The two kids ran with all of their strength through the dark forest where the trees blocked the moonlight. They kept running knowing that their father could be right on their tracks by now. Scorch once again got ahead of Alissia, right before he reached the road he tripped on a root coming out of the ground and fell in a mud pond, when Alissia arrived she laughed amusingly at his misery.
Scorch: "Very funny…"
Alissia: "Hahahaha I'm sorry I just couldn't help it!"
Scorch: "Give me a hand will ya?"
Alissia: "Fine, I guess I owe you one."
Alissia reached out for his hand, as she grabbed it Scorch pulled her into the mud pond as well, her whole face and clothes got covered in mud, when she turned around to look at Scorch, he had a big smug on his face.
Alissia: "You jerk! Why did you do that?!"
Scorch: "Hahahaha I'm sorry I just couldn't help it!"
Scorch turned around, placed his hands in his pockets and continued going down the road.
They were about two hours away from Hillville, when the exhaustion struck them like a bull. Alissia had black circles under her eyes and Scorch's legs were hurting from all the walking. Luckily Alissia noticed a dirt road, which led them to an old cabin in the woods. The cabin was way older than the place they used to live in, it had no windows, nor a door, with only one room, it looked nightmarish, but they had no other place to go. Scorch handed over the bag to Alissia so she could sleep on it, while he grabbed a bunch of moss from the stones outside the cabin and placed it on the floor so they could keep the cold away.
On the next day, they met a merchant on the road, they begged him for a ride to Allenwall, but he didn't have space for them in his carriage, instead he gave them 30R and a map of the whole kingdom.
They traversed the land, climbing mountains, swam through rivers and running from bandits, but after traveling for six days they finally made it to Allenwall.
Allenwall, or the royal capital of the Edessa Kingdom, famed for its majestic walls that surrounded it, a place where almost everything was runned by steam, a wealthy and prospective place. However not everything was as it seemed, the city had one of the highest crime rates in the world and due to the war with the Gates Kingdom every foreigner was either imprisoned or executed on sight.
There was a huge line of people waiting to get inside the city, the guards strictly checked everyone before entering for any weapons or contraband. It was finally Scorch and Alissia's turn, the guard searched their bags carefully.
Guard: "Everything looks fine here, now do you mind to look at your passports?"
Scorch: "Passports? But we don't have any."
Guard: "Sorry kid, I can't let you In without them!"
Alissia: "Please, sir, we've been traveling for six days, we have no food and no home, our father tried to kill us, I'm so scared!"
Guard: "That's not my problem, now get out of my sight!"
A stranger from behind raised his voice against the guard. He was wearing a brown trench coat, a tie around his neck and a fedora hat that covered his brown hair.
Stranger: "Excuse me, is that how the guards from Allenwall treat the poor children?!"
Guard: "Yeah, and what are you going to do about it?"
Stranger: "I'm a reporter, I could easily show the whole city who's protecting them, how you treat the children, if that happens everyone will turn against you and you will lose your job!"
Guard: "Hahahaha and how are you going to prove that?!"
Stranger: "I have witnesses…"
The stranger turned around and pointed at the hundreds of people waiting in line as they all began to yell at the guard and throw vegetables at him. The guard covered his face with his arms.
Guard: "Ugh, fine! You little brats can enter the city… But if you cause any type of mischief, you are dead!"
The kids' eyes lit up like the sun, they hugged each other and laughed. Scorch turned around to thank the stranger that helped them.
Scorch: "Thank you so much, mister!"
Stranger: "No worries kid, we strangers must help each other, one day I might be in trouble and you will be around to help me."
Scorch nodded happily and the gates in front of them opened, at last they entered the capital. The old houses made out of stone and wood stood high above their heads, the muddy roads were filled with the passing carriages, where people with elegant suits and dresses walked next to them, and the royal palace looked down on the people below.
Alissia jumped, smiled and laughed as she held Scorch's hand, who was mesmerized by the beauty of the palace in the distance.
Alissia: "Brother, we did it, we made it to Allenwall! Can you believe it? Look at all those houses and have you seen this many carriages in one place? I wanna look around!"
Scorch: "Hey hey calm down haha!" - Scorch laughed and waved with the lion plushie in his left hand.
Alissia smiled gently.
Alissia: "Even after all that, you still hold on to that thing. What was his name again?"
Scorch: "Of course, I would never give up on Ichinose!"
"I hope he never changes…" - Alissia said to herself.
Scorch: "It's our first time in the big city, let's go look around!"
Alissia: "I'm so happy!"
The twins ran through the city, laughing childishly, the people noticed their carefree nature and admired that about them.
Noble 1: "For two homeless kids, they seem really happy."
Noble 2: "Haha they sure do!"
Eventually they realized that their clothes were all torn up and dirty, they saw a very elegant clothing shop on one of the streets and decided to go in. The gentleman Inside looked at them in a weird way, he clearly knew they didn't have enough money to buy anything. Soon a stylish, red, leather jacket caught Scorch's eye.
Scorch: "Excuse me, how much for that jacket?"
Gentleman: "Well it is quite pricey… and quite big for you, are you sure you don't want to look at the kids' section, the things there are a little cheaper?"
Scorch: "Pffff don't worry about that, I have plenty of money!" - he pointed towards himself with his thumb and a wide smug appeared on his face.
Gentleman: "Well in that case it's worth 400R, young man…"
Scorch: "He…?" - the smug on his face quickly disappeared and it turned into a very awkward smile.
Alissia: "Hehehehe I'm sorry for my brother, he is not very smart, yeah or mother used to drop him a lot as a kid uh… See ya later!" - she said nervously.
Alissia grabbed Scorch by the hair and left the shop in a flash, then she took him to a nearby alley and kept yelling while smacking him in the face.
Alissia: "YOU. BIG. IDIOT! WHY DO YOU ALWAYS HAVE TO EMBARRASS ME IN FRONT OF THE NOBLES?!"
Scorch: "It's not my fault everything here is super overpriced! Back in our town a jacket like that costs like 40R!"
Alissia: "(sight) You make a good point though, how much money do we have?"
Scorch: "46 Rios."
Alissia: "It's not enough, we might have enough money for food, but we also need a place to sleep. Earlier I noticed that a room for the night in the inn costs 150R."
Scorch: "Hehehehehe…" - the smug returned to his face.
Alissia: "Another one of your stupid ideas?"
Alissia: "What is it?"
Scorch: "We could try to steal…"
Alissia: "Absolutely no! Scorch, those people work hard for their money, we can't just steal them!"
Scorch: "Alissia, those people actually have a place in this world, unlike us, they could easily make their money back."
Alissia: "But what if we get caught?"
Scorch: "With my genius, we will never get caught! Please, let's just try it one time and you will see that you will like it!"
Alissia: "Ugh fine!"
First they stole some of the clothes hanging on the clotheslines from the nearby buildings, so they could look less suspicious. Then they moved to a rather busy street, full of nobles with full pockets.
The kids scouted the area and market their victim. They pretended to be playing tag on the street, when Alissia suddenly tripped in front of an old man, then she began to cry.
Old man: "Oh God, are you okay, little girl? Here let me help you!"
The man leaned forward to give her a hand, when someone gently tapped him on the shoulder.
Scorch: "Please, let me take care of my sister, I don't want you to hurt your back."
Old man: "Ohohoho take you, young man, but be more careful next time you play, someone might get hurt!"
Scorch: "Will do, thank you!"
Scorch and Alissia ran away naturally, the man felt weird so he checked his back pocket for his wallet, but luckily it was still there. The kids then sat on a bench, taking deep breaths from all the running.
Alissia: "You got anything?"
Scorch: "I did!" - Scorch took out from his pocket 90 Rios in cash.
Alissia: "Why didn't you just take the whole wallet?"
Scorch: "I told you my genius is going to save our asses! I knew the old man would get suspicious of us and he would check for his wallet right after, so after I tapped him on the shoulder the first time I quickly took his wallet, took only the money and placed it right back. Of course my plan wasn't perfect, eventually the man would find out about his money, but we would be far away before he realizes."
Alissia: "So how much money do we have?"
Scorch: "We have 136R, damn it! It's still not enough for a room in the inn, and I feel like I had enough to steal for today!"
Alissia: "Cheer up, we could at least have one of those ice things everyone is carrying around!"
Scorch: "What are you talking about?"
Alissia: "I think they called it "Ice cream"? It's like ice mixed with sugar and milk, c'mon there's a man who sells it over there!"
The man mixed the milk with the sugar in a big bowl in a tub mixed with ice and salt, then he placed it on a stick and gave it to them. Scorch took a small bite from the Ice cream, his eyes lit up like the sun and ate the whole thing in two bites.
Alissia: "Haha careful, you might catch a cold if you eat it too fast."
The sun was going down, the people were heading home to their families and the streets didn't seem so pleasant during the night. The thugs and the thieves from the city roamed the streets, some were already drunk, some were committing crimes and some were just standing aside, watching. Scorch and Alissia found a cozy little corner in one of the alleys, they chose it because nobody went there and it had a big pile of old hay, which they later used as a bed.
Sleeping on the streets was a new experience for both of them. Kenji's punishments were unfair, brutal and wrong, but at least they had a roof over their heads. They knew their lives were about to change forever.
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