He was surprised, and dismayed, to see Jepa’s airship, but stuck to the plan – he got close and cast a Quiet Veil, to be in position to leap on me from behind when the others drew me out.
The others followed a few minutes later, laughing and joking and acting casual, while thinking things like ‘ I hope the people on that airship are okay’ and ‘I hope I’m right about the monster not being able to fly’ and ‘crap, we can’t get much closer and still have time to react to the fire bees’ and ‘I hope I don’t get killed again, why am I here?’
So I poked my head over the edge of the boat, and shouted to the adventurers, “Hi Tell-tail! Did you bring me more food?”
“Your reign of terror ends here, monster!” Candyice shouted back, “you’re not going to kill any more kids and old folks!” Apparently, they’d saved everyone in the village except for an elderly couple who’d died in their sleep when their hut burned down. No one noticed they were even in trouble until it was far too late to revive them.
“Oh! You want to fight!” I said happily, and hammer cast some fire bees at them. I was curious about how they planned to defend against them. I didn’t use up all my cley this time, though.
The answer was ‘wall of thorns’. Which was simple enough. Rydia cast it three times, as nested domes, with Ruloc so the thorns would thrash around and skewer the bees. It worked better than she probably expected, since there weren’t as many bees and they were smaller this time. And because some of the bees got confused about whether the thorn bushes were elementals, and decided to sting them just in case. Which set them on fire. I set them more on fire with a few more cley, and the adventurers, cursing and struggling, were forced to fight their way out of their own flaming deathtrap. Except for Candyice, who teleported, and Raspberry, whose battered and unconscious body had to be dragged out of the flaming thorns.
It was really pretty pathetic. I started thinking that I might *win*.
So I leapt off the boat and charged them – and got pepper striked, and winter-serpented, and pounced on by the sleething bonstable, and while I was fighting those off, Candyice ran up and started beating on me. Almost a fair fight! I had Darreth grappled in my tail, Tell-tail’s serpent wriggling its dying wriggles in my teeth, and Candyice on her last legs from repeated brushes of my wings, when Tell-tail woke Raspberry up, and she panicked and ran.
I… wasn’t really up for a run right at that moment. I could barely see, and one of my legs was broken, and I think my head might have been broken too because I was a little dizzy. But I gave it my best try! Whether I wanted to or not. I did get close enough to the two mages to sweep my wings at Tell-tail, and send him wildly dodging back into the flaming thorns. Then Darreth came out of nowhere, and his teeth crunched down on the back of my neck, and I died with a giggle in my throat.
And, like, five cley that I’d never gotten around to spending. Stupid!