Welcome back to Friday Flash Fiction! This time, I was inspired in part by a version of D&D I have called X-Crawl, which posits that adventures are televised, like a game show or professional wrestling. I took it a step further, and did it as a reality show, where contestants are thrown together with unknown partners and given a quest to give for a large cash reward. I had fun writing it, I hope you enjoy it.
The Dungeon Crawlers Season Finale!
Dave brushed his had across his face as he smiled into the camera. The effect was more blood and dirt across his face than it cleaned off.
“Right, so,” he said with enthusiasm. “We had reached the top of the Dragon’s Maw Mountain. I knew that this was it. The end of our quest was at hand. Nothing could possibly stop us.”
Rick pulled the hood of his head, revealing singed tips of hair that still had smoke curling off of it. He glared at the camera.
“Yeah,” he said in a gravelly voice. “Dave’s kind of an idiot.”
“We so got this!” Dave said as the reached the bridge. “All we gotta do now is drop the wand into the lava!”
“It can’t be this easy,” Rick was saying, pulling a wickedly curved dagger from somewhere in his leather hoodie. “There’s got to be a trap or a guardian or something.”
“Rick’s right,” Jane said, drawing her sword and readying her shield. “Something’s not right about this.”
“Really?” Dave said. “You think fighting out way up here though the fire imps that love the lava flows was easy? Does that seem easy to you?”
Jane and Rick looked at each other and then back to Dave, and simultaneously said, “Yes.”
“Actually,” Frank said from behind the group, “I’m with Dave on this one.”
Everyone turned to look at him in surprise, and he adjusted his green priest’s collar uncomfortably under the scrutiny.
“Really?” Dave said.
“Yes,” Frank said. “Hear me out. We’ve gone through everything this quest has required of us. And that last fight with the fire imps and their fire knight champion was pretty tough, you have to admit. After that, what more could this quest throw at us? I mean, the only thing that would possibly live at the mouth of a volcano is a dragon.”
Dave, Rick and Jane a looked at each other.
“He has a point,” Jane said reluctantly.
That was when they heard the roar. Turning around, they could see a great, red, scaly lizard creature with massive leather wings rising up behind the bridge. It put two paws down, with claws a long as Jane’s sword, causing the ground to shake slightly as it did so. Lava dripped from its scales, and its yellow eyes started at the party with as much heat as the volcano itself was giving off.
“You had to say it,” Rick said. “You just had to say it, didn’t you.”
“It’s not my fault,” Frank said!
“Blame later, killing now,” Jane said, and charged the massive beast, shield raised, and everyone else raised either weapons or arms, ready to help their companion.
Rick growled and glared at the camera. He reached behind him and put the hood back over his head.
“I hate dragons,” he said. “This is the last time I sign up for a quest with a bunch of adventurers I don’t know.”
Jane slowly sat in the chair, trying to straighten out her blond hair, looking uncomfortably into the camera. She attempted a smile, but it looked more like a grimace.
“I hate this part,” she mumbled.
“I just want to say that Frank’s injury is my fault,” she said. “It wasn’t on purpose, but I thought I could free him if I could just cut off that dragon’s hand. I… forgot we were on a bridge.”
“Help!” Frank called as he struggled to free himself from the dragon’s claws.
“I got you, Frank,” Jane called, ducking the dragon’s other claw as she ran towards her companion. She jumped into the dragon’s arm and sliced down hard with her magic blade, and cut completely through the wrist. The claw, still clutching at Frank, fell fast.
“Frank!” she cried out, then struggled to hold on as the dragon also cried out, in pain, thrashing the injured arm around.
Working fast, Dave ran to the edge of the bridge casting a spell as he went. He completed his spell just as the figure hit the lava. Then, Frank, complete with the dragon’s calw, reappeared, though he was burned and covered in lava.
“Take care of him,” Rick shouted as he ran towards the monster. “Jane, keep that thing distracted for a few minutes longer. I just need one shot.”
Jane, still clutching the dragon’s arm as if flung around, shouted back. “I’ll do the best I can.”
“I tell you,” Dave said. “That was a one in a million shot. What a fantastic way to end the fight!”
“I knew the little bastard was keeping a magic item hidden from the rest of us,” Jane said.
Rick reached into his hoodie and pulled out a new dagger, that was glowing a sickly green color. Without taking time to aim, he threw it at the dragon. The blade flew straight, and struck the creature right in the eye. It cried out and fell backwards into the volcano shaft below the bridge. Jane jumped off, but her armor held her back from reaching the bridge. Suddenly, she was floating up in the air and gently placed onto the bridge.
“We did it!” Dave shouted, ending the spell that saved Jane.
“Yeah we did,” Jane said. Then, she pulled out the item that started off this whole quest, a long wand made of crystal. She held it over the edge of the bridge and tossed it after the dragon. “And that takes care of that.”
“And that means we’ve beat this season’s quest,” Dave said. “And we get our million gold piece reward. Man, I can’t wait to see all this on TV, and see what the rest of the team has to say about me.”
Frank coughed from bed, burn marks all over his body, his leg and arm in a cast.
“Yeah, Dave,” he said in a weak voice. “he’s kind of an idiot.”