Later on, he was skipping his feet in a dance across a small bridge that connected streets. He had no idea how he was doing in comparison to his competitors but that bothered him a lot less than the fact he couldn’t find them.
“I managed to find a bunch before, where are they all now?!”
He stopped at the other end of the bridge, looking up and down the street for some sign of whether or not someone else had already worked on it, and by doing so, saw a faint hint of purple glint atop a rooftop for a couple of seconds.
“Huzaaa….” He whispered with a grin.
He ran in fast not-exactly-silent strides and then climbed the two floor high building using all protruding elements of the building available. It wasn’t that tall so it took him only a minute from the point he saw the odd presence until he was there, looking at the hooded figure. She was looking right back at him with an air of interrogation about her.
He closed his eyes and grinned.
The voice cracked loudly, making her shudder in response. He figured it was a woman inside the dark purple hooded robe. Her face, though concealed enough by the hood to be indiscernible, had a magical glow to her eyes and mouth of purple color. She was a very intimidated sight, he imagined, for those who could be scared by such things. She also had golden hair curving around her neck, flowing from inside the hood to inside the robe. Still, the worst was she gave him no response.
“So who are you?”
“No one the Circus Freak need concern himself with,” a reverberated voice sounded out as her mouth-glowing moved and her eyes-glowing squinted. It was, nonetheless, a female voice.
“You know me,” he tilted his head to the side, “you’ve got me at an advantage.”
“Obviously.” She walked back to the edge of the building, keeping her eyes on him. “Goodbye.” She hopped back and fell out of view.
Hugo dashed to the ledge quicker than she could have expected, and thus able to still spot her disappearing in a small burst of purple light.
“Uuu, is that magic?! Wow.” She was interesting, he wanted to find her again. He looked around working both his senses and instincts – luck – but he couldn’t arrive at any thought that felt like a good lead into where she might have appeared.
Not one minute later, “bah. Ah well,” he shrugged and unceremoniously walked to kick the roof door in. He walked down to the first apartment in the building to steal all the stuff there.
Then he did the same to the neighboring buildings and by the time he was done with the third, a group of guards showed up, so he ran to another part of the city, whichever one he ended up at by the time they gave up on him.
Then he yawned and looked around in frustration.
“AAAhhhh!!!! SOMEONE COME OUT TO PLAY ALREADY!!!”
But there was no response so he just slumped and went to another house. He was so bored he couldn’t even muster up the energy to kick the door open, which is why he just picked its lock.
He went inside, as always, not even trying to be quiet.
“Hey, who’s there?!”
“A thief,” Hugo replied a bit bored, going through the coats left at the entrance hall, “or a murderer. Haven’t exactly decided yet, hehe.”
When he heard footsteps coming into the hall, he closed his eyes, grinned and looked at where they were coming from. The footsteps expectedly skipped back in fright.
“Hello. So,” he dropped the coats on the ground and walked towards them, “I’m in a hurry, you think you could help a thief out? Just give me all the valuables so I can move on real quick.”
“You-you want my help? How dare you.”
He opened one of his eyes to see the middle-aged man trembling a pistol at him and, noticing it, he just widened his grin.
“This reminds me of that time I got shot,” he said, walking towards the man, “though I’m not sure which of them this reminds me of…” He tapped his mouth in wonder while walking towards the man, “oh well, who cares, right?” He grabbed the pistol and instantly dodged the expected nervous shot that came out, letting it hit the coat hanger instead. He pushed the old man back and to the ground, shaking his head. “Tsk tsk, as someone who loves his toys, grandpa, lemme be the first to tell you this isn’t one, alright?” He threw the pistol back and turned back to him with an angry smile.
“Your stuff. Now.”
Guards would probably be on their way already, since a gunshot was loud and left little doubt as to the fact it was a gunshot, but upon entering the living room, he saw there was a window leading right to the next rooftop, so it would be impossible for the guards to catch him once they arrived.
At least the chase would get his heart pumping a little bit, if only a little.
The guards did come, bellowing their commands and their threats, but Hugo kept shoving things into the pouch right up to the moment they walked to the living room with their big spears and intimidating armors.
“Oh I would, I would,” he replied while walking back and putting a final necklace into his pouch, “but it’s not even cold here. I’ll try outside.”
He ran at full speed, the guards reacting too late as he jumped to crash through the window. It was good he had his arms in front because he instead collided with a wall. His arms gave him little protection however as his body was expecting glass instead of concrete. When his senses returned to him, he already had his hands tied behind his back and was being held down by two other guards.
“Don’t give him any breathing room, men. The Circus Freak is famous for his ability to escape anything.”
“And you’re famous for your ability to be fat,” he spat out, “no wonder I can hardly breathe with you on top of me.”
“Funny guy,” someone punched him and he giggled.
He attempted to get a look at the window he tried to jump through but he only managed to when he was being carried out. And there was no window, just a wall that had been roughed up by him diving at it. He tasted the blood from his broken nose and licked it off his lips with a grin.
This had been one of them. One of them had laid a trap for him and he had fallen for it. And for some reason, it made him giddy.
He laughed. Even though the guards didn’t like it. They asked him to stop, they slapped him even, but he couldn’t stop cackling.
He was thrown in a jail cell, one that wasn’t empty.
“I swear it’s like they all decided to roam our city.”
“Reports are coming from a lot of homes.” The guard locked his cell and followed his friend.
“Well, they all get caught eventually.”
“Indeed they do,” he remarked, glancing at the Circus Freak.
The cell door was an actual door, with a small window blocked by bars. The Circus Freak looked in front at his prison mate, a woman in quite the flamboyant dress and top hat, it was all colorful and crazy, including her hair, Hugo made the assumption she was from the circus.
“And who are you supposed to be?”
“Me? You don’t recognize me?” She smiled and opened her arms in presentation, “I’m the Magnificent Magician! The greatest thief in the world!”
“Is that what you are?” He giggled and approached her with his eyes closed, cocking his head in curiosity, “and yet here you are.”
“I said greatest, not perfect.” She kept her composure, which annoyed him a little, “I’ve already devised a way to escape this pit of unoriginality, I can leave whenever I want,” she said with the most snobbish look on her face.
“Sure you have.”
“Oh, magic words!” She flicked her wrist, indeed like a magician, and produced the prison key. “Tadaaa!”
“Oh!” He opened one of his eyes, “very good, shall we escape together, then? Spark a passion, marry, live happily ever after?”
To her credit, she didn’t skip a beat.
“Oh, terribly sorry, dear, but I’m married to my talent. Very happily too!” She nodded in excitement, “I can’t possibly even consider risking that relationship, it takes care of my every need. Meanwhile, would you like to leave or not?”
He grinned in impatience but joked all the same.
“Me? I just got here, I haven’t even tried their food.”
“You want to try prison food?”
“Hey this is a classy city we’ve got here, right? Might have some tasty prison food. Some fish, perhaps? I like fish, do you like fish?”
“Wha…what? Are you crazy?”
“I don’t know, do crazy know they’re crazy?” He leaned his head one way,
“Hm,” she frowned and crossed her arms, “well if you’re happy to stay stuck in here, that’s fine too.”
“And why don’t you escape on your own?” He leaned his head the other way.
“I don’t want to escape, I want to trade,” she winked, “this key for your pouch. Forfeit the tournament or rot in here forever. I’ll just leave in your sleep and lock you inside otherwise,” she gave a little bow.
“Oh!” The Circus Freak giggled, menacingly “what a cunning little minx you are!”
“Thank you,” she nodded, reflexively closing her eyes, and they remained closed. The Circus Freak dashed forward and slapped her across the temple before she could finish her blink. She lost her senses for about ten seconds, long enough for him to take the key, and her pouch.
She came to with the unlocking of the door.
“Hey…whah…ow…” she looked up and around, quickly felt what she was missing, “hey!” She stood up in anger, “you can’t do that! You hit me, we can’t attack each other!”
“Oh but we can,” He looked back at her, “just can’t cause “lasting damage”. See,” he poked his own head, “people think I don’t listen, but I listen. A little love tap to leave you out of it for a bit, it won’t break the rules. ‘Sides, you practically begged me to.”
“What? No I didn’t, give that back!” She rushed at him but he left and closed the door, locking it despite her trying to push it. She may have been very deft and agile but she had nothing on his strength.
“’Course you did, closing your eyes like that, you little tease.”
“How…dare you little…GUARDS! GUARDS! THE CIRCUS FREAK IS ESCAPING!”
He laughed in her face before running away. He ran straight for one of the guards, vaulting over his dive to tackle him, kept running, span around a second guard. As he was running up some stairs, a guard came running down. He dived at his legs, then pulled him into hurting himself very badly all over them.
The Circus Freak left the barracks with around ten guards chasing him. He checked the scroll for new information, finding out his timing wasn’t all that bad.
The Militia are performing the Raid.
Escape the City.
That was how it had ended last time. This Shadow Conclave people alerted the law enforcement so they would do a city-wide raid to catch every thief, and the thieves had to escape. The Circus Freak was ahead of them all in that regard, he was already escaping.
He turned a corner, found himself surrounded so he turned again, crashing through a window.
“Evenin’!” He screamed at the couple waking up terrified as he ran past their room, across their hall and living room to exit through their bathroom window, a little square through which the guards couldn’t hope to follow him.
He still met a few more raiding parties, each time having to sweat his way through a house. At one point, he found himself outrunning someone else on a rooftop, some girl in a bird suit.
“Uh, you too?” She had replied before he tripped her on a jump, sending her tumbling off the building.
It was a low building so she wouldn’t die, and so he wouldn’t be disqualified.
He escaped the city in about ten minutes, which was one of the longest top-speed runs he had done, he was pretty winded by the end of it, which still didn’t stop him from laughing. He was still at it over what he had done to the girl in the bird suit.
He had taken two others out the same way in the previous competition. Some oiled up half naked guy that had challenged him to a…“competition of physical feats,” whatever that really meant. And some other guy that was trying to stay hidden, he had pointed and laughed and yelled “I see you” before avoiding a tackle by an inch, and continuing to run.
The raids had been his favorite part, the escape routes were shared and everything happened really quickly, which was definitely how he liked it. The whole thing was turning out to be very fun so he really wished he was going to the next round.
He looked at the scroll and found out that he was, as well as the next place of competition. He squinted at the name though.
“Prusnia? The hell is that?” He looked around in confusion, scratching his head, “imma need a map.”