Chapter 17
by writerdee

*unknown to all of the travelers, Queen Raine is very close by...watching as the two groups of adventurers combine their tasks, and their talents.

TGC grabs the magic sphere from Q. Laine and tosses it high in the air.*

TGC: know this would be a great ball to toss around. *tosses it towards Warteen, but Q. Laine snatches it out of midair and slips it into a small satchel* Hey!
QL: Hey nothing, fool. *glowers at him* You have no comprehension of Raine's powers. If we are up against her in this, we're going to need all the help that we can get. We can't risk our only real tool getting smashed.
TGC: But...
Erronius: The Lady would appear to have a point. I haven't come across this Raine yet, but...
TGC: Yeah, yeah...I gotcha. You're right, Laine. Sorry.

*Monkey has frozen and is glancing around frantically.*

QL: What's with the chimp?
Warteen: I don't know. He never acts like this. *crouches down next to monkey* Hey...want a banana? *Monkey does not respond.* Something must really be up.

*Suddenly Monkey scrambles up onto QL's shoulder, grabbing the satchel as he leaps onto a branch above the groups head.*

QL: Hey! Get that freaking monkey!

*In a puff of purple smoke, Q. Raine appears on the branch beside Monkey. He climbs onto her lap, and she pets him, smiling down at the group of adventurers.*

QR: Hello again, everyone. I trust you are all feeling well? *she winks at TGC, who immediately starts shaking his head as if to clear it.* Laine, Laine,'ve done such a wonderful job. I can't remember the last time I saw you with four such dashingly handsome men.
QL: As usual, Raine, you have no idea what you're talking about.
Warteen: Hey! I actually agreed with that part. *He trails off when QL plants her hands on her hips and glares at him.* Carry on.
QR: It amazes me, really. I was actually proud of you for a moment, dear sister. *Slides her hand into the satchel and pulls out the magic sphere, then tosses the satchel down to the ground.* But...of course there are many aspects of your power that you have yet to harness. *She throws back her head and laughs when TGC and Warteen both reach for their swords.* So protective of your friend, are you boys? Oh yes...she's so...brave... *snaps her fingers and the illusion of a werewolf steps out of the trees. QL whimpers, and Warteen steps in front of her, sword raised, but as he brings it down, the animal disappears into a mist. Raine laughs again.* Yes, well...I got what I came for. *pats Monkey on the head, and he starts to climb back down to the travelers* I'm sure that I'll see you all again along down the road. Oh...whatever you do...don't go East. There's more danger there than even I can imagine.

*so saying, QR slowly dissolves. The adventurers are left staring at one another in confusion*

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