Chapter 36:

Round 3, Match 1: WittyAcorn vs Daisonia. Daisonia:

Community Sudden Fiction Tournament Arc

Round 3, Match 1: WittyAcorn vs Daisonia.

Prompt: Achille's Heel.

Participant: Daisonia (

The lich-king sat on his throne, nursing a glass of his favorite wine.

“Maybe a little more to the right,” he said to the interior decorators. They grunted to each other, and spent a few more minutes moving the armor of the warriors of light over a few feet. “Much better,” he called, and gestured to the ash stains on the floor with the bone of his big toe. “And make sure you clean off all of that afterward. Want the next batch of heroes that show up at my doorstep to think they have a ghost of a chance? Hah, ghost, get it?”

The servant holding his wine bottle and the one fanning him glanced at each other. He drummed his fingers against the armrest of his throne in the silence.

“Because ghosts are undead? And I’m undead? Laugh, you imbeciles! I just gave you your day’s worth of entertainment!”

The workers and servants all laughed.

He settled back into his chair, resting his spine against the plush backrest.

“Ahh, this is great.”

Then, a leaner, bespectacled servant walked in with a clipboard of papers under his arm.

He politely moved past the interior decorators and knelt before the lich-king.

“My liege, we’ve received word on your phylactery.”

“What about it?” The king waved a dismissive hand. “Its defenses are perfect.” He gestured to the ash stains. “Not like those guys made it that far anyway.”

“Err, about that...” The servant began flipping through his papers. “I-I think you’ll want to hear this, sir.”

“...I’m listening.”

“Well, the dragons that guarded the first area wound up killing each other. It looks like a more silver-tongued person convinced them that you were paying them different rates. They decided to steal from each other, and some intruders got through during the infighting.”

“Gonna have to talk to them. But the second layer of wards was fine though, right? They should be mindlessly gorging on pleasure of all kinds right now.”

“Uhh...” More rifling through papers. “The succubi decided to quit.”

The lich would’ve blinked if he had eyelids. Instead, the red flames in his sockets flickered slightly.


“Yeah, one of the intruders told them that they could have better employment opportunities if they leave. And apparently a lot of them wanted to do things like be bankers, massage therapists, cooks, instead of...”

“I don’t need to know all that,” the king spat. “They left? All of them?”

“S-Seems that way, sir.” The bespectacled servant itched at his collar, sweat showing on his brow.

“The fourth ward? That sphinx and her riddles?”

“They passed her in ten seconds, my liege.”

“Ten seconds! How!”

“Err...well...the sphinx started saying its riddle. ‘What has a tail...’ but it never finished.” 

“What do you mean?”

“From the wound it sustained, we suspect that a fireball was exploded in its mouth, sir. When it was in the middle of speaking.”

The lich stared at him for a while, and he continued after a light cough.

“And then the intruders gestured to one of their own that had a tail, and the sphinx deemed that they’d succeeded. Since they’d technically answered the riddle it’d said.” 

“That’s not...urgh. Okay, fine, the next one? The medusa? I even gave her glasses so she couldn’t get petrified by her reflection.”

“They turned out the lights so they couldn’t see her. And used the snakes hissing in her hair to figure out where she was. And pincushioned her with arrows.”

The lich stood up and dumped the rest of his wine onto the serving girl’s head. She dared not let out even a squeak as it dripped down her hair and face.

“The sixth ward? Sasha? Her magic lets her destroy anything she touches, even stuff you can’t touch like light, sound, and heat! How did they beat her?” 

“H-Her clothes, sir.”

The lich stared at him, and he took a step back.

“It-It doesn’t make sense for her to destroy the ground she’s standing on, or her clothes,” the man reasoned. “So they crushed her feet inside her shoes. A-And when she took off all her clothes, sh-she couldn’t destroy the ground she’s standing on. So they picked up a bit of rock from the ground and threw it at her head. She tried to destroy the rock, but she destroyed the ground beneath her feet.”

The lich was quiet a moment, but the air seemed to grow colder. Eventually, he spoke.

“Is she dead?”


“I asked you a question,” the lich said, approaching the bespectacled servant. “Is my daughter dead?”

“I-It was a long fall, my liege.”

“So she couldn’t even protect her father’s soul properly,” he said. “What a waste.”

He sucked in a deep, unnecessary breath.

“So they have it, then.”

“Yes sir.”

He took a deep breath, and closed his hand around the servant’s throat.

“There’s only one way to break it. Give this report to my generals, and make sure they don’t toss it into Mount Malichai. Destroy the whole mountain if they have to.” 

“Yes sir.”

He threw the servant at the floor, and as the servant ran off, he looked at the stains. 

Had those heroes merely been decoys?

After the servant had walked about three miles from the lich-king’s fortress, he smirked, dismissed his magical disguise, and sent a message to his teammates.

“Pack your bags, boys. We’re going on a hiking trip. Hope you like it hot.” 


Judge's Feedback

znf: Felt like a pretty expected story. I don't know if it's just familiarity with the tropes, but was always assuming the servant was one of the heroes in disguise. Interesting take on prompt; as far as the question/answer goes, I think the part I liked was Sasha but the other description/happenings of the wards felt a bit bland for me.

OscarHM: This is disappointing. You’ve leaned into the type of expository story telling that I noted was an issue for me in the latter half of your second round entry. All of the happenings are being told to the lich king in a way that really isn’t engaging to me and I’m not sure how you would’ve even changed this. My opinion is that you chose an idea that couldn’t be done in a way that would satisfy me in the word count you had. In your round two entry you at least at the first half to carry, in this round you don’t. You’ve exhibited some of the best wiring in this contest to me but you haven’t done so consistently.

otkrlj: Liked the twist on the prompt you made. everything felt and sounded really unique, and the comedy hit every time. The twist at the end flowed well too.

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