Penny tried the door again, huffed when it still didn't unlock itself, and slumped back down on her own bench. Everyone else was sitting on the other side of the room.
"I still blame Penny," Sheldon said.
"I do too," Howard echoed.
"Me, too," Leonard sighed.
"Me, too," Raj murmured, still cupping his mug of dubiously-vegan mead.
"It's not my fault! Sheldon, you were the one who kept yelling at that guy - "
"He knows me and appreciates the criticisms I give."
"He does?" Leonard asked.
"Yes. He always says, 'thank you' before asking me to leave."
"Whatever," Penny said. "And Howard, you were the one -"
"He was just playing his part," Howard shrugged, which rang the jester's bells. "We warned you about this stuff before you got here."
"But the way he kept putting his hands on me, that was just sick."
"He's a vizier." Raj didn't open his eyes. "He's supposed to be scum of the earth. It's in his job description."
"Duke, technically, but he's got the moustache for vizier," Howard pointed out.
Penny glared. "Leonard?"
"Sorry, but they're right. You got us into this."
"Some boyfriend you are."
"Hey, I was trying to defend your honor with everyone else. Doesn't that count for anything?"
"We'll talk later."
"Why do people say that?" Sheldon asked. "They always say that on TV but they never show anyone talking about it."
"Does it matter? We're stuck in a dungeon - "
"What I wouldn't have given to be stuck in a dungeon with you," Howard began.
"Shut up. We're stuck in a dungeon and we've got an hour and a half -"
"That watch was a mistake."
"Shut up, Sheldon. An hour and a half before we have to go for that duel thing, and we haven't got any ideas."
"We wasted a half-hour yelling." Raj had managed to sit up, but slumped down again, and took another sip.
"Come on. I know you guys aren't rocket scientists but you've got to have some idea!"
Leonard sighed and started to polish his glasses. "Penny, this is a duel. Even if we're playing the equivalent parts, we can't..."
"Can't what?" Sheldon asked. Leonard stayed quiet. "Can't what, Leonard?"
"Hold on a minute - Sheldon, what did the Vizier say about what we could get to fight with?"
"He said that what we could request with which to fight our designated opponent was whatever period-appropriate materials, weaponry, or associated items would be applicable to our relevant positions."
"And you're a monk, and I'm a knight, and Raj's a page."
Raj nodded. "Of what exactly are you speculating, my bespectacled accomplice?"
"We just need a few things we'd already be able to get - some metal pellets, a metal tube, some saltpeter, some sulpher - "
"I'm with Raj," Penny cut in. "What are you getting at?"
"From the sound of it, Leonard's first good idea since his decision to switch to Sushi Night on Thursdays!" Sheldon jumped up. "I'll go ask the guard to get us what we need. We haven't much time!"
It took the five of them nearly the full time to prepare everything, and with bare minutes to spare, they found themselves on the field with what felt like the entirety of the local chapter of the SCA watching and waiting for them to fail spectacularly, booing and hissing as they set up their contraption – and a minute later, it had degenerated into random screaming, yelling, cussing, and shouting, with the clearest voice being the Vizier himself, shouting, "You can't DO that!"
"We so can!" Raj yelled back. "Gunpowder is perfectly acceptable!"
"It's only an oversight nobody in Europe thought to weaponize rockets until twelve-forty-eight, which is a time period still covered by the rules of the weekend!" Howard cut in.
"Besides, you're one to talk about historic accuracy, mister 'I'll just have a Nutri-Grain Bar'!" Sheldon added.
In the end, it was ruled as legal, if setting a dubious precedent, and their opponent was rushed to the hospital with minor burns.
That night, Penny sighed happily as she cuddled Leonard. "My hero."
"Hey, it was only rocket science."
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