I hurried to catch up to Ren. "I guess we have no choice but to find some work."
While we moved deeper into the town, the milling crowd pressed in around us. Somehow, we had lost Cody. The musty stink of unwashed animals polluted the air and made it hard to breathe. I could taste the rancid perspiration on my tongue.
I gagged. With how advanced the structures are, you'd think they'd have the decency to clean themselves. My self-control nearly snapped, but I stopped myself from voicing such a rude opinion.
The four-story, animal-sized, buildings were arranged in neat rows. The first floor of every building we had passed so far was a shop of some kind. In the big, open square we sauntered into, there were several merchant stands and stalls. The cacophony of noise made my head spin.
"Ren?" With my front paws, I patted at his side.
Ren started. "What?" His eyes scanned the stalls.
After sighing, I licked my nose. "I was asking what type of work we should do to get some toys."
"Work?" Ren hissed before locking eyes with me. "I will not do some menial task for a few toys."
I blinked. "But we have to get some new toys or else we'll never defeat The Monster!" Mom ... .
"Then we--" Ren leaned in close and lowered his voice. "--steal them."
While gasping, my eyes grew wide. "S ... S ... Steal them?" I trembled.
Ren shushed me. "Tell everybody why don't you?"
"But ... Mom always told me that stealing was wrong."
"Only if you get caught."
Once I inhaled a mouthful of the rancid air, I shook my head. "We can't do it."
"Then you'll never save your mom." Ren spun away from me and crept towards a stall.
The owner appeared to be sleeping. Soft, melodious breaths rolled off his tongue. Just as the scent of burning fish entered my nose, my back began to itch.
Ren reached out and snatched a squeaky toy. "Eas--"
Two large dogs appeared out of the shadows. After a jolt of energy knocked the toy from Ren's grasp, a string tied his paws together. A rough-looking cat joined the dogs and instructed them to take him away.
I gasped. This is terrible! I have to find Uncle Cody! With my stamina running low, I turned and sprinted back the way we had come.
Next: Part 20