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First Roach - trick

Vonnifa Budkin, eleven years old, and her little brother Beethro was sitting in the woods in the darkness of the night, watching the trees. The sun should come up aaany minute now...

Suddenly the world exploded with light, and, to the great enjoyment of Beethro and Vonnifa, dazed little birds started falling from the trees. Sunrise always came as a complete surprise to the Spurrows.

A little while later, Beethro and Vonnifa was laughing and running through the woods back towards their home. Beethro was lagging a bit behind when he saw Vonnifa tripped on a tree root, flew through the air in a beautiful little arc for a bit, and finally disappeared screaming through a hole in the ground. Beethro ran over to the hole as fast as he could.

"VONNIFA ?", said Beethro to the hole.

"Eww! Roaches!", answered the hole, before it made sounds of Vonnifas feet running away.

Beethro had heard about roaches. He broke off a large stick from the nearest tree and jumped down the hole. As he was falling the thought occured to him that this might not have been the brightest of ideas, but on the other hand, he HAD to save his sister!


He landed heavily in a dark, dusty room. As he raised himself from the checkered floor he discovered that all his limbs seemed to be working, but Vonnifa was nowhere to be seen.

Suddenly a roach roughly the size of Beethro himself scuttled into view. When it saw Beethro, it stopped and looked at him.

"Uh", said Beethro, and moved the stick vaguely in the roach's direction.


"GYAAARGH!", said the roach. As Beethro jumped back in horror, the roach took this marvellous opportunity and chased Beethro into a corner conveniently situated nearby. The day was looking up. Dinner was finally served! Not a minute too soon, either, its stomach had been growling for DAYS. But... where did it go ? The boy had been there a minute ago, but now it was nowhere to be seen.

Maybe a few more gyarghs would help. The roach took a deep breath and gyarghed at the top of its lungs a couple of times, but this didn't seem to help at all. Quite the opposite, in fact. "Stupid adrenalin making my sight movement-based", thought the roach sourly as it settled in to wait. "Now I've got a sore throat as well". The thing couldn't stay still forever, though. If it could just stop thinking about that delicious dinner hiding in here somewhere, it could see deliciously normally again. Delicious, SO delicious...

Beethro was in shock. He sat completely still in the corner, staring wide-eyed at the huge roach looming over him, drooling at the floor beside its feet.

"Oh greb, my mouth is watering again", thought the roach. It would never get normal sight back at this rate. "Why does it always have to be like this ?"

This wasn't how Beethro thought it would be. The roaches should be small and helpless little things that spent their little lives scurrying around on the floor eating crumbs and hiding in little holes whenever they thought there was a remote possibility that that little sound on the edge of hearing had been the sound of a scary human foot walking around a couple of rooms away. They shouldn't be huge... MONSTERS, that scared you half to death and then cornered you to take care of the other half.

"Calm down", thought the roach. "Bring yourself together and stop thinking about food, or that delicious little boy will --". Then it exploded.

Above him, through the spray of blood, Beethro could see the biggest sword he had ever seen swishing through the air as the poor roach completely failed to bring itself together.

"Hey there, little fella", said the Smitemaster when he was done, wiping his huge sword on his extremely dirty sweater. "What are you doing down here ? It's dangerous to be playing around in these dungeons. You're lucky I was here."

"My sister", sobbed Beethro, finally over the shock. He explained what had happened as the Smitemaster helped Beethro to his feet.

"Oh, her. I found her in a corner over there", the Smitemaster said, accidentally killing another roach as he pointed with his sword. "I followed her to the exit just before I found you".

Upon hearing that his sister was safely outside, Beethro lit up with joy and started to happily hug the Smitemaster, but when Beethro smelled the stench of a man that had spent decades slaying monsters and never taken a bath, he instantly reconsidered and just thanked the man in stead.

Beethro was deep in thought as the Smitemaster followed him to the exit. When they were there, he asked, "Mister ?"


"Can you teach me how to use a sword ?"

"Nuh-uh", said the Smitemaster.

"Why not?", asked Beethro.

"It's too dangerous! Little boys like you should spend your time playing up in the sun, not slaughtering monsters in dark dungeons like this."

"That's how I got here in the first place", said Beethro.

"No, you jumped down a hole in stead of running for help".

"If I had run for help it might have been too late!"

The Smitemaster considered this. "True", he conceded, "if I hadn't been here she wouldn't have survived long. But neither would you".

"So you'll teach me how to use a sword ?"


Vonnifa found Beethro in the forest just as the sun set, happily walking homewards. As astonished Spurrows started raining from the trees, she slapped him, then hugged him, then revolted at the smell.

"I've been worried sick about you, you daft little goblin!", she said. "And you stink! Where the gob have you been ?"

"Nowhere", said Beethro, and set up an innocent smile.

He was going to be a Smitemaster.