Episode 10: This Shit Is Fire!

Creston and Fox returned to The Yard hoping against hope that Peg was there. Unfortunately, he wasn’t. The club dancers were still in the process of repairing the damage done by the sorcerer. The man Peg left in charge, Ceth, was delegating tasks to the dancers, who complained about how manual labor was not in their job description.

“So, what’s the plan?” Creston asked. “The whole point of coming here was to get Peg to make the potion for us, but he’s gone.”

Fox had been thinking about it on the way back from the store. His first instinct was to launch a rescue attempt first, but then Rib would know they were coming because of the blasted tracking spell. They needed Peg to quell the spell, but if they had him, they wouldn’t need to rescue him. There was no way he and Creston could make the potion themselves – or could they? 

“We’ll do it,” Fox said, responding to his internal monologue.

“Excuse me?” Creston was watching the nude dancers clean up and wasn’t paying attention.

Fox, assuming Creston had asked with incredulity repeated himself with more confidence. “We’re going to make the potion, break the spell, and then save Peg!”

Now Creston was incredulous. “We’re making it? How the fuck do you suppose we do that?”

Fox made his way to the bar, avoiding the cleaning dancers, and ducked behind the counter to look at the myriad of bottles below. He was sure Peg kept a book of recipes somewhere. Sure, Peg probably knew all the potions by heart, but he must have kept a book to refer to once in a while.

His hunch paid off. Behind a bottle of frogs’ tears and essence of vapor, (whatever that was), was an old book with a tattered brown leather cover nestled in the back corner. He grabbed and wiped the thick layer of dust off it, coating his hand. “Gross.” He quickly grabbed Creston’s shirt and wiped it off on him.

“Hey!” Creston protested.

The materials Peg used to make the potions that helped vanquish the ghosts were still out, so Fox started to gather them in preparation.

He tossed Creston the book and said, “Start looking for the Dispel potion and I’ll grab the ingredients.”

With his thumbs and forefingers, Creston carefully opened the book as if he expected it to crumble in his hands. The pages were golden brown, creased and crumpled from years, decades of use. He wondered if the book had been passed down from person to person over centuries. If so, it was time to put it to rest and make a new one. 

With tender care, Creston flipped through the pages until he found the potion they needed. As he listed the ingredients, Fox dove beneath the counter to retrieve them. The words on the page were hard to read. Much of the ink had faded or was hidden within the creases. Creston did his best to decipher the handwriting, hoping he had gotten them right.

When the list was done, Fox stood patiently for the instructions, but none came. He stared at Creston expectantly who only blinked in response.

“What?”

“Now read me the directions,” Fox replied with a hint of irritation.

Creston turned the page and frowned. “There aren’t any.”

“That’s impossible.” Fox snatched the book and saw for himself. The ingredients for the potion took the entire page. On the next one was a different recipe for something completely different. “How does this not have directions?”

Creston had the same thought and came up with the answer: “He wouldn’t be a potion master if he needed them, would he?”

Fox gave his friend an approving grin. “Look at you making sense.” He gazed quizzically at the bottles and sighed. “Maybe we’re making too big a deal of this. Maybe there’s no need for directions. I mean, if you need directions to pour liquids into a bowl, you shouldn’t be making shit. Am I right?” 

“You’re totally right! Let’s do this!”

The two of them wasted no time in gleefully pouring the ingredients into the pot. The mixture turned a dark brown and had an unpleasant odor of sweat and fetid water. Fox thought it could use a little sugar to sweeten it, so he poured three cups of sugar, which dampened the smell, but caused black smoke to rise. The dancers watched with concern.

“It’s missing something,” Fox said, staring at the brew in bewilderment.

Creston held up the fistful of Elk Hoof Root. “These!” He gleefully tossed the stalks in with reckless abandon.

Fox gave the brew a thorough stir and was unsettled by the increase in smoke. He sensed the dancers’ anxiety and watched them quickly exit the club.

Creston also started to back away. “I don’t think that’s supposed to happen.”

Fox shrugged. “We’re not potion masters. Maybe it is.”

It wasn’t. 

Without warning, a large plume of black smoke erupted from the cauldron and exploded into a giant ball of flame, setting the ceiling on fire. The flames spread across the entire ceiling like spilled water before raining down upon the tables, stage, and chairs below.

The boys could only watch in horror as The Yard was consumed as the fire hungrily ate away at everything. They bottled up what potion wasn’t burned away and made their escape.

They joined the dancers outside and watched the building collapse into a pile of charred cinders. When the fires died down a bit, Creston was the first one to speak.

“Looks like you boys are in need of work. Wanna join up with the Gravy?” The naked men glared at him before walking away, muttering curses under their breath. Creston looked at Fox and shrugged. “It was worth a shot.” This was met with an eye roll. 

With The Yard gone, they raised the bottle of Dispel potion and examined the now translucent green liquid. Despite it’s questionable and explosive creation, it looked pretty good. They couldn’t help but feel proud of their work.

“Should we give it a shot?” Fox asked.

“Bottoms up!” Creston said cheerfully.

“You’d like that, wouldn’t you?”

Creston’s cheeks reddened as his embarrassment betrayed his cool demeanor. “Gimme that!” He took two swigs and gave a surprised groan of approval as it tasted like cherry syrup. It was tempting to drink the rest, but he knew he needed to share. He passed the bottle to Fox and licked his lips. “It’s really good!”

Fox finished the bottle and agreed that it wasn’t horrible. “We did good! Maybe we should start making our own potions.”

A wood beam popped and cracked as it burned to the ground, voicing it’s vehement disagreement with the statement.

“Maybe not,” Creston added. “So, is the spell broken?”

“There’s one way to find out. Let’s find Peg and see if we get attacked on the way.” 

“And how are we supposed to do that? You can’t teleport.” Creston paused for a second before he asked, “Can you teleport?”

Fox shook his head. “I can do a location spell to find him. I just need something of his.”

The two of them braved the detritus of the building formerly known as The Yard to find something belonging to Peg. With the fire burned out only smoldering ashes and smoke remained. The boys did their best to see through the thick smoke. It was difficult as it stung their eyes, but it was not impossible.

Through it all, Creston stumbled upon something bright pink amongst the debris. As he got closer to investigate, he saw it was some kind of fabric. He reached down and pulled it up with his index finger and thumb. To his surprise, it was a bright pink thong that didn’t have a speck of dirt on it.

“I know I shouldn’t be surprised, but I’m surprised and disgusted,” Creston said, dropping the thong.

Fox quickly rushed to pick it up. He examined it closely before saying, “This is Peg’s! Great job, Cressie!”

Creston took a moment to appreciate the compliment, but then snapped out of it. “Wait! How do you know that’s his?”

Fox didn’t answer. He conveniently started using the thong to cast the location spell. He focused his thoughts and energy on homing in on Peg’s aura. He closed his eyes and drowned out all sound, which was just Creston demanding an answer. His eyes snapped open when Peg’s aura was found.

“I know where he is,” Fox said excitedly. “He’s not real close, but close enough to get there before nightfall.”

Creston pouted as he mumbled, “Bet you know his ring size, too.”

Fox started to head toward the village entrance. “I do.”

Creston smirked as he followed behind. “I wasn’t referring to his fingers.”

Fox looked back and said, “I know.” The flustered look on Creston’s face was worth it. He made a point to lock that in his memory banks forever.

The two left Wilshire Village a little worse off than when they arrived. The villagers were glad to be rid of them.

Author: Cameron D. Blackwell

Writer Ordinare!

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