I stared at the man in front of me who was decked out in a rather ridiculous costume. What on earth was the purpose of gold-plated and jewel-encrusted armor? It hardly seemed practical to me. And that sword? What a joke! Not to mention the armor was shaped to portray heavy musculature. There were even nipples! And a cape.
I would have rolled my eyes if I wasn't still reeling from the fact that the Zombie nights had just stolen all our cows. Cows. What on earth would a great necromancer want with cows? They're stupid, they smell, and they lick up their own nostrils.
Admittedly they were also a great source of meat and milk. But still.
It was about then that I realized the man in the silly costume had been talking. Quite possibly to me. But I wasn't completely sure why. He wasn't even looking at my chest which was what I would expect from a man like him. Well, ok, he had looked a couple times. But nothing nearly as overt as I was used to considering he was obviously someone of importance - or thought he was - and I was just Mary, the barmaid.
Well, aside from all that prophecy stuff. But I put that behind me.
"... came to save you from the clutches of the evil Necromancer, oh destined hero of our land!" Clearly he had finished some speech or other and was sounding quite proud of himself, almost like he expected me to cheer. Or possibly throw myself at him considering his eyes had now begun to dip a little further south and the look on his face clearly said he was waiting for some exhuberant thanks.
I gave him a blank look until my brain caught up with what he was saying. "Wait. You thought I needed rescuing?" He nodded enthusiastically, although his proud smile was starting to slip a little bit and some confusion was starting to cloud his eyes. I could practically see the bubble starting to pop around whatever fantasy was running through his head.
"I'm working as a barmaid. I make great tips. I have a place to stay. I can do as I like. And nobody is demanding I go out and risk my life or fight - which I have to say is pretty barbaric - and there are no stupid costumes. Sure, the bodices are sometimes a little lower-cut and tighter than I'd like, but since it gets me better tips..." and my rambling faded out as I took in the crestfallen look on the face of the man before me.
"But... but I'm the mighty Avarax! And.. and I've come to save you... because... because why else would you not have saved our kingdom from the evil Necromancer if you had not already been in his clutches? You are the foretold heroine. Aren't you?" I had to admit, he had a certain charm. But it was a little like that of a lost puppy at the moment and vastly outweighed by the silly armor that was also starting to smell. Did he ever clean that stuff on the inside? Or take a good bath?
"I hate to break it to you, but I do not need rescuing. But our cows do. You could go rescue our cows. The Zombie Knights took them away. They went that way." I pointed helpfully, hoping he would take the hint. Speaking to him like he was a young child might not have been absolutely necessary but he seemed to be in a bit of shock so I thought just maybe it was.
"Go on. Cows. Go get them." I made shooing motions with my hands. To no avail. The big lug kept standing there staring at me, not even having any fantasies of how I could show my thanks to him. Just staring at me like I had taken his favorite toy and crushed it under my heel.
It almost made me feel bad. Almost.