“Four hundred.” Lord Vosler said as he massaged his pointed goatee while he stood in a small dark alley that smelled like piss. His hands began to caress the impressive pelt that had once belonged to the largest lioness Nathaniel had ever seen. Many men and soldiers spoke of the beast, often lying into their cups saying they survived an encounter. Nathaniel considered Vosler’s offer for a couple of seconds before laughing.
“You’re kidding?” He smirked as his fingers slipped into his pockets. “Not a single coin under twelve hundred.”
“Twelve hundred? I could have led a sortie in it myself for half that cost. Four hundred is my final offer,” Vosler scowled and placed both his hands on the pelt.
“Yes, and lost your sortie in the process, my lord Vosler,” Nathaniel put the weight of his arms on the pelt and met the eye contact of his better. “One man, two weeks hunting the creature and two days in combat with the beast makes it worth twelve. My final offer.”
It had been exhilarating. The lioness was bigger than any creature he had encountered in his life, and by the gods was she fast. She was hunted through the woods, and Nathaniel had managed to stick an arrow right in her foot. It had slowed her down drastically and left a trail. Despite being wounded she still put up quite the fight. Nathaniel had to take flight up a tree until she left him alone and retreated. They played this game for hours, Nathaniel hunting, the Lioness countering with everything she had. The hunt had finally come to an end on the second day when the Lioness slowed down from exhaustion. Nathaniel had placed an arrow in her torso, and then placed a final one in her throat, finishing the creature before she could suffer anymore. The most difficult part came after she was dead when Nathaniel had to find a way to get her pelt back to the city, but he had managed.
“Eight hundred. Anything more and I have you cuffed in irons for a month.”
“Twelve hundred,” Nathaniel repeated firmly, never lifting his eyes from Vosler. Not even daring to blink. “Any less and you have to tell your noble buddies that your best skill is only stealing other people’s hunts. Badly, might I add.”
“Damn you to hell, bastard.” Vosler spat. He began counting out his coin and handled a small sack of money towards the hunter. Nathaniel recounted just to be sure he was getting what he was due. When all was said and done the lord Vosler reunited with his guard with the giant pelt under a large blanket. The pelt was pulled away secretly by a couple of horses and several city guards.
When the hunter was alone he tossed the bag of coins up in the air and punched the air with joy while catching it again. Twelve hundred coins would get a man a lot. It would feed him for a month he was sure, but food was boring. It wasn’t often that he had this much coin at once after all. And a hard working man deserved to reward himself every now and again, no? He stepped out of the alley and placed his foot into a large pile of horse shit. Nathaniel looked down and was quiet for a long while. After he had taken his foot from the huge pile of shit and finished contemplating he burst into a loud fit of laughter. “A horse it is, oh cruel fate.” He tossed the bag up in the air and caught it once more before walking down the bustling street.