The guards looked these worn travelers over in curiosity.
One of the women had a bulging belly indicating she was far along while the other wore a turban. The guard found this odd because from what he could recall, people that usually wore such head dressings came from the desert climates and were usually darken in skin tone and had dark eyes. The woman before him though had very light skin and dark blue eyes.
The woman was young but she was the most beautiful person he had ever seen. To describe her looks as angelic was not far off at all. Turning his attention to the males. One was clearly very old. With a dirty face and clothes, greyed out hair, and a hunch in his back, the guard wondered how the old man had even made it all the way here. Looking at how the old man carried himself, he looked like he would collapse at any moment.
The guard felt a bit of pity and looked away. Seeing the last male, again he wondered about this group’s survival. The last one was a young boy with a small frame. Although he was very small, the boy smiled brightly at the guards and looked full of energy.
Seeing the thin clothes these people wore and seeing the people themselves, the guards wondered how they hadn’t died up to this point. Before the guard could say anything, the old man pulled something out from his sleeve and presented it to them. The two guards became confused and one couldn’t help but ask.
“A boot, what are you doing old man?”
The old man smiled and his teeth were more than black.
“Isn’t there a tax or sumten to git enn. Dis hears ma payment.”
The two guards could barely understand the man’s heavy accent but they got the gist of it. One of the guards pushed the foul-smelling boot out of the way with the tip of his spear.
“That won’t be necessary old-timer, you see…”
Before the guard could finish, the old man started to argue back.
“What, what ju meeen. Dis ears a genuine magic equipment. Look eeer.”
The old man brought the boot closer and tilted it so the guards could see the inside. They both backed away and covered their noses but they did indeed spot a worn and broken inscription inside the boot. Again the boot was pushed away with the tip of a spear, this time a little more forcefully.
“Old man, we get it we get it, that is indeed a piece of magic equipment but…”
Once more the old man interrupted the guard before he could finish.
“See se, so ya ott tu teak it. Dis fancy boot is a family arrowloom pased down from my pappee and his pappee before em.”
The old man shoved the stench ridden boot close to the guards and again one of the guards knocked the boot away. This time it was done with a lot of strength and the boot flew out of the old man’s hands and landed in the snow. The woman with a bulging stomach fell to the ground seeing this and gripped her stomach in pain. The beauty wearing a turban seemed to panic and called out.
“Old wise one, your wife!”
The old man turned and shouted out.
He caressed the woman’s face lovingly before he turned back to the guards and yelled.
“How could ja do Dis to my honeee? How can u call ursefs men when ya ataked a pregnant woman who on the verge of birthen out my heir?”
The guards looked at one another completely lost but hearing that the old man was blaming them for his wife’s state, the two were unsure of what to do. They had never experienced such a weird predicament. The guards wanted to just arrest these people but they knew they had done nothing wrong. These people were weird, very weird but they hadn’t done anything illegal and they didn’t seem to be strong either and therefore weren’t a threat.
One of the guards made a decision and ran over to the worn-out boot and picked it up with his spear before setting it down in front of the old man. Before the old man could complain or counter, the guard quickly explained.
“Now listen here old man. There are no taxes or fees of any kind to enter or exit Gentis. The lord here believes this helps merchants to come in go more frequently. If they had to pay something on top of the hard journey to get here, our lord doubts they would come in the first place. So hurry up and enter or turn around now and leave. Whatever you do just cause any trouble. Obey the law and go away already.”
The guard said this in annoyance and frustration but his friend next to him completely agreed. They no longer cared who these people were nor which whole they crawled out from. They simply wished for them to disappear from their sight.
The old man tilted his head in confusion before he slowly strained to stand up properly. He helped up his pregnant wife and he made sure she was alright before he looked at the two guards.
“Right, so why didn ya say thad before huh?”
The old man grabbed his pregnant wife’s hand and started to pull her forward while the two guards gripped their spears doing their best to have patience. Still one of them yelled.
“Hurry up and move it old-timer!”
The old man snorted several times before he looked back at the boy.
“Boy get our arrowloom, les go.”
The boy ran over cheerfully and picked up the boot. Although it clearly had a foul smell, the boy happily carried in his arms as he ran ahead laughing crazily for some reason. Last but not least the woman with a turban walked ahead, albeit a bit stiffly.
One of the guards shook his head in displeasure.
The other guard nodded along while still holding his nose.
“You said it.”
The young boy ran around the old man and the two women again and again as he felt a rush from what just took place at the gate.
As the four made their way into the city, the boy loved the way everyone looked at him. They all looked at him curiously but after a moment of seeing his wild running about, the people soon turned away and went about there business.
Seeing the tall buildings, the bustling people, and taking in all the other sights and smells, finally the young boy could no longer take it and blurted out.
“Kazu…I mean grandpa what are we gonna do now?”
Kazuki was indeed the old man. He simply looked back and put a finger to his lips.
“Shh, you’ll see.”
The boy, of course, was Mia and she nodded repeatedly while covering her mouth.
Soon, Kazuki could see a disparity in a certain part of the city and traveled in that general direction. They soon found their way to a not so good part of the city. The buildings went from grand and well constructed to dull and shambly built. A few odd characters with sinister expressions began to approach them.
Kazuki noticed them right away but continued deeper into this dilapidated area. Tsura as well noticed them but with her animal instincts, she didn’t feel much of a threat from them and followed along with Kazuki. Nunully felt a bit of the pressure as she noticed all the dirty looks aimed at her body. A few of these people even drooled and every now and then the reflection of a knife was spotted.
Kazuki grabbed her arm and pulled her closer to himself and whispered.
“Relax, they can’t hurt you.”
Nunully knew that if Kazuki said that then these shadowy men were really not much. Kazuki let go of her arm and walked forward. Nunully held her arm where Kazuki’s hand had been and she could still feel the warmth. Her heart fluttered a bit thinking about it.
Mei was, of course, the only one oblivious. With her strength, it should be easy to detect someone so close with bad intentions but because she was so excited about the new environment, she blocked herself from sensing such things and continued blissfully unaware.
Kazuki found a secluded alley and he led everyone into it. The alley led to a dead-end and Kazuki stopped and turned around. No sooner did he turn around that a sinister chuckle rang out.
“Hehehe, hello little sheep. You should already know how this goes but in case you don’t I’ll say this just one time and one time only. Hand over all of your valuables and money right here and now or we’ll gut ya like the little lost lambs that you are.”
A large man stepped out of the shadows. At his side were a few men and women. These thugs all looked at the group with either lust-filled eyes or greed. The man pulled out a dagger and his people quickly followed suit. Kazuki and Tsura both looked at the fools coldly. Kazuki was just about to step forward and take care of these thugs but before he had even taken a single step, Mei stepped forward instead.
There was no longer a joyful expression on her face. Right now she was clearly angry. This confused not only Kazuki, Tsura, and Nunully but the thugs found this to be odd as well.
Mei’s brows furrowed and she said with all seriousness.
“I am not a sheep or a lamb. Mei is a big big strong bird.”