The goblin just shook it's head and smacked Ruedalow to the floor with it's spear. The hoard of goblins then secured Ruedalow and Emery to separate poles, and, rather like the Ewoks in Return of the Jedi, carried the two dragon detectives down the tunnels. Ruedalow's eyes wearily opened as they were carried through the tunnels, and at first, as his eyes acclimatised to the limited light, all he could see was the walls, which his head kept smashing into. Soon after, he hit the floor, the pole strapped to his back forcing itself up Emery hadn't moved. The Professor sighed, worried his friend might be dead, once and for all. A man walked across the floor towards him, but due to the unfortunate positioning of the pole, and his body, he could merely see his feet.
"What are you doing?" The man demanded. Ruedalow was presuming he was a man. His feet were big and his voice was deep, but that wasn't obvious proof. "You know you must only bring me the skins, not the cadavers."
"We found these men trespassing in the den." The lead goblin explained. "We thought you may want them. There is something strange about them. They do not belong."
The man said nothing, but Ruedalow presumed he had nodded. Suddenly there was a bang, and Ruedalow heard the goblin drop to the floor. If that's how he treats his associates, Ruedalow thought, I'd hate to see how he treats us.
"You lot." The man demanded the other goblins. "Put these bodies in a cage."
"The Aridlium one is being using, sir." One goblin piped up.
"They are dead, like that sorry excuse for a goblin." The man said to no-one in particular. "They do not need aridlium."
Ruedalow would have breathed a sign of relief, but he didn't want to blow their cover. Either Emery was sticking to that idea as well, or he was actually dead. I don't think I need to tell you which one it was that Ruedalow was hoping for.
They dragged the bodies and threw them into the cages, and locked them up. The cages were in shadows, so Ruedalow decided to take the opportunity to make sure Emery wasn't dead. Using a summoning ball, an extremely basic enchantment, he destroyed the pole that the goblins had forgotten to remove. Then he stood up and made his way to the slumped body of the collapsed half-gnome adventurer and pressed his ear to Emery's lips. He could hear the faint rumblings of the Doctors lungs and Ruedalow relaxed backwards, calmed by his friends resurrection. Slowly, the plan rolled through his head. The point of reset, quite obviously, was just before he jumped back. That meant he didn't have long. He also needed to rush past his past self, destroy whatever this place was, and destroy the Den.
He cursed his future self for giving him such a little chance at success.
"First things, first." He muttered to himself, grabbing Emery. His pulse was increasing. Any second he'd come back. Curious that the Beretta would have such a strange affect, Ruedalow thought, then slapped himself for becoming so distracted. He put his hand on Emery's and thought hard for a second, the Doctor disappearing forwards into time. "Ok." Ruedalow said. "Second things third and fourth things second." The Professor put his hand to his side. Reloaded his Beretta, pulled back the hammer and kicked the cage door down. These people were skinning lycanthropes. They didn't deserve his sympathy. Two minutes passed and he'd fired five shots. All had hit direct on target. "Everybody, come out with your hands up or I'll murder you all on the spot."
A voice piped up, "what happens if we do?"
"I'll execute you all on the spot."
The voice that had piped up led to a body which jumped up, and that body fired three shots towards Ruedalow. The Professor replied with one shot that blew the bodies head off.
"Murder or execution!" Ruedalow replied. "What do you want?"
The other six bodies all stood up, hands above their heads. Ruedalow pulled his hammer back. "Who are you guys?" Ruedalow asked. "What have you been doing, to these poor lycanthropes?"
The ring leader, the man with the shoes from earlier, explained, "We've been taking their skin to sell for a profit."
"I kind of guessed that. But the thing is, you could make just the same amount of money with those goblins you've been working with. Instead, you're having to split the profit. Tell me, why go through the hassle?"
The man looked at him.
Ruedalow readjusted his hat and fire a straight shot through the mans leg. "Tell me. Why go through the hassle?"
"We're sworn enemies of the Lycanthrope." Another man offered.
"You're sworn enemies?" Ruedalow demanded. "You're sworn enemies!" He repeated. "And you think that makes it alright to skin them. If that was your own race, you'd be seen as monsters! Terrible, cannibalistic creatures who deserve to have their lives taken. "Don't you understand, that? What is your race?"
"Demon!" The man cried, too proudly. Ruedalow shot him. "Demon? Do you know there is an entire human cult who believe you are the messengers of the devil? I can understand. Not even animals skin each other. What does that make you?"
Ruedalow clicked his fingers and water began seeping from the ground. He clicked another and they couldn't move. "Interesting torture technique, this." Ruedalow explained, making his way towards the door. "The Soviet Serpenteers used it. They would submerge you in a substance, I believe their favourite was locusts, and then watch you, as you slowly drowned. As you got to the point where you were nearly seconds away from death, they remove the substance and slowly drain you of your blood. I know, not nice. They did it to one of my close friends. I'm doing it to your, but with a difference. I'm not going to drain you of your blood. I'm going to give you to a pack of hungry lycanthropes. On a full moon."
Fear and fury lit the eyes of the demons.
Ruedalow smiled as he walked out. "Never make me angry with you. It's a dangerous decision to make."
He ran through the tunnels, quickly, his feet bouncing against the cobbles. His eyes adjusted to the darkness, he could see where he was going. He ran and ran, made his way through the dark tunnels and saw his past selves before him. He resisted the temptation to say hello to his older self and he jumped past them. He got to the brick wall, and time travelled to the other side of it.
He dropped back into the shadows. The goblins couldn't see him. Five seconds passed. Why weren't they in here yet? Where were they?
Ruedalow suddenly realised that he'd heard footsteps chasing him earlier. But there was nobody to do the chasing. Ruedalow smiled. It must have been him. No. There were two running people.
He disappeared, reappearing on the side of the street. "Mister Ruedalow!" David exclaimed.
"David!" Ruedalow replied. He saw his post boy had the phone in hand. "What're you doing with that?"
"Nothing, sir." David replied, sheepishly.
"Give it here, lad."
"No." David said.
Ruedalow didn't care, he snatched it off him and looked at it. "I thought I told you not to go on Tumblr!" Ruedalow cried. "Good god, David. Calm yourself down!"
He handed the phone back. "Right, don't ask any questions, but I need you to run down a tunnel with me."
"Doesn't matter. Just do it."
They time travelled into the tunnels at the right time and began chasing the past Ruedalow and Emery. Ruedalow heard the wall creak open, and he time travelled David out of there and then himself back into the Den. He grabbed the younger Ruedalow and dragged him into the shadows.
Older Ruedalow smiled at younger Ruedalow. "What time is it?"
The younger Emery, in awe of the skinning area, muttered, "That's not relevant."
The Ruedalow's shook their heads in unison. Younger Ruedalow took his pocket watch out and stared at it. The Hontime finger was swirling around like a Catherine wheel. "That's unbelievable!"
Younger Emery, again not realising what was going on, said, "Unbelievably horrific."
The younger Ruedalow ignored him and added. "That's brilliant!"
"In a bad way of course." The older Ruedalow added, trying to defend against the younger Emery.
"Of course." Younger Emery added, nevertheless.
"But what can we do?" The older Ruedalow spurred the younger Ruedalow on.
"What can I do?" Younger Ruedalow asked, from older Ruedalow's spurring.
The two professors shook hands and caused time to rewind. As it did so, a cloud of white, time resetting light, flooded forwards and drowned them, but in a good way.
Younger Ruedalow looked up. "What's going on?"
"I can't tell you." Older Ruedalow didn't explain. "Because you need to work it out. But I can tell you what you need to do."
"Don't be confused."
"You need to travel forwards in time and kill Emery, then hand him over to the Goblins."
"Don't be confused. And anyway, it was you who thought it up! Just do it will you?"
"Ok, ok." Younger Ruedalow disappeared to kill younger Emery. But older Ruedalow needed to make sure that Emery got there.
As time reset itself, older Ruedalow led younger Emery out into the tunnels. They ran towards the now closed doorway, Ruedalow blasting it open with a click of his fingers, and they raced through the darkened corridors. They could hear the cry of the Goblin behind them, the slimy and slippery patter of their feet on the cobbled floor. "Where have the people who were chasing us before gone?" Emery asked.
"Don't worry. They'll be chasing us any second." Ruedalow replied.
But Ruedalow had disappeared into the shadows, to reappear in the now abandoned den, a few minutes later. He hit the floor exhausted, just as older Emery appeared, the time travel causing him to come back to life. "Ruedalow!" He demanded, "What the hell did you think you were doing?"
"Don't worry, Emery I can explain it all."
"You better, otherwise I might kill you."
Ruedalow smiled at his friends anger. "When we first entered the Den, an older version of myself at the time, a younger version now, told me time had gone wrong and that I must put things right. Turns out, time wouldn't have gone wrong if it wash;t for me trying to put it right, but what can you do? Plot holes, right.
"Now, you see, whichever version of me that was older travelled you and himself back in time, to when we were fighting in the barbers. Then he led you out, disappearing halfway down to here, becoming me. You continued and got shot by my younger self, the gun shot being what we heard. The two Berettas at one time filled them both with time energy, which only I can sense. My younger self then killed all the demons and then filled out what else need to be done, brining us up to here. Understand?"
"Good. Now, let's get to work."
"Hang on, where are all the goblins?"
"Chasing us, we've travelled back to when we'd just left."
"Oh!" Emery exclaimed, not really understanding.
Ruedalow went over to the first lycanthrope. "I hear you can bring a lycanthrope back to life if you get to them quick enough."
"Then we put them under a full moon."
Ruedalow grinned. "Because I've got some food for them."