Shadewell Shenanigans

Shadewell Shenanigans by David Lee Stone

Book: Shadewell Shenanigans by David Lee Stone Read Free Book Online
Authors: David Lee Stone
Stump’s hair and pulled him into whispering distance.
    “Get on the back bar,” he said. “And don’t make a noise.”
    “You’re making a big mistake, friend,” said Gordo, shuffling backward in the direction of the river while Loogie advanced on him. “We never forget a face.”
    The gangster gave a lopsided shrug. “I don’t make mistakes, and you’re not my friends. Now drop your weapons and get to the edge of the jetty. ALL OF YOU.”
    Gordo threw down his battle-axe and reversed until he bumped into Gape, who’d turned his back on the threats of the splashing boatman to face the greater threat from the gangster. Groan, on the other hand, hadn’t moved an inch.
    “AND YOU.” Loogie leveled the pistol at Groan, his grin melting away. “MOVE YER BONES.”
    Groan spat on the gangster’s boots. “Make me.”
    “I beg your pardon?”
    “You ’erd.”
    “Don’t be stupid, Groan!” Gordo shouted, beginning to wish he hadn’t dropped his axe. “He’s got a bloody pistol!”
    The giant barbarian shrugged. “He looks ’armless to me. Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!”
    There was an unnerving click.
    “Don’t push me,” Loogie muttered. “I’m warning you.”
    Groan flexed his considerable chest muscles. “C’mon then,” he said. “Do ya worst.”
    After that, five things happened very quickly: Groan dropped onto his knees and rolled forward, his brother gave a shrill whistle, Loogie fired his pistol, Gordo dived backward into the river, and Gape’s two enchanted swords shot out of the ground and decapitated the gangster.
    Loogie’s head toppled off his shoulders and rolled along the ground.
    “Damn you to hell!” it said.

Part Two
The Truth

Eleven
    “T HIS IS RIDICULOUS,” GAPE said, rowing the little boat across the Washin. By some miracle (and despite the fact that the boat was obviously a two-seater), they’d all managed to cram in. Still, it was a tight squeeze, especially with Groan sprawled over the bench, fast asleep.
    “What is?” Gordo muttered, sniffing miserably and wringing out his plaited beard. “If you’ve got something to say, why don’t you just say it?”
    Gape brought the oars level and allowed the water to settle. “Well,” he started. “First you bring this idiot along for the ride—”
    “—because of what the innkeeper told us.”
    “And what was that, exactly?”
    Gordo rolled his eyes. “He’s Craven’s nephew! I thought that having him along might give us some leverage in Rintintetly!”
    “Ahh, of course! But then he turned out to be some kind of creature and grew a brother—”
    “Yes, as you are very well aware.”
    “And then you cut his arm off?”
    “You know I did.”
    “So why have we still got his head, exactly?”
    Gordo ignored Gape’s thumbed reference to the bloodied bundle of cloth beside his leg, and sighed in an attempt to ebb his rising temper. “Because he’s still alive! You saw him speaking!”
    “I did,” the warrior confirmed. “Yet I fail to see how carrying the decapitated head of Craven’s long-lost nephew into Rintintetly is going to get us sufficiently on the count’s good side for him to then give up his wife’s wedding ring.”
    “Don’t be funny, Gape. It doesn’t suit you.”
    “I’m being serious, GORDO.” He seized hold of the oars and began to row again, with smooth, easy strokes. After a while, he put on a silly voice and mimicked: “Lord Craven, we have traveled far to get to your fair city. We know that you are a terrible, murdering tyrant, who bathes in the blood of chickens, but we’re hoping that you might take pity on us and, perchance, give us your new wife’s wedding ring, in return for which we will reunite you with your long-lost nephew’s … decapitated head. It still talks, so I’m sure you can get any outstanding family problems ironed out, and besides, if you can’t, you can always use him as a football.”
    The silence that followed was abruptly broken by a muffled expletive from

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