Chapter 28 - Jason

Chapter 28 - Jason

T.S.S.K. short for The Sparkling Shawl Kitchen. High elves always have to give things eccentric names for no reason and they can’t help but yell them out. It’s why their magic is so outdated. Cast a spell in quiet for once will you. I think I’m still mad at the guy who got me fired. I’ve only been able to get work under the table since then. Nothing continuous or that provided a decent income. But I’m getting by. Enough so that I can stop by and grab a meal. High Elves are so arrogant, but their food is great. They take the best parts from everyone. I guess that’s what happens when you spend hundreds of years trying to take over the world because you believe it’s you’ve been granted this land by your Elven gods. I really need to get over being fired. I’m turning into a racist.

I walk in and take my seat. I place my order on the little digital tablets they have at each table. In honor of my most recent job I’ll order the Dwarven Veal Stew. The Dwarves have surprisingly good food as well. Especially because they’re still insistent on living underground, or trying. That’s a little hard in the city. I heard their country doesn’t have separate cities. There’s one city that goes through a mountain range. If so, that’s crazy. I’d love to see it one day, but I don’t think I’ll be able to afford travel any time soon. I wonder if it’s comfortable for visitors, considering their height and all. They gave me a token on my last job, so I’ll be able to enter through their magic barricade if I do decide to go.

“Hey, where’s our fucking money,” a pair of Orcs burst through the door dressed in furs.

They look like they were still living in one of the Orcish housing communities until recently. Still dressed in furs, but they’ve picked up some city things. One has gold chains, stolen no doubt. Everyone loves gold. History tells us gold powder was used for currency in the past. Then it was gold coins, then dollars backed by gold. Still, gold is a symbol of wealth in any fashion. Orcs don’t use gold for jewelry beyond piercings in my experience. Usually they adorn their weapons with it. They stole these chains from someone and they’re clearly running some kind of extortion business here.

I let them yell back and forth with the owners for a while. They smash up a table, I let it stand. I’m hoping they can solve their own problems. I don’t want anything to do with it. I almost get involved when they smack the old man who works the register and points out pictures of all the famous elves on the wall. But he doesn’t go down, so I don’t get involved. The lady who cooks tries to beat one of the elves with a soup spoon and he smacks her. Now I have to get involved, because I’m not getting my stew today.

“Hey, they don’t have the money. Just leave, you can’t get money from them that they don’t have,” I say looking into the eyes of one of the Orcs.

I’m so glad evolution changed Orcs. History books say they used to be over seven feet tall and had more muscle than a horse. These guys, closer to my height and don’t have the same kind of muscle mass I do. Orc physiology means their bones are a little stronger. They hit a little harder and take more hits. Nothing my magic can’t even out if it comes to blows.

I don’t get to wonder long, while I’m staring down the first Orc the second punches me in the gut. I’m glad he didn’t go for the face because he would have knocked out a tooth for real. I try to get the magic up in time, but I’m not good with magic as it is. I only have talent for enhancement magic as it is, and I can’t get that going when I’m trying to hold onto consciousness. Still, I’m not a bitch. I pull my knife from its sheath and swing upwards trying to dissect one of the orcs. They jump back to dodge the knife that gives me some space and enough time to catch my breath.

With my enhancement magic up now, these Orcs are screwed. I rush the first and place a forearm in his neck before throwing punch after punch in his face until he’s pinned on the wall. The second grabs me by the neck. I’m able to headbutt the first in the process of breaking free. It still hurts like hell, but I always wanted to know about headbutting Orcs. The lady from the kitchen is yelling again. Perfect distraction. I’m able to stab the Orc who previously held me in a chokehold. He’s young, he panics when he sees his blood. An experienced Orc would laugh at the pain an rejoice in the spilling of blood. He’s out of commission. The Orc I just headbutted tries to wrestle me to the ground by lunging at my feet. I fall with my full body weight on the back of his shoulder blades. When he releases my legs I’m able to lift him up and toss him back down. Now he’s the winded one.

The bleeding Orc runs the moment I turn to him. His friend isn’t far behind him. The woman checks on her husband and they embrace. I take my seat, hoping they’ll still deliver me some food. I’m not exactly lucky. The old man comes to sit across from me.

“You, I can tell by the way you fight, you’ve done this before. You’ve bee trained. I saw your magic aura as well. I would like to hire you,” the old man starts without so much as a thank you.

“You can’t pay them, I don’t think you can afford me.”

“You’re right, I can’t pay you much. But, I can promise you free food. This whole neighborhood is under their foot. They’re extorting us all for money. If we don’t pay they tear up our shops or rough up our customers. People have stopped coming here. If they were out of the way, business would pick back up. I can offer you two free meals each day for a year,” the man pleads with sincerity.

“Two free meals a day? For a month,” I could save a lot of money if they were providing my food.

“Yes, as long as you can get them to leave us alone.”

“I don’t know. How many are there?”

“There can’t be more than a dozen.”

“So you want me to kill a dozen Orcs? Why don’t you call some other elves?”

“Because the Dark Elves aren’t trustworthy and asking High Elves for help is disgraceful,” the old couple must be Wood Elves.

“I don’t know about this.”

“A year, free food for a year. Three meals, but I get to pick what they are and I’ll speak with the other shop owners about getting you some cash,” he ups the payment without me asking.

“How long have they been extorting you all?”

“Always, but recently some younger Orcs took over, and they’re greedy.”

“Alright, do you know where they stay?”


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