Short Story: Shortest. Job. Ever.

Tina rifled through the photographs in her hand, all of the same person: a young girl, couldn’t have been older than fifteen. Not what many societies would consider pretty, but the residents of Windermere had learned to discard such bullshit long before they’d found the system of verdant moons that came to be dubbed the Lake District.

“My fee is three hundred crowns daily.” Tina finally said, breaking the few minutes of silence that pervaded as she memorised each photo carefully. She looked up to her client, an elderly man with three prongs of neatly trimmed and shaped facial hair that wouldn’t have looked out of place in Earth’s Old West.

The man, resting his chin against interlocked hands, arched one brow. “Three hundred daily? I’ve had cheaper offers.”

“I could have sworn you said my reputation preceded me just a few minutes ago.” she sighed. “And if that’s true, Mr. Clark, you’d know that I get the job done quicker than most of the cut-price slackers that call themselves hunters in this system.”

Clark nodded, a silent sign that he conceded that point. “Very well. Three hundred crowns daily. Plus expenses. Deal?”

Tina smirked, and the two shook hands. “Deal. And it just so happens that I’ve already found your daughter.”

“What?” Clark barked. He tried to pull his hand away, but to call the newly-hired hunter’s grip iron was the ultimate understatement. It was titanium. Behind her, the door swung open, lashing out at a decorative table playing host to a vase of false daffodils. The vase became the first casualty of the job. “What’s the meaning of this?”

Tina glanced behind her, offering a curt nod to her partner as she stepped through the open doorway. Molly Clark, the girl in the photos, wrapped her arms around the other hunter’s neck as if letting go would be the last mistake of her life, all the while staring the sharpest of daggers at her father.

“Basement, Bette?” she asked.

Bette smirked. “Just like you said, boss. A bit distraught, but otherwise unharmed.”

Tina returned her attention to Mr. Clark and tightened her augmented grip on the man’s arm. Though he didn’t scream, his agony was written all over his face.

“Well, this might just be the shortest job I’ve ever taken.” the hunter grinned as her eyes began to glow a demonic red. “But sending me on a wild goose chase, which I’m assuming was a plot to tarnish my reputation, is also going to prove your most costly mistake.”

Creative Commons Licence
This short story is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Short Story: Pulling a Fast One

He was getting tired now. The fighter’s strength was diminishing by the second, and he could feel the drain on every swing of his greatsword. His self-healing abilities were all used up and too far away from fully recharging in time to save him. In spite of this, however, he pressed on, hacking away at the small army of critters that had surrounded him at all sides, determined to end this increasingly hopeless battle in his favour. There were only a few left, he noted. Victory was fast becoming within reach.

The fighter hefted his weapon high above his head and brought it down upon the crab-like monster before him, splitting the accursed thing in half like a hot knife through butter. A second crab charged him with alarming haste, only to run straight into the heel of his tarnished steel boot, a blow which knocked it back onto a nearby fire that had been kindled some time before the hero’s arrival. He turned to the third monster, realising all too late that it had crept up on him unchecked. Obsidian pincers snapped at the mail protecting his lower torso and tore it apart like wet parchment, as it did the flesh beneath. Undeterred by the new wound, even as his once-silvery leggings turned a glistening red, the fighter hopped back to bring himself alongside the greatsword he had embedded in his first foe and, grabbing the hilt, yanked it from the corpse and lifted it above his head again.

Just as he was about to strike, however, a blue flash caught his eye. Both man and monster halted on the spot to observe another human, draped in muddied robes befitting a field mage, fleeing with the speed of a cheetah. Soon they both discovered what he was running from: another herd of crab-like creatures rushing by in hot pursuit before finally giving up the chase. They turned, as if ready to return to the natural routine they observed before the wizard had disturbed them, but soon laid what passed for eyes upon the fighter. Man and monster alike watched one another for a brief moment before the grim realisation of his situation finally dawned upon the hero: he wasn’t getting out of this alive.

The hero respawned at a nearby checkpoint, just at the mouth of the cave where he met his demise. He took a moment to check his equipment, which sustained a little damage in his fall and, as a result, had lost some of its effectiveness. Determining that the loss was no reason to return to town for repairs, he headed back into its deep dark depths again. The mage rushed by him once more, followed by yet another group of infuriated crabs.

She was getting tired now. The fighter’s strength was diminishing by the second, and she could feel the drain on every swing of her axe. Her self-healing abilities were all used up and too far away from fully recharging in time to save her. In spite of this, however, she pressed on, hacking away at the small army of critters that had surrounded her at all sides, determined to end this increasingly hopeless battle in her favour. There were only a few left, she noted. Victory was fast becoming within reach.

The fighter lifted her axe above her head, but before she could bring it down upon the crab-like monster before her, a voice from the distant darkness unleashed an almighty string of profane language that echoed across the cavern, distracting the hero just long enough for her foes to strike before she could realise the fatal error.

Whoever that bastard was, she thought to herself as she returned to the respawn point, he was so getting the repair bill.

Author’s note: Just something that’s been sitting in my head after a few daft experiences in Guild Wars 2. It’s probably better suited to a webcomic, but I barely have the patience to draw a sloppy bar chart these days.

Creative Commons Licence
This short story is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.