The moment the box left Harlow’s hand, Abigail locked onto its location with her sights and darted after the thieving hooligans like something fierce. Given her small size and stature, the petite engineer found weaving through the crowd of adults and large pack creatures easier than anticipated. Her small feet barely seemed to touch the dirt.
Harlow swore out loud, nearly falling over from having her feet cemented in ice to the ground as Stello shouted at her for losing the box. She glared at him over her shoulder as her omnitool opened with a mini ice pick.
“What are you even calling me out for?! Existing outside of paranoia for a minute? Just get the damn box back!” She smashed the ice by her ankles, kicking its remnants around as she started to follow her two companions after the thieves, shouting at no one at this point, “I’d love to know what you were doing while I was in the middle of a focused exchange!”
Meanwhile, Abigail had nearly closed the gap between she and the three assailants that dared lay their hands on the work of Dr.Siizahl. She watched, impressed, as Stello cleared the small opening the boys had made their way through with some familiarity. It was obvious from the way he was able to keep up with them that he was deft on his feet. And Abigail wasn’t far behind, either.
The larger one, holding the box, briefly met eyes with Abi as she encroached on his lead. Instead of fear, however, she was met with laughter.
“Haha, give it up little lady, you’re no match for us!”
Abi huffed, shoulders tensing as the pudgy punk took his verbal jab. Her eyes locked on a nearby rock, and she scoped it from the ground as she moved, reeling back her arm, “I am NOT little!” The stone beamed off the box-holder’s head, causing him to stumble and trip up the others behind him.
“Don’t stop now!” One of them shouted, frantically searching for another escape route. Stello and Abi were nearly on top of them. A nearby, open back door caught his eye, “This way!”
The scrawny one yanked at his friends as he veered left hard, flying into the open back door of a local establishment. Inside revealed quickly a small back kitchen, quiet and without rush. What should be a line cook stood in a lean against an unused stove, smoking a cigarette as he read a copy of the Daily Weekly.
Bringing with them a storm of clamour and chaos, the young fiends pushed their way past the unsuspecting man, knocking the cigarette and paper out of his mouth as they forced a path to the front. The double doors to the back kitchen flew open, ricocheting against the wall in their light weight, jittering audibly on their hinges.
For a moment, the trio paused in the wide-open doorway, casing the joint. It was a relatively empty bar it seemed, one that lead into the busy center of the Clairmont. All but a single seat at the front was empty, save the pretty bartender, providing the boys the open field for an escape they were hoping for.
“Out the front!” The big one declared, holding the clutched box above his head, “We can lose them in the crowd!”
They swerved quickly through the many empty chairs and tables before diving into the outside crowd and down the closest alleyway.
Inside, Stello had been able to successfully maneuver himself around the now agitated cook and easily kept up with the boys. Abigail, however, was immediately stopped by the man.
“EY! This ain’t no through way, lady! You and your friends need to get out of here!” He blocked her path.
“They aren’t my friends, they’re thieves!”
“I don’t care, get out of my damn kitchen, girl!” He slammed the paper he’d just picked up from the floor against the countertop and shooed her with it back through the rear door, “Out!”
“C’mon, sir! Please let me through! Going around will make me lose them!”
“Didja hear me?! I don’t care!” He grabbed hold of the door to slam it shut, but when he looked back to Abigail to declare it so, all he caught were the long strands of her blue hair disappearing between his legs. The sound of scuttling footsteps through his kitchen sent his temper into the sky, and he slammed the door behind him, locking himself out inadvertently in his anger.
Abigail scrambled up to the lone bar patron and woman behind the counter.
“Excuse me!” Her communicator blinked as her mouth remained still, expression that of determination and sheer will, “Did either of you see which way those three kids went?!” It felt weird hearing the word ‘kid’ come from her, “They’re thieves! I must stop them!” Her fists were clenched as she anxiously awaited an answer from the two of them.
Outside, Harlow had been tracking Abigails’ location by way of her communicator, having been unable to catch up to the foot chase earlier. It lead her right to the entrance of the Inn. Standing in the archways of its market entrance, she peered down the straight way in front of her just in time to see the group hurdle over a cart with Stello just behind them, disappearing again down the turn of a nearby alleyway.
Harlow reached out a hand, unable to respond fast enough to say anything before they left sight again. She sighed and entered into a jog in their direction, just in time to see a wave of activity crest a few pedestrians in front of her. The crowd parted to allow plenty of room for the now-welted and well-embarrassed thieves as they screamed and cried, beetles buzzing and boxless, in the opposite direction from whence they’d gone.
The captain carefully pushed her way through the observers to the front, falling into the open path created. Looking to her left, she saw Stello taking the box from a woman. She appeared unscatched by whatever had transpired, aside from the shade of annoyance that painted her otherwise perfect features. Harlow approached them in dismay.
“Thank Gaia,” Harlow received her box, and quickly folded the top - reading ‘FOSTER’ - open to observe its contents, “Not even slightly damaged. From the outside anyway.” Snapping it back shut, she reached a thankful hand out to the Scarab Queen, “Thank you for stopping those punks. You saved me a lot from a lot of hassle just now. I’m Harlow. Is there anything I can do for you in exchange for getting my goods back?”
After shaking Inar’s hand and hearing her response, Harlow heard her name from behind and turned to see a blush-haired girl with her feline familiar approach them.
“I am she. You must be Maria and Nyx,” she shook her hand and kneeled to greet her fiery companion, “Everyone’s so early today. I guess that’s a good sign.” She stood up and glanced around the marketplace of the Inn, wondering where the missing members of her line up might be.
She glanced down to the map on her arm and then to Stello, “Did you see where Abigail went? It says she’s here somewhere. About a hundred feet straight ahead?” Looking up, Harlow noticed the sign to a local dive bar, “At.. a bar?”