I am working on a one-shot which I named “A Letter from a Butterfly”. I hope I can finish it within February while not affected the progress of Respawned. BTW, I wrote this during lunch at work :P
***The Lonely Mountain***
With all the clues pieced together, I was eighty percent sure that this place was a recreation of the Lonely Mountain from “The Hobbit”. Living as a goblin for months had almost made me forget something important. This world that I live in was not the real world. This world was a game. A game for someone else.
With simple traps and the winding paths, this place was clearly designed to be a dungeon. Something was missing. Where were the mob monsters? Where was the final boss? We found the final treasure room, but there was no sight of the final boss.
A chill ran down my spine when I had the realization. If this was the Lonely Mountain, doesn’t that mean the final boss is… oh no.
“Everyone get out of here. Tell everyone to stay out of...”
I couldn’t even finish my sentence before a deafening roar echoed from the sky. We all froze in terror and looked up at the sky. The bright blue sky suddenly darkened for a second as a large shadow flew passed by the mouth of the volcano at Mach speed.
I didn’t hear anything after I issued the command. Everything was silent as if the world was drowned out by the sound of the roar. Like a herd of frightened rabbits, everyone else stood still without realizing what I had told them. Their fear completely overwhelmed their senses.
“RUN NOW!! GET OUT OF HERE!!!”
My voice finally reached them, and everyone scrambled towards the exit. Unfortunately, it was too late. By the time that we tried to run, he already flew inside the volcano and started his gradual descent. His large bronze colored body blot out the sky. His wings flapped slowly and steadily like a heartbeat, conjuring gale force winds in the confined space, scattering everyone. The air pressure pushed me back, creating a long skid mark in the soil. A few lucky goblins were able to reach the exit, but the majority was still in the area. With a deafening crash, he landed on top of the mountain of treasure.
The king came to reclaim his throne in his forsaken kingdom.
The dragon, Smaug, has returned.
With his piercing gaze, he stared at everyone. Under his powerful glare, no one dared to move a single muscle. At this rate, he will kill everyone. I have to save them somehow. It has been quite a while since I read the book “The Hobbit.” I read the book when I was in high school. I tried to remember the details of the encounter between Bilbo and Smaug. I could use the information that I recalled. For me to survive, I would need every advantage I could get. From what I could remember, he was greedy and confident. Above all, he was intelligent. Normally, that would be detrimental to go up against an opponent that was intelligent. But in this case, it was the only chance I have. Since I have no chance winning against him physically, I would need to engage a war of words with Smaug. Negotiation is the only way to out of this unscathed.
With my heart beating at a million beats per second, I hardened my resolve and put on a poker face to the best of my abilities. I slowly walked towards Smaug, moving away from the rest of the group. Since I was the only one that was moving, Smaug’s eyes focused on me. I had successfully grabbed his attention. Seeing that I had his full attention, I forced myself to smile and bowed down to speak with him.
“ I, Cani, chief of the goblin tribe, humbly presents myself in front of your majesty.”
With his nostrils flaring with smoke, he looked at me with a hint of bewilderment. After a good minute, a thunderous laughter finally broke the silence.
“HAHAHAHAHAHA!! This is the first time seeing a goblin that is courteous and polite. HAHAHAHAH!! I guess if you live long enough, you will eventually get to see everything.”
His laughter went on, echoing throughout the area. Seeing that Smaug was distracted, I gestured everyone else to take the chance and leave. With Sylva leading everyone, they scrambled to get out. Soon, the only me and the laughing dragon were left in the dungeon. Good, the primary objective has been achieved. Now I will need to figure a way out to get myself out of this situation alive. The laughter slowly subsided, and the dragon’s attention returned to me.
“Do you know who I am?”
“Please forgive me if I guessed wrong, but perhaps your majesty is Smaug, the Magnificent?”
“HAHAHAHA, good. So you know who I am. If you knew who I am, why do you dare trespassed into my kingdom.”
Good, my guess about everything was correct. With this information, I can steer the negotiation towards my favor. Judging from his words, he was trying to make us into a guilty party, giving him full justification for him to kill us. I must defend against that.
“Your Majesty, we do not dare to trespass into your kingdom knowing that you are the rightful owner of the Lonely Mountain. We are, but a simple goblin tribe that lived in a cave near the Lonely Mountain. The entrance to our home was blocked off by a landslide. We were forced to enter an underground river inside our home to escape. The underground river fed into a set of aqueducts which resides in your kingdom. We do not mean to trespass upon your lands. ”
“Even if you did not mean to trespass on purpose, it is still a grave sin to do so.”
He was insistent on this point. It doesn’t seem that he was willing to let us go scot free. The only thing I can do at this point was trying to mitigate our loss by providing some benefits to him for letting us live. He is a greedy bastard after all.
“It is indeed a great crime to trespass into your kingdom. I humbly ask for your forgiveness, my majesty. We are willing to serve your majesty’s servants to atone for our sins.”
“You goblins are weak and pathetic. How can some lowly goblin serve me? ”
He took the bait. He is curious about us now. Even though it is not obvious, as long as I could keep him talking, it is in my favor. I had dodged the worst-case scenario where he would attack me without a single word. All I had to do at this point was to make an arrangement where he would let all of us live. I would agree with him regardless of what his conditions were. If I could strike a deal between Smaug and me, our tribe could use this time to find an exit to this miserable place. After that, we could always escape and move far away from here. As long as we keep moving, I doubt that Smaug could find a small tribe of goblins for his revenge. For him, it would be the same as finding a needle in a haystack.
“Your majesty, it is true that we are weak, pathetic, and small. But it is also the reason we can serve you. We can move around effortlessly everywhere. We don’t attract any attention. We can act as scouts if your majesty ever wished to conquer another city. We could act as thieves if you wanted for a particular item from a kingdom. As far as I know, the dwarves have a proverb. Never use a broadsword to kill a fly. Your majesty is the broadsword, tall, grand and exalted. If there is a small nuisance, we can be your flyswatter in your stead.”
Of course, there was no such saying from the dwarves. I made it up on the spot. The origin of the saying was from an old Chinese proverb “never use a cannon to kill a fly”. Since I don’t know if this world has cannons, I had to change the proverb a bit to suit my purpose. I think that I had gotten my point across.
“HAHAHAHA! I admit, that is an alluring proposal, having your tribe to serve me for the small and insignificant incidents. So what is the term of your tribe’s servitude to atone for your sins?”
I knelt down and answered him. Hook, line and ...
“For as long as your majesty wishes. It would be our tribes’ honor and privilege to serve such a great master. Your majesty, would you wish for the lowly goblins to serve you?”
Smaug started to laugh once again. His frightening chortle echoed throughout the room. Looking up at the monstrous dragon, I noticed the sky behind Smaug was slowly turning blood red as the sun sets. In the middle of his great laughter, he suddenly stopped. Silenced filled the air as he glared at me with the fiery of the sun. His nostrils flared with smokes, sparks, and smoldering embers. He leaned closer towards me. I could feel the heat from his breath. He let out a single word.