It was late at night and the cool wind over the ocean sprayed water gently over the deck. Several days had past since Mida's takeover of the ship, and things had progressed quickly. Defenses were being mounted with salvaged cannons from the sunken Undermine vessel, and the Hulking Hippo had more than enough stockpiled ammunition and gunpowder. Currently they were only on deck, but Mida had plans of creating hatches in the walls of the cargo hold to mount them from within the ship as well. More resources were being gathered as well, with some goblins working on a machine to turn salt water into drinkable water, while a large, scented fishing net had been mounted that dragged far behind the ship that worked amazingly well. Even more, the crew of the sunken ship had salvaged many experimental escape pods from the wreckage and had installed emergency exits through engineering, should an emergency situation arise. Best of all, Mida had determined their position. They had in fact sailed far past Steamwheel Port, so a course for Ratchet had now been laid in, despite the fact that such a maneuver would draw them dangerously close to Horde territory. Given that the Alliance, or at least what was most likely the Alliance, had already assaulted them, they were not about to take chances. The docks of Ratchet lay northwest of their current position, and it would still take considerable time to get there given the Hippo's tremendous weight and low speeds. Regardless of their worries, things were starting to look up on that calm night. There wasn't a cloud in the sky, and the stars lit up the heavens more beautifully than any goblin could have ever dreamed of seeing through the polluted air of Kezan.
Well, things were almost perfectly calm. A small handful of guards patrolled the main deck that night, not too concerned about anything, when suddenly there came a rushing from out the cargo hold door. They jumped at first, but then realized it was only Bowie – Bowie, who was, once again, making a b-line for the railing with his hand slammed over his mouth. Immediately he doubled-over, throwing his head over the rail and released his seasickness. He, and his stomach, moaned as he leaned deeper into the rail.
"I don't like the ocean." Bowie muttered, "I don't like it. I don't like it. I don't like it."
"Bowie." Flagg said. Bowie immediately leapt up, scared half-to-death, from Flagg's unannounced and sudden appearance (as usual).
"Geeze'um glaven!" Bowie screamed, "Do you always have to do that?"
"You're an official scribe, correct?" Flagg asked, ignoring Bowie's question (also as usual).
Panting and clutching his chest, Bowie said, "Yes, of course, among many other things I do for the Silvertonge fam… I mean, for Her Tallest."
"I need you to proof read something for me." Flagg said. He handed Bowie a neatly furled scroll, dangling it in front of his face, clearly not giving Bowie the option to object. "And this is confidential, you understand?" With a sigh, Bowie snatched it and began reading it aloud.
"Shh!" Flagg shushed Bowie, "Keep your voice down!"
Bowie blinked. He toned his voice down to a whisper, but, as his eyes scanned the page, he grew only further and further confused.
"To Deeptusk…" Bowie barely whispered.
"Better." Flagg whispered back, "continue."
"… Knight Patches are biting Termites…" Bowie paused. He shot a deeply troubled look to Commander Flagg before turning back to the parchment. "Unknown why, if Saw Tie is responsible, is aware, if Vagosh is responsible, is aware, or who constructed at all. Knight Patches are confirmed with colors and calling card. Hive lost to Force Kappa. Repeat: Hive lost. Termites are drifting near-side under sea-core. Maroon's situation, disposition, or status as a whole is unknown. Making way to Termite harbor yellow; sanctuary. Repeat: Sanctuary. Bringing snack cakes. Repeat: Snack cakes. Requesting any available protons. I am acting leader for the remains of fire-mites and possibly am last of fire-mites. Regards, Colors."
Bowie was speechless. Flagg was emotionless.
"Is it all spelled correctly?" Flagg asked, "It's of dire importance. I wouldn't be asking for a fresh set of eyeballs on it if it weren't."
Bowie nodded, "Spelled correctly? Yes. It's severely lacking in punctuation, grammar and… meaning… but it's spelled correctly."
Flagg reached forward, snatched the scroll and rolled it back up instantly like a roller window blind. Bowie's comical confusion slowly began to change to a more somber, spine-tingling confusion, or even fear, as Flagg glared at his perplexed face.
Flagg took two steps to the railing, "Bowie, do you know why turtles can't fly?"
Bowie tried to stammer an answer, but nothing came out of his mouth. He rubbed his head for a moment and looked down at his shoes, which was exactly the moment for which Flagg was waiting. Knowing the coast was clear of guards, in one swift motion, Flagg twisted around, threw his left arm around Bowie's skull and shined a strange, narrow-lit flashlight into Bowie's left eye. He had enough time to inhale, but not scream, as the beam of light in his eye began to flash rapidly and violently. Bowie felt the air steadily leaving his lungs as his body began to gently seize and twitch. He reached up with his right arm to try and push Flagg away, still somehow in control of that side of his body, but Flagg jumped to his other eye, flashing the light faster and faster, and Bowie soon lost motor function as a strange tingling overtook his body. Flagg gently, almost caringly, eased Bowie's body onto the deck.
"Shh," Flagg said again, "It'll all be over soon."
Flagg got back up, hid his special device in his utility pocket and dusted off his hands as Bowie lightly twitched on the ground before him. Within seconds, Bowie passed out. Flagg checked Bowie's vitals to make sure he was both alright and completely knocked out first, but then whistled loudly at the nearest guard. The goblin in red armor, geared with lamp and lance, stood before Flagg attentively.
"Take Bowie back to his bed." Flagg said, "His sea-sickness has gotten the better of him."
"Yes sir." The guard said. He lifted Bowie up onto his back and carried him back down into the cargo hold. Once he was taken care of, Flagg pulled a glass vial from out his other pocket and slid his paper inside of it. Calmly and, as always, emotionlessly, as if nothing had happened, he hiked to the far stern-end of the ship. Ladders had recently been fixed into the wall of the stern, allowing goblins to crawl down and reach the designated fishing platform and net line. Flagg scurried down the ladder and silently stepped onto the platform.
There wasn't much to it right now. It was a metal catwalk of sorts only about a yard or two above the roaring waters being jetted out from the engine. On it were two spools of rope that connected to the lines and net in the water. By turning the cranks, fishermen could reel in the net and collect anything of use. The Commander gently felt the strong rope that dove down into the water, testing its strength. To his surprise, however, he soon learned that he was not alone on the platform.
There was a groaning noise. Flagg froze and reached for his holster on his ankle. He looked at the other end of the platform to see a goblin lazily sitting up from lying in front of the starboard spool. Apparently a fisherman had fallen asleep out there. It was a miracle he hadn't fallen into the turbulent waters immediately below him.
Mumbling, the fisherman said, "Oh, hello… didn't reckon anyone else'd be out here this time a night."
Flagg squinted angrily, "Neither did I."
The goblin fisherman was very tired, and couldn't take the hint. He only wearily stared at Flagg and slowly woke up. Flagg tapped his foot impatiently and continued staring, intensifying his gaze. The sleepy goblin looked back to Flagg and, as if just now noticing his fierce growl that he'd been staring at since waking, and said, "Oh… maybe I should be going."
Flagg only nodded. The fisherman suddenly felt extremely unwanted and scurried up the ladder. Only once he was gone and out of sight did Flagg release the grip of his pistol.
Double-checking to make sure the coast was clear again, Flagg began removing his armor. He stripped down to simple, brown pants, his leather satchel and some sort of harness. He wrapped the harness like a spelunking rope around the rope that lead down into the water and tightly secured it. Once done, he crept to the edge of the platform, looked down into the rushing waters, and took a single small leap.
His harness slid down the robe quietly and quickly, sending him splashing into the water. The turbulence from the engine was tremendous, forcing him down the rope even faster, but Flagg clung to the line with his powerful hands and didn't let go. Moving one hand in front of the other, making sure not to lose grip of his safety line, he made his way down into the fishing net. In it was mostly trash and other useless gunk, but sprinkled here and there were fish. Flag moved massive pieces of wood, glass and scraps of metal out of the way, digging through the oily black goo that hung on the net. Buried under all of the trash were larger fish, and even some sharks. The tiniest of tiny fish managed to wriggle away through the netting once Flagg dug out the trash that blocked the holes. He kept pealing away at the gunk until suddenly there was a swift bursting of materials in a cloud of trash. Flagg froze. Something began shaking violently, knocking large amounts of garbage off and back out to sea. When the oil and goo settled again, it turned out to be a coral shark, barely clinging to life from under the piles of garbage in which it was tangled. Flagg smiled at seeing the powerful creature helplessly trapped at the hands of goblin engineering. Still, he could not allow himself to relish in the moment for too long. He reached into his satchel and pulled out his message-in-a-bottle and a strange mechanical device. It was a fashioned helmet of sorts that looked like an upside-down pasta strainer with long nails on the inside of it. Flagg crept closer to the shark that was barely breathing because of its lack of movement, raised the helmet and, nail-side down, smashed it into the shark's skull. The creature flailed in pain again as Flagg mercilessly rammed the nails deeper into its brain. Once done, he snapped a band around the shark's head to keep his device in place, and threw the message down the shark's mouth like a giant pill. The creature's will suddenly began to drain as it resigned itself to fate, but Flagg wasn't finished with the creature. He was just beginning. He reached down and pulled a small knife from out his belt which he quickly used to go to work on the netting. A few quick snaps later, and the shark shook free the net and swam back out to the open ocean. Of course, the helmet was still tightly secured around the creature's head. Two little lights began to flicker from its cap as the shark swam off to the north, but not of its own free will.
Flagg watched for a moment to make sure the shark was swimming as programmed, and that his mind-controlling device worked properly for creatures of lower cognition. The trash in the net suddenly sucked down again as more movement in the net shook out debris. Flagg swam back and began to climb up the rope to stay out of the way. He was expecting another shark to break free from all the shaking, but it wasn't so. Something big was caught in the net; something big enough to shake the entire thing and almost break it. Half-way back up the rope, a flash of blue erupted from the garbage. It came less than a foot away from Flagg's face, almost scarring him it swam so quickly. Flagg pulled his knife back out in defense, but the creature spun rapidly and slapped it out of his hands, sending it down to the black abyss below. The creature tumbled so much and so quickly Flagg was slapped several times in the face with fins, disrupting his sight. In a blink of an eye, though, it was gone, back out to sea. It was blue, definitely, with sharp fins. For a moment, it looked like it might have had… limbs? A humanoid? Worse yet, a spy? No, not one with fins. Not a humanoid with fins. It couldn't have been. More than that, though, the creature had pointed ears, and a long nose… was it…
Flagg shook off the event. It wasn't possible for it to be a goblin. It had fins! The Commander's mind had drifted so far, so deeply into thought and focus on his mission that he completely forgot about his own physical limitations and did not notice as he himself began to turn blue. He was almost out of air, so he quickly ascended the rope and threw himself back onto the fishing platform. Breathing deeply, Flagg stared back out at where the net was, confused and unsure of what exactly just transpired. Even in his military professionalism, down in the water with this unknown monster, for a flash of a second, Flagg had felt fear. Trembling, he gently felt the light scratch and almost burn marks on his face from the violent slapping of fins as he sat, exhausted, trying to compose himself.
The next day, Mida and Bowie sat happily across from one another at the breakfast table. She was outlining all that needed to be accomplished today, and Bowie was diligently writing it down. They had a small breakfast of ship rations; bread, water and even a little bit of jam to go with it. From business, though, the two old friends would occasionally drift back into idle conversation. It was the first chance the two had gotten to really be relaxed around one another since meeting again, and the two caught up on what they had been doing.
"So you broke the lock?" Bowie asked with a chuckle, "And he's still stuck in there?"
"Yup!" Mida said with a grin, "Old Moldy won't be bothering us any time soon."
Bowie laughed, but quickly groaned and rubbed his head, "Oh, don't make me laugh to hard, my head's still throbbing."
"Are you sure you didn't drink anything last night?" Mida asked.
"Well what did happen to you last night?"
"I…" Bowie paused, trying to recollect memories that weren't there, "I don't know. I mean, I went up deck because of my seasickness, but… that's the last I remember."
"You had to get brought down by a guard. He said you were passed out on the deck."
Bowie shrugged, "I didn't know you could pass out from seasickness."
"Neither did I. Are you sure that's all you can remember?"
Bowie sighed, "Well, there's… turtles?"
"Something about… turtles flying?"
Mida blinked, "That's some bad seasickness there Bowie."
Bowie chuckled, but then frowned "I know, I hate it. I hate the sea. I hate being out here. I just want to go home."
Mida nodded solemnly, "I know Bowie, me too… me too."
There was a mournful silence for a moment between the two.
Bowie looked up to Mida, "So he's really gone, huh?"
Mida instantly knew to whom he was referring, "Yeah, I'm afraid so. Hero of the Bilgewater Cartel, hero to all goblins."
Bowie hung his head down, trying to hide his eyes. He almost began to shed a tear, but Mida's powerful words then spoke, "There will be a time to mourn him. All of us here on this ship want to honor dad's memory," Mida paused with a gulp, "but we've all important work to do. Priorities, Bowie; they define us goblins, and right now survival and finding safe harbor is number one."
Bowie nodded, biting his lip, "Yes My Tallest. I understand, it's just…"
Bowie paused, but Mida urged him on by saying, "Yes?"
"You don't look so well, My Tallest." Bowie said, almost scared, "You've been under so much stress lately, so much has happened, and you're, well, I mean no offense My Tallest, but I think you may be… repressing some emotions."
Mida gulped and for a moment said nothing, but then shook her head slightly, "Thank you for you concern, Bowie, but really…" Mida took a strong, deep breath, "I-I'm fine. I'll be fine."
"This whole… cataclysm nonsense. It's… well, aging you. You look so worn. Your hair's color is fading. You're losing weight. You're even starting to develop wrinkles around…"
"That's enough!" Mida shouted. Her complexion had always been an emotional soft spot. With no make-up or moisturizer on the ship, laugh lines, among others, began to grow visible across her young face.
"I'm sorry." Bowie immediately stammered, "Forgive me My Tallest. Your complexion is lovely."
Mida growled, "Go down to engineering and tell that buffoon Globberport that I'll be needing a systems report as soon as possible today."
"Yes My Tallest." Bowie said. He quickly excused himself and left the mess hall. Mida sighed and rubbed her worn out face. She knew full well there was truth to what Bowie said, but she didn't have the time to worry about it now; she didn't have the time to worry about herself. She had a race to save.
Once breakfast was finished Mida headed up to the main deck to survey the status of cannon installation. The sun was shining brightly in the sky, though the clouds and wind had both picked up greatly since last night. On the deck were the odd soldier and engineer, checking out each cannon individually and bringing boxes of ammo and barrels of powder to the ready.
"My Tallest." A calm voice said. Mida turned around to see Commander Flagg approaching her, "The cannons above deck appear to be battle-ready."
"Good." Mida said, "What of below deck?"
"We're working on it." Flagg said, "The first row is nearly completed. We've installed catwalks in the cargo hold to place the cannons on and allow goblins to reach the cannons should battle be necessary. Many of the portholes are simply being converted into cannon hatches instead."
"How long until the first level of under-deck cannons are ready?"
"Hours, My Tallest."
"And the second floor?"
"We've yet to begin. We want to make sure the first row is secure first."
"Very well. Thank you for the update. You are dismissed, Commander."
Flagg saluted, pivoted and went back to supervising his troops. Mida herself inspected the cannons, making sure that they were up to goblin engineering standards. She wasn't afraid to get her hands dirty, and they quickly became so with gunpowder and soot on her palms and face. The crew worked hand-in-hand with her to mount their defenses, but by time she reached the third cannon, an unpleasant shouting came from across the ship.
"Hey cunt face!" He shouted.
Mida groaned and thought to herself, "Damn it Bowie, why do you have to be so diligent?"
Sure enough, it was Globberport, furiously stomping across the deck to Mida. His stench was somewhat faded by the open air, but anyone he passed still gagged. A massive, almost-burnt-out cigar dangled from his stubble-covered face still as he charged in full waddle-stomp to Mida.
"What's this about a report?" Globberport shouted at the top of his lungs.
Mida cringed, "I need to know how engineering is fairing. I'll be requesting a daily report from you Chief Engin…"
"What?" Globberport shouted, "Hey! It's my engine room! I'll take care of it, you keep your damn nose out of my business!"
"Globberport!" Mida shouted, furious, "I chose to keep you Chief Engineer because you've already got a system established down there, and are the second most familiar with the system behind only me! Now if you don't feel like giving me an engineering report, I'll just get myself a new chief engineer, understand?!"
Globberport gulped as he realized the trouble he was in, "Look, My… uh, Tallest… right? Anywho, I swear I've got things under control down there. The escape pod hatches are constructed and ready, we just need to load up the pods onto the racks. The engine is running just fine, and I'm keeping a close eye on those pipes, eh? Just like you told me to, remember? Making sure that black shit doesn't build up around the pressure valves? Huh? You remember when you told me that?"
"Shut up." Mida barked, "Quit trying to suck up to me. You're barking up the wrong tree today, Globberport."
"Hah!" Globberport forced a fake-laugh, "Barking up the wrong tree! Very funny My Tallest! You know, since you're so… tall?"
"I said shut up!" Mida yelled.
"Look," Globberport said, attempting to be chummy, "Everything is under control. Just take it easy. I promise you, everything down in engineering is under control."
Just then, a loud explosion boomed from the stern of the ship. Everyone jumped and stared at smoke rising from the back of the boat except Globberport, who, in his endless deafness, didn't hear it. Mida, scowling at him, reached for Globberport's head and physically turned it to face the rising smoke.
The chief engineer blinked and turned back to Mida, "I said everything in engineering. That explosion clearly came from the kitchen."
Mida slapped her forehead in frustration and turned to the guards, "Go take care of it, will you?"
"Yes My Tallest!" A handful of guards shouted and ran off to the kitchen.
"Tough break there sugar-tits." Globberport said, returning to his grungy personality, "But, as you said, I've got an engine to run, so if you'll excuse me!"
Globberport flicked his nearly-finished cigar away and quickly pulled out another. As he marched back to engineering, giving no heed to the smoke rising from the kitchen or the panicked goblins stamping out the remains of a fire, he tromped down the stairs and lit up his new stogie.
Mida felt like she was about to implode with screaming. She hated that man so much, for so many reasons. This, on top of everything else that had built up inside of her, was beginning to eat away at her good looks and sound mind. Mida hadn't gotten a chance to vent in a long time. Sadly, though, fate wasn't going to give her a break. Instead, it decided to give her even more reasons to hate Globberport.
Mida was about to rip her hair out when suddenly a loud whooshing noise came from behind her, at the bow of the ship. Apparently, the wind had been so strong it carried Globberport's still-burning cigar half-way across the deck. Mida turned around to realize that it had landed right at the doorstep to the captain's cabin, which now, right after the dousing of the kitchen fire, stood aflame.
"No… No, no, no, no, NO!" Mida thought, as the door burst into flame. "Fire!" She shouted, running to the cabin, "Fire!"
Goblins jumped up from whatever they were working on and began scrambling all over. Four ran into storage and pulled out goblin fire extinguishers. They ran to the cabin and threw the switches on their tanks. The first launched its goblin wielder into the stratosphere, the second two exploded, but the fourth actually blew foam all over the cabin and extinguished the fire. Mida was standing right in front of the door, as well as the other discombobulated, working-class goblins, as the strong winds ripped past once again and caved in the charred door.
"You know…" A voice called from within the cabin, "I've suffered through much humiliation, in my life."
"Oh no." Mida thought.
"But this!" He continued to shout as he, Trade Prince Maldy, stepped forth from the cabin, "This is by far the most insulting, most disrespectable, most heinous treatment of a Trade Prince I have ever even heard of!"
Maldy was screaming again, as loud as his little lungs could. All other goblins froze, not knowing what to make of the situation. They had considered Maldy gone and Mida their captain and knew nothing of Mida's trap and trickery against Trade Prince Maldy.
"Flagg!" Maldy shrieked, "Flagg get down here!"
Flagg ran like a cheetah to the bow of the ship, ripping past Mida and stood by Maldy's side, "Yes sir?"
"You!" Maldy shouted, "You are an incompetent, sorry excuse for a military commander!" Maldy pointed and hissed at Mida, "This… this woman! Has had me trapped in there for days! And no one bothered to check on me!"
"I'm sorry sir." Flagg said, "Her Tallest told me after…"
"Her Tallest?" Maldy interrupted, "Her Tallest?! You would dare call her that in front of me!?"
Flagg stood silently. He thought it best to keep his mouth shut from here on out. After all, he did still have an oath to Maldy to uphold, whether he liked it or not.
"Let me explain…" Mida said, thinking it was at least worth a try.
"No!" Maldy barked, "No more explaining, no more excuses, no more lies from you, from any of you! I AM TRADE PRINCE MALDY! None of you will stand in my way!" Maldy tromped forward, shoving Mida out of the way, but then stopped short of going down the stairs. He turned back to the small group of goblins and demanded, "Why… are there cannons on my ship?"
"Sir, if I may…" Flagg started.
"Shut up!" Maldy barked back, "When I ask you a question you keep your trap shut! You think I'm talking to hear myself talk? Answer me!"
No one quite knew what to do, really.
"We've encountered hostilities!" Mida shouted, "Just like I tried to warn you about!"
"Hostilities?" Maldy shouted, "Out here? Against us? Who would dare attack us, and why?"
"They were attacking another Undermine vessel." Mida continued, "We intervened to save them."
Maldy's jaw almost hit the ground, "You… intervened?"
"Yes." Mida said, "And we saved lives, and gathered valuable information."
"You intervened?" Maldy shouted again, "So are you're telling me YOU struck THEM first?"
Mida said nothing at first. Technically, Maldy was correct, but she continued, "They were already attacking an Undermine vessel. Had we not helped them, they would have certainly…"
"Yes." Flagg said, "She did, sir."
Mida turned around, betrayed, and shouted, "Flagg!"
Maldy scoffed in incrementally higher pitches, "Well… what… I just… this!" Maldy stared Mida right in the eye, and in all seriousness shouted, "How stupid are you?!"
Had the surrounding goblins not leapt up and held her back, Mida's fists would have flown at Maldy once again, but the four goblins around hung on with all their might just to hold her arms back alone.
"This doesn't leave the ship!" Maldy shouted, "No one is to know what's transpired. If we're lucky, we can still sail without retaliation from whoever we attacked by this incompetent wench's orders! Flagg!"
"Yes sir?" Flagg asked, proudly stepping forward.
"Take this woman, and EVERY goblin aboard that isn't one of your own, to the cargo hold. Seal the doors and bar the exits, post guards at every possible escape from it! See to it, that she DOESN'T escape AGAIN!"
"Flagg!" Mida shouted in desperation.
Flagg blew a loud whistle and his men came pouring out from every doorway on the boat. They began herding goblins like sheep from out the mess hall, engineering, hiding places in storage rooms and the deck. Flagg approached Mida and pulled out a pair of handcuffs – the exact same ones that had been on her days ago, and slapped them across her wrists. The other four goblins were quickly being violently stabbed at with the long spears of Maldy's men and being shoved into the cargo hold with the rest of them.
"You don't know what you're doing!" Mida shouted, "Flagg, please listen to me! You know as well as I do these waters aren't safe any more!"
"Shut up!" Maldy shouted, almost in tears, "Shut up! Shut up! I'm so tired of listening to her!" Maldy called over a group of guards as Flagg grabbed Mida by the chains and began dragging her away. The Trade Prince turned to them and said, "Disassemble these cannons. Recycle what of them you can for the engine. We've lost time to make up for. Knowing Mida, she threw us off course too."
"No!" Mida shouted, "We need our defenses you idiot!"
Maldy either was ignoring her or already out of earshot as Mida was dragged to the doorway that led to the cargo hold. Dozens more goblins were seen being held-up at spear-point and shoved back into the dark, dank hold of the ship.
"Flagg…" Mida said, "Stop this! You don't owe him anything! You know what's going on here better than anyone!"
"Silence." Flagg said stoically, "My orders come from the Trade Prince. In his absence, those powers were delegated to you as second-in-command." Flagg kicked open the door to the cargo hold as goblins screamed in fear from the violent intrusion, "Now Maldy's back." He hoisted Mida up, "And your leadership is no longer required." Flagg literally threw Mida down onto the floor, ripping the cuffs off her, and slammed the door shut. She quickly got back up and pounded on the door, but it was no good. Flagg had sealed it from the outside, and she was trapped, yet again, inside the cargo hold of the Hulking Hippo.
Back on the deck, Flagg returned to Maldy's side to see several of his men and Globberport standing with the Trade Prince.
"Damn it!" Maldy barked, "That woman did throw us off course! Globberport!"
"Yes sir?!" Globberport shouted, sending a salute, but accidentally hitting himself in the head with the wrench in his right hand.
"Get us back on course! We need to be traveling straight north. Make sure that engine is at full power to make up for lost time!"
Globberport nodded nervously, sweat cascading off him. He ran, as well as he could, back to engineering.
"I'll need you at the helm. Make sure we stay on course. These winds are strong, and if that storm from the other night indicates anything we could be seeing worse yet! I will not arrive in the Dragonblight late!"
Flagg raised a curious eyebrow, but still spouted mindlessly, "Yes sir."
"Trade Prince!" A voice called. Maldy turned to see two of his men carrying his mysterious black chest up the stairs to him.
"Good!" Maldy shouted, "Thank the gods, it's still here!"
The guards dropped it at his feet and quickly departed. Flagg still remained, staring in curiosity at the black box, at the ancient goblin writing, and the sloppily engraved name "Kryll" on the side of it. Maldy felt the box carefully, running his fingers over the lettering, almost caressing it greedily. He then took a deep breath, sniffing the box, and hoisted it up in his arms. He could barely lift it, but was going to carry it into his cabin. As he began to waddle away, he turned back to Flagg and shouted, "Don't you have a job to do?"
"Yes sir." Flagg said, "I'll be at the helm."
"See to it that you are!" Maldy shouted, "Do not fail me again, Flagg!"
Flagg pivoted, but shamefully still said, "Yes sir," before walking off.
"And get me a new door!" Maldy generally shouted to any goblin that could hear him, "I'll be needing my privacy!"
Two goblin guards ran to the doorway and propped the burnt door back into its place for the time being. With a few tools, they managed to get it to latch again, even if not sturdily. The last thing they saw as they pulled the door to was Maldy's flash of green teeth grinning as he dragged the ominous black chest deeper into his dark quarters.