Note: This is posted “as is”, no editing or proof reading involved, as part of the 30 Shorts In 30 Days project. During April I will be attempting to write, and post a new short story everyday.
The residents of the estate were still getting used to the idea that a human would be coming and living with them. Over the last couple of years they had come to seek sanctuary, as the humans had spread across the land residents found themselves becoming the scapegoat for any problems. Things going missing, it was the goblins, milk turning sour, it was the fairies, village burned down, it was the dragons. Sometimes it actually was, but most of the time it was the humans.
And then Bob decided to make a stand, he decided to get rid of the local baron and start to run the place himself. And it worked for a while, word got around and people joined them looking for a quiet life. It wasn’t long though until the king decided he didn’t like the idea of a dragon running one of the estates and sent an army to put a stop to it. The problem for the king’s army though was that the residents didn’t want to leave, didn’t much like the idea of a human telling them what to do, and they were willing to fight to keep it that way.
To avoid bloodshed, Bob brokered a deal with the king. Bob would keep running the place, but there would be a human overseer on site. And he was now being given the tour.
“These are the stables, here you’ll find the centaurs. They don’t like being disturbed from their thinking, so best stay away from them,” Bob advised as they walked past the building on the outside of the courtyard.
“What’s that game they’re playing?” The human asked, pointing to two centaurs stood outside the stables.
“That Gerald, is something called chess.”
“Chess?” Gerald asked.
“Yes, it’s a strategy game. The centaurs like to play it to keep their minds sharp,” Bob explained to Gerald’s back.
“I say, sorry to interrupt chaps,” Gerald called as he walked over to talk to the two centaurs. “Is this game hard to learn?”
“To learn? No. To master, very,” one of the centaurs answered without looking up.
“I don’t mean to impose, but, well, would you be able to see your way to teaching me how to play it?”
“You?” The other centaur said, also without looking up.
“Well yes, it looks jolly interesting. I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for games of strategy, do you play mah-jong at all? Or Othello?”
“I’ve seen mah-jong, never played it though,” one of the centaurs replied, finally looking up at Gerald.
“Oh, you really must give it a go. I tell you what, if you teach me how to play chess I’ll bring over my mah-jong set and teach you how to play. Do we have a deal?” Gerald asked.
“Definitely.” Both centaurs replied.
Perhaps, Bob thought, having a human around wasn’t going to be so bad. Well, this human anyway.