chapter twenty-six | joker

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"Three bottles of rose petals, please..." Lyra told the vendor who stood in front of us. With a small smile, the vendor retrieved the potion ingredients from her shelf and passed them to the Earth mage. There weren't many potion stores in Nightingale as people weren't really fond of mages, to begin with, so we were lucky to have one near us.

As the two of us stepped out of the shop, Lyra fished out a long piece of paper from her basket, her sapphire eyes scanning the list she held. "That should be it... Thanks for following me, Waterfall."

"No problem. I wanted to see what kind of ingredients you were using, anyway," I assured her while we started to make our way out of the market.


Caught off guard, Lyra and I quickly turned to the voice to see what happened. Not far from us was an angry vendor, leaning forward on his stall who hollered at someone.

In front of him, walking nonchalantly in our direction was a boy who seemed to be around our age. His bright red hair made him significantly more noticeable in the crowd. In his right hand was an apple that had already been chewed into. Ignoring the vendor's demands, he walked away as if nothing had happened.

Lyra and I exchanged uncomfortable glances, not sure whether to intervene or not as it was just a petty theft. Remembering that we were supposed to uphold the law in Nightingale, I realised that we didn't have a choice. I sighed and slowly walked towards the redhead.

"Excuse me, but even if it's something small, you have to pay for that," I confronted him as I stood my ground before him.

The petty thief squinted his eyes to look at me. "And, who are you?"

"I'm a member of Clement Guild. You realise that you just committed theft, right? It doesn't matter what you stole," I pointed out.

He ignored my statement. "You guilds always think you're all so high and mighty. Honestly, I feel some secondhand embarrassment sometimes. You're all just a bunch of goody-two-shoes, making yourselves up to be some sort of police for this city."

My patience grew thinner and thinner by the millisecond, as my hand slowly made its way to Regen, my sword. This insolent thief had the nerve to ridicule us. I was not going to let that slide.

"I don't know what your goal is, but all you need to do is to pay for that one apple, and that'll be the end of this."

"What? Are you too scared that this will escalate to a fight? I thought all you guild members were supposed to be capable of at least some level of combat. Or are you just letting people in because you're running out of mages?" A mocking smile was plastered on his face.

That was the final straw. I had enough. Gripping the handle of my sword, I sneered through gritted teeth, "I'm giving you one final chance to take back what you said before you regret what you say because I'm not putting up with any more of your words."

"Trust me, I mean everything that I say. And this is no exception. The name's Ryu if you wanna at least address me properly," he replied.

I turned back to Lyra, wanting to see her reaction. Dread was written all over her face, not knowing which course of action was appropriate.

But my thoughts were racing now. I had kept my calm composure, but I was infuriated at the very least.

"This is your last chance to return that money and get lost while you still can. You can either choose to take it or ignore it. I suggest you take the former," I sneered.

"Wheel of Fortune."

He ignored the chance.

Saying this, a pair of chakrams simply appeared in his hands. He lunged forward, slashing their circular blades at me, maintaining that infuriating smug look on his face.

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