Ladies, Gentleman, that Poor Port Addicted Bastard,
May I present you
Chapter 5 ) Shopping
The City was active. Mobiuns ranging from feline, equine to towering bovine walked cobblestone streets. People milled about as much as walked, either looking for something to do, or where actively participating in whatever activity city life in this time period called for.
Actively pelting raggedly dressed individuals with ripe onions in the stockades.
Wherever they were it was a bustling place of events and what have yous, with spoken dialects and languages that drowned out most anything intelligible being said.
They were attempting to keep a low profile. That’s what Vger instructed them to do. Keep it discreet, keep it covert. Find what their looking for and get out as soon as possible.
Thankfully, there was too much going to take notice of the Foxes to begin with.
Vger struggled against John’s mighty grip. John had Vger, quiet literally by his fox tail. The Engineering Genius SLASH Emperor tugged on his tail like a leash, trying to peer into the first wine emporium they had walked passed. “I just want to taste it. I demand you let me go! “ Vger tugged on his tail again.
Mortimor covered his eyes a moment, before glancing back to Jerry.
Their Oldest Fox was gone. Lost in the crowd without so much as a good riddance, doing whatever bidding Vger had instructed him to do. “That was fast.” Mortimor noted. “Jerry’s gone and Vger has turned into a crack addict.”
“Jerry will be fine. Like a Truck.” John nodded reassuringly. “Vger is like dilapidated sports bra.”
Mortimor gave John a quick double glance, trying to figure out if he was serious in what he said or not. Leaning towards serious, Mortimor adjusted his sword belt. “Look big guy, no offense, but I think if we come across anyone asking questions, I’ll do the talking.”
“I will bloody well shoot you!” Vger threatened.
John promptly snatched the rifle away from Vger before he could cock it. Mortimor reached over and took Vger’s pistol as well, and shoved it in his belt.
“Bollocks!” Vger snarled as he was disarmed, and leaped on John’s arm, biting at his metal clad bicep. “Release me!”
John of course, was unaffected, and simply hoisted Vger off the ground to give him a curious look. Their Emperor had clung to the larger Fox’s arm and was gnawing, quite fiercely, on the armor plating. It was quite embarrassing, really. Yet did Vger care?!
No. He wanted that Port. He wanted that Port NOW.
“Well, at least Jerry will know how to keep a low profile.” Mortimor, again, concealed his face beneath his hands as he sighed into them.
Jerry had ditched them as soon as they passed the City Guards at the Gates. The Guards themselves did not seem overly concern with their approach nor appearance, but they were obviously looking for someone. Jerry grew suspicious and toyed with the idea that he should retrace his steps and check on Rina and Akhmin.
Rina was a big girl.
Akhmin could probably do all of this himself if he wasn’t so scattered brained.
The Blood Red Fox sniffed, and took a route in the opposite direction of Vger’s little group, heading to what look to be stalls for shops. Slipping through the crowd, Jerry ‘accidentally’ bumped into a mobiun or two, and made off with several pouches.
Though Jerry was not a master cut purse nor pick pocket by any means, he did have sticky fingers when it came down to it. And with crowded streets and inattentive people with their eyes up or on something else, they were easy pickings for even someone marginally skilled in the arts of theft. Ducking into an alley, he tugged on purse strings.
Two of them had gold coins he could not recognize.
Another was Gemstones, which could be sold off if he needed coin.
The last was a purse filled with…well…it was something vulgar and well above a PG-13 rating. I mean really. Who walks around with THAT in a pouch dangling off their hip? Man its so nasty I cringe to think about it. Wait, what was in the pouch? Screw you people, that’s what was in the pouch.
Jerry tossed that disgusting pouch in which we will never discuss nor mention the contents because the author is trying to keep this on some level of decency, over his shoulder. With the laws of probability, and comedy working in his favor, it inadvertently smacked some random individual in the face.
There was screaming of disgust. Demands of Justice. Impugned Honor.
Jerry ignored most of it, but grinned in delight beneath his hood as he stuffed the three remaining pouches beneath his armor. Instead of watching as a growing brawl erupted behind him as mistaken identities and realization that things were stolen, he slipped into shop that had a welcome sign instead of a dusty stall.
A fat Mobiun, some sort of badger it looked, greeted him from behind the counter. “Welcome Adventurer!” they declared. “Welcome to Bogart’s Adventurer’s Bazaar and Shop.”
“You buy gems?” Jerry asked, producing a pouch and presenting one stone from it.
“Yes, though depends on how much you want.”
“Give me any fair price on this particular stone my good man.” Jerry instructed, sliding the stone across the counter. “I trust your judgment.”
The Shop keep smiled wide and friendly, taking up the gemstone and giving a rather brief, and unprofessional look of the white gem offered. “It would break my heart, but I am willing to pass on ten gold coin.”
“Make it fifteen, and I will reimburse you by buying a few items here and there.” Jerry shrugged.
The shopkeep nodded once and reached out his hand. “Deal.”
Jerry took it, and shortly thereafter the coin was produced from beneath the counter. Jerry looked over the coin, it was the same strange gold metal ones in the other pouches. Pushing them off to the side, showing he had no immediate interest in the coin, Jerry looked about the shop. “I will need supplies, a weeks worth of travel food for six people in a pack. Some rope. Torches. And maybe some information.”
“Ahh, fifteen gold crown won’t cover all of that.” the Shop keep nodded, quickly filling Jerry’s order.
“Coin is not an issue. We are a group lost in the field, never seen this place before.”
“This is the Imperial City of Nurthumbra, the Arch Bishop Ceasel resides here with his collection.” the Shop keep said, speaking lowly. “I take it you are from the far south, from your garb you wear? How fairs the war?”
“It fairs.” Jerry lied through his teeth. He had no idea what sort of war was raging, but could discern that it had to do with something regarding Rina’s species. And with the lack of surprise in Jerry’s statement of being lost in the field? Apparently it was common place to never see a large city of any sort of importance. “Though that is not my concern. I notice they do not check papers, but there are several people with some sort of odd lens device.”
“Truth seekers. They detect evil and lies. You did not have them on the front line?”
“I stayed more behind the enemy, where I needed no such devices, you know what I mean?” Jerry grinned, sliding his finger over his throat.
“You must have slain many Avian, geared as you are, very expensive looking armor.”
Jerry shrugged. Producing a coin pouch and placing it on the Counter. “I have expensive taste. This collection you speak of?”
“Yes. The Arch Bishop’s Bird Cage He is a sick man I tell you. Just don’t tell any of his guards or the adventurers he hires.” the Shop keep glanced at the door. “He strips them of their accursed magic and works them to death, lets them starve sometimes. A quick death is what they deserve, not that extended suffering.”
Jerry nodded once, and felt something slide into his breastplate. Turning, he snatched a small frame by the throat then slammed them into the counter before him.
It was a boy. Dirty, rodent, half his ear missing with a bruised right eye already. The Fox relaxed slightly, but still kept a firm grip on the little pick pocket.“Hey! Lemme go!” they squealed.
“Soon as you give me my coin purse back!” Jerry snatched the item in question from their hand. It was the gemstone pouch. Quicker hands and the boy might have gotten away with it.
“Thief?! AHA! Cobb! He got you you little wretch!” the badger shop keep reached down and yanked the boy from Jerry’s grip.
“Lemmeh go you old fart!” the Rat, Cobb kicked the badger, but to no avail.
“Oh no, its the block for you boy.”
“Whoa whoa, look at the boy.” Jerry grunted. “His a hungry little thief, I’ll pay for a loaf of bread and we kick him to the curve.”
And Cobb was. He was thin lad, Jerry notice that their tail was missing a few segments as well. Cobb look pathetic and helpless, and not really warranting that much frustration and anger.
“No friend, this is personal. This little wretch has been stealing from me since he could walk. Little Thief and his nasty little thief friends. Pick pockets and louts the lot of them. I’ll have his hands and see him strung. This will teach you dirty little fiends.”
Despite lingering suspicions and evidence to the contrary, Jerry was not a heartless braggart. Oh he was a vulgar son of a b**ch with poor habits. His Conscious was on life support, bed ridden and permanently crippled in most aspects. But he had one.
Jerry did not know the World he was on, but he instantly did not like it. Children needed a good paddling at times for doing something wrong. Maybe a punch in the face when they think they are bigger and meaner then they actually were or did something outlandishly stupid.
But taking their hands? Stringing them up? Punishing a hungry child!?
A switch was thrown, and the fox’s face twitched.
“I’m asking you nice. Put him the f**k down.” Jerry warned. The blood red fur pressed against the cloths they weighed it down. The golden eyes stared out with predatory menace in its gaze. The temperature seem to drop, the boy noticed it, looking at Jerry with a mixture of hope and fear.
“If you do not agree with what I am doing take your business elsewhere! The boy is mine to deal with!” the Badger snapped, oblivious of the murderous look he was getting from beneath the shadowy hood.
Jerry suddenly laughed, the mirth catching both the Badger, and the Rat named Cobb by surprise. “Oh for a second there, I thought you were going to cooperate with me.”
Jerry and Cobb were walking briskly away from a roaring fire which had once been Bogart’s Adventurer’s Bazaar and Shop. They had left just heartbeats before the flames cracked the glass windows. In one hand, slung over his shoulder, Jerry had a sack of whatever he could carry, the other had Cobb firmly by the shoulder.
People were already scrambling from the brawl that had taken place just a few paces from where the flames just erupted from nowhere. The owner staggered out of the front door, clutching at his arm, with his face bruised and eyes shut from the swelling. The Guards scrambled to get buckets and halt the fire from being spread, as well as attend to the wounded shop keep.
Two of them however, started to Jerry with that lens device Jerry had asked about before the slight disagreement.
“Halt Citizens.” one of them held up a mailed fist. “Do you know who set the blaze?” they asked, and help up the lens.
Jerry came to an abrupt stop, and looked dead into the lens. There was no hesitation in his point blank honesty. There was no point considering what he was told of the devices. Besides, he was gathering information after all. “Yes.”
“Truth. Do you know which way he went.”
That answered that question. They were still looking intently in the lens and not his face. Okay, how far can he go with this? “He was going that way.” Jerry pointed in the direction he had been walking.
“Truth. We must have missed him. Quick. Tell us what he looked like.” the guard ordered, lowering the lens. Their partner had turned to look to where Jerry was pointing, preparing to rush ahead once he got the description.
“A yellow canine in blue drag, went that way.” Jerry continued to point, and the guards immediately took off. There was no second guessing. They had fully trusted him after two honest answers.
Once they were gone, Cobb gulped. “I thought they’d have you for sure!”
“They asked the wrong questions.” Jerry felt himself compelled to answer the young Rat. “ I did know who set fire to the shop. I did.” Jerry shrugged, then turned to his left, pushing Cobb before him. “And I -was- going that direction, now we’re going this way. The last one was a bit of a lie, but they were not paying attention. So they get to live.”
“Clever chap, aren’t you?” Cobb asked, “Did you have to hurt the old cuss? I mean, I can get in a lot of trouble for being around a mauling and all. Lars don’t like that kinda heat on his boys. No he does not.”
“Who is this Lars?” Jerry asked, perking a brow.
“A Watch Officer, moonlights as our Guild Head in the Local Chapter.”
Jerry stopped, pushing Cobb into a door frame. “How old are you?”
“Thirteen next winter.”
The scrutiny in which Jerry looked over Cobb told him he did not believe it.
“Now what is an eleven year old doing stealing from very dangerous people?” Jerry asked, reaching into Cobb’s shirt to rip out the pouch they had taken from the Fox while they were distracted. “I felt the weight lift before you ask. Boy you have any idea who you are f***ing with.”
“A Killer.” Cobb’s face twisted in fear. “But I won’t say nothing to no one. I swear!”
“Answer my question. What are you doing stealing?”
“Got to eat. I bring coin to Lars and he feeds me and my brothers.”
“Yeah. He hires out our sisters to some Nobility out of City he does.”
Jerry frowned. “How many Brothers and Sisters you got?”
“Bout twenty two brothers, bout nineteen sisters.” Cobb said. “No twenty one brothers. Smidgey got sick and Lars sent him to our sisters.”
“Lars did huh? And he doesn’t like the kind of ‘heat’ a ‘mauling’ brings? “ Jerry asked. “Well, let me explain it to Lars then, I was just protecting his interests.”
“You. You can’t feed your brothers and sisters without hands and being hung.” Jerry noted.
Cobb slowly nodded, realizing that Jerry had just gotten him out of a lot of trouble. “Well. His not going to like I didn’t steal nothin.”
Jerry produced two gemstones from his vest. “Tell him you took these.”
“That be lying.”
“Meh.” Jerry shrugged indifferently.
Cobb hesitantly took the stones, and quickly clutched them to his chest as if Jerry would snatch them back.
A moment more, and Cobb shifted around the door frame to leave, and Jerry simply stood, shouldering the bag to follow.
“I’m Cobb by the by.” the little Rat introduced himself.
“Jay.” Jerry replied, patting his own leather wrapped chest to make sure the pouches were still there. “You, my friend name Cobb, can call me Uncle Jay.”
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