The tournament finally starts and his first victory is obtain in a strange way.
|Town Square signup booth
Silverbolt glared at Constance as he signed the contract, "Didn't someone tell me I was too reckless. The same someone, who will remain nameless, decided to put my future on the line." Seeing the paper renewed his anger towards her.
Constance marched right up to him, "What happened to Ms. Reynard can help us?" she asked. "Didn't someone say it was their job to put their life on the line?"
The person behind the desk looked up at them both, "While this conversation is scintillating, you can't have it here. Please leave. Oh, and the match list will be posted tomorrow at dawn, in the Proud Lion. "
Silverbolt turned and walked away. He could feel the slender fingers of Constance trying to stop him, "Aren't you going to answer?" she asked.
"Saving lives is always worth the risk. You removed the stick from your butt at the worst possible moment. What happened?"
"You wouldn't understand."
Constance sat on a bench and sighed, "Are you sure? Once you know it, you can't unknow it."
Silverbolt growled, "Just spit it out already."
"I am in love with you. I couldn't stand the thought of her having her grubby mitts on you." She shouted and ran off into the crowd.
"That just happened," Silverbolt said to himself. "How did I miss...Never mind, it's me."
Silverbolt decided to let Constance be for the time being. It dawned on him they didn't have a place to stay, and the inns were probably full too. He headed back to the Hawks Nest Forge, where Jules was busy closing up shop.
"Where is your Lady Friend?" he asked.
"We got into a fight she told me she loved me and then headed for the hills," Silverbolt said.
Jules chuckled, "I see what brings you back to my humble establishment?"
"We don't have a place to stay. I was hoping maybe you and your wife had some space to spare?" He asked. His voice slid up two octaves nervous of a negative response.
Jules clapped him on the back, "Of course man, you are helping promote my wares, after all," He said.
"Can you help me find her?" Silverbolt asked. He felt embarrassed by the question, or was it guilt for not going after her?
Jules laughed, "I have been where you are..."
"You were in love with your wife. Constance is my best friend..."
"Is there a difference between a best friend and wife?"
"One wears a ring, and one doesn't?"
"Didn't your parents...."
"That's a sore subject. Once my powers went active, they checked out. My dad was busy being with every woman but my mom. My mom didn't want kids. She had me to keep her tenuous hold on my father."
For the first time since they had met, the jovial smith's face darkened, and then his earsplitting grin returned. "Yet, you strive to be a better person. Perhaps we should finish this conversation later, yes?"
Patience was almost as cheerful as Jules. The joy between them was incomprehensible to Silverbolt. They were a handsome couple, and their personalities seemed to mesh flawlessly.
"I see you brought company today...Oh, you were the one stirring up Lady Clara." Patience said. She shook Silverbolts hand heartily. "Bless you for taking the woman down a peg."
Jules gestured to the armor, "What do you think?" Silverbolt didn't think he looked awesome in his shiny new gear, he knew it.
"He looks impressive, Jules. Is he going to be promoting your shop during the tournament?"
"I am," Silverbolt said, "No offense, We should find Constance."
Patience shot her husband an odd look, "Who is Constance?"
"Young Silverbolts traveling companion and best friend. They had a spat, and she took off," Jules said.
"We will fill you in on the way," Silverbolt said.
Barbuckle, Town Outskirts
Zinjo looked at the arrow lodged in Roust's leg. Jinjin kept putting his face in the way, out of concern for his partner. Zinjo was concerned for three reasons. One, an injured companion increased their chances of getting caught. Two, Jinjin wasn't going to be much help until his lover was out of the woods. Three, they were not far enough from town, and the small thicket would only hide them for so long.
"Roust, I am going to remove the arrow. It is going to hurt like hell, bite down on this stick. Jinjin, I need you to heat your dagger. We have little choice but to cauterize the wound. Now hold him down while I remove the arrow."
Jinjin's face fell further to the ground as he carried out the tasks. Zinjo seemed unphased because he had fought in real battles. Injuries were inevitable in their dangerous profession.
"Sorry, Roust. We are going to fix you right up." Jinjin snorted as his scaly hand wiped the snot from his face. "This was all my stupid idea. If I hadn't suggested hitting the near-empty town..." he paused to hold his partner down, who writhed like a snake in pain.
Thankfully the injured imp fell asleep. Zinjo had pressed the red hot blade to the arrow wound. He gagged at the smell of burning flesh, and his eyes watered like crazy. The pungent whiskey drove the offensive odor off and disinfected the wound.
He sat by the fire and lit up a cigarillo. It was time he and Jinjin talked about his future. He motioned for the young imp to join him.
Jinjin looked like he had been crying. "I don't want him to be alone right now," he said.
Zinjo growled, "Once we pull the tournament scam, you and Roust are out." He paused to blow smoke rings. "You two are not cut out for this work."
"I was going to tell you the same. My stupid idea almost cost us..."
"Your idea was inspired and well-executed. None of us could have predicted the old woman was an ace shot with a bow. It is part of the game." More thick grey rings flew from Zinjos mouth, drifting on the night breeze, "He will be okay, it is just a flesh wound. Lets go over the Tournament plan one more time, and then we had best get moving."
Watching the imps and goats from a nearby bush was a figure draped in shadow. Yellow eyes flared with anger while his teeth screeched from being ground together. Their stupidity had cost him another chance at revenge. He would continue to follow them until the opportunity presented itself.
Outside the Proud Lion Tavern
Patience gathered Silverbolt in her arms, squishing him to death, "No wonder you seem so emotionless all the time. Your parents didn't show how to express them." She paused
"Why couldn't I enter the tavern with Jules?" Silverbolt asked. He managed to get free.
"Why do you think?"
"We both know I don't have the answer. I could make one up if you wanted."
"Do you even know what you are going to say?"
Silverbolt smirked, "I was going to start with something sophisticated, like hi."
Stars passed over his eyes, and something jarred his head to the left. When his eyes refocused, Patience was giving a stare that made him wish he was somewhere else. "I won't hesitate to cuff you upside the head again for your smart-alec comments. No wonder she took off on you," She said.
Jules returned with an unusually docile Constance who was wobbling a little as she walked. She saw Silverbolt and clapped her hands, "Yay, Ethan is here."
"Good heavens, Jules, what happened to her?" Patience said. She helped Constance remain on her feet.
Jules wiped the sweat off his brow with a handkerchief, "I caught a local boy putting goblin musk in her drink. I couldn't get to her fast enough. She drank the whole thing."
"Goblin musk?" Silverbolt asked.
"Men use it to take what they want from unsuspecting young women," Patience said. Her face contorted like she was tasting bile as she spoke.
"Can we do anything for her?" Silverbolt asked.
Jules laughed, "She will be fine, Man. She will be sick for a day or two. Let her and my wife have some girl talk. She has just as much to figure out as you do."
"We will make sure she pulls through. You should get some sleep when we get home. This one will be up all night in the outhouse emptying her stomach, poor dear," Patience said.
"Are you sure? I could help." Silverbolt said.
Patience giggled, "She probably feels embarrassed and once the goblin musk wears off, she won't talk to you anyway."
Arena, Silverbolt vs Rick O'Shea
Lord Rick O'Shea adjusted his fencing jerkin made from the best leather money could buy. He had led his school team to two championships. Anyone who stepped into the ring with him was a fool. He flashed his best smile to the crowd. He heard several young women swoon.
"His opponent, The Peasants Champion, The Silverbolt." The crowd applauded and cheered.
Lord O'Shea scoffed, "What a ridiculous moniker...is that music?" he watched the opposite entrance to the arena. It certainly wasn't any music he had heard before.
Silverbolt himself looked like he was ready to take on the world. His armor had a silvery sheen to it. It looked like it was forged of the gods. Lord O'Shea noted as Silverbolt pumped his fist, the entire crowd followed suit. Blue steel lightning bolts started under the eyes and ran up the side of the mask he wore. He had caught some words from the unseen band playing.
"What on earth is a jukebox hero?" A term so absurd it was almost laughable.
The music ended, and Silverbolt walked over to the somewhat distressed noble. The armored man was a full head taller than he was. It made the fight harder, not impossible. Lord O'Shea noted the idiot did not carry a weapon of any kind.
"How can you win if you have no weapon?" Lord O' Shea said. His little jest didn't last long. The lord watched as a long silver chain seemed to appear out of thin air. On each end was a small weight. "Such a flimsy weapon couldn't possibly be useful."
Silverbolt went through a series of moves, demonstrating how deadly the weapon was. It moved like a real lightning bolt, a force of nature in motion. The lord's bowels turned to water, and he began to second guess coming to the tournament at all. He felt something wet on his leg and realized he had pissed himself out fear. He took it as a sign.
"I surrender victory to my opponent."
"Seriously? Can't I take the win and beat the hell out of him?"
"Lord O' Shea concedes defeat. Your winner, The Silverbolt."
When he walked out of the arena, Patience was waiting for him. "Constance wants to speak with you alone."
Silverbolt nodded, "Lead the way."