Snow covered the ground on this cold, winter evening. A breeze cut through the air, brushing the ice covered tree branches as they seemed to jingle like wind chimes, bouncing as the heavy burden of snow was eased and the packs gave way, falling to the ground with a soft thud. The soft sound of laughter, gaiety, and music drifted along the icy air from a lavish estate. These sounds meant nothing to the man that was standing out in the snow, watching the party carry on from the shadows. He was tall, with green eyes, messy black hair and a bushy, wolfish looking tail swishing back and forth against the snow as he zipped up his thick, leather jacket and slipped on a chap, plastic wolf mask. He flipped up his hood, which seemed to have wolf-looking ears on it and sighed as he rubbed his hands together. There was an exhausted look on his face as he smoothly walked into the home through the patio entrance, passing the icy, café style chairs that lined the walkway and leaving his leather jacket on one of the petite chairs.
He listened to the boring, trivial conversations as he slipped into the crowds as if he were gathering intel on his surroundings. Some people glanced at him curiously, trying to place who he was. A few even wondered when he arrived at the party. Was it after the champagne had been popped open, or before the caviar was served with a heavy, indigestible side of requests for charity donations? Their curiosity ended, however as hilarity ensued by drunken heiresses and heirs causing shocking scandals everywhere. Scandals that would surely remain within the safety of the walls of the lavish estate, or would they? After all, the man who had slipped in was not here for pleasure. He was here for a marketable endeavor, and he had many friends who would pay big money for even a vague photo that they could run away with in their editorials for the week. Gossip wasn’t his main goal though, but it didn’t stop him from attaining a few pictures for a bit of extra cash to add to his income.
He grinned and made subtle small talk with people, blending in with the elites as he decided to partake in their haughty laughter, then motioned for them all to gather in for a souvenir photo of the moment. The pictures where the men and women posed scantily together were the ones he strived for the most, and he chuckled as he snapped them, watching as the rich, ignorant fools believed he was just some friendly photographer probably brought in by the host.
It was fun, mingling with these ignorant fools. All of them carelessly enjoying themselves and storing their money into charitable works. They were the light of the word, he was the dark. That’s how things were in this world. Animals had evolved over time into these higher beings, shedding their fur and feathers and becoming what we would perceive to be humanoid. Evolution hadn’t made them completely cast out their animalistic features. Some people still had their ears, some their tails. Other’s kept their wings, while few kept their fangs and claws. That wasn’t all that changed about these creatures though, some grew up to abandon most of their natural instincts or uncontrollable tendencies. These were considered the blessed beings of light, for they had achieved the heightened intelligence of reason and restraint. Our wolf fellow was one of the unfortunate, the dammed beings of darkness, who failed to cast off all their primal urges and instincts. Thinking about this system angered the wolf gentleman as he watched these “enlightened” people carry on in their “enlightened” activities. It gave him no regrets for his intentions here, and he walked through the main entry way of the manor.
Everyone was dancing in this foyer, happily waltzing in their fairy tale world where there were no problems. Nothing was wrong in the land of the light, for it was perfection itself. No one residing in the land of light could do anything wrong, after all, they were fully evolved beings and superior to the beings of darkness.
“Care for a drink, my fine fellow?” A large, fat man asked with a hearty laugh as his trunk-like nose held out a glass for the wolf gentleman. He was dressed in a fine tuxedo, and wore a monocle over his right eye that stumbled off as he let out a sudden hiccup and blushed in embarrassment. “Do excuse me. I seem to have nipped a bit too-too much.” He hiccupped again.
The wolf man chuckled softly and shook his head. “Not at all. I participate in so many of these events that I tend to lose track of which one is for what cause. Tell me, what are we here for tonight?” He asked in a soft voice as he smirked at the elephant man, and took the glass from him, then watched as champagne was poured into his glass.
“Quite all right, quite alright. I ass…assure you, yes. You know what they say about Elephants, but I completely forgot myself,” He started to laugh again in an obnoxious manner as he patted the wolf man hard on the back, almost knocking the champagne out of the wolf man’s glass. “Oh yes. This charity is for the Society of the Improvement of Civilization.”
“Ah yes, the SIC. They’re in charge of overseeing the rehabilitation of beings of darkness, right?” The wolf man crossed his arms as he began to nurse his glass of champagne.
“Correct. Oh, it’s a messy business as you know. Those poor, underdeveloped people in the lands of darkness, all running around stupidly without a sense of reason or intelligence. Imagine if we could convert them all to beings of light. We could progress so much further in everything! Oh, but that’s not all SIC works in. There is that…strange phenomenon they’re investigating.” The elephant man hiccupped again.
“Phenomenon?” The wolf man asked.
“Don’t tell me you have no idea. Why it’s positively the fear that plagues all beings of light! You surely know what I’m talking about.” The elephant man squinted his eyes as he tried to focus his vision on the wolf man. “I feel like I have seen you somewhere before, now that I think about it.”
“Oh that thing. Yeah, I heard the cases have been rising in number. Who would’ve thought that it’s possible for us to turn back into animals. Is it true though, have things really gotten worse. I just figured it was a rumor.” The wolf man asked.
“Oh no, most people don’t know about it yet, but that information you have is definitely correct. It’s mostly been happening in the land of darkness. Not that it’s too surprising, those ignorant beasts refusing to listen to reason. They deserve to revert back to their barbaric forms.” The elephant man hesitated as he saw an angered expression on the wolf man’s face. “I-Is everything alright. You seem offended.”
“N-No...I think one of the hors d’oeuvres didn’t agree with me well. I enjoyed our conversation though.” The wolf man grimaced as he moved on to his original goal, listening in on other conversations.
“Can you believe that Lord Pachydermata is actually offering up his deceased wife’s ruby necklace for the charity auction tonight? Why it’s positively the rage of the social season so far!” A woman dressed in a tacky green outfit with peacock feathers sticking out of her beehive hairdo haughtily blurted out.
“I heard it’s worth 500 million dollars.” A taller woman in a pink, fluffy dress stated as she adjusted the shimmering pink stole around her neck.
“Imagine, just who here is going to bid on that?” A short, fat woman in dark blue chirped as she nibbled on a piece of short bread and took a light sip of coffee. “Not this woman, not my nest egg. Absolutely out of the question. It’s just too extravagant. Really, I think the man is just showing off!” She huffed angrily.
“Well don’t look now, but the old lush is practically clinging to the banister and snatching up any poor fool he can to talk them up for the auction. He just spoke with that gentleman over there.” Another woman giggled as she twirled about, flashing her red, yellow, and blue dress for everyone to see.
“Yes, just who was that young man? He must be nouveau riche.” The short fat woman said as she lifted up some opera glasses to take a closer glance at the wolf-man. “Clearly not from any of our social circles. He definitely doesn’t have enough money to bid on such an expensive bauble.”
“Maybe he’s one of those young heirs I was reading about in the society column last week. Oh, I wonder if he could get me a connection with the priestess.” The woman in the tacky green outfit swooned at the thought. “Lady Essa is truly an elegant beauty, just like her dear, departed mother. That soft, white tail, and her adorable white and pink hair. They look just like rabbit’s ears. Oh, I just must know how she came up with that idea! It’s so novel, so chic! Don’t you think?!” She asked excitedly.
“Lady Essa may be a priestess, but she’s still a scared, fidgety rabbit. That dumb bunny isn’t worth my time.” The woman in the fluffy pink dress let out an angry sigh as she picked up a small cookie from her dainty china plate and pecked at it.
“You know better than to speak that way about the priestesses. They are the wisest and noblest of us all. You better hope that the Order of All Life is merciful on your soul my dear, now that you’ve spoken ill of one of its brides.” The dumpy, blue dressed woman said in a scolding tone.
All of the ladies huffed at each other as they began to bicker endlessly, to which the wolf man rolled his eyes and smirked as he continued his walk towards the stairs, casually climbing them, but watching to see if anyone was watching him. His bushy tail swished from side to side as he spotted the room he was looking for, at the end of the right corridor with a curled, golden door handle. No one was around to stop him, and it was all too perfect for him. He smirked as he walked over to the door and entered the room, closing the door softly as he glanced about all of the corners to make sure he was truly alone.
“Where are you?” He whispered as he looked about the room, opening drawers and file cabinets, quietly closing them and feeling around the desk for some hidden compartment. Just as he was about to get up he paused and looked up from the desk, spotting an elegant portrait of His Lordship’s departed wife. He grinned wickedly as he walked up to the painting.
“Lady Pachydermata, I do believe you’ve been hiding something from me this whole time. How unrefined of you.” He chuckled as he pushed the painting, watching as it opened with a slight creak to reveal a hidden safe. He let out a satisfied sigh as he placed his ear against the wall and listened as he toyed with the safe. There was a soft click, then another, and finally an unlocking sound as he slowly and gently opened the safe. His eyes grew wide as he took in the brilliant, red glow of the ruby necklace that was being saved for the auction. His true prize was there before his eyes and he only needed to grab it. No sooner than his hand touched the ruby necklace did an alarm sound. He cursed under his breath as he snatched the necklace and ran to the window, opening it as he looked down at the ground below. He was two stories up, and there was no time to climb down. He noticed the drain pipe and shook his head. “This is my exit? A drain pipe?” He grumbled angrily as he stood onto the ledge, and paused as he overheard a rustling and running from downstairs towards the room. “At least I still get my goodbye speech.” He smirked as he reached over for the pipe and carefully grabbed onto it. In the middle of climbing over to the pipe to slide down the door flew open, Lord Pachydermata and a few other attendees of the ball stood behind him as he looked at the wolf man, who laughed and removed his mask as his yellow eyes beamed at the group.
“Likos!” Lord Pachydermata shouted in shock.
“That’s right, you have the honor of being robbed by the great thief for hire, Lik-“ He grunted as the window ledge gave way under his feet and he leapt onto the drain pipe, clinging onto it tightly for dear life, then he let out a relieved sigh. “Likos! You and your stupid, stuck up friends can take your ugly society and stick it in the-“ He let out a surprised yelp as he felt the drain pipe give away from the panels of the house and begin to fall back, screaming in fear as he went down with it and jumping off of it before he crashed into the ground, rolling onto the ground before leaping up to his feet and running off. “You light people are nothing but self-righteous, uptight, snobs! You all deserve to be robbed of your petty trinkets, and I will be back for everyone else’s treasures!” He shouted as he snatched his leather jacket from the petite café chair disappeared into the night, only his wolf mask remaining in the snow not too far from the back patio of the Pachydermata Estate.
He huffed as he ran through the woods, watching carefully to make sure no one was following him. He came up to a sewer outlet and opened the cover, then carefully climbed in and closed the cover behind him. He grunted as the stench of sewage assaulted his senses, but shook it off as he stayed focus on his return. It was a wild maze of walkways. A left turn, a right turn, then two flights of downward stairs, another right turn, then a left turn, then four flights of stairs. What else was there to expect. The Land of the Light was on a high escarpment, and the Land of Darkness was a flat plain. Only an extremely steep, black cliff acted as the barrier between these two regions. The bridge between them was a long, winding sewer pipe, which Likos was more than relieved to exit from.
He gasped as he leapt out from the sewage pipe, shaking off the disgusting filth that was on him. “What are you looking at?” He snarled as he glared at a passerby who watched as he removed his jacket, and quickly passed by. “Good thing this job pays well.” He grumbled as his tail swished back and forth, then let out an exhausted sigh as he walked down an alleyway into the bright, night-life filled streets of his hometown.
The Land of Darkness wasn’t as clean as the Land of Light. In fact, it was filthy. People roamed about aimlessly in the streets in a drunken stupor. Unsavory men and poor, young fools wondered willingly into gambling dens. Some of them only lost their money, but others lost their lives. Not everything about the Land of Darkness was grotesque though. There were cabarets and night clubs, and a few cultured theaters. Likos yawned as he walked past one of these, then came to an abrupt halt as he spotted a poster lit up brightly.
The Lovely, Sexy, Chic Leila Foxtrotter.
See her dance, hear her sing, and drinks are half price during this performance only.
There was a look of interest in his eyes as he took in the sight of the woman with long, flowing red hair and baby blue eyes that looked out beckoningly. It was almost as if they called out to him as he became lost at the sight of the poster. Her bushy, red and white tail was long, and she had it thrown over her shoulder like a stole. “Half priced drinks huh…” He murmured as he threw his jacket over his shoulder, smirking as he walked around the side of the building, sneaking in with a small group of men.
“Likos! One of the larger men called out to him as he began to curl his arm around the guy. He reeled back suddenly as the smell of sewage hit him and coughed. “Man…you sure you want to walk up in here like that?”
“Smell better than the rest of you guys” Likos shrugged as he gave a sly smirk, and everyone began to laugh, then he sighed. “Hey, it’s an occupational hazard. If I can deal with it, you guys can too. Besides, I’m about to be so rich I won’t have to come in through our VIP entrance.”
“Someone scored big.” A shorter man hissed as they all walked up some stairs and into an old, dusty booth.
“That’s an understatement. I stole Pachydermata’s ruby necklace.” He whispered as he glanced around carefully.
Everyone fell silent and eyed Likos suspiciously. “You lying mutt. Show us!” One of the guys shouted as they gathered around Likos.
“Shhh! Want everyone to figure out our private theater box?” Likos snarled at the guy, then cautiously removed the glittering, ruby necklace from his jacket pocket.
“Holy shit.” The larger guy mumbled softly as he looked at the necklace in awe. “You just walked in there and took it?”
Likos nodded. “Idiots never knew what hit ’em till it was all over.” He added with a satisfied, toothy grin.
“Wh-What are you going to do with it?” One guy asked as he looked up at Likos who sighed.
“Well, a client hired me to steal it, so I’m going to turn it in for my money.” Likos explained, then put the necklace away. At first there was a murmuring from the group, but everyone fell silent as applause filled the room and the curtain on the stage began to lift. The men swiftly clung to the balcony railing as they watched the spotlight turn onto the woman from the poster outside. She smiled sweetly at the crowd, then began to speak.
“Thank you for coming to see my show tonight. I hope to entertain all of you. In fact, most of you are so drunk that I really won’t have to put much effort into it.” She started to laugh as the crowd laughed and took her microphone off the stand and began to walk towards the stage. “Nobody here is from up there, right? If you are, you’re not classy enough to be here so get out!” She started to laugh again as the crowd applauded and whistled at her, and then started her first song and dance routine.
All of the guys in the hidden booth were in awe, but Likos almost looked entranced as her words echoed off of the walls. There was a slight smile that appeared on his face while he took in the happy expression on the woman’s face as she started to interact with members of the audience, flirting with them and toying with their emotions. Envy filling his head as he daydreamed about being part of the floor show, feeling her brush her soft hands along his chin and blushing as she brought his face to hers. His fantasy was broken quickly, as one of the guys nudged him back into reality.
“Hey, the show’s about to end. Snap out of it.” A guy snickered as he teased Likos, who shook his head with a displeased frown as he applauded with the crowd. He watched as Leila bowed, smiling at everyone before finally glancing up at the corner they had been hiding up in.
“I appreciate all of my fans, even the ones who didn’t pay to be here!” Leila said with a soft laugh as she bowed again and waved goodbye to her audience as the curtain fell. “Thank you all for your support!”
“She did that on purpose.” Likos grumbled as he watched the other guys scramble out of the booth, then let out a defeated sigh as she shot him a sly wink and playful smirk, which he knew was meant only for him. He replied with a slight grin as he turned away and walked out of the booth, following his posse out of the theater and back into the alleyway where they parted ways.
“You’ll sneak into a worn-down theater booth, but not my dressing room?” A soft, seductive voice called out to Likos as he was about to sneak off, making him pause and slowly turn around to see Leila emerging from the backstage door to the theater house. She smiled at him as she crossed her arms and watched him blush. “I’m a little irritated by your lack of effort.”
“Hey, a good thief takes the time to case a joint before actually going in.” Likos said defensively as he shrugged his shoulders.
“Oh? So, does it always take a few years for you to fully understand your target?” Leila asked, and watched as Likos’ face started to turn a slight pink.
“W-Well I…you see…” Likos began to laugh nervously as he tried to come up with a sly response, but his cool demeanor was even further diminished as Leila began to laugh at him. “Hey, I’ve been a little busy lately!” He snarled at Leila who laughed at him some more, then he let out a frustrated huff.
“I see.” Leila said with a mischievous smile. “Well, not to hold you up from your busy life then. I have another show to do in a few minutes.” She said as she started to walk back into the theater, but she paused as he called out to her. “Yes?” She asked as she kept her back to him.
Likos hesitated to speak for a moment. He wanted to express something, anything to show his interest in her. Every time fate was kind enough to give him these chances, he felt a lump form in his throat and a tightness in his chest. There was a sudden chill down his spine and dryness in his throat as he tried to make words emerge. Finally, a look of frustration as she gave him that innocent giggle and finally turned to face him, unwrapping her tail from around her neck as she held it in her hands, petting it and looking at him longingly.
“Well?” Leila prodded.
“Good luck.” Likos forced himself to say as he rubbed the back of his head and blushed again.
Leila let out an empty sigh as she smirked and shook her head. “You stupid wolf,” She mumbled under her breath There was a disappointed look on Leila’s face as she put her tail back around her shoulders and began to walk back into the theater. “You know you’re supposed to wish bad luck on show people.” She said as she closed the door behind her.
“Damn it.”Likos grumbled as he stared at the closed door. He waited for a few minutes before letting out a defeated sigh and turning away with a smile. “Guess it’s time to move onto other business.” He said with a smirk as he fumbled through his pockets. His smile suddenly faded as his hands started to move around more frantically in the pockets of his jacket. “N-No…No way!” He looked around nervously, then gasped as he gripped the handle on the backstage door and tried to turn it. He grunted as he let out a frustrated bang against the door with his fist.
He huffed as he looked around for a solution, scanning the perimeter of the building. A soft gasp escaped his lips as he noticed a fire escape where the ladder had been partially let down near a stack of wooden crates. A grin started to spread across his face as he gathered his thoughts and chuckled. “Alright, Leila. I’ll play your little game.” He mumbled as he started to move the crates around, arranging them into some makeshift stairs to clear the distance between him and the fire escape ladder. He looked around to make sure no one was coming up or down the alleyway and then climbed up the crates to go up the ladder.
As he ran along the fire escape, Likos spotted an open window and crept inside. He looked around in the darkness, slowly moving about to make sense of his surroundings when he suddenly heard the sound of applause and Leila’s voice greeting her new audience. “I must be above the stage.” He whispered as he ran along the metal catwalk, looking over the railing to see Leila and the ruby necklace resting on her neck. He let out an angry snarl as he watched her walk along the stage, singing a song. “You’re show is going to have a technical difficulty. I’ll see to that.” He said with a dark laugh as he continued walking across the catwalk to a sandbag that was tied to the suspended floor. He looked around the stage as he pulled out a slingshot and a small stone, then grinned as he spotted the electrical box and pulled back on the strap. With a loud snap, the stone was sent rocketing towards the electrical box, smashing through the thin door and striking the circuit breaker with a metallic clang and a soft explosion of smoke which caused the fire alarm and sprinkler system to go off.
Leila stopped mid-verse and looked around in shock as the lights flickered out and the water began to rain down on her, causing her to let out a startled scream as she covered her face in a vain attempt to save the laborious effort she put into applying make-up to her face before the show. Before she could react she felt the necklace loosening from around her neck, and heard a satisfied chuckle.
“Next time, I will steal your affection, Ms.Foxtrotter.” Likos said as he ran off, leaving her alone in the falling water as she let out an angry huff.
“Y-You didn’t have to go that far!” She shouted angrily as she stormed off of the stage with a slightly flustered expression on her face.
Likos laughed as he exited through the backstage entrance and shook the water off, then took a cautious inspection of his surroundings to make sure he didn’t walk out on the authorities that had probably come to inspect the incident. He made a right, then a left, and a right again until he finally emerged at a waterfront lined with warehouses. He pulled out a soggy slip of paper and cautiously unfolded it, attempting to read the messy contents with squinted eyes.
“Pier 13…last…” He let out an aggravated sigh as his tail swished back and forth. “Hope it said last building or something like that. I’d like to get rid of this necklace sooner than later.” He murmured as he walked down the main road, reading the signs until he came up to the 13th pier. He walked down the street, stopping at an open door and walking through.
“I take it you must be Likos.” A tall man with orange, black, and white hair said with a rough voice as he looked at the claws on his giant hands, then gave him a threatening, toothy smile. His fangs clearly visible as his cat-like eyes glanced coldly. “Thank you for arriving at the scheduled time. I trust that you have the item I requested.”
“You must be Akar. Man, to think I’d be working for such a powerful man. Someone like you couldn’t possibly need a lowly thief, like myself, to accomplish this-“ Likos was cut off by a sudden, low growl from Akar, who quickly paced towards him.
Likos jumped slightly as the door behind him was closed by a man with yellow, cat-like eyes and slicked back, black hair. He wasn’t as large as Akar, but still considerably bigger than Likos and just as deadly as his employer.
“This is one of my…business associates, Ichirou.”
“Tigers and Panthers working together? This really is serious.” Likos said with a nervous laugh. “You guys are like from different crime gangs, am I right?”
“You’re smart. I like that.” Akar said with a slight smirk as he held his hand out expectantly for the necklace. “For your information, and yours only.” Akar started to explain as he held is claws out for Likos to clearly see, which made the young wolf gulp nervously as he placed the ruby necklace in Akar’s giant hand. “We are currently joining forces, because numbers have begun to dwindle thanks to this…disease that’s been going around. It has come to our attention that we made need to do some outside recruiting as well.” He said as he gave Likos another sly smirk, which made Likos back into Akar’s associate who grabbed Likos’ arm tightly.
“R-Really? Best of luck to you man. Can’t say that I’m particularly interested, but I’ll be sure to point some of my friends in your direction should their career goals line up with your own. Now, if you’ll just cover my bill….I’ll uh…be on my way.” Likos said with his innocent grin, which started to fade away as Akar’s smirk disappeared, and no money emerged.
“That’s funny. I could’ve sworn you seemed interested when you took on this job.” Akar stated as he looked at Ichirou who looked down at Likos. “After all, stealing the necklace was your initiation fee. Isn’t that right, Ichirou?”
“W-Wait a second. I’m freelance. You get what that means right? It means I’m not tied down to one long term gig. It means I work alone.” Likos said as he broke out of Ichirou’s grip. “It also means I don’t work for free. So pay me, and I’ll leave. If this is about silence you don’t have to worry. Believe me. I am not going to say anything about this, that means I’d be going to jail too. I’m not a stripes kinda guy you know?…not that it doesn’t look good on you though. It’s pretty becoming actually.” Likos added as he remembered Akar’s hair and laughed nervously.
“Look. I understand, you’re hesitant. So I’ll give you about 10 seconds to think your membership over, and by the time I get to zero you are either going to be a committed member or dinner for two. Ten…” Akar began to count as Ichirou circled around Likos, emitting a low growl as he stalked his prey.
“Hey let’s be reasonable here.” Likos said as he watched Ichirou nervously.
“Nine…” Akar continued.
“C’mon this isn’t exactly businesslike. You never mentioned anything about-“ Likos paused as Akar stated the word eight.
“I mean what about my pay? I gotta eat too you know.” Likos tried to negotiate.
“Seven. If I get to zero, then you won’t have to worry about food anymore, will you? Five.” Akar chuckled at Likos’ sudden stammering.
“H-Hey what the hell happened to s-six?!” Likos shouted as he watched Ichirou close in on him.
“Two.” Akar said as he glanced at his nails in a bored manner, then yawned. “Ze-“
“Alright, Alright!” Likos shouted in a state of panic as Ichirou pounced, and rolled past Likos, springing back onto his feet as he shook Likos’ hand.
“Welcome to the group then, brother.” Ichirou said as he crossed his arms.
“See, I said you were smart. The smart ones know to never tell me no.” Akar said as he cracked his knuckles and tossed a sack of cash at Likos. “Now, there’s your salary. Do as I say, and you’ll always be paid well. Sometimes there could be bonuses.”
Likos seemed a bit overwhelmed as he took everything in. He simply looked up at Akar in a stupefied manner, then realized that the two men were waiting on a response from him. “Wh-Wha…bonus?” He finally said as he finished processing what had just happened to him. “Wait…I…did I just…”
“You did, you are officially a member of my underground crime network. It’s a pleasure to have you on the payroll.” Akar grinned at Likos and began to laugh darkly.
“W-Wait but I…you…he…” Likos’ face turned pale as he nearly fell over, then landed in a chair that must have been set under him by Ichirou.
“I guess initiation is a bit overwhelming, but you’ll come to like it.” Akar grinned. “I do appreciate you bringing me Pachadyrmata’s necklace. It’s merely just for a test of your skills. My surveillance team could provide me with quite the show, and not to mention that slip up with your lady friend back at the theater. You’re a pretty good improviser when you’re under pressure.”
“When did they even-“ Likos murmured as he tried to think back to the job.
“Oh, they were in several places. In the party, in the forests, dumpsters, the audience. Even when you think someone isn’t watching, Likos, it doesn’t mean all eyes aren’t on you. It just means some people chose to keep quiet…or perhaps they had no choice at all.” Akar added the last part with a sly, mischievous smile.
“Couldn’t help themselves, huh.” Likos murmured as he finally took in what he had gotten himself into. “So…is this a lifetime job, or am I going to be considered a temp? How is this going to work exactly? I can still meet with my friends and stuff, right?”
“You should hope, for your own sake, that the job stays a permanent one. So long as you don’t talk about what you’re doing, you can go about living your normal life. I want to put serious emphasis on that word normal. Although you’re getting paid well, that doesn’t mean you can start living lavishly. People will begin to ask questions, and as you can tell, this isn’t the line of work where you can be asked questions.” Akar began to look at is claws again, hinting at the fate awaiting Likos should he fail to keep his new secret life a secret.
“U-Understood.” Likos said as he cleared his throat.
“Wonderful, now for your next job.” Akar started to speak, but paused as Likos interrupted in a confused tone.
“Next job? Already?” Likos rose an eyebrow at Akar who returned the expression.
“You expect a break already? You just got hired.” Akar growled in a displeased tone.
“Uh…no. I mean like. Next job? Already?! Man I can’t wait!” Likos blurted out in a false enthusiastic manner.
Akar nodded and then looked at his watch. “How do you feel about a kidnapping?”
“Kidnapping?” Likos smirked a little. “Look, I’m a theif, not a kidnapper. I don’t know anything about kidnapping people.”
“It’s the same as stealing a ruby necklace, just think of her as a…well, a pretty trinket. The job comes with a pretty hefty bonus, so if that bag impressed you just think of what awaits you for this job.” Akar said was he watched Likos glance at the hefty bag of cash sitting in his lap. “So, are you a kidnapper now?”
“Who’s the girl?” Likos asked.
“Lady Essa, the Priestess of Light.” Akar said, and watched as Likos’ face went pale again. Akar rolled his eyes in an unimpressed tone and snapped his fingers, watching as Ichirou dumped a bucket of cold water on Likos’ head. “Opinions, thoughts, concerns?”
Likos shivered as he shook the water off and stood up with an angry snarl. “Yeah I got some concerns, it was one thing to steal that necklace but you’re asking me to kidnap one of the most notable figures not only in the Land of Light, but our own realm as well! How the hell am I supposed to accomplish that. I’m just some thief!”
“I’m sure the great bandit, Likos, will think of something. We will discuss the details soon, but for now you should get some rest. Ichirou will bring you to me for a more in depth briefing over the task.” Akar said with a satisfied grin that made Likos regret ever stealing that ruby necklace to begin with.