...Crafty as Edna was, she was still old and her limbs were no match for my sweeping tail. The witch shrieked as her legs flew from under her. The potion flew in a graceful arc into the air, over my head, and fell into the face of my Skeith captor. He roared in pain and rage as the liquid splashed into his eyes and up his nostrils.
With him rampaging around, unfortunately managing to avoid trampling Edna, the ropes were much more slack. I suppose I shouldn't have been too surprised - zombies were hardly known for their ability to tie good knots. I was able to escape far quicker than Edna was able to get to her feet.
The Zafara witch was thoroughly distracted by my co-worker, however. "You dumb oaf!" she screeched. "It's just a bit of potion. Get over here and tie that Hissi back up!"
I hastily flapped my wings to get out of reach of Edna and my co-worker. His rampages were getting him very close to the pods. Eventually I noticed that as he shoved on one, it rocked precariously. I flew up behind it and pushed it back into him.
Feeling the heavy glass thunk against him must have triggered something in his zombie brain, because he roared and pulled the tank down, shattering it on the floor and freeing the captive within.
"No!" Edna shrieked. "What are you doing? Stop that, STOP THAT!"
I flew to another pod. "Hey, pea brain!" I called. "Over here! Come and get me! I've got another one for ya."
Now, I did not pick that tank at random. I picked it because it was the tank that held the physical body of the very same co-worker I was baiting into pushing the tanks over. What would happen, I wondered, when he freed his real self?
A shove was all it took to find out.
The tank crashed to the ground and the Skeith inside began to stir. As he did so, the large zombie one began to writhe and shriek, grabbing its head. Curiously, it also began to shrink. Its fur began to lighten as well, until all that was left was a Meepit standing in a puddle.
Edna was shaking her fist at me - the tanks we had wrecked had created a large pile of liquid and broken glass that the barefooted Zafara did not want to walk through. "Are you happy now? You ruin my business and now you're ruining my plans!"
"Quite happy," I said as I continued shoving pods down. It was much harder without the help of a giant, braindead behemoth of a Skeith, but I was able to free my co-workers one by one. And one by one the zombies who trickled in, drawn by the noise, were replaced with Meepits. The Meepits didn't seem to mind; they all just huddled together and watched me work. When I approached Mirynna's tank, I placed my hand on it. "I promised I would save you. I just wish I hadn't had to be the one to put you in danger in the first place," I murmured.
The Ruki zombie was the only one still roaming around as I began to push on Mirynna's tank. My arms were weak from the exertion, though. Why did I save Mirynna's for last? Some of my co-workers were starting to stir and shake themselves free of the tubes, but they would certainly not have the strength to help.
"I knew you'd come. I knew you'd solve this. You can do it, Maccain."
Mirynna's voice in my head gave me a sudden surge of strength. I watched in satisfaction as the final tank fell and crashed, the final zombie shrunk into a Meepit, the final piece of Edna's evil plot destroyed.
One by one my co-workers got to their feet. Many of them hugged me, Andy shook my hand firmly and proclaimed hoarsely that I would be getting a promotion and a raise effective immediately. Mirynna was the last to her feet. I faced her awkwardly.
"I'm so sorry," I said.
"I know," she replied simply. "And I was mad when I realized I was trapped. So, so mad." She paused and shook her head. "But I knew I had to trust you. I knew I had to believe that you would help me... help all of us. And you did. Thank you."
Words cannot even describe the joy I felt when she embraced me. It was as though a massive weight was lifted off my chest. All the guilt at my betrayal was gone. I was very glad for this to be over.
"Come on guys," I declared. "Let's leave Edna to her Meepits." We all laughed as we exited the tent, hearing Edna's shrieks of rage as she tried to climb through the piles of broken glass and tubing.
"It's odd, you know," Mirynna said, examining the newspaper. "That whole hullabaloo and Edna's acting like none of it ever happened. Denying that she would even go to the Deserted Fairground, denying she was out of her tower the night it happened, refusing reporters.
I bit down on an apple tart, fresh from the Crumpetmongers which Mirynna and I were sitting outside of.
"Do you ever think maybe it wasn't the real Edna? Maybe she was cloned as well?" the Ruki asked.
"I don't know. The clone of Andy talked, so I suppose anything's possible," I replied. Then I grinned. "Anyway, I think break time's over. We've gotta get back to work."
"Oh, look at Mr. High-and-Mighty with his big promotion," Mirynna laughed. "Alright, alright. I just wanted to ask if you thought it was strange, that's all."
I had gotten up to throw our trash in the bin, when I caught sight of a small movement. A Meepit was sitting in the bushes and staring at us. I faked a lunge for it, but it didn't even move. Could it have been... no, it was just a random Meepit, there were thousands of the things roaming around the Woods. And staring intently was just what they did. Nothing out of the ordinary... right? I tore my eyes from it and returned to Mirynna.
"Well, it certainly is strange. Strange, indeed."