Chapter 24 - Employee Suggestions

A large illusionary image filled the dragons cave. Giving a top down perspective in the image a couple of humans wandered the halls of a temple. Each carried a backpack almost as big as them on their backs. Clanking with each step from weapons and armor, and metal objects in the backpacks.

The hallway ended in a large round room. In the center of the room a stone pedestal with a book setting on it. The two humans carefully entered the room and walked around the walls. Each examining the wall for cracks, buttons, and holes. Upon finding no traps along the walls they carefully walked to the middle of the room. Another long minute passed as they examined the book and two foot tall pedestal. One of them picked up the book.

A block of stone slammed over the entrance, blocking the two people in. A hum filled the air and both adventurers crouched, readying for an attack. The hum got louder and both of them felt themselves being pulled into the air. The hum increased and their backpacks flew up to the ceiling twenty feet above them, pulling the humans with them.

Once the backpacks hit the ceiling sharp metal points started poking out of the canvas bags. The hum stopped and the humans fell back to the ground. Each groaned as they pulled themselves back up. One started to remove his backpack. The hum started again, this time ramping up faster. Both flew back into the air again. Both hit the ceiling with a thump, the one who hadn’t been removing the backpack cried out in pain as a sword point had emerged from the pack and stuck him in the arm.

The man who had already started removing his pack was able to slip through it and fell nimbly to the floor. The other pulled out a dagger and started cutting the straps. Hum increased, then abruptly stopped. Both packs fell back to the ground. The man still stuck in his pack fell to the floor with a grunt.

The hum started again, and both packs flew into the air. Weapon edges were now poking out of the backpacks, and a little bit of blood dripped from the man still trapped in his backpack. The other man was quickly trying to search the pedestal when the hum stopped. Another thump and grunt. A couple of swords clattered to the ground after breaking free of the backpack.

One of the men helped the other stand up and they started running towards the doorway. A different hum started and a blinking light appeared in the center of the stone block in the doorway. The two men ran towards it as the hum grew louder.

This time the swords and backpacks, instead of flying upwards, flew towards the door. A couple of sharp points jabbed into the men, and a few hilts thumped against them. Each grunted and cried out in pain. The hum stopped, weapons, backpacks, and the two men fell to the ground. Another hum picked up, the backpacks and swords were dragged towards the center of the room, and as the hum grew stronger, flew up into the ceiling.

The stone block moved from the doorway. Two men staggered out of the room, without their possessions but with their lives. An audible pop and the illusion disappeared. Elric stood where the illusion had been projecting and he watched the faces of Eft, Francis, and a goblin form Ventus. After a minute of silence Elric spoke.

“So it…” Elric said but was interrupted.

“I get it, the trap uses their greed to ensnare them. The greedier they were the higher possibly damage inflicted.” Ventus said. “We’ve been doing this for decades.”

“I’m…” Elric said but again was interrupted.

“I know some clergy that are interested in non-lethal type of obstacles.” Francis said talking over Elric. “The punishing them for their greed aspect could even entice some good faiths.”

Elric opened his mouth to speak but didn’t say anything as Eft was nodding his head and spoke.

“Spikes on the ceiling or spiked balls hidden in the floor would be a good upgrade for the more morally flexible.” Eft said.

“Elric you have our interest, anything else to sweeten your idea?” Ventus said after jotting down some notes in a little book.

“O B 1337 or as I like to call it, Weight of Morality, it is manual only in the fact someone has to remove the items taken or they could leave them there to add as extra enticement.” Elric said, he had put a lot of thought into the item name. “I also have a possible vendor for bulk items to sell as a service plan. Odds are some people will escape with stuff and we can offer cheap weapons and armor.”

Ventus laughed and everyone else in the room was grateful he was in goblin form.

“A subscription plan to refill the weapons and armor that is taken. Have you considered people with extra-dimensional containers?” Ventus said.

“Yeah, we will start selling Anti-Magic stones that we will install for customers. This will strip some protections from intruders but also not interfere with our customers needs. Once people’s dimensional bags start ejecting things randomly they’ll move stuff to a backpack. Who knows they may even leave behind things in hopes of finding more valuable items further down.”

Francis choked a little as he started laughing. His normally soft voice erupted into a dark, deep, guttural sound. Ventus and Eft joined him, leaving an uncomfortable Elric standing in front of them. Elric smiled and started to laugh a little with them.

Elric was escorted outside the room a few minutes later, leaving Eft, Francis, and Ventus to discuss the product. Mentally he congratulated himself on the good presentation, he had worked on the illusion presentation for  a few days. He even had visited with Liliaria to get help on finer details.

Rather than waiting and worrying, Elric headed towards the transportation room. Guldag wasn’t there but a two other goblins were. With a smile on his face Elric approached them. He waited a moment for them to notice him before speaking.

“Hey, is Guldag around?” Elric said.

“Not yet, he was supposed to return a hour ago,” the goblin on the left said. He was missing an ear and Elric tried to remember his name. “Probably stopped for a drink and it became several.”

“Pico!” Elric said surprising everyone. The name came suddenly to Elric’s mind and he didn’t mean to almost shout it out. “Sorry, I forgot your name for a moment.” Elric said after coming up with no explanation as to why he would just say someones name.

“Uh, alright, we will tell Guldag when he gets back you are looking for him.” Pico said.

“Thank you,” Elric said then he turned around and headed to the break room.

After the attack a few months ago, Ventus had installed a full sized bar inside the factory. By chance a lot of workers had been outside during the attack which saved some lives, but also reduced the amount of defenders. After installing the bar and discounting the food and beer, the employees rarely left the premises.

The thirty by twenty foot room only had a handful of people in it. An ogre sat in a corner savoring a side of beef. Three goblins sat at a table drinking their beer. Elric recognized one of them with an eye-patch as a drinking buddy for Guldag.

“Hey!” Elric said as he walked up towards the goblins. He couldn’t remember their names either, but he had the ultimate friend maker. “A round for me and my buddies here.” He said waving to the bartender and then towards the three goblins. When the one he recognized smiled at him, Elric pulled out a seat and sat down.

One of the goblins to the left of Elric looked at Eye-patch and said something in goblin. Elric couldn’t understand it but guessed.

“Do you know this person?” Lefty asked in goblin. After Eye-patch nodded the other two seemed to relax.

The bartender brought over a round of 4 ales, the glasses were clear but the liquid inside was yellow and cloudy. Each person at the table took a mug and briefly raised it.

“To new friends, may their wallets be deeper than my stomach.” Lefty said in common.

Elric ended up buying three more rounds shortly after.

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