Liri walked alongside the adventurer after they descended the rooftop. There were stairs inside the guild that led up there. They walked out the front door. Liri could barely focus on the dirty looks being sent her way.
A few windows opened at the sound of Al falling to his death, but no one came outside. Liri knew from witnessing such events that if something like that happened, it was best to stay as far away as possible, or you might end up the same way.
The adventurer hummed cheerfully as if he hadn’t just ended two men’s lives a few minutes ago. Of course, Liri didn’t feel bad about it at all, because why should she?
They arrived at a brightly lit building with the words “Sand Tunnel Restaurant” displayed above.
“A restaurant that recreates southern recipes.” The adventurer cleared up as if his words held any meaning to Liri.
Liri didn’t bother looking up at him or at the message that appeared, as he glanced down at her, fishing for a response.
He shook his head and walked through the front door.
Effect Lost: Freezing
A large man with some sort of yellow robe draped over his front immediately snapped his head up at the sound of the opening entrance. He smiled as he saw the adventurer but frowned when he saw Liri.
“Hey, no beggars allowed here, especially not a-”
“She’s with me.” The young man quickly stated.
“Eh, really Stin?” The large man asked. “I know you ain’t the prettiest guy, but you could do a lot better than that.”
“Offering yourself up, Tyles?” Stin asked with a smile.
“Of course, lemme just divorce my wife and I’ll be fucking ya before the sun’s up. What can I get ya?”
They both looked down at Liri, like they’d forgotten she was there.
“What do you want?” Stin asked.
“Get me two molebeaver legs.” Stin stated.
As the man retreated to the back of the establishment, Stin gestured at Liri to sit down at a nearby bench. Liri couldn’t remember the last time she sat down on proper furniture.
“What’s your name?” Stin asked, Liri’s head snapped up.
“What?” She asked with raised eyebrows.
“I’d like to know who exactly saved me.” Stin said with a smile.
“… Liri.” She nearly whispered. He smiled, as if there was some sort of joke here that Liri wasn't a part of.
“Fairly uncommon name around here. Can’t say I’ve ever heard it. I’m Stin.” He reached forward, shaking Liri’s hand firmly.
“I didn’t save you.” Liri muttered.
“I didn’t save you.” Liri reiterated, some spite coming out of her voice. “Even if I did, I didn’t kill him for you.”
“Same result regardless.” Stin shrugged, but there was a hint of sadness in his eyes now. “What was that about then?” Stin asked. Liri shivered when she thought about what had happened earlier in the day. A reaction Stin noticed. “That bad, huh?” Stin asked himself. “Sorry. Won’t mention it."
“Thank you.” She nearly whispered.
“Don’t sweat it.” Stin looked away, his eyes floating over the small number of people in the restaurant. “Can I ask you something?”
“Why are you homeless?”
“Why do you want to know?” Liri suspiciously asked. Despite what he had done for her, that didn’t necessarily mean she could trust him. For all she knew, he may want some sort of favor.
“I mean, not like I haven’t seen homeless people before, but you’re… Young.” He said. Liri pondered the question. She found herself searching her memory, it was like swimming in tainted water.
“There aren’t any other young homeless people?” Liri was well aware that this young boy had just helped her escape death, but that couldn’t remove the years’ worth of distrust her life had taught her to wield. Even now, she only sat here because starving to death was slower than being killed.
“Sorry, forget I asked.” Somehow, Stin managed to maintain his cheerful demeanor even as he basked in the awkward atmosphere Liri had created. She breathed in deep.
“I… I was thrown out of the orphanage I was in.” Suddenly, Liri was speaking. Her eyes glazed like she was watching it happen. “They said something about ‘no one would ever want me’, and that was it.”
“They hardly have the right…” Stin muttered. The large man, Tyles, brought their food then. For a minute, they ate in silence.
Effect Gained: Well-Fed (HP regenerates quicker)
“It’s true, isn’t it though?” Liri whispered, her eyes never meeting Stin’s. “I am nothing.”
“We’re all nothing.” Stin replied with a smile. Liri looked up at him with a questioning look. “At first.” His status promptly appeared over his head, only this time, there were far more details that Liri hadn’t seen before. Why? Had something changed?
Stin was smiling when Liri's eyes dropped back down to him.
“I was fucking worthless once upon a time.” He laughed heartily. Liri barely registered what he said. “Here,” he tossed a coin in front of Liri. She’d never seen its like before. It shined yellow and bright, and it was slightly heavier than the silvers she was used to. “There’s an inn not too far away from here. That gold coin should give you a few weeks there.”
Liri’s eyes widened.
“W-What?” She was beyond confused. “Why?”
“Saved my life. Least I could do.” He smiled but didn’t look at her as he said it. Instead, as he stood up and gave Tyles a ‘goodbye’ gesture, he turned towards her. “Have a nice night.”
With those words, he left.
Liri couldn’t find a reason to stay beyond the meal she shared and left quickly. She toyed with the gold coin in her hand. She wondered whether the thing was real. Had good fortune found her?
She didn’t even notice she’d started crying.
A couple of minutes later she was walking into a random inn. The innkeeper’s eyes bulged out of their sockets as soon as his gaze fell on her. He angrily walked towards her.
“No beggars.” He stated.
Liri looked up at him with a challenging expression, holding up the gold coin.
“As many nights as this gets me.” She declared.
“By the Five…” The innkeeper replied. “Didn’t know they gave rats coins nowadays. Ora is truly lost.” His insults were aimed at Liri, but his eyes never left the coin. “You’re going to take the room in the back, but if I see even…”
Liri didn’t stay to hear the rest.
She walked up the steps to the second floor, before finding that the room in the back was open already. Yet, though her destination was right in front of her, she felt frozen.
How long had it been since she had a bed?
She squeezed some air into her lungs before taking a tentative step forward, hoping this sight wouldn’t just go away as soon as she entered the room.
But no, it was real and for now, it was hers.
Her citrine eyes scanned the room for a moment, before sticking to a square some distance away from the bed. A small tub equipped with a brush and soap on a table. She wasn’t crying before, but she was now.
As comforting as the water was though, as well as she smelled afterward, the clothes she put on from the drawer near the bed didn’t cover up the scars, both physical and mental, that she’d accumulated over the course of her life.
But it was a small victory. One she’d relish.
So, with the smallest of smiles, she wasted no time in hopping onto her bed and trying to go to sleep.
It was then, when things were finally looking up for her, that Ora fell.