I held up the small die that I had picked up from the smoking crater at my feet. Turning it over, I stared, flummoxed, at the vowels printed on each side. “Why in the world are you throwing a piece of a Boggle game at me?” I asked aloud.
Across the food court, the Word Wizard cackled loudly in his grating voice. “My spellcasting methods may be unusual, but they are wildly effective!” he cried. “Now, you will suffer a fate worse than death!” He reached down into a pouch tucked into his belt, which I now realized was full of Boggle dice. He made his hurling motion again, and I was forced to dodge another spellbolt.
As I ducked behind a large planter, watching the spellbolt whizz over my head to explode in a shower of sparks, I felt my cell phone ring in my pocket. Pulling out my headset, I hit the answer button.
On the line, I heard my number two, a creepy and twisted little tech genius named Sin. Despite the name, he’s invaluable as an assistant, offering insight into many of the criminals I came up against when collecting bounties. “How’s the wizard going, Rayne?” he asked in my ear.
I grunted in response. “This is barely worth my time,” I replied. “He’s a kook, but not much of a threat. Maybe a two, at most, on the scale.”
From behind me, I heard a shriek as I uttered these words. Apparently, the Word Wizard had exceptionally good hearing. “How dare you call me a kook!” Another bolt rattled my makeshift barricade.
With a sigh, I decided it was time to end this problem and collect my bounty. I drew my handgun from its shoulder holster, and, raising it up over the top of my barrier, I fired off several shots without looking. I was rewarded with a scream of mingled shock and pain.
Popping up over the top of my barricade, I kept my gun out as I cautiously approached the Word Wizard, now sitting, moaning, on top of one of the tables. As I drew closer, I could see that he was clutching one leg, from which a thin trickle of blood was dripping. Reaching out slowly with one hand, keeping the gun in the other, I swiped the bag of Boggle dice from the Wizard’s belt.
I stepped back. I was fairly certain that the Word Wizard couldn’t do crap without his ‘special dice’, but I wasn’t going to take any chances. I spared a quick look into the bag. “Seriously? And you managed to get a bounty with just this?” I asked myself aloud.
Between soft sounds of pain, the Wizard looked up at me, a wretched expression on his face. “Hey, come on, man,” he said. “I mean, my only ability is to shoot bursts of energy using dice from a board game. If I don’t make a name for myself, no one will take me seriously.”
“No one takes you seriously now,” I shot back. “I mean, you’ve got a silly name, you’re trying to incite chaos in a mall, and have you seen your outfit?”
The Wizard looked down at himself. “What’s wrong with my outfit?” he said plaintively, as I tightened the plastic ties around his hands.
“Look, it really isn’t that hard,” I said as I hauled him to his feet. Something about the poor guy just made it impossible for me to stay furious at him for attempting to kill me. “Pick out a name that sounds more dangerous, put on something black, probably with spikes, and maybe rig up a method for dispensing these,” I shook the bag of Boggle dice, “better than pulling them out of a pouch. Turn them into energy bolts or something.”
By the time I had dragged the Word Wizard down to the office, where he would be processed and I would receive my bounty, the blood flowing from his leg wound had ebbed to a trickle, and a considering expression had grown on his face. “Death Spell, that’s not bad,” he mused. And I bet I could rig up some wrist launchers for the dice…”
I rolled my eyes as I pocketed the check and walked away. Seriously, I thought to myself. The bounties I was assigned got weirder every day. I mean, Boggle? Come on!