From the author: She might be a mighty warrior, but she's as susceptible to love as the next girl...
THE BEAST AND THE BEAUTY 2, 211 words
By David Perlmutter
I tell ya, places like this are no picnic for any gal worth her salt. Let alone that rare breed known as a female adventurer. Which is what I am.
But I’m sure you figured that out the moment I walked in here. Not many girls around here have the kind of tree-trunk gams I got, that’s for sure. Not too many going around wearing Robin Hood’s wardrobe, for that matter. Very few arming themselves with quarterstaffs and daggers, too, otherwise maybe you’d have a smaller population than you have. And not too many girls around here with red hair, neither.
You can obviously guess that I’m not a native of this place. How I got here’s an interesting story, but way too long to be told in one setting. Suffice it to say, I’m from a different kingdom entirely than this one. My younger brothers, the sorcerer and the alchemist (respectively), were fooling around out in the yard, and I threatened to squeal on them to Mom, like I usually did then. But before I could, I got trapped in one of their magic concoctions, a giant bubble, and floated away from where I came from, cursing the sky blue as I did. Eventually, though, the bubble burst, as I knew it would, and I fell down to Earth. Here. But I know the guys are working on getting me back, otherwise they’ll have to answer to Mom. From whom I got my hair. And my supposedly “un-ladylike” temperament, which has gotten most of the guys around here calling me “Candace The Beast”- Candace being the name I got when I was born, by the way.
Any day now, fellows….
So, until then, I had to figure out how to survive. Not just hunting and stuff- we all know how to do that in this realm. More like how to keep the guys out of my pants, in a place where they seem to outnumber the girls twenty to one. I’m just glad I’m tall, fast and strong in addition to being a young, beautiful teenager. And that most of the guys are ugly old meat-bags that I can beat up easy. Sometimes I don’t even have to do that. There are so many of you fellows here who are so ill at ease with girls that you head for the hills the moment we raise our voice one decibel, let alone a whole octave. And most of the time I was just asking them for directions to get out of this cotton-picking forest!
Anyway, it was that sort of nonsense that forced me to get out of the last place I had been crashing at in a hair-breathed hurry. Appropriate I use that metaphor, because it was my hair that caused the trouble. Apparently, a lot of you think that just because a gal has a copper top, she’s a witch. So they tried to capture and burn me, damn them! I cracked a lot of ignorant heads with my quarterstaff that night. ‘Cause nobody calls me a witch and gets away with it!
Oh, sorry. Did I scare you? Didn’t mean to. I’d never hurt a dreamboat like you. Unless you try to make love to me without my saying it’s okay. And you wouldn’t do that, would you?
I didn’t think so.
I especially don’t like witches on account of what happened to me this one time a few days ago…
As usual, I was trying to finding a) a place to sleep for the night and b) a way out of this seemingly endless furshlugginer forest. No luck either way. Too many rocks in the soil for one, and no damn signs leading the way anywhere on the other. You guys have got to do something about that, or you won’t get a lot of tourists.
I was just thinking maybe I’d have to sleep standing up beside a tree, when I heard somebody screaming very loudly.
If there’s one thing that’s catnip to any adventurer, male or female, it’s people in distress. So I heeded the call.
It wasn’t that far away. A small edifice made out of stone. A main building on the ground, and a high tower. Unfortunately for me, the screaming- presumably coming from some dame much less fortunate than yours truly- was coming out of the tower.
Not having a rope to climb up made a little harder than it would have been if I had one, but I don’t let a little thing like a few measly feet bother me. I strapped my quarterstaff to my back, put my dagger in my mouth (cutting my lips in the process), and, employing as much of my strength and agility as I could muster, leapt up like a striking cat.
Fortunately, I managed to get a grip on the tower wall just below the window, and it wasn’t that hard to shimmy upwards into the tower building.
Where I got the shock of my life.
It wasn’t a girl who was in distress. It was a guy. And not just any guy. He was absolutely gorgeous, in a way even boys my age rarely are.
Naturally, I got all warm in my secret spot.
But if I wanted to do anything with him, I’d have to get rid of the old witch who was handling him like he was made out of straw, slapping his face and throwing him on the bed and all that.
So I went over and tapped her on the shoulder, all lady-like.
“Bitch,” I warned her, “you better stop that!”
“Or what?” the crone said. She was clearly thinking of what kind of spell to cast on an impudent kid like me. But I didn’t give her the chance.
“Or THIS!” I said.
I punched her in her face a couple of times, and then kicked her down with one of my legs. Then I finished her off by bashing her head in with the quarterstaff and cutting her throat with the knife. When that was done, I threw the already decaying corpse out of the window. Good riddance.
Now for the action, I thought.
It started sooner than I expected. He came over, pleased as punch, but very deferential towards me all the same. Obviously, he knew I could off him if I wanted to. And besides, I was taller than him, and had bigger muscles in my arms, so he couldn’t win a fight with me if he wanted to. So he wasn’t taking any chances.
“Thank you!” he said. “You have released me from the bondage in which I have been since I was merely an infant!”
“Oh, it was my pleasure…um….”
“Mine’s Candace. Anyway, that’s just what I do. Save people. Especially when they look like you. Then it’s really worth it.”
“What are you?”
“What do you mean, ‘what am I’? That should be pretty obvious to you. I’m a girl. And an adventurer, as well, but that’s beside the point.”
“What’s a girl?”
That stopped me cold. He has no idea what a girl is! I thought. How does a guy go through life not knowing what a girl is? Isn’t that what life’s all about? Where life actually comes from?
Fortunately, as I usually do, I was able to find a way to turn the situation to my advantage.
“Look,” I said. “You know the old crone who was roughing you up a minute ago?”
“Well, once upon a time, that….thing…was sixteen years old. Like I am now, and presumably you are too, right?”
“So,” I said, “when I was born, and all my life, I’ve been called a ‘girl’. Because that’s what female humans- and other female mammals sometimes, too- get called when we’re young. Just like your friend there was probably calling you ‘boy’ all the time, ‘cause that’s what you are.”
“What’s a mammal?”
Man, he’s slow!
Easy, Candace, I told myself. No reason to smack him around. Just tell him.
“Here,” I said, sitting down on his bed and motioning him to come and sit beside him. Which he did.
“Mammals,” I said patiently, “are the collective term for any group of beings that give birth- sometimes very painfully- to live babies that feed on their milk. The milk comes from what are known scientifically as mammary glands, but are more commonly known as breasts. Even more commonly known as jugs, knockers, tits, hooters, or ta-tas, but those aren’t polite things to tell girls they have even if they got ‘em. A lot of us are pretty self-conscious about ours, and worry they aren’t big enough or some such nonsense. Mine are okay if you like that sort of thing, but if you prefer legs I’m equipped for that, too, as you can see. Some of you swing more down there.
“Now, you guys are different. We girls have the responsibility of carrying babies in our bodies for nine months each, and then have to use our jugs to feed our babies, and then spent a hell of a long time bringing them up otherwise. You guys don’t have to do that if you don’t want to, but it would be damn good if you did. Not a lot of you do.
“You’re probably familiar with that little sausage at the end of your body, and the marbles attached to it. That’s your penis, and your testicles, or balls. The balls create sperm that escape whenever you take a piss, or when you ejaculate. That’s when so much pressure builds up in your penis that it becomes rock hard, and the only way for that pressure to be relieved is for the penis to start firing like a cannon. Boom, boom, boom, boom! And we girls are usually where you relieve yourself- when we let you, that is. When one of your sperm connects with us, and hooks up with one of our equivalent productions, known as an egg, and it evolves over nine months, it creates a baby. Which grows up to become like us- or, if they last long enough, that old crone.
“You know what? I could spend all day talking about this, but it’s better if I show you, so you’ll know what to do if another girl happens along here, and you take a fancy to her, and she fancies you back. Just lie down there on your back, and I’ll get on top of you, like this….”
So I did that, and he went boom, boom, boom, boom on me. Just like I said.
Then we spent a couple of hours just lying in that bed, happy as clams.
That was, until he started changing.
His front teeth grew a lot sharper, and hair started growing everywhere I thought it wouldn’t or couldn’t. Somehow, there was some reason why that crone had locked him up I hadn’t reasoned out properly before. And now I might pay the price.
So I woke him up.
“What’s up with you?” I said. “You a werewolf or something?”
“Have I changed?”
“Why ‘oh, dear’?” I asked, suspiciously.
“The human form you saw me in was just a glamour the witch put on me to control me. You see, I’m actually a troll.”
“A TROLL?” I got up out of the bed, and searched for my weapons. I’d been tricked.
“You told me you’d been in bondage since you were an infant!” I reminded him.
“Yes. But I didn’t say I was a human infant.”
“You bastard! How dare you take advantage of an innocent girl like me like that! I’ll bet you aren’t even the greenhorn you pretended to be!”
“I’m not. But it’s more fun to pretend.”
“Good God! I had sex with you! Now I’m gonna have a troll baby!”
“No. I made love to you as a human being. So that’s what you’d get. If I was potent as a human being, that is. I wasn’t.”
“Doesn’t matter, you shithead! Nobody hornswoggles Candace the Beast and lives to tell the tale!”
“I’d like to see you try!”
He got out of the bed, and chomped the blade out of my knife. And when I tried to bash him with the quarterstaff, he bashed it, instead. Then he grabbed my wrists. He put strength on me I didn’t think he had, the kind that only guys seem to have and girls are helpless against. Looked like I was done for.
However I was against the window, and that was what saved me. So, with what power I had left, I made myself fall backward out of the window, with him still holding on to me, and shifted it so that he was on the bottom instead of me. If I landed on the ground, I would have broken my back and died.
But he did, instead. That’s why I’m here. However, I learned a valuable lesson. Don’t take people at face value. And also that the things- and people- you’re really into can also kill you, if you’re not careful.
Anyway, enough about me. What’s your story, Mr. Conan the Cimmerian?
This story originally appeared in Troll (2017).