Chapter 34

The woman clicked her phone off, then walked out from behind the counter of her shop. She had long black hair, styled in an elegantly simple manner and held back with a barrette. Her mouth was shaped into a confident smirk, more from habit than any conscious force. For clothes, she wore a traditional rosearn shopkeeping dress; a short sleeved formal suit, which extended down to the knees with a large slit down the side. It didn’t provide enough coverage to be worn on its own, so it was usually paired with either dress pants or a sleek skirt. In this case it was the former, combined with a pair of high heels.
To any other species, the woman would have appeared to be a little too invested in her appearance – but not to a rosearn. To a rosearn, she practically emanated danger. Others brought rifles and Kevlar armor to fight, but when rosearn went to war this was their uniform. It wasn’t just an outfit for closing deals, it was an outfit for ending careers and destroying global powerhouses. It had been for millennia.
Conmer took a moment to compose himself. “It’s good to see you again, Markhette. I didn’t know you moved.”
“That’s intentional.” Markhette’s smirk grew into a grin. “I’d ask you how you’ve been, but I don’t see any point in pretending I don’t already have an extensive knowledge on everything-” She glanced toward Tenra, lingering just long enough to make sure Conmer noticed. “-almost everything you’ve done since you dropped off the grid.”
“Unsurprising, I’ve been drawing attention lately.” Conmer glanced around the room. “I’d ask you how you’re doing, but I don’t know if that information is for sale.”
“I’ve been doing great. Nothing particularly eventful has happened to me, but my mark on this world has been secured.” Markhette’s grin snapped into a predatory glare. “There, consider that a complimentary service for an old friend and a good customer. Now, what have you got for me, and what do you want from me?”
“A little bit of everything, and a little bit of everything.” Conmer tossed Markhette a memory stick. “The only rosearn tools I have left are a handful of electromagnetic space suits and a cheap pen… knife…” Conmer felt around in his pockets. Gone, he must have forgotten it in Zaken’s office. A frustratingly amateur mistake, but any attempt at making excuses would only draw attention to it. “Apparently, I don’t have a pen knife anymore either. Sorry for being honest with you, but I am totally unarmed.”


A note from the author ninja:

In many cultures, high heels symbolize weakness. (Because they restrict movement and interfere with anything even resembling physical activity.) Not in rosearn culture, though. To the rosearn, high heels symbolize absolute confidence.

You see, for a rosearn being able to run away is pretty damn important. (The average speed of a rosearn at full sprint is 70 kph, though they can’t maintain the speed for very long.) It’s their last line of defense, and the one plan that almost never fails them. (Not that many rosearn are eager to resort to fleeing in terror, since it doesn’t exactly do wonders for their carefully crafted reputation.)

Sorry, I’m getting a little sidetracked. The point is that wearing high heels takes away your ability to physically escape your opponents. It’s a declaration that you won’t need to run, a bold statement for the naturally paranoid rosearn.

As such, only two types of rosearn wear high heels: True masters of the art of subtlety, or arrogant pricks who aren’t nearly as awesome as they think they are. (The second type rarely lasts long.)

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