Chapter Two: Wherein I follow through with my deception, saving my life and causing quite a bit of additional complication.
“So why are you so intent on killing me… my friend, which is to say Eaglethorpe Buxton?” I asked.
“I did not say I was going to kill him,” she replied. “I said I was going to skin him alive.”
“Wouldn’t that kill him?”
“Not right away.”
“But you said you were going to kill me, that is to say Ellwood Cyrene, which is me.”
“No. I implied that I might kill you.”
“Well thank you for straitening that out,” said I. “A hearty goodnight to you.”
I stepped past her and headed for the door, leaving I might add an almost full tankard of ale sitting on the table, and that is something I almost never do.
“Hold,” she said, and I felt an invisible set of hands grasp me roughly by the shoulders and drag me back to my seat. As I plopped down into sitting position, I could see the glowing wand sweeping down to her side. “I’m not quite finished with you.”
“Um, why not?”
“I need you to lead me to Eaglethorpe Buxton.” She poured herself into my lap and placed her arms around my shoulders. “I may have use for you as well, Ellwood Cyrene.”
“What could Ellwood Cyrene, which is to say me, do for you?”
“You mean besides leading me to Eaglethorpe Buxton?”
“Yes, besides that.”
“As I mentioned before, you are known to me.”
“Not surprising,” said I. “Just as it is not surprising that you have heard to my very good friend, which is to say my former friend Eaglethorpe Buxton, who is probably way more famous than Ellwood Cyrene… which is to say me.”
“Ellwood Cyrene,” she said, putting her ripe mouth very close to my ear. “Warrior.”
“It is true,” said I. “I am a warrior.”
“Of course… what?”
“Always in the company of great men, but eschewing the company of women.”
“Chewing a company of women?”
“Eschewing. It means to abstain or to keep away from– to shun or avoid.”
“Yes of course it does.”
“Not one single queen, noblewoman, courtesan, tavern wench, or milkmaid has been heard to boast of having quenched the fires of Ellwood Cyrene.”
“Fires of passion.”
“Well that can’t be right,” said I. “I have seen countless women throwing flirtations toward Ellwood Cyrene… which is to say me.”
“Flirtations have been thrown, no doubt,” she whispered. “After all, you are handsome, though not so much as I had been led to expect. Flirtations have been thrown but none have been caught.”
“That’s pretty hard to believe,” said I, truly puzzled.
“Indeed,” she purred into my ear. “It presents something of a challenge to me.”
“I’m afraid I don’t follow,” said I.
“I’m going to be the one to quench that fire.”
“The fire of passion.”
“Okay,” said I. “Yes, that would be fine. Sounds good.”
“You’re surprisingly acquiescent,” said she.
“If you have your mind made up on something,” I replied, “who am I to stand in your way?”
“First though, you are going to lead me to Eaglethorpe Buxton.”
“Couldn’t you quench my fire first and then I could lead you to Eaglehorn Humpton? I would be ever so much more relaxed that way.”
“Eaglethorpe Buxton,” she corrected. “And no. I don’t want you relaxed. I want you focused. We find him first. Only then will you receive your reward.”