Chapter VII : Eastbound V

Chapter VII : Eastbound

“ From the North “

“ Porcupig stampede! “ a human from one of the other towns yelled just before brown rolls of spikes, gore and death impaled him.

But he wasn’t the only victim. As the stampede rolled through the forest and across the river, many unsuspecting humans from different towns were killed as well. With the plant life on a rampage, it was natural for animals to follow suit. Porcupigs, which were widely known for being aggressive, seemed to be the first ones to snap. A stampede of ten porcupigs ran over a part of 27’s camp and the humans narrowly escaped death by dropping everything that they had so that they could run away.

The stampede passed so quickly that even if Errol opted to use her abilities, she would not have been able to prevent many deaths. However, the worst was yet to come as a lone porcupig, slow but massive, rolled right into the middle of their camp. The animal snorted and unrolled itself; a small, fat face with a large nose was revealed. The rest of the creature looked like a thick covering of thorns and barbs. It seemed to be a fairly old porcupig but while other creatures grew wiser as they aged, porcupigs just became larger bullies. Tamers at the northern part of the World tried to raise their own porcupigs for quill harvesting, but the beasts were just too wild and painful to handle.

“ A porcupig! “ Rina exclaimed and pointed at the creature as she emerged from between two oak trees. The girl had been looking for firewood and she did not know the danger which lay before her.

Easily agitated, as any porcupig would be, the creature rolled over to Rina. The historian froze in place, still unable to fully comprehend what was going on even as Thyme yelled for her to run away. As the spikes appeared overhead, Puppy emerged from the ground behind the girl and it stood on its four hind legs with its body slightly bent forward to form a roof over Rina. Curiously enough, the porcupig’s quills did not touch Puppy for a mess of vines formed a net between two oaks and the porcupig was momentarily entangled within it.

“ Puppy! “ Errol called for her pet and the tardigrade immediately responded.

The greyish creature dropped down on all eight and Rina quickly jumped on its back. Soon after, the historian was safe beside Anise and the sobbing red-haired guard. While the porcupig was still trapped in the vines, the Overlord gave her pet a stern talking to.

“ Bad Puppy, bad! “

The creature replied with a bored grunt.

“ You know that you can’t take a porcupig to the face! “

Puppy’s antennae emerged and pointed at Rina, and the tardigrade followed it with a loud hmf.

“ Playing a hero’s no excuse, Mister! You’re grounded for a day! “

The tardigrade’s antennae straightened up, it pounded the ground with its front legs, and then Puppy dove into the ground. Some humans looked on at the strange conversation, but soon they gathered their belongings and got ready to get the heck away from the porcupig.

“ That’s pointless, “ Errol sighed at the humans’ attempt to run away, “ It’ll just follow us until it gets bored of impaling humans. We have to kill it… somehow. “

Though her carefully placed vines kept the creature in place, soon its quill cut through the plants and the porcupig turned to the humans. The ground shook a bit and they braced themselves for another stampede, but it turned out to be reinforcements.

“ Hey! How are – whoa, a porcupig?! “ the young maize-haired farmer Quartz excitedly greeted the other townsfolk. He seemed to have enjoyed the ride from 27 though his comrades, excluding Steel, had motion sickness from traveling on the snakes.

“ The acacia fell behind. Desert snakes are really fast huh? “ Steel said to Errol as he hopped off Linnorm’s head. Rina ran over to the farmer and hugged him excitedly; she then pulled a jealous Thyme into the hug, much to the guard’s chagrin.

As if the mere presence of armored desert snakes was not enough, Linnorm slithered towards the agitated porcupig. Wise, purple eyes stared into dumb, yellow ones. The snake straightened its body and rose way above the quilled creature, but stupidity knew no bounds. The porcupig rushed headfirst at the snake, then it rolled itself up and buried its sturdy, aged quills into Linnorm’s exposed underside. The old snake let out a cry…

… of laughter. It sounded as if Linnorm was wheezing, then it looked down at the porcupig. The quills did seem to be buried in the snake’s flesh, but when Linnorm huffed, the porcupig popped out of the massive desert beast’s scales with such force that its quilled back was buried deep into the trunk of an oak tree. The aggressive old porcupig squealed as it flailed its feet, but to no avail. The humans soon gathered around it and after a few moments of stabbing, skinning, slicing and cooking…

“ Bacon! “ Xing’s wife Huntress happily exclaimed as the townsfolk dug into their rare meal.


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