Post WC: 3689 words
Total WC: 3689 / 3500 words
Job Info: B rank freeform
Notes: sign up
Snow was falling onto the frozen land as Perry and his friend walked through the streets of Capital Crocus. It had been a long time since the young man set foot in this cursed place. One could wonder as to why a thief would regard a place that was inhabited by many rich folks as 'cursed'. It had nothing to do with Perry's thieving experiences, though Crocus was where he started. He started in Crocus because that was the city he was born in and partially raised. It was the city where he ran away from his parents who were one of those richie richs, leaving Perry in hands of strangers who looked after him. After he accidentally shapeshifted into a black cat, scaring the living heck out of one his babysitters, Perry grew tired of the confined life. Perry took a chance and ran away, never looked back. Leapt out of the window of his room in a rush. And in that rush, he didn't take anything with him. It was only after his great escape that he realised his error, but it was already too late.
It was incredibly hard to just... live. Perry had been used to having everything that he could ever wish for. He wasn't really experienced with the rock bottom poverty. That extremely violent shift in his life from one day to another woke him up. Even though he was just a simple teen, he felt the slap of the real world on his cheek. He tried to beg at first, but he quickly realised that it was a no go. Perhaps if he had been even younger, then some folks would feel sorry. But most of the time they didn't even spare him a fleeting gaze, let alone a couple of Jewels. His parents treated this part of Crocus' inhabitants in a selfsame manner.
That was until he dared to steal a piece of bread for the first time. It was exhilarating. Perry would never forget the snap in his mind when he realised that he could just take from others and make it his. At first it was a rocky road. He got caught a lot and ran a lot from angry adults and guards. And yet they never caught him. Until the fateful night when he got cornered into a shadowy place in between some buildings and he felt as if the shadows were inviting him. He leaned into that feeling, as the guards looked around. They were astounded, they cornered the thieving brat. There was no way he got away. The guards kept searching for him, but they didn't find anything or anyone. With heavy feet and lot of grumbling they went away.
But as the years passed by, Perry reflected on his early years. On what he could remember at least. He always attributed his escape to boredom of living the rich life. However, when he looked at everything that happened with hindsight, he realised that his parents were barely ever there. Always too busy making money, but always there to reprimand him. Especially when it came to that little wooden box that was placed just out his reach, even as he continued to grow. Even his babysitters were instructed not let him near it, let alone open it. However, that one time, a babysitter took a peek themselves, obviously curious as to why they weren't supposed to let Perry reach it. Then he saw it. A brilliantly emerald crystal that shimmered in the light. As soon as his eyes gazed upon it, he felt attracted to it. Entranced, even. It felt like it was desperately calling out to him. The sensation was cut short, once the babysitter closed the lid. Almost as if somebody clapped their hands next to him, rudely awakening him. The memory stuck with Perry through his life. He had so many questions and no answers at all.
Perry sharply exhaled, letting out a mist of warm air. Nova walked beside him, eyeing the falling particles. "This snow or whatever you called it, is pretty cool. Not going to lie." The Khigmax opened his mouth and stuck out his tongue. Perry wasn't sure whether the pun was intentional or not. "It's pretty cool when you have the luxury of having a roof over your head and a place to stay warm." The young man would reply, receiving a quizzical look from Nova. "Listen. You've been sour this whole time since we got here. What's going on?" Perry was taken aback, surprised by Nova noticing a shift in his general mood, that he scarcely noticed himself. "Oh. Nothing. Really." The thief squeezed out of him, earning himself an exasperated, shrill sigh from Nova. "Perry. You either tell me or I will punch it out of you." His friend said and his hair appendages moved around, ready to strike.
The crowd surrounding them was not paying them any attention, though some did glance at Perry with confusion in their eyes. The thief looked onto the ground, thinking of how to approach the subject. "Crocus is where I used to live. Back when I still lived with my parents. Though living may be a bit of an exaggeration." He said, as they kept on walking forward. Nova didn't say anything. He knew that he had to give Perry space to talk on his own whenever he felt ready. "This city is essentially where my story as a thief began." He said and he looked up as he crossed his arms on his chest. It was truly cold.
"This is where you learned to steal, huh?" Perry's friend asked as he looked around him. The buildings were a bit taller than usual, covered in snow. He couldn't see anything that would hint at the fact that there were thieves. Then again, if one saw a thief, that would say a lot about the thief. "Is there a lot of thieves around here?" Nova asked, having a good guess about the answer already. "Sure is. You just need to know where to look." The young man replied and motioned around him. "This is one of the better parts of the city. Thieves around here are more of the experienced kind. You need to know what you are doing if you don't want to get caught." Nova nodded, expecting Perry to continue. "There's a lot more pickpocketers in the poorer districts. People rarely have anything to lose, so why not chance your hands at some thieving. Much like myself, when I found myself over there." Perry explained as they kept on walking.
Nova felt like he understood his friend a bit better. Though Perry didn't reveal much from his past, Nova was glad that the thief had finally opened up a bit about himself. Perry trusted the strange creature and Nova appreciated that. The crowd of people was still as thick as ever, as the duo kept on going. "So... Where are we going?" The Khigmax asked, not pressing Perry for any more details. "Lately I remembered something from the times when I was a kid. It's a powerful memory, so I don't know why I was reminded of it only recently." Perry said and continued. "There was this little wooden box we had at home. I was never allowed to go near it, let alone open it. That was until I sneaked a peek at its contents, when a babysitter was taking a peek herself." Nova chuckled. "How cheeky." Perry smiled a little. "Inside was a strange green crystal. As soon as I saw it, I felt like I was being pulled towards it. Until the babysitter closed the box and put it back." The young man shortened the memory to the most important bits.
The duo of man and extraterrestrial reached a different district. It didn't look much different on the outside, but even Nova felt a shift in the atmosphere. Especially the looks they were given. Perry was well dressed and clean, almost fitting right into the crowd. Nova stood out, just a tiny bit. "Everybody's giving me a stink eye. I guess that this is the poshy posh part of the city?" Nova asked, as he ignored the looks he was receiving. Perry nodded. "I'm looking for my old home." The young man said without a hint of emotion in his voice. Nova couldn't tell what exactly Perry had in mind, but he reckoned that his friend wasn't looking for a tearful family reunion.
They walked onto a side street and Nova immediately noticed that that was the street where people lived. The main street of the district was filled with various shops, most of which looked quite hoity-toity. As they walked down the street, Perry started to look around with a hint of nostalgia in his eyes. Nova chuckled and Perry glared at him. It felt nostalgic to be back there, but at the same time it felt so... foreign. As if he was trying to distance himself from his place of origin.
And there it was. A luxury apartment complex. It was a strange mix of what one would see as affordable living, with shimmering splendor scattered through. Thankfully nobody recognised the young man, as the duo neared Perry's old home. The thief came up to one of the entrance doors and checked the names of the buzzers. It was a cool piece of lacrima technology that allowed a person to press the button and a device on the other end would ring and whoever picked it up could let the person on the button end in. However, as Perry skimmed through the names, the name 'Bardell' was missing. He still remembered where it used to be, but there was a different name there. Perry's body froze in place. Where had his parents gone?
Nova sensed that something was afoot. "What is it?" Perry took a few steps back, his eyes unfocused. "They're not here. They went somewhere else. The name is not there." Words rolled off of Perry's tongue, his mind trying to process this new development. His original plan was to prank a ring and with the distraction get inside as a cat and quickly get the box or just the crystal. But that whole idea was quickly torn to shambles. He should've thought about the possibility that his parent could have moved away. More questions then flooded his mind. Why did they do it? Where did they go? When did they leave? And he had absolutely no answers to those questions.
The Khigmax would lightly push his friend. "Get a hold of yourself, Perry. Come on." Nova pushed him again and that second time seemed to have a bit of an effect on the young man. He shook his head and adjusted his hat. "I should've thought about this possibility. I'm so stupid." He rubbed his eyes in evident frustration. "And I call myself one of greatest thieves still alive. Great. So stupid." Nova shook his head in his own frustration. Though that frustration was because of Perry's own frustration. "How about you get your head out of the gutter and think of a plan B?" Nova asked and the thief looked at him. "There is no plan B. They're gone." Perry replied, unable to think of a solution.
Perry didn't think ahead and that was his reward. Of course, it wouldn't be too much of a problem to try and track down their whereabouts, but it would take some time and some string pulling. Perry was so distracted by plan crafting, he didn't notice the entrance door open and a lady walk out. She was putting her keys into her purse, so at first she didn't notice a distressed young gentleman and a weird creature in front of the door. Once her gaze slipped upwards and noticed them, she yelped in surprise. "Who are you? What are you doing here?"
A sudden new voice took Perry by surprise, making him jump, but Nova was unprepared aswell, so he jumped a little, too. They both looked at the source of the voice, a woman clad in an expensive looking fur coat and high boots with a leather purse. "Sorry to startle you, madam." Perry would tip his hat as he bowed a little. While he would usually try to hit on the ladies, his mind was in a different place. Besides, this woman just looked too gaudy for his eyes. "Hmph. You should be." The woman replied as she held her head high, as if that gave her extra social status. She probably thought that she was in control of the situation. These types of people were exactly the ones Perry despised. But they were also the golden ticket to wealth as a thief, so there was a bit of a silver lining. "Again, apologies, madam." He would apologise again, the woman not sparing him an another glance as she started to walk away.
"May I ask you something, madam?" Perry would try to stop her and she sharply turned around. "Make it quick." She deemed whatever she was going to do as much more important than helping somebody out. Just a typical Crocus richie. "Do you perchance know where the Bardells have moved to?" He asked and the woman seemed to give the question a thought. "They were about to leave as I moved in. I don't know where they went, but I think they sold a number of things to Reggie's Pawn Shop." That was all he needed to know. "Thank you mada, so much." Perry tipped his hat again, as the woman turned to leave. "You're welcome. Don't bother me again." She said as she left. Nova shook his head. "She's so full of herself." The young man shrugged a little. "Yeah. But their pockets and purses are quite the treasure troves." Perry replied and Nova grinned.
"So. Did you get the info you needed?" Nova asked his friend as Perry led the way. "Yeah. The pawn shop she mentioned is nothing more than that, a pawn shop. Kind of known around here, it peddles luxury items and keepsakes, of course." Nova nodded, adding Reggie's Pawn Shop to the list of interesting sounding places. "Although the lady didn't say when, at least we know where some of the stuff my parents owned ended up at. If we're lucky, maybe we'll find something." Perry explained, as he picked up the pace, almost running. He hoped that the pawn shop did not move its place or close down. Otherwise the situation would change to a proper goose chase.
Even though it was dark outside, it was still only late afternoon. Perry visited the pawn shop with his mother a couple of times before, but he didn't know what the shop was about and never noticed his mother loaning or buying anything. But then again, he was just a wee little kid back then. He had no idea how money worked. For him, it was just always there.
After a few minutes of walking, the duo reached the shop in question. It was located on the main street of the district, sandwiched between a luxurious hair salon and a chocolate shop. "Hey, could we go to that chocolate place after we're done at Reggie's? I really liked that bit of chocolate you gave me last week." Nova chimed in with a request and Perry didn't find himself to be able to deny it. "Sure." He reckoned that he could use some chocolate to soothe his soul a bit.
The duo walked inside the well-lit shop with a banner outside that said 'Reggie's Pawn Shop'. Almost istantly, they were welcomed. "Welcome welcome! A young man and a creature! How may I help you today? Are you looking for a loan or would you care to buy some items?" A man from behind the counter bombarded them with questions, but at least he didn't mind Nova's presence. "He seems pretty chill. Unlike that one lady." Even Nova himself picked up on it. Perry couldn't help but to smile at the little flamboyance that the man exuded. It felt like a breath of fresh air. "Hello. We are looking to purchase items, please." The young man would tip his hat, earning a little wink from the man. "Of course. I love your hat, by the way. Call me Reggie." The man motioned towards Perry's hat and then for the two friends to follow him.
"He sure seems quite extravagant, to say the least." Nova noted with a little chuckle and Perry had to agree. "Yeah. I don't remember him much from my childhood, though. I was probably too bored to care about anything." Perry always found himself in that shop because of his mother running her errands. They walked a few steps and entered a different section of the pawn shop. There were numerous shelves lined with various items. Some looked more luxurious, some seemed to be more tailored towards regular folk.
Still, there was a surprising amount of items present in the shop. It would be like trying to find a needle in a haystack. If anyone would be the right person to ask for help, it would be the owner himself. "Are you looking for something specific or just browsing the selection?" It almost seemed like Reggie was reading Perry's mind like an open book. "We are looking for a small wooden box." Perry tried to describe the item in question, but he couldn't remember any of the details. Reggie rubbed his chin in thought, but his face didn't seem too hopeful. "There's too many wooden boxes, I'm afraid. Do you know anything else that could specify the box? Or are you just looking for boxes in general?" He asked for more information, but Perry had none. Except for one little tidbit. "A wooden box loaned to you by the Bardells."
Once Perry said that, Reggie's eyes went wide. "Ah! I remember that box! It was such beautiful craftsmanship, I couldn't forget that. I wanted to make sure that they always could get it back, so as to avoid selling it, I just put it in far back, so that it was out of sight. I always wanted to make sure that it was here if they ever got back." A lot of information was there for Perry. "Why are you looking for that specific box, if I may ask?" It was a valid question. But seeing as Reggie planned on getting the box back to his parents, he didn't see an another option. "I'm Perry Bardell."
That was the second proverbial bombshell that Perry had dropped onto Reggie, whose jaw opened and then closed, not sure what to say. "Is it really you? I thought you died!" The man then suddenly jumped to Perry and gave him a huge bear hug. Nova jumped aswell, but then chuckled. At least there was one person who wasn't sick of their existence. "You thought I died?" The young man asked, after he wrestled himself out of the hug that came dangerously close to actually killing him via suffocation. "You mother said that you just suddenly disappeared and was never found again. At first they didn't seem too fazed, but then it probably hit them and they broke down." Reggie recounted his memories, making Perry's heart squeeze a bit. No. He wasn't going to feel sorry for them.
"They moved about three years ago. Money and luck dried up, along with happiness. They didn't tell anybody where they went." Reggie said and Perry nodded. At least he knew what happened. But there was an another task that he was there to fulfill. "Thanks for letting me know, Reggie." The young man would thank the shop owner. "Could I take a look at the box? Please?" Perry asked and Reggie went over to the spot where he put it. He took it out of the confines of the shelf and handed it to the Bardell.
Once the box was in Perry's hands, he felt the memories return. As well as the feeling that started to nag him to open it. And he gave in. His hand slid over the lid and he opened it. There it was. The emerald crystal he saw that day. It looked just as brilliant as back then. "Oooh. That's so pretty!" Reggie exclaimed, who was taking a peek. Nova was taking a peek aswell. All three of them were illuminated by a pale green light.
Perry wasn't even breathing as he reached out for the crystal and took it out of its box. Once he touched it, it glowed brighter. "Something tells me that you were always supposed to have this." Nova said, mirroring Perry's own thoughts. "You take good care of it and the box, yes?" Reggie spoke up with fiery resolve in his eyes. "You're just giving it to me?" The thief asked and the shopkeeper sighed. "Of course I'm giving it to you. It's still going to the hands of a Bardell, is it not? Besides, that glow seems important, so I will not argue with ancient magics." Reggie explained. "You think this is an ancient magic?" The young man asked, realising that he never gave it a thought, as to what the crystal even was. "I honestly have no idea. I don't exactly dabble in magic, I only sell things that are loaned and forgotten." Reggie had no idea, but it was fine. Perry vowed to himself that he would find out what the crystal and its secrecy meant.
"Does this mean we are going on an adventure?" Nova asked excitedly as the friends sat in the chocolate shop. "Perhaps. We still better swing by the Company to see if anything came up or if there is any work to be done." Perry replied and took a bite out of a delightfully naughty piece of chocolate cake. "Fair enough. Sounds good to me." The Khigmax agreed, as he tossed the piece of his own cake into his mouth. Nova's eating habits were interesting, to say the least.