“Why is it that everyone we meet seems to be important?” I asked. “I mean, we can’t seem to have a chance encounter without it turning into some sort of adventure.”
My name is Thorn. Who else would be asking a question like that?
“Oh, be quiet,” Pixie sighed.
“But why can’t we ever just meet someone and then never see them again, without having sort of adventure because of it?”
Suddenly, a girl ran out of the trees ahead of us and stood confidently in the middle of the road. Without any reason or explanation, she pointed at us and shouted, “I MOCK YOU!” Then she ran off again.
“What was that all about?” Big Blue asked, scratching his chin.
Pixie stared in the direction the girl had gone. “That kid’s even crazier than Thorn…”
I looked up at Pixie. “Why do things like this always happen when I ask ya a stupid question?”
The Vanity flew up to Kyoko to make her report. “They’re heading this way, just as you thought they would.”
Kyoko nodded. “Good.” She turned to the Vanities who hovered behind her. “I trust you know what to do?”
“Just leave it to us, Kyoko,” one replied, speaking for them all. “We’ll have those traitors crushed in seconds.”
Kyoko nodded again. “Just be sure to keep your distance. If you end up getting trampled, there’s no way we’ll be able to rescue you. Is that clear?”
The Vanities nodded. It was clear. In fact, no leader but Kyoko would have cared enough to ask that. The Vanities no longer resented the fact that she had been chosen to be promoted. Kyoko had earned their respect from the moment she had stood up to Lilim.
Kyoko nodded once more, feeling rather stupid for doing it so often. “Then let’s go.”
“Master Pixie,” Big Blue said suddenly.
“Looks like there’s a town up ahead.”
“The let’s go around it, Blue.”
“Why?” I asked. “Do ya think this one’s run by a demon, too?”
“No,” Pixie answered. “Humans.”
“And we are avoiding them why?”
“I was one of Moo’s Big Bad Four. Big Blue and I have something of a bad reputation around here. Even if we never came across this particular town, someone’s bound to have heard of us. It’s better to just go around.”
At the outskirts of town…
“C’mon, you stupid Bakus, get moving!” The Vanity shot a Lightning attack into the penned up Baku herd. The wicker fence was no match for the creatures’ strength; it only contained them because they were too stupid to realize they could knock it down in a heartbeat.
“What are you doing?!” cried a Baku. “Leave us be!”
“We’re baddies,” replied the Vanity. “This is what baddies do. Now let’s see you run! LIGHTNING!”
The Baku lost his nerve and bolted, the fence not even slowing him down. The rest of the herd soon followed with the Vanities chasing them, driving them onward.
Down the road…
The ground began to shake beneath me, and I heard a distant rumbling, which got louder and louder with each passing moment. A cloud of dust appeared ahead of us on the road, growing and growing so fast that I didn’t realize what was going on until it was nearly on top of us. A Baku stampede.
Pixie launched herself off of Big Blue’s shoulder, flying above the Baku herd. Big Blue and I didn’t even have time to move out of the way.
A Baku plowed into me head on, knocking me to the ground. I tried to get back up, but another one stepped on me, pushing me down again. No matter how many times I tried to lift myself, there always was just one more Baku. Move an inch, get stepped on. Move an inch, get stepped on. On and on and on, until the darkness claimed me.
Pixie hovered above the stampeding Bakus, looking anxiously for Big Blue and Thorn. Finally she saw Big Blue shove his way out of the Baku herd and onto the side of the road. She glided over to him.
“Big Blue! Where’s Thorn?” she shouted to be heard above the din.
“I can’t find her!” he shouted back.
Pixie cursed and flew back above the herd, frantically searching for Thorn. Finally she spotted her, lying motionless on the ground as the Bakus trampled her.
“LIGHTNING!” she shouted. The attack hit close to Thorn, and the Bakus swerved to avoid it. Pixie swooped down and grabbed Thorn in the opening, then carried her back to Big Blue.
“She doesn’t look too good,” he said when Pixie handed him the girl.
“I know, Blue,” Pixie replied.
“She’s going to need help, Master Pixie,” Big Blue said. “You know what that means.”
Pixie nodded. “Let’s go. And we’d better hope that nobody recognizes us.”
In the town…
Rosa dropped her watering can in shock and rubbed her eyes. Surely, they must be a figment of her imagination, a product of working in the sun for too long. They weren’t. When Rosa took her hands away, the monsters were still there, standing at her front gate. A Pixie, riding on the shoulder of a Golem mixed with a Tiger…what did you call that again? Oh, yes, a Big Blue.
Something tugged at the back of her mind. Something that she should remember…about a Pixie, and a Big Blue…Rosa sighed and gave it up. It would come back to her at the worst possible moment, she was sure.
“Does your village have a healer?” asked the Pixie.
“I am the healer,” Rosa replied, puzzled. Both monsters looked perfectly healthy to her, and she had enough experience in these matters to tell. “But why…?”
Rosa gasped as the Big Blue lowered his arms, allowing her to see what it was he was holding. The girl was sprawled unconscious across the Golem’s palms, her body bruised and badly beaten. Her breathing was coming in short and shallow gasps. Rosa felt her eyes go wide. This was bad.
“Hurry,” Rosa half-shouted, running to open the gate. “Bring her inside.”
I awoke in darkness, but didn’t awake. Which makes no sense whatsoever. Wait, didn’t I just get trampled by a herd of Bakus?
The darkness withered away, and I was outside Wyvlo’s lab, just sitting there. Someone would stop me if I went any further. It was chilly out, but I couldn’t go back inside. Scaler was inside, with his calm advice to be patient, to play along; better Lily’s pet than Wyvlo’s puppet. The worst thing was, I knew he was right. I just didn’t want to admit it. Here I was, supposedly one of the most powerful monsters in the world, and yet I was so powerless.
I looked up, startled. A small human girl had snuck up on me somehow. She couldn’t have been more than five or six. What was she doing here?
“You look sad,” the girl continued. Well, at least it was someone to talk to besides Scaler.
“I am,” I replied. “Sad and angry.”
“Everything?” she asked. “You must have some reason to be happy.”
I shook my head.
“That’s terrible,” she said, sounding genuinely sorry. “Everyone should have some reason to be happy.”
“Even a monster?” I asked ruefully. “Even an object, a tool, a weapon? Even a puppet?”
The girl nodded. “Everyone,” she repeated empathetically. She stood still for a moment, as if deliberating. Then she suddenly pulled an object out of her pocket and shoved it into my hands. “There. That made me so happy when I got it, even though I’m not big enough to wear it yet. Now it’s yours, so you don’t have to be sad and angry at everything anymore. Goodbye now.”
Before I could think of anything to say, she was gone. I looked down at the object in my hands. It was a simple gold ring, set with a sapphire in its center and two small diamonds to either side. It must have been the most precious thing the girl owned, and she had given it up in a heartbeat, all because she thought that everyone should be happy. I had never expected a human…
I nearly laughed out loud. I was such an idiot! I had started thinking about humans the same way Lily thought of monsters; all the same, no one different from any of the others. Well, no longer. I slipped the ring on my finger. Human or monster, it didn’t matter, really. We were all the same, on the inside. I wouldn’t forget it again.
I smiled and headed back into the lab. That kid had given me one of her most valuable possessions, just so I could be happy. The least I could do was try.
The scene faded once more into darkness. Then the darkness lifted, and I was with Lilim, traveling through a mountain pass.
“Are ya ever going to tell me where we’re going?” I asked.
“What are you gonna do if I don’t?” Lilim asked back.
“I’ll just keep asking ya until ya tell me.”
“We’re going to the place on the other side of this mountain.”
“And that would be…?”
“I haven’t the slightest idea.”
“If ya don’t know, then why are ya going there?”
“Why would I want to go there if I did know? It would get awfully boring if I only went to places I’d been already, wouldn’t you agree?”
“Yeah, I guess you’re right.”
“Oh, look, there’s a boulder blocking our way. Let’s blow it up.”
Lilim glided over to the boulder, a wicked smile on her face. “BIG BANG!”
Blue light spread slowly over the boulder, then it exploded into smithereens. I gaped at Lilim. She turned and looked back at me, still with that demonic grin. “Well, are you gonna stand there all day staring, or didn’t you want to get to wherever it is we’re going?” I just stood there. “What’s wrong?”
I finally found the words to speak. “Ya just blow things up like that, and ya act like it’s no big deal?”
“Oh, does that bother you?” Lilim’s smile grew broader. “Get used to it. I do it all the time.”
With that she flew off. I stood there for a moment longer, then shook my head and laughed. As I moved to follow her, the darkness came once more.
It vanished suddenly, and the sky around me turned crimson. Lilim stood beside me.
“They’re coming,” she said abruptly.
“Huh?” I turned and looked behind me, down into the canyon we had just left. There they were. Wyvlo and his goons, along with some of the brainwashed monsters.
“Why do you look so surprised?” Lilim asked. “You knew this day would come eventually.”
“Yeah, but…it was always sometime in the future. Tomorrow, or next week. It was never just now, at this moment. Oh, what am I saying?”
“I understand, even if you don’t.” Lilim readied herself to take off.
“I guess ya’d better go now, huh?”
“You’ve known me long enough to know that you don’t need to tell me twice about saving myself.” Lilim grinned. “They haven’t seen you yet. Maybe you still have a chance.” And then she was gone, having vanished as she always did.
The darkness didn’t lift for a long time.
“So let me get this straight,” Adrian said, his brown eyes looking directly into mine. “You’re not human.”
“Right,” I said.
“You’re a monster who was created to look like a human.”
“They kept you locked up in a lab, but you escaped. Then they caught you again and took control of you somehow, but, once again, you escaped.”
“And then you ran into us, and figured you would come along to save the world. Is that right?”
Adrian turned to Kyra. “Are the other two going to be like this?”
Kyra only smiled, bemused.
“Are the two of ya ever going to explain just what it is that you’re doing and why?” I asked.
Kyra turned to me. “It’s rather hard to explain, Nemesis, but to simplify matters, assume there is another world, where magic still exists. It was once a part of this world, but was sealed off from it for reasons that are of no consequence now. It is called the Forbidden Realm, and that is where I am from. I am the Power known as the Kyrissaen, which is something like a god, but not truly. I was chained by a mortal, and forced to use my powers of destruction to cause the Dark Moon to rise and wreak havoc upon this world.”
“What’s a Dark Moon?” I asked.
“The symbol of my powers of destruction. When the Dark Moon rises, natural disasters strike the earth, and the Forbidden Realm begins to seep into this world. It was these natural disasters that started this never-ending war your world is immersed in. But now the mortal who chained me is dead, and I am free to try and right the wrongs I have done. Do you understand?”
“Sort of…you’re trying to save the world, and ya need my help, right?” Kyra nodded. “Okay, then.” I could ask about the other stuff later. I had a feeling I would only get more confused if I asked now. I turned to Adrian. “What did ya mean, the other two?”
It was Kyra who answered. “Five are needed to heal the Dark Moon’s destruction.”
Adrian nodded. “So far there’s me, a backwoods kid who didn’t realize there was a world outside his village till now; Kyra, a Power from the Forbidden Realm; and you, a monster who looks like a human. If that’s our crew so far…”
I finished his sentence for him. “What’re the other two going to be like?”
There was a moment of darkness, then the scene shifted, and Adrian and I were staring up at two people standing back to back in mid-air while Kyra stood by, unconcerned. On the left was a young woman with a long, red-gold braid, fair skin, and light brown eyes. She wore a velvet black cloak, and a rapier was strapped to her side. Standing next to her was a man with long, perfectly straight pale blond hair, bronze skin, and dark brown eyes. He also wore a black cloak, but had a broadsword instead of a rapier.
There was a long period of silence where we just stood there and looked at each other, then I asked, “Why are ya standing in mid-air? Isn’t it easier if ya just stand on the ground?”
“Listen, peasant,” the young woman said haughtily. “I am Cecilia, of the house of Briars.”
“And I am Zel,” said the young man. “Of the house of Dragoons.”
“We are of the Forbidden Realm.”
“We do not deign to walk on the ground like common folk.”
Kyra was unimpressed. “You do now,” she said simply. Zel and Cecilia came crashing to the ground at her words.
“What?!” Zel exclaimed. “Who are you, woman?”
“I,” she said. “Am Kyra, better known in your world as the Kyrissaen.” Their jaws dropped open in astonishment. “Congratulations, you’ve been drafted to help save the world.” Before I could see their reactions, the darkness gathered around me again.
The darkness slowly lifted, and I was alone with Kyra. “You’re linked to the Se Ilissed,” she said.
“What-” I began.
“The Se Ilissed is another Power of the Forbidden Realm,” Kyra explained. “It was chained by the other Powers as punishment for the things it had done, which I’ll tell you about some other time. In any case, it is forced to do the will of those who summon it. It is your link to the Se Ilissed that makes you what you are.” She paused for a moment, then looked at me intensely. “What do you live for? What are you willing to die for? Think on it, Nemesis; it is to these your power answers.”
Darkness closed in again, and I was in a labyrinth made of ice. “Adrian?” I called out uncertainly. I got no reply. “Adrian!” I called a little louder. Still nothing. I sighed and hung my head in defeat. “I guess Kyra was right, Adrian. The last test is yours, and yours alone.”
Suddenly, I heard deep, evil laughter. Two red eyes gleamed in the shadows ahead of me. “What the hell?!” I exclaimed.
A dark Dragon with pink hair stepped into the light. Moo.
“Nemesis,” Moo said simply. “I’ve been looking for you.”
Before I had time to react he had grabbed me with one huge, clawed hand. A dark aura surrounded me, and I felt as though it was probing me, searching for something. It slid through my soul like a serpent, and I shivered. Then it was gone, and the aura faded. It had not found whatever it was it had been seeking.
Moo seemed surprised. “What?!” he roared. “How can it not be working?!” He glared at me, his eyes glowing dangerously in anger. I struggled in his grasp. It was like…like…oh, forget it, I can’t think of a simile. It was impossible. His grip was like…like…well, it was really, really strong. It’s hard to think of good descriptions when you’re nearly getting squeezed to death.
“It doesn’t matter.” Moo flung me down onto the floor, and I thought I heard something snap. Warm liquid ran down my leg, but I didn’t want to look. I already knew it was my own blood. I kept my eyes on Moo.
“It would have been easier if you were a baddie,” the Dragon said. “But I can control you anyway.”
Darkness, deeper than the ones before. After an eternity it lifted, and I was in a cell in Moo’s floating castle. Lilim was on the other side of the bars, the symbol of Moo on her chest.
“From what I understand,” Lilim said. “Moo doesn’t want to focus on controlling you every second of the day, since he has an entire army to command. So he’s loosened his grip on you, so to speak. You can’t use your powers, or try to escape, but otherwise you’re as you normally are.”
When I didn’t say anything for a while, Lilim sighed. “Are you still mad at me?” She seemed bored with the idea. “I told you there’s nothing I can do. I managed to help you once, but Moo’s security is a lot heavier than Wyvlo’s. There just isn’t any way. Or would you rather I got myself killed trying something that we both know wouldn’t work anyway?”
“Why did ya have to join Moo in the first place?” I asked. “And as one of the Big Bad Four, no less? And why couldn’t ya at least try to get him to change that stupid name?”
“I was bored,” Lilim answered. “I wanted to wreak some havoc, and Moo provided an excuse. But being one of the Big Bad Four isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Most of my troops are a bunch of incompetent fools, and the ones who aren’t are accusing me of being an incompetent fool. And there must be at least thirty rebel factions who are trying to kill me. Oh, how I’d love to just Gigaflame them all, goodie and baddie alike, and be done with it.”
What exactly did you say to something like that? I couldn’t think of anything, so instead I asked, “How did Moo find out about me in the first place? I thought Wyvlo kept everything to himself.”
“Under normal circumstances, I’m sure he did,” Lilim replied. “But being threatened by the most powerful monster in the world is enough to change anyone’s mind.”
Flashback (Lilim’s P.O.V.)
I was with the troop that assaulted the lab. I would have been leading it, but, as you might imagine, Moo has something of a personal agenda against labs, so he came himself.
It wasn’t a battle; it was a slaughter. Those brainwashed monsters just stood there staring as we cut them down. It was better than the humans, though. They just wasted their time running around in circles, screaming at us, at each other, or just screaming.
I didn’t pay much attention to them; I just Gigaflamed them as I went, letting the others finish them off. I was looking for Wyvlo.
I finally found him with Lily in the main control room, futilely trying to pull together a last ditch defense. The fools had their backs turned to the door, and I was just about to Gigaflame them both when the roof was suddenly torn off from above us. Moo had apparently gotten frustrated at the fact that his large size left him unable to enter the lab.
“Now you die, humans,” Moo said, chuckling evilly. How boring. Now I had to let Moo deal with Wyvlo. And my troops had probably finished with the others in the lab. That being the case, I figured I’d stick around and watch Moo kill him. It wasn’t like I had anything better to do.
“Now, which one of you shall I kill first?” Moo asked. “Decisions, decisions…” He laughed evilly once more.
“Wait!” Wyvlo shouted. “Don’t kill me! I have something that might be of value to you!”
“Oh?” Moo asked. “And what could you possibly have that would be of any interest to me?”
“A monster,” Wyvlo said quickly. “A monster almost as powerful as yourself, and the means to control her.”
“Wyvlo, no! You can’t be thinking…” Lily shouted. “She’s a person!”
“SILENCE!” Moo roared, bringing down one colossal hand on her. Lily screamed and stumbled backwards, then fell limp as she was skewered on one of Moo’s claws. The Dragon lifted up her body as if to examine it, then disdainfully tossed it aside.
Wyvlo stared in shock at the blood splattered on his lab coat. Moo turned to him. “You were saying?”
“N-N-N-Nemesis,” Wyvlo stammered. “The details on how to control her are here, in this notebook.”
He held up a small, black book, and Moo carefully took it between his claws.
“Where can I find this Nemesis?” Moo demanded.
“I-I don’t know,” Wyvlo stammered. “You see, she ran away, escaped somehow-”
Moo cut him off. “I have no further use for you.”
Moo seized Wyvlo and brought the scientist to his mouth. How ironic. The man who had spent the better part of his life manipulating monsters had just become Dragon food.
As I stared at Lilim in horror, the darkness came once more.
Again, the darkness stretched on forever, until finally another scene came into focus. A Mariomax (Golem/Wracky) held me in his fist. He was taking care not to hurt me, but he had made it quite clear that he would crush me if I so much as breathed funny. It seemed silly to be beaten in battle by a monster wearing a tuxedo, but I had used up all my energy. Or, rather, Moo had used up all my energy. The Mariomax had been the only monster to survive, and then only because he was farther away from me than the others.
He carried me into the lab we had been assaulting. Immediately, a Siren (Undine/Joker) rushed to his side.
“Mariomax, what happened?! Where are the others?! Who’s this girl?!” she demanded.
Mariomax looked at her sadly. “The others…aren’t coming back.”
“What?! How?!” The Siren seemed on the verge of tears. “How could that happen?!”
“This girl has some strange powers,” the Mariomax explained. “It was her attack that…”
“Attack?!” The Siren cut him off. “She wiped them out with one attack?!”
“Then tell me why she’s still breathing!”
A Ferious (Centaur/Pixie) who had been standing quietly in the background now stepped forward and put a hand on the Siren’s shoulder. She seemed vaguely familiar, but I was too weak and tired to think of why.
“Siren, wait,” Ferious said. “I know this one. She is Nemesis, the monster who looks like a human. She was designed so that another could easily control her. I have no doubt that that’s what Moo’s doing now.”
It was at that point that I fainted.
When I awoke, I still hadn’t regained my energy. Moo was still there; I could feel him in the back of my mind. But he wasn’t paying any attention to me. He had “loosened his grip” as Lilim had said.
“You’re awake,” said a voice. Ferious trotted over to the cot where I lay. I tried to sit up, but I couldn’t. The energy had been completely drained out of me. But I should have recovered by now… “Kilik’s found a way to stop monsters from recovering their energy. We thought it safest if we used it on you.”
There didn’t seem to be any way to reply to that, and I didn’t feel much like asking about the Wubbles, so I remained silent.
“Do you remember me?” Ferious asked after a while.
“Ya do seem familiar…” I said, trying to think. “Oh, yeah, I remember ya! You’re that Ferious I freed the day I was born…or created. Whatever.”
She nodded. “That’s right. Listen…I know you were under Moo’s control when you…when you…” A tear ran down her face, and she hastily wiped it away. I pretended not to notice. “Well, can he still control you?”
“Yeah,” I said. “He isn’t right now. I don’t think he realizes I’m awake. But once he does…”
“I was afraid of that,” Ferious said. “…Kilik – he’s our brightest scientist – thinks he’s found a way to break Moo’s control on you, but it’s risky.”
“I’d rather die than go back to Moo.”
“You very well could, with what Kilik’s planning to do. Even at best, there’s much to lose.”
“Will ya stop avoiding it and just tell me already? What exactly is this Kilik guy planning to do?”
Just then, the door slid open and a man with scruffy blond hair and brown eyes walked in. “ ‘This Kilik guy’ is planning to permanently weaken whatever it is that allows Moo to control you,” he said. He ruffled his wings irritably. Huh? Wings? Yes, I was seeing correctly. He had two angel-like wings with brown feathers sprouting from his back.
“Nemesis, this is Kilik,” Ferious said. “And Kilik, you already know that this is Nemesis.”
“Yes,” Kilik said. “I know. Now, in answer to your question, Nemesis, what I will do is break Moo’s hold on you, and possibly make it impossible for anyone to control you again. But even in the best case scenario, you’ll be put to sleep, possibly for centuries. You won’t be aware of anything while you sleep, and time will have no effect on you, but it may very well be a whole different world when you awake. And you’ll lose every memory you have. In the worst case scenario, the process will kill you.”
“Is there any possibility of it not working and not killing me at the same time?” I asked.
“No. It will work, or kill you in the attempt. I know it’s risky-”
“Do it,” I said, resolved. “But first, why do ya have wings?”
“Oh, you mean these?” He lifted a wing, as if to show it off. Ferious buried her face in her hand. “Oh, no. Now he’s going to go into every single boring little detail.”
Kilik grinned and nodded. “You bet. Well, it all started about ten years ago, when I first started getting into genetic engineering…”
You don’t want to hear the whole thing. Trust me. I got bored and stopped paying attention after a while, but the gist of it was that he had experiment on himself and ended up with wings.
“Ya know,” I said when he was finally done. “Ya should hook up with Irene. She managed to combine to herself with a Pixie.”
The darkness closed in, and I wondered who the hell Irene was.
I waited for a while, but the darkness didn’t lift again.
I whirled around. It was Adrian. It was perfectly dark around us, but I could see him perfectly.
“Or would it be Thorn?” he asked. “It doesn’t matter. Listen, you can’t stay here. Your friends are worried about you. I have to stay here for a while longer, but don’t worry, we’ll meet again. Kyra promised, and Powers don’t lie. Now, wake up. Your time in darkness is over, for now.”
My eyes snapped open suddenly, and I sat up, startled, when I saw an unfamiliar woman with honey brown hair and blue eyes watching over me. I instantly regretted it as everything started to hurt. The girl moved quickly to catch me and ease me back down onto the bed.
“Calm down; you got trampled pretty badly,” she said. “I’m Rosa, the healer.”
“Well, nice to meet ya, I guess,” I said. “I’m Thorn.”
“Your monsters are outside,” Rosa said. “They seem very worried about you.”
“My monsters?” I asked, confused. “Oh, ya mean Pixie and Big Blue?” I burst out laughing. “They’re not my monsters. What’re ya, crazy? Pixie’d kill me if I even suggested something like that.”
Just then, the door opened, and Pixie walked in. “Good. You’re awake,” she said when she saw me. “Let’s go.”
“Wait a minute!” Rosa protested. “She’s no longer in critical state, but she’s in no condition to travel!”
“She’ll be fine if Big Blue carries her for a few days,” Pixie said. “Not to sound ungrateful, but we have our own reasons for not wanting to stay here.” She turned to me. “Can you walk to the front door?”
I grinned. “Only one way to find out.” I slowly sat upright and got up from the bed. I winced in pain as everything started hurting again. Rosa walked over to me and grabbed me, holding me upright.
“Here,” she said. “Let me help you.”
I choked back a protest and let her walk me to the front door. The only reason Pixie and Big Blue had come here in the first place was because of me. The least I could do was try not to slow them down.
As soon as Rosa let go of me, Big Blue gently lifted me in his arms. I felt like some worthless rag doll, the way everyone was picking me up and carrying me around. It wasn’t a very good feeling, and I ended up getting frustrated with myself for no good reason because of it.
“Hey!” a voice called out from behind us as we were walking out. “Stop right there!”
“Hmm?” Pixie and Big Blue said in unison. Big Blue turned, and I saw what seemed to be the entire male population of the village, leading the Bakus that had trampled me.
“You’re Pixie, of the Big Bad Four!” a man shouted.
“Formerly of the Big Bad Four,” Pixie corrected. “Is there a problem?”
“Do you think you can just walk out of here after what you’ve done?!” the man shouted. “My brother slaved away for years because of you!”
I saw Pixie tense in anger. Big Blue noticed, too.
“Master Pixie,” he said. “We didn’t come here to fight. We should be going.”
“You’re right, Blue,” Pixie sighed. “Let’s go.”
Big Blue turned his back on the crowd and began trudging off.
“Hey!” the man shouted. “Where do you think you’re going?!”
Pixie looked over her shoulder at him. “We aren’t looking for a fight. We only came here to heal Thorn. Now that she’s better, we’re leaving.”
“You can’t just walk out of here! Come back and fight me!”
“Didn’t ya hear her?” I called back to him. “She doesn’t want to fight ya. So stop asking her to.”
“And, you, girl! You’re a traitor to your own race, traveling with monsters like these!”
I laughed. “My own race? If only ya knew…” I shook my head. “Ha! Ya want to know why I’m traveling with them? Cause I prefer their company to some humans I’ve met!”
By the time he thought of a reply, we were out of the village and out of earshot. They made no move to follow us. I wondered what he would have done if Pixie actually had fought him. Probably gotten beaten and humiliated in front of everyone.
Later, as we were wandering through yet another forest, I explained everything I saw when I was out.
“So that’s what happened…” Pixie said.
“Funny how we didn’t notice that ring before,” Big Blue stated.
“Yeah.” I held up my hand and looked at it. “I guess I’m just so used to wearing it, I didn’t even notice it was there.”
“Hmph,” Pixie said. “If you remembered all that, maybe we should have trampled you with a herd of Bakus sooner.”
I looked up at Big Blue, an expression of utter shock on my face. “Big Blue, didja hear that? I’m not going crazy, right? Ya heard that, too?” He nodded, looking very confused.
Pixie sighed. “Alright, what is it this time?”
I smiled. “Pixie, I think ya just made an attempt at humor!”
Pixie sighed once more. “Oh, be quiet.”