by Erestor

Disclaimer: I own nothing pertaining to The Lord of the Rings.

With a nimble leap, Legolas jumped off the mûmak's trunk and landed lightly on his feet, not one hair out of place. Aragorn and Gimli gazed at him, awed and amazed. That had shown them what an Elf could do! Legolas bestowed upon them one of his grim smiles.

"That still counts as one!" Gimli said, spluttering, shocked by his friend's Elven abilities.

Legolas scowled, insulted both by the Dwarf's comment and his lack of refinement. "Oh, really? Doesn't size have something to do with it?"

Gimli didn't like Legolas's mention of size. He had always had a weird feeling that if Orcs counted how many they killed, they would think of him as half an enemy. How awful it would be to die just so that some Orc could say, "Hey, Gorbang, I killed fourteen and a half!"

Legolas continued to rant. "What about effort? I had to use... um..." he began counting on his fingers, "...about eight arrows up there! And arrows take a very long to make, I'll have you know!"

Gimli continued to worry, oblivious to Legolas's indignation. Perhaps he counted as one enemy, but the unnaturally tall (such as Legolas and Aragorn) counted as two enemies. Perhaps he was still alive just because Orcs wanted to kill the big people so they could get more points.

Legolas shot an Orc that had been sneaking up on Gimli. "And while I was killing the mûmak, you were probably killing lots of Orcs. That's not fair! I believe in equal opportunities for all!"

Gimli had never realized how complicated a simple counting game could be. He had also never realized how much it could lower one's self-esteem. He felt insulted. Legolas felt insulted.

Aragorn felt confused.

"Umm... Legolas, Gimli, we have some Orcs to kill. Just thought I'd mention it," he said, gutting one idly. He rather wanted to find out how the argument would end.

"And what about danger? Shouldn't we take the danger into account? There were definite risks involved! It's difficult to climb up a moving mûmak!" Legolas went on. Obviously he had been resentful about this for a long time.

Gimli wondered if Orcs could actually count. Perhaps they couldn't. Perhaps he would be all right. He chopped an Orc's leg off.

"You know," Aragorn said thoughtfully, "I think mûmakil are an endangered species."

"Oh, Valar, what have I done?" Legolas turned and dashed back to the wounded mûmak. He patted it on the trunk sadly. "I'm so sorry. I didn't know you were endangered."

"He's worse than endangered now," Aragorn said. "He's dead."

Legolas looked aghast. "Oh dear..."

Gimli began thinking some more. What if Dwarves were an endangered species? Maybe the Orcs couldn't kill him then, because there were probably lots of people out there who belonged to a 'Save the Dwarves' club who would come to his rescue.

Suddenly, Gimli felt loved.

Aragorn whirled around and sliced the heads of three separate Orcs in only a few seconds. "Legolas," he said, "maybe we should move on. Some of our friends may need help."

Legolas shot another Orc carelessly. "I suppose so. I just feel guilty now."

"Oh, Legolas!" Aragorn cried. "Please don't feel guilty! Remember, nothing is your fault! Nothing is ever your fault! You will be loved no matter what you do!"

Apparently Aragorn was testing Legolas's new anti-guilt therapy. Gimli smiled to himself. He never felt guilty. Lucky him.

Legolas smiled shakily. "Thank you, Aragorn, for those kind words," he said. "I feel a lot better now." He shot two Orcs.

Aragorn decapitated an Orc before kicking one in the stomach. He stabbed it as it keeled over. "I'm glad, Legolas," he said.

Gimli thought things over. He no longer felt insulted, even though Legolas had implied that a Dwarf could never kill a mûmak in an interesting or creative way. Legolas, presumably, was feeling better after being cheered up by Aragorn.

"What are we waiting for?" he asked them. "Let's go!"

Legolas sprinted to the Dwarf's side. "Er... Gimli," he said.


"Why don't we say it counted as... maybe... three?"



"That's not fair! It was just one mûmak. Kill three mûmakil if you want three points!"

Legolas's eyes gleamed. "Really?"

This time it was Gimli's turn to be hesitant. "Er... Legolas?"

But Legolas was gone. Aragorn and Gimli watched silently as a mûmak toppled over, an Elf jumping gracefully out of the way.

"You shouldn't encourage him," said Aragorn.

"No, I suppose I shouldn't," said Gimli. "While he's killing another mûmak, I'll slaughter a dozen Orcs and get ahead of him. They each count as one, you know."

Aragorn smiled. "Yes, you're right."

They hurried off.

"But," Aragorn said, "I wonder how many Orcs each mûmak squishes as it falls?"

Gimli hit an Orc with his axe. "That doesn't count," he said firmly.

"Why not?" Aragorn chopped the head off another Orc.

Gimli muttered something under his breath. Then he said, "It's a natural disaster."

"Makes sense," said Aragorn. "Mûmakil fall over every day. Legolas has nothing to do with it."

"Exactly," said Gimli. "Now if you'll excuse me..."

A few minutes later, Legolas came over to Aragorn. "I slew four mûmakil," he said proudly. "Where's the Dwarf?"

Aragorn pointed to a tiny figure sprinting after a mûmak, axe upraised. "Right there."

"He'll never be able to..." started Legolas.


Aragorn and Legolas stood in silence for a moment. Legolas looked bemused.

Gimli strode over, smiling proudly.

"Well, it just counts as one," Legolas said.

The End.