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   Chapter 17 The Best Team in the World

The Slayer By Lady Lilium Characters: 10404

Updated: 2018-07-13 12:04


They eventually reached the home of the wizard.

The man not called Bob stared at them in confusion.

'Is this some sort of joke?' he asked.

'No' Waltz answered slowly. '…Sorry…'

Not Bob regarded the white stag before him. Graham was completely silent.

'I asked you to find my brother' Bob said, 'and this is what you come back to me with?'

'Yeah' Waltz murmured.

Sumaey sighed heavily, crossing her arms and staring away. Behind her Spirit stood mutely.

For some reason the three of them were covered in tiny little cuts and bruises, as if they had been fighting amongst themselves….or something.

'What is this?' Bob demanded.

'Sorry' Waltz said again. 'I should probably explain.'

'You think?' Bob spoke harshly turning to him. 'I demand to know the reason for this insult.'

'It is no insult' Sumaey told him. 'We promise you.' She paused, glancing towards Graham before looking back at not Bob. 'The sorcerer he was apprenticed to found him…' she struggled to find the right words.

'A pain in the arse' Waltz finished flatly.

'Right' Sumaey said. 'Um…to cut a long story short…the sorcerer turned him into…' Sumaey glanced towards Graham again.

'Why does he have cuts and scars over him?' Bob asked.

'Um…' Sumaey said again, reluctant to answer.

'Go on' Bob prompted. 'Tell me, I want to know.'

'To punish him' Sumaey went on, 'the sorcerer turned him into this…then set deerhounds on him.' She paused. 'That is why he was unable to write to you…because….he was hiding in the woods for quite some time, and you know…it would be hard to hold a quill….the way he…'

She trailed off.

Bob frowned deeply at this, suddenly greatly concerned.

'How do I know this is really my brother?' he asked.

'Is there something you could do to communicate to him?' Waltz asked Graham. 'A sigh perhaps that only he would recognise?'

Graham didn't move.

'Come on Graham' Sumaey prompted. 'He's your brother, he's missed you. He's been worried about you for a long time…that's why he sent us to find you.'

The white stag raised his head slightly, reluctantly meeting not Bob's eyes.

'Please?' Sumaey asked nicely. 'He won't care that you're like this. I promise.'

'Come on Graham' Waltz added. 'There must be a way for you to show him that it's really you.'

The stag lowered his head, staring at the floor. He thought for a moment, then he collapsed on the floor, lying on his back with his legs folded and his right front leg pointed to the ceiling.

Everyone in the room stared in surprise, and then Bob threw his head back, laughing deeply.

'Graham' he sighed happily. 'So it is you!'

'What the hell was that?' Waltz asked as Graham picked himself off the floor.

'Before he died' Bob answered with amusement, 'our father was an astrologist. We were all fascinated by the stars. We had a dog at the time. We taught him to lie on his back and point to the sky. Just for fun.'

'Oh' Waltz said.

'I'm sorry this has happened to you' Bob said to Graham, leaning forward to speak to him. 'But you've gotta admit, you probably deserved it.'

Graham said nothing.

'Can he speak?' Bob asked the others.

'No' Waltz replied. 'The sorcerer told us he is unable.'

'Why does he small of strawberries?' Bob asked.

'Um…' Waltz began, 'to make him easier for his hounds to track, the sorcerer made him spell strongly of sour milk. When he brought him back the sorcerer as a kindness changed the smell to strawberries.'

'Hu' Bob said straightening again. 'He has a sense of humour then.'

'I think he would like to be returned to his original form' Sumaey suggested politely.

Bob glanced down at his brother, reaching forwards to touch the stag's white fur.

'I'm sorry' he said, 'but I do not have the power. My master would likely be able to however…but I don't know where he is, and he likely won't be back for a very long time.'

He stared down at the white stag with sad eyes, Graham stared back levelly.

'I wish there was something I could do' Bob sighed. He glanced up at the others now. 'I know it's terribly rude of me, but I'm afraid I must do this.'

'Do what?' Waltz asked nervously.

'I have a request. I know it's a lot to ask, but it might be appropriate.'

'What?' Waltz said again.

'Would you allow Graham into the new guild you are trying to form?'

'No' Waltz said, at the exact same time that Sumaey said 'yes.'

They glanced at each other.

'He's a stubborn pain in the ass' Waltz protested.

'That he is' Bob nodded. 'I won't argue with that.'

'We don't want him' Waltz answered shortly.

'Why not?' Sumaey argued glaring at him angrily. 'You want to form your own guild don't you? Stop being picky.'

'I'm not being picky' Waltz agued.

'Yes you are.'

Waltz furrowed his brow. 'He's a stubborn pain in the ass' he repeated.

'So are you' Sumaey countered.

'Yeah but I'm in charge.'

'We've been through this.'

'I'll consider it in exchange for a horse' Waltz said speaking to Bob now.

'What?' Bob said. 'But I already gave you one.'

'We lost it' Waltz told him. 'Well actually…' he glanced towards Spirit, 'he scared it away.'

Bob glanced

at the water elemental. Spirit did not react as he stared back at him.

'You followed them' Bob said. 'You seem to have formed a strange attachment to Sumaey.' He paused. 'I'm afraid I cannot give you another horse. That was my only one.'

'What?'

'Too bad' Bob said.

Waltz gritted his teeth angrily, balling his fists. 'I don't think Graham would want to join us anyway' he said.

'Does he not?' Bob glanced down at him. 'Well it's his best chance to find a way to change himself back. As I said, it would likely be a very long time until my master returns. Your new guild you are trying to form' he said addressing Waltz now, 'would no doubt be travelling far and wide. You might even find someone who could help him, and help Sumaey regain her memory as to who she really is and where she came from.'

Waltz grimaced as Sumaey suddenly looked interested.

'He would be a liability' Waltz complained.

'Alright' Bob said, 'how about this? In exchange for taking him on, I will give you a gift that you could potentially count as another member of your guild. Then you would only be one member short to being able to officially register your new guild.'

'What gift?' Waltz asked, his curiosity peaked now.

'I'll have to find it' Bob said distractedly, scratching at his chin. 'Give me a moment.'

He went into the next room, Sumaey and Waltz stepped forward curiously to watch as he rummaged through the dark room.

'I haven't been in this room for ages' Bob said absent-mindedly as he moved through the room, searching for something. 'This is more of a storage room than anything else' he went on, 'my master over a long period of time has left things here when he doesn't know what else to do with them, or when has lost interest in them.' He seemed to find what he was looking for, grabbing hold of it and dragging across the floor back to where the others waited patiently. It sounded heavy, sounded metallic.

The room he had brought it from was pitch black, nothing inside could be seen, and as the others gazed down at Bob as he knelt before the thing he dragged, they saw as he wiped the thick layer of dust from it, the thing come to life.

'His name is Loxus' Bob smiled down at it, 'and he has been here for a very long time.'

The best way to describe the thing that sat before them, curling its legs to stand and lifting its tail as it pushed itself up, would be a steam punk spider-scorpion, with blank eyes and a lantern hanging from the end of its tail.

(Please refer to the cover)

'What is it?' Waltz asked, arching his eyebrow.

'It is a curiosity' Bob replied with a smile, 'and you can have it, as long as you agree to accept my brother into the guild you are trying to form.'

Sumaey and Spirit watched Waltz expectedly as he stared down at the thing.

'What does it do?' he asked Bob uncertainly.

'Many things' Bob replied vaguely. 'You will find out in time. It has the same level of intelligence as most people' he said, 'and can understand every word we speak right now.'

Waltz glanced back down at the thing that stood there on the floor calmly before them.

He frowned uncertainly.

'I don't know' he said. 'This wasn't really what I was expecting to get when I first thought of forming my own guild.'

Bob smiled at that. 'All great things have started small' he said. 'Just think of who you admire most in this world.'

Waltz thought who that might be, and then he realised.

The strongest guild recognised by the bureau in this kingdom. They had just three members. But together, they had almost god-like powers, and were practically indestructible and invincible and immortal all at the same time.

'I want to succeed' Waltz whispered, balling his fists and trembling with excitement. 'I want to be great like they are.'

He stared down at the strange mechanical thing.

He was more curious about it than anything else, and decided suddenly that he wanted to see what it could do.

'Fine' he said at last. 'I will take both of them.'

'Excellent' Bob beamed merrily. 'I think you will be very happy indeed.'

Waltz glanced down at the thing.

'Um…' he began uncertainly. 'Come here boy…'

The spider-lantern raised one of its spindly legs, moving very slowly forwards. It stopped right before him.

'He might be a little stiff at first' Bob said. 'He hasn't moved in quite a long time. You might want to oil his joins and give him a polish, then he should be good to go.'

'Alright' Waltz said. 'I accept.'

'You will all have wonderful adventures together' Bob declared. 'I just know it.'

He surveyed the group with amusement then, looking at them closely each in turn.

He spoke.

'A warrior, a woman who fell from the sky and does not know who she is, a failed apprentice to a sorcerer who is disguised as a deer, a water elemental who has lost his loved ones, and a piece of scrap metal masquerading as a mix between a spider a scorpion and a lantern.' He smirked playfully to himself, greatly amused. 'What a team you will make.'

'How droll' Waltz replied flatly, crossing his arms. 'How droll. Why do I suspect you are engaging in some private joke at our expense?'

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