Flash Friday 01/01/2016: Scold Lang Syne
Happy New Year, everyone! To celebrate, here’s a story starring my infamous duo, Overlord and Imp. Hope you enjoy!
“Ah, Imp!” Overlord called from his throne as Imp came through the door. “Happy new year to you!”
Imp blinked. “It’s new year already?”
“Of course it is. That’s why I had the little firework show earlier, remember?”
“Oh.” Imp hopped upon the arm of the throne, perching upon it. “I just thought you were strapping minions to rockets for fun again.”
“Of course not! Today is a time for new beginnings, festivities, and friendship. And a time where two minions may have accidentally tangled themselves up with rope and accidentally got themselves tightly strapped to a rocket. But it’s mostly about friendship. So, what are they, then? Don’t be shy.”
Imp frowned. “What are what?”
Overlord gave Imp a gentle nudge with an elbow. “Go on, you know. Resolutions, and all that.”
Imp prodded his stomach. “Feel I could lose a bit of weight this year. Why, what’s yours?”
“I’m very glad you asked,” Overlord said, beaming. Pulling out a scroll, he flicked it open so that it rolled down the red carpet, coming to an end somewhere near the door. He handed it over to Imp. “Here they are.”
Imp gave Overlord a stare, asking him if he were joking. When it became apparent that Overlord was not kidding (he very rarely was, much to Imp’s chagrin), he took hold of colossal list.
“Let’s see here,” Imp said. He clicked his fingers, a pair of pince-nez appearing in a burst of red sparks on his nose. “‘Gain superhuman strength, master eight languages, learn how to shapeshift into a dragon form, master a cackle, defeat all those who speak ill of me, terrorized entire towns using my dragon form, become feared by the world populace, grow an evil moustache, devour Imp using my dragon form’–Overlord, you can’t have these.”
Overlord frowned. “Well, why not?
“New year’s resolutions aren’t a wishlist of things you hope will happen. You have to make goals that you believe you can make happen.”
Overlord snorted. “Yet you said you wanted to lose weight.”
“All jokes against my crippling self-image doubts aside, we can’t have you using these. Why not set yourself a goal that you can actually attain?”
“Well, I know these lovely cultist folks that came around for tea the other day, that said they can work out a Red-Bellied Flying Salamander form–”
“Okay, attainable and not morally wrong on all levels.”
Overlord folded his arms. “Well, if you’re going to act as Lord and Overseer of Resolutions of the Land, perhaps you can think of something.”
Imp scratched his noggin. “Why not something simple, like exploring the world?”
“Can’t. Can’t go down to the stores these days without some hero thinking he can have a go at me. You can’t believe two people would fight over a pint of milk, but after it happens, you get a new insight on life. And how to kick a man through three whole aisles of produce.”
“How about settling down with an Overlady and starting a family?”
Overlord snorted in disapproval. “Imp, you know better than I what a son or daughter of a rich villain is like. They’re snooty, boisterous, and when they get to the teens they’re in dangerous risk of being seduced by heroes and heroines. I’ll have a dagger in my back before I know it.”
“You know what?” Imp said. “Maybe we shouldn’t have a resolution about doing new stuff or checking off the bucket list. Maybe we should focus on what we’re doing right now, and to do it better.”
“Oh?” Overlord said, tilting his head. “What did you brew up in that head of yours, then?”
“Good sirs known by ‘Overlord and Imp’, the man said, standing by the huge wooden doors leading into Overlord’s castle. “I have come long and far to the gate of your castle. I demand you open your doors posthaste. I also demand that, in light of heroes approaching your castle in the past, that you would so mercifully refrain from pulling the ‘unleash hellhounds’ lever. I know that the lord of this castle has the tendency to pull said lever before the visitor finishes their speech, but I ask that you please have patience while I–“
The man was cut off by the distinct sound of the hellhound kennel doors being remotely opened.
Overlord and Imp peered through binoculars as they stood on the castle walls, watching as the man was chased the way he came. “If I do say so myself, sir,” Imp said, “this is mostly definitely an excellent start to your resolution of one hero a week.”
“I think so, too,” Overlord said. Breaking his gaze through the binoculars for a moment, he held down a hand toward Imp. “Here’s to a happy new year, Imp.”
Imp took the hand in both of his, shaking it. “Same to you, Overlord.”
With a grin, Overlord turned back to his binoculars, peering through them. He watched the chaos with glee, before eventually saying,”Oh wait, that’s the postman.“
“Is it?” Imp checked through his own. “Well, blow me down. What a typical way for us to start the new year. Come on, let’s hurry up and find that hellhound obedience whistle. If we’re quick enough, he might even get to keep all his limbs on his body.”
Imp scurried off into the castle. Overlord turned his body as if to follow, paused, then turned back to peer through the binoculars, gently giggling to himself. No matter how many years passed, some old habits died hard.