The whole room fell silent for a few seconds and then filled with laughter. The sound made by thirty or so of mercenaries and bounty hunters laughing was anything but pleasant. And yet the young man that sat in front of them stood his ground not showing any sign that he'd be intimidated by their grotesque laugh or their big weapons. The laugh soon died down and one of the men in the group talked. His thick accent betraying his Nordic roots.
"Boy, this was the worst attempt at recruiting a team I have ever heard. Believe me, I heard a lot of them."
Edhas looked at the man who spoke. A man in his forties with long, red hair, a patch over his left eye, his nose crooked and one of his ears half cut. On his back a big axe. From his position and attitude, Edhas could tell that that man was the leader of the people at his table. Not someone Edhas would normally talk to. Taking a better look at the people in front of him he observed that the majority was formed by old mercenaries, some missing some limbs, some looking like they're one step away from the grave. There were some young people too, but they didn't seem interested in him at all.
He wouldn't even have opened his mouth to try to convince them to join his team if it wasn't for their experience that could be useful in his journey. He made a mental note to find a better way to gather people than just putting a sign that just plainly said "Looking for team". Edhas admitted to himself that this wasn't his best idea, seeing that he was now surrounded by a bunch of sweaty, unkempt people who were making fun of his offer.
"Let's get out of here!" exclaimed the same old man from before getting up from his seat and gulping down his beer.
"The drinks are on the weird one with the stick!" and so he left followed by the rest of his team.
"Yeah fine, leave! I didn't need you anyway!" he shouted at the red haired man and his group, then he heard one of the women who remained seated at their tables.
"Keep telling yourself that, stick boy!"
The last remark attracted another round of laughter. Hearing this, Edhas had the impulse to transform her in a pig or a chicken and give her to the cook, but he decided to keep his composure because he didn't want to attract more attention to himself.
"I'll just go in another city where the people aren't such JERKS!" he emphasized the last word so the ones who remained could hear him. All he got in response were the laughs of the people who remained.
He approached the counter to pay for the consummation of the ones who left without paying. Edhas put a small bag full of gold money on the counter.
"Is this enough to cover for it all?" He asked, knowing very well that the amount of money in the bag was way too high. If the innkeeper decided to keep the money, Edhas would think of a little curse, nothing too big. Perhaps weird hair or big ears. But if she decided to tell him that the amount of money was wrong, he will let her have them. It was a game he liked to play, to see the hearts of the people around him. Not even a person has returned the money. The lady only peeking a little in his direction nodded and reached for the bag. Edhas was disappointed, but not surprised by the woman's greed. He wanted to reach for the innkeeper's hand, but before he could do so, another hand stopped the woman from taking the money, surprising both Edhas and the innkeeper. That was a first.
"I think it's a little bit much, don't you think, my lady?" said a mysterious black-haired man taking the woman's hand and kissing it. The gesture wanting to look gentle, but their hands were trembling, the lady trying to take her hand away and the man not letting her go.
"I think you are mistaken sir. All this consummation, alcohol and food. The payment is correct." she said finally being able to retreat her hand from the man's grip and reaching again for the bag, this time her hand being stopped by a young woman. Mimicking the young man's gesture she took the lady's hand and brought it to her lips.
"But I think that my brother is correct. You could buy food and alcohol for half a town with such money. Yet you tell us that so little of your cheap beer and tasteless food has the same price." the innkeeper looked furious because she was called out on her scheme and tried to take her hand away, but unlike her brother, the black haired woman refused to let her go. The two women had a staring contest, neither of them backing down. This has continued for a while and seeing that there's no way of wining the innkeeper reluctantly gave up on trying to win the money.
"Fine, three gold coins."
The black-haired woman seemed satisfied and handed the innkeeper the coins, then she nonchalantly took the rest of the money and left the inn with her brother, practically ignoring the existence of the rightful owner of the money. Edhas was impressed by how the pair of siblings made robbing him seem as if they were making him a favor. This piqued his interest. He hurried to go after them, but not before snapping his fingers and making the innkeeper's hair hot pink. She did want to take his money. Edhas heard her screaming but unfortunately didn't have the time to stop and see her face. Right now he had to catch up with his robbers.
"Just like taking sweets from a toddler."
The black haired woman said as she threw the bag in the air and then catching it. She repeated the same gesture a few times before her brother caught it mid-air and started to investigate their capture.
"That stick guy is loaded. Perhaps we should have teamed up with him for a while. Get more money from him." he said while examining a coin. It was a coin like he has never seen before, but he could say that it was pure gold. Made him wonder where someone could find such money.
"No way, that guy is weird."
"Please refrain from calling me a stick guy or weird. I have a name: Edhas. Please use it."
The sudden appearance of the guy they just robbed in front of them startled the two thieves.
"Holy dragon! Mate you can't just appear in front of people as you please. My heart almost stopped."
"My apologies. I wanted to catch up to you guys as fast as I could." Edhas said bowing his head as an apology then looked the man straight in the eyes. Now that he got a better look at his face, Edhas could say that the thief wasn't much older than him
"When scared you shall pull your shirt collar and blow air on your chest saying "pu", by the way."
"This is ridiculous. How would this even work-" The young man said as he did exactly what he was told to do "Oh my Gods it works. Is this some sort of spell?" he exclaimed like he found the meaning of life.
"Oh, this isn't a spell. But it's an ancient belief that by blowing cold air in the direction of your heart, your soul will cool down and your fear will be less intense."
"Thank you for your wisdom or whatever, but we need to go." the young woman said grabbing her brother's arm and starting dragging him away. The fact that the man they have robbed not even five minutes ago was now staying in front of them was making her feel uneasy. She stopped in her tracks when out of nowhere Edhas appeared again in front of them.
"Leaving so soon?"
"How did you...You were..." and then regaining her composure "You are a blessed one." she concluded.
"Blessed, cursed, who knows, am I right? Besides, aren't you two also possessing magic? Why so surprised?" Edhas said while caressing his spear. This made him look a lot more menacing than he intended.
"This is a town against magic users, where only cursed ones live. That's why I was surprised to find out that a blessed one was roaming the streets of this city." the young woman saw Edhas shifted in his place and looked at him with curiosity in her eyes "Or perhaps you didn't know that magic was forbidden here. Or you wouldn't have used your magic so freely."
"That's an interesting deduction you've got there. But then again, what gives you the right to criticize me when you two are also here, in this city that you proclaim to be against magic. And let's not talk about the fact that you go around stealing money from helpless travelers. Or maybe that's exactly why you're here: to rob people who you know that couldn't stop you even if they tried."
"I don't see how this is any of your business! And you are anything but helpless! If you think you can intimidate us then you are wrong. Move or I'll move you!" she took a step in Edhas' direction ready to attack but was stopped by her brother's hand on her shoulder.
"Jessalyin, don't. It's not worth it."
"He's right, it's not."
"Rohan, don't stop me. Can't you see he's mocking us?"
"She's right, I am."
"It's not a big deal. After all, we did steal his money."
"That's right, you did."
"By Gods, you're so annoying, just shut up already!" Jess shouted in Edhas direction, fed up with his remarks.
"No, I'm not. No, I won't."
"Ok, that's it!" She yelled as she pushed her brother aside, attacking Edhas with her sword.
Edhas effortlessly dodged the sword wielded by Jess. He conjured a shield to defend his face then rapidly attacked with his spear. If Jessalyin wanted a fight, then it would be boring to only be in defensive.
"Seriously? Swords? That's so last millennium. And didn't you say that magic is forbidden here?" he said as he was gracefully dodging all her attacks. It was one of his bad habits to make conversation during a fight.
"What are you talking about? I am not using magic."
"Then why do I feel charmed by you?"
"You are so weird." Jessalyin said, making a disgusted face. The fact that a male that was clearly younger than her was flirting with her in the middle of a fight making her feel repulsed.
Seeing that his last remark made Jessalyin let her guard down, he took the opportunity to attack, but his attack wasn't successful because Jess regained her composure and pinned Edhas on the ground, her sword pointed at his face.
"Wow, easy there. You'll make me believe you want to kill me."
"You believe right. Next time you use such lines with me, I will not hesitate to pierce your pretty face."
"You think I'm pretty?"
"I take it back."
"Your words break my heart." putting his hand over his heart and pretending that it hurts him. This got him a chuckle from Rohan who was only watching from the sides, enjoying the fight.
"Would you prefer I break your face?" Jessalyin asked exasperated by his antics. She could say that the boy was treating everything as a game. Edhas was having fun, not having fought someone in a long time. He missed the excitement of a fight. But even so, he decided to stop the fight, not wanting to attract unwanted attention.
"I am tempted to say yes, but you might actually do it. Alright, fun is over."
Author here. I hope you like the story. The chapter is way longer than this but I cannot post it at once. Every time I will post 2 chapters, or even 3 if it's the case. Thank you for reading my book. <3