Saturday, September 8, 2012

Story: Curse of Fatness

Bolag, one of three sons of the woodcutter, has come of age. As is customary, he sets out to seek fame in the world. No lair of a fearsome monster sways him to go and slay it. No errands to run for influential individuals could convince him. No. Instead, he ventures far, hoping to find the most challenging and rewarding quest yet. However, what he might find can prove more than a match for him in terms of both skill... and bizarreness.

Table of contents: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

Chapter 1

Bolag was one of three sons of a woodcutter. Having come of age, he set out to seek fame, wealth and fortune as it was customary. The land was rich in opportunities, there were plenty of monsters to slay, many jobs to take and even more caverns to explore.

However, he advanced farther than that. Crossing seven rivers and five mountains, he eventually stumbled upon a border where a humble kingdom began. He was intrigued by the visions of his findings, aiming to find the royal castle and the king himself within.

Days passed by and he only came across encampments of lone huntsmen that weren't particularly talkative. Thus, he was left on his own in his endeavour, but that didn't mean he was going to give up.

Quite the opposite in fact. He kept on exploring, delving deeper into the heartland of the kingdom, finally stumbling upon a village. He rejoiced at the sight, his weary legs picking up the pace and running towards it.

The place was strangely silent though. Nobody working at the mill, nobody chopping wood, nobody talking outside. There weren't any children chasing around either. It was very odd.

Instinctively, his steps led him to the centre of the settlement. He hoped that he would find a solution to this enigma. The largest and tallest of the buildings seemed to be something like a town hall to him, so he decided to enter.

"Hello?" he demanded attention, yet none answered. It must have been empty. Or its inhabitants didn't care.

He kept walking nevertheless, ascending a flight of stairs to the topmost floor. He thought his endeavour would be futile and he would have to turn away as the village was abandoned, but then he was proven wrong.

As he opened the wooden door before him, he couldn't believe it. There was an armchair in the far corner of the room, surrounded by emptied dishes. The most important thing, or rather a person, was sitting there.

It was a woman three times wider than him, the enormous flab on her belly being enough to crush him underneath. Her face was basically one large pork head and the eyes were barely poking out of the crevices between fat in her cheeks and the forehead.

She observed him carefully despite that, her mouth attempting to open and speak. Yet only inhuman sounds left her throat, her alarming weight preventing her from giving voice to her thoughts.

In truth, it seemed that she was choking. At least Bolag assumed as such. He wasn't aware of any way he could help her. He approached her nevertheless, watching her with both caution and curiosity.

"Are you alright?"

She muttered a sentence, but her speech was unintelligible.

"Sorry?" he begged her pardon.

She babbled again and even though it was hardly understandable, it was much louder this time.

"I still didn't hear anything."

"Get me something to eat, maggot!" she finally screamed, her voice sounding raspy and unhealthy.

"But is there anything to eat?"

"Of course there is! And if you can't give me anything, come over here, I will devour you alive, you worm!"

"Excuse me, but aren't you a little bit overweight? Movement wouldn't hurt you."

"How dare you insult me, the leader of this village?! Guards! Militia! Off with his head! Do you hear me?! Get here, damn it! You lazy fools! Where... where... ah... I forgot. They're all fat. They can barely move."

"Why did you allow it to come this far?" Bolag used the moment of her calmness to inquire and ponder about the fate of the settlement.

"We..." she found it hard to reply, her own body being a great obstacle to her. "We were cursed, most likely. There is no way for us to lose weight. We are always hungry even if our stomachs are full. Worse still, eating but a grain results in us gaining many pounds. We can't help it."

"Why would anybody want to curse you like that? Has your village done something wrong?"

"Village? No. Not the village. Or at least not anything I know of. It's kingdom-wide. The whole realm is under the influence of this darned spell."

"I'm not affected. I could try to lift this evil wrongdoing."

"You would do that? Out of pureness of your heart and spirit? You can't imagine how this state troubles us. If you managed to save us... we would be forever in your debt, I can tell you that."

"Alright. But how do I get to the castle?"

"It's easy. The road from here will lead you there. You can't miss it. After you get through the pass in the mountain range on the horizon, it will be directly in front of you. Only a few miles of walk will be dividing you from your goal."

"Thanks. I should go straight away then."

"Wait!" she stopped him as he was turning. He expected that she would warn him or something, yet the truth was different. "I really have to satiate my hunger. Could you please, very very please give me food to eat? Anything. Do you need both of your arms? What if I gulped your arm? What do you say? Come on, it's not that much of meat anyway. Barely enough for an appetizer."

He laughed and continued in his journey outside. Doing as instructed, he navigated the pathways through the peaks, emerging on the other side and spotting the grandiose castle on the horizon.

It didn't take him long to arrive at his destination. Tall walls of stone were before him and the gates were wide open. There weren't any guards at first sight, but that didn't mean they weren't there.

In truth, they were present. They were lying on top of the walls and in the streets, helpless and unable to stand up. When they saw Bolag, they yelled at him as loud as they could to gain his attention.

"Hey! You! Please, help us!"

He glanced around in order to find those addressing him, noticing steps leading towards defensive positions on the walls. Concluding that the origin of the voices was coming from there, he ascended all the way to the end.

There he spotted them. Morbidly obese men with their leather armour stretched to the very limit, some of the fibres broken and torn in half. The soldiers desperately wished to roll over to the newcomer, but their tries were hopeless. They groaned as they put a tremendous amount of strength into their effort, but they wouldn't move a bit.

"Please, you've got to help us!" one of the guards shouted out of desperation, attempting to tilt his head yet even that was unsuccessful as the fat surrounding his face wouldn't allow it.


"I don't know. Somehow. Please!"

"What happened here?"

"We don't know. Nobody knows. We suddenly went this way."

"How am I supposed to aid you then? I hope you don't want me to feed you."

"No. Just make this nightmare end. My stomach hurts yet I feel an insatiable hunger! I've... I've eaten my comrade. You can't imagine the guilt! But what was I to do when my urges commanded me to do so?"

"Calm down. Tell me what needs to be done."

"I'm but a simple soldier. I don't know the reason behind this change."

"Would the king know?"

"I'm not sure. If I were you, I'd try the court wizard."


"Yes. Hubenour is his name. He's the only one who's left untouched by the ailments so far."

"Could he be behind it?"

"I don't believe it. In fact, nobody does. That man aided us and still does. That's why it would be best if you started with him."

"Where can I find him?"

"Do you see the large tower? That's his spot."

"Alright, thanks," Bolag bid his farewell and immediately headed to his new goal. It was a strange case, but the vision of glory was shining in his eyes already. If he managed to save the entire kingdom, its citizens would be grateful for his actions and who knew, perhaps the royal family itself would reward him handsomely.

He paced towards the tall stone spire, meeting many lamenting and wailing people, each of them obese. Some were leaning against the walls of their homes, others were lying in the streets and unable to get up. No matter whether they were children, adults or the elderly, it affected them the same.

"Ha! Who laughs now, fools?! I may be fat, but you are much fatter!" shouted a baleful and pungent voice certainly belonging to an adolescent.

He steeled his nerves and prepared for a possible clash, cautiously choosing his steps as he neared the speaker, wondering who the mysterious individual might have been. Yet it took him merely a spin to witness the small plump person.

He was capable of moving, standing on his legs and grinning in front of the less fortunate people that were unable to rise up and walk unlike him. He apparently enjoyed his position to the very last drop.

"What is this regarding?" Bolag wondered, deeming the little man no threat.

"Wha..." the prankster turned to the woodcutter's son, his face expressing the fact that he had been taken aghast.

"Why do you laugh at the misery of others?"

"They deserve it," he shouted angrily, his confusion and anxiety waning in the single blink of an eye. He stormed off shortly afterwards, leaving Bolag completely baffled by the encounter.

He shrugged it off fairly fast though, remembering his task and resuming it. He entered the tower. It was a rather thin building with stairs whirling towards its topmost room. There, the wizard was performing experiments diligently.

"Frog legs... no. Causes nausea. Pebbles from the mountain spring. No... no effect. Warts of an old witch... too disgusting. Hair from children... useless. Damn it. Is there a solution to it all? I've tried everything, I swear. Everything!"

The frustration of the black-robed mage was apparent as he bashed his fist against the table where many kettles and potions were, jumping and landing as a result of the sorcerer's anger.

"Are you the court wizard?" Bolag inquired upon entering.

"What? Oh, yes. I am. How did you... wait!" the man was quite confounded as he turned to see there was a strong individual standing in front of him, unaffected by the curse of fatness that paralyzed almost everyone.

"I was informed you could help. The people outside are..."

"Morbidly obese. Tell me something I don't know. I've been trying to find a cure... for months! In the meantime, I feed them when it is necessary. But where are you from? Who are you?"

"I'm an adventurer hailing from afar."

"Aha. That explains it. But how do you fit into this... crazy story? There's no fame in here, no evil plot in motion to kidnap a princess, no pretender to the throne wishing to usurp power. Hell, there even aren't bandits plaguing the countryside as they are most likely lying flat on the floor, rolling around in search for food and unable to escape due to their size."

"Perhaps we could lift this curse."

"Curse? What makes you think this is a curse?"

"What else could it be? The guard spoke of symptoms that..."

"Symptoms, symptoms. I'm the magician here. I'm an expert in my field."

"So? Could it be a curse then?"

"Hmm. Maybe. I can't be sure. You could as well be a traitor that is responsible and now came to inspect my effort. Mocking me silently."

"Strange that you think that way. I was actually considering that you could be the culprit since you're unaffected and all."

"Unaffected?! Unaffected?! My parents are affected! My sisters are affected! My friends are affected!"

"So you harbour no hate for the townsfolk?"

"They picked at me for my frail and thin build, but it wasn't anything that would make my head steam... alright. I get your drift. Pardon me for being an old grump. You are willing to help, that is amazing."

"Yes. Shouldn't I introduce myself to the king first, though?"

"The king? Oh my... the king. He's holed up in the throne room, I'm afraid."

"Holed up? Why is that?"

"Well, it's a dramatic tale. His cook was about to present him a meal when the madness engulfed us. Everyone went fat, the chef that was standing at the entrance included, clogging it. I tried to push him in or pull him out. Without plausible results. With that man blocking entry, there is no possibility for anyone meeting the sovereign."

"How do you feed him then?"

"I can only hope he still lives. Although I have magical powers, they aren't exactly overwhelming. I can't do everything that I wish, sadly. Otherwise I would have dispelled this sarcastic magic."

"Speaking of which, I've seen a kid strolling around laughing at people."

"Tlustoprd? Yes, the boy. He's been nagged by his peers for most of his life. They made fun of him. That is why he now takes pride in this situation. Unwilling to help me as he finds this a paradise. Not that he would be of any help. He's not in possession of any magical powers.

It's a marvel that he wasn't affected, but so is my case. I thought my arcane knowledge shielded me at first, but when I spotted him, I began developing different theories. Perhaps we both have strong will. I from studying the mysterious arts of mana, he from constantly being bullied and having to put up with it. Or perhaps it might be a coincidence and we were left untouched for distinct reasons. I can hardly tell."

"I see. How could I be of assistance though? I overheard that you were trying to mix something."

"Yes. An elixir. A potion. A cure. But so far, my efforts were futile. I assumed that this was the only way as my seer abilities are somehow blocked, thus preventing me from delving into the depths of arcane truth and figure out if this is really a curse and who the caster was. Creating a drink to make the insanity go away was the sole other possibility, but it was pretty much trial and error... well, error mostly.

However, now that you are here, it changes things. Unlike Tlustoprd, you are strong. I believe you might be capable of breaking the seal that denies me using my seer talent. I've been able to trace it, but not destroy it."

"So you've known of a possible lead all the time? What if the one behind the obstruction is the real culprit?"

"Dragons surely can't cast magic, although their fiery breath is a perfect example of... how to put it... an inborn ability to harness and focus it in great quantity. Hence the block that is in effect."

"You want me to get rid of the beast, right?"

"If you were be so kind. You are quite likely strong enough to take on the monster. Unlike me. My magic is nothing compared to the inferno. But steel might be the key ingredient in beating it."

"Alright. I will try my luck. Just tell me where the creature is."

"Here, a map. It should be comprehensible."

Chapter 2

He was out in the wilderness again, fulfilling the wish of the magician. Although his deeds seemed noble, he wasn't propelled by anything other than fame and fortune. He was very naive in that.

His experiences with battles were dim and he had never met a dragon before. However, he knew how to swing the axe he was carrying and was convinced that it was enough to slay the beast.

As he was travelling, he even imagined his glorious future. He let the ideas of his struggle with the monster flow in his mind. He let the images show themselves. Severing the head of the creature. Returning to the kingdom with it. Finding everyone back to normal. Being hailed as their saviour.

Yet somebody woke him up from the happy and cheerful visions to the sober reality. He was pacing swiftly through a forest path when an angry voice shouted at him: "Hey you! Hand over your valuables and food or I will gut you like a pig! Hear me? Hand it over, especially the food!"

His senses began beating on alarm as he assumed a fighting stance, looking around to spot his adversary.

"Run for your life!" screamed a desperate voice from behind.

"Shut up fool, once I get my... get my hands on you... I guarantee that you will die as I plunge my dagger into your belly."

He turned around and saw. Boulders of living fat were helplessly lying around, their arms and legs wrapped in flab. Those were two bandits that had been trying to rob a passerby. The curse must have caught them during that moment.

"What are you staring at? Give me all your gold and meal!" the obese cutthroat threatened Bolag whilst hopelessly swinging a blade in the air. It was a futile effort that made the woodcutter's son laugh.

"Hey! You insolent brat! I tell you that once I get back on my feet, I will skin you alive!" thundered the other despicable rascal.

"Hmm," Bolag commented and moved along, listening to the angry yells of the bandits as he was disappearing in the distance.

He wandered far through the country, using the map to navigate his path. Eventually, he arrived at his destination. A spacious cavern was stretching into the distant depths where no light could enter.

He was brave. Or perhaps he was mad. Or simply unaware and not knowing what to expect. No matter what was true, he went inside without hesitation, steeling his nerves and bracing himself for the inevitable clash.

There was a burning torch on the wall and he gladly grabbed it to guide his way. It allowed him to see corpses and skeletons scattered around. Weapons and armour lying beside them, telling of their horrid fate.

Yet that still wasn't enough to convince him to run for his life. He ventured deeper and deeper, spotting piles of dead and mutilated bodies, chewed off limbs and broken bones. But he wasn't afraid even a little bit.

He could feel a distant hum grow stronger each second. He couldn't recognize what it was at first, but as he was closing in, he realized it. It was the monstrous dragon, breathing in his slumber.

How many steps would he have to thread? How many moments were dividing him from the unavoidable duel? Not many. Although he couldn't sight the creature yet, he was certain that merely a turn was separating him from his goal.

Suddenly, the whole cave shook and a few stones fell from the ceiling. He struggled to keep balance. However, the quake was so overwhelming that he tripped and crashed to the ground. Thankfully, he didn't hurt himself and quickly rose back to his feet as the tremor ceased shortly afterwards.

He didn't know what had happened, but was sure that the event wasn't a coincidence. And he was correct. It must have been the dragon waking up and becoming alarmed, somehow having caught wind of his arrival.

"Who dares enter my home and break my slumber?!" the fiendish monster thundered aloud.

Bolag didn't answer, for he didn't want to gain the creature's attention just yet. He relied on the element of surprise instead. He navigated the vast cavern system in hopes of stumbling upon the beast, but unfortunately the route came to an abrupt end.

It didn't make any sense though. Where was the dragon? It certainly was there. Why else would it be heard? But no matter how hard he looked, he couldn't locate any sort of a hidden path or a concealed room.

"You won't hide forever, petty mortal," the being shouted so close that it convinced the woodcutter's son that he was on the right track.

He turned to his left where he believed the voice came from but saw nothing besides jagged and furrowed yellowy walls. He scanned them in the expectation of finding a crevice that would allow him to pass through and continue, yet spotted them move!

Those weren't walls! It was the bottom of the dragon! Immediately, he realized that the oversized root he was glancing at was actually a tail. The beast was stuck in the chamber, its weight so overwhelming that it prevented it from wandering out. It was a grotesque encounter. So the curse affected it as well.

"I'm Bolag," he spoke with mild amusement, lowering his guard as he didn't deem the monster a threat. "I've come fulfil Hubenour's bidding!"

"Hubenour? The court mage?! I assume you've come to kill me, you little brat!"

"That's correct!"

"You insolent fool!" it thundered as it hopelessly tried to set itself free and face the challenger. "If only I was back to my old shape, I'd effortlessly burn you to crisp and feast on your remains as I had done with many adventurers prior to your intrusion!"

"The scales of odds aren't tipped in your favour now."

"You!" the dragon was angry, causing a quake as it stepped up its attempts to dispose of the interloper.

"What about me?" the woodcutter's son wondered, thinking of a way of slaying the beast. The enormous amount of fat beneath its thick skin made it virtually impossible to defeat it as his axe would merely graze it.

"I... will... get you!" it bellowed as loudly as it could, multiplying the power of the tremor almost thousand times. The whole subterranean tunnel seemed to be a second from caving in. A thunderous crack echoed throughout it and suddenly, the creature was sinking.

Bolag walked backwards cautiously, crouched in order to maintain balance whilst he made sure that he wasn't standing above a boulder that could easily flatten him like a timid and weak fly.

He wished to run and escape the death trap, but the quake was so powerful that he could barely remain on both feet. Thus he was forced to watch the collapse. Fortunately, it started waning.

"No!" the dragon screamed as a great portion of the soil cascaded down into the depths of the world along with it.

The tremor ceased shortly afterwards. He survived and succeeded in his task. His surroundings were strangely calm. It was almost scaring him, considering that it had been like a raging storm just moments prior.

He gazed into the newly created chasm, witnessing its endlessness. There was lava and fire shining brightly at the bottom, but it was so far away that it wasn't much more than a bright dot in the distance.

The deed was done nevertheless. He was free to go and he did so instantaneously, rushing through the caverns and leaving them as fast as his legs allowed him. Emerging into the land with sun in the sky was so refreshing.

He initiated his long journey to the castle town and Hubenour. Purposefully, he set his course towards the spot of ambush, convinced that it was the fastest and surest way to discover whether the curse had been lifted off.

Even though there were a lot of miles ahead of him, he already began bathing in the image of fame. The almighty saviour of the kingdom, Bolag. He imagined the king himself greeting him and shaking his hand. He imagined being named his successor. He imagined being wealthy and powerful.

It was a mesmerizing vision. One that was so sweet and captivating yet hard to wake up from. He only prayed that it would be true. In this aspect, he wasn't really a hero. He was merely an adventurer thirsting for recognition so that he wouldn't fall through the hourglass of time like a forgotten grain of sand.

However, the sight before him swiftly made him sober. The sight of plump individuals lying helplessly on the road, their flabby arms waving in the air and their voices screeching for help in desperation.

"You again?! Don't let us repeat it twice! Hand over the food, you hear?" the bandits shouted in craze.

"What about gold?" Bolag wondered, stopping nearby and watching one rascal attempting to seize the opportunity. The cutthroat flailed his arms like they were butterfly wings, yet his tries were utterly unsuccessful. The woodcutter's son made sure he was far enough to be out of his reach.

"Who cares about gold, you idiot! I'm so hungry like I've never eaten in my life! You can't understand that! Now give me the damn food or I will kill you!"

"That doesn't seem like a possible scenario, does it?!"

"Argh! You just wait until I will be able to get back on my feet! You will beg for mercy, you pathetic whelp!"

"I'm looking forward to that moment," Bolag mocked the bandit whilst walking away, listening to the lamentations and threats of the despicable individual. They didn't move him even a bit.

And thus his path led him to the castle city, finding it exactly the same as before. Helpless inhabitants scattered around, lying on the ground and moaning in hunger as they attempted to get up.

"Please, man, have you come to feed us?"

"We're hungry! My children are hungry! Are you going to give us some meal? Have mercy on us."

"Something to eat. Merely a little. A small chew to soothe my stomach. Really just a chew for my teeth."

They were desperate, but their eyes burned with hope whenever they spotted him, an unaffected person. He didn't have anything to give to them, however, so he had to pass them by.

"Don't leave me! Do you hear? Don't leave! You're our last chance! Food! Water! Please!"

A drop of guilt was weighing down on him that he couldn't aid them. But he was convinced that it was the only way. He wasn't going to satiate their appetite temporarily, he was going to save them for good.

He ascended to the top of the wizard's tower, finding Hubenour sitting in a chair in front of the table filled with potions. The mage was obviously meditating, not moving a limb in his pose with his hands interlocked.

"I've returned."

"I see," the sorcerer commented without turning.

"So what now? Aren't you going to be the seer you told you are? Won't you figure out who is behind the curse?"

"I'm already at it."

"Aha. I shouldn't disturb you then. Alright, I'll wait outside."

"No, you can stay here if you like. I don't care. It's just... it's just not that easy. I thought it would be, but I was wrong."

"Why is that?"

"I haven't been using my abilities for quite a long time. I tried hard to concentrate once my arcane senses caught wind of your deed. You are indeed resourceful and a mighty warrior, I have to admit. But as for my efforts... I simply can't be sure."

"Can't be sure? What do you mean?"

"As I said, I'm not certain. I've delved into the depths of my third eye, observing the flow of magic. And I've traced noticeable shifts in a distant piece of the land. A remote cottage in the woods."

"Good. Tell me the directions and I'll hit the road again."

"Wait. It isn't that simple."

"Where's the catch?"

"Why would somebody so far away be interested in cursing the kingdom? Doesn't make sense to me."

"Perhaps they took their revenge and promptly left. Or perhaps they had to be far away to be shielded from the curse. And perhaps not, because it is a failed experiment and they are affected, too. The number of theories is endless."

"Hmm. You've proven your point. Alright. I'll give you a map."

"Thanks," Bolag replied as the wizard handed him what he had wanted. The woodcutter's son then examined it carefully, setting off for another journey shortly thereafter.

Chapter 3

The roads he took led him through various lands. Lush plains with tall grass and unfortunate wildlife. Overweight moles clogging their own tunnels, fat rats and voles poking out of grain fields and groups of obese birds lying on the ground in front of trees along with branches that had formerly housed their nest.

The woods were alike. Bears stuck in cave entrances, hogs turned upside down and flailing their legs and deer doing pretty much the same. There was no escape from this terrible fate.

He ventured far from the castle, eventually arriving in a desolate and forgotten realm where one didn't dare to go on their own. A swamp where dark trees rose up towards the clouds, blotting out the sunlight. Where mushrooms and thick bushes dotted the treacherous and poisoned soil. Where oversized snakes couldn't even slither as they were too fat to move. Where owls were hanging upside down, desperately clinging onto branches that supported their weight by a miracle. Could it be the hive of the vilest of all magicians?

It was an enigma that he was aiming to solve. However, the solution was still not within grasp as he had many miles before him. He didn't mind though as he kept himself entertained with visions of his successful future.

He travelled for hours and the sun was about to set, his feet carrying him into the heart of the everglades when he stumbled upon a bizarre sight. A disgusting warty toad of overwhelming sizes was lying flat in a small pond, quacking like every frog does. He felt sick upon laying his eyes on the monstrosity, but it seemed to have noticed him as well.

"Kiss me, I'm a princess," she spoke to him, taking him aghast.

He couldn't believe his ears. Was it really true what he had heard? Could that abomination demand such a thing?

"What are you staring at? Do that! Reward is assured!"

"Must I do it? Isn't there another way?" he wondered, hoping that he could circumvent that nauseating request.

"Fine," she was annoyed. "You spoil the fun. Have it your way then. You just need to touch me."

Relieved that he didn't have to do the morbidity, he did as instructed and in an instant, the very water shook. A whirlwind of fog surrounded her, disappearing shortly afterwards only to reveal the horrific truth.

There she was, resembling a ball, still paralyzed and unable to move due to her overwhelming weight. He had thought she would be normal and he would be one step closer to his fame, yet he had been terribly wrong.

"Thank you, my valiant hero. You're my saviour. I am willing to marry you if you like. Now, if you were so kind and fetched me a cart, loaded me onto it and towed me back to the castle..."

"Wait a moment. You're... way more than fat. At least twice the size of the usual fat people in the kingdom."

"Normally, I'd take offence... but since you're my hero, I'll make an exception. I've been a little bit overweight before. My father made sure I was well fed."

"I see."

"Wait, where are you going? You can't just leave me here!"

"I'm sorry! I've got a kingdom to save!" he spoke hurriedly and took to his heels, resuming his task.

"Hey!" she yelled after him to no avail. He wanted to have nothing to do with her. An obese princess wasn't exactly his image of the damsel in distress that needed rescuing. He would receive laughs and bad faces rather than fame and fortune. That certainly wasn't his wish.

Thankfully for him, he wasn't pursued by the horror as it was impossible for her to even walk. He disappeared beyond the horizon swiftly and when he looked back, he could finally sigh in relief that he was free.

But where had he wandered? He consulted the map and realized that he had arrived at the place of his destination. It was a decaying and neglected wooden cottage surrounded by murky waters.

He approached it with caution, readying his axe and preparing for a clash. Then he stormed in like a madman, but there was none he could spot. No warrior, no evil magician, nobody. Only an overly large pot in the centre of the room.

Could it have been that the culprit was gone? On their way somewhere else? About to seize the kingdom after fooling Bolag to venture so far into the remote bogs? He was slowly becoming to believe it, cursing at himself deep in his mind. Yet it was a wrong notion. There was someone inside after all.

"Hey!" shouted a pungent voice belonging to an old and ugly witch that was trapped in the kettle.

"What the..." the woodcutter's son expressed his confusion as he moved towards the unfortunate individual, witnessing her swirling around in the water, her long nose sticking out enough to be able to breathe.

"Welcome, thin one! I've foreseen your arrival before you've ever set foot on the kingdom's soil."


"Don't be so surprised. I was preparing an all-seeing soup in my giant pot when it happened. I fell in and been swimming here since. I can see many hidden truths now, but I'd rather be back on my feet."

"You are at my mercy, do you realize that?" Bolag played with her as he was toying with the idea that she was responsible for the curse.

"Pretty much anything's mercy. I know."

"Good. Why did you do it?"

"Did what? Oh... you fool. It wasn't me!"

"Wasn't? Who was it?"

"You stupid idiot, isn't it obvious? It was Tlustoprd from the very beginning!"

"That angsty kid?!"

"Who else? Haven't you seen it yourself? Haven't you seen him mocking others? Laughing at them and enjoying it? Because of bullying? He wanted revenge for being constantly picked at. That is why he studied magic secretly and diligently. That is why he found a dire spell that is to blame for this delicate situation."

"I should have figured it out sooner!" Bolag reprimanded himself aloud for his short-sightedness.

"I doubt it. You're blinded by your vision of fame and wealth."

"If not me, then Hubenour would learn the truth," the woodcutter's son ignored the insults and continued with constructive remarks.

"That lame excuse for a wizard wouldn't even count to ten. Now go and correct your mistake! Simply get rid of Tlustoprd and our condition will be dispelled. Everyone will be back to normal."

"Alright, I'm going," Bolag replied. "Before I head out, I have to ask..."

"Tlustoprd is a fool. He won't pose a threat. He can cast merely one spell. The curse of fatness. Unfortunately for him, it can only affect beings native to this kingdom. You aren't one. Hubenour isn't one either. Yes. He's a damned lying outlander.

Off with you! I don't want to drown here!"

Chapter 4

The vision of fame was finally so clear. So near. With the castle on the horizon, he marched forth. He didn't know where to search for the treacherous person, but luck shined upon him. Tlustoprd was in the streets, torturing his fellow citizens.

"Huh? Who laughs? Huh? Tell me! Are you hungry? Are you?" he shouted as he waved a candy above a whole family that was desperately reaching out for the treat, but unable to grab it.

"I'll tell you who laughs. It's me! Me, ha ha! I am the one who shows you this time! The tables have turned! How does it feel, huh? How is it? This is how it feels!" he yelled like mad as he ate the sweet in front of them mercilessly.

"Tlustprd! Your time of tyranny is at an end! I'm aware of everything!" Bolag addressed his adversary. Without hesitation, he charged towards the plump man.

The fat individual was overtaken by terror and tried to take to his heels, but his overweight figure prevented him from escaping. He tripped over his own flab and tumbled to the ground.

"Ouch," Tlustoprd cried in pain as he attempted to recollect, but it was to no avail. The woodcutter's son had already got to him, his axe cutting through the skull deep into the brain. The evil wizard in disguise was dead immediately.

It was done. He saved the kingdom. He left the axe lodged in the head of his enemy, rejoicing that he was a hero. People instantly began reverting to their old selves and he saw it. He witnessed it with his own eyes.

He had never been so happy in his life. He had succeeded. He had become a somebody. He would be remembered forever!

There was something wrong, however. He could feel the change affecting even him. His body was suddenly twisting and becoming thin. It was unbelievable. Unthinkable. His skin withered, his muscles disappeared. He became a frail man. Basically bones. The walking zombie.

That fate met everyone. No citizen was spared. They were weak and but a simple blow of wind could knock them down. It was a nightmare from which there was no waking up. Worse still, Bolag was no longer the hero capable of saving the day. He had unwittingly helped put this hell to motion.

But how was it possible? Who in heavens was responsible for this despicable treachery? The answer was obvious. From the topmost point of the tower, an insane laughter echoed. "Ha ha! Who laughs now, stickmen?! Nobody will make fun of me again!"

No comments:

Post a Comment