The Tales of a Swordsman: Surprises of the Unfortunate KindDustin R. Freezen / Fantasy / Actions & Adventure
The Tales of a Swordsman: Surprises of the Unfortunate Kind
By Dustin R. Freezen
Copyright by Dustin R. Freezen
Table of Contents
“Could I get a drink, barkeep?” the swordsman asked wearily, approaching the bar.
“Sure,” the barkeep replied as he finished cleaning out a mug. “What will it be?”
“Surprise me.” The swordsman shrugged and plopped down on a barstool. The barkeep nodded, and then turned his back on the young man. He returned, moments later, as the swordsman was still awkwardly shuffling to find comfort on his seat. “Why are barstools never comfortable?”
“I can’t say.” The barkeep handed the lawman a whiskey glass full of a clear liquid. “Just don’t drink this too fast.” He gave a nod to emphasize his words.
“Thanks. Much obliged.” The swordsman tipped his cup to the bartender. “I’ve been waiting for this.” He tilted his head back in grateful anticipation to guzzle the hard liquor when, suddenly, a scream came from the streets followed by the crash of a building crumbling under immense weight. “You got to be kidding! I can’t sit for two seconds.”
“Aren’t you going to see what’s happening?” The barkeep asked, cleaning out another mug. People screaming in this city was a common occurrence. All the natives learned to avoid the violence, but a swordsman was held by a code to help those in need. It was strange that this one lingered.
“I haven’t finished my drink,” the swordsman replied with a smirk. He again lifted the glass; then took a huge gulp. As the liquid slid down his throat, he choked in shock. “It’s water!”
“Surprise,” said the barkeep with a big insincere grin on his face.
“Oh, thanks,” the swordsman said annoyed, standing and finishing the water. “Not a good start to the evening. But I got work to do, so if you’ll excuse me.” He knelt down, turned over the stool he had been sitting on and snapped off one of the three wooden legs. “And thanks for this.” He raised the stick to show his appreciation and promptly exited.
The swordsman liked to be prepared. A wooden stick was sometimes mightier than a sword, and safer too. A stick could be used to leverage a large object in case of a collapsed building, it could be thrown against a wall to distract a group of bad guys protecting something valuable, or, if questions needed answering, it could beat the snot out of a person until he was ready to talk instead of sending him directly to the hospital due to stab wounds and lacerations. Sticks were very useful.
When the swordsman reached the door, the barkeep yelled, “Are you going to pay for that?” But was barely heard over the gunshots and screams adding to the chorus outside.
“No… Surprise.” The swordsman tipped his imaginary hat and darted out the door with a sword on his hip, his shield in his left hand and the barstool leg in his right hand. He was ready to take on anything he faced tonight.
“Holy Frik.” The swordsman froze in place as he exited the bar.
At the end of the street stood a majestic, yet menacing, seven-story dragon. It belched a fireball into a crowded street of soldiers. The flames engulfed several of them whole; sending the others burning alive. Civilians were ordered back into their houses as more soldiers appeared, opening fire with their assault rifles and machine guns. Nothing phased the enormous beast.
The swordsman cracked his neck and swallowed hard. “I got this,” he told himself. He tucked his new favorite stick in a universal holding strap on his right thigh. The strap would conform to the shape of any object and hold it, tight, against the swordsman’s leg.
The swordsman proceeded forward several steps and picked up a handgun a downed soldier had dropped. “There is only one good use for these things.” The swordsman raised his arm and fired, striking the dragon right between the eyes. “Shooting stuff.”
The dragon continued to burn the buildings around him, taking no notice of the precise shots intended for his noggin.
“Stupid, insensitive, jerk face, small brained—,” he continued muttering insults to himself looking around for another way to capture the attention of the beast. A large case caught the swordsman’s eye and a grin stretched across his face. “Oh, shiny.” He went and knelt down next to the dead, crisp soldier, “Sorry, buddy.” He peeled back one finger at a time until the death grip released.
The swordsman opened the case and started talking to the dragon as if the fire-burper could hear him, “You don’t want to look up, Mr. Dragon.” He removed a grenade launcher from its protector and loaded the weapon with ease. “That’s cool. Then I’ll make you look up. You ugly sleaze ball.”
He shouldered the launcher and aimed. “Peek-a-boo.” He squeezed the trigger. The grenade sailed down the street, exploding at the base of the dragon’s neck. The creature’s head reared back by the force and, this time, he looked up.
“I know that got your attention.”
The swordsman dashed forward, tossing his sword halfway between him and his foe. It plunged upright into a scorched body. “Ew, sorry!” With exact movements, he slid to a kneeling position and crouched behind his shield as the dragon inhaled deeply. With a mighty breath, a streak of fire flew from the dragon’s mouth. The steady stream pounded the swordsman’s shield.
“Aah! Hot! Hot! Hot!” The pavement melted around his feet, but his gear held strong, protecting him from the brunt of the attack. The torrent of flames stopped, and the swordsman leapt up. He pulled the stick from its new home, finding the top portion aflame, which was good in this case and what he wanted.
A little known fact about dragons that will provoke thought for hours to come is they hate fire close to their faces. The heat and colors freak them out.
With another precise aim, the swordsman hurled the now flaming barstool leg at the dragon’s eyeball. The dragon dropped its head back, avoiding a direct blow. The efforts to dodge distracted the dragon long enough for the swordsman to make his next move.
“You fell for my flaming stick distraction. Works every time. Ha! And now you look pissed. So perfect!” The swordsman chuckled to himself about how much fun he was having and was at his sword when the dragon spotted him again. The reptile wasted no time, going in for the kill with its mouth wide open.
The swordsman quickly pulled the sword free and leapt into the air, tucking his knees to his chest. He pointed his sword directly in front of him and held his shield tight against his body.
The dragon’s mighty jaw caught him at the height of his jump like catching popcorn tossed into the air. The large teeth snapped closed, sealing the fate of the swordsman.
Seconds later, the dragon bellowed a fierce roar and crumpled to the ground making a loud thud as he came to rest.
It was dead.
The town became still. No soldiers were left alive, and the townspeople slowly found their senses as they gathered around the dragon, sad and mournful. It appeared they mourned the life of the swordsman they had never met. Some knelt next to the dragon, laying hands on it. Others stood at a distance, giving their blessings for the afterlife.
Abruptly, the dragon’s jaw rippled. The people gasped, leaping back in surprise. The side of the jaw, teeth and flesh, ripped away in one swift motion. “Son of a-,” the swordsman shouted, falling out of the dragon’s clutches covered in goop and spitting as much of it out of his mouth as he could. He wiped his face clean and immediately checked his gear. “You bent my shield!” He kicked the face of the unfriendly creature in anger. “You almost ate me…then you have the nerve to bend my shield, you stupid mother-”
“Excuse me!” a woman’s voice called out from behind him.
The swordsman whirled around. “Whoa.” His voice cracked. He was startled by the woman’s great height. She was taller than most men and in some lighting seemed to have a beard.
“Did you slay this dragon?” she asked pleasantly.
“Yes. I am covered in the beast’s mouth juices. I don’t normally dress like this.” He smiled charmingly. “And I was almost eaten, you might have missed that part, but I will say you’re welcome and no thanks are needed, I assure you… I will take whatever reward you deem necessary and a hard drink. I don’t want to be rude, and I’m very thirty.” Dragon saliva dripped off his face as he stood smugly. The reward was his favorite part of every rescue.
The woman’s facial expression changed without warning. She shouted, “How dare you! You killed our god!”
“What!? Seriously? But you guys were running from this thing.”
“We were not. The soldiers were. These soldiers are not from here. They made camp just outside the city. We were celebrating our god’s rampage because he was ridding the soldiers from our fair land. You’ve slain, Drake, the god of the airs. We worshiped--.”
“That’s stupid!” The swordsman shouted over her. “One. You looked like you were running for your lives. I’m justified in saving you. Two. How can this be a god when I just ripped its head off?