I stared down at the slip of paper in my hands. A thousand credits. It was more than I could have ever dreamed of earning. The last time I had been here, my father and I barely made a hundred credits, and still, it had been enough to last us a few months. But a thousand... it could set us up for a year, more even.
I'd be able to buy enough material and other supplies for Sylvie so she could start up her store she'd always wanted. Ebba would be the smartest child in all of Imus with the books I'd be able to buy her. And Ellinder... I couldn't keep the smile off my face. I'd finally be able to build his arm. Not just any old contraption either, it would be the finest piece of mechanics Mallinasport had ever seen, and maybe, just maybe I'd be able to organise an alchemist to fuse it all with a glow stone.
As I started making myself a list of supplies, the feeling I forgot something washed over me. I turned around, seeing Jaxen still in the line. Of course. In my excitement, I'd left him to fend for himself, and it did not seem to be going well. He was slowly backing away from the table, looking as if he were going to faint. Sighing, I walked back over.
"Uh, I, uh..." Jaxen stammered, as he looked from me to the man in front of him.
"What's going on here?" I asked, looking between the two.
"This kid here is trying to trade stolen goods." The man said jerking his thumb at Jaxen. "He with you? I got half a mind to call the guards."
Raising an eyebrow, I turned to Jaxen. "Well, that doesn't sound like its going to work for us." I reached forward to take the pocket watch, "Beside you gave me enough credits before to more than cover our business here today, so we'll just take our item back. I'll try not to show it to the people who'd be interested in getting this piece from you on my way out."
The appraiser snatched the watch from me. "Now, let's not be hasty. I just don't need the hassle of trading in something stolen."
I nodded. "Sure, I understand. But if it's that or lost profit..."
"Alright, alright." The appraiser marked off on the ticket, handing it to Jaxen. "Get out of my sight."
Jaxen released a shaky breath, once we were out of earshot. "How did you do that?"
I shrugged, "It's no big deal. The masked are all the same," I glanced around me quickly, then lent in towards Jaxen conspiratorially, whispering, "greedy. It's not a hard motive to manipulate."
Jaxen didn't say anything as I moved away. I tilted my head towards the back corner.
"Come on. Masks are this way."
Jaxen stayed quiet as we wove in and out of the stalls. Perhaps I'd offended him with my comment about Aetherians being greedy. It's not as if it weren't true.
"So, any ideas on why he thought it was stolen?" I asked, breaking the silence.
I had a hunch. The inscription on the pocket watch had tugged at a memory earlier, and I was fairly certain I was right, but I wanted to see if he'd tell me the truth or not.
YOU ARE READING
Beasts of Steel and Bone *WATTYS WINNER*Science Fiction
When skin and bone are stolen, darkness uses wings of flesh and lead. ******** Beneath the vibrant city of Mallinasport, awash in the pollution is Imus, a commu...