Flash Friday 12/09/2014: Back from the Dead
A knock came from the inn room’s door.
Jessica stood from the downspirited hero and the rest of the party. “I’ll get it,” she said, with a sigh.
The party gave a solemn nod, turning their attention back to Leo, the party leader.
Jessica crossed the inn room and opened the wooden door slightly, peering through the gap. An intelligent looking man, with round spectacles and wearing a mage’s robe, gave a smile and a wave.
“Hello,” he said. “I’m back.”
Jessica blinked. “Hello, Chris.”
Chris gave a confirming nod, then went to push the door open.
“Oh, no no no.” Jessica placed a hand on Chris’ chest, stopping him. “You can’t come back.”
Chris frowned. “Why not?”
“We all thought you died in Goblin’s Pass?”
“So did I. I mean, after I was kicked off the cliff and all. Turns out, ogres are fantastic at breaking your fall.” Chris gave a smile and a shrug. “I never suspected it. You know, with their hard heads and all. So why can’t I come back?”
“Well…” Jessica looked behind herself, towards the depressed party. “I mean, Leo has been very sad about your ‘passing’. But at the same time, it’s given him the confidence to defeat the evil king, you know? Beforehand, he was shaky, always questioning his own judgement. But now? There’s no stopping him. He said that your death drove him to buck up and get going again.”
Chris peeked past. “Doesn’t look confident to me.”
“You should say that to the kobold encampment we just tore through.”
“So…you want me to just leave, and allow everyone to think I died?”
“Oh, no. You can come back after we’ve saved the world. It’ll be great, don’t you think? Leo standing over the defeated evil king, announcing that he did it for you, and then…you appear. It would be great.”
Chris pouted. “But I want to come back.”
“I know, I know.” Jessica put a hand on Chris’ shoulder to help defuse the building annoyance within him. “But…just hold out for a few more days, okay? Then you can return.”
“No.” Chris stamped a foot. “I want to come back now. Do you have any idea who I am? I’m Chris, the Ultimate Sage, with the ability to–”
“–transcribe the future and control the elements, I know. You’ve said it multiple times before.”
“So, therefore, I demand entry.” Chris shot a glare over his glasses.
“And I’m saying, we need you to lay low so that we can help take Leo to the very end. Then, once we’ve managed to win, you can come back, and we can be a party again. If you come back now, he might feel embarrassed for getting angry, or feel stupid, and then we’ll lose him again. You know how unstable he can be.”
Chris drew such a deep breath, Jessica thought his head would explode. “And what do you expect myself to do in the meantime, hm? I’m sure the moment I left, your party’s collective intelligence dropped viciously. Why, without an intelligent man like myself, I’m surprised you have what it takes to get out of bed, let alone defeat your enemies.”
Jessica looked past Chris down the corridor. She didn’t feel light fighting Chris, but she definitely did not feel like fighting the orc woman, standing at around seven feet, glaring down the hallway at them. Being a noisy neighbour in an inn was a good way to get into trouble as it was. When you were the room next to an orc, it was also a good way to get a broken nose.
Chris leant forwards to regain Jessica’s attention. “Do you have any idea what I can offer to the party? I can do much more than a mere mage, I tell you now. The elements are under my control. The blessing of nature herself, once thought restricted to druids, are at my very fingertips. Even the hellish magicks of the underworld cannot escape my ever-prying mind. Do you know how valuable I am through my skills, alone?”
“This guy troubling you?” said the female orc. Her green hand clapping against Chris’ shoulder caused him to freeze in fear.
“Oh, him?” Jessica pointed at Chris. “Yeah, he’s being kind of stubborn.”
“Is he with you? Part of your party?”
“Well…” Jessica frowned. “Sort of yes and no. At the moment, no.”
“Really? Because my band of orcish adventurers aren’t so great on the magic side. When I heard this little guy spouting off his entire repertoire…well, I can’t help but get curious, you know? So, do you mind if we put him to use?”
“Sure, go ahead, take him. We’re not using him.”
“Thank you very much.” After the orc gave a polite nod, she bent down and picked Chris up, hauling him over her shoulder as she walked back to her room.
“Damnit–!” Chris said. “Leo! Help me! Please, Leo, help me!”
Jessica gave a small wave as she closed the door behind him, meeting up with the party once more.
“Ugh.” Leo cradled his head in his hands. “I could have sworn I heard the ghostly voice of Chris asking me for aid once more.”
“Don’t worry about it.” Jessica patted Leo’s shoulder. “It’s just the grief getting to you.”