Part 3, Section 3 - Service for One

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Riposte

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Riposte.

Stande wasted no time, and was seconded immediately by Glassier. Their steel plunged into the monster's back again and again, but it ignored them, coming after the one thing in its brief existence that had really hurt it.

I had to buy time. Get my feet under me.

I loosened my grip on the chain, noticing for the first time the pain in my fingers. The pounding had impressed the metal into my skin just as many times as I had driven them into the beast. I let the pendant drop, holding onto the far end of the chain, and as the monster moved in, I swung it low to the ground like a bola so it caught and wrapped again and again around one of its clawed feet.

It recoiled even before the symbol struck home, and for the first time I realized that the chain itself must have been silver, too. Well done Bessik! Silently, I thanked the prior for spending extra on a genuine silver chain for his pendant.

The monster hopped around in rage, forcing my comrades to withdraw to escape injury from its mindless flailing. With the chain wrapped tightly and burning its way into his foot, he was in agony.

But now what? The chain wasn't tied, and it would be a matter of moments before it unwound or was broken by the beast's frantic clawing. I searched the area in the failing hope of finding another weapon.

"Sunilma'i wen!" Pertuli shouted behind me. I looked up in time to see something gleam as it passed overhead and bounce off the monster's back. The monster jumped in surprise; where it struck, a wisp of smoke trailed away, and the flying object landed point first between two flagstones.

A butter knife.

"A butter knife?" I asked, shooting an accusing look at my friend. He was standing triumphantly on a terrace two levels up, brandishing an assortment of silverware. "This is where you've been this whole time?"

"Yes, well, I had to make sure they were silver, didn't I?" Pertuli shrugged. "But as I was lacking an alchemy lab, I settled on fetching our breakfast silver."

Remind me to start having steak for breakfast, I complained to the ministry of cosmic wrongs in my head.

I scrambled to get my hands on the utensil, scuttling across the flagstones and back to the edge of the ring. I regained my feet just as the weresaur shook the chain on its ankle loose. It looked irrevocably miffed.

"Got anything else?" I squeaked as it turned to glare at me.

"Sure, catch!" Pertuli exclaimed happily, tossing his breakfast service at me in rapid succession.

I caught each piece in turn, plucking them out of the air as they arrived. Tea spoon. Citrus spoon. Fork. And another tea spoon to round out the collection. I groaned.

"Be careful with those," he quipped, "They're heirloom."

I could have punched him. I could have turned my back on the fight, stalked to the stairs, climbed to the second terrace, stomped across the remains of lilies that used to be my gardener's delight, and just started hitting him.

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