Daryl and Denise – Chapter 22


Denise. She had called him a disgrace. She spoke of him as a monster, just like the humans of Kirkalan. He knew why, he perfectly understood why. Yet after he uncontrollably trembled in Aosoth’s laboratory, he made his way back to the dungeon where Denise was kept. Bob and Gary did nothing to stop him; in fact, they just stepped out of his way when he entered. Daryl would have thought this suspicious, but he couldn’t help but walk to Denise’s cell, where the female dragon looked at him with a raised eyebrow. ‘You again. What is it now?’

Daryl opened his mouth to talk, but all that came out was a hissing sound.

‘What is it?’


‘Is that all you wanted to say to me?’ Daryl shook his head. ‘Well, what then?’

‘My father,’ Daryl managed to croak out. ‘He…was a hero…and…his f…’

‘Yes,’ said Denise, growling. ‘He and the Blitherblot clan were supposed to redeem us in the eyes of Kirkalan. He tried to bring us a new era, but his son ended up working for his murderer.’

Daryl squeaked again.

‘That’s all you can say, isn’t it? That’s because you’re a coward, aren’t you? Why did you go to England, anyway?’

Attempting to answer, all Daryl could manage was another squeak, and thus, he hung his head.

‘You were to face the consequences for your actions, so you ran away to where you thought nobody would find you,’ sneered Denise, ‘That is utterly pathetic.’

‘You don’t understand!’

‘Don’t try that crap with me, I understand completely. You followed Aosoth because you were scared she’d kill you if you didn’t. You left Kirkalan because you were scared you’d be killed if you didn’t. All you want to do is save your own scales.’

‘No,’ said Daryl, wringing his hands, ‘That’s not…’

‘Your father risked his life, just to improve those of his people. You should be doing the same, instead of trying to undo everything he’s done.’

Daryl held his head. ‘Denise, please.’

‘You should feel lucky Aosoth has been resurrected,’ growled Denise. ‘The people of Kirkalan won’t lay a finger on you now. They’ll be afraid, just like you are now.’

Then it sprang.

Out of Daryl’s head came a snake-like monster, topped with a head that resembled a balloon, emitting a scream that had both dragons squirm. Just as it was about to shriek again, Denise grabbed it by the neck and threw it to the ground, silencing it.

‘Thank you,’ said Daryl. ‘Now…c-can you please help me…?’

‘Daryl!’ There came Aosoth, hands clasped together. ‘There you are,’ she said in a sing-song kind of way. ‘I want to talk to you.’

Daryl turned to Denise, who only stared at him with a snarl, then back to Aosoth. ‘What about?’

‘That England place you went to. It sounds lovely.’

‘No…’ Daryl replied, ‘Don’t the p-people of Kirkalan h-hate it?’

‘But you had such nice things to say about it, Daryl! That’s why I’m going to take it over!’

Hearing this, Daryl stumbled over and hit the bars of Denise’s cell, hearing another growl from the female dragon. ‘W-why?’

‘Because I’m an evil sorceress? I need to take over, it makes me feel alive!’ She raised her arms in the air, before using them to raise Daryl off of the floor and slam him into another wall. ‘Doesn’t it make you feel alive too?’ Daryl could only nod. ‘Bob! Gary!’ The two henchmen stood firm. ‘Assemble the troops! I’ll summon some more skeletons. Daryl, you stay here. I’m sure you’ll help in whatever way you can.’ Laughing again, Aosoth took Bob and Gary and the three left the dungeon towards Aosoth’s laboratory. Daryl just sat against the wall, heavily breathing.

‘Did you give her the idea to invade England, Daryl?’ Looking up, Daryl saw Denise was speaking to him. ‘Well, did you?’


‘That’s what they all say when questioned. Aruff told me about people like you.’

‘Did he?’

‘Yes. You like to think you’re a mighty beast, don’t you? I mean, everyone in Kirkalan is afraid of you, they think that your head would be worth a fortune. Do you like that?’

‘No, of course not!’

‘Oh really?’ asked Denise, cocking an eyebrow or whatever substituted for one, ‘Are you sure? Aren’t you happy that you have something that makes up for your utter cowardice? Oh look, I think your head’s shaking again.’ Daryl held onto it. ‘Didn’t she just say she needed henchmen for her invasion? Why not make a monster then? It’ll get you in her good books, that’s for sure.’

‘I don’t want to.’

‘I don’t believe you,’ growled Denise. ‘You want to shame your father, go ahead. I’m not stopping you. I don’t care what happens to England anyway, it can burn to the ground for all I care.’ She turned her back to Daryl, so Daryl did likewise and turned away. The image of his father still lay in his brain, still snarling at him. What would he say if he walked across the destruction caused by his son? Knowing what would erupt from his head if he pondered too much on it, Daryl tried to shoo the thoughts away, but the pounding against his skull continued. The image of his father leading fellow dragons to victory. Daryl couldn’t even go back to his own village after Aosoth’s first death. He felt like crying…

But someone else already was.

Looking upwards again, Daryl looked at Denise behind bars, and saw her crouched over, sobbing loudly. Something within Daryl compelled him to approach the cell, to face the smell of prisoners past, and to say, ‘Are you okay?’

Wiping away the mucus from her snout, Denise replied, ‘What do you think?’ She then turned away from Daryl, and towards the floor. ‘I’m such an idiot.’

‘Uh, don’t you mean to say I’m an idiot?’ replied Daryl.

‘I’ve wasted my life,’ sighed Denise. ‘My entire bleeding life! Maybe I should have been a baker…’

‘Now, come now,’ said Daryl before turning away from the cell, beginning to feel tears forming in his own eyes. He was no good at comfort, certainly not as good as…

What about him?

‘Spartypuss!’ cried Daryl. ‘Spartypuss, come here!’ While this aroused Denise’s interest, Spartypuss didn’t appear, causing Daryl to collapse again. Just as he was about to slam his head against the wall, however, Spartypuss did pop in, his waistcoat in tatters.

‘I’m just glad I got away from that…thing in the cellar,’ gibbered Spartypuss.

‘C-could you help me please?’ said Daryl, ‘Could you r-release Denise here?’

‘I’ll try,’ replied Spartypuss, conjuring up a key in his hand. He shoved it into the keyhole of Denise’s cell, but then realised it wouldn’t fit. Then he conjured up another key and successfully unlocked the door, holding his arm out as he did. Denise didn’t move.

‘Come on, Denise,’ said Daryl. ‘If we’re going to stop Aosoth, we may need your help.’

‘Oh, now you want to stop Aosoth, do you?’

‘It’s what my father would have wanted, isn’t it?’

‘And what do you need me for?’ grumbled Denise, walking towards the back of the cell, ‘I’m not ready to fight Aosoth. She’s far too powerful.’

‘Oh no!’ Spartypuss dove into the cell, slammed the door shut and shrunk. ‘I forgot her power exceeds mine!’

‘Well,’ said Daryl, still shuddering slightly, ‘I guess I’ll go stop her myself.’

‘No, don’t!’ squealed Spartypuss, reaching for Daryl, ‘She’s far too powerful! You’ll die!’

Daryl gave no response, but instead, forced his legs to go towards the stairs. As he neared it, he looked back at Denise, who stared at him, but said nothing in objection. Daryl placed a foot on the first step, then stopped. He looked at his foot on the step before forcing the other one onto the second step. With both feet on steps, he looked upward at where the steps led, when he suddenly felt something lift within him. It wasn’t in his head, but it still made him leap backwards into the dungeon. Reminding himself of what his father would do, he placed himself back up on the stairs, only to stumble downwards again. A quick turn around, and Spartypuss was still there shuddering and Denise was shaking her head.

Daryl’s head shook too.

Out from his cavity spilled an array of purple orbs, shaking and jumping about the dungeon. Daryl ran about, trying to capture them, but all that led to was him tripping over his shoelace, which had suddenly become untied.


Aosoth was back earlier than expected, making Spartypuss turn invisible. Standing up straight, Daryl stared at the staircase until Aosoth slithered down it, the red illuminating the room rendering the little blobs still and silent. ‘Oh, you made some monsters, did you?’

Turning around, Daryl saw Denise still in her cell with the door closed, and Spartypuss nowhere to be found. ‘Yes, I guess I di…’

Without warning, Aosoth raised her hands and stretched open her mouth, letting loose a horrific roar. As she did, the red that filled the room grew deeper, though it seemed to be blotted with new shadows. Feeling stinging sensations over his body, Daryl clutched himself as he felt his head shudder again. Down from his brain came a clone of Aosoth – at least a clone of her head attached to a lizard-like body.

‘Excellent!’ The red in the room returned to its normal shade, and Aosoth cuddled the miniature her like a pet. Daryl stepped back and fumbled through his pockets. Oh, he dropped the Eye after killing Aosoth that first time. If he had it here right now…

A part of him was horrified that he thought of killing Aosoth again, but that part shrunk quickly when looking at how Aosoth admired her copy. Seeing the twin Aosoths made him remember all she had made him do while under her power the first time. When she brought in a man who refused to pay his taxes, he was forced to terrify the man into paying. His hand balled up into a fist as he looked back at Aosoth and then at Denise.

What would Denise think of him if he had never joined Aosoth? If it weren’t for Aosoth, he’d be able to return to his village…no he’d still be in his village, wouldn’t he? He’d just be another dragon, a commoner that could live peacefully with his brethren. Denise wouldn’t accuse and torment him.

Then again, he would have never been to England either, and he had come to like England. But if he had never been to England, it would have been left alone and Aosoth would have never invaded it and

Aosoth slapped him right in the face. ‘Pay attention when I’m talking to you, Daryl,’ she said, with another small monster fluttering out of Daryl’s head as she did. ‘Anyway, I’d just like to thank you for giving me the idea to invade England. I never would have thought of it were it not for you. Just think,’ continued Aosoth as she led Daryl up the staircase, ‘all those people who will die at the hands of my minions and myself, they will have died because of you.’


Daryl and Denise – Chapter 21



After seeing what could come out of his head if he lost his guard, and how his cellmate reacted to such a thing, Daryl had spent the whole night awake. The female dragon slumbered quite peacefully, but Daryl forced himself to keep alert, one hand beneath his eyes, the other atop his head. The loud snores coming from the female helped keep him awake, but something in his head seemed to move to the rhythm of those snores.

Morning soon came, though it was hard to tell in this castle, with Daryl shuddering in the corner. No monsters. Good. What time – oh no. If he was in here, he wouldn’t be able to get to work. Even if he did escape, he would lose his only chance at a better life.

Fire erupted from his nostrils again, which awoke the female. ‘Stop that,’ she growled, and the flames immediately ceased. She looked as if she was ready to attack Daryl again at any moment, so Daryl cowered once again.

‘I-I really d-didn’t want to work for A-Aosoth, you know.’

The female sat with a fierce expression. ‘And yet you continued doing her work until that kid Coover killed her.’

Daryl opened his mouth to correct that last point, but words failed him about that. Instead, he responded, ‘I was afraid.’

‘Afraid of what?’ She stood up, towering over Daryl. ‘Look at you. You’re a member of a proud species, and you’re…well…’ Daryl, grabbing his head again, stood up to face her. ‘What would your father think of you now?’

‘My father?’

Before the female could say anything else, Aosoth glided into the room, chortling softly. ‘Hello, did we have a good night’s sleep?’ The female dragon ran to the bars, but was knocked over backwards by a blast from Aosoth. ‘Or did we play together at all? No? Pity. Well, anyway.’ Opening the cell door, she grabbed Daryl by the arm and let him out, leaving the dazed female still trapped.

‘W-w-what do you want?’ blurted out Daryl. ‘I-I’m so so sorry.’

‘Don’t worry about that now, Daryl,’ said Aosoth, stroking Daryl’s cavity. ‘It did allow me to have a spectacular resurrection, and I’ve always wanted one of those. Now, I know you’ve been in that other world for a while now…’

‘I’m sorry!’

‘Stop saying that! Being there for so long, you’d be likely to know its many technologies. So, perhaps you’d like to share your knowledge about that world with me, to see if there is anything that can aid me in terrorising the people of Kirkalan once more. If you do, I’ll let you go back to your cosy little flat, and you’ll never have to worry about me ever again!’


‘Of course,’ said Aosoth, her voice getting higher, ‘Would I lie to you?’

‘Um, just a sec,’ said Daryl, as he suddenly rushed back to the cell, where the female dragon leaned against the bars. After checking to see Aosoth wasn’t listening, he said, ‘Hey! Fellow dragon!’

‘My name is Denise, if you must know.’

‘Okay, hello Denise. Anyway, Aosoth just told me to tell her about England…’

‘That dump?’ Denise folded her arms. ‘You actually went there?’

‘Yes, but now Aosoth wants me to tell her about stuff there that can help her and said that if I do, I’ll go home. But I can’t work for her again, but I do want to go home…’

‘Why are you telling me this?’

‘Well…’ Daryl rubbed his arm. ‘I thought you would know what to do.’

Denise responded by laughing. Pounding the bars of her cell, she let loose a bout of cruel laughter before slowly regaining herself. ‘I suppose I should be flattered. But I’m going to let you figure it out for yourself. Whichever you choose, it’ll save me having to put up with you any further.’

Fidgeting with his cavity some more, Daryl forced himself to look at Denise. ‘What did you say about my father?’

‘What does it matter? Even if I told you, it’s not like I’d be able to help you.’

‘No, please.’ Further requests were silenced when Aosoth entered.

‘Have you come to a decision yet?’ She turned to Denise for a moment. ‘What’s the matter? Were you hoping she’d help you? Forget it, Daryl. Everyone in Kirkalan hates you, even members of your own species. Just help me out this once, and I’ll teleport you back to your humble little home.’

‘I-I th-thought you liked having me help you though…’

‘But come on, Daryl. I just want you to be happy.’ Aosoth punctuated that word with a grin revealing her jagged teeth. ‘ And if you’re happier in England than here, then so be it.’

Daryl turned to Denise, sitting in her cell, and back at Aosoth, then around at the place he wanted to forget. ‘Oh, very well. I’ll t-tell you,’ he replied, hanging his head. A roar from the cell made him shudder, yet he still let Aosoth grip him and take him to her laboratory.

What could Daryl do?

What could Denise do?

The son of her idol had been in the same room as her, had stood before her, and had spoken to her. The son that was believed dead, and was even given a memorial service. The son Denise had even hoped to take the place of. Daryl was not Daniel, but he was Daniel’s son, so finding out he was the dragon working for Aosoth was as much a blow to her as if Daniel himself had joined the forces of darkness.

It was entirely possible that this could be some trick of Aosoth’s to lower her morale, but…who cares if it was? It was Daniel she was fighting to keep the memory of, not his son or whatever was claiming to be his son.

If he could become evil, could she too?

Attempting to shake these thoughts from her head, Denise instead tried to focus on escaping. Aosoth had fed Bob and Gary a heavy amount of caffeine and had enchanted their keys, so there was no point in waiting for them to fall asleep. She thought back to her training with Gangrene, and remembered his advice on outsmarting opponents.

‘Bob! Gary!’

‘What is it?’ growled the taller of the two. ‘You know Aosoth put a fireproof spell on us too?’

‘I know. I was just wondering why you lot are following her orders. Don’t you hate her?’

‘Well,’ replied the fatter one, kicking up some dirt, ‘everyone hates their boss. But we gotta have a job.’

‘But,’ said Denise, smugly folding her arms, ‘She doesn’t pay you. Besides, I think your potential is wasted here.’

‘Oh, nice try,’ said Gary, holding his spear proudly, ‘You see, Little Miss Smartie, we tried different jobs after Aosoth’s defeat, and none of them worked out for us. You never realise what you have until it’s gone, and guardwork is truly my calling. It’s Bob’s too.’ Bob nodded to emphasise Gary’s point.

Denise collapsed on her hands and knees. Stupid Denise. Stupid little dragon. All those years of training, and look where you are now. Trying to live up to Daniel’s standards, hah. And now his own son’s gone and joined Aosoth. Right now he’s helping her bring misery and there’s nothing that can be done about it.

Nothing could be done at all.

‘And there’s this thing called an egg-beater. As you can tell by the n-name, it can cause harm. Okay, it c-can’t just beat eggs, I mean, I used it and it hurt my claws plenty…’

‘Very interesting,’ chuckled Aosoth, ‘So this world has a screen that hypnotises people, and a little cylinder that turn food into liquid. I wonder if you can get a bigger version of one of those…’

‘Oh, they do have a bigger version of one of those,’ said Daryl, nodding his head, ‘They’re called cinemas but I don’t think they are as hypnotic…’

‘I guess Kirkalan misjudged England. We thought it was just a boring wasteland, but it has so many delights! I’ll give some of these little gizmos a try!’ Using her magic, Aosoth conjured up an egg-beater. After observing it for a while, she turned the handle, and watched the beaters rotate. Holding it to Daryl’s face, she gave a “hmph” of disappointment as it only made Daryl flinch slightly.

Despite the pain administrated from the egg-beater being minimal, Daryl still turned away, hiding his eyes. He knew of much more potent things, things which could more properly assist Aosoth, he thought that if he brought minimal damage to the other world, he would be able to forgive himself more easily.

‘You’re hiding something from me, aren’t you?’

Why couldn’t she just send him home? If she didn’t mind that he killed her, why not just leave him be? She had conquered Kirkalan once without technology, and she had enough power to do it again without his help. He had rent to pay and a job to do. He was just a boring, working man, no use to an evil sorceress.

‘There’s bigger things in this world that you’re not telling me about, isn’t there? What’s wrong, are you afraid? Oh come on, Daryl, I’m your friend. I have taken care of you, haven’t I?’

All of a sudden, Daryl gained an urge to ask Aosoth something he knew he shouldn’t: ‘Do you know anything about my father?’

A grin crossed Aosoth’s face. ‘Do you really want to know?’ Daryl didn’t answer, but Aosoth still took him to her crystal ball. ‘Here. Let me show you.’

Daryl pressed his snout against the crystal ball, and saw a dragon that resembled a more muscular version of himself. This muscular dragon dove from the sky to hit a giant blob in the stomach. The blob extended its tentacle in the dragon’s direction, slime falling to the ground as it did. The dragon darted upwards and dove again, this time digging his claw into the blob’s eyeball. After he ripped out the eyeball, the blob slithered away. Looking down, the dragon saw a younger dragon, who cheered at the monster’s defeat.

‘His name was Daniel, and the other dragons saw him as a hero. Disgusting, eh?’

The crystal ball then revealed another image, that of another dragon standing beside an array of other dragons. ‘And this is your grandfather, Darren. He was just as bad,’ said Aosoth.

‘My brethren,’ said Darren in a voice Daryl found both familiar and alien, ‘once we were forced to toil for evil, and it turned the humans against us. Well, now that Asteroth is threatening to dominate Kirkalan, we will show him that we are not to be treated as henchmen!’ The crowds of dragons cheered.

Darren led the dragons into battle, and while most seemed to be relying only on their fire breath and muscles to do battle, others came prepared with swords and bows and arrows. They descended from a rocky ledge to meet with another dragon, this one donning a black robe not unlike Aosoth’s. The dragons ran towards this robed creature, but with a lift of his arm, he sent them all tumbling over backwards. ‘Foolish peasants,’ laughed the robed dragon, ‘You want to rebel against me?’

‘Landorm!’ cried Darren. ‘We will not stand for your oppression any longer!’

‘Oh, really?’ said Landorm. ‘You think you are mighty enough to challenge me? Well, you shouldn’t be wasting your might on me or on protecting those miserable humans. If you rebel against me, you’re no smarter than they are.’

‘They need us.’ Darren slowly stepped forward.

‘Of course they need you to protect them.’ Landorm laughed. ‘They couldn’t even find their undergarments without help! We’re better than them; they fear us, so why not use that to our advantage?’ Right as he said that, Darren punched Landorm in the face. As Landorm raised his hands to attack again, Darren pushed him down onto the ground. ‘You have such strength. You could be useful as…’ Once again, Landorm was struck down, and Daniel beckoned his army to come forward.

Suddenly, the crystal went blank, with Daryl backing away. His claws twitched and his mouth went dry as he turned to Aosoth. ‘Ridiculous, isn’t it?’ said Aosoth, shaking her head, ‘I think these “heroes” are so amusing, don’t you? Their over-dramatic speeches, their pompousness, their looking-out-for-others thing. Thank goodness you chose to work with me, eh, Daryl? I mean, look at what your father did here.’

Another image appeared on the crystal ball: the face of Aosoth herself. No, it wasn’t Aosoth, rather a male version of her, with a moustache under his pointed nose. Smirking, he turned to a window, from which Daniel burst through, a wand in his grasp. ‘Asteroth! Your days are numbered!’

‘No they aren’t!’ sneered Asteroth. ‘It is your days that are numbered! Go ahead! Count them!’

Just as Daniel flew upwards, Asteroth lifted his arms and let loose several bolts of magical electricity, shocking Daniel out of the air. Daniel landed on his feet, however, and raised his arm to show off the wand.

‘The Wand of Warton.’ Asteroth still looked proud, placing his hands on his hips and narrowing his eyes at Daniel. ‘You really think you can destroy me with that thing?’ Just then, Daniel flicked the wand twice and it let out its own beam, slowly disintegrating Asteroth. ‘Oh.’ Eventually, Asteroth was reduced to nothing, Daniel punctuating his victory with a roar.

‘Ridiculous,’ said Aosoth, shaking her head, ‘And that was my father too. But you, Daryl, you chose to listen to the wise words of that Landorm fellow, and followed me. You’re wiser than your father, you are? Wasn’t he a funny one?’

Daryl collapsed to the floor, holding his legs, his wings wrapped around his body. Staring at the crystal ball again, he expected to see his father’s face again, sneering at him. It didn’t come, but he still covered his eyes with his hands, gibbering and squeaking.

‘I said, “Isn’t this stuff funny?” Gods, Daryl, you are such a killjoy.’ With that, Aosoth left the room, leaving Daryl trembling on the floor.

Daryl and Denise – Chapter 20


It could be no-one else. The gigantic cranium, the nose like a vulture’s beak, the red eyes now bathing her dungeon in a hellish glow. Dropping Mark, Denise stood in silence, her claws twitching. The fire that once begged for release had now been extinguished, and her urge to fight had evaporated completely. Slowly Aosoth levitated out of the cauldron, the tentacles at the end of her dress moving hypnotically.

‘Yes!’ Aosoth screamed, lightning striking outside as it usually did when she spoke, ‘I am alive again! Who has resurrected me?’

‘Oh! Me! Me!’ Mark leapt off of the floor, leaping about excitedly. ‘I did it.’

Aosoth peered down to look at Mark. ‘Your cloak looks stupid,’ she replied. A blue bolt emitted from her finger, disintegrating Mark in seconds. Seeing this suddenly ignited a burst of energy within Denise, and she leapt at Aosoth instinctively, only to be grabbed by the neck. ‘Well, well, don’t you have spunk? I think you’ll make a fine minion.’ Using her free arm, Denise punched Aosoth in the stomach. With an ‘oof’, Aosoth dropped Denise, the latter rolling about on the floor before positioning to attack. Denise leapt into the air, but suddenly, a cage made of lightning surrounded her, giving her a brief shock when she tried to touch the bars.

‘Get me out of here!’

‘Why do you heroes keep saying that?’ said Aosoth. ‘I’ve never let someone out when they’ve asked me to.’ Floating to the cage, Aosoth surveyed her prey. ‘Silly little dragon. Your kind isn’t meant to stop me. You’re supposed to serve me.’

‘Daniel wouldn’t have served you and neither will I!’

‘Daniel? That blowhard? He’s dead, and so will you be if you don’t shut your yap.’ Aosoth reached into the cage and stroked Denise’s chin, with Denise biting her hand right off her arm. ‘A killer instinct. That’ll be useful.’ Looking at her arm, Aosoth watched as a new hand appeared in a wisp of black smoke. ‘Of course, there is another dragon with a killer instinct too. I think I’ll find him first, then deal with you.’

So the office job was going well.

Daryl was so certain he’d get fired after the stapler incident, but everybody seemed to overlook that now. And no monsters had come out of his head in days. A clear head. A clear conscience.

Into his flat he walked, humming a tune he had heard on the radio. Now that another day was complete, it was time to watch the television. It would likely be something he had already seen, but he thought watching those shows again and again would help his understanding of the world they intended to portray.

Entering his flat and throwing himself onto the most prominent chair had become instinct to him, so when his daily routine was interrupted by the television refusing to turn on, Daryl twitched. He slammed his claws on the buttons but there was still nothing but a blank screen.

It was broken down again. Oh, the last time there was something wrong with the television, a box-shaped monster had run rampant around the flat. Being a bit more used to stuff like this, Daryl didn’t have a repeat of that episode, but rather he went away to look for a good book to read. He still hadn’t read all of that Whizzer and Chips book yet, so off he went to find it.

The television exploded.

Turning around, Daryl saw that the screen had shattered, and an inky substance had begun to leak out. Before Daryl could take a closer look, a tentacle shot out from the television, wrapping around his leg. It lifted him upwards, and slammed him on the floor, right on the head. Then it slammed him again. And again. And again.

Sure enough, a monster emerged from his head, another black tentacle. One that looked exactly like what came out of the TV, one that looked exactly like those of Aosoth.

As much as he shook his head, Daryl could not stop the tentacle from pulling him into the television, into the darkness. It wasn’t just any darkness though, it was Aosoth’s darkness. It was the darkness in her castle so that must mean I must be back in her castle it’s not a dream it’s real it’s real it’s time to be punished Daryl yes it is Aosoth’s back


Yes, it was indeed her. Aosoth stood above Daryl’s shuddering form, kicking him as he lay on the ground. Daryl attempted to say something, but all that came from his mouth was random gibberish and saliva. Once again, Aosoth kicked him, and after he rolled, she placed her invisible foot in Daryl’s face, crushing it.

Out from the cavity in Daryl’s head came a whole host of monsters, little blobs with piranha teeth, leaping about biting the air. Seeing those creatures perform their discordant dance, Aosoth created another cage of electricity to trap them in. ‘Well, well, well,’ said Aosoth, ‘You thought you could kill me and abandon me for a more boring lifestyle in that gloomy other world, did you?’

‘I-I-I’m sorry.’

‘I know you are. Now, off to your cell until I can think about what to do with you. Oh, and I’ve got a nice little friend there for you to play with.’

Daryl did not need to be pulled by the claw to his cell, but he was anyway, Aosoth making sure her grip was tight. As they neared the cell, Daryl saw none other than Bob and Gary standing before him.

‘You know what,’ said Gary. ‘I’m actually kinda glad we’re back.’

‘Yeah,’ replied Bob. ‘Nothing beats guard work.’

The two took a hold of Daryl and tossed him into the cell. After that, Aosoth conjured up two cups of coffee, and force fed the coffee down Bob and Gary’s throats. As Daryl looked at the coffee dribbling down their necks, he was hit in the back of his head.

‘You!’ Ignoring the laughter of Aosoth as she left the room, Daryl looked up to see his cellmate. A dragon just like him. It had been years since he had seen another of his species, yet he could tell this one was female. Daryl took off his hat for her and said ‘H-hello’, but that led to a kick in the face.

‘Why did you work for Aosoth?’ growled the female dragon.

‘I d-didn’t want to…I-I…’

‘You sullied the name of our species, and all to spread her evil! I have been trying hard to bring honour to the dragons, but…’ Another punch to the face. ‘You’ve ruined it all! The humans still won’t trust us! We still have to hide from them! All because of you!’ To emphasise that last word, she grabbed Daryl by his tie and held his face to hers. ‘What is your name, anyway?’


The female raised an eyebrow. ‘Daryl what?’

Daryl gulped. ‘B-Blitherblot.’

The female’s claws began to shudder. ‘N-no,’ she said, losing her balance, ‘No, y-you’re joking!’

‘No, no I’m not. That really is my surname.’

All at once, the female wrapped her claws around Daryl’s neck, and tightened them, right before slamming Daryl’s head against the bars of their cell. Daryl closed his eyes as if that would lessen the pain, and heard incoherent grunts and snarls come from the female’s mouth. After another slam against the bars, he fell. Opening his eyes, he saw the female lifting her fist, her face twisted into a furious grimace. She looked like Aosoth.

Daryl cowered and awaited the blow. Just then, the female fell to her knees, burying her face in her hands. She was silent for a moment as Daryl backed away into a wall.

‘It’s all been a lie, hasn’t it?’

Still on his knees, Daryl edged towards her, extending his arm. He wanted to place his hand on her shoulder, but she grabbed it before he could. ‘Get away from me.’

‘I was just trying…’

‘I don’t want you anywhere near me.’ To emphasise this, she stood up and walked to the furthest corner of the cell. ‘If you know what’s good for you, you won’t bother me.’

At that moment, another monster burst from Daryl’s head, a screeching black snake. It slithered towards the bars, but in a second, the female grabbed it and snapped its neck.

‘Don’t. Bother me.’

Daryl and Denise – Chapter 19


For the past few months, Denise, between the occasional monster fight, had been looking for Mark to see what exactly what he was up to, with little luck. Once she had caught him dealing with some witches, but it was merely for some spider legs. All spells use those.

Finally, on an overcast night, Denise found Mark at a cave, one close to that which Spartypuss had used for a time. The cave of Yannat. Yannat was a powerful witch; not as powerful as Aosoth, but a boon to fellow evil-doers. Despite her wish for publicity, Denise knew she should not deal with magic like that head on. She pressed herself against as the cave wall and edged herself in, until she heard the scratchy voice of the hag. Quickly flying up to a stalactite, Denise looked for Mark. There he stood, speaking to Yannat as if talking with a mate down at the pub. The hag sat near the edge of a chasm, candles surrounding her.

‘Ah yes,’ said the hag as Denise tried to get in closer, ‘The Moon of Margstrom is coming tonight.’

The Moon of Margstrom? The night when the moon becomes red for some reason nobody could really be bothered to explain, when the worst rituals were practiced? The Moon originally titled “The Nasty Moon” until the wizard Margstrom practiced a series of spells which were so great, everyone finally had an excuse to change that embarrassing name? Denise stretched out her neck.

‘’Course. But I’m gonna need some information. Think you can manage that?’

‘Oh you,’ replied the hag, clutching her skeletal hands. ‘I know just about everything.’ She peered up at the ceiling. ‘Even when someone is watching us.’

Denise flew.

As she dove onto the floor, tumbling as she did so, the hag rose above the ground, her arms stretching. Lightning bolts emitted from her fingers, with Denise taking to the air herself to dodge them. Denise soared towards the entrance, but a bolt hit her wing, sending her face first to the cave floor. The floating hag approached, readying another bolt. Leaping to her feet, Denise threw her fire in the hag’s direction, to no avail.

On her feet this time, Denise headed for the entrance again. Mark suddenly appeared, intercepting her as he struck her in the face with his fist. With her on the ground, the hag blasted Denise in the chest, causing her to black out.

Blinking open her eyes, Denise briefly pondered that she might be dead, but then she saw Mark right before her. Though his face was hidden beneath the darkness of his hood, she could just imagine the smug smirk that lay behind the shadows. She moved her arms to strike, but found herself bound by chains. A quick look around revealed that she was no longer in the cave of the hag, but rather in a dungeon of some kind.

‘Oh, you’re awake, are ya? I was hoping to get Aosoth’s old helper but you’ll do just fine.’

‘What is this about?’ snarled Denise, pulling her arms forward as if trying to pry the chains from the wall.

‘Don’t tell me you’ve never been here!’ said Mark, turning around. ‘This is the dungeon of the famous Aosoth…’

Denise snarled, punching herself in her mind. ‘You’re planning to resurrect her, aren’t you?’

‘Sure am! And you’re gonna help me!’

‘Like hel…’ Denise noticed a gash across her arm. ‘The spell requires dragon blood, doesn’t it?’

‘Yeah, but the thing was, you lot were off hiding. That’s why I went to see that hag. She’s a right old grump, so I was reluctant to pay her a visit, but now I’m glad I did.’ To emphasise his point, he held up a vial of Denise’s blood, playing with it for a while. ‘The Moon of Margstrom is coming into alignment. The ritual should begin soon.’

Mark approached a cauldron, peering over his shoulder to laugh at Denise’s struggling. Denise let loose another torrent of fire from her mouth, only for Mark to disappear and reappear when the fire vanished. ‘Neat trick that. Maybe I’ll teach it to you sometime.’ With another flash, more chains appeared, tying Denise’s mouth shut.

After more struggling, Denise watched Mark accumulate more ingredients. He admired them for a while before tossing them into the cauldron, singing an unintelligible song as he did so. All Denise could do was stay chained, hanging her head in shame. In her mind’s eye she could see Daniel, eyes narrowed and teeth bared, looking down upon her.

With another slap, she was brought back to reality, with Mark tightening his fists in excitement. ‘Oh, boy! The moon is ri-sing!’

He rushed to his cauldron, stirring it a few more times before beginning a chant: ‘Spirits of darkness, raise your queen!’

A green glow illuminated the once-dingy dungeon.

‘Let her twisted face be seen!’

The glow grew ever brighter, causing Denise to close her eyes.

‘Cauldron bubble, fire roar!’

Denise felt tears trickle down her eyes, and mucus drip down her snout. She would have roared were it not for the chains.

‘Let her walk the world once more!’

The brio of that last lyric forced Denise’s eyes open to witness the green glow of the cauldron to transform into an eerie white. Mark began hopping about like a rabbit on some drug or other, and was knocked over from the power of the cauldron. It bubbled ever faster, and the liquid within began overflowing. Ooze crept across the stone floor, multiplying and thickening. It neared Denise, a worm-like glob rising and wrapping around her leg. Quickly she kicked away the goopy worm, reducing it to an explosion of globules.

The slime continued to surround her, and strangely enough, it was eating away at her chains, reducing them to dust. As it did, she managed to fly upwards. Just as she attempted to pry off the chains from her snout, a tentacle made out of slime wrapped around her body. With her arms still free, Denise dug a claw into the slime, which made it loosen its grip.

Looking down, Denise saw Mark dancing joyfully in the slime. Thus, she dove down and grabbed Mark by the neck, knocking him face first into the slime flooding the dungeon. Just then, the slime retreated back into the cauldron. While still pummelling Mark, Denise turned to see the slime reforming into a humanoid shape.

‘Well, that felt refreshing.’


Daryl and Denise – Chapter 18


Life was good.

While he did get a brief pang in his heart for thinking those words after all he had done, he let the feelings of accomplishment and ease dominate his body. Winter in this world seemed to carry a strange charm with it; maybe it was the new sprites that hovered above the streets at night. This time of year carried a certain breeze with it, one that not only seemed to clear Daryl’s head, but redecorate it as well. He did wrap up warm, but tried to embrace this breeze however he could.

It hadn’t taken long for Daryl to grasp the concept of Christmas – it involved presents and anything with them was readily accepted – yet there were elements of this world yet to be discovered, and he was going to uncover them all. Just a few weeks ago, he had learned of the charity shop. It was like a regular shop, only the stock kept changing, and everything was cheap. It was a little game; go into the shop and see what you can get for little money. Daryl had just been and had obtained a woollen hat – still had to stop those monsters coming out – a new coat, a book called ‘Whizzer and Chips’ – stories with pictures enticed Daryl more than those with just words, crude as the stories were – and a video. Little gifts to himself, little rewards.

Yes, just recently he had found another job opening, and had gained another interview. He asked for no coffee, and had all the comedy routines he had seen the night before playing over in his head to keep the monsters calm. When the man told Daryl that the job would remove all independent thought, Daryl immediately cried out, ‘Yes!’ He was pretty sure that made a good impression.

It had better too. Working at The Shopping Coop was beginning to grow stressful, what with that other till worker breathing down his neck, and all the giggling kids. Innocent children, apathetic towards the idea of death, no real danger.

He had seen offices on television. Their walls were pale and blank, the people there barely spoke. The perfect place to clear his mind. No children there, and no opportunities to kill anyone. The office people on TV never seemed like murderers.

The snow getting into his shoe brought Daryl out of the grey offices and back into the streets with the sparkling white splattered about the pavement. As he returned to reality, Daryl noticed he was passing a certain cafe he had been meaning to go to but never really bothered with. The name never really stuck in his head, but the fat chef on the yellow sign defined it enough. Daryl entered it just as he noticed it, almost as if the Santa on the window had beckoned him.

A cheeseburger and chips, the latter drowned in vinegar and topped with salt. It was nice. He’d have to come again.

Kicking up more snow as he walked, Daryl went back to his flat, and took a moment to admire it. It may usually be grey and dismal and underwhelming, but now, for some reason, it seemed to stand proudly.

‘Hah!’ Denise almost let loose a torrent of fire in laughter. ‘Can you believe the latest one? He really thought dressing up like a sheep and stealing them was the best way to top Aosoth!’

Since Denise laughed again, Dennis laughed with her. ‘You shouldn’t really waste your talents with someone like that.’

‘Yeah,’ grumbled Denise, gritting her teeth, ‘Some farmer thought I actually was attacking his sheep and put a pitchfork in my back.’ Rubbing the spot between her wings, she continued. ‘I have noticed something more significant however. That Mark is up to something big.’

‘What?’ said Dennis, exiting the hut for a while for some fresh air, ‘Is he knocking on doors and running away again?’

‘Ha ha,’ Denise said as she exited the hut with Dennis, trying to hide her own internal laugh. ‘No, he’s been hanging about with some more competent sorcerers, asking them for information and buying relics off them.’

‘Oh, you know them. They’re always trying to make those pranks go bigger. I mean, one time they summoned a demon just to give some kids a scare, and made it go away in a matter of minutes.’

‘Dennis, ever since Aosoth’s death, several witches and warlocks are trying to take her place as Kirkalan’s most feared enemy. Mark seems like the type of person to actually try and attempt that. When I go out next, I’ll try and see if I can find him, and see what he’s up to.’

‘You know what?’ said Dennis, walking away with Denise following, ‘I think we should just relish the peace we have now. These lame villains just help remind us that the worst’s over for now.’

‘You can never be too sure with this land,’ Denise looked to the sky. ‘It’s one thing after another here.’

Daryl and Denise – Chapter 17


Oh, how glorious it is to be a hero! Though lugubrious and painful burdens come with that role, like having to walk until your feet hurt, it is the respect and admiration one obtains from one’s peers that make it worthwhile, as well as the feeling that you have truly done something right. When you walk down your village and see the people, you know that you have rescued them from certain doom. When you purchase a loaf of bread from the bakery, there is not only the anticipation of devouring a beautifully-prepared meal, but the pride you feel knowing that the bread could not have been made if you had not vanquished a malevolent beast.

Coover had been on a miniscule voyage to the bakery, and due to his glorious deeds and victory over the nefarious sorceress, he needed no coins in order to have a loaf of bread in his possession. The baker just handed one to him, and Coover took it, bringing it back to the abode of his parental figures. Another fine element of his heroism was how it benefitted his family. Ever since he vanquished the malevolence of the devilish Aosoth who was very evil and mean, Coover and his family had been given a bigger home to live in, with the villagers toiling feverously to create a larger foundation, and food that cost nothing was handed their way.

As Coover entered his delightful place of dwelling, he expected to see his maternal figure bestow another hug onto him, but instead found a strange shadow standing in front of a window. A demonic figure, almost eclipsing the light with its bat-like wings. Dropping his bread, Coover sought his sword. Just as he was about to run to his room, the daemon leapt in his tracks. It was a dragon. Not just any dragon, the one who saved him.

‘Coover,’ it said in a feminine voice, which made the boy who bore that name raise his fists. ‘I haven’t eaten your parents, if that’s what you’re thinking. They’re out, likely celebrating your fame.’ She closed up her wings as she sat herself down. ‘You should really honour your parents, you know. My own father fought valiantly in the war against Aosoth, only to fall in battle.’

‘Your kin, battle Aosoth?’ Coover chuckled, ‘You jest.’

‘I am grateful,’ continued the dragon, ‘for you defeating her once and for all.’ At this, she held out her hand, and Coover once again looked for his sword. ‘You’re supposed to shake it. I’m showing gratitude.’

Coover turned to the beast. ‘What do you want with me?’

‘As I said, I cannot thank you enough for defeating the witch once and for all, but it has now come to my attention that you have been taking credit for my own conquests. The people of Kirkalan believe you defeated Sam Wich.’

‘Why should I not take credit? I am giving hope to these poor peasants, which they need after having basked in the dark shadow of the dark, shadowy Aosoth for so long.’

‘I need my deeds to be acknowledged,’ she said, ‘for my people. We are sick of hiding and wish to protect the people as you have done.’

‘Hah!’ cried Coover, raising an arm into the air, ‘You are using your feminine wiles to lure me into a trap! Just like that one time with the evil seductress Grimhelda, who said she wanted to make me her love, when all she really wanted to do was eat my heart! I almost fell for her deceit, but I realised what is what she wished to do, and destroyed her in seconds.’

The dragon was silent for a moment, before she stood up. ‘You just made that up, didn’t you?’

‘That is unimportant! You, fiend, want my fame for yourself so you can trap the innocent people of this magnificent land! Well, I’m onto you!’

Rolling her eyes, the dragon walked to the window. ‘I have no time for this.’ As she stretched her wings to fly away, she added, ‘I’m not even sure you did kill Aosoth.’ She then flew away, the coward. Ah, even the mere sight of Coover is enough to send the monsters fleeing. As long as he lives, and he certainly had a long life ahead of him, that dragon’s scheme would never succeed. For decades, Coover would stand as a symbol, something for Kirkalan to look up to, a reassurance that they would never have to be afraid ever again.

After watching the dragon fly away into the distance, Coover turned around, and saw the loaf he had purchased lying there on the floor, begging him to pick it up. He did just that, and stared at the bread for a while, thinking of all the mouth-watering delights he could create.

Just then, his parents arrived home.

‘Hi Mum. Hi Dad. I got the bread.’

‘Oh good. Anything happen while we were gone?’

‘Nothing much.’

The figure, draped in a purple cloak concealing all but his hands, made his way to the caves. Part of the darkest of Kirkalanian mountains, this place was perfect for various concoctions and experiments. And did he have an idea for an experiment.

‘Is that you, Mark?’ Inside the cave, illuminated by several candles, stood another figure in a purple cloak. In his hands was a spell book, which he closed upon meeting his partner. ‘Up for a game of draughts?’

‘Aw no, Bill,’ said Mark, gesturing towards Bill’s book, ‘I’ve got an idea for a spell we could do.’

‘Oh, good!’ Bill dropped his book as he began to rub his hands in excitement. ‘We haven’t had a good spell together in donkey’s years! So, are we gonna make it rain? Turn the milk into blood? Kill all the hamsters?’

Mark shook his head. ‘No, something bigger!’

‘You don’t mean that door thing, do you?’

‘We’re gonna resurrect Aosoth!’

Freezing on the spot, Bill was silent for a minute before he responded, ‘You really think we should?’

‘Well, I know everything we need, and I think if we work together, I think we can get everything…’

‘I said, do you think we should?’ Bill approached Mark, eyebrows arched underneath his hood.

‘Well, we’re evil, aren’t we?’

‘Yeah, but not evil enough to resurrect Aosoth. I mean, I was at the pub with Bob and Gary, and they had a lot to say about her, I’ll tell you that. Apparently, not only did she sacrifice small children and drown kittens when she was bored, she snored really loud too.’

‘Just think,’ said Mark, raising his hands in the air, ‘Kirkalan is so boring now. With Aosoth, everyone was living in fear and it was glorious. People cowering in their houses, bankrupting and ruining themselves all to prolong their lives.’

‘Exactly. She was awful.’

‘Wonderfully awful. Without her, there’s no more fear. Everybody is “peaceful” and “happy”. It’s so bleeding boring. Besides, you like making people afraid, don’t you?’

‘Well, yeah,’ said Bill, ‘But Aosoth really gave me the creeps. Those red eyes, brrr.’

‘Yeah, I wish I had that sort of power.’

Bill sighed, burying his unseen face in his hand. ‘I may practice black magic and worship demons,’ he continued, ‘but even I have standards. I never really liked bringing back the dead anyway. Utterly disgusting that is.’ Slumping his shoulders, Bill glided out of the cave, mumbling to himself. ‘Wait til Bob and Gary get a load of this.’

‘Well, fine!’ Mark stomped his feet on the floor like a child sent to his bedroom. ‘I’ll do it myself then!’ Walking over to Bill’s desk, he looked over all the alchemical and magical items they had managed to amass over the years. It was far from everything he needed to resurrect the mightiest witch in Kirkalan, but it would do. For far too long, he and his friend had only used their resources and powers to pull pranks, little diversions that would disappear before the next day. They had never really tried to dominate this land.

Well, if Aosoth were brought back from the dead, she would be the dominator. Maybe she would even let Mark have some land of his own to play with. Heck, maybe bringing back Aosoth will bring her greatest minion back. He was apparently scary.

Daryl and Denise – Chapter 16


How long has it been? A year. It has to have been a year.

October. Those occult monsters were adorning the shop windows again, and the air certainly felt the same as it was when he first came here with Spartypuss.

It was definitely a year since he had been in England, and a little less than that since he had last talked to Spartypuss. Daryl briefly wondered if he should attempt to summon Spartypuss just to talk about how he had gotten on in the year he had been in this place, but, remembering how Spartypuss could be, he decided against it. The cat god was far too bright, and Daryl had gotten used to the gloom this place usually offered. Heck, he welcomed it. He had never really pondered why, though.

And he had kept his Shopping Coop job for about a year too, though he did do the occasional odd job on the side. No monsters had emerged in The Shopping Coop, nor did anything bad happen during the dog-walking or even that one job with the blender.

Oh wait…

One day, Daryl had gone to the shop with a lot on his mind, having seen a movie about war the preceding night and the necessary lack of sleep getting to him, and had a hard time keeping still at the till. A co-worker slapped him on the shoulder because of it, and that only made the rumblings worse. Soon, he ran from the till and into the staff room, his head feeling like it was going to explode. It did explode too, creating a fat, hairy, giggling creature. One that spoke.

‘Daryl is a twit,
Can’t do nothing right,
He lets the monsters out,
And don’t put up no fight.’

The hairy blob then ran out of the staff room into the shop, with Daryl leaping through the door. ‘What the hell is that?’ he heard the co-worker say, which made his feet move in various directions. Where was that – oh no it went outside!  Regaining himself, he ran through the automatic door, only to see the monster playing pattycake with a young child outside. This scene made Daryl pause for a moment before he approached the child.

‘That monster’s a bad influence,’ he told the child as he grabbed the monster by the scruff of its neck. Slowly, he walked towards the bin outside and threw the monster in. His stomach still sunk, he walked slowly back to the store, attempting to pretend nothing just happened.

‘What was that?’ said the co-worker as Daryl moved back to his till.

‘Oh nothing,’ said Daryl, moving his legs a little.

Nothing like that happened afterwards, at least nothing that Daryl could remember. He was pretty sure bad things happened to him and happened because of him when he was working for Aosoth, but forced them out of his mind. Or maybe Aosoth had forced them out herself.

Oh great. It had been months since Daryl had thought about Aosoth’s death and now she was disintegrating before his eyes once more. Shaking his head, Daryl tightly closed his eyes and repeated to himself a funny routine he had heard on television the other day. The castle and the dying witch had vanished, making Daryl sigh in relief. Getting rid of that was going to get harder, wasn’t it?

Still mumbling random humour to himself, Daryl pondered on whether or not he should celebrate a year here. A celebration would cost money, and Daryl was saving his money for a new accommodation. One of those nicer houses he kept seeing on the television. The reason he had to fill out all those boring forms at the bank. The reason he was always actively seeking more jobs.

The floor of his flat was covered in discarded newspaper pages from his frantic job searching, and while Daryl did very well know another purpose those were used for, he never did bother cleaning up. Either he had other things on his mind, or his mind was too blank to notice the newspapers.

Cleaning them up would be a good celebration, wouldn’t it?

On his hands and knees, Daryl collected all the papers and crumbled them up, chucking them into the black bag. Having collected them all, the room seemed a completely different place altogether. The carpet in particular seemed striking in how much more prominent it was.

Well, makes sense. The reason he had come here was to lead a different life.

What else could he do to make this place different? He rarely opened windows, and those usually let in a refreshing breeze. Off he went, opening every window in his flat, letting the air in. Should he? Yes, he opened his head, letting it be aired out. No monsters in a clear head. No.

Once more he slumped into his couch, this time not turning on the TV, but rather embracing the air he had let loose into the flat, allowing it to wash away his grumbling feelings. Ah, it was just like…just like the air back home really.

Should he forget Kirkalan completely? It may have been the place where he was rendered a pariah, but still, he missed some of the sights. There was a tree, a thick tree which sat atop a hill that he used to sleep under…that was a long time ago, wasn’t it? Before he even met Aosoth? He was pretty sure he couldn’t remember a time without Aosoth, so that tree’s sudden appearance almost set Daryl tipping his chair over again.

Oh yes, things weren’t completely awful. Another image entered his mind as he let the wind surround him. A sparkling pool, surrounded by powerful hills. Daryl, the adult Daryl, once sat there by himself, his feet dipped in the water. Oh yes, his mind was a blank there too, which was odd considering how clearly Daryl remembered it.

That water, there was something special about it. Daryl had run his claws through the tap-dispensed water of this world and it didn’t seem to cleanse him the way the pool did. Oh, that’s how he remembered the pool. He had just been to the house of a villager who had refused to give sacrifices to Aosoth, and had done something he would rather not remember. When he did the deed, he flew away, and had spied the pool.

Do they have pools in England? He had walked past a ‘swimming pool’, but he did not wish to use a pool to swim in. He didn’t even know how to swim.

The parks had good scenery, but rather constrained scenery. Surely there had to be something like what Kirkalan offered here. The city did have its own sense of beauty, especially when it was illuminated by those lights, but it did little to calm down the sensations in Daryl’s head and stomach.

That would be a nice celebration, wouldn’t it? In the year he had been here, Daryl had never really explored the city he had been living in. He did find some new shops here and there when out and about, but had never ventured further.

After a while of airing his flat, Daryl closed all his windows save one, and flew out of it. He hadn’t used his wings in a while, with his place of employment being in walking distance, and just flapping them had begun to clear up the tingling that had echoed through his gut. In fact, all his thoughts and memories had seemed to vanish in an instant.

All that existed was the sky.

He beat his wings faster, propelling him higher to the clouds; white clouds, in contrast to the usual grey. The city had now become a selection of grey blocks, all slightly indistinguishable from each other. More of that crisp, calming air.

After spinning around, to allow his body to fully absorb the air around him, Daryl darted away from his flat, away from the city, towards new and untold places for him to linger in. Descending slightly, a road became clearer, and Daryl followed it until shades of green caught his eye.

From above, he heard a slight roar, which made him lose his balance somewhat, being reminded of what usually emerged from his head. Out of curiosity, he flew upwards slightly, and upon getting a closer look, saw it was a thin white vehicle soaring through the sky. It had wings, yet did not flap them. An aeroplane, was it? Yes, he had seen several of those on television, yet had never really pondered them. He had never really thought about what it would be like to fly sitting down, because those things seemed so separate to him. While knowing that flying by himself obviously took more work than an aeroplane ride would, he knew that using his own wings would make reaching his destination seem like a reward.

Ignoring the aeroplane for a minute, Daryl flew down again to see the road framed by lampposts and green fields. In fact, Daryl was pretty certain he saw some wheat not too far away. Down, down he soared, landing on a patch of land. It did look like Kirkalan somewhat, even if the road, the lampposts and the cars broke the illusion somewhat. It was a different sort of Kirkalan, a calmer one, a private one.

Walking away from the road, he raised his arms and welcomed this new spot. After having walked far enough that the road had now become a blur, he stretched out his wings and lay down onto the ground. He closed his eyes, letting the soft moan of the air fill his ears. Just fall asleep…

Oh no! That’s precisely what happened back in that field, wasn’t it? Fall asleep and a monster comes out? Immediately, thoughts of relaxing left Daryl’s mind, causing him to leap up and stumble about for a while. Soon that trio of angry humans from back in Kirkalan appeared before him, and then promptly disappeared, leaving behind that feeling of unease.

Shutting his eyes again, Daryl shook his head quickly. If it didn’t stop a monster coming out, it would at least make the monster too dizzy to cause any damage when it did come out. After doing that, he opened his eyes to the quiet scenery surrounding him, and his mind was at peace again. This wasn’t Kirkalan, not barbaric, filthy Kirkalan. This place was capable of creating wonders the Kirkalanians could never have imagined, and all without magic too. And if they had better devices, it seemed logical that they should have better scenery too.

After lingering in the field for a while, Daryl returned to his flat, where he watched television,  looked for employment and even took a little nap until night fell. Then, he opened his windows again, with that breeze entering his room once more. The breeze at night had a different flavour to it, one Daryl savoured. After allowing the air to waft through his home for a while, he closed the windows save one again, and flew out again. Closing the window behind him after making sure his keys were in his pocket, he looked down to see the array of lights in the city.

They all looked like sprites, swarming around the city to bestow illumination and peace upon it. Daryl had heard of sprites, those small creatures that were supposed to guide the people of Kirkalan when they were lost, but those stories were all myths. Yet now, Daryl saw these creatures of fantasy out and about, ready to guide him from his morass of doubts and confusion.

He followed the lights, and it led him back to the road, down where he found that pseudo-Kirkalan. His flight seemed to last shorter than it did during the day, and sooner than he knew, he was back in that field. Were it not for the slight yellow glow of the sprites, it would look exactly like the fields of Kirkalan at night too. That memory involving those villagers popped up again, but quickly melted and slipped away into the darkness.

So, what to do here? There were no sheep or any edible creatures, nothing to strike a conversation with. There was really nobody to strike a conversation with in the city either though, so that wasn’t too much of a problem. People did cause problems though, as incessantly watching the news proved to Daryl, so a place without people shouldn’t have any problems. Problems caused monsters and monsters caused problems, so a place without problems is a place without monsters…

Why was he thinking?

There should be no thoughts here either. Just a chance to relax under the watch of the sprites.