Chapter 10: An Audience With Hunger
Behold the Gluttonous King in his feasting. His ravenous hunger forever chaining him to this place, unable to hear the voices of the gods within. His is fate of all those strong enough to survive whom lack the will amd courage to go forward.
In front of them appeared what had once been a man. His features were bloated, his skin stretched and torn with tearing. He’s at least ten times my size. Rolls of fat hung over the table as wine and grease dripped from his mouth.
His massive body took up a large portion of the backside of what appeared to be a banquet hall. Most of the table was covered by the giant belly of the king. Most of his food rested not on the table but on him. Around the grotesque man was scattered the detritus of past meals. Piles of old bones and rotted portions of meat that had fallen to the ground for the unworthy to later consume.
The king sat on the floor. The only thing separating him from the cold stone was a large plush pillow that was barely wide enough to contain his girth.
As he sat there, eating, slurping at a giant bowl as soup and blood dribbling down his neck, John had to steady himself, lest he purge the little bit of nourishment that was left in his stomach.
The smell was abominable.
At first, the king did not realize the presence of his visitors. Then, his big beady eyes turned to them, his mouth still chewing.
“Well, what do we have here. It has been too long since the last time my food was presented to me this fresh.” The monster said.
“We are not to be your food, you foul creature.” Said the woman, clearly disgusted.
“You heard her.” Said, John. “Being eaten isn’t high on my list of priorities.
“Oh, I rather doubt that that is true. Everyone has their price. Everyone has something they hunger for. Don’t you hunger for freedom?.” Said the king. “I’ll tell you what. If you give me the girl, I’ll let you go. I’ll even share the secret about how to reach the surface..”
As if to accentuate his point, the king held up a large meaty hand from which dangled a key between swollen fingers.
“Never before have I given this offer to my food. I’m not one to pass up a meal, as I’m sure you may guess. But I am a generous god. What say you? The price of a meal for freedom”
The woman looked at John with pleading eyes as if to say Please, don’t. She needn’t have done so. John had no intention of giving her up to this beast. Still, he needed to buy time in order to think of what to do.
“What if I refuse?” said John.
“Well,” replied the king. “That is relatively simple. I’ll kill her anyway and eat you both, though I’ll take my time with you. A leg first, then an arm, then the other leg. I can feed on you for hours.”
John doubted that this massive mound of fat could even stand up, let alone try to kill him. Still, the king spoke with confidence.
“Looks like we’re going to have to fight him.” Said John as he held out one of his [Twin Axes] for the woman to take.
She looked at him like he had just grown another head. “I am no fighter.” She said.
“What do you mean? Aren’t you an adventurer like me who was thrown into this dungeon?” He asked, wondering what she could do to help them out of the situation.
“No, I am- I don’t know what I am.” She muttered confused.
“Great,” said John. “Take cover. I should be able to take him. He’s large, but that makes him slow.”
“I’m afraid that you are mistaken in that.” Said the king.
Then he rose with an agility that John could not comprehend. He stood, and stretched. His massive body shaking with each motion. Then, he launched himself at John.
John dove one way and the woman dove the other.
She scrambled further into the hall, trying to take what cover she could.
John leapt back to his feet; [Twin Axes] held at the ready.
No sooner had he done so than the king was right on top of him, swinging one of those massive hands at John’s head.
John barely dodged it, and he felt the wind whip past his body like a small gale.
This creature may have been big, but he was also strong, and for some reason, he was also fast.
John had intended to rely on his agility to outmaneuver the king and deal a series of blows that would eventually cripple him. Now, he saw that that was more easily said than done.
His plan still might work, but it would be more difficult than before.
John waited for the right moment. He allowed the king to get close, and when he once again lashed out with his large hands, John ducked under them and darted in close. He swung his axes and they met the flesh of the kings leg.
The king did not stagger or cry out at the blow.
Then he kicked at John with his injured leg.
Johns reflexes kicked in and he managed to get away with only a graze to his arm, but that graze sent shockwaves through his whole body.
That kick had been delivered with all of the vast weight of the king.
John didn’t understand how he moved so well. His legs should have crumbled beneath the massive weight, but they didn’t only hold strong, they moved with an unnatural alacrity.
John back stepped, trying to give himself some distance.
The leg which he had struck oozed blood, but it was as if the king didn’t feel it at all.
He simply sauntered toward John, a wicked smile on his face.
“It has been such a long time since I’ve had to work for my food, but I think I’m up for the challenge, don’t you?”
There was no way that John could win. If this thing didn’t feel pain, then it didn’t matter how much John struck him, he would keep coming. All of his vital areas were protected by layers of fat, so that avenue wasn’t open to him either. There had to be another way.
The only things that were open to John were this banquet hall, and the kitchen that contained the unworthy. Either way he went, he would be faced with a nightmare that was intent on having him for dinner.
Then, a thought struck him. The unworthy had not hesitated to fall upon one of their own once it had fallen. Would they do the same to the king? But if John himself could not damage him, they how could they hope to?
The answer was quite obvious. They would need some help. The enemy of my enemy is my friend after all.
A plan had begun to surface in John’s mind.