Friday, 13 July 2018

Bungo the Barbarian, Chapter 21 - Adventure Mart Upstart

Not far from the beach, Bungo and Shallica had stumbled across a strange hut seemingly at the entrance to Turdmondaz. The weary travellers’ alarm had soon changed to amusement when they realised that it was one of many chain stores that were always placed handily right in front of all major dungeons. The sparkling neon lettering emblazoned above the threshold proudly read “Adventure Mart” in bold capital letters. In their exhausted state, the building had an almost unquantifiable draw; an oasis of sorts for travellers.
As they approached, the magically enchanted doors opened by themselves and beckoned them in. The interior was bright and clean; with soothing music being played by a tiny harp playing fairelf from somewhere nearby. Needless to say, Bungo had already ruined the cultivated calm of the retail environment by traipsing a large quantity of beach sand in with him. His arrival was also punctuated by a loud bang as he knocked a stack of shoddy discount wands on the ground. They rolled across the floor in a clatter of soon to be broken twigs as Bungo’s oversized boot carelessly ground them into the carefully applied linoleum.
“Welcome to Adventure Mart, can I take your order?” A nervous looking shop goblin shuffled round the front counter. He looked at Bungo expectantly with shining eyes; ushering him towards a shelved area where an eclectic selection of goods were displayed. Bungo’s attention was soon caught by an oddly bulbous vial filled with a bubbling red liquid. He eyed the item with suspicion; picking it up in one oversized hand and sniffing it incredulously.
“I see you have a keen sense of self-preservation. Our life potions are guaranteed to keep you fighting fit for longer, with their patented dual-guard action.”
The salesman continued enthusiastically; sensing a potential sale in the making.
“For only 3 more Chromes you could upgrade to the latest edition; Health-Up Diamond Magnum. Its special whitening formula really does wonders to restore your natural lustre.”
Shallica’s eyebrows raised almost imperceptibly with concern. Bungo uncorked the concoction; wafting the unfettered potion under his nose.
“This is just grape juice.” The barbarian rumbled the words quizzically, before sticking his finger down the glass bottle to taste the mixture. His massive digit stuck fast in the finely turned ornate bottleneck. He struggled for a moment, before trying to nonchalantly move the item out of eyesight of the shop-clerk while feigning interest in another product. A short while later, the sound of broken glass could be heard from nowhere in particular; followed by some tuneless whistling.
A bead of nervous sweat ran down the shopkeeper’s brow, and he shifted uncomfortably from foot to foot trying to think of something to say. A moment passed in silence, until he followed Bungo’s disinterested gaze to the clothing aisle, and he took the opportunity to move towards products that weren’t so fragile.
“Maybe you’d be interested in these hand-knitted Derpo-pants. They were a limited run” he paused mid-sentence “or at least we haven’t had a shipment for quite some time. Their sporty design really gives great air flow”. He held up the threadbare fatigues gingerly; trying to position them to avoid the wide yellow-brown stain that was spattered across the crotch. Shallica made a muffled gagging sound as she threw up a little bit in her throat.
“Go on, give them a try”. The clerk held up the item; wafting it towards Bungo and Shallica seductively. His only reply was a sharp horrified screech from Shallica that cut the organised calm of the shop like a knife, followed by a loud bang as she scrambled to hide under a nearby table. The she-demon’s hissing face appeared from under the tablecloth a moment later; snarling like a feral feline surrounded by wolves.
“Maybe not” rumbled Bungo, swaggering further down the aisle. He stopped briefly to inspect a murky green jar that was labelled with the words “Pickled Hero Sausage”. As he stared, several meaty objects loomed out of the slimy depths; accompanied by what appeared to be a reptilian eye and some shoelaces. Bungo grunted approvingly before stuffing the item down the front of his leather pants and walking on.
The shop clerk was oblivious to Bungo’s banditry, as he had spent the last few minutes trying to coax Shallica out from her hiding spot with little success. Resigned to the fact that she was unlikely to come out any time soon, and with a face covered in spittle for his trouble, the clerk turned back towards Bungo; only to see him staring out the shop window with an intense look on his face.
“Something’s coming”. The words had gravity to them, and almost as if on the command of some strange magic, an ominous rumbling sound could be heard approaching steadily.
The noise seemed to build to a vibrating crescendo as it got closer, and the whole Adventure Mart started to shake. Several potions were dislodged from the shelves by the din; intermixing the heady stench of strange spices and grape juice into the sensory overload. As the volume increased a multitude of jabbering screeching voices could be heard.
“It’s here!” Bungo sounded unusually excited; his deep baritone was barely audible over the din. A heart beat later, the wooden shop wall exploded in a shower of splintered wood as a colossal steed broke through carrying a small terrified figure on its back. They skidded to a stop in the store; followed by a swarm of angry raging butt-goblins with weapons bared.

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