Chapter Six: The City
Arrietty sprinted forward at full speed, a large grin spreading across her face. They were here at last!
Arrietty felt a hand wrap around her wrist and pull her back. She turned face-to-face with Spiller. His dark brows furrowed as he looked at her seriously.
"Arrietty stay close to Spiller." His voice rumbled. Arrietty turned back to the glowing city. The very big glowing city. She slowly began to feel her nerves kicking in. Arrietty had only met one other borrower in her life, Spiller, so what if the other borrowers didn't like her?
She felt Spiller's warm, rough fingers slide into Arrietty's. "We'll go together." He gave her a reassuring smile. Arrietty felt her lips pull up.
"Alright." Even though Arrietty could still feel her nerves swirling in the pit of her stomach, she felt safe with Spiller; with him by her side she could do anything.
They began walking toward the glowing Underground. From a distance, Arrietty could make out the shape of a gate surrounding the city with two guards standing watch at the entrance. They were both fully-grown borrowers, maybe around Pod's age. They also held pushpins in both hands, along with long pointed needles strapped to their waists.
The guard's eyes immediately fell on Spiller. Their brows creased into a 'V' as they examined his dirt covered tunic and fur. Their lips quirked into a sneer as they saw the white paint streaked on his cheeks.
"What business do you have here?" One of them asked crossing his arms.
Arrietty turned to look at Spiller. His eyebrows were furrowed and the edges of his lips were turned down slightly, making him almost look determined.
"Moving to city." Spiller replied. Arrietty felt his fingers tighten slightly as the guards snickered at his grammar.
"Oh really?" One guard snickered, looking at Spiller like he was something disgusting stuck to the bottom of his shoe.
Arrietty found herself beginning to glare, anger rose in her chest, how dare they treat Spiller like that! "Yes." Arrietty interjected, giving Spiller's hand a firm squeeze. The guards turned to look at her with bemused expressions. "And right now we really need to get going." Arrietty began to pull Spiller through the gates before one of the guards stepped in front of her.
It wasn't until then that Arrietty realized how much bigger this guard was than her. His lips curled into a crooked grin and his sour breath wafted into her face with each chuckle. His low voice rumbled, "Well, aren't you a feisty little miss?" He reached out and stroked Arrietty's jaw line with his finger.
Arrietty yanked her head away and prepared to pull out her pin, but Spiller beat her to it. In a millisecond Spiller had released Arrietty's hand and drawn his bow, pointing it directly at the guard's face, his face contorted with anger. "Back." Spiller snarled.
The guard's eyes widened with panic for a moment before he regained his composure. He stepped back, a glare on his face. "Like I would wanna do anythin' with her." He gestured to Arrietty. "She's barely got anythin' worth want'n." The guard's eyes fell to Arrietty's chest.
Arrietty's cheeks burned with embarrassment as she quickly crossed her arms across her chest. Spiller said nothing and simply took Arrietty's hand and led her through the gates.
At first the buildings were small and very spread out, but as they drew closer into the Underground Arrietty noticed the lights and colors growing brighter along with the buildings growing taller.
Arrietty stole a glance at Spiller, his eyes were alert and he had a focused expression, but Arrietty could tell that there was something on his mind.
She opened her mouth to speak, but then decided better of it. Spiller clearly didn't want to talk about the guards right now.
Instead, Arrietty pulled Spiller closer and moved their arms so that instead of holding hands, they were linking arms. Arrietty let her head rest slightly on his shoulder and she felt Spiller relax. She smiled contentedly as they continued walking.
As the streets became more crowded Arrietty was forced to lift her head up to see where she was going, she was amazed at what she saw.
Hundreds, hundreds of borrowers surrounded her! Some had lighter skin like her; others had even darker skin than Spiller.
They wore neatly sewn clothes out of nice cloth with buttons and ribbon as decoration; Arrietty's family had never had the luxury of using ribbon on clothes. It was easily noticed if it disappeared, and if they did borrow a small amount of it they used it to tie things together or give it to Spiller to trade at the cities for more food.
Arrietty felt her mouth drop as she saw a couple of girls her age wearing beautiful dresses with calico and rose patterns. Each had their own borrower-sized buttons securing the fabrics. Those had to be from a dollhouse Arrietty was sure of it.
Arrietty tugged lightly on Spiller's hand, "Spiller, they're wearing doll's clothes!"
"Spiller knows." He replied as he led her through the crowd. " They don't borrow clothes. They buy." Arrietty nodded and pressed closer to Spiller as grubby looking borrower with stubble and several missing teeth bumped into her.
"Watch it." The borrower grunted as her pushed past her.
"Sorry." Arrietty mumbled readjusting the straps on her backpack and stood closer to Spiller.
They turned past a few streets; Arrietty noticed Spiller avoided all the allies that they passed.
They came into a sort of market place. Borrowers stood behind tables covered with beads, food, cloth, homemade candles, and even some necklaces. A cacophony of voices shouted about how good their deals were, and how you need this silk thread.
"Do you know where we're going to stay?" Arrietty asked. Spiller nodded and pointed to a building with several windows and a sign standing by the entrance. It read, Nally's Place.
Spiller pushed open the front door. Off to the left there were several tables spread out through the room where borrowers were eating as several girls carrying rounded pieces of plastic with food on them. To the right was a dark, roped of area where tables were set up around a stage. There was a sign dangling from the rope that said, 'open at nightfall.'
This puzzled Arrietty, how could it be nightfall if there was no sun? When she asked Spiller about it he pointed to a switch similar to that in a bean's house. "Borrower there track time. At this time." Spiller lifted his hand to show five fingers. "Lights go on or off." Arrietty nodded. They created an artificial cycle. She smiled at their cleverness.
"If you're just standing there then you better leave." A scratchy voice chided at them. The pair turned to see an old, hunched over man with gray hair and a leathery face.
"Came for living space." Spiller said. The old man raised his eyebows and licked his chapped lips before speaking again.
"Got any good borrowings to pay with?" Spiller nodded and pulled out the grape from one of the packs.
"Have crumbs too."
"And we have wax and string that a can use to make candles." Arrietty chimed in. The old man nodded.
"The grape'll do fine for up front payment. You'll need to make light for yourself, I don't provide that."
The old borrower's eyes flitted to Spiller, "This girl your wife?" He asked. Spiller blushed and quickly shook his head no. "sister? Fiancée?"
"Just good friend."
"Can she sing? Dance?" the borrower paused and looked Arrietty up and down. "Entertain?" Spiller's eyes narrowed and he put a protective arm around Arrietty's shoulders.
"I see." The old borrower said. "She can be a waitress during the week days, that'll cover your home's rent." Spiller looked to Arrietty.
"Ok with Arrietty?" he asked.
Arrietty quickly nodded. "I'll show you the apartment" the old man replied, grinning as he tucked the grape under his arm and pulled a key out of his pocket and led them up a staircase tucked behind a corner of the restaurant.
Arrietty followed quickly behind; eager to see the place she'd soon call home.
I am so, so, so, so, so, so, so, SO sorry about how long it took me to finish this, but believe it or not I do have a life outside of fanfiction ha ha :). But with school, homework, friends and independent projects my life's been hectic, and it's taken a toll lately, for that I apologize. I'll try to update as quickly as I can. I truly do appreciate all of your support. Here's the R/R.
PessimistGirl: Thank you! I'm glad you liked it.
Silvre-chan: Thank you! Fight sequences are always difficult for me to write, haha, and I plan on doing the Character Questions, so… yay? Ha ha thanks for reviewing.
Jeremy X: Thank you!
Krystyle: I hoped what you've seen of the city so far has live up to your expectations :)
kiara-is-me: Thank you for the feedback! I appreciate it, I'll be sure to either not switch the P.O.V's or lable who's P.O.V I'm writing in.
Important! So, for the next chapter you can ask one character a question and I will write the character's answer, you can ask in a review, I don't think I'll take PM's on this one. Sorry :( . But I look foreword to reading the questions! Please review! Thanks.