Flash Friday 20/06/2014: Rocks Fall
“At last, I have arrived at my quest’s destination.” The knight stood at the evil overlord’s throne room entrance, waving his sword around as he made his statements. “I shall now thwart you, evil lord, and banish you from these lands most fair. If you would duel me now, I assure you that I will save this kingdom from your foul–”
A vast amount of rocks fell on top of the hero from the ceiling with a low rumble, leaving nothing left.
The overlord released his hand from the lever beside his throne, looking as if he had seen a ghost. He turned to his small imp companion, who was giving him a stare that could turn anything lesser to stone.
“Do you…” the overlord began. He looked away to think, a finger on his lips. “Do you think there’s a chance that was too many boulders?”
“Of course it was!” The imp stomped a foot on the floor. “You’ve only gone and killed the bugger. What were you thinking, unloading all of that on the poor sod?”
“Sorry, I just…” The overlord looked down at the floor like a lost puppy. “I got excited.”
“Look, nevermind. We’ll get this all cleaned up and we’ll start again. Come on, lads, hop to it.”
The imp clapped his hands twice. From behind every brazier, pillar and statue, a weaker-looking imp poked its head out, then collectively started removing the rubble from the front entrance.
The overlord leaned his head on a hand. “I don’t think I’ve got the hang of this, to be frank. I mean, aren’t we supposed to be killing the heroes?”
The imp spoke through gritted teeth. “Yes, but you have to be the one that kills them. All of your traps and the like are good sources of tension and conflict, but you can’t kill a hero with them.”
“Because what kind of story is that? Can you imagine the kind of tales that have been told about that hero? ‘And then he braved the walls of Dread Castle, and he defeated the traps that lay before him, and then he got blindsided by a primitive rock trap, the end’? Wow, what a fantastic story. Blood-pumping. Award-winning. Give the public the sequel they crave for.”
“Well…” the overlord rubbed the back of his head. “If I let them fight me, there is the case of, you know, me being killed.”
“And it’s a risk you’re going to have to take if you want more heroes coming in here. As soon as it gets out that you haven’t fought a single hero, nobody’s going to brave your obstacle course of a castle. My last client fought heroes on a regular basis, and won himself a steady stream of heroes. Just let them do their speech thing and then fight them, okay? You’re so close, here. Just hold off on the obnoxious traps for once.”
“Alright, alright. But I’m still getting the hang of this gig. It’s just so…tempting.”
The imp climbed up onto the throne to pat the overlord on the shoulder. “It’s alright. Everyone goes through this phase. We’ll have you as a respectable end-story villain in no time. How about we get ready for the next hero and pretend this never happened?”
The overlord nodded.
“At last, I have arrived at my quest’s destination,” the knight said. “I shall now thwart you, evil lord, and banish you from these lands most fair. If you would duel me now, I assure you that I will save this kingdom from your foul reign. I have survived much to get here, from ferocious dragon attacks to vicious rockslides.”
“Oh.” The overlord leant over to the imp, putting a hand on the lever. “Well, now he’s just asking for it.”
The imp merely hissed, swiping at the overlord’s lever-grabbing hand. The overlord retracted his statement.
“The stories about me are not exaggerated.” The knight struck a heroic pose. “Tales from home tell of me sundering a boulder clean in half.”
The overlord looked at the imp with hopeful eyes. The imp shook his head.
“Bards back home sing of my prowess. I once put an entire orc camp to my blade, with not a scratch on my person. Some would say that my armour is as strong as stone.”
The overlord looked over to the imp. “Okay, look, just one.”
The imp glared. “No.”
“Just the one.”
“Look, I know about the whole ‘don’t kill them just yet’ thing, but I’ll only make it one. One rock. Promise.”
The imp peered at the still-waffling hero, sneered, then looked back at the overlord. “Promise? Just one?”
“Promise. Just the one.”
The imp looked down and to the side, nodding to itself.
“Alright. But just this time, and just one, do you hear me?”
The overlord nodded with excitement.
“And thus,” the hero continued, pointing his sword at the overlord. “I have come from lands afar, and will leave either with your head on a pike, or with my life taken from me. For there is no middle ground between success and failure, and I am willing to embrace whichever fate I–are you listening to me? Or are you going to continue to play with that lever until it brea–”
The hero’s speech was cut off by one very large boulder slamming him into the ground.
The imp shot a glare that could break glass.
“Well.” The overlord shot a big grin at the stern-faced imp. “I don’t know about you, but I’m having a lot of fun, at least.”
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