Flash Friday 01/08/2014: Staff Management
A ‘sequel’ to Rocks Fall. While you do not need to read Rocks Fall in order to ‘get’ this one, the prequel is still one of my favourite Flash Fridays I have ever written!
The imp flew into the throne room, holding a staff. “A gift for you, overlord.”
The overlord perked up in his throne. “Really, for me? Whatever for?”
“Because you’ve been so good with building your network, spreading your business, and not murdering heroes in their sleep, I’ve decided to give you a special something that will help you out.”
The overlord stood up from his throne to take the staff. “What is it?”
“This, my friend…is the Staff of Oblivion. It is able to destroy the entire world with a single flick. Now that you’re in possession of it, the fate of the entire world rests in your hands.”
The overlord glanced at the imp for a moment. Then, he looked down at the staff. Then, without a word, he raised the staff upwards to flick it.
The imp shot across the room, catching the staff in its downward motion. “Not now, you idiot!”
“What?” the overlord said, scratching his head. “Well, when can I use it, then?”
The overlord gave a confused frown. “What do you mean, never?”
The imp closed his eyes as he took a deep breath, his technique putting a meditating monk to shame. “When an evil person acquires the means with which they can destroy the world, they must not, under any circumstances, actually use said method to destroy the world.”
The overlord glanced at the staff. “So what’s the point of them?”
“The point is, you use this very staff in order to generate tension and conflict within the story. A very good thing to have for a dynamic and engaging plot.”
“So, I use this to build the tension…”
“…and then I destroy the world with it?”
“No!” the imp made a frustrated grunt. “The idea is, you go out of the tower onto your balcony of yours, alright? Maybe we can get some lightning and fiery rain spells to really attract attention, get the marketing going. Then, you declare in a loud voice…” the imp cleared his throat, putting on a voice much deeper and louder than his own. “‘I am the Overlord, Destroyer of this World. In my hand is the Staff of Oblivion, with which I can destroy the world on the day of…'” the imp pondered. “When are you free?”
The overlord flicked through his planner. “Next thursday.”
“Next thursday!” the imp boomed. “See, you do it like that. Then, when next thursday comes, heroes come to your tower, and you get to fight them.”
The overlord nodded with enthusiasm “…and then I get to use the staff, right? Like I say in the speech?”
“No!” the imp made a growl through bared teeth. “What part of that don’t you get? Never, at any point during the story, do you use the staff to blow up the world. Ever. Think about it this way; if we have a good story going with one of the heroes, and you end up blowing the world to smithereens at the end, how on earth are we going to have a sequel?”
The overlord scratched under his chin. “You know, I’ve always thought that a book about me would be nice. Maybe the entire sequel would be about me blowing up the planet.”
The imp made a sound of disgust, putting his hands on his hips. “Oh, great. And what do you think the readers will make of that, eh?”
The overlord gave an innocent shrug. “Maybe they’ll read it and think ‘cor, what a great bloke this overlord is, with his powerful staff and all that. I wish I had another book with him in’.”
“Yes, I’m sure all the readers are going to love Dumbass Overlord and the Blown Up Planet. Listen, we’ve got this gig, right? We could really make some progress in the villain market, you know? All I need you to do is to refrain from using that staff. At all. Do you understand?”
The overlord looked down at the staff, like a dog peering through a butcher’s window. Then, with glinting eyes, he looked back up at the imp. “Just once.”
“No.” The imp folded his arms. “I have heard that one before. Absolutely not. Never. Never, ever again.”
“I won’t blow up all the world. Just a part of it.”
“Just a teeny, tiny part.”
“Oh go on, just an orphanage or two.”
The imp made a frustrated grunt as he made a grasp for the staff. He grabbed hold of it, snatching it out of the overlord’s hands entirely. “Now listen here, you. You can have this back when you promise me that you won’t ruin your career by doing something as stupid as blowing the world up. Do you promise me?”
The overlord was still looking at where the staff once was. As his mind caught up to what the imp said, he slowly turned to look at him. The overlord’s face was not suited for a villain. The tears welling up in his eyes and the quivering lips went hand-in-hand with the pitiful whining noise the overlord was managing to make. “I promise,” he said, through a quivering voice.
The imp gently gave back the staff, patting the overlord on the head. The overlord sniffled, holding the staff close to himself like a teddy bear.
The imp shook his head to himself, leaving the overlord to cuddle his new toy. Maybe dragon mentoring would be less stressful.