The stranger started talking again Conan had seated himself. His words abruptly yanked Conan back. Realising suddenly that subconsciously his guts were aching to get his teeth into that goat. Thoughts momentarily distracted .. the whiff of roasting kid intoxicating. He was almost feeling the grease dripping down his chin.
GET A GRIP! A pair of motherfuckers had turned up .. here to rob him stupid. Steal that buried loot from under his nose. He was hungry. But with that treasure he’d eat himself stupid for years to come ….. FOCUS!
“Unfortunately, though, …..”
The stranger gave the embers another poke.
“Our informant .. it seems .. the poor fool had a weak heart ….”
Conan had sized up the stranger .. sitting the other side of the embers .. cross-legged on the sand. There was nothing to him. A matchstick .. not a problem for Conan. Break his back without breaking into a sweat.
“Sadly …..,” this beanpole of a stranger continued, “…. his heart gave out before he could reveal everything ….”
Distracted by his own thoughts Conan saw he could snap this stranger’s neck in a heartbeat. But then .. one problem .. he did have a friend. A big one.
“ ….. perhaps your beating the shit out of him had something to do with him … errrh … passing ….?”
Then in a flash Conan’s senses returned to him. His heart lifted. Was he hearing right?
“ … before he thought to reveal the exact spot …..”
Conan tried not to show a sudden sign of interest. But his pulse was racing with excitement at this news. THEY DIDN’T KNOW! These arseholes didn’t know where that stupid prick had buried the loot ….?
“But then .. we fancied we would find out anyway ….. from you ….”
Conan suddenly felt much better about things than since their unexpected appearance. He’d been worried about the competition. The three of them after the same thing. He’d been worried about the muscle-brawn back-up. BUT .. FUCK! .. they didn’t know! That prick had snuffed it before he’d told them where to look. Conan was still the only one who knew. He alone held the clue to the location of that hoard. And information was power.
“And if I don’t feel like sharing …..?” Conan taunted back.
In a split second he had decided. Goat or no goat .. he’d get straight down to the issue. No fucking about. He gave it them straight-down-the-line. Get the fuck outta my life. Not telling. Not sharing.
That treasure was HIS. HIS alone. FUCK ‘EM! He was never a team-player. All-for-one.
The stranger nodded over his shoulder. The giant had hunkered down, his spear upright by his side. Watchful. Alert, attack-ready. Between Conan and the jungle should he fancy taking off.
“Well, that’s where Kobo comes in ……”
Conan had been in no doubt. The matchstick hadn’t brought the ogre along just for the company.
Conan’s gaze took him in. Not just tall, BIG. MASSIVE. Crouched down, he looked like a muscular giant frog .. a gargantuan poisonous toad about to pounce. Squatting, the chest on him seemed to have expanded to impossibly broad. Conan glanced across the fire at shoulders peaked by melon-sized strength. The up-raised arm holding the spear was thick-muscled. As big as many men’s thighs. Get yourself squeezed between them .. no constrictor snake could match that force.
“You mean .. he’s gonna beat it out of me ….?”
Conan laughed. He was no fool, he knew what he was up against. But he wasn’t planning on hanging around for the ogre to put on the squeeze.
“Others have tried that too,” Conan jibed back.
With Conan it was a golden rule. What was his was HIS. Someone tried to take from him of what was rightly his .. or what he’d set his heart on .. Conan did not give. He might have killed to get his hands on some loot .. but then it WAS his. And no motherfucker took it away. Join in this treasure hunt? WHAT THE FUCK! Why’d these fuckers think they could come over here and insist of taking away his treasure? Conan didn’t share.
No, they weren’t here for sharing either. Robbing him blind, THAT was what this ill-matched pair was up to, this LITTLE and LARGE. Not a mention of sharing. They wanted the lot. FUCK THAT! Fruits of his own hard-earned efforts. He’d had to work that prick over good-and-hard to beat the truth out of him. His knuckles were still sore. And this ugly pair of arseholes come lurching along and expect him to spill the beans? Hand over the secret? Share the loot? Well .. in the words of the scribes of old .. they could go fuck themselves.
Matchstick-man answered .. almost apologetically.
“You should know .. Kobo has been known to resort to violence.”
The guy was stating the obvious. This muscular giant toad looked purpose-built for violence. Conan didn’t let himself even think of what that might feel like. He didn’t plan on giving that motherfucker of an ogre to get a chance. Outta here. But still .. just to make sure .. Conan avoided giving the giant toad another look over. Not going to risk giving any sign that the sheer brutish size of the monster might hold any anxieties for him.
Conan laughed back.
“That makes two of us then ….”
Conan scoffed. Pumping himself up with his customary bravado.