A wooden creak accompanied a tavern door opening, as Mu walked into the village pub with his jester in tail. The pair had found the nearest tavern before all other business, and the large warrior plopped down onto a stool at the end of the bar, receiving a beer almost immediately.

“We told her we’d get her to the Elder Council and that was it. Maybe we didn’t exactly see her getting to them, but we made it to the city! I think our part’s done.” Mu reasoned with his silent jester. The small bard wore an obviously dissatisfied face, as expressions were his only form of communication at the moment. “And since the job is done, I think I’ve earned myself a drink. Or twenty.” The Icarian man downed his beer in one gulp, savoring its sweet bitterness at the end. He hadn’t had a real drink since his trials began long ago, and the liquid was like honey to his tongue.

While he worked on his second drink, out of the corner of his eye, Mu noticed that he was being watched. Being entirely unintimidated by the idea of a bar fight, the large warrior simply turned to his observers to face them directly, and saw a tall lanky man and a much shorter halfling further down the bar.

The taller man had a creepy smirk on his face, and cockiness emanated from his person. Wearing simple traveler’s clothes, he appeared to be of the lower class aside from the presence of a curiously intricate insignia on his right shoulder. The halfling man seemed much more reserved in his emotions, and gave no particular tell into his character; Mu assumed the man was quite skilled in that particular manner. The tall one didn’t seem to be armored in any kind of way, but the smaller one was loaded with daggers and pouches. The one evident thing about the two men was that they were, in fact, eyeing up the bundle on Mu’s back, rather than the warrior himself.

The taller man began what looked like a glide over to Mu, sitting beside him at the bar just a little too close. The warrior immediately did not like the man.

“Always such a good thing, seeing newcomers in the area. Perhaps newcomers looking to make some quick gold?” the insidious man hissed.

“I’m not willing to sell anything I’ve got, and if you plan on trying to take anything from me, I’ll prove a much harder target than you might expect.” Mu grumbled, finishing his drink promptly. “Now what exactly can I do for you, that’ll let this grown man drink in peace?”

“Friend, you misunderstand me. I think we can both agree there’s a win-win situation for the two of us here. I win because I’ll be leaving with that precious cargo you’ve got on your back, and you’ll win because you’ll be leaving here without any burns.” The tall man displayed a small flame floating off the palm of his hand. “Magic’s coming to this city whether the Elder Council wants it to or not,” the man whispered. “Now do you really want to be on my bad side?” he asked with his overconfident smirk still showing.

Without looking away from his drinks, Mu began to take the bundled up weapon off his back. And in one quick motion, the large warrior jammed the sword’s butt deep into the taller wizard’s stomach, crumpling him to the ground. Mu stood up and quickly overtook the halfling a few seats further down the bar, and picked him up by his shirt collar.

“I don’t know who you are, but you and your pal over there are going to leave me alone, got it?” Mu challenged, easily controlling the halfling squirming in his hand. “I don’t need shit like this, so this better be the last time I see y—“

That very second, guards broke through the door into the tavern, holding crossbows pointed at the large warrior and the man in his grasp.

“Drop the halfling! That’s enough of the two of you, no fighting allowed!” one of the soldiers shouted. As Mu dropped the squirming man, he noticed that the taller man he had just dealt with was nowhere to be found.