|Английски оригинал||Перевод на български|
I waken up in surprisingly good health, given my recent excesses. No sign of a hangover at all. Plenty of food, that's the secret. Mop up the excess beer with a goodly selection of pies and there's no problem. I look around me. I'm in my guest room at Arichdamis's. I cant remember how I got here. Must have walked, I suppose, after leaving the Jolly Bandit. What time is it? It's bright and sunny outside. Early afternoon, I'd say. Still time to make it up to the tournament field for Makri's fight. I've missed out on the investigating I planned for this morning, but I can visit Baroness Demelzos later.
I haul myself upright and sit on the edge of the bed. I notice my clothes are damp. That's odd. Perhaps I spilled some water over myself while demonstrating my assault on the Orcish fort in Sundread valley. I do remember using a water pitcher for a mace at one point. Now feeling thirsty, I look around for my own water pitcher, but it's empty. I head for the kitchen. I'm filling up a large pewter beaker when Makri appears.
"Never speak to me again in any circumstances," says Makri.
"What's the matter?"
"I said never speak to me again." Makri glares at me with loathing, and storms out of the kitchen. It's puzzling. But Makri's moods are often erratic. I can't see that I've done anything to upset her. Maybe she's still annoyed at Lasat's plans to cage the young dragon. I look down at my tunic, which is still quite damp. I notice it's also in need of repair. The neck is looking distinctly ragged. Probably I should do something about it, if only to not cause Lisutaris embarrassment. At that moment Lisutaris appears. I greet her amiably. She glares at me. I begin to wonder if I might have caused offence in some way.
"Is there anything wrong?"
"Anything wrong? Don't you know?"
"Nothing springs to mind…"
"You missed Makri's fight, for one thing!" says Lisutaris, loudly.
I can make no sense of this. "What do you mean? She's not fighting till late afternoon."
"That was yesterday!"
"No it wasn't, it's today."
"It was yesterday! You got drunk with Baron Girimos and went on a gigantic spree all through Elath, which ended up with the pair of you being thrown out of the King's Bathing House for creating a disturbance and frightening young bathers."
I stare at the Sorcerer. This all seems very unlikely. "I don't remember anything like that."
"I'm not surprised! You and the Baron called in at every tavern between the Jolly Bandit and the Bathing Houses, drinking klee and terrorising the barmaids. Eventually you ended up in the King's private hot pool, trying to re-enact some naval engagement. The whole episode is now the talk of Elath. The King is not pleased. And my status has now sunk to zero."
"Are you quite sure about all this?"
"I was the one who bailed you out of the guardhouse. It took four men to lift you into my carriage."
There's an uncomfortable silence.
"So I missed Makri's fight?"
"She won, no thanks to you. You weren't there to lead her into the arena. She had to ask General Hemistos, something she'd much rather not have done. What were you thinking about, spending the day getting roaringly drunk when you were meant to be attending to Makri? You knew how important that fight was to her. She was fighting Parasas, who beat her before."
I spread my hands wide. "I didn't plan it, it just happened. I left the house early to do some investigating and I ran into the Baron. Girimos has a very healthy thirst."
"So you couldn't even control yourself for a few hours?"
While it's uncomfortable having the Head of the Sorcerers Guild so angry at me, I'm not about to give in without a fight. "You can't blame me," I inform her, quite forcibly. "There are extenuating circumstances. Look at what I've had to put up with since we got here. Nothing but you and Makri talking about your romantic problems. If it's not Kublinos doing something you don't like, it's Makri complaining about General Hemistos. Just a constant barrage of things I don't want to hear about. It's no surprise I needed a day off with a good drinking companion."
Lisutaris shakes her head. "Thraxas, I can understand your need to make an utter pig of yourself occasionally, but could you not have waited? It was bad to miss Makri's fight. She's absolutely furious. So am I. Have you forgotten you were meant to be helping me repel hostile sorcery?"
"Was there any hostile sorcery?"
"I don't think so. I didn't detect any. Makri had a hard time though, it was a tough fight. Parasas dealt her some painful blows before she beat him."
"I'll make it up to her."
"I wouldn't bet on it. And talking of betting, I had to place our bet with Big Bixo. Yes, Thraxas, thanks to you, I have now suffered the unmatched humiliation of walking into a bookmaker's shop and placing a wager, something no Head of the Sorcerers Guild has ever done before, not even Julia the Bad, and she did most things. Word of this has also spread all round Elath, further destroying my reputation. I'm now the Sorcerer who's addicted to gambling and employs Turai's biggest drunkard as my Adviser."
"Was I really arrested?"
"Yes. But they didn't take you to jail, because you were with the Baron. They just threw the two of you in the guardhouse and sent a messenger to me to pick you up."
I'm sure Lisutaris is exaggerating the whole thing. "If I was really as drunk as you claim, why am I feeling so healthy now?"
"Because I used aSleep and Regenerate spell on you. Partly because I was worried you'd actually die from klee-poisoning, and partly to stop you singing obscene drinking songs."
Lisutaris fishes in her magic purse, and finally brings out my spell protection necklace. "Here, this belongs to you. I removed it before I used the spell." Lisutaris digs around some more in her purse while I fasten the charm around my neck.
"So what happened when you went to put the bet on?" I ask.
Lisutaris shudders at the memory. "There was some adverse comment. Not to my face, of course, but I could hear people whispering. When I reached the front of the queue, I wasn't even sure how to place the bet properly. It was all very embarrassing."
"What odds did you get?"
Lisutaris tells me that both fighters were listed at five to six. "Was that reasonable? Or was Bixo cheating me?"
"It's all right, it's about what I'd have expected."
"Good. I wagered 5,000. I might have put on more, but Bixo said that was the most he would take. Is that fair?"
I nod. "Bookmakers are like that. When you start winning they're suddenly not so keen to take your bets. They put a limit on."
Lisutaris's 5000 guran bet has won us 4,167, making 9,167. With the 2,875 she kept back, we now have 12,042 gurans.
"I've never been so successful at gambling before," says Lisutaris.
"At least something's going well. So now Makri's in the semi-final. When is it?"
"This afternoon," Lisutaris tells me. "And it's going to be difficult."
"Of course. Anyone who's made it this far will be a tough opponent."