Chapter Five – Paladin Party Pooper
MEANWHILE, IN THE BLACK AND EVIL BOWELS OF THE DANK ABYSS OF DARKNESS AND FOUL SMELLS...
"A horse?!" FiFi shouted in Hoarsz's face... after climbing on top of a table first, of course. "A Horse?! What in the name of me am I supposed to do with a horse?! It's not even a nice white horse, but an evil black steed!"
"Just listen for a moment," Hoarsz snapped back, being quite at the end of his patience, and choking up the words 'you little wrinkled prat' at the last moment. "We've captured this horse to use as a standard ranson-scheme."
"I don't follow you!" FiFi snarled, then blushed a little. "Would you explain the plan so... Baby will understand it?"
"I understand it already," Baby replied a little indignantly. Meanwhile, in the background, Fish was wrestling with the nightmare, currently flaring his nostrils as he was chained to the floor.
"Cram it, idiot!" FiFi replied. "So..."
"Well, we've left a ransom note saying that he should use the portal gem to transport to the Abyss to deliver the Threehundred gold we're asking for this horse," Hoarsz said, and in the background, the horse seemed to scoff at the low ransom. "Provided, this paladin ever figures out how a damn portal gem works... But when he does, we'll have an army of demons standing by to nab him."
"And we will stun them with our smelly armpits!" Fish shouted. A silence fell over the room as every disgusted demon glared at Fish. "What?" Fish asked.
"Why isn't the army here yet?! Why isn't the paladin captured yet!" FiFi stamped his little foot. "Why, why, why, why, why?!!!!"
Glaring from his pincers to FiFi and back again, the neck-tie wearing Hoarsz grinned evilly, but decided against it... But, apparently, he would be interrupted.
The double-doors leading into the main hall flew open. "Have no fear, I.R. here!" Demogorgon shouted as he strolled into the room and past the flabbergasted FiFi. Apparently, the demon prince was at the head of a mile-long conga-line, consisting of Vrocks, Balors, Succubi, Babaus, Imps, Glabrezu's, Nebassus and even some lost souls.
"But... but... but," FiFi yelled, flapping his floppy ears. "You... why... what..."
"I.R. hosting a party here! I.R. party harty!" Demogorgon roared in perfect stereo-sound. "I.R. sure you won't mind, because I.R. looking for a long time for the perfect place for the party! Oh, I.R. and friends will be turning this place into a chaotic pig-sty of fun and games! I.R. throws much better parties than Weezil!" Demogorgon spoke that last line bitterly.
"Hey, you can't just walk in here and host a party?! This is my home! My perfectly organized home!" FiFi tried.
"I.R. thinking you need to remove that stick from your ass. But if you no want party here, you can tell her that the party to which she had been looking forward to for ages is off," Demogorgon smiled on both faces.
FiFi looked about for the 'her', until he noticed a distinct figure digging into to the quickly-set up booze-table.
Lolth. The Spider Queen was pouring two bottles of scotch in her mouth at the same time.
Wisely, FiFi decided to keep quiet. He knew that Lolth, alcohol and 'crossing her' did not mix. The last time something like that happened, sixteen layers of the Abyss had gone missing and were still not re-assembled...
"NO!" FiFi shouted as the party was well underway, the band started playing and the demons started to dance. "No, no! Wipe your feet! Wipe your muddy feet! No, No! Don't toss your crisps, empty glasses and bloodied victims on the floor! YOU, succubi, stop having an orgy on my piano!"
"So," Fish smiled to Baby, "what next?"
"We party!" Baby roared and joined the festivities.
The party was well underway, and it was a party such as only demons can throw, mostly reminiscent of a warzone. Drunken, laughing, shouting, quarreling, barfing, fighting and singing demons were running amok all over FiFi's Evil Abode. The little Demon Lord himself had retreated to the waste paper basket, where he was trying to hide from the awful, awful chaotic mess that his lovely home had been turned into.
"No fair," he squeaked to himself, sticking his thumb into his mouth and pinching his eyes shut in order not to have to see Demogorgon cramming pizza into his enormous maw. The pizza was called 'Screaming Delight' and literally had everything on it. Apart from the regular cheese, tomato, bacon, olives, onions, pepperoni, garlic, mushrooms, banana and rat, there was also haggis, whale fat, baby seal, cigars, chocolate sauce, arsenic, french fries, deep fried Avariel, and the foulest, vilest ingredient of them all, a mysterious substance named S.P.A.M. for 'Suspicious Product Approximating Meat'. It was a sight to make anybody want to barf.
Apparently FiFi was not the only one to feel this urge. Somebody suddenly snatched the waste basket he was hiding in, with him still inside it, he screamed as he glimpsed the horrible face leaning over him, and then there was a disgusting noise and he was swimming for his life to get away before he drowned. "Aaaaah!" Llolth said as she put the basket down. "Much better." The Spider Goddess spotted the terrifed little demon, snatched him up by one leg and brought him closer to her face. "You! Male! I command you to dance with me!"
"I...I...I don't know how!" FiFi vainly tried, squirming in the grip of a clawed foot.
"You will learn. And quickly, if you know what's good for you. If you are a good slave, you may possibly be honored enough to mate with me."
FiFi swallowed heavily. He knew only too well what usually happened to spider males after the mating. In the background, he thought he could hear a snickering sound, and as he turned his head he met the glowing red eyes of the trussed up horse. The animal bared a row of sharp teeth in something that almost resembled a smile.
"Hey," Lolth grinned while she spun FiFi around in the eight-legged Waltz. "You wanna see something really cool?!"
"I shudder to think!" FiFi shouted while in mid-air. With a dull thud, FiFi landed on the floor and skidded about until he collided against the wall.
Taking a strand of silk from her hindquarters, Lolth molded and knitted the silk until it had the shape of a crude bullhorn. Before FiFi could protest, Lolth had put the silken bullhorn to her lips and uttered three devastating words : "I AM WEEZIL!"
The entire gathering of partygoers went silent, and even a pin could be heard dropping... if one happened to drop, that is. Luckily, one of the succibi had a bobby-pin in her hair, removed it and dropped it for good measure.
As soon as the pin dropped, Demogorgon snapped... "I.R. NOT WANT TO SEE WEEZIL!" He said, his tentacles flailing about and ramming into demon and furniture alike. "I.R. GIVE GOOD PARTIES! Good food, good music and, best of all, NO WEEZILS! ARGHHHH!"
At that point Demogorgon knocked over one the support-beams of FiFi' enormous skull-throne, bringing it creaking, tearing and crashing down all over the party-goers!
"MY THRONE!" FiFi wailed. "My insurance won't cover that!"
But FiFi had more things to worry about. One Glabrezu had accidentally collided with a Barghest... and a fight was brewing. Before anyone could step in, they were punching and clawing at each other. While the other demons were taking bets, the Glabrezu stuck a fork in the Barghests' eye and pushed him into the crowd... angering that crowd in the process. Only a few moments later, the entire room had turned into a miniture version of the Blood War, with demons, spells, weapons and food flying all over the place. Furniture was destroyed, fires were started and ever part of the floor was removed to toss stones about the room.
"I.R. having fun!"
"MY HOUSE!!!" FiFi sniffed.
"Oh, come on, live a little! You're a demon, after all!" Lolth chuckled and downed another bottle of malt scotch. "If I were you, I'd be a lot more worried about those two dozen succubi which I noticed sneaking into your bedroom. You won't be getting that room back for months..."
"But... but... but..."
"Oh?" Lolth asked with a grin. "Want a better view of the carnage?" Not waiting for an answer, Lolth grabbed FiFi and threw up up, so that ended up with his Terrible Rod hooked into the chandelier. In horror, he watched as the demons were slowly destroying his house... and they didn't even bothered to wipe their feet!
"I.R. say stop!" Demogorgon said. "I.R. seeing no Weezils here? Is it a joke again? Oh, well. I.R. say we go on with party..."
And as quickly as it began, the party resumed and the demons went on as if nothing had happened... save for the fact that everything in the room was destroyed and even one of the walls of the palace seemed to have gone missing... and FiFi could swear the infernal horse was laughing at him.
"My poor, poor house!" FiFi wailed, as the terrible party went on. A violent food fight raged below him, a chaotic 'everybody-against-everybody' war. "Put that chair down, it's a
relic! It belonged to Sir Spotless himself! Put it...!
"Nooo!" the little demon lord screamed. "Stop it, stop it, stop it!"
He winced as he saw Demogorgon blow his snout in one of FiFi's beloved welcome mats. Opening his mouth to scream out another protest, a hardboiled Avariel egg hit him straight in the face, and he passed out for a few moments. When he came to again, the succubus orgy had spread from the bedroom, and was going on directly below his dangling feet. It was a bit difficult to make out how many individuals were actually inside the swirling mass of bodies. You couldn't do it by counting legs, since many of the participants had more than two, and many relied heavily on tentacles instead.
"That's...that's filthy!" FiFi said, peeking interestedly. Was that Fish he could see down there? "I'm sure there has to be a Law against using an octopus like that."
"That's no octopus," said a small red imp that flew up to hover directly in front of the little Demon Lord's indignant face. "That's Duke Hastrprtrbgggrrr, Lord-of-the-fact-that-your-line-in-the-Supermarket-is-always-the-slowest. But his friends just call him 'Bugger'. Who're you? Have you any idea where the host is?" The imp giggled. "I hear he's a real twit."
"I AM THE HOST!" FiFi shrieked at the top of his voice. "I AM FIFI, OVERLORD OF EEEEEEVIIIIL! I WILL NOT BE MOCKED! I WILL NOT BE DEFIED! I WILL NOT BE CONTRADICTED! I WILL..." The imp stuck its tongue out, then twisted around to rudely flash its behind at him.
It was at that moment that there was a flash of bright blue light outside the door, followed by the sound of a thousand triumphant trumpets and one shrill flute. Then a heroic apparition strode into the throne room, causing the demons to cease their revelry and stare in mute surprise. The approaching man was tall and strong, with a powerful build barely masked by an armor that had been polished until it gleamed as brightly as the sun, making many a demon raise his claws, tentacles or other appendages to shield his eyes. There was a sword as well, equally shiny. From beneath the bobbing plumes of a glittering helmet, a noble and stunningly handsome face gave the abysmal horde a benevolent look. The face in question was dominated by a pair of goodnatured blue eyes, and a chin so square and manly that you could have cut glass on its diamondsharp edges.
"My Paladin..." FiFi whispered. "The one I've been searching for. Oh, my Precioussssss..."
Behind the man a small gnome trotted in on the back of a nervous little grey donkey. The gnome was carrying a crossbow almost as large as himself, and he was sporting a twisted grin. "Freeze, perps!" he shouted. "Or forever rest in pieces!" He waved something about that FiFi recognized as his own List of Houserules. "By the way, it says here to wipe our feet, but it doesn't say on what. So how about if we wipe the floor instead, with *you* guys?"
"Now, now, good Sanchez," the paladin gently admonished. "There's no
need to be confrontational. I'm sure these good people...er...demons...will be open to reason." He cleared his throat. "Gentlemen!" Then he spotted Lolth. "And Gentlewomen...and various gentle creatures. There is no reason why this has to become a violent situation. Just give me back my little Horsie, and we will all go our separate ways, no hard feelings. However, if you insist on being naughty, there shall have to be some serious smiting done." Then he nervously nudged the gnome. "Did you think that sounded all right? Only, I've only read up to Chastising in the Young Paladin's Handbook, I'm not sure I can get the Smiting properly righteous yet..."
"You'll do fine," the gnome said. "Just shout a lot and charge anybody with tentacles." Then he spotted the dangling FiFi and his grin became even wider. "FiFi! How's it hanging, buddy?"
The resultant snickering of the party-goers seared the little Demon Lord's soul like acid, and he couldn't help noticing that the blasted horse was snorting the loudest of all.
Unfortunately, Gawain was spending too much time trying to find his horse (and managed to miss him about five times while looking across the room) to notice that the gathered demons had stopped fighting and were now regarding the young paladin... hungrily.
"I want the skull!" one demon spoke.
"I'll eat the liver!" a burly Glabrezu yelled, putting down his five cigarretes and bottles of bourbon.
"I want the brain!" a vrock snarled.
"You know what part I want!" One of the lead succubi smiled lustfully... of course, going completely over Gawain's head.
"Say, Gawain," Sanchez muttered. "Don't you think it's time for a tactical retreat."
"Oh, never dear, Sanchez," Gawain smiled. "True warriors of goodness never retreat! They storm willingly into the dripping fangs of evil, fearing no defeat!"
"Okay," Sanchez retorted, "perhaps we could discuss paladine ethics in the backroom over there, then?"
"Ah, dear Sanchez, I am always willing to educate! Shall we..."
"RUN!" Sanchez yelled as he led Serafina and Gawain through the double doors. Quickly, they closed the doors behind them and barricaded it with a couple of lost souls which they quickly molded in the shape of a coat-hanger. But turning around... they found a hundreds of holy paladins trapped in glass jars.
"Wow," Sanchez said as the demons started to pound on the door. "Come on, Gaggie, we'd best be hiding..."
"HIDE?!" Gag said. "My dear Sanchez, a paladin never hides! Paladins storm blindly into..."
"Could you tell me that when we're inside that cupboard over there?" Sanchez smiled.
"By all mean, dear Sanchez! I am always willing to educ..." he said as he was being dragged away by the color. After squeezing Serefina, himself and Gawain into the small cupboard, he had just managed to close the door before the demons stormed in... and apparently, they were equally surprised by their find of hundreds of paladins in glass containers. Yet, one single thought came to their minds.
"PARTY-SNACKS!" they all shouted in unison.
Immediately, Demogorgon smashed one of the containers, wrapped his tentacles around the full plated paladin, shoved him into his mouth and chewed loudly.
"How are they?" Lolth asked.
"I.R. think they is sorta crunchy," the big demon replied.
Immediately, the demons started breaking containers and snacked away. But just as Lolth put her pincers in one of the paladins, a score of holy warriors were slowly starting to awaken. As in unison, the lords and ladies rose their armored gauntlets and pointed them acussingly in the direction of the demons. "Evil... Evil... Evil..." they chanted eerily while grabbing their swords.
"FOODFIGHT!" Lolth shouted over the commotion, initiating a brawl of epic proportions. Demons, paladins, furniture, glass, just about anything they could get their hands on were sent flying across the room.
Standing on the sideline, Gawain, Sanchez and Serefina stood flabbergasted. "I tell ya," Sanchez said, "this is just like my uncle's last barbeque. You should have seen him eat... It was just like this, really..."
"NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" suddenly sounded from within the chaos. The voice was so screechy and loud and everybody stopped dead in their tracks. "MY PALADIN COLLECTION! YOU.... YOU'VE RUINED IT! I HATE YOU ALL, I HATE YOU!!!! YOU OBEY NO RULES, YOU HAVE NO SENSE OF ORDER!!! YOU ARE ALL IDIOTS!!! AAALLLLLLLL OF YOU!"
"Rules?" Demogorgon snarled dangerously. "ORDER! I.R. think you are being stupid! I.R. think you no Tanar'ri! How long have you been working for weezil! YOU TELL I.R."
"I am a DEMON! OVERLORD of EVVVVILLLLLL, you big FAT MONKEY-BRAIN!" FiFi snarled. "But RESPECT MY HOUSE RULES! WIPE YOUR FEET! DON'T MAKE A MESS! DON'T EAT MY PALADINS!"
"I.R. do what I.R. wants!" Demogorgon snarled. "And now I.R. wants to kick you!" And as he said, he did. FiFi let out a small 'EEK' as he was sent flying about the room.
"No!" FiFi panted in fear. "But I am the Overlord of EEEEVVVILLLLL!"
"I.R. BASH YOU GOOD!" the giant monkey snarled and ran after the tiny demon, chasing him out of the door.
"Party's over fellahs," Hoarsz shook his head as he addressed Fish and Baby.
"And so are our jobs," Fish sighed.
"Maybe not!" Baby grinned. "I've heard some evil sorceress on the prime is hiring. Maybe we should give it a try?"
Together, the terrible three left the fallen house of FiFi behind them, like so many bad memories.
"Well, this is a fine turn of events," Sanchez smiled. "Kinda reminds me of my uncle's wedding, but it was attended by more demons."
"Pssst," Lolth said to Sanchez just before she left and pressed a piece of paper in his hand. "Call me," she whispered and blew the gnome a kiss.
Would you know, I never would have thought I could have been that happy to see Gag and the others. But the young fool knows how to make an entrance, you have to admit that. And...well...all right. I had almost managed to gnaw through the iron fetters that bound me at that time, but all the same I felt this strange and hot little flutter in my belly as I saw the idiot storm into the room like that, nearly getting himself killed in the process. I wonder what's up with that? Maybe it's my fire breath. But it *seems* to be working all right, I made a point of incinerating an escaping paladin when Gag wasn't looking.
So, as I said, I had almost freed myself when my paladinic so-called owner suddenly threw himself at me, hugging my neck tight enough that he almost managed to choke me, leaking honest and manly tears all over my mane.
'Oh Horsie!' he rejoiced. 'I'm so happy you're safe, I thought those vile and naughty demons might hurt you! I had to give them a *very* stern talking-to, did you hear that?'
The fact that my eyes were starting to bulge from lack of air seemed to elude him completely. Gag may not be the fastest on the uptake, but he *is* as strong as an ox, and bound as I was I was hardly in a position to defend myself.
'Er, Gawain?' Sanchez said, pausing in his quest to stuff the remains of Demogorgon's half-eaten pizza into his mouth without chewing. 'You should probably let him up... let him get some air, ya know? Say, that spider chick was hot, don't you think? She seemed to like me too. D'you think she really liked me?'
The paladin didn't answer, being far too busy breaking my chains. Finally able to breathe again, I managed to stagger unsteadily to my feet. 'I'm so sorry, Horsie,' Gawain said, gently patting my nose. 'I shouldn't have let them take you, I hope you're not too upset with me. But you know - I think you're the best horse in the whole wide world, and I'm so lucky to have you! Will you forgive me? Please, Horsie?'
I should have nipped his fingers clear off. It was the perfect opportunity, he had even removed his gloves. But somehow...that didn't happen. Instead I found myself...whinnying in affirmation. I think I may be ill or something. Very, very worrying.
Oh, and then there was Serafina. While the happy Gag was still gushing about 'what a good Horsie I was to forgive him', that delightful little donkey came trotting over to give me a smoldering look with those dark and lovely eyes of hers. 'I'm glad you're safe too,' she said. 'I was so worried, and I missed you so much, you have no idea.' She nudged a little closer. 'But I might be able to give you a hint...'
As that velvety soft nose touched mine I could feel my nostrils start smoking. By the Abyss, that girl is *hot*! And I'll be blessed if I let her slip through my hooves...for her sake I could put up with a dozen paladins.
A LITTLE LATER, EVEN DEEPER INTO THE ABYSS...
STOMP. Squeak! STOMP. Squeak!
Demogorgon stomped through the Abyss, feeling pretty pleased with himself and the world. 'I.R. made good party,' he said. 'Good fun, good games, good fight. Pity 'bout those paladins running off before have time to put some in hot buns. That tastier than Weezil's snacks!'
STOMP. Squeak! STOMP. Squeak!
'I.R. wonder where rude little demon go,' the baboon-like Demon Prince said to himself. 'I.R. be almost on top of him, and then he gone. I.R. confused, but at least no more screeching in I.R:s ears. And no more 'wipe feet'. I.R. *never* wipe feet, even if it feel like something stuck between I.R.:s toes right now. It demon-like to have stuff between toes. Maybe it fall off later, maybe not. Maybe I.R. take a hike to the Prime, find some more paladins. I.R. still hungry...so *very* hungry.
STOMP. Squeak! STOMP. Squeak! STOMP! Squeak!
Beneath and partially between the toes of the enormous demon, a small and extremely bedraggled shape clung for its miserable life. It also looked rather flat, and its ears flopped sadly about its pinched and wrinkled little face. 'It's not fair...' FiFi sobbed quietly to himself. 'My paladins...my beautiful paladins. All lost! Ruined! And my Collector's Item did it all!' A manic red glint leapt into his eyes. 'But I will have my vengeance! All will fear me! ALL WILL FEAR THE WRATH OF FIFI, OVERLORD OF EEEEEVIIILL! I WILL HAVE MY REVENGE! I WILL...uh-oh...
Demogorgon marched on. It looked as if it was going to be a long walk.
A Horse And His Knight, Chapter 5
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