Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Cerulean Blossom of Death, Pt. III

An errant gust of chilly night air snapped Pudge back to the business at hand. He, still, took precious time to stoke up the courage he needed to proceed. Enough!, his inner voice chided him. Time to get to it. Glancing about for anyone or anything that might constitute a threat, Pudge scurried from cover.

He dived into the cover of the low bushes surrounding the greenhouse and fought to catch his breath. Pudge was embarassed to have become so easily winded but, being no stranger to embarassment, the shame was fleeting.

Up close, the greenhouse seemed much less imposing. The only obstacle was a wall made of multiple panes of very thin glass. It would be child's play to cut through. As with most of Pudge's plans, such was not to be.

Sadly, he had no idea why this plan could NOT succeed. Each seemingly-thin and so-easily breakable pane of glass was glyphed to withstand significantly more damage than a pocket glass cutter was capable of inflicting.

Pudge wasn't the most savvy lad, but even he knew something was wrong when 15 minutes of effort failed to so much as scratch the surface. He decided that a heavier hand would be called for in this case.

Just how heavy was the question he needed to answer first. His means to get in was foolproof, but potentially noisy. Before he breached the glass, it would be wise to know exactly where, within the huge greenhouse, the Blossom was.

A narrow path ran between the hedges and the structure. Pudge scuttled along it, stopping periodically to peer inside. How hard could it be to locate a glowing blue flower in a darkened building at night? The answer proved to be, not very hard at all. He spotted it on his third stop-and-peek.

It sat atop an ornate iron pedestal. Emitting a soft cyan glow, it was beautiful! It certainly didn't look all that deadly, but Pudge had, long since, learned how deceptive things can appear to be. In any event, it was time to make his way inside.

Pudge reached into his pouch and gingerly removed the solution. In his palm was nestled what looked like nothing so much as a gumball. It WAS a perfectly normal gumball that had been...modified.

Being an unlicensed thief, the magic shops simply would not do business with Pudge for items other thieves took for granted. So, where does an unlicensed thief get such things? Why, from an unlicensed mage, of course. Pudge's contact was an unbalanced chap named Padaway.

Padaway considered them his crowning achievement. He styled them "boomballs". The sticky stuff could be applied, easily, to a lock, a door or even a wall. When a power word was spoken, the magicked material would...explode. Whatever impediment it was applied to WOULD be removed.

Pudge prayed that was the case. The boomballs were costly enough that he only had two of them and had never, actually, dared use one. The stakes on this job warranted pulling out all of the stops though.

Moving swiftly but cautiously, Pudge stuck gobs to four of the panels. That should create a hole more than sufficient to his needs without being excessive or obvious.
Pudge retreated to, what he hoped, was a safe distance and murmured the required power word.

It truly WAS a pity Pudge was NOT a student of magic or he would have known what a synergistic spell effect was. It was a rule that stated: when a spell was cast upon an already ensorcelled item, the resulting effects would be both entirely unpredictable and unavoidably dangerous.

Since Pudge was unaware of this concept, the practical application of it caught him quite unawares. No sooner had he invoked the spell, when the wall disintegrated in a tremendous gout of flame and an ear-splitting explosion. Pudge was rendered blind as a bat and deaf as a post for an indeterminate period.

His vision, finally, cleared and he stared aghast at the damage. A jagged hole nearly 50 feet in diameter gaped back at him. Creeping closer, his horror intensified a thousandfold. So forceful had the explosion been that a hole of corresponding size had been blasted through the opposing wall, nearly 200 feet away!

Pudge noted, numbly, that everything caught in the shock wave of the momentous explosion had been...vaporized. Not only was there no longer any trace of the Blossom, the heavy wrought-iron pedestal was a melted pile of slag.

Pudge plopped down, considering his options before, finally, vomiting. How could things be ANY worse?!? Given his past record of spectacular failures, he should have known better than to pose such queries. Fate answered him.

With an ominous groaning, the structure came crashing down in a shower of glass shards and support beams. Miraculously, Pudge sustained only mild cuts and bruises. Of course, he sighed. Death would be far easier on him than survival.

A strident symphony of shrill whistles told him Guardsmen were very near. Seeing no gain in being there when they arrived, Pudge ran. He stopped only when the rickety door of his shack was securely bolted behind him.

Gasping for air, he slumped down and began drinking heavily. While he had no shortage of disappointed clients in his past, experience told him that THIS client would be his worst and, potentially, LAST failure.

Pudge only knew one thing for certain at that moment. He was going to need a LOT more liquor before he would be able to calm down. He drank the first of many mocking toasts to the fabled Cerulean Blossom of Death. Yes, a LOT more liquor indeed.

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