The door to the storm shelter flew open and Mida ran down the stairs to the underground chamber. She quickly, but carefully, sat the Baron back down who immediately whipped out his cane and hobbled over to two strange machines up against the wall. They were "the valuer" and "the money changer." Both inventions of the Baron in his hay day, the valuer could evaluate any item's worth instantly. Part stock-ticker part scanner and photograph machine, it would portray a number of gold in dull, orange lighting within seconds. Then there was the money changer. Along with the valuer, this machine could be used like a vacuum message system to transport most light-weight items to immediately be exchanged for the money a valuer established for them. Money changers were rare, as they required having vacuum tubes that connected all the way back to Undermine. The Baron made sure that this one on his property was set up back when Bilgewater Port was first being built, should a rainy day emergency arise. Today, it was pouring.
"Quickly Mida." The Baron said, undoing his tie, "Anything of high-value you have dump into the valuer and then to the money changer. We've got to get out of Kezan with as much money in our pockets as possible."
Mida, still thinking of the incident back at the mansion, shouted, "Maldy doesn't care what form it's in. Once he's captured us he'll take all our money and our belongings! What have I done?"
"Snap out of it!" The Baron yelled, throwing his tie onto the valuer. "This is about far more than what you've done to the Trade Prince. Look up at the mountain! It has not only erupted, but half of the northeast side is missing! Mount Kajaro is exploding, not just erupting, and if it goes the entire island will go with it!"
Baron Silvertongue slowly pulled off his jacket and unfastened his collared shirt. Mida shook off her concerns and reached into her tool belt. Smoke bombs, wires, screwdrivers, hammers, odd toys, miscellaneous scraps of metal and fabric she picked up on her walks and the jewelry she had taken off before working in the ship yard earlier today; all of it was tossed onto the valuer and ultimately dumped into the money changer. With the press of a button, everything on the money changer was sucked up into a tube and vanished.
The Baron removed everything he had except a dirty undershirt, his walking cane and stripped boxers. He threw the rest into the changer, from his tie to his shoes. On the side of the wall was an old, dirty chest that the Baron cracked open. It had been filled with years worth of emergency supplies in case of a hurricane, tsunami or war. Most everything in the chest was thrown into the valuer as well, aside from a few days worth of food and clothing. Out of the chest the baron pulled a somewhat faded, very modest brown linen robe and threw it on himself. Mida, partially out of shock, partially out of her own reluctance to part with horded treasures, only emptied her pockets. She kept her tool belt and semi-formal dress shirt, vest, pants and boots. Everything else from both of the Silvertongues went into the valuer and was whisked off to Undermine.
The Baron looked up to make sure the door had been sealed behind them. It would take a few minutes for the items to be appraised in Undermine and money returned to them. Until then, they could only wait and hope Maldy didn't find them, or worse, that the now constantly shaking island didn't sink into the sea. Baron Silvertongued hobbled back to the empty chest and sat down on it, exhausted.
He sighed, "I'm getting too old for this kind of excitement."
Mida didn't even crack a smile. Normally such a comment would make her giggle. She still hadn't even sat down; she was still standing with an uneasy, sickly look on her face. Clearly, she was still unnerved by all that had just happened.
"Mida," The Baron said, looking up at his daughter, "What you did back there was not entirely your fault. Maldy had it coming. He's had it coming for a long time now."
"But what about
" Mida started.
"Bowie is fine." The Baron said, interrupting here, "Maldy just wanted to get under your skin. You know as well as I do Bowie can take care of himself."
Mida sighed unhappily, "It still doesn't make what I did right."
The Baron nodded, "It wasn't the best choice, but it was your choice, and now we've got to get by as best we can accepting the past as it is. We cannot change what has happened, only what will happen."
Another rumble shook the shelter violently. Dust and pebbles fell through slight cracks in the ceiling of the shelter as the neon lights flickered. The trembling managed to shake Mida out of her melancholy as she realized the severity of the situation.
"So," Mida started, "Just what is this plan of yours?"
Baron Silvertongue cleared his throat, "First, we must get as much money as possible. I fear these moments will be our last on Kezan, if not the last of Kezan. I had to get to the money changer first before Undermine was evacuated. It will only take a bit longer for us to get our money. Maldy shouldn't be able to find us in time, only Silvertongues know about this shelter. Once we're done here, we can access the safes hidden in our mansion, as well as withdraw the entirety of my life's savings from the Bilgewater Bank. From there, we will need to
The Baron stopped talking. The rumbling of the ground calmed and quieted for a few seconds. It was just long enough to hear another type of rumbling; something different, lighter, softer and far less powerful, but still menacing. The thudding grew faster and louder, faster and louder, with each second. Something was heading for the shelter. Baron Silvertongue tried to get up, but Mida motioned for him to stay down. She took three steps forward to look up at the escape hatch to the shelter. Just as she did, the new rumbling noise stopped. For a fraction of a second, there was silence.
Then a tapping at the door. A twist and crank, as the handle turned an inch.
Mida barely had time to shout "Get behind me dad!" as the hatch to the shelter burst open, Maldy's palace guards filling the shelter. They marched in perfect synchronization, forming a circle around Mida and her father, who now stood just at her back. Their spears were locked horizontally at their sides, creating an impregnable bar around the two Silvertongues. This time, there was no hallway exit of guards at attention; the circle around them was completed, still turning, still rumbling with the fast march of the goblins and the clanging of their metal armor as they moved. Two figures then became visible at the top of the stairwell; the first was the horribly beaten and disfigured Maldy, limping on a medical crutch. Behind him and to his left, hanging his head in shame, was none other than Pompwhig, clutching a map of Baron Silvertongue's estate with a big, crudely drawn X over the location of the shelter.
"Arrest that woman!" Maldy barked sharply, raising his finger and pointing at Mida. The Trade Prince immediately fell back onto his crutch, tightly grabbing his side in pain from having yelled so loudly and angrily.
The guards rushed towards their prey. It was a dizzying flash of red and green, tromping, and the snapping of cuffs and chains. Mida, let alone Fizwitz, didn't even stand a chance against so many guards. It all happened so quickly Mida barely noticed she had been shoved to the ground and gagged before getting picked back up and quickly marched out of the shelter with her father chained behind her. Just as they reached the surface a wave of heat overcame them from the lava rivers that were now starting to flow through parts of Bilgewater Port. The final words, aside from incomprehensible chattering of the guards, Mida heard as she was escorted off her property were those of the Trade Prince saying, "Excellent work Pompwhig, you'll be rewarded for your loyalty!"
A few minutes later, the two Silvertongues were hurled into the small prison cell near the city center. It was not the actual jail, only a smaller cell to hold those yet to reach trial. Their bindings and gags were removed quickly before they were thrown inside, so Mida quickly rushed the gate to the cell as soon as she realized her arms were free again. Just as quickly as she did, though, the door slammed shut and was locked in front of her.
"Let us out!" Mida barked, hands tightly clasped around the bars, "You know this isn't my fault!"
"Shut it!" The guard shouted. He banged the bars with the hilt of his spear, startling Mida into jumping back, "Now you two stay in there, by orders of the Trade Prince."
"For the love of money, look at Mount Kajaro!" Mida pointed out the tiny barred window of the cell. The mountain was now missing nearly a quarter of its height, having been blown off in a massive eruption. Lava flows spread all across the tiny continent, and the bright, glowing magma core of the mountain was revealed for the entire world to see. Off in the distance, massive, jagged boulders the size of Maldy's mansion rose up out of the ground where towns had formerly been. Mida turned back to the guard and pleaded, "You can't leave us in here! The island's about to go!"
The earth shook so violently all three of them fell over. The Baron let a brief scream as he landed on his bad hip, as his cane had been robbed of him by the guards, Mida fell onto her back and the guard down onto his side. The three looked back to the mountain again to see a horrible sight. The molten core within the mountain blew sky-high, sending molten lava and rock miles into the air. It was such a massive eruption it was more like a cartoon than a physically possible eruption. The screams of goblins could be heard outside the cell; people running by, crying from fear and fleeing for their lives. The flows of lava could be seen pouring over the hills that surrounded Bilgewater Port as ponds and lakes of lava began to pool on the outskirts of the town, much like had previously happened at the base of the mountain.
"By all that is good in this world," The Baron whispered, fixated on the cataclysm before them all. "We've got to get out of here."
The guard scrambled to his feet and fled in terror, joining the mob outside the jail.
"Get back here!" Mida shouted, grabbing through the bars, "Hey! HEY! Where do you think you're going?!"
The Baron crawled to grab onto the bench and staggered to his feet. "Mida, calm down."
"Calm down?" Mida screamed, "CALM DOWN? The world's coming to an end, literally! And we're trapped in here! If we don't get out soon that lava will make it all the way here and we'll be broiled alive!"
The Baron mustered his strongest voice and barked, "Mida! Calm yourself!"
"Now, we mustn't lose our heads. In such an emergency, we need to have our minds working on the side of logic and rationality more than any other time, not obsessing with fear and anger. Now, calm down, take a deep breath, and let's think."
The Baron lifted himself up onto the bench and sat down in a peculiar position. He closed his eyes and began meditating on the matters. Mida, still not convinced that sitting would do any good, began pacing back and forth. She closed her eyes and breathed deeply, delving into her own mind to begin thinking.
"Okay, so, we're locked in a prison cell and there's a sea of lava rising outside the city. We have maybe an hour at best, given the slope of the city and the emergency lava redirection routes built years ago. There's no one else near by, at least not that will listen to us. Wait, do I still have my
no, I tossed that in the valuer. All I've got is my empty tool belt. Wait, what about
no, someone took dad's cane. I could have used the taser to somehow break the lock. What do I have? Clothing. That's it. Geeze, what I wouldn't give for a paper clip and some chewing gum wrappers right about now. Damn it, think!"
Minutes passed. The lava rose higher and higher, and began to consume the outlaying buildings. The Silvertongue estate was on higher ground, but would last for little longer. Mida paced like a caged animal, and the Baron contemplated his situation. No longer was he concerned with their escape, but only her escape. The screaming of families outside faded into the background as their minds filled up with only their own voices. The booming of the earth and flame seemed so distant. The Baron's calming presence and demeanor, as it so often did, relaxed Mida, and time slowed down for the both of them. The two had obtained absolute clarity of thought, and all that mattered in the world to either of them was that one tiny cell.
In the silence, the Baron opened his eyes and began to speak.
"Mida?" He said.
He looked up at his daughter, "I love you."
Mida smiled, "I love you too."
There was another second of silence before the Baron continued speaking, "Mida?"
"If we don't make it out of here
"Stop!" Mida shouted, interrupting her father, "Don't even finish that thought."
The Baron sighed, "Well, logically, the possibility of our escape only dwindles the more I think about it, and
The words of her father filled Mida's heart and mind. Not the ones he now spoke in desperation, but ones from years and years ago. Her father's most famous axiom, among countless others he had been spoken on kindness and justice, resounded from deep within her and exploded out of her mouth in strong determination, "Nothing is impossible."
The Baron fell silent. He smiled at his daughter as his heart filled with pride. Immediately he threw out his short-lived thoughts of the end and looked up to Mida, "You are right, Mida." The Baron paused as he came to a realization, "I guess I really have taught you all that I can."
Mida smiled, "Thanks, but come on, there's got to be a way out of here. Help me look at this lock."
The Baron tried to hop to his feet, but Mida quickly had to swoop in and walk her father to the door. They both looked closely at it; tried fitting their frail, claw-like nails and fingers in it to pick it, but it was little good. The Baron had long claws to be for sure, but not that long. If this was their escape, it would take a while.
"Mida," The Baron said, "I still would like to finish a thought though." Mida kept fiddling with the lock the best she could as the Baron continued, "I just wanted to say that I'm so very
The door to the prison flew open with a loud thud. The screams of the people outside, the bubbling of the flowing lava, the trembling of toppling buildings and quaking earth all immediately exploded back into the tiny prison cell again. The two Silvertongues looked up from the lock to see none other than Pompwhig Silvertongue standing in the doorway.
"Pompwhig!" Mida shouted, "You've got to let us out!"
"I'm sorry!" Pompwhig shouted, "I'm, I'm so sorry!"
"Pompwhig, the door?" Mida said.
"I just wanted to do what was right, that was all, I didn't want this to happen, and I certainly don't want anyone to die!"
" Mida growled.
"I must hold my word to serve and carry out the Trade Prince's orders, but I can't let my family die! But if I free you, I may be defying the Trade Prince, but then if I don't
"POMPWHIG OPEN THIS GOD DAMN DOOR BEFORE I KILL YOU." Mida shouted.
"Oh, yes ma'am!" Pompwhig shouted, not even realizing the false nature of her threat. He ran to the gate and examined the lock.
"How are you going to open it?" Mida asked, "I doubt Maldy would trust you with the key."
"You're right on that." Pompwhig said, "Stand back."
Mida helped her father take four steps back as Pompwhig reached behind him to pull out his father's cane. He held it up over his head and said, "I saved this from the shelter. Had a feeling I'd need it!"
With the twist of the red sphere atop the cane, the powerful taser at the tip lit up and came crashing down on the lock. Sparks flew everywhere as the lightning and steel collided, causing Mida and Fizwitz to shield their eyes. Pompwhig kept pushing down and digging deeper and deeper into the lock, until suddenly the resistance stopped, and the cane broke through. The door flew open with the cane still stuck in the former keyhole. The Baron lurched forward, yanked it down and immediately began hobbling to the exit.
"Come on you two." The Baron said, "We've got to get out of here."
"Don't need to tell me twice!" Mida said. She started running, swinging past her father, scooping him up and tossing him onto her back again. Pompwhig was just behind them.
"The Trade Prince!" Pompwhig shouted over the rumbling, screaming and bubbling lava, "He's at the docks, filling a ship with people to escape the island!"
"Good!" The Baron shouted, "At last some good news!"
"It will cost you though." Pompwhig said, "You'd best have your wallet ready!"
Mida stopped. "You're kidding, right? Does it look like we have money on us?"
"Pompwhig," the Baron asked, "What of those that have no money?"
Pompwhig stared at his father in confusion. Surely, he must know what happens, right? "Well, they're denied access to the ship, of course. What else do you expect?"
Another massive eruption blew out the top of the broken mountain. The buildings quaked around them, sending debris and dust toppling onto their heads. Flaming rubble littered the streets like a dangerous obstacle course. The entire city had become a warzone-like disaster.
"But Pompwhig!" Mida shouted, "How could you? Half the city can't afford access to the ships!"
"And most goblins on Kezan don't have access either because they're already dead!" Pompwhig shouted, "What's your point?"
"My point?" Mida yelled. As she did, a tiny shadow rapidly began to fly over the city, heading straight for their location. "Maldy's going to just let more people die! The man's a monster!"
"Mida," the Baron said, "We must go back to our estate and get our money. That was the plan, remember? We should still have some time before the lava redirection rivers overflow and damage our home."
"Monster!" Pompwhig shouted, "Mida, I've had you arrested once today for assaulting Maldy, verbally and physically, don't make me do it again!"
"You're joking!" Mida shouted. The shadow in the distance grew bigger and faster as the boulder casting it flew through the sky. "You're not a Silvertongue at all any more, are you? You're nothing more than Trade Prince Moldy's lap dog now. You just freed us out of some twisted sense of grief you don't even understand any more!"
"That's it!" Pompwhig yelled. The boulder's traveling shadow slowed down and stopped just overhead, focusing in on the delinquent sibling as the faint whistling of its high-speeds began to cut through the air.
"Uh, Pomwhig?" The Baron said, pointing upward. Mida looked up, and began stepping backwards as the whistling grew louder.
"Silence old man!" Pompwhig yelled, his entire body now enveloped by the shadow. "By order of Trade Prince Maldy and the standing laws of Bilgewater Port, I must place you under
BOOM! The boulder came crashing down, squashing Pompwhig like an insect. The impact nearly blew Mida over as she struggled to shield her eyes from the dirt. Coughing, she opened her eyes to see Pompwhig's feet barely sticking out the bottom of the boulder. Immediately, she thought "Serves him right."
A few seconds later, after her initial response, Mida finally shouted in a half-concerned tone, "Pompwhig!"
"That's unfortunate." The Baron said solemnly.
Suddenly, Mount Kajaro exploded yet again. Not erupted, exploded. Mida and Fizwitz looked up immediately to see the remaining top half of the mountain blow up into the sky and topple to the ground, crushing countless towns on the southwestern side of the island. Mount Kajaro was now standing at less than half its original height, with a massive plume of lava spilling out the top of it like an overflowing glass of water.
Without missing a beat, Mida clung her father closer and said "Best not wallow in our grief." She took off like a jackrabbit back to their mansion, praying it was still there.
"We must get everything Mida." The Baron shouted over the rumbling, "Every single thing, down to the last copper. The money from the exchanger should be here by now, as well as all the safes. All the hiding places you had, everything grab it all and bring it to the docks."
"All of it?" Mida shouted, "How much could it be for one ticket?"
"It's Maldy." The Baron responded. "Besides, I have my own
"Save your breath!" Mida shouted as the ash and soot in the air thickened horribly, "Tell me later!"
Thirty minutes later, down at the docks, huddled masses of goblin families gathered at and crowded the main pier, approaching riot levels as the former mansion guards of Maldy's home found themselves as drafted police. The wealthy law enforcers, businessmen, politicians and aristocrats had already paid their way onto the last standing vessel in Bilgewater Port. All the others had crumbled from boulders tearing through the masts and decks, sinking them, or bursting into flame from stray embers. This one, the largest cargo ship in the dock, still stood thanks to the structural advancements that had recently been added and improved by the chief dock mechanic, Mida Silvertongue. Despite belonging to the Baron, Maldy commandeered it to ensure his, and his wealthy friends' escape.
"Let us in!" A goblin commoner shouted over the crowd, "Are you just going to let us die out here?"
"You know the rules!" Maldy shouted from the boarding plank. An army of guards were mounted on the ship and around the docks, not to mention lined the streets, preventing the lower-class scum from fighting their way to the ship. Soot, embers, ash and the horrible smell of brimstone polluted the air as people yelled, screamed, and begged Maldy for salvation. Children and baby goblins screamed and broke into tears from the unruly crowd and the horrible air they were forced to breath. Rocks and trash were flung by the bolder goblins at the Trade Prince, but all were intercepted by his guards.
"Screw the rules!" A goblin shouted, "Let us on! That ship isn't even half-full!"
"Shut up scum!" Maldy shouted back, "It's not my fault you can't afford a seat on board!"
"Yes it is!" Someone shouted, as the crowd roared up again.
"Look at the people on the ship!" Maldy yelled back, "They had to give up everything, and I mean everything, to get on! Even the clothing
the beautiful, silky, fine clothing
off their backs just to afford it! It is my job to ensure that the best of the best of our people survive this apocalypse."
"Monster!" Another goblin shouted, "Monster!" Goblin after goblin took up the chanting, all screaming it at the Trade Prince.
Maldy, particularly offended at that word, scowled and turned to his commander, "Get on the ship. We're leaving."
With a heavy-hearted sigh, the commander muttered, "I sir."
Maldy just about turned and walked up the plank to the ship, when suddenly a familiar voice could be heard amongst the unknown ones. The Trade Prince stopped and turned, looking out at the crowd. His eyes scanned around for its source, but saw nothing. He was about to begin walking up the plank again when he heard it again.
"Maldy!" It screamed.
He turned back to the crowd again and muttered, "No
"Maldy you rat where are you?!" The voice thundered over the crowd. The mob of goblins began to fall silent one row at a time as suddenly someone made their way through the crowd someone particularly tall.
"No!" Maldy yelled in his mind, "No God damn it NO!"
The sea of goblins parted in awe and respect for the two goblins making their way through. They fell silent and watched on with desperate eyes as the good and just Baron Fizwitz Silvertongue and his daughter, Her Tallest, Mida Silvertongue approached the docks with massive burlap sacks filled with gold.
Maldy's face turned red again, where it wasn't still purple and bloody, and he shouted, "You two are supposed to be in jail!"
"Yeah, real classy move there." Mida said sarcastically. "Locking us in prison to burn to death."
The Baron let go of Mida's back, grabbed his cane and quickly walked towards the Trade Prince.
"Good evening Trade Prince!" He quickly shouted, "It would appear we're in a bit of a tight spot."
"Shut up!" Maldy barked, "You want a seat on the ship? Fine. You have more than enough money for two tickets, why'd you have to bring the rest and rub it in these poor people's faces?"
"I'm not." The Baron barked. He signaled Mida who immediately hoisted up the massive bag of gold. She unfurled the tie to reveal monetary coinage in the sums of trillions of gold. Maldy gasped, but also recoiled at what this meant. He knew exactly what the Baron was going to do in his infinite kindness.
The Baron stared down the Trade Prince with a more threatening look than he had ever given and shouted, "I'm paying for tickets for every citizen of Bilgewater Port."
Had Maldy been holding something, it would have dropped to the wooden pier, along with his jaw.
Asteroids fired from Mount Kajaro like rockets, lava began consuming the buildings nearer the center of the city, including the prison, as its roaring lava streams burst and gurgled all the way out to the open ocean. The survivors were now trapped by mighty rivers of lava that had consumed all the roads around the docks. It was either to the ship, or to their deaths.
Baron Silvertongue stepped aside quickly and motioned for the other goblins to come through. At first they were hesitant and shocked, just as Maldy, but then one family of goblins stepped forward.
"Bless you, sir." The father said, shaking his hand. Baron Silvertonge only nodded.
"Once again, Bilgewater Port saved by the endless kindness of the Silvertongues." The mother said, hoisting her baby up into her arms. Fizwitz smiled at her, and down at the baby, who had finally stopped crying. Three young children all came running to the Baron and Mida and hugged them as tightly as they could before running up the ramp to the ship.
"It's not a trick." Baron Silvertongue yelled to the crowd, "Everyone, come aboard, quickly!"
Like the unblocking of a dam, goblins came pouring through the reluctant guards. Countless goblins; men, women, children, old, young, healthy, sick, happy, angry, grieving
goblins of all types flowed through faster than the lava now pouring into the open sea.
"Count them!" Maldy shouted, snapping out of his daze, "Count every last head! Don't let anyone of the lower-class riff-raff on that I don't have to!"
"Maldy," The Baron said. The Trade Prince turned to him as swarms of goblins ran past them. Despite the chaos, Baron Silvertongue's old, yet stern voice bellowed over all of it. "I may not be a religious man, dear Trade Prince, but I do certainly hope there's a special place in Hell just for you."
Maldy haughtily gasped at the improper words spoken to him, and out of Baron Silvertongue! Goblins still flowed past them, but now in fewer numbers. The guards were busying counting heads and gold, making sure that the Baron's funding did in fact check out. The goblins slowed to a trickle as the last two, an elder man and woman, slowly climbed aboard.
"Thank you Baron, thank you." The man said, stepping onto the ship. Once on, they were escorted to the lower levels, where all the passengers had gone. The deck was filled only with Maldy's armed guards with goblin shotguns aimed at where the crowd had been standing.
Maldy and his cronies were madly scribbling on papers and flipping beads on an abacus rapidly as they tallied the people.
"That's all of them." The Baron said, "Mida, let's get on board."
Maldy, panicked, threw together the last calculations, not caring for complete accuracy any more. Baron Silvertongue slowly walked to the boarding plank with his daughter, purposely going slower to stand by his side. Just as they reached the plank, still surrounded by red-armored guards, Maldy stopped calculating. With a short gasp, he screamed "STOP!"
The guards slammed their spears together right in front of Mida and the Baron, blocking the entrance to the ship.
Mida growled, "Now what do you want? You got the entire Silvertongue fortune, isn't that enough?"
hardly!" Maldy shouted arrogantly, "I just crunched the numbers. Tallying the gold and the passengers, it looks like you are still TWO tickets short!" Maldy cackled evilly, pointing at the two Silvertongues. Mida scowled as Maldy gloated. "It looks like I'll have my revenge after all!"
"Don't make me kick your ass again!" Mida threatened. She did a fake lurch forward, but Maldy quickly rose a hand and did not even flinch. The guards on the ship all immediately cocked their shotguns and aimed for Mida.
"Not so fast, my dear girl!" Maldy shouted, "I've taken extra precautions in case some ignorant goblin decided to threaten violent."
but!" Mida stammered. She scanned her mind for some sort of logic, some law, some ethical standard, she could get by on, but there was nothing.
Maldy gloated in his victory as more and more lava poured into the town.
Baron Silvertongued sighed, and desperately asked, "What do you want Maldy?"
"Dad!" Mida shouted.
"Let me handle this." The Baron said, "Surely there must be something. Something we could sell you?"
Maldy looked up and down at the two, rubbing his chin. Mida had on some decent clothing, but nothing compared to the cost of at ticket. He then looked back down to the Baron and slyly grinned.
The words hissed out of Maldy's mouth cruelly, "The cane." Both of the others gasped. "It should pay for
ONE ticket, I'd say."
Mida and Fizwitz couldn't believe their ears. It was the last thing the Baron had of his late wife, and he needed it to walk, and even more, giving up their last possession would only secure them a single ticket. Still, Maldy held out his hand expectantly and marched towards the Baron. Fizwitz tried to think of more negotiations, but the mountain exploded again. There wasn't enough time. Baron Silvertongue knew what he had to do.
"You can't do that!" Mida yelled, "It's just so wrong and
" Fizwitz spoke, comforting his daughter by patting her hand. He stepped towards the Trade Prince, hobbling on his cane, and struggled to balance himself as he slowly lifted it up.
The good Baron was taking too long for Maldy's liking, however, and quickly swiped his claw and yanked it out from under the old man. Immediately, he fell to the ground as Maldy admired his new trophy.
"Dad!" Mida yelled, running to his side.
"I'm alright, dear." He said, pushing himself up with his hands.
"Well, well, looks like you have it your way, Baron." Maldy said, "One of you is welcome to board the ship."
Mida looked down at her father, now crawling on the splinter-filled wood of the pier, forced to gravel at the feet of Trade Prince Maldy. He looked up at his daughter and quietly said, "Mida, get on the ship
"I'm not going anywhere without you!" She screamed back at her dad.
Maldy cackled, "Oh, well that makes it all the more easy if you choose to stay behind."
Her eyes welled up with one tear each and she shouted, "You're a monster!"
"Yeah, yeah," Maldy said dismissively, "Like I haven't heard that before."
" Mida scowled, teeth grinding and fists clinched. She wanted to retaliate, she wanted to do something, but knew she couldn't. She could only mutter "You are truly disgusting."
"Mida" The Baron's voice called. She turned to see that somehow her father had crawled to a nearby barrel standing next to one of the dock posts. "Come here."
Mida rushed to her father's side, "What is it?"
Fizwitz sighed, "I'll ask you once more, please get on the ship."
Mida shook her head as tears began to crawl off her cheeks.
The Baron nodded, "I figured as much. As stubborn as your mother." The Baron, desperately clutching the dock post, scratched it in a specific pattern with his longest nail. Four unique markings made on it and suddenly the top of the post unscrewed and fell off into the now boiling water beneath them. With the top gone, another mechanical switchboard was reveled, just like the one Mida had shown Pompwhig in the alley.
"What's that?" Mida asked, "You didn't show me this one."
"I put it in when the docks were added." Fizwitz said, "Defense mechanism was what this one's for. I placed giant spring beneath specific boards on the docks, you see, to launch invaders, criminals or banned individuals back onto their ships before even reaching the land of the town."
Mida nodded, "Okay
" She took a moment to digest what that meant, but her father reached up and threw the blue switch on the control panel as she shouted, "Wait, what?"
It was too late. The spring below uncoiled and sprang up, launching the specific plank up into the air and that sent Mida flying and crashing down onboard the escape vessel. The wobbling noise of the spring echoed around as it swayed back and forth in the hole of which it shot out. The wooden plank attached to the top of the spring dragged it down like a wilting flower. There was a loud collision from the boat as Mida smashed her head into the forward deck of the ship.
"Well what do you know." The Baron said, "My calculations were perfect." Fizwitz hoisted himself up onto the barrel next to the control panel and sat down, leaning on the pole in exhaustion.
Maldy glared at him, "You know you still can't come."
With his head resting on the post, Fizwitz nodded, "I know. I'm a man of my word, Maldy. I paid for her way, and you will allow her to stay. That's all I ask. Fair service for fair pay."
Maldy was perplexed. Never in his life had he witnessed such a self-less sacrifice. He gulped as, for just a tiny fraction of a second, for the first time in his life, Maldy felt a shred of guilt. It was quickly interrupted as Mount Kajaro exploded yet again, sending the last bits of the mountain flying into the sky. Quickly, massive boulders and lava came raining from the heavens like hail. Maldy stared in terror at it as his guards clamored onto the ship.
"You've a boat to catch." The Baron said.
Maldy looked back to the Baron, said nothing, and scrambled on board the boat. Once he was on, the guards kicked off the plank into the water. They quickly hid Maldy from the falling sky and tried to rush him to a safer level of the ship. His guard commander, the taller goblin, rushed to the engine room as the ship began to shove off from the dock.
"Ensign!" Commander Flagg shouted, "Get that emergency goblin jet ready, we've got to shove out of here as fast as possible!"
"Yes sir!" An engineer shouted. He ran to the steam-filled engine room and activated the experimental machine. The guards on the top deck quickly unfurled the sails and took control of the helm as the ship picked up speed, already ten feet off the docks before even activating the new engine.
Mida pulled herself up, rubbing her aching head, trying to compose herself. Two seconds later, she jumped up, ran to the edge of the ship and shouted "Dad!"
Sitting peacefully on the dock now shrinking in the distance was Baron Fizwitz Silvertongue, smiling back at his distraught daughter. He shouted, "Good-bye, Mida."
"Father!" Mida yelled, running to the other end of the ship to get closer to him. She began crying, and not thinking clearly shouted, "Get-get on the ship!"
The thundering noises of Kezan's destruction deafened the goblins on the ship, but the Baron's softened voice, finishing his thought from back in the prison, cut through it all as he shouted, "I'm so proud of you Mida."
"Don't think you're acquitted of assault charges!" Maldy shouted, just before going below deck, "Guards! Arrest that woman!"
"Dad!" Mida shouted again, running to the farthest edge of the ship's stern. Guards quickly charged and tackled her. She gracefully leapt out of the way, running to the edge of the ship just to be nearer her father. Guards grabbed her by the arms and legs. Two guards hung off each arm, and one around each leg, but Mida kept running. Another leapt onto her back in an attempt to bring her down, but still she staggered on with slow, heavy steps. She reached the back of the boat just as the goblin engine activated, roaring over all other noise as the ship prepared for sea-faring speed. Eyes filled with tears, Mida shouted one last time to the tiny spot in the distance, "Daddy!"
"I'll tell your mother you love her." The Baron shouted.
The engines erupted. The ship took off. A guard swung a blunt object and hit Mida in the back of the head. She blacked out as guards cuffed her hands and feet.
Maldy quickly crawled back out onto the dock to see his fallen nemesis. He quickly came to stand over the fallen Silvertongue; to tower over Her Tallest.
"Take her to the brig." Maldy muttered, "and see to it she doesn't get out!"
"Aye sir." A guard said, carrying her off.
Maldy growled, "Silvertongue trash."
Back on the docks, Kezan crumbled. With a sigh, Baron Fizwitz Silvertongue turned back from watching the ship shrink into the distance to the great display of the earth's strength now surrounding him. Unable to walk or run, he laid back on the post, one he had constructed years ago, and watched the awesome power of nature. Mount Kajaro exploded again, shattering the earth around the center of the island. A massive sink-hole grew from the sight of the former mountain, opening up to reveal the lava-flooded underground kingdom-turned-tomb of Undermine. The boiling water quickly receded far out into the ocean, leaving countless fish flopping on the drained earth. As the sink hole expanded, more and more boulders of flame flew down from the sky, destroying everything. A massive one flew down through the windows of the Trade Prince's mansion, shattering windows and pushing the mansion to the side. The sink hole grew more and more, swallowing entire villages, towns, cities, plants, animals, surviving goblins and corpses of fallen ones. A giant tsunami washed over the southwestern shore, flooding the sink hole and washing that which hadn't fallen in already into the giant maw of the earth. The hole expanded further, consuming the farthest edge of Bilgewater Port, and the Baron watched on. He watched his own mansion sink into the molten abyss of the earth, and soon following it the entire town he had built from the ground up. The meteor that had struck Maldy's mansion had already leaned it in one direction, but as the sink hole expanded, it shifted, and began to fall backwards. With a massive groaning of metal and glass, the colossal tower leaned, fell, and toppled into the massive, gaping wound.
"It's about time." Fizwitz muttered, "hideous looking thing."
The symphonies of blazing and burning, toppling and destroying, flooding and crushing, falling and dying continued, and the Baron laid back to absorb the shear power that surrounded him. The island on which he had dwelt his entire life would soon be no more, and the Baron knew his fate had always been tied to it. The orchestra of nature climaxed as he heard the roaring of a massive tidal wave growing behind him. This was it. He clung to the barrel, closed his eyes and drifted off to sleep. The tsunami came crashing into Bilgewater Port, sweeping everything and everyone left into rubble of the sinking island. Baron Silvertongue was no more, as in a single day and night of misfortune, Kezan sank to the bottom of the sea.