Reginald leapt to the side, narrowly avoiding his porcine assailant’s tusks. The creature turned back around and ran for him again. Velvet ran forward and punched it between the eyes. It roughly turned its head, slamming Velvet with the side of its tusks.
Bonnie swung at its left flank with her axe while Lysara thrust her chakram at its right. The creature stomped against the ground, throwing large segments of the ground up all around it, forcing them back.
The creature took the opportunity to race at Lysara, trying to gorge her with its tusks.
“Thunder Lance!” Twila gestured and a bolt flew from her hands and ripped into the creature’s side. It rolled uncontrollably several times and tried, with extreme difficulty, to rise. Bonnie ran forward, ready to finish it. Lilly stepped in front of her.
“Is there a problem?” Bonnie asked.
“I… I don’t think we should kill it,” Lilly said. “I… I’m sure it’s just scared.”
“Are you serious?” Bonnie asked. “It tried to kill us!”
“I… I don’t think it was,” Lilly said. “I… I think it was just burrowing and we startled it.”
“So, what do you propose we do about it?” Twila asked.
“Well… we’ve shown our dominance… so I think it’ll stay clear of us now, probably,” Lilly said.
“With all due respect, Fair Lilly,” Reginald said. “That is quite an assumption.”
“Maybe,” Axra said. “But this girl knows animals. See?” She nodded her head towards the creature. It was burrowing its way back underground. Axra put a hand on Lilly’s shoulder. “Any idea how to avoid attracting more?”
“Well…” Lilly said. “It seems to move around underground… so if we make lots of noise while walking…. they should be able to hear it and avoid us.”
“What if the noise attracts them instead?” Twila asked.
“I don’t think it would,” Lilly said. “The tusks look like a defensive trait. It’s actual teeth looked designed for plants. So… it’s probably not going to go after living things… especially if they sound really big. Herbivores are usually pretty skittish.”
“All right,” Twila said. “I can cast a spell to amplify the noise we make and a second spell to protect our hearing.”
“I would reconsider were I you,” Reginald said. “Such a combination might indeed frighten away creatures such as that, but they would also give away our position.”
“And the hearing spell might make it hard to hear actual threats approaching,” Bonnie added. “While I understand and respect Lilly’s desire not to harm animals, it would be a tactical error to weaken our own senses.”
“So, we just have to avoid startling them, right?” Axra asked. “So that they don’t feel threatened if we do encounter them again.”
“You sound like you have a plan,” Twila observed.
“It was startled because we were on the ground all around it when it popped up, right?” Axra asked. “So what if we could fly like Fang? Would they leave us alone then?”
“They very well might,” Lilly said. “S… since we’re so much smaller… they might not notice us if we were above… much less feel threatened.”
“Is a spell like that possible?” Axra asked.
“A flight spell is pretty easy,” Twila answered. “But it won’t last all day like the darkvision and psyren protection spells. I’ll have to recast it four… maybe five times a day.”
“So… it’s too much power,” Lilly said, looking downcast. “I… I’m sorry. I should have thought about your situation more.”
“Actually,” Twila said. “It’s a simple enough spell and it’s certainly easier to cast it than it would be to cast a bunch of combat spells.”
“Good,” Axra said. “Then we’re flying the rest of the way.”
“Please wait,” Bonnie said. “Princess, I appreciate what you’re trying to do, but wouldn’t it expose us too much to take to the air?”
“The area’s pretty torn down and flat as is,” Axra said. “Anyone looking for us could find us easily enough. At least this way we can avoid needless battles.”
Bonnie looked around, noting several areas where they might take cover but knowing that Axra’s mind was made. “It is as you say, Princess,” she conceded.
Axra grinned. “Okay then, let’s fly!”
“Gather close, Everyone,” Twila said. “The casting range on this isn’t very large.” The group huddled together while she cast her spell. “Mass Falcon’s Flight.” They lifted off of the ground, resumed their formation and continued on their way, unaware of the pair of eyes that was watching them from the shadows.