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   Chapter 21 No.21

The Book of Deacon By Joseph R. Lallo Characters: 5363

Updated: 2018-01-19 12:03

"Oh, well, we can settle that later, " he said, shifting quickly back to his sales pitch. "First, take a look here. A stiletto, and a fine one, you can be sure of that. Nice and thin, but tough. Toughest metal made. Won't bend, not one bit, you can be sure of that. Someone tries to bother you, young lady, you just put this little knife right through their ribs. Won't take hardly any effort, you can be sure of that. Push it in right up to the hilt. Won't have any trouble from that troublemaker any more, you can be sure of that."

"That is very nice, but I would really like to show you this sword, " Myranda said.

"Now, now, miss, I am not in the habit of picking up rusted relics from the public, even from those as lovely as yourself, " he said with a wink.

Myranda weathered the unwelcome compliment for the sake of the deal she hoped to make.

"I think this sword will pique your interest, " she said.

Myranda pulled the ragged cloth from her prize and carefully watched the merchant's face. His eyes widened briefly in astonishment, but dropped quickly back to their cool and sullen state. Now the game would begin. Uncle Edward's advice often echoed in the place of her mother's in Myranda's head, and when it came to haggling, he had a wealth of advice to give: "The only difference between a ten-copper price and a five is confidence. You can give them the most unreasonable of prices, but if you are confident about it, that price will not move an inch."

For Myranda an additional requirement arose that made her perhaps a bit less of a skilled bargainer. Certainly confidence wa

older, and stinging pieces of ice were hurled into her face by a swiftly stiffening wind. She pulled her tattered hood forward and leaned into the wind, which blew out of the southeast. She had only just reached the fork when the wind began to carry not only snow from the ground, but also fresh flakes from the sky. She took the left turn and exposed her right cheek to the blustery assault that the left had thus far endured. The cold bothered her little, her mind locked instead on the consequences it brought with it.

A snowfall alone would slow her, so long as there was little wind. Likewise, wind alone was more an annoyance than a threat. Together, though, they were deadly. The wind and snow were growing in intensity with equal ferocity. If she did not get a roof over her head soon, all of that bargaining would have been wasted. Periodically, a gust came so strong it stopped her in her tracks. Myranda closed her mouth and breathed through her nose, longing to gasp but knowing that air this frigid could tear at her insides if she didn't warm it first.

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