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The Misadventures of the Venerable Mister Pinker - Chapter One

Author: 
Christian Goodrich
Old Vault Category: 
fanfiction
Old Vault ID: 
72

Mr. Hubbard heard the bells on the front door jingle as a customer entered the shop. “I’ll be there in a minute.” He said putting down his wood saw and then wiping his hands on his carpenter’s apron.

The old man ran a hand through his graying hair before stepping out of the back room and into the main area of the shop. Everything was in order: the candy was in its place; the herbs and grains were as they should be, and all of the equipment was neatly polished and reflected back his smile.

He looked about the room only to find it empty. Mr. Hubbard was about to return to the back room when he saw too small boys standing in front on his counter, looking about the shop.

“Good day to ye, kids. Could I-” Mr. Hubbard greeted warmly.

One of them, not more than four feet tall turned and glared at him though thick square glasses. He wore a lengthy coat that came down to his ankles, hiss ears were pointed and he had very large eyes.

“We are not ‘kids,’ old man. I am insulted by the very idea of that comment. In a world where almost fifty percent of the population is less than five feet tall it is best to think through your statements. There are gnomes, elves, halflings, dwarves and all manner of other sub-races that barely come up to your incredibly broad midsection. So if you wish to keep business with us ‘wee-folk’ I would suggest that you not use such crude and careless language when addressing us. I am a half gnome and as such, am cursed with a diminutive height. But I am older than you by a long shot, kiddo. Now if you would be so kind as to go back into your little room and try this all over again, I am in need of some parts and must be on my way soon.” The boy said authoritatively.

Mr. Hubbard stood there and blinked a moment, completely taken aback by the affront verbal assault the little man had given him. He continued with his previous statement. “I t’was going to ask if ye were interested in a sugar cane or two, but seeing as ye are not children—“

The half-gnome’s eyes lit up at this. “Well in that case, gramps, hand it over!”

 

Chapter 1: Escape from Sumpton

 

..::Field Note::..

 

This is the first field note in the time following my exile. I have been thrown out into an uncaring world with the destruction of my entire laboratory at the hands of under-fed, under-educated humans.

My first stop since I escaped is a small town called Sumpton. It is a horrible place populated almost totally by humans. I find that humans appear to be completely happy despite their backwater living standards and completely atrocious education.

Hopefully I will be able to find what I need here, probably in a trashcan or some other equally unpleasant place.

 

Professor Pinker Yimble left the old man’s shop happily licking on the candy that he had been given. Silly old man. Of course, he himself hadn’t been much better; acting as a child to get free food and lower prices. Oh well, it was a sacrifice that needed to be made.

“Hurry up, Max.” He shouted, looking back over his shoulder at the over packed dwarf. “I’m in the sun.”

“Righto, Mister Pinker.” The dwarf youth struggled to his side, his hands full of parts and candy. Quickly he popped open an umbrella and raised it above Pinker’s head.

The two made quite a sight walking through the filth laden streets of Sumpton. Pinker was almost cherub-like in his appearance: his gnome and elfish ancestry granting him a sort of timeless childishness. His hair was swept back from his face, standing straight on end from numerous explosions. He carried a black suitcase/bag by his side.

Maximillion, on the other hand, looked quite silly. The dwarf was still young enough by dwarfish standards to have no beard at all, meaning he had yet to reach puberty. Standing a few inches taller than Pinker, Max looked older and like he should be in charge. His dress was plain, reflecting his standing as an apprentice. He chubby, freckled face, was all but hidden under the heap of equipment and supplies his carried. The young dwarf leaned far backward; off balanced by the stack he carried as well as the heavy backpack he wore.

People everywhere stopped to stare at the two short persons as though they had never seen another race in their entire lives. Pinker tried his best to pay them no heed. They obviously had no other excitement in their lives than seeing a few outsiders wander through their village. They probably would be equally enthralled with watching paint peel or guessing what day of the week it was. Actually they probably didn’t even know there were days in the week.

“Mommy! Mommy, look at the little men!!” shouted some small child.

“Yes dear, don’t pay them any attention. Now lets go inside dear.” Responded the child’s parent.

As a matter of fact, those people that did stare at them did so only momentarily before quickly hurrying inside one of the nearby building, or bustling away in the probable direction of their homes. A lone cart slowly squeaked its way up the road pulled along by a half-dead mule.

“Mister Pinker, they don’t seem to be trying at all to make us feel welcome here.” Max said.

“I am well aware of that, Max.” Pinker said. “They are probably in cahoots with the idiots responsible for the destruction of my lab. Lets get back to the horses and move on.”

As they rounded the corner of the alleyway where Pinker had left the horses his sensitive ears perked up. Something nearby was growling, loudly. Quickly he held out his hand to stop Max in his tracks and then motioned for silence by clasping his hand violently over the young lad’s mouth. The two little people stood there silently for a moment, frozen in their tracks. Again came the growling sound. It was almost on top of them now!

Forcefully, Pinker dragged Max backward, keeping the young dwarf between himself and the oncoming beast. Whispering in Max’s ear he said, “From the pitch it sounds like a Hell Hound or a Cockatrice. I imagine it was sent after us by the human fiends that destroyed the lab.”

The hand held tightly against his mouth muffled Max’s response.

“Do not speak, boy, or we are both dead. It is said that these creatures can suffocate you by stealing away all of your words!” Pinker fumbled at his side, finally drawing his pistol from its holster. He pulled back the hammer, readying the weapon.

Several of the villagers wandered past, looking oddly at the two standing there. Obviously they did not understand the seriousness of this situation. Or else they were in league with whoever had brought the beast here. Of course! Pinker thought. Why had he not realized before?

Just then Pinker’s incredible hearing was attracted to the sound of children’s laughter. There was more than one beast, and they could imitate the sound of a human! He had heard of these kinds of creatures of course. Now was it wolfsbane or golden bullets that could slay them outright? Or garlic… If he only had his field notes handy.

Finally Pinker steeled himself against all fear. “Come out, fell beast! I’m not afraid of you, or your master! Come forth and look upon your death!” He shouted from behind Max, leveling his pistol over the apprentice dwarf’s shoulder.

His mouth finally released from Pinker’s death grip, Max immediately began babbling. “Mister Pinker, that wasn’t any mon—“ A quick elbow to the back silenced the cowardly boy. All Pinker needed now was for his sniveling assistant to give away their position to the enemy.

The laughter stopped. Obviously his excellent hearing and threats had caught them completely off guard. There was the growling sound again. In fact, it sounded like it was coming from right in front of them. Pinker gaped: they were using invisibility magick!

Using his better judgment, Pinker fired off a round at the ground directly in front of them. Max yelped and ducked down in front of Pinker, covering his ears and screaming, “I’ve been hit! I’ve been hit!”

Cowardly beasts! He thought. They creatures were attacking the poor defenseless boy and he couldn’t even see them to stop it. As fast as he could, Pinker holstered his pistol and slapped the side of his gauntlets together. Like clockwork two punching knifes locked into place over his hands. Like a whirlwind he torn into the invisible foes in front of him. They were obviously too fast, evading each of his killing blows.

Suddenly Max caught hold of him, stopping his barrage. “Mister Pinker,” whispered urgently in the half-gnome’s ear. “That was no beast!”

Pinker stopped in mid-stroke and spun to face the dwarf. “No beast? Explain.”

“We haven’t eaten for some time and me tummy—“

..::Field Note::..

 

I can only blame myself for the idiotic way in which things went in Sumpton. Perhaps if I had a mechanical servant who didn’t need food I would be better off.

This will need looking into in the future.

 

“You mean…”

Before either of them could finish their conversation there was a roar of applause. A fairly large group of humans had gathered around them and were now applauding loudly and throwing coins at the feet of the two little people. Several human children were peering around the corner of the alleyway, eyes wide with fear.

One of the bearded fellows stepped forward and, leaning down, patted each of them on the shoulder. “Well done, gents, it not be e’ry day that we get a performance such as this. We were sorely in need of a good bit o’ entertainment and ye have graciously provided it. Had ye but said that you were entertainers we would have thrown out the welcome mat to thee.” He smiled broadly and returned to the applauding crowd.

Pinker stood there silently dumbfounded. Max soaked up the applause, bowing deeply and smiling widely, blowing kisses at the assembled humans. The half-gnome felt his face redden. He had played the fool and now he was getting his comeuppance. But to humans! Oh the shame of it.

Bowing his head, Pinker grabbed Max by the collar and led him away from the crowd and towards the alleyway. This brought a laugh from the dissipating crowd.

“Idiot!” he grumbled. “Warn me the next time you feel the need for your body to voice its hunger! I have never been so humiliated.”

“Actually, Mister Pinker, there was that one time—“

“Oh do shut up. Just get the iron horses warmed up and we can get out of here.”

Having finally rounded the corner of the alley the apprentice and master were again stopped in their tracks. Pinker’s mouth hung open in disgust and rage. Five human children were clambering about the sides of their two iron clad horses. They were laughing and bouncing about on them, opening the saddlebags and rummaging around in them.

“Does the insolence never stop?” he cried out glaring up at the heavens.

The children looked up and then hopped off of the iron horses, forming a defensive line in front of them. “What dost thou want, pip-squeak?” demanded the tallest of the group.

“Its always about the height isn’t it? Always the same insult, always the height!” Pinker screamed at them. “Why not make fun of the fact that I look eight years old or that I wear clothes one size larger than a toddler’s? Or my bad breathe?”

“I was meaning to talk to you about that, Miste—“

“Shut up, Max.” Pinker snarled. “You will step away from the horses, or I will be forced to go medieval on you sorry, high in the air buttocks!”

“Sounds like a challenge to me.” The boy said.

“It was, you moron.”

“Right.” The boy drew a two handed great sword seemingly from nowhere. His companions drew similarly wicked looking weapons.

Pinker swallowed loudly. “You can still leave now and I will overlook this whole incident. You are obviously outmatched, I am giving you a chance to live.”

“Whatever.”

Without warning the five children charged. Pinker again activated his punch daggers and set to fighting. They were swarming him. In a flurry of motion and poise, Pinker blocked a blow with one hand and attacked with another. He paused only a moment before launching a dart from one of his gauntlets. Stomping down hard on the heel of his boot, Pinker produced a toe knife, which he lashed out with, catching one of the children by surprise.

“Mister Pinker!” Max was shouting from nearby, completely ignored by the enraged pre-pubescent mongrels.

“What is it Max?” he asked, leaning far back to avoid a swipe of a great sword.

“Should I be doing something, Mister Pinker?”

“Yes, Max.” A blow from behind narrowly missed Pinker’s leg, instead ripping a massive gash in the back of his coat.

“What should I do?”

Pinker lunged forward, overwhelming one of the blighters. He had to duck low to avoid another barrage of attacks, all of which connected with the blades of their counterparts, resulting a quite a tumult among the attack children. “Get the flame-thrower of +5.”

“Righto, Mister Pinker—where is it?”

“In the second bag of holding.” Pinker gesticulated at one of the saddlebags.

Max swaggered over to the iron horses and began searching through the bags attached to their sides. Pinker sighed forlornly: had it been food that Max was looking for he would already have found it and eaten all of it. Sometimes he wondered if the boy had any interest at all in the arts of the artificer.

Muttering to himself, Max looked through one side of the bad and then another. Pinker, pinned to the ground by the swarm of little humans, was beginning to get worried, holding tightly to the pommel of one of the attacker’s swords, keeping it away from his throat. “Oh Maaaxxxx!!!! Do please hurry. I’m not sure how much longer I can keep this up. They’re running off of a sugar buzz and it’s making them stronger!”

“Righto, Mister Pinker.”

“Don’t you ‘righto, Mister Pinker’ me! Just find the blazing thing.”

Again a crowd of bored peasants was gathering at the mouth of the alleyway to watch the brawl between the children and the little people. They cheered as Pinker blasted another dart from his gauntlet, catching a girl in the face and knocking her sprawling.

A gout of flame blasted over the top of Pinker, setting two of the remaining three children on fire. They ran screaming out of the alleyway and into the public square. The crowd gasped in awe, several fainted and others scampered for their homes. There was a whispering going among those present: “Witchcraft.”

Pinker knocked the remaining child off of him and then scrambled to his feet. The remaining boy glared at Pinker before charging again, his great sword held high. Reaching for his holster, Pinker produced another pistol and fired point-blank at the boy, killing him in his tracks. He blew the smoke from the end of his gun before raising his hands in triumph.

..::Field Note::..

 

Never trust townspeople to be on your side. In fact, count on them always being against you. With this philosophy you can avoid so many horrible situations.

Also, never take on five heavily armed children alone.

 

“No child can beat me!” he crowed at Max.

His apprentice’s eyes were not fixed on his master; however, they were looking beyond him at the gathered humans. Pinker turned about and understood why. The people were grim faced, holding pitchforks and torches (in broad daylight of all times).

“They started it!” he pointed at the singed corpses.

Over his shoulder Pinker heard the roar of one of the iron horses as Max started up his mount. Pinker turned tail and fled for his own mount, leaping into the saddle and stomping on the starter. The horse sputtered to life billowing smoke out of its tail. At this marvel the crowd backed off for a moment, giving Pinker the time he needed to head out with Max close behind.

Wheeled legs turning, the iron horses screamed forward and away from the dreadful town. The citizens of Sumpton following them as far as the city gates, shouting profanities after them.

“Now what will we do?” moaned one. “I had my heart set on a good flogging riot.”





The Misadventures of the Venerable Mister Pinker - Chapter One © Christian Goodrich

Migrate Wizard: 
First Release: 
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