Enough wasting time with long intros. Let's just jump right back into the thick of things.
"Welcome to my humble abode," Warren said.
Is this actually happening right now? How in the world did I think that people would react when they're magically transported to another world? These reactions are so underwhelming, it's ridiculous. I know that these three are soldiers, and they might be able to maintain more of a calm edge, but still! They're human too!
"I'm guessing we're in a different world, up in the mountains."
Oh, really? Is that all? Everything's just sunshine and rainbows? Might as well pull out the ol' picnic blankets and eat some sandwiches, 'cuz WE JUST LANDED IN SOME STRANGE NEW LAND AND WE'RE NOT CONCERNED AT ALL. Pardon my loudness, but I just find this so bewildering.
Tarquin furrowed his brow, which worsened his already ugly facial features. "I thought you would be disappointed in me. After all, my mission is to keep people out of the portal."
"Yes, well, let's remember it was your men who bungled the job, not you. I advise you to get rid of their miserable hides if they fail again."
Just to give you guys a bit of context, there was a scene switch where Tarquin was informed of the Portal Guardians's failure, to which he responded in rage. He summoned this spirit dude to get advice, and they have a little chat. I found this particular part odd for a couple of reasons. First, Tarquin is brutally honest with himself. We're in his head, yet he acknowledges that he is quite hideous! What strong character he has! To put up with that ugly mug must be awfully hard. It's probably why he's single. That, and the whole "keep it secret, keep it safe" thing he's got going on with the portal.
Secondly, it's weird for the spirit to specify that Tarquin's men failed, not him. I mean, in a job, when someone messes up, who does the big cheese blame? The person's supervisor! The supervisor is the one who makes sure everyone's doing their job right, and Tarquin is the head of the Portal Guardians. He should be getting blamed right now, yet he's not. While it is odd, I will admit that it's a nice change for the big, powerful villain (the spirit, in this case) to not be all, "I will kill you if you disappoint me again."
Their arms and legs were huge, and Warren almost envied their muscular chests and six-packs.
Well, I, for one, am glad Warren is paying attention to all the right details. These monsters are probably looking to rip apart a few human chumps, but here he is, wishing he had their great muscles. *facepalms* Why . . . why . . . why?!
One stooped down to pick David's shirt up. He sniffed it and snarled in a guttural voice, "Humans."
Great job, guys! I know your parents taught you well. That lesson about not leaving your laundry on the floor? Yeah, that really stuck with ya. You heard someone was coming, and you left David's shirt there as a present for them. Wait, does this mean David is shirtless for the rest of this scene? And also, wouldn't the military uniform look strange to the creature dudes? Yet all they intelligently say is, "Humans." No way! I thought it was an animal. What detectives they are!
The other smirked. "If there are humans, we should talk in the Toreth language."
"Toreth, shmoreth. I don't care a blasted thing about it."
Did he actually just say, "Toreth, schmoreth"? Like, something kindergartners would say? Because I'm sure that really suits his character.
"Now, since I'm in charge of this scouting group, we will not speak Toreth. Is that clear, Wollik?"
Wollik bowed stiffly. "Your wish is my command, your stinkiness."
Guttural sneered. "Have you smelled yourself recently?"
Wollik placed his hand in his hair and put it to his nose, grease dripping off his palm. He grimaced.
"My point exactly," Guttural said with a hint of triumph, causing Wollik to curse.
All right, I'm convinced. These guys, though apparently in a military scouting party (although I think they're more of a patrol), are no better than kids on a playground. And just imagining someone's hair to have so much grease in it . . . *shudders*
"Let's follow him," Warren whispered when Wollik left. They stepped out of the fissure, David put on his shirt, and they snuck along the trail.
Why? Do they need to follow him? They should honestly find some other way to escape from the baddies. I'm also wondering how they weren't seen. Like, where is this cave located so that Warren can watch all of this, but not get spotted? Must be one of those convenient hiding locations. At least David got his shirt back.
"Aha!" Wollik appeared around a boulder. "So here are the humans." His dark sword slid out of its sheath. "Who's first?"
"Me," Warren said, holding his assault rifle.
The first swing almost took Warren's head. The second nicked his arm. Wollik made a series of jabs that backed Warren to the edge of a cliff. "Any last words?" he asked, stooping down to look Warren in the eyes.
"I should've shot you with my rifle. Instead, I let you force me to retreat to the lip of a cliff and ask me the most cliché question any fictional villain has ever asked. I regret all of my life decisions."
"Excuse me for a minute," Warren replied. He clambered quickly onto Wollik's shoulders and jumped off, throwing him severely off balance. The big lug tried to regain his balance, but it was useless. Warren slammed the butt of his gun into the back of Wollik's knee. Wollik tipped over and fell off the precipice, arms and legs flailing in the air.
Dramatic, to be sure, but it would've been so much easier if you had just shot him in the head and be done with it.
[Mark, David, and Warren] charged down the path. Mark knew that even though the creatures looked cumbersome, they were probably fast.
This chapter has had so many POV changes that it almost makes my brain hurt. Plus, how the heck does Mark know that they're fast? He hasn't seen any of them run! They could be this world's worst runners, for all he knows.
"I have an idea," Warren said. A wagon was travelling on the road not far from them. The driver hadn't noticed the trio yet. Warren waited until it got closer, then jumped for it. He barreled into the driver, slamming him off the low wagon. David and Mark hopped on. Warren turned the wagon around and slapped the reins. The horse jerked forward, just as the pursuing creatures neared.
The wagon driver hadn't noticed them? Right, that makes sense. How could I be so silly? It's not like Wollik yelled as he fell to his death, or Captain Sarkes "thundered with animal hatred" when Wollik crushed another dude and they both died, or one of the creatures shouted "There they are!" upon spotting the soldiers. Nope, it was clearly a perfectly normal and quiet day.
Mark pulled something from his pocket. David eyed it. "What is that?"
"A slingshot," said Mark showing it to him. "My dad showed me how to shoot it when I was a kid."
The Canadian was loading it when a black-furred animal with sharp horns came hurtling down the main road behind them. The gray creature riding it had his arm back, clutching a dagger, about to throw it. The slingshot released its ammo, the rock hitting the rider's throat. He gasped, and his arm fell. The dagger stabbed the reptror's neck. It thrust its head back in agony, the horns piercing the rider.
Deus ex slingshot. Remember how I mentioned in my first Humble Beginnings post that I had some weird violence issues in this story? Well, although this scene isn't as, ahem, descriptive as others are, it's still a prime example of the problem. Consider the impossibility of the situation. The slingshot ammo strikes the creature's throat. Whereas most people might clutch their neck in agony or something, he instead drops his arm hard enough to stab his mount's neck. The animal then proceeds to gore its rider by thrusting its horns back. Just another day in this story's logic.
Soon, they were traveling on a trail with the edge of a cliff on both sides. Then they were joined by another reptror. The rider urged his steed on, saying, "Faster, you reptror!"
David wondered three things. One: was reptror the name of the species? Two: was reptror an insult? Three: was reptror a name the rider had invented because he was mentally ill?
1: I changed "travelling" to "traveling" here. 2: To say "Faster, you reptror!" would be like saying, "Faster, you horse!" It just sounds stupid. 3: The first guess is correct, the second is logical, but where the blazes did that last guess come from? You put American soldiers to shame, David.
Then they were off the trail and on the rocky beach. The docks weren't far away. But Captain Sarkes and his two remaining soldiers were awaiting them on reptrors. "Attack them! They have their measly little hands on our power rocks. They cannot escape with them!" Sarkes bellowed. By this time, the wagon had turned around and raced the other way. The reptrors gave a mighty roar and thundered after them.
I actually find it quite amusing that Sarkes hollered long enough that the heroes have time to zip away in the opposite direction. It's just a comical mental image, with Sarkes trying to be all threatening and the attempt failing miserably. Though he just informed the soldiers that their wagon has valuable property in it, which definitely falls under the "Not a Smart Idea" category.
A few of [the knights] squirmed or coughed. Invading the mountain continent filled with terrax and reptror wasn't just mad; it was suicidal. Failure was written all over it.
The tall man sighed. "I know it's a huge risk. But we need those power rocks."
I sense a convenient getaway and a win/win situation coming . . .
"Fire!" a voice bellowed. The archers released their arrows. Captain Sarkes' reptror was killed with the first volley. The other two passed it and continued the final stretch of the chase. Some of the arrows from the second attack struck the leading reptror's eyes. The reptror stumbled on a rock and fell head over heels, crushing the rider and startling the other steed. It reared up, the last volley of arrows soaring through its heart. The momentum of the arrows was so great that they flew out of the reptror's back and embedded themselves in the rider.
"And if you look to the left, folks, you will see another wonderful example of over-the-top, illogical violence that fills this story. Not sure what possessed young Josiah to write this kind of nonsense, although I will admit that it might look cool if this were a cinematic scene. More horrifying displays of violence coming in the future!"
On the boat, the tall man strode toward the three. He bowed, saying, "Welcome aboard my ship. Captain Smits, at your service."
PLOT TWIST! . . . With absolutely the best foreshadowing ever!
Oh, gosh. This post virtually consisted of roasting one chapter. I'm going to have to be a little more fussy in the future. Maybe.
I hope you all enjoyed another session of mockery. Tune in next month to get another one! And if you have any ideas as to how I could make these posts even better, don't hesitate to tell me!