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One More Bounty

Fighting for Freedom

By Max AyalaPublished 4 months ago 13 min read
2
One More Bounty
Photo by Jordon Conner on Unsplash

Viko, a tall and slim human on tall black boots, black pants, and a long black coat, walked across the main road as they carried an elf by holding the ropes tying him down. The citizens and merchants stared as Viko walked towards the local guards’ headquarters, and as the elf squirmed and fought against the rope restraining him.

Viko opened the door of the headquarters and threw the elf towards the middle of the room. A bandana muffled the screams of the elf as his face slammed on the ground. Viko walked next to the elf looking down at him.

“Nice to see you, Viko,” said Tony, a human on guard armor that sat on a chair at the corner of the room behind a creaking desk. He smiled and raised his arms in the air. “And I see you brought a present.”

Viko bent down and pulled a scroll from within their boot. They juggled the rolled paper and shifted their gaze to Tony.

“Always straight to the point.” He stood up and walked towards Viko. He grabbed the scroll from Viko’s hand with a warm smile and without breaking eye contact. He opened the scroll. “Let’s see who we are looking for.”

Tony opened the scroll, revealing a drawing with the spitting image of the apprehended elf, and with the words Bin Fare. Wanted for burglary. Reward 500 golds.

“A decent fish, I see,” said Tony as he kneeled. He grabbed the elf by the cheeks and compared his face with the drawing. He nodded, “It checks out. Good job, as always.”

Viko smirked as Tony stood up with a huge smile. They stared at their hand and rubbed their fingers. They turned towards Tony and raised an eyebrow.

“Usually bounty hunters are boasting about their success and their adventures after such a success, you know.” Tony grabbed the ropes and lifted the elf, looking once more at Viko, who remained silent but with a small smile. Tony rolled his eyes. “Fine, I’ll go put him on his cell, then I’ll bring your payment slip. You can go ahead and look at the tabloid for the current-”

Viko and Tony turned towards an empty tabloid mounted on the wall.

“Monty, I gave you the bounty scrolls to hang them up, not to hide them,” said Tony, rubbing his nose in frustration.

Viko turned to Monty, who sat on his chair, legs up on his desk, on the adjacent corner from Tony’s desk.

“You said I had until the end of the day,” said Monty without moving a muscle. “And it’s still midday.”

Tony shook his head. “You’ll have to pry the bounty scrolls out of his lazy ass.” Tony analyzed Viko’s frown, but he smiled as he spoke. “Or, just hear me out, you can come back tomorrow when I’ll for sure have them on the tabloid.”

Viko stared at Tony without blinking. They crossed their arms, then shifted their stare at the roped elf.

Tony followed their eyes. “Right. I’ll be back.” He opened the door between the desks and stepped out of the room.

Viko stared at Monty and stepped next to him.

Monty looked up and clashed his gaze with Viko’s. He smiled at them and remained in silence.

Viko extended their arm towards Monty and opened their hand.

Monty stared at Viko’s hand. “Yes?”

Viko raised exhaled and raised their eyebrows.

“You know, I don’t know how to help you if you don’t speak,” said Tony.

Viko rolled their eyes. They accommodated their coat and took a deep breath. They cleared their throat. “If you don’t show me the scrolls, I will break your leg,” said Viko with a low and soft voice.

“Wow, rude,” said Monty, and Viko frowned at him. “But I guess it is better than talking to a wall.”

He lowered his legs from the desk, and pulled a drawer from next to him. He pulled four scrolls and handed them to Viko, then quickly pushed the drawer to close it. The drawer bounced back, slightly opening, but he turned towards Viko.

Viko opened each one of the scrolls and analyzed them. Two different elves with a one hundred golds bounty on each of them, a human with a fifty golds bounty, and a dragon-folk with a two hundred golds bounty. They rolled the dragon-folk scroll, then peeked at Monty, and the drawer behind him. They saw another scroll inside the drawer, so they turned and squinted at Monty.

“What now?” asked Monty.

“What about the one you are hiding in there,” said Viko as they nodded towards the drawer.

Monty stared directly at Viko, his right eye twitching once. “Just saving you some time, someone already caught that guy,” he said with a smile.

“You sure? Because I heard on the streets that the only bounty cashed today was from him.” Viko pointed at the scroll of the human.

Monty stared at the scroll. “Ah yes, that is true, sorry.” He picked up the scroll from the table and closed it. “I must have confused him with the other human. Both have a really low bounty after all.” He threw the scroll into the drawer, then turned around towards Viko.

Viko blinked a couple of times at Monty. “Show it to me,” they said.

Monty groaned, but turned around. He reached the drawer and pulled out the fifth scroll. He handed it to Viko, but gripped it when they tried to pull it from his hand. “Look, this one is dangerous, even for you. Tony is the only guy that actually works around here. If you die, he’ll be sad. If he is sad, he doesn’t work, and such work is delegated to me. So you better look for that dragon-folk.”

Viko pulled the scroll out of Monty’s hand. They stared at the frowning Monty, then turned to the scroll. They exhaled and opened it. A wanted poster for Marco Aga, a red gorilla with three eyes, with a bounty of five thousand golds.

Viko turned to Monty. “Five thousand? I haven’t seen or heard a bounty like that since.” Viko smiled as they shifted their gaze from the scroll to Monty and back a couple of times. They looked over their shoulder and retook a serious face. “Well, I haven’t seen a bounty this high, actually.”

“No one has,” said Monty. “Which means it is a really dangerous monkey.”

“It is a really weird target, I’ll give you that.” Viko analyzed the scroll.

Tony opened the hall door and stepped into the room. “Alright, Viko, here is your slip. You know the drill, show it to the treasury and they’ll give you your reward.”

Viko shifts slowly from the scroll to Tony, smiling. They took the slip from Tony’s hand.

“Oh. You’ve seen Marco’s bounty.” Tony scratched his neck as he turned away. “Don’t you think it is a little too much? I mean, you are great at catching criminals, but some kind of people, well targets in this case, are just too much.”

“Are you kidding?” said Viko. Their eyes showed a flame of ambition. “This right here is my chance to get into the big league. Into the elite.”

Tony chuckled. “I will say, this is an interesting light on you.”

Viko stared at Tony. They cleared their throat, and retook their posture. They rolled up Marco’s bounty and hid it in their boot. “I’ll be back with this bounty,” they said as they walked out of the headquarters.

###

Moonshine rained through the town. Viko walked quietly through the empty main street. They stopped in front of a tavern and looked through the window. Only one human in sight, sitting on the main bar with a mug in hand.

Viko approached the door and knocked twice.

“It’s closed,” yelled Kento from inside.

Viko looked over their shoulders, then pulled out a knife from within their coat. They slid the knife between the door and its frame and, swiftly pulling the knife down, cut through the lock.

“Bloody heck,” said Kento as Viko pushed the door open with a single finger.

Kento jumped from his seat, turning towards Viko with a dagger in hand. As he clashed his gaze with Viko’s, he slowed his movements to then roll his eyes. “For heaven’s sake, Viko. You’re gonna stop my heart.”

Viko grinned to themself as they walked behind the bar. They took an empty mug and served themself a drink.

“You could’ve just said it was you. You know I always open my door for you,” said Kento.

Viko gulped half of the mug before slamming it on the bar with a loud groan. “And miss your face of terror? Where’s the fun on that?” They grabbed Kento’s mug and filled it with booze.

“I can deal with the scare,” said Kento, taking a seat. “But now I have a door that won’t shut.”

“Relax.” Viko handed Kento his drink. They pulled a pile of gold coins and set them in front of Kento.

“Someone completed a job today.” Kento smiled. “I would have expected you to be here earlier then. You know, spending it all in booze and then passing out behind the bar.”

Viko chuckled. “You mean like last year?”

“Exactly like that!” Kento pointed at them. “Well, maybe not. Maybe you would finally go with that guard that likes you so much.”

“Oh, shut up!”

“I’m serious.” Kento chuckled. “He even was here today. Now I know why.”

Viko drank the rest of their drink, then filled the mug with more. “There’s nothing there. As well as there is nothing here.” Viko lightly tapped their chest over their heart with a fist.

“The fog in your heart is fogging your vision,” said Kento sipping into his drink. “You just need to clear it a little.”

“The only thing I need to clear is my mind.” Viko drank the entire drink in her mug. They slammed the glass on the bar with a relieving sigh. “I kind of picked up another job. A big one.”

Kento looked at the empty mug with wide eyes. “How big?”

Viko pulled out the scroll and set it in front of Kento.

“Oh, Viko. You can’t be serious.”

“More serious than ever. What do you know?”

“I know that with a bounty this high, that guy must be dangerous.”

“That also means that rumors about him must be strong. So what do you know?”

Kento groaned and pulled on his shirt’s collar. “I know nothing.”

“You always know something. That is why I keep coming here.”

Kento laughed. “I thought it was because you liked to get drunk, and I was the only one patient enough to let you keep an open tab.”

“It’s not time for jokes.” Viko tapped at the scroll. “This is the time to prove myself to the world.”

“Viko, listen to me. I know you want to be one of the big ones, but hunting a bounty like this out of nowhere can bring you death if you are not careful.”

“I know how to take care of myself. I’ve been doing this for a while. I know my limits, but something tells me this is my chance.”

“Viko, I know you’re skilled, but a guy this dangerous can destroy you in a matter of seconds. You have to understand, there hasn’t been a bounty this high since…”

Kento passed his fingers through the bounty in the scroll. He looked for Viko’s stare and found their cold but ambitious eyes. He shook his head. “You can’t tell me you’re still obsessed with him.”

Viko stared at Kento for a couple of seconds. They rolled the scroll and hid it on their boot.

“Viko, the Golden Tamia is nothing but a legend. Even if he was real, then he killed everyone that knew him to erase himself from history. And if this guy gets the same bounty as that monster, then you shouldn’t deal with him. For your own good.”

Viko grabbed the edge of the bar, then mumbled something with a frown.

“I cannot hear you when you speak that low.”

“The Tamia is real!” she yelled and punched the bar. “And he is not invincible, and neither is this guy. I just need to find him, and as always, I will hunt him down.”

Kento stared at Viko, but with a sip of his drink he looked away. “Do you at least know why they are looking for him?”

“I tend to ask you about that.”

Kento focused on his empty mug. “Then there is nothing I can help you with.”

“Is that so?” Viko filled their mug, then extended their hand towards Kento’s mug.

Kento covered his mug and shook his head.

Viko tapped the bar, staring and analyzing Kento’s face. “You’ve helped me with many hunts, but I’ve noticed there are some targets that you do your best to lead me astray.”

Kento gazed at Viko.

“When this so called government became as tyrannical as the previous monarchy, it was obvious some rebellion was going to be born sooner or later.”

“What does that have to do with anything?”

“I actually ignored some of the bounties when you acted weird about their information.”

“Viko?”

“The rebels. You sympathize with them. And I felt to thank you for your help one way or another.”

Kento groaned and tightly held his mug. “Would that mean you’re leaving this bounty for good?”

Viko gulped down their drink, and when the booze was gone, they kept staring at the ceiling letting a big groan. They slowly turned down and stared at Kento, then slowly closed their eyes.

“Viko, don’t let the clouds fog your heart.”

Viko opened their eyes, throwing a cold stare at Kento. “That’s the thing. My mind is clearer than ever. I don’t hunt to help the government, neither do I do it for gold. Although it is a good plus. I do it to find him. To hunt him down. And completing this will proof that I’m able to do it.”

Kento frowned and threw a stern gaze at Viko. Both held their gaze for a few seconds, but Kento slowly trembled at Viko’s coldness. He looked way. “You of course have to do this on your own then.”

Viko took a deep breath, but walked away towards the entrance. They looked over their shoulder, then walked away into the moonlight over the road.

Kento sighed then tapped the bar, counting for about a minute. He stood up, took the gold from the bar, then leaned a chair against the door with the broken door. He put on a coat, then walked towards the back entrance.

He opened the door and peaked at the alley. He looked around and then closed the door behind him. He walked through the back alleys of the different merchants and taverns.

From the top of the buildings, Viko swiftly found Kento’s blind spots, following him through the alleys from a distance.

Young AdultSeriesFantasy
2

About the Creator

Max Ayala

Maximiliano Ayala is a writer who specializes in action, adventure, and fantasy. He can be easily distracted by almost any type of card-strategy game you mention.

Follow me on my social media!

https://linktr.ee/dusaeimax

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