“You didn’t.” The man nodded toward one of the taverns behind him. “I stepped out for a bit of fresh air and saw you surrounded and waving your arms around. I came to the assumption that you might need a little assistance.”
“Well, the help was much appreciated.” Sylvia brushed an imaginary piece of dust from her dress and pretended to ignore the beastly yet adorable sneeze from the dragon still on other side of the cart. “But I think I would have had things under control given another minute.”
The man nodded. “And I think your wheel is on fire.”
Sylvia whirled her head around to find the dragon’s second “attack” was apparent from tiny flames on the bottom of the right front wheel. Finally managing to shake Obmuj from her leg, she hopped off the cart and frantically began stomping on the fire. As the final flames died out under her feet, Sylvia began to feel even more grateful that this random stranger decided to intervene. Taking a closer look at him, however, she started to wonder about her safety again. His skin was indeed a ghastly pale color and the pupils in his eyes were slit like that of a cat. And as he chuckled at the tiny dragon trying to catch the lighting bug that had followed she all the way from her village, she caught glimpse of a pair of fangs.
“I know what you are,” she said, putting both hands on her hips. “Pale skin. Pointy teeth. Out at night. You’re obviously a troll.”
The stranger rose a brow. “I take it you must be from the country side with that lack of knowledge. I happen to be a vampire.”
“Vampires don’t exist.”
“Trolls don’t exist.” The man rolled his eyes. “And for your information, trolls supposedly live under bridges.”
“How do I know you didn’t come out from under a bridge somewhere?” insisted Sylvia.
“Because I came out of a tavern, remember?” The man thumbed behind him. “Which I believe would be a safer place for us to continue talking than out here in the middle of the street.”
Sylvia squinted her eyes at the weathered wooden sign hanging over the door of his suggested place of refuge. “Shenanigans? What kind of a name is that?”
“It’s a tavern, what kind of name would you prefer? Fuzzy, fuzzy, warm bunny?”
“I’d prefer not following a vampire into a tavern at night.”
“Well then-” the man spread his arms out toward the town road ahead of her, dimly lit by a few sparse lanterns overhead, “-best of luck conjuring more lizards against your next group of friends. Not to say your apprehension isn’t understandable, but I can see you hold little common sense. I just saved both your wagon and possibly your life. Not exactly the acts of the monster you assume me to be.”
“You’re still a vampire.”
The man lifted his chin up with an air of indignation. “I happen to be a vegetarian, thank you. I and nearly any vampire you would ever hope to meet only hunt animals for food.”
Obmuj emitted another whimper and Sylvia suddenly felt two furry arms wrapping around her leg again.
The vampire laughed at the monkey, bearing his fangs again. “Present company excluded of course little friend.”