“Fool’s Gold” By Josh Kim

“Dalia, any news for today?” Dexter inquired pacing around the extravagantly designed room in an expensive custom made suit.  

“One new message.” Dalia replied in a robotic voice.  A mechanical device emerged from Dalia and projected a life size hologram which materialized next to him and took the shape of the president himself.

“Hello Dexter.  As you have probably predicted, my message comes with news of another mission.  Your amazing feats as a bounty hunter have reached ears in the galaxy EGS-zs8-1, where the Imp King Gobnar himself is requesting your service.  A few days ago his youngest daughter Princess Vakra Shai was captured by Emperor Quo-Lai from the nearby planet Abydos.  The Imp King is furious with this breach of intergalactic law and is requesting your assistance in rescuing his daughter.  In addition, we believe the Emperor is meeting with his allies on the planet Lavalulu, and his absence will make the mission an easier task.  

The planet Abydos is mostly made of molten lava and volcanic rock.  The Emperor’s palace, where the princess is being imprisoned, is in Vakros, where the land is mainly obsidian.  This mission will be a daunting and dangerous task to accomplish, but I know that you will succeed.  To reward you and whoever you take to assist you, the Imp King is willing to pay 10,000 bars of gold in exchange for your work.  Good luck, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.”

Dexter’s eyebrows furrowed as he grew deep in thought.  The mission at hand would be difficult, because it was out of his comfort zone.  He specialized in bounty hunting and not rescue missions.  Normally on a mission of this amplitude, he would bring others to help him but with the reward so high, he would take his chances.

Knowing there was no time to waste, Dexter walked briskly to his private armory.  The room contained various weapons he had constructed as well as armor made out of thickly intertwined spider web.  The spider web’s amazing strength and lightness, protected Dexter like 30 pounds of conventional armor.  After a few minutes of pondering, he eventually decided on an energy gun, an electro orb, and a pneumatic handgun.  Finally leaving the room, him and Dalia took the stairs to the roof of the skyscraper overlooking.  

Once they were on the helipad located on the east side of the rooftop, Dalia’s gears began to turn and the droid morphed into a one seat teleporter.  Dexter jumped into the teleporter and punched in the name of the planet Abydos into the dashboard.  Suddenly, their image began to shimmer, and after a minute had gone by, they had disappeared.  

As soon as they arrived in Abydos, Dexter was instantly hit with an intense wave of nausea.  The temperature was sweltering, and the air smelled of putrid waste.  Sweat dripping from his brow and feeling lightheaded, Dexter held his head in two hands.  Out of all places, Dalia managed to land near a sewage drain which was spewing repugnant waste.  After he regained his composure, he stood up on the spacecraft and surveyed his surroundings.  A half a mile away stood the Emperor’s palace standing tall on a huge platform of obsidian.  The palace was built out of both amethyst and obsidian and was the only break in the barren and desolate plains.  It seemed to protrude miles high into the sky.  

However, it was not long until the smell from the sewage intruded his thoughts and brought him back to reality.  Looking at the gaping mouth of the sewage pipe, he devised a plan.  Where others saw a sewage system, he saw an unguarded passageway into the Emperor’s palace.  

After transforming Dalia into a submarine and traversing the underground sewage system, they finally found an opening that lead to the surface.  Dexter pulled a pulsation lense out of his belt and put it to his eye.  Some inspection revealed that he was right underneath the prison.  It was a single long hallway that contained many cells, and he could see movement only in the farthest cell away from him.  Hurriedly opening the metal hatch to the surface and climbing into the prison hallway, Dexter sprinted to the cell whispering Princess Vakra Shai’s name.  Turning into the cell, he screamed in fright.

Standing right in front of him was the most hideous creature he had ever seen in his life.  It was a hogman standing eight feet tall with a severely disfigured face.  Both of his eyes were oozing slimy yellow pus.  Dexter’s legs were jelly as he gazed upon the terrifying creature.

“Ho ho ho!” the monster rumbled in a deep voice.  “Emperor Quo Lai right.  He knew people send man.”  His broken English reverberated throughout the room.   Dexter could see the small form of the princess slumped on the ground beside the hogman, but knew that the sight of her must not distract him.  Eliminating the threat was the immediate priority.  Quickly, Dexter removed an electro orb from his belt and launched it at the beast.  The electricity surged throughout the hogman’s body, yet he was unfazed.  Extremely frightened, Dexter stripped his energy gun off of his back and began firing away at the hogman.  What would have mutilated a man only barely cracked the skin around the hogman’s head and infuriated the beast.  Panicking, Dexter ran down the hallway, with the hogman trudging after him.  

“Come here tasty human!” The hogman bellowed after him.  Once Dexter reached the end of the prison, he

turned around, pulled a pneumatic handgun out of his belt.  When the hogman was five feet away, Dexter ran at the beast and slid between its legs.  Quickly turning around, Dexter fired away at the base of its skull.  The powerful shots hit the mercenary’s head with immense force that sent Dexter flying back several feet.  The hogman stumbled around for a moment then fell with an enormous crash.

Feeling like Hercules, Dexter ran over to the princess.  He exuberantly thought that he was glad that he did not bring assistance.  Then, as soon as he entered the cell, the door slammed shut right behind him.  

“If only you had brought more people,” cackled the Emperor Quo-Lai flanked by two more hogmen.

 

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