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Flash Friday 25/03/2016: Thought That Counts

March 25, 2016

“Sir Gerald,” King Hayes said, beaming a smile from his throne. Queen Arlya gave her own, shyer smile from the throne beside him. “You have done much for this kingdom the moment you came across it. To vanquishing the evil witch to slaying the foul dragon to helping me with my tax returns, your efforts have not gone unnoticed.”

“It is of no issue to me,” the kneeling Sir Gerald said, not an inch of skin showing from all the armour he wore. “I was merely doing my duty as a wandering traveller and practitioner of justice.”

“Even so, you have gone beyond what was asked of you. Please arise and approach the throne to receive your reward.”

Sir Gerald rose from his kneel, stepping forward. The crowd watching the proceedings all watched on with keen looks on their faces, but the way Sir Gerald walked, it looked more like he was taking a trip to the dentist.

“I am honoured,” King Hayes said, “to bestow upon you the grand sum of five-hundred gold coins. I needn’t tell someone as aligned to the cause of justice as you to spend it wisely; I am sure you’ll find a better use than even I could. Here.” The king heaved a large bag of coins from beside the throne, holding it out. “With my gratitude.”

“Well, uh…” Sir Gerald said. “Yeah, uh, thanks for the reward, and all. Much appreciated.”

Sir Gerald reached out for the bag. King Hayes snatched it away.

“What’s troubling you?” King Hayes said, softly.

“Me? Nothing, I was–”

“Because it’s not usual for someone to receive an award that could purchase a small house with the lack of enthusiasm you just showed. Is everything alright?”

“Yeah, everything’s fine. There’s no need to worry, really.”

“Are you sure?” The king said, with a slight smirk. “Because I’m not giving it to you if you’re not happy with it.”

“No, it’s fine. Like you said, it’s a lot, and I really appreciate it, it’s just…”

“It’s just…?”

Sir Gerald sighed. “I am a loyal and just knight who roams these lands and perform great service to its people. The first time I received a bountiful reward of gold, I was ecstatic. After the ninth or tenth time, it feels akin to a wage from a job than a bountiful reward. But I digress, for it is my own manners rather than your charity that is the problem here. Allow me to receive your gift and–”

“Ah-ah.” The king retracted the bag further away from Sir Gerald’s reaching hand. “Not having it. I won’t have you feeling disappointed for the service you provided my kingdom. It is true that a simple gold reward takes zero thought and creativity, and I think myself Queen Arlya can come up something.” He leant forwards, then muttered, “do you have a wishlist?”

“No, sire.”

“How about a shopping list? Anything you need repairing?”

“No, sire.”

“Hm.” The king sat back, stroking his chin. “New armour, perhaps?”

“With all due respect, this armour was given to me by the Lady of the Holy Mountains after I passed her test of endurance to be worthy of wearing it. If she catches me wearing anything else, she’ll be livid.

“Quite. A new sword?”

“Mine is the finest in the land.”

“Horse?”

“Chafing.”

“Ooh,” Queen Arlya said, perking up. “Have you read the David Peterson Chronicles? I’m on book seven and borderline about to demand the author’s head if he takes any longer to write the eighth.”

“Can’t read.” Then, in response to the concerned looks; “I’m paid to smite evil, not to read its poetry.”

“A cat?”

“Allergic.”

“A bounty of milk?”

“Intolerant.”

“Lifelong subscription to Dragonkeeper’s Weekly?”

“Not after the incident at the pet show.”

“Hm.” Queen Arlya frowned. “Beginning to see why gold is the standard as a reward. I’m not sure what we’d be able to get for you, Sir Gerald. What do you think, Hayes? Hayes?”

Hayes was nodding to himself, a smile appearing on his face. “I have an idea,” he said, standing on his feet. With a loud voice, he called out to the crowds, “my people! You will all bear witness to the greatest, most ingenious gift ever given in these lands. It requires thought and consideration, yet can be used by anyone with any taste or hobby. Behold as I construct it now before your very presence. Fetch me a scroll and a quill immediately.”

The servants didn’t dawdle. Within minutes, the king had both of them, writing out a long passage and using a servant’s back as a table. Looking pleased with himself, the king dotted the last full stop and held up the scroll for everyone to see. “I am proud to announce that I am bestowing upon Sir Gerald the privileges stated on this scroll. May he use it well.” Then with a flourish, he handed it over.

Sir Gerald read the scroll:

BY LAWE OF KINGE HAYES

THE BEARER OF THIS SCROLLE HAS OFFICIALLY BEEN APPOINTED

BY THE POWER OF ROYALTY AND GOD HIMSELF

USAGE OF THIS ‘GIFTE CARDE’

WHICH ALLOWS THY BEARER EXACTLY

FIVE-HUNDREDS-WORTH OF GOLD COIN

TO BE SPENT WITHIN THE REALMS OF KINGE HAYES ONLY

EXPIRY DATE: WHEN I FORGET I EVER MADE IT

GIVE IT A MONTH OR TWO

“You see? King Hayes said. “It’s easygoing enough to allow freedom for whatever you like, but strict and creative enough to show that thought has been put into it. Just wave it at any blacksmith, shop, or inn you may want to use, and have them mark how much gold has been used on the scroll. Is this amiable?”

Sir Gerald nodded. “It’s certainly unique.”

“Then go forth and use it wisely. God be with ye, traveller!”

Queen Arlya leant over to King Hayes as he waved to the departing hero. “Very inventive solution, if I do say so myself.”

“I agree,” King Hayes said. “I do hope they catch on.”

999 words

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One Comment
  1. LOL The invention of the Gift Card! LOL

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