135 A Moon Amongst the Shadows*
"What is he doing?"
"He's just standing there".
"Didn't he say he'd buy this place?"
"Will we have to leave?"
"Of course we'll have to leave".
"No, we won't, we'll just scare him off like all the others".
Rassa didn't allude to the fact that he could hear those hidden within. From the sounds of it, there were at least six individuals in the front room, over a dozen hidden in various parts of the place. Even before he could see them, from the smell alone, Rassa could tell that they were not authorised tenants.
What they were doing here…Rassa could only guess at that, it was their story to tell when they wanted, and not his business to find out.
At least, Rassa felt that way until the shadows moved.
He could feel the influence of it from his own connection. It was strange, to feel the shadows respond to a call that was not his. Even stranger that he would find someone with similar abilities here. Similar because they were not the same. Rassa could feel the limitations of this stranger. Limitations that were not there when Rassa used his abilities. The Stranger could fold and twist and influence the shadows within a certain distance, but they could not make themselves one with the shadows, nor use it to move to another place. As Rassa came to familiarise himself with these limitations, the shadows rose to form the vague shape of a man on the door.
"You are not welcome here!" a deep voice growled from beyond the shadow, "Begone from this place or you shall pay the price for trespassing".
Rassa stared at the shadow, then gave a small smirk, "How amusing".
The eyes watching from beyond the shadow saw a man in a hood step to the side, then disappeared as if he was never there. Among them, the young boy who was making the shadows move, the one who'd promised to protect them, suddenly turned pale.
Find authorized novels in Webnovel，faster updates, better experience，Please click www.webnovel.com for visiting.
The shadows moved separating from beneath the boy and condensing in the sides of the room, covering the windows and closing those inside the room in. An unnatural light existed beneath their feet. Well, it wasn't exactly light, it was just not shadow seeing as they had all moved to the walls of the room.
Then, as the six individuals, four young and two older, backed into each other, frightened, the hooded figure seemed to materialise from the shadows and step around the room.
"I admit, I was not expecting a magician among you. No wonder you have stayed here as long as you have," said Rassa, "I'm somewhat impressed".
"Please don't kill us," the Magician in question spoke.
He was young, only about ten, but his ability to control the shadows was quite exceptional, even by Rassa's standards. Considering his condition, it was clear he'd never been formally educated, and yet he was doing much better than those his age.
The others all moved even closer together at the boy's words, realising that they were well out of their depth.
"We'll leave," said a girl, one of the older ones who appeared to be in her late twenties or early thirties, "We won't come back".
"Where will you go?"
"Does it matter?" asked the other older girl, taking the two youngest behind her protectively.
"Not really," Rassa admitted, "I just can't help feeling a little guilty for kicking out thirty odd people who have clearly made this place their homes".
The group looked at one another, "You're…not going to kill us?"
"Well, as bad as this place looks, I think I'd prefer to clean it up on its own rather than add more of a mess to it," Rassa stated, the shadows shifted and the group flinched, only to pause in surprise as the shadows seemed to form a chair which Rassa promptly dropped into, "How long have you lived here?"
The shadowed walls seemed to disappear. Rassa had done a good enough job in intimidating them, none of them were lucid enough to move.
"A year?" asked Rassa, "How long since this place burned to the ground?"
"At least three," one of the older girls took it upon herself to answer the questions, though she couldn't quite work out why she felt so inclined to do so. She just met this man's eyes and felt…safe enough to answer.
"Do you have a place to go?"
"No. If we leave, we'll be captured by the Masters".
"I see," Rassa sighed, "In that case, how would you feel working for me?"
The group looked at one another confused.
"You need a place to stay, I need some workers," Rassa replied, "Is that not reason enough?"
"You'll let us stay here?"
"And in return, you'll help me rebuild it".
"For the most part, we're orphans, we have no skills apart from stealing".
Rassa smirked, "Do you think everyone is born with skills? You have to work at them. Train them. You were not born knowing how to steal, were you? I will not expect you to be well-versed in the tasks I give you at first, but if you show the determination to be better, I will not reprimand you for it".
"And you will offer us a place to stay?"
"Plus enough money for food and necessities of course. Those who work hard enough I will offer contracts for regular payments".
"You're essentially getting free labour, why should we agree?"
"Because if you don't, I'll sell you to the Masters myself," Rassa said. The shadows moved, binding the six individuals and lifting them up into the air, even the little shadow magician, "I think we can all agree you don't stand a chance against me".
"This is wrong!"
"Oh?" asked Rassa, "And what are you going to do about it? The guards or the union won't offer help to people like you".
"Never mind what or who I am," Rassa rolled his eyes, "The fact is that this world is cruel, the faster you learn how to live in it, the better your outcomes will be. So what will your decision be?"
The older girls looked at one another, then one of them, the one with darker hair, nodded, "We'll work".
The shadows lowered them and then returned to their appropriate positions before Rassa stood, the shadow chair he'd created disappearing as well.
"Good. Now, if you wouldn't mind showing me around," Rassa stated.
"What do we call you?" asked the girl with dark hair.
"Rassa," Rassa replied, looking at the shadows with a smile, "Rassa Moonshadow".
That suited him better than just Moon.