He groans under the weight of my bag. “Sue’s in the trunk.”
Steph examines her checklist as she approaches from the other side of the car. “We brought two long swords, five short swords, three bows, four axes, a baker’s dozen grenades, twelve throwing knives, three daggers and six smoke bombs. Did we forget anything?”
“Oh damn it!” I say in frustration as I bump the door closed. “I forgot my toothbrush!”
Steph rolls her eyes and tosses her bags to Archer. “Well, you’re not using mine.”
“Or mine,” Archer adds. “Ladies, seriously, I’m not a pack mule, you know. I need my arms free to hold Tabitha in case there’s any trouble.”
“So we’ll make a couple of trips,” I say, slinging my bow and quiver over my shoulder and sheathing my sword.
“I need Tabitha. Hand her to me. I want to be prepared for any… shenanigans.”
“Here.” Steph passes him Tabi from the trailer we hired to cart our arsenal. “We’ll be prepared this time. Nothing’s getting the jump on us. Wait… Kat, what is this?”
“My rocket launcher. It’s a M72 Law.”
Archer and Steph stare at me and the rocket launcher intermittently before shrugging and finishing unloading the car. “Good thinking,” Steph adds.
“Did you spray a Gears of War omen on it?” Archer asks.
“I had to dress Tristan up a little. He looked so standard issue.”
“Tristan?” Archer raises his eyebrow and smirks.
I huff and stroke Tristan gently. “He’s phallic, he’s powerful and he’s beautiful. He’s got Romance Hero written all over him.”
Archer thinks about it for a second and then shrugs. “I like it. Good thinking.”
We all stop for a moment to examine our impressive baggage. “This is going to be a fun party,” Steph says. Archer and I nod in agreement before heaving the bags up and making our way to the homestead in front of us.
When we reached the door, Asher Knight greets us, jumping up and down. “Oh my god! You guys are here! I mean… you’re late, but you’re here!”
We shuffle our feet awkwardly. “Yeah, sorry, Asher. It takes us a long time to pack these days.”
Asher looks over our luggage and pales slightly. “Is that a rocket launcher?”
“You know it’s just a birthday party, right?” Asher asks, glancing at us like we’re crazy.
“It’s just a precaution,” Steph assures her. “Weird things seem to happen around us.”
“Well, come inside!” she says, beckoning us into the sizable, dark house where loud, thumping music emanates from. Strobe lights flash across the room where a large houseful of people dance.
We squeeze our way through moving bodies and into a dark passageway. “Your rooms are in here.” She leads us into the two largest bedrooms. We’re all relieved to see the comfortable, clean spaces and take the first opportunity to dump our bags and stretch.
“Okay. Suit up and let’s go party!” Steph declares. “Leave the rocket launcher!” she snaps when I reach down for it.
I worry the bottom of my blouse and feel naked without Tristan, but eventually shove it off. Archer looks to Steph for approval for Tabitha, and when she gives him an assenting nod I start whinging. “That monstrosity is over six foot tall and you’re letting him take it!”
“Yeah, there’s one difference, Kat. Tabi can’t take out tanks and armoured vehicles!” Archer grumbles as he gets ready to leave. With my swords, daggers, throwing knives and smoke bombs equipped, I’m ready to go out and dance. Steph tries to arrange her new bow somewhere useful. “I want one of those compact bows Hawkeye has in The Avengers.”
“Sorry, Steph,” Archer says, as he shows her how to wear it across her back. “We’ll have to save up for those. Besides, you still need a little practice before you upgrade.”
Steph harrumphs, settling the bow over her shoulder and we head back out to the party. Asher waves us over to dance.
“This is a great party!” Steph yells over the music. “Happy birthday!”
“Thanks!” Asher yells back, a little breathless. “I didn’t expect so many people!”
“Well, what do you expect? You’re a kick ass blogger!” I yell. Steph, Archer and I jump around and dance. People see our weapons and give us a wide berth but that only makes dancing easier.
“It looks like our new weapons will go to waste tonight,” Steph hollers at us. Archer and I stop and glare at her, which is good because I was really working up a sweat.
“What?” she asks, looking around.
“You just had to say it!” Archer and I both answer furiously. “Now something’s definitely going to happen!”
Steph starts to blow it off. “Nothing’s going to-”
“That’s it,” I interrupt angrily. “I’m going to go get Tristan before she says something even stupider.”
Archer growls and grumbles.
Steph, frustrated, yells over the crowd. “Nothing’s going to happen that a rocket launcher can’t handle!”
“Fuckin’ hell, Steph,” Archer’s voice booms. “Now you’ve gone and done it! Kat… Go get Tristan, quick.”
“Everything okay?” Asher asks as she squeezes past the dancing bodies as I make my way to our room. As soon as I slip into the door, the noise level drops and my ears ring with the relative silence. I lean down next to my bed and let my fingers brush against Tristan’s smooth casing. Just as I’m about to pick him up, I hear a loud booming noise, followed by shattering glass and screaming. “Damn it, Steph. Just had to jinx it,” I mutter as I grab my ammunition and stuff the first rocket down the tube.
Everyone is still screaming as I run back toward the lounge room. When I get there, amidst the chaos and fleeing party-goers I see that four giant, horrifically ugly trolls have crashed through the floor-to-ceiling windows that lined the east wall. Steph, usually the least violent and first to panic, has her bow drawn taut. I watch as she fires an arrow right at the first troll, which ricochetes off its thick, rubbery skin.
Archer hefts Tabitha, and lets loose an enormous battle cry, swinging the mighty axe in a figure eight. He runs to the first troll and lands the axe right between the dumb brute’s eyes, burying it deep. We wait, tense, as the creature lets out a slow moan, tilts its head back and whips Archer against the wall before continuing its rampage.
Asher runs up to me. “What is it? What’s happening?” she asks.
“Trolls,” I yell. ”Must have come to crash the party. Here, take my short sword.”
Asher clutches the hilt and holds the sword out in front of her valiantly. “Well,” she says, her arms shaking, “I guess we’ll have to take them down.”
“Kat! Shoot now!” Steph yells, ducking a swipe from one of the brutes.
I aim Tristan, track the troll over a couple of moments, let out a deep breath of air and squeeze the trigger. With a burst of noise, but not real recoil, the rocket propels toward the first troll to great effect. The beast lights up in a fiery ball and roars with fury. It stumbles back and topples over while Steph leaps onto its gut in one agile move and begins hacking off the creature’s head. Its friends, seeing and hearing its screams and gurgles of pain, begin taking swings at Steph.
“Asher, take Tristan and keep firing!” I cry as I thrust the rocket launcher into her hands, pulling out my broadsword and running to Steph’s aid.
With great agility she ducks and weaves through the barrage of fists as the three trolls converge.
“Archer!” I yell, jumping at the first troll and smashing my sword through its extended arm. “We need help!” A rocket whistles over my shoulder, past the three remaining trolls and destroys the back patio.
Everyone, including the trolls, stops and stares at Asher. “Oops…”
“Archer, wake up!” I call again, yanking my sword out of the beast’s arm and dodging over to give his leg a good kick.
Archer comes to with a sudden jolt. “What? Dafuq? Urgh my head…”
“Get up and help us!” Steph screams. She climbs up on a troll’s back and grabs it in a choke lock. It lurches to and fro, trying to dislodge her.
“These guys are as dumb as they are ugly,” I say, ducking another sledge-hammer-like swipe from the other two focusing their efforts on me. ”I’m going to line them up, Asher, and you fire.”
“Okay,” she calls back. Archer leaps to his feet and yanks Tabitha out of his troll’s head, causing it to whine in pain.
“Let’s dance, princess!” he roars, swinging his axe and biting into the creature’s leg. Steph’s troll crashes to its knees as mine swings, hits me in the gut and sends me flying into the wall.
The troll stops, lets out a victory roar, and then bursts into flames as Asher fires another rocket into its gut.
“Take that!” I whoop while clutching ribs that may or may not have been broken.
Asher cheers. “Damn trolls, always showing up uninvited!”
“Help! Help! Someone help!” Steph screeches as her troll begins throwing its fists behind it’s head, trying to shake her off so it could breath.
“Just a sec!” Asher replies, fiddling with the ammo and the launcher. Archer is too focused circling around his troll, taunting it, and taking it down bit by bit.
I struggle to my feet, my ribs on fire and getting worse with each breath. I take out a throwing knife, give a flick of my wrist and send it through the creature’s eye. It roars, stops hitting at Steph and clutches at its face. She jumps off its back, picks up her sword and hacks its head off with three massive swings.
Archer laughs and circles the confused troll like a true barbarian. Its arms and legs are hacked to shreds and bleeding, and still the enraged, hateful creature hits at him viciously.
With one misstep it brings its big fists down on to Archer’s head with a loud crack and a sickening crunch. Steph screams and I lunge forward before the beast can finish him off, slapping it across the face with my sword, opening its cheek and causing the monster to rear back angrily. I try to dodge out of its way, but my chest is on fire, limiting my movement.
“Kat!” Asher calls. “Duck!”
Without looking behind me, I crumple to the floor, barely missing another big swing of fists. The rocket fizzes and propels into the creature with an explosive bang. The moment it hits the ground, Steph jumps on it, using her whole body to drive her sword into its chest.
I drag myself over to Archer’s body. “Archer! Archer! C’mon Archer! Get up!” I yell angrily, swiping at my burning eyes. Asher drops Tristan and runs forward to help while Steph sobs.
After a tense, horrifying moment, Archer jolts awake.
“Archer!” we scream in relief.
Archer clutches his head and stretches his shoulders, loud cracking and popping noises sounding from his neck and back. “I think that thing got the crink out of my spine. I feel fricking awesome.”
I huff in relief which hurts my ribs.
“You scared us! We thought you were dead!” Steph admonishes him.
“Dead? Me? Fuck no. Dying for a drink though.”
I have a beer popped and in his hand within five seconds.
“What was that all about?” Asher asks. “I mean – nothing like that has ever happened to me! Why would they come here?”
The last troll, after everything, starts to twitch and rise. I groan and hand my broadsword over to Asher. “Happy Birthday, Asher. Chop its fucking head off and enjoy it while you can.”
Steph, Archer and I look guiltily at each other as Asher begins hacking at the troll with glee.
“I guess it’s just us,” Steph says as she shrugs her shoulders. “We tend to attract trouble.”
Thank you, thank you, thank you so so much, you guys! This is definitely one of my favorite posts of the month! *DIES*
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I LOVE you all, and thanks so much for stopping by with this incredibly hilarious post! Comment down below if you have a troll-hacking fetish or you like it that the Cuddlebuggery gang are a magnet for trouble ;)