The Carrot and the Stick Part 27 Wolf, Wizard, Fire, Golem releases in 2 days

Chapter 26: Strained Faces around the Cannon Ascent

It seemed less like a cannon and more like a tower. A spiralling tower who’s outside was ringed with stairs. The whole thing didn’t quite clear the canopy but it came close. A earth-red stairway to the stars. Where had such a thing come from?

Elcon, as one of the four lands directly connected to the wasteland, and the tunnels between worlds, usually ends up with a lot of random things from random places. Of course for a time these things might hold some of the rules of the dimension they came from, but in time, they become part of Elcon.

Naturally Eadam would not be thinking about this. He wasn’t thinking about where the cannon was from. He just had one thought.

-WHY ME!?-

He desperately looked for his companions, surely they wouldn’t leave him to his projectile fate? As he scanned the lively feast, he also felt quite upset looking at all the delicious food that he had helped prepare.

Was he going to get a taste of any of it? No.

He was going to be shot out of a cannon.

There would be explosions.

Eadam had bad memories of explosions.

Amid the revelry, he managed to spot one of his boon companions.

It was Gheel.

He had a strained expression on his face. Atop his head, covering his sling-cap, was a shiny tophat. Surrounding him were rings of fire being maintained by some of the goadskull cook-shamans. Jumping through these rings was a multicoloured conga-line of chompers. The toothy critters did not look happy about having to hop through rings of fire. Eadam tried to get Gheel’s attention, waving frantically and hollering.

Sadly, this just made all the goadskulls think he was bravely waving, as a true daredevil would. Cheers arose. Gheel however, spared not one look for Eadam. He had problems enough of his own keeping his precious chompers from turning into side-dishes.

The goadskulls accompanying Eadam happily urged him onwards. Our unfortunate horse looked about for another one of his boon companions, hoping that this time would prove more fruitful. He quickly spotted one of his fellow adventurers.

It was Waufronk.

He had a strained expression on his face. Attached to the tips of his wings were bells, and all around him were balloons of cloth. Attached at the ends of these balloons were deadly looking scimitars! Waufronk was weaving through the air, diving close to the swords, prompting oohs, ahhs and more than a few screams of fright. Waufronk was exceedingly unhappy about having to perform the act. Previously he had calmed down and supposed that he could just do some aerial acrobatics, then the goadskulls had brought out balloons, and scimitars. He was not amused. He was still fairly rusty about flying, and even back in the Great Attic he had been far from the best of fliers. Diving about the deadly blades took his full concentration, and thus, he could not spare a glance for Eadam’s fate.

Hanging his head, Eadam continued to climb the stairs. The goadskulls with him however did not think that Eadam was despairing. No, they just thought he was cool and brooding, as a daredevil was likely to be. Having no desire to be a horse pancake, a daredevil one or not, Eadam once more looked about for his boon companions. He soon saw one of them.

It was Spongy Snaps.

He had a happy expression on his lumpen, misshapen face. He was juggling four fierce beasts, each more dangerous than the last! The first was a red two headed feline which at first looked like it was wearing a black cloak, but it was infact the mane of the caped douglar! One of the more dangerous kinds of doug! The Second was a furry round ball of a creature, possessing a short snout, a big mouth and only a pair of bone wheels for limbs, it was a rollargh! The third was just a particularly large and carnivorous cabbage. The final one was completely hairless, it had blue skin, a triangular torso and bulky limbs that ended in tentacles. It had a lumpy face with a single eye, and in its mouth were purple teeth, two tusks and two fangs. This then was a blogre.

Without a care in the world, Spongy Snaps was tossing the beasts about, slapping them insensate if they got a bit uppity. Eadam did not have the heart to attempt to disturb Spongy Snap’s bliss. He continued his climb to the top of the cannon, but then he paused. There was still one member that he could count on. Wasn’t there?

His bro.

It was Ulex McHeft.

He had a strained smile on his face. He was dressed in colourful rags. On his face a red nose had been tied and a chalky paste applied. Upon his head was something only worn by wizards and fools. It was a round pointy hat with no brim. Ulex was currently a clown. He didn’t quite understand how that had happened. He had just wanted to do some feats of strength, or show off his buffing skills.

Still, Ulex noticed Eadam waving from the cannon, and so clenched his muscles, sending power Eadam’s way. Eadam’s skin rippled and he felt an itchy crawling sensation under it, immediately after his skin felt tough as metal. Ulex gave Eadam a thumbs up. Tears ran down Eadam’s now even longer face.

Sure, it was nice that his body was tougher now, but didn’t that mean he was still going to be fired from a cannon? Lots of other denizens are quite comfortable with that sort of thing, but Eadam didn’t have that kind of hobby or lifestyle. It wasn’t like he was something that could just grow a new head if his current one blew up.

Sadly for Eadam, the goadskulls with him just thought he was crying for joy at the thought of being shot from a cannon. They quietly thought that there was really something weird about the heads of daredevils.

It was the top of the cannon.

He had a really strained face. Eadam did not want to be a cannonball. He looked into the murky darkness of the inside of the cannon. A roiling abyss, like the throat of some mighty wurm. Eadam gulped. It seemed that sliding down into the cannon would be dangerous enough, nevermind being fired from it. Eadam closed his eyes and summoned up what poor tattered remnants of courage he still possessed.

Just as he was about to slip down, a voice called out.

Oh my, I was just taking a walk and what do I see, but a nice fe… IS THAT A CANNON?!”

The revelry began to freeze at the sound of this voice which one too many of the forest dwellers were familiar with.

A blur leapt from the trees and brushed right past Eadam, diving into the cannon. Eadam span around and around, almost losing his balance and falling in. Standing on one hoof, he managed to regain his balance. The issue was when he put his other hoof down. He put it right on top of a mysterious fruit that had not been there before, clearly left behind by the intruder to the feast.

Eadam slipped and fell into the cannon, wailing loudly at the injustice of life in general.

Moments later the cannon fired, but what came out was a blur of leaves that zoomed about in the air, zigzagging before the shocked feasters. The torrent of leaves covered over a particularly wobbly and tasty looking dark translucent pudding. There was gulping and smacking sounds and soon the pudding was devoured from the inside out!

There, in its place, was a figure wearing a hooded cloak of leaves and many different flowers. Poking out from the sides of the hood were two branches with leaves still on them. Each branch had fruit on them that slowly cycled through a variety of different colours. It wore a mask that was vaguely loaf like. The face of the mask was chewing with no small amount of pleasure. Held in earth caked claws, one under the crook of the legs and the other the armpit, as one might a bride, princess or beloved invalid, was Eadam. He was completely scared out of his wits of course.

The figure spoke.

Surely you’d leave a place for ol’ Bread here!” it cried.

Silence reigned, and then was broken by a child crying, not in terror, nor in anguish.

It was the crying of frustration one might create after being tormented by countless pranks.

Author: SnowyMystic