Drifting – 12

“I finished my drink. Now I’m leaving.”

No one responds. She gets up and the rabble takes a step back as one. She adjusts the scabbard at her belt and everyone moves back two steps.

I suspect she did that on purpose.

She moves toward the exit and the crowd parts with shuffling little footsteps. Their embarrassed glances scan the room for anything that isn’t her eyes. There’s some grumbling but nothing loud enough for me to hear properly.

She shoves right past me and leaves without a word. The ruffians are still there gathered up in a lumpy circle around an empty seat. They’ve turned to me. Ideas are swirling around in a soup of anger, confusion, and wine.

I bow and leave.

Sword Witch is walking away from Bottomless Zhao’s. Not in a hurry, but fast enough that it’s difficult to compose these words and reach her.

I catch up and a shiver seems to run down her spine.

“That was amazing!” I say.

She whirls around with a ferocity that knocks me back a step. “It really was,” she says. “I have to leave town because you put a bounty on my head in the time it took to order a drink!”

Technically she put the bounty on herself and, moreover, she must have done it before we met. But this does not strike me as the time to correct her.

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