An ace up her sleeve

Just then a look of complete serenity washed over the girl's face, and with a new touch of steel to her voice she commanded, "Take it."

Before old Kregmar could contemplate the girl's newfound stoniness, the dead fox leapt at his face and attacked with vicious little claws and teeth, instantly shredding the thin, gray flesh of the demon lord's face.  The trolls all stood motionless and stupid, amused by their master's unholy screams of agony as he staggered backwards and wrestled with the undead assailant.

Dren used the distraction to force two stakes from the ground with his tail; not enough to free him but enough to give him some wiggle room.  He wanted nothing more in that instant than to set them all ablaze with his fiery breath.  If only he could free his muzzle...

The girl, for her part, remained motionless in the troll's iron grasp.  She docilely looked at the ground as if waiting for something.

Dren desperately tried wriggling out from under the net, but one of the trolls behind him caught sight of his movement and blew the whistle, "Hey!"

The other trolls, their multitasking abilities stretched way beyond capacity, needed to deal with one thing at a time, so they chose to focus their efforts on just the dragon; they instructed the single troll to kill the girl.

Dren howled, Nooooooo!" but the troll simply nodded.


The big troll adjusted his fingers around the girl's jaw as if he was about to pop a grape, but before he could carry out the heinous deed, a dandelion at his feet grew to a massive ten feet in height, then bent down and encapsulated him with its thousands of yellow florets.  The shocked troll dropped the girl to the ground just as the vengeful dandelion picked him up and threw him like a rag doll into the air before catching and apparently eating him.

Dren wrapped his tail around the whistleblowing troll behind him and thrashed him against the nearest tree at the edge of the forest.  It put its hands to its head, maimed and bleeding, but he staggered away.

The girl was on her feet and gesturing as she ran, and suddenly great thorny ivy branches erupted from the ground and wrapped themselves around the trolls.  The massive thorns impaled and dismembered while the ivy squeezed and crushed the terrified beings within its supernatural grip until they were still.

The girl sprinted to Dren and helped him fully escape the net, "Can you fly?"

"Yes, of course I can fly," Dren returned, a little bit offended.

The girl nervously looked behind her to Kregmar, who had levitated the snapping fox ten feet into the air before igniting it into a thousand grotesque and flaming pieces.  She said, "Then I suggest we take to the air with great haste, my winged friend."

The End

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