Book 2 - Text 26
Zhopa the twoll held a cleaver in one thick hand, and eyed Stanley the Tool. With the palm of the other hand pressing down, he minced a pile of radishes.
"Battle is over, Lud?" he said.
Since making a sudden, theatrical entrance and receiving Zhopa's bows and salutes, Stanley had been quietly inspecting the larder area. He walked around the room, opening cabinets, peeking in burlap sacks, prying the lids from canisters.
When in the presence of Commanders, Zhopa generally restricted his questions to clarifying their orders. But the Overlord's close inspection of the kitchen made him nervous enough to ask a potentially dangerous one, if only for the sake of turning Lord Stanley's mind to other things.
To his twollish mind, it seemed a safe thing to ask. Since the turn was over early and Stanley was here, of all places, it should have been safe to assume that Gobwin Knob had won yet another battle.
But the question immediately felt like a big mistake. Stanley turned to him and glared sharply. "Why?" he said snidely, "you wanna go fight in it?"
Zhopa stared at Stanley blankly. "In Jetstone, Lud? I think would be a long walk." He put the cleaver down on the butcher's block and stood at attention to be promoted from Garrison unit. "But okay."
"Yeah, you wish," said Stanley, stepping toward him. "Shut up and make me a sandwich or something." He looked around, hands on hips. "And I'm gonna stay here a while. I'll need a chair, too."
Zhopa made the chair first. He had no suitable furniture on hand but kept a lot of wood, rawhide, nails, glue, and other workable materials in the adjacent workshop. It took only a minute or two to gather what he needed, and a few more minutes to fabricate a simple wooden chair.
The only problem was height. He had to weigh the potential for embarassing Lord Stanley with a chair that left him low to the ground, against presenting him with a chair so high it could be taken as mockery. After a moment's nervous consideration, he decided to go with the high chair.
When Zhopa brought it into the room, Stanley only glanced at it and said, "took long enough." He used his hammer to levitate up into it without further comment, and seemed content that he could watch his sandwich being made. Zhopa felt relieved.
The henchman went about gathering ingredients. He would just as soon split an enemy skull as a loaf of rye. But if this was all he could do for the war, then he intended to make the Tool a grand and suitable sandwich.
After a minute or two of watching the twoll work, Stanley said, "No."
Zhopa dropped his carving knife and looked up. "No ham, Lud?"
"Yes, ham," said Stanley. "I love ham." The Tool shifted in his chair. "I mean no, the battle isn't over. But yeah, ham. Extra ham."
Zhopa nodded, and continued slicing.
Stanley leaned forward. "The battle's not over at all, in fact. We lost Ansom."
Zhopa had known that the Chief Warlord had been lost, and replaced. He'd felt his bonus change. At hearing this news, he said nothing. Not even a nod.
"Dunno what happened," said Stanley, frowning. "Queen of Faq captured him, I know that. But what's her whole deal? I dunno, but she ticks me off." He straightened, and dropped a fist on the block. "I wiped out Faq once, y'know! Can do it again if I have to. Did you know that?"
Zhopa shook his head, "No, Lud."
Stanley grinned. "Oh it was great. I used to keep that a secret, but I can tell ya now." He snatched a slice of bologna from a nearby plate where Zhopa was collecting them, and popped it in his mouth. "Okay, I gawt vis weird finkagram whem I was out inna field..." Previous Image : Image 63 : Next Image