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MOMENT 37: FOWL BATTLE
The duck men at the bottom of the path didn't see us coming. Jeremy with a saber wielded a saber, while I swung Bonknir. The first two duck men were dead before they knew what hit them, stabbed through the heart, and a broken neck respectively. Inicula leaped ahead from crystal to crystal to get above the Big Belly Ducks, Pom Pom flew, charging with her Sword of Mastertood.
The next ducks around the corner were able to get their hands on the hilt of their butter swords, but Jeremy and I took out two more. On the next level of the path, the ducks were drawing their weapons and quacking angrily. Jeremy leaped forward, stabbing, and I followed up with a chopping swing, bringing a duck's head down to meet the ground. We'd killed six ducks, and that left, at least twenty-eight regular ones between the entrance to the Crystal Caves and us. The next wave of ducks charged.
"Defense!" I cried. Jeremy brought up his sword and blocked a crystal sword attack. My hammer didn't offer such protection, being heavier and slower. I took a bludgeoning hit to my right shoulder, and I staggered back, wincing in pain.
Above, I heard the slapping of the Big Bellies and their loud quacks, but I couldn't see if Inicula dodged the attack. I heard the whizzing in the air and saw random ice bolts striking various places, hoping Pom Pom could continue to avoid the sorcerer’s attacks.
A duck came in, stabbing, and seeking to do severe damage. I jumped back, but Jeremy came to my defense and severed that duck's arm. It stared at the bloody stumped then looked at Jeremy in shock. I lunged, thrusting the hammer into its chest, shattering its ribcage. As it launched, it tumbled through the other ducks, pushing them back. Jeremy and I began to make headway as the sound of the Big Belly slaps reduced. A mage dropped off a ledge and fell, broken into a pile of feathers and robes.
"Go Pom Pom!" I cried as I jumped forward and struck sidelong, taking two ducks out in one swing.
Jeremy leaped past and took on two ducks as well, slapping one's sword into the other, who spun around and stumbled down the path. Somehow, we were holding our own.
"Keep going!" I shouted.
I took another step, but a blast of ice struck the ground between us. A sorcerer ignored Pom Pom and took an interest in Jeremy and me. It spun his hands around, forming a ball of ice. The sorcerer hurled his weapon. I sidestepped the attack, but Jeremy stood right behind me. I gasped as he took a giant iceball to the chest. He looked down, and his eyes widened as the ice spread up and down his shirt.
"Quick, your shirt!" I cried.
Jeremy dropped his saber and scrambled to take off his top before the ice could spread to his flesh. A sharp pain ran along my side as a crystal blade nicked me.
I spun, swinging Bonkir, cruising in the duck's lungs, and smashing it into the wall. Ice balls rained down around us.
"Pom Pom!" I shouted. "Get him!"
"On it!" she cried.
A moment later, the duck spellcaster fell from its perch. Pom flew in at another mage, raking her claws at its eyes. Meanwhile, the Big Belly Ducks quacking had reduced to one. We were winning; we were actually winning.
Jeremy, now shirtless, retrieved his sword and charged forward stabbing, slashing, and parrying. I followed his path of destruction as we rounded another curve. Ducks tried to attack, but they weren't fortunate enough to have that kind of time. Jeremy, enraged went through them, slaying at least a dozen before I could even catch up to him.
"No skill?" I muttered. "You certainly have skill with a sword!"
We reached the top area where a Big Belly Duck and Inicula faced off. It slapped its belly and quacked, sending shockwaves towards our vampiress. She jumped, flipping in the air, twisting and coming down on its shoulders. She took her feet and twisted her leg hard. The duck's neck snapped, and with that, the last of the Barn Brigade collapsed.
Inicula hopped back onto the path. She kneeled down and bit into a Big Belly's throat. I faced away, feeling my stomach turn. I would never get used to seeing a vampire feed; unless they fed on guacamole, then I could stand it.
Pom landed next to me. "We did it! We did it! We did it! We did it!"
"That we did." Inicula stood and wiped the blood from her lips.
"Now into the Crystal Caves!" Jeremy said, "Let's hurry!"
He led the way, followed by Inicula, and Pom Pom. I took one step toward the entrance, and the whole world lit up bright. A great bang went off, and I flew through the air. I spun, and slammed onto the path, rolling and ultimately slamming into a crystal formation. I tried to make sense of the situation. My ears were ringing, and my head spun. Something similar had happened before.
I grabbed my head and tried to stop the spinning world, but it didn't want to quit. For several long moments, I sat against that crystal, trying to find the source of the blast. If it had been Harry with his rocket launcher, then he would've fired again and blew me to bits.