QSFer K. L. Mitchell has a new FF humorous fantasy book out, Kalazad Book 2: Villains.
After saving the kingdom, you’d think Revka and her Centaur girlfriend Iyarra would have earned a nice long rest. But when they head down to the Enchanted Forest (the magical land where all stories come from), the place is run down, the natives are surly, and someone is stealing all of the villains. Turns out, that’s a bad thing.
So nothing will do except the girls must run around the forest, hunting up mad scientists, sneaking around underground lairs, and uniting with a group of rogue librarians to get to the bottom of it all. And while they’re at it, they just might be able to take a young hopeful in hand, and teach him what it means to be a hero.
The rains of the morning had moved away west, and the sun was drying out the road as the centaur Iyarra loped unhurriedly along. On her back, her girlfriend Revka munched a mid-morning apple and fussed with her hair.
Iyarra glanced back. “How’s it going back there?”
Revka worked another burr free, and flicked it away into the woods. “Think I’ve almost got ’em out of my hair, at least. Pretty sure there’s one in my boot, plus a couple of other places I won’t mention. I swear, those things get everywhere.”
Iyarra reached back a chestnut brown hand, and patted her girlfriend. “Sorry about that. Guess we missed ’em because it was so dark when we made camp.”
Revka grumped. “Mm, well, we wouldn’t have had that problem at an inn, that’s all I’m saying. I know you prefer sleeping outdoors but I kinda got used to having a bed, you know?”
Iyarra laughed. “I know, I know. But look at it this way: at least I don’t have that farmer chasing after me anymore. Total release from indentures, and we can do what we want.”
“Well, sure,” Revka fidgeted with her hair, which turned out to have another burr in it after all. “But I wish I could have come up with something better than, ‘Here, take all of our money, just please go away’. Not exactly my greatest plan ever.”
Iyarra giggled. “Well, it worked didn’t it?” She reached back to give Revka’s leg a squeeze. “And I have heard you say that the simplest plans are often the best. Besides, we’d just got finished stopping a war, so maybe it was best to stick to something simple.”
Revka frowned at the memory. “You’d think that that would have at least been good for some kind of reward, though, wouldn’t you? I mean, I’m not asking for a knighthood, but maybe a medal or two, royal commendation. Sack of cash. You know.”
“Oh, me too,” Iyarra maneuvered around a dead badger in the road. “But you know what they said.”
“Yeah, yeah.” Revka rolled her eyes. “Them and their ‘Delicate political situation’.” Her voice took on a sarcastic lilt. “‘The general feeling is that everyone is better off just pretending nothing happened’. Real convenient. Means they don’t have to reward us or anything.”
“Well, you can kind of see what they mean. I’m sure the king has got enough to worry about without word getting out about how close things came.”
“Eh, maybe. But I bet the king didn’t wake up this morning with burrs on his butt.”
Iyarra stifled a laugh. “Revka!”
“Not that he’d have to pick them off himself,” Revka added. “I bet he’s got someone for that. It’s probably a special job with a title and everything.”
Iyarra covered her mouth, desperately trying to suppress a giggle.
Revka sat up, her old leather armor creaking as she did so. “Oh, Lord, can’t you just see it? The king ringing a little bell for a servant. ‘What is it, your majesty?’ ‘A great crisis has come upon our land,’” now Revka was sitting bolt upright, one hand draped over her chest while she spoke in a high nasal tone. “‘A burr has been visited upon Our posterior. Send for the Royal Burr Picker at once!’
“Suddenly, a flourish of trumpets! And there he is, the Pluckmaster General! Resplendent in his spiky jodhpurs, holding high his ceremonial golden tongs—”
“The king bends over, somewhere a drum begins to roll—”
“The Archbishop douses the afflicted area with holy water just as the—”
Revka blinked. “What? What about them?”
Iyarra tilted her head forward. “Royal guards. Coming this way.”
Indeed they were. There were four of them, heading the opposite way down the road from the two girls. Revka & Iyarra kept quiet as the guards went by, their faces carefully blank. It wasn’t until the guards were around the corner and out of sight that the two dared look each other in the eye. Almost immediately they began to laugh, and kept it up until other travelers on the road began to look at them strangely.
Iyarra smiled back at her girlfriend. “Feeling better, I take it?”
Revka grinned. “Yeah, I suppose.” She leaned forward, giving Iyarra a quick hug. “So, what now?”
The centaur shrugged. “I don’t know. I thought maybe we’d head south ahead of the winter, maybe find somewhere warm this year if you like.”
Revka pursed her lips. “Okay, we can do that. I know you’re no fan of the snow and cold. Maybe we can hit a beach somewhere. Or…” She trailed off
Iyarra waited a moment, but nothing was forthcoming. “Or what?”
Revka didn’t reply. She just nudged the centaur, and pointed. A family was passing them in a farm cart. One of the children was wearing a rough, cheaply made tunic upon which was emblazoned the legend: I Hath Bene To Ye Enchanted Foreste, As May Be Vouchfafed By These Words Upon My Shyrte.
Revka turned to Iyarra. She smiled.
“Fancy a vacation?”
K. L. Mitchell was raised all over the south in a series of increasingly tiny towns until she finally joined the Air Force out of a desire for some Culture. She’s spent most of her professional life working on computers in one capacity or another, and occasionally manages to get them to actually work.
She’s been writing for fun most of her life, and for publication since about 2011. She’s written for multiple websites and local publications, and in 2013 was a recurring columnist for the Kansas City Star. She lives with a gray cat named Molly, and would like to be an astronaut when she grows up.