Lika’so burst into the house with a woman Alex didn’t recognize. She was almost as tall as Lika’so and had just as much muscle. Her hair was black and her skin was a tone lighter than Lika'so. Her ears were also pointed as Lika’so’s were.
“Who is that?” Alex asked Lika’so in Kni’il.
He had stopped relying on the lahipok’es for translation two days ago. He knew enough about the language’s structure and enough of its vocabulary that he was able to piece together some basic sentences. Kni’il was a much easier language to learn than Alex had expected. It was very similar to many of the languages he already spoke. He felt lucky in that regard. Learning Kni’il was still a lot of work, but Alex enjoyed learning it.
“I don’t have time to explain,” Lika’so replied as she quickly made her way to the bedroom.
”You speak Kni’il?” the mystery woman asked Alex with surprise.
“A little, I am learning,” he replied politely.
Lika’so came back from the bedroom carrying her crossbow, shortsword, and a bag. She tossed the crossbow to the other woman and the two left the house as quickly as they had arrived.
“What the heck was that about?” Alex asked himself in English.
“This is a single-shot,” Nijo’tika said to Lika’so, examining the crossbow.
“Is there a problem with it?” Lika’so asked.
“It’s not enough. We need a repeating crossbow.”
“I don’t own one. Is the dealer really that dangerous?”
“Yes, and we’ll be meeting him without an appointment. He’ll be livid and probably want to kill us.” Nijo’tika told Lika’so. “And he’s also a caster.”
“But you’re a caster too,” Lika’so said, confused.
“I can only do biocasting and curses.”
There were rare cases in which some casters were only capable of using one or two types of casting. It was a disability called “limited cast” and affected one in every two hundred casters. There were methods of testing to detect this disability in casters without the need for a caster to try every type of cast.
Nijo’tika stopped suddenly and made a sharp turn into an alley. She took a few dozen steps and then stopped at a small shed. She took a key out of her pocket and swiftly opened it. Inside were many types of bladed and blunt weapons, explosives, and bows of all sizes. Lika’so wanted to know why Nijo’tika had access to such a large arsenal of weapons but she didn’t ask. They had more important things to worry about.
Nijo’tika grabbed a repeating crossbow from the pile of weapons and closed the door to the shed.
“Let’s go,” she said.
Walking out of the alley, Lika’so and Nijo’tika began making their way to the other side of the village. The village was large and had several blocks of buildings. It would be easy for someone who wasn’t familiar with it to get lost. Luckily both women had grown up in it and knew it better than those who had constructed it.
Stopping at their destination, a large house, the two prepared their weapons. Nijo’tika opened the bag Lika’so had brought. It contained more than forty crossbow bolts. She loaded five bolts into her repeating crossbow and then one into the single-shot. She handed the single-shot crossbow to Lika’so and closed the bag.
“Ready?” Nijo’tika asked Lika’so putting the butt of the crossbow to her shoulder and aiming it at the door.
“Yes,” answered Lika’so, readying her own weapons.
Nijo’tika knocked on the door. There was no answer. She knocked harder but there was still no answer. She looked over to Lika’so and nodded and then the two simultaneously kicked the door, sending it flying off of its hinges and falling to the floor of the house with a loud thud.
A rancid smell came through the doorway that made Lika’so want to vomit. She gagged and her stomach muscles tightened. The odor was so bad her eyes began to water.
“It smells of rotting meat!” she exclaimed.
“That’s the scent of a corpse,” Nijo’tika said, lowering her crossbow.
“Search the house,” Nijo’tika told Lika’so.
Lika’so and Nijo’tika made their way into the house and began checking every room until they finally found the source of the smell; a bedroom. On a small bed lay a decomposing body with flies buzzing around it.
“Moggra,” said Nijo’tika. “The seller.”