Ellison struggled and screamed out for help. Local residents ignored him, but a couple of noobs stopped to watch.
“Should we help?” one asked.
“Yes!” Ellison yelled at them.
“But maybe he’s a bad guy,” said the other. “Look, he’s wearing an assassin’s costume.”
“I’m not an assassin,” said Ellison. “I just like all the pockets.”
The default assassin outfit came with a jacket that had more than a dozen pockets sewn into the lining. Once he got rid of the poison vials and the stilettos, the pockets were useful for holding paperwork, snacks, and flea powder.
“Shut up,” said Hellcut and Gorehair hit Ellison in the kidneys with something hard and blunt.
Ellison stopped struggling and allowed himself to be dragged away from the central plaza, east on Upping Street, then up Lawless Alley to the King’s Armpit.
Hellcut went up the steps first then stepped outside when the door opened and Matilda came out.
“Help, save me!” Ellison yelled.
“We’re just having a friendly chat,” said Hellcut.
“I wouldn’t want to come between you and your new friends.” Matilda walked down the steps and around Ellison.
“I didn’t mean it that way,” he said.
She stopped and looked back at him. “Oh? Which way did you mean it?”
“I meant that our relationship wasn’t personal, per se…”
“Huh,” she said. “Good to know.”
“It’s more…. collegial, you know? Like work colleagues.”
“What’s wrong with you?” Gorehair whispered behind him. “Are you deliberately trying to get on her bad side?”
“Then I’ll see you around,” said Matilda. “Oh, hold on. Speaking of work. I got us a lead. One of the junior clerks from the Royal Season is now a senior clerk for the Carlyle Foundation. Chambrs Rawlyn.”
“Hold on,” Ellison told his captors and twisted around so he was looking at Matilda. “Chambrs? The little ratty guy? Didn’t he leave Krim after the first kidnapping, citing mortal fear? Said he was quitting his job to spend time with his family?”
“I guess he got over his Krimophobia,” said Matilda. “And he’s back now. The rumor is that Elea doubled his pay.”
“Are you sure it’s the same guy?” Ellison asked.
“Ninety percent. People say its him, but people say lots of things. I watched him walk around the city and he walks the same. Like he’s afraid something is going to jump out at him any second. I can go and get him so you can take a look for yourself. Where are you going to be?”
Ellilson glanced at his captors. Rainbow Squirtle shrugged. Gorehair looked at Hellcut.
Hellcut stepped through the door of the King’s Armpit and looked around inside. “We’ll probably be here for the next couple of hours,” he said. “The guy we need isn’t here yet. We’ll either be here, waiting, or in the alley out back doing a spot of torture.”
“We don’t want to make a mess inside,” Gorehair added. “Last time, we got banned for a month.”
“Yeah, Mike draws the line at disemboweling,” said Rainbow Squirtle.
“It does put people off their food, doesn’t it?” said Ellison. “Maybe we can skip that this time.”
“Though it’s not like people come here for the menu,” said Gorehair.
“You boys have fun,” said Matilda. “I’ll be back soon.” She patted Ellison on the shoulder. “Colleague.”