"I suggest that we can go through the barbed wire fence,” Alpha-Woman said. “It should make less noise than the other two choices."
"I agree, Alpha-Woman,” the Mountain Man said, “and if you wouldn't mind helping me gather some heavier branches, we should be able to use them to weigh the barbed wire down enough or to make a mat so we can safely climb over it." The Mountain Man started looking about for branches, particularly ones that still had a good amount of leaves and smaller branches attached. Once he had a good number he started bundling them together to make a sort of mat that was light enough to carry.
"Don't forget, they're likely to be ready for us too." Silver Scorpion advised. However, for lack of a better plan herself, she helped Mountain Man gather branches.
Everyone tried to ignore their gurgling stomachs as they set to work. Though no one said anything, many secretly wished the Daoist would sneak into the town and steal them something to eat. Captain Liberty, in particular, needed sustenance to replenish his strength after his gunshot wound.
Since they were in a forest, finding branches was easy. Soon they had more than enough to fashion a crude mat or ramp to lie over the barbed wire fence. It was an elegant plan, not even relying on anyone's special powers other than some heavy lifting abilities.
Then came the wait. As dusk fell over the town, bonfires were lit through the town to provide light. Men and women gathered around the bonfires, drinking and carousing in an increasingly raunchy manner, inversely proportional to the amount of attention they were paying to the temple and the gardens.
In the gardens, the people tending it left and soon even the guards seemed to have all left the gardens for the night.
At nine o’clock, the heroes decided it was dark enough to strike out. They managed to cross the clearing right up to the watchtower without being seen. The ramp was laid onto the fence with minimal noise. One by one, they climbed over it and hopped down into the gardens. Sewer Rat and Gandor the Great had earlier told of their plan to remain here, though, and keep the ramp safe in case it was necessary for a fast retreat.
The remaining six heroes snuck through the garden towards the temple. The garden was dark, lit only by the moon and the dim glow of distant bonfires. The middle of the gardens was mostly vegetable garden, broken up only by low hedges. The trees were all along the outside of the gardens and were all fruit- or nut-bearing trees. Interestingly, they observed apple and orange trees growing side by side, even though this clime should not have been conducive to orange growing.
Dice Morgan muttered to himself, "Y'know, I could’a just cut the barbed wire wit' my knife. Dese super-types always gotta’ make things more complicated."
They had not progressed more than 40 feet north of the pond when they spotted the first of them. Just 20 feet ahead of them was a rooster -- a three-foot tall rooster. It looked at them with its head turned and its eye towards them. Then they spotted another. And another. A moment later, a pack of five of these large roosters were charging them. As they drew closer, they opened their beaks and the heroes could see by the moonlight rows of sharp teeth!
Alpha-Woman took out her brass knuckles and readied to strike a rooster in the face. She was the closest to a charging rooster. She lashed out with her fist, but the rooster was fast and turned its head to the side to dodge her lunge. The rooster lunged too, its beak opened wide to bite, but she managed to shove it back out of reach.
The Mountain Man stepped forward and dug his feet in, pulling the power of the earth up through his boots and into his body. The others could see his body shift, becoming angular, like a rock face. He readied to meet the charge of those giant roosters with his hatchet. They would have to come to the mountain. As the nearest one charged him, he swung his hatchet with the power of the Earth behind it and nearly cut the rooster in half. Though dying, the rooster completed its lunge and tore into the Mountain Man with its razor-sharp teeth as its last act.
Upon seeing the roosters Dice stopped short. "Well if that don't beat all. Roosters got teeth!" He slipped on his brass knuckles and readied his knife. As an afterthought, he said, "Hey, if we can take ‘dese birds alive we could make a killin' on the cockfightin' circuit over in Mexico!" Dice Morgan handily slipped his knife between the eyes of the rooster charging him, grimacing when he thought of the fortune he just killed. The rooster fell dead before it could bite.
Silver Scorpion drew two knives. She was ready to hurl one at the nearest rooster, or kick it in the neck if it reached her first. Since no rooster was charging her directly, she threw a knife at the rooster charging Captain Liberty. The wily rooster was moving too quickly, the lighting was too poor, and there was no time to aim -- cumulatively leading up to her knife flying wild and landing in a hedge.
Captain Liberty got ready to wreck some rooster! He attacked the closest one he could get to. Captain Liberty was ready for a patriotic punch and his fist shone with the light of freedom as it glanced off the charging rooster's beak. There was a crunching sound that turned out to be the death knell for the rooster, that collapsed before biting.
The Daoist flung himself at one of the roosters, transforming into a snake in mid-air and biting at the creature. The Daoist-snake landed on the remaining rooster and wrapped around it, while sinking fangs into the rooster's neck. The rooster went down.
There was only one rooster left alive after a minute of fighting, as the fastest of the bunch was eluding Alpha-Woman's punches. Just as everyone converged to aid her, two more roosters came charging from the far end of the gardens. They were 50 feet away and closing, passing the south end of the pond.
Alpha-Woman was getting mad that she could not hit a stupid three-foot rooster. She threw angry punches at the freakish thing and was determined to take down her rooster, but all she got was a face full of feathered wing that disoriented her and made her punches miss.
Silver Scorpion readied another knife, but as the new roosters were still quite far away she moved to Alpha-Woman's foe to fell it with a roundhouse kick. However, the vicious bird was a flurry of beak, teeth, and claws and she could not get near it. Instead, attracted to the new target, this apparent super-rooster bit Silver Scorpion, putting a big tear in her silver jumpsuit.
Dice Morgan moved to throttle an approaching rooster, but knew that he would not be able to do it without making an extremely off-color remark. Figuring the super-types had it well in hand, he took a step back and surveyed the area, looking to see if the roosters had alerted any human sentries.
Ms. Marvel by Joseph Mackie
5 hours ago