The thump when the evil dragon Eigei slammed gracelessly to the ground was very satisfying to the four adventurers of the legendary and universally loved and respected Four Cool People Who Travel Together
“At last! Our longtime foe doth lie broken and beaten at our very feet!” said the bard.
“And now we get all his FABULOUS loot!” said the very pretty male elf archer.
“The important thing is that his reign of evil is over, and the land can once more breathe free of his malign influence. ” said the stolid and sturdy paladin.
The archer rolled his eyes. “Oh of COURSE. ”
“Whatever. I’m only here because Tammy needed someone to play her character while she’s away on vacation. ” said the mysterious female warrior with the mysteriously skimpy armor and the mysteriously powerful weapons given to her by her mysteriously eager to please traveling companions, mysteriously.
“What strange words you use, Shield-Maid. ” said the paladin. “and I know not of this ‘Tammy’ of whom you speak Is she a tavern wench? ”
“you have GOT to be kidding me. ” said the assassin.
The mighty black dragon. its scales the color of an oil slick and its eyes as red as a Canadian Tire sign, lifted up its mighty head, and mournfully crooned “It is true, mighty adventurers! You have slain me, and in doing so, insured that the bards and skalds will sing your praise unto the end of time. All who meet you, even the most aggressive, thuggish, and handsome if you’re into that kind of thing which I am NOT people will bow down at your feet and beg for the privilege of touching your hand. ”
“Whoa, cool! ” said the bard. “I mean..um… truly this is the day when we hoist our banner aloft and cry ‘Hooray!” He looked at the paladin. “Well?
“Well what? ” said the paladin.
“Hoist our banner aloft so we can shout hooray!” said the bard.
“I don’t have the banner. “said the paladin. “Nobody told me I was supposed to carry the banner. Why would I be carrying the banner?
“Because you’re the only one of us with a horse? Who can carry a lot of stuff? Stuff too big and bunkjy for the rest of us to carry? Like banners? ” said the bard.
The paladin hmphed. “Look, if you don’t tell me to do it, you can’t get mad at me for it! I’m not a frikkin mind reader. ”
“But it’s just common sense that… you know what, forget it. ” said the bard. He cleared his throat, visibly regained his composure, and said “Surely this is the day that we hoist our WEAPONS aloft and shout ‘Hurray!'”
They hoisted their weapons aloft and shouted hooray.
“Ahem. May I please continue? ” said the dragon.
“Oh, of course… sorry… ” said the bard.
“Your names, legends, bard, skalds, etcetera. ” said the dragon. “But you should know now that I am not the source of the evil which plagues this land. I am merely its humble servant. The true source of the evil is a group of foul-minded sorcerors who call themselves The Dreamers. ”
“Is this the new expansion? ” asked the archer. “Um, some catty comments to keep everyone wondering if I am gay and if so, how gay am I?”
“Brilliant. ” said the bard.
“Yes, it is the Dreamers who are your real enemies. I was an innocent hatchling when they captured me and forced me to do all those evil things I have done. They are vile and malignant people who twist and warp the world around them to suit their wicked whims, and they love nothing more than to humiliate and demean the poor creatures caught in their warped web of poisonous magic!” said the dragon, all in one breath.
“Well that can’t be right. ” said the paladin thoughtfully.
“Ya think? ” said the archer cattily.
“Whatever.” said the assassin boredly.
“Is there anything we can do to stop the Dreamers?” said the bard.
“Yes there is!” said the dragon. “Soon, there will come a time when you are asked a simple question : should the Primaries… I mean, Dreamers.. be disconnected? And all you have to do is say…. ?”
The dragon looked around the room like an expectant teacher.
The adventurers looked at each other, and shrugged.
“…yes?” said the archer eventually.
The dragon beamed at the them, which is not easy when you’re so black your scales absorb the entire spectrum of visible light, plus infrared, ultraviolet, and for some reason shortwave radio. “Exactly! You’re all so smart! No wonder you bested me! All you have to remember is that when the time comes, say yes. Then you will have helped defeat the Dreamers forever and rid this and all worlds of their presence forever!”.
“Wow! ” said the bard. “How much XP will we get for that? ”
The dragon looked caught out. “Um… lots! Lots and lots! Enough XP for you to get three… levels? And loot that’s truly… epic? ”
“Awesome! ” said the bard. “Truly, this shall be the greatest thing we have ever done!”
“And with no grind!” said the paladin.
“Whatever. ” said the assassin. “I am out of here. Later, losers!”
The assassin then slumped into lifelessness, like a puppet when its string are cut.
The other three looked at her lifeless form sadly, shrugged, and moved on.
But not before lootting all her stuff and squeezing her titties.
Nearby, the dragon’s eyes glittered with malice. Through these four idiots, the word would spread throughout the fiction, and by the time the second Test came around, they would all do the right thing and vote to disconnect the Primaries.
Eegee patted himself on the back (with his tail) for having thought of this. With age comes power, and Eegee was very very old. He therefore had enough power to not only travel the Now but to insert himself into any fiction he pleased.
And it was even more fun than he thought it would be,
It took all his strength not to laugh out loud at the irony of it all.
Then he remembered that he was supposed to be dead, and keeled over.
“So what you’re saying, doc, is that these Dreamer jokers are behind the crime wave here in Coppertown? ” said the private detective in the dirty brown coat.
“And not just Coppertown. ” said Doctor Earl Gee in his highly educated Hong Kong upper class accent, “Their influence is felt everywhere from Aluminum Acre to Zinc City. if something truly crummy is going down, the odds are even that they are behind it… or own the person that is. ”
“Now listen here, old chap… ” said the world famous jewel thief turned manhunter Sir Evan Thisselthwaite the Eleventh. “Are you really saying that they are behind such groups as the Penny Whistle Gang and the Iron Cross? ”
“I’m afraid so, Sir Evan. ” said Doctor Gee. “I am afraid that in your, shall we say, previous career you dealt with many unsavoury people… ”
“Dealt with? ” said Sir Evan. “Some of them are still on my Christmas card list. ”
“…but I assure that these people are worse. They think the whole world exists for their pleasure, and they have so much power that they think nobody can touch them. ” said Doctor Gee as he stroked his Fu Manchi moustache.
“And you say your invention can change that? ” said the Silent Specter in his dead, cold voice, his empty eye sockets glowing.
“Indeed it can. My device will cut every one of them off at the same time, so none of them can use their influence to save themselves. ” said Doctor Gee. “After that, it’s just a matter of flushing them out of system and they will be gone for good.
“So what’s our part in all of this? ” said former beauty queen turned insurance adjuster Patti Pie, the hardness in her steel grey eyes warning everyone that this pretty doll in the pink satin dress was not to be trifled with.
“I can’t explain in detail. ” said Doctor Gee. “It’s all very technical. All I can tell you is this : some time soon, you will be contacted. This contact will ask you a simple question : ‘Should the Primaries – that’s our codeword for the Dreamers – be disconnected’? And all you have to do is say ‘yes’. ”
“That’s it, Doc?” said all six foot two of Harvey “Hardcase” Stone. “There’s nobody you want me to get to sing with a little chin music? No junior jamoke you need me to gut-shoot for waxing your best gal? Nobody-”
“None of that, Harvey. Not yet. ” said Doctor Gee. “But a lot of people are going to try to talk you into backing the bums, so you gotta stay focused and remember that nothing is going to get better in this lousy town until these jackals are six foot under. ”
“Don’t worry about that, Doc. ” said Hardcase. “I’ll make sure everyone gets the message. You can count on us. ”
“Excellent!” said Doctor Gee. “I promise you won’t regret it. ”
“Say that again, you walleyed rattlesnake. ” said Madman Mark McCraw in a voice like a tomb door grinding closed. “I fucking dare you. SAY IT AGAIN. ”
The black eyes of war profiteer Ignatious “Iggy” Marsh flashed in the darkness of the Trembling Pines saloon, and his wicked smile got a little wider. He leaned forward and said “Did I go too fast for your tiny cowboy brain? Is what I am saying too much for a dirt-eating, cowshit smelling, ignorant, ill-bred, jumped up little cow fucker like you to handle? I said that I don’t have that precious piece of pussy you call Alabaster Jane. Or should I say I have had her? So has most of the town. That girl is cheap trash, and I don’t deal with cheap trash… present company excluded. ”
Madman Mark was breathing like a bull and a big vein pulsed in his forehead. The air was charged with potential violence just looking for a place to strike.
“Get to the fucking POINT, you greased up iguana!” grated Madman. “Where is my girl? If I have to ask you again, it’ll be this here shotgun of mine that will do the talking. ”
“Don’t shit your britches just yet, son. ” said Iggy with a satanic smile. “Like I said, I don’t have her. But I know who does, and let me tell you, these people are some very bad hombres. The sweetest one of them make an old huckster like me look like a goddamn nun at Christmas. So if you want to get your girl, you got to be ready to take on some mean, lean, powerful men who would shoot you in both eyes just to watch you die. And they’d be laughing the whole damned time. ”
“You know I don’t give a shit about that. ” said the Madman of Montana Valley. “Just tell me where they are so I can kill the bastards and take back my girl. ”
“I can’t tell you here and I can’t tell you now. ” said Iggy. “You and I ain’t exactly kissin’ cousins, and I get the feeling that if I give you the information when you’re all hopped up and raring to kill like you are now, , I’d be full of shrapnel from that crazy pop gun of yours so fast youi’d think I was born that way. ”
“When?” growled the Madman.
“Soon. ” said Iggy soothingly. “Soon as I get clear, I will send a man to you with the information. He’ll give you a pass code so you know it’s my guy. He’ll say ‘Should the Primaries be disconnected?'” All you got to do is say “yes” and he will tell you where you can find that gal of yours. You understand me, son? ”
The Madman nodded. “I got ya. You and me are gonna settle our differences some day, you pimple on a horse’s asshole. But right now, I got a girl to save. ”
With that, Madman stalked out his office like a hungry panther, and Iggy looked at his men and smiled.
“See what I told you boys? ” he said. “Even dangerous men can be handled and put to good use. This time next week, the Dreamer gang will be out of hair for good and we will be free to live as we please and really make something of ourselves. And we will hunt down Commander Rick and all his frfiends and make them pay. ”
“Pay for what? ” said the feller in the back.
“Never you mind that. I ain’t paying you to ask questions. ” said Iggy. You just do as your told and kill who I say, and everything will be just fine.
“Yeah. ” he said, visions of big piles of burning physical bodies dancing in his. “Everything will be fine, fine, fine. ”