The interior of the castle was everything you would expect a castle to be. To the right hand side of the door was a cozy little coffee shop called StarOrcs. Adjacent to the coffee shop was a seating area surrounding a fireplace, the perfect place to sit and drink a coffee while reading a romance novel after a hard day out in the cold. The interior decorator of the castle seemed to take their inspiration from Country Chic; in other words, Hobby Lobby puked on the castle (Note to self: author needs to work on being better at describing things). To the right hand side of the entrance was the receptionists desk. Sitting behind the desk was a well-dressed orc. She seemed professional, and may be able to answer some of Dave’s questions.
“How can I help you today?” the receptionist asked.
“Um, yes, uh, I’m looking for the office of the Orc King,” Dave said.
The receptionist looked down at her computer and pecked away at the keyboard.
“Ok, that will be on the top floor, in room 507. Is he expecting you today?” she asked.
“I would imagine that he is not,” replied Dave.
“Well, that sounds ominous. But no worries, I’m not going to follow through on that with any additional questions. The Orc King’s schedule is clear for the next few hours. He will see you now if you go up.”
“Thank you,”Dave said as he made his way to the elevator.
Dave stepped into the elevator and pushed the number 5. Elevator music played in the background as he slowly ascended up to the 5th floor.
The decor on the fifth floor was much different from the first floor. The Country Chic look was gone and in its place were dark hallways and scary looking torches. The smell changed as well. The first floor had a light scent of lavender mixed with fresh linens, the fifth floor smelled like death. Literally. There were skeletons and decaying bodies in several places along the long hall leading to big wooden doors with a golden plate that said “507”. It would seem as if many an adventurer had tried and failed to enter into the Orc King’s office, but to no avail.
Dave took a few steps forward and suddenly, without warning, he walked into a spider web. Dave let out a scream of terror, pulled out his sword, and began thrashing around. It was not a very flattering sight.
Once Dave regained his bearings, he continued down the hall. Once he made it down the hall, he slowly opened the door that said “507”.
“Who is it? Come in?” a voice called.
Dave walked into the office of the Orc King and what he saw next was the most unexpected thing in all the world.
“Derek? It can’t be! No one has seen you since the orcs came! You accidentally opened the back door and let the orcs in! Everybody hates you!”
The pleasant look on Derek’s face quickly dissolved into a look of pure hatred as he began to realize who he was talking to.
“No,” Derek said, “I did not accidentally let the orcs in. I did it on purpose. Everybody hated me long before I let the orcs in. Now I am surrounded by people who accept me and love me. I am their king!”
Dave pulled the Raspberry Sword out of his sheath.
“Oh, you so are the chosen one of the legendary Raspberry Sword?” inquired Derek, “I’m not too worried about that. I too have mastered the Berry Arts.”
With that, Derek threw two strawberry nunchucks at Dave and Sal.
Sal bleated a sad and hurt bleat. But Dave dodged the nunchuck. He lunged forward to battle against Derek, sword in hand.
“You may have master the Berry Arts, and I may be new to this whole adventuring thing. But I am destined to restore order to the land of Arcadia and I will defeat you!”
With that, Dave thrust his sword into Derek. Dave did not know what to expect next. He had never actually properly used the Raspberry Sword. So what happened next was a complete shock: Derek began to turn into a pile of mixed berries. The shape of his humanity began to dissolve into a pile of mixed berries right in front of Dave’s eyes. Dave would have been tempter to eat a few of the berries, but that would be truly disturbing.
Dave looked around the room to see what damage had been done, when his eyes caught ahold of Sal. Sal was lying in the corner of the office, clearly wounded from the previous battle.
Dave ran to Sal, “Stay with me, buddy!” he said.
Unfortunately, Sal had accidentally ingested some strawberry seeds while battling against Derek. Sal’s diverticulitis was beginning to set in as he weakly laid on the ground, pathetically bleating in sadness.
Dave cradled Sal in his arms, “It’s ok, Sal. I’ve got you. You will be ok.”
Dave began to cry; he did not know what to do to save Sal, his pet and his one and only friend.
As Dave wept over Sal, a bright light began to shine down on them.
“Dave, you have saved the realm of Arcadia and have restored balance,” the Queen of All Berries said as she descended from the light.
Dave tried to speak between his sobs, “I know, but at what cost. If I had known that this would happen to Sal, I would never have taken on this task!”
“Sacrifices must be made for the greater good,” the Queen of all Berries said. But as she stood over Dave and Sal and saw the pain that they both were enduring, she began to soften, she then continued the thought, “But this is a sacrifice you will not have to make today.”
The Queen of all Berries wrote something down on a piece of paper and handed it to Dave, “I hope this helps,” she said as she slowly began to vanish.
Dave wiped some tears from his eyes and unfolded the piece of paper to see what the Queen of all Berries had written. When Dave saw the message his eyes lit up with excitement and urgency.
“I can still save Sal,” thought Dave, “But I have to move quickly!”