Lord Luparn and the Colossal Skeith: Part Four
Lord Luparn looked down upon the village of Broadberry. The screams of the villagers and trail of destruction left him in little doubt that the Skeith was there and attacking. He charged down the hill to meet him.
The Lupe entered the village and followed the devastated houses, stalls and walls. Strewn about the place were several unconscious Neopets. A Yellow Yurble raised his head as the knight approached. "He went into the barn," the Yurble groaned, pointing towards the building.
"Fear not, for I will confront the beast," replied Luparn. The Yurble nodded his thanks, before falling back unconscious.
The knight approached the barn quickly, and spied the monster, now eight times the size that he should be. He was munching his way though the supplies that had been stored there. On the top floor of the barn were some more Neopets; they were throwing stones at the Skeith but they were having no effect.
The Skeith snarled at Luparn, "I have bested many knights. You shall be no different."
"We shall see," Lord Luparn replied solemnly.
The beast bounded at him, vicious claws scraping wildly trying to slice the Lupe. He was able to stop them with his shield. The massive and sharp claws soon tore it apart and Lord Luparn was forced to toss it away.
Knowing that the monster was slower than him, Lord Luparn kept moving. He dodged any attack the Skeith aimed at him. Considering how quickly he had torn through his shield, he didn't want to rely on his armour to keep him safe. Getting in strikes when he could, Lord Luparn felt the tide of battle turning in his favour.
The Skeith must have felt it too, as he fell backwards breathing heavily. "I yield," he panted.
Lord Luparn approached with his sword readied and gathered up a rope, intending to tie up the Skeith. As he got close, the beast gave a quick bite, trapping the Lupe's left arm inside the Skeith's mouth. Lord Luparn stabbed at the monster with his sword, he yelped and Lord Luparn took the opportunity to pull his arm out. The armour fell away, but luckily his arm wasn't too badly wounded.
He continued dodging the Skeith's attacks, before landing one particularly powerful blow of his own on the Skeith's tail. He screamed and once again pleaded, "I yield!"
"Dishonourable creature. Do you think you can fool me twice?" replied the knight.
"Fine, have it your way." The Skeith then picked up a flaming torch and threw it. Its path took it well over the knight's head and had no chance of hitting him.
"Your fumbling attacks are getting even worse," taunted Luparn.
"I wasn't aiming for you."
The Lupe glanced over his shoulder to see the barn on fire; the screams of the Neopets reminded him of those still on the top level.
"I guess you have to decide if you want to chase me or save them," the Skeith sneered as he turned tail and ran.
The way he saw it, Lord Luparn had no choice; there would be another day to defeat the Skeith, but the trapped Neopets needed his help now.
He pulled off his armour quickly, knowing the metal would only hinder him in the heat of the fire. It was spreading as the villagers tried their best to put it out. Luparn helped by throwing buckets on to it. They had beaten the fire back enough for some of the trapped Neopets to escape. "Is anyone still in there?" asked Luparn.
"Billy," one of them spluttered out. "He was too afraid to make the dash."
A flaming rafter fell from the roof, once again blocking the route to the upper level. Knowing there was little time left to rescue Billy, Luparn acted on instinct. He jumped into a nearby trough, covering himself with the water, hoping it would be enough to protect him from the flames.
He ran back into the burning building and jumped through the fire, making it through unscathed. He charged up the steps leading to the top level. There he saw Billy curled up in a corner barely conscious. Luparn gathered up the small Neopet in his cloak, which was still wet, and carried him back down the steps. He took a moment, then bounded through the flames once more, carrying Billy with him.
The villagers gave a cheer when they saw what the hero had done. After placing Billy on the ground, the Lupe made straight for the trough to put out a couple of small fires that had broken out on his clothing. He returned to the villagers. An Elderly Acara, the village's healer, knelt over the boy. "He will be fine," she announced.
Between them, the villagers and Luparn managed to put the fire out, although little remained of the barn or the food stored in it by then.
Lord Luparn inspected his battered armour and shield. He would need to reequip himself at the nearest town. He looked around at the devastated village and realised he wasn't as bad off as they were. He handed over his food supplies and some Neopoints to the mayor. Then he headed to the nearest town. With new amour and a better plan he would defeat the monster.
All six knights were gathered around a table in an inn in the town of Gallion's Gold. They had met by chance while gathering supplies and buying new equipment. Luparn and Tohkan had bumped into each other while at the blacksmiths. Luparn was getting a new shield and some armour to replace his damaged equipment, Tohkan the Ixi Lancer was buying some new lances to replace those that she lost during her flight from the Skeith. They left the blacksmith's after making their purchases, heading for a food shop so Lord Luparn could buy some provisions, having donated his to a starving village. There they met Fyrebreaf, who was also buying food for the same reason. Meanwhile, Sir Wockilan and Aethia had run into each other at a healer's, both of them needing treatment after their run in with the Skeith. As they left Wockilan spotted the unmistakable shield of his friend Sir Cheekalot and the three of them teamed up. By coincidence the two groups both had retired to the same inn.
They sat around the table, drinking some refreshing lemonade and exchanging stories of what had happened when they faced the colossal Skeith as individuals. It was clear that none of them would be able to tackle the ever growing beast by themselves, so it was decided that they would work as a team and bring down the monster together. They debated, each having a different idea that they thought was the best way to victory. Lord Luparn, having led many times before, was the mediator for the group and was careful to listen to everyone's ideas and made sure each Neopet got a fair say. After over two hours of discussing and debating, he finally said, "Okay here is the plan..."
The massive Skeith woke with a start. The sky was awash with predawn light, but the sun had not yet risen. He searched around, looking for the noise that had woken him. Then he spotted some knights on top of a hill a short distance from him. Now ten times the normal size, he didn't think he would have a problem fighting against this group and charged towards them.
Lord Luparn, Fyrebreaf and Sir Cheekalot stood on the hill yelling and taunting the Skeith. As he began his charge, Lord Luparn spoke to his comrades, "Hold, don't be tempted to attack; our plan hinges on this as much as the rest of it." The Skeith reached the top of the hill just as the sun appeared over the horizon; unable to see his opponents clearly, he swung his arms in massive circles trying to connect with one of them.
Luparn and Fyrebreaf, who were the two best fighters in the group, took advantage of the situation and swung their swords at the massive Skeith. Cheekalot simply defended his comrades with his shield. The Skeith had grown so much that his hide was now thick, and although the weapons were having an effect, it was only a small one.
The Skeith blinked and finally regained his eyesight. Able to see his opponents once more, he was able to attack in full-force and put the three knights on the defensive. They closed ranks and stood side by side. They worked together, blocking any attack the Skeith made, saving both themselves and each other. Cheekalot was the master at this.
Focused solely on the three knights, the Skeith never saw Sir Wockilan and Tohkan as they charged into his side. Their lances penetrated into his tough scales. He roared in pain and tried to claw at the offending Neopets, only to be attacked once again by Luparn and Fyrebreaf. Wockilan and Tohkan drew their swords and joined in the close combat.
While the knights were able to get in more attacks on the Skeith, the monster's attacks were many times more powerful and any blows of his that landed badly wounded the Neopet that they struck. The battered heroes had fallen back into a V formation, with Luparn at its lead. The Skeith landed a particularly hard blow on the Lupe tearing off his armour and knocking him to the ground. "It's the end for you," he snarled and opened his mouth intending to eat the unfortunate knight.
Just in the nick of time a large stone fell from the sky, striking the beast on the head. Looking up, Luparn saw Aethia the Pteri Knight; she had just dropped the rock. He thanked her with a salute. Seeing the Skeith momentarily stunned, the group once again launched an attack, getting in many more blows on the wounded beast. He howled in rage, spinning around, his arms and tail getting some lucky strikes on the tired and wounded knights.
Seeing his badly wounded companions, Lord Luparn knew there was only one course of action left. "Retreat!" he shouted.
Aethia and FyreBreaf took to the air and flew off. Cheekalot joined Wockilan on the back of Binky, and Luparn got on to Tohkan's back. As a group, they fled in one direction, with the Skeith in hot pursuit.
They ran across open grassland. Binky and Tohkan jumped over a pile of leaves that went unnoticed by the colossus. He never saw the concealed snares under the leaves. All four of his feet became tangled and the more he struggled the tighter they got until he was unable to move at all.
The plan had come together perfectly. Aethia had suggested attack at dawn with the sun behind them. Cheekalot knew he could provide a solid defense while his allies attacked. Fyrebreaf had suggested that he and Luparn form a distracting attack while the others mounted a surprise charge. Tohkan had instructed Wockilan how to make a perfect cavalry charge, while Wockilan himself had suggested the snares. The rout had been a rouse to trick the beast into the trap; this had been Lord Luparn's idea. Not only did the plan work, but the group had worked perfectly together, each able to overcome their flaws by utilizing the strengths of the others in the group.
Several days later the companions stood in front of King Skarl and his court. First each of them had recounted how they had battled the Skeith as individuals and failed. Then Lord Luparn gave the account of how they came together, formed a plan and carried out the successful capture of the massive Neopet. All listening were enthralled by the tale, none more so than the bards who were no doubt already writing their own versions of what happened. At the end the king, moved by the tales, announced that he would go on a diet, until the ravished villages once again had enough food.
The Colossal Skeith itself had been sent to the Meridell tip, where it began a new career as a garbage disposal. It was tied to several strong chains to prevent it escaping, but after a while it was honestly quite happy just to stay there, eating whatever anyone else threw away. Honestly, who throws away a perfectly good moldy potato it would think.
It then came to the reward money, the king had promised 100,000 Neopoints to whoever had dealt with the Skeith. Since all six had worked together the reward was split between them. The king smiled as he handed a bag over Lord Luparn with his share in it. "You realize that by working together, you have lessened your reward," said the king.
"No, your majesty," replied Lord Luparn, and looked at his new friends and smiled at them. "We gained a reward greater than Neopoints."
The heroes left, each having matters to attend to, but vowing to meet up once again. The bards left too, voraciously scrawling in their notebooks trying to come up with the best version of "Lord Luparn and the Colossal Skeith". The rest of the court also left, except for the king's guards and jester.
The jester gave the king a foolish smile and said, "What do you do if fierce Peophins has eaten too much tin of olives?"
The king growled realizing his diet plan also meant no ammo to throw at the jester.