Kenshin wasn’t much of a drinker, but he still seemed to end up at The Sword & Scroll Tavern at least once a sulid. Damned near everyone in the area did. Being near a starport, there wasn’t a lack of bars in and near Lus Ville, but to anyone who wanted more than a drink — or who didn’t want a drink at all — the only one was The Sword & Scroll. And, as ex-military, he got a 10% discount.
As soon as he walked in this night, he noticed all the noise and crowd near one of the dartboards.
“Ha! Beat that!” said a voice he knew very well. I wonder what she’s up to now, he thought as he wandered over to join the crowd watching the young ninja.
He saw a young man that he thought was one of the newer Daggers take a swig of something clear and far too innocent looking for him to believe it was anything except high proof alcohol. Then the young man was blindfolded by an attractive young woman, who seemed quite pleased to have an excuse to touch him — Kenshin had never known getting blindfolded to involve so much groping. Oh, drunken blindfolded darts again. I guess Viktor’s not here tonight, then. Viktor, one of the proprietors, had explicitly forbidden blindfolded darts, with or without the additional complication of being drunk, thinking that the game was a tragic accident waiting to happen. Bobby, the other proprietor — and, incidentally, Kenshin’s apprentice — took a much more relaxed outlook and just discouraged those who weren’t ninja, Daggers, or Special Forces from playing.
To Kenshin’s surprise, the young man produced a very nice looking throwing knife out of seemingly nowhere and flung it at the dartboard. He looked for the first time at the board itself. Sure enough, a throwing knife he recognized as Lyndsey’s was just a touch farther from the bullseye than the young man’s.
“Impressive,” he commented.
The young man shrugged. “Not really. Was a bit off.” He looked upset about this.
“But you won this round anyway,” Lyndsey said, handing over twenty credits. Noticing Kenshin, she said, “Hey, sensei!” The alcohol smell on the short woman’s breath was overpowering enough that he wondered how she was still standing. “I can do better than that, but was takin’ it easy on Katri.”
“Taking it . . . fine, triple or nothing. And no ‘going easy’, eh?” Katri said, in an unmistakably lower class Ruvellian accent.
Lyndsey suddenly had a huge smile on her face. “You’re on.”
Kenshin smirked, looked at where their knives had hit the board, estimated how drunk they already were, and said, “Let me show you both how to do this right.”
Half an hour later, at least a hundred credits richer — he’d lost count after winning seventy-five, and more than a bit tipsy himself, Kenshin, now smiling broadly, refused their offer of another round. “I’ve won plenty off of you kids tonight. And I think you’re both risking alcohol poisoning. Why don’t you go home and sleep it off? Rematch next time we’re all here?”
He walked away before they could argue, deciding to come back to the bar more often. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d had that much fun.
Kenshin later heard that Lyndsey tried to explain to her father, when Viktor got word of the game, that the notice by the dartboard just said no drunken blindfolded darts, it said nothing whatsoever about knives, but he was, in her words “completely unreasonable. Kept going on about how someone could’ve gotten hurt or killed.”
The notice was changed. The next time Kenshin was at the Sword & Scroll it read:
Blindfolded darts is forbidden.
Drunken blindfolded darts is especially forbidden.
Substituting throwing knives for darts is forbidden.
Even if you can hit a bullseye with a throwing knife from 1000 varĵé away.
This applies to you too, Kenshin Kenodori.
He smiled at the last line. It had been decades since he’d been specifically mentioned in a list of rules like that.