I'm back! After starting edits on the next few episodes, I've decided to try to wrap up the Quests series in the next few months. I'm still working on the ending, but I estimate there are about 3 episodes left. Please enjoy this month's episode and check back in the coming months for the conclusion.
Read the series prologue here.
Read episode nineteen here.
Episode Twenty: Intruders
Fedrick stopped outside the entrance to Felnar’s cave and watched as the troll approached a small bird cage containing a purple winged fairy. Felnar tapped lightly on the cage door with one claw.
“I brought you some food little fairy,” she said. “It’s fairy food, I made sure.”
She opened the cage door just enough to push a small bowl inside it.
“You have a nice cave,” the fairy said.
Fedrick rolled his eyes, hoping such flattery would not make Felnar consider releasing her pet.
“Why thank you!” said Felnar grinning.
“You’re not a bad troll either,” the fairy girl added. “Maybe we could be friends.”
“Okay,” said Felnar, grinning. “I’m really glad I get to keep you.”
“Since we’re friends you could let me out of this cage sometimes. If you let me come outside with you I could show you good places to hunt.”
Felnar shook her head. “Fedrick said you might say something like that. He said I’m not to let you out for any reason. Sorry.”
Fedrick smirked as the fairy crossed her arms over her chest and pouted.
“Don’t be sad,” Felnar pleaded.
She opened her mouth to say something else but, unable to stand such nonsense any longer, Fedrick interrupted.
“What are you doing you foolish fairy lover?”
Felnar turned to face him.
“I was getting my fairy some food.”
“We have more important things to worry about!” Fedrick snapped. “There are intruders in the city. There was an elf boy in the dungeons. He was trying to rescue the prisoners. The guards are taking care of him. There are probably more of them. We should join the search.”
“Trouble makers!” Felnar snarled turning to follow Fedrick.
“Hey!” the fairy yelled slamming her fist against the bars to get their attention. “I’ll never forgive you if you hurt them!”
Felnar hesitated but Fedrick just snorted.
“Don’t listen to her,” he said. “She’s just a stupid fairy. Come on, let’s go.”
In one of the smooth stone passageways leading to the goblin portion of the city, Fedrick and Felnar met a group of other goblins and trolls who were searching for the intruders.
“Did you hear? The prisoners escaped,” said one of the goblins. “They left the guards chained up in the dungeon.”
Fedrick gave a small laugh then became serious.
“They can't have gotten far. Come on, we don’t have time to waste.”
They spread out to search every corner of the city, Fedrick in one group and Felnar in another. After several minutes of searching, Fedrick heard a faint sound in the distance. He signaled those behind him to be quiet as they crept down the passage. In a few minutes Fedrick saw the faint shadow of a moving figure. He turned the corner, drew his sword and stopped short in surprise.
A small orange haired hobgoblin was bouncing a rubber ball up and down the tunnel. It took the creature a minute to notice the newcomers. When he did he simply said, “Oh, hello,” and kept bouncing his ball. Fedrick watched in silence for a minute until the hobgoblin came near him. As the ball bounced past, Fedrick caught it.
“What do you think you’re doing?” he asked.
Just then the ball turned into a hornet and bit Fedrick’s hand.
“Ouch!” cried Fedrick letting it go.
The hornet flew to the hobgoblin’s shoulder and landed there.
“I’m playing with Bubble,” said the hobgoblin as though nothing had happened.
He pointed to the hornet. It flew off his shoulder, turned into a little man and stood grinning at them.
“Oh right, our boggart,” said Fedrick. Suddenly his temper flared. “If you idiots had any sense you’d be helping search for the fairies and elves who escaped from our prison!”
“I guess we can do that,” said Bubble, exchanging a look with Glibbin.
“What do you mean you guess?” cried Fedrick. “Start looking, NOW!”
In their surprise, Glibbin and Bubble turned and bumped into each other. They fell, got back up and ran down the passage away from Fedrick.
The goblins and trolls resumed their search. Before long they came across Glibbin and Bubble again. They were sitting in the middle of the passage but it was unclear what they were doing there.
“Did you find anything?” asked Fedrick.
“Were we looking for something?” Glibbin asked Bubble. The boggart shrugged.
Fedrick reminded them of the search which was taking place.
“We can help look,” said Bubble. “Come on Glibbin, let’s go.”
They set off again, leaving Fedrick wondering how they could have forgotten their task in so short a time.
About five minutes later, Fedrick once more found them lounging in the center of a tunnel. He grabbed Glibbin and demanded, “Do you think this is funny? Keep searching and quit your nonsense!”
Just then Felnar’s group approached.
“The leaders are releasing the strellogroth to hunt down the prisoners,” Felnar told Fedrick. “They want everyone but her trainers to clear the passages until she passes.”
Fedrick smiled and let go of Glibbin, all thoughts of the two fools slipping from his mind.
“I want to see the beast in action,” he said. “Where’s she going to start?”
“The prison so she can catch their scent,” Felnar replied. “You can’t go close, she’s too dangerous.”
“We won’t get too close, we'll just follow her to see what happens,” Fedrick promised.
“Come on,” Fedrick retorted. “You helped us catch her. You must be curious to see what she can do.”
Felnar gulped as Fedrick grabbed her hand and pulled her down the passage behind him, leaving Glibbin and Bubble to their forgetful ways.
The strellogroth was already in the dungeons with one of her trainers when Fedrick and Felnar arrived in the company of a few other bold and curious goblins and trolls. Someone had freed the guards from the chains. The group watched from a safe distance as the trainer released the monster with a seeking command. The great bat took off, flying through twisting tunnels which had been cleared for her. Fedrick, Felnar, and the rest of the group followed at a distance. The strellogroth seemed sure of the scent; she never hesitated at an intersection of the tunnels. Near the entrance, she stopped briefly and clawed at a thin crevice which She could not fit inside. Seeming to catch a new scent she headed toward the troll caves.
“What’s she doing?” asked Felnar in alarm. “She just went inside my cave!”
“Maybe she wants to eat your fairy as a snack,” Fedrick teased.
“Oh no!” cried Felnar throwing up her hands in alarm.
“I was joking. Let’s see if she found one of the escaped prisoners in there.”
When they reached Felnar’s cave, the strellogroth had flown out the entrance which led to the mountainside. The gate of the bird cage was a smashed wreck and the fairy gone.
“She did eat my fairy!” Felnar wailed.
“Felnar, I don’t think it was the strellogroth who broke the cage,” said Fedrick.
“You think the intruders took my fairy?”
“Then I hope the strellogroth gets them!” Felnar snarled.
“I don’t think you have to worry about that,” Fedrick reassured her.
As if to confirm his words, a scream rang through the night.
Continue to episode twenty-one.