Upon entering, the bar had been empty, but as the day turned into night, people of all kinds made it their home. Jaycee sat in the corner, sipping on the cheapest beer the joint offered. The taste was bitter going down.
Above him, the dim lights flickered as the fan shook, blowing around the stale stench of sweat and perfume. It had been a long time since he had been in a bar, but he would have been lying if he said he missed it. Even the alcohol was worse than he remembered.
He downed the rest of it in one big gulp, eyes burning as he held in a cough. The man next to him eyed him warily. His rugged outfit and the sword across his lap told Jaycee he was most likely a mercenary. That wasn’t much of a surprise, but considering where they were, it did shock him.
Even the city in the sky had its issues, relying on hired help to weed out the thieves. The thought made him laugh. The government’s lapdogs carried more sway here than anywhere else, yet they were just as useless. Maybe the world below wasn’t as different as the one above.
As the seconds ticked by, Jaycee considered that they may have jilted him. He glanced at the clock on the wall above; the hands ticking past midnight. Well, Plan B it was. As it stood, it was only a matter of time before they noticed he broke out, and he had little money to his name, without a weapon to defend himself.
Just as he rose from his seat, a hand pushed him back down.
“You’re late,” said Jaycee.
A voice let out a sigh and sat down on the stool next to him, the other patron long gone. “There’s been a change of plans.”
A girl? Jaycee turned to see someone who looked no older than twenty, short black hair cropped her face, blue eyes staring ahead.
“Who the hell are you?” He went to grab for a weapon, swearing when he remembered he didn’t have one. They could break him out of jail, but god forbid if they gave him protection too.
The girl rolled her eyes. “Chill out. Your guy sent me instead. He got a little, should we say, preoccupied?”
Jaycee didn’t want to know. The organization that helped him escape was a less than honest company. Once he repaid his debt, he had no intention of ever associating with them again.
“Shall we go? The airship is leaving in the morning. We don’t have a lot of time to prepare.”
Her matter-of-fact tone surprised Jaycee. Although her appearance was that of a weak, tiny girl, he sensed something off about her. As she hopped up from her seat and started toward the exit, he spotted two knives at each hip. He made a mental note of it.
For now, he had other things to focus on. His actual mission was only just beginning.