Through a haze of smoke and bright laughter Brosi-Buk worked the crowd. His feathered cap bounced jauntily as he sauntered past his guests, bowtie at maximum swank. He hummed gently under his breath in a whistling counterpoint to music so moving it could make stone dance. That must be why Puck called it “rock,” he mused.
“Good party, Hap’ie?” he asked with a grin.
“Nah, man. Great party!” the blissed-out bunny replied. Smoke curled around his ears, and he lay back with a satisfied smile.
And it was a great party. Poppycakes? Check. Music? Check. Friends? Chec—
“Hey, where’d Puck go?” Brosi hopped, arms waving, in a vain attempt to see over the throng of dancing fae.
“Not sure.” Hap’ie blew out an increasingly complex series of smoke figures. “I think he said he was going out to pick up some Kraken Coolers or Bubble Beers or something.”
Brosi tapped his front teeth with a single blue finger.
“He’s taking a long time.” Brosi wrinkled his nose. “He’s going to miss the next round of Kismet’s Dice! That won’t do, that won’t do at all.” He straightened his bowtie with the firm resolution of someone about to go on an adventure. “I’ll go check on him.”
Brosi disappeared in a puff of green smoke. Wild Magic flowed through the forest as he appeared and disappeared in turn, popping in and out of existence to call Puck’s name.
“Puck!” He perched on a branch to the west, shading his eyes with one slender hand. “You’re going to miss the game.”
“Hey, Dreamdork!” He stood on a stump to the east, his hands cupped around his mouth. “Where’d you run off to?”
“I’m going to—“ Brosi stopped dead in his tracks. A bloody flute lay abandoned in a field of faintly withered plants. He touched it with trembling fingers, turning it over in search of the telltale nicks and scratches left by a century of loving companionship. It was Puck’s.
He began to tremble, emerald lightning crackling between his fingertips. Smoke curled as his anger whipped the Wild Magic that filled his body into a frenzy. “WHO DID THIS?” he bellowed. The twisted trees bent and cracked around him as he exploded upwards, multiplying in size.
He put a bloody finger in his mouth, and impressions began to flow through him. Pain. The baying of hounds. Violet’s smiling fangs.
He turned a thunderous gaze south.
Birds burst into flight as Brosi rushed through the forest as an avenging wind. Lightning flickered from his eyes and wreathed his fists like a typhoon as he swept towards the dark castle that sat on the horizon. With a wave of his hand, birds fell out of the sky in puffs of prismatic smoke to become angry—if disoriented—fire-breathing squirrels. They swarmed behind him in a scurry of squeaking slaughter.
The land fought back. Skeletal roots ripped themselves from Blightbark soil to halt their advance. Moaning branches wrapped around furry legs and thorns rose to block the way… but to no avail.
Brosi fell upon the castle in a righteous fury. Lightning leapt from his eyes to gouge deep furrows into its walls, and squirrel titans clambered all over, leaving fire and rubble in their wake. The castle shifted, land rippling as it tried to pull itself away, but Brosi slammed his hands into the soil and ripped out roots by the handful. Flames danced in his eyes, and with a keening wail, Blightbark Castle died.
Brosi stood for a moment, panting, his fists clenching and unclenching with unspent anger. Finally, he rubbed one massive arm across his eyes and spat to the side.
“Come on, guys,” he muttered. “I… how in the hells do I tell Balthy?” His voice shook slightly, and with that his massive form crumpled in on itself until just his usual size remained.
Cold Hyperborean winds fanned the flames as Brosi turned away, hands in his pockets and back bowed. Ash and smoke stained the sky, and the sullen glow of fitful embers still flickered across the wreckage of the once-proud castle. In a puff of green smoke, Brosi vanished, and as he did all the squirrels popped back into their original forms.
Dazed, one bird hopped across the ground, only to be startled into flight as, in the rubble’s depths, a lone purple lily exploded into ethereal bloom.
Deep beneath the castle, something began to stir…
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