Since he was a kid, Sergio was a big fan of science fiction and fantasy. Inside his car (in the same way some people carried saint cards), he had a Luke Skywalker action figure to protect him from car crashes.
The moon was the only source of light in that godforsaken place, and it was reflected in a pair of eyes that the hero would later describe as beastly, but looked more like the eyes of a dead fish. The little traveller unsheathed his blade and used it to point at the strange creature.
Through the corner of his eye, Sergio could see Ernesto, the programmer, spying on him. The designer didn’t know why, but Ernesto always found excuses to use Sergio’s computer. Maintenance, testing the web, etc…
Despite the distressing first encounter, the traveller found himself forming an alliance with the pale being. He had thought about finishing him right then and there, but the peculiar monster proved itself quite persuasive. He had convinced the hero that he could hunt and that nobody knew the roads as well as he did. The little one couldn’t deny that he was hungry – and lost. Also he wouldn’t stop talking about a certain “precious”, that according to the creature it was worth more than all of the jewels of the Elven-kings put together.
– Hi Sergio, – Amelia greeted. Her hipster glasses appeared from out of nowhere. The designer jumped on his seat. – Did I scare you?
No. I enjoy bouncing on my chair, bitch.
Every time the sales rep got anywhere near Sergio’s desk he had to take a deep breath. In her right hand she was holding one of the invitations. So they had arrived.
This was not going to be good.
– Sergio. – Amelia used her I-must-deal-with-people-less-smart-than-me tone. – Did you check the QR code before sending it to the print?
No, I didn’t check it. I created the code, placed it on the file and sent it to print. I didn’t bother to check if the link was working. I was tired, I had done five extra hours and I was hungry.
– We spent 800 hundred Euros in these invitations and if the code is not working it will be: Di. Sas. Te –. And with that, the sales rep turned on her heel and left the room.
– Stop! – Both travellers froze. The last thing they expected to hear was the voice of another living being. – If you don’t want me to slice your throats open, you will turn around. Slowly.
A hooded figure, no taller than the hero, was standing behind them. Threatening with a sword.
– Take me to this treasure you speak of – demanded the stranger and she took off her hood. It was one like him – a female.
Once he had realized that the invitations were not going to be reprinted (because it would be too expensive), the only thing that Sergio could come up with was to print new QR codes on adhesive paper and then to stick them over the old, defective ones.
Amelia’s face bloated so much when she yelled at the designer that he thought that her glasses would fly off and pop one of his eyes out. She told Sergio that it was a stupid idea, that he shouldn’t even suggest it because that was a serious company, blah, blah, blah, blah…
Slowly and painfully, the three companions managed to climb down the hill. The castle was obviously abandoned. The explorers made their way through ruins and spider webs that seemed to conceal more stories than a library. In the middle of the main floor, they found an altar and on top of it, a golden chest. With a dry throat, the hero walked towards it. The other two followed him closely. Carefully, the little one touched the chest with one finger. Nothing happened. It wasn’t cursed, or at least it didn’t seem to be. With a bit more confidence, he placed his entire hand and opened it. Inside it he found a manuscript. And when he was about to grab it, it flew off through a stained glass window, breaking it into a thousand pieces.
So that day, like many others, Sergio had to stay and do extra hours. Surprisingly, Amelia and Ernesto stayed with him and helped him to cut and place the stickers. Maybe they felt sorry for him. Who wouldn’t?
– Do you like Tolkien? – asked Amelia after a long silence.
Sergio realized that his bag was open and that the cover of The Sirmarillion, the book he was reading at the time, was quite visible.
– It’s all right.
– I read an article that said that there are no speaking human characters in The Hobbit movie – commented the sales rep.
– But there are the wizards – quickly pointed Ernesto. He took another page and started cutting.
– Technically they are not considered humans – added Amelia, smugly. – I’ll send you the link later.
The three of them looked at each other amazed, and without saying anything, they went off running in search for the flying object. They each wanted to be the first one to touch it. Fantasies of immeasurable wealth played in their heads. They ran through a wood of dead trees and found the treasure on the ground. Shinning as if it had been created the day before.
Later that evening, the exhausted designer found his way home. He heated a slice of pizza in the microwave and threw himself on the bed with his laptop. In his inbox, he found the email that had been promised by the sales rep. The subject was FLIC.