Flash Fiction Friday 011 – The Red Crusader

Ulrich flexed his left hand as he walked down the city street. It didn’t hurt; it was incapable of hurting, but old habits and all. The sound of traffic and the hum if humanity blared all around him; however, the commotion was muted in Ulrich’s ears. His mind was somewhere far away.

“Hey, Ulrich! Man, you want a taco or what?” Jack had stopped next to a good truck and was trekking at Ulrich.

Blinking, Ulrich moved by his friend in line. “Quite a wait for a mobile meal isn’t it?”

Jack laughed and have a shrug. “Master Monty has the best prices on tacos in the city.”

Ulrich craned his neck to see the menu. “Can’t be that good for those prices. How are drinks the most expensive item on the menu? Rat meat, that’s how.”

“A. Probably better than that shit you were eating down range. B. The food is legit. Monty has a taco storm in a jar. Fresh as magic can make it. Don’t get a drink here though.” Jack added. “Potions. Don’t want you popping hot when you get back to your unit.”

While Jack spoke, movement caught Ulrich’s eye. His head jerked around to see a woman walking her pet dragon down the sidewalk. No taller than the woman’s knee, it had it’s muzzle on to prevent accidental fires.

Ulrich tensed at the sight of the thing, his fists clenching. The edges of his vision began to black out before being filled with fire. His left hand began to tap his leg repeatedly while he stood frozen.

“Yo. You’re on leave. You’re on leave. Chill bro.” Ulrich faintly heard Jack’s words at first, but each sentence became clearer and clearer. After another moment or two, his mind cleared and he was at the front of the line for tacos.

Ulrich barely registered anything during the transaction. He knew dragons were pets. They were vey popular pets. Breeding the big ones was also a violation of several international treaties. That didn’t stop some people, though.

Some dictators just got it in their head that dragons were better when big and angry. That’s when units like Ulrich’s were called. USAMA claimed they were the Black Knights, and they could pretend. Ulrich was a Red Crusader, one of four knight forces in the US Army, trained and proficient in handling mythical and magical problems.

Jack guided him to a seat as he continued to flex his left hand. The sound of cogs and actuators was barely audible being magically powered and muted. Despite having no actual sense of anything in that hand, Ulrich could tell the moves of the metal didn’t feel right. Maybe it was just the way the shoulder joint still rubbed burnt skin. He still had a few weeks to get used to it while he finished up hid convalescent leav… man. That was a good taco.

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Flash Fiction Friday 002 – Knowledge is Strength

This week’s flash fiction looks at a world where knowledge and strength go hand in hand.

Master Rotenaphon sat atop his pillar, his large forearms resting on crossed legs. Six shelves were cut into the side of the pillar, and each shelf was filled with scrolls of various thickness. Those scrolls alone were proof of Rotenaphon’s prowess. Years of study and work went into gathering all that knowledge displayed within the pillar.

A potential student was brought within the room to stand before the pillar. The student’s jaw clenched and his shoulders shook slightly at the sight of the pillar. There was nothing else within the room to compete for his gaze. All the young man could do was let his eyes travel up the pillar, past each shelf, with growing apprehension before finally setting on the master himself.

“So,” Rotenaphon began. “You wish to learn of the philosophy of nothingness?” The master punctuated his question by flexing biceps the size of melons. “Well then, I hope you are properly prepared, otherwise you shall only learn the philosophy of pain!”

The fight was over quickly. Rotenaphon sprung from his pillar with lightning speed. Before the potential student was aware of what was going on, he was balled up on the ground and staring at the ceiling. Within minutes, the student was on his way out the door.

At this rate, he was never going to be able to learn anything beyond the basic education. Maybe he should just try an easier teacher, at least until he learned how to fight. Until then, he was never going to be able to win any lessons.

 

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