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!”
This story is a continuation of Dave and the Raspberry Sword, which you can read here. Be sure to check it out. Seriously. This story will make no sense if you don’t.
Dave assumed that the way that he was going to “restore order to Arcadia,” as the Queen of all Berries had said, he would need to go to the Arcadian Castle. Arcadian Castle was the largest castle in the entire land of Arcadia. The fact that both the names of the land and the castle were “Arcadia” was completely coincidental. Do you know how at work there are two people with the last name Fisher, and they always are hanging out together but they are not related at all? You know no one else with the last name Fisher in the entire world, but two of them are working in your office building but aren’t related. It is uncanny, but it happens. Nevertheless, the largest castle in the land of Arcadia was the Arcadian Castle.
Arcadian Castle was built by King Arcadia. On second thought, I may have drained this joke dry. Arcadian Castle was built by King Hank the 3rd. He was a benevolent ruler, who would often walk through the gardens with the children of Arcadia. He won the love and affection of the people by often giving out gift cards to Olive Garden.
The Arcadian Castle was supposed to be nigh impenetrable. The only weak point was the thermal exhaust port. Curiously enough, this was a problem that they were fully aware of but did nothing about, assuming that no one would take advantage of said weakness. The orcs did.
Because the orcs now occupied Arcadian Castle, it made sense for Dave to storm the castle and win it back. But in order to get to Arcadian Castle, Dave would need to go through the Forest of Blistering Insults. Many years ago, an apprentice sorceress was practicing spells when she accidentally cursed an entire forest. Now the trees insult people whenever they try to walk through the forest. The trees don’t hold back either! They don’t say things like “You’re stupid” or “I know what you are but what am I?” instead they cut deep into your deepest fears and anxieties. They say things like “Your mother never loved you,” or, “You forgot to turn the stove off when you left the house.” It is for this reason that few people have successfully been able to walk through the Forest of Blistering Insults.
Dave was filled with fear and trepidation as he approached the forest. As he got closer, he saw a small building that looked like a toll booth. A short man with a beard was sitting in the building. When the short man saw Dave, his ears perked up and he sprang into action.
“Howdy stranger!” the little man said, “Do you plan on walking through the Forest of Blistering Insults today?”
“Yes sir!” Dave answered.
“And what business do you have traveling through the Forest of Blistering Insults on this fine day?” the little man probed.
Dave did not know how much of the story he should tell, or if he should tell it at all. He decided on the most simple answer possible, “I plan on going to the Arcadian Castle with this sword that was given to me by the Queen of All Berries that tastes like berries in order to overthrow the orcs and restore order into the land of Arcadia.”
The little man wrote down Dave’s answer on the form, “And just for clarification, does the castle, the sword, or the Queen taste like berries. Your last sentence was incredibly unclear.”
“The sword,” Dave replied, as he unsheathed the Raspberry Sword to show it off.
“Oh, wow, that doesn’t make any sense at all.”
“I know, right!”
“Sign here please,” the little man said as he handed Dave an official looking form.
“What is this?” Dave asked.
“Welp, this here is a medical release form. Signing this simply states that we are not responsible for any damages done to your person or possessions physical, emotional, or otherwise. And that you will not sue us in case of something really bad happening to you.”
Dave was getting nervous, “I don’t like signing things before reading them carefully. Give me a minute.”
After 10 minutes of meticulously reading over the contract, Dave signed.
“You may now proceed,” the little man said as he jumped back into his toll booth to continue his Janette Oke book.
Dave began to journey into the Forest of Blistering Insults. What would happen to him when he got into the forest? Dave feared what pains and fears in his life would be highlighted before his eyes.
Suddenly he heard a voice call out in a dark, lonesome way, “Your credit score is 452, you will never be approved for a loan!”
Dave had owned this unfortunate truth in his life, he had made some unwise financial decisions when he was younger. This did not faze him.
“Your nose is too big,” one said.
“Your hair cut is stupid,” said another
“You’re worthless, Dave” began a chorus of trees. The insults, personal jabs, and unkind observations grew into an inaudible cacophony of torture with a common theme being heard above all the rest, “You’re worthless, Dave. You’re worthless.”
Undeterred, Dave pressed on. Sal became so frightened that he cowered in fear and insisted for Dave to hold him with his sad little bleating sounds.
The noises of the forest began to subside. As the insults became quieter and quieter, the light at the end of the forest grew brighter and brighter. Dave reached the edge of the forest, having successfully made it through, whereas many before him, and many after him, were not able to do so.
The big question that may be on your mind is why Dave was able to handle the tortures of the Forest of Blistering Insults, after all, we have already established pretty well that Dave is a pathetic man. It is likely that the forces that be were preparing Dave for a very long time for this very moment. Someday, Dave would have to thank his mother in law for constantly insulting and belittling him, there was nothing that the forest could say that could possibly be any meaner than what she would often say.
However, as Dave exited the forest, he walked right into something that shook him to his core- An orc.
“Who goes there?”The orc asked.
Dave looked down at Sal, “It looks like we will have to wait for the next blog post to find out what happens to us,” he said, “Hopefully the writer will be kind enough to allow us to survive this!”
And with that, this chapter in the story of Dave and the Raspberry Sword was over.
Stay tuned for part 3 of this fascinating 4 part trilogy!