I’m not really sure where the whole “Mountain Toad” idea came from, but once that particular flash of inspiration occurred, the rest actually fell into place pretty easily.
When hired to protect the endangered Aurorean Mountain Toads from poachers, Lucia never expected that she’d become the endangered one.
But the day has not being going well. Lucia, Petra, Apolline, and Roland are all capable in a fight, but they’re severely outnumbered. Lucia might just be exaggerating the number of poachers in the heat and confusion of the fight, but the four of them seem to be up against no fewer than eleventy-billion poachers.
For each poacher they manage to smack down, another one or two steps up to take his place.
Lucia isn’t sure how much longer than can keep this up.
“On your left, Petra!” Lucia calls.
The Troll-Amazon nods, ducks a blow and responds with a backhand that smashes into a poacher’s face and drops him to the ground.
Apolline peeks out from behind the shelter of Roland’s muscular frame and sends a bolt of magic at several poachers, sending with sprawling in an explosion of energy.
Lucia leaps onto one of the poachers and wraps clings desperately to him for purchase. She sinks her fangs into his sword arm as he aims a blow at Roland.
The poacher yelps and drops his sword, but then reaches behind himself to grab Lucia, pry her off his back and fling her to the ground.
“Ow,” Lucia groans.
Roland and Petra leap into action to protect Lucia. As Petra goes low to sweep the poacher’s legs out from under him, Roland leaps straight into him, tackling him to the ground.
As she pushes herself back to her feet, Lucia makes sure to get an extra kick in on the poacher.
“Lucia, are you alright?” Apolline asks.
“Fine,” Lucia says. “Just a little banged up.”
The Aurorean sorceress nods, but casts a healing spell anyway.
As the four of them collect themselves, the poachers also take the time to regroup. There are still far too many of them and Lucia isn’t keen about her group’s chances.
“Where’s Alda?” Roland asks, desperately looking around.
“The ground’s shaking!” Lucia yells. “What is that sound?”
Lucia gets her answer quickly. Soon, the hills are echoing with the thunder croaking of dozens of angered Mountain Toads. At the head of the amphibious, Alda sits astride the Toad in the lead, directing the others as the hop inexorably towards the poachers.
“Hey, jerks!” Alda calls to the poachers. “Stay away from my brother and my friends!”
She spurs the lead Toad forward and the others follow after, a croaking, bounding avalanche of angry Toad.
Lucia grins smugly. Now, it’s the poachers’ turn to be the endangered ones.
Several of the poachers are smooshed down into the ground beneath the weight of a leaping Toad, some are snared by sticky tongues, narrowly avoiding ending up in a Toad’s stomach. The rest flee and run.
“Did I take too many hits to the head, or did that actually happen?” Lucia asks.
“Roland! Roland!” Alda calls happily from astride the Toad as she leads it towards the rest of the group. “Can we keep him?”
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