It was nearly sunset, and Kurogane had finally finished his quest. He had a decently-sized, strongly stitched bag with the tusks he needed.
"It's a good thing I found five other ones by themselves. It took a while to find the rest, but the sneak attacks were still pretty efficient on them. The pay from this will last a few days, perhaps," he murmured, looking at his bag as he walked.
Heading towards the adventurer's guild in the light of the setting sun, Kurogane hoped to get this over with quickly.
"It'll be at least twenty minutes before I make it to the guil-"
Suddenly a small, wiry man shouldered Kurogane.
The individual appeared as if he were barely five feet tall and had a nasty look on his face. His scraggly, dirty blonde hair and missing teeth did not make him look any less unsettling.
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He wore a run-down, full sleeve tan shirt with compacted maroon pants and carried a medium-sized, worn-out iron dagger on his degrading, light brown belt.
Despite his eyes being olive green in tone, they looked wild and unpleasant, not hiding the fact that he wore filthy, abominable chestnut boots.
"Hey, watch it!" shouted the man.
Caught by surprise, Kurogane immediately apologized to the person, since the possibility of getting himself involved in yet another pointless commotion was the last thing he wanted at this point.
"My apologies, I was lost in thought.."
The angry man looked as if he wanted to say something else, but noticed Kurogane's bag and changed his facial expression into a calmer, positive look.
"Oh, you're the one from the guild earlier... no worries, that's understandable. I'll get going now."
The man then continued walking in the opposite direction like he initially headed towards.
"I wonder if that person is feeling okay. Something about him seems off."
As suspicious as the individual was, Kurogane had no desire to do anything else for the rest of the day, ignoring what happened as he kept walking.
It was now dark outside, and the usually crowded streets were nearly vacant. Five minutes had passed, and Kurogane noticed that his vision was starting to blur.
"Why is this happening now of all times? Oh, right.. I should have slept more last night. I should take a nap before heading back. Worst case scenario, I oversleep somehow. Either way, it's not entirely abnormal for a request to be turned in the next day."
Although he had not eaten, he didn't feel bothered by it. Perhaps the drowsiness overtook everything, which was the only explanation he could faintly think of.
Kurogane, having given up on many things in his life, didn't have the money to stay anywhere else, nor did he have the will to make enough. He didn't have connections or family in the city either, so sleeping in a secluded alley was enough for him.
Normally, he'd complete a workout session before going to sleep at night, though the quest had taken much more out of him than he anticipated, since he did use a fair amount of his elemental essence.
After finding an alley, he slid the bag of tusks inside his cloak, sat down and leaned on a pole, falling asleep almost instantly.
〔 Kurogane dear...〕
〔 Please listen to your mother…〕
〔 You'll be okay...〕
Kurogane gasped, his eyes shooting open simultaneously. The sounds of people chattering emitted from all directions.
He placed his hand over his forehead until finally regaining his full consciousness. It wasn't early in the morning, but rather what appeared to be nearly noon.
"How long was I out of it..?"
His heart skipped a beat as the first thing that came to his mind was his bag and the tusks in it.
He felt in his cloak, first on one side, then frantically on the other. It was gone. Nothing to be seen. Stolen.
"No… Impossible.. did I really get robbed in my sleep…? Dammit!"
Frowning in disappointment and regret, Kurogane stormed out of the alley and upon entering the guild, froze with his eyes widened as he witnessed the sheer reality of what happened.
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