Episode 18: Chimera Undone
"I think you are really going to enjoy today’s game." Jewel the Cyclops smiled at the three contestants competing in the Immunity Challenge. "It’s called Chimera Undone. A Chimera has been broke into its three animal parts: lion, goat and snake. They know that you are the key to enter the Making Chamber in a hidden cave, and they want to be remade more than anything.
"You’ll each be given one as a guide. The winner is the first person inside the cave. You better not stay long though, because a chimera is a dangerous creature. The other two players will automatically be placed on the sacrificial altar."
"Do we get to pick which animal we want?" Gorm (mage) asked.
"No," Jewel replied. "It was drawn for and I’ll read the results."
"I hope I get the snake," Kailen (fairy) said.
DIARY CONFESSION – KAILEN THE FAIRY
"Can you imagine me on a snake. It’d be incredible! I would balance on its head and we’d make great time as it slithered across the jungle floor. The goat and the lion won’t have as easy a time.
"Plus, I’d be safer. And the way this game has been going, that isn’t such a bad thing. A flying fairy is little more than a cat toy for a large feline, and everyone knows goats eat anything!"
BACK TO THE SHOW
"I hope I don’t get the snake!" Amber (unicorn) shivered.
Jewel unrolled a scroll and read the pairings. "Gorm will be with the snake." The serpent slithered between Jewel’s legs. It reared its head back, irritated and angry. Jewel continued, "Amber will be with the goat." Hoofs clopped on pebbles as the goat stepped around Jewel’s left and dipped its head to chew on a clump of weeds. "Kailen will be with the lion." The large cat loped from the right, lowering its head and glaring at the fairy.
"Umm…" Kailen hesitated and then said, "Can Gorm and I switch?"
"No," Jewel said. "The beasts are locked onto you specifically. You are their one key."
Gorm smiled and then laughed. "The snake is perfect, thanks." He bent over to pick the creature up and it struck, biting him on his lower arm near the wrist. "Ow! I thought you said they wanted our help?" Gorm glared at Jewel.
The cyclops shrugged. "Good luck."
Amber bent down and petting the goat behind its ears. "Hey there, fella." The goat looked at her and then burped. "Gross," Amber complained. "It stinks."
"At least you didn’t get the one with fire," Kailen said. The lion crept up to Kailen and roared, sending him tumbling into brush. "Right then. Note to self: stay away from its mouth."
Gorm reached for his snake again, this time cautiously. It hissed and bit his hand. The mage cursed but didn’t let go as he stood up, snake still attached, and said, "Alright vile beast, which way?" The animal did nothing. "Good gods," Gorm grumbled, stalking into the trees.
Before he took more than three steps the snake tightened its biting grip, sawing into the skin. "Ow! Stop it," Gorm yelled. He stepped back and the snake stopped. The mage turned in a new direction and the snake didn’t argue.
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BACK TO THE SHOW
Amber followed behind Gorm and the goat behind her. The lion sat on his haunches and placidly inspected a paw.
"Second note to self," Kailen said. "Stay away for those paws." He flew around the beast and landed on its thick mane. "Giddy up!" The lion licked its paw and chewed on a nail. "Come on now, hup hup!" The lion watched a butterfly and flicked its tail.
"Come on Kailen!" Amber called. "You’re falling behind."
The lion stood and paced before leaping into the forest, not in the direction of Gorm and Amber. The animal leapt over logs and bounded around trees. When they came to a stream, it breathed fire over the water causing a gust of steam. The cat followed the bank to a place where it could jump across easily.
Kailen clung to the mane, eyes closed and feet flapping in the air. The creature slowed, and he dared a peek. They stood before a large cave. The lion rolled and Kailen flew high just in time to avoid being squished. The beast leap up, snapping at the fairy. Kailen dodged, flew higher and dive bombed the cave. He bounced off an invisible wall and fell hard to the ground. "So much for being the key."
Strong jaws snatched at him, but Kailen was in the air again, out of reach.
Gorm ran around a bend and saw the curious act of lion chasing fairy. He dismissed the show and jogged to the cave. Without stopping, he glided inside.
DIARY CONFESSION – GORM THE MAGE
"What is Kailen doing out there teasing that cat? He knows these animals want to recombine as a chimera. Sometimes I think he has a thing for the dramatic. Between him and Amber, I feel like I’m the only true player left in my tribe.
"I might just do a little happy dance in the dark. Although my hand hurts like hell, the snake finally stopped biting me!"
BACK TO THE SHOW
"Wait a minute!" Kailen yelled. "How’d you do that?"
Amber arrived with the goat just behind her. "Maybe you have to be touching?" The goat bit her butt and she screamed. It pushed her forward into the cave without letting go of her cheek.
"No way," Kailen said. "I’m not letting that lion bite me." The animal in question roared loudly. "You’ve got teeth bigger than me!" Kailen stared at the angry beast and scratched an itch on top of his head. An idea formed and he flew away into the trees with the lion in pursuit. As soon as he had enough leeway, which wasn’t much, he landed and turned into a small turtle. When the lion caught up, Kailen ducked his limbs inside the tough shell. The beast picked him up, went back to the cave and entered with Kailen still in its mouth.
The three contestants scrambled out of the cave, Amber carrying turtle-Kailen before a gust of fire filled the space. A strange creature emerged from the cave- a lion with a second head, that of a goat, swishing its snake tail that ended in a gaping mouth with two sharp fangs.
Jewel met them on the grassy slope. "Gorm has won this challenge. Amber and Kailen are on the altar, one of which will be sacrificed at the viewers’ whim."
Who will go week 5? You decide who leaves the island! Vote Contestant 1 for Amber the Unicorn-Girl or vote Contestant 2 for Kailen the Fairy.
Writer for Soldak