Merlin, the wizard of Arthurian legend, ran into the tent with wand pointed forward. With a powerful blast, he sent a jolt into Etellia's back, sending her into a brief flight as she fell head first over the top of the bed, landing hard on the grass surface.
With another quick wave of the wand, Merlin gently sent a flow of energy through Sharon, allowing her to move again. With too many questions flowing through her mind, the young woman could hardly utter a syllable before Etellia stood back up, her eyes glowing in a furious rage.
"Impossible!" Etellia shouted. "Merlin was sent into an eternal slumber centuries ago! Who dares to defy Etellia, Queen of the Dark Forest?"
"I have come for my friends!" Merlin shouted back. Sharon, beginning to regain her senses, realized that as the wizard spoke for the first time, Merlin's voice didn't sound like that of an old man. It sounded familiar. It sounded like...
"Rick?" Sharon asked. "Is that you?"
The wizard ducked out of the way, towards the cage as Etellia shot a beam of fire, missing him entirely as it flew out the tent's entrance. "Yes, it is!" he replied.
"How?" Sharon asked.
"I woke up naked in a cabin in the forest," Rick replied, sending a blast at Etellia. "This costume was hanging in a closet, so I put it on, but when I did, I suddenly found that I could do all this."
"DUCK!" Sharon shouted. The two mortals dove to the ground, barely escaping another blast.
"Jim is MY slave!" Etellia shouted. "My TOY! I won't let some fake wizard and a blonde slut ruin my dreams!"
"Who's the slut?" Rick shouted. His voice boomed throughout the tent in a haunted echo.
"That blonde bitch behind you, of course! Who do you think I'm talking about?"
She sent another beam flying Rick's way, this time composed of ice, but once again, he dodged completely.
"It sounds to me like you're the only slut around here, Etellia!" Rick replied. Pausing, he erected a shield around him and Sharon as the comment sent Etellia into a blind rage, sending bolt after destructive bolt, but unable to do any harm. "You're the nymphomaniac with the mind completely set on Jim. Sharon's only been trying to help him!"
"Lies!" Etellia shouted. "Sharon took the Sacred Bracelet from the temple. It's only just that she suffer in this manner!"
"Wasn't that part of a dream?" Sharon asked.
"What?" Etellia replied.
"Wasn't that a dream?" Sharon repeated. "I've had a hard time telling the difference lately. Could you help me out?"
"That's easy," Etellia replied. "It was real."
"Are you sure? What about all of the transformations you put Jim through?"
"Those were a dream, Slut!" Etellia, responding to Sharon's questions, which she found completely inane, had slacked off on her attacks. "It doesn't matter, though. When I'm through with the two of you, neither of you will be able to tell the difference, and you'll be so busy worshipping me that you won't care either way."
"ARE YOU SURE YOU CAN DO THAT?" Rick's voice exploded inside Etellia's mind, breaking her concentration completely. "YOU'RE BLUFFING. YOU'RE TOO HUNG UP ON HAVING YOUR OWN BOY TOY TO THINK CLEARLY."
Etellia dropped to her knees, shouting in pain and anger. "Get out of my head, you bastard!" she shouted.
"NO, ETELLIA. NOT UNTIL YOU ADMIT THAT THE ONLY SLUT IN THIS TENT IS YOU, THE SUPPOSED, 'QUEEN OF THE FOREST'."
"NEVER!!!" Etellia shouted at the top of her lungs. "GUARDS! GUARDS!!!"
"THEY CAN'T HELP YOU ANYMORE, SLUT! THEY'LL BE SLEEPING UNTIL THE WINTER SOLSTACE! NOW ADMIT THAT YOU'RE WRONG. YOU ARE THE SLUT!"
"I...am not...a slut..." Etellia panted.
"YES, YOU ARE!"
"I...am not...a slut..." Etellia repeated. Rick's mental barbs began to accumulate inside her skull, preventing her from retalliating with magic. She tried to repeat to herself that she wasn't a slut, and held out for several minutes, but eventually, her mind snapped. "I am a slut," she admitted. "I am a SLUT! I AM A SLUT!!!" Etellia was entranced, repeating the phrase over and over. It had become a mantra to her, reeducating her own mind as Rick freed Sharon from her cage. The mortal woman ran to the sleeping Jim as fast as she could and yanked the tiara from his head.
"Jim should awaken shortly," Rick said, yanking his wizard's beard from his face. "You stay with him while I finish Etellia."
Sharon nodded and stayed with Jim as Rick approached Etellia, who was writhing on the grass as she convinced herself over and over again that she was not a queen, but a miserable slut. Standing over her, Rick...
Mon Nov 25 21:21:43 2002