While this was a good opportunity to revisit Alma and Akari, it was mostly the result of exploring Dunstana’s ongoing interest with shanking somebody.
Also, it feels like bar fights at the Hammered Nail are becoming less “Running Gag” and more “Cosmological Principle.”
Kat sighs inwardly.
It must be a day that ends in Y, because the Hammered Nail has once again become a battleground.
She finds herself taking cover behind an overturned table between the two familiar female mercenaries.
“We meet again,” the one on the left says. “It’s us, Alma, the Lady of Explosion Magic —”
“— And Akari, the Mistress of the Way of the Sword,” the other one says by way of introduction.
“I remember,” Kat groans. “I’m about to get exploded again, aren’t I?”
“Well,” Alma says. “I am the Lady of Explosion Magic.”
“There are other ways to solve your problems than exploding them!” Kat protests.
Alma stares blankly at her.
“I don’t follow.”
“So,” Kat says. “Want to tell me who these guys are and why they’re trying to kill me?”
Alma thoughtfully touches her chin with her finger. “Hmm,” she says thoughtfully. “This is either the Evil Dragon Cult or the roving band of brigands.”
“No,” Akari interjects. “This is the pirate crew out for revenge after we apprehended their captain.”
“Oh,” Alma says. “Of course. Them!”
She shrugs apologetically at Kat.
“It’s hard to keep them all straight sometimes.”
Kat’s jaw hits the floor.
“Just how many people are trying to kill you on any given day?”
Alma shrugs again. “A few dozen, at least.”
Kat buries her face in her hands and bites back a frustrated scream before taking a deep breath.
“Just help me find my friends and my sister and try not to explode any of us,” Kat demands tersely.
“Of course,” Akari says, drawing her sword and leaping out from the cover of table.
Alma smiles at Kat in a way that makes her think she’s about to get especially exploded.
“I may be the Lady of Explosion Magic,” the Pelayan mercenary notes. “But I’m also quite good at other kinds of magic.”
She pops out from behind the table and hurls a bolt of ice magic to cover Akari’s advance across the Nail.
Kat scrambles to follow after the Yamatai swordswoman.
Seeing her sister approach, Dunstana ducks under one of the pirates, stomps on his foot, creating an opening to allow Niamh to shoulder tackle him while Lena sweeps his leg from behind, sending him tumbling over a fallen barstool.
“We’ll call it a tie,” he groans.
Dunstana dashes forward, dodge-rolling to close the remaining distance. She springs to her feet in front of Kat and Akari, grinning broadly.
“Kat!” Dunstana exclaims happily. “I just shanked a guy!”
“Shanked a guy,” Dunstana repeats. “You know, like, there was a hunk of lamb leg on the one of the tables, so I whacked him over the head with it. And then I, um, ate it…”
“Captain Kid,” Kat sighs. “That’s not what shank means.”
“It’s not?” Dunstana exclaims. “What is it?”
“I’ll tell you when you’re older,” Kat mutters.
“Cool sword,” Dunstana says breathlessly, eyeing the gleaming steel in Akari’s hand, almost as long as she is.
She turns up to Kat.
“I want one for my birthday,” she declares.
“Later, Captain Kid.”
Also, Fryte’s Gold Epilogue tomorrow.
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