Episode 16: Watch Me Whip

Fox opened his eyes as an idea jolted him awake. He had gone to sleep thinking about Peg’s concerns about being useless and couldn’t help but feel the same. It was apparent to everyone that his own powers were not on par with Creston’s or Rib’s. There was no way he would be able to increase his skills in time for the final battle. He would need a miracle. That was where Peg came in.

“Hey, Peg, you awake?” He waited for a response, which was a kick in the foot from Creston and a snort from Peg. Not wanting to be kicked again, he carefully got out of bed and went to Peg’s bedside. He gave the burly man a light shove, gently rousing him awake. 

Peg blinked lazily at Fox with a confused and concerned expression. “Are we under attack?”

Fox shook his head and reassured him they were safe for the moment. “You remember all the ingredients for that power increase potion, right?” When his friend nodded, Fox’s hopes raised slightly. “Good. I was wondering if you’d be willing to make it again, but this time, for me.”

Peg smiled adoringly at Fox and said, “Of course, Foxy! I’d do anything for you.” He took Fox’s right hand into his and stared into his eyes. “You just name it and it’s yours.”

“Thank you. I really appreciate it.”

Peg’s expression shifted to something more serious. “I must warn you, it might be too much for you to handle. It’s quite a kick in the pants.”

“Understood.” Fox didn’t care about kicks or pants. He didn’t plan on using much of the potion, just enough to give him a slight boost. He’d take anything he could get to be useful and efficient.

Peg sat up and motioned to be brought a quill and parchment. When Fox retrieved them, he quickly began jotting down the ingredients. “Now, keep in mind that this potion is going to work differently for you than it will for the sorcerer or the Skeleton King, who have innate magical abilities. You’re a mage who can tap into the magical lines around you. If you’re not careful, you could get more magic than you can handle.” He glanced at Fox to make sure he was listening. “You got it?”

“Understood and duly noted,” Fox replied sincerely.

Creston gave an irritated groan and said, “Hey fuck ducks, keep it down, will ya? I’m sleepin’ over here.”

Peg snickered quietly. “Sorry.”

Creston uttered a disgusted grunt before turning over.

Having finished the list, Peg placed it gingerly in Fox’s hands. “Now go get the stuff before something else happens.”

Fox stood and proceeded to leave the room when he remembered something. “Wait, what about the Elk Hoof Root? You said your village was the only place you could get it.”

Peg cheerfully snorted and said, “Oh, I just said that to get a rise out of Crustie.”

Creston muttered something that sounded a lot like, “Bitch.”

“You can get it anywhere. It’s really common.”

“Basic,” Creston mumbled.

Fox smirked at his weary companion and finally left the room. The crisp early morning air was a sudden slap in the face compared to the stuffy room. While it was refreshing, it stung just a little. If he wasn’t awake before, he was now.

Wide-eyed and alert, he was able to see just how much damage last night’s zombie attack had caused. While the bodies were no longer there, the victims’ blood stained the ground and the surrounding buildings, which were worse for wear. The blood appeared to seep from every crack and hole in the walls. The scene was too grim to see first thing in the morning. It reminded Fox why this potion was so important. 

He walked hastily the rest of the way to the marketplace, being sure to keep his gaze focused on the horizon and not the gruesome details all around him. He tried not to think about how long it must have taken the villagers to clear away the bodies before sunrise. He didn’t want to think about them mourning their loved ones who died needlessly. He attempted not to blame himself for possibly getting those people killed because he and Creston were there. He tried to do all of this, but as tears streamed down his face, he realized how badly he’d failed.

Despite all of the mayhem that transpired last night, the marketplace was still open and ready for customers to peruse the wares that survived the night. People moved slowly along the shaded tables and carts, scrutinizing every potential purchase. As Fox joined them, he thought to himself, This is what I’m fighting to protect. No matter what happens, life must go on. These people know that. I have to remember.

It wasn’t long after Fox began gathering the ingredients that he felt better about life in general. He was in a better position than the villagers simply because he was actively working to change their circumstances. With each item he bagged, the more confident he felt about the mission. Hope blossomed within his heart, which warmed him despite the cold.

With only the Elk Hoof Root to collect, Fox felt more optimistic about his chances of beating the Skeleton King for good. That only lasted a minute before he felt a dark energy. Danger was lurking closeby. He looked around him to see if he could spot the danger before it spotted him, but couldn’t pinpoint anything suspicious. That didn’t make him feel better. His danger senses suddenly spiked so intensely that his skin began to tingle. It’s really close, but where the hell is it?

That question was answered when he felt something sting his right arm, causing him to drop the bag of ingredients he was carrying. He looked down and saw a black cord had tightly wrapped itself around his wrist and forearm. Before he could try to remove it, it was pulled taut, dragging him up and out of the marketplace through several fruit stands. 

Fox fell to the ground face first when the dragging stopped. He coughed as the air left his lungs, sending up dust particles into his eyes, obscuring his view of his assailant. He sighed in relief as the cord loosened its hold and slithered away. The blood flow slowly returned, relieving the tingling sensation that had developed. 

“I must say, you’re much cuter in person,” a woman said. When the dust settled, the woman in black leather was revealed. Her whip finished coiling around her waist while she stared down at Fox. “So, let’s get the formalities out of the way. My name is Killít Goode, one of the Annihilators, assassins for hire, sent here to kill you. You have the privilege of being brutally murdered by one such as myself. I will give you a moment to bask in the glow of my magnificence.”

Fox stood up and returned the smirk. “You have that spiel down pat. You must know a guy in purple because you’re just as long winded.”

Killít chuckled. “We’ve met.” She tossed her hair over her shoulder and posed, hoping to up her majestic stance. “Shall we begin?”

“Let’s do this so we can stop doing this,” Fox replied. 

Killít grabbed her whip and let it crack twice, signaling the start of the battle. She leaped into the air and unleashed the whip toward her prey.

Fox was ready this time. He gathered the magic energy around him and created a sky blue shield around him, deflecting the tip. The sound of thunder shot through the air, unleashing mild shockwaves. The shield quivered like water as Killít continued the attack.

“You can’t hide in there forever,” she said as she returned to the ground. 

Fox wasn’t planning to. He lowered the shield and let loose a wide fiery blast in her direction, which she expertly dodged. He counted on that happening. With a thought, he bent the wave to chase after her. As hard as she fought, Killít could not evade it. She desperately waved her whip back and forth to diminish the impact, but still got hit pretty good.

When the flames died away, Killít brushed some of the ash off her shoulders and sighed. “I can see why he wants you dead so badly.”

“I’ll take that as a compliment.” Fox took this moment while she was standing still to cast a spell that immobilized her. She didn’t seem bothered by it and this worried him. He did cast it at a lower level in an effort to preserve some of his energy. He could use this time to escape.

Fox gave another glance at his opponent before he took the chance to run. She still didn’t look stressed about it. He turned around and made a break for freedom. 

It was then he realized why Killít didn’t look worried. Before he got more than five feet away, his legs were suddenly restrained, causing him to be reunited with the dirt. The whip wrapped itself around his legs and tightened its hold with each passing second. He forgot that it seemed to move of its own accord. Unless Killít willed it, it wasn’t going to let go anytime soon. 

The immobilization spell wore off allowing Killít to approach him and dig one of her heels into his back. She grinned as Fox’s painful groans reached her ears. “Boy, you are a feisty one.”

Fox rolled his eyes. “Is this how you kill your targets, with kindness?”

“Murder with a smile.” Killít clapped her hands and the whip squeezed the ever living life out of Fox’s legs. “Normally, this is the part where I kill you, but I’ve got something else planned for you.” 

“Oh goody,” Fox said, sighing in resignation. 

Killít picked the cropped end of her whip and dragged him away from the marketplace, taking pleasure in the pained moaning and scraping trailing behind her.

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: