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Critters & Crime

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"That is..."

"Mhm."

"That's the... horrible, human-eating destroyer of land and forests?"

"Uhuh."

"That's..." he squinted and lifted a brow while his mouth hang half open in an incredulous expression.

Then he suddenly snorted. "That thing is ridiculous!"

"Shhh! Jim, you can't let it hear us!" Claire shushed him, while she checked her app for native beasts and monsters. They sat in a tree a couple yards away from where the beast lay sleeping. She was sitting on the branch, swinging her legs underneath her while he was crouching on it. Safely hidden in the shadows.

"Sorry." He whispered apologetically. "It's just... Blinky warned us but I didn't think it would look so..."

"Grotesque?"

"I wanted to say 'dumb', but I guess that works as well."

Jim saw an amused smile flitting across her lips as he peered at her.

"I mean it's just so..."

"Fluffy?" She offered, lifting her head and looking at the monster, sleeping in the meadow. Jim shook his head in a manner of disbelief. "Round." he said.

Claire looked down again, reading what she had found. "I guess it really does look a little dumb. Kind of funny, almost."

He grunted in agreement. The monsters they usually fought were a little more frightening in appearance. Though if he could choose his missions, he prefered human criminals.

They only rarely had the chance to do so, but nothing gave him a greater sense of purpose than catching a few human baddies... those were the real monsters if anyone asked him.
But alas... Jim was a halftroll and as such his crimefighting ambitions had to focus more on magical culprits. Who were often more annoying than really dangerous... the criminal energy of magical creatures was mostly limited to mischief, which often made him feel like a heavily armed nanny. Or he had to take care of creatures that just didn't know better, who were just doing what was within their nature.

Killing this thing felt almost wrong. If he'd look like that, he'd be in a bad mood as well.
And he was a freaking mutant!

The teelget had the round body of a gopher, while being the size of an elephant. A big furry elephant. A huge hairy lump of flesh. Without a head.
Instead it had antlers growing out of the place where a neck and a head should be. Completed with ridiculously thin deer legs, that looked like they shouldn't be able to carry the weight of its massive body.
If it weren't for the grotesque maw, Jim would foremostly feel sorry for the creature. But the maw was sufficiently creepy. He could admit that. Because where a normal living animal would have a sternum, the teelget's body opened up to a jaw filled with razorsharp teeth, giving it the look of a furry version of pac-man from hell.

Oh and it ate humans. That was pretty bad too.

It was pure luck, that the creature had not done so yet. Thanks to a Navajo hataali who had managed to somehow herd it away from human settlements and then called the trollhunter. A teelget was not only a danger to humans but everything surrounding it and it was only a matter of time until it destroyed more than some parts of the forest, where it stayed.

"Okay." Claire suddenly whispered, startling him out of his thoughts. "Looks like I was right. There's no other known method other than piercing the teelget by lightning. You've got an idea?" She asked him.

He turned his eyes on the sleeping teelget. "Well, daylight doesn't produce electric energy. You wouldn't happen to know a spell on how to call a thunderstorm?"
He looked at Claire again and saw her biting her lip.

"I do have an idea... but I never tried before and I don't know how effective it will be." She held out her hands and produced a little voltage stream between her hands, then looked at him. "I've been training to transfer my magic into other things. What if I could transfer some electric energy into daylight? That could work, right?"

He looked at her hands thoughtfully, then smiled. It certainly was a better idea than conjuring a thunder storm and possibly getting fried by lightning...

"Sure" he answered. "I'd rather try that, than just slash the thing and get an unpleasant surprise." Jim called his sword, then sat down on the branch as well, holding out the blade towards her. He watched her, as her hands trailed up and down the metal. A row of little blue sparks following wherever her hands went.

Claire had learned so much during the last two years, it was amazing... He had to admit that Merlin was at least a good teacher. Even though their relationship with the wizard had been through some serious strains.

When she was finished, Claire shook her hands a little, then rubbed her palms against each other to dissipate the energy. Jim curiously touched one of his fingertips against his sword and promptly received a slight shock, shaking his hand as well.

That's when he heard a small gasp from his girlfriend. "Jim...?"
He looked up and his blood ran cold. "Oh great."

Claire groaned "I can't believe we lost it! It's been dead asleep! How did it manage to just disappear on us?"

"I have no idea." Jim sighed "Let's just investigate. That creature is huge, it can't just disappear.

He jumped down the tree, straightened and caught Claire in his arms a moment later. Setting her down on her feet he looked towards the clearing. "I'll go and see if I can find any traces, you stay here between the trees. Be careful, you know that it's supposed to be fast."
"And silent." Claire added with a frown.

She started to follow along the edge of the clearing, while Jim jumped over a few bushes to land on the on the gras, growing in the meadow. The moment his feet touched the ground, even the insects seemed to go silent and Jim was once again creeped out by the unnatural silence he had noticed the nearer they got towards the teelget.
He was wearing the stone that allowed him to walk in daylight. A real improvement to his life's quality, even though it had taken quite a while until they found it in the destroyed trollmarket.
He slowly made his way to the place where the creature had slept, keeping his eyes on his surroundings. Aside from a round blotch of flattened gras, he couldn't find anything. No trace in which direction the creature had gone.

Suddenly he heard Claire screech his name.
"JIM!"
As he looked towards where the scream came from, thinking she was being attacked by the monster. She struggled through the brushes, arms waving, her eyes open wide and she only got out "BEHIND-" before he was suddenly knocked forward, flying through the air, then rolling and jumping into a stance to face what attacked him.

The teelget had somehow snuck up on him. And if Jim wouldn't have been terrified by the fact, he would have laughed out loud.

The creature was hopping towards him on its ridiculously thin, little legs in a strangely unnatural speed, which made it look like it wobbled over the gras like a gigantic, horned fuzzball.

A very fast fuzzball as the trollhunter barely had the time throw his sword at the creature, hoping desperately that Claire's idea would work.

To his horror, the animal suddenly swerved it's body around like physics weren't a thing, spinning on its legs and around him. Daylight imbedded itself into the earth where the creature had been a moment before. The energy Claire had transfered sizzled out.

"Fuck." Jim groaned.
Why couldn't anything ever go to plan? He thought as he felt the creature's foul breath fill his nose, the sudden gush of moist, hot air around him an advance warning of what was about to happen...

 

Claire's screech could have burst glas as she helplessly watched how her boyfriend was gulped up by the horrendous creature.

This was supposed to be a simple, easy mission! Not some horrorshow!

She barely had time to think of something she could do before the teelget turned its attention on her.

Claire was several yards away from the creature, but swallowing a 200 pound halftroll barely slowed it down.
How could she kill the beast without hurting Jim? Preferably freeing him in the same move as killing the teelget?

If she electrified it, Jim would be hurt as well. And she couldn't slice it open, because she might hit him.
She pulled out her staff and readied herself, intending to first immobilize it by magically binding its legs.

Before she could do so though, the teelget suddenly stopped just a few yards away from her.
Claire loosened her stance, curiously. Her expression wary as the beast started to sway.

Then she suddenly yelped and held out her staff to form a shield as daylight cut itself through the creature's body in one swerve from the bottom to the top.

The massive creature fell to its side and Jim struggled to pull himself out of the slain body. First pushing out his upper body, then one leg after another, all the while, slipping, groaning and whining pitifully.
"Uggghh... Gah! Disgusting! It's in my mouth! Ewww!"

Claire brought her hands to her mouth, giving him a pitiful look but also extremely relieved that he was unharmed.

The halftroll shook his arms, then his whole body to get off some of the blood and slime and Claire dug into her bag to find a modular crystall. A small stone that could be magically turned into whatever was needed at the moment. She shook it once, forming a towel and offered it to her boyfriend who spit on the ground before accepting it thankfully.

"Well... that's one way to kill a monster." She said, squinting as she noticed the putrid smell of the teelgets bowels.

"One I'll never want to employ again." He said "Please note: Daylight can kill teelgets, no problem. Also note: Being swallowed by a teelget is not recommandable." His expression was one of pure disgust as he put one of his hands into his hair and sniffed at himself.

"Eww... It's everywhere. I smell like a bogman."

Claire gave him a tight lipped smile. "Not going to lie. You do." She held up a hand, like she wanted to console him but obviously couldn't because he was covered in slime... instead she clapped her hands together.

"Tell you what. I'll call the chief, then we'll portal back to trollmarket and take the rest of the day off at the hotsprings."

"That sounds heavenly right now." Jim answered, expression still miserable as he tried to dry at least his arms. Then a sly smile flitted across his face. "You know how much I love the hotsprings."

Clair gave him a knowing smile and took out her phone.