”Tell me Raven, what are you going to do with your share? ”

”Come on Grumpit leave the boy alone. Ain it clear all he wants is quiet before the raid? ”

”You shut up old man! I lead the snatch and grab team! Its my job to make sure everyones on board. ”

The old man first raised a hand, then scratched his scruffy white beard.

”Well Raven, you know how dangerous this is going to be… we might not all come back. ”

”We are all going to die aren we? ” said a small man whose head lay flat on the table.

He raised his head, finished his drink and sank back down.

”Alvin you shut up too! No one is going to die on my watch! Just you wait! I will shove my cleaver up these rich bastards and prick knights asses! ”

”Grumpit, I appreciate the enthusiasm. But I must ask for a lower tone of voice. ”

said a woman who sat across the tavern at a round table. Her garments were long, dark and obstructed the view of any body part but the right hand. Her gray skin gave contrast to the depicted crowned dancing Skeleton.

”Ye-es mam. ” Grumpit shivered and did as commanded.

It took a while before someone spoke again. Raven slowly raised his head.

”I really don know. You know how my family is, I certainly will not give them a single gold coin. ”

”Raven… what about that kind sister of yours? ” said the old man.

”Even if I bought her something pretty, her mother would take it away. ”

Raven lowered his head again.

”This damn family! Let me teach that father of yours a few things! ”

Grumpit raised his fist, but halted while looking back towards the woman.

The old man lay a hand on Grumpits raised arm.

”The boy told you again and again, he doesn want anything to happen to his old man!

Doesn matter if he hit him and his mother or not, he is still his own father. ”

”What a great father that is… ”

”So would you beat him to death Grumpit? Even if it were your own blood? ”

”Of course! Id ** that son of a bitch up! If my old man drove my sweet mama to such a state… ”

”You numbskull! To kill ones father! Not even the gods will forgive you! ”

A gray hand was slowly raised and the room became quiet as a grave.

”Raymond ”.

”My Lady, I beg your forgiveness ” said Raymond as he shrank in his seat.

”Haha, serves you right old man. ”

Grumpit chuckled in a deep voice. Then he turned to Raven once more.

”Boy you gotta want one thing or the other which needs some good old coins right? Me ? I want women, hit the hottest places in the city and give something back to my people. ”

Grumpit raised his Chin while speaking.

”Don ** with us! As if you cared for beggars and whores. ”

Alvin shifted his head on the table to speak.

”They barely make a living, just like us. So its only right that we give a little something back! ”

”That will make you feel better. They will splash the money on drugs right away. ”

”Or get killed for the coin even before they have a chance of spending it ”

said Raymond while nodding toward Alvin.

”Do you really think it is hopeless? I mean us and the others, are we trapped down here? ”

”Your people got it better than most Raven. You
e from a family of merchants, you can travel and have citizenship in the capital. Most servants can only dream of such a life. ”

”They are not my people. I belong here, for their kind I have nothing but disdain. ”

”But Raven you see, without the guilds running the city, there would be fewer jobs and … ”

”Without the knights eliminating all threats in the wild the roads would not be safe to travel.

Without the nobles to finance them and their gear as well as the entire army, other nations would plunder the empire for its resources. ”

The woman, at some point, walked over to their table.The air was now filled with the scent of rotten meat and they could see their quickent breath condensing.

”Ye-es Lady Kamira Nightfall is absolutely correct. ”

Raymond became pale as a ghost and quickly bowed his head.

”Every child is born the same, noble or poor. Some might have a head start, but are we not proof that anyone can make it? Are we not the living embodiment of the spirit of ambition rising above all? Do not let your hate blind you. Who knows their prey best? Other prey or the one who seeks to hunt it? We did prepare for this day for so many moons, but do not let your guard down. We will most certainly face multiple knights of House Valette today. ”

”To believe we would try to rob the red star… ”

”I understand you are nervous Raymond. Even though my magic powers will certainly guide us to victory, I have no doubt there will be sacrifices along our way. ”

The room fell quiet once more.

Muffled voices could be heard from the secret entrance to the underground tavern.

Then the door burst open. A man stormed in with a piece of paper in hand.

”Miss Nightfall! Here is the report from the Scouts! ” The thief fell on both knees to present his letter. She raised an eyebrow while reading.

”Are you sure the numbers are correct? ”

”Yes absolutely, they swore on their graves that they only saw twelve Soldiers. ”

The man gulped and looked around to find horrid faces staring back.

”No Knights? Thats insane! ”

”Is our intel wrong? ”

”This has to be a trap! ”

”Silence! ” Kamira Nightfall looked in the faces of her crew one by one. Then she showed the skeleton on the back of her hand.

”Remember what this means? ” Everyone nodded.

”If the scouts say that there are no knights, then there will be none ”

”But what about… ”

”This doesn mean we are not prepared, otherwise ” Kamira cut in.

”Our plan always accounted for knights being present. The fact there might not be even one changes nothing. Grumbit, remind them. ”

”Yes, Mam. ” he gave a clumsy bow trying to hide his nervousness.

”Listen closely you maggots! We do a classic smash and grab!

Simple as can be. Your job is only to distract them from us four.

Me, the old guy, Alvin and Raven are the ones grabbing! Understood? ”

”Very well Grumbit. Remember we can only guarantee 30 breaths at most. They will call for reinforcements via magic tools. If the city gates come down before we are back in… ”

”30 breaths to grab the thing and then scramble back into the city.

Wait won they be able to just follow us? ”

One of the thieves who stayed quiet until now spoke up.

”Exactly, I want them to follow us. As long as we survive and reach the city I have plans to guarantee our survival of the outfall. ”

”Stop being so gloomy guys! Get your asses up and lift your drinks! This might be the last drink all of us share as mere thugs and thieves! Next time well be drinking from silver and glass! ”

Raven also lifted his cup and smiled at Raymond, who was laying a hand on his shoulder.

”Cheer up boy, otherwise your milk is going to become sour. ”

Raven let out a deep breath.

”You know I think you guys are not so bad. Sometimes. ”

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