I stayed in Morrison's tavern for the entire afternoon. Zoey reluctantly gave up her new favorite seat when the place became busier. The man Morrison named Peg Leg didn't stop sending me murderous glares ever since. I wondered what Zoey had told him while they both cuddled like two adolescents who have just discovered the joy of flirting.
Lord Bodrick's men flooded the place when the sun was about to set. One of them sat beside me on the bar. He was the black haired man called Franz. He ordered a tankard and immediately got busy with it as soon as Morrison served him.
"My master doesn't wish to be seen in your company," he said in between sips. "Don't look at me, just enjoy what's left of your drink and go to your barn."
With the corner of my eye, I noticed Peg Leg spying on us, pretending he was following Zoey with keen eyes. I labeled him as someone that cannot be underestimated then. Despite his drunken demeanor, his watchful eyes didn't miss any details.
"You'd better join your men or leave," I told Franz after I emptied my tankard. "We're being watched already."
Morrison also noticed our hushed talk. He deposited a platter of skewered meat with fried vegetables on the side for Franz, then looked at me reproachfully.
"The stove needs firewood," he said loud enough for everyone to hear. "Are you going to sit there all day and night? What am I paying you for?"
Repressing a smirk, I got to my feet and made my way to the back. I heard Lord Bodrick's guards jeer as I left the place to do my job as instructed. I went to the barn to store my sword and staff, and to retrieve the chopping axe. If I am to keep this mockery going, I might as well do the d.a.m.n job. Morrison needed the firewood anyway.
The door to the barn was slightly ajar when I reached it. My muscles tensed. Although I knew there were guests waiting for me in there, I couldn't help but be on the defensive. I got in to find four people, three of which heavily armored, waiting for me. Bodrick was nowhere in sight.
The man that awaited me there was a handsome looking fellow. He was as tall as I was. He had long blond hair that extended to his shoulders. His black dreamy eyes made him look as though he was always happy, hopeful. His square jaw line however, made him look like a hardened warrior who wouldn't back away if it came to a fight.
He had a broken nose, which somehow contributed to his good looks. Were he to look perfect, he'd look like a effeminate man. The way he stood before me though, gave him an air of authority. He exuded charisma without even speaking a word.
"Mr. Darkstar," he spoke at last. "My name is Horst Bodrick. Many don't know who I am in these desolate hamlets, so my father tasked me to come seek you."
It took me a while to realize the man was speaking to me. I wasn't used to my new name yet. Hearing it at least confirmed that Zoey hadn't been running her mouth off. I straightened my shoulders and walked to the man. I extended my hand toward him. He gave me a nice firm handshake and a polite smile.
"Pleased to meet you, Mr. Bodrick. Apologies for the state of this place, it is but a barn after all," I said, answering his smile with one of mine. I'm sure it didn't look as dashing, but at least I showed I meant no ill will.
"Lord Bodrick has surely spoken to you about a job he wishes to grant you," Horst said.
"Yes," I replied. "I went to see him this afternoon, but I was told he was busy."
Horst gave me another polite smile. He didn't need to actually speak the words he meant to tell me. I just understood. This kind of non-verbal communication impressed me.
"I was also told by one of your men that your father doesn't want to be seen around me," I said.
"I hope you understand," Horst replied. "My father bears you no ill will, but he would like to keep his image in this village intact. Would you blame him? After all, you have caused quite the commotion last night."
"I understand," I said, failing to understand anything. I wasn't in the mood to discuss politics though. I needed to get to the bottom of things.
"We won't take long," Horst said. "I hear you have a job with Mr. Morrison. He'll soon come looking if you don't start soon."
"Lord Bodrick has a delivery job for you," Horst said. "It's not a difficult task, but with the merchant robber looming about, he saw fit to entrust it to you."
"What do I have to deliver?" I asked.
"A family heirloom," Horst said. "If you travel alone, chances are you won't be ambushed by the robber. You've also encountered it and survived once. This makes you the perfect candidate for the job."
Now the lord has deemed me interesting enough to be his errand boy. I started thinking of a way to politely decline the offer. Something told me the heavily armored guards were there for a reason, a reason I was hesitant to discover just yet. Find authorized novels in Webnovel，faster updates, better experience，Please click for visiting.
"I can see you're hesitant to accept the job," Horst said. "My father offers twenty gold coins upon accepting the job. He's also offering a hundred more upon safe delivery."
"Where do I have to deliver the item?" I asked.
"You'll receive all the details after you accept the job," Horst said, smiling.
"Do I get your Lord's orders in writing?" I asked.
To this, Horst's smile vanished, replaced by an ugly frown. "Do you not trust my lord father?" he asked.
"I trust he's a man of n.o.ble birth," I said. "I also trust that his word binds him. But how do I convince the city guards that I'm bearing your Lord's family heirloom? My word against theirs? I'm afraid that wouldn't be enough to convince them."
"I don't think it will get to that," Horst said.
He had now changed his att.i.tude. He spoke in short breaths, eyeing me with complete disdain. I knew something was fishy the moment his son showed up. The reward was too high for a simple delivery job too. For once, I was glad I had my mercenary days to remind me of caution.
"With all due respect, sir," I said, trying to sound as polite as I could. "I can't accept to bear such an important item without its owner's written consent."
Horst motioned to his guards to leave the barn. "Then I guess we're done here," he said. "I will make sure to deliver your message to Lord Bodrick. I hope he's as understanding and forgiving as I am."
I picked up my chopping axe after they left and busied myself in my night job. The sun had already set by then. Only its dying light remained in the sky, painting it a shade of crimson and bright orange.
The tavern got busier. I could hear loud laughter from inside. Wanda came to see me twice, handing me large gourds of water. I handled my alcohol poorly, she'd say. I had to agree. The stronger the drink, the more p.r.o.ne I was to running my mouth or creating chaos.
I stopped after two hours, sweating, panting, but feeling rejuvenated, stronger. I went to the water barrel near the barn and washed myself. As I was drying my torso with a towel Wanda had offered me earlier, I heard m.u.f.fled footsteps from behind the barn wooden walls. I extended my senses toward it, to feel a lone human presence in there.
Whoever it was, didn't notice I had already spotted them. I went around the barn, as silently as I could. I always kept that golden knife I got from my trip under Lemien's tower. I took it from under my trousers' belt and crept behind the shadowy figure that was apparently waiting for me.
I brought the knife to his throat and twisted his right arm behind his back.
"Who are you, and what do you want?" I asked, pressing the knife hard against his throat.
"Who" my previous stalker raised his free arm to show he's not here to fight.
"Speak, and make it fast," I whispered to his ear. "What do you want?"
"Zoey said you live here," he said. "I just wanted to have a little chat."
"About what?" I asked. That b.i.t.c.h did run her mouth off after all…
"Did you accept Lord Bodrick's offer?" he asked.
How did he know about that?
"What's it to you?" I asked, jerking his twisted arm upward. He grunted.
"Listen, I'm on your side," he said. "Would you just let me go? I can tell you a whole lot about Bodrick and his plans for you."
"Why did you creep around the barn if you were on my side?" I asked, jerking his arm even harder. His m.u.f.fled a painful cry this time.
"I wasn't sure you'd want to talk to me," he said, his voice had become shaky. "I'm unarmed, and drunk. I don't think I can harm you even if I wanted to."
I threw the man on the ground, near the water barrel I had just used to wash. I retrieved my chopping axed and pointed it at him.
"Speak," I said. "This axe isn't sharp," I added. "Any funny move and you'll lose a leg, painfully, more than three chops. Are we clear?"