"Dragon Quest" Part X by NobodyAtAll

Part IX

Now that Alpha went and nuked all the other undead bastards, we can focus on the super-skeleton.


I blast the asshole back with the hottest fire I can muster.

It’s visibly charred, but still standing.

“For fuck’s sake! What does it take to put this asshole back in the grave?!?”


Alpha blasts a bunch of the bones around its shoulder away, but it’s still standing.

“Obviously, WHOEVER raised all these bastards put everything they had into THIS one. It’s the trump card, Eddy! I don’t think anyone else pushed these assholes so hard they had to do this!”

“So we just gotta keep banging our heads against this brick wall until it finally breaks.”

Erdrick pops his head out of my bag.

“Mistah Caw wudda had it dun bai nao.”

“Yeah, but he couldn’t come. Dunno why, though.”

I notice Al avoid making eye contact with me for a moment.

What obligation was Cal talking about? Does Al know?

“You got any more ideas, Eddy?”

“Fuck it. Bail!”

A slow, deep, reassuring voice cuts in from behind us.

“But you’re doing so well. Zana!

And Panthera marches up, blasting the super-skeleton with white light, which floors it.

I’ve seen him cast that spell before, so I know what it does. It’s a healing spell, more or less identical to Bulan on our side.

Erdrick, still poking out of of my bag, looks thoroughly confused.

“Mistah Pan-tewwa! Wai am yu hewpin it?”

I stroke Erdrick, as we watch the big bony bastard get back up.

“Nah, Erdrick. Healing spells hurt undead.”

Panthera nods, casting again, knocking the bonehead back on its ass.

Zana! Indeed. A spell like Wakk, which inflicts instant death upon the living, would instead heal undead to full… unhealth. They’re charged with the same negative energy as undead are, and healing spells are charged with positive energy.”

Al blasts the bonehead back again, after it rudely tried to interrupt Panthera.

“And you can convert positive energy to negative energy and back, right? Which is why the living can cast Mortys and Wakk, and why the undead can cast healing spells like Bulan and Zana.”

Zana! That is correct, Alpha. They just have to avoid casting those respective spells on themselves. But how are you so knowledgeable about magic?”

“My friend’s a wizard. And a robot, like me. Yes, really, that’s a thing on Earth. So can we kill this asshole now? I’m not usually so eager to kill, but as I told Eddy, I’ve got shit to do.”

The bonehead prepares to rush us again.

“Together, gentlemen?”

“Together, Panthera. Erdrick, it’s gonna get hot.”

As Erdrick ducks back into the bag, I nod, charging the biggest dragon fire blast I can, the flames illuminating my mouth like a jack-o’-lantern, smoke streaming out of my nostrils.

Alpha starts charging a golden energy blast, and Panthera prepares to cast.

Just as it gets close, we let it rip.




“Is it dead?”

“It was always dead, Al.”

“You KNOW what I mean, Eddy.”

When the smoke clears, we see…

A big black mark on the ground, where the super-skeleton used to be.

“Ey, it’s actually dead! That was BOUND to work one of these days.”

Erdrick appears from my bag once again.

“Su am we dun hewe?”

I pet his head, and he coos.

I find the sound of a fluffy cooing quite pleasing. Kind of like a purring cat. Cal’s with me on this.

“Not yet, Erdrick. All of the supporting cast have left the set, but the main star’s still in his trailer. We’re just moving on to the next act.”

“Daddeh wub moo-vee metta-fows, huh.”

“You know it, buddy. So Panthera, what are you doing here?”

“You left your magic mirror at the castle, Edward. I’ve been trying to warn you. Nox says you’re walking into a trap.

Panthera tells us about the mouse Nox hunted down, which he only realized when it was too late that the mouse was no mere mouse, but…

“Another of Dehak’s hosts. So he’s here, Al. He used Nox to take a shortcut and beat us here. Killing whatever host he’s in sends him back to the staff, right?”

“Correct, Edward. Unless he bails on it before the killing blow is struck. And if he doesn’t find a replacement host quickly enough, he’ll be sent back into the staff anyway. You understand why he wants a host that will last, I presume?”

“The same reason all those assholes who went after Cal did. The funny thing is, if Dehak wasn’t such a douche, Cal would probably be willing to help him get a new body. Not the first guy he’s done it for. Val can clone empty bodies.”

“If Dehak nu wuz a doosh, Dehak nu wudda wost him bodee in da fiwst pwace.”

“…Touché, Erdrick. So should we bother searching all the crypts? Or should we just assume that Dehak’s staff is in the biggest one, and skip to that one?”

“Honestly, I think we should call it a night. Come back when we’re more prepared, and have more friends with us. We were struggling with that big bony asshole, and you know how strong the two of us are, Eddy. And now that we’ve destroyed every OTHER moron who didn’t know when to stay buried in this place, Dehak’s completely defenceless. We can tackle him at our leisure if we can keep any more victims from walking in, right?”

Panthera nods at Alpha.

“I’ll ask Lorik to post guards at the entrance. I think you make some very good points, Alpha. Clearly, your creator had a brilliant mind.”

Alpha laughs.

“Oh, Panthera. You have NO IDEA how wrong you are. My creator was a HACK.”

“Dat am wut ev-wee-wun say.”

“And they’re absolutely right, Erdrick. If Hans hadn’t stumbled upon that boxful of dickhead Adam, he wouldn’t have been able to create the Omega Drives. Hell, if he didn’t have old Toothbrush Face lining his pockets with Nazi gold, he wouldn’t have built his first Stahlkörper, or all those backup labs.”

Panthera raises an eyebrow.

“I feel like I’m missing some context here, Alpha.”

I shrug, because I’m not the best person to give a history lesson.

“We’ll explain later. To be honest, I never really got a chance to get to know Hans. He blipped out of the Snowflake really quickly–”

“Because he was scared shitless of what I was gonna do to him.”

“–and I know that he was in charge of that Inhuman Alliance that attacked the city–”

“And I finally carved a reminder that my name is ALPHA into the asshole’s forehead.”

“–but I never really spoke to the guy. I do know that he’s responsible for like, half the shit the ChaotiX had to deal with before I joined, but I’m missing a lot of the details. Whenever the city was invaded back before I sneezed fire, I’d be evacuated with my dad and Erdrick.”

“You didn’t really miss much, Eddy. Lemme sum it up for you.”

Al adopts a mock whiny tone.

“Blah blah blah, I hate everyone, blah blah blah, Blue Fairy, I wish I wasn’t a real boy, blah blah blah, fuck Cal for foiling my stupid evil schemes over and over again. That’s Hans in a Nussschale.”

The four of us laugh, and Panthera amends his opinion on Hans.

“I stand corrected. He sounds like a reprehensible toerag.

“Yeah, that’s more accurate. So, if we’re done here for now, I suggest we get going. I need to check in on Hope and Dream.”

“Teww dem Ewdwick sed hewwo.”

“I will.”

So we make our way out of the Lich Yard.

We can’t teleport out, we’ve discovered, so we’ll have to exit the graveyard on foot.

But the trip out is a lot easier.

Dehak’s alone now. No more undead flunkies.

If we can keep innocents out of the Lich Yard, he can’t recruit any more undead. He can’t snag any more hosts.

So he’s stuck in that staff. Like Al said, we can tackle him at our leisure.

This ain’t over. We’ll be back.

And when we do come back, I’ll be stronger. I’ll be ready.

Nothing wrong with leaving the dungeon for a bit of level grinding before the big boss battle, right readers? Nothing wrong with stocking up on potions and whatnot beforehand, right?

Ooh, potions. There’s an idea.

Hopefully, by the time we’re ready to return here, I’ll be able to do more than just a dragon arm.

I’ve got other stuff to worry about in the meanwhile. Solving that cube and finding Mom, for starters.

You’ll see me again, Dehak.

And when you do?

I’ll scorch your fucking staff.

Inside the largest crypt in the Lich Yard, atop a large stone slab with a rune engraved upon it, there rests a staff.

A black staff, topped with a cracked sphere full of black smoke.

Shallow steps lead up to the slab, allowing someone as small as, say, a woolly to walk right up and grab the staff with their teeth, albeit with some minor difficulty.

Behind the slab, there stands a statue.

A statue of a tall, broad, older man, one who looks like a walking corpse, with stringy hair and an equally stringy beard, clad in a robe, a cape fastened with skull-shaped clasps, and boots with curled points. The statue’s expression is one of malicious smugness, and in one hand, the statue holds a stone replica of the staff before it.

A deep, raspy voice issues from the real staff.


The entity within the staff attempts to compose itself.

“Great. Just great. All my flunkies are gone, my staff is completely vulnerable, and THE DRAGON-BOY IS JUST WALKING AWAY!!!”

Not having a lot of success, obviously.

“Most adventurers would already be kicking the doors in by now! Does the dragon-boy not know anything about how things are done around here? If I had known he’d just walk away like that, I wouldn’t have bothered letting that damn cat kill my host! Now I’m stuck here, with no way to follow the dragon-boy! This was one big waste of time!”

The entity sighs.

“I was lucky enough to get that idiot Harvey to the Lich Yard. If the passageway hadn’t been open at the time, I probably wouldn’t have reached his mind across worlds. Now I’ve got to sit here and wait and hope that another of those shite-rodents wanders in looking for food! Ugh, I hate those shite-rodents! Why did the fleshlings even create them?”

A few minutes of silence passes, before the entity chuckles.

“Oh well. I was a bit too hasty, and I’ll just have to make a learning experience out of this. The dragon-boy will return here sooner or later, I’m sure of it. But what was that other power? It felt like Korkea, but… artificial.”

Another few seconds of silence.

“I’ll have to look into that later, too.”

Part XI