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What Can't be Stolen

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Kamila sat at her now-accustomed place in the bar, idly tinkering with a small toy one of the town’s children had asked her to fix. The bartender didn’t much care for her being there, but this was the best place in town for information from idle lips to idler ears…no one else cared much to do anything after the continent’s fall, but she would not be found wanting.

She’d been saving for weeks for the boat fare and made friends with people she’d never have met as a princess in a castle she barely remembered. Sometimes she wasn’t even sure why she was so set on finding that home of her babyhood; wouldn’t Thamasa be more practical? But in her heart, she knew she belonged in Figaro, just as her parents did, just as her uncle did… she nodded firmly at the toy. Just as Gramps did when she found him and convinced him.

She went over the plan again. Grab a boat. Get to South Figaro. Make her way to the caves, and hope they hadn’t much changed from the map, for which she’d traded one of her precious Magi relics. Get to where Lone Wolf had assured her the door to the cells still would be. Somehow convince the men that they didn’t need to loot the castle. Get to the engine room and figure out whatever was stopping it from surfacing… and so on. She heaved a little sigh. What a lot of work for someplace she didn’t even know and had no idea if any of her family or friends had made it there. But…she consoled herself, she could rescue all the castle denizens and, if they hadn’t seen her parents, they could perhaps give her a hint on what to do next.

Her crew were settling in all around her for the evening, a motley crew of fishermen, ne’er-do-wells, and rascals all waiting for their chance to make good in the new world, and they’d picked this bar as their headquarters. But—her ears perked—there were muffled voices outside, as if two men were having an argument. They sounded familiar, and then the third interjected a grumpy comment, and she knew without a shadow of a doubt who stood outside that door.

Her heart missed a beat. Her crew, all around her, would never let the King of Figaro pass without comment or attempt to waylay him. She had to bluff, to fake being a hardened criminal, and with barely a warning. If she was a good enough actress to pull this off, it was news to her, and yet, it had to be done. She steeled herself. She was Kanon, a princess of thieves, and these were interlopers in her domain.

They opened the door, and all thoughts of dissemination were forgotten as Kamila hurled herself from her seat and threw her arms around her father. She could explain to the men later, get back on task and get home somehow—but for now, she was merely a child again, all unbounded joy that she'd never lost, and she’d been waiting for this for a what might as well be an eternity, or a year.