Stupid, stupid, you bumbling idiot, Ekaa thought.
Why did she do that? That's what she kept asking herself! Why'd she stop to see if that stupid boy would wake? As soon as she'd seen the dagger she should have left.
These were the things she kept telling herself as jumped from roof to roof. She didn't even stop to stare at the beautiful view of the sun rising. She just couldn't risk getting caught.
Her curly honey-colored hair was in her way, and today she was just too peevish to deal with it. She paused on a roof and pulled her hair back. She sighed, studying what was going on below.
She leaned over and snatched a peach from a vendor's stall. She bit into it, looking around in case she saw the dagger-boy.
"Hey, that's mine, you little imp!" a man said.
"Oops!" Ekaa said, with a shrug. She smiled, jumping down, and dashing into the crowd of market shoppers. She passed a bakers son, a little younger than herself.
She smiled at him as she passed, and snatched a loaf of bread. "Thanks!" she yelled, throwing a few coins over her shoulder. She was glad to see he caught them.
When she was far away from the hectic part of the market, she looked over her shoulder. She began to slow down but accelerated when she saw the peach-vendor still in tow.
She stuffed the remainder of the loaf and the peach into a small satchel at her side and shed her cloak.
The peach-vendor was hit with the simple cloak, but it quickly fell to the ground where it was trampled. Ekaa could tell the man was starting to tire.
He was on the stout side and a middle-aged man at that. He was falling behind and had probably never had to run so swiftly in his life.
Ekaa backed into a tight alleyway, expecting the man not to pursue. But he did. The alley was a dead end, and Ekaa had nowhere to go but up.
She looked around for something to climb on but found nothing, and the man was closing in on her. She rummaged through her satchel and took out a bronze key.
She was about to turn it in the air, as though there was some invisible lock in front of her, but it was too late. The peach vendor had closed in on her.
Ekaa backed up against the cold stone wall. Suddenly she heard a voice from somewhere above her head.
"Grab my hand!" the voice said. Ekaa looked up to see the dagger-boy.
Ekaa was dubious, but what else could she do? She grabbed the dagger-boy's hand and was half pulled, half scaled up the wall. The dagger-boy motioned to Ekaa to jump, and she did.
She was ready to run, but her rescuer had already jumped down.
"Come on, this way," he said, motioning to a hole in one of the other stone walls. Ekaa crawled in and she found herself in a garden. It was small and looked abandoned.
"Ok, dagger-boy, why'd you bring me here?" Ekaa said, turning to see the boy. He was indeed the same one from before.
But now, in the warm light of the newly-risen sun, she could see his features so much more clearly. He was probably older than her, though he was an inch or two shorter.
He had dark brown hair, pale skin, and lovely green eyes. There was something odd, and serious in his gaze though, and she couldn't help but wonder why.
"That wall over there is easy to climb. From the roof you can go anywhere you like," he said.
Ekaa was a master thief and the dagger-boy hadn't even noticed as she slipped the dagger out of its scabbard. Suddenly she whipped out the blade and held it to the boy's throat.
"What is going on here? I know you didn't come here just to help me. What's this dagger anyway?" she demanded, pressing the dagger a little harder.
"Please. Put the dagger down. I just want to help. I...let's just say I have your best interests in mind.
" Something about the way he spoke made Ekaa terribly suspicious, but she pretended to buy it. She took the dagger away from his throat. She handed it back to him.
Their hands brushed past each other for just a second, and she felt how cold his hand was, while he felt how warm hers was.
"All right. Let's say you do. But you'll never come after me again." she said, her voice slightly bitter.
She turned to the wall he'd told her about, and she found a foothold and a handhold and then another and another. She scaled the cool stone wall expertly, and before long, she was out of sight.
She sprang from rooftop to rooftop. She could still hear the chatter of the market, and it was growing louder by the minute. Soon she arrived in the less populated division of the city.
Only then did she stop to eat her loaf of bread. She sighed as she bit into it, as it was still warm, even after the wild chase she'd gotten herself into.
She devoured a good chunk of it, leaving the rest of it in her satchel. Sitting on the rooftop, on her own in the poorest part of the city, she wondered where she could get a new cloak.
Definitely not here, she thought. She stood up and started to make her way towards the wealthier area of the city.
On a clothesline in the large enclosure that was some wealthy person's yard was a cloak. It was gilded with gold thread.
It caught Ekaa's eye, but she turned her eyes to another cloak, a simple green one that she liked even better. She landed in the yard and snatched the cloak and left before she could be seen.
Or so she thought. She would regret that, years later.