Today we bring you the second part of Dr. Gnome.
Let me know what you think. Remember this hasn’t been through my editor yet, but it will be before going to press.
Gavin Whitehawk sighed as he watched over the incoming portal terminal of Buteamore. A popular hunting and resort area, the portal terminal stayed fairly busy with folks coming from all over the world, and several other dimensions to enjoy what the valley offered. His last communication from K, Delfinia actually said Alchemy should’ve already arrived. Gavin’d waited several hours, watching the portals from the balcony above the terminal floor. He was on the lookout for both his friend and anyone else who might be waiting for the young agent of the Fragrance Guild. He’d already spotted a couple of different people who could’ve been trouble. One goblin female moved around the terminal using a magical box to capture images of people as they came through the various portals to the wonders of Buteamore. From what Gavin could tell, she’d managed to sell several images to travelers. He tried to recall if she’d been in the terminal when he arrived over a week ago.
A portal shimmered and Alchemy Pond walked through. Gavin marveled at the changes in his friend. Gone was the clumsy, often bumbling apprentice wizard. Now a confident elf strode into the terminal. The thin leather jacket he wore better suited his average build than traditional wizard robes ever had. His brown hair was cut shorter than Gavin ever remembered seeing it. It worked well with the angles of the wizard’s face even if it did show off the point of his ears a bit much. Gavin bet the changes were Delfinia’s influence. The good right hand of K had taken a liking to Alchemy every since their first meeting.
The goblin woman with the magic box approached Alchemy with an image, and he waved her away. Gavin couldn’t tell what was said. Then he noticed a coachman approach his friend.
Razi Rutu watched as his sister Misha approached the elf. He looked younger than Razi had imagined, but then he had trouble telling age on elves, they lived so much longer than goblins and looked so different with their flawless skin and flowing hair of various colors. All goblins were green, different shades of green, but still green. The older a goblin got the more warts they had. It was easy to tell age on goblins.
The elf waved Misha off and approached the doors of the terminal. He only carried two medium sized bags, and had a small chest slung over his shoulder. Razi didn’t think he looked much like a wizard. He wore a leather jacket instead of wizard’s robes. Maybe this was the new fashion trend in Salemania, where the fiendish Fragrance Guild kept it headquarters.
Razi moved to intercept the young wizard.
A goblin woman waved some kind of image in front of his face. Alchemy pushed it away with a curt “No thank you.” He’d been in tourist areas before, but never one on the par with Buteamore. The entire valley, according to his scanning of the mission report Delfinia gave him before he left her office, was set up to accommodate resort travelers and hunters who came to the valley for its warm climate and hot springs. He supposed the goblin got a lot of business from first time porters, but it wasn’t anything new to him.
He glanced about and didn’t spot anyone he knew. Heading through the doors, he figured he’d summon a coach to take him to The Lady’s Pleasure. There were always coaches for hire around portal terminals.
A large goblin came running up to him as he cleared the entryway. “Master Pond?”
“Yes, I’m Pond,” Alchemy responded.
“Very good m’lord,” the goblin groveled. “I’ve been sent to see you to The Lady’s Pleasure.”
Alchemy paused. Neither K or Delfinia said anything about sending a carriage. Maybe it was part of the standard package with The Lady’s Pleasure. “Give me a moment. I think I left something inside.” He turned and walked back into the terminal.
As he expected, a row of mirrors sat waiting for use against the far wall. He walked over, and with a small spell rang the mirror for The Lady’s Pleasure. After a short pause the smoke cleared and the face of a lovely Brownie woman looked out at him. “The Lady’s Pleasure, may I help you.”
“Yes, I’m Alchemy Pond, I have a reservation there. Did you happen to send a carriage for me at the portal terminal?”
The brownie looked confused. “Let me check with our manager.” She disappeared.
Alchemy glanced around the terminal while he waited. The goblin woman with the magic box was talking with a troll couple that just walked through a portal.
“Mister Pond,” the brownie’s voice drew his attention back to the mirror. “Mister Sellingford says he did not send a coach to meet you, but if you like he can dispatch one that can be there within the hour.”
“No that’s not necessary.” Alchemy moved to dismiss the mirror spell.
“Mister Pond,” the resort worker interrupted his movement. “Mister Sellingford did ask that you dine with him for lunch.”
Alchemy nodded. “Tell him I’ll be there.” Then he dismissed the spell.
The young wizard turned and walked back to where the goblin waited for him. “Why don’t we set the baggage in the back?” he handed a bag to the goblin then followed him to the waiting carriage.
“Very good sir,” the goblin replied with a pleased look on his green features.
Alchemy put his other bag on the back of the carriage, but kept the small chest with him. He didn’t feel comfortable with the unknown goblin, and putting the chest with the rest of his baggage was too risky. Maybe this goblin was going to take him to someone who knew something, or maybe he had been sent to eliminate him. Either way he wanted to keep the chest close.
“So what brought you to Buteamore?” the goblin asked as he chuckled to the brown horse to get him moving.
“A friend of mine told me about some good hunting here,” Alchemy responded. “He’s meeting me at The Lady’s Pleasure. We’re supposed to be hunting…what do you call those giant lizards in the forest around here?”
“Not dragons m’lord.”
“No, not dragons, these are primitive lizards.”
“Ah, you mean the thundersaurs sir.” The goblin flipped his whip to get the horse moving a bit faster.
“That’s what he called them thundersaurs.” Alchemy noticed three black riders pull out onto the road behind them. Their build said trolls, but with the black hooded robes they wore, it was impossible for him to be certain.
“Thundersaurs are extremely cunning m’lord.” The goblin continued, but he glanced back at the sounds of the hooves behind them.
“Yes, that’s what my friend said very cunning indeed. That’s what makes them such worthy prey.” Alchemy pulled out his wand. He spotted a road intersecting theirs. He tapped the goblin on the shoulder with his wand. The new wand felt heavy and awkward in his hand. “Please turn there.”
“But that isn’t the way to The Lady’s Pleasure m’lord,” the goblin objected.
“Perhaps I wish to see part of the valley before my arrival,” Alchemy countered as the goblin pulled the reins to turn the horses.
The carriage lurched a bit as it moved onto the lesser traveled road. The black riders made the turn with them and pulled out swords as they cleared the main avenue.
Alchemy pointed the wand in front of the horse. “Brickus!” he shouted.
The horse must have sensed the invisible wall that appeared there, but in its frantic high speed turn managed to flip the carriage and itself over.
Razi Rutu scrambled to stay on top of the carriage, and Alchemy Pond did the same. The goblin wondered how much the elf had already figured out. The boss provided them with only sketchy information on the man. But he’d heard that the Fragrance Guild doesn’t employ fools. Hopefully the trolls he hired to intercept them would be enough to overcome the wizard. If not, Razi scrambled for his exploding rod, hidden under the seat of the Carriage.
Alchemy pulled out his short sword and held it defensively as he readied his next spell. The black cloaked riders circled the fallen carriage. One charged forward swinging his sword at the wizard. Alchemy jumped over the swing.
“Burn!” he shouted with a flick of his wand. A huge fireball shot out of the wand. He was impressed. It was bigger than anything he’d fired before. The fireball slammed into the black rider knocking him from his horse. The robe’s heavy black fabric blazed up, engulfing the struggling troll. Alchemy caught a flash of splotchy brown skin before the troll quit moving and the fire consumed him.
“Elf must die!” another troll shouted and ran his horse right for the downed carriage that Alchemy stood on.
The wizard flicked his wand again. “Clank!”
Heavy chains appeared around the charging troll. The extra weigh collapsed the small horse he rode, but the animal’s momentum threw the bound troll awkwardly at Alchemy.
Alchemy leapt off the carriage, right into the path of the last mounted troll. The troll kicked his horse faster, aiming the beast at the elf now standing in its path. The wizard jumped aside, but the horse clipped him knocking his wand from his hand. Alchemy stood his ground instead of trying to find the wand. He knew enough swordplay to beat a troll. But he wasn’t that good against mounted foes.
The troll circled around again and aimed his horse right at Alchemy. Alchemy waited until the last second then moved out of the way, moving to the left of the horse, since the troll had his massive sword held in his right hand. He struck awkwardly at the troll’s midsection. The troll managed to get a hand down to block the lethal blow. The wizard’s sword severed the troll’s hand. The troll screamed and swung the stump of his arm down at the elf. Alchemy parried the blow with his sword as the troll’s horse stumbled over the carriage horse trying to get back to its feet.
The goblin found his exploding rod still strapped under the carriage seat where he left it. The carriage rocked as the horse tried to right itself. Razi saw the elf swing his sword and cut off the troll’s hand. The writhing brown thing flew at the goblin, and he blocked it with the rod. He had to get clear of the carriage. He scrambled around to the far side where the other two trolls lay dead. The first one just a charred pile of flaming ooze, and the second one, still bound in the magical chains lay with his neck broken next to the back wheels of the upset carriage.
“This elf is good. But I’m the best assassin in the valley.” He watched as Pond launched himself onto the rump of the last troll’s horse, and drove his sword into the thug’s back.
Razi followed the elf with the rod as he jumped down off the horse, picked up his wand and walked around the upturned carriage. “Not so fast, Mister Pond.”
Alchemy wasn’t surprised when he saw the goblin holding some kind of rod at him. He’d seen several rods like it back at FG HQ. RD was still trying to figure out how they worked. They weren’t magical, but mechanical, something about some kind of chemical explosion. They were very loud and very dangerous. He wasn’t sure he wanted to be on the receiving end of one of the projectiles they fired.
The elf wizard smiled. “Your friends weren’t very good. I barely worked up a sweat, and you think you can take me with that? I bet it doesn’t even Burn!” He flicked his wand. Another fireball shot out its end, just as the rod exploded.
The fireball and the projectile met each other in the air between the goblin and the elf. As they met, the two exploded. The force of the blast knocked the goblin down. Alchemy remained standing only because he grabbed hold of the carriage wheel before the concussion hit him.
Alchemy walked over to the fallen goblin. He picked up the little green man. “Who are you working for?”
The goblin shook his head and bit down on something in his mouth. A foul stench, stronger than the goblin’s own natural body odor, came out of his mouth. Alchemy dropped him as his head began to dissolve. Manticore venom dripped down from the goblin’s dissolving face. The elf wizard sighed. It would’ve been nice to get some information out of somebody. Whoever was behind this caused a lot of fear in his henchmen. Alchemy wondered who it could be.