Cry for the Wolf, Chapter 6. by Richard Walker

(Page 3 of 18)

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They emerged from the Peacock late in the afternoon, fleeing the catcalls and laughter of the master of the inn and all the patrons. They had apparently given them much entertainment, and they hadn't even had to try.
Coris suddenly pulled his pony up short by the reins. He had finally had enough.
"That's IT!"
"Whatâs it?"
"Mallos, I've had enough. You're coming along wi' me."
"Don't be ridiculous, there must be all of three or four inns we've yet to try."
"No. It's durned near to sundown and I'll not do it. Can't ye get it into your thick head that there aren't any rooms to let in this town? I doubt there are any within three score miles!"
"Listen, my brush-faced friend, when I have ascertained for myself that what you say is true, then I will consider making of myself a blasphemous burden to your oh-so-religious family!"
"I tire of this ludicrous search! My family expected me last week, but here I stand, dead on my feet with trying to find a room for ye - any room! - much less one that will suit your lace and perfume tastes. A room that I know is no more to be found than a pearl in a cask of peas, if it exists at all in this town!! I will hear no more of your feeble protests! We are going to the dwarfish quarter and get a bath and a hot meal right now!"
Mallos faced off with his short friend, looking down the graceful slope of his aristocratic nose at his broad, stunted traveling companion, eyebrows climbing.
"Lace and perfume tastes! Feeble protests!! Listen here, short shrift! You are the one who spun nothing but religious fables as yarns on the road! I thank you for the knowledge that you shared, but you did nothing if not impress upon me the religious differences that divide your people from the rest of the world. I would no more impose upon your father's hospitality than I would dance a peasantâs Hole-in-the-Wall in the elf king's court in Færie Land!"
"Færie Land be damned! And my father and his stiff-necked priest along with it! I will not let my father and your lack of one stand in the way of our friendship! He's got more rooms in that house than we could fill in five generations and you're staying with us if I have to knock ye cold and carry ye!"
"Damn Færieland? Hah!! The only reason you're so bold with those words is that we're standing in the middle of a city of men! Let's hear you repeat that within earshot of the boughs of the Dapplewood!" He stopped short, "Wait a minute. What was that you said about your father's priest?"
Suddenly it dawned upon the pair that the crowd immediately about them had quieted down, relatively speaking, And then that they had been standing out in the middle of the square screaming at each other at the top of their lungs, which seemed to be carrying over the immediate uproar more than well enough. And that they were now in the midst of a ring of eyes focused upon them.
"Never mind!" Coris grated, pulling Mallos' face down to a more comfortable height by his collar. "Just shut your bloody gob, yer coming with me!" Coris let go and pushed Mallos towards his horse, then mounted his own sturdy pony.

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