This is another scene that’s arisen out of a few lines I’ve had in the back of my mind for a while, but never had a chance to flesh out with enough details to get beyond “a few lines.”
I’ve mentioned it couple times now, as it’s been a tangential inspiration for a few of my scenes, but “Trouble Consultant” is the job title of the two main characters from Dirty Pair. I think it sounds too modern to really fit in a Renaissance-ish Fantasy world, and I’d probably change it in a proper story, but it works for the purposes of banging out 500 words today.
Also, if it seems like the card game they’re playing makes no sense, that because it doesn’t. I mostly got wanted to have add some funny little details with the suits and hand names.
“Are you teaching my sister to gamble?” Kat exclaims.
“Actually,” one of the Baron’s guards says, looking up from their card game. “I think she’s teaching us!”
“She’s won every single hand,” the other guard moans.
“Not every hand,” Annie notes, standing at Dunstana’s side. “They had to redo a hand that was improperly shuffled.”
“A hand, by the way, that I would have won,” the first guard adds petulantly.
“Hi, Kat!” Dunstana exclaims happily from the table. “Look at all the stuff I won!” She gestures to heaped-up spoils of victory that surround her in a pile not unlike a magpie’s nest.
“I won a new hat!” Dunstana says. “And some boots! And most of a sandwich!” And Jeff here says he’ll buy me dessert for a week,” Dunstana says, pointing to the guard.
“Greg,” the guard interjects. “My name is Greg. It’s short for Gregmundfordximander.”
“Did you parents hate you?” Kat asks.
The guard puffs himself up indignantly. “I’ll have you know I was named for my grandmother!”
Kat assumes that’s a yes.
“I’ve got you this time, you little mongrel,” the other guard says, placing his cards down on the table.
“Hey!” Kat yells. “Don’t talk to my sister like that!”
That’s her job.
“Read ‘em and weep, kid: I’ve got a full Gallicantu Sunset,” the guard declares.
“Um,” Dunstana says, laying down her cards one by one. “I’ve got the Twelve of Livers, the Nine-and-a-Half’s of Cubic Zirconia and Rakes, and the two Kings I have both have swords in their faces.”
“I don’t believe it!” the guard exclaims.
Dunstana looks down at her cards then up at her opponents. “What? Is that good? Did I win?”
“‘Stana,” Annie says, “that’s a Theobald’s Run. That’s the best hand in the game!”
“Ugh,” Kat groans.
Kat’s new job as Baron Westfordnorthwestshire’s special Trouble Consultant has gotten off to an inauspicious start so far.
First, Dunstana had come down the Baron’s chimney haphazardly dressed as Uncle Wintermorn and asked if she could come too. Then, a weird-looking guy in a trench coat had barged into the room, demanding to the see the Baron, whereupon the Baron had profusely apologised for the behaviour of his doorman.
All the while, Kat had been standing there wondering if any of that could be considering the sort of Trouble the Baron should have Consulted her about.
Ultimately, Kat had been hustled out of the room by the Baron, saying that he was more than happy to hire on Dunstana as Kat’s assistant special Trouble Consultant, leaving Kat standing outside the Baron’s closed door as Dunstana hurried to the front door to let Annie into the manor while Kat was able to catch a few snippets of the Baron and Dude Manguy’s hours-long discussion about the study of butterflies and moths.
All in all, Kat still isn’t quite sure what a special Trouble Consultant actually does.
“Oh,” Kat says to the figure passing down the hall. “Hey, Dude Manguy.”
Now, the study of moths and butterflies is, of course, lepidopterology.
Also, I think the paragraph spacing may be inconsistent and I apologise for that. Turns out there’s no good way to copy and paste from a document onto a WordPress post.
Or there is, and it just isn’t apparent…
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