Still going with the story of Fred Johnson, Paragon of Virtue. Here are links to the previous episodes. If you need/want to catch up, click here for the 1st installment, 2nd installment, 3rd installment, 4th installment, 5th installment, 6th installment, 7th installment., 8th installment, 9th installment, 10th installment
Word for this week's 10-word challenge were: corn, chalice, perpendicular, what if, leaves, relief, teaching, healer, ramp, diamond ring And for the mini: peek-a-boo, highest, shallow, willing, imagination
If he had hoped for relief from his anxiety, Fred had not gotten it from the Chef's note. Or at least the relief it offered was immediately erased by his fevered imagination presenting him with a series of horrific "what ifs" in which not only was he beheaded by Count Psycho (who for some reason insisted on playing peek-a-boo with him from the side-lines), but Bubbles and her baby suffered a series of horrible fates as a consequence of his inadequacy as a Paragon of Virtue. Lying in a heap of self pity on his bed, he moaned to himself - Wasn't it bad enough that being Paragon put his own life at risk? Now sweet pregnant Bubbles and her unborn child were relying on him to keep them safe. "I was not made for this," Fred muttered to himself. I am shallow and even though I am willing - how could I not want to protect sweet Bubbles and her child... and this Kingdom which has been so kind to me? - I do not have greatness in me. Would that I did." He was about to spiral into despair when Cane's wet nose butted him gently and brought him out of it. "What would I do without you, dog?" he asked, fondly reaching over and scratching the dogs's ears with one hand while pulling a cracker out of his pocket with the other. "Truth is, whether I'm up to the job or not, I'm who the tree stump chose for the highest honor of being Paragon and that leaves the task up to me. Guess I'd better ramp up my courage and see if I can come up with some kind of plan. Let's see if we can find our way to the kitchen. I wonder if Chef sent any corn muffins. We could take her a couple on the pretext that her cousin sent it because a healer told him it would be good for her baby. Sounds reasonable, doesn't it? Let's get me perpendicular and get going. Come on dog." Leaping out of bed he sighed happily to find the desired corn muffins, checked his pockets for the graph twigs and cloth and headed out the door. This was his first opportunity to walk the halls of the Fortress unaccompanied and he thought it might be a good idea to use the time teaching himself as much as he could about the lay of the land, to connect the descriptions on Bubbles excellent map to the reality of the space around him. There was no shortage of things to look at. The halls abounded with paintings, sculptures, and tables and cabinets with a variety of ornate and bejeweled objects: chalices, crowns, sceptres, even a diamond ring or two were on display. in a not so subtle flaunting of wealth and power.
Fred soon felt a sense of being followed. Maybe it was his imagination but he thought he heard shallow breathing echoing off the walls not far behind him, though when he turned quickly to see if he could spot whoever it was, there was no one there. He decided he was not willing to continue on in that fashion, so the first time he and Cane turned a corner, he attempted to duck out of sight behind the highest object he could find and see if he could catch whoever was tailing him. Sure enough a few seconds later footsteps drew closer and as they came near Fred jumped out into the path of a small, wizened old man with a triumphant "Peek-a-boo." Seeing the horrified look on the old man's face, Fred felt a bit ashamed and quickly apologized. "Sorry, he said, "I thought you were following me. Didn't mean to scare you. Well, I did, but...." The old man laughed. No need to apologize. I was following you... but I meant you no harm. Spark asked me to keep an eye on you if I could. Name's McFlash. Edgar McFlash. Nice to meet you."
Relief washed over Fred's anxious spirit like water in the desert. Leaning against the wide perpendicular column he had recently been hiding behind, he beamed. "Wonderful to meet you Mr. McFlash. Any friend of Spark's is a friend of mine and it's just eases my mind to know I'm not quite as alone as I have been feeling. I was taking a couple of Chef Confetti's corn muffins to the kitchen. as an excuse to see Bubbles. I thought I'd say a healer told Chef that they would be good for the baby. I have several. Would you care for one? If you haven't tasted chef's food, you really must. What do you do, by the way?" "Don't mind if I do," the old man replied, "and since I happen to be a healer, you won't even be lying. Anything produced by Confetti's hands heals body and spirit... and as it happens, since I am on my way to see Bubbles myself to make a special preparation of tamango leaves which will strengthen and protect her and her baby, what if I join you and show you a short-cut in the process? It will make it easier for you to speak with her. I'm delighted to be teaching her the art of healing. She is a remarkable young woman as you may have already guessed. Shall we head on?" And so saying he made a quick right turn, led Fred through a series of doors, down a steep ramp and directly into the kitchen," calling out loudly as they entered. "Bubbles, my dear, bring me the potion chalice, the one with the diamond ring circling the bottom. Oh - and I've brought you a visitor bearing corn muffins from Confetti. Medicine for body and soul, my dear." As Bubbles came towards them, chalice in hand, he beamed happily. "You are looking radiant indeed," young woman. And Fred, feeling a bit like he was betraying Flashlight, had to agree that she was not just radiant but dazzling. "Brought you a muffin," he muttered blushing as she smiled with delight.
Words for next week's 10-word challenge: Paradise, silver, wind in the trees, ravaged, illustration, cat toys, important, candid, cartwheel, liver
And for the mini: bank, lotion, carpenter, slick, cheek
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