CHAPTER 3: Diamond Thief

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Consciousness came slowly to Flora's heavy mind. Her body felt like led as it too started to make sense of where she was and what happened. She might have thought the entire thing was some kind of horrible and vivid dream. When she set up and hung her legs over the edge of the bed, she knew it was not.

She didn't have time to stop the heavy sobs that took over her body and shook her to her core. Once they came, she didn't even try to stop them. It felt good releasing the pain that burned inside her from her lose, from the betrayal of someone she loved, and from the pity she had for herself. She dared not think this was the worst things could get, but she felt, solidly at the bottom of a mountain. If that were true, then tumbling further was impossible and the only way was up.

She stood to shaky legs, yawned and stretched before she looked down at the scratchy potato sack dress. There were some pathetic slippers next to the bed that she didn't remember being there before that she slipped on her feet before she made her way out of the room and down three flights of stairs to the main floor.

Her stomach growled like a mountain yeti on feast day when she smelled the deep homie smells of a hot meal. She could hear the men chatting in the adjacent rooms and the sound of chairs being pulled away from the table. She frowned when she didn't hear her overbearing - she took a deep breath before thinking the word - master. She knew about slavery, but it was unlawful in the Kingdom of the Finn to own another person.

She peeked around the corner and smiled seeing the joy on the men's faces as they conversed with one another. Most of the faces she remembered, some voices were more familiar than others. There were also some new faces. Guests she assumed stopping at the Inn before they went on their way elsewhere.

"Well, come on in lassie. Was beginning to get worried about ye."

She felt like a deer caught in the woods when the room came silent and all eyes looked toward her.

"Good e-e--" she cleared her throat, dry from not being used. "Good Evening."

The man she took to be the innkeeper presented a jolly smile from behind his full white beard. He slapped the man's shoulder who sat at the table next to him. "Go on make another place setting. Come on now, girlie. Sit right next to me."

She walked into the room uncomfortable with silence until it was broken by the blue-eyed man called Sergould. "Figures to find her making herself present 'round dinner time. Is Zigh paying for her meal too?"

The innkeeper's rosey cheeks turned red along with his whole face and his white eyebrows pinched together. "You mind your own financial affairs you hear!?" She was taken aback by how loud the man could get.

It didn't seem to bother Sergould one bit. "Since when we start eating with slaves anyway?" He pushed up from the table and stomped off to another room.

She didn't realize she was rubbing the necklace at her throat until the silly faced man who got up for her to sit, came back in the dining room carrying another place setting.

"Speaking of Z-zigh, where is he?"

The innkeeper pulled out a chair beside him that she slid into and thanked him with a nod. Something she'd done her entire life. "Still workin' he is." The innkeeper finally answer the other man's question. "Big job for the Sultan of Agrabah. Golden armor, right Saden?"

The silly looking man nodded. "That's right. Golden, to match the streets he walks on."

"Golden streets? That's a bunch of hogwash if I ain't heard it for myself."

"You been there?" The man who sneezed loud enough to silence Zigh, asked with a sniffle.

"Don't need to have been there." That was the ill kept one that always seemed to be scratching himself in all the places that were meant to be private. He just seemed to have a dirty sort of vibe about him. "Ain't enough gold to pave an entire city in it."

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