Today’s blog continues my long-neglected satirical fantasy, In The Land of the Penny Gnomes
The transports took several hours to navigate down from the mountains around Boarsblemish. It was a miserable and bumpy ride, made all the worse by the uncertainty of what would happen to them when they arrived.
“This isn’t good,” croaked Sills.
“Oh, you think?” Oscar shot back with a verbal slap. “What gave you that impression?”
Grimby slapped back, “Oscar, shut up.”
“Oh yes, sir. Mister IBI tough-guy, sir.” The distraught dwarf then buried his face in his hands and moaned, “I’m just a coder, how in The Realm did I end up here?”
“Oh. Well if that’s all you want to know,” rang Nobody’s energetic sing-song voice. “You’re here because I requested you by name!” The Professor’s face lit up in a innocent smile, as if his words should have ended Oscar’s distress. They did not.
Every eye turned toward the dwarf as he lifted his head from his palms and issued Nobody an acidic stare.
“You… requested me?” he hissed.
Nobody, oblivious to the warning signs of danger, nodded. “By name,” the academic repeated, again flashing his innocent grin.
Oscar’s voice dropped to a whisper. “You requested me… by name?”
Again flashing his smile, Nobody responded, “You’re welcome!” This last phrase was uttered with such cheerfulness even Will as annoyed by it. Oscar, on the other hand, attempted to lunge at the gnome. He would have succeeded, but was grappled back by a quick-thinking Grimby.
“Settle down, there, Oscar. Pummeling Cooly won’t accomplish anything.”
“He requested me by name, it’s his fault I’m stuck here with all of you!” The dwarf continued to struggle until Grimby glanced over his shoulder toward Fineflin.
“Little help here?”
Fineflin shook his head and sighed. “If I must.” The elf then reached out and took hold of Oscars right ear-lobe. He then tugged it three times, after which the dwarf’s struggles ceased. They were replaced by snores. Catching sight of Will’s open-mouthed stare, the elf explained, “Elvish ear pinch, he’ll be asleep for hours.”
Will was about to inquire about what he’d just seen, but none of the others seemed to find Fineflin’s action unusual 1. Not wanting to look foolish, he remained silent.
“Now that we’ve settled Oscar, maybe we can get back to more important things,” growled Bug. “Sills, other than the obvious, what did you mean by saying this isn’t good?”
“I mean, there’s no way the Horde should have been able to penetrate this far around the Satire Shield. The reason why we chose this route was because the guards had the passes East of the city pretty well covered.”
Bug nodded. “Understood. Maybe it’s a special operations group?”
“Not traveling this loud, it isn’t. They didn’t even bother hiding when they ambushed out as we emerged from the city. Almost like…”
“They knew we were there,” Sindy’s voice filled the compartment, completing the sentence.
“Yes,” Sills nodded back.
“What’s that mean?” inquired Will.
“It means, kid, Boarsblemish has got a mole. And one that’s pretty high up.”
“Why do you say that?”
“Because Sills is right, by the projections we saw, the Horde should not have been able to get this far around the city in any kind of strength. And only the highest ranks of Boarsblemish command knew our plan.”
“This isn’t good,” remarked Sindy.
“So what do we do about it?”
“Kid, unless your Narrator friend wants to step in and do something, there’s not much we can do 2.”
Before anyone could respond to Bug’s pronouncement, the vehicle in which they were traveling came to a sudden stop, causing several of the group to fall out of their chairs. Oscar hit the floor hardest, but continued snoring away. A pleasant grin on his face.
“I may have tweaked him a bit hard,” Fineflin admitted.
“Who cares?” grumbled Grimby. “The guy’s a weenie. Have we got to where we’re going?”
“No… listen.” Sills quieted the group.
Over the faint sound of Oscar’s snoring Will heard several vehicle doors being slammed shut. This was followed by a great deal of shouting, none of which the teen could make out. The shouting was followed by several minutes of silence, before he heard the sound of footsteps approaching the back of their transport.
“Prisoners, away from the door!” commanded an unseen voice.
No one moved, but the door soon swung open anyway, and a man in a exquisite three piece suit stepped into the compartment, after which the door was slammed shut behind him.
The stranger motioned for Nobody to move over, and then took a seat next to the startled academic. The man then glanced around at his traveling companions.
“Oh dear. You’re all natives, aren’t you? This is worse than I thought.” No one responded to the man’s pronouncement.
Will began examining the new occupant, trying to figure out what was off about the man. His suit marked him as part of the Horde, as the teen hadn’t seen that fashion worn by anyone else in The Realm, but there was something different about his dress. It took several minutes of pondering before he figured it out. The man’s suit was a solid charcoal grey, rather then the camouflage of the Horde’s military.
“So who are you supposed to be, then?” Bug spat.
“Ah, yes. Please excuse my rudeness. My welcome has not been what I was expecting. My name is Roy Stevens, member of the Bar. I’ve come to deliver a summons to the Senior Partners of this coalition.”
- In fact, it wasn’t. Young elves from The Realm will often spend several years roaming the region after graduating high school. They pay for their travels by acting as effective sleep aids for insomniacs. ↩
- For the record, I am doing something. Sorry, I felt the need to say that. There are times when Bug gets on my nerves. ↩