Rules of the Game

Rules of the Game

Rouxls groaned as Lancer pulled him forward. "Do thou really have to draggeth me into this?"

"Aww!" Lancer whined. "Please can you help me fight these guys? They're really tough, especially the purple girl, and whenever you play games with me you say you let me win, so that means you're really good at games and stuff and you could win if you wanted to, right?"

"That mayeth be true…" Rouxls sighed. "Very well. I will help thou defeat the Lightners, but only if–"

"They're here!"

Rouxls blinked. There they were, the Lightners who the king had ordered to be stopped at all costs. Lancer was waving at the purple monster, who grinned, showing all her teeth, and waved back. The human frowned at them.

"Are you ready, Susie?" Lancer shouted. "We're gonna kick your butts!"

The purple girl burst out laughing. "Yeah right! Get ready to be thrashed, punk!"

"Hi!" chirped the fluffy boy, his face hidden in shadow underneath his hat. "My name's Ralsei, what's yours?"

Rouxls grinned. "Why, I am none other than Rouxls Kaard, the world's greatest puzzle master! Thou guys are little moreth than worms comparedeth to me!"

"This is my Lesser Dad," Lancer said. "He's like my actual dad, but smaller."

His grin vanished. "Thou child, I toldeth you–"

"Whatever," Susie said, brandishing her axe. "Let's thrash him!"

To the human, she whispered, "We'll go easy on Lancer, right, Kris?"

"Very well," Rouxls said. "Lancer, thou know the rules, correct? I believe they taketh the first move."

Kris, the human, dropped into a defensive stance. Susie lunged with her axe, striking a blow on Rouxls–he winced and staggered back with the damage. Ralsei used his action to gave Lancer a candy.

"Hey!" Lancer said. "We're supposed to be fighting!"

"Oh. Should I take it back?"

Lancer stuffed the candy in his mouth. "Oh," Ralsei said. "Okay."

"Now it's my turn!" Rouxls cleared his throat. "I ruleth that all damage doneth onto me is returned equally onto all of thou!"

"What?" Susie said, just before the damage hit. The three heroes winced in unison.

Lancer cackled. "See? I knew I was right!"

The next turn, Kris and Susie defended, while Ralsei used his healing magic. They dodged Lancer's attacks and clustered together, staring at Rouxls. He smirked.

"Are thou that eager for mine next declaration?" he said. "Very well! I ruleth that all contestants opposing me must be moving their feet at all times!"

More and more rules were piled onto the heroes–one doubled the number of tension points they needed to cast spells, one forbade Kris' use of their sword, and another ordered Ralsei to give more candy to Lancer. The breaking point was hit when Susie was ordered to "standeth on her hands for the duration of her turn."

"This sucks!" she shouted, moments before tipping over and taking a few points of damage. Lancer frowned and tugged at Rouxls' shirt.

"I think we should stop," he said. "I don't think Susie's having fun anymore."

Rouxls groaned. "I was just getting started! Very well–I forfeit."

The heroes collapsed in a heap. Rouxls picked up Lancer and slung him over his shoulder. "Cometh along, heir," he said while Lancer waved to Susie. "It's far past time for dinner."


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