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Find that Woman!

    Today's the day I will succeed! I will find that woman who saved me!

    "Young master, are you sure you don't want me to come along with you?"

    "It's okay, Belle! I can take care of myself. Besides, she might not approach me if you're with me." Belle looked displeased, but stepped to the side and kept her opinions to herself.

    "Please be careful."

    "I will!" I ran out through the gates and back into town. Many people, especially people who ran the food stalls, knew my name and greeted me as I passed by.

    "Oh, hello Randall! It's been a few days since I last saw you!" A man, Greg, called out. "Here, have this. It's on the house." He gave me a thing of fries.

    "Thank you!" I'll have to remember to get him some fruit later. He loves plums.

     "Hey, Randall! Still looking for that mystery woman of yours?" Some older boys came up to me. I had made some friends, but a lot of the other kids liked me and helped me out whenever I asked.

    "Yep!"

    "You said she had dark skin and long black hair braided down to her hips?"

    "Yep! Have you seen her?"

    "We think we saw her down on Pigley street at the butcher shop about an hour ago. Maybe she's still down there somewhere."

    "Okay, I'll go check. Thanks!" I ran off to Pigley street.

    "No problem!" The boys called after me. I skidded out of peoples' way and ducked under some signs. Since I ran around all the time my stamina has improved immensely.

    "Watch out you mongrel!" A drunkard shouted when I nearly collided headfirst into him.

    "Sorry!" I yelled, but didn't stop running. If I'm lucky, she'll still be somewhere around the butcher shop.

    I stopped and looked around. No sight of her. I looked in all of the shop windows and moved onto nearby streets. No luck.

    Disappointed, I decided to venture back to the area where she had saved me. I had gone over there in broad daylight, but now I'd be going at late dusk. Hopefully I won't be targeted this time.

    Weary, I made sure my right hand hovered near the hidden sheath hidden under the hem of my shirt.

    "What are you doing here? Didn't you learn your lesson from last time?" A woman whispered into my ear from behind.

    "HIEEEEK!" I twisted around and fell on my butt. There, the woman I was looking for stood with a disapproving frown.

    "Even if you have a knife, it won't do you any good if you have slow reflexes and meager strength." She helped me up, "why are you here again?"

    "I've been looking for you!" I grinned, "I wanted to thank you so I've been looking around for you."

    "While I appreciate the thought, you shouldn't put yourself in danger like that. How about I take you home?"

    "Oh...uh, the thing is... heh, my parents are gone." It wasn't a lie. Father was out for a few days to a meeting.

    "I see, then you should come with me."

    "Okay," the woman shook her head and sighed.

    "You can't trust strangers like that. For all you know I could be a trafficker or worse."

    "But you aren't, right?"

    "I'm not, but that's not the point."

    "Long as you're not a bad person then I'll be fine!" I smiled. I knew what she was getting at, but played the role of the dumb little kid.

    The woman sighed again, "kids." She held out her hand, " come on. You can hold my hand if you want. "

    "Okay!" I grabbed her hand and happily pranced beside her on the way to her house.

    "Be careful. I left my stuff out." She warned as I took my shoes off at the front door. I didn't know what she was referring to until I glanced into the main room. There were swords, knives, bows, arrows, and other materials sprawled over the big table in the center.

    "I'm a blacksmith. I specialize in making weapons." The woman picked up some arrows and put them in a long pouch.

    "Do a lot of people come and buy them?"

    "God no. I only sell them to Duke Howell, the one who owns this entire town." I flinched at the mention of father.

    "Oh, really? You must be really good then!" The woman's mouth twirked up in a proud smile.

    "I'm better than most."

    "What a way to be modest." I laughed.

    "Don't sell yourself short. Being humble and modest just puts yourself down and in extreme cases it can hinder your abilities." The woman patted my head, "I'm Rakesha by the way."

    "I'm Randall!" The woman passed me a hot cup of what looked like milk tea. "Thank you!"

    "Why are you here?"

    "To say thank you?" I sipped the drink. It was thick, rich, creamy, and sweet. It slid down my throat and coated my mouth with the pleasant sweetness. Yum.

    "No, there's something else you want."

    "...Do you know how to fight?" Rakesha raised her eyebrow.

    "Yes, I do. You want me to teach you?"

    "...Will that be okay?" Rakesha pondered it for a few moments.

    "I suppose so. Wouldn't hurt to help you learn how to defend yourself."

    "Really?!" I brightened up with excitement, "thank you!" I hopped down from my seat and gave her a big hug.

    "Woah there. Don't make me spill my drink." Rakesha patted my head.

    "I won't let you down! When do you want me to come over?"

    "How about... Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from five to seven?"

    "Got it! If I don't show up it'll be because of my father or school."

    "Are you going to let your father know that you'll be training here?"

    "No."

    "Why not?"

    "He... wouldn't like it. He treats me like a glass doll."

    "So you want to show him that you're strong?"

    "No," I grimaced, "I'm not doing it for him. I'm only doing it for me." Rakesha smiled.

    "That's a good attitude." Rakesha motioned to the stairs, "come on. You should get to bed if you want to start tomorrow."

    "Okay," I followed her upstairs into a small clean bedroom."

    "It's not much, but it's clean."

    "Thank you for letting me stay." I plopped onto the bed. It wasn't as comfortable as my own bed, but in a way it was better.

    "Night." Rakesha closed the door. Her footsteps traveled down the stairs. Faint clanks of metal could be heard. I let myself drift off into sleep.

    Just an extra filler before I do a larger timeskip.

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