The Goblin and the Knight

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The sunshine tasted sour. Geenko smacked his blue lips in distaste, his snout wrinkling at the unpleasant tang he was so unfamiliar with. Why humans lived above the ground he would never understand. Give him the cool, wet goblin tunnels any day. The smell of the heavy earth was exquisite on his tongue. But the sun ... he could feel it drying out the mucus on his skin, even as he sat, crouched in the shadow of a large tree. He'd better make this quick, or he'd be left with disfiguring scars like that oaf Skeg. Then Megra would never lie with him and this whole trip would be a waste of time.

Luckily he could already hear the clip-clop of hooves coming up the forest path. He slid a stone into his sling and watched intently. Soon, a horse came into view, white with a red and gold bridle. One of the palace knights. Perfect.

Astride the horse sat a man in full armour. There was a sun carved into his breastplate and white feathers sprouted from the comb of his helmet. Geenko cursed silently. The armour was a problem. But in a moment the man had raised his visor, exposing his bearded face, marked by middle-age. He drew in a deep breath, apparently relishing the bright sun on his skin. The fool, Geenko though, his lips pulling up into a grin.

He acted swiftly, unwilling to let his chance disappear. With a practised arm, he let fly the stone which whistled through the air and hit the knight full in his exposed face, with a meaty sounding thwack. With a grunt, he fell from his horse in a clatter of metal striking metal, which spooked the steed into a full canter. With a frightened whinny, it disappeared into the distance. The knight lay on the ground, groaning. He tried to sit up, but the armour was obviously restrictive and he rocked back and forth for a moment like a turtle on its shell. Before he could right himself, Geenko was on him. The goblin sat on the man's chest, pressing a knife to the soft pink throat exposed by the raised visor. The knight regarded him through unfocused eyes.

'Oh thit!' he said, and spat out a bloody tooth.

Bonus, Geenko thought, picking it up and stowing it safely in a pocket. The knight's eyes widened in fear.

'We can do this the easy way or the hard way.' Geenko said, in his best attempt at the human tongue. It felt strange in his mouth, all angles and saliva.

'W ... what's the easy way?' the knight stammered.

'I take what I want, and if you're lucky, you make it home before you bleed to death.'

'And the hard?'

'I slit your throat now and take what I want anyway. Your choice.'

'C ... can't we talk about this?'

'You only have one thing I want, human. There's nothing to talk about.'

'Right, right, but,' the man gabbled desperately. 'You'll never get to it through my armour. Not without moving that knife anyway.'

Both goblin and human eyes travelled automatically to the man's crotch, where white cloth showed through a conspicuous gap in the metal plating.

'Don't look too hard to me.' Geenko said.

'Right, OK, but you'll still have to move your knife.'

'Good point. Better just kill you now.'

'Wait! WAIT!' the man cried, not daring to move a muscle. 'It won't work you know!'

'Oh, this knife is pretty sharp.'

'No, I mean ... I know what you want to ... to take, and I know why. But it won't work! It won't do what you think it'll do'

Geenko eyed the knight suspiciously. 'What would you know about it?'

'Believe me, I do know.' the man said. 'I'm not as young as I once was. Things don't always ... well, they don't work as well ... down there as they did when I was a younger man.'

Geenko felt a flush of rage and pushed the knife harder into the man's neck. 'I don't want to hear about your pathetic performance issues, human. Geenko is a mighty goblin. A strong goblin. I ... I only need it as a recreational aid, that's all.'

The knight grinned nervously. 'I quite understand. I sympathise, I really do. But allow me to reveal to you a better solution, one that will fulfil your needs and allow me to walk out of here unharmed and ... intact.'

Geenko considered carefully. It was true he'd heard rumours that human-horn was just a placebo, but he hadn't wanted to believe them.

'Go on.' he said, not removing the knife.

That night, deep underground in his slime pit, Geenko lay back with a contented sigh. Next to him, Megra was stretched out, smoking a clay pipe and grinning from ear to ear.

'Well, I must say Geenko, that was a pleasant surprise. How did you overcome your little problem?'

'It was actually very simple in the end, my dear.' Geenko said. 'I went to the surface today and met a human knight-'

'Oh Geenko, don't tell me you took human-horn?'

'Not at all! He actually gave me some very good advice. In the end, It was all about mind over matter.'

'How so?'

'Well, he suggested I just needed to relax a little. Get out of my own head.'

'I see. And how did you do that?'

'Oh, I found chopping his head off very relaxing. It's all about the little things my dear. Taking time to smell the blood pools, you know? Look, I made you a vase out of his skull.'

'Oh Geenko, you old romantic you!'

'Nothing's too good for my girl. Want to go again?'

'I thought you'd never ask!'

The End

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