The following is a modern day fable based on the awesomely geeky game, “Munchkin.” Someday I’ll hopefully complete my book called, “Fables from the Tabletop,” but until then I figured I could use some feedback on one of the more finished parts.
The group of intrepid, yet tired, adventurers approached the next door within the dungeon. Each pair of eyes darted back and forth in anticipation of danger, but not from the stone walls or floor. They watched their companions for signs of the backstabbing which had become rampant. No one trusted anyone else, and the toll of constant vigilance was sapping their collective strength.
“Alright, Serah. It’s your turn to search the room.”
Serah nodded and tried his best to keep the other four adventurers in view as he approached the door handle. He drew his two-handed sword and reached out to open the door, but was stopped by another adventurer’s hand.
Turning, Serah saw it was Pevon, the munchkin who was responsible for him losing his beloved hireling, Monroe. “Wait a second, Serah,” Pevon said, looking directly into Serah’s eyes, “I have something I need to say to everyone.”
“Oh, knock it off, Pevon,” grumbled Denis, “Whatever plan you have to steal the treasure in this room, I’m not going to let it happen this time. I still haven’t forgiven you for getting me caught in that magical trap that changed me into a man!”
Pevon raised his hands above his head, no weapons within reach. It was an act of complete surrender. “I’m not planning a trick this time. I’m exhausted of being on my toes constantly. ” His gaze met everyone else, “I think we’ve lost something important on our way here. Do you remember when we started this dungeon crawl? We were so weak and scared. Most monsters we encountered could devour us in one bite!”
“Yea… but now we’re strong!” exclaimed Denis, waving around his Blessed Mallet of St. Someone.
“Exactly. And how did we become strong? We worked together, fought together, and shared the treasure. We were a team, damn it all! Brant, remember when Serah threw that Holy Water at those wight brothers and saved you from being drained?” Brant nodded and looked at Serah, who grew embarrassed. “And Tess, there was that time Denis joined in your fight against a tentacle demon from Hell. Without his holy powers, you would have been dragged down into an eternity of torture.”
Tess hung her head , and tears streamed down her cheek. Denis walked over and put his arm around her shoulder, “What’s your goal here, Pevon? To depress us all so we won’t watch you as closely as we should?”
“My goal, Denis, is to point out how greedy we’ve become. We stopped helping each other, gave up our friendships, and for what? A shiny new set of China Plate Mail? Or a Board of Nail-ness? Now we cast our spells and throw our single-use weapons to help the monsters defeat someone we once called an ally. Our individual pursuit to be ‘number one’ has cost us our morality and it sickens me. I’m tired of always having to watch my back, knowing the next massively powerful monster I face will be my last because all four of you will gang up and make my foe even more powerful. I want to go back to the way it was, when we would sing songs of glory for each other… not brag about how sinister and well-timed our betrayals are.”
Pevon walked over to Serah and hugged him, “Serah, I’m sorry for all the evil I have done trying to get a monster to kill and eat you. I’m sorry for having that giant boulder crush poor Monroe into hireling paste.” Pevon stepped back from the embrace, but kept his hands on Serah’s shoulders, “I promise that whatever monster is in this room, I will fight with you to defeat it. I do this without expectation of any treasure, you can choose to share it or not. This is to atone for my past mistakes and renew the trust and teamwork we all once had. Will you accept my help?”
Serah nodded excitedly, “It’s about damn time one of us spoke up about this. The paranoia was eating me alive. Damn straight I’ll accept your help, and we’ll split the treasure evenly between us.” Smiling, the two turned to look at the rest of the group.
Denis was the first to speak, “You prove your sincerity in this battle, fighting for Serah and not against him, and I’ll jump at the chance to call you ‘ally’ again, Pevon.”
“Same here,” responded Brant. Tess, still crying, simply nodded.
Together, Serah and Pevon opened the door and stepped into the next room. In the flickering torchlight, the two saw a single treasure chest and a fanged, fluffy bunny.
“Well, I think you could take it alone, but I made a promise. Shall I still help you win?” asked Pevon.
“I would be honored if you would,” was the reply.
From the hallway, the two heard Denis’s voice call out, “I cast a Spell of Intelligence on the monster!”
Nearly simultaneously, Brant’s voice rang, “I cast a Spell of Brood Multiplication on the monster!”
As Pevon turned to look at the lying duet, Tess managed to stop crying long enough to add, “I cast a Curse of Small Item Breakage upon Pevon!” Pevon watched as his Singing Sword of Show-tunes rusted away.
Instead of a simple fanged, fluffy bunny, Pevon and Serah then faced ten super-intelligent fanged, fluffy bunnies. Pevon looked at Serah, “I’m sorry for trusting them. But I was sincere. I am keeping my promise and fighting with you. We can do this… together.”
“Yea, about that,” Serah smirked as she threw a Flask of Glue at Pevon’s feet, “I think I’ll be using my Shoes of Running Really Fast now. It was a good speech, Pevon, but there can be only one. And it ain’t you.” Serah sprinted out the door.
As the four cunning and wise adventurers shut the door on poor Pevon they heard him exclaim, “I fucking hate you guys!” Then, all they heard was a few clangs of a metal weapon on the ground and the chewing of flesh by ten little mouths. They walked along the hallway until they came to the next door.
“Okay, Denis,” announced Serah, “It’s your turn to search the room.”
Denis put on a smile, “At least you guys used up your spells and items to kill Pevon. Right?”
Brant smiled back, “Oh, absolutely. No more spells in my pocket.”
Tess whispered, “That was certainly my last curse.”
“C’mon Denis, open the door. Don’t you trust us?” replied Serah.
Denis wiped the sweat from his brow and opened the door.
The Lesson to Learn is: Trust only works with those who prove they are trustworthy.