Carl hummed as he sanded the shaft of his new spear. It was tipped with a leviathan tooth and enchanted by its bone powder. Beside him, George was doing the same thing. “It’s a good thing they didn’t want the teeth, huh?” Carl asked, admiring the sun glinting off his spear.
George grunted, causing his gills to flap. “As strong as they were, they didn’t need the teeth. I don’t think they even needed the armor.” George sighed and rested his palms behind him, disturbing the sandy surface. “He killed a leviathan while naked. No weapons. No armor. Nothing.”
Carl shuddered as an image of a golden-eyed human appeared in his mind. “Yeah,” he said and sighed. “If he wanted to attack us… I don’t think we would’ve made it.”
“Right, well, we’re still here and that’s all that matters,” George said. “And there was even the nice benefit of uniting all our tribes together. Maybe we could even join the assembly and overthrow some of those taxes aimed at us.”
“Huh,” Carl said, his brow furrowing. “That’s really possible now, isn’t it? Should we go ask the elders?”
“I’m sure they’ve thought of it,” George said and nodded. He squinted at the coast and frowned. A massive shadow was approaching the beach from underwater. “Uh, Carl. Look.”
Carl followed George’s finger and shielded his eyes from the sun. “What is that?” he asked. He stood up and cupped his hands over his mouth. “Hey! Get away from the water!”
The fishmen children, who were running about, stopped and glanced at the water. They screamed and ran towards the grassy border as the shadow came closer and closer, a dorsal fin as large as a palm tree emerging from the surface of the ocean.
George’s face paled. “D-do you think leviathans avenge their brethren?” he asked as he gripped his spear and retreated backwards while keeping his eyes on the approaching beast.
“I don’t know,” Carl said and shook his head, “but you should go inform everyone and have them move deeper inland.”
“And you?” George asked.
“I’ll keep an eye on it.”
George nodded. “Alright,” he said. “You’re much braver than I am. Children, follow me!” He gathered the terrified kids and headed into the jungle, leaving Carl behind.
Carl gulped as he waited by the grassy border, watching the leviathan. The water bulged as its head emerged, its eyes glazed over and focused on nothing in particular. Its mouth hung open, dangling as water poured out of it. Strange white and yellow objects were clinging to its teeth and body, squirming with the current. Blood poured from the beast’s body from hundreds of cuts lacerating its skin. Carl dropped his spear as the leviathan wriggled onto the shore. “It’s … dead?”
“Phew! That was a real tough one,” a gravelly voice called out from beneath the leviathan. “The things we do for the mistress, eh?”
Hundreds of voices rang through the air as skeletons dropped off of the leviathan’s corpse. “For the mistress!”
Grimmy hummed as he flew through the skies with Leila beside him and Lindyss sitting on his snout. He stopped for a moment and raised an eyebrow. “Did you feel that?” he asked, crossing his eyes to look at Lindyss.
“Feel what?” Lindyss asked and smacked his scales. “Hunger? Yeah, I felt that a long time ago. Can we kill and eat something already?”
Grimmy chuckled, his body shaking. “So they contacted me first,” he said with a grin. “Interesting.”
“You’re thinking something devious,” Lindyss said and narrowed her eyes at the black dragon. “And who are you talking about? Stop speaking in riddles.”
“She gets very grouchy when she’s hungry, doesn’t she?” Leila asked and smiled at Lindyss when the elf gave her a dirty look.
“You’re family starved me for a month!” Lindyss said. “You’re lucky I’m only grouchy and not dead.”
“Oh?” Grimmy asked. “Out of curiosity, what would you do as an undead if you did die?”
Lindyss rolled her eyes. “I don’t know. Get revenge on the people who killed me? Conquer everything? Spread fear and terrorize everyone?” She snorted. “What do you want me to say? Obviously, I’d continue doing what I always have. I’d knit a few sweaters or something and find things to entertain myself. Being undead’s no different from being perpetually young, which I am already.”
Grimmy sighed. “Young on the outside, ancient and decrepit on the inside,” he said, shaking his head. “Prika would—”
“Yes, yes,” Lindyss said. “She’d tell me it’s why I’d never get married.” She pursed her lips and peered over the edge of Grimmy’s snout. “Is that a roc? I’m going to eat it.”
“Rocs are religious figures and you shouldn’t…,” Leila said, cutting herself off. Lindyss had already leapt off of Grimmy’s snout, plunging towards the massive bird with two wings made of mana sprouting from her back. “Well then.”
The roc screamed as a glowing white sword pierced its neck. It struggled to stay in the air, spraying blood everywhere as it flapped its wings. Lindyss’ sword traced lines in the rocs body, cutting through its steel-like feathers with no resistance. The rocs blood acted as if it had a mind of its own, turning into little snakes and entering Lindyss’ aura, dying it red. She licked her lips and swallowed as the red color faded away.
“Did she just exsanguinate it?” Leila asked, blinking twice. “I know she’s a bit weird, but…”
“What?” Grimmy asked. “She was imprinted by a vampire bat. You already knew that.”
“I guess…,” Leila said before sighing. “It’s just that the roc won’t be as juicy now.”
Grimmy laughed. “I thought rocs were religious figures and not meant to be eaten?”
“Well, no one worships them in the central continent,” Leila said with a smile. “Although we probably shouldn’t eat it here. Not over one of the dwarves’ major cities.”
“Then we’ll eat it in the city,” Grimmy said. “Look. She’s almost on the ground already.”
“You do remember the quest my mother gave you, right?”
“Of course,” Grimmy said and snorted. “I already outsourced it to another party.” He glanced at Lindyss. “Her skeletons.”