The After Effects

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The Follower

The same lady was working at the front desk of the Lodge when I returned a couple hours later. She seemed cautious of me because of who I told her to lie too. Oh well.

Ragnar had been unhappy about me leaving but the Royal Horse seemed to be a good company for him. So after jumping from the two-story window, I decided to head back to the Lodge so I could store my backpack before grabbing breakfast.

Well, Breakfast for me, a midnight snack for most other people.

After hiding my backpack and rotating my drying clothes, I hit the streets of Everest again, headed straight for the bar.

The bar was a little more quiet considering it was past midnight. But a few drunk patrons still stumbled around, flirting with Harlots that were still looking for a bed to warm for the night.

I approached the bar and waited for the bartender to acknowledge me.

"Go home you drunk fool." The bartender chastised a fellow, who actually listened and mumbled a goodbye before leaving. The male turned to me and smiled wistfully.

"Sorry about that. What can I get you to drink?" The bartender asked, exhaustion pulled at his handsome features.

"As great as alcohol sounds right now, you got any food?" I asked.

The male seemed shocked. "I think you're the first person tonight to ask for food." He said. "I've got some soup on the fire if you're interested? Otherwise, I can maybe cook some veggies for you?"

"The soup sounds great," I said before finding a seat at the bar while he disappeared into the back room.

I found myself scanning the bar. Five people remained, though they all seemed to be packing up and leaving. From experience, I knew this bar is open till two in the morning, so I figured it to be close to that time.

The remaining five people had left by the time the bartender returned with my food.

He set the soup in front of me. Veggies floated around the warm liquid along with some freshly placed bread pieces.

I smiled at the male and handed him two coins for the soup.

He stared at the extra coin. "It's only one coi-"

"Consider it a tip for serving me past closing time." I waved him off as I grabbed a spoon and dug into the soup.

The warm liquid slid down my throat and I sighed at the delicious taste of it. Despite the bland ingredients, someone had used some seasoning to make the flavors pop.

"Who made this?" I asked as I dug around the soup.

"Well-" The male scratched at the back of his head. His brown hair ruffling slightly. "I did. Is it that bad?"

"This is really good." I took a couple more sips to prove it. "Do you always cook for the bar?"

From past experience, this bar has had okay food. As good as they can do I suppose with what they're given.

"Well no. I only cook when I get the proper spices. And I recently was able to purchase a couple of spices from the market, so I figured I throw some in this soup and see what people would think. You're the only person to eat it tonight." He seemed kind of sad by that final tidbit.

"This is some of the best soup I've had in years. And that's counting royal cooks." I didn't get to see his reaction because I was busy drinking the rest of the soup straight from the bowl.

"You mean that?" The male gawked at me, pride shone in his brown eyes as he watched me.

"I don't lie when it comes to food," I said digging into my coin purse and grabbing three more coins. "In fact I want you to take these, and purchase more species. Talk to the owner of the bar and see if you can serve your food. You'd make a killing serving food like this."

"Thank you." Color stained the male's cheek's from my compliment. "What's your name? I've seen you in here before, but only like once a month." The male pocketed the coins as he spoke.

"Most call me Lady Bjerke. But you can call me Ivy." I said.

"Well, Lady Ivy. It seems I owe you a life debt." The male said, seeming astonished with this whole interaction.

"Not Lady. Just Ivy. I hate being addressed as Lady. Way too formal for me." I faked a shiver for emphasis. "What about you? Who can I tell everyone is the best cook?"

The male chuckled. "James works fine for me."

"Well James, it was nice to meet you." I smiled at the male.

The door to the bar opened and we turned at the same time to see who entered.

A cloaked figure strutted into the bar. Icy blue eyes crashed into mine as the male figure approached the bar.

"We're about to close," James explained to the cloaked figure as he took a seat two down from me. "That is unless you'd like soup."

I smiled as I realized James was trying to get a second opinion on his food.

The figure nodded to James, who tried to suppress his grin as he went to the back room.

I couldn't help but stare at the male, who was staring intently at the wall.

"Do you need something?" An annoyed male voice asked me as he snapped his head to me. His voice was deep and alluring.

"Do you need something?" I asked back.

The male glared at me.

"This is the second time I've seen you today. I can't help but feel you're following me." I said, while taking a quick look at his hands. Sadly, his hands were gloved.

"Perhaps you're following me." The male responded.

"I was here first. Both times." I exclaimed.

"Good for you." The male rolled his eyes at me. Rolled his eyes at me.

My temper started to flare a bit at the clear entitlement of this male.

"Excuse me, who do you think you are?" I glared at the cloaked figure, who was completely hidden except for those stunning eyes. His hood cast a shadow over his face, hiding even his chin from view.

"According to you, I'm your follower." The male said dully, almost as if this conversation was boring him.

My jaw ticked as I went to retort, luckily James walked out and handed the figure his soup.

Realizing that nothing good would come from this conversation, I abruptly stood.

"Everything alright?" James asked. Eyeing me and the male.

"It was a pleasure to meet you James, but I think it's time for me to leave," I said shortly.

"Oh alright. Thank you for everything again. If you ever need anything, please come find me." James waved goodbye as I turned and left.

I felt like steam was coming off of me as I left James and the cloaked male behind.

Who does that male think he is? He dismissed me like I was literal trash under his black fancy boots.

As I got closer and closer to my lodging, I felt my temper start to relax.

Whatever. You know what? That male wants to treat me like that, then that's his loss. What do I care? I don't even know him.

Once inside my room, I dug up my backpack, got out all my weapons, and began sharpening them.

Sharpening my blades always was quite relaxing.

By the time I finished, all thoughts of the cloaked male were gone, mostly, and I was once again clearheaded...

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