The road was already bustling with people. The sun was just rising, shining its rays upon the people who made their way to their farms. Already sweaty and dirt-covered from the day before, they walked around, each minding their own business. It was a yet another day of work. The men went to the fields while the women prepared lunch. The merchants were on the square, yelling their goods for all to hear, and few to buy. Money wasn't common in these parts, especially in a town so small it could easily be called a village.
A skinny, simply dressed girl was walking towards the square. Her black hair was loosely tied behind her head, and her dirty, baggy clothes were making her thin figure obvious. Her belly was rumbling in hunger.
Behind her walked another girl, with fair hair and a pretty, clean face. Her clothes were in equaly bad condition, but her face held a pleasant smile, which complimented her warm green eyes.
"Eli! Thank you for bringing me with you. I know you haven't much money. I have ten copper coins, which you refuse to take, but my birthday isn't in months!" the fair haired girl said, hurriyng her pace so she was walking besides Eli. Eli looked at the girl sternly.
"Tanya, I said no. You work hard for that money, and your money feeds us. I barely find any work, but you, you're a natural tailor. You've done enough, sister, so keep it." Eli said to Tanya, who then pat her sister on the back.
"I am the eldest daughter, yet I can't afford to buy my sister a nice present." she said sadly.
"Stop it. It's not our fault mother got ill. You have two useless mouths to feed, and you're managing, so shut it. A good meal sounds better than a sword right now." Eli said, clenching her fists.
It was her sixteenth birthday, and she was collecting money to buy herself something nice. She planned to buy a sword, so she could go away from that place and earn her living in a way that didn't involve begging. She could earn enough for her sister, as well. And give what's left to the mother.
But those plans crumbled into dust before she could say 'sword'. Their mother's illness got worse, and she was bed-ridden. The little tailoring she used to be able to do now she couldn't. They hit rock bottom. All the responsibly suddenly fell onto her sister's shoulders, while daily begging, and offering to help with manual labor in exchange for food became Eli's every-day. She couldn't remember the last time she donned clean, pretty clothes.
Her sister continued the tailoring buisiness, but the demand wasn't high, and they couldn't even afford more quality supplies. Most of what Eli earned on the streets went into supplies, and what Tanya earned from tailoring went into food.
So now, the girl's gift was to be a proper meal. That's all she could afford, and barely even that.
The sisters walked past some drunks, dodged a galloping horse and avoided a group of prostitutes. Making their way towards the square, they passed through the so-called homeless street. It was lined by backs of stored, so the homeless didn't bother anyone at all. Tanya kept casting sad glances at them. Eli caught her giving money to them once, and they ended up in a fight, because they worked hard for that money, and they were starving, too, while people on the homeless street did nothing all day.
They finally reached the square.
It wasn't a spectacular thing- far from that, actually. It was a clearing with a bit more expensive cobblestone and with merchants everywhere and with taverns and stores outlining it. It was a pretty sight, that was for sure, but the streets were crumbling, with potholes yet to be fixed, and the buildings were getting shorter and more worn out every year. It was a reminder that even pretty things get destroyed by lack of funds. Their king made sure of that.
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READ REWRITTEN VERSION, ON MY PROFILE! --- Alonia, a world divided into two kingdoms, those of elves, and those of humans, is a mysterious land, with many dangers. Among humans, some lucky individuals are born with powers of Dragon Riders, with a g...