Everyone loves a bit with a monkey

As the swordslinger fumbled with the book and dropped the chalk, Bekha knew her efforts at education had not only gone astray but had beached like a schooner on a sandbank.
‘What’s the problem?’ she said with a sigh.
‘It’s all these damn fiddly letters’ he grunted.
Stepping back from the blackboard she turned round as he flopped into a stuffed armchair that came with the room. From next door she could hear high notes in regular succession as monkeyboy worked the little redhead he had found towards a crescendo.
‘Are you done yet?’ she shouted maliciously as she hammered on the wall and simultaneously looked round for her satchel.
Muffled swearing from both voices in the room next door answered her query and Bekha smiled to herself as she stuffed books and chalk into the satchel.
‘What about me?’ said the handsome adventurer whose name she had misplaced.
‘You can take that book back to the library and then get lost, I’m going downstairs to catch up on my reading’ she replied as she put on her coat.
‘You can’t talk to me like that!’
‘Well you’re thick and can’t remember anything so I’ll talk however I flaming like!’ and with that she strode out of the room, slamming the door in his face.
Rebekha Windmourner, ex-musketeer, ex-privateer, ex-captain, and exceptionally annoyed walked down the stairs into the common room of the inn. She was greeted by a miasma of smoke from a variety of burning herbs and drugs and a blast of heat from the blazing hearth. Other than that she went unremarked as she pushed her way to the bar and slid in next to a tall muscular green skinned girl with long black dreadlocks dressed in a ridiculously undersized chain mail bikini.
‘Hey Sally’ she said.
‘Hey Bekha, what happened with Slade?’ replied the exotic dancer.
‘That was his name!’ she said and after a slight pause she continued ‘he couldn’t handle his letters… where can a girl find someone who actually wants to learn eh.’
‘Certainly not Slade, big sword, small helmet they should call him’ was the answer to her query.
‘And you didn’t tell me this before?’
‘Would you have paid any attention?’
‘I dunno? Maybe?’ said Bekha with a quizzical look.
Bekha hailed the bartender, getting a drink for herself and Sally while she mused over the inadequacies of men folk. Leaning back against the bar she unconsciously struck a pose as she combed her dark hair with her fingers. Fine red leather trousers clung to long legs and a loose white cotton shirt was confined by a snug crimson waistcoat. Although Bekha would never believe it, she was a fine looking woman with an easy smile and a confident air.
‘So what’s next on the plan Bekha?’ asked Sally ‘Do you have a grand scheme lined up?’
‘I’ve got bugger all lined up Sally, I had to put Longshot on hock just to have enough cash to get through the last couple of weeks, and sod all has turned up. Things are looking grim frankly.’
Sally made sympathetic noises as she finished her drink and fixed up her outfit.
‘Another show?’ inquired Bekha.
‘Got to keep the punters happy and I need the tips’ replied Sally, tightening a strap that was making a bid for freedom.
‘One thing before you go; who’s the little redhead that monkeyboy is practicing scales with?’
‘Her? Never seen her before. She calls herself ‘Hannah the Henna Haired Harlot’ but that’s so obviously made up. Probably some merchant’s daughter out for a night of inspirational education.’
‘Cheers. Just checking’
‘S’no problem’ muttered Sally, intent on adjusting her costume.
Sally wandered over to the musicians and got them to start on her music before she stepped onto the tiny platform that the landlord laughably called a ‘stage’ and started her act. Bekha had seen it before so she turned back to drowning her sorrows while the male audience started cheering Sally on, daring her on to ever greater acts of philosophical sophistry.
Three strong drinks and two poorly delivered requests for autographs later the great ape finally swung down from his room and onto the stool next to Bekha. As she put her book down he let out a great big sigh of satisfaction and opened his mouth to speak.
‘I really don’t want to hear a blow by blow replay thanks’ interrupted Bekha.
‘Really, really’ she interrupted again.
‘Really, really, really’
‘Alright, keep your hair on Cap, no need to keel haul me’ replied the apeman in an annoyed tone.
Bekha carried on regardless ‘Did you have any inspiration as to how we can get some cash? Or did you spend the last two hours in operatic seclusion?’
‘Actually Hannah made a decent suggestion afterwards thank you very much’.
‘Oh really? What did your hennaed harpy have to say?’
With a small smile the apeman expounded his pitch ‘Heh. Yeah, she suggested that two out of work scholars such as you and I might consider hunting down the notorious highwayman Lupa ‘The Wolf’ Churape as there’s a substantial reward on his mustachioed head’.
Bekha looked sideways at her old friend: his long arms were laid across the bar and his dexterous fingers were filching a drink. Fine platinum blonde hair covered almost every inch of his body in an even layer and deep blue eyes looked out between craggy brows and a wide mouth twisted in concentration. His short legs dangled from the stool and his prehensile feet grasped the risers.
‘Tadah!’ the ape man exclaimed as a purloined drink was placed in front of Bekha, then asked ‘Waddya think?’ with a wry grin.
‘Well, I never liked guys with bad mustaches, and we’re flat broke, so it looks like we’ve got ourselves a new sideline’ Bekha looked thoughtful for a moment and then continued ‘Did your leading lady tell you anything else useful?’
‘Well after that she suggested that we try an operatic interpretation of…’
‘Gods save me from more opera’ Interjected Bekha.
‘Hey this is my masterpiece and my life’s work you’re knocking’ replied the ape ‘all the grandest folk love opera, you know that, why of it weren’t for opera there’d be no culture at all in some places’
‘I’m not sure that most opera counts as culture’
‘Well mine does, it’s going to be the most sublime, inspirational, and edifying opera in the known world’
‘So how do the monkeys fit in with that?’ queried Bekha.
‘Hey, everyone loves a bit with a monkey; you can’t go wrong with a monkey’
‘I bet you say that to all the girls’