The Mystery of the Beast

The year was unknown. Inside a local pub, there were animal skulls on plaques placed along the far wall. Directly in front was a bar and the pub owner was behind the bar wiping a cup with a rag and then he tended to a customer.

Two heroes sat in the pub drinking. One hero was a man with brown hair and an ax strapped to his back. The other hero was a woman with reddish blond hair, and a sword strapped to her own back. Both were wearing a hybrid of leather clothing and chain mail.

“This is the life,” said the man as he slammed his cup down and asked for more ale. “It truly is.”

“Yes Wyatt,” the woman said still sipping her own ale. “I agree.”

“Any luck with the dragon king, Erya?” Wyatt asked as he waited for his cup to be refilled.

“King of Laila paid a good price for his head,” Erya explained proudly.

“Why don’t you keep any trophies,” Wyatt asked. “People are starting to question your renown as a warrior.”

Erya laughed and sipped her ale once more. She tugged at the necklace she was wearing and showed Wyatt a finger sized dragon tooth hanging from it.

“Legend says the dragon king’s teeth is supposed to make you invincible,” Erya explained. “Haven’t needed it so far.”

She hid the necklace back in her clothing. Wyatt smiled. He was impressed.

“You surprise me once more,” Wyatt said, still smiling. “Anyway, we better head to the next village before they think us heroes ignored them.”

It was Erya’s turn to laugh. She downed the rest of her ale and stood up after leaving a few gold coins for the pub owner. The two heroes walked out.

As they walked through the cramped little village, a scrawny villager ran up to them. He put his hands on his knees trying to catch his breath. Erya and Wyatt looked at each other and then at the village.

“Speak,” Wyatt commanded.

“You’re the warriors Sheldon hired,” the villager said between pants, still leaning on his knees. He pointed at Wyatt and then Erya as he spoke. “You are Wyatt, fierce warrior in battle but a high renown on laziness. You are Erya, the one no one truly believes is a warrior due to lack of trophies. At least you Erya, aren’t as much of an ass as the other one.”

Erya and Wyatt looked at each other in disbelief. Was this guy serious? They looked at the villager deciding what to do.

“Why don’t you join our party for the night?” Erya asked sweetly and put her hand underneath the villager’s chin forcing him to look at her. “You may learn some new things about us and will be handsomely rewarded.”

“Sure,” the villager grinned. “Everyone dreams of you Erya, the untouchable woman.”

Erya took her hand away and kept her revulsion to herself. This disgusting little creep was quickly getting on her last nerve. Wyatt must have sensed it since he put a hand on her shoulder.

“Perhaps you shall be the only one to have me,” Erya said to the villager secretly grossed out but acting extremely well. “What is your name?”

“Giles,” the villager said standing up straight.

“Take us to the wood where the local beast is kept. If you can handle yourself while we work, that will decide your reward,” Erya explained.

Giles nodded vigorously. He let them through the quaint little village and toward the wood. Waving the two heroes forward he stopped at a certain tree in the wood. He pointed.

“The beast is in there,” Giles said. “No one has ever beat it. I’ll wait here. Please be careful Erya. Wouldn’t want my reward too badly bruised.”

Erya and Wyatt shared a glance with each other once more. Erya hugged the villager close and whispered in his ear.

“This will be quick and painless,” Erya said and without a moment’s hesitation slit Giles’ throat.

Wyatt rummaged through their supplies to bind the man’s dead body. Erya wiped blood off of her, some of it getting entrenched into her leather clothing. She searched Giles for gold and valuables and pocketed what she found. Wyatt took out a blanket and rope and began binding the dead man. They carried his body to a log cabin passed the wood trail and some more trees. The cabin was well hidden and in front of it was a lake.

Inside the cabin, they looked for weights to force the dead villager’s body to the bottom of the lake. Once this task was done they each breathed a sigh of relief. Still, there was more pressing matters.

“We need to move soon,” Erya stated. “The villagers will find out before long.”

“I agree,” said Wyatt. “Do we present the beast as the killer and make believe we are dead?”

“We would have to change our appearances and identities,” Erya said. “Let’s present the beast’s head and use that to get some gold like we agreed upon and get to the next village.”

“Awesome, there was a beast that I killed here two years ago. I skinned it and have it’s skull. We’ll use that as our beast head,” Wyatt explained happily.

“Next time tell me beforehand,” Erya said and shrugged.

Wyatt and Erya laughed. There was no need to explain their scams to each other but they did so anyway. It gave them even more ridiculous things to laugh at.

“We’ll leave our clothes on,” Erya said. “Makes for a believable story.”

“Of course,” Wyatt nodded in agreement.

At the crack of dawn the next morning, there was a knock on the cabin door. It was followed by pounding.

“What?” Erya muttered.

Wyatt unwrapped his arm from her and they both stood up. In their cockiness, they both realized they never bothered to cover their tracks. The villagers possibly found the now dead Giles. And the worst, they had fallen asleep instead of keeping watch.

“Shit!” They said in unison.

Wyatt picked up the skull and hide of the beast he had slayed. He held it knowing it would be useless to him now. The villagers weren’t supposed to know about this cabin. It had been hidden from them for years, but their careless mistake cost them.

He swallowed and answered the door. In front of him all the villagers had gathered with pitchforks and other farming tools they had intended to use as weapons. The village chief stood before him and the village warriors on either side of him.

“I guess we were found out,” Wyatt stated stupidly.

Both Erya and Wyatt dropped everything they were holding. The put their arms in the air and surrendered to their fate.

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