Sword of Destiny by Andrzej Sapkowski Read Online (FREE)
Read Sword of Destiny (The Witcher, short stories) by Andrzej Sapkowski full novel online for free here.
THE BOUNDS OF REASON
‘He won’t get out of there, I’m telling you,’ the pockmarked man said, shaking his head with conviction. ‘It’s been an hour and a quarter since he went down. That’s the end of ’im.’
The townspeople, crammed among the ruins, stared in silence at the black hole gaping in the debris, at the rubble-strewn opening. A fat man in a yellow jerkin shifted from one foot to the other, cleared his throat and took off his crumpled biretta.
‘Let’s wait a little longer,’ he said, wiping the sweat from his thinning eyebrows.
‘For what?’ the spotty-faced man snarled. ‘Have you forgotten, Alderman, that a basilisk is lurking in that there dungeon? No one who goes in there comes out. Haven’t enough people perished? Why wait?’
‘But we struck a deal,’ the fat man muttered hesitantly. ‘This just isn’t right.’
‘We made a deal with a living man, Alderman,’ said the spotty-faced man’s companion, a giant in a leather butcher’s apron. ‘And now he’s dead, sure as eggs is eggs. It was plain from the start he was heading to his doom, just like the others. Why, he even went in without a looking glass, taking only a sword. And you can’t kill a basilisk without a looking glass, everyone knows that.’
‘You’ve saved yourself a shilling, Alderman,’ the spotty-faced man added. ‘For there’s no one to pay for the basilisk. So get off home nice and easy. And we’ll take the sorcerer’s horse and chattels. Shame to let goods go to waste.’
‘Aye,’ the butcher said. ‘A sturdy mare, and saddlebags nicely stuffed. Let’s take a peek at what’s inside.’
‘This isn’t right. What are you doing?’
‘Quiet, Alderman, and stay out of this, or you’re in for a hiding,’ the spotty-faced man warned.
‘Sturdy mare,’ the butcher repeated.
‘Leave that horse alone, comrade.’
The butcher turned slowly towards the newcomer, who had appeared from a recess in the wall, and the people gathered around the entrance to the dungeon.
The stranger had thick, curly, chestnut hair. He was wearing a dark brown tunic over a padded coat and high riding boots. And he was not carrying a weapon.
‘Move away from the horse,’ he repeated, smiling venomously. ‘What is this? Another man’s horse, saddlebags and property, and you can’t take your watery little eyes off them, can’t wait to get your scabby mitts on them? Is that fitting behaviour?’
The spotty-faced man, slowly sliding a hand under his coat, glanced at the butcher. The butcher nodded, and beckoned towards a part of the crowd, from which stepped two stocky men with close-cropped hair. They were holding clubs of the kind used to stun animals in a slaughterhouse.
‘Who are you,’ the spotty-faced man asked, still holding his hand inside his coat, ‘to tell us what is right and what is not?’
‘That is not your concern, comrade.’