queaky sound left its mouth.

A wooden handcart stacked with sacks of grains had blocked the narrow road ahead. The jewellery seller cried victoriously, thinking he had the thief in his reach. Little did he know that the man he was dealing with did not know how to give up.

The man saw a thick rope tied between the two parallel shops which were on each side of the road. He turned again to see people still following him. Without thinking twice, he jumped high and held onto the rope.

The poor thing could not bore his weight, and one end of it broke loose. With one more forceful tug, it fell on the ground. The other end was tightly knotted, and that was what he wanted.

”Sorry people, but I am in hurry! ” He presented a salute to them, and climbing the rope, he reached the balcony of the nearby building.

Women screamed. Men cursed, and children clapped in excitement at his stunt. Winking at them, he jumped onto the next balcony, and before anyone could hold his collar, he was out of the market and on the familiar way where he was sure nobody would follow him.

He liked this feeling. He liked when people noticed him, looked at him for he was an orphan and had no clue who his parents were and why they abandoned him.

Since he gained his senses, he was alone in this world full of misery and treacheries. He did not care about anybody in the world because no one cared for him too. He was like a free bird with no shackles, no destination, and no purpose in life.

The only thing he knew was survival, and for that, he was ready to go to any extent.

Leaving the houses of the town behind, he walked towards the forest that covered a major part of Warthford Island.

He inhaled the fresh air of the forest that lacked human jealousy, anger, and problems. It consisted only of the welcoming freshness of the lush green forest. A smile made its way on his lips.

He loved it here in the company of the tall and bushy trees rather than the greedy humans. What an irony that a greedy and selfish human did not like the other greedy and selfish humans!

The movements in his coat pocket grew, and he finally let the black hairy creature with a hairy tail and a duck-like beak- a niffler- jump out. It shook his body vigorously and fell on the forest ground on its back.

The man frowned at the animal.

”Oh so now you are tired when I did all the running?! ”

The niffler made a guttering sound ignoring the efforts taken by the man.

”What a ungrateful creature you are! ” He shook his head in disappointment.

He then sat on the ground and took the niffler by his left leg, hanging him upside down.

”Lets see what you have got here, pal. ”

The niffler started protesting, but the wicked smile on the mans face made it realise that his protests were bound to go in vain.

The man shook the niffler up and down, and various shiny objects- some of the gold while some of the silver and very few with only shinning coating- fell with clinking sounds.

The nifflers eyes crossed when the man spared him at last. The number of things that animal had stolen from the market and the jewellery seller, astonished the man. He smiled widely, shaking his head unbelievingly.

”You are a treasure of precious things, my friend! ”

The niffler glared at him as he put it down again. The man was happy that they had enough things to sell in the black market, which would reward them enough to spend the next two months in ease.

He was happy. He lay on the ground, stretching his hands above his head. His niffler- who was his partner in every crime and trouble- snuggled shamelessly to his side even though it was angry at him a minute ago.

The afternoon silence of the surroundings with the mild and lulling sounds of the forest pulled the sleep on his eyes.

Ten minutes later, he was about to enter his dreamland when his ears caught on some sound. On the second time, his niffler craned its neck to see from where the sound came.

But the man did not move. He lay still as if he was deep into sleep. He felt someone hovering above him. The other person leaned some more and moved their hand in front of his face.

”I know you are awake Gerald. Stop pretending and open your eyes. ”

The familiar female voice made Gerald sigh. He lazily opened his green eyes to meet the face of his old friend- Isabella.

”And where is that stubborn and hot-headed admirer of yours? ” Gerald asked monotonously.

”You only need to say my name and I will be glad to meet you right away, my dear friend! ” Oscar jumped from the nearby tree as he stared down at Gerald.

The couple who was together for many years was years older than Gerald. However, the age difference never played any role in their friendship- which was more than five years old.

The couple found Gerald when he was stealing someones pouch of coins. Instead of stopping him, they helped him hide and what followed after that was another story that changed Geralds life forever.

”What are you two doing here? I am not sharing todays profit with you so forget it! ” Gerald cleared out.

But his comment did not settle well with Isabella. She took a small pebble from the side and threw it at him that bounced on his chest.

”Awww… woman! Are not you too harsh for a woman?! ” Geralds eyes flew open, and he sat up glaring at Isabella.

She only shrugged at him nonchalantly.

”Enough! You have to come with us Gerald. ” Oscar became serious.

”Oh I am not coming with you anywhere! ” He said dismissively.

”You have to Gerald! You do not have any choice here. ” Oscar said.

Now irritated with the couples nagging, Gerald asked in a hard voice. ”And why the hell do you think that? ”

Oscar shared a look with Isabella, and she answered.

”Because its Reznors order! ”

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