The Girl With The Bow
Book One in the Nyla Series
(C) 2013, 2016 Adam Cole
Published by Nuncici Press, an imprint of Adam Cole Works LLC
“I’m Vival,” said Vival, finding it hard not to answer her right away. “This is Nyla.”
The woman looked at the child and the sternness softened a little. “What are you doing in my room?”
“Sherluck brought us here,” Nyla said. “He told us this was his room. Are those your dresses?”
At the mention of Sherluck, the woman hunched her shoulders a little. Her brow creased in irritation. “Why does that not surprise me?” she said to herself.
“He told us you were a previous tenant,” Nyla went on, before Vival could stop her.
The woman frowned and looked as though she was incredibly tired of being angry. “He would,” she said. She was a head shorter than Vival, wearing a dress very much like the three on the wire. She was beautifully shaped, well proportioned from every angle. Her lips came together in the shape of a soft crimson bow beneath her long tan face. Her auburn hair was thick and lush, though it seemed it could have used a wash. “Well,” she finally said, looking at the two of them. “What did he want with you?”
“We paid his bar tab,” Nyla hastened on. Somehow she always managed to speak before Vival could even take a breath. “He was going to help us get off the island.”
“But now he’s gone,” Vival finally put in.
“Then I suppose I’ll have to help you find him,” the woman said.
“Who are you?” Nyla asked.
“My name is Chere.”
“Is Sherluck your husband?”
“No,” she sighed. “I never see him, really. We just hang around the same places.”
“But you share a room,” Vival ventured.
“If you can call it that,” Chere said. “Look, if Sherluck promised to get you off this island, I’m going to make it my business to put you in front of him. He has a problem about making promises to people…”
Chere walked towards the door, opened it and looked at them expectantly. She watched critically as Nyla hobbled across the room. “What’s the matter with you?” she asked.
“My feet hurt. And I’m hungry,” Nyla added.
Chere nodded, looking thoughtful. “We’ll find some breakfast. Then we’ll find some jerk named Sherluck.”
The main street that sloped up through town was only marginally more pleasant in the daylight. The dawn colored the cobblestones a fire-brick red, not quite cheerful but warmer nonetheless. The fog had lifted. Far above, at a place where the road ended, sat a small, grim fort.
“That’s Fort Poleo,” Chere said, seeing where Vival and Nyla’s eyes went. “It’s falling apart, so it isn’t in use anymore. At least not by soldiers.”
Before either of them could ask Chere what she meant, she led them down the street towards the bay. The fog having lifted, it was now visible, looking a lot like Vival had expected: largely empty. A few rotten fishing boats were moored off a grimy pier. Further away, a single large boat slept in the middle of the harbor.
“That’s the kind of boat we need!” Vival said.
“You’ll need some luck getting on it,” Chere said with a twist of her mouth. “That belongs to The Goon.”
“That’s his ship?” Nyla repeated.
“Yep. He knows about the reputation of this town. He’s been using it as a shield for his not-so-nice activities for quite some time. He lives on that ship, and I don’t think he takes passengers.”
“Doesn’t anyone else ever sail into this harbor?” Nyla asked.
Chere looked at Nyla as though she were crazy. “Anyone stupid enough to want to come to Veer Isle is either a robber or a hero,” she said contemptuously. “Robbers die quick deaths at the hands of the Goon.”
Vival couldn’t resist asking: “What about heroes?”
“Heroes die slow deaths,” Chere replied.
More about The Girl With The Bow
When Vival, Knight of the Fittest, risked his life to rescue the princess from Veer Isle, he never thought he’d be the one who needed to be rescued. And to make matters worse, the girl he was helping didn’t want to leave! The first book in the Nyla series introduces Vival, Knight of the Fittest, Tom the Incredibly Helpful Sword, two mysterious island dwellers named Cher and Sherluck, and Nyla, the mysterious girl with the bow.
Adam Cole is an author and music educator in Atlanta, GA. He has written numerous books and stories for children, as well as a number of adult and non-fiction titles including The Speed of Darkness and Seven Ways the World Can End.
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