Pawed and dangerous chapter one, part two.
“You’re gonna need to buy a new gun.” James pulled the trigger and sure enough Kevin’s revolver was sent spinning out of his hands with a noticeable dent in one of its cylinder’s. James eased back his weapon’s hammer yet again.
“I know I said it only had two bullets in it, that’s why I switched which gun I was holding in which hand before I jumped. Wana try and go double for nothing with that gun that used to be in your left hand? I’ve got three bullets, one for it and two for you if you try and kill me yet again.” Kevin never got to make his decision, outside forces intervened.
“Stop right there, both of you!” The man who stood in the doorway was no one to be trifled with. He was close to six feet tall and quite broad shouldered. In times gone by, he would have looked quite natural in full platemail and with a battle axe in his hands. Instead he wore a simple jacket, shirt and pair of pants, though all three somehow shone a color somewhere between silver and grey. His hair was cut very short as if it was used to being concealed under a helmet, and his eyes were a cold brown. In his hands he carried a double barrelled shotgun and it was pointed at James. On his chest he bore the bright golden sun that was the mark of a Royal Knight of Belzar.
“All right, now drop that gun.” James slipped his revolver back into its holster rather than dropping it.
“There, and don’t worry, I’m going to spend enough time looking for my other one….” The man did not lower his weapon, he kept it firmly aimed at James, and evidently he wasn’t amused by his explanation for not following the orders he was given to the letter.
“Well then, who wants to explain to me what exactly is going on?” Two left hands were extended and voices raised at exactly the same time. “He was trying to cheat me at cards!” Granted James was able to follow up on this accusation gaining the last word in the argument.
“After I beat him at cards, he was the one who drew the first gun!” The knight seemed fairly unimpressed by this fact.
“In my experiences the person who wins rarely feels the need to threaten the losers. So you obviously did a better job at cheating then he did.” James’ face contorted into a mask of complete and utter depression.
“Oh come on Rich, you know that I never cheat at cards!” The knight’s finger tightened slightly on the trigger.
“I have some silver slugs on me James, but at the moment it’s loaded with lead. So I can in good conscience pull this trigger knowing that it won’t kill you. That said, I doubt you’ll enjoy the experience of taking two barrels to the chest. If you don’t want to prove me right, remember that my name is Sir Richard Iceth. So why don’t each of you toss me your jackets and we’ll see what exactly was going on?”
Kevin slowly started to take off his jacket with one hand with Richard watching over his shoulder. Halfway through the process Richard slammed his shotgun against Kevin’s head knocking him out cold. A three of clubs, a seven of hearts, and a nine of diamonds fell from Kevin’s limp hand.
“I said no funny business, and that includes trying to slip those cards into your pants.” Slowly Richard turned and once again locked his eyes on James.
“Well, that was easy. Of course the hard part, as usual is figuring out what exactly I’m going to do with you James Firecat.” James finally got off the table where he had been laying, and walked over to his jacket which he redonned quickly. Then he removed his hat and bowed.
“I am always pleased to see a respectful servant of his majesty King Bartholemew.” Once James removed his hat it was obvious why he had decided to keep it on until that moment. It was his ears. Instead of emerging from the side of his head like most ears should, they grew from the top of his head. They were almost red and covered with fur and were currently they were twitching back and forth.
“You can save it James. You may not cheat the way that he does, but you’ve got a way with cards that starts tavern fights wherever it shows up. How old are you now exactly?”
“Twenty five.” James said it without needing to think and Richard rejected it just as quickly.
“And those guns of yours hold seven shots. Your probably older than I am, it’s just that you werecats are young forever. Frankly I doubt you realize what hassle it is to be thirty five and suddenly discovering that you’re growing old.” James put his gloves back on and began to scoop up whatever was left of the once very large pot, but Richard clicked his tongue as one might to signal a horse to stop whatever it was doing.
“Leave that here James. You’ve got no one to blame but yourself if the way you are with cards forces simple dishonest human gamblers to turn into straight out thieves to make a living. If you still have that ‘lucky’ platinum coin of yours then that’ll be more than enough for you to get by on.” James reached into a pocket, flipped the coin into the air, and then snagged with his other hand.
“Maybe. But come on, I need a couple gold just to buy more bullets and a new deck of cards. Besides being strewn all over the place my old one seems to have become irrevocably marked.” To prove his point James held up the king of clubs which now had a bullet hole in it.
“Fine, though I don’t see why a werecat would need bullets, you should just attack your foes with claws the way your ancestors did.” James returned his hat to his head and bent down to pick up his other gun with his right hand. Just when it seemed like he was going to holster the gun he suddenly reached out with his left hand and yanked his other gun from his holster.
Then after pushing down both their hammers to make sure they wouldn’t go off he began to spin the guns around tossing them into the air, crossing his arms to catch the one formerly in his right hand with his left and vice versa, before finally spinning them back into their holsters.
“I use guns for the same reason you do, because they make me a more effective force in combat.” Richard was still considerably less then impressed, he had heard and seen it before.
“Fine then, five gold should be more than enough to take care of everything you need. Then do yourself a favor and get out of here. I’m not sure what you’re up to, but it better not involve you doing anything ‘impressive’ inside Belzar.” James held up two empty hands, looking at the knight with wide imploring eyes.
“We split, nothing impressive, I’m just trying to make a living, same as you.” Richard still wasn’t buying it, but he didn’t stop James from leaving the tavern. Once he was outside he turned to the one horse that remained outside of the tavern. It had been untied, but judging from the crumpled body laying next to it, this horse wasn’t about to let anyone but its proper owner ride it. It was a stallion with a roan coat, and he nickered appreciatively as James easily swung himself up on his back.
“Good to see you waited for me Schrodinger, we’ve got miles to go before we rest.” James gave Schrodinger, a good kick to get him started, and then they were off.
End Chapter one
On the back of the book :
James Firecat is a “reformed” thief who once pulled off the most impressive act of larceny in the recent history of his home Kingdom of Belzar. When James manages to get his hands on a magical map through a bit of clever card playing (and gun slinging), he suddenly finds himself catapulted into a world of intrigue where nobles plot and the fates of entire nations may be determined by they treasure that James’ newly acquired map will lead him to.
Luckily James didn’t pull off that massive heist alone. If he can get his old friends back together, then he can count on having a people more then willing to stick with him through it all, regardless of what comes their way.
But even working together with his loyal companions James might need some extra help if he wants to find out just what his new map leads to, which is why he has an ace in the hole: James Firecat isn’t human, he’s a werecat. And that means that those who would trifle with him, or run afoul of James’ sense of justice had better be careful, he isn’t just armed and dangerous, he’s pawed and dangerous!