Part 4:

The Thing you said You’ve Been Sitting On

Kajulan waited outside behind Rudim’s shop, for what reason she wasn’t really sure. No one ever went to this part of town, especially this late at night, and the shop itself wasn’t exactly hopping, before or after the takeover. Staking out a place was just something it felt like you were supposed to do before a robbery.

In all fairness, it was more thought than she had put into the rest of her plan. There wasn’t even much evidence that there was actually a big score to be had. She knew that the mercenary fellow had acted like he was in a big hurry, implying something important was going down. . . and that was it. Not that it mattered. Kajulan really only wanted an excuse to beat up that guy who had been so rude to her earlier.

Tekole was crouched down besides her, rocking back and forth on the heels of his shoes. She wasn’t sure if the repetitive motion was borne out of nervousness or excitement, but she chose to believe the latter, since that was the more personally convenient explanation. She jerked her head, motioning for Tekole to move to the side of the building. He did so, and Kajulan moved forward, stopping at the building’s back entrance. She took a deep breath, straightened out her clothes, and moved her left arm to rest firmly behind her back, as if she was hiding a knife. With her right she struck the door, in a motion more like a punch than a knock.

The door slammed open, and standing there was the man who had thrown her out earlier.

“Oh, thank all the gods you’re here,” he said. “It’s been nerve-wracking just sitting on this. . .” He stopped, his eyes narrowing as he noticed Kajulan. “Oh, it’s you. Screw off!”

He went to close the door but Kajulan stopped him, grabbing the rim and forcing it open.

“No,” she said.

The man swung the door fully open, this time stepping out with it, and Kajulan recoiled ever so slightly. He looked a lot bigger and scarier when he wasn’t just being annoying. He smirked and threw his coat back, revealing on his left a sword that he probably didn’t know how to use, and on his right a revolver that he almost certainly did. He began to tap the hilt of his gun. “I would say I don’t want to have to use this, but that would be lying. So I suggest you get lost.”

Kajulan shook her head, and the man finally took notice of the arm hidden behind her back.

“What are you holding?” he asked, stepping forward. Kajulan just shook her head again, and the man grabbed her arm, forcing it in front of her. “What are you doing?” he asked, staring at the empty grip.

Before he had time to react further a fist came flying in, striking him on the side of the head and sending him sprawling to the ground. Immediately Kajulan moved in, clambering on top of him and drawing a knife to his throat.

“Grab his belt!” she ordered. Tekole quickly removed it, and Kajulan stood back up, keeping the knife pointed towards the man as she did so. “Alright, now give it to me,” Tekole handed it over. “And hold this.” She handed the knife over to Tekole, who cautiously took it as if he had never seen one before in his life. Kajulan wrapped the belt around her, but even as tightly wound as possible it was still much too big for her, and fell awkwardly low on her hips. She thought it looked kind of cool though, so that was okay.

“Alright,” she said, drawing the gun from its holster. “Get up.”

The look of malice on the man’s face was palpable, but he did as he was told. Kajulan motioned for him to turn around, and pressed the barrel against the square of his back. The three entered the building, Tekole closing the door behind them.

Even in the darkness of night the place felt familiar to Kajulan. The shop was mostly untouched, and the same overpowering smell of dust remained. It was was lit by only a few candles, probably dug out from beneath some pile of junk by the man currently being held at gunpoint.

Tekole stopped, grabbing from a shelf a stick with what appeared to be a crudely carved face on it. He showed it to Kajulan.

“What is this? Is it worth anything?”

“No,” whispered Kajulan. “But it’s kind of cool. You should keep it.”

Tekole nodded and placed it into his pocket, while the mercenary sighed heavily.

“You knoooow,” he said. “I was meeting someone here, and they’re going to be aaaaarmed.”

“Well theeeen, guess we’ll just need to go fast, won’t weeeee,” hissed Kajulan. “Now, where is it!?”

“What’s it?”

Kajulan pushed the barrel of the gun harder against his back. “You know what it is! The thing you said you were sitting on!”

The man sighed again, a rage boiling beneath him, but he also decided that he didn’t like the idea of getting shot. “First shelf on the right from the front door,” he said. “Beneath the Bagkyn standard.” Kajulan stared blankly, and neither her or Tekole responded to the statement. “Standard means flag. It’s beneath the flag.”

“Ahhhhhhhhh,” replied Kajulan. She jerked her head towards the front. “Tekole, go grab whatever it is.”

Tekole nodded and ran off, returning after a short commotion with a small locked chest under his arm. It almost looked like a wooden jewelry box, if a bit less ornate. Tekole shook the thing enthusiastically, and it produced the sound of metal clinking.

“Key?” Kajulan asked, poking her hostage in the back again.

“No key,” he responded.

“That’s fine.” Kajulan withdrew the gun, handing it over to Tekole. “Watch him. I think Rudim had some rope in the back, assuming he didn’t take it with him. I’ll be right back.”

Kajulan left, leaving Tekole awkwardly clutching the assortment of things she had assigned for him to hold. The mercenary stared him down. A brave man would’ve taken such an opportunity to strike back against his captors.

Kajulan returned, rope in hand. “Alright Mr. mercenary,” she said. “Down on the ground, up against that shelf over there.”

If looks could kill Kajulan would’ve been dead, but they can’t so the man did as he was told. Kajulan knelt down beside him and began to tie the rope, running it around the shelf and from shoulder to shoulder. A moment later she stood back up, and Tekole passed the gun over to her. The two looked down at the man, taking a moment to admire her handiwork.

“It looks kind of loose,” said Tekole. “You sure that will hold him?”

Kajulan considered the question. “No,” she said. “But I think Mr. mercenary here understands that if he frees himself too soon, or tries to follow us, he gets shot.” She poked the man’s kettle hat with the gun, using it to prop up the rim. “Don’tcha?”

The man looked up at her, and then over at Tekole. “Can you two please just leave now?”