She always thought that “No. 3” was a name.
After being referred to by human traffickers as such, this was the name she remembered. After her lucky escape from her convoy, this name was the only thing she had left, and she dragged out an ignoble existence living in dirty alleys.
Sometimes, she would kneel and beg in markets all day. Other times, she would steal freshly baked flatbreads from unsuspecting store owners. She had gambled with old lizards, been hungry all day most of the time, and occasionally been lucky enough to get a few coins. However, she never complained about her life, because as far back as she could remember, this was the life of people in poor neighborhoods.
The sky was the quilt and the ground was the bed—there was nothing wrong with begging and stealing as it was one of the ways of living a contented life—this was what everyone taught her.
The girl lived like this for several years until several lizard demihumans appeared on the street and captured her. They did not sell her. Instead, they took her to this big house and handed her over to maids, who helped her take a bath and change into soft silk clothes.
Next, she was sent to the couple who changed her life.
“The resemblance is uncanny,” agreed the couple after taking a deep breath and looking at her for a long time.
“What resemblance?” said she, blinking.
Idnan did not respond and asked, “What is your name?”
“You asked me what my name was.”
“That is not a name,” said Carmelo hesitantly, “that is a number.”
“Can you read?” Idnan continued to ask questions that she wanted to know.
“No. What is a number?”
“She still has so much to learn, which may be more than what we originally anticipated,” Idnan ignored her question as she lowered her voice and looked at her husband. Idnan did not seem satisfied.
“She just has to look like her. I know who I can find to teach her,” whispered Carmelo, keeping his eyes on the girl. “—Do you like this dress, girl?”
“It is alright.” She felt that this dress was not very convenient in that it was difficult for her to run in it. Moreover, it could get dirty easily.
“How about the food here?”
“I like it,” she nodded in affirmation.
“We also have a bed for you.”
“Bed?” She did not understand what the word meant. “Did you mean ‘haystack’? My neighbor next door has one too. I occasionally sleep there without the family’s permission.”
Carmelo was just about to explain what a bed was before Idnan interrupted him and said, “We would like to take care of you, girl.”
The girl was overcome with a sudden fear. She was a stranger to the people in front of her and even to this magnificent home. However, one thing was certain, this was not a place for someone like her.
She deserved to go back to the dark alleys, living in dungeons filled with dirt and odor together with beggars who were dirty and smelled.