According to my Fitbit, I only got an hour of sleep last night. I don’t think that’s true, but I definitely stayed up way too late, so it’s been kinda hard to think my brain-thoughts straightly today. Also, I was kind busy for a chunk of today.
All of which is to say, I kinda forgot to write this epilogue chapter or else didn’t have the chance to sit down and write it when I did remember.
But, here it is.
“Come back here, you!” Kat hears Dunstana yell. “That was my corn!”
Next, Kat hears a sound she did not expect to hear.
Her curiosity getting the best of her, wondering just why her sister is apparently fighting a chicken, Kat comes around the corner.
She did not expect to see a chicken in the living room of Darkstone Manor. And she certainly did not expect to see this particular chicken — the very chicken against which Kat has played no less than three games of checkers against during her quest for her Adventuring Licence.
In a flurry of feathers and squawking, the chicken darts between Kat’s legs to avoid its pursuer. Said pursuer promptly also darts between Kat’s legs.
“Stand still so I can shoot you!” Dunstana shouts, brandishing her cork gun as she ducks under her sister.
“What is happening?” Kat groans, simultaneously wondering why it’s happening to her.
She decides that she’s going to have no part of it and puts it out of her mind. But when she next steps into the living room of Darkstone Manor a little while later, she finds that the situation is not much improved.
“Uh, Dad?” Kat asks. “What are you doing?”
“Playing checkers,” he answers.
“With that chicken?”
Dorian moves one of his pieces into position and looks up at Kat. “We got bored.”
“Buy why? Why is it even here?”
“Carlotta Stonehelm came by the Emporium and I guess this little guy is like her pet, or something, so he came along with her,” Dorian explains. “But he almost got loose in the dry goods section, so I volunteered to look after him for a while until she finished up at the Emporium.”
Kat shakes her head in bemusement.
“You know,” Dorian says, turning back to the chicken. “I’ve always liked chickens.”
The old pirate nods. “Yeah. You know, chicken fingers. Chicken wings. Chicken noodle soup. Rotisserie chicken. Chicken fried rice. Rice fried chicken. Chicken-on-a-stick. Say, are you getting hungry?”
The startled chicken leaps away from Dorian in a flurry of wings and feathers, desperately flapping across the room to seek refuge with Kat.
“Don’t you dare!” Kat exclaims.
Dorian raises his hands defensively. “What?” he asks. “I was thinking Valico cheesesteaks for lunch. I know a place in the Outfitting District.”
“Bawk…” says the chicken, wiping its wing across its head in relief, though not budging from Kat’s head.
“Great. Thanks a lot, Dad! Now there’s a chicken on my head!”
“Bawk,” says the chicken.
“I think I’ve read somewhere that means he likes you,” Dorian nods.
“Bawk!” says the chicken.
“Ugh,” says Kat.
And there you have it, the successful conclusion of The Valley of Appraisal.
Next Friday, I’ll be starting posting chapters of Fryte’s Gold again.
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