Disclaimer: Wolf's Rain does not belong to me. If I stole it, Tsume and his gang would probably just steal it right back.
Author's Notes: Yes, my main character is an OC. She sure does have some 'tude. Perhaps you'll like her. Read and see.
[ AFTER THE RAIN | PART 1 ]
She rested upon the topmost block of a pile of concrete rubble at the edge of the city. Dressed in a grey tunic and black leggings, she was unremarkable in the street. But here, she was queen. For a while, at least, before she left.
She chewed on the end of a chicken bone, making short work of the gristly knob. She sucked one more time on the sharp ragged end before throwing it down. It clacked against the ground and disappeared down a gap between two chunks of concrete.
After heaving a sigh of satisfaction, she nimbly and swiftly made her way back down the rubble and into the city. There was a man she had to find.
The building looked almost like any other. Grey, cracked and crumbling. Windows gaping black like wounds. She found the stairs to the basement and went down them.
In the basement the man stood by a desk facing away from her. He was tall and narrow, and the cloak he wore emphasised the length of his body. He smelled of expensive cologne and cedar. She stepped up to the desk chair, her feet scuffing lightly against the dusty floor, and sat down.
He turned around.
"More of our food supplies have been lost to that gang of thieves. We can't reclaim it, it has most likely been sold or eaten already."
"That is likely, sir."
"But we still need to teach them a lesson."
"That sounds fine."
"I want you to find out who their leader is and take him out."
She opened her mouth, closed it, and frowned. Then she spoke: "How, sir? You have had detectives searching up and down for – "
"But that is exactly my point."
"The detectives can only do so much. As a non-law operative you will have more freedom in your search. I suspect those thieves have been feeding half the city, and making rather a handsome profit too. Food is scarce here. If anyone knew where to get their hands on relatively cheap foodstuffs, do you think they would tell a detective? No. So now, I want you to do it for me. Find the leader, and kill him after getting out as much information about the operation as you can. We still have no idea how they got past our security measures so swiftly. We need to know so that we can remedy the problem better. Killing the leader will serve as warning to others." He paused. "You will be well paid."
There was only one answer. "I will do my best."
A thin smile on a thin face. "Good."
"Tsume!" the man shrieked. "His name is Tsume! Dresses in black leather, lives somewhere on the western end – "
A tightening of the rope.
"I don't know where! I swear I don't know where! Please…" His eyes bulged grotesquely. Tyrin grunted and twisted the bar again. The man's head changed shape, and there was a sickening wet, muffled crunch. She untied the man's hands from behind the chair, and his weight toppled him sideways onto the ground. Blood dripped from his ears onto the cold tile, and her nose was filled with the smell of it.
"Oh, stupid," she chided herself, and untied the headstrap before the dead man got blood all over it.
There was hair stuck to it, though. She picked the strands off carefully, and hung the torture instrument back on its hook on the wall.
In the next room, she wrote the name on a piece of paper. She didn't want to forget. Tsume. After some thought, she added, Western end.
She had found him, and followed him a few times, but never for long. He always seemed to know when someone was following him, and started looking as though he were suspicious. That was when she had gotten out of there.
He sure looked tough, though. The dead guy hadn't been wrong about the leather. Tyrin herself had worn leather for a while, but had found that it was just too hot, and made too much noise. Cotton was better. The man wore dark sunglasses that hid his eyes, and was covered in scars, including a massive X-shaped one on his chest that he didn't even try to hide.
He was confident, that was for sure.
Tyrin decided that if she was going to get this guy into an interrogation cell, she was going to have to lure him.
The next day, she asked the Nobleman for some spending money.
"Hm. This doesn't seem like authentic merchandise."
"What, are you kidding, lady? It's a Hoerfin scarf all right, and even if you don't believe me, it's still too good quality to pass up at the price I'm selling it to you for."
"Look here, the weave is looser. You say this is good quality? You say it is a genuine Hoerfin? I say you're bending the truth."
"Look, lady –"
"I want to speak to your supplier."
"Now listen here – "
"No, listen here." Tyrin leaned in closer and allowed her perfume to wrap itself gently around the old shopkeeper. "I may be doing you a favour. If you are not deceiving me, then he may be deceiving you. Now, I see you are a sensible, experienced man. Look at this." She stretched the material out in front of him. "See this, where the working has become loose. Is this to be expected in a Hoerfin? This man who sells you cheap scarves, he is making a mockery of you. Something must be done, or your reputation here shall quickly become dirt. You see?"
The man's eyes flickered between the scarf, her face, and the floor. Finally he said: "He never did seem entirely trustworthy." He sighed. "You are certain this is not the genuine article? I've only recently begun trading in clothes, you see..."
"Quite certain, sir."
"Well, I suppose there's no harm in asking him yourself. I'll put you in touch." He rubbed his mouth for a second, then added: "And if you are right about the scarves, then you are welcome to take up a job here."
Tyrin smiled. "That is most kind of you, sir. I have some errands yet to attend to. I shall speak to you again soon."
The shopkeeper watched her leave.
"Yes. If you survive insulting his goods, then happily shall I take you up in the store." He picked up the scarf on the counter, knowing full well that it was a fake, and returned it to its stand.