Tielle followed behind her sister. The vicious monsters were heading right toward her sister. Tielle was paying more attention to not stepping on any cracks. Her big sister was an experienced adventurer. Not a single member of the vicious onslaught would get to the young elf. Big sister was too good to let that happen. The sounds of blade on hide and scales became more distant as the fighting moved away from her.
The little elven girl sped up, trying to catch up with her sister. All around her were items were littering the ground. Animal bits were mixed in with beautiful gems. Even though the sound of fighting had stopped she could follow the gems as they lifted off the ground and flew in the direction that she needed to go in. It was a trick Tielle had used before when she had fallen behind.
That was when she saw it. It was white and soft looking. Delicate frosting decorated its delicious exterior. A cute little cherry stood out in sharp contrast. It was shortcake. A monster must have dropped it. It looked like a piece of heaven on earth, purest temptation in sinful sweet form.
The shortcake was never sure how it found itself in its hands. The rest of its life was too short to even comprehend that it was being eaten. It was a tragic end to a precious heirloom, but a delicious meal to the sweet pastry lover.
Tielle closed her eyes, savoring the last vistages of the shortcake on her tongue.
Her eyes snapped open. All of the gems were gone. She ran. She came to an interaction and turned left. Fish came flying at her from every direction. She ducked low under one and kept going. Right, left, left, right, around and around, through portals and past red doors she ran. She stopped running, panting for breath. Now she was in a completely different section of the dungeon. There was no sign of her big sister anywhere. She started walking, her bow held up to her chest.
There was a noise. It was coming from just around the corner. She dashed around the corner, a smile plastered on her face. She crashed into a pink wall of flesh wearing a kimono. Tielle fell onto her butt. When she looked up, she only focused on the Asian woman holding a naginata in one hand. She did not even notice the paper bag of groceries in her other hand.
With a shriek she was blindly running away. There was the sound of pursuit behind her. She looked back, the woman had turned into a monster with three noses, five eyes and too many tentacles. It was gaining on her. She would have fired at it but her bow was gone. No matter how fast she ran or how many twists and turns she took, it kept up with her. She felt slime salmon colored tentacles encircle her.
Tielle shot up in bed. The too thin blanket was in a bunch against the wall. She tried to slow down her breathing. It was just a nightmare. That was all. The smell of stagnant water permeated the underground room. Light came in through the small window and illuminated the wooden shelf that she put her shoes on while she slept.
She stood up on the bed. Tielle had to go on her toes to reach her shoes. Once she had them she leapt from the bed, over the puddle of water and to the door. She put them on and opened the door. Her landlady was waiting outside.
“Your rent is due,” the purple haired woman said.
“I-I am sorry, Euria. I don’t have enough money to pay you.”
“Fine” she said with a sly grin, “but then I am charging you a late fee. Every day you don’t pay I am adding a thousand pix to how much you owe me. If you don’t I’m gonna use my connections to have you thrown out of the city.”
“No! I’ll give you all the money I have right now. Just, please don’t have me thrown out of the city.” She held out a small coin purse.
Euria snatched it away. She jingled the purse, looked in and grinned before she made it vanish. Euria said, “I am such a nice person that you only have to pay an extra five hundred pix for being late today.”
“Thank you so much. I promise I will be able to pay you tonight.”
Tielle hurried off, not slowing down until she was far away from her apartment. She sighed and began looking for lost pix on the ground. The money that she had given Euria was the money she was going to spend on food today. She did not know what she was going to do now. There was still no sign of her big sister and she was completely out of money. In her search for money she wandered past a certain shop.
Tielle gazed in longingly at the food on display in the window. Inside she could see Recette help a little girl try on a wooden bracelet. She could not help thinking about going inside and asking for just a little bit of pix or food. Tielle’s hand was on the door to go inside before she stopped herself. Recette needed the money and the merchandise to keep her house. It would not be right to ask for help from her, especially after the girl had used such expensive medicine to help the young elf. She gave one last glance at the sweets in the window before turning away.
The door of the shop opened and out stepped a brown haired boy. He was obviously an adventurer. In his arms he held a bag full of food. Tielle knew him, he had been the one that had fought her in the ruins.
“Hi, little elf girl,” he said with a smile.
“Hello, I’m sorry about-“
“Don’t worry about it. Recette told me all about it. You were scared, that is all. I’m Louie.”
“My name is Tielle.” Her stomach growled.
Louie frowned at the sound, “Are you hungry?”
“A little. I used the last of my money to pay for rent.”
Louie reached into his bag and pulled out an apple. He held it out to her. “Here, go on.”
“Really? Thank you!” She grabbed the apple and started to eat it as if he might take it away at any second.
“I know what it is like to go hungry. So when are you going adventuring next? We could form a party.”
“I’m not an adventurer.”
“You aren’t? With moves like that I thought you would be.”
“If I became an adventurer I could make money to life off of until I find my sister.”
“I’m heading to the Adventurer Guild. I’ll help you with the registration.”
“Thank you, so much.”
Together the two went to the Adventurer Guild. True to his word, Louie helped her register and do the initial paperwork. They got to the point that all she had to do was wait until she had permission to go take her test. When he had helped her all he could, Louie went off to do some side quests for extra pix.
“Hi there, cutie,” an older female voice said.
Tielle jumped and spun around. There was a woman with short purple hair like Euria. There was even a certain similarity in clothing. The body language and expression was completely different. This woman had an easy-going smile.
“You must be Tielle.”
“How did you know my name?”
“I’m a regular at Recettear.”
“Oh, what is your name?”
“Charme, lady thief, just your everyday berk trying to get the money of other berks.”
Tielle instinctively reached for her pockets to make sure nothing was missing.
“You don’t have anything worth stealing. Besides, I don’t usually steal from cute little girls.”
“Are you an adventurer?”
“You bet I am. And you are trying to become one.”
“Yes, I need money so I can pay my rent and eat.”
“Where are you staying?”
“I’m staying at Dawson Street.”
“Dawson Street? What berk are you renting from?”
“Her name is Euria. She is giving me a great deal.”
Charmed pressed her lips together in a tight frown. “You know, I can think of a better place to stay. I have a friend and she could use a roommate. She is from out of town too.”
“I’m not sure…”
“She’s a friend of our little racketeer.” Tielle was being pulled out of the guild by Charme in a grip that she could not escape from. “Let’s go celebrate at the pub.”
“But I don’t have any money!”
“I know that.”
“How did you know? Did someone tell you?”
“Just call it intuition.”
Tielle was dragged to the pub where Charme was very insistent that the younger girl eat plenty of food and especially plenty of sweets. Her resistance dissolved the second the delicious sweets entered her mouth. Charme was eating her food in a more liquid form. It was after they had been there for about an hour that a woman with dark hair and wearing pink clothing entered. Tielle tensed. That was the woman she had crashed into in the dungeon.
“Oi, Nagi, over here!”
The Asian woman smiled as she approached the two. “Good evening, Charme” she said, “and who is this?”
“This here is Tielle,” Charme said with slightly slurred speech.
“It is a pleasure to meet you, Tielle.”
“We’ve met before.”
“We have? I don’t remember.”
Tielle nodded, “We crashed into each other in the dungeon.”
“Oh, I remember now. I was going to ask you for directions.”
“Nagi could get lost in a paper bag.” Charme dropped her head onto the table.
“Charme is being unkind. My sense of direction isn’t that bad.”
“I was lost too.”
Nagi smiled and gave a little giggle. “Charme sent me a message asking if I’d let you stay with me.”
“I’d be happy to have a roommate. I could use help finding my way around town.”
Tielle shyly smiled back. “It is kind of lonely being on my own.”
“Come on, I’ll show you where it is.”
The two that had gotten lost in dungeons left the bar together. The not as drunk as she looked thief lifted her head up from the bar. It would take the two days to reach Nagi’s apartment. It would give her plenty of time to “convince” Euria to return the little girl’s money and even give a little bonus. Even if the swindler did not agree, the money would still magically find itself in a new, better home.