Mercinon flamboyantly practiced sword fighting with a tall, slender sword when Marcin entered. Mercinon didn’t see or hear Marcin, so after he did a quick turn, he almost stabbed him! Mercinon reprimanded him, “You really got to start knocking!”
“I’m sorry, sire!” Marcin apologized. “I’ll do better next time! It’s imperative for a mission like this to have the foresight to-.”
“Why are you babbling?” Mercinon noticed that Marcin was hanging his head and shuffling his feet around, so he clicked his tongue out of annoyance and asked, “Are you here to tell me how you screwed up this time?”
Marcin confessed, “The Sirens are dead!”
Mercinon’s eyes widened upon hearing this. “Seriously? You sounded so sure that this would work!”
“Well, we brought down the blonde girl right away, and I was so sure that the rest of them liked women!”Marcin explained.
“You idiot! You can’t make plans based off of assumptions! That’s so… ugh!” He put all of his frustration into his sword work and resumed his extravagant practicing. After a moment, he realized that Maricn hadn’t spoken in a while, so he probed, “Well? Did you get something to replace the Sirens?”
Marcin replied, “Actually, on my way back to your palace, I found Echinda…”
Mercinon got so stunned to hear him say this that he froze mid pose! “You got Echinda? The mother of all monsters?” Marcin nodded. “That’s brilliant! With Echinda on our side, our regime can continue indefinitely!” He observed Marcin shifting guiltily again. “Ugh, I should have known better than to get my hopes up! How did you blow it already?”
“It wasn’t my fault!” Marcin sniveled. “Hades came and took her for a pet.”
Mercinon growled and aggressively began his swordplay again. “Just release your next monster so-.”
Marcin repeated, “Next monster? I spent all day on the last two, I didn’t have time to-.”
“Argh!” Mercinon cried out.
“I’ll get one first thing in the morning!” Marcin whimpered.
Mercinon shouted, “You think you deserve sleep after this? You-!” He thrust his sword so violently that he lost his balance and fell down into a heap. “…Jackals…”
“Are you okay, sire?” Marcin approached him cautiously.
Still on the ground, Mercinon spouted, “Jackals!”
Marcin was able to infer the message Mercinon was trying to convey. “Okay, sire! I’m gone!” Mercinon mumbled something incoherent as Marcin dashed out of the room.
The next morning, the five heroes sat a table in the center of a vast room full of shelves and books. Exelda gazed up from the book she had and saw that Akintos had fallen asleep, so she nudged him to wake him up. “Huh?” He blinked his eyes groggily. “Where are we?”
“We’re in the heart of the academic center! Can you believe it?” Stocastin gushed. “Just look at all of these books! Think about how much time it took for each one to get handwritten and bound! Thousands of hours went into making this room fill up, but thanks to their efforts, we have pages upon pages of the thoughts of the most brilliant minds in all of Chaos! Maybe in all of Greece! We’re so fortunate to have this opportunity!”
“Yeah, real fortunate!” Akintos yawned. “Why are we here? Weren’t we just here yesterday?”
Exelda expounded, “Yes, but we spent all day getting thanked and answering questions from the locals, so we didn’t get any research done! We’re still under threat of an impending monster attack, and our prince is still missing! We have to find out all we can so we can restore peace to Chaos once more!” Akintos shrugged as he disinterestedly thumbed through a book in front of him. “Well, at least Narcius and Kefalia aren’t complaining!” She glanced over to them and cringed. “Oh, for Elysium’s sake!”
Kefalia stared at Narcius adoringly as Narcius primped himself while looking into his hand mirror. Kefalia inquired, “Narcius? Can I ask you something?”
Not taking his gaze off of this reflection, Naricus replied, “Go ahead.”
Kefalia wrung her hands nervously. “I, uh, well, I think you’re kind of handsome…”
“You’re wrong!” Narcius corrected her. “I’m not kind of handsome, I’m extremely handsome!”
Exelda jumped in, “And I think you’re extremely dumb! Here!” She tossed a children’s book to him. “If you see a picture of a monster we might face, just point and grunt.”
“I can read!” Narcius indignantly put down his mirror and picked up another book.
“Come on you guys!” Exelda urged them. “We need to learn all we can before another monster-!” Suddenly, they felt the entire building shake, which was followed by a number of people outside screaming. “Ugh, too late! Let’s go!” They put down their books and ran towards the pandemonium.
When they came out to the street, they saw a woman as tall as a small mountain with one giant eye and the brutish looks of a cave person stomping on a building down the road from them! Exelda thought out loud, “Okay, she’s human, so it’s just like killing an enemy on the battlefield… only she’s a hundred times bigger than anyone I’ve ever faced!”
Stocastin pointed out, “We would have to ensure that she fell in an exact way so that she doesn’t crush any buildings. Even if we managed to do that, the impact of her body hitting the ground would most likely cause tremors equal to that of a small earthquake.”
“So, what do we do then?” Akintos wondered.
“Don’t ask me!” Kefalia put in. “They keep tickling me, so I’m useless!”
Exelda’s eyes lit up as she made a connection. “Wait a minute! How would the monsters know to do that?” As she talked, the ground beneath them shook more and more. “They didn’t tickle you by accident, the Sirens and the Points both did it on purpose! It can’t be a coincidence! This is proof someone is controlling them! But who besides us would know her weakness?”
The vibrations became strong enough that they could hardly stand, so Narcius requested, “Can we talk about this later? What’s our plan to deal with that massive…?”
Before he could finish his sentence, a shadow suddenly loomed over them, and he saw the other four all had frightened expressions on their faces. He turned around and grew pale when he saw that he was closest to the giant, who now stood right above them! The giant spoke to him, “You call Polyphema names? Polyphema crush you!”
Her foot hovered over him, so Narcius shrieked, “I didn’t mean massive in a bad way!” She stopped and stared at him curiously. Even though he trembled tremendously, he knew he had to continue, so he fibbed, “I was going to say massive…beauty! Yes, that’s right, massive beauty!”
Polyphema put her foot down and gazed at him in surprise. “You think Polyphema beauty-ful?”
Under his breath, Narcius scolded himself, “Why did I say that?” He seemed unsure of how to respond, so he turned back to the others, who all urged him to keep going. He reluctantly faced Polyphema again, who eagerly waited for his confirmation. “Well… I can honestly say I’ve never seen a woman like you before!”
“Aw, you make Polyphema blush!” She grinned bashfully.
As Narcius continued to occupy Polyphema’s attention, the other four huddled together. Stocastin noted, “She doesn’t appear to be a threat anymore!”
“He can’t start dating her!” Kefalia eyed them jealously. “He doesn’t love her! Eventually she’ll figure that out, and when they break up, she’ll get really mad and destroy our polis again!”
“We’re just using this opportunity to buy some time,” Exelda assured her. “It’s not like we meant for them to get married and have kids!”
Akintos puzzled, “Have kids? How would that even work? He could probably walk into her malakas like a cave!”
Kefalia and Stocastin looked repulsed at the idea of doing what he described, but Exelda cried out, “That’s it!” The other three stared at her incredulously, so Exelda hastily explained, “No, not that! I mean, if Polyphema thought she was getting lucky, she would lay down willingly and we could avoid her causing an earthquake!” Stocastin, Akintos, and Kefalia all got the idea and non-verbally agreed that it had merit.
Exelda tiptoed over to Narcius, who told Polyphema, “…Surely Aphrodite has blessed you with many lovers!”
“No, Polyphema alone,” Polyphema informed him.
“No way!” Narcius said as sincerely as he could. As Polyphema looked away sheepishly, Exelda whispered into Narcius’s ear. “No way!” he reacted vehemently.
Exelda hissed, “Just do it!”
Polyphema questioned, “What you say?”
“Uh… I…” Narcius stammered.
“You say do it? Polyphema say okay! Polyphema like you!” She smiled coyly.
Trying his hardest not to wince, Narcius suggested, “Okay, let’s go get some privacy then!” He gulped as Polyphema held out her hand, and he clutched her little finger as they walked out of the village. Exelda, Kefalia, Akintos, and Stocastin followed them at a distance.