Chapter Twenty-Seven: Monster (8)Mature

There was a crashing sound in the bushes.  Wyrinther shied in alarm.  Elêganor bolted.

            “Shit!” Seymour cried, springing to his feet and leaping after the horse.  “Shitshitshitshit!  No!  Come back!”

            But the stallion was gone, lost in the darkness of the forest.

            “Alright, then,” the Aechyed sighed, rubbing his temples.  His headache was growing progressively worse.  “Simon, you and Seoc ride Wyrinther across the river.  We’ll work out further arrangements on the other side.  Quickly now, I don’t like this place.”

            “What aboot you?” Seoc asked.

            “Me?” Seymour replied.  “I’ll swim.  It’s what I was built for, after all.”

            He pulled off his boots and stuffed them in one of the saddlebags of seemingly infinite volume, proceeding to make sure that both of his charges were secure in the saddle.  He was about to send them on their way when he was interrupted by another crash from the woods.  Turning towards the source of the sound, he was disheartened to see a ragged-looking man stepping out of the shadows, bearing a pitchfork and a weathered sheet of parchment.

            “You stay right there!” the peasant barked at them.

            “What’s stopping us?” Seymour demanded.

            His question was greeted promptly by more rustling from the forest.  No fewer than twenty other men, all armed with farm implements, emerged onto the beach.  The man with the pitchfork swaggered forward, holding up the piece of parchment for Seymour to see.

            “This ring any bells?”

            Seymour looked at the sheet.  The word WANTED was printed across the top in thick, black lettering; below that were two sketches bearing definite resemblances to Seoc and Simon, along with their names, a brief synopsis of their crimes, and the reward for their capture or killing.

            “A hundred-thousand knamick?”  Seymour mused.  “And I let them hire me for fifty!  I ought to be upping my rates!”

            With that, he smacked Wyrinther in the hindquarters.  Squealing her displeasure, the horse jumped forth into the river and began to plow her way across.  Meanwhile, before any of the bounty hunters had time to react, Seymour had drawn his sword and backed all the way to the water’s edge.

            “Stay back,” he growled.  “Stay back or I cut you open!”

            “You and whose army?”

            Seymour thought about that for a moment, sheathed his blade, and sprinted into the river after Wyrinther.

The End

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