A/N: I'm still trying to remember what motivated me to write this. But I wrote it in three weeks, and now it's here! :D

Scrambled Egg is another entry in the Legatum series. Similar to previous entries in the Legatum universe, this story is (mostly) self-contained; there's no need to read any of the other Legatum stories to understand the plot or characters involved in this particular story.

So this story in question is about a mountain troll who finds his life turned upside-down when he runs into a sorceress who claims she'll be able to save the world with an angel sealed inside of an egg. But when the troll also comes across the sorceress's nemesis and hears her side of the story, he soon realizes that the whole world may be in danger, and he may have to choose between the forces of good or the forces of evil.

Story contains gore, swearing, and brief sexual content.

Okay! That's all out of the way. Enjoy the story. :)


All right, how the hell do I do this again? Ummm…huh…oh right.

It was a dark and st—no, fuck that. That's stupid. That's just a dumb way to start this off. All right, well then…

Darkness. Darkness everywhere. Darkness filled the land. Darkness filled my so—okay, no, that's stupid too. May as well write one of those "tragic" poems that depict horrendous tales about two lovers who ultimately end up killing themselves. Or something. I dunno. …All right, here we go.

So there I was, squatting down, taking the biggest shit of my life…

Mm…you know I get the feeling some people are tired of hearing about those details.

Fuck it. I'll just go back to when the weird shit started happening. Sounds like a good idea.

So you know how it goes. Male and female fuck. Female pops out a baby. Baby grows up. Blah, blah, blah. The baby's mother dies when he's a couple weeks old. The baby's father, um, pressures him to act a certain way. The baby lives for nineteen years. And when that baby—sorry, full-grown troll—is old enough to understand how sex works, well, his father shows him how to do it.

"I always see these trolls walking around with nothing covering their breasts. Is that normal?" the troll asks.

"No, son. Those trolls you see are whores who do nothing but tease us males and then bitch and whine and claim we always 'abuse' them," the father snarled.

So the troll looked at these females, and thought of them as whores. More time went on, and the troll couldn't stop himself. He grew tired of stroking himself in secret. He grew tired of watching others have sex. So his father took him to two female trolls' hut. And he showed the troll what it truly meant to have sex.

"Father…I…I don't think this—"

"Don't stop," the father said, as he thrust his phallus between a female troll's thighs. "Keep going!"

The troll looked down at the other troll he was on top of, and examined her bruised body and the tears flowing from her eyes.

"But…sh-she's crying. I thought—I thought sex was about—"

"I SAID DON'T STOP!" the father bellowed.

So the troll didn't. He went back to "having sex" with the other troll. And surprise, surprise, the troll finds out not long after that there's this special word called "rape" people love to use. And, well…things get weirder…

"Father," the troll asked, while his father was busy snacking on boar meat.

"Mmf?"

"Did I…did we do something wrong?"

The father swallowed. "Fuck you talkin' about?"

"With those whores. Other trolls are saying we, um, 'raped' them. They don't look at us the same anymore. Some of them throw rocks—"

"Who gives a fuck," the father snarled, before devouring more flesh. "I do it all the time. Ain't lose no sleep over it."

"But…but other trolls say that sex is an act of passion, of love. That night, those trolls were crying and screaming."

"Tch! Sex ain't 'bout no passion or love, Snorrv. It's about fertilizing whores so you can continue your lineage."

And it was that day when the troll realized he was cursed. Before he turned nineteen, he had this shield around his body—a shield known as "Obliviousness." And after this troll "had sex," his father placed a hex on him that destroyed the shield forever. Well, the troll wasn't happy about that—not one bit. So he came to his father one night carrying a sharpened bone. And his father, luckily, was sleeping. It was that night when the troll learned another word: "murder." The troll wasn't sure what to do with his life anymore. It wasn't bad enough that he raped someone—now he killed his own father. Well…thankfully, the troll learned that the world is a very, very large place to get lost in. And that's what he did. And being a mountain troll, what better place to get lost in than the canyons and chasms of the mountains?

I know. Weird right? Well, suppose you all know who this "troll" is by now. Suppose some of you hate my guts, or maybe you don't think I'm interesting, or think my tale is "boring." Some of you probably stopped listening to me already because you have an incredibly, incredibly low attention span. Eh. I don't blame ya. But hey, s'how my life went down. Can't change what is, now can I? Ever since I killed my father fifteen years ago, nothing really "weird" has happened. At least, not until last week.

You know how it goes. I woke up, took a piss, wandered around looking for some breakfast. It wasn't bright out, mostly cloudy. I walked through the tall, intimidating mountains, my heavy feet crackling and stomping against the gravel and dirt trails. The air smelled fresh, short of the few animal droppings I came across—some of which were mine. The lake within the chasm was clear, uncontaminated. Grass and moss was growing along some of the trails. My various footprints were still in the ground from all the trekking I've done. And in the distance, not far from where I was standing, I saw my breakfast: dozens of goats that were eating grass and looking to drink from the lake. I'm not a fan of goat meat, but hey. Meat is meat. Can't spend my whole life eating rocks and stones, right? So there I stood, ready to kill one of the goats, when I hear soft moaning in the distance.

"Oh fuck—not again, not again, not again," I frantically said as I looked down at my feet.

I lifted my left foot up and examined my sole. Then I raised my right one and looked at that too. I exhaled with relief, glad that there was no blood or bodily organs crushed beneath them (that is a long story I am not gonna get into). However, when I looked over towards a huge boulder beside me, I saw a queer, humanoid creature walking from behind the boulder towards me. This honestly wouldn't have bothered me—I've seen all sorts of humanoid creatures before—but this one in particular had a purplish aura around its body. Its skin was black—not light brown or dark brown, but as black as obsidian. I looked at the creature's fingers and noticed that there no nails, but massive claws that could probably tear through bear flesh. When it opened its eyes, they were completely white, with no pupils or color to them. And as the beast opened its mouth, a floppy tongue spilled out, and rows of serrated white teeth were shown. I kept staring at the creature and curiously scratched my bald, bumpy scalp.

"Um. Hello. D'you wanna share goat meat with me?" I asked.

"DIE!" the beast bellowed, its voice masculine but also beastly and garbled.

I shrugged. "Kay, I'll try."

I flopped down to the ground, shutting my eyes as my tongue comically flopped out my mouth. I could hear the beast moving towards me, its feet scraping against the rocks and grass. After lying still for a few seconds, I lifted my head and opened my eyes.

"Didn't work. Sorry 'bout that."

"KIIIIIIIILLLLLLLLL," the beast moaned.

"I'm gonna go kill one of those goats over there. Will that satisfy you?"

The beast didn't answer. It kept coming towards me, and I ended up scratching my head in confusion again. Then it raised its right hand.

"DIE!" it shouted again, before swiping its claws at my right arm.

I shouted and backed away, looking down at the wound. The benefits of being a mountain troll are that your skin is almost as tough as rock. Even better, I got actual rocks and algae growing all over my back and parts of my arms; a common sword wouldn't even be able to pierce my belly, which is the weakest area of my body. So I was more than shocked when I noticed that the creature was able to slice off some of the jagged rocky protrusions that were on my right elbow. Stammering, I looked at my elbow before looking down at the ground and noticing that the protrusions had been cut clean off.

"Oh. You want me to die. Gotcha."

"KILL! DIE! YOU DIE NOW! KILL—"

I punched the humanoid creature with a fist big enough to crush its entire head. The dark beast fell to the ground immediately, gazing up into the sky. I honestly thought I killed the bastard in one blow, but it was still moaning and wheezing. Looking around the ground, I found a massive boulder that was as big as its head. I picked up the boulder with no effort and held it above the beast's head.

"DIE—"

I dropped the boulder. The beast's head exploded like a crushed grape. Its body twitched a couple of times, but I knew for a fact that nothing was left of its head except for mangled bones and gooey brain matter. Shrugging, I turned and walked away from the corpse before approaching one of the goats.

"Least I can still enjoy breakfast."


Workout. Climb the mountains. Explore the caves. Shit. Practice earth magic. Eat some more. Drink water. Eat again. Workout again. Sleep. Wake up and shit again. It was all a routine I had grown accustomed to over the years. Obviously it wouldn't be in that exact order, but you get the gist of it. Sometimes I'd get bored and wander around the forests or explore the village that was several miles from where I lived. Sometimes I'd just sleep all day or stare up at the clouds in boredom. Sometimes I'd spend most of the time in the caves talking to myself or shitting my guts out if I got the trots. Eh. Wasn't exact a social person—and I still aren't.

I know. Weird right? A person who doesn't like being around others.

Anyway. Wasn't sure when exactly it happened, but while I was keeping to myself in the canyons, I heard footsteps. I growled and barred my teeth, stomping towards the noise, thinking another one of those strange black creatures had followed me into my domain. So I walked through the rocky terrain, climbing my way up one of the slopes and kicking down some pebbles and rocks, before I threw myself over the edge and down into another chasm. Huffing, I heard someone swear—a feminine voice—before I approached it, still growling and huffing.

"You leave now, your spine stays intact!"

I didn't know who this person was and I didn't care. They were intruding, and after the encounter with the black-skinned creature earlier, I didn't feel like talking to anyone else or meeting anyone else. I heard more panting coming from around a rocky column formation. Impatient, I stomped on the ground, knocking over some of the rocks around me.

"COME OUT!" I bellowed.

Much to my surprise, the entity revealed itself. Or rather, herself. It was a woman, semi-young, light skinned, clad in a tunic, cloak, and trousers that were all pearl-colored. There was a colossal sword in its sheathe strapped to her left thigh. Her hair, which was fitted into a braided ponytail, was as white as marble or chalk.

I know. Weird right? She looked like she was in her thirties, but even then, a woman that young with hair that white was odd.

I kept staring at her, trying to identify anything about her features. She didn't have a fragrance about her; it smelled like she had been on the road for a few days, especially judging by the mud on her boots. Her face was scarred, and her clothing had been torn in a few areas. She didn't seem overly muscular like me, but given that she could carry such a mighty sword, I imagined beneath all her clothes was a body that was perfectly fit and toned. I imagined her skin was very smooth and soft to touch, like caressing crafted marble or obsidian. Her breasts weren't humongous, but supple enough. And I was certain her thighs were wider than normal, and her legs—I stopped staring at her body when I felt myself getting stiff.

Oh shut up. Like you wouldn't think that way if you spent years alone in the mountains and finally met a pretty woman.

"Oh. Thought you were—"

"Monster," the woman snarled, gripping her sword's hilt tightly. "Just another obstacle in my path!"

Of course she would react that way. What she should've seen was a ten, give or take eleven-foot-tall humanoid creature with beige skin, a bald head, two toes and three fingers. She should've seen a beast so burly and brawny that he could lift boulders twice her size without breaking a sweat. She should've seen a beast who had grayish rocky protrusions growing out of his back and parts of his arms that almost looked like stalagmites. At the very least she could've noticed and appreciated that the beast in front of her wore a dark green loincloth that covered his groin and buttocks—something some beasts neglect to wear. But no. All she saw was another monster.

"Lady, you're in the mountains. I am a mountain troll. Surprise, sur-fucking-prise."

"Tch! You expect me to believe your lies?"

I huffed and rolled my eyes. "Fine, I'll behave like a monster, if that's what you want so badly."

I cleared my throat for a moment before I stomped towards her and bent over. Then, after taking a huge breath, I roared in the woman's face for a full five seconds, the noise echoing throughout the mountains and scaring away any birds or animals nearby. The woman found herself moving backwards a bit, shielding her face slightly as spittle flew all over her clothing and body. When I finished, I wiped my mouth off and exhaled.

"There. Scary enough for ya?"

The woman scowled and wiped her face off. "Hmph, trolls. Your manners are just as foul as your breath."

"Hey, you should be lucky! I know many trolls who roar at people from the back end, so you best be glad my breath is the only thing you're smellin' right now!"

The woman scoffed again as she approached me with her sword. "I don't have time for this! Get out…what's that?"

I blinked and tapped the two tusks hanging out of my mouth from my jaw. "These are tusks, lady. Although I suppose you think they're serrated incisors that came from the bowels of the underworld."

"I know what tusks are," she snarled, indignant. "I was talking about your arm."

I looked down at the area where the beast from earlier scratched me. It looked swollen and my skin was gradually changing to a dark, reddish color.

"Oh, that. Some weird black creature scratched me, damn near cut my arm open."

"…The husks? Wait, one of those beasts attacked you?"

"I dunno what it was. It looked human, but its skin—"

"Stand still," she said, interrupting me.

I did as she was told and remained still. As I looked down at her, she set her sword back in its sheathe before walking towards my elbow and raising her right hand against it. She recited a spell in a foreign language, moments before a beam of light green energy shined against my elbow. I looked at my arm after she finished and noticed that it was still a bit swollen, but the reddish hue was gone.

"Oh. You know curing spells," I concluded.

"Enough. That creature poisoned you with dark magic. Another day or so and that entire arm would've been infected and you would've had to cut it off."

My eyes widened. "Um…shit. Well, um, thanks I guess."

"I can assume you're not with those husks then."

"As I said, I am a mountain troll. I am a troll. Who lives in the mountains. Which is your current location. Do you understand now, or shall I talk in a dumber voice?"

"No, but you can talk while my sword is being inserted down your throat." The lady paused. "Would you prefer that?"

I changed the subject. "Look lady, the mountains aren't a great hiding spot if you don't know where you're going. You're better off heading to the village south of here. They should—"

"I just came from there! Everyone in that village is either dead or got turned into a husk!"

Oh don't worry, this shit gets weirder.

"Oh. Well, um…I still don't think the mountains are a great hiding spot from those things."

The lady huffed as she pinched the bridge of her nose. "Damn it…it's almost finished—almost…almost done. Just a few more hours…"

"What's almost finished? What do you mean by 'few hours'? How do—can you just tell me what the fuck's going on?! Gods—I was just having a normal, perfect day then some 'husk' creature attacked me and I find out it poisoned me! Then you show up and you threaten to kill me, and now you're going on and on about these husks and-and that some village got sacked and something is nearly finished!"

"Fine, I'll show you. Then you'll understand."

The lady disappeared behind the rock column she was hiding behind earlier. I heard her grunt a few times as she began to pick something up. When she emerged once more, she was holding a rucksack. Inside was a colossal egg that was almost the size of her head. It almost looked like an ostrich egg, possibly bigger.

I know. Weird right?

"Now do you understand?"

I did not.

"H-how did—"

The lady huffed and rolled her eyes. "This didn't come from me, you idiot!"

"Are you sure about that?"

"YES! This…simple version? This egg was created by the gods. They-they look down at this world, observe our every movements, our every actions, and they always send us…signals if you will. They give us free will, but they try to steer us away from evil."

"Mm. The gods have been doing a horrible job," I said flatly.

"That's the point! The gods saw how corrupted this world has become! Villages are getting destroyed everywhere, pointless wars plague every nation every year, rape and murder and torture are rampant—the gods are disgusted at what this world has devolved to! So…so they created this. This will solve everything. Do you understand now?"

I did not.

"Lady. That's an egg. You crack it open and eat what's inside."

"This egg isn't for eating. It's no different from a chicken egg or an egg laid by a reptile. Once this egg hatches—which will be very soon—an angel will come out of it. And once it does—"

"Stop, wait, hold on," I said, covering my eyes and mouth with my giant hands. "So you expect me to believe that the gods shat out some egg with an angel in it. And it's…what, it's gonna cure all the evil in this world?"

"More or less."

I waved at the lady. "Bye."

I turned around and began to walk away. I just wanted to exercise. I just wanted to eat some goats, maybe sheep or cows, whatever. I just wanted to be alone. But noooooooooo, I get attacked by some "husk" creature. I run into this uppity lady who immediately saw me as a monster. I find out that some egg contains a messiah of sorts that will create peace and love and prosperity for all. I wasn't having any of that bullshit. So I started to walk away from her. And, of course, she followed, still frantic.

"IF WE DON'T PROTECT THIS EGG, THE WHOLE WORLD WILL PERISH!"

"Okay, lady," I responded, obviously not caring.

"I'm serious! You encountered a husk; you know there's an evil presence lurking nearby! You've never seen a husk before, have you?"

"No. Why should I care?"

The woman eventually sprinted in front of me, ensuring I wouldn't continue walking. I was very tempted to step on her, but morbid curiosity got the better of me, so I stopped moving.

"Because husks used to be human. Sorcerers and sorceresses who are skilled in dark magic can create creatures like those and will do so with little hesitation! One of these sorceresses has been chasing me the past several weeks, and now it seems like she's teamed up with a troll of her own—some kind of rock troll or swamp troll I think. Those two are the ones who destroyed that village! One of the husks the sorceress created must've wandered over to the mountains!"

Her story was beginning to make a little more sense. "Keep going."

The lady exhaled. "This sorceress, her name is Sonya. She won't stop chasing after me; she won't stop trying to get this egg. You've any idea what'll happen if a sorceress who knows dark magic uses her powers to influence an infant angel?"

"Nothing good."

"Exactly! Nothing good!"

"So why should I care if she doesn't know where I am?"

"Because she is an excellent tracker. And no matter how hard I try, I can't seem to escape her!"

"So you're saying you led this bitch into my domain. Thanks."

The lady huffed. "Stop whining. I knew someone lived here anyway; obviously someone killed that husk at the foot of the mountains, and I doubt there are many humans who could push or lift a boulder of that magnitude and drop it on a husk's head! If I hadn't found you, she would've!"

Goddamn it, I said to myself. "So what do you want me to do? Be your giant bodyguard?"

"No, a guide. Just lead me to any caves around this mountain. I can't keep running in circles; I could run into Sonya by mistake."

"When that egg hatches, will you leave me be afterwards?"

The lady nodded. "If that is what you desire. I'm, uh…I'm Tanya, by the way—"

"Snorrv. Let's go," I said, cutting her off.


I didn't have time for any of it. Evil sorcerers and sorceresses? An angel in an egg? A message from the gods? It was all bullshit—had to be. Why the hell would an angel come out of a fuckin' egg? Why would the gods choose someone like Tanya to look over it? I didn't know. And at the time, I didn't really care much either. But I did what the lady in white wanted. I guided her around the mountain, and into some of the caves I usually slept in whenever it rained. However, I saw no reason not to gain my own form of pleasure during the escort. So I started performing very subtle, minor gestures that most would overlook unless they were done excessively.

So I did them excessively.

I snapped my fingers three times, and then stopped for half a minute before doing it again. I did this for about ten minutes before she finally spoke to me.

"Must you always do that with your fingers?"

I smirked at her as I looked over my shoulder. "Apologies. Didn't know you were annoyed by it."

So I kept walking. It wasn't hard for either of us to move through the caves. I had my own set of torches set all around the tunnels, and I would usually light them every morning once I woke up. As we moved down a slope and disappeared deeper into the mountain, I could feel my bowels grumbling and decided to gross out Tanya. Over the span of fifteen minutes, I released gas from my anus—which I know Tanya noticed, since she was walking behind me.

"Would you stop that?"

I smirked at her as I looked over my shoulder. "Stop what?"

Before Tanya could say anything else, I farted as noisily as I could, snickering as I listened to the flatulence reverberating inside of the empty caverns. Tanya stammered as she covered her nose.

"THAT! You do not need to pass wind every thirty seconds!"

"Too bad, lady. The only animals I could find this morning were goats. Not my fault goat meat gives me bad gas. Maybe you should walk in front of me, not behind me?"

Frustrated, the lady snarled and said, "Fine."

I watched as Tanya rushed in front of me, stomping against the rocks and dirt and following the torches I had lined up against the wall. As she walked in front of me, I snickered as I towered above her, making sure I walked so close to her that our bodies were mere inches from each other. I lowered my head and breathed heavily against the back of her clothes, to the point where I could see her hair rustling a bit as I exhaled.

"Snorrv," she said, snarling and forming a fist with her right hand.

"Whuh? Oh, sorry, you don't like the smell of my breath?"

"No, it's very unpleasant."

"Well fine then! Geez, I was only making sure that you didn't go cold from being in such a chilly cave!"

I knew Tanya was about to snap—which was fine with me. Eventually she'd realize that I wasn't worth the hassle and leave. So I poked her against the back twice, nearly pushing her down. She finally snapped and turned around, looking up at me.

"THAT'S ENOUGH!" she bellowed.

I blinked and scratched my testicles in front of her. "Whuh? I do something wrong?"

Before she could answer, I farted again, making sure that the noise was loud enough to echo throughout the cave.

"Did you do something right? I am trying to save the world! I am trying to protect this egg! And you, you're acting like—"

"A repulsive, annoying jackass?"

"Like a giant fly hovering above a pile of shit! That's all you are! That's all people like you will ever be!"

I shrugged. "Least I ain't ashamed of it. Least I don't believe in stupid-ass fairy tales or—"

"Shut your mouth, fly!" she said, and I noticed that her eyes seemed to be watering. "Maybe I am some stupid bitch who believes in fairy tales, but at least I believe in something! At least I'm trying to do something with my life and I'm not going around trying to make everyone around me miserable! There are actually people out there whose sole purpose is to create chaos and misery! Are you on their side?!"

"No. Tanya, farting in a cave and poking you in the back does not make me the bad guy."

"Yes, it does!"

"Explain. I haven't done a single thing to you."

"Exactly! You didn't do anything! At all! When I told you about my dilemma, you didn't care! You weren't concerned or worried or scared! Your immediate response was apathy! You turned around and tried to walk away! Someone came to you begging for help and you chose to run away! That makes you a coward and that makes you an accessory!"

"An accessory to what?"

"What else? To all the evil going on in this world! Did you know that many miles south of here lies a nation called Kosslivo, where humans like me are being kidnapped and used as breeders? The king of that nation is nothing but a tyrant and a warmonger who wants this world to be ruled by orcs, and no one is doing a thing about it! There's a sorcerer who recruits children and brainwashes them into killing their parents so he can 'adopt' them and raise them to be demon-worshipping anarchists! Many months ago, a goblin convinced me to kill nearly three dozen people, and I later found out that all I was doing was assisting a brutal trader who was involved in transporting illegal activities around the world! There's an ogre…"

Tanya took a frustrated breath and ran a hand through her hair, and I noticed that she was blinking away a few tears.

"All this shit going on in the world…and you know it's happening. But you and people like you do nothing to help out! You never contribute to society; you'd just rather sit on your fat lazy asses and say, 'let someone else handle it.' Well guess what? All those other people who are handling everything you ignorantly choose to ignore? They're dying! Soon enough, there won't be anyone left in this world except for the apathetic and the malevolent! I can't allow that to happen!"

I stared at Tanya as she finished ranting and began to pant to herself, sweat forming around her face. I folded my arms and snorted at her.

"Did you know my father raped women?"

Tanya huffed. "What?"

"My father…he raped women. My mother was one of them. And when I was old enough to figure that out, I murdered him."

Tanya's eyes grew wide as she stared at me. "…You committed patricide?"

"Absolutely."

"But…but, wait, you-you said…your father was a rapist."

"Exactly. In fact, if it wasn't for him, I wouldn't be here right now. …Tch. How 'bout that? Tainted seed created the one troll you need assistance from."

"…I see…well. I'm sorry to have misjudged you."

"No, you don't get it you ignorant cunt!" I leaned forward and got in her face. "I killed my father in his sleep. My own parent. My flesh and blood! Doesn't matter why I did it; I murdered a family relative! My father did something wrong, so I did something wrong too! But if my father hadn't done something wrong, I wouldn't have been born! So what the fuck does that mean? How am I supposed to process that?!"

"Your father was a sinner. You stopped him from sinning. S'all that matters."

"NO, IT'S NOT! Life isn't that simple! That's what you don't understand! Everywhere I go, everyone I talk to, everything is so goddamn complicated! People sacrificing themselves to their gods, races fighting and killing each other for being part of a different tribe, people who rape others for fun—it's all bullshit! ALL OF IT IS BULLSHIT!"

I took several deep breaths as I grabbed my head and snarled with frustration. Then I closed my eyes, spread my hands apart, and shook my head.

"So I told myself, 'no more…no more of this, Snorrv.' And I ran away. From everyone. From everything. And I…I arrived at these mountains. I've been here for…I don't even know how many years. Ten? Twelve? It's quiet up here. It's peaceful up here. And I don't have to worry about any prophecies or angel-filled eggs, or rapists or vicious knights—nothing."

I snorted again as I sat down near the wall, suddenly feeling exhausted.

"I've done my part to help society. And now that I see how society works, to hell with it. It can rot for all I care. I just wanna be left alone."

For a seemingly long time, there was silence between the two of us. All I could hear was the fire on the torches crackling, my own breaths, and water dripping from the cave ceiling. Tanya eventually walked towards me as she set her rucksack on the ground and carefully took the egg out of it.

"So you finally understand then," she said softly. "This has to happen. When this egg hatches, everything will be okay. All the sinners in this world will be purged, and everything will be at peace again."

"Whatever."

I watched as Tanya rubbed the egg a few times before she grabbed her canteen and shook it. Neither of us could hear fluids sloshing inside of it, and the woman exhaled as she set it back near her pockets and stood up.

"That pond, it has fresh water, correct? You haven't been using it as a chamber pot, have you?"

"I gotta drink water somehow. Not a fan of consuming my own shit and piss."

"Fine. Stay here and watch the egg. I'll be back shortly."

As Tanya set the egg down and began to make her way through the caves, I stood up and beckoned her.

"Wait a second, you want me to watch this egg? Alone?"

"Yes."

"What if that sorceress finds you?"

"That's precisely why I'm leaving the egg behind. She saw me carrying it; she'll assume I still have it in my possession. She doesn't even know who you are."

"Can't you just stay here until the egg hatches?"

Tanya shook her head. "Could be another day or two. Last thing I need is to die of dehydration. And quite frankly, I don't trust you to fill my canteen. Something tells me you'd just piss in it."

I would have, but I obviously didn't say that out loud.

"If I run into Sonya, I'll make sure she never reaches these caves. You make sure she doesn't take that egg."

There were other questions I could've asked her. Other questions I should have asked her. But Tanya was willingly offering to leave me alone to my thoughts. So I just nodded and stopped asking questions, and the woman turned and backtracked the way we came in. When she left, I sat back down beside the egg and took another deep breath, gazing at the massive white egg shell and watching as it twitched once or twice. At the time, I still thought it was all a hoax. Hell, I was tempted to crack the egg open so I could eat the yolk raw, but I was still full from the goats. My gut kept reminding me of that considering I had another series of gassy outbursts. Between my boredom, the soothing sound of the fire crackling, and finally having some time to myself, I slowly leaned against the wall and my eyelids began to droop…


…And then the egg was gone. My eyes shot open when I realized that there was no egg in front of me. I looked to my left, gasping and feeling my heart beating fast. Then I looked to my right and saw another woman carrying the egg and caressing it in her hands.

I know. Weird right? Somehow another person got into the caves and was able to figure out where I was hiding.

"The fuck?!" I shouted.

The woman turned and looked at me. She was beautiful, about the same age as Tanya. And yet, she seemed so different from Tanya; I just had this…uneasy vibe around her. Her short hair was dark and covered her left eye, her black boots were covered in soil, and her dark red dress went down past her knees; I had no idea how she managed to walk around without tripping over herself. She obviously didn't seem to mind the filth she got on her clothing, or perhaps it was her only attire. She also had a set of dual swords strapped to her back in an X-formation. The dark-haired woman stood up and smiled at me, offering the egg to me very slowly.

"You really should take care of something this valuable."

Her voice was the exact opposite of Tanya: very soft and smooth, the voice you'd hear from someone trying to lull a child to sleep. I couldn't tell what it was back then; maybe the voice, maybe the greenish-yellow eyes, maybe her faint scent that reminded me of a sweet spice or incense. Maybe it was the fact that she could've broken the egg or stolen it or even killed me in my sleep, but she didn't do any of those things. Nevertheless, I snatched the egg from her and held it firmly, snorting as I looked down at the woman.

"Fuck are you? How did you find me? How do you know about this egg?!"

I should've known the answer before she told me.

"My name is Sonya."

At that moment, I set the egg down and cracked my knuckles. With no hesitation, I recited an earth spell where I generated thin, serrated spikes made of rock from the cave ceiling and aimed them at her. As I held out my hands, prepared to launch the spikes, the sclerae in Sonya's eyes turned pitch black, and she immediately grinned. Her pale hands began to emit a purplish aura. In under a second, she clapped her hands together and spread them apart, forming a rectangular barrier around her body.

"You launch those spikes, they'll reflect right back at you. Now I know you mountain trolls have coarse hides, but even your eyeballs can't withstand such an attack."

I snarled for a moment and examined the shield. There was no way for me to penetrate it, so I lowered my hands, and the rocky spikes clattered to the ground. Immediately, Sonya let her shield dissipate, and her eyes slowly turned back to their normal color.

"Smart troll."

"What do you want?" I barked.

Sonya shrugged. "I just want to talk. And I would like for you to listen."

"Yeah, well," I said, reaching up and digging a finger into my right ear and removing wax and dirt, "my ears ain't all that clean. Gonna be a bit hard."

"I assure you, this will not take long."

"Before you start, I got some questions for you."

"Ask."

"Did you kill Tanya?"

"No."

"Did you turn those villagers into husks?"

"Yes."

"Why?"

Sonya blinked and paused. "They were suffering, troll. They had recently been attacked by another troll. This troll in question killed the strongest warriors in the village, and left the weaker ones too wounded to fight back. Everyone I found there was going to die. They were screaming, crying, moaning constantly, praying for death. I merely gave it to them."

"So you turned them into mindless killing machines infused with dark magic?"

"Their souls have passed on, troll. I turned them into husks in hopes of using their bodies to kill the very same troll that slaughtered them."

I scoffed. "Why should I believe you? I just met you."

She scoffed right back in the same manner. "Why should you believe Tanya? You just met her."

She had a valid point, and I had no proper rebuttal.

"Troll, I wouldn't—"

"Snorrv," I said, correcting her.

"Fine then. Snorrv, what Tanya said about me may or may not be true. What I tell you may or may not be true. You can choose to believe who you want to believe. But ask yourself this question: if I'm as evil as I presume Tanya has made me out to be, why do you still draw breath? Why haven't I stolen your egg? Why am I not attacking you? You are twice my size, and you've shown me you know the arts of earth magic; keeping you alive has done nothing but hinder my so-called plans."

Again, she had a valid point at the time. Once again, I didn't answer her.

"All I ask is that you listen to what I have to tell you. Can you do that?"

I should've killed her right then. But I didn't know if she was lying or not. I didn't know if she was manipulating me, or if she had cast some kind of dark spell that warped my skills in reasoning. Nevertheless, there was something about Sonya that seemed far more comforting and inviting compared to Tanya, who just came off feeling like a preachy, stuck-up cunt who thought she was better than everyone else. So I sat down beside the egg and took a huge breath.

"I'm listening."