The creature's gaze was centered in two black flames it had for eyes. The speed at which they flickered and burned gave his anger a frightening life, and I stepped back from him, stumbling a bit and trembling in fear.
The woodcutter saw this, and he stepped between the creature and me. His muscles flexed as he hefted his axe, and he squared off as if ready to fight the giant. "You know," he said over his shoulder, "I think he wants your boots."
"Well, they are his," I said. "Can I just give them back?"
The woodcutter thought for a moment. "No, I think he wants the feet inside them, too, but you seem a bit attached to those." His eyes twinkled a bit. "I'm not planning to let that happen, though."
"I appreciate that. He is, um, a bit bigger than you, though."
"You know, size doesn't always matter, kid."
Suddenly, the creature roared out a challenge, and lifted his sword above his head. The woodcutter turned his attention back to the giant and lifted his axe again.
Just then, from behind Erebus' massive body, a sweet voice came.
"Daddy, can I have them?"
Erebus' hand remained in the air. His eyes softened, and he turned around, moving to the side. As he did so, I caught sight of the source of this new voice: Eris.
She smiled at Her father, and went to brush Her hair away from Her face. As Her hand passed over Her eye, I caught a mischevious wink. Here She was, on my side all over again.
Erebus spoke in the language I had first heard him speak. His words flowed like molassas, and I understood none of them. Eris' response was much clearer.
"But Daddy!" She protested.
Erebus began to speak again, ponderously slow over word and phrase. He was interrupted quickly though.
"Daddy, I want them!" She shouted, going into a kind of "pout mode" that I never imagined a Goddess capable of. "If I don't get them, I'll hold my breath until I turn blue!" And with that, an intake of air sealed the deal.
The shear humour of the situation almost made me burst into laughter. Erebus had obviously never encountered this tactic before, and the look on the woodcutter's face showed that he hadn't, either. Erebus tried a few more times to reason with his daughter, but as She wasn't responding at all (and was turning a rather dark blue at this point), he finally broke down, shouted something, and stormed off into the woods.
To be continued. . .
Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V
Part VI | Part VII | Part VIII | Part IX | Part X
Part XI | Part XII | Part XIII | Part XIV | Part XV
Part XVI | Part XVII | Part XVIII