Blog 28 at last. Note Forgot about the banging monkey? Check half way through blog 19

Blog 28 – Flesh Hunters, Trees and Porn, Oh My!

Twenty minutes later – after Asherea's Iron Wolves had gone into the jungle and rescued a very lost Divo - the Amazon and the Rogue found themselves beside Ormus's Pyramid once more. Meleezon was engaged in deep conversation with Cain.

"No. Freakin'. Way. I've been down into the sewers once already; twice in one life time is just pushing it. What's more, Kurast isn't hot and dry like Lut Gholein. The stuff in these sewers will still be…" she swallowed queasily, "you know… gooey."

Cain was chuckling to himself and shaking his head.

"You really don't have a choice, dear girl! Unless you want to send your trusty companion down there by herself to fetch it."

"What, Divo? I don't think she could handle that. She can barely manage her own hair, never mind a – DIVO! ORMUS! What the HELL are you doing?"

The two had become bored waiting for the discussion to end, and were currently involved in a riveting game of hacky-sack with Khalim's Brain. They stopped immediately at the sound of Meleezon's voice and the brain fell to the cobblestones with a splat.

"He/She did it," they said in unison while pointing accusing fingers. Meleezon managed a glare that sent Ormus scurrying into his shop. Divo picked up the brain and retreated far under the brim of her Fedora.

"Hmph. Where were we?" Meleezon continued. "Oh yeah, the part where I'm not freakin' going down into any freakin' sloppy sewers."

Cain opened his mouth to argue further, but before he could the boney figure of Alkor came flying down the rickety bridge from his hut, waving his arms wildly.

"Meleezon! Oh, sweet owner of mammaries most glorious, I need your assistance!"

"What did you say?" Meleezon asked sharply.

"I said: 'I need your assistance'," he repeated, continuing his speech before she could interrupt again. "There is a book of vital impotent – ahem – importance, somewhere in the Upper/Lower/Bazaar's of Kurast area. I accidentally left it in my Temple when fleeing from Zealots."

"Oh really? And what might this book be about?"

The old man paused, his forehead furrowed deeply.

"It's abooooouttt…Demons! Yes, and the Hell Lords! Full of really important information that we could use to defeat them! I simply must have it back before the next week."

"Why?"

"Because I rented it from the library and it's going to cost me an absolute fortune if it's late returned."

Meleezon raised an eyebrow and the old man scuffled his feet nervously.

"Ok then," she sighed. "Where's your temple."

"Well, that is to say... ahem… I don't remember." He scratched his balding head absent mindedly. "It could be any of the temples really. I used them all you see. Easier that way; I could wander into any one I wanted and just pick up whatever unfinished experiment I'd left there last time."

"It's the Ruined Temple," Divo said casually, glancing at her fingernails.

"That's nice, Divo. OK, Alkor, so you need this 'demon book' of yours to help us defeat evil, and it's somewhere in the Upper/Lower/ Bazaar Kurast area, in one of the twenty or so Temples built there. Am I right?"

"Six. There's on six temples. Here's the list"

("It's in the Ruined Fane!")

"And you want us to search them all till we find it. What's in it for us?"

"Hmm... how about another of my miraculous potions? Could make you strong, more flexible, healthier… what ever you wish!"

"Whoa, no freakin' way. What'll you put in this one: essence of ape turd?"

"Let me finish, I was going to say; 'in a frosty cold beer'."

"… … I hate you. Fine: we'll find your freakin' demon book."

"Hey, I've got an idea! Let's look in the Ruined Temple, Meleezon."

"Divo. Shut. Up!"

"Oh, and one more thing," Alkor called as they were leaving. "Don't look in the book. What you see might be too much for your minds to comprehend."

"Fine, whatever, see you soon."

--- Fast Forward – 6 Hours Later, Outside Kurast ---

"That was the weirdest 6 hours of my life."

"Yeah tell me about it. Can monkeys really do that? I mean seriously, it didn't look physically possible!"

"The monkeys weren't the half of it. Did you see that frog? I swear it was wearing a crown and tutu. This place is nuts."

The two companions had traveled what was left of the Flayer Jungle, trudged through the goop of the Great Marsh, and now stood in front of the overgrown, rotting gates of Kurast. Everything was deathly quiet. It made them feel uneasy.

"I feel like there should be a guardian or something," Meleezon mused. "We never come to big landmarks like this without having to face a big nasty –"

-THWOOOOOM-

A massive tree branch smashed down beside her, missing by mere millimeters.

"Blllooody hell!" she cried, jumping sideways. "That's the closest I've ever come to being flattened by foliage."

The two edged away cautiously, eyes fixed on the huge log oozing sap before them. Divo prodded it with her foot.

"Funny looking branch," she said. She kicked it again, and to their surprise it began to rise off the ground. "Wait, that's not a branch, that's a –"

-THWOOOOOMMM-

The women dived away as the log came down for another crushing blow. Meleezon scurried behind the remains of a stone wall and peeked over the top.

"Divo! Check that out!"

A creature made entirely of wood lumbered out of the jungle. It was easily twice as big as Meleezon, and three times the width, sporting massive trunks for arms. One ended in a lethal jagged splinter. A gaping black hole in the face oozed sap, below two red eyes, and these eyes were searching for food.

"Meleezon!" called Divo from her spot behind a bush. "Do something! You live in a jungle: what do you do when trees turn bad?"

The tree beast swung towards her voice and smashed the bush. Divo rolled away in time and ran in Meleezon's direction.

"Don't come to me! Lead him away! Do the good hireling thing!" Divo veered away and headed to the river.

"You idiot, do you want to drown?"

The exasperated Rogue stopped at the river bank and turned back to glare at the Amazon.

"Well what the hell do you want me to do? You know, Meleezon, I've been meaning to have a word to you about your constant indecisiveness. It's really –"

"Just keep his attention on you, dim wit. Hopefully I'll figure something out before I have to tell the dock you were killed by a giant woody."

The creature staggered further down the riverbank, making low guttural noises. Divo wasn't sure if it came from his mouth or his stomach. He looked very hungry…

"Meleezon! The Ent is getting –"

"Oi! Wrong game, you twat! Do you want to get us in trouble?"

"What? Oh yes, sorry, the Tree Hulk is getting closer. Do something!"

Meleezon was. She fished desperately through her bag, looking for one particular item.

"Goddam it, where are you?" she growled. A muffled 'bang, bang, bang' suddenly brought a smile to her face. "Ah! There you are!"

The Tee Hulk towered over Divo, glaring down at her. The evil red eyes burned with hunger. One massive trunk-arm raised up, ready to smash…

"Hey, Pecker Food," Meleezon shouted. The Tree Hulk paused and looked her way.

"Errhhmmmm?" it groaned. The Amazon smiled and pointed towards its feet. She saw its eyes widen for a second, and then heard a loud creak as it stooped down to look.

A small fluffy monkey, banging away happily on his cymbals, was waddling its way down the river bank. The Tree Hulk bent down closer and moaned.

"Ooooohhhhh…. prreeeee….tteeeeeee…"

"That's right," Meleezon smiled, creeping out from behind the crumbled stone wall. "Pretty monkey, you like the monkey?"

The Tree Hulk obviously did. It picked up the monkey and patted it. Then it began to lumber back to the forest. Meleezon raised Soulflay and prepared to charge.

"Wait!" Divo grabbed her arm. "I don't think we'll need to. He seems happy!"

The Tree Hulk reached the jungle and began to push his way inside.

"I'mmmmm… gooooiinnngg… tooooo… huuugggg… yoooouuuu… and squuueeeezzzeee… yooouu…. and… nnaammme… yoooouuu… Geoooorrggggge…" were his final groaned words as he trudged out of view.

"Awww," said Divo, taking her hat off and wiping a small tear from her eye. "Isn't that sweet? He just wanted a friend! See, Meleezon, not all our enemies are bad." She turned to see Meleezon's reaction, and was surprised to see the big Amazon crying to! "What's wrong? You can't be getting all sentimental, that's not like you!"

"I'm not!" Meleezon snorted. "It's just… I was using the monkey as a distraction. He was meant to look at it while I chopped him up. I didn't expect him to take the monkey."

"Oooohhh," Divo smiled, recalling the night she'd seen Meleezon snuggled up with the monkey hugged tight to her chest, sucking her thumb peacefully. "So you're upset that you didn't get to kill him. Sure. I believe you."

"Shut up!" Meleezon shouted, and stormed towards the Gates of Kurast.

"Hey, I was kidding! We'll find another monkey…"

---Fast Forward – Lower Kurast---

"What the hell? This place is tiny! And pointless. I don't see a temple anywhere"

"Yeah, check it out: I'm in Lower Kurast… now I'm in the Kurast Bazaar! Lower Kurast, Kurast Bazaar, and now I'm in the Great Marsh! Awesome!"

"Stop it, you're making my head hurt."

---Fast Forward – Kurast Bazaar---

"Ok! Alkor said that his 'demon book' was in one of the temples. Let's start looking."

"I think – and I could be wrong, after all this is just a hunch – but I think that I'm 100 certain that it's in the Ruined Temple."

"What have I told you about spouting crap! I'm the Big Boss here, got it? What's a matter? You wanna wear the daddy pants? Huh? Is that it, Divo? You gonna cry? You gonna squirt some?"

-BONG-

"Ow! Where the hell did you get that big inflatable world, Meleezon?"

"Same place you got your hat. Now shut up, or I'll throw it against your head again. I have to concentrate."

Meleezon scanned the Bazaar, peering over the fetid wastes, the run down thatched huts and the picked clean bones of those Kurastians that weren't able to make it to the docks in time. The place really could have used some maintenance.

"Why on earth did they decide to build their city in the middle of a swampy jungle anyway?"

"Beats me. I could ask why you Amazons choose to do the same thing."

"But you won't, will you?"

-sigh - "No, ma'am."

Meleezon finally spotted a temple, and checked the list Alkor had given her.

"Ok, according to the description, that place is the 'Disused Fane'. Sounds interesting. Let's check it out?"

"Fine…"

---Fast Forward – The Disused Fane---

"AAAHHHHH! PURPLE SPIDERS!"

---Fast Forward – Kurast Bazaar---

"If you don't stop snickering, Divo, I'm going to cut off both your pinkies and send them to Charsi as a keepsake."

-snort giggle- "Ok, sorry. So, where to now?"

"Well, next on the list is…"

---Fast Forward – 4 More Temples Later---

"Forgotten Temple, Disused Reliquary, Ruined Fane, Forgotten Reliquary… not only did Alkor forget which is which, I think he forgot all other words in the world that can be used to describe a temple and the state it's it."

"Yeah, not the most imaginative titles out there. And let me guess; the last one is 'Ruined Temple', right, Meleezon?"

"Yeah… your point being?"

"Oh… nothing…"

---Fast Forward – Entrance of the Ruined Temple---

The two companions stood at the temples entrance and examined the big steel door. There was something very odd about it.

"Hey Meleezon… what's that?" Divo pointed to a strange torch above the door, casting a soft red light on everything.

"I'm not sure, Divo," Meleezon replied, "but I guess we'll find out." She knocked on the door and waited. A few seconds later, a metal window in the door slid open and some eyes peered out at them.

"Ooohhh! Customers!" cooed a sultry voice. There was the snap of a latch, and the door creaked open. "Welcome!"

Meleezon and Divo stared at the tanned skinned women wearing a gimps mask.

"Ummmm…."

"Oh, don't be shy. I won't bite…" the Lady Gimp said, winking behind her mask. "Follow me."

Meleezon looked back at Divo and shrugged.

"Guess we have no choice."

---Fast Forward – The "Ruined Temple" Penthouse---

"… and that over there is the 'Pleasure and Pain' room. Very popular with the heroes you know as Assassins… and occasionally a Barbarian."

Meleezon couldn't resist a peek inside, and instantly wished she hadn't.

"Yikes, too kinky for me!"

Divo was staring wide eyed at some sort of hanging hammock / swing contraption in a room on the other side.

"Should I even ask what that's for?"

"Not unless you're interested in it," winked the Lady Gimp.

"I thought this was a laboratory," snorted Meleezon. "When did you guys move in?"

"Oh, it was a laboratory, until our boss came snooping around and found the book. Then she decided to open up this business. Popular for humans and creatures alike! And absolutely no fighting allowed."

"Who's the boss?" Divo asked, trying to free her hand from a pair of fluffy handcuffs.

"She runs the 'Master and Slave' role-play," the Lady Gimp replied. "She likes to be called 'Battlemaid Sarina'."

"You know," Meleezon said suddenly, "this all sounds very familiar. Didn't we meet someone before who was into this stuff?"

Divo looked her way, having periodically swapped her hat for pink bunny ears, and wrinkled her nose.

"Cute?"

"Divo, I'm being serious here."

"So am I! I want to look my best when we eventually run into Scott the Great."

"He doesn't like bunnies."

"Everyone likes bunnies! Oh, and the person you're thinking of was the Countess."

"Of course!" Meleezon cheered, snapping her fingers. "She was running the sex chat line."

"You know the Countess?" the Lady Gimp asked in surprise. "She's our outsourcing manager; we direct all the phone calls to her. We're planning on setting up more franchises, you see, and it's handy to have a representative in every land."

"Who's your representative in Lut Gholein?"

"A blacksmith named Fara."

"Oooooohhhh!" said Divo and Meleezon in unison. "That explains SO much!"

"Yes, she's quite a deviant, though she hides it well. She actually makes the metal chastity belts we use in the 'Knights and Maidens' role-plays, but it's been a long time since she's shipped any over. Actually, we haven't heard from the Countess in awhile either."

"Hmm… strange. Ahem. Wonder why that is." Meleezon rubbed the back of her neck and suddenly found the ceiling very interesting.

"Here we are!"

The Lady Gimp stepped aside ad gestured to a large room beyond. Meleezon and Divo walked past her and stepped through the doorway frame.

"Whoa! Extravagant," Meleezon said in awe.

The entire room was filled with queen size plush beds. The walls were covered in soft red velvet, and there were so many pillows and cushions scattered around it must have taken a thousand geese to stuff them. And at the far end sat a scantily clad woman; sword by her side, concentrating intensely on a book in front of her.

"The Dung Beetle? My, my… that looks downright uncomfortable," she was mumbling. Meleezon raised Soulflay and turned to speak to her companion.

"Ok, Divo, that's obviously the book. This could get ugly, I suggest we-"

Divo, who'd been completely silent since they entered, couldn't contain herself anymore.

"Oh… my… GOD!" she cried. "It's fluffy-thing paradise! GERINIMO!"

The Rogue took a flying leap and landed on one of the beds. The springs promptly sent her flying off again, and onto the floor out of sight.

"I'm ok! I'm ok!" she called happily, hopping up into view again. "There's pillows everywhere! Wheeee!" she picked up a huge downy cushion and aimed it at Meleezon. "Pillow fight!"

Meleezon ducked as a hail of soft objects came hurtling at her.

"Divo, what the hell are you doing! I was hoping for the element of surprise here."

The woman reading the book suddenly became aware of the ruckus that had broken out around her.

"Hey! What's going on? Pillow fights have a 30 gold surcharge-" she suddenly noticed Meleezon, fending off the barrage. "Who on Sanctuary are you?"

"Just a second," called Meleezon. She caught an especially large cushion thrown by Divo, and took aim.

"Oh… craWHOOOMF!" the Rogue managed to splutter as the cushion smacked her in the face, knocking her off her feet.

"There," said Meleezon. "Much better."

"No fair," Divo said indignantly, coming up from behind the bed again. "You play to rough."

"Ladies, please stop destroying my business and answer the question."

"Please excuse my manners." Meleezon strode up to the woman and slammed the book shut. "Hi. I'm Meleezon. The six year old over there is Divo. You're Battlemaid Sarina. And I'm taking this book back to the docks because an old man asked me too. Any more questions?"

Sarina raised an eyebrow, then placed her hand over Meleezon's on the book.

"I'm sorry, but I simply can't let you do that. This book is my entire business. Without it, we'd never be able to keep our routines fresh and imaginative."

Meleezon frowned.

"How the heck can a book about demons be of help to a… place like this?"

"Demon book?" Sarina asked. "My dear, I believe you've been tricked. This isn't a book about demons… though some of techniques in here probably require special powers in order to perform them."

"Huh? Bah, I don't care what's in it. Just give it to me and I'll be on my way." Meleezon took hold of the book and gave it a pull, but the Battlemaid held on. "C'mon! This is my only chance to drink beer again in this hell hole. Even if it does have something disgusting added to it."

Sarina stood up, drew her sword and pointed it at Meleezon.

"You're not taking it, and certainly not without a fight."

"Ok, ok." Meleezon let it go and backed away with her hands raised. "Keep the damn book…. although… I could probably make a copy for you."

"What?"

"It's called duping. You give me the book, I perform some quick illegal operations, and bingo! An exact replica of the book is made."

Sarina lowered her sword and looked thoughtful.

"Hmmm… that would be ok, I guess. Are you sure it'd work?"

"Positive."

"Can I trust you?"

"Of course!"

"…. Alright then."

Sarina handed her the book.

"Just give me a second…" Meleezon took her backpack off and put the book inside. Then she put her pack on again and stood still. Sarina waited.

"Well?"

"Well what?"

"Where's my copy of the book?"

"What book?"

"The book I just gave you to dupe!"

"Book? I don't see no book. You didn't give me anything. Who are you anyway? Stop bothering me, noob."

"THAT'S IT!" Sarina screamed. She pulled a lever by a bed and multiple doors opened in the walls around them. "GIMPS! COME!"

A hoard of scantily clad, mask wearing women poured out and filled the room. Divo immediately hid behind the Amazon and whimpered.

"Meleezon, what are they using for weapons? They're certainly not swords… I've never seen anything like them; they're huge!"

Meleezon smiled and reached for her belt.

"I'm sorry, but I really must be going. I don't have time to stay and… chat." She winked.

"They've got our sacred book," Sarina screamed. "Get them! Retrieve it."

Meleezon opened a portal and pushed Divo into it as the Gimp hoard closed in on them.

"See ya!' she waved. Then disappeared through.

---Fast Forward – The Docks---

"Yay for Meleezon!"

"We knew you could do it!"

"You're amazing!"

Meleezon was standing in the middle of a large group of men, taking the praise for all it was worth.

"Thank you, thank you. It was nothing really."

"Oh, but it certainly was!" Alkor beamed. "How you managed to find our beloved book in one of my six very similarly named temples is a great feat."

"It was easy, I promise! I knew it was in the Ruined Temple all along… what was that Divo?"

"I said you can tuck yourself in tonight."

"That doesn't make any sense… anyway-"

"Yes, let's see the book," Alkor said eagerly. Meleezon reached into her backpack and fished around. She paused when she suddenly realized how quiet this group of men had become. All eyes were on her; impatient, lust filled eyes.

"Ummmm…. here you go." She handed the book to Alkor.

"WHOHOO!" he cried. "It's back! It's ours again! Gather 'round boys; it's study time."

Meleezon and Divo stared at the group of men huddled around the book, looking over Alkor's shoulder.

"Oh! Yeti Style! I gotta try that!"

"Nah, that's got nothing on the Dirty Succubus."

"Dude, you're sick!"

"What the hell is a Duriel Punch anyway?"

Meleezon shook her head and began to walk away.

"Men. They never grow up."

"What was that book about, Meleezon, if it wasn't about demons?" Divo asked inquisitively.

"Not sure myself… even the title was odd. I think it was Farma Tutra… ever heard of that before?"

"Not me… I wonder if it has anything to do with Feng Shui?"

"Meleezon, wait! Your reward." Alkor left the group and offered the Amazon a glass of white liquid. She immediately screwed up her nose.

"Oh god, what's in this one?"

"It's a new substance we've only just discovered in Kurast. It's called milk, and it's very good for you. Drink it up, it'll make you stronger. And no need to thank me"

He tottered back to the group, and Meleezon looked at the glass in her hand.

"You'd think for all the trouble we went through we'd at least get some cookies."

Next Blog: Home is where the rump rests, but the sewers stole my heart…