Chapter 7: The little thief

Chapter 7: The little thief

A Chapter by Gosia

May smirked, self-satisfied as she and Levi were returning from the temple. She felt that she was on the right track, all thanks to her wit and idea to visit the temple’s priests. Talk about mysterious portals and scrolls written in a forbidden language seemed phony, but what didn’t, here, in the Callesmere Empire? Already knowing how real the magical soul-switching mirrors were, May decided to take the occult for granted, like gravity or Lavoisier’s conservation of mass law. If the priest was correct, the map to Earth only needed to get translated. Only a day or two and she’d be back in…


                “Curses!” Suddenly Levi’s voice made May’s thought stray from the pleasant perspective of watching TV with her parents and sister.


                The girl furrowed her eyebrows, looking at her companion who was frantically patting his sides, where something was amiss. The young soldier kept cursing, his language probably could make a well-bred Lady from the Callesmere Empire blush violently and perhaps even faint, but May’s eyelid didn’t even twitch. After all, the girl from Baltimore heard worse, especially when Hailey didn’t do her hair right.


                “No, no, no!” Levi kept muttering, while searching through his pockets, not paying any attention to May, who was observing him with growing amusement. “May the demons rip me apart! Damn! I swear, if my father learns of this, he’ll chop my balls off so that I won’t sully my family name!”


                Suddenly Levi froze, stopping the interesting display of swear words. He lifted his head and stared at May, his blue eyes wide-opened and jaw slack as he came to the realization. He covered his mouth with his hand, the palm slightly trembling. The soldier’s face went white, he looked like he just saw death in person, who came to take his life.


                “Lady Maewyn…” He stuttered, the ghostly pale face changing its color to blazing red and then to white again. Levi swallowed a lump in his throat. “My Lady, my behavior was unforgivable… I… I probably deserve to…”


                The vision of an executioner’s axe reflected in the Levi’s eyes already, but May only waved her hand dismissively.

            

   “No big deal, everyone needs to swear a bit sometimes,” she said with a smile on her lips, her reaction shocking Levi. The young warrior couldn’t utter a word, but his face expression said everything �" he was grateful that May let such an unforgivable offense let slide. May sighed. “Anyway, did you lose something?”

           

    Levi straightened his back, attempting to act natural yet polite. He bowed his head respectively before the girl.

            

   “It seems I left my the seal of Agnar family back in the temple. I need to get it back,” the soldier explained. “My father will punish me severely if I lose it.”

         

      May rested her hands on her hips, looking at the troubled soldier.

                “I guess you have to find it then,” she said and looked around; the girl wasn’t eager to go back to the temple right now, but the perspective of sightseeing the village at the feet of Thoen Stronghold was more than appealing. “You know what, Levi, go back alone. I’ll grab something to eat and we’ll meet at the gates, okay?”

             

              Levi blinked, not being able to stop staring at the girl he believed to be the Lady of Farn.

            

              “I can’t leave you alone, my Lady!” the young soldier protested. “I’m responsible for your safety can’t just stroll around alone, without the protection of my sword!”

           

               May narrowed her eyes at Levi, who was just taking a deep breath, about to preach some more. She decided to deal with her overprotective guardian swiftly.


                “Levi, what do you think the Duke would do if he found out that you hurt my delicate royal ears with your colorful cursing?” The girl asked him, a smug look on her face.


                The young soldier paled again, the vision of the executioner’s axe returning. May’s smile grew, turning into a full-fledged triumphant grin.


                “I thought so,” she said and cleared her throat. “I’ll be waiting at the gates.”


                “Be careful, Lady.” Levi muttered, the miserable look of defeat painted all over his face.


                May nodded.


                “Sure, what could happen anyway?”


                Once Levi was out of sight, May smiled to herself, breathing in the air. It felt so pure and fresh that it was almost intoxicating her. The girl locked her target on �" the enormous gray silhouette of Thoen Stronghold dominating the landscape and began walking, lazily taking in her surroundings.


                The Thoen Stronghold was surrounded by woods and fields, where the farmers were growing the crops. It was early spring, so the village under the walls was nearly empty, as its inhabitants were busy with the sowing. The plants in the Callesmere Empire were similar to the ones back in her own world, but she had never seen such a vivid green. The shade seemed to be almost unnatural. Everything about this place seemed more lively, more deep. The wind seemed to be more pleasant, the birds sang most beautifully, the villagers seemed to be more friendly than the crowd back in Baltimore. The animals and plants were pretty much the same as back in America, with the small exceptions �" most of them were known to May, at least from books and Discovery Channel. However, some of the plant species looked completely unfamiliar to her �" they were just another proof, that she was in another world, far from home.


May made her way through the settlement under the tall massive walls of huge Thoen Stronghold, which housed farmers and minor craftsmen. The place looked poor, but very tidy �" every house was so clean that the cheap wood seemed to shine.

 

Unfortunately, May hadn’t  managed to conceal her identity from the villagers. Her dress had a plain design but was made of fine fabric. Of course there was the hair reaching her knees. It was obvious that only a Lady would have such hair �" she had learned from books in the Duke’s library that only the women of royal families were allowed to have their hair reach past waist. The peasants treated her friendly, but with reverence, careful not to disrespect her. May wished she could just cut the damn hair. It would be easier to walk and she would look more like herself. However, if she was going to be a fake Lady, she couldn’t do it.

 

May stopped by the market to buy some apples. Her stomach rumbling slightly demanded food. The sound was so loud, that it was hearable even despite the noisy bustling in the village’s market, where the common folks were trading the crops and mostly self-made objects. The woman selling fruit smiled at the girl cheerfully.

 

“Are you hungry, my Lady? The peaches are very tasty today!” she exclaimed, outshouting other paddlers and getting the attention of the potential buyer. The woman bowed her head respectfully and with a gesture presented her wares �" fruit and vegetables. As it was not the season for them yet, May assumed, that they must be imported from the warmer parts of the Callesmere Empire.

 

“Actually, I was wondering if I could have some apples…” May asked, and the woman was already packing peaches in a fabric bag along with apples and a couple of dried plums. May reached for a pocket in her sleeve to take out money and pay the woman for the fruit.

           

“It’s a gift!” The fruit seller declined the money. “I wouldn’t take a single coin from Lady Maewyn!”

 

“Look…” May began. “I have a lot of these and you are earning your living by selling fruit. Take the money already and buy something nice for your kids.”

 

May shoved the coins into the woman’s hand, who stared at her with widely opened eyes. Eventually, she accepted, smiling thankfully and offered a discount for the next time.

 

May took an apple from the bag and started eating. It tasted completely different than the apples from her world. It was juicier and the flavor of the fruit was stronger. Generally, the food here was much better than at back home. Plus, the air was cleaner than back in Baltimore. Perhaps it's the way it was a blessing in disguise and she should take this experience as a small vacation. If her family was spending the holiday abroad, why couldn’t she do the same? May took another bite of the apple, and made her way towards the temple

 

She was so deep in thought she didn’t notice the commotion behind her.

 

“Thief! Catch that thief!” some men yelled.

As she turned her head to see what was going on, a small shape darted past her, knocking the fruit out of the girl’s grasp. The apple slipped out of May’s hand and fell to the ground. The girl inwardly cursed as she saw her lunch lying on the dirt. Then the group of pursuers ran past her and the girl struggled to keep herself on her feet, as the crowd was pushing her and nearly causing her to lose her balance. Soon the men passed her in a hurry, only the cloud of dust from the road was left after them.

 

“Idiots,” May mumbled and stalked in the direction where the men went. It was the same direction she was heading anyway.

 

She heard the group of men shouting curses and threats as they gathered in a circle. The thief they were pursuing was presumably in the middle of it. Beside her, there were a couple of onlookers standing and encouraging the mob to deliver the justice. The men, who nearly knocked May down were beating the thief, kicking him and shouting the threats. Much to the girl’s horror more and more onlookers began gathering and observing the occurrence casually with interest, as though it was just a funny show on TV. Apparently they considered it an entertainment.

 

Maybe he’s a criminal, May thought, but they are going to kill the man if they keep at it.

           

May looked around, but no one was about to intervene �" the children were laughing and pointing their fingers at the mob, while the others were smiling lightly. The girl took a deep breath and rushed forward, deciding to step on.

 

“What is going on here?” she demanded, shoving the two broad-shouldered peasants aside to get a clear look at the thief, who was just being beaten up. May gasped when she saw the actual criminal.

 

A little boy, no older than ten years old, was trying to shield himself with his arms from the attackers. He had dirty ruffled blonde hair and wore a bluish rag, which probably used to be a tunic. May could feel anger boiling in her as she observed the villagers harming the little child.

 

“Are you insane?” she shouted at the men, pushing herself between them and the boy, shielding the child from the attackers. “How could you beat a little child?!

 

“Move aside, woman!” one of the pursuers ordered, clenching his big calloused hands in fists, as though he wanted to punch May as well. However, his confidence died down a tiny bit, when he saw, that the girl refused to be intimidated by the obvious threat.

 

May glared at him furiously, standing her ground. No way. She would never let them beat up this the little boy. The man rushed towards May, but his companions grabbed him and started dragging him back, flashing apologizing smiled at the girl.

 

“You fool!” somebody from the crowd shouted. “Don’t you know who she is? You will get executed!”

 

The attackers were no longer so eager anymore to beat the little thief; they must have known better than to yell at the Lady and try to punch her. May sent them another angry glare and leaned over the little boy, patting his back and hoping he didn’t have any serious injuries.

 

“It’s all right now. I won’t let them hurt you,” she said gently to the kid. The boy lifted his head to look at May. He glanced hopefully with big eyes in the shade of liquid gold.

 

Geez, he has the best puppy-eyes, I have ever seen, May thought.

 

May stood up and looked at the crowd. They were still standing there gaping at the scene before them. One of the angriest men stepped out.

 

“It’s a thief you are protecting, my Lady; the brat stole from my stall!” the man said angrily, spitting on the ground. May couldn’t believe that such an innocent-looking child could be a thief but decided not to argue. She sighed and reached for her pocket.

 

“Here you go. It should be more than enough.” she said giving him three golden coins and a scathing look. “Now let’s forget about the whole mess. The show is over!”

 

The village people reluctantly began returning to their daily routine though kept glancing occasionally over at the little girl and the one, they believed to be the Lady. Soon enough the entertainment-seeking crowd dispersed.

 

May kneeled in front of the child and examined him. Thankfully he seemed to be okay, bruises at most. It didn’t escape her attention, that the child’s limbs were thin, as though he wasn’t eating properly in a couple of weeks.

 

“It’s not right to steal from people, you know?” May said to the kid. The little boy stared at his feet, looking ashamed.

 

“I was hungry.” he said quietly. May sighed, feeling pity for this child. She fished an apple out from her bag and gave it to the boy. The child stared at the fruit and then at May, unsure whether or not to accept the fruit.

 

“Come on, I am not going to let you starve, kid,” May said, smiling and trying to encourage the boy. The child eventually flashed a wide smile, muttered a quiet “thank you” and took the apple. He nearly swallowed the fruit whole.

 

He must have been starving, May thought, passing another apple to the child’s hands.

 

May led the boy to the steps of the temple and they sat there eating fruit. Well, May was mostly staring at the child, who ate the entire supplies.

 

“Wow, you sure were hungry.” May stated. The boy nodded happily and smiled at her.

 

“Thank you. It was yummy!” the kid said, smiling even wider. May thought she was the most adorable child she had ever seen. She couldn’t believe that anyone could even think of hurting him.

 

“I’m glad that you liked it. Oh, and by the way, I’m May,” May cursed inwardly as she realized that she had just said her real name instead of the Lady’s.

 

“Nice to meet you, May,” the kid said. “I’m Eren!”

 

 

 



© 2013 Gosia


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Okay this chapter was a little weird, particularly in the way May reacted to Eren's sudden arrival. It was so matter-of-fact when my instincts tell me she should be taken aback. It's totally weird how he found her and his way in. It's also totally weird that he was there watching her. I thought May could have reacted a little more than shrugging it off.

I felt you wanted to really imprint the image of a sweet boy and his new friend on the reader. You wanted the reader to really feel for the kid but it kinda made him look creepy.

The rest of the chapter was fine, although the real meat came at the end where the hunters found him. I knew they would wait and that their talking was a tactical feint. Obviously the fire would have given off his position. That was smart and I particularly liked that scene.

There was a bit of a disconnect between the ending of the scene with May after Levi announces soldiers are arriving and when Eren was unwrapping the fish. The jump was a bit too large there and I wanted to know if they encountered the soldiers and what would have happened to the princess if they did. Since it's a different nation/dukedom?

Also, you mention that the woods is dangerous and that May shouldn't go out alone but other than the hunters, I don't really feel that it's all that dangerous and that May's right when she called Levi superstitious. Perhaps that was the point?

Posted 10 Years Ago


Gosia

10 Years Ago

May's reaction was horror-like. You know, how the characters are absolutely fine with venturing alon.. read more
Christopher Angel

10 Years Ago

Ah so I was on the right track then! Excellent. I kinda guessed that was what you wanted but I had t.. read more
I love the line where Hilda looks like she swallowed a stick. And I love the way May keeps looking down on everyone, not believing in demons. Its a good way to signal, yup she's gonna be demon-food. I also really like the dynamic btwn May and Levi.

It all looks good, i can't think of anything to improve!

Posted 10 Years Ago


Gosia

10 Years Ago

Great, thanks for the review. I guess that the grand finale is in two chapters.

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Added on August 17, 2013
Last Updated on October 1, 2013


Author

Gosia
Gosia

Poland



About
Hello, my name is unpronounceable for most of humankind, but fortunately it can be shortened to Gosia. I’m an university student in my twenties, about to face the real life very soon. I’ve.. more..

Writing
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A Chapter by Gosia