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  Fishin’ woulda been great. Riding on top of my magnificent magical mountain of a monkey to conquer the big bad beast of the river bend made me feel like a badass, the mad sorcerer-king of the New World. Unfortunately, as we hit the tree line, my daydream was interrupted by the sight of my targeted prey already on the sandy beach down by the river, upside down and trussed up like a prize pig. The mouth was tied shut and the legs tied to its own body. It looked like freaking Gulliver’s Travels down there, a giant reptile being manhandled by conniving ants. Little green goblins were scrambling over the gigantic scaly body, hammering at the incredibly thick scales while what looked to be two goblin shamans were in front of its eyes. I could hear their chanting, each syllable accompanied by a spark of green or red light. The little worker bee goblins scaling this beast looked to be carving or painting esoteric runes on it while others were adding lengths of rope around its joints, small bits of shiny metal catching the glare of the sun.

 

  I used mental communication to bypass the concerns of sound. “Kong, are they doing what I think they’re doing?” I thought at my ride, making sure to include the side thrust of the need to stay silent. He didn’t shake his head, but sent back a mental nod. For a tree-sized monkey, he sure was stealthy, but I had to make sure he stayed that way for the next few moments. I wanted that gator, and I wanted these stinking goblins to have it even less. Actually, I wanted them in its belly, but I’ll get there when I get there. Counting all the goblins was hard as they kept moving, almost erratically like insects. But as far as I could tell, there were three shamans, two of which were busy doing their gator hypnotism and one on guard duty, fifteen or so of the small ones crawling up and down the gator, and ten of the bigger soldier looking ones. The bigger ones looked to be about my size, complete with armor and weapons and permanent scowls. [Wish I had freaking fire sorcery] I thought, [They look greasy enough to burn].

 

  I could take’em, easy. Well, easy enough with Kong doing most of the work. Sending him my plan took place at the speed of thought, and our next actions seemed comically slow to me. Kong tore out of the treeline with his prized and began punting goblins into the river while swinging his axe at the ropes tying down the gator as I used this distraction to gun for the third shaman. Luckily, the shaman on guard was paying attention to the rampaging ape instead of the sneaky sorcerer as I shaped Svalinn into blades coming out of my forearms and took his head. One down. The other two shamans began chanting faster and faster, waving their arms and staffs. The damn ape was cutting the ropes holding down the gator with his axe, fucking lawyer. I didn’t mention anything about not cutting the ropes, just getting the goblins out of the way, and it seemed that he was taking literal liberty with what I didn’t say.

 

  I yanked on our mental link to clarify that having a trussed up lizard was perfect for us and to STOP CUTTING THE FREAKING ROPES! Kong roared in anger but obeyed, and kept kicking and smacking the goblins into the river while the bigger hobgoblins were throwing spears to try and slow him down. I used flesh sorcery to pull all the blood out of the body of the shaman I’d shamelessly ganked and formed it into two floating spears, which I sent at one of the hypno-shamans. As the spears entered his body from the force, they also became less solid and more like and invading squid, forming into tentacles that ravaged his body while strangling him. The last shaman just gave up and ran, and the rest of the surviving goblins joined him in the small rafts and boats that were beached on the shore. Kong really left an impression on them as his axe obliterated any goblin it touched. Each goblin he smacked with that oversized weapon was instant hamburger, a bloody pancake for the insects to feast on.

 

  The smell was horrible. Goblins stink. And while the smell of goblin blood made me throw up just a bit, it more than anything made the big ole’ gator wake up out of his funk, and he wasn’t happy. “Fuck!” I yelled while clutching my stomach, using flesh sorcery to calm my insides. [Restrain it!] I thought, launching that message down Kong’s mental link. He jumped on top of the upside down gator as it began to flex and snap the restraints, using his axe to press on its throat. I don’t know how those goblins got the gator to be upside down, but it really was in a vulnerable position, but I could work with that. Its tail was whipping back and forth, sending waves of sand in one direction and water in the other, desperately trying to move. I walked closer, pulling blood from the seven goblin bodies that were near me and condensing it into a broiling ball that hovered six inches above my hand. Forming the ball of blood into my rune of domination, I used magic to hurl and guide it right into the yellow slitted eye of the downed gator. The bloody rune wavered for a half second, and then dissolved, the magic slivers shooting down the optic nerve straight to the animal’s brain.

 

  It was both easier and harder to dominate this giant reptile than it was to conquer Kong. It didn’t have the forebrain or capacity of complex thought to mentally work its way around the binding, but it did have rivers of pure rage and instinct that I had to circumvent. The entire time our wills were duking it out, I was slowly walking closer to it, using my proximity to strengthen the mental connection even while I struggled to block out the sensations of sweat dripping down my forehead, beads of saltiness that threatened my eyes. The gritty sand in my boots fought for my attention while the screaming cries of fear of the riverswept goblins railed at my focus. [Fuck, all, of, YOU], I raged in my mind, [No matter how big, or how many, or how goddamn smelly, I will rule!]. It was more than confidence, more than mental power, it was recognizing that my will had the power to create fact. I could bend this, this insignificant reptile, to my will. I just hadn’t done it yet.

 

  That was it, that was the key. I was fighting a battle of will when I didn’t have to. Reaching into its brain, I found its instincts and just added one more. I made Kong hop off the gator and back up to the forest while it looked at me as if seeing me for the first time. Using water and earth sorcery concurrently, I pulled the water of the river up onto the shore while shifting the sand to pull away from the gator on one side and pushing up on the other so that it could flip over. As it landed on its belly, it flexed its limbs and broke the ropes, glared at me with one eye, and then took off into the river as fast as its bulk would allow.

 

  A questioning grunt from Kong reminded me that he was still there. I had forgotten about him for a full ten minutes as I was watching the river with my new minion, the gator making the swimming goblin survivors disappear as the river took its due. “Don’t worry about him,” I said to Kong softly, his keen senses easily picking up my voice, “I just helped him realize that I was the biggest, baddest croc around. From there, it was easy.” Turning towards Kong, I gently took our mental link in my ethereal mental hands and squeezed just a bit, making him wince. “And don’t you forget it.”

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