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"Isn't this too fast?" Heath wondered.

"I'm afraid it will never be fast enough," Tamara replied.

 

Ruth crouched down and got his first good look at the bronze-colored door handle. His initial excitement began to die down. When he first saw that there was a door that led inside the tree he had been hopeful. When he saw that the handle appeared to be made of shiny precious metal? The dragon in him had risen to the forefront and he had taken large strides to the door without regard to his arms and shoulders, still on the mend, or the pain in his thighs and calves, hurt from hours and days of abuse.

After licking the metal he had concluded that it was just shiny iron or low-quality steel. His interest in taking the metal from the door immediately waned.

“I wonder if I can unlock this with the magnetic field?” Ruth tilted his head and shrugged. He reached out with a hand, giving the mental go-ahead to push mana into the Generic Magnetic Field spell slot. Two spell slots still appeared to him when he focused on it. Given how he would learn it after just one more casting of it, he was tempted to just recast it immediately.

“Better not. It’s free mana for the next time that I cast it.” His reserves were getting a little low. He was at half of his own internal mana tank. Despite the fact that his body was practically humming with the influx of mana coming in from around the wood, much of that mana was immediately circulated and released back into the world because his body wasn’t capable of retaining it all. The rest which his body was capable of holding onto was being slowly converted to his own personal mana, which he would then consume to cast his own internal spells.

He reached out a hand toward the door and was immediately amused by the action. The door handle jiggled slightly and then the door strained slightly near the latch as his hand approached. He prepared for there to be some sort of resistance and was surprised when none came.

“It tries to get away from me but I am unaffected.” Ruth thought it was interesting. When the spell was initially presented to him by the immortal and deadly text he had sort of understood that metal could be attracted toward him or repelled away. He had unconsciously thought that he would be attracted or repelled by the metal in some way, though that did not seem to be the case.

His hand touched the doorknob and the wood in the door frame actually began to shriek in protest. He pressed his palm with a great deal of pressure downward and was rewarded as a large hole appeared in the wooden door as the doorknob, part of the door frame, and a large portion of the door itself crunched apart as it flew backward into the tree home.

Destruction felt very good! He would go inside this place and then block the door so the pixies couldn’t get in.

At least, that was his line of reasoning as he stepped into the tree home. With everything that was going on and all the marvelous insights into magic and how the universe was working Ruth had been focused on getting shelter, barricading himself, and waiting for the pixies to go away.

In hindsight, it was only natural that a place with a door would have creatures living inside of it.

A furry bipedal raccoon and four more of the creatures that wore hats were in the room. One on the couch, three unconscious near the door.

“I can explain!” Ruth immediately said in draconic. He held both of his hands up palms outward to show he meant no harm. Ruth had to admit to himself that he may have accidentally killed the three furred creatures near the door when the door handle part of the opening had fractured and flew inward. He couldn’t reconcile them all being out cold within several feet of the door while the other two were on the couch otherwise.

↢↦

Just as darkness was beginning to take over, Malika heard the sound of an explosion.

The creature that had killed her brothers moved in. He was wearing an odd reptilian scale suit that covered him more than the leather skirt he’d been wearing when last she saw him. He also felt infinitely more dangerous. There was a presence in the room that had been absent moments before.

Malika saw him raise his hands and memories of lightning flashing out and killing her brothers caused a victorious and cruel sneer to cross her face. His words sounded clicking and grating, containing ferocious guttural undertones that promised violence.

“As it should be, kinslayer!” Malika cast one last triumphant look at her treacherous mother and fainted. Her last conscious moment was one of pleasure at the idea of the two kinslayers, the strange creature and her mother, fighting to the death.

↢↦

“Kill him!” Mother Chaka screamed around her candied fig. It was keeping her conscious in the room filled with the sleeping smoke produced by the candle. With her daughter’s words and sneer and the way the creature spoke and raised his hands she thought that he was going to try and spell them to death in the manner that had killed her sons.

Mother Chaka looked over and saw that the Haberdasher was already running to an inner door -- to escape!

“Ah! Death of my enemy is mine to claim then!” Her enormous hat wobbled on her head as she stood up proudly! All two and a half feet, perhaps a bit more if you felt gracious, of righteous anger.

She drew the small blade at her side and leaped over the coffee table!

↢↦

Ruth forgot about the three furred creatures at his feet. He forgot about the little creature that was dashing toward him with the small knife. He momentarily put aside thinking about the raccoon that was trying to open a door that led further into the tree.

Ruth really just wanted to sit down because he realized for the first time how stupid he had been. In casting the Generic Magnetic Field, and not canceling it, he was attracting the pixies. They had come almost immediately, within a minute, after he had wiped out an area of them with his Thunder Struck. He had been so pleased with himself when the door had burst inward.

He looked up mournfully and watched quietly as Mother Chaka thrust her dagger at him. She was small though, and the repelling force of the spell that would no doubt cause his doom sent the blade flying away from him and further into the room before it could even get close to his body.

With his left hand he reached down and placed it hard on top of Mother Chaka’s head. It smashed her hat flat against her skull. The smell of singed fur and feather and melted organic material filled the room as he directly used shock to end the small hatted creatures threat toward him.

“You all can’t be reasoned with, can you?” He said sadly.

↢↦

The Haberdasher continued to fumble with his keys to open the door. Behind him he heard the sharp report of thunder in an enclosed space. He winced and managed to fit the right key in the door after a long moment.

He looked behind him and with a horrified glance realized that Mother Chaka hadn’t even managed to slow the creature down! Worse, it was already in front of him, staring down in a deadened manner. Looking into the eyes of the creature was like looking into the eyes of death!

He started to turn around and held up his furred hands! “Wait! I have a way out of here! A portal that leads to--”

He never got a chance because the creature reached out with one hand, and then… something odd happened. The creature’s sleeve surged toward him… and there was only darkness. A desperate last thought fled from one end to his mind to the other.

This device remembers me! Quickly! I must find something to write this down! For science!

Then there was only pain.

↢↦

“Okay, so this is happening now…”

Ruth was horrified to find that when he reached out to directly use shock on the bipedal raccoon his clothing had started to recede from his body and cover the raccoon! From his ankles to his knees, from his thighs and then to his chest, like it was liquid being drained from his person. When most of it finally got to the arm it had directly encapsulated the bipedal raccoon.

Loud crunching and sucking noises squeezed out along with a startled and then desperate scream. Ruth tried to pull his hand away from the last of the murderous clothing but he was still wearing the primary device -- the ring! He couldn’t reach it to pry it off because the rest of the clothing was folded over his hand while it ate the Haberdasher.

“Okay! Time to go! Just uhh…” Ruth seriously considered cutting his arm off.

Fortunately, the feast hadn’t taken more than a few seconds. Whatever mechanism the ravenous clothing used to digest seemed to have fully dissolved the bipedal raccoon in mere moments. The clothing once again surged back up his arm and down his body. He was once more fully clad, and this time soft boots appeared on the bottoms of his feet.

A feeling of peace and contentedness washed over his body.

Ruth stood very still and then couldn’t help it. He finally laughed nervously, licking his lips.

“What the fuck?”

A low bass humming noise started to increase in intensity from the walls all around him.

Agh! Cannibal Pixies!

 

Immortal and Deadly Text!

 

ATTENTION: PLEASE FIND A SAFE PLACE TO HIBERNATE WHILE YOUR BODY CHANGES. 3 Minutes Remain.

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About the author

Fool

Bio: I'm not by nature a very courageous person. If you have been around enough you might have surmised as much on your own. I started writing these gaming books because I was frustrated, and in desperate need of a way to give voice to the ideas and concepts that I hope to see in a game some day. I'm also trying to write a book about a former dragon without making him into too much of a murder hobo. I hope you enjoy them. If you don't, that's alright too. :)

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