Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Quests Episode Eight: Sweet Revenge

Read the series prologue.

Read episode seven.

Episode Eight: Sweet Revenge

“No, abssssolutely not!” hissed Serpina after hearing the proposal the goblin council had sent Fedrick to deliver.

“But you did so well last time,” argued Fedrick.

“Lassst time we made a deal which benefited both of usss. Thisss time I can sssee no reassson to get involved in your affairsss.” “But you were the one who started all the trouble!” Fedrick replied. “Wrong!” Serpina yelled. “You goblinsss ssstarted the trouble when you talked me into helping you. Thisss iss your problem, you will take care of it yourselvesss.”

“But you agreed to work for us!”

“I agreed to kill a few of your enemiesss now and then, but I’m done with large ssscale killings. Besidesss I want to be sssure I will benefit from my work. For now I have what I need.”

She gestured at the moonlit landscape around them. The rocky mountainside sloped down to a large pond covered in places with strands of algae. Mountain laurels, cottonwoods and small leafy bushes surrounded the pond, leaving only the tiniest grassy space where they were standing. This was where Serpina had made her home. A wide entrance shaded by an overhanging rock led to her giant underground den which was set into a hill to their right high enough to be above the water level even when the pond flooded.

“Doesn’t it make you angry that the fairies can put an end to our plans with one move?” asked Fedrick.

“No,” Serpina answered calmly. “And they didn’t ruin anything for me.”

“Even you wouldn’t dare enter a mine that’s guarded by a griffin!” Fedrick yelled.

“I don’t need to enter any minesss right now,” said Serpina. “Goblinss ssshould find a better usse of their time.”

“I can’t believe you’re not angry about this!” Fedrick replied, still yelling.

“Don’t ssshout,” hissed Serpina. “You’re hurting my earss.”

Fedrick lowered his voice a little and asked, “So you won’t do anything to help us?”

“If you knew which fairiess it wass who caused the problem I would gladly kill them for you,” said the humaviper. “But you don’t.”

Serpina slithered closer to the pond.

After a short pause she turned back to Fedrick and said, “The besst way to kill a large group of people isss to poison their water.”

Then she slipped beneath the surface of her pond.


“We can’t possibly poison all their water ways!” cried a goblin council member after Fedrick told them what Serpina had said. The goblins had gathered in the central chamber once more, this time to plot their revenge against the fairies.

“We could try,” said another goblin. “It’s the best idea we have.”

“Perhaps if everyone in the city dumped their garbage into the fairies’ lakes and rivers that would do the trick,” said a third. “After all, that’s a lot of garbage.”

“We can try that,” said the goblin council member. “But first we must make sure that none of the fairies’ enchantments can clean the trash out of their water. I’ll have our best magicians work their strongest magic!”

Once the magicians worked their charms, every goblin took their turn creeping into Fairy Wood at night to drop toxic substances in the water there. Before long the water ways of Fairy Wood were polluted and an ugly sight.

On the black night of the new moon Fedrick took his turn entering the woods. He walked down steep, rock filled mountain paths making almost no noise. He did not stubble, for he could see clearly even on so dark a night. Nor did he get lost, for he knew the way to Fairy Wood, though he never thought he would go that way. Goblins rarely entered the fairy kingdom. He soon came to the place where the trees began. He peered uneasily into the depths of the forest. The tangled vines seemed ready to snare him; the branches looked like menacing arms waiting to grab him in their deadly embrace. He swallowed. The goblin council had warned him that this might happen, though they disagreed on the reason for it. Some said that the uneasiness came from a spell the fairies cast over their kingdom to keep out unwanted guests. Others had said it was because of the strangeness of the forest when compared with the caves the goblins were used to. Whatever the reason, most goblins were uneasy about entering Fairy Wood.

Fedrick took one long, deep breath to calm himself, let it out, and then plunged into the underbrush. He made his way along the forest floor, keeping to the darkest shadows. Before long he heard the sound of running water. He followed the sound and found himself standing on the banks of the Farawad River. Glancing around to make sure no one was watching, Fedrick took a small pack off his back. He pulled out a bundle of trash and immediately dumped it into the water. Then he reached into the pack again and drew something else out of it. This new object was a glass jar filled with a liquid poison Serpina had given him. She gave it to him personally because he was the only member of the underground city who dared talk to her directly.

“I know thisss won’t do much damage,” the humaviper said, “but perhapsss it will help a little. Don’t ever accusse me of not helping you again!”

Fedrick hoped that it would do more damage if he poured the poison into a major water course like the Farawad. He unscrewed the lid and poured the liquid into the rushing water. Then he looked up and smiled. Revenge was a goblin’s favorite pastime. He tossed the empty jar back into the river and slipped into the darkness.

When he was back in the underground city, Fedrick felt something tickling his arm. He looked down and saw a black beetle crawling on his skin. He brushed it off with an irritated flick of his fingers. As soon as the beetle hit the floor it transformed into a tiny grinning man. Fedrick stared open mouthed in astonishment.

“Hi there! I’m Bubble the boggart,” said the man with an even wider grin. “I didn’t mean to scare you, but that’s what boggarts are known for, scaring people I mean. That’s why I thought I could get a job here. It seems like you goblins need someone to scare the fairies and keep them from finding out what you’ve been doing to the water in their forest.”

He babbled this so quickly that Fedrick barely understood a word of it.

“What?” Fedrick blurted.

“I want to work for you goblins by scaring the fairies,” Bubble repeated.

Fedrick just kept staring, his forehead creased in confusion. Bubble’s grin vanished and he looked as though he were about to cry.

“Oh no! You’re not hiring.”

“Uh, I don’t know,” said Fedrick considering him a minute. He seemed harmless, if a little slow. “You’d have to ask our leaders.” After all, he reasoned, the council should be able to tell if this strange little boggart could be trusted.

Bubble brightened, his grin instantly returning. “Oh good, where are these leaders then? They’re the ones I need to see.”

“Follow me,” said Fedrick. “I’ll bring you to them, but you should know they may be busy.”

“That’s okay,” Bubble replied, “I don’t mind waiting.”

Fedrick led the way to the central hall with Bubble skipping behind him. There were several members of the council in the chamber, as Fedrick guessed there would be. Fedrick walked up to one who didn’t look too busy and tapped him on the shoulder.

When the councilor turned Fedrick whispered, “There’s a boggart here to see you.”

He gestured at Bubble who gave a theatrical bow before announcing, “Bubble’s the name scaring’s the game!”

Looking totally unimpressed, the councilor asked, “What is it you need from me, Bubble?”

“I need a job,” said Bubble. “I’m here to offer you my awesome frightening powers to use against the fairies. In exchange I want thirty cans of bottled bat broth every month.”

The leader just stared at Bubble for a minute then looked him up and down as if trying to determine his skill level.

Finally the goblin said, “It would be useful to have someone distracting the fairies for us. I will speak with my fellow council members about hiring you, but I would like to see a sample of your talents first. Come to my work cavern and give me a demonstration.”

As they moved to one side of the meeting hall, Fedrick turned in the direction of his cave. He was only halfway there when a joyful shout rang off the stone walls and Bubble rushed down the tunnel yelling, “Yippee! I got the job! Look out fairies, here I come!”

Goblins and trolls lined the corridors to stare after Bubble as he switched from shape to shape, shouting all the while. Fedrick rolled his eyes and would have continued on his way if Bubble, now in the shape of a large orange monkey, hadn’t grabbed his hand, shook it and cried, “Thank you so much for taking me to the leader!”

He then somersaulted up another passage and out of view. Fedrick turned from the curious stares of his fellow citizens in embarrassment. He ran home before anyone could ask him what that was all about.

In the weeks that followed, Fedrick often saw Bubble in Fairy Wood. The boggart often snuck up on him and tried to scare him, without much success. Fedrick was never sure how well Bubble really did at scaring fairies, but he seemed to keep them distracted, which was the real reason the council had hired him.

After the water in Fairy Wood was polluted enough to have an effect on its inhabitance, the goblins sent spies to discover the fate of the fairies. At first the reports were satisfactory. The spies reported that many fairies were becoming sick and could find no way to make the water clean and good for drinking again. Then the spies reported that the water was pure once more and none of the goblin poisons had any effect on it.

“That’s impossible!” said the goblin council. “Our magicians made sure that the fairies could not clean the water.”

“But it wasn’t the fairies who broke the curse,” replied one of the spies. “The fairies got the unicorns to help them.”

“Then we will have to get the unicorns out of Fairy Wood,” said the goblin leader. “That will be quite simple. The creatures who are best at hunting unicorns live within our city.”


Fedrick knocked softly at the entrance to Felnar’s cave.

“Who’s there?” the troll called out in a squeaky voice. “Is it the humaviper?”

“It’s me you fool, not a humaviper!” Fedrick called back. “How many times do I have to tell you? Serpina left the city, she has her own home. She won’t come back to eat you.”

“Oh, Fedrick, it’s just you,” said Felnar. The goblin rolled his eyes.

“I came to tell you,” said Fedrick, “that there are plenty of unicorns roaming around Fairy Wood. There’s no better time for trolls to go hunting than now.”

Continue to episode nine.

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