Fred looked about him and saw that the poorly lit room was filled
with large, odd
looking eggs. At first he had assumed that the magic chest had sent him
straight to the
Dragon's nest. But Fred had seen dragon eggs before, the broken remains of
a dozen such
were kept in King Emry's trophy room, and he quickly realized that the
oversized pods that
lay all around him were definitely not dragon eggs. They were
elliptical with a
broad bottom and a blunt point at the top. The leathery skin of the eggs
was light brown or
grey, with a coating of film that glistened in the muted light of the
chamber. Some of them
had fleshy tendrils or veins growing over them. Fred had never seen their
like before and
was very curious as to what they were.
He bent down to the nearest egg and examined it closely. Reaching out he touched it but quickly pulled his hand away, along with a gooey strand of the slime that coated its outer surface. With a grunt of disgust, he wiped his hand on the cold stone ground. Whatever it was, pleasant was not a word Fred would ever use to describe it. His attention was then caught by a slight vibration coming from the egg. He was sure that there had been no movement a moment before. The vibration continued and grew in strength, quickening as well. The curious throbbing reminded Fred of the beating of a heart. But that wasn't all. Near the top of the leathery egg Fred discerned another change, the outerskin was becoming progressively more opaque. It was as if the shell of the egg was becoming thinner, but from the inside.
And then the egg suddenly convulsed and through its opaque top Fred could clearly see that something was sloshing about inside of it. What wasn't so clear was what that something was.
"GET AWAY FROM THERE!" a voice shouted from behind and Fred whirled around to see two people standing at the mouth of the chamber. Without warning the female of the two raised her crossbow and leveled it straight at Fred. He unsheathed his sword and leaped to his left. The woman fired the bolt. Fred brought his shield up as his feet hit the ground. But the bolt had not been aimed at him! Rather it struck home at the egg that Fred had just been kneeling next to.
To his amazement and horror the egg had opened up, the top of it unfolding into four fleshy petals. As the bolt shot forward, the creature that had waited within the egg burst forth, and impaled itself on the pointed head of the flying arrow. "By the gods," Fred whispered, "what is that?"
"Get over here!" the man standing at the exit of the chamber commanded and beckoned Fred forward. With all possible haste Fred crossed the egg-filled chamber, careful not to step too close to any of the leathery pods. "Who are you?" the knight asked as he reached them. "My name's Dallas and this is Ripley," the man said and pointed at his female companion. "And you are one lucky son of a--" Ripley cut Dallas off, "We don't have time for this. We're running in circles and that thing is right behind us!"
12/17/1999 11:17:26 AM
The Never Ending Quest Home
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