see what was going on. Curiosity immediately overcame him. I suppose I should have a look.
As he got closer to the crowds, he caught a few glances of the individuals who were causing all of this chaos. It appeared to be two fairly enormous, overly-built guys, most likely a couple of street criminals with nothing better to do except grow their bodies. They stood tall and proud, as if they owned the exact streets they were causing trouble on. Before taking in the remainder of the scenario, he realized that these men were genuinely arrogant. They appeared to be targeting a woman. She wasn't just any female, though. Her light brown hair and dark blue eyes made her stand out. Oh, the little thief.
Magnus merely stood there and watched her slowly rise, stroking her chin. She appeared to have been flung into a food stand but luckily hadn't struck with anything too hard, though this was probably due to her good fortune. These two guys were not fooling around. They needed something from her, and the quickest way to acquire it was to use force. One knelt down and took her by the cloak's front.
"Well, well," he said, smirking. "If it's not you, tiny Xyra, do you have any money for us today?"
"No," she said quietly, desperately trying to escape his clutches. She was a massive failure. This man was far more forceful than she was. He appeared to be three times her size and stood about two heads higher.
"You're not a very good liar," he remarked, smirking broadly. "Give us what you've got, and I'll let you go."
"...Fine," she sighed, "you can have it." She did not, however, reach inside her pocket. Instead, she untied her cloak's knot. She fell on the ground, leaving the man with only her clothes. She was going to flee when the second man grabbed her arm and lifted her off the street. She couldn't get away from him no matter how hard she tried.
"Stupid girl," he reprimanded. "We'll have to teach you a lesson," he said, raising her up and seizing her leg while releasing her arm. She was a skinny girl for her height, and despite being more than twice her size, he had no trouble lifting her. Without warning, he drew back and pushed her into a nearby rock wall. The spectators in the audience were all frightened, with some turning away. Xyra's neck would be broken if she struck at that angle, and they were all painfully aware of it.
She discovered that her trip had come to a full halt just before she was about to collide with the wall. She slowly opened her eyes, perplexed as to what was going on. She hadn't even collided with anything. She'd just come to a complete halt. Her attackers and the audience, from what she could see, were similarly perplexed. After all, she was a good three feet above the ground.
"What the hell...?" exclaimed the man who had flung her, with eyes bulging.
"H-hey, Jason," his buddy said. With a terrified tone in his voice, Jason turned back, his gaze falling on the now-parting crowd. When he noticed what his buddy was staring at, his eyes widened slightly.