This is for Roh Morgan's Monster Mash blogfest:
Hryng the Mighty loosened his sword in his sheath, making his way through the twisting caverns by the light of that strangely fluorescent moss that always grows in them just in case you have forgotten to put new batteries in your torches. Soon he would face his greatest test. Soon, he would fight the beast.
The tunnel he was in opened out into a wider space and Hryng saw it, outlined by the lights of a dozen flickering lamps. Huge, it was, and only vaguely humanoid, with matted fur and scythe like claws that could cut through armour as easily as the lid of a TV dinner. It was just as well, really, that Hryng had long ago sworn solemn oaths to wear no more than furry underwear, large boots, and a lot of leather straps while questing. Hryng took a step towards the beast.
“Excuse me.” A blonde-haired young woman stepped out of the shadows to block Hryng’s way. Unlike most of the young women Hryng met in the course of his work, she was wearing a rather expensive looking suit. She was also holding a clipboard. “Do you have an appointment?”
“An appointment? Who are you, wench?”
“I’m Lucy. I’m the Great Beast’s PA. And I’ll thank you not to call me that sort of thing.”
“You’re a what?”
The young woman sighed. “A PA. A personal assistant. What, did you think that hero slaying, countryside ravaging and weekends hungering bleakly in the dark organized themselves?”
“Um…” It wasn’t a syllable Hryng the Mighty had uttered before. Uncertainty was for people who didn’t have four foot swords.
“Look,” Lucy said. “Did you have an appointment or not?”
Hring the Mighty looked down at his feet. “Got a sword.”
“That will be a no, then?” The woman consulted her clipboard. “Honestly, it’s always the same with you heroes, isn’t it?”
A rumbling towards the back of the cave resolved itself into a deep, growling voice. “Lucy, is that a hero there? I didn’t think I was due to fight any heroes.”
“No. He just wandered in, as usual. Don’t you worry yourself about it. I’ll tell him to go.”
The beast actually looked slightly disappointed by that prospect. “I’m sure I could spare him five minutes. It’s been ages since I had a proper battle with a hero.”
The PA shook her head. “You’ve got your hair appointment in half an hour, remember? How are you supposed to stay properly matted if you miss that?”
Hryng raised his hand, slightly tremulously. “I’m sure we could fit it in. It really wouldn’t take a minute.”
The young woman snorted. “Right. Like I haven’t heard that before. You lot always say that it will just be a couple of swipes and a decapitation, but I haven’t met one of you yet who can’t turn a simple meet and slay into a five hour epic struggle. One bloke took all day. All day. What was he doing? Waiting until the beast starved? It had to be the day his mother was coming to visit too, didn't it?”
Hryng steeled himself to argue. “But-”
“No buts.” Lucy the PA made a note on her clipboard. “If you want a fight, you can make an appointment like everyone else.”
And that, brave souls, is the tale of how Hryng the Mighty fled before the Great Beast of the Caves. Though he did nip back on Tuesday, about ten-ish, sandwiched between the creature’s shiatsu session and a meeting with its publicist.