No-no! I panic. I don’t want to be literally given to the thief-girl. I mean, I guess she’ll probably just snap my neck or something and I’ll get to respawn in a minute. But it’s about the principle of the matter really, you know? It’s like giving her a free win in this little cat and mouse game we have going, if you’ll pardon the expression. And so I do what comes naturally. I squirm and kick and squeal, my tail and legs wildly flailing around in the air as the rat-queen holds me aloft. My rat-brain in overdrive fighting between the urge to obey the queen’s wish for me to be handed over to the enemy and the innate desire to stay by her side.
What do I do? What do I do? Time seems to slow to a crawl and the ominously smiling elf before me seems to become larger and larger as I move closer towards her. My mind races, my heart doing the same at an even faster tempo. No plan comes to mind, no ideas, nothing but panic and a deep emotional conflict in my rat-brain which I have been allowing to take over for far too long once again. Bad habits die hard I suppose.
She sets me down into the thief-girl’s cupped hands which are covered in thick brown leather gloves that even my teeth can’t gnaw through. I feel her fingers clamp down around me as the exchange takes place. Securing me in her grip. Stopping me from escaping. There is nothing I can do. I squirm around, fidgeting and fighting against the grasp of the hands holding me tightly; the hands that will never let me go now that they have me. Squeaking words of protest to the queen I shout out. Bad-bad! Death! Bad! No!
“Be quiet” Commands the queen in rat-tongue and instinctively I stop my squirming even though the real me knows better. The rat runs deep, not even Nichodemus was this hard to resist. Maybe because he was more like me? More… aware. Less ratty, you know? Less primitive. We had a lot more in common. Already I can see the wizard-girl running up to me, dragging the monk along with her who clearly doesn’t share her excitement. This whole time the priestess has been at a distance, I don’t think she likes rats which makes me a little sad honestly. I’d still like you priestess, even if you were a rat.
A thumb presses painfully down on my feet holding me in place and for a moment I resist the urge to bite them off myself. HANDS! I look up feeling the shadow of the hand hovering above me. I hiss and the wizard-girl pulls back an inch. No pet! Only queen pet! No-no!
“Be nice” says the queen, giving me a second command.
Despite my best efforts to not want to be nice I feel my jaw unclench, feel the air no longer leave my little rodent lungs in a hiss. The rat-queen says something in human and I hear the familiar shrill excited squeak of the wizard as her hand comes down to pet me again. I can’t help but feel a little defeated, guy, like I’m going in circles as I feel the familiar hand run over my back again. A little too roughly honestly. Apparently she doesn’t care that I’m covered in filth and sewage, so… points for not being judgmental I guess?
I hear a small comfort, the voice of the rat-queen speaking for only me to hear. “Go with them, watch what they do and then return to me once it is done.”
That’s dumb. You’re dumb, rat-queen. If I go with them I’ll just die as soon as she gets a chance to toss me in the magma or something. Hmm, well. I guess she doesn’t know that. As far as she knows I’m just a lonely little rat that won’t zap back in time in about an hour give or take fifty-nine minutes. Queen is a good queen I correct myself, making a note to bite my tail later for my blasphemy. But no. No. I don’t want to go with them. I’ve been around people all day and I need some me-time now and then too, you know? Plus I’d really rather find those stairs…
I need a plan. A plan. A plan… Plan. Plan. Plan. But no matter how often I say the word one doesn’t come to me. Isn’t that usually how it works? Dang. Hmm. Looking around through the fingers running over my fur in still quite the wrong direction, I do my best to ignore their doting voices and peer through the gaps. Peer through the holes to search for anything, look for anything that could be of use. But all I see are rocks, pipes, green-water and sewage.
I have a plan. Dark-lord forgive me, maybe close your eyes for this one, okay? I’m a rat after all, so, I may as well play the part. What good is pride going to do me in the end, right? It’s the right thing to do. It’s what I have to do. It’s what the hero would do.
Well, maybe not that last one, but… you know.
I rise to stand upright in the thief’s cupped hands, her thumbs still pressing down on my back feet to hold my tightly in place. She looks down to me and I look straight back at her, eye to eye. Dungeon-dweller to dungeon-dweller. Respawner to respawner. Rat to thief.
The wizard-girl shouts in surprise, jumping back and knocking the monk into the priestess. I feel the pressure loosen off my feet for just a second as I watch her expression turn to a mixture of disgust and surprise. Only too late does she realize my brilliance.
A hand swipes towards me in the air as she tries to catch me with her now wet gloves, interrupting my escape. Quickly I latch onto the side of the hand and scurry-scurry in the first direction I can go. I hurry-hurry, sprinting with all of the energy I can muster as I shoot up her arm, up the loose corner of her green-sleeve not tucked into her gloves anymore as the room erupts into a slurry of shouts from the wizard and priestess almost over-toned by the barreling laughs of the monk who is just always in a good mood as far as I can tell. All of the sudden it is dark and warm and it smells like… kind of like the forest?
I hear a squeak I am not familiar with as my ratty little feet scamper-scamper along her skin. I feel the toned body beneath me shake and squirm and fidget and dance as she tries to get me out. Maybe it will help her loosen up a little I think. But in only a second or two flat I have already made my way around past her shoulder blades and drop down the front where there is, uh, little to stop me from doing so. I can feel her hands slapping around trying to dislodge me, several strikes reach me but none hard enough to break my resolve. Maybe one or two hard enough to break the odd rib, but nothing important in the grand-scheme of things really.
Finding an opening I shoot down further, scampering down her leg which I can feel shaking and kicking. Hmm? Oh. She’s the briefs type. Good for you, thief-girl. I guess that’s about what I expected. There! An opening! I jump out of the hole of her pant’s leg which isn’t tucked into her boot anymore, probably due to this spectacle here and plop down to the ground and scamper-scamper away as fast as I can. The ring of my little nails scratching against the stones as I run. The shouts and laughs ringing out as I run.
“STOP!” says a commanding voice in clear anger and dissatisfaction. I have upset queen. I have disobeyed. Disloyal. Bad! Bad!
I turn around to face her just in time to see the toe-box of the brown leather boot come my way. Just in time to see the flustered, red-face of the thief look my way; revealed by her fallen hood that likely fell from the struggle.
There is a thwack, a wet sound I feel in my body as a whole. Sort of a nauseating crunch that I have become accustomed to. The world goes dark.