This Saturday and Sunday, I am staying at home and doing a "writathon". Hopefully, I can finish the whole arc this weekend.
After a long time, we are finally near the climax of the arc :)
I sincerely apologize for all the delays and hiatus.
Day 39 (Night)
***The Lonely Mountain***
Following the marks left by Cani, she ran with all her might back towards the safe room. Even though she knew Queenie may not offer any help in this situation, she knew that she had to deliver the news to Queenie as soon as possible. At the very least, she had to bring the rest of the tribe back to Queenie for her to command. After all, she was not a leader officially recognized by either Cani nor Queenie. It would create friction in the group in the future if she took command right now if their tribe survives this ordeal. She stopped suddenly at a fork in the road. Scanning the walls for a bit, she found a mark left by Cani.
“Quickly, this way! Ami, stay here and make sure no one loses their way.”
Due to the difference in their ability to run, the whole tribe was spread out in a long line. The torches that they carried created a long snake-like shadow, flickering on the wall of the corridor. With Sylva in the front, there were quite a few stragglers that couldn’t keep up with her pace. She told Ami to stay behind to make sure that no one would get left behind. Even though it would put Ami in danger for being dead last of the group, Sylva knew that Ami would not refuse her order.
After a while, they finally reached the room where everything started. Sylva burst through the door and screamed.
“Queenie! We got a huge problem!”
“We encountered a dragon. Cani stayed behind so we can leave.”
Queenie rushed towards Sylva and punched her face. Sylva fell backwards on the floor from the tremendous force. A blue spot appeared on Sylva's face. She covered the bruise on her face with her hand with surprise. She glared up at Queenie and exclaimed.
“Why the hell did you do that for?”
“Why would you leave Cani alone! You should be beside him helping him!”
At this moment, the last of the goblins entered the room. They were looking around in confusion, not knowing why Sylva and Queenie were fighting each other.
“And what the hell you think we can do against a fucking dragon? We are just goblins! Even dwarves and elves cannot stand up to a dragon. Do you want the rest of us to die with Cani in there?”
Not being able to find a fault in Sylva’s logic, Queenie fell on her knees and started crying. She knew that Cani was as good as dead. Everyone stared helplessly at each other, not knowing what to do in this situation. Seeing the demoralized state of everyone, Sylva shook her head and sighed. She whispered to herself.
“I must be crazy for doing this.”
She got up from the ground. She held the sobbing Queenie with one hand and slapped her face with the other.
“That’s for punching me out of nowhere.”
Before Queenie could react, she slapped her again.
“And that’s for not doing your duty as one of the leaders of this tribe. At the very least, we will be the witness of Cani’s death so that we can pass his heroic story onto the children in our tribe. That way, he will live in the tribe forever as a legend.”
Queenie looked at Sylva with a blank look, still stunned from the slaps to her face. It took a while before Queenie recollected her thoughts and slowly nodded. She wiped her tears away, trying to stifle them in the process.
“You lead the way. The rest of you stay here.”
“Queenie, you should order Ami to take control of the camp temporarily in case something happens to us. She was one of the squad leaders and has experience leading other goblins.”
“I trust your judgement. Ami, take care of everyone while we are away.”
Queenie grabbed her spear which was leaning on the wall. Then she took a torch from one of the goblins. She gave a quick nod to Sylva, signalling that she was ready. Both of them exited the room and started running down the corridor towards where Cani was.
When they were almost halfway to their destination, Sylva felt a sense of unease. Her instinct told her that something was dangerous near her, and it was coming from right beneath her. Trusting her instinct, she jumped up without a moment of hesitation. She slowed down and looked back to see what it was. It was a dwarven skeleton, coming to back to life. The reanimated skeleton was crawling on the floor, trying to grab her ankle. Sylva immediately shouted at Queenie, who was a bit faster in front of her.
“WATCH OUT! THE SKELETONS ARE MOVING!”
Without missing a beat, both of them slowed down and defended each other’s back, taking a defensive position. Queenie was extremely wary of an ambush coming from one of the skeletons that were just lying on the floor, not risen yet. As she was watching the skeletons, she noticed something strange. Some of the wisps in the corridor was gathering around a skeleton. Soon, the wisps disappeared, and the skeletons started to move. Immediately, she notified Sylva of her findings.
“Watch out for the skeletons that have wisps flying around them. Those are the ones that are going to move!”
Not wanting to be outdone by Queenie’s combat sense, she quickly gave advice to Queenie to correct a mistake in her combat style specifically against these skeletons.
“Stop trying to pierce the skeletons with your spear, it goes right through them, Use your spear as if it was a staff.”
"Thank you, Sylva."
"You are thanking me for slapping you?"
They let out a laugh while fighting the skeletons. They were synchronized in the mind with a single goal: to reach where Cani was. Queenie defended Sylva in the front, and Sylva protected Queenie from skeletons that were raising from behind. Both of them armed with a spear and torch, they walked slowly towards their destination back to back, fighting while they moved. They were both anxious to reach Cani’s side.
Day 39 (Night)
***The Lonely Mountain***
“Do you want to know why I rejected your offer?”
Internally, I let out a small sigh of relief. He still wants to talk with me. Perhaps I didn’t offer enough for him, and he wants more. He is the personification of greed after all.
“No, your majesty. Perhaps there is something you dislike with the agreement? We can change the agreement to your liking my sire.”
Smaug lets out another laughter, but this time, it was different from before. This time, it was more...sinister.
“You are smart, Cani. If I wanted a servant, I would have wanted a servant as smart as you. However…”
Uh-oh, that is not a good sign. Feeling the pressure in his words, I started to take a step back. Smaug sat up from his throne of treasures. Not letting me distance myself away from him, he leaned a bit more forward.
“You tried too hard to be smart. You thought that I, the great Smaug, could not tell what you were thinking?”
“What do you mean, my…”
A pillar of flame rose from his nostrils as he shouted. I froze immediately.”
“I would have accepted your proposal if you gave me an exact length of your tribe’s servitude. Who in the right mind would want their tribe to serve someone forever? It was obvious. Too obvious. There was only one reason you would accept any terms that I would propose. You weren’t going to honor the agreement.”
Fuck me. He read me like a book. I made a mistake by being too eager to make the deal. Live and learn. Currently focusing on the “live" part.
“I also know that you lied about coming here by accident. I am sure that you were after my treasure. I can smell your scent on my treasure. You were wallowing in it.”
Fuck me sideways. He can smell that I swam in his gold? What is he a dog? There was no way I can convince him that we arrived at the Lonely Mountain by accident now.
“I will wash away the goblin stench on my gold with your blood!”
Smaug raised his right claw and slashed at me.