Please forgive me for not updating for so long. I was unable to do so because my computer was being repaired. To make up for it, here is an extra long update on the novel.
“Now what?” said Ærin.
“I think you used that line before,” responded Petrov.
“And?” said Ærin. “The point is still valid. We just killed the baron, the cops are after us, and I’m fairly certain that we can’t leave the same way we got in. What, exactly do we plan on doing from here?”
“We know what not to do,” said Magus. “For example, it’s best that we don’t slit our throats to make the cops lives easier.”
“Thank you for that information.”
Look, can you just stop arguing! I have a story to tell here!
“And?” shouted Magus. “There’s no way out!”
Look, all you’ve got to do is… wait a minute; you’re trying to get the solution from me, aren’t you.
“Nonsense,” said Magus. “We want a full blown deux ex machina or nothing.”
Like hell that’s going to happen.
“Fine then. We’re going to stay here and die, and this book will be rejected by every publisher who finds it. Your plots shall fade away into darkness and this shall become the greatest story never told.”
All right. The baron has an escape tunnel in the basement. Just get in there before anyone realizes he’s dead and head on out.
“How convenient,” said Magus. “Come on, let’s go.”
“I can’t believe we didn’t notice this the last time we were here,” said Petrov. “I mean, it’s got a glowing sign over it labeled escape tunnel and everything.”
“It must have been hiding in hammerspace,” responded Magus.
“Hammerspace?” asked Ærin.
“Highly complicated magical concept,” responded Magus. “What it boils down to is that it’s where the narrator keeps plot devices when they’re not in use. It also functions as a portal to Chekov’s armory. Anyway, let’s head on in.”
Magus and company walked on in, their footsteps echoing through the tunnels.
“Lousy human work,” said Petrov. “Dwarf make would echo better.”
“Why do you keep going on about how good the old country was if the place was hard to live in!” shouted Magus.
“Things have changed since the elder days,” responded Petrov. “One thousand years ago, back when I was a tiny beardling, our empire was at its height. The skies were filled with gyrocopters and airships, and the seas were tamed by our ironclads. However, we found a great treasure, one that would be our downfall. I had just one glimpse of admantine during that time, and I have hoped for my entire life that I would get another. It was beautiful. It shined like silver, but with an azure luster. It had an inner strength that no blow could break, and although weapons made of it would never need to be sharpened, they had an edge that could cut through steel. Alas, it was our undoing. We tunneled down, down, determined to get more of this wonderful metal. Everything was perfect. We were winning the war with the elves, and the goblins had finally been cleansed from our lands.
I had gotten a job as a miner, and I was tunneling along the admantine vein, when suddenly, I discovered an eerie cavern. The air above the dark stone floor was alive with vortices of purple light and dark, boiling clouds. Seemingly bottomless glowing pits dotted the surface. Then horrifying screams came from the darkness below! That was when I realized that we had dug too greedily, and too deep, for—”
“You unleashed a shadow of fire and flame?” interrupted Magus.
“No,” responded Petrov. “That was back in Sorok-D. This was worse. Down in the pit there were things. Eldritch things. Three legged elephants with venomous spittle, vaporous beasts with noxious secretions, and flying, crystalline, dual-mouthed carp!”
“Carp,” said Magus. “Carp. Do you really expect me to believe that you mined into hell and found flying carp? And besides, if you mined into hell, how are you still alive?”
“It wasn’t much of a biggie,” said Petrov. “Unlike you oneandahalflings we weren’t stuck in medieval stasis. Not even the fiends of Lodkaubity can survive being shot point blank in the face.”
“What, now you expect us to believe that you conquered hell?” said Ærin. “What kind of fools do you take us for?”
“But it really happened! We established a colony there and everything! That was not the event that destroyed the dwarven race, although that which did came soon after. You see, after colonizing hell, we did what any sensible dwarves would do. We held a party.”
“And that was harmful why?” responded Magus.
“The dwarven race died,” said Petrov. “Because that night… we didn’t know when to say when.”
“No, really!” he said, having apparently decided to forgo the accent. “The finest minds of our generation all died of acute liver failure that night. I thank Armok that I was lucky enough to slip into a coma halfway through! Depopulated as they were, almost all the great dwarven holds fell that night! Glavapobegi, Strah Zimoĭ, Siroplista, all of them. The elves attacked and in the end, we were reduced to huddling in the Mountainhome praying that they would go away. We have regained much of our land since then, but we are still spread thin, and we shall never regain our lost grandeur.”
“I have a question,” said Magus.
“What?” replied Petrov.
“Whatever happened to your accent?”
“Errr… vhat you mean?”
“Look, I just want you to stop screwing with us,” said Magus. “Now tell me: what happened to the accent?”
“Nothing, comrade!” responded Petrov.
“Don’t comrade me!” said Magus. “You just said that the country is ruled by the Tzar. Why all the Russian stereotypes?”
“Vecause Ve Van!” said Petrov.
“Look, just stop it, will you?” replied Magus. “There’s no point! We already know you don’t actually have an accent!”
“Vonsence!” said Petrov.
“Look, just tell us why you’re using the accent?”
“Look, do I have to have a reason! Can’t I just adopt a fake accent for no reason at all?”
“No, not really.”