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May 7, 2011 / milesandhisfavorites

Barricaded Chapter One: We Fight The Two-Mouthed Hyena

The dagger blade swung only centimeters away from my face.  I parried with my staff, and pretty soon, I had cornered Jacob against the living room fireplace.  He smirked.  “You’re good,” he said.  Then, he brought his heel down on my foot, and while I was yelping in pain, he knocked my staff away and put his dagger to my throat, the metal just barely tapping a vein.

“But not good enough.”

“Who’s to say that I’m not planning a counterattack right now?”

“You aren’t in much of a position to do that, Sophia.”

That’s when I kicked him in the shin, causing him to crumple.  I retrieved my staff and put it to his forehead.

“Oh, really?”

“I submit, you win, yadda yadda.  I’m still gonna beat you next round.”

Burlida, our Mimi friend, knocked at the mansion door.  “He-llo?” she said, her tinny British accent echoing throughout the house.  “I’ve got a bit of a job for us!”  I beat Jacob to the door and unlocked it.  Standing on the doorstep was a familiar 2-D Aboriginal fairy, wearing black jeans, a brown T-shirt with a white sweatshirt underneath, and white knee-length leather boots.  Knowing Burlida, she probably had a Quetzacoatl venom-stained throwing knife in each boot, as well as a collapsible Mapinguari hide shield in her pcoekt, possibly two if need be.  “So,” I said, itching for some new adventure.  “What’s the job?”  Burlida looked at me, her eyes looking like she shouldn’t be trusted with sharp objects or matches.  “Maybe I’ll keep it a surprise,” she said jokingly.  “Oh, okay.  Sophia, Jacob, what’s your opinion of South Africa?”

We were in Pretoria within the hour, but Burlida didn’t bother to tell us what was going on, despite our nagging and threats.  Finally, in an open-air cafe, she confessed.  “It’s really just a rendezvous mission.  There’s this man-a real man, mind you-named Colonius Bridge, he has some information that we’d love to know-troop movements and stuff-but he had certain guidelines we had to follow if we wanted to know anything.  After he said no guards, we got a little suspicious.”  That’s when a man walked up to our table.  He was African-American, and was built like John Cena.  He was wearing a red muscle shirt and green shorts with dozens of pockets.  His hair was blonde, and close-shaved.  So this was Colonius Bridge.  He sat down at our table, and ordered stake, very rare, from a nervous waiter.  When the poor guy said they didn’t have any, a single steel-built glare from Colonius sent him hauling towards the nearest butcher.

“So,” he said in a deep voice.  “You wanna know about the Roman Mythos’s troop plans?”  Burlida slammed her mug of green tea on the table.  “Yeah, and you apparently have some, so spill it!”

“No guards?”

“Just these two kids.”

“You’re unarmed?”

“Uh… yeah… but that wasn’t part of the deal.”

“Is now, but I smell a lie.”

“Smell?”

That’s when Colonius grabbed Burlida’s mug, and hurled it across the street.  It hit an apartment, tunneling through the brick and-according to witnesses-emerging from the other side, still flying, until it finally hit a lamp post and shattered.  Colonius turned around, and a gruesome sight appeared on his neck-a second mouth, though this one was filled with crooked yellow teeth like tombstones, and three forked snake tongues were licking it’s lips.  Colonius transformed into a rhino-sized hyena with a bloodstained muzzle so fast, he seemed to vanish.  The hyena-man whipped his tail-which happened to be that of a copper scorpion’s-at the table, knocking it over.  The cafe really cleared out after that.

We drew our weapons, and Burlida, sure enough, pulled two meat cleavers stained yellow-green from her boots.  Burlida explained.  “So Colonius Bridge turned out to be a werehyena.  No surprise-they ARE some of the toughest lycanthropes in this hemisphere.”  Just after she finished talking, the werehyena lunged at us, maw open wide, revealing evil-looking fangs.  I stepped to the side, and once the monster was past, I slashed off his scorpion tail.  Unfortunately, all it did was make Colonius get mad.  The tail shriveled into dust, and a yellow crocodile’s tail took it’s place.  Go figure.

Finally, after parrying massive claws several times, me and Jacob slashed Colonius’s head off.  This time, nothing grew back.  The body slumped to the tiled street, but that wasn’t the end of the attack.  Three dark shapes swooped down from the tall condos across the street, and landed in front of us.  They were wearing green pinstriped suits that appeared to be made of nylon, tall green top hats with live shamrocks sticking out of the brim, and gold tap shoes.  They were each carrying emerald shillelaghs that pulsed yellow.  They were each four feet tall, and looked like old men-only their skin was a bright green.  “Scottish Imps,” Burlida choked out in surprise.  “In other words-”  Jacob finished her.  “Leprechaun assassins?”

“Yep.”

We each charged one.  Mine slapped me with his shillelagh, sending me reeling, but I parried with a bolas attack from my staff.  The Scottish Imp grabbed the blade, but he realized his mistake too late.  I shifted the staff, causing the golden chain that was attached to the blade to stiffen.  I raised the staff, and the assassin went shooting off into space, the chain stretching way more than it should have been able to.  Jacob had clocked his Scottish Imp over the head with the hilt of his dagger, knocking him out cold fast.  Burlida had hers cornered, and was threatening him with her venom-stained knife.  His lips were tightly sealed, but then Burlida snapped his shillelagh in two using the heel of her boot.  The imp’s eyes went wide, and he started talking.  “I don’t know nothin’!” he said, but we weren’t convinced.  “Who hired you?” Jacob growled.

“No idea!  Some guy who called himself “Vizier Of The New Age!  How should I know?”

Jacob clubbed him over the head with his dagger, and we walked off just before the police cars skidded to a halt in front of the cafe.  He wouldn’t have been any help, anyway.

Burlida said that there were probably hundreds of Scottish Imp assasins stationed everywhere in the area, so we had to retreat somewhere else.  She said that the nearest safe place for us was the Firebreath Garden.  After stealthily making our way out of the city, we rented a jeep and headed out into the wilderness.  We made camp for the night underneath a baobab tree, and Burlida pulled from one of her jean pockets a small pocketbook.  She reached in and took out a brown loafer.  Shaking her head, she tossed it aside-grazing my cheek.  She began pulling strange things that wouldn’t have fit in the purse, had it not been magical.  I ducked to avoid a ten-gallon hat, a copy of Maniac Magee, and what looked suspiciously like a shotgun.

The next morning, after two gazelle herds left… erm… leavings in our campsite, we set out towards the Firebreath Garden.  Burlida explained that the Garden was designed to hold mainly dragons, although many other species of creature lived here.  Also, according to legend, a massive dragon nests in Mount Kilimanjaro.  Burlida dismissed it as an urban legend.  Mistake Number One.

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