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
Vival considered this as they made their way down the steep street. The sign with the angry pig came swinging into view. To Vival’s discomfort, Chere moved towards it. “Uh,” he said, remembering that the proprietor now owned a worthless dagger. “Maybe we could find somewhere else?”
Chere now gave Vival the look she had just given Nyla. “How long have you been in town?” she asked. “This is the only place to get a meal!”
The tables were empty at this time of the morning. The proprietor was wiping one of them as they came in. “Barkey,” Chere called out.
The short man turned to look over his rounded shoulder. Upon seeing Nyla and Vival he stood up rapidly. Vival felt his heart beating more quickly.
“Chere!” he said. “You know these people?”
“They’re friends of mine,” Chere agreed. “They need something to eat.”
Barkey glared at Vival. “That one traded me Sherluck’s bar tab for a piece of iron.”
“Well, it’s Sherluck who owes you still, not him!” Chere argued. “Anyway, you were a fool to mistake iron for gold.” Barkey scowled and appeared to be unwilling to move. “Look,” Chere said, softening her tone. “Just feed the girl. She’s young and she hasn’t eaten in forever.” She moved over to Barkey and laid a hand on his bald head, stroking it gently. “I’ll pay you for it later…somehow. Hmmm?”
Barkey softened noticeably at Chere’s touch. Looking hopefully at her, he nodded and headed for a swinging door. Soon the sound of pots and pans banging together could be heard from the other room.
Chere sat down at a table still shiny from being wet. “He’s actually the most soft-hearted man in this terrible town. Which isn’t saying much,” she added, looking Vival in the eye. “Still…”
Barkey returned with several plates of passable viands which he laid on the table in front of Chere. Nyla quickly sat down and started wolfing the food. Vival waited for a while until Nyla slowed down, then began picking through what was left.
After a while, Barkey came in the room and stood by the door, scowling again, as if he didn’t want to be caught doing an act of kindness.
“Barkey!” Chere spoke up after a while. The proprietor straightened up at the sound of his name. “What do you suppose Sherluck is up to?”
“If you mean gambling,” growled Barkey, “I’ve heard tell he’s in mighty deep, owes the Goon big and intends to make it back in a game this afternoon.”
Chere nodded. “Who in this town still trusts him enough to play with him?”
The barkeep stroked his chin, considering. “Well, the Goon brings in clients to see the island from time to time, and I think Sherluck and him have an agreement.”
Chere considered. “Any idea where that game is going to be?”
The proprietor shrunk away. “Not yet. But I can find out.”
Chere smiled at him. “Would you, Barkey?” she asked sweetly. “I’d be forever grateful!”
Barkey replied with a hideous attempt at a smile of his own and quickly retreated into the kitchen.
“Let’s go,” said Chere simply. “We’d best clear out of town for a while and let Barkey do his business. Later, I’ll come back to pick us up some lunch and we’ll find out what Sherluck is up to.
They wandered around the fields in the shadow of Mount Ingfier for a while. The island in good weather was almost pleasant, except for the endless mosquito attacks. The little harbor down below looked much nicer from a distance.
“How’d you wind up on this island?” Vival asked her.
“Sherluck brought me,” she replied.
“You two a couple?” Nyla wanted to know.
Chere smiled bitterly. “Sort of,” she said. “I suppose you could say that.”
“So he tricked you into coming here?” Nyla pressed.
“He doesn’t really have to trick me,” Chere said. “I have to go where he goes.”
“We share a common interest,” Chere replied with a smug little smile.
“Why did Sherluck come, then?” Vival wanted to know.
“Well…” Chere said thoughtfully, sitting down in some tall grass on top of a hillock. “He has a major problem he can’t get rid of, and he heard there was a solution on Veer Isle. A potion, to be exact. So he brought us here.”
“Did he find it?” Nyla asked.
“Well, sort of,” said Chere. “He found out that the source of the potion is with the people under the mountain. What he didn’t know was that the Overreacher controlled it completely. Sherluck is careless sometimes, but he’s not stupid. He’s not about to go anywhere near that terror.”
“But we got rid of the Overreacher!” exclaimed Nyla.
Chere sat up suddenly. “What?”
“We got rid of him! I mean, Vival did.”
“What did you say?” Chere repeated, getting to her feet. She approached Vival and looked him in the eyes, putting her delicate hands on the front of his shoulders. Vival felt his knees go weak. Nyla frowned.
“It’s…true…” Vival managed to say. “At least I think it is…we summoned the Lich King and they were fighting when we left…when we escaped…”
Chere looked at Vival with a mixture of confusion and delight. She seemed too distracted by the news that the Overreacher might be gone to ask about the details. “Well, then…” she stammered. “He could get it now…we could get it…this could be what we’ve been looking for!”
“We should find him and tell him!” cried Nyla, getting between Vival and Chere and looking into the woman’s face.
“I agree,” said Chere. “He’ll definitely want to know this. Look, I’m going to go back into town and ask Barkey what he’s found out. You two stay here until I return! I shouldn’t be long.”
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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