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13 Chapter 4 Spell Casters

 "The easiest skill you can learn is how to steal properly. It's a skill rodents in sol use a lot. All you have to do is follow my instructions."

***

Artemis slowly walked through the Market streets of the village they'd arrived at. Cera, one said to be highly developed and the best with food supply.

It was a busy market day on their first arrival, making things easier for them.

"You see, child, it's not about how many things you can successfully steal, it's about how many you can steal without being caught."

"I'm not doing it!" She refused to steal. Her father taught her that it was wrong.

"Come on Artemis. We need to survive" Orion sighed "it's not like you're going to hold a knife at someone's neck. Think of it as ethical redistribution. Something Robin hood would do."

Artemis couldn't believe he actually talked her into doing it. He was right. They needed to survive. Taking what doesn't belong to her was wrong, but she didn't have a choice. She promised that whenever she becomes demigod she'll pay it all back.

She felt like she was drowning as she paved her way through the sea of people moving towards her in waves.

She could hear the chatters of buyers and sellers, the hustle and bustle of the economic village from afar. It all brought life to Cera, a place the rich human and beastmen struggle to invest in.

She paused for a second to examine the scene. Her eyes fell upon different stalls, some selling sacks of dried fruits, freshly slaughtered meat, vegetables and spices to make the best soup.

There was noise coming from every direction, the hollering of stall holders to attract customers with the best price, arguments between some customers trying to haggle fixed prices. Everything reminded her of when she'd follow her dad to the market every last day of the month. Only difference was that Morbon wasn't as crowded and big as Cera.

"Something about your skill is that you can slip your hands into pockets faster than you can ever imagine and It will take awhile for it to be noticed."

It was time to make her move. She purposely bumped into people. Her hand searched for an opening to snatch what she could find in pockets. She pulled out a few satchels and some unidentified objects then placed them into the bag around her waist.

"I'll create a bag for you to keep all the loot. Make sure you don't lose it. You won't be the only thief in the crowd."

"Don't call me a Thief. Call me Heroine."

Artemis spotted her favorite fruit stacked neatly in a small basket. The red and green apples made saliva pool In her mouth as she thought of sinking her teeth into the plump fruits. Apples were expensive. With her skills she didn't need to buy one. In fact, getting it for free would have a better taste. "I'll ask God raindrop for forgiveness later."

She slowly moved closer to the stall checking if anyone was watching. She pretended as if she was buckling her shoes whenever she felt eyes were watching her.

"What if I get caught?"

"Don't even think about it. There's a strategy I will teach you. First you have to learn the deception skill, but there's something you should know. Your current magic level will only make it last for approximately two minutes. After that, you won't be able to use it until your magic meter is full again."

She moved her hand in search of the basket, but she couldn't feel it. She felt a warning beep in Her heart then she looked up to see a butcher Knife held up by the stall owner. She quickly withdrew her hand and bolted away from the kiosk.

"Thief!!!" The Owner wasn't going to let her go that easily. He was sick and tired of the street kids trying to steal his apples. He vowed to cut off hands whenever they'd attempt.

Artemis bumped into people, jumped over obstacles scared of looking back. Her shirt was grabbed from behind and the man's eyes widened.

"Okay, imagine a scenario like this. You were running and you ended up being caught. What's the next thing you should do?"

"Fight back?" Orion thumped her head and she squealed "why do you keep doing that?"

"Because you're dumb. Anyway, use your skill to change your appearance. It will also make your clothes look clean, and you'll seem properly trained. If the need arises, you can shout paedophile! No one would think a child looking rich would ever steal. Right?"

Artemis's eyes welled in tears and the man was too stunned to think of the next thing to do. "Mummy!!! Mummy!!!paedophile!!!"

The passersby turned to look at the pair, and they started whispering a thing or two about the shopkeeper. He quickly let the boy go and took a step back. He couldn't get his lips to move as he stared into a pair of glassy brown eyes.

He was sure he grabbed a tattered looking brown haired girl dressed in ripped clothing a second ago. He was amazed at how his conscious mind could've played him in a blink of an eye.

"Hey what's going on here?" A soldier patrolling the area walked up to the shopkeeper to raise questions about the scene he'd caused. Artemis used that chance to get away and blend with the crowd. She turned back to her original form. Exactly who the fruit trader saw.

She left the poor man who was trying his best to explain what had happened but the looks on the faces of the people around made it clear enough that they didn't believe him, not even a little.

To make things worse his entire earnings for that day was gone. Artemis took it.

The bag around her waist was looking fed. She felt accomplished and entertained. It was fun. 'Ethical redistribution' she repeated to herself as she pats the leather bag around her waist.

"And what will you be doing while I risk my life for the both of us?"

Orion grinned, "waiting patiently is also hard work. Don't worry, we'll share the money equally" he ended his words with a wink.

"Lazy Orion. I will definitely kill him someday" she heard the people of Sol viewed work as their greatest enemy and Orion was doing what a typical beastman would do. Get humans to do the work for them.

Thinking about it all made her sick to the core. Artemis paused when she noticed a figure on the stairs she was walking down on.

Under a straw hat was a shriveled old man with a white beard that clung to his face in clumps like moss on a dry rock. His arms were wrapped tightly around his knees, and he rocked himself back and forth nonstop in the damp corner.

Once in a while he'd look up to see the faces of people and the empty can in front of him. All he was asking for was a couple of bronze at least but what he got for free was averted gazes of people who tried to ignore his desperate face.

Artemis moved closer to the man dressed in dirty rags then she dropped two gold pieces she had. The man was startled for a split-second. He fixed his widened eyes on the face of that angel that was kind enough to help him during difficult times and when people thought he was a monster.

He croaked his appreciation "Thank you child."

Artemis smiled then proceeded to meet up with Orion.

***

"So what did you find?" Artemis shrugged as she handed her bag to Orion.

He brought them all out one by one. "What the hell is this?" He pointed at a soft bear toy.

"Something to kill time." Artemis replied.

"You took a total of nine gold pieces, 20 silvers and fifty bronze. The objects you found won't be of much use unless we sell them. Well, no one will buy this stupid bottle cap!" He discarded the small cover then turned his attention to the necklace that looked like it was worth rare diamonds.

It was the crown of Artemis's market haul. He was impressed.

"Let's find a restaurant and eat some pleasant meals."

"I want to come out!!!" Orion was tired of hearing Ryu sob all day. If it's seen, it will draw unwanted attention to them and the Sol government will demand their arrest.

"Say that one more time and I swear I'll step on you" he threatened and the Olth inside the Gat went quiet.

Orion spotted a small blue painted building with a sign held up by a rod "Marcus' Food" Artemis read out. "Let's try it."

Unlike the outside, the restaurant was warmer and welcoming. The interior decorations and lighting was pleasing as well.

They looked around at the busy tables arranged in a sequence. Orion was feeling very uncomfortable by the number of humans in the building. He couldn't wait to eat and leave.

He picked up a card on the table and tried to decipher the menu. He wasn't used to the food, and he wasn't sure if he could eat them but his stomach growled for something solid. He had no choice but to defy the odds and eat what the lower race finds delicious.

"Need help?"

"No!" He refused any assistance from the child. "I'll pick by myself."

"Whatever you do, don't pick brassica porridge. You've been warned" Orion rolled his eyes, not believing in her words. He was sure that had to be the best food on the list.

"And you better pick something worth ten bronze."

Artemis squeezed her lips into a thin line. She thought she could order the whole thing on the list because they were reasonably cheap.

They placed their orders and minutes later they were served. Artemis had plates of stewed capon, fish waffles, pottage of turnips, bread pudding and pochee in front of her whilst Orion had a full bowl of hot green porridge in front of him.

Artemis blessed the food before digging into it. If she could open her mouth wider she could've eaten the whole of her varieties in one bite. Orion watched her take massive chomps from the meat in her hand instead of cutting it like someone with proper table manners.

The green porridge worth ten bronze wasn't the only thing that irritated him but the poor table etiquette of the girl that was attracting eyes from different angles.

Orion began to eat his food as if it were poisoned. He scooped a small amount with the spoon and moved it to his mouth. He looked down at it one more time his eyes slowly closed as the spoon made way into his mouth.

She stopped to look at Orion who battling the desire to upchuck. She burst into laughter, and she could hear Ryu say "Careful not to choke Artemis."

The poor Olth was still under Orion's Gat. She hoped that Artemis would be considerate enough to spare her leftovers at least.

"I warned you" Artemis smiled maliciously at the discomfort of the mean old fox.

He drank water directly from a jug to try to wash away the bitter taste but it made everything worse.

"What is this nonsense?"

"It's soup made from Brussels sprouts"

His eyes widened and his cheeks puffed. 'No wonder' he thought to himself as he hastily walked out of the building to pour out all that was in his stomach. A blend of bugs, frogs, rodents and different things he had in there.

He walked back in, and he could see that people were already whispering. He assumed that was a hobby of the people of the village because they never stopped whispering at the slightest event that takes place.

"Give me some of your food" he extended his hand to Artemis' but yet she slapped it away.

"Look, don't you try me!" She was ready to protect her food at all cost. She warned him, but he didn't listen to her. Thus, she didn't see the reason to share. Especially when he failed to ask politely.

"Very well then, I will order something else for myself."

"Hey we decided to share the money for food equally!".

"When?" He remembered saying that when they were scheming, but he pretended as if that never occurred.

"I'm an adult, you're a puny child. You have no say." He waved at the waiter again and ordered exactly what Artemis picked.

Minutes later Artemis burped as she laid back on her seat to relax. She was very full. The food successfully hit her good spots, and she wished she could eat them over and over again.

After eating the disgusting Brussels sprouts, Orion  lost appetite. The extra ten bronze had gone to waste because he wasn't going to eat more than he already did.

"Artemis ask around for a sack or something to pack this up. We'll save it for later." Later was unknown to him. The food could spoil in less than twenty-four hours.

"Let my food digest first" Artemis was too lazy to even consider standing. She'd just eaten something the size of a cow. Her belly was too heavy to walk with.

"Go do it you pig!!!" He commanded and the girl struggled to get up her seat.

They finally left and Artemis pulled on the sack without any assistance from Orion even though she asked him countless times.

His eyes were searching for a motel and his ears muted the sound of the people and environment, Artemis included. Little did they know, Ryu managed to get in the sack and it was experiencing a taste of heaven in it.

They kept walking for a while until they stumbled across a not too shabby motel close to bay.

"Welcome" The receptionist greeted.

Orion placed the satchel full of money and asked "Is this enough for two separate rooms?"

The elderly man shook his head "If you had ten more bronze, you'd be good to go."

The motel was quite expensive. He thought the money in the bag would be too much.

"I guess we're sharing a room then," Artemis laughed but Orion kept a straight face as he switched his gaze to her

"I hope you're not thinking that I'll share a room with you?"