May the Best Slime Win
About once a month, farmers and merchants from all around the Netherworld gather in the tiny village known as Peyroux. Harvests are rolled in, potions are debuted, herbs are hawked, hard-to-find services are offered, and cooking and baking exhibitions are held.
“Pumpkin Jaq,” Penny P. Post, vampire, said with a weighty finality. “And Anna Logarithm.” The crowd gasped in surprise as Penny announced the two semi-finalists of this month’s Simmering Slime Competition. Halloween magic versus Automation magic — and equally as dramatic — legendary rivals facing off at long last.
Penny retreated from the stage to chat with the contestants who did not progress, leaving those that did to prepare for the final round.
“May the best slime win,” Logarithm offered haughtily. Jaq cheerfully agreed, much to Anna’s annoyance.
Into her giant pumpkin-turned cauldron, Jaq poured snow and slush, mixing them with heaping spoonfuls of grave dirt and stirring it all with a giant bone. She added bat wings, grubs, and cockatrice feathers, stirring frantically and cursing, hexing, and imbuing with enchantment.
Logarithm meanwhile carefully adjusted dials on her huge pressure kettle. Ectoplasm and haunt energy flowed in from large glass globes on either side, mixing with deathwort oil and dungeon sludge. The copper pot buckled and groaned in protest but held.
Flying over to Logarithm and floating on his small bat-wings, Mayor Kevin M. Sourdough asked, “Are you nervous about explosions? Yours and Jaq’s energies are so very different.”
“There is a latent 0.74% chance the stasis field will collapse,” Anna said distractedly as she turned a spigot and poured a small sample to taste. “But I am 100% confident my slime surpases the necessary parameters to win.”
Sourdough thanked her and flew over to Pumpkin Jaq’s side of the stage as she emptied an entire bottle of ghoul ichor into her cauldron without measuring. Then she dropped in the empty bottle. “How are you holding up?” the mayor of Peyroux asked.
Jaq beamed, enjoying herself immensely. “Once I set the final curses rolling in, things ought to bubble together nicely!”
Chaos was kind on this cold winter night and awaited Jaq’s curses to be cast before unfolding.
Logarithm’s careful calculations laid waste to her copper kettle, which exploded. At the same time, Jaq’s curses mixed into blessings and warped her slimes, solidifying them into thick oozes that ejected themselves from her pumpkin pot and straight into Algorithm’s rapidly expanding debris field. From the oily smoke, slime monsters the size of houses arose. The beasts roared in defiance of their own creating, only to shrink back as Logarithm roared in equal anger.
Sourdough quickly flew back to the judge’s table. “Is this a disqualification?”
Penny, inextricably donning a bib depicting a stylized drawing of herself chasing a cartoon of the slime monsters simply said “No.”