Flash Friday 04/12/2015: Weight In Gold
Fazio the wizard had been stuck in many places before, but none were as bad as deep within the heart of the greatest Plaguetail fortress ever discovered. At least, by those who lived to tell the tale.
The place stank of sulphur, something Fazio became accustomed to as he sat in his large cage hanging a foot off of the ground. His only companions were six-foot tall rat monsters armed with foul weapons and armour. The one that personally manned his cage was a particularly nasty specimen; His larger height, bulk, and number of scars, meant that he was the one in charge.
A group of five subordinate Plaguetails worked here, attending furnaces as they smelted and smithed crude weapons for their hordes. They gave coy looks over to their master by the cage, as if one small error would end them.
Fazio peered at the lock in his cage. A simple spell could unlock it with ease; the problem was, he only had the energy within him for two spells. The only other spell he could cast to clear a room of well-armed Plaguetails would also take him out with it.
A sword clattered to the ground.
“Stop messin’ about!” the jailer bellowed, as one of the smiths scrambled to pick it up again. “If I see so much as a ruddy dent on those things, I’ll have your fur for armour!”
Fazio cleared his throat. “You should treat your workers, better, you know. Leads to better products being made.”
“Sharrap.” A shove from the jailer sent the prison swinging back and forth. “None of that from you.”
Fazio had been getting to know his jailer friend. He had a name that sounded like a sack of dead mice being dragged across from mice. He also got very angry very easily, which Fazio learnt to see as a positive.
“So.” Fazio shuffled across the cage towards the jailer, holding onto the bars. “What do you have planned for me?”
The jailer did not move, but two dead, white eyes swivelled to look. “You stay in the cage and sharrap.”
“I meant after this cage thing.”
The jailer looked back to the smiths, watching their every move. Slowly, a smirk crept onto his face. “First we gut ya.”
“Then we skin ya.”
“And then! After that, we find all the good bits inside of ya and feed on ’em.”
“Gosh,” Fazio said. “Doesn’t sound very nice.”
“‘Course it’s not nice!” the jailer spat, slamming a paw against the cage so hard the entire frame rattled. “It’s not supposed to be nice! Don’t bring in humans to be nice to ’em! Should’ve caught someone less chatty. Those monks, they hardly say a word. Not like you, you gabbering git.”
“At least you’ll derive more pleasure from devouring my intestines.”
“Yeah,” the jailor said. He smirked, but it wasn’t long until it fell into a heavy frown. “Shame I ain’t the one doing the eatin’, though.”
A deep, low horn blew a single note from somewhere deep within the fortress. The smiths perked up at once, looking toward the door.
“Oi!” the jailer barked, catching all of their attentions. “The horn is to let me decide if you bags of scum are worthy of food. Given how not one of you got your fur set alight, I’ll let you go. I want you all back here sharp, and no more dropping things! Any more like that and you’re all working until you starve to death. Go on, scarper!”
The five Plaguetails fell on all fours, scampering out of the furnace room. Within seconds, the crude wooden door closed behind them, leaving Fazio and the jailer by themselves.
“What did you mean by that?” Fazio said.
“Just don’t want them droppin’ things, that’s all. And I thought I told you; no yappin’.”
“I meant how you’re not partaking in eating me. I would have thought you’d get a nibble, being my jailer.”
The jailer snorted, wincing and looking away. “We haven’t had human meat in months. You’ve been selected by the Great Plague himself. I get nuffin’. Not even a toe.”
“That sounds horrible.”
The jailer sniffled. “Right injustice, it is.”
Fazio looked to the door. “Listen…sorry, I can’t get your name.”
“Told you it five times already.”
“Yes, I’m very aware of that. The point is, you’ve put up with me for so long. How about I give you a finger to snack on?”
The jailer’s eyes lit up with happiness, then dimmed. “Can’t. They’ll wanna know where it’s gone.”
“Then I’ll say I cut it off, or something. I’ll cover for you.”
The jailer smiled, his tone softening. “Y-You’d really do that for me? For a finger?”
“Of course, it’s the only way I can return the favour.” Fazio pushed his right index finger between the bars. “Go ahead.”
The jailer peered at it as if Christmas came early. Wasting no time, he opened his jaws wide and slammed his fangs down on the finger. There was a loud, metallic clang. The jailer cried out in pain, staggering away as he clutched at his mouth.
“The bloody hells was that?” he yelled, rubbing his jaw. Fazio felt he would die from the jailer’s glare alone. “The hells did you do?!”
Fazio showed his finger, which was now covered in solid gold. “Enchantment of Midas’ Touch. It’s a very complex spell.”
“Well I hope you have another one, ’cause I’m gonna beat ya ’til–”
The jailer went to give the cell another hefty shove. With a sound like ice on a lake breaking, he turned into solid gold and toppled to the floor, the impact rattling the cage a little.
Fazio waved a hand over the lock, opening the cell door. Even if the enchantment was permanent, he’d have second thoughts of dragging the gold statue to the highest bidder. With no spells left, he was going to need his agility if he was going to escape.