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Willie the Demon Slayer by John M.

Lance copyright 2005

Willie the Demon Slayer


By
John M. Lance

“Erotuse Elebam Nebris!” Eldeguard the Old shouted as he threw a handful of sulfur into the
bloody pentagram on the floor of his study.
Nothing happened.
Eldeguard waited a few moments; it didn’t pay to rush these things. Magic was notoriously fickle
and patience was necessary if a sorcerer wanted to become known as “Eldeguard the Old” and not
“Eldeguard the stupid shmuck who blew his face off.”
Eldeguard continued to wait.
And nothing continued to happen.
Eldeguard frowned. He was not accustomed his spells failing. One did not become the Grand
High Uber Sorcerer of the kingdom of Horath if one did not know a great deal about magic. Well, magic
and poisons. It never hurt to have a back up plan.
He scanned the ancient text resting on the table in front of him. “neBRIS!” he shouted and threw
another handful of sulfur into the pentagram.
Nothing.
“NebRIs!” He yelled. Still nothing happened, although the stink of the sulfur was beginning to
burn his nostrils. And it was getting warm. He dabbed his sweaty forehead with the sleeve of his robe.
Someone cleared his throat behind him. “You do know you’re supposed to be standing inside the
pentagram, don’t you?”
Thus did the demon king Azlackthrem come to Horath. And thus was Eldeguard the Old forever
know as “Eldeguard the stupid bastard who got us all enslaved.” Which would have undoubtedly hurt
Eldeguard’s feelings, had he still been alive, or in one piece.
And so thirty years passed.
During that time people continued to live in Horath, have children, and generally go about their
miserable, pitiful lives. Sure, it bothered the average citizen that the forces of darkness were
congregating in the kingdom, that the number of thieves/lawyers in the country outnumbered the
farmers, and that Azlackthrem required sacrifices of nubile virgins every other month, but what are you
going to do? It’s not like moving was really an option, what with the kingdom of Lord Krath, “The
Impaler” on the eastern border and that of his much more terrifying cousin, Duke Grath, “The Funny
Guy” on the western border. Throw in the artic tundra to the north and the vast desert wasteland to the
south and suddenly the demon king didn’t look quite so bad.

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Willie the Demon Slayer by John M. Lance copyright 2005

Besides, the peasants of Horath had one thing that the peons serving Lord Krath and Duke Grath
did not. They had the prophecy. And that was how they spoke of it, all in italics like. Which is harder to
do then you would think. Anyway, the prophecy foretold the appearance of a young man, the long lost
descendent of King Peter, (who also disappeared right around the same time as Eldeguard the stupid
bastard who got us all enslaved) who would rise up and slay the demon king thereby freeing all of the
citizens of Horath. Of course, there were several versions of the prophecy. In one version it was a
princess, not a prince, who saved the kingdom. And in yet another it was the King’s long lost Labrador
retriever that saved the kingdom, although this last prophesy was taken seriously only by a handful of
militant dog lovers.
So it was that the people of Horath waited in vain for their savior. But with each passing year,
their hopes dwindled until no one but a few drunks and religious nuts really subscribed. Until one day…

A young shepherd stood on a hill minding his flock when two strangers approached him. One
was an old man. That was about all that Willie noticed about the man, because his eyes immediately
locked on the second stranger. She was the sort of chain mail-bikini-clad elf that a young man would
give his left nut to ogle for just five minutes. I mean, legs that were so long, and pouty lips, and a set of,
well, I mean, just awooogah, woof, woof, woof.
Let’s just say she was ravishingly beautiful and leave it at that.
Five minutes passed before Willie even realized that the old man was speaking to him.
“… so it is that I humbly beseech you to join us in our quest.”
“Huh?” said Willie.
Fortunately, the old man was used to the reaction his colleague produced. Sighing, he started at
the beginning. “I said that we have come seeking your assistance. I am Grandy, the Unwashed, and this
is my companion, Lola. We have searched long and hard for the true descendent of King Peter to
overthrow the demon king. You, Willie the shepherd, are that descendent…”
The elf moistened her lips with the tip of her tongue and winked at Willie.
Grandy sighed again. He was going to have to start over.
It took three attempts, and required that Grandy order his companion to stand behind a copse of
trees, but eventually he got Willie to understand the general gist.
“So, you’re saying I’m the king now?” Willie asked.
“In a matter of speaking.”
Willie studied Grandy’s face for a moment. “Um, didn’t you already try this?”
“What do you mean?” Grandy asked innocently.

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“You came around a few years ago and told Boris Fleg, the tanner’s son, that he was the next
king. He told me that over drinks the night before he left. The next time I saw him was when
Azlackthrem’s knights nailed his head to the tavern door.”
“Fleg, Fleg,” Grandy stroked his ragged beard, “Doesn’t ring a bell. Say, it occurs to me that you
have not been properly introduced to Lola. Lola dear, come here and meet our new king.”
Lola bounded out from behind the trees and Willie immediately forgot all about Boris, or heads
nailed to doors, or his own name for that matter.
Grandy said, “We had best get started. The first thing we need to do is get you the enchanted
blow gun.”
“A blow gun? Shouldn’t I have a magic sword or shield or something?”
“Hmmm, yes, well, Azlackthrem melted down all of the magic swords. As for magic shields,
let’s just say that based on my previous experience they’re overrated. The blowgun will suit you just
fine. All we have to do is retrieve it from the shrine of the blind monk.”
“Oh. Where’s that?”
Grandy shrugged. “I haven’t a clue. Fortunately, Lola knows the way.”
Lola smiled and jiggled cheerfully.

They followed Lola for three days. During that time Willie discovered several truths about life.
First, one should never go hiking in a pair of cheap, leather sandals. Second, while all the heroic epics
always talk about how the heroes trek for weeks and weeks, they never mention how indescribably dull
it is to walk for that long for that far. Third, and most surprisingly of all, watching someone’s ass, even a
sexy elf ass in a thong, eventually gets boring.
Which all gave Willie a lot of time to ponder the big questions. “Grandy, what is the meaning of
life?”
“Well, the meaning of your life is to slay the demon king and assume the throne.” Grandy replied
as he stepped across a stream.
“Oh.” For some reason Willie had assumed that the answer would have required more thought.
But then, Grandy was a wizard. Which brought to mind another question. “Grandy, what is magic?”
“Oh, it’s a little bit of metaphysics wrapped around astrophysics with a touch of basket weaving
thrown in for good measure. Careful on the rocks, they’re slippery.”
Willie slipped and fell in the stream. When he climbed up on the other bank, he said. “Grandy,
will I be able to use magic?”

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“If you study hard, attend the right schools, and get your Doctorate in Alchemy, then…” Grandy
paused, considered Willie, then shook his head. “No, not a chance.
“Oh. I just thought, you know, since in all of the stories the hero always seems to be able to use
magic maybe I would be able to do that too.”
“Ooooh, you mean Insta-magic. Sure, you’ll be able to use that.”
“Insta-magic? What’s that?”
“That’s where someone, like a prince, suddenly discovers he has vast, untapped magical
capabilities that he then uses to destroy some fiend and his evil minions. All without ever studying or
understanding the underlying principals of the magical form. Happens all the time, usually right before
the prince gets eaten.”
Willie’s face brightened. “Great. So, why do we need the blowpipe?”
Grandy coughed. “Well, Insta-magic is a little fluky. Sometimes it skips a generation, so it’s
always good to have a Plan B.”
Lola jangled her chain mail and pointed.
“The shrine of the blind monk,” Grandy said reverently.
“It’s a cottage. With a hole in the roof.” Willie observed.
Grandy shrugged. “Shrines are hard to come by. Come-on, we’ve got to see a man about a
blowpipe.”

The blind monk stood next to a little fireplace in a grimy toga. He held the blowgun in his right
hand.
“How do we get it?” Willie whispered to Grandy.
It was the monk who replied. “Only a true prince and heir to the throne can possess this blow
gun.”
Grandy nudged Willie.
“What? Oh right. I’m the prince,” Willie said.
The monk frowned. “You don’t sound like a prince.” The monk sniffed the air. “No, the only
people here are a goat herder, an unwashed magician, and an elven princess.”
“No. Really, I am.”
“Well then, the true prince must prove himself worthy of the blowpipe by answering this riddle:
In the eons of old
In the dark and cold
Three lions of this house bold

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Were betrayed and by a jackal sold”


The monk fell silent.
“Is it a clock?” Willie asked.
“Is what a clock?” asked the monk.
“The answer to your riddle?”
“No, why would you think a clock would be the answer? I am looking for the name of an
ancient, and revered, clan.” The monk replied in a peevish tone.
“Well, a clock just always seems to be the answer to a riddle.” Willie explained. The monk just
frowned.
“Do you know the answer?” Willie whispered to Grandy.
“Afraid not, I never did well in history. Chemistry was always more my thing.” Grandy tugged
on his beard, his brow furrowed. Then he whispered, “I’ve got an idea. Follow my lead.”
Suddenly Grandy shouted, “Get him!” and lunged for the blowgun. But where it had been in the
monk’s right hand only a moment earlier, it was now in his left. Willie made a grab for it and it was
suddenly back in the monk’s right hand.
“The path to enlightenment cannot be forced,” said the monk.
Grandy and Willie made another grab. Both came up empty handed and Grandy nearly toppled
into the fire.
“A true king would look within himself for the answers,” said the monk.
Willie and Grandy dove at the blowgun. They missed completely and smacked their heads
together with a loud CRACK! Groaning, they toppled to the ground.
“We’ve got to find a better way.” Willie groaned.
“You must seek inner….AAAAAAGGGHHH!” The monk screamed. “She cut off my hand. The
bitch cut off my…”
Fffftttt. Clunk.
The monk’s head rolled to Willie’s feet.
“Works for me.” Willie said.
As Lola wiped her bloody scimitar on the monk’s robes, Grandy pried the blowgun from the
monk’s dead fingers and handed it to Willie. “Let’s go slay us a demon.”

Of course, there was more walking. A lot more walking. And there were woods, and hills, and
dales, and streams, and picturesque scenery, and blisters, and swearing, and scratches from briars, and
suspicious rashes on body parts that really should never ever have rashes.

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Willie came to loathe the countryside. He was almost happy the afternoon they finally arrived at
Dreadheart, the town that sat in the shadow of the Demon King’s castle walls.

“Lola scout on ahead. Willie and I will see if there’s any news in town.” Grandy said.
“She’s not coming with us?” Willie asked.
“It’s really best if she doesn’t. She tends to attract a lot of attention.” Lola smiled and gave an
apologetic shrug that would have been cute if it hadn’t been so red-hot sexy.
“I understand,” said Willie.
“Pull you’re hood up, we want to travel incognito.” Grandy and Willie walked to the town.
Dreadheart. In a country teaming with monstrous, evil things, it was the name that the evil things
used to frighten their evil children into being quiet. Not only did the demon king’s foul knights live
there, but every master thief, Assassin’s Guild lord, and family Don had taken up residence within. It
was a cesspool.
So Willie was a little surprised to discover that the town appeared to be the same as every other
town he had ever traveled through. Children played on the streets, women and men walked around
without any concern for their safety. In fact, in some ways it was cleaner, and more pleasant, then other
towns.
“I thought this was supposed to be where all of the really evil people lived.” Willie whispered to
Grandy.
“Oh, it is.” Grandy replied.
“But it seems so nice.”
“Well, when a villain isn’t overseeing a ‘shipment’ or fitting someone for ‘iron galoshes’ he
needs to have someplace to get away from it all. There hasn’t been a crime committed in Dreadheart in
ages. Maybe it’s professional courtesy. Or maybe they just don’t like bringing work home with them.
But whatever it is, Dreadheart’s streets are the safest in the land. Ah, here’s what I was looking for.”
Grandy halted in front of an inn.
Willie squinted at the sign over the door. “The Bloody Mermaid?”
“It’s better then the original name.” Grandy opened the door.
The common room was crowded for an afternoon. Looking up at the newcomers, the crowd
raised they’re goblets as one and shouted, “Grandy!”
“Uh oh.” Grandy said.
“They know you?” Willie asked.

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Before Grandy could answer a buxom, middle-aged waitress approached. “The usual Grandy?
And is this the latest king? He’s a little scrawnier then the last one.” She laughed heartily.
“We should leave.” Grandy said.
“Where ya going Grandy?” someone from the crowd taunted. “We haven’t gotten a chance to
meet the new prince. At least this one has a head.” Coarse laughter followed them into the streets.
Grandy held up his hands. “Now lad, I know what you’re thinking…”
Willie turned on Grandy. “You lied to me. It was you that convinced Boris to try to kill the
demon king.”
“I know how this looks. But that was different.”
“How?”
“Boris felt, well, wrong somehow. But you feel right. You’re it. After all the searching, after all
the mistakes, I really found you.”
“What do you mean, ‘All the mistakes?’”
“Pardon?”
“How many mistakes have there been?”
“Well, ummm. . .”
“How many?!” Willie yelled.
“Three, well, four if you include Boris.”
“Four?”
“Willie, honestly, you’re it. Search your soul. You know I’m telling you the truth.”
Willie looked deep within himself. He had to admit, that even on the sunniest, warmest days he
had often felt restless when herding his sheep. He had always assumed that the feeling was just gas but
now he wondered, maybe it was his true self, his princely self, longing to rise up, right wrongs, and
drive evil from Horath. Plus, as king he’d get to date princesses.
He nodded. “Fine, I’m in.”
“Excellent,” the sorcerer clapped him on the shoulder. “Let’s go find Lola.”

Lola met them on the outskirts of town and quickly guided them to the largest tree Willie had
ever seen. Reaching up, she tugged on an inconspicuous branch and a door in the trunk swung outward,
revealing a ladder that descended into the earth.
“This is the secret passage that will lead us to the demon king’s throne room.” Grandy said.
“Wow, how’d you know it was here?” Willie asked.

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“Oh, it’s the one we always use. Errr, I mean, Lola found it along time ago. Elves are very good
at that sort of thing.”
Lola flashed an enchanting smile, then led them inside.
The passage was long and twisted like a snake. The torches that Grandy had brought were
beginning to sputter by the time they reached the silver door in the roof of the tunnel.
Grandy nodded toward the door. “Ok Willie, go ahead. And remember, when you shoot the dart
at the demon king, blow, don’t suck.”
“Aren’t you coming?”
“Well, errr, Lola and I usually stay here.”
Lola nodded enthusiastically.
“But I thought you said I was the one.”
“You are,” Grandy said. “I have complete faith in you.”
“Then why aren’t you coming along?”
“Well, it’s complex lad. When confronting evil, it enhances the likelihood of success if the hero
is alone. It’s a metaphysical, ummm, reality, errr.” Grandy sighed. “You’re right, of course. And I do
believe in you. Lola, will you join us?”
Lola hesitated for a moment, as if considering whether she had anything better to do with her
time then shrugged and nodded.
They opened the door and climbed up into the demon king’s throne room. Though it was as dark
as pitch, Willie had a sense that the room was vast.
“It’s about time you got here.” A thousand torches ignited around the hall and Azlackthrem stood
before them. For as immense as the room was, it seemed barely able to contain the bulk of the long
horned demon.
“Willie.”
“Yes Grandy?”
“Now would be a good time to use that enchanted blow gun.”
“Oh, right.” Willie raised the blowpipe to his lips, but in all the excitement he forgot the basics.
“Ackk!” he tried to cough up the dart that he had swallowed.
“Hmmm, well, looks like it’s up to me then.” Grandy rolled up his sleeves.
Azlackthrem laughed in a suitably maniacal fashion. “Grandy, Grandy, Grandy. I must say at
first your attempts to find some mythical scion to overthrow me were amusing, but I’m afraid you’ve
become tedious and predictable and really quite boring.” The demon king snapped his fingers and a
hundred knights with crossbows appeared in the gallery above them.

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“Errr, can we talk about this?” Grandy asked.


“Nope.” Azlackthrem pointed and Grandy was riddle by a hundred arrows.
“Patooie” Willie spat the dart out. “Grandy! Grandy speak to me!” He shouted, shaking the
wizard’s shoulders. Either Willie was being overly optimistic or else his grasp of basic biology was
lacking because Grandy had about as much chance of speaking as Sony Corleone had of paying the toll
taker. Still, not being one to flaunt convention...
“Willie,” gasped Grandy.
“Yes Grandy.”
“Remember… your… Insta-magic.” With that, Grandy coughed and died.
Willie closed his eyes. He reached out with his feelings. Deep in his gut he felt a rumble.
“Hey, what are you doing?” the demon king said.
Opening his eyes, Willie extended his hand, and willing all of his magical energy toward the
demon, shouted, “Be gone foul beast!”
He broke wind.
Azlackthrem wrinkled his nose. “Ewww. Really, was that necessary? If you’re going to die, at
least die with class.”
Willie looked at his finger like he had accidentally stuck it in something repulsive. Obviously the
Insta-magic wasn’t coming. He glanced at the trap door, but he would never reach it. Then he
remembered Lola, and how quickly and efficiently she had dealt with the blind monk. Maybe there was
still a chance after all.
Raising his blowgun like a club he said, “Come’on Lola, it’s time to make a prophecy come
true.”
The demon king raised his hand, halting Willie in his tracks. “I’m afraid I have some good news
and some bad news. The good news is that I actually made the whole prophesy thing up.”
“You made the prophecy up?”
“Is there an echo in here? Yes, I made the prophecy up. I had to keep myself amused somehow.”
“And that’s the good news?” Willie asked.
“Well, comparatively speaking, yes.” Replied Azlackthrem.
“Then what’s the bad news?” Willie asked.
“Lola works for me.”
Fffttttt. Thunk
Willie’s head rolled forward and stopped at the demon king’s hooves.

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The demon king sighed. “I don’t know what we’re going to do to entertain ourselves now,
unless, do you suppose they’ll believe a prophesy about the king’s long lost magical cat?”
Lola nodded and smiled broadly.

The End

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