SQUIREFRIXX CRINGED AS the sticky swamp mud slopped over his boots and seeped
between his toes. He gazed ahead at the seemingly endless Mystery Forest swamp
and asked his Eyrie companion, "We're lost, aren't we?"
The green Grundo squire glanced over at KnightFrixx,
who tromped ahead slashing at hanging vines with his Sword of Domar. The blue
Eyrie knight wore a strange suit of purple-patched armour and carried only his
sword. Seeta the little Alkenore trotted along at his heels, faithfully carrying
his pack for him. SquireFrixx leaned down to give Seeta a pat on the head, both
in apology for making her carry equipment and in thanks for being such a good
sport. She licked his paw in understanding. KnightFrixx shook his feathered
head and replied, "Of course we're not lost. We're wandering. Knights and Squires
are supposed to wander. It's part of the whole image." He whacked half-heartedly
at a nearby Glant.
SquireFrixx adjusted his heavy backpack and muttered,
"Great. So we're not lost, we're just wandering creatively. Remind me again
why I'm the one carrying everything?"
KnightFrixx grinned in the murky darkness. "You're
the one who signed up to be the squire, George. You even named yourself after
me. I get to do the fighting, you get to carry the equipment."
"Why me? I'm not the one who packed twenty-seven
pairs of Magical Smelly Socks!"
Her knees wobbling unsteadily under the weight
of her pack, Seeta snorted in complete agreement. "Bloaty Feet are worse than
death. You'll thank me later, just wait and see," Frixx loftily replied.
George reached back into his pack and pulled
out a Cool Purple Teddy Bear, waving it towards the Eyrie. "The least you could
do is carry your own Teddy Bear."
Frixx ran over to George, grabbed the Bear from
the Grundo and stuffed it back into the pack, looking furtively around for anyone
who might have seen it. "Don't wave that around! It will ruin my spiffy image!"
"Spiffy's not the word for it. More like "vinegar".
Your armour's starting to smell like olives again."
Frixx looked down at his purple patched armour
and peeled one of the of the olive labels off of the tin metal, leaned his head
down and took a big sniff. He wrinkled his beak and glared back at George. "Well,
I would have had enough money for real armour if SOMEONE hadn't spent all our
Neopoints rolling Spicy Juppie Cheeses down the hill."
George blushed. "It looked like fun. Besides,
olive tins make fine armour" In an effort to change the subject, George waved
his antenna to the left, pointing out a treeless area bordered by a large lump
of dark vegetation. "Does that look like a path to you?"
KnightFrixx grinned, a gleam of excitement in
his eyes. "Maybe. Think there's an inn over that way? I'd kill for a cup of
hot borovan right now."
George pushed aside a hanging vine to let the
Eyrie go ahead. Frixx eagerly splashed through the watery puddles and stepped
up to the dark lump of vegetation blocking his way. He swung back his Sword
of Domar and slashed at the dark lump, chopping right into the dark moss. He
almost lost his grip on his sword as the dark plant-like mound jerked sideways
Frixx and George scrambled backwards as the lump
surged upward. George picked up Seeta and ran behind a nearby Spine Vine, yelling
at Frixx to follow. Frixx cursed to himself as he recognised the monstrous mossy
mound. Twenty feet tall and stinking of rotten moss, a wounded Swamp Chia was
no match for one Eyrie, he thought, knight or no. The Swamp Chia reached out
with a plant-like arm towards the frightened Eyrie.
Frixx scrambled to his feet, but not quickly
enough. The Chia grabbed him around the throat. Frixx gasped, choking on the
smell of rotten moss. He lifted his sword high enough to slash at the monster,
but the Chia snarled and grabbed his sword away.
"What is your name!" growled the Chia.
"I... I'm KnightFrixx," the Eyrie stuttered.
The Chia shook Frixx, spraying the knight with
wet moss as he shouted, "No, your real name! So I can write it on your gravestone
after I stomp you into the ground!"
"Never!" shrieked Frixx. "I'll never tell anyone
my real name! I'd die first!" Frixx kicked at the Chia, but only managed to
tangle his toenails in the vines.
"AAAARRRGH! Tell me!" The Chia lifted Frixx
off his feet, still clutching the poor Eyrie by the throat, his beak flushed
purple from lack of air. He flapped his wings, trying to get leverage, but to
no avail. With the last of his air, Frixx gasped out, "George! Help me!"
Crouching behind the Spine Vine with Seeta, George
shook in fear. No weapons, no armour…what could a simple squire do? He watched
helplessly as Frixx flailed about in the Chia's grip. Finally, in desperation,
George yelled out, "His name is Aloysius!"
Both the Chia and the Eyrie turn to stare at
George for a long, silent moment. The Chia snorted. Its arm shook, and it dropped
Frixx to the ground, laughing so hard it couldn't stand up straight. It bent
over and put both mossy paws on its slimy knees, laughing. It looked up and
caught sight of the stunned Eyrie knight and laughed even harder. "BWAAA HA
HA HA HA! Aloysius?" It laughs. "You're named….Aloysius? No wonder you'd rather
Frixx glared over at George as the Chia sat down
and wiped its eyes. "Ah, that was a good one," the Chia said. It reached behind
a tree weed for a little notebook, flipped it open, and wrote something down.
At their blank looks, the Chia shrugged at George and Frixx. "I collect names.
Sometimes it takes a little persuasion to get them, though. Sorry about the
choking. But don't worry, your secret's safe with me." The gruesome mossy Chia
grinned at them and thudded away, leaving the three adventurers standing in
the swamp staring after it.
Frixx wobbled unsteadily over to George, reaching
down a paw to help the Grundo up. The Eyrie put an arm around his friend's shoulders
and patted Seeta on the head. "Thanks, you guys." George grinned. "No problem."
"But Aloysius?" George handed Frixx his purple
teddy bear. "Who's going to believe a twenty-foot Swamp Chia? Your secret's
safe with me."
George picked up his pack, put an arm around
his friend and his faithful pet, and all three walked towards the edge of the
swamp and had a nice cup of hot borovan.