Fred met the ground with a resounding crunch. The ground, unlike Fred,
seemed none the worse for this. As he slowly regained his senses, and the
movement of most of his limbs, Fred looked around warily.
"Hey Fred," said a calm voice.
Fred spun around, and was surprised at how much pain this caused him. His vision clouded for a brief moment, then he found himself looking at a man, sitting on a chair. He looked tired.
"Who...who are you?"
"The name's Toby...Sir Toby," the figure replied, not bothering to get up. He gave a depressed sigh.
Despite his considerable physical discomfort, Fred could see that this poor soul had endured suffering of his own. It seemed as though his was an entirely different sort of suffering...a mental, or perhaps even spiritual trial. "What's the matter, Sir Toby?" he asked sympathetically.
"It's a long story," sighed Toby, then gave a half-hearted chuckle. "Actually, that's a good way to sum it up right there. A long, long story..."
Fred looked around. There seemed to be no pressing demands on his time. "I've got time," he said.
Sir Toby looked directly at him. "Frankly," he said, "I'm getting pretty sick and tired of looking after you. You're a very unpredictable chap, you know that? Sure, when I first sent you off, you did great, made some nice friends. I had to guide you from time to time, keep you out of whorehouses and the like, but it was fun. In time, though, you grew up. Started hanging out with the wrong sorts of people, characters I couldn't approve of. And before I knew it, you started dying all over the place and entirely different protagonists sprang up. I even tried to take over for a bit, but it wasn't the same.
"And now you've gone and killed the dragon. Don't you see, this is the worst yet! What part of Never Ending Quest didn't you understand? I tell you what, I'm through with it. To be honest, I'm glad. You're on your own now, I wish you luck."
Fred scratched his head, reopening a slowly healing scar. "I don't understand a word you're saying," he said. "Ow," he added.
"Don't worry about it," said Toby. "Neither do I."
Fred shrugged, then collapsed with the effort.
8/24/2000 12:23:50 PM
The Never Ending Quest Home
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