Chapter 7: Chitter-Chatter

Randomizer sighed and quickly climbed back up into the tree when he heard someone coming. "This is getting ridiculous. Why can't people just stay put?"

Azuma and Jeran Korak hid behind rocks. Nalyd crouched in the hole.

Stareye, Niemand, Nioca, and Lazarus passed through without noticing anything.

Randomizer jumped out of the tree. "Now, how close are we?"

"Nalyd thinks he has it!" Nalyd started throwing bones out of the hole.

"Didn't you need a bone for something?" Azuma asked.

"Oh, that. I said that to get Slartucker off our trail. Nah, I just want to see you zombify this thing."

Azuma looked stunned. "You mean you want to learn necromancy too?"

"Uh... sure. Yeah, that's it."

Azuma blinked several times. "Er, wow. Um..."

"Nalyd dug out all the bones he could find. Now teach him necromancy, please, please, please."

"All right. For now, just watch. And stay back. It's very dangerous," Azuma said.

Randomizer cast an antimagic spell on the bones while no one was watching.

Azuma closed his eyes and raised his hands.

"Is it working?" Nalyd asked after a moment.

"No, um, it, um, seems to be unusually difficult to get the spell started for some reason. I've never felt anything like it."

"You just aren't trying hard enough," Randomizer said.

Slowly, black smoke formed around the bones as the antimagic spell faded. Randomizer waited until the smoke completely obscured the bones before casting another one. The shock of having his spell disrupted nearly knocked Azuma over.

"You!" He lunged for Randomizer.

Randomizer cackled as he dodged and fled to the Avernum 4 Forum.

---

Synergy and the others had returned to the Nethergate Forum. Suddenly, Zeviz looked up from his book. "Uh-oh."

"What?" Ephesos asked.

"I just realized that no summoning spells for Zephyr means I'm now the only one who can summon elements."

Ephesos tossed aside his book. "What? Synergy, hurry up and learn the summon element spell. Dikiyoba, go make more Balms of Life."

"But..."

"Someone go find Nioca and tell him to learn the return life spell. And tell Drakefyre he needs to learn the summon element spell again, Anama or not. And tell Schrodinger and Dintiradan they need to get working on the summoning machine again. And Zeviz... just don't die."

"Don't you think you're overreacting just a little?" Slartucker asked.

Tyranicus mooed.

"All right, all right. I take that back," Slartucker said.

---

Jewels and the others returned to Spiderweb with all the supplies from Truesite.

Nemesis set his box down. "Well, we got them this far. Someone else can deal with them now." He walked off.

"Wait, we have to... never mind." Jewels caught sight of Stareye and Drakefyre at their table. "Come on, Alo, let's tell them what we've figured out."

Jewels and Alorael joined the administrators.

"Alorael had the best idea while we were out there," Jewels said, "So we scouted the area thoroughly. We should be able to launch a surprise attack on Ecksian's bots before they get to Spiderweb."

Alorael shrugged and sipped some skribbane. "What can I say? Bots, pedestrians, same thing, really."

"We're going to need lots of barriers, though, so I thought I'd take a crew down to Kingdom of Loathing and pick up some barbed wire fences. It shouldn't take too long."

"All right," Drakefyre said, "Now, Alorael, what exactly were you thinking of?"

"Great." Jewels got up and tracked Salmon, Andraste, and Drew down. "I need to get some barbed wire fence from KoL. Want to come along?"

"How much?" Drew asked.

"I don't know. A lot."

"Well, we're going to need more help. Let's see... who plays KoL again?" Andraste asked.

"Besides the four of us? Marlenny, Niemand... Ephesos, Zeviz, and Dikiyoba, but I think they're busy with big important magic stuffs. Oh, and Riibu. We should bring her along if we can find her," Salmon said.

Goldenking approached and cleared his throat. "At your service."

"Yeah, whatever, you can come too."

"I'll get Marlenny and Niemand. Jewels, you find Riibu. We'll meet outside in ten minutes," Andraste said.

---

Ephesos and Dikiyoba were passing through the Avernum 4 Forum when they nearly ran into Randomizer.

"Oh, hey Ephesos, I was just looking for you. It seems we have some necromancy in the G4 Forum."

Ephesos sighed. "How bad is it?"

"Oh, they've just started. But Nalyd's involved, so I doubt it'll end well."

"I'm busy. Couldn't you handle it?"

"I don't think they'd listen to me."

"Well, is there anyone else who can deal with it? I--"

There was a flash of light overhead. Dikiyoba and Ephesos dove out of the way as something large knocked Randomizer flat.

"Are you okay?" Dikiyoba asked.

"Yes, thanks. By the way, you're cute." A chitrach stood up.

"You're standing on me!" Randomizer yelled.

"Oops. Sorry." The chitrach got off.

Randomizer got up, holding his left arm. "Quick! Kill it before it has a chance to breed!"

The chitrach chittered angrily at him.

"Look, he's friendly. Er, or she's friendly. So there's no need for killing."

"He," the chitrach said.

"A chitrach cannot be friendly. So hurry up and kill it. And heal my wrist."

"Don't worry, he's still just getting used to the idea of a friendly chitrach. So, do you have a name?" Ephesos asked.

The chitrach produced a rasping noise by rubbing his forearms together.

"Hmm. Well, no one will be able to pronounce that. Can we call you something else?"

"How about Jar-Jar?" Randomizer muttered, "Come on, kill it, kill it, kill it!"

"Will you be quiet if I heal you?"

Randomizer sighed. "I suppose."

"Okay. How about Chatter?" Ephesos cast a healing spell. "It fits."

The chitrach thought for a second. "Sure! That's a cute name too!"

"Ow!" Randomizer winced as the spell hit him and dissipated.

"Hmm. Dikiyoba, get a first aid kit. See if you can find Nioca too. It's honestly been a while since I've had to heal anyone the old-fashioned way, so I could use a second opinion. Randomizer, let's get you back to the Nethergate Forum so I can see."

"Right." Dikiyoba left.

"Why don't you just kill the stupid chitrach and use first aid afterwards?" Randomizer grumbled.

"He sure is taking a long time to get used to the idea. Is he a mean, dumb human you've trained to behave?" Chatter asked.

"Hey!" Randomizer said.

"Let's just go," Ephesos said, "Chatter, stay here until Dikiyoba comes back."

---

Andraste, Marlenny, Drew, and Niemand stood outside.

"Where are Salmon and Jewels?" Drew asked.

Andraste shrugged. "Dunno."

Goldenking and Iffy stepped outside.

"Iffy's coming too?" Andraste asked.

"Yes," Goldenking said.

"Fine, just don't cause trouble," Andraste said.

Salmon and Jewels came out, carrying Riibu between them. "But... but I shouldn't go. I need to... need to look for... Nicothodes' pencil... I should..."

"Nah, the fresh air'll do you good," Salmon said, "Is this everyone? Let's go."

---

"What happened now?" Synergy asked as Randomizer limped into the Nethergate Forum.

"Oh, stop that," Ephesos said, "You didn't even hurt your leg. Now, let me see your arm."

"His antimagic is preventing you from healing him with magic, isn't it?" Zeviz asked.

"Yeah." Ephesos sighed.

Dikiyoba, Nioca, and Chatter entered.

"Everyone, this is, um, Chatter," Dikiyoba said.

"Hi! You're all cute!" Chatter said.

"You have got to be kidding. A Giant Intelligent Friendly Talking Chitrach?" Slartucker said.

"Well, it looks like you've got a sprained wrist. What do you think, Nioca?" Ephesos said.

Randomizer winced as Nioca took over. "Yes, I think so."

Ephesos took the first aid kit from Dikiyoba and pulled out some bandages. "Well, just rest it for a few days and you'll be fine."

"A few days? That's a long time. Ow! Hey, be careful!"

"How did you even get in here, Chatter?" Slartucker asked.

"A portal."

"Which portal where? And why?" Synergy asked.

Chatter looked at the ground. "I'd rather not say anything about my home right now. Let's just say that not all meanies are dumb," he finished angrily.