Episode 14: The Phoebe

The first thing Peg did when he and the boys got to their room was jump onto the soft bed. He buried his face into the fluffy pillow and allowed its coolness to soothe his forehead. For some reason, the three of them walked to The Wheel of Cheese Inn two villages away from Wilshire Village, causing them to over exert themselves. With the tracking spell broken, Fox thought it was alright to take their time getting there. Peg didn’t want to take his time, but he was outvoted. Being heavier than his traveling buddies, the journey took a harder toll on him. He wanted nothing more than to sleep the rest of the day.

Peg flipped onto his back and let out a sigh of relief and stared at the ceiling. It looked similar to The Yard’s ceiling. His heart skipped a beat when he remembered it no longer existed. He wanted to cry, but he convinced himself to wait until Fox and Creston were asleep to do so. He knew they were penitent about it, so he didn’t want to guilt them any further. 

That club meant the world to him and now it was gone. The Skeleton King had taken it from him. If Peg wasn’t invested in his defeat before, he sure as hell was now.

“Really? Only two beds?” Creston moaned. “We specifically asked for three.”

Fox placed his rucksack on the bed closest to the door and wiped the sweat from his brow. “I know, but they didn’t have any rooms with three beds available. You’re just going to have to deal with the fact that you might have to share a bed with one of us.”

Creston rolled his eyes and said, “I guess.”

Peg wasted no time in declaring he had no intentions of sharing his bed.

“I guess you and I are bedmates again,” Fox said.

Creston attempted to feign disappointment, but he wasn’t fooling anyone. His expression was as fake as his objection to the idea. “I don’t know how I’ll manage.”

Peg snorted at this. “Oh, I’m sure you’ll find a way. You’re very resourceful when you want to be.” He gave Creston a wink, succeeding in flustering him.

It was all fun and games until all three of their stomachs growled in unison. They all acknowledged the fact that they neglected to eat amidst all the day’s excitement. This had to be remedied at once.

“What’s even around here to eat?” Peg asked. “Anything vegetarian?”

Creston sneered at the question. “I knew there was something wrong with you. Meat is the best.”

Peg shook his head. “Meat is murder.”

“Fuck yeah it is. Delicious, delicious murder.” Creston licked his lips at the thought of a big and juicy turkey leg. “I’m in the mood for a big ol’ hunk of meat.”

Fox coughed. “I have a name.”

Creston’s face reddened as he sputtered to counter the comment. “Just go find us some food already!” He reached into his pocket and revealed a green pouch that jingled with the sound of coins within. “Go! Go!”

He couldn’t push Fox out of the room fast enough. Once this was accomplished, he slammed the door and leaned on it to prevent re-entry. He quickly realized his mistake when his eyes met Peg’s. Shit, now I’m alone with this guy. There’s no way this isn’t going to be awkward. He sat down on the free bed with his back to Peg, hoping to shut down any chance of conversation, but this was in vain.

“So, since it’s probably going to be a while before Foxy returns with sustenance, how about we get to know each other?”

Creston groaned as he turned his gaze to the floor. “Could we not?”

Peg sat up and faced Creston’s back. “Nope. You burned my club down. You owe me a conversation.” He let the silence linger, growing fat with the guilt he wanted to avoid mere minutes ago. “I mean, I could ask for financial satisfaction, but I’m willing to settle for satisfying my curiosity.”

This caused Creston to finally look back at Peg. “Curiosity about what?”

Glad that the bait was successful in hooking his prey, Peg launched his first question. “Why did you leave Fox seven years ago?” He could see Creston was caught off guard as his eye contact was suddenly hard to maintain. It was clear he hadn’t expected to be asked that so soon. “I mean, for someone who claims to care a great deal for him, you left without a word and didn’t write to him once.”

Creston didn’t want to answer that question when Fox asked it, he definitely didn’t want to answer it now to a stranger. “I did it to keep him safe.”

“From what?”

More silence. They let it grow thick with speculation and distrust before Creston seized the opportunity to satisfy his curiosity.

“Let me ask you then, what’s your relationship to Fox? Are you guys an item, or were you an item?”

Peg smirked. “Technically, that’s two questions, maybe three.” He watched as Creston’s expression turned sour. “Turnabout is fair play, Crustie. If you want to be evasive, that’s fine, but two can play that game. You can’t get something for nothing.”

Knowing that he was going to have to play fair if he wanted answers, Creston took a deep breath while he compiled an answer. “I felt the need to look into something we might have overlooked in the final battle with the Skeleton King. I was caught somewhere I wasn’t supposed to be and was arrested.”

Intrigued, Peg leaned in closer. “Ooh, you were being a naughty boy! Speak more words to my face right now.”

“There isn’t much to tell. I was arrested and thrown into a Galvadian prison.”

Peg quickly glanced at Creston’s right wrist before returning his gaze to his eyes. “Bullshit.”

Creston, caught off guard once again, blinked in confusion. “What do you mean?”

At that moment, they heard screams and panicked shouting outside of their window. Creston stood up to investigate, but didn’t even make it to the door before it flew open. Fox rushed inside and shut it behind him, bracing it closed.

“Rotters!” he shouted. “They just came out of nowhere! They’re trying to eat the villagers.”

Creston, thankful for the interruption, jumped to his feet and searched for his sword. “Let’s cut them up!” He found the sword by the foot of the bed. He must have just thrown it there when he got in. He picked it up and brandished it heroically, not daring to ignite the blade inside. He and Fox were about to leave the room when they noticed that Peg wasn’t following them. “Aren’t you coming?”

Peg snorted as he rose from the bed. “To do what? Without my ingredients, I can’t do anything.” He crossed his arms and pouted. “Foxy’s got magic powers and you’ve got a big, burning pointy thing that makes it clear you’re obviously compensating for something. I’ve got nothing without my potions.”

“Oh, that’s not true. I’m sure you could find some rocks to throw. You could be really resourceful when you want to.” Creston’s smug expression could not be understated. He was quite proud of himself for throwing that phrase back at Peg.

“Creston, come on!” 

Peg watched them leave the room to rush into battle. He made his way to the window and watched the two of them battle the corpses. He marveled at how well they worked together. They fought with their backs together, rotating in a circle, killing the rotties that dared to come for them. It was like a dance they’d danced a thousand times. He wanted to dance like that. 

As annoying as Creston was, at least he was useful. His fighting skills were impressive. Like, really impressive. Where did he learn to fight like a demon possessed? Peg wondered if he asked nicely, maybe Creston would be willing to teach him. Hopefully, he wouldn’t charge.

Fox threw lightning bolts at the approaching corpses and watched their rotting flesh sizzle and spark before it slid off their bones. Before he could enjoy his work, another group ambled toward him. He made quick work of them as well, this time with fire.

Creston spun through his enemies with his fiery blade slicing and incinerating them with the grace of a master in dance and fighting. He was clearly showing off, but damn if he didn’t look good doing it. 

As suddenly as it started, the fight was over. Piles of undead laid smoldering at the Fighters’ feet. The two of them panted as they admired their work. When it looked like the coast was clear, they re-entered the room.

Peg stared at them with stars in his eyes, dripping with admiration and envy. “I want to learn how to be badasses like you guys! I want to shoot lightning and cut through bitches like a hot knife through butter!” He got on his knees in supplication before them and bowed his head. “Please. I want to learn. I need to learn.”

Creston and Fox stared at him and immediately felt awkward. Were they responsible for making Peg feel this way? Without access to his potions and ingredients, had they stripped the poor man of his identity and purpose? They each silently agreed they had to do something to help him.

Creston was the first one to offer aid. “Look, what we know can’t really be taught fast enough for you to be proficient enough to help us fight the Skeleton King.” He knelt down next to Peg and lifted his head to look into his eyes. “Fox has magic. I have a magic sword that totally isn’t compensating for anything. You do potions; that’s your thing. We’ll help you get your groove back. I swear it.”

Peg’s eyes began to tear up as he saw the sincerity in Creston’s eyes. “You mean it? You’d really help me?”

“It’s the very least we can do since we burned your inventory to Hell,” Creston replied. 

“We’ll get it sorted in the morning,” Fox added. “Right now, let’s get some rest before another attack happens.”

Everyone was in agreement. They stripped down to their underwear, except Peg who didn’t wear any, and got into their respective beds. They were almost asleep when Peg sat up and asked, “Do you think those zombies were after you?”

“What?” Fox asked, hiding his irritation of being yanked away from the precipice  of unconsciousness.

“That attack, do you think it was targeted at you like the others?”

Creston sighed and replied, “No. They seemed to be mindless, without a purpose. I don’t think they were looking for us. I think they just happened to be in the area, still affected by the Skeleton King’s initial awakening. Can we stop talking now?”

“I guess.”

“And we’ll discuss your making up words that make no sense.” Creston turned over to face Fox.

“What, zombie? I figured it was an accurate word for them. They kind of just zomble about like a confused toddler. So, zombies, right? Yeah.”

Neither Creston nor Fox had heard of the words ‘zomble’ or ‘zombie’, but they weren’t interested in discussing how stupid it sounded. They closed their eyes and drifted off to sleep, leaving Peg to silently wonder what was next for him.

Author: Cameron D. Blackwell

Writer Ordinare!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create your website with WordPress.com
Get started
%d bloggers like this: