Chapter 5
by Mugsy

The hours slipped by slowly, like the sands slipping through an hourglass one grain at a time. Warteen had been hacking at the "tree" to no avail. QL's magic produced similar effects.

Luckily for them, a hard of hearing master sorcerer was stumbling blindly towards them, his walking stick thudding against the hard packed dirt. He made his way out of the forest and was continuing onward when he heard their shouts.

Warteen: Hello. Helllllooooo. Over here.
Old man: Who are you?

**The man scanned the area, shading his eyes from the setting sun, but his limited range of vision kept him from spotting them. Of course, being the brilliant mind he is, Warteen quickly diagnosed the problem.**

Warteen: Come about thirty steps forward. (To Queen Laine) He should see us by then, but he will also be out of reach of the tree. At least he should be.

**The old man emerged farther from the foliage, his gnarled staff guiding his wobbly feet. He finally saw them, and, possessing an even greater mind than Warteen himself, found the answer to this problem.

**As Warteen, Queen Laine, and Monkey watched, the man raised his stick and started chanting incoherently.

Tree: No. Noooo. NOOOOOOOOO.

**The branches quickly shriveled away, revealing a grateful group of adventurers.

Queen Laine: Thank you, old man.
Warteen: Who are you?
Old Man: My name is...Erronius, master sorcerer. Say, you didn't see two kids run by here, did you?
Monkey: Ooh, ooh. shakes his head
Erronius: The monkey is possessed. *raising his staff, he begins chanting before Warteen cuts in*
Warteen: No, he isn't, he's my pet.
Erronius: Oh. Well, I must get going. I still have another five times to go.
Queen Laine: Where are you going?

**Of course, Erronius's bad hearing prevented him from hearing this, as he was already heading off into the distance. Warteen, Queen Laine, and Monkey all watched him until his silhouette was lost in the setting sun.

Warteen: That was odd.
Queen Laine: What a strange and befuddled old man.
Warteen: Yes. Well, now that he is gone, we may get back to work.
Monkey: Ooh, ooh. (scratches his head as he digs through his pack)
Warteen: Monkey, this is no time for a snack. We have to get as far away from that tree as possible. What if the tree can tell that...what's his name is away? It might attack us again. (Monkey throws rock at Warteen) Hey.
Monkey: Ooh.
Queen Laine: Will you two stop your bickering? We have adventures to, um, adventure.
Monkey: Ahh, ha ha.
Queen Laine: Did that mangy little mongrel just laught at me? I'll show him. Good-bye Monkey. (chants spell)

**A puff of smoke appears around Monkey, causing an eved bigger cloud of dust. When the dust finally clears, Monkey is now an alligator.

Queen Laine: I said "See you later," not "Alligator." (Monkey snaps at her legs) For the love of...change back.

**Another puff of smoke as a shack appears in the clearing.

Queen Laine: Change him back, not love shack. (Loud music is heard from shack as the door opens. A beautiful woman appears in the doorway, beckoning to Warteen.)
Warteen: Um, gotta go.

** Warteen walks off as Queen Laine trys to reverse her spell and Monkey, err, Alligator, snaps at her.

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