COUP Chapter 4

Part one

Panel 1: Brandan zaps Triston.
Panel 2: Trison still there. “Yeah, Michaela said you shouldn’t shun us anymore.”
Panel 3: Brandan’s glow turns brighter yellow. “Did she? I AM ALL ALL POWERFUL”
Panel 4: Triston gone with a lightning bolt coming out of the quill. “DOUBLY SHUNNED!”

Part two

The air outside the restrictive summoning circle was warmer than B.S.Roberts had expected. As he stumbled through the underbrush of the dense forest, he racked his brain, trying to remember everything he had ever written about Faewalk in an attempt to determine exactly where he was.

Was the world made by the “canon” work or everything he’d ever written about it?

“Oh god, I hope it’s former,” he muttered between wheezing breaths. He wasn’t in the best of shape before being trapped in a single room for two years.

Okay. The facts that he knew: he was for sure in the Dagger Shores of Faewalk; it snowed in the winter; apparently, it was pretty damn hot in the summer; ravens lived there (okay, that wasn’t very helpful considering he’d made up snow ravens to live in the Friginfrigid Tundra); he was in a temperate forest, and; oh hey, there’s a giant toad-like monster with glowing red eyes staring at me from over there.

The ghostwriter skidded to a stop with a high-pitched squeak. Everything was silent after the sound of crunching dried leaves and twigs resided under his feet. Well, as silent as a forest in the hours before twilight could be, anyway. He stared at the creature, and the monster stared back, unblinking.

Ever so slowly, a tongue crept out of its closed bulbous lips to slide against the scaly skin. Then another tongue did the same thing. And another. And another. And another.  And another. And another.

Seriously, is that enough tongues yet?

And another. And another.

That has to be all of them.

And another.

Holy shit.

And another.

This is getting ridiculous.

And another.

At this point, the creature’s lips were no longer visible under the number of tongues covering them, but it seemed no more would make a sudden appearance. Then they began to rotate around the mouth like a fan, gaining speed and slobberyness.

“That’s not good,” B.S.Roberts told himself. Himself was already aware and backing away.

Both B.S.Roberts and himself were acutely aware of what the creature was because he’d made it up: a bufo. They lived on the Parazonium Peninsula, east of the city of Shallowpool. Which made sense, he supposed, because that’s where Macy Blush lived according to her “about the author” page that he’d made up. But at this point, he didn’t really care about that. What he did care about was that these things were always hungry.

The mass of tongues lurched through the air, straight at the ghostwriter like a whip, barely missing him. He’d bolted just in time and no longer cared how much his chest hurt from running.

“Crap, crap, crap, crap,” he chanted in tune with his heartbeat.

Unable to look back to see how close the amphibian was in fear of getting tangled in the dense thickets or tripping over a root (it really isn’t easy to run in a forest… no wonder serial killers always got their victims), he had to rely on the crashing behind him to judge the creature’s distance.

Answer: way the hell too close.

As B.S.Roberts began to fret that he was about to meet a sticky, tonguey end, he burst out from the thickets to find himself sprinting through a grassy meadow straight toward what appeared to be a walled abbey with thick blue-stone walls and a keep towering into the air.

There was no time for relief, however—the bufo crashed out into the field no more than three seconds later and the longest of its tongues flicked across the back of his neck.


Somehow, the ghostwriter picked up his speed to make a beeline to the closed gate. He wanted to yell for help, but he was gasping for air and there was no way he could do both. Fortunately, it appeared that the effort wasn’t required and the gates cracked open and the armored head of a guard peeked out.  

“Seems you’ve met Bobby, eh?” the guard called out.

Still not able to respond, B.S.Roberts motioned for the man to move aside, and so he did. Then he practically threw himself the last several feet to faceplant on the other side of the wall, the gate slamming into place.

No energy left and his body feeling like it had been repeatedly punched by a stone giant, the ghostwriter rolled onto his back to find the guard staring down at him.

“Welcome to Astrolabe Abbey, fella.”


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