Char was in his element, and glad for it. Sure, it was frustrating to be on the job in such a gorgeous place, but he at least got to unwind at a quaint tea shop. It was a little place he had found a few blocks down from the inn that his bum-turned-secretary, Rhum had determined was within their assigned housing budget after taking more than a week to get quotes from every major site of lodging with a working phone-lacrima.
He casually sipped his warm tea from the funny cat-themed porcelain cup he had been given. After his most recent mission, he was more than happy to take up the offer the Fiorian government had given him for paid-for travel and board. Even if he was less than thrilled about the politics of it all, he didn’t have it in him to deny how excited he had been at the prospect of leaving the country. Having so many charges to his name meant that he normally couldn’t get checked past the border.
This rocks, but I wonder where— He froze as he locked eyes with one of the well-groomed cats the café had become famous for. Yoooooo!!! Char did everything in his power to keep himself still and calm. It was a thickset calico with chubby enough cheeks to make his eyes look closed from a distance. It sassily sashayed up to the foot of his table before hopping up. It was purring loudly, clearly expecting Char to pet it on the head. He cracked a wry smile and scratched it on the brow. The cat responded by leaning further into the caress.
Not that this isn’t the best, but didn’t Gall say that my teammate should be showing up around here sometime… He flicked out his gold-rimmed pocket watch. It was half-past twelve. Now-ish…? Char adjusted his turtleneck with his other hand and started to scan the crowd.
He could hardly discern what was going on outside of the usual hustle, bustle, and hubbub. Pedestrians in this district were typically all in groups, accompanied by what was clearly a native of the region—denoted by their cat-like features—their guide. It was by no sheer coincidence that Char had been placed in a popular touring location.
But he did have an eye for certain tricks of the hand and, looking at the regulars running the block, he could tell that most of the petty thieves here were amateurs—credible non-threats to the peace. Sure, maybe every here-and-there was going to get pinched, but a jewel or two never hurt anyone, he figured. It was the scam artists that you had to watch out for in this region, it seemed.
Lots of silver tongues. Gotta say—some of these kids got a good racket going on. Always nice to see something I can appreciate. Char felt like a cool detective, keeping both eyes peeled for trouble like this. Wait…!
That’s when he spotted it: the grifters stationed along the road were going through the motions of packing up. This irked Char mainly because it was the middle of the day—they were closing up during prime business hours. And it wasn’t just one of them making this crucial mistake—no—it was all of them. Something was fishy.
The cat he was still petting perked up and quickly hobbled off back inside—It looked like it was almost out of instinct. Char could feel his instincts acting up, too. Suddenly, he noticed another odd detail: each and every one of the blue-collars was headed in a single direction. He looked back at the café and then considered something. Then, his eyes lit up as he made up his mind.
He got up, chugged his scalding hot tea (a mistake), and stiffed them on the bill. Char took off in the opposite way that the swindlers were going, electing to follow the flow of them to the source of the disruption.
Sorry, new guy! I’m gonna check into this real quick… normally my gut’s not wrong with these. Though, I guess I shouldn’t be hoping I’m right… The conga line went on for multiple blocks—many cheats were fanning out from one spot. Word on the street is that something bad’s going to go down. That’s gotta be it—No way people around here are that committed to their tea breaks. They weren’t moving like this any of the days prior to now. Could this be that bomb threat?
Finally, Char lined himself up with the wall of one of the buildings lining the block he was on and slammed the end of his staff into the ground. He braced as he exclaimed “Please, extend!” At his command, the enigmatic staff magically expanded, blasting him upwards as it pushed into the dirt. With that, he had vaulted himself onto the rooftops, retracting the staff curtly and continuing his march forward towards the disturbance.