You are an adventurer, but you could never slay a low level monster because they were too cute. This lead to the low level monsters adoring you and following you around. This has made others believe your some kind of boss and so instead of monsters you must fight your fellow adventurer.
The Qlivic snarled at me, thrashing wildly as I raised my hands in defense.
“Watch it,” I said, swatting his face away as the beast continued to trash. “Would you just hold still?”
The Qlivic – with its wiry hair, jet-black eyes, and arm-length fangs – would be terrifying to most who looked upon it. It was a creature of nightmares, as were the other Offspring.
When I first left my home in the Great Expanse, the others in my villages warned me of these creatures. They were wary of the quest I had begun. Then, that first night, I met one of the Offspring. And instead of the monsters of the old tales, I saw the way its cowlick spun in a perfect circle atop its head, and the way it nearly skipped when pursuing its prey.
All these years later, and they were still cute to me. I never did make it home to tell the others. There were too many out here who needed me.
“Look, I need to see what I’m working with. I need you to sit still.” I lowered my hands in defeat, watching as Put Put calmed down. He glanced sideways at me, reverting his eyes back to an aimless spot on the wall.
“It’s going to have to come out, you know.” I said, waving the bristle brush in front of me. “If you let me brush your teeth, this wouldn’t have happened.”
Put Put pouted, retreating.
The Dark Forest was not what I always thought it was, but now the tales of nightmarish beasts lurking in the shadows were just games I played with the Offspring.
Sighing, I gave up on my valiant quest to brush his teeth and returned to the pot simmering over the fire. There was no such thing as a small meal here anymore – these creatures had learned to eat the food I did, and if I was making a meal, it was to feed an army.
Stirring the pot gently, I looked over at the table, where a small plethora of root vegetables and mushrooms awaited chopping. I’d have to make a run soon to harvest some more.
“Put Put, we should go foraging tomorrow,” I announced, beginning the menial task.
He didn’t answer.
Curious, I looked up to see him watching the entryway to the cave. He was focused.
I turned an ear towards the tunnel, listening closely. I could hear the chittering of Offspring coming down the tunnel. Overlapping, no more than a whisper in the dark – the sound had once terrified me.
“Supper isn’t ready yet,” I called.
The chittering was growing louder – there were more than I was expecting. I stood at the entryway, watching as from the dark depths the shadows lept forward towards me.
I grabbed a startled Leffette as it pounced towards me. The poor creatures’ gnarled hands gripped my arms in fear, scuttling to crawl up my body.
Looking behind it, I saw the hoard of Offspring trying to barrel into the cave behind it. Shadows of all shapes and sizes sprang forward, quickly scuttling under the table, behind rocks, beneath trunks – wherever they could fit.
“What in the Dark Forest has gotten you lot so frightened?” I asked, looking around as more and more of the Offspring funneled in.
They rarely came to the cave uninvited – we had a habit of feasting outside, under the stars together.
I shut my eyes, listening closely once more.
My eyes snapped open.
“Put Put, we have visitors – ” I said as stoically as I could muster. The Qlivic didn’t move, as he continued to stare ahead. “Get the others – now.”
Put Put raced down the tunnel, swift as darkness.
I grabbed the Leffette from my shoulder – her claws dug into me as she tried to hold on. “Stay here, Miri. We’ve got a fight ahead.”
Miri allowed me to place her down, and she immediately retreated into the fire where she hid with other Leffettes. They blended in as ash among the embers.
I grabbed my staff – how dusty it was – sprinting down the tunnel. I hadn’t bothered to dress more appropriately – no time for that.
Breathing deeply, I brought the symbols for concealment to the forefront of my mind. As I breached the tunnel entrance, I whipped my hand behind me throwing up the small spell to hide our home.
My eyes skimmed wildly across the expanse before me – we had the vantage point, to be sure, but there were many ways the humans could come up the mountain.
I heard a monstrous roar above me – I turned to see two Dags climbing down the rock face behind me – the large amphibians were rumbling up their fire from within their bellies.
I placed a finger to my lips to silence them. They complied, sinking against the stoney face and nearly disappearing within it.
Put Put came running up again quickly, and behind him one of the Behemoths – the gargoyle-esque creature bowed towards me, another group of Leffettes clamoring down him and past me.
“Where is Jenia?” I asked the Behemoth before me, whose name was Smog.
The Behemoth shrugged, glancing down the mountainside.
I nodded. “And the others?”
Smog gestured towards the treeline – they were waiting. I closed my eyes, hearing their chittering slowly fill the forest.
“They’ll need to be silent,” I said.
Smog huffed. He was upset.
“What did the humans do?”
Before he could answer, I heard the whizz of an arrow. I stepped to the side quickly, watching it land at my feet. It was one of the Torbine Village – I hadn’t seen an adventurer from the Torbine Village in years, but I recognized the runes scrawled along the shaft of the arrow.
“Quiet.” I said again.
The forest around me grew still.
“Put Put – inside. Open the side tunnel, just in case.”
Put Put hesitated, his eyes glancing at the treeline again. “Now, Put Put.”
Put Put nodded, sprinting inside. I couldn’t lose him – not Put Put. He was the first Offspring I’d met, and he was the one who’d made me see the real monsters – those pursuing us.
“Smog, grab a tree.” I said calmly. I heard the groan of the tree as he pulled it from its roots.
I summoned the symbols for Fire and Light to the forefront of my mind, casting it onto my staff – a brilliant purple glow emanated from it, lighting up the clearing.
Six figures made their way towards me – their swords glistened in the light from my staff, as did the whites of their eyes.
“Who hails upon me?” I called out, putting on my fiercest voice.
“Martin – the beast witch! She’s there!”
I scowled. Witch. As if every spellcaster weren’t one.
The figures stopped a few strides before me. Smart – they were just out of reach of Smog’s tree.
“We’re the Champions, chosen from the Five Lands to put an end to your reign, Beast Witch,” the one, assumingly Martin, said.
I scoffed. “Champions? Of what? Playing at being heroes, defending the lands from what, pray?”
“Your foul beasts have ravaged our lands for long enough – we’re here to stop you.”
“And you thought you might do that by having a chat? Or did you hear I was making a supper?”
“Don’t let her talk – she’ll enchant us!”
“As if we’d eat the stew of a murderer!”
Fury rose up in me, and I could feel the staff glow brighter besides me. “Murderer? The Five Lands are hunting and killing the Offspring and I’m the murderer?”
“Your Offspring, Witch. They’ve been devastating our lands for ages.”
“I’m no older than you are, brave champion,” I seethed. “And these beasts were hunted well before we were, all because humans are afraid of the dark.”
“Lies, the witch tells – ” Another of the champions retorted, lifting her sword. “Let her speak no more words.”
I clenched a fist.
“Listen – what you think you know is a lie. The Offspring are no more a danger than you are to them.”
“Yeah? Say that to Emery. A Behemoth snapped him in two.”
“It’s mating season – you’ve no business running around these woods while the Behemoth are bearing children. They defend their nests no more than a wolf would – or are your hounds evil now, too?”
“It was unprovoked.”
“I doubt that.” I gripped my staff more tightly. “Leave now – go back to the Five Lands and tell them to leave the Offspring to the forest. I guarantee – no Offspring will spill human blood if you stay out of our woods.”
“I told you -” the first who spoke said. “She’s their mother.”
I rolled my eyes. “Are you dense? I didn’t birth the Offspring – as I said, I’m no older than any of–”
Something came flying towards me. Smog reached a hand and caught it before it landed.
“Throwing rocks, now? How matu-”
I stopped as I noticed Smog staring down at what he held. I recognized the carvings on the strange rock, and soon recognized the features.
“Well, shit,” I muttered, as Smog released a thunderous roar.
I brought forth the symbols for Death and Destruction.
In an instance, the Dags sprang back to life behind me, releasing their bright-green flames as they jumped towards the Champions.
“Supper is postponed, friends,” I muttered.
And I lept forward, to defend my friends.
[I love this prompt! I might just have to write a story off of this! Thanks for posting it. ^___^]