Challenge #02499-F309: A Different Key

I have a highly adaptive tendency to assume that the people around me know better than I do. -- Anon Guest

Anthe had spotted the weakest link. It was hard to avoid, really. A beefy boy not nearly yet a man, perhaps twice the size he should be and clumsy with it. His tasks were always the ones with heavy lifting. Take things in, take things out. Take things up, take things down... and always, always, take the blame. They called him Marvin when they weren't calling him curses or disparaging his intelligence. Anthe watched all of it with her own past acting like a knife in her heart. This is what the world had done to her before Wraithvine turned up and helped her prove she was worth more than spit in her face.

All this, she absorbed whilst playing Stupid Kobold. They had her crammed into a bird cage and hung perilously high from the ceiling. High enough to make her concerned about jumping down. Worse - they had taken her lock-picking tools before they shoved her in. She had heard Marvin the apparently incapable muttering about saving damsels in distress several times. If he just knew she was a lady, he might yet get his wish. But first, she had to gently divorce him from the idea that this gang were his friends.

Marvin had a new black eye, still swelling and darkening. One member of the gang had evidently objected to something in Marvin's orbit. He was mumbling to himself again and fencing shadows. "...guard the kobold," he mumbled, "Anyone can guard the kobold. They're stupid creatures, stupid boy..."

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