The Quest for the Sword of Justice! Part Fifteen: Making the Tough Decisions

This is my NaNoWriMo 2016 Project. Thanks for reading!

Read other parts here!

“Attention!,” shouted the Wizard. “My feet are completely covered in cheese!”

“As are we all,” said Brutus. “At least I’ve got my sword back. And I’m pretty sure it can do the job of cutting cheese.”

“There’s a joke in here somewhere, I think,” said King Jeff.

Osiris rolled her eyes under her mask. “Alright everyone, could we please try and make our way to the door?”

“The floor be goopy!,” shouted Willow. She leaned down and tasted the cheese. “Oooh! Cheddar!”

“I think it’s funny that we managed to get ourselves into trouble not five minutes after getting out of it,” said Elena. “That seems about right for how well the rest of this adventure has gone.”

“The door everyone, the door,” said Osiris, pointing. “It’s still over there, and this isn’t some magical keep-us-from-walking-to-the-door material, it’s just cheese. Shall we?”

The group slowly made their way to the door, through the soupy mass of cheese that was the ground. Brutus was the first to reach it. He could see sunlight and meadows out in the world beyond. In the back of his mind, he thought about Barry, and whether or not he was still large. Brutus put his hand on the door handle.

With a loud cracking sound, the farmhouse returned to being made of normal farmhouse materials.

“Thank goodness for that,” said King Jeff. “These boots cost me three hundred gold pieces.”

“Holy hell!,” shouted Brutus. “That’s more than I made in the last year.

The King’s face turned red. “Er….um…”

Brutus rolled his eyes and opened the door, and the party made their way out into the field in front of the farmhouse. A small metal box on a pole sat in front of the house. Willow poked at it with her fingers.

“Wot’s this little box thingy?,” she asked.

Osiris cleared her throat. “That’s a mailbox, I believe.”

“A wot?,” asked Willow.

“I can explain!,” shouted the Wizard, interrupting Osiris. “For this is my home land, and I know everything there is to know about it. Now let’s see…a mailbox is magical box that holds all sorts of things!”

Osiris tried again. “Actually it just holds — “

“Why yes,” said the Wizard. “You can store whatever you need in here! From the way this one is positioned on this pole, I can only imagine it’s standing guard over the farmhouse, watching for intruders.”

Willow smiled. “Oooh! Sounds exciting! I need a bag. I think I’ll keep it.” She took out her sword, and with one quick swipe, severed the mailbox from its post. She quickly fashioned some straps out of some old bits of leather from her belt, and slung the mailbox over her shoulders.

“Everyone, look,” said King Jeff. “There’s a barn just over there. I imagine that’s where we are meant to find our mounts?”

The party went over to the barn. Brutus heaved the door open with nary a grunt, thinking in the back of his mind that the barn looked unusually like the one he had been in charge of burning down not a few days earlier.

Sure enough, inside were their mounts. Brutus ran over and gave giant Barry a big hug. “I missed you, ya big lug,” said Brutus.

***

I didn’t think it would be this hard to buy a computer.

Lisa rolled her eyes. “Aw come on mom, you said you wanted to get a LittleBook 12, and they have like a million of them in stock.”

Sure, but they also come in all these different colors. And there’s also a 13-inch and a 15-inch one.

“Right, but those wouldn’t fit into your bag as well, and they aren’t as light.”

I didn’t know there were bigger ones. Maybe I need a bigger one? Maybe I need more power?

“For what?,” asked Lisa. “All those games you don’t play?”

Yeah yeah yeah.

A sales guy came walking over. “Can I help you two ladies with anything? We’ve got some good deals on computers going on today.” Lisa’s mom already didn’t like him.

“No thanks,” said Lisa. “We’ve got this. We’re just going to get a couple of LittleBook 12’s, my mom just can’t decide what color she wants.”

“Okay, well let me know if you two need any help.”

What color are you getting, sweetie?

“The green one, obviously, mom. It’s the newest color and it comes with a free pair of headphones.”

Wait. What? Certain colors come with headphones?

“Yeah! That’s why I dragged you to this store. If you buy one of the three new colors, you get a pair of headphones for free.”

Huh. Interesting. What would I use the headphones for?

“I don’t know, listening to all that crappy old music you like.”

The nineties weren’t that long ago. This might be a good time to remind you that I’m paying for half of your computer, too.

“Sorry, mom,” said Lisa, sheepishly.

It’s okay. Let’s decide and then go get some hamburgers or something, okay?

“I already decided, just waiting on you.”

I was hoping if I mentioned burgers you wouldn’t remind me of that again.

***

“Okay Wizard,” said Elena. “Where do we go from here?”

The Wizard blinked. “What? You’re asking me?”

Osiris turned to the Wizard. “Sure, why not? This is your home after all. You only say that to everyone you meet. ‘Hello there dear person who is not me! I’m the Wizard of Whimseria! I can’t do anything except talk in this goofy voice!’”

The rest of the party giggled at Osiris and her impression.

“I had no idea you were capable of making jokes,” said King Jeff.

“I am when the occasion calls for it,” said Osiris with a little bow. “We need to find the Queen of your land,” said Osiris. “As none of us is familiar with the roads here, and this land can be quite confounding and silly, you should lead the way.”

“I suppose I should!,” shouted the Wizard. “Okay then, let’s do this! Come one Cabbage, we ride!”

The Wizard picked a direction and rode off, and the rest of the party followed him. Deep in his mind, the seeds of doubt began to form. Would the rest of the party notice he had no idea where he was going? If they did manage to reach the castle, would the Queen be upset at him for being kidnapped? Would that guard back in Hillsvale ever eat that potato?”

He pushed all these thoughts out of his mind, and enjoyed the wind whipping past his cloak as he rode onward.

***

These hamburgers are really good.

“Yeah mom, of course they are,” said Lisa. “This place has the best ratings online.”

I never even knew this was here. I thought it was an abandoned lumber yard.

“I think it used to be, but now it’s a burger place,” said Lisa.

So, what do you think of the app we’re working on?

“Well,” said Lisa. “Are you sure I should be telling you now that you no longer work at the company?

Lisa’s mom rolled her eyes.

Of course, you can talk to me about anything.

“Well…okay. I think the interface is pretty bad. The whole notion of sliding both thumbs around to type is a good idea in theory, but in practice it makes it hard for me to hold onto my phone. The recent changes made it better, but it’s an awkward compromise between the sliding idea and an normal tap-based touch keyboard, like I’d use for texting or whatever.”

Uh huh. That’s all stuff I told them before we even got started. I am reminded that I like you and that you are a very sensible daughter. Please continue.

“I like the idea of cloud saving,” said Lisa. “But I don’t understand why it’s necessary. The whole app seems really excited about it…but initially, it’s only coming out on phones. Why do I need to save my data on the internet if I’m only ever going to be using my phone? It’s not like I need to take my data with me to a different phone. That would be silly. Now, if I could sync it to my shiny new LittleBook 12, that would be sorta cool…but at that point I might as well already use better software that already exists on computers.”

You’re absolutely right sweetheart, with all of this. I assume you’ve still been filing bug reports anyway.

“Yup! I filed three last week. Only one of them has been addressed so far.”

Hah. That sounds about right. There’s a reason the keyboard hasn’t been topped yet, and is used even for things like texting on phones without buttons. I think that the internet stuff is actually pretty advanced, for being designed mostly by one eccentric guy. It’s at least thirty percent more efficient than the backup systems used by the top-of-the-line software right now. Honestly our client would probably be better off licensing those concepts out to one of the big software-makers, rather than using it for —

“Mom,” said Lisa. “This conversation is getting adult and boring.”

Sorry sweetie. What do you want to talk about?

“Can we talk about your story?”

I…I guess so. Sure. What do you think of it so far?

“I like it, but I’m not really sure where it’s going. It seems like both the good and bad guys have a pretty simple quest to find these keys, and they have to go all over the place to get them, but I’m not sure what happens after that.”

To be honest, I’m not sure either. Basically, the way it’s outlined right now, Zeltar finds all the keys first, and then the good guys have to go and get the Sword of Justice to stop him.

“Ah, I see,” said Lisa.

What. You’re giving me a look.

“I thought there would be something more exciting. Like, we’d find out there was an even bigger threat…or Osiris would turn out to be a bad guy, or something.”

It’s funny you should mention that. I thought the story seemed a little boring in college too, so I put all this quantum physics stuff and time travel and space business into it.

Lisa’s eyes lit up. “Space business! Now that sounds exciting!”

R…really? You think so?

“Oh yeah! You gotta get that in there sooner! Space stuff! Wow, I would never have thought of that.”

Huh. Okay, what else you got?

“Well, I think you have too many characters!”

Yeah?

“Yeah, I have a hard time remembering all of them, and it seems like you’re trying too hard to have them all say something in each scene.”

Well, I am pretty attached to all of them. Which characters do you think don’t belong?

***

“I should warn you all,” said The Wizard. “Whimseria’s roads can be pretty dangerous! Sometimes, random holes will just appear and swallow you, out of nowhere!”

King Jeff gulped. “R…really? I’ve never heard anything like that.”

A flash of light lit the road in front of the party. Zeltar the Wretched’s floating head appeared before them.

“Hahahaha, your Wizard friend is quite right. Whimseria is the seat of magic on this island. Why, there’s greater magical power under your feet right now than one hundred wizards could muster in their entire lives. And I have tapped into it.”

The King leapt off his horse, and put Turtle Jeff on top of it. “Keep watch over my mount,” said the King to the Turtle. “I’ve had enough of your meddling, Zeltar, you — “

A hole opened up under the King, swallowing him.

“Hahahaha!,” said Zeltar. “Who’s next?”

Elena leapt forward, sword in hand. Just as before, a hole opened up and swallowed her. Willow let out a yell.

Brutus stormed forward, leaping off of Barry. He swung his sword, catching Zeltar in the cheek. Zeltar let out a yell and began to disappear…but not before a hole opened in the ground, swallowing Brutus.

Barry let out a goat sound.

***

“That’s much better!,” said Lisa. “Now it’s just Osiris, Willow, and The Wizard. I like them.”

Don’t forget Ragnar.

Lisa blinked. “Who….who’s Ragnar?”

Jeff. The turtle. He’s a mighty hero named Ragnar. Now he can be a lead character. Thanks Lisa, you really solved my problem!

Lisa rolled her eyes. “Just make sure you don’t forget about the space stuff!”

***

The signal from Salvation reached its destination…a small, seemingly abandoned outpost on a desolate moon. The outpost powered up. Inside, a storage tube came to life. Its doors opened, and a woman spilled out. She stood up, and brushed off her white robes. She stumbled over to a computer and pressed a few buttons.

She opened a small closet and took out her featureless white mask, and put it on. “Finally sister, I’ve found you. And you don’t even know it. I won’t let you get the Sword.”

***

Still spinning above its plinth, the Sword of Justice rattled slightly. It yearned for action.

It would soon have its wish.

Written by

I do radio voice work by day, and write by day and night. I studied film and production. I love audio, design, and music. Also video games.

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