The Lighthouse was a tiny white silver 2.5 miles away at the top of rocky island. Definitely, my fringe distance. But the conditions were ideal; the sun to my back, the west wind at 2 knots, high visibility, no precipitation, and a steady sea. It wasn’t impossible I could feel it. I calmly retrieved my smooth leather case without saying a whisper to the others. Lorenz, Mr. Finn, and Master Goethe were frantically arguing about the best course of action. The beacon charged up and it started scanning the sea, getting closer to us every second. Goethe figured we sailed into some sort of magic detection web. We’d be spotted in no time, which meant shrinkage and time in a bottle, according to Myrrh’s trusted report. Still calm, I unlatched the lock with a click and slowly opened the cushioned hard case. Inside, was a jigsaw puzzle of shiny metallic pieces, several honed barrels, a polished rosewood hilt, an elaborate scope with a top end magnification, and a tight row of copper-jacketed high caliber rounds. I grinned like a demon at the glorious sight. It had been ages since I last felt my special rifle’s cold rolled steel. With my steady hands, I expertly assembled my Longshot, maximizing its range capability with every tweak. The doubts in my mind faded fast!
“Lorenz, spot me” I commanded. The others were shocked to see me toting a rifle twice as tall as me with a telescopic scope. Alkenstar Gunworks and Bruner do not disappoint! I erected a sturdy tripod, locked the rifle into place, spun it hard around the swivel to check the balance, and after an incalculable number of rotations caught the hilt pleased as punch. The preparations were complete, I was locked and loaded. Lorenz came up behind me with his binoculars and tapped my on the shoulder. A surge of magical energy cemented my already steady hands. I lined up the energized beacon in my sights. My bird of prey vision coupled with the advanced scope, turned the once microscopic beacon into a peephole. I looked deeper, I just barely made out a pinhead sized discoloration that I bet powered the beacon. Did I imagine it? Fuck it, real enough I decided. I aimed for the colorless speck. Lorenz repeated the range and conditions.
“Shoot straighter than my enemy. I need to hit first. Hitting is all the matters” chorused through my head. Just a little closer…
Mr. Finn shouted, “100yards,thelightf’kingshrinkingthesea!" The Submerged Ship Jewel ready in his hand. His orders were to wait to activate it until after I fired.
“50-yards!” he called.
God damn it! If it can hit us; I can hit it! Just a little more…
Fuck, I need more time! Fucking show me! My heart raced like a loose stagecoach down a mountain pass.
“Caapptain? 5ive yardds!”
The discolored pinhead came into clear focus. A tiny colorless lantern ignited the beacon!
“BANG” the hollow shot echoed over the hush. It would take a moment to hit.
“Contacct!!!”, Mr Finn yelled.
I peeked an eye out to see Goethe’s illusion get shriveled up and dissolved. Wow, his countermeasure payed off aces! If that crazy light had hit the ship actual it would’ve been tiny curtains for us. But the illusion decoy was toast now so not all rainbows for us. The beacon switched directions. It was coming right for us! The ship started to dive but it would take some time. Given the strength of the beacon it might not even matter. I checked my sight, a shower of sparkles rained down from the shot’s impact like glass prisms in the sunlight. The beacon was still blaring. Shit! There musta been a protective glass dome surrounding the beacon room.
Now that my eyes adjusted to the target, I saw the pale boss Protean’s eye reflect off a mirror within the beacon apparatus. Those mirrors were a larger target! I took aim and squeezed off another round with Lorenz’s aid. BANG!!! The shot flew straight and hit true! The beacon fluctuated for a split second but soon regained its laser focused. The shrinking beam ran across the prow of the ship, right into Goethe’s waiting arms. I’m told that Master Goethe erected a magic shield to tank the magic beam. Bullshit! More likely he was so freaking pissed from absorbing a horde of devils that he tried negotiating with the Lighthouse light! It was a failed negotiation because he got blow back to the rear of the ship like he was shot out of a fiends-mount cannon. The ship’s prow began to distort wildly!
“Umm…Captain?”, reminded Lorenz, with a hand on my back. His support snapped me back to reality. My plan wasn’t impossible. The beacon could be extinguished, that last shot almost did the trick.
“Right! Let’s give the Colorless twat some of his own medicine!” I roared. I hunkered down and channeled all the Godly powers given to be from Apus and Dahak into my hands and eyes. The world faded away. I saw my target like a bullseye. There was no more time to doubt. My thoughts returned to, “Hitting is all the matters.” I fired my last shot with my last bit of grit. BANG!!!
The loud echo hung in the air for a long time. Much hope propelled that long shot. Once the sound dissipated, a cascade of cracking and shattering glass took its place. Next, a blood-curdling scream from the blind eternities roared, “AHHHHHHHHH!” The beacon went dark. I stood up and lit a cigar. Mr. Finn and Lorenz cheered. Goethe dusted himself off. “Okay, Lads. Let’s keep fucking the bastard’s day”, I sneered.
I wondered what that Coloress Fucklord thought? I’d bet a three inch platinum stack it was the first time his prey ever fired back at his ivory tower! It was the perfect distraction for Myrrh to escape, or better yet, add another steaming pile of shit on to the Protean King’s toilet bowl day. Myrrh was certainly capable of stirring up some shit. It would be extra hilarious if Myrrh got his dirty paws on another one of the Protean’s three crowns! The fact was that the loser Lord needed to suffer for hurting my crew. He would rue the day he faced Captain Holemaker and company! Just then an even louder scream howled from the Lighthouse, “Uragggagagagahhh!!”, thick with frustration. Our ship slipped under the waves, as I puffed away, satisfied to my core.
At the base of the island, 50ft under the water, hidden by jagged rocks Mr. Finn found a secluded sea cave. We anchored the ship and swam to the entrance. The dank tunnel led into a cavern with a shimmering pool of clear water and a pillar engraved with the slogan, “One Wish for One Life”. Off in the distance we heard something complaining about his poor luck. “He’ll have my neck if I don’t find it. Blast it! Where did that vermin run off too?” The voice trailed off.
“Sounds like he talking about Myrrh! Let’s go make friends” I ordered. Meanwhile, Goethe checked out the wishing pool, he signaled it was the real thing and not to bathe in its water. It would be fatal. Why would such a thing exist?
“Halt! Who goes there?” hissed a mixed up looking monster, it had snake legs, munthrek chest and arms, and a bird head. Its body shifted and contorted while also shimmering and shining like a chameleon trying to be noticed. Begads, it was all wrong! It reminded me of one those optical illusion paintings you see decorating a freak show.
Lorenz approached with open arms, “We are but weary traveling looking for a safe place for the night”, he crooned.
“Icouldn’thelphearin” garbled Mr. Finn. “Achaosmanlikeyou,gotsaboss?”
“ARRAAAGGGG, not this again?”, whined the beast. A new set of arms sprouted from its broad shoulders and held its head in pain. It sobbed like a little school girl with friend drama. I thought, “This is going to be easy!”
Suddenly it snapped out of its misery, something had caught its attention. It pointed viciously at Goethe, and thundered, “Master, despises your kind. Be Gone Devil!” An anti-devil wave of energy swept over the cavern. Goethe destabilized and was gone. He had a cross look on his face went he was discarded. My mouth gaped wide open at the radical turn of events. “Master will be pleased”, it said from its hindquarters. I readied for revenge!
“Sir, that was uncalled for! And here we came, all this way, only looking for a little hospitality” admonished Lorenz. He had his hands out giving the universal sign for simmer down now.
“I sent it back to once it came. Master would’ve teared him limb from limb. It was hospitality. Why are you here?”, hissed the amorphous monster again. It stepped up to Lorenz revived with new vigor.
“Okay the God’s honest truth is this! The devil you just cast out, came here to use your wishing pool. He has a terminal heart condition. His dying wish was to help out his poor ailing father and dull minded sister. We’re but his simple escort” charmed Lorenz. The protean’s faced melted, I couldn’t tell if it was Lorenz’s sob story or its face just melts.
“Well, I didn’t know that. You should leave”, it said meekly.
“Sheeesh! We came all this way to leave empty handed. Doesn’t feel right. That devil was going to be our big payday. We need to get payed. You owe us!”, demanded Lorenz.
“I don’t have time for this. I’ll take you to Master, but first I need to catch the red rat hiding in the walls” said the flabbergasted protean.
“We’re willing to work for our pay. Mr. Finn over there, can track a mosquito in a hundred mile bayou”, Lorenz offered. Mr. Finn put his nose to the ground; he tasted dirt, and picked up a tiny strand of crimson hair with a pair of tweezers.
“Gotcha!” garbled Mr. Finn. Noname NotNamed Nameless, our protean host, was happier than Goethe with a two for one coupon at a Katapeshi brothel. Maybe that’s where he went?
“Find him! I shall reward you” commanded Noname.
Mr. Finn led the group upstairs. Loud crashing and banging like someone ransacking a drum and cymbal shop echoed down the staircase. Curse words in an unknown tongue came afterwards. We neared the top. My heart thundered. Were we really just going meet the Colorless Lord so casually? We needed a better plan!
“Where is it?!”, rumbled from above, sinister as sin.
“Master is having a very bad day! His precious beacon mysteriously went dark” illuminated Noname.
“Why then do you call such a bumbling fool your Master? Noname?” asked Lorenz. I sensed a faint queasiness in his voice. It was understandable, since we were walking into the lion’s den down two men.
“I don’t have a choice. His First crown compels me” lamented Noname.
“Tell me more about this controlling crown…” pressed Lorenz. Whatever anxiety Lorenz had was gone now. It seemed maybe we had a plan after all. Hey, if my longshot planned worked like a dreamboat, why not Lorenz’s? This time I’d spot him for good measure.