“Where are we going again?” asked a gruff voice attempting to whisper.
A sigh of impatience preceded the answer, “You never listen.”
“I do too.”
“You were just nodding absentmindedly while staring at the barmaid,” snapped the short woman, dressed completely in black, becoming frustrated with her partner in crime.
“She was flirting with me,” he mumbled, likely just to himself.
“She was flirting with everyone, you halfwit.”
The large man stopped abruptly and stood to his full height. Head and shoulders loomed over the woman, he was an intimidating sight for most. “That wasn’t very nice, Brix.”
“My apologies, Gregor.” Brix patted his thigh in a placating gesture. “The insult was uncalled for. We just really need to focus on getting this ring to…our client.” Gregor was drifting away again. Brix took a deep breath to calm herself.
The pair continued through the sparse forest for several minutes in silence. The lights of Braton became visible in the glow of dusk. “I can get in and out quick and quiet, but I need you to keep watch.”
“You got it,” Gregor said with a wide, lopsided grin. “Ain’t no one sneaking up on you, little Brix.” With an oversized hand he patted her hair less gently than intended. Brix shook her head but couldn’t hide the smile that tugged at her lips.
It had not been long since sunset so she knew the limited small town guard would be changing shifts. The pair surveyed the skirt of the village, avoiding passing guardsmen. She caught a glimpse of the house that matched the provided description. Yellow eaves and red shutters adorned the two story cottage.
Brix nodded to the building. “Don’t draw attention to yourself, big guy. I’ll be back quick as I can.”
The second window she tried was unbarred, and she slid through without a sound. The house was dark. Brix strained to see by the last light of day seeping through the clouded glass.
Three of the fourteen steps creaked as Brix climbed the staircase. No other sounds disturbed her progress. She could not help but wonder if the house was empty or if the occupants were simply asleep.
To the left of the stairs, a bedroom door stood open. Brix crept into the vacant room. A jewelry box sat on the dresser, painted by fresh moonlight. The simple silver band was the centerpiece of the sparse collection.
“This is too easy,” Brix whispered to herself.
After finding the street below empty, she climbed through the window and dropped gracefully to the street.
A pair of boots were sliding away into the bushes near the location she had last seen Gregor. Brix swore under her breath and ran towards the bushes.
Gregor towered over an unconscious guard. His smile was forced and full of guilt. “He asked who I was,” Gregor offered as an explanation. When Brix didn’t respond, he continued, “I panicked and punched him in the face.”
“Of course you did. It doesn’t matter; I have the ring.” She patted her satchel. “Let’s get the hell out of here.”
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