The Reward

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                Braithe found himself at a loss for words. Truly, literally, at a loss for words. How presumptuous this human was! All right, perhaps it was true that he wouldn’t be able to stand up against a bear, but he could run fast. And hide in small areas. He would like to see him with his gangly tallness hide in a place small enough to evade a bear! He wouldn’t be able to do it! He’d die!

                Of course, the Halfling was a far more refined individual than this brute was, and so, in the face of such insults, especially that thing about the punting, he remained in a stony silence. He was just thinking about whether to punch the gentleman in the nethers and run off with the map while he was bowled over in pain when he lost his chance, and the man walked off and started leaving.

                And it was then that Braithe looked down at his map and noticed, yes, he had had the bad fortune not to get the half with the X mark on it. Damn! Since he was too small to tackle the man and forcefully take it, he had to think of something else!

                And then he had an idea. This simp was certainly not clever enough to make it on his own, and he would surely run back home to his mop after a few days. So all Braithe needed to do was show him that…

                “Fine!” he snapped, walking over to where the human was and striding along with him. “I’ve an idea, why don’t we start off together, then? You think I can’t do it, and I don’t think you can do it, so why don’t we go ahead and do it together? Then if one of us—you—decides to bow out, he can just leave the map with the other—me—and they—I—can contain on their—my—own? Hmm? How does that sound?” He crossed his arms, keeping his piece of the shredded parchment neatly in his grip. “Then there’s no trickery or brute force needed.”

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                Yes I think you’re stupid, he thought to himself.  Despite working as a bust boy, Louis was actually incredibly smart and had a great deal of intuition that some people might even call witchcraft.  His intuition was telling him that Braithe wasn’t all that smart, but pride or whatever it is was stopping the little bastard from handing over his piece of the map.  He’d get it one way or another.

                ”I’d like to bring up the point, again, that on your own you’d probably be dead within a few hours.  The smell of your perfume alone is enough to piss off a bear,” he said with a frown and crossed his arms over his chest as he stood back up to his full height.

                ”And you think they’ll believe you?  A flamboyant halfling that’s more poof and pomp than anything over me, a human, who everyone knows to some extent and trusts with the keys to their house?  Right,” he snorted and rolled his eyes in another direction as he took in the blue moonlit world around them.  ”They’d laugh you out the door all the way into that heroes pummeling arms.”

                Returning his gaze slowly towards the other, he eyed him up and down slowly.

                ”I bet you’d punt pretty far,” he said offhandedly as he tried to formulate a plan in his head.  The little fella wasn’t going to give up his part of the map so easily, so maybe he’d just.. make him want to give it back.

                ”Oh well,” he sighed dramatically and turned on his heel making sure to wave his half around in plain tempting view.  ”I guess I’ll just go home and go on my own.  I have the part with the ‘x’ on it, so I should be able to find my way.”

                ”Too bad, mmhm,” he said, making sure to pause for added effect, lips pursed and eyebrows furrowed together in contemplation while nodding. Well, he probably could figure out how to get there with his half, but it would be a real pain in the ass and putting up with squeakers over there for half a day in the scary forest seemed like a better idea.

                ”Well, so long,” he waved over his shoulder before tucking his hands in his pockets and heading towards his home.

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