The Carrot and the Stick Part 2

Chapter 1: Two Vegetables Meet in a Bar

The tavern was a very good example of well kept dilapidation. The worm infested tables were all nicely wiped and shining, the parts of metal of the various tankards, dispensers and light fixtures that were not rusty were shining bright.

The dog skeleton that was in one corner sorrowfully contemplating an empty bottle and soundlessly sighing was completely free of cobwebs. The cracks in the ceiling and the broken wooden planks of the floor had both been made very neat indeed.

What broke this harmonious tidy disrepair of this small tavern was that the fireplace, a once grand and mighty thing, taking up a whole wall and being sculpted in the shape of a dragon, those mighty scaled sovereigns of skies.

It had been boarded over with scorched metal planks, crudely riveted on.

The tavern was cold.

Colder in some ways, than the land outside.

Seated at one of the tables was a few blue crab-like beings, though they had useless looking tiny stinger tails and only two sharp pointed legs. They did however have four arms, two with pincers and the other with an odd cross of claws.

Gnargs, due to an unfortunate mental reaction towards loud and forceful people, they made up the bulk of the Firelord’s army. The unfortunate creatures usually end up serving nefarious beings due to the natural subservience they feel towards bombastic individuals who love to rant about their plans.

These soldiers of the Firelord were at peace, supping their terrible drinks, but their maces and their snuffing cone were never far away.

At another table was a medley of merchants, what manner of denizens they were was something that was hard to tell due the amount of products attached to their bodies, with some difficulty they too managed to try to drink the cold away.

Apart from these, there was the regulars of the village, primarily hairy hogs. The barman himself was a hairy hog with a pair of tusks that really framed his winning smile. As hairy as he was, he was bundled up in furs himself.

One other table however is what interests us. Seated at that table, were two vegetables.

Of the walking, talking and occasionally being reasonable kind of course.

One was an aubergine, in some strange dimensions where eggs are laid by nightmares, this particular vegetable is known as a eggplant. Truly it brings fear to the heart to even consider such grim realms.

The aubergine was quite badly burnt on one side. He was of the upside variety  of vegetablefolk, that is to say, his body was not upside down, and his leaves were his hands, while legs sprouted out from his body.  Unlike some aubergines that have a mighty chin and a small face, this one’s mouth spanned the whole of his body.

He wore a red fur robe and boots of pink leather, likely made from the dreaded one legged ice hound.

To this stand up character opposite, was a wall. Ah no, it was a carrot, a massive carrot, a carrot with muscles one didn’t think would be possible on. A carrot with a sixpack and barrels for arms, who’s pointed end swept back like a tail. Before this tail was a pair of stout legs that, nevermind nuts looked like they could crack anvils.

This carrot was not of the upside or downside type, both of which are the most common kind of vegetable person in Elcon.

This rippling monstrosity was of a third, rarer kind. A vegetable person who’s limbs were not made from their leaves. Some refer to these as mandragora.

This one’s leaves were short and he wore two belts as a simple harness. His eyes were bright and eager and sprouting above his mouth were two fine leaves, forming a respectable moustache.

He was almost quivering in excitement. This was Ulex McHeft, greatest buff mage in all Elcon (or so he liked to think).

“I can barely believe my eyes, you really have a job for us good fellow?” Ulex asked the aubergine

“i don’t know what this has to do with eyes, he told you he had a job didn’t he?” A quiet girl’s voice came out from amid Ulex’s leaves, and what looked remarkably like a blue cone with blobby toeless feet leaned out.

A coneperson, the smallest of Elconic denizens. They can lift things with their minds and collectively have the might to move mountains. This power is lost when they are afraid however, and when you are smaller than most other beings, you have plenty to fear. Especially if you smell as tasty as conepeople do.

“he doesn’t look much like a good fellow either”

“Be nice Kepo, you want to get out of this village right?”

“yeah, right. sorry boss”

Fingerless Kepo as she was known to a few had quite a strong desire for leaving the village. Other conepeople would be scared of those bigger than them, Kepo was still kind of scared of that, but what she really feared was someone finding out just how much she had ‘borrowed’ from the village.

She would never regret stealing the hallowed lollipop though. Still had the stick too.

The aubergine smiled slyly.

“It is the fortune of both of us to meet. I’ve come about as far as I’m willing with this package”

Carefully, he took out a tightly wrapped object. The wrapping was oiled and warded leather.

“Oooh attractive”
“Keep your mind off it” Ulex advised.

Ulex looked at the package thoughtfully.

“How come you can’t deliver it yourself anyway?”

The aubergine shrugged.

“I’ve seedlings to look after back home. It was already pushing it coming this far. I only ever wanted to find a bunch of adventurers to foist it off on.”

“What are the terms?” Kepo asked.

“You just have to deliver this package to a pot named Mr Tea in the Market Circle, I’ll give you most of what I was given to take this, I just need a bit to get home”

“What about your seedlings?” Ulex asked sharply.

The aubergine seemed stunned for a moment, before a bashful look crossed over his face.

“I’m sorry, I figured you’d be more likely to take the job if I didn’t tell you how much I was actually taking”

“Thought you could pull a fast one eh? Well, cough up what you were going to give us”

“You don’t mind?”

Ulex laughed heartily.

“Well, let’s leave that for after we see how much you are offering us”

“T-there’ll probably be more when you deliver it” The aubergine awkwardly said.

Kepo’s eyes glinted at the mention of more rewards, but Ulex just shrugged.

“Come, show me what you’ve left to us”

The aubergine slowly took out a bag and set it down on the table. There was a nice clink from within.

With Kepo urging him on, Ulex opened the bag and their faces were lit up by the rainbow glow of gems. He hurriedly closed the bag, and Kepo cast a suspicious eye on all the other patrons of the tavern.

“We’ll take the job”

Moments later, a jubilant Ulex burst out of the Tavern.

“Gheel! We’re finally leaving this horrible village behind! We’ve finally got the treasure for supplies… uh, and Spongy Snaps ransom!”

Author: SnowyMystic