“Don’t let anybody but me in. If someone else does make it past the door, smash him.” Rakel pointed at Doorman’s club. Breezily, she continued. “Understand? Of course you do. Bar the door after we leave. Two! We’re going out!”
She had a busy afternoon planned. There was a feel for this part of the city to develop and attention to attract, and, in the slightly more distant future, there would be feathers to ruffle. She couldn’t help but grin. The only hard part would be holding off on ruffling feathers until the time was right, which wasn’t really her style. Perhaps, she thought, there was something to be said for a more direct approach.
With Two trailing behind her, she struck out southward. They walked for the better part of an hour before Rakel found what she was looking for. It was an otherwise nondescript building with a sign that quietly declared the place a casino, though Rakel thought ‘gambling den’ was probably a more apt moniker. More importantly, two thugs of the sort she’d occasionally had to kill stood by the door, each leaning on an axe and glowering at passerby.
Rakel walked up to them, shrugging off their increasingly hostile looks. She was moments away from the door when one of the thugs held a hand out. The other said, “It’s invitation only today.”
“Oh, of course. Invitation, invitation,” said Rakel. She made a show of patting her pockets, and finding nothing there patted Two on the arm. “Ah! Here it is.”
The thugs exchanged a look. One of them chuckled. “Is that some kind of a threat?” the other said, snorting. “You know who owns this place?”
“I know who he hired to guard it—a pair of ten-for-a-crown brutes without the sense to realize that it’s a lot harder to explain the new construct-shaped door in the wall than the one extra gambler whose money is just as good as anyone else’s.” Rakel lifted an eyebrow at them. No reply was forthcoming, so without shifting her gaze an inch she added, “Looks like pretty thick wood, Two. You’d better get a good start at it.” Dutifully, the construct tromped across the street and sized up the run.
Before it could start, the thugs gave each other a look. One of them rolled his eyes. “The boss won’t like this at all, you know,” the other said.
“Well aware.” She waved Two off, and the construct returned to her side. “Unfortunately for him, I don’t intend to leave any time soon. Tell him I sincerely hope we’ll find a way to keep out of each others’ ways.”
The thugs didn’t stop her as she and Two walked past them and into the building. Once they were gone, one of the thugs said, “Two tendays?”
The other snorted. “If that. I’ve never seen anyone that eager to die.”
The first grunted. There was a moment of silence, and then he said, “Five chieftains says she comes out in the air.” They shook on it, and the two of them resumed their vigil.
Inside, Rakel told Two to watch from a distance. It wandered off into a corner, and Rakel looked for a table to sit down at. Her initial thoughts about the place were vindicated by what she saw. It was dimly lit and drab, and besides the long table along the back wall serving as a bar, the only furnishings were chairs and round tables for the gamblers. To a man, they were playing cards. Rakel knew the game; it was common enough in human society, and had been for long enough, that if she wanted to talk about another game she’d have to say something more specific than ‘playing cards’.
It was also a game at which Rakel was good, being based more around bluffing and strategy than luck. She was pretty sure she could sit down at any table and leave with a profit, but that wasn’t the plan.
She spotted an open seat at a table showing all the characteristics she was looking for and went to take it. The players turned as one to look at her as she sat, but she merely smiled and dropped a bag of coins in front of her.