Friday, 21 October 2016

Bungo the Barbarian - Chapter 13, Pontification Station

Bungo stood astride his defeated opponent's stricken form and danced heartily. The celebratory romp concluded spectacularly with a barrage of sharp thrusting motions and a double-handed crotch slap; eliciting an unexpectedly sublime chime as the hammer blow rang against Bungo's steely codpiece.

The burly barbarian halted his joviality abruptly; suddenly struck by the notion that he still had no idea why the fight had broken out in the first place. He hummed thoughtfully as a massively powerful hand stroked his Herculean jaw and his manly eyebrows furrowed in consternation as his comparatively underdeveloped mental faculties went to work. The effort was such that didn't even notice the shrill ruckus that ensued when the innkeeper finally came out of hiding to see his bar reduced to a swampy broken ruin. Nor did he flinch as fresh porridge dripped from the rafters and splattered against his steely chest; to say nothing of the fact that Shallica had been licking him clean for the past two minutes and relishing every moment of it.

Another agonisingly slow moment passed before Bungo finally broke the silence.

"I have a thought..." He declared; turning to face Shallica with one finger raised. The dainty gesture was quite out of keeping with the barbarian's sinewy physique. Still probing the air with one questing finger, he continued broodingly. 

"Why is a bounty hunter attacking me?” 

Shallica's only response was a sullen groan; her fine eyebrows raised in a quizzical expression.

"All that time and you only managed to get the question, not the answer?" Her reply hung in the air unheeded; Bungo's oblivious diatribe continued uninterrupted and mostly unintelligibly. 

"Bounty Hunters hunt bad people for money..." Another break in prose seemingly proved that the colossal barbarian really was unable to string together multiple sentences with any efficacy. Shallica groaned again; the questing finger had returned.

"Someone paid this man to attack me!" The final words came out in an exultant rush as Bungo finally identified the plainly obvious. It was only after another celebratory crotch-slap and a booming chorus of "Excelsior" that the barbarian realised that Shallica was nowhere to be seen. 

After a brief moment of befuddled searching, Bungo looked down in time to see her clawed hand reach out towards him with a piece of warrant paper clutched between her delicate fingers. It seemed that she had grown weary of waiting for the erstwhile dunce's creaking cognitions and had performed a search of the unconscious man's belongings in an attempt to speed things along. 

Bungo's colossal fist dwarfed the tattered parchment as he took the proffered item from Shallica. He brought it closer to his face and immediately burst into raucous laughter.

"Who is this hideous oaf!?" Bungo spluttered the words; his eyes wet with tears of amusement as he stared at the blockheaded visage on the paper. The hastily scrawled portrait was fashioned with a fierce cleft chin, glowering grey eyes and a monstrous forehead dominated by a bold mono-brow. The poor individual's body was outlandishly proportioned in a ridiculously triangular manner, with legs that appeared almost vestigial in size and arms that hung below the ankles. A childishly angular sword was proudly clutched in one raised hand above a mane of unruly hair.

"It says right here it's you." Shallica pointed to the bottom of the page; the simple gesture almost immediately ending the barbarian's good humour.

"Reward, 50,000 Chrome Stumpkins for the head of Bungo the Barbarian." She read the next line aloud, unaware that Bungo had already begun to turn a deep shade of red; silently fuming at the insult.

"Wanted for crimes of...." She stopped mid-sentence, scowling slightly 

"This part’s been ruined by porridge, I can't see anything else..." Her casual remark was cut short when she looked into Bungo's Herculean features. Gone was the air of amusement; his whole body was tense with an air of dark resolve. In truth, at that moment he resembled the warrant poster's mug shot more than Shallica had previously thought possible, but she didn't want to ruin the moment by pointing it out; even though his hunched posture really did make his arms hang rather low.

There was a pregnant moment as Bungo turned toward the inn door; dramatically draping the stricken man's long cloak about his angular shoulders. When he finally spoke, his tone was brooding and low.

"There's only one place where they use Chrome Stumpkins" he was oddly contemplative as he climbed the creaking  stairs to retrieve the Blade of Donglore.

"We're heading to Marbo."

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