The Viper's Fangs (Book 2)

The Viper's Fangs (Book 2) by Robert P. Hansen

Book: The Viper's Fangs (Book 2) by Robert P. Hansen Read Free Book Online
Authors: Robert P. Hansen
reduce the
likelihood of a run-in. His status as a wizard would help, too, if they noticed
it. He would have to make sure they noticed.
    He went up to the counter well away from the other customers
and patiently waited for the barkeep, who scowled and pointed at a stool near
the others. Fanzool shook his head and sat down; it would be better to have some
privacy. He recognized the barkeep—a plump old man with stains on his apron and
beer foam in his moustache—from his vision of Angus, and waited for him to
hobble over to him. He had a noticeable limp, one that forced him to lean heavily
against the counter for support, and Fanzool almost felt sorry for making him
walk so far. But privacy was more important than the barkeep’s discomfort, and
he would pay him well enough to compensate for the extra effort.
    “Well?” the barkeep grumbled, his voice gruff, scratchy, and
deep.
    Fanzool waited until he was a bit closer and then took out a
few silver coins. “A little information and warm mead,” he said. “I’ll have the
information here and the mead at a table. Then a meal, a room for the night, and
a hot bath.”
    “Three silvers for the room and bath,” The barkeep said. “Another
for the mead and meal. It’s a hearty stew that will fill your belly well. We’ll
negotiate for the information.”
    “I believe you were here some months ago when a certain
wizard stayed here,” Fanzool said. “He was wearing a black robe, had scruffy
black hair, beard, and moustache. Early thirties, maybe five and a half feet
tall. A bit thin.”
    The barkeep shrugged and moved his tongue around in his
mouth. “What of it?” he asked.
    “He goes by the name of Angus,” Fanzool said. “It is
important that I find him. Would you know where he might be?” He didn’t expect
the barkeep to know, but he had to ask. He was thorough that way.
    “No,” the barkeep said. “He was here and gone the same
night. He said nothing about where he was going or where he had been. He kept
to himself, except for when he blinded the thief.”
    Fanzool raised his eyebrows. “He blinded a thief?”
    The barkeep scowled. “That’s what I said.”
    “Interesting,” he said. “Do you recall what table he sat
at?”
    The barkeep laughed and turned away. “I’ll get your mead,”
he said as he began shuffling away.
    “The room,” Fanzool said, a bit louder than he wanted. The
barkeep paused and looked over his shoulder. “If you remember which one he
stayed in, and if it’s available, I’d like to have it for the night.”
    The barkeep shrugged and kept hobbling down the counter.
    Fanzool made his way to a small table in a corner and waited
for the mead to arrive. When it did, he sipped it, letting the warmth run into
his body until the large bowl of stew was brought to his table. Then the
barkeep tossed him a key and said, “That’s the room he stayed in. We’ll heat up
the water for your bath, and when it’s ready, I’ll send the wench for you.
She’ll show you which one it is.”
    Fanzool nodded his thanks and continued his meal. When he
was finished, he sat back and studied the people who had been studying him.
There were only two who might be tempted to risk infiltrating a wizard’s room,
and they looked difficult to handle. But he wasn’t concerned; they could be
reasoned with if need be.
    He sipped the last of his mead and ordered a second. He was
nearly finished with it when the serving wench told him his bath was ready. He
followed her to the small room that contained a bathtub filled of steaming
water, a small table, soap, and towels. He set his half-finished mead on the
table and thanked her. After she left, he took a nice long bath that freed his
body of the grit and cold that had followed him all the way across the plain.
When he finished, he felt more refreshed and cleaner than he had been in a very
long time. When he got out of the bathtub, he decided to use the water to wash
his clothes, and when he finished, he

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