Behold! The Treasure!

His first thought, as he turned from the ludicrous sight of a demon stuck in a doorway and surveyed the room, was Bloody hell, there really is treasure.

His second thought was How the hell are we going to get all this out of here?

Because there was tons of it. It was mounded up in vast gleaming heaps in front of him, receding away into the distance like a very glittery and extremely valuable desert. There were swords and bowls and goblets and plates and necklaces and bracelets and rings and gems and coins and every other item that could possibly be made of gold, or be plated in gold, or have gold somewhere on it, or even come within earshot of gold. Kal had to suppress a mad desire to laugh like a lunatic, rush forwards and cavort in it. It was all his dreams come true at once, except for the fact that he would probably have to share it with the four numbwits behind him.

He couldn't quite summon up the will to turn round and see, but from the sound of it Falcon and Pickle had finally despatched the nim and were now joining Rufus in the futile attempt to squeeze Ronald through the doorway. He thought he heard some vaguely magical words from behind the furry bulk, but all they produced was a yelp of pain from the demon and a powerful smell of burnt hair.

Kal didn't even bother to let the thought of helping them cross his mind, or attempt to cross his mind, or to even come within three miles of his mind. It just wasn't worth it. They'd get there eventually.


Instead, he headed for the treasure, just to make sure it was real. The way his life had been going these days, he wouldn't have been at all surprised if it had suddenly vanished, leaving only the echoing sound of a very loud celestial raspberry. But as his trembling fingers reached out towards a goblet set with rubies as big as eggs...

Nothing happened. His fingers closed on the gold, and he let out a high-pitched, faintly hysterical and slightly girly giggle, and bit it.

It dented beneath his teeth. Real gold. Pure gold.

At that very moment, there was a loud popping sound reminiscent of a cork being removed from a bottle of champagne. How appropriate, Kal through, through the mists of triumph and naked greed.

Then Ronald landed on him.

It's not a nice experience, having a giant furry red demon propelled at some speed land on you. Once the unconcious Ronald had been dragged off him, Kal's language would have made a veteran sailor blush. It certainly made Pickle blush, but most things did that. Falcon, of course, looked disapproving, while Rufus covered the ears of one of his children who had sneaked in after them.

It took a while for the warrior to stop swearing, but eventually the stream of expletives tapered off and he looked up at Falcon.

"What are you standing around staring at me for?!" he demanded. "Start packing up the gold already!"

The companions looked at the piles of gold. Kal could practically see the cogwheels churning laboriously in their minds.




"What in?" said Falcon. Kal smothered a smirk and shrugged his shoulders.

"I don't know. Can you think of anything? I'm pretty sure you have some sort of use, perhaps this is it?"

Falcon gave him a hurt look, but the lines developing between his noble eyebrows suggested he was actually devoting cerebral time to this puzzle. Pickle scratched his head, and Rufus folded his paws and attempted to look scholarly.

Kal sat back and let them do his thinking for him. It saved time, in the long run.

The End

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