The Unsuper Heroes II, Chapter 9

Thanamenti gazed into her bubbling cauldron and furiously bellowed, “This is unbelievable!”

Mercinon, who had been gracelessly dancing to music emanating from a self playing harp, took her words as a personal compliment, “Thank you! Can you believe I’ve had no formal training?”

“Yes!” Thanamenti gave him a disgusted look before returning her attention to the potion in her pot. “I meant that’s simply unthinkable that these five incompetent do-gooders managed to destroy the shabti! How could they possibly know the one way to do it?”

“There’s more than one way to do it!” Marcin quibbled as he sewed a long, red robe. “I found that out when I finished my studies. I was heading towards a place of employment, but then I found a special house and ended up spending money instead of earning it!”

Thanamenti rebuked him, “That is not what I meant! Did you hear anything I else I said?”

Marcin shrugged. “Eh! I tune in and out of your conversations.”

“I don’t get it! They’re not very smart, and they’re nowhere near the level they could be if they actually honed their skills, so how is it they’re able to best our monsters every time? Something isn’t right!” Thanamenti ranted.

“I guess you’re looking for a reason other than your plans are dumb and they simply outsmarted you?” Dason taunted her from inside of his birdcage.

“Yes! Ugh, why did that spell give you the ability to talk?” Thanamenti pouted.

Mercinon, while he continued to frolic to the same haunting melody, advised her, “You need to relax! Just because they bested a few of our attempts to obliterate them doesn’t mean they’ll survive them all! Just send out the next monster and hope for the best this time around! Repeat the process ’til we succeed! Simple!”

Thanamenti responded, “First of all, don’t ever tell an angry woman to relax, it’ll make her do the exact opposite! And second… I guess you’re right! Go check on Echinda and tell me what monster we’re dealing with next.”

“Yeah, Marcin, go check!” Mercinon tacked on to what he presumed was an order for his assistant.

“I think she was talking to you,” Marcin corrected him.

Mercinon laughed in disbelief. “Me? Get an order? Don’t be ridiculous!”

Thanamenti backed Marcin up, “Actually, I was talking to you.”

“What?” Mercinon got so stunned to hear that revelation that he tripped over his own feet and landed on the floor of the cave.

“All you do is waste time doing trivial things! You need to contribute more than just bossing Marcin around! I can do that!” Thanamenti scolded him.

Mercinon argued, “I’m resting now because when I’m king I won’t have a chance to do it! It’s good for you, you should try it sometime! Oh my gods! There I go telling you to relax again! Okay, I’ll go check on Echinda.”

Marcin suggested, “Maybe I should go check. He’ll probably mess it up somehow!”

“I beg your pardon?” Mercinon took great exception to that. “Are you implying that I’m incapable of handling an easy task like that?”

“I don’t think he’s implying it, he pretty much said it straight up!” Dason needled him.

Mercinon defiantly declared, “I’ll show you all! Ooh, if I didn’t want that cape right away, I would so make you revisit the pit of jackals!” As he marched inside, Marcin purposely slowed down the speed of his sewing. As soon as Mercinon entered into the cavern room that they held Echinda in, he exclaimed, “That’s Echinda?” They heard Echinda screech, and Mercinon amended his blunder, “My apologies! There’s nothing wrong with your looks! I just pictured you differently in my head!”

After a bout where the only sound heard stemmed from the self playing harp, Thanamenti inquired, “Well, what do you see?”

“I don’t see anything in here!” Mercinon replied.

“Oh, Marcin was right about you! I better go see this for myself!” She walked over to Echinda’s chambers, and she cried out in astonishment, “Oh no! She hasn’t given birth yet!” She came back to the main area of the cave wringing her hands. “She always creates a monster at a certain pace, and she hasn’t made a new one yet! What if she’s barren?”

Mercinon emerged from Echinda’s quarters and informed Thanamenti, “She’s just fallen asleep. Maybe she only gives birth when she’s awake. I didn’t think a woman had a choice about when she went into labor, but it’s probably different with her. In the meantime, just-.” He cut himself off before he finished that sentence.

Thanamenti raged, “Oh, you better not have been about to tell me to relax again!”

“I wasn’t going to!” Mercinon lied. “I was gonna say you should… Watch them in the cauldron! If they get too close to a feather and she still hasn’t produced another monster, we’ll… do something about it!”

“Knowing them, they’re probably getting close!” Thanamenti glanced into her steaming concoction and grinned. “Oh, we have time! If they were close to a feather, they probably wouldn’t be disrobing right now!”

Mercinon, who had returned to his fancy swaying, rushed over to the cauldron when he heard that last part, and Marcin paused his stitching so he could be privy to this sight. “Drats! The river water is covering them!” Marcin lamented.

Thanamenti rejoiced, “I recognize this place! They’re in the Nerostaffilon River, so close to peril and they don’t even realize it!” She cackled in delight.

“So, we don’t need a monster at all right now!” Mercinon sighed in relief.

“Well, if we get one, it probably wouldn’t to send it near there! The more danger to them the better! But for now, I can relax!” As Thanamenti conjured herself a comfortable chair, Mercinon opened his mouth to say something regarding what she had just expressed, but Marcin shook his head to urge him not to do it, so he shut his mouth and went back to his feverish dance.

As Exelda and Kefalia bathed on one side of a viney shrub that seeped into the riverbank, the men settled in on the other side. Stocastin merrily washed himself while Akintos lounged int the water and Narcius fixated on his reflection exuding from the stream. Narcius praised his image, “Wow, I think you’re getting more gorgeous with age! Look how smooth the muscles on my glorious chest are! And no hint of wrinkles on my beautiful face! Oh sure, there’s a few lines of refinement, but it just makes me appear more distinguished! And my hair shows- Aah!” A fish briefly popped out of the water in the spot he was staring at, causing him to jump a bit.

The others chuckled, and Exelda remarked, “Oh, thank Aidos! I couldn’t take much more of that!”

“I’m ashamed that I used to have romantic feelings for that guy!” Kefalia commented.

“What?” Narcius genuinely didn’t catch the statement she had made.

Kefalia fibbed, “Nothing!”

Stocastin suddenly had a realization. “Hey, this is water!”

“Listen, we all know you’re smarter than us, but I hope you don’t think we’re that dumb!” Akintos retorted.

“No, I only meant to allude to the fact that perhaps it serves as a symbol suitable enough for a place where the feather could manifest for us on our quest,” Stocastin clarified.

Exelda lauded Stocastin’s idea, “Oh, that’s true! I wish I had thought of that, but all I could think about was getting all the remnants of the volcano off of me!”

Stocastin opened his mouth to correct her, but Narcius cut him off, “We know what it really was, but we all agreed not to bring it up ever again, remember?” This made Stocastin recall that pact, so he no longer wished to broach the subject any further.

“Well, I hope everyone enjoyed that break! Get dressed ’cause we’re not walking down the riverbank naked!” Exelda directed them as she retrieved her toga and started putting it on.

“Walking? Look, I know we agreed to not bring the royal horses near potential monsters, but why do we have to walk when we’re on a river? Why can’t we take a boat?” Akintos whined.

Exelda pointed out, “We don’t have a boat.”
Kefalia indicated to something on the other side of the stream, “There’s a boat over there we could use.”

“Kefalia, that’s tied up, so obviously it belongs to someone. We can’t steal anything unless it’s an absolute emergency, and laziness hardly qualifies as one!” Exelda lectured.

“We wouldn’t be stealing it, we’d just be borrowing it for a while! It’s not like we’d take it with us after we’re done!” Akintos reasoned.

Exelda still seemed hesitant, so Stocastin logically hashed out, “Time is of the essence on this mission, and this gesture would expedite our term in this terrain.”

Still feeling a little reluctant, Exelda relented, “I suppose we do have to do all we can to find the feathers as soon as possible so we can save Dason! Oh, and the entire kingdom! Okay, let’s do it!”

Narcius, Exelda, Stocastin, and Akintos all swam towards the log raft with a small sail on it, but Kefalia stayed behind and relayed to them, “I can’t go beyond the shallows ’cause I don’t know how to swim!”

“You can fly!” Akintos brought to her attention.

“Oh yeah!” Kefalia reacted in relief. She hovered over them as they got onto the small vessel, and when everyone else got on board, she frowned. “There’s no room for me on there!”

Exelda echoed Akintos’ words, “You can fly!”

Kefalia chirped, “Oh yeah!”

Not too far down the river, they came across a small home with a vineyard behind it, and Stocastin warned Kefalia, “It’s highly recommended that pregnant women do not consume alcohol!”

“I know that!” Exelda barked. “You don’t need to keep harping on me for that! After I found Dason, I no longer needed wine to help me relax! I found something much more effective!”

“What is it? Some kind of potion?” Kefalia pondered.

Narcius piped up, “It’s obviously the act involved in creating her son!”

Exelda put in, “Or daughter! Anyways, we’re not stopping there!”

“Stop the boat! We have to in there!” Akintos announced.

“Akintos, since when do you drink liquor?” Narcius inquired.

Shaking his head, Akintos replied, “Look inside their window!” They all gazed inside of the cottage, and in the window frame, they saw an object that resembled one of the feathers! “Also, I’ve been drinking every now and then since I hit puberty.”

Squinting in that direction, Exelda esteemed, “I don’t know, something seems off about it.”

“Well, we should go find out! What if it’s a feather and we miss it?” Kefalia beseeched.

“Alright, let’s go check it out.” Exelda used the wooden oar left on board to veer raft towards the house.

Once they had docked, they crept up to the cottage, but when they peeked inside, they discovered that it had vanished! “Where did it go? Don’t tell me we did all that work for nothing!” Akintos fretted.

Stocastin theorized, “No one left the premises, so they must’ve moved it to another location within the building.”

“You should turn invisible and sneak inside to search the place,” Narcius suggested.

“I can’t sneak inside! They won’t see me, but they could hear me!” Stocastin objected.

Kefalia puzzled, “How else are we gonna get inside?”

Exelda shushed them and then whispered, “You guys need to be more quiet! Someone could hear us!”

“No one can hear us!” Akintos denied that claim. At that instance, a middle aged woman with red hair and a plump physique opened the window and peered outside! “Aah! Oh, hello! We were just…”

“Oh, this happens way too frequently! We’re going to have to put up a sign! Fisherman visiting our facility want to take a break here, but they can never figure out where the front door is! Go around the corner and you’ll see it!” The woman ducked back inside of her home and presumably waited for them.

The five of them complied with her advice, and Narcius mentioned, “Get invited inside! I should have that of that sooner!”

Exelda had a grim expression on her face. “Don’t get too excited about this!”

“Oh, why not? She seems nice,” Akintos disagreed with her less optimistic viewpoint.

“She has the feather somewhere in there! The fact that it disappeared from our sight may not bode well for us!” Exelda worriedly assessed.

Kefalia cheerily regarded her, “You stress out too much! You should ask yourself this: what’s the best that can happen?”

Before Exelda could dispute her assertion, they reached the front door. The woman they met before opened her entrance up and invited them, “Come on in!”

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