The Gunslinger Swordsman 3rd Assignment: Cruelty and the Beast Chapter 3-7

For the preceding chapters under the “Arcana X” title, click here:  CH.1CH.2 Pt.1CH.2-3CH.3-1CH.3-2CH.3-3CH.3-4CH.3-5, CH.3-6


Jacoby throws the whiskey down his throat. “You can probably guess.” Taking up the bottle, he refills his glass and empties it immediately. “I awoke in the morning. Jemma was gone. Naturally, I told Edgar. I insisted that we go back to the Chateau. He insisted that I was nuts. Told me not to come back to the shop until I got my head on straight. Oh, but that’s not the fun part. Steadman thought it would be a riot to tell everyone at the pub we used to go to. He prodded me to tell my story and stupidly I did. I don’t need to mention what happened after that.”

“You became a laughingstock. And nearly everyone in town thinks you have gone mad,” said Ecks.

“There you go,” says Jacoby. “Now you know my story. And now we have come to the part where you leave with that knowledge.” He then takes up the bottle of whiskey and chugs a good amount of it.

Ecks does not need Jacoby to tell him whether he believes his story or not. The man’s attitude has said enough. The scraggly-haired man has told his tale time and time again, and each time he has been called a fibber, a deceiver, a fabulist, a charlatan. He expected Ecks to do the same, but not before Jacoby befuddled him. He has heard enough ridicule and wishes to hear no more.

“You don’t need to worry. I’m not gonna say anything,” Ecks assures him.

Jacoby, however, is not unfamiliar with that empty promise. He scoffs with contempt and pours more of the bottle down his gullet. “You expect me to believe that shite, then you’re just as daffy as people have made me out to be.”

“I’m still sitting here, aren’t I?” Jacoby looked at the young knight. He saw a steely gaze and a plain expression. Nothing was there to tell him that he would be ridiculed. “But if you want to know what I think,” Ecks offered, “Whether there is truth to your story doesn’t matter to me. What I do believe is that something is happening in this village, and I will find out what it is.” Ecks takes a drink of whiskey. “Along with the disappearances of young maidens. My only question to you is what do you know about it.”

The inquiry rolled sharply from Ecks’ tongue. Jacoby was asked this before but offered no answer. “Sorry, but I don’t know any more than what you’ve already heard. Young maidens mysteriously vanish from both villages without a trace. But what I can tell you is that the Regals of both villages are keeping it under the rug.”

“You suspect them?”

“Not sure. However,” Jacoby paused, casting a suspicious eye while staring at the bottom of his empty glass. “Now that I think about it. The Regals here have been acting kind of strange as of late.”

“How so?”

“Can’t put my finger on it. Something is off.”

“And that’s why I’m here.”

“We. You mean ‘we’, doncha?” Jacoby corrected.

“Not sure what…”

“The pretty blonde you came here with.” Jacoby sips down his whiskey. “I saw you two when you arrived. She’s a pretty young maiden. I’d keep my eye on her if I were you. Least she ends up like the others.”

“Don’t have to worry about that,” Ecks tells Jacoby as he drains the rest of the whiskey bottle down his throat.

“Well…guess that’s it,” Jacoby slurred, staring at the bottles in his three right hands.

Seeing that the scraggly-haired man is likely not coherent enough for further questioning, Ecks eases out of his chair. “Well, thanks for the drink and your help, Jake,” he says as he stood up. “I’ll be seeing ya.”

“Hey,” Jacoby calls to Ecks after he walked a couple of paces. “You really gonna find them girls?”

“Yeah. And what happened to your wife,” Ecks replied.

Jacoby looks up at him.

“A man with a heart as broken as yours couldn’t have made up a story like that. I will find out what is happening in Tulpaar. And I’m not leaving until I do.” With that, Ecks leaves Jacoby to his loneliness and then the inn.

Jacoby milled over what the young Arcana Knight has said. Even if his words are genuine, Jacoby is not quick to accept them. “Don’t make promises, Arcana X.”

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