Chapter 3: Reminiscent
Word count: 1,204
“You see sir, this boy took my hat and I wanted it back.”
“And why do you care about such a hat that you need to harm a child!?”
“This hat is dear to me, so if you could kindly give me it back I would be most in your debt.”
“It’s that important, huh?” The man whispered in Percy’s ear.
“Then maybe you shouldn’t have it in such an easy place to steal.”
“I still need the hat back.” Percy said firmly, becoming less afraid of the man.
“Hm. Fine. But let me check out the hat first.”
The man took the hat from the boy and glanced at the hat’s markings.
“I see.” The man said.
He gave the hat back to Percy immediately.
Percy was afraid the man would do something to the hat. He focused on the man and the hat closely and grabbed it quickly.
“It looks like 20 years of battle is scarred on your hat, and a jade piece of fine jewelry to top the glory.”
“Yes, sir.” Percy said.
“No need to call me sir. After this banquet is over, I want you to come with me.”
The man shouted to everyone in the room, heavily focused on their conversation.
“Just a mistake on my part, now back to the banquet!”
Everyone went back to drinking and partying, except for the boy and Percy.
“Why do you look so depressed, boy?”
“I wanted his hat!” He cried.
“Oh, but you see young one, this hat is very important to the bounty hunter.”
“B-bounty hunter!?” The boy was shocked. So was Percy.
Percy whispered in the man’s ear.
“How do you know that, if I may ask?”
He whispered back. “I know many things, Percy.”
Percy smirked. “Oh, now I get it. Let’s go to your office now.”
Percy and the man returned to the man’s office. He was the boss of the gold panning business.
They sat down in the two chairs, one on each side of a table in the office the man talked about. The man let out a sigh.
“So, what have you been up to?” The man asked.
“The usual, bounty hunting and going on personal journeys.”
“I see you got out of your cuffs just fine, but it looks like you really put in the effort to work today. Why is that?”
“I knew you’d be here, so I wanted to be on my best behavior.”
“Oh, I’m sure of it.” The man said.
“You know Sherlm, I haven’t seen you act so realistically in a long time.”
“Only the best for the best.” He smirked.
“Why gold panning? I thought you had better businesses.”
“Well you see Percy, times change. My business was shut down, and now I sell this gold on the black market.”
“Hmm, desperate times call for desperate measures. Good luck in the future.”
“Thanks, and that’s right. Let me show you something.”
Sherlm led Percy down a secret passageway to a window, where he could see the whole banquet unfold. Percy saw people laughing, partying, drinking booze, and the boy, who was still sad.
“I need to do something.” Percy.
“Are you going to give the hat to the boy?”
“Of course not.” Percy scoffed.
“Then I’ll leave you be. I’m going back to the surface to talk to Gregor. I saw he was giving you trouble.”
“No need,” Percy said. “Let him be, I bet he’s tired.”
“Also, one last thing before I go back to the party…were you the man in the mountains?”
“Mountains? You mean behind the shooting range you always go to? I’ve been here all day.”
“That’s weird,” Percy thought for a second.
“Anyways, better go fast. Looks like the banquet is slowing down. One last round wouldn’t hurt.”
“Hah, thanks.” Percy laughed.
“I’m going now. Bye.”
Percy walked back to the banquet and glanced across the room for the boy. He went straight to him without hesitation.
“Go away!” The boy said.
“I’m sorry for what I did earlier, but hopefully this cheers you up…”
Percy grabbed his hat and took off the Jade necklace. He carefully wrapped the shiny emerald around the boy’s neck. The boy stood still the whole time.
“I hope this compensates for the hat you wanted. It’s very valuable, so don’t lose it.”
Percy laughed. “No need to act so seriously. It’s a family heirloom.”
“What!? Then why should I have it?” The boy questioned.
“My memories of my family are of no use to me anymore, and I need to rid myself of the life I previously had with them. This hat is the only symbol of departure from them and their ideals, so I need a brave soul to keep the other memories I had sacred.”
“Big words for a small bounty hunter!”
“What was that?” Percy said.
“Oh nothing, it’s just that I’ll surpass you!”
“Hah, I’d like to see you try.” Percy said.
Percy walked back up the stairs and continued to follow the path to the surface. He smiled and saluted the mineshaft before taking off.
“It doesn’t matter if you went now, since we’d just see each other again.” Sherlm said at the entrance of the mineshaft. He was leaning against a support beam and crossing his arms.
“I hope to see you again too,” Percy said.
“Until next time, Sherlm.”
Sherlm tossed a piece of gold to Percy who was walking away. He turned around and caught it.
“I thought you might want something of mine, since you did so much for me.”
The piece of gold was perfectly shaped, shined with perfect gloss and was a combination of materials. It changed colors.
“What is this?”
“Well, since you lost a family heirloom, I thought I’d lend you mine. That’s a golden copper beetle.”
“It looks like a lot of time and effort was put into this stone. I’ll make sure to keep it safe.”
“You better.” Shelrm said.
Percy smiled and walked off into the sunset. He waved back at Shelrm.
“Next time you get saved by my workers, say thank you!”
“I’ll think about it.” Percy said, lifting the stone in the air with a clasped fist.
Shelrm is a multi-business owner, and a great friend of Percy. He had been saved by Percy in a shootout between bandits. Shelrm currently only owned one business, which was the gold panning, and had accidentally recruited Percy by mistake. Of course, all his workers were accepting of his terms - basically. Percy knew how he ran his businesses. He capitalized on legal slavery and treated his workers kindly. But obviously, they couldn’t go too far out of line, or they’d ruin his business. It wasn’t the greatest of things to do to people, but Percy knew that it was necessary for Shelrm’s business plans.
It was the end of another friendly encounter. Both of the friends regretted it, but had to move on anyway. The next few years of their lives were painful; Shelrm lost his business and Percy lost his reputation for conspiracy and lack of work days. Both still continued on with life. They didn’t give up yet.