"So, what do we do now?" asked Melly curiously examining the bright red tail-feathers of Clemiticus’ new winged accessory. She found the parrots' sudden arrival highly suspicious.
Clemiticus looked quizzically at Melly. “Fairy just gave us a quest.”
“And we will go north of course to complete, the quest.” Clemiticus spoke slowly.
Melly sighed. “I know that. I meant now.” She gestured at the wrecked room. “I don’t know if you noticed, but we just killed the leader of this entire region.”
Clemiticus looked affronted. “We didn't do nuffin. It was an accident.”
The other two men nodded in agreement.
Melly sighed again. “And who’s going to believe that?”
Clemiticus looked over at the others, who only shrugged in response.
“Well, you make a good point,” he admitted. “My charisma points are pretty low and yours are non-existent.”
“Thank you,” Melly said, “we will need to find a back door out of this place. Nuecus, could you fly us out of here with the wagon?”
“No can do, lovely miss. My lousy magic will need at least another thirty magical minutes before it can fly again.”
“Damn. By that time, a hundred guards could come up here and throw us back into the Arena.” She closed her eyes. Think Melly think!
“Squawk!” Clemiticus’ new parrot squawked. "Follow me, follow me!" The scarlet bird took flight.
Clemiticus just shrugged and rushed to follow the parrot who had just disappeared down the spiral staircase. The swashbuckler's new hat bounced with every stride.
"Seriously?" Melly screamed. “Or we could just follow the stupid chicken!”
Derrick and Nuecus ran to keep up with their new swashbuckling comrade. For some strange reason, none of the men had any problems with taking orders from the feathered fowl.
"Quit complaining, angry girl!" Nuecus said and chuckled. "This is getting interesting."
Melly bit back a retort and her instinct to throttle the miracle worker and obeyed. The descent was considerably easier, but the hard-stone steps still sent shockwaves through her feet. Melly swore that one day she would find a smarter, mechanical way to climb these insufferable towers. Steps were evil.
When the party reached the bottom, they found the main hall empty. It was too quiet.
"Squawk! This way." The Parrot screeched as it flew out of the main doorway.
“This stupid bird’s going to get us killed,” Melly mumbled.
“What was that Melly?” Asked Clemiticus. He had stars in his eyes. He was almost skipping to follow his new pet.
“Nothing!” Melly replied.
After a little while, they found themselves outside in full sunlight. It was still only midday. Their little party of misfits had accomplished so much in so little time. The crowd that had formed on Clemiticus and Melly's triumphant arena victory had dispersed. Their attention had been swept up by a much more impressive phenomenon. The massive crowd all huddled around the other side of the tower. The corpse of their fallen Mayor in the dead centre.
“Good they haven’t spotted us yet.” Melly whispered. “If we sneak off now...”
“Squawk!” the parrot squawked.
As one, the crowd turned.
“Crap!” Melly swore.
The sight of the party sent murmurs through the crowd. Within seconds, the sea of people pressed forward and surrounded the outsiders. They shepherded the party towards the crime scene with little to no effort.
It was then Melly spotted two familiar faces she didn’t want to see. Corrupt guard number one and corrupt guard number two. They were fending off the townspeople from their ex-bosses' treasure. A few more guards she hadn’t seen before accompanied them and each wore a frantic expression. The only reason they held the crowd back so far was that they were brandishing long weapons.
"Back! Back I said!" corrupt guard number one commanded. "This is the property of the Mayor and as the next highest-ranking official in this city that heavy burden now falls on me. This is all mine!"
“Yours?” corrupt guard number two asked angrily.
Melly scoffed. "That's brave!" she laughed as she looked between the greedy faces of corrupt guards number one and two.
The startled guards turned their weapons towards Melly.
"Murderers!" Corrupt guard number two yelled.
"Thieves!" Corrupt guard number one added. "Arrest them!"
Hundreds of faces looked at Clemiticuses' party and then back at the guards. The expressions on the tired and indebted townspeople turned grim. There was fire in their eyes.
"Hypocrites. Filthy. Hypocrites," the Parrot squawked.
"Oh no!" the guards said together as the crowd descended.
In an instant, the crowd was on them, hands knocking their weapons aside. The sea of limbs pulled the guards off their feet and away from the giant pile of treasure. Immediately, the treasure pile evaporated followed by every single scrap of clothing the guards had been wearing. The needy seized anything and everything.
"My LOOT!" Clemiticus yelled as the pile disappeared. "Get away, get away!" he shouted.
The parrot swooped down to aid its master, pecking at random villagers. "Get away. Get away!" it squawked.
But it was far too late. Clemiticus’ glittering prize had vanished.
"Nooooooo!" Clemiticus yelled. “WTF?”
"What does that mean?" Melly asked, an involuntary laugh escaping her lips. While it was unfortunate that they wouldn’t receive a single drop of compensation from the insane Mayor. Melly relished the pain and disappointment her crazed pirate comrade now suffered.
"What the fuck! What the fuck!" the parrot informed her.
"Oh." She chuckled. "Thanks, Parrot."
The parrot seemed to give her a death stare, "step off, bitch!"
"What?" Melly shouted. "Come here and say that!"
Melly lunged for the parrot's neck only to miss by an inch. The bird soared skywards, out of harm’s way and laughed in triumph.
"Step off, bitch! Step off bitch!" it repeated as it swooped down to tease her.
Melly scooped up a stone and threw it as hard as she could.
The rock found its mark, and the parrot fell from the sky in a sea of red feathers.
"Melly!" Derrick reprimanded. "What was that for?"
"It called me a bitch," she replied.
"So? It's a parrot!" Derrick harrumphed.
"Skittles!" Clemiticus screamed as he dove to catch his new feathered friend.
"Skittles?" Melly asked.
Clemiticus ignored her as the parrot landed softly in his open palms. The small creature looked up pitifully.
"Skittles say something," he pleaded.
"The bitch got me!" Skittles said softly. Melly rolled her eyes.
The bird's wings stretched out and its eyes rolled to the back of its head. It was a grand Shakespearean display.
"Why!" Clemiticus pleaded to the sky. "What a cruel, cruel world!"
The parrot flickered red and Melly froze at the sight.
A blue light flashed, and the fairy appeared above the party.
"Skittles has died," it said cheerfully.
"Noooooooooo!" Clemiticus mourned.
"Oh, Whoops," Melly muttered.
"Way to go kid." Nuecus scorned her.
A red light flashed as the parrot disappeared in a cloud of red feathers.
"Noooooooo!" Clemiticus repeated.
"Skittles the Parrot has respawned." Fairy announced.
"What?" Melly gasped.
"Squwaaaaak!" Skittles screeched.
"Seriously, WTF?" Melly spoke incredulously.
"Shhhh!" Derrick berated her. "It's a miracle!"
Fairy the fairy landed on Clem's shoulder and smiled. "It seems a pirate's pet will respawn indefinitely as long as the Pirate is alive," Fairy said confused.
"What does that mean?" Melly asked.
"It means the parrot is invisible," Nuecus supplied.
"No, dumb, dumb!" Skittles the parrots chirped in. "Squawk. I'm invincible. Squawk!"
"Oh, bloody hell!" Melly grumbled.