Soon after passing through open iron gates that served as the official town boundary, Sylvia began thinking perhaps arriving in Lacsar at night was a big mistake. After noticing three slightly drunken former patrons of the local taverns trailing behind the cart, the idea seemed to have quickly become much worse.
“Hey little lady, it’s past your bed time isn’t it?” yelled one of them from the left. “Where’s your parents?”
“Close enough you should go back to your bar,” Sylvia called out, snapping the reins in attempt to get her mule moving faster down the cobblestone street.
“How much do you want for the dresses?” another man shouted to her right. “It’s dangerous for someone like yourself to be traveling through here at night with all that merchandise. We could help take it off your hands.”
“They’re not for sale right now.”
“How much for the monkey?” inquired a much less sober voice too close for comfort near the rear left wheel. “I bet he’d make a fine meal next to some potatoes and gravy.”
Obmuj let out a small whimper, hopping to the bottom of the seat and wrapping his arms around one of Sylvia’s legs.
“He’s not for sale and he’s not food.”
Sylvia tugged back on the reins tightly to keep from running over one of the men as he decided to jump in front of the mule.
“You have a lot to learn about good business, little one.” He patted the mule on its side and walked closer toward her, keeping a loose hand on the reins. “You have plenty of potential customers and here you are trying to rush away.”
“I doubt you and your friends are in much need of a cart full of dresses.”
“A cart full of dresses means there’s a bag full of money somewhere in that cart too.”
“Oh.” Sylvia glanced at the small mountain of dresses piled up behind her and suddenly came to the realization of two things: gallivanting around in a cart teeming with obvious merchandise of some kind made her appear a perfect target for someone to rob. Unfortunately, the second realization was not only did she have little more than spare change left from the day’s earlier sales but she was also otherwise broke. “I don’t have much of a coin purse on me,” she admitted. “Perhaps enough to buy yourself another pint of ale but that’s it.”
“We’ll see about that.” The man grinned and drew a sword from a scabbard at his side. “Get off the cart and leave everything in it, including that monkey. It’s ours now.”
“No.” Sylvia stood in the cart putting both hands on her hips. “This is my cart, my merchandise, and-” she shook her leg slightly, trying to urge Obmuj off to get better footing “-my monkey!” She rose both arms over her head. “And you better leave us alone, I’m a powerful magician.”
The group around her laughed. The leader lowered his sword and folded his arms. “Really? Let’s see something amazing happen then.”
Waving her arms in small circles, Sylvia closed her eyes. “Enemies beware and prepare yourselves to fight for my fiery dragon shall devour you like a sprite.” She opened them again to see the man and his comrades looking around, unimpressed.
“Hey!” The least sober member of the group pointed at the ground near their leader. “There it is!”
Everyone glanced down to find an over-sized lizard, about the size of a common rat, waddling toward the man like it had recently frequented the taverns as well.
“What is this?” the man with the sword stared at the creature with a mix of disdain and confusion in his voice.
“That’s a fire-breathing dragon I summoned to teach you and your little friends that you need to go.” Sylvia tried to speak with as much confidence as she could muster in the tiny beast. Everyone patiently waited while the dragon reached its destination, even the villains only seeming curious as to what it would do. After several pants of heavy breathing from the inches excursion, the dragon tilted its head back and let out a miniature fireball that set the toe portion of the man’s right boot on fire. It was difficult to determine whether the dragon actually attacked or simply had to sneeze.
Sylvia crossed her arms, sticking her chin up. “Let that be a lesson to you.”
“I don’t have time for playing with little magic tricks!” yelled the man, waving his foot to put the flame out. He held his sword up again and pointed at Sylvia. “Toss the girl out of the cart and let’s get out of here!”
The group moved in to attack. Sylvia quickly closed her eyes and raised her arms again to cast another spell, hoping this time she could summon a larger dragon. Before reciting the second line of her spell, she heard screams from the men around her. Sylvia’s eyes popped back open but instead of a dragon, she found a pale-faced man dressed from head to toe in black leather tossing her enemies overhead like bags of sugar. One man ended up unconscious from the landing while the rest of the group quickly gave up fighting and grabbed their fallen friend by the legs, dragging him away.