30 days of fiction list
Day 19: Prompt: in the marketplace
Daki loved the marketplace. The bright colors, the shiny trinkets, the delicious smells, all the people she could vanish between before the vendors even finished “stop”, let alone “thief”.
Not that she really needed to steal anymore, but it was fun. Besides, it was a useful skill to keep. Any day could be the last day for this job. Spying wasn’t exactly low-risk. Well. “Gathering information”, as her employer liked to say.
She nibbled on her stolen fruit as she wove through the crowds, listening for interesting bits of conversation out of habit.
“–too coarse; my lady has delicate skin and–”
“–heard he won a fortune at the games! All the women–”
“–never shopping there again. It was disgusting! I don’t know–”
“–devil are these things supposed to be?”
Her ears practically twitched. A foreigner! He spoke well, but that was definitely a foreign accent. And to make matters even more interesting, it was an accent she didn’t recognize. She slipped out of the crowd near the foreign voice, casually leaning against a shaded wall.
A short man with a yellow beard was standing by the fruit vendor, holding up a red-brown, star-shaped taggat and eyeing it suspiciously.
“It is a taggat; very sweet, very juicy. You will like it!” The vendor smiled enthusiastically and spoke slowly, clearly for the foreigner’s benefit.
“Will I?” The latter looked doubtful. He also seemed to be quite wealthy (which the vendor had clearly noticed) and highly intelligent (which the vendor had equally clearly not). And while the vendor may only care about his wealth, her employer would be interested in both.
She shadowed the foreign man for the last half of the day. As she dodged behind carts, clambered over awnings and darted around like any other half-feral kid on the streets, he never once glanced her way. And at the end of the day, as she took note of his lodgings and slipped off to tell her employer of the news, she missed the one thoughtful look he sent after her.