Lead vs Fantasy 6-1

Author’s Note:

First, sorry for the late and short upload.  I was originally planning to start this again in early October, but best laid plans and all that.  Things got in the way.  Anyway, I’m getting ready to get into the second volume just as holidays are starting up and family will start being around, so we’ll see how that goes.  

What you can expect (hopefully):  I’m hoping to focus on making shorter parts that can be put out more frequently.  Don’t know how frequent, don’t know how short.  Hopefully around 3000 words at least two or three times a week.  For now, however, as things work themselves out, I’ll be uploading short chapters once a week until I get back in the swing of things  Soon, I’m going to transition back to the weekly Friday schedule again, but I just wanted to put something up before fall officially ended.  Hope you can enjoy.  

6-1 Snow Month(s)

 

Hurriedly pushing into the hotel lobby, Edge stomped his feet on the rug and tried to shake off the winter that clung to him.  Still shivering slightly, he pressed on towards the stairs.  He hated winter.  He hated the thin layer of snow that clung to everything and made it all cold and damp.  He hated this city and everything in the world.  At least at the moment,

Two days.  They’d stayed two days too long.  Then the snow in the mountains came early and now they’ve been stuck in this city for three weeks.

Finally stomping up to the door of the Captain’s room, Edge was greeted by six familiar faces sitting in various positions around the room.  They’d never said they were going to meet here, but they never had to.

“It’s official,” Edge declared balefully, striding in and kicking off his wet boots. “There’s nothing that can get us out.  All the passes are snowed in, even the elf’s channel.  The only way south is back through San Ranto.”

“So, we can either be trapped here for the winter or trapped in San Ranto until the war is over, just watching as the populace gets more resentful and angry,” Lotus observed, coolly.  As her long, slender form sat comfortably on the edge of the big bed, her magenta eyes stared back at him lazily. “I think I know my choice.”

Edge couldn’t keep himself from pursing his lips at her.  She should’ve been more upset by this.

“We could always head to the eastern port,” Cauliflower declared dreamily from where she was splayed out across the floor, her wavy auburn hair making a tangle against the carpet. “Get on a ship and follow the coast south of the ranges.”

“No!” Lotus, Edge, and the Captain shouted in unison.

“Didn’t a kraken try to eat you less than a month ago?” Edge asked derisively as he placed a pot of water on the small electric stove.

“Don’t suggest stupid things,” Lotus added quickly.  “We may be mercenaries, but we aren’t crazy… the rest of us aren’t.”

“This and that are two different things,” Cauliflower responded, raising her head to stare at Edge.  Then she bent her neck back to look at Lotus.  “And it’s not crazy.  Sailors sail all the time.  It’s their job.  It’s how they got their name.”

“That,” Knot spoke up from the scratchy chair in the back.  “Is one of those astute observations that people make when they’re smart.”

“Sailors are crazy,” Lotus responded, ignoring Knot entirely.  “All of them.  At least, when something is coming to eat me, I can see it coming first… usually.”

“Why is staying here such a big deal?  It’s only one season, and this is a nice city… I think…” The Newbie anxiously changed the subject from his seat at the corner of the bed.  Even after three weeks of this routine, he still looked uncertain as to whether he was even allowed in the room.

“Can you pay for three more months here on your savings?”  Edge asked, pulling off the steaming pot and pouring himself a cup before adding a packet of flavoring that dyed the clear water a muddy brown color.

“I don’t have any savings.” The Newbie rebutted dejectedly.

“Exactly.  So, shut up and stop complaining,” Edge declared, taking a seat on the bed next to Lotus.  Then, meeting her eyes, he reluctantly placed his cup on the nightstand and moved to pour another.  “If the passes are already snowed in, this place is about to become a frozen wasteland.  All the monsters here turn white for the winter and every damn hunting request becomes a game of cat and bigger cat with better camouflage.”

“Edge doesn’t like being stuck in one city,” Cauliflower explained, nodding to herself as she continued to stare at the ceiling.  “Never has.  It makes him antsy.”

“It’s probably a holdover from being stuck in the slums,” the Captain observed thoughtfully.  His well-managed, snowy hair didn’t as he cocked his head to the side.  “I can’t imagine that was a very liberating experience.”

“Stop psycho-analysing me.,” Edge responded bitterly, steeping a teabag in the freshly poured water before returning to the bed.  “And if you’re going to keep doing it, stop being right.”

“Edge has a good point,” Lotus finally took his side as she gratefully accepted the tea.  As she gently sniffed the drink’s aroma, she added, “If we’re stuck here we need to look for decent work to do in the meantime.  The cost of living isn’t cheap in this city and I don’t want to burn through all of my savings because of snow.”

“On that front I do have something…” the Captain spoke up.  His face took on an uncharacteristically hesitant expression as he presented his idea to the group.  “My niece contacted me today.  Apparently, their scouts to the north have spotted something climbing over the mountains.  If we help in its subjugation, the reward should keep us for at least a week.”

“A monster from the wastes?”  Cauliflower asked skeptically.  “Isn’t that really dangerous?”
“Says the girl who suggested we try our luck on the high seas,” Lotus observed, narrowing her eyes bitterly before taking a sip of her tea and allowing a small smile to spread over her elegant face.

“Those are two different types of danger,” Cauliflower rebutted, crossing her arms over her chest, but not bothering to sit up.

“And your real reason for refusing?” Edge asked, leaning forward to look over Cauliflower judgmentally.

“If we’re fighting off things from the wastes, we’d have to drive half way up the mountain for that,” Cauliflower admitted easily.  “It gets really cold up there.  Even colder than here, and I refuse to leave this hotel.  I haven’t in the last three days.”

“Wait, really?” Champ asked, that comment finally rousing him from where he’d been brooding in the corner.  As he spoke, his powerful, if slightly disproportionate, body untangled itself so he could give her a look of astonishment.  “What’ve you been eating?  Room service here is way too overpriced.”

“Knot’s been bringing me food,” Cauliflower answered.

Edge turned a cold glare at Knot, “Don’t enable her.”

“She’s small,” Knot said defensively, folding his large body deeper into the chair.  “That makes it easy to lose body heat.”

“Weak,” Edge declared, not softening his gaze.  For a man who prided himself in being an old school mercenary who’d seen it all twice, Knot was way too soft on anyone under 20.

Knot looked towards the wall and said nothing.

Feeling a little empowered by his victory, Edge turned to the Captain and asked, “What kind of thing would we be dealing with?”

“The scouts can’t get too close to get specifics, but it can’t be more than a century class,” the Captain answered with a shrug.

“If that’s true, we should be fine,” Edge responded, turning to smile happily at Lotus as she gracefully drank her tea.  “We have a sniper.  As long as there’re other teams, we can always just have them die for us as we take it down from safety.  What does everyone think?”

As Edge looked over the room, Champ and Knot both nodded.  The Newbie fidgeted desperately as he wasn’t sure how to respond.

“I’m not going up a mountain in winter,” Cauliflower declared adamantly as she pushed herself up to sit cross-legged and stare at Edge.

“If you won’t come, Champ and I will drag you out kicking and screaming,” Edge responded, his voice containing just as much iron as hers.

“I’ll bite you,” Cauliflower declared, glaring back at him visciously.

Edge’s hand unconsciously moved towards his left shoulder.  He could still remember bandaging Knot after their little… incident.  He caught himself mid-movement, however, and instead brought his hands together to clasp them tightly.  “I’ve been bitten by worse,” he shot back, staring back down at her.

“Can I get the feet part, then?”  Champ asked hopefully.

Edge could only sigh at that timely comment.  It was going to be a long

winter.

 

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2 thoughts on “Lead vs Fantasy 6-1

  1. Pingback: Lead Vs Fantasy 6-2 | Dakotah Sicking Web Novels

  2. Pingback: Lead vs Fantasy 5-7 | Dakotah Sicking Web Novels

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