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“Now remember,” Coat-Check said in his usual monotone voice. “the Wizard of Z'nark is an extreme eccentric and rather prone to flights of fancy. I highly, highly suggest that you simply do your best to remain quiet and as unobtrusive as possible. Please allow me to do the talking.”

Since WizGal and WarDude were located to the rear of their glorious leader, this allowed them to exchange a knowing look. So unobtrusive and quiet was this glance that their fearless leader never even noticed it as they walked down the city streets.

“So just like when we approached the last ninety-nine people for help finding this mystical doo-dad of yours, we're expected to just sit pretty and play window dressing. I have to wonder why you even bother to keep us around.” WizGal remarked dryly.

“Because, without your presence my monologues would look silly and cause concern among the passing citizenry.” Coat-Check's response was as even-keeled as ever.

“You could do them internally.” WarDude suggested. “I do that all the time; that way no one thinks that I'm crazy when I start wondering how a banana-split would taste if you replace the banana with a pickle.”

“Case in point.” Coat-Check muttered.

WizGal simply rolled her eyes at that one. Leave it to WarDude to undermine their chances of victory-- on the field or off of it. She was brought out of her mental musings as Coat-Check stopped in front of a ramshackle hole-in-the wall shop advertising slightly used golf equipment.

“This is it?” She asked, warily.

“This is it.” Coat-Check answered.

He reached out and pushed the door. It opened, prompting a bell to merrily announce their arrival. As they entered, WizGal took a moment to visually search the shop. It was your standard second-hand equipment retailer. Golf clubs and displays were scattered about on shelves and little kiosks. Most of it was beaten and worn. It was obvious that, in this place, quality was directly proportional to cash expenditure.

A wrinkled old gnome sat behind the cash register with one hand propping up his withered head. He wore a faded sales uniform, had a parcel of receding gray hair, black eyes and a really bored expression.

“Welcome to the Used Golf Emporium, how can I help you?” The gnome asked in a voice that was positively dripping with indifference.

“We are here to see the Wizard of Z'nark. It concerns a quest of utmost importance.” It was Coat-Check speaking, of course.

The gnome's free hand fished underneath the counter for a moment and then retrieved thick set of papers. He plopped them on the counter and pushed them lazily toward the group.

“Fill these out and return them in triplicate. The Wizard only provides consultations on Tuesdays and Thursdays between the hours of Nine A.M. and Ten A.M. We'll get back to you at our earliest convenience.”

“Yes, I'm sure that the Wizard is extremely busy.” As he spoke, Coat-Check's right hand swept across the counter. The required paperwork was flung through the air— straight into WizGal's face.

Having not expected such a motion, WizGal scrambled to catch the flying paperwork to no avail. The sheet's scattered to the winds and dropped to the floor helter-skelter.

The gnome smirked at the display.

Coat-Check turned to her and said: “WizGal, please be a dear and pick those up.”

WizGal glared at him for a moment; then she dutifully dropped to one knee and began gathering the loose sheaves of paper. Her eyes turned over one and she stopped. A closer examination showed that she had read it correctly the first time.

“Why do you need to know purity of heart, soul, mind and body?” She asked.

The gnome returned to looking bored.

“Because the Wizard's lessons are quite expensive; so much so that since it is fully possible that a client may not be able to financially afford the Wizard's Services. Therefore, the Wizard is entirely willing to accept alternate means of payment. Some choose to pay their bill in blood-- but government regulations require that we only accept blood of the virgin variety.”

The gnome glanced at WizGal, started, and then spoke with renewed interest.

“I don't suppose that you--”

“No.”

“Pity.” The gnome shrugged. “Very well, then. Off you go.”

“Actually.” Coat-Check broke back into the conversation. “Our quest is rather time sensitive. I don't suppose that it would be possible to cut the red tape and expedite the process? Hm?”

Coat-Check then reached into his coat, removed a fat stack of bills from the inner pocket and plunked them on the table. The gnome snatched up the money and started counting it, gleefully.

“Hey, boss-man.” WarDude said, suddenly. “I don't get it. What makes this Wizard so special, anyway?”

It was the gnome that answered: “Oh, he can only drop a ball right smack dab in the middle of the fairway in gale-force winds despite being less than four feet tall. I'd think that that makes him pretty special in his own right.”

“Wait... the 'Wizard of Z'nark' is a... golf pro?” WizGal blurted out the question. “How's that supposed to help us find this fancy doodad of yours?”

Coat-Check sighed. “Because this 'fancy doodad' of mine resides in the Dungeon of Cliche Puzzles. One of those puzzles involves guiding a ball down a series of slopes and into a hole-- like golf. And since we all know how finicky ball physics can be, I decided that we should seek out some professional assistance in this matter.”

“Besides.” The gnome, having finished counting the bills, was suddenly very much interest in the conversation. “The Wizard isn't just a golf pro. He also has other talents. Like so.”

The gnome snapped his fingers and, instantly, the sounds of crashing and clattering metal filled the air. There was a shout of surprise from WarDude; it was immediately followed by a scream of awed delight.

“This is so cool!” WarDude exclaimed. “Look at it, WizGal! I'm dancing! I've never been able to dance! It's awesome!”

WizGal's response was prompt. “First, that is about four exclamation points too many. Second, you're right. You've never been coordinated enough to dance. Third, how the heck're you doing that?”

WarDude didn't answer. He was too busy reenacting a Bob Hope comedy sketch involving lots of fancy footwork and tap shoes.

“He's not doing that.” Coat-Check finally answered. “The armor is.”

WizGal stared at her boss for a long moment. “You're going to have to explain that one.”

“Sheesh. You're dense.” The gnome grumbled under his breath. Then, louder, he said: “It's simple. Your fighter-dude there is decked out in armor from head to toe. All I did was cast 'Animate Armor' on him and presto-change-o. I control his armor; since he's inside his armor, I control him too as a byproduct.”

The girl magician's eyes widened as she realized the genius of that statement.

“Whoa. Wish I'd thought of that.” She paused and then added. “I'm going to have to remember that for the next time a city guard hassles us.”
Word Count: 1202

Yeah, the White Space crew has a very unusual set of names. Who'd have thunk?
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:iconglassmouse89:
GlassMouse89 Featured By Owner Feb 24, 2014  Hobbyist
Just dropping in to say that the names in this story amuse me greatly :D
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:icondarkknightspider:
DarkKnightSpider Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Would you believe that their names come from their respective Inkscape layers?
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:iconglassmouse89:
GlassMouse89 Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2014  Hobbyist
Haha, you're not a terribly serious painter, are you? ;)
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:icondarkknightspider:
DarkKnightSpider Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Only as serious as need be. It's more fun that way.
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February 23, 2014
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