A Game of Luck

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
In a fantasy world where humans subjugate monsters Jinx and Kip are paired up to go capture a basilisk who has been killing off people in a nearby village. When they arrive in the village Kip finds out that his parter isn't who he expected him to be and they might not be on the same side after all.

Submitted: July 06, 2014

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Submitted: July 06, 2014

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Jinx stared back at the pitiful excuse for a human that was following him. The young man, named Kip, had tripped over his own feet and lay sprawled on the ground showing no sign of getting up.

“Carry me,” the Kip mumbled through the dirt, his brown eyes looking defeated.

Jinx just sighed and continued down the road to the town, leaving him to follow. The sky was an orange hue as the sun sank behind the mountain peaks. There was no one else on the road and the only sign of humans was the small run-down village ahead.

There was a pounding of feet behind him as Kip raced to catch up. He carried a large wooden box slung over his left shoulder. He had sandy blond hair and an incredibly lazy personality.

“How nice of you to join me,” Jinx said.

Kip narrowed his eyes, trying to see if Jinx was serious or if he was just playing with him. “Umm, you’re welcome?” Kip responded confusedly.

Jinx said nothing else as they crossed the front gate and stepped into the town. He navigated the town and stopped in front of an inn. As they entered heads turned to stare at Kip and the overly large box he carried. No one noticed as Jinx disappeared from sight as he slipped silently away from Kip and made his way to the corner of the room.

Kip walked awkwardly past the tables and the conversations picked up again as they realized he wasn’t a threat. He set the box upright in the corner of the room next to the table. Kip waved over the barmaid and ordered a pile of food and several drinks. Jinx scanned the crowd. Everyone was wary, as if every loud noise was a gunshot. The hushed whispers were even spookier than the monster-filled forests surrounding the reclusive village.

“Jinx,” Kip said, “how much time do we have to finish this request? I wanna go eat cream puffs, I finally learned the recipe.”

“If you started working then this would end faster,” Jinx stated.

Kip pouted and stood. He quickly stuck his tongue out and wagged it at Jinx. Then he grabbed his ale and stormed off. He wandered past the tables finally settling down amongst a group of men. In a matter of seconds he was laughing as hard as they were and trading secrets.

Jinx raised his eyebrows; he was always impressed with how easily Kip could befriend strangers. Jinx sipped his drink and watched everyone in the room. Both he and Kip worked for an underground organization that was supposed to report directly to the government. Their main job was to hunt down and kill, or capture, any monsters that are harming humans or posing a threat. When you became part of the agency your existence was erased from the world and you were given a new name. For this assignment they had been sent to capture a basilisk that had been killing people in the town. The army had attempted to deal with the problem but they had never returned.

Jinx’s eyes finally rested on a couple. They were in the center of the room, but were the only people that weren’t talking, an odd sight in bar. Their eyes were watching Kip’s every move.

After a few hours Kip left the table and made his way back to where Jinx was sitting. Kip’s face was flushed with alcohol but he kept his wits about him.

“We need to visit…” Kip began looking uncomfortable, “a little girl.”

Jinx nodded and lifted Kip’s box for him as the young man sprinted for the inn door. Jinx stepped out into the frigid night air to see Kip hunched over the snow, a pile of vomit already eating away at the frigid air.

“The box,” he said looking paler than before. Jinx handed the box down to Kip. Kip grasped the box and popped one of the drawers open and removed a bottle filled with a thick, clear liquid. He swallowed a mouthful and slowly the color began to return to his face. He deposited the bottle back into the box and stood. “I hate drinking,” Kip said angrily.

“Then why do you do it?”

“It’s the easiest way to be accepted by someone, people slip secrets when they are drunk.”

“So you have to be drunk too?”

“A trick to gaining their trust.”

“Just don’t ruin this assignment.”

“I know,” Kip snapped. He grabbed the box from the ground and started down one of the side streets.

Jinx trailed along behind Kip following him through the winding roads. After a while they stopped in front of a building. It was larger than most of the other buildings and wasn’t falling apart.

Kip carefully pushed open the door and walked in. A man jumped to his feet and ran over to them. “You can’t be here, whoever you strangers are, get out!”

“Why?” Kip retorted. “Your daughter is sick, right?”

“H-how did you know that?” The man stuttered.

“Rumors spread like wildfire, ya know, and I’ve come all this way so let me take a look at her.”

“You can’t, all the other doctors couldn’t do anything either and we have nothing to pay you.”

“We’re not looking for money, just information,” Jinx spoke up. He glared at Kip who’s seemed disinterested now that money was out of the question.

“And sugar cream puffs,” Kip said, glaring back at Jinx.

“I have a few,” the man burst out before Jinx could respond. “I’ll go get some, so please take a look at my daughter. Please cure her.”

“Of course,” Kip said navigating through the house. He pushed open a door and walked into a dimly lit room. Inside a girl was lying bundled up on the bed. Coughs racked her body and sweat dripped from her face. Kip set his box down next to her bed and leaned over her convulsing form. He slid the box open and pulled out a set of needles and a few bottles. He felt her forehead and listened to her heart.

Jinx began to get impatient and the sick smell was making him dizzy. He left Kip to cure the girl and stepped outside. His gaze washed over the dark buildings. The moon was a thin crescent overhead and clouds blocked out all the stars. A prickling feeling shot down his spine and he spun around, scanning the buildings. A shape removed itself from the building and bounded across rooftops.

Jinx slid across the street following the fleeing figure. He reached into his coat pocket and withdrew a deck of cards. Finally the figure jumped from the roofs and landed lightly on the ground, like a cat. Jinx darted after the figure that quickly took off down the ally. The streets wound in circles and Jinx could tell he was getting lost. Finally the elusive person skidded to a stop at a dead end. The crescent moon made it nearly impossible to see far ahead.

“Welcome,” the figure said in a surprisingly rich, deep voice.

“To where?” Jinx asked cautiously, thumbing through the deck of cards.

“Nowhere,” said another figure stepping into view on the wall behind the first man. The faint outline of the body and the voice suggested that it was a woman.

“What are you doing here?” Jinx said. “Why have you been watching our movements?”

“Well, you see,” the woman said, flicking what looked like a tail for emphasis. “I had a hunch that you might be trying to kill us.”

“Exactly right,” the man said smiling and flashing teeth.

Jinx felt his stomach curl into a knot. He had been lead into a trap and was now separated from Kip in a half-abandoned ghost town.

“So, what are you? Cat-type monsters?” Jinx said, swallowing his fear.

“We aren’t mere cats,” the man said.

“We carry the blood of many magnificent cat breeds. We don’t associate with humans,” the woman spat as if disgusted to even say the word human.

“So, two cat types, one male and one female.” Jinx muttered to himself trying to memorize the information to write later.

The man snapped. He leapt toward Jinx his nails over an inch long and razor-sharp. His teeth were pointed and two jutted down like the teeth of a saber-toothed tiger. His hair was black but marred by a white stripe traveling along the side. Two black cat ears were folded back against his head to protect them. His tail lashed angrily and was all black but with a white tip.

 Jinx ducked backward and kicked a garbage can at the cat. The trash spilled out and the man curled his lip in disgust. Jinx hurried and grabbed a card between his two fingers and flicked his wrist, sending the card flying at the monster. The man flinched to the side and the card cut through his skin leaving a thin line of blood that was already welling from the broken skin.

“You crazy human!” He screeched. “What trickery did you use?”

Jinx said nothing as he placed another card between his fingers. The female jumped down at Jinx. He dropped and rolled across the ground barely missing the cat’s sharp nails. She landed lightly and bounded across the ground and watched him.

Both cats began creeping up on him as he released a torrent of cards. The cards stuck into the concrete and metals. A few scratched the cats and sent them fleeing for cover. Jinx carefully picked up a few of the cards up off the ground. He ducked as he heard the scrape of a claw on the ground. The cat jumped at where Jinx’s head had been but missed as his target ducked. Jinx punched upward his fist connecting and sending the cat straight up into the air. The man twisted as he began to fall his claws flashing as they came down at Jinx’s face. Jinx threw a few cards at the man as he came down. They sliced through the cat’s body with a sickening sound. Jinx flinched out of the way as the cat collapsed onto the ground. Jinx watched the twitching form on the ground, feeling a small shred of pity for the cat, which hadn’t landed on his feet.

Cold claws pressed against his skin as the female cat grasped his neck. He felt the blood drip down his shirt. He sighed, unnerved to be caught off guard so easily.

“Step away from him,” she growled in his ear. Jinx obliged and was slowly lead away.

“Now what?” Jinx asked, his face shoved up against the wall and his hands tied above his head.

She removed his cloak from his shoulders and pocketed his three packets of cards. She removed the other random items dropping them onto the ground. A glint of red shone in her hands and Jinx acted. He spun around and kicked her hand, sending the two dice spinning through the air.

The woman spun around and slashed him. Jinx tried to spin away but her claws still tore through his clothes and skin, leaving deep scratches from his left arm down his back. Although luckily for him her claws broke the cloth tying his hands together.

The dice clattered across the ground and time stopped. A little counter appeared in his vision. The time started at 100 seconds and began to decrease. Jinx rushed over and picked his coat off the ground and shoveled the objects back into his pockets. He took his cards from the woman’s pockets and took some of her belongings as well. While time was paused he couldn’t move people but he could move objects. He pulled her mask over her eyes, hoping it would give him a few extra seconds when time started again. Lastly, he picked the dice off the ground where they were shinning with a blood-red light. The two dice were what had paused time for him.

One die had a list of different events that could happen. Half were horrible and could lead to his death; the other half would give him an advantage in the battle. The second die would either amplify the power of the other die or cancel it. He tried to never use them and would instead rely on his normal abilities because the risk of the dice was too great. Jinx watched as the last 20 seconds ticked down. He dashed away picking as many cards off the ground as he could. Each step sent pain down his back. His body jolted forward as the countdown ended. The fatigue and pain nearly doubled. The dice weren’t perfect and they still had a side affect.

Jinx finally found the house that Kip was inside. He banged on the door, his knees giving out. The door flew open and Jinx collapsed in Kip’s arms.

“What happened?” Kip said hauling Jinx inside. “I knew I smelled blood, and this is really, really bad.” He lay Jinx on the floor and removed his shirt and cloak. The scratches were deep and Jinx had already lost a massive amount of blood. Jinx’s breath wheezed as he sucked in the air.

Kip felt for his pulse and could feel it fading. “No, no, no,” he screamed, panicking. “Don’t die on me!”

The door opened and the owner of the house burst in. “What’s going on?” He asked as his eyes feel on Jinx’s torn body. “That was your friend who came in earlier, right?”

Kip nodded tears welling up. He scrambled through his box and came up with a cloth and a bottle of medicine. He wiped the blood off Jinx’s body and felt it go cold. He stared solemnly at the medicine and slipped it back into the box.

The man stepped out as Kip stared, wide-eyed at Jinx’s corpse. As he watched the scratches began to quiver and seal together. Soon all that was left was a row of thin, white scars. Jinx’s body jerked and he drew a breath. He tried to push himself up but is arms gave out. Coughs wracked his body and blood dribbled from his mouth.

“Jinx?” Kip asked nervously, having no idea what was going on. Jinx turned to Kip his eyes wild and flashing with bloodlust. He jumped at Kip and pinned him to the ground. “Jinx, stop, it’s me, it’s Kip.” Jinx licked his lips and Kip noticed two thin protruding teeth. Vampire, he thought.

Jinx sunk his teeth into Kip’s neck. Slowly he drained Kip’s blood and the color began to return to his face. After a minute Jinx suddenly jerked his head back his teeth retracted and returned to normal. His body slumped to the ground and he fell asleep. Kip slowly backed away, his hand cupping the blood that was spurting from his neck. He inched his way toward his box of supplies. He withdrew towels and bandages. Slowly he treated his would, all the while keeping both eyes firmly planted on Jinx’s form.

Only when his wounds were treated did Kip let his gaze travel past his friend’s body. The girl still sat on the straw bed. Her breathing was back to normal and nothing seemed wrong. Kip had administered a heavy drug that would keep her asleep for a few more hours. He reached into his box and pulled out a dagger. He crawled over to Jinx and pinned him down with his weight. He let the blade touch the neck of his friend. Jinx’s eyes shot open and he stared at Kip’s shivering frame.

“What are you doing?” Jinx calmly said.

“Killing all the monsters in the world,” Kip replied.

Jinx’s eyes darted to the wound on Kip’s shoulder. He sighed. “I died?”

“Yes, but here you are alive and well, how do you explain that?”

“I think you know very well, my friend. Well, judging by the wound on your neck that is.”

“Vampire,” Kip spat out vehemently.

“Sadly, yes.”

“Are you gonna kill me now? It’s not like I was prepared to go vampire hunting.” Kip said his eyes wavering. “I don’t have a stake or cross.”

“I’m only part vampire. It only activates when my human body dies. The latent vampire part of me springs into action, killing my enemy and supplying my soul with the necessary nutrients to regenerate my body. If you try to slit my throat you’ll be the one who ends up dead,” Jinx said avoiding Kip’s harsh glare

Kip clenched his teeth and shook his head. “How do I know you won’t kill me anyway when my back is turned?”

“Because you’re still alive even though we have been traveling together.”

“But now I know your secret.”

“A lot of people know my secret, if you had asked who you were working with then you could have found out all there is to know about me. It’s not like I’m a newbie like you. For all I know you could be a monster as well,” Jinx said swallowing nervously.

Kip only glared at Jinx, wondering if he was telling the truth. “Are most of the monster hunters in the organization, actually monsters themselves?”

“Yes, large portions of the monster hunters are monsters. Usually they are outcasts from their race or half-breeds, like myself. Now, its my turn to ask you a question, are you a monster?”

Kip grimaced. “I don’t think so.”

Jinx sighed and pushed Kip off of him. “Fine.” He stood and glanced around the room. “I took some things from the cats that ambushed me.” Jinx pulled a piece of paper from his pocket that he had nicked from the female cat warrior while time had been stopped. He peeled it open and began to read the note aloud.

 

Sasha,

I need you and your brother to take care of some business for me. Of course this is completely optional. Earlier you two told me that there were some Hunters on my trail. I need you two to find them and eliminate them before they find me. If you choose to reject this proposal it would be best if you didn’t return or you will find yourselves becoming a new addition to my stone garden. Sekna is with me, don’t worry, he will protect me. Godspeed wherever you may go.

Your Lord,

Sil Lisk

 

“It seems like they were supposed to be spies for this monster we are hunting. Though the directions are rather carefree. It is obvious he doesn’t seem to care whether or not his own men will abandon him,” Jinx pointed out.

Kip nodded. “It’s almost like hypnosis. But I don’t think he can use that.”

“Maybe it is this Sekna person. He might be someone who can use hypnosis,” Jinx said, looking up at Kip for his opinion.

“Maybe, though it makes me wonder if it truly is hypnosis why bother with the note? Also, if it is hypnosis does that mean those two monsters that ambushed you will be coming here? Then we will be attacked and because I’m not some flippin monster I’m gonna die a horrible death so I might as well eat all the cream puffs I can,” Kip said sighing pitifully.

“I doubt they will come here,” Jinx said completely ignoring Kip’s rant about cream puffs. “The male cat monster was close to death. If he does live that will mean that his companion will have to take him to get treated quickly. And in his condition only a select few could heal his injuries. If she ignores her brother and comes straight after us then it might mean trouble, but she seemed so worried about her brother that I doubt she will return to get revenge within the next few months.”

“So maybe it wasn’t hypnosis. Could it be that they were just very loyal? I would do it if they fed me cream puffs.”

“Can you shut it with the food?” Jinx snapped. He quickly continued on when Kip opened his mouth to argue. “Well, perhaps they were just really close friends with our target. Maybe didn’t want to send his friends out to gauge our abilities. He might have been pressured to making is friends go, but he instead wanted to keep them safe. That would explain the latter and it matches up with all the current events going on at the time.”

“So are we going to be going monster hunting now? Cause seriously I’d love nothing more than to eat some cream puffs and drink some milk in front of a warm fire as I slowly drift off into sleep,” Kip said smiling as Jinx’s eyes flashed with anger as he mentioned cream puffs again.

“Depends, you wanted to get information from this little girl, right? That’s why we are here.” Jinx said noticing a cold sweat building up on the shivering form of the girl.

“Oh yeeeeah, with you nearly getting yourself killed I had almost forgotten my entire reason for being in this building for the first place,” Kip shrugged. “We just need to wait a few hours until the girl wakes up. So I’m gonna go catch some z’s, after all we might be heading out right when she opens her eyes.” Kip pulled a spare blanket over to the side of the room. He closed his eyes and drifted off to sleep.

Jinx watched the boy sleep and set the other objects he had retrieved from the monsters on the ground. There was a pair of sunglasses, a small container, a gas mask, a mirror, a small coin purse, and a short dagger. Every one was either an everyday item or a countermeasure against a basilisk. Jinx experimented trying to open the container but it refused to budge. He shrugged and set it aside, figuring it might be impossible to open in his weakened state.

Jinx’s stretched and glanced at the clock. It was dawn and even though Jinx had spent the entire night fighting and talking he didn’t feel tired at all. It was a side affect from dying and drinking blood. After about three hours the girl coughed and opened her eyes. Jinx shook Kip awake and they went to check on her.

She sat up and looked around. Her eyes widened at the sight of the two men in her room.

“Go get her father,” Kip said turning to look at Jinx. “And bring me cream puffs, or a lollipop, those are good too.”

“Didn’t he think I was dead?” Jinx questioned.

“Oh yeah,” Kip said and hurried from the room to get the girl’s father and probably cream puffs.

“Hello there,” Jinx said to the little girl. “My name is Jinx, and I’m a magician.” He bowed a little.

“Really?” The girl said suddenly excited. “Can you make a rabbit appear?”

Jinx sighed, this girl was unrealistically childish, and obviously he didn’t have a rabbit on hand. “I’m sorry, my rabbit, Floppy, is asleep and it would be rude to wake him up.”

“Oh, okay,” she said disappointedly. “Can you juggle?”

“Of course.” Jinx said. He grabbed three little stuffed animals from her bed and juggled them for her. She giggled and clapped her hands excitedly. Her father rushed in and stared at Jinx. He shoved the magician roughly to the ground and inched closer to his daughter. The little stuffed animals fell sadly to the ground.

“You hurt them,” she screamed, tears in her eyes.

“I’m sorry,” her father said bending down and picking the three stuffed animals up.

“You hurt my magician too!” She said trying to scramble off the bed to help Jinx.

He lay on the floor and blood oozed from the reopened wound across his back. Kip rushed into the room, a lollipop in his mouth. He quickly flipped his friend facedown on his back. Working quickly he mixed potions and cleaned the wound and sewed it back together. Then he wrapped it tightly in bandages to prevent the blood from dripping down Jinx’s back. Only once Jinx was propped against the wall and under a sleeping potion did Kip turn to the man.

“I will leave soon, I just want to ask your daughter a few questions,” Kip said restraining his rage.

“O-of course,” the man said, shocked at what had happened. “I was just so surprised to find that man still alive. I was sure he died the other night.”

“He almost did but I am a very skilled doctor,” Kip said around the lollipop.

The man nodded and stepped toward the door and away from the other three people in the room.

“What happened to you?” Kip asked quickly calming down, bit his request still echoed like an order. “How did you get sick?”

“Well,” the girl said color draining from her face. “I was playing in the forest and trying to catch the birds and butterflies. I accidentally wandered away from my Daddy and got lost in the woods. I was suuuuper really, really, scared. The mountain grew tall right in front of me and it yawned and nearly ate me. I wanted to look in the mountain’s mouth but there was pretty, shiny, silver armor in the way. It was like a sea of silver and shinny stuff. I stayed there for a bit because I wanted to bring Daddy a present. When I heard a rustling in the trees above me I looked up but nothing was there. I got all suuuper really, really, scared again and I ran all the way back here. Then I musta gotten sick after I got home.”

“What was the weather like?” Kip asked.

“Umm, well, it was really sunny. But the silver sea seemed to be cloudy. There was no sun, it almost seemed to be hiding, poor sun. Also the birdy I had been chasing disappeared, it was so quiet,” she shivered.

“Thank you for letting us stay this long,” Kip said bowing. “We won’t overstay our welcome.”

“N-no, thank you both. You are welcome to stay longer if you wish. As my thanks for curing my daughter.”

“No,” Kip said. “We have to move on.” He packed up his supplies. He noticed the objects Jinx had laid out on the floor. He swept them into his box. Carefully Kip hefted Jinx over his shoulder, making sure Jinx’s weapons didn’t fall from his cloak. Jinx’s black hair was a mess and it swayed as Kip left the house. He made his way toward the ominous mountain that shadowed the small town.

Jinx woke up just as they neared the mountain and Kip set him on the ground. They came out in the clearing in front of the cave mouth. Armor and bones coated the ground making it nearly impossible to see the grass underneath. A stench seemed ooze out of the pores of the earth.

Kip pulled his gasmask from the box and slipped it over his face. He took the gasmask Jinx had stolen from the cat monsters and handed it to his friend. Jinx nodded and tightened the mask on over his own face.

Jinx stood and winced at his wounds. The amount of blood he had drained from Kip had been very little. Jinx checked the position of the dice and placed them in a pocket within reach. Next, he slid the cards up his sleeve to make rapid fire easier.

Kip pulled the top off of a cylinder. Inside were nearly a hundred acupuncture needles. He also slid two pair of scissors through his pants loop for close-range combat. He also unwrapped another lollipop and stuck it in his mouth.

Kip looked at the giant wooden box, debating whether to take it with them or leave it in a safer place. He sighed and hefted it over his shoulder. Having it too far away could be the difference between life and death. “Jinx, what exactly do we need to watch out for?”

“If you make eye contact with the basilisk then you will die, I’m not sure if it uses hypnosis to stop your heart, or if its gaze will burn you to ashes. Either way, just remember not to make eye contact. Next, he can spew a toxic vapor from his mouth and ingesting a little will make you severely sick,” Jinx harshly listed off.

Kip nodded. “Just like that little girl from earlier, I recognized the symptoms.”

“Right,” Jinx said. “Lastly, I have heard that touching a basilisk will turn you into stone.”

Kip stared at him open-mouthed, the lollipops nearly falling to the ground. “Wait, then how are we supposed to kill it? Not to mention capturing it alive.”

“I’m hoping that our long range weapons will prove useful.”

“Oh yeah genius? What if our weapons turn to stone as soon as they touch it?”

Jinx stared at him. “Do you have any other plan for getting us out of this?”

“Well at least I’m not planning to march to my own funeral. Why did we have to rush this anyway?”

“So we don’t get targeted by more assassins.”

“Like that would happen.”

“Fine, you want to know the truth? There is a time-limit on this assignment. If I can’t do this they will put me at the stake. Guess what else? I have a little sister who is depending on my survival if I die here then there is no way she will be able to survive in the adult world either,” Jinx snapped. He covered up his smile at the obviously cheesy lie by turning his head away.

“Oh,” Kip said glancing down at his feet. “I’m sorry I didn’t realize.”

“Let’s just get this done.”

“Wait, gimme a sec. I wanna figure out how to deal with this guy a few more minutes won’t hurt and it will make sure you get back alive. Also I still wanna make homemade cream puffs.”

“I can’t die,” Jinx pointed out.

“I’m sure if you were petrified you would be entombed or dead, either way your sister would be left alone.”

Jinx sighed, realizing Kip’s point. “Did you pick up the items I left on the floor of the girl’s room?”

“Oh of course! There might be something to help us in there.” Kip popped open his box and set the cat monster’s items on the ground between them. “Let’s see. The coins and dagger are self-explanatory. Do you think the tint on the sunglasses will prevent the basilisk from killing us?”

“It’s a good bet, it wouldn’t be direct eye contact, but we still need to be careful. At least the mirror will allow us to look at him without making eye contact.”

“Yup,” Kip said. “All that leaves is the container. Have you tried opening it?”

“I did try earlier, but it didn’t work”

Kip pulled a set of tools out of his box and got to work prying the lid off. After a few minutes the lid popped off and Kip stared at the contents. Inside was a thick white paste. He began doing a few experiments as an attempt to figure out what the paste was used for.

“It might be a toxin that is resistant to the basilisk’s touch,” Jinx said.

“That sounds too good to be true but you might be right,” Kip agreed. They split the paste between themselves and readied their weapons. They crossed the death clearing and entered the cave.

Inside the cave walls were lined with glowing lights. After a few minutes the tunnel widened. Inside there was normal furniture you would expect to find in a house. Shelves were carved into the walls to hold objects. Kip and Jinx glanced around nervously wondering where their target was, but not wanting to risk making accidental eye contact.

A rustling echoed down one of the side tunnels and a giant snake rushed out turning on them and hissing.

“That’s not a basilisk,” Jinx said unsheathing a short sword from his hip.

“Whaaaat?” Kip said. “I thought a basilisk was a giant snake.”

“It’s usually hybrid of a snake and either a rooster or human, but take a look at this room. It is obviously impossible for that giant snake to use the furniture. With that we can easily assume that the basilisk is a human-snake hybrid.”

Kip sighed and nodded. He grasped the scissors in each hand and leapt at the snake. He quickly managed to land a deep slice down the side. Jinx dodged its sharp teeth and aimed a card for the snake’s eyes. The snake slid to the side and the card lodged in the scales next to the eye. It’s tail swung around and came whipping toward Kip. He tried to block the blow but was thrown nearly ten feet and smashed against the cave wall.

“Kip!” Jinx called over to his friend. Kip didn’t reply and remained crumpled on the floor. Jinx turned his attention back to the snake just as its fangs came down at him. He rolled to the side and grabbed onto the snake’s neck. Using his short sword to stab the snake he climbed up the neck to the snake’s head. It thrashed around on the ground trying to squash him. Jinx quickly thrust a card into its eye, half blinding the snake.

The snake hissed loudly and whipped its head around causing Jinx to fly off. He landed on his feet and skidded backwards a few feet. The snake gave one more warning hiss and darted off through the tunnels. Jinx took this opportunity to rush over and check on Kip. Who had woken and was already treating his wounds.

“Did you hit your head?” Jinx asked.

“I think I might have, but I protected most of the blow with my arms. I’m more upset about losing the lollipops,” Kip said gesturing the two lollipops that had fallen on the floor and were now coated in grime.

Jinx sighed. “Just stay there, I’ll find the basilisk.” Kip opened his mouth to complain but Jinx stared him down. “Just eat another lollipop.” The snake had completely disappeared and most of the items in the room had been reduced to rubble. Jinx rushed down the tunnel the snake had gone down. The lights weren’t working and Jinx could feel the hairs on the back of his neck standing up. The tunnel finally opened into another cave. Inside a person was sleeping on a bed. The snake was coiled tightly around the single piece of furniture.

Jinx tried to plan out how to approach without waking either the snake or basilisk. After a few minutes Jinx grabbed the dice from his pocket. He shook them and rolled them onto the ground. He held his breath as chance decided what his fate would be. The first die bounced off the ground and landed on a four. Monster Summon. Jinx cursed his luck, if he was lucky it would be a weak monster that might manage to distract the snake while he took care of the basilisk. The second die landed on a six. Monster summon, amplified times 100. This monster wasn’t going to be a weakling.

Jinx scooped the dice back into his pocket and pulled a length of rope from his coat and darted toward the side of the room just as the monster began to materialize. The white light morphed into a shape, it was the white tiger, Byakko, guardian of the West. It was one of the four strongest monsters in history. The snake shot up and lunged at the cat. The tiger snapped it’s jaws shut and the snake’s head fell from its body. Jinx took the chance to throw a few cards at the basilisk. They sunk into his flesh and he roared, waking up. Purple vapor flowed from his mouth coating the room in a fog. Jinx pulled on his gloves and rubbed the paste into the leather. He could hear a clanging as the two creatures clashed. A giant paw swipe cleared the vapor from the air and Jinx watched the fight. The tiger had the advantage in every category, but it didn’t seem keen on fighting a fellow monster.

The basilisk was smashed into the ground by a giant paw. None of its tricks worked on the legendary beast. Jinx rushed forward and stabbed the shoulder of the basilisk with his sword. A smile flashed on its face. The sword began to petrify. Jinx cursed and grabbed the rope. They had already soaked the rope in the paste earlier. Jinx smashed the stone sword deeper into the monster’s shoulder and began to tie up his feet. The paste seemed to be working. Both the gloves and rope would turn a slight grayish and stiffen like stone, but would quickly turn back to normal after a few seconds.

In a matter of minutes the basilisk was tied up. The white tiger sat staring as the entire situation played out. “Thank you,” Jinx said. The tiger seemed to dip his head and he leapt from the cave his paw steps fading into the distance.

“Let me go, you maggot,” the basilisk spat.

"No way,” Jinx said avoiding eye contact.

“I’m not an enemy. You killed my snake and sicked then the giant white tiger on me, that’s not my fault.” The basilisk sat up and pouted. He seemed like a teenage kid.

“Well first off we should get out of this room,” Jinx said. The poisonous gas still filled the room and the blood of the snake was seeping across the floor. He pulled the boy to his feet and dragged him through the dark tunnel to the room where Kip was waiting.

Kip sat in the same place leaning against the wall. His face was shining with awe and a lollipop stuck out of the corner of his mouth. “Where did Byakko come from? That tiger wasn’t a captive in the room was he?”

“No way,” the basilisk said. “Even I’m not that strong.”

“Whoa! You caught the basilisk.” Kip said coming closer. “Though you should put something over that mouth of his. Otherwise the poison vapor will kill all the innocent townspeople.”

“Oh yeah, what a pain,” Jinx muttered. “Do you have something we can use?”

“Maybe,” Kip said rifling through his box.

“Hey, I told you guys that I’m not your enemy, just let me go,” the boy complained.

“No way, even if you aren’t our enemy, you are far too dangerous,” Jinx pointed out.

“I said LET ME GO!” roared the basilisk as he bent down and bit into the rope and tore it. Now that his arms were free he reached for Jinx to paralyze him.

“DAMMIT!” Kip cursed throwing needles at the boy. The basilisk changed course and rushed at Kip.

Jinx took a chance and glanced into the boy’s eyes. The pupils stretched open like that of a cat. The irises looked like balls of flames. Jinx felt his heart skip a beat and he tried to tear his gaze away. The basilisk had now turned to fully face him. Jinx could see Kip out of the corner of his eye. He dipped the needles in a clear green liquid and threw them at the basilisk. They dug deep into the boy’s skin. The basilisk swayed and passed out on the ground. Jinx felt his heart begin to beat again and he drew in a deep breath.

“Kip, do we have stronger ropes?” Jinx asked.

“No, nothing stronger, but there is more of the rope we tied him up with before.”

“That will have to do until we can get something stronger.”

Kip nodded. “I can keep him drugged up too.”

“Good idea,” Jinx said retying the bonds. He also ripped off a shirtsleeve and used it as a blindfold for the boy. He made sure to soak the rope and cloth in the white paste before touching the boy’s skin. He was still unsure if the basilisk could fully freeze inanimate objects but it was better to be safe than sorry. Jinx removed his gasmask from his face and slipped it on over the basilisk’s head. He made sure to close off all the vents except one. After all, Jinx didn’t want the basilisk to die of carbon dioxide poisoning. And hopefully the mask would prevent any gas attacks the boy tried.

Kip packed up his supplies and followed Jinx from the cave. The gas was still lingering in the clearing and it began to make Jinx woozy. He quickly swallowed some pills Kip had given him and the feeling disappeared. They quickly made their way back toward the general direction of the village.

They stopped on the outskirts and Kip split off from the group to go locate some chains. He quickly returned and they replaced the ropes with the chain.

The sun was setting in the west and it seemed like they had spent days in the cave. Kip yawned. “Jinx I’m gonna take a nap, you will guard right?”

Jinx nodded and watched as Kip drifted off to sleep. The moon rose in the sky and reached its peak. The basilisk stirred and leaned against the tree. “Well, now that you have caught me, what’s going to happen?”

“Depends,” Jinx said. “I met some assassins of yours, will they be coming back?”

“They shouldn’t be.”

“Oh, why not?”

“Well they wouldn’t dare to come back to me having failed the assignment and once they realize that I was captured they won’t bother coming back. That’s just how mercenaries are.”

“What about you? Do you have any other tricks up your sleeve? No other giant snakes?” Jinx questioned.

The boy laughed. “No way Sekna was very rare. I found him in the swamplands to the Far East. That was when I was only five. He sprouted up rather fast and it quickly became a major issue to hide him. That’s why I was living in the tunnels under the mountain.”

“Oh,” Jinx said, slightly confused at the boy’s situation. “Well why did you kill so many people?”

“Mostly accidents,” the basilisk said wiggling to get more comfortable in the heavy chains. “All the armor and gas in the clearing outside of my cave was a huge error on my part. I settled down in that cave about a year ago. It was perfect because Sekna fit in all the tunnels. Anyway the village people weren’t happy about a basilisk settling down so close. They must have sent a messenger to the king’s army because nearly a hundred troops showed up in front of my cave, demanding that I surrender myself and go with them. Of course I refused, if I went with them I would be shoved behind bars from my entire life and Sekna would be killed. It was really an accident I didn’t expect them all to die from the poison gas. Previously I had no contact with anyone besides my own family. Even if I released the vapor no one would die because we were all resistant, you know. I accidentally slaughtered all the men. Ever since that event that clearing was stained with the cloud of smoke. It soaked into every boulder, tree, and blade of grass. Many of the villagers fled to other towns because they were scared I was going to eat them all. Many got sick from the residue. It was a huge misunderstanding. But no one trusted me anyway. Now all that is left in that village is a pitiful collection of drunks and beggars who are too stupid, too sick, or too poor to leave.”

“It sounds like you are the victim here,” Jinx said.

“I’m not a victim,” he complained. “I did kill many of the men, but I am not a cruel person.”

“We will have to see what the organization thinks,” Jinx stated.

The basilisk sighed. “I guess that’s for the best.”

“Well, your name is Sil Lisk, right?” Jinx said changing the conversation.

“Yes, and you are?”

“I’m Jinx, and he’s Kip, the real reason I’ve come here is to formally offer for you to join our organization. We are going against the subjugation of monsters and are planning to free ourselves from the chains of the government.”

Sil smiled. “I’m in, but how are you going to do that?”

“A game of luck,” Jinx said setting down the cards and dice. His fangs flashed white as he smiled back.

 


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