This Quest is Bullshit



The Questionable Queens of Questing - Part 6


A note from Nixia

Read chapter 1 by Jiwa

Eve reached for the cloche, excitement clashing with familiar anxiety as her hand grew ever nearer. What would go wrong this time? She grit her teeth, ready to Jet away at the first explosion, lightning strike, spontaneous combustion, or random meteor falling from the sky. None came.

Ariane rolled her eyes. “Get on with it.”

Growing impatient, Ilea sent two tendrils of ash whipping across the table, flipping each cloche off its respective tray. Beneath lay two circles of bread, over a foot wide but each below an inch tall.

Eve groaned. “Flatbread? You made flatbread? It was supposed to be a loaf!”

Larry took a reflexive step back, holding up two hands defensively. “You gave us an hour and a half to bake six things! Do you have any idea how long bread takes to rise?”

Maximillian smirked. “Your exact words were ‘Something bread-adjacent, I’ll take anything, really.’” He gestured down to his flatbread. “There’s your anything.”

Eve opened her mouth to protest again, but stopped herself mid breath. She sighed. “I don’t know what I expected. Why should things be any different in an alternate universe? At least you two survived trying to make bread for me.”

Maximillian paled. Larry gaped. “S-s-s-survived?”

“I think you did great!” Broccoli praised them through a mouthful of flatbread. “Tastes amazing.”

“It is good.” Elaine waited until she’d actually swallowed her bite before commenting. “The big flaky salt is nice after all these cakes.”

Maximillian smiled. “You really think so? The salt was Larry’s idea, actually. I didn’t even know we had it in there until he pulled it from the back of the pantry.”

Candle raised an eyebrow. “Larry, you’re not supposed to help him.”

Larry gulped. “No-um… no offense, but you all are way scarier than he is.”

The party put it to a vote, and for a sixth and final time the votes came up split, eliciting a chorus of groans all around.

“Mr. Celestial Being?” Broccoli craned her neck to look straight up. “What happens if there’s a tie?”

The air above the table shimmered, drawing all eyes towards it as a ten-foot tall demon materialized. “I happen,” she answered.

The succubus reminded Eve of the group of male cultists who’d been trying to summon a particularly well-endowed demoness back on her home world. “Ayla’s tits, not again,” she cursed.

“Who’s Ayla?” Candle asked. “And what do her tits have to do with this?”

Ilea looked up at the succubus and blinked. “No, no, I can definitely see what tits have to do with the situation at hand.”

“Now,” the demoness snarled, “where’s your entity of good when his champion is in peril?”

As if in reply, the space next to her shimmered again, and a cat materialized mid-air, plopping unceremoniously onto the table. Chocolate cake splattered everywhere.

“Mr. Kitty!” Broccoli jumped, grabbing the entity of good from the table and frantically wiping chocolate from his fur. “Are you alright?”

The divine entity meowed.

“You fools!” the succubus declared. “Is this the best the forces of good have to offer? A medically overweight cat?”

The divine entity meowed.

“And us,” Elaine said. “Don’t forget us.”

“Then you’re more foolish than I thought! You foolish pitiful fools cannot intervene! Once the battle starts, only the champions can face each other, wielding only the power granted them by their respective mentors!”

Larry paled. “Battle?”

The demoness cackled. “Now, my champion, take my power so you can crush the paltry champion of good and enforce my—I mean your—evil will upon this world!” A faint red glow slowly built around her body, growing brighter and brighter with every passing second.

Maximillian stared, his eyes unnaturally fixated upon the infernal beast. “Yes, mistress.”

At once a crimson beam burst from the demoness, colliding with the champion of evil and lifting him into the air. He hung there for a time, writhing with the sudden influx of demonic power.

“Come on Mr. Kitty, give Larry your power!” Broccoli held the entity of good out towards Larry with both hands as if channeling a spell.

The divine entity meowed.

“We need to do something!” Candle yelled.

Lacking a functional Appraise on this world, Eve did her best to size up the demoness, wondering both how they could defeat such a being and just how much exp she might get for doing so. Her mouth watered.

Thinking fast, Elaine sent a burst of Radiance at the still-floating Maximillian, but the attack passed right through him.

“Fools!” the demoness called them for the fifth time. “You are too late! Now the empowering has begun, only the champion of good can harm my minio—I mean my hero! It’s over. Soon the inevitable battle shall begin, and the prophecy shall be fulfilled, and I—”

A tendril of ash shot through the air, piercing the demoness straight through the head. She collapsed to the floor.

All eyes turned to Ilea.

“What?” Ikea asked. “She said the champion’s invulnerable. Didn’t say anything about herself.”

“So now what?” Candle asked.

Ariane snarled, revealing her set of far too many fangs.

Seriously, how does she fit that many in her mouth? That can’t be comfortable. Eve thought.

“We’ve gotta do something about him,” the vampire snapped, pointing at the still-floating Maximillian.

Just to be sure, Ilea launched another barrage of ashen projectiles at the champion of evil, but he remained unharmed.

“Okay,” Elaine thought aloud, “so we can’t interfere with the champions, and at some point they’re gonna fight to the death.”

Larry gaped. “To the what?

“Well you say fight,” Ilea said, “but Maximillian there is all hopped up on demon energy, and Larry’s got… a cat.”

The divine entity meowed. Broccoli pet him.

Eve shook her head, her eyes still fixed on the demoness’s corpse. “All that exp,” she muttered, “all gone.”

Ilea patted her on the back. “Don’t worry about it. She was only level two hundred.”

Eve shed a tear.

“It sounds like Larry needs a little more firepower.” Ariane grinned, pulling out a wide variety of firearms. “Here, start with this.” She shoved a bazooka towards the champion of light.

It fell right through his hands, passing untouched by the suddenly-incorporeal Larry.

“Great,” Ariane muttered, “the only one allowed to help him is the cat.”

“And he is helping! Isn’t that right, Mr. Kitty?” Broccoli came to his defense.

The divine entity meowed.

Elaine reasoned through it. “So if we can’t change the outcome of the fight itself, is there a way we could prevent the fight entirely?”

Broccoli turned her head to the sky. “Mr. Celestial being? Could you tell us that prophecy again, please?”

A disembodied voice echoed through the dining room. “At the end of times, when a brilliant light hits the tallest mount of the Winter’s Teeth, the forces of good and evil shall clash across the land until the victor slays the last of their foes and remakes the world in their image!”

Broccoli grinned. “Thank you!”

“So we just have to stop any light from touching the tallest mount of the Winter’s Teeth, right?” Eve asked. “Then the fight will never happen.”

“Larry,” Eve rounded on the poor guy, “where are the Winter’s Teeth?”

“I-um-I don’t know?”

Elaine rolled her eyes. “It’s a few hundred miles north of here,” she said. “Did you think that wasn’t the first thing I looked up on that computer?”

Ariane flashed a fang-intensive smile. “Now we just need to fly a few hundred miles before the sun rises in… two hours?”

Five pairs of eyes turned to Candle.

“Nope. Not again. Not happening.”

Broccoli pouted. “Not even for Mr. Kitty?” She held the entity of good out towards the dragon.

The divine being meowed.

Five minutes later, Ilea and Candle soared through the air, the latter with a collection of heroines on her back.

“So what’s the plan here?” Elaine shouted over the roar of the wind.

“How about that fancy light magic of yours?” Eve asked.

Ariane spat.

“Could you redirect the sunlight away from the mountain?”

Elaine shook her head. “Not even close.”

“What about Ilea?” All four passengers felt Candle’s draconic body rumble as she spoke. “With enough ash you could cover it in shade.”

“Not forever!” Ilea shouted over the rushing wind. “We need a permanent solution if we want to stop this fight from happening.”

Eve blinked. “A permanent solution. To sunlight hitting a mountain. Sure, why don’t we just move the mountain into the shade? Sarcasm dripped from her voice.

Ilea shrugged. “I was thinking more along the lines of destroying it, but your idea works too if you have a way to actually do it.”

Eve exhaled. “Oh, of course. Destroy the mountain. Why didn’t I think of that?”

“Do we have that kind of firepower?” Elaine asked.

“We could have,” Ariane grumbled, “if somebody hadn’t stopped me from bringing the nuke.”

“Yeah… um…” Ilea rubbed the back of her neck. “About that…”

Ariane’s eyes widened. “You didn’t.”

“I thought it might come in handy.”

“But you’re the one who told me not to—”

“Yeah, because you would’ve thrown it at that demoness,” Ilea interrupted her.

The torrent of air came to an abrupt halt as ash and dragon alike stopped midair. “We’re here.”

The deep blue of predawn lit the mountains below, the line of snowy peaks defined in neither light nor shadow. The mount in question stood above the rest, towering above the range as a lord might peer over his domain.

“Welp, here goes nothing.” Ilea pulled the weapon of mass destruction from her storage, the twenty-foot metal bomb dwarfing all in the party. “How does this thing work?”

Elaine, still clinging to Candle’s back, stared at the explosive in terror. “Is… is it armed?”

Ilea shrugged. “Well this red light’s flashing, so I’m going to go with yes.”

“You’ve been carrying an armed nuke all this—”

“Yep,” Ilea chimed. “And now we get to see how well it works.”

Ariane reached across the gap between Candle and Ilea, petting the nuclear device like one might a puppy, laughing gleefully.

Eve and Broccoli stared.

“Alright,” Ilea said, “dropping the bomb in three, two—”

Ariane shoved it, knocking the device from Ilea’s grasp and sending it plummeting towards the mountain below.

“—one.” Ilea finished.

Elaine paled. “Get us out of here!”

Ilea and Candle turned in the air, shooting through the sky away from the imminent explosion.

In the same moment the destruction struck, a barrier of ash bloomed from Ilea’s back, forming a dark sphere around the airborne heroines. “Keep moving!” she yelled, straining to hold up the shield.

“Did it work?” Broccoli asked. “Is Larry going to be okay?”

“The mountain’s still there,” Ilea replied, “but it’s not the tallest any more.”

The party flew in silence for some time, racing onward as far from the nuclear impact as they could. When at last they landed and the sphere of protective ash dispersed, they found not the wilderness of Larry’s realm, but the mishmash floating island where they’d all first met.

The same celestial-being-clumsily-controlling-a-meat-puppet met them. “Congratulations, heroes! Erm… heroines! Through your… ingenuity, yes let’s go with ingenuity…” He coughed. “Through your ingenuity you have defeated the forces of evil and prevented the apocalypse from wreaking havoc on this poor world.”

Broccoli applauded, hopping up and down with excitement. Pats on the back were shared all around.

“Unfortunately,” the celestial being’s voice echoed through the small island, “due to recent budgetary constraints caused by events including but not limited to the payback for extensive property damage, emotional hardships, and the cleanup of several hundred square miles of nuclear fallout, I am unable to provide the promised rewards at this time.”

Responses to that ranged from audible groans to Eve sighing and saying “typical bullshit quests,” to Broccoli running up to give the celestial being a hug.

“It’s okay, Mr. Celestial Being. You did your best.”

“But—uh—I can offer you, this um…” He waved his hand frantically, and a slip of paper suddenly appeared. He read it. “This… coupon for 40% off Heinrich’s Legendary Barbecue Sauce. Only applicable at participating retailers.”

Eve stared. Ilea stared. Ariane stared. There was an awful lot of dumbfounded staring going around.

Candle blinked. “What?”

“The universe thanks you all for your contribution to maintaining the balance. I pray we can all count on such great heroines to aid us in our times of need. Buh-bye!” He vanished, leaving the coupon hanging in the space he’d once occupied. The women all watched in silence as it slowly fluttered to the ground.

Ilea scowled. “Does… um… does anybody want that?”

Broccoli jumped. “I do!” She raced to the fallen coupon, stooping over to snatch it up. “It’ll be the perfect souvenir for all the wonderful people I’ve met!”

“Um… sure,” Eve said.

The moment the bun’s hand touched the paper, six portals snapped open all around the island.

Elaine clapped her hands once. “I guess that’s it then. Thank you all for… whatever this was.”

Candle nodded. “It’s been fun.”

“Agreed,” Eve said, before adding under her breath, “but on the off chance this was all a very strange dream, I need to stop eating Wes’s cooking before bed.”

“No dream,” Ilea said, tilting her head towards Ariane. “We’ve done this before.”

“That’s exactly what a dream would say.”

Broccoli ran from person to person, delivering hugs all around as the party slowly separated. One by one the women stepped back through their respective portals, and one by one they winked out.

The adventure was over. The day was saved. And the island was no more.

A note from Nixia

Happy April Fools!

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Bio: Teller of Tales, Singer of Songs
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