Me: Filler! Yep, This is a chapter leading up to the next major arc I guess, that I have planned. It does go into some very dark things so just a forewarning. :3 Anyways, like I said before, there will be at least five more chapters until the end of this first book. I'll start a sort of sequel/follow-up to this that I have yet to title. Thanks to the wonderful reviewers who read this and put up with my long waiting for update periods :/ Life keeps getting in the way! D: Anyways, enjoy!
As the pair weaved through the bustling crowds that roamed the cobblestone streets, Arfella watched as Noren drank in every detail of the city. The buildings were rather simple cottages all lined up along the street with the independent stalls that sold fruit, jewelry and other strange and exotic things. Arfella cast a smirk at her companion.
"I take it you don't have very many stalls like that in Kell?"
"No, we have shops but nothing like this." Arfella's smirk widened at that.
"Well, you haven't seen anything yet." The bounty hunter started to pull the elf down the street. Arfella weaved in and out of the crowd with practiced grace, a grace that Noren still lacked.
"Is it always this crowded?"
"It's a holiday today. The people of Rankal spend the day with their friends and family in honor of Enoka, who was the ancient goddess of love."
Noren lifted an eyebrow.
"I've never heard of that before."
"That doesn't at all surprise me. Rankal was originally an independent state with its own race of people before the kingdom of Prima turned all expansionist on them."
"Oh." Arfella slowed.
"Hey, that was a long time ago. Just follow me." Noren nodded, trusting the bounty hunter as she resumed her pulling him down the street. She stopped in front of a tavern called the White Lotus.
"A tavern?" Arfella winked at him.
"Don't be fooled or too quick to dismiss. You would be surprised what you can find." She opened the door to reveal the roomy and warm interior of the bar. The bar had a large open tilted floor in the center of the room with tables and chairs arranged in a circle around the space. A few musicians were playing lightly in the background. While Noren believed that the space was for dancing, no one seemed to be brave enough to begin. When Noren looked over to Arfella, he spotted a impish grin on her face. The elf watched in interest as Arfella started to clap to the beat and spin into the center of the room. Everyone in the tavern turned and looked as the bounty hunter spun and danced with the most childish grin that Noren had ever seen. Another young man grinned and joined Arfella in the circle. Slowly more and more people began to dance. She saw him and beckoned him to join in. When he shook his head, she run up and offered a hand.
"Take my hand." Noren shrugged.
"Alright." He took her hand and she pulled him out onto the floor.
"Do what I do." Noren and Arfella began a graceful dance that caused everyone to stop and watch, forming a circle around the pair.
"Arfella, everyone is staring."
"Just ignore them. Focus on me."
Noren smiled and did as she said. He feel so much better as his inhibitions melted and Arfella was the one that helped those limitations slowly disappear. Soon the song ended and everyone in the circle cheered with enthusiastic applause. The pair smiled at each other.
"Well, that was interesting."
"I'm just a ball of surprises."
"Yes, you are."
After the pair left the tavern, Arfella showed Noren the markets where Noren found a necklace with a silver pendant that resembled a flower with a deep blue sapphire in the center on a black cord. Noren bought necklace and presented it to Arfella.
"Noren, it's beautiful."
"It's the elfish symbol for the Lover." He said as he tied the cord around her neck under her hair. She smiled.
"I love it. It's very beautiful."
He smiled in turn.
"I'm glad. Now where to next?" Before she could answer, his stomach growled. Arfella chuckled and started to pull on his hand towards a small bakery that smelled of sweet pastries and fresh bread. Arfella darted into the shop to return with a pair of steaming golden brown buns in brown paper bags.
"Here." Noren gave her a look before taking a small bite to find that the bun was filled with sweet tasting pork. He savored the taste before taking another bite. Arfella giggled.
"What are you laughing at?"
She licked her thumb and ran it over his cheek.
"You had a bit of sauce on your face. Imagine if you walked into the Hole with that on your face."
He blushed at that.
"That would be very embarrassing."
"Saran would probably find it funny."
"So would Willow."
Arfella chuckled before turning back to eating. When they were done, they stood and began to walk aimlessly through the streets. Noren smiled as he couldn't help but admire the bounty hunter's curves as she walked. The corset really brought out the hour glass figure Arfella had, Noren almost couldn't stand it.
"Like what you see?"
Noren blushed and looked away, making her chuckle.
"Aw, don't be like that." She yelped when she ran into someone. He was a tall man with golden blonde hair and clad in white and fur.
"You really should watch where you are going, young lady." Arfella stumbled back and she would have tripped over her dress if Noren hadn't steadied her. The man in white yanked on the chain in his hand and that was when the pair noticed the long line of naked men and women that were being lead in plain view of everyone in the street and yet no one said a word. Arfella looked like she was ready to snap when Noren took her hand. The man and the slaves snaked through and disappeared in the crowd.
"That's just terrible." Arfella said after the slaver was gone.
"Indeed it is, but let's focus on something else." Noren replied, eager to change the subject. Arfella however wasn't willing to let it go. She gave him a look.
"Why are you so eager?"
"Because I could have ended up in that position. If Dissparrow saw fit he could have given me to slavers or as a slave to one of his court members." Arfella shuddered.
"That's the reality for some." Arfella sighed, taking his arm.
"That's unsettling part." The pair continued down the street when a loud bang interrupted the festivities. Arfella and Noren got separated in the panic. Someone had set a vendor booth on fire. Arfella used her powers to get to a roof.
"Noren! Where are you?!" She called but her voice was lost. Some one grabbed her arm and forced it behind her back.
"Do you really think that disguise is fooling anyone, Miss Arfella?" Arfella stepped on his foot and twisted herself to get out of the hold to see the man from before.
The man smirked.
"Hello Miss Arfella. As much as I know that you would catch a hefty price, I have what I need." Arfella got sight of other slavers carrying an unconscious Noren.
"Noren!" The man hit Arfella in the temple, making her stumble and knocked her over to the ground. Her fall was broken by cart of dirty linens that was parked in the alley. Arfella climbed out of the cart and stumbled back home.
"Just hang on, Noren. I'll get you back." After changing back into her bounty hunter tunic and grabbing her cloak, she went into the back of her dresser and pulled out a package of spare darts that she had stored in case. She slipped some tranquilizers into her sleeves and into the pockets of her tunic before heading out in search of the man in white