The ruags immediately reverted their attention back to their victims. Kip glanced down; he had accidentally stepped on his broken monocle.
“Who cares about your *oospad monocle — just run for it!” exclaimed Chippy, but it was too late. Wazp had already rushed to Kip and was forcefully lifting him by the collar again, halting the transformation of the partially liquefied Blood. Any human would have been absolutely horrified by Kip’s oozing features.
“Where-z do-z you-z think-z you’re-z going-z?” growled Wazp, shaking him vigorously again. “We-z haven’t-z finizhed-z our-z little-z chat-z yet-z!”
In the meantime, Hyssss caught the half-transformed Chippy, who shrieked in surprise.
“P-please!” Kip pleaded. “We promise to have s-something for his uh … l-lordship next time.” His mushy hands were desperately grasping Wazp’s arm, the one that was holding him up.
“L-lordzhip-z,” imitated Wazp. He laughed mockingly while punching his prey in the gut.
Kip felt a sharp sting in addition to the impact and yelped in pain.
“Let-z that-z be-z a-z reminder-z to-z thoze who-z don’t-z zhow rezpect-z to-z Lord-z Znareel-z.”
“It'ss ‘Lord Ssnareel’!” snapped Hyssss.
“Lord-z Znareel-z!” Wazp barked, pounding Kip again out of agitation.
“Stop it!” cried Chippy. “Leave him alone!” She tried to approach the giant wasp but was held back by her captor.
“Ssss—careful now,” he said sardonically, holding her sleazily by the face. “My assssossiate can get a little rough. We wouldn’t want to get harmed now, would we?”
“H-hey! Uuugh … l-let h-her g-go! D-don’t t-touch h-her!” Kip begged, flailing in the air.
“You-z zhould-z be-z more-z worried-z about-z yourzelf-z!” Wazp cackled as he shook him again.
“Uuuuugh … I-I f-feel s-sick …”
Chippy bit down hard on Hyssss’ hand, who hissed in pain and hurled her aside. He slowly slithered towards her, scowling as he rubbed his wound. She stared at his threatening advance, petrified. Chippy braced herself, squeaking in fear as he reared for an attack.
Out of nowhere, a voice boomed at them, “Is this a private shake down, or can anybody join?”
The thugs whipped around to face a man wearing a battered old tan trench coat, standing at the end of the alleyway.
“Who-z that-z?” asked Wazp.
“A lowly *mynah,” Hyssss jeered.
“Timothy Thompson, Keeper of the Mimic’s Creed,” said Tim, flashing his Mimic’s Creed necklace as he introduced himself. The shiny silver-chain necklace was holding up a crescent moon shape, formed by overlapping an ‘M’ and a ‘C’ rotated ninety degrees clockwise. “You can call me Tim, or Keeper, or Humble Hero—”
“Ssss—what do you want?!”
“I was just taking a stroll in the neighborhood and found an interesting scene—”
“Thiz doezn’t-z conzern-z you-z, rat-z!” spat Wazp before quickly correcting himself in terror, “I-z mean-z ant-z! Zquizhy-z little-z ant-z.”
“Sorry … I couldn’t quite catch that—”
“Ssss—thiss iss no conssern of yourss!” snarled Hyssss.
“As a Keeper, it is my sworn duty to protect the Blood of the Earth. Come—”
“Ssss—what are you going to do about it?” Hyssss interjected snidely.
“Stop interrupting me!” snapped Tim.
“Puny-z ant-z can’t-z do-z anything-z,” Wazp had an annoyingly smug look. He glanced to the side to terrorize Kip and Chippy some more, but …
Oospad - Stupid
Mynah - Human: Used as an insult