People like this weren’t unknown to Lotye. One could meet them in every bigger city, and even the smaller ones, if one wasn’t careful. Simple criminals who felt strong because they had a group to back them up. Thugs acting all proud and mighty just because they were part of something bigger than them, no matter how small their part actually was. Lotye was sure that those two didn’t even really know what business their employers had in this alley, but they still saw it as a personal matter, ready to even tangle with the guardians.
Having met similar people before, the insults spewed from their mouths didn’t come as much of a surprise to her. Still, Lotye didn’t like being insulted. Her hands on the table formed fists, but they stayed where they were. I don’t want to know what your lady friend does after sunset, scumbag, but only a quiet hiss, like the sound of an extremely annoyed cat, came through her clenched teeth. She didn’t know what she would have done if the man had continued insulting Peino and her, but it never came that far.
Whatever would have happened next was interrupted by the sudden appearance of that boy, she had just seen running through the rain, at the table. He said something to the man Lotye couldn’t understand. She also couldn’t see what exactly he pointed at. But it had to be something important, as the pair of thugs left in haste. Only when Peino explained it to her, she realised that their other front of investigation had also proven fruitful. Grabbing a last bite of his portion of fish, Lotye followed him, still chewing.
A few steps behind the Prince, Lotye stepped out into the rain. The endless gush of falling water hit hard on her cloaked shoulders and her long hair was wet before she could even open her new bumbershoot, while sudden lightning ghostly illuminated the sky. No point in using the damned thing now, she said to herself and didn’t even make the effort to open it. Instead, she just tried not to lose contact to Peino in the quickly thinning crowd. So she followed him, always trying to stay a little bit closer to the alley walls, acting similar to the other visitors of this place and not showing openly that she belonged to the man with the tricorn and the blades in his hands. So, when Peino made his scene to distract the thugs, Lotye watched from not all that far away without being all that noticeable.
The Captain now also sprang into action and Lotye saw everything he did from her position. For a very short moment, the situation seemed to be under control. The people on the sidelines, though, just seemed to realise what was going on in this moment. A few high-pitched, ladylike shrieks were heard and grown men pressed away from the place of danger. All in all, there wasn’t much of a turmoil, as a street like this was probably used to such scenes, but yet, a small person like Lotye had to struggle not to be completely carried away by the movements of the crowd.
So she soon found herself drifted even closer to the Selkie prince and his opponent. From her new position, she was looking at the thug’s side. He was only a few steps away from her as he started his futile attack. The ease with which Peino parried it off probably showed him that being part of a mighty gang meant nothing when fighting a real opponent, but his facial expressions weren’t visible under his mask. Out of the corner of her eye, Lotye also saw that something happened between Lafitte and the woman at the same time.
Driven back by Peino’s strokes, the cloaked man now stumbled even closer to her. No longer could she just strand by and watch. When everyone else backed up against the wall, Lotye stayed where she was and braced herself, gripping the handle of her newly acquired bumbershoot tightly. She intended to throw her weight into the scale pan, figuratively and quite literally. It wasn’t much, neither figuratively nor literally, but maybe it would be enough to change to balance a little bit. And that was all she wanted: to throw the thug off balance.
Let’s see if I can’t end this nonsense ahead of time. With a hearty scream, Lotye lunged forward, aiming for the thug’s knee. Coming from the side, he probably didn’t see her until the very last second and she hoped that this would be too late.
“Who are you calling a shrew, you self-important dog? Can’t you piss at your masters leg? I’ll show you!”
But she had estimated the distance a little short. Letting out a sound like “Umph!” she hit the wet cobblestone ground, the water of a puddle splashing around her legs. Yet, she somehow managed to take hold of the fabric around the knee at one leg of his britches, pulling and tearing at it. With the other hand, she swung her folded rain shelter against the back of his legs, laying as much force into the blow as her current position flat on the ground allowed. And during all of it, she continued to clamour and shout with fervour.