Battles, Bards, and Buffoonery 2: Random Antics
Chapter 1: Destiny on a Flip of the Coin
Author's Note: The following story is a sequel to "Battles, Bards, and Buffoonery."
A long time ago in a kingdom far far away...unless the reader so happened to live near the kingdom, by which case it would not be far far away. And for that matter, if he or she lived in the past...never mind.
A handsome knight was hired to rescue a fair maiden from the clutches of an evil dragon only to discover that his princess had fallen in love with the dragon. After an abysmal defeat, the knight was left to ruminate on the fact that his princess jilted him for a dragon. At first, he thought that was the end, but then someone had the idea to write a sequel...
After a call to arms, Launfal rode deep into the forest on his mighty stallion. The wind whistled loudly through his long hair, as he and his steed raced through the forest toward a cave no man ever entered. Without a moment to spare, he finally reached the cave, leaping off his horse in a grandiose display of acrobatics, his armor gleaming in the sunlight.
"Avast ye hellish serpent," shouted Launfal as he unsheathed his sword. "You will rue the day you kidnaped this princess." He charged into the cave. Although the light was poor, he could clearly see the silhouette of a helpless damsel and a large dragon.
The dragon hissed at Launfal as he swung his sword it.
"Back, you beast." With the dragon keeping its distance from the sword, Launfal hastily picked up the princess and ran out into the sunlight. "Never fear, me lady, for you have been saved. Now we will be together in holy matrimony."
"Oh, thank you, my handsome knight...but I don't swing that way."
Launfal gazed upon the princess, but saw not the face of a beautiful damsel, but the bearded face of a very feminine man. In disgust, Launfal dropped the prince onto the ground like he was a sack full of poisonous snakes. "What the hell! You were a prince this whole time? Why didn't you tell me?"
"Well, you never asked," said the prince as he picked himself up from the ground.
"I don't believe this, I ran all the way over here only to discover that the princess was just a guy. This is just embarrassing."
From out of the cave emerged the dragon, grumpy as ever. "Hey, I was going to eat the prince."
Launfal growled irritably as he spun around to face the dragon. "I may not get a princess, but I can still have your hide." He branched out his sword, but the dragon easily plucked it out of his hands like a cherry and threw it across the forest. "All right, if that's the way it's going to be," he lifted his fists, boxing style, "then let's settle this with our fists."
The dragon scoffed. "Uh-huh, and your horse will carry on without you."
"Ha, I'll survive."
"No, I mean right now."
Launfal turned around to see the prince on top of Launfal's horse, riding away.
"Hey! Come back!" Launfal tried to run after the horse, but it was gone in no time. "Damn it, I spent all my savings on that horse."
"Aw, I'm sorry to hear that," said the dragon.
Launfal crouched down on the ground, sulking like a child.
The dragon flopped down next to him. "So, you were hoping for a princess?"
"Well, yeah. I thought only female dragons kidnapped princes."
The dragon scoffed indignantly. "I am a female dragon."
Launfal cocked his head to look at her. He was always a poor judge of identifying the sex of dragons since they all looked the same to him. The dragon was covered in sky blue scales with white highlights. In the light, her scales seemed to sparkle like a waterfall. Otherwise, she did not look feminine at all.
Taking her word for it, he asked, "Would it be all right if I told you about my problems?"
"Aw, do you want a shoulder to cry on?"
"No, I need to exposit to the readers, and you're the only one here I can talk to."
"Well, then allow me to go first." With her large claws, she gripped Launfal's hand and shook it vigorously. "My name is Snow, and I'm here looking for..."
Launfal painfully wrenched his hand out of her grasp. "No, no, I didn't mean like that. You see, I used to be a respected and handsome knight. I had so much potential, and I thought my big break came when I was hired to rescue a princess, but then," he angrily clenched his fist, "a dragon humiliated me. Ever since, I've been ridiculed, kings won't give me jobs anymore, Malin left me, and I've been down on my luck ever since."
"Well that sucks," said Snow, lazily lounging on the ground. "Oh well, I suppose you're just in a hut."
"You mean 'a rut?'"
"Whatever. But you know what they say: If you hit rock bottom, the only direction you can go is up. Speaking of up, now that I've lost my dinner, I should probably keep moving. See ya." Without another word, Snow unfurled her wings and sailed off into the air.
As Snow flew away, Launfal just sat there, sulking. He cried out to the heavens, "Will someone please give me a break?" And just like that, a little copper coin landed next to his feet. "I need a little more help than that."
Irritably, he knelt down and picked up the coin, but then a piece of paper fell at his feet. Curious, he picked up the wad of paper and carefully unfolded it. On the paper was a hastily handwritten message that read: Flip the coin. If you get tails, a colony of fire ants will crawl through your armor. If you get heads, then someone will come by and help you.
Launfal was baffled by the strange message. There was no one else for miles, so surely it could not have come from someone. With nothing else to do, Launfal flipped the coin. With a soft flop, the coin hit the ground, heads side up. Launfal knelt down to pick up the coin, but then a single armored foot came down near his hand.
He looked up to see a man dressed in the most absurd armor he had ever seen. The man was a living hodgepodge of various decorations and armor slapped together with no real rhyme or reason. Each piece of armor was painted differently in colors that clashed horribly from one another, and they were from various styles from all over the world as well as different types of metals and even wood. The man wore a helm to cover his face, but the helm itself also seemed odd with a deer antler on the left side and a bullhorn on the right. In the man's hand was a large golden staff decorated with diamonds and topped with a class sphere that glowed in a green light, radiating with magic. Every way Launfal looked, nothing seemed consistent.
"Who are you?" he asked.
The man spoke with a deep voice. "My name is Haphazard."
"Why? Did your parents draw your name from a hat?"
"No, my name is Lord Haphazard, and I am here because I know you want revenge on a certain electric-type dragon."
Launfal raised an eyebrow. "And how would you know about that?"
"Let's just say it's meant to be this way."
"In other words: contrived writing."
"But enough of that, let's get started." Lord Haphazard withdrew a six-sided dice from his pocket, one with odd symbols written on each side, and threw it into the air. As soon as the dice hit the ground, Lord Haphazard and Launfal suddenly disappeared in a puff of smoke.
They reappeared inside one of the dank and dark rooms of a large castle. The black stonewalls of the room were sparsely decorated with weapons and armor.
"Warn me the next time you do that," said Launfal, wobbling off balance. "Where are we, anyway?"
"This is the armory to my secret castle."
Launfal was not the least bit impressed by the dull black walls accentuated by the cobwebs, bats, and rotted shelves. "Not exactly a very homey place."
"It could use a little renovating, but it's not bad once you get used to it."
Launfal tried to sit down in a chair, but the chair immediately collapsed under his weight. He irritably sprung to his feet. "All right, so what is this all about, anyway?"
"Well, I'll get to the point," said Lord Haphazard. "I want that electrical dragon for my diabolical plans."
Lord Haphazard responded with an extra evil sounding voice. "To take over the world."
"Of course...you realize that's impossible, do you?"
"Not without the right plan...and a powerful weapon, one that nothing can defeat, but first, I need that dragon and I want you to capture him for me."
"And what's in it for me?"
"Aside from wealth and a position of power when I take over the world, I can supply you with the weapons and armor to overpower that dragon, and as soon as I'm through with him, you may do whatever you want with him."
"I don't know, this sounds fishy. I need time to think about it."
"Then perhaps this may help." Lord Haphazard placed a silver coin into Launfal's hands.
"Are you suggesting that I decide this on a coin toss?"
"When you work for me, luck can be a valuable ally. Now flip the coin. Heads, you join me. Tails, you're free to go."
Launfal held the coin in his fingers, debating over whether or not to flip the coin. "The hell with this." He threw the coin over his shoulder. "Where do I sign up?"