Author's Note: this is very, very much an Elseworlds
story. (A story in which the characters of the series
are placed in a completely different situation than
the one that they're originally in in the series. Er.
feedback: it's good for the soul. just don't give me heartburn.
The Game of Six
by Casix Thistlebane
part six: something wicked....
Or perhaps to say that he spent the entire night in chains is a bit of an exageration. None of the rest of us are entirely sure when and how he did it, but by the next morning, he had escaped his bonds, and was happily cooking scrambled eggs for breakfast.
Dame Buffy gave him a hard-edged glare. Giles and I found ourselves laughing.
That day found us out of the clear half-wooded region we'd been traveling through, and into a much deeper forest. Even I lost my sense of direction within the dank forests, but Harris seemed to lead us through the brambles effortlessly. I wasn't sure how he was accomplishing this, but didn't feel obliged to argue.
Buffy was still uneasy, but was struggling not to show it. I questioned her on it at one point (I cannot difinitively state a time, as the canopy of leaves above us allowed only minimal light to diffuse through). She responded simply that she didn't like forests, and left it at that.
We continued carefully through the trees, which, remarkably, seemed to be getting even closer together. It wasn't long before we were forced to abandon our mounts and continue on foot. Giles seemed uncertain about this move, but Harris assured us that we would be reimbursed. He did not deem it wise to tell us by who.
I had a fairly good idea, however. Every now and then, I caught glimpses of fur and flashes of red through the trees. At one point I even caught sight of a gorgeous, elfin face. I wondered if Harris was aware that we were being followed.
I was even getting up the guts to ask him, when we were suddenly ambushed.
The strange gnome like creatures fell on us from above, knocking even Buffy to her knees, and cackling all the way. Within moments, we were trussed up and tied to spears, being carried off to somewhere deeper in the woods that may or may not have been in the direction we were heading. I wondered how we were going to get out of this.
Harris was cursing a blue streak, and shouting to the gnomes that they'd made a great mistake, and didn't they know who he was?
"No," the leader of the gnomes replied. And they didn't much seem to care either.
After an indeterminate amount of time (I have already explained that trouble,) we were dropped unceremoniously on a seemingly random bit of ground between the trees. The lead gnome muttered something in a strange tongue, then turned to Harris.
"We will take you now to see the Lady. You will show her no disrespect, or we will--"
I don't think it is neccessary to describe the despicable creature's full insult. Needless to say, it was terrible, and stated with a malice that was entirely unnecessary for the situation.
We were moving again, this time vertically. We were pulled through a trap door and into a large tree house that seemed to be built directly from the tree. A shape moved towards us, and I heard a small giggling sound from one side. I looked up, and found myself confronted with the most beautiful creature I'd ever seen. Buffy, who'd been complaining to Giles the entire trip, finally fell silent. Even Harris seemed vaguely cowed. That is, he seemed so until the girl began to speak.
"How on Earth do you get yourself into these situations, Harris?"
Harris sputtered, then smiled. "Hey, I always good at making an entrance."
The girl blushed. "Of course you are. Who are your friends?"
"Hey, would you mind untying us first?" Harris protested. The lead gnome moved menacingly towards him, and he swallowed. "I mean, with all due respect...."
"Oh, I don't know, Harris," Buffy spoke up. "Why don't you just escape?"
Harris gave her a Look. "That would be disrespectful." The gnome nodded, satisfied.
The girl standing above us bent down, and with a quick flick of her wrists, the ropes binding us to the spears dropped off. Harris sat up, working his hands carefully, as though trying to get feeling back. We looked at him pointedly.
"Right," he said finally. "Wills, this is Dame Buffy the Incorrigible, her ‘watcher' Giles, and the short hairy one is the Bardic Oz. Guys, this is the Willow of the Woods, known as just Willow for short."
"Of course," Giles was muttering. "The Willow of the Woods. One of the more powerful white witches to survive the Gingerbread Wars."
"Um, yeah." Willow replied. "I'm not actually all that good. I just know how to make do with what I have."
"Astounding." Giles replied, adjusting his glasses. "Perhaps you can help us."
"Gi-les," Buffy hissed. "Ixnay on the elp us hay."
Willow ignored her. "What exactly brings you to my part of the woods?" She turned to Harris. "Last I heard of you, you were still bungling around, pissing off your father."
"Hey," Harris replied. "I never bungled. It may have taken time to work up my master ship, but I never bungled."
"Of course not." Willow smiled. "Just like with that math class we had."
"Um, yeah," Harris replied, then hurriedly changed the subject. "Anyway, we were just heading to Sunnydale in order to--"
"You don't even know what we're doing."
"Yeah, but if you're going to Sunnydale, you're going to need all the help you can get."
To be continued....