Fifty-One

Apr. 24th, 2013 11:27 pm
[personal profile] theonecalledwander
"I notice you left your pack behind," Bel says once we've left the walls behind us.

"There are things in that pack," I say. "Things I would rather not risk falling into the wrong hands."

"Ah," she says. I think I sounded downright portentous, verging on ominous, but she's a hard one to impress. "I thought they might be useful things."

"Useful... they are," I say. "Terribly useful. But not enough to justify the risk."

"There aren't many bandits on this road."

"I wouldn't worry about bandits," I say. "It would take more than your typical bandit's lifetime to even begin to work out what they had, much less what to do with it... but a vampire, a vampire's got nothing but time, time and hunger."

"I wondered about that."

"What?"

"Hunger," she says. "When I said I was putting together provisions for the road, I half expected you to say 'Oh, don't bother.' You being a traveler, and all. I guess your dangerously useful things don't leave much room for victuals, then?"

"Well, there's an apple in there."

"An apple? One?"

"Yes, but always one," I say. "It's more useful than you might think, if you happen to like apples."

"Do you?"

"Not anymore," I say. "It's a very long story and it might not make any sense."

"If I traveled along with nothing but apples to eat, I wouldn't care for them, either... but you seem better fed than that."

"Generally, the road provides... but I'd gone through a period of extreme and extended privation, and when I speak of extended privation, I mean extended. After that I got in the habit of carrying rations of dried beef and hardtack with me... if you want to talk about useful and dangerous, there you go. You can live on it for months, but you wouldn't want to."

"And after that, I suppose an apple sounded good."

"An apple sounded great," I say. "So... when I happened to have the opportunity to free a very old, very powerful friend of mine from a condition of bondage, I was offered a boon. Anything I wanted, anything that was within their power... and believe me, there were a lot of things within their power."

"And all you wanted was an apple."

"It was all I could think about. Well, I'd asked for it, and there was no taking back or amending it, but I don't know if my friend felt sorry for me or embarrassed to be granting such a poor wish, because I have an apple... and I always have one?"

"Is it the same apple every time?"

"It's similar."

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