hwango: (hermit crab)
[personal profile] hwango

Conquering the world was becoming less and less enjoyable every day.

It wasn't that battles were going poorly or that casualties becoming too high. Vanderos was still winning battles, and didn't really care about casualties. He'd left a trail of death and destruction with his flag flying over it that stretched almost across the continent, and it seemed likely that nothing would be able to stop him. The details were becoming rather tedious, though. His advisors kept talking about chains of supply and the dangers of overextending. They were so far from home at this point that the locals spoke totally unfamiliar languages, which made conscripting them into the army tiresome. He was running out of trustworthy lieutenants to leave in command of conquered lands.

But there was no way he could stop now. If nothing else, there were those supply issues his advisors wouldn’t stop yammering about. They needed to conquer the next civilization they came to just to be able to feed the army. In that sense, maybe a few more casualties wouldn’t be such a bad thing.

The next civilization was something of a mystery. Vanderos had tried interrogating the locals for details, but that language barrier was making things awkward again. He could tell, though, that everyone was trying to tell him that he’d be crazy to attack them – it just wasn’t clear why. It seemed like he was being told that they would run away…which sounded just fine to Vanderos. They wouldn’t be able to carry away all of their food and resources, and he’d certainly take their lands. What was the issue?

They swept through outlying farms and villages with no trouble, and finally reached their first major city of this strange people. The wall was a joke – he figured he’d have the city in a couple of days at the longest.

He went through the formality of sending an emissary to demand the city’s surrender. He got back a reply that he was to stand down and depart immediately or the city would be forced to retreat.

“They said what?” Vanderos demanded of his emissary, who could only shrug. Damned language issues. Clearly, though they weren’t going to surrender, so he started massing his forces, bringing up siege equipment and so forth.

At some point during all of this the city sent out an emissary of their own. He informed them that this was their final warning, and that they must depart immediately, or at least that seemed to be the general idea.

“Or what, exactly?” Vanderos replied. There was much muttering and hand waving as each side attempted to make themselves understood by the other. Eventually, the emissary threw up his hands in gesture that perfectly conveyed his sentiment of “to Hell with you idiot foreigners,” and he stalked off back to the city. Vanderos was reluctant to let him walk out alive after that little display, but some of his advisors were touchy about things like killing people who were supposed to be under diplomatic protection.

A few hours later, and without further warning or ceremony, the city vanished.

The walls, the buildings, the people…the earth below and the air above, all gone in an instant. And, left behind in their place, absolutely nothing.

Vanderos had no idea how devastating nothing could be, and didn’t really understand the specifics what was happening as the air rushed in to fill the sudden enormous void. He was much better at understanding the suddenly unstable earth as it collapsed out from under his army and flowed into the huge gash in the earth. The molten rock below pouring toxic gas into the air above were also unwelcome surprises.

Well. They wouldn’t be getting any food from any conquered lands here. But, on the plus side (if you could call it that), there was now much less army to feed.

As the tatters of the army limped their way back the way they had come, scouts began reporting that the city they had been about to attack had reappeared just a few miles away.

There was no talk of mounting another assault. There was no way they could survive another such retreat by the enemy.

Date: 2015-10-27 12:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jlly-coppercorn.livejournal.com
You're like the Devil's advocate of prompts. Flight is not supposed to win...just sayin'.

Your story is as clever and entertaining as usual. Thank you for sharing.

Date: 2015-10-27 08:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hwango.livejournal.com
Well someone should speak up on the Devil's behalf. Wait...let me try that again.

Sometimes I ponder the prompt for a while and come up with some crazy idea, and sometimes I specifically set out to come up with a take on the prompt that can't possibly be the same as anyone else's. I'm...not entirely sure which one this was, but I'm glad it entertained regardless.

Date: 2015-10-27 10:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bluegerl.livejournal.com
Another Hwango cracker!!! I DO love reading your stuff -- it is so original and has a BRAIN behind it. And...yes. a touche of Don Quixote there, fighting mirages.... story of life really!

Bless you boyo... super job as ever!

Date: 2015-10-27 08:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hwango.livejournal.com
I'm glad you were amused. = )

Date: 2015-11-02 01:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] darlinleo.livejournal.com
As expected, another stellar hwango tale :D

My apologies for not posting your Congrats! on Friday. I've had some family sadness to deal with. Still dealing, but I didn't want you to think I'd totally forgotten about ya.

Date: 2015-11-02 08:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hwango.livejournal.com
Not to worry - I didn't know I'd won, so I could hardly notice the absence of a post remarking on it. Sorry to hear about the family sadness. I hope some better fortune finds its way to you.

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