Andril’s hand continued to wave in a circle around him while the enemy smashed their fists against his magically protective dome. He stood over Haryk and Genoran, both of whom had taken serious injury and were bleeding profusely. Blood ran along the prince’s arms and legs leaving prints on the stones where he had staggered. The translucent dome above was invisible, but it kept all of the monks at bay as if it were solid stone. That is, all of the monks save one– the leader who was inside of it with them as well. Still, cracks were starting to appear. And the monks, although Andril could not hear the enemy’s shouts to each other through the dome, seemed to be on to it now. They were striking the areas that seemed weakest, sending longer cracks outwards from the weak spots. Their leader separated and wholly unable to help them, or himself at the present moment.
And he was still dancing a two step jig.
But the joke would be on them soon. Andril figured they had less than a minute.
“Why can’t we just have a normal fight around here?” yelled Haryk, and he shot out at a monk forgetting the shield was there. His bullet ricocheted off the dome, and zinged around them back and forth several times. It just missed the mage’s left ear before it struck the stones in front of his feet sending little shards of rock up at them all.
“Confound it Haryk! We can’t have a normal fight because of your blasted stupidity!”
Genoran raised his sword. “Quiet fools. Concentrate. If we can hold them off for a few minutes, we’ll be reinforced from the docks below!”
Andril scoffed. “Genoran, you are a real fucking optimist you know that?”
Haryk pulled his weapon back with a sharp click. He then pointed it at the dancing villain. About to pull the mechanism’s trigger he instead waited. Something was moving around in the gangly monk’s robes. Something that looked a lot like a small animal on the loose. “Stupidity huh Bookworm? How’s that for stupidity?”
On cue, a small rodent, maybe a squirrel Andril thought, popped it’s head out of the front of the monk leader’s robes. The creature looked down at the rodent in horror. The look was too uninhibited for Andril to miss. He knew it because he had seen it many times in the isles. It was a look that said, I have never seen anything like this before!
The squirrel disappeared again into the clothing which prompted the dancing to restart once more. In front of the monk’s robes, a bulge began to move downward into it’s crotch area. The demon gave a shriek and hopped higher, clutching it’s groin.
“The boy’s a genius,” said Andril not meaning to do so.
“The pest control expert can turn into squirrels now?” Haryk asked. Something in his voice had changed though. Andril looked at the old fighter’s face and recognized another look–resolution.
The dome’s magical energy waned above them. Andril sighed. “Well, squirrels like nuts, so you’re safe, Lord Haryk. But this fellow isn’t going to be making evil little fish orcs any time soon thanks to your hired hand.” Andril smiled. Resolution, he knew, was spread across his face as well. He wasn’t happy about it, but facts were facts.
“Well it’s nice to know I’m going to take a few of these ugly ass monks, and their leader’s nuts with me,” said Haryk. He pointed his gun at the leader. “Going to take the rest of this asshole too. Just as soon as that little fucker moves to his backside.”
“Haryk, just a final thought here before we die, because when this shield comes down, it’s the last of the magical energy I can call forth until rest. That means baring a miracle…”
“I figured,” said Haryk staring down the barrel at the bastard he looked like he intended to shoot first. “Death by monk, eh?”
“Yeah, well, it’s been a real treat fighting alongside you all these years,” said the mage unceremoniously.
“Hey Bookworm, you too.”
“But man are your battle jokes shitty.” Andril paused and stared as a long thick crack snaked it’s way above them. Monks stood around the dome in stances. Their fists clenched tight. “And you didn’t save me that time on First Isle. I…”
Haryk turned towards the mage who was now bleeding from his nose and ears. The mage’s arms were still held aloft but they were drooping like a wilted plant. Haryk spread a magnificent grin outwards across his grimy face. “You’re welcome, Andril.”
“Wait!” Cried Genoran. “There!”
“Where?” said both Andril and Haryk simultaneously.
But they knew where, because every single one of the demon monks surrounding them were looking there too. Even the leader was doing so– he had gained his composure finally and now stood still facing the same direction as his comrades. In front of them, over the bay, there was a large cloudbank rolling in towards the shore, and in front of the clouds, like tiny specks, Andril saw what he thought was two birds.
“Great, we’re saved by birds,” laughed Andril. “That ought to buy us two seconds, just long enough for me to kiss my ass goodbye. Prince, listen, I might die by getting kicked in the face, but you deserve a good punch in the nuts for this optimistic bullshit you keep…”
“Those aren’t birds mage,” said Haryk. “You of all people should recognize their flight.”
“Did someone say nuts?” laughed Tahg’s voice behind them.
Andril glanced behind him to see the Pest Control Expert growing magically back into his human form. He was way too happy and his mirth was seriously about to ruin Andril’s death. “Nice trick with the shape changing,”
“Thanks,” replied the boy. Everything about his person was back to normal save for a whisker still protruding from his human face on the right side.
“Eh, you missed a spot,” said Andril.
“Good news, bad news,” said Haryk.
“Always take bad news first,” said Andril.
“Well, bad news is we are going to die by dragon now looks like.”
“Good news is we won’t die by getting kicked in the face?” Asked Tahg.
“Nope. The good news young squire,” laughed Haryk, “is it’s not my breath that smells like sweaty demon monk balls.”
Andril watched the incoming dragons open their jaws just as his magical protections failed. He erupted in laughter.
“Now that Haryk, is your best battle joke yet!”