The Freelance Hunters came to the village of Corn Hall looking for a unicorn. Rumors of the beast had flooded every tavern in Elanterra, it seemed, and all three of them were hunting the beast for a different reason.

“I’ve heard unicorns have razor-sharp hooves, and their horns can rend the strongest armor!” Joachim said, brandishing his fearsome spear Incisor. “they will battle anyone unworthy of them to the death!”

“Just don’t go busting its forehead lance too much. It’s worth mad loot on the slack,” said Bingo, their tracker.

“You two are not going to kill that noble and beautiful creature!” said Glory the magician. “Unicorns are one of the rarest cryptids on the island. If I can study one, or better yet, capture it alive, I’ll be the toast of the Academy!”

“I’ve heard only a fair maiden can capture one. What are our chances, Glory?” Joachim asked. She thumped him on the back of the leg with her staff in reply. When they finally reached the town, they found a festival atmosphere, complete with pantomime unicorns, booths selling every kind of food with corn in it imaginable, and all manner of charms and tokens for sale, each one ‘guaranteed’ to help catch the beast. Joachim gleefully consumed a prodigious amount of the local corn whiskey, and the other two hired a local fellow by the name of Finnegan to act as guide. They left the fair well alone, and headed out into the fields the next morning.

At first, signs of the beast were slim. Finnegan knew the area well, but he was a corn farmer, not a tracker, and it was difficult for Bingo to pick up much of anything, until they found the track. It was deep, and not more than two hours old. The hunt was on.

They went two more days, always frustratingly close to the creature, but it was tireless, and seemed to slip away every time they got close. They caught a glimpse of it when they stopped to rest on the second night, just a shadow against the stars. It had to have been the largest equine any of them had ever seen, and the horn poked straight from the top of its head. They renewed their efforts. Bingo set some traps and breaks in the forest. The unicorn could avoid them, but before long, they had it cornered in a little glade in the woods, sheltered by rises on all sides.

The Freelance Hunters descended into the valley. The beast was there, drinking from a brook that trickled between two boulders. Late afternoon sunlight drifted through the high branches, filling the glade with majesty and awe. And then the creature looked up and stared at them. The hunters stared back. Neither moved for a long time.

“Glory,” Joachim said at last. “There isn’t any magic here, right? This isn’t an illusion or anything?”

“Nope.”

“And you all see it too, it’s not just me?”

“Nope.”

“So it’s really…” He trailed off.

“A huge white horse,” Glory began

“With an ear of corn fixed to his head,” Bingo finished. All three of them turned to look at their guide. He grinned sheepishly.

“The village had a bumper crop, last year,” He said, as though this explained everything.

“So? Joachim asked, adjusting the grip on his spear.

“So we sold so much corn, the price went through the floor! Corn’s just about the only thing we grow out here, and with corn being almost worthless, the village needed money. The town elder came up with a plan, though. When he was a boy, the Corn Hall was threatened by a manticore that came down from the mountains. Monster slayers came from all over to slay it. So…”

“So you invented another monster.” Glory said.

“The elder thought the whole thing up! Bronco down there is the fastest horse for miles around. We didn’t think anyone would be able to catch him.” The Freelance Hunters returned to the village of Corn Hall that evening. They did not stop at the fair or playhouse. They made a brief visit to the Elder’s house, so that they could show him a few more uses for an ear of corn. The story of that visit is occasionally recounted by a few of the more risque troubadours in the area. After that, there were no more monster sightings in Corn Hall for many, many years.

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