Day 15! Half way 😀 2237 words, and a total of 25 212 words! For once I’m actually ahead of where I need to be, but not for long I expect :(.

Stikky, Leddy, the twins, and McRhoddy were all at the window, staring down in shock and amazement as Giabrel fell, bounced back up again, fell, bounced up again, and continued to keep this very repetitive process going until he finally came to a rest on the net far below, not more than a speck down at the base of the mountain.

Studying him as hard as he could, Stikky soon picked out three more specks on the ground below, all moving as the fourth speck joined them.

“Who’re they?” asked Stif, taking a rock-cream of the plate, licking all the cream off it, and putting the rounded stone back on the windowsill. “And why didn’t they just come up the stairs?”

McRhoddy’s face had lost its red colour, and he seemed to have forgotten about Stif and Stib. “Well,” he sighed. “Whoever ‘e was, I got ‘im full on in tha face!”

Stikky shrugged. “I suppose we should go down and apologise to those four… especially the one you hit, McRhoddy?”

The old stickman shrugged grumpily. “E’ll probably be really mad at me…” he muttered, sighing. “But anyways, I suppose it’s good for me to practice doin’.”

The group hurriedly made their way to through the twists and turns of the tunnels—which they mostly knew their way around in already—down to the room officially nicknamed ‘The Way Down’. Ignoring the bucket—also known as ‘Rust Bucket’—they began to hurriedly descend the flights and flights of stairs that stretched down to the base of the mountain.

As they reached the bottom of the stairs, they turned, made their way through the short tunnel, and were about to part the vines that covered the secret entrance and step out into the sunlight when they heard voices talking quietly.

Pressing their backs against the wall, the five stickmen edged silently towards the entrance, each listening as hard as they could to the conversation.

“…so we’ll go in, disguised as lost stickmen; we’ll try and earn their trust, and figure out who their leaders are. Then we’ll kill them secretly, and pick the others off one by one!”

“Hmm… That seems a bit risky, Wyllum. Why we think of something else?”

“Well, can you think of anything else? Why have you two suddenly lost your nerve? You were fine back in the Great Stickman City! What’s wrong with you? Look at Giabrel, is he afraid? Eh?”

Leddy nudged Stikky. “Where’s the Great Stickman Ci-”

He never got to finish his sentence. D3-RP heard the slight mumble—his cyborg senses picking up the voice instantly—and lifted his sedative gun. “Who’s there?” He barked roughly, narrowing his solitary non-robotic eye as his mechanical sensor on the ivy-covered entranceway suspiciously.

“Hello?” Stikky asked hesitantly, stepping out of the shadows and emerging from the cave. “Who are-”

At that moment, D3-RP fired, and a long, black dart hit the blade of Stikky’s sword, which he had pulled out just in time.

Bolting back into the ivy as another dart flew past him, he beckoned to the others as they followed him at a sprint down the tunnel, dodging the darts that shot after them.

“C’mon!” Wyllum roared in a furious voice. “We can’t let them get away! They just heard all our plans!”

Sprinting into the tunnel, the four members of the Guerdon Gang fired their weapons after the retreating figures at the end of the tunnel.

Running as fast as they could, Stikky, Leddy, Stif and Stib were already on the stairs when it happened.

Whizzzzzz!!

Thunk!!

Stopping still for a moment, the four stickmen heard McRhoddy grunt and fall to the ground with a thud.

Turning around, they saw that the old stickman had collapsed on the floor, a dart sticking out of his left leg.

Hurrying back out into the passageway, they heard a triumphant “Got ‘im!” as they helped McRhoddy to his feet and hurried him up the stairs.

“Stop them!” another voice called, the triumph fading to rage.

Clunk!

A dart flew over Stikky’s head as he ducked, the small object bouncing off the stone walls to land back on the floor beside their feet.

As McRhoddy was half-dragged, half-led up the stairs, they noticed he was only using his right leg.

The old stickman’s face began to go purple. “They killed me leg!” he gasped, struggling in vain as they dragged him up the stairs. “Lemme go! I’ll butcher ‘em fer that! They killed me leg!”

Stikky grabbed McRhoddy by the arm and and continued hauling him up the spiral staircase.

“Leave them alone!” he yelled, trying to convince the old stickman to stop. “If you try and take them on, you’ll only get yourself killed!”

As they reached the top of the stairs, and dropping McRhoddy in a heap on the floor, the four stickmen looked at each other with one idea in mind.

Hurrying over to the pile of enormous oil barrels stacked up in the corner of the room, they rolled one over between them and hurled it down the stairs as hard as they could, satisfied with a series of howls and screams as the barrel rolled down the stairs, spilling oil in all directions.

After sending a second down the winding staircase, just in case, Stikky pulled a burning lantern from its hook on the wall and threw it down the staircase with all his might, watching as the black, slippery oil spilt all over the stairs erupted into flame.

Screams of rage and anger echoed up the the stairway, followed by the crackling of flames as the oil burned.

Then there was silence.

The stickmen looked at each other, expressions of bewilderment on every face.

“Well,” Stikky decided eventually, grabbing a bucket and beginning to douse the flames that were licking upwards at the edge of the staircase. “It looks like we’ve got a new threat.”

Leddy looked down the staircase carefully, ready to jump back in case a dart, bullet or arrow where to come flying up at him.

Looking back up at the others, as he stepped away from the edge, he shrugged. “They’re gone, for now at least,” he remarked gladly, and the four turned their their attention to McRhoddy.

Hobbling along on one foot, and dragging the other behind him, the wrinkled stickman glared furiously down the staircase. “Those rats…” he muttered angrily. “If I ever get my hands on them…”

Stikky bent down to examine the leg, plucking out the dart as he did so.

“You’ll be fine!” he scoffed, examining the small projectile with interest. “It’s just gone numb; it will be back to normal in a few hours.”

Leddy bent over the dart as Stikky held it out for him to see. “I think this has got some kind of sleep serum inside it—or did, it’s now somewhere inside McRhoddy’s leg.”

Looking at the twins, McRhoddy gave them his most pleading look. “Do you think you two could ‘elp me to tha kitchens?” he asked beseechingly. “Even if I can’t walk around like dis, I’m sure I c’n still cook! An’ I’ll make sure I teach you two how ta’ properly cook, not just make rocks covered in cream!”

As the twins rolled their eyes, obliging grumpily as Stikky glared at them.

“Now…” Stikky and Leddy heard the old stickman begin as he was helped off down the passage. “The first lesson is, think about what it is you’re trying to create. Is it actually something edible? Or is it something that just a fool would come up with? Now remember, not all the foolish ideas are bad, some…”

Stikky shook his head in amusement as the cracked voice faded into silence. “C’mon,” he decided, beckoning to Leddy. “We’ve got some figuring out to do, and we’ll do much better in the lab, with fresh air filling our lungs!”

A few minutes later Stikky and Leddy plonked themselves down at either side of a stone bench, the dart laid carefully between them.

“Now…” mused Stikky, staring at the dart as if he could move it with his mind. “Let’s work the easiest things out first. How many of them were there?”

“Four.” Leddy replied simply, folding his hands on the table.

“Right…” Stikky mused, grabbing a pad of paper and scribbling on it. “There were four… are you sure there weren’t any more?”

Leddy nodded. “Yeah, there was four of them.”

Stikky laid the pencil down on top of the pad. “Okay. Next thing; who shot this dart?”

He answered his own question a moment later. “Nevermind, I saw him clearly, so unless there were two of them with dart guns, I know who it was.”

Picking up the pencil once more, he began writing as fast as he could. “Let’s see… he had two metal ears, half of his face was covered in metal, so was one of his arms, both of his legs, and he looked like he had something over one eye. He was holding some long-ranged gun thing, which is what he used to fire the darts.”

Nodding slowly to himself, he continued scribbling. “Right, who was the guy with the scar on his face?”

Leddy tapped his finger on the bench as he thought deeply. “I managed to get a good look at him as we were hauling McRhoddy up the stairs.” he mused in a cheerful voice. “I wonder where he got that scar from… it must’ve been pretty bad…”

“He had a scar running across his face…” Stikky wrote, saying the words aloud as he did so. “Okay, I’ve got that. What was he dressed in?”

Leddy thought again for a moment. “He had black gloves on both hands, and this peculiar white bubbly cloak wrapped around his body.”

He stopped as Stikky stared at him in confusion. “Bubbly cloak?” he asked, slightly baffled.

Leddy shrugged, a grin beginning to show on his face. “That’s what it looked like to me!” he protested, shaking his head to stop himself from laughing as Stikky’s expression grew wide with disbelief.

“Whatever.” Stikky said, shrugging. “Anything else?”

Leddy scratched his chin thoughtfully. “He had a heap of weapons tucked in his belt. I think he had something like a dart gun, a couple of daggers, some vials of bubbling green liquid, and a sword, something close to a glaive, I believe.”

Stikky hastily wrote everything down. “Yep. Who was the next guy?”

“He was really flimsy, or looked like it, at least. He had a big black bow in his hands, and a quiver of arrows on his back. I think he was wearing something like a jumpsuit, except it was completely black. And seriously, I mean completely. Even though the lanterns where lighting him up, his suit was still totally black.”

“And who was the final guy?”

Leddy shivered. “He looked like a proper villain. He was wearing a hood; he had a dirty bandanna around his nose and mouth, he was wearing some really awesome clothes—made from leather I think, and they were covered in black intricate markings. His skin was really tanned, extremely dark. His eyes were a bright green; they almost seemed to glow in the cave. And… let me see… I think he had a sword in his belt. Something close to a gladius.”

Stikky stopped scribbling and laid the pencil carefully beside the pad. “Is that all?” he asked. “Every single detail?”

Leddy nodded. “Yep, it was kind of hard to see in the tunnel; I only really got a split second to look at them, but that’s what they were like, more or less.”

“Well, what are we gonna do now?”

Leddy’s eyes brightened as an idea popped into his head. “Let’s go and fill in everyone else on what they look like!” he exclaimed. “That way, they won’t be able to blend in anywhere, and if someone sees them, they can tell us instantly!”

Stikky stared at him, wondering why he hadn’t thought of it before. “What are we waiting for?” he asked, leaping up, grabbing the pad, and running for the exit. “Let’s get on with this!”

 

The Guerdon Gang were running as fast as they could for the nearby like, each one still covered in burning lantern oil.

As they came to the banks of a river, the four half-insane stickmen threw themselves in, sighing in relief as the water doused the flames licking at their clothes and skin.

Scrambling up on the bank, Wyllum growled savagely as he took off his leather jacket and attempted to wring the water out of it.

“That’s it.” he muttered, pulling his sword from his belt and practicing a few moves. “We’re giving these guys all we’ve got!” he yelled, his voice rising. “C’mon, let’s get a fire going, dry ourselves off, then tomorrow… they’ll get what’s coming for them.”

Grinning eagerly, the other three hurried off to get wood for a fire.

Piling it up and surrounding it with small stones, the others stepped back as D3-RP knelt down, focusing the red laser of his robo-eye on the small patch of grass placed atop the pile until it burst into flame.

As the sun began to descend down towards the horizon, and night began to set in, the Guerdon Gang hurriedly collected a pile of apples from a nearby tree and began to roast them over the fire.

Munching into a juicy fruit, Drayde looked around. “At least there’s plenty of food around here!” he exclaimed. “And I bet there’s heaps of animals around; we could’ve had roast meat if we’d looked around a little bit more.”

Wyllum glared at him. “Stop thinking about your stomach, fool. We’re here on a mission, not on pleasure; we’re having the barest necessities, got it?”

As Drayde nodded unhappily, holding his apple out on a stick to roast again as he looked apologetically at the ground.

“You really shouldn’t be so hard on hi-” began D3-RP, but was silenced as the leader of the Guerdon Gang glared at him.

“Now,” Wyllum began, pulling his sword out and laying it on the grass beside him. “Tomorrow, after a good night’s sleep, we’ll infiltrate the castle—using stealth, obviously—and start taking them out one by one! Here’s what we’re going to do…”