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Of the Distributing of Swords

by on February 2, 2016

The tunnel rumbled over Mr. Stamper’s head. Some people might have been unnerved by a tunnel rumbling over their heads, one which gave every indication of collapsing around them and burying them in dirt forever. The space otter, however, was used to this sort of thing. At least the Martian tunnel wasn’t terribly cramped.

Mr. Stamper did miss, just a little, the easy simplicity of earlier capers. The Virgo Diamond, for example, had been locked up in a nice air-conditioned building, behind vault doors that only required an electromagnetic pulse bomb to disarm. That had been almost fun. There hadn’t been any of this crawling through dirt tunnels after mystical artifacts, especially when half the time he didn’t even know what the artifacts were. They were mysterious cups or shiny fat golden men or skulls made of minerals, and they’d usually been left by deities or aliens or time-travelers. Mr. Stamper never knew why the aliens or gods or time-travelers had chosen to leave their treasures in some out of the way hole. It all seemed very odd, he reflected as he kept doing down the tunnel.

Quite suddenly, the tunnel split into two branches. Both looked equally foreboding. Mr. Stamper shrugged, and took the left. He usually took the left in these situations. Either it worked, or it didn’t, and so far it had mostly worked.

His luck seemingly failed him this time. Mr. Stamper had been going for only five minutes down this new tunnel when it abruptly deposited him in a spacious gallery lit with flaming torches. A tall woman stood in the center, bearing a red sword. “You there!” sheΒ  boomed at him. “How dare you trespass into the chamber of Thursday, god of war?”

“What, you too?” Mr. Stamper said.

Thursday advanced on him in towering outrage. “How dare you-”

“I only meant that I already met a god of war on this planet,” Mr. Stamper said, with remarkable calmness. “Called himself Tuesday. Had armor on. Friend of yours?”

Thursday swore. She did it in native Martian, and Mr. Stamper didn’t have a convenient translator to paw, but from her tone and facial expressions, what she said sounded wildly unprintable. Finally she switched back to his language. “And I keep telling him, I said, Mars only needs one god of war and I’m clearly more appropriate but nooooo, he has to run around with armor on looking ridiculous and now we’re in conflict again and we’ll have to report it to Jupiter and he’ll have to tell Higher Up and who knows what they’ll say and honestly I can’t deal with this AGAIN!”

She said more unprintable things in Martian.Β  Then, to the otter’s surprise, she abruptly flung the sword at him. It landed, point down, in the rock right in front of him. “You be the god of war!” Thursday snapped. “I’ve had it! I’m going to be the god of peace and civilized dialogue now! So there!” She vanished in a burst of red light.

Slowly, Mr. Stamper reached for the red sword. He’d had many things flung at him during his career, but no one had ever thrown a sword before. It was an odd thing for someone to leave for him. Stamper’s paw closed around the hilt. It felt fireplace-warm to his touch, the heat pulsing gently. He drew it from the earth and gave it an experimental heft. It hummed in the air. “Huh,” Mr. Stamper said. “This is interesting.”


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  1. This for some reason delights me to no end: “what she said sounded wildly unprintable. ” hahaha! I was hoping you’d write the next installment. I love a good god tantrum. Even funnier…Stamper’s boredom and otter nonchalance.

    • Or even a bad god tantrum. πŸ™‚

      I do wonder how Stamper will maintain his nonchalance now that he is a god. He’s an important person, now. A significant otter, you might say. πŸ˜€

  2. Ugh. stop it you two. Your puns are otterly terrible. I enjoyed the humor as always. I was a little confused that the tunnel was above him and then suddenly he was in it.

    • Ah, I can see how that would be confusing; I meant it as he was in the tunnel and the sound of rumbling was coming from above him, so the tunnel would potentially collapse on him, but I may not have been entirely clear on that….

  3. 2old2tap permalink

    This is wonderful! It gave me a good chuckle. The temper tantrum was great, and there just has to be more.

  4. Jennifer G. Knoblock permalink

    For me, the burning question was, what would the sword FEEL like. Thank you for giving us that. And I’m so glad someone is going to be the god of peace and civilized dialogue. That’s what we need.

    • Isn’t that the truth. πŸ™‚

      I expect I’ll get more into the sword’s description and powers in the next installment. But I am glad the description of the way the sword felt worked!

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