By the time high noon rolled around, Cade found herself very pleased with having finished up with mucking out the nobleman's stables. Wiping away the sweat that dotted her brow, Cade winced at the tug of the sore muscles in her shoulders. The putrid, rank aroma of the horses coated her skin and hair, wafting around her like a toxic cloud. Trying to prevent her gag reflex from kicking in, Cade kept her mind focused on the task at hand.
First, she needed to receive her day's pay from the stable master, and then she could concentrate on finding the nearest bathing house. After the bathing house, she believed that there would be enough time to dash into the Bazaar to purchase the prized dagger she had spent the past three months saving for. Shaking her head to clear the thoughts from her mind, she stowed the rake and wheel barrel in the stable's storage closet. The other workers were behind her, stashing their own tools with hers. She smiled at a few of them as they passed, knowing they were stuck on the streets as well. Rounding the corner to the front of the stables where the master stood, Cade grimaced at the sight of the portly man that held her pay.
Cade stepped into the small line that had formed in front of the master, waiting with the others to know what their work was worth that day. The worst part of working for the noble was that there was no set pay for each day. The stable master was given a set amount for the day to give to the workers and their payout depended upon the job they were assigned to. Those who had the easier jobs, such as grooming the various horses, received a much smaller wage. While others who fought to get the harder jobs, which also meant the dirtiest, got the bigger pay.
Despite how much Cade loathed mucking out the stables each day, it gave her the best pay and she had fought to get that position for over a month. The line moved faster than she anticipated, and it was soon her turn to step forward. She was hyper aware of the smudges of manure on her skin and face, but she also knew that the stablemaster would be more inclined to pay her more for the effort she put into her job. His grubby eyes narrowed at her with his nose crinkled in disgust at the smell. She could have cared less of his opinion. What mattered was the jingling pay that landed in her outstretched hand.
"Cadeleine. I see you got yourself mucked up again today. Hard at work, eh?"
Cade bowed her head in an obedient manner, knowing that it would please the greedy man to no end. Every ounce of her will roared at her to never bow her head at any man in subservience, but she fought her will in order to receive her pay. The last time that she had stood too tall for his liking, she worked a day for free. The more submissive and willing to obey she appeared, the heavier her purse hung.
With a sharp nod to the man, Cade smiled up at him through her lashes.
"Aye sir, I've mucked meself up again. Someun has to clean those stables for Noblemun Draves."
"Good work today, girl."
She held out her hand, anticipating what he would drop into her open palm. Five silvers plopped into her hand, and she had to hold back her gasp of shock at the sheer amount. It was a blessing to receive one silver a day, and this was an entire week's worth of work.
"Thank ye, stablemaster. I continue to work hard for ye."
"You do that girl, and you will get paid well."
Cade once more bowed her head and turned back to the stables with a smirk on her face. Today's pay was not the first time that she had received much larger than what she should have, but that was the reason she could afford the dagger in the first place. She would keep up her bashfulness, all loathing aside, if it meant she would walk away with more than any other.
Slipping into the deserted stables, Cade scaled the rickety ladder to the upper level, where her pack was hidden from view. It was the safest place that she could hide her belongings while working, as other street rats would scout out any other hiding spot. The positive side to stashing her things in the loft of the stables meant that no one touched anything in the vicinity. The only person that would come close to messing with her belongings would be the stable master, but he always asked her to get what it is that he needed. It was pointless to get others, as they refused to climb to the loft, let alone maintain it.