Men of L33t, Part XXIV - It Only Takes One
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McFinnigan sat, listless in his cell.

"Hey, Stage!"

"Hey, BDB, what brings you down here? 's not time for the watch shift yet."

"Ah, PurpleD made some fresh cake, and I figured you might wanna come down and try it out."

"What type?"

"Angel food."

"Ahh, man, and she makes good ones, too! But we can't leave him be."

BDB peered down into the dark cell. "Why not? It's been what, a month, and he hasn't moved since he got here, right?"

"Well, yeah, but... I dunno, something sorta feels wrong about him. Like we shouldn't turn our backs to him."

"Ha! You've been down here too long, Stage. That man won't be up for a loooong time. Sir Dom's spells are like that."

"I suppose so..."

"Besides, it's PurpleD's! Even the Edmaster himself stops for her food."

"Heh... I guess you're right."

"Am I never?"

"HA! I seem to remember..."

The guards voices faded as they disappeared down the corridor. A heavy wooden door shut behind them.

A kitchen, eh? Nearby... McFinnigan hand shifted. I could use a good meal... among other things. His mouth twitched upwards, and he lifted his head.

"I think... it's time for a trip!" He pulled himself up, and walked over to the cell door. Concentrating, he squeezed his arm under the door, and stretched it across the hall up to where a set of keys were hanging on the opposite wall. Grinning, he unhooked the keys and brought them over to the door, unlocking it from the outside.

*click* "There we go!" Mcfinnigan stepped outside the dark cell, and stretched. Then he turned and walked down the hallway, humming an old drinking song. Curiously, he seemed to get shorter with every step.

***

Dom laughed uproariously. "And... they actually believed you?"

Ping's eyes twinkled. "Of course. After all, who would doubt the word of an unbelievably cute and innocent construct?"

Dom laughed again. "Ah, me... you have a very mischievous nature, milady." He grinned. "I'll have to be more careful around you!"

Her smile lessened. "Hm? What's wrong?" asked Dom.

"Why... why are you doing this?" said Ping. "These walks, I mean. It would be a great deal less risky to leave me in my cell with WoK."

Dom looked at her curiously. "Actually, it makes it a lot easier for me to hold the spell around your room this way. The child hasn't your strength, and you haven't her support."

"But you have no spell around me now!"

"I-"

"Sir!"

Dom's head snapped up "What is it?" Thank the-

"The prisoner's escaped!"

***

Durden stretched. Ahhhh... it felt good to be back in natural form. Imitating scotch giants was not high on his list of things to be, and kilts were just no fun! He shivered. The breeze down there, oh, the breeze! Let's see... where was it they'd said the kitchen was? It should be... ah! The smell of cake! He melted down into a bloodhound and began pelting down the corridors. Left here, down the stairs, turn right and- there! He sniffed carefully. Nobody there. They had all gone upstairs to eat the cake. He howled with glee and bounced back into humanity. Prancing around the kitchen, he quickly began gathering all the supplies he needed and began mixing them. This would be a special tentacle soup. Finishing up, he had just carefully placed the bubbling mixture in an oven when he caught a faint voice. Durden froze, and carefully elongated his ears.

"...and he left his clothes behind, too!"

"His clothes?! My God, you mean we've got a naked Scot running about the place?!" Darn it, those clothes! He'd forgotten about them when he changed! What was he-

"Don't be silly, he probably changed somewhere for a disguise." They were coming in here! Gah! He whirled around frantically, looking for a place to hide.

"Ah; then I take it one of us has a pretty bad headache right now?" Aisaki opened the kitchen door. "I-" She stopped. "Ryo... did Purple have something else she was baking?"

He walked in. "I don't think so... what's in there?"

Aisaki peered into the oven. "I can't tell... everything's all steamy in there."

"That definitely doesn't sound like Purple. What say we take a look?" Ryo pulled open the oven door. "Huh... itEYEAAAAAAARGH!"

Durden winced, and waited until the screams had stopped. Shaking out his branches, he pulled himself out of the pot of dirt he'd found in a corner, and walked gingerly across the freshly-stained floor. A large monstrosity loomed out of the open, nibbling on a bit of bone.

<I... see you've had your first meal.>

The monster blinked and raarghed. <Who are you, creature? Why do I sense your thoughts?>

Durden laughed. <You've just been made, so you don't know. You don't sense my thoughts. I am sending communication to you, through vibration. I made you to send my intent to others. Go in the direction of the thirteenth limb, and find your brothers. Give them this.> He pulled a small flute out of his leg, and inserted a note.

<...why?>

<Ngajfin^s#ngea!> The creature snapped to attention, and shot out of the kitchen. ...wait. Was it #nga or #ngea that meant he couldn't eat humans...? Durden shrugged. Oh, well! j'fin keeps him away from towns. He glanced at the mess on the floor. Eech. Time to get back to my cell!

***

Dom walked angrily down the corridor. "Alright, tell me again exactly how a six-foot, axe-wielding North-Angleman escaped his cell without unlocking the door?"

"He must have had help!"

"From whom?" Dom snapped. "The prisoners locked helplessly in their rooms? The lady Ping, with me the whole time?"

"She could have worked magic..."

"Don't be an idiot!"

"Nonetheless-" Ed walked up from a joining corridor. "It could have been a magic user. You are well-versed in many magics, but not even the Elders of the Game know every variation in even just Angland alone."

"I would have felt something." Dom said sharply.

"Not if it were very faint and you were... distracted."

Dom wheeled. "What-"

"S-Sir!" Dom turned again.

"What now?"

"The prisoner! H-He's back in his cell!"

"What?" Dom walked over and looked. He turned. "Do you mean to tell me," he hissed softly. "That this entire commotion has been nothing but a-"

"Diversion!" Ed said suddenly. He walked forwards. "This must have been a ruse for the real culprit to run freely amongst the confusion!" He wheeled. "Comb the castle! Set up guards at every point! I want anything and everything unusual reported and left alone until a Saga-qualified wizard has checked it." He turned and looked at Dom. "I would seal up our prisoners if I were you."

***

Asimov rushed though the corridor, slamming a brick on the way. An siren wailed over the courtyard. He plugged his ears so as not to be drawn in by its song.

"Phydeaux, Vetinari! A carrier soup came in from Durden, we have Piro's location! Shoka, prepare the pies. Snow, hike yourself over to the Highlands and contact our offices there! We're pulling in our reserves! Vet, you inform McFinnigan. Phydeaux-"

"I know, I've got it"

"Let's move, people!"

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