A/N: Pretty standard "let's do a Monty Python sketch with some fictional characters" ficlet. About five years old at this point, edited up a bit so it's not quite so embarrassing a display of my writing abilities-not that that matters, what with half the dialogue lifted almost directly from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Written in a format reminiscent of a movie/play script. Also, it was written during my "using too many exclamation points/quotation marks" phase-which occurred a year before my current "using too many semicolons/colons" phase. I left said punctuation marks in for old time's sake.

Disclaimer: Absolutely none of the elements appearing here is mine except, well, me. No offence is meant to any of them, either.

*Sir Ning, the Not-Quite-So-Brave as Sir Tai, rides into view, accompanied by his Minstrel and two musicians.*

Minstrel (singing): Bravely bold Sir Ning, rode forth from his ship. He was not afraid to die, oh brave Sir Ning. He was not at all afraid to be killed in nasty ways, brave, brave, brave, brave Sir Ning. He was not in the least bit scared to die of dysentery, or to have his eyes gouged out, and his elbows eaten, to have his kneecaps split, and his body devoured, and his limbs all mangled and scavenged, brave Sir Ning. *Sir Ning is looking more and more nervous as the Minstrel keeps singing.* His head shot through and his heart cut out, and his liver removed and his bowels unplugged, his nostrils raped and his bottom burnt off and his pe-

Sir Ning (interrupts): That's enough music for now, lads. Looks like there's plenty work afoot.

*They continue riding as an aura of menace builds until...*

Shamoke: HALT! Who are you?

*Reveals Shamoke and two other fierce-looking barbarians, Barbs 1 and 2, Ning looks even more freaked out, as Shamoke is VERY LARGE and furthermore has a penguin perched on his head. A flesh-eating penguin, in fact.*

Minstrel (singing): He is brave Sir Ning, brave Sir Ning, who…

Sir Ning (interrupts): Shut up! *To Shamoke* N-nobody really, just a traveler.

Shamoke: What do you want?

Minstrel (singing): To fiiight, and…

Sir Ning (cuts him off again): Shut up! *Minstrel looks sulky.* N-nothing really, just to p-pass through, good barbarians.

Shamoke: I'm afraid not.

Sir Ning: Oh… Well, actually, I am a Pirate of Wu.

Barb #2: You're a Pirate of Wu?

Sir Ning: I am.

Shamoke: In that case I shall have to kill you.

Barb #1: Shall I?

Barb #2: I don't think so.

Shamoke: Well what do I think?

Barb #1: I think kill him!

Barb #2: Oh, let's be nice to him.

Shamoke: WHAT!

Barb #2: Let's be nice to him, the poor fellow's got dysentery.

Barb #1: Let's kill him, too.

Barb #2: You cannot harm ME. I'm, I'm from the future!


Shamoke: WHAT!

Barb #2: I'm from the future you know?

Barb #1: No you're not!

Barb #2: Yes I am!

Barb #1: No you're not.

Barb #2: I AM!

Barb #1: Not!

Barb #2: Am!

Shamoke: SHUT UP! No further mindless contradiction is allowed. We must debate as proper civilized barbarians should, with three-part arguments and also large slings.

*Both shut it*

Shamoke: So. You can't be from the future.

Barb #2: Why not!

Shamoke: Because time-travel is impossible.

Barb #2: No it's not. I'm living proof.

Musician #1 (interjects, lowering his flute): It might've been a 'Sario Rip' effect…

All barbarians: Shut up!

Musician #2: You couldn't have come back here anyway.

Barb #2: And why not?

Musician #2: Because you can only go forward in time, not back. Presuming time travel is possible at all, I mean.

Barb #2: How would you know, you're a freakin' musician!

Musician #2: Well I read a lot.

Musician #1: That theory's in English or French or one of those Italian monstrosities, you couldn't read it 'cause we're Chinese!

Minstrel (NOT singing): Then why are we all speaking English right now?

*Very long pause.*

*Still silence.*

*It has now grown uncomfortable. More so than before.*

Shamoke: Um...'cause that's what the writer speaks?

Barb #1 (doubling over in sudden spasms): Aaarg! Must…resist...mind control…kill…psychic…bastard...

Musician #2: Aaah! Quorothorn is controlling us!

Barb #2: We have no free will, HEEELP!

Quorothorn: HA HA HA! You are all under my power!

Musician #1: Please...release us!

Quorothorn: Sorry, I couldn't hear you over the MASSIVE POWER TRIP I AM EXPERIENCING. Now get on with the scene!

Minstrel: From which part?

Quorothorn: Shut up! Just OBEY!

All: Yes, master…

Quorothorn: Better.

Musician #2: Anyway, as I said I read a lot.

Musician #1: And as I said, what about Sario Rips?

Everyone Else (angered by his persistent out-of-verse reference): There's no such thing!

Musician #1: There is in Animorphs.

Barb #1: We're not IN Animorphs, dummy.

Barb #2: Yeah, we're in some ****ed up version of that Three Kingdoms battle that was in that novel.

Musician #1: That book isn't written yet!

Barb #2: Neither is Animorphs, fool.

Sir Ning: Neither is 'The Gammage Cup'!

*All stare.*

Barb #1: Where the hell did that come from?

Sir Ning: My skull!

Musician #2: Mouth technically.

Sir Ning: Mouth is part of the skull!

Barb #1: You're about to not HAVE a skull anymore.

Musician #2: Skull is just the top of your head, actually.

Sir Ning: Shut up! You work for me and I'm telling you to shut up!

Quorothorn (still power-tripping to an unhealthy degree): No he doesn't you stupid Pirate, I control you ALL! Muhahaha!


Quorothorn: Now get on with it!

Zhou Tai (from off-screen): Yes, get on with it! I want to kill Shamoake!

Quorothorn: Shut up, you!

Zhou Tai: Sorry.

Quorothorn: Now, back to the scene.

Barb #2: Anyway, this battle's from history.

Musician #2: It's not history until someone writes it down wrong. So, actually, it's going to BE history, as it's happening right now.

Barb #1: Or would be if we all weren't standing here gabbing!

Musician #1: It's not OUR fault! Quorothorn's controlling us, remember?

*All twitch involuntarily.*

Barb #1: Anyway fellow barbarians! We need to kill that pirate bastard!

*Sir Ning blanches.*

Barb #2: Why don't we just go and have tea?

*The barbarian's attentions once again fully on themselves, Sir Ning's group starts to slip away.*

Shamoke: Okay, how about we kill him, and then have tea and biscuits?

Barb #2: I don't like biscuits.

Shamoke: Okay not biscuits but let's kill him anyway!

Both Barbs: Right!

*They notice Sir Ning has escaped.*

Shamoke: He's buggered off!

Barb #2: So he has, he's scarpered.

Barb #1: Pansy!

*Suddenly Shamoke goes nuts and starts shooting wildly, killing both Barbs. By accident.*

*Switch to Sir Ning's group, where the Minstrel is still singing, but with a slightly different angle this time.*

Minstrel: Brave Sir Ning ran away.

Sir Ning: No!

Minstrel: Bravely ran away-away.

Sir Ning: I didn't!

Minstrel: When danger reared its ugly head, Sir Ning bravely turned his tail and fled. Bravely taking to his feet, he beat a very brave retreat...

Sir Ning: All lies!

Minstrel: Yes brave Sir Ning turned about and gallantly he chickened out, for he is packing it in and buttering up, yes bravely he is throwing in the towel.

Sir Ning: Never!

*Immediately following this proclamation one of the arrows Shamoke fired comes crashing through Sir Ning's skull. He dies and a bunch of crows come diving down and devour him.*

Minstrel (not singing): Well that was kinda dumb.

Quorothorn: Shut up you stupid minstrel!

Minstrel: Yes, great one.

Quorothorn (aside): Capitalize that one next time or I use the Big Voice on you. *Now narrating.* And so Sir Ning met his doom at the hands of an arrow shot by some stupid barbarian who was cut down by Zhou Tai two seconds later. These tales of insanity, garbled in the maze of retelling, would come to be known as "The Romance of the Three Kingdoms", for whatever reason.