However, Althea’s presence here implied that peace would not last long. Of course, the sword strapped across her back would be enough to suggest that, but she had already wrapped it, hilt and all, in a makeshift sheath of cloth. In this case, the more relevant factor was her profession as a mercenary. Although she had recently taken up the hobby of wandering Fiore’s most distant lands, the young woman was still a mage for hire. She supported herself through conflict, and the idyllic streets of this sleepy part of town were home to her current employer. Of course, the details she was privy to concerning her actual job had been vague, but Althea knew enough about these kinds of tasks to come prepared for combat either way. In fact, the sword on her back was a very recent addition, having been purchased with this very job in mind. The blade was of common quality, with only the most basic of arcane elements present to enforce durability. But still, the spirit judged that as more than enough for any potential hiccups in the operation. In the past, before her time stuck in the Aetherial Wastes, she exclusively used her bare hands for any and all fighting. The addition of equipment to her arsenal was only meant to further enhance her strengths at close range, and simply carrying a few pounds of extra weight wouldn’t hinder her in any way.
However, it wouldn’t take the blonde very long before finally coming upon the house address listed in the memo she received. After giving a few sturdy knocks on the white wooden door, Althea immediately heard the sound of footsteps from the other side of the wall. Whoever it was, they seemed rather rushed to reach the door, and when they did, the door creaked open and an elderly man emerged. He was of shorter stature, the hand that steadied himself on his walking cane being thin and frail. It was likely that this was the mayor of Clover Town, the person who entrusted her with a task this time around. However, upon laying eyes on her, the man’s wrinkled face stiffened, his sharp gaze shifting warily over their surroundings. “Hurry, come inside.” Wordlessly following the elder’s degree, she stepped into the townhouse. Swiftly, yet softly, he closed the door behind her, letting out a labored sigh.
“Come this way.” As he led her deeper into the house, his eyes drifted to the wrapped-up sword on the aetherial spirit’s back. “I didn’t know you would be arriving so… conspicuously.”
Idly inspecting the cozy interior, Althea replied with a slightly bored expression. “I think that anyone who lives here would be able to notice they haven’t seen me here before. Additionally, if anyone asked, I could just tell them that this was…” She pondered for a moment. “...an extra large club sandwich that I’m saving for later.” Her comment could be interpreted as a simple dismissive remark, but Althea was being dead serious. Well, if anyone told her that they were carrying around an almost three-foot-long sandwich for future cases of the munchies, she wouldn’t find any reasons not to believe them.
“Oh… I-I see.” The old man cleared his throat, tearing his eyes away from the incredibly conspicuous clothed blade. “Anyways, you must be Althea Eventide, correct? Thank you for accepting my request.” At this point, they arrived in a rustic living room, three cups of tea sitting on top of the wooden table.
Wait, three? Althea’s eyes narrowed, “I’ll be working with someone else for this job?” She said, not bothering to hide the annoyance in her voice. Even back when she openly chased the company and affections of others, working alone had been one of her more perennial habits. It wasn’t that she was averse to entrusting some work to others, but things were just simpler when she was by herself. No need to go over plans of action or share any details about her skills, she
The mayor’s grip on his cane tightened, “It’s not that I… don’t have confidence in your skills. I just feel very strongly about this, and I’m handling this situation with the utmost sincerity. Don’t worry, they should be arriving anytime now.”