Goblin Stories XXIII

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
More goblin silliness about the persuasive power of pies, and blonds.

Submitted: October 23, 2015

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Submitted: October 23, 2015

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Molo the goblin crouched down behind a patch of dense bushes, pie in hand and prepared to do the most ungoblinlike thing imaginable, give it away.  It was unnatural.  Every fiber of his being shouted, “throw it at somebody, anybody!”, but he resisted the urge.  His fingers twitched as he set down the warm apple pie where someone could find it.

“Can we at least mix laxatives in it?” another goblin asked.  Molo was accompanied by two more goblins, both diggers armed with shovels and hammers.  They were a bit shorter than Molo and nowhere near as hairy.  The pair had followed him for months on their self appointed mission, and they were the best friends he had.

Molo shook his head and went through the pockets of his pea green pants, the only clothes he wore.  “I think we can make this work, but we need to keep the guy here, and eating will do that.”

“So will laxatives.”

“He’ll be more likely to listen if he’s not going to the bathroom,” Molo told them.  He looked down the forest road.  The forest canopy opened just enough to create a ribbon of light along the packed dirt road.  The goblins were waiting where the road forked, one way going south and the other northeast.  Their target should arrive any minute, and they needed him to go south.

One of the diggers looked down the road and said, “I spy something with my little eye that starts with I.”

“Idiot?” the other digger goblin asked.

“Got it in one.”

“Go set the snares in case this doesn’t work,” Molo told the others.  He hurried the two digger goblins into the forest and then finished setting the lure.  He added some rope, a springy tree branch freshly cut and three wood pegs, then set them on the ground next to the pie.  Molo ran off down the south road and hid behind a tree.

He didn’t have to wait long before a young man marched down the road.  He wasn’t much to look at, with dirty cotton clothes, a walking stick, a water bottle and a sheathed dagger on his belt.  The only thing he had going for him were muscles and plenty of them.  Molo figured that with biceps like those the man was a farmer or lumberjack.

What he didn’t have was baggage, no sack or basket or backpack where you might store food.  Goblins could eat nearly anything so they didn’t worry about provisions, but humans had to work to fill their bellies.  A knowledgeable man could forage his way through the countryside, eating wild plants and catching game, but finding enough food wasn’t a sure thing.

The young man hadn’t eaten since yesterday.  Molo knew this because he and his fellow goblins had been following him the whole time.  They knew where this road led and where the young man had to be going, and they were determined to stop him.  Combat was risky and something the three goblins weren't very good at, so they were going to try a different approach.

The young man saw the pie and stopped.  He was hungry, but he was also suspicious.  He came closer, testing the ground with his walking stick in case the pie was on a covered pit.  He looked around for enemies waiting in ambush.  It took the better part of five minutes for him to get close enough to actually touch the pie and pick it up.  He cut out a slice and poked inside.  Being suspicious of free things was smart, but Molo was on a schedule and had to get things moving.  He knew one surefire way to get a person to take the bait, namely make them think others wanted it.

“Hey!  Hey, you!”  Molo ran down the road and pointed at the pie.  The young man backed up and went for his dagger.  He relaxed when he saw it was juts a goblin.  Molo stopped a few feet away and shouted, “You give that back!  That’s my pie you’re holding.  Hand it over.”

“What do you mean yours?  You critters eat dirt and branches.  What would you want a pie for?”  The young man studied the other items on the ground where he’d found the pie.  Smirking, he said, “Oh, so you were going to throw it at someone!”

Molo shrugged.  “Technically the trap would do the throwing part.  Come on, I’m a busy goblin and there are people to annoy.”

The young man smiled and ate the slice he’d cut out.  “Not bad.”

“Hey, none of that!  Go get your own!”

“Not a chance.”  The young man gobbled up one slice after another until there was only half of the pie left.  While some might consider that an act of gluttony, he’d missed at least three meals and likely hadn’t eaten much in the last week.  “I’m on a long journey and I need to keep my strength up.”

“That sounds like it should interest me, but doesn’t.”  Molo looked at the man with pleading eyes, saying, “Come on, I can still set a pie trap with half a pie.”

“I’m not stupid.  If I hand this back you’ll throw it at me.”

“Maybe,” Molo conceded.  He pointed a finger at the young man and said, “But you’re plenty stupid even without handing back my pie.  You’re walking straight toward an army.”

The young man took a swig from his water bottle to wash down the pie.  “I know.  The Fallen King is up ahead, and I’m signing up with him.”

Molo did his best to look stunned, and it wasn’t entirely forced.  “You’re what?  Wow, I expect knights and soldiers to run headlong into death, but I kind of thought the rest of your people were smarter than that.  What are you throwing your life away for?”

“I’m not throwing it away, I’m winning it back.”  The young man ate another slice of pie and pointed his dagger at Molo.  “My father once said our family has been on the same plot of land for ten generations.  He acted like that was something to be proud of.  We’re tied to our land by the dukes and can’t leave without their permission, and they never give it.  Ten generations of my family never went more than twenty miles from where they were born.  As far as the dukes are concerned, we’re no different than the sheep we raise.”

“Shepherd, huh,” Molo said.  “I got it wrong.”

“What?”

“Nothing.  But what’s that got to do with the Fallen King?  He’s a real piece of work, raising an army of deserters and thieves.  That’s someone to run from.”

“That’s where you’re wrong, where everyone’s wrong.”  There wasn’t much pie left, but thankfully the young man stopped his feast long enough to say, “The Fallen King is going after the dukes.  He’s going to bring down their castles and get rid of them.  When they’re gone our people will finally be free.  Eight hundred years of serving the dukes, bowing and groveling, paying their taxes and surviving their wars will finally be over.  We can go where we want and do what we want.”

“Or you’ll be dead,” Molo said.  “You’re big and strong, but you don’t have armor or weapons.  The knights and soldiers will cut you in half.  I bet you’ve never even been in a big fight before.”

“No true!  There was that time my sister’s boyfriend came at me with a club.  Of course he was drunk at the time…really drunk.  I would have been in danger if he hadn’t run into a wall.”  The young man pointed his dagger at Molo again and said, “It’s worth the risk.  What good is living when you’re lower than an animal?  I might get hurt, I might get killed, but I won’t ever kneel again.”

“So don’t kneel.”  Molo pointed to the south road and explained, “The dukes claim the land on the coast, but they don’t pay attention to it.  They’re too busy fighting each other to care about sniggling little things like fishing and trade.  There are towns and villages that pay taxes and that’s it.  They never even see the dukes or their soldiers.  You can live there and nobody will ever know.”

Before the young man could object, Molo pointed at the pie and said, “There’s a lady who runs an orchard down that way, less than an hour away.  That’s were I got the pie.  She’s looking for people to help her.  You want to leave home and your duke, that’s where you can go.  My idea is better than yours because it involves less dying and more pie.”

“Don’t you get it?” the young man shouted.  “This is the best chance in my lifetime to get rid of the dukes.  There might not be another opportunity like this for centuries.  I can run away and save myself, or I can save everyone.  That’s worth the risk.”

This wasn’t going well.  Desperate, Molo said, “The Fallen King isn’t saving anyone.”

The young man had the last slice of pie inches from his mouth when Molo said that.  He lowered it back to the pie pan and looked at the goblin.  “What?”

“There are only five or six people left in these parts, and one of them is the lady with the pies.  The rest ran for their lives before the Fallen King got them.”

Red faced, the young man shouted, “That’s a lie!  He’s after the dukes!”

Molo stood his ground and folded his arms across his chest.  “There were nine farmhouses on this road.  Did you see them, or just ash piles?  This is farm country with good dirt, the kind you just throw down a seed and watch it grow.  Do you see crops growing, or burned fields?  The woods are thick with tall trees people use to build houses and boats from.  Did you see any lumberjacks, or have they all run off?  How long has it been since you’ve seen another person besides me?”

The young man stared at him, not responding.  Molo went on.  “The Fallen King’s men have already been here.  They ate what they wanted and burned the rest.  I hope you liked that pie, because you won’t find another bite to eat for miles.”

Molo pointed to the south road and said, “They didn’t go that way.  That way you’ll find a few houses and the nice lady and her pies.  You like pie, right?  Keep going and you’ll reach the coast with fishing towns and trading centers.”

The young man finished the last of the pie and tossed the pan at Molo.  “You’re trying to trick me, goblin.”

“If you think I’m wrong, keep walking and you’ll see what your friend the Fallen King has done.  It gets worse up ahead.”

“Hello?”  Molo and the young man turned to see a shapely woman in a form fitting cotton dress walking up the southern road.  She smiled and put a hand to her heart when she saw the young man.  “Oh thank God, the mayor sent someone.”

The young man stared at her.  “Huh?”

“Mayor Biggles sent you, right?” she asked.  “He came back last week and told me he’d keep an eye out for help or anyone else who returned.  I’m so glad you’re here.  The work, it’s just too much to do myself.”

Still staring at her (without making eye contact), the young man asked,  “Um…you need someone?”

A stray breeze blew the woman’s long blond hair over her face, and she stopped to brush it aside.  “My parents left me my orchard, but it’s too much work for one person.  I hired helpers, but they all ran off last month and the apples are ripe.  If I don’t get them harvested soon they’ll rot.”  She reached into a purse and took out several coins.  “I know I’m asking a lot, but I can pay.”

“Your helpers joined the Fallen King?” the young man asked.

“They ran from him!” she said.  “I would have run, too, but I couldn’t get away in time.  It’s blind luck and nothing else they didn’t go south and do to my land what they did to Fire Light.  The whole town’s gone and everyone chased off.”

The young man stared at her, mesmerized.  Molo didn’t quite understand what was happening, for while he was fairly bright by goblin standards he didn’t understand humans too well.  Young men’s brains shut down in the presence of pretty women, and tight fitting dresses with low necklines only make matters worse.  Hormones did what reason couldn’t, and a worried look passed the young man’s face.

“They, they destroyed a whole town?”

“Dozens of towns,” Molo piped in.  “The Fallen King is like a wildfire, burning up everything in his way.”

The woman looked quizzically at Molo.  “Is he with you?”

“What?  I’ve never seen him before.  He, uh, he, uh, he stole one of your pies!”  The young man pointed at the empty pie pan at Molo’s feet.

The woman’s jaw dropped.  “I just baked that this morning!”

“I took it, but I didn’t eat it!”  Molo scowled at the young man, saying, “You’re going to get it for this, pal!”

“This is too much!” the woman cried.  “My whole crop is ripe and I’ve no one to pick it, no one to press it, and now I’ve got goblins robbing me!”

The young man chased after Molo, shouting, “I’ll get rid of him for you!”

“You jerk!”  Molo ran into the woods with the young man a step behind.  He got away, but that was because the young man gave up so fast.  Instead of attacking the goblin, he went back to console the woman.  In a few minutes they took the south road and left him alone.

Molo came out of the woods and was joined by the two digger goblins.  The pair of diggers disarmed the snares they’d set on the road to catch the young man if he kept after the Fallen King.  One digger said, “That’s another win, Molo.  That makes nine people we kept from joining the Fallen King and one wizard turned good.”

“I’m just glad we didn’t have to club this one,” the other digger said.  “Beating up humans is hard work, and dangerous.”

Molo watched the young man and woman disappear into the distance.  “He didn’t join the Fallen King and do terrible things, but it wasn’t because of us.  He ignored everything I said.”

“Typical human,” the first digger said.  “I thought your pie based reasoning was very sound.”

“We’ve tricked them, reasoned with them, sometimes fought them, but I’ve never seen a human give up on the Fallen King that fast,” Molo said.  “It’s like a kind of magic.”

“Molo?” a digger asked.

Molo snapped his fingers and smiled.  “That’s it!  I know how we can stop whole bunches of guys joining the Fallen King.  Get me blonds, and lots of them!”


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