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51.35% Chimera Girl / Chapter 38: In the Shadow of Queen Brenda

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Chapter 38: In the Shadow of Queen Brenda

Nelda had a restless night. She had been so dismissive of Beaker, but if there was a genius in their midst, it was him.

[It would make more sense to get him to go over before destroying the Porter. There is a good chance they won't be able to rebuild it without him. But I'll have to stay behind to make sure the current machine is destroyed too badly to back-engineer and reproduce.]

Nelda would like to be selfish and decide this was all somebody else's problem. Someone more suitable. Somebody other than a half-naked chick in a basement who just wants a granola bar and a Snuggie.

[Get a sent of perspective, bitch. Whatever you are going through, SmithGuild has it worse. You have to get him home. If Red Sonya could save the villagers in a bikini, you can do it too.]

Nelda realized that she should have asked for pen and paper. No, that would be too dangerous. As HoneyBeard would say, she had her band of idiots now. [Go Team Idiot!] She couldn't let Team Evil Bastard win the game. And that meant not making any kind of record they might be able to find.

She tried to mentally visualize the questions she needed to answer and organized them into a rough order of importance.

THINGS I NEED:

1) To fix the underwire on this bra or get a new one

2) Food

3) To stop Brenda or anyone from Team Evil going to Mirth

4) To rescue SmithGuild and send him home-- possibly with as many of Team Idiot as he wants to take along

5) Destroy the Machine (see #3) …and then probably have some kind of mental breakdown and end up murdered by a corporate hitman or in prison, thereby proving my Mother right about everything.

There was a part of her that would rather be back in Mirth solving a whole different list of much more interesting problems.

THINGS I LEFT UNDONE ON MIRTH

1) Sending Echidna some flying leaf because despite everything, because sometimes you just gotta help a bitch out.

2) Helping BugleHead bring back the unicorn or whatever adventure he would like to be the hero of—and then taking them back home maybe. [But I'd miss those satyrs.] [I think they might be my first real friends.] [Wow.]

3) Get the Lapis phoenixes voice boxes and then shine a bright light in their eyes until they fess up to what they are up to. Forgive them, probably. It depends.

4) Shove the mermaids' prophecy right up their asses. Sideways.

5) Live happily ever after with SmithGuild. Somehow.

The first set of priorities kind of destroyed her chances of working on the second set. There was no person she could absolutely trust to destroy the machine of she used it to port back to Mirth. [See #2, no friends.]

[Well. That sucks.]

Nelda decided that if she must be some kind of martyr, there was no point being a maudlin one. She was getting into the spirit of mental list making. Albeit not beyond five items as her memory wasn't very good. [Too much tequila in grad school. Probably,]

THINGS I REALLY NEED

1) SmithGuild.

2) Access to the Porter to shove his inconveniently heroic ass through a portal.

3) A flamethrower or whatever to thoroughly destroy the Porter.

[Good. That's way less than five things. Even I can remember that.]

#

The harpies lived in a kind of open-sided wooden pavilion surrounded by trees with whispering needles. There was a clearing to one side where split fish were hanging to dry, and on the other where it could be seen that the pavilion was on top of a hill with one gently sloped side that they had walked up, and one side that was a cliff down to the sea.

The interior of their home was round with scattering of furniture and a fire pit in the center. Loose curtains screened off some areas. The offering of safety for the night clearly came from the presence of the harpies, not the security of the house.

Lady Storm recruited HerbGuild to set up lanterns and make a second copy of the prophecy onto a bleached animal hide.

Swift left them to fly around the island in the last light of day and ensure all was well.

This left the two satyrs on a bench before the central fire pit. HoneyBeard considered that the rug at their feet which seemed to be made from a Manticore. Thoroughly unpleasant people, Manticores, but people all the same; suggesting that harpies not only ate people, they ate people who ate people. HoneyBeard moved his hoofs back to rest on the shingle flooring.

The grey harpy, Lady Storm sat beside them, quite comfortable on the ground and still eye to eye with them, given her stature.

"I have not met satyrs before," She purred. "Where exactly do you hail from."

"Our village," BugleHead replied happily.

"And where exactly is that village of your delightful people." In her mouth, the word 'delightful' sounded a lot like the word 'delicious.'

"The dragon took us…" BugleHead flinched. "HoneyBeard why did you pinch me?"

"And why would I do that?" HoneyBeard asked. Not rhetorically at all. Ad them to Storm "We have no notion about how to get to there from here." He gave her a sorry,-not-sorry smile.

Storm pretended to pout. "Be careful, morsel. Once you leave our care, little satyr. You may yet find a place close to my heart." He had rested conspicuously on her belly.

"I think she likes you," BugleHead sotto-whispered.


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