Despite this gloom, such darkness was like a home to the inquisitive and soft-spoken Ahote, who greeted it with bitter smiles and narrowed eyes. It was a friend that only he and those who dwelled in it could understand and greet so warmly. Even so, they would not befriend this darkness on their own accord, but out of the fear of being spotted underneath the prying eyes of the Magic Council. So, in this darkness, they hide in wait, their disgruntled sentiments festering within and transforming into the shape of bloodied fingers and crimson blades. No matter their pasts, criminals had always tended to flock to one another. It was the sad resort of unfortunate souls.
Like most days, the air had been cool, sunshine had pierced through the overcast of clouds, and Ahote had been away from the guild for some work. He wore a suit vest he had recently had tailored for his new appearance. Though he had originally ordered such clothing for convenience, he had eventually taken a liking to the tightness of the vest and the snugness of the belt. There had been just enough pressure against his stomach and chest to keep him comfortable. He even wore it around at home. This discovery had been groundbreaking to the young Ahote.
Ahote had been seated in the back of a quiet and relatively empty train. It was the only train that went from Shirotsume directly to Clover Town, and living where he lived, cheap and accessible transportation was hard to find. Of course, extortion and violence were always go-to options for people with his sort of lifestyle and line of work. But how much time in the day was worth spending on a process that often involved the Rune Knights? "Just pay the poor soul," Ahote often thought and often did. But as often as he did pay the fair for train rides, he didn't nearly earn enough to travel as often as he needed to. So, what do criminals do to continue their criminal life? They work, of course! Questionable, terrible, suspicious work!
Ahote leisurely shuffled through a newspaper as the train approached an unsuspecting Clover Town, humming peacefully, "All these legals. . . hard to keep track of them all." he whispered to himself indignantly, shuffling between pages before crumpling the newspaper up when he couldn't find anything interesting. The train had slid into a stop, metal against metal until motion had ceased.
Ahote rose from his seat, stepping off the train with no one following him. He had never been to Clover Town before, and surely enough, it was bustling with chatter and busied people. The smell of freshly baked cakes sneaking through the cracks of windows, children zooming through the streets with toy planes in their hands, it was perhaps one of the busiest towns Ahote had ever stepped foot in. It was nearly overwhelming.
Metal digits slid into his vest pocket, pulling out a small sheet of paper with ink scribbled across it. Ahote held it close to his face by the tip of his thumbs, "I suppose the zoo is. . . that way?" he queried to himself, looking down the avenue to his left. He's never been too great with navigation, but judging by the clumsy directions he had written down and the mass of people flocking to one direction, he couldn't be too far off!