|Author: Mad Flower||Original Source: SFACG||Word Count: 2129 characters|
|Translator: Keissen||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1064 words|
Time passed swiftly, and two hours later, inside the Equipment store, Behn lay sprawled on the ground. Trembling, his face pale and his eyes vacant, foam dripped from his lips. It appeared he was whispering something about demons or pleading for his life.
Yaeger methodically collected the repaired equipment into her backpack, and before she left, she remarked, “You took one second longer than the assigned time. No pay for you this time.” Perhaps hearing her, Behn trembled even more violently, his strength leaving him as he passed out.
Leaving the store, Yaeger smiled to herself. Her mission, after all, was to push him until he rediscovered his passion for his work. Thus, she felt no guilt in wringing out every ounce of his effort. ‘Is this what capitalists do to their workers?’ she mused. ‘But at least they profit. I’m at a loss. I wonder how Lili’s doing on her end. If things go well, I can start my job.’
She remembered the agreement she made with Lili at the docks. She planned to have Behn repair the damaged equipment of the Knight’s Order, earning a sizable commission as a middleman. Profiting while also completing a mission? It was a win-win in her eyes.
“I’m such a noble soul,” she mused aloud, “helping the Empire, solving their logistical issues. What’s that saying again? I bleed for the Empire, I’ve contributed… something like that.” Anyone hearing her would undoubtedly find her delusional.
After leaving the Equipment store, Yaeger made her way to Layna’s Item Shop. As she stepped in, she noticed Layna slouched on a bench, looking drained, with Yunuen and Little Fairy attending to her.
“Princess, you’re back!” Both exclaimed upon seeing her.
“What happened to Layna? Is she ill?” Yaeger inquired.
“No, master has refined potions throughout the night without any sleep. She’s resting now,” Yunuen replied. Observing Layna, Little Fairy’s lips twitched, seemingly finding her dedication bordering on insanity. The effort and drive required to refine potions incessantly, without sleep, was beyond comprehension.
“She worked very hard,” Yaeger remarked, her tone conveying admiration. The recent unveiling of the underground maze had caused a surge in demand, depleting stocks of potions and other essential items. Alchemists like Layna were under pressure to replenish supplies, requiring them to work round the clock.
“Princess, did something unfortunate occur earlier?” Yunuen, placing a cool, damp cloth on Layna’s forehead, voiced her concerns. In their chat, Yaeger had alluded to a real-life emergency she had managed, without divulging specifics.
“They were undoubtedly worried,” Yaeger thought, realizing the weight of her sudden departure.
Brushing it off, she responded, “It’s nothing major. Just had to deal with a pesky insect that came too close to my home.”
Yunuen and Little Fairy exchanged a glance, recalling Mylene’s mention of hitmen and the possible threats from the Ye Family. They immediately connected the dots. “Don’t breathe a word of this to anyone,” Yaeger warned, having noticed their reactions.
“Understood!” both Yunuen and Little Fairy chimed in unison.
With a gentle tone, Yaeger addressed them, “You two have the rest of the day off. You can relax here, wander around, or even log off if you wish.”
Yunuen’s eyes sparkled with curiosity. “And you, Princess?”
“I plan to scout around the city, gathering some intel,” Yaeger responded. She wanted to ascertain if Richard had truly departed Jade City, as his continued presence could hinder her plans.
“Why not let me accompany you?” Yunuen offered.
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Yaeger softly brushed Yunuen’s hair, saying, “No need. You both should rest. There’ll be plenty to do soon.” She knew the undercurrents in Jade City were deceptive; while the surface appeared calm, tumultuous currents surged beneath. Hidden dangers, no doubt, lurked in the shadows.
After some light-hearted banter, Yaeger exited the store. The horizon was painted in hues of gold, and the streets of Crystal Avenue thrummed with life.
A commotion up ahead drew her attention. “Make way! Move!”
A black Edge Leopard sped through, causing pandemonium in its wake. Yet, it wasn’t just the creature that instilled fear but its rider: the seventh princess, Kastina, another recognized scourge of the Empire.
Spotting Yaeger, Kastina exclaimed, “Lowly slave, I’ve been searching for you!”
Yaeger rolled her eyes, “You always have a flair for the dramatic, don’t you?”
Those who overheard couldn’t help but think, ‘Pot calling the kettle black!’
The very presence of these two notorious figures in proximity signaled potential chaos. Sensing this, the crowd dispersed, reminiscent of prey evading apex predators.
Time seemed to freeze as the black Edge Leopard skidded to an abrupt halt just five meters from Yaeger. The beast then lowered its head, letting out a contented purr. With a fluid elegance, Kastina dismounted and approached Yaeger, her tone dripping with condescension, “Lowly slave, you should kneel before me, the princess.”
“Do you want a slap?” Yaeger retorted, rolling her eyes.
Kastina smirked confidently, lifting her chin, “Go on, try it.”
Cutting through the banter, Yaeger said, “Enough games. I have questions.” Without waiting for a response, she grabbed Kastina’s hand, pulling her into a nearby food store.
Kastina, feigning indignation, stammered, “Lowly slave…how dare you?” But her flushed cheeks betrayed a hint of excitement. Far from being offended, she found herself enjoying the assertiveness. ‘Such audacity from a mere slave,’ she mused, ‘Impressive.’
Upon their entrance, the store quickly emptied, even the owner making a hasty exit. The reputation of the two women was well-known; having one in a place was daunting enough, let alone both.
Selecting a corner table, Yaeger began preparing tea. Once done, she fetched some snacks without asking, laying them out on the table. “Drink,” she offered, pouring Kastina a cup.
Kastina, sipping her tea, inquired, “What do you want to know?”
“Is your father out of town?” Yaeger queried, getting straight to the point.
“Huh? You dragged me all the way here and made me some tea just to ask me this?” Kastina expressed her astonishment.
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“Of course. What did you think I wanted?” Yaeger responded.
“My daddy—no, my royal father—he led an army to the northern fortress. Everyone in the inner city is already aware of it. Have you been living under a rock?” Kastina remarked.
“Then how many days before he returns?” Yaeger probed.
Kastina gave her a sidelong glance. “For someone not from the inner city, you’re quite interested in its affairs.”