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Querliroptep: The Infernal Merchant

By Farous Izwan

Horror / Fantasy

Blurb

This is the tale of a being who delights in satisfying our greatest desires, and also enjoys what happens when we make a mess of things. Toying with our desires, as if we were just his personal playthings. He claims to be neutral, but perhaps that makes him truly dangerous.

The Infernal Merchant


Hello and greetings. My name is Topper Liquer. Welcome to my shop of curiosities, oddities and antiquities. Are you looking for something in particular?

...

Oh, you’ve been looking for me? You’re a reporter? How interesting! Well, take a seat! Take a seat!

Where did that chair come from’, you ask? Well it’s always been there, of course. It’s not like it appeared out of thin air! That would be crazy! Though if you ask me, crazy is just another word the regular folk use for something interesting that they can’t accept. Would you like some tea? Coffee? Water? Soda? Juice? Beer? I have plenty of any beverage you would like. How about snacks? Potato chips? Corn chips? Candy? Cakes? Sweets? No? Hm, you’re probably the type of person who wants to watch your weight. Well, I don’t usually indulge in junk food myself, but they are quite tasty, don’t you agree?

Alright then, where should we begin? You want to know about me and my life story? Well, it’s a really long story, you see. If you wish to learn about it, then you should keep an open mind. Why? Well an open mind is open to new ideas, even the impossible. It is those with an open mind who are capable of perceiving the impossible and seek out greater knowledge. To limit your mind is to limit yourself, and that is not really a healthy thing.

My earliest memory? Hm...I guess it was back when the universe was empty. What do I mean? Well, it was empty. There was just nothing. I didn’t even really exist yet. I was just floating in a void of darkness, waiting for something, anything, to happen. Let me tell you, waiting, floating, in an endless dark void gets really old, really fast, and I had been at it for a very long time. Well, time didn’t exist yet back then, but you catch my meaning, don’t you?

And then there was this light. Like a flash the universe was filled! I saw universes, galaxies, stars and worlds being born! Finally, finally something was happening. Was it Azathoth’s doing? Was he dreaming yet again? Could this be the answer to my endless boredom.

Not really, at least not yet.

I saw life, but it was primitive, but then I saw the other beings that began to exist. I guess back then they could be called gods, but they were more like cosmic horrors and Eldtrich abominations. Truly, Azathoth has a very, very disturbingly horrific imagination to dream up such creatures. Well, I decided to make friends with them and I learnt their names. I got to know each and every one of them, and found them to be very interesting.

I could name a few if you’d like. There was Nyarlahotep. Shub-Niggurath, Yog-Sothoth...I think we’ll be here forever if I tried to list them all. Let’s just say I had many, many, many friends, and it was fun.

I settled on this planet, you see. Just a dirt ball, the third closest to its sun. It didn’t have a name back then, but many of my friends called this place home.

It took a long, long, long time until more complex forms of life emerged, but at some point in time, they just keep getting wiped out. The dinosaurs, great giants of their time, wiped out by a disaster. I had fun watching them, but I guess it was just their time to go.

And then I saw the apes. I was curious so I watched them and observed them. At some point I saw how some of them were shivering in the cold. I didn’t know what came over me at the time, but I gave them something to keep them warm.

I gave them fire.

At first, they looked upon me as some kind of monster, but eventually they warmed up to me.

And then they worshipped me for granting them this gift.

Eventually, it got boring too. The worshipping didn’t give me much to do. They got me gifts that I really had no use for. Once again, I was bored.

So, I left, but I continued to watch. At first they were helpless without me, but eventually they were able to fend for themselves.

Hundreds, maybe thousands, of years passed and these apes evolved and spread out all over the globe. They created civilisations and that was when things got really interesting.

Even Nyarlahotep agreed as he walked among them as one of their own, to learn about them. Using his example, I too took on a form to resemble these ‘humans’ and walked among them. They had created their own knowledge, their own ideas, and while they got a lot of things wrong, that didn’t stop them from developing new ideas.

It was all so fascinating.

You know when a child looks at an ant farm and is fascinated by what they see? It’s just like that. These humans were my own personal ant farm.

And then I learnt my friends had found themselves worshippers that created groups to worship them. Cthulhu, who was dormant in his sunken city of R’lyeh, had cults all over the world.

It has been a long time since I was worshipped and so I decided to give it a shot. My followers called me ‘The Great Nameless One’ because I wouldn’t give them my name. They were alright with that.

It didn’t last very long. It seems the minds of these modern humans could not comprehend the power of Forbidden Knowledge. Each time obtained it, the very sight of me drove them completely mad. I’ve watched many times as they clawed out their own eyes, ripped off their ears, and even started eating each other.

So, I kept the Forbidden Knowledge to myself. My followers adhered to that rule. No more massacres. With nobody dying, my followers continued to increase in number. I offered them forbidden knowledge, and they did interesting things with that knowledge, some great, some terrible, but interesting all the same.

But after a few thousand years the worship got boring again. So, I gathered all my followers, revealed to them the Forbidden Knowledge, and left.

I think you can figure out what happened when I left.

Now, trading was an interesting idea the humans came up with. To trade one item for another. First, it was the trade between items of equal value, but that wasn’t very convenient and not exactly what I would call fair. So, I implanted a new system. The trade of valuable trinkets in exchange for services or items. To humans, precious metals or shiny stones could be used as currency. Even pretty seashells.

And right now, we even have paper money. Paper, with value! What a novel idea!

But let’s get back to when I started my career as a merchant.

I was bored again, and after observing humans again, I decided to take on human form and became a travelling merchant. I just needed something I could sell.

I then realized that there was nothing I could not sell. It was up to my customers what they were willing to give in exchange for my services. There was nothing I could not sell and nothing I could not buy.

I take the words ‘anything is for sale’ quite seriously.

Greed. Now that’s a concept that I find to be very interesting as well. Humans are just walking piles of greed. They can never have enough, never satisfied with anything. They want power, money, fame, food, beauty, women...anything and everything they could obtain, but it’s just never enough. It never is.

Talk about a demand that I could supply.

So, I sold them these things, but they were not cheap. So, I decided to help them a bit. They could pay me with their souls.

What? Souls are not for sale? Didn’t stop these people from signing the contract. I providing a service and I needed something in return.

And it’s always interesting to see what my customers do with what they received from me. Of course, I take regular currency as well, and trade in items. It’s just some things I offer have a very steep price, and a human soul is priceless. It’s unique to each individual. A real treasure. You can’t get human souls anywhere else.

I then decided to open a shop right here, but not just here. I have shops here and there, and everywhere. In the past, present and the future, in this world and all the other worlds in this web of worlds we call the Multiverse.

Sounds crazy? Well, crazy is just another word for interesting to me.

Hm, my real name? I can’t tell you that. There’s a huge price to pay for that knowledge.

...

Oh, you have that? Well, that changes everything! Well, I can’t refuse if you’re offering to give me that for my real name. I can’t say it though, but I can spell it.

It’s an anagram. Now listen closely, because I will only say it once. Are you ready?

Q-U-E-R-L-I-R-O-P-T-E-P

Got it? Wait, don’t read it out loud. Oh, no! Please, don’t claw your eyes out. It’ll make a mess on the carpet! And please don’t scream like that! The neighbors will hear! Sir, are you alright? Sir?

...

Well, so much for my interview. I did say Forbidden Knowledge had a price. Sanity...what a terrible thing to waste.

-THE END-

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