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Beethro the Delver I - The Story of Beethro (By Erik Hermansen)

Beethro Budkin strolled into the Grand Dining Chamber where King Dugan was finishing his massive morning meal.

"Away, foul commoner! You disrupt my digestion with your poor hygiene!" bellowed the King, with bits of pork and potatoes erupting from his mouth.

"But sir," protested Beethro, "you sent for me."

The expression on the King's large face changed from anger to confusion to recognition to geniality in the space of two seconds.

"I really should have had you come in sooner," said King Dugan. "It's unbelievable! You let your guards eat their meals down in the dungeon, they spread crumbs all over the place, and all of a sudden the place is just swarming with cockroaches, not to mention goblins, serpents, evil eyes, and other nasty things. It's really gotten out of hand."

Beethro straightened with pride. "Not to fear. I am a trained professional from a long line of dungeon exterminators. I combine five generations of passed-down knowledge with the most state-of-the-art equipment to offer efficient extermination service at an affordable price."

"What kind of equipment do you use?"

"I've got a really big sword."

"Good! When can you start?"

"As soon as we handle the details of payment. Here are my standard extermination fees. Just sign at the bottom." Beethro handed a contract to the King.

"These prices are outrageous! Is the privilege of honorable service to the Crown worth nothing these days?"

"I can leave."

"No, no, no. We need that dungeon cleared so that the prisoners can receive their torture in a clean and safe environment."

"Well, I'll give you a discount if you'll throw in a princess."

"You're ugly and you smell bad. None of my daughters will have you!"

Beethro shrugged. "Fair enough."

The King signed at the bottom of the contract. "Right then. Let me show you to the entrance."

With an accompaniment of ten soldiers, Beethro made his way to a large, metal door, covered from top to bottom with locks, bolts, and chains. He unlocked and opened the door with a ring of keys handed to him. The soldiers shrunk back, swords drawn, as the door creaked open to reveal a descending staircase. Far down below, Beethro could see oily, black cockroaches skittering about.

"Those cockroaches are as big as I am!" he exclaimed.

"Just get down there!" said the King and some of the soldiers forcefully helped Beethro through the doorway. The door slammed shut behind him and the locks were rapidly put back on. He heard a muffled yell from the other side.

"Don't come back until you're done!"

Beethro the Delver: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

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