Orion the Bounty Hunter Chapter 5: An Inn

The woman eyed the three of them—three young people coming in out of the rain—but agreed. “That’ll be about twenty silvers.” Trade was the only thing keeping this country going and inns needed travelers, regardless of their stories.

“That’s fine.” Bas pulled the money out from his coat pocket.

Orion frowned. She tugged her cloak free of Sirius’ teeth and flipped her hood on to get her saddlebag and pack from her borrowed horse, Gill. She was tired now. The heat of the moment had worn off but left a cold, unsettling feeling in her bones.

Bas and Tam, similarly, took their saddlebags from their steeds and slung them over their shoulders.

“I’m Janus, the owner. I’ll get the stable workers on it,” the woman said to them. She promptly yelled into the room behind her. “If your boots are covered in mud, you better carry them or I’ll charge you for the extra cleaning we have to do,” she threatened, then invited them inside. “The animal can stay on the porch.” She threw her cigar into the mud of the streets and then went inside.

Orion frowned, but pet Sirius and gestured for her to stay. She knew her friend was smart; Sirius would stay outside and raise hell if someone tried to harm her.

After glancing at the other two members of her party, Tam peeled off her boots and led the way inside.

The downstairs of the inn had wood flooring. Candles sat on each of the tables. On the opposite side of what seemed to be the kitchen and office was a fireplace; some wet socks and shirts had been laid around it. There were some locals, but most seemed to be fellow travelers escaping from the bad weather. No one wanted to sleep outside in these conditions.

Janus pulled two keys from a large metal loop and handed them to Tam and Bas.

Orion followed Tam upstairs and waited as the knight unlocked their room. She looked down the hallway, saw nothing of note, and then entered the room where they would be staying for the night.

The room had one large bed, a dresser, a metal tray by the door, and two windows. It had the same wooden flooring as the rest of the inn. In the bathroom, separated from the main room by a creaky door, was a sink, a rack with some towels, a toilet, and a bathtub.

Improvements in infrastructure and personal hygiene in the past fifty years came from a mixture of Malamut policy and Nu’s technological marvels related to water. Shibe and Ahan had also pushed for public health policies in more recent years. Countries that advanced further in this direction had been noted to have decreased the spread of disease, particularly when utilized in cities.

Orion put her shoes on the metal tray, then put her things on the dresser and hung her cloak from the rack in the bathroom.

Tam put her boots on the metal tray then went into the bathroom. She lit the candle and placed it on the raised back of the sink. She took two towels off the rack and offered one to Orion.

Orion took the towel and dried her hair off to the side. Her hair was a pixie cut, something that had been hard to replicate, but was similarly amateurish rather than a disaster. “What type of oil do you use for your hair?”

Tam rubbed the long strands of her hair to keep them from dripping everywhere. She dried it for a bit, then pulled out a bottle and comb from her bag. The oil, which had some sort of floral scent, helped with the tangles in her hair. “It’s made from Fillian, a type of flower from Alita’s mountains.”

“It smells nice.”

“Thank you.” Tam said nothing more. She brushed through her hair and applied the oil with her free hand when the comb hit a tangle. She used a new ribbon to tie her hair into a rough bun.

Orion waited for a few minutes and glanced to her right. “How mad was he, actually?”

“Talk to Bas yourself,” was all Tam said. Her tone wasn’t cold, but it was close. She was gently prodding at the area around her eye, wincing.

Orion examined her knuckles. She went over to the sink and washed her hands. Her hair was dry now, so she hung the towel up. She was feeling more awkward than she ever had—she was pretty sure she had been the one who had accidentally punched Tam. After a few more minutes of silence, she left the room and went back downstairs.

Bas was already at a table with four chairs. He had changed into a completely dry set of clothes, and left his wet coat upstairs. His hair was still occasionally dripping water onto his chair or the floor. He had his usual sort of messenger bag on him that held his money. There were already a few small dishes in front of him.

Orion sat down in one of the chairs. She folded her hands together in her lap.

Bas was tapping a finger against the table. After staring thoughtfully at Orion, he moved one of the dishes to her side of the table.

Orion glanced at the dish—it was some sort of breaded meat. She picked up a piece with her fingers and ate it. She had to admit that the food was pretty good, although spicy.

“I shouldn’t have brought up your disownment. I apologize.” Bas’ features were stiff; not insincere, but complicated.

Orion lowered her head. She couldn’t exactly remember what she had said, but she knew it was about all the things she had thought about Bas since they met. And considering everything that happened over the past few weeks, she had been pretty wrong. She was the one who was acting like a selfish, proud asshole. “I fucked up,” she admitted, a bit bitterly. “I took it there first.”

“And?” Bas prompted.


Bas nodded and placed the second dish between the two of them. “Try this.”

Tam walked down the stairs. She glanced at the two of them, didn’t say anything, and then went to knock on the kitchen door to order food.

Orion hesitated. “We’re good now, like that?”

“We both apologized.” Bas held out a hand, thumb extended. “We won’t bring up each other’s shitty family backgrounds and insult each other rather than talk it out in the future.”

“I can work with that.” Orion hooked her thumb around his—wishing that in this world expressions of trust or friendship were a fist bump instead. She paused. “Your haircut is still awful though. I’m not going to take that back.”

Bas rolled his eyes. “Thanks. Yours looks terrible too.”


Oh hey look, regret and maturity.

I started writing a bonus chapter but now it’s going to be like 3 new chapters for the second half of this novel by the time I finish it.

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About Ren

Writer of An Unwilling Prince. Longtime reader, fanfic writer, artist, and animator. Ko-fi: https://ko-fi.com/thesilverhunt3r Tumblr: https://anunwillingprince.tumblr.com/

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