So, back in the village, den was handed the sherrif's horse's armor and told to take it to his father. It was really heavy, and he was worried about what the sherrif would think, but he did it anyway... well, about halfway, then ran to try to get his father to carry it.
But the blacksmith was drunk and kind of out of it... fortunately, in a sense, the Sheriff found the armor when Den went back out to get it, and carried it to the blacksmith himself.
Or, well, carried it while he went to arrest the blacksmith. He probably would have arrested Den too, but during the long, confused argument (Den's father being too drunk to really understand what was going on) Den scurried off.
Den's special thing was to know skills and knowledge he'd never learned, and one such trick let him jog quickly for two days straight, and arrive at the oracle's village on the second night, in time to catch up to the rest of the party as they came down after their consultation.
That consultation had gone much better than the previous attempt -- each of them asked only one or two questions, about how to get ahead of the carnival, how to stop it, and so on, and so no one was horribly diseased, although most of them were glowing from the tea the oracle had offered. Apparently, they didn't remember the villagers' warning not to drink it, and Grey in particular was in very bad shape, horribly nauseous and dizzy to the point where it was hard to do anything.
Den had some questions he wanted to ask, though, so he went up to do so, the others following along to make sure he didn't get himself killed. "Don't ask too many questions," Zedd warned, but had to physically drag Den away from the Oracle after the fourth. Den's questions were about the sherriff, whether he was really an authority and why he was taking such an interest in the village now. The answers were 'yes, but last week he wasn't', and... something that was probably incomprehensible.
At any rate, when the lot of them got back down the mountain, they were greeted by the excited villagers, who wanted to have the oracle's words repeated to them, so that they could be added to the books of prophecy. Alex's answer had had a line about 'keeping this secret', so they were evasive, but eventually told enough.
Enough for the villagers to insist that the 'Chosen One' (Belladonna) stay with them forever so that she would not fulfill the prophecy, which they were now convinced would be a horrible thing. Of course, that was not something she was willing to agree too... so it came to a fight.
The closest villagers tried to jump the party and hold them down while their friends got weapons out of their hiding places. It didn't exactly work -- Belladonna was too quick, and ran away towards the beckoning trees (which would let her teleport) with a couple enemies in pursiut, while Zedd teleported into a building to menace a pair that had gone for weapons, Grey fought hand to hand, and Den, Alex, and Nicholai... were grabbed and held, pretty much according to plan.
The villagers weapons were eclectic -- mostly swords, with a few pistols and rocket launchers thrown in. The rocket missed Belladonna by a hair, knocking her pursuers off their feet and giving her time to animate the grass to attack them, while she ran off behind a building.
A villager with a bandolier of grenades tried to blow himself up, but Zedd saw him in time and teleported him 'away', where he only managed to blow up himself. Grey was too sick to fight well, though, and although he tried to run, was shot down and collapsed, with the sword-wielders guarding him, looking for Bella (who was hiding).
Den was dragged off into a building, where he managed to wriggle free and grab a sword, while Alex squirmed loose and ran off with half the village chasing him and Nicholai, who'd been teleport-rescued by Zedd and left in what happened to be their path. The stampeding horde ruined the rocket launcher's third attempt at a shot (the second having been ruined by Zedd's appearance and the launcher's use as a clumsy club), and Belladonna had managed to chase off her pursuers (by virtue of having a sword against their bare hands) and ran off into the woods.
Zedd teleported back breifly to get Den, and then everyone was away. Well, except for Nicholai and Alex, who were being chased. Belladonna talked to the plants to follow their progress, and joined up with the rest of the group -- that is, Den and Zedd and the unconscious Grey.
Grey was badly hurt, and needed a snake to treat him. Belladonna was able to ask the plants and find a snake nearby, although it was a huge, sleeping constrictor snake, that didn't seem to want to wake up to do its job. Zedd crept off to find Alex fighting with a forest cat... and winning, and Nicholai nowhere to be seen, perhaps captured by the angry mob. Alex had managed to evade them by virtue of not having drunk the tea and therefore not glowing, but Nicolai wasn't so lucky.
At any rate, Alex and Zedd baited some of the village guards with varying success -- hiding from them was hard, with the glow, but stealing their weapons and then teleporting away -- that worked.
After a few weapons were stolen (including a very large, scary laser-thing, that scared Den most because he knew what it was), the villagers retreated into one of the buildings instead of posting a guard. The party sat back in the forest, and planned an assault to free Nicolai, who they assumed had been captured, given his lack of woodcraft.
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