When I ditched my cushy arranged marriage to become an adventurer, I did not picture myself walking through the sewers of Anglachel. For the first time since coming to this world, the formal dinners and diplomatic trips seemed more appealing than what I was doing now. Walking through literal shit will do that to a person.
We ended up on this job a few months after The Scourge joined up with Traci and me. I couldn’t tell what was harder to believe. The fact that one of my former enemies had become one of my closest friends or that I liked that friend enough actually to call him something as ridiculous as “The Scourge.” What can I say? The little guy grows on ya’.
After the election, political bodyguard work had pretty much dried up. That meant that we had to start doing extermination jobs again. This one actually came from the first guy I’d met upon coming to Galevyn. Thank the gods he didn’t remember me after I’d changed out of my ball gown. It turns out princesses are like everyone else. His name turned out to be Kyle Stringer, and his establishment had been experiencing an infestation of slugs. He said that they were mostly contained to the cellar, but every now and then, one of the sticky fellers made their way onto a table, and the patrons were not into it.
One thing led to another. We noticed the slugs were coming out of a hole that led to a much larger chamber under the tavern. We broke through and found ourselves in the sewers of the largest city in all of Galevyn. It smells exactly how you think it would. We saw a long string of slugs all headed to Stringer’s place. We knew the most logical thing to do was to follow the slugs. Hence the wading through humanoid waste.
“Hey Scourge, how much longer do you think we need to go?” I asked.
“Why the hells are you asking me?” The Scourge replied.
“I don’t know. You just strike me as a guy that would go creeping around in sewers,” I explained.
“That feels like an insult,” The Scourge said, smiling. He knew I didn’t actually mean anything by it. I shrugged in his direction to complete the bit. Traci shook her head.
“This pipe should open up in a bit. We’re getting pretty close to the center of the sewer system,” Traci said.
“How did you know that?” I asked.
“Even I’m a little surprised at that one,” The scourge admitted.
“At Arcana University, they would have the teleport students practice in the sewers. They’d have us memorize the maps and try to teleport to specific points without having actually been there. I’ve not been here before, but I’ve definitely been forced to memorize the map,” Traci said.
“I’m impressed, babe. I’d kiss you if we didn’t both look and smell like shit,” I complimented.
“Thank the gods for small favors,” The Scourge quipped.
“I know you love us,” I said to The Scourge, ruffling his hair through his hood.
“Did you just get feces all over my cloak?” He complained.
“Maybe,” I said matter-of-factly. All three of us laughed. It felt good to have people to be myself around. I take back what I said about preferring to be in an arranged marriage.
We heard a loud roar ahead. We also noticed that the sewer water was getting harder to walk through.
“What was that?” Traci asked.
“Beats me. I still don’t even know all the different kinds of people here, much less the monster,” I said.
“It can’t be a dragon, right?” The Scourge said skeptically. “Do you think the thicker wastewater could be a clue?”
I looked down and noticed that it was actually getting thicker. It was just slushy like it was partially frozen. I also noticed a number of slugs stuck to the wall, also frozen.
“Ice is everywhere. Is that anything?” I inquired.
“Blue dragons produce a cold aura,” Traci said. “I learned about them in school.”
Things either got even chillier, or I had just shivered at the thought of fighting a dragon. Admittedly, it was scary, but I was actually pretty excited at the prospect of having a real challenge.
“Alright, guys, let’s just accept that this is a dragon. If it’s not, we’ll be better prepared for whatever is there,” I said, trying to get everyone ready for what was ahead.
We crept forward, and the narrow pipe did open up into a large open space. Sitting in the center of the opening was a huge lizard-like creature that I could only presume was a dragon. I didn’t know if we were ready for this, but I had to put on a strong front.
“We’ve got this guy,” I said as we prepared to fight a blue dragon.
These stories serve as inspiration for the upcoming short story collection, Tyranny of the Fey. The collection will be released on August 15th, 2023. You can pre-order it now!