“Oh no,” Alastair moaned.
“Fools! All fools!” The Batal shouted with glee. It whipped around, its mouth still wide as can be, and caught the nearest child in its maw. Zane vanished into the Batal’s throat until he was only a bulge in the Batal’s neck.
“ZANE!” Gabbie and Ginger screamed in unison.
Alastair furrowed his brow, ran over to Lila, snatched her Fire Gem, and popped the item in his mouth. He tasted the mixture of the Fire Gem’s contents slip down his esophagus and knew that he couldn’t wait. The boy dashed to the Batal. He was scared, but he was even more scared of losing his friend. The Batal was busy swallowing its meal and was late with the uptake when Alastair wrapped his around around the base of the creature’s neck, far enough down to whatever that would happen next wouldn’t hurt Zane in the process.
“Boy, you’ll get yourself hurt!” Digitalis called out.
Even if Alastair decided that this was a really, really bad idea. He could kill himself doing this. But what was that compared to Zane’s life?
“Spit him out or else I’ll blast you!” Alastair yelled at the Batal.
“The prey can speak, can it? Doesn’t matter. Still food. And no. Morsel mine now!”
“So be it!” Alastiar belched out a massive fireball at point blank range. The flickering flamed fury exploded against the Batal’s flammable fur. The beast yelled in absolute pain, jumping from the hurt and agony of the fire touching its skin.
Batals hated nothing more than fire. It was said that long ago, Batals used to be friendly and kind creatures. They would aid adventurers on quests, collecting goods and sharing in quests. That was until a ferocious fire mage wiped out the Batals’ great cities and finishing their populations to nay a few. The once benevolent species began to acquire the taste of flesh. Never full. Always hungry and always ready to hurt.
The fire that smacked against the Batal now struck the ancient nerve buried deep with the Batal’s psyche.
“Fire!” It squealed. “Stop! Stop!”
“Spit him out!”
“No. Will not. Will noooot!”
“I have more Fire Gems. I can do this as long as I want!” Alastair hoped that the Batal could not call his bluff. He only took Lila’s gem, no one else’s. Luckily, the monster believed his every word.
“Wretched, appalling thing!” It hissed. The Batal heaved, making distugusting noises from deep within its stomach. Alastair was faintly reminded of his cat, Buster, whenever he had to throw up a hairball. The poor cat would be watching a fat black bird from behind the back door window, and then suddenly he’d be caught in a thrall of hacking up a wad of gray fur. The Batal was very much the same. Instead of a ball of hair and whiskers, it was Zane that had been produced from the Batal’s throat.
“Zane!” Yelped Ginger.