Part 7:

Just a Thing Outlaws Do

It had been more than a few minutes. Kajulan leaned back against the railing, her hands grasping the bars and her feet tapping. What was taking Tekole so long? She barely changed clothes at all when she slept, even including the giant belt and holster she was still wearing. Which probably explained the sore hip.

Finally the door opened, and Tekole walked out. He was actually relatively well dressed, within his means. He wore a tunic, darker than his sleepwear, reaching down to his elbows and knees and separated at the waist by a belt. His trousers were neatly tucked into his boots, and even his curly hair had something done to it, but what exactly Kajulan did not know.

“You look . . . nice,” she said, not sure why the words were so hard to force out.

“Oh, thank you,” replied Tekole, his grey cheeks darkening. “You look . . .”

“Alright, let’s go!” interrupted Kajulan, already on the move. “We’ve got a lot to do today.”

The two walked down the stairs, and Tekole stopped as they reached the bottom.

“So,” he began. “About last night.”

“What about last night?” asked Kajulan, playing dumb. Dumbly.

Tekole sheepishly began playing with the back of his hair. “Well, it’s just, you did kiss me.”

Kajulan waved her hand dismissively. “Oh, that? Pfft. Don’t worry about it. That, that’s just a thing outlaws do. No need to even think about it.”

“Oh,” replied Tekole. “Okay.”

Kajulan turned back around. “So,” she continued, drumming her fingers together and working quickly to change the subject. “Put any more thought into what you want to do with your share?”

“Well,” said Tekole, as the two began to walk again. “If I’m playing hook.” He caught himself. “Not going to work today, I’ll need to use part of it to cover rent.”

“Tekole!” shouted Kajulan. “Stop talking about rent! You don’t rob people with guns and swords in order to pay rent! I don’t pay rent!”

A concerned look came across Tekole’s face, and he looked down at her. “Kajulan,” he asked. “Are you homeless?”

“What? No. I stay at inns sometimes.”

“I don’t think that counts.”

“Sure it does! I’m nomadic, like those Ruki guys.”

“I don’t think that’s the same thing either.”

Kajulan flipped her hands out. “And why not? Because they have nice tents? Well, I sometimes stay at this cute little bed and breakfast outside town, so I sleep in nice places too.”

Tekole suddenly stopped, and Kajulan took a few paces to notice. “What if the boss does fire me?” he asked, more to himself than Kajulan. “What happens then?”

Kajulan backtracked towards him. “Then we’ll just knock over some other schmuck.” She crossed her arms. “You know, I don’t even know why you’re still talking about going back to work at that mill. You’re a wanted man now Tekole.”

Tekoles eyebrows shot up. “Wanted? I thought you said the town guard didn’t care what we did.”

“They don’t! But I’m not talking about the town guard. I’m talking about the two-bit mob boss we just ripped off.”

Tekole straightened, and then began to freak out, which confused Kajulan. She had assumed that Tekole understood the gravity and consequences of their actions. But she also thought that hissing in a kindly, playful manner was a thing people did, so she clearly wasn’t the best judge of this sort of thing.

“Hey, hey,” she said, patting him on the back. “It’s okay. I mean, look at me. Plenty of people have wanted to kill me, and I’m not dead.”

“Dead!” exclaimed Tekole. “I didn’t know you meant they were going to kill us! I thought you meant they were going to throw us in a dungeon or something!”

Now Kajulan was showing concern. Her attempt to calm Tekole had done the opposite of its intended effect, and that upset her. She took a deep breath. “Look,” she said. “Don’t worry about it. These mob types, they have short memories.”

Kajulan had no idea what she was talking about, but it seemed to be working. “Really?” asked Tekole, calm but seemingly reluctant to stay that way.

“Of course! They’d be too busy with all their revenge killings and stuff otherwise.” Kajulan clasped her hands and leaned in. “Now, let me ask you a question. You ever been to the city’s bazaar before?”

“No,” answered Tekole, shaking his head.

“Then let’s go!” Kajulan grabbed his arm and began to pull him. “I think it’s time we start lightening the load from last night.”