Quest for Deliverance, Part 7
By Dwayne Anderson
The sounds of roaring applause was heard as Fry, Leela, and Bender entered the arena, which looked just like the roman colloseum, only completely intact.
Fry studied the bulletin board. "According to this," he said, "there's going to be a fight tonight between the reigning champion of the week and a challenger. The challenger's name is Abduel."
"Who's the champion?" asked Leela.
Fry studied the announcement again. "Elsa von Spielburg."
"Elsa?" asked Leela. "Toro the minotaur at the adventurers guild told me all about her!"
"Didn't we hear about her in Spielburg?" asked Fry. "What's she doing in Silmaria?"
"According to what Toro told me, she's now the king of Silmaria."
Bender scoffed. "A woman king?"
Leela smacked Bender on the head, then clutched her hand in pain. "Ow!"
"Hey!" said Bender, "female rulers are queens, not kings!"
"He's got a point Leela" said Fry. "Let's go watch the fight.
The trio walk to the lobby where a fat man similar to the one guarding the Dead Parrot inn.
"Five drachmas to watch fight!" he said.
Fry, Leela, and Bender each give him five drachmas.
"Can you tell us more about the fight?" asked Fry.
"Woman think she know how to fight" said the fat man. "She learn!"
Leela glared at him as she, Fry, and Bender walked through the gate into the arena to join the other spectators.
* * * * *
"Look up there!" said Fry. "It's Senor Ferrari!"
"My greetings to all of you!" Ferrari announced to the spectators seated. "Welcome to the arena and tonights display of deadly combat!"
The crowd cheers.
"Tonight, the champion of this contest is someone everyone knows. From the barony of Spielburg, we have an interesting combination of beauty and brawn. Despite her young age, she's already earned a reputation as the strongest woman in the world. She's also the first woman to be king of Silmaria. I summon to battle Elsa von Spielburg!"
Everyone applauds and cheers(except Bender) as an attractive blonde carrying a sword enters the arena and stops in the center.
"I, Elsa von Spielburg, shall prove my skills upon the field of combat!" she said.
Everyone cheers, except Bender.
"To challenge our champion, is the finest of fighting guards from the city of Raseir" said Ferrari. "I summon to battle Abduel!"
Another obese man, carrying a scimitar, and dressed as an arab similar to the one in the lobby and guarding the Dead Parrot Inn, approaches Elsa and stops several yards away.
"You make bad mistake! You no belong here!" he said. "Now, I get you! I break you in bits!"
Everyone boos, except you-guessed-it, Bender. He cheers.
"May the contest begin!" said Ferrari.
Trumpets were played. Then the two combatants charged at each other. Abduel raises his scimitar, but Elsa delivers a powerful spin-kick, disarming him, then she swings her sword. Abduel falls to the floor.
Everyone cheers, except Bender as usual who sulks.
"The victor of tonight's battle is Elsa von Spielburg!"
Everyone cheers, except Bender as Elsa raises her left arm in victory.
* * * * *
"Wow! Did you see the way she knocked that guy down?" asked Fry as they returned to the lobby of the arena. "She's like Xena, the Warrior Princess!"
"Phooey!" said Bender.
"Ferrari told us that she competed against Devon in the Rites of Rulership the previous year. We must arrange a meeting with her."
Another gate nearby opened. Out into the lobby stepped a familiar blonde.
"That was too easy" said Elsa. "Isn't there anyone worthy of facing me?"
"Hey, you were awesome!" said Fry.
"Oh really?" asked Elsa. "Some men I knew had no respect for my skills, one of whom competed against me in the Rites of Rulership, but I felt no pity when he was killed by the assassin, who turned out to be someone I knew in Spielburg."
"Did you ever get a chance to fight someone named Devon Aidendale here?" asked Leela.
"Sadly no" said Elsa. "Although he did come to watch some of my fights. He even bet on me, proof of his respect for my skills. In fact, he even gave me this sword!"
"Wow! Neato!" said Fry as Elsa held it up.
"It was crafted by Pholus the Silmarian weapon smith" said Elsa. "It's called Dragonslayer. It served me well when we fought against the Dragon of Doom when it arose to destroy this land."
"We?" asked Fry.
"Myself, Toro, Devon, a monster created by the scientists at Science Island who also competed in the Rites of Rulership, but was disqualified when his sponsors were found to be interfering with the contest by distributing sleeping drugs to the wizards Erasmus and Shakra. And then there was a beautiful fairy woman by our side, who of course of Devon's fiancee."
"A fairy?!" said Bender. "He must have really bad taste in women."
"I never did get a chance to fight Devon in this arena, shame though, he would have made an outstanding opponent" said Elsa. "I did get a glimpse of his fighting skills when we killed the hydra together. Wherever he got that sword, he sure knows how to use it well. Not only is a good fighter, he's a very brave man as he offered his own life in exchange for victory against the Dragon of Doom."
"We heard he's a paladin" said Leela.
"He is" said Elsa. "Even though he won the Rites of Rulership, he refused the throne to continue following that path. So I became the king of Silmaria, the first woman to do so. My sponsor in the rites was discovered to be the cause of all the trouble in the land, the king's assassination, innocent people being murdered, the dragon pillars breaking, war with Atlantis, and Hesperian Mercenaries invading our land. How fortunate for Silmaria that Devon arrived."
"Indeed" said Fry.
"Phooey!" said Bender. "Why would Devon save the kingdom, only to give up rulership to a woman?!"
Leela considered smacking Bender, but her hand still hurt from when she hit him earlier.
"Do you know where we can find this hero-man?" she asked. "We have an important parcel for him."
"Unfortunately, I do not know" said Elsa. "But you may try asking Erasmus. He knows everything that goes on in this kingdom. Now, if you'll excuse me, I must get back to the Hall of Kings."
As Elsa takes her leave, Bender scoffs. "Well, that was pointless!"
"Well," said Fry, "for now, let's call it a day. We'll meet with Erasmus tomorrow."
* * * * *
At the far west side of the city, near the gates, the trio enter the Gnome Land Inn.
"Aloha boys!" said the female gnome behind the counter. "Oy, you're a sight for shore eyes since islanded here!"
"Excuse me" said Fry, "we'd like a room for the night please."
"The only available room is the first one at the top of the stairs. Business has picked up since last year. You should feel very honored as my very first customer slept in my room back when he came to Silmaria last year. All the comforts of gnome, including gnome cooked meals."
Leela pays for the room in exchange for a key.
"And I thought Igor's graveyard humour was annoying!" she said to herself.
* * * * *
Fry and Leela shared the same bed while Bender slept in the chest against the wall.
In his dreams, Fry found himself in a large cavern with a temple. A grand red dragon stood in its entrance. Elsa and her minotaur friend Toro fought side by side against it. A pretty fairy woman floated in the air and a frankenstein monster slowly approached the monster with his arms outstretched forth.
"Fear not friends!" he heard a voice speak out. Standing in front of the dragon on the opposide side of the lava river was a young man dressed in glowing chain mail, a glowing helm, holding a magical shield with a blinking eye in a triangle, and a sword that glowed with a blue flame. "According to a prophecy, the Dragon of Doom can only be destroyed by a willing sacrifice. As a paladin, I am the one to do this!"
"Hero man brave!" said Toro. "Good man! Die proudly!"
"No!" the monster shouted. "You live! I belong dead!"
Before Devon could stop him, the monster positioned itself at the opposte side of the lava pool in front of the dragon, which proceeded to fill it with flames. His body glowing in a red aura, Devon swings his sword at the dragon, finishing it off. Roaring in pain, the dragon flies up, and falls into a pool of lava.
The scene changed to a hall in the Hall of Kings where Fry stood with a large crowd of people. Devon, Elsa, and Toro were here. Fry also saw two liontaurs standing up front, one he recognized as Rakeesh from Tarna. Elsa and Devon stood on opposite sides of a centaur. Floating beside Devon was the fairy woman. Also up front was a wizard floating on a chair with his pet rat.
"One person has proven himself above all others" said the centaur. "He has once again shown the meaning of true heroism. He is a hero in four lands and has earned the title once again in our land. Silmaria has never had anyone so worthy to sit upon her throne. Prince of Shapier, will you bear the burden of our crown? Will you become the next king of Silmaria?"
"No I will not" said Devon.
"Why?" asked the centaur. "Why have you done so much for us, risked your life for Silmaria? Why do you not want the reward of rulership of this kingdom?"
"Because I am a paladin" said Devon. "And my true goal is to go where I am most needed. To right the wrongs of the universe, to fight for peace where there is war, and to banish evil and injustice forever. Just as my mentor Rakeesh abdicated the throne of Tarna to follow the path of the paladin, so too will I decline the throne of Silmaria to continue following that path. Entering the Rites of Rulership was the best way to fulfill my duties. Now that Silmaria is once again at peace, my work here is finished."
"YOu risked your life and soul for nothing more than our thanks in return?" asked the centaur. "This is what being a paladin is? You will walk away from the highest honour we can give you?"
"A paladin does what is to be done Logos" said Rakeesh. "The Prince of Shapier does not need to rule this land. Elsa von Spielburg is just as worthy of the throne. However, there are evils that need defeating and deeds that need doing, which only a paladin can do."
Rakeesh then announced to everyone present, "the prince of Shapeir has chosen as a paladin. He will forever walk the path of the hero!"
The crowd cheers.
* * * * *
The next morning, Fry, Leela, and Bender awake and go downstairs.
"Man, am I hungry!" said Fry as he and his two companions sit at the table.
Moments later, the gnomes brings in a pot of some food.
"We're having Ghoulash!" she said.
"What is it?" asked Fry.
"You don't want to know! You really don't want to know!"
* * * * *
"That was the worst thing I've ever eaten" said Leela as they stagger out of the inn.
"It's even worse than Bender's cooking" said Fry.
"Hey! I heard that!" said Bender.
"No offense Bender" said Fry. "But the worst thing I ever ate before Ghoulash was your tuna surprise."
Bender was shocked. "Really?! I thought you liked it!"
"Surprise!" said Fry.
"Anyway, let's go see Erasmus!" said Leela.
* * * * *
Past the arena, they come to a platform with a hat spinning above it.
"Look at the markings on these pillars" said Fry. "I wonder what they mean?"
"Great!" said Bender. "We've come all this way, and now we're stuck!"
In frusteration, Bender kicks one of the pillars. Suddenly, the trio are engulfed in a flash of lights.
When the lights clear, they are high above in the sky.
"You did it Bender!" said Leela.
"I did?" asked Bender. "Oh yeah, I guess I did!"
In front of the platform they stood upon was a cloud in the shape of a face.
"He that wishes to pass through me, first must answer questions three" it said. "What are your names?"
"What is your quest?"
"To deliver a parcel" said Fry.
"What is the meaning of life?"
"That's easy" said Fry. "42!"
Bender and Leela are shocked.
"You are correct" said the cloud. "You may pass!"
It opens its mouth, revealing a passage beyond towards a great palace.
"How did you know?" asked Leela as the trio pass through.
"Easy" said Fry. "The answer was in The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy!"
* * * * *
Inside the main hall of the palace, the trio are suddenly lifted off their feet.
"I'm flying!" said Fry. "I'm flying!"
"Big deal!" said Bender. "So are we!"
The trio flapped their arms as they floated across the room. Before a set of curtains covering a wall, similar to in a move theatre, a familiar wizard from Fry's dream and his rat are seated.
"Oh look Fenrus!" the wizard said. "Company!"
"I'm sorry" said Leela, "did we disturb you?"
"Not at all" said the wizard. "We were just finishing a game of Wizard's Wrath."
"Erasmus was losing, so he blew up the game!" said Fenrus.
"I just got a little excited, that's all" said Erasmus. "Perfect timing of you all to come here."
"Pardon us Erasmus" said Fry, "but we're looking for Devon Aidendale. We were told that you could tell us where he is."
"That I can!" said Erasmus. "I know of a spell that can track him down and give you his exact location right now!"
The curtains open up and an image of a map of the area appears on the wall.
"Trissle, trussle, trassle, tree" chants Erasmus with his arms outstretched and in constant motion. "Show us where Devon is thee!"
An island on the eastern side of the map begins to glow before the image disappears and the curtains close.
"He is currently living on the island of Lymnos" said Erasmus. "He is there right now! If you wish to meet with him, you must go to Lymnos!"
"Thank you Erasmus!" said Fry. "Come on guys! Let's go deliver our parcel!"
* * * * *
Fry, Leela, and Bender return to their ship outside the city gates.
"Next stop, Lymnos!" said Leela. "Look out Devon, here we come!"
She starts up the ship which ascends off the ground and up into the sky towards their final destination.
To Be Continued