The Adventures Of Bill & Kris: Running & Thugging

Bill ran down the street as hard as he could. Beside him, Kris ran as well, waving her hands in the air and screaming. Behind them, more than a dozen thugs and guards pursued.

He couldn’t help but feel that somewhere, things had gone terribly wrong. Where, he wasn’t sure, but if he had to guess, Bill would have said it was breakfast. Things always went wrong at breakfast.

B&K

The day had begun simply enough. That’s the way it always was, though. Things always begin simple enough, then cascade down hill. This day had started with a casual comment over breakfast.

“So, I’ve been thinking,” Bill said.

“Did it hurt?” Kris asked.

“Um, no,” Bill replied.

“Yea!” Kris squealed.

“Right, so, like I said, I’ve been thinking,” Bill tried again.

“Did it hurt?” Kris asked.

Bill sighed and rubbed his eyes. “We’ve been working a lot lately, and I thought it might be nice to take a day off. You know, just wander around town, maybe do some window shopping. Have lunch at a nice restaurant, even. Just, relax a bit.”

“Oh, that’s a great idea, Bill!” Kris answered, obviously very excited.

“I’m glad you like it,” he smiled.

“I have been pretty stressed out lately,” the Elf told him.

Bill stared at her uncertainly. “How can you tell?”

“Tell what?”

“When you’re stressed. I can’t even tell when you’re stressed.”

“Oh, I can tell cause I start pulling Bunny’s hair out in my sleep,” Kris replied, pulling the stuffed rabbit from where ever she kept it and showing him.

“Bunny isn’t missing any hair, Kris,” Bill pointed out.

Kris stared at the stuffed rabbit for a bit. “Oh, I guess it was my hair I was pulling out, then.”

“I think you could tell the difference between pink and silver,” Bill said.

“It wasn’t pink or silver,” she answered with a wide grin. “It was brown.”

Bill grimaced. “That’s my hair you’ve been pulling!”

“Oh, yeah,” she said thoughtfully.

“Now I know why I’m going bald,” Bill moaned.

“I thought you just took after your dad.”

“Bollin is not my dad. How many times have I said that. He raised me, like a father would, but he isn’t actually my dad.”

“It’s okay, Bill. There’s no reason to be ashamed of being half Dwarf.”

“I’m not half Dwarf!”

“I mean, after all, I’m one eighth Gnome on my mothers side.”

“You are not!”

“No, but I thought it might make you feel better about being half Dwarf.”

Bill sighed. “You want to go window shopping, or not?”

“Oh, that’s a great idea!” Kris exclaimed. “We haven’t bought windows in forever!”

“Eat your breakfast.”

“Okay!”

B&K

Several hours later, as the two wandered the streets of Lin, the market city, Bill had to admit he felt a lot better than he had in a while. It was nice, from time to time, to do the sorts of things normal people did.

He wasn’t a normal guy, and he knew it. Nor was Kris a typical Elf. Still, that sense of being normal, he felt, was something they both often needed. That feeling of being just two people, out for the day, with nary a care in the world.

Of course it was an illusion, and Bill knew that, though he felt Kris didn’t. Still, it was one he cherished in those brief moments he could hold on to it, moments that often fled far too quickly.

As they turned a corner and came face to face with the three heavy set thugs, Bill knew that his moment had passed. The daggers in the men’s hands told him as much.

“Howdy there, pal,” the leader of the thugs said. “I’m Rob, and that’s what I’ll be doin to you today.”

The other two chuckled at the awful pun. Kris did as well. Bill didn’t.

“Is that so?”

“Yeah, it is, so be smart here, pal, and hand over your coin, before I take that pretty little girl you got as well.”

Bill looked at Kris, who was smiling pleasantly. “You hear that?”

“Hear what?” she asked.

“He says if I don’t give him all my money, he’s gonna take you,” Bill answered.

Kris giggled. “I don’t think they know who you are.”

“I don’t care who he is!” Rob snarled, brandishing his weapon.

“You want to tell him?” Bill asked Kris.

“I’d love to,” Kris told Bill.

“Go ahead, then.”

Kris cleared her throat dramatically. “This is William, the son of Dwarves!”

Bill grimaced. The thugs stared at the Elf in a bit of confusion. Kris smiled and stuck a pose, since everyone was staring at her anyway.

“What the hell?” Rob muttered.

Bill took full advantage of his momentary confusion, dropping into a couch as his right hand balled into a fist and swung for the would be thief. Years of training had given Bill many skills, but none that he valued more than his deceptive speed.

His fist hit Rob in the chest, and Bill smiled as he heard ribs snap, even as his left hand swung up to capture the thug by the shoulder. The force of his swing had doubled the man over, making it a simple matter to lift him into the air, which Bill did with considerable ease already.

The other two thugs had the decency to look terrified before Rob hit them, bowling them over. Bill dusted his hands off as they lay in a pile, moaning.

“Yea, Billy!” Kris squealed, jumping up and down as she applauded.

“Twert nothin,” Bill told her with a grin.

“Let’s go buy more windows!” the Elf squealed, jumping on the pile of thugs, dragging howls of pain from them.

Bill shrugged and followed.

B&K

As the day went on, Bill bought Kris a few baubles that caught her eye, and a few necessities he felt they needed. In all, despite the attempted mugging, it had been a good day, and he was in high spirits again.

That lasted until the exited a restaurant, having enjoyed a fine lunch. Outside the door, Rob and his pals waited for them, accompanied by two more men. Bill sighed at the hard looks in the eyes. Even Rob, who was leaning heavily on a fellow thug.

“What’s this? Looking for some payback?” he asked.

“You better believe it, buddy,” Rob snapped. “First, my boys are gonna beat the crap out of you, then we’re going to have some fun with the little lady.”

“Oh, should I curtsey?” Kris asked.

“What?” the man holding Rob up asked.

“Well, it’s only polite if you’re a little lady,” Kris answered with a wink.

“He’s talking about you,” the thug replied.

“Hmm,” Kris pondered, imitating Bill in a way he found a bit annoying. “What if I don’t want to play with you? I don’t think I like the toys you have.”

“Not the kind of play he’s talking about, Kris,” Bill told her.

“You mean the other kind?”

“That’s right.”

“Eww,” Kris snorted. “I don’t like board games.”

“What the hell is she talking about?” Rob barked.

Bill shrugged. “Beats me, but you can always ask if you really want to know.”

Rob nodded to the thug next to him and got a nod in return. The heavy stepped forward, reaching for and grabbing Kris by the arm roughly.

“I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” Bill told him.

“Why not?” the thug asked. “You gonna teach me a lesson?”

“No,” Kris answered for Bill. “I am.”

Before he could blink, her foot found his face, her leg straight up before her, the kick sending him staggering back. He held on to her, which was fine, as Kris turned, draping his arm over her shoulder.

With the others staring in awestruck fear, she slung the thug around and heaved, sending him flying over her head to bowl them over. Groans echoed up from the pile as she smirked down at them, producing her staff.

“Where were you hiding that, anyway?” Bill asked.

“My special place,” she answered with a giggle.

“Forget I asked,” Bill sighed.

“Asked what?” she inquired as she flogged the thugs with the staff.

“Nothing,” Bill chuckled. “Let’s go. I saw a bakery down the street, and thought some dessert might be in order.”

“Cookies!” Kris squealed, hopping on the bruised thugs and following Bill.

B&K

Kris was still munching on the cookies Bill had bought her later, as the day turned to afternoon. She shared them, of course, but he’d never had the sweet tooth she did.

They had retired to a small park, sitting and watching as children played in the warm sunshine. Their laughter reminded Bill of his own tragic childhood, and how lucky he was to just be alive, much less an even remotely decent person.

“Excuse me, sir?”

Bill glanced up to see a city guard standing by the bench he and Kris were seated on. Behind him was the bruised and wounded Rob, accompanied by his entourage. Bill sighed a bit, wondering just what the fools problem was.

“Can I help you?” he asked the guard.

“These gentlemen claim that you and your lady friend there assaulted them. That true?” the guard asked.

Bill gave him a smile. “Do we look like we could assault men such as them?”

“Honestly, yeah,” the guard answered, recoiling a bit from the smile on Bill’s face. Something about it seemed predatory.

“Oh, look, Bill, it’s the muggers we beat up!” Kris giggled.

“Nice timing, Kris,” he groaned.

“Thank you,” she squealed. “I got praise!”

“I’m going to need you to come with me,” the guard told Bill.

“Why? Didn’t you catch the part where they were trying to mug us?”

The guard glanced back at Rob, who motioned him on. So, it was like then, was it?

“Well, sir, I’m not sure I entirely believe that part. Robert here is the son of a prominent merchant, and it’s doubtful he’d be involved in such activities.” The guard shrugged, but Bill knew the score.

“So, let me see if I’ve got this right,” he said slowly. “This fellow, allegedly a powerful merchants son, has given you a bit of coin to harass us for defending ourselves when he tried to steal from us not once, but twice. That about cover it?”

“Dirty, dirty,” Kris chimed in, sticking her tongue out at the guard.

“It’s not like that at all!” the guard protested. “How dare you impugn my reputation?”

“Do you have any idea who I am?” Bill asked him with a soft growl, growing tired of the ongoing games with Rob and his band of idiots.

“Uh, no,” the guard answered. “Should I?”

“He’s a Dwarf,” Kris said. “They call him William.”

“Will you stop telling people that!” Bill barked at her.

“But it’s true! Dwarves call you William!” she cried.

“I’m not a Dwarf!”

“Oh, right! Half Dwarf!”

“I’m not a half Dwarf either! Geeze, Kris!”

“You’re shouting at me,” she wailed.

“You keep calling me a half Dwarf! That’s a good reason to shout!”

“Your identity crisis isn’t my fault!”

“I’m not having an identity crisis!”

“Then why do you hate your own people so much?”

“I don’t hate my own people! Where do you get this stuff?”

Kris grinned. “I dunno. Just wanders into my head, I guess.”

Bill leaned back on the bench, suddenly tired. “Just stop telling people that, will you?”

“Okay!”

The guard, Rob, and the rest of the thugs stared at them in absolute confusion. Kris smiled at them brightly. Bill gave them an exhausted glare.

“You going to come peacefully?” the guard finally asked.

“Not likely,” Bill replied.

“Well then, you leave me no choice,” he answered.

As he reached for Bill, the massive mercenary moved, grabbing his arm and twisting it, forcing the man around. He yelped in pain as his arm was jerked up behind his back, Bill tired of holding back on this group of would be thieves.

“Remember when I said it was self defense?” Bill asked.

“Yes!” the guard squeaked.

“Good, cause if I’d wanted to hurt them, they’d all be dead. Remember that.”

“Got it!”

Bill shoved, sending the guard staggering into the group of thugs, who caught him easily. They only had a moment, however, before Bill’s ham sized fist plowed into Rob’s face. Teeth shattered under the force of the blow, and the man went down in a heap.

“Leap frog!” Kris squealed, somersaulting over Bill to land on the guards head. Between Rob, and the man in armor, the entire bunch fell to the ground, only to have Kris stand up and jump on them again.

“Whee!” she squealed.

“That’s enough, Kris. Let’s go.” Bill waved her on.

“Aww, but we were playing leap frog,” she whined.

“Yeah, but you already won,” he told her.

“Yea me!” she squealed. “I’m a winner!”

The thugs, and their guard friend, moaned in the pile they’d been left in.

B&K

Bill studied the fine craftsmanship of the sword through the window, more than a little impressed with it. Beside him, Kris made faces at her own reflection in the glass.

“What are you doing?” he asked.

“Having fun,” she answered.

“Ah, okay then,” he chuckled.

“You there!”

“Not again,” Bill sighed as he caught a glimpse of the guard from earlier, along with Rob. They were accompanied by the flunkies as well, and two more city guards.

“Oh, look, it’s our playmates,” Kris giggled.

“Hold it right there,” the guard snapped. “You’re coming with us.”

“Are we really going to play this game all day, guys?” Bill asked. “I mean, seriously, get over it already.”

“You assaulted an officer of the law,” the guard told him. “There’s no letting that slide!”

“I wasn’t talking to you,” Bill pointed out. “I was talking to Rob.”

They glanced at each other, then back at Bill, who was giving them a bored look. Beside him, Kris made faces at them.

“I mean, come on,” Bill told the thug. “So you tried to mug the wrong people and got your ass beat a little. Swallow your pride, and move on. This whole chasing us around thing, it’s kind of lame.”

“I have my pride, you know,” Rob snarled. “You beat me up in front of my friends. I’ve got to regain the face I lost!”

“By getting beaten up two more times?” Bill asked. “Doesn’t really seem to be working out so well for you.”

“Screw you!” Rob yelled. “If you’d just handed over your money, none of this would even be happening!”

“So, if I’d played the dutiful victim, then we could all go about our day, is that it?” Bill asked. “Sorry, but I’m not good at that game.”

“Neither am I,” Kris added. “But you guys really suck at leap frog, so it’s all fair!”

“Point is,” Bill said. “You picked the wrong mark. That’s on your head, not mine. You want to blame someone, go buy a mirror. Now, do yourselves a favor, and walk away, before I give you another beating. This time, I won’t go easy on you, either.”

“Yeah!” Kris added. “Billy will beat your ass!”

“That’s enough,” the guard barked. “This isn’t about who mugged who anymore! This is about you assaulting an appointed officer of the law.”

“A paid errand boy, you mean,” Bill chuckled. “Cause that’s all you are, Rob’s bitch.”

“You son of a whore!” the guard snapped.

“That’s true,” Kris nodded.

Bill gave her an annoyed look. “You don’t have to tell them that.”

“Oh, right,” she giggled, knocking her own head lightly. “I forgot.”

“You can come peacefully, or we can take you by force,” the guard told them. “Though, I really hope you won’t choose peacefully.”

“We won’t,” Bill told him.

The three guards came at him first, reaching out to try and overwhelm him. It was a rookie mistake. He seized two of them by the arm, head butting the one in the middle. As that one fell, he jerked hard, bringing the other two into each other with a crash that sent them down in a heap.

Kris was already moving before he even finished, rolling across the street, staff swinging out to knock three of Rob’s thugs from their feet. Even as the other two gasped, she jerked the long staff back and jabbed upward, striking Rob in the chin. He fell with a whimper.

The last two trembled as she rose up before them, Bill walking over to join her. The look in the Elf’s eyes was mad joy as she spun the staff in her hand.

“Who’s next?” she asked with a maniacal giggle.

They screamed and ran. Kris pouted. Bill patted her on the head.

“Went and ruined all the fun,” she moaned.

“Come on, let’s go,” Bill told her.

“Okay!” she giggled, hopscotching across the scattered thugs and guards, dragging moans and cries of pain from each.

B&K

As the day drew long, the sun creeping towards the horizon, Bill turned them back towards the inn. It hadn’t been as relaxing a day as he wanted, but still, Kris seemed in a good mood, and that was enough for him.

“You think we could do this again some time?” she asked.

“Don’t see why not,” he told her.

“Good,” she sighed, wrapping her arms around his and leaning on him as they walked. “Cause I enjoyed the part where we beat people up the most.”

“I don’t know about doing that part again. It wasn’t exactly part of my plan.”

“Aww.”

“Come on now, you know I hate beating on people when I’m not getting paid for it.”

The look she turned up to him was dark, an evil smile tinged with promise. “Who says you aren’t getting paid for it?”

“Oh, hey,” he grinned.

“Hold it right there!”

Bill sighed. “Not this again. Really?”

Rob, face bandaged, and his guard friend stood in the street ahead, flanked by Rob’s thug friends, and as many guards. All of them clearly meant business.

“Don’t give them a chance to start talking, or they’ll just get you all confused,” Rob told his backers. “Now, get em!”

They rushed towards Bill and Kris, weapons drawn. Bill groaned, wondering just why it was he couldn’t have a simple, relaxing day.

“I think this is the part where we run for it, Kris,” he told her.

“Can I scream and wave?” she asked.

“Sure, babe. Anything for you.”

“Yea!”

Bill ran down the street as hard as he could. Beside him, Kris ran as well, waving her hands in the air and screaming. Behind them, more than a dozen thugs and guards pursued.

He couldn’t help but feel that somewhere, things had gone terribly wrong. Where, he wasn’t sure, but if he had to guess, Bill would have said it was breakfast. Things always went wrong at breakfast.

“Most important meal of the day, my ass,” he muttered as he dragged Kris around a corner, hoping to give their pursuers the slip.

“Oh, is it time to eat already?” Kris asked as Bill drug her along.

“Later,” he said, weaving around another corner.

“Aww, Billy, I’m hungry!”

“Not really the time for that, babe,” he said.

She pouted. “You’re in a bad mood, and I’m not in any mood now.”

“Really? Is that how you’re going to be?”

“That’s what you get for being mean to me.”

“Did you miss the guys chasing us, with the intent of killing us?”

“Oh, right. Forgot about them.”

“For crying out loud, Kris.”

“Want me to fireball them?”

“No!”

“Aww. You never let me have any fun.”

Bill groaned and kept running. With the injuries their pursuers had sustained, he doubted they could keep up for long. When they tired, he’d slip back to the inn, gather their things, and get he and Kris out of town.

Pity, though. It was a nice town, after all, with decent restaurants.

Rounding a turn back onto a main street, Bill skidded to a stop at the sight of the tall, lanky, red headed Half Elf standing in his way. Barely dressed in tight fitting black leather, she smirked at him as he gasped.

“Well, if it ain’t Big Bill Wick,” she cooed.

“Scarlet?” he asked in shock.

Behind them, their pursuers rounded the turn and gained on them. The red head winked at him as Kris gave her a dark look.

“Hold up!” the woman snapped, bringing the guards and thugs to a halt.

“Uhh,” the guard Bill had encountered through the day stammered. “Are you… who I think you are?”

“Bet your ass I am,” she snapped. “Care to tell me what the hell is going on here?”

“We’re in pursuit of wanted criminals,” the guard replied, heaving for air from the long run.

She snorted. “Criminals? These two? I think you got that wrong, bud. This here is Bill Wick, and he’s working with me.”

“Sorry, ma’am,” the guard whimpered. “We had no idea.”

“Hold up,” Rob growled. “Who the hell are you?”

“Shut it,” the guard told him. “That is Scarlet Devero, a mercenary acting under the orders and authority of the Vice Earl of Hillian.”

“Uhh, what?” Rob stammered.

“I think you’ve got the whole story a bit wrong,” Scarlet sneered, blue eyes twinkling with delight at Rob’s sudden discomfort. “See, these guys here tried to rob Mr. Wick and his companion. I know, cause I saw the whole thing.”

“You did?” Rob and Bill asked at the same time.

“Sure did,” she chuckled. “So, on the authority of the Vice Earl, I order you to take these men in custody. Right now.”

“Oh, crap,” Rob simpered as the guards turned on he and his friend.

As they were drug away, Scarlet turned back to Bill, throwing him a devilish wink. “Looks like I can’t leave you alone for any time without you getting yourself in trouble.”

“Bill, who is this woman?” Kris asked through clenched teeth, hating her on general principle.

“This is Scarlet,” Bill replied. “My sister.”

Kris stared at him in surprise. Bill smiled at Scarlet. Scarlet gave them both a dark grin.

To be continued, next month, in Part 2: The Sister Deal

©-2017 Cain S. Latrani

All characters appearing in this work are fictitious.

Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

No guards were harmed in the writing of this short story.

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