Pendraguin - Chapter 3 - Preparation for the fight
This prolly has a lot of tense issues as I have like basically written like one word per a month…
What can I say I am a slow writer and proofing is such a pain. Then I shoved everything in hemmingway but it just made me make write things stupidierer cos I was trying to get rid of the things it underlined.
A big thanks to Kyren and darkD
The town of Asylum, population 18,756, known for its intricate silver work, handicrafts in leather, quality winterleaf beer and veins of copper jade. This is town, near the mountains twenty kilometres from ocean, where travellers and merchants stop by, as it placed between three country borders.
Trade in the city is business as usual and today is the yearly city festival. There are many vendors operating their businesses on the cobblestone stairs leading up to the registration office and people resting at the fountain below.
Yet, something strange is happening inside the registration office.
“Ahhh,” the youthful sounds of spring’s new seasoned sighs – the sigh that will create the next generation. This is the sound of spring when two creature of opposite genders meet. this is also the sound of no working being completed. Framed by the thumb and index finger of two manly hands, the two angels are making erotic faces at the warrior standing before them. The hands rotate.
“Ahhhh,” more breathless panting from a second young feminine voice. Warm sunlight streams through the architraved windows, followed by moans and groans of:
“Oh Mr Merk!” The voice echoes in the silence of the building.
The manly hands move lower and held within its frame is the two angels with rose coloured cheeks. The warrior hands gripping the chest in its soft fruitful glory. Again, the frame moves even lower. Yet, expecting to reach the spring flower – one is instead surprised with the hands framing an office centre. Instead of dangly jiggly things there are scrolls in tubes stacked in shelves arranged in alphabetical order.
James stopped staring at the decorative ceiling. He pulled a face of disgust as he lowered his hands to stare at the people who were making a loud commotion.
The sound had interrupted James’ interpretation of the local artwork, commissioned on the ceiling by the previous lordship of the town. He studied the gold gilding that illuminated the image of the Ayer warrior descending from the heavens surrounded by the voluptuous angels.
He glanced at the interruption, a source of all evil to mankind and what he saw before him was a dragon crossed with a macaroni penguin, surrounded by three staff members; two female and one male, all stroking Pendraguin’s on the belly.
“Merk,” Pendraguin coodles as the three workers patted his fine soft feathers.
James rolls his eyes and with his jaw clenched, he grumbles under his breath. He feels so embarrassed to the point that even swearing about the creature makes his inner feelings roil with resentment. He slaps himself on the face, berating the situation. It is so embarrassing that he takes to counting the feather quills sitting in a goblin’s skull on the office desk.
He flipped the clipboard on the counter to make a distraction and yet, nothing could make the workers take their attention away from Pendraguin.
James could see the workers tugging on the spines of Pendraguin. Pendraguin had his eyes half closed with pleasure, he gave a wink to James and poked his tongue out. James kicked waste paper basket in disgust -this was the last straw for him. He left the counter looking for place to escape.
Silk screens divide the office, but keep the space open enough for the supervisors to watch their workers. Using the screens to block visual distractions, and with a little bit of manual modification, James decides to create his own secluded waiting room. He drags the silk screen from the side of the room so he can gain full view of the ceiling. This action only revealed the whereabout of his other teammate.
It is amazing, Callum has beaten James to the best hiding spot in the office. He is sitting in the hand carved gold gilded antique office chair with one leg over the other. Callum stares at the commotion of all the ‘ooh ahh’ noise on the other side of the room. He continues reading the newspaper and sipping the hot tea in his usual ceramic mug.
The ‘oooh ahhh’ noises echo through the room again, this time both Callum and James pull the same face.
Callum flicks the newspaper, he leans his chair backwards and after grabbing a quill, he dabs it in the inkwell. All without spilling a drop, he highlights the section of the newspaper that offers room for rent with augusto. Stabbing the pointed end of the quill every time he hears the high pitched pealing of a giggle. Adjusting the seat to its correct horizontal position, he sighs. Taking back his meditative stance – shifts his glasses on his nose, switches resting knees, and continues reading the newspaper.
James smiles, Callum is not the kind of person who would voice his opinions out loud, he is the kind, unspoken, person that would give you definite hints if things annoy him.
There in the guild office, surrounded by two girls and their head manager, is Pendraguin. On top his head the horn like tendrils wiggles independently like a dog’s wagging tail. One of the blushing office ladies stretched out her slender fingers to caress the wiggling tendril.
Maria rolled up the fighting program and whacked the hands of the office girls and their male manager. The other office girl tried to make a reach for Pendraguin’s tendril but Maria defended him by instantaneously whacking the girl on the hand and head.
James and Callum inwardly cheered with large smiles on their faces. Finally, someone set things straight. The office girls wince and rub their hands pulling jealous faces at Maria. James and Callum continue to cheer yet their smiles turn to sadness as they watch Maria cuddle Pendraguin to her body as if she is the jealous one in the first place.
James mumbled aloud, “Curse the Ayers, he’s gotten another one. Why? How? It’s not fair.”
Callum’s voice broke with sadness, “Why the manager?”
“I will let you pat his tendril’s once we sign the paperwork to join the competition,” Maria pointed to a rolled up program for the fighting event, at the manager’s nose.
“Ahh yes, paperwork.” The girls scurried off, and the male manager looked, with doe-like eyes of reverence, towards supervising Pendraguin. Meaning that James, Callum, and Maria watched the office clerk beating his eyelids toward Pendraguin like a filly in heat.
“Just sign here, here, here and over here.” He shuffled the paper work in a disorderly manner and Callum raised an eyebrow at his professionalism.
“Now can we pat Mr Merk?”
“Oh alright, but only once. We have to prepare,” Maria pulled out a silver pocket watch and stamped her feet rapidly “Come on hurry it up the markets will be sold out in two hours time.”
Without Pendraguin their team would not be seeded in the final match. Maria had conveniently forgotten about this and did not take this into consideration. She twitched her feet in impatience while the girls and manager patted Pendraguin’s tendrils.
They sighed in happiness.
Maria shooed them off while holding onto Pendraguin, if she were to let go then, without a doubt, the manager and girls would carry Pendraguin off. As soon as they stepped out of the room Maria changed the cuddle hug to that of a hostage holding a gun to a person’s head.
“Don’t move,” Maria’s voice was as sweet as a friend who had just spotted food stuck on a face.
“Merk?” Pendraguin waited expectantly for Maria to rub the tendril ear on his head.
“Merk merk merk!” Pendraguin protested while raising a flipper to rub his head.
“Stop wasting time we need to get to the apothecary and the markets, and then we need to make sure we have our equipment repaired.” Maria grunted pacing in a circle.
“….Mog Wort, St Peter’s Gill, Cornflowers, Paws of clawed clove, Estotic Lavender, Dried Spotted Mushrooms.” Soon Maria’s eyes were in a trance, her whole demeanour changed and her eyes took on a light as if she was obsessed.
“Shopping! Onwards we travel! To the apothecary!”
She whacked Pendraguin absentmindedly. Pendraguin struggled in her grasp, trying to escape her iron grip.
“And if we have extra time work on some kind of team themed attire for the upcoming battle.”
Pendraguin frowned and rolled his eyes, followed by Callum and James rolling their eyes as well. Unfortunately Maria spotted Pendraguin rolling his eyes. Never ever, ever, ever, ever show a dislike to shopping in front of Maria. Callum and James have travelled long enough with Maria to make sure they are never caught by her.
Maria’s eyes glinted evilly. By the time Maria finished settling her qualms with Pendraguin, he was struggling to go back into that nice cosy office where the nice people were. As they walked out the entry way he attempted to bodily move back toward the registration room. Maria smiled politely at the other people walking around her, and when they were not looking.
Maria dragged Pendraguin by the tail, his flippers unable to grip the slate floor, his struggled in vain.
“Dangerous,” whispered James.
Maria threw the rolled up match program into James’s face,
*oaff* “Ouch, ”
Callum just shifted his glasses further onto his nose. Maria pulled out another program rolled into a tight bundle, about to hit Callum, yet she just narrowed her eyes. Callum, expressionless, was not going to say anything. Callum silently looked Maria in the eyes and her inner rage subsided as she decided he was innocent. Callum gulped and shook his head, narrowly missing a possible onslaught of will with Maria.
James rubbed his head, scoffing, “Jeez, ” he complained to Callum.
Callum just shrugged. They walked down the cobblestone stairs, happily watching Pendraguin’s head thud down with each step as they descended.
From Pendraguin’s ground view, the towering towers of the registration guild disappeared from his sight. His merk like calls became sadder and sadder.
As the group traveled through the town centre, they found that it was not easy to travel with their new party member.
Today there was a festival celebrating the upcoming fight at the end of the week. Each corner of the street there were musicians and dancers, farmers selling produce and merchants bringing stock to replace the wares at their stalls.
The city’s structure was centered on the main office that faced the central fountain. The central area had an open field next to a lake. The rest of the city was broken down into four quadrants: industrial, trade and commerce, local housing and tourism. The central area was where all the popular businesses were. With the festival in full swing, it was more crowded than usual.
There were musicians and dancers that wore red and white dresses. They blew kisses at Pendraguin as the party walked by. A farmer pushing a wheelbarrow filled to the brim with radishes smiled at Pendraguin and tossed him some of his produce – which he happily gulped down with a toothy grin. Much to the dismay of James.
Even regular people, who had never met Pendraguin; would stop and vigorously shake his flipper.
“Wow, I feel so honoured to meet you,” said the stranger.
James felt angry, this was the seventh stranger that had shook hands with the cat and this person had stood there shaking it for five whole minutes. The person who was shaking Pendraguin’s flippers was cloaked in a brown hessian robe, James felt suspicious as he could not see the person’s face. Maria prodded James out of his staring stupor and he moved behind pendraguin to help pull him along.
“Come on, let’s go already!”
The stranger pulled a face of disdain as James moved behind Pendraguin. He wrinkled his nose and left, giving James the evil eye. James scratched his head then he bent down to pull Pendraguin by the flipper. It was then he realised the reason why the man had ran away. What had wafted in his face was the off smell of partially digested radishes. James’ face also grew red, ’that man must have thought I was the silent but deadly.’
“That’s it, no more free radishes!”
“James! Hurry up!” Cried Maria as she threw another rolled up event program at his head.
James made a complicated face, giving the death stare at Pendraguin and a politically blank face at Maria.
It came to a point that the party would be interrupted before they could cross a busy intersection. Maria sighed as she stared at the fifth wagon filled with snow fox pelts, rolling by, her stomach rumbled. Fortunately the group was trapped near the food pavilions.
People from the bakery ran madly with samples of hot meat pies and wood-oven cooked savoury pork buns. The flour coated workers moved between the crowded streets handing out free samples to attract customers. With the workers handing out free samples the place became so crowded that the iconic iron wrought street lanterns seemed sparse among the sea of people.
A group of sixty short statured people, wearing horned helmets and fur tufted armour saluted Pendraguin with their overflowing beer mugs, as he waddled past. James and Calum shook their heads and continued to prod Pendraguin forward. The bearded short statured people went back to their drinking and eating charcoal leg roast, tossing bronze pennies at the nearby mime coated in white dust. They laughed as the mine pretended to push against an invisible wall.
“Dwarves are pretty funny.” James smiled to Calum.
Calum shhh’d James by covering his mouth with his hands. Leaning over to James, Calum whispered back.
“They say that the ancestors of the short statured men made much of the intricate lacework iron that decorates the place. This whole week is a celebration of all crafts such as agriculture, metal smithing, alchemy, mechanisms and apothecary and so on.”
“Is that so?”
“If you don’t know at least that much I fear we shall be teased by the locals.”
Calum paused, looking at James’ face and sighed.
“What ever you do, don’t kick them iron wrought lanterns in the street.”
James focused his eyes on the street lantern he was approaching, the iron looked like it was living tree made completely of black metal and yet at the same time, it conformed to a rigid structure that was used as a lantern.
“Wow, I never realised, it’s just like a tree. ”
Calum nodded smugley.
“They say the short statured person who created it was a child who had parents of a dwarf and an elf. Even though the union of two such races is a hypocrisy in the eyes of the church. Such artwork has never been recreated since.”
“Mind you, historic rumours say that, that artist died as a saint. But the we all know it was under a guise to keep the architecture here. ”
“So are we celebrating a heathen festival then?”
The party continued to travel through the busy streets and progress was slow. It was not from the crowds of people attending the festival that was causing the party to slow down. Most of the issue was caused by the women on the nearby streets.
“Why hello there handsome.” One of the dancers dressed in red and white pulls the cut of the dress exposing more of her leg.
Wolf whistles, cuts the air and the men who are in the area all try to look for the special lady that has caused the open call of affection on the market street. They are shocked to see that three ladies are creating the lough high pitched whistles. They were selling market vegetables and at catching a glimpse of Pendraguin they loosened the top of their collared v-neck blouses.
The male passers bys are confused that women are the cause of the wolf whistling; they look for the lucky man who could cause them whistle – so logically they follow the ladies’ stares and they are are staring at Pendraguin longingly. The men scratch their heads as they oogle an odd creature with large black beady eyes and the strangest floating tendrils on its head.
One of the ladies pushes the other girl over on the side and beckons to Pendraguin.
“I would like to lug that over my shoulders,” Said the lady lugging a 30 kilogram hessian sack of potatoes. She pats the bag as if it was Pendraguin captured over her shoulders.
“Merk Merk Merk?” Pendraguin gestures questionably.
“I am ready to have supper with you tonight. ” The next girl bites into an apple, swallows it quickly and flashes a toothy grin at Pendraguin, along with a wink.
“Merk Merk Merk.” Pendraguin waves one of his flippers in a circle. Maria James and Callum have no idea what Pendraguin has said and they each raised their eyebrows.
“Oh If I could only call you Honey.” A girl with a squeaky high pitched voice dips a spoon into a jar honey and licks it.
“Merkmerk,” Pendraguin rubs his chin with his flipper. The group’s face is as stiff as a plank of iron wood timbre.
However, the men passing by in the crowds are filled with curiosity. The heads of the men twist from one side to the other side- they find the exchange is quite raunchy and the men all blush with this open discussion. Callum, James and Maria all groan.
To the party’s surprise, Pendraguin shook his head.
“Why does this keep happening? I want to get to the the potions shops,” Complained Maria as her hat flops to the side, she unhappily twists her head in annoyance.
Callum rubs his chin, “Well it is spring, wild beasts normally go out searching for mates during this time of year.”
“Oh,” Maria and James, also in thoughtful thought. They also understand the basic principle of the birds and the bees, as they have live in rural communities. They always knew that Callum is very smart.
Despite the talk with the ladies an old granny appears in front of Pendraguin.
“So Hondsome, let granny Nancy look after you for all night. ” The old lady drools as it seems her dentures are not the proper size. The old people do not get a proper pension it seems.
She leans forward on her walking stick and her chin wobbles with the hair with the wart, growing within another wart. The skin is so folded it hides thick layers of yellowed skin set like yellow crust of an over cooked pie; all flakey and brown. Pendraguin takes ten step back.
“…” The whole party is scared of even the thought of an old lady spending the night with Pendraguin.
For Maria this concept won’t be shipped even with a grain of salt. No shipping at all.
Maria raises an eyebrow, “Ahhh aren’t grannies are too old to have babies… explanation required, oh so Mr Wise One?”
Callum sputters from this event that even his normally straight glasses are sitting crooked on his nose. He fumbles to set the glasses on his nose straight, how could he be wrong?
Maria grinned at Callum’s uncomfortable face and saved him by making a suggestion.
“Let’s get going before we attract more pursuers. See, over there is where we need to be.”
Pendraguin realised that he cannot give his love to every girl equally, he felt heart palpitations, and it was most likely from stress seeing the older lady. So he decided to use a diversionary tactic. Spying a single flower growing from the ground with pink white petite petals, Pendraguin snapped the stem of the flower. The ladies watched his every action carefully and to ensure the diversion worked, Pendraguin attempted kissed the flower.
With a tongue poking out over his monstrous overbite, Pendraguin licked the flower. At the sight of this, all the girls in the vicinity sighed. Then they shook themselves from their stupor and then they eyed each other warily – for each of them in their hearts wanted to grab the flower.
Pendraguin waved the flower up and down and their eye followed it as he waved it from left to right. At the sight of this James, Maria and Callum slapped their foreheads in their open palm. They shook their heads and left Pendraguin to his antics.
“Merk Merk!” Pendraguin called in panic as the party left without him.
*flip flap!* A loud audible snape resonated in the air.
He clicked his flippers and threw the drool covered flower straight into the air.
Every affected lady jumped into the air, soaring towards the flower floating in the skies above.
And with that Pendraguin escaped to follow the party leaving a ferocious free for all to occur in the middle of streets. Lady after lady were slapping each other in a massive rage. It was like releasing a starving behemoth to a feast.
Pendraguin then leads the party quicksmart towards the sees an open grassed area where there are hardly any adult ladies roaming. Taking bee line through the area, the party crossed a wide street where the children frequent. James pondered to himself, ‘Why do all the girls like him so much? What does he have that I don’t have?’Jealous of what Pendraguin has going for him, James plans to make sure Pendraguin takes most of the damage in the upcoming fight.
He sees Pendraguin waddling in front of him all of a sudden and he turns his head back to glance at what is causing Pendraguin to waddle faster.
The old lady is hobbling behind leaning on her walking stick with the long stemmed flower in her mouth, her eyes only focusing on the creature known as Pendraguin. Pendraguin waddles at even faster pace.
James’s thoughts are broken, as three children smash wooden swords on the back of his blue leather armour causing the tips of his steel capped boots dig into the earth.
“Hurry up old fart.” The child proceeded to stab him with a wooden sword.
James turns to face his attacker only to see the child continually stab at his blue leather armour. The child wields the sword high using both his hand and his lower body to lunge at James. With the child’s movements rip one of the overlapping sections of James’s threadbear armour
Before James can tell the child off he is trampled by a bunch of children who had just ran past the corner.
They weave around the party, with James being trampled upon, dressed in their best festival clothing. For the girls Neatly pressed cotton dresses with a bows on the back and the boys brightly polished pointed elf styled boots and a plain coloured caps with a differing feathers in each cap.
They all crowded up to the man who was exchanging coins for coloured balls that floated in the air. Every time the man twisted his head, his peculiar beard – that reached his knees – would swing over the heads of the children. The children leaned backwards, limboing to avoid being tickled, despite this, they crowded closer to hold out coins to the strange tall man.
His eyes wrinkled in happiness as he drummed up more sales.
“Buy Vincent’s legendary floating air holders!” Waving his hands in the air so flamboyantly at his product that the purple top hat with the yellow pansy almost flew off his head.
Multiple air holders were tied to a giant craggy earth red rock near the man. They were bright with all sorts of colours. It was also hard to tell what stood out more the bearded man’s vivid red tail coat and his vertical striped knee high socks outside his tights. Or the voluminous amount of legendary floating air holders being raided by the children surrounding him.
Finally the horde of children leaving the shop bare of any goods, however, this does not stop Vincent from selling his goods.
“Buy three and get one free.”
“But there are none left.” James points out as he stares at the only thing left at the shop- an odd shaped rock that the man is standing next to.
Out of nowhere the man pulls out tiny flattened version of his legendary floating air holders.
“Heh, they look like shrunken balls. ” Comments Maria, James and Callum raise their eyebrows, they of course turn their heads quickly saying nothing.
The man kicks the rock and two green eyes open up and the crags on the rock release expanding fins and spikes. The man pops one of of the legendary floating air holders into the creature’s windpipe, on the top of its head and starts cranking one its fins up and down. With each puff, the air from the monster and the air holder expands and starts to float.
“My pet Rock Fish has the ability to blow out a lighter form of air,” Vincent puffed his chest full of pride.
Vincent continues to ramble to the kids in front of him.
“Funny creature this, found him roaming in the Tinkara Dessert and I tamed it.”
Pendraguin waves at the Rock Fish and the Rock Fish blinks in return.
The bearded man rubs the forehead of the pet rock and it growls happily in a purring fashion.
“So kids are you going to purchase some legendary air holders?”
Maria glances at James, James sighs and pulls out 3 copper coins and exchanges it for the legendary air holders.
Callum rubs his chin and adjusts his glasses, “ I think the correct term to call them is ‘balloon.’”
“Hmm, Balloon eh? I like the sound of that, Just imagine when I open my shop in the future,
‘Vincent’s Legendary Balloons.’” Vincent waved his hand to look at the distant clouds imagining the future. Unanimously the party thinks that Vincent is strange so they take a few steps away from him and leave.
The Party goes past a scroll and map stall, carrying a large amount of oddities in glass jars, and bass tools used for mapping the land. And giant skull with the tips of horns stretching out to either end of the stall and eventually they go through an area where all the kids are lining up. Clouds of steam and fog billow past.
A man with goggles wielding a grease stained rachet his face covered with a greasy film of tar and oil. Another man with a full white beard wearing overalls and bald with age spots and a few hairs growing out it.
“No, Clog work!” Screams the old man with the goggles holding the racket menacingly with the brown buckles swinging to and fro in rage.
“No, Steam!” Rages the balds man with voluptuous white beard with raised open palms face up clawing the air as if hold invisible orbs of Magis.
“Hybrid Clog Magis.” The old man with goggles stands up and head butts the man yelling out steam.
They fight hand in hand and the other old man with the beard also screams out his idea.
“No, Hybrid Steam Magis.”
He attempts the chin slap the other man with his beard and naturally the party takes a good few steps away from the old men, who are they to interrupt an old person’s insightful conversation. Instead they trudge through various mechs on display.
A horseless cart is beside it and its coughing up smoke. It looks a like a war chariot yet with a sleeker streamline design The tires were covered in mencing spikes.
powered by Mankind’s ingenuity.
A horseless cart chuggers behind them, it is spewing voluminous amounts of steam. The shiny metallic material shimmers in the the sunlight causing glare from the sun to rebound into the eyes of passersby unwittingly. It looked like a metallic folded up into an uneven ball. Beside it is a signed embossed with golden text
Powered by: Souls of the Golden Kestralanius
There are horseless carts filled with a many clogs and brass mechanics
Latest new technology- Powered by: Patent pending
Callum is all puppy dog eyed and has the expression of wanting to hang around the Mechs.
Maria pulls him away as he tries to read the more detailed text on each of the signs.
Pulling through a steam cloud they bump into another old man, this time the old man is clearly missing teeth and his clothes are all falling to pieces. His breath could be smelt from even two metres away, clearly there was something rotting in his mouth.
“”Destruction will come for you!!!” He frothed.
“These will bring the end of the world!” Waving his arms at the Mechs surrounding him. He danced with his arms up in the air and it seemed he was wordlessly mouthing off to some invisible presence. He stooped to the ground sniffing the dirt and he picked up an empty paper cup, discarded rubbish floating from the festival he placed it on his head like a crown.
“AND YOU!” He pointed the finger at each member of the party.
“Yes, YOU! Flightless ones.” He stared directly into Pengraguin’s face as he spoke.
“Shall bring suffering.”
He spits on the ground and takes a sip from his sun faded leather flask, the smell of cheap alcohol permanents in the air. Pendraguin frowned he could sense something was wrong, like when a person’s leg twitches uncontrollably when he is sitting still, the same happens for Pendraguin and his hind leg beats the ground for no apparent reason.
The old man continues, “AND PAIN- ”
Pendraguin stands back into his normal position as if he has not done anything, whistling innocently. James, Callum and Maria saw that in a blink of an eye, Pendraguin had tailed slapped the old man.
Sputtering dirt and rubbing the red welt on his face, the old man frowned harshly at them all.
“A Pox on you all!, A pox on everyone!!!”
The rest of the party felt relieved, there was always a crazy person in person in every city. They just did not expect them to be hiding in the festival display.
Over the steam and smoke Maria points hurriedly at the destination she wants to go to. She points at a collection of callio stands where there is a crowd of people in various colourful clothing all crowding around the tables and reaching out for something from the stall merchants.
Eventually, Maria pushes her way to the market stall’s calio tent. Various herbs and spices are adorning the tent supports. What makes Maria extremely happy is the free samples are provided in tiny orbs of liquid.
There are people holding free samples on a tray walking around the area to attract people to the stall. Maria runs up to the attendant ignoring her face and starts sampling the potions, sculling five in quick succession.
“Oh my I am in bliss, here James grab some free samples and let me have your share.”
Soon the tray is empty and all that is left is the attendant pulling a false smile at the trio.
She points at Pendraguin with her hands on her hips, “Go get us some free samples since you delayed us from reaching the potions stall. ”
Maria gestures of James to help Pendraguin reach the samples since Pendraguin is only at the height of a ten year old child. James and Pendraguin unwillingly comply with Maria’s request.
Pendraguin’s eyes narrow at James and James responds back the same with his blue eyes becoming a stormy grey colour.
“Ehem, I am getting awfully thirsty. ” Maria blinks innocently while punching one hand into the other.
James grabs Pendraguin by his hips, holding him gingerly like he has cooties. His beady eyes glares at James, yet lets James hoist him in the air towards the counter where the free samples are being provided. James sighs, after searching the crowd for the three balloons. He has noticed that Callum has disappeared before he was scammed into doing Maria’s freebie biddings.
Maria back hands James in the head and points him in the direction of the potion shop.
Maria is far too small to even squeeze herself into the crowd surrounding the shop.
They grab samples under the eyes of the peeved shop person, James is feeling extremely embarrassed grabbing all the freebies he can grab.
James eyed the potions that were in front of him. There were gord shape blue potions in all different shades and hues; red potions in circle or heart shapes for health and variety of other potions. The shapes of all the bottles were amazing. This was due to new a new technical magical breakthroughs. Potions were stored without glass bottles instead they were contained by their shape and form using a variant magis extracted from the slime monster.
James held out his hands indicating for the free samples to go there.
At the stall shop assistant – this time a man with a thick moustache – grunts at James and his with tatty leather armour attire, starting at the hand that expects a freebie. The man can tell that this youth has no money and he reluctantly hands over a sample.
James offers his other hand after putting Pendraguin under his arms.
“Merk!” Pendraguin grunts with his tail swishes all over the place.
After James has grabbed all his samples he deftly uses some twine taken from the counter and ties it around the potions gripping a string of potions in his mouth. He holds up Pendraguin so he can take his free samples.
Pendraguin’s beady eyes and enormous orange beak confront the moustache stall assistant. Pendraguin opens up his wide flippers.
The moustache stall assistant is confused with the gesture and leans forward.
“Merk~” Pendraguin wiggles his flippers in a wave like motion.
The moustache stall assistant scratches his head.
‘Finally someone who doesn’t understands this freak,’ James thinks to himself.
“What are you doing Frank?!”
A bald man – sporting the same thick moustache as Frank the shop assistant – appears.
“Give this fine young…”
The bald man stares at Pendraguin.
“ … Man this bag of free goodies.” Rubbing his moustache between his fingers.
The older bald man hangs a hessian bag around pendraguin’s neck after kicking Frank. Frank frowns at the old bald man and gives Pendraguin several samples to hold in his flippers.
“Merk, Merk.” said Pendraguin.
James sighs, ‘Well, it is good to get free goodies.’
Pulling Pendraguin back, James returns with several potions in his hand, Maria smiles at him with her sweetest smile.
“Go get another free refill,” grabbing all the potions from his hands and leaving the few held in his mouth, Maria pushes James on the back towards the stand again, aiming for a different shop attendant.
James pulls a face like he will kill her but makes sure to do so while she is not facing him.
“Hey watch it!” Yells another pair of adventurers.
Maria and James can tell they are adventurers like themselves from the badge they are wearing. It looks very similar to their tin flower shaped badge however it is made from a more expensive material like brass.
The pair, that James and Maria have bumped into, take one good look up and down at the idiots who have dared to inexcusably bump them. They smirk at James’s blue leather armour from another era, with a single two-handed broadsword strapped to his back, the fastenings all rusted and tarnished. His leather gauntlets filled with potions samples and his mouth holding many orbs of coloured potion samples attached with string to his mouth.
Their eyes shift to disdainfully stare at the shorter girl beside him. Particularly at the simple cut of Maria’s purple robes. Judging from its linen material and the traveller’s stains its a novicate of a novice Magis, a person who is less than qualified to even clean a pisspot of even a novice Magis. The floppy pointy hat is definitely a stolen hand me down which lowers their opinion of her even further.
The pair continues smirking until one of them squints his eyes in recognition of the other party.
“Oh James, it’s you, haven’t seen you since we left Velrox city,” spoke the taller of the pair, had short cut red hair with a spikey hair do.
“Oh that person from adventurers colleague? Oh yeah I remember you, ” The shorter man of the pair who is still taller than james and is a more muscular build around his shoulder, short cut curly black hair. stocky think fabio
“So, have you upgraded your adventurer’s badge yet?” Tom took his time to stare at Maria’s badge which conveniently for him above her chest. Maria instinctively moves behind James.
“Who are these people?” Maria openly whispered to James. James could only bob his head unable to speak as he still held potions tied by string in his mouth while holding Pendraguin.
“What you? Haven’t heard of the great Tom of Sky Piercing Halberd?”
“Or the great Cody of the Ice Nova Star? ”
“Obviously you have been hangout with …umm what’s you ma call it..?”
“Moderately retarded,” Cody points at James who takes a step back.
“I see, that your, retardedness.” He flick’s James’ badge with an index finger.
“Has spread to your party members.” Tom laughs and looks that pitiful group of adventurers. James glowers with his hands and mouth full of potions.
“Hey who is retarded?” Who are these people?” Cassandra pretty, also in mage robes but it’s a more modern cut and slightly more revealing. Amber curly hair mid length. She wears the same badge as Tom and Cody,
Behind her is a tall man in a mysterious grey coat weird face tattoos
“Moderately retarded,” Tom points at James.
“And less than retarded,” Tom points at Maria.
“Cos she is a team with him. Hahahaha!” Cody and Tom shook from laughter at their own joke.
Her eyes briefly looks over Maria and at the same time dismisses her.
“Wait a moment. One, two and..?” Tom counted the party members of James’s party.
“Hey where’s the other ‘less than retard’?” Cody looks at Tom, indicating for Tom to translate for Maria.
“Who?” Maria frowned with arms folded.
“You know that guy you hang out with glasses,” Tom makes circles with his hands and pulled a dopey face.
“Callum is not a retard and neither am I,” Maria puffed up in attempt to appear taller which only made who look shorter as the other party was all taller than her.
“Dont you listen, I said you are less than retard, no show is also less than retard ” Cody
“I think if I recall it was you who plagarised Callum’s work and then claimed to the teacher that he stole your work.” Maria retorted.
Tom and Cody were silent for a moment, they knew they were indeed guilty of such an action before. The work they had stolen from Callum managed to let them barely pass their grades. Thinking that a person wearing glasses was intelligent, they chose his work to copy. When they were accused of cheating back then, they squarely blamed it on Callum. Callum who was not good to speaking with others consequently took the blame.
“You messy cunt, you should respect advices from your senpais,” Tom said breaking the awkward minute silence.
“Senpais? I was born earlier in the year!” Maria immediately retorted.
“Psst Maria, he just called you a cunt,” James grumble through his teeth still carrying multiple potions. It was at this point that Pendraguin wiggled out of James’ arms.
Noticing the weird atmosphere of her party members Cassandra thought to interject in the conversation as well as show off her new teammate.
“Ehem! Well our fourth member is really an Ayer.” Flashing her perfect teeth and smile.
“AN AYER?! ”James and Maria both exclaim, James drops the several bottles he carrying with string in his mouth onto the floor. Some of them bounce lose their shape and then splatter all over the floor. Two of the samples changed into a round saggy ball. Sometimes a hard shock can dispel the form shaping slime magic formation. Maria frowns at the loss.
Yeah an Ayer.” Tom confirms tilting his nose towards the sky and puffing out his chest in pride.
“We are going to kick arse at this tournament.” Cody and Tom high five smiling at each other.
“Because we’ve have an Ayer in our team,” sneered Tom.
“Unlike you, we have exulted blood lines that attract an Ayer. ” Cody points at the crest on his armour laughing.
“Yeah, no wonder we attracted an Ayer to our side. Mix bloods and retards can only attract shit.” prompts Tom.
From behind Cassandra appears a figure cloaked in a mysterious aura, with only his lower jaw showing there are numerous tattoos all over his face. Cody lifts of the sleeves of the Ayer showing off the Ayer’s biceps.
“Look at the muscles of our Ayer, he’ll squish down the opponents like nothing.”
“And the fancy face tats ain’t there for nothing. They glow red when he’s angry.”
“Yeah the last time you guys a geriatric in your team and it was funny.”
“Only coz you would fire my father from your father’s employment”
mumbled James through clenched teeth.
Your father is stuck in the old times like the old clans and has not caught up with the modern world, he’s a stupid as a slime hahahaha.”
“Hey, you my insult the clan but not my father!”
“The Diamond clan is worth less than broken glass”
“Apparent James comes from a long line of guardians of the gods. Yet he can’t even mind link with any of them.”
“Hahahah I cool from the back moves a man cloaked entirely in grey ”
“I am a guardian of a walking god.” Says the Ayer its voice is monotone.
“We’re gonna pummel any opponents into the dust.”
“So are you gonna watch and cheer for us on the stands?”
“Who ever was seeded in the final is gonna regret it when we get to them.
That was so unfair. ”
“So did you find a fourth member -” Cassie is bumped by a small grey and white figure and she rubs her hip with a frown.
“Merrrk!!!” Pendraguin runs between the two groups with the granny chasing after him.
“-for the team?” Continued Cassie.
“…” Unanimously there is an unspoken silence between James and Maria
Using all his skill and wit, Pendraguin is using every human as a roadblock, yet the granny is also wise using all the tricks that old people know to make others clear out a path in front of her. She whacks a traveller with her walking stick, she pokes a merchant in the belly
“You’re too fat!” She tells him off causing the merchant run off crying.
She hip tackles another traveller who is carrying a bunch of roses and she pulls his collar to her pastry crusted lips.
“You broke my hip. Now give me money, sonny!” She takes the money from the man’s purse forcibly – digs her hand into the bouquet taking a single inside her mouth – then goes back to stalking her prey.
Maria, James, Tom, Cody, Cassandra and the Ayer all look at each other after watching the old lady’s exchange. That even more awkward silence is broken by Tom and Cody laughing as they have never laughed before.
“What is that thing? Is it part of your party? ” Tom pointed towards the ground behind them. James and Maria definitely do not want to say that Pendraguin is their fourth party member and keep their faces as still as they can. Not giving a hint at all to Tom and Cody.
With her mouth pinching the green stem of the rose her lips are rolled under her mouth making her face look like a 5 day old fish at market. She is moving steadily towards Pendraguin. Blocked by various people at the potions display stand Pendraguin is left with no choice but to duck under the potion table causing loud shouts of consternation of the potion vendors.
“Haahahaha, you got an old person to join your team… should have know she’s just like less than retard hahahhaha.” Tom laughs pointing at Maria.
Tom smiles a vicious smile, James glows red with embarrassment.
“Oh gosh the Diamond clan has gone to the trash can taking a freak for party, that is the magical beast?” Tom points his hand at the party member in question and James’s heart shakes with embarrassment.
‘To think he has found out I am partying with a Pendraguin.’ James’ mind curl inside a box.
He turns to look to where Tom is pointing and he breathes a sigh a relief.
Tom was pointing at the old lady who was bashing the potion vendor with her staff.
“That old lady looks feisty- how did you get her to join?”
James and Maria keep their faces as neutral as they can, neither confirming or declining Tom’s statement.
The other party scratch their heads not sure of what to say.
“You got an old person again?” Snickers Cody.
While Cody is teasing James, Pendraguin managed to escape the crowd and was hugging Jame’s leg in relief. James feel conflicted as he feels Pendraguin grasping his leg, he tries to shake him off while he death stares Cody.
“Was it either that or sell our clan’s inheritance of armour? ” Teases Tom.
Pendraguin pulls James’ shirt with his flippers and then urgently jumps up and down while grasping his leg – trying to get his attention the urgent issue at hand – yet, James continues his evil eye war with Tom.
“Armour? What armour? That leather junk you are wearing now?” Cody laughs again.
Tom looked at James’s armour and laughed even harder. Reaching over to James they stood nose to nose as Tom pointed at every torn hem, faded stud, frayed leather bits – he even pulled off a large lump of tree sap used as glue. Wiping his hands on a silk handkerchief, Tom could not believe the shoddy state of wear of James’ gear. Tom was the son of a rich lord and had all the new armour designs that were the latest trend from the capital.
“It’s so flimsy, you might as well be wearing your undies on the top your head for a helmet,”
Cody’s laugh grows louder with Tom’s insult and if James’ eyes were daggers he would have stabbed Tom 5 times over. While the team were fighting overhead, Pendraguin is still clinging to James’ leg; shakes in terror. Tom can not help but notice the creature who is humping James’ leg. Tom crackles in glee pointing at the small beast.
“Merrrkkk!” Pendraguin snaps at Tom’s finger yet, beyond his figure is something horrific.
“So,” said Tom, who rubbed his chin in thought as he stared at the creature that was clinging onto James’ leg, “you used a creature to lure the old lady to join your party?”
James continues using his imaginary eye stab on Tom 15 times over. If his father was not employed by Tom’s father he would have challenged him to a duel and knock a few teeth.
James pushes Pendraguin over with his elbow when he tries to jump and pull his tunic causing pendraguin to walk backwards few paces.
Yet, it was a few paces too far for Pendraguin. There is a reason why Pendraguin is desperate – it is because she is there and she is coming closer and closer. Pendraguin shivers uncontrollably.
Finally free from the angry potion vendor the old granny pushes any passing strangers into the ground, clearing a path, between herself and Pendraguin – her destruction leaves a cloud of dust in her wake. Never underestimate the sense of balance of the old and wise as they have accumulated years of experience. Instead of her walking stick, this time the old granny uses her wicker basket. The elderly know how use the same item for many different uses – all the better to attack you with.
Pendraguin haphazardly turns to Maria – his last hope – yet his footsteps are not steady. He urgently pulls at the the purple trouser robes of Maria in an attempt to grab her attention. Yet Maria ignores Pendraguin as she gave Tom the evil eye.
She has come: the old granny adjusts the the stem of the flower inside her gumless mouth, and hobbles over in a dance like move using the weathered and knarly wooden walking staff as a dance partner. The lights aqua and azure blue coloured beads tied with a simple nettle twine swing to and fro as she steps forward .
The old granny repeatedly hits any and all passers bys with her walking staff, the the blue bead create arcs of blue each time they strike. A strange and seamless movement that no one could explain perhaps it is from the shrinkage of the bones in the older generation.
No one can sense the danger. Pendraguin is desperate.
A wrinkled hand grabs Pendraguin and as he is a gentleman and would never hit a woman.
’So this is defeat?’ Pendraguin thinks to himself as he bows down to a force greater than anything he has ever experienced before.
He feels his tail trapped in an iron like grip.
“It is futile, there is no escape! Hondsome, come to granny!”
The grip of the old lady does not loosen – there is no hope. The old lady although short, has a longer arms than Pendraguin and he is unable to escape her attacks.
And as hope fade inside Pendraguin’s head, he hear the the voice, the voice of his creator, Melvin.
‘Never give up. Never lose hope. ’
Pendraguin is reminded that courage will help him rise to the challenge, as always, Pendraguin will find a way.
His major weakness is his reach – with the height of a small child he would never be able to use his natural assets to attack. His tail is already caught by the old lady so the second weapon in his arsenal is his bright orange beak, hooked with saw teeth – truly a deadly combination. It can be said that one should never touch Pendraguin’s beak causally.
Of course, Pendraguin is a gentlemen’s gentlemen, he would never attack someone of the opposite gender.
He unfortunately comes up with nothing Pendraguin goes back to his hopeless way of thinking. Pendraguin uses the pulling forced that the old lady is exerting on his tail and the unsteady pebbly grounds that the potion shops are situated – he leans forward and takes the fall of fate.
“Merk Merk Merk Merk” ‘I have failed Melvin, farewell cruel world’
There is no choice but to give up so Pendraguin will not give up without a fight.
With his centre of balance taken out. Pendraguin trips on a rock. Really, the Festival organisers should have checked and made sure workplace health and safety was being adhered to. Leaving things the fate of gravity- and a lack of health and safety – and a weird old lady pulling his tail. Pendraguin did the only thing he could do, fall into someone to cushion his fall. Right toward the nether regions of a person, the person who is being evil eyed by James and Maria.
In a flash it happened so fast:
“AAHHHHHHHHHHH” the highest pitched scream could be heard.
This rule should repeated once more: ‘One should never put…’
Bye, bye manly balls.
Meanwhile, a child cries, looking at the remains of Vincent’s legendary floating air holder. It is ripped and shredded – there is no way that all the king’s men and all the king’s horses could put Humpty back together again.
At the sound of Tom’s scream, that cracks the very fabric of the universe, every man in the vicinity is covering their assets. Everyone is staring at Tom lying in the fetal position crying the strangest high pitched voice.
“Ugghhhhhhh, I’ll get you for this! You and your stupid pet!” Groans Tom. Every man hearing the pain in Tom’s voice, uses their second hand to cover their family jewels,
“Merk!” Cried Pendraguin with flippers folded, frowning at Tom. Pendraguin nodded while holding a bloodied rock in his flippers.
The rest of Tom’s party finally recovered from the shock of what had just happened. Staring and James and Maria’s group their all began to release their battle aura.
“Ayer, I unleash thee, go attack!” Cassandra commands the man with the grey coat. The tattoos on his face grow red.
“I won’t let this digression pass. Revenge for our teammate!” An icey blue aura surrounds Cody and his eyebrows become icicles. The air freezes around him making the air from his nostrils become an ice cloud. With each breath of frozen air he spins his index finger making ball shaped ice balls.
“I miss my balls!” cries Tom the floating ice balls remind him of again of his missing atonomy.
“Sorry, ” Cody bows his head towards Tom in an apologetic manner. For five brief seconds he is not concentrating on the magis design. The pattern folds and twirls into a sphere that is then shaped into a spinning spiral. That in itself is a feat that can be performed by only high ranking magis casters. Even without staring at the spell summon the control that cody exerts on his magic is flawless. For those who study magis, this is a truly advanced skill.
Tom waves Cody away and waves a single hand making a throat cutting gesture towards James.
James takes a step back pulling out his two handed sword.
The ayer pulls out a sword from nowhere. Ayers are tricky bastards as they can pull out equipment from nowhere whereas normal people have to deal with placement of weaponry, and carry a limited amount of miscellaneous items.
James eyes Cody, the Ayer and Cassandra warily and he draws out his own blade from his back.
Cody sends out his ice novas at James and he jumps to the side dodge where he can.
When he can no longer doge he uses the the two handed sword to swing at the ice nova.
His precision blade technique allowed him to puncture the ice novas causing a wave of ice clouds back at Cody who sucks ice back into his nostrils. Cody smiles at James, by sucking back the ice none of his magis was consumed. Another set of ice novas float around cody.
Picking one up he claps it in his hands and has he pulls his hands apart an ice halbard appears.
“Magis trick 101, you cannot defeat me.”
“I have a few tricks myself,” said James as he bent down to pick up Pendraguin by the scruff of the neck. The old granny had wrapped both her arms around Pendraguin’s tail she dangles on for dear life and no amount of shaking from James or Pendraguin can shake her lose. He switches from a two handed approach to a one handed approach. using Pendraguin as the meat shield.
The Ayer swings the sword and the potions in maria’s hands are broken and they leak.
An indirect aftershock is released from the attack. It shakes the bottles sand they start to lose their shape and form. Maria runs behind James.
The shop keepers scream in anguish at their broken stock and Maria stares dreamily at them all. When potion bottle loose their shape and form it means the magical seal on them has loosened.
James utilises the layout of the shops and moves backwards to the potion shop counter. Blocking another set of attacks he knocks the shade cloth covering the stand. It leans sideways causing the products on the side of the supports to spill all over the floor.
Maria’s eyes flash greedily, as she ducks behind James using his body as shield as she gathers the free ingredients on the floor.
Behind her James struggles against Cody and they are going amano amano with their weapons.
Ignoring the fight between Cody and the Ayer she takes a ball of liquid she draws it to her lips and sighs.
“Oh so good!” Taking another slurp.
Ting! Ting! Tang Tong! The noise of blades.
“I love potion shops,” Maria picked up any deformed floating liquid bags. Once the form holding magic is gone the potions cannot be kept. Maria thought it was a waste and continued drinking random potions.
“Maria! I could use some help here!” James uses a pinpoint strike on a nova ice ball causing it to swirl in an icy mist around him. The sword wobbles to and fro from the force of the attack.
“Feel the hearth burn in the heart,” Maria slurps on the potion mumbling some words to a chant. She is not even looking at the sweat pouring down from James’s face. She took another long slurp from from pink potion “And other random words.” And continues making complicated hand gestures. “Jeez I am helping sheesh.”
Cody leans forward swinging his poleaxe in spirals trying to seal James moves by deflecting the blade to the side. Jame’s blade is pushed aside and Cody shoots an ice nova directly at James’s face. James reacts by holding Pendraguin up as a body shield.
“MERK!” Pendraguin takes the full brunt of the freezing ice cold air. Pendraguin’s belly is now a frost shield, a crystal aqua icecube. Pendraguin wiggles his arms, then tries to shake off the old lady by swinging the tail to the front. Cody realised, just in time and redirects his aim, narrowly avoiding her. The ice nova impacts a tent and shredded its thick canvas walls with spears of ice.
There is a team effort here in the works. Maria is at the rear drinking potions, James is attacking to defend in the middle, Pendraguin is at the front as shield and the old lady, on the forefront hanging on the Pendraguin’s tail; every now and then shouting “Hondsome!”.
The Ayer and Cody switch alternatively trading blows. James is unable to attack as he is using his attacks to defend. If one of those ice nova or the poleaxe lands on him his ancient leather armour would not be able to take any force at all.
James steadily walks backwards pulling in closely to the collapsed stalls. Maria taking all the potions and this has not gone unseen by the shopkeepers.
“Pay for the goods!” They jeer from the sidelines.
“No good cheap skates!”
“They would be wasted otherwise.” Snaps Maria, she hordes more potions to her chest.
The crowd of potion workers stretch out their hands reaching for the coin purse on James side. James now has to protect his wallet and prevent attacks. Some of the shopkeeper have the nerve putting out an upturned hand expecting a coin to be tossed to them.
James internally pulls at his hair, “Gaahhh No! No! Not the wallet!”
James is horrified at the sight of all the hands asking for money. Maria spends much of his coins much to his annoyance. He must do everything he can to save and protect his wallet from Maria’s spending habits.
Cody creates another poleaxe from a ice nova. The ice staff pushes through and James moves using the hand outstretched hands of the shop keepers as shields. He is protecting his wallet as well as his body – two birds with one stone.
The red face tattooed Ayer swings his blade, James uses the motion as an excuse to knock the greedy shop keeper’s hands away while meeting the attack head on to defend.
The shopkeepers put their hands out for money
“No,” he slams the hilt of the sword upwards to knock a handback.
“Coins,” bringing the sword down he knocks another hand using the downward movement.
“For,” James cartwheels over a fallen tent, kicking another hand out of the way, he barely manages to stand straight.
“You!” James knocks one more hand out the way saving the shopkeeping from a direct hit from an ice nova from Cody. However this time it the skims over the hairs on his arm. They turn to ice and disintegrate under the sun.
“Hey, I can’t just keep counter-attacking to defend. The sword will break.”
Maria continued to drink potions and mumbles words.
James continues with his pinpoint accuracy to directly block each blow. He can not afford to be hit as his leather armour is paper thin. This is because the backing of his leather armour has been sold off by his clan to pay for debts.
Cody and ayer stop blow from hitting granny cos they don’t hit girls.
The behind him Cassandra chanting her magis spells. James just caught a glimpse of the symbols forming around Cassandra.
Pendraguin’s eyes go wide at the upcoming magis attack and instinctively raises his tail.
The old lady takes the hit squarely on her backside.
Grandma Nancy released Pendraguin’s tail.
Her body falls to the ground as if she has died.
Cody being the closest to the old lady, taps her on her shoulder. Then her hands twitch and the whole town freezes with a black light for a millisecond. Cassandra had awoken the ire of the sleeping dragon lady.
“Raowww! Who dares attacks hondsome?!!”
James rolled his eyes, have we not been attacked by them for the past several minutes, he thought to himself.
The old lady twisted around searching for the magis signature. Grandma Nancy stared at Cassandra.
“All who hurts hondsome will suffer!”