“Ha! Take that. And that! Foul scum!” Fletcher yelled as he swept the legs out from under his foe, before spearing it through the heart. He raised his arms in triumph, posing for his legion of adoring fans.
“Now this is the life… URGH!” he spluttered as he stumbled forward from a blow to the back of the head, dropping his sword with a clatter.
“What have I told you about daydreaming in the front of the store?” came his Da’s gruff voice.
“Sorry Da” said a contrite Fletcher as he picked up the broom and carried on sweeping the dusty wooden floorboards. His head still stung from the slap, but he’d be damned if he was going to show any weakness in front of his Da.
His Da sighed heavily. “One of these days your foolish notion of being an Adventurer is going to get you into trouble” he said, followed by a slight shake of the head. “Now mind the store for a bit”.
“Yes Da” Fletcher replied, hearing the heavy footsteps heading towards the doors that led to the bakery that took up most of the rest of the building.
He had barely resumed his sweeping duties before he heard more footsteps pounding up the stairs, followed by the jangling of bells as the doors to the store were flung open. Fletcher plastered a fake smile to his face, watching the fruits of his sweeping being scattered by a draught before he turned to face the group that had just entered.
“Good morning. Early start today?” he enquired of the band of Adventurers. Or Dungeon Group, as they liked to refer to themselves.
They ignored Fletcher as they gathered up half a dozen freshly baked loaves, one of them barely taking the time to deposit a small pile of copper coins on the counter before leaving as quickly as they had entered.
Fletcher dropped his smile, and after a furtive glance around to make sure that his Da wasn’t around, mimed a few slashes and pokes with his broom in the direction of the party that had just left.
“It’s so unfair!” he grumbled to himself as he moved to pick up the coppers on the counter. 17 coppers for the bread and… a stone? He moved the copper coins to the till before briefly inspecting the stone that the Adventurer had carelessly dropped. It was a small flat disk, rough to the touch and could - at a quick glance - easily be mistaken for a very old copper coin.
“Great" he muttered as he dropped the stone into a pocket on his apron. He was now a copper short and his Da was going to take it out of his meagre pay. He briefly thought about chasing after the group, but they were long gone and his Da would kill him if he left the storefront unattended.
Thunk. Thunk. The cellar doors crashed to the sides as Fletcher heaved them open. He stared down into the darkness for a second, bracing himself before picking up the lamp and heading down the stairs.
“Rats. I hate rats!” he thought to himself as he hung the lamp on a hook and surveyed the cellar.
His Da had been in a foul mood on his return to the front of the store, a vein throbbing on his forehead as he groused loudly about fouled sacks of flour and rats and dishonest millers. So here Fletcher was, banished to the cellar to inspect the stacks of flour for any more signs of the disgusting little rodents.
Inspecting the sacks of flour was tiring work, and Fletcher soon removed his apron and chucked it to the side. There were several rat traps laid out throughout the cellar, but none of them had seen any success, and a thorough morning's effort left him empty handed. No rat droppings, no triggered traps, no more gnawed through bags.
Good news for his Da, bad news for the miller that his Da would surely be having a few stern words with soon enough.