A Lighter Tale Part Thirteen

Chapter 12: How to wrangle the Basteling, Forging with no hands and the Art of Gnarg Command.

Gert and Huck stared at the Basteling. He had not yet noticed the goons, focused as he was on trying to start a fire, he was having a bit of difficulty as if his own drool didn’t put the fire out, the various fluids from the hydra’s insides did.

“This guy wasn’t here when we came this way before” Huck whispered.

“Is… is he trying to set a fire while inside a hydra” Gert gasped.

Gert exchanged a look with Huck.

“I don’t think we can deal with this kind of character” Huck complained.

“I guess we have to hassle him, get roughed up and play dead” Gert said resolutely.

“If in doubt, plan #2!”

Lofan was somehow not surprised, though he was surprised that the flunkies had enough self-awareness to know they didn’t have a hope of beating the denizen before them.

Huck gulped and summoned all his courage.

“Hey, you there!”

Sir Nitup turned his salivating head to the two minions.

Gert and Huck both took a step back.

The Basteling got up and strode over to Huck, he began looking over the unfortunate goon, occasionally pinching him. Huck froze in terror.

“Those dumpy rubbery boddies, that strange horned face”

The Basteling took a moment to try and control its drooling.

“Yess, I’ve not eaten something like this before”

Lofan felt very sorry for the flunkies. Not sorry enough to help them though.

Huck screamed shrilly as the Basteling tackled him, ripping and tearing. Gert to her credit did not run away but vainly attempted to pull the Basteling off Huck. The Basteling simply slammed a arm back into her, bouncing her off of the hydra’s organ walls.

The Basteling stopped, Huck limp in its claws.

“Ah.” It said. “I’ve eaten this thing before, I’ve had a jooblem before.” He dropped Huck’s limp body.

These minions of the firelord were indeed jooblems. A purple feathered denizen with a pear shaped body and two fingered four thumbed hands, their feet also being hands. They possess three green eyes and a short creamy beak. All jooblems also have a single big feather that sprouts from their head.

Jooblems are not renowned for any particular behaviours other than being very proud of their head feathers.

Sir Nitup held Huck’s golden head feather in his hand, he had inadvertently pulled it out in the struggle. He thought about it for a moment, before wedging it into the side of his pothelm. He went back to his failed attempt at making a fire, as if nothing had happened.

Lofan was foiled slightly he could no longer follow the flunkies back to the barmy mage. He did however have one other bit of information and now he wanted to find the firelord minions base, he was suspecting that Dookie and Hammer must have somehow been captured. After all he had not seen them inside the hydra’s stomach.

“hey sir nitup” Lofan said.

The Basteling looked up from his fruitless labours, then looked around.

“down here, it is me, lofan” Lofan explained.

“Ah the coneman” Sir Nitup remembered, looking down. “I see you have ended up inside this delectable beast too”

Lofan coughed. He inwardly thanked the poor coneperson who had been eaten by the Basteling in the past.

“yes, quite, well, i was just wondering, do you know what a hydracore is?”

“It does sound familiar, something to do with the hydra I imagine. Hmmm”

Sir Nitup thought about it for few moments.

“Ah, of course, I’ve read about that before in a bestiary, the hydra core is what connects and lets the hydra heads work together, I’ve heard though that if you remove the hydracore the heads actually die”

“good do you know where it is?”

“I think I could find it, but why do you ask?”

“I’ve heard that the meat near the hydracore is particularly tasty”

Lofan had to swiftly grab on as Sir Nitup rushed off with not a by your leave or thank you.

Huck and Gert slowly got up, their plan of playing dead had worked in the end.

“let’s desert, we should get away with it if that thing attacks the rest” Gert decided.

“My headfeather” Huck blubbered, but he followed Gert, as they limped off.

“ow” lofan said as he bapped off of Sir Nitup’s armour as the Basteling himself sped through the hydra’s innards. At his monstrous pace a few ows later and they arrived at the Hydracore chamber.

A brown rabbit in a tophat and a ridiculous white and red polkadot robe and several gnargs looked up in shock at the intruders.

Gnargs are blue crabbish like denizens, with four arms, two with pincers, the others with four claws in a cross. They have no feet, instead their legs end in a point. Oddly they possess a tail with a stinger. They are roughly three times the size of a coneperson. Lofan was not amazed to see them as minions of the firelord.

In a way gnargs are the perfect minions, as long as you show yourself to be loud, powerful and dramatic, they’ll follow you loyally, until someone louder, more power and more dramatic turns up. The gnargs view this as only natural. They follow the ‘baddest guy’. Understandably many denizens in elcon have no love for gnargs.

Theses servants of the Firelord were not the only ones present. Hammer, Madog and Dookie were inside a bubble, but there was red and white polkadot chains connecting the bubble to the hydracore.

The hydracore itself was a gently spinning stony grey orb, with what seemed like a maze all over its surface. It hovered below what looked like a pillar of bone that had grown out from the fleshy ceiling of the chamber within the Hydra.

Dookie was staring intensely at the hydracore. Hammer was lying prone at the bottom of the bubble Madog was also strewn across him.

“The meat here does not look particularly tasty” Sir Nitup commented.

“Minions! Attack the intruder you fools!” The rabbit-mage ordered.

The gnargs half-heartedly rushed the Basteling, they weren’t terribly impressed with the rabbit-mage. Sir Nitup pulled out his spatula and began flipping some gnargs.

“I’ve eaten all of these things before too” he moaned.

Lofan decided to take a gamble.

“…but that is a magic rabbit, you haven’t eaten one of those have you?” he suggested slyly, and then hopped off of Sir Nitup.

“Oh, no I haven’t” The Basteling mused, unaware that it was Lofan who spoke.

The rabbit mage wailed and fled as the Basteling pursued him. Lofan sincerely hoped that was the last he had seen of the Basteling. He planned to be out of the hydra shortly. Lofan waddled his way over prone groaning gnargs to Dookie and Hammer.

“having a spot of difficulty there my adventurers?” Lofan asked, feeling pleased things had worked out.

Hammer bolted upright at the sound of Lofan’s voice, sending Madog tumbling off, she yapped in displeasure.

“Duuuude, how did you get here? Wait, where have all the bad dudes gone? Whatever you have to get us out dude, I am going crazy from boredom here! You should have just popped the bubble when we were in the stomach Dookie!”

Lofan supposed that Hammer had gone into a semi-comatose state from lack of stimulation.

Dookie stopped looking at the hydracore.

“…and then we would have been dissolved by the stomach acids that would have been just perfect, Hammer wouldn’t it have been fine?” Dookie snapped sarcastically.

She then noticed Lofan.

“Oh, um, Lofan, I know how to err, get out, the hydra core just, ah, needs to be hit on… um that point there, but… ah, we can’t get out. I’m afraid we are… uh stuck”

Lofan saw where Dookie had pointed to on the core. His thoughts went back to the encounter he had in the dreamworld. He didn’t have Defiance, but perhaps he could make his own blade of the mind.

“i think i have an idea” he said.

Lofan began piling up the beaten gnargs beneath the hydracore, he hadn’t expected to be able to drag them, but ever since he had gone into the dreamworld, his telekinesis was more powerful. Lofan climbed up the pile of gnargs and looked up at the hydracore.

He concentrated on his mind’s power, it was how all conepeople move things, but was that all it was. Lofan focused. He began to feel it change. A wave of fear washed over him. What if he was wrong, what if he’d be left crippled, if he was never able to move anything again?

Lofan stopped. He stared at the hydracore. He looked over at Hammer, Madog and Dookie, they were watching him curiously, they had no idea what he was trying to do.

Lofan focused again. The fear grabbed him again as his power began to change. This time he did not stop. It grew painful. The fear was almost overwhelming. Then there was a pop.

“What in the four lands is that?!” Dookie cried.

Floating around Lofan was a shimmering black blade with no hilt, roughly the same size as Lofan himself.

“I don’t know dude, but it looks really sleek. Neat” Hammer said, pleased to finally see interesting things again.

“It is a mind blade” Lofan explained, twirling the blade around. He could fully control it.

Then, the thrust it into the spot on the hydracore Dookie had pointed to.

The hydracore stopped spinning. Then the polka dot chains vanished. Dookie dropped the bubble. Hammer immediately rushed over and began to hug Lofan tightly to his chest.

“ThankyouThankyouThankyouThankyouThankyouThankyou. You have no idea how glad I am to be free”

“you are crushing me, please stop, i have a blade now”

Madog was running in circles around the pair, yapping happily.

“Now we just need to… um, get out of the hydra” Dookie said, trying not to smile widely.

It was at that moment that the hydracore crumbled into dust.

Nothing happened at first. Then the rumbling started and the whole chamber began to shake, the frost hydra was in its death throes.

“we need to get out now! hammer, command those gnargs to get up, we’ll have them push a bubble out!”

“GET UP YOU MISERABLE DUDELINGS!” Hammer screamed at the gnargs exploding his head to finish the point. Madog added her best attempt at fierce yappings to Hammer’s screaming.

The gnargs quickly picked themselves up and stood to attention.

“Barely free and we are already going back in a bubble” Dookie weeped, all the same, she put a Bubble around her, Lofan, Hammer and Madog.

“RIGHT YOU LOWLY DUDES, GET PUSHING THIS BUBBLE OUT OF THIS HYDRA!” Hammer the impromptu drill sergeant ordered.

For being a bubble in the shape of a cube, the gnargs really got it rolling fast, so fast in fact that it got away from them.

Still by that stage they had been rolling it down and out the throat. As they shot out of one of hydra head’s mouths, Lofan saw flapping past in the dimming sky a bunch of bats.

Author: SnowyMystic