The Serpent’s Map (Part XI)

Posted: March 29, 2018 in Fiction, The Serpent's Map, Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,

This picks up from here.

A few days later, sitting in an open air café, the trio gather. Ramiro tosses two pouches onto the table in front of Viktoria and Graciano, accompanied by his lop-sided smile as he slumps into his chair and calls for a mug of fortified wine.

“Think they’ll try to find us?” Graciano asks.

Ramiro shrugs. “Maybe? I don’t intend to stick around long enough to find out. That little sloop we liberated is a fine ship, and well suited to my purposes. My share is enough seed to start a new venture, though I’ll probably stick to small, easily transported goods from now on. What about you?”

Viktoria shakes her head and sips from a small porcelain cup. Graciano gets a whiff of the bitter chocolate drink, a new libation starting to become popular. Still, it was normally prohibitively expensive. “I will go back to my practice, I think.” She smiles, the corners of her eyes crinkling to show it was genuine emotion she was displaying. “I still have patients, and well, I’m sure the two of you will have need of my services in the future.”

“What, you think I can’t forgo getting stabbed?” Graciano asks.

She rolls her eyes, but hides her lips by taking another sip of her drink.

“What about you, Graciano?” Ramiro asks.

The soldier rolls his shoulder and winces. It is still sore where he took the blow, though Viktoria told him it should heal fine. “I, ah, got myself a commission.” He hefts the pouch of coin, weighing it carefully. “I figure most of this will be spent on harness and provisions, but I should be able to buy a few bottles of the good stuff.”

Ramiro whistles low through his teeth and Viktoria’s eyes widen.

“Horse or foot?” she asks.

“Foot,” he responds, and Viktoria’s frown deepens. Ramiro tries to look anywhere but at the two of them.

“So you are going to get stabbed. Again.” She drains the last of her drink, stands up to leave. “In that case, I expect I’ll be seeing you again, but in a purely professional way.”

Graciano opened his mouth to retort, but she’d already swept out of the café with a rustle of her skirts.

“What did I do?” the grizzled soldier asks. He tugs on his moustache, a sure sign of his frustration.

“Did you talk to her before taking the commission?” the smuggler asks, a merry glint in his eye.

“No. Why should I?”

Ramiro sighs and places a hand on Graciano’s soldier. “You are a gifted fighter and a fine soldier, my friend. But let me tell you, you are awful with women. Well, maybe not all women. But most assuredly with that one.” He points in the direction Viktoria had disappeared.

Graciano snorts. “Like you are better?”

Ramiro leans back in his chair, his teeth gleaming as he smiles. “Benefit to my line of work? If I sink a relationship in one port, there is always another.” He leans closer. “But I offer you this free bit of advice, friend: don’t let a woman like that slip away from her.

“When do you report?”

Graciano laughs and shrugs, and calls for another bottle. “Tomorrow.”

Ramiro shakes his head and grins. “Best we celebrate tonight then, for who knows what tomorrow will bring?”

FIN

That’s it folks. Less than 10k words than what I might have originally envisioned, but that’s what I get for not having a roadmap. One of the longer pieces of fiction I’ve written and completed. Not sure yet what I’ll do with it, but think I might make a summer project of going through the collected piece and editing it. I hope you enjoyed it for what it was, and I might even come back to these characters one day, even if it was poorly disguised 7th Sea fanfic. It also means I might finally get off my ass and work more on “No Honor Among Thieves” seeing as that’s been wallowing way too long for comfort.

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