ᴛʜᴀᴛ ᴛʜᴇʀᴇ ɪs - as the stranger puts it - a faction of thieves in operation in the capital is no surprise to her. Even if she doesn’t yet know those guild, she knows of them. She can’t be too surprised that here he is now either, seemingly trying to recruit a child to this unlawful brotherhood: she knows better than him that littler ones can be used well for their light fingers and then for their inherent façade of innocence.
It’s just queer that it’s happening to her, as though this is actually meant to be some reward on top of what she has already. (If nothing else, though, she can be relieved that he has no apparent intention to turn her in.)
"A good thief is one who doesn’t get caught," she opines absently, her sights for now only focused on that false wall between them. However nimble-footed and quick of mind she might think herself, the reality here is that at least he had seen her ─ she could chalk it up to his keenness, or some bit of carelessness of hers, but that much is a truth. By occupation, she is no thief as he seems to have only identified her from the very beginning; rather one who takes what they need to survive. Talk of gold, weapons (save for, of course, the prospect of finding some safety in a blade), easy profit interests her not, for she is not greedy: all she strives for now, here, where her once-goals are likely impossibilities, is to survive.
She’d drawn such a conclusion for herself earlier, in fact, though this supposed merchant must surely have secured even a hint of her interest. Elsewise she wouldn’t have followed him further, albeit not without a continued care in her step and a reassuring feel of her dagger.
The covering cloth is swept back a second time as Arya too slips into the hidden passage. She sticks to the entrance, ever-cautious, and lets the entrance hide itself again before she poses the first of her questions. “You never answered my question: what do you want?” A couple of blinks, her eyes yet to adjust to the dim, fall between her words, “I know men like you. With their investments. You wouldn’t be telling me all this if there wasn’t something in it for you,” ─ and that, really, is always their problem.
They may put on airs of culture and respectable, but the thing is it’s just to even imagine they’d do anything out of the kindness of their own hearts.
As they flitted through the corridor, he came to the realization. This child has played the game already. Not that it was impossible to play at the lower echelons of society, it was just more common for those with cards in their hands to try. From what Kyoya could tell, she’d lost quite a few hands to be the person she was now. To be asking the questions she was. So what was in this for him? Really, this was barely a favor to anyone but her. It would be simple to say so, but as it were even towards those he enjoyed, he wore the mask of a miser.
It wasn’t good to show weakness, he’d learned. Not unless it was a card to be played.
“That’s an interesting question. I take it you’ve been betrayed, then?” it really wasn’t a question. Slipping his fingers over a metal surface, he found his key and turned it into a door, rubbing his digits together to eliminate the grime. “Approval, I suppose. Helping children makes me look kindly, and thus trustworthy.” Pausing, he put his arm out to block the girl’s path. Footsteps echoed far off in the depths of the tunnel. Though the knowledge of these passageways were mostly private, he was still wary. After all, having not lived in a world of constant peril he was not keen on the idea of ever meeting with it. That, and thieves barely ever left footsteps.
“Sh,” he hissed, low, breathing becoming scarce. The scrapes against the cavern walls were like that of a claw. They hadn’t ventured in far, so it wasn’t too late to escape. Using a pair of fingers, he prodded one of her shoulders to send her back. “On second thought, it would be best to travel above ground.”
ᴛʜᴇ sᴄᴏʟᴅɪɴɢ ʀᴇᴄᴇɪᴠᴇᴅ does nothing whatsoever to faze the girl, just as his approach as a whole had. She sees he’s no real threat to her, between him looking all skin and bones and no muscle, and the unattended entrance - or would-be exit - to her rear; to talk back, then, is nothing to her.
"So?" The coins in her fist are squeezed, as if to remind her of her prize, "If he’s the head cartographer, he’s got more coin than this. He won’t miss it." There’s something else to be said about the threat regarding her name, too: she almost allows a flicker of a smile then, knowing she is as anonymous as all the others on the street, and likely twice as fast and witty at that. She remain defiant in the face of the stranger, no matter the authority he believes he commands—
But her expression falters into a small frown as he turns his scolding into… What? A proposal?
Desperation doesn’t push her towards immediately considering it, because she’s been doing well enough without the conscious help of anybody for a reasonable while now. Above all, however, she is wary. He’s not the first to have approached a street rat to offer them something, anything better than the circumstances they have right now in return for some dubious service, and she’d bet what coin she’d just pilfered that he won’t be the last. True enough, he seems the cultured sort, the respected sort ─ but after all she’s seen, that really means nothing for their credibility.
Trust in the wrong sort could land her in as worse a place here as it ever had, although in the right sort…
After some deliberation, her day’s earnings are slipped into her own purse (as is the now-empty stolen one ─ she’ll discard it in the canals later, likely) tucked into her waistband before she starts after the stranger. A decided ‘wait—’ wills him to hang back for even just a few more moments once she is out of the alley, where she waits for him to turn: if he will.
When she asked for him to wait he did, all the way up until she caught up with him. She’s bright, he must have thought. As sharp as he was as a child, and no doubt tougher than he was even now. But as charming as she was and, as much as she reminded him of an old friend, he did not turn any more than his head to signal her. As easily as he could acquire another dagger, even a child with a weapon was dangerous.
Be it as it were, Kyoya very rarely dealt with children. So he had no idea how to talk to her as opposed to how he would with any other person. And, if he had nothing to gain from it, any other person was treated in a very precise manner. Any comforting gestures would be discerned through action, as opposed to language.
“The faction of thieves in this town work mostly of their own accord but also for hire. It would at least be wise to take advantage of some of the benefits provided to new reqruits,” he said holding himself at attention, in a nearly sterile fashion. “They’ll give you gold, weapons, and point you towards easy profit. Since you’re as young as you are, I’d imagine the tasks would be fairly simple.”
As they came to another street, he turned a sharp corner, coming to what seemed to be another dead end. However, turning over a loose cloth layer revealed a dark passage way. One of the many ‘blind alleys’ leading to a hub. At night, Kyoya had learned to navigate them as opposed to wandering the streets. They were safe, that is, if you knew the right words. Letting the cloth fall back over the entrance, he crossed his arms over his chest and leaned against the harder part of the faux wall. “Their policies are loosely enforced, so you can come and go as you please. I deal with mostly information retrieval, so my contributions are slim,” he said, letting her decide if the risk of following him was still worth it. “Any questions, so far?”
ᴇsᴛᴀʀɪᴀ ɪs no home of hers ─ not really. Her real home was lost an age ago, in another world, and besides, it isn’t as though she plans on staying in the capital forever.
Still, during her short time in this other realm, Arya has already grown comfortable enough in the capital: probably largely because she barely needed adjusting to life in the city. Even after everything, she had found herself once again navigating the labyrinthine city streets, as though she were still in King’s Landing, and as though little had changed after all. She knows that much has changed since then, of course. But she also knows the past is no place for anybody, and as she had back in Westeros, she lives largely for today.
All the more so now that there is no apparent way of shortening her nightly prayer here. It hasn’t taken her long to commit a mental map of the capital to memory, even if she has heard there to be long-term lodging available to so-called ‘adventurers’, so with relative ease should she be able to find a more certain safety in the shadows of side alleys.
As she does now. The girl sits in the nook between two houses, checking the contents of a cut coin-purse, weighing them in her hand and yet lamenting another separation from her own sword. While she had managed to find a discarded dagger for her own keeping, she has no sword: opportunity has yet to present itself to use it, even if she did have one, but she hopes to have that feeling of safety and control by her side once again, even if it wasn’t Needle. Naturally, it hadn’t not crossed her mind to pilfer a sword, yet she hadn’t lost her wits upon arriving in this other land. Theft directly from an arms dealer is nothing if not a plea for trouble, hence her decision to instead honestly earn a blade. With stolen coin.
Her method had been smooth enough to avoid discovery, and if not, she must have by now put a comfortable distance between her and the bereaved for it not to matter ─ or so she thinks, anyway, before the line of sunlight by which she was counting her pickings disappears, replaced by the silhouette of the figure stood over her now.
For one potentially just caught red-handed, though, she is admirably unwavering in her address as she stands from her place against the wall.
"—What do you want?"
What kind of life was it? For a child to be living on the streets by themselves? There had been dozens loose in the capital, despite the King’s best efforts to house them. Some might even say the statistics were good, all things considered. The numbers checked out, but any child without a home was alarming to Kyoya. So this time, when he caught the trail of one of the street rats, he decided to follow. She’d stolen from quite the ogre of a vendor, and luckily, hadn’t been caught. But Kyoya knew that man. If he got a whiff of her, she would be indebted in the worst possible sense of the word. All sorts of greedy pigs like that existed in his realm, disguised in suits and smiles. Even now he could smell the dirt under their fingers.
“That wasn’t particularly bright, you know,” he said, leaning his hip against one of the narrow walls. His leg, thin and ropelike, blocked the rest. Built like a curtain, outlines of knives sat under his robes, poorly placed and right where he could fall on them. It was obvious he was not a man of combat, nor much of a threat. “That man you stole from happens to be the head cartographer on this side of the country. He’s got a temper, and a lot of webs to write your name across.”
Folding his arms across the wares in his own robes, which had been expensive to say the least, he moved his leg from the exit. “I just thought I would let you know there are better ways to go about being a thief here. If you’re not intent on bolting off, I could introduce you to the network. They’ll give you the ins and outs, do with them what you will.”
Turning on his heel, he started out of the alley. Whether she decided to follow or not, was her decision. It wasn’t smart to turn your back on anyone in a world like this, but that wasn’t a lesson that Kyoya had learned yet. Hopefully, it would not be for a while.
Wake Up // Arcade Fire
"But now I’m older,
My heart’s colder,
And I can see it’s a lie.”
[ But as it stands, I don’t have the funds. ]
[ You shrug noncommittally. ]
DAVE: lucky for you your oh so friendly neighborhood strilondes also happen to be master thieves
[ Okay, “master” is probably pushing it, but this dude doesn’t need to know that. You reach into your belt and extract a small bag of coins, tossing it languidly into the air before catching it in the same hand. ]
DAVE: trust us dude money aint an issue
[ Still, the money thing is obviously an excuse. This guy is clearly pining for his friend whats-his-name, and you figure if you’re gonna make an ally out of him, you’d better help him get what he wants. You exchange glances with Roxy and shrug again. ]
DAVE: well if you want we can help you look for him
DAVE: roxy and i
DAVE: weve got the keenest perceptive skills this side of everywhere
DAVE: i mean were practically PIs
[ You keep spouting bullshit, and you’re pretty sure this guy knows it, too. Still, it’s only fair, since you’re pretty sure he’s not showing you his full hand, either. There’s something…off about this dude. Something that tells you you’d be an idiot for trusting him up-front. ]
[ Still, you know what they say about friends and enemies. ]
DAVE: what dyou say
If the two of them had Intel, it was probably more than he did at the moment. It made his gut churn to join a band of thieves, but it hadn’t been the first time and he certainly couldn’t say his hands were clean. Not completely, anyway. Being a con artist wasn’t too far from being a thief, after all.
“If you both don’t mind traveling with me, then I’d really appreciate the help,” he said, trying to keep his shoulders level and his facial features as natural as possible. But something about not being able to see this kid’s eyes was off-putting. “I’ve checked the city and, as far as I can tell he hasn’t been here yet. Time is unfortunately, of the essence so I understand if you’d rather not hurry.”
He glanced over to the girl, relaxing as she was far less intimidating than her companion. “Of course, any debts I collect I’ll pay you back two fold. My father was a business man, and I’m very much the same.”
The word debt practically burned his tongue. But as long as that idiot was out there on his own, it hardly mattered at all.
❥ ❥ • [ Being the obviously nosy girl you are—with an ecto son who might as well be just as nosy—learning about the neighbors is a must. Which ones should you avoid like the plague and which ones should you get all buddy-buddy with? Then there was the special category of: Hot pieces of ass you’d like to get your flirt on with. you’ve been silent through this conversation so far—because Dave is just as much of a chatterbox as you and doing all your talking—but you’ve been thinking the whole time this Kyoya defintely fit the hot piece of ass category. Once he nodded at you though you couldn’t help whispering a “hot damn” under your breath. Well, you might as well talk sooner or later before Dave beats you to the punch again. ]
ROXY: yeah actually
ROXY: we plan to stay here for a while
ROXY: practicin some skills here and there
ROXY: cuz why go on an adventure unarmed u kno
[ You stop yourself from making the, “It’s dangerous to go alone! Take this.” Reference. ]
ROXY: and i mean hey
ROXY: u can talk to me anytime
[ You made that emphasis on anytime very apparent. You shouldn’t flirt too much though or you just might scare away the guy. ]
ROXY: dave here was about to show me too
ROXY: this bakery place ppl always hit up for breakfast
ROXY: why dont u join us
Admittedly this wasn’t the reaction he was used to. Maybe a giggle, something a bit more shy, that’s for sure. He’d have to be completely lacking in picking up signals to miss the reciprocated flirting at hand. Kyoya’s stomach gave a flip and, for a moment he broke eye contact. She was lovely, no doubt. But looking back on his own mistakes it was best to not drag such things out if there simply was no intention of seeing it through.
“That would be lovely, thank you. But as it stands, I don’t have the funds,” he said, and it wasn’t a lie. Everything he had left was specifically meant to last him for so long. There were ways to obtain more funds of course, but none of the ones that payed immediately seemed savory. “For now, I’m in a bit of a hurry. Someone very important to me is lost and really doesn’t have a clue about surviving. He’s a bit of what you would call a moron, so I’m sure he’s already into some sort of trouble. ”
If anything about what he’d researched about medieval conduct was true, he might even be dead already. From what Kyoya had seen, even commoners tended to keep weapons, and Tamaki’s mannerisms tendedd to illicit anger in most people that weren’t frivolous young women. In short, he was a sheep to the slaughter and it was just about time Kyoya got back to watching over him.