You know what I hate?
You know what I hate more?
Hiking while lost.
You know what I hate even more than both of those?
Hiking while lost and hungry.
You know what I hate twice as much as that last one?
Having Legolas pause every couple minutes to try to figure out where we are. By examining the patterns on the leaves or something, apparently.
So, having put up with this idiocy for the past several hours, I wasn't particularly surprised when once again he stopped, looked around, and actually sniffed the air for some kind of magical elven scent traces. I was, however, surprised when this yielded actual results.
"I know this place," he murmured. "This is the road to Imladris."
I stopped mid-step, my current thoughts about peanut butter sandwiches grinding to a halt. Rivendell? Oh, hell. I took a deep breath, curling my fingers into fists.
"Oh, no," I announced flatly. "No, no, no, no, no, no, no. No. NO. This is not what I signed up for."
He peered quizzically at me, raising an eyebrow. "What do you mean?"
"Rivendell," I moaned. "Of all the places in Middle Earth, all the homes, all the landscape, everywhere that we could have ended up, and it's Rivendell!"
He blinked several times. "I assure you, miss, it's really quite nice there—"
"That's not what I mean," I said. "Rivendell is the most Sue-suffused place in this entire country. The place is practically crawling with them by now. I'm good, buddy, but I'm not that good. You walk in there, you get torn apart."
He paled significantly, droplets of sweat suddenly visible on his forehead. "Oh."
"That's what I said! The question is what to do now?"
He tried to control his shaking, and was wholly unsuccessful in the venture. "Well, obviously, we run as fast as we can in the opposite direction. Then we get to the sea and swim across, where we spend the remainder of our lives hiding in Valinor."
"Great plan," I deadpanned. "With one tiny flaw."
"We can build a raft!" he said defensively.
"Not that," I snapped. "Well…yes, that, but that's not what I mean. I mean Valar!Sues. Do you really want to face an all-powerful uber-sue, Legolas? Do you?" My voice wasn't particularly threatening, but talk of Valar!Sues always comes off as having a hint of a blade in it.
Then a strange thing occured--I could almost literally see his thoughts. They weren't positive ones.
His shoulders slumped, defeated. "Rivendell it is, then," he said in a monotone.
"Cheer up," I said brightly, putting an arm around his shoulders. "I'm sure we can think of a plan before we get there!"
"Please…stop touching me."
Strangely, Boromir was holding up far better than his king.
Whereas the Gondorian man had managed to pin the…thing to a tree and effectively disarm it, the ranger had allowed himself to be backed farther and farther away by the bigger one.
"Oh my gawsh, Arry, your hair is, like, sooo silky!" she sighed dreamily, her eyes suddenly Bambi-like in size.
"I haven't washed it in three years!" the King of Gondor yelped in a most uncharacteristic manner.
"That's, like, so rugged and manly," she squealed, rushing forward and—for lack of a better word—glomped him.
"Boromir! Help me!" he yelled in a strangled voice, trying to avoid suffocation by her gravity-defying hair.
"I'm busy," the man in question replied tersely, turning back to the Sue he had pinned by the throat.
"Now," he said to her. "What is your name? Do not lie," he threatened, tightening his grip on her neck slightly.
She coughed slightly and squirmed, but answered. "I'm, like, Neko Kawaii-chan, and this is, like, my spirit wolf demon, Nariel."
Boromir noticed a black blob of fur slinking around the ground, and then the fact that she had pink cat ears. He decided to ignore those implications and continue questioning her.
"Why were you and your friend following us?"
Here her lower lip wobbled and she burst into noisy tears. "I, like, didn't want to!" she wailed. "That girl made me!"
His eyes widened. "What?"
"There was, like, this girl," the Sue continued, still sobbing. "She was all ugly and stuff, but she could do…things."
"What kind of 'things'?"
"She could make us look like this by writing on her computer thing," she sniffled. "She said we had to go here and find you guys."
"True love, man! That girl said that she couldn't have it, so we should, but now that we're here you're being all mean and stuff and this is no way to treat a lady—" From there her words became utterly unintelligible in their high-pitched blubbering. He released her, letting her slump to the ground and continue her tantrum.
"I think I broke her," he remarked to Aragorn, surveying the sobbing cat-girl at his feet.
"Funny," the king replied, in a voice less amused than a father finding out that his child had been killed shortly after coming out of the closet. "Usually it's the other way around." Which, admittedly, made a certain level of sense, as the Sue currently hanging all over him was now attempting to remove his clothes. "Little help here!"
"Right." Boromir strode over to the giggling thing, and with one deft stroke cut her head off, freezing a look of mild surprise on her disproportionate and unnaturally colorful features. Oddly enough, instead of collapsing and bleeding, she burst into a shower of sparkles and flecks of gold, leaving a sickly sweet scent in the air.
He brushed some of the shiny gunk off of his tunic. "Better?"
Aragorn stared, still in a position of cowering. "You just killed her!"
"No," said Boromir. "I killed it. Those things are not of this world." He paused. "In the bad way," he added.
"That's…that's not much better!"
"Oh, whatever," the man of Gondor said, exasperated. "The point being, that other one told me something very interesting."
He told him.
The path became wider as we went along. At least, it didn't require us to fight the trees quite so much to move. Legolas, it appeared, had fallen into a state of (temporary?) depression, as he said nothing and his feet barely left the ground as he walked—or rather, shuffled. My attempts to cheer him up with games of I Spy were, sadly, unsuccessful.
Which is just weird. I mean, who doesn't like I Spy?
"Aw, come on, Legolas," I whined. "Sue assassination isn't nearly as fun with you moping around. Think of how lovely the look on their faces is just as they realize that you'll never love them and they're going to die horribly!"
And damn, it was. We had encountered a few of the tamer ones on the way, and before I could get at them with my frying pan, he'd sent an arrow through their hearts without so much as a pause. And as disturbing as it was to see this particular side of Legolas, it was, indeed, far more satisfying than any first-person shooter I'd ever played.
Although the sparkly gunk was going to take forever to get out of my shoes.
He mumbled something incoherent in response.
"Oh, you're no fun anymore," I sighed, rolling my eyes.
This was both good and bad—good, because it conveyed my annoyance at him in a nonverbal fashion, and bad, because in the split second that my eyes were skyward I managed to crash into something.
This something was a large, dark and very dense wall.
I rebounded slightly, falling to the ground in a most undignified manner for the second time in so many hours.
"Whowazzuh?" I said, rubbing my forehead where it had collided with the wall.
"It's a block," Legolas said flatly.
My brow furrowed. "No it's—oh, wait. Yes, it is." And indeed, it was a block rather than a wall. The thing was…malevolent. Just looking at it evoked feelings of dread and anxiety in me, as if the same material it was made from was clotting up in my gut. It radiated an aura of evil and ill intent, and actually touching it made me give an involuntary shudder.
Curious…very curious. I had a hunch.
"Legolas, touch it, will you?"
He gave me a funny look. "Why?"
"Just do it!"
He sighed, but placed his palm on its surface. "Am I supposed to be feeling something?"
I chewed my lip, trying to suppress the 'get away!' feeling the thing was sending toward me. "You should," I said slowly. "But you don't, which means that I think I know what we have here. What does it feel like?"
"Nothing," he replied simply, shrugging. But then his eyes widened, realization dawning. "Nothing," he repeated, eyes widening.
I nodded. "Exactly. What we have here is a Writer's Block."
He stared blankly at me for several moments. "So we walk around it."
"Ah," I said. "If only it were that easy. Try walking in the opposite direction."
After about fifteen seconds, I didn't have to look his way to know that he'd just collided with the very same block.
"Alright," he said, turning back around. "I see your point. So how do we keep moving?"
I considered this, stroking my imaginary goatee. "We wait," I answered after a moment.
"You can't be serious."
"Oh, but I am. Writer's Blocks are tricky things, hard to get rid of and impossible to bypass. I would know." I'm assuming most of you people reading this know as well, considering that I have been forced to publish this on a fanfiction site rather than somewhere else—something about plagiarism and lack of professionalism, pfft. "Anyway, I'll be damned if there's anything that can get rid of the stupid thing without resorting to blowing it and most of the stuff within a mile radius of it up. And I'm not even sure that would work."
"And there's nothing else we can do?"
"Well, do you have any inspirational music or caffeine?"
"Not as such, no."
Gandalf frowned. Things were slowing down. That was no good. Legolas and the girl were just sitting around for some reason, and seeing them argue about types of cheeses out of sheer boredom lost its charm after the first ten minutes. Aragorn and Boromir weren't much better—they were having some kind of lengthy discussion about something while the Sue at their feet had a nervous breakdown.
"At least kill her!" he growled at this screen, spilling some popcorn.
The other screens weren't any more interesting, either. The hobbits, for all their use in stealth, couldn't quite shake off the—fangirl, was it? She wasn't ridiculous looking enough to be a Sue, so he supposed so. Gimli hadn't done anything but relax with some casual homicide since he'd arrived in the frightening realm of fanon. He wasn't very creative, either. An axe through the chest every time—where was the craft? The finesse?
He shook his head. People these days. Absolutely no respect for the art of slaughter. One of these days he was going to teach them a lesson about how to properly murder a people.
He sighed and played Tetris for a while instead.
My thanks and a plate of cookies to Demoness Drakon, critic and beta extraordinaire.