Banshee Cat & the Silver Mines by Taia Joy Flake

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Episode 3 of We’re Heroes for Hire

Having a Dragon for a best friend can sometimes get you into trouble. However, for Devlyn, her shapeshifting best friend, Bud, was usually the one who kept her out of trouble. 

That is until the day they arrived at the Hestenshire Inn.

Standing in front of the Quest board, Devlyn read the advertisements trying to find a good job for them. Bud stood next to her doing the same when a man roughly the size of a castle came up behind them.

 “What do you little runts think you’re doing?” The towering man asked.

“We’re heroes for hire and we’re looking for our next job,” Devlyn said with a smile determined to not make trouble. “Don’t worry, we won’t take any of yours, we just want easy ones for now.”

“What job could two little pipsqueaks like you do?”

“We are willing to do any job someone might need done.” Devlyn gritted her teeth. She was not going to make trouble.

“You couldn’t handle any of these quests. They’re for real heroes.”

“Yep, that’s why we want the easy ones, thanks.” She said, rather proud of how she was holding her temper. The man turned to Bud.

“Take your girlfriend and go back to where you came from. Leave the quests to real heroes.”

Anger rose in Devlyn’s stomach, but it wasn’t she who yelled at the ogre-ish man; it was Bud.

“We can do any job, any time! Faster and better than you! And she’s not my girlfriend! You buffoon!”

“A buffoon, am I? Okay, runt.” The giant man ripped a paper from the Quest board and held it in front of Bud. “If you’re such a big hero, then you can take quest forty-seven.” There was an audible gasp from the crowd as the man shoved the paper into Bud’s chest.

“Fine!” Bud yelled, and he stormed out, Devlyn following.

Bud angrily paced in the alley across from the inn.

“What is the quest?” Devlyn asked, knowing it couldn’t be good. Bud didn’t answer, he just handed her the paper. It read:

‘Desperately Seeking the Bravest of Heroes!

The silver mines on my property are my only income, but the cave entrance has been taken over by a Banshee Cat.

If any heroes are able enough to vanquish this fearsome creature, I will give you a share of the mine’s riches.’

“Banshee Cat?” Horror struck Devlyn. She rummaged quickly through her bag of books and pulled out ‘Fierce and Fearsome Creatures.’

Just as she thought, the Banshee Cat was listed as one of the most dangerous creatures alive, above Owlbears, Umberdarks, and to her dismay, Dragons. The picture was of an angry cat skull held up by the body of black fire in the rough shape of a feline.

“What have you done, Bud?” She slid the book over to him and he finally stopped pacing.

“So, you don’t think I can do it?” Bud said and grabbed the paper and stormed off.

After speaking with the man who advertised the quest, Devlyn found Bud outside the cave mouth that was the entrance to the silver mines.

“Bud!” she called. “What are we going to do?” Bud looked at her remorseful and scared, but didn’t say anything and turned back to the cave.

“Okay, we’re not going in until we have a plan.” Devlyn took out a book and started reading the section on Banshee Cats. The list of things that hurt them was simply the word ‘unknown.’

However, the things that attracted the monster were a much more helpful list.

“We’ll have to lure it out, I think. Killing it seems impossible and scaring it is a joke. But if we get it out of the cave long enough, we can—”

“Why do you keep thinking I can’t do things?” Bud interrupted her, angry once again.

“What are you talking about? We’ve only had one real mission. This quest doesn’t even pay money unless this mine is profitable.”

Before Bud could respond, the Banshee Cat sprung from the cave. Its cry made Devlyn drop her book and cover her ears! Bud transformed and roared back; it had no effect. The skull face of the black flaming cat raced towards Devlyn.

Bud dove in front of it before its fierce claws reached her. Bud roared in pain as the claws and flame scorched through his dragon scales. Devlyn picked up a rock and threw it at the monster. The rock only caught the attention of the beast, but in the second it turned to Devlyn Bud was able to get free.

“Fine!” Bud yelled, and he stormed out, Devlyn following.

Bud angrily paced in the alley across from the inn.

“What is the quest?” Devlyn asked, knowing it couldn’t be good. Bud didn’t answer, he just handed her the paper. It read:

‘Desperately Seeking the Bravest of Heroes!

The silver mines on my property are my only income, but the cave entrance has been taken over by a Banshee Cat.

If any heroes are able enough to vanquish this fearsome creature, I will give you a share of the mine’s riches.’

“Banshee Cat?” Horror struck Devlyn. She rummaged quickly through her bag of books and pulled out ‘Fierce and Fearsome Creatures.’ Just as she thought, the Banshee Cat was listed as one of the most dangerous creatures alive, above Owlbears, Umberdarks, and to her dismay, Dragons. The picture was of an angry cat skull held up by the body of black fire in the rough shape of a feline.

“What have you done, Bud?” She slid the book over to him and he finally stopped pacing.

“So, you don’t think I can do it?” Bud said and grabbed the paper and stormed off.

After speaking with the man who advertised the quest, Devlyn found Bud outside the cave mouth that was the entrance to the silver mines.

“Bud!” she called. “What are we going to do?” Bud looked at her remorseful and scared, but didn’t say anything and turned back to the cave.

“Okay, we’re not going in until we have a plan.” Devlyn took out a book and started reading the section on Banshee Cats. The list of things that hurt them was simply the word ‘unknown.’

However, the things that attracted the monster were a much more helpful list.

“We’ll have to lure it out, I think. Killing it seems impossible and scaring it is a joke. But if we get it out of the cave long enough, we can—”

“Why do you keep thinking I can’t do things?” Bud interrupted her, angry once again.

“What are you talking about? We’ve only had one real mission. This quest doesn’t even pay money unless this mine is profitable.”

Before Bud could respond, the Banshee Cat sprung from the cave. Its cry made Devlyn drop her book and cover her ears! Bud transformed and roared back; it had no effect. The skull face of the black flaming cat raced towards Devlyn.

Bud dove in front of it before its fierce claws reached her. Bud roared in pain as the claws and flame scorched through his dragon scales. Devlyn picked up a rock and threw it at the monster. The rock only caught the attention of the beast, but in the second it turned to Devlyn Bud was able to get free.

“Get in the cave, Bud!” Devlyn yelled as she hid in a small crevice of rock. His dragon form looked murderous as he limped forward. “No! The cat won’t fight you if you claim the cave as your own.”

Bud stretched his wings out, lifting himself in the air over the cat who was setting up for a pounce at Bud. He flew into the mouth of the cave and blew more fire than Devlyn had ever seen him breathe.

The cat screeched so loud that Devlyn thought the mountain would fall on them.

And it did. A giant boulder fell from above the cave and landed on the body of the Banshee. Loud and painfully screeching flew in a mist of black smoke to the top of the mountain and out of sight.

“You didn’t believe in me!” Bud’s human form ran up to a shaking Devlyn and helped her to her feet.

“What?” Realizing this was the end of the conversation they were having before almost being mauled by a monster. “When have I ever not believed in you?”

“Back at the inn.” He said, still banting. “That man called us weak and said I couldn’t protect you. You just agreed.”

“I was just trying to stay out of trouble. I thought that’s what you wanted.”

“Oh.” Realization washed over his features.

“Bud, I know you can do anything. But we agreed to do easy jobs first.” Devlyn said Bud nodded simply.

“Yeah, I guess I just got so hurt by the thought of disappointing you I wanted to prove that guy wrong.”

“I know all about getting angry, Bud. I’m the one who told you to be meaner, remember?”

“Yeah.”

“I can always get over being angry because I have you to talk to,” Devlyn admitted. “So please, if you ever feel angry or hurt, say something.” She patted his arm. And we can talk about it. Or I can give you space, but at least I’ll know why we agreed to take one of the deadliest monsters ever to live.”

He nodded. “Alright, and I’m sorry I got us into trouble.”

“Yeah. How about, from now on, you talk to me when you’re upset and I try not to make trouble and when I fail, the dragon gets us out of it?”

Bud smiled.

“Deal.”

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