Disclaimer: See chapter 1.

Part the Second: Never Insult a Team-Mate's Pet.

"Ah, Boo..." Minsc murmured, somewhat more quietly than usual, to his hamster. "What is it you crave for your supper this night?" The bald berserker gently held up his tiny companion up to eye-level, peering earnestly into the small mammal's beady eyes. "Walnuts? Berries? Acorns? Ask! And Minsc, your friendly neighbourhood ranger shall provide, even if he has to fight off hordes of rabid squirrels to do so!"

Boo squeaked.

From across the fire, Anomen rolled his eyes and sighed dramatically. His party sighed too, but for different reasons.

"Minsc, Minsc, Minsc. My dear, simple-minded, idiotic buffoon. Tis' unnatural the earnestness with which you converse with that rodent-have a care with your unhinged ramblings, lest I report you to the Cowled Wizards." Anomen declared derisively. "It is of my humble opinion that Spellhold is the only place suitable for one afflicted such as yourself."

Minsc appeared unconcerned and completely unoffended by these insults/threats. Only remarking, as Boo squeaked again, "Boo says you're full of- ooo, Boo that sort of language is inappropriate for a young rodent of your stature!" Anomen coloured as the sound of the rest of the group sniggering into their gauntlets was audible. "Really Boo?" Minsc's head tilted to one side in obvious surprised as he listened to more of the rodent's squeaks. "That is why Anomen carries such a large sword?" The sniggers turned into chortles. "But surely he knows that it is the size of a man's VALOUR in battle that determines victory and honour, not the size of his-"

"ENOUGH!!!" Roared Anomen, his face an unhealthy shade of puce as the rest of the party rolled around on the ground laughing maniacally (okay, just Charname and Imoen -Jahiera and Viconia expressed their amusement with more decorum: their shoulder shook silently with laughter as they turned away from the rest, while Aerie tittered nervously into her hand). "STOP TALKING TO IT AS THOUGH IT CAN UNDERSTAND YOU! IT IS A THRICE-DAMNED, CHITTERING LITTLE VERMINOUS RAT, FOR THE LOVE OF HELM! IT. CANNOT. SPEAK!"

The laughter ceased abruptly; Imoen and Charname's arms were frozen around each other's shoulders for support as they all stared in horror at the idiotic warrior-priest.

"…Rat?" Minsc spoke, his voice dangerously quiet. "Rat?" The volume rose slightly as his free hand clenched with enough force to crack rock. Or a very stupid person's skull. Very, very, very slowly, the rest of the group eased out of his line of sight and thus removed themselves from the zone of immediate disaster.

"Oh boy…" Muttered Imoen. "Sucks to be helmet-head right now…"

"Cover your eyes, Imoen," Charname told her, protectively raising a hand over the younger girl's eyes, "You have enough nightmares from when that freak Irenicus captured you…" Imoen batted playfully at the restraining appendage.

"Aw c'mon, lemme see!"

"RAT?!?!?!" Roared Minsc drawing the two-handed sword from his belt –with one hand.

"…eep." Muttered Imoen, pulling the hand back in front of her eyes.

"N-now Minsc," Anomen stuttered, sweat pouring down his forehead as he (too late) began to realise the enormity of his mistake.

"BOO IS A GIANT MINATURE SPACE HAMSTER!" The bald berserker screamed, spittle flying from his mouth. "BOO HAS MORE WISDOM IN HIS LITTLEST CLAW THAN INHABITS THE REST OF YOUR BODY! HE IS NOT VERMIN!"

And with that the Rasheman berserker leapt forward.


Several miles away, a cloud of birds took to the air as a chorus of agonised screams pierced the air, followed by an enraged bellow.

"-go for the eyes Boo, GO FOR THE EYES!! RrraaaAAGHGHH!!!"