Sewage Salvage

“A sewer dragon… A freak-kin’ sewer dragon. A you fuckin’ kidding me?” I’d had enough with the vicissitudes of being a sewer-dweller. It was hard enough eking out a semblance of dignified living when you were what amounted to a human rat, but having what appeared to be a creature of urban myth cramping on your turf was too much for any man to take.

“I’m tellin’ ya, boss,” Rudder’s nasal voice was grating, annoying, as he continued to explain what he’d seen in the lower tunnels. “Dis ain’t no dire rat droppings or anything like…  Dis da bad stuff, clawf and teef marks and dat smell of fart-.“

“Enough, man. I believe you,” I really did, much to my own surprise and contrary to my hopes of it just being something else, something easy. “Leave me alone, will ya? I need to think.”

Rudder beat a hasty retreat. He knew better that to hang around when I got into a pensive mood. Most people, topside or bottom, learned quickly enough that life could get quite tough and unpleasant if you didn’t know how to read my moods. Not like I was some whimsical hissy, just that I’m very particular about my time and company.

The rumors, the legends, they had all become such exaggerations that no one with an ounce of sense thought of the Sewer Dragon myth as anything serious. An ancient cautionary tale about how to dispose of one’s expired pets lest the city’s sanitary installations become anything but. Flush a little exotic pet down the toilet, dead or otherwise, and said pet might find itself terrorizing the denizens of the Undercity.

No one, absolutely no one, had ever believed this story outside of grade school. And yet, here I was, faced with the nigh irrefutable evidence that the freaking mother of all urban legends, the proverbial Sewer Dragon, had mapped out its lair in my turf. My turf. I was going to have to get the unions to help; the Magi union, the Knights Errant union, the Thieves union –though that one technically didn’t exist, off the books, as a matter of fact – whopsmack and dungspittle, I was going to be in eeeeveryone’s pocket by the time this extermination was done. Shit. Maybe my turf wasn’t worth the trouble. I could just move out, pick another place and start over, murder another Sewer-head and take their claim… bah, who was I kidding. This was my turf and I was already too far in years to act like an upstart and take someone else’s domain.

Well, this is how we hunt the big lizards, I guess, and this sort of thing comes with the territory, I thought to myself. Boy, was I ever underestimating the lengths to which I would have to go to get this unwanted guest out of my claim. Barbed Danger is my name and this is how I became the Blorbex of the Seven Thargaxl, the most undignified and dehumanizing  of all the possible charges in the nine kingdoms.

 

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