When I walked outside the scenery had changed. A lot of the tents were trampled into the ground and most of the others looked empty. The merchants under the metal pavilion had abandoned their tables and it looked like they left their wares behind in their haste. And the entire area was swamped with goblins.
They were about two thirds the size of men. Each of them had orange and brown stripes painted diagonally across its face and they were all wearing Cleveland jerseys. Even worse, they all had pistols on their hips and a few even had rifles slung across their backs. Fortunately, none of them were paying attention to me at the moment, they were too busy looting and fighting and generally just being chaotic.
I looked for the little Army tent and it was back in its place with the old lady. Only, this time she was standing and had both hands pressed against the closed flap like she was holding something in. Between me and the tent were three of the biggest trolls in existence. At least they looked that way to me. It was clear that they were not going to let me leave easy.
Then a voice came from above. “I see the boss has finished discussing whatever the deep topic of the day is with you.”
I looked up to see the sky filled with harpies, gargoyles, and at least two or three fairies. Directly in front of me, flying in a lazy circle, was a brown-green lizard with two legs folded under its belly and wings spread over a ten foot span.
The lizard spoke. “The boss likes to talk too much. That’s why we’re around. He talks. We do all the nasty things that need to be done. And you’re a nasty thing that needs to be done.”
“The way I see it,” The lizard went on, “You can surrender and become my slave, you can try to get through all of us to escape, or you can die trying to save the girls.”
One of his feet kicked out a bit and at that signal a bunch of goblins pulled down three tents. Inside each was a metal cage with a female ogre in it. Each had her hands chained to the bars in front of her and a massive gag in her huge ogre mouth. Even if I was willing to abandon two of them, there was no way I could tell which was Margaret Terrel.
The voice from above went on. “I thought of piling logs against the cages and setting bonfires, but I figure by now you know Ogres are too tough for that. So, instead I’m going to . . .”
Enough of the monologuing. I raised my pistol and shot the old woman.