Azlak Temps either expected the bidding to reach greater heights or was a complete and total idiot, but who's to say it had to be one or the other. A sword from a king was worth thousands of coins, deep into the thousands even. A sword like that would be enough for Father Toucan Veras to forgive Copé of everything he had done and more.
Secrat leaned off from the Sidian Inn and walked closer to Azlak Temps. He remained discreet and inconspicuous while doing so. Nobody jumped out at the offer put in-front of them by Temps, which was at least somewhat surprising. None of them likely had the money, but such a deal was an absolute bargain.
Copé looked around.
Azlak Temps' eyes wandered the crowd with a pleading stare that made
Copé wonder if he had ever even heard of the Trading Network in the Whispey Deserts. "I understand that might be a large cost for some of you. I realize that, I do, and because of that, I am willing to take a small cut into the cost. Let's start off the bidding at four-hundred coin, but I must warn you that I will not go any lower than that. That's a terrific deal and understand that what you're paying for is not just any old sword, but a piece of history that can't be replicated. You'll own the only one. This sword owned by a former king could be yours!"
Copé's eyes wandered around the crowd of individuals. Some of them were laughably feeling into their pockets or checking their bags for money, as if they possibly carried that much money around with them.
Copé waltzed around into the crowd. He didn't really know what he was doing. Didn't really know what to do. All he knew is he had to have his hands on the sword before Azlak Temps rid himself of it. Temps seemed liked he wanted to do it fast as well. Secrat had an idea of why this was. The item must have been stolen. That was the logical explanation Secrat came to. The item was stolen, and Temps wanted to rid himself of it as soon as possible. Copé wanted to rob him blind, but it would seem the best item he had to offer was about to be taken and gotten rid of.
The thief looked around for a diversion. Something. Anything at all that would've been able to take everyone's eyes off of the sword. He reached down at one of his knives. Felt his hand wrap tightly around the handle. He released.
This wasn't what would create the diversion. The knife could've. Easily, in-fact. He could've stabbed someone in the crowd and the screams would've distracted them. That would've gotten him the sword, but killing was what had gotten him kicked out of The Red Flux, and it wasn't what would help him get back in. He needed something else. In that thought, he took sight of something else. Not far from there.
A knight. A soldier of Acera.
Knights of the days before the Aeonians might very well have commanded respect from everyone around them, but that couldn't have been further from the truth now. There hadn't been a war involving the five major cities in more than a couple centuries. Knight wasn't really the best word to describe what Secrat saw. Knights didn't serve a lot of purpose in the major cities. Most knew better than to commit crimes within a veil of the Aeonian. Many thought of Aeonians as a wise tale, and something not to be taken seriously, but it was efficacious in keeping things like thievery scarce. Some slipped through the cracks, some like Azlak Temps it would seem.
Secrat neared the knight, who was standing more toward the Sidian Inn, facing away from Azlak Temps. He rested a hand at his waist and removed the knight's sword from out of his scabbard. Copé assumed himself more needing of it. After that, Secrat rested the sword toward the side of his leg, not drawing any attention to it. He rested his hand over the shoulder of the unsuspecting knight, whose body jolted at his touch. The knight turned around, regaining his composure and easing his disposition. He wore light chain-mail armor and dark-green leggings. Dark-brown boots and had a strong physique. The knight didn't look very intimidating though.
In a boulder throwing contest, he could've walked circles around the thief, but other-wise, the man didn't appear too coordinated with himself. That was something Copé mostly had. If not a little at times, but mostly, he was very comfortable in his own skin. He liked himself very much.
"What can I do for you, sir?" The knight's voice supported Secrat's theory. He detected a small amount of raspiness, but also something else. A lack of confidence. A lack of certainty. Knights weren't all brave warriors ready to sacrifice themselves for the sake of the king, they were glorified messengers in most circumstances, their jobs mostly having them have to navigate back in fourth in the Unprotected Wilderness.
Copé smiled at him. The smile was as genuine as he could force it to be.
"There's a man over there, I don't know his name, but I think he's killed somebody!" Secrat's voice sounded worried and rattled, albeit fictitious, but the knight didn't seem to be aware of that. The knight's face looked flushed by the end of the sentence, and nervous, like he hadn't been trained to deal with such situations. And likely, he hadn't been. Copé smiled at him some more. It was real this time. He appreciated being able to manipulate someone with complete ease. The knight seemed to notice Copé's amusement and feel embarrassment, as he straightened his posture and deepened his voice some more: "I don't suppose you can take me to this gentleman."
Copé walked further back toward the town square, motioning with his hands for the knight to follow. He stepped onto the cobblestone path but didn't return to exactly where he once was. Instead, all he did was point in the direction of the alleged perpetrator, this being the obese gentleman handing out fruit from a barrel. He looked back at the soldier, whose face had returned to its fearful state, but once he realized Copé's eyes were on him again, he tightened his expressions. "I won't head any closer to him. I don't know whether or not he's dangerous, all I know is that I saw him talking to a couple of his buddies about how he had killed a female companion earlier in the day. I'm too frightened to come any closer." Copé tried his best to sound intimidated and fearful, although he wasn't for certain on how authentic it sounded.
The knight nodded at him and didn't offer anything else for comment.
Instead, he threw his focus over to the man at the town's square. A burly fellow as described with short black hair and a thin beard and mustache to match. Copé didn't take too much time to wait around. Copé walked out of sight from both the knight and the large salesman. Off the cobblestone path, he walked behind the Sidian Inn. It took some time. A few seconds. The Sidian Inn was one of the biggest buildings in Acera, which didn't mean very much, but it took him a good minute to come out the other-side. He peeked his head out.
The knight spoke to the large-man with a calm and balanced demeanor. Copé was thankful that he wasn't too nervous about the confrontation. He might very well have reached for his sword in search of comfort. That didn't happen though. The words exchanged between the two of them couldn't be made out by the thief, but he made assumptions about some of it. The knight was explaining the situation to the man, and at moment even motioned over to where Secrat was once standing before realizing he was pointing at nothing at all.
The large man didn't become angry or yell in a fit of rage, and that was disappointing. Copé didn't exactly know what he wanted to happen, but something like a crazed obese man throwing punches and yelling out profanities would certainly be enough to create a small diversion. That's what he was counting on, in-fact, but that isn't what happened. Instead, Copé watched the knight lead the man out and away from Azlak Temps. Secrat sighed for a moment.
Before long, the man and the knight were away from view and it was safe for him to step out of his hiding spot. He walked nearer to where the large man was once standing. Everybody else was mostly focused off to the side at Azlak Temps, who continued to spout off a bunch of colorful words to describe the sword. As far as Copé had seen, there still hadn't been any bids for it, but he might have missed one.
Secrat looked at the cart of tomatoes and oranges, and all kinds of different fruit. Tomatoes were a fruit in Acera, though the debate raged on in neighboring cities. He picked up one of the pears and held it in his hand. He didn't know whether he wanted to take a bite into it or chuck it at somebody, but the answer was likely somewhere in the middle.
He resisted both of the urges and decidedly rested the pear back into the barrel. There wasn't a whole lot of options he could think of, but if there was anything he had learned from The Red Flux, it's that the simplest answer often proved to be the best one. The same one that was looking him in the eye whether he realized it or not, like the loose planks in Christique's shack.
In that instant, he decided he didn't really have anything much to lose and while he wanted to avoid certain habits, there was a lot of other things he could do. His hands wrapped themselves around the handles of the barrel. The rustic feel of the metal in his hands felt weak and flimsy like they were hoist together with wet sand or a slightly stronger remedy. Nevertheless, he took the barrel and pulled it back. Not caring about whether one or more of fruits spilled out onto the ground. The wheels on the bottom of it didn't turn very well. The wheels shook as he stepped back more and more. Not a lot of room for mobility with it. The large-man likely relied on brute force to push the damn thing.
His eyes went over to Azlak Temps. A clear view of him and a clear view of the sword resting in its case. Azlak was unsuspecting of him, and only continued to talk, his hand-gestures remaining as energized as ever before.
It looked as if he was discussing the sword one-on-one with a potential buyer. Secrat paid him a final look and didn't even bother giving his decision a final thought, he shoved the barrel forward and ran with it. The wheels didn't offer him very much assistance and by the time the barrel connected with the glass case it had also flipped along with it. Copé was sent tumbling over the barrel. It wasn't as if he flew into the air or anything, but more fitting to say he slid over the barrel and rolled one or two times for good measure. The sound of the glass breaking on the sword's case was loud, but couldn't be distinguished from all the other noise, like a grunting Azlak Temps that was sent spiraling off of his feet in a way that wasn't graceful.
Secrat's body didn't ache at all from the whole ordeal, which was surprising, the drop onto the cobblestone felt like it should have knocked the wind out of him but it didn't. All of the fruit spilled out of the barrel and fell out onto the ground, tumbling and rolling around. Secrat climbed up to his hands and knees and worked toward his objective. He unsheathed the knight's sword out from his scabbard, the noise of bickering civilians disguised the small, quiet sound.
He felt around for the case as fast as he possibly could, checking back and forth over to make for certain Azlak hadn't glanced over to him yet. Before long, he found the Sword of Tertius, and sheathed it into his scabbard. He held the knight's sword in his hands and swapped it into the other sword's case.
After that, he came up to his feet in a slow fashion, feigning a hysteria he didn't have. Soon, Azlak Temps returned to his feet as well and had an angered look on his face.
"You! Idiot! Do you realize what you've done!?" Azlak shoved Secrat away from the sword's location and lifted the case in his hands. "You're lucky this thing wasn't scratched or damaged, or you better believe some serious coin would be coming out of your pocket right now. I shouldn't have to tell you this, but this isn't just some useless fruit," Azlak said before throwing a kick at one of the oranges and sending it spiraling into the crowd of civilians. "This is the Sword of Tertius, and it's worth more than your life, friend!"
Copé faked embarrassment for a moment and gasped for air for an added depth, "You, ... I am terribly sorry about that, I mean, the barrel just completely went out of control. It was heading downhill, and I couldn't make it stop."
There were no hills anywhere nearby, but for some reason, Azlak Temps didn't know that. Instead, he rubbed his temples with an irritated expression and finally spoke, "I want you to leave. Just leave! Take your stupid no-good fruit and take that stupid barrel and let me get back to doing my job!"
Copé nodded back at him. A sad, somber, and completely fictional look on his face. He lifted his barrel, or ... somebody else's barrel, and started to walk away with it. Most of the fruits having already spilled out from it. He took one final glance at Azlak with puppy-dog eyes, but Azlak wasn't having any of it with a no-good glare directed at him. "I have to apologize to everybody. It was my mistake, and so, all of the fruit you see resting on the floor is yours for the keeping." Copé announced aloud.
Nobody yelled or cheered about that, and more than likely a lot of them had already assumed that to be the case. But he felt like he had to say something, didn't want any of them to feel like they were doing something wrong.
The Red Flux & the Wunderkind THief
Chapter One (1 - 2 - 3)