2013-10-21: Enter the Lady

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Enter the Lady / 現れた女

Author: unknown author Published: October 21, 2013

Walking through the den brusquely, the scarf covering his face flapped slightly in the ocean breeze. Despite his vocation he’d never been a fan of the Den…far too tempting for some of it’s denizens to pull a dagger on someone without bothering to know they shouldn’t…and while he could handle himself, he wasn’t in the mood. Something of his manner must have put out that aura though, because he remained unmolested as he made his way into the tavern, and pushed the door open roughly. The loud noise and carousing ceased for a moment as all eyes turned to the door, but with only a moments glance all of them returned to what they were doing…save for one man, grinning at him through a face full of rotten teeth.

“Oi, now there’s tha lad I be waitin’ fer.” He slapped a grimy gold coin onto the scarred old table and folded down the dirty cards in his hands. “Yer come wif me, an we’ll square yer away.” He slapped a meaty hand on the man’s shoulder as he led into one of the backrooms, and closed the door behind him. Inside, the man took off the scarf and dropped a satchel down that made a clinking noise as it did. “Yer din’ have ter much trouble, now, did yer Ricky?”

Shanty took a seat at the far side of the table as he spoke. His breath stank of ale and rot, and Ricardo wrinkled his nose into a sneer. “I didn’t have too much trouble, but I do have questions. And if you answer them all and I like them, then those can serve as the bonus. If I don’t, I’m walking out of here.”

The man seated at the other side of the table guffawed, laughing heartily while his face turned red. “I hope yer won’t be walkin’ ou’ wif that bag, since yer already got ‘alf yer pay. Bu’ go’head an’ tell a tale ter amuse Ol’ Shanty, will yer?”

“I didn’t have much trouble getting in…and the trouble wasn’t with the operation either.” Taking a moment to glare at the craggy old man, he narrowed his gaze. “I don’t have a lot of patience for not being told all the information, though. And I’m left with a question.” He opened the bag, and dragged out a sword, and dropped it unceremoniously on the table. “And I think you’re smart enough to know what the question is just from this.”

The sword on the table was a fine example…hammered Minocian valorite, a solid piece of metal with razor sharp edges…and a crest engraved onto the blade near the hilt. The crest was a square of alternating light and dark rays, eight of them in all, providing the background for an almost cross shaped design with a silver serpent wrapped around it. The symbology was something anyone in Britannia would recognize…and so was the central theme.

Shanty looked over the blade and his sickening smile got even wider. “If yer ‘ave tha’, then yer must know yerself already. Did yer thin’ we sen’ yer ter some rich ol’ noble’s private dungeon or sumthin’? Don’ ac’ the innocen’ now, Ricky.”

Ricardo scowled with his eyes narrowed as he listened to the reply. “If that’s your answer, then I’m not sure I’d believe what you might have to tell me about what this is, then…because I’ve enough of an inkling to know its power.” Ricardo slipped a beautiful gem out of an inside pocket, and was holding it in his hand. “And I’m certain I don’t trust you or your benefactor with something like this. So I think I’ll take my leave…and take this as mine for now.”

With that, Ricardo turned, but didn’t manage to even take one step before a snap broke the silence in the room and his wrist was seized by a sharp pain and yanked him back into the room. He looked up to see that a whip was wrapped around his forearm, and a woman in black leather stepped forward out of the shadows where she’d been concealed by some form of magic. Her voice was sonorous and sultry, but held within it an undeniable edge that could be used to cut granite. “I think that perhaps you’ll find that that belongs to me, my dear little thief.” She knelt down with a serpent’s smile as she pried the crystal out of Ricardo’s hand, and unwrapped the whip, securing it back at her hip and peering at the crystal for a moment before pocketing it.

“Run along, now. You’re a smart boy, so I hope I don’t need to tell you the kinds of things that might happen if you try and go against me.” She pulled the thief up by his collar and brushed him off with a smile that belied the words she spoke. “I’ll just leave it to your imagination.”

Ricardo was as pale as a sheet as he frantically stumbled out of the room, the woman’s laughter mingling with Shanty’s, and sending him fleeing to the gate as if he’d seen a ghost.

Japanese version

がさつな足取りでデンの街中を歩く間、彼の顔を覆うスカーフは、海からのそよ風に吹かれて微かにはためいていた。 こんな稼業についてはいるが、彼はデンを好きになったことは一度もない。ここには、自分の手に負える相手ではないことにも気づけずに誰かにダガーを突きつけたがる連中もいるのだ。あしらうことは容易いが、彼はそんな気分ではなかった。そのオーラが彼の所作から放たれていたのか、酒場に着いて乱暴にドアを押しあけるまで、邪魔者は一人も現れなかった。全員の目がドアに向けられ、酒場の喧騒は突然静まりかえったが、それも一瞬のことで、すぐに全員が元の方向に目を戻した……たった一人、薄汚れた歯を見せて彼にニヤリと笑いかけた男を除いて。






この答えにリカルドは不機嫌そうに眼を細めた。「それがてめぇの答えか。だったら、コイツの正体を聞いてもマトモに答えそうにねぇな。コイツがパワーを持ってることくらい、俺は感じとれるんだぜ」 そう言いながらリカルドは内ポケットから美しい宝石を取り出した。「だからコイツはてめぇにも、てめぇの黒幕にも渡さねぇ。さて、俺はもう休ませてもらうぜ。コイツは当分俺のモンだ」



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