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I have no problem with translation and reposting of the story, as long as the person in question isn't doing it for money or stealing my identity.
The only one whom I actually allowed to have my work on his website is Armaell who invested the time to compile them into pdf.
“When bluffing, be sure to keep a straight face.”
- The Journey to the Afterlife
***Kingdom Newerth, Capital City***
“You are useless, Jimmy. And Jimmy, seriously? What kind of name is that? You sound like some second rate gangster!” I complain to my newly gained asset. I've been complaining since our little tour through the city started. It took the entire night to threaten our way through the local hierarchy of gangs and small crime-lords.
My assistant lets his head droop, apparently giving up on pleasing me. “I am a second rate gangster! Who else would jump a lonely woman in a back alley? I even got my two minions killed and now I am in your clutches! How stupid am I? I even told you my real name! Stupid! Why didn't I simply ride the reincarnation train?”
I purse my lips, fighting a smile. At least he doesn't have any illusions about his situation. I had to break a few fingers, but in the end he complied. True names are important. Especially if the soul in question is weak. Once I had his true name it was just a question of time to get him to do my bidding.
Unfortunately Jimmy is just a random goon. At least he pointed me in the right direction, even if it took a lot of time to work our way up the social ladder of the underworld.
Seriously, this town's dark side is simply too well organized. We had to find Jimmy's boss and then his boss. Afterwards it was the boss's boss etcetera! These guys are overdoing it with the hierarchical structure.
“It's here...” Jimmy points at a metal door and knocks tentatively on the shutter. A small observation slit opens and an eye peeks through. I hear some grunts from behind the door as the eye studies us. First Jimmy, then me.
“A silver tongued devil.” Jimmy answers and smiles at the man. We got the password from our last information broker, but I assume that the guy in question didn't necessarily tell the truth. It should be fine as long as the location is correct.
The bouncer behind the door is unimpressed. Unfortunately we only get to see his narrowing eye. I really want to know what all the grunting is about.
“Aren't you one of Landgrave's men? And what are you doing with the wench? Is this a joke? Go home before we make you disappear.” And with that the shutter slams closed.
Jimmy turns around and looks at me. Pearls of sweat are forming on his forehead. “It's not my fault!”
I study him for a few moments. He really doesn't look like much. Average face with a big, round nose, average stature. The black eye combined with the red handprint are not helping in making him look like someone who should be respected. Maybe hitting and slapping him was overdoing it.
Sighing, I gesture for him to step aside. “I'll only show you once how to do this. Afterwards I expect you to manage your errands on your own.”
I knock on the shutter as fast and as annoyingly as I can. When it opens I don't wait and slam my flat palm against the door. The metal door breaks out of the frame and hits the bouncer who is guarding it. Then I jump onto the door and kick the man in the head. He was buried under the door and can't defend himself. I jump up and down twice for good measure, making certain that the guy is down.
The room behind the iron door is empty, except for a writing desk with an accountant behind it. Behind him is another door which leads further into the building.
I approach him, smiling. “Greetings! I am here to have a chat with the Don.”
The accountant forces his eyes away from my victim and towards me. “Name?”
“I am using Boss for now.” I answer without flinching. I already introduced myself to everyone else as the new boss, so changing it now feels stupid.
He studies me for several moments, then he asks, “Are you a cross-dresser?”
I almost double over! “No!”
“Then your alias is Queen.” He writes something into his notebook and gestures at the door. “The Don is waiting.” The scrawny accountant pulls a phone from his jacket and types a number. Then he waits for two seconds while it rings. “Bill? I need a new door and a new door steward. The ones you sold me are broken. No, I need them now! It gets cold in here...” He continues talking and waves me through.
Has this guy no fear of death!? I probably should reprimand him, but is it really worth the effort? Probably not. I ignore the bickering accountant and open the door which leads further into the building, just to slam it shut in Jimmy's face. The idiot doesn't need to overhear the following conversation.
I find myself in a neat, little office. A man with olive-brown skin greets me from behind a desk. In his black dinner jacket he looks like the perfect Mafia boss. He gestures at the seat across from him. “I already heard about the new arrival in town. We didn't expect that you would manage to come all the way to me. Landgrave was a good fighter. It's a conundrum. Where did you come from?”
Taking the offer, I sit down and cross my legs. “So you already heard of me? I didn't expect that.”
He shrugs. “One doesn't beat up four of our gang-leaders and two under-bosses without me being informed of it. So? Why do you want to speak with me?”
“They are saying that you get things done. You are the man who holds the strings. I need your services. The other ones weren't helpful, so they got a beating,” I explain cheerfully.
His eyebrows rise a little. “So I'll get a beating if I am not helpful? But you know, everything has a price...” His eyes wander to my chest.
“Good!” I call out. “If you can deliver, I'll pay you.” Raising one leg I pull back the cloth and remove one of the metal rods which are strapped to my lower leg. It's not like my people sent me on an important mission without giving me some resources. Back at home I could probably buy an entire clan for what I am carrying around.
I pile three rods on Don's table. I have more, but three should be enough. He is obviously enjoying the show, so I get to the point. “I need a new identity. A bulletproof one. And I want the rest of that changed into clean money. Nothing which could give me trouble.”
Don taps one of the rods with his finger, rolling it back and forth. “Girl, that's a little much for three rods of silver. Are you sure that you aren't delusional? Things have their price. You can't walk around and beat everyone who doesn't do as you please. Sooner or later you will run into a noble and then you are fucked.” He grimaces, probably because he had first hand experience.
I cross my arms in front of my chest. “That's pure platinum. I think it is more than enough to do the job, unless you have someone who can transmute matter?”
He whistles and lifts the rod, weighing it in his hand to check the truth of my words. “Okay, I am listening. Which noble did you rob?”
“I come from another country far, far away and I want a new start. My old line of work paid well, but it also got me a lot of enemies. Unfortunately I am an illegal entity at the moment,” I answer nonchalantly.
Don bends forward to take the other two rods, but I grab his hand and pull him towards me. “One rod now, the others after you delivered. And I want a magical oath between us. You swear that not a single soul learns about me, my new identity, or this transaction. We don't get in each other's way once I am out of the door.”
He raises his free hand. “Your word is my command, lady. You should know that I don't do fighting.”
I snort and let him go. “Yeah, you'll just send your people after me once I am out of the room.”
He sighs. “Such a beauty. It hurts that you don't trust me.” He leans back in his chair and turns around, choosing a folder from the shelf behind him.
Then he starts skipping through the files inside it. “That one sounds like what you want. Fiora Havenforst, twenty-four, no family, grew up in an orphanage. No records with the DF, a perfect sheep among many. She became a drug addict a while ago and died of an overdose in her room. Of course the authorities don't know about her problem.”
I raise an eyebrow. “How do I benefit from that? She is already dead.”
Don snorts. “Don't take my organisation for fools; we do a good job. Okay, I will explain it, just because you are a beauty. We keep an eye out for people like her. No family, no friends who would miss her and start a tirade when she is gone.
Once they die, we sweep in and take over their financials. We pay someone to pay the taxes in their stead, show some face in public by making a few transactions. We keep the identity alive, even if the real person behind it is rotting in a nameless grave. It is the best way to trick the authorities. Do you want her?”
He offers me the folder and I take a look at the photo of a girl with brown hair and a crooked nose.
Ruthless bastard! I bet that his people had a hand in her drug addiction. Maybe they even sped up her death by tweaking her drugs. But I need that identity.
I shrug. “Can you change the name to Seria and correct the picture? I don't like that photo of hers and changing my looks is troublesome.”
Don nods. “Of course, you are a woman with style. We have someone in the ministry. He will upload the new photo.” He bends down and pulls a camera from the drawer next to him. “Smile!”
“Perfect! Now for the naming part, we will simply change it officially. You just have to say that you wanted to wipe the slate clean and start a new life. Everything will be done by tomorrow and you will have your documents. Maybe you should memorize your new identity, but the girl didn't have much, so it isn't a big deal.” Don closes the folder and places it back on the shelf.
I nod. “Good. Then for the last part. There is a vacant shop on the plaza next to the Palace Park. I want you to buy it in my name. One rod is payment for you, one is for my new identity, one for the shop. With the remaining money I want a bank account on my name and clean money deposited on it. And I want that area free of your crime-lords.”
Don bows and circles his hand. “Your wish is my command. You already killed Landgrave. He was in charge of that area. Anything else?”
I offer him my hand. “You forgot the oath.”
He pulls a face and takes my hand. A moment later I feel our mana merging. “I swear that I'll provide you with the new identity of Fiora Havenforst. Your name will be changed to Seria Havenforst and we will buy and renovate the shop which you pointed out. One of the three platinum rods is payment for me, what remains of the others will be placed in your personal bank account. We will try not to interfere with each other from that point onwards. You will be placed in charge of the area as the new crime-lord, Queen. The punishment for breaking the contract is-”
“Death!” I cut in and seal the oath before Don can interject.
He hisses and pulls his hand away. “You don't do things half heartedly, Queen.”
I nod. “So why didn't you object when I wanted that area of the town for myself?”
Don shrugs. “Landgrave never made any profit. That part of the town belongs to the nobles and they are trying their best to keep their shoes clean.” Then his expression turns into a dirty smirk. “Landgrave invested more time in hiding and running than getting anything accomplished. I don't expect it will be any different for you if you try to pull a deal.”
Great! I don't want to dabble in crime. I just want some lazy time while I study the people of this realm and try to predict their reaction towards Dedessia.
I wish Don goodbye and head for the door, taking two of the platinum rods with me. He can have them when his side of the deal is fulfilled.
Back in the reception room I find three men who are already installing a new door. The accountant is scribbling something and the bouncer is gone.
Upon studying Jimmy I frown. He is holding a bloody handkerchief to his nose and waiting for new instructions.
“What happened to you?” I ask.
“Someone slammed a door into my face,” he answers with a muffled voice.
“Ah, try to avoid doors in the future. The round thing which you call a nose looks strange enough as it is.”