Chapter Two

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1868, Fraysner's Harbour

Adelyn didn't dare go anywhere near the Inn the next day. She knew enough to suspect the renters of the four rooms she'd raided the day before had gone to the innkeeper to lodge complaints, and it'd be a risk to go near there again. Instead, Adelyn hit the market.

There were 3 groups of people that occupied the town square on Sunday mornings. There were the vendors that stood behind booths, desperate to sell all kinds of things. Then there were the people that bought the things the vendors sold—the customers, and not only that, but the targets. The third group was Adelyns: the people that skirted around the customers and reached into pockets and bags and pulled out whatever they could.

It was easy for Adelyn to tell the difference between a customer and a thief. Customers were interested in the items on display, whereas thieves were not. Common folk were wide-eyed and innocent, and thieves were focussed and determined.

Adelyn stepped into the commotion of the market with her head high and her bag glued to her side. A few booths down the way, she watched a young boy reach into an older woman's basket and pull out fruit after fruit, tucking them into his jacket and running off before she'd even felt it.

The market, though busy, was not as crowded as it usually was. The herds of people were far less dense than she was used to, and that meant Adelyn would be less concealed in them. Still, she pushed through the people, dipping her fingers into the pockets of men and women that admired the necklaces and bracelets of the crafts tables.

When she came out the other side of the market, her bag felt heavy with coins and wallets. She grinned, clutching it tighter at her side. She'd only made it a few steps from the last table when she heard a woman scream.

"Stop her! She's stolen my money!"

Adelyn didn't waste time turning around to see if the woman meant her. She ran from the market, hearing footsteps trailing after her down the alley. She heard her heartbeat in her chest, wild and fearful. Her pulse sounded in her ears, muffling all else.

She latched her fingers onto the corner of a building so that she wouldn't go too far when she turned. Her feet slid on the rocks under her shoes, but she quickly regained her speed. The footsteps behind her only got louder, and Adelyn knew it was only a matter of time before she could no longer run.

Adelyn ran around another bend, leaving the alley and stepping onto a busier street. She considered stopping and handing herself over to those that chased her, in the hopes that they might let her go free for the reward of whatever was in her bag. She'd just started slowing down when a hand latched onto her arm and pulled her through the side door to the Rat's Den pub.

When the door shut, Adelyn stood in a hallway much darker than the sunlit outdoors. It took her eyes a second to adjust to the new setting.

Standing a foot away from her, a boy had his ear to the door, listening to the commotion outside. He couldn't have been much older than Adelyn, but something about the hardness of his eyes and the scar on his jaw made him seem as though he was. He held a finger to his lips, telling her to stay quiet. She didn't dare make a sound until he took it away.

"Thank you," she said, letting out a breath and leaning against the wooden wall behind her. At the other end of the hallway, the tavern was bustling with business, despite the early hour of day. Then again, Adelyn wasn't sure she'd ever seen the Rat's Den quiet.

The boy in front of her grinned, "Anytime, love. Rescuing damsels is my day job."

"I'm sure," Adelyn said, choosing not to say anything about his use of "love" and "damsel". The two words made her feel weak and helpless, and those were two things she was not.

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