In this excerpt, Captain Mynta and the other fighters are preparing for their first monster hunt. Mynta thinks that handling fangfrogs should be an easy, routine task, but Mage Ameyron is worried that the monsters could get hurt in the process, and he needs a live specimen for his zoological gardens. He offers some suggestions to the fighters, but he doesn’t know much about how real monster hunts work, and his ideas could do more harm than good.
Mage Ameyron cleared his throat on the deck above them. “You need to herd them toward my cage so I can capture them alive,” he reminded them for the tenth time. “I’m working on a pressure plate trigger so the door will spring shut as soon as the monster is inside, but you can’t injure them first. Isn’t there something less lethal than pikes that you could use to…persuade the creatures?”
Mynta turned her back on the mage with annoyance. “We don’t have a sheepdog on our team. We’ll have to deal with what we have. If the business end of a pike isn’t ‘persuasive’ enough, I don’t know what will be.”
Benu covered a laugh with his hand.
Ameyron came down the stairs to the main deck. “What about a net?” He held out a fishing net with strips of metal tied to the corners. “I was trying to think of a way to incorporate my new alloy into the design so its magic-canceling properties could be used for offense. You could wave the net at the frog, like so.” He shook it out, making a shooing motion.
Mynta raised an eyebrow at the heavy, unwieldy thing. “I don’t think that’s going to do us much good. How hard is the alloy? Could it hold an edge as a blade or an arrowhead?”
Ameyron stopped short, looking flustered. “I—” His mouth hung open like a fish gasping for breath out of water. At last he said, “I can assure you that the alloy is quite strong, or else I would not trust cages made with it. But I have no idea what effect such a weapon would have on monsters. A single cut might destroy the very magic that forms them, and destroy their existence!”
Mynta rolled her eyes. “It sounds like you have a lot more tests to do on this stuff.”
Nikephoros finished his sparring match with Rei and they both came over to join them. “What’s that funny looking thing?” Nik asked, pointing at the net. “With all that heavy metal weighing it down, it’ll sink straight to the bottom of the sea.”
Ameyron scowled. “It’s not for fishing, it’s for catching monsters. I am trying to find non-lethal solutions.”
Rei laughed and stretched, draping her pike over the back of her shoulders and hanging her arms over the handle. “There’s plenty of fangfrogs on the island. If we kill a few while we try to catch one, no one will miss them.”
The mage threw up his hands. “Fine, try it your way. I won’t complain so long as you bring me back an intact specimen.” He turned and stomped away to his cabin.
The first episode of The Voyage of the Miscreation will be published in one week: Friday, July 25!