It Takes a Villain (Part 4)

Untote Druuna arrived at the group’s gathering spot quickly and without error, as if she had known precisely where they were located. She hardly took notice of the two crows that had dived down ahead of her, but she did notice that they transformed into hooded warriors upon landing. For their part the huntsmen nocked arrows and tried to draw a bead on the enormous incoming dragon.

The older shadow elf hollered at the huntsmen, “Black and yellow first, then black and green!” The huntsmen checked the fletching in an instant and resumed their targeting. Untote Druuna dropped down through the trees, weaving through the limbs and branches as if she was as small as a sparrow instead of being nearly as large as a small barn with wings. The four archers let fly their first volley of arrows, and as the green dragon soared over their heads, she released a toxic green cloud of chlorine gas upon everyone below her. Baron Chaverin released a spell, and a strong gust of wind blew the gas about and diluted the effect. Lendler and his kinfolk were utterly unaffected but had no way of attacking the dragon, so they all ran pell-mell towards two large trees in hopes of hiding behind them. September, Chaverin, and Elliott started coughing and tried to escape the noxious cloud.

The elder shadow elf said in a voice loud enough to be heard by the entire group, “She isn’t undead! Whatever this place has done to her she isn’t responding like she has before in our own plane!” With that he let loose the black and green fletched arrow, as did the other archers. All four of the original arrows had hit their marks perfectly, and these were similarly grouped even though Untote Druuna was a fast-moving target.

Untote Druuna let out a bellowing roar as she pulled up and did a clumsy loop. Whiffs of the chlorine cloud trailed her like smoke from a fire and she rolled over to the left and smashed into the trees where Lendler’s clansmen had ducked for cover. The force of the collision smashed both trees and sent them crashing into the forest. The group members that had been hiding behind them scattered like frantic beetles when an old log is picked up to reveal them. The two shadow elves shot three more arrows each into the body of the dragon just to make sure. The green dragon seemed almost to deflate, and her body settled into the forest undergrowth. Suddenly there was an enormous thunderclap, and an invisible shockwave shot out from the crumpled dragon, knocking everyone off their feet and flying away from the point of impact.

Splayed out on her back, Gilla tried to scream instructions, but it was more of a hoarse, gravelly shout. “If roses sprout up, grab the pearls inside! We need the pearls!” With a pained groan she tried to get up and found she was impaled on a broken tree branch.

Somewhere in the woods Baron Chaverin the drider was trying to get back on his six legs and shouted, “The pearls in the roses! Pearls in the roses!” The drider had three of his legs broken, and he shrieked in pain.

By the time everyone had gotten back on their feet and were able to get to where the dragon had crashed, there were no roses to be found. All that was there was a little girl, who smiled broadly at them as they limped towards her. Holding her fists in the air triumphantly, the child hollered happily, “I got two pearls! I got two pearls! You were all flying around and being busted up, and I got the pearls! What do I win?”

Gilla managed to get herself off of the branch and growled in a haze of pain. “Good job, Tabeetha. You get the prize.” The night hag looked at the egg-sized green stone at the end of her golden staff and saw that it had a greenish glow now. Cackling lowly Gilla added, “Looks like we all won a little something.”