“I always enjoyed Xena Warrior Princess for its way of taking ancient Greek legend and bringing it to life. Here’s a tale of similar lines.”
I wrote this story in answer to the following prompts:
AuthorWorld — “I stabbed my sword straight through the gut of the beast, but it kept on coming…”
FOWC with Fandango — Whimsical
Pensitivity’s Three Things Challenge — Yesterday – Care – How
Your Daily Word Prompt — Moxie
Moxie and the Manticlaw
Yesterday — ‘Saul, Moxie’s gone. I fear she may be in danger. If you care, you must help her.’
Of course, she was. Moxie had a penchant for danger. At least, I knew where she was going. Whether I could help or just get killed trying I didn’t know.
Now—I stabbed my sword straight through the gut of the beast, but it kept on coming. Kept trying to stab and decapitate me.
The Manticlaw was a savage giant scorpion from Hades. Its pedipalp claws and dark body glinted with a devilish red hue as it swung his enormous barbed telson and tail with menace.
Venom dripped from the stinger, as I swiped it away with my thegn sword. The impact so strong, it threw me into the cave wall beside one of my flaming torches. “Moxie! Where are you?” Rising to a knee, I immediately jumped and rolled over the thrashing tail.
The Manticlaw snapped its right pedipalp pincers together and thrashed for my head.
Diving for my life, I heard the impact shatter rock as debris rained down upon my armour.
I’d made a mistake. The giant scorpion seized me with his left pedipalp. The pincers squeezing down on my chest plate. The pressure was immense, more even than a thirty-foot anaconda could impart. “Argh!” Spinning my sword above my head, I drove it deep into the fleshy arm
The Manticlaw, hissed and sent me flying.
My back obliterated a stalactite as I somersaulted across the cave and splashed down in the underwater pond. Ribs burning, and blood pooling on my lips; I lay in the water gasping for breath. I didn’t fear death, dying at the hands of the scorpion wasn’t high on my list of …
The telson loomed, venom dripping, glinting in the torchlight. Like a demonic spear, the manticore whipped it straight for my chest.
I rolled left.
It came again, slicing hairs from my mane of blonde hair.
Diving back to the right, I felt my sword crashing to the gleaming barb. The reverberation was so strong, it knocked the weapon from my hand. It splashed down and vanished beneath the dark water.
The Manticlaw kept up its relentless attack.
All I could do was keep rolling and jumping away from our vicious telson. If it scored just one hit, the venom would dissolve my armour and flesh until I was nothing more than a disfigured skeleton. At least the stab wound from the barb would kill me quickly.
Stalactites exploded, showering me and the pool with rubble as a demonic insect tried everything in its power to spear me.
Planting my feet, I somersaulted out of the water and grabbed the tail as it shot beneath me. Now, I had my arms wrapped around the poisonous telson. It couldn’t stab me from here.
The Manticlaw shrieked, this was its biggest weakness, and it knew, by the way it began thrashing about in a frenzy.
“Moxie!” I yelled again desperate to find her and get out of this cave while I was still able to breathe. “Where a—” My stomach lurched as the tail flashed toward the ground with immense speed. Just as suddenly it whipped up and over the demonic scorpion’s armoured carapace. The force broke my grip, launching me over the Manticlaw’s back.
Manticlaw tried to snatch me from the air. Somehow my momentum carried me through both pedipalps. Instead, I slammed back first high into the rock wall. The impact almost knocked me out, but I registered myself falling, crashing onto a ledge. Through the darkness edging my vision, I saw a lady smiling at me.
The loudest hiss rumbled through the cave.
I watched the hideous face of the manticore rise in front of the ledge. Its pincers snapping either side. In the shadows behind, the poison barb curled to strike. My time on earth was done.
“Catch!” she yelled.
I saw something silvery spinning towards me and jumped.
The telson flashed between my legs, spraying the ledge with venom as it hammered into the wall.
My fingers curled around the pommel of my sword, and I drove the blade right up to the ricasso into the left pedipalp as it tried to crush me. It was then I saw her.
Moxie kicked off the wall and landed on the giant scorpions back. She raised her gladius and stabbed the Manticlaw right through its insidious brain. An explosion of green goo rained down on the cave floor.
“Moxie, jump!” I screamed as I leapt toward her.
The telson had speared toward her.
I swung. My blade sparked as the stinger leapt from the tail. Landing on one knee, I watched the manticlaw collapse in a dead heap. Moxie was walking toward me and I smiled. “You do realise, I’m supposed to be saving you right?”
Moxie held a whimsical yet sexy figure in her black-and-red iron and leather cuirass. Sheathing her sword, she tied back her ginger hair and grinned. “Really? All I saw was you get your arse kicked. You do realise that macho crap is why people get killed?”
“I’ll take that as a thank you,” I replied climbing to my feet with a groan. She wasn’t kidding about me taking a beating. “Whatever made you come back after that creature alone?”
“The Manticlaw killed my father and brother. It had to die. And it was dying by my sword.” Moxie wiped her jade eyes.
Hugging her to my chest, I took a deep breath of relief. I’d been sure I’d find her dead. Holding her, feeling her breathing filled me with the greatest pleasure. “You did it, you slew the beast and avenged your family. You’re a hero Moxie. My hero.”
“Thank you, Saul. Thank you for coming to rescue me,” Moxie freed herself and gazed into my eyes.
“I’d have come with you if you just told me you were going.” I smoothed a stray hair from her face. “I care about you, Moxie.” Moving closer I made to kiss her only to find a finger on the end of my nose.
“I care about you too, Saul. However, you can wait for smooches.”
“Why?” I asked in my most beseeching voice.
“This place is full of foul insect guts? It’s really beginning to stink in here!” she said with the cutest giggle.
“Ha! The pleasure of leaving this cave will be all mine!” I replied as she took my hand and we walked towards the sunlight streaking in through the cave mouth some distance away. “And the winner takes it all!”
Moxie narrowed her eyes. “If you’re planning on taking me, your battle’s just begun!”
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