Episode 21: Buying Thunder

To Isabelle, the town hall seemed a lot smaller the second time around. Once nearly everyone was there, however, it was clear how little space they took up. Even Max's footmen standing in a flying wedge formation behind him didn't fill much space. Orlaith and Percy sat at opposite ends of the same bench, eyeing each other suspiciously. Stretched out between them was the sleeping Thunder. Isabelle chose a seat up front.

After a moment, Arthur emerged from a small door in the front wall, near the podium. A second man followed him out, still wearing the black tabard and brown leather armor that he had worn at the meeting. Arthur threw the long, black reserve item from the caravan at the sleeping Silent Thunder.

Thunder's hand shot up and caught it. "What's this?" he asked sleepily.

"Your pay for accepting this mission."

"I don't recall accepting any mission."

"Look at the sword."

Thunder did so. After a moment he sat up and looked at it more closely. "Oh . . . my . . . god . . . Is this what I think it is?"

"If you're thinking that it's Soulless Shadow then you're right."

"And I get to keep this?"

"You get to use it for exactly one year starting today, if you accept this mission."

"Hmm. If I don't get to keep the sword then I want five-hundred-thousand when this is over."

Isabelle blinked. She was only getting 1% of that fee. Maybe it was time to re-negotiate her contract.

"A quarter of a million, final."

"Oh, all right. I might as well."

"Good; now pay attention."